Physiological Aversion to Caffeine
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I know I shouldn't drink tea or coffee for both health and dermatological reasons, but I've been hankering after a good coffee the whole of yesterday evening. And when my parents agreed to buy me some good tea on my way to school, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I almost freaked out when the corners of my nose started feeling itchy and inflamed after about 20 minutes. I've really got to watch it.

I doubt I'll completely give them up though. It's a residual effect from my days with Francesca, and now I'm always thinking about a good coffee after having a wonderful meal. heh. Coffee, and a book would be close to perfect. Heh I suppose that's my interpretation of the "sit at a sidewalk cafe with a coffee and cigarette" idyllic scene? 

Stand tall and be confident
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I've just noticed that I tend to walk more confidently and have better poise after my fitness classes. My legs may be all jelly-like and weak after Pilates or Kickboxing, but somehow I would be walking tall and exuding confidence after those classes. It may be that Pilates corrects my posture, and it may be that exercising somehow releases certain 'happy' hormones that made me so. Personally, I suspect that it's due to a sense of pride that 1) I finally forced myself to go down for class and 2) I got through all the various positions and workouts! d=

Unfortunately that effortless poise doesn't really last beyond that day so I'm trying now to consciously correct my posture! 

Estee Lauder's Ultra Firming Eye Cream
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I've been using Estee Lauder's Resilience Lift Extreme range of Ultra Firming Eye Cream for about a month now. I put it on quite religiously, every morning and night, except when I'm applying a mask. I was somewhat skeptical at first, since many eye creams have been more hype than they're worth. I was pleased to notice after perhaps 2 weeks, that my eye area seems to be lighter in colour. My lines where the eye bags end still remain, but the difference was perceivable to me, and mind you I am very cynical about the effectiveness of products. Of course, it also helps when I have enough sleep even if when I compare instances in the past where I also had seemingly enough sleep, my eye are is much brighter now with this particular product. Heh interestingly, the reviews on MakeupAlley aren't that positive. Maybe different skin types?

Avoiding favourite foods to prevent sinus
agreenteaaday
The dietary approach is another way to deal with sinus problems. A Chinese medicine practitioner always considers the diet to be an important aspect of treatment. Many people have experienced an intensification of their sinus problems after eating certain foods such as cheese, which can have a congesting effect on the system. Generally, you should avoid foods which produce phlegm, such as cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, etc.). It is also a good idea to limit red meat consumption. Several of the patterns of sinusitis discussed in this article could be avoided through dietary modifications alone.

That is truly quite sad. I may be able to give up cheese to maybe once a week (normally I only take it in the form of condiments on pizza or pasta), and milk I am more than happy to bade off. But ice-cream is one of my first loves and butter is one of the best fats to cook with! Thank goodness I'm no longer in Paris, otherwise I would have been quite sad at the prospect of forsaking my Yves-Bordier butter with my baguettes, or cooking up Eggs in a Basket with huge dollop of butter. I've also been trying to stay away from the "junk" variety of fried foods (i.e. fried chicken, fries etc), but I do love my fried eggs, be they omelettes or sunny-side-up. 

K happens to have the funniest response to this advice, since he shares the sinus problem too:
 
"ice cream, butter, fried food and red meat?! what can i eat then! i'd rather have an op"

Hunting for "Regular" Moisturizers
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I took my exchange friends to hunt for some essentials at Watson's today and two events were quite eye-opening. But I'll just talk about Gab's hunt for a facial moisturizer.

She whined to me: "Don't you have any regular moisturizers for the face?"

I was perplexed and pointed to the shelf of Nivea products in front of us. "Uh what do you mean regular moisturizers? These are good, normal-priced items."

Then came the reply. "Yeah but they're all whitening! I don't need any more whitening! Don't you have something that's not whitening?"

hehe. And indeed, most of the moisturizers I saw around touted whitening/brightening claims (or those that don't are either for ageing, or just way the expensive atas type). Fortunately I remembered that Sukin Organics and Yes to Carrots had "plain ole moisturizers" so I brought her to look for them. In the end she took Sukin because the smell was awesome and she preferred something lighter. I think Gabrielle was also tempted cuz of the fantastic rose smell (me too! I'm running out of moisturizers! And I've decided that it's best to have 2 different ones, a light one for the t-zone, and a heavier one for night use to fend off the blast from the air-conditioner.) but she had too many given to her by her mom. Heh.

Exercise Does Not Make You Thin
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It's a slightly controversial article, and even when the supposed research cited, I would still caution that it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Interesting Ideas/Issues Brought Up
- The energy gap: the difference between the number of calories you use and the number you consume
- People tend to overcompensate for calories burnt during exercise. One suggested reason, was that vigorous exercise reduces our self-control, and makes calorie-laden food more appealing to us, making it easier for us to fall prey to temptation.
- Moving about regularly throughout the day MAY be just as beneficial as exhausting bursts of activity (read: intense exercise), without significantly increasing hunger pangs the way the latter does.
- Very frequent low-level physical activity may be better for us than slogging away at the gym irregularly. "You cannot sit still all day long and then have 30 minutes of exercise without producing stress on the muscles. The muscles will ache, and you may not want to move after. But to burn calories, the muscle movements don't have to be extreme. It would be better to distribute the movements throughout the day."
- Losing weight may be more important than improving cardiovascular health when it comes to preventing certain diseases.
- Overweight people actually expend significantly more calories every day than people of normal weight; this seem to support the theory that the type of food intake may be at play in addition to metabolism rates.

Why Exercise Won't Make You ThinCollapse )

Get Enough Sleep To Reduce Hunger Hormones
agreenteaaday
We've read some other material on how sleep and weight loss are interlinked. This is yet another form of evidence to support that good and regular sleep are benefiical towards weight loss.

Lack of rest ups ghrelin, a 'hunger hormone' that stimulates one's appetiteCollapse )

Fate and Window-shopping
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I took a long walk today, from Tampines back to my home. The distance had seemed short earlier on, and I was confident that I'll be back in about half an hour. But detouring and ambling through parks aplenty let me reach my door steps a little more than an hour after I've left. It was a good walk though, and I've been missing the opportunity to walk in good weather ever since I came back from Paris. It is often too hot and humid, be it night or day. Fortunately, I had the luxury of a cool breeze lapping my skin. I was surprised too that there were so many parks, playgrounds and pleasant paths along the way. I felt really glad that I had chosen to walk.

I reminisced the long walk that Juan and I had endeavoured to make to Franci's house from mine. It wasn't even the plan. We were to be at her house for dinner, but I was bored in the afternoon and had convinced him to meet up... I believe it was to check out a museum - something cultural and "purposeful". But in the end we had the crazy idea to try walking all the way from Invalides to her house, because the Seine tended to make distances seem shorter. I'd cut over to Blvd Saint-Germain and Juan kept nagging at me to go to the Seine but I thought that was counter-productive. After a while he didn't want to believe me anymore and we went into a hotel to get a free map. We walked on, bickered, cracked a lot of lame jokes and made things up about the sights around us with our crazy imagination. Finally, we realized that we would be disastrously late, so we relented and rushed over to Odeon and took the metro to Franci's. That had the effect of what, shaving off 15 min? But it helped ease the guilt at being late jaja.

I do not believe in fate. It might be a result of over-confidence and exposure to the meritocratic system, and well as my ambitious and perfectionistic streak, but I prefer to go all out to get what I want. I think if I left things up to fate, I'll have too many regrets.

But back to the topic. I realized that if I were to consider total walking time, that should include the 2.5hours of window-shopping earlier on, and that would mean I've been walking around for a grand total of 3.5 hours! Window-shopping is really an easy way of sneaking in exercise! x= But there's the issue of cost, so I decided that the optimal way is to go to be cash-strapped during the walk. And credit-card less too. Same goes for accompanying friends lest they decide to lend you money. This is where fate comes into play (and the few times I would call in fate's help). If any of you spot a good deal, just go back for it again another day. If it's meant to be yours, it will still be there d=
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do not microwave tea bags
agreenteaaday
The way I've been preparing my warm green tea was usually to heat up a mug of water for about a minute in the microwave, and dunk the tea bag in. For subsequent cups, I'll heat up another mug of water, soak the tea bag enough to let the green tea infuse the water, and pour the water over to the first mug. This laborious way was part of the effort to conserve used tea bags to chill and cool my eyes at night.

Usually I can make one tea bag last for 4-5 mugs of tea. I had 2 cups this afternoon, and when I got back at night, I resumed using the tea bag. But I was lazy and microwaved the teabag inside the mug... The unfortunate result was that my green tea tasted quite flat and "scalded" - the way food tastes after you've scalded your tongue (though my tea, by the time I got to it was definitely not scalding hot)!

So there: no more crazy shortcuts and laziness with my green tea!
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chew better
agreenteaaday
I realized tonight how scarily inefficiently I chew my food, even though I've been trying to chew more thoroughly and eat more slowly these few months.

See, I have this weird condition where excessive gargling makes me nauseous. And just now, I actually threw up a fair bit of my dinner - it was pretty alarming to see some almost-bite-size pieces of food among what resurfaced. And that was remains from a relaxing dinner, during which I was not rushed to finish my food. I think I will need to be really mindful when I'm eating, to make sure I am taking time to chew everything thoroughly. Otherwise, digestion is going to take a long time, or worse, be ineffective - and that will likely contribute towards bloat! Ugh.
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