How to lose weight in Singapore – The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide

Losing weight in Singapore can be REALLY challenging.  We all love our Singapore hawker food like hokkien mee, chicken rice, mee goreng and prata (with plenty of curry of course).

No wonder many of us fail in our quest to lose weight and get lean.

So how do you lose weight and body fat effectively without starving yourself of your favorite food or running endlessly on the threadmill?

One of my client who lost 25kg and got her confidence, fitness and health back

Just in case you’re new here, my name is Benson Poh, I am a professional personal trainer for 12 years, and just like you – love my Singapore hawker food and have worked with countless others like you, to successfully lose weight, get fitter and healthier.

Here are 5 simple tips
that can help you achieve your weight and fat loss goal.

For brevity’s sake, I will not go into the numerical details. If you want to know the numbers, drop me an email at

1. Calorie Deficit

The only way to lose weight and body fat is to create a net caloric deficit. Or to put in simply,

Calorie in < Calorie out

– eating less calories than your body needs.

It doesn’t matter if your diet is low-carb, low-fat, vegan, carnism, Intermittent fasting or eating 6 meals a day – Calorie deficit is the ultimate determinant of fat loss.

  You can be on Low-carb and lose fat

Ketogenic diet, a weight loss of 58lbs, or roughly 26kg

You can be on High-carb and lose fat

106 participants in a 1930s study lost an average of 140lbs, or roughly 67kg
from eating only white rice, fruit and sugar

So what gives? – Calories matter, a lot.

Now, eating less than your body needs to lose weight is easy.

What really matters is to create a sustainable caloric deficit that works for you so that you can lose weight, and keep it off

  • If you like carbs like rice or noodles, then lower your calories by reducing or eliminating fried food, reduce dressing and aim for less fatty cuts of meat.
  • If you tend to like fried food, then do the opposite: limit food high in carbs such as rice, noodles and simple sugars.
  • If you love high-calorie ‘sinful’ food that is a combination of carbs and fats such as potato chips, ice cream, cakes, then reducing portion sizes may help

After working with different personal training clients in real life and online, I have discovered that best plan is something that works for each individual lifestyle as everyone is unique.

The trick is to lose weight by creating a significant calorie deficit (if you want to lose weight or body fat fast) or creating a small deficit over time (longer but more sustainable) by practically reducing your intake of less satisfying food, so that you can achieve and maintain results.

Remember, it is not how fast you get there but how long you can stay there.

2. Eat more protein

Ask any of my personal training clients, they will tell you that I always nag ask them to eat more protein like a mom asking their kids to eat broccoli. Why do you need to eat more protein to lose weight? Here are 3 reasons why:
  1. When you eat more protein, you tend to feel fuller longer. Protein releases the satiety (“feel full”) hormone which makes you eat less at each meal and keeps you full longer so you eat less throughout the day.
  1. Protein makes your body work harder to digest it. Unlike carbs and fats, our body burns more calories digesting protein – up to 25% of the calories ingested to break down protein.
  1. Protein also helps you retain lean mass while you’re losing fat. When we are in a calorie deficit Our bodies try to convert everything it can into fuel: fat, muscle, tissue. Since muscle is a metabolically active tissue, maintaining your lean muscle mass helps you maintain a higher metabolism

3. Plan ahead, be flexible and adjust

This is perhaps the MOST important practice to achieve sustainable weight loss in Singapore.

Knowing the best eating strategy is useless when life events throw it out the window – be that social events, parties or god-forbid: irresistibly good food.

The key to sustainable weight loss is not to avoid food, but to plan around it.

  • Have a social event? 
    Reduce the calories you eat prior to the event, so you have more room to indulge during the event.
  • Eating at a restaurant?
    Choose food that contain more vegetables or protein.
  • Overate on an occasion?
    Don’t beat yourself up and don’t go for a run, just eat lesser for the next couple of meals.

We all have a life outside of eating lesser and losing weight. The key to sustainable weight and fat loss is to enjoy or at least, not hate the process.

4. Resistance Training and Exercise

When we are losing weight, our body adapts by reducing our metabolic rate, making it harder to lose more weight.

Strength training can help us maintain our lean muscle tissue and our metabolism. After all, what you want is to get in shape and look fitter, which means lean muscle and low body fat. It is a common misconception among personal training clients that they want to lose weight, but in fact what they really want is to look fitter, which means losing fat and increasing lean muscle.

Even though increasing muscle mass will not cause a massive increase in metabolism (10-13kcal/kg of muscle mass), a mere 5kg increase will help you burn an extra 50kcal a day, which can result in 2.4kg fat loss a year and over 12kg fat loss in 5 years, all by increasing your resting calorie expenditure, that doesn’t even include additional calories used for exercising and daily physical activity.

Another great advantage of resistance training that utilizes compound movements (exercises that involve multiple muscle groups) is that they contribute to higher calorie burn both during and after exercise.

Do you need cardio for weight loss? No, you do not. Remember the most important ingredient of weight loss is calorie deficit.  If you can achieve calorie deficit through eating well, cardio is not necessary.

BUT if you like cardio or if you cannot create a deficit through nutrition, then yes, you can incorporate some cardio as a form of exercise

5. Daily activity level

This is an often-neglected aspect of weight and fat loss that sometimes, can be more important than exercise (not including resistance training).


  • You burn 400calories in a workout (which is a lot) and you work out twice a week – you will burn a total of 800calories in a week
  • If you move around for an hour more every day, you may burn about 150-200calories a day – which equates to more than 1000calories in a week

So simply being more active in your daily life – walking short distances instead of taking public transport, getting up to refill your water glass once every hour etc. – can help you burn more calories overall and contribute to weight loss.


  1. Create a calorie deficit through your diet by reducing / eliminating less-loved, calorie-dense food – be that high-carb or high-fat
  2. Eat more protein to help you “burn more calories”, keep you fuller and retain lean muscle
  3. Plan ahead and adjust your calorie intake around life events and good food
  4. Do resistance training to maintain muscle mass and metabolism
  5. Move around more every day to expand more energy.

Additional tip – Do something that works for you and have fun doing it.

So what if you ate a bit more, went on a vacation or missed one workout?
Choose something that works for you and enjoy the process. 
The ultimate key to sustainable weight loss is when you can lose weight while enjoying what life has to offer, including hokkien mee.

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