The fear of missing out was what prompted Carmen Lim to finally make a change in her life. “I knew that if I didn’t feel good about my body, I was limiting myself as to how far I could go in life, and I didn’t want that,” she recalls. The 24-year-old wasn’t exactly overweight before starting her weight-loss journey, but like most women in their early 20s, she felt self-conscious about her physique.
Her yearning to become a better version of herself was what fuelled her. “I want to be successful enough to take care of the people that I love and to do the things that I desire,” she says. “I was aware that I needed high levels of energy and confidence to achieve this. If I didn’t take care of my body, I knew that I would not have the capacity to reach my destination.”
It took Lim three years to get to where she is now and, as expected, it was no walk in the park, as she recalls. “Impatience was a big obstacle. I wanted fast results so I did a lot of yo-yo dieting and excessive training. I’d always hit a plateau and regain the weight that I had lost,” she says. “Now, when I look back, I feel sorry for my body. Impatience came from a lack of enjoyment in the process, because I just wanted to get it over and done with, and that was the wrong approach.
“I’ve learnt that the only way to achieve and maintain your fitness results boils down to learning how to enjoy exercising and eating smart. To achieve greatness, you must love what you do.”
Lim keeps her routine simple by doing a lot of cardio training. “Everyone thinks fitness and health require a lot of effort, discipline, pain, suffering and willpower, but I see fitness as pleasure. It is my mindset that’s different,” she says.
So, what lifestyle changes has she implemented since embarking on her journey? “I drink three to four litres of water a day and I eat about three to four handfuls of protein a day. I take some omega-3 either from food or fish oil too, as well as three to four cups of greens. Then I might eat a small treat so I know it won’t trigger me to want to eat more,” she replies.
Exercise-wise, Lim does three days of strength training and fills the rest of her week with cardio training, stretching and meditating. She reads fitness and health studies to gain a better understanding of what she wants out of her fitness routine and keeps a health journal to ensure her progress stays on track.
Lim has a newfound excitement for life, saying that she “feels healthy, happy and relaxed.” She has definitely proven what she is capable of, as she is now a certified holistic personal trainer, advising people who are also hoping to achieve what she has.
So, what is the one piece of advice that she gives to all her students? “Don’t rely on motivation alone as it can ebb and flow. Jot down what you need to do in your calendar, or even better, set an alarm to remind yourself. Keep doing that until you find your momentum, then things will become habits that are as effortless as brushing your teeth every morning.”