Hey friends,

Hope you're well! Today I thought I'd talk about something personal and something i've been struggling with and how i'm slowly coming to learn how to deal with - body image. I know I’ve talked about this many times but it is a topic that is extremely difficult and I just want to write this to not only share my journey but remember each step of progress. I'm also going to insert old pics of me cause you know #feels.

As you guys know and i've said this many times - i'm not a size 10, in fact i'm a size 16-18. I’m overweight, yes. And i've spending a lot of time, learning to love myself and slowly changing the way I live my life while trying not to burst into tears every time i stand naked in front of the mirror. Or every time I look at my stretch marks and contemplate ways to get rid of them, or all the horrible things that goes through my mind. 

(seriously, what are eye brows??? those are proper slugs omg hahaha)

One thing I'll say is, it's not easy to get to where I am today and I'm not going to let anyone bring me to the point where I was trying to throw up my dinner or starving myself again because hell, food is meant to be enjoyed right? 

And today i'm going to talk about how I've been treated while growing up fat. Since young, i've been overweight and i've been part of the TAF club or whatever you call it in your time. 

It was all in bid to "encourage" kids to lose weight and be healthier which in my opinion it's utter bullshit and obviously didn't work for me. I'm going to put this out there first - yes i want to be healthy and fit and not overweight but trust me when i say that i've exercised for a period of time and life got in the way and i've just gotten lazy blablabla. I'm not complaining about being overweight or anything, in fact i'm very happy and i love myself very much so don't throw the whole "if you didn't like being fat, exercise!" card because bye bitch you're not the first neither will you be the last to tell me that. 

Let me share with you guys some of the experiences I've had in school as a fat kid - being part of the TAF (Trim and Fit) club since I was in Primary School to Secondary School. 

1. Being forced to walk to school instead of taking the bus and they reinforce it by making you take stamps from the bus stops and set people by the bus stops so they'll watch you if you take the bus. They'll make you do it by walking further from school just to get the stamps and then walk towards it again. Imagine points A, B, C and D.

D is the final point being the school and A is the starting point of the stamp collection. So I basically live in point B so i had to make my way to point A, go to point B then C and D. Honestly that is pretty much a waste of time and sleep, how do you expect kids to function with lack of sleep (school starts at like 7am or something silly and after school activities end at 7pm so you have 12 hours to eat, sleep, do homework and spend time with your family and i was probably 13-15 yo at that time so...)

2. Made to run in circles while everyone gets to read during assembly/silent reading times. So while everyone is sat in the shade learning new stuff or whatever in their silent reading period, you're made to exercise and sweat in the corner behind everybody and well, getting a lot of unnecessary attention from the sound of shouting from teachers and of course the sweat and the mess you will be in after returning to class.

I don't know why they thought it was a good idea but let me tell you, it is not. It is not right to take away learning periods from students and make them exercise instead. Doesn't that just let the students know that losing weight is more important than learning? I don't know but that is how I'm looking at this approach. Plus at that age, what we cared most about is probably how we are to our peers and isn't it horrible to have to let someone feel more ashamed of being fat than how society and parents already made them feel?

3. Being yelled at and threatened by teachers who are in charge of the TAF club saying if i put on more weight i'll be punished. Firstly, fuck off for threatening the young me - i was a very good student (most of the time) and i respect everyone around me very much so obviously i didn't say "fuck off do not threaten me etc" although i very much wish i did. Isn't it ridiculous to have a teacher do that to you and them getting away with it because it was done all in the name of "good intentions"? I don't know if it still happens in school these days but come to think of it, it was very traumatic for me as a kid? to have to face the fear of stepping onto the weighing scales and having the teacher breathe down my neck and fear whatever punishment awaits me.

4. Extra exercising lessons after school - out of all the activities, i thought this was the best? Like an extra curricular activity and instead of forcing the kids to run around while everyone is doing their reading, this is like an extra class after school. I mean, it would have all been great if point 3 didn't happen during that time.  

5. Constantly asking the students in the TAF club to stand up and go to the back of the hall for some "meeting" or to exercise. IT IS EMBARRASSING. I was a kid and all i cared about is looking cool in front of my friends and yet, the school didn't care. Obviously schools have a way of doing their thing without the BEST interests for their kids because it's more than just physical being, it's also about mental and emotional? I think these days schools pay more attention to mental health but I wish it had started earlier because of many reasons.

6. Being sent to the kids hospital and being drawn blood or sat down by nutritionists to talk about health risks and scaring them saying "if you don't lose weight you're going to get a disease etc etc" (true but to a kid, REALLY?) 

Some of you might find what i've written above to be completely fine and find no faults in them - cool you have your say and i have mine. TAF club might have worked for you but it didn't not for me, it just made me feel ashamed for being fat, scared of stepping onto the weighing scales every time - imagine every weighing session during PE and watching all your friends go on and when it's your turn, the teacher sighs and make a comment saying like "someone needs to go on a diet" in front of everyone etc. 

ANYWAY, enough of that, let me give some thoughts on what could have been done and taught to a young child the importance of being healthy. 

1. Meal plans - instead of forcing kids to run around in school and embarrassing them. Maybe give them something more than just the food pyramids and saying all those stuff that everyone already knows. Give them a meal plan to show them results, details. For example, a meal plan of a week that contains certain calories that can help lose certain amount of weight or build up certain muscles etc. As a kid, you want to be educated not threatened or shamed into losing weight. If someone teaches you how good food can do good to your body, it'll hopefully make sense to them and encouraging good diet because a healthy life is mostly made up of 80% diet and 20% exercise right? 

2. Set their own goals, rather than sigh at them when they step on the weighing machine, how about just take note and ask them if they'd like to make a change so that they can be healthy and do great things in life? Then sit them down and let them set goals by themselves for them to reach. EG: cutting down sugary food, snacks, losing some weight by the end of the month and do it in a fun and engaging way? Say goodbye to the lame paper cards, do something with a website, a phone app or even a game? Surely there'll be more creative ways to teach kids than to sigh and tell them things they've probably heard a million times. 

3. Let them arrange their own exercise schedule - rather than forcing kids to give up their after school plans, let them have options. Maybe tell them you'll need to clock 3 days out of 5 days in the gym or something and they get to choose the days and they are flexible. This way they'll be dreading it less and understand that they are being treated like adults and given the freedom to change their own lives rather than being forced to. Remember how people do better in things that they willingly take part than being forced to? 


The handful of experiences I shared while being part of the TAF club is just a small, small part of it. I feel like the biggest part that tore down my self esteem and took me years to build it back up is caused by the biggest part of my life - friends and family. 

Growing up in the Asian culture, it's not uncommon that family members are harsh. Like most asian parents are less than loving. If you fall down, chances are it's your fault for running around you're taught to kiss your own booboos and probably sell your kidney to get plasters for cuts (Im kidding but you get the drift) 

So i've grown up being told these things and I'm not going to lie, i still hear some of these today -

1. you're not going to find a boyfriend if you don't lose weight
2. why wear skinny jeans when you're not even skinny 
3. if you don't have skinny legs, don’t wear shorts, people don't like to see them it's ugly (The woman who thread my brows in SG told me this while she was wearing her traditional outfit - the Sari i think? with her tummy rolls bulging out at me but oh, i shouldn't wear shorts. No offence to anyone or any culture but don't expect others to do what you wouldn't) 
4. Oh cheryl you're sat there? no wonder the bus is tilted 
5. Sorry this doesn't come in your size, you'll have to lose some weight 
6. Don't bother going into that shop, you won't fit in anything there
7. you should really lose weight
8. you only get rounder every time i see you! (cc relatives i see during CNY) 
9. you know how pretty you would be if you lost weight?
10. I've never seen you skinny before! 
11. Still eat ah? 
12. you need to lose weight for your health's sake 
13. you're going to get a heart problem if you continue eating like that 
14. wah so fat ah
15. you want to wear another colour? 
16. maybe pick something less tight? you can see your fats in those 
17. looks like you've put on some weight!!
18. Wear black! It makes you look slimmer
19. let your hair down, it makes your face smaller and you'll be able to hide your double chin
20. Don't cut your hair short, it'll make your face look bigger
21. /talks about girls with small faces that is no bigger than their palms/ cheryl, don't bother trying your face is definitely not that small

Okay these are some of the many things i've heard over the years of growing up - some my people i love and some by people who don't even know my last name. And news flash, it HURTS LIKE A FUCKIN BITCH. I use to cry at night a lot when someone says something to be because trust me I hated myself so much and the way I looked.

And it doesn't help that such words that are being directed to you hits you like a wrecking ball that you literally don't know how to react BECAUSE ITS SO RIDICULOUS AND RUDE? Do I cry? Do i yell back or throw a punch? Most of the time after hearing shit like that I just sit in shock hoping for the people around me to stand up for me or ask that person to shut their trap because that's what I'd do but nope, nope. 

I hated the way my thighs brush against each other when i walk, i hated panting so hard after running for a bit while my other friends seem fine, i hate being referred to as the fat girl. I hated the feeling when boys had to reject me because i'm not their type, i hated when boys used to tell me they'd date me if i lost weight. 

i hated the times that i thought losing weight would make the world a better place and there are many times where i thought about just cutting the extra flesh off my body because the worse they could do was to sew my wound back up. I actually had a conversation with a friend a long time ago at how someone basically just cut off their tummy and went to the hospital to sew up the wound and they had no more tummy and she was skinny but there was a scar etc. Yes i'm well aware that it's dangerous etc but can you blame me? after years of hearing people tell me - i'm not going to be a good person, someone who is pretty, someone who is not healthy, someone who will not have a boyfriend, someone that shouldn't wear certain clothing UNTIL I LOST WEIGHT.

That was how i grew up, i don’t know if you think i'm exaggerating or just all the crap but trust me, what i've written is just the tip of the iceberg of what i could bring myself to put down into words without bawling my eyes out. 

I'm writing all of this not to gain pity but i'm writing this to tell everyone, that snarky remark, that joke, that comment to made to someone - sometimes it sticks to them, forever. Sometimes it keeps them awake at night, sometimes it makes them cry themselves to sleep, sometimes it makes them turn away from the mirror because they are not good enough, sometimes it destroys them. 

DISCLAIMER: If you recognise the above sentences because you’ve said it to me, please know that I don’t hate you (or most of you anyway). It just scarred me so much so that I remember them and it is not written to oust you or whatever. 

Maybe self esteem might not be the most important thing to you but trust me, it shapes and determines a lot of things. Because of my self esteem, i am TERRIFIED of speaking up or speaking to strangers. I still struggle to do it sometimes nowadays especially in class and i am so scared of how people may look at me if my t shirt is tighter, if my shorts are a bit too short and all that. 


I'm 23 now, it took me many, many, many years to start loving myself. To feel okay with looking in the mirror at fitting rooms, to feel okay to wear a sleeveless top because i have stretch marks and my arms jiggle. To be okay with who I am and I'm learning, learning to talk to people without the fear of them judging me, learning that it is okay to be myself and it is okay to do whatever that makes me happy. To learn that health is important and to eat in moderation and it stuff myself silly. 

There are a lot of things that I had to go through to come to where I am today and it is not easy. It really isn't especially when society and the people around you tear you down like you're some old wallpaper they are trying to rid. But i'm glad that i finally got to a place to wear the things i like, to learn to do the exercises that i like, to eat healthy meals sometimes, to fight against some cravings and most importantly - i shouldn't hate myself because the things people say to me are a reflection of themselves. 

Here's what i want to say to everyone who has said shit to me - i pray and hope that you'll never have to hear or go through what you put me through. Your "fat jokes" are not funny, they are disrespectful and mostly just shows what a sad person you are inside. You're not the first nor the last to tell me that i'm fat, tell me something I don't already know. 

Maybe instead of telling me that i should lose weight or what i should or should not wear, maybe tell yourself the things you shouldn't say. I'm 23, I've lived in a foreign country ALONE for nearly two years now and i'm pretty sure without your comments, i'm capable of taking care of myself. 

See me put on weight? good, trust me i would have seen it too so i don't need you to tell me that. Unless i ask for your opinions on how to take care of my body, don't give me any. Don't tell me what to wear or what not to wear because fashion is a form of expression and to tell someone how to express themselves it's ridic. Don't expect me to do anything you wouldn't because that just shows what a big hypocrite you are and that is downright disgusting. 

Fix yourself before you go around trying to fix others. Everyone is fighting their own battles and you probably are to, so try and keep your nose out of other people's businesses and that will do you good. Before you comment on someone's appearance negatively, look in the mirror. And unless you are flawless (which you probably are not because no one is perfect), shut up. 

And to the boys who told me I was too fat for their liking, thank you. Thank you for not letting me associate myself with someone like you. I'm not going to stoop down to your level but let's just say you've done me a big favour.

Finally, to all the friends and family who are ever so loving, encouraging and caring despite who I am, who I have been and through all my phases, thank you. Thank you for helping me reach where I am today. It's been a long hard journey and i'm not at where I wish to be yet but i'm so glad to say that I'm making progress! The most important line of the entire chunk that you’ve read so far is - I am happy. 

I am happy with who I am now and although I am happy, I am not satisfied and as such, I will make improvements to myself, on my own terms, at my own pace. But, I am happy and if you love me, you’ll be happy for me too. 

Well, if you’ve read till this very bit, hats off to you! Leave me a little comment letting me know that you have and if you’ve enjoyed this post! Enough of ranting, and I’ll catch you on the next post!

P/S: If you're someone who thinks you're cool for calling someone fat/ugly especially when you barely know them, kindly please eat your own fist and shut up. It is not a joke, it is not funny and you have no rights to say such things to them. If you really see them as a friend or a family member, LOVE them instead of putting them down. Love doesn't have to come in criticism, it can come in forms of encouragement or just pure kindness.

Be nice to one another and don't do things to others what you wouldn't want to be done to you.

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