Fitness influencer Bethia Wee has multiple goals within her sights. The go-getting 26-year-old, who also wears the hats of tech business lead and entrepreneur, is set to debut a work-appropriate activewear line, Whakamana, this year. Through it, she aims to empower women to do whatever they love in what they wear. In the longer term, she’s aiming to retire by the age of 40, with sufficient passive income streams and savings to fund her pursuit of her passions.
“Some of my friends would say that I’m a workaholic and a little crazy. I think you can see that from my hair!” she said, touching her bright pink-purple locks. Her strong entrepreneurial streak has led to her working since she was 15 – giving tuition and running online businesses – and forgoing university to enter the workforce after graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
As she builds towards her short-term and long-term goals, we challenged her to spend no more than S$100 on her meals over three days. She also had to track how much each meal cost.
Before the challenge, Bethia didn’t usually monitor her spending. She attributed this to being overwhelmed by the numerous transactions to record.
“I know how much I can roughly spend based on feel,” she said, laughing. “It’s definitely better to have clarity, but I’m a little lazy in that aspect.”
It’s all about balance
Bethia’s meals fuel her busy work schedule and active lifestyle. “I’ve always been obsessed with being really active, so anything fitness related, health and wellness related, that’s where my passion lies and it’s usually what I’m doing during my free time, besides work,” she said.
Bethia engages in parkour, multiple genres of dance, and rock climbing, and goes to the gym regularly. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, she sometimes has a snack in the afternoon or before an evening workout.
Though flexible with what she eats, she prefers food that is healthy and well-balanced. She likes Western cuisine, though she usually defaults to what’s convenient and located near her. Her meals tend to look quite similar and generally include chicken, salmon or beef.
Bethia doesn’t count her calories, but experience has equipped her with a rough gauge of how much she can eat. In this way, she has been able to maintain her weight for the past few years while enjoying what she eats and does.
This is a far cry from when she was younger. A champion in physique competitions, which are similar to bodybuilding but focus on muscle definition rather than bulk, she was awarded the title of NutriGirl. But this resulted in her working out intensively and obsessing over what she ate, and eventually developing an eating disorder.
These days, Bethia has no qualms when it comes to treats. In fact, she drinks bubble tea regularly – around two to four times a week! She advocates bubble tea with no sugar for reduced calories. “To me, it’s just tea with milk or creamer, with some pearls. It’s not that bad, it’s just tapioca, right?” she quipped.
During the challenge, Bethia sought to reconcile her usual eating habits with the money that we gave her. Could she maintain her well-balanced diet while ensuring an equally well-balanced budget?
Find out how she did, including what she ate and how much she spent, in the video below (watch out for a food item she loves so much that she usually consumes at least two a day):
Tips for staying financially and physically fit
Reflecting on her takeaways, Bethia said that tracking her meal expenses was challenging at first since it was new to her. She even had to set reminders on her calendar as prompts. However, after the first day of doing so, tracking the amount spent started to come naturally.
She also became more aware and cautious of her “everyday spending and lifestyle” through the challenge.
Though the amount we gave her was enough to cover her meals, having a budget reminded her to be prudent and choose the cheaper options.
“Healthy eating and living need not be extravagant and expensive,” she said.
She also shared a tip for those who are trying to eat healthier: they should eliminate sugar and adjust their taste buds to accommodate food that is not as salty or sweet. Over time, they’ll consequently take in fewer calories in every meal, which will cumulatively make a huge difference.
This challenge was part of Planner Bee’s #SgFitnessPros series, where we challenge savvy fitness pros to eat better and spend better. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more of such videos!
You can also check out our Money Journals series, to catch a glimpse of how everyday Singaporeans and Malaysians are earning, spending and investing.