Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentines special: Loving thy body

It tastes as good as it looks
This morning I was having breakfast at our regular mamak after the morning school run. I ordered nasi lemak with ayam goreng (fried chicken) and teh ice (iced tea). I usually order this or a thosai.

As always, I get stares for eating alone. It baffles me why there is a blatant double standard in this. It's ok if men dine alone, but strange if a woman eats alone. God forbids if she has a healthy appetite.

When I was paying, the young lady at the cashier asked me if I eat any lunch or dinner. She told me she has only fruits for dinner and a light lunch because she needs to watch her weight. I took a second look at her slender build and told her she looks amazing and there's no need to diet.

I did answer her question. I do have my lunch and dinner. In fact, I have a healthy appetite and eat every two to three hours. I guess I have relatively high metabolism to burn off the insane amount of food I consume (well, most of). If I put on any weight, it can be easily lost through more exercise. 

I am slightly taller than average, of average build and have chubby cheeks all my life. I don't weigh myself regularly because my weight changes a lot all the time, i.e. before and after meals, during the month, before or after breastfeeding. If I put on weight, fret not, I have bigger clothes for 'fat days'. I don't stress over weight gain, because I believe the weight can be shed off through exercising more. 

I thank my parents for encouraging my love in food and not focusing unnecessarily on my weight. My dad lovingly tells me that my chubby cheeks is plump of collagen and would slow down the aging process, a blessing in later years. (Not sure how true, but my dad is just wonderful that way.) I am grateful for my Dear Hubby who love me for who I am. My father-in-law proudly pat me on my head as I out-ate the male cousins-in-law. My mother-in-law who always cook me my favourite dishes and go out of her way to buy me my favourite dessert.

Just yesterday, I was buying frozen yoghurt and commenting to the lady boss that frozen yoghurt is a great snack for kids. She went on to gush about her yoghurt series being low fat and no fat, which is better for children. 

It was a little sad that the pressure on images seems to be taking its toll in Malaysia. I had always thought it's a refreshing change that women here are of different sizes and that women aren't that self-conscious about their weight.

While driving home, it brought to mind a friend in HK.  She fretted to me her baby was putting on weight too fast. She didn't want her baby to grow up obese and was searching for a low fat formula. Her baby was three months old at that time, aiyo.

But good fat is necessary for a child's development. Over 60% of our brain is made up of fat. A child's brain grows to 97% of an adult's brain by 6 six years old. Depriving your child of fat from young equates to shortchanging your child of his or her potential.

It bothers me that the society places so much pressure on images, and most of this pressure falls on women. 

As a mother of a daughter, I want DD to grow up with a healthy appetite, loves her own body, celebrate her individuality and never be afraid of eating alone. 

Raising our children to have a healthy self-esteem gives them the inner strength to make many other right decisions in life.

Why conform to what the magazines portray as beautiful? We are all beautiful in our own unique way. 

Enjoying your thosai much, little girl?


  1. I'm always fretting that my girl is not eating enough! haha.. I love food too but I do try to stay away from fatty and oily food. My bane is chocolate and ice-cream though :P

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    1. Me too! My little girl is too busy running around to eat.

      I am more of a savoury person myself. Nuts, chips, crackers ... yum!

  2. Haha I also keep worrying that my girl doesn't eat enough and NEVER once thought that she should eat less or be afraid that she gets over chubby or fat. It's a bliss to be able to eat (能吃是福) and I really enjoy it too. Your dad sounds really loving! I have high cheekbones and chubby cheeks (like my mum and grandma) but it has never made me stay away from ice cream. =)

    1. Summer you are so lucky then. My metabolism is temporarily bouyed because I'm still breastfeeding. Haha.

      Yes, my dad is amazing. He's my hero!

  3. Hi, chanced upon your blog from another blog :)Sadly, we are bombard by what society deems as beautiful and how one can only be that if you're slim. I used to struggle with my image as a teenager and have since come to accept and love my body. But nevertheless, it never hurts to pay attention to your health and well being by eating healthy. It's not just what our body needs but also our heart.

    1. Hi Susan! Nice to hear from you. My sentiments exactly. This is why I boycott fashion magazines. They are the worst culprits.