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.

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You Don’t Have to Finish It

You Don’t Have to Finish It

I don’t know why it took me so long to get this.

If I order food, and I can’t finish. Even if it’s expensive. It’s okay. 

Maybe it can be packed, maybe it can’t. It’s okay. 

If I buy a packet of chips or biscuits that is way above my calorie need for a snack. It’s okay. I don’t have to finish it. I can just eat a bit of it and put it inside a box for some other time. It’s okay. 

I can have snacks in reserve now in my room, because I don’t have to finish them just because they exist.

It’s okay. I’m okay. 

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.)

How to Stay Healthy When Life Goes Crazy

How to Stay Healthy When Life Goes Crazy

Hi everyone!

As mentioned in my last post, it was all set to be a crazy week. I had:

  • Wonderla.
  • A very important job interview.
  • Family get-together over three days (friday, saturday and sunday)
  • General deadlines in terms of work.

Obviously, all of these exciting events did damage my normal goals. So how did I do this week?

Exercise: 

Monday: Went to Wonderla.

Tuesday: No. 😦

Wednesday: Interview.

Thursday: Swimming for 30 minutes.

Friday: Swimming for 30 minutes.

Saturday: Swimming for 30 minutes. Also, loads of dancing in the evening for about 30 minutes.

Sunday: Walk with my parents (with a little running thrown in here and there) for about 30-40 minutes.

Honestly, this was as good as it could’ve gotten this week. I’m particularly proud of the end of the week.

Food: 

Monday: 2300 calories. Because Wonderla.

Tuesday: 1422 calories.

Wednesday: 1900 calories (this is because, feeling very happy about the interview, I went out for dinner with two fellow interviewees despite already having eaten pizza at the interview and eaten enough throughout the day).

Thursday: I have no idea! How could I not record it? However, given that I had about 575 calories left over for dinner, I am assuming I ate something reasonable and made it within the 1550 limit.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday: With my family, given the varied nature of the meals and the fact that there was a LOT of sharing, I was never sure how to calculate, and so I didn’t.

Lessons Learnt: 

So it hasn’t been a great week, food wise. I hope this blog will not become an “excuses” blog, so I won’t really make excuses, but I did learn how I could make some better choices this week:

Don’t snack between meals: I tried to avoid this as much as possible in my family celebration, because we were eating huge meals already and snacks tend to be super high calorie and nutritionally useless. I didn’t always succeed because, well, banana wafers and caramel popcorn and sakarapara and murukku were on offer, but I avoided it as much as I could. I also saw that the more nutritionally conscious members of the family were avoiding them strenuously.

If drinking, drink low calorie drinks: Think I succeeded in this. Peach snapps with soda, Bloody Mary, and Gin and Tonic over three days of family celebrations. Not crazy, calorie wise. Also yummy. I avoided all other drinks, though I did end up drinking a LOT of coffee and tea  that everyone else was drinking (but with very less sugar). Next time, would avoid or opt for plain milk.

Choose smaller portions of everything: Did, mostly. Went back for seconds only very rarely. Couldn’t resist the homemade Bhel on Saturday night. I especially took small portions of desserts or shared with people, which I’m proud of.

Don’t eat unless hungry: Again, mostly happy about this. Though I did go a little overboard on Sunday.

Stay active: Think I nailed it on this one! Swam laps in the pool on Friday and Saturday (my uncle’s house has a pool nearby). My brother said I’ve become boring in the pool but my parents definitely think my swimming has improved since they last saw it last June. Enjoyed dancing a lot with my cousins on Saturday night. Loved the walk with my parents on Sunday, had a lot of important conversations with them.

Have fun with family: Remember that life is about more than calories and that enjoying with your family (even if you only eat at maintenance and don’t lose any weight at all that week) is good for your mental health. And when your aunt says you look thinner and clothes fit better and you can walk and swim and run without getting winded … smile.

🙂

Looking forward to a great next week.

(Sorry for the long wait for this blog post. I’ll try to be more regular as well.)

Yesterday

Yesterday

Calories consumed: 2300 (or more).

Going to Wonder La, running around for rides, climbing up for water rides, laughing so much I cried with friends, jumping around in wave pools, and general good memories: Unaccountable.

No regrets.

But it does mean I have to eat a lot more carefully this week, given that it’s going to be a really stressful and exciting one (very important job interview, parents coming over for a huge family celebration, submissions for college) and I don’t know how regular I’ll be able to be with activity. I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes!

Why be Healthy in Bangalore (or anywhere else)?

Why be Healthy in Bangalore (or anywhere else)?

I’ve always believed that resolutions work better when you work out the why not just the how of what you’re doing. I’ll write about the why of a lot of things at some point (why calorie counting, why exercise … ) but I think at first I think I’d like to explore why I want to be healthy at all.

For My Present Self

I want to be able to enjoy my college life. I don’t want to think twice about walking 7km just talking with a friend (happened recently) or running around trying to catch a metro on MG Road, or running up the steps to the newest quirky restaurant on Churchstreet. If I’m huffing and puffing, neither I nor any of my friends will be able to enjoy these experiences optimally, which would really suck.

For My Future Self

So I can race up the stairs to meetings, play with my future children, and go on exciting treks for vacations. I want to free myself from the tyranny of bad genes that put me at a high risk of diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac failure (among other things).I want any children I have to see and emulate a naturally healthy life rather than seeing a general state of malaise that is then punctured by random and unhealthy diets and exercise. I want to, if at all possible, give them the gift of a positive body image. Hell, I want to give myself that.  I know a lot of these things may not work out anyway. I may be hit by a bus. I may develop cancer. My kids may hate their bodies, or me, or everything. But I want to be able to give us all a chance.

Aesthetically 

I want to look toned. I have no great hopes of looking very slender, because I don’t think I’m built like that (and it isn’t my preferred aesthetic in any case), but I’d love to look curvy and muscular.

To look like Beyonce.
To look like Beyonce.

For the Ancillary Benefits

To walk into a clothing store and always find my size. To be able to not think so much about what I want to eat because the better choices have all been internalized. To be able to enjoy the career benefits of being fit. To be able to enjoy the romantic benefits of being fit. To be able to feel good about myself and therefore be more confident about everything I do. To be able to look into a mirror uncritically. (I know that losing weight alone won’t do any of these things … that’s why this blog is for physical and mental health).

Saturday morning musings.