The singer-songwriter tells us how hypothyroidism has changed her life.
In December 2015, Ming tipped the scales at 80kg – the heaviest she has been. In a matter of months, the svelte singer-songwriter had gained more than 30kg. And she didn’t know why.
When that happened, she tried to cut her diet and increase the frequency of exercise. But that didn’t work.
Desperate to lose weight, Ming sought advice from therapists. She recalls: “Some told me to go vegan or follow a certain diet. Others asked me to do certain exercises.”
What she didn’t realise was that she had hypothyroidism, a hormonal disorder that slows down metabolism and causes weight gain.
Ming, who turns 25 this year, says her condition is a result of being anorexic.
When she started her mandopop career at 19, Ming felt pressured to look good. “I realised that people liked me more when I became skinnier, so I kept trying to lose weight. I got to a point where no clothes would fit me because I was too thin. I had little energy to do things and my period stopped for nine months.”
For the next few years, Ming continued to struggle with anorexia. In trying to recover, she developed a binge eating disorder, and started exercising excessively.
Finally, she decided to seek help.
Ming says: “The staff at SGH Life Centre told me to eat more and stop exercising. As soon as I started taking proper meals and resting, I lost weight.”
Now, Ming weighs about 60kg and is “very, very happy”. Here, she shares the biggest lessons learnt.
- There’s no perfect body
We are all different shapes and sizes. The perfect body is when you eat whatever you want, you feel your healthiest, and you are fit. Society’s definition of beauty changes all the time. If your happiness depends on your body, you’ll never be happy.
- Moderation is key
Before, I would work out twice a day for about two hours, and wouldn’t sit down. Now I exercise just enough to feel fit and energised. I’ve stopped doing intense cardio as it gives me bad anxiety. It’s not easy to achieve that balance, but once you do, you’ll feel your best.
- Do what you love
It’s important to do the exercises you love because they will make you feel good. I like to do high-intensity interval training, yoga, pilates and weight training. When I’m strapped for time, I’ll run up the stairs to get my heart racing. Yoga is so good at de-stressing and toning me. Every morning, I do yoga for 45 minutes and dance to a song I like. It puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day. I also love walking and hiking.
- Work with your menstrual cycle
Try to take your menstrual cycle into account when planning your workouts. During the two weeks after your period ends, your energy levels tend to be higher. That’s when I do more exercises and push harder. Towards the end of my cycle, I taper down my workouts and do gentler stuff.
- Don’t deprive yourself
When I had anorexia and bulimia, I was obsessed about losing weight, to the point where I got scared of food. My hormones were all messed up. Now that I eat what I want, I hardly crave sugary stuff and junk food. If I indulge, it’s when I’m dining out with friends or family. On my own, I eat pretty healthily. If I want something sweet, I would have a banana, dates or frozen grapes. They are so yummy and don’t give me a sugar crash.