Catch Chef Zam as he shares his complete 14-year weight loss journey.
ZAMZANI Abdul Wahab, better known as Chef Zam by his 140,000 Instagram fans, made a life-changing decision in 2007 to undergo bariatric surgery.
At his heaviest, he weighed 136kg.
Now 57kg lighter and looking fitter than ever, he is on a mission to show the world what can be achieved with focus and determination.
In this interview, Chef Zam shared his journey, the social impact of being overweight and the lifestyle changes he has made to take control of his health.
What drove you to turn your life around?
I was too fat for way too long. Growing up, I was constantly bullied and ridiculed for being chubby by my neighbours, fellow students and even teachers.
I suffered from very low self-esteem and would rather stay at home with my mum and my late grandmother than go out and socialise.
The turning point came when I was studying in the UK and realised I weighed in at a hefty 136kg. I knew something had to be done.
How has your life changed?
Looking back, I realised I wasn't eating because I was hungry but to fill a void.
I ate what I wanted and justified that by saying: “I’m big anyway, what does it matter?”
Nowadays, I promote healthy cuisine, so I must walk the talk as people believe in me and what I represent. I feel good and have a renewed level of confidence. I even rediscovered my self-esteem!
How did you maintain your current weight in the past 14 years?
By balancing my diet and making lifestyle changes. I am a foodie and am always surrounded by food, but I have become more mindful of what I eat.
I think it’s only natural to want to maintain my weight now after ridding so much fat.
Plus working out in the gym and playing badminton have become important lifestyle additions by getting me active.
What is the biggest challenge for people wanting to lose weight?
Discipline. Enjoying a healthy nutritious diet needs to be part of your lifestyle. The key is self-discipline and food portion control.
By following the Ministry of Health’s recommended daily plate concept Suku Suku Separuh (Quarter Quarter Half), you can manage food portions and determine if a meal is healthy.
Planning meals in advance makes it much easier to stick to a diet and be consistent.
That is why Optifast has been my trusted partner – each nutritious shake contains 201 calories and 20g of protein to satisfy hunger and is easily woven into a dietary programme.
Has your new lifestyle improved your health and wellbeing?
Just by eating well, I have been able to reverse my past health conditions. I successfully lowered my high blood pressure, cholesterol and my risk of Type 2 diabetes by losing the excess weight.
In the past, I would feel tired, lethargic and my feet would ache by the end of my culinary classes. Now I am like: “Hey, what’s next?”
How can Optifast support overweight Malaysians lose weight?
As part of the Nestlè Health Science very low-calorie diet (VLCD) programme, Optifast has been a big help. It even has a healthcare professional support team you can talk to that can help you choose a weight loss plan that matches your lifestyle and goals.
What advice would you give to someone who is overweight?
I know how it feels; you’ll feel frustrated and ashamed that nothing has worked in the past. However, remember that real change requires real goals. You only live once, so make it the best.