My Seven Habits of Fitness

Two years out of university and into the work-life normalcy, I commonly hear peers voicing out their frustration over their weight, particularly because they’ve packed in some pounds shortly after stepping into the real world. For the benefit of those who might be experiencing the same (including me, who’s been almost sugar-dependent lately), let me share with you a blog post I wrote almost three years ago (with a few added thoughts).

As a lot of people asked me how I lost weight (without any kind of extreme diet), I decided to compile a list of what I do that contributes to the progress. When integrated, these seven factors supply a more positive physical condition, paving the way for better mental and emotional balance, as well.

You may find that these suggestions are generic (stuff you usually find in magazines / articles). That’s because–at least for me–they’re what truly works. Simpler may be better, and the less complicated your routine is, the more effective and less destructive to your body. Just look at our ancestors. They might not have had access to nutritional information, or complex superfoods, or broken-down vitamins and minerals; but if they didn’t thrive in a world without food-processing or MSG, they surely survived alright.

Disclaimer: this doesn’t apply to those who are looking to get thin in a matter of days, or for a short time only. I’m talking proper habits that will keep you fit in the long run, as long as you live by them.

1. Water. And lots of it. I’m quite sure I drink over eight glasses of it each day. If you know me well, you won’t be surprised to find me bringing a water bottle everywhere I go. (Yes, even to the mall. I sometimes even carry it separately from my bag.) Cold-water makes me feel uneasy; I prefer room temperature with lemon, orange or cucumber.

Juice, soda, and other drinks are consumed minimally (but iced flat white is a weakness; I’m working on it). Products that claim to exhibit weight-loss are a myth to me. How hard could it be to tell off a sweet drink as unhealthy (despite their misleading slogans)?

2. Tea. I sip green tea every after dinner (or after a fatty meal) because it soothes and cleanses. The caffeine is a plus, too, though my body doesn’t react to it as much as it does to coffee. I’m not sure about fancy tea mixes, but I know green tea detoxifies (it’s proven effective over the years) and is said to be best with lemon.

(Edit: Too much of it can damage the digestive system, though. I’ve had one too many acid refluxes from *Twinings* abuse.)

3. Exercise: core + cardio + toning. I owe my thanks to the glorified Nike Training Club. It’s what got me to lose weight only weeks after I used it religiously. Even when I travel abroad, I still commit to the exercises. After failing to commit to just one sport, different workouts for target areas in one mobile application packs the punch. It had undergone a number of version changes since I first downloaded it: adding more workouts and increased functionality. Try it, pull through, and end up feeling empty without using it at least once a week like me!

Apart from just circuit training or high-intensity-interval workout, I cross-train, too. I almost never refuse to engage in other fitness activities activities–be it jogging parties, swimming laps on a 50-meter pool, shooting hoops, trying out a yoga class, boxing, hiking, surfing, and whatnot. I do them whenever I get the chance to. It’s true what they say about fitness–it’s a lifestyle. It even gets addicting at one point. All the better!

I promise to dedicate a full post on this soon.

4. Veggies, fruits, and red rice.

Veggies. Because I don’t quite like the discomfort of eating the ff. individually: carrots, cucumber, beetroot and certain bitter leafy greens, so I juice them in the morning. They double as a detox, too. Apart from that, I try to scrap rice and pair viands with greens instead (though at times failing; it’s not very easy to resist rice in a tropical country… *sigh*).

Red rice contains fiber and tastes just like white rice, which makes it a good alternative (I usually eat half a cup during meals).

Fruits. Banana equips me with energy in the morning and prior to a workout, so it’s always a staple. Apple and other sweet fruits (except for papaya) should be minimal. They say berries are best, but let’s face it: there’s little quality and quantity of those in the supermarket, so we can perhaps turn to other options.

5. Organic. On a level of boiled sweet potatoes to greasy Chinese takeout, how natural is your diet? The less complicated a dish is (in quantity of ingredients, preservatives and additives), the better. I don’t know how one knows but I just know I know my body can tell what’s natural and what’s not, by paying attention to its reaction to the food I eat.

6. Apple Cider. This is what I’d like to call the miracle cure of the century. Although I’m usually against adherence to trends over tried and tested, I think our moms made a good call stacking up a bunch of these in the food closet. It could help prevent (NOT CURE) almost any common illness and works well as maintenance, too. I’m not a medical geek but I sure see how effective this baby is. Pair it with turmeric and you’ve got a golden formula.

7. Discipline. The preceding points won’t do any good if not paired with a healthy attitude. It always comes down to choosing to pull through, at the point when temptation to quit is at its peek. As the old saying goes, it only takes three weeks to build a habit, so keep at your new healthy lifestyle religiously, despite how painful it might be at the onset and all will feel natural in no time.

It’s a battle of the mind: whether you would consider doing 10 more push-ups, decide to skip dessert on a Saturday night, force yourself to gulp down your veggie juice, or tediously prepare your own salad because everyone else is eating fried, that singular moment of firmly saying ‘NO’ is one step closer to building the habit.

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Well, there you have it. I hope I was able to help in some way!

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