I had always been plump. You know the kind of girl you wouldn’t call fat, but you wouldn’t call skinny either. It was just the structure my body assumed naturally, and it didn’t even bother me.
Soon after graduation, I started preparing for my CAT entrance, which meant that I would spend long hours at my desk, or on my bed - just reading, studying, preparing. A month later, I started putting on weight, and because I was already plump, the additional weight became very noticeable suddenly.
My friends couldn’t keep themselves from exclaiming about the rate at which I was putting on weight, and that made me want to shed it off completely. But I didn’t just want to lose weight now... I was fixated on the idea of being skinny and surprising them with my hot new bod. I was always okay with the way I looked, but their disapproval made me dissatisfied with the way I looked at myself.
Exercising had never served its purpose in my case, because my structure remained the same - and so I switched to a crash diet. I thought the stress of my upcoming CAT would divert my attention from food, and make my diet successful. Armed with this conviction, I drank only black tea and daal ka paani, all day, every day, every time I felt hunger pangs. When it got unbearable - to the extent that I couldn’t focus on my chapters, I would eat salads. I would chop a tomato, or a cucumber and force myself into deriving satisfaction from it.
This madness continued for three long months. I could see signs of an impending disaster, but I did not stop. Why? Because I lost more weight than I ever had in my life. I lost about 10 kilos and people started exclaiming at me once again - but this time, in an appreciative, proud way. And so I just kept pushing myself harder.
What happened after that?
I couldn’t appear for my CAT entrances that year.
I had grown so weak that I couldn’t sit through the three hour long paper, I couldn’t concentrate on it. In fact, I couldn’t even prepare for my entrances. My hormones got messed up too, and my period cycle suffered - I had major mood swings and always felt too tired and exhausted. I got what I never had, and yet I wasn’t happy - because I lost what I should never have put up for exchange.
My physical, emotional and mental health kept deteriorating. I didn’t want to go out with my friends, because that would mean having to watch them order and eat food - and that was both nauseating and tempting. I would often hide away packets of bread from my flatmates and eat bread at night, when they were asleep, only because I didn’t want anyone to know that I was cheating on my diet - even though they encouraged me to eat.
I used to eat too much suddenly and then feel so guilty about eating it that I would force it out of my system by puking it out. And slowly after a few months, I could not eat at all.
My parents had had enough though. They took me to get professional help, and I am on meds now - trying to recover the health I lost in my mad fixation to look like someone I am not.
Losing weight is okay, but losing your health over it is not.