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A new and healthier lifestyle

I now walk about 10,000 steps a day, the minimum for an active lifestyle. Surpassing the daily step target is a breeze on the days I have my weekly Zumba classes. On other days, I hit the number by alighting one train stop before my normal destination and walk home from there. On days when I’m mostly desk-bound, I deliberately take a detour home or do a 15-minute cardio workout at home.

I’m also keeping a closer eye on my diet. While I don’t deprive myself when I have cravings, I take care not to overindulge. I look forward to the group nutrition sessions when the focus will be on “Healthy Eating Out and “Keeping Fat in Check”. There will be a supermarket tour where we will be taught to read food labels and pick out items that would not sabotage our weight-loss goals.

I used to think that my main motivation for losing weight was to improve my health and that the monetary incentives for participating in TRIO would be no more than a bonus. I’m no longer so sure. In any case, it no longer matters because I was spurred to action and my efforts have paid off. Just three months after the start of the OBM programme, I lost about 2.5kg and trimmed my waistline by about 5.5cm. I now feel more energetic and do not run out of breath while walking up three flights of stairs. And oh, did I mention that I’m one dress size down?

How long can I keep this up? Well, my activity is being monitored by a team of researchers. Knowing that pushes me to meet my goals and achieve at least the target number of steps each day. I look forward to the results of the study. I hope it will result in more people leading healthier lives – not because they have to, but because they want to. For me, this is more than just a battle of the bulge. It’s also a battle of willpower, and I aim to win.

Tips to motivate yourself to keep fit

1. Set goals. Start with shortterm objectives and progress to mid- and long-term ones. Make your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Time-bound. They should be challenging and yet manageable. Write down your goals to help you remain focused. For example, if you have not exercised for a while, a short-term goal may be to walk 15 minutes once or twice a day. A mid-term goal may be to complete a 2.4km run after three months.

2. Track progress. Keep an exercise diary and record what you did during each session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterwards. It also reminds you that you are making progress.

3. Develop group camaraderie. Get a few friends together to play a racket game, go jogging or join an aerobics class. Better still, involve your family members.

4. Add variety. Be innovative and creative. Alternate weight training in the gym with aerobics classes, cycling or any other sport or game you enjoy. This helps to inject variety and prevent boredom. Make exercise routines fun and enjoyable.

5. Be flexible. Whether you are too busy with work or simply do not feel up to it, give yourself a break from your exercise routine.

6. Reward yourself. Get yourself the new pair of sports shoes or attire wh​en you reach your goals. This can help keep you motivated and focused.

Ref: S13