29 Dec 2015

No champagne!

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No champagne on New Year’s Eve…say what? This is actually horrible news. The worst. But I think it’ll be symbolic of a healthy lifestyle change. And if it works, I’ll be drinking my ass off next year. #nodoubtaboutit.

My first year of no divorce or deaths has almost come to an end. While it wasn’t the year I expected to be, it had its perks. First, I got a new job. After the SAP acquisition, my goal was to have a new job by the end of the year. I had one by June! And I’m really loving it at Socrata. Great work and people. Second, I got a new car. Thanks to George’s mad negotiation skills, my ride is now an Audi A3 with the newest technology. It’s a much better size for city living. Third, I had several fun trips: Santa Fe, Nashville, Whistler and San Diego.

The best part of the year was spending time with friends and family. When I think about the people in my life—namely you—it gives me pause. I’m really one of the luckiest people on the planet!

Okay—enough sap. Onward and upward.

Tomorrow I’m starting a 3 day cleanse. It’s a series of juices loaded with probiotics, fiber and nutrients. The goal is to get rid of all the crap and reset your body—not weight loss. It’s also one that a lot of celebrities use. You can learn more about it on the Kimberly Snyder site.


Kimberly Snyder glow cleanse

Of course, I didn’t think through the timing—doing this cleanse Wednesday through Friday. Wah wah.

The bigger commitment is Whole 30. Have you done this before? This is supposedly a great way to give your body a break from taxing digestive work. My friend (and colleague) Amy is going to be my partner in crime. We’re going to share meals and support one another as we go through sugar and carb withdrawal. Tomorrow I’m going to pick up the Whole 30 cookbook!

The biggest obstacle will be my 4 day trip to San Francisco in the middle of the month. I’m going to do my very best!

Anyone else want to join? Check out the Whole 30 site. Let me know so we can check in with one another! 

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy new year!

Julie in Seattle

19 Nov 2015

Stress test

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I got results from my third test via Arivale. This one measures stress by looking at cortisol levels from one day—in this case it was a Sunday. A healthy graph would start high in morning and then decrease throughout the day. Mine started at a good level, but got progressively worse.

The biggest spike was in the evening when I worked for about 5 hours. My nutritionist explained that the imbalance can lead to food cravings. This explains everything why I get all snacky when I work. It also provides the motivation for me to make it big and get a personal trainer and chef. That’s all…problem solved.

I’ve made a couple of decisions. One is to try tai chi. My friend Ellen and I are going to take a beginning course starting mid-December. The second is to try the Headspace app—a couple of times during the day. Have any of you used it?

I need new outlets to add to my very limited bag of tricks. Let’s see how it goes! Also, I’m really excited about my trip to San Diego—going to exercise every day!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!!

Julie in Seattle

07 Nov 2015

Clean living

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My friend Nahid and I are buddies for a week of clean living. Nahid and I met at Concur—both of us were buddies in sales training together. In our icebreaker we had to find something in common—but we found more differences such as age, profession, education, etc. When it was our turn to share with the group, I told everyone we both had arranged marriages—which was believed for like two seconds before we started laughing.

We’re both now at tech companies in SoDo and get together for lunch regularly. Anyway, we decided to do a simple carb free week…together. We’re starting tomorrow—Sunday! Excited to see if I feel better at the end of the week.

I’m making chili tomorrow. Let me know if you have any favorite sugar and flour-free recipes!

Julie in Seattle

15 Oct 2015

Skinny genes

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Hello there!

First, let me give you an update…I’m eating better and have lost a few pounds! I’m definitely eating less simple carbs and trying to eat more proteins. I’m also averaging about 8k steps a day—but usually exceed 15k on weekends.

This week I got my DNA results! This is especially interesting for me since I don’t have any medical records from biological peeps. The cool thing is they added the results to the same dashboard as the blood results. So I could see how they aligned.

They color code the results:

  • Gray: no risk / no benefit
  • Green: beneficial
  • Yellow: potential impact
  • Red: potential high impact

Most of the results were gray—which is good.

I had a few reds, specifically:

  • ACE: where sodium adversely affects blood pressure. The good news is that my blood work + blood pressure showed that I’m in the healthy range—but it’s something I should be mindful of as I age.
  • SOD2: where my body has trouble absorbing antioxidants. However, I can combat with eating cruciferous and allium vegetables.
  • GSTM1, GSTT1: I lack enzymes that effectively breakdown toxins. Good news again is that my blood work shows I’m in the healthy range and can stay there by eating cruciferous and allium vegetables. 
  • I’m very lactose intolerant. Rude. I’m not surprised…I hate milk, my body can’t deal with cream or yogurt…but I love ice cream and cheese. I’m now going to have to focus on non-lactose cheeses. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss.

Yellows:

  • Diabetes—have to watch out for saturated fats.
  • Caffeine—my body lacks enzymes to break down caffeine effectively—so I have to be careful about intake—and not consume any in the afternoon or evening as it affects sleep.
  • Mercury—I have to watch out for foods containing mercury. Good thing I prefer Mars.

 BUT here’s the really good news, the greens:

  • LPL: I am prone to have lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol
  • My obesity risk is low! I’m naturally inclined to healthy weight—less affected by carbs and saturated fats—able to lose weight easily. My coach said this is happy surprise as it’s unusual to get a green in this category. Sad face news is that I got fat through lifestyle choices. Once I lose my “grief” weight, I’m going to tell my body that it has to stay that way because my DNA says so!
  • Optimal exercise is low! This means once I’m at a healthy weight, I don’t need a lot of exercise to maintain it.

Overall, pretty good news. My coach and I were pleased by it. As you can tell, I love this program! Data can be super empowering.

Have a great weekend!

Julie in Seattle

PS: let me know if you’re interested in being a pioneer and joining this program. They’re offering a friends and family rate through the December class. It’s $2k for a year—and it will probably double in price in 2016.

26 Sep 2015

Conquerer

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First, thanks for the words of encouragement after my last post. I was feeling a bit down, but your support buoyed my spirits.

Last weekend I got a letter from Seattle Cancer Care saying they detected something—not to worry—but come in for a second look. After talking to my sis-in-law (RN), I felt better. She said in most cases it’s a benign cyst. And I had a feeling it wasn’t cancer—but knew you can’t go on feelings alone. I was more annoyed that I’d have to wait a few days to get confirmation. On Thursday, I got the best news. It wasn’t even a cyst. The positioning from one of the scans showed a fold. No spot, no check-up. All done. Phew.

The surprise was my emotional response. I immediately wanted to call and tell my mom and as soon as it registered that I couldn’t, I started to cry. And not the teary-eyed stuff..the ugly sobbing kind. I know it was part relief, but it’s just one of those moments that I really missed her.

It’s so easy to be annoyed by your parents—I get it—but I encourage you to focus on something positive and thank them…today.

On Tuesday, I met with my doctor and had my blood drawn. She came to the same conclusion—pre-diabetic. With diet changes and exercise, I can avoid diabetes all together. So no meds! I’ll go back for a blood draw in 3-4 months and see if I’ve made improvement. My doc is extremely optimistic. She has many patients who have changed their lifestyles and are no longer in risk of diabetes.

Did you know that Asian women are prone to diabetes? I had no idea…and it doesn’t make a difference that I was raised white. It’ll be interesting to see if I have markers for diabetes when I review my DNA results with my coach next month. Either way, this program has already paid for itself. Since I don’t have major symptoms, I could have progressed to a stage in diabetes that would require medication.

All in all, it was a good week! I feel empowered to control my fate and live a long healthy life.

Do any of you watch Empire? I feel like one of the songs featured: “I am a conqueror.”

In the wise words of Estelle Swaray and about 7 others:

We all make mistakes,
You might fall on your face,
But you gotta get up!

I’d rather stand tall
Than live on my knees,
‘Cause I am a conqueror
And I won’t accept defeat!

Julie in Seattle

14 Sep 2015

Bad blood

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Well I’ve had a rough start to my wellness program. Two out of four weeks I’ve either had an infection or cold. Ugh. It’s like my body is rebelling :).

Also, I have a new coach. Her name is Monika and I already love her. Today we spent most of our time reviewing my blood test results. The presentation of results are nice — not just numbers, but also coded in green, yellow and red.

My results were really a mixed bag. I tried not to overreact, but one of the findings is scary.

Brief overview:

  • Healthy aging: all green (measured by mercury, lead, arsenic, glutathione (antioxidant) and superoxide dismutase)
  • Inflammation: mixed but nothing outrageous
  • Optimal nutrition: mostly green — but yellow in Omega 3 foods and red in Vitamin D
  • Diabetes risk: mostly red (3 out of 5 factors) — horrendous, mortifying, extremely unpleasant

Monika says losing 10 lbs can make a big difference. No problem. Just give me 6 weeks!

I need to schedule an appointment to review the results with my doctor, specifically the diabetes-related numbers.

After the shell shock, I started to breathe again. AND NOW, I’m determined to kick those red markers in the butt. By the next blood test (in 4 months), I bet I’ll have all green in the diabetes test.

Wanna bet a Snickers bar on that?

Julie in Seattle

 

25 Aug 2015

Fixit and Fitbit

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I read my last post and didn’t like the term “transition” year. It sounds like I’m going through THE transition, which has its benefits, but that’s not what’s happening.

So I’m renaming it to my “Fixit” year. I’m fixing me! At least the parts of me that don’t feel good. Time to return to a healthy body!

Since last week, I’ve done 3 out of 4 items on my list. I haven’t tracked food yet, but will start this week.

Today I got my blood drawn for the wellness program. Unfortunately, I have the tiniest veins. Most of the time they have to try a few different veins and today was no exception. They finally got what they needed, but it took like 3x the time it does normally. I also did a cheek swab for DNA.

I have to do 2 tests at home: a saliva one (4x in a day that measures stress levels or something like that) and a fecal sample. Yep, you read right. It allows them to examine what’s going on in my gut, which is closely connected to so many vital organs. I also got a Fitbit Charge—now I can easily track heart rate, steps and sleep! I wish it weren’t so big and awkward…can someone please design a beautiful one that looks like a bracelet?

Every month, I’ll get results back from these tests and tell you the kinds of things they’re able to measure. It’s going to be quite educational and insightful. Unless they tell me I’m going to die soon, then it’ll suck.

Julie in Seattle

PS: Best part of the day was a surprise run-in with my friend Maureen! She’s in the program too and will be the perfect buddy!

17 Aug 2015

Please meet Arivale

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I missed you guys! As you know, it’s been a tough few years for me and I’m treating 2015 as my transition year.

During this “transition,” I got a new job! I was at Concur for 2.25 years (exceeding my 2 yr avg) and there were many signs telling me to leave, including the SAP acquisition. So I started to network to see what opportunities were out there. I talked to my peeps at Socrata, including the CEO and two weeks later had an offer. It was one of the easiest decisions of my career. And so far it’s great!

On to the good stuff…my friend Sean is an executive at Arivale. What’s Arivale? Only the coolest wellness program ever. EVER!  It will develop a customized wellness program based on my test results (genes, blood, saliva, etc) with the goal to lead a healthy life. This of course is one of my many goals, but the initial one is to lose weight! Once I feel good, I’ll happily resume dating (already have a new strategy and plan).

My first Arivale coaching session was today!

Here’s what I committed to:

  • No sodas
  • I’ll eat fruit for sweets during the day (instead of candy)
  • I’ll track what I consume
  • I’ll add more protein and veggies at dinner

I’m also not supposed to beat myself up when I break one of these rules.

I told her what a great support system I have—thank you all for helping me through these truly challenging years and as I work on my health.

Let me know if you’d like to go for a walk, an easy hike or eat a non-sweet, high protein meal :)

I love you guys!

Julie in Seattle

PS: here are a couple of links to learn more about Arivale:

  • https://registration.arivale.com/new
  • http://www.geekwire.com/2015/dr-lee-hoods-new-wellness-startup-arivale-raises-36m-to-improve-your-health/
04 Jul 2014

Chao from Saigon

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Greetings from Vietnam!

I’m writing from a very chic French cafe, L’usine in the middle of Saigon — a thriving city with 8 million residents. There are also about 8 million scooters who try (unsuccessfully, so far) to hit Mai and me each time we cross a street (my video of crossing a Saigon street). I wish I were kidding — but crossing a street (often four+ lanes wide) is like Frogger.

The food is amazing! I hardly know any of the dishes, but they’re often a stir fry or cooked in clay pots. But we’ve also had the staples, like banh mi sandwiches and pho — definitely had the best pho here! I also tried a huge ass crepe — from a street vendor, which may also be why I got sick. Or it could’ve been the tap water I used for brushing my teeth. In was inevitable as I do not have Mai’s stomach of steel.

The language is tough. I’ve only mastered hello and thank you and even then they smile when I say it…like that’s so cute, but you’re way off. I’m very, very, very lucky to have my own personal tour guide, who speaks the language and turns heads wherever we go. Mai stands about a head above the rest, literally. Good thing she’s still clumsy and forgetful — otherwise, it might go to her head.

The primary reason we’re here is to work on TravelCat. We have a stellar team of developers — young, smart and hardworking. There are 7 of them dedicated to our website and mobile app. We also have amazing designers, Jin & Jana — from Seattle. They are helping us to make one of the most unique and charming travel sites. We’re over the moon with their work.

I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to grow, discover and experience so many wonderful new things.

Thank you to my fellow traveler, business partner and friend: Mai Hoang.

Julie in Seattle

PS: It’s hot as hell here + the most humid you can imagine. I don’t recommend coming to SE Asia in the summer. I melt each time we leave the hotel. I hope imagine that the consummate sauna is a good start for my weight loss.
PPS: We went to McDonald’s for lunch — it’s enormous and the decor is way different — very modern. They call it “Mac dO land” — I’ll post some photos on Instagram.
PPS: I feel like a millionaire here — 1 million dong = $50 USD. You know I’m such a big spender so I’ve pulled about 8 million dong so far. Most meals are less than $25 (for 2 of us), including drinks. We got body scrubs and massages (60 min) for $25 each.

collage

08 Jun 2014

Dating delay

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Hello my friends! I hope you enjoyed the sunny weekend.

I’ve turned a corner and feeling more normal. Not 100% yet, but close. Starting to spend time with friends, taking walks and catching up on work. Probably not surprising, but I’m postponing my dating start date.

I want to feel excited about meeting new people, but I also want some distance between my sad story. Friday is the anniversary of my mom’s death and the following week her birthday. I’m going to spend this summer getting back in shape, working on Mai’s startup and enjoying all that the NW has to offer (including the best friends ever)!

Thank you for your continuous love and support,

Julie in Seattle