This is outdated guise lol. But it’s nice so I guess you can still read it. Just sayin’. I wrote it in 2012 and it is kinda no longer pertinent to my current feels, but. I’m too lazy to write another one. Okay.
This is kind of personal, but not personal like I wouldn’t share it with anyone. Then again, I really have no secrets from anyone. I am an open book and I will tell my story to anyone who asks and is willing to listen.
So. I have always been a little carb-monster. For me, nothing in the world tastes better than straight up carbs. If I could survive on pastries alone, believe me, I would. And my favourite food? Bread, hands down. My 6th grade Algebra teacher randomly asked me one day after class if I were stuck on an island and I could only have one food to eat for the rest of my life what it would be. BREAD. I didn’t even think that other foods existed in that moment that I made my decision. “Really? I’d choose pizza or something,” he responded [at which point I realised I could have said sandwich or something with more variety in the substance]. So now we have me, and bread, and pastries. Growing up from elementary school to middle school to high school, breakfast was synonymous with pastries (or sugary cereals!). Every morning, I’d wake up to butter croissants (2 or 3 if I was still hungry after 1), large muffins of all flavours from Costo or Sam’s Club (chocolate was my favourite, but I also liked the blueberry), and, on special occasions, cookies (lots of them)! Every now and then, my family would also buy little treats like brownie bites, bundt cake, coconut cake, ice cream, and all the fantastic foods in the world. Lord knows how I wasn’t an obese monster.
My mum and I would occasionally grab our belly fat, laugh, and talk about how we needed to lose weight. We’d go on crash diets, which would work for a day or two but then the weight would just come back. When I got to high school, my mother started watching her diet a lot more carefully and working out consistently (she always worked out, unlike me), and her weight started to drop. I was upset and jealous, but I still refused to workout (too lazy for that). I had dreams that I’d go running, that I had six packs, that fantastic things happened, but dreaming is a far ways away from doing. I don’t think in my life I have ever dropped weight (most I’ve lost is maybe 2 lbs—this is in my life), and I was just getting very discouraged. Then, suddenly, there was a time when I randomly picked up jogging. I jogged about 1.5 miles every day and walked maybe 1-3 miles a day (every day as well)—this lasted a glorious 8 days. It was the most fit I had ever been in my life. For 8 days. I felt great, my sleep habits improved, and life was all around better. And then summer vacation happened, and my 8 days of fitness dropped to inactivity again.
In my junior year of high school, my sleep schedule got worse. It got to the point where I would average about 20 minutes of sleep for every 24 hours in the day, and those 20 minutes were only from times when I would pass out in class. Teachers wouldn’t even berate me for sleeping in class because they felt so bad for me. When I’d wake up, I’d be disoriented and not know where I was or what time of day it was. I no longer had any sense of time (despite that I wore a watch). I was constantly stressed, but instead of doing work (of which I had a lot), I would just keep stressing out about how much work I had left to do. It would build up, as would my stress level, and then I’d convince myself I couldn’t sleep until I got it done. It never got done. By this time, I was a walking zombie and I couldn’t focus on anything let alone do my homework. I decided that this was unsustainable and make an executive decision one night, the night before I had a major test, that I would sleep. That night, I got 6 hours of glorious sleep. My compulsive insomnia was cured (ish). Senior year was better in terms of sleep, but so much worse in terms of food. I was averaging anywhere between 2-6 hours a night (which is better than 2-4), and the crash diets re-emerged. To school, I’d bring fruits and vegetables, and I’d snack periodically throughout the day. In the middle of class, I’d whip out an apple and loudly munch on it. In orchestra, I’d chew on carrots. During lunch, I’d have a sandwich or something. However, by the time I got back home from school, I would always be starving (especially on the days when I forgot lunch). I’d make myself PB&Js until I got so lazy that I just ate straight bread, straight peanut butter, and straight jam. I could go through an entire loaf of bread in one sitting, as well as several tablespoons of peanut butter and up to half an entire bottle of strawberry preserves. To give a rough guesstimate of calories, that’s about 400 calories for a half loaf of bread, 500 calories for how much peanut butter I ate, and around 500 calories for the jam. If you aren’t thinking it already, let me say it right now for you: “That’s disgusting.” When I wasn’t binging on PB&J [and bread], I could down 5 or so bowls of cereal. And after I would stop myself, I’d eat maybe 2 more cups of cereal dry. Before even going to college, I had gained 10 lbs in less than a year. This was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I was 117lbs. I felt disgusting. My mother would affectionately call me her little piglet and joke about how my hands looked like risen bread loaves. I’d grab at my stomach and scratch at it and write on it in sharpie “FAT.” I’d write reminders on my arms “Don’t eat”, but I’d always binge. I was the side of eating disorders that no one wanted to talk about—not skinny and tragic like anorexics and not pitiful and sad like bulimics. I was just a regular old compulsive binge eater—the half of bulimia that eats, not the half that throws up. I’d eat until I felt uncomfortable and wanted to throw up, but I never did. My mum told me that I should just stop and control myself, and that since I continued with my behaviour, clearly I didn’t want to stop. “If you wanted it enough, you wouldn’t do it anymore.” And my sweet tooth had gone nowhere. I finished almost an entire jar of nutella in one sitting (at first with baguettes, but then just spooning nutella into my mouth). I felt sick afterward and didn’t want to eat nutella much after that, but that feeling only lasted a week or two. My mum, since she still enjoyed sweets, would take to hiding food. I felt like a bear, digging through pantries, looking for them. I felt disgusting. It wasn’t a downward spiral, though. I’d phase in and out of being super healthy and binge eating sweets. It wasn’t even “phases”, just days. Or not even days sometimes but meals. One super healthy meal, one binge meal. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do in college.
Lo and behold, here comes the freshman 15. In the first semester of college, I gained 10 lbs. I was now at a whopping 127 lbs for my 5’1’’ height. (My sister used to be 124 lbs and she was 5’4’’-5’6’’ at the time.) I weighed more than my 5’3’’ mother and ate more than my 5’9’’, 170 lb father. How did I gain these 10 lbs? Well, when I look back on it, how did I not? I only ate two meals a day (no thanks to the freshman meal plan) and those two meals were HUGE. After dinner, I’d always get desserts (because have we forgotten? I’m still a sweet tooth). And by desserts, I mean: while eating, I’d grab a dessert. After I’m finished dinner, I will grab another. As I get ready to clean, I grab another. As I’m cleaning up, I grab another. When I’m done cleaning, I grab another. To go, I grab two more (so I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth). I’d have 5-10 servings of dessert every day—in fact, this isn’t stop until Lent (but more on that later). I was also very much out of shape. A portrait of me up until this point would be: sweet tooth, out of shape (as in has-never-been-in-shape), not a fan of meat (not vegetarian, but rarely ever eating meat despite living with three carnivores), low self esteem, very occasional binge eater, hating physical activity (I was always in the last one to finish something in PE), and bad at sleeping/very inefficient worker. I’d idle around, wasting time on the computer, until I discovered “pro-ana” and “pro-mia” blogs, and the idea of “thinspiration”, or “thinspo” for short. I had never supported anorexia but secretly wished I could be like them. (I loved/love food way too much to ever try.) But every time I’d flip through one of these blogs, I’d feel sick to my stomach. Sick that these women (and men) were doing this to themselves, and sick that they encouraged each other by telling each other how fat they were (even if they were stick thin). I felt disgusted at all the body-hate, and even more disgusted yet that the anorexics all looked so beautiful. I knew I’d never look like that and I hated myself even more for even wanting to. Then, randomly one day, when perusing another pro-ana blog, I found the blog of a girl whose goal was not to lose weight, but to lose fat. Her weight was in the “healthy” zone, so she just wanted to lose fat and gain muscle. Finding her blog was like finding a unicorn in the middle of the highway. I was convinced she was the only one of her kind and I was so amazed. She loved meat and ate lots of it (she’s from New Zealand, where the meat industry doesn’t make me want to farm humans out of bitter resentment), didn’t believe in diets, lifted weights, and looked fantastic. Better yet, she had so much positive energy that just looking through her blog made me happy. And thus was my introduction to the fantastic thing of the “fitness community”.
December 2011 was when I was first made aware that such a fitness community existed. I’d see pictures of women with six packs, lady lifters, and other fantastic things that looked otherworldly. I didn’t actually pick up a dumbbell until one of my friends invited me to go to the gym with her over winter break. (I had never been opposed to putting on muscle. In fact, since my sister was always the elegant, sweet, lady-like one, I was always the climbing trees, jumping over this, stepping on pointy objects, and pretending-to-help-my-father-out-when-doing-manly-things kid.) From there, I tried to clean up my diet by eating less bad foods and more good foods. I worked out a bit more, and things were fantastic! Then, I started taking my weight training more seriously and learned (am still learning) new exercises. My weight hadn’t budged from my highest (127 lbs), but that was alright by me, because I knew I was doing something good for myself. Then Mardi Gras rolled around and three pieces of King’s Cake later, I wondered if, maybe, I’d get better results if I didn’t still eat 5-10 desserts a day (you think?). So for Lent, I made the gutsy decision to give up refined sugars. In fact, I never realised how much dessert-y food I ate until I decided to give them up. No more ice cream, no more desserts (pies, cookies, cakes!), no more white grains (white sugar, white pasta, white rice, white bread), and no more high fructose corn syrupy things. I cheated a couple more times here and there (a lot more than you’d imagine actually), but on the whole, I’d like to say I did rather well. As Easter Sunday has just passed, I realise that once a sweet tooth, always a sweet tooth, as on Saturday I ate a glorious three chocolate bars in one sitting and just this morning for breakfast, I had a nice heaping bowl of cookies and cream ice cream. But now, coupled with getting plenty enough protein and eating very often, I find that I have much better self control than I did before.
So. My “personal project” was to get down to 21% body fat. This was a very random, arbitrarily projected number that seemed rather healthy to me. Or 23%, I don’t know. I also didn’t really know what my BF% was before embarking on my journey. I just seem to remember that for my height and weight and current measurements, I’m supposedly somewhere in the 25-27% range. When I started, I could do maybe one push-up, I didn’t know what a deadlift was, and I didn’t know how to squat. My definition of “going to the gym” was bringing my laptop and a short movie and sitting on the stationary bike for 90 minutes and enjoying a good show whilst simultaneously biking 12 or so miles. Did I break a sweat? Yeah, I guess. Did I see/feel any results? Yeah, I guess. After embarking on my journey (which I had started working on before declaring it as my personal project), I can now do…I don’t know how many push-ups. But I can do them now, haha. I can also do chin-ups, something I have not been able to do in my entire life. I can deadlift my weight and then some among other fancy things. I have more energy, and just feel better overall. (My sleeping hasn’t improved all that much, but I’m working on it! My efficiency in terms of working…uh…can’t say I’m working very hard on that.) My weight is still at an all-time high, but guess what? I learned that weight means nothing. Who cares if I’m 30 lbs overweight if I have a six-pack? Weight is just another random number that is too often the focus of people’s lives. So what if I get the freshman 15? I’m in the best shape of my life, and loving life more than I ever have before. The last time I checked my body fat percentage, it was 22%. I don’t know how accurate that is, but I was stoked! I’ll be constantly working harder to get leaner, meaner, and eating cleaner. Also, for the first time in my life, I have a positive view of myself. When I look in the mirror, I don’t turn away in disgust; I say “I’m a fuckin’ BAMF.” I feel great and I know I’ve gone far from where I started. Fitness is not just going to the gym: it’s taking care of myself and treating my body well, and being rewarded as a result. There is always room to improve and grow, though! So rest assured, I will be continuing my journey. (:
DAWH WASN’T THAT CUTE. Stuff has changed. Stuff has not changed. The gist: I am still 5’1”. I still eat carbs and sugar like a BEAST. I still don’t have a sixpack lol. I still lift. Dat’s all, folks.