TBR on Food Magazine – July 2011

Monday, 4 July 2011  |  Healthy Food + Recipes, Press

Thanks to Food, especially Ianne Sison-Evangelista and Nana Ozaeta, for giving me the opportunity to write “Eat to Run” for the July 2011 issue of their magazine.  (Am I the only that’s noticed that when I’m injured, food is the only other thing on my mind? Hah!)

Food Magazine_low

I wrote about my daily food regimen, how I manage my cravings (really, I try my very best all the time!), my race day diet, must have pantry items, my favorite restaurants, and last but not the least, my favorite healthy recipes (thanks to Harvs for sharing!)  I also interviewed my favorite experts Harvie de Baron, Mitch Felipe-Mendoza, Coach Ani de leon-Brown, and Coach Dan Brown to provide you with tips on proper eating.

Food Magazine1

Food Magazine4
– Grrr. Don’t laugh. I look bloated and like I just woke up here. And I really just did. –

Food Magazine2
– This is really how my breakfast looks every morning. I use honey for my coffee instead of sugar and low fat milk instead of creamer or full cream. The apple and banana are midday snacks. Oh, and I usually drop blueberries, peaches, or almonds into my oatmeal to make it munchier –

Food Magazine3
– I’m no cook, but one of my dreams right now is to take cooking classes (if I find the time). I’ve been eating my tuna-mushroom-spinach omelet with brown rice so often lately because I love it. My nutritionist friend Harvie always reminds me to vary my meals to avoid boredom, but what can I do, I can’t have enough of it! –


Thursday, 30 June 2011  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

Here’s my official invitation to TBR 30, a 30-day challenge to eat more nutritious, wholesome food!



TBR 30 is a commitment to yourself that you will take care of your body by making wise and healthy food choices. That’s it!

It was a personal decision for me to focus on eating better in the next weeks and to look at food as fuel for running and other activities. While I eat healthy most of the time, I still fell into major cheat days with my munchies or made poor choices when I was hungry, especially after a long run! So, after getting tired of diets and pressuring myself to train more or eat less, I thought I should just adopt a more positive outlook and take on a healthier lifestyle for life.

Then, I thought of inviting all of you to do the same. Why not?! The hardest part in making this huge shift is to decide to start. So, I’m inviting you all to do it TOMORROW, JULY 1, 2011. Aside from that, it’ll make all of us answerable to each other. Plus, of course, it should be more fun.  (By the way, if you read this late, then just start midway. No prob!)

Again, TBR 30 is open to anyone and everyone. It’s also free.


TBR 30 starts on JULY 1 and ends JULY 30. Why a 30 day challenge?

Well, I know it takes 21 days to form a habit. So, if we reach the 22nd day eating healthy then we pretty much know that by the end of July, eating healthy won’t be a “challenge” but a “lifestyle.”

Whether only 5 or 50 sign up for TBR 30, I’ll be doing this, but I do hope you can take on the challenge with me.  Sige na!


TBR 30 is not about dieting. I won’t give you a detailed, restrictive diet for three reasons: 1) I’m not a nutritionist nor a dietitian. 2) Diets only make you feel deprived, which will lead you to cheat once you’re off it. (Believe me, that’s what happened to me in New York heehee.) 3) I HATE DIETING!  And, don’t tell Harvie, my nutritionist friend, nor Mitch Felipe-Mendoza, but I hate journalling my food intake too!

TBR 30 is not about losing weight.  Repeat after me: Our goal is to eat right, not to lose weight.  But, that’s not to say that we won’t be doing cartwheels if we drop some unwanted pounds or look a lot fitter after 30 days (which will most likely be the case!)

TBR 30 will not sell you any products or gear. Trying out new drugs, shakes, formulas, gear, or exercises to lose weight may work temporarily. But, sooner or later, we’ll tire of it and eventually go back to our old ways. Nope, this is not a sponsored challenge either.

TBR 30 is not a support group, diet group, or run group. We’re just a group of individuals who want to improve our health. If you guys, by any chance, meet face to face or become virtual friends, that would be great.


I thought of only 5 main points that should guide us during the next 30 days. CODE: TBR 30.


T: Take control. Are you hungry? Grab a bite. Are you full? Drop the spoon and fork when you are satisfied, not too full. Plan your meals wisely so you’ll be in control of what goes into your mouth and you have no excuses.

B: Be mindful of what you eat. Stop eating on the run (no pun intended) or tasting your kids’ meals and taking a bite from your officemate’s burger all day. Sit down at the dining table. Stare at your visually appealing food. And savor every morsel. (I’ve started cooking my healthy food myself!)

R: Read the labels. You’ve heard this a hundred times before and I’ll say it again. Choose raw, fresh food that actually come with no labels. Limit processed food. If you must eat them, choose the foods that have the least ingredients.

3: 3 major meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Plus, 2 snacks. Add an additional snack after dinner if you wish.

0: Zero stress over your weight. Zero pressure to stick to a strict diet. Zero guilt over mistakes or mess ups. If you slip, dust yourself off and eat properly in the next meal.


  1. Post a comment below saying: I’LL EAT RIGHT FOR 30 DAYS!
  2. Download this TBR30 which contains the guidelines mentioned above.  (Yes, yes, you can see I am completely inspired to do this and I hope you will be too!)  Print it. Post it in an area in your home where you’ll see it daily: the refrigerator or your mirror.
  3. Last but not the least, practice what you promised: EAT RIGHT THIS JULY!

Good luck to us!

Quit Dieting. Start Living.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011  |  Healthy Food + Recipes


I am so done with dieting. So done!

For the past couple of months, you were completely unaware—of course, I don’t tell you everything here—that I was frustrated about my ballooning weight. I couldn’t figure out why I was getting heavier when I was working out like a mad woman (double my usual training program since I added swimming) and eating much less, yet the numbers on the scale were going nowhere but up. To make matters worse, I got injured so no running and no gym only meant the numbers would soon get higher if I didn’t get answers to my questions.

Was I just getting old?

Did I have to eat even less than the little food I was eating?

Was I eating more than I actually thought I was? (Uhm, on some days I would say yes but what we don’t know—or admit—won’t hurt us, right?)

Did I have to add even more training hours to my already hectic sched?  (I welcome the idea of training more because I love it and it doesn’t feel like work to me, but I have a life too, you know!)

Was my body so used to running that I needed a new activity to jolt my metabolism?

Did I need to add more intense training?

Was lack of sleep and stress causing havoc in my system?

What do I do?!!!

I bugged so many experts and friends with all my questions. I asked my nutritionist friend Harvie de Baron of Hammer and he told me to eat more to lose more. I bumped into Coach Jim Saret of The Biggest Loser and asked him to reveal his secrets on dropping my extra weight.  He said I should intensify my training.  I even met with friend, nutritionist, and contributor of TBR Magazine, Mitch Felipe-Mendoza. She was so baffled with my weight gain that she even wrote an article about it on Philippine Daily Inquirer to answer all my queries…hah!  (Here’s the LINK)


Last week, I said to myself: enough is enough. One should not spend this much time worrying about the calories and fat, especially not runners like me!   After all, one of the reasons why I fell in love with running was because it gave me freedom from the scale!  It allowed me to focus on my passion for running while fitness and weight loss were simply bonuses for me!  I thought: Life is too short for thinking about numbers on the scale when I should be savoring healthy, wholesome food, enjoying my long runs, and living life to the fullest!

So, last Sunday, I made a pact with myself to quit dieting and stressing over the scale. I made a promise to myself to eat healthy, train wisely, and enjoy life more. I started eating more (oh boy, a lot more!), show up for regular training, and stop weighing myself. I did this all alone and, much to my pleasant surprise (and relief!), I dropped 4 lbs! I’m sure most of it is water weight but allow me to say: Wooohooo!

I still have 4 more to go to reach my regular weight. (Yes, I gained a total of 8 lbs that wouldn’t budge since February)  I’m committed to sticking to my commitment to myself. It’s not a diet. It’s not a training or nutrition program.  I didn’t use a new product.  It’s simply a promise to myself to nourish my body and subsequently nurture my mind and soul.

So, yes, I started this alone and did it on my own. But, I thought, it could be so much more fun (and perhaps a whole lot easier) if we all did it together virtually. Just a group of us promising to each other that we’ve committed to living better.

Are you game?  I’m thinking we can try a 30-day Challenge to ourselves to simply eat better.  I’ll work out the details and post it tomorrow.  We can start on JULY 1, 2011, the start of the month. Use the time from now until then to let the idea sink in and let me know if you’re up to it!  How exciting!

Eating More to Lose Weight

Monday, 30 August 2010  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

I have a confession to make. For the past month, I’ve been in rehab: food rehab, that is.

I’m learning how to eat all over again. Or, let’s just say, I’m learning how to eat. Period. Almost like a child in preschool, I’m learning about proper food portions, choices, and timing…slowly but surely. Next to a marathon, it is one of the best things I’ve committed to working on for my own good.


I am what you call a perennial dieter. Since college, I stopped eating rice in an attempt to keep the weight off.  Carbs came from whole wheat bread, oatmeal, cereals, and graham crackers.  Protein was egg and chicken.

I didn’t have normal meals but I was grazing all throughout the day. “Good days” meant that I ate less than a thousand calories for the day. Breakfast for the past 5 years—yes, even when I started running—were 3 graham crackers and coffee while dinner was usually cereals and low-fat milk.  Being low fat, I seriously thought I was eating well.

“Bad days” meant I munched on my favorite junk, which were Cheetoes, V-cut, and Poppycock (the list can go on and on). Needless to say, since I was always hungry, I would always “slip” by indulging in junk and I would try to make up for it some other day.

There were more bad days than good.  My weight would fluctuate by 4 pounds every week.  I maintained my weight by burning all the junk away with a long run over the weekend. It worked.


All of this changed after my Hong Kong Marathon last February 2010. After running four 42ks in 5 months, I was aghast when I gained a whopping 6 pounds after the trip. For someone like me who takes my running seriously, this was huge. Remember that 1 pound is equal to 4 pounds impact on the knee. So, that’s an instant 24 pounds additional impact on my delicate knees! (Of course, the bulging belly and flabby arms didn’t look good in my Photovendo pics, too!)

From March to July, I significantly reduced my food intake and increased mileage, but still the numbers on the scale wouldn’t budge. If I starved myself even more, I was fearful of the consequences on my training. Worse, I was scared I’d collapse during a run.

How then could I lose weight considering the little that I ate while training for New York City Marathon this November? I was baffled. And, I felt helpless and frustrated.


Last month, I bumped into my good friend Harvie, a triathlete who recently graduated from his sports nutrition studies, and I told him about my predicament. He talked vaguely about fixing my diet and gradually introduced his idea of a wholesome, healthy diet that I could live with.

Week by week, he worked with me to remove one bad habit at a time. In hindsight, I realize that the slow process was necessary to ensure that this diet became a part of my lifestyle—not just another fad diet I was taking on to “drop 10 lbs. in 2 months.”

WEEK ONE: EAT MORE. This was a struggle for someone who equated “good eating with eating less.” It was a nightmare when Harvie asked me to stop counting calories and eating more. I felt guilty about feeling full. It was the first time since highschool (except when I was pregnant) that I tasted rice again!

WEEK TWO: CUT THE JUNK. I cut all junkfood out of my diet. What was most difficult was saying goodbye to Cheetos Jalapeno and potato chips.  I was surprised when Harvie considered my daily breakfast of graham crackers as junk, too.  Harvie said anything with a lot of processed ingredients in its packaging we were to consider J-U-N-K.  So, I bid farewell to canned goods, cereals, and even whole wheat bread (Harvie switched me to brown rice.)

– Harvie taught me how to read the labels. The more stuff in it, the more reason to stay away –

– No more skipped meals. This is what dinner usually looks like now…and I am loving it –

WEEK THREE: EAT EVERY 2.5 HOURS. Harvie asked me to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I became more aware of what I eat and when I eat.   Harvie changed my mindset about food; it was no longer something to be feared or rejected, but nutrition and fuel that should be mindfully consumed.  I also started to feel hungry more often, which according to Harvie was a good thing; it meant my body was working like a machine, using my food as energy very efficiently.

– Harvie checks on my food journal every week. Food police, I tell you –

– Harvie asks me to take photos of my meals. He says this meal of brown rice and fish was too little and asked me to add eggs and veggies. You gotta love the guy for constantly reminding me to eat more –

To date, I’ve lost 4 of the 6 stubborn pounds I’ve been whining about for the past 6 months.  I’ve lost a couple of inches too and the jeans have finally loosened its grip on my thighs.  What’s amazing is that I lost this all while eating the most food I ever did in decades.  (I still can’t wrap my brain around it!)  Even better, I’m training hard for NYC Marathon and I feel stronger than I have ever been.

The reason why I posted about this a full month after I started working with Harvie was because I made myself a guinea pig before I told you all about it.  Not only did I want to make sure it worked, but I wanted to make sure I could commit—not just to the diet—but to the entire lifestyle. Harvie also wanted to make sure I truly believed in it.

I am still a work in progress.  I still have my slip-ups.  There were more than a handful of days when I munched on those peanuts, indulged in way too much chips on my cheat days (I get to eat everything I want on Sundays), and lost my patience when the scale wouldn’t budge.  There’s a lot of commitment, self-discipline, and hard work involved on a daily basis.

But, I do know that I can do this…and I will.  I’m definitely committed to giving more respect to my body and giving it the chance to perform at the best level.  How can I even consider going back to feeling weak and hungry all the time when I’ve literally had a taste of the good life?

NOTE: Expect more blogposts about healthy food and nutrition now that I’m no longer in starvation mode. There’s a whole new world of healthy yummy meals and recipes to explore.

If you wish to contact Harvie de Baron for consultation, email him at harviedebaron(at)gmail.com