Sugar or Self Discipline

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Sugar is the root of all evil. 

In cooking – there are three flavours that generally that require a balance. 

Sweet
Salty
Sour

A combination of this flavour profile will make or break your dish. The choice of taste is subjective and dependent on the person’s preference. For me, I do not have any particular preference except that I don’t like sour. I would prefer if it is sweeter. Hence it requires sugar.

Sugar exists in many ingredients in addition to the tool to create the taste. The most straightforward example is rice, which is the primary vehicle for almost all Malay dishes. Hence a lot of the food where we consume is generally eaten together with some form of sugar. Therefore, when one was to add the total sugar consume for a typical Malay dish, one will realize that there is way too much sugar. I guess I am one of those victims from this. 

Sugar has an addictive nature. The more one gets used to sugar, the more they want it. I think of it as a legal drug. The long term effects include obesity and diabetes. It is not easy to eliminate sugar, but one should try.

I am trying very hard to remove sugar from my diet. I acknowledge that I am a coffee addict. In the past, I will always take my coffee with milk and sugar. In fact, since the existence of expensive coffee joints, I started to shift to drink coffee in the form of cappuccino or latte.

I have managed to get used to drinking black coffee. That helps to reduce my sugar intake. The next phase is to remove simple carbohydrates from my diet. As easy as it sounds, this is more difficult. 

I have tried many times to go into a low carbohydrates diet, but it seems to have failed many times too!  

I still wonder what can motivate me to transition to a healthier lifestyle. There is a saying in Malay:

“Hangat Hangat Tahi Ayam”

The English translation for this is “Hot hot chicken shit”. What it means is that I will go all out for the first part, and then ended up going back to start. It has happened way too many times. I am terrible at self-discipline.

I need to improve my self-discipline. Full stop.

3/30

Mental Health

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I had this conversation yesterday about mental health. I just realised that October is a Mental Health month. Mental health is as equally important as physical health. 

I have seen so many suicides due to depression in the news. We have seen from the lights of Anthony Bourdain to the latest one Sulli – a Korean star. Based on data from the World Health Organization, there are 800,000 suicides in a year. This translates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

What can we do?

For me – the first and most important thing to do is to acknowledge that we have a problem. Once that has been done, we can then seek the necessary help. 

For Malaysia, people can call Befrienders – +60379568145.

I read this from Befrienders website:

  • Suicide is often a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
  • When we are depressed, we tend to see things through the very narrow perspective of the present moment. A week or a month later, things may look completely different.
  • Most people who once thought about killing themselves are now glad to be alive. They say they didn’t want to end their lives – they just wanted to stop the pain.

And they advise that when you have suicidal thoughts, talk to a friend, or talk to a befriender or seek professional help. And, this goes back to basics where we need to overcome the fear of acknowledging that we have issues.

One of the social stigmas in Malaysia is that Mental Health is not a serious issue. In fact, because of cultural embarrassment – we tend to bury this under the rug and more often than not, come out with other excuses. 

I don’t know if I have depression or mental health issues. I tend to live a happy life – regardless of whether I have a problem or not. To me, any problems can be solved. If there is something that I cannot control, there’s no point stressing over it. Life goes on. That’s why some people regard me as a person who in Malay – “Tak Makan Saman”. Which means nothing can affect me. Nevertheless, I am not perfect myself. I do have issues of my own and try to resolve it as much as I can. Anyway – that is all for today.

2/30

30 Days of Habit Building

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As part of me trying to find more things to do rather than watching Netflix, I decided that I should restart doing two things daily to fill up my free time. Generally – after I finished work, I try not to touch anything related to work! I tend to do work even though the office hours are over. It is quite common for me to work late – but I tend to bring work home because I feel like my brain is still thinking about work — not a good practice, especially for mental health.

Hence, I need to start new positive habits. I am a creature of habit, be it good or bad. Some of the good ones include:

  • Morning workout
  • Healthy supplements

But in contrast, I also have terrible ones:

  • Netflix binging
  • Unhealthy snacks

I need to start reversing the terrible ones with positive ones that have more extended benefits to myself. Two that came to my mind are:

  • Learning
  • Writing

Learning

My employer provided me with a few learning platforms:

  • Moody Training
  • Linkedin Learning

The sites above allow me to learn topics that can help in my career building. By training myself with new skills, I can do my work better.

Writing

Writing is another skill that I need to improve. Despite having a decent conversational English, I felt that there are a lot of things that I need to improve. There are, of course, two ways of improving – one is by reading, while the other is by practicing. There was a time when I write a lot, but now I seem to be distracted by other things and have not been writing. Writing can be in the form of a journal (handwritten) or through blogging. I want to blog more.

Hence – I am setting a 30-day challenge for me to write and learn more. Every day, I need to spend a combined time of 1 hour to write and learn. The challenge start today! 

Today is day 1!

Getting too comfortable

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Many years ago, I embarked on an initiative to lose weight. I was very disciplined, but it seems that I have been falling off the bandwagon. Seriously, it has been tough for me to start everything again. I don’t know why. Every time I restart, I seem to be falling back. It is very demotivating.

There are so many excuses that I will come out with when I bring out this topic. I always baffled at how much my self discipline has degraded over the years. This, I attribute to me being way too comfortable. Being comfortable is good as I don’t have a lot of things to worry about. This resulted in a low-stress level. I tend to smile a lot because, really, I don’t have to worry about a lot of things.

Though, in reality – I am always worried about my health. Despite getting a clean bill of health from my doctor, there is this nagging thing behind my head. I always tell myself that I need to improve my health. I admit that weight is a struggle that I have gone thru for many years. And if I don’t do something about it, it will bite me at some point in time.

With all the technology in the world – Myfitnesspal, Carb Manager, Apple Watch, and many more, it still bogs down to a straightforward thing. DISCIPLINE.

I always pride myself on being a person who is organized, determined, and incredibility disciplined. There was a time in my life where I can wake up every morning at 5am. I will be working out the latest by 6am. But now – I seem to be waking up later, and will only start sweating it out at about 7.30am. Again – being comfortable pushing me to sleep more than I should, or perhaps watch Netflix more than an average person would do.

I still do not have a solution, but I guess – to be able to change, I need first to acknowledge that I have an issue. And the point is to run away from my comfort zone. It is ok to be uncomfortable. By doing this, I can push myself to be a better person.

The change should start now.