Fight the flab: He cooked his own meals to lose weight

Mr Tan Chun Rong loved food and weighed 85kg when he was 16. He was 1.71m tall then. “I ate anything and everything,” said the food photographer and stylist.

He is now 25, stands at 1.76m and weighs only 70kg.

The drop in weight came about as he was finishing his secondary school studies and heading to the polytechnic. He decided then that he no longer wanted to be that overweight student who was sometimes teased as “a joke”.

He said: “I wanted to feel good about myself and fit into clothes I saw in the magazines.”

He embarked on regular exercises and a calorie-restriction diet and lost 25kg in six months.

Leveraging on the cooking skills he had picked up from his aunt as well as his mother, who died from brain cancer when he was 17, he cooked food such as chicken breast and salmon.

Mr Tan Chun Rong cooks healthy dishes, leveraging on the cooking skills he had picked up from his aunt and his mother. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

When eating out, he ordered meals such as wonton noodles and fish soup.

He also jogged 5km to 10km two to three times a week, and did weights and aerobics at home.

Now, nearly 10 years later, he is still eating healthily and exercising while juggling erratic working hours.

“I do one to two photo shoots a week, which can sometimes run up to 10 hours a day. So I’ll grab sandwiches on the go but make sure they are wholegrain,” he said.

However, he sometimes has to eat unhealthy food, such as pad thai and doughnuts, for his blog, which features a mix of personal and sponsored food recipes and travels.

He usually eats two meals a day – brunch with minimal carbohydrates and a carb-free dinner. He goes to the gym twice a week and jogs 5km several times a week.

“I feel more confident about myself, which is very important, especially for work,” said Mr Tan, who has an older brother, aged 27. Their 62-year-old father works as a machine operator.

He added: “I shocked many of my friends when I lost a lot of weight. I wanted to prove that if I wanted to lose weight, I could easily do it.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'He cooked his own meals to lose weight'. Print Edition | Subscribe