Sunday, February 07, 2016

My Favorite Carb During the Week

Even though I plan to be mostly Whole30-ish, I also want to carb cycle as well. That simply means that I want to make sure that I get in my carbohydrates before and after a tough workout. For me, that means I allow myself healthy carbs when I'm doing double days during the week. Above, is the pancake mix that I love to have right before a hard workout. These Kodiak Cakes are really good and fuel me with nearly 14g of protein! Add your choice of milk/liquid and an egg and that increases the protein as well. These cakes are my favorite because of the taste and texture. They are more whole-grainy, but not with the sandpaper-like taste. They are perfect with fresh berries and organic maple syrup. I'll have it with bacon or with a scrambled egg on the side and a veggie/fruit smoothie. The best part is that I was able to find this at my local Costco - and it was on sale to boot! The same box goes for $20+ on Amazon and I got it for less that $10. I bought several boxes.

I've only had them as pancakes, but I definitely want to try it as a waffle, too. Just need to stop being lazy and pull that waffle maker out.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Super Bowl City 2016

This weekend we took the ferry to San Francisco to take part in the much-anticipated Super Bowl City. It was so cool to be a part of all the festivities as San Francisco hosted this year's 50th annual Super Bowl. The ferry docked at the Ferry Building and put us right across the street from where all the activity was happening. On top of that, it was a gorgeous day in the city and the energy was amazing.  Seeing all the football fans from all over the country descend upon Justin Herman Plaza was a sight to see.

 Lucas waiting in line to get into Super Bowl City.
 Ronin excited to be there, too. 
 Acrobatic dancers scaling the Hyatt Hotel. 
Made it in - what a cool set-up!
 Mom and Dad enjoying all the sights, too. 
 A huge mural on Embarcadero 4. 
 The ferry was packed with fans. 
 Glad we got there early and made it on the ferry. 
 A gold Lexus. Very cool. 
 Even on the crowded streets gotta get that selfie in. 
 Brunch at Yank Sing, one of my mom's favorite dim sum restaurants. 
 So delicious!
Even the ferry building is excited it's Super Bowl weekend. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My One-Year Transformation

This is my one year update since I began my journey to better health. If you'd like to read my first post describing the first part of my journey, you can find it here.

One year. That's how long I've been working on bettering myself physically. I've discovered that in making changes physically for myself, I have also found peace emotionally, mentally and spiritually with myself and those around me. I no longer feel a level of dread when I pass a mirror. Rather, I often look in a mirror and think, "Who is that? Really, that's what I look like now? I no longer get nervous when I'm getting ready for a special event or leaving the house and wonder what I'm going to wear. Rather, I look forward to it since now I can actually fit the special occasion dresses that have been hanging in my closet for years gathering dust.  I no longer approach God in defeat (yet again) when my weakness takes over and I feel like the lowest of lows. Rather, I approach Him in awe and with a grateful heart for what He has allowed and enabled me to do. Day in and day out. I see those inspirational quotes all over social media. And yeah, they inspire me. But I'm more inspired by those who remember that though we do the physical work, it is God who allows and enables us to find success. I never want to forget that.

So here I am one year later and I promised to let you know how things have been going.

November - December 2015: I had reached my next goal weight and with the holidays approaching, I really wanted to take a break from the cutting and enjoy this time of year. I had fears going into it, sure that I was allowing myself  too much leeway and entering a time of year where I could easily slip back into my old ways. I made a point to not miss any of my workouts and eat as consciously as I could leading up to Thanksgiving. Then Christmas season was upon us. Again, no missed workouts - eat as healthy as possible until Christmas. It was also a relief to know that in between Thanksgiving and Christmas I maintained my goal weight. Part of me had wondered if this goal weight was manageable and given that I was doing pretty good during this most gluttonous time of year, I was pretty happy with my upkeep.

In December, the Bootcamp that I attend invited us to consider something called Whole30. In a nutshell, it would be a month of strictly whole-foods: protein, vegetables and fruit and a stripping away of certain food groups that might be causing a negative impact on our health. I read up on it and decided that it might be a good idea after the holidays and a great way to start off the new year. We were encouraged to continue eating healthy so that the transition wouldn't be such a shock to our body once we stripped away the alcohol, sugar, dairy, soy and gluten. Did I do that?  Nope. I went all out. For the week leading up to January 1st, I did not say no to much. I said "yes" and "as a matter of fact, I will have that." By the time I weighed myself before the start of Whole30, I had gained 5 pounds back. In a week. In the past, I would have panicked. I would have thrown my arms in the air and helped myself to another donut. But this time, I knew that I was mentally stronger than I was before and that I had the tools and means to rid myself of those 5 pounds and perhaps more.

January 2016: Whole30 is a whole different level of mental and physical challenge. Without many of the foods that I was able to eat when I was initially losing weight, I was feeling more deprived than ever. The first week was tough- tired, lethargic and zombie-like. Workouts that I could get through before now felt super hard. But, just like my first time around, I was glad to have a group of people who were also doing Whole30 with me. We texted each other food ideas, food substitutions, inspirational quotes and vented when we needed to. By the second week, I was feeling a lot better and getting my strength back. My workouts were tougher but I was no longer feeling weak. Before I knew it I was at the halfway point and feeling loads better. I was no longer craving sugar and sweets. I no longer wished for dairy and gluten. I still dreamed of it and often pined away about pizza and pancakes, but I could take it or leave it. And I wasn't a mess because of it. By the end of Whole30 I had lost 8 pounds. But I also saw other non-scale victories: better skin, better mental state, less headaches, less bloating, more energy (gasp!) and better sleep. Whole30 also helped me to get a lot closer to my next weight loss goal.

What's Ahead: I'm slowly reintroducing those forbidden food groups and observing how my body responds to them. By doing this, I can now create for myself a custom eating regime that works for me and my health goals. I'm allowing some soy back into my diet, but only a limited amount of dairy, gluten, and sugar. Alcohol and sugar treats will be for special occasions only. I'm planning (along with my husband who also completed Whole30) to remain mostly Whole30-ish during the week and allowing some breathing room on the weekends.

In the gym, I'm still aiming to get to that last weight loss goal. Once there, my next goal is to maintain my weight (within  a 1-5 lb range) and continue to replace body fat with lean muscle. I'm amazed at how much lifting heavy weights has contributed to changing my body composition. I'm not aiming for a bodybuilder's body by any means, but hopefully a healthy, strong, and athletic body with all its feminine qualities still in tack. My other goal is to also be able to do one unassisted pull-up - something that has eluded me since I was a kid. It's gonna happen this year - I can just feel it!

 Working on those lats so I can do those pull-ups!

Looking back at this health journey, I'm amazed at how much has been accomplished. I never thought I would be here - deserved to be here. I thought I would forever live in that bubble of  "Maybe one day..." But God has been so good. I've begun to help others who are also on the journey to better health. I'm serving as an assistant trainer, learning all about proper weight training and nutrition. It's become a bigger part of my life and I'm using it as a way to share my own story of struggle and hard work and the positive results that await if you are ready to commit to it.

I didn't get here on my own. I had a great group of people who surrounded and supported me. In the past I tried to do this on my own only to fail time and time again. This time around I made myself more accountable by having a trainer and joining a group of people who shared similar goals. I'm super thankful for my trainer, Berto Hernandez, who has been there from the beginning. He has seen me through good days and the bad days when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. I also have a great group of gals and guys who push me when we all workout together. Committing to a healthier lifestyle is so much easier when you are among other like-minded folks.

Hopefully, you've been encouraged or inspired by my story. I'm sure there is someone else who feels just like you, if you struggle in this area like I do, so go out and start your own journey!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


My son always surprises me. When I think I've figured him out he does something I never expect. It's nice to be proven wrong and I'm reminded of what a great feeling it is to be proud of him and his improvements over this homeschool year. He loves his video games and he especially has a liking for racing games. He recently had a chance to do it for real when his dad took him to the local indoor kart racing facility. Would he really do it? And if he did, could he do so in a safe manner? Would he listen and follow the instructions? Would the vehicle survive him? Oh, the worries of a mom! 

Well, it turns out the worrying was all for naught. He did awesomely! With his dad's help, they got fitted and then instructed on how the vehicle operated. Ronin slowly maneuvered out to the tracks and cautiously drove a slow lap around to get a feel of it. And then...he was off! His dad and he raced and raced around the track like pros! The best part was at the end when he brought the vehicle back in and parked it among the rest of the vehicles - no tantrum and no whining. Just a big smile of joy!

For any parent who has a child with autism, it's always a challenge to get them to step outside their comfort zone. They hold on to their familiarities and routines like security blankets. Asking them to try something new can be hit or miss. You never know. With Ronin, it's usually a quick but firm "No, thank you." But this time, it was as if he was any ol' kid trying out something new and fun. No fear. No reservations. Just joy. 

It's these moments I never want to forget. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lucas's 9th Birthday Party

Our youngest celebrated his birthday this past weekend. I've mentioned before that his birthday is also our wedding anniversary. But with my husband and I both doing Whole30 right now, we decided to make the day all about him and postpone our celebration until after Whole30 was done. Our little guy wanted to go to Jump Highway and have some trampoline fun with his cousins and friends. Afterwards, we ended the festivities with pizza at Round Table and a Kendama battle.

 Friends: Sam, Andrew, Keitaro and Lucas
 Cousins: Erick, Aleia and Kaila
 The whole squad
 Chopping it up
 Killing that pizza after a major jumping fest
 Making new friends
 Ronin and Erick
 Lily, Charlie, Andrew and Mikey
 The Ken battle begins
Joshua masters a trick
The birthday boy and his chocolate cake

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Allison's Long Life Noodle Birthday

My sister and my cousin Hamilton (Hammy to us), celebrated their birthday with noodles. Ramen noodles to be exact. In our culture, noodles is symbolic of long-life and prosperity, so to have it for your birthday is very auspicious. I think my sister and Hammy deserve that for their birthdays!
 At Ramen Hiroshi in Walnut Creek
 Those are definitely LONG noodles.
And don't forget the sake shots!

Monday, January 04, 2016

First Day of Homeschool for Lucas

Today was Lucas' first day of homeschool. Even though technically he isn't officially a student of Visions in Education until January 21, I thought for my own sanity, it would be best to start the boys at the same time. Lucas did great! Already he is enjoying getting through the subjects at his own pace and discovering new curriculum. He says his favorite thing about homeschool is finishing early and getting no homework. His least favorite thing is writing. We will have to work on that one. Even though Ronin was hesitant having Lucas with us, I think he secretly likes that he has another person to goof around with and talk with other than his mom. He has welcomed Lucas to our little homeschool with open arms. Looking forward to a productive semester of discovery and learning!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

New Year's Day With Family

The first and second day of the new year was all about family. We spent New Year's Day with my dad's side of the family and then spent the following day with all of my mom's siblings. As I've gotten older, I grown to appreciate my time with the extended family so much more. We've all gotten so much bigger and have our own families, that it's often hard to get together. But when we do, I love that we all fall into familiar ways and just spend the time enjoying one another and laughing it up...really LOUD! My uncle had us belly laughing about his first encounter with a Keurig system I chuckle still just thinking about it. 

 Dad, Uncle Ado, Me and Winnie
 Me, Jasmine, Auntie Cherry, Lily, Auntie Cynthia, Auntie Lulu, Uncle Ameng and Meaghan
 Mikey, Cessa, Sofia, Dani, Lucas (w/Lemon), Jared, Ronin and Lily. My cousin Inky in the back. 
 Uncle Ado, Mom, Me and Dad
 Jared, Mikey, Ronin, Lucas, Junior, Gabe, Lily, Alani and Owen 
Auntie Carina, Allison, Auntie Tessie, Mom, Auntie Cherry, Auntie Tessie, Auntie Cynthia, Me and Jasmine