How Steven Lee built healthier habits and a knack for creating WeChat stickers with FitFam
It was May 2015 when fellow FitFammer Steven decided to pack his bags and journey off on a brand-new adventure in the wilderness of our favorite concrete jungle that is Shanghai. Originally from Taiwan and having grown up in the United States, the move from West to East was a familiar culture shock - the food, the environment, and the people were radically different and rushed a sense of unease.
In an attempt to fit into the local culture and satisfy his daily cravings as an open-minded resident in Shanghai, Steven turned to spices and oil. Lots of them.
This is his story.
I gained 10 kilos and weighed 88kg after 3 years of not working out, to the point where I was afraid to step on the scale every morning. It got really bad and I wanted a change - that’s when a French guy introduced me to Igor around August 2016 and I started joining the workouts at SBC. I used to workout with a triathlon team but with the stress of my new job and busy schedule, I didn’t have time to keep it going. I just occasionally, but it was never consistent - maybe 2-3 times a month…
I let myself get dragged into the busy working life and wasn’t in the right mindset to keep on doing the FitFam workouts regularly. It wasn’t until the FitFam 1-week challenge this past spring that I finally began re-booting my system. I loved being on the field every day with everyone and challenging myself. After that I started working out at least 2 or 3 times a week and felt super motivated to change my eating habits completely.
It came in different phases… Obviously it wasn’t easy, and it took time and perseverance to continue down this path and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Phase 1: After getting back into the FitFam routine, I noticed slight changes in my living habits. I stopped watching movies late at night and couldn’t seem to fall back asleep as easily as before once my alarm went bananas at 4:40 AM.
Phase 2: I bought a RMB 99 scale and weighed myself every day. That motivated me to start keeping track of my daily food intake.
Phase 3: The more sessions I attended, the healthier I started eating after them. I bought loads of fruits, cut them in smaller pieces and froze them to keep them fresh and of good quality, then I made my own smoothies by mixing them with some protein powder.
Phase 4: This is when I really took control of my eating habits by making my own breakfast every day. I bought vegetables online like avocados, arugula, beets, and some mint. I would either prepare the day before or the morning of, depending on my schedule.
Occasionally, I like to send some of the photos to my brother and parents to try and motivate them as well. Since April 23rd I’ve lost close to 10 kilos.
I felt inspired by the “5 Colors of Phytonutrients” picture I saw from Natural Healthy Concepts and wanted to incorporate that into my new routines. I stick with a pretty set breakfast plan and try to eat 10-15 of the listed items every day.
I also made my own smoothies and juices by mixing at least 5 of the following items per day: banana, pineapple, kiwi, apple, grapes, beet (uncooked), durian (Editor’s note: ew), lemon (one quarter), and protein powder. As for dinner, I’ll usually have something light like soup or a sandwich.
I was mostly going to SBC because it was the only location I knew of at the time and I like the group, and after a while I started joining the Empty Streets runs on Tuesdays at 6am (10km) and Thursdays at 5am (combination of running and exercises to the Bund). It’s really inspiring to see so many young people wake up so early - amazing vibes, energy and good lifestyles. To me, the Empty Streets session start with an empty mind. I’m quite stressed with work and honestly, now if I’m not working out in the morning I don’t think I’d be able to handle all the pressure I have to deal with in the office.
Gradually, I incorporated more and more workouts and consistency into my weeks and generally felt a lot happier than before! Some of the things that came out of it be:
1) I finally built a consistent routine of working out almost every day with people I love seeing and talking to (I’ll usually rest a couple of days a week ☺);
2) I’m cooking a lot more and bringing my own lunch to work;
3) I do my own afternoon workouts 3 times a week;
4) I’ll sometimes do a 45-minute workout during lunch. Workouts usually consist of a mix of biking, swimming, running, and lifting weights. I also go for massages more.
So… How has FitFam impacted my life?
For one, I can’t sleep past 6am anymore… At first it was only a few times, but now it’s every day!
I also have A LOT more discipline when it comes to handling all the pressure I deal with at work. I can totally see the difference between the mood I was in before I started joining FitFam and how I work now that I exercise early in the morning.
After a bit of initial suffering at the beginning, those workouts became the best moment of my day, every day. If you’re not experienced and start joining, you might feel really sore in a lot of different parts of your body, but as long as you find the will to get up that early to go exercise - even if you slack at times - that’s already a success.
If you really want to make a change, I suggest you set a target you want to hit (i.e. number of kilos you want to lose) and keep track of your progression every day. It’s gonna be hard at first, but I can assure you that the satisfaction you get from seeing your improvement is super rewarding.
Editor’s note: Wait, what about those WeChat stickers?
Anyone who’s lived in China in the last 5 years knows how truly magical the nation’s biggest social platform is - from paying your bills in just a few clicks to booking flight tickets and movie tickets, posting photos on your “Moments” (similar to your Instagram feed) and simply chatting with your friends. But one aspect that I personally love is the ability to save and share stickers (or GIFs). And let me assure you that Steven is no stranger to WeChat stickers, which is yet another reason why we appreciate him so dearly.
Thanks for bringing all your energy and positivity to our community every morning, Steven!