Losing facial fat

Unfortunately as time passes, our skin starts to sag making us look more mature than before. Unlike the rest of muscles in the body, a lot of these facial muscles are rarely used. While there are various gym equipment that can make you lose belly fat, thigh fat, arm fat but what about face fat? Performing face thinning and toning exercises frequently will keep your face looking fit in the long term. 

Here are five easy facial exercises that make your face look slimmer and toned.

#1 | Puff the cheeks

The exercise increases the blood circulation in your face muscles, especially around your cheeks. Improved blood circulation can strengthen upper cheek muscles and improve your facial appearance.

How to do

To perform the exercise, inflate your mouth with air and hold for 10 seconds. Now turn the air towards your right cheek and hold it for the next 10 seconds. Do the same with the left cheek. Repeat 10 times.

#2 | Raise your eyebrows

Raising your forehead regularly keeps your brows up and helps remove forehead wrinkles that are caused by the action of the frontalis muscles on the forehead. The exercise is also good for sagging eyebrows.

How to do

Place your index and middle finger in between your brows. Rest the fingers and palms on your face. Keeping your eyes open, lift your eyebrows up and down with the help of your fingers. Perform 3 sets of 30 seconds each.

#3 | Smooth your forehead

Moving your forehead regularly keeps your brows up and helps prevent wrinkles that are caused by the straining of your eyes when squinting. This exercise will help you to find your way towards a smoother and ageless forehead.

How To

Frown as hard as you can by bringing your eyebrows over your eyes and closer together, Then slowly release it by doing the opposite, which is to lift your eyebrows as high as possible and open your eyes widely.

#4 | Chin Squeeze

Waking up to a double chin are commonly faced by those who are on the heavier side.  Try this exercise daily to shape up your chin and neck.

How To

Keeping your posture upright and your neck erect and press your lower lip over your upper lip. Now, smile and lift the corners of your lips. After this, using your palms, rub the underlying muscle as vigorously for a few times. As soon as you start feeling the hint of strain on your lower neck region, stop.

#5 | Achieving V-line

Facial Exercises

Tightening the  platysma muscle eradicates double chin and sagging skin on the neck. Here is an exercise to tone the neck, chin and jaw area.

How to

Using 2 of your fingers, push up the skin from the jawline up to your cheeks and afterwards massage gently downwards from your ears to your neck. Lastly, use both your hands and palms up, massage your face gently in an upward motion so as to lift the skin up.

Besides the mentioned above benefits, regular facial muscles exercises improve the blood flow. This in turn supplies your skin cells with nutrients leading to a stimulation of skin cell regeneration and prevention of wrinkles. If you want to see results quickly you should aim to perform your facial exercises 3-5 times a week from around 20 minutes each time. 

Happy trying! 

Is it wise to travel now?

We may get excited with the news of the upcoming travel bubble but undeniably taking a flight isn’t what it used to be nor will it be the same. I believe even if the days of the Covid-19 ever goes away, the effects will be more prominent in general in terms of the minor changes to the procedures or policies. Hence with Singapore slowly opening up and initiating travel bubbles with Australia etc, potential travelers remain uncertain, fearful or anxious.  

 Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact globally and despite ensuring vaccinations are available to the citizens, there are vaccination schedules according to the age group. With the government’s efforts to encourage safe air travel, the number of people actually making travel plans is almost non-existent. We are still very wary and conscious despite news saying that many travelers are starting to feel comfortable making spring and summer plans.

Being comfortable and actually purchasing a ticket out of the country is drastically different.  Similarly to many, travel these days is caught up with second-guessing, extra research and plenty of confusion by changes to way of logistics, travel restrictions and safety . To top it off, there’s a segment of what  everyone else has to say about your decisions. There are lots of concerns that are in my mind that I have to brush aside in order to get my needed escapades. 

How safe is the destination now? What has changed?

This is essential as the pandemic affects every country differently and their way of life might have drastically altered. Thus, the perks you have been attracted to may not necessarily be accessible now? If you want to go to the Colosseum, you have to find out how Rome managed social distancing amongst the visitors and what is the public’s opinion on wearing masks. 

We are blessed that as a whole, we Singaporeans tend to be very kiasu (afraid to be left out) and very well aware that we need tourism to actually survive as a travel hub. We too are very docile (afraid of the law) and do what is expected to avoid fines and the government also, is active in imposing the necessary measures to ensure safety for everyone. Most are still wary in the case we will be victims of robbery, mugging and scams the moment we stepped into a foreign land right after border reopens. 

What is the employer’s take on staff applying AL for vacation?

Prior to Covid-19 pandemic, most companies wouldn’t probe on why you are taking your intended leave. Unfortunately this privacy will not be extended especially with the possibility of  stay home notice or quarantine. They might not be able to hinder or stop you from travelling but they will sure question you unnecessarily to the point where you will doubt your intentions and portray yourself as selfish, unless you have a caring boss. So this would definitely be otherwise.They might even provide you a laptop to bring along through your holidays just in case it will be extended and you are needed to work from home/hotel. 

Travel Shaming 

It’s easy for one to label a traveler as irresponsible, to selfishly travel for leisure. With judgements coming from a deeper fear of lockdown and the morally driven aspect, they can be quite convinced that travelling is something very wrong and casting doubts to the travelers. The countries manage the spread of the Covid-19 differently so there are locations where masks are mandatory as the cases remain high and there are some countries that are fully back to norm like New Zealand where you would think they were not even affected at all.  In the case where you are travelling to a country who better manage the situation and portray that on social media, it gets misconstrued as it gets misunderstood that it is okay to not follow the rules, when in actuality it is at a different setting hence different rules are applied. An influencer has credited the  shaming she felt on social media, in part, for influencing her and her boyfriend to wear masks whenever they’re out in public now — even when they’re often among the only people doing so.

“It’s really as if things are normal in Switzerland now. But coming from the US and knowing how this has affected people personally makes me more cognizant. As a long-term traveler and being on social media while in these countries, too, I feel responsibility not to get (the virus) and not to spread it.”

Accountability  

Many have canceled vacations or canceled trips which were meant to see their loved ones. Thus, when they see others enjoying nonessential travel, they may be angry, envious and feel that it’s not fair. They might be infuriated as they sacrificed things that are important to them for the wellbeing of others and expect the same from others.  Sometimes, even if your loved ones and peers are happy for you, it is likely that you might be the one doing the shaming.

At times, tourists may feel ashamed or guilty about their choices to travel as they were on the other spectrum of scoffering at photos of crowded pools and beaches and pinpointing others.

“Shame on those people when I’m home and then here I was, a month later in the same situation especially where most people weren’t wearing masks and I didn’t want to be associated with them.”

Furthermore, people often remind you about the regulations with the implication so much so that they don’t believe you’re going to do it because of the hassles. They emphasized on stay home notice and the quarantining to ensure you are accountable of the consequences in the case there is a breakout. This is akin to throwing a “I told you so” and it is really off putting when in actuality, no one has really figured out how the virus actually gets transmitted. 

With the four main concerns shared above, will there actually be a difference once we are allowed to travel? 

In the case you overcome those points, will you be sharing your experience via photos and videos as regularly? Will it be okay for us to be posting about travel right now?

Do I have to only post about the preparation and obstacles prior to the trip ensuring that it will be more of informative content instead of just flexing your holidays. Often, when the consequences are dire,  people feel entitled, what worse could be justified in shaming them and they feel that it needs to be harsh.  

“’This is the only way we can get people to behave “

 

Undeniably it can be effective but it does not make it morally right. Furthermore, we should be normalizing open borders for the economy to recover. We should not be afraid to post photos and questions others who shame the tourists when they are following the safety measures of the destinations.

Should I get a personal trainer?

Just over the last weekend, I was in the midst of a serious discussion with four good friends of mine who wanted to get serious about weight management. One of them is getting married, one of them wants to start conceiving, one is planning to get engaged and another is having chest pains because of the excess weight in general. All of us are exploring various options to actually lose weight. Most dread the option that I’m considering which is bariatric surgery. 

Amongst the various topics of discussion,  one of them shared about how she spent over 2000 SGD to lose weight only to gain it all back in the last two months. Out of curiosity, I asked her what it was for then? It was for her to be pushed by someone cute to workout. 

Isn’t that the most ludicrous idea ever? Why would one ever pay money to a cute trainer, to be embarrassed about not being able to do simple exercise in front of them? 

Apparently, lots of people actually do that and it seems like physical trainers are earning quite a bit especially during Phase 3. With that in mind, I delved online to find out 5 reasons why engaging personal trainer is crucial to a fitness journey, 

1. Structured Fitness Goals

A personal trainer helps you define individual fitness goals and creates a roadmap to get there. They  take into account your current fitness level and discuss what you ultimately want to achieve. A professional will help you focus on smaller goals that are specific and realistic; they’re more attainable, setting you up to achieve the larger, more audacious goal.

This means no more finding online workout routines with awkward strenuous movements like spiderman crawl or doing weight training that is repetitive but doing nothing for your muscles. So, is this a good enough point for me? Yes but the possibility of an amateur personal trainer picking tough HIIT sets and pushing me over my limits which may lead me to vomit in public, does not reassure me.

2. Create a Personalized Workout

Personal trainers plan a specific workout schedule for you based on the goals you want to achieve. It will never be a one-size-fits-all exercise you would find on Youtube. The customised plan is tailored to your goals, needs, and allowances for your current physical condition and medical background. Your trainer can make accommodations to the program if you have an injury.

This translates to no efforts on my end prior to working out. No need to save videos or refer to any of my sports apps to see what’s next for my routine. While that is tempting, if only I could opt for this option and have them personalise the setting for the workout at home. 

3. Trainer Teaches Proper Form

A professional trainer teaches the proper way to perform each exercise movement in your routine by demonstrating the movement. While you actually physically do it, they may correct any issues with your posture or technique.

Learning how to perform exercises properly reduces your risk of injury and increases the movement’s efficiency. So short term engagement with a personal trainer is tempting as I can exercise correctly which in turn increases the possibility that I will do it on my own at home or at the gym.

4. Motivation and Commitment

Motivation is often difficult to sustain whenever you are on the solo fitness journey. Regular sessions with a personal trainer create accountability, which is a real motivator to not let down yourself or them. But there’s also something to be said for feeding that part of our brain that craves praise.

Having an external being/trainer celebrate your consistency, progress, or even proper technique can be a real boost when you feel like throwing in the towel. With someone to be accountable to, that sudden coffee treat or jelly snack can be easily refused instead of consumed. If you lack self-motivation to kick start the routine, a personal trainer could be key to getting fitter.  When you exercise on your own, it is easier to skip a session here and there (like me) and worse is to fall off the wagon completely. Since there’s no one to hold you to your words, you are free to give up, 

When engaging with a trainer, you don’t want to lose the investment or emotional attachment (don’t want to let them down) so you are bound to show up and do the work.

5. Efficiency and Efficacy

If your workouts have previously felt complacent, an experienced trainer ensures you won’t be bored anytime soon. They teach a variety of exercise methods and no two sessions will look the same.

Trainers also make adjustments as your fitness level improves to ensure continued progress; so you won’t plateau or feel stuck in the same old routine. Additionally, they will make the most of your workout time, which increases the efficiency of your exercise program. This is especially beneficial when you have a limited amount of time to exercise. They’ll know how to optimize every minute you have available in the gym to get the biggest burn for your session.

With all this in mind, should I get a personal trainer?

I am in the stage where my motivation has depleted but at the same time, I do not have a fixed schedule to kickstart a new routine. I will probably work out for another 4-6 months and see what my progress is like and if it leads to nowhere, hello Mr Fuad Kim (as if I could ever engage him!).

Top 5 Outdoor things to do in Santorini

Truthfully, being single for more than a decade can be miserable. I am someone who truly loves romantic cliché rom coms and a big believer in holding oneself for the one true love. Does it even exist or something to be worked on and cultivated together as a couple? It is a topic that is intriguing and truly captivates my mind however sadly to say it would not be elaborated here.  For someone who loves travelling and seeing my peers planning their honeymoon, I was often questioned about my ideal honeymoon destination. Since then, I had never really visited anywhere remotely romantic because I wanted to savor those experiences with my life partner (cause marriage can be overrated and the term husband is tacky).   As an overall, I was torn with three destinations with different key elements – Santorini, Paris and Iceland. 

Personally, Santorini is represented as a sun element with the bright and colorful walls of the town accompanied by the exquisitely clear waters. So below are 5 romantic activities you can do with your loved one in Santorini! 

Catamaran Caldera Cruise

This romantic sunset cruise is ideal for couples looking for a trip of pure relaxation, excellent Greek food, and incredible views of Santorini. On top of unlimited wine, beer, and soft drinks along the island’s beautiful beaches and rugged cliffs, the views of the world-famous sunset in Oia as you leaned against one another is a luxury. One of the highlights of the tour is the delicious barbecue feast right after the dipping session at the local hot springs.

Stand-Up Paddle and Snorkel Adventure

Explore a morning paddling and snorkeling adventure off the coast of Santorini with your partner. Soak up the sparkling Santorini coastline on this scenic paddle board excursion, which includes a hands-on introductory lesson. Afterwards, hit the water to explore the cliff-lined shore. Routes are calculated based on wind direction and wind power for optimal paddling. You will also get a chance to snorkel below water, with all equipment included. 

Traditional Wine Horse Riding Tour

Unique tour involving horses, scenic landscape and glass of wine, it takes alot to ruin a memorable moment for lovebirds! Riding beautiful horses through the most traditional village of Santorini island. Admiring picturesque scenery and tradition, with blue dome churches, local tavernes, the cobble streets of the cozy village, couples may also ride out from the village into the surrounding vineyards where you will experience the beauty of the pristine countryside. The guide-instructor gives a lot of information about the grapes and wines, and relax by tasting a unique glass of wine in the stables.

ATV-Quad Santorini Experience 

 

Beginning from Perissa also known as the black beach, riding the ATV, you will be entertained throughout the off road paths. The first highlight would be the Emporio and the Venetian castle, built in narrow streets that feels like a labyrinth. Momentarily leaving the ATV, hold hands as you guys “get lost” on them. While taking a stroll, both of you can enjoy a Greek coffee or juice in one of the most traditional coffee places of the island. Afterwards, proceed to continue the journey towards the windmills with the incredible view and ride to the traditional village of Megalochori through the vineyards. To reignite the passion, visit the oldest winery of Santorini and enjoy the taste of high quality wine (3 wines) and kirthar boukies . This spot will take your breath away, the whole caldera lying on your feet, a fantastic place for lil make out session.

Uncharted Escapes: LandRover Safari Santorini

Head off the beaten track and explore Santorini by a Rover. Drive up to the Profitis Monastery, set upon the highest mountain on the island, enjoy a wine tasting and admire the views of the caldera at Venetsanos Winery, and visit the Akrotiri Lighthouse. Both of you can indulge a delicious lunch of authentic Greek food in the village of Pyrgos and learn about Greek culture. 

6 Simple Resistance Bands Exercise

Undeniably you would think that for any strength training workout, you will need dumbbell or weights in general. However, it is possible to strengthen and sculpt your arms at home with a resistance band with a consistent workout routine.

I was similarly skeptical about whether resistance bands can actually work my arms and legs so I bought one from Decathlon last week wanting to squeeze in a good sweat session in the convenience of my own room. Resistance bands are equally efficient in utilising every muscle in your arms—biceps, triceps, shoulders—and in fact, I specifically chose these resistance band exercises to target muscles and synonymously imposed a well-balanced burn.

Below are 6 simple exercises that you can incorporate to your daily workout to fire up!

Grab a resistance band and get started on these workouts and I bet you won’t even miss the dumbbells.

1. Standing Kickbacks which targets the glutes and hamstrings

Instructions

Place the band around your ankles standing with your feet hip width apart. Engage your core and shift your weight onto one leg, gradually kick back about six to eight inches with the other leg. You slowly  move backwards with control with your raised foot and only tap the ground gently right behind your standing foot. 

Focus on balance and form. Stable and straight hips are essential as a dip or twisted hip will arch your back.

Reps: 12 to 15 on each side. Complete all reps on one leg, then switch to the other.

2.Leg Raises Stretching which targets the inner thigh

Instructions

Lay on the back and loop the band around the right foot, grabbing onto the band in the right hand to create tension. Gradually lower the right leg sideways towards the floor until you feel a stretch in the inner thigh. Place the other hand to support the leg to prevent overstretching. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides. 

Reps: Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides

3. Side-Lying Leg Lifts which targets the hip-abductor muscles

Instructions

Start with lying sidewards and placing the band above your knees (Easy mode) or around your ankles (Hard Mode). Tilt your head up and support yourself with your lower arm. Raise your upper leg upwards as high as you can without moving your hip, then slowly lower it for one repetition. Focus on rate of the lift—slow and steady to ensure good form.

Reps: 12 to 15 on each side. Complete all reps on one side first before doing the other side.

4. Front raise which targets the shoulder muscles

Instructions

Begin by having knees slightly bent, right foot forward with the sole flat on the floor while the left on the toes with the heel high. Place the resistance band underneath the arch of the right foot and both hands grasping it by the ends and arms at sides. Raise arms to shoulder-height and ensure the elbows are straight while stretching. Without bending elbows, slowly lower back down to start. 

Reps: Perform 10 reps, then continue immediately to your next exercise, resting only as needed. When you’ve completed all 10 of your selected moves, rest for two minutes, then repeat for three total rounds.

5. Tricep Extension which targets the tricep

Instructions

Begin by having knees slightly bent, right foot forward with the sole flat on the floor while the left on the toes with the heel high.  Place the resistance band underneath the arch of the right foot and both hands grasping it by the ends and arms extended straight up overhead, palms facing each other. Keeping upper arms still, bend at elbows and lower hands to just behind neck. Reverse movement to return to start.

Reps:Perform 10 reps, then continue immediately to your next exercise, resting only as needed. When you’ve completed all 10 of your selected moves, rest for two minutes, then repeat for three total rounds.

6. Single-Arm Row which targets the biceps

Instructions

Sit up straight with legs extended and feet pointing upwards. Place the resistance band around the left foot and hold ends with left hand, arms extended. This is your start position. Keep legs and torso stable and bend elbows to pull the band backward until the hand reaches the left side of the ribs. Reset.

Reps:Perform 10 reps on each side, then continue immediately to your next exercise, resting only as needed. When you’ve completed all 10 of your selected moves, rest for two minutes, then repeat for three total rounds.

Emotionally unavailable

I am constantly told that I was emotional and dramatic as a child/teenage (10-15 years old). Perhaps my tear ducts have dried up over twelve years to a point that now,  I am exhausted with any situation that requires emotional involvement. Someone tease about being obese and I’ll be the one questioning how my presence affect them and if the reason is valid, I will apologise and if they get embarrassed over their immaturity, case closed. 

By being emotionally unavailable, when do I really feel alive? These complex spectrum of internal monologues are different from being suicidal or depressed, it’s a stage of being stumped or lost unsure of where to go next and whether the next stage of life will make us happy or will the next phase be meaningful in our life. It has been miserable being a working adult, earning money that I spent to live but at the same time, questioning the meaning of life hypothetically is not acceptable in society.

The only joy or excitement that I have is walking down the aisle of an aircraft leading somewhere new or eating something new or discovering new interesting experiences. Why something new? Because I get bored easily and the world is huge and diverse with different ethnic and cultures and to see what the world has to offer is luxury. 

Some said this lack of emotions or motivation in life in general is due to my weight. How the excess weight is beyond dragging me down (gravity) and burdening my shoulders philosophically. For many individuals growing up overweight or constantly being compared to, the need to mentally protect themselves from criticism and manage their internal shame became a habitual act of self-defence. 

In the long run of developing a true self, the psychological protection included destructive behaviors as forms of punishment. It has been said that a false persona may have developed focused on pleasing the needs of others as a way of distancing oneself from being true to painful feelings in reality. So will losing weight resolve these emotional and psychological concerns? 

I am afraid not and working on these emotions will make the journey a little more bearable because you will understand why these thoughts infiltrate your mind.  

There are many factors that may emotionally alters you while on the fitness journey. However I was able to relate and narrowed it to two different emotions – guilt and regret. 

Guilt

Like fear of not meeting society’s expectation, guilt has its own goal. It’s a corrector, a moral compass to my life. When I feel guilty, I regret the mistakes I made and it makes me want to correct them. Guilt may be useful because it causes self-reflection but personally I feel that guilt is a very evil and scary emotion because it is powerful enough to proceed on with drastic actions. I quit a good paying job and lost a bonus of 12k because I was guilt ridden to a point where I was not sleeping.  It can make me imagine things that aren’t really there. In life, this means having a constant fear that I am always disappointing my family, or that I am not living up to expectations.

Guilt can also lead to codependency, which is a toxic relationship pattern that stops you from creating healthy boundaries in your relationship.

Overcoming self-guilt

I have not been the best at this, so hearing this advice may not necessarily be genuine coming from me. Remind yourself that “imaginary guilt” is just that—it’s made up from your mind. (My mind is powerful and this imaginary guilt will make me sick and vomit) Before you start dwelling out of guilt, check-in with a friend, asking if your emotions are real? Validations by a third party will prevent yourself from jumping to conclusions?

Often when you try to reverse the situation like putting yourself into the shoes of the other party, would you actually feel upset? 

“For instance where your friend who works really hard was late for a gathering. If you can figure out that by being in their position and conclude that you will be fine with them being late for a meetup, then equally, you have to be okay with yourself being occasionally late for the right circumstance, either.”

Regret

For someone who lives in the past, they often recite “if only”, the two dangerous words that can indulge them by being blind to the current reality and brings over to the past – hindering you from living your life in the moment.

In every interaction, here are the most common scenarios that happen when you have regret as emotional baggage:

  1. You idealize a past relationship hence you are unable to connect emotionally to anyone else.
  2. You stay in a current job because you are afraid you will regret leaving it, even when it has become toxic.
  3. You’ve regretted choosing friendship over a major life decision, so you become afraid of commitment (staying with friends instead of choosing your favourite module).

Overcoming regrets

Whiplash ahead as the only way to deal with regret is to acknowledge that you can never undo the past. Dwelling on what could have been is time lost for you to start living your life now

“Second-guessing will not help. The constant what-ifs will lead to nowhere. The best thing you can do now is evaluating the issue at hand and learning from it.”

So what’s next for me?

It has been almost one week since I stopped working out. I do also noticed that I have been stingy with my thoughts despite posting stuff online. It is not about being irresponsible  but I truly feel exhausted with the minor changes in my life that affect me greatly. I am hoping that processing it out via literacy helps me manifest positivity for me to get back on track in my life. Cheers!

Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine in Royal Caribbean

Looking back on what I have posted yesterday about my personal recount, I notice that it was essentially nothing substantial. Hence I decided to work on revising it by focusing my favorite astounding moment of all time – the fine dining experience with the WONDERLAND package.

Firstly I was informed that the portion is not huge but the food is creative and unique curated to fit the theme of Alice in Wonderland. That being said, I was really expecting small plates with fancy one-bites of each course to half-fill my stomach. I couldn’t be proven more wrong and solely this experience makes me want to bring my sister to seize the opportunity of the same dining experience. I enormously love the entrance of the restaurant despite the hassle of having to tap our token. There was a huge ass fancy chair for customers to take photos and the whole exterior itself is intriguing. 

I am never into fine dining and needless to say, I was pretty skeptical. Often things wrapped in a beautiful packaging tends to be disappointing to the taste buds. Despite it all, I brushed the doubts back of my head knowing that it was still a holiday and dinner with good friends makes food tasty nevertheless.   

Being a media design student, I greatly appreciate restaurants making an effort to use a suitable font that represents the restaurant over a corporate look and feed. I am so in love with the font used on the logo! I am only able to recognise the century gothic for the tagline and I am pretty sure that the calligraphy for the restaurant was either handwritten or illustrated exclusively and it is consistent with the external backdrop. It gives you an illusion of mystery and how reality is synonymously enclosed. 

One of the highlights besides the entrance are the ambience. Similar to fancy restaurants that are dimmed to provide a look and feel of mystery, I was pretty disturbed by the dark exteriors with over-the-top wall decoration which seems to eradicate light from the window. .

Look at how spooky at the first glance! It is as though light is not necessary for the ambience and the highlight is only what the table has to offer. 

The dimmed chandelier but lighted candles on the table reminds me of Beauty and the beasts but damn, it was the wrong fairytale. Pardon me for not being a Disney fan but J is always so excited to share that this is identical or straight out of the scene from the 1951 Disney film – Alice in the Wonderland. He shared that this concept is to evoke the dining guest’s emotions similar to when Mad Hatter invites Alice to tea which emphasizes uncertainty and implies being unsure of what to expect and takes a leap of faith.

The staff in the restaurant goes beyond being a server and all dressed and acts the part too, with velvet jackets and multi-colored outfits being engaging enough to take us on a delicate palate journey with them leading us to a table with high chairs and the performance started as soon as you are seated. We were greeted with a small introduction and us being questioned if we ever were here to Wonderland figuratively and dietary restrictions if any, after which ended with showing us the easel with a blank menu and a paintbrush. If at the end of the meal you are still hungry, or there was something on the menu you wanted to try you can request the dish.

We would have to wet the paintbrush slightly and then brush it over the canvas to reveal the menu.  As we paint, the menu appears magically and we see what’s offered. 

The menu is definitely for individuals up to an experimental dining experience. With the menu divided up by four elements – sun, ice, fire, sea and earth which distinctly was perfected with that element in mind. When dining at Wonderland every course will be a surprise, but you will get at least one dish per element. You will not know what to expect but when you taste it, you are bound to taste the component of that chosen element in the dish and etc. Being unknown does not translate crazy but you will not expect a regular mushroom soup as a starter. Here are some of the food I had that was so amazing and insanely creative but frenzy on the taste buds, I know that I thoroughly love all that was served except 1 earthy dish that had me, pursing my lips, eyes open widely, eyebrows raised and tongue pushing the remaining of the earthy crumbling down the throat. 

Below are some of my snaps of the food that I consumed as Alice!

Do you know what is in that transparent tube? It is frigging tomato soup which is captivating because it is colorless but the exquisite taste of tomato is evident and complements the crispy Crab Cone. It is weird expecting plain water and getting tomato soup.

 Shrimp Kaitafi and Liquid Lobster with caviar – one of my favorite surprises. Shrimp yum, lobster yum and the sauce is just pure yummy indulgence. This reminds me of a warm blanket in a cold aircon room. 

The memorable dish for me was the one served with ice element- oceanic citrus consisting of spicy tuna & floral yuzu granite and may I say, I still dream about tasting this again.

This horror not so much! HAH! Above is one of the earthy dish I believe known as baby vegetables in the garden and the soil in the dish is supposedly delicious when mixed with the ranch yoghurt-like texture but it was an instant rejection for me. 

There are more that I have tasted since I went in a group of 4 and honestly almost all was worth every penny. In the case where you are unsure, you may always ask the server to suggest or order on behalf of you guys. 

The food will not disappoint you overall and you are bound to have that little bit of wonderland inside of you, inside the tummy.

Calculate Your Basic Metabolic Rate

To any individual seeking an improvement of their health, they often need more than just an exercise routine to be more efficient on their fitness journey. Without proper food intake which makes up 80% of weight transformation, they often have to adjust the duration of workout and the intensity of exercise routine.

So, how many calories should you eat a day whether you’re trying to maintain, lose, or gain weight? 

To add on, how do I even calculate my basal metabolic rate then? This often is not as accurate because it is hard to determine as the calories consumed by the body is different for everyone. They each have their own daily activities that add up energy consumed whether it’s a jog before work or simply walking to the workplace and for some workplaces, it is physically exhausting which in turn increases the calories consumption for the day.  To sum up, how many calories you should eat a day depends on your physical activity level, age, and sex. 

The simple logical math equation of wanting to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns. If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than your body burns. 

How many calories should you eat a day to lose weight?

To lose weight, you will need to be in a caloric deficit. This means you need to eat less than what is required to maintain your weight. To create a deficit, you may increase physical activity by including moderate physical activity for at minimum 150 minutes a week and decreasing food intake. 

Weight loss per week Calorie deficit needed per day (on average)
0.5 Pound / 0.45kg250
1 pound / 0.9kg500
2 pound / 1.8kg1000

In general, targeting to lose about 0.45 to 1kg a week is considered healthy for most people.

The greater the deficit, the more rapid the weight loss. Kindly take note that restricting your calories to fewer than 1,200 a day is unfair to your body as it is hard to meet vitamin and mineral requirements. Furthermore, it can also slow down your metabolism and may result in getting sick and gaining the weight back. 

Calculating BMR 

The Harris-Benedict Equation is often used to estimate basal metabolic rate.

  1. Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
  2. Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)

The term BMR is occasionally mentioned with RMR, which stands for “resting metabolic rate.” The difference between them is that BMR only measures basic processes of breathing, blood circulation, and temperature regulation in a completely resting state, RMR also includes energy expended by digestion and non-exercise daily movements, like getting dressed and lifting your fork to your mouth.

BMR and RMR numbers are similar enough to be interchangeable, but if you’re calculating your needs in order to gain or lose weight, pay attention to which number an equation calls for it.

Addiction to Sugar

One of my concerns during the bariatric consultation is the idea of meeting the psychologist to understand why I overeat. Based on the series – 600 lbs life, they tend to depict that the patients rely on food as a coping strategy for their trauma or emotional scars they have. 

Even after much consideration, I am afraid that I do not fit into the category so where will the conversation go?

Some may say I am in denial but at the same time, I say nothing but the best about my siblings and parents. There is a stigma about being Malay in Singapore and how there is a black sheep in the family bound to get involved in drugs, gambling or at least small brush with the law but thankfully enough, I might be the slightly grayed one. I remembered being caught shoplifting when I was 12 and even then released before the police came to the store. 

I strongly feel that the issue was with me individually and not my external surroundings. I truly am in love with food. Being a fraternal twin, they mentioned that my twin sister was underdeveloped because of lack of nutrients, when I was an infant, over consumed while in her stomach. This would summarise the start of my love for food in general. I have a wide range of favourite food that is spread over a few cuisines and as of now, I am into Japanese raw sashimi. 

Throughout my 27 years of my life, I am into sweet drinks and to combat poor eating choices, I avoid carbohydrates such as rice and bread as a sacrifice. As my mother is diabetic, I had this assumption that I am bound to get it as well. As carbohydrates translate to glucose,  my reasoning was you could either opt out of sweet drinks or opt out of carbohydrates that are high in glucose. There was about a decade of me consuming coke only and not a single cup of plain water that made me gain so much weight and now I’m still trying to regain stability. I have a true addiction to bubble tea and starbucks frappuccino drinks topped with whipped cream. 

Whenever I share that I struggle with it, people tend to dismiss me about sugar addiction  saying that it was fad and not substantially real. If it was not true in reality, why am I really depressed on weeks that I am not drinking it and why a cup of Koi Bubble tea cheers me up? They say it’s the gluttonous side of me that is leading me to my death, so in this case why are they not making healthier food more delicious for our taste buds.

The happiest discovery of the day is the article that states that sugar addiction is proven true and that there are ways to overcome it. Thankfully before I received any backlash, I am currently drinking tap water daily with an occasional sweet drink once a week. Those days with cravings for flavoured drinks, I opted for Coke Zero or Pepsi Max to limit my calorie intake. 

Defining Sugar addiction

There are several key markers for addiction which include intense cravings, an intense pleasure, calm or high, failed attempts to decrease the usage and withdrawal symptoms upon eliminating substance use. Above expresses my takes and how it fit the bill for my dependence on sugar.

Sugar is addictive because it releases opioids and dopamine in the brain. Eating sugar also increases the release of serotonin, that gives us a “happy” feeling. Thus, eating sugar alters part of the brain to make us feel good, and once that feeling subsided, we are left wanting more. This is partly because sugar is absorbed into the blood as glucose but that sugar intake also causes the release of insulin, which normalizes the glucose level. Thus in turn it repeats itself into a vicious cycle in which we desire to get sugar the moment our glucose declines. This process leads to sugar bingeing — a behavior common to sugar addiction.

Whenever people stop eating a diet rich in sugar, they’ve been shown to experience typical symptoms of drug withdrawal. Sugar withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, a headache, irritability, nervousness and feeling down or depressed. Sugar withdrawal may also come with intense cravings, leading you to hop right back on the sweet train.

Sugar in food 

Now that I had acknowledged that sugar addiction isn’t a conspiracy or hoax and how it is so dangerously addictive, why are sugary foods everywhere?

One reason that we eat so many sugary items is because of the global rise in sugar-rich fast food consumption. Almost all fast food meals contain a surprisingly high amount of sugar. To add on, even if you cook for yourself most of the time, it’s still harder than you think to completely avoid sugar. 

My old self may point out that sugar is natural, and therefore cannot be that bad. However, there is no actual need or dietary requirement for sugar. You need to eat protein. You need to eat carbohydrates. You need to eat fat. Unfortunately there is no need to eat any sugar at all. In fruits, sugar is naturally-occurring and comes along with many helpful vitamins and nutrients but most of the sugar we consume is highly-refined and is LOADED into pretty much every processed and pre-packaged food. 

No matter where you shop — at a 7-Eleven or NTUC — almost all the processed foods on the shelves contain added sugar. Sugar is added to food for several different reasons, including the fact that it enhances the taste, preserving food like jelly, helps bread rise or balances the acidity of food that contains tomato or vinegar — like ketchup or BBQ sauce. This does not include the obvious such as chocolates and ice cream, and this is a reminder that sugar is sneaky and hiding in more of your staple groceries than you may think. Foods that may be labeled “healthy” such as fruit-flavored yogurt, granola, dried fruit but even then, it all contain a significant amount of added sugar. 

So what can I do about my addiction? 

 #1: Remove all sugar and processed foods from your house

Without the presence of sugar, there are no temptations that you’ll face. This is the only way to break your addiction. To drastically increase your ability to resist temptation is to remove ALL foods that contain sugar, even highly-processed canned food, so look through your pantry for any sugary drinks, cereals, snack bars, yogurts, baked goods, breads, and anything else that has sugar as ingredients.

#2: Eat breakfast that is balanced in macronutrients

Sugar cravings are often stimulated because your body hasn’t received the nutrients it really craves. The easiest way to eliminate, or at least minimize, these deficiencies is by eating a well-rounded breakfast. Eat breakfast that includes healthy sources of the 3 macronutrients: Carbohydrates, protein, and fat. 

#3: Drink a lot of water

Chronic dehydration will not only magnify your sugar cravings but it also decreases your metabolism rate which in turns causes your body to store fat. Drink the bare minimum of 8 glasses per day to help your body to help you process the food intake.

#4: Lower your stress levels

If you are under overwhelming stress, your sugar cravings are going to be tough to beat. The short temporary happiness or “high” you get from eating sugar is appealing to momentarily reduce anxiety and feelings of stress. There are plenty of ways to destress besides food which you will need to commit and try it out to beat your sugar addiction. 

#5: Longer quality sleep

If you were to recall, when will your most intense cravings usually occur? If you are like me, I tend to desire it badly at the end of the day or minutes before I actually sleep. It has been said that with poor sleep schedule or general lack of quality sleep, your sugar addiction will be magnified. The most important step you can take towards getting better quality sleep is to set a bedtime and stick to it. 

All above mentioned have been proven to assist in breaking the worst sugar addictions. With all that in mind, similarly the first few days will likely be the hardest struggle, but you will reap the benefits and feel refreshed and amazing in no time.

Cruise Getaway Experience

I had this preconceived notion that cruise was for the rich. Perhaps it was just ingrained in my mind ever since watching the Suites Life of Zack and Cody. Personally, I was never really into boats or any water activities as I discovered really early on that I experienced severe motion sickness to a point that I struggle with the slow waves movements. With that, I never really harped on embarking on a cruise experience despite my best friend’s fantastic journey with Royal Caribbean. 

With the pandemic hindering my yearly trip away from Singapore (been traveling since I was 12), the only way I can be physically out of the country is to sign up for the Cruise to Nowhere. The same best friend, J, suggested to me and since I was resigning, I decided to take a leap of faith and entrusted that it will be the fulfilling journey. 

He made the necessary arrangements of booking and I simply paid my share of the packages! Do note that the packages are per room and not per individual so we had to agree on the kind of packages we want as a team. We opted for wifi, unlimited alcoholic beverages and the Dining At Wonderland Restaurant On Royal Caribbean. Needless to say these packages are pretty expensive on top of room charges yet it was worthwhile. 

Despite what J might have shared, my bench mark was pretty much non-existent. I did not bother looking up online on Youtube or checking out the blog post recounting their recent cruise experience. What I relied on was the email blasts by Royal Carribean and I was still mind blown by my virgin cruise experience! The fact that I submitted my resignation the day I booked my getaway and me being on the waters hours after my last day was emotional to begin with. 

It was not a good start but with my unlimited drink pass, there is bound to be fun! The hassle of the safe distancing measure on every stop gave me the impression of a moving mall on the water but this meant there are limitations at each location and that was exciting! The idea of the occupancy being less than 50% than usual means less bumps, less waiting time and perfect for the introverts. There is no fear of overspending with my packages covering all my drinking needs and the shows being complimentary as long you booked in advance. I also tremendously enjoyed the fine dining and unwind thoroughly by watching Netflix and feast through their buffets. 

Making an effort to blog and write every experience is akin to not really fully experiencing the event, I could hardly recall the whole trip other than combatting my negative fear of not finding a job with lots of food and liquor and all-night talk with my best friend as though we were in high school over again. Below are the images snapped with bad light and poor framing but they were an honest representation of my mentality of unplanned discovery.