I had immersed myself in a deluge of
information on eating disorders for the past 2 months due to the recent focus
It’s been a learning journey as I had initial simplistic notions of eating disorders. I knew what
differentiates bulimia and anorexic but I was far from understanding why a
person will want to go through that.
For me, weight concerns centred most of my
growing up years into my adulthood. However, unlike most people, my struggle
was the opposite. I yearned to put on weight, but simply can't.
me for that, because I felt like I had suffered.
I disliked eating, and had problems
finishing my food. My mother used to scold me “你要做仙呀？” (Literal translation – “Are you going to be an immortal?”) I didn’t understand
why others can enjoy food and always felt bloated. I was often the last to
complete my food and once even missed the mass teeth-brushing activity that we
used to do after recess, in my bid to finish up strand after strand of the
noodles. The lack of enjoyment in eating was nothing compared to the
reactions that I got from others.
“Ee…. So skinny! Why
you never eat huh?”
I think people in general are never sensitive enough when they meet someone of a smaller
frame, as compared to someone bigger-sized. Somehow, we tend to be more careful with
our words around people who are overweight. Is it because of our pro-slim culture that we have no qualms about saying how skinny someone is, not
considering that it can also damage a person’s self-image?
I have passed that
stage of not being comfortable in my own skin; metabolism rate has reduced with
age and somehow, I now live to eat, not just eat to live. My past has affected how I
perceived eating disorders though.
I always thought that anorexia or bulimia
is a choice one makes as a result of misperceiving one’s body image and wanting
to look good. Yet, after reading and watching videos about the ordeal of
sufferers, it seems like the illness had taken control over them. They can’t
help but not eat even while they are aware of the devastation that they have
caused to their bodies. They know they don’t look good, yet it’s beyond their
choice to do what they do. I am definitely more sympathetic to the predicament
that they are in.
I also wondered where is the line
between being careful with what you eat to control’s one’s weight and overdoing
it? Is it contradictory for me to encourage the patients I work with to live a healthy lifestyle and exercise adequately in order to manage their weight given the weight side effects of some medications?
Recently, I had a chance encounter with someone who is proud to list the achievement of having lost
more than 40kg of weight over a few months and sees it as a positive
transformation in life. Alarm bells started ringing in my head. The person
doesn’t seem to see that it may become a major health issue. Yet, who am I to decide
or to brand a person based on a 10-minute conversation? Even if so, how do I
actually raise the person’s awareness when s/he may not be ready to listen to
Guess what? I highlighted the
CHAT website. Of course it's not going to work magic but hopefully, it may act as a resource of information in times of need. Having said, I hope the person I met will achieve confidence, because size, I realised, doesn't correlate with our esteem.
It is much more difficult to accept and love oneself as who you are.
Posted by carousel at 3/29/2011 4:00:33 PM