Chapter 3: Beef from the Bull
Recently, I have been going to Dymocks bookshop to smell the books. The smell somehow has a relaxation effect on me like the effect of catnip to some of our feline friends. It feels good to be physically surrounded by books like I walk into a different kind of jungle and it feels like I am going to increase my geek level ten folds. Motivation, self improvement, health, sci fi, ‘Hot Dudes Reading’ are my favourite hangout section.
Probably it was because the word ‘beef’ caught my attention in the health section, I picked up a book called ‘Sorting the beef from the bull’ and had a look of its brief summary on the back of the book.
“Chicken eggs that haven’t come from chicken, melamine in infant’s milk in China, nut shells in spices – as our urban lifestyle takes us further and further away from our food sources…
Whether it’s a matter of making a good quality oil stretch a bit further by adding a little extra ‘something’, or labelling a food falsely to appeal to current consumer needs…
The price to consumers may be even higher, with some paying for these crimes with their health and, in some cases, their lives.”
As I read through these words, days of me making ‘healthy’ food choice based on packaging flashes before my eyes. I remember munching on fat free ‘healthy’ muffin for snack. All sorts of ‘healthy’ cereal like the one promises good energy level that I used to eat popping in my head like pop corns popping in the microwave. Low fat milk, fat free Soy and commercial fruit juice chain say hello in those flashes too.
Flashback to late November 2011.
I was at the peak of my weight. 94.8kg. I knew I had to do something about it. My first action was to stop drinking Protein shakes 3 times a day as a measure to cut calorie. Convincing myself to stop believe in those protein from the shake will help me to grow more muscles was hard as getting more muscular has always been a goal. “Protein builds muscle, right?” I asked myself. I would have to take a look at myself in the mirror to remind myself that “This is not how I want to look” to get me in the right mindset.
Second step. I turned to the mother of all cardio. Run. I made myself to run an hour at least twice a week. Friday night was one of time slot I dedicated to this routine because the gym was usually quieton friday evening. I struggled to run fast initially so I just keep my pace to 6 – 7km/hr. There was the time my tummy jiggles when I run. I hated that feeling. It was very uncomfortable and it made breathing harder like there is a blob in me stopping the air to go into my lung.
“Stop now. I know you don’t like to feel your tummy jiggles”
“Look! You only run 5 minutes. You are tired. You won’t make it an hour”
“They play a bad song. You will not get through this awful song on the treadmill”
The devil in me kept channelling these thought to stop me from keep going but I refused to give in. I kept counting down the seconds, minute after minute, until I finished the Cardio session. Week after week of consistent effort, I slowly progressed from 6km/hr pace to 11km/hr pace. Then, signs of shin splint start to appear. I had shin splint years ago so I knew I had to stop running. As a result, I turned to the stepmothers of Cardio before I let the shin splint ruin my life again. Stationary bike, Stairmaster and Cross trainer were the other options of my Cardio routine apart from running. As I get better with these cardio machines, I became obsessed with hitting higher calorie number on the calorie counter of the machine in every subsequent Cardio session. This ever increasing number was the one of the first little victories I had in this weight loss journey. It was sweet like chocolate without the chocolate. A taste I cherish as a then chocoholic.
Changes did not stop there.
On one occasion, I came upon an article about high sugar content in fruit juice and the health risks associated with overconsumption of fruit juice. Hence, no more fruit juices. On another occasion, I overheard a friend of mine talked about her not to eat anything artificial in her diet and reading food label is one of her habits to stop her from making bad food decision. Consequently, It led to obsessively looking at food label to check the ingredients. I would not buy the product if there is anything that I cannot spell or any ingredient labelled in numbers. In that way, I believed that I was eating as clean as possible within my control.
A week before New Year in 2012, I already had a new year resolution. It was “no burger, soft drink and potato chips for one year”. I remember that I had my last meal burger combo meal 4 days before the New Year. I was looking at the burger, a can of Pepsi Max and a large bag of potato chip.
“This is it” I thought to myself.
Then, I devoured the meal.
(To be continued)