For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been unhappy with my body. I was really chubby as a kid growing up and living in a Chinese house-hold, my family definitely did not hold back telling me how “prosperous” I looked being plump as a thumb! I mean, I’m still waiting for that good fortune to kick in!
When I was 19, I started modeling. I was booking print campaigns for JC Penney, Maxim, FHM but since I have more of a petite frame at 5’4, every inch of my body magnified on camera. Many agencies I met with pushed me to drop another 10 lbs in order to appear taller. Since I couldn’t force myself to grow a few more inches vertically, I knew I had to shrink horizontally. I developed an obsession with counting calories and limiting my food portions which eventually turned into an eating disorder. I ran 2-5 miles a day and I wouldn’t let myself eat more than 2 bites of anything… A daily diet consisted of 1 slice of bread and a few nibbles of sliced turkey breasts.
I went from 118 lbs – 105 lbs within a week. Although I was getting showered with compliments like “OMG! You look sooooo good!” And “Wow! How did you lose so much so fast?!”, I felt myself wilting away. My energy was at its lowest… physically, I couldn’t stay awake for more than 5 hours at a time. Mentally, I was nearing a breaking point. My emotions were all over the scale. I remember freaking out at a worker at Panera’s for accidentally adding mayo to my sandwich and being so upset that I started crying… ridiculous, I know! That was when I knew I needed help.
I threw away the scale I was using to weigh myself religiously and I deleted all the calorie-counting apps on my phone. I started forcing myself to eat more, one meal at a time. Eventually, all the weight I lost bounced back and more. I ended up going from 105 to 125-130, then somewhere around 130-140 lbs.
For someone who is 5’4, I have been all over the place with my weight. You know what XiXi at 105 has in common with XiXi at 145? She was battling with stress, anxiety and depression. If there’s one thing I know about food, dieting, and fitness, it’s that it is never what meets the eye… it’s more about what is happening underneath! It has something to do with overcoming your mental roadblocks and taking care of your mental wellness.
Since I turned 30 this year, I made a promise to myself that no matter how busy my schedule gets, no matter how many travel obligations I have, I was going to put myself first. I knew I had to do something I’ve never done before… I knew I had to get on a better workout routine than just going to the gym by myself whenever I felt like it.
My boyfriend and I were introduced to Orange Theory Fitness through a few of our friends. Although we were really hesitant of committing to join a fitness class, we decided to try it out! After all, the first class was free. After the first one, I was hooked.
Orange Theory Fitness is 5 zone heart-rate-based High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class that combines cardio with strength training. The concept of HIIT is not new but what was the most effect for me is the fact that I got to have an expert trainer, a class-like environment, and a heart-rate monitor that shows me in real time how many calories I’m losing and what zone I’m working out in!
#OTF 5 Zones:
ZONE 1 – GREY: Very light activity, 50-60% Max Hr
ZONE 2 – BLUE: Warm up, 61-70% of Max Hr
Zone 3 – GREEN: Challenging-Doable, 71-83% of Max Hr
Zone 4 – ORANGE: Orange effect, uncomfortable, 84-91% of Max Hr
Zone 5: RED: All out, 92-100% of Max Hr
The most effective zone is the Zone 4, the Orange Zone… aka The Orange Theory! Get it?! The training is designed to burn between 500-1000 calories per session. Including the after-burn effect, this number can reach up to 900 calories.
Since I’ve started Orange Theory two months ago, I have been going 3-4 times a week. These are my results so far:
On top of fitness, I have also been cutting back on unhealthy food. I have not touched soda in weeks and avoided eating junk food. I can’t believe in 2 months, I already lost 10lbs through working out and eating right! I feel strong and have noticed a significant boost in my energy level and my strength. (Last summer when I went paddle-boarding, I was struggling to just paddle! Last week when I went, I noticed that it wasn’t a struggle at all and I was not out-of-breath!)
If you live in one of the 45 states nationwide that has Orange Theory, I highly recommend you give them a try. I have never been this consistent with working out my whole life and I promise you will get hooked once you start seeing a little result!
If you’re ready to be the healthiest, strongest, and most fit you’ve ever been, below are 5 of my golden rules for diet and fitness:
- Commit to workout plan: I used to use the “I’m so busy, blah blah blah” excuse but I just got so sick and tired of it. No will always have time for things you make time for, so start making time for your body today because it’s always been there for you.
- Commit to a good healthy diet: Crash diets don’t work and neither do cleanses! It’s more important for you to establish a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable than to deprive your body of certain nutrients for a “quick fix”.
- Have a partner: I can’t workout alone. I need to either be in a class or have a partner with me! Find a partner, whether this is your BFF, significant other, sibling, co-worker, or all the above. Hold each other accountable! No flakes zone.
- Track progress: I’m the type that needs instant feedback. I suggest getting a heart-rate monitor so you will be able to see how many steps you’re walking, how many calories you’re burning, etc. It’s a lot more motivating when you can see the results! Numbers don’t lie.
- Have Fun: Don’t be afraid to switch it up a bit so you’re not stuck doing the same thing every day! If the weather is nice, do some outdoor activities.
Comment below and let me know if you enjoyed reading this blog! Do you want to see more of my fitness journey?