Thursday, February 25, 2016

War On Bat Wings - Part I


The other day, my Inner Wisdom and my Vain Ego had a casual conversation in front of a mirror, and it went like this.

Vain Ego: You know my BMI is 22, right? Not underweight. Not overweight. Isn't that nice? I attend Pilates classes 4 - 5 times a week and take long walks on weekends. I count calories...well, on most days. I wear size 2 - 4. Some people might even consider me skinny. But what are these? Why are they here?
Inner Wisdom: Oh, those are your bat wings, my dear.
Vain Ego: Hmm...
Inner Wisdom: Also known as tricep flab or arm jiggle.
Vain Ego: Yeah, yeah, I got it. But why?
Inner Wisdom: Well, it's usually caused by one of these factors or possibly several of them combined. Genetics. Not enough arm workout. High-fat diet. Hormonal imbalance. Oh, and aging.
Vain Ego: Shut up! I'm only 35.
Inner Wisdom: Wait...aren't you turning 36 soon? But anyway, seriously, your arms look fine. Just some mini bat wings you have there. Why worry? Shouldn't you be focusing your mental energy on your unfinished short-story collection instead?
Vain Ego: Do I have to choose one or the other? Why can't I be an accomplished writer with lean sculpted arms?
Inner Wisdom: Of course, you could. But you know, perfection is overrated. You already look good the way you are. Little bat wings aren't that big of a deal.
Vain Ego: I'm not aiming for perfection. I've made peace with my thunder thighs and no longer think twice to put on short shorts. But there's something I find so off-putting about these jiggly triceps.
Inner Wisdom: Off-putting? Not at all. Believe me they're very normal. Your morning breath, on the other hand, is kind of off-putting.
Vain Ego: *sigh* Thanks for your honesty, dear friend.
Inner Wisdom: So would you promise me to stop fretting over this non issue?
Vain Ego: No.

Needless to say, Inner Wisdom's advice was disregarded, and Vain Ego went on to declare war on bat wings. It is going to be a long battle. Ms. Ego, despite her vanity, isn't an impatient fool. She knows those "Lose Your Arm Flab in 3 Weeks" articles, published in many issues of Cosmopolitan, are based on a globally known strategy called wishful thinking. Tricep jiggle is hellishly stubborn. It would likely take months, not weeks, to shrink those bat wings.

My Game Plan

Stick to Pilates - Pilates is a great strength training exercise. In some classes, however, there's also cardio in the mix, thanks to the awesome apparatus called the jump board. Tricep workouts on the reformer--such as pulling straps, rowing, and breaststrokes--are usually incorporated in all classes. As an avid Pilates practitioner, I think I've been on the right track.

Up the ante a little - I've been doing Pilates for almost a year and have developed pretty nice biceps, but sadly, my practice has had no noticeable effect on the bat wings. (Yes, it is possible to have firm biceps and saggy triceps at the same time. My bipolar arms are very real!) A daily addition of 20 tricep pushups and 20 tricep dips at home, I hope, will help me win this jiggly battle a bit faster.

Zinc and vitamin D supplements - According to Daily Mail, UK, low testosterone is one of the major culprits for arm flab. Taking zinc and vitamin D supplements is one way to naturally boost testosterone levels. Yes, I am aware that too much testosterone could be just as detrimental to the body as inadequate testosterone, but as an estrogen-dominant woman, I don't think low doses of zinc and vitamin D could possibly cause my testosterone levels to skyrocket. They are regular dietary supplements, not testosterone pills for bodybuilders. I won't be growing a mustache or engaging in bar fights anytime soon.

Meditate and sleep - Stress and inadequate sleep can wreak havoc with hormone production. And since hormonal imbalance tend to cause extra fat deposits in the arms and legs among women, I'm going to meditate my way into deep, deep, deep relaxation every day, which will likely also result in longer and more restful sleep at night.

Diet adjustment - My regular diet, although not stellar, is already pretty healthy. I eat fish and chicken more often than red meat. I cook with canola oil, not butter. There's always vegetables on my plate. I don't drink soda. And alcohol is just my occasional luxury. What I'll try to cut down, though, is the goodies I love to get from Starbucks. Goodbye, Matcha latte. Farewell, hot chocolate. Sayonara, lemon cake. I don't buy these every single day but perhaps more often than I should. The thing is I'm not the only one who loves this stuff; the flab in my arms also feeds off it. Starch and sugar are what helps stubborn fat thrive.

Sauna - Yep, going to a sauna once a week is part of my game plan.  Many spas claim that we can burn a substantial amount of fat in just one sauna session. Well, that sounds marvelous but I seriously doubt the legitimacy of such assertion. If it was that easy, there wouldn't be so many obese individuals roaming the U.S. right now. I do, however, believe in the detox power of sauna therapy. A toxin overload is one of the causes for hormonal imbalance. By ridding the body of metal toxins and xeno-estrogens through sweat, the balance of hormone levels can be restored. Plus, for me personally, there are not many other things in life more peace-inducing than sitting in a sauna.

That is all for now. I will share my progress (or maybe lack of progress) periodically. 

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