Minimalism and the Void

Weird title, right? When I first started my down-sizing and decluttering, I went crazy. I got rid of everything. I even had just a plastic bag instead of my $300 MK bag. It was all so radical.

Extreme minimalism, I suppose? Upon reflection, I understand, that my decluttering obsession was just a coping mechanism that I used to try to “free” myself and feel “lighter” without all these things holding back. I was mad at myself for having wasted money on “stupid material” things, which never were enough. If I bought something, I was happy for a bit, but the happiness never lasted. I decided, that I didn’t need any material things, then! To hell with it all! I was never ever going to use material things to find happiness.

I didn’t let myself buy or bring anything new into my life. I also made myself develop non-consumerist hobbies.

So I kinda lived in this world of …nothing, I suppose? I would go to river bank and go biking, and I’d working on my youtube channel, and I’d work out. I worn the same clothes everyday, and only ate vegetables. Everything had to be “nature”-ey and simple and minimalistic.

Anything I wanted to buy, I crushed down those feelings of desire, because desire was bad. I was above it all with my minimalism. (Roll eyes) I thought, you couldn’t fool me twice!

So I kinda lived this in state of limbo. I bought nothing, ate little, did little, just a blur of the same days of, working out, cooking meal prep and watching youtube.

And I hated being in that limbo, that I refer to as the void. That void is scary. It’s the days when you stay at home on a Sunday and do nothing. People fill in that boredom with addictions. Drugs, exercise, work, food, sex. Whatever.

I couldn’t let myself have my “addictions”. No makeup, no sweet food, no clothes.

I lived in that void for 2 years. After 2 years, I thought, fuck this. And I returned to “desire”. It made me happy for a bit. And then it didn’t. As I already knew. The material world is temporary and it can only fill in the void for a while. That vanishing feelings sucked.

So I looked up, what could I do about it? There are three healthy ways to fill the void. Working out, being creative and working out. I already did 2 out of 3 but I felt wary of mediation. I didn’t want to go back to the void. Mediation just seemed like more of nothing.

However, Mediation is the really key point because it’s the only one that makes you comfortable in the void.

You are still, on purpose. It’s human nature, to want to move, to strive, to have goals, to chase dreams, to have hope. To be still on purpose takes ALOT of practice. Why do you think monks need to practise mediation for hours on end, for years? Because requires a TON of effort.

There’s only one time when we are naturally still. It’s during death. That’s what I realized the other day, why I hated being in the void, even though I constantly forced myself to live there, for the sake of my “minimalism” and “anti-consumerism.”

It’s uncomfortable to constantly confront the void, because it makes me aware of my own morality.

What is a good life, if not, the delicious food we can eat, the experiences we can have, the clothes we wear, the hobbies that keep us busy? Even work keeps us alive, because have you ever been unemployed and felt that unease, that idleness, the feeling of no hope?

That’s how my boyfriend described what he thought was the void. “No hope”. We can feel hope again when we resume the consumption of the material world. Experiencing life experiences, eating delicious food, enjoying material possessions. For the dead need not any of those things. It’s the privilege of the living.

What does this mean on a practical level for minimalists out there who might be experiencing this, after they strip away the excess or evening going into a deficient? For one, you can bring back the things that brought you joy. You could also embrace enjoying the void, for understanding your morality, allows you to truly cherish your life. I suppose the most important thing is to see the difference between using material things as a crutch to fill in the void, versus enjoying the material world and understanding that it’s pleasure is forever fleeting but that in that moment, it was wonderful.

So I hope this might help out some extreme minimalists or others experiencing similar things.

Let me know if you experienced anything similar.

XOXO

Mignon Cobra

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Ketogenic diet and recovery?

One of the key components of my recovery was eating carbs again. The reason I had stopped eating carbs was after I discovered fasting and how a ketogenic diet paired with it nicely.

So I started to eat bread and rice now. Refined carbs, I suppose, since I still always had eaten veggies and sweet potato. They are also carbs.

I put on the weight I needed for my period, and I felt good. But I really struggled with wanting to ditch the carbs but I didn’t, because for the sake of my recovery, I kept eating them till I was over my food fear. I ate them to the point of being sick of eating bread.

I want to discuss that during recovery, it’s different for everyone. I want to explain, I do not starve myself. I eat high protein and fat meals with many assorted veggies. And I have processed food whenever I feel like it. Like, maybe every 2-3 days. So there is no restriction.

The thing is, though, for several reasons, I considered whether I wanted bread in my life as a daily staple. Let’s go into it.

1) Carb crashes
A mostly keto diet keeps you from crashing from the steeper glucose and insulin spikes. So I wasn’t that happy experiencing the carb crashes after lunch during internship when I want to be awake. I want to be awake and sharp during internship.

2) Forget fasting, I was hungry all the time
The larger insulin spikes increased the hunger hormone, gheralin and I felt hungry way more often. And as someone who was recovering from feeling hunger during prolonged 23 hours fasts, I don’t want to have to experience that awful hunger pangs, just a mere 1 or 2 hours after eating. Eating fat and protein left me feeling satisfied and full till at least 7 hours. I hated being hungry for the 5 hours of internship just cuz I picked bread instead of butter.

3) Can’t afford new clothes all the time
Weight gain is fine, but I can’t afford to up my clothing size AGAIN. Eating processed carbs need to be used up, or they go into glycogen stores and once that’s filled, it gets converted to fat. I’m happy with my current fat levels. I got lovely curves. I already went from a xsmall to a small and now to a medium. My mental health is in a better place with my thicker body but I’m a minimalist and I’m not cool about getting rid of my pants and shirts AGAIN just to buy more clothes as I keep gaining excess weight. I’m already at my set weight point because I’m finally eating normally and not feeling still ravenous. I am able to stop eating because I’m full. During my E.D, I could eat and eat and eat, and I never felt “full”, even though my stomach was protruding obscenely because I didn’t have the hormonal signal that I felt full. Now I eat and I feel very satisfied. I’m happy with where I am. I feel stable and happy.
So eating carbs infrequently instead of every day is a lot better.

4) Working out is easier on keto
I feel a lot better when I eat fat and protein when I work out. I LOVE eating fat. It’s good for my hormones, for my health health and it tastes so delicious. I eat butter with sweet potato, drink coconut milk, eat avocado with eggs and cheese. Glucose works for a quick boost but I actually felt tired after working out when I had bread during the day. Brings me to the next point.

5) Brain fog
I felt tired, all day long if I ate bread. I’m not sure if maybe I’m gluten intolerant but when I ate bread, I also got constipated. I felt bloated to the point, my pants wouldn’t go up. I looked 6 months pregnant if I turned on the side.

6) Painful acne
I also would get a lot of painful red under the skin acne along my jaw and neck (my lymphatic system), probably due to the buildup of toxics as the gluten gets stuck in my intestinal tract and nothing comes out through my butt, so it comes out through my skin. Sorry if too much information.

Eating bread and rice which were forbidden foods have been great for helping me get over my food fears and also helped me quickly gain weight, but I wondered, after a while of eating processed white flour, was it worth it to keep suffering other medical discomforts all for the sake of “eating forbidden foods so I don’t have an eating disorder”?

I mean, I no longer felt anxiety if I had carbs. I didn’t even pay the carbs any mind. I just ate them as they were available. The bun on my burger, the rice under my veggies. Nothing special or spectacular.

So I just found better food alternatives or using them sparingly. I think that’s the difference here. Because it was a legit food fear. Now, if and when I do happen to have bread or rice, it’s not a big deal at all. I’ll eat it. But on the daily, so my mental performance and skin are functioning well, I eat other stuff. I eat konnyaki noodles instead of flour noodles. I’ll have red bean soup instead of bread for breakfast. And I just increase the fat in my dinner instead of bread or rice. And I feel a lot better. I guess it’s just a food choice, I’d rather eat a high fat diet rather than a low fat, I guess because gluten doesn’t really agree with me. And I’m not going to make myself suffer more simply because of food. I’m so done with that. I just want to feel happy and full every day. I’m over having food struggles.

I do feel guilty that I considered eating more “ketogenically” but I thought, no one is living this life but me. I no longer do prolonged fasts and I make sure I eat at least 2 meals a day. I even have snacks, happily, like fruits or cake!

I eat anything. I wouldn’t even say moderation or portion control. I’ll have rice AND ice cream. I’m not afraid. I don’t listen to any of the rules. Those just control me. I just don’t go for bread because I want to be practical. I don’t want carb crashes, brain fog, chin, jaw acne, always feeling hungry and needing new clothes beyond my body’s set point.

I’m not justifying cutting out a food group. I’m not cutting out bread. I still have bread as it’s appropriate, eg. A bun on a burger. I’m just choosing to eat less of it. I’m not restricting anything and I fear nothing and that’s the key point for me. My mental health and perspective regarding carbs is different.

Let me know if such a situation applies to you!

XOXO

Mignon Cobra

Do I remember all the things I decluttered?

I don’t remember every single one but I do remember most. I suppose it’s because from the beginning of my minimalism journey, I only had a dorm room of stuff I could declutter from. So I can remember most of them.

There’s this idea out there in the trending minimalism that, you can declutter all you want, you will never regret anything you declutter! And if you do, you can just go out and re-buy it. So I went decluttering crazy. In my current thought process, it all seems really wasteful and waste of money. And turns out there are things that I do regret decluttering, but I am NOT going to spend more money again to buy them.

(photo: All the beautiful, beautiful makeup I regret decluttering).

I also have photos of all the things I did declutter. And surprising, I did end up replacing similar items back into my life. Turns out, in the end, getting rid of things that made me happy didn’t make me any happier.

I had had this idea in my head, that if I got rid of EVERYTHING I owned, even things I loved, I could be lighter and enlightened.

Did it happen? Hm, partly, I suppose. I was more lighter when I traveled, but I did miss my beloved stuff. So I became enlightened, a life without the things that bring you joy, is no life at all.

It’s like that Buddhism story of the student monk who asks his teacher, is he a better monk now that he has no attachments? His teacher says no, it’s about balance, not too much, not too little.

So this is what happened to me. I asked myself this question last night because of an interesting thing that had happened.

I was digging in that drawer that everyone has. The one with the used toothbrushes to clean the shoes and other random stuff.

I happened to find 4-5 “decluttered makeup brushes” that I had decluttered last year. Before, when I decluttered ,I threw things into the trash.

I had totally forgotten about these brushes and I felt super super excited. I had missed these particular brushes and I felt happy to find them again. And I remembered, I was really glad toward the end, I stopped decluttering and instead storing away the few last items I was on the fence about.

I had recently been having the urge to buy some makeup brushes, but I had everything I need, so obviously, I can’t buy any.

Yet, I still had this stranger desire, to paint my makeup with some different brushes, you?

And lo-and-behold, I manifested that with my mind! Lol, just kidding. They were just sitting in a drawer.

So after my delightful discovery, I began to see what items I could recall to memory that I decluttered. Let’s see.

– one maroon colored MK travel tote that my ex had given me for my birthday. I loved that bag with all my heart but I read some where that when you declutter, you must declutter all gifts from ex’s. In retrospective, I can safely say, that is entirely bullshit. If you keep a lovely item from them, it doesn’t mean you’re still in love with them or can’t move on. Just be practical. And maybe I only regret it because it was expensive…..lol

– 2 pink simple basic Ts from H&M. I wore them every single day, until they were worn out, 2 years of non stop useage. They were my minimalism uniform in my most radical days. Now…I think it’s fine to wear a variety of clothes. I don’t need to only wear black or all my shirts have to be a pink color.

– Brand new un-opened makeup. I decluttered it because I thought “I’m so mature, I am so enlightened, I don’t need to wear makeup!” BAH-HAH. Omg, so so stupid. I then went 2 years without makeup. Turns out, I craved makeup and in the end, I went back to it. And now I cry when I think how I stupid spent my Chinese New Year red pocket money on Etude House foundation that I just went and threw in the trash because I was a “non-makeup wearing minimalism”. So stupid. Thankfully, I will never be wasteful like that again. I keep all my makeup until I finish it. Every last powder and foundation.

– My YSL cushion case. I also loved this. But when I was a vegan, I decluttered all my cruelty makeup. So my precious (and expensive) YSL cushion case was thrown out. All the stupid things I did in the name of this lifestyle or that lifestyle. Being radical is expensive.

The moral of the story is, sometimes we make mistakes along the way because we figure things out. If I could go back, I’d stop myself from decluttering those items. But its life’s tuition that we must pay.

Let me know if you guys remember or have any regrets about things you’ve decluttered?

XOXO

Mignon Cobra

Does Working Out mean you’re relapsing?

Does Working Out mean you’re relapsing?

This was a big question I faced after I got better. I was 20 lbs heavier. I had made my peace with my new thicker body. Even was wearing my new bigger clothes. And I felt happy with the fat. But I did feel bored and antsy without a gym to release my extra energy.

I wondered…was I allowed to go back to working out? I mean, before I used working out a a tool to slim down. Now I just…missed working out for the sake of working out.

However, I was a bit terrified to work out, because, what if I just completely relapsed and went back to my old ways? Got addicted to the results?

The alternative was not moving at all. And I’ll be real, it was borderline depressing. There was only so much video editing, and reading on the phone I could handle before I felt antsy. Going for a walk helped but it wasn’t that much fun.

I missed the pump and the grind of a workout. The sweat, the hustle and the push of lifting weights, and moving on the treadmill.

So I figured, I’d ease back into it. I figured between being a depressed couch potato, or a gym rat, the gym lifestyle wasn’t looking too bad anymore.

I gave myself some guidelines so I didn’t get obsessed. Under no circumstances would I ever push myself if I felt tired or sick. If I felt unwell, I was allowed to skip the gym.

I also made rest days mandatory. I HAD to make a day where I didn’t work out. Every 4th day. What day I wanted, that was up to me. But respect the rest day, I must.

I also decided to just take it easier in the gym. I wanted to go more for lower weight, higher reps. I just wanted to enjoy myself.

So these 2 weeks, I have returned to the gym. I run about 2 times a week, and lift my baby weights. I have two rest days.

In addition, I don’t work out fasted. I lose too much weight that way, and I’m not using working out as a weight loss tool. I’m just using it as a fun activity to do after class.

I also eat a lot more, so working out is good for me. I used to under eat and still work out like a maniac. Not anymore!

I also do more stretching and cool downs. And I do yoga stuff more too. Like just body weight. I feel very content. And I haven’t relapsed. Why? Because I’m not going hard enough to lose any weight, mostly just tone up, and get in that cardiovascular movement that releases endorphins and you feel happy. I’m also happy in my body and that makes working out a joy, no longer a punishment.

Let me know what you guys think!

XOXO
Mignon Cobra

Is Minimalism a privilege?

There’s an article out there that says that only people in a safe nation, in times of wealth, with abundance can enjoy minimalism.

On my youtube channel, I originally disagreed. I said that, I was on welfare and through the use of credit cards, I still managed to buy way more than I needed and through all that folly, discovered the benefits of minimalism.

But now that I am into frugality, wow, I really do agree with the statement that minimalism is a privilege.

To better mange my money, I applying the principle of Mr. Money-Stash. He considers his normal baseline of monthly spending to be at zero. So he thinks long and hard about what he buys. Everything and anything.

For example, even something as fundamental as food. He won’t buy bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, fast food or fake food, from the store OR from a restaurant. You can only eat it for free at parties. He considers buying it with your OWN HARD EARNED CASH is just self-destructive. He also says, “Respect the 10$”. So no more buying lattes. You gotta make it at home. Oh, there goes that kitchen counter top space, needed for a coffee machine.

So I makes me think long and hard about what I spend my money on too. That means anything I buy, I consider it. Before, if I wasn’t feeling my bowl, I would declutter it, and go out and buy a cheap affordable one from Daiso in a color that be suited me. Just because it didn’t spark joy anymore.

I used to feel entitled to my decluttering (kinda wasteful, in retrospect), because I ONLY HAD 1 of the item. I am being such a good minimalist! Roll eyes.

I know there’s more to minimalism than owning little or decluttering, or spending money to re-purchase things.

The point that I’m trying to make is, because of my new self-imposed frugality, I couldn’t just switch or change or buy new things and rid of myself of my current things as it suited me. I could no longer just be like that white man in the article, who just has a laptop, keys and wallet. If he needs anything, he can just buy it. No need for an umbrella or a backpack to wear a water bottle or a book. If he gets bored, he can buy a book or if he’s thirsty, he can buy a bottled water.

Mr. Money-stash said, you should never buy bottled water. You drink it at home or carry a bottle with you from home.

So this newfound way of thinking of my money, made me think, wow, I can’t just spend money for the sake of minimalism anymore. All the luxuries that I thought were not part of minimalism, actually are.

I have more stuff now that I’m frugal. I can’t just go out and buy whatever I need. I’m very strict about it. I try to go without or see what I can use from what I already own. So I’m also very careful about what I declutter. I store away things I’m not currently using, instead of just decluttering for the sake of “empty space”, and if I need it, waste more money to go out and “re-buy it”.

Furthermore, the desire to pursue minimalism is a equal reaction to excess. When I grew up on welfare, I wasn’t thinking, “Oh since I can’t afford anything anyway, let’s not bother with consumerism. I don’t need it anyway.” I wanted it all!

In order to crave “less”, there must be excess to experience. It wasn’t until after I was able to use a credit card to buy things I couldn’t otherwise afford, that I got to experience excess, and it’s negative repercussions.

To be able to experience excess is also a privilege. I can say that, because unlike the USA, Canada and other common wealth nations where individuals can afford beyond their means via credit cards, not all countries run like that. In China, it’s extremely difficult to obtain a credit card. So people buy only what they can afford. And with the rising economy in China, people can now buy all that unnecessary stuff they otherwise couldn’t afford. And what’s one of the reactions to all the stuff?

Many Chinese are becoming fascinated by Japanese minimalism movement. They want to be feel “freer and lighter” among all their clutter. Sound familiar?

So I finally understand why the article said that minimalism is a privilege. Let me know what your thoughts are.

XOXO

Mignon Cobra

The dark side of minimalism

First and foremost, I LOVE minimalism. I went too far when I first started and I made lots of STUPID mistakes. Check out my youtube channel @mignon cobra, to watch how I decluttered all my purses so my own bag was a plastic bag.

But as the years go by, and you ease into a lifestyle, you enjoy the wisdom that comes with doing something for some time.

I wanted to share the reason why I’m still a minimalism, when maybe others have quit. I’ve been doing this for about 5 years. So here’s what I would like to share why minimalism might not be for everyone. The dark side of minimalism.

1) Decluttering obsession
If you’re blessed enough to start your journey because there was too much stuff in your life, yay! Lots of people in many countries do not have a lot, so the ability to be a minimalism, is truly a privilege.

So let’s say you started to declutter stuff, as I did. It felt freeing and light to get rid of stuff. It’s easy to get addicted to that feeling. But you can only keep going like that until there is nothing left. And it becomes impractical.

No one is impressed you have to carry about all your stuff in your hands because you don’t need a bag, when in reality you do.

It was important for me to have learned where my comfort level was. Less was bad and more than that was unnecessary. For example, I decluttered all my makeup (which I regret by the way). In the end, I ended up buying most of it back. It was a learning experience, but I learned, I was not take out my decluttering obsessions of my precious makeup, because my makeup actually brought me happiness.

Decluttering is helpful to rid of the excess but eventually people discover what level of “stuff” both mental and physical is appropriate for them.

2) Boring if focus is on “lack of consumption”

Minimalism and anti-consumerism are easily confused. You could be a minimalist shopaholic, as I was. I wanted EVERYTHING, but I only let myself buy 1 or 2 items a year. Hast tag, discipline. But it was a miserable experience. I started to question, who the hell wants to keep being a minimalist if you can’t buy what you want?

So I dug more into it. And I realized, minimalism wasn’t about anti-consumerism. It was to take away the excess, stuff you don’t want or need, to make rule for what you do want.

Since I was also practicing frugality, I couldn’t use consumerism to band aid my problems. I had to use minimalism to explore other aspects of my life.

Being healthy, working out, being creative, being out in nature are all really good forms of “non-consumption” and helped fit into my minimalism lifestyle. And when I did buy something (which was makeup), I felt like, yes, this how I want to live my life.

Minimalism isn’t about focusing on making life as boring or bland as possible. It also isn’t about lack of consumption either. But doing non-consumption things IS, in my opinion, a more helpful and healthy manner to live life. Give it a try. But minimalism isn’t non consumption, but you can still be a minimalism regardless of your level of consumption. Even minimalisms buy clothes or eat food.

There was a period of time, I tried to declutter food. I tried to fast as long as I could, so I couldn’t have to consumer food. We all have phases, lol.

3) Nothing is allowed, not even stuff you like

I LOVE makeup. After having lived 2 years without makeup and craving it all the time, I can safely say, I really enjoy it. Maybe as I get older, I won’t like it anymore. But that’s fine. That’s just human nature, we grow and we change.

I genuinely thought if I got rid of my makeup, I would have ALL this free time to, work out, work out, video edit, cook, etc

All that happened was, I developed a eating disorder, because the only form of enjoyment I allowed myself was eating. I couldn’t let myself watch makeup tutorials or look at make up online.

Extremes are never happy. I re-introduced makeup into my life, and now, I wasn’t obsessed with going to the bakery to binge on bread and cake, because, for once, I had other thoughts in my head, such as, watching a youtube video on my favorite makeup brand or favorite makeup artist.

In the mornings, I could do up my face, and spray perfume, instead of going for a run and then cooking bland veggies.

There was color in my life again. So, when you declutter stuff in your life, you might also declutter some stuff you DO like. And that’s fine. You just bring it back into your life!

4) Taking it to the extreme

It’s fun to be radical and do something completely different from out everyday lives. I had this fantasy that if I was an extreme minimalist, I would have this awesome youtube channel and people would pay me, and I could be a digital nomad and I could finally live in Taiwan, just like I dreamed.

Didn’t happen. So, I could decide to just throw away my minimalism, and be a “normal” person just like everyone else, and go back to owning a bunch of stuff to fill in that void.

Nope. I refused. I decided that, being radical was nice and all, but I’d make a more balanced approach. After all, I had enjoyed all the benefits of minimalism. Even if I couldn’t be a digital nomad, at least I could be a happy minimalist in my day to day life.

Finding that balance took time, effort and experimenting with minimalism. It’s different for everyone, so people need to play around with it to figure it out. And if it doesn’t work for you, just take what did and leave what didn’t for someone else.

I hope you enjoyed reading on the dark side of minimalism with me!
XOXO

Mignon Cobra

My struggle with eating or not of refined carbohydrates.

I felt unhappy in my struggle to eat or not to eat carbs. I’d like eating carbs, but I wasn’t a fan of the bloating or carb crashes. When I say carbs, I mean, refined. White rice or bread, pasta, pasteries.

I do eat lots of other carbhorates, such vegetables and starchy veggies called tuber, like sweet potato and pumpkin. As an October baby, I loveeee pumpkin. I also watch alot of korean beauty videos on youtube. Pumpkin is eaten to heal skin after plastic surgery. If it’s powerful enough for that, it’s def good enough for my daily skincare.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

I had to make a hard yet definitive choice.

First, I could eat carbs, accept the weight gain, stop pinching my fat rolls, my saddle bags, tight underwear, wishing i was slimmer, stop complaing and move on with my life in a thicker body.

Or don’t eat carbs, don’t cry that I can’t eat carbs, and live in fear of eating “fat again”, as I get more and more lean. And when I’m lean, don’t cry, “oh I’m so bonyyy”. However, I do like how being thinner is more practical and comfortable. I can keep wearing the same clothes. Those clothes stay comfortable. I hate, HATED when my underwear started to cut my thighs, or my bra wire cut my boobs.

I upped my clothing size, JUST ONCE. It was during my recovery.

Sadly, upping my clothing size again and again isnt a choice either, because with carbs, as long as the glycogen tank is full, it keeps turning into fat store, so I gotta go out and buy bigger clothes. I’m too frugal to buy bigger clothes. I already bought 1 size up. I’m done, I’m not here to buy MORE clothes, to accomodate my fat. That just starts to enter the realm of self destructive.

A happy medium is to mostly avoid carbs, and when I start to get “too lean”, eat some carbs. Carb cycle as people call it.

Its good, cuz I do enjoy eating carbs. I’m not carb phonic. I eat pasta once a week, with my boyfriend at Pizza Bianca’s (an italian place).

It’s just that now that I understand the physiology of how refined carbohydrates are processed, and it’s…hard to shove my head in the dirt and go “Why am I getting fat, I’m only eating healthy whole wheat bread??”

It’s a bit like using refined carbs as a treat or a tool. Toasted bread on Sunday brunch. Or as filler, if I can’t have access to meat or something.

But it’s not a daily staple for me anymore. And my clothes, wallet and mental health thank me for it.

Let me know your thoughts,

Xoxo

Mignon Cobra

Stop being obsessed with working out (Life during recovery)

In the beginning when I decided to get my period back, and did research, one of the hard things that I had to overcome was my addiction to working out.

I “loved” , rather obsessed over, going for a daily run. How could I give it up?

I decided to go cold turkey. I knew if that I “toned it down”, I’d figure out a way in my mind, to justify increasing my running again.

photo: In a heavier body, but still feeling beautiful, still posing as I did when I was thinner. It’s all a mindset.

So I quit. I quit for 2 months. Luckily for me, my period came back after 1 month.(Side note, last time it took me 6 months to get my period back, so this was such such an unexpected blessing and relief. I promised myself after the 2nd time I lost my period, I’d never let myself lose it again).

I went pretty hard in my recovery. I thought it would take me 6 months, or even a year to get my period back again.

And I was going to stay “quit” from running as long as it took to get my period back. And when it did come back, the addition reared it’s ugly head. Addictions are hard to get over. I know that, so I get your pain.

Once my period came back, I was in this mental limbo of…do I go back to running or lifting weights? Is that even healthy? Is there even a point? Is this part of my eating disorder? So I just decided to see how I felt for the 1st month. So that entire 1st month, I did no running or lifting weights.

photo : Used to run every. single. day.

I didn’t miss running. I mean, there were days when I got home from school and I wanted to go for a run while I watched youtube on my phone. But I just told myself, sit down, do some yoga and just relax by your damn self. You don’t need to get running like some monkey.

Into the second month, all I did was just lift weights, like, baby dumbbells of 2kg, or body weight. The really light stuff. Unlike what I used to do before, like, 12kg.

So how have I coped with the not running? It was hard. I wanted to. So I thought deeply about it and decided, no more than 2 times a week. And it can only be 20 minutes or less, with walking involved.

So now it’s been 4 months into recovery. Having rest days is important. I ask myself, why am I doing this? This decrease of working out?

For my mental health, for my hormonal health and well being. Being a gym rat isn’t healthy. Working out a few times a week is healthy. But working out everyday isn’t.

It’s more of a mental thing, at this stage. Having been obsessed had done me more harm than good. So knowing that, I don’t have the desire to go back to living like that. This more relaxed lifestyle is much nicer.

I also had to overcome my fear of being “fat”, at least, what fat was in my own mind. Once I lived several months in the body of what I considered fat, the fear lost its hold on me. I realized, in both a thin and fat body, I had good days and bad days.

So moderation is key. A bit of exercise for physical health, and rest days for mental and hormonal health.

I hope that helps out anyone in this situation.

XOXO

Mignon cobra

Loving Your Body During Weight Gain

This is one of the core struggles, I think, of recovery. I mean, the whole point of an ED, was it was a tool to stay thin or create control and comfort.

The reason for wanting to be thin, is different for different people, obviously. And as such, accepting or loving one’s body at a higher weight is also different.

I’m here to talk about my experience.

I had tried to “recovery” last summer. I let myself put on like…7lbs? It was during holidays, so I no longer had some of the stressful triggers that send me into my ED habits.

I was happy, I was with family, it was summer time, I was wearing more loose and flowy clothes, there was better food to eat. All that, plus I wasn’t stressed, allowed me to eat freely. Honestly, that was nice.

I put on weight. You know the kind of weight that you gain when you eat “normally” again after restricting for so long. It’s like, a full on bloat in all areas of your body, as your body holds onto all calories for dear life. Fat cheeks, double chin, thicker thighs, “butterfly arms”.

photo above: My super loose jean shorts were cutting my thighs where it had never before.

So it wasn’t just a cute little bloated belly that people get when they go on holidays. I had that recovery-weight gain. Like, just from eating normally, 2 or 3 meals, nothing large or crazy. Just like, meat, veggies and carbs. Like, toast, for god’s sake. I used to do long 23 hour fasts, if you wondered how I ate before.

And I would stand in the mirror, a bit in disbelief that this was my body. I was a bit numb. I was like, “Did I just yo yo diet?…” I dumbly though. I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

I tried to accept for the first time. I watched some “fuller figure bodied” women like Kim Kardashian to justify my weight again to myself. I couldn’t sleep, I felt so stressed out trying to “love my body”, when all I felt was disgust.

I had never looked like this before, even when I had originally weight like this, but the fat distribution was so different. Before, I had a pretty nice hourglass shaped body, with a nice round butt, small weight, and full chest.

However, during the holiday weight gain, I was just “fat”. No shape at all, just thick everywhere. Like, I had binged non stop. I hadn’t, however, so I felt like a failure.

My clothes were so damn tight, and I felt sad and numb. I couldn’t cope. So I went straight back to fasting and hardcore working out. During my holiday. How sad, in respective. I lost the weight, and I promised myself, I would never let myself get that “fat” again.

Like I’ve said before, if someone doesn’t want to recover, they will relapse again.

Okay so fast forward to this year. I lost my period when I kept pushing my feeding window from 5-6 hours (2 meals) to 1 meal a day (23 hour fasts). Why? I dunno, stupidity, unable to have better coping mechanisms, being disgusted with any fat on my body, addiction to the “losing” weight feeling, addiction to being skinny, a bunch of reasons.

And I lost my period. Shame on me, I should have learned the first time.

I was like. OKAY, FUCK THIS SHIT. I don’t know why the first time I lost my period wasn’t the the final straw. I guess I was so deep in this ED, it took me a 2nd lost period to get my shit together.

I was like, I’m ready to recover. I went straight to 3 meals a day. And I had all the forbidden foods, like Mcdonalds for breakfast AND lunch and then noodles for dinner.

I grew my boobs again. I got thick juicy thighs, no more hip bones, or thigh gap. And I felt so damn GOOD! I was like, “Girllllll, look at that ass! You so damn thick!” And I even went out and bought new larger clothes. I bought size medium. I had never, EVER worn medium in my life before, even at my heaviest. I always pushed and starved myself into a xs or a small. This time, I wanted COMFORTABLE CLOTHES, cuz, I was gonna eat and these pinch-ass clothes were not man enough for ALL this curves!

photo below: Really happy, regardless of how tight my clothes got. I felt happy with myself, regardless of my weight.

Okay, so what’s the tips on how to deal with the weight gain? I wanted to illustrate the difference in mindset about the weight gains. The first time I gained the weight, it was unintentional. I clearly did not want to be “fat”. I wanted to be this skinny 90’s model type of body that I was brain washed into wanting to be since I was a 90s kid.

The new me, almost 20kg heavier (or less or more. I dunno. I chucked my scale), is the more informed, less ignorant version of myself that decided, I don’t want to keep being sick or trying to achieve some superficial standard at the expense of my health.

I decided, I deserved to be healthy. I deserved to eat. I deserved to be fatter. I think this is what people call “loving yourself”. I mean, I had always loved myself. I thought that I loved myself when I was trying to “treat myself” to a “beautiful body” aka my skinnier self. But it was conditional love. I certaintly didn’t love myself if I got fat. That isn’t real love, in my opinion.

I told myself, if society can’t love me if I’m fat, then I owe it to myself to love myself MORE if I’m fat.

So that’s what I did. I gained weight, loved the food I ate, and rocked my new curves.

I also had to dig real deep into why I was afraid of being fat. I’ll make a post on that. Once you dig deep into your fears, and you don’t let being fat control you, you will be set free. It’s a long journey. I still had days where I wake up and I look at myself in the mirror and I would half-asleep, stupidly think “My God, what have I done?”

But then I also quickly wake up and remember, “Oh ya, I did it for my period and for my self. Cuz I won’t let society tell me being sick is beautiful.”

I hope this helps someone out!

XoXO
Mignon Cobra

Discipline will set you free

I got this idea from all the French diet books I had read in the past. I know what you’re thinking, I’m currently recovering from an eating disorder and it’s like, “Why the hell are you reading diet books?”

The thing is, the French eat EVERYTHING. I came from a very restrictive eating background. I was vegetarian through middle school and high school. Then I went vegan in university. Then I went to a Ketogenic diet and carbs were the devil in medical school. The fun never stops!

So right now, I’m practicing eating everything. So what does this have to do with discipline?

The French are also very big on discipline. They will take 1 bite of cake and be satisfied. Who wouldn’t want that? Imagine, to be pleased and satisfied with little. Who needs to eat the entire cake to feel full and then suffer the after-effects?

I mean, there is a place and time to gorge yourself with cake. But it comes with consequences.

Just the one bite? The first bite always tastes the best. The rest taste less and less delicious. It’s the law of diminishing returns.

So with armed with knowledge, I can apply it to my own life. I am FREE now to eat carbs. Or eat meat. Because I don’t need to stuff myself silly with either one, I can have a little of each.

Who is the more free one now? I think this way is more free. I can have a little of a lot and with less consequence. Too much protein is still turned into carbohydrates through the liver during gluconeogenesis. And too much carbohydrates that exceed the glycogen storage limit of 60g is converted into fats.

So this discipline allows me to sit comfortably in the zone of optimization.

If I didn’t have discipline, I would eat a lot more of everything. And then I would blame the weight gain on the food item. (Excluding veggies. We aren’t talking about veggies here). Then I would suffer the consequences of bloating, tightening pants, guilt or whatever else.

But the discipline allows me to indulge my food pleasures without consequence, and that is freedom for me.

I apply this to other areas of my life as well. I could sit on my ass after internship and just keep watching MORE episodes after my scheduled one episode. But instead, I open up WordPress and whip out a post.

I could buy more consumerist treats. That new shirt. The new makeup brush. A second flavor of milk tea. But that’s money that I take away from my own safety net. So instead, I squirrel that money way, flex my frugality muscle and find other hobbies. Such as posting on WordPress, working out, watching more net flicks, cooking, and being lazy.

I could be out hustling more with my part time job, as I did last year, and come home at 10pm at night, knock out and wake up at 8am and do it all over again. But instead, I put my foot down, and had enough discipline to stop my work-a-holic ass from going ham. I make myself rest and relax. I don’t want to be a high struck wired fuck. 2 hours a day for eating and down time is a bit unhealthy.

So there you have it, how discipline has set me free! Let’s hear it from you guys, does being disciplined help you?

XOXO

Mignon Cobra