Calling All SF Pilates Instructors!

Calling All SF Pilates Instructors!

As a Pilates instructor, the studio you teach at has a huge impact on your career and your presence in your city.  Like the neighborhood you choose to live in, it shapes who you are.  For some, instructors will always teach in a small boutique studio focusing on private sessions and with few intimate classes.  For others instructors may never work in a studio but choose to run all over the city from house to house to studio to gym.  The environment a Pilates instructor chooses to work in is very much directly related to that person’s personality, values and style.

Teaching at Equinox is so unique, in that it is like having your very own small studio within a huge fitness facility.  You also have a huge presence, being in front of 3,000 plus members.  As a Pilates instructor at Equinox you have the opportunity to also teach group Mat Pilates, barre and fusion classes within the group fitness department which increases your presence dramatically.  For me, there is no better adrenaline rush than getting up in front of 40 students to lead them in a workout.  All of a sudden people you don’t necessarily recognize at first, are saying hi to you on the street.  You are changing so many people’s lives without evening realizing it.

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The Pilates studio at Equinox is a little piece of heaven amongst an energy fueled, music pumping, beautiful people filled gym.  Working with top of the line Peak equipment, we keep the Pilates experience authentic.  Taking new members through perhaps their very first Pilates workout, you have the opportunity to earn them as a longtime client.  You literally have over 2,000 potential clients to work with.  Every member at Equinox could be your client.

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With working for a huge company like Equinox, there come many perks.  The monetary result is directly influenced by how well you build your business.  But aside from that, Equinox offers its full time employees a very comprehensive benefits package with health insurance, dental care, eye care, 401k, maternity leave, 40% all services at the spa and training sessions and our shop.  There are opportunities to grow within the company as a teacher.  Equinox now has a comprehensive certification program where our teachers have the opportunity to become teacher trainers.  Your career doesn’t have to be just teaching session after session.  We want to see our instructors grow into something great.

I am working on building my Pilates team at Equinox Union St. in San Francisco.  I need fun, enthusiastic, dedicated instructors who care as much as building the team as they do building their own business.  I want the Pilates studio to be the place every member wants to be.  I want the whole town talking about our instructors and our studio.  Be a part of it.

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San Francisco; my new home and the city responsible for my new bum.

San Francisco; my new home, and the city responsible for my new bum.

It’s been a week since my husband and I moved to the city by the bay, and I can already tell that this is going to be the perfect place for us.  San Francisco has it all; its big city feel around Union Square, charming unique neighborhoods, amazing national parks, mountains, the ocean, the list goes on.

photo 2-2photo 4-1The first few days we really got a good feel for a few of the neighborhoods we were interested in living in.  The Marina with its resident frat boys, amazing homes and gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, was immediately crossed off the list, not because of the college life feel, but simply because it is build on landfill, and well, I’m terrified of earthquakes and falling into the ocean.  It will, however, be our goto hangout with our dog, Paya.

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MarinaPacific Heights was my favorite, with some of the most gorgeous homes and views perched high up in the hills of the city.  Ironically, this is the exact reason we decided against this neighborhood.  First, our housing budget didn’t allow for the purchase of a 10 million dollar condo.  Second, and I think most prevalent, there were the hills.  I am not even kidding when I tell you these hills are steep.  Sure it feels great when you walk up one or two.  But there would be several more of those hills, several times a day.  I don’t aspire for that good of an ass.  Also, have you ever tried parallel parking on a hill with a “grade” of more than 30%?  Yeah…..No.

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photo 5-1Noe Valley seemed liked the obvious choice.  Dog friendly, tons of strollers, lots of sun, parks and adorable shops along 24th Street.  Unfortunately, my driving and parking skills have to improve quite a bit for me to be okay with driving up and parking on those hills!   The only way it could be done is with a private garage, and again, our budget did not allow for those multi million dollar homes.  I was promised, however, that we can revisit in a few years.  Love you honey!  Turns out, if we decided to live in Noe Valley, it would have been an absolute pain for Steve and me to get to work downtown.

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photo 2-1Russian Hill was the little happy medium that gave us the solid bedrock, some pretty (manageable) hills to give us stunning views, and a neighborhood feel with a great foodie and shopping scene along Polk Street.  We are just a few blocks away from the famous crooked Lombard St. and blocks away from the Cow Hollow/Marina neighborhood.  It has charm, local coffee shops, and a barre studio!  There are plenty of hills, but not ridiculous; enough to lift and tone my bum without even trying!  That’s what I really call the happy medium.

Lombard StreetIn the week I’ve been in this new city, I’ve also managed to land a teaching gig!  I will be rejoining the amazing team at Equinox.  I have been teaching for Equinox off and on since 2009, and they are an absolutely incredible group of fitness professionals.  There was no question I was going to get in touch with them as soon as our move was confirmed.  As soon as I entered the 1920’s cinema turned fitness playhouse, I felt the energy and love.  I instantly clicked with the Pilates and Group Fitness managers, and cannot wait to get started, working and collaborating with them.

photo 4There are so many opportunities here in San Francisco, and I am so excited to start our life here.  There is so much energy, motivation and adventure amongst the community in San Francisco, and I can’t wait to share my Pilates experience and passion with this amazing city.

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SG, You’ve Been Good to Me

SG, You’ve Been Good to Me

As an expat, you wonder when this moment will come; saying goodbye.  It’s quite bittersweet, actually.  I am so excited to be back in the US, closer to friends and family.  But, at the same time I am so sad to have to say goodbye to the place I have called home for the past 2 years.  When my husband and I would fantasize about our grand departure from Singapore, it included a 2 week holiday in New Zealand, and weeks of goodbye festivities leading up to departure day.  Unfortunately, life doesn’t work out the way you think it should.  John Lennon said it best when he said, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

My husband, Steve’s, job will be taking us back to the US at the end of May.  I wish it wasn’t happening so fast! I haven’t even had time to get excited about going back, nor have I had time to weep about having to say goodbye to friends and clients.  I did, however, want to take time to tell you all how much I am going to miss you, and how much you have helped make Singapore feel like home.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve seen clients get engaged, get married, work through injuries, have babies, have more babies, and I’ve seen some go through their own Pilates instructor training.  I’ve seen their their bodies change, and I’ve seen their whole self change.  Looking back, it is so incredibly rewarding to see not only how you all have grown, but how you have helped me to become a better teacher.

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These past 2 years have also been so insanely crazy, when I think back.  Steve and I have been so fortunate to have been able to see so many parts of this part of the world.  Our travels started with a weekend trip to Bali, which turned into going back 4 other times.  It then turned into 2 trips to Phuket, 3 trips to Rawa Island, Tokyo, Cambodia, Laos, Saigon, Bintan, Melbourne, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Borneo, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Central Java and the Gili Islands.  Not only when I stop and take a moment to look back to where we have been, do I realize that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and really only one that you are only able to get while living out here.

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There are so many things I’m going to miss about Singapore, it would be hard to list them all.  Most, though, are things that only the expats living here would truly understand.  I am excited for the first moment I meet a former Singapore expat in the US, when we can talk about how the things that annoyed us the most are the things we miss the most.

If you are in Singapore for the week of May 26, please come by my last few classes.  I am teaching a special last class on Thursday May 29 at 7PM. Pilates on the Patio will be held at Upside Motion, City Hall.  I really hope to see you all at some point next week.  And THANK YOU so much for all of your hard work, friendships and awesomeness.  Bye bye Singapore.  We will see you soon, lah. Can?

 

My (Singapore) Bucket List

My (Singapore) Bucket List

As an expat in Singapore, your plans can change at a moments notice, and before you know it, you are packing and getting ready to move back home.  Some people move out to Singapore on a 2 year plan, and end up spending their whole lives here.  My husband and I arrived around 2 years ago, and well, the truth is, we could be leaving in a few months, or we could be here for another 2 years!  If it turns out we end up moving home sooner than we think, I would hate to think back, wishing we did more right here in Singapore.  The island is small, but there really is so much to see, do and experience.  Last weekend, as I was sitting my our pool enjoying the 98% humidity thinking about my friends back home battling another snow storm, I decided to put together my Singapore Bucket List.

1.  Eat Chicken Rice.  I know, it’s bizarre than I have not, in 2 years, tried Singapore’s signature dish.  It will happen, I promise.

2.  Take a day trip to Pulau Ubin.  People say this is what Singapore used to be like, and what you imagine Singapore should feel like.  Just a short ferry ride, and apparently you feel like you are in an entirely different country, enjoying cheap beer and local food.

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3.  Spend a night at Marina Bay Sands.  Sure it’s new and some would say an eye sore to Singapore’s skyline, but have you seen the pool?

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4.  Go on a coffee shop crawl through Tiong Bahru.  I’m a sucker for good coffee, and I always read about the new hipster coffee shops popping up all over Singapore’s oldest neighborhood. It’s like the Brooklyn of Singapore, and just like Brooklyn, I just don’t think I’m cool enough to pull it off, but why not try?!

5.  A Sunday champagne brunch at the Ritz.  It’s the expat thing to do, and I am probably the only person I know who has not gone to at least 3 Sunday brunches in my expat lifetime.

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6.  High Tea at the Raffles Hotel.  I’m a girly girl, so it’s only natural for this to be on my list.

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7. Expat Auction.  With so many expats coming and going, you can imagine the goods you could find here!  And often, expats have to leave quickly, so some great steals could be found!  Well, so I hear!  So we have got to get to this.

8.  Finally, the National Museum.  I walk by it at least twice a day, as it is literally in our backyard.  As a foreigner living in Singapore, this should have been one of the first things we did.

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Just Glow!

Just Glow!

This just in!  Get your spray tan IN YOUR OWN HOME!  The worst part of going for a spray tan is the long walk, subway ride, or drive home from the salon in your ultra baggy clothes with no bra on, praying that you don’t run into anyone you know.   Well, this problem no longer exists because Spray Tanner Hannah comes to you!  She arrives at your door with her portable spray and tent.  All you need is a power outlet and you are ready to tan!  In less than 15 minutes you are glowing.

I promised many people I would let them know how it turned out, as this was my first tan with Spray Tanner Hannah.  I will admit, I was nervous as I am leaving for the Maldives tomorrow and I would be devastated if I was the tropical tone of orange.  Fear not.  Hannah was amazing working to even out my already tanned skin, helping to get rid of my tan lines so I could wear my new swim suit without having those uneven lines.

Hannah’s tanning product, flown in from Australia, is said to wash off in just 2 hours, but she had recommended not washing until tomorrow morning for better results.  Hannah is super sweet and hilarious, which could make it tough to stay still.

Two thumbs up for my $60 tan from Spray Tanner Hannah!

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Anticipation…

Anticipation…

You always hear about people’s holidays after they return.  But, what is more exciting than the weeks and days before that highly anticipated holiday?  The ways you prepare for the big ski trip, volcano trek, or beach holiday are so exciting! I’ve had so many clients come in to class wanting to train for a specific trip, focusing on the specific muscles needed for skiing, hiking, or even just to look amazing in that bikini!

I decided to share with you how I am preparing for my upcoming holiday, from workouts and diets to shopping for the essentials.  Where is it I am going this time?  It is a place I have wanted to visit since learning of their existence.  A place I thought I would never see.  A place that I knew I had to get to now, before they disappear.  The Maldives.

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I don’t think I have been this excited before a big trip since last summer when we were going back to the US for our wedding.  Every time I think about going to the airport and boarding the plane, I get a surge of adrenaline, and I can’t stop myself from looking through pictures and videos of this magical place that somehow exists.

So, how am I preparing for my dream holiday?  There is probably one thing that comes close to being as much fun as going to the Maldives…and that’s shopping for the Maldives!  As soon as I think of the Maldives, I envision  white, bright colors and soft, flowy dresses and beach cover ups.  I went straight to two of my favorite designers here in Singapore; Vamastyle and Simone Irani.  Vamastyle has great swimsuits that are so flattering and make you feel amazing.  Their dresses are also so light and comfortable, it almost feels like you aren’t wearing anything!  Simone Irani has a very eclectic style.  A little bohemian, a little tribal, all with the brightest and most beautiful colors, I found a few perfect pieces that will look beautiful in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

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The clothes, though, will only look as good as the body under it feels!  In addition to my Pilates classes I typically take to maintain my “Pilates expertise”, I have increased my attendance quite a bit to feel even better.  I try to get to Options Studio every day, as long as my schedule permits me to! Options is great because they have a lot of classes at the weird times when I’m normally not teaching.  Plus, their Orchard studio is around the corner from my apartment.  I also try to force myself to do a bit more in the classes I teach during the week.  It’s so hard to get a good workout in while I am teaching because I am so focused on you! When teaching four classes a day, it’s easy to do a little arm work in one class, and then a little bum work in another class.  There is nothing better than starting your holiday on the beach feeling great.

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Exercise isn’t everything though.  It’s all about the diet!  I’m a sucker for dessert, I will be the first to admit it.  My husband and I have both promised each other that we will be skipping dessert for the last two months before our trip.  I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy.  But there are great alternatives to a piece of chocolate or a scoop of frozen yogurt.  Lately, one of my favorites is peanut butter on celery sticks with a few raisins.  It was a childhood snack that I loved and still do!  Another little invention I came up with, although sadly I’m sure I’m not the first to discover this, is to freeze the little extra smoothie I may have in the blender when I make them for breakfast.  It makes a great little dessert! Be careful though, you don’t want to leave the smoothie in the freezer for longer than six hours, as it could get a bit icy.  The best consistency happens between three and four hours.

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The best part of an island getaway has got to be the sun kissed golden glow you have when you leave.  But what about the moment you arrive? No one likes to get into the swimsuit on the first day feeling pasty white next to everyone else who has been there for days.  I will avoid this by getting a golden spray tan from the one and only Spray Tanner Hannah! Now, there will be a blog dedicated entirely to Spray Tanner Hannah after I get it done, but I just had to share with everyone the best part.  Hannah comes to you!!! She brings her entire set up with her and comes to your house.  If that’s not a selling point to a spray tan, I’m not sure what is!

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I have to say the excitement leading up to a holiday is the best part.  You might think that I am wishing for next week to go by as fast as possible, but really, I’m okay with it just going by.  I am loving the excitement, mystery, and anticipation of getting to experience this natural wonder of the world.

 

These are a few of my favorite things!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!

It’s the time of year when you can think of all the things you want, put it all down on a list and give it to Santa.  At this point in our lives we sometimes feel as though we don’t want anything.  Often times, if we really want something, and we are able to, we just go out and buy it.  Remember the times when you were a kid and you would have to wait ALL year for that one toy you had been eying? My list back then was much longer.  But just for fun, here are a few of my favorite things that may make it on your Christmas list this year, or may help you while shopping for friends and family!

1. Lululemon Weekend Warrior Bag.  I know, it seems bazaar, but I PROMISE you, if you like to travel, you must have one. They can pack so much and they have all these secret compartments, you will constantly find a new pocket or pouch.

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2.  Emi-Jay Hair Ties.  With my hair up 99% of the time, I need a good hair tie. These hair ties come in so many different fun colors and designs so you can match them to your outfits. Also, they don’t leave creases in your hair! With the ribbon look, it adds a little feminine touch to your typical ponytail.

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3. To Be Calm Candles.  In their colorful tins, these candles not only fill the air with the most lovely smell, but they brighten up your space too! I’m a sucker for candles, but these are my favorites!

4. MAC Cremesheen Glass Lip Gloss.  I’m not a fan of lipstick, so I always opt for the gloss. Maybe it was the years of ballet performances and caking the lipstick on so nothing could take it off? This is my favorite, in “Fashion Scoop”. It’s a soft pink that give s a little color, but more shine than anything. It’s also not sticky so on those windy days your hair will not get stuck on your lips!

5.  Rainbow Sandals. After the first few wears, Rainbows mold to your feet making them the most comfortable flip flops you’ll own.

6.  BOSE Headphones. I admit, when my husband and I are on those long haul flights, I always look to him with my saddest puppy eyes asking if I can use his BOSE noise cancelling headphones. They really do block out all noise, especially that loud airplane hum that can stick with you for days after your flight.

7.  SK-II Facial Treatment Mask.  This was first introduced to me by one of my clients before my wedding.  With absolutely flawless skin, I had to trust her; she was doing something right!  So at the airport on our way home for our wedding I bought a few of these masks.  I wish I bought boxes of them!  Although a bit scary when on (think Mrs. Doubtfire after s(he) stuck her face in the cool whip), it left my skin feeling amazingly soft.

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8.  Lululemon Run Speed Short. I will admit, I wear these EVERY morning when walking our dog.  So you can never have enough! They are lightweight and comfortable and so easy to just grab and put on for everything from running a few miles to grocery shopping to hiking a volcano!

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9.  Lululemon Light as Air Underwear.  Everyone hates to have panty lines!!! These are the BEST if you strive for a smooth “nothing there” bum!

10.  A GOOD BOOK!  You can never go wrong.

What are a few of YOUR favorite things?

Merry Christmas!

xoxo,

Laura

 

Pilates for the Philippines

Pilates for the Philippines

We all saw it, from all over the world; the absolute devastation after super Typhoon Haiyan swept across the islands that make up the Philippines.  Just some interesting statistics, from BBC, to give you a better perspective.  More than 11 million people, or 10% of the population, have been affected by Haiyan.  2.5 million people are in need of food aid.  544,606 people have been displaced.  130,074 houses have been destroyed.  1,215 evacuation centers have been set up.  In some towns, more than 90% of the housing have been destroyed.  What makes this even worse, is that the region was still trying to recover from the Bohol earthquake in October, with more than 17,000 people still receiving food aide.

So as we are living life in this bubble we call Singapore, surrounded by wealth, air conditioning, and complaining when our favorite peanut butter does not make it on the ship from the US and into our gourmet grocers, we should be asking ourselves, “how can we help?”

If you’ve wondered how you can help, here’s how.  Next Sunday, 8th of December, I will be teaching a donation Pilates class for those affected in the Philippines.  We’ve decided to hold the class in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens at 9AM so we can accommodate everyone who wants to help.  Come to class with your mat and/or towel and a cash donation, big or small, and have fun working out for each one of the 11 million people affected by Haiyan.

Class will be held at the Bamboos/Reflexology Path in the Botanic Gardens.  The nearest gate is the Melati and Cluny Park, 3 minutes from Botanic Gardens MRT.  Map is attached for your convenience!

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This Thanksgiving…

This Thanksgiving…

It has always been my favorite time of year; the weather turns crisp, the leaves fall off the trees, and the constant smell of apple and pumpkin fill the air.  Unfortunately, I have not experienced that for 2 years now.  Instead, I’ve spent Thanksgiving Day getting up early, teaching classes and eating whatever we can put together from the fridge.  Oh, and sweating my bum off while being scorched by the sun.  This is what being an American expat in Singapore on Thanksgiving feels like.

I don’t mean for this to sound in any way, ungrateful, which leads me to my next point.  As an American tradition, on Thanksgiving you are supposed to share with everyone everything you are thankful for that year.  So I thought I’d share with you all some of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

First, and foremost, I am thankful for my husband.  This year I married the most awesome guy in the world and had an unbelievable wedding in Boston, MA.  Steve helps me to see potential in myself and pushes me to me the best person I can be.

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I am extremely thankful for my parents, family and friends for helping to make our wedding day perfect and the most memorable day of my life.   Also, thankful for our family and friends who have traveled around the world to visit us and experience our new life in a place where some people would have trouble locating on a map.

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I am thankful for our dog, Paya.  We adopted Paya almost a year ago. It is safe to say that she has single handedly made Singapore feel like home.  Life would definitely not be the same, and awesome, without her.  She puts a smile on my face no matter what my mood is.

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Lastly, I am thankful for having the amazing opportunities to travel around Southeast Asia this past year.  Places like Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand are some places I would have never thought I would visit in my lifetime.

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Although it’s another year without the big family dinner, the MACYS Thanksgiving Day parade, football and relatives having way too much to drink, it still is my favorite holiday of the year.  It may sound criminal to the Americans out there, but we are having as close to a proper Thanksgiving dinner as we can get with a dozen of our American and Aussie friends at the Fullerton Hotel.  I will be the first to admit I am not ready to bite the bullet and cook a turkey yet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be Healthy in the Land of Noodles

Be Healthy in the Land of Noodles

Singapore is known for a few things, and one of them is its food.  There is no question about it; any foodie would love to visit Singapore.  When I first moved out here I embraced the food culture eating out as often as I could, visiting the local hawker centers and food courts.  After not too long however, my body was telling me to stop.  I didn’t want to listen to it, as going out is so easy and requires little thought, but as a professional in the fitness industry, I knew better.  I don’t know how local Singaporeans do it; eating fried meat and noodles for almost every meal of the day.  Every mall I go in to, every subway station I go in to, I see endless food stalls with more noodles, rice and curry dishes than I could ever eat in a lifetime.  Yes its delicious, and if you are visiting Singapore you cannot leave without eating local dishes, but you simply cannot eat it every day if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.  Every expat I meet explains to me their recent “just moved to Singapore bloat” so I figured I just had to address this issue.

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To avoid the belly bloat, muscles aches and dehydration stay as far away from MSG as you can.  It’s very hard to know whether or not certain foods contain it.  The best way to avoid it is to cook the food yourself!  Once a week visit a wet market or your local grocery store to stock up for the week on fruits, veggies and meat.  The easiest go to dinner for me is grilled chicken lightly seasoned with a leafy green salad and roasted veggies such as broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes.  Limit yourself to going out to dinner to just once a week.  The hardest part is breaking the habit of going out for dinner and starting the new habit of prepping your meal at home.

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Another killer is lunch, especially if you work and typically go out for a quick bite.  That “quick bite” can be the dead end for you in your fitness goals.  While you are at the market stocking up on your veggies and meats for your at home dinners, be sure to pick up lunch makings as well!  Deli meat for sandwiches or wraps, salads, and healthy snacks can be some of the healthiest choices you make.  If you love sandwiches like me, opt for an open-faced sandwich and load it with greens and protein.

If your office is far from healthy, ask the office manager to be in charge of stocking the snack room.  My husband’s company recently switched to a healthy kitchen, filling the snack room with fruits, veggies and nuts.  I’ve seen it in its previous state, and it had always looked like Halloween had come early.  It was stocked with Oreos, Kit Kat bars, Cokes, and chocolate.  When there are only healthy food options, you take it, it’s right there!  It doesn’t get easier than that.

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You may be doubtful within the first few months of living in Singapore, but your choices don’t have to be unhealthy!  Yes, you will always see people eating endless noodles and you will always have the option to eat them.  But it is simply that; an option. It takes a bit of effort, but there are ways to stay healthy on this tiny island of noodles.