Back From the Blogging Hiatus!

I’M FINALLY BACK! Did you miss me? Or did you just take a second to scroll back to my posts and just now realize I haven’t posted in 4 months?

Either way, I am glad to be interacting with you again for another one of Amanda’s lovely thinking out louds!

Once school started, I struggled tremendously with trying to manage everything that was going on in my life. I tend to be incredibly hard on myself when it comes to academics, and I usually end up going to extremes when it comes to studying.

Throughout these last couple of months I needed to not only manage my classes, but attend karate for black belt training 5 days a week, work in two different tutoring departments in my college, tutor two kids outside of school, attend school extracurricular/club meetings, get my drivers license (and be able to drive without others lives being at risk), and apply to colleges.

And of course because of my neurotic,type-A personality, everything needed to be done ‘perfectly’. Needless to say, the blog lost its priority as all my attention was put put elsewhere. Could I have maintained some sort of posting schedule? Most definitely. However it was adding another factor of stress which I did not need, So I decided to eliminate it completely.

For a while I even considered giving up blogging and just calling it quits. However as hard as I tried to let it go I couldn’t stop thinking about the little space I had created for myself. I never stopped reading everyone else’s blogs, and I deeply missed the interaction with other fellow bloggers! I realized that I still wanted to spread my message, and that there was no way I could quit writing. Blogging is honestly therapeutic for me whether or not any one else cares to read what I have to say.

I am excited to update my site a bit, perhaps changing the layout, editing some posts, possibly removing some posts, and of course, adding many more!

With that being said, let me give you some update on what has happened in the last few months!

  1. I got my black belt!  

You are now reading the words of an official first-degree black belt! I honestly could have never imagined this day. Since beginning MMA four years ago as a white belt, I feel as though I have grown tremendously as a person and as a martial artist. I put in so much sweat, blood and tears for this, and it feels amazing to have finally earned it! The test itself was a grueling 16-hour day where we were pushed past our limits both physically and mentally! If you’d like a more in depth post about it, please let me know

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Do you like my portion of our banner?
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Lovely bruise that resulted from it

2.  I finished my second to last semester of community college!

This was definitely not an easy semester. I encountered some ‘interesting’ teachers this semester, and while I accumulated a great deal of knowledge, I also struggled. A lot. I was taking my first semester of calculus-based physics, second semester of organic chemistry, an ‘intro to women’s studies’ humanities course, and P.E. For any of you other science/premed majors out there, you know how brutal O-chem is. JUST BRUTAL.

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I don’t even remember what we were doing…

3. I got my first real ‘paycheck in the mail’ job!

My school has a strict ‘you can’t do anything until your 18 rule’ so when I turned 18 this year, I was finally able to tutor and work on campus! It was very rewarding to assist students and engage in something I loved doing while being paid for it. I for tutored math and chemistry, and got to meet a lot of new, aspiring, and hardworking students, all whom motivated me to be the best version of myself.

4. I applied to colleges!

I live in California for those of you wondering and I applied to three schools, UC Davis, UC San Diego, and UC Berkeley! I applied under the Transfer Acceptance Guarantee agreement at Davis for biomedical engineering, and applied normally for San Diego as bioengineering and then as a normal biology major for Berkley. To be honest I do not really want to become a biomedical engineer. For about a month I became super passionate about wanting to become a doctor, and practically immersed myself in premed podcasts, medical books, and the infamous student doctor network. However I am still at a loss as to what I want to do. Oh the joys of being an indecisive person.

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Seriously though

5. I matured. That may sound a little silly but sometimes you can’t help but look back upon your previous ideas, beliefs, and thought processes and ponder upon how much you’ve changed. I really want to make it a goal of mine to work on myself, or ‘self development’ as they would call it in order to become a better person both for not only myself, but those around me as well. I think it is important to always be learning and growing from our mistakes in order to prevent stagnation in our lives and relationships.

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Taking dumb selfies in the school restroom is #Mature

This semester really made me realize how much I neglect my own self-care when it comes to school. By the time any semester ends I am always SO burned out and just want to lie down and watch YouTube videos (which I did) before I can fully function as a human being again. I hope that I can be inspired to jump right back into the blogosphere and feel motivated to connect with others.

So tell me,

What was the best thing that happened to you in the last four months?

Hardest class you ever took?

What do you when life hands you too many stressors?

Birthday Recap | Japantown and San Fransisco

As you all probably have no idea obviously know since you have it marked very boldly on your calendars/iphones/fancy shmancy Erin Condren planners, I TURNED 18 TODAY!

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I am officially reporting from the infamous land of adulthood, and although I have been waiting for this moment to come for years upon years now- I have to admit that it really doesn’t feel all that different than how I was a week ago. However I have noticed myself mentally develop and grow emotionally (not physically unfortunately, stuck in that 5’2.5 range forever I am presuming) and really take on more responsibility in my life.

I honestly remember how 4, 3, and even 2 years ago I was still in recovery from my ED, and I so badly yearned for freedom to ‘control’ my own meals and activities. I would threaten my mother with statements such as ‘I can’t wait to be 18, then I will do whatever I want and you can no longer torture me with your rules and restrictions’. While I do understand that at that point in my life that is what it felt like, it is strange to think that reaching 18 is what I so desperately yearned for. I hope I am always able to utilize the responsibilities and independence I will be faced with, and that I can continue to grow in every possible way.

I am incredibly happy for all the opportunities that have been bestowed upon me in the last 18 years, and I cannot wait for the many adventures to come!

With those blurbs out of the way, let’s get to the recap of my birthday!

All things aside, I have to admit that I am not one to try parties or ask for a lot. Ever. I usually never want to have parties or a ton of gifts- which frustrates my parents, my mom particularly, tremdensously.

I honestly find no need for anyone to go through a lot of fuss for the sake of my birthday on a single day. Usually what happens every year is that I will get some sort of ‘big’ gift- something I need, such as an iPad, a laptop for school, a bike, etc. (these have been some of the previous years’ gifts).

This year, much to my mom’s dismay I stubbornly declared that I wanted nothing for my birthday. Nada. No party, no gifts, no nothing.

So she went out and got me an apple watch.

I was pretty upset because

  1. That sh** it pricey!
  2. I honestly have no need for the thing
  3. After reading many reviews, I found that almost no one else had much of a need for the thing

I wasn’t trying to be rude or spoiled, but I told her that it was just too much for a present and kindly asked if we could return it. After many arguments she agreed, and instead we went out on my birthday and just shopped around!

My birthday was on Sep 7, and although some people referred to it as labor day, I know that the truth had more to do with the government deciding that it was finally time we make the date of my birth a national holiday. It is honestly the only logical explanation fathomable ;).

We left for my favorite place in San Fransisco – Japantown.

The place is basically two shopping malls filled with cute japanese boutiques, bookstores, art supply stores, tea shops, and japanse restaurants and bakeries. It is definitely a memorable place for anyone visiting SF!

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A cute tea shop that sold the most amazing mugs and tea sets!

I have this one in beige!

I would gladly eat anything from this bowl

A bento box cookbook from the japanese bookstore- I cannot believe how much time and effort some japanese parents put into their children’s lunch decorations!

This was in the bookstore window… apparently you can collect these creepy children. Good to know…

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Me ft. Pikachu.

After exploring for two hours, we hit up one of my most favorite places to eat there- obviously for some SOOOOOSHI.

The restaurant is very small and centered around a spinning table or ‘sushi boat’ where sushi plates go around the table with the chefs preparing them in the middle and placing them on ‘boats’ to go around. You can take whichever ones you like, and the color of the plates correspond with how much that dish costs. It is an incredibly exciting and fun experience to pick the ones that look good!

Good ol’ pickled ginger. And wasabi/soy sauce mixture in the corner that I do not participate in. Wasabi and me have not had good experiences in the past. Let us leave it at that.

I honestly had no idea (and still don’t) as to what was in this particular role- but it was GOOD.

Blurry picture of the boats- they move fast!

We then proceeded to go shopping in downtown SF, which is by far one of the most fun places to shop. There are countless stores (and countless people!) everywhere and you can’t help but appreciate the diversity of all that is around you.

Nike (aka heaven) store elevator. The store that we use for our bathroom needs XD.

Expensive chocolates were a must for the birthday girl (and her paying mother!)

Favorite quest bar was also consumed on the ride home!

Although I did not go overboard on the shopping, I got some pretty neat stuff on our excursion!

Japanese words to hang on the wall

A new lunch container(s), hair stuff, and a wrinkly, yet incredibly cute infinity scarf

 

Is this not the most adorable container to prepare your lunch in? Very suitable for someone who just turned 18 ;)!

I splurged on some MAC purchases! A pink/neutral lipstick and a new mascara! Trying to get into this whole ‘make-up world’

I felt so embarrassed in the MAC section at Bloomingdales. I knew the woman working their could tell I was so inexperienced by the way I was asking questions, wandering around hopelessly, and most of all by the HORRIBLE way I had put on my eyeliner. Right before she came over I asked my mom,

“Did I put on my eyeliner bad? Does it look Okay?’

Her respons,

“Yea it’s pretty bad.”

Thanks mom. 4 hours into our trip and NOW you tell me.

Anyways, I had a blast today and enjoyed treating myself to all of the goodies and enjoying this wonderful day!

Now tell me,

What was the best birthday gift you ever received?

What does your current make-up routine currently entail?

Do you also have a innate obsession with all things Japanese?

I can assure you that I was born as a Japanese person in a previous life. It is actually a scientific fact.

Thank you Becky and Amanda for allowing me to link-up!

Why Losing Ten Pounds Is Not The Answer

Do you ever find yourself standing in front of the mirror and scanning your from body head to toe, noting every ‘imperfection’ and ‘flaw’ that reflects back at you?

If only my thighs weren’t so close together.

I would look so much better without these ‘love handles’. 

I wish my stomach could be flatter. 

It seems as though the state of your body never manages to match your expectations of it. There always seems to be someone thinner, more toned, and ‘fitter’ that meets society’s expectations more than you do. That nagging voice in your head keeps telling you that those last ten pounds will be your saving grace, and that if you lose them- you will finally be invited to join some elite club that grants you everlasting happiness, confidence, and a life filled with great relationships, memorable polaroids, and exuberant experiences like no other. You think that maybe if you go down a size, you can finally set out and be able to achieve all you’ve ever wanted to in life; the fantasies and images you conjure in your mind motivating you to go back to restricting your diet and hopping on the treadmill for hours on end.

Let me tell you what really happens when you lose the last ten pounds. 

Your real friends do not treat you differently.

Your family does not suddenly develop a deeper love for you.

Your job, career, and/or school life will not get any better.

Your relationships will not evolve into erotic romance novels.

Your self-worth does not go up by ten-fold.

Your intelligence, compassion, happiness, confidence, radiance, morals, and imagination do not change.

But most of all- you do not become a different person. 

You are still you. 

The wonderful and beautiful you that existed BEFORE any weight loss.

You see, that urge or desperation to shrink and lose weight usually always stems from an area that has nothing to do with what your body looks like. Your self-worth often becomes tied to your body whenever feelings of discomfort or uncertainty arise in other areas of life. It is always important to note when that happens and seek to different ways to cope with those negative feelings that arise. Because before you know it, losing ten pounds turns into losing twenty, then thirty, and the downward spiral keeps continuing until ultimately- it takes your life.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in a overwhelming mist of body shaming, think to yourself- what do I need to do to love myself the way I am right now, and what is it that is really making me feel this way? Because I promise that whatever it is, losing ten pounds will not only keep the problems unresolved, but it may also worsen the way you feel about your body.

Ten pounds is not the answer.

Self-acceptance, compassion for your needs, and patience to pursue the depths of the real issues at hand will be the solution. 

So tell me, 

What are your best tips for dealing with negative body image issues?

Have you ever felt that need to ‘lose ten pounds’?

WIAW | Steak & Potatoes Are Life

Happy Wednesday everyone! Joining up with Jen today for a very quick What I Ate Wednesday Recap.

To check out all of my other WIAW’s, you can go here.

Breakfast:

A lovely banana omelette made with pasture raised eggs (orange yolks!) and a banana fried in coconut oil and topped with blueberries and an almond butter ‘drizzle’.

I’m so fancy

You already know….

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Lunch:

Pulled lamb sauteed with kale, brown rice (hidden underneath the mountain of salad), with a cabbage, carrot, and cucumber slaw.

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Snacks:

We went to Target and Sprouts where I made some purchases in the afternoon.

I finally got some protein powder again. I got the Vega chocolate flavor ‘Protein and Greens’ which I consumed with some ice-cream (unpictured) for snack numero uno.

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I also ‘undulged’ (HAH!) in a Chocolate Chip cookie dough quest bar.

 

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Dinner:

I wanted something dense and nourishing after an intense 2 hour karate session, so I opted for some steak and potatoes! There is nothing I love more than roasted potatoes. I dipped them in yogurt whilst consuming my steak like a caveman.

I would definitely NOT be the person to invite to a fancy steakhouse for dinner. Unless you don’t mind having a cave girl at your tale. I full on turn into undomesticated homo-something when it comes to steaks.

Maybe that means I am destined to be paleo. HAH.

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That wraps up today’s WIAW!

Please tell me,

What is your favorite protein powder brand? 

How do you eat your steaks?

Would you ever go paleo? 

Day In The Life | First Day Back At College!

Hey everyone! I am sad to admit that I have not been posting as much and as frequently as I would like. However it is because school is starting (which means my crazy hectic schedule is also starting) so I will have to be more diligent about how I spend my time (aka no more going on YouTube and Instagram for hours on end- which is sad, but not as sad as failing my classes ;)).

I thought it would be cool to show you guys what a day in the life is like for me when I go to school! I had my first day back today, and for any of you wondering, I am entering my fourth year as a full time community college student this fall. I will be applying to transfer as a junior to Universities this fall, and I could not be more ecstatic about leaving! For any of you wondering how I am a 4th year college student at 18, check out this post here.

I personally LOVE reading day in the life posts, and this is my first time doing one- so onward we go.

6:00 a.m

Alarm goes off– I open my eyes as my mind yells “HAHA YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL TODAY”. I spend a few more seconds in bed giving myself positive affirmations about how they day will go.

I then chug two glasses of water and trod to the bathroom. I think you know what goes on in there.

My mom wakes up while I am in the bathroom and because we have to share one, she calls for me to ‘hurry up in there’.

6:15

I head to the kitchen to pack my lunch and snacks for the day. I heat up my food, and stuff my lunchbox with anything and everything I see. Got to be prepared for growling stomaches in class. Or zombie apocalypses. Both very dire circumstances.

I clean up the kitchen and put everything back as my mom takes a shower.

Ikea bag. #NoJansport’sAllowed ;).

6:30

I head back to my room and get dressed. I picked out my clothes the night before so I wouldn’t waste half an hour in the morning wailing about how I have nothing to wear and why nothing goes with anything. I literally think I have posted an infinite amount of pictures of me wearing this shirt. Don’t worry guys I only wear this shirt I have other clothes too. This one just holds sentimental values to me because of the Persian cat on it. So do all my other 10 shirts that have cats on them. Oh well.

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I also attempt to put some make up on, but I have no idea how it turned out. I not very well versed in the land of putting make up on and looking good. It is all too much to ask of myself.
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6:50

I grab my bag and head on out the door.

6:51

I head back inside after seeing one of our creepy neighbors outside and wait for my mom. I don’t do creepy neighbors.

6:58

I will be getting my dad’s old car own car this friday, so in the meanwhile my mom still has to drive me this week. At this point we are on our way to school.

Are shiny silver Toms obnoxious enough for the first day of school?

7:06

Right as we are about to enter the highway my mom realizes she forgot to bring her wallet (including her license), her phone, and the keys to the place she was bringing some ice-cream she had made to. She wanted to drive back home but needless to say it was too late by that point.

7:13

We arrive at school, I get dropped off, and my mom leaves. I really hope her ice-creams didn’t melt. Also that she did not get caught for forgetting her license. That too ;).

I walk into out science building where my first class, organic chemistry II is taking place. I am about 15 minutes early.

I see my teacher and she gives me a welcome back hug which I awkwardly accept. I am honestly one of the most awkward people when it comes to hello’s and such things. If someone were to film me when I meet up with anyone I would probably die of embarrassment.

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7:16

Friends from last semester start arriving and we all go upstairs and catch up in a corner, talking about our summers and our thoughts about the upcoming semester.

I run to the bathroom and when I come back, almost everyone is gone because the teacher came to unlock the door. This always manages to happen to me.

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7:35

Class begins and since lecture is first, the teacher calls roll, goes over the syllabus, and tells us her expectations for the class. I had this teacher last semester too and she is an incredible, energetic, and extremely intelligent women. I love her so much.

8:00

She begins lecturing the first chapter (alcohols and phenols) and I scramble to take notes and recall concepts from last semester. There was not much ‘review’ that happened this summer if you know what I mean.

Also, did you know that spicy foods contain an alcohol group, and that the best way to combat a burning sensation in your mouth is to consume fat?

From a chemical standpoint, water does nothing to help soothe the burn, and while milk is a better option, swishing your mouth with some sort of oil is the best way to go! I don’t know about you, but olive oil shots aren’t really on my bucket list.

8:55

Class ends and we have break until lab starts.

I hang out with my friend and snack on an Oatmega brownie crisp bar until class starts. I am starving by this point.

9:10

Teacher calls roll again in lab and we play a ‘Human Bingo’ ice-breaker game in class where we fill out a piece of paper with our hobbies, do’s, don’ts, and a ‘hodge podge’ section. We call our options out and she records them- anyone who has the same one has to ‘enthusiastically’ raise their hand. It got a lot of kicks and laughs out of us.

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10:00

A tutoring workshop leader comes to our class and gives a presentation of the supplemental workshops we can attend to get help for the class.

10:20

We go over lab safety and have to compile lists of the rules we have to follow in the lab. Having taken chemistry for over 3 years now, I can pretty much say ‘I got this’.

We go over our rules in class and the teacher comments on all of them.

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10:50

We get a short break and me and my friend go for a quick walk.

On our walk some lady comments to us that she likes ‘your hair’ and we have no idea who she’s talking to so we awkwardly say thank you and walk away, discussing our awkwardness during the situation.

11:00

We check into our lab lockers and make sure everything that is supposed to be in our lockers is there and ready for our next time’s experiment

11:30

We are dismissed from lab, and I leave to go to the library to begin studying, whilst munching on an apple. Ochem is a tough class and I am not planning on falling behing.

I run into a friend in the library as I am writing my notes.

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12:36

I feel hungry so I quickly tell my friend I’ll be right back as I go outside to eat.

A few minutes later I see my friend leaving the library and realize that all of my stuff- computer, books, bag, everything is still on the library desk on the third floor and she’s gone- so I make a mad dash upstairs to the library.

I sigh in relief as everything is where it should be and there’s a note from my friend saying she had to leave for class. Yeah okay thanks for letting me know.

I decide to stay in the library and finish taking notes.

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1:20

I head out to go to my online classes optional orientation. On the way I run into a firend of mine who was in chem with me a year ago and is an international student. We chat for a while until it is time to go.

1:30

Orientation stars. To fulfill my general education needs I am taking a ‘Intro to women studies’ humanities course. It works because it is an online class and I can fit it in without having to worry about scheduling. I find out that one of my friends whom I’ve known since 3rd grade and who also did the same high school program as me is also in my class.

The teacher goes over the syllabus and we nod grudgingly as she tells us we must write 7 essay papers this semester. Geesh.

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2:30

Orientation finishes and I head back to the library- but first sit outside to finish my lunch. The computer incident made me have to forgo eating so I am (again) starving by this point.

2:40

I go inside the library and complete my first women’s studies assignment (which is just an intro and a few questions) and start working on this blog post.

3:30

My mom picks me up and we head home.

I work on this post in the car while answering (aka dodging) ‘first day’ questions from my mom.

4:00

We arrive home and after running upstairs, using the bathroom, snooping in the kitchen to grab something to eat, I leave for tutoring.

I tutor our apartment manager’s two children. Her 6th grade boy and 10th grade daughter. We work on math- fractions, multiplication, algebra, polynomials, factoring… you name it.

6:00

Tutoring finishes and I go home, my voice tired from explaining algebra and division. Topics I really enjoyed being a middle schooler myself. NOT.

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6:10

I help my mom clean the kitchen. See, my mom loves to cook, but she she gets so into it that the kitchen ends up looking like the remnants of a volcanic explosion. Not cute.

6:40

I get ready for Karate and go outside and read blogs on my phone as I wait for my friend to come pick me up. We live about 5 minutes away from the karate studio so we split up the carpooling

7:00

The red/black belt karate class we have with the other candidates (mostly 9-12 year olds) starts.

8:20

Class ends (it went over by thirty minutes) and me and my friend attend the adult class that we used to attend before black belt training. All of our friends are in this class, and since we are tired from the first class we take it a bit easy in this one.

8:45

The martial arts portion of the class is over and we start ‘conditioning’ aka whatever torturous workout our instructor can make up.

We do: 5 minutes of 10 jump lunges, 10 skaters, 10 agilitiy jump, and 10 broad jumps AMRAP style.

Then we do the same thing but instead with hit the big punching pads with our sticks for 1 minute and do 25 pushups.

The randomest workout man ever created.

9:00

Karate ends and we get a ride back from my friend’s mom.

9:10

I arrive home, change, and heat up dinner to eat; okra stew, braown rice, and ground beef patties.

9:15

While I eat dinner, I talk to my mom about my idea/issues at home

9:30

I grab a brownie bite and sit down to finish this post and catch up on blogs

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10:45

I begin to go floss, brush my teeth, clean my room, and get my bag and clothes ready for tomorrow.

I have a later start tomorrow so I do not have to be up at 6. Thank goodness.

I have my core classes of chem on M/W and physics on T/Th.

10:55

I listen to my headspace meditation app as it helps me fall asleep.

11:15

I am in bed by this time and ‘trying’ to go to sleep. Sometimes I am successful, often times I am not.

So that’s it for my day! As you can see, there was almost not a minute to spare, but currently it feels nice after the extreme amount of what felt like ‘nothingness’ I did over the summer. Watch me hate how busy I am in a week.

I really want to try to keep a positive attitude this semester and stay excited and motivated no matter what life throws my way!

Thanks Katie and Amanda for letting me link up!

SO tell me,

Have you ever driven somewhere while having forgotten to bring your liscense?

Would you ever take intro to women’s studies?

Do you like being super beusy or do you prefer a more chillax schedule?

Friday Favorites | Why Am I So Not Funny

As Monday looms closer and closer, my YouTube watching, Instagram browsing, and laying down has increased by ten-fold as I know I will not have time for ANY of that once school starts. During the week I will literally be busy from 6 a.m to 9 p.m, which lets just say is A LOT more productivity than what is going on right now. I am planning to do a ‘day in the life’ post soon hopefully so I can show you all a glimpse of my cray cray life. But in the meanwhile, please enjoy another calm and peaceful Friday Favorites post, which is hosted by Heather, Claire, and Katie.

1. Weird Oatmeal

What is this you may ask? I do not know I will answer. This is probably THE weirdest oatmeal combo I have tried yet. I wanted oatmeal with fruit, but then it turned into a weird bibimbap egg bowl with veggies AND fruit. Not to mention it is also cooked with chia seeds. So basically a whole-egg-chia-seed-fig-microgreens oats bowl. Am I classy or what. Egg yolk + oats + figs was actually pretty decent! The green things are still a bit questionable though ;).

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2. Clif Bar

This is technically not a favorite, but I thought I should include it anyways as Cliff bars (mostly z-bars to be honest :P) where definitely a ‘trendy’ snack when I was in middle school, and I had honestly not had them since then! Julia recommended I try this flavor and while I am not a huge coconut fan, the flavor combo was pretty good. Definitely too sweet for my kind of bar, but a fun throwback eat nonetheless!

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3. Mystery Fruit + Nut Butter

Does this combo even need to be mentioned? Apples + nut butter (almond in this case) + the special not so special secret not so secret ingredient CHOCOLATE CHIPS is pretty much the most bomb combo on the planet if I do say so myself ANNNNDD I do. Wow someone please report me to the grammar police for that terrible run-on sentence #NoShame.

Okay I literally just looked at this question again and realized that this was a pear. I had taken this picture in hopes of asking you guys whether you thought it was an apple or a pear, and I literally fooled myself. Very cool and interesting things going on in the life of Niki.

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4.  Dogs that I could (but will not) possibly ride

This beauty could literally be considered a miniature horse and most likely weighs more than I do. While it was well behaved, it did NOT want to be seen with me in public.

My cat shirt may or may not have contributed to his/her lack of enthusiasm to be associated with me.

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5. Tea ‘Fortunes’ that make no sense

I am the truth? Is this the best you could possibly do Yogi Tea? No ‘you will be blessed with happiness’ or ‘Your have a pleasant destination awaiting you’?.

I guess I am the truth then. I could seriously come up with fortunes than that.

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And with that my friends I shall wrap up this week’s Friday (not so) favorites!

Please tell me,

What is the weirdest way you have ever tried oatmeal?

What was one ‘trendy’ snack in middle school that you ate but did not really like?

Are YOU the truth ;)?

Thinking Out Loud | Why Do I Look Like I’m 12

Happy Thursday everyone! Joining Amanda for Thinking Out Loud this week to share some of my weekly thoughts!

 1. Back To School?

I will officially be going back to school on Monday (7:35 a.m to be exact YAYYYYYYY) and for none other than my second semester of Organic Chemistry. This class is basically considered to be the ‘weeder’ class of the science majors because it is extremely difficult, time consuming, and just a pain in the bottom of one’s backside. However you learn A TON and the experience of such challenging material and detail oriented lab is very rewarding, and while I am stressing out already over the massive amounts of material we must memorize and learn- I am excited to be going back!

2. Books Galore

Since I have not renewed my chemistry book vows yet, I still have time for some leisure reading. I went through so much fiction this summer that I am quite frankly tired of it- so I have resorted to some non fiction/ self-help books.

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Awesome book for anyone (such as myself) who is considering becoming a doctor and wants to hear from a professional. This is Dr. Jauhar’s second book where he discusses the ins and outs of being a doctor in today’s day and age and the incredible moral challenges that come along side it. He is also a contributing writer to the New York Times, and his writing is phenomenal.

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This book is a bit more dark as it is an eating disorder recovery memoir. I have read Hope and other Luxuries which was written through her mother’s perspective, but it was very interesting to read it through Elena’s view. It is very eye opening for anyone who has not suffered from an ED, as it thoroughly explains Elena’s thought process and what she had to endure everyday. It is also good for anyone who is suffering from an ED because there are no triggering numbers mentioned. The mom is a children’s author/writer, and she wrote this book alongside Elena. It is beautifully written and will definitely suck you in.

image_2This book’s title is pretty self explanatory and I think almost everyone has seen some rendition of it in stores. It basically goes through a list of skills/qualities that successful people incorporate, and it is honestly a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to become successful at anything. 

3. Me?

Okay so honestly- how old do I look? I took this selfie today, and although I am wearing a teensy bit of make up, I still feel as though I look much younger than 18.

Whenever I go to karate, I ask people I haven’t talked much to (especially the 10-13 year olds) how old they think I am.

What do they say?

It pretty much ranges from 12-14, 15 if I am lucky. *le sigh*.

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4. Card Games

I am the worst when it comes to card games. Not because I’m a bad player, but because I have no idea how to actually play any of them. But once I learn- I do tend to dominate ;). I hung out with one of my friends last week and we played a game called B.S (I am pretty sure you know what it stands for) and it was hilarious!

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That pretty much sums up some ‘chill’ highlights of my life before starting school.

So tell me, 

Do people tell you that you look younger or older than your real age?

Have you ever played B.S? Any favorite card games?

Ever had to suffer the wrath of OChem?

WIAW | When Meals Switch Places

Hey Hey Heyyyyyyyyyyy lovely people! This is officially my last WIAW…. before school starts that is! I am not sure how posting will be when I start school because it seems as though I literally will not have a second to spare with my course load, tutoring/mentoring, college applications, and also karate. Hopefully I can fit blogging in there somehow as well ;).

I am joining Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday!

To check out all of my other WIAW’s you can go here.

With no further of the ado….

Breakfast:

As you can see I had a pretty unconventional breakfast. Nothing screams breakfast less than a chicken sandwich. However for some reason I was craving something a little different in the a.m, and wanted it to incorporate avocado.

After attempting to pierce the flesh of the avocado numerous times with my fingernails to check if it was ripe, I finally surrendered and split the darn thing in half. It was not ripe, and in fact pretty hard. But I ate it anyways because there as much as I have experimented in the past, putting the two halves back together does not make the avocado ripen. It is also not a pleasant experience when your mom finds out at demands to know why you ruined the avocado.

Lunch:

Lunch was too green very delicious as it incorporated a nice mixed salad with homemade mayo, unpictured muffins and bread, and a delicious sushi roll. NOTHING is more amazing than eating sushi like an ice-cream cone.

 

Snacks:

Breakfast finally got it’s redemption here! The morning cravings kicked in and I felt a sudden uncontrollable urge to eat oatmeal. Thats a real thing, right?

For the first time ever, I tried mixing in egg whites so I could become a legitimate bro science clean eater use of the leftover egg whites from the yolks used for the mayo. It was… interesting? The whites did add thickness, but they also added an eggy taste to the oats. I may or may not try it again. Okay I have already tried it again (but with a whole egg) and it was… interesting. My thoughts have not yet been formulated on the matter ;). I also added in chia seeds, cocoa powder, dark chocolate chips, almond butter, and strawberries.

I inhaled it while reading the book ‘Intern’ by Sandeep Jauhar. It is a beautifully written book about the hardships Dr. Jauhar faces during his medical internship and just life in general when it comes to pursuing medicine. A must read for anyone interested in knowing the ins and outs of the process to becoming a doctor!

 

Confession:

I have been eating dates as though it is my life’s only purpose. Seriously- I am addicted to these tiny suckers. My mom does this thing where she coats them in walnut oil and lets them bake for a little while, and MY GOODNESS they come out like heavenly sweet pieces of sweet heavenliness.

Some of them even come about a bit burnt/hard and have an incredible flavor and texture.

 

Dinner:

I was invited to a friends house for dinner, and her older brother took over the cooking duty. They are Malaysian, however they too love eating healthy and incorporating that within their traditional food.

Look at how cute they prepared the spread!

 

They had made steamed white rice, sautéed vegetables, coconut chicken curry, and baked sweet potatoes topped with sour cream. Literally all of my favorite foods in one plate.

I definitely went back for seconds

After coming home, I was still a bit hungry, so I consumed this power crunch bar in the Salted caramel flavor. These bars seriously taste like wafers, and this one’s flavor was incredible! Definitely would recommend.

 

That wraps up today’s post- so tell me,

Do you ever eat incredibly random non breakfast foods for breakfast? Or do you ever eat breakfast as a snack ;)?

Do you ever receive uncontrollable urges to consume dates as well?

What was the best thing you ate in the last few days?

When ‘Skinny’ Is No Longer Your Identity

“I wish I could be skinny”

These six words have most likely caused more emotional and physical damage to women and girls than one can possibly imagine. The mere implant of these words in one’s mind can cause a host of negative thoughts and ideas to formulate. While many do merely stop at thought and continue the occasional ‘wish’ to be thin, more often than not- some choose to pursue this notion and become proactive about it.

I was one of those people.

While my body was never in a range where one could classify as ‘overweight’, it was not something I was necessarily happy with at the age of 13/14. After a few harmless change in eating patterns resulted in some weight loss for me, it slowly dawned upon me that not only could I too attain the ‘ideal’ body shape advertised in the media, but that I in fact should strive to attain it.

Becoming ‘skinny’ became everything to me, and soon enough the concept alone became the only thing that occupied my entire mind. I obsessed about how little I could get away with eating and how much I could fit in exercising. My every waking minute was spent either researching weight loss methods, coming up with ways to fit in more activity, or avoiding food.

Seeing people thinner than me filled me with longing that could only be described as sickening. I was in too much of a denial to accept that some people were just naturally thinner than others. My brain could not fathom that if ‘skinny’ meant dieting excessively and losing one’s period, then it probably was not something the body could effortlessly and healthfully maintain.

While it is true that the media and the message that is projected in the world towards bodies can be harmful, it only extends to a certain amount. Most girls who are subjected to these daily images do not develop eating disorders. However the ones who do often seek out these message and subconsciously surround themselves with material than can be triggering. They begin trying to replicate the routines and lives of people who they view as skinny. Their social media platforms become submerged in this ‘thin’ culture as they scout people whom suffer from anorexia or that ‘weight-loss’ mentality. Slowly but surely, it is no surprise that we start to become the people we surround ourselves with.

When the only images you allow yourself to see form the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep are ones that encourage only thin and even emaciated looking people, then it is no wonder that it becomes the only thing you can focus on.

At least that was what happened to me. The thrill of losing weight and the feelings of control that followed suit are what caused me to pursue this obsession with skinniness even further and further until I myself resembled the body I had so desperately wanted.

Except it was never enough.

It had changed my brain’s chemistry so badly that I was in constant fear of doing anything outside of the routine that was ‘keeping me this way’. My body had shrunken down to the size of a skeleton, however my mind refused to allow me to do anything about it. I knew I did not look good, but I did not, and could not get past the identity I had situated with ‘being skinny’ to actually do anything about it.

I was not cultivating passion or love anywhere else in my life, so I could not turn to anything other than food, fitness, or appearances to find my happiness.

When I began to recover and realize that I needed food to change if I wanted to live, inadvertently my body began to change as well.

I grew. That being in regards to my body and my mind. However it took a great deal of time. My mindset did not make the shift to stop obsessing about being skinny and begin to accept my body for quite a long time.

With every pair of jeans that became to small and every comment I received about ‘looking healthy’, my heart sank a little. The one thing I had been controlling so rigorously and allowing myself to be identified with had been taken away from me, and it hurt me more than anything.

However the sun did shine again after the infinite rain and dark clouds. Like a flower waiting to bud, I too began to blossom out of this ‘skinny mentality’ I had created for myself. Picking up other interest, hobbies, and goals helped me let go of the chains of my eating disorder immensely. It took time, but I finally did come to realize that what I had been pursuing was so incredibly harmful for me in every single way possible.

I love my body now, and acknowledge greatly the fact that it is merely the vessel for which I express myself through. I am more than what my body shape looks like, and no low weight will ever help me succeed in any area of my life. In fact, obsessing over it will only deter me from truly experiencing life’s wonders and discovering who I am as a soul, and not just a body.

The best part of life is cultivating love, joy, and knowledge through your mind and spirit, and being able to share that with others around you. That does not require a specific body. YOU can be happy, strong, successful, and loving life without hating your body and ensuring that it resembles what you think it has to.

With that being said tell me,

Have any of you ever struggled with a obsession to become ‘skinny’?

What advice would you give someone struggling from these same thoughts and feelings? 

How To Heal From Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (When You Lose Your Period)

Frustration.

Fear.

Anxiety.

These emotions are sure to surface through anyone’s mind while in the midst of having lost their period. I experienced this, as have hundreds of thousands of other girls and women all around the world. While I will not be sharing my own personal journey with HA today, I will be going over the definition, causes, symptoms, and ways which one can heal their amenorrhea and restore balance in their body whilst gaining their period back.

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Disclaimer: Please note, I am NOT a medical doctor, health practitioner, dietician, personal trainer, or certified health coach by any means. This is just from the perspective of my own experiences and of the many ones that I have encountered. This advice is NOT intended to replace medical advice from one’s doctor.

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What is Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?

To state it simply- it is the loss of one’s menstrual cycle for more than three months due to issues rooting from the hypothalamus, aka the area in one’s brain located very close to the pituitary gland. The brain is considered to be ‘in charge’ of giving signals to the body that regulate hormones. The hypothalamus in particular is responsible for reproduction and many bodily functions as it helps support the production of many important hormones. The first hormone it produces is goandotropin (GnRH). This particular hormone then signals the other necessary hormones- follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) needed for ovulation, and progesterone lutenizing hormone (LH) for after ovulation. The combination of these two hormones provide the necessary signals for estrogen to be produced in the ovaries. Estrogen alongside progesterone then equip the uterus to fertilize an egg. When the hypothalamus no longer makes GnRH, the other hormones FSH, LH, and estrogen also decease which then results in the absence of menstruation, ultimately leading to infertility.

What causes Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?

In essence, there exist an immense number of factors that contribute to this issue, and it is usually never just one element that is causing body imbalance. It seems as though the women who suffer the most from HA are the type A, over achievers who have put their bodies and mental states through an enormous amount of strain and stress, in particular with relation to underrating and overexercising. Nonetheless, these are the most prevalent causes:

Low body fat percentage 

Low body weight (relative to one’s set point)

Under-eating and/or caloric restriction

An excessive amount of exercise and energy expenditure (especially in combination with a reduced diet)

Irregular production of one’s appetite stimulating hormone; leptin

An inordinate amount of stress or emotional grievance 

These factors are the main reasons for HA, and they are also some of the prevailing symptoms of orthorexia, the female athlete triadexercise addiction and even eating disorders such as anorexia

However one can experience hypothalamic amenorrhea even if they are not underweight, and above the pre-determined ‘healthy’ weight for their height and age. One does not need to suffer from an eating disorder to be diagnosed with HA- and most importantly, there does not exists a certain point one must reach with their restriction/over-exercise/weight/body fat in order for them to need to recover from this diagnosis.

 

Why is Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Dangerous?

The body operates on an incredible system to ensure the human body stays alive. When the body is not receiving adequate nutrition and energy, it is designed to search and take those essential nutrients from other places. Food is where the majority of one’s calories and building blocks come from, so when the body experiences a decline, the following consequences are often the first to arrive:

Thinning of hair (hair loss, often reaching the depths of baldness)

Brittle nails and skin

Bone loss –> Osteopenia –> Osteoporosis (in as early as one’s twenties)

Irregular heartbeat and heart rhythm 

Infertility (the lack of ability to become pregnant and reproduce)

Low libido

Immense fatigue, muscle aches, and soreness

Frequent headaches and light headedness

Insomnia and increased difficulty falling asleep

While it is true that one can deal with some of these symptoms, some of them are irreversible. Once one loses bone mass, the path that follows can be a very dangerous and painful one. Women at the ages of even 16 are susceptible to bone loss and osteoporosis. This causes bone and mineral loss, and will contribute to an overall weak body and an incredible decrease in one’s health in life. Not to mention, the infertility will never permit for pregnancy, so the chances of producing a family are also nonexistent.

 

How Does One Treat/Cure Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?

The good news is that HA is absolutely reversible, and there exist a number of options on how to return one’s menstruation.

There are two routes one can decide to partake. The first is the conventional medical route which is based upon treating the symptoms of HA, and not the cause. Birth control pills, progesterone creams, artificial hormones, and/or hormone replacement therapy can be prescribed by one’s doctor to initiate a ‘fake period’ that will trick the body into thinking it is receiving a period. However this method has not shown much promise in restoring or even preventing bone loss. Not to mention as with any pill or medication, may come alongside a host of unwanted physical and emotional side-effects.

The second more natural route is much more sustainable and conducive to overall health. However it is often the most mental challenging for women to come to terms with. It involves a great deal of patience, nurture, and willingness to accept what one’s body needs in order to reestablish health.

It will involve eating, and eating A LOT. A great deal too many times women cross paths with HA after they adopt a new diet or lifestyle that eliminates a wide array of food groups and often contributes to them ingesting less calories. All of the dietary ‘rules’ must be put aside in order to

to fully ensure that your body is receiving an adequate amount of nutrients. Making sure one gets in a balanced nutritional profile of carbs, protein, and fat. This is not the time to fall upon a ‘high-carb low fat’ or ‘high-fat low carb’ cycle, as the body needs an abundance of all three macronutrients in order to proceed with correcting the imbalances and signaling to the brain that there is enough food to sustain a pregnancy. This begs the question, how much food is really necessary for this? While there exists no one-size fits all answer, it can be agreed upon that more is better. There is some evidence to show that a minimum of 2,500 – 3,000 calories day is a good starting place. However if hunger subsists after this amount, there should be no restriction to consume more.Many find it easier physically (on their stomachs) and mentally (due to letting go of the restrictions) to consume highly processed, calorically dense foods in order to get their calories up. How they consume the amount of calories is up to the individual, but certain foods provide much easier digestion and absorption than others.

It may involve gaining weight.

The simple concept of gaining weight (even temporarily) creates an incredible amount of anxiety and fear for many women, especially those suffering from HA. Often times it was the idea of ‘losing 10 pounds’ or ‘toning up’ that brought them to these unfortunate circumstances, so it is not uncommon for many to fear this process. However more often than not, weight gain is necessary in order for the body to realize that is has enough cushion and fat to pull stores from in case there is a famine (as it is evolutionarily wired in human beings from a biological perspective). Now, how much weight is one required to gain? That also depends on many factors. For one, it is very important that one ensures that they are above the 18.5 BMI point. While BMI is neither the most accurate or reliable health marker, it still provides a vague assimilation of where one should stand. When recovering from HA, it is even better for one to try to aim for at least 20 or 21 as a minimum, especially if one has a low body fat and/or carries a great deal of muscle.

For some women, reaching a weight that goes beyond a BMI of 25 can sometimes be necessary. Why is that?

Every person’s body has a unique ‘set-point’ weight. A place where give or take 10 pounds, the body feels comfortable at, and is able to maintain body-weight without much intervention from one through diet and exercise. Set point can change, but it usually takes a long time, and if one loses their period it means that the body is no longer functioning well at that particular weight. While it may seem as though some people are able to maintain unhealthily low weights after losing ‘too much’, it is often due to rigid controlling of diet and exercise, which is not in favor of the set point theory.

Speaking of women who do not experience HA, there definitely exist a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some women have and always will maintain at a BMI of 18 without any effort, and are healthy doing so while others may only be able to menstruate and function at a BMI of 26. Everyone is different, and genetics, bone-structure, lifestyle, and past experiences with starvation can affect this tremendously.

The most important thing to note is that every case is individualized, and one should not be afraid to go above what they consider to be a ‘healthy weight’ in order to restore their health and regain their period.

In reality, some bodies require the body to temporarily shoot higher than their set point in order for the hypothalamus to really be alerted that a baby can be produced safely.

 

It will involve stopping exercise. And resting. A Lot.

This is often times one of the hardest things for those suffering from HA to let go of. This urge to exercise, whether it is running or weight training is often times counter productive with regards to getting one’s period back. When one loses their menstruation, it means the body is depleted of important nutrients and energy. Exercising not only adds more stress to one’s body, it also depletes even more of these valuable minerals and energy stores. All of the previously discussed caloric intake and weight gain are required without any exercise. This can sound incredibly daunting, as many dictate their ‘right’ to eat food as a correlation to the amount of exercise they are pursuing. More than anything, the body needs a decrease in stress and lots and lots of REST. In addition, not exercising will help the weight gain process occur faster, which will therefore help attain one’s period faster. The more stress the body undergoes, the less likely it is for the hypothalamus to register that it is safe for the body to let go of minerals through menstruation. In particular, the most harmful types of exercise when trying to recover from HA are the high impact and/or high intensity types of exercises. Sports such as running, high intensity interval training, taxing weight training circuits, Cross Fit, and even strenuous hot yoga while perfectly alright for the normally functioning person, can be very detrimental for those experiencing HA.

It is recommended that one take time off to fully rest. Very gentle movements such as restorative yoga or light walking may or may not be appropriate depending on the situation. However less is more when it comes to exercise and HA.

 

It will involve stress management.

Stress is a term that is used more often than not. In this day and age, almost everyone can attest to having to deal with at least a moderate amount of stress in his or her day-to-day lives. Things such as caloric restriction, intense exercise, and the constant worry about food, weight, and fitness are all components that contribute greatly to stress. If the body senses stress, it is accustomed to enter that ‘fight or flight’ mode where it focuses on using all of its energy to protect only the absolute necessary functions such as keeping your heat beating. This unfortunately does not include menstruation, so often times when the body is under a lot of stress, menstruation will cease to exist.

Meditation, mindful breathing, Tai-Chi, gentle yoga, journaling, drawing, painting, reading, and taking part in hobbies and activities one enjoys are crucial for self-care and stress management. The happier the mind is and the less it is preoccupied with worries about anything- whether it be food/exercise, school, work, family/friends, relationships, or just life choices in general, the less stressed the body will feel. It is very beneficial to address any feelings of anxiety that come up in day-to-day life, and have methods to encourage stress-management and relaxation.

Making sure to get adequate hours of sleep every night will also contribute to a decrease in stress, and will help speed up the recovery process!

Thank you Amanda for allowing me to share my thoughts this Thursday, and I hope this was helpful/beneficial for anyone suffering from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Please tell me,

Have you ever suffered from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?

If so, how did you heal, and what was most helpful in the recovery process?