Everywhere I go, and I mean everywhere, there are people that wince at me when I say I live a mostly vegan lifestyle (no dairy in my day to day and mainly plant based proteins.) That wince comes from the presupposed idea that healthy food is gross. This myth was founded I'm sure back in a time when unhealthy food was made with real ingredients.
No man is an island, they say. But each and everyone who made it to the top has had at least one person who supported them. Whether it was introducing them to a good network of people, giving endless morale boost, or really being there by their side in every step of the way someone has supported a winner. Having support from others motivates us more in going for the gold. We all want that. We all need it.
Changes had to occur when I steered my lifestyle towards a healthier path. One of the most important changes was the set of people my life is surrounded with. I talk more to people sharing the same health and fitness interests that I have now. I prefer hanging out with more health-conscious folks. My Twitter following list has been cleaned and I am mostly following #fitfam members. The fact that there are many out there like you feeds you fuel into working harder and staying determined.
My friends at the gym are nice. They will genuinely compliment you. They will not put you down and will you cheer you on instead when you struggle. It’s more or less the opposite for me outside the gym. I get backhanded compliments from people I know are jealous. “You’re too skinny already”, “You look better with your old fat”, “You train too much. You’re gonna die.” Yes, these words came from jealous, ignorant naysayers. I remind myself to shrug them off. They’re complimenting me but they didn’t want to admit it.
In a perfect world, we’d want the people close to us (e.g., family, friends, significant others) to swim the same stream with us. But the world is not perfect and we can’t always get what we want. In our household, my meals would be different most of the time. Social dining does not excite me like it used to unless it’s health-conscious people I’m with. Most of the time at work, I dine by myself with my carefully selected food.
I have a few real friends who share the same passion. Some of them are abroad though. But it didn’t stop us from supporting each other. Distance is less of a struggle for communication in this age. I’m happy that some of my friends are in this with me. It’s not total desolation. Give support to gain support. It should be one of the ways of life.
But with the lack of head count to join me in the crusade, I had to turn somewhere else. Every day, I follow new #fitfam members online. I’ve joined social groups for health and fitness. More anonymous faces, more anonymous names, but it doesn’t matter. We exchange tips. We discuss ideas. We learn from each other. One of my Twitter #fitfam always attaches the emoji fist bump icon in his inspirational and motivational tweets. It has become a symbol of support for me.
It may seem lonely from the exterior but it isn’t. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s one of my favorite adages. The Rolling Stones had foreshadowed this years ago. “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need.”
Since my last post and until the end of 2012, my Fizz No More story came crashing down to the ground. I lost my focus. I ignored my goal. I was off the rail.
Last December, I was to attend my friend’s wedding on a mountaintop in the province. Two weeks before that, my personal trainer changed my workout. He made me do more plyometric exercises. It was an athlete’s workout he said. The holidays were approaching and he wanted me prepared for it by working out harder to torch the body fat. I lost a lot I observed. Wanting to make the most of my time, I worked out on the day I was heading off to the province. I started sneezing before we left. Unlucky me, the 11-hour bus travel was so cold it turned my sneezing into a fever. I endured the trip without any thick clothing to battle the cold. I packed for the beach not for the Arctic. We traversed land and sea for a few more hours afterwards with me asleep the entire time.
Fortunately, we had one more day before the actual wedding itself. I took advantage of it by resting and sleeping the whole day once we got to my friend’s hometown. I became better on the wedding day despite having a black out during the ceremony. For a few moments while standing with eyes wide open, my vision turned to black and I felt the world spinning. I got over it by not panicking and by will. I made it through the entire ceremony, which I really wanted to for my friends. When we hit the beach, the sun, sand and the sea rejuvenated me. I healed completely.
When we got back to the mainland, I saw the pictures from the wedding and the beach reception. I saw a couple of photos of me on the beach. Like a hammer, it finally hit me and made me realize the changes my body had gone through. I had another blackout. However, it was a blackout where all the fruits of my hard work and commitment flashed in front of my eyes. I don’t have a Greek god body yet but compared to what I was last 2011, I was happy with what I saw. Like a stream of consciousness I also realized that despite my health challenges on 2012, in general I felt more better. The pain and fear from 2011 became small. I stepped on it and crushed it with my heel.
The first workout of 2013 came. I was very excited. My trainer who just came back from Hong Kong was not in the gym. He told me before we parted last year he’d be there. But sleep overpowered him so I had no choice but to work out on my own. I did one of our kettlebell routines with flying colors. I loved sweating and seeing my sweat drop on the gym’s floor. “Sweat is fat crying” I remember one of the people on my Twitter timeline tweeted.
The next day, he was there to train me. The two weeks passed well. He added a couple of jumping exercises to my routines. My burpee improved and finally became a bastard (which I love surprisingly). My cardio improved. I was doing my exercises better than last year. I removed Fit & Right from my diet. I was guzzling water like an alcoholic does his vodka. I incorporated more yogurt into my diet. I opened my boxes of green tea again. Before I leave home and before I sleep, I must have water.
I cleaned my Twitter lists and added more #fitfam tweeters. There’s a regular boost of motivational quotes and health advice from my brain finding its way to my Twitter and Facebook. Some would express their surprise to a more positive me and wondered where was the pottymouth version. We can’t win every time with everyone I guess. But my pottymouth version is still in me. It’s in my core. It’s still there.
I am rejuvenated. A lightning of my labor’s fruits struck me and keeps me motivated and more dedicated. Sometimes I feel my rejuvenation is too much and I wish I can pass some to others. An aura of excitement and confidence surrounds me. The old me has died and a better version has emerged. I’m excited to see what lies ahead for me this year. There will be new health challenges I’m sure but what is a life without any difficulties involved? I’m looking forward to growing and learning more. I’m looking forward to evolving. Bring it on!
After my birthday and the weekend that came after it, I managed to not drink any soda (well Coke to be specific) for two days. On October 17 (Wednesday), I drank. How it lead that I cannot remember. My calendar is just telling me I did not avoid soda on that day. I bounced back on the day after that. It was one day soda abstinence for my birthday redux on the 19th (Friday).
It’s customary in the office to receive a birthday cake on your birthday. It’s also customary for the celebrant to feed the hungry mouths of the entire office. This year, I was not going to celebrate my birthday in the office by myself. One of our new employees hired this year is also an October celebrant. Yay for me because I spent the last two years being the only one whose birthday falls on October. Me and my co-worker decided to have the celebration on the Friday following the week of our special days. I knew beforehand that I was going to indulge myself with soda on that day. Reasons are:
- It’s my birthday (again).
- Heck, I paid for that soda. There was no way I wasn’t going to have any of it.
There was no guilt felt. It was, after all, a day for me and my co-worker. I had all the right to be self-entitled. So the day lived itself while we ate, we computed the money spent, we ate again, and I drank Coke guilt-free. It’s ironic though that on the exact day of my birth (12th), I was able to avoid drinking Coke despite the many opportunities that presented themselves. Perhaps, it had to do with the setting. I was at the office on the 19th, and I was somewhere out there on the 12th. Weekends are still my weak spots so you know what happened after the 19th.
Monday is becoming my favorite day. It marks the real restart of the week for me. I am back on the gym after a two-day rest. I expect the workout to be harder (if not the hardest). But it doesn’t faze me at all. A year ago, I didn’t look forward to the Monday workout but it’s the opposite now. The weekend bores the *bleep out of me I wish it will just fast-forward to Monday. Another reason I like Monday is it empowers me to stick with my healthy diet. My resistance to all things junkie, nasty, and fizzy is stronger on the weekdays with Monday giving the strongest boost of them all.
Last Tuesday, I had dinner with my friends for one of them will be sent abroad to work. It was sort of a “farewell/bon voyage” dinner. When I would get dinner invitations, it would scare the bejesus out of me. There would be temptation for sure. And there’s a chance at least one of your friends would criticize or pressure you to break your diet. Whenever that would happen, I would just give a simple NO. But for the persistent, I would mentally utter a gigantic *BLEEP YOU. I don’t get what is hard to understand about complying to a diet. If I said NO, that’s the end of it. You don’t hear me talk anyone to eat what they don’t want to eat so I expect the same. I don’t want to venture into rant-land but I just want to make a point.
That day, I was unlucky. Something invaded my digestive system and I spent the entire day with some discomfort down there. At one point I thought of drinking soda to calm the storm but I held out. Good thing I did (and no, I did not go to the toilet to poop). Right until the dinner, there was still some mild discomfort. When we were giving our orders to the waiter I said “Do you have bottomless soda?”
Well he did not exactly say ‘no’. It was more like ‘Sorry sir. We are out soda yada yada.” There was a sigh of disappointment from me coupled with a sigh of relief. It wasn’t meant to be. I ordered tea instead. Even when we went to get coffee, I went for juice instead. Tuesday ended well.
I got through Wednesday fine as well. Thursday was the end of work week since the 26th was a holiday. So you know the drill. Weekend and the day before are still both weak spots for me. But I’ll continue trudging along. In the next few posts, perhaps I’ll be surprising myself.
The two weeks leading to my birthday was not good for Fizz No More. On the first week of October I scored a 5-2 with FNM on the losing end. I was safe at work and it’s the home turf where I succumbed. On the week of my birthday, I ended up with 6-1. There was a birthday celebration (not mine) in the office last Monday. I didn’t hesitate and went for the jugular, uhm, Coke I mean, after eating. The rest of the week played out like the previous one. There’s Coke at home.
Now I will attempt to explain the situation. For people trying to maintain a diet, big events like New Year, a wedding reception, Christmas and birthdays (especially one’s birthday) are big hurdles on the course. The thought of encountering a buffet or a table laden with food is an upcoming challenge. The sight of the colorful dishes and the smell of the aromatic food will surely hook the senses. Our brain is programmed to act on our senses. When someone is wearing a good perfume, we tend to move closer to their personal space. On the other hand, we move away from someone with a stinking body odor. It’s the same with food. When we smell our favorite food being cooked in the kitchen, what do we do? We go to the kitchen to look at the cooking.
The best way to battle the situation is to don’t go near the food at all. Or approach the food, get a satisfying serving and don’t ever come back. That’s how I do it in the office. I go to the pantry once, get a plate and load it with a few selection. I avoid looking at the sodas, turn around and head back to my desk. It works for me (food wise). An office celebration is small scale. If you’re celebrating Christmas, the tradition of serving more food makes it harder. The ambiance and spirit of Christmas crush down the will to stay on the diet. Everybody gets bloated with food and drinks while you have an inner struggle. You try to amuse yourself with your gifts or some games but when you really think hard about it, the food is the most important attraction in such events. This is one of the only few times queso de bola is served, so dive in! What about the sweet ham? Fruit cakes with wine? That expensive bottle of alcohol only reserved for such special occasions? You get the picture.
Before the Christmas and New Year holidays, people in the gym will work harder. The upcoming holiday is an inevitable gorgy (gorge/orgy) festival which they know they can’t battle. Post-holiday, they will work even harder because they have extra calories and fat to burn. The same thing happened with my birthday. I put down all my defenses on the week of my birthday. Granted on the day itself, I satisfied my thirst with blue lemon, a chocolate mint cooler (which I regretted afterwards), and iced tea. I had a can of Coke towards the end of the night because I couldn’t take it anymore. “Holy goddamn asswipes! It’s my birthday. I’m entitled to at least one can of Coke!” I yelled in my mind. And so I did, one can of Coke on my birthday. It’s quite pitiful because my careless self thought I should’ve had more. Nonetheless, I let myself go on the week of my birthday. I also did let myself go on the week before the week of my birthday. The careless mindset started earlier and I put the note in my mind that I’ll go back to being strict after my birthday anyway.
Holy bees! It was my birthday and being hard on myself was the last thing I needed to worry about. It’s supposed to be a celebration. Birthdays happen only once a year. I can make up for it with 300-some days of discipline and will. I ended up happy which is what all of us wants on our birthday. There you go, belated happy birthday to me.
Two weeks have passed and it felt like limbo. I scored a 4-3 last, last week with the winning days from Monday to Thursday. Friday kicked in and I felt some freedom of drinking soda. I watched the American Idol concert on Friday and it became the excuse to buy Coke at Burger King and at the concern hall. I shouldn’t be sad because I enjoyed the concert and I felt entitled to a bit of cheating (diet-speaking) along the way and during that day. The sad part though was that I steamrolled into a fizz party until the weekend. Saturday and Sunday were fizz-filled. I barely won that week. Repeat. 4-3.
The following week, I fared worse (I can say). Monday was fizz-free. Woo! Tuesday, I succumbed. Ugh. On Wednesday, our company had a bowling event at the SM Mall of Asia. The drinks served with the snacks were (guess what) sodas in can! Too absorbed with the enjoyment of the bowling game, I did not hesitate. The sugar also helped in playing so I did not feel any guilt. After the game, we had dinner at the Bayside Area where seafood was one of the highlights. Since, I had soda already that day I ordered it again. On Thursday, I was clean. The beverage that filled me that day was this (shameless plugging). The important thing, I was fizz free that day. Last Friday, I went for water and lemonade juice the whole day. That was two days in a row of being soda-free. Then came this weekend, I had Coke. Based on the last two weeks, Saturday and Sunday are both my weak points.
4-3 were the scores for the last two week. I’m stuck halfway. One foot out the door, one foot still in. There were more fizz-free days but I want to improve. I try not to beat myself down for this or else I’d be like all the ugly haters out there. A little chink in the armor and they’d go rejoicing and taunting. I want to be supportive to myself (and not in the ‘drink more Coke’ kind of way). I want to keep thinking positive and believe that I can do this.
And besides, I looked good bowling.
Last week, Fizz No More’s tally was 4-3 in favor of Fizz. Dedication was present from Monday to Thursday until a slip up on Friday created an avalanche of fizz that lasted until Sunday. The following week was the opposite. The score was 5-2 in favor of fizz, not Fizz but fizz! I keep telling myself not to be let down by failures and get back in to what I was doing. It’s not going to be perfect but if I give up, that would make a definite loser. Cliche as it may, I’ll keep the saying “Try and try until you succeed.”
Instead of boring you with the repetitive and mundane details on how I barely won and how I lost, I thought of writing about my relationship with iced tea instead. In restaurants, I’d often go for bottomless (refillable) soda with iced tea as the second option should I be feeling “health conscious”. The better choice would be to not order bottomless in the first place. Another better choice would be to not order soda nor iced tea. Both are packed with sugar and it’s not good for us however we want to look at it. During those occasions I would flirt with iced tea, it didn’t always turn out the way I wanted to.
Several times, whenever I dined out with a close girl friend and I’d go for iced tea, it would send a catastrophic rumbling inside my stomach. It would trigger my parcopresis and I’d try my best to keep a smile while invisible worry emoticons kept popping above my head. I could not pinpoint which food caused the rumbling. I’ve had many. But one common denominator in them all was that I had iced tea. I also could not narrow it down between house-blend iced tea or the opposite. Even Wendy’s delicious and deceptive iced tea and iced tea lite are criminals to those. As long as it’s iced tea in restaurants and food joints, there’s an 80% probability of it causing a digestive uproar.
I also had an affair with iced red tea. The place I can remember it the most is at Tokyo Tokyo. Almost all of my friends that would eat there would go bonkers for that and order it. It looked cool. It was cool. Served in a jumbo-sized glass, the tonkatsu, mixed vegetables, and refillable rice did not object when served with the red tea. I now can say they don’t match at all. The flavors don’t seem to complement each other. Water or soda would be best ordered with them. Nonetheless, the red and black color scheme of Tokyo Tokyo’s stores would push you to get the iced red tea. What I hated the most about it was the stomach pain it would give me whenever I finished my meal. Apparently, iced red tea would make my digestive system produce more acid than other beverages. I would just shut up about it because I didn’t want to admit that an expensive drink didn’t make me happy at all. Needless to say, I never order iced red tea anymore after admitting to myself that it was and is SHIT (Sorry red tea lovers).
Milk tea is a fad (forgive me for calling it a fad) that I would never really understand. For us lactose-intolerant people, milk alone is reason enough to stay away from it. For me however, the milk and tea duo is a match made in hell. I tried it, believe me. I tried participating in the milk tea craze but the very few times I did, it made New Year’s eve happen inside my body. I did not like it at all. In fact, I fucking hate it. Sorry for cursing folks, that’s how much I despise it. Admittedly, my view on milk tea is jaded because I see lots of calories tagged with it. As someone who’s trying to stay on the track of healthy living, I try to avoid it as best as possible.
My worst escapade with iced tea was a reunion dinner with my former officemates. We went to Kenny Roger’s Roasters to dine. I ordered iced tea ’cause I thought it was going to make a difference. Had I known what would happen after, I would’ve went for the guilty pleasure instead. After dinner, we went and had a coffee at Starbucks. A few minutes into the coffee, I felt a typhoon inside of me. I panicked secretly, not telling my friends about my worry. I dashed to the nearest comfort room when I felt I couldn’t hold it any longer. But when I stepped inside the restroom, parcopresis kicked in and my body involuntarily pacified the typhoon. I had to wait to get home then to flush it. Flushed I did when I reached our house a few minutes before midnight. A couple of minutes later, there was a weird pain in my stomach. It felt like being bloated too much. There was a rapid movement in my stomach that would occur every few minutes. It hurt like hell. I could not stand up properly. I made hot tea thinking it would calm down whatever entity that was beating inside me but it did not work. I lied face down on top of a pillow chair thinking that would push the gas (I thought that it was gas) out of my system. But it did not work too. I looked for ointments and oils in the house, applied them to my belly but those failed as well. I asked my mother to accompany me to the nearest hospital. On the way there, I thought I was having appendicitis. The doctor said it was bacteria. They gave me some medicine and even asked for some stool sample which I wasn’t able to give ’cause my ass is not my best friend. I turned okay after a day or two taking the medicine.
That experience incurred some fear of iced tea and coffee for me. I never really got to narrow it down between the two. Last week though, after ordering iced tea thinking it was safe for me already I felt the entity beating inside me again. It wasn’t as bad as the Kenny Roger’s experience but it worried me. Digestive problems really scare me after some illness a couple of years ago. Any weird feeling I feel that I think is related to it sends a wave of panic through me. I think that recursion will serve as a reminder to me to stay away from iced tea for now (or for good, who knows?).
These are the reasons I preferred soda over iced tea most of the time. As much as I wanted to love iced tea, it never really worked out between the two of us. So I have accepted that a committed relationship with it is almost impossible. Hence, I have to go with other options. Hot teas are friendly to me. Hot teas converted into refrigerated teas are better. But any other iced tea out there in the market, I would have to turn down for now, or maybe forever.