Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Oh My! Diets, Weight Loss and Picking Your Thang!

Are you as confused by the plethora of diets as I am? It seems as though there is an article refuting the scientific research-based findings of a miracle method as soon as you learn about it!

Furthermore, our bodies are so complicated and unique, what works for that beautiful, thin, and energetic motivational speaker may not work for me.

At the end of the day, the only thing we can truly stick to is this: food is the physical building block of our bodies. What we eat is what is used to grow and heal our bodies. So the question is: would you rather ingest something that helps or harms your body?

Lucky for us, there is now an annual ranking system for all the popular diets by Health Magazine. They have systemically and methodically evaluated all the famous (and some I’ve never heard of) diets. One of the criteria is… how easy it is to stick to! Who would’ve thunk! After all these years of yo-yo dieting, fighting cravings, and falling off the bandwagon… finally the experts are taking into account the KISS approach to keep it simple sweetie!

What’s interesting is that when you hear advice from our traditionally wise people (like my Qigong Shifu, my Kung Fu Shifu, and my parents… all Chinese by the way), they would say, don’t restrict so much what you eat or remove things entirely from your diet, just eat less of everything and less of what’s proven to be bad for you (fats, salt, sugar, junk food, etc.). My Qigong Shifu says “Cut 25%!” My Kung Fu Shifu says “Work it off through exercise!” My parents say “Eat until you are 60% full!”

The other biggie is: It’s not a sprint. Don’t expect overnight results. They don’t last. It’s a lifetime journey, a lifestyle approach. Every single choice is another brick to layer into your foundation of health and happiness. And yet, one less-than-perfect decision is not going to undermine everything, so move on quickly and definitively from a single poor choice or one moment in time. Figure out why the slide and try to set yourself up to avoid that in the future.

For those of us who need to lose weight, that means 1 pound per week is healthier, more sustainable and less reversible. Because one pound per week over 15 weeks indicates an overall shift in choices, a more permanent outlook and set up, as well as a focus on health rather than just weight. Plus if I can do 1 pound per week for 15 weeks, I can do 1 pound per week for a year.

This is a very personal and unique journey. Each person needs to get to know their own body and, more importantly, their own mind. Better health and weight loss is not just a physical, calorie-counting, daily exercise thing, okay, well, yes, it sort of is, but if you are mentally resisting every leafy green salad or are dying to snack on chips (just waiting to rebel and cheat), whatever great plan you are on, have paid for, or has worked for other people… just is not going to work! So it’s gotta be something bigger than just some diet you are on. It has to be part of a bigger goal to be healthy, for all the right reasons. And healthy not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. Healthy as a family, healthy with your friends, healthy at work…

Kung Fu Mama’s Thoughts:

1. Want good health badly enough.

2. Know why you want it.

3. Keep it simple.

4. Make health holistic: mind, body and spirit.

5. Track everything to measure what you need to change (blood pressure, heart rate, exercise, sleep, weight, inches, water, calories, etc.)

6. Find your tribe and enjoy the process.

7. Fail and figure.

8. Reward right, not with cheating.

9. No, it’s not easy, nothing good is easy, but you can find ways to make it easier.

10. Keep going.

And:

1. Fix mental state and fundamental illnesses first, then eating habits and lastly exercise.

2. Trust your body, especially as you age, don’t push yourself so hard that you end up quitting.

3. Life is short. If you hate it, stop it. Or change your frame of mind.

4. Cultivate love.

5. Find and enjoy the humour in everything.

6. Relax, relax, relax.

7. Identify the good. Fix the bad.

8. Be grateful.

9. Share what you’ve got.

10. Never give up.

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Where’s the Silver Lining in Turning 65?

My mother is the most inspiring person I know.  She’s always positive, encouraging and kind.  I’ve learned so many lessons from her that have gotten me through difficult times. She’s a hilarious story teller.  Here’s one of her cute stories:

“ㄅㄧ、ㄅㄧ、ㄅㄧ”,那是什麼聲音?原來是老年人免費車票卡的刷卡聲,到了65歲,拿到卡的親友們常會說:“三聲無奈” 、“我寧可沒有”、“唉,那表示我老了”….

那年我63歲,再兩年我就要拿老人卡了,我想,年齡增長,是自然現象,沒有一個人可以避免。當我拿到的時候,與其哀嘆ㄞㄊㄢˋ,不如轉個念,“ㄅㄧ、ㄅㄧ、ㄅㄧ”、“哈、哈、哈”、“好、開、心”、“免、費、票”….,還要感恩政府,鼓勵我們老年人出外走動,給我們這麼好的福利,說聲“謝、謝、謝”。

“Beep. Beep. Beep.”

What’s that noise? It’s the sound made by the Senior’s Bus Pass.  It beeps once for regular fare, twice for student fare and three times for seniors 65 and over, who travel on the Taipei City bus system for free.  Recent recipients of this benefit have complained: “The three beeps of hopelessness!” “I’d rather not qualify for this pass.” or “This means I’m getting old!”

The year I turned 63 (knowing that I was two years away from getting my own Senior’s Bus Pass), I thought to myself, “Aging is merely a natural phenomenon; no one can avoid it.” So the year I obtained my card… instead of lamenting, I thought “Why not find the silver lining?”  So my mantra became: “Beep. Beep. Beep.” “Ha. Ha. Ha.” “I. Am. Glad.” “This. Is. Free.”

You know, we should thank the government. This really encourages us older people to get out and about. It’s a fabulous benefit!  “Beep. Beep. Beep.” = “Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.”

It Was a Cold and Wintery April Day

cold park.jpg

Under normal circumstances, on a freezing Saturday afternoon, I would much prefer to stay cozy in my nice warm house, maybe read some books, clean the washrooms, or do some blogging. However, it was already well into April, it was sunny, and it was time to get serious about getting outdoors again. So, the boys and I muddled through. First we got out the bikes.  Wouldn’t you know it, Aiden’s bike was too small for him, Alec wanted to scooter instead of bike and my bicycle hadn’t been touched in (we won’t mention how many) years… it needed a lot of pre-work to get it road ready. So we went back home and tried again. The boys got out their scooters and I dusted off my rollerblades… and we took off! Well, my 46-year old ankles protested quite loudly and the boys by then decided that they wanted to play in the big park – too far for my rollerblading sore ankles to allow. So we turned back again.

One complained about how cold it was, how numb his face was getting, and how much better it would be just to go home. The other one complained that if he and I went to the park, the other one would get to play video games at home, which of course would be totally unfair.

I couldn’t help it, I roared at them and declared that we would all dump everything at home, we would get warm hats and scarves, we would walk over to the big park, and darn it all, we would play in the park!

We first popped into the recreation centre and played a bit of ping pong to warm up. Then we went to the playground.  It was full of optimistic kids and parents.  We ran around, pushed each other off the balancing thing, and climbed stuff. We had a LOT of fun!

Thanks Kung Fu for giving me back the energy and inclination to run around outdoors in the freezing park! Next goals: 1) Get outside every day regardless of weather, and 2) Rollerblade around the lake!