It’s a rest day, already?

It’s a rest day, already?

This is what a challenge should be like.

I’m talking, of course, about my new Squat Challenge. It’s just really fun! I like squats. I can get behind doing them. So much so that today I considered just deferring my rest day till I really need it.

Except then I realized that my thighs were screaming murder every time I walked around so … perhaps best to take this rest day.

Are you doing a challenge? Tell me about it! I really want to do challenges (though different ones) every day – once this one ends I’ll need a new one. It’s not so much because I think that a month of exercising will give me a perfect body but that its a fun way to get a bit of exercise in.

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.

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.

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.