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


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. 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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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’

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. 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, , , , , , , , , , ,

My Pyramid – Create Your Plan for Healthy Eating

My Pyramid Available at


 Hello Friends! 

They say how you look is 80% diet; 10% activity; 10% genetics.  I tend to agree to a point and recently discovered a wonderful website provided by the USDA (US Dept of Agriculture) full of dietary information.  This impressive site is loaded with interactive tools to generate caloric requirements for your body and lifestyle, menus, eating plans, cost calculators, dietary guidelines and numerous other relevant and up-to-date facts to help guide you through weight loss, weight gain, and special population considerations for pregnancy,  breast-feeding, and pre-school aged children.  

  For example, at “My Pyramid Plan”, I input my weight, height, activity level, age and instantly received feedback for exactly what portions and food groups I should consume each daily to meet my body’s requirements.  Interestingly, the USDA recommends a 2,400 daily caloric consumption for my lifestyle.  In my case, I am relatively young, active, and currently at my ideal BMI.  Your caloric needs will likely be significantly lower if your are intensely physically active for less than 1 hour per day.  I often hear people suggest a daily limit of 1,200 for losing weight, but limiting calories too significantly will cause weight gain in the long run due to your metabolic rate decreasing.  

 Truly, the only way to maintain a fit and toned physique is with adequate physical activity, sleep, water, and a clean diet complete with fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  Each body processes foods at different metabolic rates and with different requirements, so referring to websites such as will provide trustworthy and safe information to help you achieve your goals.  Losing weight is not only calories in and calories out, but the nutritional value of those foods, the intervals at which you eat, intestinal motility, etc.  Check it out and enjoy creating an eating plan and menus to generate safe weight loss and improved health with long-term results.

Filed under: Education, Expectant Parents, Health, Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, Pregnancy - Healthy Eating, Pregnancy Foods, Prenatal Health, , , , , , , ,

Healthy Take-away Lunches in Hong Kong

 Balanced, nutritious, and moderate diets are essential to achieve optimum health, fitness, and happiness, but it is not always easy when you’re on-the-go.  Below with the most popular and conveniently located take-away lunch options in Hong Kong:  

  1. Dressed, Salads with Style – they offer fantastic salads, soups, and wraps:
  2. Life Cafe – organic restaurant/cafe with unique and delicious food for take-away or dining in:
  3. Mix – convenient cafes with wraps, smoothies, fruit cups, and salads: 
  4. Pret-A -Manger – healthy options (not all) for dine in and take-away soups, salads, and sandwiches: 
  5.  Cru – Sai Kung.  They have a large menu and it’s not all healthy, but I particularly like their salads and many appetizers. 
  6.  Simplylife, Bread and Wine;  Particularly the take-away/dine-in selection at the IFC for the wide selection of vegetable salads and soups.  They sometimes use too much oil, but the variety of vegetables makes up for it.  Beware of their cheesy bread, pastries, and sandwiches… not as healthy.;
  7. RED – located in IFC on podium 4 & connected to Pure Fitness, this restaurant makes a great effort to offer delicious & healthy salads, sandwiches, and side dishes:
  8. Larger supermarkets such as City Super, Great, 360, and Taste sell items you might consider for lunch: yogurt, 1/2 sandwich, salad, roasted chicken leg, sushi, etc.   

I have heard that the following restaurants are excellent for healthy and organic options for lunch and dinner, but have yet to try:   

Bookworm – Lamma Island – 

Eden – perfect for lunch or dinner 16 Arbuthnot Rd, Central, 2868 0625. Mon-Sat noon-11pm. Meal for two: around $600

Beo – Hong Kong Island 

 ** If you have suggestions for additional healthy places to eat, please leave a comment and share your experiences. 

Filed under: Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, , , , , , , ,

Healthy Eating in Hong Kong – Your Helper Helps

Hello Friends,

One of the wonderful aspects of living in Hong Kong is the relative ease of employing a full-time, live-in “helper” to assist with domestic duties such as house work, grocery shopping, and cooking.  Ahh…groceries and cooking!  Those last two subjects are the downfall for most of our healthy diet disasters.  If you employ a helper, or perhaps you have a partner with a knack for cooking, it is essential to discuss your diet concerns so he/she may take over the grocery-list and meal preparation, thereby eliminating your home temptations.  Below with my personal preferences for managing a healthy home diet:

1.  Mutual respect and appreciation are essential.  Not every meal will be perfect, but always thank the cook.

2.  Tear out healthy recipes from magazines (Clean Eating, Healthy Living, etc) and discuss them together to make sure you have the proper tools and ingredients.  Make a folder of the meals which are OK and list foods which are not in your healthy eating plan.

3.  Ask your helper/partner to write down the list of healthy groceries (then stick to it) or make arrangements for him/her to do the bulk of the grocery shopping.  If you go to the store yourself, try to stay to the outside perimeters where all the chilled and fresh items are found… avoiding the inner aisles where temptation awaits.  I try to go to fresh markets or less expensive stores for fruits and veggies… broccoli should cost about HK$4.00, not $50!

4.  Similar to pt. 3 above, try to ensure the majority of your foods are not from a can, box, or bag.  The less processing and the fewer the preservatives, the healthier it will be. 

5.  Ideally, your helper/partner will also prepare your breakfast.  Breakfasts at home are always healthier. The following is my everyday breakfast: 

  • hot tea (with a splash of whole milk)
  • 1 large glass of water
  • 1 cup cooked steel-cut oats made on the stove (3 minutes) with half water and half skim milk
  • handful blueberries
  • handful of walnuts or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • a plate of fresh fruit which my fiance and I share
  • OR, alternatively I will prepare a protein shake if I have had a large dinner the previous evening

6.  Lunches and dinners are up to the cook depending upon available ingredients, but all follow these guidelines:

  • Each meal is at least 50% vegetable
  • One small plate of steamed green veggies at each meal: choi sum, broccoli, green beans, etc. (eat first while hot)
  • Brown rice instead of white rice.  Whole grain pasta instead of white pasta.  Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, etc.
  • Nothing fried.  We use non-stick pans which eliminates the need for excess oil.
  • Protein at every meal: tofu, eggs, chicken, seafood, beans, quinoa, nuts, etc.  No red meat.

We are fortunate to employ a wonderful helper who is also a fantastic cook.  The photos above are examples of her meals (which are huge and I cannot finish) but balanced, fresh, and healthy.  If you do not have the assistance of someone else in the kitchen, soups made on Sunday evenings will get you through several evenings.  Omelettes, stir-fry meals, and store-bought roasted chicken with the skin removed are speedy options. 

Have a great week!

Filed under: Domestic Helper, Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Ayurveda with Dr. Avinash R. Tiwari

Hello Friends,

I was recently awakened to a new concept of diet, health, and color after embracing an afternoon of Ayurveda in the tranquil setting of Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives with Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Avinash R. Tiwari (as pictured above).  The remote island, provides a haven to consider alternative lifestyle techniques such as Ayurveda, the ancient Indian “science of life”  based on body health in relation to diet, excercise, and sleep.   Essentially, the body, mind, and spirit are based on three doshas, which are your elemental composition (fire, air, water, space, and earth), thus determining diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.   If you are not able to seek out an Ayurvedic doctor, try for a quick quiz which will reveal your dosha and reveal your specific diet and lifestyle modifications.

As an image consultant, people often ask me what color looks the best for them to wear.  I much prefer to consider the Ayurvedic philosophy of personality related to color and how that color makes you feel.  Suppose your feeling a bit tired, try to wear a bold yellow or orange tie to perk your spirits.  If you’ve been feeling more aggressive or on-edge, select white or light blue to calm your senses.  Image is not only the way you look in the mirror, but how you are perceived on the whole… which includes your moods.  Neutralize your moods and sensitivities with Ayurvedic-based changes in color, fragrance, food, music, breathing practices, temperture, and past-times.

Interestingly, Dr. Tiwari accurately concluded during our consult that I am primarily a fire/Pitta dosha, indicative of a competitive, aggressive, and organized personality.  Fire doshas favor consuming non-spicy foods and should consider sweet, bitter, and astringent diets based heavily on fruits and vegetables, wear light colors, favor jasmine and chamomile, gardening, soft music, and meditation.  Now, back in Hong Kong, I have been applying the Ayurvedic principles for one week and feel magnificent!  I recommend considering color and food choices to anyone looking for positive, quick, lost-cost, low-effort lifestyle adjustments.

Filed under: Ayurveda, Education, Health, Healthy Eating, Stress, , , , , , , , ,