My diet, exercise, and weight story

/ Monday, October 27, 2014 /

Several people have asked me to write a post about this topic. I had waited for a long time for multiple reasons (not having enough time, being super sick, etc) but here is the long-awaited post.

Throughout most of high school I was overweight. As hard as that may seem to be believed (especially for petite Asians such as myself, or at least so-goes the stereotype) it is true. I wasn't allowed to drink coffee (for all of those parents out there - it does NOT stunt growth!) and so to stay up I would eat lots of chocolate. I ate a ton of my brother's Halloween chocolate and it was delicious, but ultimately not good. I was super stressed in school with 7 AP classes, running extracurricular clubs, and everything that I forgot to take care of myself. My parents didn't have time to go to grocery stores to buy homemade/healthy ingredients for lunches, so I had to resort to very unhealthy, greasy school lunches. Also, I didn't have time to exercise, hence the weight gain.

The summer after college, I somehow started not caring about food anymore. I went on a cucumbers-and-milk diet and lost about 15 pounds. I spent the entire summer (apart from a month of vacation) cleaning out my parents' house, and that took a TON of effort and consumed a lot of calories. Yay!

Afterward I entered college. I started exercising a lot, running several 5Ks and getting into breakdancing. I started taking a lot of dance classes and yoga classes, and my health improved quite a bit. I definitely struggled in terms of weight with the unlimited cafeteria options offered by my college, and did gain freshman 15. However, I lost it, and then some more after that.

Thus entered medical school. By this time, I had undergone several surgeries, and after each one of them, the natural lack of appetite and strenuous physical therapy made me both lose a LOT of weight as well as atrophy my muscles. I had lost, from high school till this point, a net of 30 pounds. And believe me - for a person who is 5' 2'', that's a LOT.

I started medical school afterward. I gained back about 10 pounds, but this time it was mostly healthy muscle. I started working out again (when I had time), but this time, instead of dance and running, it was yoga, pilates, Zumba, and the like. A lot better. Now, I exercise about 3-4 times a week, and try my best to watch my diet. Lots of veggies and fruits. Meat only a few times a month. I still do have my weaknesses - the occasional delicious fruity wine, Cheez-its, fancy cheeses, raspberry jams, etc, but for the most part I've gotten a lot better.

I've discovered a lot of tricks along the way. Some of them include:

  • Swapping out peanut butter filled with saturated fat with unsaturated almond butter
  • Putting frozen fruit in my water (yay fruit and water!)
  • No sodas of any sort
  • Black coffee
  • Tea w/ light brown sugar and goji berries
  • Kefir (lots of bacterial cultures) instead of reduced fat milk
  • Avoiding mochas and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks (I go for the skim milk normal latte instead)
  • Quiches with lots of veggies
  • Making my own kale chips instead of french fries or potato chips
  • Making my own spaghetti sauce, filled with chunky vegetables instead of store-bought ones
  • Fruit smoothies blended with real fruit, kefir, and frozen non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Swapping out ice cream for frozen yogurt
  • Etc. 

I still have a long way to go in terms of diet and health (e.g. sleeping more normal hours, not stressing as much) but it's way better than before!

Stuff I've used up + mini-reviews

/ Tuesday, October 14, 2014 /
I don't normally do these posts often (because it takes me quite awhile to use stuff up) but here's a list of recent products that I've finished as well as my thoughts on them.


EOS Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet - this is quite nice of an addition to the (giant pile of) lip glosses/balms I currently use. It's very light-weight and tastes/smells like strawberry shortcake. It's also very pretty, does not make my lips feel gritty, and glides on smoothly. The downside is that the bottom of the product is very hard to get out - I literally had to cut apart the bottom plastic holder using scissors and scoop out the product into another lip balm stick (think Chapstick tube) in order to use all of the product up without any waste. Kind of inconvenient. Also, although the packaging is cute, it is a bit hard to store in a bag or other place with its cylindrical design.

Grapefruit Naturally Smooth Lip Balm Image

Yes to Grapefruit Naturally Smooth Lip Balm - this is also a light-weight lip balm that has kept my lips quite happy over the course of a few months. It's got a slightly heavier feeling than the EOS lip balms but also provides more moisturization to the lips. The grapefruit smell is very appealing (perhaps not the people who take meds messing with the Cytochrome P450 system though... grapefruit essentially cancels out the meds' effects... more on that later). I received this product a PR campaign/giveaway. This product costs $2.99 a pop and honestly doesn't last that long (much less than the EOS lip balm) so I can't say it's truly efficacious when it comes to pricing.


Kipling Large Organizer Brownie Wallet in True Blue - I received this wallet as a birthday present from a dear friend 4 years ago and have used it steadily since then. Recently though, the wallet started coming apart (the inside walls/shells became flimsy) and also, the wallet became stained and gross due to stuffs I've put in my purse over the years. I tried washing the wallet but it just came completely apart. It's a very good nylon wallet with 12+ pockets, a coin compartment, and a TON of space for bills, ID cards, and other stuffs. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to store his/her checkbook but wants to store just about everything else in it. It was definitely worth it as it costs $26 on Amazon and lasts for years (4 years in my experience).

ELF Studio Tone Correcting Powder - I bought this powder 4 years ago and, despite regular use, only recently finished it. That's a long time! This $3 product has served me well over the years, helping correct skin tone and balancing out the yellow sallow/reddish/bluish areas of my skin.

Here's what it ended up looking like at the end:

  I had to throw this product out because (1) It was loosing its sanitary purposes and (2) it was not working very well as a (not finely milled) loose powder product. It was also getting hard to store because the powder was coming off and making "poofy clouds" everywhere whenever I used it. I did like it though, and it had a good run.

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara Mini - I received this product as part of a Sephora gift with purchase awhile ago. This mascara is the best non-waterproof mascara I have ever used. Seriously. It gives a ton of volume as well as length, and doesn't give crazy racoon eyes at the end of the day. I guess the thing is that high-end non-waterproof mascaras work better than their drugstore counterparts (at least in my recent experience). It is quite pricey though - $20 for the full-size product on Sephora's website.


Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Vitality Facial Serum - I purchased a pack of 2 on Amazon. (Amazon is the place to go!) I had seen this product on shelves at Whole Foods but for the longest time hesitated to purchase the product due to its rather pricey price. Honestly, I'm kind of ambivalent about this product because (1) at the beginning it made me break out due to its long list of oils and other ingredients and (2) there are other, more pure vitamin C products out on the market. Granted, I do like the fact that the product was not tested on animals (do humans count as "animals" in this case?). I'm not exactly sure whether it makes my skin have less wrinkles and other anti-aging effects (as evidenced by the amount of wrinkles on my forehead) but it does provide a power boost for my sunscreen every morning.

Tree Hut Shea Moisturizing Shower Wash in Brazilian Nut - this product literally reminds me of chocolate. Breathable chocolate in body wash form. Given my chocoholic tendencies, I love it. I bought this product on sale at Kroger for $3.84 a pop and really enjoy the moisturizing texture and tasty aroma. This product is usually pretty pricey for a drugstore body wash (around $7.50 a bottle) but honestly at the discounted price, it is definitely worth it.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion - this is one of the best waterproof eyeliners I've ever used. It is very matte black and stays on a long time. I like using this in my waterline as well as as an over-the-eye eyeliner when wearing glasses. It also brings ton of color output when tightlining. I got this as part of an Ipsy bag quite awhile ago. The product is super creamy and glides on like butter. I've even used it to apply Halloween makeup on dpod_the_owl (dressed up as a pirate)! It is a pricey product at $20 a pop, but I honestly think it's worth it.


Neutrogena Make-up remover Cleansing Towelettes - These little buggers are very good at removing makeup. Even waterproof makeup. They've been very useful during my recent travels and also are pretty soft on the skin. The downside is that they're pretty hard to store as (1) you have to put them upside down in order for the cloths to retain their moisture and (2) the top sticker to keep the wipes inside the pack is pretty flimsy (think baby wipe boxes to keep baby wipes from getting dried up). They're pretty cheap at Costco at $14-18 for 114 wipes so honestly, as long as you store them upside down, they're a bargain.


Yes to Grapefruit Correct & Repair Facial Wipes -  these makeup wipes are also very effective at removing makeup but they're a bit pricier than the Neutrogena ones. At $5.99 for 25, they are 24 cents each as compared to the Neutrogena ones (15 cents each). I personally don't like these as much because the grapefruit scent/chemicals burn my eyes when used around the eye area. Sensitive skinned people bewarned.

Okay, so there were the products that I used up recently. Feel free to give any of them a try!~
 (And if you do, please leave a comment describing your experience!)


FTC: The Yes to Grapefruit lip balm was generously given to me by Yes To via PR and a giveaway. All other products were purchased with my own money or gifted by family/friends. All opinions are honest and my own. I am not sponsored by any companies (although it would be nice to be sponsored!)


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