BEAUTY and ME by: Li Minhua

BEAUTY and ME by: Li Minhua

My girl-friend and I were chatting over coffee last week. She brought up the topic that her mother does not use makeup, and never had a skincare routine. I exclaimed, “mine too!”
Beauty standards have evolved from our parents’ generation to ours. What, or who determines the standards of beauty in society? Was it the Disney princesses we grew up watching? That females should be slim, complete with slender limbs, have large round eyes, luscious pout, perfect complexion, and even salon-set hair when asleep.

Wonder Woman, NOT

I think it is undeniable that the media and Internet are largely responsible for society’s evolving stereotypes. I note female empowerment even in children’s films these days. In addition to an attractive appearance, female characters are depicted to be able to fend for themselves and no longer reliant on males. Sometimes I feel that it is a lot to ask of us. We are no Wonder Woman.

Image source: http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2014-06-10-jugglingwoman.jpg

Most families are dual-income and most of us are working mothers struggling to maintain a work-life balance. On top of that, society’s stereotypes put an invisible pressure on women to be attractive. At this point, you are probably wondering, how do we juggle all those roles that we play, and work on ourselves at the same time?

My Journey

When I had my first child, my motherly instincts overwhelmed me. I, like all the mothers I know, focused my time, attention and resources on my children. I felt so much like a beached whale and hated my post-natal body. I dreaded looking into the mirror. Being a work-at-home mum, I had the luxury of working in my pyjamas. Even if I did not wash up, my baby did not care. I avoided meeting people, afraid of being judged. My appearance became sloppier. The more I kept to myself, the more I wallowed in my own misery.

When my first child was 3-months old.

When my first child was 3-months old.

To be honest, I knew all these had to change, but strangely, I did nothing about it.

Love yourself first before you can love others; take good care of yourself first before you can take good care of your children. In fulfilling our roles, we tend to forget this very important point. I am glad that in my reign as Mrs Singapore Universe 2019, I was reminded to love myself first, something I had long neglected especially since I had my first child. In doing so, it boosted my self-confidence and inner well-being, which in turn, made me a happier and more optimistic person.

The transformation after joining Mrs Singapore 2019.

The transformation after joining Mrs Singapore 2019.

I have been asked a lot, how did I change so much in the 5 years? From my heaviest, I have lost about 30kg to date. There is no doubt that the mind, body and soul are all connected, thus to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment, we have to work on each aspect individually to achieve an overall wellness.

Food, Glorious Food

As a typical Singaporean, I am a food-lover. I quote myself, “you don’t need space for desserts.” You have probably heard, “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards, and unfortunately, just like most of you, I am easily tempted by sweets. The effects of such eating habits definitely reflect on our body. Therefore, I start every day with a glass of warm water and my daily supplements which helps me maintain a healthy digestive system and gut health, which in turn boosts my immunity.

Sweat It Out

When it comes to exercise, try to find an activity that you enjoy. I take up Zumba classes as I find the pace, music and group setting fun and motivating. As a mother, the challenge is to work around our children’s schedules.

On days I cannot attend my Zumba group classes, I play videos on YouTube and get my children to join in. I also plan outdoor activities such as bringing them to the playground while I watch them from the exercise corner of the playground, or have them ride on their kick-scooters while I jog around the track. Including the children also helps in family bonding!

Bonding with the children at the playground.

Bonding with the children at the playground.

Exercising is beneficial to our health and aids in our mental well-being. I not only get better quality sleep, I find myself more productive at work too.

Skin- Our Largest Organ

The skin is the largest organ of the human body, so it makes absolute sense to take good care of it. As the Chinese saying goes, there is no ugly women, only lazy ones. Do not forget to thoroughly cleanse your skin of all the dirt before bed. This will improve the absorption of whatever we apply on afterwards.

In my capacity as Mrs Singapore Universe 2019, I attend events which require me to apply very thick makeup, thus I take some time to apply facial masks after cleansing to soothe my skin of the harsh effects of cosmetics regardless of how tired I may be. In our hot and humid Singapore, do not forget to apply sunscreen before heading out under the sun. As age catches up with me and dark spots start surfacing, I find that this step is insufficient and top up with oral supplements to protect my skin from harsh UV rays.

Double D’s

Though I am not referring to bra cup, did you know that most women are wearing the wrong sizes? After I was fitted by the experts at FABLife for lingerie and shapewear, it gave me a better silhouette and I felt more confident in the clothes I wear.

The Double D’s I am talking about determination and discipline. The most challenging part is the determination to get yourself onto the right track of things, and then the discipline to stick to that routine. It is a chicken-and egg cycle. The routine will give you momentum, but to get into the routine requires the willpower to reschedule your hectic lifestyle.

Female Empowerment

Team FABLife: Eat, be merry, live life to the fullest and with no regret.

Team FABLife: Eat, be merry, live life to the fullest and with no regret.

 

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I hope my sharing has inspired and empowered you in some way! Together with FABLife, we encourage all females to love yourself first. Remember that self-love is not selfish, and if you wish to change yourself for the better, do so, not because society says we should, but do it for your own benefit. Accordingly, once you are confident of your body and are comfortable in your skin, you will automatically and naturally gain the ability and courage to love yourself and then love others! Just as the FABLife slogan goes- aim to live your life to the fullest and with no regret!

Team FABLife wishes everyone a Happy International Women’s Day!


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