Lei Ho Ma?

January 18, 2013  |  Life  |  No Comments

I just went to Hong Kong and back and I must say that this was a fantastic trip for me. I had a lot of fun in the process and was totally recharged from it. I went with my bestie, Jannis and we decided to do the touristy stuff and see Hong Kong for what it is instead of just shopping and eating as usual. I am so proud of myself that I spent less than S$100 on shopping. A total feat for myself, I must say.

We managed to get a great deal for our air tickets and paid only S$400 for a pair of return tickets to Hong Kong. I also went on to book our accommodations on Airbnb for 4D3N which set us back by only $240. We visited the Big Buddha, Avenue of the Stars, The Peak, Madame Tussaud’s, Ocean Park and my friend’s Raw Food Kitchen – Anything But Salads.

Nope, not much shopping at all. I bought a couple of wishing stones for myself and my friends. I realized that I have been living in a life of excess and this would be good training for me to take it down a notch.

Hong Kong has been great. I got a 3G prepaid card from PCCW Mobile and was impressed by its service. I actually thought that my iPhone 4S wasn’t functioning properly as I had terrible connection back in Singapore. But I was surprised that when I popped the prepaid card in, the connection was f-l-a-w-l-e-s-s. I could get blazing fast connection and reception in the MTR tunnels and the mountainous areas. This really made me reflect on the service I was getting in Singapore.

I know.

Anyway, enough of that. Here are the picture collages from the trip. :)

We took Tiger Airways and floated above the clouds. The clouds looked just like cotton candy and it made us into 2 very happy girls. I looked like I was sponsored by LeSportSac, carrying their hobo, weekender and a deluge of pouches.

We met Noel, my good friend from college days for dinner. He brought us to Causeway Bay where we had “Car Boy Noodles”. 车载面。It is something like the Yong Tau Fu that we have here, we basically pick the ingredients, soup base and noodles that we want from a list and the chef will prepare it for us. Set us back about HKD$60 per bowl. After dinner, we went on to stuff our faces with Hui Lau San, a mango based dessert shop. *burp*

The next day, we made our pilgrimage to Ngong Ping, Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha. I’ve always watched HK drama serials about it, but never had the chance to visit until now. (Yes, I always only ended up shopping in HK)

We took the MTR and bought cable car tickets up the mountain. There was some kind of spring water beancurd dessert that everyone was having. We absolutely had to try it. Beancurd was extremely smooth and nice. We also took the chance to walk around the village and went to explore the wisdom path that had inscribed words on the pillars.

We spent around 5 hours walking around and felt very recharged just being in the area. It was a great visit to the temple! Later on at night, we made our way back to Mong Kok to visit Noel and Callie’s Kitchen – Anything But Salads. They started this really awesome raw movement where they provide delicious nutrient rich raw food.

The food was fantastic! I have never tasted anything like this before and the best part of it all – they were all raw stuff. The sushi didn’t have a single grain of rice and was replaced by parsnip. We had “bacon” that was made from egg plant strips, there were even nacho dips and vegetable chips. Oh and the pizza was lovely, although it was made from vegetables, but it didn’t taste “green”. I could taste the freshness of the ingredients. Basically the maximum temperature that the food can be cooked is at 45 degrees Celsius and all the nutrients are retained in the food. Hence we really didn’t need to eat much to be filled up.

To end it all, we had raw desserts that tasted as good as normal desserts, without all the sinful stuff. I was very impressed by how everything came wonderfully together and was very grateful to have tried out their kitchen. If you guys are in Hong Kong, do check them out :)

The next morning, we woke up early and made our way to Tim Ho Wan @ Sham Shui Po. Tim Ho Wan is a Michelin rated restaurant and everyone who goes to HK must try! The SSP branch opens at 8am, and we wanted to be the early birds to avoid the queue. In the end we reached at 9.45am on a Monday morning but was still pleasantly surprised that we didn’t need to queue. I guess most people were working on a weekday.. so lucky us. The total bill only came up to 100 HKD and we ate around 6 items, including the famed baked BBQ pork bun which was absolutely amazing. *burp*

After breakfast, we made our way to the peak and visited Madame Tussaud’s …

The sights were beautiful and we felt very carefree just overlooking the entire Hong Kong skyline. After a quick tea and hot chocolate, we made our way to Ocean Park to playyyy….

At the end of the day, we went to Tsim Sha Tsui to look at the Hong Kong skyline again and the avenue of stars. It was an action packed day and the both of us were exhausted to bits …

The last day was really spent free and easy where we went to eat the famed steamed custard milk and basically just did light shopping before coming back to Singapore. Oh, and we chanced upon Angela Baby’s cafe and thought that it was quite an interesting concept. We had a tea set for 2 that cost us only HKD$120? Which was like around S$20 for 2 people. It was really affordable but it also made me think if our cost of living in Singapore has shot up so high that I find Hong Kong affordable these days? :s

All in all, it was a great trip. I felt that I really accomplished a lot of stuff and seen quite a bit of Hong Kong this time round. I came back refreshed and ready to fight my battles back home again. Am grateful that I managed to get such a great deal for this short little holiday with my bestie.

Can’t wait for my next one!

Till the next entry,
Dionis


Happy 2013

January 3, 2013  |  Life, Ramblings  |  No Comments

In a blink of an eye, we are suddenly fast forwarded into 2013. The past couple of weeks have been a blur to me, mostly because my dad fell down (which made him lose 3 of his teeth) and then I suddenly became single again overnight, right before my Christmas trip to Taipei which I had to cancel because it didn’t make sense to go any more.

To be honest, the last 3 weeks totally sucked. It was possibly the worst 3 weeks of my 2012 where shit was thrown my way. I am so glad that I managed to survive it and raised my spirits back to almost normal again. It would be a lie to say that I was totally cool but I really want to commend myself for maturely riding through these 3 weeks with the support of my family and friends. It is in times like this where you know who really cares and I am really grateful for the good people in my life :)

Just wanted to take this opportunity to summarise the past 1 year’s events and benchmark it for this year’s.

2012 in a nutshell

The Highs

  • Travelling to Bali at the beginning of the Year.
  • Got into a relationship
  • Going to Bangkok with the HVPP gang
  • Acting in my first feature movie
  • Acting in my first drama
  • Getting started on working out and dieting, seriously.
  •  Stabilizing our print business
  • The world didn’t end on 21st December 2012
  • Restarting the blog
  • Discovering Dailymus.es
  • Finally hitting my ideal weight of 53kgs

The Mehs

  • Being in a relationship with someone who has incompatible values
  • Dad’s accident
  • Not enough travelling!


Reviewing 2012, it does seem like the year just breezed past me like that. I kinda feel like I have not done enough significant stuff with my life. And this makes me wanna make sure that 2013 counts!

On a side note, I did learn so much about myself and I would dare say that the greatest growth I experienced was in terms of my views towards relationships. I used to think that compatibility meant that we had many things in common or that he was passionate/hardworking/*insert adjective*. But you know what? I’ve been looking at the wrong things all my life. I didn’t care how they treated me as long as they belonged to my “type”. What a huge #fail IKR.

It took me to a ripe old age of 29 to discover that having a lot of stuff in common doesn’t equate to common values. Through this whirlwind relationship, I finally saw my relationship pitfalls and how I’ve been setting myself up for failure. I realized that I value trust, commitment, respect, love and I want to be with somebody who is at his core, a decent person with integrity.

No bullshit allowed, he is who he is, I am who I am. There is no need to pretend to be somebody else just to pander to each other’s whim and fancies. I want a relationship where I don’t have to live in constant fear that anything that I do wrong, would cause the other party to bail immediately (and vice versa). This often happens when two people are incompatible at their core. I just want to be me, live my life, create a life together and most importantly, be happy.

No hard feelings about this relationship really, I am still friends with the ex. And I am so glad that I managed to get this biggest takeaway for myself :)

To a better 2013!

*Ignore the messy room :P
Will get back into blogging about my health, fitness, diet and life ASAP!
Dionis, signing off.


2 weeks into the IF diet

December 9, 2012  |  Getting Fit  |  No Comments

So it has been 2 weeks into my new diet and here are some of my observations and results …

Weight / Physique

  • My weight hasn’t really budged at all but I am not going to be overly concerned about it at the moment because I know that my body tends to hold on to its weight for at least 2 weeks.
  • Body composition wise, I seem to be looking more muscular. But it is really too early to tell. My friends are telling me that I look “fitter”.

Cravings & Food

  • I don’t get really hungry any more in the mornings. In fact my hunger pangs are starting to come on only at around 12 noon when I break the fast. It is really interesting how our body adapts to our lifestyle and diet.
  • Also, I find myself having a will of steel when it comes to food. I can be sitting with my family and they are indulging in their cakes, sweets and what nots and I just happily sip my tea. (I don’t think this is directly related to the diet but I probably feel that I had to put in so much effort to get into this fast mode and I don’t wanna let my efforts go to waste)
  • I have been having trouble hitting my protein macros. On my good days, I can just barely reach over 100grams of protein. I resort to drinking my brother’s tasteless soy protein supplements to get the protein numbers up.

Strength & Exercise

I’ve been gradually increasing the weights that I am training with so I am actually getting stronger? I have also reduced my cardio such that I do possibly 1-2 sessions a week only. So my training regime is really 3 days of resistance training and 1-2 days of cardio which consists of either HIIT or a run in the park.

I use this iPhone app – Gain Fitness app to plan my resistance workouts. I plan to get into the rhythm of the diet and start doing a little bit more hardcore lifting next month onwards.

Mood

Ah this is the interesting one. I found myself getting really annoyed at the beginning of the diet. Just like irrationally annoyed for no reasons. I felt like a yo-yo for a couple of days and then my emotional state started to stabilize.

Personal Thoughts
Actually the diet is not that difficult, I simply complicated it by being really precise about the macros to hit. But if you’re looking at starting the diet, just know that on workout days, high carb/low fat and on rest days, low carb/higher fat.

I just wanted to be fancy and went really precise to see how neurotic disciplined I can go. I’ve been pretty religious in terms of weighing my food and estimating the calories as close to my targets as possible. I brought out the scale again to recalibrate my internal gauges. My mom calls me a little crazy but I guess, no pain no gain. ;)

For those curious, this bowl of rice weighs 50grams and “costs” 65 calories or 10 mins on the elliptical cross trainer.

Will update you guys again!

Dionis, signing off.


I.F. diet setup and 3-days update

November 29, 2012  |  Getting Fit  |  No Comments

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, I embarked on the Intermittent Fasting (I.F.) diet ala leangains style on the 26th November 2012. It has been a trying 3 days, something which I had expected but have already braced myself for it.

I will be using this blog entry to share the set up of my diet as well as my personal experience undergoing this diet from a female point of view. I’ve read from many different sources and finally tweaked the diet and workouts to suit my lifestyle. Afterall, the success of any diet and exercise plan is largely reliant on one’s commitment to it, so the better it complements your lifestyle, the higher chance you’ll stick to it to produce any results yeah ;)

My diet in a nutshell:

Feeding Period:
1pm – 9pm (with the option of breaking fast at 12pm if required)

Rest Days (Non-workout days)

  • 1200 Calories
  • 4 days a week
  • High protein (150g) / Low Carb (30g) / Higher Fat (54g)

Workout Days

  • 1400 Calories
  • 3 days a week
  • High protein (150g) / High Carb (145g) / Low Fat (24g – 27g)
  • If I’m working out in the evening, I will complete eating about 40% of my daily calories 2-3 hours before my workout.
  • If I’m working out in the morning (fasted state), I will eat 10 grams of BCAA supplements to fuel the workout.
    (Specifics will be explained in another blog entry when I actually can wake up for early workouts :P)

I’m cycling carbs in my diet – meaning that I do one day low carb, one day high carb so that I reduce the bad effects of a low carb diet and yet reap the benefits of muscle building with sufficient carbs.

My Workout plan in a nutshell

  • 3 days weight training on workout days
  • 2 days of High Intensity Intervals / Walking / Light Cardio on Rest Days
My Strategy in a nutshell
(slightly technical)

I’ve used an online calculator – IF Calc to estimate my daily calories required for this fat loss project. I went for a protein level of 1.3 x my bodyweight in pounds (hence 150g above). My daily maintenance calories is 1400 which means that my body will burn 1400 calories to keep me alive and functional daily.

So on non-workout days, I will be having a deficit of 200 calories (before exercise) when I budget 1200 calories (1400-1200=200cals).

On workout days, I’ll be eating at near maintenance calories of 1400. My weight loss (or cutting in body building terms) will actually occur during my rest days from the calorie deficit.

Here’s how my diet pans out visually …

Observations so far

  • Day 1 was really trying. I am a big fan of breakfast and having my first meal at 1pm really tested my determination. By 10am, I already found myself very peckish and I was walking around trying to look for some food. I was very determined and I held on till 1pm before I had my first meal.
  • Protein loading proved to be harder than I thought. No matter how I ate, I only managed to hit 70grams of protein in the first day. #fail. Today, I managed to load up 121 grams, but that is after eating like 1 chicken breast, 1 beef patty, steamed fish, 1 egg … So tough!
  • For the first 2 days of this diet, I found myself having diarrhea and flatulence. I wonder if it is because the bacteria in my tummy has no food to work on hence it is making me uncomfortable?
  • I was weaker on the first day of the diet. I cannot do as my reps with my dumbbells as before. I attributed this to the severe lack of protein in my diet on the first day.
  • After completing my HIIT on my rest day, I went to do some leg-lifts and I felt slightly pukish at this stage.
  • Hunger pangs. I kept feeling my hunger pangs before I broke my fast and I had to keep myself busy to keep my mind off food.
  • The fat around my stomach actually feels different. It is no longer hard but its texture actually became softer and more “malleable” and that was very fascinating.

These are some of my basic observations at the moment, I will get a better idea by the end of the week if what I have designed for myself is feasible. And if all is perfect, my results should look like the projected below:

This diet IMHO is not for the faint hearted. You really need a determination of steel to stick to the feeding window and eat the right macros (carbs/proteins/fat) on the projected days. I will do up an entry soon explaining why I chose to take up this diet and how I came up with the macros and workouts.

But in the meantime, just let me survive this week first …

Till the next entry,
Dionis


3 months fitness journey …

November 28, 2012  |  Getting Fit  |  No Comments

3 months ago on the 18th of August 2012, I suddenly made up my mind to get fit. It was around 1 month before my birthday and I thought to myself that I really want to do something for me and be in the best shape ever before I hit the big 30 next year. I decided to run in the park, for the first time, in years.

It took me 1 entire hour of procrastination before I managed to haul my ass out of the house to run. I ran for about 20 mins around half of West Coast Park and I felt like dying. I was cursing and swearing and thinking to myself why the heck did I put myself through this.

However, as I have already made declarations to my friends, I had to persist and go through it all. I just gritted my teeth and forced myself out of the house to workout. I literally cursed and sweared as I was putting on my workout gear. For the first month of exercise, leading to my birthday, I was very focused on keeping to my 1200 calorie a day diet while exercising 3 times a week.

I did a lot of cardio at the beginning. Running, bicycling, swimming, elliptical for the entire month. 30 mins min each time. And then I got bored. Like really bored and thought to myself if there’s any way to make my workouts more effective?

I started researching and realized that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is going to make these cardio more effective as I can reap the afterburn effects. And I started incorporating them into my workouts. I was doing 1 min of intensive running/biking/elliptical and 1 min of moderate intensity and alternated between them.

I started to ramp up my workouts and hit up to 5 times workout a week. Chart here shows my exercise calories burned in the past 90 days.

I started to spend time reading up on nutrition and exercise efficiency and saw that I needed to tweak my food macros as well as start resistant training (weight lifting) to build muscles and raise my metabolism. (apparently approximately 3 pounds of muscle raises your metabolism by 7%) I was all about getting more results with less “effort”. I wanted to burn fat while keeping my metabolism levels.

On 5th October 2012, I started my first weight training. I lifted kitty dumbbells (4kg) and did bicep curls and triceps extensions.  It was a start nonetheless! In my following workouts, I started to do bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, burpees (I swear these are invented by the devil) and kept pushing myself harder.

I never realized that I was getting fitter and I also stopped whining at my workouts. My weight however was weird and in fact I started gaining weight from 52.5kgs and hit a high of 55kgs (I refused to lock 55kgs in my tracking app :p) for a few weeks. I was really demotivated but I gritted my teeth and continued doing my thing.

I believed in science. There’s no way that I am gaining fat weight if my output is more than my input. I went to research more and saw that muscle takes up less space than fats. So I should be gaining muscles (which was my intention). I started to semi ignore what I saw on the scale.

4 weeks ago on October 23 2012, I took a picture for fun and compared it to my arm in the picture on 18th Aug 2012 and I was shocked.

18th Aug 2012 vs 23 Oct 2012

I was about 1 kg heavier than when I started exercising but my arm looked much toner. The picture kinda motivated me and I made sure I stuck to my diet and do my workouts no matter what. I downloaded this app called the Gain Fitness App and did the body weight exercises at home whenever it was raining (which is often nowadays).

I just kept focusing on diet and strength training. My aim was to feel sore every other day. I often chant, “Lose weight in the kitchen, get fit in the gym.” & “70% diet, 30% exercise”. I don’t know how I progressed to this stage, but somehow I did.

My fitness goal isn’t to become skinny looking any more. It is to become fit and strong. When I first started out, I was slim enough to look good in clothes but in actual fact I was really flabby. But as I worked out and studied, I realized what I really want is to look fit. No, I am not gunning for 6 packs, I just want a flat stomach and defined limbs.

So after another 1 month of exercise … Here’s what I achieved, about 3 months from 18th Aug 2012..

18th Aug 2012 vs 24th November 2012

As we can see, I am pretty pleased at how the body is reshaping. My tummy is toner, hips are smaller, back is slimmer. Despite doing a haphazard inconsistent diet and exercise at the beginning, I still managed to effect a change. I just need another 3 months, and I should be able to further reduce my body fat percentage and finally look lean.

What’s going to happen the next 3 months?

I have finally nailed down my specific goals that I would like to achieve – <20% body fat and hitting 49kgs (for the kick of being <50kgs).

Basically, I have been researching this new diet called the Intermediate Fasting methodology. More details can be found via these 2 sites – leangains.com and rippedbody.jp. The general idea is that we eat only within a fixed 8 hours window a day (10 hours for ladies). There are certain macros to follow, like more carbs on workout days and more fats on rest days. The diet is designed to help people reduce fat and get lean.

I was fascinated by the whole concept and have been studying it for weeks. I started it on the 27th November 2012 and as of this entry, I am officially into the second day of the diet and exercise. I would be making notes and sharing my experience as I go through this diet, in another entry.

Really hoping that this diet can help me break out of my plateau and create great results for myself. Can’t wait really :) Well, to end off this entry, Imma share an obligatory series of cam-whore shots that I took on 25th November 2012.

Till the next entry,
Dionis