The past two weeks were incredibly difficult for me. It’s safe to say you know what I mean when I say I was so close to falling off the wagon yet again.
My trainer, Gary measures our weight loss in terms of fat loss rather than overall weight loss on a scale. This is especially important because most of us are obsessed with the scale which takes into account muscle mass, fat mass, water mass etc! Who wants to lose muscle or water? Now I know I don’t!
Anyway, coming from DC I had lost 2kg of fat while I was on my ‘holiday!’ Every second of being cautious and calculated during that holiday had paid off!
That week we started training outdoors and I couldn’t wait to see how much I had lost at the end of that week! By we, I mean my husband and I, a male and a female. I lost 0.5kg and he lost 1.7kg!!!!!!!! I felt like my whole plan was crumbling down and I played every action, every meal in my head over and over again. What did I do wrong? I was stricter than he was, I pushed harder…what did I do wrong?
At that moment, I didn’t know but today I know that the answer is nothing. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m a woman and he’s a man, we are built to function differently.
Women naturally store more fat whereas men are inclined to forming more lean muscle. Men have a faster metabolism than women. Read more!
It has been the best experience doing this with my husband, changing our lives together but that day I was shellshocked! I was this close to saying bye bye to all the hard work. I broke down and felt there was nothing more I could physically do. I know many of you are nodding along to this oh too familiar feeling but this time my mind was stronger. After that scan, I did my session! I killed it! No scale in this world can take away how you feel! I had never felt better in my life and I wasn’t going to throw it away because some electronic equipment generated some shocking result!
Two things pushed me through:
1. I wasn’t gaining weight or plateauing, I had lost 0.5kg which is better than nothing! I was becoming too greedy!
2. Only I am the judge of how I used to feel and how I feel today. I choose today’s feeling!
So ditch that scale and listen to your body. Follow your progress by measuring your body or trying on clothes that didn’t fit you, if you really need to visualize it. You know yourself better than anyone else and you should be the judge of your progress!
At my last scan, I had lost a total of 7kg of fat in 3 months. I felt great but not as great as I did when I crossed that finish line completing my first 5k at under 39 minutes! That was the real measure of how far I had come! From a couch potato to running a 5k!
As I head to Bangladesh today for my brother’s wedding, I know another test is ahead of me. This time I actually get to test out my new lifestyle in the place where I will eventually live! Of course it will be challenging but it is so unbelievably worth it!
Set yourself realistic goals, listen to your body and remember this is your journey, when you give up you end up back to square one, instead push yourself on the hardest days because those small steps are the ones that really matter. Everyday you come out stronger, empowered and happier with who you really are! You owe that to yourself!
This week was extra special! It was my birthday followed by my husbands. The person that I am I had to celebrate it to the fullest!
It’s really easy to dread any upcoming celebration when you are trying to lead a new lifestyle. I was brainstorming for weeks trying to figure out what to do for our birthdays, the healthier way!
I had a lunch party for my cousins and really also a way for me to show them that healthy foods can be just as delicious!
Seafood salad with chili, lime and coriander dressing
(I simply cooked the seafood with the sweet chili sauce and added in lime and coriander. Tossed that with salad greens!)
Cilantro brown rice
( Warm brown rice + 1 tbsp olive oil + salt + coriander + lime)
Fresh salsa and guacamole ( one of my friends made this!)
Cheese platter and flavored waters
Brownies ( I will add this recipe at a later date as it did not turn out exactly as I wanted, some liked it some didn’t so…..)
Every dish was wiped clean! YAY! I also gave the sweet chili sauces as birthday party favors 😀
Since our birthdays were on a weekday, well mine was, I had the lunch party on a Sunday before. I felt so pleased being able to feed my family what I was eating on a daily basis and what was making us feel so good! It wasn’t a no carb thing nor was it a huge table full of death warrants, it was something I could feed my guests, guilt-free!
Moving onto the mandatory midnight cake cutting ritual, I was really hell bent on not eating a cake at midnight!! I mean I know it was my birthday but c’mon it just didn’t make sense! I have recently discovered my love for unsweetened fat free greek yoghurt and I thought why not a parfait? My husband and I put it together and it looked as great as it tasted!! We scrapped it off! It was full of goodness rather than refined sugars and butter. I didn’t think it would do the job but it clearly did as I repeated the same parfait for Zayed’s birthday, candles and all!
You can layer is however YOU want! Add any fruits YOU want! So no sieving through prepackaged yoghurt bowls of the things you don’t like! It is also a great mid day snack!
What do you need?
Unsweetened fat free greek yoghurt, you can also use natural yoghurt
Sugar free granola or any sugar free muesli or cereal
Fruits of choice
Acacia honey or any good quality honey
Easy to make, full of nutrients and great for your body!
I know this is getting quite long but here’s the last part of the ‘homemade’ birthday celebration! I made my husband brunch in bed!
It was the perfect weekend brunch and it allowed us to ‘cheat’ without feeling devastated about it! I mean if you call 1/2 cup of flour cheating! 😉 He was ecstatic saying that he wanted to eat really slowly as he was afraid to finish it! Success!
There’s no reason to be scared about falling of the wagon during a celebration nor is there a reason to make yourself believe that it is okay to fall of the wagon because it’s your birthday! I worked out twice on my birthday and went to my favorite japanese restaurant for the the miso black cod! I couldn’t be happier with the way I felt, this isn’t a fad diet or a crash diet, this is my life!
Happy birthday to us!
In my last post, I mentioned the benefits of these tiny, relatively inexpensive seeds!
In Bangladesh, a substitute for these seeds is basil seeds or ‘tokma.’ They are usually taking during the month of Ramadan to keep feeling fuller for longer. They have the same properties as chia seeds whereby they swell up upon contact with liquids.
You can make these cups for a week at a time and they are really delicious for that afternoon pick me up snack or dessert cravings. They are slow releasing so they also work really well as a snack pre work out giving you the fuel to push through, thats when I usually take it.
Everyone needs that bit of chocolate in their lives, I know I do! This is a great dessert packed with nutrients and satisfies that sweet tooth.
What do you need for chocolate chia pudding cups?
2 tbsp chia seeds (black or white)
1/2 cup of fresh almond milk or skim milk or unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder or baking cocoa powder
1.5 tsp honey, you can increase it to your liking
Shaved chocolate for garnish
Mix all the ingredients together, fill cups and chill overnight. Serve with fruits and shaved chocolate.
You will make 6/7 shooter cups
What do you need for vanilla chia puddings?
2 tbsp chia seeds (black or white)
1/2 cup of fresh almond milk or skim milk or unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
1 tsp honey
You will make 6/7 shooter cups
Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and fill shooter cups. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy! You can add more honey or nuts or fresh fruits on top when enjoying this cup of deliciousness.
I also add them directly to my morning smoothie. You can sprinkle them over your salad or soup. There is no one way to enjoy this superfood!
This food plan that I follow is the one devised by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. Their bestselling book “Fit for Life” was first published in 1985, and was re-released in 2010 and contains information in details. Buy the book
Here are the basics:
You must only eat fruit, homemade smoothies in this period. No coffee, tea, toast etc. You can drink herbal teas, and water. This works as fruits have their own digestive enzymes and only takes 20-35 minutes to digest. Fruits also contain fructose which will aid you to give up sucrose, refined sugar!
Carbohydrate + Vegetables (preferably steamed as it holds most nutrients)
Protein + Vegetables (preferably steamed as it holds most nutrients)
Do not mix carbohydrates with proteins. Protein is digested by acid and carbohydrates are digested by alkaline. Alkaline cancels out acid and so the food consumed is not properly assimilated and is very difficult to digest.
Do not eat fruit after a main meal as it will ferment your meal.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil to main meals.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a protein that is easier and quicker to absorb than protein found in most foods. While this is convenient, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is better than foods. Protein is required to repair the tears in muscles from strenuous and intense exercise. When you put stress upon your muscles, you cause tears that actually break down the muscles. And yes this means that technically by working out you are causing your muscles to become weaker.
When you consume protein, whether it be whey, soy, etc, the tears get repaired. Not only do these tears get repaired to their original state but rather the tears become more adapted to exercise, thus leading to strength gains.
Taking Whey Protein After A Workout
After a workout, your body is starved for energy, or at least is looking for where it can get some to refuel. Typically when your body is searching for sources of energy either from exercise or prolonged stages of under-consumption, it absorbs nutrients much easier.
The time after working out is important, how long do you have to capitalize on taking the protein? Roughly 40 minutes is the best time to chow down.
After your post-workout protein, it is best to eat at least every 2 hours for 6 hours afterwards. Just because you had your post-workout meal does not mean that your body is done searching for energy to recover. This is also the perfect time to take your multi vitamins as it gets absorbed the fastest!
It’s good to be back home, rejuvenated from a month long holiday! Even though I followed my London routine while I was away, it’s simply not the same.
I used to be pretty much like a sloth before; I went to school, ate whatever, sedentary mostly, sleeping at strange hours (with sleep aid), woke up past noon. Oh! It was a mess!! And by the way I was always tired or felt sick just ask my husband or sisters.
Looking at my everyday now, I must say I have come a long way in just a few short months. Remember it takes 21 days to form a habit!
My day starts with me craving for the fruit smoothie. Blitz the fruits with some spinach and kale. Add in matcha green tea and then stir in some chia seeds.
I drink half of the smoothie an hour before training.
Train with Gary for an hour and half. By that time I am dead beat!
Within 20 mins of training, I drink a whey protein shake with water followed by multivitamins that’s when your body is craving for all that goodness! Then i head to work feeling quite full. At some point before lunch, I take the remaining portion of the smoothie.
I take lunch around 12:30 pm which consists of carbohydrates + veggies
Between lunch and dinner, I have 2 snacks.
Snack # 1: Either apple with nut butter or seeds or porridge. Anything that is slow releasing. Fruit or milk chia puddings are great too.
Snack # 2: Another whey protein shake with water.
Then I take dinner by 7:30 pm which consists of proteins + veggies
Why this food plan?
Around 9:30 pm I drink some chamomile or herbal tea
By 10:30 pm, I am already dying to sleep. This is so unlike me but I love it!
And all day I drink a lot of water (4 liters) in many forms and keep nuts and seeds handy. You never want to feel hungry thats a sign of your metabolism slowing down.
You just have to make it work around your schedule. Everyone’s life is different and there is no template to getting it just perfect. You devise your own plan and make it work for you! Just remember to add in all the goodness so each day you are one step towards your goal. Everything you put into your body should have a reason, when something doesn’t thats when you toss it out!
You decide what goes into your body, it deserves the best!
We are fighting a battle against the world just to lead a healthy life. Most governments have relaxed food regulations simply because of the lobbying that takes place by the largest companies in the world, the ‘low fat’ products are tweaked with higher sugar contents, the ‘heart healthy’ label is just a show and the foods that are the worst for your health are the cheapest and most easily available! So really we are up against the world to help ourselves just to lead a healthy lifestyle which we should be taking for granted.
When someone is overweight, they know it. They live it everyday, struggling to decide how to reach their goal or the body they once had. The journey to living a healthier lifestyle is definitely not only physical, if it were you could train as hard as ‘physically’ capable and there you’d have it. Its 80% mind and 20% body, take it from me! A person who has tried numerous fad diets and exercise routines relentlessly till I fell off the wagon and realized I am back to square one. This time when I made this decision, I knew conditioning my mind would take priority over training ‘really’ hard for these short bursts so I decided to look at the reality of it all.
How the hell did this happen to me?
Before I began to drown into the self-loathing side of thinking this is all my fault, I looked around me. I wasn’t born craving a brownie or other complex carbohydrates, these addictive toxins were introduced to us from an early age. Our parents became the first victims of the ‘fast food’ era and at that time with limited information and understanding, whatever was branded well, worked! It was almost thought of as a luxury to serve Coke during dinners back when we were toddlers or eating a happy meal at McDonalds when you went on vacation. Our bodies which were like well oiled machines built to fight the harshest of weathers had now gotten a taste of the sugars and complex carbohydrates and thus the beginning of the end!
I get it, most people blame the overweight person for reaching where they are but what about the alarming rate of obese children? Are they heading to the grocery store feeding themselves junk food? I don’t think so. As the new generation of parents/ parents to be or the parents will be, you have all the information in the palm of your hands to save your children! Our parents weren’t so lucky but we are, so there’s no excuse! Speak up in school, get together with other mothers, speak up to the people who might be introducing these toxins to your children; I’m sure you would if someone was providing your toddler drugs!!
In this context, my nieces’ school in London has implemented such guidelines to help the parents and children. Ultimately your child spends most of their time in school so its the perfect place to start! They are taught which ones are ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods, you can’t give sugary goodies for lunch and when its a child’s birthday, you treat all the other kids to a variety of fruits! This way my niece tells her mother what she wants to eat and as a 4 year old has enough knowledge to decide to eat more ‘good’ foods than ‘bad’ foods. I know you are probably thinking you can’t deny your children chocolates all of a sudden and I’m not telling you to either, start replacing it with fruit sugars and take it from there. Become the first parents to have healthy foods at their birthday party, talk to the schools to introduce such guidelines and imagine the difference you can make for all these children. It’s the best for your baby!
So back to understanding how I got to this point, I realized now that being raised with the constant availability of such ‘bad’ foods had resulted in this and when I went to boarding school there was no one to control my eating and the body adjusted to taking in larger amounts of these toxins. From then on as a 16 year old, I remember my struggle had already started. The crash diets, the short burst of working out and then giving up. My body wanted to lose the weight but my mind was addicted and it would convince me that it was okay to have whatever I wanted. The mind is a powerful authority.
As I got older, this vicious ‘yo-yo’ cycle continued because I had always tried the short cut diets and workouts which are fed into society by companies minting money off of people’s self loathing attributes. You lose water, maybe half a pound of fat and lots of muscle and you are in awe because you’ve lost 10 lbs in a week! Believe me, I was a victim every time. It’s funny because while it’s difficult to feel good carrying all that extra weight, you adjust to loving temporary moments of happiness to compensate like wearing expensive bags or shoes. Start investing in your health because honestly, if your body isn’t there who’s going to wear the expensive bags and shoes anyway? What will those bags do when you can’t run around with your child? Nothing.
Today, I am in a much happier place because I have accepted the fact that it will take time to undo what I have done to my body over 10 years. At least I am closer to my goal today than I was 3 months ago. I will be honest with you, the first month was absolute hell. It’s like someone in rehab trying to get over their addiction; my skin broke out, I was cranky, moody, etc. etc. but today? My skin has a healthy glow, I naturally don’t crave any sugars, my doctor told me my blood work looks like a sample of the healthiest people, I sleep through the night and my mindset is so much stronger than yesterday! Let’s help each other and our children and their children and their children’s children so they never have to fight this battle. A battle which we can tackle!
I’ll share my daily day with you so you can see if it works for you. It’s not about body image issues, its about being healthy firstly for yourself and then your loved ones. Be smarter about your investments, invest in your health today!
The pasta supper is clearly the most common ‘go to’ dish in most households. Its easy; boil some pasta, dump a jar of the store bought pasta sauce and add in some protein! Voila! You have food on the table!
There are a few problems with that:
1. White refined pasta: Choose whole wheat pasta over refined white pasta because it has fewer calories, carbohydrates, fats and higher fibers.
2. Store bought pasta sauce: Its full of preservatives and sugar! In a minute you’ll see that pasta sauce from ‘real’ tomatoes is not that bright red color!!!
3. Adding a protein into a carbohydrate intensive meal: Its a big no no in the food plan I follow, my next post will explain in details why there is no mixing!
So I present to you a fresh-fresh, healthy and yummy pasta dish that you can can serve guilt-free to your guests, kids or loved ones 🙂
What do you need?
250 gm (raw weight) whole wheat pasta – cooked
5 large tomatoes
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, one chopped and one whole
Fresh basil leaves
4 sprays of oil of choice
1 teaspoon of EVOO
salt to taste
This will make 4 servings!
Cook the whole wheat pasta and set aside
Steam the tomatoes until completely softened
Spray the oil onto the pan on high heat, sauté the garlic and mushrooms. Add salt to taste.
Take the softened tomatoes and peel the skin off. It will come right off!
In a blender, add the tomatoes, teaspoon of EVOO, clove of garlic, basil and salt. Blitz together until well mixed and looks like a sauce. See I told you there’s no bright red color!
Transfer this sauce onto the pan containing the sautéed mushrooms and simmer in low heat for 5 minutes.
Add in the pasta bit by bit into the sauce until well incorporated.
Enjoy while warm!
You can add in chili for an extra kick!
You can also make the sauce ahead of time and mix together right before serving! Garnish with a fresh basil leaf!
Lunch is always slightly easier than dinner as you have the whole day to burn it off incase you eat something extra. Dinner on the other hand is less forgiving which is why by 7:30 pm, I eat the proteins and vegetables!
I cross a Chinese restaurant almost everyday and today I woke up determined to eat a healthy version of my most favorite dish! Lettuce wraps without the excessive fats, sugars or MSG and I did it!
I also served it to some guests I had over today and they loved it! I was so happy to have served something healthy and fresh! You can easily make the filling ahead and put it together when your guests have arrived! Very versatile!
What do you need?
1 whole lettuce bulb
450 gram lean ground beef ( I used 5% fat ones)
(you could also use chicken or turkey mince)
1 cup diced peppers
1 cup diced carrots
2 tablespoons of good quality honey
2 tablespoons of chili sauce or to make it even healthier use chili flakes/paste
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
3/4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 sprays of your oil of choice
salt and pepper to taste
You will make enough for 3 dinners! 😀
In a bowl, mix together the honey, mustard and chili sauce with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside
Spray on the oil into the pan on high heat
Add in the garlic, peppers and carrot with a dash of water to soften and sauté
After sautéing for 2-3 minutes add in the ground beef and salt/pepper
Stir the beef and break it up and you will notice the ‘fatty juice’ collecting
Put the lid on and drain that liquid out, it is the fats from the ground beef and its gotta go!! Ech!
Return the pot onto the heat and stir in 2/3 of the mixture of honey/mustard/chili sauce that you had set aside.
Close the lid and let it cook for about 10 -12 minutes more. Make sure to stir occasionally during that time. You will notice the char on the beef and peppers and then add in that remaining honey/mustard/chili sauce mixture and the cilantro.
Keep tasting the beef as you cook! Thats just standard operating procedure 😀
Take it off the heat, arrange the lettuce and fill them in!
Enjoy while warm! I had it with a side of steamed mixed vegetables!
* You can also add in sweet and sour chili sauce in which case leave out the honey and chili sauce however I would highly recommend using a chili sauce and honey mixture as you eliminate the high amounts of sugar in those sweet and sour sauces.
* A great alternative would be to use a freshly made chili paste! That would be ideal especially if you used a mixture of fresh red chili and roasted chili. YUM! I will surely do that next time!
Also I do apologize for not including the calories, thats because I don’t calorie count and you shouldn’t either especially when you are eating clean and healthy!