We are well into the new year but it’s by no means too late to embark on a newer, better you. City News talks to five wonder women for some tips on living the good life.
Eat The Good Fats – Valerie Teo
Becoming healthier usually ranks at the top of most people’s new year resolutions, one that is typically begins with a low-fat diet.
But a low fat diet is “so yesterday”, says Valerie Teo of Good Food Heals.
“Eat foods with good fat, such as avocado, salmon, walnuts, olive oil and cold-pressed coconut oil. When you have enough of the good fats, your body will not hold on to the bad fats; eat the good fats so that your skin and hair will be healthy and beautiful.”
Teo, founder of cultured food store Good Food Heals as well as a Food & Juice Therapy Consultant (certified by the Complementary Medicine Association of UK and The World Federation of Chinese Naturopathy), also cautions against merely watching one’s BMI (body mass index).
Instead, people need to pay more attention to the waistline; it is a more accurate indicator of where the “bad” fats i.e. visceral fats are stored. Furthermore, some people are heavier but they fit better into their clothes because muscles weigh more than fat, she adds.
What are other key indicators of health, besides weight? If you fall sick once every two months, that’s too much, says Teo.
While Teo is of the opinion that the best sources of carbohydrates are root vegetables (as they are full of fibre), she is not quick to discredit the much-maligned white rice. “They say white rice causes sugar spikes, but not if you eat it in moderation with lots of vegetables—look at the Japanese women, they eat it every day, but are still so trim, whereas there are many in the Western world on low fat diets who are overweight,” she observes.
Following “diets” is a sure failure, says Teo, because when one equals health to deprivation of enjoyment, there is no sustainability. Instead, she recommends making room for that once-in-a-while indulgence. “If you must eat that chocolate cake, eat it! And then get back in the game,” she says with a smile.
Living An Uncluttered Life – Haw San Aw-Yong
Everybody knows that de-cluttering your space starts with getting rid of things you do not need. But how?
First, do a clean sweep, shares Haw San Aw-Yong, founder and “Chaos Therapist” at Edits Inc., a niche de-cluttering service based in Singapore.
Find a small area, for example, one drawer or one shelf, and sweep its entire contents into a transparent plastic box. Every time you need an item, take it out and place it back in the drawer or shelf. After a month, you have what you treasure and use. Then put the rest in the store room, donate or trash them.
Next, draw out the boundaries.
“We buy more things because we don’t know how much we have; take time to draw out boundaries for your things. For example, all T-shirts belong in the T-shirt drawers, toys in the toy shelves, shoes in shoe cupboard. When an area is full, it’s a visual cue to stop buying that type of item. Can’t stop buying? Go back to the first step: remove the credit cards from your wallet.”
Going Deeper: Cultivating Spiritual Strength – Glordia Goh
For City Harvest Church pastor Glordia Goh (pictured holding blue parasol), spiritual growth is measured by our love for God, and this is measured by the extent of our willingness to obey, to serve, to know Him more.
To grow deeper spiritually, Goh suggests stepping out of one’s comfort zone, for instance, spending more time reading the Bible or praying (be specific about the length of time), practicing other spiritual disciplines like fasting, or even picking up a new skill.
“For me, every year one of my aims is to read through the whole Bible, in a different version each year, and to spend more time with God,” she says. “Our passion in God can be easily quenched by busyness and distractions of life; once in a while I carve out the time to have a prayer date with God at the park or the beach.”
Goh also wanted to bring her personal praise and worship sessions to a new level, so she signed up for guitar classes which brought her into times of deeper worship with God. “My teacher, Brother Poh (a worship leader at CHC) would encourage us by saying, ‘new skills bring new anointing’,”Goh says.
Spiritual growth can even be pursued by going on an adventure. Last year, Goh embarked on a month-long learning trip to the US to learn from different churches and ministries. “My biggest takeaway was to trust God more; in the US, I had to trust God for my transport, food, friends … even my safety.” Through that trip, trusting God truly became a lifestyle, and less of a cliche, for Goh.
Getting Fit (And Loving The Process) – Dawn Lee
Why do so many embark on a fitness regime as part of their new year’s resolution—only to give up too soon?
Dawn Lee’s answer: They do too much too soon. Break it down.
“How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time,” says the mother-of-two and triathlete, adding that every challenge looks more achievable this way.
That was how she trained for triathlons and that was how she lasted almost 64 hours at the recent Subaru Challenge, standing with her hands “glued” onto the car. Revealing how she clocked the arduous achievement, Lee recalls breaking each round of 24 hours into six-hour blocks, continuously assessing her ability to continue for another six hours.
The first step is to desire change, but not just that; one must be willing to make adjustments to his or her lifestyle. For a start, find an exercise buddy.
Next, love the activity; do something that you enjoy so that it does not feel like exercising, shares Lee.
“It can be as simple as brisk walking or picking up a new sport. Do not follow the latest trend if it does not excite you.”
Finally, love the plan.
“Plan and stick to a regular routine. Do not make impulsive decisions like signingup for a gym membership or purchase expensive equipment. Making financial commitments will not help you; discipline and commitment is the key. It takes three weeks to form a habit.”
“Fitness is not just about losing weight. Transformation starts from the inside; when you feel good, you look good. Be patient. Over time, you will pick up heavier weights, go further and feel healthier,” encourages Lee.
Pursue A Purposeful Career – Elim Chew
Social entrepreneur and founder of 77th Street Elim Chew started out as a hairdresser, before finding her calling to start businesses and work among the youth.
“God has given each of us different gifts. First, pray and ask God what you can do with your gifts or how best to make use of them, even if you don’t know what they are yet. Spend some quiet time meditating on this. The Holy Spirit will tell you. Then, write them down with a course of action. Take action and do it. From here, everything will fall into place and step by step, God’s plan for you will be revealed,” Chew shares.
For Chew, her gift was to work with youth, and she used that gift when she started 77th Street, a street fashion retail brand catering to the youth demographic. “From then on, things just fell into place as more and more opportunities came about for me to fulfil my mission. So, your gifts need not be just in the spiritual realm; it can be in the secular area too. Remember, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ (Romans 8:28)”