“It suits you. You look younger,” my cousin compliments me while looking at me closely. “He looks good, but he should stop now. Look at him!” Auntie says, pointing at me. Their conversation makes me laugh. “I'm fine,” I try to interrupt the discussion about my appearance. “I'm still twenty-five kilos more than I should be, though,” I add. “But you don't! Who says such a stupid thing?” Auntie protests. I think she's just trying to be nice.
Eight months have passed, during which time I've been learning to eat properly. A welcome but expected side effect is weight loss. I've lost fifteen kilograms and reached the lowest weight I can remember. To reach my goal of having a standard weight for my height, I have twenty-five more to lose. I feel that with each kilo it will get harder and the weight will come off more slowly.
I backed off from my original plan to balance my calorie intake and expenditure once I reached the hundred and eight kilos mark. I have no cravings that I need to eat anything other than what I have been feeding myself. I don't even write down the calories of the foods I eat. I'm certainly not in a caloric deficit on a regular basis. There are days when we go out to dinner and I have the biggest burger, beer and fries with tater tots. Irregular visits to my parents' house to bake marmalade-glued linzer rounds during August are also calorie-rich. “It's a feast, have one!” I get a simple explanation as to why we have Christmas cookies at home in the middle of summer.
I tried a twenty-four hour fast. I took it as a little personal challenge. Can I do it? One day of not eating can't be that hard. On Friday morning, I ate breakfast, turned on the countdown timer, and carefully observed my body. At the exact time I'm used to eating, a huge hunger pang came on. But after a few hours it subsided. By dinnertime, however, I was thinking of nothing but food. I went into the one-day fast without any preparation, and I only read what was happening to my body during the fast. It was an interesting experience, but I am not the kind of person who is willing to undergo fasts more regularly.
I'm trying to fight my shame. Twice I have challenged myself. I dared to take off half my clothes and go swimming in a public place. I even took a picture of myself for future reference. “This is horrible! You don't look good at all,” my mom commented on social media about the swimming pool photo.
I knew the weight loss would take a long time. The changes are slow and it's hard for me not to slip back into my years of bad habits. I try to remind myself that it's worth it, that the new eating habits are right, and that they get results. I don't exercise, I don't starve myself, and yet the weight goes down. It helps me to compare myself to myself. At the beginning of the year, I was 123.2 kilos. Today I can get under a hundred and seven. My BMI has dropped from 36.8 to 32.5, and I've dropped down a category from second-degree obese. My body, subcutaneous, and visceral fat has dropped. Metabolically, I even got one year younger according to the scale. I still don't know what that value means. But it still pisses me off!