I think it’s been slightly more than a month since I’ve given up dieting. I feel better. I have stopped bingeing. Sometimes I do feel like I eat more on certain days even when I’m not hungry, but it’s no where near a binge. I am proud of myself. I am supposed to meet with the University counsellor this Wednesday afternoon and I was thinking of cancelling it because it is right smack in the middle of my exams but I think I shall not. I better use this avenue since I can and since it doesn’t come by so easily. This appointment was 3 weeks later from the initial consultation.

I am always thinking of my body image now and how I perceive myself and why is it that I generally don’t feel adequate enough. I am at a much better place but I know that this is just a transitory phase. I want to get stronger and I want to be leaner. But I sure as hell do not ever want to diet again. I eat healthily now and I don’t even crave junk that much. Seriously, I wish I can binge on Greek yoghurt instead of chocolates. I have been going to the gym, doing short exercises at home (when I am too lazy to go) and I feel good. I want to increase these. I want to do more. I want to go back to where I was before but it is a journey and I sure as hell am not rushing or forcing myself into anything. It is supposed to be stress free and enjoyable. So that’s what I want to do. Besides, I’ve stopped for now because I am having exams. I will continue once I am back home (though it is the fasting month but oh well, Ya Ali, madat!).

I have been writing in my journal too (though not as often). I should write more. I enjoy it. It is therapeutic. I worry too much. I worry if i exceed 1 page then the journal will run out faster but I don’t understand why I have this “Save it for later” syndrome. What am I waiting for? Why am I waiting for? I mean, the time is now. I should live now. I have to stop the “When I Am Thin” thing I have going on. I will be thinner. OR at least stronger. But in the mean time, I have got to learn how to live. I have got to love myself even though nobody else will. I hate my cousins for making me feel inadequate really.
I will explore my feelings in greater depth on that topic but for now, it is sufficient to say that I always feel like shit in front of them. Maybe it’s because they turn everything into a competition, maybe it’s because they pass remarks, or maybe it’s because they get every guy they want. And I will always, always be the fat girl.

Geesh, self love? Working on it.


A Sorceress Was Born

“A person can only rise so high. Now I’m rising above, but there’s a ceiling and I’m about to hit it.” – Dr. Miranda Bailey

And so it goes on and on. It never really stops, does it this family drama? I know I am rambling so I shall pause, take a breath, attempt to calm myself down.. and truly begin this horrific story about the BIG ARSED COUSIN of mine.

After the whole invasion episode, it is fair to say I was behaving slightly (but not alarmingly) standofish with the whale. I mean, you can’t possibly ransack my house, tear apart my privacy leaving only destruction in your wake and expect me to be all smiles and welcomes. But never once did I make it clear I did not want her in my house (alright maybe once when she came up and I didn’t even turn to look at her face. I stayed in the kitchen, dutifully making pancakes and ignoring her). But that apart, we actually were still cordial when we worked out together in the gym (though when I think about it now, I was a little moody but I shall stop trying to implicate myself any further).

So on Friday evening (2 days ago), I received a text message from the abomination that must surely be God’s worst mistake (after the creation of the Devil himself). She said she wanted to borrow some face paint for Halloween that she lent me a couple of years back. I replied saying that since I didn’t use it at all she could have it back. I also said I had passed them to my maid and anytime she’s nearby she can call my maid down.

She replied something cryptic like,” I wouldn’t have minded coming up to get them but no worries, thanks anyway.” I WAS DOING HER  A FAVOUR (in actuality) saving her a trip from coming up to have to collect the face paint. BUT NO, being the bitch she is, she had to act all bitchy.

I left it at that because I wanted to shower. But then I realised, there was still a leeway for her to come to my house (she has a knack for inserting and appearing in places where she’s clearly unwanted) if the product was lying in my house. I got my younger sister who was sending another sister of mine (yes there are 6 kids in my house) for tuition classes and I told her to drop those face paint off. And she did. So when she reached, she called MEGA BITCH WITH FAT ARSE out to collect them but she started rambling on the phone how she is upset because clearly i was behaving rudely and making it obvious that she in unwelcomed in my house (though that is the truth, I never MADE it that obvious, I swear). If you were to go by my messages and the way we were still cordially talking and working out, you would never have jumped to the conclusion she did (I further corroborated this when I told my parents the incident of the FLARING-UP-FOR-NO-REASON and he agreed she was just creaking a ruckus over nothing). She made a big drama about how HER dad would be so upset and how she will no longer come to our house since she is unwelcomed here. My sister tried to calm her down and told her she is over reading into what was a typical message but she wasn’t one to calm down (and according to her, she also wasn’t one to blow things out of proportion. WHAT WAS THIS THEN? If this isn’t what you’d call making a mountain of a molehill, can you imagine the kind of DRAMA she is used to?). My sister simply ended the conversation and she received 2 more texts after that affirming that said cousin wouldn’t come over ever.

Then I came home and was alerted to the drama and I rang her up immediately to clear the air. I did not want my families involved because truth be told, my Dad gets affected when his brother doesn’t speak to him (as is normal) and knowing this sorceress, she is capable of magicking something out of nothing (as seen in the episode), and she is also very capable at manipulating facts and I was afraid she could do some potential damage. So I made light on the phone and I even What’s Apped her but she didn’t reply. On the phone she said she’d call me back. She didn’t till Sunday.

I actually posted a picture of a quote that was about throwing out people who sucked the happiness out of your life and I blocked her on What’s App and my phone but she still managed to send me an SMS after (Gotta check my damn phone’s ability to add contacts to the reject list PROPERLY). She said can she come collect those personal training sheets my trainer had left us (her copy was with me). I didn’t reply and she called but I was on the other line.

So after a while (even though I put the phone down pretty quickly), I called her back and she was all normal. THAT BITCH. Really a meg, fucking two-faced cow. Always creating drama. If she thinks we are ever going to be normal after this well, she’s in for a shock and she can take her 2 FAT faces and go for a bloody hike to hell.

I hate her and she is one person who’s death will mean nothing but an interminable road filled with happiness.

I really wish I could just cut out these toxic bitches from my life and carry on because really I was much better when I used to ignore her (yes her antics started from way back and she was and is the bane of my existence).

Gosh! This sucks. But now, I gotta go back to behaving like a hypocrite who likes her because my pansy family cannot afford to get into a feud.

An Idle Mind is a Devil’s Workshop

It’s funny how quickly time seems to fly at times and at others, it painfully crawls by. It’s all a matter of perception I guess. I have been away from home for the longest period ever while on this trip to Europe. I am currently on my second last day here and will depart tomorrow morning at 0955 hours from Bratislava to  Prague. And my flights go on and on and on.. No, I’m not kidding. I’ll be boarding three flights to get home to Sunny Singapore tomorrow: Bratislava – Prague – Dubai – Singapore. It will take me  ~24 hours to get home!

I never knew that these 6 weeks would pass as fast as they did but then these last few days seem to go by incredibly slow. It seems all I have been doing is looking at my planner and watch how the days inch by, how the seconds seem to still and time freezes. I just want to be with my family, which is another funny story because I was moody all the time just before leaving for Educate Slovakia, my project which I signed up for on AIESEC where I get to board for free in a student’s dormitory while providing English lessons on my country and culture to Slovak students in elementary and high schools. Can’t say I really enjoyed my time doing that. All I know is that this trip has been eye-opening for one and only one reason: TEACHING IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT MY CUP OF TEA. Or coffee for that matter. I couldn’t wait to get out of all the schools, no matter how nice the staff and students were. Time again betrayed me by going by at a snail’s pace. No, scratch that, even a snail was moving faster. It was torture to have to teach the same contents over and over again to groups of students who couldn’t care less. I died trying to muster up the same high level of enthusiasm and creativity when teaching a new batch of class the same thing I have been teaching the previous 82283249231 batches! It was torture. It was plain torture and my brain cells actually degenerated when I had to slow my pace down and talk as though I was speaking to a bunch of 2-year olds. That just makes me wonder how mothers do it. How are they around their child 24 hours a day and not suffer from the gooey brain sludge oozing out of their ears after it starts degrading? Oh well, they say a mother’s love is unparalleled. I’ll just take it as that.

Currently, I’m sitting in the “lounge” area of Hotel Ibis (Budget) in St Marx, Vienna, passing time as I wait for my bus to depart from the bus station (which is nearby considering but will feel as though it is 3278462349432 miles away as I start lugging my luggage with me because it weighs a ton and oh, I have 2 to lug). My bus will bring me to Bratislava Airport where I’ll be sleeping overnight at a nearby hotel (again I will succumb to my laziness and take a city bus from the Airport to the hotel which is only 600m away because nobody, and I mean nobody, in their right minds would want to carry along a bag that weighs 252430248 kg). So in actuality, I am not being lazy. I am being practical. I do not want to reach home with arms that no longer function properly just because I insisted on WALKING 600m. So there you go.

I have been thinking these past few days just how funny humans actually are. I have been eagerly counting down my days till I get to leave the bloody EU (because it is just gross and dirty and functions as efficiently as a fish trying to breathe on land) to see my family. I miss them the most. But I realised that the past few weeks before leaving for the EU and the project, I have been moody and unreasonable and have even lost my temper countless times. I was impatient with them and didn’t stop to think how much they actually mean to me and that all those times I got mad was unnecessary and trivial. I should have taken a deep breath and just let it go! But this trip has served me well in the sense that I now know a few things about myself:

1. I was unappreciative of my family and the sacrifices they made to accommodate me and my crazy OCD habits. I will not be so petty any longer.
2. While it was hard to leave them and be away for so long, I now know that I can and my time in Australia will be significantly better as this was a preview of my time away. It is going to be for a much longer time but I know that I will be able to cope if I know that at the end of a certain time period, I will be able to meet them.
3. I learnt many new things about the EU, how many different countries use the same currency, how you can cross borders without a passport, the ease with which you can source for and book hotels/hostels and how to effectively plan trips.
4. I made a couple of new friends and I am incredibly proud of myself for not pushing people away (as I tend to do after a while) and that I persevered in maintaining a good relationship with everyone (even though secretly, I wished to murder a few in their sleep). These are the people I believe who will help in the passage of time and make it fly!
5. I really need my alone time and this trip has afforded me NONE. My alone time actually means doing nothing with family in the background. I seem to be always highly strung and too proper when I am around people I consider outsiders, i.e. friends and anyone who are not family per se.
6. While I enjoy cooking & baking at home, I cannot seem to muster enough energy to cook a decent meal here while away from home. I need the convenience of a well-stocked kitchen and I want my mother’s cooking because I realise how healthy and incredible it is.
7. The weather in Europe is incredibly unpredictable. It should be in a class of its own.

I will detail my travelling events in a new post or else this post will turn into a 1000-page novel. And I shall end here for now. I just decided to post because:

(a) I had ample free time on my hands
(b) There is free wi-fi
(c) An idle mind is a devil’s workshop & I can’t have that happening during the first day of the fasting month! As it is, I am not even fasting..

Till next time, adios amigos!

x o x o

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.

Dear Person on the Beach

Daily Prompt Challenge: What does the message in the bottle say?

What does it say?

The message says:

Dear person on the beach, why are you so unhappy? Why do you seem so forlorn and lost? Do you not like where you are at? Do you not feel gratitude for all that you already have?

Dear person on the beach, I know it seems tough at times, to feel stuck in time. To feel unmoving and still, so still that you feel even the air surrounding you freeze in time. To feel that it solidifies and it becomes harder to breathe in.

Dear person on the beach, I know that you are a grateful person. I know that you are thankful for all that you have – the people in your life, the food on your table, the roof over your head and the clothes on your back. I also know that it is OK to want to leave everything behind. To wish to travel the world and learn new things. To feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair.

Dear person on the beach, it is alright to take off. Take flight. Go anywhere you wish. It is perfectly fine to unbind all the shackles that are holding you down and explore unrestrained into the vast wilderness that is Mother Earth.

Dear person on the beach, I know that the stillness you feel while stranded on this island is far different from the stillness you wish to experience in another continent as snow falls and floods your vision till there is nothing but white all over. So white, it makes the land seem like bone.

Dear person on the beach, I understand that you wish to taste the snowflakes squirreling down on from the heavens above on your tongue. That you wish to feel the cold trying to push its icy fingers into the soft fur coat you’re wearing to touch your bare skin. To leave you feeling chilly and to raise your hackles. That you want to feel the ridges of your skin as goose bumps start to appear.

Dear person on the beach, I know that there are times you wish to feel the waves crashing at your feet as you stand in solitude at the edge of the sea, feet sinking into the warm sand. To feel the grains move all over your feet, scratching, probing, itching you along.

Dear person on the beach, time is running out and it is OK to do whatever you want, to go wherever you wish and see everything you can.

Dear person on the beach, stop looking so forlorn and lost. Stop despairing because no one but you is holding you down. Go, run, fly to where you want because time and tide wait for no man.

Dear person on the beach, make the most out of the time you have here on Earth because no one knows when he is forever leaving. No one knows where he will be permanently stuck in another place with no out.

Dear person on the beach, this is your chance.

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