Fatphobia III: The Big 20

Click here for previous entries on this topic:
Fatphobia I (published in 2017)
Fatphobia II (published in 2019)

I’ve struggled with my weight all my life, never really accepting of my body or my image. It was no help that my father in particular, was very strict about my appearance and weight, so I was always under pressure not to gain weight at all. The day before my wedding he even slipped me a note with a list of reminders, among which were keeping a clear skin and not gaining weight. I tried everything, from obsessively engaging in sports to strange diets, mostly with temporary effects which led to the weight bouncing back with a vengeance. Diets were never my thing, and take the joy out of eating and cooking, both of which I enjoy doing, except for the Dukan Diet which I have been on twice in my lifetime, with remarkable effects.

Some time towards the last quarter of 2019 I went back on the Dukan Diet briefly, and managed to drop a few kilograms here and there, but nothing significant. This was the year that I busted my shoulder during a paragliding course, so sports were strictly forbidden by the doctors for the next 12 months. In order to compensate for the lack of sports, I had to go back to watching my food intake, which was not something I really wanted to do in the first place. Being post-menopausal, I wanted to enjoy this new phase in life, and embrace my scars and image, finally accepting my rotundity. Then #lockdown2020 came around and things changed radically.

I became a flexitarian, effectively cutting out red meat from my diet, and then completely changed my food intake schedule as well as turning to intermittent fasting. Long story short, I don’t eat red meat anymore, eat as many carbs as I want, but only eat one full meal a day – breakfast, and nothing after 16:00. It took me two years, a lot of grief and agony, but I dropped 20 kilograms on my own accord, no mess, no fuss, and here are the results.

I have a dress that I bought back in the Spring of 2019 which was too small for me. Rather than send it back, I decided to keep it tucked away in a corner of my closet as a long-term goal, hoping to wear it for a special occasion someday. In the course of the past two years I kept trying on the dress every six months or so just to check the progress. In the beginning it wouldn’t even zip up, but three days ago I tried it on and I got in without even unzipping it!

For the first time in my life the weight dropped and has stayed off. For the first time ever, I lost the weight without any pressure, criticism or unkind remarks from anyone about my being overweight. Thanks to the homework assignment from my therapist, I have also come to like the woman in the mirror now and am not afraid to take selfies anymore – which explains my regular changing of profile photos on various platforms. It’s not out of vanity, but part of a personal journey.

When I began blogging in 2009 as a replacement to a newsletter for close family and friends, little did I know that it would take on dimensions beyond my imagination. Many writers have a personal journal the good old fashioned way, hidden from the digital world and the internet. I am too spoiled by technology to revert back to my handwritten journal, so I blog and write faithfully. My blogging journey in particular has evolved into social commentary in addition to my own reflections on a range of topics, some of which are very personal. I suppose age and experience have made me unafraid to write and share my thoughts publicly but it has been incredibly rewarding to discover that somewhere out there, my writing makes a difference in someone’s life on that particular day. Not everyone is cut out to join support groups or take the step towards therapy for whatever reason or constraint, so if my experiences will encourage others to speak up, then that is my greatest fulfilment.

I never know how a particular entry is going to be received. There was a time when I was a bundle of nerves the first few hours after publication, worried about what the feedback would be. These days are long gone, and now I write for the sake of writing and expressing my point of view, and not to please others. As a very wise friend once told be at the very beginning of my blogging journey: it’s my blog, so I get to write what I want, not what others tell me to. Whether you like it or not, or if it hits a nerve, that is not my problem. I write to be read and make you think, contemplate on your own life after being given some food for thought. Many of these topics have not been easy to tackle, but writing about them was cathartic and helped me put my own emotions into perspective. Once I put it out there, all I can hope for is that someone else struggling with the same thing can identify with it.

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