Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's your word?

2014 rolled in, with the first month of the year already over. For many, they have forgotten their new year’s resolutions already. I have the habit of writing resolutions at the start of every year. I love beginnings and am thrilled by the prospect of a brand new life. I go crazy and buy several planners.  At the start of every year, I think this year would be different and I would finally be organized. I will finally stick to my resolutions, and I will live my best life. This year I resisted the urge of buying many planners. Instead of writing resolutions this year, I wrote goals instead. I sat down and looked at things in my life I wanted to change and improve. I returned to it several time to fine tune my goals and clearly state them to the universe. I listened to some talks too and learned that intentions are better than resolutions.

But more lasting than a resolution is having a word to live this year by. For days, I kept thinking what my word is. I started thinking about my word on the last few days of 2013. Words kept coming into my head, but didn’t feel right with my heart. 2014 came, with days rolling by and still no word for me. But on January 6th, as I drove home from the gym sweaty from a Zumba workout, I turned on the radio. My word came to me. Brave. Sara Bareilles was playing on the radio. I recall hearing the song when she performed it on TV for CNN Heroes in late December. There she was singing amidst amazing people, who followed their heart and did good to help communities around the world. It was a powerful message for me. 

But as I negotiated Manila’s traffic that afternoon, I said, “That’s it.” With certainty, I knew in my heart, my word is BRAVE. The lyrics struck a chord with me, especially these lines:
 "Bow down to the the mighty,
Don't run, just top holding your tongue
Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in,
Show me how big your brave is!"
Why brave? I have written one too many lists of my dreams and my goals. But this is the year to finally do them. It is time to sit down and write my third book. Something, I’ve been meaning to write for years.  It is the year to travel to places I’ve always wanted to visit. It is time to do finally shed off the stubborn pounds that weigh me down. It is time to finally tackle the growing mess in the spare room in my flat. It is time to become more adult and responsible with certain aspects of my life. And, it is also time to brave to create, be bold, and have fun. It’s time to paint again and cook for friends. It is time to live again with courage.It is time to get out of my own way.

With clarity, I prayed to :

…to live my story
to enjoy being alone
to travel the world
to be the hero of my story
to write my own unique story
to speak and honor my own authentic voice
to celebrate my reality
to love
to be a good friend
to be a good sister
to be a good daughter
to be the strongest, fittest I had ever been
to live with less
to become what Maida’s Touch is really about—delicious inspired journeys
and to let God love me, deeply!

I asked a few friends too what their word is for the year. For one, it is wellness. He commits to eating right and running thirty minutes daily. For another, it is hope. For another, it is freedom. He boldly started his own business. It is a freedom from corporate life, even if he does know how much he will earn this year.

I have been playing Sara Bareilles’ song Brave everyday. On most days, I play it a couple of times. It has become my anthem. More than listening and singing along to the song, it is time to honor my words and be brave. I am challenging myself to do one brave thing each day.

I hope you too find your word or shall I say your battle cry for the year. Let’s make each day count. We can do this!  

Thanks for reading! Please join me on Facebook

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Homeless for the Holidays: A Christmas Story

I realized the first Christmas story was about a homeless husband and wife. Mary and Joseph were turned away at an inn. Far from their home, Mary gave birth in a stable.

Mary & Joseph were homeless for the first Christmas

Working as a travel writer, I often find myself alone in a foreign land. Part of my adventure is finding my home away from home. Seven days before Christmas I give thanks to people who have opened their homes and hearts to me this year.

There are friends like Isabel who always keeps her home in Singapore open to me. She loves her neighborhood so much. It has rubbed off to me. Her beloved Tiong Bahru is now my adopted home in Singapore. While I enjoy the market ,the restaurants, cafes, and curio shops in her hood, what I enjoy the most is our unending conversations till the wee hours.

Isabel's Tiong Bahru Neighborhood

In Sydney, Ange and Mike opened their home to me, with lovely Bella following me like Mary's little lamb. Opening one's home means sharing intimate bits of your life, for that I am most grateful.
Bella's wine and cheese welcome 

But there too are strangers who have made foreign places feel like home. I have said this before..."you don't choose places, places choose you." I visited Indonesia three times this year. The Indonesians feel familiar to me. They exude a warmth just like Filipinos do. As a travel writer, I am blessed to be invited to stay in fabulous resorts. In Bali, there is no shortage of many fantastic resorts all over the island.
Indonesian Hospitality at Santika Nusa Dua

One unique place in Bali is Tugu Resort. The owner is one of Indonesia's largest antique collectors. So impressed with his vast collection, his daughter Lucienne kindly extended an invitation to stay at their Bali resort. Each villa is tastefully decorated with antique pieces. Given a choice my heart sighed at one villa. Painted with green walls, it was the perfect kind of cozy and elegant. There was a plunge pool. But my favorite details are the door and the orange bathroom. I could spend my days writing here everyday I thought to myself. I then realized this is my dream home.

my favorite villa at Tugu Bali 

In June, I was wowed by what Ayana Resort had to offer. With its amazing Rock Bar, the waves crashed below me as I watched the sun set from this elevated bar voted the best by top travel magazines.

Rock Bar at Ayana Resort in Bali 

But my joy was getting a special cocktail from the bartender who spoke fluent Tagalog. He was an Indonesian who worked in a bar in Ortigas for years.

A Tagalog speaking bartender at Rock Bar concocts me a special drink

The resort’s amazing thalassotherapy pool was something else. Imagine marrying the joys of a day in a pool and varying pressures to ease your aching muscles from head to toe.

But what felt like home is Ayana's sister property, newly opened Rimba Resort. I loved living in a sustainable environment using wood from old boats and natural wooden sculptures for wall art.
Rimba's sustainable interiors using old wooden boats 

bamboo chandelier & old boats in Rimba resort's lobby

In Ubud, my friend Anna not only pointed me to the direction of her favorite guest house, but also gave me specific directions where to go for the best coffee and free wifi when I was cramming an article.

At home amidst the vast antique collection in Tugu Lombok

In Lombok, I was all by myself in this island to explore what it had to offer. I found great beaches to soak up the sun, resorts perfect for families and lovers, but the best gem was finding authentic culture of the island. French resident and gm of The Santosa kindly shared his family's favorite place to eat Lombok food.

feeling right at home at Tugu Lombok's antiques

Stephane (the GM of the Santosa) and his sons share their favorite resto serving Ayam Taliwang

In Yogyakarta home was a hotel, which was once a sultan's palace. The hotel staff at Royal Ambarrukmo made sure I felt like royalty. They treated me as guest of honor to their royal high tea and the royal dinner, with the traditional service fit for a sultan.

at Royal Amburrokmo Lobby

feeling special at Royal High tea at Royal Ambarrukomo at Yogyakarta
The traditional procession to bring the food and tea for Royal High Tea 

A wise priest once told me, "Home is where you're at." My neighbor Lory makes me feel right at home when I'm in Manila. Hearing her voice call out from her third floor garden balcony
"Maida!!!" as I get off my car is my cue for us to catch up with eachother's lives. Home is telling my mom the joys and trials I am facing or showing dad photos from my travels. Home is sharing a simple meal of okra in an Indian canteen with my best friend Rissa whom I had known since I was 8. We don't need fancy restaurants just good food and endless talk about eachother's lives.

Tonight, I am at home with my solitude in the company only of words. I ask myself: Have I made this world feel a bit cozier, warmer for someone this year? Did I make someone feel more at home wherever they are physically or in the state of life they are in?

Give thanks today feeling at home where you are at or feel even more grateful for feeling right at home in your own skin.

I realize we will never be homeless in this world, with the love of God and the loving kindness of people everywhere. Thank you to every single person, who has made this great big world feel warmer and like home wherever I go.

Wishing you a merry Christmas, the best of the holidays, and a blessed 2014!

Christmas 2013  at Manila Hotel Lobby
*This post was written a week before Christmas, but with my laptop being repaired and the series of holiday events & traffic I only got to post it today!

copyright. Maida Pineda 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013



It will soon be Christmas, twelve days to be exact. With all the frenzy that comes with the holidays, it is easy to feel tired and lose sight of the true meaning of the season. I figured reflecting on 12 gifts I am most grateful for will make the holidays richer. Come join me and think of your own Christmas blessings for a richer holiday journey this season. 

DAY ONE- The Gift of Adobo Aid 

No one anticipated the impact of Supertyphoon Haiyan to the Philippines. It was tremendous to say the least, with thousands of lives lost, billion pesos worth of properties lost and damaged, and millions of lives affected. 

Feeling helpless, four days after Haiyan struck I posted my plea for ADOBO AID, a global event for November 23, where anyone, anywhere can help one adobo dinner at a time. The images from Haiyan I saw on the news and the voices of the survivors touched me deeply. I would listen to AM radio and cry as I navigated Manila's traffic. But life went on for me with deadlines and trips to fulfill. "How could I help?" I asked myself that question over and over again. The answer came to me in the shower with the concept for Adobo Aid. It kept simmering in my head. But on the morning of November 12, I could no longer ignore it. Instead of going to the gym, I turned on my video cam. With no script, I spoke directly to the  camera in this video. I poured my heart to a blogpost. Even the logo was one I created using the colors of the Philippine flag. I decided wherever my travel finds me on November 23, I would create an adobo aid dinner. 

It was one crazy idea I could not shake off. But I did not anticipate what would happen next. Filipinos and non-Filipinos all over the world embraced Adobo Aid and mounted their own dinner parties.

Discovery Channel in Singapore and a pharmaceutical company each mounted their own adobo aid dinners. Adobo Aid dinners mushroomed in the US with San Francisco, New Jersey, New York,  Florida, Ohio, and an anonymous person in the suburb east of the twin cities. Toronto and other places in Canada mounted Adobo Aid dinners. A former colleague in an advertising agency mounted an adobo aid dinner in Dubai.There was one more a friend Ginge found in Saigon,  Vietnam. Even Sao Paolo in Brazil was represented with my friend Maan Sicam and her friends raising funds to help out a school in Leyte.

Maan and her friends at Sao Paolo,  Brazil 

Leah and her friends in Dubai 
Adobo Aid in Saigon, Vietnam 

Adobo aid in Greenwich village, NY

Unfortunately, i found myself unable to mount an Adobo aid dinner in Lombok. Moving around Indonesia, I had tried to get my host to help me. A former expatriate in Manila, he told me when arrived there, "Sorry Maida, it's just too difficult... " He explained the poverty in the place I was in.

But as I sadly posted my failure to mount my own dinner. I received an email that gave me goosebumps. It came from a Filipina named Cecille. She shared what happened on Nov 23, she turned 50 and raised P95,000 in her adobo aid dinner in manila. 

Here''s a photo of the post I shared on Maida's Touch facebook page of her email

We exchanged a few messages. I was touched deeply. It was no longer my crazy idea. It was a shared movement. If not for the people who pressed the share button on Facebook or retweeted, it wouldn't have reached so many people. A friend, Ginge Salud, tirelessly tagged every single friend she knew on Facebook to spread the word on Adobo Aid. She tells me she doesn't cook, but her loving act made a difference as she reported back with photos of friends who did the global fundraiser. Many of the people who mounted were strangers I did not know or will probably never meet in my lifetime. Even non-Filipinos like Sara Bir, an American food writer in Ohio cooked up an adobo to help raise funds. 

I don't really know how much ADOBO AID has raised. Of the three people who shared with me how much they have raised, it is collectively about US$10,000. But that number is only a fraction of the true amount, which will remain a mystery as many of the adobo aiders remain anonymous.

So, I say a big Thank You, Lord for Adobo aid and to all those who cooked, shared the link, donated, and ate. I am humbled knowing we all have our roles to play in this world. We are simply called to act and do it. 

I will be mounting my adobo aid dinner on Dec 21, Saturday, 5:30pm with some old friends. Instead of the usual potluck of rich holiday food in my flat, we will have a simple adobo dinner. Instead of spending on food and exchange gifts, we will donate it to Haiyan rehabilitation. If you wish to join us, send me a message.  

One last request, I will be compiling the ADOBO AID Recipes into a cook book to help rebuild lives affected by Haiyan. Kindly email me at maida@maidastouch.com or maida_pineda@yahoo.com with the adobo recipes you wish to share. 

I have always believed in giving. Adobo Aid has been nothing short of a miracle. Giving does exactly that, it miraculously touches lives, transforms people, and connects hearts of people who were once strangers. A big thank you to all who in your own way allowed the miracle to happen. Please continue to let Adobo magic happen, as rebuilding will take time. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lombok Weaving

LOMBOK, INDONESIA- I learned something new today. In the town of Sukarara in Lombok, you can't get married unless you know how to weave. Songket or weaving is their livelihood.

Watch my video here.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#ADOBOAID : Let's help the Philippines one Adobo dinner, anywhere in the world on Nov 23, Saturday

Last Friday, the Philippines has been struck with Super-typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda as we Filipinos call it. It  brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph), with waves as high as 15m (45ft), bringing up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places. With many roads impassable, no power, and no phones, we still don't know the exact extent of loss and devastation it has left us.  But one thing, I know. Lives have been lost. People have been hungry and thirsty for days. They have lost their homes, their belongings, and endured the most terrifying situation of their lives. I live in Manila, and we had been fortunate to be spared Yolanda's wrath.

I am grateful to be alive, to have a roof over my head, food, clothes, and my loved ones well. I realize everything else is gravy. Yet, there is a huge knot on my throat. Every time I see on TV or the internet how my fellow Filipinos are suffering, I want to cry.

For the past two days, I asked myself what I can do. Yes, I had gone through my clothes, my bedsheets, my towels, and picked out a few I can donate. I don't have much funds to donate, so I was thinking a fundraising will be good. But I asked myself what can I do as a food and travel writer. With several deadlines to meet and an upcoming at the end of the week, I can say there is nothing I can do. "It's too bad, I'll be in Indonesia," I thought to myself.  I can't pack or put together a fundraiser. But I realized I too was away when Ondoy struck, I was living in Singapore then. Right that very moment, I could only pray. But a few weeks later, my Filipino friends at St Francis Xavier Choir and the Religious of the Cenacle sisters mounted a recollection/concert to raise funds for Ondoy. Through faith and song, we raised money for our fellow Filipinos in need. I do know what it feels to be away from your countrymen, feeling helpless, and wanting to help.

I realized there is something we can do. I call it ADOBO AID. Our national dish is Adobo. It is a resilient dish. With vinegar, it does well without refrigeration. It does not spoil easily, and can keep for days. In fact, it even tastes better the longer it stays in your freezer.

So here's what I propose to the over 10 Million Filipinos, living all over the world. Come join me on NOVEMBER 23, Saturday, dinner. Invite your friends-- Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike!  Cook a simple dinner of your favorite adobo recipe. It can be pork and chicken adobo. It can be adobong pusit, or if you can't cook even adobong mani will do.

Serve it with hot steamed rice and an ensalada of your choice. Do let  your friends know it is a fundraising dinner. Pass around the hat at the end of the meal, so they can donate any amount they wish. Whatever, you raise please send it to the organization of your choice. Here are some suggestions :

My Chicken and Pork adobo cooking in my kitchen in Singapore a few years ago...
Even if you are not Filipino or an OFW, you can have your own adobo dinner. I'm sharing my special adobo recipe:

Maida’s Adobo Recipe

1  Kilo Chicken
½ Kilo Pork

¾ cup white vinegar
2  heads garlic (I like it extra garlicky)
3  pcs bayleaf
1  T rock salt
¼ cup toyo (soy sauce )
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients in (except water) and let it marinate for two hours.

Add the water. Let it boil until meat is tender and vinegar has evaporated.

(Some people stop at this step and serve it). But I recommend frying it to get that extra texture. Return to the sauce, let it simmer. Then serve.

*Instead of frying, a healthier alternative is broiling it in the oven to get that toasted flavor without the oil. 

Serve with steaming hot white rice, and a side dish of ensalada of your choice: ampalaya salad (pickled ampalaya/bitter gourd , radish, and tomatoes) or green mango salad (green mangoes, bagoong (shrimp paste), and tomatoes). Kain Na!  (let’s eat!)

Please tell me how your Adobo AID dinner turned out. Share your photos, recipes, and tell me how much you've raised on Facebook page This is  a great way for Filipinos, anywhere in the world to help. 

I am calling on all my friends and contacts who are foodies to please mount an Adobo AID Dinner wherever you are, even if you are not Pinoy. To people all over the world, employing Filipino domestic helpers, please have an ADOBO AID dinner where you can ask your helper to cook her best Adobo Recipe, and invite your friends. Whatever your friends donate, you can donate to her beloved countrymen. 

 here's my video message to you :

Maraming maraming, Salamat! Thank you, very much. 

Let's do this, November 23. It's a date! 

Please share this post to spread the world.

Maida Pineda.Nov.12,2013.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Please help me WIN The Best Job Around the World , my dream job.

Paulo Coelho wisely said in his book The Alchemist, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

My big dream is to eat my way around the world. For the past fifteen years, the universe has kindly conspired providing countless experiences of food and travel. For that, I am extremely grateful. But my wish is to do it with the safety net of a nice salary.  Then I learned about the perfect a job which if you win, will pay you US$100,000 to travel around the world, and tell that story for the next 365 days. It's my dream job.

Kindly click on the link below to watch the video and press LIKE. You can like every 24 hours from now until October 1st. There are lot of big competitors with a lot more LIKES, but with your help we can win this. 


I say a big thank you in advance for helping me see more of the world.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

MONTH1 of SOARIN365: MY JOURNEY TO WELLNESS – Shedding off the Excess Baggage

We are all on a journey called life. We all have the free will to choose how we live out our journey. I have consciously chosen to live a delicious life. But in the past two years I realized my downward spiral struggle with my weight. Unhappy with some aspects of my life, I turned to food. It is easy to confuse fear, frustration, loneliness, boredom, and feeling overwhelmed with hunger. Emotion after emotion, the weight piled up. While I continued to be blessed with wonderful trips last year, I didn’t like looking at myself in the photos.

I love to travel, and I see myself continuing to revel in the world for the rest of my life. But I can’t travel with this excess baggage weighing me down. I longed to shed off the pounds. I wanted to look good in my clothes again. More importantly, I wanted to be my fittest and strongest self as I conquer the world. I decided the first month of PROJECT:SOARIN365 to focus on my health & wellness. I can’t continue to travel around the world and to live my dreams until I become fit, strong, and healthy.

I had always intimidated by gyms. Many years ago, I joined Fitness First and only stepped foot in the gym three times. All I got from my membership was a free towel and water bottle. For P8,000 (for the annual membership then), that was the most expensive towel I’ve ever purchased. I keep the towel as a reminder of my failed gym investment. I signed up for a gym membership in September 2011, and started going to the gym when it opened in January 2012. Only a five-minute walk from my flat, I had no excuse not to hit the gym. But I still managed to find my excuses. I did attend Zumba classes I enjoyed, but still the weight was not dropping. I renewed my gym membership last June. This time, I vowed it will be different. And I’ve kept my commitment to exercise regularly, to finally conquer weight training (those machines intimidate me) and to eat right. My goal is not simply to lose weight, but to become stronger than I had ever been. I know I have it in me, that deep inside me there’s a strong woman.
On Day31- Smiling & Sweaty after 2 Zumba Classes

I stepped on the scale this morning, and I’ve lost 8.4lbs so far since I started taking my health seriously in June. I lost 4.4lbs of that in August. It is less than I wish to have lost, but I got the flu. For a week, I did not hit the gym and my trainer took it easy the week after to let my body recover. I am still happy with the weight loss. But what I am more excited about is getting stronger. I can endure longer cardio, longer time at treadmill, carry heavier weights, and the machines in the gym don’t intimidate me as much. Even if I don’t like to at times, I follow what my trainer says. I make faces. I complain I’m hungry. But I still do it. I even admit, when the load is too light.

So here are lessons I learned in this wellness journey thus far:

1.    Find an Exercise You Love
I never considered myself a dancer. I would always say I have two left feet. But guess what? I tried Zumba in 2011, I fell in love with it. In my first class, I wondered if I can survive all 55 minutes of it. I did. It was so much fun, I felt like I was part of a Flash Mob. I found teachers I loved in Gold’s Gym, Alex and Paolo. I attended their classes, initially to lose weight. But I found myself happier too on days I attended Zumba. As one older classmate says, “It’s my Happy Hour.” With the latin beats, the hips gyrating, the jumps, happy colored outfits, and my flamboyant teachers, the endorphins were naturally released. I was happy. Find something you enjoy doing so much that you crave doing it. I became a groupie attending the classes of these two Zumba Instructors I loved. But later, I attended other classes, then I realized I do enjoy dancing. Because I enjoy Zumba, I can easily do seven classes a week.

My Zumba classmate's happy dancing shoes!

2.    Find Fitness Buddies
On September 2012, I had to attend a conference. I realized all my clothes were tight. I lamented my weight problem to my friend, Ned. He told me, “Come, box with me.” I had tried boxing before and found myself dizzy and out of breathe after a few minutes. I gave boxing a try with Ned and our trainer, Jojo. It was not intimidating for we did the boxing sessions in the gym in Ned’s Condo. It was not a hardcore, testosterone-filled gym, instead the treadmill looked out to pool. My attempts at the jump rope made Ned laugh since I looked like I was skipping rope at the schoolyard during recess time. Jojo let me hit the treadmill instead. I needed gloves, and when asked what color I wanted I said, “Hot Pink or Orange!!” Both Ned and Jojo were shocked. No hot pink or orange boxing gloves, but I got cheerful yellow ones. I did not like Boxing in the beginning. But I still showed up for I got to see Ned, and we got to chat, laugh, and groan together during the ab workout. From only completing two round of boxing, I progressed to eight rounds of boxing. Having a friend who supports and encourages you to get fit is a treasure. He’s there to cheer me on, and to share in the joys of every pound lost.

Trying out Boxing for the first time last September.

Thanks to my friend, Ned, boxing became fun and is no longer intimidating!

3.    Meet up with Friends to Exercise instead of Eating Out
“Let’s meet up for lunch or dinner,” I often say to Rissa, my dear friend since fourth grade. If you are like me, catching up with friends means eating out. In June I invited Rissa to join me in a three-hour Zumba concert. She gamely agreed. We had fun dancing, laughing, and burning calories. She recently asked me, “You want to do a 5k together?” So we signed up for a 5K run. Unfortunately, the run was full, and we have to look for another one to join.  We invite each other to try new classes. It is a great way to meet up and get fit.  And when we do eat out, we are also more mindful of what we eat and when we cheat.

4.    Eat Mindfully
I’ve tried the Cabbage Soup Diet, the GM Diet, South Beach Diet... This is what I’ve learned: there is NO SHORTCUT to losing weight. I was told diet accounts for 70% of weight loss. For the past two months, I ate mindfully. I stay away from rice, pasta, cakes, and limit my intake of sweets. I eat as much fruits and vegetables as I want. When I eat meat, I eat lean meat. I limit my intake of fried food. But I do allow myself, one daily treat of chocolate. On weekends, I allow myself to cheat. For snacks, I’ve discovered boiled Saba (similar to plantain bananas) are sweet, filling, and travel well on-the-go. Nuts, eggs, yogurt are my other reliable snacks. Avocadoes are make my salads more enjoyable. Variety is the spice of life. Shake things up with your meals to keep you on the healthy path.

Prepare healthy meals
Choose one day as your cheat day to indulge in your cravings! 

Make healthy choices when you eat out, like going for vegetarian kare-kare & brown rice

5.    Ask for Help
I was afraid of the gym for this simple reason: I don’t know how to use the machines. Everyone seems to know their way around the gym except for me. So I finally hired a trainer to teach me what to do.  He tells me what to do and I follow. I know food and travel well, but am clueless with exercise. So having an expert helps. The best news is, after a month, the gym equipment no longer intimidates me. We are now properly acquainted. Now my test is doing the routine on my own, without my trainer watching my every move.

Getting a Trainer helped me get started... He taught me how to use RIP60

6.    Drink Lots of Water
I drink a lot of coffee (up to three cups a day). But I don’t drink enough water throughout the day.  Have a water bottle with you all the time. Add a lemon to make it more refreshing, and is said to help in digestion. Choose water instead of juices and health drinks, which are filled with calories.

7.    Push, push, push your limits and REPEAT!
I found this on Facebook at the beginning of the month. “You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.” There are times when I wanted to give up. When my feet are tired on the treadmill or dancing, but then I realized I still had more energy in me. Tell yourself five more minutes. Before you know it, you’ve completed the task. There is so much exhilaration in knowing seeing it through. One night, I joined a Street Dance class. Unsatisfied with the teacher, I stayed on for another class with a different teacher. Tired, I was temped to walk out mid-way. But I stuck on, and enjoyed myself. The best high is doing the thing you think you cannot do.

The secret is there is no secret to losing weight... only hard work! 

I realize 8.4lbs is about half the weight of a Carry-on bag allowed in the airplane. My clothes fit better. Several months ago, I stopped wearing some blouses as they were too tight. I can now wear them again. Without that excess weight, I can move lighter, freer, and I also the smiling happy face looking back at me at gym mirror. 
    Something has changed within me. It is no longer just about losing the weight. It is about becoming my healthiest self. We spend money investing in our homes. But I realized our body is the home we have till the end of our lives. It is about time to invest time, money, and energy in making it healthy. 

More importantly, I have a newfound appreciation for the human body. It is a pretty amazing thing! I now revel at what my body can do, and live each day exploring that. 

Being deliciously alive now means being stronger and healthier!

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