Monday, March 26, 2018

Tips: Raise Your Standards!


After three years of struggling, I finally have the motivation to start living a healthy lifestyle again. All thanks to my favourite guru, Tony Robbins, and my fiancé who keeps motivating me to go further. It was hard at first because my body was already at resting phase for quite a long time. But after a series of unfortunate events in my life, I decided to put a stop to it and take control again. From there, my next journey began.



THE MIND GAME
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“The only thing that limiting you is your own mind”

It took me a while to realise that this phrase is true. What stopped me from achieving my goal was my mind, and what drives me to achieve my dream body now is also my mind. To help you understand that everything begins from our mind, let me take you on a flashback to a few years back.

To be honest, I had a funny workout loop. In 2015, while my body was still at its best shape, I hit the gym a couple of time and then I stopped. I was so negative and constantly commenting about how the environment inside the gym doesn’t suit me and so forth. As I failed to control my emotions which led me to complain on so many aspects of my life, I also failed to control my appetite. It was also because I had a rough year. So I complained and I ate – too much. 

Then the following year came and I started seeing some changes in my body. My hips were getting bigger, my cheeks were too chubby, and I couldn’t fit most of my clothes. I was freaking out – again – so I went to the gym – again. But this time the challenge was my self-confidence. The gym where I went to has a few treadmills facing the mirror. Because I hated looking at my reflection as it made me feel disappointed in myself, I decided to come to the gym just a few times and then I quitted. Instead of changing my mindset, I gave up on myself. My mind was not strong enough to overcome the negative thoughts – I told myself that it’s too hard to do it this time and kept dwelling on the past.

One year went by so fast I could see more and more changes happening to my body. In 2017, I was at my heaviest. The pressure had increased. That year, I swear, was the most difficult one compared to the previous years. There were more clothes left unworn because I couldn’t fit in any of it. I would avoid public places and meeting people. My mind was always negative all the time. I would look at myself in the mirror and feeling pity because the person I saw was different from the one I knew before. I tried consuming weight lost supplement and I did lose some weight but it didn’t last long because it was a bit expensive. I also tried going to the gym again a few times but I didn’t push myself harder because my mind was at the negative zone. How can I help motivating myself if I was not in a positive state of mind?

MIND POWER IS THE KEY
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I became serious in taking care of my health and fitness at the beginning of this year. Every day I will push myself to go to the gym and control my food intake per day based on calorie counting. Until today, it’s been almost three months since the first day I hit the gym and watching over what I eat. So far, I’m happy with the progress and seeing some small changes happening to my body motivates me to go further.

The question is how is this experience different from the previous ones? How did I achieve these small changes? What makes me maintain the momentum I have now?

The answers to all of these questions are three elementary principles of change that I applied in my life and mind power. I was reading ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ when I discovered the part that I was missing to drive me towards achieving my goal. I’ve learned a lot from the first few pages of this book especially about how to create lasting change. The moment I decided to raise my standards was the moment my life starting to change. I changed what I demanded of myself. I wrote all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate and all the things that I aspired to become – just as the book told me to do. Then I changed my limiting beliefs and my strategy.

One of the examples I did to change my limiting belief was I changed my mindset from hating to look at myself in the mirror at the gym to seeing myself through the mirror as the motivation for me to go further. When I look at myself in the mirror now, it pushes me more because I can see the difference in the way I looked then and the way I look now. It’s amazing!

To maintain my momentum, I practice mind power. Our mind has the power to push ourselves to go beyond our limits. But we are often underestimating it or lacking of goals to fuel up the power to achieve it. When I was at the gym in Brisbane, I could run on a treadmill to the highest speed of 10 over 10. The first time I hit the gym this year, I had always wanted to run at a speed of 8 over 10 but I didn’t know when or how I would achieve that goal until recently I was challenged by my fiancé to hit 5.00 km of run. So I set the target to 5.00 km, raise the achievement target a bit within 50 minutes, and running at a modest to highest speed. Guess what? I managed to run 5.00 km within 49 minutes and 31 seconds. Not only that, I also achieved my goal to run at a speed of 8. Oh, it felt so good and energetic!



































After reading my stories, now you know how much our mind plays the power on shaping our future. Not only our mind but the decision we make and the action we take both give impacts on us. But truly, the hidden secret is merely our mind power. If it wasn’t because of the challenge I received, I wouldn’t be pushing my mind over ‘its limit’ – or so I thought there was a limit!

SUPPORT SYSTEM MOTIVATES YOU FURTHER
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One of the reasons why I persist on this journey is because of the support I received every day from my surrounding. My fiancé is my biggest supporter. He never gives up motivating me. I’m grateful to have a man like him in my life. Because God knows how stubborn I can be sometimes – I had a friend who decided to give up on me because of my stubbornness!

Apart from that, the number one reason is because of my mind power. Even if I have the whole world supporting me, it takes my mind power to push me to go further. A person who has everyone in his family going against his decision to do something big could achieve his goal because of his mind power. I wish I could explain about mind power better but this is the most I can try.

Gratitude is another reason that helps me a lot throughout the process. Back then, no matter how big the effort I put into losing weight, I was still unhappy because the idea that people would still be seeing me as ‘the chubby one’ was haunting me. I couldn’t enjoy the progress because I cared about what people think more than what I think about myself. But now that I’ve learned what important is how I feel about myself and the progress I’m seeing, I’ve become more of a grateful person than I was.

There are many women or young girls out there who could be facing the same thing as I do. Some might be the victim of bullying or some struggle to shine like others. I understand how hard it is to go through this issue. Hence, I made the decision to share about my fitness journey and progress on my website and social media so that I can help to encourage these women and young girls to strive on bringing out the best version of them.





Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Beauty: That Smokey Eye!

Last Sunday, I had the privilege to do collaboration with Less Is More. The owner, Kathy Lim, is a friend of mine. She wanted to recreate a look which was inspired by a Russian makeup artist, Asli Asli, and I said yes to the offer.

We started early in the morning so that we could capture the video with natural lighting. There were a few challenges we had to go through during the process. Kathy almost gave up but thanks to her determination she managed to finish the makeup look. The result was amazing and beautiful, I still can’t move on from it.




To be honest, I can see a lot of improvement in Kathy's makeup skills. The first time she did my makeup was for my brand's photoshoot in 2015 and I instantly fell in love with it. This time she took it to the next level! I was once told that my facial feature was too soft for smokey eye look. Hence, I’m very impressed that Kathy actually managed to do this makeup on me!

Most of the beauty products used for this look are from Makeup Forever, Laura Mercier, Stila, Urban Decay, Fenty Beauty and a few more brands. You can check them out on Less Is More’s instagram. If you wish to recreate this look, you can watch the tutorial on their instagram too.

I would love to repeat this look again someday for certain occassions. It’s perfect for nighttime events! Let me know what you think about this look by commenting below or if you’d like to experience Kathy’s magical touch or to know more about other services they do, just click the link above and you can find their contact details.




Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tips: Spend or Invest?

Yesterday I gave you a scenario and question on my instastory about what will you do if you were given RM 10,000 cash by your boss. The result was 52% higher on “invest it in unit trust” and 48% on “spend it very wisely”.

Before I explain the best answer to you, the reason why I ask you this question is to see how many of you really have the knowledge about finance. Apart from that is also to educate you about financial freedom.

SPEND IT WISELY OR INVEST IT?
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There is no right or wrong answer to this question but the best one. So, what will I do with the ten thousand ringgit? If I were to be given such amount of money, I would invest it on unit trust. Oh, I know what you’re thinking – but why? Isn’t it risky?

Here is why I chose this answer.

My goal is to become financially free in few years time from now insha’Allah. Financial freedom is financial independence. It is about you living your life freely – having enough wealth to live on without working. For example, some people set a target to reach financial freedom at the age of 45. Meaning, by this age, assuming they have reached the target, they are already living their life to the fullest. They don't have to work and go through tons of stress at work merely for the sake of survival. Instead, the money works on its own. All they have to do is just enjoy life and they have all the time to spend with their family. Isn’t that great? But the question now is how can I achieve this goal?

The answer is through investments. There are many types of investments you can find out there but an example I gave here is unit trust investment. How does it work? Before I can start investing, obviously, I need money. To own the money, I must work and do savings. To do this, I must learn financial planning – dividing my salary according to the category of my expenses every month.

One of the categories I have is Financial Freedom Account (FFA). Let us say I have collected RM 1,000 in this category. What I can do with this saving is I can invest it in unit trust. I know some of you might be questioning the risk but if you have the knowledge or a trusted Unit Trust Consultant (UTC) like I do, you will not be too questioned about the risk. In my case, my younger sister is a licensed UTC and I can trust her to manage my investments. So, from my investment in these unit trusts, I apply the concept of compounding.

Wait, compounding? What does that mean?

Keep reading as I explain the meaning of compounding in the next section.

THE POWER OF COMPOUNDING
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You see, rich people became rich because they understand the reason why they have to work at the first place. They know what to do with their money later on and they understand the power of compounding.

Compounding is the ability of an asset to generate earnings, which are then reinvested in order to generate their own earnings. In other words, compounding refers to generating earnings from previous earnings.

Albert Einstein once said that compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He then continues by saying, those who understand it, earn it and those who don't, pay it. This shows that even Einstein knew about investing including the benefits of compound interest.

To make you understand this concept, I will take my investment story as an example. So, what will happen with the money I invested on unit trust? Every end of the year I will receive dividend from this investment. Instead of taking the dividend and spend it on material things, I will reinvest the dividend so that it can generate more dividend. So if I reinvest this year’s dividend, it means that the amount of dividend I will receive next year will be more than the amount of dividend I received this year. That is what it meant by the power of compounding.

I wonder if you have read a legend about an Indian emperor who was amazed by a new game called chess. The inventor showed this game to the emperor. Because he was so impressed by this game, he asked the inventor to name his reward. The man replied by saying that in return he wants one grain of rice for the first square, two grains for the next square, three for the next, four for the next and so on for all sixty-four squares with each square having double the number of grains as the square before.

The emperor agreed and amazed by the man who asked for such a small reward – or so he thought. A week later, his treasurer came back and informed him that the reward would add up to an astronomical sum. Meaning, far greater than all the rice that could conceivably be produced in many centuries!

Just like the emperor, we are all similar in some ways. We find it difficult to understand how fast functions like doubling makes numbers grow. But that is how it works in compounding interest and you can apply this in your financial planning.

THE EARLIER YOU START THE LONGER THE TIME FRAME
———

I am blessed to have a father who knows how to manage our finance at the earliest stage of our life. When we were still young, he taught us to save money. Each one of us has our own piggy bank. After school, we would put our remaining coin in our piggy bank. Once they were full, he would bring us to the bank to put all the money in our accounts. When we turned 18, he opened an investment account for each of us because he knew that the earlier we invest, the more we can generate our earnings because of the longer time frame. To be frank, we didn’t know about this until these recent years.

I’ve realised how lucky we are to have what we have now and I think the more I learn, the more eager I wanted to share this knowledge to you because I understand the struggle we have to face to make a living in this era. Even baby-boomers are still keeping their position at work for the sake of living. I’ve shared to you the things I had to go through to find a secured job and stable income in my previous post, it wasn’t good. So, I’m sharing you this in the light of helping you to survive the economic crisis we are facing today or at least to help you survive.

You, who are reading this, could be a father or a mother and I am more than happy to know if what I share to you in this post is giving you some enlightenment on how you can shape your children’s future. If you want to know more about financial planning or unit trust investment, the person who I would highly recommend is, of course, my sister. Because of our own experiences, I think we both share the same value here.

Before I put a full stop to this post, I really hope you have gained something valuable today. I will share more in my next post insha’Allah. If you’re interested to find out more about what happens to me now especially on how I deal with my body issue, subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on my next blog post “In the Game Again”.






Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Setback Story

As much as I wanted to keep my story successful, but reality hit me in mid 2015. I had to go through some setbacks which caused me to bounce back to where I was before I lost 15 kilos. In this post, I will share the story of my setbacks – what causes me to go from 55 kilos to 80 kilos, and the lessons you can learn from it.

TOP OF THE WORLD – AND DOWN
———

The beginning of 2015 was everything that I’ve ever dreamed in life. I had just graduated from uni and conquered Mount Kinabalu at the end of 2014, life felt more like at the top of the world that time. I was energetic, excited and always looking up for challenges. I felt like nothing could stop me from getting what I want. But that’s where the problem actually begins.

Just like other fresh graduates, I was looking for a secured job. So, I started applying it online and offline. Months later, I still haven’t received any offers except one from Universiti Sains Malaysia but it wasn’t a secured job offer and no allowance was given so I decided to decline the offer. While waiting for a job opportunity, I started my own brand, Pastels by Ieka Ahmad, in early 2015. I was so in love with my business that it distracted me from feeling sad over not receiving a single job offer.

Not long after, that was when my life started to become unstable. You see, the thing about expectation is, it disappoints us when we fail to achieve it. Back then, I expected myself to have a great and stable job because in my mind I deserved it. After months of waiting, I finally received a job that I really liked and that was from FashionValet. I was so happy when I read the email and I even searched for a potential place to stay in Damansara. However, my father disagreed with the offer because it didn’t match with my degree. My heart was crumbling. Realising the reasoning behind his disapproval was somewhat logic I had no choice but to let it go. But I was already feeling rebellious on the inside.

The second time I received an offer from a big company was from Love To Dress (now known as Olloum) and I had to turn it down too. Because I waited for this opportunity for so long but I had to let it go because of the disagreement, it built anger, frustration, rebellious feeling, and resentment in me. The thing about these feelings, if you keep them too long in your heart, your mind will slowly be shifted towards negativity. I didn’t learn about this then, but I understand so much about it now.

NEGATIVE FEELINGS ATTRACT NEGATIVITY
———

So what happened to me next?

The downfall of everything I’ve built in the last one year and a half. That happened.

My expectation was way too high it frustrates me when I couldn't get it. So, for months I was carrying the negative feelings inside of me. When my father disagreed with the second offer I received, I told myself internal and externally that I wouldn’t bother about anything else anymore. I said to myself that I don’t care about my life anymore!

What I didn’t realise was I was sending this message to the universe. It’s in the law of attraction that what you seek is seeking you. I was, during that time, seeking not to care about anything else in my life and that was what I received slowly. I started not to care about what I eat and it led to my weight gain. From gaining weight, my appearance started to change too. I had lost my self-confidence. I detached myself from social world. I was changing into someone who has no peace within her. It was war on the inside. It pulled me deep into the darkness. From body weight issue to work and relationship issue, I felt unhappy and angry all the time. Nothing seems right to me. It was as if I was a black hole and every negative thing was suck into me.

I didn’t realise I was so heavy until I weighed myself on a scale. The feeling was miserable and helpless. All the time I kept saying there’s no way I could help myself losing weight again. I avoided meeting up with friends because first impression was always unpleasing and I would cry myself at night thinking about what I have done to myself. As time went by, I developed social anxiety, and more and more weddings I had to skip because of it.

LEARN TO CONTROL YOUR MIND
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How did I escape from this misery was not easy. It took me months to finally be where I am right now – which I will share in my next post soon insha’Allah. But if I could share you a lesson or two that I’ve learned from this experience is to take control of your mind and reshape your expectation whenever you feel frustrated. Or simply do the things that could lead you to achieving your expectation if you can.

What do I mean by this? Here is a simple explanation. In my situation where I didn’t receive any job offers despite the fact that I’m a degree holder, I let myself suck all of the negative feelings because my reality didn’t match my expectation. What I could do then was I could control my mind and tell myself that if I don’t get the job that I want, that’s fine. It doesn’t mean that I’m a failure or that it’s the end of the world. Changing expectation means changing the idea that I deserve to have a secured job and stable income because I have a degree from overseas to even if I am a degree holder, it doesn’t necessarily mean I cannot be successful in my business.

Here is another example – your expectation says that if you are thin, you are happy. This means that if you are gaining weight, you will not be enjoying your life because you are unhappy. If you keep this expectation for the rest of your life, you will be living a miserable life forever until you die and that is not what we want. What you can do is you can reshape this expectation or you can do something to achieve that expectation. Instead of thinking that you’re the happiest person in the world if you are thin, you can change it to as long as I am healthy, I am happy. Or if you like to keep that expectation, you can start exercising.

What I’m teaching you now is to take control of your mind. It’s important to practice this because when you are in a situation where your mind keeps dwelling on the things that don’t meet your expectation, it’s not easy to think positively because apart from your expectation, there is a thing called social pressure that you have to face. Imagine you have a degree holder from abroad and still can’t find a job. Then you have your mother’s friends who constantly asking if you have a job yet or not. I’m sure a lot of us can relate to this example. Tell me what do you feel? It was an unpleasing feeling, right? That’s right. Failure to control your mind will lead you to your self-destruction.

STOP AUTOPILOTING AND TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE AGAIN
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The best things happen outside of your comfort zone. It is time to stop the autopilot button in your brain and start taking control of your life again. Be it about work, relationship or body issue, if you are still in autopilot mode, you will not be enjoying your life.

Finally, I hope this post will help you go through the hardest phase in your life. Just remember that someday you will look back at life and be smiling that you are stronger now because of the experience you’ve gone through before.





Monday, March 5, 2018

Tips: How I Lost 15 Kilos in One Year

I started working out about 5 years ago. I had no idea where the road would take me. All I knew was I had to change myself for the better. So, from there, my lifestyle started to change too.

If you think I’ve never experienced body humiliation, then you’re wrong. In fact, it has been a long battle for me since I was a kid. The road was hard and brutal. There were times when I had to go through emotional bullies – other kids would be laughing at my body and called me by harsh names. Because the emotion I felt during that time was too hard to face, I decided to repress it.

But that was in the past.

As much as the story sounds interesting to tell, that is not what this post is about. If I decide to share the story to you, what I will only get is empathy and that is not my goal today. The aim of this post is to motivate you and share some of the things I’ve learned through experience that you can take and apply it in your life. In this post, you will learn about the type of food and exercises that I did to lose about 15 kilos in one year and a half.

THE ROUTINE
———

I was an undergraduate student when I was a gym junkie. The thing about studying in Australia is it was more relaxing compared to studying in Malaysia because the amount of subjects I had to take per semester was merely four. So, obviously, time was not a problem for me to spend at the gym.

Every day I would wake up as early as 5.00 am in the morning or earlier (depending on the season) to pray. This is essential to help me in my spiritual building. After the ritual, I would start my morning with a 30-minute running session (or sometimes an hour) and a half an hour body toning and strength session. The last part is important because it will help you burn more calories even when you are sleeping. Give yourself about 15 minutes break before allowing any water intake in your body because when you workout, your body produces heat and it’s best to let your body temperature cool down first before drinking water.

About 15 to 20 minutes later, then I would start my breakfast with a cup of hot green tea. This is because green tea is a natural remedy to increase our body metabolism and I needed that to accelerate fat burning in my body. For energy, I would either have muesli with almond milk, wholegrain bread with peanut butter spread or just a banana. Another tips from me is, after working out, you will definitely feel hungry. So, to satisfy your hunger, it’s best to have any meal that contains fibre because it will help to promote the movement of material through your digestive system.

THE RULE IS GREEN AND NO OIL
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My biggest secret is in this section! It is true, to get the best result, you will only need to invest 30 percents of your effort at the gym. The rest of it depends on how you control your diet – the amount and the type of food you take into your mouth.

When I was in Australia, it was easy to watch the calories intake per day because it wasn’t easy to find halal food everywhere so most of the time I would cook for myself. The rule is more green and no oil on the plate!

For lunch, I would cook myself a bowl of spinach soup with tomatoes (good for the skin), a handful of brown rice, and oven-baked chicken breast. I couldn’t recall the overall calories for this meal but it’s enough to satisfy your hunger and has enough nutrients.

EVERYDAY IS CHEAT DAY
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The thing about me is I don’t like the idea of one day cheat day. Because I would binge eating everything that I’ve been craving for on that day and it’s impossible to satisfy all your cravings in one day!

Instead of doing that, I would listen to what my body wants. If it’s necessary to take or I haven’t had it in a long time, then I would allow my body to take it. By doing so, I won’t have to crave so much to a point where it will affect my eating emotion. But this is my opinion and I did it based on my understanding about my body. You will have to understand your body first to choose which routine suits you.

INTERMITTENT FASTING
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Back then, I didn’t know that what I was doing was called ‘Intermittent Fasting’. I rarely had dinner or any meals at night. The time I would spend on eating would be from morning as early as breakfast time until 6.00 pm. This means I only eat during the day and if I suddenly crave for something, I would eat a banana or almonds.

And again, please understand your body first and learn more about this dieting pattern before applying it in your life.




So that is all about my diet and workout routines. The result was I went from 70 kilos to 55 kilos between 2013 and 2014. It was amazing to see the impact it gave to my emotion and life! I will share more tips, the story of my setbacks and how I encountered it, and also my current workout routine soon. Insha’Allah.



Lastly, I hope that you have gained something beneficial in this post and that I hope it will be the beginning of you towards achieving your weight goal. Remember that the small steps you take today will lead you towards your goal. Follow me on my social media or simply subscribe to my blog to be the first one to read my latest post.