Hi Lisa and Lynn,
I recently heard about Lisa’s story when I was browsing through NPR’s webcasts (wow. I don’t sound nerdy at all). I recently went through a similar ordeal with eating disorders of my own. Since I’m of a smaller stature at 5'1.5" (the half-inch matters when you’re this small), I was never too active nor fit. Everyone would tell me that, no, I’m small, I can eat whatever I wanted. However, I was never comfortable with my body image, and when goaded in family parties and whichever celebrations, I would stuff myself silly.
Finally, when I hit my senior year of college, I started watching my weight and fitness to much more of an extreme level than anyone could consider healthy. I would eat maybe 600-800 calories a day, and I required myself to exercise as long as it was necessary to burn off those calories. If I ate an apple, I better be walking around somewhere for an extra half-hour.
My friends who saw me less often paid me compliments, but those closer to me noticed my obsession with exercise and barely-there meals.
Even though my mother meant well, she unknowingly propagated my obsession with becoming thin by encouraging me to exercise when I got upset after a large or “fattening” meal. She saw that it made me happier, and she did not see the underlying problem.
Soon this obsession with exercise wore down, as my body could no longer sustain my lifestyle. My disorder quickly turned to bulimia, something I am still battling with today.
After I disclosed my troubles to my closest circle of friends, they have been supportive and talked me through this. While my mother also found out, she has trouble grasping how such negative ideas came into my head. In her childhood, the main concern was survival, from the discrimination against her family back in China. To me, in a much more “pampered” society, the main concern is… well, something much more trivial.
I’m in the process of being fully recovered and working hard on that self-control as much as I can. Now I only engage in moderate exercise, regular yoga and maybe hitting the gym twice or three times a week, depending on how I felt.
So if y'all managed to read through this entire rant, I wanted to say thank you for being so thoughtful and starting a blog that addresses a serious issue that so many Asian Americans face.
Anonymous | Los Angeles, CA | USA