Category Archives: Taekwondo

Ditching the scale

After a seven month long battle, Gina decides to kick the scale to the curb

Yep, that’s me.

I am moving forward with my fitness and my wellness goals, and I think an important step to that is to ditch the scale.

Let me tell you the story behind this decision.

I  may have referenced this before, but Anthony and I decided a couple of months ago that it was going to be healthier for me psychologically if I declined to weigh myself for a while. The goal we set was for me to hop back on the scale after my green belt test, which will be this Saturday.

Previously, and this is why we decided to nix the scale, I had been weighing myself daily, sometimes more, and every time I stepped on that scale a little piece of my heart broke. I was sitting at 150lbs, and I was starting to hate myself for it. It was a good decision. I immediately felt better when I didn’t have a weight scored into the back of my retinas. I stuck pretty well to paleo, had a renewed enthusiasm for Taekwondo, and generally felt better about myself, my body, and my life.

I kind of ruined that the other day.

I wanted to measure my body fat percentage for some weird reason. I forget. The calculator I found required weight. I figured it’d be okay to weigh myself. Almost everyone I had seen since I’d been back kept commenting on how much weight I had lost – I was thinking I had lost about ten pounds. So I asked Anthony’s permission and hopped on the scale.

140, it read, and that meant I was sitting at 147. I had essentially lost three pounds in almost seven weeks.

I was a bit grumpy.

That same self-defeating, self-loathing, anger set in again. I knew, consciously, the scales aren’t a good thing and that weight is a pretty arbitrary measure in and of itself, and a pretty useless metric for health. But for whatever reason, it still mattered. I started this thread to get some backup. And backup I got! I think this one is my favorite:

If you were on the moon would you be any more attractive? You’d weight 1/6th of what you do now.

If you were on Jupiter you’d be morbidly obese.

I think it’s a cheeky, fun way of putting what should be obvious: what matters is less what you weigh (or even how much mass you have), but rather what you consist of.  This one also is good:

Why I don’t weigh my self…. last year at this time I was around 172 size 14. Now I’m 168 and a size 8. I’d be depressed if I followed a scale.

I don’t want to be depressed. I want to be happy, healthy, fit and capable.

But if not weight, then what?

That is a really good question, and one I haven’t quite figured out myself yet. I have some very vague fitness goals. I’d like to achieve a monk-class fitness/physique. I also, very seriously, would like to survive a zombie apocalypse. More to the point, I’d like to be able to survive if the United States collapses into a third world country. No, really. I’m serious.

Apart from the survival aspect, I want to be a martial artist. I’m going to continue with martial arts. I have a goal to complete a black belt in five different martial arts before I die. I know that in order to do that I will have to work separately on my fitness and strength. The only question at this point is how to do that. I am very, very adverse to traditional workouts at this point and probably will be for the foreseeable future. So, basically, I’m attempting to trick myself into being fit and strong. Here are a couple of things I would like to do:


I would say this category is largely “Cardio” but it’s not quite. Not in the “I can jog ten miles” kind of cardio. It’s more like “keeping my body going without getting out of breath or fatigued.” I’ve already made considerable steps towards this, but I think I could get better by implementing the following:

  • Make biking my main form of transportation
  • Sprinting
  • Go Hiking at least twice a month

I actually like sprinting — always have. There’s something hella exhilarating about going as fast as you can. I remember sprinting as a kid and feeling like I was floating on the tips of my feet. I’d like to do this again. i’m not sure how I would do this.

I don’t intrinsically like to bicycle, but I think that if I make biking my main mode of transportation, that would go a long way. Biking would give me a sense of independence that I lack having to wait on MARTA. Plus, with the hills in Atlanta, it’d get me in good shape fast! Things in my way: cost of a good bicycle and lack of health insurance.

I really do like hiking, but my lack of fitness has put me off of it in recent years. I like hiking, camping, the smell of a camp fire, and taking pictures at the top of a mountain. This is something I definitely should do in the fall, as the hot weather won’t be a deterrent.  But there is the matter of where, when, how, and if anyone would go with me.


This doesn’t require too much explanation. Strength is important. Duh. The biggest problem with these goals is that I’m not sure what is is I need to be striving for in order to get what I want.  I essentially want two things 1) to be stronger than the average, untrained male and 2) to be strong as I need to be to be a good martial artist.

Here’s the big issue. Most likely the most efficient way to get stronger  is to do “workouts.” Essentially, repetitions of a certain movement, either with body weight or with weights. The thing is, I CAN’T STAND those kinds of exercises. They are boring and usually put me in tears by the end of them. No, seriously. I would estimate at least 50% of the warmups for taekwondo make me cry or get me very close. This rate shoots up when I attempt to train by myself.  I am not 100% sure what causes this, but I think part of it is inadequacy. Whether I’m by myself or in TKD and doing reps for warmup, it doesn’t matter how many I do, or even, I would say, if I am successful, I always feel inadequate and frustrated. I put up with it in TKD because I LOVE TAEKWONDO. And that’s the cold hard truth.

I do not want exercising to be something that has that kind of negative connotation in my mind, so I avoid those exercises when I can. It’s as simple as that. So, because of that, I will have to accept that building strength is gonna take a bit longer for me than for most others.  One thing that I know I would like to at least try that will build strength.

  • Rock Climbing

I think I would like rock climbing, but I haven’t tried it yet. The thing that is in my way there: I has no full time job, so has no money. Going to a rock climbing gym costs money.

One final note on strength training: I am not saying that I will never ever strength train EVER, but more that right now it’s not something that I commit to. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be itching to run and having to tell myself not to, I’d call you crazy. So maybe sometime in the future I will get myself to the point where doing rep exercises won’t be such a burden. Maybe after I’ve done some rock climbing.  😀

More nebulous things

Most of my fitness goals have to do with survival. I want to focus on what I can do, not what I look like or some arbitrary measure of health. I do want to have less fat on me, but I am not sure if having an arbitrary “body fat percentage” is a good idea. Same with BMI (and that’s an even worse metric). Based on my last measurements, I know that I am healthy by both random metrics. I have a 28% body fat and weigh 147lbs. I’m not going to keel over. After that point, I do want to focus on what I can do. (My arbitrary goal for BFP is to be less than 25%).

However, I can’t deny that appearance is something that I think about quite a bit, so I think I will have, somewhere in the back of my mind, what I’d like to look like. Muscles are included in that. Fitting into a normal bra is a part of that, though that dream is looking to be less and less likely.

Moving forward

So that is where I am. I have ditched my scale and am on my way to some of the more REAL goals I have, and have always been striving towards. Will I lose more weight? I don’t know — that’s not a concern anymore. But even if I don’t lose another pound, 147 is a great place to be if I can survive the zombie apocalypse.

I have no illusions. Doing things without repetition workouts is going to take me a while, a lot longer than if I did them. But that’s okay. If I enjoy the journey, I am more likely to get there, stay there, and keep moving forward.

And that sounds really good to me.

In case you’re wondering, my final stats are:

Weight: 147 pounds — 45 pounds lost
Body fat Percentage: 28.%
Bust: 35.5″ — 6.5 inches lost
Waist: 28.5″ —  5.5 inches lost
Hips:  41″ — 6 inches lost


The Story of the Past Month (part 2)

Leaving Chicago was hard. Chicago was everything I thought it would be and more. To top it all off, I was facing the prospect of returning home without a full time job and essentially being dependent on my fiance. In between those two realities, I had a week long seminar to face, which looked to be pretty  miserable. On top of that, they weren’t providing food.

So the next week was a bit stressful, to say the least. Luckily, I found an AWESOME salad restaurant around the corner from where our hotel was . Fresh spinach, no iceberg lettuce if I didn’t want it. Almonds, oranges, chicken — all awesome. I had a salad from this place at least six or seven times during the week. For lunches, however, I wasn’t quite as lucky. There wasn’t anything really around the place we were having the seminar. So I ended up spending quite a bit on beef jerky and almonds.  I also ended up eating a good bit of Hershey’s Special Dark. Tasty, but not terribly good for me.

if you live in DC or New York, go to Chop't and enjoy a salad for me.

I also broke down in that week and had some McDonald’s — and definitely paid for it the next day. The closing reception, of course, had pizza for dinner, so I had a slice of that. I also bought a whole bunch of chips my last night there. I had planned to take them on the train with me, but halfway through the bag of cheese puffs I had bought (which were tasty), I realized I didn’t really want them anymore, and gave the rest of my junk food away to a friend.

I came back to Atlanta a week ago yesterday feeling somewhat defeated. No job (except for a part time writing gig), dealing with eating issues, moving in with my fiance on whom I was now dependent. For whatever reason I couldn’t get rehydrated from the train. We went off to TKD, and, to my credit, I did better than I thought I would. I was incredibly sore all last week, though. My body was getting its ass kicked again, and, to be honest, it felt pretty good.

I still wasn’t very happy, though. Even though I was eating paleo, I still felt fat, and this was only corroborated by pictures I was seeing of myself from the closing seminar. I was pinching myself every so often and feeling the fat between my fingers. I was (and still am) hyper-aware of the fat on my thighs when I sit down. My stress level was still pretty high as I was bouncing back and forth to my school trying to get paperwork in for my part time job, and even when I got that paperwork in, waiting to hear back. To start something…

Seeing pics like this of me at the closing seminar didn't help...

On top of all of that, I was disappointed with certain aspects of the new apartment (the kitchen is fairly small), but most of that was exacerbated by the fact that we hadn’t been able to unpack. I was in the apartment pretty  much al day every day, and I hadn’t really seen any of my friends since I got back. Simply put, my environment, my internal emotions, and my self-image were all out of whack. On top of all of this, I was constantly sore from TKD, which just made me feel weak, useless, and inept. I don’t even think I realized, until just now, how stressful the past few weeks have been.

However, things are looking up.

Me and my new dragon wall -- note the difference from the previous picture -- cameras sure are funny things

I went and stalked recipes for paleo and have been trying them out, getting back into cooking now that I have more funds to work with. I do really like to cook, and the past few recipes have been fun adventures (posts to come on those!)

I am back at Taekwondo with my friends and doing something that I love (even though it’s hot as balls in the room, and “warmups” that we do are a bitch — they are making me stronger!!)

Between Wednesday and Sunday my muscles got much less sore (though I pulled a hamstring — that really pissed me off).

This past weekend Anthony and I got the apartment cleaned up and it all feels MUCH BETTER. I can’t wait to have friends and family over, play kinect games, and cook paleo deliciousness for them.

My awesome living room.

This week I am going to make a schedule of things I need/want to do: project to work on, what I want to do with my blogs, job hunting, and, hopefully, time set off for this writing gig.

Money is still an issue, but it will hopefully be less so once I get my reimbursement checks from IHS/SPN, not to mention the deposit refund from Evanston. Until all of that happens, I am going to have to lean on Anthony. And doing THAT is going to be an exercise in and of itself. Depending on people is not my idea of a good time.

Finally, even though I am not allowed to weigh myself, I did measure myself this morning (with Anthony’s blessing). After about a month, I’ve lost a half-inch on my waist, a whole inch on my hips, and another half-inch on my bust.

Not too shabby.

The Story of the Past Month (part 1)

WordPress tells me that my last post was on July 27th. So that tells me it’s been  about a month since I posted here. I didn’t really intend on taking this long of a hiatus, but I was expecting to be gone for a while.  Lots of very exciting things happened, but I will focus a bit on the challenges I faced towards the end of the summer, and why I took a step back from meticulous recordings of my progress.

Towards the end of my internship, something bad began to happen. I began weighing myself every morning, sometimes more than once. Every morning the scale read 150, and every morning I started out upset. Not visibly so, but in the back of my mind that number sat. Because of this, one of two things would happen. I would either cheat on paleo (less often), or I would start to feel guilty about eating (more often). No matter what I ate, or how I ate it, I was feeling bad. I ate too much not enough, the wrong kind of meat, not enough veggies, etc. No matter what I did, I felt bad for eating.

Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly healthy. I talked with Anthony (fiance) about it the first couple of days of August, and we decided a good way to cut off this cycle was to stop weighing myself. Completely. We set an arbitrary date at which I would be allowed to weigh myself again — after my belt test on September 10th.

My friend David, traipsing around to take pictures in Chicago.

I pretty much immediately started to feel better. Much in the same way that weighing myself a day before my weigh-in during the first part of my journey would get me down that day, I didn’t really realize how much weighing myself in the mornings was putting a dampener on my moods and self-esteem for that day.  I stuck with paleo more easily, and it just became a lifestyle instead of something that was a chore.

I also stopped working out, though that had happened a couple of weeks before Anthony and I decided it would be a good idea to stop weighing myself. Much in the same way that weighing myself every day was bringing down my self-esteem, so was attempting to do TKD by myself. I find it is very similar to when I would work out, or run. If I was doing it out of obligation and there was no fun in it, then it was just a chore.  Not only was it a chore but it was one that magnified my faults. Everything I was doing wrong seemed magnified and frustrated me more than it might have normally. It ate at my confidence, and brought me down further.

I really needed to take care of myself mentally, especially since the stress of going from Chicago to DC for a seminar and then back to Atlanta was mounting. Not to mention that I had two great friends, both of which are paleo, were coming to see me. I wanted to relax and do what felt natural (which paleo does, much of the time), and enjoy my time with them.

Real women leave the crust

Finally, I gave Intermittent Fasting a try. I can’t remember precisely when I started, but for a few weeks I didn’t eat on Sundays or Thursdays (well, skipping breakfast and lunch). It was an interesting experience, but I have discontinued it for now. I would probably do IF during the periods in which I can’t exercise, if I was still trying to lose weight the next time I had such a period.  It’s up for grabs, but it is something that I tried.

With those adjustments made during my last weeks of my internship, I packed up my stuff and said a very sad goodbye to Chicago.

Goodbye, Chicago!

Food Tally, Day 11

I realize I was negligent in my food recording yesterday, but never fear! I did not cheat. Here’s today’s counts:



A good number of almonds. 3.5oz?


Paleo spaghetti sauce

Rest of almonds


Paleo spaghetti sauce

apples and almond butter


I, unfortunately, did not to TKD today, either. The whole process has become an increasing frustration, so I am gonna try and look at ways to still get exercise but maybe not pound in the TKD as hard. I don’t know. I will have to think about it some.

I’m too exhausted to think right now, though. I’ll write more on this tomorrow.

Taekwondo Day, Monday

It. Was. So. Hard. Getting myself to train today, but I did. And you know what? I was kind of miserable. After doing all the things that I measure for, I felt aimless. Not sure what to do. I did work on my forms. Yesterday they were really frustrating me; today they were better. I also did a few rounds of cross-apartment kicking combinations.

I just… training alone is so hard. At the risk of sounding like I’m whining (I am), I would say that getting yourself to keep going by myself is probably the hardest parts of my workout. I know when I’m doing something wrong, but I don’t really know how to fix it sometimes. And there is no  real drive to do better, no real way to determine whether or not I AM getting better.

But ultimately I did do something, and something is better than nothing. Soooo huzzah. I only have a few more weeks till I get to go back and train with my friends again. So there’s that, too. 🙂

Anyway, here are the stats:

	Sun	Mon
Squats	39	38
Pushups	10	9
Situps	40	37
FrontR	23	26
FrontL	17	23
RoundR	15	17
RoundL	13	14
SideR	11	12
SideL	9	8

I improved in some areas, did not improve in others. I suppose that has to do somewhat with which muscles in my legs are the sorest from yesterday. haha.

Anywho, I did get up and do something today, and, like I said, that’s the important part. Woot.