I think women are cursed to be on a never-ending quest for weight loss. It doesn’t matter how thin you are, you still want to get thinner! I gained a few kilos over the past year and it annoys me to no end because they just won’t disappear. I do have a healthy appetite so that probably counts as one of the reasons why. I usually don’t like junk food. I don’t buy soda, chips or candy and I don’t get out of my way to eat fast food. But the problem is when other people buy some and share it with me, I don’t always say no. I end up losing track of what I’ve eaten and take unnecessary calories that I had no intention of eating.
So I decided to put both my appetite and my distaste of junk to good use. I outlined simple rules for myself that doesn’t target weight loss but general fitness including changes on what and how I eat and how often I exercise. I want to feel energetic again. And I want to be able to run for 10 minutes without huffing or puffing like an overweight 60-year-old.
- I’m going to eat small amounts of food 5-6 times a day instead of eating 3 big meals per day. The latter is how most people eat, but we also end up eating snacks because we get a little hungry in between. So instead of doing that, eating a small portion of food several times a day would control food intake, maintain my metabolism because I would never feel hungry, and wouldn’t let me get that full, bloated feeling.
- The types of food I eat will also change. People who diet go on drastic weight loss regimens (e.g. carrot juice and veggies, Mayo clinic diet) and end up gaining the weight back and more as soon as they return to their normal eating habits because their metabolism has slowed. I evaluated what kinds of healthy food I like and decided to incorporate a lot of those into my meals. Fruits or veggies alone won’t make me feel satisfied and will leave me with a gnawing hungry feeling. Servings of protein, fiber-rich grains, certain fats (like omega 3 rich foods) and good carbs are necessary. And since I absolutely love fish, chicken breast and other white meat, I will be eating much more of those than beef, which I dislike. An example of a mid-morning snack is 1/3 cup of low fat granola (tastes great with or without skimmed milk) and a mid-afternoon snack is a small mashed banana mixed with organic muesli. Muesli is tasteless when eaten by itself but is absolutely yummy when taken with fruit.
- I will update my Food Diary everyday. Writing down what I eat helps so I set up a spreadsheet on Google Docs were I list the food and portions that I eat for each one of my small meals. If I see anything that says cake, cookie, chips, or candy on my spreadsheet, it looks bad and my instinct would be to avoid similar foods because I know that I just ate some recently. It also encourages me to continue with my goal to eat better.
- I will exercise everyday. Hell, gym fees are deducted from my paycheck every month. I may as well use it. Why everyday? Because if I set my mind to go everyday, I will go as often as I possibly can. Though there will be times when I can’t go due to engagements or when I just feel bone-tired, I still end up going three to four times a week. If I have my mind set to go only three times a week, I will end up going only once or twice. Right now, I have a simple regimen: run for 20 minutes followed by crunches, pull-ups and stretches. It only takes 30 minutes, which is really all the time I can afford daily for working out.
That’s it so far. Maybe I’ll adopt a more rigorous gym routine later on, but I want to start slowly because I don’t want to break my back. And running appeals more to me than the elliptical, spinners, bikes, or any machine. When I move out of Saudi Arabia, I can probably run anywhere and enjoy the scenery and fresh air instead of being forced to do it indoors in a gym.
This also doesn’t mean that I will stop making delicious stuff. Nope! Due to my nooby experiments, cooking and baking has become a passion. But this means that I will feed more of what I make to my family and various friends because I certainly can’t eat it all by myself!
Trish and Alet are determined to do the same thing, with differing details suited to our interests. Alet cycles a lot and Tricia loves to run like me. We’re a terrific support system for each other in spite of the long-distance friendship between us three. Again, it’s not so much about losing the weight but we want to change our eating habits and lifestyles. No more devouring of whole boxes of ice cream bars unless one of us gets dumped! Being healthy comes first and gradual weight loss will surely follow.
(I don’t usually weigh myself but because I was weighed last week in the clinic, I got curious yesterday. I already lost half a kilo and I’ve only been in my regimen for three days. That was a nice surprise.)