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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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.

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.

Drink, Drank, Drunk: St. Patrick’s Day & Celebrations of Joy

looking back on last week's bullshit

this is an upset, grumpy face and i am looking back on my last week of living like an undergrad and acting like a total weirdo. i also now have brown hair again for the first time since 2007.  this is going to be a post of complete and total honesty because i need to feel the consequences and repercussions of everything i’ve done since tuesday…yeah, i haven’t been to the gym since tuesday and i don’t think i’ve actually eaten two meals in one day until today. alright, here we go, y’all.

wednesday, after i made my update, i had to go to Georgetown and pick my parents up; their piece of shit car crapped out on them on the way to work this morning and because i love my parents so much, i hauled ass up there and brought them home. fortunately, the work which needs to be done to it will not be terribly expensive. up until dinner time, i had eaten pretty well. i had some dried fruit, an Amy’s pocket sandwich thing, and had consumed a good amount of water. that night, boyfriend was working on preparing for comps so i decided to conquer a fear– eating alone at a restaurant. i didn’t feel like cooking and i really wanted potato soup, so… i went to O’Charley’s and got some potato soup with no bacon. for dinner itself, i had the california shrimp salad, which was effing delicious. it consists of grilled shrimp, tangerines, strawberries, walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, topped with balsamic vinaigrette on spinach. so good. i also bought andy some fried cheese wedges and had a couple of those because, honestly, they’re fucking delicious and i wanted them. oh well.

thursday…is when life begins to go downhill and for some reason, my undergraduate urges kicked in high gear and friends, i went on a three day bender beginning with

ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!

green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. initially, i had not planned on attending St. Patrick’s Day festivities; there was a huge celebration i was saving myself for on Saturday night, but as St. Patrick’s Day continued, i wanted nothing more than to have a green beer or two on the patio with some friends and generally celebrate having the luxury of going to the bar on a thursday afternoon so…. i skipped class, left work 45 minutes early, and walked to the Paddy Wagon to get my Irish on. to eat that day, i had a breakfast sandwich, a bagel, and some pretzel poppers with nacho cheese (because you know what, i was on my fucking period and wanted to eat like shit whatever) and i had PLANNED on eating dinner, but it didn’t happen and one beer turned into two which turned into pitchers and before i knew it, i was very, very drunk my friends. before 5pm, i had already fallen on the patio and after 5pm, my memory of events becomes fuzzy and/or completely non-existent BUT I DON’T CARE I HAD FUN.

i bought that hat for 2 dolla!

i drank from around 3:30pm to around 10:30pm and then put myself out of the game for the evening and retired to my apartment, but ONLY after my boyfriend took me to taco bell and i made an ass of myself in the drive-thru. in fact, boyfriend said “if you talk to this worker, i will drive away.” i talked to the worker and he didn’t drive away! but, i didn’t eat very much of my food; i gave most of it to andy and instead, went to sleep.

i woke up friday and just said “waaaaaterrrr,” a leaflet taken from my friend Rhianna‘s quote book i keep mentally in my head and for awhile, i teetered between throwing up and being fine. fortunately, i was fine. i ate my lunch of fast food, because i suck and i was super hung over, and ended up dying my hair brown

hello brown hair!

so i showered and walked my dog to the aforementioned Rhianna&Micah’s apartment and sat on the patio, drank more beer, and bullshitted with my friends for a couple of hours. it was fun and the walk tired both me and Carver out. he slept incredibly well on Friday night. after leaving M&R’s, i went to lexington with Madison & Sam to watch Sam play. the proceeds from her show benefit the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, so it was for a good cause and i got to listen to good music! drank more beer at her show, came back to Richmond, made appearances at both The Paddy Wagon and Nikki’s and drank more beer and went home. ridiculous. just ridiculous. finally, when i got home, i ate again at 1 in the morning. i had a broccoli & cheddar lean pocket and some garden of eatin’ chips and salsa.

i woke up the next morning early and attended my sorority’s initiation for the first time as an alum. i had some shitty fast food breakfast because, hey, i wanted it and i felt like shit. good. after initiation, i met my friends at the bar to watch the UK v. WVU game. Micah is a huge WVU fan and Rhianna’s mister-mister is also a WVU fan, so they were cheering against the rest of us and we started drinking… at noon.

real shirt on a dude at the bar

for lunch, i had a grilled cheese with some chips and a couple of mozzarella sticks.the game was awesome, the company was awesome, and even after the game was over, we ended up out on the patio of the Wagon and then back at M&R’s just enjoying the warm weather and doing some serious daydrinking. daydrinking is a sport. after boyfriend was done with his comps, we ended back at the wagon and we closed the bar down and just had fun celebrating birthdays, the end of comps and all kinds of stuff. this, though, means i drank beer for 13 hours straight.

what the hell is going on?

i felt like a damn undergrad. i had my party pants on and i was there to have fun, which did have. more taco bell was ingested after the bar and it’s probably the only thing that kept me from waking up today feeling like garbage…well, it happened anyway but whatevs. i ate some mexican food this morning, some chinese food tonight and now that my body officially feels like i’ve trashed it, i remember why i stepped away from this lifestyle in the first place. i feel incredibly bogged down, heavy, and sluggish. i do not want to do anything; i do not feel good. tomorrow, i’ll be back at the gym and it’s going to suck to run BECAUSE I SMOKED TWO PACKS OF CIGARETTES THIS WEEKEND. i went from smoking NO cigarettes at all to freight-training in one weekend. i am going to chalk this up to it being a holiday weekend and a weekend full of so much happiness, fun, and relief for some of my friends. i think sometimes we, as people, just have to let go and have fun. i’ll be back on my health wagon tomorrow with week 6 day 2 of C25k, some elliptical, and some strength training. i have to keep going. success does not depend on how many times you fall off of your wagon, but how many times you can get back up, dust yourself off, and continue, right?

have a good week and stay healthy, y’all.