How CPT (NS) Melvin Tan beat diabetesDiabetes is incurable but Captain (CPT) (NS) Melvin Tan managed to "reverse" his condition.
// Story Koh Eng Beng
// Photos Kenneth Lin
Diagnosed with the condition when he was only 31 years old, CPT (NS) Tan knew he had a higher probability of dying much earlier than his peers. The disease can lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
But through a strict yet sustainable exercise and diet regime, he managed to put his condition in remission.
Today, the 40-year-old fund manager no longer needs insulin jabs or medication. Watch how he "reversed" his diabetes:
Forming healthy habits
For him, the key to beating diabetes is about adopting good habits and making them stick.
"There are various diet and exercise regimes out there. But they won't work if you don't make it a habit to exercise and eat healthy," said CPT (NS) Tan, a deputy operations officer in the Armour formation.
He added: "When I first started exercising, it felt really horrible and I dreaded doing it. To motivate myself, I rewarded myself with a serving of dark chocolate (which contains no sugar), or a glass of red wine, each time I completed the exercise."
Total body workout
Pull up (with 20 kg load)
8 sets of 5 reps
Push up (with 10 kg load)
8 sets of 20 reps
Archer squat (squats with one leg extended)
8 sets of 12 reps
L-sit (resting your body weight on your hands with legs held horizontally at a right-angle to your torso)
3 sets of 30 seconds
Bridge (lying on your back with arms by your side, then lifting your hips)
3 sets of 30 reps
"I started off doing just three sets of 10 push-ups or three pull-ups without any added weights. It's important to start slow, because if you can achieve it, you will be more motivated to continue exercising. It's all about forming sustainable habits."
CPT (NS) Tan keeps to a healthy but sustainable diet that allows him to indulge in (the very) occasional treats.
Simple diet rules
"I keep to a simple rule: avoid simple carbohydrates and sugar. This means no noodles or rice, and no drinks with sugar.
"But it's important to keep your diet sustainable. To satisfy my food cravings, I allow myself to have two tablespoons of nasi lemak or fried bee hoon each week. I also have an annual ‘carbo budget' of one or two seeds of durian. For mango, I allow myself to lick one seed once a year!"