Multi tasking

I am currently typing this while working up a sweat on the stepper machine that I actually loaned from my sister-in-law ages ago (actually last October) but never got around to using until now.

I actually have a pretty complicated mission to accomplish.

If previously I succeeded in losing 6 kilos in 2 months or so (a little too successfully, because I then proceeded to lose another 6 kilos or so during Ramadan and at last official weigh-in during a health screening at my workplace on 5th August, weighed 36 point something kilos), now I actually want to gain weight, but to do it while at the same time (attempt to) reduce my cholesterol level.

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The first part is mainly aesthetic; when before I wanted to flatten my tummy (and managed to more or less do so, while also trimming my thighs – yay! – and shrinking my bust – nayyy), now I want to look a little more fleshy so that I would fit my wedding outfits better, instead of looking like a misfit I’m wearing borrowed outfits that do not fit me well. I am actually not too bothered by how I look now (skinny and a little underweight but okay to me for my petite 1.48m), but there is another incentive for gaining weight.

(Real time update: Just finished my workout and stretching to cool down at 23.41)

My mister recently finished his final examinations for Year Two of his part-time degree (and did pretty well too, I’m so proud of him!), and has decided to defer his next semester (first semester of Year 3) since we’re getting married and he didn’t want to stress himself out having to take exams days before or after the wedding. I told him, since he’s now got some free time, he should work on losing some weight (both for aesthetic and health purposes; he’s a US 3XL). And you know what that mama belit smart guy said?

He said: You go and gain weight. I like a bit of flab. You gain one kilo, I lose one kilo.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one heck of a huge incentive for me to gain back (almost) all the weight I lost. To be precise, 10 kilos or so to go back to a comfortable 45 kilos.

Upon reading the mister’s message (we converse via WhatsApp most of the time), I immediately told him I’m on and that I’d go weigh myself right there and then. Before I did, though, I told him the last official weight I was at. I was confident that I had gained some weight over the Raya season. I checked; my weight’s 37.5 kilos. An A-HAH! moment for me – that’s a 1 kilo gain! Thus I told the mister so, and declared that now he has to go lose 1 kilo.

So there you have it – the first part of my complicated mission. Now some of you may think, what’s so hard about gaining weight? Just put on your PBG cap and off you go, stuffing yourself with food. Well here’s where the second part comes in, which in combination with the first part, makes the mission complicated: I need to reduce my cholesterol (specifically, my LDL) level.

During my latest medical checkup at the hospital (as a follow-up to my DKA diagnosis), I was told that while I was doing amazingly well in controlling my blood glucose without any insulin or medication (alhamdulillah), my cholesterol however, was on the higher side, at 4.4. It was not too high to be life-threatening, but since I was still considered a diabetic patient (who happens to not need insulin nor medication, and whose Hba1c – average blood glucose over 3 months – level is at normal level just like a non-diabetic), the doctor wanted to get my cholesterol down pronto. She actually wanted to prescribe me medication to (artificially) bring down my cholesterol level!

Now, I’m not averse to taking medication – I’d pop whatever pills I need to recover from regular everyday ailments like flu, fever, menstrual cramps, etc. What I would rather avoid, however, is going on long-term medication for a condition that can otherwise be controlled by a change in diet and lifestyle. To me, such medication are full of chemicals that would have side effects and significant impact on the body, after years of consumption.

(Real-time update: Am currently on the bus ride home from work and continuing this post from last night, 24 September 2013.)

I have the same stance towards supplements; they are called supplements because they are supposed to supplement your daily diet, for nutrients that may be lacking in the type and amount of food you eat. So, instead of spending money on supplements (which, like the current ‘miracle potion’ that has been doing its sales rounds on Facebook, contain chemical additives like maltodextrin), why not spend on real, natural, wholesome food? Sure, supplements may make you feel energetic and give you great looking skin and body in the short term (up to 5 years or even a decade), but what about their effects in the long term (more than 10 years)? Is there anyone out there who has consumed this or that supplement for that long, and subjected him or herself to thorough studies?

My only exception to this stance on supplements, is when they don’t contain any additives, preservatives, etc, which is why I agreed to take the Karapincha & Garlic herbal supplement that the mister bought for me, the moment he heard I had high cholesterol and needed to lower it.

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If I could make myself control my intake of certain foods such that my about-turn recovery, post-DKA diagnosis, made doctors remark that mine is a “strange” and “rare” case, I was confident that I could also do something to lower my cholesterol level on my own. So I took 1 pill a day during Ramadan, and I believe that those pills, combined with a pretty ‘clean’ diet during the whole fasting month, helped to lower my cholesterol from 4.4 to 3.8:

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That’s not much, because the ideal level is 2.6, but at least there’s some progress. But what I worry now is that my cholesterol’s gone back up, because what comes after Ramadan? Yessirree, it’s Raya. And Raya is where my ‘clean’ diet became no-diet. I more or less ate and ate in abandon without being too restrictive about what I consumed.

So my proposed solution to this complicated mission of mine? Eat as much as I can of real, wholesome, natural food; eat all the time, like make an effort to snack (I have never been a snacker, I eat 2 to 3 full meals a day and rarely get that I-feel-like-munching-on-something feeling) and snack healthily, and exercise everyday at least 3 times a week.

So on 24th November 2013, the day I started writing this post, I went grocery shopping. I bought kiwis, pears, carrots, cherry tomatoes, guacamole, blueberries, mushrooms, baked almonds and baked cashew nuts. Total bill: $30.65

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Side note: Now this above picture totally reminds me of my Little Miss F(l)ab posts. Some stuff has changed (I’m back to eating grains, and not-so-healthy food at work, out of necessity), but my desire to eat healthy hasn’t.

Anyway, guess what? Close to a week after first starting to write this post, I have only exercised once (yes, that first paragraph when I said I’m working out a sweat on the stepper!) AND i have finished eating only 3 pears! I have not made an effort to eat all the time by snacking on carrot and cherry tomatoes dipped in guacamole, or those nuts, but I did spend Friday to Sunday overeating indulging on chicken rice, prata, briyani with daging-ayam masak merah-ikan tepung, kuih lopes, mi soto, mi goreng, mi hun goreng, pulut serunding, pulut kuning, basil chicken aglio olio.. all outside food! Good for the weight gain mission, but not for lowering cholesterol! Aiyayaiyaiyai…

Ok, tonight I shall eat an early dinner, get on that stepper, and munch something healthy thereafter! I got 17 days left to my next hospital checkup!

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