Hi! I'm Stephanie Quilao, and I'm that blogger who started in November of 2005 chattering about the "magical" life back in the skinny jeans. You know that dream we cling to that once we can wear our skinny jeans again life will automatically be filled with perfection and adoration. Ah! The powerful intoxicating illusion. This blog however is much bigger than a pair of skinny jeans. What you’ll get by hanging out here is a spirit of healing, inspiration, and connection.
If your trainer and healer had a baby
For a long time this blog was about getting fit body, mind and spirit, and we still offer that. However, over time BISJ has evolved into a theme more about emotional wellness as a route to attain a healthier body because from personal experience I have learned that in order to heal from anything physical, you need to get at the emotional source first. It’s a much richer experience when you include others on your healing journey and create a support system, than go about the journey by yourself.
For example, losing weight is not rocket science. Basically, you consume less calories and exercise more not including things like food allergies, thyroid problems or other body issues. What trips most of us up is the emotions. We eat cookies when we really should be forgiving ourselves. We don’t eat at all because we’re stressed. We binge eat because we are beating ourselves up with “I’m not good enough.”
Diet books are filled with tips, advice and plans on eating and exercise, but there is very little on dealing with the emotional issues that hang us up. I wanted to start a dialogue about how we can achieve a healthy trim body holistically. Losing weight and staying trim is something constant in our fast food culture, so the vision of BISJ is to be a voice of balance and reason, and to remind everyone to not let the scale steal your happiness.
I’m not a doctor in real life. I just play one on a blog
I’m not a doctor, a life coach, therapist, or anything certified for that matter, so know that everything on this blog unless I interview a trained professional is my opinion based purely on my experience as a “patient” versus a healer. I have many healing qualities because I like to share what I have learned in my own healing journey.
I share some of my own what I call, “the messy middle” as a way to help other people feel less alone and stigmatized. I call it the messy middle because in most “success stories” you see the person at the beginning, sick, fat and miserable, fast forward to the end, and voila, they are now thin, healthy, and happy. But okay, what happened in the middle, the part where the humanness comes in, the relapsing, the plateaus, the falling down, the getting back up? Those middle parts are the ones I personally want to hear more about in other people’s stories.
Dad teaches me about healing through colon cancer
So, I decided to share some of my messy middles because one, I feel that people connect more with someone who has been through what they have, and secondly, instead of letting my past define me, I am using my past to help empower other people. My father taught me that. He had colon cancer, and as of the summer of 2008, he has been cancer free 15 years with zero relapses. And because of that cancer, my father is a completely different person. I’ve had two dads in my life, the dad before and the dad after colon cancer, and the one I have today makes me feel like I won the parent lottery. The prevailing reason dad has been healthy ever since his surgery is because he did deep emotional and spiritual healing along with the surgery, chemo, and lifestyle change. Dad is one of my health role models.
Hard assignments are given to great spirits
Some of my messy middles I have shared since I started this blog include healing from the eating disorder bulimia, date rape, depression and getting off of the “happy pills”, recovering from Ms. Perfectionism and a "nervous break through," becoming a millionaire and losing it all, career change now doing my life purpose work founding my own company, and the breakup of a live-in 3-year relationship and my journey to be with a new love.
Indeed, on this list are things that many people would consider stigmatizing, shameful, or embarrassing, and kind of a lot. “Holy geez Steph! You’ve been through so much...Why on earth would you want to share any of this?” Yes, I have been through a great deal and it is not all pretty, and on the surface it does make me sound like #5 on the "Top 10 People to Avoid Dating" List...lol. Indeed, there will be people who will judge and can't deal, but there are also people who will love and be open. The story I want to tell is real life, not magazine glossy life.
As well, I personally have learned more from others who have been through "the shit" rather than have studied it academically. For example going to the zoo and going to a jungle are two different things. Yes, both have wild animals, but your experience in both are radically different. Being in the jungle will teach you far more about yourself and what you are capable of than being in a controlled environment designed for your safety and entertainment.
You can't unscramble an egg, but you can put that scrambled egg in a delicious fried rice. My past is not who I am, and it took me years to learn that. In the bigger picture, those experiences have helped grow but they do not define who I am today, and through blogging, I can help inspire others to do the same, and feel the same.What matters is who you are becoming starting today, not what you once were. You were never designed to be perfect. You are here however to learn how to become a more living spirit.
The upside to all this "messy" experience is that in Buddhist philosophy it is said that great spirits are given very hard assignments in order to graduate them to higher levels. You have a choice to grow or contract, and, I chose to expand and advance.What are you going to choose?
I also believe that when you are given hardships you are also given a talent to help you get through your ordeal and to help others. For me, I was given the talent to tell very sad stories yet leave people at the end feeling hopeful and uplifted in some way. This is why blogging has been good for me. You too have a talent so seek and pursue it.
Blogging can take you to places you never dreamed of
I’m not going to say it was a picnic sharing the darker parts of my life, but they are part of the whole story, and I do feel like I have graduated to greater spiritual levels. I have definitely become more compassionate, accepting, forgiving, and loving. And to be honest, it’s quite freeing and liberating to have the past out in the open, and to not be afraid anymore of what people might think or how they may judge me.
Because of the things I have gone through, I have become a wiser, deeper, and yes happier individual. I am finally living my most authentic life. It’s neither a perfect life nor a fairy tale, and I love that because it’s my life, my story. I am more me than I have ever been in my life, greatness, faults, and all.
And because I shared my own healing experiences, I have experienced some great successes like Microsoft came calling one day and hired me. I’ve been featured in Women’s Health magazine in how blogging can help you achieve your weight loss goals. I've been interviewed on NY Times reporter Lisa Belkin's XM Radio show, "Life's Work." My blog work has appeared in USA Today, Fox News Health, Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong, iVillage, and Reuters, just to name a few. Who knew that starting off just chatting about remembering when a size 6 was small would bring me to a blissful place?
How will you answer, “What is your legacy?”
What drives me to live my most authentic life is this, when I’m standing at the Pearly Gates and God asks me, “What is your legacy?” Seven years ago, my answer would have been, “Um. Well God, I got to travel around the world, live first class, drive a Benz, date cute boys, have a career people envied, and obsess about my looks.” Honestly, I spent a good chunk of my life doing exactly that and after watching the movie, Defending Your Life, I decided that I wanted to have a good answer for God’s question when I saw my life flashed before me. So, I got going, and continue to build.
My legacy doesn’t mean that I have to go cure cancer and stop war, but yet, I'd rather it be more of an Oprah type success story than a Lifetime movie. Far beyond my high profile successes with BISJ, my greatest joy are the emails and comments that people leave saying how sharing my story has helped them feel less alone, stigmatized, or lost.
This time around I get to create meaning and help others on a larger scale. This blog is part of my life purpose work, and I feel honored and blessed that I can be of service this way, and be a source of positive energy on the Internet. In fact, back to the spiritual circles, the lesson we all have as visitors on this earth is to become more loving spirits. At every given moment we are given the decision to choose love over strife.
So this is what I strive for every day, to do my best to fill my soul with love, and be a source of light to all those I encounter. I wish that for everyone, and I continue my New Year's theme for 2008 to be uplifting. Thank you for spending your time with me and my blog. I hope it helps you in any way!