Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mulan's Bootcamp~On Living, Not Staying Alive

Often we take things for granted until faced with the possibility of losing it. Health is one of the biggest things we take for granted. Our bodies put up with our stressful lifestyles, quietly repairing itself until it cannot take the strain any longer

I am not an expert on health, exercise or diet, but Mulan's Bootcamp is a series I have been thinking of writing since last autumn as a sort of look into my own journey to a healthier lifestyle. Hopefully some of you can relate to me, and I would like to share findings, thoughts, etc. with you all!

The reason I finally decided to go ahead and start this series is because recently my family members have been having health issues. My 15 year old cousin who has asthma had a minor heart operation, my uncle is a living timebomb of health issues (and he's a smoker, an alcoholic, and has a stressful businessman job on top of that), and my grandpa just discovered that two of his heart's major arteries/veins were over 50% blocked. High blood pressure and high cholesterol runs in my family, so this is bad news!

When I lived with my mom in MN, I was eating a lot, but it was all home-cooking (thanks, mom!), was pretty stress-free and happy, and used to take dance classes. Now, living with my grandparents, they order out or eat out for every single meal. Cooking is rare, and usually consists of instant noodles, plain white rice, or cabbage literally boiled in oil. I have never been skinny or fit, but I feel like my health has gone majorly downhill since moving here! That, plus I cannot fit into my BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT Parfait print skirt any more
That was my DREAM SKIRT (first one I ever fell in love with!) so gosh darn it I am going to wear it again!

Today I am going to share some exercise videos and tools to help with finding good foods/recipes.

First, I would like to share my own health goals here.
*Bring my weight from 64kg to about 55-57kg (final goal will depend on how I feel)
*Flatten my abdomen (visceral fat is the most unhealthy)
*Be able to do a push-up. Very sad, but I am completely unable to do even 1

Only 3 goals for now. I don't want to overwhelm myself and run the risk of giving up from disappointment!

Here are some of the tools I am using to help me achieve my goals!

My Fitness Pal This is a tracker site for counting calories and exercise. Calorie-counting is not for everyone, but it may be beneficial to use it for just a couple weeks to figure out where your calories are coming from and how much you are actually eating. If you decide to make an account, add me!

Supercook Need recipes? This website allows you to add the ingredients you have in your house and search for recipes containing those ingredients! You can also exclude ingredients, emphasize and ingredient, and choose the type of recipe you are looking for. Very useful!

Portion Sizes A useful guide on visualizing portions sizes using common items. People tend to overestimate food servings, and the ever-increasing restaurant servings is not helping matters! Learn to control how much you eat and you will have half the battle!

Cooking with Dog is a YouTube channel teaching Japanese dishes. Not all of them are healthy, but I know a lot of Lolitas have interest in Japanese culture in general, so I thought I would include this :) Plus, I think it is cute that the host of the show is a dog named Frances.

Just Hungry is a blog about Japanese food and eating healthy. Be sure to check out her sister blog, Just Bento! She has also published a bento book, which I bought for my sister :P Bentos are a great way to make beautiful food and keep portion sizes in check

I hate exercise. Really. I also have very limited space and no equipment. So I have compiled a list of online workout videos that work in a variety of environments, but mostly don't require equipment

Exercise TV Many free workout videos are available here! They vary from yoga to dance to pilates and more! Some require free weights, some require exercise balls, some don't need anything at all! Browse around and find one that suits you

This is one of my favorite workouts right now! I like the fact that Veena and Neena don't stop and demonstrate each move (this may be a pro or con to you) so I can just do the whole video through without losing the momentum, so to speak. The second set of videos, the fat-burning set, is very good for toning calves. Mine are always sore afterward! Dance makes this workout more fun and I always work up a sweat!

Only have 5 minutes? Tammy has a series of 5 minute strength training videos. Many do require weights, but some do not! Be sure to add some cardio to these workouts to lower body fat percentage and show off those muscles!

POP Pilates is a YouTube user who makes workouts paired with pop music. Check out her videos! There are area specific ones, cardio, etc.

I will post more useful links, videos, information, and progress as time goes on :) Lolitas do not all have to be cake-guzzling, frail, pretty things. Sometimes, a girl still has to kick butt!

Do you have any health goals/tips/links for this year? Be sure to share in the comments if you do!