The death of her aunt due to weight-related problems motivated 140kg Chloe Lim to slim down to 80kg.
Finance professional Chloe Lim and her maternal aunt Julia Ann shared a love for food and also a struggle of trying to lose the weight they put on from eating excessively.
They went for buffets together and put themselves on fad diets and tried meal-replacement options.
But their weight-loss methods proved ineffective and Madam Ann died in 2013, at age 47, of weight-related health issues.
The death of her aunt led Ms Lim, who weighed as much as 140 kg, to seek a healthier lifestyle. The self-professed junk-food lover who used to eat six meals a day, said she was hit hard not just by the grief of losing a loved one, but also the reality of the ill-effects of obesity.
“It was after my aunt died that I knew I had to do something about my lifestyle,” said Ms Lim, 28. She said she started to cut out unhealthy foods from her diet and to exercise regularly, learning from her past short-lived attempts at losing weight.
First, she bought a stationary bicycle and worked out from home.
Starting out was not easy, she said. “Just half an hour riding on the bike was already a challenge for me, considering that I was so heavy.”
Ms Lim, who is 1.81m tall, also started swimming, which became one of her favourite forms of exercise as it does not put pressure on the joints and is “great for losing weight”, she said.
Some friends asked if she felt self-conscious about people staring at her body at the pool. “I didn’t care about what people thought. I just went, did what I needed to do, and left,” said Ms Lim.
Within a year of her aunt’s death, she lost 50kg and weighed around 90kg. She now weighs around 80kg, down from her peak of 140kg.
Her best friend of seven years, Ms Yvonne Ong, 27, who also works in the banking industry, recalled how the two could go shopping together following Ms Lim’s weight loss.
“She didn’t have to go to plus-sized outlets to shop any more, and places like Topshop and Zara would carry her size,” said Ms Ong.
Yet, some time in 2014, when everything seemed to be progressing well, Ms Lim was hit by another bombshell.
She was diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia, or thickening of the uterus lining, at the pre-cancerous stage. The knowledge stripped her of her motivation to live healthily, she said.
Also, one side effect of the medicine she had to take for her condition was weight gain. She put on 15kg, which made her feel “depressed for a while”, said Ms Lim.
However, in September last year, with Ms Ong’s support, the two friends went for a jog together – and Ms Lim has not looked back since. Now a regular jogger, she will be taking part in the Safra 10km race next month and hopes to complete a marathon.
She describes her exercise regimen as “random” – she does not stick strictly to a single activity. She swims, runs, and does CrossFit, a high-intensity fitness programme.