Friday, October 31, 2008

Emiko: Day 78, Cinematic Consumption

Things have been pretty busy in the A&E household. Lots of job-hunting, and related stuff. I am feeling pretty anxious these days. Adrian and I decided to go to a movie last night, which was a nice break from some of the activity this week. As we were getting ready to head out to the movie theater, I realized that my thoughts were turning to food. Specifically, popcorn and candy. I realized how conditioned I am to eat during movies, and felt a little disturbed by that. I sat down and ate my dinner - a bowl of sliced apple & banana and milk - and knew that I didn't even really want that junky food, I was just used to it. And so are most people. It kind of sucks that we are conditioned to mindlessly consume candy, popcorn, soda, chocolate, and whatever else. Despite confronting it, the feeling stayed with me through the movie. I didn't act on it, but I was quietly aware of it.

Speaking of anxiety, I have a phone interview for a job this afternoon. Wish me luck! I plan to have my third and final indulgence directly following the interview, so I will be updating on that soon! Hope you all are well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Emiko: Day 76, Clothes!

I first want to congratulate PCPJapan! How does it feel to reach the final day of the Project? All three of you look fabulous! I can't believe that there are only two more weeks until Day 90 for us PCP2-ers.

But I am definitely experiencing the changes. Adrian and I have started to shop for clothes again. I didn't want to buy any clothes during the Project, because I figured my body would be changing too much. But it's a necessity now. Most of my old pants are too baggy to wear, even my 'skinny jeans'. I've been wearing the same pair of turquoise jeans for a while now because they are the least baggy, although still fairly loose. Now that I am going to stores again, I realize that I have no idea what size I fit into.

Yesterday I approached the large rack of pants at a local thrift store, and I was at a loss as to which size section to search through. So I just grabbed all the pants I liked ranging from size 2 to size 7. After trying on many pairs that were either too baggy or couldn't even fit over my knees, I tried on some nice H&M trousers and they fit perfectly. When I took them off I looked at the size, and it was a 4. A FOUR?! My turquoise jeans are the same brand, and they are size 10. I could not believe the difference. Could I really have shrunk that much? And I still have love-handles!

My sizing for shirts has gone down significantly as well. Apart from having a round belly, I have always been rather top-heavy, so in the past I was limited to either medium or large sizes. I can't believe it, but a lot of the new shirts I have purchased are smalls. It's pretty cool!

On another note, working out this week has felt like a fresh start after a loooong absence due to sickness. The exercises are difficult, but I am pushing myself as well as I can. My abs have been sore consistently this week, and my legs and gluteus too from the lunges.

Also, I had crazier bed-head this morning than I've had in a long time, or perhaps EVER:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adrian: Day 75, Workout Faces

Emiko and I went to a free yoga class in Berkeley the other night. It was a pretty 'New Age-y' affair. The class was candle-lit and Adiemus was playing on the stereo. (The fact that I know it was Adiemus doesn't mean anything, except that I have a lot of pop-culture garbage floating around in my head.) People breathed out in harmonic unison. There was a hippy in boxer briefs, a moaning woman, and many more.

The work-out provided a surprising burn, and I found myself sweating throughout. It was extra-tough for me because the instructor happened to be focusing on leg exercises that night, and I had just completed floor-jumps right before leaving the apartment. Others were having a difficult time as well; there was lots of loud, and sometimes ecstactic groaning in the room. The instructor repeatedly told us not to wear the effort on our faces.

That statement has been with me since the yoga class, and I find it replaying in my head whenever I'm struggling through difficult PCP exercises. I've been making all sorts of crazy faces while doing my workouts, especially during v-sits and planks. Earlier, I made a Gene Simmons face while doing seated sit-ups. It was funny for both me and Emiko, but I'm trying to break the habit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Adrian: Day 74, Jobs

Emiko and I have been applying to a bunch of different jobs. It's been a long time since I've been to an interview, and I wonder if the PCP will have given me an edge. In the past there were a few times when I was just nervous and stumped. I have a feeling I'll be able to roll with the punches a lot better now. If I run into any trouble, I'll just flex it off.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adrian: Day 73, Pull-ups

Is anyone able to do the 5 sets x 8-12 reps of pull-ups? I can only do 3 on my first set, with each subsequent set being halved. At set 5 I'm doing about a quarter of a pull-up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Emiko: Day 71, Obese-city

Adrian and I took a nice walk tonight up to the Temescal neighborhood, and ended up going into a cafe and sharing a pot of tea. When I looked into the pastry case near the counter, I noticed how differently I think about sweets. Of all of the snackies in the case, the only one that looked appetizing to me turned out to be a 'reduced-fat oatmeal raisin scone', which Adrian said looked like more like a 'turd'. In the past, I wouldn't have hesitated to scarf down any of the other choices - like a giant, frosted maple cookie, or the sugar-rolled, buttery cake. Now when I think about eating one of them, I can almost feel my tummy churning. I know it wouldn't feel good, so I'm not even tempted anymore. I would much rather have some good ol' dried fruit.... that's my favorite kind of sweet, right there!

Later, Adrian and I started talking about how people compare themselves to each other, and size each other up. I have noticed myself sizing random people up on the street. I have had a lot of thoughts about how people don't take care of themselves like they should. There are so many severely obese people around here, and I feel bad and confused as to why their health has become such a low priority. It almost feels like there are more obese people than there were before, but it's probably just that I am more aware of it nowadays. I am so glad that Adrian and I, and the rest of the PCPers, have taken charge and put our health at the top of the list and are working to improve ourselves in this very moment, and for future.

Adrian: Day 71, Plans

I've been thinking a bit about some things I'd like to do post-PCP. I want to keep exercising regularly, and I came up with a few ideas of how to do that in the winter. Here's a partial list:

1.) Go for walks in the rain
2.) Go for jogs in the rain
3.) Ride my bike late at night
4.) Gardening

I don't have plans yet for when it's sunny. It's been a while since I went for long walks in the rain with an umbrella. I haven't done that since high school actually, when I used to sometimes walk to and from school. I hated waiting for the bus. I especially didn't like standing inside a crowded bus while dripping wet. People get uncomfortable when you're sopping wet and you're standing real close.

I remember a couple instances where I'd be driving somewhere and it would be raining out. I'd see joggers and I would think to myself that it was stupid or a waste of time to be running in the rain. I've seen people running in the rain wearing shorts, and sometimes no shirt. But I've gone jogging in the rain it since then, and I like it. In light rain at least. It cools you down and washes off the sweat.

As far as diet goes, I'm definitely gonna stay away from oil and sugar as much as possible. At least 90% of the time. I've been missing "Bake Sale Betty's" fried chicken sandwiches. I think I'm gonna have to get one of those for my last indulgence. I'm looking forward to that!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Adrian: Day 70, Getting Better

I can't believe there's less than a month left to go. I'm pretty anxious for this thing to be over, not that I feel I am in Peak Condition, but I look forward to doing maintenance exercises rather than pushing to muscle failure. It's been especially hard to push to failure lately, what with the sickness and all, but thankfully I am 90% recovered.

I often look at our photostreams, and it's hard to believe the progress we've made. I've told Emiko several times that even though I do look more fit, I still feel like the same person - with the same ups and downs that I've had since the beginning of this project. And with the bout of laziness I've been dealing with lately, I ask myself if I will make it to Peak Condition by day 90. Still, I can't deny that I am better off for everything I've experienced throughout, and that I am on the right track towards lifelong health and fitness. That's all I wanted to say tonight, and I hope everyone is well.

Emiko: Day 70, Recovery!

I am finally getting recovering from this silly cold. I hit the peak of sickness yesterday, and spent most of the time in bed and being a zombie. I am feeling so much better today. I have not worked out all week it seems...I took it easy when I was beginning to get sick in an effort to stay healthy, but I got sick anyways. That was pretty disappointing, but that's how things go I suppose.
I am starting to feel stagnant without the daily effort of building new muscle. Surprisingly, I don't think that I have gained any extra weight by not exercising, but am feeling a bit flimsy.
I am definitely going to try for a full work out tomorrow. I never thought I would say this, but I really miss working out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Adrian: Day 66, I Got Lazy

I'm starting to put weight back on.  I'm eating more, but I haven't been working out as hard as I used to.  I've been lazy, and I can't lie to myself about that.  I also haven't been getting enough variety in my diet.  I've been pretty much eating cereal and granola for my carbs every day.  I know it's wrong, because of all the extra sugar, but it's so easy and it tastes so good.  I've been eating lots of sweet potatoes lately, and I've definitely been eating avocados almost every day.  I really feel like I need to kick things back into gear, but it's been a tough mental game.  How do you beat your own mind? 

Emiko: Day 66, I Got Sick

Yeah, I am most definitely sick now. It's kind of a cold with a little nausea, and I only just started coughing this morning. Whatever virus it is, it hasn't hit me too strong, but my throat is real sore and I feel weakened. The past two days I jogged/jump-roped and did 8-minute Abs, but decided to not push myself with the other exercises. I didn't feel up to them at all. I am staying away from all dairy besides my eggs, so hopefully I won't get too clogged up. 

I really hope that I can fight off these symptoms and get back to normal soon. I think I got sick mostly because my body had just had it. After two straight months of working out and dieting in such a strict, consistent manner, my body was like, "Can we stop now?" I was kind of in a valley, and my immune system must have been a little weaker. I am waiting for the PCP bounce-back from sickness that most of PCP round 2 has already experienced. I am ready to be better! Especially since I still have to go to work this morning...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Emiko: Day 64, Sensory Garden

I just wanted to quickly add to Adrian's last post. The part of the Botanical Garden that we will hopefully be volunteering in is the Sensory Garden. The plants that we would be working with are highly fragrant, like lavender and geraniums. I feel like I have a new sensitivity and appreciation for smells. I am really looking forward to getting my hands in the dirt and using all my new strong muscles as we help maintain a garden like that. I am excited!

On another note, I couldn't really smell today (not even at the Sensory Garden) because I think I'm getting sick. :(

Adrian: Day 64, Jogging

Emiko and I just came back from a jog at the lake. We haven't been down there since the PCP started. In fact, we haven't been getting out much at all aside from doing chores. It felt good to be outside. It was also surprisingly hot. I tripped right at the beginning in front of a bunch of little kids. I almost fell flat on my face, but luckily I was able to catch myself with my hands. I jumped right back up and kept going. When I got up I expected to see the kids laughing, but instead they were just shocked.

Anyway, I noticed that it was a whole lot easier to jog than I thought it would be after such a long hiatus. Jumping rope really seems to have kept my lungs strong. I did a short sprint at the end, and I didn't feel like I was going to vomit afterward. That was nice.

After the jog, Emiko and I checked out the Botanical Garden right across the way. We were looking for brochures with volunteer information, but they were all out. We were about to leave when an old lady in Terminator sunglasses walked into the garden and headed our way. She told us that she was the volunteer coordinator. We exchanged our information, said our goodbyes, and then Emiko and I walked around the garden a bit more. It looks like we have jobs at the garden now, and I think it will be pretty fun.

Emiko: Day 63, Dietary Differences

Okay, so it's not actually Day 63 anymore, but this is what I meant to write about yesterday.

Yesterday we got our new diets. As I expected, not much has changed for me except a few decreases. This is the same pattern my diet has been going on for the past few weeks. At first, I was really bitter because Adrian's diet has done nothing but increase. I pretty much acted like a butthead every time we started to talk about our diets. I was hungry, and not too happy. I felt, as Amy once said, that I was on some sort of remedial PCP diet. I also found it harder to want to control myself when Adrian and I weren't in the same boat anymore.

Roughly calculated, Adrian eats basically twice as much food as I do. That's a lot! While I'm weighing out my cereal making sure I'm getting every last gram, Adrian is so full that he doesn't want to eat the rest of his carbs. This caused some tension for me, but I'm finally getting over it now. I am realizing that it is kind of silly to compare our diets against each other, because we came into the Project with such different body types and needs. And, like Adrian keeps telling me, I am the smallest person in PCP round 2, so it makes sense that my diet is smaller than everyone elses. 

The biggest result of these decreasing diets is that I can really feel that my stomach has shrunk. What I eat for dinner now would never have been enough for me in the past, but my stomach reaches capacity with just an apple, my post-work-out banana, an egg white or two, and some milk. Lately I have not even wanted to eat my After Dinner snacks, because I am just not hungry. It is kind of incredible how much my appetite has changed, just from a few weeks of eating less. I am trying to feel more optimistic about a reduced diet, because I will finally get rid of the remaining fat on my body. Just a few more weeks! I think it is going to be worth it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Adrian: Day 61, Eating After a Workout

Something I'm supposed to do on the PCP is eat an egg white right after working out. But on some days, I also eat my dinner right after working out. I've been wondering lately if it's a good thing to eat all this food right after. My guess is that its better, because the body is burning more calories and using up more nutrients during and directly after a workout.

I did a bit of research on the internet, and I've found some strategies of what and how to eat after a work out. What I've learned is that the best time to eat is during the first 60 minutes after working out. This is called the Golden Hour and it's when muscles are most efficiently absorbing nutrients and replacing energy reserves. Taking in carbs and proteins during this time is the best way to speed up recovery. Proteins provide amino acids and increased muscle hydration. Amino acids help repair the muscles and also strengthen the immune system. Carbs are important for replacing glycogen - the energy reserves of the muscles.

The proportion of carbs, proteins and fats in the post-workout meal depends on the individual's fitness level and goals. In general, it seems to be recommended to have the post-workout meal in drink form. I guess this is so the body doesn't have to spend extra energy on digestion. I'll experiment with having my post-workout egg white, banana and milk in a shake. But, I'm still not entirely sure if it's okay to have a full dinner right after working out. I think it would be ideal though, if I could manage my time better and get my workouts done earlier in the day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Emiko: Day 59, Eggy-Weggs

Today started off really well. I got up early early, around 5:30am, to do my jump-ropes before heading off to work. I happened to hear my downstairs neighbor rev up his truck outside and saw him driving away, so I was able to do my jumping indoors without disturbing anyone. I love our new time/set situation for jump-ropes, which is 3 sets of 5 mins. So much easier than any of the other combinations of 4 x 4 mins, 5 x 3 mins, etc. Five minutes kinda goes on forever, but you can really get in the groove of jumping, and before you know if you have finished all three sets.

After a hot shower, I started to eat a little bowl of cereal before deciding to pack it up and eat the rest of breakfast at work. I like to take advantage of eating at work, not only because the food is free, but because I often get something that varies from what's usually in the fridge at home. At work, I finished my cereal, had some yogurt topped with almonds slices that fell off of the almond croissants during their delivery, and a tomato/cucumber/basil salad. Sunday mornings are very busy shifts, and soon after I finished breakfast customers started pouring in. I had to rush around like a mad woman for hours.

Around noon I finally got my lunch break. By this time I felt really woozy and light-headed, and my stomach was growling. I couldn't figure out what was happening. I was a little late for my mid-morning fruit snack, but it shouldn't have been such a big deal. Then I remembered... I totally neglected to eat my egg during breakfast! This is my big source of protein and fat in the morning. Because we don't serve eggs at work, I wasn't able to eat an egg during my shift. But I decided to have a few slices of mozzarella (which is also fat and protein-licious) on the side with my fruit, and I felt so much better.

It's amazing how skipping one little egg made such a big difference in my composure! So, lesson learned: eggs and egg-whites are so important! So simple, yet so nutritious. Definitely won't be forgetting my eggs tomorrow.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Adrian & Emiko: Day 58, Oryoki

Today we had our first experience with oryoki, a meditative form of eating that literally translates to "just enough." Breakfast is served oryoki style in the zendo at the Berkeley Zen Center on Saturdays. One of the members gave us and a couple other people a lesson on how to eat oryoki-style. There are three nesting bowls to eat out of, one large, one medium, and one small. And a wrapped up set of utensils including a pair of chopsticks, a spoon and a cleaning stick (can't remember the actual name of it at the moment).

We learned how to set up our bowls in preparation for receiving food, how to properly receive our food, and how to clean up once we had finished eating.

After learning all of the intricacies of the forms for eating in this way, we walked over to the zendo to sit down for breakfast. It was difficult to remember the order of things. One of the responsibilities that you have when receiving food is to tell the server when you have been given "just enough." It is important not to take too much food, as the meal is eaten at a brisk pace.

We both made a lot of mistakes, and felt embarrassed afterwards, but it was a good learning experience. To eat in such a formalized way seems stifling, but the practice really does force you into an enhanced state of awareness. An awareness fueled at first by the anxiety of making mistakes. But in general, people can benefit from being more aware while eating.

Anyway, we know this is confusing, but luckily there's a youtube video of Patrick showing the way to eat oryoki.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Adrian and Emiko: Day 57, You're Never Too Young To Start

We would like to start off by apologizing for the lack of posts this week. Motivation and energy has been at an all time low. This shortage of willpower has contributed to the lack of blog posts, as well as not knowing what to write about. Even though it has been a bit tough, we wouldn't want to trade in all of our progress by going back to our old habits. (Though, we fantasize about it sometimes).

We were talking to Abel, one of the renters at Adrian's parent's house, the other day about the PCP. He said something like, "You're too young to worry about your diet!" Later, when Adrian's mom was talking about trying to improve her own diet, he told her, "Life's short, eat whatever you want to eat!" Everyone seemed to think Adrian was getting too skinny and wanted him to gain the weight back after the PCP was over.

Our question is - when are we supposed to start caring about our diets? Abel's perspective was to gain as much pleasure from life as possible while you're alive. We can all disagree with that now, but the fact is, we've all lived that way to some extent, and enjoyed it for a while too. But it didn't work for any of us PCP'ers. We all feel unhealthy and unhappy about where our previous lifestyle choices had taken us.

If you live with the mentality "Do whatever you want to do" then there's no limit to what you desire, and you'll never be satisfied by your life. We think moderation is actually the key to happiness. If you can identify all the extra things in your life and let them go, then you might possibly find satisfaction with where you are and be happy for once. Food is a good place to start. If you could learn how to appreciate a bowl of raw greens, with low-fat dressing, then you're well on your way to putting down that extra slice of pizza. Do you really need it?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Adrian: Day 54, Experience Points

I just finished my workout. My nose started bleeding while I was doing the planks.. The PCP is literally kicking my butt! It isn't really kicking my butt, but Patrick says that at this point, things should be easy for us. But actually, I feel like it's still hard. I've been dealing with my tendency to call it quits when things get tough. I'm not close to quitting, but it hasn't been very easy to workout every day. I'm not used to being this fit and healthy! I used to eat leftover pizza for breakfast.

I catch myself thinking about resorting to old habits of vegging out all day long and eating junk. Something funny I noticed is that I've been having a lot of food-related dreams lately. Last night for example, I dreamt that Emiko and I were making gyros in our drawing class. Emiko put herb butter and cheese in hers. Light glistened off the cheese and foil and I could see the steam rising off of it too. I haven't strayed from the diet in real life, but for the past couple of days, I've been sitting around and playing a lot of video games.

When I start feeling unmotivated, I remember Emiko's post, in which she said I was her PCP hero. That memory has been getting me off my butt when I feel low. I think to myself, "What kind of hero sits around playing video games all day?" I can either pretend to be a hero in a video game, or I can work on being Adrian in real life.

So, to all the gamers out there: Put down the controller and pick up a jump rope; stop gaining levels and start losing weight; you can't press the reset button in real life; etc.

Emiko: Day 53, Already Tomorrow

It's almost 2am right now, and I have just finished my work out and am eating my post-work out egg white. This is the latest that I have been awake in a long time. Needless to say, this post will only last a few more sentences. Today was a really long day. I will go more into depth in tomorrow's post. Or should I say, today's post?! It is already tomorrow. Oh my.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Emiko: Day 52, Ebb and Flow

As Adrian mentioned, today we both went to our first meditation retreat at the Berkeley Zen Center. It was a half-day sesshin, from 8:30am-3pm, and was geared toward beginners and new community members. We did alternating periods of Zazen, sitting meditation, and Kinhin, walking meditation, with breaks for lecture, lunch, and an informal discussion over tea.

What I wanted to write about today is a connection that I made between observing my mind during meditation and observing my habits in daily life. This is a very simple one, and one I've made before, but it's particularly relevent today. Because today I had a big time craving for sweets, and it was very difficult to battle with. Actually it was less of a battle, and more me just giving into it. I feel like at this point in the Project I am losing some of my initial motivation, so it's harder to say No to myself.

After noticing the ebb and flow of my thoughts during meditation, I realize how much I also indulge in my thoughts. I let myself fall onto a train of thought and before I know it, five or even ten minutes have gone by without my awareness. I think this is the same for the way I eat and think about food.

Some days, I could care less about sugar. Other times, like today, sugar is all I can think about. I want to eat all of the yummy dates in our fridge, the banana chocolate-chip cookies at work, and drizzle honey on everything else. And I often let myself indulge in my cravings, at least in some little way. Even if it is small, I am still letting myself do it.

I am finding that my willpower is not what it should be. All of these small actions are probably the big reason I have been so unhealthy throughout the years. It is also affecting my results during this project, I'm sure. I have such a tough time letting my cravings pass ...instead, I grab onto them. It's like allowing myself to attach to a train of though during zazen. My effort is not quite right. These small actions show the big picture of how I truly act.

Upon rereading this, I feel like it's coming off as a bummer. But I don't want that! It is really positive to realize these things. It reminds me of something that was said during the lecture at the sesshin today: Even if what you're doing is hard, as long as you trust the person asking it of you, then you know it's coming from a place of care. I know that when I realize these things in myself, and even when I feel frustrated with finding solutions to them, working on them is a way of caring for myself. I face my problems to care for myself. So this is really a very happy thing!

Also, I wanted to record my reckless behavior today so that, like Nate said, I can be held accountable in a way. Being honest about guilty actions is hard, but I hope that it will help me to avoid straying from the plan!

Adrian: Day 52, Willpower

I've been feeling a little bit low on motivation and energy lately. It doesn't feel like I'm in a valley. Instead, I've been feeling like I'm at the bottom of a pull-up each morning. It feels like a long way up, and I've been wanting to just dangle there.

Today, Emiko and I attended our first sesshin, or meditation retreat. I brought my lazy attitude to the Zen center today, and I battled drowsiness and restlessness all the way through. At times I struggled to keep my eyes open, and at other times I felt overwhelmed by my daydreams. Mostly, I felt like I was just biding my time, waiting for it to end.

For the last sitting, we were instructed to all face each other. We had been facing the wall during our sittings up until then. I fidgeted with my posture and sat uncomfortably, daydreaming in the faces of the people before me. I wasn't able to focus on my breath for any length of time. But about halfway through the final period, I felt a sudden burst of energy. My vision seemed to clear up, and the light in the room seemed to become a little bit brighter. The atmosphere completely changed. It was like I got pulled out of my head, and away from my thoughts. And I was able to be there with everyone for the first time. It almost felt like I knew each person there, when in fact, they were all strangers. It felt very intimate.

I thought to myself, "Wow, what just happened?" I didn't think it was my own effort that brought about the sudden clarity, because up until that point, I was feeling sort of crummy and ready to leave. I had been fed up with my own situation the whole time and then it just shifted to, "Hey...I'm not alone here. What lovely people!"

I had the idea that it was the collective energy in the room that had suddenly increased. I thought, "I like this, I'm going to ride this wave." I talked to Emiko about it on the way home later, and she said that she felt the same thing.

That's what I learned today. The quality of a person's effort relies on the people supporting that individual. All of us doing the PCP have had our struggles lately, and I'm right there feeling it with the rest of you. I don't think I could get through the PCP if it weren't for Emiko and the rest of the PCPers, and everyone else who reads and comments on this blog. So I want to say:

Thank you for support.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Emiko: Day 50, Ooey Gooey Guilty Nachos

Yesterday Adrian and I had indulgence #2. This time we were allowed a bigger indulgence, more like a small meal. Something that we really wanted. Before I knew about this, I had planned to use my normal allowance of carbs during lunch time and make a grilled peanutbutter sandwich with honey and banana slices. But then Adrian mentioned that he wanted Mexican food, and I remembered how much I loved the nachos they make at El Burrito Express in San Francisco.

El Burrito Express is the main Mexican restaurant my family used to go to when I was growing up. The nachos are simple: homemade tortilla chips, refried beans, lots of melty cheese, and some cool guacamole on top. We would always order big burritos individually, and have a plate of nachos to share as an appetizer. This 'sharing' was often a lie. Usually my mom and I would eat most of the nachos on the car ride home.

I was really excited about eating these nachos, especially because I just miss cheese in general. I have had almost no cheese since beginning the PCP. Upon receiving my order of nachos, I was surprised at just how much cheese there was. Had they always been this cheesy? The amount of cheddar on those nachos was a little gross, but my mouth watered anyway and I dug in. I felt guilty from the beginning, which made it less enjoyable. I couldn't really eat it all at once, but finished them by the end of the evening. Initially, I felt fine except for a some heaviness in my belly and a slight drowsiness. Later, after more nachos, I felt even more heavy but still had some energy to practice Parkour with Adrian. I did get a little gas, though. When finally finishing the nachos, I reflected on my past.

A few years ago when I was still living at home, I could eat a whole plate of these by myself and feel happy. Now, I can still enjoy their taste but in retrospect they didn't seem worth it. I can see why these indulgences are important. They are like little PCP experiments. Like Nate says, they are mostly "for the sake of science." We learn through each experience how a certain kind of food will affect our bodies.

By the end of yesterday evening, I was feeling pretty bloated. When I woke up the next morning it was the same, and I've been bloated all day. The bloatedness and the mild gas stayed with me. The gas may also be because of addition egg whites in my new diet. I felt uncomfortable a lot of the time. Thinking about nachos now, I'm not tempted at all. Perhaps the peanutbutter sammich would have been better. Well, I'll 'experiment' with that one next time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Adrian: Day 50, Quesadilla fun

We went to San Francisco yesterday and ended up getting Mexican food for our indulgences. I ordered a grilled chicken quesadilla at Gordo's. They make my all-time favorite quesadillas. Flaky, creamy, oily, tender-chicken goodness. Emiko got Nachos with guacamole, beans, cheese and sour cream from El Burrito Express.

The quesadilla was delicious and I had a warm, happy, sedated feeling while eating it. I didn't feel full afterward, but 20 minutes later my stomach felt heavy and I was nauseous for a couple minutes. It was great, but I don't feel like I'm missing much by not eating there regularly anymore. It was like going to an amusement park. Exciting, but overstimulating and a little sickening.

A little bit later, we went to an elementary school near my parent's house and we practiced some parkour moves on the playground. I was able to scale a 9 foot wall, it was pretty sweet.

We spent the night over at my parent's house and we didn't have an internet connection, so we couldn't post an entry. There was a party of sorts going on at the house, and we were a little regretful that we had to eat egg whites while everyone else was getting their grub on, but the mexican food was worth it. Everyone asked questions about the PCP, but I got nervous trying to explain and the answers didn't quite come out right. Now I understand why Patrick sent us that PCP-quiz...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Emiko: Day 48, The Little Emiko That Could

I just came home from work, and took a peak at Adrian's post. It is funny, because we both decided to write about essentially the same thing without knowing it. And that subject is that we are beginning to believe in ourselves. There goes that word again! Believe. Last night I wrote about how I used to never believe that I could do things. That is all starting to change now. I have a renewed energy and outlook about my ability. I have become The Little Emiko That Could..."I think I can, I think I can...!"

One example in particular came to mind on my drive home. Awhile ago, 6 months maybe, I spoke to Adrian about wanting to become a volunteer gardener. I had wanted to volunteer at Tilden Regional Park, which is an absolutely beautiful place. It is so green and full of nature that you completely forget that you are minutes away from the city.

I spoke of wanting to volunteer, but inside my head a little voice said, "you're not capable." I just didn't believe that I could handle any type of responsibility. Even though I felt the desire, and expressed that desire, I never put it into action. From the beginning, I never believed that I could. So why even try.

But since beginning the Peak Condition Project, I feel like that voice in my head is going through a little lifestyle change of its own. Instead of being negative, the voice will now say, "I think that is possible. Let's try it!" I feel so much more open to trying. And when I say I want to do something, they are no longer empty words. Once I realize the desire to do something, the action that follows is much more immediate. I finally have control over my life! And it feels so good to finally believe in me.

Adrian: Day 48, Some Thoughts.

The way I think these days is very different from how I used to think. I'm a very introspective person, and for the past year or so, I have been trying to examine the contents of my mind.

Last year, I was a totally different person. A lot of my thoughts were focused on fear, regret and negative perceptions of myself and others. I thought a lot about what was wrong with me, and with the rest of the world. I felt stuck, and my feeling was, "life sucks." But I had a breakthrough around this time last year, and my life has changed radically since then.

It's not all doom and gloom for me anymore. I still have the same old feelings and thoughts from time to time obviously, but the way I react is different. (I conducted an experiment to observe and confirm the changes, but it's a little complicated and I don't want to go into details). I still think about my shortcomings, but in a way that is more constructive and conducive to change. I still get angry and irate, but its short-lived and usually dissipates quickly. I don't find myself holding grudges. I don't wallow or feel self-pity. Self-pity is a far away land to me now.

These are very positive changes for me. I am a much happier and more confident person than I was a year ago, and I attribute this to my meditation practice. I realized very quickly that everything I feel is my responsibility. That's something I had forgotten for a while. The PCP has acted as a catalyst for changing my habitual patterns of thinking and acting. Instead of thinking "I can't do that" these days I often think "I'd like to try that." I'm also learning more and more about what choices I need to make in order to take care of myself. Actually, I have way too many interests right now, and I'm having to pick and choose the direction I want my life to take. In the past I didn't feel like I had a choice.

There seems to be a very close connection between the healthy expression of the body and the healthy expression of the mind, and that is something I'm really interested in exploring. I talked about having conducted an experiment on my thinking, but I don't feel like it's totally necessary to gather empirical evidence or anything. I've experienced the connection for myself.

What I have been feeling is that the PCP has reawakened my interest in physical/mental disciplines like martial arts, parkour, flexibility and movement in general. I played many sports and studied different martial arts as a kid. But I did all that stuff just so I could kick ass. I had a terrible ego.

Things are different now.