Review of 2018 Goals

COmmit to behealthy & fit

Two more weeks to go and half of 2018 is over. It is just amazing how time flies so quickly.

Last night while in the washroom brushing my teeth, I glanced to the piece of paper I posted on the mirror earlier this year. It was my goal for 2018 which aimed specifically on fitness. Honestly, New Year’s resolutions and goals are not really my kind of thing however I still did set my goal early this year. 

The goal for 2018 is to be FIT. 

So how did this go for the last five months? 

100% whole food plant based diet.  Well, I am not yet into this. I still eat occasional seafood and meat. There are days that I am not really cheating and I eat 100% plant based without any cooking oil and processed ingredients. 

Though somehow I found my way here in this area already, I am still kind of vulnerable a week before my monthly period. I have all these insatiable food cravings that sometimes I cave in. 

This is my weak point though partly I am happy to where I am now compared previously when my regular meals were comprised of burgers, pizzas, ice cream, fried chicken with loads of white rice and chocolates. 

So this goal is still in ‘a work in progress’

30 minutes daily exercise. Not to brag but I guess I exceeded this goal since April 2018. Thanks to our Nepal trip where I found my fitspiration

Nowadays I start my morning walk / jog exercise between 4:30AM – 5AM. On weekdays I exercise on average of one hour and on weekends it’s longer, around two hours and a half. 

I stopped going to the gym. Anyway it was not that productive because I just utilized the treadmill. I realized that walking or jogging in open area like park makes me happier. In the gym I dreaded everyday staring on the same screen on the wall waiting for me to complete the thirty minutes walk. It was not that motivating really. 

Learn and master new sports. Living a sedentary lifestyle since childhood, my intention to improve my fitness level requires conscious effort. It doesn’t come naturally like others. 

That’s the reason that I would like to learn and master at least one sport this year. I have been doing a morning walking exercise for over a year now and I began to embrace and love it. 

I found it to be mentally relaxing. However I still cannot escape the fact that aiming to cover certain distance by walking can be really time-consuming. As you know, I have a full-time job, 8am to 6pm, and that doesn’t leave ample time to exercise. 

I really want to cover longer distance in my daily exercise. At the moment, my average daily distance is around six kilometers but because I walk slow it takes me between one hour and a half to two hours to cover this distance. Well, that includes few minutes of selfies, meditation and toilet stopovers. 

That’s why lately I have been pushing myself hard to jog which hopefully leads to running in the future. If I can jog continuously, one hour will be enough for me then and that will even allow me to cover more mileage. 

But still, my current reality is still far from where I want to be. Right now I am struggling to jog continuously for one minute. So just imagine how long it will take me to practice to finally be able to jog continuously for one hour, or just even five kilometers. 

I know, it sounds depressing. Right? But I am not losing hope. If it takes me a year or two to be able to jog continuously for one hour, then let it be. 

Anyway, I am not gearing up for some race though I am considering to sign up for some 5K fun run. 

Let’s face it. Doing the same thing over and over again can be boring, right? This is specially true for peeps like me who are not into sports at all.

So beginning this year I also embark on a new journey of discovering and learning about yoga. My first ever orientation with yoga happened last February then again in March. Sadly I stopped practicing so I enrolled again for last May.

So these are the two kind of sports that keep me busy everyday. I am not even sure if these two are considered sports but in any case it keeps me active; it keeps me moving.

Still I am not in the level I wish I am but I think what matters most is I am moving; I continue exercising regularly. 

Have I shared to you about the cholesterol level? Oh, not yet! 

Last September 2017 I had my blood tests done. Quite disappointed with the results, I was advised to take maintenance medicines. My cholesterol was around 244. 

Stubborn, I bluntly refused the prescriptions and opted to be more serious in my lifestyle change. 

Last  month I went to the hospital again for blood test. My cholesterol level dropped from 244 to 184 which I contributed primarily to my lifestyle change. Even my sugar level, which used to be in the borderline, was in normal range. 

Indeed this gives me more profound reason to keep up with my goals. 

What about you? How are you progressing with your goals this year?

 

Discovering the joys of morning exercise and meditation

Discovering the joys of morning exercise and meditationIt was Saturday. I was up at past four in the morning, a usual morning routine, but I was too lazy to get out from bed.  My mind was debating whether to go for my usual morning exercise or just call the day as rest day since I haven’t had any that week. I cuddled my son, pulled the comforter and started to close my eyes. I dozed off.

I woke up again at past five in the morning, still weighing whether to go or not. Considering that it is summer here, I was running out of time. If I exercise, I have to leave soon because the sun was just about to rise and I could still enjoy at least an hour of walking without being baked under the scorching summer heat. Next I envisioned which route to take, if ever I would go. And then, the vision of sitting on the bench in lotus position, hands rested on my knees and eyes closed, startled me. Ahhh, I was not willing to miss my few minutes of meditation for that day.

For almost two weeks now, I discovered the joy of simply sitting with eyes closed in one quiet spot during my morning exercise. This few minutes of tranquility, of just listening the birds chirping or experiencing the gush of wind in my skin, is precious. It’s like I’m receiving an extra dose of energy for the day.

For the last six to eight months, I generally exercised in the treadmill for an average of thirty minutes daily and around an hour on weekends. However for the last four weeks, I have been hitting the parks. With the discovery of the short meditation, I am even more driven to exercise in the park to be with nature. It also propels me to start earlier than usual.

Now my day starts at 4:30am. That’s when I start heading to the park. Then I am back at home at almost six to join my son for breakfast.

Honestly, this morning routine somehow became like an opium for me. I found it addicting to some degree. I posted this last week in my Instragram (@smilemilesy).

‘When laziness strikes you but you look forward to that morning adrenaline and a quiet meditation moment, so you shrug off your laziness and lace your shoes.

Off you go to welcome the sunrise.’

It is true. Lately this has been my motivation. I am imagining my clothes drenched in sweat; a heart that beats faster; the podcast I listen; the beautiful sunrise I see; the tranquility I experience; and most importantly, the moment that I wrap up my morning exercise with a quiet moment on the bench, listening to the sounds around me and calming my mind from juggling so many thoughts.

It feels amazing. And note, it is for free!

Though it has just been three weeks that I began meditating after or during my morning exercise, I already experience a tremendous shift.

Meditation became my moment of prayer. I consider myself as spiritual but not necessarily a religious person. The sight of nature’s panoramic beauty amazes me. I am deeply awed as I think of how great and wonderful our nature is. The sea. The sky. The stars. The sunrise. The different physical features of the people – thin, stout, tall, small, round eyes, straight hair, curly long lashes, etc. The dogs. The cats. It’s  simply amazing. It made me realized how brilliant is our Creator to come up such various masterpieces of work. Indeed I could not fathom his brilliance and generosity to share such marvelous creations.

Meditation keeps my mind calm for the rest of the day. I think this is the considerable impact that I experience so far. I am the kind of person who worries a lot specially about the future. Aside from worrier, I am also a stress sucker. Ouch, but true.

You know, when worry creeps in, your mind becomes clouded. It is like driving on a foggy weather where visibility is very bad. It makes you down and unproductive generally. That’s why I love the Buddhism’s practice called ‘mindfulness’. 

It helps me in my writing. Since high school (when the only available machine for writing was typewriter  and the classic tandem of pen and paper), I have already known that writing is my first and only love. Unfortunately, like the love that human shares with each other or to others, I took it for granted. I betrayed my love for more than two decades as I became engrossed more with other temporal love affairs. As a result of years of betrayals, I also didn’t find peace. I hopped from one job to the others motivated by better compensations.

Luckily my dying love was rekindled recently and I vowed this time to love for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

Since I have been sweating out in the morning before sunrise, I noticed a shift. I am not sure if there’s correlation between my morning exercise and writing but it seems there’s influx of energy  in my head and it squeezes out my creativity. Now I love writing more than ever.

It helps me to meditate without dozing off.  Earlier this year I attended a five days course where it was combination of yoga and meditation. It was nice but the course’s orientation was more into meditation. Since it was just a light yoga, I usually ended up dozing off when it was meditation time.

After the completing the course, I tried it at home. It was the same thing – I dozed off – even I showered before meditation.

I have been exercising like for almost ten months already. The difference before and after our trip to Nepal last month is the venue and duration. I used to hit the gym at past five in the morning and exercise in the treadmill for half an hour or even less.  Nowadays I exercise in the morning for more than an hour  then I try to squeeze at least another half an hour in the evening just to de-stress. I have a burning desire to gain stamina and endurance, and considering my current fitness level, it will take me ages to be in the fitness level that I wish to be. Ahhh, like my idol, Bubble Paraiso.

All this hard work and sacrifice is for our Poon Hill trek this August.

Anyway, back to meditation. Last month, I started reading about descriptive writing, you know – writing using your five senses.  One day I thought of sitting in one quiet corner somewhere in the park after almost completing my exercise. I sat in lotus position, hands on my knees and closed my eyes for few minutes. The intention was not to meditate but to use my senses to observe things around me.

When I opened my eyes, it was a eureka moment! I discovered that meditation is best when you are in the park and when it is done right after your exercise. It is maybe because all of this adrenalin rush, I don’t doze off. Ahh, so nice to experience this every day in the morning. Closing my eyes is like entering in my own zone; everything shutdown – you know all the ramblings thoughts about life, future, work, and all the worldly stuff that simply burdens you. This is my zen that I look forward every day.

For this reason too, I noticed that it keeps my mind calm for the rest of the day. I am not sure though if there’s any co-relation between my new morning routine but nowadays I am less irritable and not just so stressed with the daily demanding grind at work and at home.

Less sleep is required. This is one of the best part. If I sweat out in the afternoon after work, I discover that I am up earlier the next day. It is like I don’t need to sleep for at least eight hours to recharge. Six hours is enough. Then I am good already and not feeling sleepy at all.

I think it sounds strange, right?

It allows me to alone. When you are a working mom, juggling different roles in a day, it’s inevitable to have a profound yearning to be in solitude, just a tiny chunk of your day to enjoy like a ‘me-time’ to be reunited with your own self; breathing every second thinking of nothing else but yourself only. This moment of a simple pause from the daily grind of life helps you appreciate simple things such the gift of nature. It makes me thankful too for every moment I breathe.

What about you? Have you tried exercising in the morning? 

Cheers!

 

The fourth meal

HELLO THEREIt was around four in the afternoon. Our energy level was ebbing away. Checking emails is the most back-aching work like chopping a truckload of firewood with a maul under a scorching summer heat; it is so exhausting that your clothes are drenched with sweat.

I can point only one reason for this. Thursday, as the last working day of the week (weekend here is Friday and Saturday), is just few hours away from weekend. I guess, psychologically our mind switches to weekend mode by default on Thursday afternoons.

To survive the last two hours, we work until six in the afternoon, before weekend starts, we flock to the pantry to get some energy boost, the power of caffeine. That Thursday, few of my colleagues and I chatted for few minutes while waiting for our turn for the coffee machine.

Casually and out of curiosity, I asked my Nepali colleague about his plans for the weekend.

He replied with a face untainted with any emotions like a poker face. His round eyes expressed dullness, not even a single thread of excitement. It seemed he dreaded weekends the same way he dreaded working days.

‘Nothing special.’ He said in a calm voice. ‘I will just go for my usual daily routine.’

‘So you exercise also on weekend?’ He shared before that every day he goes for a walk for at one hour and a half.

‘Yes. Daily exercise is a must, right?’ He asked like waiting for my confirmation. ‘You know, exercise is like a meal. We don’t skip meals and so does exercise.’

Those last words struck me like thunderbolt, an electrifying statement. Wow! What a best way to create the need, the enforced necessity, to exercise.

Think about it. Generally we eat three main meals a day. That’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Maybe we skip breakfast or lunch but we always have at least one meal in a day, right? I think this is a great way to convinced our mind, our stubborn mind, to exercise.

We never skip meals. We eat regardless if we are tired, overjoyed or depressed. We eat. We have to value exercise the way we value our daily meals.

If we have the usual three meals a day, we can add one more however instead of chewing, we let our feet stride in the treadmill or in the park or move our body through aerobic or Zumba. Like our meals, ideally we have to exercise regardless of the weather condition, of our emotional state or our whereabouts.

Meals fuel our body and so does exercise. Like a car engine, we need both to help our body function efficiently.

So, have you decided where to take your fourth meal?  I do. I will be hitting the park for a walk, a great way to destress too for the day’s work.

Cheers to healthy living!