Is this what they always meant by “happy weight”?

Happy Sunday evening! I am currently typing this while being serenaded by my dad singing karaoke in the living room, and I would not have it any other way.

Today we are gonna take it back to a topic on which I have not focused in a while, the one that pretty much started this blog 8(!) years ago. The topic is weight and body image.

I’ve gained maybe 10 lbs more or less since moving back home to NY, which I suppose is a combination of less walking, more lifting, honestly more stress eating at times, and definitely some stress from work.

I have not stepped on a scale in 2021 I don’t think, and I am not very interested in doing so, because it’s not going to be helpful for me to live a healthier lifestyle. But I know I’ve gained weight due to the fact that I am not getting more than 5-6 pullups despite consistently practicing them. I’m getting stronger but I’m also just getting heavier. Measuring progress through my fitness has been helpful, because I am interested in my performance and how I feel.

True, there are many times I eat dessert many days in a row and really don’t feel too hot. But a mark of my health to me at this time is how I am able to…

  • note the results of a decision that I made (e.g., feeling bloated and ready to nap vs. being energized to fulfill my responsibilities / workout)
  • recognize why I made that decision (e.g., because it was a social celebration? because I was just stressed? because I felt like I needed to help finish food?)
  • make the same or a different decision again when faced with a similar situation

It has taken many years (almost a decade) to be able to look at my eating habits objectively and subjectively with a mindset of both healthy critique AND grace given to oneself. I believe this has to do with the fact that I am at a weight that allows me to have energy for all the things I need/want to do (i.e., lift kettlebells well, do burpees smoothly and quickly, be on my feet all day at work) and also allows my body to go comfortably between mealtimes without thinking about food too much. Feels like what people would call a “happy weight,” which might be stated as “set point” in literature that I won’t go into here.

That being said, I do recognize that discipline around food ought to be practiced when accompanied by virtuous reasons (e.g., allowing oneself to feel uncomfortable in this one facet of life, honoring hunger cues, making eating choices for a long life). And I do think that if I were a little lighter, I could do more pull-ups and run faster, and the only person who can help myself with that is me at the end of the day.

However, though this dynamic between enjoyment and discipline, grace and healthy critique, in my fitness and food journey, still mildly pushes and pulls into less virtuous areas of thought (i.e., just wanting to look better and maybe see my abs a bit more), overall I am grateful to say that it has been freeing.

I think it has been the fruit of a lot of honest conversations with myself and with God. And for you, it might be conversations with yourself, a trusted one, and a healthcare professional. That’s where I was too. It’s been a constant confrontation of things I don’t like about myself, my situation, what I have to do, what I don’t want to do… Digging into those parts, with help, and rooting out brokenness in seemingly unrelated areas of my life that were certainly affecting my relationship with food and fitness.

I know some, maybe even many, people who are reading this are not in a good headspace right now, and it might not help for me to say, “Things will get better. Keep your head up,” but in case it does, just know that there is a way out. Better yet, there is Someone who wants to meet you exactly where you are, first and foremost, and then bring you out of there.

Here to chat if you need. Thank you for reading and supporting me. ♥︎

Wisdom from a quarter of a century

May all the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. In memorial today of all those who gave their lives for the freedom we have in this country.

Quarter of a century! Which means I’m closer to being 30 years old than I am to being a wee high school grad. Before all you 30+ year olds start coming after me, I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with this! We all go to die one day ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

a recent photo of my unmasked face, in case you were wondering

I have not done one of these “things I’ve learned” posts in a while, so to celebrate turning a ripe but fresh 25 years old today, here are 25 things, both serious and jovial, that I have learned in my 25 years of life:

  1. Vulnerability is extremely powerful, for better or for worse.
  2. It is very possible to be great friends with people who vehemently disagree with you on important topics.
  3. If you squish a grain of white rice between your fingers enough, it feels like you’re making a mini mochi cake.
  4. Your brain really is still developing a LOT in your early twenties so chill o u t and remember that you still have a long way to go.
  5. The music you listen to on a daily basis really does shape your daily disposition, for better or worse.
  6. In the words of Olaf the snowman, “I like warm hugs!”
  7. No human person is immune to any certain emotion, sin, circumstance, or bad habit except by the grace of God.
  8. The voice message feature on iPhone is very useful for when you have a bunch of things to explain that are too much for just texting but you don’t want to alarm the person by *gasp* CALLING during the daytime.
  9. Aligned with popular practice but contrary to what I used to prefer, a hot cup of tea in the silence of the morning is quite peaceful and is now one of my favorite things.
  10. I have an issue with procrastinating going to sleep on time because I am not ready to start the next day, which really starts when you go to sleep the night before.
  11. Motor learning principles help with SO MUCH in the realm of movement, strengthening, skill learning, rehabilitation, and honestly just life. Specificity, intensity, frequency, feedback, external focus… all of it.
  12. It is possible to become significantly stronger and to improve functional motor patterns using one kettlebell for a whole year.
  13. The weather really is a hot topic, no pun intended.
  14. Communication is one of those things that is mighty scary until you do it enough that it isn’t… but then you have to remember that it’s still scary for some people.
  15. Dancing is one of the best gifts I have received; it brings me so much joy.
  16. Taylor Swift, by many objective measures, has very well-done music, but I still don’t love her music.
  17. No matter what age a person is, there still always exists a sense of “what in the world is going on?” regarding SOMETHING.
  18. Talk to someone in person before you assume literally anything about what they are trying to say on social media. And really speak to them with clarity and respect, because it’s easy to keep assuming what they are saying even after the conversation starts.
  19. It is possible and rather helpful to ask God for the grace to be humble enough to ask for His help.
  20. That “real quick” thing will always take longer than I think it will.
  21. By the same token, it is really impressive what you can get done in an 8-hour period of time when you’re really under pressure.
  22. Say the motivational quote or cliché that you think everyone’s already heard before, because there is chance that the person who needs to hear it may not have heard it before or may have just never applied it to their life sincerely.
  23. Simple does not mean easy.
  24. Keeping a clean beach towel in the car is helpful for at least 5 different types of emergencies, not to mention a helpful backrest for ergonomics.
  25. God is faithful, He is enough, and He the answer to everything. I honestly could not fight those statements even if I wanted to.

That list was hard to think of, but fun and good to make! Hope you learned a thing or two, no matter what age you are. Would love to learn from you as well! Drop a piece of wisdom you’ve learned in your years thus far 🙂

Have a wonderful week, friends. Thanks for being here. ♥︎

Love and Lent

And I guess it’s President’s Day in the United States so….Love, Lent, and…Lyndon B. Johnson?

a wagyu beef burger I had a couple weekends ago 😀

Love

I am typing this at the very end of Valentine’s Day — such a GOOD day! I love seeing people celebrate their relationships. One of my friends (hi, Kelsey!) got married yesterday too. Many of my friends are also in flourishing dating relationships, and I am HERE FOR IT.

If you are single, dealing with heart break, or have lost your significant other, you might be like, “k bye.” But wait! Truly, you have a Pursuer, who delights in you greatly and wants to give you e v e r y t h i n g. I cannot overstate how important and freeing this is: God Loves you and wants everything that is true, good, and beautiful for you. *clenches fists and throws head back at how much I want you to know this*

But talk to Him about it, because I can only tell you so much about the One who actually loves you infinitely.

This year I have spent much more time alone with God, and I am so incredibly far from perfect in loving Him, but He has been the sweetest in every way He sustains me at work, allows me to see stars faintly at the end of a late work shift, allows me to see a stunning sunset when I get off work early enough, strengthens me through trials, and supports me through my loved ones from afar.

Seven(!) years ago I wrote this “Letter to My Future Husband,” and I also put a “p.s.” in there saying if my future husband doesn’t exist, then I’ll be a single person for Christ, and to be quite honest, the latter is not looking like a bad option, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lent

Not gonna lie, I am nervous for Lent this year! I am giving up all music, Youtube videos (my preferred streaming service), and podcasts EXCEPT for Fr. Mike’s Bible in a Year Podcast, so that I can keep up with listening to the Bible from start to finish. But I usually listen to that first thing in the morning. The hardest part about this fast will be coming home from a long, stressful day of work (happens often) and being in silence.

I have prayed for weeks about this and knew a while ago that this was the move for Lent this year. I think it will help a lot with my sleep discipline, and it will also allow me to give more of my heart and my time to God, especially when I’m the most irritated/stressed/tired.

But dang, this will be so hard, good grief. There is nothing seems to be nothing like dancing to music and listening to other people talk about their lives on Youtube when I’m all wound up from work. I know there is something even better, but I’m sure it will take some grace to find out.

Moves and grooves

I’ve been posting a workout on Instagram stories every Sunday now, which I think is a good amount of Instagram for me at this time.

In other news, I’ve gotten up to 7 strict pull-ups on a really good day! I’ve gained a bit of weight so I’m generally pulling more weight than I did when I first moved to NY, but my back is getting stronger!

Hope you have a wonderful week, friends. You are loved!

So tell me:

How was this Valentine’s Day for you? Joys or sorrows?

If you observe Lent, what are you fasting from this year (if you care to share)?

What did you do this weekend?

Calling out the negative coping mechanisms for my stress without judgement.

pray.

…I would say that I should probably do more of this. Or at least do more silent, intentional prayer. I am definitely praying all throughout the day for my patients and for continual strength from God to do what I need to do, but to be with the Beloved in a quiet space is a rare occasion these days, and I know that it is in my control to change that.

What I think I really need to clean up is my night routine. The hardest thing these days is coming home exhausted and wanting to “turn my brain off,” so I turn to social media or talking to friends or watching an assortment of Youtube videos (other people eating or working out or talking about God usually). I KNOW THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER. But I’ve been doing it anyway in an attempt to fill myself.

Guess what. It’s not working super well.

My face is broken out in acne; my cortisol levels shoot me up at around 7am even if I want to sleep in; my workouts feel really difficult; I sometimes find myself stress eating. None of this is first-time experience, and I know that the sources are a) stress from work; b) lack of quality time with God. One of these can be changed, for sure, if I really want it. And I do.

I am grateful that, at this point in my life, I can call out these negative coping mechanisms of mine without being hard on myself. I am also grateful for these seasons of stress and adjustment that remind me of my weakness and the need to rely on God c o m p l e t e l y.

Something that helps me with bouncing back from negative coping mechanisms is to “just say yes to the next good thing.” Whether that’s putting down the phone at 9:00pm, taking out the trash the night before instead of almost forgetting in the morning, turning off the TV Youtube while I’m eating dinner, etc. Say yes to ONE next good thing. Just one.

eat.

The best thing I ate last week was chicken saag with garlic naan and basmati rice from a local Indian restaurant. My brother picked it up for us + his girlfriend on Thursday night, and we had a lovely socially distanced dinner in the backyard. It made for two delicious meals, which is the best 🙂

move.

I’ve still been loving the outdoor KB workouts on Sundays hosted by @kettlebellgains_apparel. I didn’t go this weekend because I needed a bit of rest (aka napped too long and was a sort of too late lol) and wanted to catch up with family over video chat, but most Sundays I try to make it down there for awesome community and HEAVY kettlebell work!

Otherwise, my workouts have been mostly strength/mobility-based and pretty low key. I’ve been telling my patients, “I work out so I can do this [physical therapy]!” And I mean it.

groove.

On Friday night, I got home late so I ran up and down the stairs blasting uplifting praise and worship to sing, dance, and work up a sweat ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ whatever works.

On Saturday, I met up with my apartment-mate from last year, Yuka! She loooooves NYC, so I gave her a little tour of some of my favorite spots, some new-to-me spots, and some of her requested spots. It was a day of 29K+ steps, lots of carbs, and good friend time! Masked and outdoors only, of course.

It was fun writing a good old blog post again. This always helps to ground me. Thank you, as always, for reading along on this 7+ year journey.

So tell me:

Do you find yourself using “negative” coping mechanisms at times? How do you try to bring yourself out of those?

What are some things that ground you during stressful/challenging times?

Do you like Indian food? Fave dish? What is the best thing you did this weekend?

A Week in the Life of a Physical Therapist Vlog!

It’s been a long while since I have updated you guys on anything here, but I’ve been working hard [at work, of course, but also] on this vlog to give a peek into what my life as a full-time physical therapist looks like!

I obviously can’t really film any of my actual work as a PT (#HIPAA), but a lot of the video is my life surrounding my work hours and my feelings before/after work each day.

This is probably my most finessed vlog yet, so I’m excited to share it with you guys! Enjoy 🙂

Here is the link if the embedded video is not working.

Have an awesome week ahead, friends!

So tell me:

What are some of your routine things you do before and/or after work?

Do you ever get a little nervous heading into work?

What are some of your outside-of-work recreational/volunteer activities?