Like most people, project manager Florence Wan Wai Ching only exercised when she was in school. Once she entered the workforce, she was left with little time to work on her body and the pounds accumulated. The turning point was when she almost lost her diabetic father to high fever. Today, the 42-year-old KL-ite glows pink with health.
Tell us about yourself: “The only time I’ve been active in my life was during my childhood and teenage years when I took ballet lessons up to three times a week. I stopped at the age of 16 to focus on studies. My lifestyle had been pretty sedentary otherwise, with maybe an occasional hike or swim during holidays, twice a year. As an adult, I worked long hours at the computer or at meetings, sometimes lasting late into the night. A few years back, I made several attempts to increase my movement by going on weekly walks or hikes. I tried controlling my diet by minimising carbs. I successfully lost weight but I gained it all back a year later. In 2014, I signed up at a gym and took part in 10km and 21km road races. When my trainer left, I was struggling for a reason to go back because I just hated doing cardio group classes at the gym. Things went downhill from there. I was at the lowest point in 2013 as I was terribly unhappy with my career and felt unsure of which direction to take. I was also the heaviest in 2016 at 81kg.”
What was your turning point?: “I was climbing a flight of stairs at work in 2016. I couldn’t keep up and was panting really hard. I asked myself, how did I go from running a half marathon to that? Just before that, my father was hospitalised and warded in the ICU for a severe fever. We almost lost him, but thankfully he pulled through and is well today. I thought to myself, this is not how I want to live the rest of my days, worrying about my health and wondering how to care for my parents. One of my closest friends had passed away from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord) as well and was known to love running. I decided I should do the best of my ability to shape up and care for myself and loved ones better. So I had to make the changes.”