Health Challenge Weekend Update…

Forgive me… This is my first confession…

I learned something over the weekend.

So before I confess, I want to refer back to my rules that I came up with for my health challenge from a previous post of mine, “My last dessert… Weight Loss Challenge to ensue.”

Health Challenge Rules (or shall we say guidelines?) 

Start date: Monday, July 5, 2017


  • Focus on a low glycemic index meal plan. Low sugar, low carbohydrates, and no alcohol. (Will disclose, though, that I am going on vacation to Bangkok and Hong Kong in 3 months, and I do plan to allow myself to drink then, but then cutting it out again when I get home.)

  • Strength training 3x/week

  • Cardio at least 2x/week

  • If I cannot fit in a work out, I have to at least go for a 30 minute walk.

  • If I fall short, I will confess and document it here!

  • Progress or hiccups, I will post weekly. I aim to do 1 post a week.

  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.

  • Having said that, I CAN do this and I WILL do it. My goal is to achieve a healthy lifestyle with this challenge, but also to prove to myself I can do anything I want if I just commit to it.

I had started on last Monday. I did very well for the first 5 days. I ate well, avoided alcohol (though I normally don’t drink on weekdays), and was active. On my weekly check-in, I found that I was down 4 lbs. I was feeling great. It was a strong start.

And then there was yesterday. My husband and I went to a couple of festivals with a bunch of friends up in Baltimore. We went to a Greek festival, and I had grilled octopus, Greek green beans, and Greek salad. I had even packed a contigo with unsweetened iced tea and had a bag of nuts just in case I was hungry and there were no acceptable food options.

I said no to the fried smelt, gyros, and many phyllo wrapped dishes and desserts. I also said no to the french fries. I mean, wow, that’s willpower right there.

Then we decided to switch things up and head over to the Hon Fest in Hampden. Funnel cakes, crab cake sandwiches, beer, and frozen cocktails galore! I stood my ground, though. Everything looked delicious and tempting, but it was more like ‘I’ve had that before and I know it’s delicious’, not like ‘I need it right now like crack’.

At this point, however, I was getting tired from being out under the sun, and was ready to relax. We were meeting another friend for dinner, and what did we decide on? A wine bar of course. I could say no to everything else, but watching everybody drink and indulge just made me see what I was missing out on. Ah, the pressures of social society.

Now that we were ready to hang out in an air conditioned bar (and a wine bar, nonetheless!), I had to make a decision.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an alcoholic, but I do enjoy wine, especially in the right setting. And enjoying some with friends is just the best type of life cocktail. I mulled it over and talked it out with my best friends. I mean, how often do I get to see them altogether like this? And how could I say no to a nice, ice cold glass of crisp rosĂ© wine on a hot, sunny day? I know my weaknesses and I own it.

I made a compromise with myself. Considering that summer is just around the corner, I’ve decided to allow myself 1 cheat day a week (if needed) to have wine. I am only allowing myself wine, but I will still be on a low carb dietary regimen when it comes to food. I also know that I won’t always need this cheat day; it’s really just a safety buffer…

So looking back on my health challenge rules, I realized that I had covered myself with this clause:

  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.

So I’ve admitted my violation and have confessed. And I am making the necessary changes. Ha. Despite this ‘violation’, I ate pretty healthy throughout the day.

And after the drinks Saturday night, I realize that I overdid it a little, and though I still love wine, my body just can’t handle it like it used to. So even though I am allowing myself a buffer zone, I realize that I won’t need this cheat day every week.

Tomorrow starts a new week. I will keep you posted!

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My Health Challenge Progress and 10 Things that I’ve Noticed So Far

I officially started my health challenge on Monday to eat clean and be more active in an effort to improve myself physically (and hopefully mentally). It’s only Friday but I’ve already noticed a few things after starting this challenge.

  1. I’m tired and cranky. I’m not getting the fast energy source from the bad carbohydrates. My body is in a kind of shock, but I’m handling it okay. Even though I feel tired, I don’t have any crazy mid-afternoon crashes. I’m hoping once my body adapts, I’ll have more energy.
  2. My trips to the bathroom have increased. I have to go number 1 a lot. With no carbohydrates to retain the water, it just goes right through me.
  3. No more cravings! I say this with a grain of salt. Nobody has locked me in a room with mountains of ice cream and pizza, but for the most part, I am keeping it together. But I do realize it IS only the 5th day…
  4. My mood has actually been okay. It’s no secret that I struggle daily with depression. I find very little pleasure in doing things and I usually just want to lay in bed and be alone. But I’ve noticed that I haven’t been so up and down in my mood and I don’t dwell as much on things. And considering I haven’t had any ice cream or chocolate AND haven’t murdered anybody yet… Go me! Though the scientist in me also realizes this could just be a placebo effect. I’ll keep this in mind, and report any changes later. But it’s nice to feel almost at peace, even if it is just all in my head.
  5. I’ve been sleeping like a baby. Sleep has been great. Except for all the times I have to get up in the middle of the night to go number 1 (refer to number 2 above). Not that I’ve ever really had any trouble with sleeping, but I can definitely tell that the quality of the sleep is much better.
  6. There has been a slight increase in my confidence. It’s probably the fact that I am proud of myself for taking this on, and am successfully following it (so far). Of course, the accountability of having to document everything on this blog is a huge motivator in itself.
  7. I do actually have a passion, and that passion is for living a healthy lifestyle. I know it’s still early, but I haven’t felt this fulfilled in a long time. But I have to make the time for it. Otherwise, it goes on the back burner and gets neglected. Keeping this blog is reminding me to always be aware and to constantly keep my health on my mind.
  8. I can make junk food versions out of healthy food. If I want a cheeseburger, I can wrap it in lettuce or have it without a bun. I can have baked chicken wings. Roasted vegetables can taste almost as good as french fries (seriously!). And cauliflower pizza crust is a godsend.
  9. I wake up in the morning with purpose. I have a job, and that job is to take care of myself. It feels good to be doing that, and making it a priority for once. But I do also have a real full time job, but I work to live, not live to work.
  10. If I put my mind to something, I can really make it come to fruition. I told myself I was going to do this, and I am. Again, I know it’s only Friday but I was nervous I wasn’t even going to make it through the first day. And I can feel that my will is pretty strong right now. Let’s keep it going!

The next obstacle is surviving the weekend! Will I succeed? I’ll let you know next week!

So there you have it. Likes and comments are also super encouraging, so please feel free! I will keep providing regular updates on my progress.
P.S. I found this really cute tracking ticker!

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

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My Last Dessert… Weight Loss Challenge to Ensue

That ice cream was so fricken delicious. I savored it as Kit Kat attempted to nudge her way in under my spoon arm to get a lick of my delectable dessert. But her annoying persistence did not take away from my enjoyment.

So I finished about half the pint. I’m not going to let myself feel guilty because after this weekend… Yes, starting Monday, July 5th, 2017, I will be embarking on a personal journey towards a healthier me.

And I will be documenting for all to see. On my blog.

How frightening!

Because what better way is there to keep myself accountable than public scrutiny and humiliation… But really, no shame. Unless you’re a hater. But without hate there is no love, is there?

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I’ve won battles, but still have not won the war.

But at my ‘healthiest’ weight I looked like this:

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And I say ‘healthiest’ because I was at the lowest I had ever been and was actually within a healthy BMI range, BUT I had also just been diagnosed with depression not too long ago when I took this photo and was trying out anti-depressants to see which would work best for me. Meaning, the weight loss could have just been partly attributed to a medication side effect. And look how happy I am in the photo. Ha.

But I was never able to find a happy, comfortable medium. I gained some back, and lost it again in time for my wedding, but ballooned back up again. This is me today:

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Haha, and yes, I am standing next to giant Smurfs.

BTW, I am absolutely terrified about creating this post and posting these pictures, but hence the name of my blog… I have to get out of my comfort zone to learn and grow, even if it’s horribly mortifying. But gotta go all in, right?

I am giving myself a timeline of a little over a year to do this. My best friend’s wedding is the finish line. And then I plan to maintain my weight… That will be another challenge in itself, but we will cross that bridge when it comes.

So, how will this go, you ask?


Health Challenge Rules (or shall we say guidelines?) 

Start date: Monday, July 5, 2017

Hiatus: September 1 to September 20th (vacation)

Approximate End Date: TBD but approximately September of 2018.

  • Focus on a low glycemic index meal plan. Low sugar, low carbohydrates, and no alcohol. (Will disclose, though, that I am going on vacation to Bangkok and Hong Kong in 3 months, and I do plan to allow myself to drink then, but then cutting it out again when I get home.)
  • Strength training 3x/week
  • Cardio at least 2x/week
  • If I cannot fit in a work out, I have to at least go for a 30 minute walk.
  • If I fall short, I will confess and document it here!
  • Progress or hiccups, I will post weekly. I aim to do 1 post a week.
  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.
  • Having said that, I CAN do this and I WILL do it. My goal is to achieve a healthy lifestyle with this challenge, but also to prove to myself I can do anything I want if I just commit to it.

So here it is.

Will it be done? We shall see…

Wish me luck! Cheers!

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Since I’ve turned 30…

Turning 30 was a huge personal milestone for me. To me, it signifies true adulthood. No more crazy shenanigans and no more excuses. Time to be mature and responsible without bitching about it.

When I was in my 20s, I was in that between stage of child and adult. I guess I was a grown up child. I could still be a little reckless, take risks, be immature and still get away with it. There was also a lot about myself I still didn’t know… Now that I’m 30… it just seems like such a grown up number!

Since turning 30, I’ve noticed many things that seem to suggest I am indeed, dare I say, turning into an adult. So for fun, here is a list of 30 things I’ve noticed and learned about myself since I’ve hit the big 3 0 in no particular order.

  1. I love it when plans are cancelled. I can stay home and do nothing! Don’t get me wrong… I love spending time with my friends, but as a bonafide introvert, socializing is an exhausting experience, especially if I am also meeting new people.
  2. I shop more now for comfort than fashion. I still like to wear cute things, but they definitely have to be comfortable.
  3. Heels are out. Flats are SO in. Wedges are acceptable heel alternatives.
  4. Plans after 10 pm are unacceptable. I’m not 21 anymore! I need to go to bed at a reasonable hour. If that makes me lame, so be it. I’ll be lame and sleep peacefully.
  5. I actually enjoy shopping for furniture and appliances now. I LOVE Ikea.
  6. I also enjoy ‘shopping’ for houses. I periodically check the Zillow app on my phone, even though we’re not getting a house just yet.
  7. Saving money has become a game to see how much I can save in a certain amount of time.
  8. I enjoy grocery shopping. I love Trader Joe’s. It’s like my toy store. Yay to frozen cauliflower rice!
  9. It is unacceptable to have guests over without at least having attempted to tidy up and make the place somewhat presentable. Where as before, I didn’t give a shit. And the bathroom has to be cleaned! This includes the kitty litter…
  10. I am too old now for stupid shit. Not wasting my time.
  11. My kindle consists of mostly self-help books to help me become a ‘better’ person. Basically, if I haven’t figured my shit out, I better figure it out soon.
  12. I am starting to worry about my ‘eggs’. I’m still not ‘mentally’ ready for kids, but I know I better hop on that train soon.. I mean, who will take care of me when I’m old?!
  13. Good bye beer and cocktails, hello wine. Also, sweet wine is evil. I love sauvignon blancs and pretty much any dry white.
  14. This is so clichĂ© but I can’t drink like I used to. Ha.
  15. I already think about retirement… When I don’t have to work anymore. That’s the dream.
  16. I’ve been on this earth for 30 years. A majority of those years were filled with anxiety, uncertainty, fear, inadequacy and depression. Will it ever end?
  17. All clothes from Forever 21, Express, and Guess now look slutty to me. Everything just seems too tight, too fitted, too short, or showing off too much skin.
  18. Gap and Banana Republic used to look like old people clothes to me. Now I love shopping at these stores!
  19. I am too old for sleepovers with friends. This seems like an obvious one, but having friends that live an hour away, this is a situation that does come up. I want to sleep in my own bed. But if I am sleeping over, I better have a bed!
  20. I am also too old to wear t-shirts with graphics and logos on them. Unless I’m participating in a fundraiser or running a 5K. Or sleeping.
  21. I always check the weather before I leave the house. I adjust my outfit accordingly if needed.
  22. I admit that I hate going to music festivals now. I can no longer stand or tolerate the crowds, heat, and stinky, festering porta potties.
  23. I also don’t enjoy clubbing anymore. Overly-sweet cheap cocktails and disgusting restrooms, along with creepy guys dancing up on me … Um, no thanks. Point me to the nearest wine bar please.
  24. College kids these days now seem to look like middle schoolers. Like, how many grades did they skip?! Are they all geniuses or something?
  25. Why do all the ‘trendy’ clothes have studs and/or holes?! It almost looks cute until I turn it over…
  26. Thongs are only for special occasions. I consider panties just as sexy as thongs, and also more comfortable. And I don’t mean granny panties…
  27. If you don’t know me and you start off the conversation by asking “So what do you do?”, I know myself well enough to assume that we will most likely never be friends. People who tend to start off conversations this way don’t seem to mesh well with me…
  28. On the contrary, if things get really weird and awkward but you just laugh at yourself… Then we will probably become best friends! =P
  29. I am more of a white wine person than red wine. But if it is some type of wine, I will probably drink it.
  30. I used to think there was something wrong with being so overly sensitive. Now I’m starting to believe it’s not such a bad thing. It allows me to have great empathy and compassion.


So there’s my list. Obviously, this list wasn’t just about turning 30, but things I’ve noticed about myself personally over the years and some random (and hopefully funny) observations.

I joke about getting ‘old’ and not wanting to do this or that, but I am truly grateful for the life I have and what I have been able to achieve.

Do you relate to anything on my list? I’d love to hear about it!

Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult. – C.S. Lewis

My Body Hates Carbs

I’ve been on many diets in my life. I’ve tried the South Beach Diet, juicing, Paleo, Primal, juice cleanses, low carb, and many others. The pounds always come back. After turning thirty, I’ve also noticed an even slower metabolism than when I was in my twenties.

What have I learned from my experiences?

Preparation is extremely important and that it’s the type of food I eat that causes me to want to eat more. But furthermore, I have to stick to low carb (some version or variety of Paleo but that also allows beans and dairy). Also, no matter how much you exercise, you can’t outdo a bad diet…

Unfortunately, I am not genetically blessed and I gain weight very easily. The more carbs I eat, the more I crave, and the more I want. But growing up in a Chinese household, rice and noodles were major food staples. I didn’t learn to cook and really experiment with low carb until after I moved out of the house. And that’s when I learned that I didn’t always need to feel hungry…

When I eat low carb, my blood sugar level is steady and I can definitely feel the difference. I also don’t crash. When I do crash, I crash hard.

Now, the question is how do I eat low carb that is sustainable for life? I want to make it a lifestyle.

I am making a commitment to myself to focus on eating well and improving my health. I hope to be my own success story!

Will you join me on my health journey? =)





…But where are you really from?

So I get this annoying question, a lot, and not just from white people.

I’m a Chinese-American born to immigrant parents. I went to public school. Was never forced to go to Chinese school. My parents worked a lot. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me. But along the way, I’ve learned to speak English a lot more than Cantonese.

When your parents aren’t the most talkative people, and were always working to provide a better life for you, staying in touch with your roots can be difficult.

Going to an American public school, as any normal child, I attempted to fit in. Unfortunately, in the process, it meant speaking English and only that. And you know how kids can be cruel – I still got called names for being Chinese. You know how the kids pulled the corners of their eyes up to mimic an Asian person and mocked the language. Yup. That happened to me in 1st grade… It started young. And unfortunately I wasn’t wired to let it not affect me. It did. I internalized everything.

Anyways, enough about that. But the point of this post was to provide my perspective and see how many others relate.

Have you ever had somebody of the same race immediately start speaking the native language, just assuming you speak it? And then there’s this horrible awkward moment when you tell them you don’t speak the language of your ancestors and they either laugh at you or give you a disapproving look? Or when you’re just talking to someone, whether they be Asian, white, etc., as yourself in plain old English, and they ask you where you’re really from? Like telling them being born in America is just not a legit answer?

And another thing that I’ve learned really annoys the hell out of me: When a white person admonishes you for not knowing how to speak your own language. Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t hear you speaking Gaelic from your Irish roots…

So I don’t think there is any way to really reconcile these issues. I’m sure I’m not, but I’ve always felt alone about this. Other Asians I know seem to be completely content with themselves. But they are surrounded by an Asian community of their friends and family. My closest group of friends are not Asian. My husband is a Jewish-American. Maybe that’s the difference? But I love the diversity of the community I’ve chosen to surround myself with.

I just need to learn to be okay with me and speak up for myself. I am my own person and not identified by what others think I should be. All I can do is continue being the kind, empathetic person that I am.

How about you? Do you have similar feelings/issues? How do you deal with it?

And BTW, happy mother’s day to all the mothers out there!