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.

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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

three goggles!

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.

burger!

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.

alfallfaaaaa

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.

Take That, Self-Doubt: A 5 Mile Run in a Gorgeous Kentucky Autumn.

i love having freckles in the fall.

happy thursday afternoon, friends! my fall break is staring me in the eyes and i am so excited to have a four day weekend to explore Kentucky and it’s wonderful autumn offerings. i plan on going to a pumpkin patch, an apple orchard, maybe hiking and some disc golf. i just want to be active! none of this sitting in my apartment wasting the days away! i want to get out and DO. i hope you all have some great plans for this weekend. Kentucky is so beautiful in the fall and you should definitely enjoy it. Keeneland also opens tomorrow and i am SUPER PUMPED about going to the fall meet.

today was my weigh in and i lost another 1.8 pounds. i am so freaking proud of myself for not only following Weight Watchers, but for keeping up with it in my every day life. i track everything– my water, my food, my exercise, and it all serves to keep pushing me forward as i watch the numbers shift and change. it’s actually great for someone like me who has a compulsive need to understand every single aspect of the food i am putting into my mouth. i even discovered today that you can build a recipe through the website and it will tell you HOW MANY POINTS PER SERVING IT IS. this is revolutionary for me! i love to cook but i always worry about making my own food and tracking it appropriately and now, i never have to have that worry again! hooray! speaking of food, for dinner, i made a Veg-Bergers recipe– Harvest Cheddar Mac and Cheese! it was absolutely delicious and totally vegan. every bite was a sweet bit of pumpkin happiness. so, i plugged their recipe in to the recipe builder and voila! i know how many points it is!

today was my long run and it was 5 miles. i was both looking forward to and dreading it, but honestly, it seemed to go by so quickly. i know once i start building up to longer miles that it may not feel that way, but i am going to appreciate it now while i still have the chance. i started off a little slow, but i kept a consistent pace throughout. i was tired in the fourth mile, but i finished rather strong at 5.16 miles. i then walked another mile to cool down and give my legs a little rest. i was worried about my knee because it had been bothering me, but it held out just fine. thanks, knee! so, goodbye, self doubt. i now know i am fully capable of running a little more than 5 miles. my next obstacle is, of course, 6 miles. but, i’ll take care of that when i get there.

that’s all i got! i have my class tonight and i am teaching two classes tomorrow, although i do not know how many of them actually plan on showing up. it IS fall break after all. it would be hypocritical of me to be upset with them. i, after all, used to skip class like a champion, especially on weekends like fall break! stay healthy, y’all, and enjoy this GORGEOUS day!

A Running, Cooking Machine: 3 Miles, Vegan Barbecue Pizza, and Vegan Snickerdoodle Blondies!

i take pictures on Instagram!

happy wednesday evening, folks. we’re officially half-way through the week and rocketing toward the weekend. i swear, there is no greater pleasure than the weekend. i feel like i constantly ramble on about how much i love the weekend, but who can argue? i guess people who work on the weekends could tell me to fuck off. fortunately, i work in academia and we only function through the week. sometimes, we only function through half the week. last semester, i was only on campus and responsible for being somewhere three days. i had to be on campus monday, tuesday, and thursday. crock of bullshit right? rest assured, i get my comeuppance in the fall– i’m on campus every single day because i must teach the childrens MWF. delightful! speaking of my classes, i’ve been working on my syllabi and my course outline. do you know how terrifying it is to realize that i am responsible for the grades/learning of 40 students? SERIOUSLY? oh god. i’m nauseous thinking about it.

speaking of nauseous, last night, i cranked out 3.3 miles running. my family, recognizing the bad day i had on Monday, tried to cheer me up by bringing me some veggies and taking me out to dinner.

dear sweet god of vegetables!

after my family took me out for a Casa dinner (where i showed real discipline and restraint i might add) i waited for a couple of hours, decided i was digested enough, and at first, ran 2.06 miles through campus and around the city of richmond. it was a struggle. i wanted to die. but, i met up with some NSCL friends because the NATIONAL JUNIOR CLASSICAL LEAGUE‘S NATIONAL CONVENTION IS AT EASTERN! click that link. read about my life in high school. after seeing and talking to them for a bit, i took off on another 1.25 miles through downtown. i eventually ended at the Paddy Wagon, got some water, and was taken home. i’m pretty proud of myself, but because of how much i’m struggling, i wonder if i will be ready for a half marathon this year. these are questions i really need to consider in the next couple of weeks, especially if i cannot get my training regulated.

today has been a great day for my culinary creations. i had a vegetarian BLT for lunch coupled with an orange and a cucumber from my parents’ garden. i’ve been trying to cut back on my dairy intake and have only eaten dairy/things with dairy in it, 4 or 5 times in the past 48 hours or so. but, i’ve had this craving for BBQ pizza and so, adapting one of the delicious recipes from the VegBergers, i went to the store after work, picked up some Gardin “chicken” strips, got some peppers, some onions, some barbecue sauce, and set to work! for the BBQ sauce, i had the choice of making my own, which i am hesitant to do, buy some rando brand that may not be vegetarian or vegan, or pay a little extra money for a good brand with ingredients i can trust and appreciate…and read. being able to read my ingredients has become incredibly important for me. i settled on Annie’s BBQ sauce, and if you have never tried an Annie’s product, you should. ASAP. i made a homemade crust and doused it in BBQ sauce

oh yeaaaaah

seriously. it was already smelling amazing and i couldn’t wait to try it! i cut up some green and yellow pepper along with a red pepper out of my parents’ garden! i also cut up some onion. i sliced up the chicken strips into smaller pieces and scattered all the ingredients across the sauce

oh man oh man oh man oh man!

and then, the magical, magical topping i have come to know as Daiya cheese

i wish you could hear the noises i'm making re-living this

and i popped it in the oven to cook! while it was baking, i decided to make Snickerdoodle Blondies found at this neat blog called Chocolate Covered Katie! check her out! i had never thought about using any sort of bean in dessert making, but this blog, the VegBergers, and my friend Stephanie have been in a rage about using beans in desserts so i decided to try it! this recipe called for a can of chickpeas, which i always keep on hand because i LOVE making my own hummus

mmhmm that's right

what you see on top of the chickpeas is almond butter and if you’ve never had almond butter, you probably should.

getting ready to go for a ride in the food processor

you put everything in your food processor, let it process until smooth and then put it in a greased or tin-foil lined baking pan!

BAM. VEGAN SNICKERDOODLE BLONDIES

as those were ready to go in, my pizza was ready to be devoured

uuuunggghhhh

i mourned when i was too full to eat more of this pizza. i took my first bite of it and praised myself out loud with “fuck yes. this is fucking awesome!” my dog was terrified. but, it was so good. i cannot even describe just how good this was. the BBQ sauce with the Daiya and the vegetables OH MAN. boyfriend ate the rest of it. i’m a little upset because i want another piece… unfortunately, i did not get a picture of the finished brownies. i stuck my hand in them too fast, ate some, and ruined a good picture. so, you can take my word for it: A-FUCKING-MAZING. seriously do it. make those. make those now. if you don’t, you’ll be sorry and puppies will be sad and kittens will be unable to play with string. it’s that serious.

that’s pretty much it in the life of the Heavy Hipster at this point. i’m really feeling this whole cooking thing and today i realized i have an arsenal of ingredients at my apartment. i have finally built a pantry with baking and cooking stuff i can use all the time! in fact, i did not have to buy a damn thing for those blondies! i had ALL of it. tomorrow, i’ll be heading back into the gym to lift some weights, run an bit, and then out to my parents’ for some swimming and to get my dog some exercise. speaking of my parents one more time, my mom, in her loving support of my fitness quests, bought me a Groupon today for yoga classes at a studio in Richmond. i’ve been dying to really get into yoga and this is going to kick-start it for me! i am so thankful to have such wonderful parents. i hope your week is going well and you’re happy. stay healthy, y’all.

The Heavy Hipster Encounters the Veg-Bergers: Burgers, Cupcakes, and Two Fast Miles

back at work :"

happy Tuesday afternoon, everyone! i hope your first day back to work after the long weekend hasn’t proven to be too stressful, ridiculous, or difficult to endure. coming back to work is one of the hardest feats to accomplish, especially if you’ve had a great, fun-filled weekend. my weekend was great and i regret that it went too fast for me to fully appreciate both the company and the rest i managed to achieve. as previously noted in my last post, i spent some time with some amazing ladies at a bachelorette party, spent some time with my family, and generally got back on the exercise wagon. but, great sometimes, great things happen to me, and by great things, i mean running the fastest two miles i have ever run and coming into contact with some of the most delicious food i’ve ever had the privilege of eating. these great things happened to me last night and they deserve to be shared with the WORLD.

yesterday, i woke up and ate a big bowl of bran flakes, almond milk, and banana to get some protein and potassium running through my system. i had planned on having a pretty ridiculous workout schedule and i wanted to make sure my body was adequately fueled for the stress of a hard workout. i started with my weights, because i read somewhere that lifting before running/cardio actually burns more calories and is more successful than if cardio comes before weight training. i’m actually becoming super comfortable with the weight lifting section in the gym and the more comfortable i become, the more intense my workouts become and the better i feel about my working out as a whole. after my arms and ab work, i jumped on the elliptical for 20 minutes to get my muscles warmed up for my run. i broke an awesome sweat on the elliptical and decided i was ready to get my run on and do some work, son. i ran one mile, walked for 30 seconds or so, and then jumped back into running and ran another mile because that 30 second break was all i needed. the last .15 of a mile on the second mile was difficult but, when i finished with my running, i discovered…

Celebration!

i ran my fastest two miles EVER. i finished two miles in 12:46, which is a 12:22 pace. it put me in literally the best mood i’ve felt in awhile. i felt so accomplished and so proud of what i had done. seeing progress after months and months of failing and succeeding in the running sector definitely boosts motivation and makes me look forward to working out so i can try again next time i run. sometimes, i think i am just afraid of succeeding. but, because of my successes this weekend and because i am feeling more motivated than ever, i plan (when i get paid) on registering for the Iron Horse Half Marathon on October 23rd, in Midway, KY. 13.1 miles of running and i feel that with the rate i am going at right now, i can be ready for this in October. i think i have also decided to postpone my 5k this weekend because i cannot afford it right now and because i’m just nervous about my inability to finish it. i think, again, i’m just scared. maybe i will do it, who knows. it’s only $20 dollars. maybe i should just suck it up and run the damn race. i’ll let you all know how it goes.

now, on to the food. the following foods are not foods that i cooked, but foods that i feel honored to have had the chance to eat because, ladies and gentlemen, i came into contact with the Dynamic Vegan Duo, the Veg-Bergers! last night, boyfriend and i traveled to his mom’s house for dinner and i was greeted with literally some of the best food i’ve eaten in awhile (healthy and vegan, too, obvs). dinner consisted of some delicious baked beans, some corn on the cob, and

real, true-life homemade veggie burger. SRSLY.

a real, made-from-scratch veggie burger, packed with vegetables and other healthy ingredients! they formed them into patties and cooked them on the stove. they. were. incredible! there’s something so incredibly satisfying about eating food prepared completely from bottom up and knowing every ingredient in the food i’m eating.  my mouth is watering thinking about it. the burger was  topped with vegan cheese, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard, ketchup, and some veganaise. DELICIOUS. i’m sure they’ll have a recipe posted, but in all seriousness, if you have any interest in making some healthy, vegan food, even just once in awhile, make looking at their blog one of your TOP priorities in life. then, the moment i had been waiting for had finally arrived and i got to eat a bona fide Veg-Berger creation: the Strawberry Frappuccino Cupcake.

Strawberry Frappuccino Cupcake!

glorious. heavenly. wonderful. i had two of them last night

glorious. heavenly. a full serving of fruit!

and would have probably eaten many more. they had a full serving of fruit in them, topped with a bombastic strawberry glaze oh dear god. you just wish you could have been me. i could LIT-TRA-LEE go on for days and days and paragraphs and paragraphs about the phenomenal nature of these cupcakes, but i’ll stop. you know you’re jealous.

Katie, a creator of the Veg-Bergers, lookin' RUUUHL NICE.

consider this a blog crossover. oh yeah.

i also discovered last night that i should probably be taking an iron supplement. i looked at those big bad boys last night at Kroger and they’re like 9 dollars. i should probably just get over the shock of seeing items necessary to my health being so high priced. i should probably also invest in some protein powder, too. i’ll have more about these developments as they progress.

today, i woke up kind of late and screwed around until it was too late to get in the work out i had planned. but, instead of doing nothing, like i would have done a couple of weeks ago, i got up, put my gym clothes on, and went to the gym and worked out on the elliptical for about 25 minutes. i figure any sort of activity is better than no activity, and i got my heart rate up for a good portion of time today. i should have walked to work, but instead, i went and got subway (9 grain oat, pickles, green peppers, banana peppers, lettuce, spinach, onions, and mustarrrrd) with a pack of their apples. it was delicious, but i’m already hungry again. i do not know if it’s because my body is burning food faster now that i’m back on consistent work out plan or if it’s because i’ve not had a good dose of protein today. i really want a cookie right now– maybe my sugar is low? i’m learning to look at contents of the food itself, rather than the food, to figure out if my cravings mean i’m low on some nutrient. steamed vegetables also sound AWESOME right now.

well, that’s it for this Heavy Hipster today. i’ve got lots of cool plans for the rest of this week and this weekend. next week is Bonnaroo and i’m beginning to make the necessary preparations to make sure we have everything we need, including an adequate amount of food. i’m looking in to making my own granola. hopefully, i’ll get on the ball and have pictures up soon! have a great day and stay healthy, y’all.

Concerts & Culinary Creations!

what up, end of the world?!

i figured since tomorrow is “the end of the world” i’d write one more blog before we go. there have been lots of exciting happenings in my life the past week, including two concerts, an awesome couple of days in Cincinnati, and starting my summer job. while working sucks and i hate doing it, at least it’s on campus and close to me so i can walk and conserve my gasoline. i do not have much to report in the way of exercise, but i do have some food i want to update you all on and gush about my concerts. besides, i danced my ass off for two hours at one concert! more about that later. how are you all doing? i hope your May 2011 is treating you well.

last weekend, boyfriend and i traveled to Cincinnati to see The National on Sunday night and Elvis Costello & The Imposters on Monday night. we ended up staying at the Radisson Riverfront (you know, the one with the spinning restaurant on top!) because we had both always wanted to stay there. we got a room on the 12th floor and

view, albeit gloomy, of Cincinnati!

lots of fun! we didn’t go to the restaurant because it was hella expensive, but we did end up eating at this snooty, snobby mexican restaurant downtown called Nada. it was 30 dollars for both of us to eat there AND they charged us for a basket of chips and salsa! what the hell, y’all?! where i come from, that shit is complimentary. don’t charge me for chips and salsa, assholes. but, i will admit, even though i hate it, that the tacos i got were fucking on point and delicious. i got the shrimp tacos. the filling included grilled baby shrimp with mixed greens, a chili-lime sauce, and slices of avocado. fucking PHENOMENAL. probably not the healthiest thing for me, but there was no cheese in it and it wasn’t drenched in weird shit. the avocado was good for me; the shrimp were not deep fried. i’d like to think i made a great choice (and i only drank water so HA!) that night was The National! i’ve seen The National once before at Bonnaroo last year and i was SUPER excited to see them again. boyfriend and i had scored twelfth row seats on the floor and were pretty close!

The National!

they played many songs off of their albums Boxer and High Violet. they also tapped into some of their older music and played two new songs as well!

more National!

it was a great time. it was emotional and flooring; Matt Berninger’s (the lead singer) voice threatens to take me to my knees any time i listen to them, and that feeling is only amplified when i hear them live. i suggest you check them out.

monday, boyfriend and i went to see the movie Bridesmaids at the Florence movie theater. i thought it was absolutely hilarious and i’m glad we chose to see it. afterwards, we stopped at LaRosa’s (pizza place) because i demanded to have it. i have a small (aka: fucking huge) obsession with LaRosa’s, so we got a cheese pizza, some salad, and put the rest of it in a box to bring home with us. that night held within it two and a half of the most phenomenal hours of my entire life: ELVIS. COSTELLO.

Elvis Costello's stage set-up

the concept of the concert is ridiculously fun. the wheel in the picture had around 30-40 songs on it; the purple slats were “jackpot” songs that revolved around a certain theme, so if someone spun the wheel and it landed on a jackpot, we would hear three songs instead of one. Elvis Costello pulled people out of the audience to come up and spin it, and the lady RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME got picked. i was so mad because i wanted to go up so badly, but little did i know i would get something MORE amazing than just going on stage. at some points, boyfriend and i were the only people in our section standing and dancing (because let’s face it, Elvis Costello was releasing records at least 10 years before i was born– the crowd was a bit…mature) and i danced my ass off for two and a half hours. i danced so much, in fact, that my abs, obliques, legs, and arms were sore. i broke into a serious sweat!

Elvis Costellooooooooooooooo

we were so close and because we were the only ones dancing, he looked at us numerous times. i am also 100% positive we made eye contact. so after the show, we went outside and stood in the line to get his autograph and

THAT IS ELVIS COSTELLO LITERALLY INCHES FROM ME

so i got his autograph on my ticket. when he was signing it, he acknowledged me and smiled because he recognized me. i could have died right then a happy person. boyfriend got his tour poster signed and we hop skipped and jumped back to Richmond that night.

tonight, for food, we made veggie meatball sandwiches and i made a vegan strawberry cobbler.

vegetarian meatballs in homemade tomato sauce!

we had whole wheat hoagie buns and i toasted them in the oven. as a side, we baked some french fries

i like ketchup. don't you fucking judge.

like i said, for dessert, i made a vegan strawberry cobbler

uncooked cobblah

the recipe calls for 6 cups of strawberries halved, flour, sugar, some lemon juice, baking powder, baking soda, and vegetable shortening. but, in order to make this more Kara-friendly, i substituted the vegetable shortening for applesauce! it works, seriously.

cooked cobblah!

fucking. sweet. this was absolutely DELICIOUS. boyfriend had his with vanilla ice cream and i had mine with some vanilla fro-yo. the crust was delicious and the strawberries were insanely sweet and tasty. it literally took 30 minutes to cook and 15 minutes to prepare. happy day.

i’ve been talking to one of my good friends KYM about putting too much pressure on myself to make these large changes happen overnight. you see, i have this ideal person in my head of who i want to be and while that person is attainable, it is not going to happen overnight. so, for tomorrow, my small goals are to eat every meal in my apartment, go to the gym, and drink 10 glasses of water a day. if i can do those things, awesome, and if i do not accomplish all of them somehow, i need to step back, figure out why i did not accomplish those small goals, and implement changes for the next day. i am capable of achieving all of my health and weight loss goals– i just need to be realistic about my changes.

that’s all i’ve got for you all. i’m sorry i did not post the recipe for the cobbler, but the website was acting all finicky. if you want it, though, i could e-mail it to you! have a great weekend and stay healthy, y’all!

That’s A Big Ol’ Update.

afternoon, y'all

goooooood afternoon, friends. it is wednesday, the sun is shining in Kentucky, and today has been wonderful. i sound really, really perky right now and i am, but you must understand that today has been the best day i have had in months…YEARS even. it started with a major success yesterday and my life has just been getting better and better and better! i hope everyone is having a wonderful wednesday. i just have to get through one more day of work and class and then i can officially begin my spring break.

yesterday started off kind of… rocky, for lack of a better word. it was hard to wake up, it was hard to get out of bed, and after not going to the gym monday, my entire mojo was thrown off by a sudden change in the schedule i have built for myself. but, boyfriend and i got up and made it to the gym. i stretched a bit, jumped on the elliptical, and picked the weight loss program. it moves back and forth between cross-train levels and resistance levels and i sweat so much. i literally sweat a small child out of my body. i had been looking at the track in the gym and contemplating using it since my 3k Race is coming up next week. my friend, Micah, was also at the gym and kind of solidified my decision to use the track and i was terrified. completely terrified. i remembered the moments on the track in January when i struggled to get around jogging at least once and i was so scared that even after all of this work, i was still going to be incompetent at running on my own rather than with the help of a treadmill. but, i was a fucking success and the greatest success i have been because

BOOYAH!!!!!

you see that? that’s two fucking miles and you know what? i ran a mile for the very first time IN MY ENTIRE LIFE without stopping yesterday and i did it in under 11 minutes. i stopped once from 1.05-1.10 to fix my phone and then ran all the way to 2 miles. i did 2 miles in 23 minutes and 36 seconds. i could have cried at the gym yesterday and i was so proud of myself it hurt. i never thought in a million years that i would be a person who could accomplish something like this. i know it’s only a mile, and my pace wasn’t fast, but i never stopped moving– i kept going and that’s what matters and i finished strong. i set my own pace, followed it and did it. i am ready for my 3k and i’m ready to dominate.

today, i saw my nutritionist

NUTRITIONIST STUFFFFF

she told me i had good knowledge of what was going on with my food and my nutrition (she even called me a pro at reading a nutrition label) but the problem is i’m not eating enough! i should be eating 1900-2000 calories a day to balance out how much i’m working out. i also am not getting enough protein, so she gave me this awesome toolkit and asked me to come back in a month to check my progress. she made me feel so much better and confident about what i’m doing. she did not have a problem with my vegetarianism/pescetarianism or the tendencies i have toward veganism. i just walked out and felt a thousand times more motivated to lose weight and to do it the healthy way so i can not only lose it, but keep it off for the rest of my life. she was a sweet, sweet, person and i’m so glad i got a chance to meet her and talk to her. i’m so happy with how it went. she also gave me lists of snacks and all that shit so i can take more food to work. i just need to buy a cooler. haha.

after my nutritionist appointment, i ventured over to Whole Foods to have a look around. if there was one of these in Richmond, i would be broke constantly. but, i bought some Amy’s pita pocket entrees and some Evol burritos

Evol Vegan Faijita Veggie

delicious and good for you! this one is vegan, but i also got some bean and cheese burritos to try later this week. i ate this with some gardin of eatin’ tortilla chips, 2 carrot sticks, and a greek yogurt that i put in the freezer and froze so it’s FROZEN GREEK YOGURT OMG YUM. i am absolutely in love with Greek yogurt. i wish i would have discovered it sooner. forreal.

yum.

this is the brand my nutritionist told me to check out, but i’ve also been eating Oikos and Fage and it’s been awesome, too. but, this brand is something else, y’all. if you like greek yogurt, or yogurt at all, and you want to try something delicious, pick one of these up for personal consumption. you may not like it if you don’t dig thicker yogurt, but if you like it, it’s great for kicking a sweet tooth or for a snack before a work out. it’s got a great source of protein and carbohydrates.

in other news, today was a weigh in day and my weigh is: 240.2. i am down 2 pounds this week, friends, which puts me at a total weight loss of around 10 pounds. i also took my measurements this morning and lo and behold, i had lost inches, too! so here’s the basic rundown

Starting Weight: 250.2

Starting Inches:

  • Bust: 44
  • Chest: 42
  • Upper Waist: 41
  • Middle Waist: 48
  • Hips: 49.5
  • Thigh: 29
  • Calf: 18.5

Current Weight: 240.2

Current Inches:

  • Bust: 42 (-2)
  • Chest: 40.5 (-1.5)
  • Upper Waist: 38.5 (-2.5)
  • Middle Waist: 45.5 (-2.5)
  • Hips: 47 (-2)
  • Thigh: 27.5 (-1.5)
  • Calf: 18.5 (-)

that’s 12 inches. so, officially, i have lost 12 inches from around various areas of my body and i’ve lost 10 pounds. pretty good way to start the day, i do believe. i’m proud of the work that i’ve done and the work i will continue to do. i’m not nearly finished yet, but to actually feel like i’m getting somewhere just takes me to another level of motivation. i will do this and i will become who i’ve always wanted to be. stay healthy, y’all.

ps: i have not smoked a cigarette since Saturday afternoon.