Monday, February 27, 2012

Fitness and Weight Loss Challenge: Week 8

I have not blogged much regarding the challenge this month. Why? Well, there is nothing to report really. I lost 1 kg at the start of the month (I am now down to 92kg) and I have not lost a gram since.

I have hit my first plateau and it just SUCKS! It’s utterly demotivating to be eating really healthily and exercising and not having anything to show for it. I am at a loss of how to get past it. I do a variety of exercises at gym to prevent my body from getting used to routine. I’m following the Weigh-Less eating plan as closely as possible, but I just cannot eat the quantities of veggies that I should (400-700g/day). I get full so quickly. So I try and eat “heavier” veggies to hit 200g in one sitting, but that is not always possible. I was logging what I was eating on MyFitnessPal, and it clearly showed that I am under their recommended calories for weight-loss. It’s possible my body is rebelling against me and hoarding fat. So I’m working really hard at eating more, but the quantities just make me feel nauseous.

It’s really hard to remain motivated at a time like this. Now of course this week my body is screaming blue murder for all the things I should not eat. Thanks PMS. I love you too. So it’s a double challenge: to stay motivated and to not reach for food for that instant comfort.

We’ll see in two Saturday’s time what my cholesterol levels are up to. I was supposed to go this Saturday but the clinic is only open every second Saturday. I admit I am nervous. It should have dropped. I have lost some weight, exercising regularly and eating healthy. But with my luck nothing will have happened.

So yes, feeling utterly miserable right now. Sorry for the whine and whinge.

Then again, as I am learning in the "Living Your Potential" course (more on that in another blog): THIS TOO SHALL PASS. I just need to be patient.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Science 1 : Believeing in hypes 0

Last night, as I was filling up my water bottle, my flat mate’s girlfriend told me that it’s VERY BAD to re-use water bottles because they disintegrate and the chemicals can seriously affect your health. I told her that was nonsense. No No, Her DOCTOR told her that re-using water bottles was bad. Um, seriously kid, go read scientific magazines and articles and get your facts straight. I’m sure you misunderstood your doctor. If you did not misunderstand him then I'd be worried about going to him...

So, in an effort to clarify the issue I went and did some research. I was quite sure I had read recently some articles regarding plastic bottles and the health problems apparently linked to them. And I was indeed on the right track. Let me explain:

The girlfriend was actually indirectly referring to a chemical known as BPA, which stands for bisphenol-A.

First synthesized in 1891, BPA came into use as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. Later, chemists discovered that, combined with phosgene (used during World War I as a toxic gas) and other compounds, BPA yielded the clear, polycarbonate plastic that is these days used to manufacture shatter-resistant headlights, eyeglass lenses, DVDs reusable rigid containers and baby bottles.

However, during the manufacturing process, not all BPA gets locked into chemical bonds. That residual BPA can work itself free, especially when the plastic is heated, whether it’s a Nalgene bottle in the dishwasher, a food container in the microwave, or a test tube being sterilized in an autoclave.

In recent years dozens of scientists around the globe have linked BPA to myriad health effects in rodents: mammary and prostate cancer, genital defects in males, early onset of puberty in females, obesity and even behavior problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. In RODENTS! I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked I was not a rat.

Of course, these findings resulted in people misunderstanding the findings and spouting that water bottles are bad for you. Enter the girlfriend.

Although experts debate whether mice make good models for human effects, the crux of the argument over BPA is that experimental results have not been reproduced. Admittedly more studies are required and since BPA has been found in urine and breast milk we should indeed be somewhat concerned. And more research is required of course.

And now for the grand reveal!

Turn around your water bottles and you will notice that they are labeled in the triangle as “1”. This means that they are made from PET. The polycarbonate products containing BPA are labeled “7” in recycling terms.

So sweetie pie, PET is NOT polycarbonate plastic. It does NOT contain BPA. Therefore it won’t affect you and you can re-use your water bottle over and over and over again. Of course I do recommend you toss it into the recycling bin after a while, as you will backwash and stuff will start growing in it.

On a side note: you may encounter bottles labeled “7”. However, the recycling symbol “7” is a catch-all category that also includes other plastic and bio-resins that do not contain BPA.

For more reading from REPUTABLE sources:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cease and Desist

I was going to write an entry about how much I hate Valentine's day. But that just would be my miserable wingeing and whineing. And I decided that all the shiny happy people out there don't need to hear about it, so instead...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Artist of the week: Florence + the Machine

If you have not heard of Florence + the Machine, then, you have either been living under a rock all your life or, like my parents, you only listen to Radio 702 or Classic FM.

The first single I heard was You've got the love. I had heard a number of covers and this was the best I had heard to date. So off I went hunting for more of her music and fell utterly in love.

In this age of interchangeable pop starlets (or is that tartlets?), her music is a breath of fresh air. Florence has an immensely powerful and poignant voice. Her lyrics are deep and meaningful. She makes use of orchestration (and harps, which I so love). The emotions she conveys when she sings have me in goosebumps in five seconds flat. Words fail to describe her awesomeness, so I will quote:

"With vocals building from breathy almost-nothings to soaring, arching crescendos and the accompanying harps, strings, hopes and dreams, [Florence] takes you somewhere you'll never want to come back from."
In many way she is reminiscent of Tori Amos, without being a copy of Tori, unlike Lady Gaga emulating Madonna's early days. I hope that she will continue making amazing music and have an amazing musical career, spanning many decades.

I heartily recommend that you get out there and buy her music. You will not be disappointed. I currently have Ceremonials on repeat in my car and I am not getting tired of it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happiness and Resentment: A Strange Mix

I am in a weird emotional space these days. And I am not entirely sure how to deal with it.

Over the last couple of months, quite a few close friends of mine have fallen pregnant or given birth. Even though I am the least maternal person, I am happy for my friends. This is something they’ve been planning for a while.

But it feels strange being surrounded by friends who are becoming parents. Then again, we are all in our early 30’s so it does make sense for them to have kids. I guess I’m the odd one out (single and non-broody).

A part of me feels somewhat resentful towards my friends. How are we going to do stuff from now on? Every event is going to have to cater to the fact that it must be child-friendly. It’s selfish I know, but I only have so many close friends, and the more have kids, the fewer options of getting out together we will have. As much as people say that they won’t let having kids restrict outing options, they still do. It’s not the parent’s fault. Having kids is a large responsibility and priorities shift.

And I feel bad about being resentful, after all, they are my friends and I adore them to bits. But it’s hard to adjust when you are not a baby/kiddie person at all. It’s going to be bye-bye to going out partying at night, no last-minute sushi, late dinner nights… I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but it’s not always about me, right?

We all must make sacrifices, and just like my friends are making huge sacrifices by having a child, then I guess I should be able to do a small sacrificing by exchanging my selfishness for my friends.

Heh, who knows, maybe one day I will meet an amazing man who truly loves and respects me and we end up marrying and then possibly I’ll have kids. And then my outlook will change. Though the likelihood of meeting that man feels rather slim…