My struggle with weight loss has been a long and tiring one. I’m not so different from thousands of other girls around the world who constantly think they could do with a few pounds off the hips. But, I think I’m writing this for me, really. Because after, I don’t know, 10 years of fighting with my weight, I feel a need to chronologize my weight loss attempts.
Weight has always been an important factor in my life. When I was young, my relatives, you know, being Chinese, constantly called my sisters and me skinny, always putting food in our plates at the dining table and forcing us to eat loads. It made me feel really good to be called skinny. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was media messages, maybe it was the tone that my relative would use – but skinny had always been god.
Somewhere between 10 and 13, I started to think I was fat. Looking back, I wasn’t. I wasn’t skinny anymore, but I was definitely not fat. In fact, I had never been clinically overweight, yet I’ve spent most of my life thinking that I was.
I’m not sure if it was the pressure of entering secondary school, or if it was just puberty, but I started to get really affected by my appearance. I don’t know how, but I found out about Xanga webrings and a whole community of anorexics. They were support groups of sorts, cheering each other on, giving each other tips, keeping each other going on their fasts, calorie counting, weight loss progress etc.
So I started my own Xanga and I found myself part of that community. I think it was the first time where I witnessed strangers giving each other virtual pats on the backs, and knowing that people were interested in my life was a great feeling.
The bulk of our blogs were on weight loss: how many calories we ate that day, how much we exercised to offset those calories, how our bodies were reacting, how much weight we’ve lost since we started etc. But from time to time we would talk about personal issues. Parents divorcing, fights with our parents, getting bullied, quarrels with friends at school. And somehow all these issues would always link back to us being fat and how if we lost some weight, everything would be okay again. It’s like no matter what got us down, and things always got us down, we knew we had our weight loss regime and that made us feel a whole lot better.
It was then that my weight would see-saw alot. Never enough to be noticed. But it gave me a sense of control I really enjoyed. If my weight went up, I would get upset, but I would tell myself “it went up because I let go. I still have control over this”. And it’s something I still tell myself today.
When I was 15, I got really involved in my school co-curricular activity. And I was really happy during that time. I had really good friends, and I was doing okay in school. So I deleted my Xanga account and lived life “normally”. I started putting on weight then, but I had such great friends that I never really was bothered if I was fat or not. I didn’t feel judged, and our time together was mostly jokes and laughs. It was great.
Time went on and weight wasn’t much of an issue anymore. Sure, I would feel the need to diet once in a while but it never seriously bothered me. Then after secondary school came Junior College. And I got my first boyfriend. The most fucked up relationship I ever had.
We loved to eat, he and I, and it was both our first times dating. So we ate well, maybe too well.
Until one day, he told me, seemingly out of nowhere, “Hey XX told me that you’re kind of fat. She asked me to tell you to do something about it.”
Well, he must’ve agreed because why else would he tell me?
That’s when I went crazy a little, I think. By then I had dropped out of junior college and entered polytechnic, in possibly the most superficial course ever invented: Mass Communications.
So that, plus the already fucked up relationship we had, and the fact that his friend had told him to tell me to do something about my weight, yeah I went a little crazy.
I dropped 9 kg in 3 months. I picked up smoking, started drinking. And food was no longer important to me. I’d smoke when I got hungry. I’d go days without food. I had weeks where I lived on half portion meals each day. No, not half portions per meal. Half a portion a day.
When I started I was 55kg at 163cm, an average weight at an average height. 3 months later I was 46kg. My parents told me I looked like I was on drugs. But that wasn’t a big deal, I felt. This was Singapore. Everyone’s fucking skinny. I wasn’t even skinny then. I thought 46kg was the average weight for my height, and I still sort of do. 55kg the average weight? Pft. 46kg was just right, a little too much even.
I would’ve continued trying to lose weight, but, thankfully that relationship ended, and I think that was when I started eating again. I found another boyfriend, with whom I started eating more. And I maintained my weight at 48-49kg for a while, though I would hit 50 once in a while and freak the fuck out, falling into bouts of not eating for days or breaking into running phases. And somewhere along the way I started puking. Not excessively, but enough to keep my weight down. And still, I never figured out if there was something wrong there. And I think the saddest thing was that no one really knew, and even if they did, no one would know what to do. If there was anything to do, or if they should.
So it went that way for a while. I’d be 48 kg and I’d be happy. But my weight would inadvertently climb up to 50kg and I would go nuts, dieting til I hit 48 again. Rinse and repeat.
Eventually though, I stopped it. Once and for all. That was when I got together with Tim 1.5 years ago. Which means it’s been 1.5 years since I’ve been on a “fast” or a diet of any kind.
One reason is that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. And another, was an incident that happened when we started dating. At the time, I was on a fast, skipping meals for days at a time… And one day I fainted on a bus while with him.
Through my years of dieting or whatever, I had always told myself that I wasn’t harming my body cos I’ve always felt fine. I actually told myself “If I don’t faint. I’m fine” because I honestly never ever thought I would ever faint.
But I did.
And that sort of ended my crazed dieting once and for all. Surely I had no reason to lose weight? I was still at 48kg, which I was confortable with, I had a boyfriend who loved me unconditionally, and clothes looked good on me. There was no reason to lose weight.
But here we are 1.5 years later. Often times I wonder if I should go back to my old ways. To be honest, it felt great. To feel thin, to feel beautiful, to feel in control. But now that I”m older, and hopefully a little saner, eating so little is kind of scary to attempt again.
But I always wonder if I don’t continue doing that, would my weight keep climbing until one day I’ll be that fatty that kids laughed at on the bus?
1.5 years and I’m almost back at the highest weight I’ve ever been. Erasing the years of dieting that I put myself through. And I’m not sure if it’s okay or not.
Right now I just feel fat as fuck, and I dread the day when someone will come up to me, telling me I’m a little pudgy and to “go do something about it” But I think sooner or later, it’s going to happen.
And I just wonder when will it end? When will I finally break out of this cycle of dieting and binging and eating normally? Is that now? And if it does end, when will the fear of being called fat ever go away? Do I want it to go away?
So many questions. And I have no answer. All I know is that the allure of extreme dieting has always called out to me and now it’s calling out to me more strongly that ever before. Part of me doesn’t want to answer, but a bigger part of me really really does. But what I’m really looking for is the right answer, that I really don’t have. Who ever said adults had all the answers :/ It’s almost like I was 17 again.