On cutting out food groups

On cutting out food groups

Today, a friend announced to me that she wasn’t eating sugar for the next two weeks, and it was so hard to find anything to eat because everything had sugar.

“I’m dreaming of cookies,” she said.

A few weeks ago, my mother told me that she was going to give up carbs.

“A lot of my friends have lost weight on it.” 

I don’t know why both of these things make me feel so uncomfortable. is it because I enjoy my morning carb-and-sugar-loaded muffin and I am loathe to give it up? Is it because I am weak?

I mean it’s probably at least partially because I am weak. I don’t think I’d be happy cutting out a food group from my life like that, calling it “bad” or “evil”. I don’t apologize for the way I eat. Though I try to get in vitamins, nutrients and protein, if there are days when I eat a lot of junk, I don’t beat myself up for it. If my carb and sugar filled muffin can get me through the day with the right amount of calories, I don’t sweat it.

I also fully appreciate that it might not be the best thing for my health. I would like to eat fancy healthy breakfasts with only egg and vegetables but they’re not in my means or control right now. (I’m restricted a bit by what the mess prepares and what is available around, and I don’t have the time or resources to cook at this point in my life). I know, however, that eating too many carbs and too much sugar and not enough protein, vitamins and minerals will not be good for my health in the long run. (Though, given the backtracking between “fat is evil” and “carbohydrates are evil” that the weight loss industry has done, I’m not sure any food groups are massively terrible for me in moderation).

But will restriction?

For a short point in college I struggled with the idea of restriction. The idea that if I ate only raw food, then everything would be fine, that my life would fall into place. Looking back on it I can imagine it being a sort of eating disorder. And it came with the “cheat days” – sundays where I would eat mountain loads of the crappy food I denied myself on every other day. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to deem those binges. That food became so coveted that it was very difficult to focus on anything else. The snacking on those days was mechanical, and I’m not even sure I enjoyed it much.

Nowadays, I eat a little snack every day. Whatever I’m feeling like. Chips. Chocolate. Noodles. Muffins. Juice. Coffee. I also eat fruits and rice, dal and raita, bhel and nuts. I’ll admit to you that I probably don’t eat very healthy, though not much unhealthier than most college students.  I track everything I eat and drink. I’ve found that a lot of things have lost their coveted status. I don’t want to eat chocolate, or chips. Especially not if that sets me back another 300 calories or something. I pick the lower calorie, smaller serving sizes. I don’t eat the whole thing. I make creative meals with crackers and cheese and milk. I eat a couple of squares of chocolate if I don’t want the whole thing. I eat the whole thing if I want the whole thing. I don’t order pizza just because there’s an offer because I know it’ll ruin my week and I’ve already gone above once this week.

There’s no all or nothing. There is tomorrow. There is plenty.

And I’m not living for the next cookie.

Am I right? I suppose only time will tell. But at least, thank god, I’m not constantly talking about it. (I never want to be one of those diet people. This blog is enough.)

Week Recap: 31st August to 6th September

Week Recap: 31st August to 6th September

Hey guys! I am thrilled to report to you a week I consider a fair success in terms of … well, everything.

Food: 

Monday: Because of my day at Smally’s, I’m not really sure. But on absolutely no basis at all, I am estimating it at about 2000 calories.

Tuesday: 1521

Wednesday: 1611.

Thursday: 1729. Again, I went out to a nearby joint with my friend. Eating restaurant food is never good for sticking to the limits.

Friday: 1453.

Saturday:  1728. Cafe Mezzuna day.

Sunday: 1621.

So overall it doesn’t look like a win week, right? (I mean, I really shouldn’t go out so much. I think once a week is definitely more ideal). Though the excess on some random days (like Sunday and Wednesday) are probably covered by the deficits on Friday and Tuesday, what about the nearly 1000 calories of excess I have racked up over Monday, Thursday and Saturday?

That’s where the next part figures in …

Exercise: 

This week I finally made my exercise goal of exercising 3 hours in the week! (Okay I know this doesn’t sound super impressive but it is for me). 

Tuesday: Sexy Dance Workout (20 minutes)

Thursday: Cardio Striptease (40 minutes)

Friday: Zumba Workout + Pilates (60 minutes)

Sunday: Zumba Workout + Pilates (60 minutes)

The total number of calories burnt in the week is about 1000 calories accordingly to MyFitnessPal. I’ve used conservative estimates. I know MyFitnessPal does overestimate a little on its activity calories, but I’m hoping this along with all the other random activities I do during the week (running around to submit projects, climbing up stairs, going to places) will safely ensure that my deficit doesn’t go too far below my required deficit of 2000 calories a week. (It is true, however, that in previous weeks I’ve probably gone above this deficit, thereby making my weightloss faster (about 2 kg in the 6 weeks I’ve been tracking) but it doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m not going below my goal of 1 kg/month.

How to Make Good Choices at … Cafe Mezzuna

How to Make Good Choices at … Cafe Mezzuna

Cafe Mezzuna is really new and really hip. Just as a review … I super recommend it. Its very pretty, all the food is of great quality, and for the ambiance and the food the pricing is extremely reasonable. It can be compared to places like Smokehouse Deli but isn’t as expensive.

Cafe Mezzuna
Isn’t it beautiful?

Anyway, unlike at Smallys, I actually felt like I made some pretty good choices here, so let me tell you what I ate.

The Appetizer

AA, PP and I shared a Mezze Platter. The Mezze Platter is huge. It comes with hummus, green chutney, beetroot hummus, sour cream (?), baba ganoush, and one more red dip I couldn’t identify. It also came with a great deal of lavash bread. It was just the right size for three people to share and still be able to eat something else. Plus, it was reasonably healthy,

A rough estimate at MyFitnessPal put this at about 350 calories, though I tried to overestimate a bit because I wasn’t sure what a lot of the things were.

The Main Course

Because the appetizer was quite filling (and I’d been eating a fair bit all day), I opted for a salad: in particular, a goat cheese, slivered almonds and tomato salad with a mustard-orange vinaigrette. May I just say that the salad was beautiful, and so tasty that I didn’t covet my friends’ cheesy/meaty dishes, and quite filling as well. I really enjoyed it and it didn’t leave me stuffed.

A rough calorie estimate of 200 calories for this according to MFP.

The Dessert

Oh my god their Philadelphia Cheesecake is TO DIE FOR. However, predictably, it is a calorie bomb. We reduced this calorie bomb by splitting it three-ways. It was just enough cheesecake to enjoy and not enough to feel like we were bursting out of our pretty black dresses.

A rough calorie estimate of 200 calories (a large slice of blueberry cheesecake with blueberry compote and whipped cream is about 400 calories, so I’ve overestimated slightly).

The Drink

I was already eating a huge meal (and I had a cold) so I opted to not have alcohol or one of their decadent mocktails or milkshakes. I picked a chamomile tea that was refreshing, didn’t make me feel like I was the only one not having a drink, and soothed my throat. All at zero calories.

Total Calories from Meal: 750.

Total Calories that Day (given I’d eaten lightly otherwise): 1728. I know this is above 1550, but it isn’t drastically so, and it is the kind of deficit that can be covered up with some of my calories from exercise instead of being a thousand calorie excess that would be difficult to recover from.

Win!

How to Make Good Choices At … Smally’s Resto Cafe

How to Make Good Choices At … Smally’s Resto Cafe

Since most of our alumni have come down for Convocation, I was looking forward to meeting some of my old friends who have now graduated. So, in order to meet my favorite senior ever, we decided to plan an outing for Monday. We went to (what seems like) the place EVERYONE is talking about these days … Smally’s Resto Cafe.

smallys
And now I know why.

So how do you make good choices at Smally’s? 

You don’t. 😦

tried. Though we were all sharing, I decided I’d order a Russkamo Salad (their only vegetarian salad) and mostly eat that. The Russkamo Salad is described as russian salad with pasta with variety of lettuce & fresh orange dressing with cucumber & carrots. Which was … exactly what it was. However, it was kind of sad looking and wilted and I hated the pasta so I mostly nibbled on all the veggies (and given that it wasn’t a “heavy” dressing and the veggies were … veggies … I’m sure it was a very light salad).

Everything else on your menu? Can you say cheese, oversized burgers, decadent shakes, and gooey cheesecake? Add some more cheese on top of that.

I was mostly just taking bites and sips from the common food, though I’m sure that added up to a lot too.

I did, however, eat a reasonably light breakfast (at my uncle’s house) and a very moderate dinner. I’m sure I was still pretty far above the calorie limit for the day, but it was a great outing and all the food was very yummy (well worth the hype) so eh, c’est la vie. 

As long as I eat well for the rest of the week.

Workout Video Review: Sexy Workouts

Workout Video Review: Sexy Workouts

So I haven’t been able to go swimming the past couple of days because I had the worst cold and a lot of work, so I’ve been working out in my room (mostly to be able to tell this blog I am! :D). Anyway, given how meh I was feeling with my cold and my work, I really wanted to do dance videos that would pep me up. So I trawled through my list and picked some “sexy” videos. Want to see how I liked them?

The Good: Sweating Sexy Dance Workout with Jennifer Galardi

I liked this video! Jennifer Galardi is up beat and fun, the video is really short (only 20 minutes) and its pretty low impact, so you don’t even need shoes. I hate wearing shoes when I’m working out in my room. Anyway, despite its short length, this video really makes you sweat – I was exhausted at the end of it and slightly sore in the hips and thighs when I woke up in the morning. However, my only complaints with the video were that it got very boring to keep starting from the start and I found some of the moves difficult to keep up with. Plus, I never really felt sexy. I felt sweaty and awkward and hulking which is fine with exercise videos but not for one that promises otherwise.

I think I would’ve been content and ready to do this one again. If I hadn’t, today, done the next workout …

The Great: Dance Off the Inches: Cardio Striptease Workout

I really loved this one. Okay, this one is longer (40 minutes). It also doesn’t require shoes. It didn’t make me feel (ever) like I was working as hard as the last one. So perhaps all in all Jennifer Galardi gives you the better workout? I don’t know. What I did like about this video was that the steps were very easy to follow. They were also quite fun to do and didn’t get repetitive because instead of trying to put all the steps into one big dance, she made three small dances that incorporated different steps. I really liked that. Plus this is the only video ever where I laughed out loud at minute 30 out of 40 and didn’t keep checking the time. (In fact, at ten minutes in I was like … woah? ALREADY? NO!). Plus, something about the moves and the way they’re taught made me feel sexy and happy. And since it got my heart-rate up and got me sweaty and tired in the end, this is a win for me.

The Meh: Absolute beginners cardio bellydance workout

I started doing this one one Wednesday (before the Jennifer Galardi video) and got really frustrated with it. The moves seemed easy enough – especially for the Indian “trained by thumkas at weddings” body, but it didn’t really feel like I was moving or getting a workout. At 10 minutes in I hadn’t sweated at all and I didn’t feel like my heart rate was up. Plus, I wasn’t feeling at all sexy. The quality of the video also put me off. So I decided to quit in and move to Jennifer Galardi. Definitely avoidable!

On an aside, all of these are really hard on the knees. So tomorrow (unless I go swimming) I’ll probably go with one which has no squats and all upper body exercises or something.