My first diet and the importance of goals and inner motivation

As I have explained in my first blog post, in comparison with many other (fitness) bloggers I do have a somewhat different approach to writing, and that in several ways. For instance I do not write much about my personal life, and neither do I upload pictures and/or brief texts about what has happened during the last day(s) and things like that. And if I write about traveling, I might go back as far as, let’s say 2006, rather than to talk about last month’s excursions. Partly this is because I do not want to be caught up in the obsessions of the presence – that is also why I do not have Twitter or Instagram – even if I do of course understand its appeal among factual or potential readers. I am more of the essaistic kind in this respect.

Speaking of which, my first diet – in a very unstructured way, and hence not really a diet in the proper sense – was actually when I walked, walked and walked in California and to less extent also in Nevada, in 2006, and hence burned quite a lot of calories and thus also body fat during a three weeks long stay.

But this one does not really count and I do not even have any pictures left from back then. Instead I will reflect upon the winter and spring time of 2010 and what I accomplished during three-four months, and which has also affected my confidence as a nutritional coach and fitness practitioner. This can be considered as my first far-reaching and seriously planned diet.

Like for many other people, my shape has always fluctuated between unfixed categories such as ‘relatively thin’ and ‘normal’ on a body fat continuum, and that is also the case after I started with strength training in 2005. For instance I was quite slim in that year, but then I started to bulk up a little, and also in later periods it has been the other way around from time to time. However, it has never extremely distinct in any of these two directions, and the frequency of training has always been somewhere between four to five times per week (if I did not travel and skipped it all, and these days I work out almost every day).

In 2009 I focused a lot on the last-mentioned activity and therefore training became subordinated to my cosmopolitan adventures, particularly in Japan, but on the other hand I did soon got back on track again after I had come home in June. During the last quarter of the same year, though, I had gained some convenient fat – not the least after three weeks in Australia in November – and was obviously not too bothered with it. Or perhaps I was – my body weight was about 79 soft kilograms and I am only 5,7 – but I nevertheless thought that I should wait for to incorporate more drastic changes after the new year had begun and deal with it then.

So what I did, right at the beginning of January in 2010, was to apply some of the lean gains principles that I had learned the year before, but – most importantly – I drastically decreased the total calorie intake, while keeping the protein intake relatively high, and did so over the next three to four months. I skipped the details but had on the other hand a very steadfast nutritional structure that I followed diligently.

During the three winter months, I dwelled in a almost ascetic fashion and did not party any more than a few times and did not eat any junk food or candy at all. Instead I focused a lot on the idea of to come into good shape and optimize my physical appearance and look forward to going to Paris, where I was supposed to meet a French girl that had I met in South Korea the year before and who lived there. Hence I did to some extent visualize and concretize my own goals, although I did not have any exact ideals with regard to body fat percentage. But even somewhat blurry goals, without clear-cut demarcations, can be relevant.

My personal strengths – from my own subjective viewpoint, but there is probably some objective truth in there too – have always been my looks and a very high verbal IQ (but average in performance IQ, so I am not very good at subjects such as maths and physics, and to quickly figure out what to do in real-life situations, i.e. fluid intelligence), so having too much body fat was detrimental to my own internal feeling about myself and hence also on my outer appearance (or the other way around, since these two dimensions are intimately inter-related). There is – at least for me – always an interplay between the outward and inward and their linkages to confidence.

And how did it go a little bit more exactly? The result was a decrease of about 10,5 kilograms of body weight, and I felt happy when I eventually came to Paris in the middle of April. The two pictures below do not really catch the essence of neither my bad nor good shape – partly because I had not reached the maximum fat weight around the time when the photo from Australia was taken – but at the time for the the second one the abs had become quite visible and I had overall a very slim and, with general standards, appealing figure.

What I have learned from this is, most importantly, one: that I can do it, and that I have proved to be both consistent and effective with regard to diet plans; two, that I can help other people to do the same or something similar; and three, that one should always have goals – whether extremely concrete and measurable or of the less clearly-defined sort – as motivation and driving force.



På ett underhudsfettskontinuum har jag aldrig varit så kallat “tjock” utan alltid “normal” (om man ser till både midjemått och BMI), men vid årsskiftet 2009/2010 hade lagt på mig en så kallad trivselvikt – som jag inte trivdes med – omkring 79,5 kilo. Det var till och med lite mer än i samband med tidigare bulkfaser under 2006 och 2007. Då bestämde jag mig för att genomföra min första riktiga, sammanhållna diet. Och jag utgick från leans gains och periodisk fasta som jag hade lärt mig knappt ett år tidigare, genom att läsa texter av Martin Berkhan och Seth Ronland.

Eftersom jag hade planer på att åka till Paris under april månad, och alltid haft mitt utseende som en – åtminstone från mitt eget subjektiva synsätt – stark “egenskap” (det andra är hög verbal IQ), och skulle träffa en tjej som jag hade haft kontakt med sedan vi träffades i Sydkorea året innan, fick jag ett slags inre drivkraft. Det kanske var ytligt och trivialt men likväl behövs sådant för att få mer långsiktiga saker gjorda.

Sagt och gjort – jag följde en lågkalori- och högproteindiet under tre-fyra månader, och gick ner cirka 10,5 kilo under denna. Det framgår inte särskilt tydligt av bilderna – och den första, från Australien 2009, var innan jag hade nått fettviktspeaken vid det kommande årsskiftet – men jag var i riktigt bra form, om än inte tävlingsform, när jag väl anlände i den franska huvudstaden.

Det jag lärde mig av detta var framför allt, ett: att jag kan klara av att strukturera en diet och genomföra den; två: att jag kan hjälpa andra med samma eller liknande målsättningar, och tre: att det behövs mål – oavsett om de är väldigt konkreta och mätbara, eller något mer diffusa – för att ha inre motivation och driv till att få mer långsiktiga saker gjorda.

제가 오년 전 에서 처음 다이어트 를 했어요. 파리스 전 에서 쯤 열 킬로그램 을 줄였어요.

Urban exploration as a means to personal development and fun

David Pinder, in his work ‘Arts of urban exploration’ (2005), is one of the researchers within the social sciences that has examined what is often known as urban exploration (often shortened as UE). He explains his particular viewpoint in the preamble of his article:

The catalyst of this event in May 2003 came from a Brooklyn-based artist collective called Toyshop. Numbering around 15 to 20 people mainly with a background in the arts, they have staged a number of street interventions and forms of direct action over the last few years. Centred on the street artist Swoon, the group / previously called Swoon Union or Swoon Squad / is concerned with public space and its democratization through what it calls ‘creative forms of productive mischief’. ‘[R]ooting around the edges of appropriate acts of citizenship’, its members say, ‘we are using every means at our disposal to make a city that instigates our creative impulses and fosters the feral spirit’. They describe how they work with the city ‘as muse and medium’. Criticizing the privatization of public space and the associated passivization of city dwellers, they state: ‘We are attempting to, through example, create a participatory model for citizens to take part in the physical and social structure of the environment we live in.’ Through street art and other interventions, its members seek to exploit opportunities for play and subversion as they interact with the city’s spaces. Swoon’s own art particularly involves the creation of life-sized figures on walls from delicate paper cut-outs, carved tape or woodblock prints. They often represent figures from her life or characters associated with particular places. They are an example of how work on streets can give people ‘a new, often transient set of landmarks with which to guide themselves’, and allow them ‘in a concrete way to see the manifestation of a certain kind of vitality in the city’.

Although urban exploration, in this sense, is partially historically linked to so called situationists, and thus often constitutes an active critique of the ‘privatization’ of the public sphere (Why am I, as a citizen, not allowed to go to, dwell or reside everywhere in public areas?), urban exploration is often associated with – as the name implies – the direct experience of cities, particularly abondoned buildings, tunnels (for instance transit tunnels and utility tunnels), sewers and other more or less inaccessible parts of its fragmented geography. The pioneers of UE were a group of youngsters who called themselves The Cave clan and who did their groundbreaking activities in Melbourne in Australia back in 1986.

Over the last three-four decades UE has gradually become a more established subculture, and people – often teenagers or young adults – visit new places where they make tags or leave other kinds of traces of their visits, take multible pictures with their cameras or cell phones and share them online (although this is of course not necessarily the case), and follow the customs that have been constructed in interplay with other, earlier, urban explorers. One such custom is to – once again – share photos online but seldom, and for obvious reasons, not reveal the identities of the explorers. And the fact that these communities resemble sort of a ‘secret society’ does certainly add to its appeal.

If one is interested in this phenomenon, there are tons of material online to look into, whether general articles and information, or UE communities as well as various YouTube videos (and there is actually a 86 minutes long documentary film, Urban exploration: Into the darkness (2007), dedicated to UE).

But to make a complex story short and cut to the chase, UE is – or, at least, may be – an excellent way to broaden one’s horizon of understanding the world and the environments that surround us but which are rarely explored. In conjunction with UE, a person may learn a lot about a particular part of a city’s history, and with this in mind, a rather broad age spectrum of its potential target group seems natural. Perhaps it is a constructive way to preserve one’s juvenile dimensions? A combination of facts and fun.


As a potential urban explorer, you may chose your local small town (or even the countryside, like a desolated house, church or castle, which thus instead makes into ‘rural exploration’!), Stockholm, London, New York, Paris or some other place as your point of departure – the main thing is that you, preferably, look after the special locations, somewhat hidden from the general routes where citizens tend to be allocated, and examine them, probably in tandem with a few friends.

And trust me, this might create collective memories that will last as long as you live. For instance, during the spring time of 2010, I and two friends made two intriguing explorations in Uppsala (where we all lived at that time) and Stockholm. Nothing ‘extreme’ and truly unique – to the extent to which that is relevant – but still interesting, inspiring and somewhat thrilling.

And the activities do not even have to be prohibited or illegal; sometimes it is just interesting to walk around, along a particular street or in a particular neighborhood (동네 in Korean), especially if you visit a city for the first (and perhaps also the last) time. I come to think of everything from Los Angeles, to Budapest, to Oslo, to Kuala Lumpur, to Busan, to New York city, when I associate this with many spontaneous city walks. It is stimulating, and sometimes even venterous (although all is relative), but nevertheless very often rewarding. But then it is not UE as it is generally understood, but rather a way to  experience or ‘interact with the urban environment’ in the sense that David Pinder discusses (but most likely without any political implications, since one is only there for a brief time).

Additionally, one might burn quite a massive amount of calories, and in a lot more interesting environments than in the gym or at the regular jogging route, while experiencing UE of some sort. But most importantly, it is a fun and interesting activity (재미있는 일 이에요).

Urban exploration (ofta förkortat som UE) är ett intressant fenomen som har en historia som sträcker sig från 1986 och en grupp ungdomar i Melbourne, Australien, och som successivt har utvecklats till en subkultur. Många har säkert hört talas om det eller testat på det själv (oavsett om de känner till termen eller inte).

I grunden handlar det om att utforska olika övergivna och mer eller mindre svårtillgängliga byggnader och andra typer av stadsmiljöer, till exempel tunnelbanesystem och mentalsjukhus. Man kan även tänka sig mer lantliga miljöer – gamla kyrkor, slott och övergivna hus – som ett slags rural motsvarighet till detta. Och det behöver inte vara en jättestor stad för att finnas intressanta, outforskade eller i alla fall mindre vanliga platser att uppsöka.

I dag finns det mängder av UE-forum där utövare delar bilder och diskuterar tips och erfarenheter, och på YouTube hittar man förstås mängder av videoklipp som berör fenomenet på ett eller annat sätt. Inom denna subkultur finns en hel del kutym, både vad gäller hur man helst bör bete sig på plats, och beträffande att inte avslöja identiteten på vare sig själv eller andra utövare. Det är en gemensam aktivitet som man företrädesvis gör tillsammans med några vänner och inte talar högt om, eller i alla fall inte är alltför specifik beträffande.

Jag har testat på UE- eller UE-liknande aktiviteter i Sverige, och i en bredare mening även i flertalet andra länder genom långa, spontana promenader i både respektive stadskärna och -periferi. Det är, eller har åtminstone potential till att vara, en utmärkt aktvitet som hjälper en att vidga sin förståelse av världen, och kan ge fantastiska minnen för livet att dela tillsammans med andra. Man kan också lära sig en hel del om städer och platsers historia, speciellt om man gör lite egen research innan, i samband med, eller efter vistelsen.

Tänk också på hur många kalorier det bränner att gå, huka, krypa, klättra och hoppa i flera timmar. Garanterat mer intressant kardioträning än att vara inne i ett gym, särskilt under vår- och sommarperioden. Bejaka barnasinnet på ett konstruktivt sätt. Vi ska alla dö förr eller senare och det finns all anledning att gå utanför sin egen comfort zone och göra något spännande och annorlunda.