Losing 25kg is Nur Leha Razali's biggest gain
Nur Leha credits exercise buddy for helping her on weight loss journey
The quest to lose weight is never an easy one, to say the least, and Nur Leha Razali can attest to that.
Having struggled with weight issues since the age of seven, the office worker had turned to countless diet plans and physical activities to shed some kilos - all of which proved futile.
According to Leha, 30, doctors had told her that her weight issues were largely due to genetics, which meant that it was easier for her to gain than lose weight.
It was also difficult for her to shed the kilos because there was "no proper motivation to get up and exercise", she told The New Paper.
But all that changed when a friend invited her for a leisurely jog two years ago. Since then, she made exercise a habit and also watched her diet.
The result? Her weight dropped from 158kg to 133kg - a whopping 25kg.
"My friend, who's an avid runner, was the one who motivated me to walk and run with her. At first, I thought why not just try again?" Leha recalled.
"I didn't focus on losing weight because I really just enjoyed having a friend to work out with.
"Personally, it really makes a lot of difference to have an exercise buddy, especially on days where I didn't feel like moving," she said with a chuckle.
"Having a circle of like-minded people helps a lot."
Seeing that she was on the right track, Leha persisted with her exercise regimen, even when it took a toll on her knees.
She said: "My doctor told me that I had to lose weight so that I won't put too much pressure on my knees, and it was a weird situation for a while because I wanted to exercise but it was too painful.
"But it has definitely made me want to push myself harder because I know that it's for my own good.
"So I've been doing more water activities like aqua aerobics so it'll be easier on my knees."
Taking a holistic approach, Leha also engaged a personal trainer to help her on her fitness journey and monitor her diet.
Besides the satisfaction in watching the scales drop, she revealed that she has also been able to size down her clothing.
"I was at size 6XL before this, and since I managed to lose the 25kg, I can now fit into 3XL or 4XL," she said.
"For Hari Raya, I also managed to find a ready-made baju kurung and it made me very happy because if not, I would usually have to tailor-make.
"So hopefully if I lose more weight, there'll be more choices of clothes I can wear."
Leha has challenged herself further by taking part in the 5km event of this Sunday's Great Eastern Women's Run.
She has also signed up for the organisers' Run To Live Great (RTLG) programme, where 50 women embark on a series of fitness activities such as training runs and yoga in the lead-up to Sunday.
The strong support system formed within the group has allowed Leha to push her limits.
She is aiming to complete the 5km run with a wide smile.
" I just want to enjoy the journey, not give up halfway and, most importantly, complete it with no pain or injury," she said.
Another participant of the RTLG programme, Siti Munira Muhris, also sees the 5km run as a milestone on her road to full recovery.
Munira, a wellness specialist and managing director of a social enterprise, had an accident while riding a motorcycle during a solo trip in Phuket in April. It left her with severe bruises on her arms and legs.
Hoping to complete the run in good form, she said: "I set myself at 5km first, so that I can gauge where I am right now.
"It's a gradual process and, hopefully with time, the recovery process will get easier."