"You are what you eat they said, but my story isn't solely about what I put in my mouth. Through my weight loss journey, I dug deeper to understand why ‘FOOD’ has always been the answer - I realised that it was years of emotional trauma.
"I was told that I didn't fit the traditional beauty standards."
Born and raised in Sri Lanka, from a very young age, I was told that I didn't fit the traditional beauty standards. Darker-skinned than most of my relations, told me I was not good enough to feel or be beautiful. The culture I grew up in was very judgmental, expressing your feeling towards uncomfortable comments is a big ‘NO’. I was three years old when my father faced an accident, he was in a coma for over a year, and my mother had to support her children and him. That’s where my life in a boarding school started. Although I can’t remember much about my dad, I can remember my mother comforting us with all sorts of food. Looking back now, I believe I adopted my mother’s solution to comfort with food.
Following very strict rules at boarding school we were only allowed to eat at set times. My addiction to overindulging in food started here. I began to think about food more, and my life revolved around JUST FOOD. Eating, thinking about eating, and then overeating became a vicious cycle of my daily life. Things got worse when I lost my mother at age 13. For many years I blamed myself for her death, as according to my horoscope, she was supposed to die (well, I know what you think, but hey, it’s a Sri Lankan thing, I guess). I kept repeating our last conversation in my head repeatedly, and the only comfort I had was food; that’s the only way I knew ‘how to’. I do not wish upon anyone the things I had to face in the next 14 years of my life. They say time heals all wounds, but mine only got worse, and my relationship with food grew stronger every day!
"I gained more and more weight. The comments and fat shaming it was like a broken record!! I was the passing topic at every family gathering"
There was no counseling back home; if you said you wanted one, you would be labeled ‘MAD WOMEN’! So, I had to grow up quickly, brush all the trauma under the carpet, and move on. Little did I know at this point, my counselor was food. Food was the only thing that made me happy, my only true friend. So, I gained more and more weight. I remember how my relations made fun of me, saying that I would never be able to get married because of how ugly I was. Truth be told, ‘I BELIEVED THEM’! I made excuses and decided not to get married and cried my feelings into my pillow at night with the help of food. I am not ashamed of myself today, but I was then and did not want to accept what truly was my problem. Instead, I told myself I would become very successful so people would overlook my weight. However, they never stopped.
"I was clinically obese, and to top that, in June of 2017, I suffered an acute pancreatic attack. I fell to the floor in excruciating pain, my legs no longer supported me."
The comments and fat shaming it was like a broken record!! I was the passing topic at every family gathering. The first thing they say when they see me ‘OMG, you have put more weight’! I moved to London in 2012, and the only thing I did was work and study because I knew I would have no one to fallback on. Meeting Paul was one of the BEST things that happened to me! he was the shining light I was looking for. But that didn’t change my habits; again, eating was the only way I knew to handle the happiness that came after a long time.
I ate to the point that I did not recognise the person I saw in the mirror. Then came 2017, one of the worst years of my life. At this point on my GP records, I was clinically obese, and to top that, in June of 2017, I suffered an acute pancreatic attack. I fell to the floor in excruciating pain, my legs no longer supported me. It felt like someone was pressing my chest from both sides like a balloon going to explode any minute. I remember thinking to myself – this is it. This is how my life is going to end. The only thing that crossed my mind was if I went, who would look after my dad and sister? I have to be there for my disabled father, and I am the only financial and emotional support my father has; he will have no one if I go.
"There were days I couldn’t sleep due to extreme pain. I knew I had to do something to look after my body."
Truth be told, that was the first time I heard the word ‘Pancreas’ and the vital job it had in our body. I was slowly destroying my organs just because I couldn’t break up with ‘food’. I spent years in and out of hospitals, and the quality of my life never been the same since then. There were days I couldn’t sleep due to extreme pain, and for months, I got up in the middle of the night with unbearable pain. Stomach pains and getting up with chest pains daily became part of my daily routine. Instead of looking after myself, my illness became my excuse to eat more and more. The inevitable followed a few months later as I was diagnosed with prediabetes. I knew I had to change my lifestyle; I knew I had to do something to look after my body, but I didn’t know how except for my good old friend - FOOD!
It was January 2022. I decided to change myself. I knew no one else could do it for me! It’s me who needs to change. I spoke to Vitality to arrange a weight loss surgery. Thinking about it now makes me laugh that I would spend that money rather than change my lifestyle! We sat on the sofa. I remember Paul kneeling in front of me, listening to it so close; I was pouring my heart and soul out to him, saying exactly how I felt and speaking the truth that I have been avoiding, using exams and body positivity as excuses. He responded, ‘Darling will do anything that will make your life a better place, and I will be there every step of the way. If you think the weight loss surgery is the only option, then we do that.
"3 stone down and for the first time in 5 years I am no longer diabetic - No further medical actions. It’s not just the weight, how I look, or how I see myself in front of the mirror. It changed the quality of my life."
I had to wait until June 2022 to schedule the surgery with COVID-19, we agreed to book the next day. I was scrolling through TikTok that night when I found The 1:1 Diet… The transformation stories blew my mind, and I thought, ‘Is it possible?’ I decided, why not? I have to wait until June anyway, so why not just try this as a last option? I will try this whilst I wait for June to come.…… 3 stone down and for the first time in 5 years I am no longer diabetic - No further medical actions! My health has never been better. I don’t feel uncomfortable/bloated and the good night’s sleep has massively improved my previously constant headaches. I no longer look for food to support my emotions. It’s not just the weight, how I look, or how I see myself in front of the mirror. It changed the quality of my life. I can’t remember the last time I got up with chest pains or stomach pains during the night or had to get Paul to call 111!
No back, joint, or ankle pain, all of which I used to have for years. I feel as if I have been transferred to the correct body from that old vehicle I used to live in. I enjoy my life more than I used to. I was someone who made excuses not to go out and binge ate to someone who walked for hours without breaking a sweat or complaining. Work life has changed massively too - as a financial advisor in London I attend a lot of meetings (I can cross my legs now!). Paul and I would bicker on holidays as I didn’t like to walk, insist on taking taxis or I wouldn’t go. Now, instead of sitting in a fancy hotel room, we make outdoor plans. Paul cannot keep up with my active life, “well darling one thing is for sure The 1:1 Diet made you at least 10 years younger. I cannot keep up with you” It makes me feel so proud of myself.
"I am loving myself; my confidence level is over the roof. My mind is not filled with thoughts of food, so I can think clearly and am emotionally strong and stable. The 1:1 Diet has saved me."
Today the relations who made fun of me come to me for health advice; they want to be like me. They say, ‘Like a bottle of wine; the older you get, the more beautiful you have become’. It makes me laugh; these are the same people who said, ‘I CAN’T, AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH’. I am loving myself; my confidence level is over the roof. My mind is not filled with thoughts of food, so I can think clearly and am emotionally strong and stable. The 1:1 Diet has saved me."
Paul (Dewmi's husband) said: "She is the person she is today, because of the impact this diet has had on her life. Positive, determined, and much more comfortable in her own body. Not only am I proud of what she has achieved with her weight loss but she also no longer chases food everywhere we go, she controls what she eats and it no longer controls her or plays a dominating factor".
Three Key Messages from Dewmi
1. Breaking the weight loss taboo in society especially in the minority community.
2. Digging beyond overeating to know why we have picked up the bad habits on the way.
3. Make people understand that weight loss is not for some time. It’s a lifestyle change. And I want to people who comment on this diet “oh unhealthy” to understand that they should not talk about it without all the facts.