Life brings hope to those who believe.

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay 3 Comments

I hope this will serve as a great inspiration to all of you.



Something that I’ve been battling my whole life. 


And for those who are closer to me, they know how affected I can get because of my weight. Basically, my mood is inversely proportional to my weight – so if I’m feeling fat, I won’t have the mood to do anything and I just want to stay at home and hide.


I really wish that I don’t have to watch what I eat all the time and put in effort to keep the weight off. I wish I could just eat what I want to eat and not have to exercise. I wish the world didn’t have to be so superficial and judgmental. But too bad, that’s life baby.


I’ve been fat before and I tell you, society is a real b*tch. No one wants to sit next to you on the bus if they can sit next to someone thinner. No one will help you pick up the book or pen you dropped because you are such a klutz. 


Even until today, I’m still struggling to find a sustainable weight loss method. My weight used to fluctuate A LOT (read my story below).


Now what I’m doing to keep the weight off is to control my sweet drinks intake (I love gassy drinks!), do Bikram Yoga 3-4 times a week, have smaller meals and I cut rice out of my diet completely.


I cry when I lose the discipline sometimes and the kilos pile on quickly. I watch music videos of all these hot pop stars repeatedly, admiring their hot bodies. I know how it feels like when people criticise the way I look. I never had much of a love life because I just wasn’t attractive enough. 


Let me share my story…


I wasn’t born fat. I was a normal active toddler.

221606_6755207709_602152709_259840_3249_nThen somewhere in primary school, sometime about the age of 10, I started to eat and eat and eat. I remember putting on 6kg over a particular December vacation.


Can you believe it?


I used to eat six roti pratas (Indian pancake bread) with egg and two cups of Milo Dinosaur (basically iced milo with milo powder on top) in one meal. Unbelievable as it may sound, I was only 12 years old when I could eat that kind of meal. It’s no wonder then, that my weight at Primary Six was heavier than my weight now. I was drinking like 1.5 litres of Coca-cola a day and snacking on three bars of Snickers + lots and lots of potato chips and snacks and ice cream. I’m a total food junkie.

227281_6756182709_602152709_259963_1270_nEating has always been one of my greatest pleasures in life, followed by sleeping. Unfortunately, the human body wasn’t created in a way that would allow us to feast to no end. Hence, things like slimming pills were invented and slimming centres are a dime a dozen.


To some people, weight loss can be a lifetime battle. Take me for instance, I was plump in primary school, thin in secondary school, fat again during junior college, stick-thin towards the end of junior college and hit the peak at my fattest when I entered university. I even had two cupboards in my room – one to hold skinny clothes, the other to hold baggy clothes – to cater to my huge weight fluctuations! Of course, the ‘fat’ clothes have been removed and now one cupboard holds my corporate office wear and the other cupboard holds everything else. (Below: my 19th birthday)


I remember how I refused to wear anything sleeveless because my arms were too fat. Whenever I go shopping with my slimmer girlfriends, I would stare on enviously as they tried on sexy dresses and bareback tops. I remember walking into a shop one day to admire this really pretty tight-fitting top and I wanted to buy it to hang it up in my room as a source of motivation for me to lose weight.


I was holding a size S in my hands and about to pay for it when the sales person said to me: “Would you like to try this?” Before I could politely decline and ask to pay for it, he went on: “We have it in sizes L and XL.” Omg my heart completely shattered. I was too embarrassed and humiliated, but I managed to say that it was a gift for my sister. 


Such instances were common and people are quick to judge or are so insensitive with their comments. My friends gave me nicknames like Char Siew Pau (Chinese steamed pork bun), Cheryl Piggy Tay, Pinky Porky, Pork-ka-ling-ling, Airporkling and Airpork (Australian pork brand). 


It was weird how I was so heavy and could still represent the school in cross country and even clocked a personal best of 9:30 minutes for my 2.4km run! (Below: Picture of the 2004 Victoria Junior College girls’ cross country team!)

010304_3Effectively, weight loss can be summed in just five words – calorie output exceeds calorie intake. Sounds simple right? But more often than not, losing weight is easier said than done. For those who love food and detest exercise like me, trying to restrict food intake and embarking on a daily fitness routine is torture. Complete torture.


I tried all sorts of methods to lose weight. I tried almost every brand of slimming pills, slimming creams and slimming devices (like those vibrating belts from Osim), visited tons of slimming centres and even overloaded on diuretics and laxatives. I went through so many weight management programmes like Coslab, Herbalife and Cambridge Diet. I even tried colon cleansing and I seriously considered liposuction and mesotherapy. 


I was obsessed.


Then came an extreme period - I wanted to look good for my JC prom night, so I engaged in extreme exercise – running 20km in the morning, stationary cycling or aerobics in the afternoon and a 6km jog in the evening. I followed this routine everyday for four months and I switched to starvation mode. Surviving on only one apple a day, my weight plunged to 47kg from 61kg.


Suddenly I could fit into size XS from XL, suddenly I was receiving compliments from my friends. But I got more and more obsessed with my weight and I almost turned anorexic. Worse, my health was at risk. I had perpetual constipation – no surprise as there isn’t anything in my stomach to pass out anyway – and my period didn’t come for seven months. My face was a sickly pale green colour and I was very short-tempered. I remember hiding myself at home and avoiding my friends because upon seeing me, they would keep asking me to eat!


The most heartbreaking time occurred just before I entered university. Hungry from all the starving and fasting, my willpower broke and I started gorging on foods. I ate all the foods from this Little Book of Cravings which I penned my cravings in every time I had one. In one month, I piled back all the kilos that I lost! Just like that.


Can you imagine how I felt when I put back all the weight?


But that’s what happens when you lose it too suddenly and with such extreme methods. What you want is to lose weight and keep it off permanently right? After that I ballooned back and for the next few years I was back to being fat and getting new ‘fat’ nicknames. 


Then the workload in my second year of university became heavy and I didn’t have time to eat. My weight slowly went down and this time it stayed down! I had a boyfriend then who was very supportive of me and he gave me this renewed confidence that even led me to try modeling – just for the fun of it… for the extra pocket money and also to experience what it was like to be a ‘model’.


I did photoshoots, worked as a race queen, had a spread or two in a magazine, and even took part in pageants!


Keeping it off


Losing weight is not wrong, slimming is not a sin; but it is essential to do it right. No point going through all the hassle only to have it temporary. Weight loss has to be gradual and it does take a certain commitment as well as a permanent change in lifestyle. I mean, you do want to keep the weight off after losing it right?


Previously I was very active in school, being on the badminton school team in secondary school and on the cross-country school team in junior college. But after I stopped working out at those intensive levels, I adopted habits like eating only one full meal a day and leaving my food unfinished. 


Today my weight is about 53kg and I’m hoping to lose about 3-4kg more, but it’s not something that can be done immediately. Adopt permanent lifestyle changes like going easy on sweet drinks and junk food, and not sleeping too much! I really love eating so it takes a lot of discipline to maintain my weight now.


Basically, my attitude towards food now is “It must be worth the calories”. I still love eating, I still love food, but I eat in moderation and only feast occasionally.


I must say though, being driven by motivation and supported with worthy encouragement would help the weight loss process a lot more. So, do get a friend or your partner to embark on this mission with you. Best if your partner makes you feel confident about yourself and gives you the emotional and moral support you need.




Societal influence is probably the strongest push factor for weight loss. You see your skinny friends eat six meals a day with snacks in between and you wonder why you can’t. You see the sexy bareback dress in the shop window and you wonder when you can put it on.


It’s a fact, people do judge. Having been on both sides of the fence, I can relate to it completely. I used to get scolded for being greedy by the uncle at the Mixed Rice stall when I asked for more rice. These days, he willingly adds rice even when I ask for less rice.


But if you overlook the superficial, there are genuine gems to be found. It’s just sad that guys tend to look at the exterior first before deciding if they should talk to you. ‘fess up! How many of you would still talk to me if I still looked like what I did before? 


In retrospect, I often wondered how different my life could have been like if I had lost weight earlier. Would I have participated in pageants in university? Would I have found Mr. Right sooner?


Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much weight or how many inches you lose, but how happy you are and how confident you are of yourself. Many people underestimate the power of positive thinking – I think stress levels actually contribute to weight gain! At least for me…


I’m still seeking for a sustainable weight loss method and am willing to listen to genuine people who would like to help me. It wasn’t easy for me to share this story but I hope it will serve as a motivation/inspiration to others out there. Anyone who is serious about wanting to make lifestyle changes and lose weight? Let’s do it together! A support group is very important to help keep us disciplined.


Why do we want to lose weight? Because we want to look good for men like you.


Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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