The Easy Road to Weight Loss?


This advertisement was on the front page of the Straits Times today and it raised alarm bells in my head:

Eating Broccoli = Starving?

The ad positions a gleaming fork piercing a broccoli floret and reads “Why starve yourself just to lose inches?”. It sends the subliminal message that eating vegetables is starving yourself.

Vegetable Powerhouse

Vegetables and fruits are an essential component of any weight loss program. Broccoli, in particular, is a powerhouse of Vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants like sulforaphane. It is believed to guard against coronary heart disease, cancer, and peptic ulcer disease, to name a few!

Taking fruits and vegetables with your meals help you feel full faster, and the fibre absorbs the oil in the other foods, thus making less calories available to your body.

In fact, some of the first few questions I ask my patients who see me for weight loss are:”Do you eat fruits and vegetables? How often and how much? And which fruits/ vegetables?”

52kg = Fat?

The celebrity featured is 1.6m tall. A 52kg weight will give her a BMI of 20.3 – well within the healthy range. In the “before” picture she has no make up, slouches, and tries her utmost to blow up her paunch.

The “after” picture, after she has “lost 4kg and 17.75 inches”features her with an unearthly glow, all dolled up and looking ready to snatch the next Star awards from Joanne Peh.

And losing a total of 17.75”?? The ad tries to blind sight us with cumulative weight loss (arms, thighs, tummy and brain, if you ask me). If she has lost that girth from her tummy, a baby or a tumor had better come out!

Image is King

With these graphic displays, the point is made very clear: it is unacceptable to be normal weight these days. In order to look good, you must be in the near underweight range, and have no excess fat on you. Otherwise, you are just fat and ugly.

The number of teenage girls suffering from the debilitating condition- Anorexia Nervosa is increasing daily – such rampant messages are the reason.

See results instantaneously?

Weight and fat loss is a gradual process. Any instantaneous results are invariably the result of mere water loss. Gulp down your next 1.5L of Evian and it all comes back! Don’t get away with the idea that all the celebrity did was lie down, close her eyes and get her fats zapped to smithereens in 1 session. She had definitely put in hard work herself.

Weight loss can be Effortless?

“Take the effortless route to a slim silhouette this festive season.”

There is no easy way out. Despite what the media and beauty centres may tell you, losing weight boils down to 2 very simple concepts:

Exercise and Diet Modification.

All other treatments and medications are to complement these 2 basic tenets. The trick is to incorporate exercise and healthy eating into your basic lifestyle. Only after that will maintaining your desired weight will truly be, “effortless”.

Last tip: Remember to take it easy on the booze this festive season! And I leave you with this nifty table:

Best/Premium Beer (Pint) 187 kcal
Gin & Tonic (Single Shot) 120 kcal
Vodka & Coke (Single Shot) 120 kcal
White Wine (Dry 175ml Glass) 116 kcal


  1. dr.siew,<BR/><BR/>thanks for bringing to light the unethical advertisements of slimming centers and the asian skewed perception of being "fat". <BR/><BR/>52kg is definitely not fat! that’s my target weight! and i’m only 1.55m tall. 5cm shorter than the lady featured in the ad!<BR/><BR/>to lose weight you have to have a balance diet, exercise, an attainable goal and the support of family-friends.