Live Well and Be Happy

Chit-Chat@AutumnLife - Living Well

by Siew Ping

Chit-Chat with Dr Charles Lim on 3 May 2017 at The Larder Cafe

Looking at his upright posture, healthy complexion and pony-tailed grey hair, you would know that Dr Charles Lim is a different kind of 75-year-old. He’s also the one brave Autumn Life member who agreed to kick off our Chit-Chat @ AutumnLife series.

Over afternoon tea, our good doctor set out to describe his simple formula for living well. 

He still runs a clinical practice, but his views on healthy living clearly draw on experiences and observations beyond his medical training. One AutumnLife member seized the initiative from the start. She wanted some light shed on the conflicting advice she had been getting on the use of statins.

Charles had some definite views about who might or might not benefit from taking statins to treat their heart or high cholesterol related conditions. However, the point he drove home was this - we all have our own path to take. As we hear the differing views of doctors, we should always maintain the highest respect for ourselves. Ask the doctors and let them answer – why, what, where, how, when – then listen to our body and decide for ourselves.

Charles highlighted four important areas in a person’s life: mind, diet, lifestyle and environment. While the environment is often beyond our control, we have many options for the other areas.

Our minds are full of thoughts every day, some of which are negative, unhappy thoughts about things that have passed. Charles sees meditation as a means to “talk to the heart”, instead of using just the mind or the left brain. Whenever he is anxious or panicky, he would also tell himself to convert his feelings to joy.

On diet, Charles has been taking health supplements for many years. He sees no reason to stop as he is in better shape than many of his contemporaries. 

However, it’s not just what we take but also what we must not take. Charles is an advocate of regular fasting. That means, fasting up to 16 hours daily and where possible, 24 hours once or twice a week. He gave an interesting “fridge and freezer” analogy: fasting allows the body to use up what is stored in the freezer only after the fridge (what we eat daily) is empty. Fasting may help those with cholesterol issues too.

Lifestyle-wise, the doctor hits the right note for work-life balance. He commutes between Singapore and Johor where he lives with his 40 dogs and gets to enjoy his durian farm. He exercises by walking his dogs.

The Larder Cafe in Toa Payoh Central was the venue for this first Chit-Chat session.  It has a pleasant vibe that offers escape from the HDB town centre bustle. Yet it doesn’t seem too out of place in the neighbourhood.

The more health-minded AutumnLife members ordered herbal tea. The rest went straight for their cake, carb and caffeine fixes. Nacho chips, rainbow cake and really decent lava cake came and went, rather quickly. Some fasting might be called for after this.





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