Some of the other benefits of being morbidly obese (as the doctor called me): my Dutch grandmother calling me fat, and explaining that at least I will look forever young as my wrinkles are filled with fat. Chinese old ladies touching my belly because they think I am pregnant. Ripping out of your favorite jeans because the inside of your thighs rub together – I have lost countless jeans this way. Not being able to wear dresses because those thighs will rub together till they bleed. I broke a plastic chair in a ice cream parlor; granted it was already half broken and not great quality, but nevertheless very embarrassing when you want to sit down with your big butt and eat ice cream.

I always joke that I became a chef not because I love to cook, but because I love to eat. As they say, never trust a skinny chef. The joke has caught up on me, and is not so funny anymore. Food is not a substitute for love, nor will it make you feel better. I know that now, but it’s hard to break the cycle, it’s almost like a addiction. My thoughts before I go to get lunch at 7-Eleven: “I’ll get some sushi and salad.” My thoughts when I am in the 7-Eleven: “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.” And it’s always a great idea to buy the chocolate as I “deserve it”… but do I really?

I needed a break from food, thinking about it, cooking it, and buying it. I needed some time to reset my brain, and tackle my food issues. Tribe Nutrition has agreed to take care of my food for a month, giving me the much-needed space to revisit my health needs, while nourishing me with three meals and three snacks a day. I already feel a weight lifted off my shoulders as I don’t have to “hunt” for my food, usually ending up in an unhealthy lunch and dinner.

My plan of attack is to tackle my food addiction and get myself to move more. I found a personal trainer at BActive, who will be training me three times a week. No daunting classes, but some one on one time to give my health a kick start. Over the course of one month my trainer will help me with five aspects to improve my health: stamina, strength, balance, coordination and mindset.

 I have completed three training sessions, and let’s be honest its daunting walking into a gym with all these fit people and bodies that are “done.” But I persevere, I do those five more crunches, I do that one more lift, I do those 20 minutes of cardio, and I sweat like a pig. I am embarrassed when I look in the mirror, I cry, because all this body is in the way of my making normal healthy movements.

This first week was extra hard, but my grandmother also said wise things: “If the beginning is really hard, it means that the rest can only get better.” And I hold on to that thought because it means that I get to play with my four year old daughter in good health.

 This blog was posted originally on the beijingkids website.