Tag Archives: healthy

5 Tips to Help You Through the Holiday Feasts

December is my favourite time of the year – holiday season! A time to rest, relax, reflect, spend time with loved ones and EAT!

Do you get anxious around the holiday feastings? Are you worried that it will ruin your fitness goals?

Read on for a few tips!

Before we dive into it, I just want to say that it is COMPLETELY ok to relax over this season. If keeping up with your goals is stressing you out, DROP IT! A few days off is not going to ruin your progress (unless days turn into weeks). Having said that, you should not adopt the ALL OR NOTHING approach, thinking that you should go all out till 2018 since you’ve “broken” the rules.

Here are a few things that you can do to have the best of both worlds!

  1. Avoid skipping meals – I know it can be tempting to skip meals because you want to save your calories for the main feast! But this trick can work AGAINST you! You might feel overly hungry and end up binging on ALL the FOOD! A tip is to eat when you’re hungry and focus on having foods that are higher in protein and fibre to help keep you fuller for longer. Also, remember to stay hydrated!
  2. Pick your treats and meals – Look at everything that is provided and be picky about what you want/feel like eating! That way, you can enjoy your meal AND dessert.
  3. Unstructured physical activity – You will probably be too busy running around, getting things done and spending time with your family to fit in a proper structured workout. IF you happen to find the time to do so without much stress, then by all means, GO AHEAD! But if you don’t, something is always better than nothing! Stay active and walk when you can. Running errands, shopping and cleaning up the house all counts! Killing two birds with one stone – WIN!
  4. Go easy on the liquid calories – It is SO easy to drink energy dense drinks that do not fill you up. And these drinks can really push you above and beyond your daily energy requirements. Drink water instead! If you HAVE to have a flavoured drink, opt for diet/light options. As for alcohol, go for high quality ones. Drink in moderation and responsibly!
  5. Focus on your loved ones – The holiday season is about spending time with your loved ones. Focus less on the food and more on creating unforgettable memories.

If ALL else fails, it is NOT the end of the world. You don’t have to fixate, stress or get overly obssessed with what to eat or have already eaten. One meal is not going to make a huge difference.

The next day is a new opportunity to make BETTER choices! Pick yourself up and don’t give up! It is a life long journey.

Happy holidays!


Navigating Food Labels

Let’s talk about food labels.

Have you ever picked up a product, looked at the food label and was left more confused?

What’s with all the rows and columns of numbers? Serving sizes? Per 100g? And what’s with the long list of ingredients?!

You’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I know how you feel! In order for us to make smart choices about our food and to know what we’re feeding our bodies with, we need to be savvy about nutrition.

Here are some tools to help you navigate and decode food labels and nutrition information.

Ingredients list

The FIRST thing that I look at is the ingredients list. I am not a “calories in calories out” person. And we know that QUALITY matters more than just QUANTITY. You can read more about that here. A low calorie product may very well be filled with junk, and you certainly do not want to feed your body with that!

Quick scan: This will only take 10 seconds of your time.

  • Length of ingredients list

Ideally, the shorter the ingredients list, the better! A long list with codes and numbers usually means that the food is filled with artificial flavourings and colourings, sugars, and highly processed fats and oils.

  • Top 3 ingredients

The first 3 ingredients are important as the list is in order of its quantity, from the highest to the lowest. If the first ingredient is SUGAR, it means that most of that product is just sugar.

  • Mumbo jumbo words

If you cannot pronounce most of the words on the product, put it back!

Nutrition Information Panel

  • Servings per package

This tells you how many servings you can get from the product.

The product in the picture says 2 servings. So, if you drink the whole bottle, you will have to multiply the nutrition information section under “per serve” by 2.

It is important to know the servings per package because the nutrition information panel provides information PER SERVE and not the WHOLE product (unless the serving size is 1).

When it comes to beverages, you are more likely to assume that the whole bottle is 1 serve.

*Also note that serving sizes are determined by MANUFACTURERS. They are not regulated and not based on the standard serving sizes found in dietary guidelines etc*

  • per 100g or 100ml

Use this if you want to compare between products. According to labelling guidelines, ideally you should look out for:

  • < 15g of Sugar per 100g
  • > 3g of Fibre per 100g
  • < 400mg (good) per 100g of Sodium or < 120mg (best) per 100g

Health claims and product description

The food industry LOVES using buzz words like “organic”, “superfood”, “gluten free”, “all natural”, “no added sugars”, “wholegrains”, “low fat”, “good source of X” and the list goes on.

Here are some examples and what they mean:

  • Reduced fat

This claim means that the product has less fat than the original product of the SAME BRAND (at least 25% less fat to make this claim). One brand’s reduced fat does not mean that it is lower in fat than another brand’s regular fat product.

  • Low fat

The food (any brand) does not contain more than 3g of fat per 100g.

  • All natural

A product claiming to be “all natural” is very misleading as there are no regulations for making this claim. Funny how natural products do not need to mention that their product is “all natural”.

This gives you a lot of hints as to why marketers feel the need to use this claim to help sell their products. READ the ingredients list and the nutrition information.

  • No added sugar/Natural sugars/Sugar free/Less sugar

All sugar claims have been addressed and explained here.

  • Light/lite

It is easy to associate light/lite with health. BUT this claim can mean that the product is low fat, low calorie or it may just mean that the product is light in TASTE, COLOUR or TEXTURE!

For example, light rye just means that the colour is lighter than dark rye.

  • Baked not fried

Baked goods definitely sound healthier than FRIED but may very well contain highly processed vegetable oils and fats.

  •  Gluten free

Products with the word “free” tend to sound more appealing/healthier. This applies to gluten free products as well. MORE and MORE products are claiming that they are gluten free.

Are they healthier?

Unless you have coeliac disease or are intolerant, the simple answer is NO. You can read more about it here.

Knowledge about food and food products is POWER! This helps you to make INFORMED choices.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions!


#AdeleWFOTM – Melissa Lim

This month we have Melissa Lim! She’s no stranger to the running scene in Malaysia. A strong contender in the sport with true passion and grit!

She was recently down with dengue (urgh! THE WORST!) and had her fair share of struggles with trying to run strong again. BUT this girl ain’t giving up! You can read more about it here.

Read on to find out more about her! Psssst, you might pick up some REALLY good tips along the way. 😉 ENJOY!

1. How long have you been running?

I’ve been running for the longest time. I loved running because of the solitude it provides me. I started getting a bit more or a lot more obsessed with running back in 2015. Prior to 2015, I had no idea what distance and pacing were. I just ran 30 minutes everyday, 4-5 times a week.

2. How did you get into running?

So, my parents decided it was a great idea for me to hike up Mount Kinabalu when I was 13. And, of course they never failed to remind me that I can’t be the reason they can’t make it to the top! So everyday come 5:30pm, I was locked slash kicked out of the house – forced to go on my daily jogs (I kid you not)!

Well, at first I dreaded every run. Then, I grew to really like it.

Oh, and of course there’s the fact that I love to eat and I don’t want to be fat. So that pretty much kept me going.

3. Do you join any running groups? If yes, which running group?


4. Your profession:

My background is Law but I’m currently the Content & Marketing field.

5. How do you juggle work and running?

I run in the evenings after work and try to do my long runs over the weekend. It’s just much easier for me than to wake up early in the mornings. I’m totally not a morning person. But if I have to miss a run, I don’t sweat it. It’s just an extra rest day for me.

6. Do you have a training schedule? What is it like?

My training has always been 2 speed works a week, one long run on the weekend and the rest are just recovery runs in between. Sometimes I try to throw in a trail run as well but they mostly turn out to be hikes, not really runs per se.

7. Who do you usually train/run with?

I usually run alone. But, the long runs I would do with the boyfriend. Sometimes when he is feeling nice (most of the time) he would do the trails with me. When he isn’t very nice, he ditches me because I’m too slow.

8. What keeps you going?

I think it’s really the passion for running. I like the exhilaration and satisfaction I get to feel when I finish a race. Every race is different. I think of different things. I tell myself different things to get me through. Sometimes it’s that cake I’m going to treat myself to.

I think about this alot though. It’s a marathon. It’s supposed to be tough. Everyone else is suffering just the same. It’s who is stronger and can push through that deserves to win. If I can’t even muster up the strength to hold on and push through, I don’t deserve it. Someone else does.

9. Which was your most memorable race event and why:

I think what was memorable was not the race itself but the bulk of the training I had put into leading up to probably my biggest race – SCKLM 2016. I started training for SCKLM 6 weeks prior so it was a crash course for me. I had never embraced the concept of long runs before my crash course.

I remember my very first long run I did which was 16km during the final SCKLM running clinic. I remember all the long runs I had to do. I remember all the things I told myself when I wanted to give up during the long runs. I remember telling myself that I needed to train hard to race easy. Running up hills, I remember telling myself, what goes up must come down! I remember waking up early (6am is really early by my standards) to go out for my long runs. I remember my very first 30km race I had to do in anticipation of SCKLM. And most importantly I remember my then-not-yet boyfriend being there for me, through every long run. The entire process was really memorable for me.

10. Greatest achievement so far:

This year I joined the TMBT 50km race. It’s a trail race and arguably the most beautiful and most brutal trail race in Malaysia. It’s tough. I managed to cheat my cousins into doing the race. It was great – to complete it myself and watch them complete it. It took them 16 hours, but from that race, we all had a great story to tell. And, maybe, just maybe, they are starting to like this running thing as well because we’re doing Rinjani Ultra next year together.

11. Favourite distance:

I think I just enjoy running in general – whether it’s a fast 3km or the half marathon, or even the marathon distance. I think I do enjoy the longer distances abit more. I think it’s because it is long and there is that possibility that I would not be able to go the distance and complete the race. Anything could happen. So, when I finish, it’s really an overwhelming feeling.

12. Your inspiration:

I’m a Galen Rupp fan.

13. Any advice for runners who are stuck in a rut?

Don’t give up easily. Everyone struggles as well. It’s the people who are able to keep themselves together, keep going on, persevere and not give up – these are the people that, at end of the day, really deserve that win. And, so can you. Don’t let one bad day, or one busy week throw you off course. Running is a gift, enjoy it!

14. Your take on nutrition:

I love food. Although I try very hard to be healthy. I’m normally very good in the beginning of the day. Sometimes I’m able to last till dinner, but I normally have a snack after dinner which could be crisp or ice-cream or cake. So I normally end my day quite unhealthily. Like I really can’t resist a good cake. I’m still working on it, this trying to be healthy thing. I believe – everything in moderation, even cakes, nasi lemak and icecream. I always have my fair share.

I must say that I totally agree on the nutrition part. 😉 You had me at CRISP, ICE CREAM and CAKE!

GAH! Isn’t she inspiring? I hope you were able to take home a few key messages from Mel – passion, hard work, discipline, gratitude, never-give-up attitude, work on nutrition and enjoy that dessert (in moderation)!


#AdeleWFOTM – Hui Xin

For the month of October (or whatever that’s left of it), we have Hui Xin!

Sorry for the delay this month. I got caught up with my research project and NEARLY missed this month’s feature.

Anyway! Back to Hui Xin – you might know her as the girl behind Run89. Indeed, she is one of the co-founders of the running group. Her fire and enthusiasm for running and just her overall outlook on living an active life continues to inspire me. Read on to find out more about her!

1. How long have you been running?

I started running since 2013.

2. How did you get into it?

Initially, I ran to lose weight.

When I heard that my favourite sports brand was organising a road race event, I registered! After signing up, I started to train for it. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with running!  It’s like a drug!

 3. You’re the co-founder of the Run89 crew. Tell us more about that!

Sure! Ru89 is more than just running and working out as a group, we are like a family with strong bonds! Besides running together, we travel together too and we will try our best to host a trip at least once a year! It is really fun to be with them.

We are also very grateful for all the support from Nike. We had a chance to attend many interesting events and meet other runners from different parts of the world! These are some of the best memories for the crew!

Our slogan is “Stronger with every stride” – which means in everything we do, every step that we take, will make us better and stronger!

4. Your profession/work:

Store Design & Construction Executive

5. How do you juggle work and running?

When I started my new job, it was a bit difficult to juggle both. But after a while, I managed to adapt. I will try to run at least 5km if there wasn’t any special activities going on that day.

6. Do you have a training schedule? What is it like?

My training schedule in a week looks something like this:

3 days of speed work

2 days of easy running/light workout/cross training/badminton

Race or LSD on weekends

7. Who do you usually train/run with?

My running buddies! This running community is huge and there will always be a familiar face whenever I go running! It’s great!

If we have similar running menu for that day, we will train together. Otherwise, we will catch up after training!

8. You also host weekly group core training on Tuesdays. Could you tell us more about that?

R89 Blastfit is hosted by Sabbie (Sabrina Lim) and myself. We both LOVE to workout! At first, we wanted to gather just a few of our BFFs for a group workout. We recognised that girls are quite shy to step out and we wanted to create a safe space to do just that.

We took this oppotunity to initiate the concept of “GIRL POWER”, where we can just be as strong as the boys. We are so blessed that the group has somehow grown into a big family!

 9. Which was your most memorable race event and why!

Definitely the Osaka Marathon! For now, it is my favourite running event! Everything is beautiful in Japan! The Osaka Marathon uses the rainbow as their theme color every year. Each color has a different meaning. The medals are also always beautifully designed. One of the main highlights that I really love is that there’s a whole row of Japanese food stalls at around the 30km mark.

The route is also always filled with passionate supporters, cheering for the runners and providing aids. You can also find cosplayers, which are fun to look out for!

Last but not least, the Osaka marathon’s route is totally flat with only one flyover incline at around the 37th km mark which makes it a totally perfect route to hit your PB!

 10. Favourite distance:

10km / 21km

 12. Other than running, what do you like to do?

I love working out in general and also Muay Thai!

13. Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

I would like to share how running has changed me to be a better person. Before running, I was shy and someone who didn’t like to share and talk to people.

But through running, I got to know people from different stages of life and got to learn a lot from them. Besides being able to help you destress and have a more positive outlook of your life, running does make you think and realise that there are better things that exist in this world.

Thank you so much for sharing Hui Xin! Running (especially in a group) CAN be SO FUN! If you’re interested to join them for running or for a workout on Tuesdays (for the ladies only!), check out their FB page and Instagram.

Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh or Frozen?

Let’s talk about FRUITS and VEGETABLES. You either love em or hate em! Don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to “EAT YO FRUITS AND VEGGIES!” (although you should)

Due to my busy schedule (I shop once a week), budget and just out of convenience, I opt for frozen veggies and fruits (berries). I get asked a lot if frozen is good for you. So today we’re going to talk about that!

Fresh or Frozen?

We’ve always been told to eat fresh foods instead of frozen. That is true, but when it comes to fruits and vegetables, it can be a bit tricky.

Fresh may not always be best.

Research has shown that in many cases, frozen produce are just as nutritious as fresh produce and sometimes, they contain more nutrients! This is because nutrient levels gradually decrease over time (during transit from farm to supermarkets). This is the part where if left for too long, become brown/black, soft and rot!

Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak, when they have the highest amount of nutrients. The process of freezing slows the ripening process, retains these nutrients and prevents them from breaking down (slows enzymatic reactions).

Of course, this does not apply to all frozen foods but it does give you more options when you don’t have time to buy fresh produce!

Keep in mind that the method of cooking also affects the nutrient levels in food. For example, water soluble vitamin Bs can be loss in the cooking water. Other vitamins such as vitamin C are heat sensitive.

Another handy tip when buying fruits and vegetables is to buy whatever is in season! That way, you get to eat a wide variety each time and of course, cost efficient!

Personally, I find it stressful if I buy a heap of veggies that would not even last the week in my fridge! I end up throwing them away, which is such a waste. So for me, I mix fresh and frozen!

Let me know if you have any questions!