10 Foods That Help You Lose Weight

A few years ago a friend of mine mentioned that she planned her meals at least one month in advance. I was shocked… shocked at the fact that people can be so organized. Then I dismissed the idea entirely: there’s no need to design your menu one month in advance, I’ll stick to my spontaneous way!

Years later, I start to recognize the merits of planning meals ahead:

Reduce stress. We make so many decisions during a day. It can be quite stressful to decide at the end of the day – what’s for dinner for 2 people tonight!

You start to eat healthier.  Very often, we eat out or have take away food because of me (the house wife) being disorganized. Sure, food in restaurants are generally tastier but who knows what’s in it exactly! The extra fat gained from eating out all the time is not that attractive either.

Spend less. I’m all against being a money pincher and budget rigidly. But let’s face it, eating out all the time can be such a waste.

I’ve tried a few weeks here and there to plan our meals one week ahead and pretty happy with the result. So this is going to be a good habit to stay. One week ahead, stick with it:).

planning weekly meal

Do you plan your meals ahead?

How To Get Rid Of Negative Emotions

How to get rid of negative emotions? Have you ever been bothered by your own negative thoughts? Do you find it’s hard to stay positive and productive all the time? We human beings all have emotions; some are more emotional than others. Unfortunately I often suffer from huge mood swings. Though most of my ex-colleges commented I’m “calm and collected”, deep down I know how moody I could be. A few years ago J murmured “maybe you have bipolar“. Maybe he’s right, I just don’t want to get it diagnosed by a doctor.

The good news is sometimes people do not only grow older, they grow better too. I’m on the path of growing better. Trust me, most of the times you are the best doctor of  yourself. I’ve just finished my 30 Day Trial: Be Less Emotional and found some effective ways to control negative emotions such as depression, anger and anxiety.

How To Get Rid Of Negative Emotions

Photo source: Internet

What worked for me:

How to get rid of negative emotions:

1. Acknowledge your feeling and deal with it.

When you experience the negative feelings, instead of trying to ignore them. Stop for a moment and acknowledge your feelings. If you are feeling not happy, ask yourself why?

If there’s no particular reason to feel unhappy, it is just your normal habit of feeling unhappy all the time, lighten up. Think of something that makes you happy. If you can’t think of anything, think hard, there will be something that makes you happy. Once you find that positive thought, stay with it for a while.

If you are feeling anxious about something, ask yourself why you are anxious. Is there anything that you can do to reduce the anxiety? Once you’ve found that something you can do, do it. Now.

If you are feeling angry, stop and reflect your anger. Are you angry about yourself? Did someone or something make you angry? Does being angry help with the situation? Very often, the answer is no. So tell yourself, being angry only does harm to the situation and your health.

2. Take a deep (or a few) breath(s).

When you suffer from negative thoughts, take a deep breath first, then a few more. Concentrate on your breaths. Try to count your breath. This will help you to take your mind off your negative thoughts. Deep breath helps with stress relief.

If you are in a situation facing an angry and unreasonable person who’s barking at you, I understand you’ll feel angry because of it.

3. Establish positive thoughts in the morning.

I believe being happy is a habit that can be developed. In this blog post Be Greatful, I started to train myself to have positive thoughts first thing in the morning. Make the start of your day pleasant.

4. Have a good night sleep.

A good night sleep very often sets you off in a good mood. Unfortunately, getting a good night sleep is not that easy for a lot of people.

Some times people have sleep disorders, some times people can’t sleep well because they have little babies to look after. I could sleep long hours but the quality of my sleep is not that great. All sorts of dreams, well mainly unpleasant ones fill in my sleeping hours. So I could still feel tired and irritated after a long night “sleep”. One way I find that can help with this problem is to soak feet in hot water before going to bed. Yes, like J said, like an old woman:). Haha…Whatever!

5. Stop once in a while and smile to yourself.

Learn to like yourself and appreciate yourself more!

6. Tick off more of the easier tasks on your to do list.

When are feeling negative, it’s hard to get yourself to do things and be productive. The truth is, the more unproductive you are, the more unhappy you become. How to break this vicious circle? Do more. How? Tackle the easy tasks first.

7. Listen to inspiring audio books.

Don’t completely shut down when you feel depressed. It’s ok when you don’t feel like facing the world and talk to other people. But you are strong enough to drag yourself out of depression. Have some motivation/inspiring audio books ready. They can be good anti depressant when you are feeling down.

8. Listen to loud, upbeat music.

Different people would have different choices. I like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and “Billie Jean”.

9. Stay in the sun.

Sun makes you happy. If when you feel sluggish and it’s sunny outside, go out. Stay in the sun and take a deep breath. Stretch your arms out and upwards… feeling better?

10. Move your body vigorously.

When you feel slightly depressed, move your body before it develops into deep depression that totally takes control over you.

Make a move, no matter how reluctant you feel. Try sprint, jump up and down or dance like crazy.

Life is too good to be wasted feeling unhappy all the time. Yes, it’s always easier to feel sorry for yourself and find excuses to let negative emotions control you. But you, my friend, you are the one who controls you and your life. Do waste the precious gift of life. You can do it. You can get better.

The trick is: try to be a little harder on yourself. Don’t give in when the negative emotions start to attack you. As long as you are willing to make efforts to change, slowly and surely, you will become better at control your emotions.



read more

There are lots of books in my parents house. I used to only read the novels to indulge my dreaming nature.

Now that I am fully aware of my weaknesses and have no time to waste, my reading list of this year consists of books targeting the areas that I’m not familiar with at all.

There are books that are highly engaging and I’d love to go back and read again. One book seemed to be a struggle for me to finish but I finished it any way. For my personal record, from January to date, I’ve finished the following books:

1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

by Robert B. Cialdini

2. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

by Dan Ariely

3. The Happiness Advantage (audio book)

by Shawn Achor

4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by: Greg McKeown

5. Think and Grow Rich (audio book)

by: Napoleon Hill

6. Ziglar on Selling (audio book)

By: Zig Ziglar

7. Goals (audio book)

By: Zig Ziglar

8. Secrets of Closing the Sale (audio book)

By: Zig Ziglar

9. Getting to Yes

By:Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton 

10. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

I’m in the process of making notes to help me to remember (and hopefully make use of)  the concepts that I’ve read. Absolutely love the process of reading & will continue to do so indefinitely.

Currently reading From Good To Great.

be greatful

Let’s face it, it’s not easy to be positive all the time for a lot of people.

Depression is beast that is hard to beat. How to get out the depressed mood & not to waste days feeling sluggish + uninspired?

I’m on my 30 day trial of being less emotional and I’m trying to figure out some effective methods to deal with my mood swings.

Some days, just a few moments after I wake up, the phrase of “I’m not happy” would come out automatically. Yes I get it, I’m not a naturally happy person. But that now I realized my common problems, there must be a way to get better.

Everything has a solution.

In light of this, I would like to add two things to my morning routine list:

– Come up with 3 points that I’m grateful for/feeling happy about as soon as I get up.

– Followed by that, ask this question: What can I do today to make me a better person than yesterday?

Take the power back to control your mood. Strive to be a better person.

be greatful

5 months of this year have nearly passed. How many of you are still keeping in touch of your New Years Resolution for 2015?

My usually pattern for New Years Resolution is to set and forget in 2 months’ time. But this is not going to happen any more:)

After 2 years of practice, I’ve finally learned the importance of sticking to my goals.

The theme of my 2015 is communication, which means this is the year for me to keep improving my communication skills.

From this week, I’ll make every effort to read aloud everyday for as long as I can.

Australia is a country full of immigrants. Unfortunately time isn’t the solution of mastering a second language. It really depends how much effort you’ve put in for your time.

I’ve seen people who have stayed here for nearly 30 years but still speak broken English and people who have been here only a short few years but speak beautifully fluent English.

If you can’t express yourself efficiently, you leave the impress of being incompetent and less intelligent.

Read out loud everyday for at least 30 minutes with improving the following areas in mind:

  • Articulation
  • Fluency
  • Effective Use of Voice

You get what you work for – simple as that. There’s no excuse for being lazy.

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Some people seem to be born collected and disciplined. They just glide through lives effortlessly:).

I, on the hand, am full of flaws. One of my other biggest weakness is that I never live in the present.
I used to put down “daydream” as one of my hobbies. But my type of day dreaming is a bit of overkill… Leaving shopping bags behind all the time after paying has become overly annoying.

My car is full of scratches because of my thought wonders through past events and future possibilities, but never really focuses on the present task: driving carefully.

So “Be Present” is another important point to be added to my never ending self improvement list.

  • Let the past be the past. You can’t change it any more. Don’t waste more time dwelling on it.
  • Don’t worry or fantasize too much about future. If you really want to spend time thinking about the future, plan and take actions instead.
  • The most important moment is now. Because if you miss it now, you’ll never get it back in your life.
    Focus on the task at hand. Finish what you intend to do. And give it your best shot.

Be present.

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I’ve been working consciously on growing discipline in me from the beginning of this year.
But I started to feel really “down” again from last weekend. I got up at 9am on Saturday then 11:20am on Sunday.

Skipped my morning stretch.
Ditched my morning and night routines completely and played games for hours.

To top that off, I ate a whole plate of 25 fried dumplings after 10:30pm.

Naturally I’m a very emotional person. Extremely emotional to be exact. I’m the owner of a overly expressive face who often laughs out loud & has deep compassion towards other people’s suffering.
In addition, my natural resting face is somewhat grumpy so I could look grumpy though I’m feeling ok:).

So, here comes a new personal improvement project: For the next 30 days I’ll try to work out a way to control my emotions a little better. Be more composed.

Stay positive.unnamed (5)


Many many years ago, a friend of mine phoned me to share a tip for working in the office:

“You should always keep your desk really messy at work and pretend to be busy. When someone comes to you and asks for something, raise your head slowly and look at that person with a frown on your face.”

That made me laugh so hard.

Ironically, I never had the luxury to pretend to be busy while I was working in the office. I was always extremely busy.

I was brought up as a polite & timid Chinese girl who would yes to everything that other people at work ask me to do. As a result, I was a doormat in the office, working with at least 2 people’s workload without extra pay.

My desk was always piled with paperwork and files. My work inbox was flooded with messages everyday & I hardly had time to go to the toilet.

You can see where this is going… After this happened to me indifferent workplaces repeatedly, I quit office job for good.

Thinking back, I can’t blame everything on corporate environment. It was totally my fault.

I was too weak for office politics. I always wanted to try my best to help others but never dared to say NO or ask for help. As a result, I was exploited to the extreme & left with nothing.

If you don’t look after yourself, who will?

This world is not meant to be for faint- hearted:).

Be kind regardless, but be strong & stand up for yourself.








maintain good body posture

maintain good body posture

When I was little, my mum used to follow & watch me when I walked on the street.

Later she would tell me: Remember to keep your head up, just like there’s someone pulling your hair up.

As a little kid, I was a sloucher. And mum helped in the best way she could.

Fast forward anther 10 years, I went to the Uni and lived in the dorm with some beautiful, elegant girls. I picked up quickly the way they walk and got rid of my accent.

I looked like someone who was sure of herself and carried her body nicely whenever she walks.

That helped. It was always fairly easy for me to be hired after a job interview ( though by then I left China for Sydney and spoke broken English with a heavy accent).

After a few years of starting my own business and mainly working from home, I found myself slightly reverting back to the childhood version of me: A sloucher again! Not all the time but most of the time.

So here’s the thing I need to keep reminding myself: Maintain good body posture for the rest of my life.

Heads up, shoulders back, confident smile and direct gaze.

Don’t ever let yourself go again.


Stick to a routine

The common saying is that it takes 21 days to form a habit. To me, it definitely takes much longer than that.

Consciously developing habits is new to me and I’m finding my ways slowly.

Since the beginning of 2015, I’ve been making baby steps to build routines in my everyday life. So far I’ve not slept in until 10am like I used to do. I’ve been doing 10 full pushups and 1 minutes plank pose almost every morning. I’ve been reading at least one new book each month.

Each month I’ll have a list of my personal habits goals and review it by the end of the month then make arrangement for next month’s goal accordingly.

This is the 3.5th month of year 2015 and I’ve finally come up with a morning routine that I would like to stick to.

1. Get up at 7:30 am ( with the exception on the days that I’m really ill)

2. Put yoga clothes on and brush teeth

3. Have a glass of warm water. Prepare another glass of warm water with lemon juice.

4. Mentally prepare the To Do list of the day

5. Morning stretch routine:

Sun solute. Head, eyes and shoulder roll


Warrior, twist, half pigeon, plough, crow and wheel pose

Plank pose

Ad hoc

6. Listen to TV news. Not that the news are really news. It’s because English is my second language, news readers normally speak clear, standard English for me to improve my accent. Beside, if people chat about the news during the day, at least I know what they are talking about.

7. Have smoothie for breakfast

8. Read aloud for at least 30 minutes. If I have time, do it for one hour. And take note of the words that I didn’t know to build up vocabulary.

I’m hoping by repeating these actions day after day, I will have these habits imprinted in my system. If this morning routine is interrupted by job or travel requirements, be mentally prepared and come back to the routine as soon as I’m able to.

Stick to a routine


** 2 more things are now added to the list:

– Come up with 3 points that I’m grateful for/feeling happy about as soon as I get up.

– Followed by that, ask this question: What can I do today to make me a better person than yesterday?


How to Set Goals And Achieve Them Over A period Of Time

As I repeated many times on this blog,  my main goal this year is to develop good habits and keep them. This goal needs to be reminded and reviewed every now and then to keep me on track as I can fall off the track so easily:).

Goal setting is a new concept I’ve adopted since 2012. It turned out, the whole process is not as easy as I first thought. There’s a deep learning curve for me from setting goals to learning how to achieve them in the end. Last few years’ pattern has been like this: I am always fully charged at the beginning of the year. My drive to keep up will generally last for a whole month till the end of January. Towards mid February, my passion for my goal list is gone. By the time it’s March, my goal list is totally forgotten. Everything would revert to my old, usual ways. By the end the year, I realise I haven’t done that much at all and whole year has slipped away, again. I still manageto achieve a little bit here and there but deep down I know that I have the potential to try much harder and I could have achieve a lot more. So you get the picture, I’m not happy with the progress I made in the last few years.

Well, this bad pattern must go and be replaced by something a lot better. I’ve made up my mind to take control and make the situation more satisfying. It’s late March 2015. I still have my goal lists and visit them once a week. And I have developed some beneficial habits and intend to keep them for life. So I’m slowly learning how to set goals and achieve them over a period of time.

Here are the 3 simple steps on how to set goals and achieve them over a period of time:

  • Identify the burning issues in your life and set your goals accordingly.

What’s the number 1 desire in your life at the moment? Is it weight loss? Looking for a new job? Attracting more clients for your business?

  • Develop a system on how to achieve your goals and set out a detailed action plan.

If weight loss is on the top of your agenda, develop a system on how to lose weight. There are many systems to make it work: go on extreme diet and eat little to nothing, exercise A LOT. Take skinny pills etc.. Say you want to develop a system to lose weight by eating less and excising more. You’ll then need a detailed action plan on what you eat, how often you eat, your daily & weekly excise routine etc.

  • Stay focused with consistent follow through.

Remind yourself of your goals periodically & review your process. Put your goals somewhere easily accessible so you don’t forget about them when you get busy. Review your progress and make amendments accordingly. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks easily. If your goal was to lose 5kgs in one month but you only managed to lose 0.5kg. Don’t give it all up because of that! Maybe this goal is too high for you. Usually slow and steady is the way to go!

Keep trying. Remember persistence is the key. Here’s my motivational quote of the week: “A river cuts through a rock not because of it’s power but it’s persistence. ”

How to Set Goals And Achieve Them Over A period Of Time


motivational quote

motivational quote

Today is the beginning of my trip to Whitsundays QLD. I’ll be taking on  a few boat & seaplane trips to discover whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef region.

Travel is that one dream can come true easily. All you need to do is to make a plan then buy your tickets and off you go!

The reward from travel is always enormous.


Learn to be patient, please. Don’t hope there’s always a short cut!

It takes time to have any result. Don’t give up on everything too early.

motivational quotes

motivational quotes

“Don’t ever get comfortable when you have the ability to achieve more.”

Photo taken at the Floriad.

I’ve promised myself to keep motivated & be disciplined for the whole year by taking on self imposed “plank challenge” & “21 jump rope challenge ” since the beginning of the year. It’s coming to the end of February and I think I’m still on track.

The next challenge I’d like to take on is “30 days eating with a plan challenge”. Not sure if it’s possible for me but I’ll give it a go.

For the next 30 days, I’ll cook at least 5 times a week and design the dinner menu for the week beforehand. We are going away for a holiday for 8 days in March which means we’ll eat out every meal but as soon as we come back, I’ll stick to my plan again.

So here goes for next seven days meal plan:

Have smoothie every morning and sandwich for lunch

Day 1 Wed dinner: Thai stir fry + egg tomato omelet

Day 2 Thur dinner: Grilled Salmon + chips & green salad

Day 3 Fri: Roast duck + Spanish & orange salad

Day 4 Sat: Pork ribs + Oven baked sweet potato

Day 5 Sun: Eating out

Day 6 Mon: Dumplings

Day 7 Tues: Curry chicken + Roti




motivational quotes

It’s been a month since I started doing pushups (my version) and plank pose every morning. From a week ago, I started to jump ropes at night. Though my point of doing all these is not to lose weight, it is still a bit demotivating to see that I’ve actually put on weight one month into sticking to an excise routine. In the past, if something doesn’t work as the way I expected, I would give up all at once. But my job is to keep myself motivated when things are not going so smoothly. I exercise because I want to healthier and stronger so the exercise part will have to stay. There must be something else I’m doing wrong to put on weight. Two of these factors must have contributed to my weight gain.

1. I eat whatever I want and whenever I want until I burst.

The idea of preparing dinner for two makes me stressed. The work involved such as planning our meals, going shopping, preparing, cooking, washing up afterwords is beyond my ability to handle. I’m not a good house keeper, yet. Very often we just eat out and get take away food. As I always have a superb appetite and loathe the word “dieting”, I have never controlled the quantity of my food intake. My diet consists mainly meat and seafood with hardly any vegetables or fruits.

Oh dear, it does look bad when I actually write it down! I need to take control of our food intake and be responsible.

2. I’ve slept less.

Never believed that sleep more can help you to loose weight but looks like it’s true. I’ve been a night owl and late riser for the last five years. I don’t use alarm and wake up whenever I feel like to. As a result I’m never tired enough to go to bed before 1 – 2 am. For the past five years, I always had 9 hours sleep every night. From this year, I decided to shape up & get up earlier in the morning. I’ve been getting up before 8am since the new year but my body clock doesn’t allow me to fall asleep before 2am yet. So I’ve only had 6 hours’ or less sleep every day for the month of Jan.

Knowing what my problems are, I’ve decided to incorporate some new habits in my life starting from February.

  • Plan our weekly meal. Cook healthy meals at least 3 times a week. This really stresses me out but I’ve got to do it. Hopefully, it’ll get easier over time.
  • Eat slowly to allow enough time for the brain to realize that I’m actually already full, no need to eat like there’s no tomorrow.
  • Set alarm at 10:30pm to go to bed and read a book. Don’t sit in front of the computer until after midnight. Again, this will be a challenge as old habit die hard. But again, I’ve got to do it. Hopefully bywaking up before 7:30am every day will adjust my body clock to enable me to fall asleep before midnight therefore retain at least 7 hours’ sleep every night.

I am so not proud of my sloppy old habits! But I’ll keep steering myself to the right direction!

Keep going.