Tag Archive | exercise

The secret to my losing weight

Last year, when my height of 5 ft and 3 in packed in a total of 180 lbs, obese, unhealthy, and somewhat sickly, a glitch in my brains all of a sudden electrocuted my desire to eat my favorite hot and spicy salty corn chips and removed my desire to eat big servings of Pan de Manila’s pan de coco, ube bread, and giant ensaymada.  This glitch caused me to only want to eat healthy food and shun sugar.  And as if by magic, my weight started to drop. From 180 lbs in June 2014, I shed of a total of 52 lbs in May 2015.

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Me sometime in June 2014

TAGAYTAY

Me in Tagaytay last September 2015.

Well,  I wish my healthy weight loss was caused by all that – by magic! But no.  The truth is,  the secret to my losing weight is not complicated. There was one important decision that caused me to lose 52 lbs of unwanted weight.  And that decision was …

The decision to be happy 

Yes. It was the decision to be happy, love myself, and feel good about myself that made me decide to sit down and think through what happened to me.  I started to ask myself. How did a 110 lb 21 year old ballooned into a 180 lbs 30-something?

The answer it turned out was:  sadness, depression, and sulking into the past that I could not change at all.

I was missing my smile. I was missing my confidence. And most of all, I was missing the joy of being able to wear the clothes that I like.  Ha ha. I know, it sounds so trivial, and yes, my joys are trivial. But the simple things that I was missing out are the simple things that makes me happy.

The decision that made me love myself

The decision to be happy made me realize that in order to be so, I have to love myself.  And a big part of loving myself is to make myself feel good and to pamper myself with the joys of the trivial and simple things that make me happy.  I started to pamper myself with the joy of listening to Sarah Geronimo and Janet Jackson on my MP3 player while walking or running.  I started to not care about what people say when I don my runners while I wore my black A-line dress.  I started to enjoy buying new clothes once a month just to feel good about myself.

The result of my decision

The result of my decision to be happy is the conscious choice to be picky on my food.  I stopped drinking soda. I stopped drinking powdered juices. I ditched the milk. I shunned sugar.

I started replacing rice with sweet potato. I ate lots of sweet potato and fruits. I ate lots of apples, pears, bananas, papaya, water melon, and pineapples. I replaced cheese with peanut butter. I replaced my thousand island dressings with vinegar.  I dropped the processed food and stopped eating hotdogs, corned beef, spam, bacon, and ham.

I started regulating the portions of the food that I ate. I stopped eating with my eyes and started eating with my stomach. I started to listen to my body and gave my body the pampering it was always aching for.

I started to exercise. I loved the sweat as it drenched my skin with salty waters. The sweat was the trophy of my hard work in the gym and in the running field. The sweat felt good. And the muscles on my legs taking firmer shape inspired me to exercise even more.

I lost 52 lbs in 11 months

The secret to my losing weight is no secret at all.  My decision to be happy made me lose 52 lbs in 11 months without spending money on diet gimmickry.  I dropped my weight to the healthy range without having to starve myself and without putting myself into the diet yo-yo.

I’m glad that I made that decision. I’m enjoying my healthy body now. And I am taking care of it.

I’m keeping myself — HAPPY.  🙂

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How to manage stress and keep yourself healthy

Last week was pretty intense for me. My work in the office particularly the writing of contents for our website was finally in the homestretch. Writing solid contents for the website of a subscription-centric business takes a lot of brain power. Especially during crunch time, stress level goes to the roof.

Content writing is a big job. For one, it is very important that you truly understand the product you are writing about. And with a huge number of topics I needed to finish, my creative juices ran dry. I was running out of fresh ideas and my brains felt too stretched out.

Challenges in the personal aspects of my life was also piling up too. My head seemed to start to split.

I take pride of the work that I do. But I very well know that when stress starts to whack the reasons out of me, I won’t be able to deliver the best output I always wanted. Plus, when stress level is too high, my body just automatically tells me I’m hungry. Whoa! I can’t go back to stress-eating.  It is a total bad habit that packs the body with too much calories it cannot burn for the day and eventually store as fat. I’ve spent a good amount of time and I worked hard to get in shape. I can’t go back to my 180 lbs self. Definitely not.

I needed to give myself a break. I needed to keep my stress level in control.

4 techniques in managing stress while keeping yourself healthy

1. Brisk walking. Nothing beats the smell of good sweat on my skin after a 45 min to 60 min of brisk walking and the feeling of successfully overcoming the desire to take in food that I didn’t really need for the moment.  Add to that the instant gratification of seeing calories burnt and my legs getting firmer. Brisk walking helps my body to burn calories fast and consequently, I can eat more good food than when I do not exercise.  This week, I successfully went back to brisk walking at the Burgos Circle and at Tierra 28 in Bonifacio Global City.  The 45- min to 60-min per session that I did thrice that week definitely helped me manage my stress.

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I burnt 197 calories after a 45-min brisk walking last week

2. Play music.  There is a good reason why Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez make extremely good amount of money out of making music.  It is not just about how beautiful their voices are  and how beautiful and sexy these two music icons are.  Music in fact soothes every pent up emotions of every person who just wants to relax. Music releases pleasure triggered by the brains pleasure hormones called “dopamine”.  The pleasure is increased when you listen to music that you already like or when you listen to new songs that you instantly get excited about. People buy what can give them pleasure. And music is pleasurable.  No wonder, every time I go out to walk and run, I put on my headset and plug it to my MP3 player. Walking and running become more pleasurable with music on my ears.

3. Get on the phone and talk. Talk on the phone.  Reach out to the people who matter in your life.  Start with a “hi”, a “hello”, and a “how are you”.  Just go ahead and start a conversation. Catch up. It is always satisfying when a familiar voice is on the phone talking about things you both are interested in.  This week, I spent time talking to my mom, my sister, and my 5-year old niece on the phone.  It is great way to connect with my family who stays in different parts of the country. Hearing their voices and listening to them is therapeutic. Family love is always a soothing therapy for a stress-filled week.

4. Get social.  Connecting with friends on Facebook can never be more fun than when your stress level is extreme and you just want to talk to your friends. Before Facebook, connecting to my friends was easier when I send them SMS or when I call them on the phone.  But these days, they are more active on Facebook than on their phones and more practical than sending them SMS and waiting for them to respond that may take forever. Just watching their photos and videos and reading through the comments in their walls can give you and instant feeling of being connected.  It is a fantastic way to satisfy the part of our psychology that makes us human:  the sense of belongingness. Visiting my friends’ walls and the news feed was a staple to break last week’s work monotone.

That week is over and we finally finished all the website contents we needed to complete. What an accomplishment!

I am starting a new week now with new challenges ahead. I know that stress will pile up again as the week progresses.  My walking gears, my MP3 player, my headset, and my phone are ready to help me ease the stress away.

Why exercise is important in losing weight

Sometime ago, in June 2014, I already felt so huge, so heavy, and so unpretty (yes, my self esteem was low). I was 180 lbs  (roughly 82 kgs) for my 5 ft and 3 in frame and was feeling empty and heading nowhere. I wanted to lose weight and feel good about myself and buy clothes that I truly like. But how?

I was managing a huge team of about 200 employees that time, yes, and I enjoyed the feeling of instant gratification whenever my team and I made significant leaps in our performance. My friends and team mates were always there when I need someone to watch a movie with me or to eat unlimited garlic bread in Bigoli or to munch and dine on huge pandesals over hot chocolate and cheese spreads. I would stay long hours in the office and won’t leave unless my body is too tired for my brains to analyze performance data and layout strategies to bridge performance gaps and improve performance.

Obviously, I loved being in the office and managing people and managing performance. But my own personal life was put in a stall.

I realized that I have been working hard to improve the performance of my team but I have neglected myself. If I can analyze performance gaps, I should be able to analyze where I can start to improve my well-being. I reflected on my food habits.

Why do I eat?

  1. I eat when I’m hungry. This usually happens during lunch time and dinner time.
  2. I eat when I’m stressed. Stressors in the office and my personal life cause me to get out and de-stress. Food calms me down.
  3. I eat when I’m bored. When I’m at home and not doing anything, I go out and buy bread in the neighborhood bakery.
  4. I eat when I’m sad.  There is no better way to turn my sadness into joy but food.  haha. 🙂
  5. I eat when my friends invite me out. I don’t like saying no to my friends. I always think that people takes effort to invite someone out and it’s not very polite to say no. So I go out and eat
  6. I eat when I see new restaurants. I like the feeling of being able to try new dish from newly opened restaurants. I like the feeling of being an authority somehow of where good food is.
  7. I eat out to celebrate my team’s good performance. I would bring my team out to good restaurants to enjoy good food. It’s always fun talking with them over good food. I eat.
  8. I eat when my boss celebrates good performance. My boss usually treats us with food when good performance is reported and acknowledged. I don’t say no to good food.
  9. I eat when I go to movies. Who wants to go to movies without popcorn and soda?

See. I kept on eating. Yes. And out of the 9 reasons why I eat, hunger is only 1 of them. I was eating for enjoyment. I wasn’t eating right.  Yet I don’t want to stop eating.

I decided to enroll in a gym that same month. If I can’t stop eating, I decided that burning my fats is the best resolution to my ballooning weight.

132lbs

My pic taken 4 days ago.  I’m 132lbs here. My weight is now playing around 130-133 lbs. I’m back to exercising.

How exercise helped me eat right

A month after I started going to the gym, I noticed that I’m eating lesser portions of food than what I used to have. I also noticed that I don’t eat as often anymore.  Something changed.  My eating habits changed without me planning to. Wow!

  1. I was feeling good about myself.  I was feeling less stressed. In fact, I didn’t care about stress anymore.  I didn’t have to do stress eating.
  2. I was feeling happy all the time.  Each time I stepped on the scale and saw my weight decreased, I felt happy.   I became more determined to lose weight.  Exercise released my happy hormones.  Sadness eating was driven out.
  3. I started exercising at home too.  Now I had something to do at home.  Instead of munching cheese bread, donuts, and cheeseburgers, I donned my running shoes and walked, jogged, and ran around the neighborhood.  Sweat felt so good.  I didn’t have time to eat for boredom’s sake.
  4. I learned to say no to food outing. I saw improvements in my leg muscles. My legs were getting firm and started to show good shape. I didn’t want to interrupt the improvement I was seeing. I started to politely say no to friends who invite me to eat out.
  5. New restaurants became just a sight.  When new restaurants opened, I learned to appreciate the fact that it’s new and it offers something new.  But I learned to say no. 😉
  6. Good performance begets celebration.   When my team delivered good performance and I treated them with food.  I celebrated with them with a few bites. I wasn’t tempted to get full anymore.  I enjoyed few bites on the food that my boss would buy for us to celebrate too. The celebration is more important than the food.
  7. Movies but no popcorn.  When I watched movies, I would have my dinner first.  That way, I cut expenses from buying popcorn and soda, and cut my calorie intake too.
  8. Soda and bottles juices no more.   Exercise made me appreciate water more.  With zero calories, I indulged the refreshing taste of cold and hot water too.  I ditched soda and bottled juices. I stopped drinking calories.

Without making plans on what diet I would take, exercise helped me follow good eating habits, albeit naturally.  It started with me not feeling as hungry as before.  Then it became a choice not to be hungry.   I ate fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, meat, and beef. I ditched the milk too, instead, I drank water and coffee.  I exercised and ate a lot while eating unprocessed food and saying no to rice.

I lost 52 lbs in 12 months.  I dropped my weight from 180 lbs to 128 lbs. And I’m loving it.

Woman on top: My 52-lbs healthy weight loss in 11 months

I did it again.  From 180 lbs in June 2014, I shed off a total of 52 lbs as of April 21, 2015.  I am now down to 128 lbs. I feel lighter, nimbler, happier. I also got the #1 spot in the Women on top board of Curves Eastwood for April 2015.  Curves Eastwood is the all-women gym that I go to since I started to love myself in June 2014.

women on top

Gone are the days of daily allergic rhinitis that almost always escalated to flu. Gone are the days of daily heartburn.  Gone are the days of daily depression and eating unhealthy food as my coping mechanism of the depression that was eating me. It’s amazing, how a decision of taking care of myself changed my life.

It’s amazing how the decision to love myself and to make happiness a daily habit totally overhauled everything in me.   I have become a new person. One who is happier and full of life. I didn’t just lose weight. I don’t just feel good. I am healthy. I feel excellent.

Healthy living is now my way of life.

I am happy.

Cheat & Run

The following calorie overloaded food and drinks, I enjoyed yesterday at Sweet Ecstasy. This is the second time that I’ve visited this gastronomic fantasy on earth. Haha.

double

Here’s the double cheeseburger in Ecstasy sauce.  The burn and the feel of double quarter pounder of 100% ground beef cooked  to perfection resonates in my health conscious tongue, screaming delight, and bursting with delirious sensation of delicious guilt.

fries

And what is a burger stand experience without the ecstasy burger fries loaded with cheese,   ground beef, fresh tomatoes, crispy lettuce, oozing with sweet ecstasy sauce?

mudpie

 

Finished off the meal with a large serving of MudPie smoothie on vanilla ice cream base and generous swirls of whipped cream.

run

Definitely gave me the energy to run away from the delirious guilt.  Finished off the day with a 70-minute walk, jog, run, squat, and stretch. Oh yes. I felt the burn.  😀

Thanks to my boss who brought me back to Sweet Ecstasy. Saraaap!

 

PS.  I don’t advocate feasting too much on food that are not very ideal of healthy lifestyle. But, heck. Try Sweet Ecstasy at 10 Jupiter Street, Barangay Bel-Air, Makati City Contact: 0916-594 -1229.

Just run afterwards and feel the burn. 😀

 

Where does your happiness lie?

Everyday we look for happiness. Some of us look for happiness from someone else, from somewhere else.  The elusive pursuit of happiness has become the daily purpose of almost all of us.

kids play

Kids find happiness in every little thing they have.  My nephews playing with their puppy are happy.  My niece hugging her stuff toy dog is happy.    The boys played with a real dog.  The girl played with a stuff toy. They share the same excitement. The same happiness.

Yet adults gloat over events that happened in the past they can’t change and about the future they haven’t been.

I had my fair share of gloating too.  Ha ha. I gloat over the past and feel wary about the future.  I became depressed and hopeless. I grew to be obese and didn’t feel good about myself yet I continue feasting on unhealthy food, no-holds barred.  I would cry over a funny movie because I chose to replay the tearful events of the past than enjoy the fun of the the movie currently playing. I would always see sadness in  every humor. I would zone out in a room full of noisy and seemingly happy people.

Yet, my friends and colleagues saw me as a strong woman, happy, doing a job that most of my colleagues would like to have.  A woman who who finds humor in everything. Life is truly ironic.  Or was I a good thespian and the world was my stage?

Open palm.  I’d like to look at it as a reminder that letting go may be better than holding on. I’d like to think of it as reminder that things come and go, that we don’t have any control on the natural course of nature.  This is a curious part of our lives. It has to be felt, appreciated, experienced. Nature evolves and so do we.

open palm

The lines and creases of my palm is a wonderful documentation of my life’s history. It shows me the lessons of the past. It shows me the path to my future.

Happiness is not in some place I don’t know where.  I realized that happiness is not with another.  Happiness is in myself. I have it all along.  I only needed to appreciate and want what I already have.  Lesson 44.  I already have everything I truly need.  God truly never blinks. 🙂

I left the gloating and hopelessness behind.  The fact that I thought I was hopeless means I believed in hope.  And because I believe in hope, I was in fact hopeful. The fact that I was depressed means there was happiness that was aching to get out. Ha ha.   The irony of life.

When I feel sad, I choose to think happy thoughts.  When someone attacks me, I choose to be calm.   When I feel terrified, I choose to fly.

fly

I lost a total of 48 lbs (21.82 kg) already in a matter of 10 months. The moment I chose happiness, I also started living healthy lifestyle. I shun away from processed food. I chose to enjoy real food. I chose to move my butt. Ha ha. There is no substitute to exercise. From 180 lbs in June 2014, I am now down to 132 lbs.   I feel lighter. I feel nimbler. I am happier.

Happiness is my choice.  Happiness is my daily choice.

What about you?

Over scone and latte

I have this fascination with scones since I had my first taste of this biscuit in Toorbul, Queensland, Australia.  Scone was one of the desserts that our picnic hosts, Liz and Colin Tune, served.  Since my first fill of this delicious flour-based dessert, I promised myself to find it in my home country and experience it again.

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Staying at Paddington, this is the bus stop at Gilday Street where we waited for the bus daily going to work during my almost 1 month visit in the laid back, peaceful, and beautiful city of Brisbane.

The Coffee Bean in Burgos Circle at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig didn’t disappoint me today.  They have this last piece of raisin scone for the day.  Haha.  With a cup of latte and 10 g of butter, the scone was pure bliss.

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 Today’s delicious raisin scone at Coffee Bean.

For over a year now, I’ve finally picked up and read a real book again, printed in real paper.   What an amazing feeling.  I feel my humanity again.  The last book I’ve read was World War Z which I’ve read through the e-book version, almost a year ago.

There are 50 chapters in the Regina Brett book I’ve read.  She calls it “50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours”.  She wrote it so beautifully that I felt like she was just in front of me, talking.  She is so sincere in the retelling of her life’s detours (the positive word she chooses to describe her life’s pains) and how she learned from them.

book

The truth is the pain from the rejection caused by a break up I never so expected caused a turmoil in my being I thought would never end. For some time, I stayed in my little corner of wishful thinking and imagining the “what ifs”.  What if I did this? What if I did that?  What if? What if?

While I was busy thinking about the “what ifs” of my life. I saw myself feasting on all the delicious (and unhealthy) food my eyes would crave. I was stress eating, depression eating, fatigue eating, over-eating, and eating based on what my eyes would want. I ballooned to become a 180-lbs class 1 obese woman.  Food was my refuge. Or so I thought.

One of the lessons Regina Brett shared in her book says “Life is too short for long pity parties.  Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

In June of 2014, I made a life-changing decision.  It was time to let go of the “what ifs”. It was time to accept that the break up happened because it was how it had to happen. It was how it had to end.  There is so much love to give.  But I’ve forgotten to love myself.

It was now time for me to get some loving.  And who else can give me the pampering I so understand?  I realized, it was, no other, but me.

office

This is a photo of me taken about 4 days ago.

Fast forward to 10 months later and healthy living in between, I shed off a total of 47 lbs. From 180 lbs in June 2014, I am now down to 133 lbs.

Happiness is my choice. I am happy. 😀