Health Cannot Be Rooted in Self-Hate

It is not a secret that I am not kind to myself. This is an aspect of my personality that I have been working on throughout the past year. Some days, I am better at it. Other days, I find myself in the center of a hate spiral that has been building for days. One of the things I’ve learned about self-improvement is that it does not occur overnight. You don’t have an epiphany and then everything changes and you never doubt yourself again. I wish that was how it works, but it’s not. It takes time, it takes kindness, and it definitely does not benefit from self-hate.

I have let self-hate drive a large part of my life for a very long time. I have allowed it to convince me that I am not worthy of many things. I have allowed it to convince me that the love of my life, who loves me very much, will eventually run away when he figures out I’m actually not that smart. I have allowed self-hate to permeate every single part of my life and sometimes, it’s shocking when I find it hidden somewhere in my life I thought was safe from my own negative, and often vile, self-talk. Exercising and health are apparently not safe from this self-hate and I witnessed it in myself last week.

There is a woman in Daegu that I have grown to dislike simply because she’s beautiful, thin, and well-liked. This goes against everything in my feminist repertoire. But, it is important that I understand and address what it is so I can move beyond it. But, this woman has been present when I’ve been disgusted with myself– disgusted with how fat I am or how gross I feel. It’s comparable to being back in 9th grade and thinking all of my problems would be solved if I was just thin and pretty like other girls. I compare myself to this person constantly and it’s not healthy. She’s done nothing to me. She’s a perfectly lovely person. But, I have allowed myself to make her the villain and that’s just not fair to her or to me.

I truly grasped the gravity of this situation when, last week, I was running intervals on the treadmill in a gym. I was struggling through one of the last intervals of my workout (which was 40 minutes long, by the way) and instead of giving myself a good inner pep talk about how I can do this, I automatically chastised myself and thought “Well, she could do this. If you did this more, you would look like her.” I finished the interval, but I hated myself. That is not the point of exercise and it is definitely not the kind of health I’m looking for– I don’t want my health to be rooted in hating someone else, or hating myself. That’s not health. That’s punishing myself for not looking like someone else. It’s just another way to tear myself down.

I want to run because it makes me feel good when I’ve done something difficult. I want to run because with every step I take, my heart and legs and body are getting stronger. I don’t want to run to look like someone else or to accomplish what it is to be normally beautiful. I don’t want to push myself through a hard run so I’ll be thin like her or her or her. I want to push myself through a hard run because I want to accomplish things that are hard. I can do hard things.

If my health is rooted in self-hate, then it is not healthy. It is not for me. I want my health to be rooted in a desire to maintain the best lifestyle possible, to keep my brain happy, to keep my lungs open. Using someone else to fill the void of self-hate will not work for me, and I am adding it to the list of things that will no longer stand in my life. I want to be all versions of healthy, not just the outward version. I don’t want to dislike people simply because they’re thin and beautiful as much as I don’t want people to assume I’m a sloth because I’m overweight. My health cannot take shape at the expense of hating myself, or someone else. It won’t sustain itself.

I had a great week this week after the treadmill incident, after I saw what could happen to me if I allowed that kind of mindset to build and grown into a monster. I was gentler with myself. I danced in my kitchen to The Fitness Marshall’s sweat set. I won trivia with my team. I played the best game of soccer I’ve ever played– proof I am improving mentally and physically. I’ve enjoyed the autumn sunshine walking to work. I ran 5k on Saturday. On Sunday, I got up early, hangover free, and hiked a mountain.

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I’ve been, for the most part, feeding my body with good foods. I’ve been seeking creative outlets. I’ve been keeping up with my bullet journal and it has helped so much. I’ve been planning with Rob for the future. Rob and I cleaned the hell out of our apartment. I didn’t drink all week. I’ve been trying to look forward at things I can change and control instead of obsessing over the past– over things I ate, runs I didn’t do, or anything else I can find to dismantle my progress. I have control over the future. I can change and grow and bloom and break free of the bullshit chains I’ve placed on myself. I am not weak. I am not a person who hates others because of their appearance. I refuse to be that person. I refuse to be molded and hardened by a society that wants to tear people down because of how they don’t feel or look or think. I won’t.

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If yesterday showed me one thing, one great thing, it is that I am fucking capable of anything, even if it feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m on fire. The only person who can stop me is me and I will not be stopped.

Have a great week, 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.

 

Resurrection

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

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Hello.

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

But I have.

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

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

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

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

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

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These two are the titties for real.

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

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

Stay Healthy, y’all.

Non-Scale Victories: Lotus Pose, an 11:39 Pace, Hiking the Gorge, and a Sweet Pair of Jeans

happy day in the gorge!

what a great fall break i have had so far! it has not only been beautiful and full of happiness, but has contained a lot of personal victories for me that have ultimately been my fuel. i have been disconnected with a lot of the stressors in my life over this break and i have really been able to evaluate myself.

on tuesday, i went to my hot yoga class as usual. my instructor had us doing some intense poses, like crow and other variations of that pose. while i was very close to nailing crow pose, i think i let my fear overtake me and it is now a pose that i am going to work toward in the next few months. i discovered in this class that i am able to finally achieve and maintain a side plank, which is something i could not do. i can also hold a basic plank, which makes me INCREDIBLY happy! but, my happiest moment was realizing that i could sit in Lotus

i still have some work to do before i am fully satisfied with it, but the fact that i can get into the pose and hold it for an extended period of time makes me ECSTATIC. it’s impossible to fully articulate. i am still giddy just thinking about it.

on saturday, i knew i was going to be going to Lexington to have some drinks and dinner with three of my closest friends, so i needed to get my run in, regardless of if i wanted to do it or not. that morning, my parents offered to take my dog for the day, which was AWESOME for me and the boyfriend. we played with puppy in my parents’ backyard for a bit, and then headed back to go to the gym. i hopped on a treadmill and set myself up at my normal pace, but wasn’t satisfied. so, i cranked it up a notch and then another and then another. i ran 3.1 miles at an 11:39 pace, which is by FAR my fastest pace EVER. i finished my run in 36:08, which means i shaved almost 3:40 off of my normal 5k time. i worry that i will have problems pacing myself outside at this speed because of hills and such, but the fact that i was able to do that is inspiring for me. i just need to keep moving forward and concentrate on building myself up slowly. after the run, i jumped on the bike for 45 minutes and cranked out another 10 miles to go toward the EKU Iron Man. i only have 94 to go. i’ll get it done!

sunday and today were spent at Red River Gorge camping and hiking with some close friends.

we did some shorter trails, which was a lot of fun. myself and a friend practiced some yoga this morning when we woke up

i did some child’s posin’

i also did some plankin’

we hiked some of the shorter trails and did the “Whale’s Tail” trail, where i had to have a picture overlooking the beauty of the gorge

it was all just so breathtaking. after the gorge, i went right to a pumpkin patch with some other friends and walked around a farm looking for the perfect gourds! one of these friends gave me a pair of jeans from American Eagle that are a size 16. now, i know i can wear a 16 at Old Navy, but i am hesitant to try on 16s at any other store because i fear failure. i brought these jeans home, prepared for them to not fit, and then BAM. they buttoned comfortably. i just smiled and congratulated myself. i will not give up. i will not stop moving forward.

i hope you all have had a great weekend. stay healthy, y’all & spend some time outside.