Tag Archives: diet successfully

Simple 10 Minutes Lunch

One of the biggest challenges working remotely is to make lunch everyday for the family. There comes a time when I just run out of idea.

Here is an idea if you run out of options. Simple, inexpensive and just take 10 minutes. Baked ham and tater tots, a mini croissant, sweet corn with light butter, an over easy egg and home grown fresh cucumber. And finally a cup of Earl Grey tea. Believe it or not, this is quite fulfilling and not heavy.

Getting Fit Journey (day 360) – What the pandemic has thought me

It has been a while since I posted a progress of my journey to a better me. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a tremendous impact on how I progress with the journey. Not only that I had to put on my lifestyle on hold, I have been spending considerable amount of time working remotely. Who would have thought that working remotely is as bad as working in the office? Remote working has significant impact on how much time I was able to spend in getting exercise.

The good news is I did not gain weight; but the bad news is I did not lose weight either. The pandemic has impact on a number of people as going to gym is being limited. Working out in the public comes with risk as more people are afraid of getting infected by the virus. The result is more and more people are gaining weight while being locked down in their homes.

The pandemic has taught me several things as I continue to keep my diet in check. Prior to the pandemic I made conscious decision to buy two different sets of groceries: one for the family and one just for me. To minimize the chances of getting infected, I limit the trips in going to the supermarket or groceries store. Instead of buying two sets of groceries I only focus on food for the family. However, keeping my diet in check continues to be a priority. If you have not read my previous post on how to maintain a good diet, please check this out.

There are few adjustments that I made to ensure I continue to keep my diet in check and to ensure I am not jeopardizing the progress I made so far. I no longer could afford to cut every bad food since I am eating the same as my family.

Minimize Red Meat

As much as possible, I limit the red meat in our diet. We only eat white meat such as chicken breast. If we need to make our dishes less boring, I would alternate red meat once every week. To control my diet, I would limit red met to only a small portion. Some may argue that red meat is essential and that it does not cause any harm when dieting. However, there are numerous study found that meat is carcinogen.

Small Portion

In my previous post I noted that one of the best way for diet is remove “white” ingredients from the diet. That includes white rice, white sugar and white flour as they contain high carbohydrate content that can be easily converted to fat. One of the best ways I found effective is limit the portion. I would alternate white rich and brown rice when I prepare dinner for my family.

No Sugar Drink – More Tea

Sugary drink such as soda and juices contain a lot of sugar. Not only they cause problem on our diet, they are a problem to our health as well. Unfortunately, my kids will occasionally drink them as they sometimes make the “boring” food we eat more palatable. Replacing sugary drink with tea is the best way. My family love Earl Grey tea and and it continues to be our best choice of tea. Other teas that we enjoy are fruit tea, Korean barley tea and Japanese green tea. Not only they have great taste they are full of antioxidants that may reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease and certain cancers.

More Colorful Food

Food categories such as green leaves and fruits are important diet for our family. In each meal we must have at least one green dish. One of the best things about Asian food is “green” food is not only limited to broccoli, there are various type of vegetables suc bok choy, yu choy and bean sprouts. They are so much varieties that we can make our meal less “boring”. Other choice that we consciously make is replacing snacks with colorful food such as fruits.

Exercise Options

As the gyms went into lock down, getting the right amount of exercise is limited in our homes. We are no longer able to get all the required exercise we need but luckily we have a treadmill that we can use. Additionally, we also bought an elliptical machine that we can use in our home. While I am no longer able to put in some strength training I believe getting cardio exercise would be more beneficial as we continue to be locked down at home in these unprecedented times.

The pandemic upended a lot of lives and unfortunately taken a lot of lives. Not only it is a wake-up call for a lot of us, it also tells us that we are fighting a losing war with the infectious disease. It also makes me rethink how to maintain a diet in such challenging times.

Getting Fit Journey 2020 (day 26 – 59)

It has been a while since I last posted my progress and that was due to my excuses of not having time. Also I’ve been busy getting my house extension ready. Now my house is done I no longer have any excuses to not post anything. And if you are wondering if I have given up the answer is no.

Let’s get to the results first. I’ve started with 169 lbs at the beginning of the year with 14% body fat. At the end of end of February my weight dropped to 156 lbs with 12.3% body fat. As of early March, my weight is at 154 lbs and at 12.6% body fat. That is a 15 lbs drop over 7 weeks.

Current progress of getting fit journey

The big question is what has changed physically and mentally? I definitely noticed that my mid-section has slimmed down quite a bit. From 36 inch waist at the beginning of the year to 32 inch. Also I noticed that the abs muscle are more visible particularly on the gut. I hardly noticed that I feel any more tired before starting on this journey because now I am able to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes are about 2.5 miles.

Mentally is challenging because I need to be aware of what I could eat or not eat. Other than dealing with daily to-dos and priorities I feel mentally capable to continue with the journey. There was one thing I changed during the last month and that was relaxing what food to eat.

I used MyFitness Pal app to track what I ate in February and noticed that I’ve not been eating enough – I continue to have calorie deficit and that could put my health in danger. Additionally, my goal is to be fit not losing 40 lbs or more. That changed my attitude towards what food to eat.

While I continue to exclude processed food, sugary drink and red meat from my diet I’ve started to eat whole wheat bread and brown rice. I continue to limit the portion of my meal to a reasonable amount without jeopardizing my health. Luckily the changes that I implemented did not have a negative impact on my weight and I have been able to continue to reduce my weight gradually.

One of the things I continue to do is maintain my exercise routine. I spend at least 3 or 4 times a week at my local gym running and weight training. I have been able to maintain a steady pace running on a treadmill and spend at least 30 minutes on weights.

My goal for body fat is between 8 to 10% of my body weight. Reviewing my results above I find that the ratio between weight and body are not equal. It will be interesting how I am able to achieve that percentage body while not dropping my weight so drastically. I’m not a professional athlete not I have 2 hours to spare everyday working out. Achieving this goal maybe hard to reach and only time will tell.

What works best for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time as I continue to face an uphill battle.

Maintain Healthy Diet and Killing It

We all heard about the number one New Year Resolution for almost everyone is to have healthy lifestyle and to go on a diet. Unfortunately, we also heard that most if not all would’ve given up within a month. This resolution remains an elusive goal that seems “mission impossible” for most. Time and time again the same resolution appears at the beginning of a year but the resolution remains out in the wild that is impossible to catch.

If you read my earlier post, I’ve talked about why I decided to go on a diet. All my life I’ve been very skinny and since hitting my 40’s I realized that I’ve gained weight especially on the mid-section. However, I continue to be in denial because I’m not fat nor obese. I’ve never had the need to follow a strict diet because I fell fine. Unfortunately, my blood results show a different picture.

I decided on January 1st of this year to go on a diet whereby I remove all “white” processed food, saturated fat and red meat from my diet. I was actually worried that I would fail within a week. Fortunately I was able to maintain my diet and for the last 2 months I’ve lost almost 15 lbs. I’ve also noticed a big difference in my body shape and see my abs again!

For the past 2 months I learn to follow a few things to ensure my weight loss journey is a success. And surprisingly it is really not that difficult. Sometimes I’ve tempted to give up and eat what I want but I keep bringing back myself to reality and understand the importance of this journey. Below are the steps I follow and I hope that you will find them useful as you take on the same journey to a better you and killing it!

Commitment and Goals

Setting a set of goals and commit to them is extremely important. Don’t set unreachable goal that you know you will fail. Set a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based). For example, you may not want to start with a goal that states “losing a lot of weight by of the year”. The goal is too vague and there is no start and end – you are likely to make a detour along and never come back to your original goal. Set a goal that is measurable and attainable. For example, my goal is to lose 20 lbs and reduce my body fat by 5% by March. After reaching this goal, I would set another realistic goal for me to reach by June. If for any reason that I failed to meet any of the goals I would need to reassess what I did right or wrong.

Exercise To Go

By reducing the food intake only will not likely to help with the weight loss. You need to have a plan to exercise. Diet and exercise together will assist in achieving the weight loss more effectively. Again, set a SMART goal for your exercise. For example, my goal at the beginning of the year is to combine cardio exercise with my strength training, at least 4 times a week. Since then I’ve adjusted my goal to run 2 miles every session. Be flexible and keep changing your goal.

Avoid Temptation and Making Conscious Decisions

Our lives practically revolve around food. We wake up and eat breakfast and not long after is lunch. Four hours later is snack and then dinner. Our bodies continue to crave for food and our sensory organs are tempted to look for food that give us comfort. Unfortunately comfort food are those that give us the most satisfaction and incite excitement when we eat something that we are familiar with. You need to be strong and determined to avoid the food that will cause harm. I can assure you that it is difficult at the beginning. Over time, your body will get accustomed to the boring food that it becomes easier to deny the craving. Personally I never liked to eat junk food but I don’t mind eating fried chicken or eating a steak or two. Since January I was determined to remove these food from my diet. Happily I’ve been true to myself and never touch any of these food at all.

Be Creative and Add New Ingredients

Let’s face it – dieting is boring. You always eat the bland and boring food day in and day out. Soon after you give in to the temptation and take a bite of the comfort food. Before you know it your plan of losing weight come crashing down. Food does not have to be boring and one way to make it exciting is to add new ingredients in your “boring” food. One of the best magazine that I continue to read is Muscle & Fitness. Not only that it provides guidance on how to exercise correctly, it also shows what to eat. For example, I eat salad every few days. To make it more enticing, I would add egg, nuts or cranberry. Changing the salad dressing or adding quinoa make the salad different. For dinner, I make just steam sliced chicken with ginger and broccoli. Don’t feel like eating chicken, how about grilled salmon or tuna?

Keep Counting Using MyFitness Pal

I began to lose a lot of weight in January but tapered off in February. I actually gained a few pounds back and that made me curious as to why. I ate the same thing and did not change my diet at all. I decided to download Under Armor app MyFitness Pal to track my eating habit. The app requires a lot of work but in the month of February I had a good idea of my calories intake and what I need to do to improve or continue to lose weight. The most interesting thing about the app that combining exercise it tells you if you are over eating or in deficit. Soon after I was able to continue to lose weight at a steady pace. It is not the food, but the cardio exercise that was making the difference.

Hungry? Try Nuts

Our body requires nourishment continuously. There is a crave for intermittent-fasting, which I do not agree with. I understand that you try to condition your body to eat less and at the same time forces your body to start burning fat that is stored in your body. This was the same craze with the Atkins diet but that did go so well with the founder. Instead of fasting or go hungry, I suggest that you stick with healthier alternatives. When I feel I need a bite, I usually go for a pack of nuts. I’m not referring to the process nuts with sugar and salt but the naturally packed unprocessed nuts. The nuts may contain almond, cashew and mix of dry fruit. Not only they are filling but contain good fat that actually help reduce weight.

Smart Scale to Keep Check

We all have smart phones and they become so ubiquitous that it is not natural not to have one. Instead of using the smart phones for social networking, why not applying the phones to keep check your weight? The best investment that you could make is a smart scale. The smart scales usually go for less than $50 on Amazon and they are a must for anyone who tried to lose weight. The smart scale can measure not only weight, but also body fat, muscle mass and other measurements.

Know When to Stop Eating

I realized last year that I’ve been over eating because it felt good once I was full. Unknowingly I actually taken in a lot more calories than my body needs and resulted in weight gain. Our body is an amazing machine that has evolved over the years. When our bodies have taken in more food that is required, our organs would convert the food and store them as fat. This was especially useful for hunters and gatherers several centuries ago. However, this function actually creates the obesity problem that we see everyday. To prevent this from happening the best way is to eat in moderation. When I started this journey I thought I would have problems maintaining a new lifestyle. My main concern was will I get hungry often when I eat less. I realized that my concern was unfounded as I rarely go hungry. Instead of stuffing myself, I resort to eating smart. I eat a third less that I used to eat and I eat only food with less saturated fat.

Tea Time All the Time

Tea contains antioxidant that has tons of benefit on our bodies. Antioxidants prevent a chemical process known as “oxidation,” which is a natural part of living and aging. Oxidation damages cells and can lead to the development of disease, including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer. It is best to take tea without any additions. Most Americans find tea to be bland and I find it disturbing that sugar is added in tea. Instead of using antioxidants to benefit our bodies, the sugar actually helps our bodies gaining weight. I drink tea during lunch and dinner and I notice that I feel less bloated and feel more energetic. If you don’t feel like drinking the regular tea, try flower or fruit flavored tea. My favorites are actually Korean corn tea and chrysanthemum tea.

Going on a diet should not be a hurdle. Everyone should take this opportunity to cleanse our bodies of harmful chemicals. One way to ensure that you are successful in this journey is to challenge yourselves. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, try to focus on the positive side of the process. I’ve discovered that I like certain food and found that the results are encouraging. While I may have missed certain food but I also found new things to eat along the way. The suggestions above have worked well for me and I hope that you find my insights helpful as well.

Getting Fit Journey 2020 (day 11 -25)

My journey started on the right track and I was happy the first 2 weeks when I realized that I lost 9 lbs. I continued to do what I did and hope that I would continue to lose more weight and build more muscles. However, I am a pessimist person and I understand that there is no miracle when it comes to diet and losing weight.

What are the results since the last update? I’ve actually gained about 3 lbs since then. While it seems a lot, but I think it is acceptable as long as I continue to keep my diet in check and I continue to go to gym. There are a few measurements that I use to make sure I’m on the right track. One of the best thing that everyone should invest in is smart bathroom weight scale, which connects to your phone. Most of them are priced around $50 and it is definitely a must. There are 3 important measurements that I look at very closely, weight, BMI and body fat. Another measurement that I track very closely is muscle mass. My current body fat is around 13 – 14%, and my goal is to bring it down to less than 8% by end of the year.

My son who has less body fat than I do…

There is a BIG misconception that if one goes to gym and exercise, the pounds will start dropping. I’ve seen times and times again that many failed and they give up. For example, the gym that I go to is ran by my town and for the last month I’ve seen a big increase in attendance. And I can guarantee that the attendance will drop by half in the next two months. And by June, it will just trickle down to just a few. To successful lose weight, exercise is important but having proper diet is more important.

I’ve reduced the portion that I usually eat by a third and I was worried that I may go hungry most of the time. I thought that I would feel weak and would continue to look for food. Surprisingly I was able to adapt without any problems. Instead of stuffing myself to feel comfortable and full, now I feel satisfied. I don’t feel any craving and able to keep pace with my daily struggles. I don’t feel any less energy and I’m able to sleep without feeling hungry.

I’ve gained some weight the last two weeks is a fact. The question is why… In reviewing my diet and my habits, there are a few things that I may need to change. I noticed that I inadvertently increase my portion during breakfast and lunch. While I’ve removed processed food from my diet, particularly anything “white”, there are a few food items that I couldn’t resist such as Youtiao, Chinese fried crullers.

Removing everything from my diet may sometime has unexpected consequences. Luckily, I had not had any complications in my health. One option that I will employ is to track what I eat for the next several months. Gradually I will remove certain food items from my diet to see if there are any changes in my health and weight. I’m not a big proponent of calorie counting because everyone is different. The guidance that everyone should limit to a number of calorie is very misleading. One can take in less calorie but may continue to have health problems. For example, everyone knows that sugary drinks such as sodas are very bad. Substituting these drinks with no calorie sodas does not mean they are not any better. Most of these drinks substitute sugar with saccharin, which is known to cause health problems. There is a study that it may be an agent of cancer.

I still have a long way to go before I achieve my ideal weight and health. While at times I feel giving up because work and life may take over my day to day priorities. I continue to be driven and have never given up going to gym and eat healthier. I will document my journey to a better me and hope that you will follow along.