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Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Demon -- A Decade-Long Eating Disorder

Pictorial, Dec 2007
I had an eating disorder.

I battled with BORDERLINE ANOREXIA for more than a decade, from age 12 to 25. Traces of it still creep up everytime I get pregnant. I have four kids so, I had to battle with my demons each and every time.

It all started with my Papa telling me on the summer of Grade 6 that I was "masungit"(surly) and "mataba"(fat) and that nobody was going to marry me. For the complete post on that, click this link.

From Grade 6 onwards, save for a few extra pounds here and there, I no longer became obese, thanks to my obsessive desire to NOT get FAT.

Grade 5 - 120lbs             Grade 6 - 89 lbs

Back at that time, when anybody mentioned to me the mere F word: F-A-T, I would:
  • Throw a tantrum
  • Hyperventilate
  • Lock myself in my room/bathroom
  • Cry for hours
  • Wish myself dead

Too OA (OverActing) right?

Well, not to me.

It was to me, the WORST thing you could tell me. I would rather you tell me I was stupid, than FAT!

My trail of thought would be:


I do not mean to offend those reading this post who are on the voluptuous side, but to me, to be deemed FAT was like outright telling me, "The world be better off with you dead!"

Of course, this was an outright LIE.

It was also unbelievably illogical and for lack of a better term, crazy.

A few or many pounds extra is reason for wanting death?

But that was how it was with me. I battled with it for more than a decade, and thank God, at my current age of 37, that demon is no longer haunting me. It does still sometimes appear but I have learned to shush it up and confront it with the truth.
8 months heavily pregnant with our 3rd baby, 2010

James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Santiago 4:77Pasakop nga kayo sa Dios; datapuwa't magsisalangsang kayo sa diablo, at tatakas siya sa inyo. 

When Dong and I became a couple in 1997, I was still quite hesitant to let my true colors show. I did not want him to know that I was this painfully insecure young adult who had no self-esteem and had many issues, foremost of which was her eating disorder.
In Mike and Nikki's Wedding, 1998

Whenever somebody told me I was fat as Filipinos are wont to do (For some reason, Filipinos just love saying "Tumaba ka ha." o     "Tumataba ka ha." [You have gotten fat. or You are getting fat.] as though it were their duty to tell that person about his/her weight, as a precursor to a hello), I would smile but inside my head, my thoughts were going haywire. I wanted to hide to the nearest secluded spot and cry my heart out! I would then start gasping for air and think suicidal thoughts.

 Not exactly ATTRACTIVE to show to a handsome man such as my boyfriend then, Dong.
Dong as a PBA sporstcaster, 1999

But, as all secrets are bound to be found out, I showed my true self to him (crazy anorexic Nikka) after one we now deem as funny, but I then deemed as catastrophic, incident: 

I had my hair cut.

And Dong said, "I like your previous hair better." 

That opened the Pandora's Box for me.

I bawled in Mc Donald's (where we were eating an early dinner) and told him to take his comment back!

He was shocked to say the least of my reaction and apologized for it. He comforted me and tried to stop my already panicking self, but to no avail.

People in Mc Do were looking badly at him! The nerve of that man to make his girlfriend cry!, they must have been thinking. But truth was, he did not do anything wrong. He just made an honest comment!

After that incident, as though a dam burst open, I showed Dong already my true self -- the very insecure, pity-party girl self who considered every criticism as an attack to herself, which meant that she did not deserve to live!!!

Crazy, right?

Anorexia really is not a simple problem about eating. Eating (or not eating) was just a symptom of  much deeper problems of emotional or mental origin. It is really a matter of wanting to CONTROL. 

-Controlling one's weight meant controlling what other people thought of you. Being thin meant being deemed attractive, and therefore accepted.
-Controlling one's weight meant keeping at bay the negative emotions the anorexic constantly has to feel i.e. feelings of worthlessness
-Controlling one's weight meant keeping at bay the negative thoughts that harass the anorexic constantly i.e. You are ugly! You are nothing! Nobody likes you! You are better-off dead!

It's tiring just recalling how difficult it was for me during those many lonely years. It got so bad that I contemplated suicide not just once but many times! The only thing that stopped me from doing it was that I knew it would grieve God's Heart and that I didn't want to further sin against Him! :(

As months turned to years, because Dong was constantly assuring me of his love for me and was very appreciative of me (He thought I was very beautiful and very sexy. ;)), little by little, without conscious effort, my eating disorder was being cured.
Year 2000, with Dong, my cohosts and crew for Good Morning Pilipinas (TV show)

Though I still got into fits of panic before whenever someone mentioned the F word, all I had to do was to go to Dong or call him up and he would assuage my fears, and all would be well again.

My boyfriend then, Dong with some friends - 2000

John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

1 Juan 4:18
18Walang kasamang takot ang pag-ibig at pinapawi ng ganap na pag-ibig ang anumang pagkatakot. 

Dong and I have been together for 16 years now and through my ups and lows of weight, he has been there for me, protecting me, assuring me and loving me. He even talked before to my OBGYN to as much as possible stop weighing me or commenting on my weight gain because this upset me. How sweet!

He still had to battle it with me with every pregnancy where I gained from as "little" as 25 lbs to as high as 60 lbs! But because of his love for me, I can honestly say, I am no longer scared of the F word. Praise God! 
TABA!!! (FAT!!!)

I am now focusing on the R word -- RESPECT. Respecting my husband as my God-ordained authority. Under the stewardship of this imperfect man, I believe that God will lead me towards finding my true path in this world, one that will glorify Him regardless of how much I weigh at any given moment in time. :)

1Corinthians 11:3  

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.

1 Corinto 11:3
 3Ngunit nais kong maunawaan ninyo na si Cristo ang nakakasakop sa bawat lalaki, ang lalaki ang nakakasakop sa kanyang asawa, ang lalaki ang nakakasakop sa babae. at ang Diyos naman ang nakakasakop kay Cristo.

My prayer is for every husband to love his own wife regardless of size and weight, and for every wife to respect her husband just like God had ordered for us to do. 

May we all be richly blessed! :)


  1. Nikka,
    Thank you so much for sharing this struggle. I know many, many women will relate. How wonderful that Dong has been so supportive! And PRAISE GOD that He is helping you to confront those lies with the truth of His Word! WOOHOO! :)

    1. Hi April!

      It was a GREAT struggle. I don't know how I could have battled it alone. God really made sure to save me from myself by giving me Dong. I am grateful to God for that. It was a very bleak period of my life. I wish for nobody to go through that. Praise God!!!! Woohoo really!!! :D


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