About Fitness, Body Image And Insecurities

Now that we Malaysians are forced to be stuck at home due to the government's forceful implementation of partial lockdown (Movement Control Order), I have had a lot of time to reflect and look at myself, I mean, seriously look at myself. The other day, after the failed attempt to shoot a self-portrait for Raya greeting, I went ahead and took some fun shots of myself in the process. And it got me thinking about my own small fitness journey and body image issues. 

When you are in the gym and you work out next to a 15 years old boy with bigger biceps, you start to question your entire existence. 

Recently, I get increasing amount of comments on my YouTube as well as messages via the FB page on how much fitter and healthier I look. Yes, I have lost weight, and I have a slimmer build now. As flattering and as ego-boosting the comments were, I don't feel any different, and I don't think I feel any better at all. I want to unpack some my thoughts in this blog article. 

Since January I have been on a strict regimen to get fitter. We had a second lockdown then, and considering the fact that I had a bit more time, I thought why not put it to good use and start to get in better shape? So started I lifted a bit of weights, did a bit of run in the park, nothing serious, and really watched what I put into my body. It worked, and I did lose weight, not that much though, I think in a span of 4 months (January to May) I lost maybe about 7-8 Kg, so nothing too drastic or life-changing happened. It was at a comfortable, natural, normal pace. I think some time in April, people started commenting on the change they noticed. 

People say losing weight is hard. I don't think that is true. It all depends on how much you want it, and how far you are willing to go to get it. I am not saying you will be happy achieving your goals in fitness. There will always be sacrifices and costs to every thing you want. 

I still wear the same sized shirts (usually L or XL, depending on cuts) but now I opted for sports micro-fiber fabrics. I can hear environmental zealots screaming at me on how those micro particles can be carried to the oceans and.. let's not go there. I personally prefer to wear cotton but the sweat due to humidity and heat in this tropical insanely hot and unforgiving Malaysian sun... I just sweat buckets whether I am filming outdoor or indoor, indoor is a lot worse if you ask me. Oops, I have diverted from what I wanted to say, have I not?

Maybe if I use full frame, my arms would grow bigger? Does it work that way?

Camera too light to be used as dumbbells, but I guess small cameras, small arms. 

Sometimes, I think other people care about how I look more than I care about my own looks. And that scares me. 

Anyways, back to the point I was trying to make - I still wear the same sized shirts, but the pants have shrunk quite a bit. From size 36-38, I am now fitting comfortably into size 30-32, though I still wear size 33, just in case I decided to change my mind about my fitness journey and started binging on chips and fried chicken again one day. Who knows, anything can happen. The lockdown has not been kind to anyone. I must admit though, there is a certain rush of satisfaction about being able to fit into that skinny jeans, or smaller sized pants - I guess it makes me feel a bit more normal again.

I have always been insecure about how I look. I think most people are. That is the reason why cosmetic, plastic surgery, and all kinds of body enhancement supplements/modifications industry are thriving. We are being preyed on, our insecurities feed those multi-billion dollar industry promising enhanced look, even if the look is temporary. I guess we should acknowledge that - hey just accept how you look will not work, if it works, we won't live in this body-shaming and body image insecure society today. 

Am I happy about myself, and where I am today? No, not really. I think fitness is a constant fight, and body image insecurities won't go away, the problem is rooted deep into my own psychology and I probably will never be satisfied and happy with what I was born with, or have accomplished no matter how hard I try. Knowing this, then what is the point fighting? Why work so hard, not to be happy? That is an interesting question. I guess it is better to fight and fail, than not trying at all. I know I will never go anywhere with this journey, but at least it is a journey. It does not have to have a destination, and I will decide to stop, when finally I get too tired to go on. For now, I shall just keep going, and see where this takes me. 

I don't think I have the time, resources and mental capacity to pursue fitness at full force. Like go to gym every day, and not eat cheat meals. I don't think the benefits at the end outweighs the sacrifices and costs. I still want to eat fried chicken, nasi lemak, and cheese cakes. I don't think I can give up ice-creams. Or wake up at 5am to run. Hell no. 

On another note, I did have fun shooting self portraits. Olympus E-M5 Mark III on the tripod, and my favourite 25mm F1.2 PRO lens. One light - LED with large softbox. I contemplated on using flash instead, but I got lazy. Well, it was just me and the darling tripod, during these pandemic/lockdown (again and again) cycles, who can you ask to take photos of yourself?

Now that we are in the middle of lockdown again, I thought I'd pen down more personal thoughts, and share a bit more about myself. I mean, what else is there to do really?

Please support me & keep this site going:


  1. Congratulations. I am not one of those people who lived to exercise. I exercised to live better. Weight may not change much but it will change to muscle. At 70 now it all payed off when I had cancer and my body was strong enough to help fight it. It also invisibly affects heart rate and blood pressure. Which allowed me to have a surgery immediately instead of waiting until my body was built up to survive. The benefits will not always be apparent at the time.

    1. Glad that fitness has helped you with your life! And wow, you survived cancer, that is no small feat, more power to you. Thanks for sharing, and appreciate the support.

  2. Happy to see your transformation within such short period of time! Stay healthy together buddy

    1. Tian Chad! Miss hanging out with you. Hope the MCO is over, we can go do some shooting together.

  3. If you want to go slim w/o efforts, just use a wide angle lens :-) !
    If you take it earnest: Due to a health issue I had to start with sports , and I am feeling better than 10 yrs ago ... what a difference pants size going from 34 to 30 makes health wise ... just keep up with your current fitness!

    1. But then the wide angle also gives you weird face and bloated nose, also short legs, which is a no no!