Saturday, January 13, 2018

I had to stop myself from giving updates until the holidays were over. I had to make sure that even after the binges, I could get back to my pre-December weight fast.

Up till Dec 24, I was holding up pretty well. Then Christmas came. Then New Year. By January 1, I had gained 4 pounds. By January 5, I was back to my previous weight. So I think I proved that I have some cred to continue this discourse.

What I have achieved so far could not be done without taking a serious look at your food intake. I have tried all sorts of diets in the past. But for last year, these are the things that worked for me:

Intermittent Fasting

I practice the 16-hour fasting period. I start eating at 12nn and stop at 8pm. I do take coffee in the morning. And I can drink hot herbal infusions at night. I am uncomfortable with the term, though. I’ve been doing this for months so this is hardly ‘intermittent.

The eating window I chose works best for me. It allows me to enjoy dinner with my parents. This is something very dear to me. Last December, I actually became quite lax about this, though. I realized I was still eating way beyond 8pm, usually on peanuts. So, one of the first things I did in January was to be strict about 8pm cut-off.

Though IF seems pretty recent, I have heard about the concept decades ago. This was under the “Fit for Life” diet program. The authors talked about the 3 stages of digestion, each 8 hours long. And how one should only eat at the ingestion phase. So IF is consistent with this old regimen.

Proper Food Combining

Again, the practice came from “Fit for Life.” One should never combine protein sources with carbohydrates. You can only combine either of those food groups with vegetables. Steak + salad, never Steak + Mashed potatoes. I did this years ago and lost a lot of weight then. But I eventually abandoned it as the science seemed sketchy.

But two years ago, someone mentioned the idea again, this time in the context of functional nutrition. I decided to revisit but tweaked it. I ended up avoiding the starchy carbs (rice, bread, pasta, sweets). I ended up with a low-carb diet.

Tracking Calories and Proteins

In the ‘Fit for Life’ program, you could eat as much as you want during the 8-hour eating period, and as long as you observe proper food combining. I didn’t subscribe to that as I still believe in the energy equation based on calories in and out. Hence, it was important for me to still track my protein intake and count the total calories consumed. As I mentioned in the first post of this series, I tracked this crudely on a worksheet. As by my reckoning, as long as I stick to about 1,700 calories a day, I would lose weight.

Over the holidays, I allowed myself to indulge in sweets. But I must say that I still did not go overboard too often. A few days I saw my calorie intake hit 2,500. But I quickly adjusted after.


I have started reading up on this. More on this once I start doing and start observing the results.

So there you have it. I wouldn’t get to this without watching what I eat, obsessively. LOL

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Location:It Can Be Done 2 (ICBD2) : Food Intake

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

“Be Creative.”

Last Sunday’s homily revolved around the family. I had my eyebrows raised as the priest was starting his homily with ‘lost values’. I wasn’t expecting anything different from him anyway. He was the spiritual director of our lector ministry when I was still there. And it was because of one of his statements during a meeting that made me quit anyway.

But he mentioned something different this time that caught my attention. “Be Creative.” He was exhorting the LGBT community to exercise more ‘creativity’ in creating labels. He begs the community to use terms other than ‘marriage’ or ‘family’ as we argue for our civil rights. He mentions the biblical context of ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ as so ‘traditionally-held’, even sacred, to the religious. Hence, our arguments fall on deaf ears every time we talk about same-sex ‘marriage’ and redefining the ‘family’. Surely there our other terms, he contends. Reframing the argument for same-sex civil unions and households with same-sex parents may move the cause further.

Though some we still find his position disappointing, I choose to see his homily as a softening of his stand. And I become a little bit more hopeful in 2018.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

It Can Be Done 1: Tracking

I posted this Like-bait, brag-post over at FB and Twitter:

“Slashed my body fat% by half from last month. Gained muscle mass of 3kg. I AM doing something right.”

First, the disclaimer. I realized I have my math wrong. I went from 8.7% to 6.7% pala in one month. Hardly ‘slashing by half’. The ‘half’ was achieved in 3 months, coming from 11+% in June. Muscle mass did increase correctly. So I still AM doing something right.

So what is it that I have been doing. Well, this will be a series of posts to try to document what this 51yo has been doing to show It Can Be Done. It has to be a series because it is not just one thing. It can’t be, not just diet, or exercise, etc. It is a combination of many things. So I have to discuss this one at a time.

For the record, Day 1 of this quest was June 16, when I went back to my FF personal trainer in Trinoma (after staying away for almost 5 months).

I’ll start by saying that this journey is highly personal. What worked for me may not work for you. Hence, the most basic first step for me is a commitment to track and measure as much as possible, as obsessively as possible to know what will work.

This is relatively easy for me, being OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) LOL. But applying it to this quest for health and fitness did not come easy.

What do I track?

My workouts. My diet. My weight. I track this on a daily basis using the most basic of tools: a worksheet. Yeah, there are so many apps out there that will do this for you. But somehow, something I ‘assembled’ from ground up makes me more committed to it. Other stats like body fat %, muscle mass and even actual body measurements are tracked on a monthly basis.

Why track?

This is the only way you would really know if something works or doesn’t. There are just too much stuff out there on working out, on eating right, most of them conflicting with one another. You just have to try it out and see if the results are there. Tracking the results give you immediate feedback. Pouring over the data, seeing correlations allow are all part of this.


I never tracked my workout. I had always left this up to my personal trainer. I never actually saw him write anything down. LOL. I did that for years and years. And I never really knew if I was actually gaining strength due to one workout or the other. So on day 1, I told him I wanted my workout written out so we could monitor progress. This includes poundage, reps. I am using a good old Excel worksheet for my workouts. He updates the worksheet during our session.


This is easy enough to do. I see people using myfitnesspal app by Under Armour. But I do this crudely, again on a worksheet. I made mine based on the computations of the nutritionist I consulted about 5 years ago. I track my caloric intake, with emphasis on protein servings. I am able to estimate, with fair accuracy, what caloric intake would burn calories. (About 1,700 to 1,800 for my height and build).

Weight and Stats

This is the ‘outcome’ part that I relate to the first two. I weigh myself every morning, right after my morning pee, without clothes. Every month, my PT uses the machine at the gym to weigh me. He also measures body parts (chest, hips, biceps, thighs) using my own tape measure.

That’s Part 1. Commit to track the input and the output.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

He Is Michael

Last Sunday, c3 and I watched “I Am Michael” over at Netflix. First off, I just have to hand it to James Franco for his inclusiveness! I can’t name any other straight actor who has played so many gay male roles. It almost seems like an advocacy for him (or a career-diffentiating move).

The film itself tries to present a non-judgemental view of Michael Glatze’s journey from gay rights to gay renunciation. It agonizingly details the process, the extenuating circumstances that surround it. For some part of it, his growing embrace of Christian religion I can relate to. I did try to turn back on being so Catholic-religious at a point in my life. But I had to be honest to myself and realize that believing was a real, natural part of me that couldn’t be denied.

And being gay is as much a part of that. But Michael, in the movie, eventually comes to the conclusion that it is just a construct, an idea that one can choose to accept or reject. But certainly, he labels that as unnatural.

I did detect, though, some judgment from the producers. The movie ended with that tentative, or even self-doubting, look on Michael’s face as he welcomed his first audience as a pastor of his own church. And you get to see how his countenance changes from being light and happy to grim and determined (in reference to a friend of mine. Hehehe. Inside joke). He became serious and sullen. Hence, as much as the producers claim that it was non-judgemental, I still felt that there was this undercurrent equivalent of either rolling eyes or a raised eyebrow.

I would have thought the real Michael would have seen that, too, and be totally livid. But as I researched further, it didn’t turn out that way:

It is an interesting watch for those with an open-enough mind to consider the idea of “ex-gayness”. If my memory serves me right, wasn’t there this TV reporter who flipped that way, too, previously? I wonder what his story is like. Oh sorry. I don’t even have to look far:

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Look Inside Of Me

My internist insisted I have an endoscopy. At my age, I should be aware if there are any developing problems in my gastrointestinal tract.

I knew it had to be done. So I had this scheduled. Mine had to be both gastroscopy and colonoscopy, on both ends of the 'tube'. I had my apprehensions knowing how I gag when I take in a big one. LOL. But there is a grain of truth there.

The preparations started a day before my procedure. I had to go on a soft diet, with no fruits and vegetables (the fiber will obstruct the scene, I guess). Then it was just clear liquids (no coloring that would falsely appear in the tract) from after lunch till dinner. Well, I was allowed to take egg whites and crackers for dinner.

The laxatives just wore me down. Throughout the night, I was pooping liquid. Now I know what colonic cleansing means. And it was very draining, coupled with the insomnia of it.

Once at the endoscopy center, I was put on a needle-less iV drip where they would administer the general anesthetic. When I was ready, the anesthesiologist started dosing me. I suddenly felt dizzy and I was out.

In 20 minutes, I was already at the recovery area, still groggy. But I was amazed that they were also able to control the dose enough to wake me up just in time. After another 30 minutes, I was out of the procedure room. It was absolutely painless and hassle-free.

Then the good doctor came to me showing me the selfies of my voice box, my throat, my stomach, my small and large intestines. I finally saw how my own bowels looked like. Hahaha.

There was minor finding of some erosion at the stomach area. When the doctor found out about my intermittent fasting, he quickly blamed it on that. Though he did mention that stress causes that, too. But he said that the erosion was nothing to worry about.

I'm hesitating about that conclusion, though. I've been on IF for years now, I should have massive ulcerations if it was really about that.

I'm tempted to post my GI selfies. But who would like to see that? LOL

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

50s Fitness

Exactly one month ago, I decided to get back on track on my fitness regimen. By sheer force of will, I just said I needed to lose all the extra weight and flab gained in the past 5 months.

At the start of the year, I hit the wall when it comes to working out. I was getting injured easily. I was always tired. My body was aching all the time. I had to make a drastic change. I didn't renew my personal training sessions with my trainer in FF Trinoma and avoided that branch altogether.

I tried another branch and even went for the personal training there. Then I stumbled on another gym, Kinetix. They are into functional fitness with emphasis on the fundamental exercises: squats, bench, deadlifts. No wonder that gym is full of huge guys, mostly powerlifters. My sessions there had me going back to those basics with strictest form. I learned so much from my
trainer there.

During this time, I wasn't on a diet. I was eating and drinking as I pleased. It showed as my clothes started getting tighter. And even my liver showed some distress from the alcohol.

Yet I knew I had to go back to FF Trinoma and my trainer there. FF is just so convenient for me. I made the most gains when I was under him previously. Besides, what I have learned from the other trainers, I could just ask my Trinoma trainer to adapt. So I had to go back.

Cut to end-May. I made the decision to 'kem bek to a young and beeyutiful' me. (Sorry. Joke limited to those who saw that film.) I went back to my diet and calorie-monitoring. I went back to FF Trinoma and my trainer there. I established baseline weight: 148 lbs with 16% Body Fat.

End-June, I lost 10 lbs and went down to 13% Body Fat. Yet I even gained lean mass.

What worked for me

Intermittent Fasting - I start ingesting food by 12nn and stop by 8pm. Funny though because this ain't 'intermittent' as I have been doing this continuously.

Proper Food Combination - I eat meat only with vegetables, not with carbs like rice or bread.

Less Sugar and Carbs - Though I can eat carbs if combined with vegetables, I avoided rice, bread, noodles. I had to deny my sweet tooth of cakes and chocolates.

Calorie Monitoring - I had to be strict about the amount of calories I was taking in. That included weighing my food and writing all of it down daily. Also, I am conscious of 'active calorie burning' (calories used up in exercise). I approximate calories burned via my Polar heartbeat monitor. I try to burn 500 - 600 calories everyday.

Low-intensity Steady State Cardio - Those 500 calories take about 1hr and 10mins as I average a low heart rate of about 120-130bpm. By next month, I'll try doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) instead for comparison. I'll check out how it relates to my fat loss.

I emphasize the words "what works for me". Our anatomy and physiology can never be the same so I wouldn't know whether this would work for anybody else. But an important thing for me is the monitoring of key metrics (calories in and out, weight, fat%, heart rate) and the analysis of such.

And before I forget, I also cut down on alcohol consumption drastically. It wasn't doing my liver any good. Thankfully, my liver has recovered.

I'm in my early 50's and I'm feeling good about my body again.

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