Monday, July 28, 2008
Besides breakfast, exercise is only activity studies have shown that it promotes weight loss.
I know, I've not touch the topic as much so far, not because it's not important, but because I personally feels if you've not change your lifestyle (especially your eating habits)... no matter how much you exercise, you can't go far.
Believe me, I know what I'm talking here.. I've gone through it myself. During the course of my journey, there's a lot of ups and down, and to put simply - I've tried most of them.. if not all.
Focus on good nutrition + consistent exercise = blowtorch the fat (the fat just melt away).
I challenge you to do just that - clean up your diet, take up a favorite exercise regime, and I'm sure you definitely loose weight. (no pills or special diet concoction required).
To make things more effective, I urge you to really understand about the food you're taking, and use your body more! pleasssee.
If you've been following my story, I've shared with you how 'sedentary' my lifestyle were - back in school days, I used to be so active in Rugby and Tennis - since then, I've pretty much stop all the activities with regards to 'exercise' or 'sports' of any kind. It's no surprise that I've grown exponentially over the years... took me 34 years to have grown to 133.7kg, at 54" waist.
These days, I exercise almost every other day, at a minimum of 4 times a week, my worst week probably 3 times a week. Exercise is a must in my life now. I've put it high-up in my daily priority list.
so how do I do it?
what kind of exercise I've been doing?
do you run?
what about cardio?
do you walk or run?
etc. etc. etc.
Wait, hold on, I tell you.. I tell you all.. I've even improvised some techniques along the way, and I shall share this all with you here..
When I decided to start my journey, I figured I need to exercise often, being a weekend-warrior (a term that I've learn when you do your exercise on the weekends only) is not enough.. the books I've read all mentioned that to be effective in weight lost, I've to do at least 5 times a week for a min of 30mins per session.
I thought to myself.. this is crazy.. 5 times a week??.. 30 mins a day?? me? that's hard, I can't pull this off... impossible.
Where do I begin?
Should I join a gym?
Should I get personal trainer?
I know nuts with exercise..
When is the best time to exercise?
I don't have time for it!
Continue to Part II
Friday, July 25, 2008
I guess people still have this believe that to loose weight, you have to starve. You have to restrict your food intake as much as possible, to skips meals, etc. Well, if you read the books I recommended earlier, they called this 'a starvation diet' - it's one of the biggest myth or misperception ever in your quest of losing weight.
If you think skipping meals makes you lose weight, I tell you this - stop thinking. The fact says, if you do that, you'll teach the body to keep all the weights with you!!!
You see, our body has been designed for survival, it's designed to ensure that you will survive in the worst condition. If you're not eating, the body tells itself that it needs to survive (coz it doesn't know when would your next meal would be), so it conserve energy by slowing down your metabolism and the rest of bodily functions - less calories burned, metabolic rate slows down - and it tends to stores everything you eat as.. you guess.. fat.
...then you wonder why you always skip breakfast, or lunch, but still ended up... fat.
The trick is... to work with your body, not against it.
Always feed the body with good food to nourish the cells, and let your metabolism runs at it's peak... all the time. (read this article - Fire Up Your Metabolism) - that's one of the key incredient of losing the fat!
You need to eat to lose the weight..... How?
Never ever skip your meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Infact, you should add 2 more mini-meals in between - so total of 5 meals per day! - breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner - always have something 3-4 hours ensuring your blood sugar level and metabolism at it's optimum level.
I've always have good meals... see this picture of my typical lunch at work. Tell me if I'd still feel hungry by eating this!
That's a LOT of food.
Since there's no brown rice at the eatery (read my other post on this point), I replaced it with another veggie dish. The fish is my dose of protein and good omega-3 fats, and the rest is my carbs (for carbs, always aim for high PI, low GL)**.
That brown sauce is my sambal just to add a little bit of spicyness and most importantly that added dose of capsaicin phytonutrient that is high in antioxidant.
**People always thought that carbohydrates are either rice, bread, pasta, potato, cereals - but do you know that besides the known protein and fat in our foods, the rest are just carbohydrates? typically it's the largest component in most of the food we eat, and it's the most important nutrition for our body - you get the energy from the carbs you eat (carbs are converted to glucose that absorbs into our brains and muscles).
Ahhh.. so you're wondering.. Dr. Atkin was right.. low-carbs diet works?
Well kinda...it's the types of carbs that makes the difference, and my rule for carbs is High Phytonutrients Index, and Low Glycemic Load. (check Mr. Google for more - needs lots of reading there)
***my goals are to be within the normal BMI (18.5-24.9), I'm close to it, but not yet. When I started, I used to be at BMI rating of 40++ (when the Doctor tries to calculate my BMI, she turns her little 'BMI wheel' (just like when the doctor checks for women ovulation cycle), and mine is off the wheels totally. The doctor tried to act cool, and just assumed 40++. I was totally devastated!).
My BMI status as of 25-Jul-2008:
Check your BMI using the BMI Calculator
my other recent post:
What's my typical lunch/dinner?
What's Your Typical Breakfast?
Now I know your secret.. you don't eat rice..!
Stay Good at 90% of the Time
Thursday, July 24, 2008
It's true. I can 'cheat', infact we should 'cheat' once a while to satisfy our gastronomic adventure. The articles mentioned about once-a-while we need to 'shock' or 'overload' our system with lots of sugary/fatty foods. We needed that occasional spike in our blood sugar so that our body able to handle more efficiently later. But cheat sensibly, stay back on track.
Having said all that, I still didn't splurge on any ice-cream, or bigmac or that-not-to-be-missed-hot-chocolate-cake, ever since I started, yup, not even a single french fries.
My only reason is - I've a goal to achieve, I shall stick (and find ways to improve) with whatever I'm doing now, until I reach my goal.
Last week, my wife told me exactly that - we've packed some left-over fried-chickens from my sister's place - my wife said, "for once, please eat that fried-chicken, it's ok you know, you're already slim".
Not for me, I'd rather eat just some fruits, and a handful of nuts.
I'm trying to stay clean as much as 90%, that 10% is spared if I need to take an extra handful of the nuts (but not deep-fried-chicken).
Sunday, July 20, 2008
This is something I've not touch much, mainly because I'm assuming most people already know that drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is important to maintain a general well-being.
By that, I really mean.. plain water - good filtered plain water source.
If you're really serious to take care of your health - MAKE SURE YOU DRINK AT LEAST 8 GLASSES OF GOOD FILTERED PLAIN WATER A DAY!
I sure hope that goes into you clearly, and I do really mean.. plain water. Your body will thank you so much for doing that to you.
Every time you go to the toilet - always take note of your urine. It has to be a pale yellow color and almost no smell. You should be worried if it's not (then you should drink lotsa of them).
These days, plain water and green tea are my only main drinks. On weekends, I tend to make my own soy milk drinks (boiled, and grind my own), and at mamak's, if I feel like having some hot drinks, I ordered hot barley drink (with no-sugar of course).
BTW, do you know that Barley by itself is a whole-grains? It also has higher beta-glucans (the soluble fiber that soaks your bad cholesterol) content than that of oats?
Read Barley benefits high cholesterol
If you're thinking of losing weight, the first thing that you need to do is to avoid at all cost any of the sugar-laden drinks. I used to be so addictive to the soft/soda-drinks - would have cans of them in my home fridge ever-ready for me, anytime. Well, not anymore - I've not had even a sip of any of them ever since I started.
Check out the evilness of the High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup (HFCS), and you'll understand why I despise soft-drinks and processed foods (yup, that includes fast-foods). Please do read this article - The Dangers of Fast Food.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Some example that I can think of:
Eat fruits, instead of fruit juices (you've asked the blender to do the work that your body supposed to do - to work on the fibers!)
Eat rice, as opposed to bihun (vermicelli) - bihun is made of rice - it has gone a processed cycle to made it into bihun.
Eat nuts, seeds, legumes, instead of even a whole-wheat biscuits.
Well you get the idea.
Here's main references I got from my defacto nutrition guru - Dr. Mark Hyman:
Choose from a variety of the following real, whole foods:
* Choose organic produce and animal products whenever possible.
* Eat high-quality protein, such as fish -- especially fatty, cold-water fish like salmon, sable, small halibut, herring, and sardines -- and shellfish.
* Cold-water fish such as salmon, halibut, and sable contain an abundance of beneficial essential fatty acids, omega-3 oils that reduce inflammation. Smaller wild Alaskan salmon, sable, and halibut that are low in toxins. Canned wild salmon is a great "emergency" food.
* Eat up to eight omega-3 eggs a week.
* Create meals that are high in low-glycemic legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans (try edamame, the Japanese soybeans in a pod, quickly steamed with a little salt, as a snack). These foods slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream, which helps prevent the excess insulin release that can lead to health concerns like obesity, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
* Eat a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables teeming with phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols, which are associated with a lower incidence of nearly all health problems, including obesity and age- related disease.
* Eat more low-glycemic vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
* Berries, cherries, peaches, plums, rhubarb, pears, and apples are optimal fruits. Cantaloupes and other melons, grapes, and kiwifruit are suitable; however, they contain more sugar. You can use organic frozen berries (such as those from Cascadian Farms) in your protein shakes.
* Focus on anti-inflammatory foods, including wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats, red and purple berries (these are rich in polyphenols), dark green leafy vegetables, orange sweet potatoes, and nuts.
* Eat more antioxidant-rich foods, including orange and yellow vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collards, spinach, etc.), anthocyanidins (berries, beets, grapes, pomegranate), purple grapes, blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, and cherries. In fact, antioxidants are in all colorful fruits and vegetables.
* Include detoxifying foods in your diet, such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and Chinese broccoli), green tea, watercress, dandelion greens, cilantro, artichokes, garlic, citrus peels, pomegranate, and even cocoa.
* Season your food with herbs such as rosemary, ginger, and turmeric, which are powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and detoxifiers.
* Avoid excessive quantities of meat. Eat lean organic or grass-fed animal products, when possible. These include eggs, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, buffalo, and ostrich. There are good brands at Whole Foods and other local health- food stores (also see mail order sources).
* Garlic and onions contain antioxidants, enhance detoxification, act as anti- inflammatories, and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
* A diet high in fiber further helps to stabilize blood sugar by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and supports a healthy lower bowel and digestive tract. Try to gradually increase fiber to 30 to 50 grams a day and use predominantly soluble or viscous fiber (legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit), which slows sugar absorption from the gut
* Use extra virgin olive oil, which contains anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants, as your main cooking oil.
* Soy products such as soymilk, soybeans, and tofu are rich in antioxidants that can reduce cancer risk, lower cholesterol, and improve insulin and blood sugar metabolism.
* Increase your intake of nuts and seeds, including raw walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin and flax seeds.
* And yes ... chocolate can be healthy, too. Choose only the darkest varieties and eat only 2 to 3 ounces a day. It should contain 70 percent cocoa.
till next time!
stay healthy...and have you exercise today?
Obviously, I stumbled upon all the many 'magic' pills, and a lot of diet programs such as Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Abs Diet, UltraMetabolism, Hollywood Diet, Diet.com, WeightWatchers, etc. I've read some of them and especially the first four in details. The one thing that I realised of these 'diets' have in common is that they focus on certain foods, avoid some, and totally eliminate the others. Some eliminate carbs, some don't. Some are easy to follow, some are too tedious (you need to calculate every single calories..!) - BUT one thing for sure, each of them has their on merits - just that, the 1-million-bonus-question - which one is the best for me???!!!
At the same time, I saw my sis-in-law, even my own wife, and some ladies at work are taking various 'diet concoction' like HerbalLife, some special tea blend, diet replacement meal, etc, etc. They said it's good, but.. overall they still look the same after taking many bottles of it - to top it all, it cost a few hundreds of $$ every few months (to replenish the stock).
I asked myself - what if one day, the company that produce it suddenly went bust? or they just decided to stop production? Then, what?
So, I decided, no supplements/replacement meals.
I went back to the 4 books... and I was particularly interested in the Abs Diet & the UltraMetabolism. Both of these books focus on natural, whole, real food diet. It teaches you to understand about the food you take, and how does the food interact with your body. But then, between these two books, some of their suggestions/recommendation contradict with each other. i.e. David Zinczenko would recommend to take yogurt, while Mark Hyman said to avoid dairy products???
Well, life goes on, and I've taken each of their advices and many others I've found over the Internet as my knowledge, and start with my journey. I've also decided, I want a professional doctor to keep track of my progress - to advice me along the way. I went to sign-up at The Wellness Center in Ampang Puteri, under the supervision of a nutritionist (monthly visit).
When I started, I've set a goal to myself. Within 3 months, I should be 10kg lighter. So that's an average to loose about 3+ kg a month. yup.. crazy.
I started on 12-Feb-2007=133.7kg
I slightly overshoot my target. I've lost 14.3 kg.
The doctor was delighted - and so am I!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
At work in the morning, people tend to ask me out for breakfast, a quick dash to the eatery to grab something for breakfast (typically around 9'ish), and I normally responded with.. 'I've mine already, you go ahead.. -their immediate response typically would be.. 'Come-on, let's just have a some capati, it's healthy!'
When we sleep at nite for 5-7 hrs, our body is in a recovery mode, the body is resting and it slows down the metabolism. We're pretty much fasting all nite long. Hence, the word 'break-fast' is to break the fast, and we should jump-start our metabolism at the earliest possible in the morning upon waking up. Yes, it's true, breakfast is the most important meal of the day - numerous studies have shown that eating breakfast can help you to loose weight.
Eat your breakfast early morning, jump-start your metabolism soonest you can. It helps you to loose weight. Meal timing is crucial is managing your weight - you need to keep your metabolism humming.. always!
Here's my typical breakfast menu - I make sure I have lots of high quality proteins, healthy fats, and good carbs!:
1. Rolled Oats with nuts and seeds - I use organic no-sugar soy milk powder, with 3-4 tablespoon of rolled oats with cashew/almonds nut, sunflower/pumpkin/sesame seeds, wheat-germ and some dash of cinnamon & chocolate powder, with ground flaxseed. sometimes i add some dried appricot/raisins/dates.
2. Yogurt with fruits - 4 tablespoon of natural low-fat no-sugar yogurt, with fresh cut fruits, and dash of ground flaxseed & cinnamon, and sprinkle of pumpkin/sunflower seeds, as well some dried appricot/raisins/dates.
3. Whole grains bread with light canned tuna - i spread the bread with natural no-sugar peanut butter, and sprinkle some ground flaxseed, topped with some romaine/butterhead/iceberg salads, and raisins. some dash of black/white pepper. sometimes i spread it with home-made pesto made by my lovely wife (just love the pungent garlic, basil, with pine-nut and olive-oil).
4. same as #3, but replacing tuna with a poached omega-3 egg.
5. sometimes, i just take 2 soft-boiled eggs with some dash of black/white pepper dipped with whole-grain bread. (i normally take 1 whole egg, and the other just the white).
6. recently, i've added Quinoa to the #1 recipe - over the weekend i prepared quinoa and keep it in a tupperware for the week supply for my morning oats or dinner with brown-rice. highly nutritious grain.. i needed the complete protein!
I typically spend 5 mins to prepare, and 10-15mins to eat my breakfast! typically ends around 7:30am, and dash out of the door for work. It's quick - no excuse of no time. (so instead of having your breakfast at 9'ish, take your breakfast as early as you can - I get my metabolism kicking in earlier (it promotes weight loss), 2 hours earlier than my colleagues).
Is that all I eat for breakfast? not getting bored? well, for heart healthy diet, we need to consume a minimum of 3 servings of whole-grains everyday. I feel healthy eating those, I feel full and I know it does my body good! ... remember..i'm still trying to achieve my goals!
At around 10:30-11am, I'll take my apple/pear/guava as my snack (you have to eat something at least every 3-4 hours to ensure your blood sugar and metabolism humming at peak. I tend to have some fruits as a snack, sometimes some almonds/chickpeas or prunes), before taking my lunch at 1-2pm.
next post.. my typical lunch.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Then followed by.. 'But Sher, brown rice expensive lah.. 5kg pack is about RM25-32 (depending on brand), as compared to white rite 10kg pack is about RM13-19.. crazy ah.. i can't afford it, furthermore, not tasty lah..and smelly'.
These days, I see food as a medicine. Everything I eat, I make sure I choose the one with the highest nutritional value... and try my best to avoid the ones that has none whatsoever (yup, those potato chips, soft-drinks, ice-cream, fast-foods!). I choose food that is high in antioxidant, good fats, & protein. I watch the overall glycemic load of my meals, and focusing on food that is high in phytonutrient, with low-glycemic index rating.
At the end, I don't have to spend extra money on supplements, medicine, or worst - a 'diet mix' or 'diet concoction'. The best thing is - the entire family can enjoy these healthy lifestyle - not just you with your 'diet smoothies', while the rest, continue munching on some processed-empty-calorie-junk-food. (we shouldn't call it food at all, it's junk. period.)
'Sher, this sound way too complicated, don't think it's for me'. I may have scared you, but for the past 1 year, I've been doing quite a bit of reading on the foods we eat. I've tried and tested many variations, and I've found that the way of eating that is based on a whole foods diet that's high in fiber, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, and low in sugars and flours, with a low glycemic load.. is the ultimate key in my fat loss.
It is a way of eating that includes anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying foods. It includes plenty of omega-3 fats and olive oil, soy products, beans, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins. All these foods help in automatic weight loss. This is the way of eating that turns on all the right gene messages, promotes a healthy metabolism, and hopefully prevents diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer!
till next time.. stay lean, and don't be lazy to exercise!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Allow me to put some things straight, before 12-Feb-2007, I've never ever been on any 'diet', I've never ever even try to be on 'a diet' per say. If I feel like eating, I eat - anytime, anywhere, and whatever. Exercise? hardly any at all! .. well perhaps, walking up and down the MidValley Malls... stairs not-included. Outdoors? nope.. well, let's just say, I'm not into sports as much as I did during the school days.. not anymore. Sedentary lifestyle, that's pretty much summarise me.
So, the turning point? I've to give much of the credit to a training program that I've attended end Jan 2007. Part of the modules we've learnt was to identify what do you really want in life, and if you do really want it, and how can you really set your mind to achieve it (the training is much more than that, discover it for yourself about AsiaWorks training). We did many rounds of 'experiential' exercise, and one thing that kept hitting me again and again, and always in the Top 3 of what I want in life is 'to be healthy'.
(You see, I've been a big/fat guy most of my life (I think since i was 8/9 years old). I've always thought or blame it to the genes that runs in my family. My dad, mom, brothers, sister, are mostly large in size.)
I realised, among the Top 3 of what I want in life, 'being healthy' is the only thing that is 100% within my control, I'm fully responsible and something that I should only blame myself (others like 'achieving financial freedom' has the environmental/external factors that sometimes.. well most of the times is beyond your control - like economic downturn.. oil price hike etc)
But this is my body - it's 200% within my control. I've been saying that I want it, it's in my Top 3, and what's stopping me?
I'm fully in control, fully responsible. I figured, I've obviously did awfully wrong things with my health for the past 34 years, and no wonder ended up like that... things should change. If I want to achieve the other 2 in life, let's at least achieve this 1 thing.
I set my mind, and I execute.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Been very busy at work lately.
People has been asking of how big I was back then, and it took me a while to find pictures of myself (i seldom pose for pictures, i don't look good in them!). After a long hard searched, I finally found some old-collections, and to make it interesting I thought I should be wearing the same t-shirt, and do this comparison.
So, here it goes.
I'll post more pic of the BEFORE me, so you'll get the idea.
From: Sher Khan
Originally Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 4:47 PM
Subject: the journey continues..
A lot of people has been asking, and I thought I should be sharing it here. My only reason to share these updates is to spread the message that we need to live a healthy and balance life!.. losing weight is just the side effect of it!
Today, it’s already 12th April, and what’s the outcome? Read below if you’re interested ;)
Tip: always find little ways to use your body more! Purposely park the car far away from the door, go get your lunch that requires you to walk far, use stairs instead of lift. Target to do around 10,000 steps daily!
Since I’ve started last 12-Feb-2007, today on 12-Apr-2008, total fat lost is at 51.2kg (within 14months period).
As you can see on the chart, on 30-march-2008, I’ve hit 82.6kg. For the 1st time, I’ve been struggling with a plateau! (I typically lost 4kg a month, but recently, less than 2kg a month) – at least I thought it was. Oh yes, I’ve missed my set target by 2.6kg!
In spite of that, I’m not worry though, my best guess is – I’ve just started going to a real gym 2 months back (it helps when you keep your exercise log), and has been focusing on a heavy-weight lifting regime (bench press, military press, squat, deadlifts!) – I figured my body is adjusting to the new muscles!
How sure I am? while the weight is on a yo-yo cycle these past weeks, however, I feel my pants is getting looser every other week. Just 2 weeks back, I’ve yet again need to shop for new pair of pants. My last pant size was at 42” (bought for Raya!), the newly bought ones are 36” (when I started, it was at 54”).
Tip: we need to have muscles, it’s a living tissue, and it burns 70x more calories just to maintain them (than without one). The more muscles you have, the higher your metabolic rate - means, it burns calories even during your resting/sleeping time! note that muscles are denser and heavier than fat.
Like I said earlier, loosing fat (or weight) is just the side-effect, the most important focus/mindset that I have is to focus on being healthy. Everything that I do to put into my mouth, I strive on putting only the food that is high in its nutritional value. While the natural food is good, say a lean chicken breast, the moment you deep fried it, suddenly it becomes an unhealthy. Repeat after me – deep fried food is evil! – they are high in saturated fat.
Tip: do you know that cholesterol is manufactured in your body by the liver? the main source are from the saturated fat and the glucose (carbs) from our diet. The liver shall manufacture a lot more cholesterol when a high-saturated fat diet is consumed. Worst thing, it elevate the level of LDL (the bad fats) in the blood, clogging your arteries.
According to the national standard of cholesterol education (US)
5.2 - 6.2
1.71 - 2.28
1.03 - 1.42
2.6 - 4.1
I’ve had a borderline cholesterol level recorded at 5.80 mmol/L in Feb-2007. I don’t even want to know what’s my LDL or HDL level..scared to know the truth!
Last Dec-2007, it shows some improvement at 4.90 (desirable) of total cholesterol, while LDL is at 2.80 (borderline), while HDL is at 1.13 (borderline).
Yesterday, I had it checked again, and my total cholesterol stays at 4.90 (desirable), while LDL improved at 2.60 (desirable), while HDL also improved at 1.39 (still borderline)!
At the same time, last dec-2007 my uric acid level was at 487 (risk), now it’s 395 (desirable)!!!
Here’s the chart.
What did I do? I change my eating habit, the way of eating that is based on a whole foods diet that’s high in fiber, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, and low in sugars and flours, with a low glycemic load. No fast-food or processed food (if it’s in a can/box, it’s not fresh/whole - should be avoided). Aim for 5 servings of fruits & veggies a day. Exercise for 30mins everyday, min of 4 times a week, focus on interval training for a rapid fat loss. Strive to meet at least 90% of the above as much as you can. Your body, your call, you’re fully responsible.
So, my journey seeking a healthy lifestyle continues.. my next target? To get my levels to the desirable range, and that killer six-pack-abs doesn’t looks like a myth anymore..! J
(I envied the Spartan’s in the ‘300’ movie). Gimme another 4 months (end August). I’ll update you then..at least the progress ;)
Wants to know more? Email me, glad to share with you.
My BMI status as of 12-April-2008
Check yours at BMI Calculator