Body image has always been a struggle for me since I was young. Standing at a mere 152cm, I’ve always wanted to compensate for my lack of height by trying to lose more weight. Unequipped with any knowledge of losing weight and of course, catching onto the social media bug, I started trying to lose weight by overexercising and undereating.
I remember the 30-minute treadmill run almost daily after work, followed by workouts for another 1.5 hours. I would then go home straight to bed without having dinner. It became a routine and quickly, my weight dropped. But you know, it’s funny how thin is never thin enough. Dropping from my original 49kg to 45kg, I told myself “ok, 42kg will be the end” but no that did not happen. Losing weight became an obsession and food became a taboo.
A year later, I became anorexic and suffered from depression. I kept this to myself and struggled within. My life was hanging by a thread, literally. I weighed 32kg and my BMI was 13. Death was pretty near but at that time I just couldn’t see it. Even though strangers and family members started to pass comments, I would just shrug it off. I hardly ate and working out was my safe haven. I remembered my body was so tired everyday but I forced myself to stick to the routine and hated myself if I didn’t.
I had no idea how and why, but it all came crashing down on me one day on the way to work. I remember breaking down and for that moment, my mind cleared up and I told myself, I needed help. Finally, with the encouragement of my family, I did.
Recovery was difficult mentally and physically. I was like a baby learning how to eat again. I had to learn to cope with weight gain and the many side effects from being so sickly thin. I will never forget the doctor telling me it was a miracle that my heart was still beating.
The countless tears, mental battles within myself and visits to the eating disorder centre are things I will never forget. Four years from my recovery, now I can safely say that I have taken the right path. I have sought peace within myself to find a balance of a healthy mind and body. “Building strength and nourishing my body” is my mantra.
I won’t lie, recovery is for life and there are and will be bad days, but I thank God every day for my gift of life and my family’s support and the encouragement through these five years.
Love is a beautiful thing. Remember to save some for yourself.