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Letters from America
How You Too Can Overcome Depression and Anxiety by Living Like Jennie Kim
By Greg Evans
Special Correspondent
K-pop star Jennie Kim of Blackpink
“For peaceful mind and healthy me.” — Jennie Kim

I figured it was worth a shot. For the past few weeks, I found myself in a shallow mood with winter coming and all, and I had to find some way to fend off the ropy layers of trauma and insomnia. I was desperate for some kind of pick me up. It was then I learned about the inured and disciplined life of K-pop tart Jennie Kim. I was staring into her eyes, and she was staring back at me though it was different. I was searching, reaching, questioning. But she was stoic, collected, her next step calculated and precise. She never seems super high or basement low, but stable, focused, with an inner chill that could soothe the Dali Lama. I wondered if I could do it for a week, live like Jennie Kim. I wanted to experience everything, the truculent diet, cardio madness, casual mysteriousness that is complexly aesthetic. I am not a Korean girl, much less the total weight of an emaciated moth, but I figured if she was tough enough to do it on the regular, I could for a week…

Ok, so I just kind of jumped into this. I wrote out my daily grind and eating schedule, ingredients I could eat, or the lack of, but overall, very little mental preparation. Right from the start I knew I was in over my head. I woke up starving. But before I could eat, I first had to do a session of Pilates working on my core and lower body strength, shocking muscles that hadn’t been used since I was like five. I trembled, agonized in held positions and sweated so profusely I could have grown an orchard in the Sahara. There were crunches on the wall, leg circles, Eiffel Tower, leg lifts, more crunches, on and on. I thought I was going to die. I drank water and then more water. Jennie drinks a ton of water throughout the day. She is so little; I should be able to keep up. The Pilates ended and I could finally eat. I wanted bacon and eggs with hash browns drowned in hot sauce. Instead, I had a bowl of bland porridge and some Kale, spinach, and carrot detox juice.

“I just eat porridge. I am on a no-salt diet,” Jennie said. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the vernacular, porridge is oatmeal, or mush, or gruel, bland and sticky, oaty, and palatable for the first three spoonful’s unless doused with honey, fruit, or granola. Except she uses, nothing, and neither did I. Within hours I had already forgotten about my despair and imaginary life problems. I was too hungry to care about my woes and insecurities. I had to remain disciplined and focused on the next task at hand. There was no time to worry or complain about problems. What problems? Starvation was now my problem. I also think I may have slightly pulled my groin muscle. “How am I going to make it to lunchtime?” I remember thinking to myself.

By the time lunch rolled around my stomach was effectively eating itself. What does Jennie consume for lunch aside from air and water, avocado salad. I can dig it. I prepared myself a fierce bowl of avocado salad which consists of two avocados, one cucumber, ½ a red onion, two roma tomatoes, a handful of cilantro, two tablespoons lemon juice, two tablespoons of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. I don’t remember actively chewing, but I imagine I did. I looked at the empty bowl. I wanted another helping but there was no more. That was it. Ok. Well, I am still starving but maybe if I give it ten minutes, I will feel full or at least comfortable. I just have to adjust to the new diet. It was about mind over matter. That is much easier said than suffered through.

I worked on a column while I let the food digest. It was then time for yoga. I wanted to attempt the flying yoga that Jennie does with Jisoo to maintain her Iggy Pop-like chisel, but I have nothing quite so exotic in my area. So instead, I did a session of regular floor yoga, easily losing a gallon of sweat. I do enjoy doing yoga. I burn serious calories depending on which type of yoga I do. Then, an hour or so afterwards, I am usually ready to eat something, but not this week. I did the yoga and then had to painfully wait until dinner before putting anything other than water into my stomach.

What seemed like forever passed and dinnertime arrived. Only there was no plate of steaming spaghetti and meatballs or a large sausage and pepperoni pizza waiting for me. No, there was a glass of detox juice. My stomach was rumbling before I drank the green liquid and continued after I swallowed it. Lying in bed that first night I wondered if I would even be able to sleep. Images of cheeseburgers dripping with grease and fat seared slabs of salmon danced before my eyes. That first night I dreamt of the most incredible food spreads that would have made Henry the VIII blush.

And then I was viciously woken by my wretched alarm. My stomach was aching I was so hungry. But first I had to do the Pilates before my bowl of flavorless gruel. Day two would pass by similar to day one, only this time I envisioned the most delectable fish tacos the human imagination could conjure along with sweet potato fries dripping in butter, and a ham and Velveeta cheese omelet sandwich stuffed between a toasted and buttered French bread roll.

Day three was the epiphany. I woke up feeling like a thousand percent. I had energy, enthusiasm, and focus. I jumped out of bed, drank a liter of water, and stretched and prepared for Pilates. There was no negativity, no sulking, no moseying around, sneaking into the fridge for some sausage links to fry and eat in front of the TV. I found my purpose. I worked out, ate when it was time, wrote some of the best columns of my life and slept like a baby that night. There was no more popping Benadryl or chugging wine to fall asleep. And what surprised me more than anything was that I actually stayed asleep.

I will admit that it was a grueling week. I am still sticking to a good portion of her lifestyle, but I am too much of a foodie to only eat gruel. I like Ramyen too much, fish cakes and whole fried tilapia, tofu burritos with avocado and hot sauce and sisig. I need my food! But my anxiety has lessened considerably, and the depression is gone. Thank you, Jennie.



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Greg Evans, associate director of communications of King University in Bristol TN, in the US, serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times. The seasoned journalist has been writing for such papers as the Mooresville Tribune, Lake Norman Citizen, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Sentinel-Progress (Easley, SC). He can be reached at gaevans1@king.edu

 

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