My Perfect Weight!
“I have so much fat on me- I’ve lost 10 kilos and I’m down to 38 kilos but it’s still not enough. There’s so much more to lose–I like the little bit of bone that’s showing–my collar bone looks defined–I should keep this up. It’s working.”
“I hope I’ve not eaten too much today so it doesn’t show on the scale tomorrow – I really controlled myself and only ate the 600 calories but wait– there were those extra 3 bites of pasta, so I’m at 650 calories. That’ll take me 1.5 hours at the gym to burn off.”
“I hope I don’t have to go out to dinner today with family. That’s too many calories. I’ll tell them I ate at home so then I can eat only the amount I can afford.”
This is a personal account of someone who has journeyed through feeling fat while she was medically underweight. Such a journey is very unique and complex for each individual. At Aasaan Health Solutions, we provide support for those who are going through such similar experiences, towards a road for recovery.
Any of these scenarios sound familiar? These situations are all too known to me. Every day, for years, I would wake up in the morning thinking and planning how I could avoid being around anyone at meal times so that I could eat the amount I wanted without being judged. When I couldn’t avoid company, I would make up an excuse, saying I had already eaten my main meal and was simply “snacking and eating a second time” just to shut down any further discussion. I was so tired of hearing “You’re not eating enough! What’s wrong with you?” I felt like those people were crazy. I was obviously eating more than was necessary for my body. Couldn’t they see that? I still had an inch or two of fat around my thighs. I loved the weeks when my jeans felt a bit more loose or someone would comment that I’ve become “too skinny.” It didn’t matter what happened on the outside. I had control over what happened to my body and what I put in it, and that gave me my sense of power. For many years, I really thought I was doing okay.
What did my ‘okay’ look like on the inside?
Every meal was a calorie count that could turn into a guilt trip if I exceeded my limits. I would dissect the food, examining and inspecting every inch of it. Fried and greasy food was obviously “off limits” but even my family’s daily “normal home” food was scary. If I happened to have a bite or two of dessert, it meant I would skip my next meal or spend an extra 40 minutes at the gym to be safe.
For years, I tried to achieve that perfect number on the scale and took any action that would possibly help me get closer to that ideal. If I ever got feedback about my thinness it simply motivated me to restrict my calories further. My self-worth? That was decided by the figure on the scale. My personality, my qualifications, my relationships with my loved ones- none of those could reassure me the way the number on the scale could. And what happened when I finally achieved the number I was aiming for? Dissatisfaction. Yup, the result wasn’t good enough; so, I exercised relentlessly to counteract all the calories I had meticulously counted all day. And after that numeric goal was achieved? It still wasn’t enough. The number needed to be yet lower. And lower. And lower.
I was not okay.
One day I found myself at 38 kilos yet the inch of fat that I found on my legs felt like way too much. I was still obsessing about food, fully consumed with the thoughts of not being thin enough. I had developed a love-hate relationship with the number on the scale. It really bothered me when it went up, and made me feel so good when it went down. I wasn’t truly healthy. No periods for six months, no muscle mass, no self-esteem, no happiness.
I finally got a wake-up call one day at the hospital when my cardiologist said he was worried about me. I was losing all the muscle in my body; including my heart muscle. I knew I was struggling but didn’t know any way out. They gave me two choices – urgent hospital admission to get my nutrition up or gain some weight?
Gain some weight I told myself.
This was the start of a turning point in my life. It required a complete shift in my approach to taking care of myself. I learnt slowly. It was not easy, because that way of living had become so familiar. I didn’t think it was possible for me to make peace with my body or my food, but I did. Changing my thoughts and habits was difficult, but I decided it was worth it.
I was worth it.
If any part of this story resonates with you, I want you to know that you are not alone.
Please reach out to us if you have any feedback, questions or comments. We will be happy to help you and work with you.
Dr Aarti Javeri [M.B.B.S (UK), MRCP (UK) , SCE (Endocrinology & Diabetes) ]
Dr Roshani Sanghani [M.B.B.S (Bom), MD Internal Medicine (American Board), Endocrinologist (American Board) Specialist in Diabetes, Weight, Thyroid,Hormones & Metabolism ]