If you guys have read any of my blog posts, then you know that I am quite immune and familiar that I have dealt with body image issues and not being “normal” with my eating.
And as much as I love sharing it here on the blog or writing about my experience with body image and my attitude towards food. Nevertheless, there is power and beauty in physically talking to someone. Face-to-face.
I go to a boarding school so in my residential house, we have prefects. Prefects are seniors who serve almost in place as our parents. However, prefects tend to be so closely integrated into our house that they are our friends but our parents.
So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to go one of my prefects and just open up my whole situation. And I’ve shared this story so many times. Here on the blog. In my journal. But being able to talk to someone about this – someone who can respond and react to my story as I tell it, was powerful.
Another great thing was the prefect I told this apparently went through a similar situation. She was nodding the whole time and almost smiling to herself because she knew exactly how I was feeling. And after talking to her, she gave me a couple of tips, but what I cherished the most was that I had someone I could share my feelings and my experience with. Someone who went through something similar and understood me.
So with that, I really urge those who have something that they want to share, to just share. Go to someone you trust, trust that they’ll reserve judgement. There’s such a huge difference and power in telling someone face to face. Trust me.
Have you ever opened up about your experience regarding body image/eating disorder?
Now usually, stomach aches are normal for me. I’ve had gas problems as a child so my tolerance for stomach aches are quite quite high.
However, today, after having lunch with my mom, I had a massive stomach ache. Something that I was not used to tolerating.
Initially, I thought it was just that I ate a lot. That what I was feeling was fullness. Like literally as we drove out of the restaurant I was like, “Darn it, Stephanie. Why did you eat so much? Remember: hara hachi bu! Only eat until 80% full. You stuffed yourself.”
But after a couple of minutes, I felt a pang in my stomach. It was different to fullness – no, I’m a common customer for fullness. I literally stuff myself full like every other meal lol. No, it wasn’t fullness.Was it gas? No – I’ve been having gas problems since 5 years old and this was definitely not gas. Then what was it?
It was really hard to diagnose what I had and even looking at water made me want to vomit. I just couldn’t fathom putting anything in my mouth.
Short end of long story, the pain decreased after 30 minutes. By then, I could tolerate it. And this again, remind you, is my high tolerance for stomach pains. But after about 2 hours, it was completely gone.
I still don’t know what that incident was and I probably won’t know in the near future, but what I do know is that my wellbeing is the utmost priority.
It’s at times like this that I realize I take too many things for granted. I nitpick at the thickness of my thighs, the “wings” on my arms, the flab on my stomach. I suck in my stomach whenever I pass the mirror. But at times like this, I realize that I was shallow.
As mentioned in my self-love post a few days ago, I’m still in the process of loving my body. Loving it truly the way it is right now. That the reason I’m eating healthy and that I exercise is NOT because I hate how my body looks and I want it to look a certain way, but because I want to feel nourished and empowered and healthy. That word, healthy is abused so much here, but today, this incident reminded me what healthy meant.
Healthy does not mean a certain number on the scale. A certain number on the label of your clothes. A certain number of how many calories you’ve eaten. Healthy does not mean your appearance. For the better or worse, healthy means different to everyone. It’s such a relative term which is why I think it’s been abused so much.
But as I’m slowly moving forward in my self-love journey, I start to build my own definition of healthy. And so far this is what I have: being healthy means to enjoy life without any limitations.
I really don’t want to get that stomach ache ever again – a stomach ache that I could barely sit still with. A stomach ache that I truly felt helpless and out of control with my body.
So yep. That’s what healthy means to me thus far. I’m sure as I add more years and experience to my life, this definition will change. But so far, that’s it: to enjoy life without any limitation. To feel powerful and confident.
I’ve recently been listening to the Jess Lively podcast. Truth be told, I’ve always been wanting to be that girl listens to podcasts. Serial was the first podcast that was introduced to me. However, 10 minutes into the first episode I had to stop because the locations that were being mentioned were very close to where I was living and I knew that this would freak me out and make me paranoid later on into the podcast. Other podcasts, I was annoyed at the lack of focus and how the people would go off on random tangents, and just as they were about to get to the sweet spot, there would be a commercial break – go figure, right?
Regardless, I’ve recently taken interest in Jess Lively through her YouTube channel. I think she lives a unique and awesome life – like seriously. She sold her home (30 minutes after filming her house tour video) and all the things in her home and currently right now, all her stuff is in her carry-on and suitcase. She’s right now traveling the world – never really knowing where she’s going to be, but simply said going with the flow. Now I haven’t been watching Jess Lively enough to give a thorough introduction about her, but I just wanted to share something from her most recent podcast.
During the second half of the interview, Jess and the interviewee Brooke Castillo talk about the mindset of losing weight. And they said that it’s simply NOT thinking about it. To “be the person you think you’ll be when you lose that weight. Act as if you already lost that weight.”
Be the person you think you’ll be when you lose that weight. Act as if you already lost that weight. How would you eat and view your body differently?
Jess and Brooke talked about when we think we’re overweight, we eat more because we say “Oh I’m already fat, so why not just eat some more? Why not continue binging? Why not just eat more even if I’m full? I’m not skinny so I might as well just treat myself because either way, I’m going to be fat.”
Or we think: “I want to be skinny, but I’ll work on that after this meal. I’ll just eat a lot now, and then starting tomorrow I’ll eat healthier.”
Instead, imagine: when you are at the smaller size and you get to your goal weight, will you eat that much? Will you be so lax and hard on your body? No! You’ll be loving your body – how it looks and how it feels.
I think the key is that we should foster and practice those habits that we will be doing after we lose that weight, after we get to our goal weight, after we get to that goal body.
And that makes sense – why do things that will make you gain even more weight when what you want to do is lose weight?
And that makes sense – why do things that will make you gain even more weight when what you want to do is lose weight?
So, in short: Be the person you think you’ll be when you lose that weight.
If it’s hard for you to imagine, think of a friend that you think is a model for the healthy lifestyle or the body that you want. I have one friend, and truth be told, it’s not Serena!!! This friend of mine, actually doesn’t like healthy food. Read: she doesn’t like avocado, almond milk, hummus or chickpeas. BUT… what I admire about her is that she eats slowly, she eats when she’s hungry and stops when she’s full, she eats all the food groups in moderation but she when she indulges, she only takes a small portion.
Thus, that’s why I envision myself and imagine myself to be when I get to my goal weight. So why not practice that right now?
As we head of this weekend, let’s not think “Cheat meal!” “Let’s indulge!” since is that what our future, weight-loss successful selves would think? NO! Take a moment and think to yourself, “what would I do, how would I act if I was skinner, if I was more toned, if I was more ____?” And that answer is exactly what you do this weekend.
In commemoration of this holiday, I want to talk about self-love. This is a topic that I think that every woman in this world should hear.
A couple of my friends at school make fun of me that it’s easy to identify which posts are mine because they see the #everythinginmoderation #bodylove #bodyimage whether it’s on this blog or on my Instagram. While they make fun of me and I smile outside, inside, I’m frustrated because they don’t know the struggle I went through and still going through with my body.
I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’m not too confident on my body. There are many times when I stop in front of the mirror and ask why I’m not thin and why I’m not skinny when I eat so healthy and when I exercise often. Perhaps my friends never struggled with their body image. But I have. Loving my body the way it is and loving it from the inside out is something that has been very hard.
So in this post, I’m not going to talk about how to find self-love because I haven’t achieved it or even close to achieving it myself. However, I want to share and how that maybe this could be a platform where other women can share about their struggle and journey to self-love.
I find that it’s hard to open up on my story. As I mentioned above, whenever I post something on Instagram that’s remotely linked to this topic, my friends back at school make fun of me. Only a handful of friends know my story, and only one back at home asks me every time I come home for break and checks up with me. And I’m forever grateful to have such a friend like that.
I do have to add that when I had my myriad of injuries this fall – including a stress fracture – I was able to gain a new perspective. I realized how blessed and how lucky I am to have a fully functioning and healthy and strong body that allowed me to do whatever I wanted to. Being in that boot for 6 weeks allowed me to gain a new perspective in that being thin, having that thigh gap, having a flat stomach, having slim arms, that’s all OUTSIDE the point. My body for 16 years and counting has been giving me energy to run, walk, sleep, laugh, hang out with my friends, travel, study, dance, and more. And I should be loving my body. Note the word “should.” As soon as I got off that boot, however, I tried to get back into running as soon as I could so I could get back into shape. I know, not much of a progress, but I just wanted to share a little anecdote.
I really hope that our community, our friends, our world can be a more accepting place and a place where all women can share their struggle and journey to self-love. Since I personally think that it’s so black and white. It’s either lose weight! Be like this celebrity! Change your body because it’s not good enough! To the other end of the spectrum which advocates to completely loving every inch of your body. There is no in-between and frankly, a lot of women are in that gray area.
So while we may never come to achieving complete self-love, I hope that through discussions and transparent blog posts, we can slowly and slowly inch towards that goal.
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” – John Steinbeck
Personally, I think this is such a powerful quote. As one who is a perfectionist, I always want to do things perfectly. Perfect grades, perfect work ethic, perfectly organized desk, perfectly organized room, a perfect life. And of course, this perfectionist attitude took a toll on me (and I’m sure with others too), when I wanted a “perfect” body.
Now “perfect” is such a relative word. How do you measure what is perfect and what is not? Most times, if not all times, it’s the image that society and the media show. Those tall and lean girls with toned abs, thigh gap, and no bat wings – that’s what we deemed as “perfect.” Now, I’m not going to talk a lot about body image on this post because 1) I’ve talked about it on the blog before and 2) there’s a lot on the Internet about this topic.
So I want to address the second clause of this quote: “you can be good.” I lost a significant amount of weight over the course of three months in order to reach my “perfect” body. I was determined and resolute that this would make me happy and fulfilled. But as I lost my body, I lost my self-esteem and my self-confidence together. I started putting my worth as an individual on the number of calories I ate that day, the number that was put on the weighing scale. My happiness and my self-esteem solely came from those factors: that I was skinny enough and that I was eating only 1,200 Calories.
But when I hit the low point of this “perfect” body – I was losing hair, my hands and feet were getting increasingly cold when it was the middle of summer, I haven’t a period in four to five months, I was constantly tired despite clocking in 8 hours a day. My doctor, my family, and my friends were warning and advising me that this was extremely dangerous for me – that this is not the Stephanie they used to know and should not be the Stephanie that should follow. So long story short, I realized that I don’t have to have the perfect body. I don’t have to have that thigh gap. I don’t have to have perfectly toned abs, it’s fine and normal that I have flab hanging over my stomach when I’m sitting down. I don’t have to have slender arms, I can have a mini bat-wing or angel wing (whatever you want to call it). I don’t have to be perfect, I can be simply good. And for me, good means not the physical appearance but the internal state. To nourish and fill myself up with nutrient-dense, fresh, green, and clean foods. To give my body the nourishment, the physical activity, the rest, and the meditation that it so needs and deserves.
So again, mini-rant here today, but remember, GOOD, not perfect. GOOD.
Have you had to switch your mindset from perfect to good before?
Now, there are definitely girls and friends around me who are “skinny” and slim, but don’t eat healthy. I really hope that I can deliver the message that eating healthy and exercising should not be done for the sole purpose of losing weight (although that’s what society and the media seems to be spreading). Healthy eating and exercise reaps far more benefits than a physical appearance. So here is my list of 20 reasons on why you should eat healthy and exercise.
Works as an antidepressant.
Reduces stress and anxiety.
Strengthens your heart
Reduces risk of other diseases such as metabolic syndrome, many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease …
Whether we were happy or disappointed by the results of this year’s election, today, January 20th, marks the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States.
I’m not going to talk about politics here, but on the subject of inauguration, I want to talk about inaugurating ourselves for a healthy lifestyle.
An inauguration is defined as:
The beginning or introduction of a system, policy or period.
The formal admission of someone to office.
A ceremony to mark the beginning of something.
Now, I want to focus on definitions 1 and 3. Let’s make today a day the beginning to mark the start of our healthy lifestyle (if we haven’t yet) and for those who have already accepted a healthy life, let’s just reaffirm it with an oath!
This is a fun twist on the Presidential Oath:
I, [insert your own name] do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of [insert your name] and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend [insert your name]
When I see it, we are like the presidents of our own bodies. We should be preserving, protecting, and defending our bodies to the best of our abilities. We should nourish it was nutritiously rich foods (note: didn’t use the word healthy here). We should move our bodies to give it the flexibility and range of motion it so needs and desires. We should give our bodies rest.
So as the rest of the nation and the country awaits the inauguration of Donald Trump, let’s inaugurate ourselves for our healthy lifestyle!
“Oh, that food is really healthy and good for you.”
“That food is really bad and fattening, don’t eat that if you don’t want to be fat.”
I’m sure we’ve either heard something similar to this or we’ve thought them ourselves.
Today, I want to talk about on no longer moralizing your food choices.
It’s so easy when we’re at the grocery store with the labels and packaging to identity what is “healthy” and what is not. In the past, anything that was fat-free was “healthy” (despite the fact that the substitute for fat that companies used are processed and the best either), later this turned into “carb-free” or “low-carb” (and this trend still lives in as carbs are thought to be the devil and turned against to) and now, it seems like the trend is “protein-everything.”
However, I’m here to tell you that our kale salads, avocado toasts, green smoothies are not healthy, but as a Washington Post article puts it, they are nutritious.
As someone who’s lost a significant amount of weight by running track while limiting myself to 1,200 Calories, I know that at the time, I justified my low calorie consumption because everything I was eating was “healthy.” I didn’t eat any sweets, cakes, “fattening” foods, I just ate a lot of greens, and heaven forbid, a carb ONE meal a day. I thought healthy = slim. But it’s not.
After losing 20 lbs. in a course of three months, my parents, my friends, the parents of my friends, and people I barely knew were asking me if I was sick. While I thought I looked great at slimmer, they obviously saw the truth. My face did not look as radiant and glowing, my hair was falling out, my hands and feet were always cold despite the fact that it was summer. However, none of these were my apparent then when I went to get my yearly checkup. My doctor advised me to take a blood test to see if all the nutrients I needed were there. When the results came back, I was lacking in a lot of nutrients.
As I looked at those results, I realized that my 1,200 Calories diet with no sweets, no processed foods, no fattening foods was not healthy.
I think Merriam-Webster’s definition(s) are perfect.
No where in the definition does it talk about diet. It does not talk about how many greens you should be eating a day. It simply says that we are free from disease or pain and that healthy things are beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state.
I think that part is key. While losing weight, yes, physically I may have looked great, I was not physically well as apparent by the blood test results. I was not mentally nor emotionally sound either. Food dictated my life and I was exceedingly insecure about my body and my food choices. I was a good or bad person depending on how much food I ate and if my foods were good or bad.
So I’m here to STOP. Being healthy, having a lifestyle that is beneficial to your physical, mental, or emotional state can still mean that you can have processed foods, can have your McDonalds, have your sweets, as long as they are for your well-being.
If you balance your “good” foods and “bad” foods and balance your exercise frequency while at the same time, taking the time to meditate and check in with your soul (I do this by journaling), choose the middle and you’ll be “healthy.”
No longer is a food healthy or unhealthy by its appearance and nutrient content. A food is unhealthy or healthy according to how it can benefit your physical, emotional and mental state. If you’re craving that food and crush that craving, and do that multiple times, that’s not great for your mental state. If you keep on comparing your body to someone else’s and go on an extreme diet, that’s bad for your physically and mentally.
So stop moralizing your food choices. Eat what you want, when you want them, in moderation. As simply as that.
2016 is over in a couple of minutes (or might be already over by the time you read this), BUT I wanted to share a couple of my 2016 health and fitness faves.
ONE// Wearable tech
While I personally don’t have any wearable tech items (as my mom fears about radiation…) I think 2016 was the year for wearable tech. I’ve seen from Jawbone, FitBit, Polar, Garmin and more on the arms of fitness junkies and ordinary people alike! It’s great that these wearable tech items are slim, pretty discreet, and easy to use. I really hope to persuade my mom to let me get one!
TWO// Foam rolling
Now this is something I’ve personally experience and reaped benefits of. I had extremely tired quads at the end of summer after a sudden increase in running mileage. My old running coach (that I still contact to this day) recommended that I take a break from running and instead, foam roll for a good 40 minutes. 10 minutes for quads, 10 minutes each for side of the leg, and 10 minutes for hamstrings. While it was a mundane motion, foam rolling definitely helped me recover quickly!
While yoga has always been touted as a healthy practice for the body and mind, I feel like it has gotten a lot of hype this year. I’ve personally love to do yoga as a nice way to stretch my body and challenge my body in a different way.
FOUR// Healthy and cute food restaurants
I personally am so happy about this! I feel like recently there’s been so many healthy restaurants that are both cute and popular, although they are on the expensive side. When visiting NYC or Seoul this year, I’ve definitely seen a lot of places to eat where there are green-colored and fresh foods instead of brown and fried ones. Especially, meals with avocado has been getting the hype recently!
My maternal grandmother and my mom is a huge fan of superfoods, so I’m definitely one as well. I think during 2016, we’ve seen a lot of acai, goji, maca, noni, and cacao from the media.
In addition, not really a superfood, but chia seeds and hemp seeds have been getting a lot of praise as well.
SIX// Green juices/smoothies
Oh. my. goodness. How could I not list green juice? I think this is a pretty self-explanatory item.
There’s also been a lot of encouragement, support, and development into diets and lifestyles that are necessarily the standard carnivore or American diet. I love taking a peek into “What I Eat in a Day” videos where the eater has a certain/specific diet.
I personally still eat red meat and all, but I truly respect all who make the choice to eat a certain way.
I haven’t done these posts in a while — I totally forgot I had this category!
I’ve definitely accumulated some favorites over the past few months and can’t wait to share with you!
ONE // Asics Running Shoes
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know I’ve been struggling with my running injuries. I’ve usually always stuck to Nike for running shoes, but based on some recommendations, I decided to try out Asics. OH MY GOODNESS They are not the most aesthetically pleasing shoes, but they are super comfy. You are literally walking on clouds.
If you’ve been following our Instagram, but more specifically our Instagram stories, you know I’ve been obsessed with the salad bar at my dad’s workplace. It’s been a tradition now that we go down to get lunch, see who has the heavier salad, and then after a nice lunch to catch up, get some chai tea before heading back to work.
My dad’s workplace has salmon, chicken, tofu, quinoa, black beans, roasted butternut squash, and mushrooms EVERYDAY and arugula. My lucky dad…
I am a journaling fanatic. I love all stationery… Moleskines and Muji pens anyone? I’ve personally written in diaries ever since I was young – ranting about my crushes and my dreams to be a princess, lol.
But now, I journal a lot about my feelings. As humans, it’s natural for us to think, worry, and overthink a lot. So I personally find it’s therapeutic to write my feelings down so I feel somewhat put together. It really makes a world of a difference. Sort of like meditating, which is all the range these days.
I journal personally about my body image, my self-esteem, and my confidence both in my capabilities and appearance.