Health – Losing Weight

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?

 

Be Kind to Yourself

I was doing some research for a new post for Between the Covers when this ad was played in YouTube:

How do we really see ourselves? I used to think I had a pretty healthy self image, but then I got more and more into photography and more and more people also got to toting cameras everywhere and I realized that I didn’t want photos of me taken.

Do you remember that shampoo commercial where the girl would hide behind her friends because her hair was less than lustrous? Or those series of commercials for Lesofat, tinatago ang taba?  That’s exactly what I do. I don’t hide behind people though, I normally just take myself out of the photo. I refuse to have any taken. Most of the time.

But I’ve tried to do that less and less. I’ve allowed others to take my photo. I’ve even started taking selfies. And my profile photo on social networking sites is already an actual photo of myself. I am beautiful in whatever shape or size, I know that. I may be trying to lose weight these days, but that is because I have become too heavy for my bones (being bionic now doesn’t guarantee that another slip disc won’t happen). Let that not overshadow the truth that I am beautiful. \

Thanks Dove for reminding women of all shapes and sizes, that we need to be kinder to ourselves.

Coca-Cola and Obesity

This ad isn’t shown in the Philippines, I guess because the program is currently only in the US. But it is of interest to me because I drink Coke and I am obese.

Some time ago (I completely forgot when that was) I signed up at the health site Calorie Count (and I even downloaded the free iPhone app). Although I haven’t fully maximized the abundance of information (and support) available from that community to kick off my own wellness plan, I do pick up on articles they post thru their newsletters. Today, it included a post on Coca-Cola’s Anti-Obesity Ad.

Put on those headphones, and watch this short video:

 

What do you think?

I think that when big corporations (and don’t forget politicians) spend money (or risk losing some profit) for the greater good – that’s a good thing. And that we shouldn’t be so blind not to see that their special projects could also be self-serving – a PR job, a way to look good for the cameras, or a conscience-cleansing effort. But they still deserve support – or acknowledgment at the very least. After all, when more people join in to fight for a cause, whatever cause it may be, it’s a step closer to the goal.

What I’m saying is, good job Coca-Cola for owning up to your role in making the world obese and taking steps to reduce that – no matter how small the steps. But I’m pretty sure you will not completely take your sugary products off the market. That would be suicide.

On the YouTube page for the ad, there are mixed reactions. Some people talk about other sins of the company. It’s like saying ‘I will not accept nor applaud your help here and right now because I cannot accept your other actions elsewhere.’ It’s like Sting changing the venue of his Philippine concert because the SM MOA Arena is affiliated with tree-cutting SM Baguio. Know what I mean?

So in the end, it’s still up to us to choose the better options. 0 cal or 140 cal? Zero or regular Coke? Soda or water? It’s not just Coke’s fault that I need to lose about ninety to a hundred pounds, but drinking Coke was probably a big contributor. And yes, I have ingested way more calories than I burn. I didn’t need a Coca-Cola ad to tell me that. But knowing that they are putting money into the fight against obesity? Now that’s cool.

But you know what, maybe learning about why other people boycott Coke would help turn me off of it completely. Hah! That would be the day. Happiness nga eh.

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