turtle-on-a-fence-post

“If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know that he had some help” – Alex Haley, author of Roots. There are actually two aspects of the story. Once the turtle is up on the fence, it can’t get down and if it does, it’s going to be painful. Nor can it do very much up on the fence except hang around!

For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick with the first angle. I remember everyone who has helped me in my journey. It may not be a big deal to these people but these small acts of kindness have changed my life tremendously. Firstly, I believe in divine intervention and nothing happens without a purpose and God has placed these people in my path. There have been many who have helped me on my journey to personal growth and opportunities.

I remember Susy Chan who insisted I went for an audition in RTM Kuching which led me to my first exposure on TV. I fondly acknowledge the late Encik Saleh Pateh Akhir who saw me and gave me an opportunity to do TV news, George Abraham who asked me to join radio news, Shah Ghani who took a chance on me and hired me at Edelman PR, Eric Wong who headhunted me into IBM, R Vijay Kumar who exposed me to marketing and the wonders of personal development, Noelle Lim who called me and asked if I was keen to join this unknown radio station called BFM, Malek Ali who hired me which led me to meeting many influential people, Dato Michael Tio who exposed me to a group of visionary entrepreneurs, Shankar Santhiram who cheered me up at my lowest, Biresh Vrajlal who asked me to write the first book, Benson Wong who helped me in publishing & distributing my first book, and many, many, many more people at different points in my life. If you ask me about every juncture in my life, I can give you a name!

I have seen people who have fabricated their journey as in “I did it all by myself” even before they have arrived or biting the hand that fed them. I have no idea where this stems from. Is it insecurity or a false sense of pride? For me to look good, no one else can? Sadly, I’ve also been around long enough to see how life unfolds. And maybe now that lone turtle on top of the fence won’t have anyone helping them in the future or worse, tumble down painfully by itself.

Last One BTL

In the end, I went for six sessions (yes, I need help). Leading up to the sixth session, I could feel the effects already. My clothes were getting looser around my midriff and more firmer. This has been impossible previously despite watching my diet (maybe not very strictly) and exercising. There was definition in my tummy and it was visible.

I was getting used to the treatments and you could physically feel the fat burning. In the end, I definitely lost inches all around the area with two inches in the most problematic area. I was and am absolutely thrilled. My body has to take a break at the moment before I can continue with another course of 4-6 sessions. However, the fat burning continues to work for a few months even if I have stopped. However, I must still be conscious about my diet and exercise.

I am planning to do this again. In fact, I have continued with BTL Exilis Elite for the face. I am all for looking good but don’t have the guts of doing anything invasive. I have frown lines from frowning ever since I was a little girl and it’s showing! Supplemented with excellent skin care, I can also see my frown lines have eased. I am supposed to do a series of 4 followed by 1 to 2 sessions a year. The session lasts about an hour. From starting out skeptical, I can convincingly say it works and more importantly, it works safely. To quote The Termintator, “I’ll be back!”

 

100

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. To take stock of how it has been and where do we go from here? I started the year very enthusiastically having started on my 2015 goals in November last year. In preparing for this article, I couldn’t find the goals which I thought I had cleverly written and kept. First mistake, you’re supposed to review them every month and look out for the percentage achieved. If I had done them, I would have been able to find my goals!

I am (was) convinced I know them so well so I am regurgitating them on a piece of paper as I am writing this. And no, that’s not quite a good strategy because some things have become fuzzy. I basically had 10 goals in the eight areas of my life from Fitness, Faith, Family, Friendships, Fun, Mental, Relationships to Finance. Do a search online on the Wheel of Life and you will see these areas. Looking at them now, one got thwarted but that was necessary and a new project cropped up instead.

I see I have yet to start on some goals (gasp!) and I may still have time to finish some goals (as I’m writing this late September). It’s amazing how the year creeps up on you. I have read enough books and listened to enough personal development gurus on the importance of writing the goals instead of putting it all in your head and I am glad I did them (despite misplacing them!). This bears repeating if you have not heard enough of this already.

Forbes did a study with about goal-setting carried out in the Harvard MBA Program. Harvard’s graduate students were asked if they have set clear, written goals for their futures, as well as if they have made specific plans to transform their fantasies into realities.

The result of the study was only 3 percent of the students had written goals and plans to accomplish them, 13 percent had goals in their minds but haven’t written them anywhere and 84 percent had no goals at all.

Ten years on, the 13 percent of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals. The 3 percent who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined.

I strongly believe the human race thrives on challenges and goals and not just take up oxygen. There’s nothing like achievements and accomplishments to drive us to be better versions of ourselves. Who is to say what goals are right for you except for yourself? There is nothing too small or too big. For someone who feels they are down in the dumps, doing something (anything) positive is already a step forward and something to be proud of.

As I am planning for 2016 I can already feel the juices flowing and the excitement building up. There will be highs and I am sure lows as well. There will be things we will do well and some that will fall short. The price you pay for learning is priceless.

Taking all that into consideration, I thought I achieved 70% of my goals but now putting them on paper again, it looks more like 50% which I guess isn’t too bad after all. There were some areas I were unconsciously (or maybe consciously) avoiding like relationships and attempting to date again. And that is something I have to dig deeper and address.

All said and done, I guess 50% is better than 0%. I will achieve 100% of my goals in 2016…I hope! If not, I can only keep trying. Until next year mi amigos..

images

After coming back from a holiday where there was no restrain from food, it was time to head back for another session. The good news was there was no increase in anything. I was now getting used to the heat and after each session, I could feel new lumps on the sides of my hips of fat. Looking at the size of my stomach, I do notice more tightness although looking at where I started from, I could be here forever! I was advised by the assistant that I might require 4-6 sessions.

What happens during these sessions is that the equipment penetrates the stomach focused on burning fat only. You can actually feel the tummy inside is warmer even after the treatment when you press into it. What happens with these sessions is that the effects will happen for months even after the treatments. With the festive season coming up soon and my upcoming book launch, I need to look and more importantly watch my diet! In the meantime, let’s see what happens in the upcoming session. Stay tuned!

RF

A week after my trip to Hair & Face Clinic to try out the BTL Treatment, I did not see many changes but I could feel it. A day after my first trip though, I could feel two clumps on the side of my hips. It felt slightly sore when touched. It was explained to me that this was the body fat being melted and deposited and it will disappear after a while. Yes!

I went through the machine and yes, it was still tuning at 99% to 100% which meant my body fat was being burned. If there was less fat, it would not be burning at such percentages. This time around, after the 45 minute treatment (with 15 minute intervals to burn the fat), I was given the Radio Frequency treatment (RF). Here a warm device was rotated around my stomach for 30 minutes.

The reason for this exercise was to firm up the stomach. The device is warm but if kept rotating for 30 minutes was actually quite pleasant and I really wanted to sleep. It was very high tech and it shows the heat of the device and the heat inside the stomach which was much warmer. The fat was being burned inside at a higher temperature and even after it stopped, you could still feel the warmth.

I was told to drink lots of water and put lemon slices for better results. The water helps in the removal of toxins and fat after the treatment. Let’s see what happens after the next treatment. I am going for a holiday for a few days and I doubt I’ll be monitoring my diet intensely. The next trip for the next treatment is due in 10 days!

 

condescending

Of late, I’ve been having these thoughts about people and situations. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be able to get the contacts. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be able to get that project. If it wasn’t for me, this would not have gotten off the ground. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be able to get that job. If it wasn’t for me, if it wasn’t for me, if it wasn’t for me….oh yes, in case you are wondering, that image I am using popped up when I searched for the word “condescending.”

I am currently reading Brene Brown’s book called “Rising Strong” and it talks about being vulnerable to be real. And instead of making “justified” statements, ask yourself (myself!), what I am feeling first. Why am I feeling the need for “oneupmanship.” Yes, I do feel wronged. However, I do want to get to the bottom of my insecurities and fears for feeling this way.

Brene Brown continues to talk about reckoning. First noticing how you react emotionally or physically and then uncovering the story behind the feeling. It does get uncomfortable However if we don’t deal with it, we get stuck in a limbo.

Brown said, “Recognizing emotion leads to feeling it. What if I recognize the emotion and it dislodges something and I can’t maintain control? I don’t want to cry at work or on the battlefield or when I’m with I’m with my parents” and “But denying emotion is not avoiding the high curbs, it’s never taking your car out of the garage. It’s safe in there but you’ll never get anywhere.” It goes on to talk about the rumble so we can get to our story.

We have permission to feel emotion. Brown continued with “If we’re worried that giving permission to experience and engage with emotion will turn you into something you’re not or someone you won’t want to become…it won’t. It will, however, give you the opportunity to be your most authentic self. We are wired to be emotional beings. When that part of us is shut down, we’re not whole.”

Ok, I’m going to get to reading the rest of the book and the Good Book to get to the bottom of this. I’ll end with this saying by Maya Angelou, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not be reduced by them.”

alive

How has 2015 been for you? Mine has been great. Not because I have had so many wonderful things happen to me. On the contrary, pondering on the months, I have experienced betrayal, rejection, anger, rage, disappointment, sadness, bitterness, envy, annoyance….should I go on?

If I were to sit down and give you a blow-by-blow account on what happened to me on a daily and monthly basis, it would definitely look unstable on a heart rate monitor with some very highs and also some very lows. It could give you a heart attack just watching it! I’m almost tempted to share one story but that would be an invitation to my pity party.

The year has been filled with many lessons from the good and bad and I reckon I’ll be dead if it didn’t come with trials and tribulations. In the midst of it, I choose to focus on the wonderful things that have happened from fellowships, friendships, support and opportunities that have also come my way.

Whatever 2016 may be like, I just thank God for being ALIVE to experience it. Trust you me, there are many silver linings in your life if you look out for it too.

 

BTL

A few months ago I was invited to the launch of Vanquish by BTL Aesthetics. This is a device that burns fat in areas you want it to burn. I have always been a little skeptical about things like this and believe in the “no pain, no gain” strategy. I am also concerned about invasive methods. That said, I exercise 3-5 times a week which is inclusive of strength training and cardiovascular activities and still have a problem losing fat in some areas; namely the tummy!

However, being happy and healthy to me means having joy in your heart first and then let’s look at the body from the inside. Deeper than body fat, I need to make sure my visceral fat is in check. Visceral fat is the silent killer from the inside. I went to Hair and Face Clinic in Kota Damansara and expressed my concerns. Firstly, I did a check of my body composition. Yes, as predicted my muscle content was healthy but my body and visceral fat need to be reduced. What have I got to lose if I have tried everything already?!

After the body measurements were done, I had to lay down on a bed. The machine was placed about an inch or so from my stomach and the technology is contactless. I first felt the heat around my stomach and it was stopped every 15 minutes for 45 minutes to wipe off any sweat. I felt a searing pain on the side of my hips and they said it was normal. I thought it was touching my skin but it wasn’t. The doctor said I was “tuning” 99-100 which meant it was doing its job…burning fat.

I was supposed to do an RFID treatment but since this was my first time, they decided on doing it the next session. I had to drink lots of water after the session to flush out the fat and some side effects could be clumps in my stomach which is normal but just the fat collecting in spot areas. I was told I needed to come for packages of 4 sessions over 8-10 days and if need be, add on future packages. Let’s see how session 2 pans out.

Plaster / Plaster

The older I get I feel I have a better understanding on what I don’t want more than what I want. With the new year just around the corner, it’s time to set some new goals. I am pleased to say that maybe only 50% of my goals have been achieved which would be better than 0% if I didn’t set any at all. I have also come to the understanding that some things and people will come into your life that’s not part of the plan and it’s important to be fluid when some things come your way.

Proverbs 16: 9 says we can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. I have to add if we allow it in the first place. Most recently, I had to circumcise some relationships in my life. It is a painful process. Like a band aid that you need to remove quickly than peeling it off gently and slowly. Many years ago, I heard this story. A man saw a dog howling. He asked the owner why the dog was howling and the owner said it was because it was sitting on a nail. The man questioned further why the dog didn’t get off the nail and the owner said because it wasn’t painful enough.

Are you figuratively sitting on a nail? There are tell-tale signs that some things are not going right but we continue anyway because it’s “easy.” It could be a business idea that needs to be dropped, a business partner that just doesn’t seem quite right or a relationship that has all the warning signs of impending trouble no matter how pleasurable it seems now.

Essentialism advocate Greg McKeown believes if we are not 100% sure of something, we should say “no” to it on the premise that doing something half-heartedly now will take us away from bigger, more important things that come down the road.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference – Reinhold Niebuhr

Comfortable

When I was 19 years old, I was heading out to a nearby stall for lunch. Heaps of people were having their food. Along came a deranged man who is known to roam the area who constantly teases me. He saw me coming and said very loudly, “Big breasts girl.” Everyone stopped to stare including the mechanics who also constantly teased me. I blushed, was furious and wanted to cry but held back my tears.

I had comments about my body for two years living in that area and lived with it before heading abroad for my studies. Many years on, I can look back now and realized how those years impacted me badly and dictated how I dressed and behaved for many years. It was obviously sexual harassment and there was no one to complain to. Sadly, I don’t think this situation has changed much but that’s a story for another day.

My clothes were never too bright in case too many people looked at me. The T-Shirts were always baggy and conservative to say the least and I always had my arms across my chest as an armour of protection. I still do sometimes. Your confidence gets affected. Sometimes it’s a case of being as unattractive as possible so you don’t get any attention. For years, I avoided social settings because it meant dressing up and finding the right outfit and getting to the “right” level of attractiveness.

My twenties were spent pleasing people in how I looked so I did not offend nor intrude. And then of course, all the other insecurities like the size of the arms, the thighs and the tummy in addition to the chest thanks to media filled with photoshopped pictures of glorious looking women didn’t help.

I completely missed out on Sex And The City with their conversations on Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos because I don’t watch much TV. People who know me in my previous “lives” know that clothes shopping was never an interest or an acquired skill.

I cannot remember exactly when I got more comfortable in my own skin. Maybe it was when I started working out or maybe when my long-term relationship ended with criticisms about how I looked or maybe when my son grew older or maybe it was meeting all the fashion businesses that got me experimenting. It started with the red lipstick. There’s nothing quite like a dash of colour to firstly perk yourself up before you can be cheerful with others.

And then it was experimenting with the heels. You can always fit into the shoes no matter what your weight was! To think I never wore anything more than 3 inches for a good part of my life. And then it was really analyzing who Freda Liu was and is. It’s the years of reading how we should dress according to our body type and not what fashion dictates and of course finally putting this knowledge to practise.

It is finding your own style and not being caught with up trends but at the same time being aware of trends so that a certain element can be incorporated into your current style. It’s about not being a slave to fashion but being your own trendsetter. Capiche?

What’s my personality? Maybe it’s positive affirmations but I want to be remembered as someone who is bright, optimistic, plenty to share, approachable and a distinctive individual. First impressions count and people see you first before they start talking to you. I stopped wearing too much black. I added colour and prints into my clothes. I started wearing dresses and skirts. I accessorized. I coloured my hair. And the first person I wanted to please was myself.

On Halloween’s Day last year, my colleague dressed like me and everyone knew she was mimicking me. Don’t ask me why it had be to Halloween’s Day. I had to laugh. Either I have a very distinct style or maybe I’m just too predictable. Either way, maybe it’s time to change my style…again!

Taken from the September issue of Baccarat Malaysia