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.

noodles

noodles

noodles

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.

cook at home

cook at home

cook at home

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.

food corner

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.

We Are Human Too!

We Are Human Too!

Believe it or not, when I, a Pilates and Barre instructor, take class I am in the same boat you are.  My muscles are shaking, sweat pouring off my face, wanting so badly to give up as it just keeps getting harder and harder.  People think because I teach Pilates and fitness classes I am a tank and am in the best shape of my life.  Quite the opposite actually.  At times, I am teaching 10 classes or clients a day.  This doesn’t in any way mean I am working out for 10 hours a day and getting paid for it, which is what many people think.  The busier I get, the more out of shape I get because there simply just are not enough hours in the day!

As a teacher I am absolutely not the type to get in front of the class, put music on and workout hoping everyone behind me follows what I am doing in perfect form.  Yes, I demonstrate a few reps of an exercise, but after that I am walking around, yelling out cues and getting right behind you, correcting your form.  Call me crazy, but I am genuinely interested in your progress, and I care more about giving you an effective workout than I am of burning a few hundred calories myself.

IMG_1879

For the week before my wedding, my husband and I took TWO Core Fusion classes a day.  Core Fusion is another barre-based workout, and my personal favorite.  I have been taking these classes since 2007 and it still beats me, every time.  I really should have recorded myself in class just to prove to you that we teachers find it just as hard as you do!  My legs were shaking uncontrollably during thigh work at the barre, my standing leg was cramping during seat work and my abs were on fire!  But I loved every minute of it.  As I’m sure you all do too, right?  For that week that I had to myself with the time to focus on me and only me, I have never felt better.

Core Fusion

Push Up

I will always be the first to admit that what you do in class is not easy, and I never find it easy.  I am amazed every class with the hard work you put in.  When you think I’m crazy pushing you harder than you have ever felt, it is because I think you can all handle it!  Keep an eye out for me in class with you soon.  I’ll try not to chicken out!