Why I stopped blogging (and why I’m starting again)

On one of my posts, there was one comment I remember clearly:

“Why do you write on topics like this? Nobody cares. Stop blogging.”

It stung. It stung hard.

It was one comment but the words were sharp. I sat with my laptop on the floor and cried all of that Thursday night. And the next day, I decided to not write on my blog again. It’s taken me 56 days to get back to my site again, and I’m still nervous when I think back to how I felt that one day.

Since then, a lot of things have changed. The sidewalks are now filled with winter parkas, and coffee shops smell like pumpkin spice lattes. Instead of ‘Hot Girl Summer’ we are singing carols and waiting patiently for those Black Friday deals to drop.

But in my personal life, I feel almost lifeless. Even with all the changes around me, I felt – and still feel – stuck in that moment to when I read that.

Not too long after that time, news broke in Korea of a famous k-pop singer, Sulli, who committed suicide. There is high suspicion that Sulli, a former member of the group f(x), who was suffering from severe depression at that time committed suicide because of the antagonistic comments online. This news came as a shock to everyone as she portrayed a very strong, positive person through her social media sites.

Now, I am putting a huge disclaimer that I know I am nothing close to a k-pop star and I have no understanding about the extent of the comments she was getting. I also can’t imagine the hate that she received after defying societal norms in Korea because even my one comment made me rethink my purpose.

I want this post to be a reminder to you reading this that you are worthy of love and life – even with the hate. It may not be hate through an anonymous comment. It may be hate from your coworker or boss, your ex-boyfriend or current girlfriend, and especially yourself.

You are worthy of living the purpose you were given to live and breathe for.

I am still struggling to find my own and get back to the core of myself, as this bump was a really tough one to come back from. But I will come back to spread hope and love and even to finish my Korean show reviews on the side!

I just want to put a special thank you to one reader for reaching out. I got this email about a month ago, and although I haven’t replied, I remember to go back to it every week.

I want to thank you for some of your blogs.  I have some image issues myself and I was inspired by some of your comments and enthusiasm.
I note you haven’t posted for a few weeks now?
Just want to check and see if things are ok, and let you know that you have friends everywhere.

Every time I read it, it fills in the emptiness that was created from the hate comment from before, and it reminds me that even with the hate all around me and us, there is love.

Thank YOU for reading this and I hope that you and I can build on this journey together.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, check out the resources below.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Here is a list of international suicide hotlines.
Text TALK to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free counseling.
Call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), for free, confidential support for substance abuse treatment.
Call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), for confidential crisis support.
Call Trevor Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386, a free and confidential suicide hotline for LGBT youth.
7 Cups and IMAlive are free, anonymous online text chat services with trained listeners, online therapists, and counselors.

A tall girl’s review of Netflix’s “Tall Girl” movie: Where it falls short

Clearly, I needed to watch this movie as duh, that’s me – the tall girl – but here I will give my honest review on Netflix’s new rom com, “Tall Girl” and where it hits close to heart, but of course, also falls short.

A quick summary of the plot: Jodi (played by Ava Michelle) is the tallest girl in her high school at 6’1″. She has always felt uncomfortable in her own skin. To add to it, she is endlessly mocked by her classmates for her height and tries to avoid attention at all costs – until Stig, the Swedish foreign exchange student, comes in.

This Netflix movie, as cheesy and exaggerated as it is, actually has pretty relatable parts. The classmates constantly ask Jodi, “How’s the weather up there?” and on a real note, I’ve only gotten that question two or three times. But if there is a routine question I would get, it would be “Do you play volleyball or basketball?” or “It must be hard finding a guy taller than you.”

If I’m going to share a secret, I did try out for my high school volleyball team and no, I did not make the cut. My poor hand-eye coordination led the ball to hit my face more than my hands.

Like Jodi, I was also uncomfortable in my skin being the tallest in my class from elementary school all the way to high school. I also nodded with knowing recognition when they did a flashback to Jodi being in the back for group school photos because I remember when that was me. And if there was ever a lunch line in grade school that had the kids line up by height, you know that I would never be the line leader.

It’s also true that being tall, I stayed away from high heels. As much as I secretly loved trying on my mom’s heels and flaunting a Tyra Banks walk in my home, I could never get the courage to wear them at school or just outside. And if there was a special occasion to wear them like prom, I would try to find the lowest heel possible to make sure my date didn’t feel self conscious.

Which brings me to my next point: boys.

It is with no doubt that I had a hard time finding a guy taller than me all throughout my life. In fact, when people asked me what my ideal type was I only had one criteria: over 6 feet (hey, I had to leave some room for me and my shoes). This image of my ‘ideal guy’ consumed me so much so, that the more time that I spent looking for someone taller and not finding ‘the one,’ the more I would hate myself and my height for it.

I had this cycle that would be on repeat: I blamed my parents initially. And then I blamed God for creating me like this. And then I blamed myself – I had so much self hate surrounding my 5’11” stature that I thought I would never find my person.

I also had a “I’ve been there!” moment when Jodi ended up Googling “height reduction surgery.” (And for all the curious, it is not just a costly procedure but a VERY intense one. I highly do not recommend looking into it!)

Where “Tall Girls” the movie falls short, though, is not the plot itself or the message it is trying to give to its audience, it is actually the love line. It is cringe-worthy. They have to keep it interesting all the while trying to make it high-school appropriate, and I think Jodi was almost forced into certain love lines to make a happy ending for the movie.

Another reason why the movie falls short is the lack of diversity. Other than the Black best friend who is confident in all the right ways, all the high schoolers are Caucasian and come from an affluent background (who drives BMW SUVs to school at 16?)

Overall, I enjoyed the movie as it touched on the ‘tall girl’ moments that no other movie has touched on: I do tend to slouch more, random branches on trees hit me more often on my run than they should, and pants are never going to be “ankle length.”

Although I sometimes still do feel awkward being that “tall Korean girl” today, I remind myself of how far I’ve come.

I embrace that I have hobbies beyond sports. I do a Tyra Banks walk in pants that only reach my calves (and dresses that are too short). And yes, I have a boyfriend who is shorter than me but I love that about him and I have a strong feeling he is ‘the one.’

This movie is not just for the tall girls – it’s for anyone who has insecurities. Everyone, and let me repeat everyone, has body issues. While you may feel ‘different,’ it is important you learn to love yourself.

For all the frustrations and challenges I dealt with (and am still dealing with) for being tall, I am at a point in my life where I am proud to be a tall Korean girl.

Watch the trailer below and the movie at Netflix, and comment on what you think!

5 FREE weekly planner templates to get you motivated

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been in a funk. You know, the ‘I don’t want to do anything’ kind of funk. I have been skipping the gym, eating out a bunch, and pushed off all errands. I’ve also been a grinch to everyone near and dear to me (sorry, mom!) but yesterday, I said enough was enough.

I typically write out my tasks in my medium monthly planner but as much as this is a great way to organize the month of September, seeing some of the upcoming events (I’m presenting at a conference at the end of this month) scares me a bit.

So I thought it would be of more motivation to write out weekly tasks and goals.

I’ve created 5 FREE weekly planner templates so you can write down your fitness, self care, work, errands/tasks, etc for this week! Click on the links below each preview to download yours right now! And let me know which one you like the best in the comments below.

Adding fasted cardio to intermittent fasting: Does it burn twice the calories?

If you leave for work at 7 am, to get to the gym and back, showered, ready for work would put you at a wake up time of 5 am (unless you take an hour to get ready). It’s a hard question for the night before: do I wake up early to work out or do I get that extra hour of sleep?

Going off of my previous post here, my biggest concern to starting IF was fitting exercise into my workdays. I aim to be at work around 7:45 am and am scheduled to leave work around 4 pm. But with patients coming in late and complex kiddos putting us behind, I can leave work as late as 6. This puts me in a tough pickle. My 8-hour eating period is from 11-7, but if I leave work late (which occurs more often than not), I can definitely get home when the clock strikes 7.

Before intermittent fasting, I was a huge afternoon workoutter. I would relieve all my work-related stress and worries at the gym right after work.

But I knew this was not sustainable. One day, one week then one month passed by where I used “not having time” as an excuse to not work out, and I just wasn’t feeling my best. As much as I loved working out after work and IF in general, I had to figure out a different plan if I wanted to continue with intermittent fasting as a working woman.

This led me to think about fasted cardio.

When one of my colleagues mentioned how she went to Orange Theory Fitness at 5 am and another ran four miles before sunrise, I looked at them like they had four holes in their head. Obviously, something was wrong with them – how could you wake up that early and have so much energy?

Well, knowing something had to change, I tried it one day. I set my alarm to 5 while in bed by 10 the night before. I woke up to the dreadful iPhone ring, may have snoozed it around four times and then dragged myself to put on my favorite workout gear and tracker that I laid out the night before.

No, I did not wash my face or brush my teeth. Gross, I know but it was a miracle I even put clothes on.

Lucky for me, the gym is located in my apartment so the walk wasn’t hard. Getting on the treadmill and starting the run was, however, a different story. I did some mediocre stretches and just got going right away.

For the first 10 minutes I kept thinking:

“There’s no way this is going to work for me.”

But then, 30 minutes, 45 minutes and an hour passed by of low intensity steady state cardio (commonly known as LISS), and I was really feeling in it. I didn’t run or jog but just fast walked and still broke a sweat! I took a victory selfie (the picture above in my messy bathroom) and then set a goal to try it a couple more times later that week (to make sure I wasn’t crazy).

And let me be honest, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Fasted cardio – no matter if you are on an intermittent fasting plan or not – is very very rewarding. Instead of scrolling through your phone first thing in the morning, I encourage you to get yourself to the gym or outside if the weather permits. There is so much research on fasted cardio and it is a popular topic still being studied today, but to put it simply, fasted cardio can burn more fat and has plenty of mental benefits:

  • It clears the mind before the day ahead.
  • The physical and mental endorphin rush will help with reduce cortisol and bring a much more positive outlook on the day.

Just for reference: your stomach is empty when you do fasted cardio but not all cardio on an empty stomach qualifies as fasted cardio!

To answer the initial question of whether fasted cardio and intermittent fasting can burn twice the calories, the answer is yes and no. And I say that because fasting cardio can mean different things to different people. Some people like a 20 minute walk, some people go on a 10 minute swim – you can certainly burn more calories doing fasted cardio (versus if you were a couch potato prior).

But the big takeaway here is: there is no hard way to measure the calories and I actually urge you to NOT count calories. Do it because you feel good doing it and you see benefits from it.

Don’t know where to start? Here are 4 tips to get started on fasted cardio while intermittent fasting:

  1. Keep cardio low intensity in the morning. Do NOT push your exercise or duration too high, or you will feel light headed and dizzy and even maintaining such a routine will become a struggle. Walk, bike, go on the elliptical but at a pace where it can be maintained for at least 20 minutes.
  2. If you want high intensity, go AFTER you’ve eaten. You’ll have more fuel to burn, and the closer you schedule any moderate to intense sessions to your last meal, the better.
  3. After working out, break your fast with a high protein meal or snack. Rx bars are actually a great option and are perfect for a on-the-go snack!
  4. Hydrate! This is probably the simplest of tips but no one, I mean NO ONE, drinks enough during the day. Working in urology, I can attest to this myself that none of the urologists do. Keep your hydration fun as well. I highly recommend this water bottle to keep you motivated to drink more throughout the day!

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach! Comment below with any of your experiences or questions!

Disclaimer: tallkoreangirl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

120 days left of 2019: What are you going to do with them?

There are exactly 120 days until 2019 is over and a new year begins. Time really flies when you’re having fun – or did you?

Instead of self reflecting a day or two before the New Years, I encourage you to reflect on your year right now.

How did you spend 2019?
Are you satisfied by your accomplishments and were you your best self?
Did you grow in any way?
Can you proudly say this was your best year yet?

If you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, do not panic.

120 days may seem like too late for you. It might have even scared you that there are only FOUR months to find someone to kiss on New Years. But I want to let you know, you have plenty of time.

I had a hard time dealing with the “let me work on a resolution midway through the year” mentality. I’m one of those OCD kids who need to have a fresh start on a Monday or on the first of each month – or even a date that I can later remember like (7/12/19 because 7+12=19), yeah I’m one of those.

But the truth is, there is no perfect way to start a change. If one of your New Years resolutions was to start a blog, start a blog! (That was me!) If one was to work on your fitness and health, go for a run (and don’t expect six-pack abs on your first day). If you wanted to buy a vlogging camera to start your Youtube channel, buy one now!

There are things that will never go as planned (even if we write them with a fancy Muji pen in our Lily Pulitzer planner – yes, I’ve been there). Currently, thousands of people are evacuating from Hurricane Dorian (my boyfriend included), people are grieving the deaths of those in Odessa, and new fires continue to blaze in the Amazon.

As much as these do trouble us, we cannot back down. We were given a life to live fully and if we go about saying, “Oh maybe next year I’ll work on x, y and z because of a, b, and c excuse” there is no way to accomplish really anything.

You have to be comfortable with failing – and that is even if you fail hard. You have to accept that there will be push-back but you cannot forget that the next 120 days can all be worth it.

In the recent weeks, actually around the time of me starting this blog, I had a major anxiety attack. I felt like a loss of control, when I felt like all the progress I thought I made towards loving my body and feeling comfortable in my skin was gone. I thought that no matter how hard I tried at my job I couldn’t make enough money to support my lifestyle and I felt like I’ve lost all self discipline, self control and self confidence.

To be brutally real, I somewhat still do feel this way and I am not proud of it. I wanted to be in a different phase in my life right now and I wanted to share my highs throughout this platform – other than my lows.

But on this Labor Day, I want to challenge myself and of course, you to do the same: ask yourself if you want a change in your life or self right now.

Because today, September 2nd, could be the start of something great. You have that control to start it!

Disclaimer: tallkoreangirl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

Feeling stuck? How to get started in loving yourself

Declaring love for someone is probably one of the most courageous things to do. It encompasses not only the present but also the future – you love them now but you’re inevitably telling them you’ll love them in the next minute as well.

It seems like we go through a cycle of saying we are ‘in love’ with multiple people. We declare love for someone who we might have dated for a couple of months (or days). We even declare love after a couple of good dates. But as humans, we make mistakes. We realize that as time ticks, people grow. And as seasons change, we understand that some of those “loves” are mere ‘loving experiences.’

But then, why do we go back to the people who’ve hurt us the most? Is it because the euphoria that comes with such connections clouds the reasons why we broke up in the first place? Or is it because when we are in a time of vulnerability, we turn to those who we have been vulnerable to?

When we’re in a tough period of our lives, we are cultured to cope – some people with food or drugs or alcohol but some people with other people. We want to reach out to those past relationships – whether friends or romantic – because for one reason or another, we have somehow exposed our deepest darkest secrets to them.

And it’s this called trust that brings us back.

Trust and love are not interchangeable but instead, I believe love is dependent on trust. This means that without trust, you cannot love.

Think about it. How can you go about marrying your partner if you don’t trust him or her to go out in the middle of the night to have an affair? How can you date someone who knows your Venmo password but at the same time, you’re constantly worried about him or her hacking into your bank account (also may be a bad idea in the first place).

Initially, I thought that this was always with a relationship with someone else (aka my exes) that I struggled to trust. I always blamed it on my past with guys cheating on me and letting me down. But in fact, I missed what was right in front of me.

To love others, I needed to love myself. And to love myself, I needed to trust myself – a trust that things would be okay, and that I could love myself.

It’s no secret that love exists. The thing is, you are never able fully love anyone because no one can fill your heart other than yourself.

It is only when your heart is filled that you can start to fill others.

If you want to start somewhere, and don’t know why you’re reading all these self-help and self-improvement articles but are not getting anywhere, start by trusting yourself. Trust the process that you are taking. Trust that you do have the ability to love yourself and others. Trust that someone out there will love you just as much as you do. Trust yourself so much that in times of need, instead of resorting to an ex or a current fling, you look at yourself, and say, “Hey, I’m going to be okay.”

5 self-help books to read in 2019

For the disconnected:

1. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

This book makes you smile secretly from ear to ear as soon as you start reading Chapter One. It’s definitely a feel-good book and is meant to touch at the heartstrings with personal stories from the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They share with us that no matter what background or religion you come from, joy is attainable – and not from money, fame or external sources.

We will feel intimately connected to two of the world’s most loved spiritual leaders, all the while as we figure out our own obstacles to joy and how we can practice some of the simplest of things to cultivate joy in our daily lives. This book reminded me that even amid all the chaos, suffering and stress in my life today, I have the ability to live a joyous and fulfilling life.

For the perfectionists, overworked, and overstressed:

2. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

It’s no secret that love exists, but does self-love exist in your life? As a self-proclaimed relationship addict, I was always stuck on this idea that once I found that perfect someone, I would have that perfect life. The thing is, I was never able fully love anyone because no one could fill my heart other than myself.

This book may feel thin as it comes at 126 pages, but it is interwoven with thorough analysis and work of other researchers and writers just like the author herself. Ten essential factors underlying wholehearted living are detailed in separate chapters. But instead of feeling overwhelmed that you are not absorbing all ten, decide your own guideposts: stop comparing yourself to others and be okay with your imperfections.

For the self-doubters and those feeling vulnerable:

3. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Yeah yeah, I put two books on here with the same author. But this goes on my list because I will never forget it. Just last year I seemed to have read this book at the perfect time. I started my first full-time job and being the youngest of the my team, vulnerability was written on my forehead. I had no previous nurse practitioner or even nursing experience and what was supposed to be constructive criticism from my peers felt like hard-core put-down shame.

This book reinforces the idea that allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a sign of strength and courage. Read that again. Vulnerability means strength, not weakness. And believe it or not, shame is everywhere – we all have it, and we all experience shame. It’s just no one wants to talk about it. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives, and this book details what we can do about this!

For those who want a personal touch:

4. Educated: A Memoir

The author of this book is not just educated – she is brave. Determined to get a formal education, the seventh child of Mormon parents recounts her incredulous journey of rebelling against her parents’ isolating world. It is not an easy story to tell. There are many injustices and traumatic events surrounding her upbringing. There are moments when you want to look away because your heart aches from the repeated horror stories of abuse and neglect.

But she does it. She gets accepted into Cambridge to pursue her Ph.D in history. And even then, she looks back on her childhood with clarity and surprisingly with love. This book certainly puts your current hardships into perspective, and it challenges us to see how change in what seems to be a preset course is possible.

For those who want a quick read:

5. The Sun and Her Flowers

A book that is always resting at my bedside table. Poems have the ability to heal the soul. And I dare you to read some of the most beautiful poems about growing and healing!

And voila! There you have it. My favorite self help book list for 2019. Happy reading! And let me know what you think of them!

Disclaimer: tallkoreangirl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Intermittent fasting: Is it for me?

I have been intermittent fasting (IF) for about five months now.

My day goes as follows: I skip a typical breakfast and eat two meals, the first around 11 am and the second between 6-7 pm (with a snack or two in between). Then, I fast for 16 hours until I start eating again the next day at 11 am. This is the 16:8 method.

There is no dramatic weight loss picture or body fat/muscle mass measurement that I can show you, as the last time I weighed myself was at my yearly work physical and the time before that was at my previous yearly physical. But to my surprise, here are some of the changes I have noticed:

  • I went from a 28 to 27 in pants size (even a 26 at Urban Outfitters!)
  • My mind in the mornings have been a lot clearer – I focus on my tasks easier and I have more energy in the mornings (even without my bacon egg and cheese bagel from Spread!)
  • I drink more water (I will get to that down below).
  • I don’t struggle with late-night indigestion as I did before.

Now at this point, you’re probably thinking that this is just a coincidence that all of this happened or there’s some kind of fitness plan I additionally followed. And I think you will be surprised to hear that IF is the only thing that I have consistently followed in the past couple of months.

But Carol, this is a diet plan.
You can’t be on it forever as it’s not healthy!
Why are you starving yourself?
How can you skip the most important meal of the day?

These are the most common questions I get at work when I tell my coworkers about IF. In this post, I’m going to break down what really is intermittent fasting, how I incorporated it into my lifestyle, and how you can look into it today!

What is intermittent fasting (IF)?

Intermittent fasting for weight loss has been dated back to 1946 (although the subjects were mice). In the past decade, it started to gain popularity with stories of its effectiveness, one including Dr. Jason Fun’s bestseller The Obesity Code.

There are many versions to IF: 5:2, 14:10, 24 hour method, 16:8. I did my fair research into what could be sustainable and most doable for my lifestyle, and at the beginning of this year, I chose the 16:8 method – or 16 hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour eating window.

Long story short – when you eat, it takes about 3-5 hours to digest and absorb the food you just ate (this is called the “fed state”). Because your insulin levels are high, it is hard to burn body fat in this state. The “post-absorptive state” is the 8-12 hours after your last meal. Insulin levels will now be low, making it easier to burn body fat while in this state.

Essentially, fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.

Hackensack Meridian Health

This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. It’s all about the timing!

How do you IF?

I work in an environment where my lunch can be at exactly at 11 am or patients start backing up and I get five minutes to eat at 2 pm. Every day is different!

At first, I questioned how I could even go about seeing patients throughout the day without getting hangry. But here is what works for me:

My “breakfast” is a tall (maybe grande) Pike from Starbucks with a splash of almond milk and half of a Splenda packet. I always ask for a Venti ice water and I set a goal to finish this before I “break” my fast. If I know it’ll be a crazy clinic day, I end up packing more snacks (because usually my lunches need to be heated) and leave it out at my desk so that I can easily grab one at 11 am (or whenever I get the chance to eat it).

There is absolutely nothing special about my lunches or dinners. My lunches can range from chicken vegetable soup from Gia Kitchen to some leftovers from the dinner the day before. And you already know my dinners are mostly Korean dishes, as I can’t last a day without eating something Korean!

Something I noted is that I actually found myself drinking more water throughout the day (especially in the morning before my fast). Prior to IF, I would be so focused on eating my meals that I forgot to drink water before, during, or after a meal. (Crazy, I know but this homegirl was so focused on food food food.) But now I make sure to have at least 8 oz before eating my meals because believe it or not, this not only helps digestion but also regulating your appetite (read about it here).

Do you IF every day?

Absolutely not! I went on vacation recently to see my boyfriend in Charleston and trust me, there were lots of ramen at midnight and warm bagels at 8 am.

And at this point in my life, I am not in a frenzy about losing weight. I will go into what my current fitness goals are in a separate post next week but as for now I am doing this because it has made me more aware and mindful of what I am eating and when. I was a huge late-night snacker which led to major indigestion issues before I went to bed but now it just makes life simpler. I don’t have to prepare breakfast and I am not counting calories.

To note, I want to make it clear that this is NOT restrictive eating. If you find that your hunger is of concern, don’t be afraid to break the fast. Listen to your body! Do not let yourself stress about eating at 10:59 am or at 730 instead of 7.

The decision to put your health front and center is the ULTIMATE act of self-love. We have to launch our journey from a place of love, and see the process to becoming healthier as a true journey with no end destination. It is simply to bring you to a higher connection with life.

And I really want to emphasize this.

Intermittent fasting is not about ‘how long can I go until I feel dizzy?’ Just like you would do with any diet/weight loss/get healthy plan, do your research. There is a long line of people who have shared their successes but no plan is a one size fits all. Some of the books that can put the first step in your journey: for women, for the skeptics, for the beginners.

Ask me anything about my progress so far! And if you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, stay tuned for the upcoming posts on the health benefits and tips on how you can get on the IF train!

*Disclaimer: although I am a healthcare professional, I am not a certified nutritionist or a fitness/weight loss expert. tallkoreangirl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. *Disclaimer: although I am a healthcare professional, I am not a certified nutritionist or a fitness/weight loss expert.

Are long distance relationships worth it?

676 miles between us.
This equals 13 hours of driving (or 8.7 days of walking!)

I’m in Philadelphia and my boyfriend currently resides in Charleston. But this has not always been the case. Today marks 8 months of us being apart (physically).

Unless you start off on a dating site and find your significant other in a far away city or even country, going from being together 24/7 to once a month is a major transition that involves a lot of work, money, time on both parties.

One question I get a lot is, “Is it even worth it?”

Not going to lie, at first I was pretty pessimistic. I mean, you’re reading about a girl who literally required a good night cuddle to fall asleep every night. In addition to my needy self, I admit that I was jealous that I wasn’t the one moving – the one getting a fresh start in a new city. He was. He got a big promotion in his amazing company and a new field that he loved.

He was starting it in a city that ranked No. 1 U.S. city for the past seven years while I lived in a city that ranked the worst for sleep health(?!). I mean, c’mon.

Eventually, it took a physical toll. I tossed and tumbled in my sleep for weeks months on end. Aromatherapy, adult weight blankets, meditation, a warm shower before bed were initially successful but the effects never lasted. Leading my nightly sleep to average around 4 or 5 hours. (May be ‘normal’ to some, but to put it into perspective, if I get 8 hours of sleep I order a tall coffee from Starbucks while if I get half of that I need a Venti and possibly a good slap in the face by noon.)

I was sick of feeling that way – not just from the lack of sleep but from seeing couples walk by holding hands when the only thing in my hand was my iPhone, eating dinner alone, and not being able to enjoy a sunny day outside together.

My thoughts rapidly went from ‘man, long distance relationships are hard’ to ‘this long distance relationship is killing me.’

And by the third month, I wanted out.

I wanted out not because there were too many unresolved arguments between me and my boyfriend but because I became selfish.

If you’re currently in or are about to be in a long distance relationship, I urge you to ask: why are you really worried, and is the long distance relationship worth it?

For me, my trust for my boyfriend or myself never wavered. It was me saying “I can’t do this” before “this (long distance)” even began. Think about it: I slept great before I even met my boyfriend, why am I blaming him and his move for my lack of sleep?

My relationship CPR came from self-discovery and self-improvement practices that I carry to this day. It was from me passing couples all lovey dovey and knowing that I have a boyfriend who loves me just as much, Facetiming while cooking and eating dinner together, and being completely okay enjoying a sunny day outside by myself.

Are long distance relationships worth it?

Fight for it. Fight for you and your partner – because distance is not why long distance relationships fail.

My transformation story – How I struggled with my body image

What’s wrong with me? Why am I not like her? Why am I like this?

These were my daily thoughts as I would mindlessly scroll through social media.

Believe it or not, research has it that we complain about 15 to 30 times a day or every 32 minutes that we’re awake. If that doesn’t make your mind spin a bit, it was estimated that 80% of our daily thoughts were negative and that such thoughts had toxic effects on our body. And this day and age, social media has propelled to this to be exponentially worse.

So many times I’ve failed to see what I had right in front of me because I was so busy wishing, ‘what if.’ And a huge chunk of those times it was about my body image. Each morning, I woke up dreading how I would look in the mirror and every night I would sleeplessly think about how I looked to others.

This post details the real, raw no-Photoshop truth of my story and how I got to be where I am today. I hesitated initially to even post these pictures publicly – yet alone look at them now. But I write this to shed light on how pictures are far from what they seem.

I write to let you know that you are not alone.

Let’s go back to 2011 when I was starting college at Penn. It’s crazy now how I can pinpoint a time in my life when things started to take a rough turn. But I was going through my photo album and the photo on the left is actually the ONLY picture I kept from my freshman year. And yes, it’s because I met Ashley from the Bachelorette that day and our shirts coincidentally matched. It’s the only picture I have because freshman 15 20 was real.

Speaking of Bachelor Nation, definitely on #teamDylan

On the right is a selfie I took after I went to the school gym … AFTER I binged on a family size bag of chips and Wawa candy in the span of an hour for five days straight, making an excuse of how I was super stressed about finals. I put on a fake smile, sucked my belly in as hard as I could and took that picture. The next day, I went back to binge eating.

Then comes the following year where I decided new me = new hair(?) It was an anxious year as I traveled solo to Korea by myself with really no other memories than feeling so self-conscious about my above average height and weight that I regretted the trip altogether. Still unclear why the standard size at Korean markets 44 (or US size 2)? But I actually remember catching myself Googling (or Naver-ing), “how to lose weight to look like a skinny Korean” once I came back from the trip. Ridiculous, right?

My senior year of undergrad was when I hit my peak weight. Although I never routinely weighed myself, I was embarrassed when getting my physical that year. My mom begs to differ but I thought the nurse practically shouted across the whole room my weight when I got off the scale. I cried for days, thinking I could never feel comfortable in my own skin. I went through senior year more confused than ever about where I wanted to go after college and who I was as a person – and I blamed that moment as the tipping point.

I wondered how people saw my life through what was posted on social media: did people think of me as successful, did I look pretty enough in certain photos, did I look too tall or fat, did I have any major life events that measured up to those of others? How I looked at myself was through the lens of those around me, leading me to a perpetual worry and desire for something more – and eventually losing the love of myself and my body.

This is me now. Okay, maybe a little less tan than this. But I am actually starting to feel comfortable in my body, my skin, my 5’11” unknown-weight self. Even the first pic of me where I ran with just a sports bra on – that was a first, ever!!!

No abs, no butt, no secret meal plan or strict fitness routine but when I go about my day today it doesn’t start with negative self-talk. In fact, I don’t think my weight has even changed much from my senior year! It’s just I can tell my mindset is different. Looking back, what hits me the hardest is knowing I had the ability all along to start the changes to get me to a better place.

Instilling confidence that I have this ability –
that’s what was (actually still is) my biggest struggle.

Take these daily affirmations with you as you go with your days forward:

  • Worrying and complaining change nothing.
  • When you’re trying to control too much, you enjoy too little.
  • You are good enough.
  • Trust me, you are not alone.

If there is one takeaway from this, I urge you to start here and today. If you’re feeling stuck in a place you don’t want to be in, this is your chance to figure out what you had all along. The secret is, the universe will not do it for you. You have to discover it.

Remember this. Even if you have a good reason to be angry or resentful at yourself, don’t. Channel your energy into thoughts and actions that actually benefit your life.
-Getting Back to Happy