Two years ago, as I was nearing the cusp of my 20s, I purposely scheduled a hospital appointment for a medical checkup just 2 weeks before my 30th birthday. I did this because I wanted to have a permanent record and baseline of what my health was like in my last few days of being a twenty-something. I was going to say goodbye to the most exciting and fearless decade of my life yet and and it was important for me that this procedure took place. Plus the company pays for these bi-annual probes, so I’d be a fool not to go.

As any optimistic person would be, I was expecting my medical results and health to be in tip-top condition, which for the most part they were.

Except when I stepped onto the scales and finally saw the numbers that came flashing on the little digital screen. They might as well have been knives flying toward my eyes. I freaked out. My weight was close to being off the charts for someone of my height (155cm) and I was not liking it one bit. I was at my heaviest yet. The most insane part? The doctor didn’t seem to think my weight was of any issue.

Fast forward 17 months into the future, I am 13kg lighter as I am writing this, an almost 20% reduction of my previous mass. I also successfully brought down my BMI to 21.2 from 24.5 (a healthy BMI for Asian women apparently is between 18.5 and 22.9). My waist has shrunk 4 inches, my butt takes up less room in my pants (apparently yes, you can have too much ass – and dare I say, bust?), and my dress (US) size went from 10 to somewhere between 2-4 (it hovers between the two sizes as sometimes I’m a bit too snug for a 2 but not filling enough for a 4 – a 3 maybe?).

Although my weight loss may seem minuscule compared to others who have lost gargantuan numbers when their healths were in more critical conditions, the point of my story is not really about how much I lost but rather how I lost it, kept it off and why I did it. It is quite simply a triumph and celebration of my personal achievement.

Do I feel healthier? You betcha. Do I look better? In my opinion, absolutely. The most unexpected and defining moment of my success was when I was able to fit back into a silk baju kebarung that was tailor made for me when I was 17! Not wanting to stop there, I pushed the envelope further by trying out a yellow cheerleading skirt and top which I had from my last year in secondary school (I know, I can’t believe I was even in the squad). Zup! The side zipper slid up to my waist, no problem.

I was beyond stoked.

This was concrete proof that I had shrunk back to my pre-adulthood size. Some may consider this scenario a bit juvenile and think I’m merely reacting towards the expectations of a size-obsessed society. But seriously, who can resist the allure of turning back time and getting a taste of what it was like before aging and extra fat reared their ugly heads? I am sure not many people can fit back into a piece of clothing that they wore as a late teenager (if you can, please go away), or even still have anything from back then.

In short, I am now at my finest hour (glass)!

Even though it has been more than a year since I embarked on a mission to shed the chub, I still get compliments from people around me till this very day, which is always the icing on the cake (urgh, what an inappropriate figure of speech) for me to keep up with what I’m doing to stay fit. At the same time I can’t help but blush because it is a reminder of how carelessly I neglected my body when I lived out my young adulthood. Not wanting to forget all the things that I went through, I decided to pen down my ‘take back the health’ story, lest I forget to take care of this God-given vessel again.

“In Fitness & In Health” is an intimate insight of how I, as a transitioning 30-year old, got myself to fight the fat, resist temptation, live up to the image of being a true sporty girl, pick up a bunch of invaluable health knowledge and fitness tips, and most importantly reach a milestone which I previously thought was impossible to achieve. I thought true weight loss was the stuff of TV reality show stars like the Biggest Losers with their fancy schmancy personal trainers, but throughout my personal undertaking, I learned it was possible for mere mortals like me to do it right at home. I am thankful I decided to reexamine my fitness state and take control of my life before it became a knot too big and difficult to untangle and straighten out.

Having said that, I would like to mention that I am not a certified health expert or professional personal trainer by any means. I am simply a health hobbyist and friend wanting to share with you my personal experience with intentional weight loss and to tell you like it is. Back when I was trying to do this, I didn’t know anyone personally who had gone through what I did. So what I didn’t have back then, I am making it available to you through my words.

To end this prose, I would like to acknowledge a few people who gave me nothing but inspiration, encouragement and belief throughout this journey. Firstly, a shout out to H for my lightbulb moment, which later became the reason why I would leave work all riled up and excited to have another go at it – that was truly a pivotal moment for me and I think I owe you my life. To A and N who led by example and inspired me to readopt an active lifestyle. To E and M, who are my best friends in the world, thank you for always believing in me and for supporting me in whatever I chose to do (not to mention put up with my crazy antics!). To P, for inspiring me to join my first ever race. To HI, who first nudged me into trying something active outdoors. And to my family, the backbone of my life and the reason for my being. I love you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And to all who are in pursuit of a fitter and healthier life, and especially to those following my twitter account just to have an exclusive, first-to-know access about this developing piece of casual reading, this one’s for you.

Fairy Mahdzan
2 June 2011