Thick Dumpling Skin

[It's what's on the inside that counts]

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Your Breakdown Will Be Your Breakthrough!

I hope through sharing my story, I can make a difference because finding this blog has been a true blessing.

I was born and raised on Oahu. The culture is very relationship-family oriented and people are so accepting. The ethnic groups were diverse and open to each other’s culture, beliefs, etc. I grew up in a positive culture and family without much judgment or pressure to be thin.

However, when I attended college in California (Biola Univ. a strict Christian univ because my mom wanted me to attend a “safe Christian” school), I was surrounded by a majority of Whites who looked like Barbie. I was an athlete my whole life in soccer and track (and still am fitness oriented). Retrospect, I was already beautiful, lean, and had a healthy amount of muscle for a 5’6” 18 year old Japanese-Okinawan female. But with the comparison of my peers/college environment and not having any support group, for the first time I felt unsure about myself—and my body!  I was away from being accepted, known, my hometown, family, friends, etc. I was lonely and felt unaccepted. I began to run and increase my runs to cope with the rejection and loneliness. This is how the anorexia began for the next 3 more years by restricting and running daily. Before, I sought treatment and counseling, I was dangerously thin for 5’6. Many looked up to me and my friends were slightly envious of my willpower and determination, yet they were alarmed at how thin I was looking. The disorder was controlling and affecting me too much that I finally sought help. I’m glad I did.  

After recovering from anorexia, now the other extreme of eating loads of comfort foods! Whats happening?! I felt lost, ashamed, depressed, angry, frustrated, helpless in this vicious cylcle of binging. 

At that time in my last year in grad school pursing a MA in Clinical Psychology. I was under a lot of stress, pressure from school, and had a difficulty to handle disappointment. And—I was healing from a toxic emotionally abusive relationship that just ended. The only thing that felt comforting and a way to escape was through overeating and binging on comfort foods. 

I felt rejected and disapproved by my own mother. I gained a lot of weight from binging. My mom was very critical and would say disapproving comments about my body, food intake or too much this or that. Sigh. While struggling with binging, it was difficult because I felt trapped between what my mom desired me to look like vs what my body was capable of. I wanted my mother’s approval and appreciation of me, not just my external looks. After many moments of crying, feeling desperate, helpless, hopeless, and back to all or nothing thinking, I finally broke down. 

What made me realize I needed to heal completely and wanted to have lasting solutions: 

I believed I wouldn’t ever have completely satisfied relationships with my family, friends, future partner/marriage/family. Why? Because I would continue to be preoccupied about eating and feeling emotionally horrible about myself. 

Would you want to be with someone who struggles with binge eating, emotionally unavailable, poor body image—-and to seek my future partner to help and reassure me over and over? I answered that question and said no, it’s unfair for that special person. Since, I desired to be an influential role model to my future partner and children (which I still don’t have children), I wanted to give them my undivided attention, affirmation, love, respect, and support. I wanted to change my life and future. I am the creator of my life! I knew making this commitment would be the hardest, but I knew my reward of my life would be priceless! And it has been beautiful! I’ve been pursuing more of my dreams, my friendships are deeper, have an amazing relationship with someone, more confidence, lack of fear on overeating, and more unconditional love for myself. Fast forward to 2012, I’ve healed through binge eating and anorexia. 

The process of healing and growing was filled with challenges. There were moments I wanted to forget about my commitment to healIt was a process of accepting who I was and who I was growing to be. This is where I learned that to be unconditional to myself. 

Change can only happen when someone is ready to change. A deep belief and commitment that YOU are valued and worthy to deserve the best for yourself. You deserve every ounce of joy, hope, self love, self acceptance, drive, forgiveness, belief, etc. Even though you may desire to lose weight, but if you’re still believing that you are ugly, undeserving—your actions overtime will resort back to binging or negative self talk. 

I’ve read a lot of reading on binging and nutrition books, but it still felt it was too narrow or missed a lot of other issues on body image, culture, family experiences, and the other aspects on self valuing. I’m currently writing a binging book now that touches upon aspects of how our family, culture, self expectations, stressors and other aspects that keep us trapped into binging. 

I’m a personal trainer. I have always wanted to be one. I wanted to share and empower others that the vicious cyle of emotionally eating or negative body image doesn’t have to be “heavily dependent on to exercise yourself to be thin.” I’m planning to return for a doctorate in psychology to help more people who struggle with disordered eating, eating disorders, binging, etc especially with the asian culture. 

Lastly, the power of Instagram has allowed me to speak on taboo topics on binging, all or nothing thinking and about our attitude towards fitness. The amazing aspect of IG is that it has created a community of support, honesty, and encouaging others. I’d love to meet more from this community—and COLLABORATE with others who are passionate about the Asian community and the values of EMPOWERING oneself!

Thank you for taking the time to read and hear my story. 


Joy | Los Angeles, California | USA

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