Though she holds a full time job as a property consultant and is busy raising her two children Skye and Misha, that has not stopped Steph Lung from being an advocate for healthy living through fitness and food. To do this, Steffles, as she’s better known as, set up her website MILFF, which stands for Mum In Love with Fitness and Food, to share videos and recipes on ideas to live healthy as a woman.
We grabbed a few moments of this busy mama’s time to find out more about how she stays fit, why she started MILFF and how her family keeps fit together.
Mummyfique: What is your fitness regime like?
Steph: I like to start my days with exercise — the post-workout adrenaline helps me start my day positively. I exercise five to six times weekly. On Mondays and Thursdays, I do two hours of group exercises — weights, training and indoor cycling. Other days, I work out at home, using YouTube as my inspirational tool for Hight Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Kettlebell workouts that last about an hour. I also do trail running and yoga. This year, I plan to join Crossfit to take my strength to a new level.
Was there any point in your life when you weren’t fit and what was the turning point?
I have always been active, but not fit. But when I turned 30, I realised my metabolic rate was decreasing and embarked on a more fixed fitness routine where I tried to work out at least two to three times a week.
However, that all stopped after I had my first child. The three years after I was busy learning to be a mother and the demands of my toddler was rather overwhelming. It was only when a friend shared this 60-day workout programme called Insanity with me, and how she saw her friend lose weight through it, did things change. After our talk, I was intrigued. I wasn’t overweight, but neither was I fit, and I knew I could be better. I wanted my pre-pregnancy body back so it became a challenge for myself.
After I completed the programme, exercising daily became a habit, and I saw positive changes to my body and the way I felt. I gained body confidence, and that spurred me to do more.
What led you to start your website?
I have seen many mothers lose themselves in the nonstop work that is motherhood. They become a 24-hour mum to their kids, and end up neglecting themselves and even their husbands. However, being a mother shouldn’t mean that a woman stops being herself and through MILFF, I would like to remind fellow mothers to take some time out for themselves, to love their body and treat it right by working out and eating mindfully.
Is there a special diet you stick to?
Not particularly, but I do have an overall philosophy to eat sustainable fresh produce, avoid processed food and eat moderately (never overeat). I am very mindful of my food and alcohol input balance in relation to my exercise output. If I have no exercised or don’t plan to that day, I try to eat clean and avoid carbohydrates.
What are your top three food indulgences?
I love Asian food, like Laksa, Hor Fun and Char Kway Teow! I still indulge in them occasionally, but I reduce the noodle portion and add more vegetables, seafood or meat.
How do you manage to juggle all that you have on your plate?
I run my life with a schedule and routine. That way, I can get work done, manage the children’s needs and still have time for myself to exercise, cook and bake! Some days, I don’t get to do what I set out to do, but 80 per cent of the time, the schedule works.
What do you do to relax?
I cook and bake. It may seem strange but when I focus on making delicious food, it takes my mind off other stressful issues. I also love to see the satisfaction on people’s faces when they enjoy my food!
What are the three most important things to you?
My husband is my top priority, followed by the wellbeing of my children, and then myself. Taking care of myself is important as I need to be healthy and happy for my husband and children.
How have you introduced leading a healthy lifestyle to your girls and what do you do to keep fit together?
I believe we should walk the talk as children mirror their parent’s lifestyle. My husband and I are very active in sports and we encourage the same for them.
My girls are ardent swimmers and tennis players. My youngest daughter also does gymnastics, so on occasion, we compete to do handstands together, seeing who can hold the handstand longer unsupported! Our holidays are mostly sports oriented — we go skiing, swimming, snorkelling, sailing and hiking together.
We also eat most of our meals at home and I encourage them to cook and bake with me, at the same time teaching them about using fresh produce, having a balanced diet and reducing overall sugar and sodium intake in our diets.
What advice do you have for busy mums who want to lead a healthier lifestyle?
Having a very supportive husband helps. My husband shares the responsibilities of the household and children with me, so I don’t have to cope with everything myself. The first step is committing to a lifestyle change. Start by reviewing your pantry and meal plan, and setting a fitness goal for yourself, such as running for five kilometres without stopping. Then you have to make time for it, like how you would make time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everyone has busy schedules. If you do not carve time out to do something, you will never do it. It helps to join a gym or fitness community, surround yourself with like-minded people, or get a Personal Trainer or Health Coach.
Leading a fit and healthy lifestyle will change your life and the lives of those around you. You will feel and look better, and most importantly, get your sexy back. I can’t reinforce that enough!