New Year Resolutions

You may all think that it's too late to make new year resolutions, and normally, I would agree. However, I feel that this Chinese New Year holiday has given me a second chance. I gave up on new year resolutions a long time ago, when I couldn't stick to them and ended up disappointed at the end of the year. This is the reason why I chose not to set any for myself 31 days ago. It came to my attention two days ago that I have severely gained back all my weight that I lost over the summer (perhaps due to winter hibernation eating). And although I go to the gym 3 times a week, it is for that reason I have began eating double the intake. 

I know, this sounds horrifying mom and dad, but here is my plan for the year. While the food I eat is usually of healthy substance, I do dip into the unhealthy section occasionally. So, because I am finally admitting that I am a flawed individual with a muffin-top and jello thighs that "NEED TAH GO" I am making myself two relevant new year resolutions. 

1. Drink the right amount of water.
I downloaded an iPad app yesterday called "Water Me" and it's an interactive app that helps me track the amount of water I am drinking that day and the right amount for my body weight. 
You want to know the sad thing? I used to drink maximum one glass of water a day, if that... Yeah a lot of people question how I'm still alive. Honestly, I don't know. I would never feel thirsty and yeah occasionally I would get a headache (assuming dehydration) but once I drank a sip of water, I was fine. 

So yesterday, I began my first resolution and drank 8 glasses of water, and it was bad. I hate water, and on top of that, I had to use the bathroom 15+ times. I never realized how small my bladder was! And on top of that, my body started feeling funny, like I was high off of water! ... The upside is that I learned with the right amount of water, my liver will actually function properly and decrease the amount of fat stored. No wonder why I I've been packing on the pounds, my liver gave up! 

This leads me to resolution number two. 
This resolution will expose me for everything that I am, physically. Honestly, I don't really care.

2. Lose ALL the weight I gained in China (since studying abroad). 
Since I moved to Shanghai, the first time (Spring 2009), I have gained a lot of weight. In a lot, I mean 20 pounds, 5 pounds give or take. Yeah, I felt I was invincible eating anything I could and as much as I could, since I never really had the problem of weight gain before.  I wasn't really thinking, but I had forgotten that I wasn't doing any sports or exercising like I had at Smith or during high school (track, hockey). So the pounds smacked me in the face, or more like my tummy, butt, thighs, and then face. 

Even after going back to the States for a year and playing ice hockey and going to the gym, my weight bounced around 155. There wasn't much I changed about my eating habits, except I definitely was eating less than China (and I realize this doesn't mean much now). What's worse now is that I do eat healthily, with oatmeal for breakfast, one roll of sushi (8 pieces) for lunch, and noodle soup for dinner. I stopped drinking bubble tea all the time and Krispy Kreme is far behind me (cough, I'll treat myself here and there). From this I notice that I need even more structure with what I am eating and how my food is processed. It's time I start to cook.

I have an amazing kitchen with all the amenities, including an oven (which is extremely rare appliance in China). I should be taking advantage of it.  This is why Chinese New Year has given me a second chance. I will begin a diet (not a fad diet, a lifestyle change) and give myself the week of the holiday to test it out. I've never tried dieting before (maybe the "portioning" crap, but that never works) but why not. This diet doesn't ask you to eat less food, it doesn't tell you to go crazy, instead it encourages more protein throughout the day to reduce snacking.  I read the book 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss (also author of 4 hour workweek) and was inspired to try his "Slow- Carb diet". 

Trust me, I rolled my eyes when I read it, and flipped through the pages to see what bullshit he was feeding. This guy admits he is no scientist or doctor, but concluded he's an observer and a researcher. 

He's listed 5 simple rules for the diet:

Rule 1: Avoid "white" carbohydrates, or anything that can be white. No bread, pasta, etc.
Rule 2: Eat the same few meals over and over again.
Rule 3: Don't drink calories.
Rule 4: Don't eat fruit, except tomatoes (if you consider it a fruit).
Rule 5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. As he calls it, "Dieters Gone Wild" (DGW) day. (Snicker bars, Krispy Kreme, bubble tea, pasta, fruit) He's admitted to eating over 6,000 calories on his DGW day. Gross and while I'll never do that, here is his reasoning for eating anything you want on this day:

"Do I really have to binge once a week?
It is important to spike caloric intake once per week. This causes a host of hormonal changes that improve fat-loss, from increasing cAMP and GMP to improving conversion of the T4 thyroid hormone to the more active T3. Everyone binges eventually on a diet, and it's better to schedule it ahead of time to limit the damage. The psychological benefits outweigh even the hormonal and metabolic benefits."

Yeah, rule 5 sounds like crap, right? But I guess you'll have to see my experiment first hand. 
I figure if this doesn't work out, what have I got to lose? I'll be eating healthier anyway, which should lead to at least something! And I'll definitely look forward to my dieter's gone wild day :) Hey, there's incentive!

That's it for my physical resolutions. I have added one mental resolution too. Read at least 20 books this year. That might not seem like a lot, but for those who know me well, I'd rather watch TV. This resolution has started off well so far. I'm currently reading a couple different books (The Alchemist - started today, Tipping Point) and almost done with the Alchemist (yeah its pretty short, but cute and a NYT bestseller for 105 weeks).

I've already stoked my iPad library with books to read:
The Hunger Games trilogy
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Three Cups of Tea
Water for Elephants
Memoirs of a Geisha
and I'm trying to find more travel novels like Eat, Pray, Love.

If any one has any suggestions, I'm all ears!

That's all for the resolutions. Going to keep them short and not simple.
Last day of work tomorrow before the holiday, and hopefully the grocery store is open so I can buy all the produce I need to get my "Slow Carb Diet" going! :)

Wish me luck! Or more like will-power!

Spring in my Step

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but it seems like my future has made a turn for the better. Can I say thank goodness for holidays and alcohol? Not that I'm a big drinker at all, but gatherings in China are surrounded by the presence of alcohol; or should I say that holidays in China are surrounded heavily by alcohol. Did I mention, I work for a liquor company?

The point is, tonight I made some new friends at work at our annual dinner party. I actually went up to people and conversed with them in Chinglish and have established that we actually do have things in common. Furthermore, earlier today, I asked my manager for a "status update" on my work. He answered that he has seen much improvement and I should not worry myself about my performance. Tonight, especially after some booze, he confessed that I should never have to ask about my "performance status" because no matter if I do anything wrong or right, he is there to support me.

This took me by surprise.

My higher management boss has resembled my father (Hi Dad! I know you're reading this) in some ways: a mentor, but extremely stern - and sometimes unnecessarily.  While I still look up to my dad more, duh, my boss has his way of showing disappointment in people with a clear expression in his face and voice and I can tell you, I get this quite often.  Sadly, I think I am still looking for approval in a childish kind of way and terrified of disappointing my boss. Perhaps tonight I have come upon a revelation where I should not feel like I am always disappointing my bosses, but instead I'm taking many burdens from them.

Like I said, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Only time will tell, but I pray that it only gets better from here.

Now the question is... where to go for Chinese New Year?!?!

Happy New Year...again!

I realize my last post was a bit depressing, considering I got a few e-mails and messages from friends worried about my well-being. I'm doing fine, I just need to embrace the power of positive thinking. Chinese New Year is around the corner and I still have no idea what I'm doing for the paid holiday. Originally I was supposed to head up to Harbin again for the ice festival, but this time around I am not prepared for -30 degrees Celsius! I don't even have the right winter clothes for Shanghai...and it so happens to be a rare year where it actually snows!

I've been looking at some plane tickets to go to Hainan, the Hawaii of the 'East'. But of course, tickets are at an exorbitant price during CNY and it'll be extremely crowded.  There are so many places to visit in China, but the weather just isn't "spring break" weather and I hate being confound within this country! I would be jet-setting back to Thailand if I could!

Anyhow, I am starting to look into other industries to work in and have spoken to one of my bosses about it. She is actually helping me plan out my future career, since I don't think it'll be in marketing. I have lined up a few meetings this week and next week with PR & advertising firms around Shanghai and hopefully they see what I'm passionate about, since right now I'm not even too clear about what I want, I just know I want to learn more than I am now!

I'm finally going to get internet in my apartment this weekend, so my blog and Facebook will finally be updated of long overdue photos.  In the meantime, help me think of where to go this 'spring break'!