My Life. My Struggles. My Story.
I made this video way back in April 2016 (only 3 months into my health & fitness journey) as a 4th year medical student.
I was going to make a brand new video, but I feel like nothing says it better than how I felt at the very beginning of my journey.
If my story resonated with you in any way, shape, or form, and you're interested in joining a Challenge Group or becoming a "Fit for Life" Coach, click the "connect with me!" button below.
Looking forward to talking with you!
Want to hear My Story? (proceed if you actually want to get to know me)
I was born in a small town in PA, although I don't know much about it. I attended 1st grade in China where I lived with my grandparents, and yes, it's as grueling as you can imagine. I came back to the states in 2nd grade but because English was my 2nd language, I can recount being made fun of by my classmates more times than I would like to recall. As a result, I felt ashamed to be different - to be of a different culture and ethnicity. "Why can't I look like my classmates? Why can't I be like them?"
Growing up, I was raised in a strict Asian household. My mother was a single mom for a good part of my childhood, and like the typical "tiger mom" you may have heard about - she exemplified every attribute. Praise was (and still is) very hard to come by. It is always about "Why didn't you do better?" (in the school setting,"You got a 99%? What happened to that 1%?") As a result, I struggled with body image, self-esteem, and self-confidence issues for my whole life. I constantly did things to please her but nothing was ever good enough.
I was never (and still am not) the smartest in my class, the skinniest, the prettiest, the funniest, etc. I'm a combination of everything, but never the "best" at one thing. Because of that, I was (and still am at times) my worst critic, and I always used that to my detriment.
During medical school, the stress and countless hours of studying for exams/boards really messed with my body. I let myself go and stopped exercising and eating healthy altogether, and during my last year of medical school, I weighed the heaviest I had ever weighed. I gained 30lbs in 1.5 years. I know weight is just a number, but it’s not just about that. It’s about how I felt. I felt sluggish like I was always in a “fog.” I didn’t feel like myself, none of my clothes fit, and I didn’t have the energy to do anything.
I felt MISERABLE and HOPELESS.
I started fueling my body with junk food whenever I was stressed out, was bored, or didn't feel like studying. I ate my emotions. I took daily naps in the attempt to gain enough energy to get up and study or even go out.
I felt like a hypocrite, because if you know me, I've always been a big proponent of healthy eating and exercising!
Then, one day, in December 2016, someone from high school reached out to me about joining her Challenge Group. I had no idea what it was and I kept ignoring her (although in retrospect, I realize that was rude of me...), because I was in the midst of interview season and applying to residency.
So I continued to ignore her but I kept seeing her posts on Facebook - she always looked so happy and positive. I thought to myself, "Why can't I be like that? I wish I felt that way!"
Finally, after interview season ended, I did more research into the group, and on January 23rd, 2016, I made the vow to stop caring what others thought of me, to start working on myself and my body, and to live life for me and no one else.
So I joined the Challenge Group, where I received daily support with others going through their own journeys of body/self-transformation, accountability, motivation, and recipes/tips. I officially started on February 1st, 2016, with my 1st round of the 21 Day Fix program and Shakeology, and I got amazing results! Within 2 weeks into the program, I was hooked. I gained so much energy that I had never felt before (even when I was exercising daily & eating clean), my skin cleared up, and the world was a brighter, happier place.
I gained the self-confidence that I never had and started to love and appreciate my body not for what couldn't do but instead, for what it could do.
After 4 months, I successfully lost all 30lbs of my med school stress weight - the healthy way.
With a background in Health & Exercise Science and as a D.O. (aka Doctor of Osteopathy), which emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the mind, body, and spirit, I had always wanted to incorporate my knowledge of health & nutrition into medicine. I never knew how until I became a Health & Fitness Coach. We learn very little about nutrition in medical school, which is a shame as >200 chronic degenerative diseases stem from unhealthy diets and exercise deficit disorder across the nation!
Becoming a Health & Fitness Coach was BIG step for me, and it marked a brand new chapter in my life. I'm done with fad diets and workouts that are not sustainable (believe me, I've tried countless programs and diets which always ended with frustration because I would gain all the weight back).
What was even more surprising throughout my coaching journey was that within a few months, I grew not only physically but also emotionally and mentally...
Case and point: On medical school graduation day, my mother turned to my best friend and boyfriend and said, "I still don't think Iris is a real doctor" (because I chose to pursue Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, a specialty she looks down upon, mainly because she does not quite know what it is yet never attempted to find out). I could not believe her words.
But it was at that moment when I realized that I will never be able to achieve those impossibly high standards that my mother has set for me, and if I am to be 100% happy, I need to let go. Through personal development as part of coaching, I did just that, and I have to say I have never been more relieved. The feeling of living life for me and doing what I'm passionate about instead of someone else's expectations and opinions of me is absolutely freeing!
Now that I have found success in my own journey and a way to channel my passion for fitness & nutrition into my career in medicine, I'm on a mission to help others succeed and regain their own self-confidence and self-love. If you want something badly enough, you will make time – and I will mentor you and show you how!
I feel STRONGLY that doctors need to set a good example for their patients. As doctors, we took an Oath to serve our patients to the best of our abilities, and I truly think that the root of many chronic diseases are the result of poor diets and lack of exercise. We need to lead by example. You’re not going to listen to a doctor and eat healthy and exercise if he/she doesn't practice what he/she preaches, would you? I know I wouldn’t.
As with anything in life, I would never recommend something if I knew it didn’t work for myself. But as always, please consult your doctor before trying any new workout/nutritional programs. These programs have helped me immensely, physically, mentally, and emotionally - more than I would have ever thought, and it would be a disservice if I didn't share them with you.
On top of everything I just told you, my coaching team has become my family. I have never surrounded myself with so many positive, uplifting people in my life, and coaching has given me the chance to meet many amazing people from all walks of life. When times get tough, we are always there to support each other – we are a family.
If you are curious about Challenge Groups or becoming a part of our "Fit for Life" family as a Coach, please do not hesitate to reach out to me!
If you related to any part of my story and would like to join my team/mentorship program, please fill out click here!
If you are ready to jump-start your own journey, click here!
You, and only you, have the power to change your life. So what are you waiting for?
Talk to you soon,
Dr. Iris X. Tian, D.O.
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Medical Resident
Founder & CEO of Fit for Life
Independent Beachbody Coach