It has been about a year since I last updated this page!! I can't believe how quickly time has passed. A lot has changed and I have changed a lot also, as expected...right? Since living in Korea, I have consumed more meat in these past 7 months than I would normally have in one year. Not that I'm vegetarian by any means but the AMOUNT of meat served in restaurants is appalling to me personally. In Korea, public schools usually have "teacher meetings" which are basically dinners where all or most teachers get together, including other staff and the Principal and Vice Principal. It is a way to bond with each other, welcome new teachers, or wish a farewell to those leaving and moving on. I love these dinners! I love Korean BBQ and the way Korean restaurants are set up make it difficult or almost impossible for a person to eat alone. These are the only opportunities I get to enjoy BBQ unless I'm with friends.
Between these dinners, eating street food from vendors, like delighting myself in a super oily famous Korean pastry called Hoddeak, my diet has been on an upward and downward scale of unhealthy. I want to go back to when I was and felt more in charge of my health. I haven't gained much weight because I walk everywhere and occasionally go to the gym, which I also have to walk to, but I want to feel better and healthier. My skin has also suffered from my semi-poor diet.
With that said, I've started cooking again everyday and planning my meals. I've also gone back to juicing/making smoothies to replace snacking and help control cravings to get rid of my now self proclaimed Hoddeak addiction. Lately I prepare and eat vegan meals and drink a large smoothie throughout the day. It's been 2 weeks of clean eating and I already feel a huge difference in how light I feel and my improved mental clarity. My digestion is great, I sleep better, and feel more energized throughout the day and my waist is shrinking from reduced water weight that kept me bloated most of the time.
This clean eating has inspired me to attempt a full raw diet to FULLY detox and cleanse/reduce my system of toxins. Starting April, I plan on going raw and consuming ONLY fruits and vegetables in whole and/or juiced and nuts sometimes. I will take it week by week. I know I can successfully complete 1.5 weeks with minimal complaints but finishing the second week going into the third (my ultimate goal) will take some serious will power and discipline.
Ever tried this? If not, I encourage you to try it and see how quickly you lose your appetite or second guess what you're eating if you're struggling with weight loss. I can't possibly preach to you how easy it is to eat clean because I myself have had some struggles in the past 2 weeks staying on track. I went from having one cheat day to eating whatever I wanted everyday. The only thing I can primarily stress to you is how important it is to eat clean during your weight loss journey. If you're serious about changing your body you have to be equally as serious, if not more, about what you feed your body. What I did to kick start my weight loss journey a year ago was eat raw for 3 weeks straight without any cheat days. My diet consisted of only raw foods and nothing cooked. This means that I only ate fruits, salads, shakes, and nuts. For breakfast I made smoothies. For lunch I had a fruit salad or just fruits and for dinner I made huge salads with my own home made dressing. My nuts were snacks for in between meals. I often changed it up so that I wouldn't get bored with my meals. Once I finished with my raw food diet, I saw food differently and I found that my relationship with it had changed. As I slowly introduced some of the foods back into my diet (healthier choices), everything tasted either too salty or too sweet and my cravings disappeared ( I used to have serious cravings for dairy and candy).
TODAY: (03/2013) 131 lbs. & 26% body fat BEFORE: (07/2011) 153 lbs. & 35% body fat
I initially lost an overall of 27 lbs. in a year ( from summer 2011 to summer 2012 through diet and exercise) and was able to maintain my weight of 126 lbs. to up until a month ago, when I went from 126 lbs. to 131 lbs. by losing fat and gaining muscle. The number on the scale is no longer a target of mine, my focus is more on toning.
I've also chopped all my hair off once more since 2011 :-)
If you don't know what 35% body fat is like, it is the same as carrying 48 lbs. of FAT. That means out of 153 lbs., 48 of that was pure fat. Although 153 lbs. is not the same as being over 200 lbs., I was still considered overweight/borderline obese because of my height, weight, lean mass vs. body fat percentage. Weight loss is a great goal to have but never lose sight of the ultimate goal, which ought to be your overall wellness and fitness, and for this reason, I will personally ALWAYS advocate health first over losing weight.
Body Fat Percentage Chart:
Keep in mind the word "acceptable" should really be replaced with "overweight" because even common sense will tell you that you don't go from being acceptable to obese, skipping overweight. The average American today is overweight so the classification has been modified as "acceptable." This should just be another reason why you should strive to be better than average because sometimes "average" doesn't quite cut it.
If you don't already know, well now you know! Your deodorant has so many chemicals, some that are so toxic that they have been presumably linked to cancer, Alzheimer's, and allergic reactions. Biggest threat of all ingredients? Aluminum.
Aluminum is the active ingredient in antiperspirants that's designed to help you not sweat. Most conventional deodorants have this ingredient, especially in women's deodorants for vanity purposes. It has been suggested that once absorbed by the skin (our skin absorbs everything we put on it) changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells occur and it is suggested that aluminum based products increase the risks of developing breast cancer but that research has not yet been confirmed by the American Cancer Society and by the National Cancer Institute.
Our bodies are meant to sweat and it's also good for us. It is one of many ways our body uses to release toxins. There are so many conflicting studies about all these ingredients and truth is, we can't escape everything that is potentially harmful to us but we should strive to limit them.
I chose to stop using conventional deodorant for various reasons aside from health risks, like the darkening of my underarms or it's ineffectiveness in actually working to fight odor as opposed to masking it. I have been trying different types of natural deodorants and none of them have been that great but right before losing hope, I decided to try a different approach or method. Before I explain my alternative method, I have to mention how useful waxing underarms can be in reducing odor because it gets rid the hair by pulling it straight from its root, and because hair harbors odor and bacteria, it can be a major contributor to smelly pits. Another thing that helps is exfoliation. Just like I exfoliate my face and body, I never forget my underarms.
I first use the Thai Crystal Roll-on deodorant which consists of water and mineral salt for killing bacteria. This product can be found online or at any health food store ($3.83)
Since the crystal deodorant has no fragrance, I apply a solid perfume that is made of essential oils from Lush Cosmetics. My favorites are Tuca Tuca, Imogen Rose, and Orange Blossom. They are compact which makes them convenient for travel and for re-applying. They also have fragrances that are neutral or for men, like Breath Of God. These products can be found at any Lush Cosmetics store or at their online at lushusa.com. (Prices vary, starting at $8)
So what do you think? Is this something you would be willing to try?
I haven't used a solid perfume in a while, instead I use it in spray form.
What you'll need:
Ever have a hard time removing lip stains and eyeliner without looking like you were losing in a fight? Here's a simple solution that your skin can benefit from and can save you both time and money.
A lot of the basic make-up we wear (foundation, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick etc.) is usually oil based, unless it is stated otherwise as an "Oil Free" product. Oil is not only a natural moisturizer but it is also an important part of the formulation process.
I have been occasionally using the oil cleansing method for a while now and love how clean and vibrant my skin is after removing a day of makeup. Learn about the oil cleansing method here www.theoilcleansingmethod.com.
Despite contrary belief, oil will not make you break out and cause acne to flare up, in most cases, there are people who claim that it actually calms acne flare ups. Our skin produces oils naturally (sebum) and things like soap and hot water dry out our skin which makes it produce more oil to compensate. When you use oil to cleanse your face instead, it lets your skin know that it does not need to produce more oil and balances your sebum production. Acne is bacteria. Dirt is attracted to oil which only makes sense why oil would be best to use in order to pull dirt from your pores and give you a deeper cleaning. You have the choice to follow the instructions exactly as listed under the oil cleansing method or you can simply tweak it to your preference like I have below. Yes, it feels crazy when you first try this method because we have been conditioned to believe that putting oil on our face is bad for our skin, especially for acne prone skin.
Here are 5 easy steps I take to clean my whole face when wearing foundation:
1. I apply oil (olive) on my face.
2. I wet a wash cloth with warm/borderline hot water and squeeze out the excess.
3. I wipe my face
4. I repeat until make up is removed.
5. Use a very gentle and mild cleanser.
I don't wear foundation everyday and for those who don't at all, here is an alternative to removing eye makeup or lipstains:
1. Rub oil unto your eyelids until the makeup starts to break up.
2. Take a cotton pad and gently remove the oil along with the makeup from your skin.
3. Wash your face regularly with whatever products you desire or use.
These steps are NOT the oil cleansing method but my own tweaked method. The oil cleansing method is great when you have time but can be a bit much for everyday make up. Oil based wipes are also great for make up removal but they won't have the same benefits or deep cleanse like the oil cleansing method can.
I often run into people I know at the gym drenched in sweat from a hard workout as they share their weight loss goals with me. The number one thing I always hear from these numerous stories is how everyone wants to target their stomach and how bad eating habits are their number one downfall. They hate it when I tell them that weightloss doesn't give us the luxury of picking an area to lose and the rest to keep. If your goal is to lose your stomach then your goal should be to lose weight and target the fat and what you eat plays a vital role in your weight loss journey.
You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. A diet filled with processed meals, preservatives, high in saturated fat, and excess sodium is detrimental to your health and weight loss success.
The weight gain and obesity is just as important of a concern as the toxins you are releasing into your body. Processed foods go beyond the drive through, restaraunt, and take out menus. Most of the foods in your grocery store from shelved items, to frozen meals and canned foods are all processed. Any food that is not in its natural state is processed.
Your body needs essential vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients in order for your (cells) to best function and for it to prevent or fight disease. The best way to combat eating processed foods is putting forth effort and cooking your own meals. Yes it requires more time but aren't you worth those extra few minutes of planning? The goal should be to mainly eat as clean as possible, eating more "living" foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Another option could be to simply minimize the consumption of processed foods. Try reducing the amount of processed meals you consume per week and see the difference it makes in your overall health. It is almost impossible to completely avoid eating processed foods, unless you opt for a diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetables only. Another thing I'd like to make clear is that NOT all packaged or processed foods are unhealthy for you. Organic peanut butter differs from non-organic because of the difference in ingredients and preservatives or none used but both are still processed. The same goes for frozen t.v. dinners vs. frozen fruits or vegetables, one is full of sodium and preservatives while the other isn't.
Use common sense and familiarize yourself with ingredients listed on labels. Of course fresh, in most cases, is better and if organic isn't practical for your budget then any fruits and vegetables is better than having none at all. There is a lot of researched information on this particular topic and if it truly interests you, I encourage you to read up on the effects of processed foods and educate yourself on the benefits of eating clean and the disadvantages of not doing so.
An important thing to remember is that you ALWAYS have a choice in what you feed your body. A heavily processed diet caused me to have ridiculous mood swings, hormonal imbalances and severe constipation and weight gain, which resulted in problematic skin and consistent headaches due to toxin build up. This is now my philosophy on health and what motivates me to stay healthy: I'd rather invest in my health now than to have to pay for it later with outrageous hospital bills and life threatening dis-eases that end my life prematurely.