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.

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

i feel like hiding

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

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

soup, bitches

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

soup soup soup i ate all of it

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

yum yum so good

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

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

i love my mom's kitchen

i made vegan strawberry, blackberry, and blueberry cobbler

delicious fruit

made the topping to go on top of it

preparing da cobblah

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

finished!

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

baked crescent rolls

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

cream cheese & fiesta ranch dry mix

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

so good

then, you place an abundance of vegetables on top

oh god so good

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

this is my ma

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

it had vodka, brandy and wine.

my little brother is also a fucking rockstar.

sib and carv

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

perched

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

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

Back in the RKY: Bonnaroo, First Weigh-In, and Commitment

sunkissed Bonnaroo face (complete with jankity eye!)

ignore my jankity left eye that doesn’t open all the way. Bonnaroo gave me two infections and a stye, and while it was worth it, i still don’t want people looking at my jank. Bonnaroo was everything i had hoped it would be and more. my stamina, compared to last year, isn’t even a comparison. the mile walk we had into Centeroo every single day wasn’t even a challenge– i did it with ease and i credit that to the exercise i have been doing since January. although the heat was brutal, the walking around did not tire me out the way it did last year.

Bonnaroo Arch 2011

from our campsite to this arch, we had about a mile walk; on any given day, i walked at least two miles from my campsite to Centeroo and from Centeroo back to my campsite. this does not include the amount of walking i did between stages and tents throughout the weekend as we were seeing music sets. i would say, on any given day, i walked around 4 miles a day, which i find to be pretty fucking awesome if i do say so myself! my calf muscles sure got a work out.

pretty badass arch, mayne.

at night, the arch was lit up with lights that shown directly into the sky. it was an awesome landmarker if you got turned around or confused in any sort of way. as far as music goes, i saw: The Futurebirds, Freelance Whales, Best Cost, J. Cole, Sleigh Bells, Justin Townes Earle, Abigail Washburn, The Decemberists, Florence + the Machine, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, The Black Angels, Lil’ Wayne, Old Crow Medicine Show, Deer Tick, Mumford & Sons, Buffalo Springfield, Eminem, The Head and the Heart, Ryan Bingham, Iron & Wine, and The Strokes. i had some moments where i felt like i wasn’t even myself. it was awesome. i can’t fully ever explain the experience of Bonnaroo, only that i feel like everyone should have the experience at least once. the thought of it gives me chills.

ze which stage

i’m honestly considering starting a payment plan for Bonnaroo 2012 tomorrow, but i’m just not sure. i don’t really have any money, but the thought of missing Bonnaroo is soul-crushing. only time will tell!

i weighed myself for the first time since May 1st, and i have to admit i was very, very disappointed with the results. here’s a breakdown of my weight and measurements. the first measurements are my last measurements and the second set are my “current” set.

Past: 4.20 Weight: 237.6

  • Bust: 40.5
  • Chest: 38
  • Upper Waist: 36.5
  • Middle Waist: 43
  • Hips: 44
  • Thigh: 26.5
  • Calf: 18
June 14th, 2011 Weight: 235.4 (-2.2)
  • Bust: 39.5
  • Chest: 38
  • Upper Waist: 36
  • Middle Waist: 43
  • Hips: 44.5
  • Thighs: 26.5
  • Calf: 17.5
alrighty. so i lost 2.2 pounds in 6 weeks………….. i should be happier because it’s still a loss, but it really gives me a rash. now, my measurements, i was crushed by them at first, until i realized that i was probably pulling the tape too hard around me to get an accurate reading. these measurements are done with some looseness and i feel like they’re better gauges of where i am in my measurements vs. the previous measurements i’ve been making. i’ve been paranoid the entire time about doing my measurements wrong and i think i have been because i am definitely smaller than i was a month ago, but the measurements don’t reflect that.
weighing yourself is incredibly detrimental to one’s personal sanity, by the way. i was so much happier and felt better about myself not knowing the number on the scale and when i got on the scale, i was instantly in a bad mood and pissed about my lack of progress. weighing myself may just need to be dropped off of my weight loss plan– it never brings me any sort of happiness. in fact, it just makes me hate myself that much more. so, i’ve decided i will only weigh myself once a month from here on out, unless i feel it is absolutely imperative i know my number. the next time i weigh myself will be July 1st, then August 1st, and so on and so forth. i want to minimize the impact of the scale without completely throwing it out because i do need to be keeping track of the number.
in other news, i have around 18 weeks to this half-marathon i plan on crazying myself through! i’m starting on week 4 of c25k, going through weeks 4-9, which is 6 weeks, and then jumping into a half-marathon training schedule. if i can keep up with this, it will be the greatest accomplishment of my life… besides my 15 hour day at Bonnaroo. i haven’t officially registered for it yet, but you better believe i will. my hours just picked up at work, so i’ll have a little extra money. hooray!
well, that’s all i have for now. i’ll keep everyone updated. now, i swim! and run! stay healthy, y’all!

another weekend, another battle: i fought C25k and i won (barely)!

tiredface.

if i look tired, it’s because i am.

sundays, as i’ve said before, are some of the most depressing days of the week. while sunday promotes another full day of freedom from school or other obligations, like work, i also spend the majority of sunday dreading monday. that’s a terrible way to view my sunday, but how else am i supposed to look at it. sundays hurt. they are painful. this sunday, though, was especially painful.

this weekend has been a nice, relaxing one. i ate some sushi on friday for a friend’s birthday; i love me some sushi. thankfully, sushi is not bad to eat! it’s incredibly lean and low in calories. i could eat sushi literally every day, especially if it’s good sushi like the rolls we had friday night. if you’re ever in Lexington, KY and want a great sushi experience, visit Tomo. delicious.

saturday, i tried to get back into my eating in/cooking routine. for breakfast, i made HOMEMADE PANCAKE BATTER. IT WAS CHOCOLATE. so, we had chocolate pancakes. DID I MENTION I ALSO MADE AN APPLESAUCE PEANUT BUTTER SWIRL FOR INSIDE THE PANCAKES? yes. that happened. we had chocolate peanut butter swirl pancakes for breakfast on saturday morning. the best part about these pancakes is they were made with almond milk and whole wheat flour– they were healthy chocolate peanut butter swirl pancakes. yum. i didn’t get a picture of them, regrettably, because i was so happy to eat them. i was super proud of myself. they were also super filling, too. i only ate 2.5 of my pancakes and eating less than normal always makes me feel like i’ve achieved a victory CUZ IM AN EATER.

for lunch, we had some leftover tofu that needed to be used before it went bad, so i made red curry with tofu and lots of veggies, including carrots, celery, a red pepper, a potato, and some cilantro. it was… decent. we put it over instant brown rice. i think i figured out the problem– i had too many vegetables and not enough coconut milk or curry paste. next time, i have to remember to put more of the other ingredients in if i want to use that many vegetables. but, it was filling and pretty healthy. it didn’t look like much, but it wasn’t terrible the way i expected…

curry!!!!

dinner was a veggie sub from subway and a few beers. i felt pretty crappy after only a couple, but they were delicious while i was drinking them. so good. i love beer.

this morning, i woke up around 9:30, which is amazing because this little guy…

Carvmonster!

normally doesn’t let us sleep that long. ever. he looks pretty disgusted here, huh? don’t let this face fool you. he’s a sweetie and he fucking loves to cuddle. after i woke up, i made omelets out of eggs a friend gave us from her chickens. they were delicious omelets. i had green peppers and onions in mine, topped with vegan cheese. boyfriend just had green peppers and sharp cheddar. i also tried greek yogurt for the first time!

greek yogurrrrt!!!

it was very, very good. i appreciate thick yogurt (insert another obligatory sex/semen/penis joke here)

we skipped “lunch time” and went to the gym instead. there, i planned to tackle the dreaded week 4 day 1 of c25k. today called for a five minute warm up walk, 3 minutes of jogging, 90 seconds of walking, 5 minutes of jogging, 2:30 minutes of walking and then the cycle repeats. it. was. hard. it was extremely difficult for me, but i’m proud i made it. my pace was less than desired and i didn’t keep track of my milestones, but i finished. i may have slowed down, but i kept jogging the entire time i was supposed to. hopefully, on tuesday, it’ll be a bit easier. it almost defeated me; i’m not too proud to admit that shit was hard. but, here i am. i survived. i just have to remember that no matter how bad i hurt during my workouts that i’m not going to stop breathing or die. i just have to keep going. HAVE TO. it’s got to get easier. i want that runner’s high, those endorphins. I WANT THOSE. and i will have them. the Shamrock Shuffle is in a little under 3 weeks. i hope i’m prepared by then!

after the gym, boyfriend and i went to eat mexican. i know it seems a little weird, but i wanted it and i only ate half of mine. i packed the rest into a box and brought it home. i got into the mood to bake tonight and i needed a kitchen block of knives, so i made a trip out and bought some kitchen knives and new measuring cups. TA DA!!

new kitchen shiiiiit!

i found a recipe to make baked, low fat banana doughnuts. i also tried to make snickerdoodle cookies, but i really botched those. the doughnuts started looking like this…

banana doughnut dough

it was incredibly sticky, but it was worth it becauuuuseeee…..

baked banana doughnuts!!!!

awesome!! they’ll taste great with a little peanut butter or cinnamon butter. i’m excited.

the snickerdoodles aren’t even worth mentioning. i’ll try harder next time.

if anyone ever wanders where i get my recipes, i get them from this GREAT website called Oh She Glows. she’s a pretty amazing woman. you should check her story out if you get a chance.

that’s pretty much been my weekend. baking, cuddling with my dog and boyfriend, and going to the gym. i’m not ready for this week to start yet, but i’m confident i’m going to rock it out. i hope you guys have had a great weekend, too. stay healthy, y’all.

up next: an update about orange juice.