The roles of gratitude in my body transformation

It seems counter-intuitive to claim that this helped me successfully transform my life more so than about just cleaning my plates. People are on a busy, go-go-go attitude nowadays and they couldn’t care less about what they put in their mouth. However, on any attempts to change in order to look better or get healthier, two issues most often arise: one is that they get too busy (or believe they are too busy) and find excuses, and withdrawals symptoms come up.

The key to the first issue is that they don’t appreciate what they have or what they can (and will) do to change for the better. Also there’s nothing I can do to convince them that the outcome would be worth it, because it’s not something we can tell to make them understand. They have to experience a better quality of life, better wellbeing and tons of energy, or perhaps some diseases improved, to understand.

The second issue is that you confuse immediate physical pleasure with other things. It’s true that some foods naturally cause your body to secrete feel-great hormones, like chocolate and sugar. However, that may be because our bodies are built to store energy for the famine, a mechanism which is no longer necessary. Another possibility is that you may be sensitive or allergic to the foods. A holistic nutritionist once said if you eat the foods that you are allergic to, initially your body will secret a lot of endorphins and adrenaline, just as you are injured, before inflammation hormones are secreted. That’s we may get addicted to the foods we are allergic to. It’s definitely not easy to part from your favorite things but with awareness that it may harm you and real will, it’s possible.

It’s sort of like appreciation of arts when someone claims that you have resources for arts when the country is at peace and the economy goes well. I feel gratitude when I get to shop for foods and make my own foods. It means that I have the time to take care of myself. When I cook for someone, that person is special, so I cook most for myself. No wonder everyone always say good things about the foods in my lunchbox, that it looks awesome and so healthy. I got rid off the “too busy to take care of myself” attitude, and then I enjoy eating to live just as much as spicing things up. The kitchen and the bulk store are my playground. I love foods and I’m a huge foodie. It’s funny to say when my roommate is playing VDO games, I’m fiddling with things in the kitchen.

Now you don’t have to find the pleasure with cooking and shopping for foods to eat healthy and live healthy. What I say is find a way and set goals for attitude change. Attitudes can be changed and it’s even easier once you start experiencing positive results. I get pretty good at finding people’s objections or what they are willing to do to get better. Think about what’s the biggest thing preventing you from taking action and attack that first. If you have a hard time regularly going to the grocery store, make yourself show up at the store once a week for four consecutive weeks and then reward yourself. It’s all about finding a way. It’s also about building habits.

I work long hours in a moderately physically demanding position. But suffice to say, there’s no such a thing as “I don’t have time”. I could always squeeze out half an hour of my time to pick up groceries and perhaps another hour to pack “grab and go” meals and store them in the fridge each week. If I have more time then I make something more fancy because I enjoy it. When I start learning about food preservatives and how boxed foods contain poisonous materials, I adopt the attitude that those foods are for people who have no gratitude towards taking care of themselves so they don’t make the time. Which means I avoid those foods like a plague because it feels so good to be able to take care of myself, but I will eat those foods if it’s absolutely necessary. Starving myself is not an option, after all.

How to get abs? It’s made in the kitchen.

Sounds familiar? My abs are showing and I haven’t done a crunch in 6 months.

Part of that is because I learned a gazillions other ways to train my abs, and I train it like 5 – 6 times a week. There are 4 major muscle groups that you need to train, e.g.

Rectus abdominis (which is supposed to be used during the crunches)
Internal Obliques
External Obliques
Transverse Abdominis and the deeper muscles

Abs are muscles, too. So if you want them to show you need to treat them like how bodybuilders treat muscles to make the muscle grow. First, rectus abdominis is made for trunk flexion (bending forward), so you need to train with the forward flexion movements. The obliques are for lateral flexion (side bends) and rotation of the body, should also be included in the training program. Ladies, beware, using heavy weights for side bend exercises will cause your waist to grow bigger, which is bad for your hourglass figures. So, when you train the obliques just use lighter weights or body weights.

Transverse abdominis and the deeper muscles function mainly in stabilization of your core, so you use them when you do planks, forced expiration, pushups, squads, deadlifts, and many other things that you don’t even know you are using the abs. If you don’t train these muscles, you are more likely to get distended tummy regardless of your body fat and more likely to get hurt from your typical daily routines because you lack the core stabilization.

Equally important is the training of your back muscles. So few people (especially women) worry about their backs, perhaps because they don’t see it in the mirror. We complain about our tummy but rarely our backs. If you only train the abs (1000 crunches included) and never train the back muscles, you risk getting older with a hunchback and back injuries etc. Also, even if your body fat percentage is low enough, you don’t have anything to straighten up the abs and make it show. There are cases that personal trainers just train someone’s backs and the abs show. Thus, balance in the training program is key.

Last but not least, abs are made in the kitchen. You need a clean, balanced diet to earn that trophy. Wait, my entire blog isn’t about eating bland foods. It’s about making it a lifestyle and being happy about it.


You eat what? after your workout? Congee?

“You eat what? after your workout?” I get a lot of this response from my Asian friends.

For bodybuilders, we are told to consume carbs post-exercise so the nutrients get channeled to our muscles for recovery. If you want to get insane abs showing, then there will be days that this is the only time you get to eat carbs. I would much rather eat what I grew up eating than pills or powders.

Vince Del Monte said I should switch to complex carbs after my workout to lose the last bits of fat. So, I made congee the other day with brown rice, white fish and chicken breasts. Oh and the crockpot is the ultimate cooking item for a bachelor.

I put into the 5 quart crockpot:

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 lb of chopped chicken breasts
1/2 lb of white fish
a piece of chicken bone to simultanously make a chicken stock in it. (Hint: buy bone-in chicken breast)

a few slices of carrots, herbs/spices like garlic, green onions, ginger, chopped re-constituted dried shitake mushrooms
a drop of sesame oil to add flavor

8 – 10 cups of water

Cook on low overnight or around 8 hours. This should make about 4 servings of ~60 g of carbs and 30 g of protein