It is truly an art. But once you figure it out, it’s the best drug you can be addicted to.
Ever since I started working downtown in 2010, I’ve been basking in the joys of good food and good company. So much so that I had gained my “Freshman 15″ that I hadn’t in University.
That picture above is not an exaggeration! It was a steady increase in weight but by the end of 2010, I didn’t recognize myself. This post isn’t really about a miraculous weight loss (I worked damn hard) or how I was “so fat” because I wasn’t.
I was unhealthy.
My 2010 meals consisted of the following: Bibimbap, sushi platters, beef brisket carrot stew pho, Taiwanese sausage fried rice, pork bone soup, sweet potato fries and incredible amounts of bubble tea. But I think the deadliest culprit were baked goods. Cookies. Cooooookies, *shakes fist* my Kryptonite.
Week after week of consuming this made me tired, lazy and obviously wanting more. I had taken for granted my asian metabolism and forgot that I’m not getting any younger. In January of 2011, the year of my brother’s wedding, I vowed to lose the Freshman 15 and get back into a fitness routine that can keep off the chubs. I started looking up YouTube videos of Pilates and Tae Bo. Had to start somewhere right?
No joke, Billy Blanks was my boy for the first 2 months of 2011. I did about 30 minutes of his YouTube videos almost every day. As terrifying as he was, I forced myself to get off the chair and move. I was watching videos anyway! So, why not! I also switched between videos and running on the treadmill (30 minutes). Immediately, I started seeing my weight slowly drop, however, it was still hovering at the same weight for the entire month.
I eventually came to the sad realization that I had to cut down on eating out and cookies if I wanted to see more progress. I cut down my rice portions by half (this was so hard!) and filled up on vegetables and protein instead. This change itself was huge. I was happy with the results and healthier eating choices. However, I didn’t completely enjoy doing these Tae Bo routines day after day. It got boring as routine activities naturally do.
I was now on the search to do more exercises that I actually enjoyed. This was when I discovered Cassey Ho, from Pop Pilates.
Let me tell you, she has changed my life and my view on exercise and health. Cassey Ho, if you’re reading this, you are my hero! Never in my life had I come across someone so genuinely enthusiastic about life and exercise that their charisma and motivation was so contagious. And that was it, I had caught the fitness bug. Just like that. She had rekindled my love for Pilates. She marries her love for pop music and pilates beautifully, which is double motivation for me. Her blog documents her everyday choices and hilarious stories that will make you laugh and cry with her. I’m sure the entire Blogilates community can vouch for me when I say that she has made me stronger physically and as a person! I can not thank you enough, Cassey!
By the time summer hit, my boyfriend had introduced me to a new fitness app from Nike that was available for the iPhone called Nike Training Club. I thought I’d give it a try. Couldn’t hurt right? Turns out this was the best and most used app I’d ever have on my iPhone. NTC offers cardio drills that will KILL YOU (in a good way!).
I worked my way up to the Advanced level and have been coupling these NTC workouts with Pop Pilates and running. This was my magic trio. No joke, every time I finish my 1 hour of exercising I feel at peace and completely satisfied. Hello endorphins! I tweeted Nike Women and was so surprised and glad that they were super supportive!
So for those of you who are wondering how to lose your Freshman 15 or just get strong and healthy, here’s my unprofessional tried and true advice:
• Hydrate. Drink lots of water! It’s like a shower for your insides.
• Cut down on carbs. I know it sounds cliché but it works. The more veggies and fruit the better.
• Find your exercise. Find the connection between your exercise and you. If you don’t like running, dance. If you want to try cardio drills, drop and give me 20, soldier!
• Music. I think for me, music was a huge thing. I love getting lost in music and I found that when I run for 30 minutes straight on a treadmill, the running becomes less of the focus and my mind and music takes center stage. It’s actually where I do a lot of my thinking. And before I know it, 30 minutes is over. So go ahead, take that half hour to reflect and get to know yourself!
It’s been a year since my journey and I’m still going! It’s no longer a diet, it’s no longer a routine. It’s a lifestyle that I can’t see myself without.
Bonus: My skin has never been better ever since I’ve eaten cleaner and had regular exercise. For those of you suffering through acne, give it a try. Of course a regular sleeping schedule will make an enormous difference. I know it’s really tough, especially for night owls. I get nagged by my parents still. I hate to say it but…they’re right. Trust me, I’ve tried all the topical creams, needles, facial scrubs you could imagine. The best way is to heal yourself from the inside out. Eat clean, exercise, sleep and you’ll have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I say DO IT.
I still enjoy my faves foods, but always in moderation. Good luck to those of you who decide to start your own journey! It’s 10% exercise, 10% eating healthy, 80% knowing you can. Once you’ve wrapped your head around it and change your mindset, you’ll find it easier to roll out that yoga mat or strap on your running shoes. And remember:
To good health and happiness!