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Meet Her Campus Princeton Summer Slimdown Blogger: Jay!

Hello! My name is Jay Kang. By the way, I am usually not that cheery or put together as you see up there. If you spot me somewhere on campus, 99% of the time I would look like this: 

No make up and kinda awkward. derp. 

Another thing you should know about me is that I am kind of lazy, which is not the ideal quality of a fitness buff-wannabe. Believe me, I would much rather sit in my room vegging out–watching tv while munching on snacks–than be on the treadmill. But I care also care about being healthy, and  just the fact that you are reading this blog means that you are also interested in getting fit over the summer (or you are my friend and I hinted multiple times that I am blogging–hi friend! :D), and I invite you for a seriously realistic journey in weaving fitness into your daily life, as I will struggle to do so as well. 

I say that I care about being healthy, but I didn’t start off that way. Like most people out there, I cared about being thin. Loving the somewhat unreachable anatomical outcome rather than the progress that it requires to reach that outcome was not healthy for my self-esteem. I had, and continue to have, issues with body image. Coming from the ultra-appearance-says-everything-about-you Korean culture didn’t help at all. I won’t go into details about that here, but here is a buzzfeed link if you are interested in how hypercritical Koreans can be of people’s appearance.

I am short (surprise), but the opposte of petite. I have a pear-shaped body, meaning that I have a lot of fat on my thighs and booty. I blame my height for that. Let me just say that my own mother says that if I happened to fall into an island of cannibals they would eat me first because I will have such delicious looking legs. Not quite the kind of delicious I want to be. 

Anyway, freshman year, I did gain weight. I was never satisfied with my body weight, always wanting to be thinner like the average Korean, but  reaching a weight that I never reached before was definitely not one of my greatest achievements. From then on I have kept losing and regaining weight but I am never satisfied. I keep thinking about my days in high school when I could guzzle down a whole plate of pizza filled with mozzarella cheese, have a nutella sandwhich, and have five oranges as a snack and still be thinner than I am now and have perfect skin. But I also omitting the fact that I was in a swim team (semi-competitive. I joined freshman summer, and this was in an Egyptian international school, so…bascially not as gung-ho as American HS swim teams) swimming 2.5 hours every day and I was YOUNG. I can follow this logic in my head, but sometimes those facts don’t quite register when I am looking in the mirror, when all I see is an overweight female.

Given my swim team background, I am not totally unfit. It is actually the worst in terms of self-esteem because I remember what it felt being fit, and I feel the changes that the loss of muscle and gain of fat has done to my body, but at the same time I don’t quite give up completely because it’s not that I can’t exercise. In fact, with a little motivation I do some sort of cardio at least three times a week.  The ‘little motivation’ part is key here though: come midterms/finals period, fitness is way down there in my priority list. And jumping back on board to a fit lifestyle is the hardest. It isn’t like I don’t know the benefits. I do know that when I run outside in the mornings, I feel confident and optimistic about life in general. I become more creative when writing papers, and I concentrate better in class. I actually feel pretty. I can go on with the benefits, but honestly sometimes I just want to sleep in. I know that to maximize fat burning I should drink water as soon as I wake up and preferably exercise on an empty stomach, but I am hungry. That buzz that running buffs talk about, I want to feel that too, but 10 minutes into running on the treadmill all I see is the slowly changing red numbers. 

This summer, I aim to change to change my ‘but’s into ‘even though’. 

Even though I am tired after a full day in lab, I will go exercise

Even though I want to binge eat, I will eat in reasonable portions

Even though pop media sets body shapes that are quite impossible for the average fully functional mere mortals, I will not let my self-confidence and self-worth be swayed by those standards

Most importantly, even though I am tempted to be disappointed at my body and myself, I will recognize that getting fit is a long process and I need to be patient. Love it or hate it, this body is gonna be a part of my for the rest of my life, and I better learn how to take care of it to be happy.

So buckle in for this journey! I cannot guarantee that I will transform by the end of the summer that I will be a fitness buff. Worst case scenario, I will still be the lazy heavy bottomed girl with body image issues. But one thing I promise is that I will try. And I hope by reading my ups and downs, you will also be motivated to try a healthier lifestyle. If I can do it, you could too!

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Jay Kang

Princeton

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