Depression: The True De-Motivator

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I am a diagnosed clinical depressive. I am not shy about this. I was diagnosed when I was in college by the therapist I was seeing through my university, who after a questionnaire, immediately referred me to the psychiatrist on campus for further evaluation. Depression is something I’ve struggled with since I was a teenager, and although I originally dismissed it as overwhelming teenage angst, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized just how detrimental depression has been in my life and in my relationships, not only with other people, but especially with myself. My depression often hits me after huge highs or events. For example, every year, after my birthday, I am depressed. When depression hits, it is hard for me to find motivation and it’s even harder for me to believe in myself. This week was one of those weeks.

It’s so easy to feel like a failure when you’re on a mission to be come healthier. There is this stigma that if you make a mistake or if you miss a workout, you have failed yourself or the people who will inevitably ask how your weight loss journey is going or how your training is shaping up. These people mean well, I’m sure, but there is a creeping guilt when you look someone in the face and express to them that you’ve had a rough, off week; there is the same guilt if you’re just trying to enjoy a beer and someone scrutinizes your fucking choices.

Often times, if you’re following people on Facebook or Instagram or whatever who are on the same journey as you, you only see their perfection; you are privy to their healthy meals, their intense workouts, and their feelings of euphoria as they continuously shed pounds. What we don’t often see, and this can be extended to many aspects of life viewed through social media, is the fucking struggle. You don’t see the tears as someone is defeated and has to stop half-way through a hard workout. You don’t see the “bad decisions” people made throughout the week when they chose a food that wasn’t necessarily the best choice. You don’t see the look on someone’s face as they step on the scale, after a week of hard work, only to be let down by a static number. But, there is a struggle, at least for me and that struggle is often exacerbated by depression.

On Tuesday of this week, I had a particularly frustrating run.I pushed this run from Monday to Tuesday because I just did not want to leave my house after work. But, Tuesday afternoon, I put my shit on and got outside. I felt slow, my energy was low, I had to stop to walk multiple times, and I didn’t run nearly as far as I wanted to, or planned. I got home afterward and just couldn’t figure out why it was so hard or felt so terrible. I’m sure the humidity played a part, but I just couldn’t find the fire in me that I had a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want go to soccer, but I went anyway. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I normally do. From Tuesday on, I slid down and down and down.

My eating habits were shit. I ate at restaurants for lunch every single day this week. I barely drank my protein shakes. I didn’t exercise on Wednesday or Thursday. I worked more this week than normal. I spent too much money. I slept more than 9 hours almost every night. I picked fights with Rob to satisfy some need to understand and justify why I felt so fucking sad. Eventually, I just accepted that I was depressed. I felt my feelings. I walked through them. I examined them. I let them be.

Then, Friday happened. Friday was one of the best things that could have happened for me. I needed to get a long run in. My goal was 4.5 miles and since I ran 5 miles a couple of weeks ago, I figured it wouldn’t be as hard as I thought it would be. It was hard finding the motivation to do it because I was still struggling with feelings of sadness and inadequacy. But, I put my running clothes on and fucking did it. I upped my intervals from 10/1 to 15/1, so I was running 15 minutes and walking 1 minute. My goal was to do that three times and I would be around 4.5 miles. But, at the end of my third and final set, a runner’s high I haven’t felt in a long time kicked in. I hit my fucking stride. I felt good. I felt strong. So, I did another 15 minutes and at the end of that 15, I kept running for another 6. I ran 6.3 miles or 10.1km in 1:08. I felt like I was on top of the world. I stood outside of my apartment and cried because I was so fucking proud of myself, which is a fleeting feeling– I rarely feel proud of anything I do. But, I felt proud on Friday night. I pushed myself. I found my strength and kept fucking going, even when I didn’t want to keep going and I succeeded.

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So, this week has been a week of learning and feelings for me.

This week, two of my good friends left Korea. This is the shittiest part of expatriate life; the friends you make, while they are lifelong friendships, will eventually move on to the next place, whether that be another city, another country, or back home. It’s been rough, but it’s important to remember that I, too, will be leaving this country soon to start my next adventures. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for how much it was going to hurt to say goodbye.

I learned that your sweat can actually smell like ammonia! Basically, from what I understand, if your body does not have enough carbohydrates to keep up with the energy demands, your body will turn to other energy sources, including protein. Your organs can’t handle the excess ammonia, so it pushes it out via sweat glands. SCIENCE!

I also learned that it’s really cool to have a friend who is an Occupational Therapist who can teach you how to tape your foot to relieve plantar fasciitis pain. It’s actually just really cool to have friends from all walks of life who can offer support and advice on numerous, troubling topics. I am very thankful.

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But, here’s the most important thing I’ve learned this week: even if my progress is slow, it is still progress. I am still moving forward, even if there are are setbacks, even if I am depressed, even if I eat cake (which I am doing as I write this). The picture on the right was taken on Christmas Eve, 2015. The picture on the left was taken a little over 8 months later on Friday, August 26. Since December, I have made HUGE strides, not only in my physical fitness but in my emotional well-being as well. It is important to remember that. Most days, my progress feels so small and subtle. But, it is STILL there. My goals sometimes feel far away, but I have lost 27.5 pounds, or 12.5kgs. In December, I couldn’t run for 5 minutes and I ran 6 miles on Friday night. Progress cannot be judged only by side-by-side portraits. I feel better. I AM better. I make better choices. I can do this. My only real enemy is me.

So, for the rest of the night, I am going to watch Sherlock with my partner, who is amazing, and finish eating this piece of carrot cake. Because I can.

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Tomorrow, it’s back on the grind. Run. Eat well. Be kind. Some days, I don’t feel like the same person anymore and that’s okay. It’s okay to change and to grow and to slough off the layers of bullshit that have accumulated on our skin for years. I have no desire to return who who I used to be and I think, after many years, I have finally found the right exfoliant.

Keep sloughin’, y’all.

 

The Art of Doing Shit I Don’t Want to Do & The Glory of 5 Miles

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Good afternoon, friends. I hope everyone is having a good week thus far. This has been my summer vacation so I’ve been relaxing, having fun, and enjoying not going to work for a few days. I went to Namhae Island in the south of the peninsula, went hiking, my best friend came down from Seoul and I managed to run my first five miles in years in the middle of it. It has been an exciting few days  It all ends tomorrow, though, so I thought I would type out a blog entry about the beach party, the hike, and a pretty interesting breakthrough I’ve had concerning my habits.

I don’t want to mince words here: I fucking hate exercising. I hate feeling out of breath. I hate struggling. I hate how long it takes to burn off one fucking piece of bread. I hate how easy it is to gain weight and how tiresome and frustrating it can be to lose weight. I hate the long process of motivating myself to run. If I am running at night, the pep talk usually starts as soon as I wake up. I hate exercising. But, I’ve been doing it anyway.

One of the ways of exercising I find most difficult is hiking. It’s a constant battle for continuous endurance. It’s a true test of how long you can keep going without completely collapsing into a pool of your own exhausted tears. But, I keep doing it. I keep agreeing to go on these insane hikes with my friends, and while I bitch CONSTANTLY throughout the hike (and I do mean constantly– I am not a good hiking partner), by the end of it, I feel so fucking accomplished. My friend Ingrid and I decided to attend the Namhae Beach Party this weekend but, instead of going with the buses at 10am and heading immediately to the beach, we instead left Daegu at 4am, got to Namhae at 7am, and hiked the local mountain there, Geumsan, before drinking beers in the sand. I researched this mountain and it said it was a fairly easy course– BUT I HAVE BEEN TRICKED BEFORE, KOREA.

So we hiked. And it was not easy. And I bitched. And I had regrets. But, I fucking kept going. Even though I stopped multiple times, even though I shouted “FUCK” as loud as I could at seeing another set of large steps to climb, even though I was sweating my ass off and it was humid as fuck and I just wanted to drink on the beach, I kept going.

And then we reached the top.

*Disclaimer: All pictures that follow were taken by Ingrid, not me*

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The top was beautiful. The view of the beach below was beautiful. The caves at the top were beautiful. The temple was beautiful. It was all so fucking beautiful and I had this thought, this mindblowing thought that I had never considered before amidst my embarrassment at my heaving breath and sweaty body–

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every single time I run or hike or move when I don’t want to, every time I push through the desire to quit, I am making progress and I am victorious. Every single time I do something I don’t want to do, I am successful.

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Success isn’t about reaching the top first or getting up the mountain without stopping. Success isn’t about hiding deep inhales and struggles or pretending that I feel no exhaustion or frustration. Success, at least for me, is taking those feelings and changing them into fuel to keep going, even when it seems impossible. The feeling of sitting at the top of a mountain that you conquered, looking out over the view below, feeling your heart rate slow, and appreciating the fucking majesty of nature is something I am growing to appreciate more and more after every single hike.

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The weight may not fall off of me as fast as I want it and getting fitter may take longer than I originally anticipated, but it IS happening and it is showing in small ways. It’s just so important to notice the small changes instead of focusing only on how my belly is getting smaller or my face thinner. Those things are inspirational, too, don’t get me wrong, but there is something so powerful about truly noticing the power of my legs for the first time or feeling, finally, a gentle voice encouraging me on instead of the angry voice that has condemned and hated me for the past 29 years.

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A lot happened to me on this hike and in the hours that followed. It was not a tall mountain, but it was challenging, and because I keep doing things that challenge me, because I keep doing shit I don’t want to do, I am winning the battle against myself. I have never been good about motivating myself or pushing myself to keep going because I think I have always come at this idea with anger and punishment instead of worship and reverence for all the things my body CAN do and WILL do if I just ask it nicely and am patient with it as it tries to get better. It’s okay to be out of breath when climbing a mountain– it’s a fucking mountain!

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I know I am capable of great things, both physically and emotionally. The only person that ever stops me is me.

So, last night, taking these concepts and new realizations about myself, I tried to put them into practice during my run, which, in all fairness, I did not want to fucking do because Daegu is a humid pool of bullshit right now and it’s just hard to do anything physical for an extended period of time when the sun is up. But, I put my running shoes on, rode my bike to the local elementary school track, started my Strava, and started fucking running. I’ve been running in 10/1 intervals, which means I run for 10 minutes, walk for 1 minute, run 10 minutes, and so on and so forth. There are four intervals in one workout, and last week, I struggled through 3 of them and then 5 minutes of the fourth one. Last night, I was determined to do better than that. I ran through the first one and considered stopping, I finished the second one and started finding my groove, I finished the third one and did not feel tired, and as the fourth one came to an end, I decided to run a 5th one, which would put me right at 5 miles, so I did.

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This is the first time I’ve run five miles in years. I can’t remember the last time. I’ve now run over 1/3 of what I need to run for my half in November. I was worried about being able to reach that distance, but my run last night proved to me that I can fucking do anything.

I’ve been without cigarettes for 38 days now. I made it through an outdoor beach party while drinking copious amounts of alcohol and did not have one cigarette– I didn’t even really want one. The impulse was there, but the desire was gone.

The rest of this month is going to be excruciatingly stressful, but all things I am doing are necessary for my future success, even if it means working more than I want, sleeping less than I want, and not having as much fun as I want. But, this is part of life. This is part of the grind and part of achieving the goals I’ve set for myself on all fronts, not just the physical. Being successful requires sacrifices and I cannot keep giving energy to thoughts., things, or people who will not and do not help me grow to be the best version of myself.

It’s time to fuckin’ shine, y’all.

 

Balance: The Art of Just Enough

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Happy Tuesday/Wednesday to my friends across the world. I think it’s pretty fuckin’ cool I can say that now with complete sincerity. I have friends from all over the world who are living all over the world. Anyway, it’s 11:27am on Wednesday morning for me, which makes it 10:27pm on Tuesday on the east coast of the USA. You know why the future looks so bright? Because I’m in it, son. I hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far– I know I am. For the first time, in quite a long time, I feel totally in  control of my life, my body, and my future. This post is going to contain some recipes, some discussion of balance, and maybe, if I have the courage, a picture of myself in the two piece I tried on. I don’t know if I’m ready to show the world yet, but if I am going to embrace body positivity and self-love, I need to do just that instead of promoting it for everyone else while secretly shaming myself in the dark hours of the night.

I am a firm believer that everyone has something they obsess over. For me, I’m pretty obsessed with large-sized Americanos, as pictured above. I have a pretty serious caffeine addiction, but to each their own. But really, for a lot of my friends, one of the commonalities is an obsession with Harry Potter. Some of them are obsessed with Star Wars or Vikings or Game of Thrones, or Dr. Who; some of them are obsessed with Ultimate Frisbee or Gaelic Football or yoga. But, the point is, most of the people I know are highly involved with SOMETHING in their lives, be it fictional characters or something tangible in their day to day reality. The problem sometimes with obsession, though, is it morphs from a fun way to let off steam or to connect with other people into a very demanding monster. Something I have always struggled with throughout my many years trying to become the healthiest version of myself is slipping on the steep slope of obsession.

After I turned 21, I gained a massive amount of weight. Suddenly, I could go to late night restaurants and have happy hour appetizers and beer. Suddenly, I could go to bars and without knowing what I really liked to drink at the time (because I was a big proponent of Heaven Hill Vodka and Natty Light), I tended to order sugary cocktails. I actually tried to go back through my Facebook to find pictures of me at this time, and they don’t exist. I have removed pictures from that point in my life because I was so very ashamed of myself. That summer, the summer of 2008, I started working out at least 90 minutes a day and was restricting myself to 1200-1400 calories and I was neurotic about it. If I went to a party with my friends and got drunk, I would cry in the bathroom about how I was going to get fat again. If I subsequently ate Taco Bell after a late night bender, the urge to throw up would present itself. I was miserable. I lost 40 pounds in 4 months, but I was eating shitty packaged, processed food. I was nervous constantly about eating the wrong thing. Instead of building a new lifestyle, I built a prison for myself– exercise was my punishment for transgressions and microwave meals were my salvation.

Now, 8 years later, I can safely say I think I’m making good lifestyle changes. I like the way my body  and brain feel when I’m feeding it good food and participating in regular exercise. But, this weekend,  I could feel the creep of obsession– the voice telling me that any mistake, no matter how small, would undo all of my hard work over the past 6 months. I ran a 5k on Friday night and on Saturday, I ate kimchi cold noodles, an ice cream cone, a club sandwich, had a green tea milkshake, and a glass of wine. Sunday, I ate a veggie quesadilla, a cheeseburger slider, some kettlechips, and a soy PB banana chocolate smoothie. On Sunday night, I thought about my food choices for hours– I went over every single item, internally berating myself for not making better choices throughout the weekend. Why did I need an ice cream cone AND a milkshake? Why did I eat kettlechips?

But, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here and that is the lesson of balance, which is something I’ve struggled with in many areas of my life– a balance of alone time and social time, a balance of nights in versus nights out, and most importantly, a balance of living a healthy life with room to have a slice of pizza or an ice cream cone. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again– I will never give up beer. I also love flour tortillas and sour cream. I love pizza. But, these things need a balance in my life between being active and eating apples for breakfast. I am not a perfect human being and I’m glad I’m not. This finding balance is one of the best things I’ve done in my life and I’m finding, the longer I think about it and work at it, the easier it’s becoming. It’s all starting to fall into place. I think this is what I’ve always wanted for myself. Balance.

This week, I’ve been experimenting in the world of food thanks to my recent order from iHerb.

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I have all of the protein now. Honestly, I was fiending for a peanut butter that wasn’t filled with a bunch of bullshit and a way to eat breakfast in the morning since I have a tendency to be quite lazy. So, this week, I’ve been making peanut butter banana protein shakes for my breakfast and it is turning out very well. I stay full for quite a bit of time, I feel like I have energy, and it only takes like, 10 seconds to make them, which is perfect for me.

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I’m definitely in the market for some better recipes, so if any of you have any protein shakes you love, please send them my way!

I also purchased a food processor this week and I am so excited about the potential opportunities this opens up in my the arena of food. I had a food processor a long time ago and I loved it– I made hummus and chickpea blondies and guacamole and all kinds of good stuff. This week, since I am trying to eat mostly low-carb/vegan/vegetarian throughout the week, I tried my hand at a tofu and cauliflower rice recipe and I have to say that I firmly believe it was one of my best meals I’ve ever made.

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I scored both of the recipes on Pinterest, of course. The Honey Sriracha tofu was so easy– you mix Sriracha, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey. You fry the tofu. You coat. Simple. The cauliflower fried rice was one of the easiest things I have ever made and it was so shockingly delicious. One of the next things I want to try is definitely cauliflower crust for pizzas. I’ll let you all know once I delve into that world of cooking. This meal was delicious, filling, and I felt capable of running about an hour after I ate it, which is amazing as I normally feel very demotivated if I eat dinner before a long run. But, this food made me feel awake and powerful, so I went out and conquered 3.6 miles, which is the longest distance I’ve run since June. Daegu heat is real and it is brutal, so I sweat like a damn champion, too.

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I am always so proud of my sweat. It’s visible evidence of hard work and of my body working for me. The only time I can deal without sweat is when I’m walking from my house to the bus in Daegu Summer, but that’s just part of living in the hottest city in Korea, I suppose.  This run was not easy toward the end, but the first half, I felt good. I felt steady. It’s moments like this when I need to realize that even when I feel like I haven’t been making progress, I have been. Every extra step is progress. Every time I run and don’t really feel like running is progress. Every time I make food at my house instead of going to a restaurant is progress. I am not defined by moments of weakness, I am not defined by an ice cream cone, and I sure as shit am not defined by the urge to quit when it feels too hard to keep going.

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In 6 months, I have grown more as a person than some people do in their whole lives and I fucking refuse to sabotage myself this time out of fear of my success. I am a fucking mountain– unmovable and unshakable. There will be times when I want to crumble. There will be times when I want to lay in my bed instead of exercise. There will be times when I am tempted to go back to the old ways of self-hate, but those things cannot win this time. I am not afraid of achieving this time. In the words of Eminem, “success is my only mother fucking option– failure’s not.” And it is. The time for complaints and regrets is over– it’s time to fucking grind it out and shine like a fuckin’ sunflower, y’all.

So, after pumping myself up, I’m feeling quite brave. On Saturday, a dear friend of mine presented me with a two piece bathing suit. Initially, I was horrified at the idea of me wearing a two piece– but my fat! but my rolls! but my stretch marks and cellulite and FUCK THAT, SON.

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So, I put it on. And I fuckin’ loved it. It felt wrong to love it– I’m supposed to hate my body. I’m supposed to hide it away and shame myself and starve myself. No. Not anymore. My body can run. My body can dance. My body can swim and climb and ride bikes and move. My body has nothing to be ashamed of. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

As a side note, I am now an an Eminem YouTube hole because of my “Lose Yourself” reference. I hope all of you are having a great week.

Stay Motivated, y’all.

That Time I Scored A Goal in Soccer: A Week of (Mostly) Victories

I want to start this entry with this: I haven’t had a cigarette in almost four weeks.

One of the things people may or may not know about me is I have a tendency to get in these “ruts” where I do the same thing over and over again until I’m tired of it. If I find a particular song that I resonate with, I will listen to it until I can no longer listen to it anymore  (Lookin’ at you “Shake It Off”). I do the same thing with food– currently, I’m addicted to making veggie taco wraps. So, it’s probably no surprise that I do the same thing with television shows. My current obsession is “Rick and Morty” and holy fuck, am I obsessed with it.

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That’s Rick. I love the show because it’s hysterical and dark. and emotional. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you all. If you haven’t watched “Rick and Morty,” you should probably do that yesterday.

So this week has been a week of mostly highs and a couple of embarrassing lows. I say embarrassing because something I did this week sort of goes against one of my core tenants now but at the time, I felt like it had to happen. I’ll get to that soon enough.

Last Friday, I weighed myself and I was down to 110.7kgs, or 244lbs. That puts me down 9.3kgs or roughly 20 pounds since April. I was, and am, fucking jazzed about it but I realize I still have a long way to go, both in my physical and mental capacity. I want to be healthy for me, not to fulfill some sort of beautification fetish that is all too rampant in the society we live in. But, I find myself creeping back into obsessive territory where I constantly think about the caloric content of food or worry that I’m gaining weight instead of appreciating the journey I’m on. I know I’ll eventually get there, but it’s scary to feel old habits start to form. It is all a process and it all takes time.

Saturday, Robert and I moved into our shared apartment. It was one of the most painless moves I’ve ever engaged in as we only moved down two floors in the same building I live in. We have so much space! That night, we decided to go out and get wriggity wriggity wrecked (that’s a Rickism) to both celebrate our newfound cohabitation and let off some steam from the week before.

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bourbon and ginger– no ice.

We had a great time, but I woke up with one of the WORST hangovers I’ve had in quite some time, which led to not-so-great food choices and more beer the next day. Hair of the dog, right? We ended up going to the Chimac Festival, which is literally a festival devoted to chicken and beer in Daegu. It ended up pouring rain so we retreated to our friends’ apartment and waited out the storm which led to more beer and eventually, cheese-covered jjimdak.

I won’t lie– the next morning I woke up in a fucking daze. I couldn’t shower because our gas wasn’t working and more importantly, I couldn’t make myself food. So, I went about my day and planned on eating at one of the small Korean restaurants outside of my job. Much to my dismay, though, every single restaurant I usually hit up in my time of need was closed– the Korean restaurant, the kimbap shop, the Paris Baguette and Rapang had no sandwiches. Everything was closed! I started to panic– I needed to eat before work or I was going to be fuckin’ hangry teacher and my students are too wonderful to be exposed to that kinda bullshit. Unfortunately, my only option it seemed was fast food. I got a fried chicken sandwich, some fries, and a fuckin’ Pepsi because I am a GLUTTON for punishment. I ate it and spent the whole fucking day in a self-hate, gross spiral where I felt like dogshit and later ate MORE food with my friend Alex, and then later ate MORE food when I got home. Needless to say, my body felt like shit, I felt like shit, and I was lacking any sort of motivation to be kind to myself. My brain said “you fucked up. it’s over” and my body felt the weight of that decision. I felt defeated all from one meal and, honestly, a total lack of exercise in my life. Monday night, I promised myself that I would get up and run before I went to work.

…and I did. I got up and ran in the middle of the afternoon in Daegu’s brutal heat and humidity because I had something to prove to myself– I am capable and I am stronger than I give myself credit for, especially when it comes to motivating myself to exercise. I did not run continuously. I ran in 10 minute blocks, and my pace was slow, but I got out there and I logged some miles. I sweat like a fire hydrant, too.

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On Tuesday, I also saw on Jessamyn Stanley’s Instagram that she would be hosting a free online class at 8am my time on Wednesday morning. If you don’t know who Jessamyn Stanley is, I suggest you educate yourself. This woman has become a figure in my motivational efforts because she looks like me. She shows me that ANYTHING is possible with any body type. I hauled my ass out of bed unwillingly on Wednesday morning AFTER I considered not performing the class because sleep? But, I am so glad I did. It was motivating, even though it was online, to be back in a yoga class. Her style was so great and her vulgarity just made the whole practice fun. Afterwards, I made myself breakfast, started a 30 day plank challenge (I finished day 3 today!) and later in the afternoon, I went running again! I ran intervals this time to practice speed and endurance. It was a walk/run/sprint cycle and I found that I really enjoyed it.

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You can see the intervals in my heart rate! I fucking LOVE my Fitbit, by the way. I completed 2.7 miles, and felt amazing. Then, I ate thai food, drank a double bourbon on ice, and watched Suicide Squad. I didn’t buy my own popcorn at the movie, which is HUGE as that’s pretty much my favorite part of going to the movies. Small steps, y’all.

Today, I was hit with the urge to fuck up again. I do that to myself– I make a lot of progress and then I derail because my success is too scary. But, complaints without actions are pointless, so I allowed myself to sleep in, got up, made myself some lunch, got an Americano, and took my ass to work. After work, Rob and I made broccoli cheddar soup and vegetarian black bean burgers that I stuffed with fresh goat cheese.

After dinner, I put my ass on the subway and played about an hour of soccer with these lovely ladies. I want to say something here: I am so lucky to have such a wonderful supportive expat community to live in. The people I’ve met in Korea have influenced me in so many ways and even when I’m being a grouchy, hermited fuckhead, people still love me and want the best for me. It’s a good feeling to find such a fantastic community so far away from home. As a side note, I scored a fucking goal tonight. YES. I. DID. I can’t even fucking play soccer, but I scored a goal and that, right there, is enough to make my week shine. The fact that I play soccer now amazes me.

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I am capable of so much. I am so worthy of love, affection, time, and attention. I forget that quite frequently. I forget the strength of my legs and the power of my heart and the depth of my soul. I forget that I am a force to be fucked with, especially on my dark days. I’ve always said that the world should fear when I figure out and start acting on my true potential. Well, world, you better start fuckin’ preparing because I am relentless and passionate and I am fucking TIRED of being beaten down.

The world hasn’t seen the best of me yet.

Stay on your grind, y’all.

Stop! Zoodle Time!

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Good evening, y’all. Well, good morning to some of you all. It’s Tuesday morning in Kentucky and Tuesday night in Daegu. I LIVE IN THE FUTURE! It’s actually really interesting being 13 hours ahead of a lot of my friends and my family. I experience an intense amount of jealousy on Sunday nights as it is only Sunday morning, but I also experience a weird amount of excitement on New Year’s Eve when it’s the next year in Korea and it’s still the year before in the US.

Before I continue with this blog entry, I just wanted to let you all know that I am still trying to find my footing when it comes to writing these blog entries again. I sort of feel stunted and nervous trying to do this again. I know I’ll find my groove and my voice again, but right now, if the entries aren’t as fluid as they used to be, now you know why.

So, full admission here: I’ve been insanely lazy since Saturday and I feel like I have a good reason for that. My body is STILL sore from our hike. My calves feel like they’re in a fuckin’ vice and I have no willpower to do anything, especially exercise. My sunburn seems to be healing nicely, but I would rather have heat radiating off of me like some sort of mutant sun than have my legs still be this incapacitated. I am hoping that by tomorrow I will be healed enough to run a couple of miles and get back on the half marathon training schedule I started last week. It’s a 16 week training schedule that has me running 3 times a week with two days of cross-training, which can be anything like riding my bike (hey, Mav) or playing soccer with the ladies of Daegu on a Tuesday or Thursday night. Although I am shit at it, I really do enjoy trying to kick a soccer ball around these days. I’m thankful for an active community that is constantly climbing mountains or playing sports or just enjoying the chance to sweat. It gives me a fuckton of opportunities to get involved and get healthier throughout the year. One of the major issues I face, though, is finding a place where I am comfortable running in Daegu. I used to have these solid running routes in Richmond, but I still feel nervous when setting out for a run here. Sometimes, I run down the street to the elementary school behind my apartment building and run the track, but I feel like the track is not an accurate representation of my speed or my endurance as it’s very easy to fall into an steady pace. I’ve found that if I’m only training on a track, my performance on a street run is not what I expect. Of course, I could also be using this nervousness as an excuse to just… not run, which is entirely possible if I’m truly honest about my tendency to self-sabotage.

Anyway, for the past few months, I’ve been dicking around with a low carb/high protein & fat diet, which really seems to be working for me. I’ve stopped having stomachaches, I’ve been losing weight, and I don’t feel as lethargic as I used to feel. The problem is I seem to get stuck in these food ruts where I only eat the same thing for days in a row, which is fine, I guess, for people who don’t like variety. But, I fuckin’ love to eat all kinds of foods, so I get bored and eventually, I break my cycle of cooking for myself and end up at a restaurant drowning my guilt in Korean dumplings. In the past few days, I’ve been bound and determined to branch out and try to make some new foods that are nutritious, delicious, and fit my goal of low carb eating. One of the ways I’m accomplishing this is by using the website iHerb to order foods I cannot find in Korea (or I can find and it’s just too expensive). For example, I purchased two jars of Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter because I love peanut butter, but I want it without hydrogenated oil. I also bought coconut oil and protein to start making protein shakes and homemade protein bars in my house as I have recently discovered just how insanely easy it is to make your own protein bars. Take a look at THIS nonsense here, y’all. I will be making these immediately upon receipt of my iHerb order. Another way is buy trying some of these newfangled foods that I keep hearing everyone talk about. The food of this week is the glorious zoodle! Now, I’m sure everyone already knows what a zoodle is, but in case you don’t, it’s a noodle made out of zucchini and it is all the rage in the low carb world, I tell you what.

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I think there are all kinds of zoodlers out there, but my friends Matt & Stephanie allowed me to borrow their hand-held zoodler and as you can see, it was pretty amazing.

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That’s all that is left of the zucchini once it has successfully been zoodled. Robert promptly ate this.

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After a zoodle photoshoot, the zoodles went into a pot and I started preparing the homemade sauce. I cooked mushrooms, garlic, and onion in olive oil for a few minutes

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then, I added two cans of diced tomatoes, fresh basil from our rooftop garden, general spices, tomato paste, and fresh goat cheese.

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I was insanely proud of the results! It was tasty, filling, and best of all, I knew it was healthy and low carb.

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Of course, after eating, I wanted something sweet. I had peanut butter in the house, so I googled “coconut flour peanut butter cookies.” Lo and behold, the first recipe that popped up was the winner as I had EVERYTHING I needed in the apartment to make a batch. So, I fuckin’ did, son.

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This is just peanut butter, coconut flour, an egg, some milk, vanilla, sugar, and some salt. I then put some butter on a pan, because I AM Southern, and ladled them onto the pan.

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And holy shit! They came out so well!

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I have been an absolute MASTER in the kitchen this evening. It’s amazing how far a little motivation and the right ingredients can go. There you have it– I satisfied all of my cravings without compromising my desire to remain carbohydrate deficient. Man, I am just so damn proud of these cookies, y’all. This is a fucking gamechanger!

The plan for the rest of the week is to get a couple of runs in, even if my calves are still sore tomorrow. At some point, I have to push through the pain and get back on track. I also need to run through some kettlebell exercises and probably ride my bike more as I think Maverick is feeling rather neglected. One of my main goals this week is to work through the desire to be lazy and demolish my progress. I want to find where that comes from and start chipping away at the source instead of working through surface problems. I know this is quite a large undertaking, and possibly the key to the universe, but I need to remember that nothing worth doing is easy… unless it’s eating tacos. Eating tacos is always easy and always worth doing.

Speaking of tacos, Kentucky! I’ll be in you this coming September from the 15th-29th. Get at me if you want to grab a beer, a burrito, or a bourbon! Or you know, a roller coaster.

This is me getting my life together. This is me trying to change. I know I can do it– I just have to stop myself from stopping myself.

Stay healthy, y’all.

Resurrection

resurrection: the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again, to be used again, etc.

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Hello.

I didn’t think I  would actively touch this blog again. In fact, after reading through older entries, looking at my older pictures in my media library, and really examining the content, I didn’t know if I WANTED to assume the identity of the Heavy Hipster again. She seemed so separate from me, so different from who I am right now as a 29 year old. I started this blog in January of 2011. I was 24 years old. I was a vegetarian/vegan. I had just started running. I was in a completely different relationship. I was in graduate school. I had a dog. I had a huge kitchen in a basement apartment in Richmond, KY. I had a dog. My main goal, at that time, regardless of what I told myself, was getting skinny. I wanted to be skinny. I wanted to be hot. No matter what I read in my older entries, I know my intentions– I wanted to be nice to look at. Then, that life fell apart. The relationship ended. I moved into another apartment in Richmond. I ate fried chicken in Louisiana, ending my 3 years as a vegetarian/vegan. My dog went to live with another family. I graduated. From there, life sort of became a spiral. I stopped running. For lack of a better phrase, I stopped giving a fuck. I eventually moved to South Korea and, as many people know, my life has been shifting and changing as I start to figure out who I *really* am and not who I thought I was. I never thought I would find interest in taking up the banner of The Heavy Hipster once more.

But I have.

While there are a lot of things about my previous blog entries I don’t agree with or identify with anymore, there are still certain aspects of The Heavy Hipster that I still am or want to continue to embody. For example, I was determined and I was so honest about my flaws and my fuck-ups. I wasn’t afraid of strong language or expressing myself, whether it be negative or positive. I wanted to be inspirational. I wanted to change. I tried new foods, new activities. I ran races and pushed myself. I still am or still want to be those things. A few years does not change the core characteristics of me.

So, here’s where I am now. I am currently 29 years old– I just turned 29, actually. I live in Daegu, South Korea and I’ve been here for almost 2 years. I live downtown in a nice apartment with my fantastic partner, Robert. I am an English teacher at a middle school academy and I love my job.  I am an omnivore, but I am trying to eat more ethically. I’m running again and am in the first stages of training for the Ulsan Human Rights Half in November. I’m mostly living on a high fat/protein with low carb diet, but I still love beer as much as I did 5 years ago. I also have an extreme Americano addiction. I want to be healthy, mentally and physically. I’ve realized exercise is just as connected to my mental health as it is my physical health and I am trying to really create good habits when it comes to consistent exercise. I own kettlebells. I own a bike named Maverick. I’m also a lazy asshole when I want to be. I haven’t had a cigarette in over two weeks. I also have a way of getting Reese’s cups and hoarding them in my freezer. I currently have 7 kinds of cheese in  my refrigerator. I may have a problem.

In order to fall in line with the Heavy Hipster Habits of old, I’m going to attempt to tell you about the fuckshit hike I took this weekend and how it’s forced me to think about the bigger picture, regardless of how much I bitched and groaned while it was happening. It is a dear friend’s birthday this weekend, and he wanted to go hiking, so he picked the Gayasan National Park, which is about 45 minutes away from Daegu by car. He and his lovely girlfriend, who is also one of my dear friends, retrieved me from my apartment around 7am. Let me preface this with some cold, hard facts: the night before, I drank 4 or 5 beers and slept maybe 4 hours. I did not eat any breakfast. I had researched the hike, it said it was about 2 hours and 30 minutes and was a low difficulty hike. As a result, I HUGELY underestimated the difficulty of this course and the effort I would have to put in. The website lied. It was one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever undertaken. It was fucking HARD. And, it took 6.5 hours as we went up one side and came down the other, so we ended up going around 7 miles (11k). We were the red line.

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I had to really push myself yesterday. There were times I wanted to give up and let the bugs take me. There were times I wanted to throw myself off of the mountain in order to avoid the walk back down the other side. But, as it always happens, once  I got to the top of the mountain, I was overwhelmed by the feat I had accomplished and just how damn beautiful it was. We picked one of the hottest days to hike this– Korea released a heat advisory and we had no idea. Although I am sunburnt, my calves are sore as fuck, and I still feel very much destroyed, I am sort of in awe of myself and my continuous endurance. I am about 90% sure I couldn’t have done that hike last year. I’m about 100% sure I couldn’t have done it two years ago. I have changed so fucking much it’s kind of unbelievable sometimes.

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It was hot. It was hard. But, I did it. And I would do it again. I also had some bad ass company to help me along the way when shit got too difficult.

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These two are the titties for real.

Before we went up the mountain, though, we went to Haeinsa Temple, which is one of the coolest places I’ve been in Korea thus far. It houses the Tripitaka Koreana, which is considered a treasure in Korea.

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So, there you have it. The first real installment of the newly-resurrected Heavy Hipster. I appreciate any of you all still reading who have been with me for the past 5 years. What would you like to see more of? Or hear more about? Feel free to leave a comment or message me directly!

Stay Healthy, y’all.

Am I Still the Heavy Hipster?

The last time I updated this blog was well over two years ago. Furthermore, the last time I regularly kept track of my health on this blog was over four years ago. It leads me to wonder: am I still the Heavy Hipster? or I have I changed into something different?

As I’m on a new kind of journey, I’m considering reviving this blog and running it the way I used to– complete honesty about my health, my weight, my feelings, and maybe some recipes along the way.

What do you all think? Is it better to continue something that reflects on a completely different part of your life? or is it important to start new?