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.

That Time I Scored A Goal in Soccer: A Week of (Mostly) Victories

I want to start this entry with this: I haven’t had a cigarette in almost four weeks.

One of the things people may or may not know about me is I have a tendency to get in these “ruts” where I do the same thing over and over again until I’m tired of it. If I find a particular song that I resonate with, I will listen to it until I can no longer listen to it anymore  (Lookin’ at you “Shake It Off”). I do the same thing with food– currently, I’m addicted to making veggie taco wraps. So, it’s probably no surprise that I do the same thing with television shows. My current obsession is “Rick and Morty” and holy fuck, am I obsessed with it.

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That’s Rick. I love the show because it’s hysterical and dark. and emotional. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you all. If you haven’t watched “Rick and Morty,” you should probably do that yesterday.

So this week has been a week of mostly highs and a couple of embarrassing lows. I say embarrassing because something I did this week sort of goes against one of my core tenants now but at the time, I felt like it had to happen. I’ll get to that soon enough.

Last Friday, I weighed myself and I was down to 110.7kgs, or 244lbs. That puts me down 9.3kgs or roughly 20 pounds since April. I was, and am, fucking jazzed about it but I realize I still have a long way to go, both in my physical and mental capacity. I want to be healthy for me, not to fulfill some sort of beautification fetish that is all too rampant in the society we live in. But, I find myself creeping back into obsessive territory where I constantly think about the caloric content of food or worry that I’m gaining weight instead of appreciating the journey I’m on. I know I’ll eventually get there, but it’s scary to feel old habits start to form. It is all a process and it all takes time.

Saturday, Robert and I moved into our shared apartment. It was one of the most painless moves I’ve ever engaged in as we only moved down two floors in the same building I live in. We have so much space! That night, we decided to go out and get wriggity wriggity wrecked (that’s a Rickism) to both celebrate our newfound cohabitation and let off some steam from the week before.

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bourbon and ginger– no ice.

We had a great time, but I woke up with one of the WORST hangovers I’ve had in quite some time, which led to not-so-great food choices and more beer the next day. Hair of the dog, right? We ended up going to the Chimac Festival, which is literally a festival devoted to chicken and beer in Daegu. It ended up pouring rain so we retreated to our friends’ apartment and waited out the storm which led to more beer and eventually, cheese-covered jjimdak.

I won’t lie– the next morning I woke up in a fucking daze. I couldn’t shower because our gas wasn’t working and more importantly, I couldn’t make myself food. So, I went about my day and planned on eating at one of the small Korean restaurants outside of my job. Much to my dismay, though, every single restaurant I usually hit up in my time of need was closed– the Korean restaurant, the kimbap shop, the Paris Baguette and Rapang had no sandwiches. Everything was closed! I started to panic– I needed to eat before work or I was going to be fuckin’ hangry teacher and my students are too wonderful to be exposed to that kinda bullshit. Unfortunately, my only option it seemed was fast food. I got a fried chicken sandwich, some fries, and a fuckin’ Pepsi because I am a GLUTTON for punishment. I ate it and spent the whole fucking day in a self-hate, gross spiral where I felt like dogshit and later ate MORE food with my friend Alex, and then later ate MORE food when I got home. Needless to say, my body felt like shit, I felt like shit, and I was lacking any sort of motivation to be kind to myself. My brain said “you fucked up. it’s over” and my body felt the weight of that decision. I felt defeated all from one meal and, honestly, a total lack of exercise in my life. Monday night, I promised myself that I would get up and run before I went to work.

…and I did. I got up and ran in the middle of the afternoon in Daegu’s brutal heat and humidity because I had something to prove to myself– I am capable and I am stronger than I give myself credit for, especially when it comes to motivating myself to exercise. I did not run continuously. I ran in 10 minute blocks, and my pace was slow, but I got out there and I logged some miles. I sweat like a fire hydrant, too.

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On Tuesday, I also saw on Jessamyn Stanley’s Instagram that she would be hosting a free online class at 8am my time on Wednesday morning. If you don’t know who Jessamyn Stanley is, I suggest you educate yourself. This woman has become a figure in my motivational efforts because she looks like me. She shows me that ANYTHING is possible with any body type. I hauled my ass out of bed unwillingly on Wednesday morning AFTER I considered not performing the class because sleep? But, I am so glad I did. It was motivating, even though it was online, to be back in a yoga class. Her style was so great and her vulgarity just made the whole practice fun. Afterwards, I made myself breakfast, started a 30 day plank challenge (I finished day 3 today!) and later in the afternoon, I went running again! I ran intervals this time to practice speed and endurance. It was a walk/run/sprint cycle and I found that I really enjoyed it.

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You can see the intervals in my heart rate! I fucking LOVE my Fitbit, by the way. I completed 2.7 miles, and felt amazing. Then, I ate thai food, drank a double bourbon on ice, and watched Suicide Squad. I didn’t buy my own popcorn at the movie, which is HUGE as that’s pretty much my favorite part of going to the movies. Small steps, y’all.

Today, I was hit with the urge to fuck up again. I do that to myself– I make a lot of progress and then I derail because my success is too scary. But, complaints without actions are pointless, so I allowed myself to sleep in, got up, made myself some lunch, got an Americano, and took my ass to work. After work, Rob and I made broccoli cheddar soup and vegetarian black bean burgers that I stuffed with fresh goat cheese.

After dinner, I put my ass on the subway and played about an hour of soccer with these lovely ladies. I want to say something here: I am so lucky to have such a wonderful supportive expat community to live in. The people I’ve met in Korea have influenced me in so many ways and even when I’m being a grouchy, hermited fuckhead, people still love me and want the best for me. It’s a good feeling to find such a fantastic community so far away from home. As a side note, I scored a fucking goal tonight. YES. I. DID. I can’t even fucking play soccer, but I scored a goal and that, right there, is enough to make my week shine. The fact that I play soccer now amazes me.

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I am capable of so much. I am so worthy of love, affection, time, and attention. I forget that quite frequently. I forget the strength of my legs and the power of my heart and the depth of my soul. I forget that I am a force to be fucked with, especially on my dark days. I’ve always said that the world should fear when I figure out and start acting on my true potential. Well, world, you better start fuckin’ preparing because I am relentless and passionate and I am fucking TIRED of being beaten down.

The world hasn’t seen the best of me yet.

Stay on your grind, y’all.

The Fourth of July: Family, Happiness, and Good Food

i feel like hiding

happy hump (hehehehe hump) day, everyone. i feel like hiding, friends. all i want to do is just crawl into a hole and pretend like i don’t exist, which is what i did yesterday after i got off work. this week has not been the easiest week for me, and i find myself struggling just to make it to another weekend to find some relief. but, my friend Aaron is coming this weekend and i have not seen him in 2 years, so needless to say, i am incredibly excited. yesterday, i was so upset about stupid shit that i allowed myself to eat my weight in Taco Bell. i am not proud of it, but the steps to overcoming these types of addictions begins with confrontation and honesty.  so, i’m being honest. but, to counteract this, i wanted to make a blog update dedicated to some awesome food i cooked this weekend and some awesome people i spent some time with this weekend for the holiday.

last week, i got on a cauliflower kick and made some awesome soup out of it

soup, bitches

and after i let it cook for a few minutes, i mashed it down with a potato masher, and then added flour and more soymilk for one of the most delicious soups i’ve ever made

soup soup soup i ate all of it

as the other item for this dinner, i made homemade vegan corndogs

yum yum so good

could not even stand how good these were! i will definitely make them again and again and again. cheaper and more delicious than the box brands.

for the fourth of July, i went out to my parents’ house to spend time with ALL of my dad’s side of the family. we swam, cooked, talked, hung out. it was wonderful. i had the most amazing space to work in during the day, which made my cooking experience much more pleasant

i love my mom's kitchen

i made vegan strawberry, blackberry, and blueberry cobbler

delicious fruit

made the topping to go on top of it

preparing da cobblah

and then the finished product, which i did not eat any of, coincidentally, because my family ATE IT ALL! i’m not even mad. it makes me excited that my family was willing to try a food prepared by me and like it!

finished!

i also made a “mexican vegetable pizza” for lunch that day. i swiped this recipe from a very nice woman named Anna at work.  my sister, Angela, and my niece, Cordelia, were there earlier than anyone else to swim and hang out, which was so wonderful.

baked crescent rolls

you roll out some crescent rolls (and these are low fat) and you bake them and let them cool. while these are baking

cream cheese & fiesta ranch dry mix

mix non-fat cream cheese with fiesta dry ranch mix and spread it out on top of the cooled crescent rolls

so good

then, you place an abundance of vegetables on top

oh god so good

i put carrots, green peppers, onions, broccoli, and pico de gallo. put it in the fridge and let it chill for an hour. it was gone by the end of the night. so good. i was really impressed with my abilities this weekend, and very happy with how much my family enjoyed my cooking.

this is my ma

this is the true hero of the day, though. she single-handedly orchestrated the entire day and took care of everyone. my mom is a fucking ROCKSTAR.  my mom also made some bad ass sangria and she asked me to take pictures of the jugs in the refrigerator

it had vodka, brandy and wine.

my little brother is also a fucking rockstar.

sib and carv

grayson also came down to hang out for a bit and my dog obviously loves grayson

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he’s pretty cute, isn’t he? i hate that i haven’t uploaded my pictures from my camera on to my computer, because i have great pictures of me and my sister and dad, but i will post those in my next blog because i have so many great things to say about my sister and how much she motivates me!

today, i put myself through another grueling weight workout; i couldn’t even lift my arms above my head and it felt amazing. i really love lifting weights and i keep getting stronger. i added weight to all of my exercises today and i know i’m only going to get better. i hope everyone is having a great week. if you’re struggling, just keep going. we’ll all get there, one way or another. i’m going to yoga. have a good evening and stay healthy, y’all.

Practicing What I Preach: The Downfalls of The Heavy Hipster

alright, ladies and gentlemen. it has come to the point that i need to sit down and have some truth time. it would be a lie to say i’ve been completely honest with you all, which disappoints me because that was the main reason i started this blog. i wanted to remain honest at all points in time, and i have not been. i’ve been giving you all the good things i have been doing for myself, but i have neglected to share the not-so-good things i do in the dark of the night when no one is looking. it’s controlling those hidden, shameful activities and urges that contribute the most to positive weight loss and i think it’s because i haven’t been honest with myself that i’m still struggling both physically and nutritionally. this post is an attempt at being honest about what triggers me, what i struggle with, and hopefully, what i can do to slowly start changing those habits. this is going to be one of the most difficult posts i write because i will actually have to confront myself. well, here goes, y’all.

Downfall 1: Fast Food and Eating at Restaurants– when i first started this blog in January, my first post was about Americans blaming fast food companies for their obesity. this is, in no way, blaming those companies for the state of my health and my body. but, in all honesty, i am addicted to fast food and to eating out in general. when confronted with the question: do i want to eat in or get something from a restaurant, i immediately jump at the idea of eating out. i’ve always been that way. additionally, i fucking love the shit out of fast food. i love french fries; i love taco bell. i love big fucking burritos they make at restaurants. i love cheesy mexican food, fatty potato soup, and big fluffy yeast rolls. i love all of those things. to put it simply, my friends, i am a glutton. i look at all of my friends who hate fast food, who can ignore it, who love to eat in and cook their own food, but it is a fucking struggle for me and i know it will be for the rest of my life. i try to justify my actions by saying “oh, i don’t eat it very often” or “this will be my only big meal of the day. i’ll eat a salad later.” but i never really hold to those statements and usually end up binge-eating later on in the evening when hunger creeps out of nowhere. my money situation is in the shitter right now and part of it is because i still eat out so fucking much. i can blame it on not having much food at my apartment (haven’t done much grocery shopping SINCE BONNAROO), but the honest to god fucking truth is that i don’t want to exert the effort to come home and cook my own food, even though i get extreme enjoyment out of cooking and making nutritionally wholesome foods for myself. the days where i don’t include meals or just coincidentally forget to mention what i’ve had to eat are days i have eaten like shit and you can bet there are more of those recently than are days that i’ve eaten healthy for myself. i am a food addict and i am considering finding a support group for other food addicts because something, somewhere, has got to give. my willpower is not as strong as i would like to believe it is and even when my conscience steps forward and says “whoa. hold the fuck up there, buddy. you do not need to eat those french fries,” i tell it to shut the fuck up and i do what i want anyway. so there’s that. judge me if you want. i don’t fucking care.

Downfall Two: Alcohol and Binge Drinking– anyone who has been a friend of mine for any length of time, starting in the Spring of 2007, knows just how much i love to drink and how much i love to party. i love being the life of the party. i love it when people say i’m “legendary” for my drinking and partying skills. it gives me such an ego boost and i don’t know why. i think it’s because it’s something i’ve always wanted. i’ve always wanted to prove i can run with the best of them and i have proven that. the problem is, that even years after proving it, i’m still doing it. i find justifications for drinking heavily at least two or three times a week. it starts with “oh. it’s a nice day. i’m going to sit on a porch and get fucked up.” followed by “oh. it’s a holiday weekend” or “it’s his birthday” or “it’s Canada day” or “it’s st. martinlutherchristmasevevalentinesdaystpatricklabormemorialflagcanadaboxinghaunnkahpresidentskwanzaa day”. any reason i can find, i will drink until i am drunk. i love being drunk. there. i said it. i can’t be afraid of it since i engage in it so often. i love the feeling of being drunk because it shuts down the empathy censor in my brain. it gets that part of my brain that tells me to care about everyone and everything to shut the fuck up and i do what i want in those moments. i do what i want without regard or consequence because i don’t care about anyone else but my good time. i don’t care if i hurt someone’s feelings or if i was loud and obnoxious and people were aggravated with me. the natural ability that some people have to just not give a shit is only attained for me through excessive drinking. i’ve been a heavy drinker for 5 years now and to some people, that’s child’s play and hey, more power to you, but i can’t do it anymore. i cannot expect to achieve any of my goals if i am still getting drunk three times a week. i just can’t. there are times and places for it, obviously, and i would be lying if i said i didn’t plan on getting drunk ever again in my entire life, but for the most part, this shit has got to calm down or else i’m going to railroad every single attempt and effort i have been trying to make since January.

Downfall 3: Smoking Cigarettes–  so, their marketing campaign worked. i do feel cooler smoking cigarettes. i smoked the first full cigarette of my life in January of 2007. i never looked back.  i also love being a smoker’s advocate. nothing gets me more fired up than listening to non-smokers and their rights over mine and blah blah blah blah blah blah. get mad. i don’t care. i know i’m a bad person and i’m slowly killing myself and DO YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE PUTTING INTO YOUR LUNGS WITH EVERY SINGLE PUFF, why yes, i do. i know that. i’ve seen the posters and the truth campaign and i have been the victim of merciless tirades by people about my smoking and i’ve had professors yell at me from their windows and i’ve been given dirty looks and do you think i would endure that if i wasn’t somehow attached to the little white cylinder hanging ever so gently betwixt my pointer and middle finger of my right hand? i am a human being, too. but, i also understand the plight of the non-smoker and trying to stay away from the toxic smoke. i do. do not misunderstand me. i know why you’re pissy at us and i know why you hate us and i know why you want us all to crawl in a hole and die with our cigarettes. but i would also like for you to understand the mental and emotional connection i have with smoking. this is not even about physical addiction. motherfuckers, i can go days and days without a cigarette and not even crave one. i can not have a pack of cigarettes on me and feel no anxiety or fear. i am, though, emotionally and mentally attached to not only my label of being “a smoker” but the community of smokers in which i am a member. i’m having a hard time letting go of a label. but, in order for my lungs to be at capacity and carry me through the intense physical activity i wish to undertake, i’ve got to start cutting these bad habits out of my life. i catch a lot of shit about smoking, and i need to quit, but i wonder  if i’m actually ready to let it go.

Downfall 4: Self-Loathing and Self-Dishonesty– again, for anyone who knows me and is familiar with my personality, it’s no surprise that i experience deep bouts of self-hatred at least once a week. i make mistakes and i beat myself up which leads me to make more mistakes which leads to more self-hatred. it’s like i have this tangible bully living inside of me, ready to use me as a punching bag at any moment of any day. i say more mean things to myself weekly than anyone has said to me my entire life and it is that same self-loathing that prevents me from really trying to succeed. i was/am terrified of the weights section of the gym because i am afraid people will judge and make fun of me because i judge and make fun of myself. how silly is that? on top of that, i am incredibly dishonest with myself. i lie to myself daily, just to make myself feel better. but, everything comes with time. as i train my body, i need to train my mind to let go of all the hatred for myself and of all the lies i beat into my head every single day. that has to change. bad habits lead to other bad habits. it’s okay to make mistakes as long as i learn from them and figure out a way to avoid it next time. learning by a mistake is not bad.

i guess what i’m asking is for understanding. this person i want to be come isn’t drastically different from the person i am now, but there are big changes ahead for me. i want to be a healthier person. i want to be a fit person. i want to be a happy person. being all of these things, at this point, means i need to make small sacrifices to meet those goals. at this point, i can’t physically, mentally, or emotionally handle being around people who cannot understand. i hope everyone is having a great fourth of July weekend. stay healthy, y’all.