Today I want to share a part of my health journey with you all. I am hoping to make this a series of posts discussing my health journey and the things I have learned along the way. My goal is to inspire you all and encourage you to make healthy life choices and take care of yourselves.
My family lived in Singapore for seven years, from 2009 to 2016. I spent almost all my teen years there, and it was home. When we moved back to the United States in August 2016, I (along with most of my family members) fell into a deep depression. I hated America, and more than anything I just wanted to go back to Asia.
I met Luke online, through mutual friends, in October of 2016, and we started dating online in January of 2017. Our long-distance relationship pulled me deeper into depression, and things got even worse when I moved out of my parents house in August of 2017 to go to college.
From then until last year, I struggled with my mental health and consequently my physical health. As mentioned in a previous blog post, in 2019 I began to make changes to my life to improve my health. Today I want to share with you the struggles I’ve had with eating and the progress I’ve made to date.
As a kid, I was pretty picky. But my mom always made sure I ate, and there was always food on hand. I considered myself a healthy eater. I didn’t skip meals, I usually ate two to three snacks a day. My parents always made sure I had a fairly healthy and balanced diet. Eating was not a problem for me, and I enjoyed meals because they meant family time at the table.
That being said, I wouldn’t consider young Kori to be a healthy person. I was honestly more focused on crafting, reading, writing, and school than health. I wasn’t unhealthy by a long shot, but I definitely could’ve made better choices and formed better habits in my teen years. I regret not having done that, because I know that it could’ve helped me a lot when I started struggling with eating.
When I started to become depressed, I started to eat less and less. Because of my anxiety problems, I would get constant nervous stomach aches that made it hard to eat real meals. The worse my depression became, the less I ate. Besides the stomach aches, I lost the motivation to eat–I just didn’t really care. The pain of an empty stomach fought off the numbness of not feeling anything.
I’ve never been a large person. I’m 4’11 (and 3/4), and I weigh 99 lbs on a good day. When I stopped eating, my weight dropped down to about 70 lbs. I wasn’t anorexic, but people would sometimes tell me I looked like I was. I didn’t have energy for anything, and I didn’t really get out of bed much.
When my family went out to eat, my younger siblings would play “who can eat the highest number of pizza slices” in an attempt to get me to eat. My younger brother would sit beside me at Cici’s every week and poke me and make me laugh and tell me how much he loved me. Despite how hard that time was, that is one of my favorite memories. When I started my health journey, thinking about how disappointed my little brother would be if I missed a meal helped me to keep going.
Beginning My Health Journey
I still remember the moment I realized I had to start eating regular meals again. I had gone to the college cafeteria before class and eaten a real breakfast for the first time in a very long time. And then I spent the rest of the day in bed sick to my stomach and throwing up, because my stomach couldn’t handle the food. But it was hard. I didn’t like eating anymore. I considered it a waste of time, and I was even more picky than I’d been as a kid. I hated the cafeteria food, but if I didn’t go to the cafeteria, I usually wouldn’t eat.
Something Had to Change
After talking to Luke about it, I realized that if I was going to make any progress with what I started calling “My Health Journey”, I had to make some lifestyle changes. One of the first things I did was get a job so I could afford to buy some of my own food. I started working at a Dollar Tree within biking distance of my dorms, and I would use my paycheck to buy things like hot dogs and cans of soup. It may seem small, but it was a huge step for me. Buying my own food meant I could feel like I earned it and be proud of myself when I ate it.
I also started eating my meals with people, or bringing books to the cafeteria. Sometimes I would even call Luke during a meal. I did my best to associate food with things that made me happy. Whenever I did well on a test, I would go get ice cream. When I watched a movie I loved, I would eat popcorn. By doing these things, I turned food into a good thing.
I also made a checklist of things I needed to do each day. They were small things, and if anyone had seen my list they probably would have laughed at me. I wrote down things like “eat breakfast”, “brush teeth and hair”, and “wash face before bed”. I hung it on the wall next to my bed to remind me to take care of myself. Being able to see it every day helped me remember to take care of myself. And being able to check things off the list made me feel like I was making progress.
Where I’m At Now
Abusing my body for so long has had some unfortunate side effects. My stomach is way more sensitive than it ever has been. I get nauseous when I go more than a few hours without eating. When I eat something I’m not used to eating, I can get really sick. I’ve also developed a very annoying dairy sensitivity.
Currently, I’m working on not skipping meals. I still struggle to eat when I’m supposed to, especially when I’m really engrossed in what I’m working on. Luke is trying to help me overcome my pickiness and control my sweet tooth. Lately, we’ve been trying to make dinner together every night. We try to include protein and veggies with every meal.
This past week, we’ve started eating a small snack before bed. I used to wake up extremely nauseous and often skip breakfast, because I hadn’t eaten since 5 pm the evening before. Lately, I’ve been waking up feeling refreshed and ready to go. I’ve been way more consistent with eating breakfast every morning.
At this point in my health journey, my goals are to increase my energy and improve the quality of food I’m eating. I’m excited to see what improvements 2020 brings to my mental and physical health. I’m so thankful to God for the friends and family that supported me through all of this. It is an exciting time in my life!
My Future Health Journey
In the future, I hope to make even more progress in the area of healthy eating. I would like to eventually be able to avoid frozen foods and make most of my meals from scratch. Luke and I have made some progress in this recently, but we definitely have a long way to go. One of my resolutions this year is to develop an exercise routine. My hope is that frequently exercising will raise my appetite and allow me to gain weight that isn’t just fat. I’m excited for this year and can’t wait to share my journey with you all!
What have you been working on health-wise? Where are you at in your own health journey? Share with my in the comments, so we can encourage each other and work together on our goals this year!
Until next week!