Tag Archives: health

The Summer I Was 88lbs

14 Apr

In January 2007, my dad had the great idea of everyone in the family recording our weight at the beginning of every month. I thought it was uber lame 3 years ago, but now, it’s kind of interesting to look back on it and reflect.

Every high and low point on this chart has a story. The most interesting one, needless to say, is point B.

I was 88lbs summer of ’07. That’s right… 88lbs.

How did this happen???

Well, I took up exercising with a fervour. And it was cardio only. Unlike most people, I actually love to run. I could plug into my mp3 player and run and run and run non-stop. And that’s what I did that summer, lol. Plus, I got into the habit of biking or walking to get to most places, and would regularly take walks during breaks at work to stretch my legs.

Along the way, I picked up a lot of small habits that contributed to living a more active lifestyle.

Sounds good so far, right?

I also started paying attention to what I ate too. I would refuse to eat white rice, and cook my own brown rice for dinner, much to my parents’ annoyance. This is also when I started eating 6 small meals a day, bought only low-fat & low-sugar packaged foods, cut my sodium intake down, and made my own food so I would know exactly what I was eating…

So nothing out-of-the-ordinary for any healthy person, I guess.

But within months, my weight dropped to 88lbs. I got my body fat percentage checked 3 times (since it can be inaccurate sometimes) and it averaged 7%… which is freakishly low for a female. Long story short, I went to the doctor to get myself checked… from TSH results, my doctor told me that I actually have a very slow metabolism (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism? I can’t remember which one), so it was quite the opposite of what I expected the test results to show.

At this point, I was incredibly confused, but since I couldn’t really blame my thyroid for the weight loss, I figure I had to be doing something wrong. So I did the stupidest thing I could’ve done. I just stopped exercising and ate nothing but unhealthy food for weeks. Within a couple of months, my weight skyrocketed back to normal (I also felt like crap, like those actors who have to gain 50lbs of weight to play a fat-guy role, lol).

I slowly brought my eating habits back to normal, keeping most of the same dietary habits as before. In order to prevent weight drop again, I took up strength training (finally!). I bought a 5lbs and 10lbs set of weights and slowly incorporated strength training into my routine.

I still love to run (in fact I’m doing 10K of it in a couple of weeks ;)) but I’m also doing strength training now more so than ever. It’s a little addictive, actually. I totally understand the mentality of the girl who’s afraid to turn into the hulk if she picks up a dumbbell twice a week – I was that girl at one point. But no longer! 😀

To this day, I still don’t know what I was doing wrong 3 years ago that made me lose so much weight. Maybe just overdoing the health craze thing? I don’t know if it can be attributed to that much weight loss though. I mean, my habits back then are pretty similar to my habits now.

Hmm… mysteries of the world.

Anyhooo, so there’s a chunk of my life that’s no longer yet to be told. 😉



Tips For Busting Through Food Marketing Scams

16 Mar

1. 100% whole wheat: be wary if a label just says “whole wheat” instead of “100% whole wheat”. Even products that contain minuscule amounts of whole wheat are allowed to slap on the “whole wheat” label on the packaging.

2. Multi-grain: is not the same thing as whole grain. Multi-grain just means that there are multiple grains used, but it says nothing of the level of refinement of the grains.

3. Pure, Natural, & Fresh: these marketing buzz words are empty of nutritional information. Food companies don’t have to meet very stringent (or in some cases, any at all) regulations to be able to use this lingo on their labels, meaning that food companies squeeze in as many of these words as possible to make you feel like it’s a healthy product. On the other hand, labels such as “100% natural”, “high source of fibre” (>4g), “low-fat” (<3g), “sodium-free” (<5mg) do have to meet government regulations.

4. Daily Value – have no idea how to read food labels? I mean what does 8g of saturated fat actually mean? How do you put that into perspective? That’s what the % Daily Value column on the right is there for. It’ll tell you that, for example, 4g of saturated fat is 21% of your daily recommended value for the average person who eats a 2000 calorie diet.

5. 3 ingredients: did you know that the ingredients listed in the food label must be listed in the order of the amount used? The first 3 ingredients usually give you a pretty good idea of what the majority of the food is comprised of.

6. Serving size: the nutritional label on the sides of food packaging are for one serving size, which is not only a gross underestimate of how much a typical consumer would eat in one sitting, it’s also misleading because most packaged foods contain much more than one serving.

7. Probiotic is a word that General Mills made up: at least, it is in the sense that General Mills started advertising probiotics as a godly, all-healing ingredient in their yogurt. Then all of a sudden, Danone, Yoplait, and Nestle all started backing probiotics as a gut healing, immunity boosting ingredient that improves your overall health in all sorts of ways (a lot of court battles about this controversy).

How many people actually know what probiotics is? Not many. But it sounds like it’s good for you, and they charge you more for it, so it must have added benefits. Right? I’m not bashing probiotics, it’s not bad for you or anything, but most studies have been inconclusive that it provides any health benefits other than assisting people who have trouble digesting yogurt in digesting it.

8. Brown eggs = white eggs: the idea that brown eggs is healthier than white eggs is utter bulldroppings. There is no difference in nutritional value or quality or taste between brown and white eggs, yet brown eggs always have a price premium. Obviously a marketing scam because brown eggs are laid by larger chickens who require more feed to lay the same amount of eggs, thus justifying the higher price.

For my personal grocery-buying habits, whenever I buy packaged foods, my eyes usually zoom to Saturated FatCholesterol, Sodium, and Sugar on food nutrition labels because they tend to be the usual suspects (I also sometimes pay attention to because I rarely eat red meat, but that’s probably not relevant to most people).

I got inspired to write this post when I read a week ago that the FDA is cracking down on major food companies by issuing warning letters to reform their food labeling or be shut down (luck recipients included powerhouses like Nestle, Gerber, Pom, and Diamond).

If you’d like a good overview of how to read Canadian nutritional labels (it’s not too dry of a read), then check out EatRight Ontario’s “Decoding the Nutrition Label“.

Live To Be 100: Secrets To A Long, Healthy Life

5 Feb

Researchers examine the lifestyle habits of “blue-zones”, in which the proportion of centenarians (people who live to be 100) are particularly high. In an age where people following extreme diets and struggle with intensive fitness regimens as a means to be healthy, it’s refreshing to see how the lifestyles of these people are a stark contrast. Continue reading

5 Fun Health Tools

20 Jan

I guarantee you’ll have fun playing around with these tools, hehe. 🙂

1. BMI Calculator – MayoClinic. BMI is one of the most basic calculations. For newbs, BMI uses height and weight to measure body fat, but for anyone who gets an abnormal amount of exercise – ie. has a larger muscle to fat ratio – this number could be a total miscalculation of how healthy your weight is. For the normies, it’s a good place to start. 🙂 My BMI is 21.7, I’m very average, hehe. Calculate your own BMI on MayoClinic! Est. time: 2 minutes. Continue reading

Peak Condition

7 Jan

To kick off my 2010 resolutions series, my 12 goals for physical well-being. One per month. I invite you guys to do any of the challenges alongside me. 🙂

1. Stretch everyday

Stretching always makes me feel good, and it’s one of those things that I never make time for. To kick off my resolve, I’ve even booked a room at work 3 times a week to use for stretching during my lunch, haha. xD Continue reading