Quitters aren’t losers.
If eating disorders, weight-loss stories, etc. upset you.. this might not be the one for you, sweets.
Last week, I quit Twitter.
Yes, I’ll admit, it’s definitely not one of my more revered accomplishments but it is one of the best decisions I’ve made for the sake of my mental health.
It’s not like I haven’t tried to quit Twitter before. I deleted my account, deleted the app off my phone and told myself, this is it — you’re not going back to that madhouse again. 15 hours later, I was back on the timeline, arguing with some hypocritical little wench and wondering why FunkyBoi169 won’t stop saying “Hi dr,” over and over again.
But this time, it’s really been a while and I’m surprised. It’s difficult to get rid of something addictive and social media is after all the most addictive drug of our time. But it’s been a few days now and not once have I felt the compulsion to return.
But this isn’t a blog post about How I Quit Twitter and Intend To Stay That Way.
It’s about how quitting is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and how I’m about to quit something else.
Recently I watched the trailer for the new Netflix movie, “To The Bone.” Keeping it brief and from what we know, it’s a movie about the journey of a young girl with an eating disorder and the relationship she has with her therapist, friends and family.
The trailer was short and in my opinion, quite powerful, because it reminded me of a few things I used to habitually do a few years ago. It also terrified me because at the time, I thought I was heading into an eating disorder. But a lot of research, self-motivation and regular checkups on my physical and mental health, kept pushing me back into a safe zone.
The trailer for the movie reminded me of a lot of things I’ve quit in life and how some have been for the better and others, for the worse.
We’re going to get into that now.
When I left school in 2011, I weighed nearly 80kg (highest weight was 82kg at one point). I was stuffing my face with biscuits, meat, fizzy drinks and regular meals — but I never seemed to feel full. For the most part, I hardly realized what I was eating and was still always hungry. The realization of how bad my physical health was, hit me at a routine checkup. A sooty-haired doctor (I still remember him, he was so kind) calmly explained to me that I had walked into a high risk of diabetes and that I already had cholesterol on account of how my diet and lack of fitness was slowly destroying my body.
At the age of 17, I remember thinking about how I had already begun to destroy my life and how in a few years, I’d be popping pills and injecting myself with hormones just to keep myself alive.
Yes, I was pretty dramatic about it.
The truth was, I never realized how terrible the situation had become until I stopped fitting into regular-sized clothing. I would walk around in tights and over-sized shirts, borrowing my mother’s clothes on some days and wearing the same pair of stretchy jeans simply because nothing else looked good. Dresses made me look like an inflated, flowery sofa and crop-tops looked like a crocheted doily on a plump kettle.
Besides my declining fashion choices, I also never fit into most social circles and I remember looking at pictures of my friend groups in which I was always the giant, fat, funny friend — never the bubbly, cute little waif in summery clothes and confidence to kill.
Seeing the women’s movement today and the acceptance of all body types, I wish I had had that sort of confidence to back me up as a teenager. Maybe then I wouldn’t have felt so shy in my skin.
But at the same time, I was more out of breath, unfit and lazy, lumbering around with all the added weight.
My “weight loss journey” (as social media calls it today) began during a time where there were no hashtags, calorie trackers or fitness accounts to upload sweaty gym selfies onto. There was no audience for “Then and Now” images, no one to oooh and aaah over your “Transformation” posts. In fact, back then, people who uploaded constant gym selfies were mostly annoying and pretentious.
My journey was my own. I witnessed my own changes and cheered myself on, even on days I was tired and disappointed with my progress. If I needed an ego-boost, I turned to a mirror and not to the screen on my phone.
I quit over-eating, gave up sugar and walked every day.
At 18, I didn’t have a job and lived in a suburb where there was no accessible gym (we have one now and I still don’t use it, ironically). All I could do was watch what I ate and walk/jog as much as I could.
I started losing weight bit by bit and within a year, there was a noticeable difference. During this year, I was a bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding — my first indication that the weight loss was starting to show results. I saw a more feminine and less cumbersome side to me. I wore a beautiful long purple dress which eased down my sides, instead of falling clumsily over my once thick frame. I felt fit, nimble and less tired. This excited me so I kept reducing and running, a combination that worked and before long, I had lost nearly half of my starting weight. During this time, I was also in an accident and bedridden for a month, during which more weight started to drop.
(I regained all of that pretty fast — sitting in bed all day eating Oreos can really fatten you up, apparently.)
Finally, I became a little too thin although at the time, I thought I was just fine. I’ve been called anorexic, bulimic — once a friend’s ex asked me if I had cancer. But I was none of those things. I could have been. But I wasn’t. When I look at my photographs from those times, I really do look a little too pale — my eyes are sunken and my arms looks like sticks. My smile still stayed on as it always will but I could have definitely used a hamburger.
In the more recent years, I’ve happily managed to maintain the same weight. But I’ve also started to gorge on unhealthy food, downing mug after mug of coffee and reaching for sugary snacks to keep me going during work.
I go to the gym when I feel like it. I’ve stopped running. The most exercise I get is walking around in high heels. I haven’t sweated or done anything strenuous and my body feels it. And it doesn’t feel good.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m quietly pleased with the progress I’ve made. I haven’t gained all the “bad kilos” again which surprises me considerably because I eat like a pig (nope, not exaggerating, I eat a LOT). At the age of 25, I’ve found curves that I never had and I’m learning to love the fact that I finally FINALLY have a proportionate figure (shout out to the teacher who called me a box in school!) But there is always room for improvement.
So I’m quitting.
This year is the year I get fit again and while I’ve slowly been edging towards that, I think I want to treat my body a lot better than how I have.
I already feel sleepy and nauseous after consuming junk food and fast food meals make me want to throw up after I’m done. Not a fan of fizzy drinks so that should be easy enough.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong in indulging but at the same time, we forget how terrible over-indulging on processed foods can be. It’s not worth destroying our bodies for a few pieces of crumbly chicken.
I figure, if I can quit Twitter (something I thought I could never do) I can jolly well quit treating my body like a trash can.
So I will.
P.S. If you’re embarking on a journey of complete health or if you’re already on one, more power to you! It takes a lot of will power to stick to your principles. Here’s hoping for success.