I clocked out from my job at the gym and walked back to my car. As I passed by a fast food outlet, I pondered on grabbing myself a quick meal, but decided against it today; I’d just make myself something at home. I strapped myself into the driver’s seat, and I realized that I was a different person from my younger self. I was able to make that choice today. Younger me would not have considered passing up the opportunity to snack.
My weight-loss journey has been long and eventful. At my heaviest, I weighed 124kg with a 5’ 2” frame. In other words, I was terribly overweight. Simple movements took my breath away. I was always tired. Friends and family freely called me every variation of “fat” that came to mind. I’ve heard all the “fat” jokes.
“Is that all you’re eating? That’s not going to be enough.”
“We’re driving on the left lane because we’re in a heavy vehicle.”
“Don’t worry about wasting anything, she’ll finish the food for us.”
I took it in stride. Maybe the words hurt before, but after a while, I took it as fact. This was my existence. I tried losing weight with a gimmick fat-loss shake, detox tea and my halfhearted attempts of running around the blocks. The internet fed me all the fad diets, but when results never came quickly enough, and I was endlessly teased for even trying, all of that came to a grinding halt. I decided that I could choose to be hurt, or I could choose to be happy with myself, so I chose the latter. I kept reminding myself, I choose to be happy.
I didn’t realise back then that I had more than two choices.
My turning point came when I caught myself in the mirror. It had been a bad day. I was feeling drained and depressed, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I stared at myself, looking over every inch. I realised, I actually don’t care about how I look. I loved how I looked. That wasn’t what was getting me down. I realised that losing weight was not about changing what I was looking at. It was about changing how I felt about myself, about improving my health.
And that was the moment I realised that I had it all wrong. I didn’t want to lose weight. I wanted to gain health. It wasn’t about losing inches. It was about gaining years.
And so I joined a gym. Or I tried to at least. I was actually turned away a few times, if you can believe it. But I kept my resolve. Luckily, I managed to find a personal trainer who agreed to help me out, who believed that I wanted to make that change. He was a critical piece of the puzzle – because I was clueless, and had no idea what I was doing. Finally there was no more guessing; instead I got full 24/7 support in and out of the gym from him, be it in terms of nutrition, workout or to just whip my ass on my lazy day.
What should I be eating? What shouldn’t I be eating? What should I be working on? Why should I lift weights? Why is my core important? Why did it matter how far apart my feet were? My personal trainer answered all these questions patiently, explaining how I can enjoy my life by still eating food that I love and even went grocery shopping with me because I was so clueless.
With his guidance, I didn’t just fall in love with lifting weights but also with the process and progress. The path forward slowly became clearer. Slowly, but surely, I made progress. My resolve weakened, but he kept me on track. He pulled me back when I became too zealous. I pushed past my mental limits, but learned to recognise my physical limits.
Months of hard work after I had begun, I found myself at half my previous weight. And because of my personal trainer’s hard work, I knew how to keep myself there. My eating habits changed tremendously, it didn’t feel forced. I am no longer the ‘clueless girl’, making better food choices came naturally now. I continued doing PT while exploring group classes as well because sometimes no matter how motivated you are, you still need a healthy community that understands and truly celebrates with you.
My image in the mirror had definitely changed. But to me, that just meant a different size of clothes. Much more importantly, I felt good about myself. My life had changed, and I was inspired.
I decided to change my major, and began studying fitness.
I had a newfound purpose. I understood the feelings, the fears, the anxiety and the frustrations of anyone who wanted to go on the same journey I had been on.
I was familiar with the feeling of wanting to give up. I still remember the helplessness of feeling stuck with my goal nowhere in reach.
Above all, I remember the support I received from someone who believed in me.
I’ve since become a certified personal trainer. I’m paying it forward. I’m eager to help others work their way through their own transformations. I believe that everyone has a path they can walk on to get to where they want to be. And I’m determined to help them find that path.