Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Here's the truth about being fat in Singapore

I'm DONE being not okay with being chubby. Or okay, let's call it like it is. Fat. I'm done being upset about being a fat Asian girl.

It took me a while, plenty of emotional bashings, tears on my pillow and  plenty of insecure moments that frustrate myself, my boyfriend and my friends. Family not so much, cause their usual reaction is, "just go run."

In fact I remember one year in Secondary Three, at the height of the teenage emotional tornado that was puberty, my Dad forced me to head to the gym where all the cute guys and hot girls were working out and run my flabby self for 30 minutes while standing there and watching me like a hawk. I was dying of shame as I noticed the looks of amusement I got from everyone in the small sweaty room and my dad's authoritarian voice yelled in exasperation, "just run! You have 20 more minutes left!" The tears started welling up and I told him I didn't want to run anymore, in disgust he stopped the machine and said we could go.

Left: 13 years old. Right: 24 years old. Thanks puberty.
 I hated myself. There were many more moments, including one where I participated in a fire drill skit as a comatose patient that had to be carried out on a stretcher. The two "paramedics", both boys, both 15 - I was 14 - they whispered to my dead-weight body, "wah you really very fat. So heavy." I turned bright red and I, with fruitless abandon, attempted to support my whole body weight on my toes and head. Didn't work. Also really made me hate being carried or having to go through trust falls.

School was a cruel place mostly.

I remember a day I had to stand in front of the school hall and sing, I was laughed at heartily. I had to put on a brave face, but once I was done I left and I told myself I would never do it again.

A year later I tried again and joined the drama club. Our first SYF play was Lord of the Flies. Where a group of boys take over the island and a hunger-games sort of ideal played out. I was casted as Piggy. The teacher told me, "we're not picking you because of the way you look.. We believe you would really be able to portray the character!" If you read the book, you'd know that that wasn't a good thing. And the fact they had to open their mouths and tell me they didn't type-cast me because of my size already spoke volumes. I felt humiliated. But I sucked it up and I continued on. 

I hated every minute of it.

During cross-country, a friend jumped on my back and poked it saying, "wah Manda, so soft! Like a cushion."
Secondary Three. I can honestly say everyone in this picture looks better than they used to. Expect Amandis Choy, cause she's ageless and wonderfully youthful. I'm the dumpy one on the left in purple.
Needless to say my teenage years were not the best, but I'm done with hating myself.





Yes, I can't shop at Bugis Street because literally about 80% of the items cannot fit me. I can't shop on all your beloved blog shops simply because they cater for stick-thin girls who look good in draped in oversized cloths. I'd look like I'll be wearing a tent with enough room to hide a circus and five households. But I CAN shop on other websites and stores like Topshop, Warehouse, TEMT, to name a few. At the end of the day, after my usually quite expensive shopping trips (let's be honest, being fat means no cheap clothes) I look good. Or at least decent.

Decent looking thanks to my Sabo Skirt dress and bag paired with a F21 Cardi.
But some days, it's so tough to be okay with it all. Especially when you live in an Asian society.

Living in an Asian society means thin, wispy, helpless girls are in. It also means fat girls are the ones who get laughed at even as they try to stand out and embrace their curves. You'd think a progressive nation like Singapore would be more inclusive but it is not. Let's all be honest: If you're fat you'd never get far. Asian girls aren't meant to be fat. Asian boys don't like fat girls and Singapore simply isn't made for fat people. You are forever conscious of your arms jutting out from the side of aisle bus seats, of jostling your MRT seat neighbours, of squashing yourself to the left of the escalator least your arm gets barged into by a commuter. Our society is a thin society, and I stand out in the worst way possible. Our society, unlike the Americas or Australia, is a judgmental society. 

Advertising doesn't help either. Take SkinnyMint Tea for example:


How does this prove that your tea helps with weightloss??? Their spokespersons are all these stick-thin "inspirational" models who boast 40-something kg weights and have SGsexy faces.

Come one, let's all be honest here: Those teas don't help you lose weight. And these advertisements kinda say, "wanna drink this tea? You gotta look like "insert generic SGsexy, 40-something kg blogger".

Good for those people who have achieved weight loss through this pseudo-magical tea, but I'm not buying the spiel. The site has two types of spokespersons that convince me that the tea will never work: one type look like they've been thin all their lives and the others look like the work out like a beast every few days.

Come. On. How can one feel good when even weight loss products are marketed for skinny people?! Ridiculous. This just tells me that even companies who claim to help you lose weight can't prove their worth to people who actually NEED to lose weight.

Look, I'm not saying I want to be dumpy the rest of my life. I try to work out, I run in my office gym, I avoid soda except on weddings or super special occasions, and I enjoy yoga occasionally. But ya know.. Losing weight doesn't happen overnight and sometimes it doesn't happen at all. I'm not hard pressed to be model-thin, I rather be healthy and happy, rather than depressed and anxious about losing weight all the time. I want to be accepted and I want to start by accepting myself first.

I hope Singapore starts to accept this too. You can start small, introduce new sizes into cheaper stores, I'd also like to be able to have more wedding dress options and go into a store without having to ask, "I'm a UK14.. Would you have to have my size?" I'm usually told that the company has only a small range. *sigh*

But I'd definitely appreciate more clothes for what counts as plus size in an Asian society. I'm glad that blogshops like 1214 Alley are popping up.

http://www.1214alley.com/

I want to be able to afford cool clothes too you know?

So my stand, at the end of this long rant, is this: Thanks to all my secondary school bullies that have given me a thicker skin, I don't think I would be where I am without you today. Most importantly, I accept myself for who I am, for who I've become and what I look like.

And to the guy who facebook messaged me saying that he'd like to get to know me cause he likes chubby girls. Thanks...? I guess?

Hi guys, if this post has made a difference to you or helps you realise that you're not alone in feeling fat in Singapore.. Please share this post. Hopefully, it'll let others know that they're not alone too. Cheers! - Amanda

**EDIT**
Hello, for everyone who thinks this is a post about "I'm fat and I'm proud of it". You ARE NOT READING MY POST CAREFULLY ENOUGH. This is simply a reminder for everyone, especially myself, to love yourself. Sure you should lose weight! Sure you should make the effort to exercise regularly and eat clean, but why do it because you hate your body? You should do it because you LOVE yourself.

Secondly, please don't assume I don't know what it is like to lose weight, I have done so and I was - and still am - very happy that I did so. I still want to continue, but it's a work in progress. I'm just tired at looking at myself and counting the many more kilos I need to go. Why can't I love myself? Are y'all saying cause I'm fat I should be denied that right? Crazy.

I'm gonna love the shit out of myself and buy myself some nice clothes cause I love myself THAT MUCH.

P.S. I'm sorry if seeing fat people in the streets offends you. Clearly you need to go to the land-that-does-not-exist where everyone is a supermodel. As phrased by a clearly brilliant bitch, "I may be fat but I can lose weight, you'll always be ugly".

48 comments:

  1. OMG I feel you! I've always struggled with my weight, and while I had being tall on my side, it didn't mean that I wasn't still chubby. If anything, I was tall AND chubby through school. The being tall part just meant that I got picked on a bit less because of my (slightly?) intimidating size.

    I've always felt like I lived in the wrong place. Clothes don't fit me, free size is a LIE, and even when I find things in my size, they don't cater for my body shape, because retailers just assume larger women are simply cylinders of chub, I guess.

    I was really happy to see 1214 Alley, because not only does it sell clothes that can fit, their model is appropriate. Her body shape is much closer to mine, and so when I see the way the clothes fit on her, it doesn't take a stretch of imagination to see it sit on my body similarly. Because even when blog shops have clothes in my size, it doesn't mean it will drape itself just as wonderfully on me as it does on the slim model.

    This was a great post, and I think it takes a certain amount of courage to post totally unglam photos of oneself on the internet. :3 Props to you, woman!

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    1. Hello! Thanks for the sweet post! I hope it lets you know that you're not alone! P.S. Here's a little lobang if you like 1214 Alley: Use this discount code when you shop there! AmandaJ_5% You get 5% off. ^^ Sorry it's not a lot, but it's just a gesture of goodwill from the sweet ladies at 1214 Alley! Enjoy!

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  2. Some fat or big sized or both. Feels roughly the same way.

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  3. Hi Amanda!

    I cannot begin to explain how much of an inspiration you are!

    Let me introduce myself. I am Robin and not long ago a friend and I founded a social enterprise, Made Real, a community that empowers youth with a positive self- and body- image through nutrition, fitness and self-love. We are the local advocate for a wholesome lifestyle that can lead anyone to be a better version of themselves.

    We feel that you embody everything that our community advocates and have been so inspired by your story. We would love to meet up with you, to share more about our community and hopefully work with you in the future.

    Just so you know we are legit and not crazy stalkers :p here are our facebook links.
    Robin: https://www.facebook.com/robinlfm
    Roslyn: https://www.facebook.com/xinfrom.y?fref=ts
    Made Real: www.facebook.com/MadeRealSG

    Do drop us an email, we would love to hear more from you! Robinlim.fm@gmail.com

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    1. Dropped you an email Robin! Let's chat :) But I'm definitely not an empowering person hor. I'm quite shitty lol.

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    2. I can sponsor plus size clothings if u need. :)

      Www.voycestasplus.com

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  4. Replies
    1. Hullo! Just wanna remind myself and everyone who reads this to love themselves!

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  5. Hi amanda,

    I have too experienced your troubles & yes its so tough to slim down and to get a life in sg. I can't find a bf up till now (guess asian guys like those thin ladies).
    Those slimming down methods online are not feasible for us. (They might be feasible for thin ladies that just want to slim down though)
    Would appreciate if you could share on how to slim down?

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    1. Hello JJXF! I have to tell you the truth, your bf is out there somewhere. I'm still tubby but I'm getting married next year to a wonderful man who's pretty darned awesome. Don't be disheartened by horrible people you meet, you will find someone one day! Honestly, it is really confidence and poise that attracts - not just men - but people in general! Be friendly, chirppy and always smile, only achievable if you start by loving yourself okay!

      I used to weigh a lot more, and I'm not perfect, but I lost 7kg over four months by really running everyday. There's no secrets, it's really hard work and eating clean. I drink tons of water and even though I can't run everyday now, I try to run at least once or twice a week. Start small yar! And if you really need tips, go to a professional trainer! Pop by a gym and talk to the people there, a lot of them are very friendly. If you need a friend to talk to you can drop me an email at amandajaynelee@gmail.com or add me on facebook (but let me know who you are lah, I don't like to add strangers). Cheers!

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    2. Hi JJXF,

      If you need a personal trainer, you can reach me at 90558883. You only need 1 weekend each week, and I guarantee that you'll see lasting change over time.

      I was from the Army Fitness Center :) - and yes, I know how hard it is to get fit, because I've been there

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  6. Though I'm not your stalker on Facebook I found your link there via my Singapore friends. Quite the transformation. Just keep doing what you're doing, be confident in who you are... Though that also doesn't happen overnight you'll get there.
    And the America's ... very judgmental when it comes to weight. All those commercials telling you how many calories our salad, drink, yogurt, etc has.. Smh

    Anyway life is tough.. so live your life, be happy! =_=V (peace sign)
    With love from Jamaica.

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    1. HI Giovanni! Thanks for the nice comment! I've still a long way to go, but I'll keep going on, thanks for the encouragement!

      Haha I've always wondered what it'd be like in the americas!

      You take care!
      Love back from Singapore too!

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  7. Slimming down is real fustrating! Took more than a year. What's harder is maintaining it! Hope you achieve your desired weight! And dont be bothered by how people think and comment on you. Although I know it's easier said than done! Cheers and stay positive and happy!

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  8. You look good, keep it up. Haters will hate, all you got to do is to ignore. anyways that white dress up there, it looks really pretty. Where did you get it from?

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    1. I got it from Sabo Skirt! http://saboskirt.com/ One of my favourite aussie blogshops :)

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  9. Hi, i just wanna say u look great and pretty. If there's a chance, i would like to bring u to a nice dinner, movie etc whatever you would like to do. Cheer!! =)

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    1. hahaha thanks Milktea! Sweet of you!

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  10. Hi I kinda feel you although I'm a guy cause I'm obese too. Tried to exercise by strolling in the park a few times weekly but I gave up too quickly. Haiz kinda hope I have your determination to exercise and control yr food intake

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    1. Hi Joey,

      Forget trying to eat less - that's a myth based on a gross misunderstanding of how your diet has changed your brain. You'll never be able to cut down on your food intake just like that. You'll just end up feeling starved and craving for more.

      Don't eat less, change what you eat instead. Try fruits - you'll be amazed how good they are and how much they help to fill you up.

      As for motivation, you can't just force yourself to workout man, you'll give up really fast over and over again. You'll need a trainer initially to change the way you see your abilities, then you can fly solo after a while.

      If you are free on weekends, you can contact me at 90558883. I'll be more than happy to help.

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    2. Hey Joey! I'm not as determined as you think. haha and I very rarely control my food intake. Just try and exercise at least once a week. Do something that you enjoy that makes you sweat A LOT. Like when I run on the treadmill (which I really hate) I watch movies on my iPad that I prop up on the machine. Fight scene make me run faster LOL

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  11. You made me feel a little confident about myself. I'm fat. And still fat. Tried running but the decrease is never significant. Thanks for this.

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    1. Based on my own experience, it's very disheartening when you don't see results and I totally know that pain. But run for at least two weeks straight (cheat on Sundays. Cannot run too much) and see that your weight will slowly start coming down. It's a very long process lah. I'm nowhere near perfect, and I highly doubt I will ever have the determination to reach my goal weight... But for now, be happy being you. :) Run when you feel like it. Like now, I do yoga daily simply cause I like it and not cause I want to lose weight. Dunno if it will help me, but no harm right? Some sweat is better than no sweat.

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  12. Hi there Amanda, I just wana say your post have provided much comfort and encouragement. I feel you totally and I cant agree more on what you have shared.

    Thanks for speaking up and for sharing this post :) lets work hard tgt

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  13. Hi Amanda,

    I totally feel you!! Im obese every since im young and yes weight loss is a long process...im glad i made the first atep to change my lilifestyle and as of now, I've loss about 13kg from 93kg to 80kg.. and i believe, there will be more to come...

    If you are interested, im willing to share with you...

    Thanks
    Akemi
    Www.bbfats.com
    Akemi@bbfats.com

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    1. wah!!! 13kg is a lot lei! Hahaha teach me teach me! Congrats on making the first step! :D

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  14. This obsession with weight is a misguided one. Weight/Subcutaneous fat is only a crude indicator of how healthy you are.

    Make your target a healthy visceral fat level, healthy blood pressure and resting heart rate and everything else will fall into place.

    And its not just about running, but how you run that will determine the effectiveness of your workout. And if you're really heavy, running will just kill your knees. If you're flat-footed, that's even worse.

    And more importantly, find a way to enjoy sweating it out.

    If anyone wants to get fitter fast, and you love nature trails, you can join me once a week @ Macritchie. I guarantee you will see results instantly if you are willing to stick with it. Its not as bad as you imagine, I promise. As long as you don't mind nature, better if you love it.

    You can reach me at 90558883, everyone is welcome :)

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  15. Oh and by the way, I was from the Army Fitness Centre. 90% of diets and weight-loss supplements either do not work, or weight loss will be regained within 5 years. Look it up on PubMed or PLOS One.

    I'm sick of having people and MLMs trying to sell junk science and peddle weight loss supplements. Its a fundamentally flawed approach to nutrition and fitness that won't last: you'll pack on the pounds soon enough, I guarantee it.

    Meal replacements are also questionable, and they often don't tell you things like: having to give up eating with friends, retaining a high level of visceral fat. They will use meaningless cliche's like "fat flush", "detox" and other such poppycock.

    And they don't tell you how to make sure that your exercise actually counts. Psychological training is almost non-existent in many of these programs so they can keep you paying and dependent on them.

    Forget such junk science, follow the hard science - I can show you how to make your fitness last even without buying a thing from me. And everything I do has been gleaned from proper unbiased research - not the kind companies pay labs to do to peddle their wares.

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  16. Hi! I chanced upon this blog post from my friend's twitter and I think whatever you said is very applicable in the world these days. I used to be pretty overweight and don't look as good in whatever I wear compared to my friends and feel dejected. At that point of time I rlly don't like myself as well.... I hated myself :(

    However, recently I've been having fun, free workouts in the evening with a large group of people around MBS area. The workouts include running, circuit trainings, yoga and zumba! They are really fun and you'll have alot of people motivating you along the way because there are people of all ages working out together! (as young as 10+ years old and as old as 50+ years old).

    I am extending this invitation for you to join us at free workout together (since i read that you will do some workout on your own as well, so why not use this platform where everyone motivates everyone to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle tgt? ^^ ), if you'd like to, and I promise you that you'll have an enjoyable time! :)

    If you'd like you know more details you can drop me an email at fanyeyesmiles@hotmail.com yep! Let's jiayou on this weight loss journey together my fellow Singaporean!

    Tiffany

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    1. Thanks for this Tiffany! I'm sure plenty of people will benefit from this! :D

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  17. Hello Amanda,

    I chanced upon your post on my facebook feed because some people were sharing it. Well.. I wouldn't consider myself 'fat', but I sure know I don't fall under the 'skinny-like-blogshop-models' range. Your post made me feel so much better about myself. I'm so glad you made this post.

    You look great by the way, keep smiling!

    Best Regards,
    Sebelle Sharmine Ho

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    1. Hi Sharmaine! Thanks for the sweet words! You look gorgeous! Don't worry so much about it. I'm glad you feel better about yourself too!

      Cheers.

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  18. Hi Amanda , that was a really good write up I must say .

    I personally think that it doesn't just affect the ladies but for guys as well . Seeing how most shops carry really small sizes for the ladies , it's actually the same for men . I could probably estimate that maybe 1 10.. or 20 shops would carry a size for larger guys (may it be for fat , tall or muscular) , and it does get on my nerves some times that Singapore-based stores only ever imagine that everyone should be small and petite and fit into XXS clothing .
    I wouldn't call myself really obese , but I'm definitely not some petite guy or some ripped , toned guy either . And it does show that being overweight , however much it is , will be one of the main 'taunts' we tend to get when we're in school , or maybe even out of it , because society has placed so many ideals in our heads that as long as you're not model-slim , you're not good enough and therefore should not be allowed to be loved .
    I applaud your stand , and I agree with your points . No , it's not a "I'm so fat and I'm not going to lose any weight" but rather people need to start loving themselves from the inside out ; physical beauty is just one aspect , and definitely not the most important .

    xo from a fellow blogger , Gee .
    (I've allowed my wordpress to share details but I don't know why it's appearing as anon so here's my blog : ingeneouslife.wordpress.com )

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    1. Yeah man! Love yourself first. :) Thanks for your lovely comments. And bro, I'm sure you're perfect just the way you are!

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  19. Hey Amanda, thank you so much for this. I'm only 17 and I am so fat, honestly I dunno what went wrong. It doesn't help that the course I am in(Mass Comm) has all the beautiful good looking slim people and those that are of a bigger size don't really fit in you know cos you can't really find nice clothes to look good in. But thank you for reminding me to love myself. To accept myself. And work out for my own sake and not for my course mates sake, not for my parents sake. But for myself. I really appreciate this, thank you so much for this. Thank you, really. :)

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    1. Hello Kon! I'm from Mass Comm too! And screw those people who think everyday is a fashion show! I used to go to school in my t-shirt and shorts. I don't know about your course, but my coursemates really did't care about how you dress. I found some of my best friends there (and yes, they are damn gorgeous people.) and they accepted me t-shirt and shorts and all. Be confident and find a good bunch of friends who like you for who you are!

      Let me tell you, bigger people can look good too. It's all about finding the right kinda clothes! (I'll blog about it sometime...) Anyways, it's great that you're working out for your own sake. Don't bother about what other people say.

      Thank you for commenting, it really makes me happy to know that my post has impacted someone!

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  20. HEY~! KUDOS for being confident! stay that way and i hope you're really happy with your life right now.
    i'm not slamming you or anything, you're an inspiration.
    i just wanna shout out to let everyone know about the thing and wispy but yet not helpless girls
    that we don't like being called "chop sticks" too.
    when you're skinny, ppl will tell you curvy is the new sexy, and that you're a washing board
    or airport road, i'm sure we've all heard that before.
    and ppl tend to think that you can't go for a run for the sake of keeping up with your stamina
    or that you can't complain just because you're skinny.
    I hope that the world will one day accept every people
    skinny/chubby/just right/etc
    we're all beautiful creatures

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  21. I don't think I'm 'fat', I am admittedly quite healthy. But I am bigger than most girls, and just being this weight with this body makes me feel insecure enough as it is, I was going to not eat dinner tonight. Reading this, really helped. It wasn't a 'love yourself because you're beautiful' kind of post, but a 'love yourself because you're not beautiful, but love yourself because you should' kind of thing. We're all on a journey to improve ourselves. I really like your attitude, cheers! x

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    1. Don't skip meals!! :) I'm glad the blog helped you feel slightly less insecure... Don't feel alone on this journey alright? We're all in it together!

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  23. Hi Amanda! I’m doing a project documenting the experiences with fashion as a larger woman in all parts of the world. If you have some time, I would love to ask you a few questions! I’m from Asia personally and can understand a lot of the things you discuss in this post.

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    1. Hi Bowie, so sorry! I only saw your comment today! I suppose I'm too late to help you out with the project! My apologies. I really hope your fashion project went well though :)

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  24. Hi! I am a fat 97KG girl and I have a beautiful sister who weighs like a normal girl as in she has some tummy fats but is still considered skinny if she dont wear tight clothings.
    Anyway, I'm glad that I am fat not because of the health aspects but the social aspects. tbh, my sister's friends are not my friends coz they *know* what made them approach my quiet and beautiful sister in the first place while my sister are great friends with my crazy ass friends and I am thankful for the people in my life who choose to be my friends not because of how I look.

    Recently I have a few health problems (including unable to breathe at night, sis sleeping with me recorded me as I was "choking" while snoring) so I signed up at a gym and is ready to lose some pounds!!

    Its ok to be whatever you want as long as you love yourself. I love myself A LOT!

    Like even when my parents are introducing me and my sis to strangers and they try to hide the surprised look when they heard that Im the younger sister, I respond by saying “ yea, I know right? I've been told I'm the prettier one" which would make the other party not that embarrassed and we share a good laugh over it.

    I hope I can become HEALTHY not skinny, not more beautiful but yes, healthy. Coz I feel like im a 23 year old in a 50 year old's body.

    Love yourself no matter what. Never judge people, never let others' judgement define who you are .

    Fighting !

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