I used to fit into this pair of pants just 6 months before this photo was taken.
One of the biggest 'headache' of weight loss was having to buy an entire new wardrobe
and I hate shopping!
This is the story of how I accidentally lost 15kg over 6 months in 2015. I did not consciously embarked on a weight loss journey and I certainly did not go on any crash diet or special diet of any sort. I 'accidentally' lost the weight when I decided to walk the talk and practised the eating habits for health that I was 'preaching' and teaching.
Here's the story.
Those of you who had been following my blog would know about how my journey the last few years from a medical doctor to a full-time chef and advocate & trainer on dietary habits change to combat chronic diseases had all been accidental.
In short, the story was this – in 2014, I was just a middle-aged overweight die-hard foodie doctor when I started a restaurant, I found myself having to stand in as a full-time chef in the restaurant because the chef I hired quit 2 days before the restaurant’s opening. Finding myself stuck working in the kitchen, I decided to do something more meaningful than just cooking and serving good food, I decided to dive deep into the medical research literature on the relationship between eating habits, food and diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases. I then began to use the restaurant as a 'living classroom' to encourage and teach people to explore different foods so as to change their eating habits for health and to combat chronic diseases. I decided that I could not just ‘preach’ and teach people to eat right, but I should also walk the talk and practise what I was preaching and teaching, there I began to improve my eating habits as well. 6 months after, I ‘accidentally’ lost 15kg and found myself back to the same weight that I was when I took my wedding picture more than 20 years before.
Many friends, especially those who had not been following my blog and my journey, on seeing my obvious weight loss, would invariably ask me for the reason why I embarked on a weight loss journey and often I would be at a loss as to how to answer them, because I actually had not consciously embarked on a weight loss effort.
I was born a skinny boy and had gone through primary school with the disapproving School Health Service 'force feeding' the underweight me with free milk or some kind of protein powder. I grew up a slim young man and then quite quickly became a not so slim middle aged man. But like everyone else, with advancing middle age, I began to accumulate a 'little' more fat around the waist year after year.
The reality was I had never really set out to lose weight in the first place, I had initially only embarked on a journey to improve my eating habits because I had to lead by example since I was preaching, advocating and teaching the importance of improving our eating habits to combat diseases at my restaurant and at the various Habits for Health workshops that I was conducting, the weight loss was an unexpected big bonus very early on. And once the weight, especially the belly fat, started to drop off, I was woken up enough from my complacency about my weight and I began to put in more effort to lose weight through being more mindful of what and how I ate.
But now having lost the weight that I did, I'm thankful that I did. My blood pressure, my blood cholesterol and blood sugar had also all become much better than when I was overweight, my body composition analysis test, my visceral fat level are all at a much healthier range, which I am sure they were not when I was overweight.
So should anyone now ask me why I had embarked on a weight loss journey, my reply would be this:
'I actually did not consciously embark on a weight loss journey at the beginning but had made the effort to change my previously bad eating habits only because I wanted to walk the talk since I was promoting healthier eating habits at my restaurant and prescribing and teaching eating habits change to combat diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases at my clinic and the various Habits for Health workshops that I was conducting. But now that I have lost weight and regained my health, on reflection, I realised that I should not have allowed myself to become overweight in the past through complacency in the first place, however moderately or even just a heavy in the middle,
So now, I shall continue to strive to keep to a healthy lifestyle to try to keep the excess weight and waist away always because:
(i) I love my wife and I want to keep in health for her
(ii) I love my kids and I want to keep in health for them
(iii) I want to walk the talk and be able to speak with authority and be able to teach, encourage and coach others about the power of the right lifestyle, especially eating habits change on the prevention and control of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and lifestyle-related conditions.
But most of all, I want to keep a healthy weight and waist and keep in health because I want to honour my God, my God who had given me this body, by treasuring my physical health as best as I could, starting with practising a healthy lifestyle to keep my weight and waist at an ideal level as best as I could.'
So to all men out there who are, like what I used to do, complacently 'laughing' off a slowly but surely expanding waistlines as 'love handles' or 'beer bellies', hope you do not mind my unsolicited 5 cents worth of advice and encouragement:
- the fat at the waist are the worst kind of fat anyone could have in terms of its adverse health implications, people may jokingly call it a 'love handle', but waist & visceral fat are really no joking matter nor is it a sign of 'love', it is anything BUT. In fact, if you love your wife, love your kids, love God, lose that fat around the waist. It would not be easy, but it has to be done and it can be done. Go for it! Work closely with your own doctor or your dietician. Start today!
Everyone's weight journey is different and personal.
No one has the right to judge another based on body weight.
I shared this post because it is clear, from medical research, that there is a strong relationship between excess weight, waist and incidence of many chronic diseases.
Our focus should therefore be on our own weight, waist and our own health and whether our current weight puts us at higher risks of the common chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. And if necessary, seek advice and support from doctors or other healthcare professionals in your journey towards a healthier weight and waist.
- Waking people up to
The Power of Lifestyle to Heal & Destroy, helping them to maintain wellness & regain lost health through informed lifestyle & food choices
>> My Medical Practice where Lifestyle & Dietary modifications is the first go to medicine
>> My 'School' - Engines of Health - where I run workshops and programmes
>> My Restaurant - The Bento People - where I cook and try to entice people to eat healthy.
>> My Advocacy - The TV & print media where I have the priviledge to advocate the power of Lifestyle as Medicine
Why & What I Blog about
Blog's Top Posts
Lifestyle as Medicine - my journey, my passion, my pain
How & Why I became a Lifestyle Medicine Doctor, Trainer and Advocate
Doctor turned Accidental Chef turned Incidental Chef
Reflections of 'The Food Doctor'
How I lost weight 'accidentally'
Doctor turned Accidental Chef - How it all began
The birth of The Bento People
I made this Tom Yum Daikon-'noodles' because I was 'angry' with how the love for noodles was affecting one of my patients.
No wasted Journeys -
Why I Blog
Buay Chye, God & I. The day God sent me a cook.
Behind every adventurous man is a long-suffering wife
How I accidentally left a legacy as a 9 year old boy
The day blogger Leslie Tay (ieatishootipost) came to visit
The accidental marathoner
- how I accidentally ran the marathon when I was 12
They call me a Maverick.
I say I am an Explorer.
Why & How 'Advocating Healthy Eating' became my purpose, mission & passion.
Sharing about the power of food on Diabetes Lifestyle magazine