Vulnerability

By Brene Brown via Ted talk:

Tell the story of who you are with your whole heart – the courage to be imperfect.

Shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection: Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?

The things I can tell you about it: It’s universal; we all have it. The only people who don’t experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection. No one wants to talk about it, and the less you talk about it, the more you have it. What underpinned this shame, this “I’m not good enough,” —which, we all know that feeling: “I’m not blank enough. I’m not thin enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, promoted enough.” The thing that underpinned this was excruciating vulnerability.This idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.

There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy. And to me, the hard part of the one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we’re not worthy of connection, was something that, personally and professionally, I felt like I needed to understand better.So what I did is I took all of the interviews where I saw worthiness, where I saw people living that way,and just looked at those.

What they had in common was a sense of courage. And I want to separate courage and bravery for you for a minute. Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word “cor,” meaning “heart” — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others,because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly. And the last was they had connection, and — this was the hard part — as a result of authenticity,they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection.

The other thing that they had in common was this: They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable,nor did they really talk about it being excruciating — as I had heard it earlier in the shame interviewing.They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say, “I love you” first … the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees … the willingness to breathe through waiting for the doctor to call after your mammogram. They’re willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. They thought this was fundamental.

To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough” … then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Advertisements

Happiness

So it has been awhile since I wrote on this beautiful space of mine. I missed it, a lot.

I’ve been so busy with school. Finally, I can say i’m officially done with school for real and that’s the reason I am able to be writing here again!

Lately, things havent been going too well for me. Everything was great until it hit me that what I’ve been looking forward all this while, or at least a month ago, could not be materialized.

Right now, after knowing my initial plans were destroyed, I have nothing to look forward to anymore. Nothing concrete. Nothing planned.

Then it suddenly dawned on me that Happiness to me, is when I have something to look forward to.

“Circumstantial happiness is recognizing your situational limits and then asking yourself how you can be as happy, content, fulfilled, or successful with the cards you’ve been dealt.”- Katie

Then, i began learning what is circumstantial happiness.

When you find yourself tempted by the “If Onlys” of your situation, ask yourself:

• HOW CAN I MAXIMIZE MY HAPPINESS WITHIN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE?

• WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES I’M WILLING TO TACKLE IN ORDER TO MAXIMIZE MY HAPPINESS WITHIN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE?

• IF BIG-PICTURE GOALS WERE NOT IN THE PICTURE AND ALL I HAD WAS THE NOW – WHAT ARE THE CHOICES THAT WOULD MAKE ME PROUD OF MYSELF AND/OR THE WORK I AM DOING?

“I definitely want to move to Stockholm. And I definitely want to find something meaningful to do for the rest of my life. I think we just need to make a shift in our thinking.”

And so I pivoted. Instead of dwelling on the IOs of what I am wishing for, I started to brainstorm about my circumstantial happiness: the reality I can work within. So I’ve got a set budget. How can I maximize my happiness within that budget? How can I reach my dreams?

Well…life does not always move in straight lines. It moves in lazy detours; sometimes it loses traction and skids sideways, and sometimes it loops back on itself in ways that are confusing and maddening. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve gotten anywhere and im still the same scared kid I was at 20, praying for something, anything except now I have the added burden of feeling like I’m running out of time. still have so much to do and, frustratingly, I’m not sure I’m much closer to knowing how to do it. Six months ago i thought i knew; six months from now l might feel that way again.

Im only 22 (well yea “only”) , i cant say i have a lot of life experiences but i think I have enough to get a taste of what growing up is like. There are many trials and errors along the way. & I know there are so much more worries and challenges i have to face in the near future.

I dont know if you already know, but i grow up in a very competitive environment here. Its almost like “survival of the fittest”. We chase and chase after things that society deems fit but it reaches a point where it gets really exhausting. It took a lot for me to be where i am right now. It took me a fighting spirit with lots of tears and more tears (& maybe some luck). It took me a lot of failures and constant fear of not knowing what lies ahead.

Without those failures, i wouldn’t know what it means to pick myself up and preserve on. Without having gotten my heart broken, i wouldn’t know what it means to let go. Without experiencing any losses, i wouldn’t know what it means to cherish what I have.

I often feel very inadequate and incompetent be it as a student, as a daughter, as a sister or as a friend.

I often lose myself in the process of hanging onto something which im not deserving of or given to me freely. Its very exhausting to give and give of myself until i have nothing left to give.

It took me 20 years and counting, to realised how important it is to love oneself before we can love the people around us whole-heartedly.

Im flawed, so very flawed; a human work-in-progress. The road ahead is so uncertain. It’s tough. Do i feel scared? Of course. Do i feel the world is crushing down on me sometimes? Of course. Do i feel inadequate & lousy? Of course. In fact, many many times.
You get the drift.

But one thing i’ve come to terms with is that: life goes on.

Just because we face challenges, we fail, we feel defeated, doesn’t mean that we don’t still carry with us a little piece of what we were supposed to take with us as we chase after what we truly believe in instead of what society pressure us into.

I hope, whoever who is feeling down and reading this now, you allow yourself time and space to grieve in a way that feels in line with who you are, in that moment. No shame, no judgements. At worst, you’ll learn a lesson about who you are. At best…you’ll learn a lesson about who you are.

Who am i kidding- its all easier said than done. Its so easy to say, but definitely not easy to do it.

Our lives are sometimes splattered with sadness – yet the more we learn how to embrace it in a way that feels right for us, the less those sadness will feel like forever. They become transitions. They become touchstones. They train us how to feel…and how to deal.

The future might be a blur but start piecing every small little parts of your life together to find whats best for you. Find a goal to strive for and trust the process 🙂

Im still learning, everyday.

“Eventually, circumstantial happiness becomes regular happiness. And it happens way sooner than you’d think – until you realize that you’re now on the next step of the staircase, and there’s a whole new set of circumstances to offer you more happiness than you thought possible.”

 

My health & fitness role model

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 8.47.20 AM.png
Image via @kayla_itsines

I’m sure many of us have a role model or at least somebody whom we look up to. They are the ones who inspire us to better ourselves and we learn as much as we can from them. For me, my health & fitness role model is no doubt, the ever so beautiful and genuine personal trainer, Kayla Itsines.

I remember almost 2 years ago, I really wanted to be fit and healthy. I was feeling very unhappy with my own body and it caused so much distress on me. I was on the verge of giving up.  One day, I was scrolling through instagram and i chanced upon Kayla’s page. My mind was blown.

The numerous successful transformations of SO many beautiful girls just blew me away. It was then I decided, there is HOPE. Looking at all the testimonies of other girls who have changed their lifestyle and feel so much better, I was sold into getting Kayla’s BBG and H.E.L.P e-book. And so i did.

I started the trainings and a week into it, I was already amazed by how not only my body but my mind responded to it. I am not gonna lie-the workout was tough. BUT it was worth it. I felt so much happier. The food I consumed was based on her H.E.L.P e-book and I was truly surprised by what she meant by eating a BALANCED diet which includes ALL food groups.

There were many disruptions in between especially when I went overseas for holidays and what not. But over the years, I’ve come to accept that being healthy and fit is a LIFESTYLE. You can’t change overnight. It is a life process and you have to be patient to see transformations. And of course, you can’t fake fitness. It is all about commitment and dedication. I am so very grateful to have learnt so much from Kayla. I am not perfect, but i am making progress, no matter how slowly.

In the recent blog post, Kayla wrote about how losing weight is NOT a fast process. In her words, she said, “Whilst they may not be extremely damaging as a once-off, following fad diets and detoxes can lead to unhealthy habits, such as yo-yo dieting, which can potentially lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. Many of these pages promising fast results are based on restricting yourself, generally your diet, and some can even include grueling exercise regimes.

The most important thing to remember is that these types of diets are not healthy nor sustainable. Yes, you may lose some weight in a few days if you cut out entire food groups, but are you really happy? Is it truly worth it? Do you feel healthy?”

I can fully relate to this as I’ve experienced it myself and I’m convinced that fad diets does NOT work at all. It makes you FEEL horrible as well.

Kayla’s tip to losing weight is to take it slow!

Be committed, be patient and trust the process. YOU will get there. x

We CAN do this ladies! ❤ Share with me your health and fitness journey! I would love to hear them!! 🙂

 

 

 

Wonders of hot choco when made right

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 10.01.54 AM.png

I am an absolute fan of chocolates. Who doesn’t love chocolates right?! I talked about making Matcha Pistachio Chocolate Truffles in the previous post here and now…I cant be more excited to share this hot chocolate that not only taste awesome but it is also loaded with skin beautifying ingredients from Thechalkboardmag. Oh, how wonderful!! The time of the year has come- we are facing a rainy downpour everyday here in Singapore. And the winter season is here to stay for awhile on the other side of the world- like my favourite country, Sweden.

THERE’S NOTHING MORE SATISFYING than snuggling up this cold season with a cup of hot cacao. I have always been on a look out for healthy hot choco drink because more often than not, those that are sold in supermarkets are really loaded with sugar and goodness knows what else. So when i found this amazing recipe, i was sold!

Enjoy your hot choco and satisfy your sweet tooth while adding a kick of superfood! This version of hot choco by thechalkboardmag has skin-beautifying power and tasty tonic superfoods like tocos, collagen and pine pollen. Make this little cuppa part of your winter beauty regimen, they say! I can imagine all of you healthy people are beaming right now while reading this! 

So here it is…the amazing Hot Choco recipe extracted from  thechalkboardmag:

BEAUTIFYING HOT CACAO TONIC
serves 2

INGREDIENTS

For hot cacao:
3 cups milk of choice (we’re loving raw goat milk at the moment)
5 Tbsp raw cacao powder or a mix like Cacao Magic by Philosophie
1-2 Tbsp collagen powder
2 Tbsps raw honey
1 tsp pine pollen
stevia to taste

For coconut whipped creme:
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp honey or coconut nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

For hot cacao:
In a medium sauce pan, add the milk and other ingredients. Gently warm milk, stirring occasionally until warm and well combined, about 5-10 minutes.

Enjoy warm with an optional dollop of coconut cream (directions below).

For coconut whipped cream:
Set the can in the fridge overnight so that the coconut fat solids separate from the coconut water.

Open the can and carefully pour out the thick coconut cream. With an electric whisk, beat the cream, sweetener and vanilla extract on high until peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.

If not serving immediately, place the bowl of whipped coconut cream in the fridge for 15-20 minutes and then beat it again right before serving it.

Whoohoo! I am SO stoked to try this out! Tell me what you think of this? 🙂 Go enjoy this cup of hot choco too! ❤

Improve your digestion

Have you ever felt bloated after a feast? This festive season will see many of us stuffing ourselves with scrumptious meals and desserts. I often suffer from bloatedness and I am so relieved to have found some awesome tips to improve my digestion especially during this eating-non-stop season.

To me, healthy living and clean eating are two different concepts. Healthy Living is a lifestyle and it is something sustainable whereas clean eating normally includes some hard core days of restricting food that are not “clean”. Many a time, when we are so engrossed in clean eating, we tend to leave out a certain food group and this may not be sustainable in the long run. Over the years, i have learnt that it is absolutely fine to treat yourself with some solid indulging. What is most important is to have them in moderation- the trick is the balancing part.

Here are some tips advised by Keri Glassman who is a registered dietitian and wellness author. She shares with Thechalkboardmag some of the right tips for us to eat well without the cliche stomach ache. I am relying on this tips and hoping that I wont wind up feeling gassy, uncomfortable and stuffed this year.

Extracted from Thechalkboardmag:

1.Eat more of the right stuff: Yes, eating more of certain foods can help you prevent bloating, which is a condition of water and gas getting trapped in your bowels, causing discomfort. Slices of ginger in your tea, a sliver or two of fennel in your salad and by all means, the yogurt you had at breakfast (don’t skip!) will help balance all the yang of the egg nog with the yin of bloat-fighting properties. Don’t forget a bite or two every day of probiotic-rich foods like kimchee, kefir and sauerkraut that will help keep your GI juices running smoothly every day.

2. Make it one meal: Christmas is a day, not a week. And certainly not a month. Turning one holiday into a season of festivities will fast track you out of your skinny jeans and into weight-gain mode – something you can avoid by keeping Christmas restricted to one great meal. Mindfully enjoying one meal that is decadent and rich is something your body can handle and process, even in the name of you getting all of your favorite nostalgia on one plate. If you’re usually a pretty clean and healthy eater, odds are, you will notice that you don’t feel as great as you do when you eat your go-to salad. If you’re not such a clean eater, you may be used to feeling somewhat bloated and lethargic after a feast (that can almost be chalked up to a benefit for the slow converters to healthful eating out there), but is certainly not a great game plan. Plan for the outcome: If you go hog wild, because Turkey Day comes but once a year, expect to feel gassy, uncomfortable and lousy for a few hours after the meal. It will take your digestion a few hours of intense labor to recover.

3. Balance and slow down: Load up most of your plate with roasted veggies, steamed green beans, turkey and anything else that can be classified “healthy” as far as Christmas goes. Use the candied sweet potatoes, gravy and stuffing as a condiment – meaning, have a heaping tablespoon of each, not a cup. Your digestion will thank you if you choose fiber-rich, plant-based foods because they are digestion promoting. They slow you down, fill you up and are loaded with properties that promote satiety. Give yourself a chance to enjoy your beautiful, colorful plate by savoring each bite slowly. Nobody is going to steal it away, so linger (you may just get in an earful on some family secrets) over it longer than usual.

4. Take a hike: The reason I want everyone to take a walk, hit the gym or toss the pigskin around on Christmas isn’t only to burn calories. The digestive benefit you get from exercise is increased blood flow. Boosting your circulatory system with some good old fashioned cardio improves gastric emptying and elimination. Exercising in the morning is the best way to guarantee you’ll get some activity in, and sets you up to feel healthy all day. Besides that, it’s not recommended to exercise on a full stomach, which can lead to nausea or reflux; and no, you can’t “burn off” the calories from your feast, if you over-indulged.

Let’s all practice mindful eating and dont let loose our digestive cool this season! Happy feasting! ❤

Holiday Healthy Bites

Christmas is round the corner! I love to celebrate Christmas- it is the season of love and joy! During this special festive season, many of us would be indulging in good food especially loads of desserts and sweets at parties. I personally love chocolates. I can resist anything else but chocolates are a real struggle to abstain from. This year, I am glad that i came across a recipe on Matcha Pistachio Chocolate Truffles. How delicious does that sound?!

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 7.13.05 PM.png

These delicious looking balls are made of antioxidant-rich matcha powder and dark chocolate.

I love this!  How can these clean matcha dark chocolate truffles be any better?  Candice Kumai, author of Clean Green Eats, is the girl behind these awesome antioxidant-packed superfood chocolates that are not only going to satisfy your taste bud and tummy, they are also healthy! Now we can enjoy such yummy treats without disappointing our healthy eating habits… Score! 

In my biased opinion, this looks like the perfect dessert for anyone craving for something sweet and a mood lifter! Im sure this is a pick-me up dessert that would be wiped out on the table at parties!

MATCHA + PISTACHIO CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Makes about 3 dozen truffles

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups premium dark chocolate chips (dairy-free, minimum 60 percent cacao)
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled and pulsed in a food processor to a fine meal
1 Tbsp matcha powder, plus 1 tsp for dusting

DIRECTIONS:

Line a pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a simmer. Create a warm water bath by placing a heatproof glass or stainless-steel bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Add the chocolate chips and heavy cream to the bowl. Mix well with a spatula to combine as the chocolate melts.

Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer the chocolate mixture to a parchment paper-lined loaf pan or shallow bowl and cool completely to room temperature. Place in the fridge for 90 minutes to solidify.

Using a small melon baller, scoop out the truffle mixture and mold into 1-inch balls. If you don’t have a melon baller, use your hands.

Fill a small bowl with the crushed pistachios, roll the truffles in the pistachios, pressing the nuts gently into the surface. Using a fine-mesh strainer or sifter, dust the truffles with the matcha powder.

Transfer the truffles to paper cupcake liners or a parchment paper–lined tin and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Woohoo! I’ve got my perfect dessert ready for this Christmas. What about you? Enjoy your sweet treats but remember, have them in moderation! Share with me what is your favourite dessert for this season! 🙂

Amazing Transformation by Julie Ana

Julie Ana, from California is…INCREDIBLY amazing! She is someone whom is so inspirational and I cant help not to share her amazing journey on leading a healthier lifestyle with you girls here!

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 3.18.14 PM.png

Image: @julieanakim

In her beautiful words, she said: ” Same shirt, but notice how the middle hem couldn’t go below my stomach in the left picture 🙈. I wanted to share a weakness that I’m working on. I compare myself to other people way too much. I see everyone’s transformation pictures and I notice I’m not even near their progress. I notice my current self is way bigger than their “before” picture. And then I get embarrassed. This thinking stopped me from progressing because I kept being so hard on myself. I would lose 2 lbs in a week but then I’d watch the biggest loser and the contestants would lose 20 lbs (which is fake by the way, they have 3-6 weeks to lose it but on tv they say it’s a week). I would wonder what I did wrong and then I’d give up. I always felt that it was impossible to lose weight successfully due to my size. I could barely WALK around the neighborhood without running out of breath and having shin pains. But i promise it’s possible.

Just START. Work hard. Don’t compare your progress to others.

This is a long and hard process. Sometimes I work out 3x a day. I have a LOT of weight (100+ lbs) to lose and I want to do it the right way but I want to be healthy as soon as possible. It’s not easy. It’s time consuming and a lot of times I have to pick working out over everything else during the week. Sometimes I slack off and I’ll pick a social event or going out to dinner instead and I think that’s okay too. Balance is key.
I swear there is no magic pill!! No easy way out. It really is hard work & dedication. please don’t give up because you don’t see the same progress as someone else! It’s your own journey!

Julie is such an inspiration to me and I am sure she is to many women out there as well. There is no short cuts and no magic. We need to have faith in ourselves. We need to trust the process. We need to START. If anything, one of the most valuable lessons that I have learnt from her sharing is that, we have to EARN our own body. Nobody else can take that away from you. YOU are amazing just the way you are.

I would give Julie a big hug if i ever get a chance to meet her! Hop over to her instagram to check out more of her journey to healthier lifestyle and be impressed with her workout videos! Her workout videos portray incredible determination and commitment. 

Julie, if you ever read this, i want to tell you that YOU are so wonderful and just keep going strong!! ❤

And to all the ladies out there reading this, YOU can do it too 🙂