Here’s To New Beginnings!

Hello and welcome to Pandamoniumpink.com!

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My name is Kels and I’m 24 years old (edited in Jan ’17). I enjoy eating tacos and sushi, reading Sophie Kinsella novels, pumping iron at the gym (honestly, I don’t think I’m #GymRat enough to use that phrase, but I’m just going to go with it), watching Netflix, and writing. I’m deathly afraid of carnival clowns (hello American Horror Story season 4!), my guilty pleasure TV show is The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and I collect food themed socks. I’m the happiest when I’m outdoors and surrounded by nature and when I’m curled up on the couch binge watching a show on Netflix, I’ve had 2 pet hamsters named Tobi and Burger, and my favorite color is fire truck red, NOT pink. I have extremely supportive parents and friends, I despise the rain and snow, and I can perfectly recite every line from Batman Begins.

Did I just share way too much information?
My apologies, you’ll learn quickly that I love to ramble.

6 years ago my boyfriend at the time encouraged me to start Pandamoniumpink.com to blog about beauty and fashion. I was going into my sophomore year of college and I was more infatuated with makeup, skincare, clothes and shoes than I was with computer science. I found a lot of joy in writing product reviews, sharing pictures of my purchases, and documenting my personal life.

1 later, I discovered the beauty community on YouTube. Even though I was a makeup fan girl and not a makeup artist, I decided to purchase a cheap digital camera, make a YouTube channel, and film beauty related videos. Honestly, I didn’t think much about my decision to start a YouTube channel until 2 years ago when I found myself sitting in a meeting room at my first “big girl” paid marketing job. YouTube introduced me to the world of marketing, specifically social and digital media marketing, and it has not only given me a job, but also a career.

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Since I was having a lot of fun filming, editing and uploading YouTube videos, 4 years ago I decided to enroll in business school. It was there that I learnt all the aspects of marketing (and I even dabbled into radio and broadcast communications) and now I work as a social media marketing and digital branding specialist, and social media marketing content creator.

So what does this have to do with my blog?

Well, since I make a living creating and facilitating social and digital marketing plans for businesses and content creators, I think and talk a lot about blogs and blogging. This past year I neglected my own blog because I was too busy instructing other people how to make a blog, write blog posts, and stay on a posting schedule (which I know is very ironic), and I really missed it! Blogging is a fantastic creative outlet and for me it’s extremely therapeutic.

Last month I decided that I wanted to start blogging again and over the past few weeks I’ve spent a good amount of time staring at my blog wondering where to start. Every time I began writing a post about a makeup product that I’m currently trying out, I hit a mental roadblock. A week ago while I was at the gym, it hit me: I’m no longer interested in beauty and fashion. Sure I still wear makeup and I enjoy shopping for new clothes and shoes, but it doesn’t excite me like it used to. I realized that I’m much more passionate about health, fitness, and wellness, and I would much rather write about my health and fitness journey than beauty and fashion.

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Okay, well now what?

I’ve decided to take a leap a faith and re-brand my blog. I want to start fresh and take my blog in a new direction. I want to share my personal stories about overcoming an eating disorder, my current workout routine, healthy recipes that I use on a daily basis, fitness tips and tricks, and the occasional beauty post. I want to open up completely to my readers and let them into my life via a blog-diary format. Sure I’m going to find it challenging at first to adjust to these post changes and of course I might lose my subscribers and viewership, but I want to take the risk. I want to dive into this headfirst and if it fails miserably, at least I can say I gave it a shot.

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Top: Me at 115 lbs, Bottom: Me at 85 lb

Before I end this rather lengthy first post, I wanted to take the time to thank YOU the reader, the many brands and companies that I’ve had the chance to worth with over the past 6 years, and my management team. Pandamoniumpink.com has truly changed my life and it has allowed me to experience so many things that I wouldn’t have been able to do if it wasn’t for this blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has made this online adventure unforgettable and I hope you all will continue to follow my blog’s journey and posts on pandamoniumpink.com.

Don’t forget you can also connect with me on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Periscope!

Keep smiling,
Kels

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My Eating Disorder Recovery Story

In today’s post I’m going to open up about how my eating disorder developed and how I slowly recovered. I know that this is a very sensitive topic, so if you’re uncomfortable reading about my eating disorder and the recovery process, please skip this post. This post may be triggering, so please use your discretion when deciding whether or not to read this.

This is MY personal story, so please keep that in mind when you’re reading this.

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While I was in elementary school and high school, I didn’t have bad body image. I didn’t think twice about what or how much food I was consuming, I didn’t care that my legs looked “overly musular”, and I never had negative thoughts when I looked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t wear makeup until the end of 12th grade and my main priorities included: sports, the cooking club, my grades, and having fun with my friends and family. I wasn’t full of myself and I didn’t think that I was or looked better than anyone else, I just accepted what I looked like and that was that.

I was pretty active growing up and in high school I ran long distance on a cross country team, ran relay races on a track and field team, played defence on 2 field hockey teams, and was in a rigorous conditioning program. In college I stayed active by running, playing recreational field hockey and dodgeball, dancing, and continuing with the conditioning program. While my friends went to the gym, I stayed home because in my mind I was already very active and going to the gym would have been redundant.

Halfway through my freshman year of college, I joined a sorority and got really into makeup. I started talking to some of my sisters about makeup and hair products and they opened my eyes to the wonderful world of beauty blogging. (PS, this was when phase 1 of pandamoniumpink.com was born.) I was happily blogging about beauty and skincare every single day and I eventually started a YouTube channel.

At this time, unfortunately, my grades started to suffer because I hated going to classes and I was no longer interested in my area of study. I didn’t know what I wanted to do career wise, I quit the majority of the sporting activities that I was a part of, I was put on probation in my sorority for poor grades, and my relationship with my boyfriend was struggling. It was a lot to deal with at 18 and back then, when things didn’t turn out the way that they should have, I shut down mentally.

The following December I withdrew my admission at college and I isolated myself from my friends and family. I gained weight, I had a lot of acne, and I spent most of my time cooped up in my room doing absolutely nothing. I still put on a happy face when I was blogging and YouTubing, but I wasn’t really the same person.

Half a year later, I went back to college and decided to give it another shot. I met a friend who was a gym enthusiast and I decided to join the community centre gym close to where I lived. I went purely to use the cardio machines in hopes to lose the extra weight that I had gained, and didn’t think twice about the free weights or any of the weight training machines. As I started to lose the weight, people started to notice. They complemented my efforts and I took that as a badge of approval.

I was happy that I had lost a significant amount of weight, but I knew that I that I could lose more. I did an excessive amount of cardio (2 hours a day) every single day, sometimes 2-3 times a day, and I eventually withered away to nothing. At the same time, I harshly restricted my eating by counting calories and skipping breakfast and lunch most days, I threw up anything that I had eaten that I thought was fatty, and I developed an unhealthy relationship with my body and food. I looked at the mirror whenever I had the chance and had negative thoughts racing through my head 24/7. In my mind, I wasn’t working hard enough. I still wasn’t skinny and I was failing all of my weight loss goals.

I was in therapy at the time being treated for anxiety and depression and whenever the topic of body image came up, I would lie and say that I was perfectly fine. I wore baggy sweatshirts to hide my extreme weight loss (plus, I was cold 24/7) and I used makeup and self tanning tricks to make my skin glow and appear healthy. I avoided any social gathering that revolved around food and I put myself on 2 liquid diets. I was down to weighing 85 pounds while being at the height of 5’5.

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Oh, I also ran a half marathon on an empty stomach while weighing 90 pounds. I do not recommend doing that AT ALL and it has to be one of the dumbest things that I have EVER done.

One day, I had dinner with a concerned friend and he said, “I’m not leaving until you finish my meal that I ordered.” I had ordered just a drink and he had ordered a bowl of chicken wings, a baked pasta, and a bread basket. Hearing him say that was my breaking point and I started crying right there at the table. I was crying because I knew that what I was doing to my body was wrong, I thought that I had let my family and friends down, and I was scared. I was really, really scared. 

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After that dinner, I got help. My therapy included eating disorder recovery and I went to my sessions 5-6 times a week, plus a group therapy session 1 time a week. My parents and friends monitored my eating habits and I stopped going to the gym. I started eating whole foods, and was slowly gaining the weight back.

After about 8 months of treatment, I stumbled upon my friend Amanda’s Instagram account. She was lifting heavy, eating properly to fuel her body, and was building muscle. She defied the stereotype that girls shouldn’t lift at the gym, and I was proud of her accomplishments and amazed that someone could transform their body in that way. She proved that going to the gym didn’t have to be a harmful activity and I literally said out loud to my therapist, “Amanda has inspired me to become healthy. I need to eat to get those kinds of results.”

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Long story short, I created an Instagram account and began my fitness journey to recovery. I ate 5 meals a day, I hired a personal trainer to work with me on strength training (I actually recommend working with a trainer or someone who knows what they’re doing if you’re someone who is just starting out at the gym. Not only will it benefit you in the long run, but you will also be less prone to injury.), and I didn’t really do any cardio. I met the most motivating and inspiring people on Instagram who I’m very fortunate to call my friends, family and life preservers.

As of December 2015, I have officially restored my weight. I’m currently sitting at 122 pounds and I’m feeling great about my body. I know that I’m mentally and physically in a healthy and good place and my body image is fantastic. I still get comments from people telling me that I’ve gained weight or that I look heavier than I used to, and honestly I take that as a complement because I NEEDED to gain weight.

Anyway, that’s my recovery story. I’m still on a mission to gain more weight, I’m still working hard at the gym, and I’m still going to therapy (2x a week). I have big, healthy goals for myself and I’m proud of my fitness journey thus far.

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If you want to follow  my fitness journey via picture form, check out my Instagram account because I post on there quite often!

I hope you enjoyed hearing my eating disorder recovery story and if you’re struggling with an eating disorder, know of someone who is, or want to talk to someone, please call 310-6789, which is the BC, Canada Crisis line that is open 24 hours a day. To learn more, check out: http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/factsheet/eatingdisorders#sthash.9vuSPNFV.dpuf

Keep smiling,
Kels