Ok… I will call it a “diet”

I have been on a “diet” for the last 2 months and finally decided to blog about it. I have been vlogging on YouTube, but this forum will allow me to ramble on more than a video… so we shall see how this goes…

This is not particularly Philippines related, but living a healthy lifestyle over here can be hard.  I keep hearing people say that the food over here is so healthy and good for you and blah blah blah.  No. No, it is not. It could be, but the daily food here is not.  Almost everything is fried, salty, and/or too sweet.  Remember, the #1 killer here is high blood pressure. Also, the Philippines has the highest diabetes rate in the world. I mean no offense by this, it is just the truth. Believe me, many people in the US make terrible food choices as well.

When I first got over here, almost 4 years ago, I weighed 108 kilos (about 240 Lbs).  Over the years I added some and hit 115 kilo. This is unacceptable to me. I decided it is finally time to lose weight.  Back in the US I kept telling myself I was going to lose weight, but was never serious about. I would try and exercise some, or diet a little, but nothing really came of it.  Now, I am ready. I cannot specify a moment that it “clicked” for me, but it did.  That is the key, I think. Once you are really ready, and it clicks, it is quite easy. 

I put the word “diet” in quotation marks because I am not really on a diet per se, but changing my relationship with food.  What I mean by that is that I still eat whatever I want. I am just making better choices.  No crazy diet, no quickie magic tricks. All things in moderation. Eating less, eating better, and exercising more.  Sounds simple enough – but why did I not do it before?

I have a lot of excuses. We can rationalize anything we want ha ha. I was a single dad, and eating out was easier than cooking, and can be cheaper. Fattening, but cheaper. Cooking at home consisted of way too much mac & cheese, ramen, potatoes, anything filling that is cheap. I am a disabled vet. I have had a headache since 1992 (yes one long headache!).  Too much stress can make my headache progress into a seizure.  Too much physical exertion, lack of carbs, lack of sleep, can all lead to worse headaches. So I got lots of rest, lots of carbs, and lots of fat.  Really though, I just did not care. I hated it, but did not care enough to change my life. Or I would have done it sooner.  I take full responsibility for my weight. Excuses are just excuses – the fault is my own.

So, what am I doing differently?

First I took stock of what I was eating.  Rice at least 2 meals a day.  Huge portions of pork steak (5 steaks=1 kilo, 2.2 Lbs). Way too much Coke (two 2 liters a week at home, plus lots while we were out). Too much cookies and candy, not enough veggies.  I now cut the pork steaks in half so each serving is 100 grams.  I buy canned corn, and peas, fresh greens beans and carrots. I chop and boil the green beans & carrots, mix with the corn & peas, then freeze it all. It taste a lot better than the frozen mixed veggies at the store, and is cheaper.  I still eat rice but only 2 or 3 servings a week.

A normal lunch or dinner is now 100 grams of either pork or chicken and 1 cup of mixed veggies.  Breakfast is 2 scrambled eggs (sometimes oatmeal but that makes me feel bloated). Snack is a couple apples and a 1 ounce bag of mixed nuts.  I eat 4 or 5 bags of mixed nuts a week, but at least 10 apples a week.

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I use the SparkPeople app and website to track my food & exercise. They have a great online community and not too many of what I call ‘gym snobs’. I tried a couple other sites and found the community a bit snobbish, or holier than thou.  Not real friendly. SparkPeople has a great community. Lots of support, great recipes, chat groups, challenge groups, a lot of different tools to help you lose, gain, or maintain your weight – depending on your needs.

The only exercise I am doing right now is walking. Some swimming, but not much. I have a loop that I walk each morning for 2.7 Km. I use the app MapMyWalk to track the walks. It keeps a map, time, pace etc.  I manually enter it into SparkPeople to track it and they report the calories much lower than MapMyWalk. Everyone online says MapMyWalk is notorious for overestimating calories burned.

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On an average day I eat 1,500 calories and burn off about 300.  Some days I walk more than others. Usually 3-6 Km.  The other day I went into the city and walked over 6 miles. Sorry for switching between miles and Km ha ha but my pedometer measures miles, my phone measures Km. I burned 800 calories and ate 1,600 that day.  Yesterday was another city trip (I had to see Doctor Strange again) and I ate 1,800 but burned 600.  The food choices in the city are not as healthy as I have at home, but I walk so much more that it balances out.

I have been doing this about 2 months and lost 9 kilos so far (almost 20 pounds). I really do not see much difference but I feel a lot better.  My energy level is up and, more importantly, my morale is way up. My shirts are a little looser but don’t seem like 9 kilos looser… it will take time.  Remember, it took years to put on the weight. It will not take as long to remove it!

But like I said, no crazy diets, no fads, no magic pill… just eating right and exercising.  Which is what I should have been doing anyway.

Here is a link to my diet playlist on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVJhC7qIv9zpokjKLF9UdQmlHhcfOHzZm

 

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