Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 6, Issue 30, Tuesday, July 26, 2011


FBS: Fashion for Business Success

Manuel Vertiz Mou
Lecturer, Fashion Marketing and Management
Raffles Design Institute, Dhaka.

Usually, people look good when they succeed in business. But what many people forget is that: more important than looking good when you have succeeded, is to look good in order to succeed. Success is what people are seeking all the time. They seem to have it but it's like water, it escapes through their fingers or vaporises in a short time. Why is that?

One of the most important reasons is because many people in business make plans for production, finance and they organise and control as every good manager does, but they forget about building trust.

How many plans does a professional (manager, salesman, consultant, etc.) have for trust-building? None! Especially when you start doing business (whether as a company, or a professional working in a company, or even a job-seeker) trust is everything.

May be at this point you are thinking, what about my professional skills? I invested a lot of money on education and/or I have lots of experience, and you are telling me that it doesn't count at all? It does count, but consider this: until your employer hires you or your client buys from you, trust is what will decide whether the answer is "yes" or "no", whether you succeed or fail.

Why is that so? Because your resume is just a way to say “I know how to solve your problems and earn more money for you” or in the other case “if you buy this product/service, it will do for you what I am promising you”. But trust is what moves your client say: “ok, I will take the risk of believing in you”.

So, how do you build trust? First of all, I think that if you are still reading at this point it is because you have some abilities that make you think that you can achieve more than you have, so let's focus on the main subject: fashion. Why is fashion important for building trust in your business, no matter what it is about? Because the personal image tells a lot about a person and you can use it to tell positive things about yourself.

Picture this: you are entering your client's office door, he is seated behind his desk and while you are still walking up to him, he has a few seconds to read your image before even listening to you and your proposal. This is known as First Impression. By the time you sit down, grab your papers and try to be nice, he already has an idea of what to expect from you.

For example, if you are trying to sell a book about how to become rich but you are shabbily dressed. This would be a bad idea, because you have to look great, like you are well-to-do as a result of the tips from the book, rich or at least on the way to being rich.

So, here's the principle: people don't buy the product/service until they have bought the seller first. Every professional has to look according to the concept of what they are offering in order to exude confidence. That is what fashion can do, offer you many ways to look good and build trust. You can tell that you are innovative, well organised, that you care about details or that taking risks and making changes are not a problem to you.

So the next time you read about fashion, don't look at it like a subject for women only, because it's an important factor for your success as men. This is the first of many articles about fashion for men, so don't miss even one, because I will share with you how to look good to succeed.


Overcomplicated eating vs.
listening to your body

Are we what we eat? If that's the case, then we're more or less rice…milled rice that has had its husk, bran, and germ removed. This refining process removes important nutrients. So what we're left with is pretty much empty calories. When you put that in your mouth, let's say twice a day, white rice is digested rapidly, which causes a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash. Consider this as one of the Commandments of Good Food Habit: Whiter is not better.

I'll dedicate a whole column to good and bad carbs but in this instalment let's tackle another issue that confuses most of us: meal timing.

You've been told your entire life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but then you hear about intermittent fasting, fad diet, and skipping breakfast.

Fitness enthusiasts insist that you break up your eating into at least five/six small meals to “boost” your metabolism. Some say three meals a day work just as well. Others try to simplify things. They suggest listening to your own body, to eat when hungry and fast when not, which makes sense, but what if you're overweight and hungry all the time -- can your body's metabolic signalling really be trusted?

Let's go through a couple of the most common questions and explore what might work.

Skip or eat breakfast?
It's true that epidemiology shows habitual breakfast-skippers tend to be less healthy than traditional breakfast-eaters.

Is this true for you, though? Are you skipping breakfast intuitively, simply because you're not hungry? Or are you skipping breakfast while mustering up all the willpower you have and ignoring your body's cries for sustenance?

These are two very different physiological states. I'd argue that intuitive breakfast-skippers are not skipping breakfast at all. Instead, they are in tune with their bodies. They are still breaking their fast, just at a later time.

Tortured breakfast-skippers, on the other hand, are fighting against their own satiety hormones, a battle they cannot win over the long haul. They're living in perpetual metabolic discord. What do you think they are more likely to eat for lunch -- a big salad/bucketload of boiled veggies whose contents they lovingly and thoughtfully prepared the night before, or a biryani platter/anything with a mound of rice a cat can't jump over?

If you're of the former category and a traditionally-timed breakfast simply never occurs to you, you're fine. Stick with it and eat when you get hungry, especially if your fat-loss efforts are succeeding.

Many small meals or few large meals?
To graze or to feast? According to fitness “experts,” grazing is supposed to “stoke the metabolic fire,” while infrequent meals “slow your metabolism.” The idea is that eating many small meals keeps your metabolism plugging away at a high rate for the entire day, helping you burn more fat. Conversely, going too long between meals slows down your metabolism, so when you do eat, your body is sluggish to respond to the caloric load and you end up storing it as fat.

It's a neat-sounding theory, but it isn't true.

Your body expends metabolic energy to process and digest food, but it doesn't matter when or how it's eaten. If it did, studies would have ruled in favour of increased meal frequency as an effective tool in weight loss for obese patients.

But wait: eating more frequently keeps you sated, right? No. A recent study actually suggests that eating more frequently reduces measures of satiety and fullness in overweight and obese men (the population that most desperately needs satiety, mind you), while eating less frequent, higher-protein meals increases satiety and reduces hunger.

What about snacking?
Sure, sipping soft drink/overly sweet cha/coffee and eating chips/shingara/puri in between meals is obviously terrible, but that doesn't really apply to sensible snackers and their fresh fruits and veggies. Or does it?

If you must snack, include some protein. Eating a carb-rich snack without protein is inherently catabolic: the insulin spike stimulates muscle protein synthesis, for which the body needs amino acids, and without dietary protein the body must draw on muscle protein stores. Once or twice this wouldn't be a problem, but if you're snacking on protein-deficient carb-loaded foods throughout the day, every day, you're eventually going to see muscle wasting.

Let hunger happen. Don't force the fasting. Don't fight hunger just because your official “eating window” hasn't arrived yet. It all comes down to doing what works for you.


Encourage your child to eat greens

Vegetables, especially greens, are an excellent source of Vitamin C, minerals and fibres. Yet, most children do not want to eat greens. To ensure a healthy eating pattern and to groom a proper, healthy eating habit it is important that children eat vegetables from their childhood.

Mothers often force their children to eat veggies, but with some effort (and a whole lot of convincing) they can make them look and taste tempting. Teach the child names and colours of various fruits and vegetables and let them make their choice for their meal.

Without forcing your child, place some veggies on their plate and let them decide if they want to try it or not. Tell them the importance of eating greens without sounding intimidating. This just might do the trick!

If that doesn't work, resort to 'masking' veggies through delectable foods which every child fancies. You can mix peas, spinach or beans into khichuri, soup or noodles or garnish basil in pizza, lettuce in burger or give them coriander chutney with French fries.

Children will eat anything dipped in chocolate, but for veggies you can try the next best thing -- cheese.

You can serve vegetables with cheese, yoghurt or yummy dips or toppings. Nutritionists also recommend camouflaging veggies with sandwich or pasta or putting them with tomato sauce. Don't give your child processed food and soft drinks. By eating high protein snacks, children may get overweight.

Vegetables and fruits prevent obesity. So, it is up to parents to create an environment where children reach for banana cakes instead of French fries. You must serve as an example and eat your veggies religiously.

Play with your child's imagination -- let broccoli and cauliflower be 'trees', cucumber and radish can be carved into edible flowers. Teach your child the shape and size of vegetables and fruits, they'll enjoy it and remain inquisitive about that vegetable or fruit.

To ensure good hygiene along with healthy eating, take the kids in the kitchen. Let them wash fruits and vegetables and make a simple green salad. Being involved will increase a child's willingness to try new food.

By Farizaa Sabreen


A feline story

Curled up cats, snoozing, on the carpet or cosy easy-chair with cushions, is a picture of contentment in the hearth and home. Gautam Chakrabarty of Gallery Kaya has made ample paintings of this feline in various shapes, sizes and colours. My sister and nephew in Toronto have always sent me birthday cards with cute or elegant cats -- some drinking from a saucer, others decorating the card with their long elegant necks, reminding one of Egyptian pharaohs' papyrus scrolls and pyramid paintings and the pen-and-ink drawings by Aubrey Beardsley.

Cats playing the piano, with imaginary piano notes in the backdrop also delineate the yearly cards from Toronto over the years. Cute, cuddly cats with sharp, shiny eyes have decorated enormous envelopes that once contained the card with its message of cheer and celebration.

'Mittens', the family pet, with its ribbon and two tiny specks of glass beads drew joy in my mother's face, so often drawn with care and worry, as mothers' visages tend to be -- worrying over family affairs as soon as the patriarch of the family saw the pearly gates of heaven.

I remember the day I gave away 'Jules', my part-Siamese cat to the vet -- as I couldn't guard all its growing up instincts during my Masters exam -- way back, almost eons ago, in my university days.

I felt devastated and bereft of all joy. I simply wept profusely under the bathroom shower. The day I gave away “Queenie”, my black and white part Siamese cat, in my student years, was no joy either. With the pressure of studies, I just couldn't give the cats the attention that they needed.

Moreover, we lived in flats, in my youth, and there just wasn't room for my cats to romp and play in. A part of me was missing, every time I gave away these sweet, adorable pets, with their angel eyes, and adorable, tiny tongues.

Madan Sahu, an Assistant Editor, I know of, and his cute wife, have endless cats in their home. “Kanu,” the black-and-white, blind cat, takes the cake and biscuits too. One of its paws has six toes, incidentally. Each time a kitten dies, for one reason or another, “dada” is inconsolable, and in a foul mood - a mood to kill.

Often it is reported, that the land lady, Bibhash's mum, puts water outside the doors, and claims the cats have peed there. And a small feud explodes. When the kittens chew the telephone wire, with their tiny, gnawing teeth, one is instantly aware, at the other end of the connecting cables. Over the years, one has heard many sweet mews of these kittens -- reportedly twenty or so at a time. It naturally reminds one of “Bombgarten's Bombay.”

My uncle Munim used to have a battalion of such cats too, in his home, as pets. They figured in a newspaper, when a story of pets appeared and a delineation of cats was needed. This was ages back. But I will never forget it.

Enam, the photographer, had exclaimed, at the top of his lungs, “By Jove, a troop of jackals to be sure”, seeing the collection of the marmalade and white coloured tabbies.

At present, in our Dhanmondi home, in the absence of “Doggie”, my adorable pet that greeted me each day with a wagging tail and hanging tongue when I returned home before its death, I am consoled by the presence of two cats in our neighbourhood. One is orange and the other is a combination of black and white. Both are friendly, and they too delight my mum, each time she looks out of the balcony on warm summer days.

My friend “three-quarter-pants” as the girls call him, has a gorgeous collection of cats - the mother with a foot long bushy tail. It was imported from Rome. His friend had given it to him. Now he has his house overrunning with superb descents of that mother cat, with its children “Chunnu” and “Munnu”. They often cuddle up in his mother's bed, when he is away, in his European studies, in Sweden and elsewhere. The cats feature in his collection in the computer.

My girl pal, Amineh, in Ispahani Colony, has always had a collection of well-fed handsome cats. And are they well looked after! “Laddu” is there and does he look confident and full of pride. My friend, Kanak, a well-known artist, who lives near my home, has such a cat and is it spoilt! Its food, I'm told is flown from Europe. Lucky cat! This pet too, with its glossy fur, is an image of supreme contentment.

By Fayza Haq


How to avoid the sun and prevent premature aging

The best way to keep your skin healthy is to avoid sun exposure. Because it creates wrinkles. Wrinkles are caused by both genetic and environmental factors such as sunlight, make up, exposure to chemicals, cigarette smoke, and other pollutants.

Stay out of the sun. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This is when the sun's UV rays are strongest. Don't let the clouds fool you. Harmful rays pass through clouds. UV radiation also can pass through water, so don't assume you're safe if you're in the water and feeling cool.

Use sunscreen. Sunscreens are rated in strength according to a sun protection factor (SPF), which ranges from 2 to 30 or higher. A higher number means longer protection. Buy products with an SPF number of 15 or higher. Also look for products whose label says: broad spectrum (meaning they protect against both types of harmful sun rays - UVA and UVB) and water resistant which means it stays on your skin longer, even if you get wet or sweat a lot. Remember to reapply the lotion as needed.

Wear protective clothing. A hat with a wide brim shades your neck, ears, eyes, and head. Look for sunglasses with a label saying the glasses block 99 to 100 percent of the sun's rays. Wear loose, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants or long skirts when in the sun.

Avoid artificial tanning. Don't use sunlamps and tanning beds, as well as tanning pills and tanning makeup. Tanning make-up products are not suntan lotions and will not protect your skin from the sun.

Check your skin often. Look for changes in the size, shape, color, or feel of birthmarks, moles, and spots. If you find any changes that worry you, see a doctor.



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