Your Guide to Halloween, Candy, and eating during the Holiday Season

I personally think that the holiday season aka the season of feasting and eating way too much starts with Halloween. And while the holiday season is filled with friends, family, and lots of joy, it also means lots of food and chances to indulge more than needed. Now this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself during the holiday season, but this post is here to help you guys get the most out of the holiday season by not sacrificing your enjoyment or nutrition/fitness you’ve worked so hard for until this time.

Ready?

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  1. Eat slowly | I talked about this in my last blog post. Eating slowly does really help. Usually, I have this friend (let’s call her A) that eats at the same fast eating pace as me and we are always the one that get seconds together. But this week, as I’ve been eating slower, I notice that when I am halfway done, A is already done and she goes up for seconds. However, when I am done with my first serving, my stomach feels full and even though I want to eat more for the satisfaction of my tastebuds, my physical satisfaction has been reached.
  2. Share | Share your treats. Use these treats to catch up and spend time with your friends and loved ones. When you gather around the table to eat a dessert, don’t make the focus of that time to eat, but an opportunity to spend time with each other. Also, if you share, you can try a variety of flavors. So if you decide to share with two of your friends, you can get the chocolate cake, your other friend can get the pumpkin pie, and the third friend can get tiramisu. And you can a small bite and indulgence out of all three.
  3. Be realistic | Don’t skip meals or eat barely anything for a meal so that you can have a feast for dinner. By starving yourself for the night, you are going to eat more than you need. The food already looks appetizing but being hungry you’re definitely going to get more for the first serving and also get seconds. So eat normally. Don’t let those holiday parties be an excuse for you to eat more than you should. Eat those indulgent meals all in portions.
  4. Have fun, though | What’s the point of the holiday season without some fun? Life is too short to be worrying over calories. Indulge and enjoy yourself (but of course in moderation).

What’s your favorite meal during the holiday season?

xo,

Stephanie

What does “moderation” mean anyway?

While some go completely cold turkey for their eating regime, as someone who has restricted themselves with eating 1,200 calories a day and then eventually yo-yo dieting, I personally think that moderation is key.

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While sometimes it might be eating this….

I know this produces frustration from some of you guys as you (and myself included) want a definitive answer of how to stay healthy and slim. Eating in moderation is open to so much interpretation, however, I think the message is clear — it means you have the freedom to sometimes eat a salad, or sometimes eat a burger, sometimes go on a 8-mile long run, or sometimes not even workout at all. It’s with being flexible with your eating options.

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… it also means eating this too!

For example, this past Friday, I had a mandatory meeting for one of the councils I’m in for school. The meeting started at 12:30 and my science lab ended at 12:25. The council provided pizza and while in the past, my uptight self would have been anxious and frustrated that I would not have time to stop by the dining hall and get a “healthy” salad, I opted to eating two slices of pizza. The same council, had a mandatory meeting on Saturday night at 5:30 when my dining hall opened at 5:30. So dinner on that Saturday night was just a lot of snacking. But you know what? I need to be okay with that. Trying to live your life where each meal has to be perfect in portions and quality is impossible. And even if you achieve this, You. Will. Be. Miserable. Trust me, I’ve been there.

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Is turning down Starbucks w/ friends worth it? I think not.

While it is vital that we nourish our bodies, we at the same time, need to nourish our souls. We need to be both physically and emotionally healthy. And I know this easier said than done. I can rant all about this, but in reality, I have times where I am tested.

 

So both you and me will be taking this challenge. We will be eating in moderation. No more rules. No more “carbless meal,” no “not eating past 7pm,” no “not eating any refined/processed foods,” just simply: eat in moderation. It’s actually a lot simpler than it is. You would think that if you were given the complete freedom, you would just eat junk food all the time. But if you’ve come from a standpoint where all you’ve been eating is healthy food, you actually start craving food that’s healthy. I personally can’t go very long with pizza and junk food. My mouth salivates for a nice and light salad. So trust yourself.

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Trust yourself enough that you won’t crave an ice cream every day.

Also, in addition to moderation of food quality is important, PORTION moderation is important. My dad and I were talking about this (as he is a complete health and fitness freak now — and also: Happy Birthday, Dad!), but you can gain weight from eating just healthy foods. Healthy or not, all foods have calories.

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Watch your portions too! All foods have calories!

This motto also applies to burning calories, too. I am a Type-A so I can get carried away with anything – such as fitness. I ran every morning at 6:30am and did core everyday. Even when my body was screaming that I sleep more or take an easy running day. And guess what? I learned my lesson as currently I have a stress fracture on my foot so I can’t do anything for two weeks and probably can’t run for 6 weeks.

 

So all in all, remember, moderation is key. Not beat yourself on those “bad” “junk food” eating days. We are all humans. We need to have life. We need to nourish ourselves but enjoy ourselves. Remember: a sustainable and healthy lifestyle is the best.

 

What is your motto for nutrition and fitness?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Relax & Refresh

Sometimes, you just need a couple hours to yourself. School or work might have been overwhelming, you might have issues occurring in your relationships, or maybe you just had a grueling week and want to reward yourself. Regardless, in my experience, relaxing and refreshing can be very effective in productivity and feeling a sense of well being. Here are some of the things that I have done in the past to pamper myself!

1.) Hike or take a walk in nature. Even sitting in nature and taking it all in clears my head and makes me feel better.

Views from an awesome hike
Acai Pomegranate Bubble tea

2.) Go out to eat. Yes, sometimes food can be a wonderful reward! This past weekend, I went to a restaurant called Asian Bistro to have delicious hot stone bibimbap, and then I also had lunch at a Japanese restaurant where I had avocado sushi. For snack, I got myself a raisin croissant and an acai pomegranate bubble tea. Everything was so delicious and I felt so happy afterwards!

Vegetarian bibimbap

3.) Go on a run. I’m not a big runner (especially compared to Stephanie), but running helps me “run off my stresses” and “run away from my problems”!

Views from a recent run
Custard pudding- almondy and delicious!

4.) Cook and try out a new recipe. My friend and I made egg custards together, and we had an amazing time bonding and cooking. Even if you’re cooking by yourself (as I often am), cooking is a great way to relax. Seeing and eating the final product gives me an amazing feeling. See my first ever blog post on Why I Love to Cook 🙂

5.) Hang out with your family and/or friends. Whether it’s playing board games together, watching a movie, walking around town, or just talking, being with other people makes me feel happier.

6.) Take a long shower, put on a face mask, and listen to music. Your skin will thank you and you’ll feel super refreshed!

7.) Take a half-day trip by visiting a farm, going to the city (if there’s a city near you), visiting a museum, going to a flea market, or something else.

Farm trip
KALE Heaven

8.) Try something thrilling-like white-water kayaking, or rock climbing 🙂

9.) Take a nap-cause sleep is amazing and I can never get enough of it!

Now that I’ve shared my tips, I hope you feel super inspired.

In the words of my mom: “Work hard, play hard!”

Love,

Serena

My Number One Weight Loss/Maintenance Tip

Just this past weekend was Parents’ Weekend so Serena and I got a much deserved long weekend and quality time with our parents!

Coming back home, I stepped on the scale on Saturday morning as the morning before I left for school around 50 days ago, I weighed myself to see how well I would be able to maintain (or even lose!) a couple of pounds.

Much to my surprise, I maintained my weight! While I am a huge proponent of fitness (I’m currently on crutches now due to an injury and am just dying to go on a run!), I think weight wise, diet is key.

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And my number one tip to either maintain weight or to lose weight naturally is simply this: EAT SLOWER. Yep. Simply eating slower. No junk food/processed food elimination, no certain diet, just eating slower.

Now, I am a pretty fast eater. So much so that as a kid (and occasionally even now)  I would get massive stomach gas. This happens when you eat fast that you swallow air along with your food and creates “gas” in your stomach. Read: a lot of farting hours after finishing a meal.

However, I’ve had a couple of slow eating friends (that to be honest, when I was young, I thought were annoying because we would have to wait for them before we could resume our game of tag or whatnot). And if it was coincidence or not, they were all slim. This includes my all-time fave, Serena.

I think the art of eating slowly allows you to be really in tune with your body. When you’re eating fast, you’re not eating for fullness, but you’re eating for your tastebud’s satisfaction. And we’ve all heard of the phrase “Eat with your stomach, not with your eyes.” As someone who has eaten fast for 15 years of her life, I can attest to the “Eating with your stomach.”

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However, when you’re eating slower, it’s harder to force yourself to eat more when you’re full. You are much more cognizant and aware of feeling full that you feel obligated to stop eating, whereas, when you are eating fast, you don’t recognize that full feeling and stop eating until you are physically full (i.e. you have to unbutton your jeans).

So for any of those fast eaters out there, together with me, let’s try to make ourselves a goal. We will eat slower. We will place our forks down between each bite. We will talk more with the people sitting with us. We will NOT be the first ones to finish, but near the last ones to finish (sorry Serena, I don’t think I can eat slower than you … love ya!)

Do any of you guys have a problem with fast eating?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Importance of Sleep

This week has been a crazy one. For six days in a row, I’ve gotten consistently 6.5 hours of sleep or less. Sophomore year has definitely taken a toll on me. I stay up late for homework and wake up early to finish that same homework. I’ve been so sleep deprived that this Wednesday, I was at our school’s health center for medical leave and got two hours of much needed sleep. Since Monday till that afternoon, I was just feeling out of it. I got a fever/cold starting Sunday evening. I was physically tired (read: walking was hard), I had little appetite, I was getting so little sleep, and I had cross country practice where I would run 6 miles. I was so torn and exhausted that I let myself go and ate things that were definitely naughty – bowls and bowls of cereal, multiple servings of seconds/thirds/fourths, and snacking. This all leads to the importance of sleep.

sleep

Yes, time is precious, but we (especially me) need to make sleeping a priority. As students, this might mean to be more efficient with homework, sacrificing time with friends, or cutting back on extracurriculars and even utilizing those small breaks.

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Our bodies need the time to recuperate, energize, and rest. I just wanted to write this important reminder (that I myself need to adopt) as we are well into the school year and our stretch into Thanksgiving Break.

 

Are you sleep-deprived?

 

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

It’s All in Your Head | The Power Of Your Mindset

The key behind each successful person is their motivation.

Your mind is such a powerful tool. The power of how you think truly shapes how you view your day and ultimately how you live your life.

As I’m in high school, I’m pretty much forced to do sports. So I chose to do cross country as I love running. But as any runner, swimmer, or athlete will tell you, there is always a love/hate relationship going on in there.

Yes, I love running, but at the same time, I dread it and lose hope – especially during workout days and minutes before the race.

However, I think it’s important to note that IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD

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This is seriously and truly is so true. For example, just this past week when I had a 5K race on Saturday, during my warm-up run, I was already out of breath. I have been slightly injured early throughout the season so I was physically just not ready. But you know what? Throughout the whole run, I kept on saying “You can do it.” “You can do it.” “You can do it.” And the result? Got a PR.

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A few days later on Tuesday was another 5K race. My quads were sore from the meet on Saturday and throughout this week and last week, I’ve only been getting 6 hours max of sleep each night. But instead of being negative, I kept on saying “You can do it.” Along with “Be light, relaxed, and fast.” And again, I got an amazing time.

justdoit

Last but not least, just a few days ago this Friday, our workout was mile repeats. For some reason my non-cross country friends were having trouble comprehending what this meant. This means I run one mile and then repeat that for several times.

That Friday was just not a good day for me. I’ve been having less than 6 hours of sleep that week, my lunch was a slice of pizza (And even having that one slice was not good — you don’t how much I would have wanted a salad and sandwich), I had a speech competition for English that day, the day was raining, and just so many things have piled up that day and the last thing I wanted to do was run, let alone do a workout.

But … I pushed myself, forced myself to think positive. Throughout the three mile repeats, all I was thinking “You can do it.” “You’re almost there.”

 

So remember … you can do it. You can do it. You can do it. It’s all in your head. Keep that in mind as you power through this Monday and the rest of the week.

What’s your mantra?

xoxo,

Stephanie