TV host Kelly Latimer’s five-year battle with the bulge

Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at CherylTay.sg. She also happens to be a recent gym and fitness convert. Here she finds out how TV host Kelly Latimer managed to shed those pounds...

Looking at her pictures now, you wouldn't have guessed it but over the last five years, television host Kelly Latimer has been struggling with weight loss and battling with the bulge.

Now 26, Later was born in the UK to an English father and a Singaporean Chinese mum. Her family moved to Singapore when she was just 13, and she has been based here since.

She is pretty, familiar face on local television, having been MediaCorp's S-League's resident reporter as well as the roving reporter for the 2010 Youth Olympics as well as Formula One.

She now regularly posts about her fitness efforts and progress on Instagram (@kellylatimer), where she has close to 2,000 followers. She also hopes to inspire and be inspired by connecting with others through hashtags such as #fitfam, #fitspo.

She currently weighs a trim 54kg, and from her washboard tummy and toned physique, she can easily pass off as a poster girl for healthy, fit living.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing in the last five years -- far from it.

Things literally started to go pear-shaped for Latimer when headed to Melbourne in 2007 for 1.5 years to pursue her Bachelor in Communication (Media) at RMIT University.

When she was younger, she had no issue with weight as she practised competitive karate, but her academic stint in Melbourne saw her gain 15-kilos on her 1.64-metre frame.

“I got fat. Australian food is awesome and my boyfriend (now fiancé) loves to watch me eat. When I graduated and came back to Singapore in 2008, I see skinny girls everywhere and I got massively depressed, so I decided I had to lose weight and get back in shape,” Latimer recalled.

What followed was “all kinds of fad diets and retarded exercise regimes”.

Latimer did everything to lose weight – zero-carb diet, fruits-only diet, three-day detox of lemon juice and cayenne pepper which burnt her throat, taking caffeine pills amid a whole load of other weight loss supplements.

She even visited slimming centres and paid $90 per session for a personal trainer at a gym for almost a year.

Twice weekly sessions with her personal trainer and a lot of running with her dog got her weight down to 58kg (from 68kg), but then she injured her knee and was out for six months.

Some of the weight came back and she piled on 4 kilos.

At that point, she started getting into sports hosting for the 2010 Youth Olympics and Formula One.

She did not “feel particularly fat” and “was not grossly overweight”, but under the glare of the TV spotlight, she decided more had to be done, “something that would take care of her body without risking injury, while keeping in shape”.

In fact, she was told by MediaCorp that "she had to lose weight".

That’s where she tried pilates and “learnt how to protect and train without getting injured”.

Thrice-weekly pilates sessions a week combined with four sessions of Power Plates classes (essentially doing circuits on a vibrating platform said to burn more calories), as well as making healthier choices with her food resulted in weight loss of about 5kg (to 55kg) over a year.

Finally after five years, she lost a total of 14 kilos since her return from Australia by following a fit, healthy and active lifestyle.

"I went about weight loss the wrong way and always thought there were short cuts. But there's no short cut for good nutrition and a healthy, active lifestyle. It's not about being skinny, but about being fit," she realised.

Just when she thought she'd done enough, disaster struck again in August when she developed "Delhi Belly" after succumbing to severe food poisoning during a trip to India.

Forced to eat clean, she decided to make September a good month by taking on a 30-day challenge with Bodyrock.tv, a website that provides free home workouts.

By the end of the one month, she got into her “best shape ever”.

She only lost 1kg, but she dropped about three percent of body fat and toned up significantly, losing overall inches, like nearly two inches to sport a 24.5-inch waistline.

This one month taught her the importance of nutrition and dedication to change.

Her message to those struggling to lose weight: “The trick is to do something every day even if it’s just for half an hour. Once you find something you enjoy, stick to it and don’t give up because you aren’t seeing results in two weeks. If you want to see a change, then it has to come from you. No one is going to help you and no amount of money or motivation from an external source will help if you are not going to get your ass moving.”

Currently, her fitness regime consists of Bodyrock workouts, pilates, weekly surfing at Sentosa Wavehouse, as well as badminton and karate when her schedule allows. She also goes for preventive physiotherapy.

As for her diet now, she counts no calories and practises a “system of earning what you eat, if not make the healthy choice”.

Breakfast would typically be Greek yoghurt with granola, lunch could be a simple egg and tuna wrap and dinner is whatever is cooked at home.

If things get busy, she takes shakes from Herbalife to make sure she gets the nutrients and if she eats a sinful meal, she has her fat burners and carb blockers on hand.

She feels no guilt in indulging, as long as she keeps her diet about 80 per cent clean.

The downside to losing weight for her? "Losing my boobs!" she laughed. To counter that, she is taking estrogen pills though.

While part of her initial motivation to get into shape was to look her best for her upcoming January wedding to her banker fiance, she says she's now not unduly concerned with losing any more weight.

She said, “I’m happy with my weight. It is not about the numbers on the scale, but rather the fat loss. I wouldn’t mind cutting a little more fat, say, another two percent down, but I’m not putting my body under pressure to achieve it. If it happens, it happens. If not I’m content to maintain. It is important to know when to stop and not let fat loss become the central focus of your life. You’ll end up missing out on the good things around you”.

On haters who have dissed her on Instagram, she commented, “You have to love your body no matter what shape you are. You can be dissatisfied with it but you have to understand that your body has the ability to change and that change starts from you. Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people with the same goals.”