Friday, December 28, 2012


‘Tis the season to be merry and to eat, and so eat we did.
Most likely by today, some people, like me, are already worried with how much food we’ve consumed over the holidays. The weighing scale becomes a detested companion, and we resolve to delay the “big reveal” until the last bite of the year end feast.  Some people even laugh off and mock the now defunct 2012 End of the World scare by saying, “Too bad the world didn’t end when I ate like there’s no tomorrow the whole year round.”
The ‘post-gobble guilt,’ as I’d call this agony, usually leads me to self-imposed hibernation and quarantine until I’ve dieted pitilessly enough to emerge similar to how I looked during pre-Christmas time. I used to think this is the easiest and fastest way to lose the holiday gain. Well, this year I’m doing things differently by taking the road less traveled.

I know I am not the most credible person to take diet tips from. I’m no health practitioner. I closed the chapter on dancing and working out from the time I got pregnant, and simply just yoyo-ed my weight through the years with fad diets and starvation. I’m sure my friends who’d read this would go “Is that you?” right at the next paragraphs.
However, just a few weeks ago, , I’ve learned a couple of points which helped change how I see and eat food --- thanks to my man-friend who is a passionate sports and health fanatic. Though it took quite a lot of strength to fight my zzz’s as he went on with his sagacious discourse on the metabolic jargon, weight management, and calorie burning routines, the bits and pieces my brain managed to absorb seem sensible and doable even for working moms like me. To be a steadfast follower of this healthy living is now my goal even before I bid 2012 goodbye. Imagine, after close to seven years of fast food (in the literal sense), my daughter exclaims, for the first time, “Wow! There are fruits and vegetables in the ref now, Mommy!”

Let’s keep it real. I’m sure none of us women gained 20 pounds after 2 weeks of Christmas dinners. However, 10 pounds would be a bit more difficult to lose than 20. The closer you are to your normal weight, the more stubborn the excess poundage becomes to lose.  The only way to beat the dreaded plateau is to watch what you feed yourself and understand how metabolism works. This is no rocket science, it’s basically about striking balance without deprivation.

The slow burn to your dream body is probably because of the myths you (and I) believe in. Rice, they say, makes us fat and bread is the better option. Truth be told, it’s just the amount of rice we take that makes us fat. Some would even go for a strictly low sugar diet, while the healthier option would be to move to preservative-free food. Time and again, I’ve heard doctors debunk diet myths which eat our approach to fitness.

“Great bodies are simply not born, they are made.” Despite our differences in genetic makeup, we can still reprogram our body to change its shape. Some of us are blessed with good genes of small frame and speedy metabolism.  If you are constantly feeling lethargic, constipated, and vulnerable to headaches and flu, chances are you have a slow metabolism. Instead of depriving yourself to a few bites over a 3-meal diet, eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours. This will ignite your metabolism to work faster and adjust to the proper rhythm, and keep your stress hormones in check.
Eating well balanced meals is just the tip of the iceberg, but knowing how often and how much is totally a different story. Those who tend to starve themselves to thinness unknowingly kill their metabolism and adapt a grouchy state of mind.  Tech savvy-wise, it’s helpful to have a pocket light friend who calculates the calories you take. This usually comes in the form of a phone application featuring an easy- eat guide that keeps you within your calorie and metabolic range. It doesn’t tell you what to eat. It helps you properly distribute your calorie-limit all throughout the day by doing the math on how much calories there are in each plate. What makes this gadget perfect in this generation and lifestyle is how it aids you in carving out a plan for yourself that lets you breathe and enables you to eat out in restaurants.

Warning: do not mistake cravings for hunger pangs. Cravings would make you drool for either something sweet or salty, while true blue hunger makes you want a satisfying and filling meal to ease the growling inside.
Stepping out of a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t mean you over-exercise. Do not go on a gym binge. A maximum of 2 hours per day is enough --- anything more than that will make you look tired and fat. Too much exercise releases stress hormones and your body can’t cope with too much stress.  If you are maintaining an action-packed schedule, you need to back it up with proper nutrients. Depriving yourself with food when your body needs it will only deteriorate your immune system and slow down your metabolism. This results to catabolism, which is the negative way of burning. It just eats on your body components and slows down your muscle activity, which is the important engine in burning fat. It’s better to maintain an active and balanced lifestyle to convert calories to energy and not fat.

This simple shift in lifestyle is no boot camp. This baby-step to fitness is as simple as cutting down on food that are preceded by the words “junk,” “processed,” and “fast.” Don’t fall prey to a languid lifestyle and start maximizing your day with proper nutrients and activities. Not only will you start shaping up and look better, but you’ll feel happier and more productive day in and day out.
Story published in my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A4, INdulge section, Edge Davao, Vol. 5 Issue 212, 27 December 2012.


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