Food for Thought

Time for a healthier change for 2014

1st September 2012. The day I started BodyCombat and was one of the best decisions I made that has irrevocably changed my life. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and throughout my academic and occupational life, I’ve always kept sweet things in my drawer to satisfy those sugar cravings.

I definitely feel a difference since I started doing the classes 2 times a week, I realised after a while that I had bingo wings when I was using a rubber to rub out some pencil marks at work and it made me feel so self conscious. After just 3 weeks and 5 sessions of BodyCombat, I developed muscles in my arms where it used to swing. I’m not hugely muscular which is a good thing, although I have noticed that while I was never overweight, my body has started to lose fat in places I used to worry constantly about. So far, since the new release has started, I’ve only done 3 sessions, but BodyCombat 56 is definitely pushing you to your limits and testing the saying ‘mind over matter’.

Watch the sizzler video of BodyCombat 56 here.

I’m still getting into the swing of the music, some songs from previous releases you hear it and instantly get into the vibe. While I’m starting to find my rhythm with most of the songs, only one or two really catch my attention and make me work harder, although with the recent issue of having no air conditioning in the studio where I have my classes, it does make you tire more easily, even though it helps you use up more energy. Nothing like doing hot BodyCombat like you would with Bikram yoga, although probably with less heat and more intensity in the movement, right? I do agree with the saying though from the guest blogger Deb Shafran on NZGlen’s blog:

Put in its simplest form, as my friend Ralf Galle expressed: “BodyCombat 54 was BOOM! BodyCombat 55 was BOOM! BOOM! And BodyCombat 56 is BOOM! BOOM! BANG!”

BOOM! BOOM! BANG! is right! In the last few releases, you had a slight break between the two combined tracks in Track 1 (Track 1a and 1b), but in BodyCombat 56, you move straight from 1a to 1b and you’re definitely working a lot harder and working more on your core balance and techniques.

Thinking about how much I’ve achieved so far, I’ve thought about being better to my body than overloading it with sugar from sweets, chocolates, biscuits and the amount of Coke I consume in a week. I’ve noticed that the only time I ever have a healthy meal is after my BodyCombat classes. No sugar, no ice cream, no fizzy juice. Just water and rice or instant noodles. Yes, maybe it’s not the best diet, but I don’t immediately reach for a sausage roll and can of Coke like I used to do immediately after a session of yoga for PE classes in my last 2 years of high school.

On reading an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow in a women’s magazine one day, I was amazed to read about how she’s managed to achieve so much in her life and when she talked about how changing her diet has helped with her health in general, it finally cemented in my head that it’s something I need to do. Only doing BodyCombat while continuing to feed myself food loaded with sugar and salt is like saying I’m being healthier because I walk more, but still keeping an unhealthy diet only takes you halfway there. To fully cleanse yourself of all the bad influences, I need to stop the constant sugar intake. Only then will I really notice a difference.

Gwyneth talks about how she went to see her GP and was recommended to go on an elimination diet. This is where the foods or ingredients used in food are identified which causes an adverse reaction in your body and these are, as suggested in its name, eliminated from your diet. Maybe more extreme in Gwyneth’s case, but she was told to remove caffeine, alcohol, dairy, eggs, sugar, shellfish and soy among other things from her diet, but she did notice a big difference in her health and most importantly she felt better.

Recently, she collaborated with her friend, Julia Turshen, to publish a recipe book based on her elimination diet called It’s All Good which contains recipes loosely based on her elimination diet (I say loosely because while it’s based on the diet, doesn’t contain as many restrictions as what Gwyneth had to endure) for others to use as a way to adopt a healthier diet.

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It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen, £10.49 from Amazon UK

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Sample lamb tangine recipe from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. Source: Amazon UK

Some of my friends are able to motivate themselves to go to the gym and work out on their own using the equipment there and know what to work on and for how long at what intensity. I’m the kind of person where, when it comes to doing these things, I need someone to tell me what to do. Not that I’m passive, but I need direction where I’ve never done it before. In a way that’s why I enjoy BodyCombat so much. It’s a set release every 3 months where everyone participates in the same motions, but each push themselves to their own individual limits. For some to adopt the elimination diet, it’s all about knowing what you need to take out of it to make it healthier, like putting no salt, dairy or sugar or soy sauce in your food, but I need direction and having a recipe book like It’s All Good will be a starting point for me.

If you’re not one to go by what celebrities do in their life, there are other books you can get from Amazon UK or other bookstores that teach you about creating your own personal elimination diet and provide recipes. One that I managed to find on Amazon UK which appears to be promising is Elimination Diet 101: A Cookbook and How-to Guide with Helpful Advice and 80 Easy, Quick and Delicious Recipes to Test for Food Allergies and Sensitivities

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Elimination Diet 101: A Cookbook and How-to Guide with Helpful Advice and 80 Easy, Quick and Delicious Recipes to Test for Food Allergies and Sensitivities by Jennifer Vasche Lehner, Kindle version only for £6.42 from Amazon UK

While I’m not vain about my appearance, I do want to know that as each year goes by, I’m taking better care of my health so I’m less likely to have any health issues. While it may sound like a cop out, I’ve made it my 2014 New Year’s Resolution to step up my BodyCombat sessions from 2 times a week to 3 times a week, as long as my schedule allows for it, and to stick to my elimination diet as much as possible. In my opinion, yes, keeping to a diet is a matter of determination and willpower, but with another 4 trips away from home to consider, it’d be quite difficult to make sure the diet is kept to, especially when I’ll be staying with family and friends during these holidays, I don’t want to have to put restrictions on what food they serve while I’m staying with them. So, 2014 it is.Have you got any great health tips to share?

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