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A Quick Life Update

Almost 10 months and nary an entry!

So much has happened, and I thought I’d do a quick update, since the year is coming to a close:

  1. We completed our home renovations and moved in last April
  2. Our home was featured in the November issue of Manja magazine
  3. I went to Krabi twice — once in April and recently in December
  4. I officially became a statistic on the NEA website — not that it was a good thing. I got dengue in September and it was horrible. HORRIBLE
  5. Faz and I have been married for 2 years, Alhamdulillah!
  6. We went to Japan to celebrate our second wedding anniversary, and we both LOVED JAPAN LIKE CRAZY
  7. I picked up swimming and am damn proud to be able to swim now, considering the fact that I had a phobia of water

There’ve been some months that I was incredibly busy, but I think I’ve mostly kind of fallen into this comfortable routine of going to work everyday and then coming home and doing some chores or watch some TV with Faz before we go to bed. On some evenings, we’d go swim at the public pool.

Before Faz recently started doing office hours, he was doing shift work — and sometimes if he’d be home when I returned home from work, we’d cook and have dinner together. But then he started doing office hours and found it too tiring to cook, so we don’t cook as often any more. In fact I can’t remember the last time we cooked — must’ve been 2-3 months ago!

On weekends I’d have my swimming lessons, after which Faz and I will visit my parents. Sundays are my rest days — I’ll normally want to stay home, unless I have some compelling reason to go out.

Somehow, blogging just never makes it to the to-do list. Although it seems like a gargantuan task now, I do actually want to blog about our reno and trips before I forget all the details.

Soon, Insyaallah!

Why do we gain weight after marriage?

There could be a multitude of varying reasons but I think I can attribute my obscene weight gain to the misguided pressure I put on myself to be able to fit in with the husband’s family.

See, food is a HUGE part of the husband’s family culture. Every now and then there’ll be a big breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner where we gather to celebrate someone’s birthday — or actually for no reason at all sometimes. So I eat to fit in. And while I’m not exactly a foodie who will travel for food, once good food is in front of me, I find it really hard to resist!

I’m now also eating more times a day than I used to. For most of my adult life, I’ve only been eating two meals a day. But when I’m over at his place, I’m eating three meals and the household stock of sweets and junk food in between! Doesn’t help that I have a sweet tooth.

And that’s really a stark contrast from the food culture at my parents’. You’d be hard pressed to find food because my mother works on weekdays and doesn’t cook. Most of the time you’re responsible for your own stomach — if you’re hungry you go whip up something or find your own food. But sometimes we’d be too lazy to do anything about it, and so we’d go without food till someone is about to drop dead.

We share food a lot. If there are 5 people at home, we usually only buy 3 or 4 packs of food. Also, half the household is trying to lose weight so we’re constantly surrounded by weight-related comments, whether it’s going onto the weighing scale and then wailing about the number, or telling someone they shouldn’t eat because it’s already late at night — things like that that deter us from junk food or over-eating. We do indulge in unhealthy food from time to time but there are more people in my household so it’s not that bad once the calories’ve been divided.

So that’s the story.

I won’t say how much I’ve gained but it is OBSCENE, considering it’s only been 5 months since the wedding. I’ve still been running and going to the gym but at one time input grossly outweighed output, so I wasn’t losing any weight whatsoever. Now that I feel more or less accepted in the family, I’ve started to eat less. Lesser need to seek approval equals lesser need to plonk more rice onto my plate to please my father-in-law. In actuality, no one ever said I had to eat to be a part of the family, so I don’t know why I put myself through all those dreadful nights of bloatedness and feeling like a pig. I guess I was over-eager to integrate and simply didn’t want to come off as a wet blanket who didn’t like to eat and be merry.

Anyway, to further help with the weight loss, I recently bought a mountain bike for myself. After seeing my brother’s tummy go down shortly after he took up cycling, I couldn’t possibly not get a bike myself! I thought it would take a bit of work to convince Faz to get one as well, but I was pleasantly surprised when he said he’d been wanting one. He ended up with a road bike. Last weekend we went for our first spin together with my brother (he owns a road bike as well) and they totally outran me. Road bikes are lighter and faster, but the structure of a road bike puts the weight of your body on your hands holding the handlebar, which just didn’t work for my arthritic wrists. I also found that I was very scared of going too fast! Somehow as we get older we tend to be more afraid of things, I think.

We’re cycling again this weekend from Woodlands to Sungei Buloh and back. So happy to be incorporating something new into my exercise regime. I haven’t been this excited about exercise in a long time!

Hope to see some results soon!


10k Safra Bay Run 2012

With my good friend Jessica and her sister Jolene. Boy, my cheeks are such a hazard they could potentially squash someone to death.

Despite being inadequately trained, I successfully completed the 10k Safra Bay Run last Sunday — and without any injuries! Well, except some abrasion from wearing my armband a little too tightly.

I was worried about some pain I’d experienced midweek that went down the sides of my shin, but I popped some painkillers the night before and thankfully had no problems during the race. I suspect it could be that I was running on the treadmill too frequently prior. I don’t know how true this is, but I read somewhere that on a treadmill every stride is the same, putting repetitive pressure on the same part of your foot or leg — causing shin splints. Roads or trail surfaces on the other hand vary even though they’re flat. This article suggested running on a slight incline if you do want to run on the treadmill.

Although I’m still kicking myself for slacking off training, given the circumstances I still feel pretty accomplished.

One mistake beginners or runners who’ve laid off for a while make is setting unrealistic expectations. Then when you tire out or don’t get the results you want, it’s easy to get discouraged and drop running altogether. And of course we wouldn’t want that.

My brother recently took up running after I asked if he wanted to join me in my training. He plays soccer every now and then, but hasn’t ran long distances since he got out of school. His stamina was still better than mine because during soccer you practice short bursts of speed, which actually works to build up stamina. On the second run with him, he already suggested we go a much longer distance — and at a faster speed! But I knew myself enough not to do that. Also, because I was pressed for time to train, I couldn’t risk severe muscle aches from pushing myself too hard because it would only mean longer downtime.

But that’s not to say I don’t push myself. I do, mentally, while running. At times when I feel like giving up, I’d tell myself to endure a little more until I reach certain markers I’d set for myself — for example a tree along the path, or a signboard. Sometimes I don’t actually stop when I reach those markers, but I’d set another marker ahead, and another, and another marker….until I decide I deserve a break. It’s all about knowing your own body.

Anyway it’s not over. Faz tells me the 6k Yellow Ribbon Prison Run should be a piece of cake since I’ve already conquered 10k. I personally wouldn’t bank on it, because I heard the prison route is more challenging.

Well, we’ll find out this Sunday (Faz will be running as well — his first race!). Wish us luck!

My Eid Twenty-Twelve

Eid Mubarak!

Hope everyone’s been having a ball of a time. I, on the other hand, have seen better days. I developed a throbbing headache a day before Eid, and it went on for a couple of days! I suspect I may have taken the spring-cleaning a bit too far. I took a week’s leave from work the last week of Ramadhan to help prepare the house for Eid. I didn’t think it would actually take a whole week, but it did.

My parents are such hoarders! The amount of stuff they’ve amassed over the last 28 years is just….unbelievable. It’s a challenge to convince them to throw stuff away. Sure, these things cost them money but if they’re just sitting there and eating into living space, then I think it’s just better to pass them on, seriously.

But it’s a lesson learnt. When Faz and I get our own place, I’ll make it a point to buy only the things we need. And if I want to buy something new, something old has to go. It’s the only way I can think of to prevent stuff from accumulating.

On the topic of Eid, I really enjoy looking at my Facebook timeline during this period. I love how colourful it is! It’s endearing to see people making an effort to dress up in Malay garb (polka dots seem to be in trend this year) and unite with family and friends over good food.

I must be under some sort of spell because for the first time in my life, I did not buy a single piece of clothing or accessory for Eid this year. Hell, I didn’t even set foot in Geylang to get the customary dengdeng and Ramly burger! Instead of buying our raya goodies like we always do, I also convinced my mom that we could bake them. Seriously, this is a breakthrough for me because I’ve never been thrifty type. Boyfriend, if you’re reading this, you should be proud because this illustrates my level of commitment! My hope is that one day I’ll finally be able to fully internalise thrifty living, making it a principle of life. Very tough to do, though.

What I’m NOT proud of is….that Project Wedding Body has taken a backseat! Instead of taking advantage of Ramadhan to lose weight, I took the bloody backseat. I’m very, very, VERY disappointed in myself. It’s such a waste because I was doing so well before. I’m back at square one now, having to work hard to build up my stamina — again. Especially after all the sugary stuff I’ve been eating. PFFT.

To make things worse, I totally forgot that the 10km Safra Bay Run that I had signed up for is on 9 September! That’s in two bloody weeks. And the 6km Yellow Ribbon Prison Run is just the week after. I thought I had a couple more months to go! I’m so dead.

Looks like I’ll have to redeem myself during the Great Eastern Women’s 10k in November. NO EXCUSES.

An update of sorts

I’m pleased to report that Project Wedding Body is in full swing! On the other hand, it’s been a little quiet on the wedding preparation side of things. We still desperately need to cover catering and decor.

What are the options I’m currently looking at?

I want a less traditional menu for my wedding, and I’m finding it hard to find a Malay caterer who does this. At this point, we are most probably going with CJS Catering based on the reviews we’ve heard. But what’s keeping me back for now is the lack of other options. I do want to be able to shortlist a couple of caterers and make a decision from a bird’s eye view, and not just grab the first option that comes our way. So we will look around for a bit more before we commit.

As for decor, the pricier vendor I’ve been referring to in my previous posts which I MUST MUST MUST engage or die is…The Wedding Chateau! We met the talented Najihah armed with our moodboard about a month ago before she went on holiday. She should be back by now, so we’re just waiting patiently while she works on the proposal. 

Sidetracking a bit, I honestly thought that creating a moodboard would be a piece of cake. How wrong I was. When I laid out that blank page in front of me, I suddenly didn’t know what I wanted anymore. I had taken mental notes and saved images of the bits and pieces of weddings I’d seen that I liked — but now the challenge is….how do you put them together without turning the place into a madhouse?

Although the moodboard we came up with was admittedly far from what we wanted, it was a starting point. So we brought it to meet Najihah anyway. I’m not going to worry about the concept that much for now because judging from TWC’s previous works, I have full confidence they’ll be able to make my wedding decor as gorgeous as it can be.

The only thing I’m anxious about is putting a deposit down to secure them! She shared with us that she may stop doing weddings (or do them on a case-by-case basis) and focus on smaller events where they will be able to go all out on details. What if she decides to stop doing weddings sooner and leave us high and dry? I’ll be damned if I have to look for a substitute.

On top of things, I didn’t get to meet Rolling Frames at the expo after all. They were brimming with assignments and couldn’t participate. I’ll have to set up an appointment with them separately.

Now, onto things that are making progress!

I’ve lost about 2-3kg since I started Project Wedding Body. I’m not convinced I’ve lost that much in fats because for sure a fraction of this is attributed to water weight.

For starters, I make it a point to work out at least thrice a week — four times when I can. This is made even easier because my colleagues and I have started hitting the gym twice a week during lunch, so I only have to go another once or twice on my own.

Another aspect that I’ve had to change is diet. No more mindless snacking, desserts and suppers. I even tried stringent calorie-counting for a few days (keeping to 1,800 calories), but not knowing the exact calorie count for certain food items annoyed me. It was too much work (emotionally too), so I stopped. I am however just more aware of my calorie intake in that I read food labels now. If the food item is calorie-laden, I’ll go for a healthier choice. Simple as that.

(A random trivia for you: Did you know that fish and chips contain a whopping 1,200 calories?! If you’re my weight and size, that’s more than half your calorie allowance! No need to eat anything else for the rest of the day already.)

To help with the weight loss programme, I’m looking to participate in a couple of races: The Yellow Ribbon Prison Run (6km), the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run (10km) and the Great Eastern Women’s Run (10km). And with Ramadhan coming up (which reminds me I haven’t paid my dues), I’ll be losing more weight in no time.

AHHH. So excited at the prospect of a slimmer me (and a slimmer boyfriend)!

A new milestone? Not!

I think I might just plunge into depression. You see, I just bought a weighing scale.

(I can probably end my post here, since you readers can go figure. But I choose to rant and you shall listen.)

After possibly a year of living in blissful ignorance, I finally stepped onto the scale. I wasn’t expecting to see a nice figure obviously, but what came as a rude shock is that I AM CURRENTLY THE HEAVIEST I HAVE EVER BEEN IN MY WHOLE FRICKIN’ LIFE! A NEW BLOODY MILESTONE!

How the hell did I get so fat? I won’t divulge my weight, but suffice to say I need to lose close to 10 kilos.  

It is with this knowledge that I am officially springing back with a vengeance. Starting NOW.

There’s a little story behind the weighing scale though. You see, my very good friend Syafiq and I are both in the process of shedding the extra pounds. So we came up with a neat little way to spruce up our weight loss journey, which as we know, can be the one of the most arduous and disouraging journeys to embark on. We agreed that every Friday we would step onto the scale, take a picture of the reading and send it to each other. This not only tracks our weight loss, but having someone to “report” to also puts positive pressure on us to keep the weight constantly down throughout the week. And Syafiq is the the perfect person for this because he trained me for my first ever 21k race back in 2008.

I was actually thinking of getting Faz to get in on this weight report thing, but I’m doubtful the above approach will work the same way for Faz and I as it will with Syafiq. How do I know this? Because when I broke the news about my weight to him, he said, “Alaaahhh…..tulang you yang berat tu“.

Wahliaooo. How to lose weight, you tell me? He’ll be graciously making excuses for me for every kilo I gain! But it’s okay, different people react to different things — there’s no one-size-fits-all. What worked fairly well for me and him in the past was when we worked out together. There was a period of time when we spent most of our dates just working out, skipping the movies (and inadvertently the popcorn) and dinners (and inadvertently the dessert). However our schedules started clashing — and clashed enough times that it eventually died a natural death.

Likewise, at the moment it’s a little hard to set gym or running dates with him because of our schedules. I work office hours, and he works shifts. And he attends evening classes twice a week. And then there are his group meetings. And family days. At the rate it’s going, we’re only meeting once a week, on average.

I guess we’ll just have to count on ourselves to fight our battles alone till we can fight them together.

Meanwhile, I leave you with yet another inspirational workout quote.

The only bad workout is the one that didn't happen