I have the same story that most fat women describe, having been on – Every. Single. Diet. – known to man. Atkins, Paleo, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Vegan – I could go on and on. Even bizarre diets from the internet that no one has ever heard of. I’d say that diets, upon looking back, did nothing good for me. Not a damn thing.
#latergram – This pic was taken in #SoCal a few weeks ago. // Life update – moved to NYC this past week. Always wanted to be here and knew this was where I’d build my business, meet my soulmate and find lifelong friends. I feel excited about the adventures ahead! I waited 15 years to follow this dream. I’m now stepping into my fears, learning to embrace and work with them. It’s scary – but it’s now or never. NYC here I come! 💙 #curvy #curves #curvemodel #asianmodel #koreanmodel #plussize #plussized #plussizefashion #blue #royalblue #pretty #inspiration #motivation #eurasian #amerasian #hapa
I began dieting at age 9 with SlimFast, and then transitioned into starvation and bulimia through high school. I finished my junior/senior year off with phen-phen, which is, I believe, similar to speed and quite deadly? I went on every extreme diet I could find until I finally just stopped eating from about age 24-29. I binged and purged a few times a week as a treat, which gave temporary relief to my hunger and false relief for my emotional pain. Even with all that, the smallest I ever got to was a size medium.
Diets put my body on a humiliating cycle of yearly weight fluctuations. I was always up and down 20-30 pounds each year, due to the yo-yo effects that occur when we diet. (Don’t get me started on how awful it is to gain 30 pounds in 1 semester during high school. Diets are brutal, and the kids in my high school were even worse.) My metabolism, hormones, thyroid and mindset were all affected negatively from chronic dieting and starvation. In my experience, it’s diets that actually turn us from chubby or slightly overweight, into fat-producing machines. Diets aren’t healthy and the body does fights back!
What We Resist – Persists
Diets made me obsessed with food – for what we resist, persists. The only people I know whom are not obsessed with food and find binging impossible, are the people that – Do. Not. Diet. Find a dieter (of any weight/size), and you will find one food-obsessed mama. It was in releasing myself from all dieting, and instead, embracing intuitive eating and bodylove, that I began to see food as God intended. A beautiful part of life to enjoy – not my end-all and be-all.
Self-Inflicted Allergies From Extreme Dieting
Eliminating whole food groups on extreme diets such as Atkins or paleo, caused me to develop allergies and sensitivities to foods, which I never had prior. Something about denying my body access to wheat, gluten and potatoes, along with the harmful mental effects of carbphobia – left me feeling suddenly allergic to most perfectly healthy carbohydrates. Foods I never had trouble digesting before.
The vegan diet was nearest and dearest to my heart because I love animals more than anything. But the animal-free diet left me bloated, 40-pounds fatter (seemingly overnight), cavity-prone, and suddenly allergic/sensitive to meat and dairy, too. I had achy joints and could digest almost nothing; I felt like an old lady. I became hopeless, tired and depressed. I was committed to veganism for nearly 2 years, until I had to admit defeat on yet another diet.
*I have been slowly reversing my self-inflicted allergies – through a gentle, loving, subconscious-reprogramming. Very helpful and interesting, but I’ll save that for another blog post. 😉
The Body Positive Movement Changed Everything
Upon age 30 – something changed. I wouldn’t heal overnight, but there was a real and lasting shift in my perspective about my body. The body positive movement began to take hold with bloggers like Nicolette Mason, Nadia Aboulhosn and Tess Holliday. I could barely believe my eyes as I saw more and more beautiful, plus size, confident women looking fly! They were curvy, they promoted loving your natural frame, they were owning fashion and looking beautiful – maybe I could do the same?
I would say that my healing has taken place slowly, in baby-steps, over the course of the last several years. As I loved my body more, I dieted less. As I took time to pamper myself, I noticed an inner radiance shining through. As time passed, I let go of my obsession with the scale. As I embraced intuitive eating, I lost my desire to binge, overeat or obsess over food. Even chocolate chip cookies (my favorite food of all time!) became no-big-deal. There were increasingly more good days than bad days, until my bodyhate albeit disappeared.
Every morning I would dress-up and take time for hair and a little makeup – making me feel like a million bucks before I even stepped out the door. I was fat, but men still smiled at me and opened all my doors. I dated handsome, respectable men (for the most part). Most days, food and weight were the last things on my mind. All I cared about [once I quit dieting] was being my happy, healthy, beautiful self.
2 Million YouTube Views My First Year
In 2016, I would start a body positive YouTube channel, generating 2 million views in the first year. (I’m still gushing over this accomplishment – I can hardly believe it.) I began this blog and a podcast, which allowed me to further share my experiences as an Asian-American curvygirl. I was even offered a modeling contract with Maverick Models LA. I was slowly stepping into my most beautiful life, and this time, I wasn’t letting my weight stop me.
Diets Don’t Work Longterm
Diets don’t work. Experts say only 1-3% of dieters keep their weight off for more than a few years. I’m not sure how many times we need to lose 20 pounds, only to gain back 25, for us to realize this? And though I love my curvy self, I really believe I actually wouldn’t be plus size at all, had I never dieted in the first place.
It is diets, and what they did to my mind and body – that served as the root-cause of my obesity. During the last few years of my dieting-devotion, my body was so out-of-whack that I actually gained weight during calorie-restrictions! Imagine gaining 10 pounds while exercising like a fiend and eating 1600 calories per day. #welcometomyworld It wasn’t until I stopped dieting and turned to intuitive eating, that my weight gain finally stopped.
To All My Chronic Dieters
If you have been a long-time dieter and are steadily gaining weight (no matter how hard you try to prevent it), I have been there. I know that helpless feeling of wondering if your body will gain forever? Consider stepping off the diet train and allowing your body and mind time to heal. Consider intuitive eating as a slow segway into eating like a naturally thin person.
Some gain weight at first, as the body normally does when coming off a calorie-restriction. But in time (usually a year or less), the weight-gain will cease, and you will settle into a refreshing weight maintenance (or weight loss). You will be able to eat whatever you want, but will find you don’t want food they way you used to. It takes time, but I assure you – a full healing is possible.
My Solution: Intuitive Eating + Bodylove
With time, many who practice intuitive eating do lose weight. Even I have dropped a bit of weight more recently. But this doesn’t happen for everyone. Some are meant to be bigger, and it’s about time we stop judging body-shapes – particularly our own. Your body is brilliant, and when you treat it right, it eventually finds its way to whatever weight is most healthy for you. You are beautiful at any size, and you can achieve health at any weight.
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