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

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

Stephanie’s New Year Resolutions

Stephanie’s New Year Resolutions

Today, after sharing how to set New Year’s Resolutions that actually work, I wanted to share my New Year’s Resolutions with y’all.

I did post my New Year’s Resolutions last year, however, looking back now, I think they were far too spread out in categories and too ambitious that I barely achieved any of them. However, never one to be discouraged, I’m sharing my New Year’s Resolutions – which I’ve condensed to THREE! My mantra for 2017 is to be healthy and happy!

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ONE // Be a physically and mentally healthier person (read: this is very vague, but as explained on yesterday’s post, I’m going to be giving the details below)

Physically:

  • Until spring break 2017:
    • Continue exercising (ideally 5x a week)
    • Fit comfortably back into my old clothes
    • Lose 2-3 pounds per month (losing ½ pound per week)
      • I like to set my deadlines to academic breaks as I am away at home for the academic year and only get to come home during breaks so it’s a nice physical divide
  • Until summer break 2017:
    • Exercise 4-5x a week – obviously with summer camps and summer trips, it’s hard to exercise as often as during school where there are rigid schedules and times
    • Work on maintaining weight the record weight beginning of summer and check on weight every week
  • Until the start of the school year (fall 2017) and for the rest of the school year:
    • Continue maintaining weight à as you don’t have a weighing scale at school, take a picture of yourself every other week
    • Exercise 6x a week (I’ll probably be doing cross country, if I hopefully don’t get an injury…. so running 6x a week is a given)

TWO// To be truly happy

  • To journal everyday | I’ve found the benefits of journaling truly transforming. I am a worry-wart and a pessimist by heart, so I need to rant my feelings somewhere such as with a journal and pen or else I can be very mean and scary!
    • Until spring break:
      • Journal twice a week
    • Until summer break:
      • Journal four times a week
    • During the summer:
      • Journal everyday
    • After school starts until the end of the year:
      • Journal five-six times a week
  • I think every week (either Saturday night or Sunday night) to end the night by listing out 5 things I am grateful for during that week. I think in this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up and forget about how blessed and spoiled we are. And sometimes, all we see on media are the indulgences and luxuries of others so we tend to complain instead of being thankful for we have right now.
    • No specific deadline – I should be able to be grateful for at least 5 things every week

THREE// Invest more time into Avolicious

 Of course, saving the best for last! I started this blog as a way to share my passion for healthy eating, exercise, and writing, but I definitely have to admit that I fell out due to school. However, I WILL NOT MAKE THAT EXCUSE for 2017. I will make a concrete time out of my schedule to dedicate to Avolicious. Thank you to all who have been following and supporting us – it means the world!

  • Until spring break:
    • Post twice a week
    • Post on Instagram three times a week
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 10 minutes per week
  • Until summer break:
    • Post two-three times a week
    • Post on Instagram three times a week
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 15 minutes per week
  • During summer break:
    • Post 4-5 times a week
    • Post on Instagram daily (along w/ Insta stories)
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 25 minutes per week
    • Try a different social media platform (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Start of the school year until the end of the year:
    • Post two-three times a week
    • Post on Instagram three-four times a week
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 15 minutes per week

I wanted to make this year’s New Year Resolutions short and sweet but also meaningful to me. I’m trying to stop comparing and judging myself to others and instead, go at my own pace and do the things I love.

Good luck in 2017!

What are your New Year Resolutions for 2017?

xoxo,

Stephanie

This Thanksgiving, LOVE and THANK your body

This Thanksgiving, LOVE and THANK your body

Happy Thanksgiving!

To be honest, I love Thanksgiving more than Christmas. After going to school away from home and spending the majority of the time somewhere NOT home, Thanksgiving has become a whole new holiday for me. Don’t get me wrong, I was always thankful for my family, my parents, my friends, however, I didn’t know how thankful I was from them until I left home. I definitely took them for granted.

In the same sense, I want to take the time and shift our focus to our body. On this blog, Serena and I talk a lot about improving your body. We talk about how to eat cleaner and healthier so you can have a body full of vigor. We talk about how to have self-control so you don’t gain weight. We talk about how to lose weight (in the healthy way of course). We share recipes that are uber healthy in order to make your body better. We talk a lot about progress and things that will happen in the future.

In the midst of all this, not only on our blog but around us as well with the media and peer pressure, we are pushed to think that we need to be better. However, let us all take at least a day to be thankful of where our body is now.

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Instead of bashing your legs, thank them for being strong during your run, thank them for being tough while you did squats in the gym. Instead of wishing you had a flatter stomach, thank them for powerful to do those multiple crunches, sit ups, bicycles, and planks. Instead of bashing your arms, thank them for being able to carry those heavy groceries, thank them for being able to hug your loved ones. Instead of criticizing your body for being so fat or for being so thin, be grateful that you have a functioning body that lets you move and be free. Be grateful that your body, fat or thin, is healthy enough that you can go along your day with no restrictions.

We definitely take our vital and vigorous bodies for granted. Some people don’t have this ability. Some people can barely walk and have to use a wheelchair. Some people may be able to walk, but have poor knees that they can’t run or do squats. Some people may not have the stomach to even eat the amazing (and sometimes naughty) foods we eat because they have such sensitive stomachs. Some people may not be able to carry their children or grandchildren because their arms too weak. Some people may have debilitating bodies and may just wish to have a complete and functioning body.

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So this Thanksgiving, STOP bashing on your body. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Thank you body for being so energetic, so lively, so vigorous and strong that it can accompany you on those long runs, on those hard workout days, or just life in general.

Happy Thanksgiving and have safe travels to and from home!

xoxo,

Stephanie