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How I should really exercise & thoughts on youtube addiction

I always feel like I should feel the soreness on my muscles to really say that I had a great workout. Sometimes when I go to cycling classes I feel that I should push so hard that i am so out of breath to say that I have done my best.

My mom reminded me that I should take it easy, it is the best if I can recover just hours after a workout, if after a good night’s sleep there is still fatigue, that might be too much. I am a little guilty of going too hard lately, many times it is hard for me to find a good balance. When I go to the gym, I go really hard, I want an awesome workout.

But I think it is time for a little change in my mindset. If my workout is giving me so much fatigue that it starts to negatively affect my work and life, I should lower the intensity.

 

I am a little addicted to Youtube. when I have time or after work I want to relax, I go to youtube, and watch videos that are recommended to me. I can go on and on for hours, sometimes I can find things inspiring, other times it is just a way of entertainment.

Sometimes after watching a video, I would think to myself, oh I could do that too, I should be able to get several k of subscribers right? And I see this girl is a athletic brand athlete, then I was thinking to myself, I want to be their athlete too! that way I have all their clothing for free! Then if I see someone showing their clothing haul, I would think to myself, how do they have that much money to buy so many expensive clothes? I mean the amount that they show in the video is probably the amount I might buy in several years. Then I might see some people’s vlog when they are having vacation in Hawaii, in Japan, in Italy, then think to myself, oh I wish I can go to these places too, just chill and have fun.

unconsciously, I was telling myself, that the people with millions of subcribers are better than me. That all the things that I see is the way life should be. That the way I am living is not as divine as theirs. But it is not true, I am just tricked into thinking that they are better.

It is the same way with body image, I remembered when I was a high school student in a small town, I had no idea that big butt is a good thing for a girl, and nowadays it is almost like the best thing that a girl can be is to be thin and fit and big butt, big boobs and abs. It is problematic to think that we have to be like that to be liked by others. And it is not reasonable that everyone should look like that.

YOU DO YOU.

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2015 review

I think it is high time that I review 2015, fabulous with exciting changes and improvements and self discovery.

  1. Running, swimming and cycling.

Earlier this year, I started training for a marathon. I stick to the training program on Nike+ pretty well and get to a point where I can run up to 3h for 15 miles. I was running 4 times a week, on Fridays I would get so excited for the long run at the gym. I read a book about marathon training and educate myself. The whole training process is almost injury free, just some minor issues with IT band and balls of my feet. It turned out to be the problem with my running shoes. I lost a few pounds, because I wasn’t refueling my body properly. Then I increased the calorie intake and I am fine. In June, I increased the mileage to 88 miles, which I am quite proud of. Then I was back home for a vacation, and I just stopped the training. One reason is that I discovered swimming and cycling, and get excited over these. And also I felt very differently while swimming and cycling than running, it is refreshing, and relaxing. For running, I was super pumped and hyped. They are all good, I started to see the merits of different exercise. My fiancee started cycling with me and I am really happy to find him excited to go on weekend bike rides together. If we are not cycling, then we would go for a walk in a state park, go on the trail, take pictures of mushrooms after rain, frogs, water, sky. Some times we do long 3h rides, sometimes we do some hill work for shorter time. It was just a set time for the weekend that I am always looking forward to.

Then just a few days ago, I went to a ultra marathon race with 50k and 50 miles to volunteer. There is so much inspiration going on and I have my highest respect for the runners. Few are fit and lean, but the majority are not so much so. Fitness comes in all different shapes and sizes. Some are concentrated and determined, others are playful and singing and talking. Everybody has their own journey, everybody has their own battle to fight. Some are running alone, others have their husband or wife or even a group of friends to accompany along the way. Some throws up. Some couldn’t even talk in such agony. So many of the runners are so appreciative of us, they are saying thank you when they are at the aid station. You can see that they are just awesome people. Perfect dose of inspiration at the end of the year.

2.  Veganism.

I started learning about animal agriculture, animal rights and vegan life style earlier in the year. There are a few documentaries that are very informative and lead me to the decision of becoming a vegan. <Cowspiracy> talks about the environmental effects of animal agriculture, it has become the single biggest contributor to deforestation, sea pollution, species dying, air pollution, water usage, global warming. There is simply no way that the planet is going to support us the way we eat meat like now. We will be running out of resources.  <Earthlings> shows the clips and images from factory farms. It is just harsh to see how the animals are treated from the beginning of their lives. They are mistreated, tortured, confined to a small space, sitting directly next to each other. Their beaks, tails, horns, teeth are cut off soon after they are born. They are ill, sometimes going insane because of all the mistreatment.

There are people that inspires me to choose this lifestyle and assuring myself that this is possible, and this is healthy. Like Rich Roll, who is a ultra distance endurance runner and podcaster. Kristina, who is fully raw vegan promoter, artist. Steph Yu, who is 19 years old Asian girl who is going on adventures to discover and enjoy life. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, who is an educator, pro veganator, advocate for compassionate living.

Once I adopt this lifestyle, it is not as what I had perceived. I thought vegan just means salad all day, but no, there are so many things to choose from, and honestly I never felt so satiated after each meal. And the best thing is I don’t feel lousy afterwards. The one thing I noticed is that I don’t have stomach pain or heartburn anymore. I used to struggle with heartburn after lunch almost everyday. Then it is all gone after I stopped eating meat. Also with the amount of fiber intake, morning bowel movement is never a problem again, 5min and I am done. I also started to learn so much things about compassionate living with the food for thought podcast, with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It helped me with my earlier transition days of how I come out, how I can explain to people my decision, how to be a joyful vegan when eating out. Beyond that, there are also so many more things like how you can help injured animals you see, how animals are treated in the film making industry. I started with the understanding of veganism to be a glamorous lifestyle, but this podcast is just so eye-opening that I know that veganism is so much more than what you eat. “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything, do something, anything.” is one of my favorite quotes from her. You just see compassion beaming through her, and I feel like I am opening up a new level of consciousness. After all, vegan is not the end, it is a way to an end.

The decision to go vegan is probably the most important decision I will ever have made, for myself, for the animals, and for the people around me, and for the planet.

3.  Self love.

After the vacation home in July, I gained a few pounds. I was having a hard time accepting the fact. Then I started to realize that I should love and take care of my body no matter what. It is the only thing that I am in control of. I can nourish my body with good food, make it stronger with moderate exercise, and cherish it with great self compassion and self love. Whether you are comfortable within your own body shines through. I think the definition for fitness for me is not how I look, but what I can do. Of course it would be awesome if I have washboard abs. But I shouldn’t make it a default and say that if I have belly then I am not good, I am being lazy, or I am finding excuses, or I am eating too much. Fitness should come in all different shapes and sizes. At one point, I have filled my instagram with people with exceptional good physique. But then I deleted them all. I don’t need it. I already know what the society has imposed on us, and looking at the pictures would not be any inspiration but just recipe for self-loathing, and stress.

For me, I am happy with where I am now, I have a defined tricep, my leg muscles are strong, I have a tummy, but this is just the way it is. Thinking about what others think of you is stressful. Just do whatever you feel like in accordance with your value. And the truth is, nobody really cares, everyone is all too wrapped up in their bubbles to care. So if you eat so little, and exercise so much to achieve a great figure to get some compliment, think about it. I don’t think exercise and working out should be stressful, or a burden, or you feel like obliged to do because of what others think of you. It should be fun, relaxing and rejuvenating. You should enjoy the process of it. It shouldn’t be to own someone else’s compliment, It is to own you own applause, your own compassion and your own appreciation.

So before I was checking on my Nike+ all the time whether I am still ranking the first, and if I find someone before me I would go and run some extra miles. This is just not right. When I look at pictures from when I was thinner, I am thinking, oh this looks so under-nourished, like it is not even me. I am curvy, and that’s just me. After years of struggle I am back at an optimal weight, I figured this weight is just for me. No more, no less. Right on point.

Make peace with yourself. Praise yourself. Give yourself some love. Take it easy.

4. Relationship.

I am grateful with what JB did for me as I adopt the vegan lifestyle. I stopped cooking meat for him, he doesn’t have complaint. He is cheerful and joyful all the time. He is such a gem. He has taken good care of me. And I noticed his changes, he wants to go out hiking or cycling during weekends, which I had wished for. He is still playing a lot of computer games. But I decided to not intervene or try to stop him. He has his own decisions. Everyone has their own journey. Even us, even we are together, we are just companions, we can’t share the experience. So it is of his own decision what he wants to do. It might look wrong from my standpoint, but it is their own journey, and I can’t decide what is right and what is wrong for others’ way.

5. Miminalism.

I find myself not wanting to buy things. Especially clothes. I have enough clothes, they should last for so many years to come. If I buy more, there will just be more sitting in the closet, with the current selection I have, I can’t have even wore all of them.

I like to DIY, especially my food. If I can make it, I wouldn’t buy it. Actually the first time I eat almond butter, it is my homemade one. After I tried the Costco pecan cranberry sourdough bread, I am so hooked! And I started my own sourdough culture, and now the sourdough culture is almost 1 year old! I bake with them every week now. I also make my own sauerkraut, mung bean sprouts, pistachio butter, granola.

I think it is the best to use few ingredients to make simple yet delicious food. Curry is such an example. Potato, carrot, onions, tomato, lentil and we are there. Fried noodles, fried rice.

And with our decision to spend Christmas in town, it will be an awesome minimalist holiday for us too!

 

 

Sending all the love and joy! Peace.

 

 

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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.