Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit up on or !
Occupation: Regional lead for a tech company
Food: I try to eat a high protein diet with minimal sugar and fried food in it. This year, I've started to dedicate two days a week where I keep a vegan diet.
Exercise: HIIT-based training at Barry’s six to seven times a week, and once a week at Basscamp with Lorna Murphy (an outdoor bootcamp for strength training).
For my cardio fix, I would schedule in an outdoor run two to three times a week and twice a week at a spin class.
Q: You look like a very sporty person.
A: Yes, I’ve done competitive swimming, netball, touch rugby, track and field during my school days. As I got older, I found it really difficult to assemble a team together to continue with team-based sports, so I started gravitating towards more individual sports like golf, tennis, squash and long distance running.
Have you gone through anything that made you change how you view life?
The COVID-19 pandemic over the past year or so definitely affected everyone at a certain level. It definitely forced me to look inward – take a step back, evaluate and redefine what I thought of as living a fulfilled and successful life.
For me, the pandemic left me with two major takeaways:
Always treasure the present, live in the moment and don’t delay anything that would give you happiness.
It’s okay to not be okay. The toll that the pandemic has taken on everyone’s mental well-being is something we need to have more awareness around. We should give ourselves the time and space to heal and not be okay, there is no need to put up a strong front all the time.
Did you ever struggle with your body at any point in your life?
Yes, growing up I was always labelled as slightly overweight whenever we had to take our height/weight measurements. My triple threat weakness for ice cream, fried chicken and fries always made me tip the scales on the wrong end.
In primary school, I was part of the Trim & Fit (TAF) Club for all the overweight students – it was probably the first experience I ever had with public “fat shaming”. Even with all the training for competitive sports, I was never really able to lose the chubbiness since I would head straight to McDonald’s with my teammates right after training and go through large fries, large Coke and a burger.
I had to learn over time that there was no way for me to exercise off a bad diet.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
Probably when I came back to Singapore from the US as a teenager. I couldn’t fit into any of the standard off-the-shelf sizes for my school uniform and had to get my uniform tailored-made.
It was a very unforgiving school uniform but all the other girls in school looked so slim and slender in them while I looked like a nonya dumpling in mine.
I did what I thought was the most effective way to lose weight – cutting out meals, calorie counting. It slowly grew into a really unhealthy relationship with food. I was training for competitions and marathons with a poor diet and this continued all the way till the point where I fainted after a 10km run. That was the wakeup call I needed.
I took up a course on proper nutrition and picked up a barbell for the first time in 2013. Strength training changed my life for the better – I quickly learned that I can’t lift heavy if I don’t nourish my body with enough and proper food.
I also managed to lose all my chubbiness and say bye to that overweight kid for good after focusing on building muscle and strength. I guess there’s no better confidence boost for a woman when you can outrun and out-lift some (not all) of the men at Barry’s.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Yes. Going through multiple dress and pants size changes over the years, I’ve learned not to be obsessed with the number on the weighing scale or the “ideal” waist size but rather how you feel from within.
Eating should be nourishment for our bodies and exercising should be a celebration of our body’s ability to move. If we start using exercising as a punishment for eating, we will be stuck in a toxic vicious cycle.
There will always be someone out there that is stronger, faster, leaner – the sooner we learn to accept that, the more love and acceptance we can give to our bodies.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
No. At 32, I have come to accept and love my body for all that it does for me and all that it has endured and survived with me. Every stretch mark is a reminder that our bodies can adapt and adjust, every scar is a badge for surviving from that injury and bouncing back from it.
Being content and accepting your body does not mean you don’t have any insecurities, it just means you’ve learned how to deal with those insecurities and thoughts of self-doubt when they creep into your mind through an outlet.