Have you ever been in a situation where you walk into a family party and a female relative walks up to you and says, “Oh you look fat!” or “Looks like you gained some weight!” (If you are from an Asian family, I know you know what I mean.)
Like, what are you supposed to say? Is that a question you’re supposed to actually answer?
“Yeah, I did”?? And then uncomfortably mumble something to move the conversation past your physical appearance?
There’s 2 problems here.
1. To say that to someone, especially a girl, it’s hurtful and damaging to her self-esteem.
2. You shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for gaining weight. But we all do.
The reason why I bring this up is because after this past ABC ABS video, I started getting some comments asking the same very thing my Asian Auntie would say:
“Your legs look bigger. Did you gain weight?”
“Not to be mean but did you have too many YOLO Meals?”
“What happened to your inner thigh gap?”
“How could you let this happen?”
Does gaining weight discredit me as a fitness instructor? Am I a failure? Am I lazy? Do I have no self control? Does that change who I am? Why does it matter? Why all the labels?
To answer the elephant in the room and for everyone who wanted to hear me confirm it, yes guys, I did gain weight.
I’m not mad at the people who asked this question because hey, if you wanna know you wanna know. But who I am upset at is myself…not for gaining weight, but for feeling ASHAMED for gaining weight.
As you know, the past few months I did the big move from SF to LA, adjusted to my new place, traveled a ton, and started focusing on new projects, making it hard to stick to a set diet and workout schedule. In fact, I had to delay my bikini competition because of it all. You know, it will be 1 year since my first bikini competition on May 5th. I remember those 10 weeks of hard training and dieting. I remember the discipline and mental focus it took to workout for soooo many hours a day. To eat just chicken breast, broccoli, and egg whites every day. To be so exhausted that it was hard to even think straight. But I also remember stepping on stage in my cheetah bikini with those high heels and strutting my new, super tanned body, showing off the most defined muscles I ever had. It was exhilarating and not gonna lie, I love those pictures. I had never seen my body like that before. Dieting down and losing weight…it was hard. Really, really hard. But at the end, it was extremely satisfying to reach a place I didn’t think was possible.
If you read my blog last year, there was a post after the competition where I wrote about being scared of gaining the weight back. I knew it wasn’t really possible to hold my body fat percentage down so low all year. It was inevitable. I didn’t know how I would deal with it. I didn’t want it to happen.
Each week, I started to nourish my body with the goods it had wanted for so long. I no longer had to be on a calorie deficit. So I ate. And it was soulfully satisfying. My mouth savored every bite of food bursting with FLAVOR! I of course noticed a difference in the tightness of my body but made a conscious decision to not be obsessed about calories. It took a while for me to break out of the “bikini model” mentality. To tell you the truth, after the competition, I was scared of fruit. Yeah, how crazy is that? I looked at an apple and worried what it would do to me.
For those of you who are shaking your heads now…yeah…it was a slight form of body image issues and eating issues. It took some time and talking to fellow fitness friends before I could eat normally and not feel guilty about it.
Looking back now, the way I was coached to lean down for my first bikini competition may not have been the best way. It was very extreme. I did not take crazy fat burning pills or anything – I never would – but I was deprived. I felt like the diet left me so lost and dry. I felt like I needed coaching to help me “get back to normal” safely. But I didn’t have that. Because shortly after the competition, I left my trainer.
The after effects of deprivation? Eating, eating, eating. And more eating. Feeling like you’re out of diet jail. Feeling like you better take in as much food as possible before it’s taken away from you again.
You know, being a fitness instructor – your body is a source of inspiration for others. It supposed to be chiseled. Hard. Toned and tight. And when it starts becoming the backwards of a before and after picture, you start feeling like your career and your credibility are on the line.
So I feared. I feared the weight gain. I feared the scale. I feared the day one of you would say I looked fat.
And well, I guess after the ABC ABS video, it finally happened. I knew it was coming though. Yes, I did gain weight because I’m a human being. I’m a girl whose life is a little more than just gym time and meal preps! I too, just like you, eat when I am stressed. I too, just like you, can’t find time to workout when my workload becomes overwhelming. I’m not perfect! But then again…who said maintaining a low body fat percentage made you perfect!? Weight fluctuates! THIS IS LIFE.
Part of me feels relieved that someone said it. But part of me feels upset. In all honesty guys (and you know that with my blog, I speak the truth and don’t hide behind some perfect fitness instructor curtains only revealing what I want you to see) I’m gonna be real and say I’m a little disappointed in myself for “letting go.” But at the same time, I don’t really regret the food I ate and the rest I took that got me to where I am today.
You know why? Because I listened to my body. It needed it. It needed to recover. It needed something it was missing and I let it have it. What’s important is making that mind-body connection and feeding not just your body but your soul too.
And you know what else? I can still lift heavy. In fact, heavier. I can still run far and long. In fact, faster. I can still do my videos and teach my classes while carrying on a conversation. Just because I gained weight, it didn’t mean I lost all my hard work. I’m still fit and healthy and progressing everyday. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
So yeah, I have a thicker layer of fat on top of my abs. Cool. I’ll start eating super duper clean on a consistent basis and train harder for some weeks, and I will have my bikini body back. Seriously guys, it’s not a big deal! It’s all about resilience. If you feel like you’ve fallen off track, just get up. Just get up and start over NOW.
All I ask of you is that you not judge someone for their looks. I know, sounds so motherly of me to have to say that right? But seriously. What matters is how someone treats you, how they make you feel, and their honest and genuine intent.
I hope this post resonated with some of you. Don’t feel bad if your pants are tight again. Remember, it doesn’t change who you are. Just power on and embrace the ups and downs of life. It just makes the triumphs that much sweeter.
Take care guys and let me know in the comments if you’ve ever dealt with someone calling you fat.