SINGAPORE - Fitness blogger Angelina Tan won the battle of the bulge and went from fat and heartbroken to fit and confident in the space of just over a year.
Now she not only has a successful fitness regime, she also has men falling at her feet.
But the National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate and proud owner of fitbunney.com said she did not always look as fabulous as she does now.
Just a year and a half ago, she tipped the scales at a whopping 89kg for her 1.76m tall frame.
Her body fat percentage back then was 43 per cent. The average woman has about 25 to 31 per cent body fat.
Angelina attributed her weight partly to being prone to suffering severe bouts of binge eating. This bad habit was cultivated since young, due to having been a victim of bullying and burdened by many family problems, she shared on her blog.
The 22-year-old said she used to call for deliveries from fast food joints, where she would order huge servings of food such as whole pizzas, wings, lasagna and baked beef balls. She would then wolf them down all in a single sitting, and carry out the routine several times a week.
"It was the only source of comfort I had," she said, reminiscing that it was very "comfortable" for her to turn to food to feel better.
That was back then, now she weighs about 75kg - most of which is muscle mass.
"I wasn't born a swan, I wasn't born a cheerleader," she said. "Heck yes, it's possible for you to start. And you don't need a lifetime - I did it within a year and three months."
What makes her story even more inspirational for those out there who likewise want to lose weight is that she did not lose the flab through any extraordinary means.
She did not eat any slimming pills, buy any expensive slimming package or go on a crash diet.
Find out how she did it
Beginning the fitness journey
Shedding the excess weight was the last thing on Angelina's mind back in August 2010.
That is, until she suffered a crushing blow in her life when her then boyfriend broke up with her.
Devastated, she took to going to the gym to get her mind off things.
"I actually didn't start it just to lose weight with a goal in mind. It was kinda like, to be honest, a really bad breakup. I really needed to get my mind off things and channel all my energies and time into something really productive," she told RazorTV.
She signed up with a gym and did cardio for about two hours a day, six times a week. She did not even change her diet in the beginning.
To this day, she still does not count calories. However, she has started to eat healthier - a gradual change that came about naturally due to regular exercise shrinking her appetite.
"Your appetite shrinks after you exercise a lot because you feel much better and you feel much more active," she said.
After about four months of cardio, she went on to try aerobic exercises, such as body-pump and dance, and subsequently weight training.
The weight training, she says, is the reason behind her tight and firm body. Despite her slim physique, Angelina says she still has a relatively large amount of fat left in her body.
The muscles that she's built up from weight training is what makes her look slender despite this, she said.
She is now a UK size 16 in bottoms and wears UK 12 to 14 for tops.
For the next phase of her fitness journey, Angelina said she hopes to work on her nutrition.
"I'm taking a lot of care into what I eat. I'm getting over my sugar addiction, which got really bad. I'm getting over my binge eating and really starting to heal myself," she said.
Inspiration to help others
Today, Angelina is the proud owner of fitnessbunney.com - a website dedicated to documenting her fitness journey and helping others achieve the same.
She said the inspiration for setting up a channel to help others lose weight came when she stumbled across some microblogging accounts of girls worshipping a god named "Anna".
After browsing through pictures of these girls, most of whom were frighteningly skinny, she realised the girls were actually practising anorexia (abbreviated: "anna").
"I was really heartbroken because all of these girls were like 14 years old," she said.
This inspired her to start a platform whereby she could reach out to anyone who wanted do improve their physical health.
The Communications and New Media (CNM) major student said she understands her blog readers' frustrations of not fitting in.
"Honestly speaking, it was more difficult for me to feel attractive in Singapore. This was especially true in Singapore where as an asian country, the population is generally petite and slender," she said.
Angelina, on the other hand, has always been tall, big sized and muscular. "I didn't really feel like I fit in," she said.
In April 2011, she started up fitbunny.com, which now has over 10,000 subscribers. Today, she receives up to 2,000 emails a day from readers from all over the world - most of whom confide in her their personal difficulties in being overweight.
"They will tell me things like a guy they like told them they are fat and unattractive. Or like their parents rejected them because they didn't look a certain way," she said.
These are the things that motivate her to continue her blog, she said. "It's not so much as about the popularity - like look at me, look at what I've done. It more like 'I've been through it, I know how it feels' (and) what can I do for people who are suffering and going through difficulties," she said.
Practical tips on losing weight
Tips on losing weight
Tip 1: Just do it
The most important thing she said, is to just take the first step to get out of the house and go to the "iron garden and start pumping," she said.
"It doesn't matter if your form is not perfect in your first round," she said, adding that many people put off exercising because they over think things.
Tip 2: Choose realistic goals
"People have good goals, but they want to do things too drastically and too fast," Angelina said, sharing that some of her friends have asked her how to lose "10kg in just a week".
"These kind of goals are not realistic," she said.
Tip 3: Make one change in your diet or exercise and stick to it for 21 days.
"Find something to change, find one thing, and try to change it over the period of 21 days," she said.
This is a simple trick that Angelina uses that has helped her to lose 2kg in a week.
For example, if you hate water and all you drink is soda, try to make it a point to not drink soda and instead just drink water, coffee or tea.
"After you have ensured that you've effectively changed your bad habit after 21 days, you can move on to the next 21 days, where you'll change another habit," she said.
Accumulated, these small changes in your life will reap large rewards.
Tip 4: Lose weight for fitness, not for vanity
She admitted that part of the reason why she works out so much in the gym is because of vanity reasons.
However, at the end of the day, she tries to remember that what's more important are health reasons.
"To do training and exercise with a fitness goal in mind is really important, and not just to fit into societal mould," she said.
Tip 5: Pick a workout you like and incorporate it into your life
Angelina said her motivation to workout is because it's like a lifestyle choice to her, and not a burden.
"If you have time, go to the gym. Make sure you look forward to it. Don't drag your feet," she said.
If you don't like the gym, try something else. If you prefer walking or climbing, try hiking. If your favourite activity is a trip down to the beach, try going jogging at East Coast Park.
"Find something you love so you motivate yourself," she said.