Gaining weight?  Balance your food groups!

Lots of people scoff at the overweight and tell them that losing the pounds is purely a matter of calories in vs calories out.  This is correct but only up to a certain extent.  The health aspect is missing.  You can eat very little but if your diet lacks necessary nutrients, you’ll feel lethargic and gross.

So then they push the obese to eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, lean protein and complex carbohydrates.  Yet, even if stores selling such food at reasonable prices are readily accessible, it also isn’t as simplistic.  What really, REALLY leads to weight gain is an imbalance of any major food group.

It works like this.

We eat from all major food groups – carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and fruit, and healthy fats – because our systems need nutrients from each of them to function.  However, if we don’t determine how much we need (and this takes time plus trial and error), we risk over-consuming from 1 or more of the food groups.  Our bodies don’t need that much nutrients from just 1 or 2 food groups, so they store the surplus as adipose tissue.

How much is sufficient?  It depends on how much we move and our skeletal frames.  In general, there’re guides online.  Follow them first, then tweak the portions based on how active you are.  You may not get it right the first time but please don’t give up.  It took me 2 years to find the combination which works best for me.

In short, you WILL get there.  This requires some vigilance and daily weigh-ins in the beginning.  If you find you’re gaining weight over a month, stop.  Readjust your food groups and try again.  This is a longer term effort and you’ll need to be patient but once you get the combo right, you’ll be rewarded with results.

I hope this sheds some light on healthy weight gain and loss for my readers.  Here’s wishing you all the best : )

Aquarius Moon

Compare yourself… with yourself

With social media such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as other apps which make people more visible than ever, teenagers and adults alike experience hits to their self esteem.  It’s so much easier to compare ourselves to others, looks-wise, as well as the number of likes and popularity.

Some young girls have poor body image as a result of their social media feeds.  In my view, it all boils down to comparisons with other people.  These are never-ending and can even be overwhelming.  It hardly ends well; and this is where I think body positivity does a lot of good.

So how do I stay confident?  Well, I don’t compare myself to other women.  What I try to do instead is to compare my progress now to last year or 3 to 5 years ago.  What have I done better?  What progress have I made?  Is there anything else I can improve?

If we compete with others, even though we may succeed, somebody else will come along pretty quickly and steal the satisfaction of our success.  When we compete only against ourselves, we can savour the fruit of our efforts for as long as we want and this will be ongoing as long as we continue progressing and growing as individuals.

There will always be someone more beautiful, accomplished or intelligent.  If we constantly compare ourselves to them, we’ll constantly think that we come up short.  But when we look at ourselves now and see how far we’ve come along our respective journeys, we’ll appreciate our achievements and the efforts that got us to where we are today.

Strangers on social media will never understand our respective journeys and it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect them to; after all, they don’t know us.  This is the reason their opinions don’t matter.  We – and our hard work over time – are more important, as well as our continuing efforts to be our best selves.

Remind yourself to only compete against yourself.  It may be difficult in the beginning but it IS possible.  Over time, it gets easier.  I can say that it feels wonderful to be this confident most of the time.  I hope this helps other ladies and young girls to stay positive.

Aquarius Moon

Why I prefer to take the stairs

As a normal woman with a full-time deskbound job, office hours are very sedentary.  Sitting for hours compresses our spines, leading to backaches and shoulder stiffness.  In order to avoid this, it’s good to get up and stretch.  I also like adding a little movement by taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever I need to go upstairs.

Besides giving us the opportunity to lengthen our spines, climbing stairs is widely touted as a good cardiovascular activity.  Google the benefits and you’ll find pages and pages of articles!  Since the office elevators move like turtles anyway, I can get where I want more quickly by taking the stairs.

Stair climbing and power walking were the first exercises I started with during this health journey.  Today, I still do both to satisfy my need to move and stay active.  I encourage friends and relatives to do them since they don’t need to specially set aside time to perform these activities.  Stairs, especially, are everywhere!

5 minutes of climbing steps here and another 5 there can add up to quite a lot over the course of a day.  Without having to hit the gym, you may very well have done 30 minutes of exercise if you skip elevators and escalators and take the stairs a few times a day!  It’s perfect for busy women who need to juggle their time.

As we feel our hearts race and we start breathing heavily, our internal organs, such as our hearts and lungs are getting a workout too.  Isn’t it great that these are getting stronger at the same time as our bodies? : )  I hope this will help ladies to squeeze a little more activity into their busy days.

Aquarius Moon

Who really is obsessed with body image?

Another week, another purported body positive article celebrating loving our bodies as is.  I don’t have a problem with this; in fact, it’s a very healthy mindset that helps women.  What I DO have a problem with, is the criticism levelled at women who try to lose weight and accusations that they’re filled with self loathing.

The fact is many people try to shed the pounds or opt for bariatric surgery for health reasons.  Some have, or are on the verge of having, diabetes.  Some have mobility or breathing problems and weight loss provides them with a glimmer of hope that their lives may improve.  What is wrong with that?

To accuse them of self loathing is presumptuous and judgemental, and reveals the authors’ projection of their own thoughts far more than those they criticise in their articles.  For many normal folks, body image may be important, but it doesn’t consume our every living, breathing moment.  There’re more important things that take up our time.

I’m just a normal woman.  I don’t endlessly write, talk and think about body image issues.  Rather, my focus is on health and overall wellness.  I lead a relatively happy and contented life doing what I love and spending time with those I cherish.  I have other enjoyable activities and hobbies that take up my time.

After reading endless discussions about body image, it does make me wonder a little.  When the authors accuse society of being obsessed with beauty standards and body image, who really is the culprit?  Is it society, with people going about their daily lives, or is it people who spend too much time writing, talking and thinking about body image?

You decide.

Aquarius Moon

Why are people avoiding cheese?!

I came across a post a few days ago about an overweight Haitian woman’s struggle to lose weight.  In the comments section, it was heartbreaking to read that some ladies missed gooey, buttery and cheesy food.  How I wanted to reach out to them and reassure them that cheese isn’t an evil fattening agent!

Yes, you read right.  Cheese is NOT an evil, fattening agent.  Before grandma’s stroke, I used cheese a lot in my cooking.  It makes scrambled eggs smooth and fluffy.  Bacon and broccoli frittatas don’t taste the same without fistfuls of grated cheddar.  Salads and pastas are tastier with sprinkles of parmesan.

Even after embarking on this health journey almost 9 years ago, I never gave up cheese.  I don’t particularly enjoy drinking milk, so cheese and butter are my sources of calcium.  I don’t use cooking oil in my dishes and prefer to use butter, even in stirfries.  The food is more fragrant and palatable somehow.

A couple of slices of tasty cheese a day isn’t going to make someone obese, just like having 2 slices of pizza for a meal won’t cause massive weight gain.  Besides, I don’t eat pizza daily, so treats have never been a problem.  I never cut anything delicious out entirely from my life, apart from beef, which I swore to give up if dad recovered from his triple bypass safely.

I mean, how could I give up yummy cheese-covered potato wedges for good?  My man and I have them as a supper treat at times.  Consuming cheese and other tasty treats in moderation means that we don’t have super cravings and binge on them later.  Life doesn’t have to be miserable just because we want to be healthier.

As it was not in my place to correct the fat women commenting on the article, I didn’t.  It would seem condescending coming from someone at a healthy weight.  I only hope someone can share this post with them in future so they understand that they don’t need to give up cheese entirely, only to stuff themselves and purge later.

I hope that this will ease their suffering.

Aquarius Moon

Make or break your outfit with accessories!

I’ve written about my new anklet, anklet charms and being crazy about layered choker necklaces.  Well, 2 days ago was casual Friday at the office.  I dug out the stack rings which I’d bought from Disney about 6 years back.  Surprise surprise, after all this time, the silver plating has not faded and the crystal is as sparkly as ever!

I’ve purchased a new set of stack rings, crystal stud and drop earrings and stack bracelets, all silver.  Gold doesn’t suit my skin tone as well, alas.  I’ll take a photo of the new accessories to show you soon, when inspiration strikes!  Really, there’s no better stress reliever than retail therapy 😛

I also got this chunky turquoise cross bracelet from tobi to update my (growing accessory collection) and a silver belly chain for crop top and low-waisted shorts weekends! 😛  I’m still looking for another belly chain – something more delicate and with a crystal charm or 2.

But what really, really captures my interest now is extremely tiny jewellery.  Think mini earrings, ultra fine rings with exquisite crystals or sweet little charms, very thin bracelets and necklaces.  They match well with off-shoulder tops and skorts and they’re so darned feminine and pretty!!! 😀

Maybe I’ll never grow up, but that’s ok.  For as long as I can still carry off younger accessories, I will.  Heck, they’re trendy and affordable.  Why not? 😛

Aquarius Moon

Steamboat buffet gluttony!

K, Cherry, little niece Noe, my man and I indulged in Coka Steamboat Buffet at Level 2, Kallang Leisure Park.  It’s an ala carte style buffet, so we checked the items we wanted and passed the order to the waiter.  Since we were having the premium buffet, we enjoyed free flow baby lobsters and scallops, as well as the rest of the items on the normal menu!

The steamboat pot was divided into 2, so we could have 2 different types of soup – chicken broth and tom yum.  Both were so tasty!  We happily cooked our meats, seafood and vegetables into the bubbling hot soup, dipped them in the restaurant’s signature chilli sauce and devoured as much as we could!

We ordered plate after plate of seafood, especially the lobsters, scallops and mussels.  Cherry and I also went for the veggies – okra, Chinese long cabbage, tang-oh, yam and bok choy.  It was 1 of those rare let ourselves go moments as we savoured all the delicious ingredients!

Even Noe eagerly told her mummy to dip in more, more, MORE chicken!  We look forward to our family meals very much as we trade news, share our experiences and Noe gets to tell us all about school, sports and friends.  The girl is making some gooey slime and selling them now.

We ate so much that my man and I only had room for a fruit bowl each that night.  Well, at least it proves that yes, people of healthy weight do indulge in copious amounts of food from time to time.  We just don’t have buffets all that often – about once a month.

And it really is a treat because we enjoy ourselves so much!

Aquarius Moon