I’ve never really been overweight. In fact, I’ve always been in decent shape; I ran a marathon last year. But the last year I really fell out of my good habits, eating a lot of crap and having a fair bit to drink—probably a couple of drinks a day. As the pandemic lifted, I found it more difficult to stay disciplined, especially with my diet. I was exercising, but just didn’t see results. It felt like a rut, and with turning 40 I figured I’d needed some outside help to get back on track. My friends told me about the success they’d had with Ultimate Performance Singapore. So I tried the three-month program, basically treating it like rehab. I don’t mean to sound like I was an alcoholic—I wasn’t. But I’m a very social person, and a very social eater and drinker. Usually, I’d meet my friends out for dinner three or four times a week. Then I’d have a few drinks. So three or four times a week, I’d have five courses, dessert, and a few glasses of wine. Sometimes work was stressful, or just dull, so I’d have a couple of beers with my friends. More From Men’s Health play iconThe triangle icon that indicates to playThat’s what I mean about treating it like rehab for three months. I stopped arranging all of my social time around eating and drinking. My friends asked me to come out and often I’d be pretty tired from working out, anyway, so I’d say no. I feel like a totally different person now. Here’s what really helped me change: Zero-calorie drinks (my secret weapon). I know, there’s a real mental block to ordering a zero-calorie drink when you’re out with your buddies. But I knew it was important to get over that if I wanted to see results. So I just did it, and now I’m not going to feel embarrassed—in my own head—about ordering whatever I want. I adapted because I made a choice about what’s important to me. A new relationship with food. Similarly, with my diet, I committed to a pretty big change. I love to cook and bake. Before my transformation, I’d make a fresh batch of cookies just to eat throughout the day. I’d have a salad but smother it with high-calorie dressing. I’d eat fatty meat and sugary foods. I had a real need to please myself with food and make myself happy by eating as much as I could. So when I changed my diet, I had a lot of cravings. I’d have a healthy meal and feel full, but then want a bag of chips. I had to recognize that was an addiction, an addiction that needed healing, and that time was going to fix it. Of course, food should be more than just sustenance; it should be about pleasure, too. It took me some time to find a different kind of pleasure in food. But I got there, and soon my daily diet was a couple of eggs in the morning, followed by a protein shake and a big salad. I’d have a couple of nuts here and there, with some protein at the end of the day. Plus, I’d have lots of fruits and lots of vegetables.Putting form over pounds lifted.Training also meant tossing away some bad habits. In my first session with my trainer, I racked up a whole bunch of weight for a bench press. Then he corrected my form, and I could lift about 20 percent of what I’d started with. That really opened my eyes, and I started learning. I worked out three times a week, often in hotel gyms while I was traveling. Pull-ups are probably my favorite; I’m now doing weighted pull-ups, and probably spend the first 20 minutes of every workout on them. My transformation was four months, but work travel had me away for six weeks. So really I was in the gym three days a week for about eight weeks. I started at 22 percent body fat and I got down to 8 percent. My weight started at 154 pounds (70 kg) and it came down to 127 pounds (57.5 kg).How I Feel NowI’m so relieved that at my age I could get as fit as I have. I have a lot more confidence, but more surprisingly, I feel more at peace. I’m not drinking anymore, I’m not overeating anymore. I have a good level of energy throughout the day, but also my emotions are a lot more balanced, whereas there would be a time when we had a lot of ups and downs. It’s a lot more stable now. So, I think in general, I just feel more wholesome. I feel like I’ve changed my mind as much as my body. And all it took was recognizing that I needed help. That’s a big takeaway for me: Having an expert by your side helps you see so much that you’d otherwise miss. Someone who can help you find your path to learn, adapt, and grow—that’s what got me here.