An actress-entrepreneur, Cheryl Wee is a multitalented individual who has done it all, from beauty pageants, singing to founding her own wellness and weight management brand. As an advocate of body positivity and her experience battling with body image issues, she founded the Cheryl W with the mission to help others in their weight loss journey. So, how does she juggles between her work and motherhood? Beauty Insider chats with Cheryl Wee on the inspirations behind Cheryl W, tips to maintain her physical fitness, and managing her business empire.
- What inspired you to create Cheryl W?
- How has the pandemic changed your business empire and daily routine?
- How do you juggle managing your business and mummy duties?
- How do you maintain your physical fitness?
- You’ve been an advocate on body image issues, what does self-love mean to you?
- What’s the best advice for people who are struggling with body image and insecurities?
- Any skincare, makeup or wellness tips that you want to share with Beauty Insider Singapore readers?
What inspired you to create Cheryl W?
Since I was 11, during puberty I used to be a bit plump and I was also suffering from really bad eczema since I was a kid; and I used to get teased a lot from Sec 1-3 about being plump though my parents ran a beauty and slimming centre.
Fast forward, when I was 18 I started embarking on my passion on being in the entertainment industry, and I was told every now and then again that I needed to be slimmer. I started to go on various fad diets, but it got really bad around 2013 when I was preparing to head to Taiwan and during my actual time there. I went on extreme diets and even made my own diet plans like having only 3 cups of oat milk a day, 100 calories per cup for 3 days in a row every week. Limiting my calories, bingeing and starving were my usual routines.
In 2016, my eating disorder had gotten really bad, and my period went from regular to irregular, to completely stopping for about 4 years in total. And worst of all, I was mentally and emotionally struggling, all I could think of was dieting and what’s the next diet to try, how to be thinner. I didn’t lose a lot, but I’m usually around 45-47kg, then I lost till 42kg and kept pushing to lose to 40. And I would cry if I ate a normal portion meal, I’d feel guilty, and go back to starving/‘detoxing’ for days to feel better, then I’d be so deprived that I would binge on cheat days. It was just a horrible rut/cycle I was in.
But during that period of time I was obsessed about learning, understanding all about nutrition, fitness, weight loss; plus I was also trying to get out of the rut, hence I underwent some counselling help (as I studied psychology during University, I knew I had a problem), and also went to places like Chiang Mai and Phuket in those cleansing places and learnt under health coaches, nutritionist, life coaches, etc., which putting it altogether made sense. Slowly I got out of it bit by bit, and simultaneously my parents advised me to stop my artiste contract and come home and join the family business because of my eating problem.
After much deliberation, we started Cheryl W, because I felt a strong sense of mission to advocate a healthier and gentler side of beauty and weight management.
I want Cheryl W to be a platform to advocate healthy living and a sustainable weight management and beauty plan.
How has the pandemic changed your business empire and daily routine?
It’s changed a lot. Firstly, it accelerated our push to go online and expand the online and retail market. To focus on a comprehensive weight management plan urge our products and more things in the pipeline that doesn’t require face to face consultations as we are right now. It’s of course not to phase out our services side because we have built a regular flow of customers and also services are one component of a weight management plan, but rather to diversify and expand.
My daily routine other than during the circuit breaker has pretty much been the same. Because my work has always been dynamic and requires me to go to different outlets and places for meetings.
How do you juggle managing your business and mummy duties?
That’s honestly a tough one. I struggled especially hard after I gave birth to Marc, perhaps it’s because it’s the first child and my first time being a mom. And both my kids I only took 28 days of maternity. So separation anxiety is real. But it’s slowly after Emma that I learnt to juggle and I think it starts from inside, mentally and emotionally. To let go of the mom guilt, and understand that there’ll be times work takes precedence and sometimes my family comes first. It’s tiring, and not a walk in the park to strike a balance but I think I’m very blessed in that I have my parents to help me, both at work and at home, I have a very supportive husband, and my work can be pretty flexible. But I still keep to a routine of starting work right after we send Marc to school and after I pick him I spend time with both Marc and Emma and if need be my meetings will be in the evenings when they’re playing.
How do you maintain your physical fitness?
It’s also having a routine. Firstly, with a busy schedule, and 2 very young kids, I know it’s hard to keep strictly to a plan. But I would arrange 1-2x weight training per week and 1x cardio. But if a certain week I’m busy because the kids are sick or I’m too tired, I won’t stress myself out, I skip it, let it go, and move on.
And I try to keep as active as I can, like walk instead of sit around or take the stairs. And actually chasing after 2 very active toddlers, I consider them as exercise it in self. And of course to eat right.
You’ve been an advocate on body image issues, what does self-love mean to you?
I think self-love is very broad, and covers many spectrum. It’s not simply the number on the scales, or pampering yourself etc. It’s a whole host of things. To me, it starts with being in touch with yourself, to know and understand your body, what chicks, what works. Like what makes you happy, what makes you feel good, what foods lift you up, what routine works, well, and giving yourself that space and time to explore and learn.
Self-love is mental and emotional health too. To be in touch with your emotions, self-reflection and self-awareness. For example, when I had an eating problem I was constantly verbalizing things like “I eat very badly; I’m addicted to sugar”, in some ways I’m beating myself up. But it’s ok as long as we are aware, and we want to be better, I became more conscious of the things I said to myself and to others.
Self-love is physical. Of course good blood work and health reports are a good indicator of our physical health, so in general, eating well and keeping active is a good start. When we love ourselves we want to feed it right, get enough rest, pamper ourselves with a good massage or yoga session.
Self-love is so many things, it’s being kind to yourself and do what’s best for you.
What’s the best advice for people who are struggling with body image and insecurities?
Being there, and being a woman I understand. I can’t tell you “get out of it and be confident” and like magic you’ll be confident. I never believed what anyone said when they said I looked ok, (at my lowest point) and believe every single bad comment and would go “ya exactly I’m fat”. So I’d say, start journaling and self-reflect what’s behind why you have these insecurities, it’s amazing what comes out when we journal and actually pen them down and not just have that in our heads. Body image and insecurities issues typically stems from something deeper and it’s a journey to find out what that is. It’s actually an interesting journey of self-discovery.
Through learning more about yourself and why you feel what you feel, then move on into now then can we move away from this thought. Small baby steps and don’t stay in that rut but at the same time, know that it’s ok and safe to take your time to move away from that. Surround yourself with good positive people you can trust while you’re on this journey. And when things get better focus on helping others, focus on your passion, I found that living with a purpose of helping others and throwing myself into what I love, made those insecurities smaller and smaller, and realize life is bigger than my weight problems, life is bigger than me alone, and slowly I broke out of the cycle.
For all aspects be it skin care, make up, wellness, you really have to know yourself and do what fits you best. Don’t follow blindly and what’s in trend, do what works for you, and something you can see yourself doing for a long time. But some of the basics like drink water, sleep well, keep active, be happy, those are always a staple.