Image and Lifestyle

Fashion, Style, and Professional Impression in Hong Kong

A minute on the lips…

When I was a teenager, someone told me “remember, a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”.  I think of that now after the holidays when everyone (including myself) is trying to lose 5-10 pounds.  Ugh!  It’s not easy.

Losing just a few pounds requires effort.  You have to REALLY want it.  Fortunately, I’ve already shed 1 KG in 9 days from working out and eating right… feeling slightly hungry before bed, daily sweat sessions and cardio with the jump rope, reducing my intake of refined carbs and processed foods, and increasing my water consumption.  1KG is just 2.2 lbs, but it all adds up.

If you want to lose weight, you definitely can… but you need to be realistic and want it more than you want other lifestyle choices such as sugars, excess food, alcohol, laziness, and comfort.  YOU have control over what your body looks like, and you can choose to build your own body however you want and make a decision to live and eat well.  Maybe you’ve just skimmed over those last few sentences like “blah, blah, blah”… but it’s true that you really have complete control over the way you look.

Some of my tips for trimming up a bit:

  • Drink two large glasses of water after waking up and before meals.
  • Drink 1 large glass of water after each meal.
  • Make sure breakfast is 50% fruits; lunch & dinner are 50% vegetables.
  • Avoid eating and drinking foods that weren’t in existence in the 1800’s (this is a good one).
  • To curb cravings between meals, drink hot tea.
  • Limit fried foods and processed foods as much as possible.
  • Add psyllium husk to foods to increase bulk and aid digestion


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Filed under: Belly, Belly and Core, Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Health, Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Look and feel your best in 2011

Resolve to look and feel your best in 2011 with positive changes in your lifestyle, habits, and appearance.  See the below for my take on building a healthier and more attractive body.


1.  Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound).  It’s easy to say “I want to lose weight in 2011″ but you need to consider the details.  For example, “I want to lose 4 pounds each month for 5 months so I will be 20 pounds slimmer by June 1st.  I will reduce my caloric intake by 500/day by cutting refined foods (alcohol, candy, white bread) and begin walking at least 20 minutes per day.”  S.M.A.R.T goals will help you achieve.

2.  People in great shape look and feel better.  Would you pay USD$5,000 right now for the body of your dreams?  Of course you would!  Ok, so use that money and purchase a gym membership, personal training, new workout gear/clothes, a kayak, hiking boots, etc.  Commit to your decision to look and feel better.

3. Book an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss products for your age and skin-type.  Maybe you want a few injections or fillers, scars/pigmentation/veins removed, or just need to drink more water and sleep better.  A dermatologist will tell you the truth and hook you up with the products and creams to suit you best.

4.  Find a wonderful salon/spa.  I rave about the Mandarin Oriental Salon (HK) because they are specialists with hair, face, feet, nails, etc.  Invest in a relationship with a wonderful stylist and technician and trust them on beauty and grooming advice.  Look after yourself.

5.  If possible, only buy fresh food.  It’s that simple.  Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, dairy, nuts, eggs, tofu, whole grain breads… and even chocolates.  Consider buying chocolates from See’s Candies which expire relatively quickly vs. packaged chocolate that lasts 6-12+ months on the shelf.   Always go fresh and try to avoid needing to open a wrapper to consume your food.

6.  Take care of your wardrobe.  If it has a stain, a hole, reminds you of a bad experience, hasn’t been worn for 2 years, or you just don’t like it – it’s out.  Don’t rationalize or feel guilty for getting rid of it.  Use a dry-cleaning service to ensure your clothes look their best, purchase lint-rollers for home/work/car, take your shoes to the cobbler seasonally for care and upkeep, use jewelry cleaner regularly, and buy quality hangers so your garments hang properly.  www.imageandlifestyle.com for my personal shopping and style services.

7.  Smile and de-stress.  Take a holiday, get more sleep, book spa appointments, watch a movie with a glass of wine… do whatever it takes to chill out.  Make your happiness, goals, and health a top priority for the new year.

Filed under: Beauty, Dressing Style Tips, Exercise, Facial, Fitness - Motivation, Grooming, Hair, Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Manage stress, Skin care, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Back to Basics Health and Fitness Tips

With the holidays upon us, it is easy to over-eat and feel a bit guilty about all of the snacks and glasses of wine.  Instead of wasting time on guilt, consider the changes you can make to help kick-start your health and fitness.  The following is a list of tips and information from NYC personal trainer Diane Williams at http://www.kidsonlinestories.org/misc/nyc-personal-trainer-reveals-7-back-to-basics-health-and-fitness-tips.  While I generally write my own blogs, I thought the below info pretty much sums up the essentials for good health, which is key to looking and feel terrific:

1. Eat your green veggies. Can you hear your Mother in your head with this one? Rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, these leafy deals will help lessen your risk of cancer and strengthen your immune system. Think swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, and kale.

2. Avoid certain foods. This will help in a gradual and steady change. What are the things to avoid? Anything fried, salty, sugary, and processed.

3. Build some muscle. I’m sure you’ve heard this for quite some time but it’s never too often. Resistance training is miraculous. It will increase your metabolism, burn fat, increase bone density, and help correct postural distortions.

4. Get your heart pumping! Walking, biking, jogging, and dancing are just a few cardiovascular activities that will not only keep your heart healthy, but will increase circulation, burn fat, and help manage stress.

5. Stay Hydrated. Many of us go throughout our day in a state of dehydration. Staying dehydrated will decrease energy, may increase likelihood of kidney stones, affect critical thinking abilities and worst case scenario cause kidney failure. So drink up!

6. Get some rest. Stress can kill you girls and boys. It has cost Americans roughly $300 billion dollars a year because of the adverse effects such as depression, acute anxiety, heart disease and obesity. Learn meditation or yoga to help train our brain and body to relax. Don’t forget your 7-8 hours of sleep a day.

7. Get some support. You are influenced by your environment so it’s wise to choose people close to you who are focused on health and fitness. Hire a personal trainer. Join a fitness club with a friend; anything that will help you with your shift to a healthy lifestyle.

Diane WilliamsNYC Personal Trainer is a dreamer, a boxer who could knock out a grown man, and an always evolving Curvy Goddess. She was a former plus-size model for the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency and now a fitness expert and advocate for women who wear sizes 10s and up. For more information on health, fitness, and fat loss visit http://www.CurvyGoddessWorkout.com.

 

Filed under: Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Health, Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, Manage stress, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nutritional Expert Weighs in on Hong Kong Lifestyle

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing nutritionist Chrissy Denton, owner of Bebe2Be for the scoop on the services she offers, weight loss, and prenatal dietary advice.

http://www.bebe2be.com/Nutrition(2056269).htm

Contact: chrissy@bebe2be.com

1. What services do you offer for clients who want to make a major lifestyle change?

We offer a range of nutritional services tailored to each client’s lifestyle and personal goals.   Our services include weight management, sports nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, family nutrition, body composition analysis as well as corporate seminars and workshops.

2. As a nutritionist, you must see all kinds of unusual weight loss strategies.  What advice do you have for in-active women 35-45 years old who want to adopt a healthy diet to lose weight?

    There are many crazy diets in the media these days that convince women to consume an unhealthy eating regime.  Healthy weight loss is achieved by choosing healthy food options that will be maintained over a long period in order to prevent the weight gain or ‘yo yo’ effect.  Exercise is equally important and should be done in conjunction with a healthy diet.

    3. Do you have specific nutrition advice for women who have just become pregnant?

    It is important to maintain a balanced diet during the entire pregnancy, ensuring that you get all the important nutrients that your baby needs.  In the first few weeks some women may lose their appetite due to morning sickness and nausea but overall your body doesn’t need any extra calories for the first six months of the pregnancy.    There are some unsafe foods to avoid during the pregnancy such as soft cheeses, pate, and raw seafood’s such as oysters and sushi and of course no alcohol and limited caffeine.   Folic acid should be taken for the first 3mths of pregnancy and some may also need a vitamin D supplement right up to after the birth.

    4. Do you offer nutritional services for children?

    Yes, we offer nutritional services for children of all ages.  We help parents deal with fussy eaters, offer a variety of snack/recipe ideas as help children with allergies/food intolerances, eating disorders or those dealing with overweight or obesity.

    5. What do you think is the one major dietary mistake people in Hong Kong make each day?

    I think people in Hong Kong tend to go with convenience and chose foods that are ready-made because of their busy lifestyle.  Most people believe that it is cheaper to eat out than cook at home which is very untrue.  Education is the key and by simply showing people basic recipes and how to cook on a budget this would dramatically improve their weight control and overall health.

    Filed under: Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Pregnancy - Healthy Eating, Pregnancy Foods, Prenatal Health, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

    Necessary Evil of Beauty: Nutrition & Supplements (5)

    Being healthy and well-nourished is the most beautiful look I can imagine… and there is no shortcut to a healthy diet.  Being thin does not equate to beauty.  I see tons of skinny women who just look awful.  True health is visible by a person’s smell, posture and bone/muscle shape, complexion, hair and nails, body weight – not to mention the cognitive abilities, longevity, quality of life, etc.  I think carbohydrate free diets are terrible on the system and your body, though I’m not an expert.  I have, however completed an advanced certificate in nutrition and know a diet composed 50-60% carbohydrates, 20-30% healthy fats, and 20-30% lean protein is the way to go… and that the quantity of what you eat is critical.  No matter how balanced your diet, if you overeat, you’ll gain weight.  To help keep your weight in check, aim for making 50% of your breakfast fruit and at least 40% of your lunches and dinners vegetables.  Fill in the rest with whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats and you’ll be feeling and looking beautiful.

    Once you get used to limiting your intake of processed foods, you might not love the taste of excess salt, sugar, and saturated fat.  But, we are animals after all and sometimes nothing tastes better than some good ol’ butter, steak, cream, or fried chicken.  So live by the 80/20 rule to keep your internal health and outward beauty in check:  80% of the time you eat like an angel while 20% of the time you enjoy food as a normal person with friends and family without over-thinking.  Case in point – Thanksgiving and other such holidays.  It’s just one day – so eat what you love.  Then, for the next 4 days eat sensibly and take an extra walk each day.

    In addition to a balanced and varied diet, supplements will keep you looking 42 when you’re 50.  It is a good habit to start early in life to maximize the benefits.  While supplements are wonderful little things, I hate taking them, finding a place to put those bulky bottles, and the aftertaste.  Necessary evil, right?  My personal daily intake includes the following: calcium with vitamin D, essential fatty acids [EFA] for omega 3-6-9, a powerful multi-antioxidant, high quality multi-vitamin, flax seed sprinkled on my breakfast oatmeal, occasional psyllium husk, probiotics, and the odd fitness supplements I also take such as CLA, BCAA, and electrolytes – if I’m exercising in the heat.  See your doctor or consult the staff at GNC about the supplement options available.

    Eating well will keep you looking and feeling your best.

    Filed under: Beauty, Health, Healthy Eating, Skin care, , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Necessary Evils of Beauty: Drink Tons of Water (3)

    Hello and welcome to the third entry in a week-long series of posts about often over-looked beauty ‘secrets’.  Drinking water should have been the topic on day #1 … and it’s not really a secret, but it is a habit which will significantly affect your body and mind in terms of functionality, beauty, health, skin care, digestion, circulation, body weight, etc.  It’s dramatically important.  I view large water consumption as a necessary evil because most people cannot stand drinking water – the taste, texture, temperature, etc… but we absolutely need water to survive (and look beautiful of course!).

    How many glasses of water did you consume this morning when you woke up?  How many glasses of water did you drink last night at dinner?  Begin your day tomorrow by drinking a large glass of water as soon as you get vertical, and then drink another glass at breakfast.  Buy two extra-large bottles of water each day (or refill for eco-friendliness) and make an effort to drink one before 2pm and the other before bed.  As a challenge with a wonderful reward,see how you feel and how youthful and soft your skin is after drinking only water for two weeks; cutting out all caffeine, alcohol, juice, milk, soda, and tea.  If that is too tough, just cut out caffeine, alcohol, processed juices, and soda for two weeks and consume only decaf tea/coffee, milk, fresh juices and water.  You’ll feel fantastic once the raging caffeine-withdrawal induced headache finally subsides on day four.  🙂

    We are supposed to drink water, and it has worked well for our species… so keep it up and try to consume fruits and vegetables with high water content as well.

     

     

    Filed under: Beauty, Health, Healthy Eating, Image advice, Losing Weight, Skin care, , , , , , ,

    Health All-Star: Psyllium Husk

    Hello Friends,

    I consider psyllium husk fibers a Health All-Star when incorporated into a diet for additional fiber, digestive health, and appetite control.  This saw-dust-looking powder is a natural, taste-free, gluten-free, nearly no-calorie, fiber-rich food which turns liquids, smoothies, soups, etc into a somewhat gel-like substance if not consumed immediately.  It is this gel-like texture which forms bulk in your GI system and promotes a healthy colon by absorbing fats and cholesterol from the digestive tract, pushing out mucoid plaque, and preventing constipation.  Other beneficial health properties of psyllium husk include the following:

    • Blood pressure improvement
    • Treatment of IBS
    • Treatment of yeast infections
    • Pain management and treatment of hemorrhoids and cystitis
    • Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Weight loss control
    • Pregnant women should consult a physician prior to use

    Personally, I find psyllium husk helpful during weeks of detoxing and tightening up my diet, or mornings after a wonderfully indulgent evening out (see shake recipe below).  Although I do not consume this product daily, it helps me feel clean, refreshed, and light and is a welcome addition to my personal health program.  I purchase 200-300 gram packages at 360 supermarket in Elements or Hyrdohealth in Central and keep it refrigerated and sealed for freshness.

    Jennie’s Super Healthy Morning Shake: Blueberries (any fruit as desired), heaped spoon spirulina, heaped spoon psyllium husk fibers, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup ice, 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 1 heaping spoon vanilla protein powder.  Blend and be prepared to eat with a spoon… the psyllium will make this thick… and it becomes thicker the longer it sits out.  Add psyllium powder to the blender after the milk for easier cleaning.  Almond milk is used for the naturally sweet taste, protein, and low calorie properties.  Spirulina has a strong earthy flavor balanced by the fruit and vanilla protein powder.

    Filed under: Belly, Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Tummy, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

    Healthy Eating Plan – 3 weeks

    Hello Friends,

    If you’ve been following along, you’ll know I have just 3 weeks to finalize preparations for a 250K ultra-marathon across The Valley of the Whales in Egypt.  Fitness training aside, nutrition is an important component of being ready for the race.  I will not be reducing my caloric intake or cutting out carbohydrates because 1) I need carbohydrates for energy and 2) I am not trying to lose weight. Rather, I will be cleansing my system to flush all unwanted toxins, perhaps lose 2-3 pounds of body fat, and stock up on essential vitamins and minerals – such as iron.  Therefore, my menu will be void of alcohol, refined sugar, caffeine, and most processed foods – except yogurt, milk, and dried fruits.  Removing the caffeine will be the largest challenge.  Since I am iron deficient (common among female athletes), iron is especially important.  Thus, citrus fruits, beans, nuts, leafy greens, red meat when lean, and iron supplements will be a focus.  The other focus is getting my body as clean and hydrated as the next three weeks will allow.  The following plan still very closely resembles my day-to-day eating plan, built around the principles of ‘clean eating’ http://www.eatcleandiet.com/:

    7:00 Wake-up; pre-breakfast I always drink 1 large glass of water (which has been poured the night before and sits on my bedside table so I do not forget) as soon as I am out of bed with 1 antioxidant and 1 multivitamin.  This water gets my brain and body moving.

    7:15 Breakfast:

    • 1/2 cup uncooked (1 cup when it is cooked) large, rolled oats over the stove-top – not the instant kind – with 1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds, a handful of mixed unsalted almonds and walnuts, approx. 20 blueberries, and a splash of milk
    • 1/4 fresh orange
    • a handful of another fruit – grapes, 1/4 apple, pomelo, etc.
    • large glass of water with round lemon slices

    10:30 Portable Snack:

    • 1/2 cup natural yogurt – low fat or regular.  Just basic white yogurt with healthy bacteria like LactobacillusBulgaricusStreptococcus Thermophilus and Lactobacillus Acidophilus.
    • Add: 1/4 fresh fruit – apple, grapes, or blueberries, 6-8 nuts, 2 tablespoons dry muesli or leftover oatmeal from breakfast
    • Tall glass of lemon water

    1:30 Lunch:

    • Some kind of veggie stir-fry or lettuce wrapping (light on the oil and sauces, no sugar) with chicken, tofu, scallops, or prawns
    • Bowl of veggie/protein soup such as bean soup, egg & spinach soup, tofu and corn, etc.
    • Small bowl of brown rice
    • Small bowl of steamed choi sum
    • Large mug of hot non-caffeinated tea or hot lemon water

    4:00 Snack:

    • Short, steamed milk from Starbucks with a piece of fruit or 1/2 cup of the prepared granola/yogurt/fruit option sold Pure IFC.

    6:30-7:00 Dinner:

    • Stick to the plan and avoid fine-dining before the race.  Dinner changes daily but closely resembles lunch.

    9:30-10:00  Snack:

    • 1/2 orange, some nuts… maybe a few gulps of milk, etc.  A small amount of food just to calm my hunger pains.
    • Other supplements: Omega-3s/Fishoil, Iron, and round 2 of anti-oxidants.

    http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx is a wonderful website to help you determine your caloric needs and create an eating plan.

    Filed under: Health, Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, Racing, Ultra Marathon, , , , , , , , , , ,

    Interview with Dr. Raymond Chan, Medical Director of Fit Health Physiotherapy Centre

    Interview with Dr. Raymond Chan, Medical Director of Fit Health Physiotherapy Centre

    Doctor Raymond Chan is the Medical Director of Fit Health Physiotherapy Centre in Causeway Bay.  The Centre specializes in physiotherapy for injury management and rehabilitation, personal training services, and a variety of classes for prenatal women and couples.

    Do you offer workshops and/or classes for women and couples expecting a baby?

    Dr. Chan: We offer workshop on breathing exercises and massage therapy.  This is a one-and-a-half hour workshop for couples to take during which the mother would learn the breathing techniques, her partner would also learn how to give clues to the breathing.  The partner will also learn the massage techniques for relieving common problems in pregnancy, such as neck and back pain, legs cramp etc.

    What health services does your clinic provide for prenatal women?

    • Dr. Chan: We offer Pre-Natal physiotherapy for pregnant women with neck and back ache, legs pain, etc.  Our treatment will emphasize manual therapy, so that expectant mothers can be treated without the risk of side effects from medication.

    Do you have classes for postnatal women as well?

    • Dr. Chan: Yes, we offer treatment for post-natal urinary incontinence.  This is done by female physiotherapist, using pelvic floor muscle exercises, biofeedback, and electrotherapy to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles.  We also have classes for baby massage techniques for any member of the family to join.

    Do you offer OB/GYN services at your clinic?

    • Dr. Chan: We offer Musculo-Skeletal, Sports medicine, and Physiotherapy service at our clinic.  We are not specialists in Obs & Gynae.  We would like to keep our roles separate, and co-operate with Hong Kong Obs & Gynae doctors, rather than be their competitor.

    How does your clinic differ from the Hong Kong hospitals who offer antenatal classes?

    • Dr. Chan: We are conveniently located in Causeway Bay, right above MTR exit.  Our pre- and post-natal exercise classes are available every day.  There is no joining fee or membership fee – you simply pay for the classes you take, and there is no restriction on which day you take it. (unlike some places, which only offer classes e.g. every Wednesday evenings, and you pay for each month, if you miss a class then you miss it)  Also our exercise classes are all led by registered physiotherapists with additional qualifications in fitness training.  The class size is kept small to maximum 10 so that the teacher can give individual attention.

    Our pre- and post-natal classes are function orientated: pre-natal exercise class will focus on relieving the discomforts and preventing health problems, and breathing control to prepare for giving birth.  Our post-natal exercise will focus on “tuning” the muscles weakened during child-bearing and giving birth, and functional strength for taking care of babies; unlike many other places where they emphasize post-natal exercise as post-natal “slimming”

    As a medical doctor, what recommendations do you have for pregnant women who want to begin an exercise routine or continue exercising?

    • Dr. Chan: I would recommend pregnant women to stay active throughout pregnancy.  If you are not used to exercise, the best time to start is after the first trimester – when then fetus is more stable and not yet too big.  The aim of exercise should be to maintain reasonable cardio and muscular fitness, rather than for peak sports performance.  It is always a good idea consult your medical doctor regarding any concerns and make sure you are medically fit to exercise before you begin.

    Dr. Raymond Chan

    FitHealth

    SPORTS MEDICINE · PHYSIOTHERAPY ·  FITNESS

    Rm 1401, Causeway Bay Plaza 1, 489 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay

    Tel: 3904 3388

    Fax: 3904 3389

    www.fithealth.com.hk

    http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/fit-health

    Filed under: Baby Care, Classes, Dads-to-be, Education, Exercise, Expectant Parents, Health pregnancy, Healthy Eating, maternity, pregnant, Prenatal Health, Prenatal tools, , , , , ,

    I-pad Amazing for Fitness

    Hello Fitness Buddies,

    My sleek & chic i-pad just arrived from the US and I am pleased as punch!  After a quick charge, it connected seamlessly to the internet and I was off and running within seconds.  Without cables or complications, and large enough to truly use it (as opposed to a phone-sized gadget) I had an instant crush.  I held it in my hands ready to DO something cool.

    First task: download favorite photos and do a little slide show.  Easy!

    Second task:  Integrate this attractive new toy with my love of fitness and health.  Again – easy!  Sign up to i-tunes (free) and look in their store for tons of impressive applications designed for i-pods, i-pads, and i-phones.  Fitness and health applications are perfect for novice or expert fitness levels with information on personal training, workouts, individual exercises, calorie counters, pedometers, yoga moves, etc.  Below with a list of convenient applications to teach, motivate, and organize your workouts.  Since most applications cost just a few dollars, you have nothing to lose by trying them out on your path to getting healthier.

    These creative and smart applications are sure to inspire and motivate you:

    1. i-trainer = $3.99
    2. All-in-Fitness = $1.99
    3. Interval Timer = $1.99
    4. Zigyt (agility training drills) $1.99
    5. Yoga spot (free and paid)
    6. Food Tracker Pro = $1.99
    7. Burn and Eat+ = $.99
    8. Wellness Calculator Suite = $1.99
    9. Pocket Yoga HD = $3.99
    10. MyNetDiary = $9.99
    11. Glycemic Index and Load = $3.99

    With such reasonable application prices and easy to use tools, everyone can learn more about fitness and create their own strategy for exercise, health, and nutrition.   Yay!

    Filed under: Classes, Education, Fitness - Motivation, Health, Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, Technology, , , , , , , , ,