Singapore-based singer/songwriter Ming Bridges has been through a very rough patch in her life. The Mandopop star, who is currently working on her fifth album, suffered from anorexia and hyperthyroidism in the past. After getting help from the professional, she is now healthy, happy and so full of life.
Despite being busy with the release of her own independent English music, Ming spared her time to share the story of her battle with eating disorders.
RS: Share with us the journey you went through with the eating disorder.
Ming: It began after being told to lose weight for the first time when joining a management company. Before that, I hadn’t really placed much focus on my body.
While I started losing weight, I became more and more body conscious and continually more obsessed with trying new diets and finding the latest research in weight loss. I quickly became anorexic without my parents or even myself realising. We all just thought I had a weird relationship with food and was extremely skinny.
I realised I needed to get help after episodes of starving and binging, which would leave me almost unable to move and ridden with mentally damaging thoughts. At first, I tried visiting many weight loss experts, detox retreats, boot camps, hypnotherapy and even acupuncture to try and regain ‘self-control’ which I thought was what my problem was.
A few years later after realising this wasn’t ever going to work, I gave in to the fact that I had an eating disorder and couldn’t fix it myself. I went to get professional help from SGH life centre and from eating disorder therapists.
RS: What was your biggest fear during that time?
Ming: My biggest fear was that I would continue to be obsessed with food, exercise and my body image and that my life would revolve around that forever.
RS: How did you get back in shape? And how long did it take?
Ming: The second I stopped focusing on my body and turning my focus to ‘recovering’, I actually started to get more comfortable with my weight. I couldn’t believe that by eating like a normal person, I’d end up losing 10 kilos naturally in a year, but more importantly, I didn’t care that I had.
During this time, I stopped exercising and stuck to gentle walking and yoga to give my body the rest it needed. We often forget that it’s not just about eating healthily and going all out on exercise, as our body needs rest too. After what I had put my body through, it needed a lot of rest to get better.
The more I accepted my body for what it was, the more I started acting out of self-love towards it. I moved just enough to feel good and I ate full hearty meals and I naturally got ‘back into shape’ – which means the shape I was meant to be at. It took a few months adjusting to eating normally again and from there till now, my body is still constantly changing.
RS: How do you eat nowadays?
Ming: I make sure I eat three full meals a day and snacks when I’m hungry. For breakfast, it changes all the time but a standard for me is eggs and avocado on toast or some sort of muesli/oatmeal concoction.
Lunchtime – my go-to is a sushi rice bowl and I’ll have dinner with my family, which is either a rice-based meal or pasta-based meal. Carbs are number 1 for keeping me full and my energy up. For snacks, I usually reach for a banana and some almonds or almond butter.
RS: If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you write in it?
Ming: Weight doesn’t matter. There’s so much more to life than how you look. What really matters is how you FEEL. And dieting is scientifically PROVEN to make you gain weight!
Don’t get sucked into the belief that you’re not good enough because this is how companies make money. Rise above it, know your worth and live your life. When you’re 100, you’d want to look back at all the adventures you went on, the lessons you’ve learnt and the empire you’ve built, not a score card of exercise days and jean sizes.
RS: What is your life philosophy now?
Ming: Nothing really matters, so go out there and DO!
RS: Does this journey inspire you to write new songs? Or to do something outside your comfort zone?
Ming: It really does inspire me to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve realised the things I’m most proud of are the things that initially scared the pants off me.
I recently did a TED talk at my old school about my journey. When first asked, my initial reaction was NO WAY – I’m terrified of public speaking. But I knew that if I did it, I would be so proud of myself. So, I didn’t think about how I was going to get there, I just said yes and figured it out later on.
I think getting past my eating disorder has definitely enabled me to write more music – I’ve had more space in my head to let my feelings come out and ideas have flown in more naturally. I also have a lot more time to put into my passion instead of counting my calories!
But most importantly, it has given me the faith that I can do things when I put my mind to it. When you’re focusing on perfection, an unachievable goal, it really knocks your confidence. Accepting myself for who I am has allowed me to push past my fear and realise that I don’t have to be perfect to take action.
RS: What message would you like to say to other women?
Ming: LADIES, WE HAVE TO STICK TOGETHER. We have this one life to live. Don’t let the matrix of life lead you into believing you’re unable to do things because of how you look – we all know this isn’t true. Let’s focus less on what we don’t have and more on what we can achieve.
Let’s move mountains, whether that means being an amazing mom, starting the company of your dreams, falling in love or completing something you’ve never thought you’d do. We are a small dot in this entire universe and our problems, and the size of our thighs don’t matter because in a blink of an eye we’ll be gone.
What are you going to do with that information? I challenge you to change your perspective. Get outside your own head and realise everyone else is in theirs. We are the only ones who truly care about ourselves so if we don’t treat ourselves like queens, who will?
Ming is actively promoting messages of body positivity to her extensive social media following. Follow Ming’s journey at @mingbridges.