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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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

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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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.

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.