Virtual Breakfast Date

I was doing well with the blogging semi-daily thing until I got busy and then went on vacation and got busy again.

Blah blah excuses. Why don’t we sit a minute for a virtual breakfast date to catch up!?

you would see me eating overnight oats out of a large, almost-empty, Costco-sized peanut butter jar 🙂

…I would wish my American friends a happy belated Thanksgiving! Whether it was a dreamy one with loved ones or a hard one for whatever reason, I hope you found an abundance of reasons to be grateful and felt loved in some way.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving break was spending time with my family and friends (cliche but true and something I don’t want to take for granted!) and NAPPING, oh my lanta.

…I would tell you how excited I am that I am almost done with classes (at a university) forever. Last class of PT school is next Tuesday. I will be leaving school for the first time in 20 years!!!

…I would tell you that I got to work out at a gym owned by a high school friend last week, and it was so fun! They kicked my BUTT (and triceps). My friends Paul and Mathias gave me simple strength circuits with relatively light weight, but they were like hawks watching my form, and I truly believe that made all the difference. I know good form, but no one ever watches me or tells me in the moment to do better. It was a great experience having them there to push me, and I am motivated to continue improving and executing the best form possible for each rep!

I would say that the weather in the northeast has been quite wintry. Snow boots and hats are in full swing, and my (literally) rusty umbrella better hold up these next couple of weeks.

I would talk about how crazy easy it is to get lost in the sauce of adulthood, money matters, and future plans. AND I HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED YET. Like, I can begin to understand why people need to be told, “It’s not all about the money.” As a fresh PT in one year, there is so much to consider regarding salary, geographic location, goals, benefits, etc. The profession is struggling to advocate for reimbursement as is, so the stress of all the personal factors on top of that can be overwhelming. But trust is the name of the game at this point. Do the homework, put in the effort, live life, and trust. God will provide.

…I would tell you that I attempted to track macros for one day, because my mom has an old food scale at home, so I thought it would be an interesting one-day experiment. I say attempted because then I saw my mom’s food that she was offering that was Asian and not really good for tracking, so then I just stopped LOL. It was successful for most of the day, and let me tell, it takes fOrEvEr the first time you try to weigh all your food. I liked tracking and knowing what and how much food was going to come later in the day (it made me think a little less about food in that sense), but I don’t feel the need or desire to continue doing it. I don’t think I would be really disordered if I started at this point, but I just like flexibility and spontaneity, so I don’t think it’s the right fit for my eating habits currently. I also do still associate any sort of tracking (especially in that much detail) with my past eating disorder, so that in and of itself makes it less appealing.

…I would wish you a happy Advent if you are someone who is preparing for Christmas! December, baby. Time FLIES.

So tell me:

What’s for breakfast?

American friends – How did you spend thanksgiving?

What is one thing new you have learned or tried recently? Has this enlightened you in any way?

Habits and Obedience

Moves.

Tuesday was leg day, starting to get some more movement back into the right leg!

  • Superset x3: 20 Bulgarian split squats right leg, 10 pistol squats left leg, 20 KB deadlifts
  • 2×20, 1×30 light leg press
  • 3x 1:30 kneel to alt step up (18” box) no weight

Yesterday was 36 minutes going fairly easy on the assault bike because my legs were sore (right more sore than left lol), followed by 8 minutes of core work.

Peanut butter. I had at least 5 tablespoons of peanut butter on Tuesday. That is 500+ calories from just PB, people (no regrets, baby). That being said, some of it was in my overnight oats, two were part of my lunch snack (a packet of nuts ‘n’ more), and two were eaten as late afternoon snack since I have a late class Tuesday nights from 5:30-7:15 and I was lacking other types of options because I did not prepare well. Maybe I was so hungry because I’m walking a lot more again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I know a couple guys who carry around a jar of pb during the day and honestly I would not be a poor candidate for that lifestyle.

When I first met John he told me he would sometimes eat a whole jar in a day (when he was into a body building type of routine). That’s when I knew I liked him.

#brotein

Habits. Forming (or renewing) good habits is something that I, along with most people, need to do constantly. I have been praying a lot about obedience to God in the little things, and I think that translates to the building of good habits in practice.

Several discussions and resources have popped in my life in this past week that have encouraged me to take action, and here are those nuggets of wisdom:

  • Spend most of your time in “important, non-urgent” tasks (vs. “important, urgent,” “non-important, urgent,” and “non-important, non-urgent” tasks). Plan ahead to make this possible.
  • Work for the purpose of finding quality rest time, don’t just rest to get back to work. And don’t work til you’re so burnt out that you can do nothing but collapse and have no energy for quality relationship building.
  • If you make promises to yourself, keep them, no matter how little they are. The small things that you do with relentless commitment and consistency matter!
  • Be persistent with all of the above but also understand your humanity and move past points of failure quickly. Assess, make changes, try again.

I feel like I’ve been talking about habits and self-improvement a lot these days, but I guess it’s the nature of my life stage right now magnifying the need for it. I’m about to leave school for the first time in my entire life, and although I know the general gist of adult responsibilities, I don’t know enough. Additionally, good habits of the body and mind relate to holy habits of the spirit, so it’s also something I want to work on for the sake of God.

Friendsgiving. Some friends and I had an epic pre-thanksgiving meal (what North Americans call, “Friendsgiving”). My heart and tummy were mighty full. I made corn bread with maple butter, and I don’t think I’ve danced so much after baking something as I did after baking that corn bread.

On disposable Domino’s plates like bosses.

Everything was so skillfully made and utterly delicious! I am spoiled by my friends.

Happy pre-Friday!

So tell me:

Are there any mantras or nuggets of wisdom that help you form and maintain good habits?

What are some habits you are working on?

Have you ever had a Friendsgiving dinner?

Have you ever eaten as much pb in a day as I have?

The Ways in Which I Still Struggle

Whoops. I did not mean to take a whole week off from blogging but I got a little lazy (and busy too, if I wanna give myself the benefit of the doubt).

Moves. I’ll just start with yesterday’s – fresh new week.

  • 3 rounds: 15 bicep curls, 10 push-up to renegade row, 12 Arnold presses
  • 20 min boxing

Booked. I made way too many plans this weekend, but it was a jolly good time. Sleepover with my friend Lauren, Thai food lunch with my friend Christina, dinner a la Trader Joe’s with Lauren and Elayne, spontaneous night of MarioKart and Uno, dim sum brunch with PT friends… ugh I love dim sum. And friends. In which order, no one will really know.

The end is near. What I really should be doing is focusing on the last assignments, odds, and ends of this last semester of classes. FOREVER (hopefully). Thanksgiving is coming and then it is pretty much home stretch, baby!

The ways in which I still struggle. A big theme of my life in 2019 has been the daily cross (as in, the cross the Lord tells us we must carry).

I am grateful to say that I don’t currently have very heavy crosses (e.g., family deaths, serious illness, social injustices inflicted upon me, etc.) to bear, but I have prayed a lot about the daily cross of my failures and also of just…my more negative tendencies in thought and deed.

I said a few weeks ago that these blog posts are for me to reflect, but perhaps they can also be for you, to know you’re not alone.

The ways in which I struggle:

  • Procrastination late at night
  • Poor sleep schedule
  • Overeating / emotional eating, followed by subtle squishing of my body fat, not feeling terrible, but still feeling “not ideal”
  • “Pendulum syndrome” is what I’ll call it. My mind often goes from, “I’ll do all the things, and I will do them well! Things are great!” To, “It’s not worth doing anything, I’m probably not cut out for this.” And it’s hard to find the in-between. Although this is an over-simplification of how my mind sometimes work, it’s true that I’m not very good at living in messy/unclear situations, and I’m not very good at moderation in pretty much anything. I’m an all-or-nothing perfectionist at heart (a blessing and a curse), so living with the discomfort of little failures or mishaps without losing hope and perseverance is something I have grown to learn a lot through these past few years and still continue to learn every day until I die.

I’m not beating myself up about these things, but I do think I can form better habits (which I learned in class just 10 minutes ago). Everything is a work in progress, and we shall keep on keeping on!

It’s a rainy Tuesday here, and I feel like I could sleep FOREVER. Hope you have a great one 🙂

So tell me:

What are some ways you struggle with negative tendencies of yours?

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever had dim sum?

Above All, Charity

Moves. 3 rounds:

  • 8 DB complexes (push-up ➔ renegade row ➔ kickstand deadlift ➔ overhead press)
  • 10 supine leg drops to weighted toe touch
  • 15 kickstand deadlifts (left leg only for me)
  • 20 hip extension + 10 hip abduction in plank (right leg only for me)
  • 12 crazy Russian twists each side
  • 10 tabletop sit through

Then some pull-ups on the hang board (on the biggest jugs for easiest grip hehe).

Privilege vs. marginalization. On Thursday evening, my friends Elayne and Tina hosted a “Donuts & Discussion” for their practicum project on Diversity and Inclusion in the BU PT program. It was so simple yet so profound.

Two small groups of 7-9 people each.

In each group: 20-ish cards laid out on the table, each with one aspect of a person’s identity (e.g., SES, ethnicity/culture, language proficiency/having an “accent”, faith/religion, housing status, food availability, experience level, age, educational institution, family make-up, learning ability, criminal background, size/weight/appearance, mental health, nationality/citizenship, gender/sex, sexual orientation, health status, access to healthcare, etc.).

First round: Each person chooses and discusses +/- 3 aspects that make them feel privileged. I chose SES/housing/food availability, learning ability, and size/weight/appearance (I now would say that this last one is a point of both privilege and marginalization for me).

Second round: Each person chooses and discusses +/- 3 aspects that make them feel marginalized. I chose ethnicity/culture, language proficiency (not knowing anything except English as an Asian person), and religion.

It was a very raw, vulnerable discussion in which my eyes were opened to the oppression that many of my peers experience much more often than I ever see. I cried.

My takeaway: The golden rule is never, ever overrated. Treat others the way you want to be treated, and never let assumptions rule the way you act or speak around others. Really understand your own human experience through what others say about/to you; implement the best and root out the worst of it all in the way you treat others. Above all, charity (love).

Additionally, assuming the best intentions of others is a good practice that Tina and Elayne emphasized. Not everyone has the opportunity to learn about the importance and nuances of diversity and inclusion. Although it is never excusable to act on unjust biases, they exist in all of us, whether we realize it or not. So to love those who do not seem to know how to love is essential for the dissemination of this knowledge.

When I wish to increase this love in me, and when especially the devil tries to place before the eyes of my soul the faults of such and such a sister who is less attractive to me, I hasten to search out her virtues, her good intentions; I tell myself that even if I did see her fall once, she could easily have won a great number of victories which she is hiding through humility, and that even what appears to me as a fault can very easily be an act of virtue because of her intention….

– St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Sweetness. John kindly surprised me last night after Mass with my favorite (Boston) carrot cake from Flour bakery! What a Monday, man. Thank you, John.

Obscure favorite part of my day. For me, this is when I pack my overnight oats for the morning. I don’t like to call it ritualistic because oats are not a crutch food that I eat only because I know the macros (I have no idea what the macros or total calories are). I genuinely just really enjoy overnight oats and am 99.9% of the time excited to eat them. Packing them for the next morning is one of the last things I do at night, and it’s low key one of my favorite parts of the day. Quiet apartment (I usually do it pretty late), prepping my favorite breakfast, a break from my studies…

So tell me:

Which items from that list cause you to feel privileged?

Which items cause you to feel marginalized?

What is an obscure favorite part of your day?

Self-Improvement

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Veterans. Giving thanks for all those who have sacrificially and faithfully served our nation to preserve our freedom.

Moves.

  • Friday morning swim with Abby. Swimming is probably the best workout I get these days, which is expected, because as I’ve been saying, air is more of a premium in this activity.
  • Saturday upper body strength
    • 3×15 TRX rows, 3×10 alternating atomic / pike pushups
    • 3×8-10 lat pulldowns, 3×1 min. plank
    • 3×10 bicep curl to OH press, 3×10 single leg box squats (R leg kicked back for balance only)
    • 3×10 DB shoulder abduction to horizontal abduction (raise side and then bring front), 3×8 weighted pistols on L leg only
    • 3×7-8 bodyweight dips
  • Sunday rowing
    • 5x500m row, 12 pushups between sets
    • 2×10 light L leg press (R toe contact only)
    • 10 minutes of abs (15 rounds of 30 sec on/10 sec off)

I was hungry and sluggish at the end of that last one, but it felt great to get the heart rate up!

Officially a stress fracture. Although I have known in the depths of my heart that I had a stress fracture in my femur, I only just received the official diagnosis from the orthopedist this past Friday.

*Orthopedist walks into room*: “Alison! You win the trophy! You have a stress fracture!”

Me: *kinda confused at his reaction* “Really!? Wow I wasn’t actually expecting to have one (at this point, because I am in virtually zero pain these days).” *laughs because shocked but also relieved and kinda still confused about why he’s smiling so big*

He seemed impressed that I self-diagnosed myself, especially since my stress fracture is in such a rare spot (the shaft of the femur), but he also knew that I am a PT student, so #ifyouknowyouknow.

His prescribed precautions: Crutches for one more week (unless it starts to hurt again). No running/super high impact exercise for 3 months. Biking and rowing are okay if it does not hurt. Strength training can slowly progress from light weight on machines and then free squatting in a month.

Honestly, the ramifications are not as bad as I thought for having a tiny crack in the strongest bone in my body. I am just amped to get the crutches outta my life by the end of this week! My left leg is going to be 2 inches larger in diameter by the end of this though, because it has literally been pulling most of the weight.

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Self-improvement. While my best friend and her husband are celebrating one whole year of marriage and adulthood stuff, I have been realizing more and more ways in which I am a) not a real adult yet, despite being > 18 years old; b) an uninformed potato. To combat my ignorance, I have started:

  • praying about little ways by which I can educate myself more without being overwhelmed with doing ALL THE THINGS and while still maintaining my priorities
  • listening to podcasts (various news, Stuff You Should Know, Freakonomics)
  • writing and (actually) checking my to-do list throughout the day
  • trying to shave off time from thinking “what should I do,” and just doing something

Date day. Food, studying, and Mass — the usual, but so much better with this sweet fella! We went to Gene’s Flatbread Cafe in Chinatown for their famous lamb cumin hand pulled noodles, and ooooo baby those noodles were doughy and delightful. The broth and lamb were so flavorful!

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“It was a v good day.” - @the_johnle

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Followed by conversation + studying at Starbucks and then Mass. Thank you for a wonderful day, John!

Hype girl. Shoutout to my friend, Megan, who will say to every person (when I am present): “alison underscore grooves… her instagram and blog game are SO STRONG.” Megan — you are the best hype girl out there. Thank you for the support! ♥︎

Brother. Happy 26th birthday, best pal. Miss your guts!

So tell me:

What are some ways you seek to self-improve currently?

Do you listen to podcasts (any recs)? What did you do this weekend?