Thursday, November 20, 2014

Intermission: 81 Days After

It's been roughly 81 days after my heart attack.

I have lost 17kg so far and I continue to lose weight as I rebuild my life and my career.

Big news is I'm taking a full-time job at a newspaper in December. I had to say no to a lot of other projects including offers to direct a movie. However, I'm moving forward with my boutique comics company - Maple Comics - which will publish our first book - Kuala Terengganu in 7 Days by the first week of December.

Am also writing a novella a friend requested for publishing. It is based on a script I keep and used to sell to producers before this. It's called Nuklear.

Funny. Just a month after the heart attack, I was quite depressed. I was living on the last of my savings as I waited for a multi-million dollar project to take off since June. After the heart attack, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do it anymore.

The one skill I had that no one else could copy was my willingness to die for my work. I would go and work all day, every day, until I get it done. Now, I'm half dead. After the heart attack, I sleep at 12am - no more all-nighters. I felt like half a man.

Soon, I began to get calls. Old clients, old bosses and friends came about with the usual torrent of jobs and work and projects. There are also new acquaintances with their interesting side projects.

Not long after, I was swamped. Last week, I began snapping at people because there was so much work to do. It's a good sign - snapping at people.

The diet is working. 90% of what I eat, I cook myself. For almost three months, I have measured almost every single thing that goes into my body.

Basically, every day, I eat:

half a teaspoon of salt
two tablespoons of oil
200gm of protein
one or two tomatoes
a carrot
star anise
2/3 cups of brown rice (raw or 8/3 cups of cooked rice) or equivalent carbs

I can't take green leafy vegetables because I'm on Warfarin. I can and should take some, but it's like, two or three lettuce leaves a day.

For breakfast, I usually eat Weet-Bix or have oats.

My snacks are pears, bananas or oats/psyllium husk.

I eliminated all sugar from my diet. My kitchen had absolutely no sugar. This caused a problem as I began feeling lethargic and one point, my blood pressure was a dangerously low 80 over 50. The charming and quite lovely physiotherapist suggested a sweet drink, but reminded me time and again that she is not a doctor.

Nevertheless, I found her advice to be sound. I had absolutely no sugar in my diet for two months, and with my increased activities, I might need the energy.

So I bought cocoa powder - Van Houten - and brown sugar. Now, every day, if I feel a bit low on energy or going for a stressful meeting, I take half a tablespoon of cocoa powder, one tablespoon of sugar and mix them with hot water.

Milo is problematic as it already has sugar as well as fat. Same thing with Vico or any other chocolate drink. They could have shortening or fillers or whatever I don't know about. Cocoa powder is supposed to be 90% pure cocoa, so here's hoping the other 10% isn't rat poison or something.

Actually, the best way is to just take sugar, but that's no fun.

On my cheat days, I eat chappati. Well, I consider eating them cheating because I have no control over what goes into them. I also sometimes take grilled chicken - usually Nando's. I tried Kenny Roger's, but their sides are quite horrendously fatty and unhealthy.

Nando's is okay, if you take away the skin, but again, nothing beats cooking your meals yourself - that's the healthiest option.

I walk every day. Once or twice a dy, depending whether it rains or not in the evening.

One walking session takes me 3km out and 3km back. So each day, I walk between 6-12 km.

When my full time job starts, I would have to adjust my routine. I might have to rely more on purple wheat bread, cook at night for the next day, pack lunches, stock oats at the office or find a healthy restaurant over there.

My walks might not be feasible, but it might do me good to join a gym and work out there every day. All in all, it has been an enjoyable adventure.

My suits don't fit me anymore. I'm waiting till I reach a plateau in my weight loss before making new ones. I can still wear my tailored shirts if I wear something under them, but they still look too big. If I can find the time, I'm sending the suits to a tailor next week to have them altered.