there was a caption i posted on instagram not too long ago that briefly talked about my fitness journey and how it was something i was most proud of in 2018. i also said how i’m going to write a longer post about this journey and why last year was such a pivotal time for me. it took me a while to sit down and actually do that, but i’m doing it now. to get there, i have to rewind a bit and provide some background, but here i go. (disclaimer: this post is pretty long)
it’s crazy to think that i had this blog for 5 years now. though i didn’t write in it consistently at all, it was a place i found great solace. when times got really tough or when my brain wouldn’t shut up, or when i was super encouraged, i was able to organize my thoughts by writing it all out. it’s nice to be able to look back, read through posts, and remember the various seasons of life. my very first post on this blog was my testimony. writing it out, sharing it, being vulnerable and so raw was scary, but it was also freeing and healing. it talked about my struggle with anorexia, my depression, my dependence on alcohol as a numbing mechanism, but it also talked about how God heard my desperation and the minute i gave him the permission to enter, he began to move powerfully. he collected the shattered pieces of who i had become and began to mend the wounds with his grace and love. however, even though i was experiencing the love of God and i was trying to put my faith in his truths, i still struggled, i still wavered, i still relapsed, and i still had an incredibly hard time loving myself.
having an eating disorder in my past is something that i’ve become comfortable enough talking about freely because i’ve embraced how that really dark season of my life significantly influenced the person i am today, and it’s something that i should be proud of overcoming. i’ve found that there are so many people who went through or are going through what i did and i remember how isolating, scary, and helpless it could feel. my blog certainly doesn’t reach a lot of people, but in the chance that someone who is going through the very thing i went through comes across this post, i want them to know that they’re not alone and that they are strong enough to conquer it.
my journey began in 2009/2010. prior to these years, i never had body image issues or crazy insecurities. i was always a happy, bubbly, quirky girl that loved life. in 2009 i went to the doctors to get a check up and the doctor said that i had gained weight and should start watching what i eat. he started to point out areas that i had more fat than muscle. i was shocked and my confidence was wounded.
as we left the doctor’s office that day, my mom said “don’t listen to him. he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” but i couldn’t help replaying it in my head. i started to watch what i ate, i started to write everything down like the doctor suggested, and i started to exercise a bit more. at this time, i was starting to receive responses from colleges and the more i got rejection letters from my top choices, the more i felt a loss of control over the path i wanted to take in life, and the more i felt i wasn’t good enough. if there was one thing i could control, it was my weight, so i began to obsess over it. as the days went on, the less i ate and the more i worked out. i was becoming more and more frail, my bones were visible on my skin, my hair started falling out in chunks, but i refused to accept i had a problem. months later, i stepped on the scale and i was 72 lbs. i had shut out everyone in my life, i was always cold no matter how hot the los angeles sun was, and i was wearing abercrombie kids jeans as a 17 year old. i was so unhappy and lifeless, but i couldn’t stop because in my mind i was fine and people were crazy.
that summer i went to korea where my mom started watching my every move to make sure i was actually eating what i was saying i was eating. at home it was easy to lie and cover it up, but it was next to impossible when i was traveling with her. my stomach couldn’t handle the sudden shift and went into shock causing me to pass out from pain. i was taken to the ER and that was the first moment where i started to feel a sense of fear that this had to stop.
from that moment on, i went through a roller coaster of weight fluctuations. i knew i had to get better because i really could potentially die, but i didn’t know how to go about it the right way. i went through a season of binge drinking and binge eating which resulted in me suddenly gaining a ton of weight, and then another season of crash dieting and depriving myself. i couldn’t find the healthy balance and kept thinking of short term goals. i would get frustrated if i didn’t see results and i started to feel helpless, unmotivated to do anything, and incredibly depressed. i just couldn’t see a way out of the cycle. It was through my faith in God that ultimately got me out of this battle, and that full story is here, but too long to get into in this post. over time, i became more confident and started to find myself again: the positive, joyful girl i once was. but even still, it was so hard to mentally heal from the lies that had plagued my mind for so long. even when i tried to be positive and see myself in a loving light, there would be so many times i just couldn’t.
at the start of 2018, i vowed to myself that no matter how flustered i got, no matter how impatient i wanted to be, no matter how many times i’d want to give up, i’d do things the right way. i didn’t want to just reach fitness goals, i wanted this to be a holistic change. i wanted to be healthy physically, but also mentally and emotionally. i was committed to putting in the work and staying disciplined, but more importantly i made a promise to myself that i would give myself time and show myself grace. two things i was unwilling to do for years.
i’ve tried so many different workouts over the years, but i found that the way to stay consistent is finding something you actually enjoy doing. believe me, if there was anyone who thought that was a load of bull-s, it was me. i truly believed people who said they liked to exercise were just trying to convince themselves it was true. but then i found what i loved doing and that mindset started to change. for me, it was boxing. i started to box 4-5x a week and that routine just continued throughout 2018.
what i love about boxing is that, not only did it do wonders for my body, but it also challenged me mentally. with boxing, it’s not just about having power or throwing whatever you feel like doing. you have to be able to connect your mind to your body to be successful. i love when trainers hold mitts for me because it teaches me how to think quickly and have my body react appropriately. overtime, you get better, faster, stronger and it’s so fun and rewarding.
but as you’ve probably heard a million times before, you can workout like crazy, but if your diet is poor, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for. i’m not crazy strict about my diet, but i do try to eat healthy as much as possible. when i eat clean, healthy, whole foods, i just feel better and more energized. but this definitely does not mean i don’t indulge every now and again. i try not to deprive myself of anything anymore because i found it just makes it harder for me to want to stay consistent and motivated with my goals. however, i am a lot more mindful of keeping a balance and showing myself grace.
it took a really long time for me to get to where i am, but i am so so so grateful i did, and not just physically, but, more importantly, mentally. when i was at the lowest weight of my life, i was also the most unhappy. i am a total extrovert normally, but i didn’t want to interact with people, nothing made me excited, i was ruining friendships, and i just felt lost. when i was crash dieting, depriving myself, trying to reach goals in really short spans of time, i would always get discouraged, easily irritable, frustrated, and would eventually give up. this showed me that it’s not about the number that comes up on the scale, or being as skinny as the model you saw in the magazine, because if you’re not doing what’s right for your body, you will not be happy. and then what is it all worth?
one thing i have learned is that there is no easy way out in life, so you gotta stop looking for the shortcuts. you always have to work hard for what you want and commit to making it more about your lifestyle than a temporary solution. i promise you, when you do things the right way, there is a sense of accomplishment, joy, pride that comes with it. it’s something i never felt when i was 72lbs, but i feel it now. i’m not as thin as i was back then and my body naturally is not built to get that way, but that’s okay. we’re all built differently, but we’re all made beautifully, and we have to learn to embrace that. i haven’t been on a scale in 2 years because as long as i feel good, i’m doing what’s right for my body, that number doesn’t mean anything. i can actually say that i took the time and really worked my ass off to get to where i am today, and i am damn proud of it.
so work hard, find what makes you happy, but always remember to love yourself and show yourself grace.
& as i always say:
mind over matter. your mind is stronger than you think.