Lifestyle, diet, energy, enthusiasm, etc

In a desperate attempt to avoid doing anything useful today I find myself thinking of something I’ve been meaning to bring up here for a while.

I’m becoming slowly but surely obsessed with keeping my life basically healthy and, for want of a better term, getting my shit together. But I don’t really know anything and could use some pointers. I have NEVER done regular exercise or had much interest in sports. And I’ve never really though about what I eat, getting fat was something that happened to other people.

I’m trying to make time to swim 800-1000 metres, three times a week, but it’s hard as I seem to have so much stuff to do all the time. (Such as screwing about on forumosa.) I get out with my dogs and I’m on my feet quite a lot generally, so let’s say I’m not sedentary. But I don’t feel healthy. I’m generally stiff with minor aches.

I took TaiJi for a year and felt a lot better for it, but that fell by the wayside a year ago and I don’t seem to have time or the opportunity to get back into it. (Not speaking Chinese doesn’t help, but that’s not something I can solve overnight even with enough time.) I guess, in theory, that I could get into a routine of doing some stretches every morning but don’t really know anything about how the body fits together and what’s good for it.

And then there’s diet. I kind of half-know that some things are bad, but don’t think about it enough. What should I be eating?

Does anyone have any recommendations? Mindless gym stuff isn’t likely to be an option although it is available.

I’m 38, 180cm, and was ~65Kg for as long as I could remember. In the last two years my weight has jumped to a massive 73KG, which is quite a big %age even though it’s not a big number in absolute terms. And I do have more of a tummy than I’ve ever had, although I still have a figure that most males seem to envy. On the plus side, other people do comment to me on my energy and (most recently) on the fact that I rarely get in a bad mood.

I guess I’m basically healthy, but that’s just accidental and I feel like I have to start making more effort to ensure that I keep myself together. (In chinese counting I’m 40 already. :astonished: )

And of course it’s all tied up with lifestyle. I work erratic hours in several places, spend a couple of hours a day on a motorbike, and have too many projects under way too. I’m trying to hire someone to do admin stuff for me to free up some time, but I’ll need to make more money to pay for it. :unamused:

Anyone else in a similar situation want to start a little support group?

You’ve covered all the ground except for one–sleep. Don’t overlook the importance of a good night’s sleep. I rarely go to the gym without having been well rested and charged up. It would backfire and make you more tired after the workout, in my experience at least. A healthy lifestyle means getting to bed at the same time every night. Try incorporating that in your diet and exercise regiment and you should see positive results in a few months. Good luck!

Diet: I would start by taking the normal amount of food you

What I wanted to say last night about exercise: it really doesn

I don


Great advice mate! :bravo:

Loretta, listen to the man will ya? :slight_smile:

The diet I’ve jsut started is caled the GI Diet. It’s supposed to be very good for maintaining energy levels ad general long-term health. Basically everything Daminal listed would be good on a GI diet.

Here’s some of the basics of GI:

Eat food with a low Glycemic Index - this stops you getting insulin spikes.
Also eat low calory.
The result is you don’t get cravings coming down off an energy high, you don’t get hungry and tired because you have a slow releas of energy and your body doesn’t produce the excess energy of a spike into fat (and activate the mechanism that slows the burning of fat).

Eat three meals and three snacks.
Eat protein with every meal.
Eat 1/2 fruit and vegetables, 1/4 protein and 1/4 grains.

Eat food that has as little processing as possible. Processed foods are out.

Some things you shouldn’'t eat:
much noodles
stuff with saturated fat
sugar other than the lactose in dairy and fructose in fruit
pretty much any fat foods

I got a book called ‘The Easy GI Diet’ by Helen Foster from Page One yesterday (in addition to ‘The GI Diet’ by Rick Gallup, which my sister sent me). It has different plans, including one which is specifically designed for those who don’t need to lose weight, but want to boost energy levels and live healthily. It has 7 days of meals tailor-made for this. Gallup’s book splits food into green-light (good, and all you can eat in the weight loss phase), yellow-light (OK to eat once you’ve achieved the target weight) and red-light (don’t eat). The good thingabout doing a GI diet to boost energy and stay healthy,is thta if you don’t need to lose weight, you can just skip straight to phase 2 where you’ll have a lot mroe food to choose from.


Loretta wrote [quote] I still have a figure that most males seem to envy.[/quote] :wanker: :wanker: Maybe in Wales mate, but not where I come from.

Bu Lai En wrote[quote]The diet I’ve jsut started is caled the GI Diet.[/quote]

How much booze are you allowed to drink? And I assume with all this spreading the calories around, you’d want to drink a little in the morning, some at lunch and so forth throughout the day. :laughing:

Er, I like potatoes. And rice.

What is this ‘green stuff’ people keep referring to? I do try to eat rabbit food, but it’s really difficult for me and doesn’t fill me up.

I know I drink waaay too much iced tea. Water it is from now on.

But can someone explain all this stuff about ‘calories’ and ‘glycemic index’ and so on? I’ve never bothered talking any notice of that in the past because fat was something that happened to other people.

Thanks for the input everyone, but I still need ideas on how to make myself actually do the exercise too.

And how to stop myself wasting all day on forumosa?

Calories is basically the energy you’re getting from food. Eat less than you use and you shuld lose weight.

The important thing is the rate at which the energy is absorbed into your body. Stuff like sugar (glucose and sucrose anyway) is abosrbed very quickly. This provides more energy than we need, and the excess becomes fat. We get a high from the sugar, then a low when we drop down from the peak. At this point we feel hungry and or tired.

So the best thing is to eat stuff that is absorbed slowly. This is stuff with a low GI index. Basically it means avoiding processed foods (especially processed carbs), processed sugars (glucose and sucrose - fructose in fruit and lactose in dairy are OK), saturated fats and other things that are absorbed quickly.

tea is good if it’s sugar-free. There’s a couple of brands of sugar-free green tea you can buy at the 7-11.


Tea tastes foul without sugar, and I’m going to try and do without the caffeine anyway so I’ll stick to just water.

What? Please speak ‘English for the retarded’ as words like ‘GI index’, ‘processed’, ‘carbs’, ‘glucose’, ‘sucrose’, ‘fructose’, ‘lactose’, ‘saturated’ mean about as much to me as the fabled 27 words Eskimos have for snow. To me it’s all ‘food’ until someone explains the difference.

Shit, I don’t even know what vitamins are.

I used to have tea/ coffee with sugar. Now sugar in tea is disgusting, but I tend to have dried fruits or something at the same time and it sweetens the tea.

Have you ever seen the Chinese wives at a Western dinner party inspecting the raw vegetables such as mushrooms in a mixed salad. They make disgusted faces and chopping/ frying movements with their hands. No Chinese language skills necessary to sort this out.

Mine has converted and suprised me, I don’t tend to fight those cultural battles so had no intention of pushing her. She now finds she can prepare a mixed salad in a large bowl and either lean chicken/ beef/ lamb pieces sprinkled over it or baked fish in a seperate bowl and she serve it in 15 minutes. I’ve had the same for seven days running and not complaining yet.

The salads are lettuce, tomato base with whatever else is around in the way of vegetables and always with Croutons and salad sprinkles (from Costco) and a low oil or no oil dressing.

I’ve eaten in the various haunts around Los Angeles including Arnold Schwarzneggers Shatzi’s restaurant in Santa Monica and can honestly say I get as good a feed in Taiwan as anywhere in the world if thinking in terms of the latest eating trends.

Note on feeling full. If you compare it to a fish and chip meal then your just not going to feel as full. However, I have a huge bowl of salad and can enjoy it for 20 minutes where a fatty meal can be gone in seconds.

As in Danimals meals. They are small and I don’t expect Danimal is going to leave any of those meals feeling full.

My old body building buddies used to have a once a week pig out when cutting fat for a contest. I tend to follow this if dropping some weight (like right now for instance) and Saturday is my big feeling full pig out feed.

[quote]Tea tastes foul without sugar, and I’m going to try and do without the caffeine anyway so I’ll stick to just water.

You could try green tea. You can also get artificial sweetener whihc tastes pretty much the same as sugar. Other good things to drink include skimmed milk, soy milk, and protein shakes.

Our body’s fuel is the sugar glucose. We make this from carbohydrates which basically means grains and sugars.

Grains are foods like rice, noodles, potatoes and bread. Most people eat way too much processed grains. This means the body easily converts them into glucose so we get too much all at once, which is not good for us. This is what having a high GI means. Lower GI grains are long-grain or brown rice, new potatoes, real wholemeal breads with grains, and pasta in small doses. The GI diet recommends grains should only make up a quarter of your diet, and only the low GI ones.

The other source of carbohydrates is sugars. The sugar that we know as ‘sugar’ (white powdery stuff) is glucose. The GI is based on glucose as a GI of 100. It needs almost no processing, as glucose is our body’s natural fuel. Fructose is the sugar in fruit, but it has a much lower GI when eaten as part of the fruit, as the fibre in fruit sort of holds it together so it takes us much longer to process it. As juice it’s not quite as good. Lactose is the sugar in dairy products which also has a low GI, but dairy has a lot more fat of course.

Like sugars, fat needs very little porocessing to turn into … well, fat. Thre are four kinds of fats. Saturated fats are bad. These are mostly animal fats like butter and the fat in meat. Hydrogenated oils are even worse. These are treated vegetable oils found in a lot of snack foods. Polyunsaturated fats are better, and monounsaturated fats are actually good for you. Stuff like olive oil has a high proportion of the good fats.

Protein is important for body maintenance. We get htis from meat, dairy, beans etc, but it’s also present in vegetables. The secret to good consumption fo protein is to get it from low-fat sources. Beans are the best, but if you like meat try to go for low-fat cuts and fish. Protein should take up about a quarter of your plate. Along with the quarter for carbs, that leaves a half for fruit and vegetables.


Thanks Bri. Someone should give you some kind of award for plain English, or put you in the Wiki.

When you say ‘a quarter’ do you mean by weight or by volume?

Let’s see… I don’t like fat, eat red meat only once or twice a month, and get my protein mostly from chicken, tuna, shrimps, eggs(?). Meat usually twice a day. I’ve heard that nuts are protein-rich. True?

Grains: Whole grain bread (with butter) when I can find it, noodles very occasionally, potatoes (with skins) once or twice a week, and lots and lots of long grain rice.

Sugars: Chocolate maybe once a week, coke only with Bacardi and that’s not often at the moment. Ice cream with cranberry juice and banana, blended, a couple of times a week. I don’t eat much fruit, just not in the habit.

I’ve been drinking massive quantities of nestea, which tastes super-sweet. Green tea just tastes foul, whatever you put in it. I read somewhere here that juice in TW is often sugared to death too. This morning I bought 2l of mineral water instead, although I haven’t opened it yet. How much should you drink in a day anyway?

I cook with olive oil. Is it so good that I should use more than actually needed? Or what?

I cook probably 2/3 of my meals at home, and rarely eat ‘local’ food. I had a big mac yesterday, the first time I have been in any fast-food place for over a year. Never could stand that stuff.

Alleycat’s once a week is when I probably get most of my veggies. Actually I rarely finish the salad. I just don’t like veggies. Any suggestions?

My plate at home is usually covered with carbs and protein. Lots of onions and capsicums in those curries and chilis, and I could make an effort to add beans, carrots, peas, but green leaves on the side of my plate are an extremely improbable thought. It sounds like that’s where my big deficiency is. Am I going to get scurvy? How can I deal with this when I have a total lack of enthusiasm for munching foliage?

And where do mushrooms fit in? They’re not plants or animals.

And thanks to whoever mentioned sleep. That’s one area I’m on top of. 7-8 hrs a night, and wake up naturally without an alarm. I’ve just got back into the rhythm of 6:30am starts, and am liking it.

Loretta, it’s true that nuts are protein rich. “They” recommend eating more nuts if you make the switch from omnivore to herbivore due to the protein factor contained within the nuts. Although roasted salted peanuts are unfortunately not one of the nuts that are meant to be very good for you. Almonds, however, are and contain a lot of protein. Personally I don’t like them unless they’re covered in chocolate.

You really should eat more fruit and veges and you appear to know that. I agree wtih you about nestea being supersweet. I’m drinking a bottle right now. Other than that your diet looks fairly good.

Yeah, olive oil is good for your health.

Western mushrooms are fungi that taste like dirt and reek when cooking. Why is that? Could it be due to cow manure? I have a preference for the mushrooms produced here. I’m not sure where they fit in the food group pyramid.

The amount of water you need each day will be more than you would normally require right now due to the humidity. You should drink water to get hydrated. You can tell if you’re hydrated by looking at your urine when you pee. If it’s that clear colour you’re hydrated. If it’s a bright yellow you’re dehydrated. The yellowness diminishes as your body requires less water. But I always want another beer or other drink at the pub no matter what colour my pee is but I don’t think that’s owing to dehydration. However the problems with most artificially flavoured drinks is that they contain sugar which has a dehydrating effect. It is believed that some sports drinks hydrate you better than water. Super Supau or another sports drink may be a viable alternative to Nestea and the blandness of water.

You can get this from Costco in powder and mix as you like. I do that at times. It reduces the shopping bag weight as well. The Peach tea in 2 litres is a little lighter.

I’ve just gone on a Lemon vinegar fad, putting a small amount in the bottom of a glass and filling with cold water. Its got a bit of bite and not very sweet depending how you mix it. There are all sorts of flavours at the various Tesco, Geant etc. Lemon is the only one I can handle.

I agree with the importance of sleep. Exhaustion, fatigue and lack of physical energy are common sleep deprivation symptoms. Exhaustion and fatigue affect our emotional moods, causing pessimism, sadness, stress and anger.

I don’t agree that one must get to bed at the same time every night though.

If you sleep set hours, you


my simple solution to lose weight permanently and feel healthy and fit is to become vegan, eat no animal products at all!

I was fat as a child and after I became a vegetarian first and then a vegan, I lost 10kg while keeping on eating A LOT and doing NO SPORTS.

Now I’m in better shape then ever, look at me at my website

I’m a vegan cook now, is anybody interested to learn more about vegan cooking the European style?

Does this look good for you?

Take a look at for more.



Mate, thanks for your input but I AM NOT FAT!!!

Why does everyone assume that just because someone asks questions about healthy eating they want to lose weight? I may be heavier than I have ever been, but I have a 30 inch waist and do not gain weight easily. I think I may have mentioned that.

I get so tired of people banging on about fat, fat, fat. People (in western countries) come up to me, especially when food-shopping, and ask me what I do to stay so thin. My answer used to be “eat steak and cream cake, and sit on the couch all day watching TV”, but I’m becoming more health-conscious. That doesn’t mean I need advice on staying thin though, and I really don’t need the standard solutions that work for people with different problems to me.

Aside from the fat issue, I’m afraid that veganism wouldn’t work for me. As I said, I eat a lot. Vegetarian food just doesn’t fill me up. I’m left feeling hungry, unsatisfied, and run out of energy very quickly. It may be a solution for some people, but I guess my metabolism works differently.

Hi Loretta,

I didn’t become vegan to lose weight, but because of my compassion for animals. That I lost weight was a side effect but not the primary intention, I just mentioned it since it just happened with no efforts.

I wanted to express that a vegan diet is a healthy diet with all benefits. For example I haven’t seen the doctor for years and even in winter I never get the flu. I also feel physically fit even without doing sports.

If you don’t feel full from vegetarian food, you have to eat more often in a day or just find out which food makes you full. E.g. I don’t feel full from rice, but from noodles and bread, while an Asian vegan friend of mine feels the opposite.