"I’ve taught my little brother and sister about healthy eating"

Phillip Kuoch was in his final year of high school when he joined Weight Watchers. His self-esteem was so bad he contemplated ending his life, but now he’s living it to the max.
Published 29 August 2016

Phillip's weight loss story

Name: Phillip Kuoch
Weight loss: 19kg
Was: 94kg
Now: 75kg
Height: 182cm
Age: 20
How long it took:10 months
How he did it: Online Coaching

Phillip Kuoch

"I’m showing my family how it’s done."

My parents didn't want us to feel hungry

My parents came to Australia as refugees from Cambodia in the 1990s. They never wanted me, my brother and sister to feel hungry, so they let me eat whenever I wanted, so I’d have three big meals after school each day. I lived on rice and deep-fried food, and never drank water or ate vegetables.

Inside I was miserable

People thought I was happy, but inside I was miserable. Kids at school would make little jokes about my weight, not realising it was hurtful. I started to self-harm and had suicidal thoughts – no child or teenager should ever feel that way.

My wake-up call

The wake-up call came when my GP told me to get on the scales. I was 131kg: morbidly obese. We have a family history of diabetes and heart issues, but my mum told me it wasn’t too late for me to make a difference so I could live a long, healthy life.

I joined a gym and lost 53kg on my own, but in Year 11 I got a job at KFC and the food combined with school stress meant I regained 16kg. I felt like I was on a path back to my heaviest. I realised if I was going to lose weight, I needed to do it right.

My teachers had done Weight Watchers

One of my primary school teachers had done Weight Watchers. I asked her about it and then decided to join Online Coaching. Being a teenage guy, I wasn’t sure I’d relate very well to the people in at Group Coaching.

I started tracking and quickly realised I needed to adjust my portions. Knowing most vegies were 0 SmartPoints value encouraged me to eat more of them.

I have taught my family healthy eating choices 

Since then, I’ve taught my little brother and sister about healthy eating – my sister has lost 20kg from what I’ve taught her. We prepare our family meals from the Weight Watchers cookbooks. Our cousin recently moved here from Cambodia and asked us how to live a healthier lifestyle, so we’ve labelled our food with what’s healthy and what’s not so healthy to help him understand and make better choices.

Now it feels normal to eat healthily. I’m always trying new foods and new workouts, too, to keep things interesting, which is important considering I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life!

Phillip’s tips to keep moving and stay motivated

1. Mix up your moves. 
I change my gym program every month so it’s always new.

2. Account for your favourites. 
Rice and bread are staples in my diet, I’ve simply learnt to control my portions.

3. Train with friends. 
My friends and I get together once a week to do something active, such as jogging around a park or hiking up a hill.

4. Slow down
I often eat with chopsticks – even if I’m not eating Asian food! – which helps me eat slower so I can process the food before I reach for more. I also use smaller spoons and smaller bowls to keep my portion sizes down.

5. Party smart. 
I’m a uni student and often go out on Friday nights. I make sure I eat something healthy before going out and I don’t go overboard on the alcohol.