Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook!
Name: Dr Elizabeth Biggs
Occupation: Co-founder of Akesi Wellness
Status: Married with four children
Food: I practise circadian fasting 12:12 – I think females should be careful with fasting regimes and work with an experienced health practitioner to establish a regime that works for the individual woman. I follow a low glycaemic diet / modified keto – I keep carbohydrates to a minimum and try to only eat carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, beans, legumes and berries.
Exercise: I do trail running three times a week and reformer Pilates twice a week. I would also like to incorporate a female weights session two to three times a week. I have done a DEXA scan and have some metrics I would like to hit in terms of lean body mass in a year’s time.
Q: Were you an active child?
A: My mother insisted I do ballet for six years when I was young, so I think that really helped with the discipline of good posture and core strength. I did not enjoy pointe shoes though!
I did quite a lot of sport at school and university and enjoyed the challenge of trying different sports. They included athletics, swimming, cross-country and netball. They came quite naturally, however things like rowing and water polo I had to work harder at.
What sports did you get into as you got older?
Netball at university – although I suffered the classic sprained ankle and as everyone knows those ankle injuries do not heal well. I’ve always been a runner and in my 30s I got into triathlon, so I had to improve my bike riding skills and learn how to “transition”.
When I arrived in Singapore, I rekindled my tennis passion and that has been a fabulous sport to rediscover along with the social camaraderie. But the serve still needs some work! I’ve recently started racing in half-marathon trail races which I really enjoy – and am simply enjoying them while my body can still do it.
Did motherhood change your views on fitness?
Motherhood changed my body. It’s quite staggering the transformation that multiple pregnancies have and each time the reset point isn’t quite the same. However, moving into my 40s has changed my outlook on my fitness goals.
Women in my age category should be focused on maintaining muscle mass as we are naturally losing a small percentage of our muscle mass every year, so I’m heading to the gym.
What led you to start Akesi Wellness?
I’m a medical doctor by background. Western medicine is predominantly the science of “ill-health”. I’ve always been interested in promoting health and therefore wanted to be a part of people’s improved health journey.
With my co-founder Victoria, we both really wanted to create a health and wellness brand to improve our families’ immune and digestive systems using a food as medicine approach.
We also wanted products that can be easily incorporated into a busy routine, hence we created versatile prebiotic and probiotic powder supplements for all ages, and enjoyable probiotic drinks in month supply bottles which include both probiotics and plant-based nutrients. We’ve had fabulous feedback from our customer base and really enjoy being a part of their improved health choices.
Have you gone through any adversities in life that made you change how you viewed life?
I think I have faced more challenges as an adult than as a child or teenager. Looking back, sport provided an enormous opportunity to build self-confidence. I’ve lived, studied and worked all around the world. My parents encouraged me from a young age to seek out challenge and adventure.
As I’ve gotten older and had children myself, I think some level of anxiety has crept in. I am now probably not as confident as I once was, or perhaps I’m just more risk averse and have a little more life experience which teaches you caution and restraint sometimes are required, rather than pure excitement and enthusiasm.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
Probably once, when I left school at 17. I felt somewhat lost as I was a high achiever in academics and sport at school and the reality of university hit hard. I missed out on the opportunity to do medicine that first year and that was a setback.
I kept facing the next challenge, left the security of home and used my knowledge of perseverance and a positive attitude to move to a new city and apply myself – and I haven’t looked back.
Did you ever struggle with your body?
Definitely one period sticks out in my mind. At the age of 14/15, I was thicker set in the frame and definitely carrying some weight with all the hormonal changes.
I had pinned up on my bedroom wall pictures of supermodels like Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell and I found it distressing that I couldn’t look like them. It took me a while to realise they were the exception rather than the norm.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
What I most love now is the experience of knowing that your body transforms and transitions over time. I’m so excited that I can still trail run and be really active.
This won’t always be the case so I’ve already planned my first hike in Tasmania, Australia later in the year. When I retire I’m hiking the lighthouses on the west coast of France for six months.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
I’m going to rephrase this to – Are there things about my body I would like to be different? Sure. Would I change them? No. I have a daughter and I really want to teach her to embrace the power of her body, its strengths and its weaknesses and use that knowledge to celebrate individuality.
I want her to know that there is a deeper question when it comes to body image and that perceptions change over a lifetime. I am however, changing my mindset by learning mindfulness techniques. Now that’s a big change project for me. Change your mind, change your life!