Category Archives: HEALTH & FITNESS

Here, now…

Up until a few years ago, I was a clear cut Type A personality. Some would even say borderline autistic. Being the eldest of four to immigrant parents, I grew up fiercely independent being my parents go-to and often ‘second mum’ to my siblings. I did everything on my own, because simply put, I had no one to turn to.

In my early teens, I realised there were not too many kids in my same position, so as any insecure teen would do, I hid my struggles (Oh lordy, I was introverted) and never dared asked for help.

This created a monster in some sense – a fire in my belly that made me strive; I wanted to break boundaries, whilst making everything look effortlessly easy/perfect, at any cost.

It eventually came…. at the cost of my health. My corporate career had me sitting behind a desk for 65-70 hours a week, I would exercise vigorously to de-stress, which was counter productive as it only released more cortisol (stress hormone) in my system. I was studying my Masters in Commerce and Image Consultancy, I was a newly-wed wanting to prove myself as the ‘good-wife’/home-keeper, I was still the go-to for family and friends for everything and anything (and because I knew all-too-well, how hard doing things on your own was – I would never say no) and this was all before other personal commitments and curveballs thrown at you by life.

I was finding myself getting sick and heading to the doctors on a fortnightly basis… at one point, weekly. But it wasn’t until I went on holidays to the US that things really started to unravel… It started with not being able to eat and drink, then move, a horrendous fever, pain like I’ve never felt before, hallucinations, organ failure and eventually – life threatening Septicemia.

It’s safe to safe the husband and I had never been more scared in our lives…
Eventually after returning to Australia, and a number of surgeries… the culprit was discovered… my body was shutting down from stress.

This all-to-close wake up call changed me … You’re probably wondering ‘where is she going with all of this’?

Well as every year passes I count my lucky stars. I look to do those things that make me happy, fulfilled and stress free. The ‘signs of my success’ are no longer important (although I still do enjoy a bit of a luxury every now and then), but for me the biggest changes has been learning to ask for assistance, saying no occasionally and taking time for myself – a breather (or meditation as many people would call it). For someone that has always had an overactive mind that talks to itself… this was no easy feat.

My Tips;

  • Find a spot you know you will not be interrupted.
  • Either sit with a strong spine but relaxed shoulders and head, or lay down.
  • Listen to soothing sounds – YouTube has some amazing hour long tracks, this one is my fave, others you might like can be found here, here, or here. This will help settle your breathing and have you focus on your current surrounds and sounds versus planning the week ahead.
  • Close your eyes and focus on slowing your breathing and heart rate. Feel the inhale and exhale of each breath…how it feels, your ribcage as it expands and contracts.
  • If you find yourself starting to think about something or someone, bring it back to your breathing and your body. Focus on the present…
  • When you find yourself calm… your breathing steady and slow – enjoy!
  • And when your ready open your eyes slowly . Do some gently stretches…
  • Practice! It took me a couple of months to achieve a quiet mind but it can and will happen.

My sessions last anywhere between 15 – 30 minutes…but on average I find myself naturally starting to open my eyes around the 20 minute mark. I meditate every other day or when I’m highly stressed or have something on my mind. I find not thinking actually helps me think clearer… xA

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Healthy Snacking

Far too often we turn to cookies, a bag of potato chips or a deceivingly high sugar-filled, low-fat yogurt for our mid-afternoon. Our snacking habits have become a hidden health hazard for many – with too many calories, sugar, sodium and fat being consumed. Worst of all, these snacks don’t keep you full for long and add little to no nutritional value to our diets.

So, what are some healthier snacking options?  These are just a few of my go-to options depending on wether I need a sweet-hit or something to tide me over until my next meal. My rule? aim for high protein, high fibre snacks (as it will keep you fuller for longer vs carbohydrates) with 50 – 200 calories in total.

  1. Kiwi Fruit – lower sugar vs most other fruits.
  2. Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds – high in protein and good fats.
  3. Apple slices with nut butter – seriously filling and so tasty.
  4. Coconut water – sometimes filling up with liquids does the job, plus, coconut water hits the sweet spot.
  5. Boiled eggs – I boil a few at the beginning of the week and keep them in my fridge for a quick on the go bite.
  6. Edamame – I buy them frozen, defrost in the microwave. Can be served hot or cold, season with salt (I use pink himalayan).
  7. Kale Chips – store bought or homemade, they’re a great snack.
  8. Stevia Dark Chocolate – Because every girl needs her chocolate fix.
  9. Emma and Toms raw life bars.
  10. Protein bar – the rule is to look for bars with 200 calories or less with a minimum of 10 grams of protein.
  11. Almonds – preferably activated.
  12. Rice Cracker with Low fat cottage cheese topped with homemade mixed berry chia jam.

Good Habits

They say you can make good habits work for you, by helping rid bad ones. This is definitely the case, but I also believe good habits particularly ones that make us reflect internally and focus on things we can control (vs things outside of our control) lead to a sense of wholesomeness and contentment. In my eyes, a realistic way to approach life as how else are you going to deal with life’s little pitfalls?
This morning I’m doing a little reflecting over a cup of coffee a few berries and yummy protein balls.

Cute ‘Good Habits’ pad book from Kikki.K – awesome stationary/organising store. 
 
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Good Stuff…

Always on the lookout for healthy foods and eco friendly products…. here a just a couple of items I picked up yesterday. Particularly excited to try the Swisse Digestion powder, which is suppose to support digestion and energy metabolism.

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Cleansing & Calming

Many of us unintentionally put too much ‘rubbish’ and stress in and on our bodies, that the occasional ‘rest’ is required. Both for our insides and out, and our mental health too.

As previously mentioned I’m currently on a mini cleanse due to some stomach issues. Below are a couple of things I’ve been doing this week to cleanse, calm and pamper the mind, body and soul:

Cleansing & Cleaning A

1. Give your digestive system a break; I started by eliminating all stimulants (coffee, sugar and alcohol) and then progressed to the elimination of meats. This week I’ve commenced the ‘strict 5 days’, which basically requires me to drink a mix of nutritionally balanced organic, vegan smoothies & juices and follow daily email instructions from the cleanse company.

2. Hydrating from the Inside; by sipping on lots and lots of lemon water.

3. Hydrating from the Outside; I lather up using my favourite scented body oils.

4. Dry brush; In a circular motion towards the heart every 3 days. It stimulates circulation and sloughs away dry skin.

5. Indulge in Scented Candles; by day and night. The heavenly scent transports me to some exotic beachside location…

6. Soak in a bath: Dim lights, a few drops of essential oils and a sachet of Epsom salts creates the perfect stress free environment to soak tired limbs away.

7. Relax the face & free the mind; With face masks and relaxing music.

8. Book a Massage: Needs no explanation! I’ve booked myself into an indulgent full body therapy session this week.

9. Put your feet up; and snuggle up with a good book or watch some old movies…

10. Sip on herbal teas; I love chamomile before bed and rosehip with lemon during the day.

#Note: your body can and does go through withdrawal symptoms (flu like symptoms, mouth ulcers, headaches etc.) at the beginning of a cleanse, so many companies suggest you keep physical activity to a minimum.

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To health…

So today has been one of those days, thus the very late post. I’m back in Singapore and feeling very flat. It could be as simple as coming down from the natural high of travelling (post holiday blues already? hmmm) but if I am truthful with myself, I know it’s more likely to do with a number of health and body concerns. My stomach has been playing up badly (I have IBS) and I have somehow managed to injure both my ankles/heels to the point of not being able to walk for longer than 20 minutes let alone do my daily run – ahh depressing! To add insult to injury, I’ve been carrying a few extra kilos which I’ve been trying to lose (obviously not hard enough) since my Croatia trip exactly a month ago. So I’ve decided … Step One: Is acknowledging how I’m feeling and why (out aloud & to the world) – Check, Done! Step Two: Is doing something about it – a mini health kick/detox for 10 days, followed by a healthier eating plan (80/20 rule – 80% unprocessed healthy foods 20% cheat meals/indulgent) and really sticking to it. Step Three: Preparation – in with the good [food], out with the bad! Step Four: Start & Stick to it – Started today and I’m hoping my mini pledge online (and my gorgeous readers) will keep me on the straight and narrow.

Below are a couple of detox, health and food resources I’ve come across… the food blogs are particularly good. Can’t believe how amazing these guys make healthy and raw food look!

Oh, and if you know of any sites, blogs or any tips that might help, please do share in comments below x A

Supercharged Food Blog

Eating Bird Food Blog

Doctor Oz

Goop by Gwyneth Paltrow

Whole Living

Veggies and Me Blog

Wholesome Cook Blog

Ascension Kitchen

Oh She Glows Blog

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