Friday, January 30, 2009

What Do Food Cravings Mean?

Cravings are just your body's way of telling you what it needs and if not controlled, it might lead to over-eating, binging and eating all the wrong foods. Here some reasons why cravings happen:

1. You're just not eating enough food. This is true if you've been on a caloric deficit for some time due to dieting or food deprivation. Bump up your caloric intake with good amounts of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Resist diving into unhealthy junk/fast/processed foods, those are mostly empty calories with minimal or no nutrients that your body can use to functional optimally and healthily.

2. You're not getting enough of certain food groups or nutrients. Your body is usually very straight forward in telling you what it needs:

- If you crave carbs, it means your glycogen or blood sugar levels are low and you're lacking enough carbs to sustain your level of energy or activity. Bump up intake of high fiber, HIGH QUALITY carbs from fruits, starchy vegetables (potatoes/yams) and whole grains. Don't go reaching for cakes, donuts, pastries etc.

- If you crave protein, your body needs more protein to repair itself and grow. If your body wants a steak, so give it a steak!

- If you crave fatty foods, your body might be lacking in essential fats that it cannot produce and must be taken from food. Eat more healthy fats from seafood (salmon, tuna etc), oils (olive oil, coconut oil etc) and nuts (all types). Watch the portions though, fat is high in calories.

- Sometimes you even crave certain fruits or vegetables because your body is lacking certain vitamins, minerals or nutrients. By all means, go ahead and indulge, but make sure they are fresh, not canned or processed stuff.

3. You might not be getting enough fiber. Sometimes cravings happen because the food eaten gets digested and absorbed too fast, so you're hungry again and craving for more food shortly after your last meal. This is true when you eat a lot of junk/fast/processed foods. Fiber is known to increase satiety and fullness without adding many calories and aids proper digestion to make sure your body absorbs all the nutrients from the foods you eat. Bump up your fiber intake from fruits, vegetables and whole grains to eliminate constant food cravings. Your bowels will thank you for it too!

4. You might be addicted to certain foods. Certain food substances can have a drug-like effect on the body, and you might even experience withdrawal symptoms when you omit it. Some of the most addictive substances known to man are sugar, chocolate, caffeine and sodium (salt). The more you have it, the more you'll crave it next time. I'm not saying avoid them completely, just don't go overboard with it until you grow a dependency on it!

5. You are dehydrated. Thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger or cravings. You end up eating more than you should, when in fact, you just need to drink more water. Next time hunger or cravings hit you, try drinking 1-2 glasses of water and see if it stops. If it does, you're just thirsty.

How do we curb cravings?
Don't jump on any drastic diets that call for total elimination of certain food groups and/or advocate very low calories. It'll just jump start your body to some serious cravings later on. To curb cravings:

1. Make sure you eat enough lean protein.
2. Maintain a high intake of fiber and nutrients from fruits, vegetables and whole-grains. Basically, any plant-based food that grows naturally.
3. Eat healthy fats from oils, nuts and seafood.
4. Drink plenty of water.
5. Keep junk/fast/processed food to a minimum, so that your body doesn't start a cycle of cravings from excessive sugar, sodium and other addictive chemicals. Again, I don't preach deprivation (unless for medical reasons), just moderation.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Niu Year 09!

Happy Chinese New Year of the Moo Moo, from the Pooh! May abundant joy, good health and wealth flow out like diarrhea from a buffalo be plentiful to you in the coming year ahead!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Some Short Updates

Either I'm having a mental block, or just not motivated this week to write much. Just some short updates:

1. I didn't get the job, got the email today. According to the email, the interview went excellent but my skill set was not suited to fill the job. I did clarify that there was definitely some brushing up to do on the basics. I also made it clear that I would need some training but, I guess they needed someone urgently enough to be ready in the shortest amount of time upon confirmation of hiring to fill the job. What to do? Keep looking and I've registered at a few more job-seeking agencies. Really trying to look for something better here.

2. This week was SO tiring, that it's tiring just thinking about how tired I was throughout the week. I have a bloody bad habit to kill, which is sleeping at ungodly hours. I need to sleep in a timely manner and STOP sleep-depriving myself by indulging endlessly in YouTube and downloaded movies/tv series. I KNOW I'm tired, yet I won't go sleep. This is what the Chinese describe in Hokkien as 'hong so' (massage wind). Ok, the direct translation sucks and doesn't make any sense, and I don't know how to explain it. Please go ask the Hokkien friend next to you!

3. This is definitely a week of good food. Been feasting when I go out with friends or Bobo. I'm always wary of my physical condition and it feels like I'm getting bigger. Damnit, I'm screwing up my #1 new year's resolution. Usually even when I eat a lot, I don't generally gain more than a kilo because I work out regularly and will regulate myself before I go too far. In fact, I even look for a gym when I go traveling, especially when I stay at a good hotel. Can't help it, it's a habit so don't roll your eyes when I ask for gym time if you're traveling with me! On the other hand, my boobs chest feels bigger. Wanna touch? Come come...XD

4. Bobo has stopped working and will continue to focus on his studies. So he has more time for me, and I feel bad that I'm constantly tired lately. I know it's bad when even the thought of working out makes me cringe. Good news is, I'll be off work until Wednesday next week. Plenty of time to bury myself under the sheets and catch a good deal of slumber!

5. My not-so-trusty-anymore Wira is making some suspicious squeaking noises again. I HOPE it's nothing serious. That ol' bitch thing has been screwing me over since the past year.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Information Leak

Just came back from lunch at work. I got a shock when one of my colleagues mentioned that I went to interview in KL. Apparently, the production folks already know and told my colleague that I went for the KL interview. I didn't want to disclose anything until everything was confirmed and I've received the offer letter. In fact, if I didn't get it, I wouldn't have bothered saying anything at all.

More importantly, how DID the folks in production KNOW? I never told anyone from work. Neither did I update my status about it in Facebook. The ONLY place I mentioned the interview was here in my blog. So, someone at work DOES read my blog, which is very surprising to me. Then, I guess they would also know about my 'orientation' as well. However, I don't really care, because I had no intention to hide it in the first place, which shouldn't suggest that I go around announcing it.

Keeping my fingers crossed for Friday!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sudden Interview in KL

Just got back from KL today. I received a short interview call on Wednesday from a satellite broadcasting company in KL, thanks to my dear friend Vivien such for a prompt referral and recommendation. As you may know, I am seeking greener pastures in the career world but everything was quite abrupt. I guess I made a good impression during the short phone interview, so I got scheduled for an interview last Friday. It was all very sudden, and I found myself hesitating, since if confirmed, it would mean a big change for me; leaving my beloved Penang and relocating to KL for the job. Don't get me wrong, aside from a change in work, I hoped that it would lead to a change in location and perhaps involve some traveling too. In fact, aside from KL, I was hoping to find new work in Singapore or Australia too. But, I guess that I didn't prepare myself that it MIGHT happen this fast. Plus, this job has nothing to do with my current field of engineering. In my current job, I'm a product engineer dealing with desktop computers, and the new job would immerse me into the broadcasting and telco field.

I only gave confirmation to attend the interview by noon last Thursday, after some discussion with my mum. So, it was off to KL on Friday morning. We stayed at the JW Marriott, right next to Starhill Gallery and the Louis Vuitton store in Bukit Bintang, which is directly opposite Pavilion. We actually bought a digicam just for the trip on Thursday night, ending a long stretch of procrastination! However, after we settled into the nice 5-star hotel on Friday, I realized mum didn't bring the charger so I only managed to snap a picture of the room before it conked out. Also, I didn't bring my phone charger, so it bloody died on me that night too.

Anyways, I thought that the interview went well. Most of it was spent with my possible future boss explaining on the company's profile, function, process and job requirements. I made sure he understood where I was coming from. I definitely needed to brush up on the basics, require proper training and I made it clear that I was willing to learn. Credibility from my end came from 2.5 years in my current field of engineering, employment in one of the biggest MNCs in Malaysia, in-depth knowledge of my line of work and a good sense of communication and soft skills. What worries me would be the lack of experience and knowledge in broadcasting and telecommunications. I only took a few courses on related subjects during my tertiary years, and even so, it was at a very surface and basic level. I was honest about it, he was understanding and was no less enthusiastic during the interview. The company is a much smaller, foreign-based, service-providing company, so I feel that it has optimistic growth potential and more financial security than larger companies in light of the declining global economy foreseen this year.

I'll be getting an answer by the end of next week, right before CNY. I'm pray that this would be a stepping stone to a better quality of life and a different change of pace. If not, then I'll still keep my options open for something better to come my way. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Sorry...

I'm sorry that you think I look bad or ugly, I'm sorry that I wasn't born with a perfect face like yours.
I'm sorry that I can never say that another person looks ugly, I'm sorry if I think that no one should be judged based solely on their physical self.
I'm sorry about my facial scars, I'm sorry that my face was stricken with acne since my teenage years.
I'm sorry that it's not within my control although I've spent thousands on treatment and many products, I'm sorry that I can't afford much of that anymore.
I'm sorry if you think my dearest deserves someone much better looking or richer, I'm sorry that I try to make it up to him by loving him and treating him well.
I'm sorry if you think my hair makes me look stupid, I'm sorry if you think that even my eyebrows look ugly.
I'm sorry that I don't have nice teeth like you, I'm sorry that you might think I look like an idiot when I laugh.
I'm sorry that I don't have a good sense of fashion or style, I'm sorry that I can't afford to follow high fashion and need some time to work on my style.
I'm sorry that I keep wearing the same clothes sometimes, I'm sorry that I don't have a lot of nice clothes.
I'm sorry that I can't afford all the expensive places and stuff that you have, I'm sorry that I need to be careful with my cash.
I'm sorry that I can't afford to shop a lot, I'm sorry that I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
I'm sorry that I don't have a lot of money, I'm sorry that I have to save money for the future and in case of emergencies.
I'm sorry that my so-called father doesn't support my family at all, I'm sorry that my mum had to toil so hard for almost 15 years and single-handedly provide everything for my sister and I.
I'm sorry that I value the money I earn and don't want to simply spend, I'm sorry that I have to chip in to help my family.
I'm sorry that I can't live a lavish lifestyle like you, I'm sorry that I pity my mum and don't want to burden her financially ever again.
I'm sorry that my family is not rich nor perfect like yours, I'm sorry that we faced financial problems most of our lives.
I'm sorry that my family is not as close as yours, I'm sorry that my parents haven't spoken to each other willingly for a long, long time.
I'm sorry I'm not as popular as you, I'm sorry that I'm not as sought after as you.
I'm sorry that you think I'm pathetic, I'm sorry that I'm not as cool as you.
I'm sorry that I'm sensible and practical and choose to do the right thing, I'm sorry that I can't afford too many mistakes.
I'm sorry that my job isn't as glamorous or high paying as yours, I'm sorry that I need to work hard to keep myself afloat.
I'm sorry that I can't afford an expensive foreign car, I'm sorry that I only drive a Wira.
I'm sorry that I don't live in a luxurious apartment, condo, house or mansion in an upscale neighbourhood like you, I'm sorry my family could only afford a couple of low-cost 2-bedroom flats side-by-side.
I'm sorry that I'm haven't even been on a plane, I'm sorry that I haven't even been out of the country.
I'm sorry that I'm not well-travelled like you. I'm sorry that I can't afford much of that too.
I'm sorry that I don't have any famous or popular friends like you do, I'm sorry that I only have a handful of really good friends whom I love and cherish.
I'm sorry that I choose to be humble because I know there is always someone better than me, I'm sorry that I don't like use anyone's shortcomings to make them feel bad about themselves.
I'm sorry that I have low self-esteem and feel inferior sometimes, I'm sorry I don't suffer from superiority complex like you do and belittle everyone else.
I'm sorry that I can't be selfish, I'm sorry that I tend to think of others most of the time.

Most of all...

I'm sorry that I heard the stuff that you said behind my back and to my face.
I'm sorry that some of the things you said actually hurts.
I'm so sorry because no matter what, I will keep smiling and moving on.
I'm so sorry that my life won't stop just because you said those things.
I'm so sorry that I'm thankful that I'm not handicapped, terminally ill, destitute, homeless, or a bad person.

PS: This post has nothing to do with my BF or our relationship. Nor am I feeling sorry for myself, read it again to grasp the true meaning =)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dieting vs Healthy Eating

A lot of people don't understand the key difference between these two terms. Fortunately, lately even the experts are avoiding the word diet and promoting healthy eating as the solution to long term success in losing weight and keeping it off. How different can they be?

Dieting is usually refers to a short term eating plan.
Healthy eating requires a lifestyle change by making healthy choices from wholesome foods and thus, is something that you can maintain throughout your life.

Dieting is usually associated with restrictions and deprivation. You can't have any desserts and treats. It can make people adopt an all-or-nothing approach, meaning you need to be 100% compliant and if you screw up by eating something not in your plan, you feel as if you have failed and proceed to eat anything in sight.
Healthy eating means having desserts and treats that you love in moderation, say about once or twice per week and enjoy it.

Dieting, for most people, automatically means starving yourself or adopting a very low calorie diet in an attempt to shed off fat. A lot of people do this by skipping meals too.
Healthy eating means adopting good eating habits and eating natural, wholesome foods that promote fat loss and good health.

Dieting can be hazardous to health. Eating a lot less and starving yourself means your body isn't getting all the nutrients it needs and if maintained for a long time, can damage your body's immunity system, organ functions and even cause emotional and mental complications.
Healthy eating will only improve overall health such as your physical, mental and emotional well-being, since you are eating wholesome foods that provide all the necessary nutrients and health benefits.

Dieting can force the body into the starvation response, which will cause the body lower its metabolism and store the foods that you eat, instead of burning it off. You could end up fatter than before you started, after you've come off the diet and return to old eating habits. This is called the yo-yo effect of dieting.
Healthy eating avoids this, since you improve the quality of foods that you eat, instead of just drastically reducing the quantity.

Dieting can give rise to eating disorders such as anorexia, binging or bulimia. Anorexia stems from constantly starving yourself; binging happens when you crave certain foods too much and end up stuffing yourself till you're too full or sick; and bulimia means forcibly purging after eating.
Healthy eating helps you learn to make better choices with food and adopting better eating habits to support both overall health and maintaining a healthy weight. Wholesome foods are naturally much lower in calories, loaded with fiber, water and nutrients, which automatically promotes fat loss.

In the battle of the bulge and trying to look better naked, a lot of people tend to neglect their health. It doesn't make any sense if you want to look better, yet feel weak, tired and unhealthy most of the time, right? Take things slowly and progress gradually, not overnight. There is no need for any drastic diets, which can only jeopardize both your results and health. You need to remember and acknowledge that you didn't put on the weight overnight, so why expect it to come off overnight too? Slow and steady wins the race, both in body composition and health. I believe that if your body feels good on the inside, it will definitely show on the outside!

Whether you look fit or fat, have abs or not, all of it doesn't matter if you don't have your health.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Two Months in a Relationship

Well, to be exact, it has been 2 months and 1 week since we started. How is it going so far? I'd say we're both doing alright. I'm still discovering many things about Bobo, both good and bad. I'm not expecting much since we're early into the relationship, but I just need to remember to go with the flow and not put any pressure on him.

Bobo is more of a happy-go-lucky person. He doesn't like to think too much, but sometimes just needs a nudge in the right direction. A good piece of advise from my best friend Joe, is that I should not impose what I think is right and push him into it. Sound advise, and I'm learning to do just that. I need to remember that he's my BF, and I'm not his parent, so I just need to be there to support him when he needs it. His life, although currently shared with mine, is still his own. He's only 19 after all, so he needs to learn how to make his way in life on his own. That ship is not mine to steer, but maybe I could help read the compass by his side =)

One thing that worries me is that we're not as close as I want us to be yet. I'm the type of person who likes to talk, communicate and express myself, especially to the person I love. I believe it's very important for a couple to constantly communicate and share our thoughts, emotions and perceptions. It keeps the relationship alive, draws us closer and keeps us honest about how we feel about each other. At times, I'm concerned that our age gap (he's 9 years younger than I am) might affect us. There aren't much topics that we can talk about. I guess only time will tell if this will change. To me, a relationship means connecting at a deeper level between two people. It also means accepting each other's flaws and being able to compromise with each other.

Bobo can be short-tempered or moody sometimes, but usually when he's stressed from his job or just tired. He's still young and might not manage his emotions well so, I usually dismiss it since he's not in the right state of mind when he lashes out at me, and it's usually brief anyways. He did anger me a few times, but he knows how to win me back. He can be sweet enough to melt my heart at times and knows how to hit my soft spot. He calls me lo gong nowadays, which I think is chooo sweet =)

Usually, he doesn't talk much about his problems, and prefers to suppress them, something which I don't agree upon, but I can't force him to do it. I believe that he'll deal with them in his own time and way. Occasionally, he does ask me if he needs help to point him in the right direction.

Bobo is wary when I bring him out to meet my friends, since twice before he bumped into his ex. We call each other almost every night after work. We don't talk much on the phone usually, but draw some comfort in hearing each other's voices. He can be a bit unreasonable and wants his way sometimes. He is just 19 after all, so I usually comply if it's within my means. He doesn't force me into anything that I disapprove of.

He has a smile that would make angels sing and melt the thickest iceberg. Sometimes he'd catch me just staring at him. A few times, he caught me watching him in his sleep. He loves chocolates, ice-cream and cute teddies, which I think is adorable. He still has most of his youth to live out, sometimes I'm glad that I get to be apart of it. Sometimes I wish he would mature a bit faster so we'd have more things to talk about. Well, I can't rush him and no one is perfect, and it's our flaws that make us unique.

All in all, I think we're doing just fine. After all, it's only been 2 months...and 1 week =)

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year, New Job

The first task for this new year, look for green pastures in the career world.

My current job in a MNC just isn't paying me enough for the amount of work I'm doing. With almost 2.5 years experience, I'm not reaping what I sow. Furthermore, there is no chance for an advancement and any promotion is OUT the window this year. Any salary increment and the annual company profit sharing has also been 'postponed' to the 3rd quarter of this year. Hiring of new employees and travel expenses have been frozen.

Come March this year, I'm probably going to assume an added role and responsibility without any increment in salary, but I'm already overworked even now. Take it this way, comparing with my counterpart in China, the amount of work I'm currently doing is equivalent to 3 engineer's work there.

Relieving people of jobs as a cost-saving measure is already under way, and thankfully for us, Asian regions are not affected because basically, we are akin to CHEAP LABOR! So, US and Europe are being hit first, but it's only a matter of time before the higher ups turn their attention to Asia. Yes folks, the economy hasn't officially gone to hell yet, and things are already taking a plunge. This is evident everywhere, with increasing unemployment, retrenchment and freezes, especially for bigger companies.

So, I'm not gonna wait any further. Initially, I was thinking of waiting till I get my profit sharing bonus in March before planning to leave. However, the current and future circumstances, AND the lack of any monetary advancement are lighting a bonfire on my ass to get moving ASAP. I plan to move back to Penang island or move to KL for work. Going overseas to Singapore, Australia or UK would be a good choice too. Of course, common sense to me dictates that I should secure a job first before throwing in the towel at my current workplace.

I plan to either get into a smaller company, which will less likely be drastically affected by the declining economic state, OR delve into logistics such as shipping, which I think entails good career and financial prospects.

So if any of you knows people who know people who are looking to hire a product engineer with a few years experience, OR looking to hire someone who's willing to learn something new, send me an email ya =)

Feel free to suggest other alternatives, since I wanna explore other career opportunities besides engineering.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy 2009!

Yeah, this is a bit late. But, I just got back from a nice trip to KL, so kindly cut me some slack ya.

Anyways, this says it all...

May this year bless you with more happiness, wealth and good health. Cheers!~