Sunday, September 27, 2020

Working out isn't always about weight loss.

Someone sent me a message the other day saying I was never fat to begin with. The intentions were sweet, but what you might not know is that I actually weighed almost 200 pounds in college (I’m 5 flat). I was a binge eater - the kind who would eat two family-sized pizzas on her own (with Coke!) followed by two pints of ice cream.

That's why progress photos are so important to me. I feel the need to document what my body looks like every now and then because I want to make sure I'm not falling back into old habits and becoming the unhealthy blob of fat that I was back during my college days. Here's my latest progress photo:

MAY 29, 2020 vs SEP 25, 2020

Two months into quarantine, I started feeling my old college habits creeping in. I was practically inhaling cups of rice and ordering two cups of milk tea a day. Food has always been comforting for me, but let’s face it: unhealthy eating habits lead to less productivity, less energy, and a negative mindset.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for the movement of loving your body and accepting it with all of its flaws; but I also believe that you still need to make a point to look after your health and ensure that you don't abuse it by filling it with junk. (But that's just me. *shrugs*)

On the flip side, I was a size zero late last year and everyone said I was so skinny. I hated that just the same, if not more. I know that people meant for those comments to sound as compliments (since most people in the Philippines equate skinniness with beauty, for some reason), but my personal goal for the past few years has always been to look and be fit and strong - not to lose weight or get skinny. (It’s really just a matter of preference.)

I work out primarily for the positivity that it brings. It makes me feel good to finish a killer workout I know the Anj of a few months ago never would’ve finished. It makes me feel good to know that when someone needs help with heavy lifting, I can get it done. Working out has always been a challenge and a competition for and with myself - physical proof that I continue to become stronger as time goes by.

I still remember the exact date and time when I decided that I needed to add some workouts into my life. I was in my obese state (as mentioned earlier) and had just given birth to Syrena about two months prior to that when I found myself in the stupid position of almost falling off a cliff (long story). Anyway, I slipped and for a split second, I saw my life flash before my eyes. My first thought was of my 2-month-old baby girl who would've been left without a mother. It sounds funny, but I swear it was such a scary moment for 22-year-old me.

I knew that if I had slipped, no one would've been able to carry me up because I was too heavy and I knew that I wouldn't have been able to carry myself up, either. When I got back to the city (we were at the beach), I made a vow to change my lifestyle. I had to start with yoga because my ankles and knees couldn't handle anything more intense than that; and from there, I've dabbled in a bunch of other workouts to keep myself un-bored.

So there you have it: my decade-long fitness story in as small of a nutshell as I could put it (hopefully) without boring you. :p What's your fitness story? Would love to read it!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Importance of Values

The older I'm getting, the more I'm realizing the importance of values. Don't get me wrong. I'm no saint. In fact, looking back at the person that I was a decade ago (or even just a few years ago), I can't help but cringe at the life decisions I've made and the lack of values I used to have.

If I could, I'd go back and give my past self several slaps in the face for being so insensitive, reckless, and utterly stupid. However, the beauty of it is that I have (thankfully) grown into a better person (or so I'd like to think) and am always open to being corrected, schooled, and changed. Despite being much older, I admit that I still have a lot to learn and improve on; and I think that's an important thing to know and admit.

This year has been a major eye-opener for me. Before (specifically when I first moved here), I always tried to befriend everyone that I met. Because I was new to the country and was no longer in school, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make any friends; so I befriended practically everyone who crossed my path. And while I did meet a select few awesome people along the way, the truth of the matter is that I wasted a lot of time with people I had absolutely nothing in common with and didn't even like to begin with.

I spent sleepless nights and early mornings with toxic people who did nothing but talk shit about other people all day. I wasted hours building fake friendships and relationships with users and losers. This year, however, I learned how to not tolerate shit from anyone anymore. I would honestly rather spend all my time alone curled up with a book at home than be around people who have zero values.

I realized this change in my mindset pretty early on this year. While I have no qualms sharing my blessings with people who haven't experienced the expensive beauty that life sometimes has to offer, there was this one particular person who took crazy advantage of that. She never had any money and always mooched off of me and my friends. She even borrowed some money from me and never paid me back. I even took her on trips and to hotels with me. In the end, she disrespected my home, my friendship, and my beliefs; and I now wish I could've taken all of my time and money back.

Soon after that, I dated someone with values that didn't sit well with me. As nice as he was (or should I say as nice as his car was lol), he eventually showed his true colors by making homophobic remarks and practically worshipping the Filipino government. He cheered when people lost their jobs and constantly made fun of the LGBT community - something that really did not sit well with me on any level. It was hard to school him, too, because he was always convinced that he was right. Add to that the fact that he was disrespectful to his own family and I just knew there was no future there whatsoever.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure traits like the ones mentioned above might not be deal breakers to other people, but I believe that you should figure out early on what kind of people you want to surround yourself with. Find people who won't make you roll your eyes on your end of the phone. Find people whose remarks won't get your blood boiling at crazy temperatures. There's nothing wrong with little healthy arguments and disagreements; but if they say things or do things that aren't aligned with your beliefs and values, don't be afraid to drop them from your life.

You deserve peace of mind. You deserve contentment. You deserve growth. And you deserve to surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you a better person. I used to be such a negative, angry She-Hulk; but surrounding myself with amazing people has turned me into a better person overall. You can do the same by deleting people from your life. You'll feel much better and become a much better person in the end because of it. Trust me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Eyes on the Future at Taiwan Excellence Online Product Launch

Four Taiwan Excellence Award winners from the ophthalmic medical equipment industry in Taiwan recently demonstrated their most innovative products during an online product launch jointly organized by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the foremost trade promotion body in Taiwan, and Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade.

QA session, from left: Mr. William Wang, Co-Founder & President, Crystalvue Medical Corporation ; Mr. Johnson Chang, Sales Manager, Medimaging Integrated Solution Inc.; Ms. Pandora Yang, International Sales Manager, BenQ Materials Corp; Mr. Eric Chu, Co-Founder, In-Trust Technology Co., Ltd.

According to estimates from IEK Consulting of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the global ophthalmic medical equipment market is estimated to reach $58.4 billion by 2023. The three major areas of this market are vision care, surgery, and diagnosis and monitoring. Bulk products of significance are optical lenses, contact lenses and “fundus” cameras, a complex optical system designed for imaging of the eye’s retina.

Revenue from Taiwan's ophthalmic medical equipment industry has grown steadily in recent years with a turnover of approximately $7 billion. The auxiliary and remedial category, which constitutes the “contact lens industry,” has the most outstanding performance. The export ratio of this “invisible champion” accounts for 1.53% of global sales. Taiwan’s ophthalmology industry accounts for approximately 0.3% of global sales, where it combines technologies that include optics, electronics, motors, and big data calculations. Taiwan is highly proficient in ICT technology; and with this significant advantage, the ophthalmology industry has demonstrated great potential.

From left: Mr. Johnson Chang, Sales Manager, Medimaging Integrated Solution Inc; Mr. William Wang, Co-Founder & President, Crystalvue Medical Corporation; Mr. Mark Wu, Executive Director of Strategic Marketing Department, TAITRA; Ms. Pandora Yang, International Sales Manager, BenQ Materials Corp.; Mr. Eric Chu, Co-Founder, In-Trust Technology Co., Ltd.; Ms. Vivian Chen, Manager, IEP Healthcare Section of Strategic Marketing Department, TAITRA

As a trusted world partner, Taiwan Excellence upholds the spirit of innovation by selecting products that best represent the image of Taiwan's industries. On this occasion, the companies awarded were Crystalvue’s Non-Mydriatic Auto Fundus Camera that uses automatic 3D tracking, reduces human diagnostic error and is sold in over 50 countries worldwide; Medimaging’s Digital Portable Tonometer (DPT 100), which uses air-jet pressure detection to avoid contact with disease and infection; BenQ’s Miacare CONFIDENCE Color Contact Lens, which adopts silicone hydrogel technology and provides contact lens wearers with all-day comfort; and In-Trust’s Aurai Hot & Cool Eye Massager, the first in the world to use water circulation and water wave massage to reduce intraocular pressure without risk of any harm.

Taiwan Excellence award-winning products showcase the best of Taiwan’s industries, which provide smart solutions for consumers’ daily lives. According to TAITRA, more events focusing on medical products, including dentistry and assistance devices for the elderly, will be held in the coming weeks.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Better days are coming.

In terms of my personal life, I am in a good place. A very good place, even. Work is amazing. My voice acting "career" has really taken of. Family life is relatively calm. I have a new happy crush. (Okay... Not new... Resurfaced would be the better term.) And my friendships - the ones that matter - are now stronger than ever.

However, I'd be lying if I were to say that I am completely content. I am not. There are days when I feel like an animal in a cage. Days when I wish I could break free, breathe in the fresh air, and really live.

I miss escaping the noise of the household, heading to an ultra cold coffee shop, finding my special spot, and consuming unsafe amounts of caffeine with my earphones on and music at full blast. I miss losing myself in rows and rows of books and graphic novels in my favorite bookstore. I miss drowning my bad vibes in my favorite bar and playing beer pong until I can no longer speak or see straight.

I even miss freezing in the cold meeting rooms at our bi-monthly work meetings as I observe the changes in my workmates' appearances, moods, and... weight. :p I especially miss going on one-on-one meal dates with Syrena over noodles and fruit shakes. And I miss biking down Aguirre and beyond with the wind whipping at my face mask-less face. AND MY GOD, DO. I. MISS. GETTING. WAXED!!!

So that's why I got dressed in this strawberry dress today. If you know me at all, I'm not really a dress person (unless it's an event or a special occasion), much less a pink person. But the message behind this dress is a special one.

First taking over TikTok during quarantine, the pink tulle dress is dotted with sequined strawberries with a plunging neckline built only for those with a much bigger "future" than mine. The original version of this dress was designed by New York fashion Designer Lirika Matoshi and costs quite a bit of money (or so I've heard), but getting sent this knock-off didn't change the message for me in any way. 

Aside from making you feel happier, the dress also makes you feel hopeful. It is supposed to symbolize that there are better days ahead. (It's just a bonus that it serves as a reminder to people that I am, in fact, a woman and not a bro.)

We may still be stuck at home right now, but this dress reminds me to keep dreaming. Dreaming of days when I can prance around in it at a museum, at a party, or even just along that street behind The Mall of Asia overlooking Manila Bay. (I'm easy to please.)

It allows me to dream of better days to come when traveling will once again be a constant part of my life. When I can head out and hear people gasp in shock to see me in a pink fluffy dress. Days when I don't rely on social media to interact with people. And days when I can honestly say that I am in love with life once again.

What do you miss the most right now?