[This is a sponsored article with Tune Protect.]
Taking control of our health and wellness can be a challenging task, especially when progress isn’t tracked. I’ve tried to improve my diet, workout, and sleep year after year, with little success because I wasn’t tracking my progress.
Recently, Tune Protect Group (Tune Protect) has made it easier for individuals to improve their overall well-being by launching PUMP, a free health and wellness feature in its app.
PUMP allows users to track their fitness, overall lifestyle, mental health, fibre intake, and sleep, making it a holistic platform, regardless of age and fitness levels.
A key aspect of PUMP is that it rewards users who keep up with its recommended habits for a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, increasing your PUMP Score will earn you e-vouchers from popular brands like Decathlon, Adidas, and HealthLand.
And to inspire Malaysians to stick to their health goals in 2023, Tune Protect has challenged us to look for individuals who have successfully achieved theirs in 2022.
Conquered Mount Kinabalu after getting back in shape
To start off, we spoke to Mike Chu, an active outdoor adventurer who lost a grip on his fitness over the two-year lockdowns. After nearly fainting from his first hike post-pandemic, he realised it was time to get back in shape.
In May 2022, Mike signed up for a Mount Kinabalu hike, so he couldn’t easily back out from the challenge. The goal was simple: to reach Mount Kinabalu’s peak like it was a leisurely hike, instead of a “suffer-fest,” as Mike put it, referring to the first time he attempted to reach the summit.
His weekly training routine alternated between gym sessions, hikes, and 30-minute walks.
“Aside from consistency, I made sure I had fun and varied things up along the way, so I mixed it up with things like Muay Thai class and rock climbing with my friends as well,” he detailed.
In the end, Mike managed to hit his goal of climbing Mount Kinabalu in November 2022 with little to no struggle.
Keeping up the momentum in 2023, Mike intends to conquer bigger mountains like Mount Raung in Indonesia, and Island Peak in Nepal, along with international running events.
Rebuilt physical strength and regained self-esteem
Sarah Enxhi shared her goal to build up not just her strength, but also her self-esteem.
This was coupled with her worsening endometriosis condition causing hormonal issues, fatigue, bloating, and lower abdomen cramps. In February 2022, Sarah decided that she was going to take back control of her health.
“I went back to weightlifting, something that I used to do many years back, and hired a personal trainer to train me properly and keep me accountable,” Sarah said.
On top of two to three weekly training sessions, she even bought her own dumbbells, barbells, and plates to set up a mini personal gym at home. She also got a walking pad to help her reach 10,000 steps a day.
By the way: Even if you don’t plan to scale mountains like Mike, or invest in home workout equipment like Sarah, you can always start small. Try brisk walking around your neighbourhood or moving around in the office to increase your daily step count.
The PUMP app tracks this, resulting in higher PUMP Scores, and higher chances of earning rewards.
Sarah realised her physical and mental goals were achieved when she gained significant confidence in her body.
“I learnt to appreciate my strength and muscles, instead of nitpicking and self-loathing over flabby or fatty body parts of mine,” Sarah reflected.
Of course, there come days when work gets tiring, and her endometriosis cramps would demotivate her from working out.
In such moments, Sarah shared, “I will always remind myself that ‘done is better than perfect’. I also listen to my body, if I really am unable to do it for that day, then I just don’t, and I rest.”
Prioritised mental health with the help of professionals
On the subject of mental health, Ain Nasir shared her story of healing after losing her late father in March 2022. Ain’s grief left her feeling lost, and in a state where she no longer enjoyed the activities she once loved.
Consulting professionals, Ain was diagnosed with ADHD and BPD by psychiatrists, which pushed her to work on her mental health.
Did you know: Attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults can lead to anxiety and depression due to difficulties in focusing, concentration, and impulsivity.
Meanwhile, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that severely impacts a person’s ability to regulate their emotions.
When these problems aren’t managed effectively, they can lead to feelings of frustration, irritability, and low self-esteem.
Aside from medication, Ain saw a therapist at least twice a week, and found comfort in religion. She also convinced herself to find joy in her hobbies again, including music, swimming, and weightlifting.
“I’m only human, and I can’t force myself to always be strong,” Ain recognised.
Over time, Ain began seeing things in a new light. Though she wouldn’t claim to be 100% where she hopes to be mentally, she’s confident that she’s in a better state of mind, and intends to keep trying, no matter what it takes.
By the way: More than working on your fitness, PUMP has features to stay on top of your mental health. You can set mind goals, note down entries in the in-app thought journal, practise guided meditation, and more.
Mind goals achieved add up to your overall PUMP Scores to earn rewards as well.
Overcame insomnia through consistent sleep training
Although Fadhilah Amaani has struggled with sleep for seven years, her insomnia worsened during the MCO, where she’d only get around five hours of sleep per night.
Did you know: Sleeping between seven and nine hours is essential for your health and can have beneficial effects on your heart, metabolism, and productivity.
Getting a good night’s sleep can increase your PUMP Score.
“Believe me, I’ve tried sleeping early, but my body was just used to living with a night owl’s schedule,” she recalled. “Sometimes at night, I’d get anxious that I won’t wake up on time for the next working day, and I’d end up not sleeping to avoid that altogether.”
In January 2022, Fadhilah decided enough was enough and was determined to reset her body clock.
Each night, she’d start her sleep routine at 10PM, tucking herself in with a weighted blanket. Then, she’ll scroll social media on her phone for an hour or so, which calms her mind enough to fall asleep.
Though this conflicts with commonly known advice, what’s important is that Fadhilah has found a solution that works for her sleep routine, and is sticking to it.
After months of staying disciplined, Fadhilah proudly stated that her body naturally feels tired by 11PM each night, even without going through the routine that once helped her.“
I have to avoid thinking about things that’ll worry me at night. I tell myself to think about it the next day. To me, it’s not running away from problems. It’s more like dealing with it at the right time,” Fadhilah reflected.
Managed the effects of a disease by cooking a nutritious diet
Timothy Wong has suffered from atopic dermatitis (eczema) for over 20 years, where he’s dealt with constant itching, inflamed skin, and open wounds that have led to infections. “I also had nights where I couldn’t sleep because of how itchy it was,” he shared.
He recently learnt about how diet affects his condition, and began keeping a food diary to observe the reactions his body had to certain foods.
A physician advised Timothy to cut out canned, frozen, and processed foods, and introduce more fruits and vegetables, cooked fresh every day.
“I didn’t have any experience cooking in the kitchen, but knowing my health was on the line, I had to try and just learn from experience,” Timothy decided.
Although sticking to clean eating habits isn’t easy whenever socialising comes into the picture, Timothy would still try to pack his pre-cooked meals and join loved ones at restaurants.
When it comes to cheat days, Timothy gets creative and cooks himself a dessert of sorts using ingredients he knows are safe for his body.
“For example, I made myself baked potatoes or pumpkin purée. That helped my weekly sweet cravings,” he shared.
“I just had to change the idea of what a ‘cheat day’ meant for me.”
By the way: Using PUMP, you can check your daily fibre intake and try cooking high-fibre recipes listed on the app as a guide to a balanced lifestyle.
“[By the end of 2022], although my skin is still inflamed and itchy, there are fewer open wounds, and I can at least have a good night’s rest,” Timothy observed.
A word from our sponsor: Tune Protect’s PUMP can complement your fitness and wellness journeys, you’ll have a tracking tool to look back at how far you’ve come in your goals, be they for your diet, mental health, sleep, or fitness.
Ultimately, a common theme shared by our interviewees is that improving your health and wellness is a continuous process.
Success comes not just from consistency, but from making the right choice for yourself in the moment too.
As demonstrated by our interviewees, it’s alright to take a break for a day or two if that means bouncing back stronger.
Featured Image Credit: Fadhilah Amaani / Sarah Enxhi / Timothy Wong