​Dropping as much as 9kg over 5 months, our nurses seem to have stumbled upon a magic formula to losing weight

If you took part in the Mass Health Screening, you’d know the results are out! Did your results show you have high cholesterol? Or that your BMI is too high and you’re overweight?

This is what spurred a nurse from the SGH ward at Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) to decide it was time to do something about her health last year. “Before the Mass Health Screening results, I knew I had been gaining a lot of weight. My diet was pretty unhealthy. I wasn’t exercising much and I was falling sick more often,” said Senior Enrolled Nurse Emily Chiam.

She had tried to lose weight before and even joined a gym. But it didn’t work.  Seeing her dismal results made her all the more determined to lose weight for health’s sake.

“I saw that my friends in the ward were also putting on weight.” 

As nurses, the group understood the dangers of high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  Senior Staff Nurse Yan Xingru explained, “High cholesterol and high blood pressure can increase your chances of developing heart disease, stroke or diabetes.”

Coming together to lose weight

Emily came up with a weight loss programme ‘Losing numbers’ for themselves. “I figured that if we did this together we could motivate one another.”

In the end, 10 colleagues ‘signed up’. Then she came up with a structure and simple plan:

Shared Care Support Associate Fatima Sabando Pelipel, one of Emily’s team mates, “I was very motivated. I felt heavy so I wanted to challenge myself. The first two weeks were the most difficult. My weaknesses are chocolate and coffee with sugar. I still can’t give up my coffee but I have cut it down to once a day instead of twice a day.’

Another team member, Senior Staff Nurse Yan Xingru, found it easier to lose weight as a group. “Some of us are on the same shift so we have the same break time. We would steam or bake our food and share it with one another.”

A member’s dinner compared to her husband’s

Making changes to their diet was very important - especially when most of them have a sweet tooth. They coped by getting their sweet fix from fruits instead of desserts and sodas. When I asked if they had cheat days, I got a rousing “YES!” In fact, Emily made it compulsory to have a cheat day once a week when they were able to eat anything they wanted. They were not allowed to skip meals or fast, and had to hydrate themselves adequately.
The last success factor was exercise. Everyone had to commit to exercising three times a week (an hour each time). A few had never exercised at all so they started slow, for instance, 15 minutes of brisk walking and slowly increasing the duration. One group was eventually fit enough to walk from Buangkok to Punggol.

9kg down and counting

After 3 months, Emily lost an amazing 6 kg and another 3kg over the next 2 months.

Ladies, don’t we all have that item of clothing we don’t fit into anymore, but we love too much to get rid of? Emily now fits into her favourite pair of yellow shorts!

There were other benefits besides the weight loss. After three months, Emily stopped craving for bubble tea. Other team mates realised they had adjusted to a lower level of sweetness. Fatima wasn’t feeling so tired all the time. In fact, other colleagues noticed their weight loss. There is now a second round of the programme with new ‘members’! Seven colleagues started their three-month weight loss journey on 27 September with Emily guiding them.

Need more inspiration? Check out these photos …

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