Health – Losing Weight

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?

 

Body Positive

There’s been a lot of body positive posts and videos going around that are targeted to promote sensitive and inclusivity. Now, there is no single view of beauty or sexy. They come in all shapes and sizes. Thin is no longer in. All good.

How does this affect me?

I am big. I am bigger than most girls. I wear 5 times bigger than the average person at work. I have no facts to base that from except my perception of their sizes. I am not going to be surprised if many are XS, and most fit a Medium-sized shirt. All my clothes are 3XL or larger.

In recent years, maybe in the last 6, I’ve been able to wear pretty clothes. I used to be just a shirt and jeans girl, not necessarily by choice, but because there weren’t many options for my size. There’s a lot of big blouses and big dresses, but I felt like they weren’t for my generation. They were always for the Madam, the older ones, that is.  I wear more dresses now than I’ve ever had since I was a little girl. But I still don’t wear sleeveless tops or dresses without a cardigan on top. In this weather? Heh. See it’s not my size that prevents me from wearing sleeveless shirts or from baring skin. I want to be confident in a bathing suit or even a bikini but I’m not! My arms go from fair to dark, top to bottom. No matter how many times I get tanned, the colour just doesn’t get fixed. It’s also my dark pits, and the dark lines on my neck/nape. Yes. I’ve got all those other issues that I think would make people who see say ‘yuck.’

How can I blame them? I feel exactly the same way about those darn things. Naliligo naman ako, I take a bath regularly and scrub myself down. I’ve used several different products to make them go away but nothing seems to work.

Frankly though, why do I care? Why do I care so much about these things? There is so much more to me than my appearance. And if the people who like me now would change their mind after seeing me exposed, well to hell with them.

So for my birthday lunch with the family a few weeks ago, I didn’t wear a cardi over my dress.

stripes

stripes

And no one gave me crap about it.

Of course I only had loved ones around the table with me, and it was my birthday weekend. But there were lots of other diners at the restaurant that day, and I really didn’t care to check if anyone was repulsed by how I looked. I was busy being happy, and acknowledging my blessings.

Then I wore a tank top to the grocery last week. So will I be ordering a two-piece bathing suit soon? I still don’t think so.

Anyway, here’s the family shot of that lunch two weeks ago. Amir was trying to eat his mashed potato right off the plate so he could get a mash ‘stache. He is hilarious!

IMG_4537

Your Habits Determine Your Future

We recently changed our Cable TV subscription from having over 100 channels thru the old-school Platinum pack with the Discovery and lifestyle channels to the cheaper Dual Def 549 package. As a result, we now have the Simply Money channel where the show ‘Til Debt Do Us Part airs. A few years back, that show inspired me to build better spending and saving habits. Coupled with other concepts I’ve learned here and there, I managed to cut back on consumer credit card debt and felt so happy about it.

Unfortunately, I’ve not always maintained those good habits. Now, my credit card use is getting a little bit out of hand.

After our wedding, my husband and I agreed on a budget and we’ve pretty much stuck to it. We prioritised paying off debt, but by this time, we should already be building our emergency fund back up. Sad to say, we aren’t. We are thru paying off one loan, and will soon finish payment on another. Instead of getting rid of all but one credit card, we still have three. The third one was supposed to be the only remaining card and would be used for auto payments on bills, for gas and groceries too. It is the card we always pay off in full monthly. So far, we’ve managed to do that. But in order to keep cash flowing, I’ve made the mistake of swiping the plastic to pay for meals in restaurants, and also for other purchases. In order for my plan to work, we should stick to cash on all other expenses.

So anyway, tuning into Simply Money even for just a few days has helped knocked some sense back into my thick skull.

But no sound advise will ever be enough. John Maxwell has it when he said in his book Make Today Count that –

Your Success is Determined by Your Daily Agenda

John Maxwell IMG source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/459226493231678766/

 

Our habits do define us. And I’ve got some pretty bad habits, and so does the husband.

Change your habits

Source: http://www.mairovergara.com/aprenda-ingles-com-citacoes-10-you-will-never-change-your-life-john-c-maxwell/

We will not get our finances in order without making real changes to our daily habits. Same goes about losing weight. It is not going to happen without us changing the way we spend our days. We have taken a bold step – we have been on a calorie-controlled meal plan in the past month and I lost a little over 5 pounds already. But because we’re using a meal delivery service, we’re getting tired of the food. So we have to learn to make it on our own. This week is the start of trying portion control by ourselves on our home cooked meals. Wish us luck.

I examined how I spend my days and realise that spending over 12 hours at work was not going to help me achieve my life goals. Besides, my team’s success doesn’t rely on how long I stay in the office. I need at least 7 hours of sleep, at least that’s what Arianna Huffington says. I already know that no matter how much sleep I get, I still fall asleep at work or on the wheel. There’s a whole different health issue there and I’m going to need a sleep study, but before then I’m willing to give it another shot. I’ll start trying to sleep better. But if I were to sleep that much without changing anything else on my schedule, I wouldn’t be spending any quality time with the husband daily, and there’d be no more time for reading or crochet. I like watching TV, and going on the computer at home, how am I going to squeeze in those activities and add exercise too?

I’ve got to make changes on my daily schedule, and build new habits. Ready or not, here I come.

 

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?

 

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