Shifting Goals – Being Flaky or Realistic?

The other day Ryan mentioned that it was high time that I take down my framed New Year’s Resolutions, which sit on my desk next to an unfinished Stitch Lego sculpture and too much fucking washi tape.

“Why would I do that?” I asked, bracing myself for what I knew was coming next.

“Well, you’re not applying to grad school, you are nowhere close to seeing your family 5 times this year,  maybe you’ll do a chin up… If I were you, that’s just really depressing. I wouldn’t want to look at that everyday and be reminded of my failures.”

Maybe I’m performing some intense mental gymnastics, or I’m just used to the nature of New Year’s resolutions, but I definitely don’t feel depressed that I am not on track to complete my goals.

In my mind, these specific benchmarks I created all have a greater motivation behind them, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t do exactly what I said I would, as long as I make progress in that area of my life.

For example, do a chin up – it would be cool to do a chin up, but what’s really important is for me to continue my strength training, which I’ve done. For applying to grad school, the deeper goal is to further my career and somehow bring more programming into my job. That is happening slowly. (Also I want to note that I have been frugal this year, and I was writing consistently in my journal up to a point, so hey, some things are working.)

So, yeah I’m not sad when I look at my list. This is shallow, but what I’m more worried about is what my friends think of my changes of heart. For example, several years ago I said that I wanted to be a marriage and family therapist. I told everyone. I looked into it, researched MFT programs and signed up to work with the Friendship Line (elderly suicide hotline). After putting about 6 months of work into that path, I scrapped it. The reality of a therapist’s hustle and the fun of dealing with health insurance red tape was not what I wanted for my life. While I had done my due diligence in investigating this career path, I still felt embarrassed when I had to tell others that I had changed my mind. Right now I’m doing a similar “pivot” and I worry about not appearing serious enough about my goals.

On a slightly related note, lately quite a few people in my life have had job changes (mostly voluntary) and so I’ve been a patient ear in too many soul searching “what should I do with my life?!!” conversations. I usually enjoy these chats because it’s fun to hear other people’s dreams.

This time around, I’ve found myself getting angry at any signs of flakiness and lack of follow-through in my friends. I know that this is partly me projecting my feelings of inadequacy about changing my own damn mind, but on the other hand, some of my friends are actually really flaky. They come up with grand ideas and never follow through, or give up quickly.

Or even worse, they are chronic complainers. It’s really draining to regularly listen to someone whine about their recurring problems, discuss solutions, and then have them shoot down whatever you suggest, or see them do absolutely nothing to improve their situation. Next time we meet up, we’re having the same conversation. Rinse, repeat. We’re too old for this shit!

I’m still trying to figure out how to act in order to be supportive, but also to protect myself emotionally. The best I can come up with is to listen, and try to avoid giving advice. When the conversation is over, I take a big breath and “let it go.” It’s a bit of structured detachment, and it’s hard. It goes against my natural tendencies to get overly involved in my friends’ lives. But I gotta let it go, in order focus on my own goals.

Anyone have tips for dealing with friends stuck in a rut, or acting consistently negative?

Looking for Balance

Obligatory “Hey I haven’t posted in forever, but here is a life update” disclaimer….

So, at the beginning of the year I was pretty nervous about balancing two college courses along with my full time job (and relationships and hobbies and family and SLEEP…). I meant to blog about the classes in order to make some sense of the madness, but I found that my perspective on the situation kept changing.

In January I was anxious about making it all work. About a month in, I found a rhythm, and thought I was handling things rather well. I found a way to start using the skills I picked up in class at my day job, and that really helped accelerate my learning. Also, it was incredibly satisfying to be encouraged and PAID to pursue my interests. My company is the best.

Well, I lied. My rhythm turned out to be studying all the time, which is total folly. When I got tired, I switched from Python to Linear Algebra (woo hoo!), then back again. My lack of balance was a perfect recipe for burnout. Eventually my body said NO FUCK THIS SHIT I’M OUT.

Luckily, this happened just before a planned vacation. Ryan and I went to Myanmar, but as much as I love Southeast Asia, it was stressful and exhausting (I was sick the entire time). I came back tired and humbled, but determined to plow through the rest of the semester. Since I had more flexibility with my online Linear Algebra class, I put it on the back burner and focused on Python. I decided not to kill myself, and skipped a couple of homework labs. And you know what? It was FINE. I got a B, and a recommendation for a teacher’s assistant job in the fall. 😀

So, now here we are about a month and a half after my Python class wrapped. I’m mostly excited by the projects I’m working on, but to be honest, when I’m not in the zone, I feel bummed out. My friends’ summer vacation photos taunt me. I could go on vacation, but I need to be saving money. Also, several people in my life have recently gotten big promotions, and while I am truly happy for them, I wonder to myself when my hard work will pay off. I’ve been at this for about a year, and the goal still feels so far away.

So, this whole balance thing… I’m still figuring it out. Here are a couple of tips that have saved me:

  • Health is a priority. Eat healthy, make time for daily exercise, sleep. Don’t drink too much. Whenever I skimped on any of these things, I felt it the next day. I’m old.
  • Outsource what you can. Despite living within walking distance to 6 grocery stores, I started buying groceries on Instacart again. Having one less thing to do gave me more time to relax, which was well worth the delivery fee.
  • Lean on your partner for support. That’s why they’re there, right?
  • Lower your standards.  Sometimes things just have to be “good enough.” Easier said than done, as I am a total control freak who can not let go.
  • Keep your hobbies. Or you will become a boring zombie.
  • Batch your chores during non-peak hours to save time and stress. I fell under the spell of Meal Prep Sundays, and did my laundry at weird hours.
  • Do not feel guilty and attempt to read all of your magazine subscriptions which have piled up on your nightstand and remind you that you have no life… START FRESH.
  • Schedule time with friends. Going into hermit mode was a mistake that I learned too late.
  • Find like-minded people. I barely had time for my friends, but being around classmates who were going through the same craziness has been invaluable for support and motivation.

Journaling has also helped me navigate my stress. I’ll try to post more frequently here, since I am paying for the web hosting after all :p. Let’s say once a week, optimistically.

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New Year, New You

The blogosphere has been a bit overwhelming lately. I usually enjoy all the Year in Review and Resolutions posts. I like reading between the lines for drama (especially juicy breakups, so good), and reading resolutions is inspiring. But now everybody’s posting 12 part retrospectives with each and every month’s highlights and struggles? Phew, exhausting stuff. I mean, it’s already boring thinking about my past year. Plus these photo heavy posts take forever to load!

Even more annoying than the trend of month by month breakdowns is the hot new un-resolution trend of choosing a single word to manifest in the coming year. Common words I’ve seen: create, balance, gratitude, embrace, enough, beauty. BARF. The New York Times has gotten ahold of this trend, so it’s totally basic by now.

Anyways, here in my little 11 x 10 corner of the world, I’m sticking to my personal tried and true: setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. That’s right, going Six Sigma on my life. I learned about SMART at an old job, and while I didn’t meet my professional goals there (it was the type of place that talked about goals, but didn’t really honor them when it came to resources), SMART has been great for my personal life!

Specific / Measurable / Achievable / Relevant / Time Bound

I had a little trouble coming up with goals for the year, so I tried to remember what I did in 2014. It was a pretty good year. I feel like for the most part I handled most challenges like a rational and kind human being. While I didn’t expect much out of the year except a serious grind at work, looking back I accomplished quite a bit.

Health

  • Mostly, it was a big year for fitness. For some reason my running got better in the beginning of the year. I honestly don’t know what I did differently. Riding that wave of success, I decided to do a half marathon (inconceivable!). I tried a few new types of exercise for fun (Insanity, Zumba, kettlebells), but due to the race training I ended up settling into a weekly routine of lifting/Pilates, running, and yoga. With the intense training schedule and a slightly cleaner diet, I dropped 15 pounds in about 7 months. So I lost the extra pounds I put on last year and then some.
  • I also tackled my general moodiness with a few new tools and found myself feeling much better by winter. No Seasonal Affective Disorder- huge win!

$$$ / Hustle

  • I made February a frugal month, which was a needed reset after the holidays. Overall for the year, I didn’t save that much, which was disappointing. Surprisingly, I still hit my net worth goal of 100k, pretty much all in retirement funds. 😀
  • I started an Etsy shop.While I haven’t made a ton of money from it, it’s been a really fun side project. I’ve even gotten some touching emails from customers. Can’t complain.
  • I got a promotion at work, which is good, but not a surprise.

Education

  • This sounds silly, but I finally finished a class on Coursera. Two, in fact. For years I’ve been signing up and dropping out weeks later-my secret shame. For the record, the Wharton Intro to Marketing class is really interesting, and doesn’t require much of a time commitment.
  • I started learning R & Python this year. It makes my brain hurt a lot, but I’m glad I finally got serious about it.
  • Not learning my lesson the first time, in a fit of madness I began seriously contemplating grad school. I’ve found a few part time night and weekend programs that look promising (Berkeley?), but I’ve got a lot of work to do to apply, starting with prereqs.

Relationships

  • 2013 ended with me kicking out a roommate, which was awkward but necessary. Two roommates later Ryan moved in. While it was a bit bumpy adjusting to the change, overall it has been positive. Despite having less privacy I think our relationship has gotten better. Also everybody in the house gets along, which makes it such a happier atmosphere. No more worrying about being attacked by a drunk roommate.
  • I visited Los Angeles 3 times in 2014, which is better than the year before but not great.
  • The floor in our bathroom rotted out and everything had to be gutted. I developed quite the daily relationship with the annoying handymen. I thought maybe I would learn to love them, but no. It was terrible.

2015 Goals- Building on 2014. Challenging, but doable.

  • See my family 4-5x this year. I’m really hoping to land one of those 1$ MegaBus tickets. One dollar!!!!
  • To fulfill my prereqs I’m taking two after work college classes this semester. I’d like to make it through without losing my shit (is that measurable?). Since I’m going to have to study during most of my non-work time, I need to learn to accept “good enough” and to let go of control by delegating tasks to others. This is actually really hard for me.
  • Be more frugal. Save up enough money for another year off. Safety money.
  • Journal daily. I’m using a 2015 daily planner as a journal. So far, so good. Surprisingly, the 2015 Moleskine daily planners are extremely popular -Amazon is sold out of most models. AMAZON.
  • Work on my lifting and get some super strong arms. Goal: chin ups.

So there you have it. I found this holiday card on sale at the art store, and filled it out with my goals. It’s staring at me every day. No excuses!

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GChat Digest: 7

Friday! Yes! Finally! It’s been a strange week. I celebrated my birthday over the weekend in chilly Vancouver and then once I got back promptly got incredibly sick. I’m finally starting to feel normal again.

Let’s look at some links!

Tiny Burrito Hamster had a tiny Friendsgiving! Afterwards he watched tiny football and did a tiny 5k to burn it all off.

Portraits of gender reassignment. These are quite lovely.

How hillbilly reality tv got too real. I am very sad about the unraveling of Honey Boo Boo.

New episodes of Bee & Puppycat!

I fell down the rabbit hole reading these Monistat 1 reviews on Amazon. Moral of the story is don’t use that shit! An excerpt from one of my favorites:

The last 10 minutes of work my boyfriend showed up and I was hunched over a freezer in the back, breathing as though I was about to give birth to satan himself. I followed my boyfriend home with one hand on the wheel and the other pulling my shorts aside praying that the ac would somehow reach my poor little “who” and make her feel better. I waddle in the house and my boyfriend tried to touch my butt… I slapped his hand down and suddenly the devil leaped into my body and lashed out at him. The meanness rolled from my tongue, but I couldn’t be touched. Boyfriend simply couldn’t understand, when I finally came to, that my Netherlands felt as though a large colony of fire ants had decided to call it home and were celebrating by setting off fireworks and eating wasabi covered hotdogs while the red hot chili peppers gave a killer performance of “come on Baby Light my Fire.” I crawled in bed and whimpered for god to just take my life…

Interested in doing a No Pay MBA? Or just learning basic business skills? Here’s a good guide that includes online resources.

I don’t believe in astrology, but this Dating the Zodiac series is pretty fun.

21 women on the dumb things they spend their money on. Hint: food is expensive.

Also, New York women draw their own boobs.

There is an academic journal for Adventure Time research

Classic principles of economics, illustrated with Seinfield clips

The NY Times chats with Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed.

I had a hard time getting into season 1 of American Horror Story (Murder House), but the latest season, Freak Show, seems just up my ally!

Here’s Seal Boy from Season 4 in his real life…. doing burlesque with his prosthetics.

Here’s the original Seal Boy, Sealo! I actually really like that entire site, Human Marvels. It’s informative, but doesn’t really feel manipulative.

Last freak show link, I swear: This essay makes me want to re-read Geek Love

Agency life

Also, if you are in advertising and love cards against humanity, an ad agency created their own cards…

To celebrate Black Friday, the actual creators of Cards Against Humanity sold poop. 😀

It’s the end of the year-best of lists are coming out like gangbusters. Here’s NYTime’s best books of 2014.

Top gifts for your fitness freak friends. Which at this point is pretty much all my friends. Crossfit dice, anyone?

Scallion pancakes are one of my favorite unhealthy Chinese foods. Now I can make my own at home, Yan Can Cook style.

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My First Half Marathon

5 months, 60 training runs, and 9! pounds later…

It was finally time to head up to Portland and run the damn thing. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even nervous. I was just ready to get it over with. Unfortunately Ryan had to drop out due to an emergency that took him to New York. I felt a bit guilty going ahead with my “fun” weekend without him, but sometimes life is like that.

Michelle and I had joked months earlier that we ought to use this trip as an opportunity to force each other to do the other’s favorite cult workout. For me, it was Bikram yoga. For her, Crossfit. Both patented exercise regimes, mind you. Both a bit misunderstood and militant. Both costing about $20 bucks a pop. Still cheaper than SoulCycle!

Anyways, considering how grueling the half would be, I’d given no thought to working out the DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER the run. In fact, I packed only one set of workout clothes. How wrong I was. I was going to be wearing those nasty Lululemons all weekend. The moment I hopped in Michelle’s car she asked me to look up a Bikram studio. Shit.

Anyways, we did end up doing Bikram. And a half. And Crossfit. And we survived. But this post is about the half, so let me get back to the point.

We woke up a little early because there was an hour drive to the run site. Oh, and I also wanted to get Burgerville for breakfast. Yum! Getting to Hood River was a little nerve wracking because Google Maps sucks. We ended up driving over a nondescript toll bridge, paying a dollar, and then paying another dollar to get back across once we realized our mistake had taken us to Washington!! We told the toll booth operator about our amateur mistake, but there was no sympathy for the two lost out-of-towners. She was a true toll bridge troll.

The instructions on the marathon website were utter trash, and we found ourselves in a long line of lost cars. The blind leading the blind, as there was no signage mentioning the race anywhere. A gas station attendant pointed us in the right direction, and we were on our way. Parking was a bit of a frustration, and we almost had an altercation with a self-important soccer mom and teenage volunteer who were being a bit unreasonable about our car. The difficulty of just getting to this stupid race was starting to become comical.

By the time we got to the disorganized start line, we were not excited. Michelle was a bit grumpy. Maybe she would have liked a bagel from the food tent, but it was too late for bagels.

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But hey! There was a rainbow! That’s a good sign, right?

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Rocking my commemorative pullover. Minor gripe: there were no free t-shirts at this $80 race >:(

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I’d had some hesitations about this run because the course was pretty much ALL hills. But hey, I live in SF, so I “trained” for it.

For the first mile or so it rained. Then it was just a long wet slog up the hill. At one beautiful overlook I tried to take a photo while running, fell and skinned my knee.

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Beautiful, right? Worth the bruises.

By mile 4 my mind drifted. I was slow. I was dying. Why was I doing this again? I focused on the cute dogs that raced by in the “dog half marathon.” Then I realized that the dogs were trotting the half marathon happily, and I was struggling. That was depressing.

Around Mile 6 things started to come together (aka my Gu chomps kicked in). I passed Michelle as she was returning and felt a good surge of energy. This was really happening! What to say? I kept running up and down the fucking hills. I spent time checking out my fellow runners and making up elaborate background stories for each of them.

Mile 9? I felt a little queasy. I tried to throw up.

Around Mile 10 I did throw up. It was awesome. Then I kept running. I made up for lost time by speeding down the 2 miles of hills.

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Woo! Downhill!

The last mile was miserable. We did zigzags through the muddy parking lot to the grassy area where the finish line beckoned. I started to cry. It was very overwhelming to have come to the end of such a long and in my mind unattainable goal. I was so proud of my  body for hanging in there.

My time: 2:26! Faster than I’d estimated in training. And with hills too!

When I finished, I didn’t even want to get my rightfully earned free BURRITO AND BEER from the food tent. I was just empty.  We got the hell out of there with our ceramic tile Georgia O’Keefe medals. It was back to Portland, where we could pass out in peace.

So, that was that. What should my next fitness goal be? Please don’t say a full marathon.

GChat Digest: 6

Haven’t done one of these in a while, but every time I tried to get one together, I felt like my links were too old. But no matter, let’s look at some links!

First off, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir singing their parody of “Stay with me.” Preeeettttty great.

I’ve read 21. How many of these 100 “great” novels have you read?

Even better, how many of Marilyn Monroe’s library of books have you read? Growing up I always thought Marilyn was a bit of a ditz, but it seems like she knew what she was doing to some extent. I’ve been surprised to learn how athletic and bookish she was.

The real history behind J Crew clothing spinoff Madewell (aka our culture’s current obsession for buying things with history/a story)

50 underwhelming musician real names

RookieMag interviewed young female artists and asked how they make an artistic life work as a career

Back when I was feeling down last month, I watched the Roosevelts documentary, and it made me feel a lot better seeing how Theodore, Eleanor and Franklin handled their own varying levels of depression (Cliff’s notes version: Theodore and Eleanor kept themselves incredibly busy, Franklin did things for other people and brooded a lot). Ken Burns documentaries are easy to make fun of, but this one was pretty great, even if it was 14 hours long. You can watch it on demand on PBS and the Fresh Air interview with Burns is a good teaser if you’re on the fence.

And after you’ve watched the first two episodes, you might find this Teddy Roosevelt DirtBag article funny.

Ask Polly moved over to NYMag- Here she answers the difficult question “Why don’t the men I date ever truly love me?” 

I just discovered Bee & PuppyCat. Where have they been all my life?

The Economist explains why South Korea is so Christian

Interesting interview with Andre 3000… errr Andre Benjamin about what he’s been up to lately. Especially interesting is how he’s trying to make his artistic life work with being an active dad.

9 must try Vietnamese drinks. What, no avocado shakes?

Cosmonaut crashed to Earth crying in rage. The story is a bit more complicated, but it makes you feel something, right?

I’ve been disillusioned with the SF hot restaurant scene for quite a while now. The fun is just gone. Here, let there be an airing of grievances!!!

Here’s a free e-book that a grad student made for her final project. It’s a cookbook for people who receive SNAP benefits (food stamps).

It takes a lot of work to make good matcha.

Bored at work? How about participating in Office Roleplaying on Facebook?

My favorite mortician was on Fresh Air! Wait, that sounds weird…

Are you following Four Loko on Twitter? You’re missing out. It’s one of the most ridiculous accounts I’ve ever seen.

An informative interview with a professional taxidermist.

Basic Bitches from Literature. Thank god they called out Daisy Buchanan. The entire time I was reading the Great Gatsby I couldn’t get over how terrible she was.

Camping season isn’t over! Here are the best spots 2 hours out from San Francisco.

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Fall Update from the Trenches: Running, Feeling Down, and Everything Else

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My mom mentioned that I hadn’t posted on my blog in a while (and I hate it when she’s right), so here we go.

I was talking to her about my half marathon, and how it was slightly unreal that it was a mere month away. I’ve been training for four months, folks! A third of a year! Are you kidding me? Time flies!

She wished me well, then reminded me to be careful. “Oh, I’m careful with my training, I’ll try to avoid injury, especially with all the hills” I was thinking of the epic wipeouts that I’d seen at the Chase Corporate Challenge the previous week. There was a straight up ambulance loading someone up at the finish line. What could possibly happen in 3.35 miles??????

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Pre-race glamour shot

“No, no, Tracy! You need to be careful! There are crazy people out there! You heard about the guy at the White House? He climbed the fence and just went into the White House! Watch out!!!”

Oh mom, you are adorable. Don’t worry, nobody is going to try to bomb the Columbia Gorge. The more I look at those course photos, the more excited I am for the race. It was listed in Active.com’s “10 Must Do Marathons” for its killer views and waterfalls. Although I think the Great Wall of China Marathon probably wins for epic-ness.

Listen to me, I sound like a runner. It’s weird. While it’s true that last Sunday I ran 10.28 miles, and I’ve been running with my work run club somewhat regularly, it’s also true that every single run is tough. It doesn’t really get easier, folks. 10 miles or 3 miles. Inertia is still a pain in the ass.

The toughness of running aside, overall training for the last four months has been actually pretty easy to maintain. When I choose to do something, I just… do it? Unfortunately it has required quite a bit of structure around my life, and I found myself a bit more isolated than usual, turning down happy hour drinks in favor of being sober for my weight lifting, or getting up extra early to bust out a 3-5 mile run. When I could I packed in happy hours and important social events.  At night I fell asleep easily as I collapsed in exhaustion.

At the same time, my boyfriend and my housemates fell deeper down the workout rabbit hole, and our conversations became all about workouts and nutrition. We called each other “brah” and shared protein powder. We were watching each other on MyFitnessPal, “encouraging” each other’s weightloss, with a bit of envy thrown into the mix. I contracted a mysterious illness which I brushed off as allergies. I WAS DOING PILATES AT 7AM VIA YOUTUBE VIDEOS. Who was I becoming?

My days became a blur of activity, but when I tried to write an “End of Summer” wrapup for this blog, I felt so empty looking at my calendar. There on my GCal was a list of endless fun activities: pool parties and operas, festivals and movies, Kanye even! And yet I felt nothing.

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Yeezy what is life all about???

It occurred to me that I had fallen into a bit of a rut and had become slightly depressed. This happens every now and then,but for some reason my summer blues were pervasive. It got worse before it got better.

Mood disorders are  a mystery. I’m honestly not sure how I got through it. I just did what I always do, I persevered. Threw myself into my work. Made choices, made plans for the future even though that seemed so far away. I learned new things and tried to push forward. Surrounded myself with good people. Saw my family. Oh, and saw my doctor! It turned out that I had a chronic nasal infection which had burst my eardrum!! WTH :(

Time passed, the feelings passed. I can safely say that I’ve made it through another round of feeling crappy. Thanks to everybody who put with me- you are all true friends. As we go into autumn, a dark time that can trigger so many insecurities, I hope you all take it easy on yourselves. Keep on fighting the good fight.

-T

 

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Staving Off Death & Fat: AKA Gettin’ Fit or Why Did I Sign up for a Half Marathon?

Ever since I got another office job and seriously took up regular running (about a year ago), I’ve gained 5-10 pounds that will not budge (and no, it’s not muscle. I wish). Running makes you hungry. So hungry. I’ve tried a number of things over the past year to jump start the weight loss, and my current fitness routine sounds like something that the old me from a year ago would probably have mocked relentlessly.

  • Running several times per week (wait, why am I not skinny yet?)
  • Gymming (nothing new here)
  • Calorie counting (strangely addictive for an Excel addict)
  • Biking to work (a given)
  • Measuring calorie expenditure with a heart rate monitor and FitBit (Also addictive)
  • Cutting back on alcohol (0_0)
  • Strength training (LIFT HEAVY)
  • Yoga (it’s nice to do it again)
  • Zumba (Suburban mom joke- NO! FUN!)
  • Insanity (in small doses)
  • Organic Grass Fed Protein powder!

When I look back at this list, it makes me laugh. Together, it all looks a bit overwhelming and extreme, but it happened bit by bit, and it’s now just a part of my life. My weight has gone up and down throughout this process, but thankfully my fitness level continues to progress. In fact, about a month ago I hit a personal fitness milestone! I ran 7 miles on my weekend long run. And I didn’t even hurt the next day! INCONCEIVABLE! While I’ve run that distance before, that was years ago, and damn it hurt hard the day after. Something about hitting that milestone made me think, hey, maybe I could run a half marathon? And so I signed up for one to run with my friend Michelle. I cobbled together a personal training plan in Google Calendar, and currently I’m on Week 6 of a 20 Week training plan. I’ve got a couple of goals:

  1. Finish
  2. Don’t get hurt
  3. Lose these stubborn adult pounds.
  4. Get a decent photo at the half marathon. My photo at the Chinese New Year’s 5k was like a bigfoot spotting.

Six weeks in, 3 lbs & 2% bodyfat down and so far no injuries! So far so good. I highly doubt that I’ll be updating much with training news. I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to lately.

Fitness! Fat! Running away from death! Whoo!

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Also, I don’t know how those fitness Instagrammers look all hot when they take workout selfies, but this is what I look like. Red faced, angry, drenched in sweat and my eyes are burning from melting sunscreen in my eyes! Why do I like running again?

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Chia Pudding

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Years ago I picked up a packet of chia seeds from Trader Joe’s for fun. Once I got home I looked up recipes. I honestly had no idea what to do with the damn things. The most popular thing to do seemed be turning the chia into a simple “pudding.”

So I followed the recipe I found online. When I came back later and checked on my pudding, the entire bowl’s worth had globbed together into one giant chia mush. It was a confusing and disgusting mess. So I gave up. I sprinkled the remaining seeds on my yogurt and oatmeal, and quickly forgot about nonsensical chia puddings.

Fast forward to this week. After having some pretty decent premade chia pudding from Whole Foods, I took a stab at Chia Pudding Version 2. I’m happy to say that it was a success! The secret is that you can always add more liquid. The chia will eat it right up. It’s kind of terrifying to be honest. This chia could take over the world!

Eating gelled chia reminds me of being a kid. It’s a fun food to eat, and the mouthfeel is indescribable. It’s like eating boba, except more exciting because there are hundreds of seeds scrambling about in your mouth.

Because of the water absorption of the chia gel, it will FILL YOU UP. Great for breakfast! The omega-3’s can’t be beat for both joint health and hair, skin and nail radiance. Also, hella fiber. So, uh.. you’ve been warned.

Chocolate Vanilla Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk (I like Almond Breeze. Feel free to substitute with the milk of your choice such as soy milk or cow milk. You could also do juice.)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Mix ingredients in a Tupperware or mason jar. Stir vigorously with a fork to get the clumps out. Refrigerate a few hours, or overnight. The pudding will have gelled by then. Add more milk if you prefer a thinner and more liquid pudding.
  • Top your pudding with whatever you like- nuts, berries, gummi bears. I like using granola and coconut flakes.
  • Serves 3