Welcome back to another installation of the SF Stories series!
In the first installations of this series I was able to chat with four amazing women in San Francisco – One focused on healthy living, one on the arts, one on business, and the other a beacon of change in the fashion industry.
You know when you meet those people who you just know are going to make a difference in your life?
Adeline “Chi chi” was one of those people for me. Not only is she one of those rare, genuinely nice people who wants to do everything she can for those around her, but she’s also intelligent, thoughtful, and has a smile that could power a small town.
In addition to being able to vogue with the best of them, she’s also a nurse and a fitness instructor. She took some time out of her busy schedule recently to chat with me about healthy living and how she approaches fitness and food in her daily life.
MCLV: As both a nurse and healthy living enthusiast, you have a unique perspective about the importance of nutrition and physical activity. If you could make one recommendation for a newbie to healthy living who wants to start making some changes to their life, what would it be?
C: I would advice them to take one step at a time and to view it as a Lifestyle change instead of a quick fix. Many people tend to start the journey by making extreme goals and extreme changes in their habits but end up giving up after a few weeks because they become overwhelmed.
MCLV: With more research coming out daily and more doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, and the like starting to focus on the role of nutrition in health, it’s pretty clear that what we put into our bodies each day is extremely important. Can you tell the MCLV readers about your own journey with nutrition and how being a nurse has impacted/clarified your views on healthy eating?
C: I grew up in culture which believed that being overweight was a sign of health and beauty, therefore during my teenage years after immigrating to the US, I made it a focus to eat junk so I can gain lots of weight. I ate at fast food places almost every day. I loved big Macs, extra-large milkshakes form Carls Jr, and the large Macho Burritos with sour cream and guacamole from Del Taco. I gained 50 lbs in seven months, going from 100 lbs to 150lbs. I was so happy and wanted more. When I got to college, I continued my bad habits and gained 20 more lbs my Freshman year.
In my sophomore year I took a nutrition class which was part of my nursing course. It was during that time that I learned what being healthy looked like. I learned about healthy habits, ideal weight, and the importance of fitness. It was a foreign concept and hard for me to comprehend initially. I just couldn’t imagine looking at a ‘’skinny me’’ again. I struggled to imagine I had to give up something I had always wanted and worked so hard to achieve.
In my junior year I met my best friend who wanted to lose 100 lbs and asked me to join her on her weight loss journey through a program called P90. I started with only being able to tolerate the workouts for 10 minutes a day and slowly got better and eventually got hooked. I lost 50 lbs in 15 months and my best friend lost 77 in six months and a total of 100 in a year. We have both kept the weight off to this day.
I became a fitness fanatic and was determined to help my family and friends to get healthy as well.
MCLV: What does a typical day of eating look like for someone as busy as you? Have your eating habits undergone any dramatic shifts in recent years?
C: I am constantly trying to learn new ways to eat healthy. I eat mostly vegetarian though I am not vegetarian. I try to eat every two-three hours. I always have my quick go to snacks on hand which helps a lot on a crazy day.
My main snack choices are baby carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, almond, celery sticks with peanut butter, hummus, blueberries, and apple slices. I would say the most dramatic change in my eating habits has been staying aware of where my food comes from. I now eat mostly organic from local farms.
MCLV: There’s no denying the value of a good sweat – It helps with everything from developing your cardiovascular health to building strong bones. As a big believer in fitness we’d love to hear about your background and how your views on working out have changed over the years.
C: I never heard of a gym growing up. The only form of exercise was playing dodge ball, and walking, and normal activities for kids. I did run track in high school because I was forced to. After learning about fitness in college, I became interested in learning about all the different workouts out there. I love the gym and I also love outdoor workouts.
Now I do a variety of workouts, bootcamp, Crossfit, Zumba, hiking, yoga, etc. Anything that has to do with activity really gets me excited except running, though I have done a few marathons. I think fitness and nutrition is key to overall health of mind, body, and spirit. It is very crucial to our wellbeing
MCLV: What does a week of workouts look like for you these days?
C: I workout about for an hour or two a day, 5-6 days a week. It’s sounds crazy but it doesn’t feel that way because I have a variety of workouts so I am not in boot camp everyday.
- Monday: Two hours of polynesian and Hawaiian dance
- Tuesday: Bootcamp
- Wednesday: Outdoor workouts (combination of Cardio, strength, and yoga)
- Thursday: Zumba
- Friday: Zumba and strength
- Weekend: Hiking or anything outdoor
That is just a sample week but I change it up depending on my mood. I am currently on activity restrictions so I am getting pretty creative with my walking.
MCLV: Do you have any tips for developing a successful fitness routine? How do you stay motivated and keep pushing yourself?
C: My two main tips are:
- Find a workout style that you love. People fail to make fitness a part of their lifestyle because they force themselves to do workouts they hate. When you find something you love, you look forward to it. Don’t go running if it is boring or miserable for you. If you hate dancing, don’t take Zumba. It’s okay to try new things because you might end up liking something that you thought you hated, but don’t force yourself if it feels miserable.
- Choose a time of day that is consistent and good for your schedule. For me mornings are the best because I am a morning person. For others it can be evening.
I stay motivated by surrounding myself with like-minded people and those who more driven than I am. I love being challenged to grow.
Missed out on the previous SF Stories pieces? Check out my interviews with healthy living guru Nataliia Karpenko, model, actress & singer Jenefer Taylor, online entrepreneur Jia Wertz of Studio 15, and Project Runway alum and fashion designer Candice Cuoco of House of CCUOCO.