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weight loss story

One

I never enjoyed running when I was a child.  I used to be overweight, and would moan when my parents took the family to the track or the gym.  I love swimming, volleyball, and soccer…I even joined soccer and volleyball teams and even become a lifeguard, but running just never clicked with me.  Carrying extra baggage made running a tough task too, and I also did not enjoy being on a treadmill.  I just felt that I was dragging my sole and my body unwillingly as I ran from a step to another, and it just felt drowsy.  A few years ago as an undergraduate, I also thought of running along the lake, but I pretty much failed since I would be tired after running a few steps.  Even some passersby who saw me would encourage me not to give up but continue running…but I ended walking back to my residence hall instead.

Time passed by, and I changed my lifestyle to become a healthier guy.  Around the end of last year, I decided to overcome my treadmill phobia and started running on treadmills since then.  I challenged myself to increase my time on the treadmill bit by bit, and soon I was making more progress.  Of course, I did not forfeit my usual routine of rowing, biking, playing volleyball, and taking long walks.  Perhaps my endurance elevated from all the exercising through time.

The weather has become quite warm as if ’twas summer in Madison.  With all the snow gone and humidity increasing under the weather ranging from 60 to 70F, many bikers and runners could be see on the streets.  Guys would be playing frisbee or dipping into Lake Mendota, and ladies could be seen lying on the green grass reading novels or taking naps.  Bascom Hill is once again flown by students and community members who would bathe themselves under the sun.  As I passed by these folks on my bike today, I noticed some topless guys running along State Street.  I have always hope to become one of those muscular guys who could show my body as I was on the streets, and all of a sudden something in me told me to go out to run and enjoy the sun.  I was doubting myself, thinking that I would just run a few steps and started bickering about it, similar to my old self.  However, I started filling my water bottle and preparing myself for a short run after getting back to my place at 5:45PM, and I started my run at 6PM.  ‘Twas still warm and sunny with many folks on the streets, and I just could not tell myself to stop running from there!  Of course I halted from time to time to take water breaks and to stretch so that I would not have a cramp, but I felt so amazing as sweat was streaming down my back and was inked onto my shirt.  I felt the winds next to me and people’s smiles on their faces as encouragement when I passed by them.  I saw other runners around me, which became my single-serving friends and motivators.  Who knew that I would spend thirty to forty minutes running around and stretching out at the end?  I felt as if I became a bird spreading his wings to explore unknown territories, and I did not feel as tired as I would have imagined.

I ended running 2.3 miles, which was longer than I thought.  I remember as a middle schooler that I would spent more than thirty minutes just to do a mile run on those good ol’ days of fitness tests, and taking more than ten minutes to do a 800m run as a high school student.  Those were during my overweight days, and I noticed changes in me as I was stretching in the park in my neighborhood.  The sun was lowering itself as the day ended, and I just felt so peaceful at the moment.  This experience would make me a regular for running, and I am definitely moving forward in life by overcoming my phobia and by making myself into a stronger and better person.

I passed by crowds in the park, and I was overjoyed to see children enjoying time with family and folks enjoying time with friends.  I took a quick shower, looked at myself in the mirror, and hope that I would become even more attractive physically soon.  Running, although considered as high-risk with knee injuries, can be health-improving with many other benefits.  I just hope that I will be able to see the benefits after running a lot more around town.

Two

My brother’s birthday was today, and after knowing that he did not have special plans other than spending time with his girlfriend, I decided to invest in a birthday cake.  I know that he does not like chocolate and that the both of us hate those sugary frosting and icing, so I went to my favorite Bakers’ Window and ordered a carrot almond cake a few days ago.  I figured that Bakers’ Window would be the ideal place since my brother and friends love the croissants and pastries I got them from there.  I also am a supporter of local businesses that use organic and community-produced ingredients when compared to large corporations with their artificial coloring and partially hydrogenated fats.  Plus, the baked goods from Bakers’ Window always tasted wonderful and fresh out of the oven without any sugar-coating.  The dense carrot cake with tons of almonds also left me a grand impression, so I thought that would make a lovely birthday cake.  After seeing me quite often with my bulk orders (since I eat some for breakfast and would share fifty-percent of my purchase with my brother and friends), the adorable managers and bakers (a lovely couple) agreed to make the cake.  When I went to the bakery today, I saw the familiar welcoming smiles from the bakers and staff, and the cake was adorable.  After a few minutes in the bakery and storing the cake in my refrigerator, I started my day and planned on meeting with my brother at night.

My brother stopped by my place at 8PM after he and his girlfriend had dinner together at Bonfyre, which is one of their favorite restaurants for barbecue except that ’twas not as good tonight as the previous times they went there.  They are a beautiful couple, and I am happy for my brother to be in a relationship with a gorgeous, caring, simple (not materialistic), and well-mannered lady when compared to his exes.  They were both glad to see me, and they were shocked by the huge size of the cake when I presented it.  When I told them that ’twas a carrot cake, my brother’s eyes started glittering.  He then told me that he loves carrot cakes, and I guess that is why we’re brothers 🙂  He felt that the cake is different compared to other cakes since ’twas dense but moist, the cheesecake frosting was not as sweet or overpowering, the almonds were a nice decor and complement (and we love almonds), and he simply LOVES it.  His girlfriend, being a foodie, also loves the cake too!  We chatted more throughout the evening until they left, and they ended taking half of the leftover cake with them.  I had never seen my brother hugging that much of a cake, but he indicated that he really loves it and that his friends would not have introduced such a wonderful cake.  I am glad that the cake was a success, and then I presented him and his girlfriend the other pastries and croissants I got for them earlier today.  They went back to my brother’s place happily, and I was glad to send them off.

I only have one blood-related brother, and ’tis amazing to see that he is now twenty-three years old.  When we were younger, I did not cherish him as much since I became independent at a younger age.  We did share bedrooms until we moved to a new apartment during my high school years.  He would want to come to my room, but I ended dragging him out.  Although we have been in Madison together for five years now, we rarely hung out until this year.  Maybe this comes with age.  We met with each other more often on a weekly basis, and our brotherhood became stronger.  For me as the older sibling, I also helped him with groceries, great croissants, and many others, and these simple acts of giving did lighten his heart too.  He is always appreciative of the many wonderful things I gave him…and I could see that he loves those or else he would have returned them to me.  I hope and pray that we will be stronger support for one another and that things will go well for him too.

Three

And just a list of a quick update:

1. I went to All You Can Eat Sushi at Restaurant Muramoto with my brother.  My brother and I are sushi and seafood lovers, and Restaurant Muramoto created many memories for us.  This establishment was introduced to me through my brother when we dined together on the evening of my college graduation, which was on my birthday a few years ago.  We would go to Muramoto establishments for sushi since the Asian fusion style is unique compared to other sushi restaurants.  And then…  Restaurant Muramoto started having the All You Can Eat Sushi deal for $25 per person!  That was a great deal for us since our typical sushi bill would unfortunately be in the hundreds, which is a great contrast between the price and freshness of seafood in the midwest when compared to Taiwan.  We finally went there together two Sundays ago, and the food was great as we remembered.  We ended eating ten rolls and twenty-two pieces of nigiri along with servings of seaweed salads and miso soups for three hours…The original price without the deal would be more than $220, but we only paid $50 without the 5.5% tax and tip!  What a meal!

2. Grad school is going well.  I’m enjoying teaching, and I am moving forward with research.  I will be meeting with my committee next week, hopefully to be certified and to set a date for my qualifying exam.  Some folks have been decontaminating and “fixing” the biosafety cabinets in the lab, so it has been a war zone!

3.  Life is good!  Volleyball, as usual, this weekend.  Hoping to enjoy another three to four-hour game 🙂

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I always feel good after my normal hour-long work-out/exercise session per day, a bike ride, a long walk around town, or after playing some sports.  After doing some work today on a rainy Saturday, I went to play indoor volleyball for three hours and a half, and I felt great to move around and to do my best in playing.  Perhaps ’tis the adrenaline rush and increase in testosterone that make me feel like a sexy stud, but I also noticed that I have come a long way each time when I look into the mirror in the locker rooms.

I used to be an overweight guy with seventy-five to eighty pounds of extra weight.  Even the passport picture from 2006 made me look as if I were a gang member or the reincarnation of Garfield.  I initially did not care too much about my physical appearance when I was younger, since I always work hard to reach my goals and do well in school and other aspects of life.  I did overeat most of the time with a feast of ice cream, cakes, pastries, potato chips, fried chicken, bread, candies, and many others…and I hated exercising.  When my dad would pull me to go hiking with him, I would simply be lazy and lay on the bed…

It took me a while to notice that carrying an excess of adipose can make me unhealthy with heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, and more.  When I was in Taipei, I would feel ashamed of myself from time to time, but then coming to the US made me seem “normal” compared to most folks, even those who are obese, on the streets since people in Wisconsin usually would be bigger with brats, beer, cheese, and ice cream  in the diet without exercising.  As an undergraduate by then, I was just too busy to exercise and take good care of myself.  I did study, cram for exams, and stay up overnight to work on papers with pizzas, pot stickers, cinnamon sticks, ice cream, juice, and fries.  The life of an undergraduate who spent four years in residence halls would prevent him or her from grocery shopping since everything is just so convenient with dining halls…and even worse, I got quite a bit of free food and dinners just by being a house fellow for two years.

After graduating from college in 2008, I went back to Taiwan and was pulled by my dad to play tennis every night of the week for two to four hours.  I initially hated it since I was not good at tennis.  However, the feeling of perspiration and moving around soon excited me.  I slowly fell in love with moving around, and increased my demand for working out and exercising.  I lost seventy-five to eighty pounds that summer and during the first year of graduate school, and now I am working to become more muscular.  From my view in the mirror today after the volleyball session, it seems that I am making progress 🙂

Many friends also told me that I look great and that I look a lot better…and after coming back to the United States, I visited the gym a lot more regularly and would play some sports.  Instead of waiting for the bus, I would walk around town and notice corners that I did not notice before.  I learn to be a lot more active in life, and I feel that the burden and chains that used to be in my body have disappeared.

Perhaps it was graduate school that made my life easier.  Although ’tis true that graduate school has different stress and concerns when compared to undergraduate years, I actually love graduate school a lot more since I can focus on the courses and research I find fascinating.  I also no longer pull all-nighters and would be in bed by midnight if I am not out with friends.  ‘Twas fascinating for me to observe that my attitude and characteristic, which used to be short-tempered, changed after that summer in 2008.  Perhaps it was due to age too!

After leaving residence halls, I was forced to budget wisely to spend on rent, bills, pleasure, and most importantly, food.  Although frozen pizzas and fried food are cheaper than vegetables and fruits, I opted for healthier eating and soon changed my diet into one composed of oatmeal, vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and natural food product.  No longer do I rely on artificial flavors and processed food, nor do I eat anything with partially hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup.  ‘Tis true that I do crave for a donut or a pumpkin pie from time to time, but even Men’s Health indicated that one can sin 20% of the time!  There is always confession for me as a Catholic anyway 🙂

Throughout the years, I not only transformed myself to become one with a healthier lifestyle (demand of exercise, eating, amount of sleep, etc), but I also learned to love myself.  Many folks in the world would be depressed because they do not look like a celebrity, or that their physical appearance would be laughed at by folks.  People, including the old me, would abandon themselves and prevent loneliness by eating a gallon of ice cream in front of the television as if folks were mourning from a break-up.  After learning to love myself and have faith in myself, I no longer rely on food but exercise as a method to suppress my anger and frustrations, and I have more confidence in myself in many tasks.  I would take risks to answer questions or be the first one to do something, and I no longer have fear that I will be crushed by obstacles.  Even in the dating world, people seem to notice me a lot more compared to the old me.  Most importantly, I learned to persevere and to persist…or else none of my dreams and even the weight loss story would come true if I forfeit and lazily put off the agenda to the next day.

Even now as a friend, a mentor, a teaching assistant, and brother for many, I always encourage my friends to love themselves.  This does not mean that every obese person should go to the gym with me, but I always hope and pray that people will live happily during each moment and not lose hope in themselves.  If there is something that is troubling someone, I often would advise people to act upon the issue and do their best to make changes in life instead of doing nothing.  I also learned to be a good listener from these conversations, and I just hope that I can share a bit of myself with others.  The folks around me also impacted me greatly. My advisor and friends encourage me to work SMART, live with simplest happiness, and never be frustrated or overwhelmed by the littlest things in life.  My parents told me never to give up on myself, and aim to run another mile if I can.  These great and holy folks not only gave me hope, but they also remind me that I am beautiful.  Whenever I spend time with family and friends, these are the greatest gifts that they have given me.  For example, I went to spend time with Daniel tonight after volleyball ended at 5:30PM.  Daniel is a nice guy who is a bit shorter than I am, but he is quite attractive with a muscular build.  When we hung out for more than an hour before I came back home to grade papers and he began working on some lectures, he told me that he enjoyed spending time with me, that I am a special guy, and that I have a nice smile and legs, and many other words when he had his arms around me.  These compliments or praises of similar types are the ones that make each individual feel welcomed and loved in the world, and instead of only absorbing them in, we also need to give back and pay it forward.  A relationship and interaction of any sort go both ways, so we should show people that we love them when they show their love towards us.

With this said, this blog is not meant to be a foodie exhibition.  I do notice that I have been putting some pictures of food in previous entries.  I do love good and slow food, but I do not consider myself a foodie.  This blog serves as a place for me to express and share my thoughts from everyday life, hoping that they can enlighten others in need on here.

Therefore, my friends…love thyself.  You are beautiful and sexy, and never abandon yourself.  During the busiest of times, treat yourself with a chocolate truffle or something that pleases you.  If you have a dream, have faith in yourself that you will reach it through perseverance, sweat, and persistence.  Cherish each conversation and interaction you have with family members, peers, and friends–single serving or not.  Although life can be hard, do not lose faith in yourself and always seek for the simplest and purest joys of happiness in the world!