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

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

Black Friday Wishlist

Black Friday Wishlist

I normally don’t talk about shopping or fashion on the blog, however, I do believe that workout clothes play a huge impact in exercise. First off, workout clothes that fit right and flatter you are always great motivation factors to go workout. Also, having leggings that ride down or sports bras that don’t give that much great coverage makes the workout an unpleasant experience.

Here below is my Wishlist for Black Friday. Read: Wish. I’m not going to lie, workout clothes are expensive, but a girl can dream, right?

NIKE

I think Nike has been upping their game in recent years. Their workout clothes look very sophisticated that they are a close match to lululemon (which I will talk about later). Personally, I have a Nike outlet 30 minutes away from me so I get most of my Nike gear at the outlet store. I have never bought a full price Nike item. Thus, the items listed down here are items that I have EITHER gotten years previous at Nike outlet stores and love OR would love to get my hands on.

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Air Zoom Odyssey 2 (currently on sale!)
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Air Zoom Structure 20 Shield 
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Air Zoom Pegasus 33

These three shoes are the running shoes that I’ve run in. I don’t have any bad things to say about them. I’ll be talking about running shoes more in depth (about what to look for depending on what runner you are and so forth) this Friday. So keep posted! And as a plus, the Air Zoom Odyssey is currently on sale!

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Nike Power Legendary

I LOVE the Nike Legendary leggings. They are as good or if not better than lululemon’s leggings. It’s hard to describe why they are so good, but they just are. They are uber stretchy but at the same time, they compress you in. They mold to your legs and when you run around, there is NO restrictions but complete freedom and flexibility. Trust me. They are legendary, as the name says.

Nike Power Epic Lux

These epic lux tights are also AMAZING. They are a different feel than the Legendary ones but equally as worthy of being obsessed over.

 

LULULEMON

Lululemon is the other brand that I have heart eyeballs about. They are definitely pricier than Nike but also they barely ever go on sale. You really have to look at the “We Made Too Much” page (aka their sale page) for discounted pieces.Thus, I only have a few select lululemon pieces in my wardrobe. Just note that the sizing in lulu runs extremely small. I tend to have to go at least two or even three sizes up.

In regards to Black Friday however, I do know that they might not have a Black Friday sale per se, but they are going to have a lot of marked down pieces. The lululemon store near me is opening at midnight for Black Friday. I’m definitely going!

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Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew

I really, really want this long sleeve. It looks so nice on the girls on my cross country team. When I went to the store, the shirt was actually thinner than I thought it would be. It was so thin I couldn’t justify paying $78 for it. Still, I want it!

 

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Wunder Under Pant III

Here is the much hyped about lululemons leggings. The hype is real though. I absolutely adore my lulu leggings. I have one from about two years ago and still wear them to death (Serena knows). My lulu leggings have become my good luck leggings so I wear them to all my finals. But I also wear these leggings daily (so much that it’s kind of embarassing…)

 

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Define Jacket (sale!)

Here is a lulu item that is on sale. I actually have a very similar one in black and I love it! It’s not super thick but also not super thin so it’s perfect to layer on during runs or on brisk fall days. Also, it’s tight in a good way that it compresses you in. (Just note that while this jacket is on sale [$118 –> $89], it’s on FINAL sale)

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Scuba Hoodie III (sale!!)

 

I think the Scuba Hoodie is another classic lulu item. I have an older version and use it to death during the winter. It’s super thick but also compresses you in so it’s really warm. I love using it for runs outside during the winter or a long study session.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe Black Friday shopping!

What is your favorite workout clothes store?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Thanksgiving No-No’s

Thanksgiving No-No’s

Thanksgiving is in a few days but it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice healthy eating and all the progress you’ve made to spend quality time with friends and family. You can do both — eat relatively healthy and catch up with family. Make this Thanksgiving a Thanksgiving where you do NOT have to unbutton your pants.

Here are some tips for Thanksgiving: what to watch out for and what to do.

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1. DON’T STARVE

While people think it’s a smart idea to starve or eat barely anything before the Thanksgiving dinner, by not eating anything, you’re making your blood sugar levels really low. And when your blood sugar levels drop, you lose the ability to control what you eat. Not only do you lose control but you crave calorie-laden foods. This means that when you get to the Thanksgiving dinner you’re going to eat everything and anything in sight. So, do yourself a favor and eat a balanced and light breakfast and lunch.

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2.GET ACTIVE

Not only does getting some exercise burn off those calories you’re going to be eating, but in addition, exercise balances out your hormones, so you don’t get crazy cravings from your hormones. Balance out your body both internally and externally with exercise.

An additional tip: do your exercise with your family member. Either go out on a walk with the whole gang around the neighborhood, catch up while going on an easy run, hit some tennis balls, or go out to the golf course.

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3.EAT SLOWLY

Instead of gulping down your food (because you’re ravenous from not eating all day …), savor your food and set down your fork between each bite. Make sure to actually use Thanksgiving dinner to catch up with your family and friends. One way to do this is to pick a slow eater in the table and make sure you finish around the same time or even slower than them! Trust me, the slow eating will not only help with the social aspect of Thanksgiving, but the weight aspect of Thanksgiving.

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4.SAY NO TO THE TURKEY SKIN

Yes, yes, I know, the turkey skin is the best part of the turkey. However, that thin sliver is worth a lot of calories and fat (not the good kind). Do yourself a favor and eat the turkey meat NOT the turkey skin.

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Or tea…

5.DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Drinking lots of water will help you differentiate between thirst and hunger but also help you feel full faster. While apple cider is tempting, try to stick with water throughout the meal and sip on it often in between bites. Drinking water will also help with the bloating the morning after the Thanksgiving dinner.

 

 

Regardless of all these tips, make sure your FIRST priority is to spend quality time with friends and family. Get into those spontaneous laughter and snuggly hugs. And of course, officially ring in the holiday season!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

xoxo,

Stephanie