Monday, October 20, 2014

Introduction: What's up with genki?

I’ve decided to start a blog, mostly as a motivational tool for myself, but also because we can all learn more from shared experiences. This first entry will be really long to introduce my aims and goals. No guarantees future entries will be shorter, though. Sometimes when I get going I can find a lot to say!

In this blog I will talk mainly about food and exercise, and how it affects me. I will share things that work well for me and things that don’t. I’d love to hear what does and doesn’t work for you as well, so let me know in the comments!

I am always working toward being healthier, mainly by trying different ways of eating and exercising. And when I say healthier, I don’t just mean weight loss (although I do dream of someday getting rid of the little tummy pooch I’ve always had). I want to maximize my overall health, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

In Japanese, genki can have many meanings. As defined by my phone dictionary (which I rely on almost every single day to get through life in Japan) genki means: health(y), robust, vigor, energy, vitality, vim, stamina, spirit, courage, pep. And so with the birth of this blog comes the name, "Let's be genki!"

So, to start off with, here’s where I’m currently at with my goals:
I’m happy with my weight and body shape except my tummy. I wouldn’t mind being 2 or 3 kg lighter and maintaining that.
I want to have strong muscles. I can do a 30-50 minute high intensity workout and for the most part keep up with the trainer, but there’s always room for improvement. For example, I can’t do a pull up!
I want to jog regularly, and be able to run up to 10 km. Last spring I was jogging almost every morning, 4 km on weekdays and 8 km on Saturdays, but I had to stop because of shin splits. After no running at all for 2 months, I’m trying to slowly get back into it. But my left leg still pains me if I run too fast or too far.
I use a Fitbit, and try to reach the default goal of 10,000 steps every day. This was a lot easier before when I could go jogging more. I also use my Fitbit to track my calories in vs. out, and have the goal of eating 500 less calories than I burn every day. This goal is based on my current weight, ideal weight, and how quickly I want to reach it. Sometimes I’ll do really well reaching my goal for many days in a row, but I often blow it at least once a week. To tell the truth, sometimes I go over by as much as 2,000 calories!
I’m also trying to change how I eat to improve my digestive health and body’s health. I want to do an elimination diet to find out what foods my body may be sensitive to, specifically gluten, milk, and eggs. However, these foods are often in school lunch. I eat school lunch because it takes too much time and effort to make a lunch every day, plus the students have no option of bringing their own lunch, so I feel like it’s unfair if I do. Also, the students are not allowed to pick and choose what they eat in their lunch, but are made to eat everything, so I try to set a good example to eat everything as well. The only different thing I do is bring soy milk or almond milk and don’t drink the regular milk. I know for sure that it upsets my stomach, and I would rather deal with explaining that over and over to each class rather than fart and have stomach cramps all day every day.
So, other than school lunch, I’m trying as much as possible to not have foods containing gluten, dairy, or eggs. I’m also trying to follow the Wahl’s Protocol, which is a diet that aims to give your body as many nutrients as possible, while removing anti-nutrients and other damaging foods. The main rule is 9 cups of vegetables a day, 3 of them leafy greens, 3 of colorful vegetables and some fruit, and 3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. The other main rule is to eat at least 6 oz of animal protein a day, especially organ meats and other parts of the animal that most Americans these days don’t eat, and fish. As much as possible, buy free-range, grass-fed, and/or wild-caught, because the meat will be a lot richer in nutrients. After eating all these vegetables and meat, hopefully you won’t still be hungry, but if you are try to avoid too many carbohydrates, especially grains. Also, eat REAL food! I try to avoid pre-made and/or processed food. Thankfully I enjoy cooking!

My ideal healthy day looks like this:
Wake up at 5:30.
Go jogging or do 10-30 minutes of low impact cardio in the morning.
For breakfast have green tea, a large cabbage salad and fish and/or soy yogurt.
Walk or bicycle to school.
Eat school lunch. At the Junior High where I have a choice because I eat in the office rather than with students, don’t eat bread or noodles, and eat only half of the rice.
Walk or bicycle home.
Do a high intensity workout, at least 20 minutes. Once a week do yoga instead.
For dinner eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, like an entire mixing bowl sized salad. Eat a lot of meat as well, at least 200 grams. Can also eat natto and maybe a piece of fruit.
Go to bed by 9:00pm.

Ok, now you know what I'm aiming for, help keep me on track!

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