As far back as I can remember, I have always been a chubby child. Family gatherings were always the worst, especially when certain family members had something to say about my weight. For the most part, I was oblivious though. I remember my cousin commenting about how much weight I had gained and how it would be a good idea for me to lose some weight. The comment caught me off guard but I was so confident that one comment from a family member who never made much effort to get to know me, so their opinion of me or my appearance did not matter at all. Another memory that comes to mind was when I was in high school. I was in boarding school for a short period of time of my high school career. I didn’t really fit in with the people there and I was really struggling to stay positive. The one good thing in my life was the food and when the matron noticed me gaining weight, she called me on my way to get seconds during one of the nights where desert was being served and told me that I had had enough.
Throughout my life there have been periods where I have been thin, but most of my life has been an existence entirely oblivious to my weight or appearance. I was confident whether I was at a relatively healthy weight or not. I became vaguely aware of my weight sometime in 2011. It was when I was first introduced to Herbalife. There was a lady at work who was selling it and I decided to try it out. There was no harm in trying to get in better shape. I had to admit, when I started at the second company I ever worked for I had a body that I have since been aspiring to get back to. I tried it for a few months but most of the time I felt as though I was starving, depriving myself of all the food I preferred to be eating. My colleague and I were in a similar predicament, we both would have liked to lose weight but weren’t willing to give up food as much we wanted to shed the extra kilos. There was a wellness day at work and this year they brought in a dietician who ended up giving us both the same diet (we were both around the same weight, height and had similar food preferences) which we ended up trying for a very short time before reverting back to our usual takeouts for lunch daily.
Pretty soon I was moving on to a new job at a different company and as always weight loss was a daily discussion. Over and above the work discussions about weight and diet, I was constantly being bombarded with comments about my weight and body by members of my husbands family. Usually I would not have been so concerned about comments but I was desperate to fit in to this new addition to my family and that is when everything regarding my weight came crashing down around me. My confidence plummeted and I began to get desperate to lose weight. I went back to Herbalife and it was on and off for the next 4 years. In between my Herbalife episodes I tried other products. The next product I used was Slimz. I am not sure where it is available but this is one product that did considerable damage to my stomach. I started using this product and while I don’t deny that it works, but I developed stomach ulcers and severe heartburn after using it. The bad definitely outweighed the good.
After my Slimz incident, I tried another product. It was sold by someone I worked with and it was called Skinny Me. There was a liquid that you needed to drink half an hour before and there were some other things but I cannot remember the exact details. With this diet, there were also certain foods you were not allowed to have. Fruits was one of the things that you were not allowed to eat because you had to cut out all sugars. This was definitely one of the worst diets I had ever tried out. How was this at all sustainable over long term? After a while I gave up and decided that I was going to have to find another way.
It was around this time that I got engaged. I was now planning a wedding and at the heaviest weight I had ever been. The desperation was now reaching a different level and I went back to Herbalife. For the period of a year and a half, from around the time I got engaged to the time of my wedding, I was trying to lose weight with Herbalife. Did it work? No it definitely didn’t. Before I got married, I was suddenly receiving advice from everyone who thought that they knew what would work for me. The craziest story I have ever heard about what would work for weight loss was a five spice or five herb drink that I should mix with water. The obsession with my weight on the part of my husbands family members have driven me crazy for the last 5 years. Maybe even longer but I can say that it has ruined a large part of my life.
Other people’s obsessions and issues with my weight has changed my life. I wish I could say it has been empowering to resist and stay at the same weight all this time but it hasn’t. Because of the constant attention and focus on my weight, I have withdrawn from the outside world, I am self conscious all of the time and struggle with body image daily. I have the mindset that one day when I am thin I can actually start enjoying my life and what a sad life it has become. The reality is that there are moments in my life where I would go somewhere or do something that I was against simply because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin but every single time I have just done it anyway has been exhilarating. Whenever I have ventured out, I realised that the only people who my weight has been affecting is the people who have issues with themselves, their own appearances and their own lives. There was never a time when I went out and people were staring at me or pointing me out in a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I know that being overweight is definitely not healthy but why are people ostracised for their appearance?
To say that there have been lessons in my life that I have had to learn the hard way, my weight has by far been the biggest one. I have had to hold my tongue, hold back an insane amount of tears while at the same time punishing myself by not caring about what food I am eating and not being active enough to live a healthy lifestyle just to prove a point. In the end it doesn’t seem like a fair trade to me. We end up sacrificing ourselves and what we really want in order to annoy or anger someone else whose opinion is not even important to us.
I watched a video that Will Smith uploaded onto his Instagram account and in it he speaks about how we tend to view ourselves through someone else’s broken mirror and then we try and fix our appearance according to that broken mirror. It is an interesting interpretation of how we are constantly trying to fit into the boxes that other people want us to fit into.
Have you had a similar experience to mine? I would love to hear your story!
-The Uninspired Blogger