Magic 10

It’s a great day despite the overcast skies. Just had a 500-calorie breakfast after my usual second run of the week which is the routine I’ve tried to stick to for months already. You see I have never been committed to running, not to mention waking up early, in my entire life. Now I hit 5 km on average and this week I broke my personal time by clocking below 35 minutes and with a best pace of 5.5. 

I hit plateau in August and since then I decided to take actions. It was a personal challenge I took seriously just to test if everything I read about losing weight while staying fit is one that I can also achieve. So I jumped into the fitness bandwagon–extra weight in tow.

Measurement is key. Everything almost done by the numbers. In fact, I’ve caught myself doing things just so I would know the calories I take. I’ve called waiters to ask how many grams my serving has. I used the kitchen weighing scale more often than before–and was worried when the ones seven segment display broke. I would take time reading nutritional labels at the grocery isle. And I would log on my MyFitnessPal app, if not scan the barcode of any food packaging,  any food I consume every meal. It’s a strict routine but fortunately not in vain.

On this tenth month of 2017 I now hover close to the magic number. I just stepped on the bathroom scale and it shows I’m 0.6 away from being exactly 10 pounds lighter than when I first started my calorie watch regimen and trend shows that it’s a matter of days when I breach 140. 

Controlled descent.

It doesn’t end here though. According to basal metabolic calculator–my age, weight, height all factored in–my ideal weight is 4 pounds farther. That means more restrictions ahead but I know I would hit it soon anyway. MyFitnessPal predicts five weeks which is just a couple before my birthday.  I think that by then I would have earned the right to celebrate it with my favorite 200-calorie Krispy Kreme.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Running light.)

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Just One Empty Cheap Cologne

Declutter. Dispose whatever is not needed. These are rules I’ve been following, or trying to follow, regardless if a stuff is something sentimental or not. I’ve disposed a lot and surprisingly so far I didn’t have any regrets. Must be the effect of reading about minimalism on my Facebook timeline.

If I could walk the talk was once again tested last night. While looking for a tool I found an empty cheap cologne container. There’s nothing special to it if not for how and where it was kept. It was among my valuable keepsakes.

12 years in possession.

By some interesting coincidence, exactly 12 years ago I took this cheap cologne on a special trip. Its scent filled my room each morning while I get ready for the day’s equipment training, it competed with the aroma of strong brewed coffee and fresh breakfast muffins I would hoard from Holiday Inn’s little pantry. The smell reminds me of Watertown, Wisconsin which was my first trip to the US, one that was unexpected. There’s some anxiety but I am now letting go of this cheap cologne. One stuff down, more to go.

***

I was contemplating on getting our cable subscription disconnected as we seldom watch the tube anymore. Every now and then we would but Netflix was tough competition. Plus there’s Marcus who has commandeered our flat TV. 

So wifey had a win-win idea: Transfer the cable connection to our bulky Sony Wega. This got me occupied after dinner last night which led me to finding the cologne bottle ahead of the tools that I really need. Need to declutter more I guess.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Some trivial suffs do keep big memories, don’t they?)

Desperate Times Call for Calorie Count

I finally breached the 150 mark by a pound down. No small feat after struggling for more than six months since our December vacation that piled all the fats and the additional nine pounds. No regrets about those fudge and all the giant food servings but I just can’t carry them around all day anymore.

While seeing the magic number on the weighing scale calls for a personal celebration given the sacrifices and conscious efforts to limit food like my favorite pizza, it seems I reached the dreaded plateau again. My weight reduction progress have flatlined. Desperate times call for desperate measures then. Time to do something long overdue, time to count calories like I’ve never done before.

Resisting the initial idea of my wife to use an app that would monitor my calorie intake I eventually ended downloading it from Google Play and I got hooked on it since then.

I wish I’d have yogurt and almonds for breakfast but this isn’t mine. (Image from Google Play.)

MyFitnessPal seems like the perfect app I need. It made me realize I’ve been missing a lot on the opportunities to see the numbers behind each food I take. Grams versus calories, fats versus protein, carbs versus fiber. It was overwhelming at first but I picked up on how to process the data in less than one day. 

Under Armour is the company that created this free app. Users can search and log from its database almost any food taken during any meal including snacks. Unlike the health books I once knew, this app includes almost anything. You ate isaw, monggo, or galunggong? MyFitnessPal recognizes these local foods and its corresponding nutrional values. Had buko pie or piyaya for dessert? Yup, this smart app knows them too. The key here is just to be honest and log everything to see if you are still within your calorie goal. And the good news is that this app considers exercises performed on the same day so you can exert extra effort if you just lost control and had extra rice for lunch because it was perfect with the leftover longganisa.

One cool trick I like. Our coffee creamer says I could only have one teaspoon per coffee. (Image from Google Play.)

Besides manual entry of exercises, this app likewise connects to several smart devices. I got a Garmin watch and its Connect app works with Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app. Data is pretty straightforward. Calorie goal minus food intake plus exercises equals remaining calories for the day. It does the math so all you need to focus is if you are still allowed to pick that tempting smores in the fridge or not. Your call but be ready to face the consequences if you go over the required servings.

While this fitness app presents useful info, discipline falls on the hands of its user. Setting the right expectations is needed to avoid any frustration and blame game. Take one step at a time and see realistic results happen. Remember that whatever is measurable is controllable. MyFitnessPal also works for weight maintenance or weight gain goals.

***

My Timehops show that I usually go on a diet same time for the past years. Must be the subconscious working to prepare for December’s binge.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks (Aiming to run in a couple of hours.)

Cats in the Backseat

This independence day I broke records. This would be the day I function as Uber for our resident cats. Not one, not two, not three. And not even four. Yes, I had five cats in the backseat today. Sedated but five cats in the backseat nevertheless.

Now they invaded the interior.

Thanks to the local government’s initiative, we finally got a break after several attempts to contact other clinics and avail of free spay and neuter services. It was quite late as the two females have once again given birth to six kittens but at least we’re making progress to control their number and in the process prevent further scratches on our car among the many pet peeves of having cats around.  Now there would be less three mollies and two toms. 

Not yet Halloween but such scary sight.

I might as well have gotten the record for the most number of pets brought by a single owner. The venue was packed with dogs and cats alike but operation was efficient. Made me wonder where funding comes from but I am just thankful that they made this happen. Happy independence day cats lover!

The sponsors.

***

The day required preparation so I ran in the morning. I did 38 minutes for a 5K. Finally losing those Christmas cheesecake fats.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Got the car cleaned. Backseat smells antiseptic and cat fur were all over.)

Mondays and Uphills

The just concluded long weekend due to the holy week was worth it. Didn’t get us far from home but it gave me a chance to just bond with wifey and Marcus. This video of the goats playing around and showing off to Marcus was captured on a Good Friday at the first stopover on our attempt to get closer to Mount Makiling. We live nearby so no big deal but take note that Marcus is in a wheelchair.

***

Mount Makiling is one of the regular Holy Week destinations for those who want to make their own sacrifices or for mountaineers who want to climb something challenging but not far from the city. The last time I was up there was about 20 years ago before I got married and when a good stretch of the road to the mountain wasn’t paved yet. Now it’s a bit wheelchair-friendly.

That’s Mt. Makiling in the background taken after we made a bad turn finding a relative’s farm.

Who needs 4×4?
We reached the farm. Technically, these kids are Marcus’ cuz.
On our way back down. This is the steepest we’ve reached so letting Marcus’ wheelchair roll freely was impossible.

Next time we will try farther. And yes, next time we’ll wear something warmer.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Just a day at work then another off for me.)

Goodbye Old Pal

After several attempts to sell the bike and ditching online hagglers, I found one whom I finally sold my bike to. It wasn’t the price I wanted to but to learn it’s going to be used by an excited young boy seems worth the wait. So there goes a significant piece from my young, free, and reckless days. BMX bike no more.

Shined it for the last time today.