Stressed? Run.

This morning, I went running.  It’s been awhile, actually a couple of months since I’ve been running regularly.  The past few weeks its been difficult to just squeeze in twice a week of running.  Of course the usual excuses come up, the rain, lots of things to do..etc.  The list is endless.   Really there is no excuse. , The truth of the matter is that the more stressed you are, the more tasks you have to do, the more you should actually be running.  It clears your mind in unbelievable ways.

It’s like floating on cloud 9.

This morning I realized how unfit I have become.  Just a few months off and there I am huffing and panting after just 4 sets of running at 7.5 km/hour.  My heart felt like it wasn’t getting oxygen fast enough and I felt myself hanging on the treadmill rails.  It got better after the second set, however, my average before was 9 km/hour.  I tell myself.  I have  to keep running.  I cannot let myself get out of shape.

The best thing of all though is that I was reminded of how running really clears up your mind. If you’re stressed, overwhelmed by all that you have to do, have a zillion million things to get done then the best stress reliever of all is exercise.  Your brain feels replenished and thoughts flow more clearly.   You had valuable time to be by yourself and let your brain rest.

After all, don’t you wonder why the best ideas usually appear when you’re out for a walk or taking a shower?  The “thought” had an opportunity to get through the zillion other things that circuit through our brains like flashes of electricity all day long.

So really, the best way to maintain your mental health is to just exercise.  The more stressed you are, the more one should exercise.  There’s no excuse.  Exercise and it will change your life.  Try it.  I dare you. 🙂

Running once more

This past week I have just gotten back into my running schedule after a month or so off running. Moving house and a sore ankle were my excuses. They really shouldn’t be. Exercise is of course better done regularly. I was reminded this week after running why it is so good. The more stressed one is the more one should exercise. Its a great stress reliever.

And I am stressed. There just seems to be a million billion things waiting to get done. Europe is in a crisis and who knows what will happen. I wonder if it will be the end of the EU as we know it or not? My European me ( from being educated in a European school with a curriculum that boasted the European ideal of an integrated Europe) , makes me sceptical.
Europe has been working for six decades towards integration. It can’t and shouldn’t end just yet. But who is to say, all good things must come to an end.

And yes, domestically we are having political brawls. Boys in suits.

So I run. Run it all off. Run off all the stress, all that annoys you and all that makes you feel not so good.

It feels great. Although I felt like my legs were killing me, my stomach cramped, my heart pounding on my ribs, and my lazy me rebelling; I wanted to run.

The sweat, the beating heart makes everything feel so much better. Happy chemicals filled my grey cells and I felt like a stone weighing me down had been lifted.

Cheeks blushed I remembered: Yes I have to keep up my running routine. Exercise is good for the soul. It not only makes you feel good but it clears your brain. Ideas and thoughts, all come running out. Next week I will run again, and the week after next and after….

Are you exercising?

Love Thyself

Many people think health comes along when you have another “half” another “soul” to be by your side. Some say “love” will make you lose weight, be healthy.  There is some truth to it, but I think that is somewhat oversimplified.  You do not need to have “someone” to get healthy.  The only reason you should get healthy and lose weight is because you dearly want to yourself.  Because you love yourself and you think that you are worthy of the attention.  Once you have found that love for yourself, then love for another comes more easily.

Health is a great cure for the soul. It rejunevates, energizes and gives you strength you previously didn’t know you had.  You can somehow run those few kilometers and walk up flights of stairs without feeling tired. Walks that were once unappealing, now seem like a little walk in the garden.  The hot weather becomes less annoying, and the chair more comfortable. Yes, even just sitting on chairs becomes a more enjoyable experience. One can now twist and turn around in the chair without feeling restricted by its side. (If you’ve been stranded in a small chair, you’d know how uncomfortable it can be)  It feels great to not have to worry nor be tired out by little daily tasks.

Shopping becomes a whole new experience.  Now the question is not whether A or B will fit me, but whether A or B will look better on me?  The choice is limitless.  I no longer have to settle for the shirt that fits, over the style I’d rather be wearing.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  A new found happiness.

To enjoy all these benefits I think are a few of the gifts of good health.  You don’t need any other “incentive” other than a love for yourself.  If you lost weight only when you were in love, and only for other people, does this mean that the rest of the time you will regain that weight and forever remain chubby ?  It’s a vicious cycle.  If even you do not love yourself, who then would love you? Since no one loves you, then you’d eat and gain weight?

So love yourself, love the wonderful person you are and take care of your health.  Have a good health everyone!  Who knows what could happen then? Lightning could strike.

YOU are a Priority

Oftentimes we spend our lives taking care of others and forget the most important person:  ourself.  You find your days and hours devoted to taking care of family members, taking care of clients and customers and work non-stop to meet deadlines.  Work consumes us alive as well as the zillion other tasks we have to get done in our daily lives.

Now how much time you spend taking care of family members of course depends on how large your family is.  It can include parents, siblings, your spouse, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, inlaws, etc.  If you have a large family, this of course will consume quite a bit of your time.  If you have children, you will most often be preoccupied taking care of them.  I don’t have any but from what I see, having children is a full time job.  From the moment you wake up, until the time you fall asleep there are things that need to get done.  Many times, parents forget to take care of themselves, their relationships and the household ends up running on clockwork.  The parents forget why they are together.

I remember reading an article in Shape Magazine one day about how a mother of several children  managed to stay in shape and remain healthy.   Parents who are capable of handling business, taking care of the kids, while staying healthy and happy inspire me. This lady said one of her tricks was to post on her fridge a reminder that her time was also a priority.  That her time too was just as important as those of the kids.

That I think is important to remember.  No matter how busy you are at work, no matter how many deadlines there are, or how busy you are taking care of your family, do not forget to take care of yourself.  Your health is a priority. YOU are a priority.  For if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?  Do not expect others to take care of you, they are not you.

Once you take care of your physical health, you will realize that this will spread to a better mental health.  You will be less stressed and emotionally stronger.  Interestingly you will also discover you “seemingly” have more time.  Being in good health allows you to take better care of everyone else.  Therefore spending a little more “me” time is actually beneficial to all those around you!

Here’s to good health everyone! And remember, without good health (both physical and mental), you have nothing 🙂

Fitness Tip: Use the Weigh Scale

Considering the number of restaurants I have been reviewing (and I have plenty more lined up), you might wonder how can one stay in shape and prevent excessive weight gain?

As my advice has always been the first step to maintaining a  healthy lifestyle is to be “aware” of what one is eating.  If you aren’t exactly sure, write it down and take note.  If you ate a lot yesterday, eat less today.  It’s simple as that.  You are what you eat.

If you couldn’t be bothered to note what you’ve been eating, then use the weigh scale.  Weigh yourself everyday.  Weigh yourself at the same time of day each.  It works wonders, and best of all, it takes less than a minute to do. (No excuse that you don’t have time.)

I have to admit though, that almost two years since I first started my diet, I still have a slight fear of the weigh scale.  I wonder if the needle will jump up after I’ve had that delicious chocolate cake, or that incredibly fattening creamy salmon sphaghetti I devoured during a stressed evening.  Still, those fears have to be overcomed and reality faced.

So what if I gained weight?  It’s not the end of the world. Now that I know, now
that I am aware, I can get the weight down before it becomes too comfortable at
its new weight. (Gotcha!)

I read a magazine article once (I think it was Shape magazine) and the editor wrote how keeping a healthy weight was like packing for a trip.  We pack our bags with goodies and things we want to take along.  We weigh it and if its too much, we take out the excesss goods.  It’s a constant packing and repacking of the bags until we get the ideal weight.  That’s exactly what keeping healthy is like.

Keeping healthy requires constant checking and rechecking.  Check your weight, are you exercising?  Don’t get obsessed with numbers, but remember that if the only direction you see your scale moving is up up and up, then you know there’s something wrong!!  Prevent excessive weight gain, use a weigh scale.  Don’t live without one or else you’d turn into a “chubby” me like I was 🙂

Fitness Tip: Eat First then Shop

With the holiday season knocking at the door, it is always a challenge to keep fit and healthy.  To maintain one’s weight during the year is not so easy for most of us, let alone maintaining one’s weight during the holiday season! All that turkey and holiday parties are extremely deterimental to one’s waistline. So today I want to share with you a little secret on how to stay active and burn away a little of that holiday eating.  I realized this was something I had only begun doing recently since I began my weightloss journey over a year ago.  Now it has become a part of my routine.  What do I do?  It’s easy.  I eat first then I shop.

Didn’t I say it was easy?  Now the important part is implementing it.  Before in my much much chubbier days, which I am happy to say is now behind me,  I didn’t give a slight thought as to what I’ll eat and when I’ll eat it.  I’ll eat when I’m hungry and then I’d shop or go hang out with friends when the time suited.  Oftentimes, if I am out shopping I’d lose track of time, find myself shopping until late in the evening, discover I’m starving and then fill my stomach with whatever I was craving. Being dehydrated and starving, the choice would often be unhealthy alternatives.  I’d come home exhausted, sit on the couch and then sleep.

That was the old me.  I ate before I slept.  I ate then sat down.  I ate then watched TV.  I ate then ate again.

Nowadays, I avoid doing it as much as possible.  When I go shopping or go hang out with friends, I try to schedule it so that I always eat first and the go shopping or go do my errands.  This way, I am sure to have eaten my lunch/dinner on time and then burn it off with the walking.   I don’t crave unhealthy foods and I don’t slow down my metabolism by putting it into starvation mode.

You might wonder if just simply eating then walking helps?  Believe me it does.  Every little action counts if you want to stay healthy and keep the weight off.   Walking actually burns quite a bit of calories. According to caloriecount.com  (http://caloriecount.about.com/activities-walking-ac17)  if you are leisurely walking like when you are shopping, you burn roughly 220 calories an hour!  Now that’s equivalent to burning off a cup of starbucks latte coffee, almost two cans of of coca cola or perhaps that piece of chocolate cake you had previously. 

If you take the stairs or you are carrying shopping bags, you will be burning even more calories.  Every little calorie counts especially if you want to continue eating all the Christmas and New Year goodies!  I certainly enjoy eating and don’t want to forgo eating the delicious goodies.   I also don’t want the weight gain. 

So my tip to you is to plan out your day in advance.  Plan to eat healthy foods first and then do an activity that burns it off.  If you need to go shopping for presents and gifts, make sure you have had something to eat.  You’d spend a couple hours shopping so why not make use of it to burn off all that food?  You won’t find yourself starving and be tempted to eat unhealthy food.  Drink water when you feel tired, most likely you are dehydrated. 

Stay active and stay healthy!  Every little action counts 🙂 Remeber:  Eat First then Shop 🙂  Happy Shopping!!