Sunday 14 November 2010

Want to lose weight? Just hang out with me - if you're Singaporean

According to the latest National Health Survey, one out of every 10 Singaporeans is obese. According to my latest mandatory employment health screening results, I am overweight.

So if you don’t want to be overweight, just be one of the nine people standing next to me.

In the unlikely event that more than nine people are enjoying my company, don’t worry. With the influx of foreign talent in Singapore, chances are that not all of them are Singaporean, which means statistically, you could still not be obese.

All this is assuming, of course, that you are Singaporean.

If you’re not, you could be the guy who completed his full-time National Service and renounced his Japanese citizenship, but lost his Singapore citizenship because he failed to take the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty before he turned 22.

Hey, at least he’s not overweight.

I have been fighting obesity for most of my adult life. Sometimes I win, other times I order pizza.

One early victory was due to a simple advice my wife gave me: During meal times, you don’t have to eat until you’re completely full.

This came as a revelation to me.

Before that, I thought I was supposed to keep eating until I was so stuffed that I had to loosen my pants and couldn’t walk anymore – at every meal.

So I stopped doing that (now it’s just every other meal) and lost a few kilograms. But I recently gained them back because I started having meals with other people regularly.

There are two sets of “other people”, one set consisting of my wife and two kids, and the other my colleagues.

The trouble with eating with other people is that other people tend not to finish their food.

This is problematic for me as I was raised by my parents to finish all my food because of the starving children in Africa.

So I can’t bear to see wasted food. So I’m compelled to finish food that other people can’t – even though my belt is already unbuckled and my legs can no longer support me. Hence, my latest medical results.

I was better off when I was single and a loner, but then I wouldn’t be able to experience the joy of fatherhood or have someone "chope" a table for me at the coffee shop.

By the way, that’s another way you could lose weight by hanging out with me – martyr that I am, I would eat your food for you.

- Published in The New Paper, 14 November 2010