Sunshine Blogger Award: Part 2

I am so excited and honored to have been nominated for my first blogger award, the Sunshine Blogger Award! Thanks again Julie! Check out her awesome blog!

Rules:

  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Following said rules, I am spreading the love and have nominated 11 bloggers for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

I loved looking through all the blogs, but had to pick 11. Congratulations!

My 11 Questions to You:

  1. What inspires you?
  2. If you could buy anything right now, what would it be?
  3. If you were to die tomorrow, how would you want people to remember you?
  4. If you could have any career/job of your dream, without having to worry about finances, etc., what would you do?
  5. You meet a genie and are given 3 wishes. What would you wish for?
  6. What are you most afraid of?
  7. What’s your ideal vacation?
  8. What is your favorite movie?
  9. What is your proudest accomplishment?
  10. If you could change the world, what would you do?
  11. What is one thing that makes you happy and brings sunshine into your life?

Let’s keep this blogger love going!

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My Health Challenge: Friday Check-In

I weighed myself this morning and I am down another 2 lbs! I can’t believe it. I honestly didn’t think I’d lose anything this week; I had eaten a lot last weekend due to birthday celebrations. I still tried to stay away from high carbohydrate foods, but I did allow myself to cheat with some birthday cake and some chips and dip. Oh sweet taste of heaven.

But I guess it goes to show that you can still indulge without going overboard. I just need to learn some control or make modifications. I had some cravings, but I just kept thinking about my goal and was able to keep the monster at bay, for the most part. Then I made some keto cheesecake to satiate my sweet tooth.

Here are the 5 things I’ve noticed this week:

  1. Keto cheesecake is a great sugar fix when you need it. And it didn’t set me back! Aside from the indulgent birthday celebrations last weekend, I had a hankering for some cheesecake. My mom had also given me these delicious ripe mangos, so I decided to puree them up and add it to the cheese cream mix. I had read somewhere online that you can get your sugar fix by using sugar-free jello mix to make a no-bake cheesecake and it’s still keto-compliant. I knew the mangos would add some sugar and carbs, but oh well. I used almond flour and butter for the crust, and then mixed room temperature cream cheese with whipping cream, jello mix, and mangos. Then I put it in the fridge to set. It really hit the spot.
  2. FitBit challenges are awesome. How did I just discover this?! I’ve been in competition with one of my best friends, and it’s almost as if we’re hanging out. I also get very competitive so we’ve been fighting for first place for the most number of steps. It’s a lot of fun! I was even jogging in place in my office at work so I could catch up on the step count. Ha. Nobody saw me though. I think.
  3. I’m snoring less. Okay, this is super embarrassing, but if it gets a snort or laugh out of you, then I’m okay with it. I snore a lot. I’ve even snored myself awake a few times. My husband has caught me doing this. He laughs and I just go back to sleep. But sometimes my snoring gets so bad that he will sleep on the couch. I started this challenge a couple of weeks ago, and he hasn’t been to the couch once. Who knew a 5-10 lb weight loss would make such a difference? I thought snoring just ran in my family…
  4. I am definitely less tired. It’s little things I’ve noticed, like staying up a little later than usual and being more alert at work. I still wanted to take a nap today after work, though, but I think part of it was also mental fatigue.
  5. I will never love exercise. This pains me to say, but it’s true. I love the benefits of exercise and I want to be fit. But I admit, I will never love crazy high intensity exercise. I will do it. And I will be proud of myself if I do do it. But slow and steady is what is sustainable for me. I have to be honest with myself here. Otherwise, I’ll never be able to reach the healthy lifestyle I want. I just need to find the right one for me.

Kit Kat likes to run away with lettuce in her mouth and eat it.

Thanks for stopping by!

I’m still working on my nominations for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Stay tuned!

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award: Part 1

I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Julie! Her blog, In The Wild Los Angeles, is a very diverse lifestyle blog that includes photography, reviews, travel, and various other interesting, fun tidbits. It really showcases her writing talent and creativity. Thank you Julie for the nomination! I’m still a very amateur blogger learning as I go, so this recognition is very much appreciated and a total confidence booster!

I will answer Julie’s questions in this Part 1 post, and nominate 11 blogs with 11 new questions in Part 2.

 

Rules:

  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

 

Julie’s 11 Questions:

What benefits have you experienced from blogging?

I’ve always been very uncomfortable with putting myself out there. I’ve also always believed that one of the best ways to aid personal growth is to get out of your comfort zone. Creating this blog and publishing some of the posts I wrote was super scary for me, but I pushed myself to do it. In the process, I’m embracing my love for writing and creativity which is really providing me a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It’s also been very effective at keeping me accountable on my health journey. Major added benefit.

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve only been blogging with this particular blog a couple of months. I’ve actually started many blogs in the past, but never had the confidence to keep up with them. I would feel embarrassed and assume that people could care less what I had to say. But I do have a voice, and I am finally getting more comfortable using it.

What country do you hail from?

I was born here in the United States (Washington DC to be exact), but I am of Chinese descent. My family speaks the dialect of Cantonese. I know a little, but I mostly speak English.

What is your ideal weather?

My ideal weather is a clear sunny day with a cool breeze. I guess it would either be an early spring day or an autumn day. I do not like humidity. And I do not like extremely hot weather.

What is the last book you read?

I’m a sucker for romance novels. I sprinkle in novels of substance here and there, but romance is a guilty pleasure of mine. I just finished The Year of Falling in Love by Jessica Sorensen.

What do you when you are not blogging?

This blogging thing is just a hobby and creative outlet (for now). When I’m not blogging, I am either working full time (a science minion for the field of Transfusion Medicine – the best way I could think to put it without getting too specific). Or when I am not working, I love to cook, write, play with my cat, go to the gym, and spend time with my goofy husband.

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What things are you most grateful for in your life?

I am extremely grateful for my husband. He is my absolute best friend. I feel the most comfortable with him and he always makes me feel so safe and protected.

What’s the story behind your blog’s name? 

I used my name for my domain because at first, I could not for the life of me think of a good name for my blog. But I realize I was overthinking it. What did I want to accomplish with my blog? I wanted to write about my life and place emphasis on improving my health, which by domino effect would improve my mental health. I struggle with depression, and I believe that if I can improve my body and mind, I will feel the freedom and weightlessness that comes from contentment with myself and my life.

Name one place you would go to if you won one free plane ticket? 

I’ve already been, but I would love to go back to Amsterdam. I love how relaxed the lifestyle is there. It’s just a beautiful city, and everyone is so friendly.

What is your favorite dish?

My favorite dish would have to be a dim sum dish called taro root cake. It sounds weird, but it’s absolutely delicious. My mom only makes it a few times a year, and I’m always so excited when she does because I get one all to myself. I may have to give myself a cheat day for that when the time comes.

It’s called Sunshine Blogger Award after all — what brings sunshine to your life?

My health journey is bringing me lots of sunshine! To healthy living!

 

Stay tuned for my next post, Sunshine Blogger Award: Part 2!

 

Surviving Life with Depression: How I Manage

Be Healthy Live Happy Feel Free

There is such a stigma associated with depression or any type of mental health issue. I’m always wary about talking about my depression because I almost feel ashamed of myself. For some reason I feel like it’s my fault I feel this way. But I know better.

In an effort to learn to love myself and be okay with the person I’ve become,I’m going to be honest with myself and embrace everything that makes me me. Yes, I have major depressive disorder. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since I was 15, but I wasn’t clinically diagnosed until I was 23. I had always made excuses for it, thinking it was me being a teenager or me just being too weak and lazy to deal with life. But it got to be too much and I finally got help for it.

I’ve had therapy, take medication, and just learned how…

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Health Challenge Update Week 3

It’s check-in day! I weighed myself this morning and I’m down 2 lbs from last week. I’ll take it! I also lost another inch from my waist. I didn’t work out as much as I wanted to this week, but I’ve been sticking to my diet plan, which is 80% of the battle, so I’m proud of myself.

I received a free candy bar at work yesterday and I resisted temptation! I gave it to my husband and when I saw him 5 minutes later, he’d already eaten it. Ha. Temptation annihilated. I was sad to see it go, though.

So what’s the total since I officially started 3 weeks ago? Here’s a snapshot:


That’s a total of 5.6 lbs. 😁

The five things I’ve learned this week on this challenge:

  1. Ketogenic/Low Carb diet seems to be working pretty well for me. At first I was focusing on low carb and more protein, but have modified it to add more fat in. I’ve read good and bad things about the ketogenic diet, but I did my own research and found an article on the US National Library of Medicine NIH website (so it’s legit and I can trust it) that explained the complete science of how a ketogenic diet works. So at least I’ve read for myself that it actually works and the article even suggests that it would be a good tool for physcians to use in treating obesity. It also hasn’t been so difficult to stick with (so far). My cravings are almost nonexistent and I don’t get hungry as often. I keep the protein amount about the same. I still try to add in as many vegetables as I can.
  2. My energy levels are slowly increasing. I have less foggy brain and I’m more awake during the mid-afternoon, whereas before I would be ready for a nap. It’s still nowhere near 100% but at least my energy levels are moving in the right direction.
  3. I knew this before, but I realize even more now how important and true the 80/20 rule is. Diet really is 80% of the equation. Exercise is still great for you, but you really won’t see any change unless you change the way you eat. I’ve spent months before this challenge focusing more on exercise but still trying to eat ‘healthy’ which included whole grains. No change whatsoever. Three weeks on this diet and I’m down 5 lbs, and I haven’t even been working out as hard! I could barely even get the scale to shift when I was more focused on exercising.
  4. I love Greek salad. This includes the olives and pepperoncini with true authentic Greek dressing. It’s a great way to get lots of veggies in. And don’t forget the feta cheese! Yum. I prep for lunches by creating a big bowl of Greek salad minus the dressing. Each morning, I dole out what I want to take, and pack a little bottle of dressing to add in later. I also add in some store bought rotisserie chicken for protein.
  5. Cauliflower crust pizza is super easy to throw together if you already have frozen cauliflower rice. Look, I’m lazy. Like, SO lazy, especially after work. So I have to learn to work with that. I also hate the huge mess from cutting up a whole head of cauliflower so it can fit into the food processor. It’s enough to deter me from the whole thing. Thank god they sell frozen cauliflower rice now. Just pop it in the microwave, squeeze the water out, and throw in the cheeses and egg. The rest is easy peasy.

So far, so good. I’ll be back with a new update next week!

What works for you? Have you ever tried a keto diet? Let me know!

Surviving Life with Depression: How I Manage

There is such a stigma associated with depression or any type of mental health issue. I’m always wary about talking about my depression because I almost feel ashamed of myself. For some reason I feel like it’s my fault I feel this way. But I know better.

In an effort to learn to love myself and be okay with the person I’ve become, I’m going to be honest with myself and embrace everything that makes me me. Yes, I have major depressive disorder. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since I was 15, but I wasn’t clinically diagnosed until I was 23. I had always made excuses for it, thinking it was me being a teenager or me just being too weak and lazy to deal with life. But it got to be too much and I finally got help for it.

I’ve had therapy, take medication, and just learned how to live with it. I hope one day to become strong enough to overcome it. I know a big part of this will be to develop the courage to live the life I want.

I also believe that what I choose to put into my body has an effect on my mental health, which is one of the reasons why I’m working on becoming healthier person. I believe a good healthy diet can be a great antidepressant.

I don’t know if my depression is something that will ever completely go away. The brain is still such a mystery and there’s still so much we don’t know.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to manage my depression using various tips. There are still tough days where I just want to stay in bed and can’t muster up any energy to do anything productive. But I’ve realized there are things I can do to make the impact of it not so intense.

  1. Feel through your emotions. I realize that sometimes I try to suppress my emotions because I never learned how to deal with pain in a normal way. But I eventually learned that it’s okay to feel pain and it’s a totally normal part of life. It’s also okay to not be happy all the time. You can feel whatever way you want. We all need to learn how to manage our feelings in a normal, non-destructive way.
  2. Change your perspective. Sometimes a shocking eye opener can really kick me out of my funk. Things could always be so much worse. That isn’t to minimize your depression, but sometimes the distraction can help. It may also give you the push you need to do something productive.
  3. Watch an inspiring documentary. Watching other people overcome hardships is always a mood lifter for me. One of my favorite documentaries is Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. There was an extremely overweight trucker with an autoimmune condition who overcame all odds; the lifestyle changes he made caused his disease to go into remission. Inspiring stuff.
  4. Run or lift. I know that when you’re in an especially depressed state, exercise is the absolute last thing you want to do. But if you are able to get over the hump and get some blood pumping, the short distraction can be helpful. And if you go at it hard enough to get the endorphins to kick in, then more power to you! I always feel better after a work out, if I can just get myself to go!
  5. Take a mental health day. Depression is an actual medical condition. Sick days are abused, but if you can barely crawl out of bed, it might be a good idea to take a day for your mental state. Go back to work when you can be productive.
  6. Write it out. Journaling (or blogging) is a great outlet if that’s your thing. It can be very therapeutic.
  7. Embrace your creative side. One of my hobbies is painting. If I’m in a mood, it feels good to touch a brush to paper and just let go. I also like to enjoy a glass of wine while I’m at it.
  8. Use visualization techniques. I first learned about this after reading The Secret. It actually does help. If you visualize what you want to happen, it can have a very positive effect on your mental state.
  9. Don’t be hard on yourself. It seems that whenever I’m depressed, I seem to be the meanest to myself. But its crucial to be kindest to yourself at this point. Comfort yourself as if you were comforting your best friend.
  10. Be grateful. Even if you feel shitty, just tell yourself what you are thankful for in your life. Just repeat it over and over.
  11. Get outside. Sometimes just seeing the beauty of nature can help soften the rough edges of life. It’s also good for you to get some vitamin D. I like to take a walk in a quiet neighborhood and look at houses to see what I like and don’t like. It’s actually very calming and kind of fun.
  12. Eat healthy. I do notice that when I’m eating refined carbs and processed food, I am more likely to have episodes. As opposed to when I eat healthy, my mood tends to be more stable.
  13. Get out of your comfort zone. One of my issues is that it’s really hard for me to want to do anything. My interest level is just nonexistent. But if I make myself do it anyway, often times I’m glad I did it. Plus it’s always great to experience new things and make new memories.
  14. Laugh your ass off. You ever feel so depressed that you think the feeling will never go away? That is until you see a really funny or cute video on FB or YouTube, and you just burst out laughing? I dare you not to laugh! Those are the best laughs, when you least expect to.
  15. Just remember, no matter how you feel, it will pass. I try to remember that whenever I’m feeling particularly horrible – it’s never a permanent thing and if I just wait it out, it will get better.

 

I have been clinically diagnosed with major depressive disorder and manage it everyday using the above tips. I am not a licensed mental health professional. I am only sharing the things that have helped me, and maybe will help others. But I realize what works for me does not work for everyone.

Living Low Carb: Week 2 Update

It’s been two weeks since I started a low carb diet regimen as part of my health challenge. I’m still alive and I haven’t gone crazy.

I can say that I think that my mood has been okay, but you may want to ask my husband. He would know better…

So how am I still doing it?

Aside from blogging weekly updates, I’m keeping a food journal on my google drive. I’m also doing this health challenge in solidarity with my best friends, and we are tracking our progress on a shared google sheets file. We keep each other motivated and provide each other support. We’ve also designated Fridays as our weekly weigh-in. We’re all doing our own thing, but our end goal is the same: to lose weight and be healthier.

Today is Friday, so I weighed myself this morning; I didn’t change much lb-wise since last week. It went down like .2 lbs. But I did lose an inch around my hips and waist. Yay!

I wore jeans to work today and had to keep pulling them up. So I do feel slimmer and it’s not just a hallucination. Awesome.

I haven’t been working out as hard as I’d like, but I’m trying to focus more on staying consistent instead of high intensity. I don’t want to overdo it and get discouraged. One of the reasons I give up easily when starting a diet and exercise regimen is that I get too extreme in the beginning; it’s just not sustainable. So I’ve been either going for walks with the hubs, or going to the gym to do light strength training and cardio. I document my activity, too. Go me.

Tonight, I kind of had a cheat meal… Went out for Ethiopian food.

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OMG. It was so worth it.

Overall, Ethiopian food is actually pretty healthy, but I didn’t know much about the nutritional value of the injera, which is basically the bread that acts as a utensil and platter for all the food. I looked it up, and teff flour, which is used in injera, is actually very high in protein and chock full of vitamins and minerals. Teff is gluten-free; it’s actually made from a type of grass instead of wheat. Unfortunately, the injera made here instead of Ethiopia tends to have some wheat in it, but I’m not going to freak out about it. I figure the healthiness of teff kind of balances it out.

But anyways, I’ll go back to low carbing it, now that I’ve had my fix.

I’ve done this low carb eating before, but never with this much focus and accountability. One of my goals this time is to identify and correct the mistakes I’ve made in the past that contributed to me gaining the weight back.

To succeed once and for all, I am going to think about things I’ve learned each week, including better tips to stay with it.

The 5 things I’ve learned this week:

  1. Salt is important when going low carb. It’s normal to feel tired when starting a low carb diet, but I was still tired this week, so I did some research. What I didn’t realize was that I probably wasn’t getting enough salt in my diet. Apparently all that peeing I was doing was flushing out all the salt in my system. Too much sodium is bad, but not enough isn’t good either.
  2. Small successes are just as important as big ones. I have to remember to celebrate the small successes, too. A coworker today told me that I looked like I was losing weight and that I looked good. That’s a win! All this work so far is paying off!
  3. Eating low carb is also a money saver. To stay compliant, I’ve been bringing my lunch a lot. So I’m actually saving money. Another win. This diet is actually costing me less. Not just because of bringing lunch to work, but also that I’m not as hungry as often. My cravings are in check.
  4. I don’t need ketchup, which is full of sugar, by the way. Normally, I like to add ketchup to burgers or chicken. But apparently I love mustard, which I discovered this week. I always liked it okay, but maybe the low sugar on this diet has adjusted my taste buds. I made some bunless cheeseburgers and used mustard as the condiment. De-lish.
  5. Always have frozen vegetables and protein available. That way I can’t make any excuses to not eat healthy. I’ve learned to appreciate the simplicity of food. Simply roasting and stir frying some protein and veggies with a little seasoning makes this diet easier to stick to.

So there you have it. Week 2 down and owned.

That’s the update for this week.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to like, comment and provide feedback! Would love the support! 😊

 

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