Average Singaporean men in their 40s are in a state of denial. If we are overweight, we are overweight and there is nothing we can do about it. And as long as the doctor don’t give us bad news, we will cope with the wife’s or daughter’s nagging as best we can. Whatever will be, will be.

Top 3 rationalisations? Perhaps, as follows:-

  1. “I’m working so hard, my only vice is a good bak chor mee or boon tong kee with friends or family. What’s the meaning of life if I can’t even have a good feed during lunch and dinner??!! ”
  2. “Look trim after 35 for what? Its normal to be fat after 40.”
  3. “I do try! Atkins diet, supplements, fruit diet, exercise regimes, weight management capsules. Year after year after year. So I am just genetically inclined to be what I am. Kindly leave me alone!! ”

I found myself denying that I can recover the physical fitness of my youth and the mental fortitude I used to possess as a Guards Officer. I, like many of my peers, have accepted the fact that over the last 20–30 years, I’ve benefitted from many opportunities and I’ve also let go of many options. I’ve adjusted my passion and goals to one that is ‘realistic’ and have accepted my level of freedom and health as what it is.

CAREER — Chances are that for most of us, we have fought hard to establish our skill and vocation, business, career or profession. We hoped that by 45 or 50, we can finally reap the fruits of our labour. But somehow, when we chronologically arrive, we find that we are not quite there yet. Insecurity is still gnawing at our psyche. There are younger, more aggressive colleagues in the office; the money saved in the bank is not quite enough; the salary falls short of expectations etc. So we work harder, the hamster that will not stop running — at the expense of all else in our lives.

HEALTH — I did not weigh myself since the late 1990s. What’s the point? As each set of jeans got too tight, a new set of clothes came on. Reservist training helped to keep the waistline in check until about 35 years of age. After that, the battle with gravity is a pendulum that is best not fretted over. I didn’t make annual haj to the doctor to hear the usual, “You need to lose weight, else you will get obesity related diseases in the future.” We sometimes fatalistically kid each other — “If we have to go, at least we will go down eating.”

Net Consequences :

  1. My mind no longer believed that things could change: I accepted the reality that my weight (and anything else that I can’t change) is more or less fixed by genetics or circumstances.
  2. My mind accepted that I will be ‘growing old’: At the back of my mind, material planning for future sickness and ill health for the next 10 to 20 years took precedence over active measures to increase knowledge, understanding and experience of life here and now.

I’ve tried all the gimmicks, all the formulae, read all the books.

I will just continue on the way I am.

There was no way out… is there..?

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