Posted in Food and self-image, Renuka

Mindful eating, the answer to a diet-free healthy lifestyle?

Why dieting doesn’t usually work – Sandra Aamodt

What if we told all those dieting girls that it’s okay to eat when they’re hungry? What if we taught them to work with their appetite instead of fearing it? I think most of them would be happier and healthier, and as adults, many of them would probably be thinner. I wish someone had told me that back when I was 13.

Sandra Aamodt

All my life i’ve been fat. All of it guys, I’m not joking. My family always jokes about how as a toddler, my grandma would keep feeding me and I would keep opening my mouth for more – so she would keep feeding me until there was no more food left. While the story of my toddler self never being able to control myself around food, sounds amusing to my family – It’s painful for me to hear.

Because, it sounds remarkably a lot like how I am now. Except now as an adult, I am my own grandma, and I keep feeding myself. Even when i’m full. Even when I know I don’t want anymore. Even when I know I’m hurting myself.

So while everybody thought this was cute when I was a child – things quickly got out of hand as I grew up. I still didn’t understand food and its role in my life. See – in my family we go by the rule “better to cook more than not enough”. So in case we have guests, or people are feeling extra hungry on the day – there’s always extra food in the kitchen.

But more often than not – there are always leftovers. And what happens to these leftovers? Well, my aunt (the main chef) will complain about how she slogged the whole day in the kitchen and everyone is not eating enough etc etc, essentially guilt-tripping us into eating more. And by us, I mean mostly me.

See – the thing about me is – I hate making my family disappointed. I hate making my loved ones upset. So, as a child I sought out the easiest ways to make the people around me happy.

Be well behaved.

Don’t make your parents angry.

Follow instructions.

Listen to the adults.

Boy, if I had known that all the adults around me had no idea what they were doing – I’d have been better off not doing any of that.

So I ate. I ate, and I ate more. And somewhere along the way, I developed a terrible relationship with food. I didn’t know when I needed it. I still don’t. The problem is – it’s cute to be a chubby child. But sometime between being a toddler and midway-through primary school, chubby goes out of fashion for all children. Then it becomes unhealthy. Then you are fat. Then you are essentially a monster for not being able to control yourself around food.

It doesn’t matter that the adults around you are the ones who couldn’t show you a good example. They are all considered to be a healthy weight – so the problem must be you. A child.

I have been put on diets since I was in primary school. I have been forced to work out, skip meals. I did anything and everything so I could lose weight as I grew older. Even tried weight loss pills – at my family’s recommendation, and on my own. Nothing has worked. Every kilo I lost, I put it right back on after a year at most.

Somewhere between being a cute chubby child and becoming the “giant” that many refer to me as now, I think I just gave up on my health. A part of me didn’t ever believe I will be healthy because I will never be thin. Somewhere along the way – I grew to believe that only thin is healthy, and therefore I am not. I could be working out everyday and eating below 1200 calories of home made food, and yet I was twice the size of my peers – so I was unhealthy. It made me angry. And before I knew it, I’d be back on the binge cycle again.

It just doesn’t make sense. Sandra Aamodt gets this. And in her video she explains why this doesn’t make sense.

From “Why dieting doesn’t usually work – Sandra Aamodt”

The graph above shows how the relative risk of death increases and decreases depending on the number of the four recommended healthy habits an individual adopts. The study from which this graph was obtained observed that, if an obese individual:

  1. eats enough fruits and vegetables,
  2. exercises three times a week,
  3. doesn’t smoke, and
  4. drinks in moderation

they had the same relative risk of death as one at a normal weight. And this is what really struck a chord. It made me realise – it doesn’t matter how big I am. What I really want now that I’m older – is to be healthy. And to prove that I can be healthy at any weight. And if that means I will never be thin, or if it means I lose some weight along the way – it doesn’t matter.

What I really want – is to take care of myself. And to stop beating myself up through harsh diets and crazy exercise regimes. That isn’t healthy, and I don’t want that anymore.

As part of my quest into getting healthy at thirty (LOL), I will be adopting mindful eating, as well as the four habits listed above. I shall be doing some more research, but along the way I will also be getting my annual physical assessments done. So I’m excited to see where I am now. And where i will be in a year’s time. I’ll put them up here once they are ready so we can all see how this goes!

I also highly recommend that you watch the video if any of what I’ve written resonated with you. Aamodt goes more in depth about how your brain makes it much more difficult to return to a normal weight when you have been heavy all your life, but I’ll leave you to watch and find out more on that.

I started this post on a sombre note, but I’m really more excited than anything to get on with it. Till the next fortnight folks!

Image: Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash.com

Posted in Renuka, Thoughts&Revelations

The first grey hair down there

I remember it like it was just yesterday (when in fact, it was about 4 days ago). It was a day just like any other on our sunny island – hot and humid as hell. It was also the second day of Chinese New Year – and I’m willing to bet a whole kilo of Fragrance Ba Kwa that none of my Chinese sisters were subjected to the same shocking discovery as myself on this day.

My first grey hair down there. (That sounds like a really crappy reality tv show, or the title of a rather unfortunate porno, now that I think about it.) It turned out to be just another day of self discovery – so I did what any sane person would do. I texted the full details to one of my best friends – Anittha. It was also the day I became the second honorary member of the “Grey P**** Hair Club”, whether I liked it or not.

Thus began the second month of the year I turn Thirty. I was prepared for adventure! Finally graduating! Breaking free from the corporate world! I definitely was not prepared to question my impending mortality after being forced to grapple with a sign of ageing that I had never even stopped to consider. Oh well. Life goes on.

Now that you’ve been introduced to me with a fact that even my family does not know of (I also just realised I managed to accidentally out the president of the GPH Club in that process – sorry fam), what more can I say that will even be of any interest? Let’s get down to business shall we?

When we began exploring the idea of a shared blog, Anittha and I honestly just wanted a common platform to share our voices. We have no idea where this will take us and how far we will go. The one thing I can guarantee though, is that this will be a space where we can unapologetically be ourselves and it will remain that way for anyone else who stumbles upon our safe little corner of the internet.

One other thing I wanted this blog to be was a space to document our thirties as well as a project that we each decide to take on every year. A project for self-improvement if you will. For myself, this year I will focus on self-love. It’s cheesy af, yes I know. But it’s something I have neglected for 29 years, and I refuse to let that number get to 30. This year I choose to love me, and to be grateful for who I am and how far I’ve come – for not too long ago I did not see myself reaching this age. I won’t go into details right now, but I just want to begin by thanking myself for staying strong and moving forward. This year, I want to take it further. I know I am strong – now let me use that strength to push my limits. This year, above all else – I will live by this motto:

In a society full of hate, I choose to love me.

And by choosing to love me, I’m ready to commit to doing whatever I’ve wanted to do without brushing it off with the flimsy excuse of “I’ll do it when I lose weight”. Screw that. This is the year I graduate, the year I experiment and pursue my dreams, the year I complete three 10ks, and the year I explore my spirituality. There’s so much to get done and I’m excited to get going. So stay tuned! (No, seriously stay tuned – my first 10k is in a week and I am terrified.)

Till next time, this has been your favourite tall brown girl ❤

Image: Timothy Meinberg on Unsplash.com

Posted in Joint Post, Self-Love

The Virgin Post

Hello there.

WELCOME TO BROWNGIRLSBYTE!

No, this isn’t a food blog, despite the dropdown menus and various food references. We just like food, alliteration and bad puns.

Regardless of how you got here (willfully, got forced into looking up our site by one of us or because you misspelled your favourite porn site) we are very glad to have you.

Our names are Renuka and Anittha. We’ve known each other a long time and hated each other for a tiny insignificant portion of that time. (Anittha is cackling at this; we may be banned from this coffee bean soon).

We are turning 30 in a tiny insignificant portion of time, and THE FEAR IS REAL – not because we don’t want to get older but because by many standards, our lives are not where they are supposed to be for 30-year-old brown girls – i.e. married, dealing with beautiful children and exasperating in-laws.

So, we’re going to set our own standards. This decade feels like it should be about what we truly resonate with. We expect there to be some changes, growth and a lot of discomfort as comfort zones are forced open. Luckily (we think so, anyway) you get to read all about it!

SCHEDULE

There will be one new post every Sunday from one of us. Renuka will start the ball rolling. Every few posts, the two of us will join forces and discuss something that we both want to talk about or care enough about. This could pertain to politics, travel or something we see that annoys, confuses or sparks joy in us.  Joint posts could also be about things we try together (i.e. sharing our hobbies). So, keep an eye out for Anittha setting her kitchen on fire and Renuka passing out from Insanity – the workout, that is.

EXPECTATIONS (OURS AND MAYBE YOURS AS WELL)

Essentially, the two of us have plenty of ideas, thoughts and feelings, just like you. And we want a space where we could talk them through, reason with them, explore them and share them with you.

We’ve made a pact this year. We’re determined to love ourselves completely. To love ourselves especially when the world demands otherwise. We’re thinking, doing and believing only in those things that honor the best in us. We invite you to do the same.

So, yeap. Instead of entering the next decade of our existence feeling powerless, we want to be fearless and shameless in pursuit of our dreams!

Side note, we only anticipate one reader, at best. So, this is going to be a 3-way conversation. Welcome. Have a seat at the table.

*pulls out chair and looks at you the way Gollum looked at the One Ring*

Image: Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash.com