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 Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook!
Name: Som Khiat Charensukphayapisetsub Leong (@somsom_skk)
Occupation: public relations manager
Food: I eat a low-carb diet.
Exercise: Three hours daily at Fitness First.
Q: Were you physically active when you were younger?
A: I participated in various sports like volleyball and soccer during my primary and secondary school days, including taking part in inter-school and inter-state competitions back in Malaysia. I also did taekwondo in secondary school and after that I stopped sports completely.
Was that when you started gaining weight?
I have always been overweight since the age of 15, hovering at a high of 90kg and above. The main reason for my weight gain was due to the consumption of five heavy meals a day consisting of fatty and greasy food, including the high intake of sugary drinks and alcohol. My lifestyle included partying five days a week and having supper after the clubs closed.
What then made you decide to do something about your weight?
During the COVID-19 circuit breaker period, I had a lot of time and it got me thinking about how to improve my health as I was at an unhealthy weight, which caused me to feel unwell easily. As I get older, I feel the need to be more responsible for my own health. Also, with the help of my friends and family members, they have motivated me and tried many ways to convince me to lose the weight.
What did you do?
I lost a total of 37.5kg from April to October 2020, within the span of six months. To lose the weight, I made lifestyle changes, reduced my night activities (like drinking and having supper) and improved my diet by reducing my sugar and oil intake. I also cut down the number of meals I have daily to three meals a day consisting of only steamed chicken breast, broccoli and carrots. I also drank at least two litres of water daily. From being mainly sedentary, I visited the gym daily to pack on muscle to improve strength.
How do you keep the weight off after losing it?
I still visit the gym for three hours daily to do cardio, strength and weight training and I watch my diet. Compared to the past where I had an irregular sleeping pattern, I try to have at least six to eight hours of sleep now and I try not to go for supper at night anymore. I strictly keep my diet to three meals daily.
Do people treat you differently after you lost weight?
Yes, people do treat me differently after my weight loss. I recall an incident, pre-COVID-19, at a club, where I overheard a conversation between a stranger and my friend. The stranger passed a remark about me, saying, “This area is already so cramped, why is this person of this size at our table?” There were also other fat-shaming incidents that occurred to me where people commented negatively and treated me differently due to my body size.
Now, I do not hear people comment negatively about my body anymore. The most common comment I get from others is, “You look healthier and better now”, which makes me feel more confident in my own body and skin.
Being overweight for a large part of your life, how did it affect your self-esteem?
I have never felt comfortable wearing my favourite outfits and stepping out of the house as I was always envious of people being able to look good and confident in whatever they wear. The major event that made me change about how I view about life was the COVID-19 pandemic that provided me with so much free time to think about ways for self-improvement and making lifestyle changes for my health. At this point, I have reduced my night activities as it has resulted the deterioration of my health.
When was the lowest point of your life?
I would say it was during the time when I was at my highest weight of 102kg, about two years back. From here on, I will try to stick to a suitable diet and exercise routine to feel more in control of my health, which will then help to increase my confidence level.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
I am not entirely satisfied with my body now as I am still finding ways to improve my body structure and finding out the best diet for myself.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
I do not feel a need to change anything about myself as I am satisfied with my life now after adopting a brand new lifestyle which has greatly improved my health and I do not feel as lethargic as before.