A Few New Goals

A Few New Goals

Alright, so starting next week (actually it’s already been started mostly) these are the things I really want to incorporate into my daily schedule:

  • Wake up at 6:45 to be able to go swimming for half an hour before work, every day.
  • After work, spend about half an hour to an hour a day doing the following things:
    • Meditate for 10 minutes or so.
    • Do the new Popsugar 30-Day Squat Challenge (I’ve done two days so far and I’m quite happy with it!)
    • Logging in all my food information in MyFitnessPal and estimating what I can’t eat.
  • Don’t drink the coffee/hot chocolate in the office so much. Restrict myself to one cup and then one cup of unsweetened and unmilky tea or something – these drinks are an extra 200 calories in my day that I really cannot afford!
  • Stop thinking about heartbreaking boy and find better and more productive things to do with my life. Get happy myself, so he can’t get into my head.

Let’s see how it goals. I’ll keep you posted! (Especially with reviews of the Squat Challenge. I can tell you, it’s been 2 days and there is BURN).

Long Overdue: Progress and Reaffirmation

Long Overdue: Progress and Reaffirmation

Dear everyone,

My apologies. I know this is a very delayed post. In the last few weeks, I’ve been preparing for exams, had the most gruelling set of exams ever, been at home for a whirlwind four days, and then started a new internship. All of these changes were very difficult to manage regular blogging and calorie-counting with (though I have tried to eat mostly within the calorie limit everyday, and I think succeeded – if not all, then a majority of the days).

I think it’s easy for things to fall by the wayside in periods of change, especially when the habits aren’t well-ingrained. I’m sorry that happened to me – this is something I really need to avoid the next time a particular change happens. In the meantime, let me re-affirm some of the reasons why this blog exists (I think a few have changed a bit):

  • I want to be healthy and not suffer from blood pressure, diabetes, and the myriad other diseases that lurk in my family history.
  • I want to be able to run and jump and swim and enjoy myself in whatever situation I am in (especially when I go to Hong Kong next February!)
  • I want to show off a bit to my friends when we have a school reunion in December.
  • I want to look toned and muscular and fit.
  • I want to be able to manage my current auto-immune disease by being less stressed out, eating well, and taking all my medicines regularly.
  • I want my clothes to fit better.
  • I want to feel better about my body. (I know that this has more to do with my mindset than my weight, but I’ve found that something that works phenomenally well for this is exercising and learning that my body can do wonderful things … it definitely makes me love myself more).
  • I want to be happier and manage my anxiety and depression.

The best part is that I already know how to do all of this. It’s just a matter of developing good habits – and I think I’m on my way to doing that. Stay tuned.

What I’ve learnt from a few weeks of calorie-counting …

What I’ve learnt from a few weeks of calorie-counting …

I started counting calories (this time) on 26th July 2015. Since then, I’ve been fairly regular, except for brief times when I had no idea how to count the calories (or even guess).

Here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt:

After a bit, it gets really easy: Okay, maybe if I was counting every bite of food ever (down to the five calories in a bit of carrot) as I used to do, it would still be a tedious, annoying process. In the first couple of weeks, I used to spend a fair amount of time thinking and cataloguing the calories in various food. Planning out what to eat during the day became a chore, and I wasn’t sure if I could stick to it. However, after a bit it became really automatic and really only takes about 15-20 minutes that I can do between classes or just before bed. I can do this. I really hope so, anyway.

The blog helps a lot to stay on track: The thing about calorie counting is that it’s easy to make the excuses. “Oh, x day was a birthday/wedding/celebration/whatever.” It is, however, hard to see that number on that screen. Therefore, the urge is always to “stop” counting on days of binges (and I’ll admit that I feel that way too). However, seeing those gaps when I’m trying to write a weekly recap really reduce the number of days when I don’t track. I track all the bad stuff, like days of extra-drinking and restaurants and everything (to whatever extent possible).

I won’t stick to it everyday: This is something I’ve understood, and accepted. I won’t make it to 1550 everyday, not if I want to keep up with my social life and not be the girl who just eats salads or be perpetually hungry and feel restricted. I also know that if I keep up with my exercise goals (or even go for a swim 3-4 times in that week) then I’m burning an extra couple of hundred calories. (Conservative estimate puts swimming thrice a week at about 500 calories. I usually exercise more than that.) I use those to fuel going out and drinking and living it up – though I try to eat and drinking conservative, low-calorie food and alcohol when doing so. Also, I have learnt that 1-2 a week, depending on what is done, is probably for the best. Better for my wallet, too.

I want pizza: Okay look you guys. I make a big deal of pretending that one can eat out, even at fast food places and make healthy choices. I know exactly what I can order from, say, McDonalds or KFC. But pizza is SO DIFFICULT. The most I can fit into my day would be half a medium pizza, which would be well-over half of my allotted calories and still not enough to keep me full. But I’ve decided that if I can eat well for two weeks (by which I mean not going above 1550 calories on any given day) and I don’t eat back my exercise calories, I can probably order from dominos once. Is it going to be worth it? We’ll see.

Calorie counting doesn’t necessarily make you healthier: I mean, it has meant that I pick smaller portion sizes (I have realized, with a little horror, just HOW badly I was eating in the past). But it doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily shy away from the packet of chips or won’t eat a muffin for breakfast. Also it’s sometimes just easier to count them because they have a calorie count on them. While I don’t consider this an absolute sin, I will look into incorporating more fruits and vegetable into my diet pretty soon, I think. Also, looking at the numbers it has made me start exercising a whole lot more. Not necessarily always more strenuous exercise (somedays I’ll pick walking over zumba or swimming, for example) but any exercise.

Sometimes you have to say no: No to the extra slice of pizza, no to going out, no to one more shot. It’s tough, but so what?

Week Recap: 7th September to 13th September

Week Recap: 7th September to 13th September

It’s been a good week!

Food:

Monday: 1540 calories.

Tuesday: 2012 calories. (Keep in mind, this is the day I got the results of my interview, so … much vodka and ice cream was consumed).

Wednesday: 1557 calories.

Thursday: 1576 calories.

Friday: 1512 calories.

Saturday: 1491 calories.

Sunday: 1559 calories.

Exercise:

Monday: –

Tuesday: Dance/Walk for 30 minutes.

Wednesday: –  

Thursday: Zumba for 55 minutes.

Friday: –

Saturday: Swimming for 30 minutes.

Sunday: Swimming for 30 minutes.

Below my weekly goal, unfortunately, but still very decent. Also more than takes care of the excess calories from last Tuesday.

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!