Monday, November 19, 2007

Hand Injury

It's been a month since my last workout and I feel very sluggish and out of shape. I've been doing cardio but not as often and as intense as I should be doing. Last October 21, during a basketball game, I injured my right 4th metacarpal shaft. It's a complete fracture meaning the bone is not just dislocated but it's broken and disjoined. I was depressed when I got the x-ray results 25 days after the incident. It showed minimal callous formation and an operation is needed. But my Ortho Surgeon gave me and my bone another two weeks to heal after which, if my bone and I fail, I would have to undergo an operation. And since I have a heart condition, a general anaesthesia is needed before the operation. Several local anesthesia might do harm to my heart.

Two weeks is all I've got! Well I'm ready for anything, operation or not I just want my arm back in full capacity so I can get back to my workouts next year!

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Friday, November 9, 2007

My Transformation

A year ago, I eat what I felt I want to eat, drink a lot of beers four nights a week, and smoke till my throat bleed. During my rest days, I buried myself under heaps of pillows in front of my large-screen TV. DVD series are the usual target. The only time I get to stand was when I have to visit the comfort room or feel hungry, and hungry always I was! Roasted pig, fried chicken with skin on, roasted chicken liver, fried pork and everything that are so high in cholesterol plus sacks of rice are the usual meals awaiting me as I have my break. Immediately after eating as much as a thousand and more calories in one seating I go back to my room either to finish the movie or doze off. Exercise was pretty much taken out of my vocabulary.

I was extremely obese, slouchy, slothful, and many other adjective you can think of to describe a young fat person. I don’t usually talk about this, but yes even my sex life was all gone. I’ve lost my energy and any exertion of force has become a great burden. All my clothes were sized extra large and still my bulges are evident.

Looking back, I cannot imagine I even felt satisfied at that time. I was happy because I eat what I like and drink all I want. But all ‘good’ things have to end. November of 2006, I felt pain in my left arm leading to my left chest. A simple shrugged was needed and it went away. As the days went by, the pang I felt was becoming more intense and recurring more often. Once I played basketball, going up and down the court twice made my chest wanting to burst. The pain was unbearable and I have to sit and request for substitution. I decided to see a doctor but I was sure I would be told to stop or avoid fatty foods and alcohol. But the yuletide season was fast approaching and I can’t afford to skip all the sumptuous food and alcoholic beverages that goes with it. So I decided to live my life until December 2006 and see a cardiologist after the year.

January 2007, my cardiologist was very sure the results of my Thallium stress test would come out negative as I was too young. Thallium stress test is a type of nuclear scanning test or myocardial perfusion imaging test. It shows how well blood flows to the heart muscle. It’s usually done along with an exercise stress test on a treadmill or bicycle. My results? It showed the blood in my heart was considerably depleted when at stress meaning there is a possibility that one of my major arteries was clogged with plaque. I am dangerously close to a myocardial infarction. I was shocked. I cannot believe at age 28 I already have a coronary artery disease, although further tests were needed to verify such. Still it was an eye opener of great magnitude. Then and there I made a decision that will forever change the course of my life.

I am more than willing to share my journey from a 210-lb fat guy to a lean 150-lb reborn man (Left Picture, October 2006, 210 lbs; Right Picture March 2008, 150 lbs). I hope you'll find the links and inputs I have given helpful. As a Filipino in the Philippines, I am so much into food and meriendas (snacks), a meal is not a meal without starchy white rice, and a sweet dessert and iced soda is a good compliment for a complete meal. It's also hard to avoid 'handaans' (parties) for birthdays, christening, weddings, yuletide season, and even death anniversaries. These occasions usually come with roasted pork, fried chicken, hotdogs, rice, soda, beers, and almost no vegetable at all; if there were seafood, they come fried. To add temptation, we have cheap yet tasty victuals sold in the streets. I’m talking about fried tempura and fishballs, fried ngohiong, siomai, and roasted pork (barbeque). These street food are usually fried or comes from pork fat. Choose your enemy. It is indeed very hard to live a healthy life when all you see around are exactly the opposite. But hey, if I can, why can’t you?

I believe my transformation started with a positive outlook. I conditioned my mind into believing that a change is needed as soon as possible and it is achievable. I read hundreds of articles pertaining to health, exercise, and nutrition. The more articles I read, the more aware I am of the things I put inside me. I was surprised to read some articles over and over yet it is as if it was my first time to have chanced upon it. My brain was hungry for information and I obliged. If you want to change your body, you have to use the one that controls it, your mind. You equip yourself with knowledge; it is your ammunition as you go forward for battle. You can read very informative articles in www.bodybuilding.com, www.ediets.com, www.americanheart.org and a lot more, just google it up.

Face it and never deny. You know you are out of shape and don’t justify the bulges you see in the mirror. You know how you feel when you climb up the stairs and you know how uncomfortable you are with your undersized shirt. Don’t reason out and accept the fact that your body needs a change. That is a solid start.

Tell your peers, your family, and the woman at the grocery store that you’re trying to loose weight. They will help you remind that you are living healthy. If your friends are as fat as you are chances are they will tempt you but have resolve. It’s a great feeling afterwards to say no to a temptation plus the fact that you’re gaining ground against your overweight friends.

You did not gain the excess weight overnight; you will not lose it overnight. I personally put on weight with four to five times a week drinking extra strong beers while feasting on roasted pork, chicharon, mango dipped in bagoong, and lots of junk foods. The morning after the drinking session was a nightmare. I devour everything in sight and I crave for fried pork and sweets then sleep like a child for hours. It amazes me but I gained the weight in almost three years, considering my lifestyle, three years is a long time. To lose the weight, it’s a long-term plan. I will not even suggest for you to be on a diet. Instead, have a dietary lifestyle change. You hear diets here and diets there and almost all fail! Why? Because after months of eating crap and depriving yourself, you’re lucky not to lose your mind, you go back to where you were once happy. You eat junk again. You gain all the weight you’ve lost, and then some. A dietary lifestyle change is a change for good. It is a realization and a life-changing decision that we should make. You have to tell yourself to eat healthy food from now on not just for the next six months or so but from now until the rest of your life.

Don’t ever forget to take a ‘before’ picture of yourself, weigh in and take measurements. So many people who won the battle against the bulge are upset with themselves for not taking pictures of their fatter versions. Common sense dictates that people don’t want to take a picture of themselves and see the real them. Have a progress picture every month, this way you can monitor your development and even lapses and try to correct them.

Motivation is a fuel that makes you jog another lap around the oval; it makes you pass on that cookies n cream flavored ice cream. It’s a goal and where success is ultimately accessed. Motivation comes in so many forms. It could be a nagging wife, a beating husband, an irritating friend, a sneer by tambays looking at your fat ass, a chick next door, a dream swimwear, an old picture of you. Use it to your advantage.

Calories in less than Calories out. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the meaning of that. You take in less than what you need. You create a calorie deficit by doing this. Our body needs a certain amount of calories to last the day just doing the normal routine without exercising. Take for example you need 2000 calories for your basal activities in a day, if you consume 1700 calories a day you create a 300 calorie deficit. The body then looks for other resources for this deficit and other resources happens to be you stored fat in your belly, behind, arms, legs, basically your fat body. Now if you do this religiously, you are on your way to losing that belly! But not as good as bringing it a notch higher.

Exercise is a tool to help you not look like someone who has some dreaded disease after loosing much weight. You don’t want those sagging excess skin when you begin to lose fat now do you? You want to be firm and sexy. Exercise will help in burning up your stored glycogen and eventually your stored adipose tissues. Our body is designed not just to sit or sleep it is designed to do work and work you must do. Begin with simple neglected daily exercise like avoiding to call ‘inday’ to do this and that when you can easily do it yourself, walk as often as you can, be it from the office to the carenderia, to the mall, from one block to another. It’s a healthy way to see fresh faces around the neighborhood. Push yourself to the limit if you can walk one kilometer the first week, you should do twice week after that. You will be surprise how 5 kilometers of walking is so easy and fun in a month’s time. Climbing a flight of stairs in a 10-floor building can be achieved in a month or two. I started taking the stairs up to the 4th floor in my first month and pushed myself for another 2 floors every month. Now, I climb the stairs up to the 16th floor in three minutes time and immediately continue jogging around a 100-meter space 25 times. Just yesterday, I climb the stairs up to the 16th and back, 5 times! It’s all about pushing yourself to make another personal limit to avoid having plateaus.

Lifting weights may not be ideal to most of us but it is essential in fat loss. The myth believed by many especially women is they will gain muscles and look like Incredible Hulk. How I wish it’s that easy to have muscles, it’s not easy at all! By genetics, women cannot gain muscles like those of men, and we’re not even talking about lifting heavy here. Light weights are enough to have a firm look on you flabby arms and legs. And with more muscles, fat loss is at an optimum.

Drink water, lots of them. You’ve heard and read about this a thousand times you need 8 glasses of water everyday, it’s not enough! You need more than that to flush out the toxins out of your body, to replenish your body with water since you are sweating a lot due to exercises. Plus it tricks your body to thinking you are full and you have enough food already. Say goodbye to soda or even iced tea, it has a considerable amount of sugar.

Vegetables are palatable! Onions, broccoli, ampalaya, okra, lettuce are my personal favorites. Don’t use too much salt or MSG in preparing your veggies, vinegar is a better alternative. You should consume carbohydrates (40%), protein (45%) and fat (15%) for your daily consumption. Your carbohydrates should come from your veggies and fruits. Cut back on rice, white bread and pasta. Eat a lot of chicken without the skin and tuna. They are rich in protein and should help you maintain the fat loss. Good fat is in avocado and peanuts. On a personal note, there was a time when I didn’t eat rice in five weeks and shocking as it may sound I felt good! I'm back to eating rice now but not as much as I used to. Spread out your meals if possible, take 5 to 6 small meals. For your usual breakfast, take half of it say 7AM, the other half 3 hours after, then you have a healthy cracker and water 2 hours after, 5 lb chicken breast and veggies around 5PM and so on. Plan your meals. Trust me it’s exciting and fun not to mention it will rev up your metabolism!

Occasionally, have a drink or two, have a slice of cake, roasted pork, humba, or pizza. To us serious on this matter of training and hard work, we call this CHEAT day. Just be sure to go back on track immediately the day after. No Ifs and Buts; a reward was given now back to work. Cheat days are normal and will keep you sane just be sure not to go overboard.

I hope I served as a motivation for you! Do drop a line for questions.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Beer and Rice

I’ve been thinking about this post for quite a long time now and I feel it would help me a lot with my problem if I see this blog quite often enough. It is very hard for me to do away with starchy white rice. For us, it’s a way of life. It’s like the meal, however the food tastes, is not fulfilling without it. But for the last couple of months I’ve learn to cut down on rice and it resulted to a considerable weight loss. I don’t crave for it as much as I did. I find other substitute for my tongue, usually, green leafy vegetables and green tomatoes do the job. I don’t usually go to parties because surely with the adobos, lechon (roasted pig), I will be tempted to pig out on rice. I only eat rice like four times a week only. On rice, I think I won the battle. But another thing just wont go away.

An ice cold beer…

Eleven months into my transformation, I’ve lose a total of 60 lbs! But in that same time frame, I’ve been drinking beer a lot, twice a week with my fraternity brothers. A single drinking session usually amounts to five 500ml Extra Strong Beer, San Miguel’s Red Horse. That equates to 5 Liters of beer every week! Imagine my fat loss would be if I hadn’t been drinking a lot! I don’t like Light beers, they’re tasteless and the crazy kick of the beer just isn’t there. To worsen the situation, the day after is usually sleep, eat a lot and skip the gym! How can I change this?

I hope I will have the resolve as I had when I said goodbye to cigarettes 10 months ago

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