Nic Stuff

Sorry for the disappearing act, World Wide Web. I needed a couple of days to get my head screwed back on. It’s not quite there yet, but it’ll have to do.

So updates: I totally failed on counting calories. The last 2 weeks working as a director’s assistant often left me way under my needed caloric intake which just left me feeling stressed out and defeated. On top of it, I didn’t feel very healthy and became rather OCD about my food journal and jotting down every single piece of food or drink that entered my mouth. I think I even gained weight. No bueno.

Instead, I’ve put myself on a balanced and healthy 6-meals a day plan which so far has been working much better. It’s high in protein, fiber, has a good amount of carbs for energy and just enough fats to help promote muscle growth. I’m almost through the Abs Diet for Women book and what I like most about it is that it really explains why carbs and fat are both good and bad for you depending on what types you eat. Most importantly, it contradicts all the dumb diet fads I’ve always been against for years: the low-fat, low-carb diets that actually end up making you gain weight in the end. There are many reasons why this happens but to put it simply, our bodies rebel against us when we aren’t giving them the nutrients that we need. When we put ourselves on low-fat diets or completely take out carbohydrates from out lives, our bodies adjust in order to store more fat so that we’re getting the energy we need for our day to day lives.

I totally cheated on the healthy diet this weekend using my friends in town as an excuse but I think it was worth it. Wilmar and Sarah, two of my closest friends from university (and also the most adorable couple on the planet) were in town to see the Tritones (my old a cappella group) compete at ICCA. I went with them and though the Tritones didn’t place, they seriously rocked the crowd. I’m so proud of them. Their sound now compared to how we sounded back then is rounder, cleaner and much stronger. Wanna hear me back when I was a little 21-year-old? Check, check, check it out:

Addicted – UCSD Tritones 2006-2007

After ICCA, we attempted to go to Mad Bulls but it was far too crowded. While I waited for them there I did have a run in with a Shakespeare looking fellow who asked me if I’ve ever acted and if I wanted to be in his movie. I couldn’t help but be snarky and ask him what kind of movie it was. He surprised me by saying it was a documentary about the dangers of obesity and that I would be used as one of the “beautiful” girls, lol. But let’s be real… he totally wants me to be in a nudie pic. I really wish I had kept his business card because the picture on it was hilarity at it’s finest.

Since Mad Bulls was a bust, we headed back to my place with frozen pizzas, gin, and whiskey where Black Dynamite was waiting for us on Netflix. If you haven’t seen the movie I highly recommend it. It’s one of those films that is made bad on purpose and it does SUCH a great job of it. I’m definitely going to watch it again.

I’d write more but I’m rather tired and I still need to head to the gym for a quick run before bedtime. Work tomorrow on a new commercial though I’ve yet to find out what the commercial is for. Schwing!

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Making Music, Counting Calories & Lazy Teenage Superheroes

I lied, no 2nd post last night. Bad Ena!

BUT… I had good reason!

After picking someone up from the airport then rushing to the gym to get in my daily workout, I moseyed over to my rockin’ friend Johnny’s apartment to finally hang out and officially meet his lovely lady, Lindy. By the time I got to his place it was 11:40pm and I was wayyy late.

So much fun though. We basically kicked back, busted out the guitars and jammed to our heart’s content. I’m determined to make Johnny start a band with me AND teach me guitar because he’s just cool like that. He attempted to teach me and Lindy (on piano) one of his new songs but my lack of guitar skills stifled me. How hot would it be though with a lady on keys, a lady on guitar and awesome to the max J on lead? SUPER HOT. Like H-A-W-T, kind of hot. Like in your face, oh-so-sexy, scorching as the sun, hot. Yeah… REALLY HOT.

We eventually had to put down the instruments and head over to another friend’s sick loft in downtown LA. Every unit seriously looks like a private eye’s office. I kind of want to bust out my 1950s outfits, knock on his door at the midnight hour with claims of a missing husband/fiancé/boyfriend/whathaveyou. I would totally want to live there if the neighborhood weren’t so shady. When we arrived there were firemen busting into his building. Kind of a hilarious coincidence.

We stayed until around 4:30 when we realized it was way past our bedtimes and headed home. Since I didn’t get back to my place until 5am, I slept in this morning. It was something kind of wonderful to lounge in bed until 11.

My brother is in town visiting from Davis so we decided to head to Barnes & Noble to get some coffee and maybe a few new books. While there I stopped by the diet and exercise section where I decided to bite the bullet and listen to my friends who keep telling me I really need to start counting calories for my workouts to be effective.

I bought two books, The Pocket Calorie Counter and the Abs Diet for Women which breaks down the proper amount of protein/fiber/etc. I should really be eating every day. I know there are sites for this like the bodybuilding.com site I mentioned a few posts ago, but I stick to things so much better if I have it in hardcopy form right in front of me. It’s harder to ignore I guess. In any case, after reading the beginnings of The Pocket Calorie Counter, I realized I’m probably eating a LOT LESS calories than I need to be (which can partly be blamed on work) which is actually hindering my ability to lose weight since my body counters the lack of caloric energy by storing more fat.

After sitting and doing all the math in my new little food journal (I love moleskin and actually writing out math equations because I’m a nerd) I need to be eating 1771.32 calories per day to maintain my weight. To lose 1 lb. a week I need to cut out 500 calories per day or work off 500 or better yet a combination of the two which means I’ll be cutting my caloric intake to about 1250 calories a day (give or take depending on my workout). I’m also starting a food journal to make sure I eat enough a day. Just thinking about my intake on Friday and Saturday, I was under 1200 on both days which is just sad.

So calorie counting. Wish me luck and here I go!

But before I do, I leave you with the Lazy Teenage Superheroes: an extremely funny & well-executed short film made by Michael Ashton for only $300. There’s cussing, vulgarity, ninjas and herpes jokes. Yeah… thank me later.

Food, Fitness & an Afternoon with My Pops

Spent the afternoon with the number one man in my life, my Poppa.

I rarely get to spend time with him these days since he travels so much for work. My dad’s a truck driver and is usually on the road to Canada or the East Coast and when he is home I’m usually off at work and by the time I get back, he’s travelling once again. He’s always sending us photos from the road so it kinda feels like we’re with him—

Poppa Bear on the Road

If you ever see a 6’3″ biker looking dude with long hair and a bandana driving a huge big rig who is ALSO Filipino, it’s probably my dad. He’s definitely not hard to spot in a crowd. ♥

We grabbed some lunch at In & Out and spent most of it talking about our current fitness goals. He’s been working on getting back into shape so I told him about a site that a new friend had recommended to me called BodyBuilding.com. He’s into weight lifting now and has been for years but he used to be very slim during his basketball playing days—

Now a days he’s more likely to remind you of a bodyguard then a 80s baller (though he still is).

My Pops: The Biker

Anyway, I took a look at the site myself the other day and along with articles on training, nutrition, transformations and many others there are also metabolic calculators, forums and how-to guides. I haven’t had a chance to delve too deeply into it but it seems like a GREAT resource. Ugh.. the idea of counting calories though is not something that makes me jump for joy. At least it’s something my dad can definitely use. I think it’ll give him all the nutritional resources he needs to get him back to lifting the weights he used to back in the day.

We also ended up going to Costco where we bought a ton of meat, some Kashi GOLEAN Bars for some extra protein & fiber as well as the vitamins my doctor recommended for me: 1000mg of Vitamin D + a Woman’s One a Day should do the trick. Hopefully it’ll give me that extra boost I need to get my groove on at the gym. I also bought some Natrol 5-HTP to stabilize my mood, appetite and sleeping patterns but if you guys have heard anything bad about it let me know so I can stop taking it. The reviews online seem pretty good though, so I’m not worried. My dad also bought me a little bit of a present (so spoiled ♥)—

We had actually grabbed the slip (and paid) for the 4GB (1 Hour) HD Mino but by the time we were on our way back home I realized the guy had given us the 8GB (2 Hour) HD Ultra. Whoops! I told my dad and he started laughing then said,

I noticed the guy was distracted because he was looking at your legs. I wanted to smack him! Serves him right.

Lol… oh lord. Do you guys think karma’s gonna get me if I don’t return it? I’ll give myself a day to think about it, haha. My Mom told me to just keep it: she reasons that if there’s any karma going on it’s good karma for me… and that if I return it now, the guy will get in trouble. :(

To get back on food and fitness, when I got home I found an article in my inbox from LIVESTRONG about the new U.S. diet guidelines—

What we are encouraged to eat more of are: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages, vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean, and seafood.

It’s recommended that we eat less: added sugars, solid fats, including saturated and trans fats, refined grains, and sodium.

…The guidelines are not promoting any one type of diet, rather they encourage an eating pattern that is both nutrient dense and calorie balanced.

The article breaks down what foods to avoid in order to decrease solid fats, added sugars, etc. as well as the cost-friendly foods that will help you eat healthier without breaking the bank. I highly recommend reading it: New U.S. Diet Guidelines: What You Need to Know Now

And now for an early din to give me that extra energy for a nice run. Ciao for now, my crazy critters.

She Calls Me ‘Gazelle’

Since I started on this whole fitness kick my sister has taken to calling me Gazelle. Every time she says it, all I can see [& hear] in my head is Prince Edward, hand-bite & all, except he’s saying my newest nickname instead of Jih-ZELLE!!! I know that’s not how you spell it, but it’s certainly how he says it:

Well… I definitely think it would be nice if someone looked at me & thought gazelle instead of rhino which at one point during the course of our relationship my ex definitely took to calling me on the regular [jokingly of course, but it certainly didn’t do much for the self-esteem].

In any case, she called me that again tonight because I had posted on Facebook that I had run 6 miles today [Jess, I’m ready for that half-marathon relay!]. Though I am proud of myself, I really only did it because I felt so bad about not going to the gym for 3 days in a row. Now… I get that some people think I’m obsessing but I’d like to think of it instead as sticking to my goals.

It’s always been a part of my personality to never half-ass anything, ESPECIALLY if I’ve set a goal for myself. In those instances I’m very black and white about things. I’m the same way in any other aspect of my life—relationships, work, hobbies—it’s just that in this instance it’s getting fit. Don’t think I’m crazy. I’m not trying to get down to a size 2 or anything like that. That would just be completely unnatural for my body type. I don’t even really have a number goal either… all I want is to be longer and leaner and to eventually climb a mountain. Is that so bad? No, I don’t think so.

I do promise that when I do a heavy work out—like tonight since I did full weights on my arms, legs, back and abs after my cardio—I take it easy the next day because I do realize that my body needs time to heal. I promise I’m not on some crazy diet or am pushing my body to extremes, though I am pushing it as far as it can go. Honestly, I think if everyone just listened to their bodies it would be easy to eat right and stay active. I still indulge every now and then. Everyone has to satiate their cravings at some point but it’s ALL about balance. Like balancing a few lazy days with a good work out.

My day for the most part before the gym was rather lax. Went to work, had a meeting then spent the rest of the afternoon lazying about at the beach, playing in the sun & sand and at one point doing the wheelbarrow with my cousin, Abs. Guess who made me the wheel?

Anyway, yay me [again]! I’m happy for myself. Next time you see me, give me a hug and tell me I’m pretty. It’ll make me feel super duper nice and make me love you long time. Lol.. <3

Cancer Sticks a No-Go

Congratulate me: it’s officially been over a month since I’ve had a cigarette.

It’s so strange to think that just a year ago, I would bust out onto my freezing cold, covered in snow & ice rooftop in NY just to inhale cancer causing chemicals into my body. It’s even stranger to think that just four months ago I was living in a city where 60ºF weather would be a paradise. Now, in California winter, anything under 70ºF and I’m freezing (and complaining about how cold I am). But I digress.

My doctor actually called me today to tell me how happily surprised he was that I was so incredibly healthy—save for my Vitamin D deficiency—and that I should continue doing whatever it is I’m doing. Yay, me. Quitting smoking is something I’ve promised myself for so, so long and I’m so glad it’s paying off especially considering my long history with the bad habit.

The first cigarette I ever had was when I was 13-years-old. I was running with an Asian crew back then and it was the “cool” thing to do to hang at the corner and smoke menthols. Oh, how I wish I was uncool back then. I pretty much smoked on and off until high school when I really found myself addicted to those awful sticks. By the time I was 16, I was smoking regularly—first Marlboro Reds, then Parliament Lights, then Camel Turkish Gold—and was able to keep it a secret from my family for years. I did make one attempt to quit when I was 18 and was rather successful for about a year until I went though a stressful move to San Diego and then a huge falling out with my boyfriend at the time. I was 19, incredibly sensitive, and completely alone in a new city so I used exercise and cigarettes as an outlet.

A similar situation happened to me when I moved to NY, though it was more along the lines of socializing and by NY standards that means partying in which alcohol and cigarettes are practically the norm. In truth, while I was trying to meet people in a new city in which I knew no one—much like my situation in San Diego—I was also attempting to redefine myself after a long 7-year relationship in which I pretty much grew up dating my high school sweetheart. Moreover, I was also trying to simultaneously cope with missing my family in a new city and a new coast with only a teeny-tiny support system to rely on. Eventually of course, I created my own little family in NY with close friends and certain family members… but by then the habit of walking into the streets and lighting up was just too hard to break. Now that I’m back in California and especially because I see my nephews often, it’s so much easier to quit. Besides that… I can walk farther, run faster, and sing louder.

So let’s see… smell like an ashtray and look older than I am OR look younger, healthier, fitter, more refreshed and smell like spring time in Paris? I think I’ll take the latter.

By the way, if you ever see me out socializing and tipsy with a cigarette, I give you full permission to smack it out of my hand & maybe slap me around a bit as well (though I can’t promise I won’t hit you back).

Cardi-oh-oh-oh

I used to always be the girl who hated to run.

In high school I played basketball for a semester then quit because my coach required all players to join the track team during off-season. When it came down to it… I always hated that coach more than I hated running, so win/win situation. After I gave up the sport—in school anyway—I needed an outlet for all that teenage energy bubbling inside of me so I took to rollerblading. Back then the idea of my wheels gliding down the streets of LA was much more appealing than my kicks hitting the pavement.

At the time, I never though of blading as exercise: it was just fun. It was a reason to get out of the house and do something after school besides yearbook, or drama or any of the other activities I was involved in. The rush of going full speed down a hill at Balboa Park (in the Valley not in San Diego), trying out new tricks & grinds or discovering new parts of my neighborhood I never would be able to in a car was WAY more fun than watching TV or sitting in a stuffy classroom. I could go for miles and miles and not even realize that the sun had begun to set.

With so much fun it was easy to forget that it’s also one of the best cardio workouts a person can do. As LIVESTRONG states: “While rollerblading became popular in the 1980s, it still ranks among the highest calorie burners. A 1-hour session can burn 913 calories.”

Even though I LOVE to run now, it doesn’t hurt to switch up my routine, right? I think it might be time to bust out my old blades & take to the streets once more. I just hope the saying about riding a bike also applies to blading otherwise I might have a bruised bum in a few days.

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Read the full article from LIVESTRONG here: What Cardio Workout Burns the Most Calories?

Waking Up & Working Out

Since I started back up on my health kick, I’ve mainly been going to the gym in the evenings after work or sometimes pretty late at night in order to tire myself out enough to be able to sleep. However, in the last week or so I’ve found myself waking up rather early [for absolutely no reason at all] and going to the gym or on a hike out of sheer boredom. At first this new habit was pretty annoying as I kind of love staying in bed, but I’ve got to admit it’s been pretty wonderful getting up before or as the sunrises and starting my day on a high-note. As I’ve said before I’m ALWAYS in a good mood after working out, on top of that I feel energized, healthier and most of all it’s out of the way. I don’t have to feel guilty about accepting the invitation of a friend for dinner or drinks since I’ve already done my daily workout. AND if I’ve had a day of gluttony, I can always go back to the gym for a quick run to get rid of that annoying guilt.

Apparently LIVESTRONG.com agrees with me since an email entitled Workout Wake Up Call landed in my inbox yesterday. It linked to an article which extolled the benefits of the AM workout. They pretty much were on par with why I liked my morning exercise sessions but they also listed this which I found interesting and all the more encouraging:

You Burn More Fat

According to Weight Loss For All, exercising first thing in the morning can help you burn more fat. After coming off a night without food, the glycogen levels in your muscle and liver are low. This forces your body to tap in to its fat reserves for energy. Burning more fat can put you on the road to weight loss.

I’m not going to lie, I started working out because I wanted to look good in a bikini. Let’s face it, a positive body image helps me have a healthy and happy attitude, but don’t misunderstand me—my reasoning for working out is far from just losing weight. Though it is an added benefit and was the original cause for this sudden fitness kick… I work out because it makes me feel good, stronger, less tired and most of all HEALTHY.

Yes, we’ve all dragged our feet to the gym but though I’ll often hear someone say, “I regret not going to the gym,” I never hear the opposite. So new AM workout routine. If anyone wants to workout with me or just needs a wake-up call to get that extra kick in the pants in the morning, you know how to reach me.

Let’s get motivated.

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If you’re interested in reading the full article on LIVESTRONG.com, you can find it here.