“There is a light that never goes out.” This is the quote popular fitness blogger and self-love guru Sunny Shan uses to welcome you to her blog, which contains equal parts running inspiration, body positivity, and excellent life advice (and cute outfits, which you can never go wrong with). Sunny (otherwise known as Sunny strong, which is a nickname she lives up to, if her pictures tell you anything), has dedicated her blog to helping people reach their fitness goals healthily and mindfully, so as to not get too caught up with body image and the number on the scale. Her overall message of reaching your own potential and accepting and loving yourself is something that everyone can benefit from hearing, and I had the pleasure of chatting with her this week about her thoughts on self-love, fitness, and break-ups. Read on for some sage advice from a light that truly never goes out.
What is your blog about and why did you start it?
I started my blog in August 2012 when I first started recovering from an eating disorder, and used it as a way to motivate myself to workout and eat healthy. Little did I know that making this blog was the moment that I chose recovery and health over my disorder, or that my online persona would become such an influential part of my life. I initially started off reblogging a lot of photos of healthy foods, recipes, and really toned and fit people as a source of “fitspiration” for myself to eat that healthy and look that strong. As I started posting more about my personal life, I started gaining more followers as well because I guess people liked what I posted. By the end of the year, I had over 5,000 followers and was getting 100+ messages per day asking questions related to running, recovery, relationships, and various other things.
I eventually found tumblr to be a place where I could relate to other people while offering support. One of my passions in life besides running is helping people, which is another reason why I love having this blog– it gives me an opportunity to share my experiences with those around me, and offer help that can potentially change people’s lives for the better. I think it’s so incredible that I have the opportunity to help others like that, and that people from around the world trust me, a random girl with a blog, enough to ask me for life advice and follow it. I currently have close to 40,000 followers from around the world who I hold very near and dear to my heart. I’m very thankful for all the support they’ve offered me, and am doing my best to give back the love and support that I’ve received.
What advice, if any, would you give to someone wishing to start running as a way of healing?
Running has been a pivotal part of my life, and still is just as important today. It’s one of the major aspects of my life that helped me discover who I am, and has helped me become the person I’ve always wanted to be, and more. Physically, running is very cathartic and can be used as a way to release any negative or pent up energy that you’ve been holding on to. It has a similar effect on the brain as well, since when you run, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins, which are natural painkillers that your body creates to diminish pain and trigger positive feelings. If you’ve never really run before and don’t know where to start, here is my personal guide to getting into running.
How have you bounced back from a bad break-up?
I always give my followers the same piece of advice: Move on quietly, love yourself loudly. Breakups are never easy to deal with, so the only thing you can really do to get over one is to face it and move on. It’s important to remember that you lived a whole, fulfilling life before you met your previous partner, and that you are still capable of doing so without them. Lots of self care and keeping yourself busy is important, as well. Sometimes when you’re hurting you forget that you have the ability to nurture both your body and your soul, so taking care of yourself is a big step towards mending a broken heart.
What’s your favorite self-care ritual?
I really love putting on makeup. I don’t usually wear that much on a daily basis nor do I feel super comfortable wearing a lot of it, but I really like putting it on because it makes me feel calm and at ease, and I think I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. So sometimes when I’m stressed I’ll just do my makeup for 20 minutes and then take it right off once I’m satisfied, or if I have a big day ahead of me, I’ll wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual to do my makeup for the day.
Do you have a life motto or favorite quote you think of to get yourself through the bad days?
“She was unstoppable – not because she did not have failures and doubts – but because she continued on in spite of them”. I saw this anonymous quote on Tumblr once and it really resonated with me. It’s very straightforward and just reminds me that it’s okay to fall down every once in awhile, as long as I get back up, learn from it, and keep moving on.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
I was actually talking to one of my friends about this the other day– probably that being apathetic isn’t “cool”; it’s cool to care about things and to have things that you’re passionate about and willing to work hard to achieve. I would also like to let my younger self know that everything will be okay in the future, and that for whatever problems I ever have, things usually work out in the end.
You always get back what you put into the world, so spread good vibes and you’ll receive them in return.