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!


Amboi Sri Lanka

OH EM GEE.

Since I last daydreamt about honeymoon destinations, we’ve booked our flight and main accommodation for our honeymoon in Sri Lanka!

Before I start the post proper, if you’re wondering what’s up with the title of this post, there used to be this Malay song called “Amboi Seri Langkat”, which very randomly came to mind when we were discussing Sri Lanka. I’m sure you 80’s babies must’ve heard this song at some point in your childhood when your mothers had their radios on while working in the kitchen. I had thought they were singing about Sri Lanka (what did I know), but upon further investigation, Jamal Abdillah and Amelina were actually singing “Seri Langkat”, which up till now, I still don’t know is a place or a thing.

Anywayyy.

I can’t tell you how frickin’ excited I am. It’s a little nerve-wracking to be booking this kind of stuff this early (we’re 7 months away!) because you never know what’ll crop up later that might affect your plans. But insyaAllah we’ll make it happen.

My heart was pretty much set on Ceylon Tea Trails from the beginning. With its preserved colonial bungalows nestled in hills at altitudes of up to 4,600 feet amidst lush tea plantations, you’re treated to AHHHH-mazing views of the tea country. And the reviews on Tripadvisor have been nothing short of phenomenal!

Now Ceylon Tea Trails only has 20 rooms in total, between 4 bungalows. At the time of booking there were 11 rooms left and only four of the type of room we wanted. And of this four, only one was overlooking the lake (the rest have garden views).

Do the math — but of course we had to grab that last lake view room!

Lake view from Summerville Bungalow, Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka Source: DirectTraveller.com

Lake view from Summerville bungalow, Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka
Source: DirectTraveller.com

Exterior of the Summerville Bungalow Source: DirectTraveller.com

Exterior of the Summerville bungalow
Source: DirectTraveller.com

The living room of the Summerville bungalow Source: DirectTraveller.com

The living room of the Summerville bungalow
Source: MrandMrsSmith.com

Afternoon tea with a view!

Afternoon tea with a view!
Source: DirectTraveller.com

At that point we hadn’t booked flight tickets yet, but we’d already done our homework. The only budget carriers that go to Colombo are Tiger Airways and Scoot, but there were no flights scheduled on our dates (yet?). Emirates seemed to be our best bet because the flight schedule was so swee — it fit our itinerary perfectly! But not wanting to be hasty, we headed down to the recent NATAS travel fair to try our luck anyway even though we knew the promotions were mostly for travel before June/July (we were going to be travelling in October). We were told we could wait till the next fair in July for travel promotions for the rest of the year, but there would be no guarantees that tickets would actually be cheaper (our return flight falls on a public holiday — Deepavali), or if they would be available at all. Well let’s just say one booth and just an hour later, we walked out the fair empty-handed.

Now Faz and I can be considered noobs when it comes to booking airline tickets (I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much in my life, and Faz always had someone else book his tickets for him), but from research the consensus for booking flights during holiday seasons seemed to be to do it early. The longer you wait, the more you’re going to have to pay. In contrast, this may not apply to off-peak flights, where fares may still dip nearing the departure date. Did I get that right, jet-setters?

That in mind and since we already booked the hotel and didn’t want to risk anything screwing our itinerary, we went ahead to book our flight with Emirates. With that, we settled our flight and 1/3 of accommodations. Now, on to find the two others!

I’d say relaxation is our main intent during the honeymoon. We’re going to be staying in three different hotels in different areas over a week, and we’ll still go sightseeing and do a couple of touristy stuff, but we’ll tailor it such that we’ll be indoors enjoying the hotel compounds half the time. And so to aid this, we thought we’d splurge a little on accommodation. :)

As I’m planning the itinerary, I already get the feeling that I’ll be back in Sri Lanka again someday because there’re just so many things to do there that a one-week trip just won’t do. I still want to do the safari!

October, come quick!

Update: Tiger Airways has released their flight schedules on our dates, and it pained us at first that Tiger is almost half the price of Emirates! But upon further scrutiny, Tiger’s timing isn’t a fit, which means we’d possibly have to pay for two more nights in Sri Lanka — so it kinda works out to be the same in the end. Also, Faz may have to get back to work immediately the day after we return to Singapore, so we may not even be able to extend our honeymoon in the first place. Phew, no loss there!


Wanderlust.

Instead of wedding prep, all I ever seem to want to do these days is…..GOOGLE HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS!

One place that has always, always cropped up in honeymoon talk ever since I can remember is….Turkey. My friends aren’t surprised I picked Turkey. Apparently Turkey “is sooo you“, they say. I’m interested to know how they came to that conclusion, though. Do I have Turkey, like, written all over my face?

TURKEY

I’m not quite sure why I’m drawn to Turkey myself. I haven’t had much opportunity to travel growing up, but when I do get a chance hopefully in the near future, visiting modern cities isn’t exactly on top of my list.

I guess I’m drawn to places that offer a different cultural experience and an escape from urban life.

A honeymoon on some remote island would no doubt be an escape but I doubt I’d enjoy it that much. With me not being able to swim and all, I’d be doing next to nothing on an island honeymoon. (Note to self: Learn to swim, fool!)

A place like Turkey has so much to offer in terms of its people, culture, arts, history, scenic natural landscapes, and food — no problems finding halal food here, which is great!

I’m really looking forward to reveling in the beautiful ancient architecture, staying in a cave hotel, hot air ballooning over the gorgeous landscape of Cappadocia, dipping in the travertine pools in Pamukkale, and ending it with a stay at one of the beaches on the Aegean Coast — Antalya, Marmaris, Oludeniz, Calis, Bodrum….I can’t decide which!

The landscape of Istanbul.
Source: gribbly on Flickr

I can almost see us haggling for souvenirs here at the Grand Bazaar! I shall observe my mother more closely during her durian-bargaining — she always gets her way!
Source: Alaskan Dude on Flickr

Castle Cave Room at Museum Hotel Cappadocia with a view of hot air balloons flying over Cappadocia!
Source: Museum Hotel Cappadocia

Another gorgeous room at Utopia Cave Hotel, Urgup.
Source: Utopia Cave Hotel

A sight to behold — hot air balloons floating over Cappadocia.
Source: To Uncertainty And Beyond on Flickr

A contrast of pristine white of the travertine pools against the hills of Pamukkale.
Source: BennBeck on Flickr

Just might pick Oludeniz over the other beaches because of this breathtaking paraglider’s view of the beach set against the Babadag mountains!
Source: stevec77 on Flickr

But there is a dilemma.

I haven’t done the full research yet but judging from the currency conversion and hotel rates, I’m thinking it may be out of our comfort zone to go for a Turkey honeymoon immediately after the wedding. We would’ve spent a fair bit for the wedding, and we think it would be more sensible to replenish our reserves a bit more first.

Another justification for putting Turkey on hold is the weather! It’ll start to get cold in October, and winter lasts right up till April. Just so you know, I can barely survive air-conditioning. A good time to go weather-wise would be sometime from May to September, which also means it’s the high season — hotel rates will be at their highest. You can’t have it all I suppose, but if you were to spend on anything, might as well make it worthwhile.

We could actually wait till May to go, but by the wedding we’ve anticipated that we’ll be itching for a getaway so bad that we’re thinking to go for a short one somewhere nearer to home and less expensive. Friends tell me I should just put the money in the Turkey fund. But…but…I haven’t gone on a holiday for yonks to save up for marriage, leh! The boyfriend on the other hand, has managed to visit China and Cambodia during this time. How unfair! Fortunately for him they were both family trips, so I couldn’t retort…

Anyway after a very intense examination of Southeast Asia on my globe, we decided that Sri Lanka would be an interesting place to go.

At first we weren’t really sure about putting Turkey on hold, but Faz already had to choose his 2013 leave slots the other day so we had to make a decision fast. In the end, we decided that we should take a week’s leave before the wedding to tie up any loose knots — which we expect to be many — as well as a week after the wedding, for our honeymoon. This pretty much cemented the fact that Turkey had to wait because there was absolutely no way we could be done with Turkey in just one week (his leave slots are in blocks of one, or two weeks max).

SRI LANKA

Also known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. To me, Sri Lanka seems a little off the beaten track because I rarely hear of people honeymooning there. Obviously there are people who do, but I don’t personally know anyone who has, and this makes it even more mysterious.

After reading up about Sri Lanka, I really do think it’s one of the gems in Southeast Asia. There are so many things to be done in one place! You get all these scenic, historical landscapes, and all these awesome activities like taking a train ride through the lush valleys, tea-picking in Nuwara Eliya, going on a jeep safari in one of Sri Lanka’s many national parks, and visiting a turtle hatchery and releasing baby turtles into the sea, among many other exhilarating experiences.

The Sri Lankan railway offers some of the most scenic routes in the world.
Source: Garret M. Clarke Photography on Flickr

A magnificent view of the Nuwara Eliya hill country, famous for its tea plantations.
Source: the very honest man on Flickr

Tea pickers going about their job, picking the finest tea leaves. Staying atop the Ceylon Tea Trails, I imagine, would be one of the highlights of the trip!
Source: hceebee on Flickr

A chance to get upclose with wildlife at Sri Lanka’s many national parks.
Source: bpreece on Flickr

Again, hoping we can end the trip with at least two nights of beach retreat, before finally heading home to start a new beginning as husband and wife.
Source: Aditya Resort Hotel

There is some concern about weather during this period though because it’s the monsoon season. I gather from research the monsoon season doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to rain torrentially for days. It’s much like Singapore’s monsoon season, where it could be raining just a couple of hours a day, or maybe even no rain at all on some days. But we’re willing to take our chances.

Of course these are just plans, subject to budget (god, don’t you just hate that word?), time, and so on.

So there. Now that I’ve let off some steam, I hope I can finally function normally and resume wedding prep!


Little Miss Anal(ytical)

My company sends us for developmental courses (I work in marketing communications) every now and then and recently, I attended my second communications course. Both had us participants fill out a bunch of multiple choice questions, choosing answers that would best describe us in the scenarios given.

Basically at the end based on your answers, you will find out which of these profiles are your dominant ones: The Analytical, The Driver, The Amiable or The Expressive (we are in fact all four).

Lo and behold — both times I took the test, I scored the highest for the Analytical profile, which makes it my dominant profile. My supporting profile was Amiable, followed by Driver and lastly, Expressive.

Can you tell, judging from my blog entries?

I think it’s fairly easy to tell, isn’t it? I am not quick to commit to a vendor (I size up the pros and cons, and want to be able to compare against another), I take forever to publish a blog entry (because I go over it 91472937642692 times to make sure it’s perfect, and I don’t just stop there — I routinely go over my published posts and make edits, too!), I go into the nitty gritty (I live for details, which is why you will rarely find a short entry in this blog — though much effort has been made in moderating the length of my entries). Perhaps you may even have picked up other analytical traits.

These brief tests I took are not to be taken conclusively though. For example, being analytical doesn’t mean I must be good at maths. For the record, I can’t do maths to save my life. If you’re interested, there are even more extensive tests around that will tell you in depth about your profiles under different circumstances.

Anyway the objective of attending such communications or profiling courses is that you will be more aware of your own profile, be able to identify other people’s profiles, and then be able to tailor your communication to fit the person you are in contact with.

I think it would be so very beneficial for to-be-married couples to undergo this so that you have an even better understanding of one another…..even if you think you’re already doing well in the communications department.

This is because at present you only see your other half….what, at most thrice a week? If you currently think your partner is just a little annoying, well — imagine if you have to see him everyday. Tell me that annoying trait is not going to be magnified nth-fold!

Another notable takeaway I thought I’d share is: There is no one profile that is better than the other. Maybe we already know this, but a little reminder wouldn’t hurt — especially because as human beings we tend to judge people. What I lack, you might have and vice versa, so ideally we should position each other’s strengths such that we complement, not oppose.

It’s not enough for one party to undergo such a course, though (I’m thinking to do one with the boyfriend). As we all know, for a relationship to work, both parties need to pour in effort. Plus, the journey to re-discovering each other might actually be quite fun!

I’d say this is pretty useful knowledge to have because it’s also basically universal knowledge you can apply to pretty much every single person you come into contact with, so that it’ll help you get heard and get the outcomes you want.


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


Project Wedding Body

Yesterday, the boyfriend and I started running again. We’ve abandoned our running shoes for about a year now…boy oh boy, what a difference a year makes.

In fact, I had put on my running gear and was about to step out of the house when I realised I didn’t even know where my running shoes were! I finally found them in a shoe bag in my big Ikea tin can where I chuck all my unused bags. They were in there long enough that they even had this store room smell. I was just hoping they weren’t going disintegrate halfway — I bought them back in 2008 to train for my first half marathon.

I think I’ve a pretty good idea what my next paycheck will go to.

We took it easy yesterday. We knew we weren’t going to (and probably couldn’t) push ourselves to run in a day what we missed out in a year. I was also wary of how my problematic knee would react to the impact, so I went really slow. As expected, my stamina was really crappy. Fats could be felt jiggling in all places. But I was happy enough that I started because to start, as we all know, is biggest challenge of all.

I really hope that this was the workout to officially kickstart Project Wedding Body!

I leave you with something to think about:

A one hour workout is 4% of your day. No excuses.