Weight loss is something that many people face, both male and female. Being a teenage girl who attended a single-sex high school for 7 years of my life, I was surrounded by so many people who were struggling with their weights and had an inferiority complex with the way their body looked. As much as I hate to admit it, I was one of those. 
I didn't take much notice of my weight until I was around 14 years old, when those around me started to point out my weight. Those people weren't friends, but adults I'd grown up around.

Before I carry on, here's something to keep in mind. I come from an Asian background, and in my 21 years of living, I have noticed two key things that South Asian parents excel at: : gossiping and lying. Now I'm not just talking the small stuff. Tamil parents, especially mums, could start conflicts between countries if they wanted to. They are so good at keeping an eye out for other people's children, in the hope that an opportunity comes by which they can use to ruin the child's future, so that their own child can 'look better'. You might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not.

So these Tamil mum's love to point out flaws, and facts that go against the status quo. "Your daughter looks a bit.. bigger.. she's gained a bit hasn't she..?" or the more recent "I heard she got into the University of Southampton.. she must have done badly in her A levels". After hearing from so many people that I gained a lot of weight, weighing in at around 59kg and being only 4'11", I became quite conscious of my rounded, chubby figure. But I didn't make an effort to lose weight. I didn't think I could so I didn't bother. I didn't feel like I had to impress anyone either; people, including guys, seemed to like me the way I was. Even when someone I knew and loved insulted me and my weight on Facebook for everyone to see, I did want to lose weight to prove him wrong, but I didn't bother. In my mind, I had other priorities.

However, after I had turned 16, I started to lose weight due to a mix of stress, a better eating plan, and a little bit of dancing. I was happy that I had managed to lose some weight, not noticeable but I was still happy. However I still didn't make an effort or go out of my way to lose weight.

As I was finishing high school, I started going to gym because of a thought that clouded my mind: 'I need to lose weight before Uni starts or no one will like me'. I was waking up at 6am every morning to get a bus to a gym a few towns away. I was so motivated. But this didn't last very long, and it stopped as soon as I got to university. I was having fun and didn't enjoy working out so I didn't make it a personal target.

But then the weight loss just happened. Eventually, I stopped keeping track, until I realised my size 8 clothes were starting to be a bit loose or big on me. I was aware I had dropped a dress size, down to size 6, but only after a weigh in had I found out I had dropped to 45kg. I didn't think it was that much of a change. In my head it wasn't that much of a big difference. That was until I tried on a pair of jeans I wore just under a year before the weigh in, that had now become horrendously baggy. It surprised me, finally being able to physically see how much I had lost. It did feel nice being able to wear clothes I didn't think I could pull off before though, or seeing my body having more shape to it in the mirror, and more toned muscles.

After my first few months at university, I went back home for Easter break, and before the break I had a few weeks of intense dance rehearsals and a bad diet. As a result, my weight dropping just slightly again. But as soon as I came back home, those parents I mentioned earlier now had a new "flaw" to point out: "oh aren't you being fed properly, you've lost so much weight."

You gain weight, it's a problem. You lose weight,  and it's a problem. Whenever I heard this I just shook it off with the standard "I dance a lot now" answer. But it my head it really did frustrate me. Having people point it out makes it seem more like a loss.

Weight loss wasn't a goal I was aiming for, but now that I am here, I want to maintain it and also my healthy lifestyle. Even to this day, 2 years later, I still hear the same thing from everyone around me. 'Tie a balloon to yourself or you'll float off,' says my uncle every time he sees me. But I don't care anymore. It's my body, and it shouldn't be bound by the opinions of other people, regardless of whether they matter or not. Your body is yours, its your temple, and you should never have to change it or treat is differently to make someone else happy. Make yourself happy.

I just want to stay to anyone who is trying to reduce their weight, do it healthily, because it is possible. It does give you motivation to stay healthy. But if you are struggling, then don't worry, it's not a flaw and you shouldn't have to beat yourself up over it. Instead, learn to appreciate and love yourself.

Published by Mensi Suntharalingam