Battling Weight Woes

By June Ramli

Personality Datuk Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid was never really obese throughout her life but like many women, things soon changed when she gave birth to her third child, daughter Sofeea in 2009.

Two years later, Nurul realized that her weight had spiraled out of control and she did everything under the sun to curb it.

“My problem was that I had a sweet tooth. I loved desserts, ice-creams, and that made me gain weight,” she told in an interview recently. 

Although she did try to lose the weight naturally, Nurul said her eating habits had always gotten in the way.

Nurul at her heaviest. Standing at 100kgs in 2011. Photo: Supplied.

“I also couldn’t see any immediate results due to my slip disc and knee problem and that was when I decided to go for the weight-loss operation,” she said.

By operation, she meant sleeve gastrectomy.

A quick Google search reveals that sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 15 percent of its original size, involving the removal of a large portion of the stomach along the greater curvature.

“I felt that as a mother of three young children, I needed to be active and run around with my children. 

“That’s when I realized I needed to do something about my weight,” she said.

Nurul said during her initial consultation with the doctor, she was looking at a possible liposuction procedure but decided against it.

“I just wanted to be healthy for the sake of my children and it wasn’t really for vanity,” she reiterated. 

In the end, Nurul decided to go for a weight-loss operation which was then pretty new to many Malaysians.

“Before going for the operation I did a lot of research,” she said.

There was one Youtuber from the UK that Nurul had followed through diligently for six months.

“She was overweight and then she did the sleeve gastronomy operation and managed to lose the weight,” she said.

By the time Nurul was ready to be operated on she was already weighing 100 kg.

“I was obese even though I was standing at 167cm,” she said.

Looking back, she said the operation was life-saving.

“I noticed that my high cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes were no longer there,” she said.

“Of course giving birth is harder but this one was equally painful too.

“The procedure was just like what I saw on Youtube. It was a laparoscopic procedure but it was quite stressful,” she said.

Nurul at 58kgs. Photo: Supplied.

However, the worst thing happened after the operation, when she was placed in a normal ward with multiple tubes coming out from her nose, mouth, and stomach.

“They did this to ensure that all the access blood was removed. 

“I remember feeling stressed and I told the doctor to put me to sleep as I didn’t want to feel stressed,” she said. 

Nurul said those wanting to go through the operation should be mentally prepared for the procedure.

But despite the experience, Nurul doesn’t regret the decision and was considering revisiting the procedure soon.

She also said in the first three months of the procedure she had lost 8kgs followed by 40kgs within two years.

“I was 58kgs at one time, ” said Nurul.

But, Nurul remembers the days after the operation had a lot of getting used to.

“I couldn’t eat like before. If I did, I will immediately throw up,” she said.

So, Nurul resorted to eating porridge, mashed potatoes, or baby food.

“I would go to functions and only just drink. I was unable to eat anything, ” she said.

But Nurul said her stomach expanded to its normal size after 10 years which was something the doctor had told her to expect.

“I am now about 83 kgs and I am back to being on the heavier side which is why I am reconsidering this operation. It is more expensive now, almost double the amount I paid in 2011, ” she said.

“I am also eating normally and my stomach is no longer rejecting any food.

Asked if the operation had brought about any side effects. 

‘Yes, I can no longer eat spicy food without having Gaviscon. I used to love eating spicy food but I just can’t anymore.”  

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