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Losing 20kg in a year and other success tips

In February 2015, I weighed 98kg. If you were to look at my picture then, you would see an overhanging midriff, and a round chubby face. Worse still, my blood pressure was 159/109 (that's high for those of you who didn't know), my cholesterol levels were also bad, and the uric acid accumulation in my body was high (and that accounts for gout). All in all, I was a poor reflection of a physical specimen then.

Today, one year later, I am 76.4kg with no hint of a bulging stomach, I have lost 6 inches off my waistline (38-in pants to 32-in pants) and more importantly, my doctor gave me a clean bill of health, saying that I am now normal. I have even been able to get into my wedding tuxedo - tailored 25 years ago - and I feel 10 years younger! Although my BMI is below 25 (which in the Western standard is normal), they say for Asians, it should be below 22. That would be a stretch, since at 1.78m tall, I should only be 69.7kg. I have not been that weight since secondary school, and wonder if it is possible now. I will therefore strive to maintain a weight of 75kg, and I have 1.4 kg to go.

You can tell that I am proud of my achievements. But this is not a "boast post"; I want to outline how I did it, to show that it is not difficult to achieve, but more importantly, I also want to extend it to success in other areas. After all, the process of being successful in weight loss is also the same for other endeavours. So, if you are keen to be successful in studies, in business, in relationships, in your job, then this article is a must-read for you!

(1) It starts with the end in mind

I know it is a Covey Cliche, but it is a fundamental ingredient for success. You got to know where you are headed, so you need to start with that. You must be able to paint the picture of what success looks like to you, and understand how that success leads to the overall scheme of things for you. For me, it was really doctor's orders. He told me that in order to improve my health, I had to lose weight. He challenged me to get to 80kg. According to him - and to medical science, actually - when you carry around less weight, the heart does not need to work too hard, and the pressure to the system drops. This reduces the risks of stroke and heart attack. So that was really why I started on the weight loss - so that I could be healthy. So that I don't drop dead all of a sudden. I suppose that is as good an end as any that I could conjure.

Likewise for you, if you want to be successful, you need to paint that picture of success for yourself. If you are looking to be successful in your studies, does that mean a GPA of 3.98? Or does that mean a PhD?

And if you want to be successful in business does that mean a constant annual revenue? Or the number of large accounts? Or both?

And in relationships, success could mean marriage, companionship, children or the like.

Of course, to each his own; hence your picture of success will be different from someone else's. And what constitutes success for you does not mean it is the same for someone else. So, your first step really is to conjure up what is success to you. Be vivid, be encouraging.

(2) Stretch yourself

And that brings me to my second point - stretch yourself. When you are 98kg, moving to 80 is a huge stretch! One cannot even fathom what it looks like! One might be tempted to play it safe and split the difference, trying to hit 89kg instead. Don't be too timid with your goal. If anything is worth doing, it is worth stretching for! Some people caution over-stretching, against demoralising yourself even before the work is started, and it is abandoned. That is defeatist talk. If you think that you might abandon your goal before the task has begun, then the goal was not compelling enough.

Mine was a real compelling goal - to not drop dead and leave my beautiful wife and five children stranded.

Once you have that, you stretch it. I did start by thinking of 89kg, but I then thought that it was not big enough, so I stretched my goal to 85kg, although I had secretly hoped to hit 82kg.

One should not be afraid of being stretched, only of not stretching enough, of giving up just at the point of being successful!

(3) Know your metrics

82kg, BP of 120/80, LDL less than 100, HDL greater than 70, triglycerides less than 150 mg. These were some of the metrics I was monitoring to ensure that I stayed healthy. The truth of the matter is, whatever gets measured, gets done. If you only say you want to lose weight without knowing what your current weight is, and what you want to lose to, and then continuously monitor that, you will not lose it.