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How a 108kg Fat Kid Became a Happy Trader 

Last Updated: May 12, 2022

By Rayner Teo

How did I become a happy trader? I was fat.

Books hated me for drooling saliva on them.

I almost got retained in secondary three as I only pass 2 out of 7 subjects. Chicks avoided me like the plague because I took up too much space everywhere I go.

Obviously, I was in a position you wouldn’t want to be in. But I changed all that.

My boobs became chest. I graduated with 1st Class Honors. I became an independent trader.

You’re wondering:

What if I could change all that?

What if I could change anything that I’m unhappy about?


…I’m going to share with you my story on how I did it. These are powerful lessons that you can apply for yourself.

You’d want to read every word of it.

My fat days

happy traderThe fat me

It’s tough being fat.

I find buying clothes a chore because nothing seems to fit. My shirts are XXL and my pants require size 42. Those are sizes you don’t get readily elsewhere, so my only shopping area is in Penisula Plaza, where they sell really big clothes.

Clothes are one thing, my self-confidence is another.

I was sensitive to the people and the words around me. Every time I’m in public, I can’t help but wonder if others are looking at me, whether they find me smelly or dirty.

Can you imagine having such thoughts everywhere you go?

It becomes draining and impossible to truly enjoy yourself when you’re constantly trying to fit in.

No surprise why most fat people prefer to stay home and lock themselves up, rather than stressing themselves outside.

But something big happened one fateful day…

How I lost 30kg and became a happy Trader:

It’s just another normal day. The sun is up, birds are chirping and the world is moving.

I and my friends were loitering outside, and chance upon a gym. Wow, a gym! I’ve never entered one in all my 16 years of existence.

I was hesitant at first, being out of shape and uncertain of what to expect. But I figured I’ve nothing to lose and took the first step in. I did some basic exercises and felt pretty good.

The next day my entire body ache just from those few basic exercises. My ‘hidden’ muscles were causing so much discomfort. But deep inside, I felt good.


Because for the first time in my life, I’m doing something towards a healthier me. Yes, it hurts like sh*t but I had this crazy thought, what if I persevere for the next 3 months? How different would I look?

I watched my diet very closely. I reduced my carbohydrates, oil, and sugar.

A typical meal would be steam fish, half bowl of rice, and plain water.

3 months became 6 months. 6 months became a year. Right now it’s more than 10 years and I’ve never looked back.

I went from a whopping 108kg to my current 78kg.

happy trader

It is better to take action and fail than do nothing and remain stagnant. Remember, there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

My lesson learned:

If you want things to change, take action.

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

What it means to be a soldier

At 19, the unexpected occurred. I was enlisted into the 1st Commando battalion.

It was possibly the best thing that happened to me at 19 years old.

From being mediocre all my life to being placed in an elite fighting unit, I was in for a culture shock.

Some of the crazy things I did:

1. Jumped out of a plane.

2. Marched 72km.

3. Lived in a jungle for 8 days.

4. Held my sh*t for 5 days.

In these 2 years, there were countless encounters where I felt like quitting.

But I held on…


Because of the people around me.

The same people whom I spent two years with.

The same people whom I would die for in a battle.

The same people whom I call brothers.

My lesson learned:

Your character will be shaped by the people around you.

There is no such thing as impossible, only not done yet.

How to be a better student

After my weight loss saga, I felt there was still something amiss. It was my poor academic results.

I barely scrapped through O levels and had mediocre results for my diploma. All my life I sucked at studies, and it was a fact.

At this point, I was 21 and just completed my national service in 1st Commando Battalion. I was about to enroll at the University of London to further my studies.

However, this time is different. I was hungry and I’m going to use everything in my power to attain my 1st Class Honors.  It’s funny to say, but I had to teach myself how to study.

I utilized Google, Youtube, textbooks and basically anything I could get my hands on.

I had to understand myself, learn which hours of the day I work best, and what are my strength & weakness.

It’s interesting to find out your strength and weakness, after being in existence for 21 years.

I attained the following results:

Year 1

Maths 1 – 63

Stats 1 – 70

Intro to econs – 53

POA – 68

PBF – 56

Year 2

Corporate Finance – 63

Macroeconomics – 62

Elements of social and applied psychology – 81

Management science methods – 74

Year 3

Investment management – 80

Valuation securities & analysis – 88

Financial intermediation – 71

Intro to information systems – 53

Below is the day when my results came out:

Throughout my course of study, I learned 2 powerful questions that pushed me forward.

#1 What went wrong?

#2 What can I improve on?

In year 1, my results did not meet my expectations. Instead of blaming the lecturers or the exams itself, I asked myself what went wrong?

Notice how I accepted 100% responsibility?

In year 2, my results did better and met my expectations. However, I wasn’t satisfied as I knew I could do better. I asked myself, what can I improve on?

This question constantly keeps me on my toes because I never want to be complacent. I want to give my best and constantly improve myself.

In year 3, my results blew me away.

And it gets better:

I came in 2nd in my cohort and had the honor to give a valedictory speech.

Now you’re wondering:

How do you apply these 2 questions to yourself?

This is how…

The first question is useful when you encounter setbacks in life. You want to understand what you did wrong, to receive feedback, so you do not repeat the same mistakes again.

The second question is useful when you did well, and want to find ways to improve on it. It could be a faster or more productive way of accomplishing something.

My lesson learned:

Always gather feedback and find ways to improve.

How I got into proprietary trading

During my university days, I had been trading on my own for 3 years with break-even results.

Thus immediately after graduation, I knew my career path. Proprietary trading.

But things weren’t smooth sailing to start with. Jobs in proprietary trading firms do not have many openings and are strongly in demand.

For half a year, I asked myself how do I get a job in proprietary trading?

I’ve personally knocked on doors of different firms, encountered countless rejections, and after 6 months was offered a job by 2 different firms.

Firm A was an institution that has a fixed pay, shorter working hours, and good career progression. The role was an execution trader.

Firm B was a proprietary trading firm that has no fixed pay, longer working hours, and had high risk. The role was a proprietary trader.

Which job would you take?

Needless to say, I went with the proprietary trading firm.

You must be wondering:

Rayner, are you nuts?

The reason is simple. I knew what I wanted and I’m prepared to go all out for it. The consequences can be dire, opportunity costs can be huge, and the only thing I had was faith.

My lesson learned:

If you want something bad enough, you’ll go all out for it.

How my trading turned around

happy trader

Trading was not a smooth ride for me. I’ve lost 50% of my trading capital along the way.

Then I asked myself the same 2 questions:

#1 What went wrong?

#2 How can I improve on it?

What went wrong?

1. Hopping from one trading system to the next.

2. No trading plan.

3. No proper risk management.

This led me a concrete trading plan along with proper risk management. I cannot allow myself to hop onto another trading system till I had a record of 100 trades.

If after 100 trades, I had negative expectancy, then I’m allowed to tweak or find another trading system altogether.

Slowly my trading became consistent, and I understood what it takes to be consistently profitable.

How can I improve on it?

1. Reduce volatility in my equity curve.

2. Reflect and improve

Although I am profitable, I didn’t like the volatility of my equity curve. So I reduced my risk further, bringing volatility down to a comfortable level.

I am always reflecting on my trades, finding ways to improve on it. I usually ask myself:

  • How could I have better managed the trade?
  • How could I have better exited the trade?
  • Did I follow my trading plan?

My lesson learned:

Trading requires patience, discipline and sh*tload of hard work!

My lessons from trading and life

Trading has spilled over into my life.

The person I am today is shaped by the lessons I’ve learned in trading.

These are some of the lessons:

The market is always right

You can be wrong more than half the time and still be consistently profitable. In life, there’s no point in trying to win every argument. You can win the battle but lose the war.

Always risk a fraction of your trading capital

If you want to continue trading for the next 30 years, never risk everything on one trade. In life, never risk your entire net worth in a probabilistic scenario. You could be right many times, but eventually, you will lose it all.

You take 100% responsibility

To be successful in trading, you have the accept 100% responsibility. You don’t blame the markets, your pet hamster, or anything else. In life, how successful you want to be is your own responsibility. You don’t blame your family, friends, or the environment.

My lesson learnt:

I don’t know everything.

Take calculated risk.

Take 100% responsibility.

Frequently asked questions

#1: Hey Rayner, do you think I should trade to pay off my debts earlier or stick to my full-time day job?

My recommendation is that you want to be trading without the burden of debt. Because with debt, you’ll tend to make poorer or sub-optimal decisions.

It’s better to get a full-time job to pay off your debt, and once you’re debt-free then go into trading.

#2: Is it possible to make a full-time income from prop trading?

Yes, but do note that the attrition rate or failure rate is about 90% or more.

#3: When you start scaling up your trading account, how much do you add in each time?

As a general guideline, I would say you can add maybe 10% to 20% of your annual income in each time.

For example, if you earn $50,000 a year, you can consider adding $5,000 to $10,000 into your account each year.


I don’t have the answers to everything.

I will definitely encounter more setbacks in life. But I hope some of these lessons are useful for you, allowing you to forge ahead in life/trading.

If there’s anything, feel free to let me know. I’ll be glad to help.

So, what is your story?

Leave a reply

  • Very inspiring stuff. Just to share some quotes that i heard: “if you want success as much as you want to breathe, you will succeed.” Eric Thomas

    “he who thinks he can, and he who thinks he can’t, are both usually right.” Will Smith, quoting Confucius

    • Hi Larry,

      Thanks for sharing.

      Yes I like the Eric Thomas one, I’ve seen a few of his videos and it’s really motivational.

      As for the Confucius quote, I believe it was mentioned by Henry Ford as well.

      I hope to hear more from you in the near future 🙂


  • Your failure initially in every aspect of your life that have shaped you up to what you are now. If you were tall handsome and macho and have good grades initially you might be a banker now and not a successful trader. Every things that happened must have a reason. Good article and very sincere. Love reading your article as I can feel your sincerity. Hope you will be successful in the near future.

    • Hi Nazda,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Yes I agree. If I were to be spoon fed from the start, I’m afraid the result would be different.

      We definitely could use a little push to keep moving forward.


  • You can say I am in the same boat as you. I am in debt of $40K because of trading. Although I have at 5K paying job, I find it difficult to make payments monthly and don’t see my self clearing these debts anytime soon. And the only way to make quick buck I see is thru trading again. But good story, I am just being optimistic now..

    • Hi James,

      Thanks for sharing with me.

      I’m in no position to comment, but if I have a 5k paying job, I’ll quickly get rid of my debt by using a large % of my earnings to repay it.

      Trading isn’t an answer to it as your psychological make up would put you at a disadvantage because of your need to make money.

      Still, don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything, I’ll be glad to help.


  • Hi Rayner

    Thanks for sharing your story and being so generous with your time.

    You are an inspiration to us all, well done.

    With your help my trading is coming on track and I might even shed a few kilo as well.

    Thanks again.

    • Hi Walter,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my story. And yes shedding a few kilos somehow would help with trading.

      For me, it helps with my discipline.


  • hi treo,

    thanks for the splendid lessons on trend trading coming from a pinoy teenager !

    wishing you could also give the setup of your trading monitors (size, brand and brackets) and apps featured on your trading avatar pictures.

    best regards,

    • Hi Luis,

      You’re most welcome.

      I’m currently using AOC for my monitors which is about 23 inches.

      I’m not sure what is the brand of the bracket though.

      The red and blue screen is a trading platform called X_TRADER by trading technologies.


  • Thank you for sharing your personal story and i find it very inspiring. Although I am older than you but i feel you have learnt life lessons and improved on your life much better than me.
    I will always take heed from your wise words: what went wrong & How can I improve.


    • Hey Kelvin,

      I believe you would have far more experience than me. It’s just that sometimes we need to crack our head a little to pen down our thoughts.

      Don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything, I’ll be glad to help.

      I hope to hear more from you in the near future 🙂


  • “4. Held my sh*t for 5 days.”!!!!!!!

    Bravo, Rayner!

    Now I understand why you are the greatest trend follower in the world: It truly suits your personality: you just like to hold!

    Hold it, hold it, hold it for a long time. Scale in, scale in, scale in over and over again. Never let it out.

    I wish I had IBS and got diarrhea 20 times a day, then I would be a great day trader/scalper 😀 
    Now talking seriously:

    Congratulation for you impressive progress and achievements!

    I agree totally with your philosophy and concepts in trading and in life. If fact, they are similar to mine (well, I´d say yours are better than mine!).


    • Hello Eugene,

      Lol that’s funny. There are way better trend followers out there, that I’m certain.

      Feel free to share some of your philosophies as well, I would love to hear them 🙂


    • @Eugene LOL, hilariously funny comment.
      @Rayner I see your last comment on the ‘What is Prop Trading’ article that you’re not with a prop firm anymore ? After reading that article, I still don’t see any benefits in going prop: – so right off you have SGD 2k -4k (an average of 2k euros) per month expenses. That means 24k/year expenses so you’d have to make at least 50k/year revenues from trading to get a 26k/year income (which is about average gross salary in Western Europe)

      In order to make that 50k, assuming a 20% return rate and 50/50 profit split, you’d need a 500k account. Do prop firms give that kind of money to new recruits ? Add to this that you’ll have to go to the office just like in a regular job. I really don’t see where the incentives for traders are to enter this kind of arrangement.

      • Hello Vlad,

        Yes you make a good point that there are expenses to be incurred. And this usually comes in the form of office rental, softwares, newsfeed etc.

        If you’re a scalper that requires the low latency and ‘features’, then the environment would suit you.

        But for me, I find my niche on the higher time frames thus I left it to trade for my own.

        I would say the biggest take is the learning curve. In a prop firm it greatly reduced my learning curve as you’re constantly watching the markets and being monitored by your seniors.

        Lastly, the losses are usually born by the firm so you simply focus on learning how to be a good trade… and some give a small allowance as well.


  • Hi Rayner,

    I’ve been in trading already 5 years with stopping, and since September 2014 I trade in a row. By read your blog, I try to find my way, to build a system in my trading, and improve my knowledge and skill as much as I aspire.

    Sometimes I get tired to see if my edge in the markets goes well, but I never touch in my trades.
    I need a faith to see myself succeed in trading.

    Thanks for inspire us.

    Wish you hope, love and faith.


  • Hi Rayner,

    Do you have training courses or mentoring courses?

    I just started learning how to trade last year and stopped for awhile. All the while using demo account.

    I wanted to learn more and at least have a system to follow. I am not sure if the trading method I am using currently is actually good.

    Most importantly, I needed guidance. If you do have mentoring courses, please let me know.

    And a big thanks for your blog, i have learnt much over the months I am following.

  • You are such an inspiration Rayner! I am sure many people have learnt the hard way. But what makes you stand out it the fact that you learnt from your misgivings and success; secondly you are always so willing to help others and most importantly You are still humble and did not let the success get to your head! There is never even a hint of pride in any of your postings or reply to others.
    Continue to be blessed and be a blessing!

    • Hello Nat,

      I’m just happy to be able to give back what I have.

      And I’m so appreciative of your support. Trust me, it does wonders for me.

      So… I want to thank you as much!


  • Hi Rayner,

    Thanks for sharing your life history till now. Yes, this is 100% life is all about. Very human indeed.

    Just like you , I have learned through so many hard knocks in life but I come out stronger and sharper in thinking. Yes, Take full responsibility in your action. Be patient, discipline, confident -believe in yourself, tenacity, endurance and not be afraid of hardship ahead of you. Like you said ” Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it”. I agree with your statement 101%.
    Now I am pursing a new path in my career. I will do it and I will enjoy it. No turning back.

    Thanks for sharing Rayner.


  • Inspiring! Passionate trader! As always i Learn something .this time, trade for 100 and change system if it has negative expectancy.

    Thanks Rayner

  • Rayner,
    Thank you for sharing your story! It’s very hard to distinguish the bull shit people from the real ones in this space. As a fellow soldier and aspiring trader myself your words are genuine and full of inspiration. Please keep up the good work and all of the best.

    “de opresso libre”

  • Rayner, I salute you.
    I shall copy your story to my kids (they are probably in your age group!)
    But I shall lob off the part about becoming a trader. That is simply too tough. I know, I have been day trading for three years and I am break-even.

    May you fly ever higher.

  • Wow. That was so emotional, so informative. Hey, Reyner I am following you from the last one year and I have learned a lot from you. you are so honest, state forward and to the point. I read your every tweet and watch your every video. It is always great and to the point.
    Thank you for the good work.

  • Hi Rayner,

    I trade during my free time, I really enjoy your blog and follow you on twitter.

    I see a lot of trader speeking in percentage about their performance (which is fine to compare to each other) but never about the amount itself and the psychology behind it. I’ll explain myself : I started trading a few years ago with a really small capital because I didnt want to loose a lot of money if things went wrong. When I was feeling more confident because I had mastered a trading plan that suited me I add some money, my capital was 10k€. Things turn out pretty well as i now have 40k€ on my trading account. My question in when do you increase the stake ? I dont know what was your starting capital but have you experienced some psychologic step like 50k, 100k, 200k… ?

    I feel like i am progressing step by step and some step are longer than others and I just wanted your feedback about it.

    On another topic, have you made a post about your trading equipment (your computer) like how many screen are you using and for what purpose ?

    I hope I was clear in my request, if not feel free to ask mors details !

    Thanks a lot !


    • Hey Alex

      That’s a great question.

      It really depends on your psychological muscle.

      I suggest starting small and once you’ve attained consistency with your trading, then scale up 10-20%.

      Then do these for a few months and scale up 10-20% again. Rinse repeat the process.

      I can’t say what’s the magic number here as it differs from trader and their capital and lifestyle and etc.


  • Dear Rayner,

    I have just finished reading your “story”.

    I was touched and
    I was inspired, to say the least!

    You definitely are a GIFT from above not only to Traders but to humanity.
    You radiate so much positive energy, sincerity and love for “others” that it is almost incredible and yet it is blatantly true.

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story.

    I look forward one day to read a testimony of someone inspired by your story and I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I will I will be providing one of those testimonies.

    All the best … young “Trading Coach”!

  • Thank you for your story and I’m especially touched at the video where you showed your parents your results. I’m currently taking my part time degree and your story further inspired me to work towards my first class honours, as well as a career change to prop trading after

  • Thank you, Rayner! I will never forget those times where my own family and friends called my trading as gambling. I can never blame them for doubting me but i will take all the blame if my trades fail. As you said, 100% responsibility. Here’s to turning pain into power, failure into fortune! Cheers to more success! 😀

  • Dear Rayner,
    Good to read interesting events and important learning of your life. The way you have expressed portrays the importance of being continuous learner, being dedicated, social, respecting others, and above all a being a good self disciplined human being. Thx for Writing and sharing this with all of us. Request to Keep writing keep guiding. Cheers.

  • Well Done Rayner! Such an inspiration!

    Like my friend always said to his men, “For Honour and Glory!”

    Guess you can also apply that to those who benefited from your teachings on being a professional trader.


  • Inspirational story!

    My job as a teacher requires me to do thorough planning and reflection. After reading your story, I’ve felt that I have not been doing enough. At school, I never did economics and I have a feeling that the knowledge of basic macroeconomics is important in trading even if you intend to trade technicals.

    From now on, I will try my best to plan and stick to my plan.

  • Enjoyed to read your story. Very much relevant in day to day life. It’s been more than a year now and I enjoy to watch and read your articles/blogs. Very sensible rational and logical at the same time. You are very generous in sharing the knowledge and thank you very much for all.Keep going

  • Your story seems amazing to me.
    I love your fighting in this live sins you was 103kg.
    You are one of those heroes in this world keep embarrassing us man and am going to work hard to learn your courses and be as successful as you.
    I wish I meet you one day.

    All love.

  • Hi Rayner I have been looking for a pro trader that i can follow now that i have found you aint looking any carry good and simply great stuff

  • Rayner,

    Your teaching materials are so well done and your teaching is very clear. You have skilfully broken difficult stuffs to digestible bits.

    Maybe, just maybe, you may consider packaging your academic journey and current achievement, present it to Singapore (especially) youths who aren’t academically-inclined or have yet ‘woken up’ in their studies to find their talents, suggest ways to overcome their difficulties, etc. Nothing beats the successful testimony of someone so close to home.

    As a teacher, I celebrate your success. I hope every not-doing-so-well-yet student will become another Rayner.

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