As I’m typing this, I’ve just scoffed down 2 Styrofoam boxes of Durians, 4 pieces of fried bananas and other varieties of local delights that would send Gillian on a rampage in the Biggest Loser camp. So needless to say, I have little to no self-control. I’m so tired of trying to maintain my weight, trying to fit into my jeans from 2001, those shorts, skirts and body hugging singlets. Yet, when my weighing machine goes up a significant 2kg, I go into a panic and a fruit diet, relying only on coffee and cigarettes to satiate my hunger pangs.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh no, she’s one of them.”
Well, I’m not, but (and that’s a pretty sizable butt) I can be mistaken as one of them; like how one easily mistook Bieber’s earlier songs to that of Miley’s. Same same, but totally different. I do control my carbs but I don’t go ape shit if the waiter fails to mention the croutons soaked in my French onion soup. Though I do, for the better lack of temptation, choose a salad over a nice bowl of pasta just to keep the needle at a safe scale point. What makes me like one of them is that I care enough to agonize over it.
At first I considered my behavior somewhat normal. My friends would roll their eyes when I say I’ve put on a few. “You think I’m bad?” I’d ask. I have a friend who’s stick thin (you know who you are) but is constantly patting her imaginary belly, complaining about her “gut” and how she’s ‘fat’. I’m not that bad! I might not be happy with my muffin roll but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m fat. By the way, word police? That word is seriously being abused here in Asia. Please do something about it.
So yes, I do think I’m somewhat normal and have pretty conventional concerns over my body image. After all, the girls around me are fretting about the same things; thighs, arms, boobs and men. Well, the latter is not for me but I heard that they do make them straight girls do crazy things, like eat a butter stick or a whole tub of ice cream in one sitting. So yes, men can be considered as a diet breaker and health hazard.
I don’t necessarily live by diet rules but there are a few I try to take heed, giving in only when I feel I’ve deprived myself long enough to indulge a little. No fruits after dinner. No carbs after 9. Or ever, if possible. Don’t eat at least 2 hours before you sleep. Nuts are fattening. No fried stuff. No rice. No Coconut infused anything. Pretty much, don’t be Asian, don’t live in Asia, don’t be guilt-free and happy with dribbling sauce down your chin. Even Stephan King can’t write this kind of misery.
How the hell did I get here? Here being the mental state rather than the physical. Since when did I implement such rules? It never used to bother me. I ate whenever I wanted to, whatever I wanted to. Of course, it helped that I had a super mamika of a metabolism rate. I never felt a pinch of guilt after a binging session – not even when I was a broke Uni student surviving on a bag of hash browns for $2.99 from Aldi, the economy grocers around the corner. Minimal effort for maximum carbs. Brilliant. Those were the days, follies of youth and good genes.
So 3 years of agonizing and two boxes of Durian later, I reached an epiphany; it’s my ex gf’s fault.
She used to gym almost everyday. Super pedantic about what she ate. She would have up to 5 egg whites after a work out and not eat till dinner. She’ll have her salads, or fish. We didn’t share the same taste buds. She didn’t fancy the much raved Pho on Swanston street, nor did she ever indulge in some quick Jap takeaway from Don Dons. I pretty much ate western – all the time. She was the one who chanted the No-carb rule, a condition placed upon me whenever it was my turn to choose the restaurant. I started counting calories, checking labels and even started weighing myself – religiously. She planted a seed that grew into an obsession, and like cerebral constipation, I’m now trying to uproot it with some mental yoga. Stretch the mind, extract it and poop it out from behind.
There’s no bitterness in what I’m saying, don’t get me wrong. Just a realization that my gf’s diagnosis might hold a nugget of truth after all, that I may suffer from a warped body image disorder (that nugget better not weight more than 100 grams!). But hey, I’m trying to overcome it. I see now that I was living a life that wasn’t fit for me. For one, I wasn’t quite as obsessed as my ex about my muscle toned arms or board flat stomach. Truth is, I don’t know who to blame for creating this illusion, or rather, delusion. Pointing to my ex as a scapegoat wouldn’t serve much purpose. All I know is that I was too concerned with what she thought of me, than what I thought of myself. I just wanted to fit that image and soak in the superfluous feeling that I appear to have it all.
We want to believe that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty, but how many of us actually embody that with conviction? ‘Oh you’ve lost weight’ is exchanged between women with more passion than the level of admiration when one wins the Nobel prize. We continue to pursue an image that exudes confidence, and that unfortunately resembles a hanger on the rack (or whichever comes first), especially in Asian culture where a size 10 is borderline obesity. I’m ashamed to say that I tried to fit that image, even when I already was and to some part, am still quite slim – I’d be skinny in Texas. It’s an unhealthy desire to fit into my skirt from year 12 and it conflicts with the person I want to be — a person who eats freely, exercises regularly and not fret if I weigh over 60KG, which is my BMI weight for my height.
I’m not fat, I’m not skinny either. I’m just one of those people in the middle tier, expecting to look great through diet without breaking a sweat. Ain’t happening. Especially not after the 2 boxes of Durians.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and not weigh myself. Time to stop agonizing and start exercising.