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As I See It

know who you are¨ "

Radio personality Denise Tan has a weak spot for fries and beer but has shed more than 12 kilograms. Allswell finds out her secret. By Fairoza Mansor




well as their preparation methods. Breakfast was usually coffee or tea, with no sugar and just a splash of milk, accompanied by a breadstick and fruit such as an apple, orange, grapefruit or some berries. Her lunch, a tea-time snack at about 4pm and dinner were all home-cooked — each meal being a small portion of fish, chicken or beef with light seasonings such as ginger and garlic and pan-fried without oil. A generous portion of vegetables was, of course, mandatory. Basically, the meal plan advocates a simple diet that encourages regular but small proportioned meals, omitting processed food, sugar and carbohydrates. Denise’s domestic helper prepared and

catch her if you can

Tune in to Denise every Monday to Friday on GOLD 90.5fm’s Lunchtime Jukebox from 10am to 2pm. Also catch her live on-stage this October in Dream Academy’s production ‘Broadway Beng: Benging You Back To Basics’ and at year-end when she belts it out in the musical Crazy Christmas.

Photo: Wilson Pang

o thanks to a packed schedule that sometimes meant she was on the go for 12 hours a day, deejay and actress Denise Tan used to think nothing of making meals of out of convenience and junk food. “I was eating chips, curry puffs or whatever it was I could get my hands on at the petrol station, all the time. If not, I’d only eat at 10pm after I was done for the day. By then I’d be ravenous and I’d eat even more junk!” says the 38-yearold. At a petite 1.54m, as recently as two years ago she was the heaviest she had ever been, at 68 kgs. But although her work schedule is still just as packed these days, Denise is much slimmer at 54kg. She lost the excess weight gradually, thanks to a detailed meal plan she got into in September 2011. Recommended to her by actress Jacelyn Tay — the founder of health and beauty salon Body Inc, a then-sponsor of the Lunchtime Jukebox segment that Denise hosts on radio — the plan lists suggested food items for every meal as

packed these four meals for her every morning for her to take to work. “It was really convenient for me at that time having all my meals packed in advance because I was also rehearsing for a theatre production that was about to open. It was effortless,” says Denise who — now at a healthy BMI of 22.8 — no longer adheres to the meal plan as closely as she used to, but still tries to eat healthily. “I think that was the trick for me — to not purposefully target to achieve a weight goal by a certain date. I didn’t even notice the weight coming off until friends and family pointed it out. That motivated me even more!” Denise stuck to the programme and in four months, by December 2011, she had lost 8kg — and yet more since. Being active helps too. When possible, the outdoorsy Denise loves hiking and counts MacRitchie Reservoir Park and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve among her go-to “natural fitness studios”. Though not fond of indoor exercises, she works out at the gym after she occasionally “cheats” and indulges in her guilty pleasures — beer, fries and instant noodles. “Know who you are, what works for you and what doesn’t,” advises Denise to those who are looking to lose those stubborn extra kilos. “I for instance need to trick myself all the time into doing stuff — such as exploring new nature trails and even picking up a new dance style — without actually being aware the activities are helping me to burn calories.”


I didn’t even notice the weight coming off until friends and family pointed it out. That motivated me even more!

Know Who You Are  
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