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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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the journey of yoga begins

Recently I have got back to Yoga practice. I went to some power flow classes offered at the school gym and have some really fresh understandings about yoga.

First off, yoga can be challenging. I used to think of yoga as slow and not worth doing and spending the time if I want to get the most effect in fat loss. I mean it looks like only some stretches OK? But boy can it be sweaty and engaged! Added some core work into the sequence and I am getting sweaty all over!

Then, yoga can be beautiful. Sometimes we forget that we have a beautiful body. Society feeds the image of perfect bodies into our head, we didn’t even think about it and directly believe that it is what we want too. But what we really need is to appreciate our body, appreciate what we have. While i am doing some poses like warrior two, and looking at myself in the mirror, and looking at my elongated and straight arms, I learn to appreciate how strong and beautiful I am. And some poses, although it is not challenging, it is just simple and beautiful and so balanced and elegant. I also went to some barre burn classes, which is also so beautiful and makes me fall in love with my body and what my body can do all over again.

Then, yoga is a practice. The end goal is not some headstand or really really hard poses, it is about the feeling and the appreciation and being humble. I noticed that I really want to challenge myself to harder poses, but at the same time told myself that it is not only about the poses. It is also about breath. And as long as we keep practicing, our yogi path will start to deepen and enlighten our soul.

Today in the morning, I was just listening to my heart and didn’t follow any video. I do what I want and what feels good. I started with a simple sun salutation sequence, and then gradually add in one more movement and pose each time, and I finally understand why the classes are always like this. I remembered wondering: why do we do the sequence so many times? why can’t we just directly go to the full sequence? and today I understand that we need to ease into all the poses. The first time that I did the cobra is so stiff and I noticed the difference when I did it the second the third time. It is all a process. Don’t rush.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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calm and ready

Recently I have been binge listening to “the model health show” podcast, I think Shawn has some really good episodes where he talks about training that really gets my blood pumping for going to the gym, excited to do the workouts, and more importantly, get me to realize the importance of sleep and rest and reduction of stress.

He talked about his morning routine, where I also started to implement to my mornings. 1L of water to inner bath. I feel that this is working great for me, not only did I start doing this first thing in the morning, I also make sure that I drink at least 2 bottles of water at school. I used an app called Strides to keep track of these new habits. This is really helping a lot, coz I want to be able to have a streak of keep doing those things. I also put meditation on the list, which has helped hugely.

Earlier this year, I was really concentrated on doing meditation and was spending about 30min each time to meditate both morning and evening. But I slacked on the physical activity part and got so frustrated with the weight gain. Then I started going back to my workout routine and also started meditate again, but this time, I didn’t spend that long sitting and meditation, I just make sure that everyday I do some meditation. 10min usually. And I can already see what this little tweak has changed my attitude towards the day. I always do a little visualization, reminding myself of the goals that I want to achieve and telling myself I am not giving up until I get there. I also tell myself that today I am going to do everything to the best that I can. And many times, if I get frustrated with myself, I will use the meditation time to distill and think about what is the right way to take a look at things.

I also find that sometimes, when pain comes, I just need to lie there and lie with it and wait until it passes. The other day, I had too much for dinner and I was so frustrated with myself and I was really upset. Usually I would want my husband to say some encouraging words and help comfort me, but that night, I was just lying there, although uncomfortable and really down, I lied there, then fell asleep, and then the next morning during meditation, I told myself that I am determined to make some change to this. And I am seeing good changes already.

I find that many times I put too much food in my plate, and before I can finish the whole plate, I already feel full, then sometimes I told myself I will just finish it anyway, it is not so much more. But every single time, I feel so full that I don’t want to move after the dinner. So I made a note to myself, I need to change this. And I also put this into the list of habit that I want to form into the Strides app. And I know that I want to tick off “controlled dinner” on my list. And I am so happy with the past few days that I am behaving so well. And I am really positive and confident that I really can make those changes long term.

I am happy with the changes that has happened to me recently, and I think I am reducing my stress mindfully, and I am moving through life more gracefully. Like, I can have a vegan French toast for a Saturday morning breakfast, or I can just really take a moment and enjoy the glorious green smoothie bowl with cacao nibs to chew on. How perfect that is. Sometimes we just need to stop and take a moment to appreciate the things we have.

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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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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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OK so I suck at this, but I will keep doing it.

The thing is I am not as passionate as I want to be about my job.

Then I came up with this mentality.

When I began to run, I suck. I remembered very clearly that I hate every single minute of running. I only get the sense of accomplishment after running, but man, while I was running, that was total suffering. Period. I told my friend, I have been running for such a long time, and I haven’t seen any improvement, I still pant so hard, I still suffer.

But now, after 7 years, I say, I enjoy running. I start to get the beauty of it. The active meditation part of the story. There was even a point that I decided I would not run any long distances anymore. But I went back, I stick with it, and then I found the breakthrough. Now I think of it as a way to release my stress, and I genuinely enjoyed the process.

Then I realized that I can apply to my job too. I have to admit that I suck at it. So what? I will keep doing it just as I did with running. I just stick with it. And that’s see what happens.