The first time I met Cokimi was in a “pop-up store,” a store set up for a limited period. At that time, she was a salesperson who always wore a sweet smile. Today, she is both sunny and confident.
Two years ago, Cokimi was depressed. She was overweight and frequently encountered obstacles in her relationships and career.
An experience in front of the camera led Cokimi to make up her mind to lose weight. With perseverance, she lost nearly 100 pounds and started to live her life again.
Cokimi generously showed reporters her photos before and after losing weight. She jokingly said that these photos are the greatest motivation for her to maintain her body shape after losing weight: “After comparing the before and after photos, I never want to gain weight again!”
She continued: “I used to have low self-esteem and rarely departed from home. When I went out, it was always point-to-point. I travelled between home and workplace and would not go to other places for gatherings. Now I go out more often for hiking, fishing, and eating out with friends, and I am so happy to finally buy a clothing size I can wear on the street!”
Body weight soared to 260 pounds; happy girl becomes depressed.
Cokimi had been the darling of her family since childhood. Her parents would cook large plates of delicious food for her. Relatives and friends praised her, saying she “looks more cute being fat.”
She did not realize that “being fat” was a problem.
When she was in her 20s, she and her boyfriend were passionately in love. She would go to find delicious food whenever she had time, and her body shape became increasingly inflated. By 2018, her weight peaked at 260 pounds; at that time, it was almost impossible for her to buy any clothes in Hong Kong that would fit.
Cokimi gradually realized that the health issues brought by obesity are not only physical problems but also emotional trauma.
She revealed that her menstrual cycle was abnormal because of her obesity, and she often suffered back pain. She even struggled to walk, so she could not run to catch a bus.
Her boyfriend left her. Because of her obesity, she also lost her job and thus her income source.
Looking for a new job was a pain. “I applied for many jobs but did not get any response. One incident gave me a strong impact. Right after I finished a job interview, I went to the bathroom. There I heard a few girls talking about me behind my back, saying I would destroy the company’s image. It made me very unhappy.”
Facing tremendous pressure, her way of relieving stress turned out to be “eating!” “The more stressed I was, the more I wanted to eat. I could not control myself; I kept eating.”
At that time, she could eat the portion meant for five people in one meal! She remembers when she had only HK$20 (US$3) left in her purse, she spent all her money on shumai and beef balls (Chinese snacks).
She never thought she would be reduced to relying on credit cards to live, paying interest even for a cup of coffee. She said helplessly, “The most frightening thing was that depression haunted me like a nightmare. Every day when I woke up, my eyes were full of tears. At that time, I did not know what life was all about…”
Cokimi who was in financial trouble, was willing to try any job. When she saw some popular videos of “big stomach kings” on the Internet, she thought she might as well try to become a “big stomach king.”
Therefore in 2019, she accepted an invitation to film a short video on a challenge to finish a giant hamburger within 60 minutes. “You can be on camera and eat; why not?”
She took this challenge out of curiosity.
Unexpectedly, netizens’ comments were mostly negative after the film was broadcast. Many of them mocked her body shape, and the comments were also very ugly. “I was depressed. I didn’t dare to go out and meet people during that time. I didn’t even dare to log on to social media platforms.”
After some time, she decided to turn grief and anger into strength and made up her mind to lose weight.
She said in her process of losing weight, she also had thrilling experiences: “I have tried eating only one apple a day, drinking only water, and have tried diet pills and diuretics; I ended up being taken into the hospital once.”
After a period of indiscriminate use of inappropriate weight loss methods, she learned to lose weight healthily: “I quit my favorite junk food and sugar. The staple food in meals is mainly protein and fiber, and I eat frequent small meals. I also take some meal replacements to accelerate weight loss.”
However, after successfully losing 60 pounds, Cokimi encountered a bottleneck. She started to learn Muay Thai.
She believes that Muay Thai is an excellent whole-body exercise with core muscle training, which is more suitable for her. “I haven’t exercised for decades, which is hard to do now. But I have learned to exercise progressively from easier to more difficult, starting from stretching, warming up, and slowly working up to move arms and punch. I found out it is very comfortable after sweating each time. It is hard at the time, but you will feel delighted after you persevered!”
Making weight loss an enjoyable experience.
After a year of hard work, Cokimi successfully lost 100 pounds. What she learned most in the process was how to overcome psychological barriers. “When I started to lose weight, I was very stressed. The more I wanted to control my eating, and the more I suppressed it, the more I ate. The weight did not come down and even went up! Then I learned to relax, not to put so much pressure on myself, and control my diet. It is okay to eat ice cream or drink bubble milk tea occasionally. Losing weight should be an enjoyable experience instead of suffering. It is not bad for me to give myself a break from time to time.”
On her way to losing weight, she also met some like-minded friends. They exchanged weight loss tips and gave supervision and advice to one another.
Cokimi’s family is happy about the changes in their daughter and would also accommodate her new eating habits. They liked adding sugar to cooking in the past, but now they cook more bland dishes. Cokimi said: “Eating lighter is better for health. I think these are all happy things. My weight loss can also inspire other people around me to become more healthy.”