Saturday, 13 August 2016

7 Tips To Lose Weight In 6 Weeks

Hello all...

After posting my 'before' and 'after' photo on my personal Facebook account, quite a number of my friends asked me for tips on weight loss. I am not a nutritionist nor a fitness expert and my knowledge is limited to my experience with my own body. I am truly humbled by the trust they have put in me so I have decided to share 7 tips to lose weight in 6 weeks.

Do keep in mind that as everyone is different, there will probably be variations to how these methods may work for you compared to me. You may lose more or you may lose less. However, it is my hope that by sharing this I will be able to help someone out there in some way to find their own unique health-enhancing practices.

The obligatory before and after photo. Lol.

I took the first step towards changing my diet on June 24, 2016 - a day after my 30th birthday. It wasn't until July 12, 2016 that I did even more intense changes to my diet due to health reasons. I covered this in a previous post, so if you haven't read it yet I strongly recommend doing so before continuing reading this. It will give you a better understanding on why I eat like I do, the way I do.

1. Eat Smaller Portions 
I don't believe in 'cheat days' so I eat all the foods that I can and reduce the amount. Nothing drastic mind you, just about 30% less than what I would usually have. If I used to take 2 scoops of rice, I now take 1.5 scoops of rice. It's a less drastic change and way less stressful on my emotions. Hehehe...

2. Stop Before Feeling Full
Another new practice I have adopted is to stop eating when I am just starting to feel full and keep what's left of my meal for later. I threw out the mentality of "Might as well finish it since there's only a little bit left" and it has helped me not to feel overly full or sluggish later on..

3. Load Up On Vegetables
I confess, I don't really like vegetables. In the past would only eat it if it's cooked and served in front of me. When I initially started adding veggies to every one of my meals, it was a PAIN. How I coped was by mixing my favorite (mushrooms) in with other veggies. If you look at my Instagram feed, you will probably see mushrooms peeking out among the pile of other veggies in most of my meals. Hehe..

Load up on them veggies yo'.

Eventually I got used to the taste of vegetables and can take them without mushrooms. I even feel weird if I don't have any vegetables with at least ONE of my meals. I also find that when I add a lot of veggies to my noodles, rice or pasta, I actually need less of the latter because the vegetables add bulk to the meal. That way I automatically consume less carbs. Win!

4. Feed Your Visual Senses
This means not only cooking something delicious that appealed to my sense of smell and taste, but also presenting the food in such a pretty way that makes it appetizing to look at. I know, I know, it sounds new age-ish and a bit coo coo but I swear it makes a difference.

The easiest example I can give is when you have a cold and you can't smell the food you're consuming, it would taste bland right? Being able to smell your food makes it tastes better. The same concept applies. Having a visually stimulating food presentation enhances your dining experience and will leave you feeling satisfied and less likely to go off looking for something else to eat just because.

I love the pretty colors on this plate.

You don't have have to be a food stylist to do this. It can be as simple as putting food on a pretty plate instead of an ugly, orange plastic one (or even worse, in a plastic container) or using a pair of kitchen thongs/serving spoon to place your food neatly in a plate instead of just pouring it from the pan, making it splatter all over the plate like dog food.

Another way is to include different colored vegetables in your dish. E.g. fried rice with yellow bell peppers, broccoli and tomatoes. Or perhaps noodles in soup with spinach, mushroom and carrots. This takes minimal effort but I promise you, it's so worth it. Having a rainbow on your plate also meant that you are getting all the different vitamins that are good for you in every single meal.

5. Prepare Your Own Food
Preparing my own meals gives me more control over what goes into my body. I can put in more of the things that I love and be creative in the combination of ingredients in my meals. I love watching cooking shows on AFC (Asian Food Channel) and the Food Network Channel to get new ideas. I also get a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest which is one of my favorite social website of all time.
I love making these Oatmeal Banana Pancakes on my days off. Yummy!

Cooking and making every single one of my meals was overwhelming at first but I persevered and after a while I have gotten into a rhythm that works for me. I have always enjoyed cooking even though I didn't do it often. Now prepping ingredients and even cleaning up cooking has become kind of like a therapy for me. No joke.

6. Eliminate Or Reduce Highly Processed Foods
This is also a big one for me. I really liked instant noodles and would eat it almost every single day. I also drink a lot of instant beverages (3-in-1's). I have cut those out completely and reduced my intake of convenience foods such as tinned goods.

This also extends to my seasonings. I substituted coconut oil (for frying), extra virgin olive oil, rock salt, garlic, ginger and a selection of dried herbs to season my food instead of vegetable oil (for frying), iodized salt and powdered flavorings. This enables me to enjoy the natural taste of the foods I cook instead of it being masked by artificial flavors. It felt weird in the beginning but now I am enjoying my meals so much more because of it.

7. Have Healthy Snacks Handy
There are days when I didn't manage to cook but don't want to spend the money to eat out during lunch hour. What I would do is keep a packet of dates and dried figs handy in my handbag so when I feel hungry I would have something to tide me over until my next home-cooked meal. I also have soy milk and digestive biscuits in my office in case dates are not enough to sustain me.

This has truly saved me from making rash and random decisions because let's face it, when we are hungry we tend to crave for something salty and sweet from the junk food section instead of something healthy right?

3 dates, 2 digestive biscuits and a small cup of soy milk is my snack of choice.

So there you have it, my 7 tips to lose weight in 6 weeks. Another week has gone by and I have actually lost another 1kg, Alhamdulillah. I hope that this post will be helpful for all of you in some way and form. I also hope that all of you will find a set of practices that will help you achieve your health and weight goals. In shaa Allah, Amin.

What is your biggest challenge in terms of weigh loss? Do share in the comments section below. I love hearing from you guys.  :)


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Basic Cooked Oatmeal Recipe

Hello dears,

In today's post I would like to share with you my simple recipe for a filling oatmeal breakfast. Since there are quite a number of oat varieties in the supermarket, before I get into the recipe let me give you a brief overview on the basic types of oats.

Steel-cut Oats - This is the least processed oats among all. The oat groats (whole, unbroken grains of oats which kind of looks like rice) is cut into several pieces. It requires the longest cooking time, about 20 minutes or more.

Rolled Oats - Rolled oats are oat groats that have been steamed then rolled and pressed flat. It requires less cooking time than steel-cut oats, about 10-15 minutes.

Quick Cook Oats - This variety are rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped to reduce cooking time. Quick cook oats are usually used for baking as well. It requires only 3-5 minutes cooking time.

Instant Oats - This is the most processed of the 4 varieties. Oat groats are pre-cooked, dried then rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. You only need to add hot water to cook this type of oats.

I hope the info above helps you in making your decision on which type of oats to buy according to your needs. While the nutritional value are all the same, fiber-wise steel-cut oats have the highest amount whereas instant oats have the least.

Personally I prefer quick cook oats because I can quickly prepare it in the morning for breakfast while still giving me a higher amount of fiber to keep me feeling full until lunch time. I also use it for banana oatmeal breakfast pancakes which I love to make on my days off work.

Let's get on to my basic cooked oatmeal recipe shall we? I swear this is so simple that you are probably going to laugh. Hehe..

1 cup quick cook oats
200ml milk of your choice.
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fruit of your choice

1. Pour milk and oats into a pot and cook on low heat according to the recommended cooking time on the package. Quaker brand quick cook oats only require 3 minutes cooking time.

2. Stir the oats occasionally during the cooking process so that it wont stick to the bottom of the pot.

3. When oats are cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the cinnamon powder.

4. Pour into a bowl and top it up with your choice of chopped fruits. My personal favorites are dates, pineapples, bananas and figs.

1. For crunchy fruits like apples, you can add them to the oats and milk in the beginning of the cooking process.

2. I don't take dairy so I use alternative milk such as soy and coconut. Coconut milk can make the oat porridge super thick so mix 100ml coconut milk with 100ml water to thin it out a bit.

3. Aside from fruits, you can also use nuts and seeds (pumpkin and sun flower seeds are the bomb!) or a combine them all. Your imagination and willingness to experiment is your limit really.

Oats with dates. Glorious!

Oats with figs. Yum! 

So there you have it, my recipe for basic cooked oatmeal recipe. Quick, filling and healthy. There is nothing more I can ask for really.  :) 

What toppings would you have with your oatmeal? Share it in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you. Until the next post, toodles!


Sunday, 24 July 2016

Autoimmune Disorder - Road To Recovery

Hello hello..

Ah, it's nice to finally have some time to sit down and blog in peace. It has certainly been a busy, busy week for me with VVIPs and back to back check-ins. Next week lain cerita lagi.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was diagnosed with autoimmune disorder by a sinsang (a Chinese medical practitioner). He also told me that I have issues with my hormones and that I have a weak digestive system. He gave me some herbs  (in powder form. No brewing necessary, thank GOD!) to take twice a day after meals.

My medication.

He advised me to take care of my diet. No processed foods, no cold drinks or foods and get this, no animal protein. That means no meat, no poultry and no dairy (including cheese! Sob!). "Vegetables and fish only", he said, nodding his head to emphasize his statement.

You see, I am not really the type to eat veges. I avoided them like the plague as a child and as a grown woman, I would only eat them if they are cooked and served on the dining table. If it's cooked but in the fridge it would be 'out of sight, out of mind' for me. Same goes with fish. I like it well enough but I love poultry more and would choose poultry over fish 9 times out of 10.

Fortunately, I had already started incorporating veges and fruit with each meal 2 weeks prior to my diagnosis. I have also been researching about Eczema (which I have had on and off since childhood but was getting progressively worse as I got older), how it is related to Candida which is linked to Leaky Gut, leading to Autoimmune Disorder (I know, I know. I was mind-blown on how all these things were linked too). On Youtube, people who had healed from Eczema and Candida swore by adopting a plant-based diet as well as going dairy-free.

I suspected that a Leaky Gut and Candida overgrowth in the gut was contributing to my Eczema, but was skeptical about going vegan. Like, why on earth would God create cows and poultry if we were meant to eat just plants? Right? So when the sinsang told me to go on a vegetarian diet ( more like a Pescetarian diet la since I could eat fish), I was surprised but not shocked or too upset. I was a bit worried and wondered how I was going to cope.

The weird thing is, while I did worry about my ability to adjust to so many dietary restrictions, I felt a little bit of a thrill too. Life had been depressingly constant for me these recent months and a challenge is just what I need to occupy my mind.

I also found the situation kind of humorous because if a dietitian had told me that by adopting a Pescetarian diet for 5 months, I will lose weight and stay slim for life, belum tentu lagi sy akan go through with it. But the potential of me healing and being able to eat everything that I am currently allergic to (prawns, beef, nuts and eggs) is what's propelling me to adopt the Pescetarian diet for a few months. What can I say, I love food. Hahaha...

Today is day 12 of my treatment and I must say, I am doing pretty well at coping with my dietary changes. There were some mistakes made here and there such as me having Tim Tams (coating made with milk chocolate) and shortbread (contains butter) which resulted in an eczema outbreak. But all in all, I am still good. No hysterical breakdown so far and my skin is getting better. Yay!

Have you ever had to radically change your diet due to health reasons? Share your story in the comments section below. Toodles!


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A New Chapter in Life

Hello all...

Allow me to take a moment to blow the cobwebs off this blog. Fuuuhh, fuuuhhh.. There you go.

I have missed writing on this blog so much. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to open the screen and share some things with you but something just stops me. Don't ask me why.

Anyways, I am glad to be back. There is so much I want to share with you guys that I literally don't know where to start! Hmmm... Let's do bite-sized updates shall we?

1. I turned 30 recently. I had dinner with my family (sans Blossom, my eldest sister. Sob!) at Uncle Pepper. My birthday cake was Lemon Cheese and it was wonderfully tart and creamy.

2. I achieved the rank of Junior Manager (JM) through sales in my SNE business. Woot! Woot!

3. I was in charge for organizing a LaSoul Beauty workshop. I also gave a talk during LaSoul Beauty Workshops for 2 weekends in a row. Phew, life upgrade complete!

4. I passed my PCE exams. Weeee! I have been seeking to go into a different industry career-wise so this is a stepping stone for me in that direction.

5. I started cooking again and Sophia shows keen interest to help.

5. I have resumed practicing yoga as well as incorporating more veges into my meals. Lifestyle change la orang bilang. Hehehe...

6. I have distanced myself from people that are making my life complicated. Keep It Simple Sweetheart they say and I agree.

7. I have been de-cluttering my possessions in line with keeping things simple. I have done it with my clothes, books and makeup. I will need to go through them once again because honestly, I am still only using only half the things I own in all 3 categories.

I have also done digital de-clutter including my emails (deleting emails, unsubscribing from tons of newsletters, etc.) and my follow list on various social media platforms. Will be going through my FB friend list soon.

8. I cut my hair. Yes, again. I didn't intend to. I just went for a trim at the same saloon that gave me the haircut I loved. Unfortunately the buffoon of a hair dresser (different from the one who gave my initial haircut) changed the shape completely and made me look like an old woman.

In the end I had to go to another saloon to change the style and ended up with this:

9. My fave app of the moment is Snapchat. I find the filters so entertaining. I can waste up to half an hour just melayan all the Snapchat filters since they have new ones daily.

10. I have started to get into planning with my MAMBI planner and I enjoy it soooo much! I have started going gaga over stickers again. Oh my!

11. I bought a plant for the first time and it's a cute cacti variety. I put it in the office and it almost died. They say it's because it's not getting enough sun light but I think the place has bad juju anyways so in the end I had to send the poor little thing home were it now thrives.

12. I have been diagnosed with auto-immune disease by a Sinsang (Chinese medicine man). It requires a lifestyle change I never expected to make which is to adopt a pecetarian diet.

So there you have it, small updates as of today. What has been going on in your life? Tried anything new? Hit new milestones? Share them in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Two Questions That Will Help Uncover Your True Passion.

Hello there!

When I was 6 years old, my dad asked me what I had wanted to be, and I answered (quite enthusiastically, I might add),"A funfair ticket seller!". Needless to say the whole family laughed. They asked me,"Why on earth would you want to be a funfair ticket seller?" but I couldn't answer because I didn't know why.

Now, please hold that thought as I talk about what may seem unrelated. It will make sense in a minute, I promise.

When I turned 29 years old, I started to feel a little bit anxious. The reason is that in my mind, turning 30 is a very big deal. It meant that I should be established, married with kids and own a car as well as a house. It meant that I should know what I am doing and where I am going with my career and life in general. At that time I was feeling a bit lost and so, you can probably imagine my anxiety at the prospect of having to figure EVERYTHING out within the next 12 months in order to prove that I am a successful human being.

I started reading a lot of self-help books and watched motivational videos. I came across a book about discovering one's true passions and it prompts us with questions. The first one was "What did you first wanted to be?" And I remembered that I wanted to be a funfair ticket seller. The next question was "Why?". As a child I didn't know the answer and I never gave it much thought as an adult because it was a source of embarrassment for me.

But when I actually sat and thought about it, a sliver of memory came back. It was of me seeing my dad giving the funfair ticket seller money and getting a piece of paper (ticket) in return. In my young mind I was thinking,"Wow, you could get money by giving people a piece of paper?!". I was very attracted to that exchange, the exchange of money for goods.

I also enjoyed myself at the funfair very much and didn't want to leave. I thought the ticket seller was so lucky for being at such a fun place all the time. Hence, the ambition to become a funfair ticket seller.

I then reflected back on my life growing up and realised that I had always been selling something at some point in my life. In fact, my first "sales gig" was at 7 years old when I took some seeds and beans from my dad's drawer and sold them off to my friends as vitamins that would make them smarter. (To those reading this, if you were one of my victims customers back then, I DO apologise. Hehehe...). Unscrupulous I know, but I just wanted to sell SOMETHING.

Then in primary school there were those name cards where you could choose the designs and write down your name and address or quotes. Oh, I sold stickers as well back then. In high school I sold mail order accessories and string accessories I made myself. I was also the school's Ahli Koperasi and religiously came early to open the koperasi.

In uni I sold reload coupons, snacks and instant noodles. In my final semester I also actively helped friends to sell food at the uni's Ramadhan Bazaar even though I didn't have a share in the venture. Honestly during all those times I did business, it was for the pure enjoyment of getting money for goods provided and not because I needed the money desperately.

Another aspect of sales that I enjoy above all others is the consultation part. For me it's like finding a missing piece in a puzzle picture and figuring out how to create a puzzle piece that not only FITS the missing shape, but COMPLETES the picture as well. When the picture becomes complete and the sale is closed, that my friends, is the most satisfying part of all.

The funny thing is, I have never really done sales in my career before because for one thing I didn't have my own transport and I didn't know how to drive until these past 2 years. However, I realized that most of my employers have always passed 'sales-y' tasks to me even as a trainee, from courtesy calls to site inspections. Imagine that? Mimang ada putungan dari dulu la bah kunun tu kan? Hehehe...

Now that it is 2 more months before I turn 30 years old, I am no longer that anxious. Sure, I am still unmarried but I am sure he is on his way. Yes, I am still stuck with my job but I have my LaSoul Skincare business which gives me so much satisfaction. I know where I am headed and I am working towards that goal, in shaa Allah.

So if you are out there struggling to know what your passion is, just ask yourself what was it that you first ever wanted to be (without the influence of anyone)? It doesn't matter if it is deemed as utterly ridiculous by others. Own it. Next question is why? I hope that these questions will be able to help you, just as it had helped me.

See you in the next post lovelies!


Sunday, 3 January 2016

Recap of 2015

Hello hello lovelies!

Yup, it's time for the year end recap. I must say, I am sad to see 2015 go. One of the reason for that is that 5 is my favorite number and it will be 10 years before the year ends with it. Huhu.. Not only that, I can truly say that 2015 is the year I pushed myself out of my comfort zone physically, mentally and emotionally.

Without further ado, let's start the recap shall we?

1. I De-cluttered My Room
It started out with me clearing out my vanity and eventually I decided to clean out my whole room and shelf cupboard which I affectionately refer to as Big Ben. Check out the linked post if you'd like to see some cool throwback items of us 90's kids as teens. Biodata diaries, video cassette cover as pencil case, etc. It's all there!

Vanity (before)

 Vanity (after)

Room (in progress)

Big Ben (after)

2. I Did The Reading Challenge 2015
And smashed it.. Twice! I initially set to read 25 books but surpassed that amount by the 2nd month. So I increased it to 50 books and ended up reading 56 books.

Wee hoo!

3. I Had An Epiphany As A Single Parent
I experienced a lot of frustration in my job from the start but it was particularly worse in 2015. Instead of dealing with the feelings of helplessness and anger, I suppressed it which manifested itself in the form of compulsion. My wake up call came in the form of seeing a father being indulgent to his daughters in the supermarket. It made me realize that although I am human and prone to bad days or spells, I can't afford to indulge in it because my little girl needs me and there's no one else for her to fall back on.

It also made me realize that I needed to take care of myself, my health, my emotions as well as how I manage my negative feelings and experiences in life. This prompted me to do the next thing...

4. I Took Steps To Take Charge Of My Health
I have a history of Hyperthyroidism and PCOS. Both these conditions were diagnosed a over a decade ago and although I no longer on medication for either condition, I was encouraged to do an annual check up to be on the safe side.

True to my nature  have neglected to do so for the past 5 years or so, and this year I decided to face my fears and took action by doing a blood test for my Hyperthyroidism and full abdominal scan for my PCOS. The good news is that both are normal so yay for me!

5. I Did Traditional Alternative Health Treatment For The First Time
Well, technically I have done alternative treatment such as acupuncture before but this is using massage to 'expel wind' from the body as well as acu bekam and foot ice bath. It was a horrendous experience for me because i have never done it before but the results were phenomenal! I could sleep well, I ate less and I stayed full for longer. I also couldn't consume a bag of crisps without getting sore throat and I didn't have any cravings. It was as if my whole being was reset. Amazing!

6. I Started My Youtube Channel
I have wanted to have my own Youtube channel for a long, long time. There was always something that 'stopped' me from doing it from the lack of equipment, knowledge, nice background, shyness and etc. This year, I decided "Sod it, I am going to make a Youtube Channel even if I have to film in my car" which is what I did. Hehehe... 

One of my videos...

7. I Joined The Sutera Harbour 7K Charity Run
After 5 years of wanting to join, I finally did it this year! I was determined to make happen in 2015 because not only does it end with my fave number, but 2015 is also the year I turn 29, my final year in my 20's. Hehe.. Read about my experience doing the run without any training here and check out my vlog down below.

We finished the run and it felt sooo goooodd!!

8. I Started Strength Training At The Gym
I have always wanted to do strength training at the gym but unfortunately, most gyms are overrun with buffed (often half-naked) men. Hardly a conducive environment for the self-conscious like moi. So when a Ladies Only gym opened in November this year, it felt like it was Heaven-sent. 

Forgive the low quality image, my phone was acting up that day.

9. I Brought Sophie Swimming At The Local Swimming Pool
I started to bring Sophie to the local public pool this year. It always starts the same way. She'd cling to me like a cat for the first few minutes and when she has become comfortable terus buang batu. Ndamau kena pegang langsung okay! Kin gerigitan. But I'm glad she's having fun. I never had that experience as a child and I really want her to have it. I think I am the only parent who slathers her child within the inch of her life with sunscreen there. Lol!

This was the first 5 minutes. She was clinging to me.

Notice how our expressions have reversed? The little imp REFUSES to be held not even by her jacket. Tension mama okay.

10. I Sang On Stage For The First Time In 5 Years
Sophia kept saying,"Mama singing" each time the performer sang. Eventually, I went up and sang not only to make memories for her but also to push myself to do the things that make me fearful or uncomfortable. It was how I wanted to approach the end of 2015 so that I can carry that with me into 2016.

Needless to say, Sophia cried when I sang the chorus. 

So there you have it, my summary of how my 2015 has been. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year 2015. May all of us be Blessed with good health, and abundance of wealth, love and happiness. In shaa Allah, Amin.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Achievement Unlocked: Sutera Harbour 7K Charity Run 2015

Hello hello all!

Remember my New Year's resolutions of participating in the Sutera Harbour 7K Charity Run? Well, I diiiiddd iiitttt!!!! *dancing a jig*. I can't believe it! The event took place on August 29, 2015 and at the flag off time of 17.17, about 15,000 runners started the run including yours truly. It was such a surreal experience.

I went down to Kota Kinabalu City (from now on will be referred to as KK City) with my sister via the 8.00AM bus. We checked in at Jesselton Hotel at Gaya Street and went for a "warm up" session at Imago Mall KK Times Square. We checked out Bath & Bodyworks for the first time, shopped around several places for a body scrub, took advantage of the Member's Sale L'Occitane and after going cray at The Face Shop, we finally managed to tear ourselves away from Imago to go back to the hotel and change at 4.00PM.

We arrived at Sutera Harbour Resort at about 4.30PM and headed straight to the Marina's covered Tennis Court which was the starting point of the race. The gates to Sutera Harbour Resort was closed to vehicles at around 4.45PM and remained so for about 2 hours for the safety of the event's participants.

Check out my Youtube Vlog on my KK Trip as well as before, during and after the run.

I must say that I am pretty proud of myself for completing the run in 1 hour and 5 minutes. Without proper training too. Although I must admit, I didn't train not because I didn't have the time but because it was a form of self-sabotage. Yes, you read right. You see, part of me was really determined to make participating in the run happen this year. Yet, there was that other part of me that doubted myself. I mean, after saying that I would do it for the past 5 years yet never making it happen, how can I not? I guess subconsciously I was relying on not having trained for it as an excuse to use if I did decide to pull out at the last minute.

Before the run...

I remember feeling SO tired after the first check point and as I was passing the covered Tennis Court to go into the highway, I was sorely tempted to cross over and call it quits. But then I remembered that the race did not start at the starting line, it had started when I booked the t-shirts weeks ago. It carried on when I woke up early, made the journey to KK City and paid for travel and accommodations. I realized that I couldn't quit because the actual run is the last leg of the journey, my personal journey within this goal of mine. I gritted my teeth and keep moving, alternating between running and walking with my music as a guide.

And so Alhamdulillah with guts and determination came glory and satisfaction...

Achievement unlocked!

Piece of cake.. NOT! Lol!

Have you ever been on the verge of giving up but didn't? Or perhaps you did? Tell me your experience in the comments section below. See you in the next one. Toodles!