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How My Weight Loss Journey Caused Me More Harm Than Good

Updated on November 1, 2017
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Writer stuck in an accountant body. When not busy wrestling a 1 year old to sleep, she tries to write during whatever time she has left.

There was a time in my life when I got upset upon stepping on a scale because it showed 42 kg. I looked in the mirror and I saw stubborn fat on my arms I couldn’t get rid of no matter how hard I exercised. I cringed whenever someone responded with “why do you need to lose weight? You are not fat!” to my “I really need to lose some weight” whines.

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I suffered from body dysmorphia. I wasn’t diagnosed with it. I figured it out later in my life. When the scale no longer showed 42 kg.

Growing up, I have always been a “chubby” kid. In my teenage years, relatives and family friends would tell me about how I have “put on” weight. How I was the ‘odd’ one among my siblings. How I needed to watch what I eat. And my mom would sheepishly say that I had my dad’s genes. Or in her own words “she follows the dad’s side”, sending a message which I would go on to carry for the rest of my life that being fat is bad. Being associated with said fat people, is shameful. At 17 years old, I weighed around 46 kg and stood at 151 cm. My BMI came up to 20.2, a healthy number, but by society standard, I was “chubby” nonetheless.

At 20 years old, weighing between 51 to 56 kg, with BMI of 22.3 to 24.5, I went on to become a “chubby” young woman. Ask any girl I went to college with, they would describe me as “plump”, “chubby”, or simply “fat”. And I believed them.

On some days, I would eat only one meal per day, restricting my calorie intake to a mere 500kcal. And If I felt bloated or guilty after that one meal, I would start exercising straight away. I weighed myself before and after each session. I became obsessed with seeing the numbers drop, calculating and recalculating my BMI. My goal: the underweight range.

I was 22 when it struck me that I had to do something about my weight. I started crash dieting and exercising twice, sometimes thrice a day. On some days, I would eat only one meal per day, restricting my calorie intake to a mere 500kcal. And If I felt bloated or guilty after that one meal, I would start exercising straight away. I weighed myself before and after each session. I became obsessed with seeing the numbers drop, calculating and recalculating my BMI. My goal: the underweight range. The smaller the number, the happier I felt.

When I started losing the first few pounds, friends and family started complimenting me on my slimmer, leaner figure, the opposite sex started noticing and coming up to talk to me. I felt good. But when I stepped on the scale and looked in the mirror, I saw a fat, miserable woman. I hated myself.

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And since I had a slimmer, sexier body, I started to flaunt it too. My dress became skimpier, my demeanor, sluttier. I became, well, for lack of a better word, a bitch. I started calling people fat. Even if they were far from it. Because in my twisted mind, if you are not skinny, then you are fat. Still I wasn’t very happy when I stepped on the scale or looked in the mirror.

So, I shed a few more pounds. The compliments continued to pour in. And since I had a slimmer, sexier body, I started to flaunt it too. My dress became skimpier, my demeanor, sluttier. I became, well, for lack of a better word, a bitch. I started calling people fat. Even if they were far from it. Because in my twisted mind, if you are not skinny, then you are fat. Still I wasn’t very happy when I stepped on the scale or looked in the mirror.

When I became underweight, concerns started flying around about my eating behavior. Friends were worried that I wasn’t eating, that they liked my old body better. Family, well. Not once did my mom ever mention about my weight loss. It was as if it was expected for me to be skinny (but that’s another story for another day). But far from being happy upon achieving my goal, I became depressed and self-destructive. I hated who I had become, I hated the way I looked. Most of all I hated the fact that I still wasn’t happy.

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It took me several years of painful lessons and some serious soul searching to realize that I may have fat but I wasn’t fat to begin with. I don’t have an ideal weight or body now, but I have never been happier. And I am not saying that you should let yourself go to feel happy. Happiness is subjective. If it makes you happy to stay skinny, then by all means, be skinny.

One observation worth noting throughout my journey is, we women, we make it impossible to be perfect. When we see an old school friend piling on a few pounds, we gleefully whisper “omg, she’s faaattt!” or when someone gives birth and has not regained her pre-pregnancy body we say, “man, did she just let herself go.”

We need to stop judging and body-shaming each other because we only got each other. We must not blame the media for depicting unhealthy body image or causing eating disorder when we hurl hurtful comments at each other as often as we do our laundry. We have to start looking within ourselves.

I wouldn’t have been on that downward spiral if it wasn’t for one of those comments but I can live with that. I am better for that. But why must anyone else suffer?

Let’s get rid of the cult.

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