My Health Journey – Forming good habits

Today is Day 12 of my health journey with the weight management program that I am in which is ageLOC TR90 of the Pharmanex division of Nu Skin. In my first post about my decision to finally take control of my fitness and lifestyle, I wasn’t able to share an overview about the program.

What is ageLOC TR90?

ageLOC TR90 is a 90-day weight management and body-shaping program for those who want to get in shape, grow their muscles, and lose excess fat. In this way, you will be able to achieve your ideal body weight. What sets it apart from other programs is that it is the first and only genetics-based weight management approach.

According to the TR90 product information page, research showed that body weight and shape are connected to gene expression.

A gene is a heredity unity transferred from our parents to us and determines our characteristics. If my Mom’s side has this certain kind of characteristic that runs in the family, there’s a chance I could get it. For instance, maybe we gain weight faster compared to others because of slow metabolism.

Meanwhile, gene expression, according to this website, is the “process by which the information contained within a gene becomes a useful product,” and it could either be expressed through RNA or protein.

I will not go to the tiny bits of details, because I’m not so familiar with all these scientific terms at all, but the way I understand it is that the program targets more than just surface-level weight management and body shaping – it’s genetically based. For example, even if I have slow metabolism, the TR90 program and products will target the genes responsible for my slow metabolic process.

A variety of forces including poor lifestyle, insufficient exercise and unhealthy foods can negatively influence gene expression. The ageLOC TR90 program and products were designed to target genes associated with healthy body composition and to have a positive effect on how these genes are expressed. Once these changes have occurred, they can be maintained through lifestyle and nutritional choices. When an individual with an unhealthy body composition uses the TR90 program as directed, the gene expression adaptations will facilitate the changes necessary to obtain a healthy body composition. – From an article entitled Your TR90 Questions Answered, published June 9, 2014

Here’s the information page to read the FAQs on TR90.

Compared to other diets and programs, the TR90 helps promote our normal metabolism, control our cravings or appetite, positively change our attitude, and grow and maintain our lean muscle – all at the same time – thanks to the products it has like the food supplements. For someone who cannot control my sweet tooth and cravings at times, this program really works out for me so far to reduce my cravings and control my appetite.

“With traditional diets, the weight people lose is part water, part fat, and part muscle. Muscle loss can account for 20 to 40 percent of overall weight loss. And with that loss of metabolically active muscle, metabolism slows down,” stated in the product information page of TR90.

As the program approaches the improvement of our body composition genetically, our metabolism is targeted by the supplements that come with the TR90.

With these products paired with the program’s food and portion recommendations and exercise plan, TR90 is bound to help us get in shape safely and effectively, without putting our bodies to intense exercise every now and then or depriving us of a balanced diet.

Components of the ageLOC TR90

When we bought the our own package, we were surprised to see how heavy it was because of the several things included in it.

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What’s inside the TR90 bag

Its components include a 3-month supply of ageLOC Control, Complex, JumpStart (taken only for the first 15 days), and LifePak Dietary Supplements. It also has a Food Diary where you write your food intake and exercises taken, Body Trimmer, a measuring tape, a pill box for storing the capsules while traveling, a plate that’s designed with images and borders for food variety and portion references, a TR90 brochure, and my favorite – 6 boxes (15 packets each) of the ageLOC TR90 Trimshakes (either Chocolate or Vanilla).

For the past 11 days, I’ve already started laying the foundation for the good habits that the program helps me build.

Let’s start with food.

Preparing and Cooking

I like oily food, but even if it is tasty does not mean that it is healthy and good for our body, especially if it is deep fried with the unhealthy oil options. Although the TR90 isn’t really strict on telling you to only eat this or that, it does have a recommendation on what food to eat and how to prepare it. My Mom suggested for me to take the recommendations seriously for optimal results.

Our cooking method was mostly steamed or boiled for the eggs, chicken, fish, tofu, and some vegetables. The fruits and vegetables are prepared fresh, but sometimes, we tried stir-frying with little olive oil to lightly coat the veggies. We haven’t tried baking yet, but we might soon!

These are all simple, clean, and good food, where we get most of the nutrients that our body and mind need to function.

Also to make it clear, TR90 does not provide the food. We are free to buy, prepare, and cook the food ourselves. It only has suggestions on what to eat and how to prepare them, which is why I appreciate the program a lot.

So, you have the freedom to cook anything you like – if you’re a big fan of tofu, then go for it.

You also get to practice your free will. Because food is not included, you decide every day if you will stick with the prudent choices, especially nowadays that comfort and convenience seem to be sitting on a pedestal in regards to food intake.

For its eating principle, TR90 suggests the 3-3-3-3 Eating Plan. Everyday, one must have a total of 3 servings of fruits and vegetables (protecting food), 3 servings of carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread (storing food), 3 servings of non-meat source of protein like broccoli, tofu, eggs, milk, and yogurt (burning food), and 3 servings of lean meat like chicken and fish. So that’s 1 serving of these kinds of food per meal. (Lessons of a balanced diet back in our Science classes in elementary school suddenly came to mind!)

This has been a chance to experiment on dishes too like making salads with balsamic vinegar, steaming tofu (which is what my Mom and I did for the first time), stir-frying a variety of vegetables, and looking for other healthy recipes online.

I also mentioned that my favorite is the Trimshake. Because chocolate and vanilla are good bases for more flavor, my Mom and I have been trying out different blends. We blend melons and yogurt; strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries; and banana and natural peanut butter. You can take the Trimshake as it is though, but it’s more fun to add some fruits!

Every day, the habit of preparing and cooking healthy food and Trimshakes have been made. Hopefully, it gets stronger as the weeks go by.

Portions

The food is definitely important – so is the portioning. The TR90 myPlate helps a lot in the allocation of the storing, burning, and protecting foods.

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There are yellow, green, and red borders for where we place our food, but you also have to portion it according to your body.

One way to do this is by your using your hand as a reference.

The photo below can help!

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Source: http://www.pinterest.com

Our food portions will differ from one another, because we use our hands as reference.

Before, I would have rice more than the viand. Sometimes, I didn’t have any vegetables much in my diet. The program has been helpful in teaching me the portions for a balanced diet.

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The above photo shows my lunch for Day 1: stir-fried veggies in olive oil, boiled egg, pan-grilled chicken with the skin removed, and brown rice. All in their proper portion according to my body’s needs.

I guess one of the reasons I didn’t really lose weight as much as before, even if I did take healthier food while I was working (minus the times my colleagues and I would eat at fast food restaurants, haha! I miss those times with them!), was the big amount of food I eat. If ever I did eat tofu, I’d eat half of the block during breakfast, then eat the remaining for lunch. It’s more than what is needed during one meal.

I eat too much, my Dad says. Yes, I do. But we can change that today!

Good Habits versus Temptation

Although there are temptations of wanting to have chicharon which is an ingredient in our favorite Pinoy meals like pinakbet or ginataang sitaw at kalabasa, sweets, or fried chicken, I can thankfully say that I’ve been disciplined to not answer the calls of temptation. I can imagine the guilt I would feel if ever I asked for something that’s not highly suggested by the program.

Sometimes, when my Mom prepares my favorite meals, I would say, “Pahingi po… Kahit isa lang po. (May I have some? Just one, please?)” I would think to myself: “This one act of disobedience, even if it’s small, can lessen the good effects of the program. This can make or break my habit. What seemed to be small at first can have a big impact later on, like how a little pebble would create many more ripples on the surface of the water. One piece of chicharon will come to two, three, four…

My Mom keeps me in check definitely. I’m grateful to her, because she reminds me to follow through with my commitment and decisions.

But let me share to you a story when I failed at following through with my commitment and decisions.

On my third day actually, my Mom and I ran some errands, and it was getting to around dinner time. My stubbornness (and I guess, my not yet getting accustomed to the food I take, because I’ve been having mostly steamed food since Day 1 then) landed my Mom and I in a small restaurant we used to have lunch or dinner together when I was younger.

My Mom had a slice of pizza, and I had vegetable calzone. Although it was baked, there was still lots of oil in it. And the carbs from it definitely exceeded my supposed carb intake. I told my Mom afterwards that I feel guilty for eating the calzone and for asking that we have dinner outside instead of having a Trimshake only. I asked her, “Why did you let us eat here?”

Hindi ka na bata para pag-sabihan kita. (You’re not a child anymore for me to tell you what’s the right thing to do),” she said.

And it’s true. I’m older now, and I’m more conscious than I ever was when it comes to health, but I still let my craving for the less healthy options dictate my mind. The choices we make in the face of temptation can truly reflect our strength or weakness. If you find yourself in that situation too, don’t be hard on yourself. It takes a while to form good habits and make a mindset shift, so forgive yourself and learn from it.

Since that day, I’m grateful to say that I have been adamant in sticking to the program’s recommendations. Although there will be times that I would jokingly ask my Mom for brownies, but I didn’t really mean it seriously.

My Mom and Dad keep on reminding me every now and then that I should keep at this program, and I agree. I would not want to break the good habits that are already being formed, and I need to remind myself that I will not go through this 90-day program just to go back to my old routine before. If I did, then what’s the whole point of taking this program in the first place?

In this regard, the past few days have been a lesson of being faithful and obedient in the little things, so we can have the resolute strength to say no to temptation when facing bigger things.

Additionally, they have taught me the value of having a strong anchor, root, or core – our primary motivation. If I simply wanted to look more pleasant with a slimmer body and face, then I would have easily crumbled before the box of brownies we had last week on the table. I would have justified my eating one or two or three brownies by saying that ‘We are all beautiful inside and out, no matter what we look like or how much we weigh. And what matters definitely is our hearts.’

Figuratively speaking, yes. This is true. I believe that everyone is beautiful inside and out, no matter what we look like or how much we weigh. We are loved by God tremendously for we are His children.

Literally speaking, yes, our hearts definitely matter, especially if we want to save it from the visceral fat that could be around them already. I have high visceral fat based on my body composition results. I do not want to wait for me to have a disease just to take control – one has to be proactive with health. And for the years that have gone before I had acid reflux, I wasn’t proactive at all, and I didn’t care much about my health. This led me to negative issues about my weight and my appearance.

Ever since I was young, I have always been chubby, and this put me in a lot of negative thoughts and feelings towards my body. Growing up, I thought that my self-worth was founded on my weight. Even up to college, I thought that I wasn’t worthy to be called a girl, because a real girl would be smaller than I was, lighter than I was. I was bigger. I was insecure of the other girls who didn’t have problems buying clothes, because mostly all would fit them.

But later on, I learned how wrong I was in thinking all of these. How could I have been so hurtful of myself? Instead of loving myself truly, I didn’t show support. This is my body, borrowed flesh and bones, from God, and I took it for granted. God made us all differently, and it was wrong of me too to dwell on my insecurities around other people. Today, I learn that I’m not alone in having these body issues. A lot of us do, regardless of our size. Instead of feeding my insecurities, I had to feed myself with love.

But what love? Did that mean now that I have learned to love my body, I will eat whatever I want regardless of the amount? One serving becomes three servings?

Here comes the real question of self-love.

Self-Love

Am I truly loving myself when I eat fast food night after night?

Do I love myself enough to take care of my body the proper way?

Just because I love the way I look now for this was the body and appearance given to me by God does not license me to consume more and more unhealthy (or healthy) food with no control. Sure, one or two brownies is okay or two or three servings of salad is okay, but if I had not taken this TR90 program, I probably would continue to take that third or fourth piece. That’s way more than my body needs even if the brownie is gluten-free or made of organic ingredients, because it exceeds what my body requires to function.

I don’t want to sound like I’m really uncontrollable with my sweet tooth or appetite (maybe I was, haha) – I just want to emphasize that us having free will and our faith of God’s love for us will never change, but we can’t act or eat like we do not know the consequences of our unwise choices.

Again, I ask myself: am I taking care of my body the same way that I take care of my soul?

I should.

Our food choices is something we take for granted, so this program has been a wake up call to remind me that eating food is a necessity, not a mindless activity – we consume food to fuel our bodies and minds for our daily activities. Discipline and control are needed and to foster these, we build habit by habit, day by day. Over time, we will have better discipline and control.

Also, it’s better to not binge (keyword: binge) on food that has empty calories or just stores layers of bad fat in our bodies. Having the occasional ice cream or sweets is okay (especially if there are celebrations and feasts!), but they must be in moderation and within the proper portion for our bodies.

On the road to a healthier lifestyle, I believe that we should not deprive ourselves of the things we like like to eat (i.e. ice cream!), because deprivation (and skipping meals too) is not a good way to attain our ideal weight. Depriving ourselves will more likely lead us back to munching more and more. Always, always, always think of the proper portions according to your body, and if it’s possible, it’s better if we pick the food that is healthier for us, of course. For snacks, have some sweet potatoes or an apple instead of junk food.

But because I’m in the TR90 and ice cream or brownies aren’t really included in its recommendation, I have to make sacrifices. I have to keep in mind that this is for the good, even if it will take a long time and sacrifices have to be made. Indeed, if I truly want to serve God and others in a healthy body, surely I can offer the interests of my sweet tooth for the better.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; they hold our souls for safe-keeping. Let’s glorify God in our bodies, not just by our food intake and portions, but also by treating it with respect, dignity, and integrity always.


How about you? What are some of your ways on preparing and cooking healthy food? What are some good habits that you’ve formed? Have you experienced negative body image issues too? We could talk about it and learn from each other! Let’s strive to take care of our bodies, so we can take care of others and fulfill our duties too at work and at home. (And go to places!) 🙂

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