I feel like I should really pick up from the last time I used to blog in college. Those who knows me now would probably get the impression that I'm a fitness freak and always have been. To those who knew me way back, they would know that I was a completely different person then.
With that, I thought I'd share on how I started my fitness journey and what kept me going all this while, and I hope this could inspire some people to take the first step forward someday.
Before I remotely got interested in fitness, I was always known as the child who had a pretty face, but was unfortunately fat. Growing up, that was what I was always labelled and I grew to accept it. I didn't think I deserved to look good, nor did I even dream that I could wear nice things that could draw attention to myself. I just didn't think I was pretty enough to deserve it.
That's me in the middle, age 15, on a holiday in Phuket, Thailand.
Despite being constantly called the chubby one, it never bothered me too much until one day at a rosary gathering among our church group. So there was this aunty who was known to have a sharp tongue. She says whatever she wants to say, she does what ever she wants to do, regardless of what people think of her. They don't think of her too well.
Anyway, it was the end of the rosary session and as usual, there is bound to be food at the end of it. At that time, I had a heavy dinner so I didn't have much of an appetite. So when somebody offered me to eat, I politely declined to which the aunty said, "Yeah, better not la. You're becoming too fat." and somebody chuckled.
That's how it all started. She then went on and on about what I can do to lose weight and constantly criticized my big tummy, or my chubby face. It just continued until somebody decided to leave. We were in a room full of adults and nobody said anything but just listened to her the whole time talking about me.
It was and is the most horrible night of my life. I remembered crying for a week because I felt so worthless and ugly. I didn't want to go to school for a day or two because I was so depressed and to this day, it has really made a dent in me.
Fast forward to a few years later. I was 17 at that time, on a student exchange program in Italy. It was there where I truly learned to appreciate the beauty of all bodies there.
As you can see, my host sister comes from a large family. Whenever we're going out, I always see that she makes sure she dresses to the nines; from the most stylish clothes to the most elaborate makeup. I thought she looked gorgeous.
Most of the girls were quite surprised at how plain I was then. Because everybody there makes it a point to look their best no matter where they are. It was there that the people said I was beautiful. Wherever I went. Complete strangers would call me beautiful, even though I thought I was far from it.
After coming back from Italy, I decided to learn how to look my best no matter what the occasion and that has built my confidence a little. Just a little.
One day, I fell in love but like any young love, it was bound to end quickly. I thought he was the source of my true happiness but now I was left alone (I know, SO cliche. What was I thinking?)
It took me about a year to finally pull myself together and I knew I needed a distraction. One that could make me a better person and make me happy again. A project.
I remembered the lowest days when I was mocked for being fat and I decided that that was what I wanted to change in myself. I wanted to lose weight and have a slim body! (Also, in my pettiness, I really wanted to be my ex's hottest ex girlfriend)
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I was a cardio bunny.
Of course, I didn't know where to start or what are the first steps to losing weight. Naturally, I just went for the easiest thing which was the treadmill. And I hated it.
To this day, I still don't enjoy being on the treadmill. Its so boring and uneventful to me. Eventually, I took up swimming until one day I had an injury to my foot where I had to do a surgery so I could neither swim nor run on the treadmill for a while.
I was doing so well at that point; I stopped eating carbs and cut my intake to half. I was steadily losing weight and made great progress. I couldn't just stop right there and wait to heal.
That's when I discovered Pilates on YouTube. More specifically, that's when I discovered Blogilates.
I first discovered her through a beauty vlogger on YouTube. What I liked about her the most was how positive she was and so encouraging. Pilates wasn't the most strenuous exercise for my injured foot, so I thought I'd give it a try.
Boy was I challenged! Even though the exercises are injury friendly, it wasn't easy either. The more I followed her videos, the more addicted I became to that feeling of muscle soreness and waking up to a stiff butt.
More than just the exercises, I felt that I was working out with a friend, a friend who was so full of energy and positivity, it really rubbed off on me. Which is why I HIGHLY recommend that if you're a first timer to the world of fitness, get a good trainer or a partner to keep you going and to guide you on your first steps to swoleness.
As I moved forward in my fitness journey, I always pushed myself to new challenges; from learning how to lift weights, to doing scary stuff like headstands. My greatest achievement so far was to be able to do 200 burpees in a row. Not bad for a cardio phobe like myself!
What Kept Me Going?
Now, like most people who joined the gym after new year's resolution hoo haa, I too have faced the temptations of just 'taking a break' or 'getting back into it another time'. Whenever I have those thoughts, I always ask myself, "Why did I start? Who am I doing this for?"
And that's when I'm always reminded of that day in the rosary group; a young 15 year old girl being mocked for her chubby figure among a group of adults. If I could turn back time, I would give her a hug and tell her that she's beautiful and I would never let her down.
I am responsible for my own happiness. People may come and go, some who has even enhanced my happiness, but no matter what, I alone have the power to feel beautiful and happy.
And that's what kept me going. To this day, I always try to challenge myself to achieve new levels and it really gives me a sense of purpose.
To those who are waiting to take the first steps in your fitness journey, I say just do it! You may stumble around a bit, but you will find your way. Have a purpose and a goal to keep you going, and I promise you that it'll change your life for the better.
Guys. I am woke. Yesterday was a day of new information I have yet to process so I thought I'd share with you guys on what I learned.
First Off, I Have 3 Exits
Ladies, did you always know that? All my life, I've always thought I had 2 holes in my nether region and even though I've touched myself in the past, never have I ever felt that there was a third hole which is specifically used for peeing.
So it all started when a co-worker was asking where can she find one of those menstrual cups that can be reused constantly.
This is a menstrual cup. Basically, instead of absorbing the blood like tampons, it collects the blood, and after a few hours, you can take it out, empty it and reuse it again after washing.
So while we were on that subject, I joked, "What if you have to pee tho? Wouldn't it overflow the cup?"
And that's when the entire room fell silent, and my colleagues just stared at me like, "Uhh... did you know that you pee from a different hole?"
And I was like, "What? No way! Doesn't the pee hole and the birthing hole come from the same exit?"
And that's when everybody started losing their tits and called the ENTIRE office in for an intervention.
SO the entire office was there including my boss and his son! And my co-worker was like, "Guys. We have an emergency. How many holes do you think women have?"
And to my surprise, everybody answered 3! Like, where TF is the third one? Even one of my colleagues who was a doctor also told me there was a hidden one.
Later on, I even looked up the female reproductive diagram because I just couldn't believe it. How can I not feel that I'm peeing from a different hole?
And sure enough, there was 3! #mindblown
Until now, I have yet to find that mystical hole because I'm currently on my period and I want my discovery to be a bit more neater, but today, I'm now peeing with a heightened awareness.
There's another thing I've also learned on Friday (I told you it was a woke Friday).
Relationships Are VERY Confusing
I mean, I've always known that dating in the modern world is hard, but in this day and age, its getting a lot more complicated than before!
Ok, so back story. In my life, not counting the few fling dates where it just did not work out, I've only dated about 4 people so far (and by that, I mean 3 dates or more).
My view of the dating scene is very simple; if two people like each other enough, they would continue to see each other until the relationship eventually dies or is taken to a new level.
Maybe I've always been a very carefree person who usually goes with the flow, but I find that these days, a lot of people have certain expectations of the future and what they're looking for. Which is fair enough, but I mean sometimes it could be unwise to put the cart before the horse, if you know what I mean.
Because really, people change and so do their views. I might enjoy the single life for now, but I do imagine settling down one day, possibly in 10 years or so. Hopefully, in that time, science would be modernized and maybe I wouldn't have to go through pregnancy because the thought of it scares the living daylights out of me.
I'm still undecided about having kids, but I like to keep my options open. In that sense, to ask me now if I'm looking for a long term relationship, I wouldn't know how to answer because I just don't know. It really depends on the current partner and if I like him enough to bring it up to the next level and vice versa.
I remember the first time I was with my ex, he told me that he couldn't do the boyfriend thing and I was OK with that because I was undecided myself and I imagine that we would separate in 3 months or so.
3 years later, the relationship died down and we went our own ways. He did the boyfriend thing and I was surprised that we lasted this long. We just had a mutual liking for each other and it eventually bloomed into a close friendship until we drifted apart.
I always thought relationships were as simple as that; if two people liked each other enough, they will continue to see each other until you either drift apart or take it to a new level.
And if you're wondering about the first and second one, the first was a LDR so that couldn't possibly work and the second wanted a threesome and I wasn't down for that,
Ok now we come to the fourth one. Now this one is new and it has really challenged my views about the dating world and I am confused AF.
So we've been seeing each other for a month now. I'd say we got along pretty well and I thought he really liked me by the body language. I was still deciding if he's someone that I might want to continue seeing in the future until he sent me this long text about his friends' impression of our relationship (friend thought I was his gf) and that he's not looking for a relationship anytime in the future.
This is why you never post your dates on social media. Anyway.
Basically, he said that he really likes hanging out with me and would love to continue seeing me in the future, but there can never be any relationship, even though he likes to idea of getting married and having kids, but not anytime soon. We're only dating, but not in a relationship.
So what is a relationship really? From what I understand, maybe he doesn't really like me that much and so I was a little disappointed. But then again, he wants to continue seeing me and that got me stumped. Are you taking me out on a pity date? Do you just wanna be fuck buddies? Do you want to be friends only?
Look, I'm a very direct person and I hate to beat around the bush. Either you wanna continue dating me or you don't. Its as simple as that.
Plus, he tells his friends that he's dating, but not in a relationship and that's perfectly fine by me. I'm not sure if this could possibly go anywhere, but I'm willing to try and see what happens.
Because truth be told, I really love being single. I'm a hot blooded young female with pretty decent looks and I like to enjoy it while I still can. I wanna own a studio one day and decorate it exactly how I want it to be with a walk-in closet, large bookshelves, a cosy swing, lots of flowers hanging on the balcony with a little kitchen for my experiment. I want my own makeup table with lights all around and a sunny space where I can do my yoga and exercise. I could then bring in my girlfriends to have a drink and chat and occasionally bring in a guy or two.
Of course, having a family might be on the agenda one day, but not anytime soon. I'm at that point where a couple of people I know have already got married and divorced. To be stuck with a burden like that at a young age is tough and so I like to take it slow, really make sure I get it right the first time.
And so, when no. 4 said that he doesn't want to be in a relationship, but wants to 'hang out', I was confused. To me, any interaction with a person is a relationship; a mother, a colleague, a friend, etc. He's definitely not a boyfriend, but someone I'm seeing and that is a kind of relationship nonetheless. Did he mean a serious relationship with a title? I dunno. I later told him that I'd keep my distance if that's the case. I don't need that kind of confusion in my life.
Anyway, I won't delve into it any further. I'm just looking for a companionship with someone who's company I truly enjoy with the benefits of sex (not a friend with benefits, mind you. A friend with benefits is purely sexual, no movies or dates involved. Not my thing). If I like him enough, we might talk about taking it into the next level in a year or two, but that's about it.
Shouldn't dating be as simple as that?
I've been an avid hiker since I started working out back in 2015. I was never a fan of treadmill cardio, so hiking was the best alternative for me.
My favorite treks are usually Bukit Saga and Apek Hill because its quite a friendly trail with lots of regular hikers that comes and goes. Plus, both trails also have an outdoor gym and hammocks which is pretty nice when you reach the top. Occasionally, we'd discover other trails like Broga Hill, FRIM or other trails in KL and Puchong, but Apek hill and Bukit Saga is my no.1 place solely because of the Chilli Pan Mee nearby which I always go after a hike.
Anyway. One fine day, my best friend Melissa was like, "Guys, I'm so tired of our usual trail. Let's try out Bukit Tabur for a change! Its a bit more challenging and you may require some rock climbing skills."
Boy, did I regret not doing my homework about that place before climbing up there. I'm just glad we all managed to come back in one piece, because unlike the other trails I've ever been to, I was legit SCARED climbing up there. I was not prepared for what was up ahead.
Upon arrival, we didn't know exactly where to find the trail. There were some signs that were clearly telling us to fuck off, but we spotted some hikers who disregarded the signs and went up ahead along these giant pipes. We went ahead and followed them too.
Eventually, we came to a tiny opening between the forest and a water tower. You wouldn't have noticed the 'trail' (if you can call it that) at first glance, but if you squeezed your way up, you would have found it.
The trail was really narrow and super steep. You really need to make sure you got a pair of proper hiking boots with good grip. Trust me, this is coming from a cheapo like myself. Your safety is more worth it than saving a few bucks.
Occasionally, you will come across steep boulders like these with poorly maintained ropes. Some of them look like they could snap at any minute so make sure you bring a pair of gloves to get a better grip at the ropes. Also, some of them are pretty slimy, if that wasn't enough motivation enough for you to get a pair.
Picture me holding up Simba over this cliff going "BAAAAAAAZOWHENYAAAAAAAGONNABUYMEPIZZABRAAAAH!"
Most of the time, you will get some fantastic views here and there; great for insta-worthy pics, but not for the faint hearted.
If you're wondering why Melissa isn't in much pics, she's camera shy.
The view is fantastic up there, but the climb. If only I was able to take more pics, but the climb was super scary and dangerous. I cannot emphasize how dangerous it was for us to get up there.
First off the rocks are SHARP. Like, the boulders have little rocks sticking out of them and they tend to cut, even if you slowly ease your buns on them. It can be quite painful. Now imagine climbing them at an almost vertical angle with only a skinny string to hold you up. Yeah, it was that scary. I dared not look down.
Luckily for us, we're relatively quite fit so we are able to pull ourselves up. A bit of upper body strength would be very useful in this trip. One wrong move, and you can easily take a misstep and fall into the sharp rocks below or worse. It definitely wasn't exactly a family friendly trail to go up to.
Now if there's one advise I always tell any noobs about hiking, that's never to go alone. Always bring an experienced hiker with you who has already explored the trails and is familiar with the trails. If no one in your group has ever been there, always make sure you find someone who has.
Of course, cocky as we were, we thought we could always follow the trail or follow someone there. Unfortunately for us that day, the hikers ahead of us went far far away and we didn't have anyone to follow. Instead, we followed what looked like a trail since it was heading downwards, and that's about the general direction we were supposed to go anyway.
Boy, were we wrong.
After about an hour of walking downwards, going past thick foliage and steep, muddy parts, we realize that there were no other hikers in sight since and we were getting worried. At times, the trail just disappeared, but we pushed forward nonetheless because we didn't know where else to go.
Just as we were starting to panic, we saw red tape strung all across the trees everywhere, saying "DILARANG MASUK" (No Entry). But the sign was facing outside, so clearly we were somewhere we're not supposed to be.
Gingerly, we kept walking and found a hut in the middle of the forest with a few guys in there. Oh well, we thought. If we're gonna die in the forest, at least we're gonna die finding out if we went the wrong direction. So we approached one of them asking how do we get out of the forest.
The biggest guy came to us and said that we were trespassing in private property. His boss is not a patient man and if he found us, we'd be in big trouble.
Oh fuck, we thought. Confirm we're gonna die lah!
However, he said. I can tell you how to get out on one condition. You gotta give us some donation in return.
"What if we don't have any money?" I asked.
"Then," he said, "You guy gotta go all the way back up to the hill and follow the proper trail. It should take you about 3 hours to get down."
Fuck no, we thought. We forked out RM20 and he pointed us to a concrete road downhill nearby. How did we not see that earlier?
After 10 minutes of walking down the road, HALLELUJAH! We've found our car. We immediately got in and drove off to the comforts of our homes.
Some key takeaway from climbing up Bukit Tabur since I'm sure there are a lot of idiots like you out there who would climb the mountain anyway despite my warnings.
1. Wear long pants and gloves - you need to protect yourself from the sharp rocks and get a good grip on the ropes.
2. Wear hiking boots
3. Bring a guide with you
Now, it was only later on when I read about Bukit Tabur that I found there were a lot of cases of fatalities that happened up there. The number of cases were so high, Bukit Tabur actually became restricted and it was technically illegal to climb there.
Do note that a lot of people have either died horribly or injured themselves seriously, so keep that in mind when you're climbing up. Do not get distracted by taking some risky selfie up there and always be alert.
Do not go there! But if you do, good luck.
Anne is the author and founder of this blog. She likes to write about current issues, travels, food and the general struggles of a millennial.