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Slowly progressing in self love

I have been reading a few books that has helped me with my self image.

the first book is ‘the four agreements’. In that book, I learned that if someone calls you fat or says something that hurt your feelings, you shouldn’t take it personally and really it is their own problems to overcome. I was struggling quite a bit when my father and mother in law says I need to lose weight. And they were saying overweight is related with heart diseases, which I have to say, had some influence on me. And I was thinking to myself, OMG, I could have heart disease if I am like myself now. But I think the real problem is I think I am fat too. I was looking at my own pictures and thinking oh if I lose a few pounds it would look better on the picture. And their saying is just like one more confirmation.

but then I realize this mentality does no good in helping me lose weight. I was crying a lot even when I was losing weight but still heard them asking me while video chatting, did you have too much rice? We think you should eat more meat. I was depressed. And it is almost like when I was video chatting with them I just want to find a good angle to let them know that I have been losing weight.

now that I think about it, I realize that I should be more content with myself. I am not going to be able to please everyone. I know they are coming from a good heart, but if I still take those as ‘I am not good enough’ it is bad for my body and mind.

so I felt like a big burden is relieved that I don’t need to lose weight to please them anymore. I don’t need to change anything, I am just where I need to be right now.

but then I know that whenever I am standing on the scale, if it is a low number, somewhere in my heart I am happy. And just like the past few readings, it gets higher than usual, and I got a bit like: what am I doing wrong? I feel good, I am doing yoga every morning. Period is regular and didn’t feel so moody as it comes. And my little mind start to blame things on random, which I don’t even know relate to the weight gain. It could even just be related to the period.

so I know, that I am not entirely free from the imprisonment of weight on me.

But one good improvement that I realize is that yesterday when I was at a friend’s house, they were trying on the scale and see if the scale is working. Usually, I would be so reluctant to step on the scale in front of others but yesterday I just felt like I can. Everyone is different and I am just what I am. Although it is only a tiny thing, but I noticed the difference in my mindset and I am happy about my change.

i know it is all gradual change but I am seeing it already taking place and I have faith that I am becoming more and more acceptant and content with myself and what I got.

 

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Newly wed

I was back home in China for my wedding for 2 weeks. During this time, around 5 people told me that I am gaining weight and I need to lose the weight. About the same number of people told me I am taller and thinner. The problem is I believe that I have definitely become fatter.

First off, I wasn’t exercising as regularly this year as before. I was spending a lot of time doing meditation, I knew that I need to find a balance between movement and still, but for the time being, I was just slacking on the exercise. Fortunately, I was running a half marathon race and a 10k race earlier, which doesn’t make me a total fail in exercise.

Then, I started my youtube channel, which features me eating all kinds of delicious staff. I was eating a lot of bread and nut butter. I was going through jars of nut butters really quickly.

Then, I realized that I had gained some weight, and I just completely gave up, and had the thought that I would gain weight and look fat for the wedding, but that’s the plan, so that after I lose the weight later, people would say, ah! you have lost a lot of weight! It is all in my mind, that I get all stressed out about the wedding and the eating got a little bit out of control, I would eat a lot for dinner, and then have some snack almost every day.

Then, what’s worse is that, I thought that I am over eating disorder. But apparently my relationship with food is not as healthy as I had thought, which made me even mad and more prone to binge eating. I don’t think I have any episodes that could be called binge eating, but I did gain a few pounds over the half year.

At home, after I heard my family telling me to lose weight, I feel really unhappy, I cried 3 times just in this 2 week period at home. It hurts when I think I am not good enough. My family just wants me to be better, right?

I wasn’t eating to my full capacity at home. And I really think I need to make some changes with my eating, especially for dinner, not too much food!

It is pretty depressing when this coincides with my wedding. Everything appears to be happy and merry, but deep down, I was feeling lost, not loved, not enough. And my parents want to convince me to eat meat again. And people tell me that I got even more tanned than last time, which I know in their mind is not a good thing.

I need to listen to my body more and observe closely.

On my plane back to the states, I was thinking about how badly I want to lose the weight permanently. Thinking about things I would do after arriving. And I couldn’t sleep.

But I know I am healthy. I know different people have different body type. But some part of me just wants to lose all the weight and be a skinny girl and not to worry about it any more. I am really sick of me thinking about weight and eating all the time. It has been a really long time since I am like this anxious about my weight.

I am pretty fit according to American standards, but when it comes to Chinese standards, I am big. My mother in law says I need to lose weight, or when I have a baby I will be even heavier and bigger and hard to lose the weight. My aunt told me the exact same thing. When 2 people told me the same thing, I believed it and let it really sink in.

My mom and dad don’t see any problem with my weight, they didn’t mention it at all, except when someone says i am fat, mom says as long as I am healthy, size doesn’t matter. My dad thinks I am actually losing weight, but was also kind of surprised when I told him I am 70kg.

And for one meal, my brother was constantly advising me to eat slowly. So many times during the meal! I was kind of sad inside, but didn’t express it. He meant good. But I took it too seriously.

Before all this, I had believed that I am good with my size, and it should be my size. And actually, even after they said I am fat, I still think I am pretty good, not my slimmest, but still good. I belived my body will stay at whichever weight that is best for it to function. And after all, my period has become more on time than ever this year.

My husband is supporting through all this, he says you need to monitor your weight. But at the same time, don’t stress about it. But sometimes, he accidentally made fun of my weight in front of family members, which embarrassed me on the inside although I didn’t act like so.

Struggle struggle.

Before the wedding, my mother in law didn’t say anything, but the next day after the wedding, she came and asked whether I ate a lot of carbs and said I gained weight and I should lose them. I got really stressed and the next day I got some cold sores on my lips.

There are happy times for the trip too. Obviously the wedding. I have 5 friends coming over from all over the country to attend my wedding. And after the ceremony, we talked for hours. Which feels really close and intimate.

I am really lucky that I got my husband. We are from the same background, parents are from similar background, and we are well complement to each other.

It is just annoying that I am thinking about weight staff almost all the time, and this leaves everything else little space. But this is just me. I have to accept myself like this.

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Big magic

I finished the audible version of “Big magic” narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert herself.

I was very intrigued by the part where she talks about being brave when taking on the lifelong quest to be a writer. When she decided to be a writer as a teenager, she was determined that she will stick to this path no matter how hard it will be, it is almost like a monk, she did this because she was genuinely enjoying the process of writing.

When she decided to become a writer, she didn’t hope for the writing to provide enough income for her to live. She has to work on the side to be able to write. And in fact, she was still working as a waitress after 3 of her books got published.

The creativity is like having a secret lover for her, she would want to spend time with the lover no matter what, even if it is 5 minutes a day, she would be so eager to do that. So I reflect on whether anything is like this in my life. Writing is like this for me, many times I find myself with a blog that I am surprised with. In the beginning it is only some pieces of thoughts, but during the writing process, everything is put into place. And many times, I start with a not-so-happy mood, or a problem in my head, but as I write, I find my self-talk to be a coping method or a therapeutic process.

I have to confess, when I first know that people live off their blogs, or youtube, I was so surprised. I was like I can do that too. And a part of me wants this blog to become something big some time in the future. It is the same with Instagram, many times I saw the pictures with so many likes, I was like that oatmeal doesn’t even look that special and she posts that almost every other day. I was being bitter I know. But then it has to come back to why I even started the blog in the first place.

I want to connect with people. I want others to know about me. I want to get to know other people. And the fact that I always feel so good about creating something after writing a blog is quite enough for me. So as Elizabeth suggests in the book, take your creation process seriously, as much as you could when you are doing it, but after your thing is done, and it is put out to the world, you should just take it as light as possible. You can’t guarantee people’s reaction, they might like it, they might love it, they might hate it or despise it. So counting on people’s likes to be happy with your work is just a sure recipe for unhappy.

She also described a friend who in her 40s went back to figure skating, after she deep searched her soul what really made her happy. So the friend gets up 5 in the morning before work to skate with a bunch of kids, she does this because of the pure love for it.

For me, I was so keen on running, but it almost felt like a competition against others. It is like ego saying I am the one that can run streaks and the most miles in a month. But it is just poison for the soul. Many times it is the pressure rather than the pleasure that make me go for another mile. Nowadays, I discovered swimming and cycling, they are so much fun too. And I find myself less centered around how much more I can do than other friends. It is all to my pleasure, a balanced and healthy relation with myself. No competition involved. No ego allowed here. Just take it easy.

In the book, she also talks about creative ideas being some energy force that floats around to find someone to manifest itself. Once she conceived a novel, but due to other things happening in her life, she never finished it. Then she met another fellow writer friend, and the friend told her about the novel she was writing, and holly molly, the plot is just almost exactly the same with some minor detail differences. She concluded that the idea will struck you, then stay with you for a while to see if you are really serious about it. If you are not, then it will leave you and find someone else to hang out with.

And others have described creative process to be really magical. A poet says the poems are just like words sent from somewhere above, and when he was living on a farm, and sometimes the poem struck, she has to run so fast to the cottage to find a pen and paper to catch them before they got away. “Catching the poem” is almost like chasing the wind. I also remembered Rasha, the author of “Oneness” saying that she is just channeling what is told to her by the divine, and she is just typing it out.

I am not a creative person by any stretch of definition, and I have never thought of myself to be creative in any way, but this book just encourages me to find my creative side, enjoy myself and be joyful and playful with life.

 

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.

What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.

We toy alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.

We are terrified and we are brave.

Art is a crushing chore, and a wonderful privilege.

Only when we are at our most playful, can divinity finally get serious with us.

Make space for these paradox to be equally true inside your soul.

The treasures inside you are hoping that you will say yes.”

 

Sending all the love and peace.

 

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Easily brain-washed generation

I remembered some time ago I saw a youtube ad with a person claiming to rise from nobody to a man who owns so much. I finished the ad, then I was lead to a website, basically he was trying to sell his program. I was trying to decide whether to buy it. So I googled the review for that, turned out that man is a scam. And sure I kept receiving sales emails from him after I put my email in not really thinking about what it would mean.

I was just shocked by the fact that I am so easily baited. I was that close to buying the program, and when I think about it, you could feel the salesperson tone for this man, which is quite obvious.

I guess it is because I am so eager to be happy, be content with myself, achieve great things and do what I love and earn money. Everything I could have ever possibly want. And when you are desperate and eager, you become the easy bait.

People are looking forward to life hacks, “if you eat this diet, you will lose 10 pounds in one week.” “If you read this book, it will change your life and you will become rich.””If you do my meditation program, you will find your inner peace and be mindful in your daily life.”

But no, it doesn’t work that way.

I found people on social media who only eat fruits, “fruitarian”, I found people who eat a huge amount of rice. I know people who are on banana island. I follow them, finding myself to love those things more because all those fancy people are eating them. Coconut sugar? Well freelee eats it so it must be good.

I remembered I don’t eat a lot of potatoes before I went vegan, I thought they are empty calories. I don’t eat much rice either. Coz carbs are bad, right? Now I feast on them. Mind can change, big time.

Now I recognize those moments of me wanting the same things that others are eating or using. I paused, asked myself why, then the eagerness subside. It is human nature, I just need to recognize it, watch it come, wait for it to go. I need more thinking in for my easily-washed brain.

I was feeling a little stressed lately. After I came to the states and started celebrating the Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have always been not so happy when November and December comes around.

One reason is that I eat more when winter comes and the weather is colder, it results in weight gain, it leads to my stress. Two, i guess it is the time that you review your year and look forward to the next year, and I am more of a person to find faults with myself rather than make peace and praise my achievements.

I was just about to say that: oh boy, finally this year I am free of holiday stress!!! But no it came on as a blow.

During a previous post I talked about how I hided my identity as a vegan for quite some time since I became one around May. Then I met another vegan and we talked about how we are dealing with our identity issues. We don’t want to be a pain-in-the-butt-hard-to-please vegan. We thought we are putting stress on others. But at the end of the talk I realized that I need to change the situation and then I did. I opened up and started opening up to my close friends that I made my choice to become a vegan.

Since that, I have friends who didn’t react much, they are not close friends to be honest, but I just appreciate the fact that they don’t judge, at least in front of me and I felt like I am making my own choices and it doesn’t bother them. I have friends who tried to deny the cruelty that is happening in animal agriculture, he said what I saw is the worst of all, but not all slaughterhouse is like that. I felt like this is not even the logic, and I didn’t really defend. I have friend who is a little bit concerned that I might be deficient in some nutrients if I don’t eat meat, but they agreed on the possibility of eating less meat. After all, my boyfriend has been really supportive all the way although he has no intention whatsoever to become a vegan himself. I stopped cooking meat for him and he is OK with that.

Then I had a nightmare of losing all my teeth one by one and holding them in my mouth. I had the same dream one time before, it was just miserable. Such a long and vivid dream. My father was in it, my mom, my sister. But no one really helped me take care of my teeth, they just kept eating their dinner. And I was trying to be considerate and not causing any trouble for them by holding all my fallen teeth in, waiting for them to finish their meal and attend to me.

Losing teeth is a sign of stress and drastic changes in life. Since I opened up about my identity, I was trying to be a “better” vegan. I was about to buy some dark chocolate then decided no, because there is milk in it. I was thinking what would people think when I am not as skinny as other ambassadors for vegan. I can’t get ill after I become vegan, people would blame veganism for this. I shouldn’t be unhappy with myself or my life coz if I am eating all the right food what could go wrong. I should bring some really fancy looking food to potlucks because if I just bring potatos and carrots curry that I eat all the time, people would think vegan are boring.

Truth is, expectations just lead to disappointment. And vegan is not the final answer like if I got it correct then I got everything fixed. It is not the magic pill. You are still a human, you get ill, your mood changes. And the best thing I can do is to be myself. And that would be the best representation.

After all, it is my life, my body. And it is what I perceive my body and my life that is important. And there is so much more to being vegan than food, there is so much on being compassionate for all beings. It is love.

Peace, plants, namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

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Picture bomb situation

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Purple rice sushi with sweet potato and hummus.

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Homemade sourdough muffin with curry.

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Fried rice with all the vegetables you can eat!

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Chow Mien.

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Indian Buffet. Need I say more?

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Best desert ever!!!

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Dinner plate.

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Sprouting some mung beans!

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Some sriracha? Yes!!!

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Banana Icecream~

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Mungbean sprouts!!

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Traditional spring burrito with homemade naan bread.

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Just take a moment and adore the bagel.

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Present from heaven, young coconut.

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Sunset in Destin.

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You jump, I jump.

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Green Smoothie. Morning Glory.

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Look at the colors of my dinner plate!

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My best sourdough loaf so far!!!

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Zero to hero—–how I go from 0 to 5k, and to half marathon

I started running when I was in college, a great friend of mine encouraged me to lose some weight and insisted that it would make me look so much better if I am thinner. She is like a robot girl, always had the energy to work and always have bright ideas. We spent all our time in the classroom studying, we went for runs on hot summer days. We talked about silly things like we both want to have the power enough that when we walk past people, they would all feel our energy. There are people in my life that have seen the best of me that I didn’t even think I have. They walk into my life and they passed. Only now do I understand that people that truly love you will be drown towards you. You don’t have to try to please people. Well this should be a whole post. Let’s stay focused for now and talk about my running.

I started running and make myself run for 4k, which is 10 laps on the school playground. I just made it a rule, I get up in the morning, I go run, however long it may take, however tired I was, I have to finish that 10k. Through that summer holiday, I lost quite a few pounds and when I come back to school, many were saying that I lost a lot of weight.

Tip #1:Don’t count on discipline, make it a ritual.

Like brushing your teeth, you don’t think about it every morning, you just do it. That’s what I did. Many would say that oh I can never make running a habit, I just don’t have that kind of discipline. For me, it is simple and brutal. Just do it. No excuse. Make it a ritual like brushing your teeth, you just do it without thinking about it.

JUST DO IT. Simple as that. Everyone starts somewhere, if you can only run 2 min then be it. Run 2 min, then you can walk 2min, maybe you have the strength to run again, then do another 2 min maybe. Next day you increase it to 3 min.

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Tip #2: Find a buddy, report everyday.

I don’t remember exactly how tired and out of breath I was when I started running. But I clearly remembered that I want to make sure that I report to my boyfriend everyday. I don’t want to miss one day. Everyday I want to be able to say that I have done the 4k, I am good.

Find someone who you really cares about, and who cares about you. Do it with them, or report to them everyday, or weekly, to have accountability.

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Tip #3: Find something you enjoy while running.

For me, music works. I just love listening to pop songs which make my blood pump. I also listen to podcasts while I run, it just makes running not so dreadful when you have some interesting materials to listen to. I will share what songs I listen to when I run, these are the jams! Podcasts that I listen to are Richroll podcast, Goodlife project, etc.

You can also run on trails in the woods, which is so refreshing and serene. You never get bored in the woods!

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Tip #4: Think about all the food!!

Running means calorie burned, means I need to refuel my body to better recover. If that’s not an incentive, I don’t know what is. Just think about that banana smoothie after your run! Creamy, chilly, sweet goodness!! Think about all the fruit you can eat, mango, papaya, watermelon, coconut water! Man I have to say Oh good heaven when I eat those juicy fruits! I also love baking, so I run and bake and eat. Works for me!

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Tip #5: Sign up for a race!

For me, the real deal all begins when I signed up for the New Orleans Jazz Half marathon. I started training according to plan seriously. I did my first race ever March 2014, which is a departmental 5k, which lead to the decision to run a half marathon. After I signed up for it, I really start to get serious about running. After the half, I had a little bit down moment for running. Then I came back full forth with the determination to run a full marathon.

SIGN UP for a race together with your best friend! That’s a sure good way to spend a Saturday morning. Sweaty and all excited!

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Tip #6: Take it slow.

Often times, we want the results too fast. On our first day of running we want to complete a 5K. And next thing you know, you have a sore leg that you can barely walk the next day. You stopped there, AGAIN. If we want to get there, we must take it slow, however much our body can take in. Don’t push too hard. It is the long shot, It is persistence that really matters. It is not just a week of running, or a month of running. It should be a life time commitment to exercise and an active life style.

30 day shred, 8min abs. I don’t buy it. Results come slowly, if you do it consistently it will come eventually. I don’t believe in losing 20 pounds in  2 months. I don’t think your body would like that. I believe in small changes that you keep for a life. Anything you believe that you can do it for your whole life, you should do that. If a diet plan or an exercise plan asked you to restrict your calorie intake to a minimal that you have so much craving, if it asked you to exercise more than 1h everyday, besides looking at all the sexy before and after pics, you should consider whether you can do it for the rest of your life, if you stopped restricting so much and exercising at the same time, think whether you will regain that 10 pounds back.

One step a time, take it slow, You will get there in no time.

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Tip #7: It is about the mindset.

Healthy is not all about diet and exercise, it is also about your mind. I recently read something like: it is not the food that you eat are making you fat, but rather it is the thought that the food you eat would make you fat really does.

I am just struck when I read this. Really, if you enjoy every single bite of the bagel you eat, you smell the wheat, you love the simpleness of a bagel, how is that bad for you. Some people label food as good or bad. Banana is bad for too many calories, potato is bad for being too starchy, peanut butter is bad for the fat. But there is nothing wrong with all these food, these are all nature’s gift. I love my bananas, I like potatos, and peanut butter! If you sincerely enjoy the food that you are eating, take every bite with full appreciation, it is not going to make you fat!

At one point after my half marathon, I just ditched running. I don’t fancy the idea of running 3h alone. I believed that was crazy and it does no good to my body. But I got back to it with the mindset of giving it another shot. With no stress, just see how I feels. I loved it! The time running, is the time I have to myself. I know it makes me a happy person. Then it switched, I still have that losing weight mindset on the background I admit, but I start to look at more things than that. How far can I go, how fast can I go, how quick do I recover. There is much more than just the scale.

DO IT FOR YOURSELF. Don’t run because it is the craze now, Don’t run because you saw the before after pic of someone else. Don’t run because you think it make your friend think more of you. If you don’t like running, find something else to keep you active. You HAVE TO ENJOY IT!

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Please leave any comments below, I really want to connect with you guys! If you have any questions I would be happy happy to answer!

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Friday Fives—I am going home!

1. How do I do on a plant based diet?

Recently I have been experimenting with a plant-based diet. At first due to health reasons and the incentive to improve my performance in running. I did see improvements in recovery time and my energy. And it comes together with meditation practice. I don’t feel heartburn anymore, I feel good when I run and I recover almost instantly. The other day when I had a 10 miler, I didn’t feel any sore in my legs the next day. Although I had a minor injury in my left foot for a few weeks, I have improved a lot not only in milage, but also in my performance in the run.

I have watched a documentary which addresses animal agriculture in a environmentalist view. Which gives me more reason to stay on this life style. Truth is, before when I eat a lot of meat, it is mainly the mental game. I feel that I need all that meat to maintain the muscle, but from what I experience now, I don’t really need that much protein and if cows and chickens are fed corns and millions of gallons of water to grow, I can enjoy my corn on a cob directly rather than eating the steak. It just saves energy and land and air and water. Win win situation.

2. Going back to China for vacation!

Getting excited about going home! Going together with my fiance, 3 weeks of good food ahead! Hope that doesn’t result in an extra 5 pound on me! A lot of food pics to come!

3. Favorite fruits, veggies.

Favorite fruit, banana, cheap, sweet, makes you happy. Good for smoothies. Papaya, so smooth like heaven! Mango, sweet and tropical. Oh and watermelon!

Favorite veggies, cabbage, potato.

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The pic on the left is my green smoothie for breakfast. On the right is Chinese braised potato and carrot. OH SO GOOD!!!!

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Fresh Figs! I never had fresh figs in China, I only had dried ones. These are so juicy!

4. Good documentary.

Cowspiracy. I watched it on Youtube.

5. I got my Bike!

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Used bike from local donation based bike shop. Awesome riding in the woods!

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What a nice sesame seed muffin, got a crack on it!