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a dash of SPICE

|May 2016|  

Journey to Acceptance  

Self Image and You


content ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

issue 9 Ÿ may 2016

Feature: Journey  to  Acceptance   The  Coach  

Interests and  Hobbies    

Self-­‐image

Food &  Drink    

Money Mine    

   

Seeds of  Inspiration    

Health &  Fitness Travel    

4   13     15     16     18                            20     21     23     24    

       

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editor’s note:

                                       

Body image  and  self-­‐image  are  issues  that  many  women  of  all  ages  struggle  with.  There   are  days  when  my  84-­‐year  old  Mother  tells  me  she’s  put  on  weight  and  says  she  needs  to   watch  what  she  eats!  She  says  it’s  for  h ealth  reasons  that  she  is  worried  about  her  weight   gain  and  I’ll  believe  her  but  I  know  of  many  women  who  beat  themselves  up  for  gaining   the  weight  and  not  b eing  able  to  shed  it  off.     I’ll  confess.  I’m  guilty  as  charged.  I  don’t  like  my  thighs  as  I  think  they’re  too  chunky  and             I  wish  I  h ad  skinny  thighs.  But  when  I  look  at  my  photos  from  my  younger  days,  I  know   that  skinny  thighs  never  existed  in  my  physique.  As  I  drift  through  my  40s  and  approach   the  50s,  I  am  more  concerned  about  my  weight.  I  rationalise  that  it’s  for  health  reasons   that  I  want  to  lose  weight,  but  deep  down  inside,  I  have  a  desire  to  have  a  “nice  toned   body”,  you  know  -­‐  firm  triceps,  firm  abs.  I’m  not  striving  to  b e  like  any  Hollywood  star  (but   I  confess  I  like  J  L  o’s  body  and  we’re  born  just  a  few  days  apart)  but  I  want  to  do  it,   because  I’m  a  control  freak  and  I  just  hate  that  the  fats  in  my  body  have  reigned  for  so   many  years.  It’s  time  for  the  Queen  to  take  back  the  crown.     Sometime  in  March  I  saw  a  new  weight-­‐loss  fad  that  apparently  started  in  China  –  where   girls  were  striving  to  h ave  a  waist  no  wider  than  the  width  of  a  portrait  A4-­‐size  paper!   Now  that’s  probably  the  width  of  one  of  my  thighs!  Thus,  this  issue  is  dedicated  to  all   women  who  are  struggling  with  their  body-­‐types  and  other  self-­‐image  issues  –  that  you   don’t  h ave  to  let  society  define  what  you  should  look  like  and  get  the  power  back.  Change   whatever  you  want  because  you  want  it  and  not  because  you  want  to  fit  into  a  mould  set   by  society.       If  you  have  a  story  you’d  like  to  share  and  inspire  women,  we’d  like  to  hear  from  you.   Drop  us  an  email  at  magazine@oneasiacoach.com  and  b e  part  of  the  spicy  family.     Begin  again;  Live  again;  Love  again.  

 

Editor, A  Dash  of  Spice        

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“I lived  my  life  thinking  that  I  would  never  amount  to  anything;  that  I’ll  b e  forever  stupid.  My  journey  is  about   acceptance,  and  telling  myself  that  “Hey,  you  know  what?  You  aren’t  so  bad  after  all.”  

 

My name  is  Natalie  Trog  and  I  am  30  this  year.  For  some  reason,  turning  30  made  me  reflect  on   my  life,  re-­‐evaluate  my  life  and  ask  myself  what  do  I  want  to  be  and  where  do  I  see  myself  in               a  few  years’  time?        I  made  some  achievable  goals  such  as  to  meet  up  with  almost  everyone  in   my  Facebook  friend’s  list  –  to  meet  them  in  flesh  and  not  just  be  online  acquaintances.  It’s  about   taking  small  steps;  I  don’t  dare  to  dream  big.  Maybe  that  is  my  biggest  flaw.     It  is  hard  to  believe  that  until  four  years  ago,  I  was  tipping  the  scale  at  140kgs.  It  wasn’t  easy  and   it’s  been  a  long  road  for  me.  But  hey,  I’m  an  optimist  who  loves  to  travel  and  learn  new   languages.  I’m  a  voracious  reader  with  a  passion  for  cooking  and  trying  new  recipes.  I  dream  the   impossible.  If  you  are  looking  to  lose  weight  and  clean  eating,  do  give  me  a  nudge  at   nurratrog@gmail.com.    

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my journey to acceptance: by natalie trog the growing  years:   I  grew  up  tossed  around  ever  since  m y  parents  got   divorced  when  I  was  four  years  old  and  my  younger   sister  was  one.  I  still  remember  it  vividly,  which             is  surprising,  given  that  I  was  only  four  but  it  was   clear  as  day.     Mom  got  married  at  16,  but  she  only  had  me  when   she  was  20  so  in  a  sense  I  am  glad  I  wasn’t  an   accident  and  I  suppose  Mom  was  smart  in  that  way,   not  rushing  into  “having  kids”  as  soon  as  she  got   married.  She  didn’t  succumb  to  social  norms,  a  trait   which  I  inherited.  She  was  however,  a  homemaker.   For  10  years  of  marriage  with  my  dad,  she  didn’t   have  a  job  and  but  she  was  doing  pretty  alright.  She   was  one  of  the  prettiest  amongst  her  siblings,  fair   and  English  educated;  she  was  quite  the  catch.     According  to  Mom,  Dad  went  to  study  in  Japan  and   mom  was  left  alone  to  raise  two  toddlers,  b ut  she   thought  nothing  of  it.  Dad  would  come  b ack  with         a  degree  and  will  be  able  to  earn  more  money  for   the  family.  We’ll  just  have  to  endure  and  b ite  the   bullet  for  a  little  while  more.  I  remembered  mom   buying  rice  and  milk  on  credit  with  the  shop  at  the   ground  floor  of  our  flat,  always  p romising  to  pay   soon.  I  didn’t  understand  much  of  what  was   happenning  as  all  I  cared  about  was  the  happy   times  I  get  to  get  out  of  the  house  for  a  while  to  run   around  at  the  void  deck.     Dad  came  back  not  only  brandishing  a  degree  but   with  a  fair  svelte  Japanese  girl  in  his  arms,  crushing   my  mom  inside  out.  What  made  it  worse  was  that   her  mother-­‐in-­‐law  told  the  Japanese  girl  that  my   dad  wasn’t  married  and  was  still  a  bachelor,                             a  revelation  only  when  my  mom  confronted  the   other  woman.  I  never  saw  my  dad  again  after  that    

day. Having  b een  a  homemaker  for  the  past  10     years  with  no  savings  and  no  work  experience,   landed  my  mom  in  a  state  of  frenzy.  I  was  only  four,     still  weaning  off  milk  and  occasionally  wetting  the   mattress,  and  my  sister  was  just  one.  We  were     living  in  our  maternal  grandfather’s  one  room  flat     along  Beach  Road.  My  maternal  grandparents  were   divorced  as  well.  Luck  wasn’t  done  with  us  y  et.     I  still  remember  the  many  times  my  mom  was     in           a  state  of  panic.  One  was  when  my  baby  sister  was   having  difficulty  breathing  and  she  told  me  t  o  look   after  my  sister  while  she  went  out  to  get  help,     perhaps  begging  relatives  to  lend  h er  money  to     e   send  my  sister  to  the  hospital.  My  sister,  as  w learned  later,  had  asthma  and  I  remember  she  was     closing  her  eyes  in  fatigue  and  I  would  wake  her  up     5,  and   just  to  make  sure  she  wasn’t  dying.  I  was  just   she  was  2.  I  don’t  remember  much,  other  than  my     sister  pulled  through  and  was  well  again.    

Another time  mom  was  frustrated  because  she   tried  to  apply  for  me  to  go  to  primary  school     and   the  school  policy  asked  for  b oth  p arents  to  come   down,  failing  which  they  needed  a  divorce     certificate.  I  remember  clearly  trips  up  and  d  own  to   the  Syariah  Court  and  the  ugly  custody  battles.   Between  finding  a  job,  toddlers  that  needed     milk,   the  younger  one  with  asthma,  mom  was  hauling     two  kids  up  and  down  S yariah  courts  and  fighting     against  the  rigid  school  system  just  to  get  me   enrolled  into  a  primary  school.    

My mother  had  the  reputation  of  Xena  the  Warrior     Princess,  a  nickname  given  to  her  by  my   schoolmates,  after  they  h ad  the  unfortunate     luck  to   witness  first  hand  during  the  “Meet  the  Parents   session”  when  I  had  to  bring  my  mom  to  collect  my   school  report  book.  I’ve  had  my  own  share  of  her    

 

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Food -­‐  My  best  friend.  

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not only  beating  with  her  bare  hands  but  with   anything  she  could  grab  within  her  reach:  mop,   broomsticks,  umbrella,  belt  buckle  and  clothes   hanger.  once  I  got  caught  playing  with  fire  and  it   burned  a  patch  on  the  carpet.  My  mother  tied  me  up   with  a  rope  and  threatened  to  burn  the  other  end  of   the  rope  to  try  and  scare  me  that  she  was  going  to   burn  me  alive.  I  was  probably  six  or  seven  years  old   then.  Guess  who  never  played  with  fire  again?  

the teenage  years:   By  now  we  were  living  with  my  maternal   grandmother  after  mom  had  a  disagreement  with   her  dad.  After  her  parents  divorced,  mom  and  her   sister  were  raised  by  her  father  and  her  mother  took   custody  of  her  other  siblings.  So  we  had  little   interaction  with  my  grandmother  and  moving  in       with  her  was  another  adjustment;  it  was  as  though   we  had  moved  in  with  a  total  stranger.  Grandma   wasn’t  the  doting  kind,  having  not  raised  my  mom,   much  less  her  kids.  My  grandmother  would  prefer   me  to  play  downstairs  with  the  neighbourhood  kids   rather  than  letting  me  stay  at  home  because         staying  at  home  is  “noisy”  and  watching  TV  uses             “a  lot  of  electricity”.     Mom  was  working  then,  so  she  wasn’t  home  much.       I  was  able  to  do  things  unsupervised,  like  dashing   across  the  expressway  to  go  to  the  East  Coast  Beach   on  the  other  side,  a  treat  I  never  had  the  privilege  to   enjoy.  I  think  a  guardian  angel  must  have  been   watching  over  me  that  I  didn’t  die,  or  grow  up  to  be   a  thug  or  a  hooligan.  I’m  surprised  at  myself  for  not   being  in  jail  at  all.    

As a  result,  I  remember  my  sessions  doing   homework  with  my  sister  will  be  peppered  with   conversations  like:   Me:  “Adik,  how  do  you  say  newspaper  in  Malay?”   Sister:  “Suratkhabar.  Then  how  do  you  say  Nasi                 in  English?”   Me:  “Rice.”  

my relationship  with  food:   “Oh  you  only  got  47  out  of  50  for   your  maths  test?  Mrs  Soh’s  son  got   50!  Why  didn’t  you  get  50?”  She   might  as  well  have  asked  me  to   create  a  new  galaxy.  I  wasn’t  good   enough.   I  knew  growing  up  I  was  different.  All  these  physical   beatings  and  the  colourful  vocabulary,  not  only   made  me  fearful  of  my  own  mother,  but  also  made   me  afraid  to  stand  up  on  my  own  or  for  myself.  My   mother  loved  to  compare  me  with  the  neighbour   kids  and  my  cousins  that  up  to  this  point  even  as       I’m  writing  this,  up  until  this  morning  as  of  17  March   2016,  I  lived  my  life  thinking  that  I  would  never   amount  to  anything;  that  I’ll  be  forever  stupid.    

My relatives  never  thought  much  about  our  family,   we  were  just  people  from  a  broken  home  and  were   treated  like  lepers  and  the  stigma  of  being  a   divorcee.  Mom  never  praised  me  at  all;  perhaps  she   did  but  I  can’t  recall  at  all.  All  I  remember  she  told   One  thing  mom  did  right  in  my  opinion,  was  teaching   me  during  my  Primary  4  Streaming  Exam,  “Oh  you   me  English.  She  wanted  me  to  be  like  her,  English   only  got  47  out  of  50  for  your  maths  test?  Mrs  Soh’s   educated.  But  she  soon  realised  that  she  didn’t  focus   son  got  50!  Why  didn’t  you  get  50?”  She  might  as   on  the  mother  tongue  language  at  all  with  me  and           well  have  asked  me  to  create  a  new  galaxy.  I  wasn’t   I  seem  to  forget  my  roots  not  being  able  to  speak  in   good  enough.  And  if  I  wasn’t  good  enough  for  her,   my  own  native  tongue,  Malay.  So  with  my  sister,  she   her  own  flesh  and  blood,  how  would  I  be  good   did  the  reverse.   enough  for  anyone?  So  I  turned  to  the  only                         non-­‐judgemental  thing  that  gave  me  a  source  of   comfort  –  food.  

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Tommy and  I  on  our  wedding  day  in  2009  

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Funny how  a  kid  from  a  broken  family  and  living   probably  in  the  poverty  line  could  grow  so  huge.   Eating  was  my  source  where  I  found  comfort,  solace   even  love.  I  even  borrowed  money  from  my   classmates  during  primary  school  just  so  that  I  could   have  another  round  of  hot  dogs.  Once  or  twice,  and     I  confess  this  with  great  hesitation,  I  stole  money  so   that  I  could  eat.  Because  life  was  hard,  pizza  was   something  that  mom  treated  us  on  our  birthdays,   year  after  year.  As  a  result,  until  today,  I  associate   pizza  with  birthdays  and  mom  still  has  a  habit  of   ordering  pizza  on  our  birthdays  even  though  my   sister  and  I  are  well  over  into  our  30s  now.     But  I  digress.  The  more  I  ate,  the  more  I  felt  happy,   satisfied  and  food  was  my  friend.  I  would  fry  corned   beef  with  cooking  oil  and  relish  the  rich  slurry  of   mess  with  a  pat  on  my  stomach.  Instant  noodles,         by  default,  was  always  made  with  2  packets  and                   2  poached  eggs  -­‐  one  of  each  wouldn’t  cut  it.  Of   course  my  bowl  of  noodles  would  be  joined  with   companions  like  hot  dogs,  fish  balls  and  chicken   nuggets.  How  about  Chicken  rice?  Two  packets   please.  Extra  gravy  was  always  welcomed.  This         food  addiction  escalated  for  years  and  grew  well       into  my  adulthood  up  until  my  mid-­‐20s.     I  had  always  been  a  chubby  kid  and  I  never  really   cared.  TAF  club?  I  remembered  my  secondary  school   teacher  when  I  was  in  my  senior  year,  said  “Look,   I’ve  seen  you  join  the  TAF  club  since  secondary  1,   four  years  ago.  Instead  of  losing  weight,  I  see  that   you  are  gaining  weight.  So  this  year,  I  leave  it  up  to   you.  If  you  want  to  join,  go  ahead.  If  not,  I  won’t   force  you”.  Father  Christmas  stayed  behind  in   January  that  year  because  no  more  TAF  club,  no   more  being  brined  in  my  own  perspiration  and  no   more  smelling  like  I’ve  been  slaving  on  the  farm.         No  sir,  I  was  going  to  be  a  fabulous,  nice  smelling,  

powdered fresh  face  when  the  school  bell  rang  at   7:20  am.  I’d  like  to  think  that  my  teacher  told  me   that  to  let  me  enjoy  my  final  senior  year  in  secondary   school  in  peace,  but  looking  back,  I  detected  a  tone   of  resignation  in  her  voice.  Oh  well,  water  under  the   bridge  now.   Food  was  also  my  reward  of  choice  whenever                           I  accomplished  something.  Finished  my  exams?   Mcdonalds  please.  Got  a  pay  check?  Hell  yeah  bring   on  the  buffet.  Birthdays?  My  birthday  celebrations   lasted  the  entire  month  of  October  and  I  expected   no  less  than  dinners  and  desserts.    

the tipping  point:   The  year  was  2012.  At  26,  I  was  tipping  close  to   140kg  and  so  it  began.  My  knees  and  ankles  started   to  hurt  whenever  I  stood  for  long  periods  of  time,   which  pissed  me  off  when  the  morning  trains  got   crowded  and  I  couldn’t  get    a  seat.  After  a  while,  it   became  embarrassing  that  when  I  took  an  empty   seat  the  other  person  would  get  up  because  clearly  it   was  uncomfortable  sitting  next  to  me  when  I  took  up   more  than  one  seat  space.  Did  I  care?  Nope.  My   thighs  thank  thee,  fellow  commuter,  for  now  they   didn’t  have  to  be  squeezed  together.   But  something  else  nagged  me;  I  always  seemed  to   wake  up  with  a  headache  almost  every  morning.   Migraines  were  becoming  frequent.  But  I  thought   nothing  of  it  until  I  was  down  with  flu  one  day  and             I  went  to  see  my  family  doctor.  It  was  then  he   dropped  the  bomb  saying  that  I  had  mild  high  blood   pressure.  That  explained  the  headaches  every   morning,  and  at  26  years  old  at  that!  I  knew  it  would   lead  me  to  even  bigger  onset  of  ailments  as  I  grew   older  and  diabetes  and  heart  diseases  run  in  both   sides  of  my  family.  I  decided  I  had  to  do  something.    

 

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“I heard  comments  like,  “Oh  the   only  reason  she  could  lose  weight   was  because  she  had  surgery  and   if  she  hadn’t  done  it,  I  doubt  she   would  have  lost  the  weight.”  It   solidified  the  notion  and  gave  the   conviction  that  yes,  I  am  a  failure   and  I  wouldn’t  amount  to   anything.  I  will  not  achieve   anything.”       I  joined  a  gym,  Fitness  First,  and  got  a  trainer.  Oh  Lord,   have  mercy!  The  first  few  sessions  were  a  killer  but  I  had   my  best  friend  Pratishtha,  who  happened  to  be  my   colleague  as  well,  signing  up  for  membership  so  she   motivated  me  to  go  for  classes  after  work.  Tommy,  my   husband,  also  signed  up  so  we  went  to  gym  together.   My  weight  was  reducing  and  I  slept  better  at  night,   probably  because  of  the  exhaustion  more  than  anything.   But  my  addiction  with  food  was  still  haunting  me  and             I  told  myself,  “as  long  you  can  work  it  off,  you  can  eat   whatever  you  want.”  Perhaps  not  the  best  self-­‐talk.     It  was  around  the  end  of  2013  that  I  realised  that  my   weight  loss  wasn’t  going  anywhere;  in  fact  I  had  a  new   problem.  Turns  out,  my  stomach  wall  lining  had  become   dangerously  thin  that  I  was  in  danger  of  rupturing  it  and   having  a  hole  in  my  stomach.  I  also  discovered  that                     I  have  polyps  in  my  intestinal  wall  lining.  It  wasn’t   cancerous  but  I  freaked  out.  The  doctor  suggested    

weight loss  surgery,  because  I  told  him  my  gym   sessions  weren’t  going  anywhere  and  my  knees   were  not  going  to  allow  me  to  exercise  any   longer.  He  was  more  concerned  with  the   stomach  problem;  that  if  it  ruptured  and  created   a  hole  in  the  stomach,  they  would  have  to  staple   it.  Why  not  do  it  now  rather  than  waiting  for  the   time  bomb  to  explode?     So  after  a  few  tests,  I  was  fit  for  the  gastric   bypass  surgery.  This  was  something  I  didn’t   openly  share  with  people  as  society  tends  to   judge.  I  heard  comments  like,  “Oh  the  only   reason  she  could  lose  weight  was  because  she   had  surgery  and  if  she  hadn’t  done  it,  I  doubt  she   would  have  lost  the  weight.”  It  solidified  the   notion  and  gave  the  conviction  that  yes,  I  am               a  failure  and  I  wouldn’t  amount  to  anything.  I  will   not  achieve  anything.    

10


truths, half  truths  and  lies:   I  guess  I  could  charm  my  ways  with  the  dietician  and   the  doctors  because  they  were  assessing  my   suitability  of  having  the  surgery.  They  tried  to  make   it  sound  like  “you  have  to  control  your  mind  because   the  surgery  will  not  be  a  success  if  you  still  eat  a  lot   and  not  control  your  diet..blah  blah  blah.”  I  told   them  that  I  was  comfortable  in  my  own  skin  (quite   true),  that  I  didn’t  want  to  go  through  this  surgery   because  of  vanity  sake  but  rather  I  was  afraid  of  my   worsening  health  at  26  with  onset  of  problems  (half   true),  that  I’ve  tried  to  exercise  by  joining  gyms  and   it’s  not  like  I  wasn’t  making  any  effort  (true)  and  that   it’s  not  like  I  have  an  addiction  with  food!  I  don’t   even  like  food!  I  don’t  eat  things  that  are  too  sweet   or  too  greasy  as  it  will  make  my  stomach  queasy  and       I  don’t  like  soft  drinks  at  all!  (Lies!  ALL  LIESSSSS!).               I  might  have  batted  an  eyelid  or  two  but  whatever  it   is,  it  worked  like  a  charm  and  soon  I  was  scheduled   for  surgery.    

hypoglycaemia, low  blood  sugar.  Fainting  spells   followed  by  immense  sweating  became  a  norm.                   I  began  to  doubt  myself  if  this  was  really  what                           I  wanted.  Yes  I  was  losing  weight  at  a  rate  of  13kg           a  month  but  I  looked  like  death  warmed  up.  Literally.         I  didn’t  look  healthy  physically,  and  mentally  I  was   forced  to  give  up  my  food  addiction  cold  turkey.                   I  couldn’t  go  back  to  my  source  of  comfort  and  had   to  live  a  life  of  liquid  sustenance.  It  was  hell.    

I knew  I  had  to  eat  something,  so  it  was  steamed   broccoli,  a  slice  of  watermelon  and  fruits  and   vegetables  became  pretty  much  the  only  food  my   body  was  able  to  accept  and  not  retch  it  out.  I  was           a  complete  vegetarian,  vegan  in  fact.  I  began  to  take   notice  at  what  food  made  me  sick  –  turns  out  it’s  the   darned  processed  food.  So  I  stopped  taking  that  and           I  began  to  eat  wholesome  nutritious  meals  –  fish   congee,  steamed  eggs,  steamed  vegetables  and                     I  noticed  in  the  absence  of  all  these  meats  and   processed  foods  in  my  life,  for  the  first  time,  I  began   to  feel  and  see  the  difference.  Skin  looked  and  felt   Yey!  The  day  for  surgery  arrived  and  it  was  a  success.   incredible,  with  a  glow  and  radiance  to  it.  I  also  felt   better,  being  more  mobile  and  that  motivated  me  to   But  the  horror  of  reality  began  to  sink  it.  Up  till  that   moment,              I  believed  that  since  I  wasn’t  able  to  eat   start  exercising.  Not  to  mention  the  sudden  plethora   of  clothes  that  was  available  to  me  –  I  used  to  shy   much,  I  could  eat  ANYTHING  I  want  in  smaller   from  clothing  stores  because  I  knew  for  a  fact  they   portions  and  it  still  won’t  hit  the  calorie  limit.  No   don’t  carry  my  size.  I  now  became    more  motivated   harm  no  foul,  I  thought.  Boy,  I  was  in  for  a  rude   and  more  positive  with  a  fresh  new  outlook  and   shock.   perspective  in  life.  

life after  surgery:  

Because vegetables  seemed  to  be  the  only  thing  that   All  the  food  that  I  was  accustomed  to  suddenly  made   my  body  seemed  to  agree  and  accept,  I  began  to   look  into  raw  vegan  fads  and  try  out  new  things.  So   me  ill.  Processed  foods  and  wheat  in  particular.   many  ways  to  eat  vegetables  and  not  risking  my   Meats,  deli,  fried  wings,  desserts.  Consuming  any   body  expelling  it  out!  I  was  ecstatic.  I  knew  I  needed   one  of  these  will  result  in  sharp  pains  in  the   protein,  the  building  blocks  of  our  body  otherwise             abdomen,  retching  and  vomiting  in  an  attempt  to   I  will  risk  being  seriously  ill  so  I  began  to  consume   expel  the  food  or  worse,  the  dumping  syndrome.   Also,  because  of  the  malnutrition  that  arose  from  the   healthy  lean  meats.  Eggs,  fish,  chicken,  turkey;  no   surgery,  my  hair  began  to  fall  off  like  a  scene  from         more  cold  cuts  and  red  meats.   a  horror  movie.  I  also  began  experiencing  

11


As I  began  to  look  better,  feel  better  and  getting   compliments  from  friends,  I  began  to  be  more   motivated  in  life.  I  signed  up  for  Diploma  in  Human   Resource  Management,  having  only  completed  my   secondary  education  and  now  I  am  pursuing  a   Degree  in  Guidance,  Counselling  and  Disability   Studies.          I  also  took  up  sign  language  classes  and   on  weekends  I  try  to  go  out  and  climb  Bukit  Timah,   the  highest  hill  in  Singapore  with  Tommy  in  an   effort  to  try  and  lose  weight  and  motivate  him  to   do  the  same.  We  get  to  spend  more  time  together   as  opposed  to  just  going  out  for  dinner  and  movies   –  we  actually  manage  to  do  something  together  as   a  couple  for  a  change.   I  will  also  be  getting  my  keys  to  my  new  house   slated  to  be  ready  in  2017.  Really  looking  forward   to  that.  

All my  life  I  was  led  to  believe  that                         I  wasn’t  good  enough,  that  I  won’t   amount  to  anything,  that  I’ll  never  find   love,  I’ll  be  forever  obese  and  I  am  set   for  failure.  Now  when  I  look  back,  I  tell   myself  “Hey,  maybe  I’m  not  so  bad  after   all.  J”  

 

12


the coach:  

 

the power of words by  Carol  Johnston  

Carol is  a  certified  Law  Of  Attraction  Life  Coach.  She   also  holds  a  Level  4  Certificate  in  telephone  crisis   counselling.  As  an  extension  of  her  work  as  an  LOA   coach,  Carol  is  also  an  Empowerment/Self  Esteem   and  Mother/Daughter  relationship  coach.

“Everyone tells  me  I  look  like  my  mum,   and  mum  always  says,  “you  wouldn't   want  to  grow  up  and  have  a  face  like  this   would  you?  Look  at  me;  I  look   disgusting.”   Kate*  (11  years  old)  

At  that  moment  my  heart  sank  for  Kate  and  her   mum.  Firstly  because  this  pretty  11  year  old  had   already  taken  her  mother’s  words  on  board,  enough   to  tell  a  complete  stranger  she  wasn't  pretty.  For  her   mum  because  I  had  only  met  her  half  an  hour  before   and  she  seemed  to  be  a  beautiful  and  confident   woman  (on  the  outside).  

This  mum  had  no  idea  what  was  or  had  been  going   A  few  years  ago  I  wrote  a  program  called  “Buds  To   on  in  her  daughter’s  mind,  all  because  of  a  comment.   Blossoms”,  a  Self  Esteem  and  Empowerment   Now  I  don't  know  if  it  was  something  said  on  a   workshop  for  10-­‐12  year  olds.  The  very  first  question           regular  basis  or  it  was  mum  just  having  one  of  those   I  asked  after  getting  to  know  them  a  little  was  “What   days  that  all  of  us  have  when  we  just  feel  a  little  yuk.   does  self  esteem  mean  to  you?”  Of  course  I  got  the   I  must  admit  yes,  I  have  those  days  too  however   usual  answers  a  girl  that  age  would  give  like  being   most  of  the  time  I  keep  those  thoughts  at  bay.     proud  of  yourself,  being  happy,  feeling  good  when   Gorgeous  mums,  your  darling  girls  hear  the  words   you  get  dressed  up  and  so  on.     you  say  -­‐  when  you  are  looking  in  the  mirror  and     telling  yourself  you  look  like  crap  or  your  jeans  are   But  I  will  never  ever  forget  the  conversation  I  had   too  tight  or  your  top  doesn't  fit  properly.  You  are  the   with  Kate*  (not  her  real  name).  The  first  words  that   one  she  looks  up  to;  you  are  her  role  model  and  her   came  out  of  her  mouth  were  “well  I'm  not  very   pretty  am  I?”  I  asked  her  why  would  she  think  that?  I   teacher.  It's  your  job  to  help  her  navigate  her  way   through  the  winding  road  of  growing  up.  How  would   was  stunned  by  her  answer  and  let  me  assure  you   you  feel  if  Kate  was  your  daughter?     there  is  a  huge  lesson  to  all  mums  of  daughters  in   what  she  had  to  say.  Her  answer  “Everyone  tells  me  I   This  is  why  it's  so  important  as  hard  as  it  may  be,   look  like  my  mum,  and  mum  always  says,  “you   sometime  to  learn  to  really  love  yourself  because   wouldn't  want  to  grow  up  and  have  a  face  like  this   then  your  daughter  will  too.     would  you,  look  at  me;  I  look  disgusting.””  

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When it  comes  to  our  children  words   are  so  important  and  when  they  hear   you  speaking  negatively  they  will   take  it  on  board.  

If you  feel  that  you  may  need  some  help  in  this   area  I  would  love  to  work  with  you  and  your   daughter  through  my  program  “Mothers  &   Daughters  United.”  

If  I  were  to  sit  with  your  daughter  and  ask  her   these  questions  I  wonder  what  she  would  say?     What  is  the  one  thing  you  love  most  about  your   mum?   Tell  me  something  really  special  about  your   mum?   What  is  your  favourite  thing  to  do  with  mum?   Why  is  your  mum  the  best  mum  in  the  world?   How  do  you  feel  when  mum  hugs  you?     Mums,  none  of  these  questions  relate  to  the   way  you  look  do  they?  In  these  questions  to   your  daughter  I'm  sure  that  you  could  find   some  magic  that  make  you  proud  of  the   mother  that  you  are.  You  could  even  answer   these  questions  about  your  daughter  and  tell   her  your  answers.  I'm  sure  she  would  feel   amazing.       When  it  comes  to  our  children  words  are  so   important  and  when  they  hear  you  speaking   negatively  they  will  take  it  on  board.  Mums,   next  time  you  are  standing  in  front  of  your   mirror  say  “  ………………  You  look  great  today!”   Notice  how  that  feels,  say  it  until  you  have                 a  beaming  smile  on  your  face.     Embrace  your  uniqueness;  embrace  those   special  qualities  that  your  daughter  loves  about   you.  Embrace  the  fact  that  you  have  a  daughter   and  show  her  how  to  love  herself.    

How would  you  feel  sitting  with  your  gorgeous   girl  facing  each  other  holding  hands  and  you   both  saying  “  I  love  you  because……………,  I'm   proud  of  you  for……………  I'm  glad  you  are  my   mother/  daughter  because…………  .     This  is  one  p art  of  my  workshop  where  I  get   amazing  results  and  after  this  exercise  both   Mother  and  Daughter  feel  more  connected.    

Contact  Carol  Johnston  at:   www.mothersanddaughtersunited.com   https://www.facebook.com/CarolJohnston2013   LinkedIn:  Carol  Johnston   Twitter  @CarolJohnston70   Email:  carol@mothersanddaughtersunited.com   Or  carol@caroljohnston.com.au  

   

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interests/hobbies:

spice up your life

Selfiemage

 

by Rachpal Kaur Tulsi

                I’ve  been  called  a  narcissist.  Why?  Because  my  Instagram  account  (yes  at  46  I  am  on  Instagram  and  you   can  follow  me  on  Rachpal28)  I  MOSTLY  have  pictures  of  myself!  Well  hello??  Isn’t  that  what  people  do   when  they’re  on  Instagram  –  post  pictures  of  themselves  and  what  they  do?   Google  it  up  “why  people  take  selfies”  and  many  different  pop  p sychologists  give  their  views;  some  say   it’s  because  we  want  p eople  to  know  that  we  have  a  life,  that  we’re  n ot  losers  or  that  we’re  living  it  up   with  all  the  check-­‐ins  we  do  at  the  latest  clubs  and  cafes.     What’s  worrying  for  me  is  a  study  done  by  University  of  Strathclyde  (yes  it  exists  in  Scotland)  found  that   female  students  who  surfed  the  social  media  looking  at  selfies,  often  have  negative  feelings  about  body   image  –  their  own  b ody  image!  So  that  means,  females  spend  much  time  looking  at  what  they  think  is  the   ideal  body  image  and  then  they  beat  themselves  u p  for  n ot  fitting  into  the  ideals  set  by  society.     I  know  that  I  am  part  of  the  problem  –  I  post  selfies  of  myself  on  a  weekly  basis  and  I’m  not  about  to  stop.   But  I  have  a  higher  purpose  and  intention  –  that  I’m  simply  living.  Some  people  express  themselves   through  music  or  drawing,  I,  through  photos.  I  want  women  who  look  at  my  photos  to  be  inspired  to  go   out  there  and  live  the  life  they  d esire  and  not  be  trapped  in  a  vicious  cycles  of  work-­‐home-­‐sleep-­‐repeat.     If  a  narcissist  I  am,  then  I  will  embrace  the  label.  As  I  am  probably  the  only  narcissist  who  d ares  to  p ost   selfies  of  myself  sans  filter,  sans  make-­‐up,  sans  hair-­‐dye  and  M ichelin-­‐tyre-­‐like  waist  sticking  out  the  sides   of  my  workout  gear.  Dear  lover  of  selfies,  go  past  what  society  defines  as  the  ideal  image  of  what  a   woman  should  be  and  own  your  selfies.  If  taking  selfies  is  your  new  hobby,  then  click  away.  It’s  your   body,  your  face  and  you  don’t  need  to  fix  it.  They  need  to  fix  their  perspective.    

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the self-image:

beauty from within

Mirror, Mirror…Is that me? by Cassi Grey

Mirror, mirror,  is  that  me?   Looking  mighty  old,  I  see   Oh,  those  creases  and  that  flab   Slay  my  ego  like  a  sharp  knife  stab.   Where's  the  beauty  that  I  used  to  be?   Mirror,  you  make  fun  of  me.       Mirror,  Mirror,  why  oh  why   Are  there  dark  bags  under  where  I  cry   And  why  is  my  tummy,  once  so  flat   Rippling  with  postmenopausal  fat?   Mirror,  mirror,  why  oh  why   Does  it  look  like  youth  has  passed  me  by?     Mirror,  do  you  think  it's  time   I  spent  some  cash  to  look  my  prime   Should  I  Botox  this  and  laser  that   Lift  my  face  and  suck  out  some  fat?   Will  people  love  and  admire  me   If  I  look  like  the  girl  I  once  used  to  be?  

Mirror, wait  -­‐  what  do  I  see  here?   This  face  shows  a  journey  of  strength  and  fear   Those  lines  where  I  laughed  for  hours  and  cried   With  sorrow  whenever  a  loved  one  died.   These  eyes  that  saw  God  in  moments  of  pain   Who  reminded  me  one  day  I'd  be  happy  again.   These  arms  of  strength  who've  held  and  healed   These  legs  upon  the  ground  have  kneeled.   My  face  may  sag,  my  eyes  may  dim   But  Mirror,  I'm  a  Goddess  within.     So  Mirror,  Mirror,  if  I  may   I'd  like  to  get  a  facial  today   Join  some  friends  for  a  laugh  or  two   And  hug  someone  who's  feeling  blue   I  may  get  lifted,  I  may  get  waxed   Or  maybe  I'll  give  these  fixins'  the  axe   Whatever  I  do  I  do  for  me   Because  I'm  perfect  as  I  am.  I'm  me.    

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Cassi through the years

Cassi in  her  sophomore  year  

Cassi at  about  age  16  years.  Picture  by  Thomas  Corcoran    

Cassi in  her  40s.  Picture  taken  by   Callen  Harty  

   

Cassi today.  

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food and drink:

spice, dice and splash

C lea n a n d G u ilt-free E a tin g

by Rachpal  Kaur  Tulsi   When  I  read  Natalie’s  story  (our  main  feature  for  this  issue),  I  was,  in  the  words  of  m y  friend  Aditee,   gobsmacked.  Yep,  it’s  a  word  to  express  that  I  was  speechless.  I’m  filled  with  admiration  for  Natalie  and   anyone  else  that  is  on  the  weight-­‐loss  journey.  Like  Natalie,  I  love  food.  I  plan  my  meal  dates  with  all  my   loved  ones  so  that  I  get  a  whole  array  of  food  throughout  the  year.  I  love  rich  food  –  deep  fried,  cheesy   and  d on’t  get  me  started  on  desserts.     As  I  was  editing  Natalie’s  story,  I  saw  a  phrase  she’s  used  “clean  eating”  and  that  sealed  it  for  this  issue.   Just  because  you’re  overweight  and  trying  to  lose  weight  it  doesn’t  mean  you  have  to  starve  yourself  or   be  banished  to  eating  leaves  and  dry  biscuits.     What  is  clean  eating?  To  borrow,  Natalie’s  philosophy  on  eating,  it’s  about  eating  whole  foods  and  not   processed  foods.  It’s  about  preparing  the  food  yourself  so  that  you  know  what’s  going  into  your  b ody.           In  this  issue,  I  won’t  be  sharing  any  recipes,  but  just  4  simple  ways  you  can  start  enjoying  food  while   getting  your  health  and  weight  back  on  track.   Why  only  4  tips?  Eating  needs  to  be  pleasurable.  I  don’t  want  to  take  that  away  from  you.  Start  with   these  four  and  the  rest  you  will  figure  out  as  you  notice  the  changes  in  your  body.  

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4 Tips to clean eating 1 2 3

Minimise Processed  Food.  It’s  hard  to  eliminate  them  altogether.  Choose  healthy  options  like  

tuna in  water,  p asta,  whole  grain  cereals  or  bread.  Avoid  those  that  are  smothered  in  oil  and  sauces.  

More fruits  and  veggies.  Both  are  excellent  sources  of  fibre.  Fruits  also  help  fulfil  the  sugar  

cravings. And  veggies  you  can  p retty  much  do  anything  with  them:  bake,  fry,  soup  or  eat  them  raw.  

Make your  own  soups,  sauces  and  patties.  You  can  control  and  modify  the  ingredients  and  you  

know what’s  going  in.  I  buy  chicken  or  fish  fillets;  mince  them  in  my  food-­‐processor,  add  some  spices  and   make  them  into  patties.  I  love  making  tomato-­‐based  soups  as  I  usually  dump  in  a  few  d ifferent  kinds  of   veggies  and  just  let  them  stew  and  I  sprinkle  with  some  cheese  or  fried  onions  and  serve  with  garlic  toast.  

4

Spices, butter  and  oils.  No  meal  is  complete  without  the  right  spice  or  oil.    A  dash  of  cinnamon  

and h oney  on  fruits;  or  a  dash  of  garlic  and  salt  on  the  boiled  potatoes.  Some  pepper  and  garlic  on   potatoes.  Olive  oil  and  butter  (in  the  right  proportion)  does  add  flavour  to  any  food  –  I  drizzle  some  on   my  salads;  sometimes  I  fry  or  bake  my  veggies  with  a  little  butter.       My  philosophy  to  clean  eating  is:  Keep  it  simple,  keep  it  flavourful.  And  yes  colourful  helps  too!  

19


money mine:

common cents

Branded Goods ≠ Self-image by Rachpal Kaur Tulsi  

A few  years  ago,  someone  I  love  dearly,  got  a  gift  of$2000  and  dashed  off  to  buy  herself  an  $800  evening   purse  that  she  clearly  could  not  afford.  She  just  wanted  it  because  everyone  else  around  her  was  flashing   branded  h andbags  and  she  felt  left  out.  Fast  forward  two  years  later,  this  same  person  is  holding  two  jobs   to  keep  up  payments  for  the  house  and  car  or  face  bankruptcy.     It  breaks  my  hear  every  time  I  see  a  woman  spending  money  on  luxury  goods  that  she  cannot  afford  so   that  she  can  keep  up  the  appearances  and  fit  into  society’s  definition  of  a  successful  person.  Some   studies  suggest  that  people  have  a  fear  of  social  exclusion  and  ostracism  that  they  will  do  whatever  to  fit   in  as  not  fitting  in  will  have  a  detrimental  effect  on  their  sense  of  belonging,  self  esteem  and  meaningful   existence.  S o  rather  than  face  being  alone  or  not  part  of  a  larger  group,  people  conform  to  standards  set   by  others.     Every  time  we  make  a  p urchase  ,  we’re  subconsciously  making  an  evaluation  of  our  self  –  our  image  and   identity.  Be  it  purchasing  your  home,  your  car  or  even  simple  things  like  where  your  groceries,;  every   time  you’re  making  that  purchase  you’re  making  a  statement  about  who  you  are.  Sadly,  with  decades  of   advertisements  shoved  in  our  faces  we’ve  fallen  p rey  and  start  believing  that  we’ll  become  better  or   more  whole  if  we  owned  a  certain  b rand.   We  mistakenly  believe  that  our  lives  would  be  better  if  we  bought  that  new  bracelet  with  little  charms   hanging  from  it  and  people  will  respect  us  more.  We  look  at  sports  stars  and  celebrities  and  rush  to  buy   whatever  it  is  they  endorse  or  they  wore.  At  the  end  of  the  day,  they’ve  been  paid  millions  and  where   does  that  leave  you  –  a  few  hundreds  if  not  thousands  dollars  poorer  and  perhaps  a  credit  card  debt   you’ll  be  servicing  for  a  long  time.     Be  money  smart.  The  next  time  you’ve  got  the  money  and  you  want  to  buy  a  b ig-­‐ticket  item,  I  want  you   to  ask  yourself  this  important  question:  “Am  I  b uying  this  because  I  want  it  or  because  I  want  people  to   think  of  me  in  certain  way?”  The  second  question  to  ask  yourself  is:  “Will  buying  something  less   expensive  and  not  branded  make  me  a  lesser  person?”  You  are  more  than  a  mere  brand.  Brands  don’t   define  you.  Your  values,  virtues  and  actions  define  you.  

20


health and fitness:

fit and fab

Who Gets to Define Our Body Image? by Emma  Blake   What  is  your  attitude  towards  your  b ody?  How  do  you  see  yourself  when  you   look  in  the  mirror?  How  does  your  reflection  make  you  feel  OR  should  I  say   how  does  society  make  you  feel  about  your  own  reflection?     For  tens  of  years  the  media  has  had  a  lot  to  do  with  how  we  perceive  what         a  healthy  body  image  is.  On  a  daily  basis  we  are  bombarded  with  pictures             of  photo  shopped  bodies  that  are  u nrealistic  and  with  all  the  “quick  fix”  shake   diets,  weight  loss  pills  advertised  all  throughout  the  media  it’s  no  wonder  we   are  hard  on  ourselves  when  we  look  in  the  mirror  as  we  it  has  been  engraved   into  our  subconscious,  that  to  be  accepted  by  society,  we  should  look                             a  certain  way.     Body  image  has  b ecome  such  a  negative  topic  over  the  years  with  women   across  the  world,  young  and  old,  comparing  themselves  to  celebrities  or   fitness  models  in  magazines  or  comparing  themselves  to  the  latest  body   image  fad.  The  most  recent  one  being  in  China  where  women  are  comparing   their  waistlines  to  the  portrait  size  of  an  A4  piece  of  p aper!  This  type  of  “fad”   sends  the  wrong  message  to  women  across  the  world,  which  can  lead  to   serious  health  issues.  

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When is  society  going  to  put  an  end  to  the   superficial  definitions  of  beauty  and  stop   pressuring  women  to  try  and  reach   unachievable  goals  to  look  a  certain  way   just  to  be  accepted?  

It took   Emma   Blake   2.5yrs  to   lose   35kg   and   it   all   started   with   changing  bad  h abits   to  good   habits,   changing   her   way   of   thinking   and   seeing   things   to   be   more   positive   and   fuelling   her   body   with   real   whole   foods   and   finding   a   type   of   exercise   that  she  enjoyed.   Emma  Blake,  is  a  personal  trainer  and  wellness   coach  whose  aim  is  to  work  with  her  clients  to   overcome  their  struggles  when  it  comes  to  living   a  healthy  lifestyle.  She  is  a  single  mum  of  a  15-­‐ year  old  daughter  and  sporty  9  –year  old  son.   If  you  want  to  work  with  Emma  on  your  weight-­‐ loss  or  wellness,  you  can  contact  her  at:   Facebook  link:  https://www.facebook.com/Body-­‐ Mind-­‐Soul-­‐Wellness-­‐628900180585733/  

Website:  Under  Construction     Email:  em@bodymindsoulwellness.com.au     Instagram:  

As  women,  we  are  beautiful  in  our  own  rights  and  our   bodies  are  already  p ut  through  so  much  from  the   amazing  things  our  bodies  can  do,  why  should  we  put   extra  stress  on  ourselves  to  look  a  certain  way  just   because  society  says  so?  Be  proud  of  your  body  and   accept  that  no  one  h as  a  perfect  body.  We  have  the   ability  to  empower  one  another  and  raise  each  other   up  to  shut  society’s  definition  of  beauty  and  bring   back  a  Positive  Body  Image  Movement  for  ourselves   and  the  generations  of  women  to  follow.     Surround  yourself  with  positive  uplifting  women,   appreciate  all  that  your  body  can  do,  and  when  you   look  in  the  mirror,  don’t  just  look  at  the  reflection   looking  back  at  you;  REALLY  look  into  that  beautiful   person  and  be  happy  with  what  you  see.  Don’t  count   calories,  don’t  worry  about  the  number  on  the  scales   and  d on’t  waste  your  time  worrying  about  what   others  think  of  you.  No  one  has  the  right  to  judge  the   way  we  look.  Embrace  your  beauty  and  all  that  that   you  are  b ecause  no  matter  what  society  says  you  are   BEAUTIFUL.     “I  am  beautiful  no  matter  what  they  say,  words  can’t   bring  m e  down,  I  AM  BEAUTIFUL  in  every  single  way”  -­‐   Christina  Aguilera    

https://instagram.com/bodymindsoulwellness/   Twitter:  https://twitter.com/soul_wellness  

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travel:

the spicy route

Destination Branding??? Seriously……???? by Rachpal Kaur Tulsi

Destination  branding?  That’s  a  new  one  for  me.  So  apparently  there  is  an  active  movement  out  there  to   lure  you  to  travel  not  because  you  want  to  see  the  sights  or  just  relax  but  because  of  what  you  would  like   to  see  in  and  of  yourself.  So  travelling  is  no  longer  a  simple  process  of  pick  a  destination,  get  the  plane   tickets,  throw  some  clothes  into  the  suitcase  and  escape.       Now  I’m  torn  on  this  issue.       I  absolutely  love  travelling  and  as  I  grow  older,  I  find  myself  looking  for  little  creature  comforts:  I’ll  gladly   pay  $300  more  if  it  gets  me  on  the  b usiness  class  or  $100  more  for  h otel  stay  if  it  gets  me  into  the   Club/Executive  suites  with  free  flow  of  drinks  in  the  evenings.  Gone  are  my  back-­‐packing  and  budget   hotel  days.  Taking  in  the  sights  is  just  as  important  as  my  comfort.  Have  I  succumbed  to  this  advertiser’s   trap  called  destination  branding?  I  can  confidently  say,  “No.’     For  me,  travelling  is  about  getting  away  from  the  humdrum  of  d aily  life  and  work;  it’s  an  escape  to  allow   me  to  relax  and  recharge.  I  want  to  be  able  to  eat  and  drink  and  be  spoilt.  What  flight  I  take,  what  class         I  travel  on  and  where  I  stay,  are  to  meet  those  needs  and  not  because  it’s  purported  as  the  “must  be  seen   places  to  visit  before  you  die.”  I’m  just  as  comfortable  on  a  laid  back  farm  in  Punjab  as  I  am  in  a  5-­‐star   hotel  in  Manila.       Am  I  buying  into  this  destination-­‐branding-­‐kind-­‐of-­‐travel?  No.  Never  did  and  never  will.  While  I  love   comfort,  I’m  not  breaking  my  bank  balance  just  to  be  seen  at  the  top  holiday  destinations.  Like  branded   goods,  holidays  should  be  about  what  you  want  and  not  what  others  perceive  of  you.        

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seeds of inspiration:

where women inspire women

Surround yourself with positive uplifting women, appreciate all that your body can do - Emma Blake Â

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…I specialise  in  Transitional   Transformation  Coaching  for  women  in   transition;  to  smoothen  the  transition   period,  to  give  clarity  and  equip  you  with   skills  to  move  effortlessly  to  the  next  phase.   My  coaching  philosophy  is  to  take  you  from   being  a  blunt  tool  to  the  sharpest  tool  in  the   shed…     Rachpal  Kaur  Tulsi  

Reigniting Personal Belief; Reclaiming Personal Power Rachpal Kaur Tulsi Small Business Consultant www.oneasiacoach.com

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Profile for A Dash of Spice

A dash of spice issue 9  

A Dash of Spice May 2016

A dash of spice issue 9  

A Dash of Spice May 2016

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