It is very common that people grow up after they leave school and get into the work force. When I say grow up, see my personal experience below.
Soon after I graduated from dental school at the University of Hong Kong, I left my family for further studies in Chicago, USA. I started living on my own for the first time in my life. I saw a different world and I took care of my own eating, sleeping, laundry, and daily activities of all sorts, including fixing my own meals. Oh yes, I started to talk to myself when I found my room was too quiet.
The first weekend in Chicago was interesting as I had little money and lived in a tiny, old dormitory room at the very end of the corridor. There was only a study table, a small book shelf, a single bed and barely enough room for me to pace between the table and the bed, which also doubled as the space for me to do some push ups. There was no space for cooking or refrigeration.
On the first Saturday, I went to the nearby supermarket, Treasure Island, and bought some groceries. It was so obvious that a gallon of milk was much cheaper per unit volume than a smaller portion in a paper box. I purchased a gallon of milk and some other necessities. That was about 4 litres worth of milk that I had purchased.
The day time in Chicago is quite hot around June/July but the night time is breezy and cool. After drinking that delicious milk on Saturday, I found it tasted quite interesting on Sunday morning. Then on Sunday afternoon, while I was doing my literature review, I found that the milk looked sort of separated into layers. I drank it anyway because that was the only liquid I had on a hot Sunday afternoon. Then you can guess – my gastrointestinal system was very disagreeable with the spoiled milk. Milk needs refrigeration! And my little dorm room has no fridge! Except for that incident, I ate rather well thereafter.
Numerous months later, Moon started school in New Jersey. For many evenings, when I talked with my ex-girlfriend on the phone, a familiar topic showed up: we were very tired, very sleepy and very full. Being younger Asian baby-boomers, we grew up with a revolutionary invention – instant noodles. It was cheap, easy to prepare and fast, a perfect quick meal for a student. However, this high carbohydrate and high calorie diet was fantastic for gaining weight too.
When I visited Hong Kong near the end of my post-graduate studies two years later, I met up with a few friends and exchanged pleasantries revolving around how we all looked ‘prosperous’, a nicer way of saying: FAT.
Surprisingly, I have yet to heard of anyone saying anything negative about their (or others) new found weight. Socially, it seems like it is acceptable for that phenomenon. In contrary, pointing out that someone is super-size is commonly considered rude. Well, what is wrong with being ‘prosperous’ while one is heading into work life in a prosperous society?
It was only around 1996-1997 when I looked at the mirror after a buffet dinner one evening – I saw that I was not standing straight. I did stand straight but I looked crooked because I was out of shape. That was the beginning of my self-awareness.
Nothing much could be done outdoors in the winter in Toronto. The cold weather compelled one to eat well to handle the cold.
Moving to Singapore was a blessing in many aspects. One of them was the year round warm/hot weather. After running with FlexiFitness under Coach Rameshon, one day he said, “Sooner or later someone will say you are skinny, then some would say that you are crazy…”
I thought to myself that it was not good to hear that.
Then Coach Rameshon said, “When that happens, it means you are making progress, just ignore them.”
It came true a few months later! Coach Rameshon knew what he was talking about as he has been holding the Singapore marathon record since 1995 and no other runners have even come close to his record as of 2016. He and I are of the same age but he is no ‘coffee drinking uncle’ – he was still winning races not too long ago.
As of 2016, my Body Mass Index (BMI) is approximately identical to 1982 and I feel absolutely fantastic in spite of the passage of time. A blessed boy here!
The next key (regarding weight) is Do not accept common notions (even from well-meaning people), Take Ownership of it.