Keeping Fit for the New Year

Year 2011 is just one day away! Are you all geared up to pave the way for another great year ahead?

One of the things people often talk about when it comes to self-improvement is resolutions. "What are your New Year resolutions?" is a common question to drive the conversation at an New Year party. Admittedly, it's something I delve into when conversation dries up.

Recently, I came across a meaningful quote by John Selden about New Year resolutions - "Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it's twice as onerous a duty. "

I suppose some people produce better results under pressure, and it really depends on personality. There are people who swear to shake off 5kg by the middle of next year and then get disheartened when they're 1kg short, and go back to doing things that make their goal drift further away. Then again, there are people who do everything to make sure that they do see their resolution through. Perhaps a resolution that everyone should make is to stick to their new year resolutions.

Jokes aside, whether you decide to reveal your resolutions or not, it's still good to start off the year with some sort of goal or plan in mind. It doesn't have to be something momentous or historic. It could be as simple as finishing off something from last year, or persisting with an achievement you managed last year.

Last year, I maintained a regular exercise regime (jogging and work outs at the gym) and I feel healthier and have fallen sick less often too. So for the new year, I'm going to continue doing that, but maybe try some more challenging sports to add variety. I did some research and found some sports which are easy to take up, promotes weight loss and doesn’t give you muscles:

Ice Skating
Suitability: Any age group, as long as your health permits. It’s not too difficult to learn if you’re not going for the fancy stuff.
Equipment: The ice skating outfit and skates. You should be able to rent these at the skating rink.
What it does: Improves ability to balance. Tones leg muscles. Increases stamina.
Approx. Calories burnt: 420 Calories per hour

Suitability: Any age group
Equipment: Just the bike if you’re a non-professional cyclist
What it does: Exercises your thigh muscles and knee joints. Promotes blood circulation
Approx. Calories burnt: 240 Calories per hour

Suitability: Any age group, but patient people are more likely to enjoy it. On the other hand, if you persevere, the sport will help develop your patience too.
Equipment: Sports attire, golfing shoes and gloves, gold club
What it does: All that walking strengthens your heart. Swinging the golf club helps stretch and strengthen your back muscle.
Approx. Calories burnt: 270 Calories per hour

Horse riding
Suitability: Age 40 and below. This is a sport with some risks. It’s also an expensive sport, and you must not fear horses.
Equipment: Riding attire, helmet, a docile horse
What it does: Trains your agility and body coordination. Exercises full body, especially leg muscles.
Approx. Calories burnt: 240 Calories per hour

Suitability: 30 plus and below. This is a high impact sport.
Equipment: Sports attire, sports shoes
What it does: This is a full body exercise that even tones your abdominal and bum muscles. It also trains your agility. If you’re still growing, the sport will help you grow taller.
Approx. Calories burnet: 260 Calories per hour (recreational)

Have a happy, healthy new year ahead!

Coping with the Holiday Food Fest

Christmas is a mere three days away! How are you celebrating Christmas? I’ll be having a Christmas dinner pre-ordered from the supermarket with my family. Even before that, I've already met up with a friend for a huge Japanese dinner in celebration of Christmas and I'll be meeting up with another group tomorrow! 

Wow that’s a lot of eating to be done! And as if the greasy turkey and creamy log cakes aren’t fattening already! And I expect there will be more partying and eating to be done over the New Year! But Christmas and New Year only happen annually, you say, why spoil the festive mood by worrying about eating too much? Still, this doesn’t give you the excuse to pig out. Overeating is a huge burden to your digestive system and heart. You don’t want to end up feeling queasy for the entire holiday season. Besides you may end up in a terrible mess in the form of puke if you top it all off with alcohol. 

Here are tips for both hosts and guests on how you can eat heartily yet healthily. These are tips that are also relevant to your daily eating habits and meals!

1. Include salads and fruits in your Christmas dinner. Leave out the salad creams and sauces. Use lemon-honey sauce instead.

2. Eat slowly and thoughtfully. Do not gobble down your food just so you can catch that after-dinner Christmas special. It’s all right to multi task while eating, but make sure you’re thinking about what you eat. Eating aimlessly gives rise to a greater chance of over eating since you don’t realize that you’re full.

3. Dish out cute little plates instead of using extravagantly huge ones. This prevents guests from taking too much in one helping and forcing themselves to finish everything to be polite. After all, it’s not much trouble to get second helpings.

4. Eat the way you would at a restaurant with a three-course meal. Start with low-carb food like salads. Follow up with the main course aka the turkey, hams and what-not. Finish up with dessert aka the log cake. Some people think that eating salads and fruits after a full meal aids with digestion. While the sourness of citric fruits and salad sauces whets your appetite, it does not aid in digestion. After all, food doesn’t get digested within a meal’s duration. If you’re full, just stop eating.

5. Serve / Drink fruit teas and citric fruit juices instead of soft drinks and alcohol. A little red wine for a candlelight dinner is all right, but leave the beer for after dinner. Vegetable juices are veggies too! Try mixing different vegetable and fruit juices together to create your own unique vegetable cocktail. Your guests may clamour after your recipe!

6. Avoid creamy soups like Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken. I personally feel that minestrone and pumpkin soups will complement a Christmas dinner well.

7. Only eat until you’re three-quarters full. That leaves your stomach emptier for alcohol and other snacks. But don’t binge on the alcohol or snacks either! Keep them to the minimal.

8. If you're attending a buffet-style dinner, don’t stand next to the buffet table. You tend to either end up eating more because it’s convenient or simply to give yourself something to do.

9. Don’t starve yourself over breakfast and lunch just so you can eat more at the Christmas dinner. You will certainly overeat at dinner, which will be cruel on your digestive system at night. Besides, skipping breakfast is unhealthy.

10. Exercise the next morning.

Remember, keep yourself healthy so that there's room for more!

When Less is More

The holiday season's coming and there will be parties and dinners to attend, including corporate ones. That means out comes all your fabulous collections of beauty products and make-up kits! Make-up can make a world of difference to a person. We all know that make-up can make someone look extraordinarily beautiful. On the other hand, a botched make-up job can make someone stick out like a sore thumb! Many people tend to go overboard with their make-up or get into all kinds of slip-ups when preparing for parties. Do steer clear of the following commonly-made mistakes so that you don’t ruin your party.

Foundation / BB Cream overdose
Foundation is meant to make skin look even. It should not be used as a concealer. If you’re using your foundation like a mask, chances are, most people are going to notice the oddness of your skin under bright light. Too much foundation will also cause your skin tone and texture of your face to look different from the rest of your body. Apply only one thin layer of foundation, and use concealer to cover up your blemishes and imperfections.

Mascara overdose
Long, black eyelashes will certainly make your eyes look more alert, but too much mascara makes you look like, well, that you've got too much mascara on. Long and well-defined lashes look more elegant than lashes caked in mascara. If you want to give your eyes the 'pop' but aren't very skilled at applying mascara, try fake eyelashes instead. At least each strand is an even size, and you can choose dramatic ones like sequins and feathers to suit the occasion.

Long lasting lipstick You’re likely to be doing lots of eating, drinking or talking, or all of the above. If your lipstick is not lasting, some of it could fade. I know some people who try to apply more lipstick in the hopes that they don't have to touch up and that there will still be a thin layer of lipstick covering the lips at the end of the day. However, lips that are not evenly coloured look terrible, and the difference can be great when one part of your lips is covered by a creamy thick layer of lipstick while another part has little or no lipstick. Use a lipstick that doesn't fade, and apply a thin, even layer. Otherwise, remember to touch up your lips regularly.

Obvious lip outlines
Do use a lip liner with a similar shade of colour to your lipstick to outline your lips. Don’t think that you’re accentuating your lips by making the outline look obvious. It just makes you look like you’re trying too hard.