My next interview is with Mickey (IG: plantsandplanks). I met Mickey about a year ago and I instantly just thought she was the cutest thing. I also always wondered “how does she workout with glasses on – I can barely keep mine on straight while walking! What’s her secret!?” Mickey I’m patiently waiting….
She’s such a sweetheart and I’ve been lucky enough to experience some death by Mickey workouts with my other Bay Area girls. She’s also been amazing in supporting me with my Pilates training so I’ve been able to pay her the favor back with some death by Molly workouts! Check out Mickey’s full interview below!
Hey there! My name is Mickaela, but please call me Mickey for short. I live and work around the San Francisco Bay Area, working as a full-time graphic designer and freelance hand letterer. While I have many other hobbies like drawing, singing, binge-watching movies, and plant-based cooking, my absolute favorite hobby is being active! I love all forms of active living and do my best to try out all forms; from running obstacle races and half marathons, to intense weighted workouts in the gym.
Tell us the tale of Mickey. How has your relationship with yourself changed since before you started the plantsandplanks account. What’s your current relationship with yourself and your body like?
To be honest, @plantsandplanks was started to encourage the dark side of Mickey. In early 2014, I developed body dysmorphia and bulimia. I used a secret Instagram account that I titled @plantsandplanks to follow pro-anorexia accounts, and to track my weight loss daily. I used my account as a journal to log my daily caloric intake, which at is lowest was 600 calories a day, and to also log my declining measurements. It served this purpose for most of 2014. In my efforts to overcome and recover from bulimia, I decided to delete my negative posts, turn my profile to public, and follow positive fitness leaders instead. Since then, I still struggle with the relationship I have with my body, but I fight to be more positive everyday. Some days, I am impressed by my strength. Some days, I’m happy with my body. Today, I am content. I may not be super stoked with my body, but even when I’m at my lowest, I will aim for contentment, because I know I should love my body no matter what.
All women have an inner critic – what do you do when she comes out full force? How do you pick yourself up when you’re not feeling good about yourself?
When my inner critic comes out full force all I can do is resort to sitting still. I close my eyes, I breathe. Those moments sneak up on me so randomly throughout the day; from even glancing at my reflection walking down the street or something simple like that. My thoughts to fight my inner critic aren’t so much like: “OMG, no, don’t think that way, you’re beautiful, etc” it’s actually more me talking to myself saying: “Shh, it’s okay. Those thoughts don’t define you. Those thoughts are blinding you from seeing your own value. Breathe in deep, bring your better self back in control, and keep walking forward.”
To me, personally, overly-positive reinforcement just goes over my head; I sometimes find it insincere. Having as strong of an inner-critic as I have, which is attacking my particular personality type, I thrive in being a realist: I do my best to acknowledge the critical thoughts, then do what I can to address it and ultimately prevent it from happening again. For much larger critical attacks, I just cry, hahah, because I understand that, if something were to happen that hit me so hard, it must have a deep connection to me. I will let myself cry it out until my thoughts have time to speak, in which they usually come through to bring me back to my senses. Then I repeat the process of sitting still, closing my eyes, and breathing.
How do you navigate your way through external negative messages we receive from the media and diet culture?
My strategy to not let media/diet culture infiltrate my world is to remind myself of my own tangible differences that make my world unique to me. I remind myself that we’re all unique, built in different ways to thrive in different ways. Sure, I’m not built like a model, but I am my own unique set of shapes and traits. I look at my hands and see hands that are able to draw, design, and write, in a way only I can. I look at my legs and remember seeing miles of pavement pass underneath it as I ran over it. I wouldn’t trade the experiences my body has gone through, and will go through, to look like anything that the media or diet culture praises as beautiful, not even to be a little taller. And we all know that I’d really love to be like, just a little bit taller, hahahah.
And, regarding diet culture, I learned my lesson the hard way, which is unfortunately what happens to so many people. It’s so easy to get caught up in fad diets, jumping back and forth between diets, being so strict on yourself and all that… that can very easily develop into an eating disorder, as it did for me. It’s important to keep perspective when starting a new diet, and also approaching diets with full-term goals instead of short-term goals. If you think too much in the short-term, you tend to develop impractical eating behaviors for yourself, or set yourself up for disappointment after your “goal” time passes. If you keep your mindset thinking about long-term goals, or the bigger picture overall, it’ll help you develop and maintain healthy behaviors that are the most practical to your own lifestyle, and it’ll be more easy to sustain. It also protects your mental health.
What’s the biggest struggle you face with the Instagram fitness community? Is there anything that causes negative talk that stems from the community?
Regarding the Instagram fitness community, a part of me genuinely misses the feeling I had, waking up in the morning, scrolling through my feed at those who inspired me, seeing what workouts they did today and what they ate, and then that’s it. Close IG for the rest of the day, and check back tomorrow. I miss simpler times like that. To be honest, my biggest struggle being involved in this online fitness community is basically because the platform itself is visual-based, so naturally, it’s easier to compare your own progress with someone else’s, only to feel like you’ve made none. It’s a shame… and many people have talked to me about not feeling happy about their progress, or feeling lost because “nothing’s working for them”, based only on the fact that they see things working for others. Even though we create these IG accounts to be inspiring or to be inspired, it also tends to demoralize us way more. I constantly remind myself and others that we’re all on our own individual journeys; we just so happen to be sharing our journeys together in one space. Just because we’re all here, together, collected into one scrolling feed, it shouldn’t mean that you compare one photo to the photo directly below it, because it’s a whole new different person.
As for the negative talk… hahaha, well, man. Before IG, I never spent too much time on the internet to read public forums or anything, so seeing some of the remarks that happen on IG posts appalls me. People are so quick to be experts on form, or recipes, or to be so harsh with opinions on how someone looks, or something like that. This basically goes back to my point that, while fitness accounts on social media are made with the intention of guiding, inspiring, and documenting your fitness progress, it can also help bring out a lot of the negative sides of doing so, right to your face. Which sucks. But that’s why it’s so important to stay true to yourself and focus on your own journey.
What’s your favorite way to show yourself some self-love?
My favorite way of showing myself some self-love sounds kinda funny… it’s sleeping! Hahahaha. Not even like, taking a nap. It’s at the end of the day, after I woke up early to go to the gym, went to work, did a bunch of stuff for other people, hustled hard; getting into bed is the sweetest thing I can do for myself. Giving myself a time to curl up, get cozy, and fall asleep with contentment and confidence for the day ahead, is what love feels like to me, from me. It’s the ultimate relaxation: your mind at rest from turbulent thoughts, your body at ease after exerting so much energy throughout the day. I regard sleep as so important because, in the past, I used falling sleep in a negative way. Basically, after a long day of running and eating barely anything, I’d rely on myself passing out at night so I wouldn’t have feel hunger pains anymore, and I’d wake up with a little more energy the next day, knowing that I should’ve lost more weight. Back then, I would fall asleep, but dread waking up. Nowadays, it’s different. Now, both sleeping and waking up is a very precious act of love to myself.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about how you feel about your body that you want to share with others?
Theeeee most important thing I’ve learned about how I feel about my body is: I am able to accomplish incredible things with my body. YOU are able to accomplish incredible things with your body. I mean that BOTH in a negative way and a positive way. I learned that, when I set my mind to it, I was able to achieve the most negative outcomes, stemming from hateful intentions. I used to literally say, “You have to hate yourself enough.” But from that situation, I came to realize that I just proved to myself that I CAN achieve something. WHAT IF: I used that same, incredible brain power to do something positive for myself, and flip the narrative to “You have to LOVE yourself enough” instead. That’s what made a world of difference. No matter what, our bodies and more importantly our minds have endless capability. LOVE YOURSELF enough to thrive. Love the body you’re in enough to live a fruitful, happy, healthy life for yourself and for your loved ones. Love your body enough to understand everything it’s going through; to appreciate every step along the way of the incredible journey.
What’s something you want to tell your followers?
To anyone who follows me: if you also have or have had an eating disorder, I’d love to hear your story. To anyone who thinks they might be developing an unhealthy relationship with food, please, I implore you to reach out. In the beginning, I kept silent; I told no one, and I kept it secret from everyone closest to me. That’s when my eating disorder began to thrive. Do not hesitate to reach out at all. I’m here for you.
Thanks so much for your support on this project Mickey!! Go follow Mickey at plantsandplanks.
Just a girl writing down her thoughts on life post-trauma and body acceptance.