She fought bulimia for two years
SURVIVOR: Bulimia and depression were two of the issues psychotherapist Aarti Dubey had to deal with. - TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
For years, she covered every mirror at home because she hated the sight of her own reflection.
Psychotherapist Aarti Dubey, 32, struggled with issues that included her size and self-esteem, leading to a battle with bulimia in her teens and depression in her 20s.
She kept to herself and stayed cooped up at home, refusing to go out unless accompanied by her husband.
Nobody knew of her problems because she put up a front, but she cried every day.
Today, she has fought her personal demons and continues on her journey of self-healing, posting on her blog curvesbecomeher.wordpress.com
But her younger years were trying.
At the age of eight, she was deemed too skinny by a doctor, prompting her parents to fatten her up.
She then ballooned, partly due to her genes, and had hit 70kg by the time she was 12 years old.
At 14, her two-year battle with bulimia began due to school and other personal stresses, causing her to purge after every meal.
"I would eat three burgers for, say, lunch, every other day and felt so guilty after. Purging was awful," Miss Aarti revealed.
She was diagnosed with depression when she was 20.
"There was pressure to conform, to look good in society's eyes, to graduate, to lose weight and keep my parents happy.
"Something in me just snapped. Later, I was in the midst of wedding preparations and the pressure to look good mounted."
Her weight fluctuated from over 50kg in her early 20s to over 70kg in her mid-20s and over 100kg at 30 years old.
It was when a relative died of cancer when Ms Aarti was 30 that she snapped out of her misery.
She was at the lowest point in her life, having found out that she had problems conceiving.
But her relative's death motivated her to stop obsessing about her weight.
"The first thing I did was remove the mirror covers and search for other plus-sized bloggers online," she said.
"I saw how confident and beautiful they were, no matter their size.
"I thought, 'Why have I been making myself miserable for so long?'"
The runway experience was an image-boosting exercise for her.
These days, she does yoga, swims and dances to keep fit. She is healthy and weighs 85kg.
She said: "For so long, I hid behind closed doors and each time I did that, I felt like a part of me was dying.
"As I walked down the runway, I felt like I had a lot more to give.
"I can play a part now and if I make even one person feel like she can uncover her mirror and not doubt her looks, I'm very happy."