Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My fat secret.

Photo from
I'll be honest with you. Losing weight is something new to me. When I was younger, I was very active and athletic, but like so many other people who go off to college, I gained the Freshman 15... and then some. On top of a condition I have that contributed to me gaining weight, I just got lazy and tired.

I don't want jinx myself, but it's been 4 months now since I've started really motivating myself to lose weight, and I have so far lost 20 lbs! There are definitely many factors to my success thus far, and I am sure I will get into many of them eventually as I keep blogging, but the one thing I want to get into right now is

I have never been one to want to count my calories - in fact, I really looked down upon it because I didn't want to be one of those people. But eventually I gave in, and now calorie counting has been the largest factor to my weight loss! FatSecret has been HUGE to successfully keeping track of my calories. It is so easy to work with, and best of all it's FREE. And while I do not have a smart phone, I'm going to assume almost all of you reading this do, and so download the app for it!

When you go to, it will ask you a few questions to get you started, but then will take you right into the site. As you can see, there are many things you can track here:

My FatSecret Toolbox
You can log in your weight, write down notes for yourself, meet other people in forums and discussion groups and find & share recipes. There are even challenges you can join, like "20 lbs in 4 weeks" or "Just Dance the pounds away".

I am fairly new to FatSecret, and there is still so much more I want to explore on the site, but so far what I have found most useful to me is the Diet Calendar. There are two different types of Diet Calendars: Food Diary and Exercise Diary. In the Exercise Diary, you can list what exercises you've done and for how long, and it will calculate out for you how many calories you've burned.

In the Food Diary, you list everything you eat throughout the day. Now, here is where the ease comes in. You don't have to carry around the back of a box or food package with you to know the nutrition facts - you just type in what you ate in the search engine and it finds all the info for you! Their food database is so extensive, I believe there's only been once so far where it didn't find something I ate. There is also a UPC scanner on the app, so if you are on your smart phone or iPad or whatever, you just scan the UPC code on the outer package of whatever you're eating, and it will pull up all the information for you!

Other cool things about FatSecret, it lists all information about your intake - not just calores - it lists your fiber intake, protein, carbs... even NET carbs! You can also figure out your RDI (Recommended Daily Intake), and everyday it will tell you how much percentage you have under or over based on your Diet Calendar.

I know there are many Weight Loss websites out there that probably do the same stuff - if not more, but FatSecret is just the one that I use, and I have so far been very happy with it. Either way, if you are trying to lose weight, don't wait to long like I did. The technology/websites/apps out there are so plentiful... it gives you no more excuses to sit around and do nothing!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A lot of work for The Happiest Day of Your Life.

I'll be honest with you. I'm actually the absolute farthest from being a girlie-girl, but when it came to my wedding, I definitely made sure I pulled out all the bells and whistles.

I don't know why I thought about this now, because it's been over 2.5 years that I've been married, but I was just thinking about all the planning that goes into a wedding... a BIG wedding that is. Now, I'm not going to explain to you what each of these are because that's not the point of my post, but to give you some perspective: I had a large Filipino wedding that consisted of 250 guests, 18 bridesmaids/groomsmen, 6 ushers, 20 Primary sponsors, 6 Secondary sponsors, 4 readers, 3 flower girls, 3 ring bearers/coin bearers/Bible bearers... and I loved EVERY SINGLE SECOND of planning it!

I have never planned something so intensely that it took up every single day of my life for 1.5 years straight. I completely exhausted every single option I had for dress shops, DJs, reception halls, flowers, photography, gifts, giveaways, cakes, etc etc etc. But I don't regret any second of it, because I had an absolutely wonderful wedding and contrary to popular belief, was able to plan it out so that nothing went wrong the day of... or at least nothing that I new about! ;)

Anyway, I can go on and on about the vendors I chose and why I chose them, and maybe I'll hone in on these eventually in the future, but what randomly popped in my mind today was the dress shops I went to. I've gone to roughly 10 to 15 bridal shops in my life and each one works so differently from the others.

But first, get it out of your head that you need to go to some pretentious bridal shop in some big city to buy a $2,000+ dress. Guess what, all dresses are beautiful, and you'll find a decently priced one eventually.

The pictured dress is the one I got for $800.

With everything else that you have to spend on for a wedding, be smart with your purchases!

Anyway, what really got me thinking though was about how true it is that bridal shops have some really nasty workers! I dunno, maybe they're not married and wish they are, or maybe the married ones are annoyed by the hopeful brides that come in the door, but then get a new job!

What I cannot fathom for the life of me is that these bridal shops - like everything in the wedding industry - rely so heavily on referrals and word of mouth. Do you really think it is smart to make a bride-to-be upset? Guess what, they won't buy your dress, they will not buy their bridal party dresses and tuxes there, they will not refer you to their friends, and nowadays, they can blast you all over the internet... just like I am now.

Throughout my journey of bridal shops, I've come across many bad ones and many good ones, but the one that really was a thorn in my side was House of Brides. Coincidentally, I first encountered House of Brides when I was a bridesmaid for a friend. And just like I stated above, my experience there was so awful that I absolutely steered clear from there when it was time for my wedding. And what is one of the first things I tell my friends who are newly engaged?

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, here are some great places to check out:
Kasia's Bridal
Bella Bianca
VIP Occassions

Like I said, I can go on and on about all the places and vendors I checked out for my wedding, so for all those bride-to-be's out there, please feel free to contact me for suggestions and ideas!