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.

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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.

13 Days to Halloween: A Jade Yoga Mat, Struggles, and My Second 5K

rain be damned. today is a good day.

happy wednesday, everyone! although it is a rainy, grim mess outside, i hope your spirits are high in anticipation of the weekend! i am for sure excited because this weekend is HOMECOMING and Raychell’s Baby Shower! so many exciting events, so little time. i am really stoked about seeing long lost friends, catching up, and of course, doing my EKU alum duty and tailgating. i hope the weather, though, is more cheerful than it is right now.

this week has been a week of ups and downs for the Heavy Hipster. last week, my weigh-in was less than desired, and while i still have to commend myself of the positive changes i have been making in my life, to see the number shift so little is incredibly frustrating. i know that my body is still adjusting to all of the new and exciting activities i am doing and i am running the potential of plateauing, but that does not make it easier to stomach. i was even more disappointed because i had DONE SO MUCH outdoors and had been so active. but, this week, i fully plan on taking my measurements with my weigh-in. i know i am shrinking– i just need to see the numbers to validate that thought. fortunately, though, that was my one true down this week; my ups have vastly outnumbered the negatives!

last weekend, i was really struggling with the idea of running. the last time i had run, i was tired, my legs felt heavy, and i wasn’t really into it. but, on saturday morning, i got myself out of bed and met Katie and Leslie to get some miles in. there was no set number of miles; there was only the desire to run as close to an hour as we could and sure as shit, we did it. i ran a little over 5 miles that afternoon, and with the help of those two awesome ladies, my faith in my running was restored. i even took a picture of my crazy sweat!

giggity!

my arms are both soaked and you can see the body sweat. i do not care if you think it is disgusting. i am in love with my sweat these days. sweat is the sign of hard work and endurance– i’m determined to have both of those.

the same day, some friends and i took a trip to Keeneland to bet on some ponies and drink some beer. after the 5 mile run, i felt a lot better about enjoying my day at the race track. i bought a really pretty black pencil skirt from the Gap earlier and a cute sweater so i decided to… you know… tuck the sweater into the skirt and see how it looked on me. i have always been so evnvious of that style, but i was always so big i could never pull it off. i rocked it on Saturday, and i have to say that Micah and myself looked like total hotties

Keeneland!

this weekend, i also played on some swings

and i ate at the Acres of Land Winery. it was wonderful.

acres of land!

a kentucky autumn is more beautiful than anything in the entire world. seriously, how gorgeous is this?

this week has been much better. i’ve been awoken by this sweet puppy over and over again

and felt pretty damn awesome while looking into a mirror

and, showed how serious i was about yoga when i bought my very own JADE mat!!!

beautiful mats with mellie

i needed the yoga class we had last night. after last week’s class and the feelings of failure i encountered, it was awesome to hold every pose as long as Andi wanted us to, and i felt accomplished and strong. the mind is stronger than the body. remember that.

tonight, for dinner, i made Tofu Tikka Masala! the tofu was marinated in fat free greek yogurt, a generous portion of spices, and some lemon juice. the tofu was then placed in a sauce of fat free half and half, tomato sauce, and jalepeno and garlic. deliciousness.

and some naan, which i made myself and it was really good!

and in the process of this, i got to use the KitchenAid mixer my friend Aleshia gave me!

HOW COOL IS THIS?!

i am in love with it. my food was good, my day has been good, despite the rain, and i am feeling on top of my goals. tonight is the first cast meeting of the Vagina Monologues, and i am super excited to meet all of the people in it and get this ball rolling. i am equally excited about my second 5k that i will be running this saturday for homecoming. while i am a bit bummed i will not be getting drunk with everyone on Friday night, i must fulfill this goal i set for myself. running this 5k means a lot to me and is a sign of how far i have come since the last homecoming. i have been training on this course for a couple of months now– i know the inclines, i know the rough patches, and i know where i will struggle the most. tomorrow, i’ll be jogging a couple of miles, but i want my legs to be rested and ready to go. i would like to set a new PR, but just running it is enough for me at this point. if you’re at the EKU homecoming parade downtown, cheer me on when i run by. it would make me incredibly happy. next weekend, i’ll be running my 3rd 5k in Frankfort, the Black Cat Chase. i’ll be discussing that more, though, as time progresses.

life feels good today and i cannot help but be so thankful for days where i feel in control of myself. i know that i will just keep getting better and that’s all i can hope for, really. i hope wednesday has been pleasant for you. stay healthy, y’all.

Take That, Self-Doubt: A 5 Mile Run in a Gorgeous Kentucky Autumn.

i love having freckles in the fall.

happy thursday afternoon, friends! my fall break is staring me in the eyes and i am so excited to have a four day weekend to explore Kentucky and it’s wonderful autumn offerings. i plan on going to a pumpkin patch, an apple orchard, maybe hiking and some disc golf. i just want to be active! none of this sitting in my apartment wasting the days away! i want to get out and DO. i hope you all have some great plans for this weekend. Kentucky is so beautiful in the fall and you should definitely enjoy it. Keeneland also opens tomorrow and i am SUPER PUMPED about going to the fall meet.

today was my weigh in and i lost another 1.8 pounds. i am so freaking proud of myself for not only following Weight Watchers, but for keeping up with it in my every day life. i track everything– my water, my food, my exercise, and it all serves to keep pushing me forward as i watch the numbers shift and change. it’s actually great for someone like me who has a compulsive need to understand every single aspect of the food i am putting into my mouth. i even discovered today that you can build a recipe through the website and it will tell you HOW MANY POINTS PER SERVING IT IS. this is revolutionary for me! i love to cook but i always worry about making my own food and tracking it appropriately and now, i never have to have that worry again! hooray! speaking of food, for dinner, i made a Veg-Bergers recipe– Harvest Cheddar Mac and Cheese! it was absolutely delicious and totally vegan. every bite was a sweet bit of pumpkin happiness. so, i plugged their recipe in to the recipe builder and voila! i know how many points it is!

today was my long run and it was 5 miles. i was both looking forward to and dreading it, but honestly, it seemed to go by so quickly. i know once i start building up to longer miles that it may not feel that way, but i am going to appreciate it now while i still have the chance. i started off a little slow, but i kept a consistent pace throughout. i was tired in the fourth mile, but i finished rather strong at 5.16 miles. i then walked another mile to cool down and give my legs a little rest. i was worried about my knee because it had been bothering me, but it held out just fine. thanks, knee! so, goodbye, self doubt. i now know i am fully capable of running a little more than 5 miles. my next obstacle is, of course, 6 miles. but, i’ll take care of that when i get there.

that’s all i got! i have my class tonight and i am teaching two classes tomorrow, although i do not know how many of them actually plan on showing up. it IS fall break after all. it would be hypocritical of me to be upset with them. i, after all, used to skip class like a champion, especially on weekends like fall break! stay healthy, y’all, and enjoy this GORGEOUS day!

Honesty: Gauging My Limitations and Capabilities

i look like a ball of sunshine

let’s discuss something, friends: it’s fucking August. AUGUST. AWGUSTUH. the 8th month of the year. wasn’t it just May? June? hell, wasn’t it just July 4th? it’s a little bit terrifying that the whole “it goes faster as you get older” phrase is coming to fruition. my parents used to say that to me all the time, and rolling my eyes in typical teen fashion, the years just didn’t seem to go by fast enough. i wanted to be 18; i wanted to be 21. i wanted to live outside of my parents’ house; i wanted to have my own things. here i am, at 24, and absolutely stunned at how right they were. i feel like this has been the fastest summer of my life and i am not ready, in the slightest, to head back to school. i have not really looked at my books, i have not bought school supplies, and i have not planned out a schedule for activities. furthermore, i am not ready, in the slightest, TO TEACH MY OWN SECTIONS OF ENGLISH! i know i keep talking about it, but seriously. how am i, one of the most unorganized, procrastinating, lazy people on the face of the planet, supposed to engage and instruct 35-40 students efficiently? you’re right! i’m not! i’ve actually been working on my syllabus for the past two days, trying to tweak it and get it to perfection. it did not seem real until today when our names showed up next to our class sections

it's real, bitches!

yeah. it’s real. i’m teaching. oh god. i hope they don’t hate me. actually, if i can teach them something and they do hate me, then they can hate, hate, hate away. i want to be efficient, not loved (but both would be nice!). what i am most worried about is that this high level of stress will not only cause me to retain weight, but will keep me from working out as much as i possibly could. i know a lot of people who were very into exercising when they started grad school and as they got further into the program, they became more enveloped with class and could not keep their dedication up. so, that’s why i’ve decided to possibly take an undergraduate level yoga class to keep me accountable for my actions and my health. it would meet on tuesdays and thursdays for an hour and a half from 12:30-1:45. it would force me to go because i would be working for a grade. i would have two guaranteed workouts a week! it’s pretty bad that i’m scared of my own lack of willpower, but my failures in the past have pushed me to really consider this option. plus, i love the fuck out of some yoga, so i think this is a good investment! we’ll see, though. 400 dollars is a lot of money, but it’s comparable to yoga classes offered in the community.

i also have to be honest about my limitations and my capabilities. originally, i wanted to run the Iron Horse Half Marathon in October. but, the Iron Horse is during the weekend of Homecoming and i’ll just be honest with you all– i plan on tailgating and socializing all weekend long. i don’t want to have to bow out of hanging out with friends because i have to run a race. plus, that race is in 2 months and i doubt i could be ready for 13.1 miles when i’m still struggling through two miles. then, i considered the Philadelphia Half Marathon. it is in November and could be an absolute blast, but again, i have to be honest with myself and honest with my abilities at this point in time. i can only run 1-2 miles on any given day at this point and, like everything else in the world, distance and endurance running takes time to perfect. practice must be had consistently for the body to build up at tolerance for the mild brutality that is running… unless you’re some sort of super freak and can run 13 miles for the fuck of it. if you can, i salute you. but, i am not one of those people. i don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to find out i am not prepared for a race. so, as of now, i’m going to be participating in a bunch of races in the fall, mostly 5ks, just to get my confidence up and keep me running. the first one is the Spoonbread 5k in Berea, KY on September 17th. since i can already run 2 miles, i figure i can be ready for that 5k in a month and a half. it would be a good way to introduce myself to 5ks and since it is so close to home, i would feel more comfortable.

tonight, i am using my groupon to go to Hot Yoga at Exhale Studios. i am really  nervous about it, but really excited, too! i met one of the teachers, Megan, at the outdoor yoga session i attended on Saturday morning. Saturday was a great day for my body. i woke up, ran a mile on the Woodchip Trail, walked another mile, did outdoor yoga, and went to Zumba. i felt amazing afterwards. if only every Saturday could be like that! i know they can be. i just need to find the determination to get myself out of bed on Saturdays and do some work. my schedule for the past month has been so hectic. it’s really thrown off my working out. but next week, i have the entire week off and i want to devote a lot of that to fitness and getting back on track with running, lifting weights, and yoga. i want to be prepared when school starts, both mentally and physically.

tonight, boyfriend and i are making Cajun Shrimp Pizza found at Annie’s Eats. i probably won’t eat any until i’ve done yoga and ran, but i’m sure it will be delicious! stay healthy, y’all!

A Running, Cooking Machine: 3 Miles, Vegan Barbecue Pizza, and Vegan Snickerdoodle Blondies!

i take pictures on Instagram!

happy wednesday evening, folks. we’re officially half-way through the week and rocketing toward the weekend. i swear, there is no greater pleasure than the weekend. i feel like i constantly ramble on about how much i love the weekend, but who can argue? i guess people who work on the weekends could tell me to fuck off. fortunately, i work in academia and we only function through the week. sometimes, we only function through half the week. last semester, i was only on campus and responsible for being somewhere three days. i had to be on campus monday, tuesday, and thursday. crock of bullshit right? rest assured, i get my comeuppance in the fall– i’m on campus every single day because i must teach the childrens MWF. delightful! speaking of my classes, i’ve been working on my syllabi and my course outline. do you know how terrifying it is to realize that i am responsible for the grades/learning of 40 students? SERIOUSLY? oh god. i’m nauseous thinking about it.

speaking of nauseous, last night, i cranked out 3.3 miles running. my family, recognizing the bad day i had on Monday, tried to cheer me up by bringing me some veggies and taking me out to dinner.

dear sweet god of vegetables!

after my family took me out for a Casa dinner (where i showed real discipline and restraint i might add) i waited for a couple of hours, decided i was digested enough, and at first, ran 2.06 miles through campus and around the city of richmond. it was a struggle. i wanted to die. but, i met up with some NSCL friends because the NATIONAL JUNIOR CLASSICAL LEAGUE‘S NATIONAL CONVENTION IS AT EASTERN! click that link. read about my life in high school. after seeing and talking to them for a bit, i took off on another 1.25 miles through downtown. i eventually ended at the Paddy Wagon, got some water, and was taken home. i’m pretty proud of myself, but because of how much i’m struggling, i wonder if i will be ready for a half marathon this year. these are questions i really need to consider in the next couple of weeks, especially if i cannot get my training regulated.

today has been a great day for my culinary creations. i had a vegetarian BLT for lunch coupled with an orange and a cucumber from my parents’ garden. i’ve been trying to cut back on my dairy intake and have only eaten dairy/things with dairy in it, 4 or 5 times in the past 48 hours or so. but, i’ve had this craving for BBQ pizza and so, adapting one of the delicious recipes from the VegBergers, i went to the store after work, picked up some Gardin “chicken” strips, got some peppers, some onions, some barbecue sauce, and set to work! for the BBQ sauce, i had the choice of making my own, which i am hesitant to do, buy some rando brand that may not be vegetarian or vegan, or pay a little extra money for a good brand with ingredients i can trust and appreciate…and read. being able to read my ingredients has become incredibly important for me. i settled on Annie’s BBQ sauce, and if you have never tried an Annie’s product, you should. ASAP. i made a homemade crust and doused it in BBQ sauce

oh yeaaaaah

seriously. it was already smelling amazing and i couldn’t wait to try it! i cut up some green and yellow pepper along with a red pepper out of my parents’ garden! i also cut up some onion. i sliced up the chicken strips into smaller pieces and scattered all the ingredients across the sauce

oh man oh man oh man oh man!

and then, the magical, magical topping i have come to know as Daiya cheese

i wish you could hear the noises i'm making re-living this

and i popped it in the oven to cook! while it was baking, i decided to make Snickerdoodle Blondies found at this neat blog called Chocolate Covered Katie! check her out! i had never thought about using any sort of bean in dessert making, but this blog, the VegBergers, and my friend Stephanie have been in a rage about using beans in desserts so i decided to try it! this recipe called for a can of chickpeas, which i always keep on hand because i LOVE making my own hummus

mmhmm that's right

what you see on top of the chickpeas is almond butter and if you’ve never had almond butter, you probably should.

getting ready to go for a ride in the food processor

you put everything in your food processor, let it process until smooth and then put it in a greased or tin-foil lined baking pan!

BAM. VEGAN SNICKERDOODLE BLONDIES

as those were ready to go in, my pizza was ready to be devoured

uuuunggghhhh

i mourned when i was too full to eat more of this pizza. i took my first bite of it and praised myself out loud with “fuck yes. this is fucking awesome!” my dog was terrified. but, it was so good. i cannot even describe just how good this was. the BBQ sauce with the Daiya and the vegetables OH MAN. boyfriend ate the rest of it. i’m a little upset because i want another piece… unfortunately, i did not get a picture of the finished brownies. i stuck my hand in them too fast, ate some, and ruined a good picture. so, you can take my word for it: A-FUCKING-MAZING. seriously do it. make those. make those now. if you don’t, you’ll be sorry and puppies will be sad and kittens will be unable to play with string. it’s that serious.

that’s pretty much it in the life of the Heavy Hipster at this point. i’m really feeling this whole cooking thing and today i realized i have an arsenal of ingredients at my apartment. i have finally built a pantry with baking and cooking stuff i can use all the time! in fact, i did not have to buy a damn thing for those blondies! i had ALL of it. tomorrow, i’ll be heading back into the gym to lift some weights, run an bit, and then out to my parents’ for some swimming and to get my dog some exercise. speaking of my parents one more time, my mom, in her loving support of my fitness quests, bought me a Groupon today for yoga classes at a studio in Richmond. i’ve been dying to really get into yoga and this is going to kick-start it for me! i am so thankful to have such wonderful parents. i hope your week is going well and you’re happy. stay healthy, y’all.