It is hard to imagine that petite Melissa Yeo used to tip the scales at 90kg.

The chirpy 27-year-old shared that the weight gain began after she left Singapore for further studies in 2010. For three years, the hectic school life led her to rely on fast food and microwaveable meals; she drove everywhere and never exercised.

Within months, the clothes she used to wear in Singapore couldn’t fit anymore and she had to buy increasingly bigger ones. Ms Yeo went from 65kg to more than 90kg—and she feared looking at the weighing scales.

The excessive weight gain made her conscious of her looks and the negative changes it was doing to her body. She constantly felt lethargic and needed many hours of sleep after doing some simple chores. “It was a wake-up call. I knew that I had to do something about it.”

Related: Is My Weight Putting Me at Risk of Health Problems?

melissa yeo and her family overseas
Melissa Yeo (middle) before the LTW Program

Ms Yeo began to rethink her food options and substituted her diet of burgers and fries with healthier alternatives like grilled meat wraps and salads and managed to lose about seven kilograms over a period of time.

But when she returned to Singapore for work in December 2013, she regained some of the weight again. In April 2014, she chanced upon HPB’s One Million KG challenge booth in the mall and set her mind to embark on a new mission to shed the extra kilos and to become a fitter and healthier person. But she continued to struggle with weight loss.

In November 2015, Ms Yeo convinced her mother to join her in the LTW programme as she needed a “personal motivator.”

They participated in eight weeks of physical training sessions and six weeks of health and nutrition workshops as part of the programme. “Some physical training exercises that were taught were difficult for me as I was very weak in upper body strength. I definitely went out of my comfort zone to complete the one-hour exercises with the trainer,” she said.

“My mom and I grew closer through the LTW programme. We learnt about food nutrition, how to count calories and had fun experiencing different types of exercises from Muay Thai, Zumba to circuit fitness training. In the past, my mom would usually buy the cheapest groceries on sale but she is certainly more health-conscious now. I even see low-fat milk in our fridge now,” she said.

The journey was no easy feat but Ms Yeo’s willpower and focus—on being able to fit into her old clothes again—helped her to overcome the challenges. She controlled her diet and abstained from unhealthy food and her favourite desserts. She kept a log to track her daily calories intake and often visited HPB’s website to check on the calorie intake for local dishes. She also intensified her brisk-walking and gym sessions to at least three times a week. Her hard work and determination paid off: she lost 25kg in nine months.

Related: Eating to Lose Weight

melissa yeo with friends after she lost weight
Melissa Yeo (second from left) after the LTW Program

“Now, I can see my chin and feel my neck. These are things that people often take for granted,” the bubbly gal said.

Today, Ms Yeo proudly declares that she is a US Size 6-8 and weighs about 62kg. She limits her daily calories intake to 1,200 calories and exercises at least once a week. She has also rekindled her passion for bowling, a sport she loved since young but has stopped for six years.

When quizzed about what advice she would give someone who wants to lose weight, she said, “Don’t stop. Keep going. That’s what I tell myself. If you keep going, bit by bit, you will get there.“

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