Engineer loses more than 5kg, wins Suzuki Swift car

Engineer Ting Yit Lai (above, in grey) being congratulated by friend Lani Lam, 31. She won the top prize of a car in the One Million KG Challenge draw, which is for 10 finalists randomly picked from participants who have lost at least 3kg since March
Engineer Ting Yit Lai (above, in grey) being congratulated by friend Lani Lam, 31. She won the top prize of a car in the One Million KG Challenge draw, which is for 10 finalists randomly picked from participants who have lost at least 3kg since March.ST PHOTOS: SEAH KWANG PENG

In one instance, a mistake turns out to be blessing in disguise

Accountant Dawn Hoe had always been on the big side. But when she ballooned by almost 10kg after giving birth, the 37-year-old mother of two tried all sorts of ways to lose weight, including going to a slimming centre. But these did not work.

"I went jogging but felt breathless, tried to eat less but that didn't help either," she said.

Tired of her lethargy and having to field questions from relatives about her size, she joined the Health Promotion Board's Lose to Win campaign in March, which got her going with exercise classes, before signing up for the One Million KG Challenge.

Now, she has shed 3kg, exercises at least twice a week, and is able to run 4km at a time. She said: "I don't need to look like a model, I just want to be healthy."

Organised by the HPB, the challenge is the country's first national incentive-based weight management programme.

It launched its second season yesterday, but not before a grand draw for 10 finalists, including Ms Hoe, randomly chosen from participants who have lost at least 3kg over six months since March.

The winner of the top prize, a Suzuki Swift car, said she signed up for the challenge thinking that it was a compulsory part of another weight loss programme she was already enrolled in.

But the mistake helped 44-year-old engineer Ting Yit Lai to lose more than 5kg along the way.

"It was really unexpected," she said, referring to both her weight loss and her new ride. She initially doubted that she could lose the minimum 3kg to be eligible for the grand draw, after having had difficulties exercising for years due to what she described as a lack of stamina.

Now, she works out at least three times a week, going for classes like kickboxing and zumba. "I no longer feel breathless," she said.

Mr Delon Chong's previous attempts to lose weight never lasted beyond three weeks. Now, he finds himself cycling for three hours straight at times without much of a thought, and has been doing so for the past four months.

His trick? A cycling machine which he uses to keep his legs busy while engaging his passion for computer games. "I tried to force myself to jog and go to the gym previously but realised that unless you really like the activity, your determination will eventually fade," said the 26-year-old, another finalist.

When he found out that some people exercise while watching television, Mr Chong thought: "Why not when I'm gaming then?" Combined with a healthier diet, the chemist has lost 7kg since March.

Even his parents have joined in. His mother cycles while she reads her magazines and his father uses the machine for 15 minutes after he gets home from work.

Fellow finalist Saiful Rizal started his fitness journey two years ago, when he tipped the scales at 99kg. "I couldn't let myself hit three figures," said the 26-year-old, who runs his own tuition centre.

So he started brisk walking, gradually moved to jogging and stayed clear of food fast joints which he used to frequent daily. He managed to lose 5.5kg over the last six months and now weighs 84.5kg. Said Mr Saiful: "I have seen my relatives put on a lot of weight and develop health problems and I don't want that to happen to me."

samboh@sph.com.sg