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It's late night and I'm in a mood, it's as good as a time as any to talk about my weight loss adventure. Hopefully, some of you might find something relatable in this. At worst, you'll have a laugh. But I gotta say some things I been keeping inside.
I was a pretty healthy kid. I don't know if I can call myself chubby, but when I was little, I definitely had those cheeks that aunties cannot stop squeezing. As you can see in these pictures, kinda standard issue really.
Weight was NEVER an issue where I grew up. Part of it was that very few people were not skinny or on the skinny side (I grew up as a refugee around other refugee kids, where food was a luxury). Part of it was also the culture. Being fat was a sign of wealth. It wasn't all bad.
By that I mean, if you were fat, people would joke about your weight, but also secretly pine to be fat because if you were skinny, that was a sign that you were poor and didn't have enough to eat... and again, jokes about being skinny were just as if not more common.
It wasn't really until I was in my late teens that I noticed that unlike everyone around me, my weight NEVER fluctuated. I was always a certain type of skinny. The kind where you don't really have muscle or fat, but you have thick bones and it makes you look athletic.
Ignore the cheesiness of this "rebel" teen picture. But this is frankly what I looked like weight-wise til I was about 28. And up to that point, I was constantly reminded by people who saw me up close that I was skinny. I remember this creepy person calling me Twiggy at a party.
This is also when I started smoking. By my late 20s, I'm smoking a pack a day at least and have done so for over a decade. I've also started to drink - at first lightly, but then heavily, then lightly and then finally kinda drowning in it.
By now (28), I don't think about my weight at all. I'm in that place where I feel like no matter what I do, nothing is going to change about my weight. I'll weigh 155-160 lbs at 5'9" forever. But this is a terrible time in my life. My smile isn't telling you how suicidal I am.
That picture is 2011. My wife has just left me. I've had almost zero work or school opportunities. I'm severely depressed. I'm in the middle of an immigration debacle and have been for the past three years (and will stay in it for another three). Things are bad. & I get skinnier!
In that time, I'm eating very little if anything. I drink every night from early 2012 to early 2014. I smoke a pack or pack and a half of Marlboro 72s every day. And I'm practically only leaving the apartment I shared with my brother to get either cigarettes or alcohol. 140 lbs?
I meet someone. Get into a long-distance relationship. That improves things a bit. I start eating a bit better. My depression is pretty fucking brutal, but things take a much better turn. My immigration woes are over at least. We break up / patch up a dozen times. Never meet. :(
At the tail end of our relationship, I FINALLY manage to get on anti-depressants. This is end of 2013. I start school and early 2014 and move in with my parents. My mom - blessed be her memory - tries to take care of me. I start eating better. Quit alcohol. More execise...
Weight goes up again. 165 lbs. I feel better... But I need to figure out how to stay off alcohol. Long-distance and I break up. It's sad, but I think I can get over it. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I was eating my way out of things. Or at least trying to
I think I've gotten the hang of this. Transferred to four-year-college. Quit alcohol. On anti-depressants. Weight is up to 170. Life is improving! I'm on the right track! Then I fall off the wagon... and pretty bad. My depression is through the roof and I'm suicidal again. EAT!
Late 2015, I start therapy - FINALLY! And then I quit smoking... then it begins. I start feeling tired. I can't sleep on my back. My clothes stop fitting me. Worst of all, I cannot walk for more than 200 feet without feeling a strange pain just under my ribs.
Hi. 195 lbs.
There are no body shots of me from this point on. I think it was taking this selfie that suddenly made it dawn on me. I was... fat. For the first time in my life. And it was obvious. Everyone in my family were reminding me on a daily basis that I... was fat. Everyone. Daily. Fat.
And it got worse, m’lady. 210 lbs.
At this point, I stopped weighing myself. It didn't help that there was an electronic scale in the bathroom that I could always climb on. I just hid it. I didn't want to know. I think I probably went up another 20 pounds or so. Because I couldn't wear anything comfortably anymore
My waist went from 32 to 37 and then I don't remember. I was buying and throwing away clothes every couple of months because they'd stop fitting me. I got to XL shirts. And by now, I couldn't hide my belly no matter how loose my shirt was. But something weird happened.
I started to notice that the terms were not interchangeable. There was a huge (hehe) distinction between fat, overweight and unhealthy. I was only fat when other people called me fat. I was only "overweight" in relation to others. And my health was an entirely separate matter.
I never thought of myself as *fat* just as I never thought of myself as *skinny* a few years before. I was always me. And the flesh and bones and well yeah fat that constituted my body was still the same. Maybe more of it, but I didn't *hate* it. I didn't notice it. Till reminded
I kept telling myself I'd lose the weight soon. "As soon as I get back to school. Oh and I can eat healthy again cuz damn, Afghan food is oily. And I'll exercise! Promise!" But it always came after people called me fat. Or I noticed other people being called fat. Always.
And it was never out loud. I didn't plan on this constantly. I didn't sit down and write it down in my diary. I don't actually remember discussing it with my therapist. I just... every time I was confronted with social biases, my mind would quickly run through it.
Every time I seriously thought about it, it was not a big deal. I'm fat. But what does that mean? I'm bigger than other people? But there people who are bigger than me. But they are fatter. When does one get fat? When you are over a certain weight? Who sets that weight? Le idk?
But you do know. Okay, fine, the weight is set by our flawed beauty standards. So why does being fat bother you? It shouldn't, but it... Idk. WHY. DOES. IT. BOTHER. YOU? I guess because while I understand that our standards are flawed, I still wanna fit them while fighting them?
But isn't that hypocritical? Idk...? I mean, look, if you wanna fight the standards by because they are wrong and want to change them then why the hell do you want to conform to them? IDK, okay?! How can say something is wrong and fight it while embracing it yourself???
By now, however, the pain my abdomen is bad. I cannot walk without it flaring up. I go to my doctor. Tests are conducted. Bloodwork. X-rays. That weird thing they rub on your belly and it shows the baby's penis on the monitor. MAYBE I AM PREGNANT!
Nothing. They found nothing. Gall stones? Kidney stones? Liver issues? Cancer? Intestinal blockage? Nothing. It only hurts when I'm standing. And no, my kidney wasn't detached like that poor woman on House. It just hurt when I walked around. I don't think I'm posting selfies now.
It's about late 2016 and I get back into school. I practically have to drag myself out, then stop every few hundred feet till my abdomen stops hurting. I'm carpooling with someone so at least getting there is not a problem but when I'm there... boy, does it fucking hurt to move.
I keep thinking, maybe the pain is from my weight? Of course the stigma is still there. The clothes keep getting bigger - at maximum size now. I keep getting called fat by family. I remember my mom never said anything about my weight. But everyone else was brutal...
The reason I'm not weighing myself isn't that I don't want to know. It's that I don't think it makes a difference. Am I 220? 250? What does that change? Not how people view or I view myself. I still can't sleep on my back because I can't breathe well. Fuck the scale.
This is when I slept with somebody. I don't know how the fuck it happened. It just did. I wasn't looking for it. I hadn't really been intimate with anyone for a while. Especially since I'd gone past 200. It was kind of a revelation. First thought: I don't ever wanna be 140 lbs.
I had always imagined that when you had sex with people, your bones rubbed against each other. And that when you were doing doggy style and you were the giver, your hip bones with come to a breaking point. It just felt so much more comfortable.
Of course. I am super conscious about my weight. My sex partner is skinny even for their height (they were like 5'1" or something). But I can feel my face hanging. My belly jiggling. My breasts bouncing-ish. But the overall body experience is radically different.
When our bodies were wrapped around each other, I started to appreciate my body more. It didn't hurt when they put their head on my chest because my bones weren't pressing against their face. It was able to feel a lot more of their body. And my own. It hurt, too.
But as someone who had always been very skinny and almost always also had sex with people who were themselves skinny, I was USED to things people never tell you. Like: it's really hard to get fully body contact. When you have more *stuff* under your skin, there's more contact.
No one tells you this. No one tells you that having someone be on top feels great when you don't have to worry about accidentally having full on pubic bone contact because that hurts like a motherfucker. I know I'm getting to much into this sex thing. But it MATTERED.
It's really hard to hear anything positive about fat. Even when we fetishize fat bodies, it's always about raw objectification. Fat bodies are things to conquer, to exploit, to own and to discard whenever you want to move on to the next body.
You keep hearing, "Ooo, love me those love handles!" or, "More cushin' for the pushin'."

But do you hear, "I love that our bodies can have so much more contact and feel like they are merging with each other while we're laying naked in bed." ?

It felt good to feel that.
No one told me that I'd feel a lot more comfortable having another body rub, grind and rest against mine if I didn't constantly weigh at my bare minimum. I never thought it was even POSSIBLE. It was never even a consideration. It took me weeks to process that.
Then, my carpool buddy moved and I had to take public transportation to school. This meant almost 4-hours of my day in commute. About an hour of this consisted of walking... Five days a week... And I also had less opportunity to eat whenever I wanted.
At this point, I'm not PLANNING on losing weight. I am worried about the pain in my abdomen. I am worried about never having good clothes to wear. But I'm not worried about my weight. This is despite the fact that someone once told me bluntly I was too fat for them to fuck.
I was like, "Sure."

Why would you wanna be intimate with someone who views your body negatively anyway? Yeah, I got love handles. Yeah, I dress a little like Cedric the Entertainer. But I happen to think Cedric the Entertainer is a good lookin' guy. So fuck you, person. Or NOT!
I just got super busy with school. I was DESPERATE to get my bachelor's and start grad school. It was not a matter of if. I was gonna get my BA. Apply for the PhD program. Get accepted and start. I would start the PhD program in fall of 2018. This wasn't a plan. It was happening!
Around summer of 2017, I noticed that my abdomen wasn't hurting. My largest pants started to sag. I wasn't TRYING to lose weight at this point. I just was more active. I wasn't even eating healthy. I just wasn't eating as much of it as before. But I could walk much longer.
I actually weighed myself for the first time in 2 years. It said 212. Somehow, I had managed to lose give or take 20 pounds. Almost all of it from my waist and thighs and abdomen. Of course some it was from my face, too. But my arms were forever twigtastic.
Still. I wasn't trying to LOSE weight. I didn't have time to focus on losing weight. All I had time for was trying to get concurrent degrees done. And then I moved to my own place in late summer of 2017. And I made a pact with myself. No meat or milk or fish would ever enter it.
Again, this wasn't me trying to lose weight. I had always promised myself I'd try to go freegan at least (mostly vegan) when I moved into my own place. And would NEVER EVER buy meat or fish or chicken to cook. I've stuck to that. I also started fostering dogs. :) YAY!
Flash forward summer of 2018. My mom passed away in May. I got my degree. I applied to grad school. I got accepted. I am about to start grad school in the fall. My life is full of doggos. I am eating "vegan", but not really "healthy"? I weigh myself. 200 lbs. Whatever.
At this point, I have all my old pants with 32" waists. I have some brand new pants people got my b'days with 32" waists that I've never worn. I never even try them. But I can't wear my 36" pants anymore either. It sags. I still put it on. Weight loss is NOT on my mind.
My abdomen feels absolutely great! I can walk as much as I want. I can sleep on my back. I get tired less easily. People aren't exactly calling me fat (people = my family). Not that I would care at this point. I still feel self-conscious about it. But I'm not going back to 155.
Did I mention that I don't drink? Or smoke? I walk most places? I eat vegan food? But something is terribly wrong. I go to see my doctor to get my depression meds changed. She sits me down and gives me an ultimate: "Start eating healthy. Immediately."
My cholesterol has apparently ballooned. She thinks if I keep eating lots of shit fried in canola oil 24/7, it doesn't matter whether I'm eating vegan or not, my blood cholesterol will keep climbing. Nothing about my weight. She says NOTHING about it.
I went home and made a list of everything I ate. I set some boundaries. Rule 1: extra virgin olive oil always. Eat regular portions. Nothing deep fried. No chips. And the likes. Of course, it was IMPORTANT that I lived alone. AND I had a Trader Joe's nearby. And I had money+time.
Eating healthy, as I realized, was less of a choice and more of a situation. It required money, it required time, it required that everyone I was feeding (in my case only me and sometimes a dog...) wanted the same food, and it required that I had access to fresh veggies etc.
My doctor also recommended I watch my portions. I found my caloric requirements and picked a count that was below normal for me. I wasn't doing it to lose weight. I wanted to figure out what my body was comfortable with. This was July 2018. By October, I was down to 172.
I opened the closet and pulled out all old pants. I put them on. I fit everything included the smallest ones. The only shirts that didn't hang on me were size M. I didn't celebrate. This was *NOT* my goal. It never will be. In fact, I took this selfie and it scared me.
You can't actually tell, but I can see it. I was getting "skinny" again. I think I'm at 169 here? Ironically, 169 is what the online BMI index tests tell me is where I'd stop being considered "overweight". But I was NOT happy with it. I stopped upped my calorie count immediately.
I decided that 175 was actually a good weight for me. At the end of the day when I weight myself, anywhere from 174-176 would be acceptable. Any lower, and I'd up my caloric intake. Does this mean I have the body of an adonis? No. I have a slightish belly? Tiny handles.
What matters is that my blood cholesterol is now getting better. I feel healthy and love the food I eat. And yet, there was still something I was neglecting. The app that I downloaded to watch my caloric intake consistently showed that I was only getting 50% of my daily protein.
And I think in all of this, I realized that I had never looked at food the way I was looking at now: something my body needed not just in a moderate amount, but also in proportion. I got a vegan protein supplement. It taste okayish, but I have a lot more energy.
And in the past couple of years, I dug very deeply into the matters. My experience is not everyone's experience. I have always been aware that how healthy you are is not measured by your weight. What I didn't know was that our bodies are also diverse in how they handle nutrition.
I learned that weight gain and loss is dependent on a lot more than just "eating healthy" and "exercising". What I'm saying is that this thread isn't about weight loss really. I'm no telling you my experience to say, "Hey, if you just go vegan and walk a lot, you'll get skinny."
I'm trying to say that you should know your body if you don't already. You should find out what it needs. What would help it function better. And if there's anything you can do about it. I'm not scared of getting fat again, tbh. I know it could and probably will happen again.
All the circumstances that came together to make me lose weight could be flipped. All the circumstances that made me gain weight might return. Regardless, at some point, my body just won't be able to metabolize at the rate it is metabolizing at this point. All our bodies won't.
What my experience taught me is that instead of worry about getting fat, I should worry about making sure I'm healthy because six months ago, I was literally wasting away because I wasn't eating enough protein despite sleeping with a full belly each night. And I was skinny.
And it's fine if I'm "fat" again so long as I'm eating healthy, eating enough and eating in proportion and nothing hurts, and I can do stuff. If you don't find me attractive, that is YOUR problem. If you think I'm fat, that is YOUR problem. My problem is my health. :)
What do I look like now?

Who cares, reader? This thread isn't about what my body *looks* like now. It's about what it feels like and how healthy it is.
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