He's a man on a weighty mission

He's a man on a weighty mission

Bending over to tie a loose shoelace one day, Mr Bryan Ho realised he had an issue - his bulging tummy was getting in the way.

Speaking about the incident a year ago, the 31-year-old information-technology consultant said: "That was a wake-up call for me. I knew I had to change my lifestyle to become more healthy."

At the time, Mr Ho weighed 100kg. It was hard to tell that the guy, who stands tall at 1.83m, was overweight. But his ideal weight is around 75kg.

Bent on shaping up for his wedding at the end of next year, Mr Ho has signed up for the Health Promotion Board's (HPB's) weight-management programme, called Lose To Win.

He said: "I want people to remember me at my best during my wedding, a very special moment in my life."

The programme, now in its third run, seeks to inspire and motivate individuals to lose weight the healthy way - through physical activities, and a nutritious and balanced diet.

To keep them motivated through the 12-week challenge, there's a new component to look after the participants' mental well-being.

Mr Ho - who joined the programme last month - began piling on the kilos when he started dating his fiancee three years ago. Back then, he weighed 80kg and didn't exercise.

He had played basketball with friends earlier in his 20s, but said that "as I grew older, people got busy with work and family life, and had no time for basketball".

Since joining the programme, Mr Ho has met others who want to lose weight, and he now has friends to help motivate him to stick to his resolution to shed the kilos.

As part of the programme, he goes for group exercise sessions such as aerobics twice a week.

He is also learning to manage his diet, cutting back on fried and fast food, and curry gravy when eating curry rice.

Mr Ho said: "Previously, I thought that life was short, so I would eat whatever I want. Now I know that although life is short, it's also precious."

As part of the programme, he attended an HPB supermarket tour last week, where he and other participants were given tips on how to make healthier choices when shopping for food.

Held at FairPrice Xtra at nex mall in Serangoon, Mr Ho listened attentively as HPB nutritionist Derrick Ong dished out tips on reading food-packaging labels.

Tips included looking out for added sugars in items like yogurt, and opting for brown rice instead of white.

Mr Ho - who has shed 3kg since last month - is already eating more unpolished rice, known as red rice. His mother, who does most of the cooking at home, is using a mix of red and white rice.

Mr Ong said that using a mix of rice is great for anyone wanting to make the transition to healthier rice options. Eventually, you can phase out the white rice.

He added that red and brown rice are higher in fibre and are more nutritious than white rice.

He said: "Foods that are higher in fibre will also take a longer time to digest and will, therefore, give you a greater sense of satiation. This will make you less susceptible to hunger pangs, which may lead to indiscriminate snacking."

Take it from Lose To Win 2009 participant Khairulnizam Jemaat, who lost 18kg and now weighs a trim 70kg. He is 1.74m tall.

Said Mr Khairul, an engineer: "Initially, it was tough to eat healthy, but over time, it becomes a habit."

He is currently helping out as a motivator at training sessions for the current Lose To Win participants.

Asked what helps him stay the course when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, he said he wants to enjoy a long, healthy life with his family.

"Every goal I set is set with them in mind," he said.

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