Tim Chua proves you can reverse chronic disease and get healthy even while eating Panda Express daily.
Sheryl: Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Tim Chua, who recently completed the VLCD program at Enara Health. Tim lost 35 pounds in 3 months, and incredibly, 34 out of the 35 pound weight loss was fat! He went from a 34% body fat composition to 22%! So before I ask the question that everyone wants to know, Tim, tell me, what motivated you to do this program?
Tim: My weight had been slowly creeping up over the last couple of years, and I was not feeling as well as I used to feel. I decided it was time to get healthy. I actually started to diet on my own and had lost a few pounds when I met Dr. Bailony at Enara Health. Dr. Bailony explained the Enara program to me, and it didn’t take me long to decide. I did my own research and this program seemed like a good fit. I think I met him on a Thursday, and on the following Monday, I started the VLCD.
Sheryl: I understand that the Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) program is a rapid weight loss program where you eat just 800 calories a day. Wasn’t that hard to do?
Tim: It was hard for the first two weeks. At times I felt tired and a little worn down, as my body adjusted to the diet. But I started feeling like myself again, and then I felt really good. I had lots of energy.
Sheryl: So is it true that you ate at Panda Express every day?
Tim: My work involves a lot of travel within the Bay Area, and it was easy to find Panda Express restaurants at the locations that I needed to visit. There are 3 entrees plus the side of veggies that you can choose from on this diet, so I rotated among them every day. This made it easy to follow the plan for lunch.
I ate breakfast at home and also prepared and ate my dinners there. I really enjoy grilling, so every evening I grilled chicken and assorted veggies for dinner.
Sheryl: What was your diet like before starting the VLCD?
Tim: I love rice, and ate lots of high carb dishes. One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was saying no to my parents, who would always prepare my favorite high calorie, high carbohydrate Asian dishes when I came to visit. It took a bit of time for them to understand how serious I was about my diet and I think I hurt their feelings initially when I refused to eat the food they prepared. But they understand now, and fully support me.
Sheryl: And what did you do for exercise?
Tim: Every 3 days I would do a 3-4 mile run. I also worked out with weights at the gym for 15-30 minutes every other day.
Sheryl: So now for the burning question. Just how did you do it, Tim? I did some research and found various studies reporting people on average losing 9% to 42% muscle when they lose weight. You lost just .3% muscle. What did you do to achieve this incredible result?
Tim: I think it was because I was very consistent in following the VLCD diet. In addition to using the Enara app, I also tracked my calories on MyFitnessPal to make sure I stayed within the 800 calorie goal. And the support from Dr. Bailony was great – I had “double accountability” since he viewed the pictures of everything I ate.
I was also very consistent with my exercise. I would weigh myself every day, and when my weight loss stalled, I increased the exercise. I would make sure my runs were at least 4 miles, and I added additional exercise to my daily routine. For instance, I parked the car farther and farther away from building entrances to add more walking to my day. I also tracked my walking and made sure I got in 10,000 steps.
Sheryl: So how have things changed since your weight loss?
Tim: I definitely feel much better, and my health has improved. I remember it used to take me weeks to get over a cold, and now, I am better in just 2-3 days. I have more stamina, and my runs are now longer and farther.
I think I used to be addicted to the wrong types of food and that has gone away. I now understand what healthy foods and portions are for my metabolism (so I don’t overeat), and I actually prefer vegetables!
My confidence and self-esteem are much higher too. I no longer dress in baggy clothes, and my skinny clothes are now getting too big for me. Recently my co-workers decided to organize a get-healthy/weight loss challenge, and they announced that it wouldn’t be fair for me to join; I was an expert and already in shape – and that really made me feel good!
Sheryl: Congratulations, Tim, on your tremendous success! And thank you for sharing your story with us. If readers are interested in learning more about the program that Tim followed, please see the Enara Health website at www.enarahealth.com.