I have been overweight almost all my life. Part of it is genetics; we are definitely not a thin family. Most of it is can be attributed to nurture rather nature. I live in Singapore, where good food abounds, and Mum is a great cook. I have been surrounded by good food all my life.
Furthermore, Dad is one those “feeders”. Dad likes girls to have some meat on their bones. When I was a kid, I remember one of the easiest ways to make Dad proud of me was to eat a lot. Like 8 roast pork (char siew) buns at 8 years old at a dim sum place, or 3 plates of wanton noodles at a single sitting at 9 years old. Even today, Dad would question Mum if any meal she cooks does not contain at least one of my favourite dishes.
And I hate exercise. ‘Nuff said.
I went on a successful weight loss round between 2007 and 2008, after close to 30 years as the fat girl. To date, no one knows the exact reason which sparked off my weight loss initiative then. I told everyone it was for health reasons, as I had been rejected for medical insurance coverage, which was true, but that not the real reason.
The real reason was a conversation my best friend and his mother, which he relayed to me later:Best Friend’s Mum: Is that your girl friend? Best Friend: No, but so what if she is? BF’s Mum: She’s fat. I don’t like fat girls.
I had always known that I was physically unattractive to guys, and although that hurt to some extent, I could somehow always brush it off. All I have to do is call a guy shallow, and it became his fault, not mine. At 29 years old, I was fast coming to the conclusion that I preferred singlehood anyway, so getting a boyfriend or getting hitched was overrated. So I reasoned that I did not need to make myself look more attractive, since there was no one to be attractive for. Besides, inertia and belief that I had too much weight to lose had always stopped me from even trying to do anything about it.
But getting rejected by a guy’s mother for reasons that had to do with physical appearance….that hurt majorly. It felt a bit like gender betrayal. I mean, weren’t women supposed to give other women breaks when it came to things like physical discrimination? Rationally I could see where she came from; she was a mother who wanted perfection for her son. But emotionally, I felt like I was given a big wallop. I didn’t have feelings for my best friend that way, but pride reared its head. I was determined to lose weight and show her that she didn’t have anything to offer me that I wanted. So I did.
It took a year where I ate, breathed and slept diet and exercise. I was exercising 10 to 15 hours a week and spent thousands of dollars on gym memberships, trainers, Marie France Bodyline. I lost 20 kgs that year, and was an inspiration to everyone. Our company Managing Director’s secretary called my department manager asking to speak to me about how I lost the weight. We visited my best friend’s home, and her mother was all over me, complimenting me on my improved appearance. That was my hour of triumph.
Alas, statistics proved itself and I joined the ranks of those who regained the lost weight. All of it. It first started with me quitting my gym. It was a great gym and I loved the system. They had bootcamps, which I participated in for 6 months, before I felt the need for a more tailored regime, and then I moved on to their tailored programs. They had trainers at the gym who would hold your hand through the first few sessions, and then they left you to follow the rest of the program, but they were always going around the gym helping out trainees, spotting lifts, correcting postures, answering questions etc etc. We had the attention of the trainers without paying for time just spent hovering around us counting reps, like those dedicated trainers at commercial gyms. For unlimited access to the gym, I paid $300 a month, which was steal considering most commercial gyms would be charging several thousands of dollars for a dedicated trainer who would be doing nothing but rep counts most of the time anyway.
However, by this time, my austerity drive had started, and $300 a month started to look hefty. It was close to 10% of my take-home and my largest single expense. Once I decided early retirement and property investment was on the horizon, I made the decision to cut the expensive gym out. It didn’t help that the gym was an hour’s commute from work and 45 minutes from home, so I was spending a lot of time just moving between places.
I resolved to keep up the same level of intensity at a gym about 5 minutes walk from home. But that fizzled because once I reached home after a hard day’s work, I didn’t have the motivation to get out again. I tried going directly to the gym from work, but I hated bring all my stuff around with me everyday, since this gym had no lockers. I looked like a bag lady going to work, literally, since I had to carry so many different bags. Long story short, the whole exercise thing fizzled out; I got bored of not eating carbs; and we were back to square one.
I am trying something different this time round. Exercise four to five times a week, twenty minutes each time, consisting of rope skipping and body weight circuits. I would add swimming to the mix when I get more comfortable about going into public with a swimsuit. Moving to the condo could have helped since there is an in-ground pool, but that point is moot for now. Maybe Jillian’s 30 Day Shred soon. Diet is back to low carbs as much as possible. I feel some difference already in the fit of clothes, but it is slow going.
So that is the wordy version of my weight loss saga. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, my friend told me the conversation with his mum as a joke, because he is no lightweight himself. We laughed it off at that time and I don’t think he ever meant for it to hurt me. He probably thought I was cool with my physical appearance, since I had never indicated otherwise. I can look back now and thank both his mum and him for doing me this favour. Even though I need to restart the process, it is easier this time round because I have done it before and know that it is not as hard as I had imagined it to be.
And so, thanks again, BF and BF’s Mum.