Something that I don't talk much about, that some others seem to love to.
Well, now it's my turn to talk about it. This is not just going to be a robotic & commercialized sponsored post, this is a teenage girl (have to use this term as much as I can before I turn 20 in September!!) who has been struggling with weight issues opening up about her first hand experiences.. and I know a lot of females out there will be able to relate with me when I talk about these problems. Look, I know I've gained weight. Some people seem to think I'm in complete denial just because I don't go "OMG I hate my love handles, I hate my thunder thighs and hulk arms, I hate my muffin top, I hate myself, I hate being fat!!! Must slim down!!!" and because I say "I still like being myself." I do. That does not mean I like, or approve of being overweight. Don't be so narrow minded. I have huge full length mirrors in replacements as walls in my living room (not kidding.) I can clearly see the difference in my body mass and width since I first started blogging 5 years ago. That's the thing about having a blog... it's easy to keep track of what has happened, because you have photographic proof in a chronological timeline.
From years ago, when I was slimmer... and used to wear bikinis. You don't need me to post a side-by-side-before-and-after-photo to notice the difference. No photoshop or tweaking here, just sucking in of belly. Ahah! Some of you Singaporean girls must be thinking, "WHAT?! This was you when you were slimmer? Still fat leh!"
I *have* been skinnier since I've started blogging, but didn't use to take a lot of full length shots back then, so these are the only ones that show enough skin. I have never really been skinny, just ranging from healthy weight / normal sized to larger frames. I know a lot of people use big bones as an excuse but I REALLY do have big bones FML.. from wide hip bones to wide shoulders to a broad back to large wrists. So it's impossible for me to look skinny anyway.
I have openly made jokes about my weight on my blog, and always publicly discuss the reasoning and effects of it on my Formspring, when people ask. I acknowledge it silently, and understand the health & social effects.. I'm not stupid. I've just never really done anything about it because I couldn't be arsed, and I was comfortable being complacent. There's no nicer or simpler way to say it. I knew I was gaining weight, but I didn't do anything about it. I consciously chose not to. Partly because food helped me cope with my emotions, so I knew if I stopped eating so much, I'd feel worse emotionally, although I'd look better.
Despite my expanding width of late, I didn't see a need to hate myself for it, I mean what's there to be so upset about? I knew perfectly all the solutions to fix my problems, I just didn't have the willpower to do it. It's not like I had cancer. I'm the sort of person who doesn't worry about my problems as long as I knew how to fix it. And deep down inside, I knew it was only a matter of time before I'd fix my eating and lifestyle habits, but the time was not now (back then). I needed to focus my energy, efforts and time on other things instead. Call me melodramatic, but I believe a lot of people who gain weight rapidly in a short period of time must be going through something difficult. Nobody in their right mind just wakes up one day and decides to self-destruct by eating their own weight in food. If you're a real glutton, you're born a glutton, and these people are usually obese since childhood. I've actually been expanding and shrinking since I was a kid... Fat when I was in kindergarten, slimmed down by the time I was Primary 4, gained some weight after that but lost it again after I entered Secondary School. Then as I was leaving high school, I gained the weight right back. So you could say my weight fluctuates a lot.
"How did you gain weight recently?".. some people ask.
I eat my feelings. When I'm happy, I eat. When I'm upset, I eat more. When I'm stressed out, I eat the most. (Explains the weight gain after Primary 4 and nearing my O'levels, damn stressful. Haha) Last year was probably one of the most stressful years of my life, because I'd just gotten my cake business up and running, there were so many obstacles to overcome, and just so much work to do. I worked so hard last year, that all too often during a working day, I'd skip breakfast & lunch, then binge on a huge dinner after all my work was done coz I'd be so damn hungry. On weekends especially, I would work until 1am in the morning, and then feel famished afterwards. Believe it or not, my job makes me hungry all the time, because 1) I was working with food. Even though I didn't necessarily want to eat cupcakes, being constantly surrounded by food makes you think about food. and 2) My job was a lot of manual labor. I don't lounge on a computer chair and reply emails all day (I do that at night) a lot about cake making is scrambling around, cake decorating is not serene and peaceful like an artist drawing a painting. It's chaotic, stressful, and hunger-inducing. Please don't laugh at me, I'm telling the truth, lol. I was legitimately hungry all the time... or so I thought. I'd recently discovered your stomach is like a muscle you can train, if you eat less for a week, by the 2nd week you'll find you don't need as much to get full. The fact that I didn't go out often because of my work, and didn't need to leave the house to travel to school / work like any other normal person also meant that my physical activity was limited. Think of it as being a housewife... how many housewives do you know put on weight after being assigned to a full time job contained in the house? There just isn't enough physically stimulating activities. If you ask a housewife to go to the gym, she would most likely say, "Siao ah! Where got time? So tired la."
"Do you know the consequences of being overweight?"
I can honestly tell you the heaviest consequence of being overweight is being relentlessly taunted and teased by people. You can be stupid, ugly, poor, or promiscuous. But if you're fat, the only insult people will ever bother using on you first is Fat. Diabetes, high blood pressure, lethargy, heart failure... Yes, those are very common health risks with obesity, but the FIRST thing that's going to hit you real hard is the way people react to it. Especially when you're a teenage girl living in Singapore. People in Singapore seem to be allergic to fatness. They look at fat people like they're ogres. In Singapore, quite simply, if you're not thin, you're fat. There is no in between in their opinion. Even when I WASN'T fat (see: earlier years in blogging), the word "Fat" was still constantly being used on me. Moral of the story? If you're fat, either lose the weight and stay in Singapore, or migrate to another country where people of varying sizes are actually socially accepted. Since I have to stay in Singapore because of my business, I've decided to shed the pounds. Lol, just kidding, I'm also actually really concerned about my health. Now that business is good, work flow is easier to handle and I'm (slightly) less stressed out, I finally have the time and enough mental energy to channel that into living healthier. Being healthy isn't a past time, it's a full time commitment.
Now, thank goodness I have a reliable friend to help me along in this arduous journey, because God knows I couldn't do this all by myself. Maybe this was the miracle I've been waiting for all this while.
To give me that push I really needed.
So you're probably thinking... "Eu Yan Sang? Isn't that the place my mum always gets her Bird's Nest from that sells Traditional Chinese Medicine - they have weight loss programs?"
Yep. You'll find out all about that later on, but first, let me introduce Eu Yan Sang to those who haven't heard of it before. Besides selling awesome tasting quality bird's nest that is good for you, they also have clinics practising Traditional Chinese Medicine!
Eu Yan Sang first opened Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinics in Singapore in 2002. They are now 10 years old, woopie! 10 years of providing good health to Singaporeans. They have some celebration plans which you can partake in, which will be elaborated more at the end of this post. ***
Since their opening, they've gained a steady reputation and popularity with Singaporeans who seek to treat acute and chronic conditions, as TCM has always been viewed by Asian people as a more "holistic" approach to health care than Western Medicine. At Eu Yan Sang's TCM clinics, their practitioners are meticulously selected and licensed by the TCM Practitioners’ Board. Treatments are customized to the individuals’ body with the aim of bringing one’s internal system back to a balanced state. (Like balancing the yin and yang... what chinese movies always talk about!!)
Here I am, excitedly and nervously signing up for my first treatment session & consultation with them, at their outlet in Hougang Mall. Honestly, stepping into the clinic... I had NO idea what to expect. I have never tried TCM before. Could this be the answer to my flabby woes? I, for one, used to be very skeptical about TCM. "Sure or not?", with raised eyebrows, would be my tone if someone had told me that a TCM treatment worked for them. The first thing that struck me was how immaculately clean the clinic was, and the friendly receptionist and physician made me feel more at ease. I filled out a form containing all my particulars, and was led into the consultation room to meet my physician for the first time.
I sat down, and thus began my first consultation with Eu Yan Sang. My physician, Ms Yang Wei, greeted me with a smile, then began the standard procedure of asking a whole bunch of questions so that she may gain more insight about my general health. Unlike Western clinics, TCM physicians will not just ask you, "So, what's wrong with you today?" and then prescribe you some antibiotics to battle the virus. TCM is about understanding your body's condition and achieving a full body kinda zen. It is not just about that particular bout of flu that you're dealing with, but rather, what is wrong with the rest of your body so that your body is not able to fight the virus on it's own? To fix the overall problem will bring overall wellness and help keep future illnesses at bay, instead of only offering a temporary situation. That is the best I could phrase it.
Physician Yang asked me a lot of varying questions about my health that made me question myself for a bit. For example, she asks, "How many times do you exercise a week?" I look at her and go, "none." Then she says, "How about in a month?"
And I say... "maybe once?"
To listen to yourself address these problems is sort of a wakening experience. No wonder I keep falling sick! Exercise and a healthy diet keeps you well.
This... Was probably when she asked me to do a urine test and to collect my own urine sample in the nearest bathroom. Not the most fun thing to do, but necessary. I believe this is standard procedure and all patients have to do so! See what I mean by they really wanna find out what's going on with your WHOLE body?
This was probably when she asked me whether I had constipation probems and what type of craps I take.. whether they were big, small, long or short. Blank face. LOL.
Afterwards, my height and weight was taken, BMI calculated, then we addressed my weight problems, and my targeted goals. She asked me what my ideal weight was. I truthfully told her I have no ideal weight, which I think sort of confused my physician. I don't wish to be skinny per se. I honestly just want to be healthier in general, which weight loss will contribute to.
Of course, if I lose 10 kilos, hurrah! But even if I only lose a couple of kilos through this treatment, I'd be happy. Knowing that I am putting in effort and making a change in my lifestyle to live better is already good enough for me, instant flash results are not what I am after. I didn't put on the weight in only a few months, I cannot expect to lose it all & more within a few months.. that wouldn't be good for my body either. I don't wanna set highly optimistic targets for myself and then get all upset if I don't hit them. I'm just doing to do the best I can, and whatever happens, happens. I like how this Weight Management Program by Eu Yan Sang does not promise over optimistic results, which can appear very gimmicky when other slimming centers do it. "Lose 10kg in X months!!! Guaranteed or your money back!" ...and then you don't get your money back.
You can't guarantee anything when it comes to the human body. Every body reacts to treatments differently.
I was thoroughly briefed about the treatment that I was about to start on before being led to the procedure room.
I will be going through a total of 20 treatments, over a course of three months. Acupuncture Treatment and Chinese Herbal Medicine will be used to help me target my problem areas and increase metabolism rate, under the guidance of Physician Yang.
"What is Acupuncture, how does it work for weight management?"
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into the skin at different points in the body. It is thought that acupuncture works by balancing the flow of energy---called qi or chi---that moves through the body's pathways. Acupuncture is believed to treat many ailments in the body, including addiction, depression, immune dysfunction, digestive disorders and pains such as migraine headaches. Acupuncture can also be used to tackle weight loss by treating multiple areas of the body that, if out of balance, could contribute to weight gain.
(not my hand modeling this)
The needles are extremely thin, and completely sterile. Here's a pack of the needles on a hand, so you can roughly gauge the size. They don't insert it all the way in - just partially! If you visit shabby & unlicensed clinics, they may use needles that aren't sterile, and who knows what sort of nasty infections that might carry... Or even worse, poke you in places that would cause severe pain. I wouldn't consider doing this treatment anywhere else, because I trust Eu Yan Sang. In fact, I have never considered doing weight loss programs ANYWHERE else, because I don't trust their gimmicky methods. I am also not willing to consume slimming pills, every time you try to take the short cut and easy way out by cutting corners, you will pay in another way. TCM, I believe, is as natural and non-invasive as it gets for weight management.
Non-invasive? When there are needles going through my skin? Am I for real?
Yes. Acupuncture is also effective in aiding muscle aches, stiff back problems, etc... If it works for all of that, I don't see why it wouldn't work for slimming. And instead of laboratory-produced chemicals jam packed in slimming pills that might cause you brain & liver damage or other health problems, acupuncture done properly, is pretty much risk-free.
I know you have a burning question.
"JESSSS!!! Does it hurt? That looks sooo painful! OMG needles!"
Yeah, to tell you the truth, I'm no fan of needles either. I *almost* backed out of this, until I read all the positive reviews online by people who have successfully lost weight through acupuncture. I was breaking out in cold sweat and mildly shivering before the acupuncture treatment started. I was advised by Physician Yang to relax my muscles, because if my muscles are tensed and stiff, it's going to hurt even more.
So.... Does it hurt? Of course it does. Why wouldn't it? It's a needle going through your flesh.
But is it bearable pain? It is. Every one's pain threshold differs, so for me, it's bearable although I do wince and cringe when needles are being inserted into my sensitive areas (mainly my stomach) but for other areas such as my arms and leg, some times I don't feel anything at all. The sensation is always different with each treatment session, sometimes you will feel pain in this area, sometimes close to zero... It's not as painful as an injection, because the needles are so much finer. Although you do get poked much more times than a single injection, lol.
IS IT WORTH IT??? I'd confidently say yessss with a *FIST PUMP*. You can pay the price of some pain and slimming down or you can pay the price of remaining overweight or being flabby in areas you don't wanna be. You choose your path.
It's not as bad as you think. The pain only lasts for a few seconds when it's being inserted, then after that, it doesn't hurt any more. Since you're meant to leave the needles in for approximately 50 minutes, I did manage to fall asleep in this awkward position, amazingly enough.
They have different sized needles for varying positions - I had super long needles inserted into my hips because I have serious love handles!!! It doesn't mean that the longer the needle, the more it hurts. Normally I don't even feel the needles being inserted into my hips, I'm guessing because it's mostly fat content.
A heating lamp with infrared rays was placed over my tummy area, to cook my fats. Just kidding, I'm not entirely sure of what it does or the science behind it, but it is to aid the acupuncture treatment to be more effective. And it keeps my belly warm as I fall asleep.
These clips are attached to the needles, which is connected to a machine that sends electrical currents to my tummy stimulate the acupuncture treatment even more! It's a rather tingling sensation. It's not painful as long as the current is not too strong.
With each electrical shock wave it sends to my tummy, I feel like my flesh is "jumping / twitching" just the slightest. It takes some getting used to, but you'll be so distracted by the needles poking out of your body, I doubt you'll think of this much.
So once all of this is set up, I am left alone to lie down and wait for 50 minutes for the treatment session to be over. Bring an iPod so it's not terribly boring and so you don't keep looking at the needles.... When the 50 minutes was up, Physician Yang came back into the room to remove the needles and surprisingly, there wasn't any blood or significantly visible marks where the needle was inserted. It's not like an injection where your muscle feels sore for the next few days. In a matter of ten minutes, I was up and about continuing with the rest of my day without any inconveniences.
After my treatment, I was given a mini tour of the medicine room to show me how my medicine was being prepared! Look at all those different jars of Chinese herbs!!!
A special concoction of herbs is prepared specially according to each patient's unique needs, and weighed to precision. It's not like Western Medicine, where anyone can use anyone else's paracetamol tablets. This medicine is unique to yourself! The medicine is supposed to help me curb my appetite, etc.
This next part is pretty cool. The powdered, ground up herbs are then sifted into this machine, and in a few seconds, it comes out in accurately packeted individual sachets - so quick & concise.
I was given a week's supply of medicine, which costs $7.50 a day. I am meant to take two sachets daily, one in the noon and one at night. It tastes like what Chinese medicine usually tastes like.... All kinds of bitter. @_@ But hey, no pain no gain right?
And that, was my first experience of Acupuncture Slimming with Eu Yan Sang. Did it went well? I think so. I actually went home with a smile on my face, despite being poked all over with sharp needles and zapped with electricity. I was so pleased because I was finally doing something about my weight, I saw this as a gateway to wellness. Has my appetite been decreased? Honestly, not really. I don't think anything will suppress this monster appetite of mine. I still feel hungry all the time. BUT, I have noticed it takes lesser food for me to become full. Perhaps it's a mental effect, I don't know. Needles are a pretty good way of restricting yourself from eating. Here's how I think: "If I eat this chocolate cake, that means 20 more needles will have to be inserted into me. I don't think it's worth it."
And that, is a fantastic deterrent, my friends. Anyway, how are the results like? I'm still in relatively early stages of my treatment, so I can't tell you for sure. You will find out in my next blog post though, for I will be doing 3 posts in total - documenting the beginning process, the mid process and the end results!!!!! Wish me lots of luck, yes? My next update should be in a few weeks. Actually I can already see some results but I can't reveal exactly everything in one blog post, plus it's fun to keep you guys in suspense.
I will be happy to answer any questions regarding Eu Yan Sang's Weight Loss Program in my blog comments section, or on Formspring. I know a lot of girls out there are desperately looking for "safe and quick" ways to slim down... After having tried this treatment myself, I genuinely believe it works, otherwise I wouldn't have written such a lengthy and detailed post about it. How much and well it'd work for you, that is a different question altogether. Perhaps even better than it will for me? :) Of course, you can't still eat like a pig and then expect Acupuncture Slimming to work wonders. It's a treatment, not a cheat code. You still have to watch your diet, exercise more often, do your part as well.
I'll keep you guys updated on my progress in my next post. I'm so excited for what is to come.... Hopefully only good things!!!!!!
Btw, if you're too excited by this idea and cannot wait for me to show you my end results before trying it yourself, you can visit the Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic that I went to here:
90 Hougang Ave 10
#04-19 Hougang Mall
Tel: 6385 5969
- 10 sessions: $533.60 (includes consultation and acupuncture)
- 20 sessions: $1,044 (includes consultation and acupuncture)
They have a lot of outlets all over Singapore, in the east, west, central etc. To view a list of outlets visit this link.
Call their clinic hotline: 6225 1887 for enquires / email email@example.com OR contact the respective clinics to fix appointments for first consultation.
*** As I was telling you guys before, Eu Yan Sang turns 10 this year!!!
Their first clinic opened in South Bridge Road in 2002. To celebrate 10 years of quality TCM healthcare, Eu Yan Sang has appointed THK as their beneficiary. Some background information: Since 1978, THK, a non-profit voluntary welfare organization, provided both institutional and community-based services in social, health, emotional, educational, disabled, financial support and aid to all people. ♥
From now till the end of the year, THK donation boxes will be placed in Eu Yan Sang clinics, all donations will go to THK. Eu Yan Sang Clinics has also pledged to donate an additional 10% of the total sum collected to THK - how about that!!! So please, if you see these donation boxes at their clinics, it'd be nice if you could drop some loose change into it, you don't need to give a big amount to make a big difference.
This month (July 2012), you can also do your part to Go Green by bringing your own bag to Eu Yan Sang clinics! The bags in their clinics used to contain medication are earth-friendly, biodegradable ones, but less is more, so the lesser, the merrier. If patients request for bags, they can get one by donating $1 for each bag used. All proceeds will go towards THK. Everybody wins in the end ;)
P.S - Eu Yan Sang is having some mini contests weekly on their website! Head on over to this link to answer a new question (most likely regarding Traditional Chinese Medicine or Eu Yan Sang itself) every week, and stand a chance to win a goodie pack worth more than $32 - which includes ginseng, a voucher to get a complimentary consultation at their clinics... What are you waiting for?!