Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Stretching Debate

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Ly and I have had an on-going argument regarding stretching. He doesn’t like it and believes it’s a waste of time. A couple of years ago, he caught wind of a study mentioned on the radio, confirming his beliefs. I, on the other hand, maintained my beliefs that stretching helps prevent injury, since experts continued to support stretching even after two years that this (supposed )study was released, having me conclude that it was a dud. Therefore, seeing Ly blatantly refuse to stretch made me feel uncomfortable and I had difficulty overcoming the fear that he will someday injure himself beyond repair because of his neglect. Paranoia? I suppose, but that’s the way I was raised, so I would bring up the topic every now and then.

One night, as we were driving home from a late dinner party, Ly and I had a heated debate regarding whether stretching was a waste of time. It was frustrating because neither side had any hard evidence so the discussion was going nowhere. Finally, Ly proposed that we research it on the Internet. I totally did not want to do it. I was tired and I had better things to do, but seeing Ly struggle with finding academic literature on the Internet was irritating. So I showed him Google Scholar and I looked through the academic search engines that I still had student access to.

We discovered that we were BOTH stupid. It turns out that stretching only significantly prevents injury when the individual is unusually inflexible (like myself), so I was somewhat wrong. It also turns out that the study that Ly heard about on the radio only examined stretching BEFORE the workout, so Ly was also somewhat wrong. In the end, I’m glad that we researched it, because it ended the debate and I no longer have the urge to nag Ly about stretching.

Here was what we discovered about stretching:

> Stretch only after warming up or after a workout.

> Stretching can improve muscle force, jump height, running speed, and range of motion.

> Stretching can decrease muscle soreness.

> Stretching can help prevent injury for “inflexible” people, but if you are of average flexibility there is limited benefits in terms of injury prevention. If you are extra-flexible, strengthening the muscle around the joint, rather than stretching, can prevent injury.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Week of Intuitive Eating

I’ve been reading “Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating” by Geneen Roth, which I heard was an older edition of “Breaking Free From Emotional Eating”. Actually, I started a while ago but dropped it because of several reasons:

1) I had started reading it during my despair period when lost faith in myself, but I had gotten over it and no longer needed outside wisdom.

2) I had come across activities that the writer wanted me to complete. Because I tend to be exacting, I had wanted to do each activity before going on to the rest of the book. But I found the activities to be too demanding and overwhelming.

3) The new Harry Potter book came out, and I wanted to devote my reading time to that instead.

I continued reading “Breaking Free…” on Monday. Last week there were tons of family in town, therefore there were tons of get-togethers. I noticed that meal times together were scheduled later than regular times. Lunch at 2pm. Dinner at 8pm. This is probably because they were all waking up late from going out and staying up late every evening. As a highly regimented individual, this put me off, but I decided that I wanted to be more flexible and accommodating. Come Monday, after our last late-night get-together, I found myself eating breakfast at 10:30am! I had thrown myself off, but I couldn’t wait until an “appropriate” time. I told Ly of my dilemma and he said, “Why don’t you eat when you’re hungry?” What a concept, huh? And I started to think about Intuitive Eating and how Ly was a natural at it and how I wanted to live my life more like him and everyone else. So flexible and unrestricting. That was when I decided to continue reading “Breaking Free…”

That and because I had no idea how hunger felt like at its beginning stages and I was hoping that the book would describe it to me. Nope. She’s into the whole discover-things-for-yourself method. Which is not surprising coming from a be-in-touch-with-yourself technique like IE. She did, however, described methods of being more in tune with your hunger, which I tried to follow.

This time as I read the book, I decided to not follow it exactly. Instead I wrote down all the activities that I would someday like to do. Other than that, I was doing what I felt comfortable doing at the moment. I’m sure Geneen would have wanted it this way.

The most challenging concept was to remove distraction when eating. I found it easy to not watch TV or read when the family was in the house, because they were naturally distracting with their demands during meal times. And when they weren’t being distracting, it felt like a welcomed relief to not think of anything but my food. It was the day when the kids were at my in-laws did I found eating without distracting myself a challenge. It was lonely, and I couldn’t handle it. How pathetic, huh? There are others out there whom live alone, and I couldn’t handle one day of a quite house while I ate. So I sat myself down in front of the TV and watched until the loneliness went away. It was then that I was able to eat the rest of the meal in silence. Maybe someday, I will be more comfortable feeling the loneliness.

Last night, we had dinner at my in-laws’ and I discovered that practicing IE has helped me reach some kind of Zen-state when I ate. Things that made me react in the past didn’t this time. For one, I didn’t react to Linh noticing my eating habits. Normally, I would try to eat like everyone else when this occurs, but then I thought that she probably doesn’t think anything of it, because she has often embarked on her own eating habits. This was what was strange. I was able to think this all at the moment when usually I needed to reflect after the fact. It was as if time froze.

However, Ly’s incessantly offering me food did eventually bother me. There’s only so much Zen I can maintain. But I think I still did well, and I was more understanding of Ly’s behavior when in the past I would get angry with him. I was sitting and doing nothing for long periods of time, because the conversations at hand did not include me. It felt uncomfortable, and I would have been eating to fill it up but I was practicing IE. Ly probably felt uncomfortable at my discomfort, which was probably why he kept bothering me with food. This I was able to see, and I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t tapped into a different plane of eating.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm a Wuss

Thank you everyone for you comments on my last post. Unfortunately, because of my reaction to that negative comment mentioned, I have decided to disable anonymous comments. It really is unfortunate, since I have received helpful comments from anonymous in the past. Also, I get very few comments as is, and now I have probably decreased my chances by half.

I know what you may be thinking, because Ly has said it. “Wuss!” But I don’t think I’m being “overprotective” of myself as Ly says. I think I’m just avoiding people whom are intentionally trying to hurt feelings. We have a friend whom has her husband talk to people whom have unintentionally hurt HER feelings then would go as far as avoid people who don’t like her but mostly ignore her. Now THAT’S overprotective. Me? I’m just trying to force the evil ones to ignore me, so that I know that most of the comments are made for good, whether I can initially handle them or not. Believe me. Once I start working again, I’ll be dealing with a lot of comments intended to hurt. But in real life, they're easier to weed out and quickly dismiss, because there are often circumstances that lead up to them. Here on my little blog, there isn’t.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hurtful Comments

Why does the most unintelligent stuff come from Anonymous? On my badminton post, I received a very hurtful and upsetting comment. I then proceeded to eat two sticky buns in front of the TV, pushing my daily calories to 2700. This made me feel angry with myself, because I had let some comment get the best of me. When I told Ly he said, “You’re blaming this guy for eating the sticky buns.”

Next time I get an upsetting comment, remind me not to go to Ly, because I will just get more upset and into an unproductive depression.

This morning, after sleep helped me get over my funk, I am able to digest the comments made, Anonymous’ and Ly’s. Yes, folks, I listen to all your comments and I always try to learn from them no matter how unsettling. Because I believe that I can always learn.

First, I try to identify why the comments are unsettling. Well for Anonymous, s/he obviously just didn’t like me and I was probably bummed about this. I’m over it now.

Second, I look into what message the commenter was trying to convey, which was that I should stop playing team sports, since my inadequate skills ruin everyone else’s fun. I do have a fear of this, but often I get over these feelings, so that I can have fun (because I’m selfish like that ;P). I firmly believe that I have the right to be on the court as everyone else. It’s true that I don’t have as much fun when the person/people I play against are far worst or better than me, but Anonymous specifically told me to stop playing “team sports”. I can only assume that this person doesn’t like having and gets annoyed by an inadequate partner, which I feel is very un-team-player-like. So, ironically, I would have to say that Anonymous has less business on a team than I do. Participating in most team sports, my skill level has actually been somewhere in the middle. However, I get annoyed when the inadequacy of one team member annoys another, because it always means we will lose. The negativity creates a pessimistic mood among the team. Not only will the targeted player play worst but also all the other players follow suit. In my experience an inclusive team that forgives is more likely to pull away from losing.

There will always be a worst player, and I am quite proud of myself for being that one at badminton. I’ve seen many worst players fall away from sport because of the arrogance they are subjected to, which I always felt was a shame. Sports are fun, and these people are forever kept out of the fun. If the worst player continues to fall out of it, then in the end there will only be one and no way of playing. Fortunately there are some who ignores the arrogance and stick to it.

My conclusion? I have decided to dismiss Anonymous’ comment as just plain stupidity. Beyond the hurtfulness the brain is dead.

I have to be especially careful with feedback from unknown sources, because I have no idea what their background is. At the end of this person’s comment, s/he wondered why Ly keeps hanging out with me. This statement was obviously made specifically to hurt, and in my experience, these types of comments are often plagued by nonsense. I just wished I were able to dismiss it before I let it get me down.

As for Ly’s comment, I was unsettled because he was right. I was blaming the blog comment for me eating the buns, but I had wanted it to be so at the moment. Because if I didn't I would had blamed myself totally, and who knows what I would have done in the state I was in. Now that the feeling has subsided, I now can take full credit for my actions without serious emotional unstableness.

As you may know, I’m trying to work on this blame thing and I have no idea how to go about it. What do you do when you get these strong emotions? Don’t you want to identify how these emotions came to be? I know I do. Since I’m an analytical person, I like to do it right away. Unfortunately, conclusions made in the heat of the moment causes me to do stupid things. Although I feel that my analytical trait is useful in the long run, I should probably stabilized my emotions first.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My out-of-town cousins are in town, and a bunch of us decided to have a picnic on the beach. Since there were others to watch the kids, I decided to go jogging. It’s always weird to do that sort of thing. While everyone else sees a get-together as an opportunity to relax and chat, I see it as an opportunity to exercise. It’s how I’ve been able to exercise as much as I do with kids and responsibilities and all.

Despite feeling uncomfortable, I’m glad I did it. It was a nice jog. There was plenty of blue peaking behind the clouds. All around me were water, hills, and city landmarks. I brought the GPS with me and played music, using its tiny speakers. As I returned to the picnic, the group cheered me on as if I was completing a marathon. With background music and all.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


If there were one word I would use to describe the month of August (so far) it would be “insatiable”. Not only eating-wise, but bedroom-action-wise also. This is strange for me since most of the time I’m a cold fish and last month was so cold I feared it would last until I got myself a therapist. Fortunately for Ly, it was not so.

I am a serious procrastinator and my life feels like there’s a constant drill sergeant to get me out of my funk. Growing up, my parents took on this role. Now that I’m married, Ly does. But there are still ways to procrastinate without retribution. You see. The funny thing about sex is that it is the one form of procrastination that Ly never puts over my head. Heck. For him there’s nothing more important than doing it.

Growing up, it was eating that I was allowed to do to procrastinate. I was a skinny child and my parents were concerned that I had very little appetite. So when I ate without being told (like say, to get out of doing homework or practicing the piano), they did a mini happy dance. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior also makes me fat. So I’m working at undoing it.

Another thing I noticed was that I tend to get in the sexual mood when I want to procrastinate but am not yet overwhelmed. If I do reach the point of overwhelm-ness, then eating is the only thing I like do. This is usually the time when family life starts to suck, so I should tackle my stress before it gets this far. Maybe I should take up meditation.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why Do People Get Fat?

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My friends and relatives believe I became fat because I have a tendency to eat too much snacks and sweets. I had told my sister Jen that Ly didn’t like it when I bought chocolate because they tend to disappear too quickly. Jen nodded her head enthusiastically, recalling how sweets never lasted that long in our house when we were growing up. She blamed the fact that our parents rarely kept sweets and snacks in the house, so that we tend to crave it then binged on them when they’re around. Then she pointed out a neighborhood family that constantly stock piled sweets and snacks and how the children in that family didn’t binged or craved sweets. She pointed out these houses as if the parents had done the right thing, but I’m not so sure. 3 out of 5 of the family members that she mentioned were and still are obese. In my family it would have been the same ratio if I hadn’t lost the weight. So who’s to say which parents did the right thing? Personally, I feel our parents were more in the right. I did not feel deprived of snacks and sweets, because if they were present, we had free reign. And overeating during parties was encouraged. They kept snacks and sweets out of the house not because they were concerned about us getting fat or cavities. It was because they never cared about sweets and snacks for themselves. They didn’t have a sweet tooth, and the only time I’ve ever seen them snack was when my mom would occasionally eat cheese or fruit in the late afternoon at the breakfast table.

That brings me to another question. Why is my mom obese? She had been thin until my paternal grandmother moved in during the mid-80’s. My grandmother moving in was particularly stressful for my mom because she was such a control freak and my grandma fancied herself as being equal in household decision making. If I were my mom, I would have gained weight for sure. But watching her now, I can’t understand why she is still obese. Granted she eats Filipino food, which tends to be high in fat, but there’s plenty of chicken and seafood to balance out the deep fried and pork fat. And in addition, my mom naturally eats in moderation. So why? Am I missing something? It’s a mystery and I wonder if it’s important enough for me to unravel. My mom and I share the same gene pool and I’ve had people tell me I look like her, but we differ on so many things. She’s pear-shaped like Jen, while I’m an apple. She had gastro diabetes during all three of her pregnancies, while I didn’t during either of mine. However, we both do have a tendency to get carried away with something to only abandon it soon after. As a result, my mom was a cycle dieter and I’m afraid that I might share the same fate. This I should probably keep in mind.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


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I’ve been playing badminton with Ly. I like it for the most part, but it does get intimidating and boring at times. Intimidating when I know everyone else is better than me. I get afraid that I’m ruining their good time because of my inadequacy. Boring when Ly and I are just doing drills. This happens often because there aren’t a lot of people we can challenge, and Ly is just so much better than me that we can’t have a decent game against each other.

During drills Ly insists on “instructing” me, although I don’t remember ever asking him to do this. It’s annoying because he gives too much feedback and I get overwhelmed. Also I have no urge to improve my game. Ly, however, is on a constant quest to improve, and he assumes everyone else is also. The last time we went to play, a family walked into the facility as we parked our car. Ly pointed them out, saying that they were regulars but they don’t improve. I defended them, saying that some people play just to have fun. But that day we spent most of our time doing drills, and I wasn’t having fun. I found myself looking at the clock as Ly droned on about technique and so on, so this time I decided to listen. I have a lot of bad habits, but I was able to make some of the adjustments that he suggested. And you know what? It was kind of fun to see myself improve, so maybe I will listen to Ly more often. Maybe I can improve my game enough so that when we do play with others I won’t be the worst player.
I fear no one’s opinion! I am knowledgeable, focused, and efficient. I make this priority and build from experience. I do this for my children and myself. Supported by love, I will persevere.