Physical, Reflections

We’re Not Kids Anymore

Remember the times waiting for someone to tell you what to do as a kid — when you didn’t have to think about much and when you needed permission for, well, everything? Time to go to class/practice. Recess is in an hour. You can have X so long as you do Y.

That’s what the poster at the gym reminded me of. It reads: “Lose 15 pounds in time for summer.” In response I thought, It’s a bit late to start now. What a marketing gimmick. Spring and summer is when gyms around here see significant drops in attendance, so it’s common to see classes be dropped until the fall. It’s probably why they offer discounts for joining around this time of the year, second to the push to join on new year’s day (resolutions anyone?).

Summer starts on June 21, which technically means that people will need to lose about 7-8 pounds per month for the next 2 months. In comparison, I’ve been working at Biggest Loser for the past three months (since February), and I’m down 14.5 lbs as of last week — granted midway I realized that eating more to train more and run a half marathon garnered me a net weight of 0 for several weeks. I suppose it’s doable if you’re focused enough, as it’s definitely not for the meek.

So what do we do now? Take charge.

If you don’t like how goals conveniently based on someone else’s calendar pops up,  take the wheel. Look at the big picture, jot down any particular milestones (e.g. attending college reunion), and begin with the end in mind and work your way back. Personally, if I wanted to be fit for the summer, I’d set a calendar reminder to start in February with a goal like walk 10 miles every week as a primer.

Importantly, just because you might be late, it doesn’t mean you can’t start right now. There is indeed wisdom in this Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

I’m over it.

I’m psyched that I’ll be done with Biggest Loser at work this week. When my team went out to lunch at Red Robin last week, I was mindful about the weigh-in at the end of the day so I ordered a $5 dollar house salad. And it was sad…

sad but true
approximately 5-in plate of salad

With tip, I paid $6 for maybe a quarter of a bag (or even less?) of a ready-made salad you can find at the supermarket. The salad looks big on the plate because the plate itself was so small. This is why the design of Biggest Loser is lamentable.

Nevertheless, I made it to the end, in some respects due to sheer luck that my team pulled through when I was at the bottom of the pack. And it so happens that my team was able to pull through and eliminate everyone on the other team. Go team? For a team that goes mum between weigh-in’s unless there’s a challenge encouraging us to chat, it felt more like an individual challenge. That is, even though it’s us against the other team, it’s also me against my own team. Maybe the lesson here is to not analyze Biggest Loser too much.

The end… or is it?

As Biggest Loser wraps up, I stumbled upon another 30 day fitness challenge through Fit With Nina and it starts on May 1. The goal is to stay active and eat healthy based on the point system:

1pt = 5000 steps
2pt = 10000 steps
3pt = 15000 steps
3pt = workout
2pt = recipe share
5pt = post workout video

I hope this helps me stay accountable and maintain my weight.

Yum, yum, yum

If there’s anything I got out of this experience with Biggest Loser, it’s all about my newfound love of foods:

  • feta in salads
  • kale after being massaged
  • walnuts
  • kimchi fried rice
  • european cucumbers and hummus
  • raw carrots
  • congee
  • homemade burgers (lettuce, tomatoes, mushroom, swiss cheese)
  • sweet potato fries
  • roasted beets
  • seaweed
  • boiled eggs
  • brussels sprouts
  • raw cauliflower with dressing
  • sauteed red and green cabbage

The list goes on. Now onward to the next challenge!

A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.
— Karen Lamb




Someday I’ll Go Far

Not only in races, but also in life. I invariably need to focus and re-focus to achieve great things. Let the Boston Marathon be that reminder for me every year.


Hurrah to the 20,000 pounds of clothing collected this year! I saw sneakers and earbuds and jackets and fleeces be donated to the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation. Not a record, but not bad for one day’s worth either. Happy early earth day!

What’s Your Story?

If there’s one question I’d ask the runners there, that’d be it. While what you say is telling, even how you organize your thoughts and what details you choose to leave in or out is important.

Everyone has a story. So what’s yours?

Only those who risk going too far can find out how far one can go.
— T.S. Eliot


I Am Flawsome

Flawsome (adj). Something that is totally awesome, but not without it’s flaws.

When it comes to fitness, you’ll need the prep both physically and mentally. Focusing on one side and not the other will lead to an imbalance, causing one side to compensate for the other. I’m going down the path, taking one step at a time, but I’m limping at the last leg of the journey so to speak.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Thank goodness I only have one more month to go for the Biggest Loser. It’s not about the time I’ve put in to exercise, research the topic, and discover tips and recipes. It’s about thinking about my weight more than I need to, feeling guilty snacking on jumbo pretzel sticks, and blocking out the times when I’ve depleted my willpower (I’m eating coconut rice as we speak).

Simply put, Biggest Loser made me vain. 

So I did something about that.

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

What are the first words that come to mind when it comes to the body? Your body?

Flexible, hurt, and sometimes angry are mine. My body is capable of a lot still, and performing traditional Chinese dance (when no one’s around) reminds me of how graceful and elongated my body can be. At the same time, I’m struggling to do a proper lunge. I may need to hire a personal trainer to do some corrective exercises… or I might figure it out myself, being the aspiring physical therapist that I’ve dreamed of. And angry because my stomach tends to yell at me when I mindlessly what I eat. Like the coconut rice I had earlier? It’ll be the first and last time I make it. (Cue G.I. Joe’s theme)

As if some higher power read my mind, I received an invitation to watch a documentary called Embrace, part of the Body Image Movement. One major point is that many women have issues with their body, even the women competing in body building (one might argue that others envy what they have), and society fuels this sentiment. Think about it: What message do we really want to send? To ourselves? To our next generation?

Choose to embrace your body.

The biggest takeaway from the Q & A afterwards was to practice loving your body by complimenting and motivating yourself. For example:

  • You crushed it at the gym tonight. I can tell you’re a bit tired, so rest and relax tonight. Think about all the toxins you sweated out — you’ll be chipper tomorrow, that’s for sure.
  • Thank you for always pulling through. It’s hard to know what you’re capable of. If we work together, we’ll find an answer. Afterwards, let’s continue to refine it.
  • Do you see what I see? A gorgeous body, that’s what. I love you so much.

My body is my friend, and I plan to keep it this way.

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.
— Amy Bloom

Celebrate Wins

Go Shed Your Deadweight

When something bogs me down over time, I inevitably reach a breakpoint — not to be confused with a breaking point. I don’t give way. Instead, I pivot and change.

I won’t go into the psychology behind this, but vacuuming all my carpets has given me an extra hop in my steps. The house looks brighter, the air feels cleaner, and my mind seems less cluttered. This is the kind of placebo effect I can get used to. Once I’ve vacuumed the floor, I start organizing items to continue the cleaning streak. One week’s worth of trash? Out the door. Piles of books on the coffee table? I’ll organize them by topic and place the easy reads closer to me so that I can return them sooner. Refrigerator filling up? Make a tub-full of no-cooking-required salad.

Lists are definitely the way to go when it comes to stopping procrastination in its tracks by reflecting on what I’d like done. Wash dishes? Check. Do laundry? Check. Workout for an hour? Check.

More Than Chores, Exercise the Mind

Can is a powerful word, and so is can’t. Ever heard of this quote:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t— you’re right.”
— Henry Ford

Taming my inner voice, that’s what I want. I’m currently having trouble keeping in check is my self-talk and other thoughts. I stepped on a scale today and silently thought, “Really? Whoops.” One distinct moment that helped trigger these types of thoughts was when the fitness instructor spoke about burning inches off the waist and how it’s bikini season. I don’t get self-conscious with those comments so much as I grow heightened awareness that I didn’t appreciate these types of unintentionally, body-shaming comments. Yet I internalize them.

Mind over matter, right?

Now I’m listening to Reset by BTS Tiger JK — I wanna reset.  Queue more music — Try by Colbie Caillat.

And… now back to meditation. And later, planning for the Biggest Loser challenge.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
— Arthur Ashe