Protected: Don’t be that person

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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!


2014: The most exciting year yet!

2014 is going to be a really exciting year for Faz and I!

Apart from forging closer knit relationships with each other and our families, we’re going to be planning for our first home, which is the next big project for us. We’re expecting to receive our keys somewhere in Q3 2014, but whether we’ll get them earlier is really anyone’s guess.

I know I should have already moved on to “house” mode, but I’m still stuck in “wedding” mode. I feel like I need to be done with all wedding-related matters like publishing all wedding- and honeymoon-related entries and getting our wedding photos printed before I can open a new chapter, y’know what I mean?

Some of the other things I’m looking forward to in 2014:

  • Whipping myself (and Faz) back into good shape! The rate at which we’ve ballooned these two months post-wedding is ALARMING, and it’s got to STOP. Time to participate in some races!
  • Spending our first Ramadhan and Eid as husband and wife.
  • A wedding in the family.
  • Parenting classes. I’ve no desire for kids at the moment, but I think we should be prepared for when it happens. And besides, it’ll give us something interesting to do instead of our usual movie and dinner dates.
  • Travelling. I don’t know how much travelling we can do with the house coming along but I’m hoping for at least ONE destination — not too much to ask, is it?
  • I really let myself loose these two months, but it’s now time to save like there’s no tomorrow.
  • Starting a daily gratitude blog to record the things I feel happy or grateful for as they come so that I can look back in life and remember only the good things. Case in point: I can only remember two things in 2013 — our wedding and the stress of wedding planning.
  • Work on my spirituality.

May this year be even better than the last for you, me and everybody! <3


Panic Mode: ON

I have something to confess.

I had already begun to lose some steam with regards to wedding preparation (GASP!) over the last couple of months, but a meeting with Faz yesterday to discuss outstanding tasks quickly put things into perspective.

Armed with my laptop and kahwin-kahwin file containing invoices and such, we sat for a solid two hours at Starbucks to update our task list. It was truly an awakening. We were identifying a new small and seemingly unimportant task every five minutes, and these sneaky bastards, they just kept coming! I get major palpitations looking at my To-do list now. And I’m pretty sure that’s not the end of it.

We also sorted out and made a list of the due dates and amounts for payments. It’s easy to drop deposits here and there to secure vendors because they’re usually just a tiny fraction of the total payment, but well, you’re going to have to pay the rest of it eventually and this really just made us sick to our stomachs. Can I not part with my money, pretty please?

Looking at the figures on that list is enough to deter us from buying stuff we don’t actually need, so Faz says to refer to the list every time a desire arises. Hell, maybe I’ll even set it as the lock screen on my phone.

It’s now down to 6 months to the wedding. Of this, there are only 53 days in the weekends in total — the actual time I’m really left with to prepare for the wedding, after excluding all my work days. I’m going to have to plan and spend my time very wisely if I want to get everything done….draw up a Gantt chart, maybe?

All this whilst I still have 8kgs to lose! I used to think it was going to be well, not exactly a piece of cake, but at least easy because I’d done it before, but it’s proving to be more difficult this time round. Desk-bound job, lack of healthy food options for lunch, the condition of my knee, and effects of being on the wrong side of my twenties, basically — all these factors are really coming into play and affecting the results.

Are you panicking yet? Because I sure as hell am!


Wake me up when March ends.

To say I’m overwhelmed with work right now would be putting it so mildly you can’t even imagine.

It’s coming to the end of the financial year for us and over at the office everyone’s trying to finish everything that got stuck in the pipeline because of the implementation of stricter procurement policies.

It’s like firing a gun with a knotted barrel — everything just blows up in your face.

Thanks a lot for the grief, Brompton bikes.

Actually the reverberations of this might very possibly carry on through April. This basically means I’ll be out of the wedding prep scene till after April because I’ll have neither the time nor the energy to do it. I do so much work at the office. The last thing I want to do when I get home is more work: scouting for favours, designing the invites, and all the other things I don’t even know I have to do — yet.

There’s been zilch progress since my last update on the change in photographer, and this scares me. To make things worse, I’m also back to square one with Project Wedding Body, because when I get back from work I’m usually so tired I just crash. After April, I’ll be left with a mere 5 months to achieve my ideal weight and I’ll be counting on my old friend Desperation to get me there. Usually people will only scramble to their feet and come through when they’re desperate, no?

Amidst all this chaos I find that I do have the time, however, to dream up our honeymoon because it feels less like work, and let’s just say I NEED images of the picturesque Nuwara Eliya in my mind to keep me sane at this point.

The only good thing that came out of March was probably the boyfriend’s birthday. I say “probably” because I’m still sitting on the fence about whether I can classify this as a good thing, especially since it’s also a reminder that our biological clocks are ticking.

No fancy schmancy gifts for him this time because we made a mutual agreement ever since we got engaged that we should just save the money for marriage. So what’s there left to do but get creative? The last time, I made him a pop-up card and a video montage of birthday wishes from family and friends.

This year, I baked him a rainbow cake. It was far from perfect as you can see, but he claims it was delicious. Well I can only hope he was telling the truth….

birthday_rainbow_cake

He was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a rainbow cake after cutting it open!

I also had a go at making two other desserts this month: tiramisu and molten chocolate cake. The only reason I had time to make them was because my department chose dessert-making as our team-bonding activity.

Aida_molten_chocolate_cake

No flour was used in this molten chocolate cake because my colleague doesn’t take gluten. The structure didn’t hold well without the flour, causing the centre of the cake to cave in. To salvage the appearance, I filled the cavity with some strawberry jam, raspberries and blueberries.

Aida_tiramisu

Tiramisu was much easier to make. I’d make it again!

Well on my way to being a domestic goddess, you think?

Anyway I really hope the situation at work clears up soon — for Faz as well. Both of us have been so incredibly busy that we haven’t been talking on the phone or meeting up as often as we used to. To better months ahead!


I DID IT.

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.


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.