「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Lose to win

By Tan Ying Zhen


One of the chat groups in my phone really stresses me out. This group is called Lose to Win.

Inspired by a nationwide campaign to reduce obesity rates, some colleagues started a weight-loss competition. In this competition chat group, we share articles on nutrition and fitness to motivate one another. We also post pictures of our meals and exercise activities.

How does Lose to Win work? To enter the competition, each person pays 15 Singaporean dollars (yen1,200). Once every fortnight, we weigh ourselves on the office scale. For every kilogram we gain, we pay a fine of $15. The money collected goes to a common prize pool.

At the end of three months, we will have a final weigh-in. The winner is the biggest “loser,” or the person who has lost the most weight as a percentage of their first weigh-in. They will get 50 percent of the total prize money. The first runner-up gets 30 percent, and the second runner-up the remaining 20 percent.

One colleague decided to motivate herself further. She promised to put $500 (yen40,000) into the prize pool if she didn’t emerge as one of the top three winners. This sparked off considerable excitement and another colleague promptly pledged $200 (yen16,000) ― also on the condition that he wouldn’t be in the top three. A third person decided to top up his contribution too, bringing the total prize pool to $1,000 (yen81,000).

Everyone seemed buoyed by the four-figure prize money. Some contestants started having oats for breakfast, others had oats for dinner. Everyone exercised more ― from badminton to running to cycling. When new snacks appeared in the pantry, we exercised more self-restraint than usual.

I enjoyed exercising more, but cutting back on snacks and other delicious food was tough. I see food as a pleasure and I’ve never counted calories. But since leaving Japan three years ago, I’ve put on five kilograms. Although my body mass index of 19.8 is still within the healthy range, I want to reverse some of that weight gain.

This is why I feel stressed when I see how hard my fellow contestants are trying to lose weight. When they send pictures of their healthy lunches, or reminders to cut back on Chinese New Year feasting (“To work off the calories from one pineapple tart, you have to climb 50 floors!”), I feel deflated rather than encouraged.

But I’ll persevere. Stress can be a good motivator, and I will try to cultivate healthy eating habits, like everyone else is doing. I’ll be happy to win the prize money, but even if I don’t, I will still see myself as a winner for trying to live more healthily.



The Japan Times ST: February 26, 2016

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2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版