Friday, April 29, 2016

Weigh In Friday - Every Step You Take

It's confirmed. I'm unfriending April on Facebook. If I thought March was hot, I was so wrong. April was worse. The humidity got really bad. The temperature remained high. Once I thought I had heatstroke after a run. My body took a long time to cool down. It's now the end of April and the weather has changed slightly. It's still hot and muggy but looks like there's going to be lots more rain. Or threats of rain.

Despite the heat and high temperature, I was able to stay on track with my Goal for April. I'm so proud of myself! I have my fitbit to thank. I used it to track the number of steps I take everyday. Most days I could hit 10,000 steps. On days when I run, hitting 10,000 steps was not a problem. It's those non-running days which get me into trouble. My running was good. The timing didn't improve but I could run 3 times a week. I decided to cut down to 2 times a week because I thought 3 times may be too much. Occasionally I gave myself a day off to recover from any exercise if I felt too tired. It may seem silly to other people to count the number of steps you take every day but it's a really effective way to get me to move about.

I posted my stepcount on Instagram daily. Not that I think people actually care but I wanted it for reference.

Oh, one time on my run by the canal, I saw this big-ass monitor lizard. It was the size of a small crocodile! It had crawled out of a drain and was slowly making its way to the water.

Despite my stellar performance in fitness, I did not lose weight. In fact, I have to confess I gained weight. At one point, my weight went up to 60kg!!! I had gotten into the habit of drinking 100 plus edge after a run and that might have been a factor. Plus, the more I walked and run, the more sweet juice I drink. I got a bit afraid and forced myself to cut back on sweet drinks.

So, occasionally I had oatmeal with apples especially after indulging in unhealthy food.

 Unhealthy food such as these Korean fried chicken.

I have discovered I love Korean seafood pancakes. Are they unhealthy? Because I so want to eat them again. I looked up youtube and I think I might just be able to make them myself!

Speaking of my weight, it's now 58.8kg. I'm so relieved. All I need now is to be more disciplined in my food choice and I should be able to keep it under 58kg.

Next week I have to go and see my gastritis doctor again. I haven't totally recovered yet and in April, the headaches came back big time. It's really obvious this time. Most of my headaches are stress related. When I have anxiety or stress over something, I get a upset stomach, the muscles in my neck and shoulder area acts up and the headaches come. On the bright side, I have been able to eat a more normal diet - noodles and bread. I still try not to over-indulge. Although the headaches coming back is a setback, I want to see it in a positive light because it means I'm understanding my condition better.

This week I also managed to find the motivation to start working hard on my patterns again. It's a good sign because I can only work on my patterns when I feel good. I have a run on Sunday. See you then!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How to tie your shoelace

For as long as I can remember, I have tied my shoelace the same way. I don't know if it's the same way other people do it. I don't know if anyone taught me to tie my shoelace. Maybe I watched how other people did it and copied it. Anyway, it worked and that's how I have tied my shoelace over the past few decades. I have never changed the method. Overhand knot, bunny ears, another knot and that's it.

I have been running for several years and in the last few years I have become more active, mostly because I got older and less fit. I wear running shoes more often - for running as well as walking. When I go to the malls, I favour running shoes as my feet don't hurt if I wear them. I hate it when my feet hurt and so running shoes are my go-to shoes for long walks. Anyway, I started complaining to hubs that my shoelace come undone at least once when I'm out. Yes, I've always accepted my shoelace coming undone because isn't that how it is? In fact, when I was much younger, I used to hang out with this girl whose shoelaces come undone all the time and I had to tie them for her because she's a freaking princess. (we're not friends anymore) When I go running, I have to resort to tucking the shoelace bow under the other lace to prevent it from coming undone. As I age, I find it sickening to keep bending down to tie my shoelace. Yes, bending down is now hardship.

Anyhoos, hubs took a look at my shoelace and he said if they lay vertical to the tongue of the shoe, it's wrong. It has to lie horizontal to the tongue. Mine is wrong. I guess that's why they come undone.

Hubs said he had watched a video and the advice is to do the opposite of what I've been doing if my shoelace comes undone easily.

Anyway, I tried with some difficulty and lo and behold, I managed to get my shoelace to lie horizontal across the tongue. Ha ha.

So I went through the steps for the wrong way and then the right way and I realised what was wrong. Apparently this is how I have been tying my shoelace all these years. I am right handed.

1. Right over left, knot.
2. Bunny ears.
3. Right over left, knot.

What I did wrong was to have right over left twice. In order for the knot to be more secure, it has to be:
1. Left over right, knot.

2. Bunny ears.
3. Right over left, knot.

Now my shoelaces don't come undone. I can't believe I've been doing this simple knot wrong for all my life. I believe it's because I don't even think about how I do my shoelace. It's something I do without thinking. How do you tie your shoelace?

Monday, April 11, 2016

I'm Listening

When my son was younger, we would sit together at the computer and listen to music. Subconsciously I wanted to influence his choice of music. I thought it would be great if we liked the same songs. We listened to country, we listened to rock, we listened to pop. I'm happy to say there are some songs both of us like and it gives me great pleasure when I catch him listening to a song I introduced to him.

Well, I don't try to introduce songs to him anymore because he grew up. Also he has developed his own interest and he likes a much wider variety and genre of music than I am capable of. Lately I've noticed the reverse is happening. My son is influencing my choice of music.

First of all, he got me listening to Chinese pop. Yep. Then there was all that orchestral music. Recently he started listening to Endless Rain by X Japan and I fell completely head over heels in love with this song. This one is the live version and it got me hooked so bad I've listened to it countless times.
In the music video, you see a shirtless Toshi, the lead vocalist. Yes, most Asian men are hairless in the upper body. Anyways, I like this live version especially because it's so chilling towards the end when the audience kept singing even when the music stopped.

I'm quite surprised I love Endless Rain. I'm not really into Japanese music. The last time I listened to anything Japanese was Chage and Aska and that was years and years ago.

Still on the subject of music... since last October till March this year, I had invested 50 hours watching a Korean period drama, Six Flying Dragons. I use the word "invested" loosely... Can you imagine how many tutorials I could have produced during those 50 hours? Anyhoos, this drama got me hooked on one particular piece of music. It's very weird, unlike K-pop. It's mostly instrumental with some aahing char-ing. It sounds like traditional Korean music. Give it a listen. Here. I'll bet your hairs will stand.

What are you listening to?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Goal for April

I have one goal for April. To get back my fitness. I am aiming for a minimum of 8,000 steps per day. However, I am really shooting for 10,000 steps a day. Realistically, I know 10,000 steps every day is impossible. There will be days when I am either too tired to go for a walk or I don't have the time.

Today is 4th April. My performance for the first 3 days of April has not been too bad. Saturday, after walking at the malls with hubs, we went home and I slept for hours. That's why I couldn't hit 10,000 steps. I need to be more vigilant if I want to hit 10,000 steps.

So why am I doing this? Well, it's important to keep fit as I grow older. In fact, it's more important to keep fit being middle-age. All kinds of shit starts happening to you once you hit 50. And being fitter will at least prevent more shit from happening to me. I am also hoping that doing this 8,000/10,000 steps will shave off 1 or 2 kg off my weight. Remember when I was slimmer? Remember? <sob> If I don't watch it, every bit of fat is coming back. The last reason is I have signed up for 5 runs this year. They are all 5km run and the first one is on 1st May. Every time I go for a organised run, I see how much fitter most runners are, it's depressing. I don't have to be a fast runner. I just don't want to be last.

I got myself all geared up for my new routine. Now when I go for my run, I go all togged up in real runner's outfit. In the past, I wore regular tees which aren't suitable for running because you stay hot and sweaty. My old shorts especially were horrible and my ass got sweaty as hell. I don't pespire much, unlike hubs who perspires everywhere. Just on my head and my armpits. However, my ass can sweat up a storm. In fact, throughout March when the daily temperature was between 32 to 34 deg C, my ass was constantly er... slippery.

This is where I run, next to the canal. Actually, running has brought forth another problem for me. Perhaps it's also due to impending menopause, I have had a large number of brown spots forming on my face. Perhaps I need to see a skin doctor. In the past I would run early in the morning or late in the evening. However due to my allergy to pollen, my doctor advised me to run later in the morning and earlier in the evening. This means, I run when the sun is out. Some days I wake up late and I still go running with nothing but a visor for protection. Anyway, the sun in March and April as well is way too hot. Even at home, I can feel the UV lights penetrating my skin. What to do? I guess I have to start applying sunblock. I have such a big problem with sunblock. Every brand I've tried either gives me a breakout or inflammation. How to choose? Brown spots or hedious swollen face? I guess I need to search the market again for new products to try. It's a real pain living with sensitive skin.

Where I go for my run, I usually see chameleons. On Sunday alone, I saw two. One actually stayed frozen in the middle of the track but by the time I fished out my phone, it had darted into the bushes. Can you spot the chameleon in the photo above? It has an unusual colour.

That's my goal for April. I hope I achieve it. Do you have any fitness goal?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Weigh In Friday - Insects and Breakfast

Dear friends,

Last Friday I was supposed to write my Weigh In Friday post but I didn't. Last Friday was also my 21st wedding anniversary and how shall I put it? It wasn't a very good day for me. I think I put too much pressure on myself on birthdays and anniversaries and want the day to go smoothly that very often the day turns very ugly. So last Friday, there was quite a bit of yelling and screaming and cursing (mostly me) and therefore I was not exactly in the mood to do a Weigh In Friday. Eventually I did cool down and the whole family went to Jack's place for a lunch.

I forgot to take a photo of what I ate. Most likely steak because I've suddenly gotten a liking for steak.

Hubs can no longer give me flowers (due to pollen allergy). Instead he gave me a tiny cactus. Yay. Another living thing to take care of.

I'm glad my wedding anniversary is over because it usually means cooler days are coming. I'm dying for April rains. I'm not kidding. It's too hot to be living in this weather. How are we still alive? Our skin must have developed some extra tough coating to keep us going in Singapore.

Last two weeks I was kept unnecessarily busy due to the discovery of tiny insects, their length no more than 2mm in my home. Eventually I found the source or should I say, the nest? Millions (yes, I exaggerate) of them were living in a torn bag of flour. Crap. I had to get rid of the nest and lots of other stuff. Everything went into the rubbish chute. Yes, I bagged them properly first. After I had got rid of most of the insects, I went through all the cabinets to look for those that got away. I had to wash everything. It was so much work. One of my fingers has permanent eczema due to constant contact with soap and water. I googled to find out what these insects are and most likely they are some kind of weevils. They eat flour and although they don't suck human blood, they do irritate the skin when one lands on me. I don't know what their life span is but since I have got rid of the food source, my hope is they will disappear completely. I still see one or two now and then so I know they're still hanging around.

Anyhoos, I digressed too much. Or should I say let's stop hemming and hawing and get on with the weigh in. I'm hesitating telling you how much weight I have gained because I'm so disappointed in myself.

Yep, people. I am 59kg. I gained ONE KG in one month. I am now officially over 58kg. Remember that 58kg is my benchmark for alarm bells. To be honest with you, I actually went over 59kg some time in March. I quickly put a stop to the constant potato chips and snacks and whatnots. Thankfully my weight came down a little.

So what contributed to my weight gain? Firstly, I wish to blame my lack of exercise. I stopped running for around 4 weeks due to blisters on my foot. These weren't ordinary blisters as I had them since February. They simply would not heal. The doctor gave me an ointment with a little steroid to apply and I thought it was best to stop pounding on the blisters. Eventually the blisters healed and I started running again last week. Thank you steroid!

Secondly, I started to eat more carbs like bread and noodles.

Thirdly, my appetite grew and I snacked like nobody's watching.

So there you go. I'm getting tubbier and tubbier. I am doing something about it though and I'm really glad I have this Weigh In Friday thing to "confess" to. Firstly, I have stopped buying potato chips. They are ridiculously expensive so I'm very happy to save the money.

Recently I bought these thin corn cakes. I thought these could be a good substitute for my potato chips. They are quite tasty and most importantly, they're not sweet.

I have also cut down on Oatly chocolate milk. This one's my Achilles heel. I drink it like water. I wish I could stop drinking it but wouldn't that be cruel? (to me) Anyway, instead of Oatly chocolate milk, I make my own chocolate oat milk.

I dissolve some unsweetened coco powder in hot water and I add the original Oatly oat drink. Then I mix it up and chill it. It does not taste as good as the real Oatly chocolate milk but at least it's not loaded with sugar.

Today I actually wanted to talk about breakfast. It's my favourite meal of the day. I love it so much that if I wake up late, I still insist on a little breakfast. Why I love breakfast is that I get to eat food I enjoy most.

Most days I eat 2 pieces of biscuits. These are the 3 kinds I like best. They are made from rye. The Ryvita brand you can eat on its own but the Wasa ones, you need something to go with it otherwise it's inedible.

I usually put Nutella on my biscuits. Yum. And oh. I can't give up Nutella. I can't give up Nutella. I can't!

I'm always on the prowl for new products to try and recently I bought Finn Crisp Caraway thin rye crispbread with sourdough rye. It is HORRIBLE. Worst tasting biscuit ever. No amount of Nutella could disguise the yuckiness. I'm still eating them though. It's to remind me never to buy them again.

Sometimes I want a break from biscuits I eat my cereal with oat milk. I only have 3 kinds of cereal to choose from - quinoa, spelt or amaranth. They all taste the same - tasteless.

Nowadays I don't eat oatmeal. I think I just got tired of cooking them. Hopefully I'll want to eat oatmeal again in future. They really help keep off the weight.

These are chocolate oat cookies. They come in individual packets and are really handy as a backup food. Once in a while I forget to stock up on my biscuits and I eat 2 of these oat cookies for breakfast. They are very sweet and delicious.

I really enjoy having smoothie kind of drink in the morning. I don't make them myself. The ones from supermarkets are usually laden with sugar. This one with chia seed is quite interesting. The chia seeds are really swollen and you don't really feel the seeds when you drink the juice.

What do you eat for breakfast?
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