/If I had a dollar for every terrible quality about myself, I’d be able to host daily Gatsby-style parties, hire servers with glasses of kombucha and make it rain guacamole–cause we all know that guac costs extra EVERYWHERE. But in all seriousness, like most of us, I am an extremely flawed individual. I knew this at 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, and I always will be.
In regard to my lifestyle and the way I prioritized my health and my fitness, it was a bit of a different story. I knew I had room for improvement, but I pretty much thought that I was doing everything I could to keep my physical armor as shiny and strong as possible, both by eating wholesome foods, exercising daily, sleeping adequately and living clean and sober. My background consisted of a great deal of processed foods, sedentary living, inadequate sleep, and self-degrading that I couldn’t possibly ever revert back towards. During my weight loss journey, my body applauded me for finally seeing the true worth of health and wellness. However, little did I know that it would signal me to take my lifestyle habits down a notch or two.
Having mentioned this briefly in my eggplant lettuce wraps post, I received my results for a small blood test evaluating certain trace minerals, which signified that my white blood cell count was low, making me that more susceptible to viruses and other diseases. Nothing could have possibly shocked me more than this. I had the mono-immunity gene. While everyone in my apartment complex coughed, aged nearly fifty years in two days and complained of pains and aches, I bounced off the walls, hopping from the rec center to class to my apartment to my study hall to work to home, and repeat (though there was the occasional sneeze). Anemia was definitely a stretch and amenorrhea was a strong possibility, but my neurologist referred me to my doctor to talk about my carnitine deficiency and low white blood cell count to see if my vegan diet needed some readjustment, most likely a call for an increase in my iron intake.
Two days later, I met with my doctor who explained that a low white blood cell count is a matter that definitely needs to be taken care of right away. He also mentioned that my weight fell around the lower region of my height’s healthy weight range, and I could even use ten more pounds on my body to solidify a healthy BMI. Being underweight could certainly account for my irregular menstrual cycle in which I’d experience the common PMS symptoms without any bleeding, making my last real period occurrence three years ago. Truthfully, the period loss was something that I long, long, long ignored because for the rest of my lifestyle habits, I felt that I was making the best choices for myself, and I felt amazing and felt relatively happy with my body.
Unfortunately, my doctor elaborated on a missing period’s consequences: in ten years or twenty years, I would develop osteoporosis, infertility and a weak immune system. My period loss exemplified a lack of adequate nutritional supply to support healthy eggs and a potential child. While I am relatively open about my nonexistent desire to have children, the fact that my body had been in such an unnoticeable state of stress terrified me. And who knows–maybe five years from now, or even tomorrow, I might want to start a family!
Come to think of it, does the name “superfitbabe” really suit me? In many ways, I believe it does, because unlike most of the American population, I follow an active regimen, a whole foods plant-based diet and am more than passionate and educated enough about nutrition and fitness to take care of myself. At the same time, it truly doesn’t, since unlike most fitness influencers, I don’t boast an extremely tan, toned and shredded physique, which obviously does not qualify as the central element of fitness. People around me have commented on my small, petit figure, which I silently credited for because at least it wasn’t the overweight and chubby body I once possessed long ago. Maybe a more appropriate name for myself would be “superactivebabe” because I’d carve out more than an hour out of my days to exercise intensely, until I showered myself in sweat and I shriveled the life out of my lungs. Every. Single. Day.
Let me also mention that what was supposed to be an amazing Indian buffet lunch with my father turned into the most painful second half of the day. Our lunch ended up being rushed because the restaurant was closing in half an hour, plus we had to drive to an adjacent hospital laboratory for my blood test analyzing my fat soluble vitamin levels and one or two more errands. For the entire time, my dad exhausted himself by pouring out his disappointment in me for my rigidity, my stubbornness and for neglecting one of the most important components of my health. During the car ride back home, he basically took the chest of my worst qualities that I locked away in my subconscious mind, shattered it on the ground and set those qualities free to expose themselves in front of my face.
I’m telling you right now that it’s so easy to consume your thoughts towards a whimsically fallacious lie. You can keep reassuring yourself that you’ll be fine, you’ll survive and you’ll get by so easily, even though deep down, you know that your habits will eventually measure up to something so fatal. A body around the ages 18-25 years-old can compensate for any hell it undergoes. An ordinary young adult would tax its body with clubbing, drugs, alcohol, late-night partying, junk food, Red Bull and anything else of that sort. In my case, I had been taxing my body with overexercising, stress of all kinds, rigidity and irregular nutrition. And for three years, I marketed my ways of living as healthy.
I love you all, and I am so sorry.
Anyhow, you might be wondering: “Well now that you know that your lack of menstruation is bad, how will you regain your period?” I have a vast array of possibilities, ranging from feasible to radical. What that being said, given my circumstances, the answer is pretty clear cut: a break. I won’t necessarily cut exercise cold-turkey just yet or suddenly gain fifteen pounds, but I am set on exercising only every other day for one or two weeks and gradually decreasing my exercise frequency and intensity. Along with that, my diet will slightly increase in everything, but mostly wholesome fats. Lastly, my stress must be kept to a minimum, which I know will be more difficult once I get back to studying and working during my winter quarter, but hopefully the lack of strenuous exercise and sufficient nutrition will help the progression of restoring my monthly cycle.
Truthfully, I am scared of what will happen. I am scared of losing strength once my exercise decreases significantly. I am scared of losing my physical ability to fit in smaller sizes and physical definition to layers of fat. I am scared of other people noticing my weight gain and making false judgments, whether online or in real life. I am scared of how I will see my new self. What if I hate her to the core? What if I dislike her so much that I go back to my old ways?
Meanwhile, I know that this new feat is ultimately for my benefit. I looked back at an old photo of myself when I was six pounds heavier, and even though I was softer and fluffier in certain areas, I didn’t appear entirely different. I guess I can say that I’ve somehow woken up from my own delusions of how I saw myself. Yes, I am deeply, deeply disappointed with the stress my body went through, simply because I’ve been too stubborn in my ways to recognize it. Despite my independence, I needed second opinions to finally see the nightmare for myself. But nevertheless, I acknowledge my fatal error. And I am so grateful that my youth has allotted me a chance to fix it.
The beginning of this year is going to be extremely interesting for me. While everybody will be green juicing their way to the gym, I’ll be guacamole-ing and even donuting (seriously, Cassie, stop with the foodjectives) my way towards the couch. Depriving myself from the fumes of the gym and the YouTube workout videos will be agonizing, as I genuinely love, love exercising, so much that I would teach workout classes for free and I would never change my physique, weight, strength, endurance and fitness level, regardless of how often and intensely I’d push myself. But who knows? Maybe I’ll discover that I have more energy in my everyday routine outside of my workouts, not gain ten pounds, and reset my body’s reactions to my old favorite workouts when my body would plateau a week or so ago. I have nothing to lose. If it doesn’t work, I have other plans to repair my cycle.
Thuvan is my birth middle name. Autumn is my English-translated middle name. Rigid is my physical middle name. Misinterpretation is my mental middle name. Stubborn is my emotional middle name. My fourteen year-old self who weighed more than thirty pounds more is my subconscious controller, otherwise my worst enemy. And it’s time to let her go.
Well then, I guess the name “superfitbabe” still suits me, just in a different way. The vision of who the superfitbabe is may be significantly different from that of 2014 and 2015. Maybe it will be better, maybe worse, maybe the same. But it’s finally enlightened. And I say that with truth.