The Quarantine Glow-Up

2020 was a rough year, for many obvious reasons. During quarantine, I experienced a spectrum of highs and lows concerning my mental and physical health. I spent months battling loneliness, literally recovering from Covid, dealing with financial insecurity, and encountering forces of unexpected emotions. Yet, despite everything, 2020 was also a year of one of the greatest learning curves of my life. Since March of 2020, I went through a rollercoaster ride of internal processing and self-discovery that pushed me to become a better version of myself: a person I am proud of today.

The Rough

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

Social media played a major role in negatively affecting my wellbeing. I was overwhelmed with the influx of rapidly changing content and particularly affected by the illusion of success portrayed on (seemingly) everyone’s highlight reels. At times, it was really difficult not to compare myself to others and think… “Geez. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get my life together? What am I doing here just sitting on my bum?”

In the midst of all my internal turmoil, I came to the conclusion that I was constantly trying to be this person that was not me. I was trying to please the masses, whatever that meant. I realized I was restricting my life by people’s expectations and my own limiting beliefs. I cared too much about the opinions of others, when in reality, no one cared.

The Turning Point

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

I knew that in order to change the course of my life, I had to stop comparing myself to everyone around me. I needed to go through my own quarantine inner glow-up. Cheesy to say aloud, but I quite literally made it my mission to change the course of my life.

The biggest takeaway from this “glow-up” process was the fact that this was not an overnight transformation. There were no shortcuts or drastic changes. I’m still undergoing changes and expect I will continue to do so for the next several years. Let me walk you through two breakthroughs that led to a major changes in my life (that I hope will serve to help you as well).

Comparison is a Killer

My biggest heartaches in life came from my deeply rooted insecurities. I was constantly comparing myself to someone I perceived as better than me in one regard or another. This was the bane of my existence and truly stunted me from thriving. I had to learn to let it go. I had to decide to let it go. I started rewiring how I viewed the world. Instead viewing others as my competition, I started to perceive them as my fellow learners, supporters, and equals. Choosing to change my perception of the world around me spurred me in the direction of building my own independent and secure identity. Our lives are not meant to be a reflection of someone else’s definition of success.

Our lives are not meant to be a reflection of someone else’s definition of success.

Misplaced Identity

I used to be someone who narrowly focused on achieving tangible goals (ie. losing weight, saving money, spending less time on my phone). While pursuing goals helped me change my behaviors for a temporary period of time, it didn’t lead to permanent, long lasting changes. Why? This was because I focused on outcome rather than identity. All of my actions were in pursuit of changing what I wanted to achieve rather than centering around who I wanted to become. When I shifted my habits towards pursuing an identity, I found that my daily behaviors began to shift in that direction as well, which in turn, led to achieving consistent results (shout out to James Clear for teaching me this concept in his book, Atomic Habits).

By actively changing my mindset, I laid down the foundation to allow for better habits to build upon themselves. 

I went from → 

  • Comparing myself to everyone
  • Believing I’m a failure
  • Thinking I have no potential
  • Feeling insecure 
  • Giving up constantly

To →

  • Believing I am capable and worthy
  • Seeking joy each day
  • Viewing setbacks as tools for growth
  • Living with confidence
  • Using failures as learning opportunities

So What Can You Do?

Let me be real. This process is not a one and done deal nor is it an overnight transformation. Anything worthwhile will take time, patience, and effort. You must be willing to ask yourself the following questions:

How do I perceive the world and myself in it?

What kind of mindset do I hold about who I am? 

How does my mindset affect how I live my life?

Does my behavior and lifestyle reflect who I want to become?

Self awareness and proactiveness are major aspects of evolving as a person. You may not be in control of life circumstances or other people’s reactions, but you are in control of how you choose to respond and adjust accordingly. When you are certain and confident in your identity, then your actions and interactions with the world around you will reflect what’s inside. But if you’re not in that head space yet, no need to be overwhelmed! Like I mentioned before, this process takes time and effort. You will get there if you apply yourself repeatedly.

Here Are My General Tips:

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash
  1. Pursue an Identity: Instead of trying to change your behavior by solely focusing on chasing results, start by deciding who you want to become. This identity may evolve over time and that’s okay! Your identity is the core that will ripple out into the other layers of behavior change.
  2. Select 1-3 Habits: With a spur of motivation, it’s easy to think you can conquer the world and try to change everything in your life (speaking from personal experience). However, the goal here is to make long lasting changes so focus on just 1-3 habits you can add or adjust in your daily life now. Other habits can be added along the way. Start by consistently mastering a few at a time.
  3. Make Minor Adjustments: Research shows that drastic alterations (ie. New Year’s resolutions) often backfire and lead to failure of adherence more than 50% of the time. Yes, you will encounter a few setbacks, but with minor adjustments, those setbacks can be easily corrected overtime. Even a small 1% positive difference in your life each day for a whole year will result in you improving 37 times by the end of the year!

You don’t need to rely on a detailed rulebook to start your own glow-up transformation. Real process of change starts when you decide to make that happen for yourself. The rest follows one step at a time!

[If you stuck around til the end, thanks for reading this long-winded blog post about me trying to explain my thought process]

In health and confidence,

Esther

References:

Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. New York: Free Press.

Clear, J. (2019). ATOMIC HABITS: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones. Random House Business.

Dweck, C. S. (2016). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.

Norcross, J. C., & Vangarelli, D. J. (1988). The resolution solution: Longitudinal examination of New Year’s change attempts. Journal of Substance Abuse, 1(2), 127-134. doi:10.1016/s0899-3289(88)80016-6

Start Your Fit Life 4 Week Program

I’ve always been the kind of person to start a diet or a fitness challenge, only to revert back to my old, unhealthy habits after a few weeks. The reason I failed to commit time and time again had everything to do with unsustainable practices. I was always trying to implement a drastic change in my life. And while drastic changes may have led to quick results, they certainly didn’t last.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that enough was enough. I was tired of…

  • yo-yo dieting
  • experiencing low energy
  • relying on motivation
  • feeling tired constantly
  • restricting my diet
  • doing too much cardio

Thus began a long 11 month journey committed to researching and experimenting with methods to turn my life around.

What changed?

Everything about my mindset and approach to health and fitness changed.

Prior to my journey

  • had a fixed belief that my worth was tied to my physical appearance
  • inconsistently committed to random nutrition and fitness plans
  • constantly binge ate and under ate

After 11 Months

  • reoriented my focus away from physical appearance to physical wellbeing.
  • set specific, realistic goals
  • implemented bite sized changes to my lifestyle which eventually led to permanent habits
  • found balance in my diet to include the sweets I love and healthy meals

My own health journey inspired me to create this 4 week program, Start Your Fit Life, for women who started as I did:

  • unmotivated
  • inconsistent
  • Inexperienced

The goal of this program is to help you build sustainable habits for the longevity of your health. It’s not about quick fixes or dramatic transformations. It’s about clarifying purpose, listening to your body and progressing towards long lasting change!

Tips for Success in Your Fitness Journey

When I first started my health journey, I was directionless and misguided. I would aimlessly wander around the gym, do random workouts, and inconsistently try to keep up with a plan. I gave myself very little grace and as a result, I would feel self-defeated often and give up easily. Needless to say, the beginning of my health journey was a rough one. Thankfully, I learned and grew from that experience and I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to start so rough! Here are 5 notable tips I wish I knew when I first started my health journey:

  1. Have a clear, specific goal
  2. Plan ahead for success
  3. Find a consistent source of accountability
  4. Be willing to go through trial and error
  5. Track your progress

Tip #1: Have a Clear, Specific Goal

Why is having a goal important? Without a clear goal, you don’t have real purpose to committing to anything. Having a specific why will serve as a constant reminder as to what you’re working towards, especially during times when you feel like giving up.

The key here is to start small, one step at a time. Create specific, bite sized goals to help you achieve your big picture goal. Be as specific and realistic as possible that works in your current lifestyle. There’s no need for you to overwhelm yourself and set a million different goals. By doing so, you’ll just end up with a wishful list of New Year’s Resolutions – goals that you start on a spurt of motivation but never complete.

You want to set yourself up for success from the onset of your journey and continually progress in one direction. It’s better to move slowly than not at all! You’ll eventually reach your big picture goal by investing in yourself, one bite sized goal at a time.

Key Features of a Solid Goal (Adopted from the S.M.A.R.T Goal Acronym):

  • Specific – Use language that is not vague or ambiguous. ie. Instead of “I want to lean down” say “I want to lose 5% of body fat”.
  • Realistic – Create a goal that you know you can achieve within your current lifestyle. ie. If you know you have a busy schedule, instead of aiming to workout 5 days a week, maybe start with a more reasonable number that you know you can fit into your schedule.
  • Time specific – Have a clear start and end date. This will help you to keep track of your progress and give you a deadline to work towards.

Tip #2: Plan Ahead for Success

Once you have a clear picture of where you are headed, come up with a game plan to help you achieve your desired outcome. Sounds simple enough, right? However this is where most people fall through (and I know I certainly have). Your plan for success doesn’t mean you have to completely offset what you are doing now.

Similarly to what I stated about setting goals, start small! I know it seems worthy of attention to do something drastic, but if you can’t adhere to the plan for longer than a few months, then consider scaling back. The ultimate hope of following a plan is to build sustainable habits that will allow you to achieve your goals over time. Looking back 3 months, 6 months, and a year from where you started, you’ll be proud of the considerable strides you’ve made by taking small steps forward!

Tips To Building Sustainable Habits:

  • Adjust your environment to make behavior change easier for you (ie. setting aside an area in your house dedicated to home workouts, rearranging food in your kitchen, cutting up and prepping food for next day meals, etc).
  • Start with one habit at a time and move on once you’ve mastered it and can stick to it.
  • Consider how you feel physically and mentally and make adjustments accordingly. If you repeatedly feel tired or unhappy with what you’re currently doing, don’t force yourself to continue! Listen to your body first! There is not one set way to achieve your goals. Plans are meant to change overtime.

Tip #3: Find a Consistent Source of Accountability

Depending on your life circumstances, maybe meeting with a coach is not an option, but there are plenty of other free sources of accountability that may work in your lifestyle:

  • family member
  • friend(s)
  • free facebook group
  • group chat

In every stage of my health journey, I have benefitted from having an accountability partner (and I’ve tried all of the above). My top favorites are seeking accountability from a coach and friends. With a coach, I’ve received tailored attention and guided coaching to address my specific struggles. With friends, I’ve had a lot of fun exchanging words of encouragement and sharing progress updates.

So why does having accountability matter? Letting someone else know about your goals will hold you more accountable than if you were tracking by yourself. A good accountability partner will encourage you, give you the extra nudge you need, or remind you of what you’re trying to achieve. By having someone walk alongside you, you’re more aware of your actions and whether or not they’re aligned with your goals.

Making a commitment to another person that you’ll achieve your goal will greatly increase the odds that you will follow through. Find a source of accountability that will work for you!

Tip #4: Be Willing to Go Through Trial and Error

During quarantine, you may experience days or weeks when you’re not seeing the progress you desire. You may find yourself feeling discouraged, stuck, or unwilling. When these negative thoughts enter your mind, what do you tend to do? Do you wallow in your feels and decide to give up? Or do you dust yourself off and try again?

Because we are all unique individuals, what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another. This doesn’t mean you are a failure! This simply means you may benefit from making an adjustment to meet the unique needs of your body.

Along this journey, you’ll encounter setbacks and challenges. Instead of shutting down and writing yourself off as a failure, be willing to go through trial and error until you find what works best for you! When you approach your health with willingness and an open mind, you’ll be amazed at both the physical and mental strides you make in your journey. What you think is what you ultimately become (oof, it’s true… I’ve learned this the hard way).

Tip #5: Track Your Progress

Tracking health progress can significantly contribute to the success of achieving your goals. By having a system of documenting your meals, strength records, measurements, or physical condition, you’ll be able to identify what works for you and what does not. Documentation of your progress can also serve as a reference point when you are comparing where you are now versus where you were when you started. You don’t need a fancy fitness journal. You’ll just need a place to consolidate all your notes:

  • Notes section on your phone
  • Google doc
  • Calendar
  • Planner
  • Blank notebook

Progress looks different for each person depending on the focus of their goals. If your goal is to be able to run a mile in less than 10 minutes, then measuring your bodyweight may not be necessary. The basics I recommend including is a space to jot down how you feel, your plan, and your progress towards your goals. Some additional items to track (depending on your goals):

  • Daily meals
  • Body measurements, weight, fat percentage
  • Workout and rest days
  • End of day reflections
  • Hours of sleep
  • Water intake
  • Heart rate
  • Speed
  • # of Ib/kg of weight used during training
  • etc.

Summary

The main takeaway is to start small! Have at-least one specific, realistic goal, a plan to help you reach your goal, one source of accountability, an open mind, and a place to track your progress. If that feels overwhelming to you, then just start with setting one small goal and one habit change to help you move towards that goal.

In health and confidence,

Esther

3 Lessons I’ve Learned during My Health Journey

Let me start by saying, I am so fed up with seeing posts and ads that make people feel like they have to restrict their diet or cut out all “junk food”. I’m tired of seeing “x number of calories burning” workout videos.

  • “You shouldn’t eat that”.
  • “You should do this workout to burn off extra calories”.
  • “You should workout harder to earn your meals”.

This type of rhetoric is what encourages guilt and cultivates a culture of disordered eating and body insecurity. This is why I have a complicated relationship with the fitness/health industry. Let’s be real – there is a lot of filth in the mix, and I’m not here for it. Nope. Nada.

For years, messages like these perpetuated the notion that I had to earn meals and fueled my guilt and anxiety centered on nutrition and my body. I’d restrict myself, then came the holidays or any major events, and I’d stuff myself silly. Then, the guilt would settle in and make me feel like I had to restrict myself further… hence, I’d cycle through binge eating and restricting until my next New Year’s resolutions. As you can imagine, I had an ambivalent relationship with food.

3 Lessons I’ve Learned

Over these past two years, I’ve learned 3 important lessons that have shaped my perception of nutrition and fitness in relation to my body.

  1. Mindset Matters: How I view myself and how I treat my body are closely linked.
  2. My Desires and Needs Are Relevant: Greater self awareness of my needs and wants impact my actions
  3. Willpower Is Not Enough: Relying on high levels of willpower is neither sustainable nor realistic

Mindset Matters

I can’t stress this enough: how you view yourself affects how you treat yourself. If you constantly believe that you are a failure… then how well do you think you treat your physical body? Subconsciously, we’ve all developed some kind of mindset, whether that is a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. According to Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset describes people who view their traits as unchangeable. In a growth mindset, people believe that their abilities can develop overtime through effort and hard work.

Fixed Mindset

  • “I can’t control my cravings, so I’m just going to eat whatever I want”
  • “I’m going to gain weight anyways, so who cares”
  • “I always fail so there’s no point in trying”
  • “It’s too hard. I give up”

Growth Mindset

  • “What are ways to satisfy my cravings without derailing my progress?”
  • “What can I learn from this so I can improve?”
  • “How can I plan ahead to reach my goals?”
  • “What can I learn from this set back?”

If you find yourself leaning more towards a fixed mindset, no worries. Awareness is the first step towards growth. When a negative thought enters your mind, practice speaking growth statements aloud. Remember, you are never truly stuck in life; you can always grow from wherever you are! It’s a a matter of whether you are going to make the choice to grow.

My Desires and Needs Are Relevant

I used to believe that I had to follow an exact meal plan and fitness regimen. If I wanted to successfully lose weight, I thought I needed to slash my calories in half, limit the kinds of food I ate, and constantly do high intensity workouts (or at-least that’s what many fitness companies promote so they can steal all your monies, heh). I remember a time when I was eating around 1,200 calories and constantly feeling hungry, fatigued, and cranky. Though my body was clearly in crisis mode, I ignored all the signals. I fell victim to that trap and suffered some physical and mental consequences as a result.

Now, I am much more aware of my body’s signals and hunger cues. I honor my cravings, eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full. Your dietary and fitness regimen is going to differ from mine depending on a multitude of factors:

  • daily schedule
  • goals
  • circumstances
  • foods you respond well to
  • foods you dislike
  • etc.

Take time to reflect on how you’re feeling, how you respond to certain foods and what you enjoy eating. Any nutrition regimen can be successful if it works well in your lifestyle. You can still honor your desires and needs without restricting your diet. Whatever nutrition plan you follow, ask yourself if it meets the following criteria:

  • Honors your nutritional desires and needs
  • Doesn’t compromise your mental or physical health
  • Sustainable in your lifestyle

If you find that you are forcing yourself to eat a certain way, are not satisfied, or constantly yo-yo dieting, something needs to change.

Willpower Is Not Enough

Thinking you have to rely on willpower makes you feel unsuccessful from the get go. And honestly, it’s rare for someone to have high levels of willpower at all times. It’s not realistic.

Under certain situations, willpower can be of use. It can help you when you initially start something new. It can stop you from making an impulsive purchase or a poor decision. But if you’re constantly having to rely on your willpower to sustain your lifestyle, you’re most likely going to exhaust the amount you have. Then what? Do you just give up? Or wait for a reset (aka until you make your New Year resolutions)?

Instead of relying on willpower, think about making small, gradual changes to your life. While drastic changes sound more appealing in terms seeing quick progress, if you don’t foresee yourself keeping up with those changes for a year or more, then you’ll find yourself reverting back to your old, undesirable habits. The key is to make minimal, specific adjustments to your environment and lifestyle to help you reach your goal in a sustainable manner. Here a few examples that have worked for me:

  • Keeping my snacks out of plain sight, stored in a high kitchen shelf
  • Setting out workout clothes, shoes, and a water bottle the night before my workout
  • Planning my meals ahead of time, even if it’s just one planned meal a day
  • Creating a section in my house dedicated to my home workouts

These minor habits don’t sound as awe-inspiring as drastically cutting out all processed foods or running 5 miles a day (which I don’t recommend), but they are habits I know I can follow long term. Don’t underestimate the power of building small habits! Eventually, you’ll see the payoff.

Regardless of where you are starting in your health journey, you certainly can implement lasting, sustainable habits that work in your lifestyle. You are not obliged to have everything figured out from the onset. Life is about making mistakes, going through trial and error, and growing from your experiences (the reason why I’m a huge fan of adopting a growth mindset). Give yourself room to learn and move on from setbacks or challenges. The more you choose to embrace, the more resilient of a person you will become. Trust me, if I can do it, you DEFINITELY can.

In health and confidence,

Esther

We Tested Positive for Covid-19

Life Update: My parents and I tested positive for Covid-19. I was naive to think we would be safe from the virus. Even though we masked up, sanitized frequently, and kept our distance, still, we contracted Covid. Fortunately for our family, no one has experienced life-threatening symptoms and is in the process of recovery. For the past 13 days, I’ve kept a log of all of our symptoms.

September 26 ,2020

Dad was the first to develop symptoms. This was the first time I had ever seen him so weak and inactive. Our family thought he was just developing a cold from working outside in the rain, but his condition began to worsen over the course of a few hours. Later in the night, dad developed a headache, body aches, and a fever of 102F.

September 27,2020

Dad’s condition remained more or less the same. He still had a headache and a slight fever.

September 28, 2020

Dad woke up without any symptoms- no fever, pain or chills. Still, our family advised him to schedule a Covid test later in the day. He went to get tested at 3PM. His results came back around 4PM. It was positive. Upon hearing the news, he went into self isolation immediately. Later in the day, mom appeared visibly unwell. She reported having fatigue and body aches. Her symptoms seemed suspicious, but she also didn’t sleep much the night before.

September 29, 2020

Dad’s body aches and chills returned. Mom was still experiencing fatigue and aches and slept for most of the day. She went out to get tested for Covid-19 in the afternoon. She had her sample taken for both the rapid testing and lab testing. Within a few hours, her rapid testing results came back as negative. My sister and I got tested for Covid-19 earlier in the morning.

September 30, 2020

Dad reported feeling a lot better. He had some chills, but no other symptoms. Mom, on the other hand, started developing worsening body aches and chills. She also reported having a headache, minor fever of 99.7, nausea and some dizziness. She had some chest discomfort earlier in the day. Although her rapid test results came back as negative, our brother’s NP advised that mom go into isolation with dad. Towards late afternoon, I started developing a cough.

October 1, 2020

Dad’s fever spiked back to 101F during the night. Mom had some stomach pain and nausea but reported that she felt better than yesterday. Her lab testing results came back as positive for Covid, which confirmed our suspicions. My cough had not gone away, but was being managed with cough medication. I started to develop muscle aches, but it may have been from working out the day before. My sister and I received our test results. We were both negative.

October 2, 2020

Dad had over 100F fever this morning. It went down to 93F and then back to 95F later in the day. His symptoms had been fluctuating. Dad said he had no appetite, had stomach discomfort and kept waking in the night due to his fever and nausea. Mom reported her cold chills weren’t as bad as the days before. She had no fever and no coughing. I, however, still had a cough, some muscle aches and woke up with a slight sore throat.

October 3, 2020

Dad had the same symptoms and his fever came back. He reported he’s had a headache since day 1 of Covid, but now it was driving him crazy. The pain was persistent throughout the day and his medication was no longer effective. Mom reported having the same symptoms but more mild than before. She had some cold chills. I still had a cough and some muscle aches.

October 4, 2020

Dad reported that he had some irregularity with his breathing. He had some shortness of breath that he didn’t experience pre-Covid, though it was not causing too much discomfort nor was it causing him pain. Dad stopped by his doctor’s office to measure his oxygen level. Dad’s oxygen level was 97 (normal). Mom said she was okay. She had a headache and eye ache since the morning, but no body aches or cold chills. I still had a cough and muscle aches. Additionally, I started to develop a runny nose and chills.

October 5, 2020

Dad had a headache all throughout the day. Mom reported having the same symptoms. I felt almost back to normal – no aches, chills or runny nose. I had a slight cough. In the morning, I went to CVS to get tested for Covid for the second time.

October 6, 2020

Dad felt nauseous and had a headache on and off throughout the day. Mom reported feeling fine, although still not at 100%. Both of them did not have body aches or chills. My symptoms returned.

October 7 ,2020

Dad had the same symptoms as yesterday. Mom had no symptoms but was still taking medication. She stopped taking her medication once, but then her body aches and chills came back intensely. She decided to take medication until the next day. I woke up with a runny nose, sore throat, and a cough. My test results came back this morning. It was positive.

October 8, 2020

Dad had no symptoms other than a headache. His headache had been a consistent symptom since day 1 and has not gone away. Mom no longer had any symptoms and stopped taking her medication. I still had congestion, runny nose, and a cough. I also developed new symptoms: diminished sense of taste and complete loss of smell…

October 9, 2020 (Present day)

Fortunately for our family, no one has been hospitalized or experienced any life threatening respiratory issues (as of now). However, this is not the case for everyone who contracts Covid-19. America has now surpassed 200,000 deaths and over 7 million Covid cases. Covid- 19 is not a hoax. It’s not a game. The best case scenario would probably to be at home as much as possible, but if not, please be a responsible citizen when you go out into public. Wear a mask, wash your hands, sanitize, and maintain 6 feet distance from others. It’s the least we can do for the safety of others and ourselves!

Thank you to my family, friends, and community for the outpouring of love, support, and prayer. I will keep you all posted.

-EY

Welcome to Your Fitness Journey Reflection

Are you ready to dive in?

CLICK ME TO TAKE ME THERE!

This reflection exercise will help you assess your desired fitness related goals and identify roadblocks and ideas in achieving the progress you want to see!

Your feedback will be used for my personal research so I can develop the exact framework to serve others in their unique fitness journeys. In exchange for your time, I will select a few people to hop on a FREE 1:1 30 minute “Start Your Fit Life” game plan call with me!

With love, Esther

It’s Official

Welcome to the #healthieryoo squad!

Who Am I?

My name is Esther Yoo and I’m a fitness coach and the founder of A Healthier Yoo.

During my formative years of college, I started developing an interest in living a more healthy, fit lifestyle. I was tired of being lethargic, lazy, and passive about my health, but I was too set in my ways to actively change my life. I’d tell myself:

I don’t have time.

I’m not THAT unhealthy.

I want to eat what I what, when I want.

I’d rather binge watch my tv shows.

These were just a handful of the countless excuses I’d tell myself to affirm my lifestyle.

8.25.2014 | End of Freshman Year of College | Before Starting My Fitness Journey

Fast forward a few years to 2017, I was at my most unhealthy and unhappy state I’ve ever been in. I was at my heaviest weight, suffered from constant anxiety and stress, and felt moody all the time. My hair was falling out due to the high volume of stress I was experiencing from work and I put on several pounds of fat from binge eating to comfort myself. I was always emotionally and physically drained… Needless to say, 2017 was r o u g h.

06.09.2017 | A Rough Year

At the end of 2018, I decided that ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH. I didn’t want to continue living in a cycle of self sabotage; my health was in a critical state and I knew that in order to better myself, I had to make an active decision to change my habits. Thus, began a journey of discovering how to start and commit to a healthier, more fit lifestyle.

12.16.2018

From 2018 to the end of 2019, I went through multiple trial and errors. My journey has not been a perfect or smooth sailing one… Although I had a new passion and motivation to start my fitness journey, I didn’t really know what I was doing (lol, just the plain ol’ truth). My social media feeds were cluttered with conflicting and often, unhelpful advice. My levels of motivation varied from day to day and I had no idea what work-out plan to use! I was a hot mess.

April 2018 – Jan 2019 | Inconsistent Fat & Muscle Loss/Gain

I had the desire to start and commit to my fitness journey, but I lacked the proper knowledge, discipline, and accountability to follow through with achieving my goals. Did I let that stop me? NO! I made it my mission to overcome these roadblocks! As a way to really dive headfirst, I decided to embark on a 90 day transformative journey.

Fat Loss Progress Photos from June 2020 – Aug 2020 | 90 Day Journey Series

Over the past 68 days (I’m still in my 90 day journey), I’ve finally figured out how to truly begin and commit to my fitness journey.

What’s holding you back from starting? What are your fears and misconceptions about fitness? Do you have goals you want to achieve but don’t know where to start?

I was in that same position not even a year ago.

Yet, here I am today!

Everything I have learned up to this point, I have poured into my fitness coaching business to help YOU get in the best shape of your life – both physically and mentally. It is my mission and passion to empower millennial women like you START and COMMIT to healthy, fit lifestyles while building growth mindsets, healthy habits, and confidence in their bodies!

To all my boss ladies out there, it is NEVER too late to start!

Love, Esther

In the Wake of Change

At a certain point in our lives, we must make the brave decision to do what is right. Not just for the betterment of our own individual lives, but for the common good. Because if we consciously know some of our brothers and sisters are made to suffer by an overtly corrupt system, how then can we say “all is well within my soul“? It can’t be. It mustn’t be. Life cannot be just about preserving the wellbeing of self.
 
Christ endured the weight and pain of the world for the sake of all mankind. He advocated for the weak, the oppressed, the brokenhearted, the outcast, the hurt. As a believer, He has called me to not just say I’m a believer, but to believe with all my heart, mind, and soul and (as a result) to act accordingly.
 
I’m reminded not to just show up online as a facade of solidarity, but to actually act upon being a true alley – first, with a Kingdom perspective, and second with a desire to learn and advocate for macro-level societal change.
 
I implore us all to not give up on the fight for justice and freedom for all – including the spiritual and physical sense. Let’s lead by example, not by hate. Let’s have diverse conversations and seek to understand others. Our voices and actions yield great potential for impactful change… so what will we decide to do? Who will we become? What will we live and die for?
 
I don’t know all the answers for myself, but I do know that life is more than just me… and I hope that in the wake of change, I would not lose this momentum to fight for truth and equality for all. I write as a reminder to myself to not give up when life becomes overwhelming and change seems slow to come. Life continues to take me off guard and if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s taught me to let go of control and trust God with the future.
I’m not sure what more to say, so I’ll end with a bible verse that has stuck with me all throughout college and seems most relevant to my life now:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 ESV

I Don’t Want to Fear Anymore

Almost a year ago, I promised to write weekly to document life as a 25 year old, but I chickened out. Though no one had directly judged me, at some point last year, I started developing excessive anxiety about people’s opinions on my faith and life in general. As the year progressed, I grew more timid and feared I would say something offensive. Or I would do something “wrong”. Never wanting to attract negative attention, I stopped posting altogether. I even stopped speaking out as much. Inconspicuously, I became more of a social recluse. I didn’t enjoy gatherings anymore.

I felt out of place.

Alone.

If anyone asked how I was doing or what was going on in my life, I automatically lied and kept it short. “I’m fine”, I replied, “And you?” I found myself stuttering and fumbling over my words. Every time I spoke, I’d anxiously wonder, “Am I oversharing? Do I sound daft? Do I have any credibility?” It was exhausting. 2019 was exhausting.

Fast forward to 2020. I thought I had finally started to heal and move on. I laughed more and enjoyed socializing again, rarely experiencing emotional lows. Life felt better.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, Covid-19 paralyzed the nation, confining us all to our homes. Months of progression towards healing deteriorated in the span of a few weeks. I didn’t anticipate the hard blow. And I didn’t understand. What had gone wrong?

But it was never about what caused this second trigger. This was an already pre-existing wound simply patched with an old band-aid. I never healed properly in the first place.

I had only temporarily treated my broken spirit with shallow self mediation. 

I no longer recognized myself. And more eminently, I had forgotten Christ.

The one I claimed to love wholeheartedly. The one who endured hundreds of lashes and the scorn and betrayal of men. The one who was crucified upon a tree, yet defeated death. The one who rose victoriously –

to save the lost.

To save a broken spirit like me.

How then could I live as though Christ was not enough? How then could I stop speaking of His redeeming love? Was my fear of people’s thoughts more important than the truth that set me free?

I spent the past year trying to suppress the most important part of my being- truth. By doing so, I morphed into an unrecognizable person. The opinion of others and the trends in politics and social media dictated my actions and thoughts.

The weight of this conviction rested heavily in my heart all throughout quarantine.

I know following Christ is not a popular trend and is often received with hostility and disdain. But I do not want to live in fear. Nor do I want to live as a lukewarm believer. What I know with clarity is that Christ has not called me or His people to live with one foot dipped in truth. It’s either all in or completely out.

In a time of great uncertainty and suffering, we must cling to truth all the more. Because though everything on earth continues to fail us, Christ never does and never will. Our hope is in the things above and not of this earth (a much needed reminder to myself every day).

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 ESV

Thank you, Jesus for reminding me of what’s important and giving me courage to speak.

-EY

(It feels good to be back.)

Dive into 25: A Journal Series

A few years ago, I loosely committed to a personal tradition of writing lists of x number of life lessons I’ve learned in the x amount of years I’ve been alive. I started that tradition to motivate me to live better than I did the year before. This year, upon turning 25, I have decided to modify the tradition. Instead of writing out lists, I will commit to writing my first journal series called Dive into 25.

Why start a journal series?

In almost every free moment I have, I’m already thinking about and planning for the next thrilling adventure in my life. While living in the moment and relishing in spontaneity are not necessarily detrimental in essence, when not paired with discipline and specific direction, they can lead to lack of stability and commitment. My mind is constantly churning with new ideas and hopes, yet, I never seem to settle down and pursue one whole heartedly. As I have come to understand more of who I am, I’ve learned that while I can easily cast a grand vision, I struggle to fill in the details. Without a plan of action, visions are only eloquent on paper, and unfortunately, many of mine are collecting dust in a notebook. Therefore, I’ve decided to create a space for accountability where I can express not only my hopes, but also document my progress in fulfilling tangible goals towards my big picture visions.

What does this journal series entail?

This journal series will be a physical progress log of my year as a 25 year old woman. In this series, I will explore topics of faith & womanhood, self-improvement, and the art of creating tangible, specific goals. Though this series is a documentation of my personal growth, I hope that it will also serve to encourage you all to not give up on your own efforts, explore the gifts you’ve been blessed with, and live out a purposeful, meaningful year with me.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10 esv

-ey