The art of Living WELL
No matter how busy life gets, these women not only pay attention to their well-being, but also encourage others to do the same, discovers suhana ab
DR ELLY SABRINA
Located at the back of her house, overlooking a field of green is Dr Elly Sabrina’s fitness corner. Outfitted with a punching bag, kettlebells and weights, it attests to her commitment to living a healthier lifestyle — a decision she made about five years ago. More recently, the general practitioner has also stepped up to a voluntary leadership position within Geng Sihat (The Healthy Gang), a community movement founded to motivate Singaporeans to adopt a mantra of healthy living. What started you on this fitness journey?
I was slim all my life till after my kids — Anastasia Sabrina and Edel Hakeem, now 17 and 15 — were born. Back then, I was preoccupied with my training at the hospital and later, running my own clinic. I neglected my diet and didn’t exercise. One day, I got on the scale and was horrified to see it read 80kg — 20 more than I was pre-kids! What kind of exercises did you start With?
I started with 90-minute walks, which progressed to running. When I had knee and back pains, I switched to core strengthening. Now I work with a trainer at the gym and typically clock an hour of weights and half an hour of cardio. As a family, we play tennis and kickbox. tell us more about Geng sihat.
The initiative was started by cardiologist Dr Abdul Razak, who invited my husband (and President of the MHPA, Dr Zuraimi Mohamed Dahlan) and I to join him in driving the cause. A collaborative effort by the National Kidney Foundation, the Muslim Healthcare Professionals Association (MHPA) and newspaper Berita Harian, it provides a platform for healthcare professionals, fitness trainers, and nutritionists to come together to spread the message of healthy living. We organise regular exercise classes, health screenings and forums for the members. There is a sense of fulfillment in being able to initiate that change towards a healthier lifestyle. star examples to share?
We had a 70-year-old lady who walked with a stoop when she joined us. Now she can kickbox and walk upright! We also know of a housewife who lost 7kg with us. She used to lead a sedentary lifestyle, but is now an advocate for healthy living, and introduces it to all her family and friends. To me, that is the goal.
As the founder of Mt Sapola, a purveyor of aromatherapy oils, Cheryl Gan juggles a very hectic schedule. Twelve-hour work days are a norm, as is business travel. But despite the long hours (she had just returned from Kuala Lumpur when we meet), she always looks radiant and fresh. Ask for her beauty secret and she says with a chuckle: “Really, it’s my essential oils that help!”
WHEN I TRAVEL... I bring jasmine oil with me as it helps to soothe the migraines that I often get. What I do is to put some on a tissue paper and inhale the scent. This helps to calm me down and even helps to get me to sleep.
LONG HOURS... do affect my skin, so I have a special moisturiser that is blended just for me, which includes jasmine. It moisturises deeply and helps me look refreshed the next morning.
MY BEAUTY SHORTCUTS... includes basic sheet masks. When I wasn’t as busy, I used to indulge in salon powder masks, as I found them to be more moisturising. Another must is sunblock.
I START MY MORNINGS... with a glass of water as soon as I wake up, followed by a glass of coldpressed juice. My flavour of the moment always involves something sour.
PRODUCTS AND DIET ASIDE... I try to keep well by exercising, but only when I am on work trips. I love to run outdoors as that is also a way for me to sightsee.
Dato Icemichelle chen
Dato Icemichelle Chen believes that having good skin is important to helping a woman feel good about themselves. The founder of Supreme Q.X Beauty Spa speaks from experience. Faced with skin problems as a young woman, it was while trying out treatments and researching ways to improve her skin that she inadvertently found a passion for the business. “One thing led to another and I opened my spa to help other women like me,” shares Chen.
Fast-forward 17 years and she still pays as much attention to her skin, making sure to put on a mask every night before going to bed. She also goes for spa treatments twice a week, often opting for her spa’s signature Hormonal Balance massage and Anti-water Retention therapy to tackle the root causes of weight issues.
Regular exercise has also become a part of her life. Apart from playing golf twice a week (she was recently named Best Lady Golfer at a tournament organised by Credit Suisse), she hits the gym each morning for a 45-minute session. “Regular exercise enables me to eat whatever I want, but of course in moderation,” says Chen, who is opening a new branch at Pacific Plaza this month.
“Today we don’t simply want ourselves to look good, we want to feel good and do what’s good for our body. Being healthy also means not feeling tired or stressed out. Only when you are calm and energised can you give yourself, your work and the people around you the best of you,” says Chen.
It all started three and a half years ago, when a test on Tanny Kea’s hormones revealed that her body age was five years ahead of her actual age. Another test also revealed that her oestrogen levels were a fifth of what it was supposed to be. Concerned, Kea decided to take things into her own hands. Little did she know that embarking on a journey to change her lifestyle would also lead her down a path of entrepreneurship. Not only has she since founded Javaglow, a beauty brand that offers a range of body care products made from natural ingredients, she is also opening a new health management centre, Life Infinity Singapore What did you do to improve your health after receiving your test results?
I started exercising six times a week. But I later discovered I was doing too much cardio and my body became flat. I incorporated resistance training and carried weights to help sculpt my body to the shape that I wanted. Now that I’ve laid a good foundation, I do functional training two to three times a week, focusing on core strength and body balancing.
Another thing I did was to increase my intake of water to three litres a day. It sounds tough but it really isn’t. In the first two weeks, you will go to the bathroom a lot, after which your body gets used to it. When I did this, my bowel movement improved and my skin became more radiant. What about food and diet?
I perceive food as fuel rather than something needed to satisfy my hunger. On a typical day, I have two egg whites, one egg yolk, an avocado and one tablespoon of coconut oil (incorporated into my food). I pack my own lunch box and it comprises ¼ protein, ¼ complex carbohydrate and ½ vegetable. I snack on fruits and almonds in the afternoon. What foods do you not touch?
Fast food and food that is deep-fried in recycled cooking oil. Everything we eat becomes our cells. It is important to feed ourselves with good and nutritious food. It is the best investment one can ever make. isn’t it hard to resist temptation?
It’s important not to deprive yourself from food that you like, as long as you know when to stop. A good tip is to try to delay the cravings for a few minutes. Very often, it will pass. What else did you pay attention to?
In the course of my research to live healthier, I chanced upon a finding by the Environmental Working Group in 2004 that revealed women use at least 168 types of chemicals on their skin through their personal care products.
It goes through your skin, into your blood stream and has an effect on your hormones. But how does one stop using shampoo or lipstick? I can’t, so instead I found a way to counter it by internal detoxification via a range of supplements I developed. These will be available at my new health management centre Life Infinity Singapore. For external detoxification, I started Javaglow, which offers a range of body care products made from natural ingredients such as coffee powder, coconut oil, Himalayan pink salt and jojoba oil. This is my secret to anti-aging. Who do you consider to be healthy and fit to be looked up to?
Soong Mei-ling, the late First Lady of China. She lived till 106 and looked good, healthy and elegant till her final days. Her parents and most of her siblings died from cancer. She herself had breast and ovarian cancer, and yet survived. She found the secret to health and longevity by living a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.