Speak Out and Ask for Help | World Mental Health Day

Speak Out and Ask for Help | World Mental Health Day

While today is “officially” World Mental Health Day,  to be frank, everyday should be so. As much as physical health has always been recognized as important, I think society today has made great strides in eliminating the stigma against mental health.

But in my perspective, I don’t see mental health and physical health as a black and white dynamic. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, mental health and physical health go very hand in hand.

mental.jpg

Some people regard eating disorders as a very physical thing: in fact many insurance companies delegate which of their clients is eligible to get coverage for their recovery treatment purely based on weight. If their client maintains that they have an eating disorder, however they are a certain low weight, they will not be insured. Some people depict anorexia, bulimia, and all disordered eating in the in between with skinniness where you can see the bones and no muscle. And soon as we gain weight, we are deemed as “recovered.”

However, disordered eating carries more than the physical manifestation. Actually, I think it is more than the physical. Disordered eating takes on a whole psychological battle: internalizing your worth through food, exercise, and body image. So even if you are at a physically “healthy” weight, your thoughts are still unhealthy and damaging.

And although very depressing, sometimes these thoughts will never be gone. There isn’t necessarily something as full, complete recovery where you can live a life drastically different and with no fear of food. There will always be lingering thoughts – sometimes felt more severely than other times – and so recovery means something greater than completely eliminating those thoughts but rather, knowing how to handle them when they do pop up because they do.

Mental health is  viewed in society as something that is treated once and will never come back. No, just as much as a physical fever or cold, we get sick frequently. And that’s we have doctors and medicine because we know that we don’t just get sick once in our lifetime, but dozens and dozens of times. Very much so, mental health problems are not something that just passes by, but rather with each time, will make you a stronger person and more ready to handle it the next time it comes, because it will come again.

So on behalf of World Mental Health Day, prioritize your health: both physical and mental. And always always know asking for help does not make you any less of person, but actually brings and shows the humanity in you. We as humans require help and support to grow into stronger forms of ourselves. There is always someone out there that sincerely cares for your health. You are never alone.

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.

avolicious header image

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

The struggle to practice what I preach

The struggle to practice what I preach

I wish I could walk the talk that I give on the blog. I wish I could fully embrace my physical flaws, I wish I could truly eat for nourishment and not vanity. But I don’t.

Since Avolicious’s beginnings, I’ve written something along the lines of fitness, nutrition and anywhere in between. And I’ve tried my best to be the empowering and positive-minded presence. Keyword: tried.

Maybe it’s part of being human or perhaps it’s just me, but I still struggle with loving my body and eating certain foods for strength and energy, but I eat certain foods in the hopes to simply look skinner.

I just wrote about why carbs are not the enemy on yesterday’s post. As much as that post was addressed to the public, it was equally addressed to me: I am scared of carbs. I continue to still moralize my food choices and find the need to excessively justify every single food choice. My brain is noisy, it’s never quiet when I’m eating. But yet, but yet, I say that I am something otherwise on the blog.

IMG_6769.JPG

And in a sense, my blog is an extension of what I wish to be. The opinions, the thoughts, the blog posts that I write are what I desire I could be. Someone who was confident, empowered, self-loving and truly content with where she is now. And through much of this past year, this contradiction has always haunted me. I write about loving and embracing our bodies for what they are, but immediately as I hit publish I lament at my reflection on the mirror. My seemingly dual life haunted me and I questioned if I should write for Avolicious anymore.

So I took a break from Avolicious around the spring time of this year; I wasn’t comfortable with not “walking the talk.”

But I came back. Why?

… because change is not a judgment of yourself

The change I wanted for myself were what I wrote on Avolicious: full acceptance of one’s body and mindful eating. And to get to that point, I needed to change myself. I am constantly changing: each blog post nudges me to walk more step on the path that I wish to walk on. The ideas and the posts for Avolicious are helping me walk out of the path that I am walking on right now and turn into the path that I wish to walk on.

While my usual posts have a satisfactory end, today’s post will be unfinished because I am still wandering and exploring this new and frightening chapter of my life. Thank you for all the support, but don’t expect me to exactly walk the talk, I’m getting there 😉

Do you practice what you preach?

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.

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 9.37.33 PM.png

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.

 

 

 

 

 

How small steps (literally) can change your life

How small steps (literally) can change your life

In this fast-paced world of instant access, it’s perfectly normal that we want change fast. Changes such as losing weight, eating healthier, and being more active. Things I talk about here in avolicious a lot.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Take a leap of faith.” Well actually don’t. I was to be honest tempted to title this post as “Don’t take that leap of faith”

Let me explain.

FullSizeRender 3
Just like taking the stairs. One step at a time.

I took a huge leap of faith, a leap that looking back I realize was completely uneducated and made in blindness. That leap was in the faith that I would become skinner. I don’t what got into that eighth-grade self me. Looking through the pictures now, I was perfectly fine! But at that moment, I felt large. I felt big. I felt like I was that “fat friend” amidst my friend group. Nobody pressured me or treated me differently to lose weight. In fact, it was completely my decision.

I can’t completely say that I regret this decision, as this leap let me become so passionate about proper nutrition and fervent on redefining what “healthy” means to me (which you can read here).  However, if I was given the choice and go back in time, I would choose not to go through this arduous journey.

This leap of faith made me restrict myself to consuming a mere 1,200 calories and running an average of 3 miles daily in the scorching sun. Roughly calculating it, I probably lived off of 500-800 calories. In a matter of 3 months, I lost 20 pounds. But most importantly and significantly, I lost my self-esteem and self-confidence which still affects me today.

Yes, that big leap of faith allowed me to get quick results FAST. I was so proud and pleased with my appearance. I was able to fit into those skinny jeans, no problem. I had a thigh gap. I had a flat stomach. I finally looked like those girls on Instagram.

But I was completely miserable. My day was dictated merely on numbers – the number on the scale, the number of calories I ate that MyFitnessPal app told me, the number of miles I ran that day, the number on the size tag of my clothes. These numbers consumed my life and let me tell you, I felt so powerless. I was in such control of my eating, yet I felt so out of control in my life (it’s a hard feeling to describe but I’m sure a lot of those who’ve gone through ED or experiencing one right now can attest to this).

But fast-forward two years now, I am a much better relationship with food now. I don’t necessarily think that I am fully recovered. I still have a long way to go.

But I have made progress.

And through my experience, I can say that I’ve had successful progress when I took small steps.

Small and baby steps.

Give you an example? I’ve been straying away a bit from running these days. I used to love running the past, but these days I dread just thinking of the mileage and the prospect of running. Instead, I’ve been doing so much walking.

I’m a Type A gal so I love keeping track of things. I’ve been recently logging my steps into the Health app on my iPhone. I’ve been average 10,000+ steps daily!

I wake up at 6:30am when the weather is actually bearable and take a 30-40 minute power walk. This gets me to about 4,000 steps. Later in the evening, I take a 60-75 minute walk with my parents after dinner. This second walk allows me to get up to 10,000-12,000 steps.

And the best part? I get to enjoy being active. I sincerely do get excited about the prospect of walking in the morning and after dinner. While yes, walking necessarily may not burn as much calories, I am able to do it more consistently and with a glad heart.

And to be honest, all I’m going for is to develop a sustainable, maintainable, and happy lifestyle. Nothing too extreme – on both sides of the spectrum. Doing things that I enjoy, eating things that I enjoy, and most importantly, enjoying the body that I was born with.

So I challenge you: instead of making your goal to go to the gym for an hour everyday, or go cold turkey tomorrow, pick ONE change and stick with it.

Have you tried taking baby steps?

xoxo,

Stephanie

“Healthy”

“Healthy”

Today was sort of a scary day for me.

I had a massive stomach ache.

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.

IMG_5919
If you couldn’t tell…my fingers are forming a heart. Giving much love and kisses to those who need love because we are all beautiful.

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.

IMG_5879.JPG

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.

What does healthy mean to you?

xoxo,

Stephanie

What’s Going On In My Life Right Now?

What’s Going On In My Life Right Now?

Today’s post is a bit overdue, but better late than never right? I remember I made a promise in the beginning of the year to do monthly updates on my New Year’s Resolution. While it’s already the middle of March, I’ll do recap on how I did in February and how I’m doing so far in March.

File_000.jpeg

Anyways, February’s goal was: Love yourself. Love others by showing patience, understanding. Reach out to old childhood friends. Pray for friends. Obey your parents.

 

I have to admit, February’s goal was pretty challenging. I’m someone who is very hard on myself. Thus, while I found balance in January, I still found myself dissatisfied. I kept on comparing myself to my fellow classmates who would write more articles than me for the school newspaper, run personal bests in track, already take ACTs and PSATs as high school freshmen, and so forth.

 

So let’s run down the list:

Love yourself | This is a work-in-progress that I feel will be a project for the whole year.

 

Love others by showing patience and understanding | I didn’t do too bad on this one, but I didn’t do my best. Attending a boarding school, it’s natural for your friends to ask if they can borrow your shoes, clothes, etc. However, I am very clean and neat with my stuff that lending someone my stuff is quite hard.  This proved to be a huge obstacle for this month. Again, like the first sub-goal, this will be a work-in-progress goal that I will keep in my mind until I get it done.

 

Reach out to childhood friends | This was also a fail. I was so caught up with school and extracurricular activities that I didn’t have time to text my friends. However, I did contact one of my really old friend from when I was in kindergarten. Although she lives in New York, we had a decent conversation. However, with my friends back at home, not so much. Nevertheless, I’m catching up with them over spring break. In fact, I went and visited my old school this past Wednesday and  just had lunch with one of my best friends today. Those two events were probably the highlight of my spring break. It was so nice to go back to my old friends and jump right back into a conversation as if nothing happen (when actually I moved 200 miles away).

 

Pray for friends | Not really. I have started doing daily devotionals though and always pray before I go to bed, but because I have so much stress in still adjusting to boarding school life, my prayers usually center around me. Again, this a work-in-progress goal.

 

Obey your parents | I don’t think this goal was specific enough. If we go word-for-word, then yes, I did obey my parents. However, I didn’t have much to obey because I’m away at boarding school. I think the actual goal was to show kindness, patience, and understanding to my parents, which again, I’m sure as all of you guys can relate, is always a work-in-progress thing.

 

So in a nutshell, February’s goal wasn’t too successful. However, I’m going to show self-love and forgive myself (did you see what I did there?).

byebyefeb2.jpg

Moving on to March, March’s goal is: LOOK UP/FOCUS | Find ways that help you focus. Look up to your role models – who they are and why. Look into things that interest you. Look up from your phone screen and take in your surroundings. Focus and study (this is in time for finals week haha)

 

Again, we’re going to go down the list:

 

Find ways that help you focus | I’ve started using the Pomodoro technique and Alex Ikonn’s Productivity Journal. So far, so good! Also, I’ve been telling to myself before spring break while studying for finals: “You’re almost there. Focus for the sake of spring break!!!”

 

Look up to your role models – who they are and why. | I have an on-going list. However, I’ll share this with you if a) any of you are interested and b) once I get the final list done.

 

Look into things that interest you. | Same thing as above

 

Look up from your phone screen and take in your surroundings. | A huge working goal right now. It does help that my Lenten challenge is to give up random Internet web-surfing. I’m actually thinking of making a post about this in the future about how not looking at my phone all the time has helped my health!

 

Focus and study (this is in time for finals week haha) | This was one success. I definitely honed in and studied really hard for finals. My final survival tips also helped a lot as well.

 

Whew! That was a long post. In all, while February wasn’t that successful, March is looking pretty strong!

 

How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Also, any tips on self-love and practicing love to others?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Love Yourself

Love Yourself

I hope everyone had an amazing Valentine’s Day with their loved ones yesterday. I wanted to take this time, while we are still on the topic of love, to talk about self-love. While you took the time yesterday to show love toward others, I challenge you to take one day and reflect how much love you put towards yourself. With the ever-influential media around us, it’s hard to be content with ourselves. We see these “fit” celebrities who have perfectly portioned and healthy meals, and we can’t help but compare ourselves with them.

 

However, I, after going through an experience (which I will tell below)  multiple times, I realized that self-control wasn’t the problem, but my lack of self-love was.

 

Here’s the scenario:

My friend and I just finished eating seconds of yogurt (can be anything really, my kryptonite is yogurt). My friend is happily lickng her spoon, however, I don’t feel as happy as her. The whole time – starting from the time I stood up to get seconds, I felt guilty. I felt full, my stomach told me that, but my appetite or soul or whatever thing that dictates my food choices, wanted more. So I got seconds. But the whole time I was eating the yogurt, I kept on repeating to myself, “You’re eating WAY too much. You have horrible self-control.”

 

Sound familiar? Yeah, Serena and I have this scenario play out pretty much everyday #noshame.

IMG_1265.JPG
I’ve done this way too many times – measuring the width of my thighs… (can anyone relate?)

No matter how healthy my diet may be, I still have guilt trips over my diet. And I have guilt trips not because of the kind of foods I eat, but the quantities. I simply cannot do the “Everything in moderation” motto. I just eat way too much.

 

However, I find myself getting tired of this. I find myself getting tired of constantly hitting down on myself for eating too much. I mean isn’t food supposed to be pleasurable too? I only live once, right? Why do I have to let my body and my mind suffer by inadequetly feeding myself? I should feed and nourish myself in abundance, and sometimes that abundance can be more than normal or necessary sometimes. I mean doesn’t the word abundance mean more than enough?

 

Each time I found myself shaming and guilt tripping myself, I wrote down my true and innermost thoughts in my journal. Here they are:

–Food is both about properly fueling and nourish your body AND nourishing your pleasure senses. It should be used as pleasure too. (Just don’t make food your only pleasure – that’s when it becomes  a concern).

–Just b/c you’re groping and grieving about it doesn’t mean those calories are irreversible. They are in your body. So just MOVE ON. Worry about others things in your life, sheesh.

–Don’t label food as bad or good. The “goodness” of food is controlling you. You cannot let this happen to you. YOU have the power. (This is to be another blog post topic – labelling food as good or bad has profound effects on how you feel about your diet and eating habits)

–Life is about balance. Balance means sometimes being perfect and other times not.

–Nobody’s perfect. My friends said this to me once and it is SO TRUE. She told me, “Stephanie, you may have a bad day, but you have less bad days than most of us. And that’s what counts.” I may “slip-up” once every two weeks and that’s a huge difference to “slipping-up” everyday. It’s how many days you slip-up compared to how many days you don’t. It’s all about consistency.

–Don’t do extra stuff. Just start fresh. Don’t undereat – or skip meals. Just start now. Don’t exercise more. Just start afresh.

–Realize that it’s okay. It’s okay if you eat too much sometimes. This may be your body’s way of saying I need food. Even if it’s not, it’s not the end of the world.

–Just like one good/healthy meal doesn’t makes you healthy, one “bad” meal doesn’t make you not healthy either.

–Just learn from these lessons – What did you do wrong?

–Did you eat too little during the day or the past week and binged?

–Were you stress eating?

–Were you actually thirsty for water?

–Did you restrict yourself on something that you found yourself craving and soon binging on it?

–It’s okay to have a cheat day once in awhile

–We’re all human. We should live to enjoy not live to restrict.

–Don’t beat yourself up on it.

To sum it up, just love yourself. Stop criticizing every single flaw about you. Those flaws make up who you are. We seriously are our harshest critics. But I challenge you all, particularly for your eating habits, to start LOVING and FORGIVING.

 

Have you struggled with loving and forgiving yourself?

 

xoxo,
Stephanie

My “Athletic” Experience

My “Athletic” Experience

I am athletic … not.

After moving to a new high school I had the blessing and the curse to “remake” myself. The idea that no one knew who I was in the past was exciting yet daunting. The bad side of this “remaking” process is that my new friends think that I’m athletic because I love fitness and working out. However, this is far from the truth. I. AM. NOT. ATHLETIC. AT. ALL. PERIOD.  During elementary school, many us will remember the horrors of P.E. I still remember that every year, when I brought home my report card, for my P.E. class, I would only get “Outstanding” (the highest grade) for the category:  listening to directions. #embarrassingchildhoodmemories
IMG_1208.JPG

Out of many trials and errors (and multiple breakdowns after games lost), I discovered I am not a team sports kind of gal. Team sports meaning soccer, basketball, lacrosse, or any of those sort. I also don’t do well with aggressive sports either. And it happens to be that all team sports are aggressive, so I decided that team sports and I will never be a good mix. I remember being the tallest girl on my club basketball team and getting reprimanded by my coach before and after every game to be aggressive and get those rebounds. Yeah, that never happened. #sorrynotsorry

 

However, with all that being said, my mom encouraged me to be active and signed me up for an after-school running program called Girls on the Run, hoping I would enjoy running at the very least. Looking back now, I think I hated all 5 of the seasons. Nevertheless, Girls on the Run helped cultivate my love now for running (this is message to everyone including me: listen to your parents). Soon after, I joined the track team for both seventh and eighth grade and tried out and got in the indoor track team as a freshman. Serena knows this better than anyone, but I suffer from huge anxiety about track. It’s always been haunting me since seventh grade and it’s my lifelong goal to stop worrying so much about it (actually, this indoor track season I’ve gotten so much better at handling pre-race anxiety, if any of you are interested, comment down below so I can blog about it in the future!).

 

Anyways, the point of today’s blog post was to show that being athletic and healthy have nothing to do with each other. I was, am and never will be an athletic person. However, this should never stop someone from being active and pursuing a healthy lifestyle. With my past experience in struggling to find an activity I loved, I really urge everyone to find something that they love. I wasn’t initially fond of yoga because I knew that it was low calorie burner, I only wanted to participate in a sport that burned a lot calories. Nevertheless, I found myself loving and craving yoga –  I practiced yoga everyday because doing it wasn’t much of a chore but a hobby. If you really want to be technical, practicing yoga five times a week is going to burn a lot more calories than going on an intense and miserable run once a month.

 

So if you find yourself getting off track on your New Year’s Resolutions in terms of fitness, I seriously recommend reevaluating whether or not what you’re doing for fitness is enjoyable to you. If not, change it to something enjoyable, as simple as 30 minute walk outside. It’s that simple.

 

What’s your experience with sports?

xoxo, Stephanie

 

P.S. : Being that this is the start of February, I wanted to update everyone on how well I did on my January “balance” goal. I stated underneath January that my goals were to: Create balance in school. Create balance with food. Create balance with play and work. Create balance with your stress levels. Create balance with extracurriculars. I feel somewhat selfish saying this, but I achieved this goal. It’s weird, I feel strange that I accomplished my one of my 2016 resolutions. I mean the intention of New Year’s Resolutions are to get them accomplished, but we associate these resolutions as short-living that it’s rare to see one accomplish their resolutions.

 

After going back to school after winter break, I definitely gave myself more time to relax. It’s easy for me to get caught up in a whirlwind of work, however, this month I was strict on myself and tried to relax all these “rules” and “guidelines” I set for myself. For the first time since fourth grade, I let myself watch a TV show during the school year (I only allowed myself to watch TV shows during the summer or school breaks). For the first time since my weight loss and health journey, which started early 2015, I let myself eat whatever my body craved – no matter how “bad” that food was. I forgave myself when I ate too much on a certain day because I knew that I could better the next day.

 

However, the biggest achievement was when I created balance with my extracurriculars. Serena and I were and are struggling to find balance with our extracurriculars – how to be involved yet maintain sanity. This month, I let go of some of the school clubs I was in and found myself with at least one night a week free. While this free night was used to catch up on my homework, mentally, having no definite obligation every.single.night. was reassuring.

 

I can’t wait to maintain this “balance” mindset while starting my new goal for February which is centered around love (obviously). The mantra for February is: Love yourself. Love others by showing patience, understanding. Reach out to old childhood friends. Pray for friends. Obey your parents. Wish me luck!