“If I want to do something, I’ll always put 110% in whatever I do,” Nadiah said.
Deceived by her petite body size, we wouldn’t have discovered Diah’s big dreams until we’ve spoken to her. Be that as it may, she doesn’t call those as her dreams, but plans instead. She has this belief that if one fails to plan, he or she plans to fail.
Raised up in a family with multicultural background, Diah learns to value differences from an early age. She also knows the importance to be in harmony as well as in unity with those around her. Her big-heart and passion to help others has led her to pursue a medical career. She has recently graduated as a doctor from a medical school in the United Kingdom (UK). This coming July, she’ll be going back to the UK to serve as a trainee doctor for two years before deciding on which route she’ll take to be a specialist.
Apart from focusing on her medical career, Diah has another 10-years plan which is to embark on a business idea that no one sees possible, but herself. Unlike any other old folks’ home that can be seen mushrooming everywhere in Malaysia, she plans on starting up a place that the elderly would feel at home. The concept is similar to replicating their home without affecting the 3 important aspects in anyone’s life – quality, privacy, and independence.
“Each and every one of us is independent with most self-care skills. We don’t become less independent as we grow older. When some might have difficulties in it, we still have to ask them to at least try to feed themselves, bathe themselves, and clothe themselves.” Diah stated. Despite knowing that she’ll need a proper big land for this business idea to materialize, she vows to persevere on it. As for now, she is currently on a path to motivate and inspire others to live healthily.
Diah is pretty devoted to fitness even though her first intention was just to relieve stress. She started off her fitness journey in 2013 by jogging for about 20 to 30 minutes a day. Back then, her weight was not consistent and would often fluctuate. When she came upon Kayla Itsines’s fitness guide, she became more discipline to stay on track with her health goals. “Nothing comes easy but determination and discipline will get you there.” Diah admits.
Once she saw the results appearing on her body, it slowly becomes an addiction for her to workout. This is when she pushes herself further to go to gym and try out weightlifting. “I think in this world, anything you want to do is always self-motivation. If you’re not motivated to do it, whoever asks you to do it, you won’t do it,” says Diah.
Her instagram account, @fmebydr, was started not even a year ago. Albeit that, the attention that the account has gathered up till now is astonishing, nearly 2000 followers from all over the world!
Through this online community, she does not only feel motivated by everyone else’s progress, advices, tips and tricks, she also gets to incite others with her posts that consists of appetizing dishes, from breakfast, lunch, snacks to dinner, together with its recipes.
She showed that meal prep and clean eating is not a challenge. Her generosity in sharing her knowledge has given her a chance to be the ambassador of a well-being product.
LEFT: IRA by Twenty3 Bridesmaids Collection; RIGHT: MOVE by Twenty3 (Launching Soon)
At this point of her life, she is trying and doing her best in every career path – medical, business, and fitness. As time passes by, she’ll soon discover which will work the best for her.“Try to love yourself more now because you’ll love it even more in the future. If you don’t love yourself more now, you wouldn’t even want to make yourself better. If you start loving yourself, then you will do whatever it takes to improve yourself. It’s always the positive vibes that we need to foster.” - Nadiah.
The weight-loss business is a multibillion dollar industry. Every year, women subject themselves to fad diets, funny pills, and fat-burning electric belts in pursuit of an ever-changing notion of an “ideal” body size. At the end of the week, we pray to our weighing scales, hoping for that little needle to move just a smidge lower than what it showed last week. And when it doesn’t, we slink away and gorge on ice-cream to cheer ourselves up.
“Back then, the weighing scale was my television – I was glued to it. I thought I had a good idea of what my ideal weight was supposed to be, so I often went on crash diets,” explains Sherlyn Tan, founder of Twenty3. Uncomfortable in her own skin and often picked on for her size in school, she suffered from low self-esteem, equating her weight with what she perceived as how people judged her. Although it is a common fear among women, Sherlyn went a step farther than most, resorting to just eating a single egg and a bowl of Campbell’s soup every meal, to the point of collapse – her father carried her in his arms to the nearest clinic when she fainted one day.
“That was my life for years. My weight would balloon up and crash down frequently, often with a 10kg swing each time. I thought it was normal,” says Sherlyn. That was until she was hospitalized with dengue in February 2015. Vomiting daily, her weight quickly fell away. There was also the mental burden of leaving her rapidly-growing business on its own, as well as the emotional depths when she came under attack from cyberbullies who called her a fraud and a slut, among other things. “That was absolutely the lowest point in my life, and I just wanted to end it all.”
She was discharged a week later, at her lightest weight in all her life, but a physical and emotional wreck. “I hated how weak and lowly I felt, so defenceless and allowing myself to be trampled by a mosquito and a bunch of anonymous bullies. I wanted to change all that, but didn’t know how,” says Sherlyn.
A month after, fully recovered, she tagged along to her first gym session with her boyfriend. It was an eye-opener, and while digging deeper into the world of fitness, she discovered Instagram fitness sensation, Kayla Itsines, and her world-famous Bikini Body Guide (BBG). “I’m a very structured and regimented person, so having a guide really helped me. The community aspect of it was also very encouraging, and they all shared their progress pics, which inspired me further,” she explains. “I wanted to look like those girls – fit, lean and happy.”
Sherlyn started her Instagram account, @sherlyn_fitness, to keep up with the BBG community and to keep herself on track. Her single-mindedness pushed her to keep improving each day, with the memory of her lowest point driving her on. She knew her mind would make excuses each morning, so she started sleeping in her workout clothes, sometimes even with her ponytail, so that she could jump out of bed and straight to the gym!
Her Instagram account grew quickly, attracting support from like-minded people from around the world who love to work out. “It’s a two-way thing – I share my workout routines and my clean-eating meals to help educate and advocate a healthy lifestyle, and the encouragement from my followers inspires me to go further!” she says.
Fellow Malaysian devotees of the BBG phenomenon began congregating on her Instagram. This gave her a lightbulb moment to hold the very first BBG community meet-up session in Malaysia. “I'm an ultra-introvert, and especially just recovering from the lowest point in my life, it was extremely difficult to get myself to do anything like this. However, I knew I had to overcome it just like my previous challenges – the small victories do count!”
The first BBG meetup was held in October 2015 at KLCC Park, spread out over 2 weekends to accommodate over 100 girls! Boyfriends, sisters and even mothers of the BBG girls were present too to show their support.
She has organized BBG meetups each month when able, paying from her own pocket to rent gyms and once, even to host a clean eating meetup and discussion. The response has been overwhelming from women all over Malaysia, and once, even a Singaporean virtually took part in the workout!
OUR FIRST EVER MALAYSIA PINK @kayla_itsines BBG MEET UP VIDEO TEASER! I can't wait for this Saturday part 2 meet up and combine both group photos & videos already! Im so happy seeing these video! I'll be posting this video on our FACEBOOK PAGE : BBGMY so you may grab it from there! Special thanks to @titus_tjt for helping us with this! ??????#bbggirls #bbgmy #bbgmalaysia #bbgmeetup #bbg #fitness #healthy @kayla_itsines @bbg_my @bbgmeetup #bbgvideochallenge #sweatwithkayla
Within these few months of healthy living, Sherlyn realized the importance of the adage, ‘mind over matter.’ “It's our mind that limits us. My advice to those looking to start fitness is the same as what I tell every budding entrepreneur – don’t overthink it. You don’t have to be great to start, you just have to start to be great. Go ahead and test your limits, then break them.”
Inspired by her own fitness journey, she created a new sportswear line called MOVE by Twenty3. “New, cute workout outfits – especially sports bras – always pump me up! I wanted to create a line that was equal parts functional and fashionable. Most big sportswear companies neglect the latter,” she explains.
"As for the name MOVE, I hope more people realize that fitness isn’t a destination. It’s not a bikini body, it’s not a flat tummy, it’s not a number on your weighing scale – once you’ve achieved those goals, it becomes easy to lose the initial motivation. Fitness is about motion, the movement, and the journey. I started my journey because I wanted to be as slim as what society demanded, but now I just want to be better and stronger than I was yesterday. The last time I stepped on my weighing scale, I was 5 kgs heavier than before I fell sick due to my growing muscles. But when I look in the mirror and at the things I am able to do with my body now, I realize that I really don’t care about my weight anymore. I just want to keep moving and breaking my limits!”
Note: MOVE by Twenty3 is launching in Atria Shopping Gallery on the 19th of March 2016!
The next BBG meetup is happening on April 2, 2016 at Bangkung Park, Bangsar. If you’d like to be a part of a warm, friendly, and supportive community of MOVERS, drop Sherlyn a DM @sherlyn_fitness. Beginners are absolutely welcome!