Progress Does Not Happen Overnight

IMG_5722

Look upon my 4-day unwashed hair. It makes me look like I’m standing in front of a fan, but really, I’m just a swamp creature and the dried sweat of previous days is holding it up.

Anyway. I am a sucker for instant gratification. A lot of people will blame that on being an American or a Millennial, but I love it when I immediately get results from something I do. I like to be the best at everything the first time I try, and this line of thinking, while also unsustainable, is extremely silly. Many things take practice, consistency, and dedication, but I want it and I want it immediately. Unfortunately, I think this often bleeds over into my quest to become healthy.

newbodywhodis.png

One of the things I have been working on, though, is my ability to stay dedicated while understanding that changes for a healthy life do not often happen overnight, and when they do, it is hard to keep to those goals or standards, especially goals and standards made in moments of high motivation because they don’t allow for days when you just can’t fucking be bothered. I have done this one too many times– gotten too excited, planned big, and then let myself down when “real life me” can’t live up to “motivated me.” It’s a real thing and this year, I’m setting out to change these things.

Consistency. Consistency has been a word I have been using a lot lately because it is so important in the health and weight loss game. I can eat well and exercise for a month, but if I cannot be consistent in the second month, in the third month, then that first month is essentially meaningless. Creating consistent habits and following through with small steps to ensure progress has become one of my main points of focus this time around and so far, it’s really working for me.

Well, that and trying new things that previously scared the fuck out of me.

ugh

This picture, taken in March of this year, changed everything for me in so many different ways. See, in March of 2016, I joined a biggest loser challenge and lost 7kgs in a month through exercise, low carb dieting, and drinking less than I usually do. I was elated and that progress, that quick progress, motivated me throughout the summer. In August, I was probably the thinnest I had been in years, was running regularly, and had a stronghold on my eating habits. I then, in September, took a trip home and my habits just went to shit, y’all. I came back and partied, I stopped caring about what I ate, I ran a couple of times, I tried to get my eating back on track, and I just didn’t give enough of a fuck to work hard for what I wanted. I allowed myself to slide back into old habits that did not fulfill me long term. After a weekend of extensive partying, this picture was snapped of me and uploaded on Facebook and when I fucking saw it, I cried at work.

Now, I am not saying that people who have this body type should be ashamed of themselves. On the contrary, I am not in any position, or do I have any desire, to tell people what they should feel or how they should look. I am not here for that. But, I was not proud of myself and I was not happy with MYSELF. I was not proud that I had allowed myself to stray so far from what I wanted, from what MY goals were and are. After seeing this picture, I knew shit had to change for me.

So, I joined CrossFit. In CrossFit, I have found a community that really and truly wants everyone to do their best and succeed, and fuck, that is so important to me. On Monday night, we were charged with the following workout:

IMG_5870

50 each of squats, sit ups, push ups, back extensions, pull ups, and fuckin’ burpees. There are not words to describe how much I fucking hate burpees. They scare me, they overwhelm me, and often they mentally defeat me before a workout even starts because I am so convinced I cannot do more than two or three of them in a row. On Monday, I was terrified of this workout. It seemed like so much and so impossible for me. My CrossFit coach asked if I wanted to scale it back to 30 or 40 instead of 50 and I said no. I wanted to try to do the real workout. We started. I made it through every set and then I got to the burpees. I got to 30 and felt my body give up. I was on the verge of tears. I was exhausted. My heart was racing. Then, my coach, my beloved coach, got on his knees next to me and said “Don’t give up, Kara. You can do this. DO NOT GIVE UP.” And he started counting my burpees 31, 32, 33. I got to 40 and he counted down, 9, 8, 7. By this point, the whole gym was cheering me, and two other men, on to finish our workout. When I got to 50, when I finished, I cried. I had pushed myself. I had done 50 burpees. I finished my sets in 16:20. I fucking did it. CrossFit has changed me in so many ways, mentally and physically.

IMG_5748

I am thinner, yes. My muscles are stronger, yes. But, my whole approach to what I can do and what I cannot do is changing as well. I  have convinced myself for so long that I am incapable of certain things, certain activities, and that shit just isn’t true. There is so much more I can do, so, I tried another new activity and joined a competitive sports team with Gaelic football.

IMG_5811

I have never been an athlete. Regardless of how tall I am, I have never played basketball. I play soccer sometimes with some women in Daegu, but I’m no Ronaldo, but competitive sports, against a team that wants to win, is not something I’ve ever thought I could do. Last year, I followed this team around and referred to myself as a “Gaelic groupie” because I was friends with a lot of the team, but never had the confidence to play. I changed that this year. I went to practices, failed miserably sometimes, but I kept going. Last weekend, I went to my first tournament with the team and I was so nervous, I thought I was going to shit my pants on the field. I play in goals, and the idea of balls coming toward my head and face was mildly terrifying, especially being kicked by a woman who was not on my team. We played. We won all four games. I blocked some shots. I succeeded. Never, in a million fucking years, did I ever think I could be a success as an athlete and yet, here I am.

IMG_5855

The women on my team have been such wonderful, supportive influences in so many different facets of my life. They have pushed me, they have cheered me on, and they have believed in me, which is something I have a hard time doing most of the time.

IMG_5853

My body will do what I ask it to do, but it needs me to believe in it and its abilities. I am going to try harder to do that and support myself the way these ladies, and a solid majority of my friends, have done the past few months. I never fully understood how much I need my own support, but I do. I think this idea is definitely one thing I have been missing in my fitness and wellness journey— the actual, real belief that I can accomplish my goals.

Consistency. Small changes. These things make all of the difference in the world. Progress does not happen overnight, or even in a month. Progress happens as we forge forward in small ways. Yesterday, we had a holiday, and instead of spending the day inside, lounging, which is what I wanted to do, Robert and I got up and went to a temple, walked around, and explored.

IMG_5884

I have been to this temple once before, and it was last year when I did the hardest hike of my life, which, again, prompted me to think about accomplishing and achieving things I, in the past, believed to be too hard for me to do. That hike was one of the longest, most difficult physical activities I had ever done, and yet, I did it. It opens so many doors when you stop telling yourself you can’t and start believing you can. I know that sounds cliched as fuck, but it’s the truth, y’all.

IMG_5876

I am not a confident person by default. I have a hard time taking compliments. I have a hard time seeing the progress and success within myself, but in order to succeed, in order to be the best version of myself possible, it is absolutely necessary that I see and believe these things. I have come such a long way from where I was a year ago. I have pushed myself, I have challenged boundaries, I have changed my eating habits, I have started new activities that I deemed too advanced, and I have grown. I see so much more potential in myself, so much more opportunity, that it honestly brings tears to my eyes.

Progress does not happen overnight. One summer, I lost 40 pounds after I restricted my calories to 1200 a day and exercised 90 minutes a day. I cried any time I drank alcohol. I cried any time I made a mistake. I used to make myself throw up. I am recovering from being that person. I am finding a balance and I am finding joy in the journey instead of finding pain in the setbacks. I am focusing on what I am gaining instead of what I am losing. So much of my identity used to be tied up in partying, but my identity is morphing. I still like to party and I will always love beer, but these things are not innately Kara anymore.

I will leave you with two progress pictures. I cannot tell you how nervous I am about posting these but this shit, this life, demands transparency and honesty.

I am not the same person anymore. I don’t want to be. I want growth. I want change. I want to be better than I was the day before, and that’s exactly what I’m going to fucking do.

Take care, y’all, and stay healthy.

Depression: The True De-Motivator

IMG_3148

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.

IMG_3177

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.

IMG_3163

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.

IMG_3175.JPG

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.

 

Balance: The Art of Just Enough

IMG_3071

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.

IMG_3061

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.

IMG_3060

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.

IMG_3064

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.

IMG_3068

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.

IMG_3075

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.

IMG_3047

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.

IMG_3005

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.

IMG_3019
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.

IMG_3028

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.

IMG_3036

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.

IMG_3039 (1)

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!

FullSizeRender (2)

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.

IMG_2957

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.

IMG_2960

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

IMG_2963

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

IMG_2978

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

IMG_2980

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

IMG_2981

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.

IMG_2982

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.

IMG_2983

And holy shit! They came out so well!

IMG_2985

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.

Catching Up: The End of the Heavy Hipster Hiatus

break is ovaaaa

happy sunday morning to you all. i’m feeling a bit grouchy and i think it’s because i am hungover and class starts tomorrow. nervous nervous nervous. i am excited about the amount of structure that this will bring into my life. structure makes me efficient; structure makes me insanely happy. it’s when i lack structure that my life goes into the shitter and is very hard to repair. case and point, my hiatus from my blog wasn’t supposed to happen– i even took two weeks off of exercising. again, not supposed to happen. but, on friday, august 5th, my summer job ended and monday, august 15, i have training all week. so the week of august 8-now has been incredibly useless. i haven’t done shit but watch Mad Men and a bunch of movies, lame. just fucking lame. this week, i had 5 days of teaching training and i was exhausted by the end of the day. doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence in my endurance. anyway, i have been having food and other adventures the past couple of weeks and wanted to share those with you in the hopes that simply writing in this blog will jumpstart my life again.

my mom has inundated me with a fuckton of tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers. i literally have no idea what to do with them. so, i made mexican pasta sauce!

all kinds of delicious.

this sauce had zucchini, corn, black beans, green peppers, onions, and all kinds of spices to make it delicious.

fuck yes whole foods pasta

i was also really pumped about using my Whole Foods pasta that i got on sale the last time i saw my nutritionist. it was delicious, as usual. i love everything about Whole Foods; i do not love that it’s a 30 minute drive for me to get to a Whole Foods, but i’m having a serious craving for some Daiya vegan cheese so i may have to drive up there to buy some necessary cooking supplies when i get paid this week.

don't worry, the cheese is measured!

this was incredibly delicious. i froze the rest of the sauce to use later when i’m feeling lazy and useless (which is usually how i feel on any given day).  and don’t worry, that cheese was measured for accurate calorie count. i also made a pretty ballin’ Minestrone soup last week in my crock pot, but i neglected to take a picture of it. i also froze it and am waiting for another day when i don’t feel like cooking.

the grocery store was also having a sale on tilapia filets. i have never cooked fish before and was anxious to try my hand at taking good, fresh seafood and making it into a delicious meal. i decided to make mexican spiced tilapia quesadillas. i put together (with some advice from friends) my own seasoning

mexican seasoning!

because store bought taco/fajita seasoning is the devil and i can’t understand the ingredients. i added this mixture to the raw filets (covered in olive oil)

yeaaaaaah

baked them for a few minutes, shredded them, and put them into quesadillas with white mexican cheese

banging quesadillas

i even put together a little sour cream and shredded lettuce spread. i was feeling particularly feisty.

i went out to the bar the other night with friends and decided i needed to rock my drink Don Draper style, so i had an Old Fashioned.

Old Fashioned!

it was actually really good, even though people “hoped that i hated it” so i would feel guilty about ordering it. well, scre-hew you, friends, it was delicious and filled with whiskey. don’t be jealous. it also gave me a sweeeet buzz. i was also an adult and steam-cleaned my carpet… like a champion. i was even super excited about it, watching the dirt and grime lifting off of my carpet fibers.

sweet clean carpet

i’m a nerd. whatever.

last week, i was on a baking mission because of all the extra zucchini i have. as i stated earlier, my mother has drowned me in freshly grown veggies and instead of letting them go bad (as i am wont to do) i jumped on a baking train and have not looked back. first up was zucchini banana bread since i also had 3 bananas that were bordering on complete death.

vegan banana zucchini BREAAAAD

and to use the rest of the zucchini that i had grated to death to make the bread, i found a dairy-free zucchini corn bread recipe

CAWNBREAADUH

ignore the missing piece. i had already eaten it. this was definitely my favorite thing i made. to finish off the rest of the zucchini, other veggies i had on hand, and the bag of shrimp i had, i made shrimp and vegetable stuffed zucchini boats. they did not turn out as well as i would have hoped. they were a little dry and next time i make something like this, i will make some sauce to go on top of it. i don’t like dry food. should have just put some fucking ketchup on it.

LARGE ZUCCHINIS

you scrape out the insides

mixture

cook/mix a bunch of shit in a pot

fill

fill empty boats and cook that shit up. make sure you have some ketchup or something. you know much i fucking love ketchup.

in the weeks that come, i will be adding a new paragraph in every entry in the Heavy Hipster called Kara Teaches where i describe my experiences that week. there won’t be any sort of details about my students or anything, but this is going to seriously impact my life and i have to mention it.

that’s all i’ve got. i hope you all are having a great Sunday. stay healthy, y’all.

The Heavy Hipster: Premium Slacker Extraordinaire!

yeah buddy, lookin' like a hobo

you should probably read the caption of the above picture to the tune of “ice cream paint job.” happy monday afternoon, everyone. as my title suggests, i am a slacker both in my real life and in my blog life as well. i haven’t made an update in a bit and i just wanted to drop back in and say “haaaaay” and to let you all know how i was doing. mondays are the pits and i hate them. i know i’ve discussed this before, but really. mondays = lame. monday lameday. there’s just something so obnoxious about monday. the best part of my monday is i’m rocking the tye-dye tee Madison made for me for the harry potter preview a couple of weeks ago. i love it vurry much. anyway. i just wanted to focus mainly on the food i’ve been eating, my visit with my nutritionist, and, well, my slacking. so, let’s get to it.

last weekend, i had one of the best honors in the entire world of being in Raychell and Andy’s wedding

you fancy, huh?

i felt prettier than i have ever felt. we danced down the aisle and i got to witness two of my very good friends get married. the reception was insanely fun; seeing people i have not seen in years made me incredibly happy and it just made for one of the greatest weekends i’ve had in months. i got to talk to a lot of people about what they’re doing with their lives, their futures, and our presents. consequently, though, i ended up looking like this

sexy.

but i had a good time getting to that point.

i started cooking again last week! i’ve been so lazy about making my own food, but the switch flipped again and i’m back into it. i’ve been looking up some new recipes, and i found this awesome website Supercook that allows you to plug in ingredients you already have and build a recipe out of it. you can add parameters, like meat-free or dairy-free as well, so i used the green beans out of my parents’ garden to make green bean quiche! it was my first quiche

da green peppas and da 'shrooms

and i cooked some green peppers and mushrooms while the green beans cooked all on their own

ZE GREEN BEANS!

while they were cooking, i mixed Veganaise (it is what you think it is) and non-fat sour cream

kinda looks nasty. whatever.

and because we bought a grater, i’ve started grating my own cheese from an actual cheese block! it saves money and makes a fuckton more cheese than a 4$ bag of cheese allows. seriously. try it.

muthafuckin grated cheese!

and then TA-DA QUICHE

obviously uncooked

i didn’t get a picture of the cooked quiche because i was too concerned with eating it. fun fact: i eat everything with ketchup like a 5 year old. if i can put ketchup on it, i will. get fucked. ketchup rocks.

i also made sweet potato, zucchini, and black bean burritos with homemade salsa last week!

was not that good

i was not impressed with my salsa. i don’t know what it needed more of, but it definitely needed something. oh well. it was the first time i tried making it and i know if i keep trying, i’ll eventually perfect a recipe i love. my mom is giving me tomatos and peppers from the garden, so i’ll have plenty of opportunities to try.

burrito filling!!!!

this is the burrito filling. inside, you will find sweet potatoes, black beans, zucchini, corn, and onion. i took flour tortillas, sprinkled some vegan cheese on the inside and bam

glory.

if i make these again, i will make some sort of sauce to go on top. they were a bit dry and since i didn’t like the salsa, i was a little displeased. but the actual burritos were bangin’. i love sweet potatoes and this is a new development in my life. i didn’t like them at all and now, i crave them. they must have some sort of vitamin i lack in my day to day diet. another new development has been my general rejection of soda. for the longest time, i was addicted to diet coke and it was a struggle for me to not drink one. but, now, i only want one when i’m hungover and that’s only because the carbonation settles my stomach. i am also recognizing what foods make me feel good and what foods make me want to die. for instance, just today, i had some oatmeal from starbucks because i had a gift card and was running low on time. i had it made with soy milk, put nuts and dried fruit in it, and it made me feel spectacular. i then ate a cookie from subway and that made me feel gross. i then had a flatbread from subway with lots and lots of veggies and now i feel great again. if i can truly learn to listen to my body and adapt to its needs, i’ll be golden. i’ve also been able to stop myself from binge eating by questioning what exactly makes me want to eat. i will even talk to myself out loud, like “bitch please. you don’t want those cheetoes. you’re only eating because you’re bored.” and once i actually confront myself with those discoveries, i immediately back away from the food in question. i still have a long way to go, but these small breakthroughs are important for my long-term success, which is exactly what my nutritionist said on Thursday. i don’t see her again until December, but i am making it my goal to lose at least 10 pounds before i see her again. she’s always so proud of my progress and impressed with my honesty. seeing her makes me feel so much better about what changes i have made, even if i still struggle. losing weight and creating a healthy lifestyle is not about making large changes at once; for me, it’s about learning the intricacies of my body and that means not comparing my lifestyle to others and what works for them. more often than not, i compare my eating/exercise to that of some of my (very)fit friends and it just upsets me. i have to live for me and for what my body needs in order to survive and be successful. these concepts, although easy to articulate and write about, are very hard to shift from theory to application.

i haven’t slept well the past couple of weeks, either and i feel that’s because i have not been exercising. i got wrapped up in the wedding and hit the ground running into last week and just haven’t really stopped to make room for exercise. it needs to happen, and it will. i am just glad i haven’t given up on myself and am determined to get it back into my life. i will need this outlet in the fall because i have a very, very stressful semester looking me dead in the eye and saying “bring it, bitch.” but, i’m relatively sure this upcoming semester will leave me feeling better about myself and more confident about my life choices.

well, that’s about it. i hope your week is starting off fabulously. i now leave you with some pictures of my weekend adventures. stay healthy, y’all.

MONSTER MACHINEEEEEEEEE
myself and Cecilia at ZE WAGON
farley and myself hanging out at the Paddy Wagon.
tricia and i after getting rained out at Rocky Horror.