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Dying to Become a Dietitian

I want to take a second degree in Nutrition.

I entertained the thought before when I encountered a scholarship for a Master’s degree in China. However, I didn’t push through with the application because a) I don’t have a background in Nutrition to begin with, and b) the nutritional studies in China might be different from the ones here, perhaps leaning more towards traditional methods and such. Just when I thought that I would never be bothered by the desire to study Nutrition again, the fact that the people around me have shitty diets and are getting sick because of them has very recently reignited my agitation.

In particular, my older brother whose diet consists of around 60% meat, 35% processed foods, and 5% whole foods is not the healthiest person I know, and he has been coughing like crazy for more than a week now despite his visit to the doctor and prescribed medication. Furthermore, when he is in a normal condition, he works out yet remains totally overweight. The rest of my family still eats a lot of red meat and white bread, finishes liters of soda every month, consumes tubs of ice cream, and practically inhales instant noodle cups. I worry for their health, especially my parents’ as they are both already 50 years old. I’m pretty sure none of them are willing to be vegan (although my father is a pescatarian) but I do want them to be more conscious about their dietary choices. If I were to become a dietitian, I could help them and other people recover from sickness without having to pop a single pill. Food, after all, should be the first thing that comes to mind when one desires to be cured. With all the medicines being made in factories and advertised like crazy nowadays, though, we seem to have forgotten that.

I talked to my recently certified nutritionist friend (who is a brilliant chap, by the way, could be deemed a walking encyclopedia and has, over the years, developed a much better sense of humor) and he told me to go for it as he has never met someone so passionate about diets. Quite frankly, I never thought that I’d turn out this way. Before coming to Korea, I did not touch vegetables at all. I was a bit picky about fruits, too. I loved meat, chocolate, chips, and pastries. Because of my sweet tooth, I gained weight every year and became a yo-yo dieter. I remember going through an entire month not eating lunch, thinking that I could go without the calories; I ended up fainting while we were grocery shopping.

Things changed when I became a foreign exchange student. In Korea, I learned to eat and love vegetables. There are plenty of Korean meat dishes but they have all sorts of delicious vegetable-filled dishes as well. Unfortunately, I gained a whole lot of weight while I was there, thanks to pizza nights at our dormitory, midnight fried chicken feasts with friends, and loads and loads of alcohol a.k.a. Koreans’ favorite medium for forging and strengthening relationships. I reached my highest ever weight of 53 kg (116 lbs) within only 5 months. It was during summer vacation that I decided that no, I refuse to be this pudgy. So, I went to the gym. Every single day. After a little over 1 month, I was down to 47 kg (103 lbs). I was able to do that because I applied what I had researched about going on a proper diet and taking on an exercise routine. That summer had been an eye-opener for me and if I had not found out everything that I did then, I would probably still be a wreck today.

Another thing that has increased my interest in nutrition was taking up a Food Nutrition class during my last year of university. We were taught only the basics but they all fascinated me nonetheless. I received a high grade in it after the semester and the knowledge I received there remain very useful to me in everyday life. Although we were taught not to go for any sort of fad diets, I tried the Atkins Diet early this year (I’m a stubborn bastard) and went through nightly chest pains because of all the fat I was consuming. I eventually reached ketosis but I was more miserable than ever. Along the way, I found out about the 80/10/10 diet which worked for me and I absolutely loved because of all the [unlimited] fruits and vegetables involved. It was that diet which pushed me towards the direction of veganism. Soon enough, documentaries like “Forks Over Knives,” “Hungry for Change,” and “Vegucated” convinced me to become a vegan for life. I have not turned back since. Veganism is the ultimate DIEt for me, the lifestyle and way of eating that I will take with me to the grave.

I want to become a nutritionist so that no one else will have a shitty relationship with food as I did. I want people to enjoy their lives to the fullest, free from diseases, and at the same time love the right kinds of food. I do not expect to be able to convince people to let go of their bacon and french fries, but I can certainly show them that plant-based foods can be just as–if not more–tasty and wonderful as processed foods. I am also thinking of educating the poor and letting them know that a plant-based diet is not only healthier but more suitable for them since most fruits and vegetables are cheaper than meat. My highest ambition is to eventually be part of the government, specifically at the Department of Health, so that I can reach out to everyone in the country and influence them by providing dietary and exercise guidelines and coming up with projects that promote and establish healthy habits. It’s a long shot, I know, and the soonest that I can go back to school is in 2015 (I plan on working for a year to fund my education) so my goals will have to wait, but you can’t completely change your life without having the right amount of drive for it, yes?

I should really mention this to my parents soon.

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Arm of the Tiger

Arm of the Tiger

This is such a lame amount of progress but oh my goodness I did not have this much of a curve a month ago! Before, whenever I posed like this, my arm would just be straight which I really hated because I felt like a cartoon character. Now I have bigger arm muscles, YAY! Today is upper body day so I’ll be sculpting my guns even more. Woot woot! (Excuse my strange-looking clavicle, haha!)

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Thoughts of a Whole Half

klimtkiss

“According to Greek Mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate beings, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.” 
― Plato, “The Symposium”

When I checked my Facebook account yesterday, lo and behold, one of my more casual friends has been engaged to her boyfriend. Although I wanted to leave a congratulatory message of sorts, I did not feel that we were close enough for me to do so; therefore, I left the page without doing anything. A few minutes later, I found myself contemplating on the fact that I have never been in a romantic relationship before. I’ve kissed people and have lost most of my virginity (not going into details here, hahaha!), but a boyfriend/girlfriend? What the hell are those things?

In high school, I almost had a girlfriend. As cheesy as it sounds, she was my first love. We became friends because we were two out of four students in class who failed to find other people to form a group with. She was an artist with a jaw-dropping amount of talent and was comfortable conversing about anything and everything under the sun. During our retreat that year (we were in a private Catholic school), I refused to let her go back to her bed so we talked in hushed voices until everyone was asleep and, as expected, we were teased about it in class the following week. At that time, it felt really strange for me to be thought of liking her as more than a friend just because I enjoyed her company so much. She, on the other hand, did not give a rat’s ass about it. Eventually, the teasing died down along with my awkwardness. However, one night, she told me that she liked me. As in liked me liked me. How did I take it?

I freaked the fuck out.

The next day, I couldn’t look at her. I sat beside her during lunch and she shared her food with me but all the while my heart was about to explode in my chest. It was the first time that anyone had ever confessed to me, and it was someone who was nice and funny and smart and awesome and open-minded and cool. In other words, she was the type of person who I thought would never be attracted to me in any way. To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I did not feel that I deserved her affection and attention, so I ruined everything by allowing my extremely low self-esteem to get the best of me and ended up avoiding her. We have been awkward ever since, or at least I have. She asked for my help during college in her desire to transfer to my university, and even then I couldn’t hold a proper conversation with her. She was the glowing comet I chose to sleep through, the warm embrace I stepped away from, the beautiful poem I never read. She was my biggest loss.

Until now, I regret the decision I made back then, and sadly, until now, I believe that I cannot be loved by anyone in a romantic way. I don’t long for it nor am I looking for it, but it’s something that I don’t expect to come for me anytime soon. Or ever. Whenever I think about what my future will be like, I do not and cannot see myself with anyone. I envision myself being single forever, travelling alone or with some friends sometimes, and living with and taking care of my parents until their old age. Meanwhile, when I go to Facebook or Twitter, I’ll keep encountering posts and tweets of everyone else getting engaged, married, having kids, and eventually retiring with their better half. To be perfectly honest, being alone scares me a little bit simply because I do not find very attractive the idea of dying in my sleep with no one knowing about it until several days later when my corpse starts rotting. My fear of that, though, is no match for my fear of being liked by someone as more than a friend. I know that no one’s perfect but I can’t help thinking that because of my flaws and inadequacies, I will be one day thrown away and forgotten, leaving me back to where I started. To me, engaging in a relationship is allowing the other enough access to all the facets of your being that they can destroy them in one fell swoop without so much as a warning, and that is simply an amount of invulnerability that I refuse to have.

Perhaps we really are all just halves. We are social beings because other people are able to fill the holes in our imperfect facades with their love and compassion, making us feel complete and relevant to the bigger scheme of things. It should not mean, though, that all of us are meant to be a whole being with someone else. A half is a fraction but it exists. It is not a zero. So no, Plato and Greek mythology, I am not going to spend my life looking for my other half, if there even is such a thing for me. If he/she comes, then he/she comes. If not, then I will just let it be. Perhaps my other half was my first love, or perhaps not because it didn’t work out. However I may react to the next person who confesses to me I cannot predict right now, but I will try not screw it up. Hopefully.

Oh, and I found a quote that I find better and more agreeable.

“Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”
— Veronica A. Shoffstall, “After a While”
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The Other Kind of Travel

Active travel. Why have I heard of it only today? It’s probably because I don’t know of anyone who does it–travelling in other people’s books entails simply going to a place, taking pictures, sightseeing, discovering the history behind geographies, and having a taste of local cuisine–and that to me is a tad bit disappointing. I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of physical activities in people’s lives today or the tight hold of city life on them telling them to be wary of Mother Nature and her array of threats in the form of cliffs, wild animals, and poison berries; whatever the reason is, it has to disappear from the face of the earth. To date, my only active travel experiences are 1) hiking a mountain for four hours straight and then going down for several more hours in torrential rain and ankle-deep flood threatening to wash us away into an untimely death, and 2) island hopping to swim and snorkel among schools of fish addicted to pieces of bread. Aside from monetary problems, like I said earlier, the thought of active travel has not crossed my mind until only a couple of hours ago when I read about cycling in Death Valley (an instant addition to my bucket list). That led me to researching about physically challenging local trips and, ultimately, to the term which makes me giggle like a schoolgirl in excitement.

Active travel. Doesn’t that sound beautiful or what?

I spoke with my mother last night about our spelunking and trekking trip to Sagada and she reluctantly agreed to give me the money to make it happen. She thought that I was going to ask for a converted amount of $232 which I was appalled at. First off, her inexperience in travelling has seemingly led to her overestimation of the expenses for a trip. Secondly, she does not know that she has passed on her being a cheapskate to me. And third, well there’s no third but I felt that coming up with just two things wasn’t right. Anyway, I quickly explained that I needed less than half of that amount and that it included everything. She wasn’t able to protest much after that. So, my third active travel adventure will definitely happen soon, and I plan on making the most out of it.

In preparation, I will be training harder starting tomorrow. I have less than three weeks to get into a much better shape in terms of strength and endurance. I am the one who planned the itinerary and made the budget so I only hope that my friend will be able to do all the activities with me. She’s trim but she doesn’t exercise due to her schedule as a grad student and I’m worried that, like a lot of the people who have gone on the same journey, she’ll be too tired and sore by the third day to do anything else other than walk around and go on a food trip. I might have to ask her to jog or at least walk for a minimum of thirty minutes a day every day before our trip. Cross fingers that she’ll agree to do it.

My goal is to be able to partake in more active travel trips in the near future. I want to swim, climb, trek, dive, pedal, and row my way across the world. I already have one adventure in mind: climbing Mt. Pulag, the third highest mountain in the country. I’ve read about people awakening to a sea of clouds and that, to me, is something worth seeing. Oh, and I would like a photo of me doing a handstand on the summit, haha! I’ll be working hard on my yoga to be able to do that little number. Nothing is impossible!

I need to get a job soon. ;;;

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I Refuse to Be a Rabbit

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This week, my workout routine went through a major overhaul in my desire to stop being a frickin’ cardio bunny. I am now more focused on weight training and have split my days into upper body days and lower body days, which I have also split into upper body day 1 & 2 and lower body day 1 & 2 when I saw that the workouts were too long. I still do steady-state afterwards for the sake of endurance but I do it for only 15-30 minutes. I also managed to do HIIT after my lower body day 2 (Thursday) since the exercises I did didn’t seem to be that taxing (I found out the day after, however, that they were actually as tough as my lower body day 1 exercises when I could not do a single Russian Twist due to my glutes hurting like hell) and I will do another HIIT round later afternoon.

So now my schedule looks like this:

Monday – Lower Body 1 + Steady-State

Tuesday – Upper Body 1 + Steady-State

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Lower Body 2 + HIIT

Friday – Upper Body 2 + Steady-State

Saturday – HIIT

Sunday – Off

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I think that what’s amazing about weight training is, while you’re doing it, it doesn’t feel like it’s going to do that much damage because it’s not steady-state cardio that’ll squeeze all the air and sweat out of you. It’s fun and almost relaxing at some point. But then, the next morning, your muscles prove you wrong by being sore and stiff to the core. The pain slowly sneaks up on you and I prefer that a whole lot more than feeling death looming over me while I’m on the elliptical.

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I expressed my desire to do yoga in my last entry and I’m glad to announce that I have began practicing the beginner poses and am loving them. I don’t do yoga for a long time, though; I just do it whenever I feel like it. My favorite poses are the ones that stretch my calves and hamstrings nicely such as the downward-facing dog pose and the wide-legged forward bend. I’m hoping that my gargantuan calves will slim down in the future.

As for other, still-somehow-related-to-health updates, one of my close friends asked if I wanted to go with her to a place here called Sagada. It’s a tourist spot that’s pretty far from the capital where I am, around 14 hours. She suggested that we take a packaged tour but when I made my own itinerary, I found that we could decrease the expenses by $30 (the tour costs $130) while doing more activities. The trip will involve spelunking and generous amounts of trekking, a.k.a. fun exercise! I have yet to ask my mother for money (I’m unemployed and not looking and I’m not sorry hahaha) but knowing that I could plan a cheaper, more action-packed trip on my own makes me feel really good. I may not be well-traveled but I will be in the future. I have to start practicing my backpacker skills if I want to be a successful wanderer. 🙂

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Bored to Cardio Death

Steady-state cardio. I thought I could learn to love it; after all, I have a friend who practically lives for running hours at a time and has found that it helps her clear her mind. I, however, am simply not a cardio baby. I know that steady-state cardio has benefits but man, it is boring. I have no idea what my friend thinks about while she’s running but by my tenth minute on the elliptical, my brain is already going, “Stop, stop, STOP. This is pointless. You have forty more minutes, what the hell. This is a waste of time. I want a fucking nap. Give me a nap, woman!” I swear, I feel like a hamster on a wheel while I’m doing steady-state. And yes, I’ve tried the treadmill, and goodness gracious, using it is even duller than being on the elliptical–at least in the latter, you have three poses of choice, but that doesn’t add a lot of excitement.

Perhaps the only cure for this is to do HIIT instead. Months ago, that was my cardio of choice. Twenty minutes of huffing, puffing, and sweating torrents felt awesome, and boy did I lose weight. Still, I think I’m not yet fit enough to handle HIIT again (I’ll probably do it once I finish the 30 Day Shred), and if I remember correctly, doing HIIT and weight training on alternate days wore me out to the core, which led to me quitting exercise altogether. I don’t want  that to happen anymore. I want to exercise six days a week, eat healthy foods, and improve my body image forever and ever. I have to figure out a routine that I can stick to in the long run.

I’m thinking of doing yoga to add variation to my exercises but my number one problem about it is the time. When do I practice yoga? For how long should one session be? Can I do it before weight lifting or cardio? I don’t want to take yoga classes because, well, I can’t afford it and I might not be able to commit to it. Hmm, I have a lot of research to do. I took yoga for PE for one semester when I was in Korea but other than that I am an ultimate beginner. Though I’m also interested in Pilates, I’m not sure if I can acquire the equipment needed for it.

Writing this post has been triggered by the fact that even listening to Welcome to Night Vale (which I have recently fallen in love with) did not keep the almost suicidal and homicidal thoughts away while I was on the elliptical. Ugh, the road to fitness is a true bitch on a stick.

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21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors

Thought Catalog

A lot of people think they can write or paint or draw or sing or make movies or what-have-you, but having an artistic temperament doth not make one an artist.

Even the great writers of our time have tried and failed and failed some more. Vladimir Nabokov received a harsh rejection letter from Knopf upon submitting Lolita, which would later go on to sell fifty million copies. Sylvia Plath’s first rejection letter for The Bell Jar read, “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” Gertrude Stein received a cruel rejection letter that mocked her style. Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way earned him a sprawling rejection letter regarding the reasons he should simply give up writing all together. Tim Burton’s first illustrated book, The Giant Zlig, got the thumbs down from Walt Disney Productions, and even Jack Kerouac’s perennial On the Road received a particularly blunt…

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