Dukan Diet – Update

I can’t believe it’s been 13 days since I posted. Caught another cute baby and did tons of clean eating and exercise while in Shanghai.
Still on track, down 11 pounds!!!
Just spent two days in Hong Kong with my friend Alice…

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And found a lovely running path this morning in Shenzhen…

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Pleased with my progress!
How are your summer plans going!?
Ciao!

Happy 2013!

Wow… what a CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY year! 42 Take offs and Landings… 91,000 air miles logged. From huge airplanes (Boeing A380) to a small 9 seater. China, Hong Kong, U.S., Japan and the Bahamas.

I completed the Dukan diet in May, having lost 111 pounds! And for the most part have kept it off. I bounce up a few pounds, readjust and it comes back off.

I went from not being able to run for 45 seconds to running 5K and completed one. I am now training for a triathlon next August with bloggy friends Cindy, Sandra and Anna and can’t wait!!!

I’ve also done yoga and a program called D.I.R.T. regularly… D.I.R.T. kicks my ass!

Last year I brought New Years in with my dear friend Lucy in Hong Kong…

New Years Eve in Hong Kong Dec 31, 2011. With Lucy Rowney.

New Years Eve in Hong Kong Dec 31, 2011. With Lucy Rowney.

Crazy how much has happened in the past 12 months! Crazy how blessed and fortunate I am to have the people in my life that I do. Crazy how lucky I am to have an amazing job with two crazy women that I adore and love working with!!

December 2012Lorie, Me and Miri

December 2012
Lorie, Me and Miri

The next adventure? Planning a conference for birth workers in Ecuador for July this year and planning my own little trip into Peru to visit Machu Picchu afterwards. It’s going to be an amazing trip!

What are your plans for 2013?

I hope all of you have a blessed, amazing, healthy and prosperous 2013!

Ciao!
Sandi 🙂

 

Travel – Making Molehills out of Mountains

Well, it’s been a crazy week! I’ve had food poisoning since Sunday night. Not fun. I have 10 minutes to type a quick post before heading to the airport for my flight to Hangzhou…

Positives…
Sometimes your train is delayed so that you meet really cool people like Franci. She’s German, has a masters in psychology and is an art lover. At 27, she’s bright, traveled and a wonderful debater!

Positives…
This morning, while packing up my room, I realized I didn’t want to waste some of the food. Not being allowed to use my cooker, I threw together 4 eggs, leftover sausage, Parmesan chunks and a wee bit of mozzarella. This is the result…

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I microwaved the eggs for 1.5 minutes, then added the meat and cheeses for another 1.5 minutes. Yum!

Not sure my tummy will be happy about it, but a girl’s gotta eat!

Hope everyone is having a fantabulous week!

Ciao!

Rock You Like A Hurricane

So, exciting couple of days I’ve had! That little tropical storm that I blogged about yesterday morning turned into a full on Category 4 Typhoon (known as a hurricane in the Atlantic) and headed to come on land just a smidge west of Hong Kong in the middle of the night.

Yesterday afternoon, when it started heading north towards HK and became a slow moving Category 1 storm, I decided to ditch the free night I earned at Best Western and pack up. I then headed out in the torrential rain, that no umbrella would have protected me from, to see if I could get a train back to Guangzhou.

Category 1 in the afternoon, local HK time…

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There were two reasons I wanted out of HK… 1. I was staying on the top floor (37th) of a hotel on a small island and 2. I had an interview to do in the morning and didn’t want to let the hospital down.
I got to the train ticket office, soaking wet, only to be told, “NO” 😦

The good thing about the typhoon was that I was forced to actually relax and I never lost my Internet connection! I chatted with Miri for awhile and her wit kept me distracted. Then, around 930 pm I thought I was having vertigo because the room was moving… Well the room WAS moving, the wind was howling and a peek at http://www.wunderground.com told me this…

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Yes, a Category FOUR hurricane with winds that were shaking the building!
I took this shot of the outside…

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So, while I’m Facebooking updates and pretending all is well with the world I’m freaking out and scared… Thank God my friend Teri popped up to chat…. Teri, you calmed me down and distracted me and I’m so grateful 🙂 I took a Lunesta and decided to sleep it away… Gently rocked (literally) to sleep by the winds!

I woke up at 515 to get ready to go to the train. The winds were still quite high and it was pouring rain. The concierge said that the subways were working and that my train was delayed because of trees on the track. I thought I’d risk it and go anyway. My train left just 13 minutes late!

My trusty personal assistant, Rose, met me at the station in Guangzhou and off to the interview we went. The interview was for a company called qq and it was about my passion, water birth. Here we are during the interview…

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And the storm has followed me north… Downgraded to a Cat 3 typhoon now. Very odd that I had no idea about this storm until I was in the middle of it. At home, in Florida, everyone would be broadcasting around the clock if there was a storm brewing like that! No storefronts boarded up this morning and the street pork guy was opening his shop while I made my way to the subway! Different perspectives, different countries… Ahhhh, what an interesting life I lead 🙂

Ciao!

Dukan – Consolidation Day 56

Thursday was a stressful day 😦

Daily Weight: 147 lbs/66.8 kgs
Goal Weight: 155 lbs/70.5 kgs

I sure don’t like stressful days. Makes me want to nosh around on food… thank goodness I only have healthy choices around me, but even too much of a good thing can be a not so good thing!

My stress centers around changes to my work schedule without consulting with me. They just toss me to the wind sometimes and see where I land. I am about the easiest going, “fly by the seat of your pants” kinda gal, but when it seems to be changes made with the wrong intent, it gets my hackles up.

Then after the schedule change stuff, I went on morning rounds and had to stop due to the stress of dealing with people who give misinformation. Formula (baby poison in MY humble opinion) is passed out like candy here. Women being told that they don’t have any milk in their breasts… it does my head in.

So… two things I’m concentrating on to get me out of my funk…
1. My job ends here in 10 weeks and 5 days and I will go home, for good… maybe, at least for now… and…
2.  I won’t be doing birth work full time when I go home. I will be starting my own diet and fitness business. I am very excited about this.
Oh… and a 3rd thing… because they’ve changed my schedule to go to Guangzhou July 12, I will be near Hong Kong and being near Hong Kong means I can go to a movie theatre and watch ROCK OF AGES… now THAT will make me happy and get me out of this funk… I saw it in the States last month and I want to see it again! I’m listening to the soundtrack to ROA as I am typing this post! 

After work I walked to the grocery store to pick up some veggies for the dinner I made for Vivi and Olivia. Vivi is my new personal assistant, having replaced the amazing Kitty, and Olivia is a translator in our office. I wanted to have them over for dinner for helping out with Tits the Cat while I was at home on vacation. Their request… an American dinner. So I made them steak, carrots with splenda and cinnamon and mashed potatoes with aged cheddar… I didn’t eat the carrots or the potatoes… although they both appeared to be big hits, given the fact there was nothing left over! I also made a nice salad with greens, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

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An American dinner for my Chinese friends 🙂

While the carrots and potatoes were boiling, I showed the girls how to use the wii for bowling. Neither had bowled before. They did pretty well for their first game. While I was finishing up supper, they bowled their second game and Vivi scored a 201! She did almost as well on game 3… note to self… stop teaching people how to play, they’ll beat you! LOL

All in all a very nice night. The girls cheered me up. I walked them down to the corner and got Vivi in a taxi home. I then did a walk around the neighborhood.

Food:
Breakfast: 2 tea eggs, coffee
Snack: 10 almonds
Lunch: left over pork from the dinner out with Jerry… when I heated this up in the staff canteen here at work, the chef came over with chop sticks and had a few bites… lol. I’m working REAL hard on the lack of personal space… real hard!
Snack: 1 ounce aged cheddar and 10 almonds
Dinner: Steak w/ onions, salad and a tea cup of wine
Water: 2.5 liters
Exercise:
10 minute morning flow yoga, Walk to work (1 mile) Walk from work to grocery then home (1.9 miles),  walk around neighborhood before bed 1.2 miles)

So… deep breaths, positive outlook, awesome soundtrack, meditation… in and out… 10 weeks, 5 days… ahhhhhh

Ciao!

One last pic… my little baby from Tuesday… his mommy IS exclusively breast feeding… that’s a rare thing here!  🙂

Cute lil thing!

Dukan – Consolidation Day 55

I am really missing my daily blog posts! I still don’t feel like I’ve caught up from my vacation!

Daily weight: 147 lbs/66.8 kgs
Goal weight: 155 lbs/70.5 kgs

Things weight and goal wise are going very well. I have to remind myself often that I am no longer in the Cruise Phase and can add a few things into my diet! Today (Thursday) is a PP day and so far I’ve stuck to that. On the Consolidation Phase (which for me will be 500 days long) you get to add some stuff back in to your diet, you get to have one celebration MEAL (not day) a week and you still have one PP day a week. Dr. Dukan suggests Thursday as that day, and I’m going to stick with that.

On Tuesday morning I got up early and went for a 2 mile run at sunrise. I then came back and did Chaz’s YOGAmazing 10 Minute Morning Flow workout. The combination of the two is a great way to start my day! Chaz has some amazing short yoga workouts that are easy to fit into your day and he also has workouts that focus on specific areas of your body, which I really love!

I then headed to work by walking and within the first hour was told I was being requested for a water birth. All day labor, difficult birth, as the baby was face up instead of face down, but this momma pulled energy from the universe and after nearly 3 hours of pushing had a gorgeous baby boy with a funny looking head… lol (it’s looking much better this morning!)

On Tuesday evening Alice came back for a night stay over. We went out to dinner with her son, Leon. Alice and I had the salmon with horseradish appetizer and we all three ordered mixed grill. The meat was DELICIOUS!

The waitress that took pics for us kept tilting all of our cameras… so none of us have a straight shot, lol!

Alice and I then headed back late to my flat and I was in bed at 1 a.m. (gasp!!! that is SO late for me!). And we were up at 6 a.m. to get a ride to the train station. Alice had a noon flight to Hong Kong.

Wearing Red, White & Blue on the train to Shanghai in honor of America’s birthday!

So off we went to Shanghai on Wednesday morning… the 4th of July. Not only is this America’s Independence Day, but it is also my little sister Nannette’s birthday!

Alice and I were suppose to be on the high speed train to Shanghai, which usually takes about 42 minutes, but we somehow got on the slow one… so between that and the subway ride on Line 2 from one end of Shanghai to the other to get to the airport, it was cutting it close… good Lord I was glad it was Alice traveling and not me, as we all know how bad my travel anxiety and time goes! We, of course, got there with plenty of time and from the pics that Alice posted on her Facebook wall of Hong Kong, she got there in one piece!

Bye Alice!!! It was fun hanging out!

I then got back on the subway and found my way to the grocery store that I shop at in Shanghai and found a restaurant that I hadn’t eaten in before. Sat down at a table with a lovely gentleman named Stern from New Jersey, in China teaching for a year, and had a wonderful conversation over lunch… we’re Facebook friends now 🙂  and then I got a little shopping done… mostly a backpack and sack full of groceries to sustain me through the week. I then took the subway back to the train station for the ride back to Hangzhou. I called Jerry, my driver (I love saying that… he’s a very cool dude!) and asked if he could pick me up… he said yes and told me to keep an eye out for the special way he was going to display my name at the train station…

You see MY driver uses an iPad instead of cheesy paper! 😀 Thank you, Jerry, for making me feel so special and important and for being environmentally friendly!

He then informed me that he was taking me to dinner to thank me for all the referrals that I gave him. He was taking me to the “best Chinese restaurant in town” and inquired about what foods I could and could not eat… the man pays attention! Too bad he’s married with a kid, lol! Just joking, his wife is one lucky lady!

So, he takes me to Nongtangli Restaurant near West Lake and he was not kidding… it was the best Chinese food I’ve had since I’ve been here! I decided right then and there that Wednesday, July 4th, was going to be my Celebration Meal of the week. Not that I ventured too far… I don’t do wheat, rice or potatoes… here’s what we had…

Spicy Black fungi and to die for pork… nommy, nommy pork, melt in your mouth, fall off the bone, better than sex pork 😀

And pumpkin with a creamed coconut sauce… now this was yummy!

And I had juice, which is something I haven’t had since August! It was fresh juiced green apple and grapefruit… cool and refreshing on this hot summer’s eve!

Awesome dinner, awesome dinner companion. Jerry then took me back to my flat and didn’t charge me for the pick up… such a great guy!

So my 4th of July food was:
Breakfast: 2 tea eggs, coffee at train station
Lunch: Salad greens and a poached salmon steak
Snack on the train: about 2 ounces of aged cheddar that was crumbly and sharp!
Dinner: See above… Yum!!
Snack before bed: FF Greek Yogurt with Splenda and flax seed
Water: About 3 liters
Exercise: 1 mile walk after dinner and 20 minutes of meditation

So how was everyone else’s 4th of July??

Ciao!

My Surgery

Phew… it’s been a helluva week. It is Sunday night, I THINK, and I’m on a flight from Hangzhou to Hong Kong. I boarded this plane less than 72 hours after being under general anesthesia for liposuction. I feel like crap! And that’s putting it mildly.

Just want to pre-warn that there will be some pictures of during and after my surgery. So stop right now if ya don’t wanna see… Hey! Don’t scroll down, you have to read first! 🙂

Wednesday, May 9 (Happy birthday Charity… I love you and I’m a shitty aunt for not sending you birthday wishes)… Kitty and I leave at 615 am for the train station.

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Four hour train ride to Wenzhou, where we get checked into the hotel and go to hospital for 2nd consult with cosmetic surgeon. He and the Director of the Cosmetic Surgery department make me feel at ease, discuss what will be done on Thursday, go over the informed consent thoroughly and the papers are signed. Nice dinner out with the hospital admin and the guest speakers for tomorrow’s events. I had wine. I deserved it, lol 🙂

This is where I’m going to answer the question that 3 people have privately emailed me this week… Why did I have liposuction? Quite simply, at 48 years old, having been obese for most of my adult life, and having lost nearly 100 pounds in 8 months, I had fat that wasn’t going anywhere. It had settled in a few places that I didn’t like. Most noticeably to me was the inner aspect of my knees. About 6 weeks ago I noticed that my legs were getting so toned from running that my thighs no longer touched… WOO HOO… But my knees still did. I did tons of research on what kinds of exercise would get rid of it and the bottom line is none. I didn’t like it. In clothes (SIZE 10!!!) I looked great. But naked, not so much. I’ve been doing yoga 2x a week, running 5+K 5x a week and using the stretch bands 2x a week and it wasn’t budging. Not that it matters, because I had liposuction because I wanted it 🙂 And that is what is the most important.

Thursday, May 10 (Happy Birthday, Sydnie Renae, momma sent your mommy a text message, thanks for the response back)… Up early for a marketing event at the hospital. My job, stand on stage with the other dignitaries and support the company’s cross-straight relationship with Taiwan with a new IVF clinic using the latest technology. Very exciting for our Wenzhou patients!

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My surgery was originally scheduled for 10 am, after the event, but was postponed until 2, so Kitty and I headed back to the hotel for a rest. It was around noon that I found out that my blog had been suspended… I wrote about that yesterday, but I was more upset about that happening than the surgery! I wasn’t nervous about the surgery, because I felt completely confident with my decision and completely confident in my surgeon. At 2 pm Kitty and I went to the 7th floor to see the surgeon and get drawn on.

Kitty and I on our way back to hospital for operation…

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I then put on jammies for the walk down to the OR. I was able to walk in and get on the OR table myself. The anesthetist introduced herself and the Chief anesthetist came in and introduced himself. I was unbelievably calm. My heart rate was 57 bpm. Kitty was by my side. And as they gave me he “put you to sleep medicine” I looked over at Kitty and asked her if that’s what they gave me… I woke up 3.5 hours later. Here’s a peek at what happened in the OR.

Getting the fat sucked out of tummy..

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This is my surgeon proudly displaying jar #1… There was a second jar with 700mL… And yes jar #1 is full to the top 🙂

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I woke up a little panicky, but then Kitty reassured me she was there and I calmed. I was shivering u controllable. I kept trying to clear my throat because it’s hoarse from being intubated. I was on a heart monitor and kept asking for my glasses so I could monitor my vital signs 🙂 For some reason I was fixated on my oxygen saturation rate (it would drop to 89% and I’d take deep breaths to get it back up… lol). Kitty never left my side. When everyone left the room she told me that they sucked out 2500mL of fat and 400mL came from my knees. She’s such a good Doobie! I vomited 7 times. They had me on a drip of Fentanyl and no anti-emetic available. Something we’ll talk about at the follow-up. I turned off the fentanyl, since it hurt worse to puke.

Friday, May 11 (Happy Birthday, Sadie Rose! Momma loves you and I sent a message to your mommy… I’m sure she gave it to you!) My daughters gave birth 22 hours and 35 minutes apart 8 years ago, giving me to gorgeous grand-girls!

Around 400 a.m., my bladder starting bothering me, the foley was pulling, the bag was full. Kitty couldn’t fine a nurse, so she got me out of bed and I went in search for a syringe, so I could remove it myself! Which I did!

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Kitty lovingly went back to the hotel to bring me yogurt for breakfast. And the news that the Taizhou CEO really, really wanted me to go there for their Sunday water birth event. He’s a really nice guy, I laid out the terms of what would need to be done to make it happen and within in an hour it was settled… Kitty and I were leaving Wenzhou to go back for one night in Hangzhou. So off we went… Less than 24 hours post op… Before we left Kitty took these lovely pics of my bruising…

Bruise over upper abdomen, over liver area…

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This is the right side of my body… Wonder why I feel like I’ve been hit with a Mack truck?..

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Here’s the sun setting at the Wenzhou train station…

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Into Hangzhou late… Straight to bed, repack early in the morning and I walked to work with Olivia. Nice slow walk. Kitty got all my medicine together and I had my daily dose of antibiotics. Not a big fan, but this is China and I teach infection control… ‘Nuff said 🙂 while sitting there getting my IV, my CEO sends me a big bouquet of flowers…

Warning… Bad hair moment!

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Saturday, May 12

Then BACK to the train station to go to Taizhou!

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Beautiful room in Taizhou. I make Kitty and I dinner… Now listen here folks… If I can haul my little stove, pan, spatula, meat and onions 3 hours on a train, 48 hours after surgery and stay on my diet… Then SO CAN YOU! 🙂

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About 3 minutes after we finish eating, we get a call that the car is downstairs to go to dinner with the CEO and guests for the next days events. We went and picked at the food. In bed by 9 pm and Kitty and I watched Big Momma, Like Father, Like Son… We laughed until we cried… Funny movie.

Sunday, May 13… HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Up at 7 to go to hospital for IV infusion before event. I stir fried steak for Kitty and I and had a yogurt with Splenda and flax seed meal. While getting my IV I practiced my speech for the ceremony.

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Then downstairs for the event. I delivered the first water birth baby in Taizhou a couple months ago and the mommy was there with the baby…

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Here’s the wall banner for the event…

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Then lunch with the gang and back to the train station for the 3 hour trip back to Hangzhou. Long, sad ride knowing these were my last few hours with Kitty 😦 Her last day is Tuesday, so today was our day together. Kitty slept, as per usual…

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We get to the Hangzhou train station and my driver Jerry scooped us off and off to the airport… Geez oh Pete! Jerry put the front seat down, so I could elevate my legs on the ride… He’s awesome!

Hangzhou airport… Goodbye Kitty! You’ve been the best personal assistant over the past 8 months. You’ve grown and improved and probably learned more from me than you should have, lol. Through you I’ve learned patience. Kitty’s last cute quote as she wiped my tears away, “now stop crying, you’re smearing the eyelash make-up”… Love the girl.

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I look like crap in this picture… 5 cities in four days. This shot was taken less than 72 hours after I came out of surgery. Everyone keeps saying I’m strong. I think I’m stupid!

Flight to Hong Kong, uneventful… Here’s a shot while we were landing…

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So, to wrap things up…
1. Elective surgery hurts the same as non-elective surgery.

2. I had the following done:

a. Inside aspect of knees
b. Above the knee
c. Inside upper thigh
d. Upper abdomen
e. Two spots on each side of my back

3. No one tells you how shitty you really feel after liposuction. I’m here to tell you that you feel like:

a. You’ve been hit by a truck
b. You’ve been run over by a train
c. You’ve been dropped from a 20 story building
d. You’ve run full on into a brick wall
e. You’ve been beaten with a baseball bat

4. Hard to find pictures of what you look like after liposuction, I’ve shared them here. You look battered. You LOOK like you’ve been beaten with a baseball bat. I guess a lot of people don’t want to say they’ve had work done, and that’s OK, but I really would have liked a little insight!

5. I would suggest a bit more rest than I’ve had. That said, I’m vegging out in a hotel room in Hong Kong. I’m suppose to get on a train to Guangzhou today, but I’m thinking I’m not going to do it. I need ME time. They have a lady who is wanting to be the first water birth in Guangzhou and they are waiting for me… She’ll have to wait… This momma is going to take care of herself today… Babies can wait 🙂

Ciao!

Travel – Stuck at the Airport… Writin’ A Blog

Well, I’m sitting at the Guangzhou, China airport waiting on a delayed flight with a migraine, yippee! So I thought, what the heck… Write your blog 🙂

Weight, up 200 grams from the other day. Did 2 pure protein days in a row, hoping for the best tomorrow.

Taught classes to moms & dads to be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Also taught staff development classes those 3 days.

Then an early morning train to Hong Kong on Friday morning. Busy day, I specifically went to see Troy the travel guy, to book tickets for my mom to go to North Carolina and me to go home for 2 weeks in June. I got my tickets, didn’t get my mom’s (mom I’ll Skype ya tomorrow!).

I also got some shopping in on Friday and Saturday. I also did the 90 minute KYA Ashtanga yoga class with Miranda at Yoga Mālā. I did a few modified poses due to the inability to bend the left knee more than 90 degrees without pain, but only a few… It was an awesome class.

Saturday morning up at the crack of dawn and lounged in bed. Then went out for a run…. A LONG RUN!

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Did you know that 6.54 miles is over 10.5 kms? I ran 75% of this… I ran the first 5.42 kms without stopping, then I speed walked and then I did a 5 minute stretch and meditation and then ran a bit more, then when I got into traffic I just speed walked… Too hard to run on the crowded sidewalks.
According to RunKeeper the elevation I climbed was 2300+ feet!

Here are pics from some of my run… The first 2+ kms were UPHILL on the street…

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I even recorded some of it… You can see that here: Sandi street running in Hong Kong

Then I found Bowen Road which is a 4 km path specifically for pedestrians!

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And this is what bliss looks like after figuring out you’ve done gone more than 10kms!

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I also treated myself to a foot massage both days… I deserve it 🙂

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So, that’s my update… THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO VOTED FOR CELESTE IN THE LAST COUPLE DAYS AND A HUMONGOUS THANKS TO THOSE BLOGGERS WHO REPOSTED IT. My family thanks you with our WHOLE heart! You can vote daily until May 13. I will be putting a little box on the right side of my blog, once I’m back home and have my lap top 🙂

Ciao!

Dukan in Hong Kong

Thursday was a PP Day 🙂
I’m up 200 grams today and I have NO BLOODY IDEA how that can be!
I did the following:
Walked all over the city at a brisk pace = 5.21 miles
I pooped 🙂
I RAN UPHILL and the down = 2.58 miles
I did KYA Ashtanga yoga (KYA is Kick Your Ass, name of the class, and it did!) = 90 minutes

I ate:
Breakfast- 4 slices oven roasted turkey and a small chunk of low fat (6%) cheese
Lunch – same as above
Dinner – street pork, two pieces of he crispy skin (could not resist) and NOTHING ELSE
Snack – pot of fat free Greek yogurt with 2 T bran and a Splenda
Drank- 1 coffee and 3.5 liters of water

I’m a bit disappointed…. Which is out of character for me 😦 That’s a net gain of 300 grams for 2 days.

I had a really good day though and a massage in the middle of all the exercise, and the best news is that I’m still able to move this morning! I was a bit worried after the yoga.

Here’s some pics if my day!

Ciao!

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My running route uphill!!!

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Travel – Update on Sex Trade & Other Curious Happenings on Wednesday

First up… Wednesday was a travel day and thus a PV day. I brought my scale with me, but not my spreadsheet, I’m up 100 grams from yesterday morning’s weigh in.

So I had a very interesting day after reaching the airport. A shout out to KaKa, my driver, for getting me there with lots of time to spare! And yes, that’s his name… It’s China.

I want to start by saying that I’ve read the Celestine Prophecy 3 times over the years. It is one of those books that makes you think. The first insight in the book is: 1 We are discovering again that we live in a deeply mysterious world, full of sudden coincidences and synchronistic encounters that seem destined.
Destined being the key word here. The book goes on to say that there really aren’t coincidences… We are destined to interact… Sometimes it’s a smile and wink or a nod, sometimes it’s the passing of a note with encouragement, sometimes it’s a look of understanding and sometimes it can be negative and we must look within ourselves to change our behaviors.

I had ALL of this happen to me in the Hangzhou Airport, on the plane and on the transfer bus at the Hong Kong Airport.

The Sex Trade:
As I spoke of in yesterday’s blog, it is apparently alive, well and open if you just take the time to see and hear. I was sitting on the seats behind the 2 men in yesterday’s picture. I overheard the old white guy speaking roughly and disrespectfully to the young Asian man, almost like reprimanding a child. The sentence “you’ll speak to them when and if I say so” sent chills up my spine 😦 The body language spoke volumes and you could tell these 2 men were not partners in a mutually satisfying relationship. There have been 3 articles, in the news that I read, in the past week. I encourage you to read the stories and be more aware of this frightening issue!
Jessie Foster
change.org
WHAT I DID: The old man told the young Asian man he was using the toilet. I turned slightly and gave the young man a paper with the info for Free the Slaves on it. I then told him he could call or text anyone he wanted on my iPhone and I would keep an eye out for the bastard he was with. He made a 34 second call, I think he was speaking Thai. I PRAY this young man finds a way out. I PRAY the bastard doesn’t find the paper with the web address on it. I DID NOT say a word to the old bastard (sorry… That’s the nicest word I can come up with for my blog). I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want any abuse to befall the young man. Our flights boarded at the same time and I gave him a look of what I pray was HOPE… And then burst into tears when they were out of sight.

The Not-So-Stupid Guy:
So, interesting flight. Sat next to a young Chinese couple who held hands and were easy 2 hour flight mates. UNTIL WE LANDED… And by that I mean the male half of the couple took his seat belt off the nanosecond the wheels hit the ground and stood up and opened the overhead. While we’re still going a couple of hundred MPH! WTF!?!? So I yelled at him. LOUDLY! I said, “Are you fucking stupid? Sit down… NOW!” and he did. He then apologized. And I softened. The flight attendant, who was enroute to tell him (I’m sure much nicer than me) to sit down, thanked me warmly.
Then the young man proceeds to tell me sorry again, and that this was the first time they ever flew, they just got married, and he wanted to call the parents to tell them they were safe. Now I feel like an ass. Kind of. I apologize for calling him stupid and explain that it is unsafe to take off the seat belt until the plane has stopped at the gate. I tell him unsafe for him and for me, if he were to fall he could hurt me (I was making a point, not being egotistical). He agreed with my reasoning. I apologized AGAIN and so did he and then he gave me a hug. Like a “I need my mommy” hug, which made me feel like an even bigger loser for calling him stupid. And just so you know, most people in China won’t hug you unless they’ve known you long time. So that was kind of cool.
LESSON LEARNED: Words can be forgiven, but not forgotten… Once they come out of your big mouth, you can’t take them back! I’m going to work on that.

The Man Sitting in Front of Me:
So on the flight there was a man in the seat in front of me who I had more compassion for than you could know. He was a very big guy, very obese, and I was him just 7 months ago. He got up to go to the back of the plane and I noticed he was using the seatbelt extender… I rode back to Abu Dhabi in August so amazingly uncomfortable because I refused to ask for an extender. I was there (it’s hard getting through writing this post without crying), sir, I know the feeling, the looks, the shittiness of it all. I hope you know that my smile was genuine and there was no judgement or pity there… Because I was there… Just a mere 7 months ago. I sat there trying to figure out how to reach out to you without embarrassing you or me (I’m sure you heard me yell at the kid who stood up… I don’t always say the right things). As we were standing and waiting to disembark the plane I decided to simply give you this blog address (I pray you are reading this). As we got on the transfer bus I reached out… Which is difficult, even for me and gave him a paper with my blog address and simply said, “this is my blog address, visit my blog, it could change your life”. I think at first he wanted to hand it back, but stuck it in his shirt pocket. I smiled and that was that.
NOTE TO GENTLEMAN FROM 38C:
If you have any questions, you can email me privately at sandiblankenshiprm@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you! Or feel free to respond here on the blog. I hope you know that I gave you that paper with a pure heart.
LESSON LEARNED: Put on your big girl panties and make a difference in someone’s life… Paying it forward is the best feeling in the world.

So that all happened inside 3.5 hours 😀 I then took the shuttle bus to the Best Western Causeway Bay where I’m in a tiny hotel room on the top floor (37th!) and have a stunning view. Now I’m off to the Immigration Office to renew my visa.

Ciao!

Edited February 24, 2014: Interesting and thought provoking blog post on the sex trade industry: The Scourge of Child Trafficking.