Why I am Thankful for my Eating Disorder

Why I am Thankful for my Eating Disorder

This post comes a bit late, but rather than rushing to write a post for Thanksgiving Day, I decided to spend quality time with my family and friends and then take time in writing this post. So here I go. A few days late, but still very relevant.

Yesterday was the three year anniversary for Avolicious. Over these three years, I’ve changed, especially mentally. To be honest, when I started Avolicious with Serena, I was “recovered” from my eating disorder, but the frequency of those relapsing thoughts was quite high.

Especially, going to a high school boarding school, I was even more pressured and swayed by my peers. And my recovery almost faced a downward trajectory.

And so I started writing posts relating to disordered eating as initially a means not for others, but for me.

I needed to convince myself that I chose the right decision to seek recovery: that I needed to nourish my body, that I needed to give my body the love, rest, and appreciation that it deserves.

And over the three years, through meeting other bloggers on this platform, through trying as consistently as I can, through writing blog posts that I needed to hear as much as others did, I’ve made slow but significant progress in my recovery.

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The blog posts no longer serve as reminders for me, but to you, the reader. My blog posts have finished serving my purpose of convincing myself that recovery was the right decision and now have become that same purpose for you all.

And something I want to write today is that as ignorant as it may sound, hardships are something we can be thankful for.

Although I have recovered, the thoughts will stay with me forever. I’m not going to lie, some days are harder than others to keep those toxic thoughts in control.

To many, the Holidays can be a time where these thoughts flare up – we have lots of food, lots of events to attend meaning we have lots of people to meet (and want to impress).

But I’ve learned that having a resentful mindset toward my eating disorder past won’t do anything for me.

Yes, I will continue to be haunted by these thoughts, but this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my eating disorder.

Now let me clarify. I am not thankful for the actual challenges and hardships – the mental and physical pain – of my eating disorder. But I’m thankful of what I became of due to my eating disorder.

My eating disorder at the time was a coping mechanism for me to control something of my life. I was extremely Type-A, detail-oriented, and a perfectionist – and I was good at it. But as I got to middle school, I was slowly losing grasp of this (not to even mention high school, ha). And in a seeming sense of feeling lost and overwhelmed, I turned to one thing I could control: my eating.

In the thick of my eating disorder, when I realized that I needed to get better, my eating disorder gave me a chance to reflect on my life.  I realized that I was doing the same thing I did with my eating in my academics, social life, faith, and life in general.

The moralizing I put into my food choices (If you eat a hamburger, you’re bad. If you eat a salad, you’re a good person), I did likewise to my academics (If you get a B, you’re bad. If you get a A+, you’re an amazing person). And the same went to how I viewed my friendships, and my relationship with God.

But I never wanted to relive through that traumatic experience I had from my eating disorder in other aspects in life. Rather than chasing toward the unrealistic and restrictive rules society imposed on me, my eating disorder has taught me to loosen my grip on life. If I don’t fix my mindset now, I realized I’m going to be stuck in this restrictive mindset for the rest of my life.

I wanted to live a liberating life, a life that was peaceful without the noise from society of what I’m supposed to do and not do.

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By choosing to live a life that I was happy and excited about, I had to make the hard choice of having to quit extracurriculars that were becoming a chore and simply a name for college apps. These extracurriculars were restricting me rather than giving me the chance to flourish and grow. While I had reservations about giving up these activities that I had worked hard for by sacrificing my weekends and sleep, I realized I was working hard to a false distortion of success, an image that would ultimately make me unhappy. Instead, I consciously have chosen to be happy and make the most out of the present moment rather than looking to where I’ll be next. While in the beginning it was a bit tough, loving my current life allowed me to be much happier and free.

Numbers no longer dictate me, rather, they merely give me a snapshot, a rough outline of my progress.

And with my eating disorder, came a different Stephanie. This is not to say that I’ve completely reversed in my roles. Much like my eating disorder recovery, I’ve learned how to handle and control my Type-A, perfectionist thoughts.

And while I’ve failed countless times to control these thoughts, I know that success is the result of repeated and consistent trials and so I continue practicing that less rigid mindset day in and day out.

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I thank my eating disorder for teaching what it means to be resilient, patient, and determined. But above all, for changing my life view. I now regard my eating disorder as a time for me to pause, reflect, and change a lifestyle that was extremely toxic and unhealthy for me. If it weren’t something as significant as an eating disorder, maybe I would have continued to ignore those warning signs and still live that extreme perfectionist and demanding lifestyle.

And so, with all due respect, thank you to my eating disorder. Thank you for creating a new me, a me that I grow to love and appreciate more every day.

What unexpected thing are you thankful for?

xoxo,

Stephanie

let go and stop counting calories, steps, pounds and instead allow peace

let go and stop counting calories, steps, pounds and instead allow peace

Let me ask you a question: what do you count?

Do you count money? Do you count your grades? Do you count the number of followers you have on Instagram? Do you count calories burned? Do you count calories eaten? Do you count the number of steps you’ve taken? Or do you count the number of your coffee cups – sorry couldn’t help but sneak in the Rent reference 😉

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The fact of the matter is, whatever you count, those numbers are what consumes your life. Perhaps consumes is too strong of a word, but that’s the only word I can think of right now.

During the thick of my eating disorders, numbers were constantly on my mind. Now I’m no math whiz so what I was doing was not Calculus or anything. What I was counting were my 1,200 calories and the pounds that were never enough.

Even now I can look at a food and estimate around how many calories it’ll be. I lived off on MyFitnessPal for over a year – I probably used that app more than my iMessage app, I even could say that it was my most used app by far.

I would step up that darn scale every morning and night – making sure that my weight didn’t fluctuate for more than 1.0 pounds. And so I quantified my worth to solely those numbers. I became the calories I consumed, the pounds that I carried.

But let go and stop counting whatever you’re counting and allow yourself to intuitively find peace and balance. Trust your body to know what it wants. Believe that your body can consume the right enough calories, can wear the right enough pounds, can take enough steps. 

Rather than following the suggested (at least be honest you don’t even take it as a suggestion but more of as a must”) number of steps, calories, and pounds that some random person and the collective illusive society tells you to live, listen to your own body and trust in it.

Free your mind from the number crunching, those false scripted groundless numbers. Breathe in and out. Let yourself free.

What will you stop counting?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

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

Relax & Refresh

Relax & Refresh

Sometimes, you just need a couple hours to yourself. School or work might have been overwhelming, you might have issues occurring in your relationships, or maybe you just had a grueling week and want to reward yourself. Regardless, in my experience, relaxing and refreshing can be very effective in productivity and feeling a sense of well being. Here are some of the things that I have done in the past to pamper myself!

1.) Hike or take a walk in nature. Even sitting in nature and taking it all in clears my head and makes me feel better.

Views from an awesome hike
Acai Pomegranate Bubble tea

2.) Go out to eat. Yes, sometimes food can be a wonderful reward! This past weekend, I went to a restaurant called Asian Bistro to have delicious hot stone bibimbap, and then I also had lunch at a Japanese restaurant where I had avocado sushi. For snack, I got myself a raisin croissant and an acai pomegranate bubble tea. Everything was so delicious and I felt so happy afterwards!

Vegetarian bibimbap

3.) Go on a run. I’m not a big runner (especially compared to Stephanie), but running helps me “run off my stresses” and “run away from my problems”!

Views from a recent run
Custard pudding- almondy and delicious!

4.) Cook and try out a new recipe. My friend and I made egg custards together, and we had an amazing time bonding and cooking. Even if you’re cooking by yourself (as I often am), cooking is a great way to relax. Seeing and eating the final product gives me an amazing feeling. See my first ever blog post on Why I Love to Cook 🙂

5.) Hang out with your family and/or friends. Whether it’s playing board games together, watching a movie, walking around town, or just talking, being with other people makes me feel happier.

6.) Take a long shower, put on a face mask, and listen to music. Your skin will thank you and you’ll feel super refreshed!

7.) Take a half-day trip by visiting a farm, going to the city (if there’s a city near you), visiting a museum, going to a flea market, or something else.

Farm trip
KALE Heaven

8.) Try something thrilling-like white-water kayaking, or rock climbing 🙂

9.) Take a nap-cause sleep is amazing and I can never get enough of it!

Now that I’ve shared my tips, I hope you feel super inspired.

In the words of my mom: “Work hard, play hard!”

Love,

Serena

Finding Your Workout: My Exercise Journey

Finding Your Workout: My Exercise Journey

I used to hate working out. Eating healthy was enough for me, and I didn’t realize the benefits of exercise until I actually tried it out. I loved gym class at school because of the team sports and the camaraderie, however, when it came the summer, I wouldn’t actually do much to maintain my fitness.

Every summer, I competed in golf tournaments about once a week and I practiced most days for about 2-6 hour. Really the only physical benefit of golf was that it strengthened my legs and kept my heart rate up because of the amount of walking (typically 5 miles) and swinging involved. However, I wasn’t doing much else to strengthen my body. So when my mom joined a gym membership, I decided to come with her to a yoga class. I instantly fell in love with yoga because it was so peaceful yet physically demanding, and the shavasana (lying down) at the end felt amazing. So I continued to attend the yoga classes once a week and carried this out during my school year. But obviously, one hour of yoga a week was not enough.

I started doing Blogilates (pilates) about once a week and doing push ups before going to bed. The next summer, I joined a field hockey camp that met twice a week, and I sprinted my way across the field. When high school started, I involved myself with field hockey. The team met every week day for two hours each. The amount of cardio we had to do was challenging for me. I remember thinking that the  3 mile run around school was a very big deal.

In the winter, I tried out dance, which met three times a week for one and a half hours each. Dance was completely different from field hockey; there wasn’t much cardio involved, but it was more like yoga because of the flexibility involved. During the season, I realized that I it really was not the sport for me. I wasn’t the most graceful or coordinated, so I told myself I would try a different sport the next winter season.

Spring was golf season for me, which was very exciting. I didn’t do much to supplement my exercise other than the mandatory half-hour weight-lifting once a week.

When summer rolled around, I started thinking back to the winter season and decided that I would either joint the swim team or run distance. Ultimately, I decided to run, mainly because of the support that Stephanie (yes, the other half of this blog), who ran cross country, gave me. I started running for 40 minutes, 5 days a week , and I got used to it. Although I dreaded the early morning wake-ups, I felt so accomplished after each run. I knew that I wasn’t the fastest, or even close to fast, but it gave me pride to be pushing myself into a sport that I was hesitant about because of the immense challenge that it presented for me.

So over the course of my journey so far, I’ve learned a couple things:

1.) Try it even if you think you’ll suck at it! Field hockey and running were two sports that I was completely intimidated by because I hated cardio. But when I gave it a try and gave it some time, I ended up enjoying it.

2.) Constantly push yourself. Fear of the greatness of your potential is probably what’s holding you back.

3.) You need a buddy/buddies. If exercise is hard for you, use other people to motivate you, whether that be teammates, friends, or opponents.

What are your experiences with exercise/athletics?

Love,

Serena

What does “Intuitive Eating” Mean?

What does “Intuitive Eating” Mean?

My favorite type of YouTube videos, podcasts, or Instagram accounts revolve around the topic food (shocker I know …). Anyways, these days, I’ve been seeing the topic “intuitive eating” on these social/entertainment platform a lot. After watching a handful of videos and podcasts (there’s seriously so many of them that are all readily and freely available to us), I have decided to jump on the the “intuitive eating” bandwagon myself.

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Now you may be asking, what is intuitive eating? Intuitive eating is at its simplest, “Eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full.”

 

Isn’t that so simple? However, I know from my own experience and obviously from the astounding number of videos and podcasts on this topic, eating intuitively is not as easy as it sounds.

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The Principles of Intuitive Eating … sounds simple, in reality: NOT

When we were babies we were intuitive eaters. I know this because when I eat with my five to seven year old cousins, they don’t have three meals a day. They just eat whenever they want to eat (and also when their moms are willing to cook something for them) which means it could be anytime of the day eating any size of a meal. However, why is that when we become adults, we choose to have three square meals a day? Like where did that number three come from?

 

Serena and I can both attest to getting “food greedy” when something is too good for lunch or dinner that we get seconds despite obviously feeling full. Along this health journey that I took and am still taking, I realized that both quantity and quality matters. However, I’ve been obsessed so much about the quality, that I lost control of my portions. Calories are still calories and if you eat more than you need, you’re going to gain weight. You can still gain weight by eating clean foods. You can still lose weight by eating junk foods.

 

However, as you guys may know from my “Healthy Journey” post, I have decided that my motivation to eat healthy and be active is NOT so I can be a certain weight or appearance. I am motivated to eat healthy and be active because I want to feel energized and happy as well as nourish my body with the nutrients and activity it needs (key word = what MY BODY needs, not what I think my body needs)

 

And this nourishment that I’m talking about is not only physical nourishment but emotional and mental nourishment too. Personally, this means slacking up on my food quality. It means that sometimes, if I want peanut butter, if I want to eat a cookie, I can and have perfect freedom to eat it.

 

So that’s why intuitive eating attracted me. The “diet” (ugh I absolutely despise that word) seems to urge people to listen to their body for hunger and fullness cues. To be honest, I feel like my hunger cues have been so messed up after my extreme diet and weight loss this past summer.

 

But you know what? Just because my hunger cues are messed up, I’m not going to mess them up even more. I’m going to stop and turn around and work towards making myself a more “in-tuned” eater.

 

I decided to write about this topic because Serena and I ran a 5k race “together” (together isn’t quite the right word because she ran a good 3 minutes faster than me). However, after the race, we went straight to brunch and while I was going to straight to the food, Serena paused and said, “I’m actually not that hungry right now.”

 

This struck me because for me, I thought in my head: ran a race = burned calories = able to eat something. While Serena thought: ran a race = not hungry = should I eat?

 

Serena’s logic makes much more sense and “normal.” The fact that my eating has to be justified because I burned x amount of calories is ridiculous. The fact that I stop eating because I know I reached my calorie limit is ridiculous. I mean who lives like that? Life is meant to be enjoyed.

 

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Look…the foods I crave are all different. Some are “healthy” and some are “unhealthy”

 

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This is the beauty of intuitive eating.

 

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Isn’t the color of this persimmon divine?

 

Anyways, summing up this rant, I hope you guys, whoever you are: whether you’re like me who is recovering from an unnatural or restrictive eating lifestyle or someone who is perfectly in peace with food, were able to learn about intuitive eating and the freedom and happiness it can give to people like me.

 

How do you eat? Intuitively?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

P.S. : If you do eat intuitively, what are your tips to reach intuitive eating? Or do you have any success stories to share?

 

My Health Journey (Pt.2)

My Health Journey (Pt.2)

After reading Serena’s post over the weekend about her health journey, I decided to write my health journey as well. READ: Very long.

 

In truth, I have some suspicion that Serena might have wrote that blog post because of me. Now, I’m not trying to steal the spotlight here, but I’m writing this because I’m so grateful to have a bestfriend like Serena. You see, on the same day she uploaded her post, I texted her a few hours before with these exact words:

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Yeah, in other words, I was in a pretty low point that afternoon. I was coming back from an all-day programming competition, where if you read above I ate: one whole peanut butter bagel, two slices of pizza, and five cookies.

 

I never was really fat in my childhood but I wasn’t the skinniest either. Up until 3rd grade, I was blessed with the “skinny” genes, meaning I was able to eat A LOT without having it show. My family friend described it the best, “Stephanie, all your food seems to be growing vertically on you!”

 

This was certainly so true. While length wise I fit into a kid size 12, width wise, I could comfortably fit into a kid size 8. So this means, up until 3rd grade, I lived off of unhealthy habits such as continuing to eat even if I was full.

 

This habit got created when adults would compliment me for eating a lot. You see, in Korea, the tradition is, little kids get the most compliments when they eat a lot, such as asking for a second bowl of rice. So in order to eat the second bowl of rice, I would stuff spoonfuls of rice in mouth.

 

Similar to Serena, I ate and loved chips. In particular, I remember always putting the Kirkland Tortilla Chips in the cart when my family was shopping at Costco. However, my mom curbed my chips habit when she banned chips from the house. Truth be told, my mom is the true health nut. She banned juices and chips from the house a long time ago. It’s not that she doesn’t like it, she herself loves juices and chips, however she lives by the motto “Out of sight, out of mind.”

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Do these look familiar? Ugh…childhood memories.

Anyways, I remember the first time of feeling “fat” when I was in fourth grade. Because I attended a private school, starting from fourth grade, everybody wore uniforms. Before fourth grade, there was only a dress code, I didn’t have to wear a uniform. So because all the girls and I were wearing the same thing, body size and type became quite noticeable. I remember sitting criss-cross applesauce (do people still call it that?) and noticing that my thighs were thicker than my friend’s next to me. Still, I didn’t care about it too much. Even back then, in fourth grade, not only was being able to eat three slices of pizza impressive, but eating them the fastest was impressive as well.

 

So along with eating more than I was full, I ate fast. In other words, I seriously did not eat in tune with my body. I did not eat intuitively, but just ate to … I don’t know what. I don’t know the reason of why I ate. And this is where the problem lies.

 

So after fourth grade (sorry about jumping all over the place), I slowly gained weight, but looking back now, it wasn’t too bad, but all my friends were those stick thin girls so obviously, around them, I felt fat.

 

So in May 2015, I decided to go on a diet. Although I assured myself that this was a lifestyle change and not an extreme diet, looking back now, I definitely was a victim of the extreme diet. I downloaded MyFitnessPal, PumpUP, ate only 1,200 Calories, and ran distance track. Obviously, in the beginning this was VERY hard. However, from this weight loss journey, I learned that I actually have a lot of stubbornness, perseverance, and discipline. Even my dad said to my mom, “Stephanie will succeed in life. I mean if she can exhibit this much self-control in food, how much more work and effort will she put in other aspects of her life?”

 

Anyways, flash forward to summer 2015 after many days of feeling tired, exhausted, empty-stomached, and being the awkward person in the social event who declined ALL deserts and ALL “bad” foods but ate only salad, I lost 20 lbs. I’m naturally slim on the top and carry more weight on the top, so while my top sizes were the same, my waist size dropped by an inch or two. I found myself having a thigh gap. I found myself having thin and lean thighs. I remember slipping into a pair of leggings and gasping in front of the mirror because I never would have imagined my legs to look like this. However, contrary to popular belief, although people say they lose weight in order to feel more confident and good about themselves, I experienced the opposite.

 

Yes, when I got dressed in the morning I felt great, however, the remainder of the day I felt MISERABLE. I was constantly thinking about food, yet I would only eat so little and exercise so much. In fact, when my family travelled to Korea that summer, I was angry that I couldn’t take my iPhone because that meant I couldn’t track my calories (#sadlife). Now if any of you guys have been to Korea, Korea is food haven, and having to restrict myself there was miserable. All my relatives in Korea were astounded at my weight loss. While their responses were out of concern, I relished on their “you lost weight” comments. It proved how accomplished I was.

 

However, things turned for the worse. During my yearly check up, my pediatrician told me that she couldn’t sign my health form because my BMI was too low. She told me I had to gain more weight. Not only this, but I lost my period and I was growing more body hair than usual – an indicator that my female hormones were not in their normal level.

 

In order to keep this post any longer than it is, I’m going to go in bullet form from summer 2015 at the doctor’s to now:

  • Doctor tells me to gain more weight – only if I add more weight from my 107 weight (I am 5’5’’ for reference) will she sign my school health form.
  • I weigh myself again at the end of summer in the doctor’s office wearing my longest shorts so I could stuff my iPhone 6+, my dad’s wallet, my mom’s wallet hoping that these items will increase my weight. It did. The scale read: 108lbs.
  • Go to boarding school in the fall – mom is super worried that without her supervision, I will go on an extreme diet again. However, I assure her that I won’t. After the doctor’s visit, I had a huge realization that what I was doing was SO stupid. SO dumb. I wasn’t nourishing my body. I wasn’t loving my body. My body had to be healthy. My body needed fat. My body needed back its weight.
  • I gained weight freshmen year because I ate too much of good food. You can still gain weight from eating salads. I ate way too much of “whole” foods. I overstuffed myself. I stretch my stomach, I stretched my appetite.
  • In the midst of all this, I was so confused. I was so stressed. I didn’t know why I was doing this. Was I eating to lose weight? No I decided after the doctor’s office that losing weight is off my list now. Then what was I eating for? Having Serena there by my side helped.
    • In this confusion, I sought help and clarification on YouTube. (Bad decision since there are so many lifestyles people preach about). I thought I had orthorexia, I thought I needed to be HCLF. I thought I needed to eat protein power shakes, etc…
  • Deleted PumpUp and MyFitnessPal → huge milestone for me. Serena helped me on this one. She was the angel on my shoulder telling me to delete the app.
  • After getting into winter track and crew, I realized that I needed to eat for fuel
  • Major weight gain → Tried on clothes from summer 2015 during winter and spring break – none of the clothes fit anymore. Major tantrum. Major breakdown.
  • Calmed myself down and went back to school. Still in the midst of understanding and recollecting myself after the major weight gain. I think I gained the weight back because I was holding back on food so much that once I started eating, my body quickly gained it.
    • Got first period (although mild) in a year and a half.

 

After this long long journey (trust me the bullet points up there are SUPER SHORTENED), I am slowly but surely, going on a journey where I can eat normally. Ever since I was young, up until know, my reason to eat food was hollow. When I was young, I ate to impress the adults, but when I went on a diet, I ate to lose weight, I ate so I could feel better about myself (which obviously did not happen). My goal is to eat like Serena. My goal is to be physically and emotionally healthy. I want to eat healthy because I truly want to. And if I eat “bad” one day, to forgive myself and move on. Serena’s chill attitude about food is so inspiring. So just like she wrote about why she ate, I decided today to really see WHY I wanted to eat healthy. This was what I typed in my notes:

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So that was a really long post. If you stuck with me till the end, thank you so much for reading. You don’t know how much it means to me. While Serena’s journey is pretty much perfected and completed, I still have a long way to go. I think my diet this summer was like the wrong turn of the journey and the struggle I faced and still face to recover is the detour. I am slowly reaching the right path of the journey.

 

“Recovery is about progression, not perfection.” – Unknown

 

Why do you eat the way you do? Do you have a health journey you would like to share with us?

 

Xoxo,

Stephanie

 

P.S.: I want to give a special shout out to my amazing mom. She was able to put up with this hassle of a diet. She was by my side ever so stalwart and supportive. She never scolded me for trying to lose weight. After the visit to the doctor’s, I was sure she was going to scold me for being so ignorant in losing weight. However, this was not the case. When I said sorry to her and my dad, she came to my side and gave me a tight hug. Even now, I regularly talk to her about my feelings and thoughts and she always finds a way to understand me but also finds a way for me to recover from that condition. I really couldn’t have done it without you, mom! (Of course, my dad gave me immense support as well, but as a male, he couldn’t really relate to why I wanted to be so skinny …. Seriously, why are girls so obsessed with our outward appearance???)

I ate, I ate some more, and I still love myself

I ate, I ate some more, and I still love myself

 

 

The title of this post is a twist around Julius Caesar’s famous quote “I came, I saw, I conquered.” It’s about forgiving yourself after you eat a lot. I don’t want to call this binge-eating because binge-eating can be a lot more serious than over-eating. This past Saturday, I had an away crew regatta at Delaware. First, this means I don’t have my handy and trusty dining center (I go to a boarding school, so I eat all three meals at school but I never thought I would ever say that my school dining center was trusty, but in extreme situations like this Saturday, they can be quite relished and appreciated).

I had my usual breakfast at school (luckily) of yogurt with granola and nuts on top and sauteed spinach. However, everything goes downhill from here.

First, I ate a clementine before getting on the bus at 9:45am because I thought I was hungry because I ran from my first class to the bus. Bad thought there. Thinking I deserve to be hungry…

Next, I ate a pre-made box lunch turkey sandwich – with loads of deli turkey (= lots of sodium), cheese and white bread. I ate this at around 10:45am as my lunch because my race started at 1:15pm and I “calculated” that the protein in my turkey needed enough time to digest. In other words, I got too bored on the bus and decided I needed to eat despite not feeling hungry.


After the race, which was 500m shorter than varsity since I’m novice, I decided that I needed to refuel. Now the race wasn’t that bad and was definitely less physically demanding than any of the track races, but because I knew crew was deemed as a “physically demanding sport that burns tons of calories,” I digged into the snacks the parents brought. Here’s the list: One HUGE banana, one Clif bar, half a bagel (now this was my first time eating a bagel in months – I thought I deserved this thing of dense white flour because I rowed too hard), 5 cookies (again, another first since months – this was more out of a craving, just kind of bummed out that I ate my first cookie since last year as a Chips Ahoy cookie and not a homemade one), plus another banana and a whole bowl of pineapple. I know … in a less than 8 minute race that I partook, I ate that much. It also didn’t help that the day was super chilly so I wanted to eat even more.

After all that snack shazam, we went to one of the varsity boy’s house for dinner. And I ate okay, except I ate a brownie, my first in years, for dessert.

But with all this being said, guess what? I just worked out today and I feel perfectly in shape. My clothes still fit me the same. I ate just as much as I would have on any regular day. No, I did not eat less on Sunday because I ate more the day before so I can “balance” my calories out. Nope, I just moved on. I didn’t dwell on my lack of self-control, I just told myself that Saturday was my “treat yo self” day and I gave myself the trust that I can go back on track the very next day, which I did. I told myself that it’s the consistency that counts and one day isn’t going to ruin me.

So to all of you out there who are perfectionists when it comes to eating, just chill. My mom  is the perfect example of this mentality that I’m talking about. She exercises an hour everyday, but she does it because she enjoys it. And the exercise I’m talking about is simply walking briskly on the treadmill for an hour while watching her favorite TV show. She eats pretty balanced meals, but when she wants dessert, she’ll get it, if she’s at a dinner party and there’s heaps of food, she’ll treat herself. The only way she shows her regret is this, “Oops, I ate too much.” That’s it. And she moves right on.

So for those who eat for perfection, I want you to know that sometimes you have to eat for pleasure. It’s okay if you eat that cake, it’s okay if you eat something despite knowing that it’s “bad” for you. In fact, I think it’s emotionally bad for you to eat something with guilt. Remember, everything in moderation.

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So you overate for one meal, one day, one week, or more? It’s okay, I did that too. I ate, I ate some more, but guess what? I still love myself.

Do you have any tips for getting back on track after a “cheat” meal?

xoxo,

Stephanie