My diet, exercise, and weight story

/ Monday, October 27, 2014 /

Several people have asked me to write a post about this topic. I had waited for a long time for multiple reasons (not having enough time, being super sick, etc) but here is the long-awaited post.

Throughout most of high school I was overweight. As hard as that may seem to be believed (especially for petite Asians such as myself, or at least so-goes the stereotype) it is true. I wasn't allowed to drink coffee (for all of those parents out there - it does NOT stunt growth!) and so to stay up I would eat lots of chocolate. I ate a ton of my brother's Halloween chocolate and it was delicious, but ultimately not good. I was super stressed in school with 7 AP classes, running extracurricular clubs, and everything that I forgot to take care of myself. My parents didn't have time to go to grocery stores to buy homemade/healthy ingredients for lunches, so I had to resort to very unhealthy, greasy school lunches. Also, I didn't have time to exercise, hence the weight gain.

The summer after college, I somehow started not caring about food anymore. I went on a cucumbers-and-milk diet and lost about 15 pounds. I spent the entire summer (apart from a month of vacation) cleaning out my parents' house, and that took a TON of effort and consumed a lot of calories. Yay!

Afterward I entered college. I started exercising a lot, running several 5Ks and getting into breakdancing. I started taking a lot of dance classes and yoga classes, and my health improved quite a bit. I definitely struggled in terms of weight with the unlimited cafeteria options offered by my college, and did gain freshman 15. However, I lost it, and then some more after that.

Thus entered medical school. By this time, I had undergone several surgeries, and after each one of them, the natural lack of appetite and strenuous physical therapy made me both lose a LOT of weight as well as atrophy my muscles. I had lost, from high school till this point, a net of 30 pounds. And believe me - for a person who is 5' 2'', that's a LOT.

I started medical school afterward. I gained back about 10 pounds, but this time it was mostly healthy muscle. I started working out again (when I had time), but this time, instead of dance and running, it was yoga, pilates, Zumba, and the like. A lot better. Now, I exercise about 3-4 times a week, and try my best to watch my diet. Lots of veggies and fruits. Meat only a few times a month. I still do have my weaknesses - the occasional delicious fruity wine, Cheez-its, fancy cheeses, raspberry jams, etc, but for the most part I've gotten a lot better.

I've discovered a lot of tricks along the way. Some of them include:

  • Swapping out peanut butter filled with saturated fat with unsaturated almond butter
  • Putting frozen fruit in my water (yay fruit and water!)
  • No sodas of any sort
  • Black coffee
  • Tea w/ light brown sugar and goji berries
  • Kefir (lots of bacterial cultures) instead of reduced fat milk
  • Avoiding mochas and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks (I go for the skim milk normal latte instead)
  • Quiches with lots of veggies
  • Making my own kale chips instead of french fries or potato chips
  • Making my own spaghetti sauce, filled with chunky vegetables instead of store-bought ones
  • Fruit smoothies blended with real fruit, kefir, and frozen non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Swapping out ice cream for frozen yogurt
  • Etc. 

I still have a long way to go in terms of diet and health (e.g. sleeping more normal hours, not stressing as much) but it's way better than before!


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