On a mission to tip the scale

Teluk Pandan Kecil, Bako.

As obesity and being overweight rules Malaysians, we are dubbed the fattest country among the Asian countries. Not wanting to contribute to the statistics any longer, Mariah Huzairi is on her way to a healthier lifestyle.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Statistics shared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that Malaysia tops the list as the ‘fattest’ country in Asia and has the second highest child obesity rate among children in Asean. Malaysia has the highest rate of obesity and overweight which accounts for a total of 64 percent of male and 65 percent of the female population.

Meanwhile, the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019 shared that 50.1 percent of adults in Malaysia were either (30.4 percent) overweight or (19.7 percent) obese.

A boat ride at Bako National Park.

The numbers can scare a person, especially if they are part of the statistics, much like 23-year-old Mariah Huzairi. According to her, she has never been ‘small’ her whole life, up until recently.

“I started exercising in January and had lost 15 kilogrammes so far. Despite having a tough routine, I continued because it has always been my dream to lose weight, and I was just so happy with my weight loss.”

Sharing on her weight-loss programme, Mariah said she would workout three hours daily with a two-day rest in a week. “I would jog for one hour, then rest for 30 minutes before hitting the gym. My workout routine usually starts at 5pm, and will be over at 8.30pm.”

Speaking on her diet, Mariah said she is not one to follow strict eating rules. “I eat whatever I like, even junk foods. However, I do feel guilty so I usually exercise afterwards. And I do eat more vegetables than meat now.”

Aside from being motivated to improve her physical appearance, the human resource manager was also motivated to exercise for the sake of her health. Realising the health risks of being obese and overweight, Mariah took the initiative to do things and exercises that she enjoy doing.

Curtain Waterfall, Bengoh Dam.

“I actually started hiking three years ago, but it was only this year that I became more keen on hiking. I would make it a point to hike every weekend,” she disclosed.

Born and raised in Miri, Mariah recalled her first experience hiking, “It was awful and I hated it.

It made me give up in the beginning.” It was not until when she regularly exercise that made her decide to go hiking again.

“Eventually, I fell in love with it. Besides getting myself engaged in physical activities, hiking also helps me in my overall wellbeing,” Mariah said. She regularly hikes up Canada Hill and Lambir Hills National Park in Miri. She also enjoys hiking in Bako, Padawan and Santubong whenever she flies to Kuching. “My favourite place to hike is the Bengoh Range, Padawan, also known as the Jurassic Park of Sarawak with its beautiful view.”

According to Mariah, hiking helps her maintain a healthier lifestyle and is also a much needed stress reducer. “When I hike, not only is it a form of exercise to help me lose weight, it is a great time to recharge and reconnect with yourself. You also get t spend some time with nature, and that is always a good thing.

“The smell of the forest refreshes my mind. I like being in the woods and mountains. And what I love the most about hiking is always the picturesque waterfalls at the end of every journey. It’s truly a sight to behold.”

Recalling her toughest hiking experience, Mariah said that during a trip to Bengoh Dam, Kuching, it rained heavily all of a sudden. “There were many risks of falling as the pathways were slippery. Fortunately, the return route were not steep and although it was hard, we managed to exit the place safely.”

An avid hiker, Mariah would regularly hike with friends who are more experienced. After spending so much time hiking, she would feel guilty if she doesn’t have the time to visit the jungle. “Even though the walk can be tiring, once you’ve reached the intended destination, it will give you an undescribable feelings of joy. I am always so happy to be able to hike.”

Throughout her journey to reach the summit, Mariah shared a lesson she had learned while braving through the tracks. “It may be difficult, but you just have to keep moving on. That’s just like how life is — a long and challenging trail. Although hiking is tiring, every hike is a fun experience. I never regretted starting it.”

Spot the difference: Mariah Huzairi decided that she wants to follow her dreams of losing weight after a whole life struggling with overweight issues.