Reviewed by Veena Angle, MBBS, MD and Physician Chu I Ta
Real Weight Loss Journey: Inspiring Stories from People Who Have Found Their Healthy Diet Plan
Published | 7 min read
A healthy diet plan is vital for achieving an ideal body weight. We share some real-life stories of remarkable body transformations.
A healthy diet plan is essential for preventing excessive weight gain. In addition, eating a balanced diet could also lower your risk of developing metabolic disorders or other adverse health outcomes associated with being overweight or obese.
To help you understand the positive effects of healthy eating, several people share their real-life experiences in shedding lots of excess weight. In turn, this improves their quality of life.
“Enough is Enough” – Angelina Joanne Dayan
Angelina Joanne Dayan switched to a healthier lifestyle because she wanted to stop feeling disappointed and ashamed every time she stepped on a weight scale or could not fit into her favourite clothes. At the same time, she also suffered from mental distress due to bullying, unsolicited comments, and her emotional struggle with feeling left out.
To achieve her goal of feeling more confident about her physical appearance, Angelina introduced fitness into her life. She does this by practising follow-along cardio, skipping, yoga, and Pilates workouts. She also dabbled in weightlifting and is currently doing online, home-based exercises. The routines incorporate a mix of callisthenics, cardio, endurance, and strength training.
More importantly, she also made healthier eating choices. She ate to ensure she maintained a calorie deficit — total consumption of calories lower than the number of calories a person burns — and cut out junk food. She also focused on consuming smaller portions and drinking a minimum of three litres of water daily.
However, she has had her fair share of setbacks as well. For instance, she used to binge eat whenever she felt emotionally overwhelmed. Her motivation to lose weight also dwindled whenever she started to hit a plateau with her workouts. Thankfully, she has managed to stay focused and achieved a remarkable weight loss of 25 kilogrammes (kg).
To complement her diet, she also takes a multivitamin that contains probiotics, magnesium and psyllium husk. She also makes sure to stretch and get enough sleep every night.
“I am Done with This, I Need a Change in Life” – Jhai Kanagasinggam
Jhai Kanagasinggam decided to lose weight after he started panting hard while walking at work. Looking back, he cites a sedentary lifestyle as the reason for his physical struggle. He believes that this lifestyle caused him to have high cholesterol levels. He also has a high body fat percentage and a fasting blood sugar level reading of 5.7mmols/L.
As part of his switch to a healthy lifestyle, Jhai also opted for a healthy diet. The goal was to achieve a calorie deficit and better food choices. He also focused on high-intensity interval training and strength-building exercises. In addition, he took vitamin C and Omega-3 fish oil supplements to improve his overall health.
Unfortunately, he also faced criticism from peers who did not believe he could achieve his desired goals. To make matters worse, he was also diagnosed with a slipped disc. This took him longer than expected to lose weight. Jhai has managed to lose more than 30 kg despite these setbacks after two years of hard work and sheer determination.
“It was Taking a Toll on My Personal Relationships, Self-Worth, and Health” – John HD
For John HD being overweight for most of his life meant taking comfort in eating and hiding behind the ideals of a “normal” life. This means, consuming an unhealthy diet and spending long hours at work. Fortunately, he realised that these habits were taking a toll on his health, relationships, and self-esteem and decided to make a change.
During the initial stages, John focused on reducing his calorie consumption significantly whilst ensuring a sufficient intake of essential nutrients. He also committed to exercising. He began with low-impact cardio exercises such as walking on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine.
Through perseverance, John’s newfound healthy lifestyle bore positive results. It also enabled him to lose an average of 3-5 kg weekly over two months. Admittedly, though, he took early breaks after achieving specific milestones, which disrupted his momentum.
“I’ve relapsed four times in this journey just from taking a break far too early. Although it’s perfectly fine to indulge in an occasional reward, the job (isn’t) done till it’s done — never forget!” John advises.
Strongly rooted in the belief that consistency breeds results, John’s workout routine nowadays comprises strength training exercises. The routines require dumbbells and sandbags. John performs these routines in slow tempos to enhance the calorie-burning effect of each exercise.
He has also substituted his minimum-calorie diet for healthy yet delicious alternatives. “So long as I’m mindful and aware of what I’m putting in, I hold myself accountable for the outcome,” John says. “And I get to enjoy my food!”
“I Dreamt to Lose Weight Like Forever” – Hendro Djasmoro
The reality that he weighed more than 95 kg, was struggling for breath, and was suffering from severe back pain was what prompted Hendro Djasmoro to sign up for a gym membership during one Chinese New Year week.
Fulfilling a self-made promise to start working out before he turned 30, Hendro’s weight loss journey began with light cardiovascular exercises during the first few months. He managed to do treadmill walking for a maximum of 15 minutes daily in the early weeks. However, he soon picked up the tempo and managed to lose a whopping 30 kg during the next 8-10 months.
Tracking his food consumption has helped him limit his calorie intake and remove rice from his diet completely. He has adopted a more flexible approach to eating in recent times. He only reduces his consumption of carbohydrates or sugar-rich foods when his body starts to feel sluggish. His most significant takeaway from this entire experience? A tremendous confidence boost!
The 5 Natures of Food in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorises food or herbs into five unique natures — cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. These foods or herbs are not distinguished by temperature but by their effects on a person’s body after consumption.
Foods that are cold or cool in nature include cheese, salads, chrysanthemum, peppermint and green tea. In the same way, cold-natured herbs like gypsum (shi gao) and tree Peony bark (mu dan pi) can remove internal heat. However, they could harm the spleen and stomach if inappropriately used.
Hot-natured herbs like fried ginger and aconite root (fu zi) have a stronger effect than warm herbs. Yet, they could also cause internal heat if consumed in excess. Neutral foods, meanwhile, include corn, eggs, taro and sweet potatoes.
Healthy Weight According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
According to Real Health Medical’s physician Chu I Ta, healthy weight is not defined by a scale measurement in Chinese medicine but rather a balanced body constitution embodied by a few distinct characteristics. These include high energy levels, a strong voice, an optimistic attitude, and an ability to adapt to different environments quickly.
A balanced constitution also represents features such as attentiveness, radiant hair and cheeks, and healthy bowel movement.
How a healthy diet plan contributes to weight management
“There are 6 essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. They provide us with energy, the building blocks for repair and growth, and substances necessary to regulate chemical processes,” explains Physician Chu. “To maintain a stable metabolism rate, our body needs different types of vitamins and minerals. In Chinese medicine, we also refer patients to consume foods that are rich in the 6 major nutrients – carbohydrates, lipids (fats), protein, vitamins, minerals, and water.”
It’s worth noting that TCM believes the causes of obesity to be a weakness of the body’s righteous qi and an abnormal reaction of the vital substances, qi and blood. In turn, these disorders can impair spleen function and cause Dampness, phlegm, and Stagnation in the body.
In that regard, a person can consume certain herbs and stimulate a few acupoints to restore balance to your body constitution.
Herbs like atractylodes rhizome, Chinese barley, cornus officinalis, plantago asiatica, Poria mushrooms and Oriental water plantain rhizome can help to strengthen the spleen and eliminate Dampness. To resolve phlegm, a person can use herbs like pinellia ternata, tangerine peel and Chinese radish seeds.
Herbs such as citrus trifoliata, hawthorn berries, magnolia officinalis, red sage and Chinese thorowax root, meanwhile, can be beneficial for purging the intestines and clearing stagnation. Likewise, acupoints like LI 14 (bi nao), BL 57 (cheng shan), GB 20 (feng chi), LI 11 (qu chi), ST 25 (tian shu), SP 10 (xue hai) and ST 36 (zu san li) can also be stimulated to achieve the same effects.
A healthy diet plan is a cornerstone of achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight. Coupled with an active lifestyle and restful sleep, the consumption of high-quality foods can help to ensure a balanced body constitution and even help with weight loss, as the inspiring stories in this article tell us. Take control of your weight and health by eating foods that contain the essential nutrients needed for proper body function.
- World Population Review. 2021. Obesity Rates by Country 2021. [Accessed 2 September 2021]
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for Overweight & Obesity. [Accessed 2 September 2021]
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