Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Attractive is being rail-skinny.
Your clavicles have to jut out.
There should be no flabby bingo arms.
In fact, twiggy arms are ideal.  

When I was about 14 years old, I started eating only one meal and a snack (an apple) for the whole day. My favorite was actually not eating the entire day until dinner time at home when I kinda have to eat, or when I am out with friends.
I also experimented with diet pills and laxatives and some throwing up after meals.  I also imposed weird diet restrictions, such as being a vegetarian, to make it difficult to find food to eat.
All these efforts made me pretty.
It made me a slim 100-pounder. Definitely no thigh chub-rubbing action going on there. 
But I was pretty, so pretty.
Who cares if I fainted twice.
Who cares if I feel faint even while sitting down.

Fast-forward to moving to the United States and meeting my now-boyfriend.
With him, I started to eat and learned to enjoy eating.
We would cook and experiment with dishes together during college days.
I started feeding my body.  I eat everyday. I eat many times a day.
I quit feeling faint.
Instead, I started feeling strong.

What is stressing me out about going home (Singapore) is my body.
When I was about 18 years old and after spending about 6 months in Europe, I came home and the first words out of my mommy's mouth were, "Oh my god. You are fat."

Now, almost every phone calls home inevitably lead to some form of "How fat are you?" or "Are you fat?"

My mother told me recently she doesn't want me fat.
Because being fat is ugly.
And she doesn't want an ugly daughter.
I know she loves me and she won't disown me because I have gained weight.
However, I know she will be disappointed to find me the weight/size I am.

Almost every trip home involves my mom's inquiries about my weight.
And almost every time at the airport, mom and dad will make a comment about how much rounder/fatter/chunkier/beefier I have gotten.  In fact, I don't like having them come to the airport to pick me up anymore.  It is stressful dealing with a "reverse culture shock" and I just cannot gracefully handle lamentations about my weight. 

Certainly my family doesn't just comprise of my mom and dad.  I have to handle weight comments from cousins and aunts and uncles. 
Never mind that I am running half marathons.
Never mind that my activity level has increased since high school.
Never mind that I don't feel faint anymore.
Never mind that my life doesn't revolves around not eating and making up crazy excuses to avoid eating. 

So, I am a little stress.

In fact, I purposefully avoided eating on Monday.
Nutrition on Monday consists of black coffee (no sugar, no creamer).

And somehow, I skipped eating today too.  Well, I munched on some almonds to help me stay awake while I was driving.
How do I feel?
Faint. Weak. Not happy.
I skipped a workout because I just lacked the energy. 

I guess, the point of this post is to let it out.
While I am definitely a healthier person, making some sound choices with food and enjoying food and being active, there's a part of me that has difficulty shaking the "past." I will always want to please my mommy.  In fact, a lot of decisions that I make right now, I think about how it will affect my parents.
I am not kidding when I tell you that I did consider about not eating for 2 weeks just so I can drop some pounds.
I am not kidding when I tell you that I contemplated not going home so I don't have to deal with this weight issue.

So, I am eating tomorrow.
But that was what I told myself on Monday.
But now that I let it out, I better eat, right?
Because somehow, I have 87 followers checking on me tomorrow to make sure I eat something.

Wish me luck while I navigate through this jumble of a mess.

(p.s.: When I do become a parent, I will instill good eating habits and good activity habits in my kids. I want to run with my kids, sign them up for races, let them run amok in playgrounds and kick balls and hop and skip and swim and eat.)


  1. I am so sorry you are having to deal with all of this...I will be reading tomorrow to make sure you eat :D I hope that this all turns out well for you. I will be thinking good thoughts.

  2. I cannot imagine the stress and pressure you're feeling. I urge you to please take care of yourself and be true to who you want to be. And, yes, I'll be checking in to see that you're eating tomorrow!

  3. Oh sugar, what a hard place you are in! We will always look for approval from our parents - mo matter how old, or how independent we get. But sweetie, you KNOW what you need for your body to be healthy. You probably aren't going to change their minds, sadly, but stay strong. Bring your medal, your race bib, photos from your races. Let them see that smile you get from a sense of accomplishment. Praying you you!
    And YES, EAT!

  4. Sending you a HUGE hug! I don't know if your family reads your blog, but they *need* to read this. I second the comment above - obviously it's hard because it's family, but show them how proud of yourself you are and let them know that it is what makes you happiest.

  5. Wow, Christina. I am so sorry to hear about your family's preoccupation with your weight! How have you responded in the past? I would break down and cry! Would seeing you cry shut your parents up? I really, really don't want to see you driven back to disordered eating, girlfriend. This situation sounds AWFUL, and I'm not sure how I'd deal.

    I was an emotional mess after reading the body of your post, and the P.S. send me over the edge into tears. You are such an amazing woman! I don't want to see your family bring you down.

    Okay, just re-read it and cried again. Good luck to you, Christina. We are here for you!

  6. Sorry to hear about this stress you are under and realise the difficult situation you face but be strong and be yourself. Let people see that you are happy eatng and running and be proud of what you have achieved so far and are going onto achieve - my thoughts are with you

  7. Oh Christina, I don't even know what to say... your post makes me sad and I can't believe that your parents care so much about your weight. It counts who you are and not how much your weight is. But I guess it's the different culture. In Germany it's also common: the skinnier the prettier. I don't believe in that at all!!! I believe that a beautiful person believes in herself, is happy and smiling and beautiful from inside. If you don't eat and are not able to run or do any type of activity, you are not able to be happy and smiling and therefore you are not pretty!
    Please start eating again and please keep us posted how you feel. If there is anything we can do in order to help. Let us know!! You are a strong woman, believe in yourself!

  8. omg. i have sooo many comments to this.
    this topic feels very personal to me after having lived in south korea for 2 weeks. i will email u my thoughts, so i dont know if there is enough space here to let everything i need to say.

    but dont worry. pls eat. i will be angry if u dont at least 1 time have some mcdonalds pancake.
    u r a strong and beautiful woman. u r an athlete and a runner!
    dont let other fools tell u otherwise...even if its family.

    ill email u later on today!

  9. Good for you for putting it out there. The first step in change is self-awareness. Like you, it sometimes helps me to write out my feelings. Thinking of you and also knowing you will eat a big healthy meal today b/c we will all be waiting for your next post :-) Hugs to you....

  10. Sending you a big hug! That has got to be hard to deal with. Please eat. You are healthy, you are strong, and we all support you. I know what you mean about wanting to please your parents, but hopefully they will begin to see that rail-thin is not the way to go. Thinking of you... have a great day.

  11. Parental approval is a powerful stress. :-( As much as writing is therapeutic, have you ever considered counseling or a support group? I saw a counselor for a while to help me deal with stress and it was such a positive experience. It helped that I made time to talk and be heard each week.
    Lots and lots of hugs!

  12. I am really sorry that you have this cultural pressure from your family to be unhealthy. You KNOW what is best for you. If you can hold your chin up and be the healthy you that you are and be proud, that would be ideal. Hang in there. You are beautiful!

  13. Christina, my heart was breaking for you reading this. I don't want to sound cliche or trite, but you are beautiful and the right size for your body. Parents can be the hardest on us, and I hope your trip home is enjoyable and as least stressful as possible. XOXO!!!

  14. So sorry you're facing this. Wish I knew the magic solution that would make them see how much healthier you are now.

  15. Oh my - this post broke my heart. I hate that being "skinny" is perceived as being "perfect." I too sometimes dread going home if i've gained weight - but luckily, my parents (usually) never comment on it. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. Be strong - you know you are HEALTHY and HAPPY - don't let them take that away from you!

  16. Oh wow. I really feel for you. Try to keep your health in mind, first and foremost while you navigate those waters. Don't let others rob you of that. I'll be thinking of you!

  17. Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't think it is a cultural thing (as in East/West) as my parents and a ton of friends have this issue.

    You pointed out you are healthy. Be proud of everything you have accomplished. I wish I could say ignore, but it always stings because it is family saying it.

    (and one of my friend's mom's pointed out to me after I gained weight after getting married, in her tribe in S. Africa, it means I'm happy.)

    So just tell them that you being thin (not skinny), healthy and strong means you're happy. Because you ARE!

  18. Okay - we seriously ARE twins. We both had posts with "Confession" in the title on the same day. And I totally understand everything you are saying here. My mom hates my dad, and a lot of the reason is because he began telling me I'm fat when I was only 2 years old. So now, 30 years later, I still deal with it and always hate how my body looks - even though I am the healthiest I've ever been, even though I'm not the smallest. It is so easy to slip into those bad ways of trying to stay skinny. But I think you are on the right track! You eat well, you are a rock-star runner, you're awesome!!


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