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.

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.

Stop! Zoodle Time!

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Good evening, y’all. Well, good morning to some of you all. It’s Tuesday morning in Kentucky and Tuesday night in Daegu. I LIVE IN THE FUTURE! It’s actually really interesting being 13 hours ahead of a lot of my friends and my family. I experience an intense amount of jealousy on Sunday nights as it is only Sunday morning, but I also experience a weird amount of excitement on New Year’s Eve when it’s the next year in Korea and it’s still the year before in the US.

Before I continue with this blog entry, I just wanted to let you all know that I am still trying to find my footing when it comes to writing these blog entries again. I sort of feel stunted and nervous trying to do this again. I know I’ll find my groove and my voice again, but right now, if the entries aren’t as fluid as they used to be, now you know why.

So, full admission here: I’ve been insanely lazy since Saturday and I feel like I have a good reason for that. My body is STILL sore from our hike. My calves feel like they’re in a fuckin’ vice and I have no willpower to do anything, especially exercise. My sunburn seems to be healing nicely, but I would rather have heat radiating off of me like some sort of mutant sun than have my legs still be this incapacitated. I am hoping that by tomorrow I will be healed enough to run a couple of miles and get back on the half marathon training schedule I started last week. It’s a 16 week training schedule that has me running 3 times a week with two days of cross-training, which can be anything like riding my bike (hey, Mav) or playing soccer with the ladies of Daegu on a Tuesday or Thursday night. Although I am shit at it, I really do enjoy trying to kick a soccer ball around these days. I’m thankful for an active community that is constantly climbing mountains or playing sports or just enjoying the chance to sweat. It gives me a fuckton of opportunities to get involved and get healthier throughout the year. One of the major issues I face, though, is finding a place where I am comfortable running in Daegu. I used to have these solid running routes in Richmond, but I still feel nervous when setting out for a run here. Sometimes, I run down the street to the elementary school behind my apartment building and run the track, but I feel like the track is not an accurate representation of my speed or my endurance as it’s very easy to fall into an steady pace. I’ve found that if I’m only training on a track, my performance on a street run is not what I expect. Of course, I could also be using this nervousness as an excuse to just… not run, which is entirely possible if I’m truly honest about my tendency to self-sabotage.

Anyway, for the past few months, I’ve been dicking around with a low carb/high protein & fat diet, which really seems to be working for me. I’ve stopped having stomachaches, I’ve been losing weight, and I don’t feel as lethargic as I used to feel. The problem is I seem to get stuck in these food ruts where I only eat the same thing for days in a row, which is fine, I guess, for people who don’t like variety. But, I fuckin’ love to eat all kinds of foods, so I get bored and eventually, I break my cycle of cooking for myself and end up at a restaurant drowning my guilt in Korean dumplings. In the past few days, I’ve been bound and determined to branch out and try to make some new foods that are nutritious, delicious, and fit my goal of low carb eating. One of the ways I’m accomplishing this is by using the website iHerb to order foods I cannot find in Korea (or I can find and it’s just too expensive). For example, I purchased two jars of Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter because I love peanut butter, but I want it without hydrogenated oil. I also bought coconut oil and protein to start making protein shakes and homemade protein bars in my house as I have recently discovered just how insanely easy it is to make your own protein bars. Take a look at THIS nonsense here, y’all. I will be making these immediately upon receipt of my iHerb order. Another way is buy trying some of these newfangled foods that I keep hearing everyone talk about. The food of this week is the glorious zoodle! Now, I’m sure everyone already knows what a zoodle is, but in case you don’t, it’s a noodle made out of zucchini and it is all the rage in the low carb world, I tell you what.

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I think there are all kinds of zoodlers out there, but my friends Matt & Stephanie allowed me to borrow their hand-held zoodler and as you can see, it was pretty amazing.

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

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After a zoodle photoshoot, the zoodles went into a pot and I started preparing the homemade sauce. I cooked mushrooms, garlic, and onion in olive oil for a few minutes

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

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

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Of course, after eating, I wanted something sweet. I had peanut butter in the house, so I googled “coconut flour peanut butter cookies.” Lo and behold, the first recipe that popped up was the winner as I had EVERYTHING I needed in the apartment to make a batch. So, I fuckin’ did, son.

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This is just peanut butter, coconut flour, an egg, some milk, vanilla, sugar, and some salt. I then put some butter on a pan, because I AM Southern, and ladled them onto the pan.

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And holy shit! They came out so well!

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I have been an absolute MASTER in the kitchen this evening. It’s amazing how far a little motivation and the right ingredients can go. There you have it– I satisfied all of my cravings without compromising my desire to remain carbohydrate deficient. Man, I am just so damn proud of these cookies, y’all. This is a fucking gamechanger!

The plan for the rest of the week is to get a couple of runs in, even if my calves are still sore tomorrow. At some point, I have to push through the pain and get back on track. I also need to run through some kettlebell exercises and probably ride my bike more as I think Maverick is feeling rather neglected. One of my main goals this week is to work through the desire to be lazy and demolish my progress. I want to find where that comes from and start chipping away at the source instead of working through surface problems. I know this is quite a large undertaking, and possibly the key to the universe, but I need to remember that nothing worth doing is easy… unless it’s eating tacos. Eating tacos is always easy and always worth doing.

Speaking of tacos, Kentucky! I’ll be in you this coming September from the 15th-29th. Get at me if you want to grab a beer, a burrito, or a bourbon! Or you know, a roller coaster.

This is me getting my life together. This is me trying to change. I know I can do it– I just have to stop myself from stopping myself.

Stay healthy, y’all.

A Week of Unsteady Forward Motion: New Running Shoes, Good Foods, and Bad News


sunday funday!

happy sunday funday, friends! i hope your weekend has been full of magic, splendor, and rest. my weekend has been filled with spending time with some of the coolest people in the world, sports, and relaxing. i cheered on my C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS to victory

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and generally had a good time with friends.  while i love relaxing during weekends, i really should learn to do some homework before sunday afternoon. i just cannot get motivated. but, i need to fix this and hopefully, as my schedule starts to solidify, i will adjust and get my shit straight. i need to graduate in May and i need to move away from this city. i need to keep these things in mind when i start to slack off or decide that taking a 3 hour nap is more important than reading some of Roxana or The Sun Also Rises. those are the two books i am currently reading for my classes. my classes, though, kick a bunch of ass this semester and i am happy i decided to take both of them, even if they are a lot of work and a lot of reading. i digress. let’s hear about my health!

my week has been full of ups, downs, and experiments. i have been looking at different types of foods to eat considering my options in richmond have been completely decimated and, after perusing pinterest, found a recipe that i really liked and wanted to try. originally, the sandwich was a tomato, avocado, and hummus sandwich, but instead, it was transformed into a vegan veggie burger, hummus, guacamole, and a tomato grilled in a pan with seasoning.

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the result was a bit…intense for my taste buds. i think the tomato was too seasoned and, since i am just starting to like guacamole, i think i overdid it. it actually made my stomach hurt, but i liked the combination of the hummus with the veggie burger, which means i will definitely have to try this again. if you are a big fan of these items, this might be the sandwich for you! i was just a bit disappointed in how it tasted and disappointed in how it made me feel. i am not used to eating foods (at this point) that make me feel like utter garbage. i did, however, manage to sneak in some tofu burritos from my favorite restaurant in Lexington, Alfalfa.

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everything on this plate is vegan. i dream about these burritos; i lust after these burritos. i am eventually going to get some tofu and i am going to try to make them myself that way i don’t have to drive 30 minutes to Lexington on a Saturday or Sunday every time i crave them… which is all the time. i could eat these every single day and i am thankful to have a restaurant so close that serves healthy, vegan-friendly breakfast food. there is nothing in Richmond i can eat with my friends anymore so it is nice to know that we can always take a small trip to Lexington and have breakfast together.

i also tried a blood orange this week and it was absolutely incredible!

blood orange and almond milk yogurt!

i went to Whole Foods with my friend, Micah, and we both picked up some items we needed for our kitchen. some of my items were blood oranges, but it also included an almond milk yogurt. now, i have tried soy yogurts before and have been sorely disappointed. i was hoping this would be better, but again, i was let down by this yogurt. the taste was alright, but the texture kind of freaked me out just a little bit. so this week, i went to the Good Foods Co-Op in Lexington and bought more items for the kitchen, including some coconut yogurt to see if i like that kind better. i hope i can find a yogurt that i like. while i was at Good Foods, though, i did manage to buy some vegan pumpkin and banana nut bread!

happiness in wrapping

i haven’t eaten these yet, but i look forward to indulging later this week.

my best and biggest purchase was not food, though. there was a bigger, more important reason i went to Lexington this week and it was to buy myself a new pair of running shoes. now, my old pair of running shoes

reebok runtone

have been my friend since January of 2011. these running shoes ran the Shamrock Shuffle 3k, the Spoonbread 5k, the Black Cat Chase 5k, the EKU Homecoming 5k, and the Thoroughbred Classic 5k. they have carried me through countless outdoor runs, indoor runs, cycling, walking, sprinting, jogging, struggling, all of those things. these shoes were there for me when i was hurt in March; these shoes took me back when i forsake them over the summer. according to my account on DailyMile, i put 541 miles on my these running shoes. it was time to buy a new pair because not only have i outgrown these, but it is time to lay them to rest. i ventured to John’s Run/Walk Shop, where the look at your feet and fit you for the right pair of running shoes. the nice sir looked at my ankles, arches, the way i walked, the bottom of my worn-in shoes, and let me try on around 6 or 7 pairs of running shoes. i told him i was training for a half and i needed a shoe that helped me get there. i walked out of the store with these

MIZUNO!!!

ARE THEY NOT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SHOE EVER?! i broke them in by running 2 miles on Friday night and my knees did not hurt, my ankles did not hurt, and i felt like my run was relatively easy. i know it might just be me projecting my happiness onto the shoe, but they really did make a difference in the way i carried my body. i was able to run (on the treadmill) 2.17 miles in 25 minutes, which is like an 11:30 mile. that is so fast for me! i was so happy that i picked the shoe that seemed to fit me the best. i cannot wait to run in them tomorrow. after i ran 2 miles, i was convinced to go to a local gym where i participated in a Ladies Night Zumba marathon thingy. my friend and Office Mate, or OM, asked me to come as she was trying to win 3 free months of a gym membership and i hesitantly accepted her invitation. Zumba, as i’ve stated before, is a lot of ass and titty shaking and body rolling. you move the ass, you swing the ass, you shake the titties, you turn circles, you shake the titties more, and then the song is over. Zumba scares me and the idea of doing a full hour and a half of it was absolutely overwhelming. we did Zumba for an hour and 20 minutes or so. i was so hot, sweaty, and gross. to top it off, one of the moves is stomping and as i was stomping my left foot, my left knee popped hard and it hurt like a motherfucking bitch. i was so nervous about it that i took it easy yesterday and did not run my scheduled 5 miles out of fear that i may hurt myself. today, i woke up even more sore than i was yesterday. my quads were screaming at me and while i know that a walk or a little jog would have helped loosen my muscles, i will be honest and say that i could not get motivated to get out and run today. i feel bad about it now, but what has happened has happened and all i can do is continue to move forward. i am just so scared of hurting myself. i have to get over that, though, and move on.

on friday night, i had this delicious black bean soup!

yesss

completely vegan with a tofu sandwich made with veganaise, spices, and tofu! it was a pretty delicious meal. the soup was exactly what i needed after the intense Zumba and my 2 mile run earlier in the evening. it instantly warmed me up and pretty much put me to sleep as i was fucking EXHAUSTED from doing all of that exercise. i am glad i did it, though. it was fun to be with a bunch of my friends in a sweaty hot room dancing like maniacs. i was drenched in sweat, but i felt good. i love the feeling of exhaustion due to working my body hard.

one final thought. i received an e-mail from my beloved yoga studio yesterday announcing that they were closing on February 11th. i have to admit, friends, that i am absolutely devastated. this is the place where i have come to find peaceful solitude, to find my sanctuary, and to center myself for a long, rough week. the idea that i will not have this place anymore after February 11th terrifies the shit out of me and i am not sure what to do at this point. i could go to classes on campus, but they aren’t the same. it is not a yoga studio, there is not a level of comfort, of sereneness, of acceptance. i am very scared for my yoga future and this is something that has been bothering me for the past 24 hours. i must now figure out what to do about my need for yoga. i shall find another studio, but Exhale will always be the place where i found myself and found my craving for yoga. namaste, Exhale.

my exhale.

that’s all i have for this week! unfortunately, i did not record my measurements this week, so i will have those on thursday and i will be comparing them to the last measurements i took before the holidays! i hope there will be SOME improvement. right now, i feel like i have kind of plateaued, which is fine. as long as i am not gaining weight, it is still a success to me. be good to each other and stay healthy, y’all.

Looking Toward the Future: Heavy Hipster Hopes

happy thursday!

happy thursday, friends! it is currently snowing in the state of Kentucky and weh are under a winter weather advisory, which definitely means that WINTER IS HERE… total fucking bummer, man. i was really enjoying the 60s we were experiencing in the middle of January. i am not a cold weather person; i am not a precipitation person. i am, though, a weather person. i have always had a fascination with weather. i remember, very vividly, being young and watching hurricane coverage on the weather channel. i am the person my close friends turn to when they need to know what’s going on in the weather. i almost started a weather v-log channel over the summer, but, as with most of my endeavors, i did not follow through. that would have been fun, though! anyway, this snow thing is really rubbing me the wrong way. when it snows, all i want to do is curl up, nest, and not do anything until it is gone. i enjoy copious amounts of sunshine. i am a happier, healthier person in the sunshine. in fact, i used to justify the use of tanning beds because i believed it made me happier. that is neither here nor there, though. regardless, i have to deal with another Kentucky winter and then, hopefully, i’ll be moving somewhere new. where, do you ask? well, it all depends.

as many people may, or may not, know, i am pursuing another degree after i finish my MA in English. English has kind of become a barren wasteland for me and really offers no future. i do not want to teach, i do not want to enter into a PhD program, and i do not want to live in Kentucky anymore. last semester, as i’ve previously written, was incredibly rough for me. but, after some serious soul searching and looking around me, i have decided to earn a Master of Library Science degree. now, before you decide to get all weird about it, it is a very real degree and opens many doors for other opportunities. look it up and check it out. i am really excited. but, the only program in the state of Kentucky is at the University of Kentucky and while i do love my C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS, i do not want to live in Lexington. so, i am applying to three different schools (as of right now) and whichever one tells me they want to give me money or help me out with school will probably be where my future lies. without further ado, i bring you the options:

Option 1: Philadelphia
Drexel Dragons

option 1: Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Washington Huskies

Option 2: University of Washington in Seattle Washington.

LSU Tigers

Option 3 (and my absolute number one choice): Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

if i have my way and choice, i will be, in 7 months or so, moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to start at LSU. while this is one of the most terrifying, scary ideas i have ever come up with, i also think it is the healthiest and best for me. there will be more about these schools and this decision as i turn in more applications. this is going to be a long, tiring process, but i know i will end up where i should be. this semester is going to be incredibly rough. i take my comprehensive examination in march, turn in my huge graduate school paper in march, the vagina monologues are next month, my half marathon is in march, i am taking three graduate-level courses, and i am now preparing for two conferences– one in february and one in march. i could not imagine a more hectic semester, but there is such a big light at the end of this fucking tunnel of stress and hell. i just have to make it down that tunnel and seize my MA. fucking scary.

in other news, i have been on fire this week with exercise and keeping my shit together. i have run a little over 10 miles this week, beginning with my bomb-ass 7 mile run outside on Monday evening

SEVEN MILES

and, now that i think about it, that may be the last time i run outside for quite some time. because of the impending snow and the low temperatures this morning, i went to the gym to run on the track for the first time almost a year. since i discovered running outside, running inside just seemed like such a cop out. but, since my half marathon is in 78 days (holla!) most of my training will be done throughout these winter months. i bought some sweet sweat wicking running pants, but i’m a bit… big for them just yet. in 5 or so pounds, i’ll be able to wear them comfortably. anyway, this morning, i jumped out onto the track  and i will not lie to you, i dreaded it. i hate the track. i hate how boring it is and the constant circling around and around. i was worried i would get bored and quit instead of sticking through to my planned 2.5 miles. but, i found out that i am actually a more relaxed runner on the track; i am more willing  to let my mind wander inside because i am not constantly surveying my surroundings. for instance, on my 7 mile run, i was chased by a dog. i know i will not be chased by a dog on the track in the EKU fitness and wellness center. i ended up running a little over a 5k this morning

TRES MILES

and boy, did it feel great. i am so glad i got out of bed and went to the gym. small victories for me today indeed.

i also went back to my beloved hot yoga class this week and felt better than i’ve felt in months.

huge yoga class!

it always warms my heart when a yoga class is this big. it’s such a sense of community and effort. i am proud to have shared my practice with these lovely people. this class also reminded me that i am capable of anything i want and that if i just hold on for a few seconds longer, i will achieve it. i cannot give up when it is scary, when it is suffocating, when it hurts, when it’s straining. these are all tests i must overcome to eventually end up where i wish to be. that location, while it may still be unknown, will be reached and i will find that happiness. yoga always brings me such inner clarity and peace. i am thankful i have an able body.

on a final note, i weighed myself this morning and i am almost pre-christmas weight, which makes me incredibly excited. i was nervous that the pasta salad would hold on for a bit longer, but my body is responding well to good food and exercise. every day, i feel the strength i had before the break coming back to me and every day, running gets a bit easier than it was when i first started after the holidaze. while we all need a break and some time to veg out in front of the couch, i feel lightyears better than i did all three weeks i was on break. this is just another example of how much i need exercise and healthy eating in my life consistently, not just when it benefits me.

that’s all i have today. hopefully the snow doesn’t swallow richmond and i will be able to get out and about this weekend. i have some plans for some good eating, good shopping, and fun times with friends. the UK/Tennessee game is this weekend, so it should be a ridiculously fun Saturday. right now, i plan on getting up and getting some exercise in before going to the game. that is one of my new goals– work out before every UK game instead of just rolling out of bed and going to the Paddy Wagon to drink a fuckton of beer. until then, OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

C-A-T-S
CATS CATS CATS! BROW DOWN!

have a great weekend, keep warm, and stay healthy, y’all.

Catching Up: The End of the Heavy Hipster Hiatus

break is ovaaaa

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

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

all kinds of delicious.

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

fuck yes whole foods pasta

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

don't worry, the cheese is measured!

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

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

mexican seasoning!

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

yeaaaaaah

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

banging quesadillas

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

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

Old Fashioned!

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

sweet clean carpet

i’m a nerd. whatever.

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

vegan banana zucchini BREAAAAD

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

CAWNBREAADUH

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

LARGE ZUCCHINIS

you scrape out the insides

mixture

cook/mix a bunch of shit in a pot

fill

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

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

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