For as long as I remember, I’ve always had self-esteem issues that originated from my weight. I don’t ever remember a time even as a child that I didn’t think about my weight, and to be honest, that’s pretty sad. I’ve been a big girl my entire life and have gone through a plethora of diets, pills, teas and other concoctions starting from single digit ages. I’ve lived through eating disorders and a bunch of unhealthy ways to lose weight my ENTIRE life. Despite the weight, I’ve always been deceptively athletic. Multiple varsity sports in high school, intramurals in college and grad school and I’ve had a consistent active life. Biking 10-15 miles, swimming a mile, running a 5K was all easily doable. Despite doing all these things, at the end of the day, I was terribly unhappy and hated myself just because of the weight and how I perceived myself. It’s not easy being the tallest and largest kid when the rest of your family/peers are much smaller than you especially as an Asian female. Growing up in this toxic culture with constant criticisms of weight from even strangers really exacerbated this negativity towards myself and it led me into a downward spiral of self-hate, self-harm and eating disorders which continued well into my adult years.
At the start of Kinda Fit Kinda Fat in 2017, I can honestly say that I absolutely hated myself. I couldn’t think of one attribute that I liked about myself physically or mentally. I would punish myself consistently, and there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t think about my weight. There were times where I would eat a piece of toast and work out for three hours straight, to the point where I would be so dizzy I would throw up. This hatred of myself wasn’t just physical, I would consistently tell myself that I wasn’t good enough. I told myself that I was not a good physical therapist, despite the constant praise of my colleagues and patients. I told myself that I wasn’t intelligent despite my doctorate and multiple degrees and languages that I speak. I told myself that I wasn’t good enough in every aspect of my life.
When we started Kinda Fit Kinda Fat, I was thrown into the word of powerlifting to get to know the people who loved the brand. I went from never touching a barbell to being platform ready within 2.5 months, but in that short amount of time, I learned to slowly love myself and to undo all the trauma and self-sabotage. When I first started to lift, I would constantly say that I was weak, or that I couldn’t lift something or do something before I even tried. I doubted myself before even trying the activity! As time went on, those phrases started to disappear and I quit telling myself that I couldn’t but instead told me that I can. As a result, I got stronger, my body began to change, and ate WAY MORE than I ever did before. At that point, the weight just came off, but that wasn’t my focus anymore. I worked out and ate right to get stronger. The physical changes only happened when I changed my mindset. I began to share my story to other men and women who struggled with their self-image, and through their support, I was healing myself.
Honestly, loving yourself is a really hard thing to do. It is a conscious decision that I have to make EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is a conscious decision to ignore the haters and those who bring you down. It is a conscious decision to allow yourself to be happy and to be proud of yourself no matter where you are in your fitness journey. Sometimes you don’t win that battle, and sometimes you slide back into that pit of self-hatred and despair but the important thing is that you forgive yourself for it, and restart the next day and try again. Since the inception of KFKF, I’ve learned to accept the flaws that I have and learned to flaunt my assets. Kinda Fit Kinda Fat really pushed me to look beyond the physical and see my body for the amazing things it can do, not how it looks. It took me over 30 years to not hate myself. My goal in my life is to make sure it doesn’t take anyone else that long to love the skin they’re in even if it’s a work in progress. You are allowed to love yourself throughout your journey, not just at the end.