Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Sitting Disease

I’m finally back after a short gateway to Dubai, and I have made a huge discovery – even though I was aware of it way before but I had the chance to look at it closely now and see how it truly affects us all. This major discovery is known as “The Sitting Disease” or “Sedentary Lifestyle.”

Think about it, you’re driving 30 minutes to your office job where you spend at least seven hours sitting. You’re back home, on the couch, watching some television. Later, you’d have some lunch or dinner… and you would do that, sitting. Oh and you’re probably sitting in a chair reading this blog post. If this looks a lot like your lifestyle then you’re suffering from “The Sitting Disease.” 

You see, the human body is made to move.  Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle demands us to spend 7+ hours sitting when in fact, our bodies have not evolved to adapt. Studies have shown that when you sit more, you increase your risk of diabetes, obesity and cancer.  It seems to me that the more I sit, the more I feel tired and the more I move, the less I feel tired. It’s a simple equation, move more throughout the day = feel more energetic. During my last trip to Dubai, I was on constant movement and even though I indulged in desserts, fast food and sugary drinks, I still managed to drop one kilo. This was an eye opening experience as it showed me how moving throughout the day makes all the difference in the world. 

To all of you who have a sedentary lifestyle (including me)… Here are some tips to reverse this: 

1. Take a 5 minute walk for every hour you spend at work
2. Walk when you're on the phone
3. The stairs are there for a reason. Use them!
4. Start a fitness routine and be consistent.
5. Stand up and move more... Little things add up.  

 It’s no wonder that ever since I started my office job, I’ve been piling on pounds even though my eating habits have remained the same. Hope this post gives you hope like it did to me!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Giving up Dieting

[Before reading this blog post, I just want to let my readers know that I’m neither a certified nutritionist nor a doctor. Therefore, whatever advice I give is solely based on my experience. If you want to seek medical help this is not the place. I’m only sharing my personal insights.] 

I’m ecstatic; I’m finally back at the gym after one month filled with setbacks. After my endless attempts in Ramadan to control my binge urges, I just gave up because I told myself that it’s okay to binge eat as it is only temporary and will end after this month – I know, terrible excuses I keep giving myself. The most important thing right now is that I truly lost all my excuses and I’ve been working hard for the past two weeks. I already got a few compliments on how radiant I look and guess what? I did all that by NOT starving... Just eating according to my goals and working out.

This got me to a really important issue that I’ve been noticing in young adults and that is; distorted image of what “dieting” and “proper nutrition” truly are. Approximately 3 out of 10 young adults that I come across are on extreme starvation diets, their diets basically consist of one big meal per day or eating too little calories throughout the day. I honestly don’t know how they do it. It’s so hard for me to starve myself and it opens huge binge doors for me. Sure, those of you who are on extreme starvation diets will lose weight but you’ll also experience hunger pangs, decreased energy, hair loss, mood swings and many physical effects related to specific nutrition deficiencies. 

Starving never works simply because of our survival instincts. Our survival instincts are our inherited properties to behave in a way that maximize our chances of survival. They are extremely powerful and respond when one or more of our basic biological needs are not met (such as hunger). Basically, when you’re starving, your survival instincts are activated because it senses a threat to survival. Dieting is against human nature and our brain (survival instincts) will fight back. Then, the body’s metabolism slows down and the body does everything it can to conserve energy. It seems as though our survival instincts aim to aggressively convince us to eat. This is why people who starve eventually give up and gain all the weight back (probably even more). 

As for me, I gave up dieting. It takes so much energy to stress about food and I have a wedding coming up. I’m not dieting; I’m on a healthy eating (and fitness) journey.