Health – General

Eating Well at Work

Working at night makes it a bit more challenging to find options for healthy eating outside the home, but it is not impossible to eat food that will truly nourish our bodies even at 3AM.

BYOB |Bring Your Own Baon

Many times this has meant bringing my own baon.

Doing this has made it easier to keep away from white rice and bread – because it’s nearly impossible to find Red or black Rice in a restaurant, much less in an office pantry or a convenience store.

Eat Well at Work: BYOB | http://verabear.net

Eat Well at Work: BYOB | http://verabear.net

It’s been fairly easy to bring packed lunch, thanks to a husband that cooks. 🙂

This also saved me a lot of lunch money (that I redirect to getting new clothes that would fit better now ?).

I used to skip lunch a lot – because I was too busy to have one – and thought I was saving money then. But it only meant over eating on the next meal which tended to be fast food, and very un-healthy.

For those times though that I don’t get to bring packed lunch, I just do my best to make the better choice.

Convenience Store Find: Gourmet Farms

At our Makati office, where I go 2x to 3x a week, I’ve looked forward to getting my meals at the Lawson convenience store nearby.

I didn’t expect it, but I was so thankful to have found that they offered Gourmet Foods.

Eat Well at Work: Gourmet Farms | http://verabear.net Eat Well at Work: Gourmet Farms | http://verabear.net

Sarap.

I would have to admit, the salads at 99 pesos are NOT cheap. Paired with the chicken or tuna wraps, or a banana, they could be quite filling.

On Tuesday, my lunch of Chicken Mexican Wrap and Sicilian Chicken Salad cost 178 pesos. Mahal if you compare it to pantry food, or a one-piece chicken meal at Jollibee. But it’s fresh, and organically grown. So that’s a price I’m willing to pay occasionally, when I don’t bring my own baon.

And if you think about the long-term benefits, okay na din to spend a little bit more diba?

If only it didn’t mean having to dump all this plastic packaging:

It is possible!

Yes, it is possible to eat better at work. It just takes some planning, and a whole lot of resolve to make informed food choices.

What are you having for lunch today?

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UNICEF Color Run Manila 2017

At the annual fiesta of the Seminary compound I grew up in, there used to be a Fun Run for different age brackets. I was never athletic, but I remember joining at least once. I’m not sure if I finished all the way ’round the designated area, and even if I did, I probably walked for the most part.

Now, guess who signed up for this year’s Color Run Manila for UNICEF?

Oh yes! Together with my girlfriends, I registered to join this 5k fun run in support of UNICEF Manila’s programs.

This is the first time any of us will be doing this. There are many such events in and around Metro Manila, some even with shorter distances, but none of us have ever joined one. What got into us?

Why are we doing this?

  • At first it was the attraction to the unicorn- and rainbow-themed freebies 🙂
  • There’s also the opportunity to support UNICEF in it’s programs for Filipino children while having fun!
  • For me, it was yet another challenge to take on. I’ve found myself pushing my limits lately in my own wellness transformation, and participating in a 5k marathon is sure to keep things exciting and fresh!

But seriously, do we really know what we’re getting into?

 

There’s no turning back now. We have registered, paid up, and we have received our race kits (image courtesy of RunRio website)!

Sadly, the deluxe kits ran out before we could register so we aren’t getting the cute plushie and socks. But that’s okay. There’s more to the race than the freebies 🙂

The excitement is really building up. We run (or walk, more accurately) on September the 3rd, just a couple more days away. To prepare, I’ve been following this 3-mile/5k power walking workout on YouTube and it’s been great.

I’ve even convinced to get the hubby to workout with me a few times. Progress. 🙂

Hands up for those who are also joining the Color Run

Any tips for me? What should we do before the run and after? How do we not injure ourselves?

 

Dieting and The Brain

This post is sparked by the TED Talk by Sandra Aamodt: Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work. Video is embedded at the end of this musing should you want to listen in too.

At the heart of the talk is the fact that the brain, specifically the hypothalamus, acts as a sort of thermostat that signals hunger, energy, and metabolism. Whether you start out thin or fat, when you lose weight, your brain thinks you’re starving. For self-preservation, you will feel hungry and have less energy available.

Because I have been morbidly obese in the past 10 years or so, my body and my brain may very well have learned to think that this is the normal. Going down to a ‘healthy’ weight in the obesity scales will definitely not be a walk in the park because I am no longer wired for a lower number on the weighing scale.

Realizing that doesn’t give me an excuse to not make an effort. In fact, what she says next only encourages me further to continue with the lifestyle changes I’ve committed to recently.

Sandra points out that there are two types of eaters – intuitive eaters: rely on their hunger, and; controlled eaters: rely on willpower. Looks like I’ve been more of the latter. That explains the endless cycle of starving and then binging. Skipping meals and then going on an all-you-can-eat buffet.

When I was in highschool, my grandmother was against my going on a diet. She argued that I just need to stick to a healthy three full meals a day. Don’t skip, but don’t over indulge. If I had just listened to her then, I may have a chance to be 30 pounds lighter today. By the way, looking at my highschool photos now, I realize now that I wasn’t FAT! But at the time? Geez.

Sandra also talks about mindful eating. Listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry. But listen too when it says that the hunger has been satiated. Now that may take me awhile, so smaller portions will also help.

She then shows a graph of a long-term study across people of various weights and their risk of death based on four healthy habits: eating enough fruits and vegetables, exercising 3x a week, not smoking, and drinking moderately. It looks very similar to this:

healthy-habits-500x360

Image Source: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/12/31/evidence-that-fat-people-can-be-as-healthy-as-thin-people/

The short story is that the more of the 4 habits you have, the lower risk of death – regardless of weight. For the obese (darkest shaded bar on the graph), even just one healthy habit significantly reduces the risk by almost 50%. And when all four healthy habits are present? Then weight doesn’t matter. The person with the normal weight is just as likely or less likely to die prematurely than the obese person. 

So I guess I am on the right track. Except that when I resolved to make a habit of having green smoothies daily I had weight loss in mind. Now, I’m changing my mindset. My goal is no longer to lose weight, but to just be better. I think that can be achieved without necessarily losing all of my excess weight. If I can lose weight while eating more fruits and veggies and adding exercise in my lifestyle, then that’s a bonus.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

Sleeping it Off

I’ve been going back to work everyday for the past two weeks, but I’m absent for today’s shift. I knew I’ve had allergic rhinitis attacks in the mornings since last week but yesterday I woke up with a clogged but runny nose. It did not get better with water therapy. I knew coffee wasn’t bound to help (I was told it promotes congestion) but I needed help to stay awake and focused so I fixed myself half a sachet of instant coffee. When I got home, I did nothing but sleep. Whenever I woke up on the couch, I’d complain to either Dad or my boyfriend that I was feeling so sick. My head felt so heavy, nose still runny, had a very sore throat, and I felt feverish.

In the afternoon, I got up to eat and popped OTC cold meds. After reading two chapters off Clash of Kings, and doing two rows of crochet, I went back to sleep.

SLEEP.

 

I know that the natural remedy to colds is lots of sleep and lots of water. So I skipped work to catch up on sleep. Since getting back into the grind I felt like I have lost so much of it.

I worked the early shift (8PM-5AM) and mid-shifts (10PM) before but I was doing the closing shift again (2AM-11AM) for at least three weeks prior to my long medical leave. I always loved the closing shift. Being an opener only worked because we made arrangements for the boyfriend to have the same schedule as I do. When I was in the hospital his schedule got moved again and now we’re on opposite shifts and not the same weekends off. That is not helping. I try to stay up until he gets home but I just can’t. Truth is, the best time for me to sleep is 12 noon so I can get up feeling well rested at 6PM. But when I get home at 8 or 9 in the morning, I just can’t stay up. So I sleep way too early and wake up four hours later. I stay up for two hours before I get sleepy again and then try to get some more rest before I absolutely need to get ready for work. I hate that pattern but it’s become the story of my life. I hope it only takes one more week to adjust.

Right now, my back hurts a bit. It does that sometimes. It’s not too painful that I’d need to take any medicine, but it hurts enough to remind me that I probably need to be a little more aggressive in my almost non-existent effort to lose weight. And that I should also do the back exercises my therapists used to make me do.  I know that getting home tired isn’t an excuse to not making time for exercising but it’s just so easy to use that excuse. I’m also always blaming the boyfriend for not being fit, my argument is that if he made time for it, I would too. But he’s not responsible for my body, I am. If he doesn’t feel that it’s urgent that he lose his belly flat, well it’s a very urgent thing for me.

Besides, if I am to do any travelling soon, I’d better get my stamina built up again. I can’t be tired after only 5 minutes of walking, can I? Too bad sleeping doesn’t miraculously slough off the pounds…

Happy 1st Monthsary to My Back!

A month goes by very quickly; whether you’re busy or just chill it doesn’t matter, time still flies. It’s been a month and a week after my back operation!

I posted this on Instagram after my doctor’s appointment on May 25th. It was at that appointment that I was proclaimed fit to work and ready for the world. Hehe. So I’m going back to work full-time beginning this Monday, June 3rd. Yep, all in time for back-to-school rush.

It was only while we were having brunch that I realized it’s my back’s one month anniversary. That day, I went up and down the stairs at Il Terrazzo in Tomas Morato, and then again to get to Shmily Arts & Crafts Store in Sta. Ana, Manila. The girls were excited enough to go along with me for a drive and to buy some craft materials. Oh we didn’t know exactly where the store was, the iOS map was pretty helpful and we didn’t get lost or anything. Hehe.

The girls are selfie addicts, so we had our customary shots while in the car, and right before food was served.

 

Just now though, I realize more how crazy fun these girls are, look at all these photos they left for me to find on my Photo Stream (taken on the iPad):

CrazyGirls

Pretty young ones, aren’t they? Hell’a crazy too. And I’m just really glad they spent time with me that day. I may have given them an awkward talking-to about the birds and the bees but I just really love these girls and I want them to make the right decisions in life, young as they are. They were still toddlers when I was their age now, and back then I spent a lot of time with them too. I love that they still like being around Tita Vera, even when there could have been a hundred and one things they could do on a Saturday. 🙂

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