Depression: The True De-Motivator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep sloughin’, y’all.

 

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

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

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

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

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

And then we reached the top.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to fuckin’ shine, y’all.

 

So, I Put My Faith in Something Unknown: My Running Coach and Looking Forward

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Left: March Right: December

good evening, folks. instead of being out partying like many people i know, i am in my bed preparing for what promises to be an incredibly hectic day at work, but i am so excited about my future that i had to blog about it before i went to bed. the photo above, obviously, contains two pictures: one before my half marathon in March and the other a couple of weeks ago in late November/early December. i believe that putting these images next to each other will help me gauge where i have gained weight and, unfortunately, where i may have lost my muscles. i may be overly happy, because while i see a difference, it isn’t as huge as i had once thought. i have this super negative perception of my body and how much space i take up in the world. but, my poor thighs. they were once powerful tree trunks of, well, power, and i have lost most of the muscles that once thrived there. regardless, i now see where i need to put work into my body and that brings me to my next item of interest…

I HAVE A RUN COACH and she is lovely, amazing, and fabulous in every way imaginable. while i have been capable of running myself and following a pretty decent schedule, having someone who knows how to build endurance, someone who is there to answer specific questions about running, and someone who has been on her own journey and knows how to inspire others. in the fall of 2011, she started a running group in Lexington dubbed The LexRunLadies that has grown to include a huge number of men and women; i am honestly so proud to know her and her husband. initially, we began speaking through DailyMile, the website i use to keep track of my running progress and mileage throughout the week, and she has become one of the biggest motivators in my quest to become a healthy runner. she is also a trained running coach and after seeing me bounce back and forth between motivated and motivation-less, she approached me about helping me with a training schedule and getting me trained, here i am and i am ready to follow through and stay dedicated to my goals. you should check her running coach website out here: Committed Coaching. i will be, thus, preparing for the Flying Pig Half Marathon while doing various 5ks (and hopefully obstacle courses!) along the way. but seriously, i’m pretty obsessed with her.

i finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. i have a plan. i have a strategy. i have people behind me. stay healthy, y’all.

Expecto Patronum: Dinner for My Parents, Review of Goals, and a Goodbye to My Childhood

Harry Potter Day!!
the day has come, friends. the sad and exciting day of the release of the final Harry Potter movie. this moment will bring to a close years of books and movies and i am feeling incredibly sentimental about it. yes, i drew the Deathly Hallows symbol on my wrist and yes, this picture is from Instagram. i just jumped on that train this week! anyway, i wish i could fully articulate just how much these characters and this series has meant to me for the past 12 years. the excitement they have brought me is beyond measurable. i didn’t initially get into Harry Potter; i thought it was for children and at the ripe age of 12, after 4 of the books had already been released, i kept putting up a fight. but, finally, good friends, who knew my tastes, wore me down and i started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. i was transported into a magical world and sat with Harry, side by side, as he discovered he was a wizard, boarded the Hogwarts Express for the first time, came face to face with the cruelty of wizards in the form of Draco Malfoy, and slowly began to learn of the evils of Voldemort that had infected his past and altered his future. i have grown close to these characters; they have become my friends. now, with all 7 books out and the movie series coming to a close, i am experiencing a deep sadness at the loss of these characters. i know i can watch the movies/read the books whenever i feel like it, but i will never again experience the excitement of waiting for a new book to come out or buy tickets months in advance and wait, impatiently, for the day when the movie arrives. well, it’s here, and i am going to the midnight showing, just as i have done for every movie starting with the Goblet of Fire (i was too young to go by myself at midnght for the other three haha). i’m going to cry like a baby tonight and probably be somewhat depressed tomorrow and i’m ready for the haters; i’m ready to sit through people making fun of me, people who don’t understand the magic that is Harry Potter, i’m ready for it. i don’t care what you think of me.
now, onward to more Heavy Hipster related items of interest! i remembered i needed to take my measurements and reevaluate my goals for August. it’s already halfway through July, so i am going to stay the course i am on right now and pick up some goals for August. here were my June goals:
  • SURVIVE BONNAROO. (i survived and survived it well. i kicked Bonnaroo’s ASS.)
  • lose 4-7 pounds by June 31st– (Not so much… )
  • only weigh myself twice this month– once after Bonnaroo; once at the end of the month. (i’ve been weighing myself more than i should.)
  • finish C25k and begin bridge to 10k in preparation for the 5k in July. (i may not have finished, but i’m back running again!)
  • swim laps in the outdoor pool at least twice a week (it’s a lot harder to find time than i thought.)
  • be kinder to myself and my mistakes (slowly but surely, i am learning to be nice to myself.)
  • 8 glasses of water a day (water is my friend!)
  • accept my new age of 24 when the day comes (June 19th!) (i probably accepted it a little too easy. i got too drunk.)
  • read at least 10 books (i’ve already got 2.5 down!) — (i made it through The Kite Runner, The Road, The Reader, and Eat, Pray, Love. this month, i read Of Mice and Men, started Everything is Illuminted, and re-read The Deathly Hallows).
  • continue to keep parking farther away from the doors at grocery stores/the gym/etc. (i’m actually really good at this!)
  • walk to work (i know it’s hot) at least once a week. — (nope. it’s hot. i’m lazy.)
  • finally, keep a food journal and write down why i crave a food, what triggered the food craving, and find an alternative to that craving that is both satisfying and healthy. healthy habits are formed in these small choices! — (no food journal yet, but it’s one of my ultimate goals.)
so, as you can see, i did not do as well as i would have hoped as far as my goals go. but, i’m going to take some time, think of good goals for August, and post those here once i find the right goals. i want them to be attainable, yet challenging, to keep me on my toes. i feel like i’m skimming through my missed goals, but honestly, i’m so full of energy and motivation right now it’s hard for me to look at my failures and really contemplate them– i just want to succeed.
last night, i made dinner for my parents. i made homemade refried beans, which were delicious. they started like this
beaaaaans
then i added onions, green pepper, and serrano peppers
seasonings are delicious

made some homemade guacamole

tasty guac

shrimp enchiladas with homemade jalapeno cream sauce

yuuum
the enchiladas were filled with dry coleslaw, spinach, shrimp, and some reduced fat cheese. the cream sauce was made with fat free sour cream and vegan butter. it turned out so much better than i would have hoped for! the beans turned out really well, too!
beans in da crockpot
my parents seemed like they were pretty impressed
dad!!!
MOM!
final product.
in other news, i took my measurements today for the first time since June 14th. they are as follows:
June 14th, 2011 Weight: 235.4
  • Bust: 39.5
  • Chest: 38
  • Upper Waist: 36
  • Middle Waist: 43
  • Hips: 44.5
  • Thighs: 26.5
  • Calf: 17.5
July 14th, 2011 Weight: 235
  • Bust: 39.5
  • Chest: 37.5
  • Upper Waist: 36
  • Middle Waist: 43
  • Hips: 44
  • Thigh: 26
  • Calf: 17
  • Arm: 14
i’ve lost about 2 inches around my body in a month’s time, which i feel pretty proud of because of my slacking off i’ve been doing. i’ve also maintained in a few places, but again, i am not disappointed because i’ve been slacking off a whole lot throughout the month of June and into July. i know i can do better, but it’s nice to know that i know how to maintain my weight and inches. i believe it shows i am truly learning. this kind of progress, no matter how small, keeps me motivated and i know i’ll eventually get to where i want to be! i just have to keep going and i cannot let myself backtrack or backslide too much. forward movement is the most important. we cannot achieve any goals if we remain static.
i have one more item to discuss and that is my sister
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my sister is a bad ass beyond epic proportions. she’s successful, has a beautiful daughter, and still finds time to crank out some serious fitness. she doesn’t take shit from anyone. plus, she’s fucking GORGEOUS, both inside and out. she ran the Warrior Dash a couple of months ago, endures 2 hour spin classes, wakes up very early in the morning to sweat, and has agreed to run the Iron Horse Half Marathon with me in October. this motivates me beyond any other sort of motivation– the idea of doing a race with one of my family members is something i’ve always wanted and Angela is helping this dream become a reality. she is a constant source of encouragement and because of her, i’m back running and and ready to seriously train for this race. it is going to be a long, grueling process, but i know she’ll be there with me every step of the way. i am capable of conquering this challenge and it makes it easier knowing i have family with me.
i’ve exhausted myself writing this entry. sometimes, i feel like i have too much to discuss and end up cramming a bunch of information into one blog entry. but, these issues and aspects of my life are very relevant and important to me. i have to consider every facet of my life in order to find the weak links and make them stronger. i am full of success; i just need to channel that into something positive and get moving! today, i ran 2 miles and it felt good. next time i run, i’m going to try for 2.25 miles and slowly start adding that distance on until i start serious training for the half in August. just knowing i am still capable of running distances makes me that much more confident in my ability. i hope everyone is having a great thursday– we’re so close to the weekend! stay healthy, y’all.

Back in the RKY: Bonnaroo, First Weigh-In, and Commitment

sunkissed Bonnaroo face (complete with jankity eye!)

ignore my jankity left eye that doesn’t open all the way. Bonnaroo gave me two infections and a stye, and while it was worth it, i still don’t want people looking at my jank. Bonnaroo was everything i had hoped it would be and more. my stamina, compared to last year, isn’t even a comparison. the mile walk we had into Centeroo every single day wasn’t even a challenge– i did it with ease and i credit that to the exercise i have been doing since January. although the heat was brutal, the walking around did not tire me out the way it did last year.

Bonnaroo Arch 2011

from our campsite to this arch, we had about a mile walk; on any given day, i walked at least two miles from my campsite to Centeroo and from Centeroo back to my campsite. this does not include the amount of walking i did between stages and tents throughout the weekend as we were seeing music sets. i would say, on any given day, i walked around 4 miles a day, which i find to be pretty fucking awesome if i do say so myself! my calf muscles sure got a work out.

pretty badass arch, mayne.

at night, the arch was lit up with lights that shown directly into the sky. it was an awesome landmarker if you got turned around or confused in any sort of way. as far as music goes, i saw: The Futurebirds, Freelance Whales, Best Cost, J. Cole, Sleigh Bells, Justin Townes Earle, Abigail Washburn, The Decemberists, Florence + the Machine, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, The Black Angels, Lil’ Wayne, Old Crow Medicine Show, Deer Tick, Mumford & Sons, Buffalo Springfield, Eminem, The Head and the Heart, Ryan Bingham, Iron & Wine, and The Strokes. i had some moments where i felt like i wasn’t even myself. it was awesome. i can’t fully ever explain the experience of Bonnaroo, only that i feel like everyone should have the experience at least once. the thought of it gives me chills.

ze which stage

i’m honestly considering starting a payment plan for Bonnaroo 2012 tomorrow, but i’m just not sure. i don’t really have any money, but the thought of missing Bonnaroo is soul-crushing. only time will tell!

i weighed myself for the first time since May 1st, and i have to admit i was very, very disappointed with the results. here’s a breakdown of my weight and measurements. the first measurements are my last measurements and the second set are my “current” set.

Past: 4.20 Weight: 237.6

  • Bust: 40.5
  • Chest: 38
  • Upper Waist: 36.5
  • Middle Waist: 43
  • Hips: 44
  • Thigh: 26.5
  • Calf: 18
June 14th, 2011 Weight: 235.4 (-2.2)
  • Bust: 39.5
  • Chest: 38
  • Upper Waist: 36
  • Middle Waist: 43
  • Hips: 44.5
  • Thighs: 26.5
  • Calf: 17.5
alrighty. so i lost 2.2 pounds in 6 weeks………….. i should be happier because it’s still a loss, but it really gives me a rash. now, my measurements, i was crushed by them at first, until i realized that i was probably pulling the tape too hard around me to get an accurate reading. these measurements are done with some looseness and i feel like they’re better gauges of where i am in my measurements vs. the previous measurements i’ve been making. i’ve been paranoid the entire time about doing my measurements wrong and i think i have been because i am definitely smaller than i was a month ago, but the measurements don’t reflect that.
weighing yourself is incredibly detrimental to one’s personal sanity, by the way. i was so much happier and felt better about myself not knowing the number on the scale and when i got on the scale, i was instantly in a bad mood and pissed about my lack of progress. weighing myself may just need to be dropped off of my weight loss plan– it never brings me any sort of happiness. in fact, it just makes me hate myself that much more. so, i’ve decided i will only weigh myself once a month from here on out, unless i feel it is absolutely imperative i know my number. the next time i weigh myself will be July 1st, then August 1st, and so on and so forth. i want to minimize the impact of the scale without completely throwing it out because i do need to be keeping track of the number.
in other news, i have around 18 weeks to this half-marathon i plan on crazying myself through! i’m starting on week 4 of c25k, going through weeks 4-9, which is 6 weeks, and then jumping into a half-marathon training schedule. if i can keep up with this, it will be the greatest accomplishment of my life… besides my 15 hour day at Bonnaroo. i haven’t officially registered for it yet, but you better believe i will. my hours just picked up at work, so i’ll have a little extra money. hooray!
well, that’s all i have for now. i’ll keep everyone updated. now, i swim! and run! stay healthy, y’all!