She goes from 8XL to 5XL and feels liberated

While her peers weighed at least 40kg in their teens, local comedienne-scriptwriter Haryani Othman was already hovering between 60kg and 80kg.

She has always been plus-size and has a larger-than-life stage and on-screen personality to match.

In 2013, the 37-year-old was featured in a three-episode web reality show, Yakult Klinik Kita: Edisi Makeover, which tracked her weight loss efforts.

But in January, Haryani made the decision to undergo a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure that removed part of her stomach to curb her food intake.

Documenting her journey on her blog (, she decided to go ahead with the surgery when her weight started to affect her health.

"I had never felt so handicapped - I was prone to asthma, had bad water retention and couldn't even bend my knees.

"After a trip to the US, I had high blood pressure and my doctor recommended the procedure as an option," she told The New Paper. At her heaviest, she weighed 168kg.

Since the surgery, she has lost 30kg and aims to hit 100kg. Her dress size dropped from 8XL to 5XL. But there were challenges.

In the beginning, she often felt weak.

She can eat only about four spoonfuls of food a day and drink a litre of water.

She could previously finish a plate of rice with a second helping, but now, she finds it hard to eat rice and will throw up.

Still, she is thankful she managed to fulfil her wish of performing the optional religious act of umrah or small pilgrimage last month.

Said Haryani: "I can't describe the feeling (of being able to prostrate during prayers).

Each time I performed my prayers in Mecca and Medina, I will cry (out of happiness because I couldn't bend my knees before)."

Now, she no longer has high blood pressure and she feels more agile.

She added: "I feel liberated and I am thankful I have a strong support system in my family and my husband."

This article was first published on June 23, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.