Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Running with my dog

Anybody who has seen Cesar Millan’s show in the National Geographic Channel would understand. As a traveler by instinct, dog walks is an essential part of a dog’s day. Normally, in the wild, dogs walk as a pack in the morning and since you are the leader of the “pack” it is just normal that you walk your dog.

Instead of walking, I run with Zeena my dog (pitbull). With this, I hit 2 birds with one stone because I not only get the exercise; I also get to walk\run my dog. Especially with this breed, walking may not be enough and you have to run to compensate with the high energy that is included with the breed’s temperament.

Our route is a permanent one. It starts on our house then loops around a business area about 1 kilometer away then back. Adding the total business area, which includes a park and a mall, the run is about 3 kilometers all in all.

This is one part of my exercise as I alternate this with my gym routine, every other day. I started this routine about 3 months ago but not really with consistency as my work, friends and the weather may interfere. I’m confident that if I do this consistently, I would not only fulfill my dog’s need but also maintain if not reduce my weight.

So if you have a dog, get your leash and start running.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Hell Week: How I managed to survive the first stage to remove food craving by following a weight loss program

A lot has been said and tons of recommendations have been tried about weight loss. Some reaped the fruits of their labor while others failed to achieve it. In any case, I would like to share my experience in loosing 12 lbs in 1 week. Yes, all it took was one week for me to loose that weight. Before I start, allow me to give you a background on how I started it or how I was forced to do it.

Recently, I went on vacation to LA to visit my parents. When my mum saw me after years of separation, she was stunned and had to force a remark about how big (fat) I’ve become. It was fortunate that she, being a health freak, recently is selling a health product that allows you to enter a program to loose\manage weight (USANA). They said that “curiosity killed the cat” so I took the time to read the label and study the CD that came with it.

I have come to realize that this was based on the south beach diet but since I don’t have to buy the list of food that was required on that diet (I only need to take shakes provided), since it was free (my mum gave it to me as a present) and since it doesn’t take much time to prepare, it was more convenient following it than following the original south beach diet.

Basically, the major component of this program is to follow a low glycemic index (GI) diet. A background on what it is can be found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_GI_Diet which states that if you eat high GI foods, your blood sugar level will spike thus giving you that familiar sugar rush or high. This in turn results to you feeling hungry in an hour or two after eating and as a result, would let you crave for food more often than normal.

To reduce food craving the first stage (or 1st week) is designed to make your sugar level normal and usually this step is the hardest (hell week). I will share with you some tips (4 steps) on how to endure and survive the first week.

1st step: Commit yourself
You won’t succeed on this program if you can’t commit yourself to follow it diligently. If you don’t commit maybe you will last only 2 or 3 days then disastrously go back to your old diet. Imagine yourself 12 or 15 or even 20 lbs lighter after this week to keep you motivated. Visualize how light you could be, the new things you could do and the new dress you can wear.

2nd step: Get rid of distractions
Before you begin, you should get rid of all the food listed as high on the GI, any food less than 55 in the GI is considered low. If you’re not certain what food to remove consult the GI database in http://www.glycemicindex.com/. You can eat the low glycemic foods in between meals and when you are already following the program and really would need to eat something else other than the shakes, which I admit I did, you can also add the low GI foods to add variety to your meal. Always remember your commitment and do not allow yourself to deviate on the diet. It is only a week and how long can a week compare to a lifetime of fulfillment?

3rd step: Follow the beginner’s circuit training
Exercise is an essential part of the program. It requires that you do 3000 steps daily while following the diet but what worked for me better was following the circuit training. It is a combination of aerobic and traditional weight resistance exercise thus generally is more effective than just following aerobic or focusing on weight resistance exercises (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_training). You should allocate 15 to 30 minutes everyday for this and you can follow the beginner’s program.

4th step: Follow the program (the first week)
The diet program basically is just to follow the low GI index and only eat foods listed bellow 55 adding snacks (food also listed below the GI index) in between meals and a snack after dinner. As for me, since I was using USANA products, I only used their meal replacement shakes (Nutrimeal) adding snacks in between those meals.

If you follow these steps, I’m sure you will loose weight and probably loose more weight than what I lost. I intentionally did not place the link of USANA because you can use other products and the sole intention is to show you that it can be done and yes you can loose 12 lbs or more weight in a week as you can see on my photos from the top left to the bottom right (before and -12 lbs later). It's not much and I know I still have a lot of work to do.

This is also just the first stage of the program. The next part requires you to follow just eating low GI foods on breakfast and lunch and doing your regular meal during dinner (I would recommend eating only food listed on the medium level of the GI) until you reach you desired weight. You would still have snacks in between meals but this is another topic.