Random stuff I feel like talking about

#1

I have decided to get on Instagram, finally. It’s one of those things I didn’t want to do when everyone else was. Now that I’ve dallied enough, I find that someone has already taken the username sheylara (why???), thus forcing me to coin the very creative alternative of sheylara_uk.

So, there’s a lesson for you. Don’t be stubborn. Nothing wrong with being an excitable pup and rushing to join everything on the first day of launch.

I have just posted enough photos (7) for Instagram to create a montage cover for me. I like it. It feeds my vanity to have a portfolio of my pretentious artsy photographs displayed like that.

 

Instagram profile page

 

So, I’ve done that. Your job is to follow me and like all my photos from now on! :D

Pretty please with a cashew nut on top? Honey roasted!!

 

#2

I’ve started a fitness regime to prepare for Mallorca and I hope I’m not too late. I have four bikinis to look decent in by September. (They’re the ones I bought in 2011 and never got to wear because I forgot to pack them for my 2011 Mallorca trip).

If you recall, I’m not a beach and sun person, so going to a resort island would be the only time I’d need to wear any swimsuit at all, so those bikinis have sat untouched in my cupboard for two years!

 

My fitness regime consists of fitness boot camp three times a week and a sugarless, carbless, junkfoodless diet.

It’s brutal, I tell you. Totally brutal, considering that up to this point my diet has been 80% sugar, carbs and junk food.

Now I have to spend too much time cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, putting in more effort to make boring food edible. giving me less time to do stuff I enjoy.

:(

 

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with red onion and grilled tomatoes.

Breakfast for a champion.

 

 

Lunch: Prawn and avocado salad.

Lunch for a champion.

 

And I haven’t even started on the craziness that goes on in bootcamp. My muscles want to tell you but I’m asking them to shut up and stop bothering me.

Vanity is a powerful motivator, therefore it’s gotta be a good thing, right?

 

Healthy Sheylara

 

 

#3

I bought tickets to watch STOMP!

I saw them once a long time ago in Australia and loved the show. They’re coming to Bournemouth next month, playing at the Pavillion, which is about 15 minutes’ walk from home, whoopee.

When I first saw the poster in the town centre, I said to Piers, “OMG STOMP we have to go watch it!”

He said, “Okay.”

Then, when I was booking the tickets at home, I asked him which day he preferred, Tuesday to Saturday, and he said, “None of them.”

Stupid Piers!

 

STOMP

 

#4

Right, that’s all the random stuff I feel like talking about today. Tomorrow, we talk about sheep. I know you can’t wait!

How to lose your appetite fast

A few months ago, I started experiencing a loss of appetite and it has been really disconcerting.

If you have been following my blog over the years, you might have concluded that I was an irredeemable glutton, such was my penchant to share endless gastronomical conquests, replete with mouthwatering photos.

 

Noms

 

I have loved food, especially unhealthy junk food, all my life. Barring the occasional loss of appetite due to temporal sickness, depression or jetlag, I’ve always lived to eat and looked forward to every meal with hungry impatience, always dreaming of all sorts of savoury delights rolling around my taste buds.

And then, all of that suddenly gone. Almost overnight.

I woke up one day and found no urge to eat. No food excited me, not even my favourite things, and I have many of those, trust me. One day rolled into two days, which rolled into one month, two months.

Piers would ask me, “If you could have anything to eat right now, anything at all, what would it be?” And I would say, “Nothing at all!”

Putting something into my mouth to chew and swallow started seeming a bit like a chore, even when I was hungry. I did still occasionally enjoy tasty food, but the enjoyment would be at about 30% of what it should have been.

“O.M.G. I’ve died and gone to heaven” became “Okay, this is quite tasty so it’s less of a chore to eat”.

 

Om nom nom

 

At first I thought it was because I was sick of the food in England, since the variety there is quite limited, and I’ve always craved variety. I thought my appetite would go back to normal once I was back in Singapore and I looked forward to eating all the food I missed.

But I came back to Singapore and nothing changed. Faced with all the best food you could find in the whole wide world, my appetite remain unmoved.

It has been two weeks since I’ve returned to Singapore and I have woken up with dismay every day, no urge to eat, thinking of each day wasted that I’m not scarfing down chwee kueh for breakfast, chicken rice for lunch and chilli crab for dinner. I’m only in Singapore for six weeks.

But I just have no interest in eating, whatsoever.

My mind ruminated all the possible reasons. Prolonged jetlag? General malaise from having finished my course and undecided on my next step? Old age? I did use to wonder as a kid why adults never seemed to want to eat tidbits all day, even when they had all the money and freedom to do so.

 

Let there be bread

 

And then, today, I suddenly put two and two together and discovered the culprit of my malediction. It is the stupid Omega 3 fish oil capsules I’ve been taking daily since Novemeber last year!

It didn’t cross my mind that something like that would suppress my appetite. I started taking it a month before my exams because our psychology lecturer told us that fish oils supplements have been proven to boost brain function. After that, I continued taking it because I noticed that my skin was getting smoother, too.

I think my appetite might have started buggering off around that time. I had then stocked my snack cupboard to the ridiculous brim for the exam period, expecting it to be all gone within weeks. After my exams, the cupboard remained untouched, still stocked well enough to last me through an apocalypse and a half.

 

Snack cupboard

(I don’t have a photo of my snack cupboard in England, but it’s bigger than this one I had in Singapore about 5 years ago.)

 

After my exams, I would literally not eat until about 7 pm when Piers would get home from work and we would have dinner together. For a couple of months, there were many days in which I ate just one meal a day. (Other days, I would force myself to eat something in the day.) But dinner would be a huge meal, which made up the calories my sedentary lifestyle needed, although it was probably not too good for general health.

So, today, I woke up and I looked at the bottle of fish oil capsules on my table and something clicked in my brain. I got up and Googled “fish oil suppresses appetite” and there was my answer.

While the evidence is compelling — the articles confirm it and my timeline fits — I can’t say for sure that fish oil is the main cause of my lost appetite. I suppose I will have to stop taking it for a while to see if the good ol’ appetite comes back. I only have 3.5 weeks left to eat my fill in Singapore!

If I am right, then I have found a way for me to maintain a healthy diet while at the same time benefit from the multitudes of health benefits of this supplement. I’ve never been able to stick to a healthy diet plan for my junk food cravings always got the better of me.

So, yay?

I do miss foodgasms, though, so now I’m kinda undecided what to do.

By the way, this is not an advertorial for fish oil or a recommendation to try it or whatever. Take it at your own risk and stick with reliable brands!

 

Update: 6 July 2017

Four years after publishing this post, I’m still getting questions about this, so I’m going to answer them here!

 

FISH OIL SUPPLEMENT FAQ

Q: What brand of fish oil did you use?

A: Seven Seas

 

Q: Can you show me a photo of the exact one you used?

A: I’m sorry, I can’t! Seven Seas has since updated its entire range of fish oils so the one I took isn’t there anymore. All I know is I chose a fish oil that promised to boost brain power and memory. :D

 

Q: So, which fish oil would you recommend?

A: Keeping in mind that I’m no expert, I would recommend reputable brands to be on the safe side, but also keep in mind that even reputable brands have been found to exaggerate the health benefits of their supplements. But, generally, what you want is Omega-3, so just look for that.

 

Q: Fish oil or cod liver oil?

A: I chose fish oil for its higher content of Omega-3.

 

Q: How many pills did you take daily and at what time, etc?

A: I don’t really remember, sorry. Just follow the instructions on the bottle!

 

Q: How long did it take before your appetite went away?

A: About two weeks.

 

Q: Did your appetite come back after stopping the supplements?

A: Yes! It probably took a few weeks for my appetite to go back to normal.

 

Q: Any other advice?

A: Yes. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Always do a lot of research before forming your own opinions, and consult your doctor when in doubt. If you’re pregnant or diabetic or have any major health conditions, definitely consult your doctor before taking any supplements!

 

 

Suddenly, my life has no more purpose

I woke up this morning feeling a sickening emptiness inside me.

Out of habit, I bounced out of bed to wash up so I could quickly have some breakfast to replenish liver glycogen.

But, as I was brushing my teeth, I found myself asking, “Why?”

I completed my California Fitness BodyAge Challenge yesterday, so there is no more reason to be obsessive over my diet anymore.

Groceries

I mean, I still recognise that a good diet is important for general well-being but, in the last two months, there was a purpose to my rigorous dieting.

I pushed myself way beyond comfort zone and was able to keep myself going with the promise of acing the challenge. (I am very inwardly competitive and derive great satisfaction from surpassing my limits.)

For the last two months, with the help of Dr Evil (my personal trainer Eric Goh), I made drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle.

  • I woke up mornings and ate breakfast.
  • I totally gave up desserts and junk food.
  • I went grocery shopping three to four times a week to ensure I was eating enough every day.
  • I started cooking my own meals.
  • I read endless nutrition articles every other day to perfect my diet.
  • I worked out at the gym twice a week and went running once a week.
  • I went to great lengths to make sure I ate the right things at the right time to maximise my workout gains.

I was even stricter on myself than Dr Evil was on me, diet-wise.

In contrast, two months ago, my lifestyle went roughly like this:

Wake up after 12 pm. First meal of the day is potato chips or salty crackers. Sometimes, first meal of the day happens after 7 pm. 80% of diet consists of fried food, junk food, soft drinks. Zero exercise.

The important thing to consider is that, even with such appalling lifestyle and diet, I was still slim and looked pretty much okay, outwardly, so there was no reason to do anything different.

But, with the California Fitness BodyAge Challenge, which measured my insides, I had to make changes to get results.

And I did make the changes and stuck to them rigidly.

Sandwich

I was even obsessive over it, but that’s how I tackle challenges and projects. I go all out and put my whole body and soul into it.

Maybe that’s my drug.

I feel a heightened sense of fulfillment from successfuly completing objectives over and beyond expectations.

There was purpose to my waking early every day. There was purpose to my eating lots of plain hard-boiled eggs and throwing all the yolks away. There was purpose to enduring the twice-weekly gym trips to torture my muscles. There was purpose to waking up at 6 am to run.

I even looked forward to every day with excitement.

Sheylara

The purpose was to get a good result for the BodyAge Challenge and also, very importantly, to not fail Dr Evil, who had dedicated his time and energy in helping me achieve my goals.

And, suddenly, now, it’s all over.

I won’t tell you my results yet because the challenge is not officially over. The other participants have yet to complete their sessions.

But it’s over for me and I feel very lost and empty.

I had a feast last night to celebrate. We had a buffet dinner at Curry Favor and I went crazy with the curries and rice and fried stuff. Even plain white rice has become a luxury for me because I haven’t been able to eat carbs after 6 pm for two months.

After that, we had the most amazing alcoholic ice cream at Udders (separate post on that to come).

Ice Cream

It was nice but, even then, the emptiness was already starting to build up within me.

There was a fear that I would wake up the next day feeling lost.

The fear was founded. I woke up today filled with dread.

After going “clean” for two months, I suddenly feel reluctant to stuff my body with salt and fats and other evil things. I feel at the same time repulsed and attracted to them.

I feel directionless. To eat or not to eat? I have the freedom to eat anything I want now and I find myself plagued with conflicting thoughts, instead.

Half

And, in fact, thinking about eating all the favourite foods I’ve been deprived of makes me feel even worse because I’d be undoing everything I’ve worked so hard for.

I realise I can still carry on with my “healthy lifestyle” and continue a clean diet (but being a lot less obsessive over it), and I will still continue an exercise routine.

But it’s not the same anymore.

There is no D-Day to look forward to. There is no prize at the finishing line. There is no Dr Evil to answer to. There is only the promise of a fitter, healthier, sexier me in the long run, but that’s not really something tangible or exciting to look forward to, so it can’t invoke the same kind of discipline.

Especially since I am already slim by nature without having to diet for it. I can eat Big Macs and fries every day and still look the same.

Sheylara

What I’m feeling now is akin to withdrawal. I was on a high of pursuing a goal intensely and now I’m crashing.

For two months, I was literally intoxicated on the excitement of reaching a goal. Now, the goal is gone, the adrenaline is gone, and I am on a total, devastating down.

I know what I’m feeling is temporary and I’ll get over it as I find new challenges and goals for myself. I get this all the time, with post-production blues.

But, in the meantime, I’m a sad little lost ghost and it’s not a good feeling.

Sheylara at the gym