I have been lazy for the whole spring – I just do not feel to get much kicks of any sports so I have pretty much abandoned swimming and even trampoline. But I have walked at least… Since beginning of National Steps Challenge I have counted 868k steps even my pedometer was on hiatus for couple months because I lost my loader temporarily so not too bad. Average even without those 2 months is still around 4k steps per day and in practice most days have counted easily over 5k steps.
Last couple weeks have been extra push to the end of this challenge (that officially ends in the end of April) – there was special 2 week 10k Getaway challenge with attractive prices to encourage participants to walk 10k steps per day during these 14 days.
And I did it! And it was not even hard. Daily average for these 14 days was 11170 so not much over 10k steps limit but enough anyway. There will be still one more thematic challenge but I will continue walking anyway as i really enjoy it especially if weather is nice. I will target to get still at least 5k steps per day and more on weekends. I did notice that daily 10k steps is bit hard on my feet so also for that reason I need to listen bit better my body and not overstretch my limits but definitely my feet are made for walking 😀
Getting back to healthy life style progresses with baby steps. This week I have focused to start to write down my food at Loseit.com and I also finally managed to find my pedometer loader so I could also start to track my daily steps.
My eating this week has still been bit erratic but I have managed to eat breakfast and at least one other meal. Yes, I did eat the whole salami pizza yesterday but it was ok… I am not going to do that every day – besides it was not as good as I had thought so that graving was for nothing after all.
Tomorrow morning I will head to local wet market to buy loads of veggies and fruit and will start again to cook myself more – if that does not work I have also discovered pretty good ready-made meals at nearby gas station with very reasonable price so those will work on days when I am perhaps too tired or lazy to cook.
For exercise I have started to add bit longer “normal walks” which means that I do not take bus from MRT station but instead walk that distance at least when coming home – in the morning extra walking is bit too sweaty though. But if the weather is nice coming weekend I will also make some more planned walks and perhaps it is also time to start to really swim when heading to the pool instead of just floating (I am master in floating in water – that is super relaxing but obviously is not an exercise 😀 )
So baby steps… progressing slowly but surely is the key
(PS: I decided to start a separate book blog in Finnish regarding books I mainly read in Finnish: http://kirjapoluilla.blogspot.my/ – if I read some interesting books that are not available in Finnish I most likely however will include them in here)
I selected a dragon as a picture to this post to symbolize the hope for the new year ahead. This year has been a mixed bag of good and bad things but in all it ends with a happy note after lovely mini-vacation in Singapore city center and some sight-seeing I had postponed for too long. This year I also managed to already drop 15kg of my weight even I have been holding since October and need to get back to focus. I also had wonderful 50-year birthday, read loads of books, learned to love my beautiful neighborhood, managed to advance with my studies in shamanism and in last workshops discovered some new powers in myself… so in all not bad year for myself though politically and economically year has been pretty disastrous globally not to mention losing some wonderful artists of many areas like David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and Richard Adams.
But dragon is the bringer of good luck, prosperity, abundance, consistent success and high achievement so it is a perfect symbol for coming year. I believe in my life the darkest time has passed and hope that same will happen to whole earth.
It is always said that it is not wise to make new year promises but here they come anyway:
- I will continue the Art of Fat War and I target to drop 20kg by summer
- I will continue my walks around my neighborhood and will also start to discover other areas of beautiful Singapore: this can and should also include getting familiar with some museums and more familiar “tourist traps”
- I will focus better on my shamanic studies and practices so that I will do drumming and journeying at least once a week
- I will try to discover some new ways of exercise: getting back to bellydance or qi gong could be good options besides my walking/swimming/trampoline routines (which I of course need to continue)
- I will start to write down what books I have read and what do I think about them: I could perhaps start a new blog for books only because I read a lot. This includes both light entertainment and non-fiction. I have currently about 800 books in my Kindle so that is a good place to start 😀 But I should also get back to some Finnish and world classics and not just select easy reads.
I have been on hiatus from Art of Fat War for two weeks, but even during this time I have continued my National Steps Challenge step amount tracking with a target to get 10 000 steps per day. This nationwide challenge for all Singapore citizens and PR:s has this far attracted already 150 000 participants so well done all especially when getting registered and collecting free pedometer in worst case takes over two hours in hot and humid weather of Singapore.
I myself got my pedometer already from the beginning of the challenge on the first of October and I have used it ever since as it also has double role as a reliable watch. Now on the 18th of October my official step amount (before this day) is 187 271, which means that my daily average is perfectly in target of 10 000 steps per day though there has been couple days when that target has not been reached.
What I am really proud of myself about is that I managed to collect these steps and actually even far and beyond even during my luxurious birthday staycation and then again last week during busy workweek: good numbers last week are also a proof that auditing actually takes pretty much footwork as that included inspecting two large warehouses… plus walking around one of the biggest shopping centers of the world in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia to get something to eat after auditing hours 😀
Only bit negative thing is that it seems that I have even walked too much as ever since my birthday weekend my right foot has been aching and stubborn walking around during audit week did not give any needed rest for it – I will take this week slightly easier and try to avoid too much walking (my basic walking related to my work commute already easily gives me around 7500 steps) and also trampoline may be bit harsh… if pain does not ease by the end of the week I guess i should go to show my foot to doctor as limping and thus also moving pressure to another foot is probably not the smartest idea (and yes, I do have some kind of doctor fobia so typically I go to doctor only if I am about to die and not a day before it 😛 )
I will replace extra walking by swimming for now and hopefully I will get back to full scale challenge mode with both my walking enthusiasm and also weight project. These two weeks do show a bit on my scale thanks to bit too generous breakfasts and glasses of beer so I will focus on getting back to where I was before this holding phase and hopefully I will be ready to move next phase of my war at least before end of October.
I have continued my “cleanse” with weekend of juice fast – I do not actually believe in detoxing and think it is just a fad that misunderstands functionality of the human body, but leaving out meat, dairy and any processed and even cooked food for ten days is still a good way to focus on clean and simple eating… and for me it has been good break for my busy brain when trying to prepare at work for annual “audit season” (which means inspection of functionality of quality systems of our Singapore and Malaysia sites and thus also checking that I have done my work well).
First five days of raw food were easy so it was good that first two days of juices only were during the weekend – though during weekends I tend to exercise pretty much so I was bit hesitant whether the juices provided with the program would be enough. I was bit surprised that juices in this program were smaller size than in basic cleanse-program (320ml vs 530ml) but that was intentional as cleanse program was just meant for cleanse and this program also had focus on weight loss… Anyway I asked about that and was provided with extra two juices for day as this was not made clear enough in program ad – so kudos for Daily Juice for excellent customer service on this!
Saturday I started with beet and other veggies juice and continued with carrot and orange… then I packed couple juices with me and went to collect my step tracker from Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow in Jurong East (which is on opposite side of town) – good thing that I had earlier already signed in the National Steps Challenge where I got a coupon to pass the main queue for new participants as that queue had estimated 3 hours time to get through… either Singaporeans are really eager to exercise or just eager to get free stuff… or probably both! 😀
Anyway I managed to collect my tracker in less than hour – getting it to work with my mobile phone was harder task and did not work on the first day but at least tracker already started to count steps so it was good to check it against my other mobile applications for exercise. It seems that this tracker is bit too generous in counting steps but at least it is easy to use and no need to have phone always with me (as most my clothes do not have any kind of pockets). I tested tracker with nice one and half hour walk and with addition of walking to supermarket later in the evening that already guaranteed my 10 000 daily steps.
With two extra juices I had total 8 juices per day – two of these are bit “heavier” smoothies or nut milks. All juices are fresh pressed and most of them are really tasty: my favorite is named Pepplemint, that has pineapple, green apple and mint. Another nice one that gives good energy kick is Hot Shower of lemon, raw honey and cayenne pepper. Juices containing beet or celery are not necessarily my favorites but even they taste fine with addition of apple and lemon and drinking them makes me feel very virtuous 😀
My Sunday exercise was again bit extreme and during my 8.5km walk I noticed that having two bottles of juices with me was not nearly enough in the heat of mid-day… I felt terrible after getting home but I think that was more because of the heat than not drinking enough and after resting a bit and balancing with bit heavier juice with almond milk, dates and salt I was quickly back on my feet and continued my exercise day with one hour of swim and relaxing steam sauna so in the end whole weekend went fine and my weight has dropped now in imperial measurements already 30 pounds so I am starting to approach the next stage of The Art of Fat War.
Now there are still three more days with juices – i just need to take them with me to the office and remember to drink both juices and water and some herbal teas basically all the time… But here are my bottles ready for the day (cute cooler bag belongs to the package).
It is Day 5 – and final day – of my raw food cleanse and I am still alive. I am actually doing great! Food is tasty and there is enough of it and I feel energetic and have been sleeping well the whole week. I will continue next five days with juice only and expect that everything continues to be fine.
I did cheat a bit on the first day of raw food when I decided to eat remaining loaf of bread with cheese I had in fridge but after that I have been following instructions religiously and have not even added extra veggies or fruit even that is allowed – I simply have not been hungry to want anything more. Today I have been adding some cherry tomatoes besides my juices, tasty pumpkin soup and zucchini pad-thai mainly just to get them eaten before they go bad than because of really needing anything extra.
Calorie amounts of foods is bit hard to estimate but as everything is vegan and raw at least nothing should be unhealthy. There are some nuts and nut-based sauces and sweet treats but those still very likely keep daily calorie count under my daily budget. My exercise this week has been bit limited because of long working hours but I will try to catch up with that during weekend. Hopefully weather stays nice so I can do some nice, long walks as I already miss those.
This weekend there would be also some happenings that could be worth checking: Healthy Lifestyle roadshow has free admission and has some lectures and workshops besides officially starting National Steps Challenge – on Sentosa island there would be also Soulscape Festival , which is major yoga happening… entrance fee starts however from 29SGD so most likely I will skip that as a thought of attending any kind of mass exercise at hot beach is pretty close to my idea of hell 😛 … and then of course there would be also Oktoberfest, but as I am on juice fast over the weekend (and in all for 5 days) that I will at least skip 😀
In this photo my daily meals for one of these raw food days: pumpkin soup, stuffed bellpepper (with mushroom, cauliflower and cashew filling), kale chips, raw “sushi rolls”, kale “pizza”, raw chocolate cake and “energy balls”
I am having couple very busy weeks at work so I decided this is a perfect time to sign for combined raw food cleanse/juice fast for next ten days. And to make things easier I bought a ready package from Daily Juice so my food and drinks will be delivered home so I can forget about cooking and just eat and drink what I am given.
First five days are combination of juices and raw food. I still start my day with hot lemon and ginger tea but everything that follows belongs to the package. First juice and breakfast of the day is named Barnie and it is a tasty combination of beet, carrot, ginger, lemon and green apple. For lunch there will be cauliflower mash with dehydrated flax crackers and cashew cauliflower crumble ball with strawberry chia jam so that sounds pretty delicious too… then some more juice and even some tasty snacks in the form of superfood granola energy ball and kale chips and for dinner raw tabbouleh and raw brownie for dessert and one more juice before going to sleep.
During these ten days I will not count calories though I will still check how well I can add my food and drinks in LoseIt program just to keep track better. During raw food days it is also allowed to eat some veggies and fruit but last five days of juice fast are going to be full fast with juices only. I have done juice fast part earlier too and it has not been any problem – raw food i have also tried occasionally but this will be the first time to follow full raw food diet for five days. Amount of food should be ok to keep hunger away at least so I trust this whole ten days will work fine and as I am now able to save some time when no need to cook I could probably try to add some more exercise as last week was bit lazy.
I also decided to sign up for The National Steps Challenge that starts on first of October and is organized by Singapore Health Promotion Board. The challenge will last until end of April and includes lots of happenings and chances to win nice prizes – by signing up I will be able to also collect step tracker to monitor better how much I walk – target is to get at least 5000 steps per day to collect some challenge points and maximum points are received by getting 10000 steps per day. 5000 steps should be pretty easy even on lazier days so this could be nice addition to keep me exercising regularly.
As I have so much weight to lose I like to think that as milestones of 10kg so I can give myself a gold star of success 😀
This morning the balance showed that first 10kg is down! Hurrah! Even this is not yet very visible I at least myself can already feel that and some of the pants are starting to get bit too baggy… Next target is to work with next 5kg to move into the next phase of the Art of Fat War.
Last week my exercise was bit over-the-top as total amount of exercise was 30km walking, 5 hours of swimming and about 2 hours of bouncing/jumping on mini-trampoline. During this workweek there most likely will not be that much chances for longer walks but if weather allows I could at least walk home from MRT station instead of taking bus: that is around 3km so that is already pretty nice walk. Swimming and bouncing I will continue as this far: if my daily walk is over 5km I may leave trampoline out but let’s see how things go. At least at the moment I feel really energetic and hopefully that will continue even I know there are long, boring paperwork days at the office.
So here is the picture of my current progress:
When I think of sauna the first thing that comes to my mind is of course real Finnish sauna: made of wood and ideally heated with wood, preferably next to clear watered lake or otherwise in the middle of the beautiful nature. Or it can be inside the apartment and heated with electricity, or within a spa or boat or anywhere as the best sauna is where you are.
There have been many great saunas in my nearly 50 years of life, but common to them all is the quiet relaxing atmosphere and fresh smells of wood and water. Whenever possible these smells also include fresh or dried leaves of birch and in all the experience of sauna is both spiritually and physically cleansing and relaxing. By tradition sauna is the sacred place: it was the place where people were born and were they were prepared to be buried after they died – in sauna you are quiet: having a beer and singing etc is fine after sauna but inside the heat you just focus inwards. (good article about sauna can be read here)
Of course sauna can be fun too and there are countless memories of fun gatherings with friends or colleagues around sauna: there was even a sauna at our office building at my workplace in Finland plus company owned another fantastic sauna right on the seaside where we liked to take both local and foreign visitors. Visiting that place was quite an experience to my Singaporean colleagues as sea was still frozen when we went there and walking on ice plus hot sauna (and naked people) was something pretty unique for them and we still sometimes laugh about it as for modest Singaporeans going to sauna naked was pretty terrible thought not to mention sharing a sauna with women (all Singaporean colleagues were men)… so with Finnish practicality we of course solved the problem so that Singaporeans went to sauna with those guys who had swimming trunks with them and me as the only woman with all the naked men 😀
Actually in many parts of Finland it is not typical to go to sauna with opposite sex naked but typically women go together and men then on their own turn, but with friends and family shared sauna is perfectly normal so very typically Finns have seen their parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses of siblings, friends and colleagues naked – and when you do that I believe that is one way how Finnish society is so equal: when you are naked there are no titles or pecking order – and as one blogger beautifully said: The most Finnish thing ever is when there’s a bunch of Finnish people in the sauna, bare ass naked, each with their wrinkles and craters and bumps and flab and scars and the pitiful few hairs that remain in the upstairs and in the downstairs. In the sauna, everyone is beautiful. (his whole text about Finnishness is worth reading so check here)
In Singapore finding a decent sauna is a headache for most local Finns: there are some saunas at condos, hotels and spas but most of them just remotely resemble Finnish sauna. There is however growing amount of good spas that have bit better saunas though to my sorrow Japanese style new onsen spa that was supposed to have great sauna has it only on men’s side as for some reason they claim that sauna is not good for women. After couple weeks I will go to test also one of the more luxurious ones that at least looks pretty spectacular (more about that if and when that really happens) :
And then of course I have my own personal sweatlodge thanks to the Art of Fat War: daily or almost daily steam sauna belongs to the 2nd phase of the program and I have really enjoyed it after my evening swims though at first it felt bit weird to sit in small “tent” your head out and let the steam cover insides of the tent and make you sweat…. but after all that feels pretty nice and for home use it is best thing that is now available so I am happy. After getting used to crazy sweating I have also started to tweak my steam bath a bit first by adding more sturdy chair inside and then testing some different essential oils like eucalyptus and yesterday evening I added some dried birch leaves to my steamer and the fragrance of the leaves made me feel almost like in a real sauna – and actually real sauna it is as I said earlier the best sauna is where you are.
Last week was not a good week… after couple fun days my lurking anxiety decided to come back with full force and cause a scene at full MRT in a form of panic attack. Even most of times I am able to meditate myself in more calm state just by dropping off the train as soon as possible and just focus on breathing it still sucks… probably nobody even noticed as I have a curse (or blessing) to be “highly functional” whether it is a question about my depression, anxiety or Asperger’s – or the jackpot of all three deciding to work together.
Problem of being highly functional is that from outside things seem to be pretty normal – just slightly more odd and anti-social when off balance… but in general I could probably scream inside or feel like choking and others would just think that I look so calm… calm or just fucking do not care about anything right now except breath in, breath out…
The worst thing about these anxiety attacks is that symptoms and overall miserable feeling tend to linger for days – focusing on eating or exercise or even going to work just tends to be out of question for some days even though getting back to normal routines usually would help. I did religiously write down my meals and at least managed to eat ok breakfast every day – rest of the days were not necessarily so good… my Friday lunch and dinner consisted of bag of black liquorice and half a bottle of vodka… and Saturday was about similar though liquorice got replaced by pistachios. I just was not hungry and eating salad or something healthy just made me nauseous. Exercise was not much better though I forced myself to do at least some trampoline jumping daily.
On Sunday I decided to really work on getting back in routines and forced myself for a walk and later for swim… but it did not feel good – my whole body felt heavy and hurting but at least I still did it. Even today on Wednesday the feeling is still not particularly good… my feet are heavy and tired and all muscles feel like aching even it cannot be because of exercise… Maybe it is bad Biorhythms, Zika virus or whatever but I still just feel miserable… but at least I am eating well again and perhaps today after my evening swim I will try my steam bath again – I have not found yet an ideal location for it but it could do good for my aches.
So I am getting back in balance – these days come and go and hopefully they come less often and it is always good to keep in mind when things just feel terrible that “this too shall pass”