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Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting Fit: Finding Time to Exercise

"I have no time to exercise" is probably one of the most commonly-heard reasons to not exercise.

Yes, we're all very busy be it with work, family, school, etc. And there are times that we're just so mentally-drained and all we wanna do is relax or do things that don't require much exertion of energy.

Here are some of my personal tips on how you can find time for exercise.

#1: Appreciate Exercise

You can Google up all sorts of articles telling you about the benefits of exercise which is why I'm not going to echo them but I will tell you what I've personally experienced:
  • Better body shape eg. more definition in my arms, smaller and less jiggly thighs, narrower hips, tummy doesn't bulge out, etc. 
  • Increased strength and stamina -- I can lift heavier objects with less effort, I can run faster and further and I can climb a hill without needing to stop many times for rest
  • Stress relief, better energy and deeper sleep -- Exercise releases happiness-inducing endorphins to relief stress and I find that I'd have better energy throughout the day if I exercised in the morning. I also sleep better at night.
  • Positivity -- When life's getting me down and negativity creeps in, I find the sense of accomplishment from my exercise when I can so better in a tough routine or hit a new personal record when I run.

#2: Enjoy Exercise

To many people, exercise can be a dreadful chore. For a person that doesn't play sport, exercise was something that I only came to like with time. I started enjoying it from witnessing how it has helped improved myself physically and emotionally. Of course, finding joy in exercise can simply be doing the activity (dancing, badminton, etc.) with a friend. If you don't like to jog, don't just force yourself to do it halfheartedly. It's either find an activity that you like or learn to like the activity. I used to loathe jogging/running but I've actually grown to like it.

#4: Exercise Effectively

My initial idea of exercise was jogging, swimming or going for aerobic classes. The problem is that the first two exercises take up a lot of time to burn any significant amount of calories and classes are usually an hour-long (or annoyingly crowded).

I'm very glad that I've gotten to know about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which basically involves doing a series of short high intensity bursts of exercises. In other words, I get a lot more done ie. more calories burned in a much shorter amount of time. Also...

"You burn fat faster, increase your HGH levels (the hormone that burns fat while keeping muscle), and produce EPOC (an effect where your body continues to burn calories for hours after your workout).  Basically, you can speed through a workout and continue to keep your metabolism up for 24 hours after you work out!" - C25

I go for my Circuit25 sessions on average twice a week. About 2-3 times a week I'll extract the moves that I've learned and allocate 30 minutes to do warm-up, HIIT, strength training and stretching. Being able to do an effective exercise in 30 minutes means I have less room for excuses. 30-minutes is an episode of "How I Met Your Mother", 4 YouTube videos, pressing the snooze button 3 times less...

#3: Make Exercise a Habit

It's difficult to transition from doing little to no exercise to exercising regularly. In my case, I was somewhat forced to exercise because I was very determined to lose weight and I signed up for a gym membership. To be frank, that ignited the regular activity. But once I'd gotten the hang of exercise, it started to feel weird if I did not exercise. I would feel lethargic and grumpy even.

Getting into the habit of exercise is very unlikely to happen overnight so, take it one step at a time. Nonetheless, you have to understand that seeing results from exercise will not happen overnight either. Just stick with it and keep progressing -- you'll experience the benefits of exercise soon enough.

Here's a good read on how you can [overcome the barriers to exercise].

If you have any questions for Jeremy regarding fitness or diet, please don't hesitate to ask them in the comment section below.

Read more!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: SilkyGirl Hi-Definition Waterproof Mascara

SilkyGirl is one of those brands that I wouldn't spend more than 5 minutes looking at. It's not because I'm a brand snob but the mere sight of the tacky packaging is sometimes enough to put me off. Still, I'll have to admit that Silkygirl has its gems. One in particular that got me totally excited were the Moisture Max Lipglosses.

Having read Eli's (So Loverly) rave over the SilkyGirl Hi-Definition Waterproof Mascara, I was game to try. While I wouldn't pay over a hundred Ringgit for a Diorshow mascara, I have no problem paying less than RM20 for a mascara that supposedly gives a similar effect.

Let's just say I was impressed. Read on.

I appreciate that even though this mascara has such an affordable price, the folks at Silkygirl actually bothered to give us a non-generic brush. The stubby silicone bristles allow me to get the brush very close to my lash line to build up the volume and the bulb-like portion is great for coating the corner lashes as well as the bottom lashes.

Ask me if this compares to Diorshow, I'll say no because from my experience, Diorshow (original one) gives quite a good amount of volume that the SilkyGirl Hi-Definition mascara lacks. However, SilkyGirl does give me some reasonable lengthening, the bristles separated my lashes well and it keeps a curl up. All-in-all, it's a reliable day-to-day mascara. But that's just because I crave dramatic volume when it comes to mascaras.

This mascara did fail in terms of being waterproof. I've learned my lesson to not wear this mascara when I know I'll be working out later in the day because my sweat is gonna get it off. On the plus side, this mascara is a lot easier to remove compared to some of my other waterproof mascaras.

SilkyGirl Hi-Definition Waterproof Mascara retails for RM18.90. I got mine at 20% discount for only RM15.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Tutorial: Peek-a-Rainbow

Hey peeps!
I finally uploaded the video tutorial (about time!) of the Rainbow Liner look. It's not an exact duplicate of the first attempt but the way it was created is the same.

Details on the look and tutorial after the jump!

If you watch the video, you will realize that this look actually isn't complicated. In fact, only one brush was used. The main challenge involved is budgeting enough space to place all of the colors and also blending in all the colors from one to another. You can definitely expect to be using more than 7 colors! 


Items Used:
I Nuovi Pencil Liner in White
Manli 80-color Eyeshadow Palette
Maybelline Hypersharp Liner
MAC Glitter in Reflects Antique Gold

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Getting Fit: 6 Diet & Fitness Myths

Hands up if you’ve heard of the following myths before:
  1. As a female, I shouldn't do strength training as it will make me look bigger and muscular. 
  2. Doing 100 sit-ups a day will trim my belly. 
  3. Dieting is enough to make me lose weight. I don't need to exercise. 
  4. As long as I exercise, I don't have to worry about what I eat. 
  5. I'm genetically big, diet and exercise won't work on me. 
  6. I'm naturally thin already. I don't need to exercise or watch what I eat. 

Have you ever heard of those myths before? 
Have you ever wondered if there was any truth in those myths? 

Check out what trainer, Jeremy Bird, has to say about those myths.

The truth about weight loss is simple – good eating habits and proper exercise. Yet, many of us are inclined to buy into all sorts of unbelievable myths in hope that they would work on us since it apparently worked on others. I’ve come across a whole lot from drinking lime juice to self-heating slimming cream to vibrating waist belts. You don’t need me to tell you that they don’t work, do you?

To start off with, I’ve narrowed down to 6 Diet & Fitness Myths that we commonly hear. Let’s see how true those myths really are…

Myth #1: As a female, I shouldn't do strength training as it will make me look bigger and muscular. 

Stength training is a very important part of a woman’s workout regime. Although cardio burns more calories than strength training during the workout itself, strength training burns more calories after the workout, for the next 24 hours. This is called the afterburn. Also muscle burns more calories than fat therefore speeding up the metabolism. -- Jeremy

Many of my female friends would not even think of doing any strength training in fear that they’d develop manly arms. Despite their warnings, I did strength training anyway. I’m not hesitant to do boy push-ups and tricep-dips. Did I get manly arms? Nope. Rather, my arms are now more toned, defined and less jiggly when I wave!

Myth #2: Doing 100 sit-ups a day will trim my belly. 

Cardio exercises and a healthy diet burn fat around your stomach, not sit ups. Sit ups tone your abdominal muscles, even if they’re under a layer of fat. -- Jeremy

I’ve definitely been into the whole sit-ups thing. Not until I started properly exercising did I realize that there are so many types of exercises for the core rather than just do the classic sit-up.

Myth #3: Dieting is enough to make me lose weight. I don't need to exercise. 

A weight loss diet can help to lose some weight but it needs to go hand in hand with exercise to maximise results. And diet alone will not get you fit. -- Jeremy

Yes, dieting alone can help you lose weight but chances are, you’re going to feel like crap. I know I did then I tried that a few years back. I was low on energy, stamina and strength. I had to be very restrictive with my food. Worst of all, it took quite a long time for drastic results to show.

Myth #4: As long as I exercise, I don't have to worry about what I eat. 

Exercise will help your fitness levels but diet is a huge factor when it comes to body composition. You can be fit but not the weight or body shape you‘re aiming for. -- Jeremy

When I started getting fit, my aim was to lose weight but I seriously thought that if I just exercised more, I wouldn’t have to change much of my diet. When I eventually knew better and developed healthier eating habits along with exercise, the results were faster and more drastic.

Myth #5: I'm genetically big, diet and exercise won't work on me. 

Any body type can benefit from diet and exercise. Changing your weight is mathematics; weight loss requires consuming less calories than you burn, regardless of body type. -- Jeremy

It’s great to accept who you are but if your weight or shape or fitness ability is upsetting you, then perhaps you should do something about it. Do it the right way and progress at your own pace. If you keep at it diligently enough, you’ll watch yourself transform.

Myth #6: I'm naturally thin already. I don't need to exercise or watch what I eat. 

We all need to follow a balanced diet and take moderate exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Thin doesn’t make you fit or healthy. And the only way to make those muscles toned is to exercise. -- Jeremy

Naturally thin folks are the envy of those who aren’t. Unfortunately, naturally thin doesn’t translate to being fit. So, even if you’re not looking to lose weight, there are many many ways you can still benefit from exercise and eating a balanced diet.

Have you ever heard of those myths before? 
Are there any other myths that you need to have cleared up? 

If you have any questions for Jeremy regarding fitness or diet, please don't hesitate to ask them in the comment section below.

Read more!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Any Plans for the Weekend?

Finally, it's the weekend! Work's gonna take up some extra time next week so I'm making the best out of my weekend. I already have a few things lined-up for the next few days.

How are you spending your weekend?

Scoring yourself samples of Kiehl's new Clearly Corrective range, perhaps? Read on for details!

1. Pick Up Samples 

In the month of March, drop by a Kiehl's counter or outlet to sample the products from their new whitening range, Clearly Corrective. Once you've tested out the samples, leave your feedback on the Kiehl's Facebook page and you may be in the running to win a full-sized Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution worth RM200. They're giving out 1 bottle a week!

2. Well-deserved Pampering 

I'm scheduled for a facial on Saturday morning while spending some quality time with my cousin. Since I had a pretty good experience the last time I was there, I'll be returning to SanPuri Beauty.

3. Get Active

I usually don't have the luxury to spend more than an hour to workout on weekdays. To compensate, I'd spend a weekend morning in the gym. Mostly because on weekends, the gym isn't crowded. On top of that, I'll be going for a hike, which I haven't been in months.

4. Hug the Cat 

The one activity that I look forward to most is cuddling with my cat. I don't live with her (condo restrictions)so being able to hug her will be the highlight of my weekend.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

"Connie, you look tired..."

After 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, this is as "well-rested" as I can manage. I'm aware that I "look tired". If I hear someone say that to me one more time I'm gonna go berserk!
For the gazillion-th time, I feel fine! I'm not tired! T_T It's not like I haven't been doing something about those puffiness and dark circles.

I'll show you the treatments that I've tried recently after the jump.

In the recent few months I've tried:
  • Melvita Naturalift Youthful Skin Complex for Eyes and Lips
  • Garnier Brightening Eye Roll-On
  • Clinique All About Eyes
Melvita's a brand new all-organic cosmetics line in our shores and I was impressed with their huge array of products. I was given the Naturalift Youthful Skin Complex for Eyes and Lips (RM163/15ml) to try and um, if it worked I wouldn't be writing such a post. To be fair, it wasn't meant to treat dark circles and puffiness. Regardless, I didn't experience any reduction in lines. My eye area did feel a bit more moisturized and the the texture of the eye cream wasn't greasy. I didn't use the product on my lips because the formula contains beeswax and my lips aren't very fond of that.

The Garnier Roll-On (RM24.90/15ml)  is a pretty popular product and it supposedly contains caffeine which is claimed to be a very good ingredient for dark circles. Perhaps the caffeine dosage in this roller isn't very potent because it did nothing for me either. The roller feels good to massage the eye area and it helps slightly with the puffiness but the effect doesn't last long. Out of the roller ball is a clear lightweight serum that sits well under makeup. I'm actually wondering right now if I could use coffee bags on my eyes...

Clinique All About Eyes (RM130/15ml)  was once a very popular eye product in the market. I tried it once a long time ago when dark circles weren't my concern. Now trying it again, I'm left wondering why this product doesn't work on me. Why do I have to fall into the lower percentile where a popular product doesn't work on me? Compared to the the other two eye treatments, this one has a creamier texture but it isn't heavy. I got some hydration out of it. Better than nothing, I suppose. *groans*

Fun Fact: Did you know that eye treatment products are typically 15ml and have a shelf life of 6 months once opened? In order to prevent eye infections, eye products should not be used after 6 months and 15ml is plentiful for 6 months.
Despite the fact that these eye treatments did squat for my eyes, I'm not saying that they will not work on others. Out of all skincare products, I'm quite convinced that eye care is the most subjective one of all. Once again, I'm already on to trying another eye treatment. I'm yet to decide if it works on me.

Contrary to obviousness, I don't have full (or even partial) makeup on wherever I go. For instance, I wouldn't be wearing makeup when I'm visiting a relative in the hospital or working out in the gym or going on a 4WD adventure. While I'm a huge supporter of makeup (hence the blog!), I don't wanna be someone who shouldn't be allowed into daylight without makeup on. I'm not looking for "naturally beautiful", mind you. I'd happily settle for "plain" as long as it's not "tired".

Do you have any suggestions for me (products aside) on how to battle them dark circles and puffiness? Or perhaps just a witty comeback for the next person that tells me I "look tired".

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Getting Fit: Diet Planning

That’s a somewhat typical Malaysian diet. That's a total of 3600 calories.

It took me awhile to realize that to lose weight, what I need to do is not go on a diet.
I need to change the way I eat.
Dieting is short term and so are the results. Changing your eating habits goes a much longer way.

Check out how you can start making changes to your diet.

The first thing you need to understand is that eating to lose weight actually involves eating and NEVER starving. That’s one of the most common methods used. Be it skipping meals or wearing corsets to avoid overeating.

The following are just some of the simple changes you can start making to kick start a healthier diet:
  • Reduce sugar, salt and refined carbohydrates
  • Choose healthier cooking alternatives eg. Baked vs fried
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables
  • Minimize unhealthy snacking
  • Eat consciously, slowly and stop when full
  • Avoid eating late at night

"One of the biggest mistakes people make is to eat late at night. This will store as fat in the body overnight and is actually an effective way of gaining weight." -- Jeremy, C25

Those were the changes that I started making early on this weight loss journey. While my weight reduced, my progress wasn’t as drastic as I had hoped. That’s when I decided to take my diet change to the next level.

Now, let’s move on to how you can plan your new diet to see better results on your weight loss:

How Much to Eat

Food contains calories which gives you energy to conduct your daily activities. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will put on weight. If you consume less calories than you burn, you will lose weight. Have a go at this calculator to determine how much calories you should consume to achieve your desired weight. The amount is dependent on the weight loss duration, your current weight, height and activity.

Ideally, you should not go below 1200 calories a day and that’s where I keep my daily intake at.

"Write down what you consume in a day, both food and drink, snacks and all. Even that cup of milo you had in the middle of the afternoon." -- Jeremy, C25

Counting calories can be tedious. Although I’m not obsessed with calorie-counting, I monitor what I eat so that I can estimate how much I’m actually eating in a day as well as determine which kind of food is contributing most to the calories I’ve consumed.
I use an app called My Fitness Pal for this purpose. It has a huge database of foods (including local foods) and you can sync it to the website.

What to Eat 

Sometimes we can’t tell from the amount and how full we feel. For instance, one would think that a handful of cashew nuts is a little snack but the calories are equivalent to a bowl of rice or 6 apples. For a small packet of McDonald’s fries I can have a filling meal of pasta with beef and vegetables.

Eating to lose weight does NOT mean NOT eating. Never let yourself go hungry. There are endless types of food out there and it’s up to your creativity how you want to have them.

 This is generally what I look out for when choosing my food:
  • High in fiber and nutrients: eg. Leafy greens, onion, bell peppers 
  • Low in fat, sugar and sodium (if I can help it): Cut down on mayonnaise, cream, soft drinks 
  • High in protein: eg. Beef, fish, eggs 
  • Unrefined carbohydrates: eg. Brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat 
  • Minimal amount of wheat, corn and dairy: Cut down on cookies/biscuits, wheat bread/noodles, cheese 
 This is an example of my daily meal at 1200 calories:

When it’s within my control, I make my own breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. When I’m out with friends or family, I eat like I’m not “on a diet”. I’ll still have my beer and eat cheesecake yet I know I’ll be fine because on normal days, I eat healthy and exercise.

When to Eat 

"Spread your daily intake into 5 small meals per day. Eating 2 or 3 meals per day will only starve your body for 5 or 6 hours and it’ll store fat to cope." -- Jeremy, C25

Many “dieters” don’t eat enough. Once again, NEVER starve yourself!
People look at my food thinking that I’m not eating enough and that I’m letting myself go hungry, which couldn’t be further than the truth.
The key is to eat frequently in smaller portions as well as eating quality food so that you feel fuller and more satisfied throughout the day.

If you have any questions for Jeremy regarding fitness or diet, please don't hesitate to ask them in the comment section below.

Read more!
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