I am a 25-year-old woman, 153cm tall and weighing 70kg, so there is no doubt that I am in the overweight BMI criteria – 29.9 to be exact. Aside from the fact of being a woman with a not-so-ideal-sized body, I am a medical doctor, so I know very well what it means to be on the heavier side of the scale.
As far as I know, being "fat" has indeed led me to suffering from several diseases that are not common in this century. You name it, diabetic and liver stone are only two of the diseases I have within my body. Yes, I have tried numerous times to lower my bodyweight, from gym exercises to any kind of fasting – intermittent fasting, ten days water fasting – to using slimming pills. I've tried, and I failed. Do I feel stressed out? Well, no – not until I was introduced to a weight loss program.
As a doctor myself, I’ve been trained to look at health-related topics from evidence-based medicine perspective. To find reliable sources, we use scientific journals to support our opinion. Perhaps I was desperate enough with my body weight to have taken slimming pills that had not even been approved by the Drugs and Medicine Monitoring Body (BPOM), but I was mentally fine during those times. I was conscious of all the possibilities that might come, and Alhamdulillah, I might be one of those people lucky enough to not experience any side effect, though I still failed to lower my weight.
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Days went by and I felt totally fine. One of the best quotes I keep in mind is “as long as I’m happy, everything is fine.” Every time people said I look chubbier I always replied it with Alhamdulillah, it’s because I’m happy!” with a wide smile, trying to reflect the fact that, yes, I was indeed getting more weight every day, but I also feel okay about my body. I still took selfies and post them on my social media, hoping that it might motivate my friends and followers to also feel happy about their own body; although it does not meet society’s standard, like those Instagram bodies.
But it was after a so-called “deep-talk” about “X” weight-loss program, which costs more than 10 million rupiah, that I started to think there’s something wrong with my body again. The marketing strategy of this multi-level marketing company made me feel bad about myself. Yes, it promotes health, but in other way, it also promotes being “slim” as a part of being beautiful, and I’m not happy about it. In fact, I hate this kind of promotion. Our society has been fed enough with the idea that a slim body is beautiful body. Needless to say, I never tried the expensive program.
As a woman I have the freedom to interpret beauty in my own perspective, and I regret that many women continue to promote being slim as being beautiful. What about inner beauty? What about intellectual beauty? Why does beauty has to relate to our physical body?
The marketing strategy promoted by the weight-loss program encourages us to hate my own body. To be fair, the promotion also shows that being fat also causes sickness – which I won’t argue, having learned in med school how lipid destroys our metabolism. Still, they continue to use approaches like using the “before”and “after” photos in which the person is depicted as beautiful and slim in the latter. All of it worsened my insecurities, despite all the efforts I’d made on developing my personal and professional life.
I decided I had to make an adult decision. As human beings, we have ultimate control over our own mind, so I muted some of my friends’ social media accounts for promoting the exact same points as the weight-loss program, that “being slim means being beautiful.” I have to maintain my own sanity and I have to love my body the way I did before. I want to return to my conviction that beauty lies in many other aspects of life, and it may involve stretch marks, birthmarks, vitiligo skin and curves and fat.
Today I exercise on a daily basis, but my personal goal is not to be slim; I simply want to be healthy.