Fell off the wagon.


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 It’s been 3 weeks (I think) since I fell off the wagon. I can’t choose one reason why it happened since there were so many of them.

I still ate relatively well, still portioned, still stayed away from carbs in the evening, and generally followed Ashley’s meal plan, but my exercise was sporadic and half-assed. I didn’t want to do cardio. That’s the long an end of it. I appeased myself by telling myself, “at least you didn’t skip strength training!”, but everyone knows, that cardio has to be a part of the plan. Now, while I didn’t WANT to do cardio, and I couldn’t find a type of cardio that I WANTED to do, that didn’t mean that I did zero cardio. I tried all my DVD’s out…and multiple times. I did the P90 sweat and cardio, did Zumba Core, and did Just Dance 4. I also went swimming at the local community center a few times in-between. Each week I struggled with cardio though.

motivation exercise


Then I turned to my fabulous FB support group. Seriously, these women are Fantastic. I don’t know why I thought I could get back into a routine by myself.

A little background here: I started this facebook group for people who have a lot of weight to lose or who have lost a lot of weight. There was a short period of time where I felt like this group wasn’t helping me the way I needed or wanted to be helped, but then I realized that I had fallen back into my negative way of thinking, and was blaming the group for something that was really, my own problem. The group really is helpful, the members are encouraging, and most of all they’re motivating. My problem was that I stopped interacting with them, I made statements with my posts, but I didn’t ask for help. 

attitude about the problem

A couple of weeks ago I talked to my BFF who’s pretty damn fit. She’s getting back into exercising also and we joined up on MFP (My Fitness Pal). I started to see her posts there and I started to feel motivated again! Still, that didn’t mean that I began exercising regularly.

A week ago I started posting more in my FB group and finally yesterday I talked about how I fell off the wagon and was having difficulty getting back on. The girls rallied and created a challenge group. We as a group figure out for how long we were going to do the challenge, what we should post about daily, what our clear and detailed personal goals are, and what programs/exercises we’ll be using. It was great! Now, I feel like I’m back on track. I did my exercise for the day and I’ve eaten clean thus far.  I’m not thinking about what my next exercise is, not thinking about whether I can skip today’s cardio and do yoga instead. Nope, the plan is mapped and I don’t have to do a bit of thinking.

panda hug

So, thanks online support Facebook group, this post is for you!



Technically day 5/40 and totally fell off the no sugar train


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It’s been 11 days since my last post. Technically I’d be on day 5 of my super-duper clean eating plan, but…I did the 5K Run or Dye this week, and clean eating went out the window. We had a delicious BBQ!

Now, my parents are visiting and…well, I’m sure you know how that is.

So, here are my progress pictures. I’ve just learned how to watermark them! Month to month is slow going, but when you contrast the original picture to a current picture…WOW! The difference is only 25 lbs.

side pic front pic back pic




Pure and unadulterated Frustration.


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frustration.gifLet me preface this by letting you know that I work in the government. My job is … to be blunt … a complete assault on my mind. I’m not joking when I say that a kid in grade 10 could do my job. However, I get to work from home, have a decent salary, have decent benefits, am nearly completely stress free (because remember, a 10th grader could do my job), and well … there’s just so much freedom with working at home that a job would have to be damn good in order for me to leave this one.

So where’s the frustration? Where’s my complaint? With co-workers. Well, not co-workerS … just one in particular. The team I work with are great. They’re nice, they keep to themselves for the most part. Still, there always seems to be that ONE person you work with who’s just so frustrating. I could go on and on about what they do, how they misinterpret words, emails, conversations, how they try to control people, the ego, the monitoring of team members, blah blah blah. But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, because I’m sure you have someone like that in your workplace, or have had someone like that in your work place.

twilight and sunset

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about how to change my perspective, how to stop letting others’ stupidity bother me. For the most part, it’s working, but for things like a persistent frustrating co-worker, not so much.  Sometimes I wonder if people lose their marbles after working in the government for a long time. Maybe I’m grasping at straws. I just cannot understand how someone like my co-worker exists.  Today I wished with all my might to be Twilight Sparkle (yes I’m a My Little Pony fan) so I could use my magic of friendship on her!




Day 16/40 or Day 5/14 of the No Sugar Challenge


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I think I have to re-evaluate my eating plan. I originally posted that I was going to follow Ashley’s eating plan for 40 days…hence the Day 16/40. I’ll still continue on for the next 2 weeks, but really, this is just the way I eat now. I don’t see myself changing it up much. I might add in some yum foods now and again, but her meal plan was basically a reorganization of my macros. I don’t feel deprived of anything.

As for the No Sugar Challenge. I did it last week, and wanted to continue on for the next two weeks…hence the Day 5/14. I’m giving it up on Saturday. I’ll complete my this week, but then that’s it. It’s not too challenging, it’s not that I crave sugar. It’s just that I’m realizing that I hardly eat sugar anyhow and I don’t see any reason to cut out what little sugar I actually do eat i.e. in my soya sauce or oyster sauce. I made a creme caramel for the family two days ago and didn’t even want to lick the spoon.

That’s that, about that.


Day 20/40 or Day 1/14 of the No Sugar Challenge


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This is going to be a short one. I’m so tired, but I didn’t write anything yesterday. I have a horrible memory so I have to get this out as soon as I can.

I decided to give myself 40 days to get used to eating even cleaner than I usually do. It was challenging in the beginning to stop eating carbs in the afternoons. I usually eat rice, quinoa, noodles, or something carbohydratish with dinner. I missed it, I really missed it. Now, not so much. I’m learning slowly, that most things I “want” are just conditioned behaviours (habits) that I’ve made for myself over the years. It’s hard to recondition myself, but I’m on my way.

I started the no sugar challenge to see if how difficult it would be to stop using all things “sugar”. I wanted to force myself to look at all ingredients in everything I put on my food and therefore in my mouth. It was only supposed to last 7 days. I didn’t find the challenge to be challenging at all. Except of course, for the no protein shake thing. That killed me. I’m reintroducing only the protein powder (which has stevia) for the next 2 weeks. Yep, that’s right, I’m extending the no sugar challenge to another 14 days. I post my meals nearly daily on Instagram (@chongsiam), and sometimes on Facebook cheryl.chongsiam@facebook.com.

Physically, I have a weird challenge set up for myself. I wish other people would join me, but I wouldn’t even know how to find a group like this. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!


Physical challenge 1: Giving myself 3 months to do a handstand (Beside a wall or … not). I don’t know why I want to do a handstand. They just look so cool. I’ll have to work on my upperbody strength, but I’ll be following these steps to see if I can do it. STEP 1 (flexibility and strengthening) and STEP 2 (5 min/day practice).

Good luck to me!



Day 22/40 and Day 6 of the No Sugar Challenge


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One more day until the No Sugar Challenge is over! I’m going to give it another 7 days though. These past 6 days haven’t been as challenging as I thought they would be. I eat more fruit – which doesn’t mean much because I don’t like fruit -, and I don’t load my foods up with Asian sauces. I’ve been lethargic lately but this can be due to many things i.e. my daughter having nightmares and waking me up in the middle of the night, not having sugar, PMS, or maybe it’s the current meal plan I’m on. Who knows.

I’m taking 3 days off of exercise. I might do Yoga or Pilates, might go for the occasional sprint with S, but I’m not going to “exercise”. I’m going to focus on cleaning up my backyard and shining up my BBQ! I love my BBQ, I love my patio, and I’m going to spend a lot of time out there this summer 🙂 Some say that the body functions better after an extended rest, so, maybe this is just want I need. I just hope it won’t be TOO TOO hard to get back into it on Monday.

So, one last thing about the No Sugar Challenge. For some reason, the thought of having no sugar in my diet made me want bread. What’s that all about right? I have no idea. I just wanted it. So, being the baker-type-of-girl that I am, I started to bake bread again. I found this great overnight no knead crusty bread recipe at Simply So Good.

I tried it with all purpose flour first to see how it would go. Then, I made this one:

Calamata Olive, Caraway Seed, Whole Wheat, and Flax Seed Crust Bread.

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This is what the dough looks like after you mix everything up together. Then you saran wrap it, and leave it for 12-15 hours.
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This is the dough all nice and poofy after 13 hours.2014-06-05 09.10.42This is what it looks like after you spatula the dough together and dump it out on a VERY well floured surface. When you make the dough come together on the table, make sure you flour your hands too. The dough is STICKY! When your dough comes to a soft ball, make sure you have a lot of flour UNDER the dough so that it’s easy to pick up once you have to transfer it to your preheated pot.

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This is the finished product. We ate some before I took the picture. It’s sooo good.

Crusty Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup mix of flax and caraway seed
1/2 cup sliced calamata olives
2 teaspoons salt
1 tbsp Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water (add 1 Tbsp at a time extra if needed)
Day 1:
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients until all ingredients are combined. the dough should not be stiff or too wet.
2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 15 hours ON THE COUNTER. DO NOT put this in the fridge.  The dough is forgiving so if you leave it for more time on the counter, then don’t worry about it.
Day 2:
1. The Heat oven to 450 degrees with a cast iron pot with a lid (or any pot that can be put in an oven).  Heat the pot for at least 30 minutes. (my oven runs hot, so I heated mine to 430 degrees.
2. While you’re waiting for the oven to heat, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape it into a ball with very heavily floured hands.
3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and rise for 30 min.
4. Remove the pot from the oven. If you aren’t using a cast iron pot, put a layer of parchment paper at the bottom of the pot. Then, drop the dough in the VERY HOT pot.  Don’t worry about the air bubbles in the dough. Just drop the dough so you don’t burn your hands. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.
6. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.



Day 24/40 and Day 4 of the no sugar challenge.


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Can’t say that I’m a person who likes dessert. However, if there’s a pretty dessert in front of me, I’ll eat it.

Day 4 of the No Sugar Challenge isn’t going so bad. I ordered some turkey bacon from Bearbrook Farms. I called and asked if their “spices” included sugar. It did not. Then I asked if their turkey bacon contained sugar (just to see if different people were going to give consistent answers), and they said it didn’t! Snack time will be 2 strips of turkey bacon! I can’t speak to the amount of sodium I’m eating with the bacon, but hey, I like having savoury snacks more than sweet ones anyhow. Not much to say about today other than being happy to have turkey bacon.


motivation choice


My meals are pretty much the same everyday. That’s not to say that I eat the same foods everyday, but I eat the same quantity of Macros at every meal and snack. Did I just sound smart there? Ha! Well, I chalk it up to Ashley. She taught me what a Macro is. I kind of grill her for information at every session.

Back to what I was saying, my meals/snacks are generally the same, my exercises are generally the same, I’ve cut out sugar this past week, but I don’t feel any different! I say all this because, for some reason, I am NOT motivated at all to exercise. I’m ok with the eating, but not the exercising. I was a bit sick on Monday so I didn’t exercise, Tuesday was GRUELLING to get my butt out of the house and see Ashley, then today…oh my gosh today…I was about to skip my workout again. Luckily the support I got on Facebook gave me the oomph I needed to at least get my shoes on and get outside. Then Reena found me and got me jogging. I probably would have done 1k of walking and then headed home. We ended up walk/jogging for 2.3K. Not bad.

Another person on Facebook suggested that I wasn’t resting properly. I’m waiting for his response to my “how can I rest more effectively?”. What I want to hear from him is, “Take a week off, you’ll recharge and feel better.”  I’m keeping my fingers crossed 😛

Maybe it’s as simple as just needing to mix things up a bit. I need a new program, a new exercise regime, or a new path for jogging.

Oh, and I’m hungry. VERY hungry. My meal plan hasn’t changed. Tomorrow is my last session and we’ll deal with the meal plan. I’ve added veggies in my breakfast, fat in my morning snack,  and protein at dinner. There’s no rhyme or reason for adding these things. It’s just what I felt like eating the past 3 days.



Day 26/40 AND Day 2 of the No Sugar Challenge


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Not having added sugar isn’t that difficult. Maybe it’s because I started out slowly. These are the gradual steps I’ve gone through.

1. Started on the 21 Day Fix. Only worked on portioning – 2 months

2. Got the portioning down and started to eat clean (no processed foods except for cheat day) -1 month

3. Went on a meal plan created by my personal trainer. It has 1/2 cup of pure carbs a day, 1 portions of fruit if I don’t have a smoothie in the morning, or two portions of fruit if I have the smoothie. Lots of veggies and protein. – 1 month

4. Removed what little sugar I had on the meal plan. – still working on it.

I didn’t mean for this gradual process to happen, but I’m glad I did. I’m not in shock, I don’t crave sugar or sweet treats, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything except for the convenience of the shake.

These are the things I miss:

1. All my sauces that I use to cook with EVERY SINGLE DAY! Like, Soya Sauce (I still haven’t gotten the Tamari Sauce), fish sauce, oyster sauce, and Dry Sherri.

2. Turkey pepperettes, turkey bacon, (Yeah, I can’t believe I miss turkey bacon.), sausage.

3. My protein shake.

That’s about it. I’m eating about 1-2 fruit a day, and I don’t feel like I need any more than that. The challenge is going fine!

Here’s what I ate today:

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The above is dinner. If you’ve been following me, you know that I love red cabbage. I need to have it in most of my meals. I think it’s the crunchy freshness, or maybe it’s because it’s so pretty.

My dinner was pea sprouts, red cabbage, beef patties, cauliflower with hummus and olive oil.

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This was lunch. A chunk of a slice of bread with almond butter, spinach, red cabbage, tomatoes, and the beef patty.

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This was breakfast: Two hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, spinach, grapes, and one small beef patty. I really, really, really, like those beef patties. You don’t need much beef to make a whole bunch of patties. They’re bulked up with chives, Gow Choy, carrots, and spinach. I make them once a week in the hopes that they’ll last me a few days, but when I have them, I eat them at EVERY meal!

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I missed eating chili. I eat chili at almost every meal. This is the only chili without sugar , unless I eat the raw Thai chilies…but I think I ate too many of those in the past that my stomach can’t handle them anymore 😦 I have an entire section of my fridge devoted to chili! Oh by the way MAE, this pic is for you!2014-06-02 16.49.05 2014-06-02 13.06.39

For no good reason, I felt like having bread. I found this no sugar, overnight, rustic bread recipe on Simply So Good. It came out AMAZING! However, I only used All Purpose flour the first time just so i could see how the bread would turn out. It needed a LOT more salt to it. The next versions I want to try is using quinoa flour and rye flour, and maybe adding in some blue cheese. The texture of this bread would make a FANTABULOUS Kalamata Olive bread. Oh my.2014-06-02 13.05.09 2014-06-02 08.13.03 2014-06-02 12.59.40

My precious little Sofia tried taking a picture of me holding my bread. She just couldn’t get the focus right, but she was so proud of this specific picture, that I had to include it into my blog. I’m so sweaty, the house was hot, but outside was hotter, and I refuse to put on the A/C just yet! My lord, look at the difference in colour between my legs and my face. Egads. Got to log off.





Day 27/40 AND Day 1 of the No added Sugar Challenge.


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So, I’m basically eating veggies and protein. I’m on Ashley’s meal plan for the next 27 days, and on top of that, I can’t have any natural or unnatural sweeteners in my foods. I sorely missed my protein shake in the morning. I know I miss it because I developed a habit around the shake, and so,  I just have to get out of this mental funk and start a new habit.

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Since I can’t have my shakes, I drink a lot of these infused waters. I keep them in the fridge over night and cycle through them during the day so that there are always two bottles ready to go. One is Guava, the other has lemon and mint. They’re pretty good and they make me drink a lot more water…which I think is a good thing.

Today was the first day in a LONG time that I felt each and every minute of my workout. I had to go slower on my jog because my heart rate wouldn’t go down. It took me a good 2-3 minutes of walking to bring it down to 140 bpm. I usually like to keep an average of 140-150 bmp, and I usually don’t look at my heart rate. I usually go by the time, but today, I felt like my heart was bursting out of my chest, and my shins were burning. I stopped in the middle of my workout to stretch, but it didn’t help. So, I went by my heart rate instead of by the time, and obviously, my timing suffered. I still got the sprints in though. It’s fun to sprint 🙂

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There’s me. I just finished my workout and came home to a deserted house. It was lovely. I’ll dedicate a post to my husband later if he lets me take a picture of him! Truly, without his support, I wouldn’t be able to focus this much on my health and fitness. Back to what I was saying, D took the kids out to a tree nursery and to see the planes, so I got a whole other hour to myself! I crashed a bit on the patio to hydrate, and then I made my lunch. 2014-06-01 10.13.11Hello EGGS! I love you. I love everything about you! Except for the fact that you come out of a chicken’s bum area…but I’m not eating the shell am I? Oh my gosh, did I mention how much I love eggs? Dinner was easy peasy. I had the usual, ground beef patty with shredded Gow Choy, carrots and spinach,, hummus, baby spinach, radish sprouts.

I’m obsessed with food.




Day 28/40 – Cheat day … uh … meal.


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A friend came over late on Friday and so I went to bed a lot later than I had planned. I was planning a weekly meal plan for a friend who is sensitive to corn, wheat, gliadin (soluble gluten), casein, egg whites, yeast…well you get the picture. It sucks for her. So, since I kinda know about food, I created a rough 5 day meal plan to get her eating foods that don’t have the listed ingredients. It’s not about losing weight, eating the right portions or even eating clean right now, it’s just about subtracting the offensive foods.

toso malbec regular

Anyhow, I was all excited making the meal plan when another friend called and decided to come over. Since I was going to go on my “no sugar challenge” on Sunday, I decided to have a glass of my favourite wine. Well, my used to be favourite wine. I’m not quite sure whether I like wine anymore.





toso limited editionAlso, when I drank these wines, I had no idea they were from Argentina. I don’t usually look at names of the wines, I just like ones that aren’t offensive to my mouth!

Wow, that was a long winded summary of Friday night eh?






I really didn’t want to go for a jog. The sun felt so strong, and the path I usually take has no relief from the sun. So, I tried doing some spinning (my husband has a spinning bike), but bikes always hurt my butt. Like really hurt my butt. All I could think of was how much my butt hurt!

bikes hurt


So I stopped spinning after 10 minutes and found a Tae Bo Amped up thing on Youtube. Now THAT’S intense. I was sweating like a pig by the end of it. The video is probably really old, but I think they do a lot better stretches than the 21 Day Fix. Beach Body rushes through their stretches. I don’t get why since stretching is so very important.

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When I finished exercising, we had pizza! Yep, Saturday lunch was my cheat day. I figured I better get in some sausage, tomato sauce, and bread while I could since my “no sugar challenge” was starting on Sunday. Then I put my daughter to bed and BOOM! I fell asleep too. Freaking, lovely, delicious, carb and fat filled pizza. It really did a number on me! It was sooo good though. So. Very. Yummy.

Cheers pizza,