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Popular protein shake for women

Growing up, I had this misguided judgment that protein shake was intended for a muscular man hitting the gym, it isn’t meant for regular sized men, what more a lady. As I turned 21 and joined my peers in Fitclub Choa Chu Kang, I began to started to appreciate the flavor of the Herbalife Vanilla Protein shake. It was my first initial awakening and I love having a good emotionally supportive system when doing physical activity. The members shared tips and knowledge about getting fitter and making my weight loss less lonely. It was then I learned the truth that women need protein just as much as men do and we ought to normalize drinking protein shake just like bubble tea, juices or tea.

In the body, protein plays a critical role in many functions, from cells all the way up to muscles. It is present in every single cell in the body, helping to repair cells and make new ones. As a macronutrient, protein is needed for the structure and regulation of all tissues and organs, ensuring that they function optimally. Protein additionally generates energy for healthy muscle contractions. Plus, protein is vital when trying to gain muscle mass.

Protein will make you bulky.

This is a popular misconception that by eating protein, their curvy body will eventually bulk up. The ignorant me associated protein with building muscle and was afraid of appearing bigger. While reading up on weight training, protein is significant to build lean muscle, which makes the body stronger and healthier. To add on, protein aids women in maintaining radiant skin, strong bones, and helps the body recover faster from injury. With that, protein shakes make it easy to grab protein on-the-go.

Best Protein for weight control

If you are trying to control your weight, improve body composition, or encourage weight loss, eating enough protein is essential. So you should be consuming protein at every meal. To effectively control weight with protein, consumption of protein should be spread out throughout the day.

SlimFast Original Strawberries & Cream Meal Replacement Shake Mix – Weight Loss Powder – 12.83 Oz. Canister – 14 Servings
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder, Nutritional Shake, Vanilla Chai, 2 Pounds, 39 Servings

Best Protein for hair, skin, and nails

Protein plays a large role in the well being and condition of hair, skin, and nails. Collagen is a protein that makes up 70% of our skin’s composition. Collagen is the most abundant protein that the body provides and it is present in the connective tissues we rely on to maintain joint mobility. . Collagen greatly declines in the body with age, making it an essential nutrient for women.

Collagen Peptides Powder – Enhanced Absorption – Supports Hair, Skin, Nails, Joints and Post Workout Recovery 
Garden of Life Grass Fed Collagen Beauty – Strawberry Lemonade, 20 Servings – Collagen Powder for Women Hair Skin Nails

Protein for bone health

When it comes to bone health, most assumed that calcium and Vitamin D are the only factors behind strong and healthy bones. This is valid; nonetheless, protein likewise plays a part. When calcium and Vitamin D are limited, protein helps keep bones strong.

Designs for Health PurePaleo Collagen Protein Powder – 21g HydroBEEF Bone Broth Protein Supplement with Collagen Peptides + BCAAs
Hydrolyzed Bone Broth and Collagen Unflavored Protein Peptides Powder by Peak Performance 

Protein for convenience and taste

Shopping for a scrumptious protein powder shouldn’t be complicated. With a large selection of protein powders on the market, the taste varies widely when it comes to protein powders.

Pure Protein Chocolate Protein Shake | 30g Complete Protein | Ready to Drink and Keto-Friendly | Vitamins A, C, D, and E plus Zinc to Support Immune Health 
Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Shake, Vanilla Creme, 25g Protein, 11 Fl Oz

You can make comparisons for which one works best for you. After all, who wants to waste money trying to find the perfect powder? Especially when you can find the perfect blend tailored especially for you.

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The Best Fitness Buys

 One of the things I struggled in my fitness journey is making my environment conducive for my workout. I have been finding inspiration on Pinterest, searching “at home gyms” but mostly it is not feasible as the arrangements involve wide space and let’s face it, it is unlikely to be feasible. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the biggest benefit of a home gym lies in saving money.

Furthermore, it is very convenient as you may skip the hassle of booking a time slot for the gym and the social distance. Essentially online virtual workouts are truly more accessible from home. You may pause between routines to get a beverage, attend to a child or even sign a delivery. Schedule is never an issue. 

Working out from home allows you to wear whatever (without eyes ogling at you) or breathing out without feeling the need to be mindful of my surroundings.  The space is yours and there is no fear about bending over and feeling exposed in your yoga class. There’s no body shaming or humiliation in the privacy of your own space.

Below are some of the best fitness buys that you may incorporate into your home to kickstart your new healthier lifestyle .

Steel dumbbell with colorful vinyl exterior coating for a strong, non-slip grip and are great for women who will like to intensify workouts such as walking, jogging, aerobics, and more.

Each kettlebell is encased with color-coded vinyl to prevent corrosion, increase durability, reduce noise, protect flooring and enhance appearance. The steel handle of the kettlebell weights provides a comfortable and secure grip for high reps, making chalk unnecessary for both men and women. Flat bottom enables upright storage, perfect for kettlebell workouts such as renegade rows, handstands, mounted pistol squats and other exercises consisting of swings, deadlifts, squats, get-ups and many more.

The material of a mat will determine the texture, stickiness, sponginess, and eco-friendliness. Most yoga mats are made of either plastic or rubber. BEAUTY OVO eco friendly yoga mat moisturizes and features higher elasticity, better abrasion and tear resistance. It lasts a long time and can endure many yoga practices.

The jump rope is smooth and fast as the ball bearing system avoids the twisting, winding or bending. It ensures stable and relaxed rotation, as the skipping rope can bear heavy load which can improve your cardio endurance, stamina and speed, while improving the muscle tension of your whole body. 

Maximum Comfort: the gym skipping rope constructed with lightweight ergonomic handles coated with 6 inch soft EVA memory foam grips for extra comfort and strong grip, so that you can take full advantage for doing exercise. The length is adjustable quickly according to your height. Suitable for adults and children.

These high-quality resistance bands are made of thickened & strengthened fabric with an anti-slip rubber layer. They’re elastic and durable with strong resistance. Perfect 3 Levels Resistance: Each color of the 3 resistance bands standing for different resistance levels: light, medium, and heavy. Different strengths will provide you with more flexibility and more options for your exercise routine, Donkey Kicks, Monster Walk, etc. These bands exercise your glutes, thighs, legs, abs, and shape your perfect curvy butt.

I am loving my red Huawei Band 4 Pro because it is very light and the battery lasts long. My needs for a fitness tracker is simply for me to monitor my daily steps and my heart rate when exercising. There are plenty of fitness watches/trackers but I like the thin aesthetic and do not hurt my wrist when using it prolonged. On top of it all, it is affordable and the band can be removed easily to charge it using a charger head instead of having a separate charger like IOS or Samsung smart watches. The lifespan of the battery is still good despite me using it for almost five years and it’s waterproof as well!

Portable Sit Up Bar

It has strong suction with 2 Suction Cups which enables users to workout on their abdominal easily.  The two-row support rods provide greater heel force and double efficiency. High density soft foam-covered handle provides comfortable padding which regulates traction on the back of the feet during the workout and protects the ankle from injuries.   

Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike 

It will come delivered with the main body of the exercise bike, all tools and instructions are in the package. Online instruction video can help you complete the assembly within 30 minutes. 

The LCD monitor on exercise bikes tracks your time, speed, distance, calories burned and odometer. The gift Ipad holder allows you to enjoy exercising and music at the same time, making it easier to keep exercising. The water bottle holder allows you to stay hydrated. Transport wheels help you easily move this cycle machine.

While setting up a home gym has high costs upfront, there is the potential to save money from your monthly gym membership and transport costs in the long run. In fact, gym memberships may run from $175 monthly (Fitness First for 18-month membership) which will eventually burn a hole in your pocket over time. I am in the midst of carving out space in the room for the stationary cycling bike before the purchase. After all, with the presence of the equipment in the house, you are bound to work out as and when you are free at home. 

If you have other useful exercise equipment for beginners, do comment below!

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My Supplements Intake

Hi guys!

As I have just started implementing cardio into my weekly routine, may I just share that I absolutely abhor anything that requires me to jump?! Perhaps cause my bosom is heavy or I am just not having the correct support, the stretching exercises that I did prior to the workout does not aid my back sores. I never knew how much I adore my massage gun when it effectively targets my spots that aches terribly. Additionally, that got me thinking that without all the small little things like gadgets and supplements to complement my fitness journey, I may have given up easily halfway before achieving the desired goal.

The supplements are not weight-loss miracle pills but just vitamins or products that filled in the gaps where my diet cannot fulfill. I was previously taking in Alive Vitamins daily because it was a cheaper alternative to my usual Centrum vitamins. However, I could barely finish one month’s supply before I urgently ordered mine from Amazon! Ironically, it was cheaper getting my vitamins online even with delivery charges from the US than off the shelves at Guardian or Watson. There were no side effects in taking the Alive Vitamins, but it just had a distinct off-musky smell meanwhile Centrum was tasteless.

So why do I take vitamins?

Because like any workaholic, I tend to skip meals and eat whatever is convenient and accessible without considering that I am missing out on the essential vitamins in my food. Vitamins are substances present in various ingredients that are a fundamental part of human nutrition. Constantly getting enough of these vitamins enables your body to carry out all of its vital functions normally.

A deficiency of Vitamin intake may lead to different diseases. In addition, it could increase your risk of developing health complications in the short or long term. To add on, while I was learning in-depth about bariatric surgery, I understood that once you have undergone the surgery, you are bound to eat multivitamins all your life as it will be hard to fulfill the requirements of the body through the food you eat. Hence, I am trying to get my body used to consuming vitamins and processing them.

Besides the multivitamins, I do take Goli the apple cider vinegar gummy daily because of the benefits and the taste! You may think that it is a gimmick and it is popular due to the influences recommending the brand but honestly I do think it helped my digestive issues. I have always been bloated and constipated in the morning despite the liters of water I swallowed. Similarly, I was a little skeptical to order, thinking how can the gummy taste good cause I have tried taking the Apple Cider Vinegar instead and I could barely keep it down after swallowing it.

As I am aware of the benefits of taking the ACV shot, I attempted to give this a try. Needlessly say after the first order, my friend and I make a second purchase in a week. First of all, the taste is fantastic and I started to go toilet regularly after meals. It curbs your hunger and I truly feel that it works and tastes like a gummy bear and even children would love this.

Personally, it took about a week for me to get adjusted as I was regularly going to the toilet after eating this. My stomach does not feel bloated and I do not burp after eating as much as before. I usually eat 2 of the gummy with breakfast and 2 in the afternoon, 30 mins before lunch.

With that being said, all the supplements work great with a proper calorie deficit diet and a good amount of exercise per week. To make sure that you get all of the vitamins your body needs, it’s important to follow a balanced diet. Eating different types of foods and not restricting any group makes sure to get a constant and correct supply of most vitamins your body needs.

However, if you follow a balanced diet and still have a deficiency, as with vitamin D, you could consider taking supplements. On the other hand, taking multivitamins by default isn’t recommended, since we don’t know the long-term effects on health.

For those seeking supplements that accelerate results, you may consider Hydroxycut. I took this with Acai Berry and I lost 3kg a day when I did cardio while eating clean. However, do ensure that you do not have caffeine in the rest of your dietary or else, your heart will be unusually fast and you may have trouble sleeping. In the case, where you would like to exercise without eating any of the supplements, I am genuinely commending to you as I struggle to balance in meal prepping to include ingredients that provide sufficient nutrients and vitamins needed. Thus, that will be my next project where I will figure out to balance the money sheet for food, time for clean eating dietary for the next 6 months.

Below are the various pictures of the supplements mentioned and please do your research with the local pharmacy and physical shops to see if it is suitable for you. A reminder to drink more water as dehydration will not allow your body to absorb the necessary from what you eat.

Acai Berry
Hydroxycut
Apple Cider Vinegar
Alive Multivitamins
Centrum Vitamins

Tips to taking care of your heart in your 20s

Unlike what you may think, this is not a post to dedicate to healing your heartbreaks or getting over your exes. It is literally and physically taking care of your most important organ that I would say that dictates your body. The idea of it being working non-stop without a break to pump blood makes me ponder what did I deserve to have an overworking organ only for me to be eating up all the fats and cholesterol that makes the heart work even harder to pass through the clogged up arteries to do its job. 

My nurse brother constantly lamented that the age group of individual experience the first heart attack is getting lowered as decades pass. It used to be incredibly rare to see anyone under age 40 come in with a heart attack — and some of these people are now in their 20s and early 30s,” said Ron Blankstein, MD, a preventive cardiologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Also, despite being 10 years younger on average than those having heart attacks in their 40s, very young patients have the same rate of adverse outcomes, including dying from another heart attack, stroke or any other reason.

Cardiovascular disease, associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and an increased risk of blood clots, was the leading cause of death for women here last year in Singapore, according to a check of the Registry of Births and Deaths. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to taking care of your heart!

1. MAINTAINING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

Generally eating unhealthy food is the main key in developing high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, coronary disease, and Type II diabetes—all major risk factors for heart disease. At the same time, embracing being mindful of portion sizes can also lower your risk of heart disease.

Consume fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats will help in the long run. Steer clear of saturated fats, excess salt, and sugary snacks when you can. Walnut, fish and other Omega-3-rich foods may slash your cholesterol levels and prevent inflammation and blood clots.

Be mindful of what’s on your plate. Making small lifestyle changes around food is shown to decrease your risk of heart disease at all ages. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food in your 20s is one of the first steps to improving your hearts well-being.

2. AVOID SMOKING

Smoking is discouraged as it is one of the risk factors contributing to heart disease. Smoking tobacco can cause blood vessels to thicken and constrict, which increases plaque build up inside them. Even nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke are 20-30% percent more prone to having a stroke.

3. BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE

By ensuring at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol to a healthy level.If you are currently inactive, even a few minutes of exercise a day may offer some health benefits.

4. REDUCE STRESS LEVEL

Some people cope with stress in unhealthy ways – such as overeating, drinking and smoking – giving rise to cardiovascular disease. 

Stress in women can also result in Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which changes the shape of the heart muscle, resulting in heart rhythm problems, shock or even death.

5. GOOD QUALITY SLEEP

People who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. If you are clocking in the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night but are still tired throughout the day, ask your doctor if you need to be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea.

Treatments for sleep apnea may include losing weight if you are overweight or using a continuous airway pressure device that keeps your airway open during sleep.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

These is simply a compilation of my inner thoughts or reaction to a personal recount about VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) by Christian Abellaneda on Youtube.

How is that holy possible? The idea where the surgery removes about 80-90% of the stomach makes me google how heavy will it be. Like err, no wonder we are not able to eat much after that. 

Oh, he’s hilarious. A vlogger with limited memory capacity cause it makes sense not to have a spare one. :’)

Oh, same bro same. They say you’re young and you can lose the weight. If I had been trying for almost a decade and it did not go well, why do I want to continue more time and effort to do so, losing my time to actually experience the world as it is. 

Yikes, this is a dealbreaker. How can it be painful when it’s keyhole surgery? My prospective surgeon suggested otherwise. 

Morphine relieves pain but gives hypnic jerks which prevent you from sleeping. Good game, I’ll be in pain and cranky cause I won’t be able to sleep.

Hearing him longer, I feel that he exaggerated the side effects or his claim of having higher tolerance of pain is not scalable to women’s tolerance of period cramps. Acid reflux lasting two month had him whining about it for one full minute. He thanked god for the acid reflux medication that he took for a month. HAHA.

Another hit on his lack of memory space, damn that was a skit. 

WHHHHAATT? Struggling with drinking water? Were you even prepared for the surgery in the first place?

I gave up watching cause he mentioned that he was still head-hungry cause he wants to consume it all but his stomach is unable to take in the food. I mean that is the purpose of the surgery, right? So why does he sound like he is taking it the easy way out. 

Secondly, he whines about having cravings and he read off an article saying that the brain/body part that signals hunger will be activated and you will not have cravings. He mentioned that it reduces drastically though. Uugh bro, if you are battling cravings then you don’t look at food and keep the objectives on top of your mind. This is not a surgery where you automatically have skinny person behavior afterwards. Do your diligence and stay away from looking at food and stay motivated on your weight loss journey. 

Willpower is what gonna sets you apart from the patients with failed procedures. 

This personal vlog was a whirlwind, it was funny at first and then informative and then turned into a personal whining session. At the 10minutes mark, I decided that I did not want to waste my 3minutes and 50 second to watch the remaining bits. 

The absurdity of being in midst of my fasting and hearing a grown ass man whining of not being able to eat as much as before, is whole another level. The same man who went under a knife for health sake and seeking better quality of life to decrease the size of his stomach so that he can restraint his food consumption, is currently recording a Vlog about the side effects that are not physical but generally just lack of self-discipline. 

So was this video life-changing? 

I literally rolled my eyes thinking how I have wasted my time on this and am glad that I am actually watching this during office hour. It has not made a single impact on my decision and I was not even swayed by the informative facts after realizing his exaggeration.

Skydiving in Dubai

I would say that Skydiving is one of the most adventurous activities that one can do. In all honesty, I am so afraid of heights but despite it all, I would never back out from taking the scary rides in the amusement parks. However, the exception goes to the freefall attractions like Giant Drop. Perhaps it’s my desire to not look soft and feeling the need to show my “manly” self, but the ability is limited to speedy and exhilarating rides. Put me on a Ferris wheel and you will probably see me clutching the steel poles tightly, lips curled up and my eyes twitching unsure to leave it open or closing it entirely. 

Despite it all, I am very sure now that I would like to skydive in the exact location that Kim Jong Kook did. If you get turned on by thrill, experience the bliss of adrenaline rush of skydiving. For beginners or novice individuals, skydiving is a sport where you jump out of the plane. (and please don’t get mistaken like Lee Dae Hae who did not know that skydiving is jumping while flying in a plane itself)

Skydive Dubai has two locations in Dubai offering breathtaking views as people skydive over Dubai’s sand dunes or over the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island. The Palm location is open all year round, while our Desert Dropzone is open from September to May. Blue skies and soft landings from everyone at Skydive Dubai.

A tandem skydive over The Palm in Dubai is approximately $600 USD. You are attached to an experienced instructor. The price includes all photos and a video but excluded insurance or the one-minute Instagram video, which can be purchased separately. 

The idea of jumping out of the plane 13,000 feet over The Palm in Dubai and the experience of free falling over Dubai at approximately 120 miles per hour is exhilarating and has been mentioned as worthy of every penny! In fact, after jumping out of the plane, the individual will free fall approximately 60 seconds. After the parachute is deployed, one will gently and slowly float for about 5 minutes for the remaining descent.

Do note to include preparation of at least 3-4 hours from the initial check in time to the time photos are provided. Firstly you will check in, where they will calculate your weight and BMI. Then you will get outfitted with your gear, meet your instructor, and do an interview with your photographer.

Once on the plane, the take-off, ascent, skydive, and landing takes approximately 20 minutes. Your videos and pictures will be ready to pick up about 45 minutes after you land.

Acai Berry, pronounced “ah-sigh-ee” berry

Similarly to Oprah, I am a big believer in Acai Berry in supplements. The idea of being overweight all my life essentially means multiple attempts to lose weight. To be fair,  when I was in secondary school, I had this mindset that exercising was the only factor because I was kept being advised to jump/exercise more or be under the sun more (god knows, the cryptic message is to be active outdoors). Meanwhile, I kept pondering if being under the sun means standing outdoors and thinking whether the sun is able to melt my fats due to the physical alteration of perspiring. 

When I recall my younger self, the naive aspect of myself was so adorable in terms of personality. I often wondered why no one has reprimanded me for the  five years of me drinking coke continuously to replace my water intake, making me gain 20kg in the span of two years. Amongst the various diet pills, fat burners and CLA and detox teas, I dare to say there is a combination of two supplements that is most effective for my weight loss journey.

Acai Berry + Hydroxycut 

For now, it is the third month of calorie deficit and instead of exercising 5x a day, I have reduced it to a weekly exercise due to fasting month. Nevertheless, I have lost 3kg in the span of 2 weeks by maintaining my 1200-1500 calories intake by taking the two wonder supplements. 

What Are Acai Berries?

Acai berries are 2.5-cm round fruits that grow on acai palm trees in the rainforests of Central and South America. They have a dark purple skin and yellow flesh surrounding a large seed. Technically they are not a berry but a drupe as they contain pits but they have an earthy taste that’s often described as a cross between blackberries and unsweetened chocolate.

Fresh acai berries have a short shelf life and aren’t available outside of where they are grown. As an export, they are sold as a frozen fruit purée, dried powder or pressed juice.

I often worry about the side effects for daily consumption but knowing the advantages of the two supplements beside aiding weight loss reassures me. Thus, here are 5 health benefits of Acai Berry. 

Nutritious

Acai berries have a unique nutritional profile as they are high in fat and low in sugar.

100 grams of frozen fruit pulp has the following nutritional breakdown

Calories: 70

  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Fiber 2 grams
  • Vitamin A: 15% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 2% of the RDI

With that being said, why is it so labelled as “good” and popular for women?

Acai’s most powerful health benefits come from plant compounds.

The most notable one among these is anthocyanins, which give acai berries their deep purple color and act as antioxidants in the body.

You can also find anthocyanins in other blue, black and purple foods, such as black beans and blueberries. 

Cancer Prevention

Several extracts from the acai berry killed leukemia cells when applied directly to the cells for 24 hours. The study by the University of Florida found that other antioxidant-rich foods like grapes, mangoes and guavas showed the same ability as well.

Anti-oxidant

Many antioxidants found in acai berries, also known as Euterpe oleraceae, are able to neutralize free radicals and incapacitate them by donating an electron, effectively stopping their destructive abilities. The study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found the acai berry to have the highest antioxidant activity of any ingredients.

Heart Disease

With its powerful antioxidants and rate of eliminating free radicals, this in turn helps reduce the risk of diseases, like heart disease and cancer.

Boosting Brain Function

The many plant compounds in acai could also protect your brain from damage as you age. The antioxidants in acai counteract the damaging effects of inflammation and oxidation in brain cells, which can negatively affect memory and learning. One of the ways in which the brain stays healthy is by cleaning up cells that are toxic or no longer working, a process known as autophagy. It makes way for new nerves to form, enhancing communication between brain cells.

As you age, this process works less efficiently. However, in lab tests, acai extract has helped stimulate this “housekeeping” response in brain cells.

Acai may counteract the damaging effects of inflammation and oxidation in the brain and help stimulate its “housekeeping” response.

Fasting Review Day 1

It has always dawned me that fasting is always a struggle only on the first day. It was less about the lack of food or drink but more of lack of sleep. I wish I was someone who does not enjoy sleep but I am the type who can sleep consecutively for 14 hours and even then, it is tiring for me. So waking up at 2.30am to actually eat what my mom cooks – a fistful of rice topped with three sambal prawn and a scoop of spinach, is nutritionally sufficient but at the same time, it is quite heavy for me to process it and sleep immediately after. 

Furthermore, I am also attracted by the ongoing US stock market which closes at 4am in the morning. Being quite bloated accompanied by loud snores from my roommate, I was desperately tossing everywhere only to sleep for a good hour. I woke up with eye bags that ruin my morning, I needed sleep more than food and water. I dragged myself into the washroom and showered, proceeding to go to work. 

The Holy month of Ramadan was meant to be a month of reflection and on the way to work, I kept reflecting on how I should have slept till 4.30am instead. That means my sleep is not disrupted, I could eat and exercise afterward to refresh myself and then showered before going to work. Dreading to work, I kept reminiscing about my previous workplace where I was reprimanded for sleeping on my lunch break, which is ridiculous because I cannot possibly eat lunch when fasting, could I?

Ironically in my current workplace, I was able to get about 40minutes of sleep and I was much more exhausted upon waking up from my sleep. The 20 minutes of my lunch time was me entertaining my colleague who was showing me Tiktoks of Mukbang. That did not tempt me at all, not even a lil bit since I am already resisting the temptation of eating my favourite food while on a calorie deficit. What I envy was my other Muslim colleagues napping during their break as well. 

While the time passed quickly at work, the hour long journey back home meant that I would reach home just in time before buka so no time and effort to set up the table for the feast! Right after that, we will go for a brisk walk to process our food better. In case it did not tire me enough, I’m gonna get started on my resistance band exercises. 

Supper, a bad idea?

Today is the first day of Ramadan where I am struggling to nap right after I eat my meal (sahur) in the wee morning. Unlike my brother who tends to lose weight during the fasting month, I tend to gain weight. Needless to say, we had different activity levels in a sense where I will sleep right after buka while he will exercise before and after breaking fast.  

As I lie down on the bed, I contemplate how my body will process the food and whether my water intake is sufficient for the whole day. One of the many worries on my mind is how I might gain weight when (buka) eating later than the usual particular time.

One common suggestion online is to not eat after 8pm, but how reliable is the advice though?

If one believes in calorie deficit, shouldn’t this information be misleading. In reality, what you eat is much more important than when you eat.

This article separates fact from fiction when it comes to late-night eating and weight gain.

Consumption of calories depends on time of the day

The idea that eating at night makes you gain weight stems from research studies on animals, which focused on the hypothesis that the body may use consumed calories differently past a certain time of day.

Some researchers suggest that eating at night goes against your circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle that tells your body when to sleep, eat and wake.

According to your circadian rhythm, night time is for resting, not eating. Unmistakable, several animal examples support this theory such as mice but not all studies in humans support this notion. In conclusion, research has stated that for humans in general, it is not necessarily the time you eat, but how much you eat that matters For example, a study in over 1600 children found no link between eating dinner past 8 p.m. and excess weight. In this study, late eaters did not appear to consume more total calories. 

Overall, you gain weight when your total calorie intake is higher than your daily needs. This instance does not happen merely as a result of eating at night. So why do those eating at night gain more weight? The only rational explanation for the correlation between eating at night and weight gain is the tendency for late eaters to eat more calories overall.

Thus, eating at night may lead to weight gain only if you eat a surplus of calories.

Supper Food Choices

Besides consuming more food, late eaters often skip meals in the afternoon, hence get hungrier and make poorer food choices due to the limited access to healthy food and exposure to convenience food that are way higher in calories as well.

At night, you may be more likely to choose unhealthy, calorie-dense foods. These are foods with little nutritional value, such as chips, soda and ice cream. People who work night shifts are a good example as they tend to snack on unhealthy foods for convenience, as there may be a lack of healthy options available in the workplace at night.

Another factor that could influence you to consume food in the middle of the night is emotional eating. The individuals who struggle in discerning between true hunger and eating due to stress, anxiety, boredom or sadness may use food as a gateway to unleash their emotions. This is also backed by the study that states that tiredness has been linked to increased food intake and a desire for high-calorie foods. This may be due to hormonal changes that influence appetite during sleep deprivation. 

If you’re truly hungry after dinner, consider choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages. These are lower-calorie foods with high nutritional value.

Some great options include:

  • Carrot and celery sticks with hummus
  • Apple slices with a small portion of your favorite nut butter
  • Plain air-popped popcorn
  • A handful of frozen grapes
Meal Timing and Frequency

Though calorie counting is the ultimate guide that affects your weight, there are ways to regulate your appetite through meal timing and frequency.

  1. Eating a higher-calorie breakfast may keep you fuller longer and possibly prevent overeating at night. In one study, people eating a 600-calorie breakfast had lower appetites and significantly fewer cravings during the day than those eating 300 calorie for breakfast. The cravings for sweets were reduced 
  2. Keep in mind that breakfast may not be necessary if you eat late at night. Follow your hunger cues and eat your first meal later than usual.
  1. Eating smaller meals but more frequently throughout the day to manage your appetite and lessen feelings of hunger throughout the day (18

Therefore, changing your meal timing and frequency may be a strategy to reduce overall calorie intake by managing hunger.Appetite and cravings may be managed by eating more calories earlier in the day and by eating small and frequent meals. These strategies may prevent overeating at night.

Spanish Bullfights: a charming event or an act of cruelty?

I recalled enquiring if Mena, one of my close friends, could bring me to watch a bullfight. It is something that I could say that most of my circle friends would have not seen in person and this would be the same for my siblings. Every year, me and my siblings would plan the next trip and pick destinations that none have actually gone to because of our competitive streak. Thus ultimately my trip to Mexico remains to be my pride whenever travelling becomes the main topic of discussion. This is primarily because my siblings have not gone to a country where the main spoken language was not English nor a destination where it takes longer than 20 hours. To top it all, they do not travel solo. 

Amongst the various activities that I wanted to do in Mexico, the bullfight is one of the events that I had not experienced, not because of other factors other than it being a cruel joke. Honestly what was told to me was that the losing bull will get stabbed in the heart by the matador. That was inconsistent by what has been perceived by me where the man is often in the utmost danger of being killed, if he was thrown off by the bull. 

Although many bullfight attendees are mostly tourists, 90 percent of them never return to another fight after witnessing the relentless cruelty that takes place in the ring. Spanish bulls and their many counterparts in Mexico and other countries are victims of a savage display disguised as “art” or “entertainment”. The event was often set up, branded as festive, artistic, and a fair competition between skill and force to the unknowingly naive attendees. What they do not reveal is that the bull never has a chance to defend itself, much less survive. 

Former bullfighters reported that the bull is intentionally tranquilized or fed with laxatives in addition to beatings to the kidneys prior to the fight. It is said that for weeks before the event,  petroleum jelly is rubbed into their eyes to blur vision with heavy weights hung around their neck while confined in darkness for hours before being released into the bright arena.

It has been reported that the abuse of bulls began in 1987 where more than 90 percent of bulls killed in fights had their horns shaved before the fight. This involves sawing off several inches of the horns so the bull misses his thrusts at the altered angle.

Throughout the match, gradually the bull will be weakened by fear, blood loss, and exhaustion, the matador attempts to make a clean kill with a sword to the heart (Tercio de muerte). Unfortunately the matador rarely succeeds and must make several thrusts, often missing the bull’s heart and piercing his lungs instead. Afterwards leading to the finale, the spinal cord of the bull will be cut by a dagger while still fully conscious, it is paralyzed as its ears and tail are cut off to celebrate the matador’s “victory” also known as Tercio de muerte. 

Uniquely, Mexican bullfighting has an added feature of novillada, or known as baby bullfights. There is no fun or competitive or sportsmanship ritual in this slaughter of calves. Baby bulls are brought into a small arena where they are stabbed to death by children spectators. These bloodbaths end with spectators hacking off the ears and tail of the often fully conscious calf lying in his own blood. 

Although the bulls in these fights are not killed in the ring, they are often slaughtered immediately afterward. Bulls today are specially bred for bullfighting raised on ranches located in various parts of Mexico. Selective breeding has enabled ranchers to create a bull who will die in a manner most satisfying to the public where the bulls will return to the torture repeatedly which will be portrayed as wild and vicious oponent to the heroic matador.

SAY NO TO BULLFIGHTS

If you are sadistic and enjoy watching acts of violence and speed accompanied by cheers and beers, you may definitely visit a country that permits bullfighting. In the case where you are a tad opposed to animal cruelty, inform your tourism operator about it. Visit the resort town of Tossa de Mar, the very first town in Spain to ban bullfights and inform others about bullfighting and urge them to protest as well. When tourists no longer support bullfights, there is no need to continue the abuse of bulls whether there is actual bloodshed or otherwise.

Exercising During Ramadan

Alhamdullilah as Ramadan once again has graced us in 2021! 

Ever since I started working on my blog, I have dreaded as I had never attempted to workout while fasting

As a Muslim, I had constantly been able to fast – abstaining from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset each day for one month. Besides rearranging my schedule to work around for meal times, we also had to make time for prayer and reflection. Blogging is a way of penning down my thoughts and it is undeniable that I have an outlet for my thoughts and had been spending less time explaining myself and my actions to others. 

When should Muslims work out?

As someone who is about to start on a new challenge, I’m wondering what is the best time to work out. I was contemplating exercising after I sahur but right before the cut off time or right after I break my fast. In the case where I choose to work out in the wee morning, I’ll still be able to drink as I do weight training and not get dehydrated but due to time constraint, I may not be able do it thoroughly. On the other hand, working out after I break fast enables me to work out with sufficient time and not rush the routine but when food is in, you might tend to sleep or chill and bloated to get motivated to work out. 

According to some experts, the best time to exercise in Ramadan is right before sunset as you can push yourself a little more knowing that you’re going to break your fast soon. Though it may be the most ideal, getting off work at 6pm and the journey home takes almost an hour, I’m afraid that this is not feasible for me.

I might be trying to work out both routines to see which work better for me in terms of schedule, efficiency of working out and motivational level.

I have been advised that the worst time to hit the gym/exercise is in the middle of the day. Rationally when fasting, the physical activity will exhaust ourselves and we are unable to refuel our energy. In the case where that’s the only time you are available, ensure that you are doing low-intensity workouts and the duration is between 20-30 minutes.

How long should they work out?

Now that you are motivated to work out during Ramadan, what is the recommended duration? 

If you are working out directly before or after eating, you may push to work out for a longer period of time. However as these would be my first attempt, it is recommended to gradually increase the intensity and duration. Fuad Hakim, one of my favourite local Tiktoker and online personal trainers, suggested for beginners like me to start off slow during the first few days of Ramadan by only exercising for half an hour. Once we have overcome temptation and tested our endurance by becoming more accustomed to fasting, it is fine to work out for up to an hour while fasting.

What type of exercise should I do?

Ramadan focuses on endurance and overcoming fatigue and temptation. It is not meant for you to push your limits or set personal records. It is a month of reflection and be taken as a time for consistency and maintaining fitness level. Continuing exercise routines is possible as long as the exercises are not too physically challenging and not under extreme heat which causes heat stroke especially in the absence of water intake. So less cardio as it requires me to quench my thirst with water drills and more strength training then.  

 

YO-YO EFFECT

This is an update of my weight loss journey and I am ecstatic to share that two months in, I had successfully lost 7kg in total. I jumped for joy when I measured my weight this morning and the fact that fasting month is tomorrow, it is evident that there will be continued progression!

I committed a huge sin last Saturday by going to a buffet and having a late night chill session, skipping my exercise routine. Sadly it was meant to be an opportunity for me to reveal that I will be undergoing the surgery but due to prolonged catchup sessions, it became hard to squeeze in the topic of my weight management into the conversation. 

Thus, today was the day I broke the news only to have my best friend frowning on the idea. He has been a great support to my declining self-esteem but damn, he was annoyed that I am toying with the idea. When informing him, he questioned the decision and one of the primary reasons is the YO-YO effect. 

So what does it mean?

Yo-yo is a  toy consisting of an axle connected to two disks, and a string looped around the axle, similar to a spool. The moment of the toy going Up and down and again up became a term to describe someone who has gained weight and successfully lost weight only to have gained more weight.  

Almost the majority of individuals who have tried some of the effective diets or taken diet supplements have experienced it. Yoyo effect doesn’t target specific gender or age group. This effect involves more than just fats on the belly but also endangers general health. To define the yoyo effect, it is a very frequent situation of impulsive weight loss followed by gaining the weight back. If this process is repeated continuously, it leads to complicated weight reduction and causes negative impact on your metabolism, health and body. 

The harmful aspects

Losing substantial amounts of weight in a short span of duration usually indicates a shock for the body and certain organ and cells of the body reacts differently to the vast changes,

1. Increased appetite

Fat cells produce hormone leptin which communicates with the brain and sends signals about the body having a sufficient amount and the brain consequently translates it with the feeling of a full stomach. If you are losing weight, you are losing fat and less fat means less leptin. This is the reason why we feel hunger during diets.

In addition, our body slows down all the processes to maintain energy, and that is why in time of quitting diet, you have increased appetite but burn only a minimum of calories. This is partially the reason why you may experience plateau or even weight gain despite dieting. 

2. Higher proportion of fat and less muscles

Moreover, when you are gaining weight back, fat is sticking on you more quickly than the muscles. It is reported that the percentage of fat grows two times higher if you have successfully lost weight. While you are losing the excess kilograms, you are losing not only fats but also muscles. If you gain the weight back after diet, fat is gained more easily and this leads to higher loss of muscles eventually. Because of this, it is very important to exercise during weight loss. Exercising signalises the body to support muscle growth although fat is gradually disappearing out of the body. Don’t forget that during weight loss, you will need to increase your intake of protein to prevent muscle loss.

3. Increases risk of cardiovascular diseases

Continual changes of the weight are linked with the narrowing of the arteries. Gaining weight, more than obesity themselve, increases risk of cardiovascular diseases. Increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases is directly dependent upon weight jumping in your weight. More kilograms you lose and gain during the yo-yo effect, the more risk you are exposed to. 

4. Type 2 diabetes

Each phase of losing weight and gaining weight affects the production of stress hormone cortisol. This Increased level of cortisol supports fat storage around the belly and this increases the risk of diabetes and heart failures. 

5. Fluctuating high blood pressure

The gaining of weight leads to high blood pressure and those who were in a yo-yo diet, often had less success at the blood pressure stabilization during weight reduction.  

To summarize my personal experience, it has been very stressful and degrading for my  hard work to have gone to the drain after 5 years. To put on all the weight and more since then, really brings me down as I started blaming my poor self-control and lack of reflection that have left me experiencing the yoyo effect. My 7kg weight loss is the start of my second journey and I am hoping to proceed with the surgery to ensure that my appetite will be controlled and I would not experience a second cycle of this Yoyo Effect.

Hopes Diminished for travel plans to Bangkok

Just last week, I shared my intention to travel solo to Bangkok once I get my vaccination to my family members. Without any surprise, they were very concerned once again with that idea. 

But then again, they knew that their opinion would not impose any influence on my decision. My sharing is just an extension of my courtesy for them to be updated. This freedom is not an act of rebellion (I’m 27 for goodness sake) but I have proved to them that I am capable of surviving on my own. 

I would say that it was emotional for me to know about the recent updates in Thailand especially when many Singaporeans have long desired to return to the City of Night Markets and Cheap apparels..

 The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has extended the eleventh consecutive extension of the state of emergency for two more months after it expires on 31 March, 2021 to prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.

The announcement cited several risk factors, including the fact that Thailand continues to detect new COVID-19 infections in various areas, especially local markets and communities.

In addition, there are several holiday periods and long weekends during April and May, which will encourage people’s movement and travel.

So can we actually travel to Thailand now?

With the latest update by Thailand authorities(April 11, 2021) , it reports 967 new COVID-19 infections which brings the total number of cases to 32,625 since January 2020. Out of the 32,625 cases, there are 28,128 recoveries, 97 deaths, and 2,567 cases currently undergoing treatment. The government has mandated that the mandatory quarantine to 10 days and 7 days for vaccinated travelers. Furthermore  the Thai Embassies and Consulates are now issuing  Certificate of Entry to enter Thailand including those nationalities under Visa Exemption list. For any foreigners who would like to enter the country, Covid-19 insurance is required and has to reserve Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel prior to travelling.

The Thai Embassies and Consulates are now issuing 60-day tourist visa and special tourist visa (STV) and Certificate of Entry to enter Thailand. However for those seeking travel for pleasure are still forbidden as only diplomats and foreign workers including their families, business representatives and experts invited by the government with official documents, are allowed to enter Thailand. They must get in touch with the local Thai Embassy in their current location to apply for a Certificate of Entry and for more information about the eligibility.

Since the start of October 1, 2020,  Thailand has enabled limited numbers of long stay foreign tourists under the Special Tourist Visa (STV) Program.  This long stay visa is open to foreign nationals  travelling to Thailand with the intention to stay long term as tourists to boost the tourism industry. Those who are qualified, must get in touch with the local Tourism Authority of Thailand Office or Thai Embassy in their current location for more information.

With that being said, I hope that the vaccination will progress world-wide and assist in opening up the borders for avid travellers to explore the various parts of Thailand. This recent outbreak in Thailand which is gradually growing, has halted the nation’s plan to welcome back tourists.

Cases have spiked occasionally since the start of the year which thus proved that the spread of coronavirus has yet to be contained internally. This could jeopardise Thailand’s efforts to boost the local travel industry. Authorities have urged people to avoid unnecessary travel and reduce gatherings to help limit the outbreak.

Thailand is already planning to reopen Phuket from July and waiving quarantine for vaccinated tourists heading there. It’s using the resort island as a testing ground before expanding similar measures to other tourist hotspots such as Koh Samui.