Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Makeover Project, Episode 1: Goals, Plans, and Random Details

Thank you to all of my loved ones and beloved readers who have sent their positive vibes my way since the last post. You guys are the best.

A little background information about where I'm starting: I'm 5'1 and 174 lbs., which means that my BMI is high and that I'm at a higher risk of being taken down by heart disease and other related ailments than most Filipino women. I've also been over-eating since I moved back with my parents, which hasn't been helped by the massive portions that we usually get at the dinner table.

My diet is currently under strict medical supervision, and has been approved by a nutritionist at a local hospital. Right now I'm trying to keep my caloric intake to 1,900 calories a day - lower than the 2,000 calories that are usually consumed in the average Filipino diet. This is actually easier than I thought, though, since the average Filipino in my age range thrives on relatively small to medium-sized portions.

Here are my goals, in a nutshell:
  1. Stress management. Obesity may be Villain Numero Uno, but all of the health problems I'm encountering comes from stress. Hypertension? Blame stress. Abnormally high blood sugar? Stress again. In the long run, there are a lot of crazy ups and downs in my life, so being able to handle the craziness of it all is top priority here. 
  2. Bringing the numbers down. The most important numbers being the following: blood pressure, blood sugar, LDL, and purine. Consider this as an investment in my future: I've seen what these numbers have done to my parents' generation, so I'd really appreciate it if I could reduce my risk of a stroke for the next 30 years. 
  3. Weight loss. Sure, I would love to fit into sexier clothes... but what about my poor knees and ankles, which are always at risk of buckling under me whenever I walk? (Yes, it has gotten to the point where I can't wear heels any more. Pity.) Again, it all goes back to the investments I must make for the future.

So how am I doing all of this? (More, after the jump.)

  • A nutritionist. I knew that I was destined to be friends with my local nutritionist when she took one look at my doctor's recommended caloric intake and said, "That's crazy." She already knows that I over-eat, so she just recommended that I reduce my intake slowly - hence, pegging my intake at around 1,800 to 1,900 calories per day. I still have to haggle with her over what kind of food I'm supposed to eat, but other than that we're clear on everything.
  • A food journal. Because our town is not as high-tech as the rest of Manila, I am keeping a pen-and-paper food diary. Granted, mine sounds like a LiveJournal (complete with entries for mood and water intake) but it's important for me to disclose mood levels, too, since I am accountable to the professionals tracking my progress.
  • A little help from the Internet. I just renewed my account on SparkPeople, which I actually use to track down all of my weigh-ins and fitness activities. (I'm still testing the waters vis-a-vis introducing myself on the teams I've joined there, but I'll let you know how that goes.) Sure, it's not exactly Weight Watchers - which, again, we don't have in our town - but it fills a motivational void for me, since I'm already making friends again at work and at church. 
  • And, of course: EXERCISE! One of the most valuable things I've learned from my months of teaching ESL at the university is the need to do exercise first thing in the morning: basically, if I don't work out, my mind won't be as sharp, which increases the chance of hell breaking loose in the classroom. I started out with my usual yoga DVDs, but now I've been doing low-impact aerobics almost every day - and if I don't, I just go out for a walk. Eventually, once the Philippine school year starts, I'll be able to join a gym, pick a class, and stick with it!
Next entry: A review of exercise DVDs that I've tried so far.

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