Saturday, 24 September 2011

Home-made Fajita Mix

One of my healthy dishes. But this turned out so delicious that it became my favourite fajita mix ever. And to make it healthier, instead of tortilla, I had it with wholemeal pitta bread. A little more difficult to eat, but the taste was no less wonderful. Of course a little guacamole can never hurt, but I couldn't be bothered to make that. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Day 6 - Result!

It's Saturday morning, and today is my first cheat day. I've already got plans for that, so decided to weigh and measure myself first thing in the morning to check if last five days of healthy eating has made any difference. 

It has. And I am amazed. I expected little difference, but certainly not this much, because get this - I haven't done ANY exercise. 

I have lost 3 pounds. But that's not the most important thing - because as we all know, weight fluctuates by a few pounds, so that might very well be back on tomorrow. No, the important thing is that overall I've lost 4 inches. That is what I am chuffed about. 

Up until now, whenever I've tried getting fit, I've focused only on weight. But I think that's a big mistake, because it only gives you one form of data and it can get demotivating if you don't see any changes, or worse, negative changes. So this time, along with weight I am also measuring Total Inches, which takes into account, waist, hips, thighs, arms, waist, neck. 

And even better news, out of those 4 inches, a whopping 1.5 inches was from the hips. My worst area. All this, and I haven't even had to starve myself at all.

To give you an idea, here is my food diary from Thursday. I keep it in Excel, in extreme detail. So that as soon as anything goes in my mouth, it goes in the spreadsheet. I think it is essential to keep a detail diary, so you can see - as a fact - what you are eating/drinking.

Food Diary:

06:50 - BREAKFAST - 2 Large Hard Boiled Eggs w. Black Pepper
07:15 - Water - 500 ml 
08:45 - Klix Cappuccino
09:55 - Water - 160 ml
10:38 - Klix White Coffee
12:00 - LUNCH - Home-made bean salad 
             Mixed Beans  (240g can), Lettuce, Tomato, Spring Onion, Sea Salt, Curry Powder,  
             Water - 160 ml
13:00 - Klix White Coffee
14:40 - Water - 640 ml
15:30 - Klix Minestrone Soup
15:30 - Water - 160 ml
15:55 - Water - 160 ml
16:02 - Water - 160 ml
18:30 - DINNER - 1 Wholemeal Large Pitta Bread, Home-cooked Lentils, Tomato & Onion 
             Salad with Sea Salt
20:50 - Black Percolator Coffee
21:20 - Water - 640 ml
22:20 - Black Percolator Coffee
23:00 - Water - 250 ml

Some explanations:

  • Klix is the vending machine we have at work.
  • Wherever I've data, I also write down calories in a particular fat, protein, carb and fat content
  • I specifically write down this detail about water is because I have to make a conscious effort to drink it otherwise I either forget, or am too lazy to get up and get it 
So there you have it. That's actually more than what I was eating most days before last week - except that before, most of my calories came from dinner and junk  - because I didn't have breakfast, and usually a can of soup or store bought sandwich for lunch. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Day 3

I started my healthy diet regime on Monday, and so far it's been three successful days, despite fate's numerous attempts to throw temptation in my ways. 

So what have I been doing?

First change has been the breakfast. The main plan here is to have protein heavy breakfast. 

On Monday, because my shopping had yet to arrive, I had a small can of red kidney beans. But since then, it's 2 boiled eggs sprinkled with black pepper (and I got to use my new egg boiler). I'm going to experiment with an omelette this weekend for a bit of variety. 

Lunch's been healthy too. I'm keeping carbs low - though not entirely out, because key is to make this a long-term plan. So when I eat bread with meals, I am sticking to wholemeal pitta bread, as I've yet to find anything better than that in terms of nutritional values. I've also spent some time cooking different things, and it's been fun. Left-overs are a godsend for next day's lunch, saving time. 

Dinner follows the same patter. Healthy food. So far it's been Indian style Okra with Pitta Bread, and Cauliflower with Pitta Bread, both with salads. 

I'm drinking more water. I simply can't manage to drink 8 glasses (4 litres). But by the end of the night, I get closer to 2.5 or 3 litres at the most. Though as a result of trying to drink more water, coffee intake at work as decreased - which is a good thing as I used to have endless parade of vending machine cappuccino or hot chocolate or mocha. So now, I've limited myself to one cappuccino and then coffee, though on really bad days, I might have a couple more :P 

So the temptation I was talking about ....well on Monday, there were two lots of cakes at work, all the chocolate muffins, and brownies staring at me, yet I resisted. Then there was the temptation to eat more of my favourite food, which I didn't. Now, I've been invited to a work dinner on Monday, and I said I'm busy (it's too early to start making exceptions). Saturdays are my junk eating days for now. 

Currently, regular exercise isn't part of my routine, because I really need to sort out when exactly can I do it. For now, I'm focusing on healthy eating, and will try to introduce little bit of regular exercise as I go. 

What about your fitness routines, goals, diets? How are you keeping up?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

New Name - New Mission

While I've been waiting for our fridge to be replaced, I've been thinking about this new diet plan. These last two weeks, I made food plans for 4HB plan, and thought more about the diet. But then, I have decided that I don't want to follow it exactly as it says, because it's not long-term sustainable without changes. (you can't eat any kind of bread/pasta/rice or any dairy except for a cheat day). I'd always intended to tweak it after the initial trial, so then I figured, I might as well start with an experiment that I might be able to sustain. One important principle I will be keeping from 4HB is to have a cheat day. I think that's essential, because that gives one leave to put off eating junk for five days, as oppose to never.

But otherwise, I'm going to put more emphasis on eating healthy, lowering calorie intake, tracking absolutely everything I eat. Now, I do hope to add some exercise to this routine, but my first goal is to change my eating, so if I don't exercise much, I won't beat myself up about it. One thing at a time.

We are hoping to get a replacement fridge tomorrow, but the advantage of this diet - as oppose to 4HB - is that I can start from Monday whether or not we've a fridge because I won't be restricted to limited ingredients and therefore don't have to cook in big batches to save time during working week.

I'm still working on final details of this plan, and will share more details as I work them out.
My goal is to lose 33 lbs. That would take me to my "absolute perfect" weight. I do realise that it may not be very realistic for me, because the last time I was that weight was about 13 years ago. But it's my ideal goal post, so I am going to aim for it, since this is supposed to be a life-time experiment.  

Are you following any fitness regimes or diets? Are you trying to lose weight? I would love to hear about your journey.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Doomed Beginning

I have been planning to start this new experiment on Monday. I got all excited about it, and had a shopping list so I would be prepared. I was all set to go to the supermarket, but first thing in the morning, what do we find? The fridge wasn't working. That put a damper on my plans. I can't very well go and buy all this fresh stuff and I can't cook extra food to store and use over two or three days without the fridge. So currently, I'm still debating whether I will start this challenge on Monday or not. Probably not if the fridge isn't working, because as I have mentioned before, planning is a key to make this successful. I simply don't have time to go shopping for fresh things every day, and then cook every day. So just hoping fridge thing will be sorted soon, and perhaps I won't have to delay my plans. Being forced to change my plans because of circumstances I can't control stresses out the control freak in me to no extent.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Yesterday, when I went to the supermarket, I almost got carried away and wanted to start this new diet straight away. I resisted the impulse, and I'm glad I did. I am using this time wisely to do research, read about people who have followed this, plus get some recipes and meal plan. 

Preparation and organisation will be critical to the success, I think. Because the last thing you want when you are trying to stick to a particular diet is to come home and find there is nothing suitable left in the house (in which case my first impulse to decide which take away to call). 

Another thing is due to lack of time, I don't want to waste time trying to decide what I can make. So I want a meal plan. That should make things easier. I've got the basics - I will finalise it after a trip to the supermarket based on what I can find as I would really rather not make a special trip to some whole-food place, which would mean going quite a bit of distance away. 

But I must admit, I'm really getting into the spirit of this. There is a lot of interesting stuff I can make, and seeing as I am going to repeat certain meals per week, it will be more a question of narrowing down options. So far, so good. 

And the icing on the cake (perhaps, I should forget about cakes) is that I've a week off from work next week, so it's perfect time to start this, and try cooking new things, and most importantly, get used to eating a proper breakfast. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Four Hour Body - The Plan

On Sunday, I read Tim Ferris' book "4 Hour Body." I didn't read the whole book, because for once I followed instruction. Ferris says that read the chapters relevant to you - I did read few extra things, but I got his point. If I'd tried to read all the sections, it would be information overload, and frankly, I find diet stuff complicated enough as it is.

Now, usually I am totally against diets because I strive for "lifestyle change" since that is more sustainable. Diets are not. Also, I love food, so I don't particularly want to starve myself. So until now, my goal (not always successful) has been to become more active, eat everything in moderation. It's not a bad goal - but it's difficult when you hate exercise, and don't find time for it because other things feel more important. Note, I didn't say "don't have time" because I firmly believe that we have time for anything we really want to do. For me, there are other things I really want to do, so I give them priority.

So why am I interested in this diet? Because I think with a few tweaks, it could actually be a lifestyle change, and not a diet. If you follow Ferris' formula to the letter, it is supposed to be a slow-carb diet for 6 days, with 1 cheat day to eat anything you want. But for those 6 days, no white stuff or anything that could be white (rice, pasta, potatoes, bread). This is the hardest thing for me, since I eat pasta several times per week, and rice at other times, or bread. This is my favourite food group.

Also no dairy, except for cottage cheese in moderation and little bit of cream in the coffee. For me, this isn't a huge deal. I drink a lot of coffee, so I might end up with more cream allowance, but other than that, no big deal.

There are other rules, but these are the ones that have the strongest impact on me.

Oh and breakfast. You are supposed to eat breakfast ideally within 30 minutes of waking up, at latest within 1 hour. Generally, I don't eat breakfast, and if I do, it's toast or cereal. None of that in this diet. So that's going to be toughie for me - not only because I can't imagine eating lentils or salad in the morning, but also because I leave for work at 7:10, and don't particularly want to cook in the morning, so I am going to have find quick, easy means to accomplish this.

Another tricky thing is that I'm vegetarian. This diet can be done even for vegetarians, but like anything, it's harder with restrictions. So I'm looking for things I can eat, especially protein. Easiest thing is to eat eggs - but for years, I've detested eggs, so I'm going to give them another try, and see if I like them. Because they seem much better breakfast option than beans or lentils.

Ferris claims that you can lose up to 20lbs in 30 days. From Internet records, it seems to be more successful for men. Some women have lost weight, but overall, I haven't seen as many records for females. Also, we all have different bodies etc. so you can't expect exact same results. If I lose 10 lbs in 30 days, I'll be okay with that, though of course more is better. In fact, if I lose 20lbs then that will actually take me very close to my "perfect" weight.

So what I've decided to do is follow Ferris' rule to the letter for 30 days, with minimal exercise. I will see if it works for me. If it does, then my intention after 30 days is to try and maintain that weight by increased exercise, and little leeway on diet, so for example, eating small amounts of bread or pasta etc. But initially, if this can give me a quicker weight loss then it will motivate me more to maintain it. Because let's face it, we are a society of instant gratification.

I don't expect this to be easy, but because I'm looking at this as 30 day challenge, it seems much more achievable and much less daunting. Goal setting in small, steady steps works much better, I have found. So I'm going to take this week to buy necessary things, figure out what I can eat and make sure to have a meal plan ready, maybe even do some advance cooking so I won't lapse, and then from next Monday, 29th of August, this challenge officially begins.