Natasha K.

Natasha K.

Alumni

Hi Team,

To answer some quick questions: Unfortunately, you can't order off menu items in Korea in any restaurant, they won't do it! This tidbit is learned through personal experience. Also, the Korean Outback doesn't have any blooming onions, to my great disappointment. I think it is the only item on the menu that makes that restaurant worth existing.

When I have to eat with people and can't order my own dish or pick the restaurant, I really am stuck with eating what is ordered.

I've decided to do as others have done while traveling. Since I couldn't exercise on Wednesday, I've decided to pretend that was my Sunday and just finish up all the other longer exercises for the week, rather than just skipping a day due to the fact that we are now targeting training areas. I was running all over the city that day, so at least it wasn't just a day of sitting on my butt.

Powering on to finishing the week!


Hi Team,

Just to give a short update on how I have been navigating the mess events I have this week:

Now it is midday Thursday. I have only had one meal (midday today, for celebrating after my sister's graduation) that was truly non-kenzai-compliant, since there wasn't veggies and just fried stuff. I can't order for myself as it is a sharing situation Asian meal. I can usually navigate shared meals by eating more veggies like Kim suggests, which I tend to do naturally since I like veggies, but it was my sister's graduation meal and she picked the location and that location was Outback Steakhouse. Pretty much the king of fried and unhealthy. They don't even have healthy salads at the Korean Outbacks.

Yesterday I was out at dawn and didn't get back home until 9pm, not having eaten anything all day except a salad for lunch, no dressing. No extra veggies, fruits, milk, etc., and not even any dinner. I was exhausted and ate an apple and some yogurt when I got home and went to bed, so I also had to skip my workout yesterday.

So to summarize: Down one workout and one meal, but no alcohol or desserts yet. I was also significantly under the grams I was supposed to eat yesterday in every category.

Tomorrow night, I can't really avoid the alcohol as I am meeting a company contact at a beer bar, but I can keep it to a glass, and otherwise stick closely to diet for the rest of the day: breakfast/lunch/dinner.

Saturday dinner will also be non-compliant for the family reunion and the fact that this is also shared family food. I don't expect there will be any more missed workouts this week either. On Saturday, I will probably try to keep to a light lunch of just veggies since I know that dinner won't be great. Sunday doesn't have any planned events, so I'm free to eat responsibly then.


Hi Team,

I don't really know what came over me this weekend, but I just got so hungry. I guess the weekend lesson plan was right on point. There was some family stuff that came up (birthday) that meant I was out all day and in addition eating with family for meals. FYI, most korean restaurants have only one real thing on the menu and everyone shares the dish. It was still pretty healthy and we ate things like shabu shabu and other veggies, but due to the timing being off all day, I got really hungry. I had a couple of drinks so that my father-in-law wasn't drinking alone on his birthday, and then I started snacking.

I know--kenzai is 90% diet. I'm back on the kenzai diet train this morning, but I feel pretty bad about yesterday.

No problem having enough time doing the exercises, as I timed them around our other activities. This week looks to be a real killer, though.

I have a few interviews on Wednesday where I will be out most of the day, and not sure how kenzai compliant I can be on either diet or exercise. There are few other things this week where I am meeting other job contacts (at a bar after their work), meeting my entire extended family (yearly family reunion, and can't choose the meal), and also my sister's graduation (with a celebratory meal). I think this will end up being my most non-compliant week.

This is the week where we are supposed to really start showing some gains, so I hope I'm not too far behind by the end of it! I did really well over the holiday, so maybe if it is only this week that throws me for a loop, then I will not be too badly off. I don't expect to have most of these occurrences/be in this situation again.

However, I'm committed in the times where I am free to choose what I can eat and how I spend my time. So I will try my best to keep up!


Hi Team,

First, I wanted to answer some questions regarding the meal I posted.

All the food has some significance, additionally in how it is placed on the table, which colors go to which cardinal direction, how many pieces of each type of food are on each dish, how the dish is made, etc. There are so many rules, haha.

What you are seeing here is basically an offering to our ancestors, not where we eat ourselves. We stand in front of the table and pour some alcohol and move the chopsticks around to each dish so that the ghosts of our ancestors can eat. They would be sitting placed at the back of that picture, opposite from the fruit side. We take turns bowing to the table and expressing (silently, in our heads) our hopes and dreams for good health and success in the year to come. The tops are cut off the fruit to signify it is ripe and fresh and ready to eat. In old Korea, only the men would be allowed during this ceremony, but it hasn't been that way for a long time. However, eldest sons and their wives still host this ceremony in the family, and everyone else should gather to that house, so there is still some gender significance. Both my husband and his father are the eldest sons in their family lines, so we do gather family here more often, but the rules aren't without some leeway. It's basically like hosting thanksgiving at someone's house.

In other news, I had a couple interviews this week and a couple more next week. No position/company has been stand-out for me so far, but it has only been a short time, so I'm still hopeful. I did have to go meet my old CEO and return my computer and try not to punch his face today. I brought lunch along with me in a container due to the morning interview as well, so the day has ended on track.

When I came back home, I got the exercises done. I'm useless at the chest dip exercises. I can barely hold myself up with arms bent for that length of time, let alone do any dips without collapsing. It's not a problem for straight arms or locked arms, but holy moly that's hard--no impossible at this stage! I will try to build up more and maybe I will be able to do a dip by the end of the program! I'm doing the alternative exercise with the "more gruel" posture instead.


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Hi Team,

I hope to be back out there reading all the blog posts and commenting again and catching up with what my teammates have been doing now that the holidays are over.

My day is just getting started, but I wanted to give you an update on how I handled the holiday's food situations. With the exception of 1 meal, 1 small cup of ice cream, and 1 rice honey treat, my diet was 100% kenzai, and 100% on point with grams, timing, etc.! I'm really happy how well I took this holiday and I managed to get all of my exercises done as well. Even that single meal, which wasn't 100% kenzai simply because I couldn't weigh stuff out, and there was a little (although not overboard) salt and oil. Otherwise, it is all whole, healthy veggies, meats, and fruits.

You can see a picture of the meal below, before we bowed to our ancestors and then took it back to the kitchen to eat together as a family.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to sticking to the diet and exercises cleanly again as I move forward. And I'll be back on here daily.

Pretty good right?


Thirty Days Done

I kind of expected more fat loss at this point but tape measurements are holding steady while diet had been at around 95% every day except where noted in my blog. I don't fe that my nutrition is right. Does anyone else feel the same?


Hi Team,

Just sharing some thoughts on things I've learned to keep to the diet schedule:

1. Always have baby tomatoes and already washed baby green leaves on hand in case vegetables you cooked aren't enough grams due to water loss OR you just get to a meal time and feel lazy.

2. Washed baby greens keep well in an airtight container, with as much as the water drained as possible (I just leave it sitting, draining, on the counter for a few hours while I go about my business) and a paper towel at the bottom to capture excess moisture.

3. The Kenzai butter chicken recipe (I think Karan? posted a link, if it was someone else, my bad, and THANKS!) is a lifesaver. Just keep some of the chicken breast on hand marinating and it goes well with all other veggies. The "gravy" is decent, but for the love of god, please add a large spoonful of handmade tomato paste to the mix.

4. If you don't have handmade tomato paste, which can be frozen in spoonfuls, get something that is all natural with no additives like salt or sugar or preservatives. This will go bad fast once opened, so you probably also want to freeze it.

5. Cinnamon is great to add to smoothies, as many people have suggested to me, but I've recently been very happy with a dollop of pureed ginger. You peel ginger, blend until smooth in a small blender like ninja or whatever they are called with a tiny bit of water just to loosen it up, and it also stores well in a container in the fridge. Fresh ginger every meal!

6. Spiciness activates your happiness brain chemicals. If you can't make it salty, make everything spicy, especially with different types of fresh pepper. Everyone handles levels of spice differently, so just make it as hot as you can take without making yourself uncomfortable! This is a proven trick to help people stay on diets and also makes you feel full and satisfied, if the meals feel unsatisfactory or if you have cravings.

7. Controversial Warning: Sometimes taking a small bite of my partner's meal helps prevent diet breaking and binge-ing. Try never to do this more than 10g a day MAX and even better when it isn't every day, and your mind may be a lot more comfortable in the food you have chosen.

Best of luck.


Dinner?
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Dinner is interesting. I'm adding a lot of extra calories and sugars to my diet this week with the addition of the banana & apple and the 200ml extra milk/yogurt, morning and night. Is this right?


Hi Team,

I said that I would be AWOL over the next few days, but I also said I would quickly update about my indulgence meal. I figured I would do that now so I didn't forget what I wanted to say.

I ate grilled shellfish and some beers. The shellfish ended up not being 100% Kenzai compliant because there was a gochujang dipping sauce after cooking, but I still feel like it was close to about 85% compliant. My husband and I went out with another couple who are friends of ours and live close by. It was a great evening, and I had a blast! Both my husband and my friend's husband don't like shellfish, while my friend and I LOVE it, so we never eat it when we are just with family, since I don't want to pick a meal that only I would enjoy. Our husbands don't mind occasionally taking one for the team if we are having a good time.

We played darts a few times and then ended up in a karaoke until very late in the evening. My alcohol tolerance was down and I got a little drunk as Ed mentioned could happen, although obviously we would never drink and drive even if it was just one glass!

The interesting thing is: When I get a little drunk, I usually get the munchies. Since being tipsy strongly lowers your food inhibitions, this is usually a recipe for some late night junk food snacking. However, in the karaoke last night, my friend went out and bought a bunch of snacks from the mart and everyone was eating it. I would have normally been the first one to enjoy those snacks, but I didn't have any! I didn't want it, and I didn't even consider eating the snacks; there wasn't any conscious decision making. This morning, when I thought about it, I was so proud that my food tastes had changed and really started to affect how I handled my day-to-day life.

I just wanted to share that with you all, and I hope you make a startling and happy discovery about your indulgences as well!


Hi Team,

I hope at least some of you like my long daily updates, but I will be going AWOL for the next few days. It is one of the two biggest holidays of the season and I have a lot of family obligations that will make it hard for me to keep a long updated blog.

Day 26 I had a lot of stuff to do outside the home for interviews and government office visits, etc., and my timing was off all day for eating. I ate WAY under my grams in most items but one extra apple on top of my 130g of fruit when I started starving to death (I estimate about 400 calories under), but kept a very strict kenzai compliant meals.

A few points:

1. My indulgence: I will do that tonight (day 27), as I have a night out with some friends and some grilled shellfish. The meal itself should be nearly 90% kenzai compliant (no added salts, sugars), but not enough veggies. The reason why its indulgent is because we are going out for beers. In order to minimize the damage, I have cut out my carbs (beers are kind of like the worst of carbs, right?) and also eaten a perfect kenzai diet, perfect grams the rest of the day. If I eat no more veggies today, I will end the day with 540g of veggies, so I feel pretty good about that.
2. The holidays: I should be okay with exercise times and with diet, but I will come back and blog about my failures if it is less than 85-90% kenzai compliant. Korea eats perfect, healthy, whole foods over these holidays with no real desserts. Extra salt will be going into my diet but there really isn't anything I can do about it since I actually have to eat with my family during this holiday as a point of manners.
3. The weekly picture update: Sorry Ed, I didn't take a picture for the 3rd week, so I will make sure to take a picture tomorrow as the 4th week concludes and upload that.

I'm finally seeing some changes in my body, so hopefully my careful planning of the indulgence will not be too much of a setback!


Day 24 - No Update

Hi Team,

I don't have anything interesting to say today. I saw some of you had an issue with the Creep, but I didn't feel anything at all from that exercise, even after checking my form. The side sit-ups were definitely hard. My body was like "What is this? Is it even possible to move in this fashion?" They weren't really painful just extremely hard to do. I had to adjust my leg and body position a couple times and take some rest.

24th Day Final Total Diet:
250ml of milk out of 250ml = target!
1 egg and 1 egg white = target!
130g of fruit out of 130g = target!
740g of vegetables out of 740g = target!
230g of protein out of 230g = target!
40g of carbs out of 120g = a bit low today, since some of my veggies (approx 200g) were potatoes, and I didn't want to go over my normal calories.

Food diary on Kim's request: 2 potatoes, 2 large scallops, an onion, a half a yellow bell pepper, a mixed baby green salad, half milk/half plain yogurt of 250ml (both low-fat), 7 baby tomatoes (or 8? I didn't write it down and I don't remember perfectly), a small cut of beef, 75g of young fresh kale-blended, a handful of raspberries, one clementine, 3 thin pieces of kimbap, a quarter of a piece of bread.

There isn't anything unusual in this diet. I didn't use any salt yesterday (I thought probably the scallops had enough), and where oil was needed, I used a paper towel to wipe I teaspoon of olive oil around on the bottom of the pan, leaving only a very small residue on the pan and most in the towel. This is what I have been doing where I haven't steamed or boiled veggies.


Hi Team,

Nothing exciting to post today. I waited several hours for an interview call (the guy did contact me with legitimate reasons: plane delayed/then crazy traffic issues/finally schedule changed), but we ended up rescheduling for next week.

I'm not seeing any fat weight loss yet, based on my waist line. I do feel more muscles when flexing. How is it possible to be eating what I am eating and still not lose a size? Maybe my BMR is lower than I thought? So much water retention? I will start measuring the amount of water I'm drinking (by putting it in a water bottle which I know the ml) since I feel like I've reduced it since I started this diet. My body will just take time to adjust, I think.

Exercises are definitely harder now, and my timing was off for the final set of Otter Kicks. I swear those are the hardest things to do, especially with the rest time of only 15 secs instead of 20 like on all the other exercises.

23nd Day - Final Diet yesterday:
270ml of milk out of 250ml = a bit high today
1 egg and 1 egg white = target!
130g of fruit out of 130g = target!
740g of vegetables out of 740g = target!
230g of protein out of 230g = target!
120g of carbs out of 120g = target! Although I had a 2 bites of my mom's kimbap which may be approx 10 grams extra of un-weighed carbs, and a tiny bit of extra veggies.

I'm starting to get hungrier now that my exercise time has really increased, and I end the day feeling cold, which I only do when I am on a calorie deficit, so I probably just need to be patient.


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Hi Team,

I did manage to get in my egg plus egg white during my lunch meal, so in the end I ate everything I was supposed to eat, although at the wrong times.

Exercises definitely starting to feel the burn. There isn't an issue about finishing anything, but it's starting to level up.

I had a referral/job inquiry call last night which went well, and will hopefully open up an opportunity in the next couple weeks. Next week is one of the two biggest holidays of the year, Lunar New Year, known as "Seollal" in Korean. It's generally full of very healthy whole foods and not really drinking, so I'm not too worried about eating poorly, but just about the amounts, specific items (like tteokguk), and timing of eating is very important in the holiday and can't be missed without insulting my ancestors, I think, so my diet may not be 100% on point. I don't think it will be too far off, as there are always plenty of veggies in the form of "banchan."

Okay, well here is 22nd Day - Final Diet yesterday:
250ml of milk out of 250ml = target!
1 egg and 1 egg white = target!
130g of fruit out of 130g = target!
740g of vegetables out of 740g = target!
230g of protein out of 230g = target, although I had egg whites that I weighed before cooking, so it could be up or down 10grams or so.
120g of carbs out of 120g = target!

I wiill show you a picture after the holidays of Seollal foods, set up for when we bow to our ancestors, or "Jesa". In the meantime, enjoy our Korean mountains.


Hi Team,

Gonna keep it short today. I burned myself pretty badly on my hand on Saturday night. It must not be my month for injuries, but I was juggling 3 different pans, so it happens. I couldn't make dinner or do much of anything, so I just ate what my mom made, along with the veggies I had managed to finish before I burned myself. I was very close to my final diet guidelines, but don't know the exact count.

On Sunday, I went out with my husband on a day hiking trip up the mountain. I wasn't carrying a bag with a scale because that is heavy so I just had to eyeball the veggies, carbs & meat when I was out eating. I was definitely off a bit here since my Kenzai diet still involves mega over-eating/stuffing myself, but I still feel pretty good, exercised well, and ate comfortably. I didn't eat any fruit, eggs, or milk on this day though.

Okay, back at it with a new week! My hand doesn't hurt so much but it looks pretty gnarly. I went to the police this morning (Monday) regarding my CEO, and didn't eat my eggs, but otherwise I'm ready to go!


Hi Team,

I wanted to devote my time today to talk about the body. The lesson yesterday got me thinking about some weird issues popping up in my situation, and I wondered how everyone else is doing.

I definitely don't have more energy yet. Meals still leave me feeling pretty full and uncomfortable, and the protein is tough to get down, as Ricky has mentioned. I'm ending the days feeling bloated and swollen (no salt, I swear!) I hope to cut more in the future to be at manageable food levels. It's much, much better than last week but still doesn't suit me yet. I look forward to the high energy days as a few people have mentioned!

Moving on, has anyone else noticed a change in body odor? I stink! I've gone through more than 6 months of no processed food, no added sugars, no alcohol in the past when I trained before, and shorter, 1 month stints at times, and I have never smelled this bad, haha. I've never tracked macros other than trying to eat heavy veggies and lower carbs, so the protein may be a factor?

The lesson yesterday mentioned a couple body changes. It discussed bad breath and possible breakouts. Breath is weird and my face always clears up when I'm not drinking or eating less sugars, so no problem there. The lesson also discussed lower libido...I can say that I'm always firmly in the higher libido category when training. I think it might be mental since I feel better about myself overall. TMI?

I have no new defined muscles yet, which is a bummer. My body works with very fast weight OR muscle gain and very fast weight loss. My fat also distributes well all over the body rather than just hanging out in one place. I am sort of blessed with this type of body, but it has downsides. I MUST do maintenance of 2 exercise bouts a week or I start gaining fat weight. On the other hand, training differences are noticeable even at one week. I can feel my new muscles pretty well when flexing, and there is some fat loss (I always use a soft ruler rather than a scale), but since I have distributed fat, it will take several weeks for definition. I feel healthier and lighter but still 7kg of fat to go before I get to my normal average. This was actually gained in about 6 months so it's been a kind of rocky 2018. It was time to get it under control when I started Kenzai.

Kenzai suits me because it does what I naturally do when training, except a little more focus on grams and specific types of weight training. I normally do more cardio + some body weight/light weights or HIIT off and on, and this training routine is pretty close. During the warmer months, I was additionally biking a 90km round trip to the office at least once a week. It took almost exactly 2 hours at a consistent high speed, but the train to the office took 1.5 hours and biking is definitely more enjoyable so I figured it a good tradeoff. I can't wait to be able to go outside to bike again.

On to the job stuff:

Don't worry about me, team. There isn't really any emergency here and I've only been looking for 2 weeks. I just want to be consistent about looking this time and make sure I diminish any gap in my resume. I'm actually officially on "payroll" for my old company until the 31st of this month and after will have unemployment. I wish I could get the 17,000 dollars of all my back salary, but my in-laws are great to help out wherever and my husband is working. We keep our expenses very low as we are saving for a house so the only economic effect is that our house dream is delayed. It feels like it sucks, but I'm definitely cooling down now.

We have been called back by the police to give statements on Monday morning. I hope that SOB goes to jail soon. I'll give updates to those following this saga after we speak to them.

19th Day - Final Total Daily Diet
250ml of milk out of 250ml = target!
1 egg and 1 egg white = target!
130g of fruit out of 130g = target!
740g of vegetables out of 740g = target!
230g of protein out of 230g = target
40-50g(?) of carbs out of 120g - I had some sourdough bread. I keep it in the freezer for freshness before I need to make more (no worries about baking yet, Kim!), but I totally forgot to measure the bread after I toasted it, which decreases the weight due to some water loss. I think it's about 50 grams but could be as low as 40 grams.


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