Cheryl Miles shares why she kicked her 20-year smoking addiction and how she stays healthy now. By Ng Wan Ching
Yoga is part of ONE FM 91.3 radio DJ Cheryl Miles’ fitness routine and it helps to ease her back pain. Photo: Tamara Craiu
About Cheryl Miles
The ONE FM 91.3 radio DJ has lent her voice to numerous television and radio commercials. She has also acted in several local TV drama series, such as Lifeline (Seasons One and Two), Going Straits and Singapore Shakes. Her next race – Men’s Health Urbanathlon on March 13 – will see her trying to clear nine obstacles along a 14km route, which starts and ends at the Kallang Practice Track. She is a Singaporean and is single.
Q: How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?
A: Very important. I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m scared of getting sick and not having the quality of life I intend to have for as long as possible. The older I get, the more I realise how important flexibility, cardio fitness and core strength are in preventing postural problems, osteoporosis and heart diseases. Last year, I discovered I had two slipped discs in my lower spine. I have had to modify my exercise routine and slow down a little until I’m strong enough to resume my activities. I am currently focusing on building core strength and muscle.
Q: What is the most extreme thing you have done in the name of fitness or diet?
A: When I was a TV actress and presenter, I felt pressured to lose weight and started taking diet pills. I had to force myself to stop and have since reassessed my ideas about fitness, body image and nutrition. I’d rather have a few extra pounds but be happy and fit, than be thin and sickly. It is not worth losing my health for the sake of vanity.
Q: What is your most prized sports-related possession?
A: Last year, I ran two 10km races, one being a women-only run. I have those medals proudly displayed on my shelf in my bedroom next to my half-marathon medal from 2010. I dedicated the 10km women-only run to my lungs, which I had abused with cigarettes for so long. It was a relief to find out after a barrage of tests that my lungs were free from any disease and lumps, despite a period of breathing difficulties and chest pains.
Q: Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?
A: I was going through a lot of stress between 2012 and the beginning of 2015. I became a chronic insomniac, put on 10kg and developed back problems. My 20-year smoking addiction went from 20 sticks a day to 30 sticks. As a result, I started having pains in my chest and breathing difficulties. That was when I knew I had to give up smoking and take control of my life.
Q: How did you quit smoking?
A: I used Allen Carr’s best-selling book Easy Way To Stop Smoking last April and have been working towards feeling better about myself since then. I sleep better now. Quitting smoking has given me a new lease of life.
Q: How has your active lifestyle influenced your family and friends?
A: My housemate has started running and Shan Wee, my co-host on The Escape Plan on ONE FM 91.3, has taken up boxing and football. One of my girlfriends has signed up at Jessica Sinclair’s studio, where I do yoga. Yoga helps to ease my back pain.
Q: What is your diet like?
A: Breakfast: Two boiled eggs.
Mid-morning: A protein shake.
Lunch: Chicken breast with carrots and broccoli, or a vegetable stew or kimchi fish on brown rice.
Snacks: Trail mix or my homemade hummus with sliced carrots, cherry tomatoes and celery.
Dinner: A stew or soup. I try to avoid carbohydrates after 8pm.
Q: What are your indulgences?
A: Juicy steaks, bak kut teh, truffle fries, salt and vinegar chips, cheeses and red wine.
Q: How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
A: I am often invited to concerts, parties and dressy events. When it gets intense, I retreat. I periodically go into hermit-mode and need a weekend home alone to recharge or do something quiet like going to the beach or running.
Q: Would you go for plastic surgery?
A: If I’m still in the media 10 years from now, I might consider botox or fillers to smooth out lines and wrinkles. But I would never go under the knife to change my features.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2016, with the headline ‘DJ stubs out cigs for ‘a new lease of life”.