I’m a great believer of treating the body like a temple. This is because I’ve struggled with emotional eating for most of my life. Here’s what experience taught me and how I now strive to bring more wellness into my life.
For those who’ve known me long enough, I’ve been pudgy (but cute! 😋) most of my life. It’s always been a sore spot and even led me to take up a ‘fad’ diet as a teenager, which was in fact near-starvation with involuntary black-outs and the works. I lost all the extra kilos pretty quickly but needless to say it wasn’t the smartest or the healthiest means of achieving it.
As an adult, I started slowly gaining back the kilos, and by end of 2018 I’ve padded-on a bit too much for my own good. I didn’t have too much experience with a sustainable routine for health and fitness. I attempted more ‘fad’ diets because they was the only means that I’ve tried and tested. However, turned out I didn’t have the same discipline or will-power (or obstinacy!) to go through with it as an adult. Counter-intuitively, each failed attempt also meant that I reached for more unhealthy ‘comfort’ foods.
When December ends..
Until one fine December, last year, I got some of the obstinacy back (aided by people calling me pudgy to my face!, though not in those words). I wanted to make some changes and I wanted to do it the ‘proper adult’ way. I decided to breathe, accept and add little drops of health and fitness to my daily life.
‘Worshipping’ the body
- The thought-process
Your body really should be treated like a temple. It’s a miracle of nature, how the body functions, growing and evolving. It is a machine of sorts, which means the quality of the fuel we put in, in the form of the food we eat, matters. We need to be mindful of what fuel it needs, when and how much. More importantly, we should not take our body for granted. It is a privilege to be able-bodied! (repeat after me) Sadly, we don’t seem to learn to appreciate our body until we lose something. Our eyes, our limbs, our teeth, our internal organs, they are all part of a whole. And most of it cannot just grow back if we were to harm them. We need to learn to embrace our body in whatever size, colour or form we were blessed with. The key to a healthy life is to be mindful of our body in all its glory.
- Best things cannot be rushed
We’ve all heard this and yet we all want quick results. Well I learned the hard way that easy gains are easy losses. We are creatures of habit and so are our bodies. It takes time to build a habit or get rid of one. Also, small, measurable steps to building a healthy lifestyle, makes it that much more sustainable. For example, if over a period of time your body gets used to been a ‘pear’ shape (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), it becomes the status quo. Even if you then end-up treating yourself for a day or two, your body will be more receptive to getting back to the ‘pear’ shape, when you return to your healthy lifestyle. Simply because that’s what it knows as the status quo. Take the time, for baby-steps and build healthy habits that work for you and nourishes your body.
Don’t rush things. Anything worth having is worth waiting for.Unknown
- The ‘psychics’ of it (because I’m smart like that)
It turns out weight-loss is a science (physics? maybe) that comes down to the math on calories. I found out, in my case, the calorie requirement for maintaining my weight is approximately 1500 calories, and 1200 calories if I were to lose weight of up to 1kg a week. To state outright, this is not a one size fits all number, so get professional advice, do your own research, and find out what’s best for you. But the fact is, you can actually take a very quantified approach to losing weight. With this knowledge, I started looking into the calorie count of everything I ate. Let me just tell that I was shell-shocked to find out that my favourite wrap at Schnitz had about 750 calories, i.e. about 63% of my target daily calorie intake! (O.M.G.).
On a related note, here’s an easy-read on all things ‘Gut’; Gut by Giulia Enders; it’s informational but in simple terms. Information is power after all.
- Technology helps
Then you come to the question, who’s going to do the daily math? (Sheldon Cooper maybe?) Luckily a friend/ ex-boss of mine had already introduced me to the mobile app called ‘MyFitnessPal’. It’s fantastic and I love it. You can set your own daily calorie target and use it to maintain a food, exercise and weight tracking diary. It helped me in the early days to plan out my daily diet and become more conscious of what’s actually in the food I ate. For the food diary, you search and add the dishes you are eating, which then factors in their calorie count. They’ve got a lot of dishes listed covering various cuisines, including a lot of popular restaurant dishes, and quantified by portion sizes. E.g. you can search for a big mac from McDonalds (not that you should). For homemade dishes, you could go with similar items (e.g. search prawn pasta, homemade). It won’t be an exact calorie count, but the idea is to learn to be conscious of what you’re eating and how much. If you’re interested, there are also websites that you can add your own recipes to, and (voila!) it’ll calculate the calorie count per portion (e.g. https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076)
- Develop thick skin
Everyone has a right to sing their own song (however out of tune) as they like. When you make a change in your life, not just for health and fitness but anything really, other people tend to have a lot of opinions (am I right?!). They mostly tend to be negative too. Be sure to make your own decisions, backed by your own research and reason and then stick to it. Stick to it like…fluff sticks to your clothes (oh the struggle!). It may work or may not, or it may need changes to work. But learn that for yourself. Don’t let anyone (even your inner critique) take away your will to succeed.
- Live life
The best for last. Remember that it’s a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride. Live life to its fullest. Do the things you love. Enjoy the food you like, just be mindful of the portions. A healthy body is important but it all boils down to being a happy person. Don’t wait to lose those extra kilos to be happy. Smile along the way. Bon appetit!
If you were wondering, the little steps of change I made have helped me lose some weight and keep it off. I’ve still got some way to go, but I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved, as it wasn’t at the expense of my health and wellbeing. I hope this post passes on a message, inspire you or provide some food for thought (at zero calories!).
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.
Image credit: Pixabay, pxfuel, MyFitnessPal.com
© Jan Perera 2019. All rights reserved.