weight loss journey malaysia

Everything I Paid For During My 10-Year Weight Loss Journey

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I grew up fat. Or as my family calls it, ‘sihat’. I was the biggest in size in primary and secondary school. At my highest, my weight was almost 100kg. I was 20 years old then.

Now, 10 years later, my weight hovers around 75-78kg. My lowest weight ever was 72kg, right before I stopped keto diet. I think it takes this long because half the time I’m still unlearning bad habits accumulated over the years.

I’ve been taking fitness and weight loss seriously for about 3 years now and lost the bulk of the weight during this time. I have to stress that even before that I was non-stop dieting and trying to lose weight, but admittedly my attitude towards it was just warm-warm-chicken-shit. Now, I’m happy with my progress, but I know my fitness and weight loss journey is far from over. Someday I’ll hit the 60s range, just you wait.

To be honest, the slow progress frustrates me. I just want a nice body and be ‘the hot girl’ already. It takes all my willpower to consciously stop all the negative self-talk and remind myself of the progress over the years. That was also the main inspiration behind the [Personal] I Never Imagined Exercise Would Help My Career and Income, Until It Did article – I reread this piece every time I need a reminder of how far I’ve come.

How to save money on weight loss in Malaysia

Obviously, as a personal finance enthusiast, I’ve read the shit out of these ‘save money on weight loss’ types of articles. You’ve read these too, right? Most people do want to lose weight and/or get fit.

But, like, can I admit something?

I find that doing only the free/cheap options didn’t work??

My weight loss journey pretty much looks like this:

  1. Try the free/cheap options
  2. Get frustrated. Try the paid/more expensive options
  3. Stick with what I enjoy and stop paying for the rest, after much trial and error

I’m so jealous of the people who managed to skip (2). That means they genuinely enjoyed the free/cheap options they tried, like ‘run at the local park’ or ‘follow free classes on Youtube’ or ‘run up and down the stairs at your condo’. The free options simply didn’t bring me enjoyment – something I’ve realised an important element in this whole weight loss journey.

What I’ve learned is: the only way to successfully lose weight is to try a bunch of things and stick with the ones that you enjoy. That applies to both fitness and diet.

This post is all about the process of trying out different things and estimating how much they cost, what I’m sticking to now, and what I’m keen to try out. There are three major categories of things I spent on: fitness classes/memberships, fitness attire and accessories, and food and supplements. Let’s get into them.

#1 – Fitness classes/memberships

What I’ve tried:

  • Karate class. Can’t remember the cost for this one, was ages ago. Martial arts was fun, but I also twisted my knee unfortunately. Years later the pain never quite went away.
  • Following Youtube exercise videos. I’d try them once but got bored very quickly.
  • Crossfit classes. RM120/month. Enjoyed it and even though I moved away from this particular gym, I still incorporate Tabata in my workouts now.
  • Fitness bootcamp. RM50 or so for 10 classes. Bought from a Groupon (now Fave) deal ages ago. I stopped going after 3 classes or so.
  • Personal training sessions. It was RM1000 for 10 sessions and was… OK. I think my form improved but they definitely tried to get me buy more sessions during my session. I didn’t like that part.
  • Gym memberships. I’ve paid for a RM120/month gym and enjoyed the yoga/dance classes in addition to the other facilities.
  • Condo gym and swimming pool. Free at my condo. Facilities are super limited, but at least it’s there. Cannot complain.

What I’m doing now:

  • I spend RM80/month for membership at a weight-training gym in Subang. There’s a reason why it’s low – it’s a special promo price for ladies (apparently it used to be called ‘the testosterone gym’ because only gymbros go there lmao)

What I’m keen to try out:

  • Those gym class passes thing. KFit and Classpass would be so fun to try out. I’ve always wanted to try those fancy classes like spin and aeriel and barre and all that.

#2 – Fitness attire and accessories

What I’ve bought:

  • Basic fitness attire. For me, basic fitness attire means sports bra, leggings, socks and shoes, that’s it. I’ve tried a few brands over the years, and some definitely stand out more than others. Estimated spending for this category alone would be around RM1000+.
  • Attempts to make workouts more ‘fun and varied’. Yoga mat. Foam roller. Skipping rope. Weight training gloves. Hmm that was less than I thought.

What I use now:

  • Lots of Nike products. I hate to say it, but I’m a Nike convert. All the ones I’ve tried works well, looks good and lasts long. I refuse to buy leggings, sports bras, sports shoes and socks from other brands now.

What I’m keen to try out:

  • Cute gym tank tops. I want them but I don’t want to pay RM100+ for them, you know? So I just wear my RM5-10 tank tops to the gym. Whatever la I look damn ugly at the gym anyway.
  • Gym bags. Thanks companies that give free tote bags
  • Home gym kits. Was super tempted to buy weights from Decathlon and build my own home gym.

#3 – Food and Supplements

What I’ve tried:

  • Many, many types of diet. I’ve restricted my calorie count in more ways than I care to admit. The cost is reflected in my groceries bill.
  • Weight loss pills. Yup, I’ve tried them. Some make your heart rate go super high. Some make you shit oil. Maybe wasted RM500, all in all. Waste of money – gained back all the weight I’ve lost.
  • Meal replacements. I’ve tried a few brands, including Herbalife. Also a waste of money.
  • Detox tea. Same – waste of money.

What I take now:

  • Protein shake. I’m quite loyal to MyProtein’s Chocolate Smooth protein powder, I think it’s delicious af. The price is good too. RM150ish for 100 servings is just RM1.50 on average per serving. That’s the price (and protein macros) of 3 jumbo eggs, more or less.
  • Chia seeds. Only when I don’t think I’m eating enough fiber. RM45 per kilo or so from Lazada. They last me a long time – maybe 6 months or more.
  • Fish oil capsules. RM100 for 330 caps during a Guardian sale. I heard it’s good for you but not sure if it works tbh. I think I’ll just finish my stock now and make the decision to repurchase or not later.

What I’m keen to try out:

  • Hypnosis or therapy to help me with overeating. Unfortunately, I equate feeling full = comfort. I may eat healthy, but I eat a LOT of healthy, if you know what I mean. Would love to hire a professional to help me develop a healthier relationship with food.

What did you try out during your weight loss journey?

Share with us what you tried out during your weight loss and fitness journey. What was cheap but good? What was expensive but didn’t work? Likewise, share too what was cheap but didn’t work and what was expensive but worked. Help me share this article to that one friend of yours who lost a bunch of weight – would LOVE to hear what worked for them, what they spend on, and what they want to try next.

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  1. One of the neurosemantics technique I’ve seen work (though never tried it myself, because I wasn’t ready to give up) was this technique that turned people off their favourite foods.

    It was a reassociation type of technique, and worked only on foods you *liked*, because apparently we can’t trick our minds into liking what we choose not to like lol. The technique worked by identifying one type of food you thought you liked/overindulged in, and works to turn you off that food so you’d consume less of it. I’ve seen people who like ice-cream get turned off after this technique, with one person walking away to vomit (and this was a good half-hour after they tried the technique, so it seems to work?).

    How effective was it with the diets later is another matter entirely.

    1. Hi Patricia,

      How fascinating! I wonder if it works with a few types of food, or a category (ie fried food). Will look up more info about it, thanks for sharing!

      Btw, nice website you have there!

  2. Interesting read. I can relate as we all have trial & error moments in our weight loss attempts. I finally found out that what works for me is daily intermittent fasting & 30 mins weight loss treadmills session with a cheat day or two. I lost slightly more than 10kg with this routine for about 3 months, only to gain back those weights once I slacked. I also use this golden mantra of “Less input, more output” (eat less, workout more) to curb my appetite whenever I feel like over-indulging. Cheat days too are important & integral to maintain performance streaks and to avoid burnouts. The revenge on day after cheat day can also be used as fuel to push performance.

    1. Hi StazOne,

      Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂 Good to know IF works for you. I can’t seem to get myself on it.

      I really like the term revenge day, I think I’ll adopt it. Cheat days make me feel SO guilty.

  3. Hi Suraya,

    First of all, I feel you! The struggle to lose weight, establish a healthy relationship with food, spending money on expensive programs, etc. All of the above.

    I’ve tried:
    1) Gyms – signed up a total of 3x at 3 different gyms over the last 15 years. Only 1 of them stuck for about 1.5 years. Wasted money, especially on the other 2. Many reasons why it didn’t stick with me; no motivation, didn’t like gym atmosphere, didn’t know what to do, etc.

    2) Bootcamp – enjoyed it for 3 months or so, then I started getting sick from lack of rest (I went for the 5.45am sessions). Injured from being too competitive. Then I stopped altogether, because it wasn’t worth it.

    3) KFit – signed up at introduction in 2015. Enjoyed unlimited classes, then it got scaled down to 10 classes per month. Still paid intro price of RM99 (yay!) right until I cancelled it early 2018 because I hadn’t been going for any classes for a few months due to a personal setback.

    Currently on ClassPass since Oct 2018 when they offered the first month for free with substantial credits for you to go for a class almost everyday! More premium studios than KFit. They have since increased their price, so now it works out to only slightly cheaper than if you were to sign up at individual studios, but it still gives you the flexibility of going to multiple studios without committing to just one, so there’s that. If you don’t have a promo code yet, I hope you’ll use my link; http://class.ps/kuB6n. 😀

    I’m also working on my relationship with food, but in the end I don’t punish myself. I eat for fuel, with a little indulgence occasionally. I try to do Intermittent Fasting on most days, just to give the system a rest. I’ve tried diets in the past like Dukan, Keto, etc, but they’ve all worked out for only about a month or so. I don’t see them happening in the long run for me nor do I have interest in them anymore. Just trying to live a happy life, doing things I enjoy. You might want to read up on Intuitive Eating, which I found to be quite helpful. It’s really a no-brainer, but sometimes we just need reminders in different forms I guess.

    Good luck!

    1. Hi Syaz,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve never heard of dukan diet – that’s a new one. Re: intuitive eating – I love the idea, but find it hard to maintain, cepat je lupa. But I will try. Trying different things is part of the fun 🙂

      Hope your injury from the bootcamp was not that bad and all the best with your journey from here on!

  4. I’m doing intermittent fasting + account for my calorie intakes. No sugar, minimal carb.
    Simple 12:12.. Eat from 7am till 7pm, with calorie intake per day below 1500.
    Simple full body workout and planks.

    Slow progress.. But damn cheap and i don’t need to beat myself to achieve it.

    I’ve done the whole gym buff, protein shake method before.. Worked fast and once i stopped, i gained twice as fast.

    So, lesson learned.. Its ok to go slow as long healthy.

  5. Run 5km a day (free), make sure to do at least 30mins of functional stretches (YouTube), do 1.5 hrs of muay Thai 5 days a week (rm480 for 3months), eat clean + intermittent fasting (no sugar, low carbs, high protein diet – cheaper than usual food cost by half). My partner was 97kg when I met him and now he’s 78kg doing these.

    He also had slipped disc when I met him so we spent about rm800 on his chiropractic and physiotherapy care for about 6 months.

  6. For cheap gym/sportswear and cute tank tops, visit SportsDirect.com. Highly recommend buying Adidas shoes rather than Nike anyday as there’s more sole support. They last longer as well. Reebok has really good sports bra support compared to Nike. Also, if you want cheap sports bra, USA Sports beat Nike anyday by quality and price (RM35 for 1)

    1. Idk my Adidas shoes died on me after a year plus. I guess it may be a luck thing :/ Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. I’ve been on two weight loss journeys – once in 2015, and am currently in one (5 weeks in, but still long way to go to reach healthy target weight lah.)

    I know that personally I am not easily motivated to exercise by myself – will get bored, get my form wrong, and ‘cheat’ on how many reps I’m doing. Most days, I need the accountability of exercising with someone else/a group of people to keep myself motivated. So all the ‘aiya just save money and workout at home’ advice isn’t effective for me.

    For 2015 I joined a fit club run by a popular MLM that sells shakes (won’t name them here). About 200+/month commitment, the shakes are alright but kinda bland. But what I did like is the social element of doing HIIT/Tabata style workouts with a group of people.

    I left the group after about 4 months (can’t afford it back then, still a student) and worked out on my own, running 4-5x a week with several ‘running buddies’ and did a low carb/sugar/ high protein diet. Lost more weight doing that than when I was in the fit club (but wasn’t toned cos I didn’t work my arms or other parts of the body)

    Became sedentary and gained a lot of weight after 3 years of working, so I’m currently participating in a fitness challenge by a gym that does group HIIT/Tabata style workouts. The challenge wasn’t cheap (RM1500) but I am seeing improvements not just in weight, but overall energy levels and health. The challenge came with personal coaching, food diaries, classes on proper form etc – and the support I’m getting makes me feel that the money was worth it to kickstart my journey back to fitness.

    Once the challenge is over – will probably go for the cheapest membership option in this gym (about 200++/month, 8 class credits) and supplement with runs on other days. Also join hikes/badminton/bowling etc with friends when they happen. Food – I try to meal prep most days, helps me to stick to healthier foods + eating out where I work is expensive anyway.

    1. Hi Debs,

      Thanks for sharing your weight loss journey here. You’re right about the needing support to persevere through weightloss/fitness routine – that’s something that is sometimes worth paying for!

      All the best with your journey. You just inspired me to find my own support system too. I’m been lax of late!

  8. I really feel you, Suraya! I struggled with being chubby in my teen years and 20s, and although I’ve never tried diets like Keto, Atkins, etc (I love food too much!), I have experimented a lot with fitness.

    So far, I’ve given the regular gym (where I hired a personal trainer for a bit), kickboxing, pilates, yoga, bootcamp, CrossFit and HiiT classes a go, and for long periods too. I stuck each of these for between 3-5 years each.

    I got so serious about fitness that I worked at a fitness magazine, then got certified as a personal trainer and sports nutrition coach myself, simply because I wanted to be more in control of my workouts and meals.

    No matter what form of fitness I happened to be doing, I can tell you this: Losing weight successfully is 85% building good eating habits and 15% being consistent with being active (building more muscle helps).

    Sadly, there’s no shortcut, and if you think you’ve found one, it’s never sustainable for more than a couple of months at a time.

    Right now, what’s working for me is intermittent fasting, watching my portions and just moving more throughout the day. I don’t cut out carbs, but I do make it a point to eat moderate portions. Fitness-wise, I just finished a 9-month stint at an indoor bootcamp, so I’m on a 2-month break while I figure out what I want to try next.

    I say don’t sweat it — just keep things simple and try different activities until you find something that you can see yourself keeping to in the long-term 🙂

    1. Hi Michele,

      Wow, you really did experiment a lot. I’ve never heard of a 9-month indoor bootcamp too – what is that?

      Thanks for your advice and encouragement 🙂 It’s hard to build good habits but I do believe this is the best form of self-care for myself!

      1. Hey Suraya! I just meant that I went there for 9 months 😀 I was starting to get bored with the routine though, so I’m on the hunt for something different to try. And yes! It’s all about the habits.

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