My name is Jennifer Tai and I am 34 years old.
I weigh 100kgs, give or take, and have been obese for almost six years. I have been overweight half of my life.
When I got married at 28, I was around 85kgs. I convinced myself that if I managed to find a man (who was overweight himself, clocking at around 120kgs at the time we were married) who loved me for what I am, I should not care about what other people thought of me.
This was my attitude for a very long time, even before I was married. As I ballooned up in size and weight, I continued to believe that as long as I was happy and healthy, that was all that mattered. And if people judged me for being fat, they were just vain idiots.
After Rae, I continued to prosper, gaining another 20kgs. After Sky, my weight hovered around 112-115kgs. And it has been there – until a year ago.
Thing was, I was not healthy. I could hardly climb up two flights of stairs without feeling as though I would pass out my insides. My second pregnancy was horrendous, most likely because of my diminishing health. My cholesterol level slowly crossed over to yellow.
And as far as happy went, I was barely hanging on. I could not shop in any of the stores back home and so I gave up shopping altogether, convincing myself that this was good for saving money. My self esteem, having built up over the years after an abusive ex-relationship, plateaued at about “I am okay as long as my family loves me and I have my job”. I tried some of that “Love the body you’re in“, you know, the Monique crap, but you know what? Self love is overrated. There is a lot of stuff I love myself about, like the way I dance and my nonsensical sense of humour, and that I can write reasonably well, but c’mon. Let’s be honest.
No one likes to be fat.
Seriously, ask anyone. Ask a fat person if he or she chose to be fat. Hell, ask Monique, if she had one wish, and if that wish could only be that she would be half her size, or nothing else, that she would refuse it.
The billion-dollar weight-loss industry out there trying to get the thin person out is evidence enough that if given a simple choice, no one chooses to be 300lbs.
No. One. Not the teen with the overactive hormones that contribute to the eating disorder. Not the man whose family is genetically obese. Not the child who developed eating disorders due to childhood force-feeding.
But you may say that people who choose to eat themselves to death CHOSE to be fat and chose to not give two tosses about their health. That is true as well. I was in this category. And that is why today, I believe, that fat people deserve to be judged for who they are: Lazy, undisciplined, weak-willed individuals.
However, I believe that fat children (including teens) are to be excluded from this category. Be it a hormonal disorder or lack of good eating habits or nutrition, these are aspects outside the control of a child. Parents are the ones to blame for their fat child.
In Malaysia, it is common practice for children to be fed until they are in their teens. Children are placed next to a bowl of rice big enough to feed a small country and made to finish all of it at the end of a cane.
“Do you know there are starving children in Ethiopia?!” my mother oftened asked when my sis and I were kids, although we had no idea where or what Ethiopia – or starving – was.
In short, we were never taught to listen to our own bodies, our own tummies, as to how much we ought to eat. We listened, instead, to our mothers and nannies and caregivers, eating and expanding our little stomaches to unreasonable proportions for no rhyme or reason than to live up to the expectations of those who love and care for us – expectations that sometimes take into account only the fact that food should not be wasted, rather than real nutrition or good eating habits.
And therefore, children are to be excused from this group of fat people I will summarily judge as Lazy and Undisciplined.
In fact, this is what I believe: That anyone above 30 who is grossly overweight are Lazy and Undisciplined. We deserve to be passed over for jobs and promotions and be looked upon as unattractive sloths. And since we are often told (mostly by ourselves) not to give two shits about what others think about us, isn’t it fair that we be isolated and singled out and avoided?
I am being hard on myself because enough is enough. Let me tell you why.
Appearances DO matter. Perception IS reality. And this is especially important for a 30-something who is overweight to get through to our heads because WE ARE ADULTS. We have entered an age where we should be mature and sensible enough to do the right thing BUT WE ARE NOT. We have been bombarded with enough science and doctors’ appointments to force the truth down our throats.
And yet, here we are.
I asked myself today, if I were to go out and look for a job, one for which I am highly qualified for, and have more than enough experience to get, and I walk into the interview looking like I do. And then, this other lady, all together in her tight gluts and her sharp suit and her bright smile, with exactly the same qualifications and experience, goes in after me.
Who do you think should be hired? Is it unfair for the sharp lady to be hired simply because I’m fat and slovenly?
Because perception IS reality.
Because being fat after 30 means only one thing: A lack of discipline. And if I do not have the discipline to take care of myself, where will I find the discipline to do my job well?
You may be depressed or have no time or think that eradicating poverty and suffering has more clout than losing weight. You may think that having a good body image is essential and that people should not be thought unkindly of simply because they eat too much. You may think that as long as you are happy, it does not matter.
At the end of the day, all you need to ask yourself is this:
Will you hire the fat lady or Miss Altogether?
This post is not intended to insult anyone or to practise some kind of reverse psychology on fat people – including myself – to go lose weight.
It’s just the opinion of someone who’s made enough excuses. Or blogged enough about how it’s okay to be obese, when it’s really not.
Someone who not only wants to live long enough to see her grandkids, but also someone who wants to set an example for her children to take ownership of their bodies and minds.
And that as far as your own health goes, you make your own second chances.
Why not make yours today?