Vanity Project Update #1

I mentioned last month that I had wanted to embark on a body  transformation exercise as a personal challenge to myself (here).  I called it my vanity project. Today, I am excited to announce that I have finally got my ball rolling.  I have engaged a bodybuilder – a very accomplished person who had swept all titles he competed in (!) – and who had also confidently assured me that I am in good hands. I’m starting off by seeing him 3 times a week.  Our plan is to increase muscle mass (by lifting heavy) and to burn fat (through dieting).

My trainers in the past had been fantastic in helping me gain strength and mobility (especially after my nasty hip fracture) but had stopped short of helping me reach a physique that I yearned.  So, fingers crossed that a ‘professional’ add weight in my quest!  💪 💪 💪

Lifting heavy means breaking down muscles and only when I rest the muscles start to repair and grow stronger.  There is no point in lifting too heavy when the muscles are still sore from repair, it only means that you will get weaker if you continue to lift heavy.   I have bought a couple of lifting accessories:  a weight lifting belt and grip pads.  The grip pads are to assist in heavier loads whereas the belt is to keep the abs tight and back straight while lifting heavy loads.

I am giving myself 3 months – too short a time I know, but I am constantly on the move  –  to achieve some definition in my upper body, namely my shoulders and arms, although I’d love a 6-pack too!  Because of my scoliosis, I am hoping to improve my symmetry as well.  These are tall orders and good muscle-tone takes years and consistent effort to build.

My trainer had written down a diet plan for me.  The plan is not air-tight because he knows I will not follow it to the ‘T’ 😆!  We shall give this a go for a week.  Here is my diet-plan:


  • 3 egg whites, 1/2-1 piece of wholewheat toast and small amount of jam OR
  • Oatmeal and banana


  • 1/2-1 chicken breast or fish
  • Salad
  • 1/2-1 bowl of brown rice
  • 10 almonds (it was 5 measly almonds but I negotiated to 10!  👍)


  • Protein drink


  • Vegetables
  • 1/2-1 chicken breast or fish
  • 1/2-1 bowl of brown rice or yam (boiled)
  • 10 almonds (it was 5 measly almonds but I negotiated to 10! 👏)

Everybody knows that starting a diet in December is going to be hard especially when there are so many parties and dinners to attend – not to mention my Christmas trip to Japan in a few days time!  Going forward, I will have to curtail eating out (too much), and if I do eat out, make wiser choices.  Rest assured, I’m still continuing my food blog but making it more healthy with an occasional side-track on my bodybuilding journey as well. I shall post random pictures of my diet on my instagram(here), you are more than welcome to follow me!

have only met with my trainer for 3 times, so nothing to report back except that I am sore and tired from not handling any weights for nearly 2 years – and also not accustomed to handling weights outside my comfort zone. 😜

The Key to Looking Good is Vanity!

I know, I know, I promised to update on my Body Transformation Projecter, nearly 3 weeks ago??  Gosh, time really flies when one is super-duper busy!

So, Q: What have I been up to since my declaration of body transformation 3 weeks ago?

Well, on the work front, my task in Sydney wrapped up last week – we won the test case in all points which was really a morale booster for us going forward when we start our other cases in Malaysia and secondly on a more personal front, my residential project finally got a DA approval – it’s on a conservative heritage-y site in the Lower North Shore, and I have to think about financing moving forward…

Because I had not had a good sleep for a long, long time in outback rural Malaysia with the incessant barking and howling dogs throughout the night, so yeah, I have been doing a helluva lot of sleeping since I back in Sydney!  Plus, the chilly weather made snoozing even more blissful!

BTW, do you know that one of Karl Lagerfeld’s tips on losing weight is by sleeping?  Sleeping also burns calories by making the internal organs work harder.  Read the freebie online roundup of his diet here or buy the book he penned, ‘The Karl Lagerfeld Diet’ here

To be honest, I have been bummed the past 3 weeks  since I’m back in Sydney – rolling out my bed and heading out to the City for meetings then back home to sleep.  I didn’t go to gym, but did some stretching to prep for workouts to come – for a hyper mobile person, I’m finding difficulty in touching my toes!  Moreover, I have very low energy level (no exercise means a drop in endorphin, making me lethargic all the time!)

Nevertheless, I did some thinking.  I gave some thoughts as to WHY with all the motivation I have in the World to workout hard in the gym, I never get the change I wanted.  It could be that I am happy with the way I am and not vain enough!  What do you expect of  a chica who rolls out of bed and ready to head out the doors in 10-minutes flat? Surely, that’s not vanity!

Vanity is the excessive belief in one’s own abilities or attractiveness to others.   Without vanity, one is complacent with one’s present self and see no need for change.  Thus, the status quo remains.  In order for a catalytic change, one needs to play the vanity game, hence the Vanity Project –”

Before I ramble on, I like to show you my street cred from University of Sydney!  (This is the peacock in me waving a piece of paper in your face! 😜)


This is how desperate I am in losing weight!

The Vanity Project Framework after my many years of ‘research’:
1.   Play the mind game!  Torture yourself with fashion mags of sickly thin models in dresses you like – perhaps in our case, engross ourselves with the supertoned fit healthy models from fitness mags!

2.   Practise mindful eating but never ever under-eat! You never win the battle from hunger! Fill up with protein, vegs and water.


Cape Grim 300g beef ribeye steak, mixed leaf salad and roast kipfler potatoes

Sometimes, I slip a little.  For example I had a seemingly healthy lunch today at North Sydney Harbourview Hotel – kale salad with pomegranate, steamed vegetables and a piece of roast beef…


Buffet plate

But got carried away at dessert… A big No, NO!


Orange poppy seed cake

3.   Keep yourself occupied.  My favourite is watching food porn.  This helps to trigger your brain that you had some of it and is satisfied.   Writing a food blog is a great distraction from food too – like blogging on!  If you are not a blogger, give me a Follow!  Salivating over food is apparently a fantastic idea!!  🙈🙉🙊

4.   Lift heavy weights! I have scrutinised the web for physique transformation advises and tips – of which I must admit, it’s a jungle out there!  I have been enamoured by Fighter Diet for a while now and have bought a handful of her ebooks which I shall be using in my Vanity Project aka Body Transformation Project.


My friend’s (in bikini) first show in Singapore where she came #1!

Lastly Body Transformation = Psychological Mind Game = Vanity Project (for me)

Lagerfeld emphasised appearance and looking good as a reason to embark on his diet.  Taking his cue, I applied the 1st Principle of Vanity Project by getting a facial peel last week ($200).  With a smoother more porcelain-y skin, perhaps I get a boost in confidence.  Can I declare myself vanity ready?  Well, firstly, I need more beauty sleep seeing that I am not getting enough and that I’m flying off again end of this week.  In any regards, I shall update!  


A Dieter Goes Lunching @ Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

Date of Visit: November 14 2013

Dining out when one is on a pseudo-diet is kinda hard. How do one choose what to eat from the long list of deliciousness? E-A-S-Y! That is, if one has a checklist of what one can and cannot eat – i.e. a limiting factor as a guidance to make choosing off the menu a breeze.

Today I am going high protein, so no carbs for me… although I did cheat with a glass of buttery cold chard from Western Australia… c’mon, it’s been quite a stressful day, a glass can do not harm, right? 😉 Nevertheless, this is my survival story…


Crusty sourdough for my eyes to feast on…

Sitting through Starters, watching and smelling one’s dining companions’ foods can be a torture, but with the right mindset, watching people enjoying their food and being able to participate albeit only by watching is priceless (no weight gain!) One can play the part of the interviewer querying, “How’s the food? How’s the taste? You like?”

The French Onion soufflé smelt very good, exactly like the french onion soup except in the pudding/ soufflé form and surrounded by grilled cheese. Totally decadent…mmm… but of course my mind started berating: “Do you want to jiggle like the soufflé?” My strategy was to satisfy my inner cravings by inhaling deeply …ommm, namaste!


French Onion Soufflé

Same goes for my strategy on my other dining companion who had Chicken Liver Pate with the accompaniments of melba toasts and 3 cherries. I used the visualisation cue – imagination.. And that’s what I did, I imagined myself in my companion’s shoes, spreading the thick malleable creamy chicken liver over the charred melbas…


Chicken Liver Pate

Finally, plates were cleared, our Mains arrived.

Sirloin steak and shoe string fries for the gentleman. Thank Heavens, I was busy with my own food that I did not even attempt to nick a fry! Good self-control by way of a pre-occupied mind! (See my dish below)


Sirloin steak and shoe string fries

Salmon for the other lady companion. Now, remember, people are often very generous with their food and will offer you a tasting bite. Say: “NO! Thank You!”



Unfortunately, the translucent potato chip piqued my interest. Check out the ‘fossilised’ parsley! So, I let my guard down and took one… Anyway, no point in beating oneself over the gluttony, as the saying goes, “start afresh, tomorrow is another day!”


Potato Chip

My ‘pre-occupation’ was in the form of the delectable Pork Belly & Pork Loin paired with baked apple, walnuts and braised savoy cabbage. I practised mindful eating at this point – slowly devouring and savouring each mouthful of the perfectly cooked and very succulent pork. You know what? Baked apples is so much more filling than apple sauce, and it was nice to be cutting up the apple and spreading it on the meat!


Pork Belly & Pork Loin

Since I took a rather long time to polish off my meal. We were not tempted by the desserts – the limiting factor here was the 2 hour car parking – we did not want a ticket from the parking ranger!

As you can see, strategic planning by arming oneself with limiting factors such as what one can or cannot eat, not wanting a parking ticket; the right mindset; cueing with visualisation and eating mindfully played an important role over my lunch today. Practise it often, and one can survive a darn good lunch!

(Past visit at Bistro Moncur here)