My family used to travel to Taiwan almost every single year when I was in elementary and middle school. My aunts and uncles would squish my cheeks and exclaim, “They are so squishable! You are so cute!” My cousins would say to me, “Not as skinny as your sister! You’re a little chubby!” Those were my earliest memories of people commenting on my body, and it really affected the way I saw myself.
Being “Fat Skinny”
Someone once told me that I wasn’t fat, but I was on the fatter side of skinny.
Fat skinny. I didn’t even know that that was a thing.
I never noticed body size before my cousins kept commenting on it. I became more self-conscious. I couldn’t help but compare myself with everyone else. She’s skinnier? She’s probably a jerk. I’d say anything to justify why I was fat – it must be because I was a better person overall. But I’d look at people bigger than me and think, “Ha! I won.” Obviously, I wasn’t the best person either.
If you look at photos from my past, though, I was never fat. I just had boobs and a butt, and overall a bigger body frame than most other girls at my school. Because of all the things I was hearing from the media and my own extended family, my self-esteem really took a hit.
Expanding My Fitness Interests
I was never on any sports teams when I was younger, mainly because my hand-eye-feet coordination sucks. I walked everywhere though. walked home from school the majority of my life. Walking home from elementary school took over an hour, from middle school took about 45 minutes, and from high school took about 30 minutes.
My family also went hiking often. I always made it a goal to keep up with my dad as much as possible because he’s a power hiker. If my dad said I did okay on a hike but not great, I would make it my mission to do better next time.
Since I left for college, I have expanded my fitness vocabulary into Pilates, boxing, hiking when the weather permits, weight training, and some outdoor training.
Falling in Love with My Body
One of my biggest physical tests was hiking the Grand Canyon. I trained by carrying a 25 pound backpack around work, lots of squats and stairs work at Harvard Stadium. It was during this time when I really fell in love with my body for what it could do.
When my body started to tone up, I stopped being obsessed about comparing myself to other people. There are some people in this world that have really quick metabolism and can eat a lot without gaining much weight – that’s not me. Others can just do cardio and lose the weight like nobody’s business – also not me.
I don’t really think about losing weight from a certain area of my body, or specifically saying “I want a bigger (fill in the blank).” I exercise to feel good all over, so as long as I’m getting stronger, I’m happy. I also love my body in all its stages: meatier butt, more toned butt; food baby stomach, flat stomach; I love it all.
Current Fitness Schedule & Mentality
I love working out with a small group of friends because it fuels my competitive side. I tend to believe that whoever I am working out with is stronger and better than I am. I want to be the best version of what I can be in other people’s eyes. If I am too slow compared to the people around me, I assume that in the future they don’t want to exercise with me because I can’t keep up. That’s why I always ask my dad after a hike how he thought I did – so far I’m up to “good job” but I’m striving for that “I’m impressed at how far you’ve come”.
I constantly switch up my workouts because that really helps my body feel good. I try to exercise at least 5 times a week. When I work out in my apartment, I follow a lot of YouTube fitness videos which is a lot of bodyweight workouts. When I go to the gym, I create my own workouts from Instagram fitness instructors, and include a mix of cardio and weight training.
Lately, work has been really crazy that I haven’t had much time and energy to workout at home or go to the gym, so I rely on my personal trainer to really push me during our sessions. I’m thinking of writing a post about him and his workouts later, so I’ll save that for another day.
That’s the general picture of my fitness story. Through the blog, I want to explore and share all the different ways to move because there’s no one right answer. I hope you guys are ready to move with me!