Saturday, 26 April 2014

Energise for Life: 10 Days Challenge

After a carb and sugar loaded week in Italy, I’ve gained a couple of pounds in my Italian getaway. Although the week in Italy was full of walking around from morning to evening, clearly the endless gelato spree and my seafood spaghetti mania did more damage. Hence, I decided to get back on the Energise for Life 10-Days Challenge by Tony Robbins. This 10-days challenge was the very same one that got me started on my journey to lose weight over the past year. My first attempt at the 10-days challenge successful help me lose about 2kg. Although not designed as a weight loss challenge, I find that at the end of the 10-days challenge, I felt lighter and healthier than before.

My first exposure to the Energise for Life challenge was about 7-8 years ago when my uncle attended Tony Robbins’ seminar in Malaysia. Coming from a family of food lovers, the 10 days challenge became the standard routine for detox in my family. While eating is our love, being healthy is equally important.

Energise for Life emphasises a healthy diet which is based strongly on an alkaline diet to energise the body. Though the original challenge seem very much dependant on supplements, I did mine without any. The 10-days challenge focuses on vital breathing; eliminating excess fats and oil, animal flesh, milk cheese and dairy products and acid addiction like coffee; increasing aerobic exercise; increasing water consumption and having sufficient rest.

To find out more about the Energise for Life programme, have a read about here. It pretty much sums up everything to know about the programme.

Returning from my sinful Italian holiday and being on study break, I find it a great time to go on the challenge. With everyone busy studying, there is minimal social lunch or dinner and therefore, I could spend 10 days eating at home and cooking my meals according to the challenge. Plus, with regularised sleeping hours after a week of holiday, I could get proper sleep and eat at regular hours! Studying also meant cooping up at home and being on the 10-days challenge, I would have to motivation to get out for a jog. Plus, one of my buddies, Charmaine is getting ready for her upcoming graduation ceremony and wanted to shed some pounds. Doing it with a partner is definitely much easier as there is constant motivation and support from each other. Since it is her first time on the 10-days challenge, I invited her to write about her journey throughout these 10 days.

Here’s how my 10-days challenge turn out! Check out how Charmaine pulled through her 10-days challenge here.

Day 1:

Breakfast: Watermelon berries smoothie
Lunch: Baked salmon with steamed broccoli
Dinner: Blanched sweet gem lettuce with steam tofu
Snack: 2 organic pumpkin seed crispbread

Starting the challenge was relatively easy as the motivation level is still extremely high. With Tesco grocery deliveries, I got all my fruits and vegetables ready for the 10 days.

Watermelon Berries Smoothie
Loving this refreshing smoothie in the morning - check out the recipe here
Day 1- Salmon
Simple baked salmon and broccoli
Day 1 - Tofu
Steamed tofu with 1 tsp of soya sauce - it looks like it's swimming in soya sauce but really it is just the liquid from the steamed tofu

Day 2:

Breakfast: Watermelon berries smoothie
Lunch: Baked salmon with steamed broccoli
Dinner: Miso soup with Chinese cabbage, carrots and baked salmon slice
Snack: 2 organic pumpkin seed crispbread
Workout: 30 minutes jog (3.75km) and 25 minutes cycling

Had a satisfying jog, followed by cycling in the gym. Having the same thing for breakfast and lunch as Day 1 made things a little boring. So, I slightly steered off course for dinner. I had miso soup which contains relatively high sodium from the fermented beans. However, I tried to minimise the amount of miso paste by reducing it to half my usual amount. Frying the salmon slices before putting it in the soup would make the salmon taste better but frying isn’t a very healthy option. Instead, I baked them in the oven to get a similar effect and remove any excess oil from the fish.

Day 2 - Miso soup
My miso soup with cabbage and carrots hidden at the bottom. The tiny bit of oil is from the salmon. No additional oil in this meal.

Day 3:

Breakfast: Watermelon berries smoothie
Lunch: Steam egg with oyster mushroom
Dinner: Baked salmon with mixed herbs and steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets
Snack: 5 strawberries, 1 plum and 2 organic pumpkin seed crispbread

With steam egg for lunch, I was a little lazy to prepare a separate vegetable and decided to step up on the vegetable for dinner. So, dinner was a slice of baked salmon marinated with some mixed herbs like oregano, thyme and parsley and a little chilli powder to spice it up; served with steamed some cauliflower, half a broccoli (yes I absolutely love broccoli) and a carrot as my side.

Day 3 - Steam Egg

Day 3 - Salmon

Day 4:

Breakfast: Orange mango smoothie
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs
Dinner: Baked salmon fillet salad
Snack: 2 organic pumpkin seed crispbread
Workout: 30 minutes jog, 20 minutes cycling, weight exercises

With my high school friend returning to bunk another night with me after her Amsterdam trip, we were busy catching up and I slept much later thus, waking up in the middle of the day. Started off with my morning smoothie, I had 2 hard boiled eggs and headed off to the gym soon after for my workout. Continued on with the challenge and had a large plate of salad leaves with thin slices of baked salmon and topped with cherry tomatoes and apples and oranges bits. The taste of apple and orange bits is a great substitute for salad dressing!

The 10-days challenge is getting tougher and I’m starting to crave for things like roast duck. T_T

Orange Mango Smoothie
Yummy smoothie for breakfast - check out the recipe here.
Day 4 - Salad

Day 4 -Gym
Being vain and took a selfie in the gym :P
Day 5:

Breakfast: Watermelon berries smoothie
Lunch: Baked salmon with mixed herbs and steamed vegetables
Dinner: Vegetable soup
Snack: 1 banana, 1 plum and 1 organic pumpkin seed crispbread

My stomach had a craving for some hot soup so I decided to make a small pot of vegetable soup for dinner. With carrots, corn and potato, the soup was cooked over slow fire for about 2 hours. It was a bowl of goodness even without the usual chicken or pork that is usually used to cook soup. Adding only a pinch of salt for some taste, the natural sweetness from the corn and carrot was strong and delish.

Day 5 - Salmon

Day 5 - Soup Ingredient
The ingredients for my vegetable soups.
Day 5 - Soup

Day 6:

Breakfast: Orange mango smoothie
Lunch: Vegetable soup
Dinner: Baked salmon salad with egg, cherry tomato and apple and orange bits
Snack: 1 banana and 1 organic pumpkin seed crispbread
Workout: 15 minutes jog, 15 minutes brisk walk at 9.0 incline, pilates

With a little problem sleeping at the right hours, I woke up at 1pm and thus, having to adjust my lunch and dinner time. Kicked start the day with orange and mango smoothie, then I headed to the gym for some workout. I wasn’t too energised to run a long distance so I opted for an inclined brisk walk instead.

After watching a couple of pilates video by Cassey Ho on YouTube, I was inspired to challenge myself with her top 5 workouts for thighs, abs etc. Cassey is a fitness instructors that runs a YouTube channel called Blogilates where she post videos on pilates and fitness. Introduced to her channel by Sue Lyn, her videos were one of the things that help me burn some calories when I am too lazy to make a trip to the gym in my second year. Her pilates videos are easy to follow and most of the time all you need is a yoga mat.

With a screwed up sleep cycle, I managed to have my vegetable soup leftover for lunch at past 4pm and finally, my salad at 8pm-ish. All the Easter greetings and advertisement reminds me of Easter eggs throughout the day although Easter weekend isn’t suppose to be all about eggs and bunnies. Finally, resorted to give in to temptations and added a hard boiled egg into my salad.

Passing through the halfway mark of the challenge, my intense craving for everything unhealthy was kicking in. Sometime in the afternoon all I could think of was my favourite wantan noodles and late at night, Hokkien mee was the only thing that filled my mind. Well, this whole challenge is not getting any easier.

Day 6 - Salad

Day 7:

Breakfast: Orange mango smoothie
Lunch: Vegetable soup
Dinner: Baked egg with broccoli, oyster mushroom and tomatoes
Snack: 1 organic pumpkin seed crispbread
Exercise: 15 minutes jog, 30 minutes cross trainer, pilates

Yet another screwed up sleep cycle as I was catching the updates on the funeral procession of Karpal Singh late last night. Waking up to aches in my hamstrings and thighs from the pilates exercise yesterday was a great feeling. Finally, stretched those dormant muscles which I’ve neglected in the past few months. Without my old gym buddy, no one actually pushes me to stretch my muscles anymore nowadays. Felt energised to workout, I decided to remove the rest day and hit the gym. Since it’s Easter weekend, the gym is almost empty and it felt like I own the place XD

Trying to be creative for dinner, I wanted to make a healthy version of a quiche without the cheese, cream and pie crust. So I mixed some lightly steamed broccoli (cause I am afraid only baking it would not be sufficient to cook it thoroughly) and lightly sautéed some oyster mushrooms (without any oil of course) with some cherry tomatoes and filled it up with an egg mixture and shoved it into the oven to bake. 30 minutes passed and the centre still had some uncooked egg mixture and my broccoli was starting to burn. Finally after 45 minutes, it was done but the egg sort of dried up and was a little hard and my broccoli was overcooked and burnt. Oh well, shall stick to my routine steamed vegetables and salmon tomorrow.

Day 7 - Baked Egg
Tried to be fancy and it turns out disastrous :(
Day 7 - Gym
Being the only person in the gym :)

Day 8:

Breakfast: Orange mango smoothie
Lunch: Vegetable soup
Dinner: Baked salmon with herbs and mixed vegetables
Snack: 1 organic pumpkin seed crispbread

Still in a little screwed up sleeping cycle, I manage to slot vegetable soup for lunch and baked salmon with herbs and mixed vegetables for dinner. Thanks to the weird sleeping hours, I’m starting to lose control over my routine which is a bad sign. Nearing the end of the 10-days challenge, everyday seems to get easier although there are insane moments of food cravings. Facebook and Instagram had been a horrible source of torture.

Day 8 - Salmon 
Day 9:

Watermelon berries smoothie
2 boiled eggs
Dinner: Baked salmon with sweet gem
Snack: 1 organic pumpkin seed crispbread

The day where my sleep cycle is completely haywired. Slept early the night before resulted into waking up way too early. Feeling extremely hungry, I resorted to 2 boiled eggs to keep myself satisfied while I work on my law revision. Feeling extremely tired by noon, I took a nap which was longer than expected and missed my gym plans for the day. Finally, I had my smoothie as a afternoon snack and a proper dinner later on. Since it’s Day 9 and towards the end of the challenge, I topped my baked salmon with teriyaki sauce as a little reward for getting to Day 9.

Day 9 - Salmon

Day 10:

Breakfast: Watermelon berries smoothie
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs
Dinner: Pan grilled cod with broccoli
Snack: 1 organic pumpkin seed crispbread

The last day of the 10-days challenge! *victory tunes playing* YAY! Yet another completed 10-days challenge. Supposed to slot a gym session in Day 10 but I got really lazy. Definitely got to work on the self discipline.

Day 10 - Cod
Fish with tumeric is one of my favourites cause that's how my grandma always cook them :D

After 10 days, I lost a total of 2kg and felt so much healthier! Though it would be great to continue on up to 30 days but oh well, my love for food made it impossible. Instead of feeling like I'm constantly torturing my taste buds and depriving myself of heavenly culinary goodness, I adapted the healthy living concept as much as possible in my daily life and indulge during my cheat days. 

On the way to stock up my grocery, I took a short detour and tried a cropped top on. Never in my life have I thought I could wear a cropped top. Amazing how adapting a healthy lifestyle could make so much changes in life.

Day 11
Cropped top selfie hehe :P

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