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

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

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 – Top 10 for Dining Out in Hong Kong

Sichuan Cuisine Da Ping Huo; L/G 49 Hollywood Rd. 2559-1317


A HUGE part of Hong Kong culture is food.  It is a city with food from every corner of the world and every province in China… and it is delicious at every price.  With the average office worker at their desk until past 8pm, many people hardly have the energy to fix dinner at home – so we go out to eat.  A lot.  Staying trim when you live off menus requires a bit of restraint and skill.  I will give you my personal tips for healthy fine dining, casual lunch on-to-go, and snacking. 

 1.  Take control over where you eat.  If your partner or group is craving drinks and bar snacks, suggest a restaurant that has drinks and a festive environment… but healthy options as well.  Mexican, for example, is a good choice.  Fajitas with a diet coke won’t do damage… and your friends can enjoy margaritas and nachos in bliss.  

 2.  Share, split, divide… and conquer!  People in Asia love to share food – family style.  Take advantage of this and be sure to order something different from your companion for variety and nutritional balance.  Fine dining western restaurants in HK see nothing unusual about this either.  Steak, ribs, pasta, bowls of noodles, salads, fish –> all share-worthy and most restaurants will even split it for you in the kitchen.  One entrée with 2 sides of vegetables is usually enough for 2 people. 

 3.  Most restaurants do not put sides of vegetables on their menus.  But, ask and you shall receive.  Make sure to specify that you are trying to be healthy and would they please not use any butter or oil on the steamed vegetables?  Restaurants want to please you – so just ask. 

 4.  Healthy snacking on-the-go?  Short, skim lattes; an apple in the gym/hand bag; whole-wheat roll from bakery – eat half and throw the rest away; pint of milk from the 7/11; a Ziploc bag with 2 handfuls of mixed nuts; a can of protein shake or Slim-Fast carried with you and added to a glass of ice later in the day; buy your lunch and eat half at 10:30; half at 2:00.  

 5.  Sparkling water.  Order a large bottle when you sit down to eat and the bubbles help fill you up.  Add lemons and limes for flavor.  Continue to sip water between bites and dishes to help become full and aid digestion.  Plus, most restaurants use too much salt, so this helps balance your fluids and bloating. 

 6.  Talk to your waiter/waitress.  What is healthy?  What are your fresh vegetables today?  What do you recommend?  People in Hong Kong sometimes have long discussions with their table servers about what to order and dish modifications.  And, they will tell you if you have ordered too much food.  Or, ask them “is this too much food for 2 people?”  You can always order more….  By the way, they only bring the check and come to the table when you flag them down.  This is the HK way of being polite. 

7.   Utensils are helpful.  Eating with chopsticks forces you to carefully pick up each morsel of food.  If you are using a knife and fork, place them down while you chew your food so you aren’t in a continuous eating motion.  You might consider asking for your utensils to be removed altogether so you literally cannot eat anymore.  If people have ordered cake and you really don’t want to eat it, ask the server to take your dessert fork.  Putting your fork and knife in the “finished” position will ensure the whole plate is removed quickly.  Send it away when the thought crosses your mind to avoid cleaning your plate.  Out of sight, out of belly.

 8.  Make reservations.  Request a table at the restaurant of your choice.  Control over your meal will help you anticipate what you will order during the day.  Book a table with a view so you have something else to look at and talk about and the focus is on the conversation instead of the food. 

 9.  Wine, bread, & dessert.   Truthfully, I have never sent away an approaching bread basket.  Who can resist hot bread?  I try each variety they offer, eating about 1/3 of the piece…with a bit of butter.  Then, ask them to remove it once I’ve had my fix.  One glass of wine won’t hurt, and dessert is perfect for sharing with a cup of peppermint tea to aid digestion.  You have to enjoy food… in moderation.

10.  Eating dinner early is healthier and can save you money at many Hong Kong restaurants.  Check with your favorite places for their early bird specials and set-dinners.  The prices are lower, the food is lighter, and you are home, showered, and in bed by 9:30 for your 6am wake-up to go exercise.  🙂

Filed under: Healthy Eating, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,