Fit And Fab

Poly manager lost 30kg in under 2 years

Mr Halim, who reached his peak weight of 94kg in July 2014, uses wearable technology and mobile apps to monitor his physical activities and calorie intake.
Mr Halim, who reached his peak weight of 94kg in July 2014, uses wearable technology and mobile apps to monitor his physical activities and calorie intake.ST PHOTO:AZIZ HUSSIN

Ng Wan Ching finds out how Tony Halim, 38, achieved goal by exercising and watching his diet

Q What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

A I count my calorie intake. Being more conscious of what I eat has helped me to lose about 10kg when I was at my heaviest at 94kg.

But there is no escaping exercise. Our bodies will adapt to the reduced food consumption, making further weight loss more difficult.

Exercise brought about the next phase of my weight loss. I started by taking my baby for one-hour morning walks in the stroller.

Then I picked up running, starting with 3km, then 5km and so on.

Q Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab, and what did you do about it?

  • Bio Box

  • TONY HALIM

    AGE: 38

    HEIGHT: 1.71m

    WEIGHT: 64kg

    The manager of student development at Temasek Polytechnic also teaches logistics and statistics in its school of engineering. One of his motivations to lose weight was his new portfolio to manage and oversee student development.

    "I told myself that I would be a more convincing student developer if I exhibited the spirit of determination and will," he said.

    He used every opportunity to share with students his weight loss journey to show that anything could be overcome as long as they had the will to do it.

    "Keeping a healthy lifestyle is being responsible towards your family and country," he said.

    His homemaker wife "works out" by running around after their two children - an eight-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy.

A I reached my peak weight of 94kg in July 2014. That put my body mass index at 32.

It was a rude shock when I calculated my BMI and did some research on its implications.

I read up on weight-loss techniques and realised that I had been eating way more than necessary.

For example, my breakfast on weekends would consist of a plate of fried meehoon with the usual extras, such as eggs and fish cakes.

Then I would have two pieces of roti prata and several mouthfuls of fried carrot cake. Just breakfast alone accounted for two-thirds of the daily calories I needed.

To help monitor my physical activities and calorie intake, I use wearable technology and mobile apps. So far, I have lost 30kg.

Q What is your diet like?

A I start my day with either a bowl of beancurd (no sugar) or a bowl of sliced fish soup (without milk).

My lunch and dinner are either yong tau foo soup or sliced fish soup. For the occasional supper, it is usually a packet of low-fat biscuits or yogurt.

Q What are your indulgences?

A I was very strict with my diet during the first few months of trying to lose weight.

I had zero cheat days.

It was only when my weight fell below 65kg that I started to have occasional indulgences, such as cereal prawns. But I still abstain from rice.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery and why?

A No. Besides health, another purpose of my weight-loss journey is to convey the values of perseverance and responsibility to my students.

Going for surgery is an easy way out and I would be sending the wrong signal to my students.

Q Do you think you're sexy?

A No! But I do feel fitter and leaner.

Q What's your favourite part of your body? And the least favourite?

A My legs. They take me to many beautiful places that can be accessed only on foot. My least favourite is my tummy - I have yet to achieve six-pack abs.

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

A My pre-race routine usually involves some stretching exercises, followed by a short run to warm up.

This helps to prevent fatigue after the race is over. My post-race routine involves extensive stretching as well, and drinking lots of water.

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

A I feel guilty if I have not exercised for a few days in a row. The guilt will usually get me into my sports gear.

Q What is the biggest sacrifice you've made in the name of fitness and diet?

A In the initial phase of weight loss, my breakfast was a cup of oatmeal, followed by yong tau foo soup (with non-fried ingredients) for lunch, and sliced fish soup for dinner.

There was no munching on snacks in between. It did not feel good watching my colleagues eat yummy food. But I told myself that the sacrifice would be worth it. And it was.

Q What do your friends and family say about your active lifestyle?

A Initially, most of my friends and family were sceptical of my plan to lose weight. They knew I loved to eat and did not exercise. But when they realised I was serious, they were supportive.

For example, they were understanding of my "anti-social" behaviour when we are out for meals. I would usually just drink my kopi-o kosong and watch them eat.

Q How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia at home? Among them, what is your most prized possession?

A I took part in 10 races last year, and my most prized possession is the medal that I received for completing a 32km run.

It was my first race beyond 20km and it took me slightly more than four hours to complete.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2016, with the headline 'Poly manager lost 30kg in under 2 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe