Accountability in the Fitness World

I used to be completely obsessed with fitness and health about 3 years ago. I lost 55lbs (~27kg) and could lift about 50lbs (22.5kg) with each arm. WHOA! That’s not bad for a 22 year old woman who never worked out before in her life! 🙂

So now that I’m all flabby and fat again (today’s scale reads 77kg – 169.7lbs), I want to change!

I’m not nearly as fat and flabby as I used to be. My highest weight was 210lbs (~95kg) and my lowest was 155lbs – 70kg.

What’s the starter plan? Work out 3x a week for more than 30min, daily stretching and yoga, drink lots of water every day (84oz/2,485ml), and make conscious decisions about what I put in my mouth!

Every week, I’ll post an update of how I’m doing. Mostly, it’s for me to keep track and keep myself motivated.

I’m even looking into vegetarian cooking as a way to help push through these last 15lbs. I love the way eating raw/veggie makes me glow!

If you’d like to join me, please comment below and tell me what your plan is! Remember, baby steps are the best way to form a habit 🙂

Embracing Domesticity

All of my adult(ish) life, I’ve felt like I was the kind of crazy, independent, free-bird, tomboy kind of girl to never have the kind of time and patience required to stand in a kitchen for hours, slaving over food that would probably taste mediocre at best. I’ve never been the cook of  the family (although I have tried, and succeeded a few times) and I sincerely loathe doing dishes, with or without dishwashers being invented. Trust me, that keeps me at least 10 yards from the kitchen at all times!

A few times in the past, I’ve started up the hobby of cooking, wrestling ingredients and “heavy machinery” in my grandmother’s kitchen. It never lasted long, though. After some really dedicated tries, I gave up cooking in favor of having others cook for me. (How impeccably middle class.)

About 2 years ago, I became a raw foodist. It was an incredible change for my body and health. Overall, I felt like I had more energy and life than ever before, and everyone around me thought I was crazy! I aspire to eat raw again someday (when I live in an area chock full of fresh and affordable vegetables again)!

When I moved to South Korea, my access to ingredients I was used to working with was almost completely cut off. (Even though availability is getting steadily better in bigger supermarkets like E-Mart, I still have spices sent in care packages to this day.)

I made stir fry almost every night for nearly a year. Yeah, it was that bad.

So when did the domestication come in, you ask?

Well, a few months ago I started getting homesick. I was literally getting ill from eating Korean-style. A nasty mixture of hormones, allergies, and bronchitis had me in and out of hospitals for over a month. Once I finally got the germs to stop clinging to me, I realized like a lightbulb flashing before my eyes: I can cook!

Or so I thought.

But hey, trying is doing. And doing is believing. (Or something like that.)

Cheesy "Egg Botty"

Breakfast for dinner...a specialty

Even with the smallest kitchen known to man (literally, in a closet, I’ll show you sometime), I still enjoy finding new things to brew up and challenge my limits with.

DIY Freezer Meals

The newest cooking bandwagon I’ve jumped onto whole-heartedly is frozen slow cooker meals. Yeah, I’m just like every other working woman, and throwing a healthy meal in a heated pot for 8 hours so I can come home to a heavenly-scented kitchen is absolute perfection to me. (Seriously. Thank you, Rival Industries.)
So now I feel like a ’50’s housewife, always organizing things, cooking, sometimes cleaning (hah), and doing things like printing recipe cards, researching my dream kitchen, and spending hours of my day combing through sites like Pinterest and Punchfork.
I’ve come to terms with my new hobbies and interests and have decided: just because I still love to get muddy during a soccer match or climb some of the tallest mountains in Korea doesn’t mean I can’t love doing these more “feminine” things, too.
Have you been surprised by changes in your lifestyle that crept up on you slowly but seemed totally unlike you? Tell me about it!

The Biggest Debate of 2012…

…will be carried out in the battlefield of the wombs of American women.

This year it’s not war, not poverty or scandal, but the ability for women to choose any other option than abstinence to keep from procreating.

It’s my belief that every woman has the right to choose whether or not she should or should not have a child.

Birth control is a must-have in today’s society. I believe it should be covered by Insurance companies and seen as a necessary option for all women. In theory, it could work as an effective form of inexpensive welfare. The Pill costs between $30-50 per monthly pack (as a student, it was $10; as an E2 visa holder in Korea, $7), and I see it as a monthly necessity for myself.

Pregnancy is not an option for me. Abortion is the last thing I want to go through, physically or emotionally. So why would the government take away my option to take the pill, or take away someone else’s right to it (that statistically comes from a place with higher birth rates)?

And if those women get pregnant, or if I did, and chose to have an abortion because they and I simply were not economically ready for such a big responsibility, the government is saying that we should not be allowed the option of a safe and medically sound operation to control that which otherwise would kill us or make us bankrupt.

“Until […] all the variants of hormonal fertility control came along, anatomy really was destiny — and all of the world’s societies were organized around that central fact,” writes Sara Robinson, columnist on alternet.org.

Women have been controlled by men, religion, and the world at large because they are capable of creating life. It’s obvious that this trend still continues today and will continue if it’s not discussed and argued by all sides.

Pregnancy and birth tear families apart just as much as they can bring them together. There are thousands, nay, millions of women out in the world that wish they could have the Pill. And those that don’t endure painful and life-threatening abortions in their own homes. Why? Simple.

Women do have a choice. Even without the option of a germ-free, completely professional surgery, women will choose to abort children they literally cannot bear for one reason (usually many) or another.

If this amendment does pass and abortions in major medical facilities are banned and made illegal, I promise that it won’t stop women from doing it.

It won’t stop killing mothers, or tearing apart families, or keeping men from abusing and controlling women.

But the option, the ability to have that choice open to you… that can really save lives. It can help women and men have a choice to wait if there is an accident. It can keep unwanted children out of orphanages and foster homes. It can provide an escape for rape and molestation victims.

And most importantly, it gives women the ability to have some control over their bodies and what they can and cannot do with them.

It enrages and insults me that this bill is being shepherded by a panel of untouchable, unreachable, old men. What would they know about giving birth? The pain, horror, and fear women face when threatened with the possibility of pregnancy? The thought that their entire world and all of  their dreams can literally be wiped off the planet because of a fetus without so much as a heartbeat?

NOTHING.

And what do I know about it? Everything. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it. I’ve held hands, I’ve seen tears, I’ve taken pregnancy tests, and prayed to an Almighty Force.

And you know what? I don’t want to bring children into the world unless it is under my terms. This is the 21st century, and we’re no longer ruled by tyrannical churches and their agendas. I want my options open, and I want to see women standing up for their right to make babies or not.

If you’re like me, I plead for you to write to Congress, the White House, the House of Reps, the Senate… give them calls, emails… absolutely any way you can get a hold of them, please do, and tell them that what they are trying to do is completely unacceptable.

If you don’t live in the United States but wish to take part, please do. This is not just about Americans, but for standing up for women all over the world. With this kind of legislation being questioned in a first-world country, how can we make a difference in other parts of the world?

I want my future daughter (if she’s in the cards somewhere in the future) to not fear for her life or future if she’s put into the same situation that millions of others go through every day. Please help women protect their rights.

366//Week 7

366 Day Photo Challenge: Week 7

This week was really great, especially Valentine’s Day and the day I made all kinds of freezer meals for the coming weeks. Winter seems to make me feel all unmotivated, so bringing in new dishes and flavors is really helping me stick to my “healthy eating” trend and at the same time, branch out to new ways of preparing dishes for myself.
PS- I’m trying to stay away from food pictures from now on, but sometimes I just can’t help it! Food is a huge part of life, especially mine!

Coming soon, the week of Feb 19-25, my birthday week!

Feb 13, Day 44

After a long day at work and buttoning up against the cold, Sirius and I played a bit of ball together in the apartment. Continue reading

Disney Princesses: Are They Really Role Models? Part 1: Ariel

Princess or not, some of these ladies were role models and heroines of mine growing up, namely Ariel, Jasmine, and Belle. But how did that impact me as a teenager, and later, a woman? Continue reading

The Art of Singing (in front of others)

   Singing is easy. People sing everywhere: cars, showers, in empty spaces. But singing in front of others takes bravery, not just talent.

When I was young, I wanted to be a singer. I would dance on top of my dresser to the likes of R&B and hip-hop. I belted out the anthems of Whitney and Mariah with no abandon. [I wished I could hit the whistle register, but unfortunately, genetic forces kept me from stretching my range out of the “alto” category.]

Fast-forward a few years and you’d find me on the stage at St. Andrew’s Elementary, completely comfortable with hitting the high notes in “O Holy Night” for our school’s Winter Concert.

But, as you might expect, my “fame” was short lived. My talents were really just thanks to “kid singer” hype. By the time I got to high school, it was clear to me that — although I loved the stage and the energy I got from being there — singing was not my calling. I auditioned for everything: solos, lead roles in theater productions, understudies for roles in musicals… but my time was gone.

Some people are born to live in the spotlight and to let all their talent shine in front of others. It’s brave and challenging and rightfully difficult. Even though I didn’t have the projection or the clear and high voice that so many directors wanted from their lead roles, I did have the tenacity to keep trying and supporting those who did make it.

I’d like to share with you some of the ones who did!

Louise Keeton, actress and model. She’s a lovely person and really brings out the best in people.

Skylar Gudas, singer and actress. She’s created her own band and is making big waves.

“Red” Lewis, lead singer of “The Letting Go”. Musician and photographer (and man who loves cats).

There are many more, but those are just a few of whom I grew up with. Moral of the story? Chase your dream and be courageous. You can do anything that you love to do 10x better than what you think you should do.

366//Week 6

Midway through last week, I decided to make a weekly update for photos and focus on making longer blog posts throughout the rest of the week. Henceforth, 366 will be updated on Sunday nights! Hope you enjoy.

Feb 8, Day 39

Apartment mountains… Continue reading