Made Personal: Robin - A Battle For Strength

Many of you may be familiar with Made Real’s cause, but few of you may know the background and personal stories of our team. So we are launching the Made Personal series – each post will feature one of our team members and their personal stories in their health and fitness journeys. In this series we will uncover hardships, triumphs, battles, failures, tears and joy to show you that you are not alone. After all, we are all made of flaws stitched together with good intentions.

Confidence always seemed to define my personality. It is only now that I realise that my confidence is and has always been a facade. Much like the clichéd analogy of a mask or an armour worn to hide vulnerability. Many people experience somewhat of an ‘identity crisis’ while growing up, where they frantically struggle to seek self definition. I was not an exception. I was constantly chasing an ideal, one that I have not even achieved up till now. I always wanted to be smarter, prettier, fitter, and more talented. I felt like these ideals defined me as a person. For a long time I saw this desire, or cravings if you must, as something constructive, because it motivated me to constantly improve myself.

However, when the odds started to go against my favor, everything just fell apart.
It started with ‘O’ levels. You see, I have always been an ambitious individual. I have always pushed myself hard and driven myself towards my goals. Almost naturally, when I did not do well for O levels, my world came crashing down. I felt worthless and pathetic.

This awakened dark demons which dwelled in the recesses of my mind. It didn’t help that I also had to adapt from being in a girls’ school all my life to being in a co-ed school. (Above all that, I had been brutally dumped by my first love – dramatically exaggerated but still true.) I felt like I was thrown into a bottomless pit of self-pity and self-hatred. Looking back now, this all seems so silly.

My perceived inadequacy hastened my chasing of ideals. I was spiralling down a dangerous path of extreme dieting and over-exercising. The lowest point was when I embarked on the Master Cleanse Diet – I will not elaborate on it but for those who know what it entails, I’m sure you would agree that it is extreme and dangerous.

One fine night, Roslyn had invited me out to dinner at one of her favourite restaurants, Real Food cafe at Central. That night changed my life forever as she introduced to me the marvellous and spectacular Fitblr community (Fitness – Tumblr). This is where my insane journey finally took a turn for the better. These websites were not only inspiring but they were empowering.

They motivated me to work out, taught me how to eat right and most importantly, showed me how to love myself. Definitely, that was not Happily Ever After. It wasn’t long till I started to fall back into my old habits of counting calories and trying to reduce my intake as much as I can. However, around this time I had started lifting weights in the gym. Having friends to coach me and support me really helped me to overcome a lot of my insecurities and prevented me from falling too deep.

I have come along way from being afraid to lift weights. Some of you may know, I have taken part in a Fitness Pageant, Nutrigirl. Even though I did not win any awards, I am still incredibly grateful for the experience. It has given me confidence and faith in myself. Getting into the finals was already an achievement for me, for a girl who used to keep her eyes down, pick herself apart in front of the mirror and really, really dislike herself.

So much has happened in 2 years and every step of my journey has been difficult and painful, yet fulfilling. The point of sharing my story with you today is to show you that firstly, everyone starts somewhere. I wasn’t always the ‘fitspo’ girl that I am now. And secondly, it is only natural to have insecurities and to chase ideals. But never lose sight of the value in yourself.

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