Fitbit Stats

About two weeks ago I received an email from Fitbit telling me a bit about my achievements for 2017. The numbers reflect my stats from about mid-May (I received my Fitbit device for Mother’s Day)

The stats are interesting to see but, as I look at them, they are just numbers to me with no meaning. What I do see, though, is the effort that I have put into moving my body. Hopefully I can continue with my goal to increase my physical activity so that it can impact on my weight loss. I guess next year’s stats will show me how much I have increased the number of steps I have taken as well as the amount of calories that I have burned.

If you use a Fitbit, how do your stats compare?

.© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

A New Streak

For Christmas my husband bought me a pedometer to help me with my efforts to lose weight. I set my goal at 8000 steps per day and, as I work at a school very near my home, I need to make an effort to reach it. Reaching my target is easy when I have a Zumba class but on the days I do not exercise in a group class, I need to do a little extra walking.

This week I hit a new steak – 13 consecutive days in which I reached more than 8000 steps. I feel quite a sense of accomplishment. And I am smiling! 🙂 I broke my streak yesterday as I felt too cold to go out and walk those extra 500 steps. No matter, I now have the goal to beat my record.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Grateful for Needle Movement

English: An arrow pointing down in the red cir...

One of my goals for 2017 is to lose some of the weight I have gained over the last few years. I want to take charge of my health and fitness again and return to a time when it was easy for my body to move. I am slowly changing the way I eat; and I try my best to attend my bi-weekly Zumba classes.

The needle on my scale had not moved since the beginning of the year. However, even though it remained static, I did notice a change in my body. My clothing fits looser and I am beginning to see a waist again! Last week when I weighed myself, I felt a moment of joy.

The needle on the scale had moved! Downwards.

I now weigh 1kg less. It may not sound a lot, but to me it is quite an achievement. The loss encourages me and prevents me from giving up. Now I can work towards losing the next kilogram.

This week I am grateful for my weight loss and the encouragement this loss gives me.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for a flannel shirt

Lavender Ladi was grateful for fluffy snow

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

To Count Or Not To Count?

To Count or not to count? That is the question.

Image result for lose itRemember I told you at the beginning of the year that I was going to count calories using the Lose it! app? I has been a month now that I have been logging every morsel that I eat into my daily record. I have been diligent about the tracking – noting down every drink, every meal, and every snack.

I am sure you are wondering whether tracking my caloric input has affected my weight. I can tell you that it hasn’t. The needle on the scale hasn’t budged and I still weigh the same as I did 5 weeks ago when I began recording the number of calories that I consume.

The tracking has made me think about my food and whether I am ‘allowed’ to eat it or not. Personally I feel that I have become even more focused on my eating – and not always in a good way. I found myself measuring my cereal, the milk I use, and even the butter I spread on my toast. It does take out the joy of preparing a meal. I could get used to measuring my meals – but doing so is not working for me.

Tracking my caloric intake has also been difficult at times. Many of my meals are cooked from scratch and how do I figure out what the calories are of a serving of fried rice? Or homemade vegetable soup? I found this to be a little frustrating.

Tracking calories, however, has reinforced that natural, whole foods do have less calories than the prepackaged foods that are made by bulk in factories. Thus it is better to focus on eating whole fruit and vegetables as opposed to the snacks and foods that are laden with sugar and so easy to enjoy.

To count or not to count? My decision is not to count. After the discipline of tracking for a month (remember that my word of the year is discipline?), I have decided that I need to find another way of changing my eating habits.

On what do you base your eating habits?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Let’s Zumba!

Women, and a few men, moved through the glass doors into the open space and gravitated to their spots. I hung back, choosing a space near the closed doorway. Self-consciously I pulled my t-shirt down and breathed an internal sigh of relief as I noticed that I was not the only overweight person in the room older than 30. I had steeled myself for months to join this class. Twenty years ago I would have been one of those women who walked through the door with confidence. But now? I knew I would not be able to keep up the pace.

Image result for zumba“Welcome to Zumba. If you are are here for the first time, don’t worry if you can’t keep up. Put your feet to the ground, move to the music, and have fun!”

Five minutes later I was looking at the clock. My breathing was laboured, my heart was racing, and it was difficult to move my feet at the speed of the instructor’s. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. I kept at it, determined that I would once again move like I did twenty years ago. Not only did I want to lose my excess weight, but I also wanted to regain my fitness.

The class ended with sweat dripping down my face. I had not been able to keep up – the moves were unknown to me, and many of them were fast. But I finished. And decided to go back for more.

It had been seventeen years since the last time I had done any type of cardio exercise. I chose to do Zumba because it is a dance-based exercise and I have always loved dance. It is not quite the same as what I used to do when I danced Latin and Ballroom but in joining a Zumba class I can move rhythmically to the music.

I danced my first Zumba class six months ago – and now no longer look at the clock after five minutes. My legs are stronger and I am therefore able to do most of the moves. I still get lost with the choreography, but not as often. I have not lost weight, but have lost centimetres. I join a class twice a week when I am able – and would go more often if there were more classes available at my local gym.

I love it! Zumba is definitely for me. During the winter months, the obstacle I have to overcome is getting there. It is not pleasant leaving the warmth of our home to walk through frigid temperatures to the gym. In the argument to myself, I always bring up my word of the year: Discipline.

Have you tried a Zumba class?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Counting Calories

I have never felt the need to count calories; to measure the amount of food I eat and write down every morsel that passes my lips. But then I have never weighed as much as I currently do. After speaking to a friend of mine and reading a blog post by a fellow blogger, I decided to try something new to help me loose weight.

Laurie, a talented photographer who has shared her weight loss journey on her blog,  suggests using the app Lose It!

Image result for lose it After reading her blog post, I searched for the app and downloaded it onto my iPad. I have been counting the calories I eat for a week now and logging them into the app. As Laurie promised, the app is easy to use. Once you have added a meal to your day, the programme saves the information and it is so much quicker to insert the next time you eat that food. Adding new foods is easy – especially if the package has a bar code which you can scan.

Have I lost weight? No. But it has only been a week. I have noticed, though, that I am more careful about what I eat. And I think twice before grabbing that second cookie, or another piece of chocolate. Using the app and counting my calories has encouraged me to think more carefully about the amount of food that I eat, and the choices I make on what to put on my plate.

My word for this year is discipline and the app is helping me to be more disciplined about what I eat.

Do you count calories?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

An Inspirational Transformation

There are times in our lives when things seem difficult: it is an effort to continue working towards our goal and we think of how much easier it would be to give up. But we should not. If we have the determination and belief in ourselves, there is nothing that we cannot achieve. The following video shows us that we can transform ourselves if we set our mind to it.

Not only did Arthur lose weight, but he learned to walk again unassisted. He is truly an inspiration to us; and a reminder that if we do not give up, we can achieve great things.

What is your response to this video?

A Weighty Issue

I have been trying to lose the weight that slowly crept onto me over the years. And I was slowly being successful, gram by gram. My clothes were getting looser and I was getting used to eating less bread.

Then the vacation came. And visiting family.

While away from home I was faced with the following: eating foods I had not literally tasted in years; being enticed by foods I had never yet tasted; and offered food by hostesses who showed their caring for me with food. Heaps of food! There were times I was eating but I was not hungry. Midway through the vacation I could feel the result: my pants were fitting a little more snugly than previously. Sigh.

With the vacation, my exercise routine took a holiday too. In addition, we were driving everywhere and not walking. At home, I walk everywhere: to the library, to the shop, to work if it is near enough that day. It is convenient to get in a car and drive to places, but it does affect your weight and your health.

Weight and height are used in computing body m...

When I reached home and weighed myself, I cannot say I was surprised to see that I had picked up weight. Not too much, but enough to make my pants uncomfortably tight. I have begun my exercise – slowly but surely – and can feel that some muscles have not been used in a while. I am now training myself to eat less – and to avoid the desserts and sweet treats. Next will be the bread. In my mind I keep thinking: I have done this before, I can do it again.

As the new school year approaches, I know that following my plan will be easier. Following a routine tends to help me stick to my resolutions.

Do you gain weight when on vacation? What are your strategies to lose the weight once you have gained it?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

To Borrow a Manifesto

In Defense of Food  “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

I would like to borrow the above manifesto coined by Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. (My review of his book can be found here).

  • The food I wish to eat is real food: food the way nature intended it to be. Walking into a supermarket, I am at times tempted by artfully displayed packages of processed foods all claiming to be good for my health: Cheerios that will lower my cholesterol; the Special K energy bar that can help with my weight loss; low-fat yoghurt that helps the eater avoid fats while still getting calcium from dairy. The advertising and packaging of these man-altered foods, entices you away from the produce section and compels you to buy into what the nutrition experts are telling you. I often resist the call of packaged foods and spend my time shopping among the freshly coloured fruits and vegetables found in the produce section.
  • I want to learn not to eat too much – like I did when I was a child. I need to learn, once again, to listen to the signals my body sends me: the signals that tell me when I am full, or when I am thirsty. I need to remember to listen. Listening will help me to control my food portions, and to know when to eat as well as how much.
  • I enjoy eating mostly plants: that is, the fruit and vegetables that are grown in fields. Meat products, when it is eaten, will be the side dish and will not occupy most of the space on my plate. Occasionally I will eat a piece of fish, a slice of pork, or some stir-fried chicken. I will have meatless weeks; but still enjoy pan fried pork dumplings, briyani, and scrambled eggs. I do not mourn the loss of animal protein on my plate, though I do find it tasty on occasion.

Do you have an eater’s manifesto? Have you thought about creating one? What is it?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Chocolate Candy Bars to Diminish

Snickers & Mars
Image via Wikipedia

Have you heard? The king-size Snickers bar, boasting a whopping 540 calories, is on its way out! Fans of the extra-large Snickers and Twix bars should pay attention too – these sugary treats are also to be slimmed down.

In the interest of its “broad-based commitment to health and nutrition”, the candy maker Mars Incorporated has told  consumers of its desire to create chocolate snacks that are limited to 250 calories. In the drive for responsible snacking, their goal is part of an ongoing effort to improve the nutritional value of their products and to sell them in a responsible way. The Virginia-based company wishes to implement this plan by the end of 2013. Not only will the calorie content of the chocolate snack be changed, but also the sodium. Sodium levels in all Mars products will be reduced by 25% by 2015. Already 97% of trans fats have been removed from their products.

The normal-sized candy bars you buy in a convenience store, at a vending machine, or find in the supermarket will be resized.  A normal Snickers bar contains 280 calories. Therefore, in order to reach the 250 limit, the candy bar’s appearance will have to change. It may be shorter – or even slimmer. For those Twix lovers – your favourite chocolate bar will remain the same as it already meets the new criteria, weighing in at 250 calories.

Personally I will not mourn the loss of the ultra large candy bar – even the normal sized sugary treat is more than enough for me! I do hope, though, that the slimmer version of the Snickers bar will lead to less sugary consumption by children, teens and adults. And even if the two bars in the new “2toGo” (two 220 calorie bars in a package that can be resealed to save one for later) are eaten in one sitting, only 440 calories will be consumed (that is a total of 100 calories less compared to the current king-size bar).

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012


Finally, though, the consumer still has to take responsibility for how often they will eat their favourite chocolate treat; and how many they will have in one sitting.

Will your mourn the loss of the king-sized candy bar? Do you feel the slimmer version will help combat the high obesity rates?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012