Fitness Check In #14

“Wow you are so strong! You don’t look like it.”

“Oh wow, you are so much fitter than I am, but why do you still look chubby?”

These are some of the things some people say. Am I going to cry? Nope. Am I going to get hurt because of their words? Nope. Why? Because it is true.

By Asian standards, I am on the heavy side. I am 5’3″, and I wear US size 6 and sometimes 8. I have bigger boobs than most Chinese ethnics here in Malaysia and I have broader and straighter shoulders than most. I used to have smaller and flatter butt but thanks to heavy squats and deadlifts, I now get compliments for a round and perky butt. So, now I look more balanced. I just need to be strong enough to be consistent with my food choices.

Honestly though, when I was younger and very insecure about myself, meaningless words would hurt very much. It would affect me in unimaginable ways. Then again, they are only words. Is it illegal that they call me names? No. Can I stop them? No. It’s freedom of speech and they just choose to use their words to hurt people. So, the only way to handle things is to change how I perceive those words.

Fat shaming or body shaming, it’s really just part of life. It doesn’t matter what shape you are. Even if you’re hot AF, you’ll still get shamed somehow. Why? Because there are assholes in this world. There are trolls. So, deal with it. Of course, there are some people who counter attack by shoving more pictures in their face, and shout body confidence – to which I go, HAHA!

However, while I support body confidence and acceptance, I do not agree with those who are obese and refuse to do anything to change their state of unhealthiness. Accept where you’re at, and WORK AT being healthier. That’s my definition of body acceptance. Love yourself. I also disagree when some people encourage the obese to stay obese. That’s just evil. Obesity kills.

And I digress.

I may get shot because it’s such a politically incorrect thing to say. Maybe some will get really defensive and start shooting hate arrows at me. This is not hate speech. Just because someone says something you disagree with does not mean it’s hate speech. It’s just disagreement! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Society nowadays get butt hurt too easily and they just make things more complicated than it really is. Speak your mind, have a drink, have a little debate, then shake hands and move on, happy to learn how others think too.

If we are confident in who we are, then why would other people’s words mean so much that it becomes a form of violence? Why would you need others, strangers even, to accept you so badly that you need to shove it in others’ faces? “Accept me and love me, or you’re evil!” People in general are courteous until you step into their personal boundaries. Everyone has his or her own beliefs and I don’t think it’s right to force others to change. What you think is right may not be right for everybody.

I like to eat avocado with soy sauce. I’m sure there are people who think it’s blasphemy!

When others are an asshole to me, I have learned to wave them off and move on without being affected much. Do you think I’m an asshole right now? If you do, then please just wave me off and move along with your life. That’s what you should do!

Did I digress again? Probably.

Let’s strive to be strong, guys. Strong mentally and physically. Fit emotionally. Be kind. Be nice. Be LOGICAL. I am working on it too because I’m naturally emotional.

What about you? Are you more emotional or logical?

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

Fitness Check In #13

Hello everybody!

I’ve been very hardworking and been updating on Instagram very regularly, so I don’t feel like I’ve been gone. In fact, it makes me a little lazy when it comes to proper blogging, because I have to take photos using my DSLR, edit, upload, write an essay, etc. LOL! On Instagram, you get a more realistic touch from me, because my feed is organic. Not curated at all, because that’s not my style. At the moment, I’m working on going through all my palettes and creating a look using the said palette. So far, I think I’ve done 4 or 5 so go have a look!

I wanted to come in here today to talk about my progress on myself. I think all of us have some sort of goals for ourselves, and for me, physically, I want to be stronger, and look better as a bonus. I’m happy to say that I’ve been getting stronger, and just yesterday, when my coach (aka husband) checked my push up form, he said, Great, perfect. DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BIG DEAL IT IS FOR ME?!?!!! Previously, there was always something I needed to improve. Getting my chest lower on the floor, getting my body straighter, core tighter, elbows closer to the body etc… but now, it’s perfect. I’m so proud of myself! And that’s also due to consistent training to strengthen my chest and triceps, by pushing my own limits and lifting heavier than I think possible.

Why do I do this, you ask? Well, for one, and right now, the biggest motivator, is the badass feeling of being strong. Stronger than even the men in the gym while looking much smaller than they are, the look of awe on their faces. Call it vanity but it does boost my confidence, making me want to lift heavier. At the same time, I get some women who come to me to tell me that I look so much smaller (strangers I see at the gym) and they ask me how I get so strong. It’s like they want to be stronger as well but afraid to.

My friends, don’t be afraid to get strong. Don’t be afraid to lift heavier than you think you can because I guarantee you, you are stronger than you think! Get a qualified coach to guide you on the proper form and push yourself. You will surprise and empower yourself! And no, being stronger does not mean looking bulkier. It takes a long time to build muscles, as I’ve said many times before. If lifting is not for you, then do something you think you like and push yourself to do something uncomfortable. If you like running and have been running 5K, then go for 10K. Once you achieve it, you WILL feel great about yourself because you achieved something you didn’t think you could!

Look, I’m not a fitness coach, nor am I a motivational speaker. I am here to tell you my experience that when you push yourself to an uncomfortable state, and then conquer it, it will only get easier, and you will get stronger.

I’m literally typing whatever is on my mind right now, and at this very moment, I want you to know that you are strong. Wherever you are, whatever stage you are right now, whatever you are going through, you are stronger than you think. You just have to break that inertia, that comfort zone, push through it and you’ll experience something entirely different. Something even better šŸ™‚

Love you guys!

 

xoxo Lily

 

Fitness Check In #12: Finding Out What Works

I think that’s what a journey to anything is about – finding out what works for YOU. It might be a common destination, in this case, fitting into a certain dress size. Or being stronger and fitter. These also involve common denominators – food and workouts. What we eat and do very much depend on personal preference both mentally and physically. While you love fruits and vegetables, others might love meat and cheese. Foods all do the same thing. They feed and fuel your body. Well, unless you want to go into detail what roles proteins, fats and carbs play in your body. Some just love spending hours on the treadmill or running a marathon while others love hiking or climbing or pole dancing or lifting. They also do the same thing. They make your body stronger.

See where I’m going with this?

I’ve been on my own journey for a while now, and I’m STILL figuring out what works best for my body. I might love my rice and noodles and bread, but my body reacts in a way that is not to my preference. So, I have to make a decision to either to continue eating what I love and sacrifice how I want to look and feel, or choose to look and feel better but give up on certain foods I cannot consume. If you read my previous update, I told you about the ketogenic diet. I lost 2 dress sizes in the last 4 months and now I’m proceeding to a more balanced diet while maintaining my new dress size. I lost some strength so I’ll be working on that in the coming months. So yes, I’m reintroducing carbs to my diet, and training more often and my body is also reacting favorably. I am on a reverse diet, which means upping my caloric intake while maintaining my physique. It has to be done slowly and carefully, and I’m on this to fix my metabolism to reverse the effects of a low calorie restrictive diet. It’s all science, people šŸ™‚

I find that people tend to be very judgmental on people’s diets and activities based on their own beliefs. I especially hate those who make diet a propoganda just like forcing religion down other people’s throats. Or those who make ignorant remarks so laughable that you wonder if they really believe everything they hear from strangers or read on the internet without doing their own research. Whether you are a meat eater or vegan or on a strict chocolate only diet (I made this up), you are responsible for your own health and body. If it works for you, great! You can share if others are willing to hear, but don’t put others down just to make yourself feel better. You might love running, but I really hate it. To me, it’s a very boring and tedious exercise that hurts my shins. Personal preference, remember?

We’re all on a personal journey and what works for me might not work for you (and vice versa). I share because I want you to know there are these options available if you’re interested, and this includes makeup and skincare as well. Don’t take anyone’s words as gospel, and that includes ALL bloggers or anyone you follow because they are NOT YOU. You might admire them, they might sound very honest and trustworthy, but still, who are they, really? Do you know your best friend’s deepest darkest secret? You THINK you do, but really? Just trying to prove a point here. Remember that YOU are the one who decides what’s best for yourself because you’re the only one in the world who knows you 100%. Trust yourself and take responsibility for yourself.

I just went off tangent there, but oh well. I’m still learning how to write properly šŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend everybody!

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

Fitness Check In #11: Finally, Changes!

Since the last update and huge rant 3 months ago, I have changed my workout and food intake. I mentioned I wanted to be more strict to beat the plateau and I’ve been successful. I messed around with running and confirmed I hate it. I binged a little more then decided enough is enough. I started going on a ketogenic diet little more than 4 weeks ago. Let me just briefly answer some very commonly asked questions, based on what I know, and based on my personal experience. There are many sources online and there’s a whole keto community on Reddit with very useful information.

 

What is a ketogenic diet?

It’s basically a very low carb diet with moderate protein and high fat to force our body into ketosis, to burn fat as energy source. I’m not qualified to tell you more about the science of it, but there are many articles online that are helpful. Bodybuilding dot com has interviews with experts on this subject so you can watch it if you like. I find that very informative and most importantly, you’re getting the right info from the right people. On YouTube, I go to Jason Wittrock for reliable info and KetoConnect for recipe ideas. Rachel Aust shares her keto journey through her PCOS vlogs as well.

Just a note, there are differing views on how to go about it, and the long term benefits of a keto diet, and the more I read / watch, the more I realize I need to form my own opinion. In other words, it can get confusing. While I enjoy people sharing personal experiences (to get a general idea of what actually happens to our body), I go to experts / academic researches for science. That’s what you should do too. Experiences are very personal so what I go through might not be the same for you.

Do I track macros?

Of course I do. I’m taking only 20g of net carbs every day, and that’s mostly from vegetables. I take about 1g to 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight and I change it as my weight drops. Too much protein might not be good as it can be converted into glucose as well. Then I make up the rest of the calories in fats. I use My Fitness Pal to track so that I don’t exceed my daily carb limit. I want to keep my body in ketosis to burn as much fat as possible.

Why am I doing this?

For the past 2 years, I worked out hard. I lifted heavy to build and develop muscle mass. I portioned my macros in a balanced way. I’ve always managed my caloric intake. I was also slack with my food intake when I fell off the band wagon multiple times. I incorporated HIIT and slow steady cardio into my routine for more fat loss. Undeniably, there was progress, but it’s always been slow. I want to know what makes my body respond faster. In the end, while I’ve always known my body is sensitive to carbs, I’ve given in and just eliminate it from my diet just to see how my body reacts.

So what happened to my body the last 4 weeks?

I’m a carb addict. I friggin love my rice and noodles. I’m Chinese! So naturally, when I had to eliminate these and all other carb sources from my diet, I felt like shit. I was motivated so I stuck to it but I didn’t feel good the first few days. I had headaches and I felt light headed. They call it the keto flu. I felt symptoms of having fever, but without fever. After about 4 days, those symptoms disappeared. I felt normal again, less hungry but with low energy levelĀ for about 2 weeks.

The first few days, my body lost a lot of water weight. Bloating?Ā Gone. It felt good. May I stress, it’s just water weight. When people tell you they lost shite loads of weight in just 7 days, LOL, it’s just water. Please don’t kid anyone. Then again, it’s motivating to see the drop in numbers and to see the bloat disappear.

After 20 days, I went on holiday. I tried to stick to it as much as I could, but I did cheat a little. It was my friend’s birthday, and there were homemade dinners which would be rude of me to refuse, so I ate. Small amounts. When I reintroduced carbs into my diet, rice and noodles, I was fine. But when I had the cake I made for my friend, I literally felt sick. Probably too much refined sugar. I then had migraine which lasted for 2 days.

I’m into my 5th week of keto now, I feel good. No more feeling woozy and I have lost a total of 4kgs. That’s close to 9 pounds. EVERYBODY notices I’ve shrunk. My body responds very well to this way of eating.

Ah, also, due to the shocking change to the body, I only pooped once the first week and once the second week. I panicked and started researching like crazy to find that it’s common. I’m quite regular now so everything’s OK.

How long will I do this for?

I will go full on keto until I reach my goal size. Actually, I don’t have a goal size but you know, I’ll just keep going until I feel that it’s enough… or maybe until I hit a plateau I can’t get over. I don’t plan to do this for life and I plan to introduce carbs back into my life. I will increase the carb intake slowly, eg from 20g to 50g to 70g etc and see how my body responds yet again. Once bloating occurs and once I start putting on weight again, it means I’ve exceeded my level of tolerance (if that makes sense to you?). When I re-introduce carb sources into my diet, I can also check for reactions. Example, I may be able to eat sweet potatoes without bloating, or I might get headache again if I had cake, etc.

How do I work out now?

Due to the low energy levels at first, I rested the first week. I tried circuits again, but boy, I lacked energy. I couldn’t complete the simplest workout and I felt light headed. No joke. So I just did stretches. Then I went on a holiday, walked lots and came back. I have more energy now and I went back to gym last week. I definitely have more stamina and strength compared to when I first started. My stamina suffered from not exercising and lifting for so long, but that’s a given. I guess I’m keto adapted now.

Basically, my weights circuit is done with lower weights, higher reps. Next week, I’ll add HIIT at the end of my circuit session. After about a week or 2, I will try lifting heavier, less reps, to see how my body feels. It’s all about trial and error and reintroducing things I used to do slowly.

I have been losing fat without exercising much, but I miss being strong. I really enjoy lifting (again, hate running!) so I know this has become a lifestyle I enjoy and want to continue for a long time. That’s why I am approaching it again slowly.

So what now?

I continue with what I’m doing of course! I plan to be strict, with no cheat days until my birthday that is 4th August. I’ll have my birthday cake then (hopefully without the headache!). If you’re interested or curious, please ask me questions, and I’ll do my best to answer. Would you want to know what I eat in a day? Or what my circuit looks like?

I’ll update again in a month or two or if there are any changes. Right now, while I sometimes miss my assam laksa, curry noodles, and a bowl of piping hot white rice, I’m really happy with the progress and it’s keeping me motivated.

Low carb for the win, I guess.

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

Fitness Check In #10: Winging It and Full On Rant

Since December last year, I have been just living my life, not being strict with food or calorie intake. I didn’t monitor what I ate, but just followed my gut, literally. Hah! If I ate too much yesterday, then I’d eat less today. If I ate like a pig for a few days, then I’d slave myself at the gym doing cardio. I hate cardio by the way. It’s now a few months down the road and I’m still exercising 2-3 times a week. So what did I gain from eating whatever I want and exercising whenever I want? Is this what some people say doing things in moderation? I FAIL at moderation. I’m always all or nothing.

 

 

 

 

The result is, I did not put on weight. I’ve just been in maintenance mode. How does that make me feel, not being restrictive about my food intake and my training schedule? Why am I asking questions and answering them myself? Well, it felt ok scoffing down the ramen or that bowl of curry noodles, but it also made me realize, hey, I can do without these too. Perhaps when I couldn’t eat them, they tasted much better in my head. It’s the same for anything, really. An object of desire becomes so much more tempting when I can’t have it. Like the Chanel Candeur et Experience. So, now I can tell myself, ah, this is how much I can eat and this is how much I need to move around to just stay how I look right now.

So moving on?

I’d want to go back into a stricter regime with food and workout. It’s like starting all over again, but to break this plateau, this comfort zone. I’m sure I’ve lost some strength and some muscles from lifting less so I think it’s time to pick it up again. I have a good idea of how the new schedule works now so I can try to fit things in. I have poor stamina, unfit endurance wise, so I might want to train that up. It’s not something I’m happy to do, but if I can conquer something I hate, then it makes me stronger, right? It’s all good in theory, but when I’m huffing and puffing and my lungs feel like they’ll burst, I might not follow through!

We’ll see. I’m writing this at 1 in the morning, so I might be delusional. Let’s see how things turn out a few months down the road when I write the next update.

How are you guys doing? Do you move around enough to keep your body healthy?

Before I go, I want to rant.

** Warning, strong language. Do not proceed if you’re easily offended. Full on bitchiness and 1am unfiltered thoughts ahead **

Some people say, hey I’m skinny, I don’t need to exercise. I think they miss the point completely. Skinny is NOT fit. Hey, the reason I breastfeed is to lose weight. I don’t want to exercise. Yup, another point missed. You breastfeed because it’s good for the baby. But hey, it’s their life, right? They can walk around eating junk food, skipping meals saying OMG I’m so full from that one fucking spoonful of rice.Ā They can maintain a caloric intake of less thanĀ 1000 kcals a day, boast about having a skinny body while not exercising… and when they get older, they start complaining of all sorts of bodily malfunction here and there. It’s not my problem right? Or am I the one missing the point here? Is it really better to be skinny and not exercise and not be healthy and strong? Is it OK to fit a size small, but not being able to lift your own groceries? I don’t know.

Then there are those who will ask, hey Lily, why aren’t you skinny when you exercise regularly? Sure, I’m not. Skinny is never my goal. But I’m heck of a lot stronger than I have been my entire life. I squat and deadlift heavier than the men in the gym. I do the right form of push ups easily and I can piggy back my 28kg 8 year old uphill for 1km when she hurt her legs. And also, the main reason is, I’m not strict with my diet. That’s the truth, and I’m sometimes OK with that. When I have mood swings, I won’t be OK with it, but you know how that works. Fickle is Lily.

Then you get those cardio queens who will say, hey, why waste your time at the gym when you can just run and lose all the weight you want? Look, you can see my muscle definition just by running. I have 5 kids you know. Look at me. I’m so disgustingly skinny. Let me teach you how. I started running 2 weeks after I had my kid. Don’t worry. Everything is intact inside. My shocked uterus which is still recovering won’t fall out through my vagina. Why don’t people understand that you need to rest after delivering a baby???!!!? Also, when you’re lean, when you have less body fat, your muscles show. No you didn’t just grow your biceps just by doing house chores. It’s always been there. If it’s possible, guys will be fighting to do all the house work and they’d be buff as fuck.

So I say no to all these. I will not eat steamed broccoli and broiled chicken breast for the rest of my life. I’d kill myself first. I will take care of my body and I will have my cake with ice cream on top if I want to. I will never be skinny and I do not want to be skinny. I want to be strong and fit and all the other benefitsĀ that come with it. I know it is a lifestyle change, and I have been changing, slowly, at my own pace. There will be ups and downs and I can live with that. I have been living with that. I am struggling with my inner demons but who isn’t? So just get off my life and let me live my own, and don’t make me kick your flat bony droopy ass where it hurts most.

Rant over.

Hope you have less judgmental people around you and that I didn’t scare you off with my rude and obnoxious unfiltered rant! *muacks*

Edited:Ā Now that this post is published and I’m less emotional, let me just clarify that I’m referring to the few people specifically, based on my personal experience. A friend pointed out that it’s OK with whatever you do, as long as you’re happy and healthy, and I agree with her. Do bear in mind that I live in Asia, and you might not fully understand how it is if you’re in the West (where a lot of you readers are).

Feminism is moot here, really. There are the few who try to beat the system, and you’re lucky if they’re your circle of friends, but it will take a LONG timeĀ before women are accepted as who they are. At the moment, we are EXPECTED to be thin and waif, soft spoken, married by 30, have kids and take care of them. Being a stay at home mom (or some refer to it as tai tai life) is an achievement to unlock, and if you’re 40 and single, even if you’re successful in your career, people will look at you a little differently.

Disclaimer:Ā In no way is this post referring to you, so just take it with a pinch of salt šŸ™‚

 

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

Fitness Check In #9: Progress

Remember I talked about my struggle with food in the last post? Thanks to all your comments and encouragement, I sucked it up, counted my calories, tracked my macros and logged into My Fitness Pal every day since July. Took me a couple of months after I wrote the post to finally commit to it, and it was the best decision I made. I also logged in my daily weight, just to see how I react to foods, and I realized I could gain 2kg a day, and lose it all in the next 3 days. That usually happens when it’s the time of the month, and when I ate too much carbs. I’m carb sensitive, which means I retain a lot of water when I have too much. The daily weigh in also made me understand my body much better, and because of that, the number on the scale doesn’t freak me outĀ anymore.

 

 

My fitness journey chloeash

 

 

What I do to track my progress is to take photos every month. I’ve been shrinking, that’s for sure, and it’s a HUGE motivation factor when there’s visual progress. I lost my perpetual 4-month pregnant belly! I’ve been lifting heavy weights, gaining lots of strength and hopefully some muscles and it’s so empowering being able to deadlift 100kg, especially for a noob like me. I’ve been wearingĀ smaller clothes too and guess what? I bought a really nice dress in a smaller size so that I could fit into it a few months down the road. That’s my short term goal. Of course, there’s an ultimate goal, a size and shape that I really want to be… and that might take me at least another year. Body composition is tough business. I don’t want to be all loose skin and bones with no definition. To look athletic, I have to BE athletic. Also, let them booty grow. LOL!

There are some birthday parties here and there, and I’ll be travelling end of the year, so I take those as breaks / re-feeds. I’m not too anal about some off days because seriously dudes, I realized that when I’m really watching what I eat, I have to BE anti social. The “What’s another drink? What’s another chip?” mentality will ruin everything. 50 calories here, 100 calories there, they all add up! Next year, I’m planning to visit my uni friends I haven’t seen in 10 years. Call me vain, but I’d like to look good for that! That’s another motivation factor.

If you’re on a similar journey as I am, what have you been doing? HOW have you been doing? I said before that writing things down helps me put things in perspective, so that’s why I’m still putting up posts like this. Hope I didn’t bore you to death!

 

Cheers for reading!

 

xoxo Lily