Fit And Fab

From underweight teen to national platform diver

Freida Lim keeps thyroid condition in check by taking medication. Ng Wan Ching reports

Q What is your secret to looking fabulous?

A Training to keep fit and trying to take care of my skin because it gets really dry from all the time in the water. I wash my face only once a day and I sometimes use a toner at night.

Q Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

A When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Grave's disease - an autoimmune disorder which leads to an overactive thyroid gland, which is also known as hyperthyroidism.

It is hereditary and while none of my sisters or parents have it, my grandmother does.


Severely underweight before, Freida gained 15kg within 11/2 years to get her body mass index to a healthy range. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

I still have the condition and take medication to keep it in check. I also go for check-ups twice a year.

Because of the condition, I was severely underweight. I was about 1.53m tall and weighed 32 to 35kg.

I started taking medication and eating more as I was constantly hungry due to a high metabolism.

My thyroid function normalised after two years. I have since maintained a healthy body mass index range through regular check-ups and treatment.

Q What is your diet like?

A I usually eat what I feel like eating at that point in time, but I try to make sure that there is a mix of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables at every meal.

Q What are your indulgences?

A I love coffee and I get a cuppa from any cafe whenever I can.

I also occasionally indulge in junk food like chips, ice cream, cake and biscuits, basically whatever I can find at home.

  • BioBox

  • FREIDA LIM

    Age: 18

    Height: 1.58m

    Weight: 52kg

    Freida won a scholarship to study at Clemson University in South Carolina, the United States. While there, she will be competing in the top division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) system.

    "Clemson offered a scholarship covering 100 per cent of the tuition fees," said Freida, who started university last month. She is undecided on her major but is considering studying food science.

    Her sister, Meagan, 20,

    is a national swimmer and

    is also studying in the US

    at Purdue University in Indiana. She swims competitively

    in the NCAA league.

    Eldest sister Nicole, 22, was a gymnast and now works in an events company.

    Their father is a general practitioner who plays street soccer four times a week and their mother is a project manager.

Q What do you do to relax and how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

A To relax, I like to listen to music and take naps.

Balancing sports and studies is not so difficult as my family members are extremely supportive and understanding. My mum helps me a lot in terms of knowing when to prioritise studies and sports.

Q What are the three most important things in your life?

A God, family and friends.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery and why?

A I am happy with the way I look. I don't think I would go for plastic surgery, though I am not against it.

I am a firm believer in doing whatever makes you happy.

Q What's your favourite and least favourite part of your body?

A I like my eyebrows. I don't like my bulky arms as they have a hard time fitting into the sleeves of many T-shirts.

Q What are your must-dos before and after a competition?

A I always visualise my dives a few times through the night before a competition.

Q How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?

A It's pretty important. Even when I was on holiday to visit my sister in the United States, I kept up with my exercises every day to stay fit.

I train five to six times a week now and each session is about four hours. If there are holidays or if it is the off-season, I will still be training but the sessions might be lighter.

Q What is the most extreme thing you have done in the name of fitness or diet?

A Nothing really, unless you count gaining 15kg within 11/2 years extreme. That was to get my body mass index range from severely underweight to healthy.

Q How has your active lifestyle influenced your family and friends?

A My two older sisters also do competitive sports, so my family is used to the commitments required. They help me manage my time and relieve some of my stress.

My friends also understand my commitments and came to support the Singapore diving team at the SEA Games held here last year.

Q How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia?

A My sisters and I have a collection of medals and trophies that my dad displays in the family room.

I have many swimsuits and a few wristguards, which I don't use.

My equipment at home includes a massager, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine, a roller and a trigger ball to help loosen up my muscles.

I have a few pairs of sports shoes, which are more than I actually need.

Q Among them, what is your most prized possession?

A My transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine or the massager. I use them the most to help loosen my muscles.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'From underweight teen to national platform diver'. Print Edition | Subscribe