Be Kind to Yourself

This morning I had the opportunity to Skype with one of Having ‘Me’ Time’s readers and we had a good discussion about our journey to better health and weight loss.  A lot about the path to better health means avoiding processed, unhealthy foods, sweets or what seems to be almost all of our favourite foods.  It often feels like we are starving ourselves of what we love, especially if that’s how we’ve been eating our whole lives.

What happens when we mess up our diet and fall for that piece of decadently delicious chocolate fudge cake, or that juicy cheese hamburger?   Nothing. Nada.

Many times we are so strict with ourselves that when we fall for that piece of cupcake or donut, we feel like we’ve failed the diet and end up eating for the world.  We throw all our hard work away and lose hope. We go back to our old ways and eat and eat.

My advice to you is this:  Be kind to yourself.  Don’t lose hope and enjoy the experience.

Remember that it’s okay to treat yourself every now and then.  If you crave a hamburger really badly, go out and eat it.  If you want that cake, eat it.  Sometimes having a bite is enough to satisfy the craving. Enjoy it, savour it and then just make a mental note to yourself to work out extra at the gym the next day.  Add an extra session to the week’s workout.

No big deal right?  Have fun being healthy.  Enjoy the experience!

I’ve lost 5kgs or 12 lbs since the beginning of the year and every night I treat myself to some dark chocolate.  I have ice cream and egg tart.  I do, however, make sure that it’s super delicious and worth my extra workout time.

There’s no failing, no wrong in becoming healthy.  It’s a journey that goes up hill, down hill, turns corners and brings you to wonderful new places.  Just keep working at it! Keep on walking down the path. Don’t stop and turn back.

Five years on and I am still working on it 🙂  Step by step, little by little, we’ll get there. Be kind to yourself and be patient.

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The Up (Weight) and Down (Weight) Cycle

If you’ve been through weightless and moved towards a healthier life, one of the questions is how do you sustain it? I don’t think there’s a simple answer to that question, and you have to find a model that fits you. For me, it’s been five years since I lost half of me and I am still working on it. I am still exercising and watching what I eat, but there are cycles that results in weight gain. The Up (Weight) and Down (Weight) Cycle.

The Up Cycle starts when there’s a lot of work, you’re tired, and you find reasons to work out less. When I was at my most healthy, I’d work out four to five days a week. After awhile, I grew comfortable with my health, and the workouts gradually decreased to three times then two times per week. No matter how much I ate, the weight barely moved on the scale. I was in a cycle of happiness. Sustained health (or so I thought.) I was good, I told myself. I could still run well. No problem.

Then age started playing a role coupled with my love of eating. Age, because I think my metabolism slowed down. It seems to slow down every five years and now that I’m nearing my forties, it seems to have moved a notch lower. I have to work out more to get the same gains.

My love of eating, over two months from Thanksgiving dinners, celebrations with friends, to New Years, trying out bread recipes, having pastries and eating it all, my weight went up. Of course, if you eat that much and still just work out two days a week it’s going to go up. Finally, my body caved and my weight went up 6 kgs (13 pounds) in a matter of one week. It’s like a technical barrier had been broken and you weren’t quite sure where it was going to stop. ‘Stop, stop’ I’d tell the weigh scale, but it didn’t listen.

The only way to stop it was to ‘reboot’ myself.

The Down (Weight) Cycle starts when I got back to running four times a week, getting to the gym earlier, working out a little bit longer, and even going on weekends. I started cooking, not just for dinners, but also for lunches. I brought my own lunches to work which consisted of various recipes with vegetables as the main dish coupled with some pork or chicken. It just required a bit more advanced planning, but you are assured a healthy meal. I cut out on my favourite baked goodies and processed foods. I have now lost 5kg (11 pounds) now and feel reenergised. I’ve still got a few more to lose but as the technical barrier broke on the way up, it breaks on the way down too.

So how do I sustain a healthy lifestyle? I realise now that for me I have to constantly remind myself, that no matter how much you have going on in your life, there’s never a reason to reduce the amount of exercise you do.  Do not cave into the ‘Lazy Me’ which comes in many forms.  She’s a tricky gal with a million reasons.

For me, I have to keep it up exercising three times per week and as I age, I find that I probably have to up the intensity as well. Also, make sure that your fridge is stocked full of veggies and good wholesome foods. Don’t fall into the trap of commercial food industry!  I make my own hummus now. 🙂

What works for you? How do you sustain it?

Guest Writer: From Binge Eating to Olympic Distance Triathlon

Today’s post comes from one of Having ‘Me’ Time’s readers who is now having a healthy lifestyle and working towards an Olympic distance triathlon! Isn’t she inspirational?  She inspires me to keep up my healthy lifestyle and keep working at it! Thank you!

 *****

I had struggled with my weight for the majority of my teenage years. I grew up relatively skinny, but started to gain weight during high school and college. It was right around this time that I was introduced to binge eating. Food became my main source of comfort when I was stressed out, bored, or lonely. My weight started to creep up on me, and it never really went back down. I didn’t like taking photos because I thought my face was too round. I wore baggy pants because I didn’t like the way my thighs look. I avoided wearing sleeveless shirts because I didn’t want to expose my flappy arms. And the list went on.

I had tried restricting calories, but once my stress level passed a certain threshold I would grab anything that was in front of me and ate it like there was no tomorrow. I would hate myself the next day, which resulting in over-exercising the next day to compensate the calories I over-consumed the night before.

After many failed attempts of losing weight through restricting diets, binge eating, and hating myself, I told myself that something had to change. I decided that I would focus on completing a race instead of purely losing pounds. A sprint triathlon came into mind because I have always enjoyed biking and swimming, and even though I never really liked running all that much I knew I could run a 5K. I looked into the distances that constitute a sprint triathlon: 600m swimming, 20K biking, and 5K running. I knew it was totally possible if I really put my mind to it. I found a race that was 3 months away and started training.

I did not know how much 3 months of training could have changed my perspective about my body. The race started of as a way for me to lose weight, but it did so much more than that. I have not reached my goal weight yet, but I am a lot more comfortable with the way I look. I view my body as the main vehicle to get me to my fitness goal. I can proudly say that I am physically and mentally stronger. There were days that I really did not want to get up and train, and was too tired after work to do any exercise, but I did it anyway. I knew that if I didn’t put in the necessary work each day, I would not be able to reach the goal I set for myself. I know I would not be ready by the race day. Every workout counted as a small step towards a bigger goal.

Through this experience of training for a triathlon, I learn that life is about setting goals and achieving them. My goal, however, has shifted from purely losing weight to becoming a triathlete and accepting my body every single day. My next goal is to finish a half marathon in April and an olympic distance triathlon in May. I am in the middle of my journey, and I cannot wait to see where it will take me.

 

Our Journey Together:  Join our “Having Me Time” Community 

It’s a lovely cool day in Bangkok today after a blistering hot few weeks.  It’s 25 degrees celsius  outside, lovely breezy winds and just heavenly.   Perfect for reflecting and today thinking about my life journey these few years. Its been a little over five years since I lost my unhealthy me and 15kgs worth of weight.  That 15 kg was a big part of my life and I’m still adapting to my healthier body.  Being healthy and fit comes with a completely new lifestyle. It requires an altogether different frame of mind that often wants to get bumped off track tempted by all the junk food advertisements.

It’s amazing how many advertisements for burgers, ice creams and deliciously devilish desserts are around.   It’s amazing how much sugar is in everything and how much Thais love sweets.

The healthier lifestyle means having more balanced diets with vegetables and fruits.  Good food and quality now prevail over quantity.  Of course, the old fatty me would say, “Hey have both! Have both good food and in high quantities!”   Now, before I indulge, I wonder if it’s worth the calories and the exercise that follows.

Five years on, I still get my lazy days and weeks when I don’t feel like going to the gym. Sometimes I feel like just having lots of processed foods and ice-cream.  What keeps me going and motivated though is when I hear from readers of “Having Me Time” who are now pursuing healthier lives and on their new journey to a new and healthier person.  A few days ago, I heard from a reader who completed her first triathlon and is now signing up for an olympic length triathlon! Congratulations!  You did it!

You definitely are an inspiration. (You know who you are)

To my readers, my proposal is this:  Let’s all continue to inspire and motivate each other so that we don’t get bumped off track to the unhealthy life.  Together, we’ll embark on the second part of our journey that works best when we have a community of people helping each other and sharing our stories, and our journeys.  If we could each support one another, we would all be on the healthier and happier track.

Please feel free to share your stories on our wall or if you would like to share your personal story on Having Me Time, please email me your story  🙂

I’m excited, are you? 🙂 Let’s do it!.

Snowboarding: The days after

You realise how unfit and how old you are when after just one hour of snowboarding, you are still feeling the effects three days after.  It’s a great wake up call that we need to exercise all parts of our body to be truly fit; work other parts of the body. Running three to four days a week, you get spoiled into thinking that you are fit, when in reality only certain muscles get trained.

After an hour of snowboarding (indoors), I started feeling the effects a mere one hour after. My legs and lower back were tense. It’s as if I did an hour of squats. After lunch, I could barely get up and then I had to walk slowly. Very slowly. Grandma style slow. Turtle slow with duck like feet.

Looking back it’s not surprising. I had never properly trained my body and taking up running was the most ‘real’ exercise I’ve ever done.  This realisation comes at the perfect time. This New Years I will begin an exercise routine to build up my core strength. Do you snowboard? Do you have any recommended routines? Please share!

Happy holidays!

The Boy at the Supermarket

Today at the supermarket I overheard a conversation between a young boy of about ten years old with his mom. They weren’t Thai and were most probably expats living in Bangkok. The young boy made such a funny and pleasant remark that I want to share it with you.

As you know, ever since I lost weight around 5 years ago, I’ve become a lot more healthy, aware of what I am eating, and avoiding the fried or sugar infused foods. Growing up I didn’t really have a concept of what was healthy, or what wasn’t. My mom is a wonderful cook, but once I went off to college and worked, dinners ended up whatever was available in my fridge. My often late dinners were simple pasta and pesto. My snack at work was raisins. Hey, they are dried grapes which are fruits, what’s so bad about them? Answer: they are high in sugar.

Okay, so what was it I overheard? It started out with the mother asking the boy “What would you like for dinner today?”

The boy answered, “Potatoes, mashed potatoes and oh, I want some salad and vegetables Mom! The food at school is so sweet! They put sugar in everything even soup! I might have to stop having soup at school!”

Wow, that really hit me.

He was only around ten, but with health conscious parents, he has grown up being aware of what he is putting into his body. It’s great. He will grow up healthy.

Now it’s up to the schools to serve children healthy food. Parents really should check out what’s being served at schools and perhaps like Jaime Oliver, fight for healthier servings. No sugared pink milk please!

Fish and Chips at the Wellington Seamarket

Wellington Seamarket Fish and Chips
Wellington Seamarket Fish and Chips
It’s Sunday night in Bangkok, it’s hot and humid with a little breeze.  I could do with a little more cold weather but for some reason today I’ve been thinking of fish and chips. Hmm.. there’s nothing quite like having hot fish and chips after a cold walk outside in the rain.  It just doesn’t taste as good in hot Bangkok.  The fish and chips in Wellington was heavenly. The first afternoon Alex and I got into Wellington, it was raining, cold and windy.  After twelve hours of traveling we were hungry. Okay there’s airplane food, but it isn’t satisfying.

So we checked in and headed out for some food.  The hotel recommended we try out the Wellington Sea Market which was on Cuba street. It’s pretty easy to see with it’s huge signs and as it’s a standalone building it’s really not hard to find.

It’s an outlet of the Wellington Trawling Company which supplies fresh fish all over the world and also to top restaurants in New Zealand.  At their outlet you can even choose your own fish and tell them how you want it cooked for a little under two kiwi dollars.  They have all kinds of fresh fish and oysters as well.  We just ordered their simple fish and chips and I have to say it was delicious!  Their fries were equally good, not greasy at all and for a reasonable price of about $4.50.  If you want mayonnaise or ketchup you pay extra.  They have small packs on the counter for 90cents or larger packs in the freezer for roughly $1.50.

What fish do they use?  They said they usually use Blue Nose or the Warehou.  I honestly have no clue but it does taste good.  You can dine in on one of their few tables or take away.  Most of the people we saw, came in for takeaways.  It’s understandable since it’s hardly a place you would go for service or ambiance. It’s a simple fish outlet shop where you come in for fresh fish and dine.  I’m sure there are many more places in Wellington selling fish and chips, but Alex and I were perfectly happy with our Wellington Seamarket and did go back for seconds before we left.  http://www.wellingtonseamarket.com  Nothing beats eating food freshly cooked. Okay I’m hungry now.

Bon Apetit!

Wellington Seamarket Outlet

The menu
The menu