How Do I Kill My Unfitness Ghost
Was I imagining things or had other-worldly beings moved into my body, leaving me depressed, sluggish and out of sorts? I needed help and found it in the capable hands of two clever exorcists!
Until I read about their mission—to sleuth out ghosts that lurk in abandoned and not-so-abandoned buildings in the Singapore area—I thought Singapore Paranormal Investigators might be able to assist me with my problem: the nagging feeling that ghosts were living beneath my skin.
But I’m afraid these folks couldn’t help me because the ghost that had taken up residence in my physique was the weight I gained after taking a new job requiring me to spend more time on aeroplanes than I did in my own bed.
Time to get a body buster, not a ghostbuster, my boyfriend said. He was right. Here’s how I vanquished my ghostly extra pounds after consulting both a nutritionist and a personal fitness trainer, so I’m no longer being haunted!
3 Lessons I had to learn first
My nutritionist and fitness trainer gave me almost exactly the same basic pep talk:
- There are no shortcuts to fat-busting. In fact, old ghost tales like old wives’ tales are totally false. For example, losing weight isn’t about starving myself until I’m a ghost of my former self because if I’m to honour my new commitment to running and healthy eating, the more I run, the more I must eat if I’m to stay healthy.
- Just because I’ve promised to run, that doesn’t mean I can raid the ‘fridge of everything that’s stored there. It doesn’t work that way. But Matt Fitzgerald’s book “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition,” tells it like it is: the more I run, the more I can treat myself to lots of food to sustain my stamina—as long as it’s not junk.
- It’s not uncommon to gain weight when undertaking rigorous training, but the secret isn’t falling into a well of self-pity and soothing those hunger ghosts by cutting calories and depriving myself. If I start eating the wrong stuff I could again become sluggish, may not be able to finish my workouts and my recoveries could suffer.
I buried my old eating habits in a virtual grave
As someone who loves nothing more than a big portion of Hongshao Rou, the Shanghai dish with at least 600 calories and 50 grams of fat, I came to the realisation that my fav dish could put me in an early grave; it might even have been the downfall of Chairman Mao, who loved this dish, too. But I'm thrilled to learn there are fats I can eat that complement my training program while controlling my hunger as I slim down.
For starters, I swore off my daily breakfast of Mutton Murtabak, the 587-calorie quick grab that’s got 2150mg of sodium, 61.4g of carbs and 206 mg of cholesterol. Did I suffer withdrawal symptoms? You bet, but my nutritionist turned me on to a protein-packed breakfast to be consumed as soon as I awoke.
Even ghosts would approve of a funky monkey smoothie made of coffee, banana, fat-free condensed milk, chocolate syrup, ice cubes and vanilla flavored whey protein powder.
…and I adopted new eating habits
At first, I didn’t think I would stand a ghost of a chance at getting rid of the ghostly fat that lurked under my skin—especially my midsection—but after b>ing told that I can eat as much nutrient-dense food as I could handle in conjunction with my running program, that got my attention.
On this list are veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains. My nutritionist came to my home to get rid of the processed foods that lurked there. Then she drove me to Food Bank Singapore located at Tanjong Pagar Distripark so I could donate it and make room for healthy stuff.
My new grocery list is wallet-friendly as these are some of the least expensive foods on grocery shelves: bananas, beans, beets, cabbage, eggs, oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoes, tuna and yogurt.
My food ghosts sorted, it’s time to run from them
The first thing my trainer had me do have nothing to do with running: She asked me to bookmark the “Runner’s World” Calories Burned Calculator so I can track the number of calories I burn, the rate at which they’re burned per mile and by the hour.
Next up, she suggested a doctor’s visit for a checkup to make sure I’m fit enough to run. Then I went shopping (Now, this part I loved) where I was fitted for proper running shoes, running bras and appropriate garments.
I used my computer to set up a schedule that alternated gym time with runtime five days a week. I got to pick which days and times so I could work things around my crazy work and travel schedule. My goal? I wanted to build up to 40-minute runs to burn calories and boost the metabolism I had no clue I needed to rev up!
Did you know that a 40-minute run is effort enough to keep burning calories at a higher rate for 19-hours after finishing said run? Those ghosts couldn’t possibly keep up with me, and all I need do to stick with my program away from home is to throw workout clothes into my travel bag and stay at hotels with fitness rooms.
What started as drudgery is getting to be fun
I’m on a new routine: making sane food choices, upping my time in motion as my body adapts to my declining weight, and I'm never left in the food lurch because I shop in advance.
Workout clothing is packed with my business outfits when I travel and I don’t beat myself up if I skip or miss a date with my running shoes or personal trainer. I’ve added cross-training to avoid boredom and regularly try new sports for the same reason.
Has giving up the ghost been without its downside? I’ve substituted my craving for Hongshao Rou with an equally strong addiction: shopping for cool running and gym-appropriate fashion. I’m also doing stuff I’ve never done before; like showing up at last year’s Ghostbusters red carpet at Marina Bay Sands on 12th June.
This event would normally not be on my radar, but the world has changed and so have I. To mark my metamorphosis, I even bought myself a Ghostbusters t-shirt in size small. Wouldn’t you?
Has your job forced you to ignore a healthy lifestyle because you’re too busy to do what it takes to change things? What will you do to turn your situation around?
Lorraine Chow never met a calorie- or fat-laden dish she couldn’t polish off—until her new high-profile translation job required her to make major lifestyle changes. Her humorous account of getting into shape is a super example of her clever wit.
The article is contributed by members of the community. All stories are based on real life personal experiences or actual events encountered by the authors and related parties. Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Editing by RunSociety