When the coronavirus pandemic made its way through the world and eventually moved into Singapore, my homeland, it seemed like all the plans and dreams my friends and I had were all overturned and would never return. I did not know how to make sense of this unseen enemy that threatened all of us daily and upended life as we knew it.

At first I took the discomforts and isolation in stride but it was not long before I became lethargic and apathy and despair was threatening to overcome me. My sleep patterns were disturbed and after a long period of such disruptions, I decided to talk a long walk through my neighbourhood to clear my head, vent and voice my thoughts to God.

Day One went on uneventfully, then I decided on the net day, and then the next. As I walked (and occasionally jogged) in the cool morning air, I saw how I was able to feel better and turn the walks into’tents of meeting’, periods where I could talk to God and vent at Him over my problems and the problems of the world, including the pandemic. I was losing weight, and feeling better and better every day.

I then thought about making a short Facebook video after each morning walk to encourage my friends and family and others to get through the pandemic and share life hacks as well. Soon, that became a routine – walks in the morning followed by a short video, often done at or near a coffee shop where I would take a cup of black coffee, without sugar or milk.

According to fitness trainers and fitness professionals, black unsweetened coffee aids in cardiac function, helps in weight loss and improves memory function. Drinking the beverage was initially a challenge as its bitterness was hard to stomach (pardon the pun), but eventually I was able to make the switch and I have been drinking water and unsweetened beverages ever since.

It has now been nearly four months since I made that fateful step to walk, make videos and drink black unsweetened coffee. And I cannot imagine the benefits I have faced – I have lost nearly 12 pounds, dropped a shirt size from Large to Medium, eat and sleep better, and just feel great all round!

I now know that I can never return to the old routines that defined me in the past, I am now Arul John Version 2. As Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr said:

“A man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”

So then has my mind and body been stretched to a new dimension and the only way ahead is forward to a new and better me. So look out for Arul John Version 3 next!