The biggest takeaway from my health journey

The biggest takeaway from my health journey

Over the weekend, Serena and I had a lot of fun answering your questions on our InstaStory (if you aren’t following us already, follow @avolicious_blog !!). One of my favorite questions was “What is the biggest takeaway from my health journey?”

I answered this briefly in the InstaStory, but the biggest takeaway from my (ongoing) health journey is to follow your own path. As easy it is to look up online on what to eat, how to exercise, how to live (and if you think about it, that’s essentially what you’re looking up), I’ve learned that every body and mind is different.

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In middle school, young Stephanie thought that she had to look a certain way, had to eat only certain foods and had to exercise x amounts a week, x minutes at a time. But I’ve learned that health (or wellness as a better word), is COMPLETELY relative.

It’s really frustrating to hear that – especially when we have so many seemingly helpful resources and also a bombardment of lifestyle pictures, it is very easy to fall in the trap of imposing someone else’s “healthy” onto you.

But just like what Serena responded, to practice these health-conscious decisions consistently, it has to be sustainable, it has to be a lifestyle. Your preferences and decisions need to work with your lifestyle – not some 20 year old who lives in NYC and has the money to buy expensive vegan food and do private workouts because they are all influencers trying to unrealistically influence you to live a certain way.

It takes a long time to find this happy medium. I’m still finding that happy medium. Every single day.

I keep a mental log of what things don’t work well for me. What I’ve learned: I don’t do well with dairy, I cannot wait to eat until my stomach is starving: or else, I get a huge stomachache, I cannot eat that much for breakfast, I need to eat simple carbs when I’m in huge anxiety mode. For exercise, I cannot exercise when I am tired – sleeping is better for me then. And the list continues to get modified as each day passes.

So with all that, listen to your body. Be present. Learn about your body, not about someone else’s.

What’s the biggest takeaway from your health journey?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

Some of my friends who read my blog posts ask me what it means to honor and listen to your body. To be frank, listening to your body is a medium that is incredibly hard – harder than the extremes. Based on my experience, restricting or overeating and not exercising at all or overexercising is a lot easier than practicing “moderation.”

Across my recovery, I’ve been recommended to practice intuitive eating, but let me tell you intuitive is very difficult when you’ve been practicing disordered eating. Listening to your body requires a lot of time, patience, and effort.

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To me, listening to my body means to not eat ice cream because I know that my body does not process dairy well. I know that the sluggish and queasy feeling I get in my stomach after eating dairy is not worth the momentary pleasure of eating ice cream. This is not restriction. Restriction would be not getting ice cream because I know there are too many calories in ice cream.

To me honoring my body means going out for an easy run when I’m itchy for some movement. I know that I have been sitting down a lot throughout the week and want to stretch out and give the range of motion my body wants. This is not exercise addiction. Exercise addiction would be exercising despite injuries, despite your body feeling weak and tired.

To me, intuitive eating means not getting seconds because I am aware that my wanting to get seconds is emotional: I had a rough day at school, I have friend drama going on, I have a big test looming ahead. I am aware that my physical hunger has been satisfied. This is not restriction because restriction would be to not eat when my stomach is asking for more food.

Indeed, this is not easy. It’s hard to take the time to reflect, pause, and listen to what your body wants. And even when you are trying to listen, sometimes you are confused as to whether you are listening to your physical self or your emotional self.

This took me an incredibly time (maybe an upward of two years) and I’m still not near perfect. Intuitive eating is never about being perfect and listening to your body every single time. Intuitive eating is about progress, about continually getting better at listening to your body. Because sometimes, you may be physically full but you just might need a little sweet to pick you up. And that’s completely fine.

Going into intuitive eating is first a huge step. To completely ditch the calorie counting in your head, to ditch the “obligation” to exercise, to completely ditch all the rules from society but to only listen to yourself. And even when you decide to practice intuitive eating, it is a hard principle to follow. But read my examples above. Getting to that point took a lot of time, patience and effort but at the end, I feel much more energy and love and self-respect for my body.

You only get to live with your body once. Honor it. Listen to it. No matter how hard it gets.

What will you do today to honor your body?

Xoxo,

Stephanie

Debunking the Freshmen 15

Debunking the Freshmen 15

For some reason or the other, I’ve been in a jumble of emotions. First, I’m heading into my last year of high school (insert screaming face emoji here) and that in itself is surreal. I tell my friends this all the time, but I still very much feel like I’m a freshman.

Second, a lot of my friends are heading into their freshmen year of college. And that feels weird too. Although they’ve always been a year ahead of me, it just doesn’t seem right that they should now possess the maturity of a college student. Anyways, some of these friends told me that they were worried about getting the freshmen 15.

For those of you who don’t know, the freshmen 15 is an expression that refers to college freshmen gaining arbitrarily 15 pounds their first year of college.

And now I get it, gaining 15 pounds sounds scary. I mean in this culture gaining any little bit of weight is daunting. As a boarding school student, “freshmen 15” was already buzzing around the halls in the freshmen girls dorm. I even wrote a post two years ago about how to “avoid” the freshmen 15.

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But in many ways now, I personally think the freshmen 15 phrase is dangerous. It is one more time for society to tell us that gaining weight = bad and so conversely, being skinny = good. And this black and white spectrum is a toxic mindset to adopt.

I still vividly remember freshmen year exclaiming, “There goes my freshmen 15” as they took a bite into a slice of pizza. That takes the joy out of eating. The “Freshmen 15” presents one more obstacle to something that was so natural as simply eating when we were hungry and stopping when we are full.

Eating is truly and genuinely for fuel and nourishment. It is just as much an essential, in fact a basic essential, as SLEEP. But then when we go to sleep do we worry about not getting enough sleep? (Actually maybe that might be a concern for some, but it’s not as raved about as the Freshmen 15, no?

Why do we have to create certain limits and fears and “rules” to an essential? If you are hungry eat! If you have a craving, respond to that craving. I’ve talked about this many times on the blog before, but our bodies are a lot smarter than we think.

Respect. Listen. And Honor your body. Don’t shy away from getting to know your new dorm mates because you know there’s going to be Chinese take out. Don’t ignore a text to go out to dinner at a restaurant you know is “Freshmen 15 conducive.” Live life. Enjoy life. Understand that food can be a very social thing and that yeah, you might gain weight. But that shouldn’t be your biggest worry. It’s just not worth your time. I promise.

Have you heard of the Freshmen 15?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

How do you define an eating disorder?

How do you define an eating disorder?

This question or at least variations of this question ran through my head now almost four years ago. And this is a question I’ve been asked multiple times by other people.

Indeed, one of my closest friends after I opened up that had an eating disorder was worried that she had an eating disorder too. Unlike a physical illness, eating disorders are like mental illness in that they are hard to identify. In fact, during my eating disorder, I was convinced I was simply eating “healthy.” Eating disorders can be seen through one’s actions, but it is ultimately determined by how your mind processes food.

Personally, my go-to “short” and easy answer is that an eating disorder is any relationship with food that is unhealthy. But, of course, that is vague. So I’ll try my best to unpack what an eating disorder is truly is here today:

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What an eating disorder is not:

Saying no to a slice of birthday cake because you simply don’t want to eat it // Sometimes we’re just too full to eat cake (this applies to any food, but I’m using cake as an example) and sometimes we don’t want to anything sweet at that moment. Just because you don’t want to eat something doesn’t mean you have an eating disorder. The discussion changes when your reason to saying no to cake is rooted in a limited number of calories to consume daily.

Not consuming meat, gluten, or any certain food groups because they do not digest well for you // Along a similar line as above, some people stay away from certain food groups because they cannot digest it well. For example, my mom cannot digest red meat very well and consumes it probably once a month. Again, the reasoning to your choices is the key. If you are not consuming gluten or carbs not because you can’t digest it, but because you believe it will help you lose weight, etc.

Not eating as much because you want to MAINTAIN (or SLOWLY lose ) weight // I mean even at the early age of 10, I remember my mom telling me to eat fruits rather than potato chips or else I’ll gain weight. And I’m sure a lot of us grew up like so. The occasional indulgence is fine, however, potato chips should not be a daily occurrence compared to fruit. Or grown up, if you deliberately choose to eat a salad to watch for your waist line, that’s perfectly normal too. These incidents should be small and short-lived thoughts in your head. An eating disorder is something that exists ALL the time, where your head is constantly noisy – regardless of whether you are eating or not.

So what is an eating disorder?

Food or thinking about food dominates your life // This includes scenarios where you cannot go a day without worrying about what you have eaten or what you will eat. This can also include counting calories or tracking macros through an app on your phone religiously: if you go over your calorie goal, you beat yourself up for it but if you go under your calories goal, you are glowing.

You moralize food and you are extremely strict about not crossing that self-imposed line // You have determined already in your head that there are certain “good” foods that are okay to eat and “bad” foods you cannot ever eat. You restrict certain foods not for any other reasons but because they are “bad” for you and that line should never be crossed.

Your body image and self-esteem are extremely low: they rely upon others’ affirmations // You are constantly chasing after a certain body standard and unless others comment on how thin/toned/etc you look, you feel as if you have to restrict yourself more. It’s not a momentary desire to be _____, but rather a constant pursuit to become this body and you compare your body to others to see if you are “better.”

You make excuses regarding eating, especially for events with friends // You tell your parents that you’ve already ate dinner. You tell your friends you’re too busy to hang out with them for lunch tomorrow. All these excuses rooted in the fact that you don’t want to be tempted to eat these “bad” foods and would rather not eat or eat your “safe” foods.

My Story: As mentioned earlier, in the midst of my eating disorder, I did not believe I had one. I thought I was simply eating healthier. But what was happening was I was restricting my food consumption. I resorted to eating a mere 1,200 calories every day regardless of how much exercise I did that day. I moralized my food choices to the point that once I started eating dairy desserts, I had a huge stomach ache as my body wasn’t used to dairy anymore. I declined several social events all because I didn’t want to be faced with FOOD.

FOOD FOOD FOOD was all I thought about and it consumed my life. But for some reason or another, I thought it was normal. Maybe it was because I knew there was a stigma attached to eating disorders? Or maybe because I thought eating disorders were only designated to the extreme behaviors of bulimia or anorexia? Whatever it was, it took around a half a year for me to get a wake up call. This wake up call came when my nephrologist told me that my one functioning kidney had shrunk. This is for another day, but I only have one functioning kidney and while it is big than the average kidney, I have to be extremely careful. So when my doctor told me that my eating disorder (which at the time I refused to believe in) had shrunk my one functioning kidney, I was shocked. I finally woke up from my delirious state of mind. But this story is for another day 🙂

I hope this post cleared up any confusions you guys had regarding eating disorders. If you have any other questions, leave a comment, email me, or DM me on Instagram. I’ll be more than happy to answer.

How do you define an eating disorder?

xoxo,

Stephanie

what’s the point anyway?

what’s the point anyway?

I would like to think that it’s natural to often wonder what the point of a healthy lifestyle is. Our modern culture is quite confusing: we emphasize feasting on junk food but at the same time impose a certain body standard, both expectations unrealistic and definitely not a one-size-fits-all.

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Indeed, I know several friends who were blessed with a fast metabolism, I’m sure we all have a couple of those friends: they seem to eat everything and anything in obscene amounts yet stay slim. And then there are a few of us who seem to gain weight by simply drinking (of course, an exaggeration but you know what I’m trying to say).

To be honest, my passion for health is skewed, or at least started skewed. Middle school Stephanie wanted to eat healthy and exercise consistently for the sake of looking better. It was a vain attempt that unfortunately worked, but it was short-lived. I learned that you need a deeper and more meaningful reason. And I’m not going to lie, finding that deeper meaning is hard; I haven’t even found it yet.

Often times I found myself ditching healthy eating because I would be one of those friends: they would be feasting on junk foods while maintaining a slim figure, and me putting the two and two together, decided that it would be perfectly fine for me to eat those junk foods too. Same goes with exercise: if that friend doesn’t exercise, then I don’t either.

The reason to why we should live a healthier life is more complex than simply looking better. I’m still figuring out this myself, but my answer so far is how we feel.

After eating rich pizza and greasy fries, my body feels sluggish. But I do realize that after eating a fresh salad, my body feels energized and light. (I apologize for the horrible descriptions, this is not my forte) Or even better yet, after an indulgent lunch that mid-afternoon crash where you have low-energy and brain is unclear. I think ultimately, we live a healthy lifestyle to not look good but to feel good.  This sounds like a cliche, I know, but in 2018, to do something simply for an inner result is exceedingly hard. We in this modern world are impatiently wanting a tangible result, something we can see. So this effort to feel great seems foreign and thus makes it much harder to have this as your reason.

It’s definitely a work in progress for me. But at least the awareness counts!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

TEDx: Do you already love yourself? | Discussing what it means to practice self-love

TEDx: Do you already love yourself? | Discussing what it means to practice self-love

Today was quite an emotional day for me.

I gave a TEDx speech about my eating disorder and how it helped me learn what self-love truly means.

While yes, I did slip up during my TEDx speech, standing in front of the audience and finally putting into words my eating disorder was an overwhelming experience for me.

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I’m so thankful for having the opportunity to talk about how my eating disorder shaped me and ultimately discover what self-love truly means.

For those interested, below is the transcript of my TEDx speech.

Hope you enjoy!


 

It was exactly around this time four years ago that I started my eating disorder. While I can’t pinpoint the specific start date, what I do remember is this. I was currently taking a week-long trip in Rome during spring break with my Latin class and was eating well. And I’m not taking that “eating well” lightly. I was eating rich pastas and gelato every. Single. day. But eating well was common to me. Growing up, my food consumption always went into my height. I never had a problem with my weight or my self-confidence. This is not to say I was arrogant and self-centered, it’s just to say that I never really paid much attention to my appearance.

 

But coming back from the Rome trip, I decided to lose some weight. Part of the reason was all that pasta and gelato I indulged on. But the bigger reason was that I started noticing I was a bit chubbier than my other friends who happened to be all stick thin. Now, for someone who grow up not paying attention to her weight that much, these foreign and unfamiliar thoughts overwhelmed me.

 

Nevertheless, not knowing any better, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app. For those who don’t know MyFitnessPal, this is an app that tracks your caloric intake to lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight. Of course, in my case, I was using it to lose weight. I put in my current weight, goal weight, my activity level.  Being the “goody-two shoes” girl I am, I religiously followed the 1,200 calories that this app instructed for me to eat.

 

It became a routine. Half a bagel for breakfast. A meager salad for lunch entailing a handful of spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes and of course, no dressing. And another meager salad for dinner. No drinks except water. No snacks no matter how hungry I was. No cakes, no processed food, only this and nothing more. I did this for three months while running track, or at least attempting to run track given how little I ate.

 

And soon enough, Food consumed my life. When I wasn’t eating, I was drooling over my next meal. When I was eating, I became guilty for eating too much. My mind was always noisy. Voices of “Stephanie, don’t eat that. Stephanie, you are fat. Stephanie, you need be hungry or else you’re not doing it right.” My calorie counting became another class for me. I obediently counted and measured my food logging into the MyFitnessPal app. A good day meant that I went under my 1,200 calories. A bad day meant that I went over my 1,200 calories. My life became purely numbers: the 1,200 calories, sub 100 pounds on the scale, the size double zero on my clothes.

 

But I am not here to storytell about my eating disorder. While I do not consider myself fully recovered, I feel enoughly distanced and detached from it now that I can talk about it with a fresh perspective. I’ve realized how much food is a representation of myself, of ourselves. It’s how we take care of ourselves, it’s how we view ourselves – whether that is subconsciously or consciously.

 

As someone with a perfectionist and Type-A personality, I wanted one more aspect in my life to control, to perfect. And that perfect standard meant being skinny, meant restricting my food choices, meant over-exercising, and ultimately, losing a sense of myself in the process to become society’s perfect.

 

But as much food is a representation of ourselves – whether that’s the perfectionist side of ourselves or the more complacent side of ourselves – in this modern 21st century we’re living in,  it’s so easy to believe what we’re supposed to be. We’re supposed to be the health nut who lives on kale salad and avocado toast. We’re supposed to be fitness maniac who loves going on morning runs. We’re supposed to be a certain size and live this supposedly “healthy” lifestyle that ultimately makes us feel unhappy and unfulfilled.

 

Doubting our ability to provide the best for our own bodies, we create habits—or, more accurately, unrealistic and restrictive rules that we impose on ourselves. We trust others’ rules and opinions to fix our own bodies—but why? The culture assumes it has the authority to show how we’re taught to love ourselves. The media and current slew of weight-loss programs teach us that our habits will ultimately allow us to love ourselves. We have to eat green smoothie with kale and spinach and whatnot, and we should only eat desserts that are made from all-organic, vegan ingredients. If we don’t, we’re taught to believe that we are not taking care of ourselves or valuing our bodies.

 

However, in reality, I believe that our love reflects our habits. The true order is actually switched. We already love ourselves. Let me repeat that, we already love ourselves.

 

Our habits do not lead us to feel self love. No, our already existing self love forms our habits.

 

We do not eat well to feel self love. We do not exercise to feel self-love. We are constantly bombarded with fat-free, low-carb, low-calorie food ads. But these ads are simply for us to be in the illusion that by eating these foods, we will in the future, love ourselves. That we will in some unforeseen future, will finally accept ourselves.

 

But the truth is, we already accept ourselves. We already love ourselves. The fact that you are living right now. The fact that you are breathing right now goes to show how much you love yourself.

 

Once you realize and fully believe that you do indeed already love yourself, the food you eat simply becomes a reflection of this acceptance and abundant love for yourself. And so, no food is bad or good. There is no moralizing involved because we are already good, we are already loved, we are already enough.

 

By no longer having to quantify our worth, we no longer eat excessively to feed our inner psychological need, nor do we over-exercise to reach a certain body type built upon elusive happiness. Instead, we eat for physical nourishment, and we exercise for physical vigor and strength.

 

We eat a green kale salad to honor our body’s physical needs. But we also eat a hamburger to respond to our body’s natural emotional need. We exercise to give the movement and strength our body wants. We live life not to love ourselves, but we live life to affirm this great love for ourselves. I already love myself. You already love yourself. We already love ourselves. And that should be enough.

 

 

 

 

 

What are you willing to fight for?

What are you willing to fight for?

To those who are struggling with eating and/or their body image, I ask, give me 3 minutes.

There have been many times where I wanted to restrict myself again. There are times where when looking at myself in the mirror, I do not love myself nor accept myself. There are times where I forget the emotional and internal hardships of restricting myself to a mere 1,200 calories every day, of saying no to anything processed no matter the occasion, of losing control of myself both mentally and physically.

But I stop myself.

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I don’t let myself redownload MyFitnessPal. I don’t let myself skip meals. I don’t let myself binge. I let myself be.

Amidst all the self-hate, I know that the happiness and satisfaction these restrictions will give me is temporary and short-lived. Yes, I may achieve society’s skinny and fit into size double zero clothes (to note, body image is whole spectrum so an unhealthy body image for someone might be another person’s healthy frame). But along comes a little to none self-esteem and constant noise inside my head. I can never eat peacefully, exercise peacefully, or live peacefully. I will continue to steer clear from social events in the fear of eating too much. I will continue to ignore my body and what my body needs.

And that’s all that takes for me to not turn back. While I don’t like where I am currently, I know that moving backwards won’t be any better. All I can do is continue moving forward, step by step with the faith that there is light (recovery) at the end of this long and dark tunnel.

So think long. Think hard. Think about what you want to fight for.

Stubborn or Perseverant? You Choose.

Stubborn or Perseverant? You Choose.

I’m coming off full on honest: I am not fully recovered yet.

I don’t even know if I am 50% recovered.

 

While I label my eating disorder time to my late middle school and early high school years, internally and emotionally I am still very much suffering with my eating disorder.

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September 2017
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October 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

^You probably can’t tell too much of a difference here of my weight fluctuation, but to give you a rough estimate, I’ve gained around 20-25 more pounds. What’s the same in these two photos is Serena (who I am constantly grateful to have since day 1) and a Stephanie who is insecure and unhappy with herself. That’s already three years of self-hatred rather than self-love . 

 

 

Yes, physically, I am back at a healthy place. My weight is normal (more than normal actually, leaning a bit towards the heavier side), my hair no longer falls out in clumps, my hands and feet aren’t icy cold, and my period is back. But yet, there is so much noise inside my head. So much noise.

 

Whenever I eat or whenever I see myself in the mirror (let alone even taking a selfie), I see an unwelcome version of me, a version I don’t want to embrace … just yet.

 

And that’s the problem. I keep on pushing back when I’ll love myself again. And this has been going on for 3 years. And I’m sick of it.

 

At the height of my eating disorder, my parents begged me to get professional help. But I refused – partly in vain and partly because I didn’t know how serious my eating disorder was. I think part of this vain came from how I was brought up. Unlike the Korean culture of sending kids to cram-schools and loads of tutors, my parents didn’t send me to any of these cram-schools or tutors because they just didn’t believe in the value of them. They trusted and knew that I had enough self-discipline and motivation to study on my own. And I did – I attribute my academic success to myself and to the friends and teachers that have supported me, not to any other outside professional help.

 

Along the same vein, I was resolved that I didn’t need any outside professional help to treat my eating disorder. Back then, I would have called myself perseverant — taking initiative into my own hands. But looking back, I was being simply stubborn. I was too prideful and  blind from the unhealthy and restrictive actions and thoughts I’ve been doing to realize that I desperately needed help.

 

Thinking to myself better late than never, I finally told my parents this spring break that I needed and wanted help. They told me that they were suspecting I haven’t fully recovered seeing from how I acted at home and what I was writing on the blog. Without any question but more so relief than confusion, my parents and I both decided that reaching out to professional help is the first step in the right direction to ultimate recovery.

 

So to those who are perseverant stubborn like me, I understand. I know you think that you can do this all alone, but you can’t. There’s no gentle answer to that. I promise you, the agonizing days, weeks, months and years of continually failing and disappointing yourself to the verge of relapsing back is not worth it. Are you stubborn or perseverant? That’s totally up to you. But from someone who’s been there, you’re more blindly stubborn than you think.

How Veganism Helped Me Recover from My Eating Disorder

How Veganism Helped Me Recover from My Eating Disorder

One of my New Year Resolutions for 2018 was to reconnect with my old friends. Moving to boarding school, I’ve found myself losing contact with a lot of my friends from my old school. So on New Years, I sent a few texts to those I sincerely missed and one of them was Sara!

Sara is the sweetest, most down-to-earth girl you’ll ever meet. Her beautiful, compassionate and selfless personality is contagious! I was so heart-broken when she told she suffered from an eating disorder. In fact, both of us had no idea we suffered from an eating disorder — and we’ve known each other since 3rd grade!

I was ecstatic when Sara said she would be totally up for writing a blog post for avolicious! I believe that Sara’s story will inspire and motivate many of you or those that you know to really make 2018 your healthiest and happiest year yet!

xoxo, Stephanie

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How Veganism Helped Me Recover from My Eating Disorder 

Guest post by Sara

I’d always had a disordered relationship with food. My naturally large appetite and love for pasta made it hard for me to stay healthy. My weight was constantly fluctuating, and I couldn’t stand my body. I developed an eating disorder when I was fourteen. I suffered from anorexia for about three years.

Although it’s hard to say that I’m fully recovered, I’m glad to report that I no longer deprive myself. I definitely still have some intrusive thoughts wondering how many calories are in that cookie, but now I consistently nourish my body with healthful foods and indulge a few times a week to keep me sane. Going vegan this past July radically changed my relationship with food for the better.

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As an animal lover, I had contemplated veganism for months. I thought I could never go vegan; I assumed it would be too hard and too restricting. But the moment I stepped into that leather shop in Italy, my perspective changed. I realized that what I consumed had a significant impact on the animals. I was supporting animal cruelty with everything I bought or ate. I cut out meat the next day and gradually cut out all other animal products over the next few weeks.

The greatest concern for me and my family was that I would lose weight. Plants are generally less calorie-dense than animal products. I initially was reluctant because I didn’t want to see myself spiral out of control again with my restrictive eating, but I had already decided to help change the world for the animals. Finally, I came across one of Bonny Rebecca’s videos about how veganism helped her overcome bulimia. I’d never been so determined. Her story showed me that veganism could help me recover from my eating disorder. I did hours of research online and met with a nutritionist to ensure that I ate sufficiently. What I failed to realize in the beginning was that food truly, really was my friend. I thought I was eating too much and felt guilty for wanting more — that was my anorexia talking to me.

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“I exercise to celebrate my strength and my body. I am so lucky I got to go on a hike with such a beautiful view.”

When you’re vegan, your body knows what you need. If you’re not satisfied, then eat more! This is the only way I have been able to maintain a healthy weight for the past few months. Often I fail to realize how few calories my meal has, and my body cries for more. It’s amazing what listening to your body can do. I thrive on a vegan diet when I listen to my cravings. I can eat when I am hungry, and I stop when I am full. It’s as simple as that. And I don’t ever feel weighed down, no matter how much I eat.

Although some perceive veganism as extremely restrictive, I have never felt so free. I no longer have to worry about how much I’m eating because I know my brain will take care of that by telling me when to start and when to stop eating. I am the happiest I have ever been. I hope that you can have the same loving relationship with food that I have gained through veganism.

 

What will you do this week for your body and mind?

XOXO,

Sara

Thankful for my eating disorder

Thankful for my eating disorder

This post comes a bit late, but I had to make sure I had enough time to process and think about this topic.

For those who don’t know, I suffered under an eating disorder in middle school all the way leading up to the beginning of high school. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% recovered at this point, but I feel that I have recovered to a point where I am comfortable enough in sharing.

This Thanksgiving, as per usual, I had a lot of things to be thankful about. Thankful for my family and friends, especially those who have stayed constantly supportive of me through thick and thin. Thankful of the amazing education I’ve received. Thankful of a warm home. Thankful of being surrounded by (more than) enough clothes and great nourishing foods.

But something that was new when I counted my blessings this Thanksgiving was my eating disorder.

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Yes, my eating disorder consumed my life. I was constantly thinking of food food food, of the calories, of my weight. My eating disorder made me miserable. I hated going out to eat with my friends because that meant another battle time where I had to avoid the tempting foods. I hated when my mom made a carb-rich meal for dinner. For a girl who since as a baby had a huge appetite, my eating disorder made me hate all these things. I hated these things and instead loved sleeping with my stomach empty, loved seeing my weight go down one by one, loved almost in a sense depriving myself.

So how on earth could I be thankful for my disordered eating?

While I am not thankful of all the deprivations and restrictions I place upon my mind and body, I am thankful for the new perspective. I am thankful for being able to experience and to ultimately understand and sympathize with not only those who underwent/currently going through an eating disorder but also anybody has an unhappy relationship with food or their body.

Growing up, I was that girl everybody envied. I would eat so much (I would literally eat two servings of rice for every meal…) yet all that food would never go into gaining a pound but into gaining an inch. I never understood the deal about gaining weight, never understood why people couldn’t just enjoy stuffing their faces with amazing food.  Anorexia and bulimia which I learned from health class were as distant to me as Christopher Columbus and the Mayflower.

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This is 10 year old Stephanie. As I was tall, I had to wear big sizes but then that meant all my clothes were loose

However, through my eating disorder I understand how stressful and how consuming these things can be. I understand that weight and food can ruin some people’s lives and can cause them to be miserable. Through my eating disorder I have been able to gain a more nuanced perspective on an otherwise heavily stigmatized topic.

In fact, my eating disorder was what propelled me to start this blog with Serena. I discovered how nutritious and nourishing food can be through my recovery. I wanted to share as much as I could about how amazing food was, especially when I came from a period where food made me anxious and fearful.

I want to thank those who have been there to help me in my recovery. This counts my mom, my dad, a handful of friends back home and at school, my prefect at school, Mack from mackmarie, and God. When I felt so insecure about myself and my worth, these people trusted in me, they loved me unconditionally, and gave me so much support and steadfast guidance.

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I have so much love and respect to this girl. My pillar of strength and support and who unfailingly makes me laugh daily

So long story short, yes, I am thankful for my eating disorder and I wouldn’t want to change it in anyway.

If you’re still reading, thank you so much! You’re the best!

Was there anything special/new that you were thankful for this Thanksgiving?

xoxo,

Stephanie