Chapter 2: Denial
“You have put on weight!”
“You look bloated”
Those were the comments I got.
“They don’t understand”
“I must keep going”
“Is it how it supposed to be?”
I think to myself
“I should not look like this. I could be better” Sometimes I looked in the mirror and think to myself. I visualized myself as big as a hulk. I dreamed about a body of a fitness model on a fitness magazine with my head on it. Being bigger was my ultimate goal and heavier weight equals to bigger size was my perception.
My eldest sister told me this once. “When you want to do something, you are very determined. That means you are very stubborn too”
I guess she was right.
I was so stubborn. Nothing seems to stop me. Not getting breathless from running 7km/hr pace on treadmill. Not getting breathless from tying up my shoe lace because my guts were in the way. Not even tearing my work pants at work a few times to make me feel embarrassed enough to stop. Until that first of the two incidents happened on my first day of restarting my career path as a fitness professional. It was the first day at school doing my certificate of Fitness. There were signs before the incident.
I walked into my class and I saw a couple of classmates with decent shape. It was a bit intimidating to sit next to them. I was not feeling too well on that day as well. Frequent toilet visit was like a mission for the day. I forced myself to turn up because I did not want to miss out anything on the first day of school. Miraculously, I managed to hold on to my business until the end of the first class even though my focus were constantly shifting between toilet and fumbling for the right words to make my introduction speech less mediocre. Yes, I tried very hard to be less mediocre in everything that I do. Sometimes, in vain.
After bidding farewell to classmates and lecturers, I dashed off to the toilet like a skyrockets launching its way out of the Earth atmosphere. That is a bit of an exaggeration but I need to be quick to not make a mess in the public.
I went into the cubicle and it was tinier than a shoe box for me due to my sideways growing frame. It was very hard to move around in the cubicle. Afraid to be locked in the facility after hours, I quickly finished my business and cleaned myself up. Like I mentioned before, it was really HARD to move around. CRACKED! I heard. I felt a sudden sharp like a knife pain sensation on my lower back. I think I hurt my lower back. NO! I hurt my lower back. And the pain has no mercy on me for the next couple of days. I remember that it was painful to get out of bed the next day.
This incident has become the embarrassing ‘Hurt my back in the toilet’story for me to tell my friends later in my life. Fortunately, it was not ‘I broke my lumbar while cleaning myself in the toilet’ story. Thanks, deadlift or maybe squat. Or neither. Just stubbornness in me.
It was the first time to make me realized that perhaps I am really fat.
A few weeks later, second incident followed. It happened in school again. The class were discussing health risks associated with obesity. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other horrible form of punishments from being obese came up in the discussion. We also learned that one of the requirements to be doomed as obese is to have a waist measurement of more than 100cm. Straight after that, we were practising on doing measurement on body parts including waist. I paired up with, Ramon, the guy I had became closest in the class. He measured my arms. I looked at the measurement. It was not as good as I expected. Someone proudly announced his arms number. “My arms are smaller” I thought to myself.
Ramon measured my chest. I look at it. Not 40 inches. I always wanted to have bigger chest. At that moment, I was very disappointed with myself. I start to wonder if all the times that I spent in the gym were nothing but waste of time. I struggled to make sense of what I did in the gym as I had followed many programs promised to add inches on my chest from the fitness magazines. “Should I still consider personal trainer as my future career if I failed to help myself to achieve a muscular body” I doubted.
Ramon then measured my waist. I looked at the number. I was horrified. I should see that coming as my 38 inches pants felt tighter than ever.
ONE ZERO FOUR…104 was the size. Tears started to well up in my eyes. I tried to hide my face from the class full room of people. Ramon noticed that something had gone very wrong with me and asked if I am OK. “I am OK” I replied. I wiped my tears dry sneakily and feigned a yawn so no one else noticed that I was in tears. I think Ramon knew that I was not happy with the measurement. He offered to measure it second time to see if he got it right. So we did the measurement again. I was sucking my guts in together very hard till it has no space left between the organs during the measurement. And it was still a disappointing 102.
From that moment on, I could not stop thinking about me possibly dealing with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney failure and other horrible form of punishments associated with obesity. The thought of being the one of five Australians living with obesity according to the statistic back then really petrified. It was like the end of the world for me. I was not indulging myself with cakes, junk food and soft drink. I just wanted to be big, as big and muscular as the guy in the Muscle magazine.
I waited. I hold on to my tears. I put on a mask to hide my sadness and disappointment until I got home. It felt like a frustrating road trip that stretches across the south of Australia. Then, I cried. Very hard. In my own solitary. No one heard it but myself.
(To be continued)