Talking about body image

_MG_1835.jpgOne thing I haven’t really talked about on my blog is body image. I genuinely would consider myself a confident person, have talked about confidence often on this blog, and think it comes from a lot of different areas in life. However, one of the things that I haven’t always felt confident about is my weight. Sure in blog pics I know my angles and can make myself look a certain way but sometimes if people take a candid pic of me, then I think “Oh that’s what I look like?” or “wow my arm looks huge in that pic”. In Asian culture, it is not “mean” or “ridiculous” to comment on someone’s weight so I can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve been called fat or been told that I needed to lose weight. Sure you can deflect the comments a few times but after a while it can get to you and make you negatively think about yourself. I often wish I was skinnier or weighed less to be more attractive or especially before trips like Spring Break / beach trips. During one of my years in college, I made myself throw up after eating for a span of like two weeks which to be honest was super gross and I’m glad I didn’t keep doing that. One time my friend noticed I had thrown up and I lied about it. Body image is really vulnerable to talk about and keep in mind while you read this post that it’s about my own body image journey. I’m not saying that anyone needs to be a certain weight or change their body just to feel good about themselves but for me it’s what I wanted to change.

A few weeks back, I finished the Insanity workout program which is something I pretty much thought I’d never accomplish. I had three friends do this program before me and the workouts always looked awful/ intense when they were doing them. I actually had started Insanity once before and quit after two weeks. I decided to start it up again for a couple of reasons: 1) I’ve been at the same weight for basically 10 years, 2) I’ve always thought that being 25 would be when I was peaking in life but it didn’t really feel like I was peaking due to my weight.

It was a really frustrating program for sure. It’s supposed to be 9 weeks with 6 intense workouts a week. The first 4 weeks are a set of different workouts that repeat, then you get a recovery week with a less intense workout, then the last 4 weeks are a set of even more intense workouts that repeat. I personally hate repetition so having to do some workouts multiple times was really annoying for me but I eventually got used to it. As a full time student, balancing very fast-paced MBA classes, internship searching, two blogs, and a social life, it was SO hard to find time for this program. I had to modify the schedule to be 5 workouts per week instead of 6 so I actually took 10 weeks to finish the program. I also typically didn’t do the workouts until late at night (9pm, 10pm) because that’s when I could finish most of the work for my day and the large room in my gym wouldn’t be used by others.

Another reason the program was really frustrating to me is that I didn’t see numeric results until week 8. That to me felt like SUCH a long time where I was busting my butt but not getting anything out of it.  One thing I probably shouldn’t have done prior to the program is expect to lose a lot of weight on it. The reason I had this perception is because my three friends that did it all lost 20-30 lbs on the program. I only lost 5 but I saw results in an increase in muscle and a reduction in inches. I think it’s important to remember everyone’s body is different and some have more to lose than others so you can’t always compare yourself to others. I do however feel more toned especially in my legs, somewhat of a butt now (haha), and slimmer in my face, all of which make me feel more confident. Definitely have a ways to go as you can tell in the pics I’m not the fittest person but I’m glad I did see some results.

OG photo on Sept 29, progress photos from Nov 11, Nov 28, and Dec 8th.

Tips for if you start a workout program:

  • Make it a priority– whatever I declare as a priority in my life is what I’m going to be making time for. It was hard to say no to people when they’d invite me out and I’d have to say no because I hadn’t done my workout yet. :/ 100% wouldn’t rather been hanging out with them then working out but I’m glad I stuck with the program.
  • Reach out for support– I’m a person that requires a lot of moral support and I like to verbalize things that are weighing on me. Whenever I needed words of encouragement or wanted to complain about Insanity, my friends and fam were always there to put me right back on track.
  • Hair– this is the most annoying thing for working out 5 times a week intensely because my hair would get so sweaty. Since you’re not supposed to wash your hair everyday, I’d try to do a workout in the evening, shower my body and not my hair (would put a headband around my hair when I slept), workout the next morning, and then shower my body and hair. This way my hair could go longer periods of time without needing a wash (I know this method isn’t ideal for muscle recovery but it was what I preferred to do).
  • Calendar– I printed out the entire Insanity schedule so I knew what workout to do. I also put a sticker over each workout I finished so that I could see the progress I was making with getting through the calendar.
  • Distraction– I would listen to a podcast during the warmup portion of the workouts and then music for the rest of it.

img_3545I by no means am saying that I am now the fittest person ever because of this program or that my body is more fit that others. This post is about my journey with body image and my experience with Insanity. Like I said before, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to change your body- just make sure it’s something you’re doing for yourself and not because of other people’s opinions.

Photos in this post are by my friend and photographer Hannah Turner. Hope y’all are having a great holiday season and happy new year!

❤ Emily

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