“I’m sorry. You can’t give blood. You’re two pounds underweight.” I walked away from the blood drive during my senior year in high school so sad because I wanted to help donate. The next thought I had was, “I’m healthy and I can’t even help.”
A little backstory about me.
Growing up, I had a hard time gaining weight. When we had our friends over to eat during the summer, I wanted to be like them. So I tried to eat as many small bowls of rice as they did. If you want to know, I barely made it through one bowl and felt like I was about to burst. That’s how little I could eat.
Time at the dinner table was always so short to me because I was always full so quickly. One time, I remember eating until I felt sick. I forced myself to keep eating because I just wanted to be like the other kids. But I still couldn’t do it. Adults would say, “You eat so little! Eat more!” and “So skinny!”
It’s okay if you read that with an Asian accent because it did happen. My parents also bought me Ensure (anyone remember?) to drink per the doctor’s instructions to see if I could gain weight. Nothing.
I just wanted to be a normal kid. But I couldn’t gain weight to save my life.
You know how some kids are picked on because they were overweight? I got picked on because I was so skinny. They’d put their hand around my wrist or arm and close their fingers. When their fingers touched, they’d say something like, “Danggg!” As if that wasn’t bad enough, ‘Toothpick’ was my nickname in school. To top that, I put a bright, big red bullseye on me when I wore braces and glasses during this time too.
Fast forward to high school. My health started to take an upswing once I got into dance classes. And once I figured out I was allergic to the flu shot, my life started to change. If I’m being honest, my favorite physical version of me was when I was in drill team. I mean, look at this picture, haha! I was 110 pounds of nearly solid muscle and I was happy as a clam!
Today, I can’t say that I’m that happy, but I’m comfortable in my own skin.
To me, as long as I’m a better version of myself compared to yesterday, it’s all that matters. With that said, I thought I’d give you a small update on my health journey so far.
I’ve been sleeping a lot more, especially on weekends. It’s still hard for me to shut down because all I want to do is create content when I come home from my day job, but tracking the quality of my sleep with the Sleep Cycle app (don’t worry, I don’t keep my phone super close to me) has helped. I can’t say I’m quite there yet, but my mindset is getting there a lot faster, haha!
If I want to be super happy and energetic, anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep works best. Other than that, I can function on 5-6 hours of sleep. Any less than that, I’m still functioning, but I’m in zombie mode hunting for coffee.
I’ve been doing a lot better with the food part. Whether it’s a quick applesauce packet if I’m running late, egg whites with veggies, or a protein smoothie, healthy breakfasts are a normal thing in my life now. Lunches have always been the same. A salad of some kind (kale is my favorite) with boiled egg and grilled chicken or salmon is my lunch call sign.
For dinners, I give myself a lot more room to have fun. It can be a steak bowl with tons of veggies on the side or even a cheat meal depending on my schedule. I will say that I prefer to have cheat meals during lunch time instead of dinner.
I also don’t deprive myself. If I want an ice cream cone, I get myself one because I know if I don’t, I’ll be binging in some major way later. Instead of depriving myself and regretting my consequential actions, I just allow myself to, you know, live.
I’ll be stepping up my food game in the next couple of months as I want to do an experiment between now and my birthday in October. More on this later!
I used to hate the gym, but now, I actually look forward to it. It’s weird that I’ve had to miss gym sessions for several weeks now to train and rest for my race. But I find it to be a great thing because missing my trainers just tells me that I’ve turned working out into a lifestyle.
It took over a year to get to this point, but I can definitely say that I love exercising and staying active. I mean, I cried on my vacation (my back was killing me and I’m very pain tolerant so that tells you how bad of a state I was in) when I couldn’t go out with my best friends to train for our upcoming triathlon.
My health journey hasn’t been easy these last few years after my car accident. Adding on to working a desk job for 8+ hours a day doesn’t help with keeping the pounds off.
But with people who inspire me, it’s my goal to just keep pushing to feel better.
What I love about myself is that I’m willing to try any kind of workout. From hiking to boxing, tennis, barre, BBG, Pilates, taking a self-defense class, bootcamp with former NFL players, running, and more running, I think it’s safe to say I’m a very active person.
Honestly, I don’t care about the number on the scale because I’m more than a number.
Actually, I’ve barely weighed myself in the last five years. All I want is to have fun and fit into my old clothes that I refuse to purge from my closet.
I want to tell you that if you’ve been struggling with getting healthy, you’re not alone. You are not a number on the scale. Getting yourself to love working out does take one day at a time. And it’s completely okay to be where you’re at because trust me when I say that there are plenty of people who wish they could be where you’re at in your health journey right now.Wellness is more than a number. Wellness is about building a strong and positive mindset, increasing physical energy, and having such quality sleep that your levels are so high, you get up everyday excited to LIVE. Click To Tweet
When you focus on how you feel, your journey will get better and easier. The side affect is weight loss, but the real result is that big grin on your face because you are on fire about life.
Moonsparkle (ZM)July 14, 2019
Sorry to hear about your weight struggles, Huong. I’m the opposite, have been more overweight. I was thinner as a child, then bigger after puberty. In the last few years I’ve lost weight and been trying to eat more healthily, but I have times where I “slip”. I’ve always thought it’s just as horible to pick on someone for being thin as it is to pick on them for being fat.
Glad to hear you’re getting more rest and doing better with food. And that’s great that you love exercising and being active. I like what you said in the last two paragraphs, especially about not being alone. Look forward to reading ,more about your health journey. 🙂
HuongJuly 23, 2019
Thanks, Zania! My best friend once asked me, “Do you think it’s easier to lose weight once you’ve been in shape or to have never known what it’s like to be fit?” Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s more important on how you FEEL.
It is horrible. To me, it’s different when you’re picked on as a kid than as an adult. Adults know better and yet there’s still body shaming. :/
Thank you! Food is the next phase I’m working on. It took a long time for me to love the gym, but I like going now! I can’t wait to share more! xo