Kruti Shah Shares Her Experience with an Eating Disorder

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Today, I want to share the story of a lovely young woman, Kruti Shah. I stumbled upon her Instagram and I was instantly hooked to her beautiful pictures and recipes. After scrolling through her feed, I saw she shared a few personal details: she is recovering from an eating disorder. I thought it was really brave of her to share intimate details about her personal life, and I wanted to know a bit more.

By opening up, Kruti hopes to break the stigma around mental health that exists especially in the South Asian community.

+Introduce Yourself!

KS: Hi everyone! My name is Kruti Shah and I was born and raised in Southern California. Currently, I’m a preschool teacher and volunteer on the side with children with early developmental delays. My goal is to work in healthcare as an Occupational Therapist. Recently, I’ve tapped into my passion of cooking with my food blog, which can be found on Instagram, where I share recipes and healthy eats. It’s become one of my favorite hobbies to be able to connect and inspire so many individuals.

+Why did you start your food instagram?

KS: I started my food blog on my personal account to share recipes and healthy eats with my friends and family, however it has grown way more than I anticipated. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I would not have stumbled upon an amazing company called Wear Your Label, where their goal is to end the stigma around mental health. I’m so thankful for the connections I’ve made through Instagram, it’s opened up so many new friendships for me, and it’s been amazing to know that I have such a strong support system especially throughout recovery.

+Do you mind sharing a bit more about your struggles with ED?

KS: I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for quite some time now, although I’ve gotten much better, I still don’t know what full recovery means, I just know that I’m headed in the right direction. I was 14 when I first looked in the mirror and thought I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t pretty enough, and I hated the way I looked. I began to cut calories, exercise more, and almost always went to sleep hungry.

I’ve come a long way since my initial days, and I know the journey for me is still in progress, but I could not be more proud of where I am today. I’m learning to not fear food, find a balance, and most of all cultivate self-love.

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+How was it like sharing what you were going through with friends & family? I imagine it must have been hard.

KS: Sharing my story with family and friends initially gave me great anxiety, and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable discussing. However throughout the years, I’ve learned to own my story, and not allow my struggle to define who I am. I’ve always felt judged for the way I look and the way I eat, but I’m learning to ignore those judgments, and just do me.

+Did you end up getting professional health?

KS: I did receive professional help with the encouragement of my brother. I always thought that I could recover on my own, and I did not need help from anyone, but I hit a point in my life where I realized that I can’t do it alone anymore, it was exhausting. Also, I was discouraged to seek help again because of the judgment/stigma around seeing a psychologist, but I moved past that it has been one of the best decisions.

+Ok, turning to a fun question now! What’s your favorite nourishing (or healthy) meal?

KS: Avocado toast, no doubt! I used to be so afraid of eating “fats,” nut butters, oils, avocado, but now I can’t live without any of them! I love how creative you can get with such a simple combination of smashed avocado on toast and the toppings are endless!

 

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+Do you have any advice for women struggling with an eating disorder?

KS: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One of my biggest struggles was opening up and sharing my story with family and friends, but it is so important to find a strong support system. It can be scary, but the constant support and encouragement I’ve received has helped me tremendously. It is easy to hide behind a wall and feel alone, but remember that you never are.

There are so many others who are struggling as well, and there are a number of resources to help you find a way out. I don’t know what full recovery looks like, but I know that I’m working towards it, and I’ve made so much progress. For anyone struggling, always look at how far you’ve come, and remember that you’re not alone.

+Last question! What’s a motto/mantra you live by?

KS: As cliché as it may seem, I tell myself everyday that “everything happens for a reason.” I am trying to see my eating disorder in a positive light, and I know without ED I would not be where I am today. I’ve been fortunate to connect with so many wonderful individuals, and most importantly I’ve grown and learned so much about myself. Our vulnerabilities are our greatest strengths, and ED has helped me understand that.

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I know this topic isn’t as light-hearted as my previous posts but being health is a lot more than just your physical state, your mental state is equally if not more important. I’m so thankful that Kruti took some time to share her story.

*photo credit: Kelsey Schroeder

Ultimate Squad Goals: Nike Features Indian Female Athletes

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I was extremely happy and even giddy while watching Nike India’s latest ad “Da Da Ding”. The three minute commercial features well known personalities in India, like Deepika Padukone, and some not as well known (but equally bad-ass) women.

I love how the advertisement shows the intensity and determination that athletes require. These women are strong, fierce, and not afraid to push or shove a little. You know what’s also refreshing? Not all of these women athletes have chiseled abs or six packs. Women don’t have to fit this ideal body type to be fit or athletic.

This is the kind of propaganda India needs. Not the kind where women are wearing skimpy clothing dancing to the latest Bollywood hit (like this, ugh).

These are just some of the women featured in Nike’s video:

Field hockey player Rani Rampal, cricketeer Harpreet Kaur, surfer Ishita Malaviya, former professional badminton player Deepika Padukone, sprinter Shweta Hakke, soccer player Jyoti Ann Burrett, and many more.

Have you guys seen it? If you haven’t, watch it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Reva Bhatt From Hybrid Hues on Her Hyphenated Identity

With Citrus & Gold, I want to inspire people to live a bolder, happier, and healthier life but I know I can’t do it alone.

I want to use this blog as a platform to bring light to other inspirational women (and men) who embody that same mission. Today, I want to put the spotlight on Reva Bhatt of Hybrid Hues as she definitely inspires me to be bolder. She’s also one of the few people who helped me think about my own South Asian identity and how it connects to my own passions & everyday life.

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Meet Reva

I’ve known Reva since high school and it’s been amazing to see how she’s carefully crafted who she is and what she stands for. To describe Reva in a few words is challenging: she’s an artist, a writer, and an engineer but the way she describes herself is a “work in progress”.

Encouraged by her friends, Reva started Hybrid Hues as a simple fashion blog to share her unique style. But after she worked on her fashion blog for a few weeks, she knew she couldn’t just share outfit posts – she had more to say. Inspired by her hyphenated identity she then began using her blog as a platform to “reinterpret fashion through a political framework to spark broader conversations about the crossroads of culture, social politics and art, especially within the South Asian context.”

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She’s made her voice heard by writing commentary pieces about how South Asian culture is portrayed in pop culture. For example, she wrote a piece that was shared on the Huffington Post on Coldplay’s Hymn For The Weekend music video (spoiler alert she was NOT happy).

In her own words:

“When I watched that, I had to turn my brain off for the the entire day. I remember watching it at lunch and I was so distraught by it that I couldn’t work, I couldn’t think…all I was doing was checking YouTube, checking Twitter to see if being upset was justified.”

Though the reaction to the music video has been mixed in the South Asian community, it’s apparent that Reva isn’t afraid to share her opinion.

Not Your Dulhan

Reva tackles other hard-hitting subjects that affect many South Asian women, such as the pressure of marriage. This is a huge topic for us – trust me if you talk to any South Asian girl my age she will definitely tell you the pressure she’s felt to find a husband.

She and a few friends (Jasdeep Kang & Pragya Bhatt) launched “Not Your Dulhan”, a photo series exploring “how different womxn challenge the stereotypes and expectations surrounding the “perfect dulhan” (bride).”

What’s cool is that they recruited all of their models from Instagram! She and Jasdeep were able to find three South Asian women who had never modeled before to be part of the series. On the surface they were different: they were women of all ages, skin tones, sexuality, regions of India. But one common thread among them is that they have all fought to redefine the institution of marriage within the South Asian community and their families.

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There’s a lot more that can be said about Reva and her work so I would encourage you to check out her website and Instagram.

Reva’s fiery personality is contagious, in the best way possible. She’s bold, sassy, and isn’t afraid to share her opinion. Here’s to hoping she never stops.

How I Learned to Love Group Fitness

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I had a hard time deciding what I wanted my next post to be about after writing my more personal “health story.” I thought about sharing a recipe or something but it didn’t feel like it flowed…so I’m sharing a little more about me again:

A few years back, I picked up some bad habits, gained some weight and then ultimately, realized I needed to live a healthier lifestyle. During my first attempt at being more fit, I started working out more and tried different fitness classes to find something I liked, but after trying multiple different classes, I would always find excuses to skip out. Barre & pilates weren’t right for me because I wasn’t flexible. Spin classes were a hassle with clipless shoes and uncomfortable seats. Even running with a group of people was intimidating because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up.

Convinced that group fitness classes were not right for me, I isolated myself to going to the gym alone. I would spend thirty minutes on a cardio machine, play around with a few weights, stretch, and then call it day. A few friends would ask me to go to a class with them but I was adamant in doing my workouts on my own time. Eventually, I fell into a monotonous routine which had left me uninspired, unmotivated, and discouraged.

But the truth is I dreaded group fitness classes because I lacked self-confidence. There I was, a short Indian girl trying to lose a few extra pounds, surrounded by other girls who were toned, tall & confident. I felt out of place and judged, though in reality the only person judging me was myself.

I wish I had a light-bulb flash at me when I realized my approach was completely wrong. I wish I had realized earlier that I was focusing too much energy on others.

It took me time to find self-love & confidence and it took some encouragement from friends for me to face my nagging fear. Over the course of three to four years I have finally come to a place of acceptance and love for myself. These days you can find me at spin, pilates, and even hip-hop ( though I’m pretty sure I’m one of the least-coordinated people!). I look forward to my classes now because they keep my workouts interesting and fun.

If you’re just beginning your health journey, realize that no one is an expert from the start. We have all felt uncomfortable at some point. Reject negative thoughts and doubt. Embrace what you have instead of longing for what you don’t. Your body can do amazing things <3.

My Health Story

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I’ve met and spoke with a lot of health & fitness bloggers and I learned that many have a story to share. Today I thought I’d share my story on why I’ve become so invested in my health and well-being. There’s so much to say but hopefully this post starts unfolding some of the layers.

Everyone has different reasons to why they start their health journey: to lose weight, to recover from a sickness, to become stronger, etc. My journey really began about four years ago when I came back from studying abroad and didn’t recognize who I was anymore.

The unrecognizable version of myself was the by-product of unhealthy life choices and an unfortunate stomach bug that has permanently altered my digestive system. To this day I am still trying to figure out what foods are safe and what lifestyle is best suited for me.

But let me rewind even further and start from the beginning:

Growing up I was fortunate to be active, happy, and healthy. In high school I was a swimmer and I really didn’t have to worry about my weight or what I ate because my metabolic rate was off the walls with all that working out. There was a time where I could eat six eggo waffles in a sitting and I’d feel perfectly fine afterwards.

Once I got busier with studying and left for college, my health was no longer a priority. I actually was close to being underweight from the stress so I knew started to incorporate more physical activity into my lifestyle. My mom was a great influence for me back then (she still is now) and she introduced me to yoga and convinced me to run my first 5K! Still at this point, my health was something I’d take for granted.

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My biggest turning point came after studying abroad my third year in college. I remember vividly, the moment when I realized I needed to make a drastic change.

After being abroad for six months I was excited to come back home to California, back to family and back to familiarity. When I arrived home, I ran up the stairs to my room to drop off my luggage and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was shocked by the person staring back at me.

“What has happened to me” were the first thoughts in my mind after really looking at myself for the first time in half a year. I had gained weight, lost confidence, and didn’t recognize the person looking back at me. I wanted to undo the damage ASAP.

Four years ago, I decided to make a change. I began focusing on what I eat, started lifting weights and tried out different fitness classes. I ran my first 10K, my first half-marathon and then, many more races have followed.

I think there is never an end to one’s health journey. For me, a lot has changed since that summer after junior and my perception of “health” has changed quite a bit over time. I’m still learning what’s right for me but by focusing more on my well-being, I’ve slowly been able to reclaim my happiness and confidence.

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Why We Should Celebrate Mindy Kaling’s Mile Time

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I love seeing updates on social media from my homegirl Mindy because I know they are going to be real and down to earth. And most of the time pretty damn funny.

My little runner heart skipped a few beats when I saw her Instagram post today – it was about running!! She shared that she ran a 9.5 minute mile and it’s something that’s been trying to accomplish for 8 years. Wow that’s dedication!

Now some of you may be thinking “A 9:30 mile? I could do that in my sleep!” Well my friend, I’m happy to hear your faster than the average runner but you’re missing the point.

Running isn’t about your speed, your weight, or experience. It’s about the motivation & determination it takes to tie your shoes and get out the door. It’s the consistency and focus that’s admirable, not your mile-time.

Even as a passionate runner myself, I still often lack the motivation to run and I know how hard it is to continuously get better.

So Mindy, congrats on your mile-time! That’s a huge accomplishment and I’m sure you’ve inspired thousands of people today to go out and run.