Bianca Cheah Opens Up About Weight Gain, Poor Work Balance And More

"I gained weight, was tired and uninspired..."

Bianca Cheah and the apple watch
Photography by Ja Tecson

Welcome to July 🙂

Over the past six months at Sporteluxe we’ve all been analysing which stories our millennial readers love, and as a reflection of our radically changing world, it’s become quite clear that everyone is into quick fixes and ways to improve their self through wellness.

I’d like to think that all the information and stories that we publish keep our readers up to date on the latest wellness news from around the globe. We feature people who we think have made an impact in this world—great or small—as everyone’s stamp on society makes a difference. From budding entrepreneurs who’ve created genius fitness workouts, to the latest tech to recharge our lives, to personal stories that we can actually relate to. And beneath all this, we tackle one of the biggest health concerns of our generation: the sitting epidemic. It’s a problem that’s very close to my heart.


Personal story: I run my own company and I’ve gained weight from sitting at my desk from 8am-6pm (some days I don’t even leave my desk till 10pm)—that’s going to happen if I’m not moving! Prior to this, I was at my peak fitness level. I was practising yoga six times per week and sometimes even twice per day. I was toned, fit (a full size smaller) and had so much clarity and love for life. But as the work came in, my time became poor. And before I knew it, I was struggling to fit in any yoga or me time at all. I kept saying, “tomorrow” and before I knew it, a week would pass. It happens to the best of us. As we work towards saving for a house or holiday, building a business, or simply working to pay our rent, sometimes we can’t escape the daily grind. It’s a sad fact and it often affects our relationships and our health.

Which brings me to a more positive point: I became aware of what was happening and decided to make a difference. And this is how I did it…

1How I tackled the, ‘I don’t have any time’ saying…

My weekly calendar

Sometimes my emails were backed up by a week and my yoga mat was accumulating more dust by the day. So, with the help of my husband, we created a routine in my calendar that looks something like the above (inclusive of coffee and juice breaks). For those of you who don’t know Sporteluxe and me, we use our social media’s as a channel to drive reach. We have a strategy and it works, which is why an hour of social media per day is imperative to the company in order to increase our daily analytics.

Now, I’m strict with my schedule. Sure, there are days where I need to move things around due to other commitments but overall, I stick to it. The main thing is that first of all, I’m managing my time and getting things done, and second of all, I’m making the effort to move! It was actually Kayla Itsines who said while training me (as I was moaning about not having enough time to work out), “Bianca, all it takes is 25 minutes out of your day to see results in your body, that’s it!”. And that’s all it took, for someone to actually say it to me, to make a point. Thanks, Kayla!

So creating a calendar with a strict routine has worked for me.

2How I gained more clarity during the work day

One of my favourite functions of the Apple Watch, the Breathe App. Image via mactrast.com

One thing that is becoming more popular is the mindfulness and meditation space. People (like me) are starting to use these experiences more and more in their lives to combat growing anxiety (both digital anxiety and work/life pressure). So if technology is becoming more prevalent in our society and social media is empowering our sense of self, why not embrace the technology in order to become the best versions of ourselves?

70% of our time is spent sitting every day

Which is why I have now adopted the new Series 2 Apple Watch. The new Breathe and Standing App are BRILLIANT and I swear by them. I can stay centred as a beautiful animation and gentle taps guide me through a series of deep breaths. ‘Time to breathe‘ reminders help me practise mindfulness every day. I start it anytime and let the mesmerising animation and gentle (haptic) taps help me to focus. I can also see my heart rate when I’m done and it reminds me to take time to breathe every day. It’s my meditation on the go.

Apple Watch Standing function
This is my life saver! I love how it reminds me to stand during the day

Then there’s the Standing app. It also haptically (the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications) reminds me to stand! I’ll be deep in my work and then all of a sudden the Apple Watch will tap my wrist, gently reminding me to stand up and move for a minute. You can complete your daily stand goal by standing up and moving around for at least 1 minute during 12 different hours in the day.

3How I made myself move more while sitting at a desk

Muscle activity is almost 2.5 times higher when standing

Another factor that I’ve been adapting to is the standing meeting method. It was hard at first, but once you start doing it, it becomes second nature. I now take phone calls while walking around the block and I’m not the only one. I know that lululemon likes to organise their meetings as part of a yoga practice and companies who host events are now opting for a workout followed by stand up socialising, fuelled with organic kombucha cocktails and biodynamic salads. And companies like Movi are now creating smart desks, that remember your height, adjust with the touch of a button thanks to a quiet electric motor, tell you when to move, and even go to sleep to save power.

It’s this new way of work that can really improve our quality of life and it’s just about changing our attitude and behaviour. Maybe this is the start of a workplace shift since the currency we are now trading in is self-acceptance and affirmation, which derives from happy work/life.

So whilst I’ve let you in on a few things that I’ve adopted to make a change for me and my work ethics, I hope that the content we will be sharing with you these next few weeks will not only help you to make a difference but also assist you to hop out of that mid-month desk slump and become the best version of yourself.

Until next month,

Bxx