Tags: Airship Over Water, Confidence, Gym, Happy, health, Helf, Kilograms, Korea, Language School, Lifestyle, Pounds, Pride, Self Conscious, Self Help, Weight, weight lifting
I used to be someone who was deeply concerned about their weight. Coming from a family with a history of diabetes and other health problems, my fear was that I would balloon up naturally when I became an adult. I probably hit my last growth spurt during my junior year of high school, and ironically at that time I was also my heaviest. I recall going to the doctor for a checkup once around December of 2004 and clocking in at 17o pounds. I played sports throughout my entire life — mostly soccer, but usually during the winter season I wasn’t too active. I’d like to tell you this was 170 pounds of lean muscle that I stacked on to prepare for soccer season — but that’s not true. Even now I would not call myself that overweight — even some people said I looked healthy — but I wasn’t comfortable with myself.
I remember during that time going to a restaurant for take out and I ran into a friend going to a different high school. She told me, “I heard you gained weight. But you look great.” Even with the second half of that comment, it still dug into my self conscious high school self like a dagger. “I was overweight? How did this happen?” Of course I wasn’t — but anytime someone’s weight changes (for better or worse) people tend to notice.
I slowly dropped the weight during soccer season the next year and kept it off — but it didn’t stop. I was so self conscious from that single comment. Being the impressionable teen I was, I can recall being at the beach with my family after graduating high school. We were in a book store and I noticed two pretty attractive teenage girls holding a magazine with the “new” Justin Timberlake, right around his “Bringing Sexy Back” phase. They were just gushing at how attractive he was, and all I could notice was his ultra thin frame and tightly fit suit.
I decided at that moment I had to keep losing weight. Looking back, it was almost a sickness. In the middle of 2008, I was at my lowest weight in my adult life — 125 pounds. I thought I looked great, but my family was concerned. Anytime someone tries to make a healthy choice in their life and loses weight, I feel like those closest to you can be concerned. It’s almost admitting, “I’m not comfortable with who I was so I have to change.” But the truth was, I wasn’t confident even at that point. Being that thin — being able to fit into shorts with a waist size of 28 — it didn’t make me any happier in the long run.
But I did a lot of research during that time when I put the weight off. I learned a lot about basic nutrition — the importance of hitting the daily nutritional values and watching calories. I cut out regular soda and made a choice to only stick with diet drinks and water. Slowly they became lifestyle choices.
Yet — people can always learn more. Now here we are in 2013, and for the past year of my life I’ve tried to go in the opposite direction. I’ve become obsessed with weight lifting.
For the past 3 years or so I’ve floated around 140 to 15o pounds — but since I really started lifting regularly last October, I started to weigh myself less and less. I knew I was eating better and excising regularly, so worrying about the scale seemed less important.
Last week I was at my girlfriend’s home helping her clean a bit, and she pulled out their weight scale randomly and said she wanted to see how much I weighed. Instinctively I felt worried. The self conscious feelings I had registered with “a number on a scale” never quite went away. I resisted at first saying, “I don’t care about that anymore.” She kept pushing a bit, just saying she was curious. She knows how often I go to the gym and has seen old pictures of me — always complimenting me on the muscle I’ve put on — so I knew her intentions were good. Finally — I agreed and stepped on the scale.
The number was in kilograms (as the rest of the world seems to use that), but I pulled out my phone to convert the number into pounds.
Exactly 169 pounds was the number it came out to be. And I felt so happy. I looked down my shirt a bit, seeing the figure of my abdominal muscles. I had a flashback to that junior year of high school when I was in the doctor’s office. At that time, I just dreamed of having a lot of muscle mass. I dreamed of having abs. And yet here I stand at 25-years-old — weighing nearly the exact same weight and feeling healthier than ever.
^ A progress shot from last December. It’s quite blurry. But I still like it.
I’m not trying to pat my own back (no pun intended). I just feel proud of myself. Of course I don’t want to be settled. I want to keep packing on muscle. I like the way I eat now. I like my increased appetite. I like training with weights 6 days a week. I love riding my bike every day and breaking up a sweat. I like the way I live my life now. But I want to keep growing — both literally (in a physical way) and growing with my understanding of health.
Everyone likes to be a critic. Just the other day I ran into a teacher on the street. He saw me carrying my grocery bag full of peanuts, a bag of apples, a bottle of Coke Zero, and a box of takeout chicken. In a passive aggressive tone (and in Korean of course) he said, “You shouldn’t eat chicken every day.” I smiled back and politely responded by saying I agree. I wished him a good weekend and walked on. But the more I thought about it, it irritated me a bit.
I have a bit of an inferiority complex as it is. I have issues with myself. Which is why I am always trying to learn about my health and take better care of myself. I am proud of my body — but I don’t always carry myself in the ultra confident way. I don’t want to put anyone off and treat anyone like an asshole. But it irritates me when others pretend to be “health experts” when they are nothing of the sort.
I will be studying physical education at Keimyung University after I pass my language test. I admittedly am learning more and more every day, but I don’t criticize other’s lifestyles. I worry about those I care about. If I see a friend constantly drinking or not exercising enough, I worry — but I would never outright give them my advice on how they should life their life. So I expect other’s to do the same to me. If I want your input I will ask for it. Especially if you are someone who leads a life that I admire — like those who take care of themselves physically and mentally.
I realize (as usual) this is a bit scatterbrained. By now you should just be used to this. But I guess my final point is — I am proud of where I am. If I am one step better than the person I was yesterday — whether that’s learning Korean or pushing myself farther in the gym — I’m proud. And I make mistakes. I have a beer every now and then. I buy a Snickers once in a while. And I regret it — but I learn from it and try to keep pushing forward.
And someday I hope I can help others with their health and lifestyle.
Thanks for reading. I do sincerely mean that. This website is more of a benefit for me than anyone else, but if anyone finds the slightest bit of enjoyment — it makes me tremendously happy.
Tags: Airship Over Water, AOW, Exercise, Gym, Korea, SKKU, Student Loan Payment, Study Abroad, Study Abroad Blog, Workout
Life in Korea is quite different this time around. Being a student in the SLI (Sungkyunkwan Language Institute) can provide more stress than one might expect. They literally designed this program from top to bottom so a student can go through all 6 levels of TOPIK (Korean Proficiency Test) in one year — which would basically mean that person would be BEYOND fluent. Having studied Korean a bit last year, I felt like I was on the right side of starting this program, but I quickly lost pace and have fallen behind.
I can’t express how difficult it is — and I don’t want to turn this into a post about complaining, but my point is — I have to make goals or find things I enjoy to keep me going. Here are a few that keep me on this path –
*The thought of opportunities back home (or lack of opportunities)
*Being able to defer student loan payments and have graduate school (potentially) paid for
*Living in a different country and meeting other students from all over the world
*Making meaningful relationships with internationals (and of course Koreans)
*Just being honored enough to receive this scholarship
I know there are people who would literally take a life for the opportunity I have. I can almost feel the envy from acquaintances back home when they leave condescending Facebook comments (or some of the things that were said to me prior to leaving). And I do feel honored. I am trying here. I am.
And as silly as it may sound, I love having access to a decent gym so close to my room. I wake up at 6:35 every morning, do some empty stomach cardio and light weightlifting, then return at some point later in the day. Since I was younger, I was fascinated by athletes and professional wrestlers with amazing physiques — like a bodybuilder almost. I could not believe the dedication they had to put into their life just to look a certain way.
^ David Bautista. One of my personal idols (as far as bodybuilding — and recently MMA). We have the same name, loving working out, I already have one tattoo — so I’m inching closer and closer to getting there.
I have improved my diet by leaps and bounds. Just to give you an example of the commitment I am making, let me run down my meals yesterday –
*Apple (Post Morning Workout)
*Protein Shake (Post Morning Workout)
*3 Boiled Eggs
*Apple (Post Afternoon Workout)
*Tangerine (Post Afternoon Workout)
Not extremely varied or balanced by many nutritionists, but I have been taking in so much protein from the shakes — and on other days I usually find some Korean dish like Dak-Kal-Bi for meat and vegetables or just straight up chicken. I still “cheat” now and then and I feel disappointed in myself when I do — but still — I am seeing results fast. And as I said in the previous post — someday I’ll share the pics.
And yes I am drinking a bit here in Korea. A “light” beer or two after a stressful day of this Korean bootcamp never killed anyone, and I make sure to work it off in the morning.
So I realize this is jumping around a bit — but with this scholarship it has (for the first time in my life) given me an opportunity where I can focus on learning a second language, but more importantly, reaching my physical peak. I am doing the research about nutrition and exercise. I have roommates and friends who love work out as well and we keep each other motivated. And I have an iPod full of heavy music to push me and keep me going.
So in a sense, as stressed as I am (at the fear of failing this program) — and I SO happy to be here at the same time, if for nothing else because I have some great friends and I am feeling healthier every day. Maybe someday, I finally can reach that physique I’m striving for.
I guess in conclusion — I got this scholarship because of hard work and seizing opportunities — so much that I like to think of myself as the ultimate opportunist (and cheers to you if you can get that reference). I know people would love to be in my position, but I am making the most of it. I am working towards my future and also making myself stronger and healthier than ever before. I have good days and bad days, but I still pull myself through. I don’t know where I’ll be one year from now (or even 3 months from now), but I hope I can keep this motivation going.
If there is something you really want — a dream — an ideal body — a job — I really pray and hope that you can get there as well.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a random post without much thought put in prior, but I’m happy with how it turned out.
^ Me in Gangnam. Just thought I’d throw that in there. :P
Tags: 2011, 2012, Airship Over Water, AOW, Award, Best Comic, Best Movie, Danger, f(x), Game Of The Year, Hot Summer, IDW TMNT, Kevin Eastman, Lincoln Lawyer, New Years
As I begin typing this, it’s 2:22 AM on December 31st, 2011. In less than 24 hours, the ball will begin to drop and people will count down for the coming of 2012. People say this every year — but this year has flown by. And I say — without a shadow of a doubt — that 2011 has been the greatest year of my entire life. I mean that with all my heart. Not only was I fortunate enough to study in South Korea and travel the world, but I learned so much about myself and what I want to do.
That all being said, this year has brought a lot of great things. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight my favorite things from 2011 — music/games/movies/comics — all that and more. So without further adieu:
(^ Me at the Great Wall of China ^^)