This dad reveals his 4 secrets to looking young and staying fit!
Like most working parents, I leads a hectic lifestyle and need to meet numerous KPIs and sales targets at work. Being out and about, I am also exposed to the daily temptation of tantalising food that are high in sugar content, saturated and trans fats.
As a 39-year-old father of 3 children and caregiver of their grandparents, I strongly believe in taking good care of my health so that I can look after them well and enjoy a quality life at the same time. However, I do not subscribe to any particular diet fad or count my calories.
I often get told that I look younger than my age; I live by the philosophy, “We are what we eat and calorie intake vs output is a key component to effective and sustainable weight management.”
I don't believe in strict calories counting as that is too bothersome and adds more stress to one’s life. My strategy is simple. Out of the 3 main meals a day, I will consciously try to choose food that are lighter in calories for 2 of the meals. Usually these meals are soup based, grilled or fan fried.
I also try to limit fast food intake to less than twice a week. My weight has been fluctuating between 60-62 kg for nearly 2 decades even after I finished serving national service as a Commando.
As a certified fitness instructor, there are few foods that I will always have in my everyday diet and I attribute the following practices as the most likely contributing factors to my healthy, energetic disposition and youthful appearance:
- Detoxification through bowel movement is one of the ways our body discards waste. Constipation may make us feel sluggish and bloated. Thus, it is imperative to ensure bowel movements are as regular as possible.
As part of my detoxification routine, the first thing that I do after waking up every morning is to drink a cup of warm water. It helps to trigger my visit to the toilet and flush away the toxins in my body. It is the easiest and most cost effective detoxification method that I known of.
- My first meal of the day: Breakfast is always the heaviest and healthiest as I believe in having a good start to the day. And since it is prepared at home, I can have full control over it.
It is not very difficult to enjoy a healthy breakfast at home. For instance, 2 slices of wholemeal bread accompanied with a 250ml low fat milk or multi-grain ready to-eat cereal with raisins and low fat milk should do the job for most of us. You could refer to the Health Promotion Board website for more useful tips on breakfast preparation.
- Snacking is good as they can fill you up with energy between meals. Just note that these will also add up to your total calorie intake and thus sensible food selection is essential. My favourite snacks are dark chocolate (those above 70% cocoa), assorted nuts and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
- Eat your greens first: It helps to make you feel fuller faster due to its fibre and hence reduce the probability of overeating for that meal
When it comes to diet, I believe in the mantra - Too much of anything is not wise. A balanced and moderate diet is still a key factor to maintaining good health.
Weight bearing exercises not only helps to keep bones strong, it helps to strengthen muscles, improve strength and flexibility. Some of these exercises include hiking, jogging, stair climbing or any other activities that requires movement of the large muscles such as the leg and the back muscles.
Although, I do not have time for the gym, I usually do calisthenic exercises at the neighbourhood’s fitness corner. A good 30 minutes rigorous workout, 3 times per week would be enough for one to benefit from the routine.
There is a useful article on the Health Promotion Board website regarding physical activity that should get you started. Remember to seek your physician’s advice before embarking on any strenuous exercise regime.
I jog at least twice a week, each session lasting not more than 30 mins. Each session ends with a 20 second sprint till the end. By maintaining an intensity of 70% - 90% of my maximum heart rate throughout the session, the health benefits are strengthening the heart and lungs.
I also swim occasionally to allow recovery of the leg muscles and to work other parts of the muscles as part of my cross training regime.
The mind and body are linked. You can’t be feeling great or coping well with stress when you are feeling lethargic most of the times. Having some form of physical activities not only helps to improve our physical well being, they also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energise you and lift your mood.
Stop procrastinating. The longer you put that impending task on hold, the longer it will keep staying on your mind and keep on haunting you, sucking up precious energy out of you. I always have a daily to-do lists and would stick to it as much as possible.
Writing this article in the wee hours when my family is sound asleep is one of them. Do note that the daily list must be realistic. Having too many items may be counterproductive and create unnecessary stresses.
There are a thousand and one challenges in our everyday life but we only have 24 hours a day. Hence, I try to channel my thoughts and energy in matters that are most important to me and that I can have control over.
According to HealthHub, an initiative by the Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Board, early detection followed by treatment can result in better outcomes. For me, an additional reason is not to burden my loved ones and dependents with medical bills and that is why I started to go for regular health screening in my early thirties.
Apparently, certain health screenings will be more beneficial for some but not others. Do seek your physician’s advice regarding the type of screening that is more suitable for you. There are schemes provided by the Ministry of Health to help lower income families to fund the health screening. Do check that out and forward to someone you know could benefit from it :) .
Note: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore