Viewing entries tagged
hormonal fat loss singapore


Want to Lose Weight? Honor Your Hormones. Here's Why.

"Gosh, I'm so fat. I need to lose weight!"

How many of you have muttered this phrase, either to yourself or someone else?

Over my years in the fitness industry, I've heard many people, men and women alike, wishing and working hard to "lose weight". These folks go on all kinds of calorie-reducing diets, from low-carb to the South Beach Diet to Atkins to low-fat to some celebrity-endorsed gobbledygook, while excitedly signing up for various fitness memberships, in the hope of losing that weight.

I know you've likely read many an article explaining how weight loss is dependent on preserving lean muscle mass through proper training and nutrition and paying attention to overall caloric intake, as well as the type of nutrients consumed. Yes, this works brilliantly for many people, and I've been down that path before as well, with great success. HOWEVER, as soon as one's life situation changes- be it a change of job, loss of a loved one, birth of a baby, family and relationship issues, relocation, a birthday, or health problems- weight loss using this simple approach has a way of... stopping completely. 


When I began my own fitness journey using this method to get in shape, I initially saw good results and was able to repeat those results consistently, as needed. Now that I'm in my 30s, however, I have to admit that my body is responding in quite a different manner than when I was in my 20s. Who can relate to this? Hello, 30s! The old "exercise more/eat less" and "train hard/eat clean" model no longer works for me as effectively. I instead observed that I more easily gained fat, specifically in the famous women's "trouble" spots: lower tummy, love handles, abdominal, thighs, back, and arms- in that order.

This sparked my natural curiosity to search for the truth behind what was going on with my body, despite following the calorie counting model. I eventually came to realize that after all these years, I'd been looking at weight loss from a faulty lens. 

The epiphany: Our hormones play a massive role in our body shape, and losing weight is different from losing fat! The latter is actually the ultimate aim of what most of us actually want, but we tend to overlook the difference. 

To lose fat, we have to first understand the impact that hormones have, and work towards keeping the hormonal system in harmony. When we keep our hormones in balance, the fat and weight loss journey becomes a breeze. Ok, maybe not a breeze, but you catch my drift!

Losing body fat, especially for women, is tricky. We have our menstrual cycle to consider. And, for some of us, we take the life-changing 9-month path of carrying another human being in pregnancy. Our bodies are constantly changing with our hormonal cycle. 

So what exactly is fat loss- what's the difference? And what do hormones have to do with it?

Weight loss is simply losing kilos measured on the weighing scale. However, that does not necessarily indicate a change in body shape and more importantly, body fat percentage. I hate to be crude, but it's like going from a bigger marshmallow to a smaller one- the weight may have dropped a bit, but the shape and contents are still pretty much the same. 

Fat loss, on the other hand, is a reduction in total body fat percentage. Some machines are able to measure the differences in visceral fat (fat near the organs which you cannot pinch) and subcutaneous fat  (fat under the skin which you can pinch). This is a healthier approach than just focusing on weight loss. However, sometimes you may notice that despite losing fat, you feel moody, lethargic, cranky, hungry and crave sweets all the time.

Hormonal fat loss, on the other hand, takes into account finding a unique plan that works specifically for your body, with the aim of balancing your hormones first, so that when a nutrition and training program come into play, the results you're dying to have actually happen for you.

How many times have you attempted to go on a diet, only to gain back what you've lost later, as it was not sustainable to maintain for life?

That is because these traditional programs are primarily looking at calorie-counting. Calories impact hormones, and hormones affect our mood, sleep, hunger, energy and cravings- and thus may take us off the track of a diet. 

The truth is, you do not have to feel trapped into counting exact calories or chasing a number on the scale in order to lose body fat. You can lose weight and still feel healthy and vibrant and free, instead of miserable. When your energy is at its peak and you're seeing your shape change, that is a good sign that your hormones are in harmony. This is when you've found an individualized lifestyle regimen that works for you to keep fat loss sustainable, long-lasting, and manageable.

A hormonally-based fat loss approach may take a bit of trial and error at first, like a crime detective at work, but when you look at the overall big picture and the "why" behind your goals, you have a far greater chance of sticking with your commitment.  Remember, when you treat your health right, the aesthetics will follow. It just takes time! 

 In love, health and wellness,

- Yan


Yan Huang is Tangram's Hormonal Nutrition Consultant and Metabolic Personal Trainer. Read more about Yan on our About page, or book an appointment with Yan through our Contact page. Do you have a question for Yan? Leave your thoughts in the comments section or reach out to us! Did you like this article? Please share the love!



Q&A With Tangram's New Metabolic Personal Trainer & Mat Pilates Instructor, Yan Huang!

As Tangram expands, demand for our women-focused integrative fitness offerings have quickly increased over the past year, and we're happy to welcome Yuyan (Yan) Huang on board! Yan will be serving as a metabolic personal trainer and mat pilates instructor, providing tailored fitness services to women across central Singapore. Yan's answered a few questions to help you get to know her better. 

You've been involved in the fitness & wellness world for 8 years now. What changes have you seen in Singapore? What's one thing that works…. and one thing that doesn't?

Over the last 8 years in the world of fitness and wellness, I have noticed how people are definitely starting to value the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle as a way of balancing the high strung and stressful life in Singapore.  There is also a lot of conflicting information out there regarding what's healthy or not, and what's the best method to lose weight/get stronger/lose bodyfat. Many people are confused!

I've noticed a rise in injuries as a result of sudden engagement in various fitness activities that people just aren't ready for, and also how people's health changes with the current quality of their life, food and sleep. 

The one thing that works will be what works for YOU as an individual which is in line with your goals, not the goals of others! The one thing that doesn't work...  If I have to say what doesn't work, it would be sticking to one modality of training without looking at your lifestyle and physical, emotional and mental self as a whole. 

You focus on the relationship between nutrition, exercise and hormones. Why the emphasis on hormones?

I love this question! This revelation of looking at your fitness or health goals from the hormonal point of view came at a turning point in my life right after my fitness competition in 2011. Like most people, I started out thinking that to lose weight or fat, it's all just about caloric deficit and exercising more. I did that and lost the weight, but I did not gain the strength nor manage to lose the typical female "trouble spot" areas. 

I'm a person who has always wanted to get to the root of the problem and seek a solution. So, that's when I got into bodybuilding- to learn how the competitors get so lean. I did get lean for sure however, no one in Singapore talks about life after competition openly or how to maintain the lifestyle and leanness. 

That is when I found out about the impact our hormones have on the human body through Dr. Jade Teta and Jill Coleman at the Metabolic Effect. It opened my mind to how we have been misled for many years thinking that weight loss is equivalent to fat loss.

From this viewpoint, I noticed the relationship between hormones and weight when I was teaching youths- how their stressful lifestyle was causing them to weight gain around the midsection. Meanwhile, my female friends and family were talking about their fat gain around their midsection, arms, mid-back and thighs. If stress levels and hormones aren't in balance, our bodies will tell that story.

What's the biggest challenge you've overcome and how did you do so?

Learning to embrace the big failures - having to close my horology showroom in 2013. The shop was a culmination of almost 8 years of my heart and energy. Like many entrepreneurs, lots of sacrifices were put into the business. Having to make the decision to let go and close the company was a huge challenge for me.

How I overcame it: through lots of reading, meditation, and the power of mind -- realizing that no success in life comes without falling -- because it is through the bitter moments and the challenges that we grow and develop to be best version we can be. And, once you see the bigger picture and break through it, you will be so grateful that you did. 

There is always something better ahead. That's how I followed my heart and entered the health and wellness industry as a professional.

Favorite exercise - and why!

Romanian deadlift! It's a compound technical exercise that works both the physiological and neurological aspects; the bigger muscles and smaller stabilizing muscles groups and breathing are all utilized. 

It also exposes the areas where we may be weaker, such as the inner TVA unit, the muscles around the shoulder blades, the mobility and strength of our wrists and fingers, right down to our ankles and feet. 

It is very empowering and yet metabolic boosting exercise when performed well, and it's effective in developing the hamstring and glutes and works the posterior chain, which helps with posture.

Tell us about your approach to fitness.

How I look at fitness has definitely evolved from when I first started.
My approach to fitness is now targeted more from the lifestyle point of view. Aiming at long-term sustainability towards maintaining strength, grace and a healthy body fat percentage. 
By lifestyle, I mean looking at the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects, delving deep within into the why and the purpose of why people do what they do, why they eat what they eat.

You have some experience on the bodybuilding stage. What did you learn from that experience?
One major takeaway I learned is this -- the mind is a very powerful gift we all have been blessed with. Anything is possible if you truly put your heart, body, mind and soul into it. I say this because in my lifetime, I would never have thought of myself wearing a two-piece bikini and walking on stage. I was never that kind of girl so this was definitely a mental breakthrough. 

All I had in mind that day was -- I wanted to debunk the myth that weightlifting causes bulk in ladies and more importantly it is possible to get really lean through pure nutrition and training.

But I also learned that most people just want to know what works for them to get healthier, leaner, stronger and feel really good and confident about who they are. They don't necessarily want to be standing on stage.

Favorite food?
I love anything that is packed with natural wellness and colours without excess additives, salt and sugar. But an all-time favourite, surprisingly is a good ol' simple baked Portobello mushrooms with melted cheese, salmon with fresh herbs and sweet Japanese potatoes. 

If you could give one piece of advice to a client that's been on the yo-yo diet rollercoaster, what would that be? 

Ditch the "eat less, exercise more" model. It is not sustainable, and more importantly, it wrecks your entire hormonal system which makes you gain more weight and fat. It makes maintaining one's weight or losing fat a lot harder later on! 
Treat your hormones right, love your body entirely, and she will love you back in return. It will show, without a doubt.

As always, thanks for reading! To learn more about Yan's background, experience and qualifications, visit her profile here. book personal training or pilates sessions with Yan, contact us via email or call + 65 9725-0583. Have a question on hormones and fat loss for Yan? Leave it in the comments section! 


© Tangram Fitness 2013