A lot of home-cooked meals, balanced ingredients, and a “refeeding” day
It’s so easy to get immersed in social media and feel the pressure to project a better “you.” But instead of dwelling on what you lack and what others have, use it as motivation to improve yourself. It’s not really about drastically changing who you are, what you do or how you look—it’s about how personal goal-setting can fit in the bigger picture of self-discovery, self-love, and self-respect.
I needed clear concepts on where I should start focusing my energy on. Inward-looking, I decided to first feed myself right. I needed to function well and have enough energy to maximize and balance my work, sports, and family life. My name is Lish, and I want to help you eat better. Join me in my week-long journey as I explore healthy and sensible food options to fuel my goals.
It’s always best to prepare your own meals at home using fresh ingredients so you can control exactly what you consume. To start off, I went to my neighborhood grocery Marketplace and picked up some items I can easily cook. I shopped around the perimeter where most of the fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are stocked.
For breakfast, I made an open-faced egg sandwich. I tossed some arugula with olive oil and lemon juice before frying my egg with a dash of salt and pepper. I layered my whole-wheat toast with ricotta, a sprinkle of real Parmesan cheese, and fried egg topped with a simple arugula salad.
For lunch, I made a simple marinade for my chicken, which required only a few ingredients. Store-bought marinades are certainly convenient, but they’re often loaded with sodium. I baked a quarter of a chicken breast marinated in pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, and ginger. I paired my Hawaiian chicken with simple sidings of French beans and steamed brown rice topped with grocery-bought garlic chips.
For dinner and movie night, instead of getting the usual popcorn and hotdogs, my husband Papoo and I ordered the “Big Bird” wrap, made with Romaine lettuce, turkey ham, avocado, celery, green apples, and grapes in ranch dressing. For drinks, we had coconut juice and berry smoothie.
I usually spend Tuesdays in our food commissary. For the whole day, I taste-tested our own food samples from our healthy meal delivery service Fit Kitchen PH. It’s easy to join diet bandwagons, but it’s best to stick to a well-balanced diet without removing specific food groups. Choose safe, sustainable, and satisfying meals that work for you.
Days 3 to 6
They say it’s impossible to train with a bad diet. I spend most of my nights training for an upcoming obstacle race. Compared to triathlon, obstacle course racing requires a strong combination of strength and endurance. I loaded up on lean protein (fish, chicken breast, lean ground beef, eggs), healthy fats and good carbs (vegetables, whole fruits, beans, nuts, brown rice, and sweet potatoes) to help sustain my energy levels and improve muscle recovery. Don’t forget to hydrate with lots of water.
Sunday is church and family day. It is also usually my “refeed” day. Refeed is generally defined as a planned increase in calorie intake that typically occurs when you are dieting. The effect of a proper refeed is you feel better both physically and psychologically; you’re much less likely to fall down the slippery slope of “just one more cheat day,” and you even experience a nice acceleration of fat loss over the following three to five days.
I had regular meals for breakfast and lunch without counting calories or consuming strictly healthy options. For dinner though, I slowly weaned myself from “normal eating” and opted for an organic meal at The Wholesome Table. I had their grass-fed meatballs and eggplant parmigiana. My husband ordered the mushroom paella with asparagus, artichokes, roasted pepper, and walnut chorizo.
Taking the first step towards a healthier lifestyle is not easy. But if you always start your day with the end in mind, you’ll find it easier to achieve your goals no matter how trivial.
Of course, things will not happen just by thinking about them. If you visualize but don’t act, you’re just dreaming. The vision must be supported by a strategy, a plan to address it effectively. Finish lines don’t always have to be big and bold. But what’s more important is you take small, concrete steps to propel yourself toward your own end goals.