These are my confessions.
xt-align: justify;”>I’m going to have to ask Usher to share the podium for a few minutes here. I know many of us fitness folks like to act like we have perfect diets – we always eat “clean” (or what have you), we get in our daily gallon of water, and we hardly ever have slip ups. I wouldn’t be surprised if I gave many of you readers the same impression about myself. I want you to all to be aware, however, that despite having a solid dietary foundation, I still have my quirks.
And I’m here to lay them out for you.
I have the world’s most serious sweet tooth. I have it down to a science. How many Splenda packets goes into my morning iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts? 4 for a small, 7 for a medium, 10 for a large. Yes, I know it’s disgustingly excessive, but that’s the way I like it. Granted, I stick to Stevia as my sweetener of choice when I can, but when I’m in a bind, Splenda will do. My affinity for candy is no better. Werther’s caramels, Swedish Fish, Almond Joy – if you leave it out in front of me, there’s a good chance the rest of the day will be shot. I’ve never tasted anything that I thought was “too sweet”; I’m usually making it even sweeter. There was a time during my childhood when I would routinely open the fridge and chug sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can. My knees buckle at the sight of ice cream (real ice cream, mind you) and I can never get too many toppings on my froyo.
I’m all or nothing when it comes to gum. Which is why I’m trying to quit it cold turkey. The worst period for me was my senior year of high school, when I was grinding through 8 full classes, a handful of extracurriculars, and getting in two workouts everyday. I chomped through over a pack of gum a day – not unlike a bad smoking habit – to deal with the stress. My gum of choice has been narrowed down to the 5 green (aka spearmint) and Extra (mint chocolate chip) flavors. I’ve so far been successful for the past three weeks in staying away from all that masticating (sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) and opting for more teeth brushing sessions, but only time will tell whether this will be a permanent lifestyle change. I’ve been known to crave gum so badly to the point of driving to a gas station in the middle of the night just to get my fix. Addictive personality – who, me?
I drink a Diet Mt. Dew everyday. With my new working hours as a strength coach at Tyler English Fitness, I’m awake by 4a.m. every morning. I’m sipping on my first coffee an hour later, and usually within the next 3 hours, I’ll crack open a can. I’ve already been accused by fellow coaches – and clients alike! – of “hiding” the can in my arms as I walk around and coach. What, hey… I can’t help it! Okay, okay, yes I can. I don’t know what it is about this particular soda that I like so much. It takes everything in me to cap it at just one can a day; otherwise I will gladly chug through at least three. This is one little dose of happy-in-a-can (quite literally) that I refuse to give up.
Sometimes I go days without consuming any veggies. I’m a little ashamed to say this, but I’ve resorted to purchasing frozen steam bags of broccoli and green beans just to make sure I get my daily greens. I’ve encountered far too many instances in the past year when I’ve bought produce and left it to rot in the fridge for weeks, only to have to throw it all out at the end. I figured frozen is at least better than nothing, and now I make an effort to eat at least 2 cups a day. It’s weird to think that there was once a time when I was an absolute fiend – and I’m talking heaping piles of butter lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers, and broccoli. Today, I have to throw spinach in my shakes and trick myself into eating more leafy greens.
A giant bowl of broccoli and carrots. This was one of the good days.
I like eating crap food. I mean I really, really like it. If I could get away with living off a diet of sliders (with bacon, please), onion strings, buffalo wings, and french toast, I’d be all over that in a heartbeat. As it is, however, I gain weight at the blink of an eye (not to mention all the not-so-stellar health consequences), which means I always have to keep my diet in check. I like oats and beef just fine – hell, sometimes all I really want is an oversized chicken salad – but there’s nothing quite like a succulent, cheesy burger oozing with grease. And buttery pancakes. As Julia Child herself noted, “You can never have too much butter!”
All of us have glitches in our dietary habits that make us human. And you know what? I’m not embarrassed to admit them. The last thing I want to be is someone who never strays from her diet and misses out on a social life and loving, fulfilling relationships just because I’m worried about one breath mint that I now feel compelled to burn off (I’m sure we can all think of a few people we know like this). It’s not. Worth it. i’ve been there, done that. And that shit sucks.
When all is said and done, I’d estimate that around 90% of my diet is pretty bang on. I’m always willing to leave that last 10% as cushioning for so-called “imperfections” such as the ones listed above. Unless my habits degenerate into serious, debilitating problems, I’m not going to worry about them too much.
These are my confessions. What are yours?
About Sohee Lee
Hi there and welcome – I’m so excited you’ve made it here! My name is Sohee Lee and I’m a formerly California-, now NYC-based fitness buff. I recently graduated in June of 2012 with a BA in Human Biology (concentration in Psychosocial and Biological Determinants of Health) from Stanford University. I’m also a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor (though my opinion on competing at this point is pretty mehh) and am currently studying to become a Precision Nutrition certified nutritionist and obtain my NSCA-CSCS.
If you don’t feel like reading everything below (which I completely understand – I mean sometimes I don’t shut up), then here’s a bullet-point version of me in a nutshell:
- eating disorder for 8 years, discovered weightlifting and fell in love
- shipped off to Stanford thinking I would study sports medicine, but discovered that fitness was my true calling
- graduated in June 2012 and spent the summer interning at Cressey Performance, the nation’s elite baseball training facility
- currently working in Connecticut as a strength coach
- also an online training and nutrition consultant and a contributing writer to Bodybuilding.com (woohoooooo!!)
How I Got Into Fitness
I’ve been physically active my entire life, starting with swimming at the age of 2. I’ve since participated in gymnastics, tap dancing (yeah, really), cheerleading, baseball, track, soccer, swimming, and cross country. I was an endurance athlete and, at one point, dipped into some dangerous territories. Read more about my battle with my eating disorder here and how I climbed my way out of the abyss.
My Take on Training
I believe in prioritizing the compound movements and saving the accessory movements for later, if at all. I believe in lifting heavy, regardless of whether you’re leaning out or trying to build mass. I believe that training should complement your diet, not compensate for your crappy nutrition. I believe that pink dumbbells should be used for rehab purposes only (ladies, I’m looking at you), and that nothing is quite more badass and sexy than a man or woman who can dominate in the weight room.
My Take on Nutrition
Hearing the following statements make me cringe:
- Too much protein will damage your kidneys.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you skip it, you. Will. Die.
- Small, frequent feedings keep your metabolism up and everybody should eat this way.
- Not eating for more than 4 hours at a time will cause your muscles to atrophy.
- You should never, never eat junk food lest the calories race straight to your hips, ass, and face. And stay there forever.
- You can say goodbye to alcohol.
Why I Created This Site
I made this site for you, dear reader. For years, I’ve spent every minute of my free time absorbing everything I could about fitness. I’ve worked with a number of trainers, learned what worked and what didn’t, and stumbled through many roadblocks to get to where I am now. Also, I like to write, and I want to share my stories with you. I have many.
I’m a lover of all things psychology (hence my academic area of focus); I’m intrigued by everything that makes us who we are as humans. Social relationships, the psychology behind our decisions… they all play into making us unique individuals.
When it comes down to it, fitness in and of itself is not what I’m passionate about; it’s you and what’s inside that noggin of yours. It’s what exists between me and you – this thing called a connection. A bond. I get such a high off of nurturing something so intangible and watching as we help each other in some way. How can you help me? You can start by helping me help you. Ask me questions, prod my brain, contact me! I’m here to make your life better. Whether that’s by providing you with a thought-provoking or entertaining blog post in the morning as you sip your heavenly java or by working with you as your training and nutrition consultant to transform your physique, I’m here, and I’m ready.