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This is a hard one, writing about weight when you can barely remember when your weight problems really began and why. Growing up in Zambia as a teenager wasn’t that hectic, people didn’t really care about how much you weighed or if you had an eating disorder. It wasn’t what people discussed at home either, so I really didn’t have much of a problem or obsession about it. Although I must say the bigger you were the better and richer you were.

I have always been thin or medium-sized in school. Going to university here in South Africa was hard, because then I started learning that my weight was attractive and men were attracted to me. I was the thinnest of most my friends or in groups started realising that the thinner I was the more people seemed to either like or hate me. My friends on several occasions would comment that I was only lucky to get so much attention from men because I was thinner. That hurt my feelings big time. I started feeling that I was only liked because I was light-skinned and thin. But it never crossed my mind that I was actually attractive in other ways. Women can be cruel.

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So I started using my weight as a way of making my friends feel worse about themselves and I started wanting to become thinner and maintain my weight. I became bulimic.

I hated my bulimia stage (at this time I didn’t even know what this disease was), I was in control of my weight and yet so ashamed of why I was doing it drove me over the edge. But it was working and more comments came my way (not good ones). I couldn’t believe how cruel people could be I was still so naive. But I stayed in control of my weight, and I remained envied in some ways as university went on and people started gaining weight I stayed the same.

Bulimia, is the funniest eating disorder I experienced because not only did I not control what I ate I suffered for it. Puking out every meal tends to be more horrendous than it seems. Doing it purposefully is even weirder. Strangest thing is I didn’t actually control what I ate; I ate all I could and then threw up. When I think about it now, it wasn’t the weight issue it was a punishment for myself and a sense of despair that I wasn’t good enough anyway so I might as well use my weight to get what I wanted.

When I moved away from home after university, I furthered my bulimia to anorexia, for only about 6 months or so I starved myself. I was getting weary of this and so tired of being tired and in control like this. It was killing me and making me miserable. My throat was so sore and my teeth sensitive.

I made friends with new people, and realised I had something to contribute apart from being skinny and looking great. I had brains, a good eye for things and I could compete at just about anything with men. I wanted and found some respect. I started to change my outlook of who I wanted to be. This was an issue I had not grown up with, wasn’t familiar with and I couldn’t let it control my life.

Well as it goes we women will never completely be happy about our weight no matter what, it comes with the territory. I have and still am discovering new ways to look great and not compromise my health. It can be done, I have to just find it within me to fight for myself and be what I want to be. People can be cruel whether you are fat/thin/medium but they are just projecting who they are on you.

I’m thin again but thanks to a goodish diet (I try) and Pilates, I am happy!

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