Am I a Writer?

There are countless times I decided to keep a diary. I thought it was pretty cool to put pen to paper and let my thoughts flow, seamlessly. However, as romantic as that sounds, it was never the case for me. I used to struggle and get frustrated. I’d tear out the pages from my beautiful diary, ruining it in the process. Then I’d just chuck the whole diary away because who wants to write in a hideous, torn book?

Then I started blogging on Blogger.com, detailing every aspect of my Junior College life. I had fun doing that and it was never a problem for me to come up with something. I was always getting into trouble in JC so it was easy to narrate my daily events. And, I had a best friend who was always away on chemotherapy in India and I never wanted him to feel left out. So writing had a purpose then. I wanted him to know every detail of my life, of what I have been doing, of what he thinks he is missing out on. I wanted to keep him entertained. With an aim, writing just becomes easier.

Over the years, I have tried writing time and again. I’d source for topics, I’d attempt to write stories for local writing challenges but I have always only written something halfway and then totally stopped. I find it hard to write.

I guess that’s why I love reading. Anybody can do it. It’s easy!
I have loved reading ever since I was a child.

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Growing up, I had enlarged tonsils and some fluid drainage problem in my ear. As a result, my ear fluid used to collect in the wrong area, making it hard for me to hear. While this is a problem for those trying to call out to me, it was a blessing for me. I could easily shut people out (with negligible effort on my part) and tune into a book for as long as I liked. My parents had to physically shake me to get my attention.

My dad used to think I was the world’s most engrossed child, but my mum insisted there was something wrong (she was right). Anyhow, I went to the doctor’s and got everything sorted out.

But my love for reading stayed. It didn’t start then but then again it could have. I was five. I guess that’s young enough for one to cultivate the habit of and develop a love for reading.

I read Enid Blyton’s books, books by Roald Dahl. I even had the ‘Mary Kate & Ashley Phase’ because that was way cooler than Sweet Valley! I swallowed anything I could get my hands on. I wanted to know more about other things. Anything. I just loved getting lost in another world altogether. Harry Potter & The Narnia Chronicles were the next best thing I ever did in my life. I grew up just wanting books and so I have a well-stacked bookshelf with books from everywhere by everybody. I don’t have a specific genre that I love, nor a specific author. As long as I chose it and picked it out personally from a sale or a bookshop, I would read it. Truth is, as long as it is a book and it catches my attention, I’d have swallowed it.

 

Daily Post: Writing Challenge
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/writing-challenge-reflections/

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I Do Not Love Myself

So, this may sound like what many others around go through..

I often stand in front of the mirror (usually after having a shower) and start to critically examine my body (almost to a point where some might think I am suffering from an acute case of paranoia – note the double superlatives, it’s to emphasize my point – or at least a severe case of obsession). There are many things I do not like about myself. Here’s a list, to name a few..

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1. My Bulging, Hanging Belly

I hate it. I hate the way it sags over my waistline, looking swollen and huge every single day. The stretch marks all over it does not help its case. I look at it and I squeeze it and I will it to go. I use all my strength, shut my eyes tight & fervently utter a pray, or five hundred, and I wish with all my might for it to just disappear. Vanish,without a trace. To pull a disappearing act. But then I open my eyes and the image staring back at me in the mirror is devastating. The huge whale-like ball of fat is still there, adamant to move. It is flabby and soft & scarred.

2. My Cellulite-Filled Thighs
I stand in front of the mirror, twisting left and right, just to get a clear, complete look at my thighs from all around. They are sagging too, with cellulite at almost every inch of skin. I dislike the fat thighs. I loathe the abrasions I suffer on a hot day, where I perspire in between my legs, in a way that is not at all sexy or desirable. They rub against each other mercilessly, generating heat from all that friction I could incinerate half the world to ashes in a matter of seconds. Then I come home and see the discolouration of my inner things and I want to puke my guts out. I wish my thighs were slender and toned. I wish they were unblemished, with baby smooth skin that I wouldn’t mind touching every second of every day.

3. My Limp, Thin Hair
I wish to have those voluminous hair everyone on every social networking platform seem to have. The kind of hair that has a life of its own, that cannot be tamed. It is wild, it bounces back and resists every one of your attempt to smooth it down, to de-tangle that wild mane of forest. Mine is resisting of course – resisting to be styled into an appropriate look that can fool people into thinking I have double the volume of hair I actually do.

4. My Down-Turned Lips
I wish my lips were carved into my face, like a perfect bow. Plump below and sufficiently thin upstairs, I wish I could smile a 1000-watt smile that would dazzle everyone who looked at me. I hate my last-minute, pasted-on smile that looks like a fish’s pucker.

5. I Loathe My Flabby Arms
My stretch marks are every where. They encroach, seemingly harmless on every square inch of my body. But don’t be fooled. These scars are ugly. They torment the eyes and even worse, the mind. They make me sick. I look at the scars and I think, “Who would ever want to love me? To touch me? Or caress me lovingly? Who?”

Body image is a serious issue that many grapple with. I do not have these issues but am merely stating the fact that I could have them, just like so many others. I wish people would stop measuring themselves up to actresses and people they see online. These figures have been modified and altered. They have been surgically changed and graphically enhanced. Nothing is real. Not everything is what it seems. We need to be mindful of our bodies, of the love and attention it requires not because of it’s imperfections but despite it. Our bodies are what we make them to be, and we should strive to make them beautiful, no matter the indentations on your skin. The blemishes speak of wars and battles gone through and won. Yes won, because you are here as I am here and we are living a miracle. A miracle that is us.

So, hold your heads high and learn to live, laugh & love.

10 Things About Me

1. My Love For Cartoons

I love cartoons, even at this age. I grew up watching all sorts of cartoons on all sorts of channel. There was the Eureka! Channel, then Disney channel, cartoon network, our own local channels. But more importantly, there were the cartoon characters that I grew to love. These characters were as much a part of my life as I was theirs. I followed the storylines of so many cartoon shows religiously and steadfastly, growing to love their intricate plots and their invariably one faceted nature. I may not have the time to watch any more cartoons these days but I recognise the importance they have in my life. These characters remain the same (I am speaking for the cartoon shows that still exist) and they haven’t changed one bit. As such, they evoke such a strong sense of nostalgia in me that I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I miss the times when I was so carefree and naive, that my hardest decision-making instances involved having to choose which lollipop to eat first, the red or the blue. Also, watching the re-runs of the cartoons now is incredibly refreshing and enlightening as our minds now perceive the same shows differently. We understand better and maturity changes the way we view things. The same show which made me laugh earlier could actually trigger my thinking and make me reflect deeper. The mind is an amazing tool, really.

Some of my favourite cartoon shows are The Gargoyles, Archie’s Weird Mysteries, Mummies Alive, Scooby Doo & Gang, Little Miss & Men, Popeye’s, Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, Phineas & Ferb, Bear in the Big Blue House (not really a cartoon), Arthur & Friends, Power Rangers (not really a cartoon too, but), Little Lulu, The Mask..

2. Books Relax Me

I love books. I love collecting books, pretty much like the Alaska Young protagonist in John Green’s Looking For Alaska. I too have a library of books (My Life Library of unread books) to be read in future where I’d have more time on my hands and can afford to sink into a big comfy armchair, curl my legs underneath me & read nonstop for hours on end, with a cup of tea by my side. I collect books whenever I see them, but even more so when there’s a sale. I have just gone on a mini spring cleaning session to sort out my library. There were too many books and not enough shelves. How my poor heart broke as I fought to choose which books to give away by either selling or as donation to the AWARE association which will be having their annual Book, Bake & Bazaar sale soon to raise money for their foundation. (You can contact AWARE regarding their book donation drive here). Sometimes, when I am feeling extremely stressed or just when the chaos in my head is too loud, I come into my room and simply stand in front of my bookshelf. Just looking at the rows and columns of books gives me peace. It stills my crazy mind, empties it of all thought. I run my fingers over the spines of the books – new & old, read & unread – and I feel so happy. I love books & I will continue to find amazing ones and maybe someday, I’ll even do a review of those I have read on my blog.

3. Swimming Fish is Hypnotising

I love to watch fish swim. Once, we actually decided to rear some fish, thinking that of all pets to have, they would be the easiest to manage. So, my sisters & I went down to a nearby aquarium and purchased a small glass tank. Initially, all we thought we needed were some fishes and a glass tank to hold them in. But the fish-seller told us otherwise. He advised us to get a plant for the tank, so it could photosynthesise and release oxygen into the water, he sold us a light bulb specially made for the plant so that it could manufacture food despite being in the house with no direct access to sunlight, he included the aeration system to ensure well-oxygenated water in the tank and finally some figurines to decorate the tank with. My sisters & I had so much fun finally getting down to choosing the fishes. We chose cheap, colourful ones because the accessories themselves already cost a bomb. When we finally installed everything at home, we were satisfied and I used to come to the living room, sit on the sofa and stare at the fishes swimming. It was really hypnotising, not to mention oddly calming. It was great therapy. That was before the fishes started dying. We had absolutely no clue on how to rear them properly and so, even that project went down the drain. The tank is now used as a storage container in the storeroom. If you’re interested to learn how to set up your own mini aquarium at home, check out this site here & let me know if you’re successful. All the best!

4. I Eat the Crumbs of my Biscuits

As you might have known, I am on a health program where I follow a nutritionist’s advice on what to eat. On my eating plan, my snacks include 100g of fresh fruit and 4 crackers. When I eat these crackers, I make sure to wipe the plate clean by meticulously (and a bit obsessively) eating even the crumbs that fall and get left behind.

5. I Suffer A Little From OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

I have an unresisting urge for things to be in order & I get enraged when I lose things. I like to be in control, especially when I know I can. I hate getting lost as I feel that it wastes time. Wastage is another thing I hate and where I can control it, I do. My siblings sometimes find me a bit hard to work with because I need everything in order. When they borrow my stapler, I’d go after them like a dog on a bone to make sure they’ve returned it in its original place. When I know something is not right, like a book on my shelf has been placed wrongly, I’d get out of bed to rectify it before being able to sleep. As such, I sometimes suffer from anxiety attacks, but these are manageable and aren’t crippling. I realise that in times of stress, I get more anal about being in control but there are times where I can let go too. I hate to disrupt the order of my things, like when I have a series of books; I fidget nervously when someone takes a book out and disrupt my collection. I like things to be together, especially similar things. Categorising is another one of the perks of being a little OCD. This is why I find it hard to lend people my things – I feel that they’ve caused me to ‘separate’ them from my little world of orderliness.

6. I Need People, But I Also Need Alone Time

I need to know that I have people around me, surrounding me. I need the security that when I wish, there are people whom I can call or go visit to be around. Because I hate feeling lonely. In year 2010, I re-sat for my A Levels as a private candidate. As such, I was home alone most days (excluding the days I went to the tuition centre for private coaching on certain subjects). I usually woke with a start, heart beating so hard it’s like a bird trying hard to escape the cage that is my rib-cage. I don’t have to feel the bed beside me to know it’s empty. At that time, all of my siblings had school and were gone by the time I woke up to study by myself at home. Even my parents were working and would be out of the house by then. These anxiety attacks usually came on because I hated being alone at home, even when I know that in a few hours, the kids will be back home. I hate how cold and empty the house felt without the people in it. It felt soulless, devoid of any warmth and cheeriness. But at the same time, I also get overwhelmed sometimes when I am bogged down by too many responsibilities. I am always given tasks by my siblings to do because they are younger to me and look to me to help them out. And I love to help them. I do, but sometimes it gets too much and I feel like exploding. I am very meticulous and that doesn’t help sometimes because I like things to be done efficiently and in my way and so, I end up piling myself with loads of to-do lists, just to keep on top of what everyone wants me to do. I end up losing sight of what I want to do. Or I do know what I want to do, but I lack the time or energy because by the time I am done with my ‘duties’ I feel so drained and tired. I am a zombie, both mentally & physically. So, while I love being around people, I also love my down time. This is why I walk home every time I can from the train station to my house (which is only ten minutes away) because that is my time alone. I reflect, and think, and ponder. And most importantly, I am alone but not lonely.

7. I Savour Milky, Sugary Things

I love drinking milk and I love eating anything milky like the local Indian delicacies such as barfees (a sweet confectionery from the Indian subcontinent. Plain barfee is made with condensed milk and sugar cooked until it solidifies), and ras malai (consists of sugary white, cream or yellow coloured (or flattened) balls of paneer – curd cheese – soaked in malai (clotted cream) flavoured with cardamom).

Pista_Burfi RasMalai-Plated

It’s no wonder I also love all sorts of ice cream, though my all-time favourites are Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Therapy, Turtle Soup, Fish Food, Everything But The, Triple Caramel Chunk, and Haagen Daaz’s Toffee (no longer produced here), Coffee, Cappuccino Truffle, Midnight Cookies & Cream, Magnum and others! I love all sorts of chocolate (milk and white but I also like some dark chocolate). I just love anything with milk.

8. I Love Before & Afters

I enjoy watching shows like ‘Clean House’ because they show how a house looks before & after it was de-cluttered. I love interior designing shows because they before & after images of houses excite me. I took up a make-up course and worked towards a diploma in it despite being extremely science-oriented because not only did I think the colours were interesting & fun to work with but because I enjoyed transforming clients into works of art. For some people, the transformation is incredible. You can hardly believe she was the same person without any makeup. I also enjoy baking so much because typical everyday ingredients like flour, eggs, milk, butter get turned into a beautiful chocolate frosted cupcake or into a moist red velvet cake. It helps that I also enjoy devouring these desserts!

9. I Get Angry Too Fast

I do. I flare up as hot and bright as a firework. But I also go out just as fast. And sometimes, I say things I don’t mean at all. Most of the time when I get angry it’s actually me just manifesting my hurt and sadness because my default emotion to display is anger, not sadness. So when I’m angry, I’m just really hurt and I want all those around me to feel some of that hurt and so I say things. Things I don’t ever mean. I really don’t. I see myself as a kind, empathetic person. I never wish to harm or hurt anyone, not even a strand on his or her head. So, I do hope people actually know what I am not a bad person. I just say or do bad things sometimes, especially so when I am angry.

10. I Drink Water with Lemon Slices in it

Ever since I started my health program where I adhere strictly to a food plan, I also started taking care of the amount of water I drink daily. I have never drunk more than a litre of water daily but now I take care to drink at least 3 litres. After reading about the benefits of lemon, I have started putting it in my bottle of water. I never liked the taste but slowly, over the days, weeks & months, I have grown accustomed to its taste and now I can hardly drink water with no lemon slices in it.

The things I learnt about lemon water are taken from this site and they are:

1. Gives your immune system a boost.
Vitamin C is like our immune system’s jumper cables, and lemon juice is full of it. The level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re stressed, which is why experts recommended popping extra vitamin C during especially stressful days.

2. Excellent source of potassium.
As already mentioned, lemons are high in potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function.

3. Aids digestion.
Lemon juice not only encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, it
helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating.

4. Cleanses your system.
It helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver.

5. Freshens your breath.
It also helps relieve toothaches and gingivitis (say wha?). Because the citric acid can erode tooth enamel, either hold off on brushing your teeth after drinking lemon water or brush your teeth before drinking it.

6. Keeps your skin blemish-free.
The antioxidants in lemon juice help to not only decrease blemishes, but wrinkles too! It can also be applied to scars and age spots to reduce their appearance, and because it’s detoxifying your blood, it will maintain your skin’s radiance.

7. Helps you lose weight.
Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings.

8. Reduces inflammation.
If you drink lemon water on a regular basis, it will decrease the acidity in your body, which is where disease states occur. It removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.

9. Gives you an energy boost.
Lemon juice provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and it also helps reduce anxiety and depression. (Even the scent of lemons has a calming effect on your nervous system!)

10. Helps to cut out caffeine.
I didn’t believe this until I tried it, but replacing my morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water has really done wonders! I feel refreshed, and no longer have to deal with that pesky afternoon crash. Plus, my nerves are thankful.

11. Helps fight viral infections.
Warm lemon water is the most effective way to diminish viral infections and their subsequent sore throats. Plus, with the lemon juice also boosting your immune system, you’ll simultaneously fight off the infection completely.

I hope this wasn’t too boring & was at least a little helpful. It’s not exhaustive. There are many facets to me, my personality and my nature & hopefully I can reveal more of myself over time as I blog. I am still learning & discovering myself too so there are some things I cannot yet reveal while others I do not know yet of what to tell you. So stay tuned & hopefully this entertains you for a while as you sit in a 4 by 4 cubicle, looking dazed, counting down till it’s time to go home.

My Struggle With Binge Eating

They say hindsight is 20/20. Now, I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but in this case, I agree with them.

There are so many eating disorders people from all over the world face; from pica (eating anything & everything) to anorexia nervosa (not eating at all). I suffered from Binge Eating Disorder (BED). I was never diagnosed but that is because I was such a good liar. I knew how to manipulate everyone around me so much so that no one figured I was suffering from an eating disorder. In fact, they all thought I was such a small eater who was just unfortunately endowed with a damn sluggish metabolism.

The people in my family do not consider such issues issues. I imagine they would probably have dismissed it with a shrug of the shoulders or a wave of the hand. “Ah! You just have to stop eating so much and so irregularly” is what I guess they would have said. Then again, they may have been supportive. I don’t know because I was never officially diagnosed. So if I didn’t know back then I was suffering from an eating disorder, how would they? Plus, there was the fact that I was unknowingly (or knowingly?) manipulating them into thinking that I never ate much. It was just so unfair that I had such bad ‘fat’ genes on top of a rather inactive metabolism.

At age 11, I weighed an astounding 68 kilograms. That’s almost a 150 pounds! I was selected and advised by my Physical Ed. teacher to go for the school’s Trim And Fit (TAF) program. I managed to convince my parents that it wouldn’t really help and that it was a plain waste of time and effort. I even gave them my sad, pathetic puppy-dog eyes and it worked. My dad wrote a letter to the teacher explaining why I was unable to attend these sessions after school. Apparently, I had tuition classes that couldn’t be rescheduled. One for me.

Over the years, I steadily and almost consistently grew larger and larger. I was 84 kilograms at age 14 (that’s a 185 pounds), 96 kilograms (212 pounds) at age 16 and 116 kilograms (256 pounds) when I was 18. However, I was at my all time highest at 117.6 kilograms (259 pounds) from age 18 and I miraculously (or not really) managed to keep it that way till I was 21. By then, I was heaving my obese self everywhere. It was painful to walk short distances (like from my bedroom to the kitchen, which in totality was less than 15 steps), it was outrageously challenging when I had to play light sports during PE and I was feeling constantly warm. I perspired buckets daily. While in Primary 5 (5th Grade) I could escape the dreaded TAF program, I wasn’t so lucky once I entered Secondary School (High School). I was coerced into running & jumping & climbing thrice a week in the mornings while the rest of my slender counterparts complained about how boring it was to have to read during reading period before and after assembly. That wasn’t boring to me. It was sweet mercy.

On the plus side, my ammunition for manipulation was restocked. While I ate like a hippo at home, I created yet another misleading image for my parents: how hard I worked out at school and still, despite being a small eater, I was either (a) growing fatter or (b) remaining fat. I hated myself though. Whenever I binged, I knew that the pleasure I derived from the sugary foods I was shoveling down my throat at an alarming rate was short-lived. That it was as ephemeral as smoke. Yet, I couldn’t stop. While munching on the plate of fries drenched in mayonnaise before me, I would be contemplating my next meal. No, not for three hours later. Rather, three minutes later.

But it wasn’t like I didn’t try. I had been on diets. Diets that lasted as long and hard as the time I took to wipe a plate of fried noodles clean. Or as long as I took to finish off an upsized meal of double Quarter Pounder with large fries. On these diets, I was extremely strict with myself. I consumed small meals, no processed foods and stuck religiously to my daily exercise routine. Most of the time, these diets helped for a few days and I could see some difference. But the moment I hit a plateau, I went off course. I figured it wasn’t worth it to stay on track if there wasn’t going to be any tangible benefits. It was sacrilegious to give up my food and see it amount to nothing. I underwent one such diet when I was 17 years old and was just entering Junior College (11 Grade). It was a new school and I had a clean slate so I wanted to make good of it. I was motivated. I stayed on my diet for about 4 months. That’s as long as I ever went. I was extremely rigid with myself. I had no sugary foods at all. I ate brown rice and vegetables and measured portions of meat. I snacked on peanut butter sparingly spread on 2 slices of wholemeal bread and I drank plenty of water. I also made sure to run 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) come what may – rain or shine, sick or healthy, dead or alive.

I managed to lose 14 kilograms. That was 30 pounds of body weight. But then, I plateaued. And my willpower declined. And I resorted to eating rubbish once again. This was another way I managed to screw my ‘healthy lifestyle’ up – I turned a slip into a fall. In a moment of weakness, if I took a bite out of a chocolate cake, or if I popped a fun-sized Mars bar into my mouth, then that was it. The whole diet was ruined. There is no point staying on it. So, I’d veer off course and start the shoveling process, more vehemently this time to make up for loss time when I was on the diet and could not have such foods. This vicious cycle kept me busy for basically my whole life. I dieted, lost weight, plateaued, end up eating more, leading to the piling on of all the weight that I had lost plus more and then I re-started the whole process again. It was a unhealthy process. I was struggling day in, day out. I was always preoccupied with thoughts of weight loss. I hated my body.

The worse part was the comfort eating. Because I felt so useless and ugly, I ate to feel comforted. I derived pleasure from food.  And that made me put on more weight. Even this was a nasty, vicious cycle. I couldn’t seem to get out of it.

Finally, I decided to change things around. My cousin had been to a nutritionist and she had paid for a eating plan lasting for a year. She was on it for only 5 months because that was how long it took her to lose all the weight she wanted to lose. She reached out to me and helped me get in touch with the same people. I, too, signed on for a year. The eating plan was extremely inflexible. There was no leeway what so ever. I had to follow it to the point. And I did. I don’t know what made me change my mindset, or what propelled me to stay on it and try my best. It could be because I was at an all-time low. I had seen myself in pictures at a relative’s wedding and I looked horrendously huge. I was a walking, talking whale. There was also the fact that my cousin (although no where near as huge as me – she only needed to lose approximately 33 pounds while I had 130 pounds to consider) had been successful. She had recorded her weight weekly and was expected to log in and update her statistics on the webpage. She recorded a loss almost every week. I knew then that I had to do something and the living example before me was motivation enough.

The way I see it, there were many factors that had led to my downward spiral into an abyss so deep and dark that for the longest moment in my life, I thought I could never escape it.

1. There was the fact that I was so young and didn’t have the proper guidance regarding nutrition.
2. This resulted in repeated failed diets which just served to whack my self-esteem and drop me lower into the abyss. I kept thinking nothing would ever work and so I stopped trying and just kept eating. This defeatist mentality was detrimental to my health and overall well-being.
3. I gave up too easily. Every time I slipped, I never thought of keeping calm and just carrying on. I made sure to turn it into a rapid, heart-stopping nose dive. I plummet deeper after I made a mistake like succumbing just for one moment to the extra piece of chicken mum had cooked. This attitude usually made things worse because I went back to square one, plus a few steps backwards. So really, I went back to square -10 and that made my journey longer and further from my goal weight.
4. I didn’t realise that there were intangible benefits to eating cleanly. I only saw the tangible aspect of it – whether I lost any weight and if so, how much. I should have considered the other benefits I get from eating healthily such as a renewed sense of confidence, less-fluctuating energy levels, and the fact that I wasn’t stuffing my arteries with bad fat. These were things I couldn’t see or measure and so I had disregarded them. But now I know, there is more to being healthy than just weight loss.

I am still on my health plan. Many people think I use it as a crutch and that I do not know how to live without it and I want to out rightly say that indeed, I do. Being on a plan frees up so much of my mind. I no long fret over what to eat, what to cut down, what to replace or how to juggle my cravings. I just use the plan and follow it. No questions asked. I also make sure to have cheat sessions. I have been on the program for 2 years now and have had 2 mini break sessions (lasting for a couple of days where I eat anything & everything) and a major one (which lasted for 2-3 weeks). Although, I have to admit, every time I go on these breaks, I fall ill. I get terrible stomach upsets and I become leaky both at the points where I put food in and also, south of the border. My body is no long accustomed to so much sugar intake at once. However, I’d justify these breaks as psychological rather than physical and so, I still would have them in future. I’d just take care to be more mindful of the amount of stuff I put into my mouth.

I have had a series of gastric attacks since 16 years old, and I think I can attribute that to my overeating. This irregularity in my meal times & size has caused many of these attacks. So much so, that I went in for an endoscopy to see if there were any other underlying concerns such as a tumour, or cancer, or ulcer or whatever. Fortunately, there was none of that. But I do have a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the stomach section protrudes into the esophageal area, through the diaphragm separating the two regions. In my case, this most probably came about from eating too much and too fast. The excess weight I was carrying around when I was obese could also have played a part by pushing in my stomach (since it was padded all around) which caused it to be distended upwards into the esophagus. However, many people suffer from a hiatal hernia and it is not fatal or even problematic most of the time. My gastric attacks come on because of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), resulting from the hernia, which is a chronic case of acid reflux. But this too, is very manageable.

Being on the eating plan (which has been revised for phase two of my diet) has helped because now I eat five small meals at regular intervals. I am so thankful that I found it (through cousin dearest who was kind enough to share with me her problems, struggles, achievements and successes). I am also extremely grateful to have such a supportive family without whom I couldn’t have even gone one step. My mother, despite juggling a career as a teacher and 5 other kids, has steadfastly went on to cook for me every single day. She learned new recipes, measured my portions day in and day out, and went on last minute grocery shopping rounds just to make sure I have what I need to for my meals. She even packs them up for me during days that I am at the university with classes the whole day and can’t come home to eat. My dad runs around the whole house, earnestly screaming for joy every time I lose some weight. My siblings take care to ask me how I am feeling and they considerately take the pains to put every single sugary stuff out of my sight. Though these days, it’s no longer required. I am able to handle myself and so, food is no longer my main priority (on some days). The fact that I have my siblings around me all the time to have fun with or just watch TV with makes most of my days much more fun-filled and this serves as a much needed distraction on days where I feel like eating the whole refrigerator clean.

Thus far, I have lost 44.2 kilograms of body weight and I aim to lose another 14 kilograms before stopping and slowly easing off my plan. To say that I am anxious is the understatement of the century. New worries plague me: Will I resort to going back to my old unhealthy habits? Will I function optimally without the plan? How do I choose the foods to eat? What if I pile on all the weight back?

I know that it is not going to be easy. That once the weight has come off completely, there is another journey to be undertaken. That this is simply the beginning, not the end. I have to rebuild my muscles, tone up, learn to incorporate better exercise regimes into my lifestyle and learn to be confident about making my own choices. I also have to learn to be strict with myself when deciding on what to eat but I must also know when to back down and allow myself some breathing room. I must not always turn a slip into a fall. One piece of candy now and then ain’t gonna hurt no one.

Daily Prompt: A Gradual Change