When You’re Sad But You Can’t Eat Your Sorrows Away ‘Coz Fats

 

Yesterday, I realized that I’ve been re-watching FRIENDS again for the past two weeks (see short info below), and I usually watch it whenever I needed cheering up. I wasn’t too sure of why I needed to cheer up though… It’s just this weird bothering feeling in the background. Of course, I ignored it, thinking that I was just being a drama queen and that everything was okay.

Then today, somehow, it was just there. The sadness. I couldn’t shake it off, even with FRIENDS on all day (thanks, iflix!) I don’t drink (the taste of alcohol really doesn’t agree with me), so I usually eat my sorrows away (hence, US size 18/20). But  I’m trying to get back to eating healthy, so I can’t emotio-eat. Especially not after the TWO DINNERS we had last night, because my brother was in a crappy mood and he wanted to drink (but again, I don’t, so I ate instead).

So now I’m left with… hunger and the blues. (Wait, this sounds like a good name for a band.) It’s just weird. I mean, a couple of weeks ago, I woke up to a wonderful Monday morning when everything felt right and the future looked bright. Then, just a week later, things started getting murky again and I’m back to not knowing what the heck I’m doing with my life. I really thought that this feeling would go away when I graduated from my mid-twenties, but no. I’m about to be as old as the last day (sometimes 2nd to the last) of every month, and I still feel like I’m grasping at air.

And then I checked the results of a contest I entered – to be a travel intern for a blog – hoping that it could at least help my mood if I were picked as a finalist… but yeah, I didn’t, because other entries had 600-800-1,000 likes, and I, even with the help of my mom, my brother, and a student, only got 70+, which is only about 10% of my FB friends. Maybe even less, because some of the likes were from people I don’t know.

But maybe that’s because my entry sucked. Period.

And it’s worse ‘coz I can’t eat the bad mood away!

Oh but what the heck.  I’ll have ice cream after writing this. Oh, and I have the new Running Man episode to watch!!! Yay!

Anyway, moments ago, when I was a millimeter away from tears, I opened my Bible app to gather strength from God. I must be feeling helpless again because I’ve been relying on my own abilities to fix whatever’s wrong. I’m really sorry about that. I again slid down from the victorious standpoint, and am allowing myself to be dissuaded by the enemy. When I opened my app, I saw this photo verse I made that Monday when everything felt right:

A post shared by iStepani (@istepani) on

It’s a timely reminder for me to always lift everything up to God – my worries, doubts, insecurities, even my triumphs and joys, because everything is from Him and for Him. I can’t get out of this slump, but He can get me out of it. I’m guilty of lacking prayer and petition. Really, what I need right now is God’s peace to settle in my heart, and I just know that tomorrow when I wake up, everything will make sense again.
Background Info on FRIENDS

I first started watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. on my freshman year in university. It was a tough first semester and I believe I had mild depression then – I slept the days away and dreaded going to school. New people scared the heck outta me. I’m an introvert, you see.

Anyway, FRIENDS has already ended that time, but I just couldn’t understand it when I was younger. But when I caught a rerun on TV freshman year, somehow, it clicked, and that’s how this TV show became a sort of “comfort food” for me. I watched it to help me get through the tough adjustment year. I even recommended it to my big brother, and we’d watch it whenever we hung out. Happy, sad, hungry, bored – we watched FRIENDS during all these, but mostly when we needed cheering up.

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My Utterly Useless Goal: 100 K-Dramas by End of 2016

Before anyone starts judging and telling me what a horrible waste of time this is, let me tell you that yes, I know that, and I agree to an extent.

But just think about how much television an average person watches (unless, you know, they’re one of those people who don’t watch/own a TV, or live under a rock). Upon quick Googling, the average American watches about 5 hours of TV per day. This isn’t even including things streamed online. Let’s assume that the rest of the world doesn’t watch as much TV, so let’s bring down that average to say, 2hrs. of TV per day. That’s 365 days x 120min. = 43,800mins. Multiplied by 10, that’s 438,000mins. of TV viewing for 10 years. 2hrs. is like watching 2.5 episodes of a US TV series per day, which I think is pretty low compared to reality. I mean, Netflix has been stealing sleep from millions of people for so long.

Now, on to Korean dramas. They’re like 16-episode rom-coms, which one can’t find in western shows. Well, not all of them are rom-coms. There are social commentaries that tackle issues that resonate with most of us. There are also police procedurals, supernatural, fantasy, you name it. Also, they are much much less sexualized that I can safely watch one in public, in front of kids, or my mother. Their one-shot nature makes sure that the production goes all out, because there’s no “making it up next season”.

K-dramas are usually 16-20 episodes, 1 hr. each. There are web dramas that have 10-12 episodes that are only 15mins. each. There are mini dramas that only have 2-5 episodes. Rarely are there 2nd seasons (I can name only three), and almost never with the exact same cast. I saw my first k-drama back in 2006, but I thought it was a one-time thing, until 2011, when they became a sort of guilty pleasure. I hit my all-time high in 2014 because I used k-drama as a means for coping. This year, I realized that I have seen 60 k-dramas since 2006 until early 2016, so I challenged myself to make it a round 100 by the end of the year.

Why? Because I can, and it’s fun.

And it supplements my learning of the language.

Let’s see. I won’t even adjust for web dramas and mini dramas. Let’s say I watch 100 18-episode dramas. That’s 100 x 18 x 60mins = 108,000mins. of viewing. That’s only a quarter of the average daily viewing for 10 years.

Even if I cut the world average TV viewing time in half, since I only truly actively watched since 2011, then that’d still amount to 219,000mins. of viewing, twice as much compared to my k-drama’s 108k.

So yeah, this challenge wastes less time than one might actually think.

Alright, now that I’ve presented my case and calculations, on to my list!

Dramas I’ve Completed

2006

My Girl

2011

Personal Taste
City Hunter
Scent of a Woman

Subtotal: 3

2012

Boys Over Flowers
Playful Kiss
Iris
Athena
Poseidon
Oh My Lady
Secret Garden
Coffee Prince

Subtotal: 8

2013

To the Beautiful You
Wild Romance
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

Subtotal: 3

2014

My Love From the Stars
Moon Embracing the Sun
Dream High
Reply 1994
Flower Boy Ramen Shop
Night Watchmen’s Journal
49 Days
You’re All Surrounded
The Heirs
Dr. Stranger
I Can Hear Your Voice
You’re Beautiful
Heartstrings
Emergency Couple
Rooftop Prince
Sungkyunkwan Scandal
Innocent Man
3 Days
Mimi
Modern Farmer
Panda and Hedgehog
Surplus Princess
King of Dramas
Master’s Sun
Three Musketeers

Subtotal: 25

2015

Marry Him If You Dare
Cunning Single Lady
Misaeng
The Girl Who Can See Smells
Dr. Frost
Warm and Cozy
God’s Quiz Season 1
Healer
Pinocchio
The Producers
Jumong
The Time We Were Not In Love
She Was Pretty

Subtotal: 13

2016

Reply 1988
Oh My Venus
My Fair Lady
The Village: Achiara’s Secret
High End Crush
Hello Monster
Cantabile Tomorrow
Ex-Girlfriend Club
Cheese in the Trap
Signal
Six Flying Dragons
Neighborhood Hero
One Sunny Day
Liar Game
Come Back, Ahjussi
Descendants of the Sun
Goodbye Mr. Black
Baker King, Kim Tak Gu
Vampire Detective
Lucky Romance
Scholar Who Walks the Night
Bong Soon: A Cyborg in Love
Missing Noir M

Subtotal: 23

Total: 76/100

Dramas I’m Currently Watching

Doctors
38 Task Force
Let’s Fight, Ghost
Uncontrollably Fond

Dramas On Hold/To Finish

Protect the Boss
7th Grade Civil Servant
Reply 1997
Witch’s Romance
That Winter the Wind Blows*
A Man Called God
God’s Quiz 2
Bubblegum
Hotel King*

*Last one episode left!!!

Dramas On Queue

W
Scarlet Letter
Love in the Moonlight
Mirror of the the Witch
Awl
Jang Yeong Shil
Wonderful Mama
Hwajung
Nine Times Time Travel
It’s OK that’s Love
The Virus
The End of the World
Nightmare Teacher
Grandpa Investigation Squad
Page Turner

Okay, as you can see, I still have 24 dramas to watch, and 4 months left in the year. Of course, my strategy is to go for web and mini dramas, and ones with the least number of episodes. Haha. I’ll create a separate page for this challenge, which will serve as a masterlist that links to reviews for each.

If any of you have good, short dramas to recommend, I’d appreciate it! 😀

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Downsize the Plus Size

There comes a point in one’s life when “being healthy” goes beyond all the superficial things and start becoming a life-or-death challenge. Some people get there early on, others later in life. But it usually starts when one’s age is equal to the last few days of a calendar month.

This is when all those things we did to our body, back when we were under the imagined invincibility that accompanies youth, show up. Getting up early after a late night isn’t easy like it used to be. Parts of your body, even ones you didn’t know you had, start aching. Working off holiday weight gain took twice as long as say, five years ago.

The Sad Reality

This reality only recently hit me. It’s pretty depressing because my mind hasn’t caught up to my body’s age. I’m sure that it’s not just me that feels that, even though it’s been a while since you were 21, you still, by default, think like one. So you do things like you used to, then your body laughs at the immobile mess that you become by the next day.

These days, salad or steamed vegetables paired with grilled fish or chicken has become my “safe” dish. If I eat these, I live. If I go a day without at least one meal of these, then good luck to my liver. Of course, I’m still working on conditioning myself to not get tired of this combination. I mean, I’m a person who loves delicious, rich, flavorful food. But then I found that fear of death works very well to counter that.

Okay, you might think that I’m over-exaggerating. If I came from a line of healthy ancestry, then yes, I may be. But I’m descended from a family that checks almost all the boxes in those family medical history forms. I should’ve had this fear when my dad passed away from liver cancer, but I didn’t. As usual, I’m late – two years late, that is. But I believe that it isn’t too late to start striving for good health now, and I will hopefully reach that goal in a year, when I turn the big three-o.

Why Cheat Days are Necessary

As a consistently plus sized lady, I’ve had my share of weight loss and weight gain, and I can say that the thing that really cracks me is feeling restricted. I can exist on a single diet for 1-3 months, but there’s always a point when I break and just eat whatever. That’s why I need those cheat days, to kind of trick myself into thinking that oh, I can still eat what I want. It’s all cool. Lol.

The challenge here is controlling consumption during cheat days. I have to admit that even though I’ve tasted The Fear, there still are days when I rationalize myself into unhealthy eating thinking, “Yeah well, I’m still young”, or, “I know people who lived their whole lives in my size and are still doing fine in old age”.

 

Loving Yourself

There are people who will tell me to just “love my shape” or that “anyone can be beautiful at any size” or that “size doesn’t matter if you love yourself”. While I do support all these things, let me reiterate what I said in my About page:

I’m body positive, and I believe people can be beautiful at any size, but dying of a heart attack or liver cancer isn’t really pretty, so I’m trying to take care of mine.

Since as young as 11 or 12 years old, I have played within the range of UK size 12-20 (US 10-18). Although my mom thinks I lack confidence, and I will admit to bouts of insecurity from time to time (I mean, who doesn’t have that?), I do believe that I’m okay-looking. I’m comfortable in my body. I think I look nice in the right clothes. I’m pretty flexible, and I don’t have terrible problems doing active things (the rare times that I wanted/was forced to). Even though there were instances of name-calling, being asked to pay for 2 seats in a jeepney, and getting blamed by the taxi driver for his suddenly-flat tire (there were 5 of us riding!), I was okay with myself. I had good friends, a good brain, a supportive family, and am terribly blessed by God. What more can I ask for?

My weight has never posed as an obstacle to doing things that I want, so I liked myself. A LOT. If I hated myself, I’d want to change myself, right? But I liked myself too much to change, so I went on being the same, fighting for size-equality. Things such as:

I won’t lose weight just to get a guy. True love is loving me as is.

There needs to be more plus-sized leading ladies in love stories!

Employers need to not discriminate between fat and thin applicants.

Fat girls can do everything that thin girls can.

There were a few more for sure, but I forget. I will say that I still believe in these things, because these need to be true. Some things (especially the first one) is already true for others, but not for me, and probably many other plus-sized men and women. These need a major mindset evolution to happen in society, and I think the body positive campaign is a good start, so I fully support this campaign. There are too many points of discrimination in this society, and one’s body shouldn’t be one of them.

True Self Love

However, I found that loving myself isn’t just about being comfortable and liking the way I am. Truly loving myself is taking time to care for myself. This is something of a hard lesson to apply in my life, because I’ve always thought people who spend too much time and money on themselves are vain. I mean, doing nails, getting hair colored, threading/waxing eyebrows, putting on makeup every morning, etc. – all of these cost precious time and money, as well as brain space to remember all those appointments (okay, there are apps, but you still keep it at the back of your head). Not to mention the effort. These I’d rather spend on travelling or sleeping or I don’t know, trying to save the world.

But now, I understand. Although I still don’t get my nails done unless there’s a major occasion like a wedding or something, I finally understand that carving out time for myself, making sure that I am healthy and the best that I can be, is the real self love. I mean, I spend my time watching and reading things because I love them, so why can’t I do that for myself?

Right now, my priority is being healthy enough to live another 40 or so years. I’m not greedy, I don’t want to live forever. It’s pretty tiring to be alive; I don’t know why some people want to be immortal. I just want to live long enough to give my mom an awesome retirement, keep my brother company, make some of my dreams come true, and help as many people as I can.

The Game Plan

To do that, I have at least 100lbs. of fat to lose. And this time, I really have to stick to this commitment, that’s why I’m putting this up here – to shame myself enough to actually do it, after having publicly declared it. Lol.

Two things I have down – my “safe” dish and a gym membership. Now, if only I can buy consistency. Haha. I’m trying to form a habit of going to the gym at least thrice a week. I’ve actually come up with a plan to push myself to go. As much as I want to lose 10lbs. per month, which I can for the first two to three months, I’ve accepted a slow-but-steady progress. No more quick fixes. I want this to stick.

I will write about it here as a form of accountability, and to encourage people on a similar journey as mine. If, by this time next year, I am still this fat (UK size 18/20/US 16/18), then you are free to call me out on it.

Okay, let’s do this!

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