Glowing Up During Quarantine

Glowing Up During Quarantine

Glowing up is the act of working on your physical and mental self to show up as an improved and happier person. You essentially dedicate a number of days, weeks, months, or even years to solely focus on yourself and your needs. Whether it be reading more, meditating, working out, eating healthy – glowing up is when you take good care of yourself and prioritize your needs and wants.

Since we’re in lockdown now and have so much free time in our hands, it makes sense that we dedicate our time and energy on doing things that we’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. It’s the best time to focus on taking care of ourselves and work on our physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Working Out

One of the most important things you could do to improve not only your physical but also your mental health is moving your body every day. You’ll feel better about your body, be less stressed, and feel more accomplished at the end of the day. Instead of focusing on the physical benefits of working out, I try to focus on the mental satisfaction that I get at the end of a good workout.

Drinking Water

It’s good for your skin, your organs, your brain, and it also helps improve your mood.

Sleeping Enough

Getting a good night’s sleep is necessary so that you don’t wake up tired and groggy the next day. Sleeping for at least 7-8 hours helps improve concentration and productivity and also helps prevent depression.1

Meditating

It’s important to take care of your mind during this uncertain time. Meditating everyday even for just 5 minutes makes a lot of difference and over time you’ll be able to notice how mentally strong you’ve become.

Reading Books

Reading books is one of the best habits a person can have. It helps stimulate the brain, reduce stress, and also helps improve your memory. Not to mention also the fact that you’re learning new words and new ways of thinking and also gaining more knowledge about the way our world works.

Self Care

Using face masks, hair treatments, and taking supplements is going to make such a big difference in your appearance. When I was in college last year, I had a phase where I wasn’t really taking care of myself. I’d forget to do my daily skin care, take my supplements, and I was just generally not putting in much effort to take care of myself. As a result, my appearance worsened and I was looking dull and tired all the time.

When I got back home I realised just how poorly I was treating myself and decided to never make the same mistake again.

In the end, we should think about how lucky we are to be able to use this time to grow, improve, and better ourselves. It’s all about being kind to our bodies and minds and doing something to live a happy, more fulfilling life everyday.

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25133759/

Anorexia – Part 1

Anorexia – Part 1

9th Grade

At the age of thirteen, I was becoming aware of the way I looked. I wanted to be pretty. I wanted to fit in.

So I created a plan for what I was going to eat and I began to follow it religiously. At the time, I was also training for golf whilst eating as little as I possibly could. Weeks passed by and now I was starting to lose some weight. I was actually getting stronger and healthier, I was feeling confident and feeling good about myself. So the results began to show and I started to receive compliments from friends and family. I was proud of myself. I wanted to be better and lose more weight.

Lose all of it.

So that’s how it began. Over the months, I began to eat as little as 300 calories per day, I was exercising vigorously and eating as clean as I possibly could. This is when everyone began to notice that something was wrong. Now I was getting really harsh comments from everyone around me –

“You look sick.” Why did you lose so much weight?” You look terrible.”

And I know that some of those remarks were coming from a place of concern and worry, but it certainly didn’t change anything. In fact, it only made me feel worse about myself, and feeling this way made me eat even less.

Looking back at that time, I realize that things were not right since the beginning of my weight loss journey. I didn’t want to be healthy, I just wanted to be a stick-thin figure. My intention to lose weight was coming from a place of self-hatred, I wanted to change the way I looked, not for myself but for everyone else around me. I wanted to be accepted and the only way I thought I could fit in was if I lost weight.

At the same time, it felt good to be in control of something.

A lot of things began to happen to my body and my mindset throughout that year. A lot of bad things.

Even though I toning up in the start of my entire weight loss process, a few months down the line I began to feel weak and tired all the time. It was hard to keep up with conversations. Talking, for even a few minutes, was a drag. My skin was pale and dry. My hair was falling in clumps and had lost all of its shine and thickness. I lost my period (and didn’t get it back for the next three and a half years).

I was, of course, oblivious to all of these changes and paid no mind to them. The only thing that mattered was the number on the scale – and it had to be the lower and lower every time I stepped on it.

To be continued

A Month of Indulging

A Month of Indulging

Since I have so much free time now that we are in quarantine, I’ve been experimenting with cooking and have been trying out new recipes. This week was definitely when I ate a lot of soul-good foods; I was also sick so that meant that I was craving a good amount of comfort foods. By all means, I believe that in May, I focused more on my mental health (rather than my physical health) and indulged in food that makes me feel good. I’ve struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia in the past and I believe that this month of letting myself go was very necessary. Believe it or not, even when individuals are weight restored from anorexia, the mental battle is still extremely hard to fight. So here we are! Let’s dive into the delicious meals I ate during the last few weeks:

Creamy cheese pasta with broccoli: I tried making for the first time ever and it turned out to be a huge success! I also managed to burn the broccoli that I cooked as a side, but it still ended up tasting pretty good!

Peanut butter toast with banana and cinnamon: this is definitely one of my favourite comfort foods and really my all time favourite. It’s easy to make, healthy, and very delicious.

Some good ol’ cereal: this is my top to-go breakfast. Personally, my favourite is Barbara’s Oat Crunch and Annie’s Cocoa Bunnies. They’re both very healthy and taste so good.

Red Sauce Pasta: I didn’t even look up a recipe to make this pasta but I somehow managed to make the most delicious pasta I’ve ever tasted. I truly believe that I’ve mastered the art of making delicious pasta because this was truly so flavourful.

Burnt pancakes (oops): I managed to burn these pancakes I cooked for breakfast the other day. They still turned out pretty alright.

Veggie burger: I stopped eating meat in 2020 and the transition to becoming a vegetarian has been queit easy for me. We ordered in the Harvest burger from this famous hamburger restaurant called Bandit.

The entire month of May revolved around eating various variations of the meals I have mentioned above. I also made sure to eat healthy nutritious fruits and veggies everyday because personally, I don’t seem to function correctly without my daily dose of fresh fruit and lemon water in the morning.

life update

life update

A lot has happened since the year began – some good things and some bad – however, I think that I’ve learnt much more this year than I have compared to my high school years. I believe that moving to a new country, starting college, and living in a completely new place and environment can make you learn a lot more about yourself thank you’d think.

I’ve embarrassed myself A LOT

I’m a freshman in college, so naturally, I have tried my best to put myself out of my comfort zone in order to meet new people and socialise. In the process, however, I have made a lot (and I mean a lot) of childish mistakes. It’s not easy to move to a different country and start a new life. For me, when college began, I was already very confused about who I was as a person and living in a new place definitely did not serve me well.

I’ve made some really close friends

I’ve made some amazing memories in my first year of college and all of them involved some of my closest, truest friends. I have learnt so much from these guys and I’m truly so grateful for them.

I’ve learned to love myself

It took a lot for me to reach the place I am at right now. I chopped my hair off, cut off toxic friends, forgave a lot of people, got my heart broken, and eventually began to focus on myself and my needs before anyone else’s. Thinking about what I wanted and valuing my needs was a big step in pointing me towards the direction of self love.

I’ve realised the importance of mental health

I started therapy this year and I also started seeing a psychiatrist. I learnt a lot about different kinds of medication, the importance of opening up and talking about your problems, and doing little things to take care of yourself and make you feel better.

taking care of yourself during quarantine

taking care of yourself during quarantine

With so much going on in the world right now, it’s important to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. However, it’s also essential that we don’t use this time as an excuse to “take it easy”. This is the perfect time to build long-lasting habits that can possibly change the way we live our lives. Use this time to work on yourself, work on your hobbies, and really “glow up” and become the best version of yourself.

Here are some things I’ve found have been really helping me take care of myself during the lockdown:

Drinking 2-3 litres of water everyday: Now this might seem like a lot, but trust me, drinking tons of water has been such a game-changer for me. I also drink warm lemon water first thing after waking up in the morning.

Reading some good books: This is by far the best way to spend your time if you’re bored. I’ve been finishing books faster than ever and I feel so happy about finally having the opportunity to read all the books that I’ve always wanted to read. If you don’t know where to start you should check out Zoella’s Book Club on her blog – she recommends some of the best books I’ve ever read and I’m so excited to finish all the books on her list. Some of my favourites are : One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. Mcmanus, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling (of course).

Sleeping for 8-9 hours: Some of us are doing a bad job by sleeping for either 4 hours or 14 hours per night. Being disciplined about your sleeping schedule is so important. It’s okay if we sleep in, or stay up all night on the weekends. But during the weekdays, maintaining a sleep schedule is essential and will save you so much time and stress.

Home workouts: Working out is so important during this time. Something that made the idea of working out every day easier for me was thinking of the mental benefits of working out, rather than exercising to look a certain way. I started viewing working out as something that makes me feel better, happier, and calmer. Exercise and movement is a good thing and your body and mind will thank you so much for it.

Work on your hobbies: It could be cooking, painting, singing, playing an instrument, writing, dancing, reading – this is such a great time to do whatever it is that you love and enjoy. Personally, I’ve been reading, cooking, and baking and it’s been helping me keep myself busy.

recovery

Movie : To The Bone

Approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 30 have anorexia, and 1 to 3 percent of college-age women have bulimia. In addition to these clinically recognized conditions, there is a virtual epidemic of “subclinical” eating disorders among American women, many of whom do not meet the strict criteria for anorexia or bulimia – such as bingeing, purging, and fasting, or abusing laxatives, diet pills, and diuretics – to keep their weight under control.

There has been a great deal of speculation about just what other factors – besides a cultural emphasis on thinness and the difficulty women have losing pounds – prompt some women to develop eating disorders while others manage to avoid them. One factor is occupational: eating disorders are common in women whose livelihood depends on thinness or appearance – for example, dancers, models, actresses, gymnasts, figure skaters, long distance runners, and jockeys.

Eating disorders can last a lifetime for some people. The thoughts, patterns, and habits that were developed during the disorder are hard to get over and a lot of individuals who are “weight restored” can still struggle with the same mentality that was present during the ED.

I have been very open about how I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since 4 years. It started out with me restricting food because I wanted to lose weight and feel better, but soon I became obsessed with my results and began to starve myself. I lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and, soon enough, my health began to deteriorate. I lost my period for three years, my hair started falling out, I was tired all the time, I was isolating myself.

My obsession with food and exercise lasted for about 2 years. I started recovery with the help of my golf coach, family, friends, and doctors. What I needed was a massive amount of support from the people closest to me and I was lucky enough to have friends who really cared about me and helped me with the recovery process. I also went to a nutritionist, which I believe was the best thing I could have done, who helped me throughout the weight gain process.

verywellmind.com

Since the last year, however, I am at a very uncertain place with regards to how I feel about my body and myself. I know I’m not the only one though, I know so many girls, around my age, who struggle with the same thoughts and patterns and have even partaken in some type of disordered eating. I feel especially upset about how social media portrays women and how we are forced to believe, since a very young age, that there is only one body type that is beautiful. Girls are made to feel like they aren’t good enough or “worth it”, just because they aren’t a size 0.

It’s so upsetting to see how girls as young as 9 are dieting and starving themselves because they want to be “pretty”. This is the kind of mindset I had for a very long time and I strongly believe that social media played a very strong role in shaping the way I thought of myself in such a negative light. It is so wrong to believe that being “pretty” comes in only one size and shape. I know countless girls who are so confident and happy with themselves and how they look even if they aren’t a size 0. It takes a lot to be truly happy with they way you look in our society today, especially when we are constantly told that we can’t love ourselves if we don’t look a certain way.

We are so much more than what we look in the mirror. Instead of striving to be skinny for the wrong reasons, we should pay more attention to keeping our bodies and minds healthy by staying balanced and doing the best we can. This means focusing on not only eating healthy and nutritious food, but also meditating, reading a book, and exercising to FEEL GOOD, rather than tiring yourself every day to look a certain way.

Carlson, Karen J et al. The Harvard Guide To Women’s Health. Harvard University Press, 1996.

disappear and get shit done

Maybe it’s the sagittarius in me, maybe it’s because I love the concept of not seeing someone for a really long time only to see them a few months later, absolutely KILLING it. I mean, it’s happened to me so many times, I’ve seen people from my school disappear for a couple months and then I see them suddenly, and they’re a completely new person. They’ve got different hair, they’re not into the same music anymore, they’re doing good at school. It’s like the person’s got a complete makeover – they’re a better version now and they know it, cause they worked for it.

There’s just something about taking time for yourself and doing things that make you feel good. I always tell myself that change is good and that the process of change makes you grow into a better, more mature version of yourself. The time that you invest in taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself really shows and people all around you see it too. During the holidays I would get so much time to really do things I liked doing. Waking up without an alarm, going for morning runs, spending time with my best friends, and reading good books. I spent time doing happy things and I would always come back to school feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Just doing tiny things like drinking green tea, stretching in the morning, meditating, and spending time with the people you love makes a whole lot of difference. I stopped hanging out with the wrong crowd – with people who made me feel tired and really anxious all the time. I stopped giving my time and energy to people who weren’t putting in the same amount of effort that I was putting into the relationship.

When you start to value your own opinion and care less about what others perceive of you, life becomes easier. I started to put my needs over other people’s needs, make goals for myself and take small steps throughout the week to achieve them.

Social media also plays such a huge role in our lives nowadays. It is no surprise that social media has definitely changed the way we think, what we wear, what we eat, and where we choose to spend our time. Influencers on Instagram constantly tell us that we should be wearing clothes from a certain brand, that we should be travelling to different places, that we should be spending a lot of money on things that will “make” us happy, that there is something wrong with the way we look and that there is only one way to be beautiful.

So many teenagers struggle with mental health problems and disorders because we are forced to believe that there is only one way we can be happy. Taking time off social media can improve the way we view and think about ourselves. There is so much time to do things like reading good books, exploring new places, spending time with your family, and doing schoolwork. Everything becomes so simple and you realise that being that ideal version of yourself wasn’t really that hard all along. With time, the small changes that you make start to turn into habits and after a while you don’t have to think twice about following your daily routine.

a list that i made for you

my favourite coffee place in Santa Cruz – verve coffee

Doing little things that make you happy throughout the day actually start to make a big difference in your overall mood. I made this list today because I’ve been going through a few rough weeks, recently, and I haven’t really been taking care of myself, or doing anything to make myself feel better or happy. So here goes, a few things you could do today, or in the coming days to feel better and more positive about yourself and just life in general 🙂

  1. Read a book
  2. Meditate
  3. Go to a café and order your favourite coffee
  4. Watch a movie
  5. Go to the beach
  6. Go for a hike
  7. Workout
  8. Draw/sketch/paint
  9. Listen to good music
  10. Write
  11. Listen to a podcast
  12. Clean your room
  13. Donate your clothes
  14. Drink loads of water
  15. Eat healthy
  16. Make healthier choices
  17. Call your parents and ask them about their day
  18. Call your best friends
  19. Paint your nails
  20. Get a tattoo (sorry mom)
  21. Change your hairstyle
  22. Change your wardrobe
  23. Disappear and get shit done (one of my personal faves)
  24. Play a sport
  25. Take time off social media (instagram SUCKS)
  26. Take a nap
  27. Get rid of the extra stuff in your room
  28. Go for a walk
  29. Stretch
  30. Take 3 deep breaths
  31. Spend time outside
  32. Go for a picnic (I miss doing this so much! @namsy we gotta do this when I’m back home)
  33. Journal
  34. Drink green tea
  35. Wake up early
  36. Take care of your skin (follow a skincare routine)
  37. Make a Vision Board
  38. Go for a swim

the last few months have been hard. i started college, moved to a different country, lost some friends, made new ones, and went through a lot of breakdowns almost every week.

i’ve been struggling. see the thing is that even when you “recover” from an eating disorder, you never really do. the thoughts, the constant fixation on the way you look in that crop top, the continuous thinking about what others are eating and what they’re not, is always on the back of your mind. i’ve dealt with comments from my parents, my friends, relatives, strangers – change the way you look. at every single body weight, i’ve never been enough “too fat, too skinny, no curves, thunder thighs”.

i’m 17, a teenage girl. it’s obvious that i will care too much about what other people think. we judge others without even knowing that we do – it’s human nature. sometimes i feel like i will struggle with this for the rest of my life. use food to punish myself, use it to treat myself, use it to make me feel worse, use it to make me feel better. i just wish i was ‘normal’. i see girls everywhere and i can’t help but compare myself to them. i have days where i’m so happy with my body and i couldn’t care less about anyone else, because on those days only my opinion matters and i feel good about myself. but on the other days i’m under a grey cloud and i can’t think or focus or talk to anyone. i can never be “enough”.

on the bad days, i push people away. i ignore my friends, my family, never open my messages, and i find it hard to approach people. on those days everything is tinted grey, that’s when the thoughts start to go from bad to worse. you can talk to people about your worries and problems and that can make you feel better but in the end you’re the only one who can make the changes to make you feel better. you’re the only one who’s got the power to change the way you think.

Ana

Towards the end of my school year in 9th grade, I started to go to the gym with a trainer and within weeks the weight came off unknowingly. My clothes were fitting me better, I felt stronger, and I was starting to get attention from people all around me. I remember feeling so happy about my body for the first time in my life, I figured that if I worked harder, my results would be better.

After a few months although, I created certain ‘food rules’ for myself that I followed religiously for 3 weeks. My exams were going on during this time and when I went back to the golf club after they ended, the amount of attention I got was overwhelming. People were telling me how I great I looked and that I looked much better than before. I didn’t know back then that I was starting to fall into the traps of Anorexia Nervosa, but fast forward to 4 months and I weighed 40 pounds lesser than I did before. I continued to get a large amount of attention, but this time everyone around me was worried.

During my lowest points, I spent every single hour of every single day thinking about how many calories I’d eaten, planning how I would skip my next meal, and figuring out how I could be more active. I spent most of my time fighting with family members, arguments were a daily ritual, but I still didn’t do anything to get better. In my head, everything was fine and I chose to believe that they were just jealous of me.

I only started recovery towards the end of 10th grade, when my golf coach told me to go to a nutritionist and get help. A month after I went to her, I started to get better, I felt stronger, I was happier, I started to do things for myself and actually began to take better care of my health.

It’s not that I decided to make the change right after I decided to get help. Recovery was an extremely long process and it took me a very very long time to actually listen to what everyone was saying around me.

I remember how terrible my life was when I was anorexic, seriously. It’s like I cared about only one thing in my life and that was to get thinner and thinner and just be as skinny and bony as I could be. I drove myself and everyone around me crazy. I lost 2 years of my teenage life being obsessed about what everyone thought of me.

(pt. 2 coming soon)