Wednesday, January 18, 2012
During this 3 day quick come-and-go trip to Morocco, I finally managed to make a run every day. I only had 30 mins, so I did interval training.
I had the chance to taste the first strawberries of the new season, mainly shipping for the fresh market. They are sooo good looking and tasty. Oh, I love my job! Many of my colleagues are saturated with strawberries, but somehow, I am still fascinated by these fruits. In fact, before working here, I didn't really care about strawberries, but here, over time, I got into it.
On this evening pic, you can see my favourite place in Asilah, a restaurant called Casa Garcia. It's owned by a Spanish man. They are specialized in seafood, and there's not really a menu, everything is shown in the glass-doored fridge that is available to eat. Everything is fresh from the sea. It's that type of restaurant that is exquisite cuisine, but not expensive, not a posh place. I got the insider tip from a colleague working there for years before.
I ordered mixed salad - somehow simple vegetable salad taste extremely joyful, salad de fruit de mer, swordfish, icecream, and tropical fruit salad. I asked about the side dish, and my worry was justified, so I asked to exchange the pile of french fries to steamed vegetables. And all this wonder for the same cost as a workday lunch in Austria.
What I find interesting in Morocco's cuisine, is that very healthy, fresh, organic, low calorie food is on offer in the same way as, fat rich, heavy food. For example, Taijine, which is steamed chicken/beef with vegetables dish, and heavy in fat grilled ribs with french fries are similar price items on the menu. In Austria, and Hungary, I only find low calorie items in special restaurants, or as special "fitness" menu items. In Morocco, somehow by tradition it is part of the menu. And most of the raw material is fresh, organic, non-processed.
As for my weekly new habit, brushing my teeth after breakfast, it's in. I had to do it in a rush, in the toilet of the hotel lobby, but it's in.
Monday, January 16, 2012
This week is funny. The frist three days I spend in Larache, Morocco (North Africa). Then on Thursday I am off to Cape Town, South-Africa.
For this week my new habit was to brush my teeth after breakfast every day.
Yesterday and today was good!
Before dinner, I went to run, 30 minutes. It was dark, cold, and lots of wind, but somehow I didn't care. My colleague told me to pick me up in an hour, and I've seen automatically taking on my running gear and heading outside. It's great that I don't need to put in any extra willpower to make my daily exercise happen. It just happens.
Food here in Morocco is excellent. There's nothing special as creation, just simple Taijine, Couscous, grilled seefood. But somehow, the ingredients and the raw materials are all natural, fresh, local products, and everything tastes even in the roadside grill marvellous.
So, I plan to eat less for breakfast, and squeeze in good runs to have room for the calories.
Travel, especially airplanes can be difficult for nutrition. Lots of junk food around, and lack of sleep and tiredness all work in favour of snacking. Today, I've spent 5h altogether in small Fokker and Canadair style airplanes. But somehow, it was all good. (And let me list all the cities crossed today, quite a list!)
I left Gleisdorf with my usual 15g of Granola and half cup milk. In Graz, I had a bottle of water and a small croissant in the lounge. In Vienna, I refilled my water bottle, and got a fruit salad before the second flight. I asked otherwise for water on each 3 flights, and slept trough the junk food sections. For lunch, I grabbed a chicken salad in Madrid - was not easy among the heaps of sandwiches on offer with high quality Spanish meat. Arriving in Tangier, I decided to skip eating, and after driving on the highway, had an afternoon chicken-califlower Taijine near Rabat instead. Then, finally, I had a proper meal for dinner in Asilah, with my colleagues. I went for seafood, as in Austria seafood is not really available, and here in Morocco it's so tasty. A colleague of mine said "your good in healthy fatty acids for the week!".
This is where I ran today (this is not made by me, it was already dark), in Asilah.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Beside the 5% challenge that is becoming 2nd nature in my sparklife, I joined Sassymoho again for a quest, which moves different energies in me. This blog is a bit longer than usual.
5% challenge this week habit:
Brush teeth after breakfast, lunch, dinner. I start this week by washing teeth after every breakfast. I start on Sunday, today, and it's already done.
To motivate myself, I bought an extra Oral-B Pulsonic toothbrush. This is because I love gadgets, and I take this to my workplace. I also bought a pocket Elmex toothbrush+pasta combo.
FNF by Sassymoho challenge: goals, and last week:
My plan was to think about my goals, and my starting point, and finish line.
I thought to keep it simple, to increase the chance of success. I decided to make 2012 be around developing new skills. So all these are new skills. I only start a new one, when the previous one had been done every day the last 7 days.
I was struck by choosing an emotional goal. I've never thought about it before, I was always about Body/Mind/Spirit. So I thought to cut trough the stuff, and make it first priority.
The finish line for each of these is to become a habit after the challenge, so to do it without extra willpower every day.
1. Emotional: Gratitude light
I was experimenting lately with the gratitude journal, which is about listing 5 things "Today, I am grateful for:". It focuses me on the positive energies, and I expect to be more optimistic and feel happier.
Tierney J (2011): A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day
This happened for 9 days, so I keep it going, and move on to start #2.
2. Body: BAM Brush-After-Meal
I brush my teeth after breakfast sometimes, and before going to bed on every day. I want to make it a habit to wash teeth after every breakfast, and later on after every lunch, and in the evening to switch to wash teeth after dinner.
This is partly for the health of my teeth, and partly to "close" the meal, so I munch less afterwards.
3. Mental: Morning pages
I will start this later but it's on my plan for FNF. I expect this to clear my mind, and improve my productivity for the day overall. Then I will have more time to PLAY!
I want to make a habit to do meditation in the morning, and later, in the evening. Probably this will come through establishing a morning sequence, and an evening sequence of doing things. Otherwise, it will be just skipped in the daily rush and tiredness. I'm still planning on how to make this happen.
To support all these happen, I made a small mindmap, and an Excel table (printed) to track my progress (tip was from Gretchen Rubin on happyness-project.com).
Any tips, feedback, supporting questions for the above are welcome!
A picture from my run yesterday (14K):
Here's my favorite article on habits.
A must read for anybody who wants to improve on habits.
Young S. (2011):
Fix Bad Habits: Insights from a 7-Year Obsession
Friday, January 06, 2012
Looking at it from the outside, 2011 was a silent year for me, I stayed in the same context for family, friends and profession.
However, as for myself, I lived trough one of the biggest transformations of my life.
Funnily, it was happening with minimal willpower.
I remember, by this time last year, I was busy collecting information on how to loose weight. I was inspired by an article on WSJ by Sue Shellenbarger, "How to keep a resolution", which I don't remember how I came across.
Based on the recommendations, instead of jump-starting my diet thing, I kept on eating and no-exercising, but instead was looking for books, websites, advices and so on. I was motivated to plan my way, think about rewards, and so on.
During this period, I came across an article on SP/ScienceDaily, which said that a group tracking the nutritional intake in a journal doubled their weight loss performance. OK, so this really has an impact. Let's do it. I'm not really a number-tracking person, or rather, I was not that time.
So, I started to look for alternatives on what type of tracking could work for me, paper, mobile phone, Excel sheet, website, and so on. After lot of comparison, I settled down on SP, it was quite an average, non-userfriendly website among the competition, but it was good enough in all aspects.
And from that point, I just followed the good advices from SP, keeping my approach from SS's article. And the kilos started to drop.
Then, after seeing an e-mail invitation in my sparkpeople inbox for 10 minute exercise per day, in May 2011, I said, 10 minutes, I can do that. So, I started with the 10 minutes. I didn't feel comfortable at all doing it, I had even higher resistance doing it than the nutrition tracking. But hey, facts say it has a result, why not to try it.
So, my life changed.
I eat healthy, carbohydrates come from 60-70% of my diet from raw fruits and vegetables. Something I like in this global World that fresh fruits and vegetables are also available in winter, for affordable.
My kitchen looks different, with salad bowls, measuring cups, motivational photos. And somehow, from a neutral place of my appartment, I become friends with my kitchen.
I do about 5000 kcal exercise every week, mainly running my daily 10-12K, swimming 1-2K, biking 1-2h, and some other exercise that comes along.
When I travel abroad, I like to explore new swimming pools, try local fruits, or go for a run with some local people.
And my body?
Yes, my body is different.
Not just my body changed, the way I perceive myself changed.
Loosing the 25 kg (55lbs) fat from my body is one thing.
How I enter a room, speak in front of a group, how I express myself - these are things that really changed.
What I want from life changed.
So, what did I love in my 2011 so much?
I wanted to change.
In a way, it was not much effort at all. Some tracking, some exercise.
Of course, I had to get out of my comfort zone a bit.
But I'm already comfortable with that.
I wrote a thank you not to Sue, she replied immediately.
How did you like your 2011?
Friday, December 30, 2011
This week we had to gain points by eating the morning breakfast every day. I thought this is easy for me, as I regularly start with breakfast every day.
I usually eat 30 or 50g of müsli (Granola), with low fat milk (0.5% fat), and some meat, fruits, or spread with Wasa. Usually I get 500-700 kcal for breakfast.
However, what gets sometimes forgotten, is to drink the two glasses of water after getting up. This is a basic, and I noticed that drinking during the holiday days is even more important. I don't drink, I get thirsty, then it goes away and turns into hunger, then craving for sweets. So it is better to drink. :-)
Here's a podcast that I liked on breakfast:
Nutrition Diva: Does Eating Breakfast Help with Weight Loss?
Otherwise, this week with all the holidays and travel was not easy for my healthy lifestyle.
On one hand it was far from perfect, I couldn't rack food every day, my exercises were shorter, and I have eaten far too many cookies, fatty dishes, and bakery.
On the other hand, if I compare this holiday with the last, this is really a quality improvement.
I had exercise every day, half an hour run, one hour swim, hour walk, or similar, not my full length or time, but I had a decent amount every day.
I had one or two meals per day in a healthy way, with salads, lots of vegetables and fruits, and when eating heavy food, although I ate more then my calorie budget, it was with moderation.
So, it was not perfect, but it was not catastrophy. It was about 60% healthy, and 40% non-healthy.
And there was quite some spreading the spark.
People got interested about my results, one even measured himself on my Omron bodyfat% scale, and might buy one for himself for motivation. I gave a SparkPeople cookbook as a present, and others got motivated to also go for a swim.
Today turned out to be super for exercise, here's today's accomplishments:
Walk 10 min/km: 70min 356kcal
Swimming: crawl 30min 419kcal
Swimming: breaststroke 30min 381kcal
Running: 5 min/km (jogging) 24min 381kcal
Total: 154 min, 1537 kcal
Running in the winter sun, near Gleisdorf, Austria:
Did you have a goal for the holidays?
How was your healthy life during the holidays?
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