Over the last year, I decided to seriously invest in weight loss and health-conscious eating. I’ve always known myself to be a finicky eater—with a hatred of this and that that I can’t explain. I also knew I had a sweet-tooth, and a penchant for eating for comfort, boredom, and quelling my anxieties (and boy, am I anxious). In all, I call the past five years my “not me years” (no offence to anyone). Between 2012-2017, my weight jumped by an average of 5-6 pounds a year, and in the winter of 2017, I reached a scale-breaking crisis. I was sweating heavily, snoring, and struggling to breathe after performing basic physical tasks.
Then the cost to my vanity hit. I’d always been petite, and even while my weight jumped, I could still fit into smaller sizes. But then the world started to challenge me on this. I walked into a department store, picked up size 6 pants I was certain could still fit me, and the shopkeeper shouted at me from across the room, “That’s too small for you, honey,” and perhaps seeing my mortified face, added, “Oh, it wouldn’t fit me either.” Woman, bye. This was increasingly the case. I went fencing, and the instructor insisted on giving me a large-sized armor, even though I requested a small. The offenses racked up. I pulled out of rock-climbing and horseback riding out of fear of embarrassing myself, or getting caught in humiliating situations. At work, a safety expert from the government walked into the office and caught me standing on a stool, and persisted to ask one of the office supervisors if “that was safe for me.” Judging by the way he avoided my eyes, I knew what he meant—I was heavy, the stool might break under me.
Fed up, I stopped looking at myself in the mirror. I’d long known there was a correlation between my weight gain and my mental health (absent-minded eating), and in light of things that kept me up at night, mental health came out on top. I decided to focus on my brain. I started eating more “brain foods”—beets, walnuts, and even began taking rhodiola, and magnesium, as I suffer from magnesium deficiency. In all, I can say it helped. All of a sudden I wasn’t mindlessly reaching for things, or forgetting that I had a three course meal two hours ago, while in the middle of devoruing my second. Then weight watchers came, and later My Fitness Pal, and all of a sudden, my borderline OCD personality discovered a new obsession—calorie tracking. In the last year and a half, I have lost nearly fifty pounds.
CONGRATS, the job isn’t over yet.
Everyone has noticed how much I have lost. My clothes hang loosely off me, and even my shoes fit better. I still fear that my progress will be undermined. It’s tough. My brain still fights me. It says: you just ate a salad, now reward yourself with ice cream. Seriously, this is how my brain works. In the beginning, I was on a roll, losing 5-8 pounds a month, but since, I have been losing about 2-3 pounds every 2 months. I have yet to reach my goal. Though I am no longer using Weight Watchers, horrified by its point deductions, I am still using My Fitness Pal—it’s free. My diet hasn’t been all that greatly adhered to over the summer months—pub nights and Asian TV shows infused with food galore have destroyed my willpower.
Though I'm trying to keep calories under 1200, I am not confident I am succeeding—often I am guessing at calories for undocumented foods, from non-chain restaurants. But, I am that annoying girl who asks the waiter how many calories are in this bowl of ramen noodle (to the chagrin of everyone around me, including the waiter). It’s been a struggle to keep my carb, sugar, and daily fat intake in check with my daily goals. I’m either going over one or the other, even when my calorie count stays low.
What I have learned is that dieting works best at my own pace, when I am not resentful (only eating greens will drive me mad), and everything in moderation is true. Eat ice cream if you feel like it, or if all your friends are doing it- JUST DON’T OVERINDULGE, and if you do slip and eat that entire bucket of fried food during pub night, remember Scarlett O’hara’s words of inspiration: tomorrow’s another day (also: you might want to consider taking a long "powered" walk, the stairs, or putting on an uptempo song and dancing around for ten minutes).
The adventures continue …