There comes a point in one’s life when “being healthy” goes beyond all the superficial things and start becoming a life-or-death challenge. Some people get there early on, others later in life. But it usually starts when one’s age is equal to the last few days of a calendar month.
This is when all those things we did to our body, back when we were under the imagined invincibility that accompanies youth, show up. Getting up early after a late night isn’t easy like it used to be. Parts of your body, even ones you didn’t know you had, start aching. Working off holiday weight gain took twice as long as say, five years ago.
The Sad Reality
This reality only recently hit me. It’s pretty depressing because my mind hasn’t caught up to my body’s age. I’m sure that it’s not just me that feels that, even though it’s been a while since you were 21, you still, by default, think like one. So you do things like you used to, then your body laughs at the immobile mess that you become by the next day.
These days, salad or steamed vegetables paired with grilled fish or chicken has become my “safe” dish. If I eat these, I live. If I go a day without at least one meal of these, then good luck to my liver. Of course, I’m still working on conditioning myself to not get tired of this combination. I mean, I’m a person who loves delicious, rich, flavorful food. But then I found that fear of death works very well to counter that.
Okay, you might think that I’m over-exaggerating. If I came from a line of healthy ancestry, then yes, I may be. But I’m descended from a family that checks almost all the boxes in those family medical history forms. I should’ve had this fear when my dad passed away from liver cancer, but I didn’t. As usual, I’m late – two years late, that is. But I believe that it isn’t too late to start striving for good health now, and I will hopefully reach that goal in a year, when I turn the big three-o.
Why Cheat Days are Necessary
As a consistently plus sized lady, I’ve had my share of weight loss and weight gain, and I can say that the thing that really cracks me is feeling restricted. I can exist on a single diet for 1-3 months, but there’s always a point when I break and just eat whatever. That’s why I need those cheat days, to kind of trick myself into thinking that oh, I can still eat what I want. It’s all cool. Lol.
The challenge here is controlling consumption during cheat days. I have to admit that even though I’ve tasted The Fear, there still are days when I rationalize myself into unhealthy eating thinking, “Yeah well, I’m still young”, or, “I know people who lived their whole lives in my size and are still doing fine in old age”.
There are people who will tell me to just “love my shape” or that “anyone can be beautiful at any size” or that “size doesn’t matter if you love yourself”. While I do support all these things, let me reiterate what I said in my About page:
I’m body positive, and I believe people can be beautiful at any size, but dying of a heart attack or liver cancer isn’t really pretty, so I’m trying to take care of mine.
Since as young as 11 or 12 years old, I have played within the range of UK size 12-20 (US 10-18). Although my mom thinks I lack confidence, and I will admit to bouts of insecurity from time to time (I mean, who doesn’t have that?), I do believe that I’m okay-looking. I’m comfortable in my body. I think I look nice in the right clothes. I’m pretty flexible, and I don’t have terrible problems doing active things (the rare times that I wanted/was forced to). Even though there were instances of name-calling, being asked to pay for 2 seats in a jeepney, and getting blamed by the taxi driver for his suddenly-flat tire (there were 5 of us riding!), I was okay with myself. I had good friends, a good brain, a supportive family, and am terribly blessed by God. What more can I ask for?
My weight has never posed as an obstacle to doing things that I want, so I liked myself. A LOT. If I hated myself, I’d want to change myself, right? But I liked myself too much to change, so I went on being the same, fighting for size-equality. Things such as:
I won’t lose weight just to get a guy. True love is loving me as is.
There needs to be more plus-sized leading ladies in love stories!
Employers need to not discriminate between fat and thin applicants.
Fat girls can do everything that thin girls can.
There were a few more for sure, but I forget. I will say that I still believe in these things, because these need to be true. Some things (especially the first one) is already true for others, but not for me, and probably many other plus-sized men and women. These need a major mindset evolution to happen in society, and I think the body positive campaign is a good start, so I fully support this campaign. There are too many points of discrimination in this society, and one’s body shouldn’t be one of them.
True Self Love
However, I found that loving myself isn’t just about being comfortable and liking the way I am. Truly loving myself is taking time to care for myself. This is something of a hard lesson to apply in my life, because I’ve always thought people who spend too much time and money on themselves are vain. I mean, doing nails, getting hair colored, threading/waxing eyebrows, putting on makeup every morning, etc. – all of these cost precious time and money, as well as brain space to remember all those appointments (okay, there are apps, but you still keep it at the back of your head). Not to mention the effort. These I’d rather spend on travelling or sleeping or I don’t know, trying to save the world.
But now, I understand. Although I still don’t get my nails done unless there’s a major occasion like a wedding or something, I finally understand that carving out time for myself, making sure that I am healthy and the best that I can be, is the real self love. I mean, I spend my time watching and reading things because I love them, so why can’t I do that for myself?
Right now, my priority is being healthy enough to live another 40 or so years. I’m not greedy, I don’t want to live forever. It’s pretty tiring to be alive; I don’t know why some people want to be immortal. I just want to live long enough to give my mom an awesome retirement, keep my brother company, make some of my dreams come true, and help as many people as I can.
The Game Plan
To do that, I have at least 100lbs. of fat to lose. And this time, I really have to stick to this commitment, that’s why I’m putting this up here – to shame myself enough to actually do it, after having publicly declared it. Lol.
Two things I have down – my “safe” dish and a gym membership. Now, if only I can buy consistency. Haha. I’m trying to form a habit of going to the gym at least thrice a week. I’ve actually come up with a plan to push myself to go. As much as I want to lose 10lbs. per month, which I can for the first two to three months, I’ve accepted a slow-but-steady progress. No more quick fixes. I want this to stick.
I will write about it here as a form of accountability, and to encourage people on a similar journey as mine. If, by this time next year, I am still this fat (UK size 18/20/US 16/18), then you are free to call me out on it.
Okay, let’s do this!