what scares me about my eating disorder and recovery

I realized I haven’t been talking a lot about my ED and my recovery experience, probably because I’m not sure exactly what to talk about and also because I’m not sure what my boundaries are or should be when it comes to talk about my eating disorder. I’ve written about my experiences with eating disorders in some previous posts, though they’re but brief snippets of the entire experience. I admit, as much as I would want to raise awareness about the perils and dangers of eating disorders, there is a part of me that is afraid to tell others exactly what are the disordered eating patterns I have gone through and/or am going through. As of now, only 2 or 3 friends, my therapist, psychiatrist and dietician know the nuts and bolts of my eating habits. I’ve actually also submitted an essay to a project on raising awareness of marginalized eating disorders in which I talk about a particular eating habit that I was, and I admit, still am a little embarrassed afraid shy (something) to talk about.

Anyway, I’m following an Instagram account called “@webiteback” and they are currently hosting this online campaign called “We Bite Back 30 Day Recovery Challenge” in which the @webiteback posts a  “challenge” or question for each day related to eating disorders/recovery and have IG users leave their answers with #wbbchallenge to facilitate interaction among the users and read each other’s responses. I’ve responded to quite a few on IG but I thought I could also share some of the challenges here on my blog to raise awareness on EDs as well.

So the challenge, or rather challenges –  since I wanted to talk about them both and found them both to be related – I picked out for this post is this:

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I picked this out because I think a lot of people assume that people going through eating disorders are scared about these few things: weight, body size and food. These 5 are I suppose, the ones that impact me most, though of course there are many other things I experience in my struggle that I’m afraid of but I thought I’d share the first few that really bothered me since Day 1. My answers don’t speak for others because as I always emphasize, each journey and circumstances is different, but I merely wanted to highlight that there are other types of fears that go deeper than just eating and physical appearances in an eating disorder.

That if I have children in the future, they might develop an eating disorder as well. Especially if I have daughters. There’s empirical evidence that eating disorders can be genetically inherited from family members, yet genes don’t always account for the incidence of disordered eating. Mothers are role models for their daughters and when they themselves disordered and/or unhealthy eating patterns (e.g. picking at food / skipping meals / unhealthy eating), daughters can unwittingly pick up these patterns, especially when they are at a young age. Of course I hope that 10 years from now my disordered eating patterns would have been suppressed to the bare minimum and no longer control my life, but the fear of one day going through an unexpected relapse going back to starving, bingeing and throwing up my food might affect my children’s relationship with food. I may not be a mother, but I definetely don’t know my own children to go through the same struggles I did because I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of physical and emotional pain I went through, and am still going through fighting my eating disorder. I don’t want my boys and girls growing up obsessively counting calories, cutting out entire food groups and think that if they should overeat one day, they will become fat the next day

InfertilityAccording to amount of research and reports I’ve read, there seems to be a link between eating disorders and a woman’s menstrual cycle. There isn’t a clear cut explanation but one speculation I’ve read is that dysfunctional eating wrecks your body’s metabolism and this results in suppression of normal functioning in the brain that releases hormones. Release of estrogen, needed for ovulation, therefore also becomes suppressed and therefore a women doesn’t ovulate and have her period. My own periods were oh-so incredibly irregular during the height of my eating disorder. I’d miss a period for 4 months, and after that miss it again for another 5 or 6 months. I always hear girls telling me how uncomfortable they feel when they were on their periods and I remember always sympathizing with them whenever they relay they discomfort and annoyance but the truth was, I wanted them to shut the hell up. I wanted to tell them that yes, your uterus is bleeding a crimson tide and yes, you get cramps but I sincerely hope you know that this means that your body is functioning normally and that your body is capable of releasing and egg and holding a baby. My period was irregular for 3 years and when my period didn’t come each month, I got so frustrated and upset and this only added to my worries that I’d have fertility issues in the long run. Yes, I want to be skinny but I still want to have a normal functioning reproductive system capable of creating and sustaining life.

RelapsePerhaps nothing frightens me more than the possibility that I might go back to the days of starving and bingeing and purging after my efforts and trying to recover. Now that I’m recovering and finding a life from my eating disorder, and also knowing what kind of a horrible life I had when I was struggling with my eating, I know that I definfelty don’t want to go back to the latter. I don’t want to lead a life of intense insecurity and fear where I count calories, cutting out carbohydrates, binge and then purge in shame, crying whenever I overate, surviving on liquid meals and once, even taking diet pills because I hated my body so much I resorted to doing that.  I was normal on the outside, but on the inside, it was a disgusting chaos. I’m frightened that I will experience a situation that may cause me to relapse. 

Changing my eating habits but still hating myself, especially my looks. I afraid that even though I’m eating better by not restricting and engaging in mindful eating, my mind will not accept my current body size and that I will still exhibit disordered thoughts about my body. Eating disorders and poor body image are not independent of each other mind you. For me, it was because I was disgusted at my body that I developed an eating disorder. I hated being a big girl and wanted to be as skinny as possible. I once went through 2 weeks of eating nothing but an apple and a ham sandwich 3 times a day. I lost so much weight but it came with terrible consequences. I lost muscle mass, my concentration was so affected that I couldn’t focus on my schoolwork and my hair was falling out. I remember being so frightened of combing my hair because I didn’t want to see how much hair I was losing. Thinking about this still makes my heart beat very fast because it was a traumatizing moment for me. Anyway, even now as I’m learning to engage in mindful eating, to not restrict myself and also not freak out when I overeat, I still have problems with accepting my body because I’m not skinny. As much as I preach about body diversity and acceptance, there is a part of me that is still fighting to embrace my current physical appearance and not succumb to the pressures of being thin. To recover from an ED is one thing. To fight body image demons is another thing as well, and til this day even though I am practicing mindful eating & reminding myself of the health consequences of restricting and bingeing, I still ook at some girls and think that I need to go and eat less and become thinner so I can have a better body (I’ll talk about this next time). The struggle is intense and I get so tired after it all. This is probably why I love sleep. Sometimes. You forget about struggles and problems after you wake up, or rather, it becomes minimized and it takes up less space in your mind and for some reason it doesn’t seem so bad after that 3 hour nap. So in a way this relates to relapse. I’m afraid that my disordered eating patterns will go away, but that my negative thinking patterns about my body and what is considered beautiful might lull me back to a “get-thin” induced disordered eating patterns again

That I will never get better and will live the rest of my life thinking about food and fearing weight gain. As much as I’m eating better now, I still have slips every now and then. And that sucks. Recovery doesn’t happen in a snap and you need time to alter eating habits that have taken years to develop, but sometimes I wonder how long I will need to come to the day when I no longer worry about food or whether eating this will make me gain weight or how much I should eat at a given point. I don’t want to be 30 years old and still getting anxious about little things, especially things like food when its supposed to bring joy and not worry and panic. I thought about this point for a long time and finally, I decided that I won’t worry too much about the future, because what’s more important is the effort I’m making to eat properly. Every positive action I take towards recovery minimizes the potential long-term effects in the future. Just like quitting smoking. Stop smoking for a week and your life expectancy increases by this much. Stop smoking for a month and it increases even more. Same with my own eating disorder. The more I engage in positive eating habits, the more I minimize the urge to engage in disordered eating. Sure, right now its still there, but its much less than before and occurs in times of really bad stress or when I really just didn’t eat enough during the day (oops). Focus on reovery on the present and spend less time worrying about what could go wrong is what I tell myself. And also, focus on the awesome kick-ass things I can do when disordered eating doesn’t rule my head and my life. 

What are your fears with regards to your eating disorder and/or recovery?

I’d want to end this post on a nicer note, but I’m too exhausted. So if you spotted any spelling or grammatical errors, sorry (not sorry). I had 3 hours of dance rehearsal today and yesterday and I am aching. One of the moves was so fast that my fingers smashed into my partner’s hand and the pain was so bad I thought I was going to pass out. The joint of my fourth finger hurts. Don’t be all “its only a finger” ERM. It is not JUST a finger. I can’t bend or straighten it fast without it aching which might be a problem because I need to use my hands a lot for salsa and bachata styling. Please please please let it be better by tomorrow morning because I still have rehearsals tomorrow please kay thanks.

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Went shopping for wedding dresses with my sister because she’ll be walking down the aisle! Apparently the dresses are “reserved” only for brides and so I wasn’t allowed to try on any dress. BUGGER.

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I’m actually okay with being an Asian woman without the supposed “hairless Asian skin” and that I’m oddly proud that I have US 8.5 / EU 39 size feet which is considered big in Asia, but no I wouldn’t want to have hips of a 9 year old boy actually.

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NOTICE DAT ABNORMAL RED SWELLING ON MY FINGER? I CAN’T STRAIGHTEN NOR BEND MY FINGERS WITHOUT A STABBING PAIN DO KIT KATS COUNT AS PAINKILLERS?

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when inner demons take over my mind: mad musings about my body

 Lord knows how difficult it is for people with body image issues to struggle with fighting their inner demons. We have perfectionistic streaks inside of us that demand for our bodies to look a certain way and when we don’t look like whoever we want to emulate, let me tell you, hell breaks loose in our minds.

If you’ve been read my previous posts, you’ll know that one of my biggest physical insecurities is my calves. I have athletic muscular calves, thanks to a combination of genetics and my years of sprinting in primary school. I hated how my calves weren’t long and skinny like my friends, and also like those female media personalities I see on the telly or in magazines. For years people have commented on my calves and saying they’re so muscular and, well, its made me incredibly conscious of how its not long and lean like I desperately want them to. In pictures though, some people tell me my calves look perfectly fine but the problem is that with photography, the right angles can sometimes create illusions and I guess from the angle that I tend to stand in my calves look different than what they really are. You’ll actually have to stand next to me to see how athletic my calves can be. Anyway, I always thought the fashion industry to mock me when it created skinny jeans and knee high boots. On Instagram its always the girls with long skinny never ending legs that get comments from people who clearly have noticed how outstanding they are and go something like “LEGS”. The girls with legs in different shapes never get the comments. And okay I know you shouldn’t let silly things like that make you want to have skinny legs, but growing up it had a huge effect on me

I’m not sure what came over me, but a few days ago  I experienced a complete meltdown. A major slip. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, and I don’t know what caused it, but one day I just woke up and felt huge. Bloated. A whale. Like a big kid trying to squeeze into a small girl’s dress. I felt like I was taking too much space. I looked in the mirror and thought my face looked too puffy like I was a chipmunk stashing goodies for the winter. My arms seemed to have magically become puffy sausages and jiggled too much in my opinion, and I thought my calves suddenly had morphed into this mass of lumpy…mass. The next thing I knew, my heart was pounding super fast and all sorts of wild thoughts went rushing into my head:

1. Oh my god I gained so much weight

2. Oh my god my arms look so fat and disgusting. And ugly

3. Oh my god my face looks so fat and disgusting. And ugly

4. Oh my god my calves are ginormous. And ugly. Why?!

I immediately started thinking of reasons as to why my body might have suddenly ballooned. My first thought was that I had been dancing in my heels too much, because I learned from my obsessive investigation that wearing high heels for too long exerts pressure on the calf muscles and causes it to develop. One part of me reasoned that (a) my heels were only 2 inches and (b) I don’t dance in my heels everyday, and so it couldn’t possibly lead to an unnatural expansion of my calf musucels, but then another part of me immediately went “Okay then. No more dancing”. Literally. That’s what I had told myself. Stop dancing. The sudden intense disgust that manifested for my calves had somehow, on those particular few days been so incredibly strong that it transcended all reason and made me want to give up dancing just because I hypothesized that it was making my calves too muscular for my liking.

The next thing I knew, I experienced an intense rush of escalating thoughts; thinking patterns along with some behavioral tendencies that thrived during the worst of my ED days. I started cursing at swearing at my body (which is ridiculous, really) at how it didn’t look tall and thin. I started tugging at my clothes because I felt like they had suddenly shrink and I felt like I took up too much space. I began criticizing my arms and sobbing and how they weren’t skinny like I want them to be. I began an obsessive Internet search on ways to reduce the size of my legs (I highly doubt daily massage can do anything). I even wanted to cancel my plans with my homegirl for the next day because I couldn’t stand the idea of wearing anything and feeling that all my clothes had somehow become too small and wearing them would just make me feel worse about my body. 

I actually also began thinking of going back to dieting and not eating to lose weight because just thinking about how my arms and legs weren’t skinny just made my heart want to explode. Scarily enough, my distress was so high and intense that I had toyed with the idea of self-harm to relieve the pain. You heard me right. Self-harm. I was that emotionally distressed. I used to hurt myself a few years ago before I entered therapy because it had made me feel better (NOTE: DO NOT EVER DO THIS BECAUSE IT DOES NOT SOLVE ANYTHING TRUST ME BEEN THERE DONE THAT) even though that feeling of relief was incredibly short-lasting because my body still looked the same. But yes, for about 2 days I stayed home and refused to leave the house. I wore a jacket at home even though it was 32 degrees outside (or about 90F) because I wanted to cover my body & pretty much lived in my pajama pants so I wouldn’t have to look at my calves.

For people who don’t go through these demonic body image problems, you probably won’t ever fully understand the chaos in our heads. To us, the struggle is real. Objectively, our bodies may not have changed overnight, but in our minds, we woke up and we suddenly look different. We try so incredibly hard to suppress the voices in our heads because there is a part of us that knows our fears are unfounded and our expectations too unrealistic. Sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t. There is always a voice in our heads telling us we are still too fat no matter how hard we work at accepting our bodies. Maybe to others, the body parts that we are insecure about look perfectly normal, but to us, it is flawed.

We have perfectionistic streaks and many of us have grown up thinking that thin is beautiful. To others, we may came across as egocentric – the constant obsession about our looks and our food and our desire to have a thin body. But we’re not selfish people. More often than not, many of us are simply insecure and experience low self esteem and we want nothing more than to feel better about ourselves. We’re not egocentric. I mean, God didn’t you read about Kanye West and how he practically demanded for one of the members of audience to actually stand up for him during his performance along with the rest of the concert-goers even though the poor guy is in a wheelchair? 

So yes. We’re not egocentric. We act and think the way we do not because we are narcissistic, but because our insecurities are so overwhelming that it tends to control our lives every now and then.

So of course I had to figure out a way to stop my mental outburst before it went out of hand. I’m amazed at how conscious I am about making the decision to change my thought patterns. In the past, I would just cave in like a hungry beast and let my mind take over and swill in self-hatred. But this time it was different. I knew I wanted to change because I remember how draining it was for me. It was tough to break free from this sudden thought pattern because to do so was equally effortful and  thought it was best to do small simple things. I avoided mirrors for a while because I knew that looking at it would make me even more anxious, I busied myself with reading, I wore loose comfortable clothing and I went for a run to take my mind off things. Well, I get that these are activities that provide short-term immediate relief but I do believe every single thing counts, especially when you need to make yourself feel better at that very moment. Like giving morphine to someone in utter pain to relieve him/her of her discomfort before further figuring out the cause of the pain and dealing with it at a more in-depth level. Or giving sedatives to someone having a panic attack to calm him down before engaging in deeper conversation to find out the root causes of his anxiety.

One small step at a time right?

In the long run however, I always need to remind myself that looks are not everything and that I shouldn’t let my body define who I am, but sometimes, I fail and I fall. But I guess its okay as long as you continue fighting the demons that haunt you, as long as you don’t give up and that you are motivated to find a way to change your situation. I really do hope that 1 day I won’t need to remind myself all day everyday and spend less time and energy obsessing about my weight, the food I eat how my body doesn’t fit the thin-ideal, my calves and arms that aren’t long and lean and the fact that I don’t have a flat belly, and basically just do the best I can do treat my body right.

When I was younger I wanted to be tall and thin and beautiful and have heads turn. Now I just want to be intelligent and soak up as many literacy artworks as I can, I want my heart to burn with passion for dance and travel and art and revel in the anticipation and ecstasy of discovering a new hobby. I want people to love me for my mind, my intelligence, my compassion, my sensitive spirit and my loving nature because I know that those qualities touch more hearts than looks can ever will. What’s beauty if one has a heart devoid of passion or a mind lacking in opinion? I don’t want people to dismiss me as a bimbo, talk to me about mindless things and see me as a woman without ambition. I want them to look at me and see a woman with an amazing mind and with opinions of her own who is unafraid to educate you about the struggles many women face with body image and the subjugation of many women in the Middle East and also see a women who fights to not let her insecurities get the best of her.

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Homegirl and I decided to get cultured at the museum. Decided to play with colors today and opted for my orange tank and a green skirt with my fabulous black-and-white loafers which I’m so glad I bought. I threw on an opal necklace at the last minute as I felt like I needed a break from my stud earrings.  I was still in my “i-hate-my-body-because-its-not-skinny” phase and was reluctant to take pictures but I decided to do it in the end, because well, pictures capture moments that you can never take back again. Moreover, didn’t want to let my dissatisfaction at my body ruin the day, and its proof that I went to the museum.

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Boo went to the vet yesterday to get a jab because his skin has flared up and he was itching everywhere. He must have been digging for scraps in the trash can and eaten something nasty.

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I bid adieu to my old run down running shoes I had for many years and bought this shiny new pair. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think that green and pink would go well together.

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TIL THE NEXT TIME BYE

body image woes: commenting on weight loss doesn’t always make me feel better.

In the past few weeks that I’ve been out and about I’ve met people, both friends and family and I have received comments that I look different. More specifically they tell me I’ve lost weight: “Your face looks slimmer!”, “You look different!”, “You lost weight!”, “You look prettier!” etc etc. And there I’d go stammering away and mumbling “oh its just the eyeliner and the bronzer, I mean have you tried bronzer and blush? They do some pretty amazing things to your cheeks” or “Peplums are very forgiving”

Here’s the deal. I probably have lost a bit of weight although I wouldn’t know for sure because I haven’t weighed myself in the past 2 years ever since I started recovery in December 2012. I’m not in denial. Its more of a need to maintain my sanity and the fact that a number on the scale is definitely a trigger for me, considering how I used to obsessively weigh myself at least 5 times a day (kudos to successfully avoiding a trigger now). Since the start of last year where I’ve actually been able to practice better eating habits, mindful eating and understanding body positive mantras as I wasn’t in and out the country, I’ve been starving and bingeing less and my weight has stopped fluctuating, so the weight that I put on from my constant bingeing has probably fallen off from my face (which is a good thing though somehow the weight doesn’t seem to come off from my tummy) and my weight is currently more or less in a stable zone. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m still free from body insecurities.

I feel good when people ask if I’ve lost weight, I mean, people are noticing something different about you and come on, who doesn’t like receiving compliments? I don’t people to tell me I’m ugly, for Christ’s sake. “Oh my god Serene I haven’t seen you in so long, don’t you look just fabulously ugly?” That’s just lame. You know what I mean right. We all have self esteem needs and as much as people say we shouldn’t get validation from others, deep down in our yearning souls, our need for acceptance from others means that a little praise from them wouldn’t really hurt. We really do want some praise. Or at least, I know I do once in a while.

Anyway. Problem is, when I got home, I actually became a lot more conscious about my body. Like a lot. I know my body. I know that there is a little flab here and there that I wish could make its way to my boobs and my butt. There are still some parts of my body which I wish could look a little taller, a little leaner and little better though last year I’ve been learning to try and accept my body more and focus less on weight loss and more on getting my eating and hunger back on track. However, the fact that some people have actually noticed a change in me and that actually was enough for them to give positive comments was not only inherently rewarding, but also initiated a different set of thoughts. For instance:

1. “Oh my god now that people say my face looks slimmer. I better not gain any more weight and better stay at this size for good. “

2. Oh my god people say I look prettier since I “lost weight”. Does that mean that I was hugely fat years ago when they saw me? Jesus, I must have been fat and ugly back then! How fat was I then?! I can’t gain weight now. Gotta lose weight now!

3. Oh my god I still have flabby arms and a nonexistent ripped stomach. Those have GOT TO GO. UGH.  

 Here’s why many individuals with body image problems have low self esteem: in their minds, and also sometimes in my still-slightly-perfectionistic mind, somehow, losing weight = looking better = getting people’s attention = getting compliments = feeling like Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

Somehow, our weight is intricately entwined with our self esteem, and in a thin-obsessed society, losing weight equates to being beautiful. So when we receive compliments about weight loss, it reinforces the notion of “losing weight = look prettier” Its only natural that we want to continue receiving compliments. I guess for the average individual not overly plagued with body image woes and confident enough in their skins, they’d graciously accept the compliment. But not for someone like me who’s struggled with normal eating and body image problems since she was 16. That’s when the motivation for weight loss can become seriously out of control and all sorts of disordered thoughts and eating patterns manifest. Not good.

I’m not 100% recovered from my ED and/or body image issues. I still have days when I don’t engage in mindful eating, days when I (subjectively) binge and get incredibly anxious and start thinking about eating less and skipping meals, but I’m learning to overcome them. I don’t hate my body as much as before when I see pictures of thinner friends, but yes there are times when I would think about what I should do to lose more weight. And therefore in a way, as much as I try to practice loving my body more, I’m not 101% immune from such tendencies.

This experience actually came as a bit of shock and I wasn’t prepared for it. Its usually me gaining weight and trying to figure out ways to lose weight or trying to accept my body at its natural size, and also wondering why people don’t say I look pretty and getting jealous at my friends. But now having some people tell me I’ve lost weight and having these kinds of thinking come up really threw me off the edge and challenged me. I got a little freaked out and paranoid for a little quite a fair bit quite a reasonable amount a hell lot until finally I had to sit down and remind myself of my main objective: health, and not getting skinny to gain approval

I actually felt a need to maintain my current weight because I didn’t want the blow of accomplishing something, having gain recognition for it and then having it blow up in your face again. I guess for a few days I stopped wanting to get healthy to get my body back to pre-ED mode and instead wanted to lose weight to continue getting praise and feeling good about myself. But reality check came in when I started craving more food and thinking about food more and more and whether I should to shouldn’t eat this or that.

I guess it seems okay to ask: “have you lost weight?”, instead of “have you gained weight?” I mean hell I don’t want anybody to come up to me and ask if I’ve gained weight. The latter somehow just very insensitive and in society, weight loss equates to looking good while weight gain typically isn’t so, unless the person in question was seriously bone-thin and desperately in need of more meat on his/her bones. However, the fact remains that in society, weight loss is seen as something that is positive and recipient of praise and its kind of demoralizing to think that because of this, many women (and also men) have allowed themselves to equate being thin with beauty.

So in the end I asked whether I wanted to go back to the old ancient days when I was struggling with food, obsessively counting calories and weighing myself 5 times a day (sometimes even more), cutting out food groups and exercising til I died just to get skinny at the expense of the many health complications I had as a result (of which I’ll detail another day). Sure I’d still want to lose some weight and of course I still go running. If I lose weight, then okay. If I don’t lose weight, then, okay too. I know what my body can and cannot do now even if it can be mind over matter because when it comes to my eating disorder, I don’t really want to mess with the devil and relapse. I had to remind myself that what was more important now was my heath: to regulate my eating cycle again and minimize as best as I can alls sorts of dieting and self-hate mentality for my sake.

Thoughts?

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Attended a dear old friend’s wedding yesterday. We were debate teammates in secondary school some 10 years ago and now *gasp* she’s getting MARRIED. Here are some shots that were taken for me by my plus one. The wedding was held at an Indonesian restaurant by the seaside and the weather was perfect for an outdoor wedding.

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She was FLAWLESSLY GORGEOUS.

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That’s where the bride and groom would sit and pose for pictures with guests!

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Getting her makeup touched up by her friend before the groom comes

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❤ Mai, you’ll make the most compassionate and quirky wife. HUGS

(P.S. My thighs are aching like mad. My mum had me attend a session with her personal trainer last week to figure out what types of exercises I can and cannot do, given that my knees are aching and also because of my tailbone problem – for some strange reason my tailbone curves out slightly. Like a tail. Yeahhhh. So there are certain things I can’t do because my lower back will ache like hell after a while. He made me do these exercises that didn’t involve excessive running and pretty much gave me a good workout. I woke up the next day with a sore body. Hello I mean I am aching in muscles I never knew even existed. Which is a good thing I guess because I wouldn’t have shaved my legs to go see a personal trainer who wouldn’t give me a workout that didn’t involve knee and back pains)

how many storms must there be before the calm settles for good?

Have you ever had that feeling where you’re happy in life but afraid at the same time because you know something bad might very likely happen because you know happiness is too good to be true? Not “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” happy. But…”contented” happy. The kind that comes after a storm and the raging waters have calmed down and you’re just merrily drifting away on the water with the waves buoying you up and down. Your heart stops racing; your mind can see clouds and it seems that the planets are aligned in a nice position. But after a while a small tiny part in the hollows of your heart haves you start wondering whether this kind content-happiness will last because it seems to good to be true sometimes. Like you just know for sure that some weird shit is about to happen because the world is never fair in that sense? And maybe also because past experience has told us that happiness doesn’t last long after a while because another battle is coming your way?

You don’t know for a certain. Its more like. You’re afraid.

And truth be told, I’m currently a little afraid. It comes in waves, especially when I’m alone and when I start thinking of how I am contented with life right now. But after what I’ve been through, I feel like I deserve this “contented-happy” feeling and I deserve to experience it for a good while.

Nevertheless.

Just a little little itty bitty afraid.

Just.

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Current read: The Sari Shop Window, by Shobhan Bantwal

No body image/ed post just yet. Next time, I promise. Thanks to the bipolar weather here in which I am experiencing bright blistering heat in the morning then cold windy showers in the afternoon and evening, I am afflicted with the flu, fever and body aches. I do not like this. Plus, because of the flu I have lost my appetite to eat but at the same time my body is craving food. Ughxzxzz. I can’t even deal with this disconnect right now. Sleep.

resolutions, or rather, plans for 2015

Happy 2015 guys! Hope all of you had a wonderful time last week celebrating the end of 2014 with loved ones ❤ It just hit me this morning that I will be 24 years old this year! Meep. Its a fun yet scary thought. Fun (in a way) because hey I sound older and more mature than 22 or 23, but at the same time scary because many people are pretty much expecting me to get my act together. A working adult. Yeahhhhhhh.

Anyway, here I am writing my first post for 2015, and so let’s all bring out the resolutions that we all know are unlikely to be fulfilled. Whoop-dee-doo. With the number of tumultuous years spent struggling to love my body and recovering from my eating disorder, and with a nasty bout of heartbreak added on to that difficult period last year, I’ve learned quite a few things about health (with regards to establishing a healthy body image & recovering from an eating disorder) and happiness in general.

A few years ago, my “New Year’s Resolutions” would have been something along the lines of “lose 20kg”, “eat less and exercise more” and “find out how to make my wallet and not my waistline thicker”

A few days before the new year, I sat pondering the life lessons I’ve been exposed to and the important things that it has taught me and came up with some plans for 2015 that I hope to embrace and/or continue are as follows:

1. Stop comparing myself to other people and learn to be more confident in my own skin by focusing not on outward appearances, but on my own talents, abilities and personality characteristics.

With the past year reading up on body image and practicing body-love habits more, I’ve learned the significance of the adage “appearances are only temporary” When I was younger, I wanted to be tall and beautiful and be the belle of the ball. Now as I grow older and try to find my place in society, I realize there are so much more important things out there that I have to accomplish that are way more important than looking pretty. I gotta graduate with a good degree, get a job, earn my keep and pay my bills. The more I focus on these things I less I think about beauty. What’s the point of being beautiful if I can’t even pay my own bills? What’s being tall and skinny and beautiful compared to traveling the world and gaining new knowledge through the exposure of cultures, adventures and risks which will enrich your soul? I don’t want people to look at me and see only a beautiful thin person, because I know that looks will fade eventually and I know that many people won’t bother to look past than my physical appearances and get to know who I really am.

2. Eat til you are full and eat when you hungry.

This is perhaps one of the most important ones for me that I will devote more energy to. While I am no longer starving and bingeing as intensely in the past, the tendencies to do so remain. Dissecting my foods into its components (carbs/proteins) has become a habit and whenever I’m given an unbalanced  meal, especially when I eat out, usually of which is more rice and less chicken/fish, I end up eating less than I normally would and then tend to overeat at the next meal and get incredibly anxious about. Scraps of past though processes still fester in my mind and sometimes I wouldn’t choose certain goods because I fear it’ll make me gain weight. Although I must say throughout this year I’ve been making progress. I’ve slowly grown better at reading my hunger cues, put down my fork when I’m full & resist pressure (especially from my mum) to eat everything that’s put in front of me Of course there are times when I don’t do it and I experience a teeny lapse. As such before my period where I sort of become the Kraken and just devour everything in sight . Recovering from an ED takes a lot of effort but I definitely want to keep it up

3. Exercise for health and not for vanity and stop when your body tells you too.

I’ll admit that sometimes I spent an extra half an hour running because I’ve seen something someone in a magazine that makes me wish I were thinner. I’ve been trying to override that mentality because I know the extremes to which I can go to when it comes to exercising. In the past I would exercise a whole friggin’ lot because I wanted to look like those models on Instagram I see with ripped abs and arms (like seriously are they even real?). But as I’m growing older I realize that it takes a lot of effort to get that body and I’m slowly accepting that I’m born to have a certain body type – one that isn’ super tall and slim. Moreover, I started experiencing knee pains last week which probably indicates that all that excessive running is finally taking a toll on my poor joints. Anyway. I’ll continue running just to maintain my fitness level & be healthy, but I know now that I shouldn’t force myself to work out just because I want a model’s body.

4. Block out unhappy memories and people from you life and focus on positive.

So according to my aunt’s New Age spiritual beliefs that she subscribes to, the Law of Concentration states that “whatever you dwell upon grows and expands in your life. This law says that the more you think about something, the more of your mental capacity is assigned to think about that issue. Eventually, if you are not careful, you will think about it all the time. This law contains a double-edged sword. If you think about something often enough, it eventually dominates your thinking and affects your behavior” Thinking about unhappy things drains the crap out of you. Like really really. Its so mentally exhausting and expends the mojo out of you. I experienced this when recovering from heartbreak last year. I was so made at this boy for betraying my trust and kept harping on negativity and eventually I just decided to stop one day and force myself to refocus my thoughts to happy things whenever he came into my mind. Life is too short for unhappy moments which prevents us from living in the present.

5. Be grateful for waking up every morning.

This year, the Syrian war, car accidents in New Zealand, floods in Malaysia, the 2 Malaysian Airlines crashes and the recent AirAsia crash just before the New Yea made me think about the fragility of life. How one moment you could be living and enjoying the day and the next day, you might not even be alive at all. Its scary. Really. Life is fleeting and so this year, and really from now on, I’m going to be thankful for life each day and live fully (and responsibly) in the present moment. When things don’t go my way, I would get a mad hissy fit but after a while I sit back and take a deep breath and look out my window and just bask in the beauty of the sky and think of how lucky I am to be able to witness sprawling blue skies. Plus, aren’t grateful people more likely to be in good health and live longer?

Til the next time!

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Gifties from my 2 best girls! They spoiled me so much I can’t even.

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This arrived on Christmas from my German sister! DO YOU SEE THAT FREEZE DRIED ICE CREAM SANDWICH?! SEE IT? I WON’T EAT IT BUT I AM GOING TO MEMORIALIZE IT INSTEAD.

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More lovely things! Yummy cookies from N, iPod from the parents with a note “Don’t drop it in Central Park” (oh the lies I tell them) and assam tea from India when Jia was there.

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Time to bid my black shoes adieu and to use these (what color is this) dance shoes. They gave me blisters. Not liking them already but hey, I need to be grateful for having them right?

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Something funny I found. Oh yes, I would love me some sexy sweaters.

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Ravenclaw notebook from D when he was in Japan’s Universal Studio over the Christmas break! Jia got the Gryffindor one!

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I tried.

Favorite villanous creature: The Nazgul from the Lord of the Rings. Nazgul. I can say it all day.

Man, do I need to get my eyebrows done.