Healthy Living Day 13: Start Your Healthy Living Guidebook

This is Day 13 of the 14-Day Healthy Living Challenge where hundreds of participants around the world work together to improve on their diet and fitness in January 2015. The challenge is now over, but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all tasks and posts.

Healthy Living Challenge

Hi everyone!! 😀 It’s now Day 13 of our 14-Day Healthy Living Challenge. There’s only one day left before our challenge ends, so let’s make the best of the time left in the challenge! 😀

Challenge Tasks to Date

My Day 12 in Pictures

Here’s a recap of my Day 12 in pictures:


QQ Rice and Grapes

First meal of the day: QQ Rice and grapes!

Jog: 2.47km, 150 calories burned

My second exercise for week 2 of 2015! Morning jog of 2.47km at 8:46 min / km, burning 150 calories.

Mushroom soup, Wheat bread, Banana

Dinner Part 1: Mushroom soup, wheat bread, and banana

Dinner part 2: Quinoa rice salad and Mushroom soup

Quinoa and brown rice salad with pumpkin and capsicum of all colors, and mushroom soup

Tea and Veggie Patty

Dinner: Tea with veggie patty

My cat (Nancy) sleeping

And with no relation to the challenge at all: My kitty cat (Nancy) sleeping ♥

Yesterday’s task was important reminder in conscious eating. I’d say that I first truly practiced conscious eating in 2011 after my 21-day fast, when I started having proper meals after not eating anything for 21 days. For the first time in my life, I experienced eating in a way I never had. Everything from the taste, the texture, the crunch (of the vegetables), to the smell, I could feel them at such a dense level!


Ever since then, I’ve remained aware of the role food plays in my life. It’s like every past observation I had about food doesn’t get lost; it simply becomes part of me, part of my consciousness. I strive to eat consciously each time, be aware of the bites I’m taking, the food I’m chewing in my mouth, the food that I’m taking into the body, and the sensation in my stomach as it fills up. In fact, I dislike having a conversation when eating and rarely do it; my husband knows it! (In between bites I’m okay to chat, but when I’m eating and chewing/biting, I focus on my food, not on other things.)

Every time I eat, I always make sure to eat the right and sufficient amount of food we need, not shove food down our throats. I stop when I want to (based on whether I feel half-way full or when I feel I’ve consumed enough calories for my TDEE needs), and not when the food is finished. I make it a point to always stop eating when my stomach is 50% to 70% full, because I know eating till the point when I feel 100% full is too late as it takes a while for our stomach to give feedback on its sensations. Not to mention, it’s way too uncomfortable when you stuff yourself to that level.

So for yesterday, I continued practicing conscious eating. For every meal yesterday, I set aside a small break session to take my meal, as opposed to doing it with any other task (writing notes, thinking about other things, using the phone). While there were times when I found my thoughts floating away, I would take my attention back to the food I eat. As I ate, I observed  the food slowly, and also thought about all the effort that went into the procurement and creation of this meal — including the farmers harvesting the food, the delivery trucks delivering the food to the markets, the planes/ships transporting the food to my country, the local shops procuring the supplies, the shops selling the food, then finally the making of the meal. Every step of the way, I recognized the people working hard to make this food possible and available for myself and for others. I sent my love and appreciation to the people who made this meal possible.

With every session in conscious eating, I also became more aware of the colors, the texture, and the taste of the food. I never realized just how chewy the bread I’ve been eating really is or how colorful my food is! A funny observation I had yesterday was that the banana I ate was really sparkly! See what I mean here:

Closeup of banana

Closeup of banana. See how sparkly it is??

I wonder why? Maybe it’s the reflection of the light on the fiber? Anyway, I wonder if it’s the case for ALL bananas?! I’ll continue observing!

Reviewing my 14HLC goals, they are

  1. Exercise at least three times a week – Done my second exercise for Week 2 today!
  2. Cut out deep fried / oily food from my diet – Check!
  3. Eat salads more regularly, ideally once a day if I can – Check!

Check out other participants’ amazing food logs and progress updates in Day 12’s comments section!


With that, let’s move to Day 13’s task, which is…

Day 13: Start Your Healthy Living Guidebook

Blank Notebook

Hi everyone, today is the second last day of our 14-Day Healthy Living Challenge. If you’re still with us here, I congratulate you. It’s easy to be enthusiastic and jump on the bandwagon at the start of a new project; it’s another thing to continue with your plan after nearly two weeks. In fact, the fact that you’re still here, reading this, already means that you’re truly serious about living a healthy life. Because of that you’re going to succeed in your healthy living goal.

By now you should know that to succeed in living healthily, we need to make a real lifestyle change. It’s not just about forcing ourselves to behave a certain way for 14 days, and then revert to our past habits after that. That does nothing at all.

My goal here, as I’ve mentioned at the beginning of the challenge, is to make healthy living part and parcel of our everyday living. Be it drinking water, eating at least five servings of fruits/vegetables a daybeing conscious of the calories and nutrition of the food we’re eating, knowing our daily energy expenditure (TDEE), eating in line with our daily caloric needs (or lesser/more if we want to lose/gain weight), knowing our ideal meal plans, staying true to our ideal meal plans, reviewing our progress, exercising, being aware of our healthy living pitfalls and food struggles, meditating, or conscious eating, these are habits to do for life. When it comes to things like our ideal meal plans, TDEE, and calorie/nutritional information, they are important information to refer to every day/every other day.

So how great is it if we have a guidebook that contains all this information needed to help us live our healthiest life ever? I call this our “Healthy Living Guidebook,” sort of like how our “Life Handbook” is our guidebook to live our best life. Creating a Healthy Living Guidebook was a task that I worked on with 2011 and 2012 Healthy Living Challenge participants. Think of this book as your holy grail to healthy eating, because it reminds you of your vision to live healthily and supports you in achieving this goal.

So today, you’ll be creating your healthy living guidebook! For those of you who’ve already created yours from a past Healthy Living Run, it’s time to update your book today. Let’s go!


Step 1: Pick a format for your healthy living guidebook

You can use hard copy or soft copy for your healthy living guidebook. If you’re using hard copy, you can pick any book in your house or even buy a book specially for this. Your soft copy format can be any processing software of your preference – Word, Excel, or even Powerpoint if you like.

The benefits of soft copy is that you can easily edit/format it, while for hard copy you can refer to it even when you’re not at your computer. Either way, use what works best for you!

Step 2: Fill up your guidebook

It’s up to you on how you want to structure your guidebook and what to include in it. Everyone’s book should be customized to meet his/her needs. I recommending starting off with these information (all of which you’ve actually worked through in the challenge tasks; it’s just a matter of putting them together and tidying them up):

Here are other sections to consider for your guidebook too. Obviously not all of them will be relevant for you, so pick and choose what you want to include.

  • Ideal habits — A list of the habits you want to cultivate daily, such as drinking water, eating at least five servings of fruits/vegetables, meditation, waking up early, exercising, etc.
  • Daily Tracking Plan — To help you track if you’re sticking to your habits.
  • Food Journal — Helps you to track what you’re eating so you know if you’re over/under eating.
  • Favorite Recipes — To keep track of your favorite recipes, and even create your own!
  • Shopping List (Food) — I find that having a fixed grocery list helps me to be more structured in my grocery shopping. What is a list of items that you’d want to buy every time you go grocery shopping?
  • Exercise Plan — Your exercise regime, caloric expenditure for each exercise, and your progress in your current exercises.
  • Other sections — Are there any sections that you’d like to include?

Decorate your guidebook with pictures if you want!

Next, Follow Your Plan for Day 13 (Take Pictures Too!)

What tasks have you set for Day 13 of your 14-Day Healthy Living Plan? Do them today!

Take pictures of your healthy meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and mid-day snacks if any — and share them in the comments section. 😀 After all, a picture tells a thousand words, and when you share photos of your healthy meals, it inspires others to eat healthily and gives them ideas on what healthy food they can have too!


Post your initial comment sharing your results for today’s challenge task, then add on throughout the day as you have your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or if you’re doing any workouts. Attach photos of your meals by clicking the image icon on the bottom left of every comment box. As you add on to your comment thread, be sure to click on the reply button directly below your original comment so that you reply to your own thread (as opposed to starting a new thread).

Share Your Results (and Photos!)

Share in the comments section!

  1. Your healthy living guidebook — What format did you pick? What sections do you have? Share pictures if you like!
  2. Your progress with your healthy living plan today
  3. Pictures of your meals
  4. Pictures of your workout (if any)

Do check out the other participants’ comments too and share a word of encouragement or two. We’re all in this together, so let’s support each other as a group! 🙂

After you’re done, proceed to Day 14: Review & Your Best Health Ahead!

Image: Women running, Blank notebook

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