Archives for category: Imperfect Body

Lokes was watching CNN online and suddenly, up floated two female voices discussing some celebrity news, and they were talking about the stars of Desperate Housewives. I’m not a big fan but what caught my attention was that apparently, Felicity Huffman (whom I adore from Trans America) had called Eva Longoria fat.

Seriously CNN, this is news? Someone calling her friend fat?

On and on they went about how disrespectful the word “fat” was and how Eva is far from fat (duh!) and they even had someone who made plus-sized clothes talk about the implications of the “F” word, how demeaning and rude the word is and how it sets us back like a thousand years when, what? Fat was in? Come the hell on.

Firstly, speaking for my people, we are AWARE we’re fat. Not using the word in front of us does not make a damn difference. You can call me fat in front of my face and I really don’t give a damn because it’s the truth.

Secondly, calling someone like Eva fat is funny. Are you guys really that idiotic NOT to see it for the joke it is? Have you all lost your damn minds to make such a big fat hairy deal of it? It was said in jest because EVERYONE knows it’s NOT true. It’s like calling Bill Gates funny or Gandhi selfish. 

IT’S A WORD, BITCHES. GET OVER IT.

The reason why those women don’t find it funny is because if someone ever called any of them twigs fat they would simply stop eating for a month or go hurl into the nearest latrine. 

Let’s hope Eva is more secure than these idiots. 

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There are photographers, and then, there are photographers.

Jim and his wife Lori wrote a wonderful little story about my blog and a book club I’d started and then the little preschool I helped to found just a few months after we’d moved here to our little town.

Many of you may remember this photograph that Jim took:

River Current News pic

I found out about Jim’s passing a few days ago and he’d already been gone half a year.

I did not know much of Jim, except that he took one of the best pictures of my family (one I’ve enlarged and put on cards and passed around until now). Lori was kind enough to share with me this link to his portfolio and I am humbled.

Here was someone who had dedicated his life to a craft I’m just starting to pick up. Words fail (or maybe I just don’t know enough of them) to describe the mixture of sadness and honour I now feel to have been one of his subjects, even if it had been only a while.

Rest in peace, Jim. I hope you’re still making beautiful pictures wherever you are.

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A few of my friends from way back when have asked me since I posted the two photos of myself in my recent posts, “Wow. Why the change?”

No, they’re not being rude. They know me, these guys. They know I’ve never been a vain person, because I believe that there’s only so much time and resources one has, and as such, image has never been one of my priorities. I prefer to go after other more, shall we say, meaningful pursuits, like how to enrich my mind or my writing, to be a better parent.

Don’t be mistaken. I like looking at beautiful people. Who doesn’t? I totally grasp the concept that appearances matter and the slightly narcissistic but totally primal desire to be admired, but I’ve been one of those fortunate ones who’ve always been able to slip through the cracks of this societal pressure, managing to get by without needing to constantly watch what I eat, spend a lot of money on product or fashion. An example of my good luck is that I married a man who was 150lbs overweight (“was” as in not anymore – no, I’m not divorced, he’s just lost over 130lbs so far). He fell in love with me even when I was a good 50lbs overweight.

So, I figured I could continue to get by.

And then I had a six-year old.

Living in a country where extremes like obesity and bulimia can co-exist so comfortably within a square mile of fast-food chains, yoga studios and everything in between telling you one moment to love the shape you’re in and the next that those 10lbs can come right off if you just drink some Oolong, is a little like being Alice. You don’t know the next moment if you should get bigger or smaller, or stay the same size. If it’s confusing for a grown-up, what more a child?

A month ago, Raeven told me she didn’t want to eat because she didn’t want to be as big as me. I know, brutal but cute at the same time. I told her that it was okay to eat, as long as we eat the right foods and exercise to keep us healthy.

“Do you exercise?” she’d asked.

“Of course,” I’d managed, without even blinking. The next day, I started walking three to four miles each day and went on the South Beach diet.

That was four weeks – and 6lbs – ago.

What I’m saying is that I am losing weight and trying to look good to set an example for my kids, because like it or not, we’re the sun and the moon to them. Like it or not, at this young age, they look to us for guidance and we’re the be all and end all of all standards in their world. If Daddy swears and hits, then it’s okay for me to swear and hit. If Mommy is fat and lazy, that’s good enough for me.

Those who’ve followed my weight-loss journeys (emphasis on the plural) have known that staying motivated is my biggest challenge. I’ve always told Lokes I fail because I just don’t care enough about how I look and put no stock into what total strangers think of me when they see me lumbering by, particularly when my health is still tip-top (I go for annuals and my doc reluctantly tells me it’s a miracle). So preaching to me that I have to be healthy for kids so I can get old enough to see them get married and give me grandkids, doesn’t really hack it either.

But what my children think of me, in the midst of all the noise about health and a healthy body image? Now that matters. It really does, because what they think of me shapes – pun intended – who they are.

That’s more power than I’m willing to screw with.

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Waiting

Before The I’mPerfect Mom, there was the I’mPerfect Party Animal who had NO idea the life of servitude that awaited her.

If she’d known, she would’ve gotten naked and smoked a joint.

Don’t worry, Mom/Dad – that’s Photoshop smoke.

And Photoshop naked.

Which reminds me, textures from Resurgere and smoke effect from Talk Show on Mute from DA.

Also this week’s Self Portrait Challenge.

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Pasta Queen (your name should be in a spelling bee, lady), a fellow blogger and hostel mate I met in Chicago last month at Blogher, just wrote this amazing post about the importance of remembering how it feels to be 300lbs.

Her book, Half of Me: The Last 200lbs are the Hardest, out April 2008, is about her painful but poignant two-year weight loss journey. Make sure to get it because she is a truly remarkable writer, as you can probably see from her blog.

Being on The Journey myself, I am not yet at a point where I can say, wow, I can now fit in a swing without looking up at the bolts. And that is perhaps my most sensible reason to lose weight.

It’s not about being able to shop at a regular store or fitting into an airplane seat. It’s about fitting into a ride at the county fair or go down the slide at the park with my girls without getting stuck.

It’s not about getting stick thin so I can get into my secondary school clothes again (no amount of money will make me get into those fluorescent yellow leotards). It’s just getting to my ideal weight so I can do things with my children without embarassing myself, embarassing them or damaging public property.

Although I won’t be able to reflect on memories of being fat for a while, I will feel good about myself now, because while boogying to Maroon 5 at Jazzercise this morning, I felt better than I had ever felt in the last five years. I was jumping, skipping, plié-ing and relevé-ing up a storm, energy and endorphins rushing through my veins. And like Eliza Doolittle triumphant over her vowels, I felt like I could’ve danced all day.

It’s been over a month of jazzercise classes and so far, so good. The classes are fun and well-paced for one such as me.

However the one thing I’ve yet to do is to track what I’m eating. I’ve given up carbs but for one spoon of rice or one piece of bread per day, just to stem my craving for those blasted things. Just so you know, Lokes went down eight sizes from six months of no carbs and no exercise. Amazing, and unfair!

Anyway, check this out: My Fitness Pal. It’s got a free calorie counter so you can track your meals and work out a diet plan – any diet plan, be it Atkins or South Beach or what have you. Best of all, it’s free.

The registration process includes making a diet profile that lets you enter the ideal weight you want to achieve, your current level of activity (or inactivity) and how much you want to lose. My ideal weight (you can get use a calculator to do this) would be 160lbs, which means I have 50lbs more to go, and I work out five times a week and want to lose two pounds a week. And right off the bat, they tell me that:

My Target intake should be: 1,200 calories/day
My nutritional goals should be: Carbs / Day: 165 g | Fat / Day: 40 g | Protein / Day: 45 g
My fitness goals: Calories burned per week – 2,310/week, @ five workouts of 60 minutes each a week

Within My Fitness Pal is a Food Diary, an Exercise Log, a weigh-in and a forum so like-minded individuals can prompt and motivate you on. You can also generate reports on your progress at the click of a few buttons.

So if you’re serious about losing weight and keeping fit, try My Fitness Pal out. You need all the friends you can get to make the journey easier – and a lot more fun!

This post is brought to you by My Fitness Pal.

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.

No. Way.

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?

Why?

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?

Jenn: One year later

Not a lot of difference but I feel healthier, have more energy, and am down to a size 14-16/XL top, 16-18/XXL bottom. I can’t seem to resist the carbs so I take rice or noodles in the afternoons, one spoon.

Here’s to another year and hope to make 12 next summer!