For my body

Looks like everyone’s been sick this week. I’ve been down with the flu for the past two days. I hate being sick. I hate having to cancel meetings, I hate being glued to my bed all day, I hate not being able to breathe normally. (Thank you Vicks inhaler, even if Patrick keeps making fun of me for sniffing you..I promise to defend you til your very last menthol breath! You’re my reason for breathing..LITERAL). Being in the bad shape that I am in now has made me ponder about my health in general. I’m not a smoker or a drinker, so I’m relatively healthy. And contrary to what people think when I crack my jokes–NO I am not a druggie–I am just weird and kooky some times. 
I think it’s high time I take care of my BODEHHH. After all, sabi ni John Mayer “WONDERLAND” daw ang aking katawan! Wait a minute…Anong ibig sabihin nun, malaki yung katawan ko?!?! Kasing laki ng isang theme park? HMMM?!?!? Explain yourself, Mr. Mayer. It’s like saying–Your Body is an Enchanted Kingdom. Your Body is a Star City. Your Body is like a Perya. Hahahaha!:) 
I’m not good with diets. I’m happy that it works for some, but it definitely doesn’t work for me. It leaves me cranky and hungry–bad news for Mr. Filart. What I do realize now is that it has to be a lifestyle change, which calls for a deeper and more meaningful kind of intervention. But where do you begin?!?! How do you cross over to the healthier side? While chained to the bed all day yesterday, I decided to do some research on how to curb your sugar cravings and I was surprised to see that it can actually be done.

Here’s an honest review of my current eating habits. I eat 3 big meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I’m a grazer who likes to snack in between meals. And my snacks usually consist of one or two salty things and one or two sweet things. So it’s a salty-sweet fiesta in between breakfast and lunch, then another salty-sweet soiree before dinner, then again before I sleep. I always have something sweet after each meal, I dont remember the last meal I ate without dessert. If I attended an event that only served cocktails, chances are I will hit the nearest 7-11 on my way home to buy some chocolates. To make matters worse, not only am I addicted to sweets.. I’m a carb hoarder! I love bread, rice, pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, banana cakes, waffles, anything that is sugary and starchy!

If someone gives me a box of muffins or a canister of freshly baked choco chip cookies, I can finish it in one sitting. Just one Game of Thrones episode and I can wipe it out. You know those special Ferrero Rocher packs that our titos usually give as pasalubong from Duty Free, well, kaya ko siyang patulan all by myself. Without drinking any water. Yes, it’s crazy.

I’ve been making a few adjustments here and there, dropping by Healthy Options more often to get more wholesome snacks. But I still need to make a committed change. I’m happy with my current weight and I don’t feel the need to lose too much (that would make me look gaunt and old)–but I always feel undernourished. I feel like my body is not as strong as it should be at age 29. This should be the peak of my adulthood and I should be able to battle a regular flu, but instead I’m here helpless against the common cold. Bottomline, I need to eat HEALTHIER to become STRONGER.

So here’s what I propose to do, since I can’t completely obliterate chocolates and sweets (because that would only leave me depressed–what’s the point of living!??!?!) from my diet, I could at least try to lessen it. I figured, not only will it help my body–it will help my wallet too. I’ve been spending so much of my hard earned money on cakes, chocolate bars, and candy. The Sugar Industry should be thanking ME for all my investments! Since diabetes runs in both sides of the family, the change has to be done soon.

So, I’m reserving all my sweet indulgences for special occasions, events, and nights out with friends only. I read a practical tip in Web MD website that made so much sense, “Choose quality over quantity. “If you need a sugar splurge, pick a wonderful, decadent sugary food,” Moores says. But keep it small. For example, choose a perfect dark chocolate truffle instead of a king-sized candy bar, then “savor every bite — slowly,” Moores says. Grotto agrees. “Don’t swear off favorites — you’ll only come back for greater portions. Learn to incorporate small amounts in the diet but concentrate on filling your stomach with less sugary and healthier options.” So if they serve a homemade cake for my friend’s birthday–I’m going to eat that special chocolate cake and I will enjoy every bite!!! I’ll lick off every inch of that plate if I have to! Hahaha 🙂 If I get invited to a new restaurant and they serve me the most delectable dulce de leche ice cream, I will grab that spoon from the waiter and relish every scoop. If a famous chef comes to Manila and serves me a platter of truffles, those truffles will make a home out of my stomach. Instead of giving into little sugary treats here and there, I should just save it all for high quality and one of a kind indulgences that’s worth every calorie.

But when it comes to our home meals, I will have to stick to healthier sweet treats. I will also load up on more nutritious fruits and vegetables to get all the vitamins and minerals I need. I’m actually excited to do some research on alternative desserts–it just takes a bit of creativity and effort to come up with healthy desserts that are low in sugar. I just have to remain focused this time.

Isn’t it so hard to stay healthy in the Philippines?!? There are just so many factors running against you! First of all, we don’t have a lot of options. It’s expensive to eat healthy in this country, if you want a quick and cheap bite chances are those meals are drizzled in oil, heavily processed and covered in unhealthy carbs. The best way to stay healthy is to bring a home cooked packed lunch, which of course requires a lot of time and effort. Nakakatamad! PLUS, it’s a cultural thing to eat in this country. There’s something very Pinoy about forcing others to eat what you’re eating and if one refuses to eat what you offer, it’s considered very disrespectful. Even if you’re just eating to be healthy, you’re instantly made fun of by your peers and family members. “Uuyyy, nag-di-diet sya! Ang baduy mo naman!” I never understood that behavior. Why mock someone who’s trying to adapt a healthier lifestyle? I remember eating a big chocolate chip pancake and offering a slice to a friend who sat in front of me, he politely begged off explaining that he was trying to manage his sugar. And I actually thought it was so cool that he had the willpower to control his urges. I said to him “Good for you! Tama yan!”. We should respect each other’s choices. If you love to drink and you offer someone to drink with you and that person declines, it only makes you a bully to force that person to drink. So this should apply to food as well. If the person wants to stay away from rice, whether it’s to lose weight or to control his blood sugar, then there’s no need to put this person to shame in front of your peers. I realize now that it’s NOT easy to change your eating habits, it can actually be very depressing for some, so instead of distracting the person who is trying to better himself/herself–we should encourage one another and support the positive changes.

This is something I actually learned from my vegetarian friends, Alessa and Rica. They’ve been meatless for many years now and I’m just so impressed by how they’ve managed to keep such a healthy lifestyle. Rica is a famous TV personality and has always been very pretty, but if you see her up close and personal–you will see how flawless her face is. And I think much credit goes to her healthy eating. Alessa too is always in good shape, I’ve known her since I was 17 and she looks younger and younger each year! That’s what separates them from other girls who choose to starve themselves silly—these girls know how to indulge on quality and wholesome food. They have fun, they’re creative with their dishes, and they’re never deprived. Although I don’t think I can ever become a vegetarian, it’s their attitude towards food that I’d like to adapt. Keep it clean, keep it healthy, keep it yummy—EAT PASSIONATELY! That’s key to being a happy eater! 

7 Responses to For my body

  1. Get well soon Patty… I also have a sweet tooth, a BIG one at that and it’s really depressing to let go of it. I also love munching on chips! That one’s easier to do away with… What I do? I buy those that are a bit more expensive so that I won’t scarf ’em down in one sitting. Plus, it would be harder to replenish kasi nga it’s a bit pricey. Hehe

  2. Yes nice post Ms. Patty it’s really not easy especially if people bully your ways. I suddenly remember my Indian co-worker back then who is the same with your friend Alessa and Rica. My friend is determined and very disciplined in terms of keeping in shape who is also a vegetarian. Which is not easy being here in the Philippines. We have to make separate meals for him. Whenever there are meetings or events. But I truly admired his determination.

  3. My exact thoughts over the weekend! And I totally agree! For those on a tight budget, it’s really hard to eat healthy and be healthy.

  4. “instead of distracting the person who is trying to better himself/herself–we should encourage one another and support the positive changes.”

    – I agree! I love this post. Thanks, Patty!