Apr 20, 2012

You're Fit But My Gosh Don't You Know It: Introduction!

I am introducing a new section to this blog dedicated to my journey to being a fitter and healthier me (and yes it's a song title by The Streets as well) ! As you all know, a little less than 20 days ago, I joined an all women's fitness franchise called Curves. Up to this morning, I have visited Curves 11 times - you're supposed to go at least 3 times a week, 12 times a month - and for shits and giggles, I decided to weigh myself about a week ahead from my next weigh in.

While my weight maintained, the trainer pulled out this nifty little machine that tells you your BMI and your body fat percentage and mine had actually gone down by 2%. And apparently, that is pretty fast for someone who hasn't been active in well over 2 years.

I'm a lazy person. Like, real lazy. I actually rather sit in front of the TV and eat myself into oblivion because I'm just that lazy. But it didn't really work when I like to play dress up once in a while. And you can't really play dress up when you feel like a ship. Trust me, it took a hell lot of motivation and willpower to get off my ass and sign up for the gym because I hate jogging and brisk walking and my knees aren't strong enough for running.

saw this on Pinterest and I just had to post this here

Before I actually signed up for the gym, I actually spent quite a bit to put together a proper training gear. I had gone out and bought a new pair of Adidas training pants and a Nike sports bra. And soon after that I replaced my rather tight Power shoes with a new Nike shoes (I bought from Zalora with some in store voucher I had earned when I found out my previous purchase had run out). I was all set.

I signed up and started right away. Most mornings I will be at Curves TTDI. 

But of course, eating better also helps. Let's face it: I'm Asian and I cannot go through a day without rice. Many times before that I tried to completely cut rice out of my diet, eat twice a month or once a week when I didn't realize it could be as simple as having it just once a day. And my rice dish is always during lunch because I need fuel to power through the rest of the day. When I'm home for dinner, I will cook. At least I know what goes in my food.

I hardly eat out now in a week. Maybe once or twice when I'm really exhausted. Otherwise it would just be homecooked meals by mom or myself.

Of course, having an iPad makes it much easier to count my calorie intake. I recently downloaded the MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker app. MFP is like a social network or community of people who want to lose weight, get fit and feel better about themselves. And it is a big motivation when your friends are trying to lose weight with you! I got two of my colleagues to get on the community (and Curves) as well!

MyFitnessPal has so far been the only calorie counter app I've come across that has entries for Malaysian food from nasi lemak to ayam masak merah. I can't say it's 100% accurate but it does come close. On the iPad app which I have you can keep track of your food, your exercise and weight. If you add friends via the community, you can keep track of their progress and motivate and be motivated by them!

Food Diary

Food Details

Your Friends

Progress Chart

When you start up the app for the first time, it will ask you for your health profile and calculate the amount of calories you should take a day. If you add in your exercise routine, it will add on your allowance calories for the day. Admittedly I have failed for two days, today worst than yesterday. But I realized that I drink more water lately than I did before simply because there's a water intake button at the bottom that you press as you drink glass after glass of water a day.

I mentioned in a previous entry that I tried a Zumba class and it was incredibly intense and I love it. Sadly because of financial circumstances and as well as not having the right dancing shoes for it (running shoes and some training shoes are definitely NOT good for dancing as it becomes hard to twist, turn and pivot as the workout requires. You might injure yourself badly), I won't be joining any time soon. Such a bummer really. But I guess it's the universe's way of telling me to SLOW THE HELL DOWN.

I'm starting to realize that I actually like going to gym. Particularly this gym. The ladies there are so friendly it's almost unbelievable. The trainers are also very motivating. One of them has 4 kids and is in GREAT shape.

Time to hit the hay as tomorrow is another workout day! Be healthy and happy people!

Apr 13, 2012

Yummeh in Muh Belleh: Lina's Breaded Chicken

I'm loving cooking more and more than I thought I would. And the fact boyfriend has an awesome-r kitchen than mine makes it so much nicer to cook. Tonight for dinner I cooked some breaded chicken.

Lina's Breaded Chicken
Total preparation time: 40 minutes
Yields: 5 pieces


5 pieces of raw chicken, cut (alternatively you can use boneless chicken breasts or fillet)
3 tbsp of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
Cajun seasoning
Ground ginger spice
Black pepper
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten

How to Make!
1. Wash the chicken pieces and cut off the excess fat.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, Cajun, ginger and black pepper in a bowl. Put as much Cajun, ginger and black pepper as you would prefer.
3. Heat up oil in a wok for deep frying.
4. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
5. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a flat plate.
6. Coat the chicken with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs IN THAT ORDER.

7. Place the coated chicken pieces into the wok of hot oil.
8. Cook till golden brown.

9. Drain the oil on a paper towel and serve with a favorite side dish (wedges, fries, mashed potatoes, etc). Dip it in Thai chili sauce for awesome taste!

I hope this is easy enough to follow and I hope it's good for you as it was for me :D

Apr 12, 2012

How to be a Big Girl: Finances

Let's face it: I suck at managing my finances. Handling large amount of money has always been a fear of mine. And it's an actual legit phobia: Chrometophobia. Fear of money. Because to me, the more money you have, the faster you'll lose it.

I don't earn that much every month. Whatever I earn just barely covers everything I need to pay. Sometimes I am broke even before mid month. Especially if it's November and every 3 or so months - car insurance and car service.

Every month since I was 22 I've been paying my own rent, car loan, phone bill. And that time I was only earning around RM900 - RM1000. If i was 17, I would be all SHIT SON THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY but now. No. Not enough.

And in comes my student loan. Technically I have 5 years from the day I finished my loan term (November 2006) so I should finish paying it off November 2011. But I only graduated from university at 2010, of which I have informed the loan institution beforehand.

Then I was blacklisted a year earlier than I technically should.

This subject on PTPTN is the hot topic nowadays. And I absolutely hate it when people assume that I only know how to borrow but have no intention on paying back. Now this is what I wanna sound off on:

Look. It's not that I don't want to pay back but in my defense I was unfairly treated. It's not entirely my fault. Yes I should have just paid even RM10. But I would have to sacrificed so much more. I'm not rich. My parents aren't rich. I still don't earn as much as a regular 25 year old should. I'm only a diploma graduate. I don't take money from my parents at all. I fucking sacrificed degree so that I wouldn't continue taking money from my parents.

So before you label every damn blacklisted person as irresponsible know that some of us actually want to pay it off and am trying very hard to do so.

I'm done sounding off.

Now I try hard to plan my finances a month in advance. And it's that - hard. But it's a learning process. Lose some to win some right?

Having an iPad makes it easier to keep track of my finances and I find Money Smart the best money tracker and budgeting app so far.

It can generate reports of your spending. And you can set your own budget and track your expenses according to budget. It might look intimidating at first but it's pretty damn easy to use once you get the hang of it. They have one for the iPhone too. Get the iPhone version and the iPad version from the appstore. there's a lite version you can try for 25 transactions. $4.99 for the paid one.

When you get older, and especially when you get older and older, your career will progress and you will have more money. And you will have more responsibility and more shit to pay off. Just know that just because you're a big kid now, doesn't mean you can:

But instead you would more often than not:

Apr 10, 2012

Yummeh in Muh Belleh: Food, food, food

Because I'm a little piglet, I'm posting up food photos - what I've made and consumed over the past...few weeks I guess?

It's quite obvious that I eat too much meat -_-

Apr 5, 2012

How to be a Big Girl: Being Active

A lot of people still tell me that at age 25 that "you're still young", "you're a child", "you don't have to worry about anything". But with a family health history like mine - blood pressure, heart problems, etc - I think I have causes of concern about my health.

I was never really a gym person. I used to play sports and take up martial arts all throughout my primary, secondary schools and college years but after I left I just swelled up. In my first job I was still alright because I wasn't really required to sit at a desk for long hours. Then the second and this current job I have requires me to sit in front of the computers for long hours.

And because of that, my stamina is completely gone down the drain.

I don't like going to the gym. Mainly because I feel intimidated by the amount of people in conventional gym and more often than not, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do on each machine. And I end up going on the treadmill because I don't know what else I need to do and I don't wanna spend so much money on just walking on a treadmill.

And no I can't afford a personal trainer.

After putting it off for so long, I found out about a women's only gym called Curves around Kota Damansara. At first I didn't really care much about it until I weigh myself recently and realize I am as heavy as my boyfriend and whenever I shop for clothes I get depressed not being able to fit in anything.

Last Saturday, I signed up for Curves in TTDI and it was probably the best thing ever. It's not super hardcore intensive because it does cater a lot more to older women. But some exercise is better than none and Curves is amazingly good for beginners.

I've read so many reviews on the place in other countries and there were bad reviews but they agreed on the same thing - it's a good place to start and if you feel like you need to advance you should leave and find something that suits you.

I personally feel paying RM109 per month isn't that much. Hell, I spend as much eating in less than a week with the same amount of money so I might as well put it into good use.

Curves require you to come in at least 3 times a week. Which is alright since it's only a 30 minute workout. You come in, dump your stuff in a cubby hole and workout. 30 minutes later, you're out.

Curves works in a circuit form where the machines are lined up in a circle and in between the machines are recovery boards where you warm up, slow down your pulse after working one machine and basically, recover. There's always music blaring with a voice of a lady saying "change stations now" every 30 or so seconds. After 10 minutes you're required to check your pulse.

There's a chart mounted on the walls that shows your age and pulse rate. There's an optimum level where fats are burned and more than that you're just burning sugar, essentially burning energy. On my first 2 days there I had a horrible time trying to get my pulse rate down. While all these other little ol ladies are jogging about on the recovery board, I had to stop and take deep breaths because my pulse rate went up till 30 beats in 10 seconds.

I read a lot of Curves trainers are inexperience and downright rude and I feel sorry for those franchises. The ones in TTDI are nothing short of amazing. Very helpful, accommodating, bubbly and very experienced. One of the trainers is a physiotherapist which is good to have.

They currently have 7 branches in KL - TTDI, Kota Damansara, Ampang, USJ, Puchong, Bukit Damansara and Shah Alam. You can find the addresses Here.

Curves might not appeal to everyone, especially those who are more used to intense workout routine. It only has one circuit, it works on resistance - the more you push, the more resistance you'll get - but it's a step in the right direction if you're a total workout newbie like me.

This Sunday I'm going to try out a Zumba Fitness class at Sole To Soul Dance Studio. Many people would say don't force myself especially since I work a full 6 days a week but the only way for me to get myself fit and active is to fill up my otherwise eating non-stop times with sports and other activities. And don't worry, I do have 2 days off working out for my body to rest ;)

Apr 1, 2012

How to be a Big Girl: Setting Goals

I usually suck at setting goals for myself. I have this bad habit of not following through a lot of the things I started because I lost interest. But as I grow older I realized that I should always finish whatever I started regardless on whether or not I lose interest.

Having an iPad means having apps for pretty much anything and I tried Google apps to keep my life goals in check because I think I'm that kind of person -- I need things to be organized for me to follow through. I looked and looked and realized that most goal tracking apps are either business oriented or paid apps (I try not to buy too many iTunes gift cards for myself).

Then I realized the simple reminder app that came with the iPad is good enough.

I try to limit myself to three goals a month. Simply because most of my goals/to-do involves a lot of money. I won't hide the fact that I am in debt at the age of 25. It's mainly my student loan 6 years ago. But that's a story for another entry.

I no longer owe my old university any money after much hardship trying to contact the debt collectors to settle the debt (oh the irony -- can't reach the debt collector to settle a debt they're chasing me for). I start paying my dad off for helping me pay for my UCLA screenwriting class (due to start in June). And I signed up for gym!

I've completed all my goals for April because it's easier and less intimidating if you set it by month rather than the whole year through. I have 1001 goals for the year 2012 but it feels a little dejecting to look at it and have this feeling that you can never ever achieve all the goals.

So the lesson here: it's good to set goals for yourself but never ever go to crazy extreme. A person has their limits and you should never force yourself too much. Slowly, but surely :)