easyhealth

One Week After Another

Let’s go vegan

What? Why??

Why not?

That is not the worst idea…but you will get bored. Pretty quickly.

Really? Why do you think so?

There isn’t much you can eat. Vegan right? Not just vegetarian?

Yes, vegan.

Meaning you will not take cheese and dairy products. Forget about egg and fish.

Yes.

You need protein.

Plant-based protein. Tofu. Tempe. Seeds and nuts. Some vegetables carry protein as well.

……

Seriously? That sounds boring.

It does. But it sounds interestingly boring.

And why do you want to do that again?

I just want to see if I can survive

You won’t. Fruits and vegetables all day long, on top of your ridiculous-tasted smoothies.

Yes…and my smoothies do not taste that bad

Not bad. Ridiculous. It is worse than bad.

(thinking)

I’m gonna do it.

And how are you going to have your coffee?

Soy or almond milk

Pffttt…do you know how it tastes?

Yes I do. I remember.

And if the coffee shop doesn’t have soy or almond?

I will have black coffee. No sugar no syrup.

You will not survive

Ok. Let’s take this as light as possible. Let’s target for one week, Monday to Friday. Cheating weekend. If I survive, I will continue next week.

(above is the conversation between me and myself)

Now I have been doing Monday to Friday vegan for 2 months. Taking it one week after another. I have survived every week, and I know I will survive for many weeks to come.

You would’ve not thought that it will work and you can do it, until you are actually doing it. Being in the moment is most important rather than keep on planning the moment.

Age is NOT just a number

That might not sound encouraging at all, but to me that’s the truth. I am not that type of person who believes that you can defy age if you keep your mind happy, stress-free, and worry-free. Aging is a very natural process, and it is beyond our control…but whether you are aging gracefully or not, that is a decision…a decision that takes high commitment and uninterrupted habitual actions over years in order to work.

First and foremost, embrace your age.  Know and be grateful that you are getting older, not younger. Learn the changes your body is experiencing and do not feel bad about it. Your metabolism degrading, muscles soften, you get tired easily, body fat mass increases, and it gets harder and harder to lose weight. Again, those are natural and beyond our control. Deal with it.

Then start taking it to the next level. Instead of numbering your age, start scaling your lifestyle. Lifestyle always starts with habits. Habit, bad or good, is built by doing things consistently, every day, uninterrupted. Now, is there anything better you can do for your body in that manner? Can you eat better? Can you do better activities?

YES…but it is not an easy yes. It takes willingness and great commitment. COULD does not have power without a strong WOULD. Yes you can do something better for your body, but the real question is “will you”? Will you eat better? Will you start doing exercise?  Will you start committing your time for your health?

Think about this:

If you are eager to have better things in your life; better house, better car, better outfit, better shoes; why won’t you have a better and healthier body? It is after all,  the vessel that contains your soul.

I work 12 hours a day. I have kids to be taken care of. I have an overly demanding  job. I am stressful, I need good food to fix my mood. 

Agree. Those are legitimate issues.

Before you agree with yourself that the only answer to those issues is “I have more important things to do than just worrying about my health”, think about these:

-       You don’t even have 30 mins in your days to do workouts?

-       Your weekends are occupied with work matters as well?

-       You cannot give up those sweet drinks in your meals?

-       You cannot eat grilled chicken instead of fried chicken?

-       You cannot eat without crackers on the side?

-       Can you change milk in your coffee into skimmed?

-       Can you exchange 30 mins of your TV time with simple exercises?

-       Can you swim with your children instead of sitting around while waiting?

-       Can’t you eat more vegetables and fruits than you usually do?

And I can keep going with questions…

Lastly but most importantly, MAKE PROGRESS, NOT EXCUSES.

And don’t worry about perfection; such thing doesn’t exist.

Thirty minutes of exercise is better than none.

If you still have crackers on the side, at least you have started eating grilled chicken.

If you still have full cream milk in your coffee, at least you give up sweet drinks.

Instead of drinking a glass of fresh fruit juice a day, now you drink two.

These simple things, if you do it consistently, every day, uninterrupted, will inevitably build your habit. Once you feel fitter, healthier, and stronger, you will want more. Your new habit will take you further.

Age IS NOT just a number. Your body knows it. Listen to your body and do yourself a favour.

 

Progress, not perfection.
— 

A quote from The Equalizer movie

I think it applies to everything, including when we plan to start a healthy life style. Don’t make things complicated. Start simple, but be consistent with the progress day by day. Stop planning about completely changing your whole eating habit, instead start with eliminating sweet drinks from your meal and replace with water. No more day-dreaming about losing weight and starving yourself, but start committing 30 mins of your day to do light exercises at home and add fibres to your meals. Rather than beating yourself up at the gym after a sinful meal, allow yourself to enjoy it and then focus on building a new eating habit. A healthy slim figure does not happen over night, and it is not a result of few months of strict diet or few crazy hours at the gym…it is the outcome of habits that built over the years and definite progress on daily basis. 

Do not stuck in the idea of perfection. Make progress. Progress makes the world go round, no matter how small it is. 

Breath in, breath out

Breathing. We do it automatically. Well…not really automatically..it’s actually a quite complex collaboration between nose, lung, heart, etc etc. Perhaps, we can say, we do it subconsciously. 

Everyone knows what is the fundamental reason for breathing. It provides O2 for blood and organs, most importantly, brain. When we are suffocated, soon enough we will be dying…just like a candle inside a glass. 

When I started my fitness journey years ago, I also started to encounter other types of breathing than a normal one. These types are not abnormal, but we need to do it consciously. We control the breathing.

First type is Pilates breathing technique. It’s called lateral breathing. Pilates has been really famous lately so many people may already know how to do it. Hence, allow me to explain a bit of lateral breathing in 3 simple principles:

Firstly…inhale with your nose, exhale with your mouth.

Secondly…deep inhalations and full exhalations. Don’t overthink it; you will get the point when you are doing the next principle.

Lastly…when inhaling, expand your ribs to the side and into the back. On the exhalations, pull tight the abdominal muscles toward the center. 

When you do it right, you will feel your core muscle tighten and squeezed, and your spine is strengthen. 

I started doing lateral breathing during weight training these past 2 months. It always feels like I am doing weight lifting, cardio, and core exercise all at the same time. In my experience, my lifting power was reduced at first, but then it started to recover and I can feel extra energy coming from my core muscles and spine. 

If you’d like to do more reading on lateral breathing, here’s a useful link:

http://pilates.isport.com/pilates-guides/how-to-do-lateral-breathing-in-pilates 

Second type is ujjay breathing; a breathing technique I learned in yoga class. I am not yet a yoga-freak, but every time I do it I want to do it right rather than only for consoling myself that I joined yoga class. 

Some of you who happen to be yoga experts should have known, and mastered, this breathing technique. It is basically inhaling with your nose, and exhaling with your mouth closed. As you inhale and exhale, your throat will produce a growling sound, similar to snores. This breathing technique will heat up your body, but as the exercise progresses the energy flow will become more and more subtle. 

Honestly, I hate this breathing technique. It makes me really uncomfortable. Comfort does not guarantee improvement. I keep on practicing not because every yoga exercise or pose is comfortable, but because I know what good it does to my body. The feeling of achieving result is always more enjoyable than just being comfortable. 

I do not take breathing for granted anymore, for it is a powerful device to empower your body. It is much more than O2 delivery; it is a seed of energy. We breath unconsciously at most of the times, but sometimes we need to take time to breath consciously.

Inhale and exhale with control. Breath in and breath out, and focus on the breaths.

"Beets are deadly serious"

(from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins)

Beets.

The deep magenta-colored veggie that I hate. The after-taste is almost unbearable. The smell of it in my smoothie is rather appetite-crusher. But because God has a good sense of humor, He puts extra benefits into beets. Beet helps reduces high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, may protect against liver disease, and provides anti-cancer benefits. It has specific “dietary fiber” that provides special benefit particularly related to health of digestive tract.

So I keep on putting beets into my smoothie. The health benefits of this veggie just make it irresistable. I even started to grow love for beets.

Here’s I give a link if you would like to do a little more reading about beets. Or you can always google.

Note :
Beet salad in Kem Chick, Pacific Place, is recommended. It actually tastes really good.