Day 29: Where Has the Meatlover in Me Gone?

Because I “overate” yesterday, naturally my instinct is to catch up and adjust. That’s me following the Law of Averages. It helps that today is one heck busy writing day -deep in research for another project I’m working on.

At the end of the day, I didn’t realize I ate a scanty set of 904 calories. Way below my 1200 goal, and even below the minimum 1000 calories.

Here are the figures for today:

July 5, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 904 calories

+Exercise: 99 calories

=Remaining: 395 calories

It’s almost a month since I began this weight loss project. So far, so good. No regrets. Logging into MyFitnessPal app was tedious during the initial weeks, but eventually I got the hang of it. It’s so easy, I highly recommend it!

Here’s my simple menu for today:

Breakfast: coffee

Lunch: Brown rice, sardines

Afternoon Snack: coffee

Dinner: Brown rice, Sinigang na Hipon (Filipino Style Sour Shrimp Soup)

Water: 1000ml

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I have lots of shrimps available in my freezer! Well, goodbye shrimps. The last batch just went into this shrimp soup. I cooked a batch and froze it. Perfect for those days when I don’t feel like cooking. And yes, today was one of those days.

I peeked into my Macros: 60% carbs, 21% protein and 19% fats

Managed to limit my saturated fat consumption to 6g, which is less than my 14g limit. And yup, no trans fat whatsoever. Zero. According to my app.

Another good thing that’s been happening to me: I’m getting more veggies into my diet now. This shrimp soup? It’s packed with good stuff: eggplant, water spinach, tomatoes, onions, radish, and string beans.

Where has the meat-lover in me gone?

Day 26: Ole for Spanish Food!

As I promised, today I’ll be logging in how much I now weigh: 136.1 lbs

I’m targeting 125 lbs so I only have about 10 lbs to go. Woohoo!! 🙂

The thing is, I haven’t even done any major exercise yet. I just watch what I eat, and make more deliberate choices when it comes to food. I’m not even too strict to myself. I enjoy the process and don’t stress over it.

When someone offers me ice cream, I eat some, enjoy it, and adjust my food choices afterwards. It’s really quite simple.

Anyway, here’s what I scored today:

July 2, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 925 calories

+Exercise: 164 calories

=Remaining: 439 calories

As usual, I did a lot of cooking today (60 minutes = 125 calories), cleaned my apartment (15 minutes = 39 calories), and did a lot of driving (too bad there’s no driving in the choices in MyFitnessPal).

Today I prepared some Seafood Paella (using brown rice, since it’s what’s available) using the shrimps and clams in my freezer.

As an appetizer, I made some pan-fried tofu cubes with some spicy sweet soy sauce. I combined some honey, red pepper flakes, lite soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, minced garlic, minced ginger, and sesame oil.

Made some clam soup too, just the basic. Clams, garlic, ginger.

For dessert, some leftover ice cream.

Lunch is served!

Here’s the entire meal for the day:

Breakfast: coffee, gluten-free cornmeal muffin

Lunch: Clam Soup, Pan-Fried Tofu with Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce, Seafood Paella, Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Afternoon Snack: coffee

Snack while driving: Boiled sweet potato, 1/4 cup of vanilla milkshake, 1 piece of Filipinos chocolate-covered biscuit (made in Spain)

Late evening drink at Starbucks: Teavana Emperor’s Clouds and Mist Green Tea

Water: 1000ml

Oh by the way, today I added a new beverage to my usual, aside from coffee. It’s green tea! A very highly-recommended drink for weight loss. So when I stayed for some minutes at Starbucks to write an article, I ordered their green tea. It’s Teavana Emperor’s Cloud and Mist Green TeaIt was okay, not a huge fan of green tea.

They served it with a pack of honey on the side, but I skipped it. Drank it unsweetened, zero calories. Next time, I’ll have it on ice.

Day 21: So Cooking is an Exercise?

Today I discovered from MyFitnessPal app that “cooking or food preparation” can be logged in as an exercise.

An hour of this activity is equivalent to burning 125 calories.

So now I present to you my metrics, after I logged in 60 minutes of cooking:

June 27, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 1323 calories

+Exercise: 187 calories

=Remaining: 64 calories

I cooked another batch of chili (this time with beef instead of chicken), baked some gluten-free cornmeal muffin, and a Filipino sour soup broth with shrimps and vegetables called “Sinigang na Hipon.

Sometime what inspires me to cook are the leftover stuff in my pantry. I found some cornmeal a.k.a. polenta so I thought I’d bake some corn muffins. Made it gluten-free since I also happen to have a stash of gluten-free flours at home.

All from Bob’s Red Mill.

I have the following:

  • Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour
  • Stone Ground White Rice Flour
  • Premium Quality Potato Starch Unmodified
  • Finely Ground Tapioca Flour

Here’s the recipe I follow to prepare a gluten-free flour blend, from Minimalist Baker. She said it’s not her original recipe but only shared to her by a friend. Whoever that friend is, thank you!

1-1/2 cups (240g) brown rice flour

1/2 cup (96g) potato starch

1/4 cup (40g) white rice flour

1/4 cup (30g) tapioca flour

The Sinigang na Hipon was fairly easy to do. It’s the kind of dish that you just simmer/boil the ingredients one after another. It’s a traditional Filipino viand, best eaten with steaming-hot cooked rice. You can change the protein to pork or fish, instead of shrimps.

Here’s the entire loaded menu for the day:

Breakfast: coffee, a slice of toasted whole wheat bread + unsweetened peanut butter

Morning Snack: roasted almonds

Lunch: beef chili + Chippy (it’s almost like nacho chips, which go well with chili)

Afternoon Snack: coffee, gluten-free corn muffin, another slice of whole wheat bread, and some more roasted almonds

Dinner: Brown rice, Sinigang na Hipon

Midnight Snack: strawberry shake with greek yogurt

Water: 1500ml

Such a happy day spent entirely on cooking, baking, writing and lounging.

What about the macros?

52% carbs, 31% fat and 17% protein.

Eating healthy may take some effort at first, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it. Your body won’t be craving much of the junk food, as long as you don’t go for deprivation.

It’s all about moderation.

Day 20: Meet My Low Carb, High Protein Diet

For the last couple of days, I’ve been trying to mix-match my food choices to help lower my carbs intake and increase my protein. Google has been my constant companion as I research for more high-protein, low-carbs food — thanks Google!

So today I managed to do that as I increased my intake to 64 g of protein, 4 g more than my target 60 g. As for my carbs, I only consumed 127 g of my 151 g limit.

In terms of percentage, my meals consisted of 47% carbs, 30% fat, and 23% protein.

And yes, I ate enough to reach the minimum required 1000 calories.

June 26, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 1092 calories

+Exercise: 4 calories

=Remaining: 112 calories

As you can see in today’s menu, I am getting a lot of grilled chicken breast, both for lunch and dinner. Can’t get enough of it as it’s so easy to prepare ahead, and grilling takes only a few minutes. You’ll never run out of ideas for marinade, so it’s never a boring dish.

Here’s one site that offers 16 different marinades for grilled chicken breast. I’ve bookmarked it, I’m ready to try some of the recipes within the week.

For today, here’s the low carb, high protein combination:

Breakfast: coffee, a piece of banana

Lunch: Brown rice, low-salt tuna chunks, grilled chicken breast

Afternoon Snack:  coffee, a slice of whole wheat bread

Dinner: clam soup with spinach, grilled chicken breast

Midnight Snack: roasted almonds

Water: 1500ml

As I completed my food diary today, MyFitnessPal reminded me:

If every day were like today… You’d weigh 133.5 lbs in 5 weeks.*

*Your projected weight loss is an estimate based on your total net calories for today. Actual results may vary.

Day 9: The Warning I Received Today From My App

Because of yesterday’s red marks, I kinda held back on my eating today. I limited my calories, knowing I won’t be doing any exercise today. Frankly, I was back in my depressed mode. The same thing that made me sad the other day, well it’s back, and I allowed it to pull down my spirit again.

And my eating habits just follow.

As a result, I ate less than 1000 calories today. Thought no one would notice, but the app MyFitnessPal did notice it. In fact, because I went below 1000 calories, I was “warned”:

Based on your total calories consumed for today, you are likely not eating enough.

For safe weight loss, the National Institutes of Health recommends no less than 1000 – 1200 calories for women and 1200-1500 calories for men.

Even during weight loss, it’s important to meet your body’s basic nutrient and energy needs. Over time, not eating enough can lead to nutrient deficiencies, unpleasant side effects & other serious health problems.

To safely meet your goals:

  • Focus on consuming nutrient-rich foods and beverages
  • Check your progress in MyFitnessPal throughout the day
  • Add nutritious snacks between meals as needed 

Seriously, this app is amazing. It’s like having a personal health and fitness coach in your pocket. One of those apps which I truly recommend to anyone who is trying to lose weight.

So, for today, these are my metrics:

June 15, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 826 calories

+Exercise: 2 calories

=Remaining: 376 calories

As you can see, I barely moved. Those calories were the equivalent of 592 steps, all made indoors.

Today I wasn’t too eager to even cook, so I made myself a salad for lunch. Got some greens, added a basic dressing of apple cider vinegar, EVOO, and some organic Dijon-style mustard. Oh, and I tossed in some leftover cheese I found in the fridge.

Breakfast: coffee, whole wheat yeast-free bread + unsweetened peanut butter

Lunch: a simple salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing

Dinner: Brown rice, grilled milkfish

Water: 1500ml

Adding fish into my diet is something I take seriously, so it’s a relief for me to have access to some freshly grilled milkfish from a nearby food kiosk, specializing in roasts. One whole fish is enough for 2 meals, so I’m saving the half for tomorrow.

This milkfish provided me with 35.1g of protein for the day. My target is 60g of protein per day, and for today I had a total of 51g protein. Still short by 9g, but quite close .

One thing that I enjoy in this weight loss journey is the variety I can put into my diet. It’s interesting that I get to research other food items that are high in a certain nutrient, which normally I would just dismiss. Blogging about what I eat each day makes me more conscious of the nutrients, and this is vital information.

Food is no longer just something delicious to put in your mouth, but rather something that is life-giving.

Mind you, after eating for many months without a care in the world, tracking each dish I consume does require some effort.

And I’m dead serious about it. Progress over perfection.

Day 8: The Trap of Convenience

Ugh. For the first time since I began this project, I got red marks in my myfitnessapp. Meaning, I went negative in my remaining calories.

June 14, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 1,341 calories

+Exercise: 14 calories

=Remaining: -127 calories

Ugh.

And I wanna say it again: UGH!

And it’s all because of settling for fast food! Today I decided not to cook and just dine out. Of course, the way I planned it in my head, we would eat out in a resto that serves healthy meals. But when she texted me while I was waiting in the car, “Hey, what do you want from X? I’m here and I can buy our dinner.”

X is a Chinese fast food. What do you expect?

I succumbed. “Yeah, just get us some chao fan.”

That Chinese fried rice take out was a whooping 607 calories!

And it didn’t stop there. She got me some siu mai, those pork-filled dumplings (4 pieces) and instead of the usual steamed version, they were fried. Another 296 calories. Ugh.

As I finished up the food (I’m not a fan of having leftovers), I tried to recall if I did some activity to help offset the calories.

Well, I did dance for some 3 minutes. That’s 14 calories burned. This is silly, am I even proud of that 3 minute dance. God, I should’ve danced 10x longer! Had I danced for 30 minutes, there would’ve been 6 calories left. Sheesh.

Ugh. This post almost feels like a rant.

Before I get lost in this, lemme share what I cooked for lunch today:

Breakfast: coffee, a little bit of bacon

Morning Snack: my very own home-baked, no-yeast whole wheat bread –with some French strawberry jam

Lunch: Brown rice, Grilled Chicken Breast marinated in lime, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. I skipped the salt. +side dish of fresh cucumber slices in Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, and a little sugar and black pepper

Dinner: Chao Fan, 4 pieces FRIED  Siu Mai

Water: 1750ml

Can you believe my delicious lunch today was only 242 calories? And it even had meat! Halleluia!!! And rice! It was too good to be true, but it was true. And all it took was a simple preparation. Marinate, grill, that’s it.

Ugh. Can’t take my mind off the chao fan!

This is my signing out. Tomorrow is another day. Progress, not perfection.

Day 4: Cheating Creeps In

I was doing quite well today, very disciplined in watching my diet and religiously using the myfitnesspal app to monitor the nutrients I put into my body.

Until the evening came when I was invited for some beer. From someone who I can never resist.

So I gave in. Had an initial sip from the bottle, and another one. I was telling myself, “It’s okay, just make up for it with some exercise later.” Who was I fooling? It was almost midnight.

Oh well, I had another sip. Then I stopped. The geek in me measured how much I drank at that point, and logged into the app: Hite Beer, Generic 166.6ml – 72 calories.

June 10, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 1066 calories

+Exercise: 9 calories

=Remaining: 143 calories

In the end, I did not go beyond my calorie limit despite a few gulps of this Korean beer. Not bad!

I looked deeper into my stats. My carbs today reached 172g, 21g more than my target 151g. The analyst in me wanted to know where these 21g came from, and I pinpointed 2 culprits:

 

Brown Rice for dinner – 46g

Beer after dinner – 6.7g

French Fries to go with the beer – 4.7g

If only I had reduced the amount of brown rice for dinner, I would have made allowance for the 11.4g from the beer & fries.

For the coming days, I will reduce my brown rice from 1 cup to 3.4 cup. And I’m telling you, this is gonna be hard as I LOVE rice. Sigh.

Anyway, let’s look at my activity level for today. No dancing today.

June 10, 2017

Dance Workout: None

Number of steps: 1216 steps = 9 calories

Recommended steps: 10,000 steps

Yesterday, I talked about Mediterranean Diet but for today it’s more of Asian cooking. For dinner I cooked some string beans and squash in coconut milk, boosting my diet with Vitamin A from the Kabocha Squash (140% of target) — not bad! It’s been quite a while since I had multi-vitamin supplements since I vowed to get my nutrients from real food and not some pill. Need to eat more of these veggies if I wanna reach this goal.

I wonder if I have lost a few pounds from varying my diet. Here’s what I had today:

Breakfast: coffee

Morning Snack: an apple

Lunch: Brown rice, mackerel in natural oil, with turmeric

Dinner: Brown rice, string beans & squash in coconut milk

Post Dinner: Some beer and a few pieces of french fries

Water: 1750ml

Woohoo!!! I’m getting the hang of drinking more water! This is progress 🙂

No progress on the weighing scale though.

Tomorrow is another day.

 

Day 2: How a Bank Glitch Got Me Moving

Today, I applied the “technique” to trick my app myfitnesspal to “allow” me to eat a little bit more: I exercised.

But guess what? I didn’t do it on purpose. Well, at least initially.

Here’s my simple Bank Glitch Story

If it were not for that bank fiasco that happened today, I would have stayed in the comforts of my apartment and watched more YouTube videos of Dr. Axe. But because the entire bank system was down due to a “technical glitch” (they swore they were NOT hacked!), I was forced to get my butt off my seat and go to a physical, brick-and-mortar bank. Yes, I real bank! They do exist, you know!

Since the bank was just 1.5 km from my apartment, I had this brilliant idea to just walk going home. I was wearing my sneakers anyway, so it wouldn’t really be that hard.

June 8, 2017

Number of steps: 4,641

Recommended steps: 10,000

I know I barely made half of the required 10,000 steps, but who cares?! For me, it was a feat that made ME happy! This little trick translated to an extra 53 calories for me. Woohoo!!!

So for today, these are my metrics:

June 8, 2017

Goal: 1200 calories

-Food: 1248 calories

+Exercise: 53 calories

=Remaining: 5 calories

If it were not for the brisk walking I forced myself to do, I wouldn’t have enjoyed a little more of that linguine pasta for dinner.

Since I’m documenting even the food I eat, lemme share what I had today:

Breakfast: coffee

Lunch: 1 cup of cooked brown rice + sardines in tomato sauce

Afternoon Snack: coffee + 1 cup of sweet potato

Dinner: linguine pasta with some garlic, pimento-stuffed green olives, capers, lite tuna, and extra virgin olive oil

Water: 1500 ml

What’s Next

Tomorrow, I’ll do another form of activity just to keep it varied. Perhaps dance? There’s an old afro-latin dance workout that I’ve bookmarked in YouTube (it features a younger Marie Forleo) and I did enjoy the sweat out of that workout.

You should check it out. It’s entitled Dance Yourself Thin.

And a note to myself: buy a weighing scale.

Day 1: Starting Again

This it it.

June 7, 2017. Today, I’m starting AGAIN a new journey to lose weight. I’ve done it before and I’m gonna do it again. This time my goal is to lose 20 pounds.

Thanks to the app myfitnesspal that I’ve been using since 2012, I have a record of how much I weighed before:

June 7, 2013 –  143.0 lbs

July 30, 2014 – 124.5 lbs

What a coincidence! Exactly 4 years ago, I was in a similar dilemma. I was overweight by 20 pounds, and I felt sluggish. Ugh, even climbing up the stairs was such a chore. So I was really, really determined to lose these excess fats slowing me down.

I’m telling you — because of my love for food (my appetite is unparalleled), it was not an easy task. But after a year of changing my diet and lifestyle, I successfully lost 20 pounds. And I firmly believe in my heart that I can do it again.

Weight Loss: Know The Basics

For me, losing weight is simply mathematics. You have a body, you add things to it, and you subtract things from it. And you’re left with whatever is the “difference”. You have a body, you feed it with food (your fuel, so to speak), and you burn your fuel to do stuff a.k.a. activities. If you’re putting in too much fuel a.k.a. eating too much, and you’re not even burning them, you know what happens next. This is how I see it.

Armed with this perspective, I dive into my project to lose these 20 pounds.

To simplify, I am focusing on 2 things: how much I eat, and what activities I do.

How Much I Eat

Eating is probably one of my most (if not THE most) favorite life activities of all time. Bar none. I need it and I want it, both for sustenance and the sheer pleasure of it.

It wasn’t really much of a problem, until I hit my mid 30s when my metabolism began to slow down. Before that, I would eat like a stevedore and remain slim as a stick. It was a bragging right of mine, especially when I was with my colleagues at work. Those envious ones who wondered where I hid all the food I would gobble up.

And I didn’t even exercise. Didn’t go to the gym. Didn’t take up any sport. Nada. Zero.

Ah, those glory days are gone! It’s time to start again.

Using some online fitness tools, I calculated that I only need 1250 calories per day. I’m very familiar with calories so this was a no-brainer for me. Now I simply need to monitor what I eat, make sure I eat enough, and not to go beyond my goal. Simple.

June 7, 2017

Goal: 1250 calories

Food: 1020 calories

What Activities I Do

My daily activities revolve around working on my laptop and my iPhone, doing the weekly grocery, doing some light chores at home, cooking, driving, and of course, eating.

As you can see, these are not strenuous activities at all. Some would classify THIS as “sedentary” or maybe “lightly active”.

I know (based on my mathematical model) that if I do more stuff, I can eat more. This is one self-motivation thought that I use, being the food lover that I am.

So for today, how did I fare?

According to my iPhone Activity Tracker (which is linked to my myfitnesspal app), here are the number of steps I made today:

June 7, 2017

Number of steps: 784

Recommended steps: 10,000

This is not good. I know I gotta move more.

Tomorrow I will do better.