Let me say right off the bat that that is not an accurate illustration of me up there, haha. I haven’t lost that much weight since my last post. The salbabidas still stubbornly cling to my torso, making me a shoo-in for the ‘Before’ in an ad for liposuction.
But that is certainly a good illustration of how I feel, that is, much better and much healthier compared to how I was at the start of the year.
I wake up every morning refreshed instead of cranky. The body aches and pains are almost gone and housework and walking up the stairs no longer leave me breathless. On top of all that, for more than a month now I haven’t had a single bout with hypertension. Yey! This is a huge improvement because until earlier this year, I suffered from high blood pressure once or twice a week.
I took the slow but sure route to this point. During the past weeks, I focused on establishing healthier habits. It’s taken more than a month but so far I’ve made these three small lifestyle changes:
1. Get moving.
I hate exercise. You have to make time for it, wear the right gear, and get all sweaty and smelly. It’s also boring and repetitive.
Dancing is not exercise. It’s fun. It’s something I could do for hours on end. So at least thrice a week, before I go to work, I play Just Dance on the wii or my 80s playlist and I dance (or do the most awkward approximations of it) for 30 minutes. I fling my arms about, jump, sway and do the running man (heh!) until my heart gets all pumped up and I’m laughing at myself. It’s doing my body good even though it’s not exercise. (Please do not tell me otherwise. :D)
Another thing I’ve grown to like: mild stretching exercises upon waking up. They help get rid of the cricks associated with having been born around the time of man’s first landing on the moon.
2. Go nuts.
I’ve always liked vegetables, fresh fruits and fish, prefer home-cooked meals to fastfood and whole-wheat bread to white. I rarely have chocolates, sweets or softdrinks. When it comes to food choices, I know I’ve been eating better than most people. But the volume of my food intake was an entirely different story. I did not just eat, I stuffed myself until my stomach was as hard as my skull and my belly button had the diameter of a coaster.
To reduce my appetite, I started the habit of munching on a handful of peanuts/almonds/walnuts about a half hour before meals. Now I’ve gotten used to eating smaller portions of whatever I want, including white rice (two or more cups before, one cup now). It’s been weeks since I last ate like a bear about to hibernate.
3. Go to sleep at the right time.
Bedtime for me used to be an hour or two past midnight. Then I would wake up in the morning channeling Grumpy, go to work and fight against lethargy for the rest of the day. I had to establish a better sleeping pattern.
I decided to temporarily ditch some of the things that usually kept me up late at night — caffeine, the internet (including blogging) and playing Zuma (laugh if you must but without it I’d still be playing Tetris, hehe). I’ve since replaced them with ‘calming’ reads that lull me to sleep, usually way before midnight. I get a good dose of zzzzzs now.
All these changes are going against decades of unhealthy practices so I’m really proud that I’m turning them into habits. I’m still far from being a model of health and fitness — my salbabidas have barely deflated, I’m still overweight and I have lapses in discipline (McDonald’s fries, large). There are also things that I’m not ready to give up yet, such as white rice, mugs of hot, creamy, sweet coffee and my daily breakfast of fried everything. (These particular sources of calories, bad cholesterol, sodium and sugar are some of my favorite things and cutting them out now would make me a very ill-tempered healthy person.)
But I believe in the power of small but steady changes. There are more lifestyle tweaks that I can make, including starting on some weight-training. At this time when most New Year’s resolutions are forgotten, I am still pumped about mine. The fact that I found no need at all to check my blood pressure last month or last week or today is motivation enough for me. 🙂
So how are you guys doing with your fitness (or other) goals this year?