Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Why

Since I began training to be a Beachbody coach, I've learned a lot of things about myself and others. First, I'll get to the "others" piece. My family and friends will quickly tell you that I'm very supportive with whatever efforts they decide to pursue, even if I may disagree with them. For instance, years ago, I had a friend who was just starting out as a Mary Kay representative. Without asking me for help, I asked if she could provide a Mary Kay show for my bridal shower. My hope was to give her more exposure so she could expand her business, as well as earn money. I also have a friend who currently makes hair bows. I volunteered my time to help her create marketing materials to promote her business as well. I even purchased several bows for my daughter.

So, why is it then that when you announce to your family and friends that you're a Beachbody coach, no one responds?! Or they expect special treatment just because they know you. There have been folks within my personal network that have hurt my feelings because they're uninterested in the tools and support I can offer. But as Michael tells me, move on. My fellow coaches tell me to not get caught up with they have said or done. Expand your network.

Moving on now to what I've learned about myself. One of my first assignments in my Beachbody training was to figure out "The Why." Why do I want to become a Beachbody coach? I thought about it long and hard because I knew the primary reason was to make money. The next reason is that I know that the fitness programs work. You know what Turbofire did for me! I can't help but preach the gospel of Turbofire, Chalene Johnson, and Beachbody. They finally gave me a fitness program that I could do and actually see physical changes in my body.

The other reason why I'm becoming a coach is to share my story. In my early 20s through the time I was 33, I struggled with anorexia. Growing up in my hometown, I realized quickly that it was not culturally diverse. I  made up a small minority of Asian Americans in our town. This fact brought more attention to us, and I was often teased because of my appearance (i.e. black hair, olive skin, slanted eyes). I was an honors student throughout my pre-college days. My English was strong, and I think others (non-Asians) envied my academic successes. At least that's what I think. When it came time to deciding where I wanted to go to college, I knew I wanted to leave my hometown and move to a town that I knew would be culturally diverse. I decided on Loyola University in New Orleans.

Growing up in my hometown, I was only aware of my Asian characteristics. I was never concerned with my weight. My parents taught us to eat and be happy, but we didn't have a lot of food choices at home. My parents both worked two jobs each just to make ends meet. There were many times we had to eat whatever they prepared, whether we liked it or not. I remember often eating eggs with soy sauce on rice or hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. I remember getting so much joy out of eating a quarter of a Snickers bar that my mom would purchase from the vending machine at her workplace. They would sometimes treat us to a Whopper but with no fries. But even during these times and during my crazy high school years, I was never concerned with my weight.

As a freshmen in college, I was just so amazed at how many other Asians attended my school and also spoke English just as clearly as I did. And they were friendly and welcoming. As my stay at Loyola continued, I met more and more Asians. I joined groups with them, attended parties, shopped in Asian markets, etc. But later on, I realized that I didn't fit in when it came to my personal appearance. That is, I wasn't as thin as most of the other Asian girls were. I chose to wear a size 6 because I liked my clothes loose. Many of these girls were sizes 0 or 2. Some even shopped for clothes in the children's section. Say whaa-WHAT?!

In my junior year, I became an after-school tutor in one of the Vietnamese communities located on the Westbank of New Orleans. I made more friends and even joined a nonprofit organization to aid desolate communities in Vietnam. This was the time that I became more self-conscious. I was meeting more boys (or should I say men) and wanted to look nice. I thought that to be attractive to an Asian man, that you should be thin, almost waif-like. I even had a few of my Asian friends tell me that I would look better if I lost a little weight. So, I did. During the summer before my senior year, I rode my bike and circled around my old high school. I limited what I ate to just lunch and very light dinner with my parents. Then, when I became a senior, so many people complimented me on how I looked. They could tell that I lost some weight. I was so proud of myself.

In my last semester, I met my boyfriend, an Asian like myself. He was in medical school. He was funny, cute, smart, and so sweet. We would date for 3-1/2 years, even after I graduated and moved to Baton Rouge to go to graduate school at LSU. During those years, I struggled with my appearance more and more. His family was a very traditional Asian family and his mother didn't like my appearance. She hated the way I looked and made fun of my crooked smile. She still haunts me from time to time. I actually got braces to correct the spacing of my teeth in 2010. (If she could only see me now...)

My boyfriend agreed with his mother. He also thought I would look better if I lost weight. He had me workout often, even when I was battling the flu. He would scoff at me if I ate too much. During this time, I was practically a size 1. My friends noticed but didn't say anything. My parents noticed but only said, "You're too skinny." My siblings didn't say anything at all. Yes, I had an eating disorder but didn't know it. I restricted myself to eating one very small snack or meal a day. I barely drank water, had an occasional soda. For breakfast, I would eat a granola bar. For lunch, I may have eaten something large just so I could be full at dinnertime. I was living alone, in one of the graduate student apartments on campus. So, no one knew what I was doing to myself. I also forced myself to work out as much as I can, sometimes twice a day.

At that time, I didn't know why my skin was scaling, why I had 8 cavities at one time, why I was getting sick all of the time.

I changed the way I ate once I broke up with my boyfriend a few years later. When I moved on to my next two relationships, I ate more regularly, exercised less, but still I...skipped meals. I was a size 2 then.

It wasn't until I met my husband in 2007 when I finally learned about healthy eating and regularly working out. He's a former bodybuilder and exercises 4-5 days/week. He taught me how to eat well and drink water to stay hydrated. Still, I skipped meals when I could. What finally changed for me was when I became pregnant with my first child just a few months after I got married. My first trimester was miserable. I was nauseated most of the time and I could barely eat. I remember crying to my OB because I thought I was killing my baby by not eating. And I wasn't eating...because I had no appetite, not because I was trying to maintain my figure. Both of my pregnancies were similar in that I ate like I did when I wasn't pregnant. I didn't have cravings or overate. I filled my body with lots of fruits and vegetables. I didn't have a taste for any soda.

So, there's my why. I'm not sad anymore. I'm the happiest I've ever been. I'm a happy size 4. I know now that because of Turbofire, I can eat healthy and exercise regularly to lose and maintain my weight. No longer do I starve myself.

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