YY Low is a Founding Partner of Hadara Aesthetics Boutique. A proud mother of 2, she is also a Health Psychologist, Principal Wellness Coach & Nutrition Consultant. Looking at how radiant she looks now, it’s hard to imagine she used to have weight issues. She shares with us her journey and tips!
You used to be overweight, tell us what that was like? What inspired you to start making changes to your weight? What was that journey like?
I believe that beauty is definitely more than skin-deep and I aspire for Hadara to be a place that not only provides quality beauty, slimming and wellness services but inspire people to see the inner beauty and potential in themselves.
I battled with weight issues for many years of my life. As an overweight teenage girl, I had self-esteem and body image issues but had a secret desire to look like a model. In wanting to lose weight, I started all kinds of extreme exercises: high impact aerobics, ran 10 kilometres a day and also swam vigorously. I also resorted to slimming pills, which did not work. I did not realize at the time that I was suffering from exercise bulimia where instead of vomiting out the food, I was exercising compulsively. It never occurred to me that I was suffering from poor body image.
Finally through these extreme means I managed to lose weight and joined a modelling agency in my early 20s. In the modelling industry however although I was tall, I was considered “too big” for the industry, and the people in my agency likened me to being “big and tall like a dinosaur”. I was told that in order to get modelling jobs I had to lose more weight. Even though I progressed to become an international model, there are times when I felt so deprived that I would start binge eating.
Hence my decision to become a Health Psychologist was sparked by my own weight and self-esteem struggles.
Prior to childbirth, I worked as a psychologist counselling overweight kids in the Health Promotion Board. After the birth of 2 kids, I was overweight with 10kg of excess weight. I was wearing slacks and t-shirt all the time because I did not feel good about myself. I was falling sick and unhealthy. I did my research and put myself through a detox and find a way to change my lifestyle and mind-set that enabled myself to lose weight and also maintain it. Having gone through weight and self-image issues first hand, it is my desire to help others who have similar struggles.
What would you tell people who are struggling with their weight now?
I have a programme to help those who come to me. I feel the most important factor is motivation. I have to know the motivation for losing weight, and have a detailed analysis on their current lifestyle and habits. The solutions are customized according to the diagnosis of the problem. I target at lifestyle change, not deprivation.
I have counselled many children and parents in my experience, and currently continue to counsel adults with weight issues. My passion is in this area, so I also counselled youths and mothers with emotional, self-image and esteem issues even though I was a stay-at-home mother, on a personal basis. Many a times, people with weight problems are more than just a weight problem. There are many emotional, environmental, esteem, and body image issues involved. Some of the most common concerns are emotional and stress eating.
How was it like starting Hadara? What was the most rewarding part of owning a business like Hadara?
I think Hadara is birth out of my life story. As one of the founders, I helm the body treatment, weight management, nutritional consultations and stress management in relation to weight issues. Currently I am also certified to do the Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD) for detoxification and relaxation. In the long term, MLD can boost the immune system if done at regular and consistent intervals.
I graduated with Honours in Psychology with National University of Singapore. In my second year, I was the top 20% of my cohort in psychology so NUS offered me to do a single major. Subsequently, being the top 10% in my third year, I went on to do the honours program. Subsequently, I went to London and complete a Masters in Health Psychology in year 2002 and was awarded a Distinction. After which I worked in London for a couple of years before coming back to Singapore to work in Health Promotion Board.
I have always been passionate about things related to health and did a thesis on cancer patients. There are many things that are rewarding in starting Hadara. One of it is I can use my training and life experiences to come up with a unique weight management program in Hadara to help others.
What are your plans for Hadara in the next 5 years?
I have plans to grow Hadara, but most importantly to have good guiding principles and integrity in a business. I want Hadara to represent quality service and products, that will make a difference to people’s lives.