Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catharsis of Negativity

In nearly every running blog I've come across, there is an entry in each regarding body image, allusions to weight issues, or mention of some sort of dieting.

Given how these things are constantly on my mind, I have made little mention of them here. This is assuredly NOT because I am confident about myself. I am constantly thinking the worst of myself (to put it nicely) and comparing myself to others (because I KNOW others are doing it already). In fact, you could say that because I am afraid of opening up a can of worms, I stay away from all topics of this genre. Time to make my contribution to the blogging world.

I've always been preoccupied by my appearance, because I was a slightly chubby kid, at least in relation to my skinny older sisters. As I got older, I only got more large, seemingly, and the Asian girls around me looked more alike and more... skinny. And because I didn't look like that, I thought I could never be pretty. So I made little effort to learn how to put on makeup, dress nice, or otherwise maintain myself. Nerdy and ugly, more like the picture below (and that was me on a GOOD day, suckin' it in!), no guys wanted to be with me, etc. etc. Just about every negative thought imaginable lived (and to a degree, still lives) with me each day.

Inevitably, I went to college and got more negative comments from my parents everytime I came home for the weekend. Finally, I started drinking huge Diet Cokes or diarrheal tea for dinner, fat-burning smoothies at breakfast, the crusts of my sandwiches at lunch, and chewed gum incessantly. (To this day, I still have an affinity for the crust of foods because I developed a taste for them during this time!) I even got hooked up with some drug-store "quick fixes" from one of my roommates. My stomach was constantly hurting from all the artificial sweeteners and I got really jittery at times, but along with the 2 hours at the gym each day, I lost quite a bit of weight. No, I never got that skinny, and I don't think I have any pictures from that time period (that one of me in red might be AROUND that time, but I don't remember), but there was progress. Okay, so it wasn't really even much at all, maybe 5 pounds, but it really messed me up. For one thing (and this was the least of my worries), I noticed more hair on my brush (though I have a ton to spare, I guess). For all that struggle... Not eating makes my brain fuzzy and me very cranky.

Fortunately, later on, I picked up running and have been learning to appreciate what I can accomplish. I've mostly kept away from artificial sweeteners (though I do chew gum for work/school stress sometimes) and have not since used any weight-related tea or supplement. After running, I must have put on 5 pounds, but I think a good portion of that is muscle. And to the right is a picture of me (in grey) with my gut proudly poking out. That was last year (I'm down about 5 pounds since then). Do these differences really make any difference???

It is really sad what some people will do merely for appearances. If I had spent that energy elsewhere, I could have been helping people, having fun, and living my life. I am a few pounds above what I'd consider an ideal weight and may not be perfect in general even if I was there (see recent picture at top). My habits not quite what they should be, and shutting up my inner critic has been a downright struggle. I still hate parts of my body, but I realize that there are far more important things in life than this. But I also have learned how to maintain myself and the healthy habits that will (hopefully) keep me within a certain range. And it helps to have a companion who appreciates me in spite of the fact that I did not pop out of that cookie cutter from which all those "SwT AzN BayBIEs" came.

P.S. For more empowerment, visit http://www.operationbeautiful.com/!

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