All my life I have struggled with accepting myself and learning to love “me.” Ever since I was young, my mom focused on how “fat” I was. If you are on the heavier side in my family, everyone (meaning your relatives) would tell you how “fat” you are and give you weight loss advice even though they could lose some damn weight themselves. This became a normal conversation around my mom and her friends. They often talked about weight and diet as if they were weight loss experts. My mother would often tell my friends how fat I was when they came over to visit and how I loved food. My older cousins would say “wow you are bigger than the last time I saw you how much weight did you gain?” So, they say in these situations, you’re supposed to have thick skin and can have a sense of humor as if sensitivity did not exist. It happened so much that I learned to just accept it.
Over the years, I learned to cope with this thing called “stress” when you become an adult and have responsibilities. I used food as my escape through those stressful days. I love going out to eat and had no limit on my portion size. I would just eat until I can’t anymore. I used to say I am truly blessed to be able to go out to eat and have a good life. I associated eating out with moving up socially and economically. Growing up we never went out to eat because we just could not afford it, plus my mom was a homemaker so she would cook every meal that is in a Cambodian cookbook.
During high school, I was physically fit, but I never felt pretty or comfortable in my own skin. I played sports and was super active. I don’t think I weighed more than 150lbs at a height of 5”2”. I was so insecure and just was embarrassed of my body and the way I was. I am pretty sure many women can relate. I just could not pin point why, but I did. It’s a feeling I can’t explain. Then in college, I gained my freshmen 15 from eating “dorm food.” I went to U.C. Berkeley and I never turned down a late-night run to Blondies or Fat Slice pizza then of course binge drinking and coffee runs. I would procrastinate on my projects and papers and then pull an all nighter finishing the day before its due. By the end of college, I probably was at about 165 – 170 lbs. It was crazy. My insecurity got worse. At this point, I was like damn no matter what I do it won’t work. Then I would say things like “oh well, whoever I will marry will just have to accept my love handles and muffin top.” I started approaching my weight gain with my jokes to make myself sound like I was not tripping out about it.
In May of 2006, I had my first child, over the pregnancy I gained 15 lbs. This put me at 185lbs. I was like oh my god, this is crazy, but then I had no self-control and I just would go on these yo-yo diets and kept struggling with my weight. In June of 2013, I had my second child, and I gained another 10 lbs. I shot up about 200 lbs. Even breastfeeding didn’t help because when I stopped I over ate and the weight just stayed frozen at 200 lbs. Then in December of 2016, I had my third child and I was at about 210 lbs. The heaviest I have ever been. I never thought that I could get this big, but our skin is like elastic so it can just keep stretching. I am back to 200lbs, but I can’t get under this weight. I keep going up and down between 195 and 200 now.
I think all women should support each other and not body shame each other. Working out and mindful eating should not be a chore. You can make it fun and take it one day at a time, but have an action plan and go for it. Sometimes, we want to wait for the right time, but there is no such thing. Loving yourself starts with you and not the people around you. You need to start by changing the way you eat and start taking more steps each day than the day before. Losing weight is not easy, but you can do it one step at a time. I have been holding strong at 195 for a couple of weeks now. Follow me as I embark on this journey to love myself.