Image and Lifestyle

Fashion, Style, and Professional Impression in Hong Kong

Jump!

Christian Bale from the movie "American Psycho"

Pop Quiz Hot-Shot: What you do when a ridiculously fit, focused, GQ, Christian Bale/American Psycho look-alike at the gym suggests you start jumping rope to burn more fat?  Here’s what you do – pick up a rope, and start skipping baby.  And so it begins….

I picked up a weighted jump-rope in the gym yesterday, turned on my i-pod shuffle, and hopped around for twenty minutes, I felt absolutely FANTASTIC!  Definitely better than walking at a level 7 on the treadmill watching Nigella Lawson’s baking show on TLC.  I was seriously sweating and it felt great… then I followed it up with one hour of weights.  It reminded me about the awesomeness which is jumping rope.

  • Reminds you of being a kid
  • You can move at various speeds
  • Burns insane fat and calories – the best cardio workout ever!!!!
  • You won’t get bored as easily as you might on stationary cardio equipment
  • Easy to travel with a jump rope
  • You look like a cool ninja-type person
  • You get seriously toned legs and a great tush

It isn’t exactly a revelation – I’ve done lots of skipping in the past one year – but not since Thanksgiving.  Plus, my brother actually gave me an amazing jump-rope for Christmas… so I’m starting to see the writing on the wall.  GQ-hottie couldn’t have reminded me about the benefits at a better time either… it’s just about time to start planning a beach & bikini getaway!

 

Filed under: Belly and Core, Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Health, Legs, Losing Weight, Manage stress, , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cold Water Showers

Dear Friends,

While watching the news this morning, an author declared that one common habit practiced by those who rarely fell ill was a cold water shower.  Brrrrrrrrr!  Arctic espresso!  But, in the words of one of my pilates instructors, “Beauty is pain!”  Just look at the fair and lovely Finnish who practice alternating sessions in the brisk cold with hot saunas.  I’m going to try this invigorating and bracing habit… starting off hot and finishing off with a splish-splash in the chill for the following health benefits:

Benefits of Cold Water Showers

  1. Improves blood circulation
  2. Relieves depression
  3. Keeps skin and hair healthy (and shiny)
  4. Strengthens immunity
  5. Increases testosterone
  6. Increases male fertility
  7. Increases energy and well-being; reduced stress

Filed under: Hair, Health, Manage stress, , , , , ,

Stress During Pregnancy – Implicated in Preterm Birth and Low Birthweight

 

Hello Friends and Mums-to-be:

Did you know your baby’s weight is affected by your stress levels?  According to an interesting research paper from The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology www.AJOG.org, stress during the first trimester of pregnancy causes preterm birth and reduced infant birthweight (Zhu P, Tao F, Hao J, et al., 2010).  The researchers studied the effects of an expectant mother’s exposure to ‘severe life events’ throughout the phases of pregnancy by sampling 1800 women, all of whom delivered after 32 week’s gestation.  Results indicate that women with higher levels of life stress during the first and/or second trimester have an increased risk of preterm birth.  The unit of perceived stress during the first trimester reduced birthweight by 99.09 grams (3.5oz).  Therefore, pregnant women and women expecting to become pregnant should take care to avoid severe stress, especially in the first trimester.

 Previously, the effects of stress on the fetus during pregnancy were unknown, but researchers did know the stress hormone cortisol was higher in the amniotic fluid when a mother had a high level of stress and cortisol (Sarkar et al., 2007).  This means that when a mother becomes stressed out, her unborn baby will release the same hormone.  Prolonged exposure to cortisol leads to illness, depression, and exhaustion in adults… and we now know that it adversely affects unborn infants as well. 

So, it’s time to relax and enjoy being pregnant as much as possible.  Regular exercise, meditation, and emotional support has never been more important.  I found interesting and helpful advice on coping with stress during pregnancy at this website: http://www.pregnancy.org/article/help-stressed-out-moms-works

References:

Zhu P, Tao F, Hao J, et al. Prenatal life events stress: implications for preterm birth and infant birthweight. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2010;203:34.e1-8.

Sarkar p, Bergman K, Fisk NM, O’Connor TG, Glover V. Ontogeny of foetal exposure to maternal cortisol using midtrimester amniotic fluid as a biomarker 2007 Clinical Endocrinology 66 (5), 636–640.

Filed under: cortisol, Dads-to-be, Expectant Parents, Health pregnancy, Manage stress, Pregnancy, pregnant, Prenatal Health, Stress, stressed-out, , , , , , , ,