Learning > Inspiration

Fit & Fab: I got a six-pack in my 50s

Beauty label CEO Patsy Ong-Hahl feels healthier now than in her 20s

Image
Joyce Teo on 11 Mar 2019

The Straits Times

Share

Facebook Email


WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO LOOKING FABULOUS?

 

Everything starts with good skin. I like to use only products that make a difference, especially as I have sensitive, eczema-prone skin. Beauty is only skin-deep, but when you have bad skin, you just, unfortunately, don't feel as good as you should.

 

Of course, I also work out and eat healthily.

 

WHY DID YOU AMP UP YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE AFTER YOU TURNED 50?

 

I have always been rather fit.

 

Keeping fit was easy when I was in my 20s and 30s. Then, I started to notice that fat was accumulating more in my mid-section, my arms were no longer as toned and I had bra bulge. I was feeling helpless as I was already running three times a week.

 

I hit an exercise plateau in 2017 and was not motivated to exercise much. It was a downward spiral as my body craved for more sugar and carbohydrates. It showed in my annual medical report as my triglycerides hit an unhealthy level - 357mg/dl - by the end of 2017 and I was at my heaviest at 44kg.

 

Things changed when I saw how my husband Tom managed to look his best in his 50s.

 

He started exercising after our summer trip to Finland and France last year and showed me how the body can be transformed within three months.

 

HOW EXACTLY DID YOU TRANSFORM YOUR BODY?

 

I engaged a trainer to help me with resistance training three times a week. It is important to get a very good trainer who understands nutrition and sports injury and is able to map out a workout plan for you. I also did pilates to strengthen my core as well as cardio training.

 

At the same time, I took proactive steps to start living healthy. Previously, I had too little sleep, high overall stress levels and the wrong diet. Did you ever felt like giving up? I had never done weights prior to this. In the first two weeks, I wanted to quit after every session.

 

I had to psych myself up and commit to it like the way I commit to my work. I told myself I can and I want to do it. It helped that my trainer knows how to pace me.

 

My husband, who is my sporting idol, goads me on. He was the world champion for 10-pin bowling in 1990 and is a respected bowler in Europe.

 

HOW HAS YOUR NEW FITNESS ROUTINE CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

 

I am the fittest I have ever been in my life. I have a lower body fat count than before and a high energy level. I weigh about the same as I did in my 20s, except that I am now healthier and stronger and have a six-pack.

 

My triglycerides level fell to a healthy 128mg/dl this year. This, to me, is the biggest reward.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE?

 

Vegetables and whole grains make up 52 per cent of my diet while protein like lean meats, fish and eggs make up 40 per cent. Healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and avocado make up the remaining 8 per cent.

 

I limit my intake of saturated fats, trans fats and sodium, and I watch out for added sugars in my food.

 

My goal is to maintain my weight and lower my risk for heart disease and other health conditions.

 

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WORK-LIFE BALANCE?

 

Everyone should be creative and prioritise exercise and a wellness routine to reduce stress levels and improve work-life balance.

 

Despite my busy schedule, I make time for myself. On weekdays, I usually exercise at 11pm. The busier I get, the more I need to exercise because it helps me focus, sleep better and clear my mind.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR BODY?

 

My favourite part is my clear, glowing skin. My least favourite part would be my upper back because I hurt it while doing kickboxing. I have to be very careful when working out so that I do not hurt it again.

 

WOULD YOU GO FOR PLASTIC SURGERY?

 

I won't say never, but I will consider other ways to enhance my appearance. There are a lot of things that make people confident and attractive that do not have to involve surgery. These include good skincare, new hairstyles or new make-up techniques, as well as building a strong, healthy body by eating well and exercising.

 

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SEXY?

 

I feel sexy because I am a confident woman who is appreciative of life and finds contentment by trying to do my best. I do not always get what I desire, but I can come to terms with it, as long as I have given it my best shot. My positive outlook and confidence makes me sexy.

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

 

The views, material and information presented by any third party are strictly the views of such third party. Without prejudice to any third party content or materials whatsoever are provided for information purposes and convenience only. Council For The Third Age shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising directly or indirectly howsoever in connection with or as a result of any person accessing or acting on any information contained in such content or materials. The presentation of such information by third parties on this Council For The Third Age website does not imply and shall not be construed as any representation, warranty, endorsement or verification by Council For The Third Age in respect of such content or materials.