Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Find what you love!

I've been somewhat MIA for a while, and thought I'd check in!  Things are still going well on this end, and the weight and inches that have come off are still off, which is good.  But I've had a few things come to me in the past few weeks & months that I thought I'd share with you.

First and foremost, if your exercise feels like work, you are much less likely to want to do it.  If it feels like FUN, you will be excited to get back to it and do it again tomorrow.  So, find what you love to do.

  • Do you enjoy a leisurely bike ride?  Try cycling, and push yourself.  
  • Do you enjoy swimming for fun?  Try doing some laps and see if you can get from one end of the pool to the other!  It's harder than it looks, but it's also a better workout than you could imagine!
  • Do you think skateboarding or riding a scooter is fun?  See if you have a local skate park to go play at!  My kids both picked up skating this fall, and we've all had great fun riding boards around.  I won't lie and say I haven't fallen and given myself some excellent bruises, but I also feel like they were 100% worth it!  Google helped us find several in our area, and trying them all out helped us find our favorite one.
  • Do you like rock climbing?  Find a wall or a climbing gym and try out their punch card to see if it's right for you before getting a full membership.
  • Racquetball?
  • Tennis?
  • Running?
  • Stretching out?  Try yoga!
  • Walking around scenic areas, and pushing your pace!  My friend and I love walking Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks Canyon, since we're here in Colorado Springs.  It's great fun, is an awesome work out, and doesn't feel like work.  There are hiking spots just about anywhere, just look for them!
Really, ANY kind of activity can be beneficial to your health.  Just find something you like to do, and get out there and DO it.  Move your body, in any way you see fit.  Dance around to your favorite album for a while.  Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or walk up the escalator even if it's moving beneath you.  Walk the kids to school instead of driving them (within reason, of course!).

But, in the end, if you find what you enjoy, it won't be work.  And if it's not work, and it's helping you achieve your goals?  You're well on your way!  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moving from Darkness into the Light

This is something most people don't know about me.  There have been pretty dark moments in my life, and I chose to deal with them poorly.  My choices affected me for far too long, and I am choosing to break free.  I wish the same for you, so I share my story:

While I felt out of control with so many things in life, I took control of one thing I could:  my food.  I could control how much to eat.  When.  What.  It became a problem, and I was unhealthy in my habits.  I would push down the feelings of hunger all day long, and when it was finally dinner time, I would pick at my food, acting like I'd eaten all day, so I just wasn't hungry.  And the worst part was, I was great at hiding it, and my body responded by letting me lose muscle mass and holding onto the fat stores I had.

As a result of my eating disorder habits, and my ability to hide it, and my body's odd response, nobody ever really knew.  So there was nobody to stop me from my destructive tendencies.  And it ruined things for me.  I lost my ability to tell when I was hungry.  When I was full.  So I could restrict all day long and when I finally ate, I would eat and eat, not stopping until I was overly full.  It didn't take a lot to fill me up, mind you, but that is no way to fuel a body.  You wouldn't let your car run on fumes and only fill it up a tiny bit, would you?  Of course not.

I found, though, in order to let go of my destructive habits, and move on, I had to address the reasons I was holding on to them.  I had to get to the root of the problem.  Realize I was ruining my body, and for what?  For control over something?  I have control over every aspect of my life.  I realize that now.  That concept was foreign back when these habits began.

So, for me, I had to acknowledge the reasons behind my habits, let go of them, and choose to move forward.  That means, for me, with the eating disorder stuff, and being scale-obsessive, I cannot:  own a scale, count calories (even to be sure I am having "enough"), take diet pills, restrict my eating habits in any kind of strict diet where I have excuses not to eat (how my vegetarianism started).  I need to listen to my body.  But in my body's current state, that was almost impossible.

I had to teach myself what "hungry" felt like again.  I didn't have that sensor for so long, I thought I would never get it back.  So I would eat when I knew I should eat, wouldn't let myself fill up on water or coffee, and would eat small amounts over the course of the day.  And I had to learn to stop eating before I hit that "stuffed!!" feeling.  Another reason for the small meals through the day.

One of the best things that helped with that was something I read in a Yoga Journal, about food.  At the end of a proper meal, one's stomach should be 50% full of food, 25% full of water, with 25% room left.  With a stomach the size of a fist, that is really not a lot of food in one sitting.  But as it turns out, if it's healthy food, it sticks with you for a few hours, and it is an appropriate amount.  I have healthy snacks between meals if I need them, but this has been a very helpful guideline, and since following it, I am happy to report my sensors are back on.

And so, I step back into the light.  A person who can follow her body's cues again.  Eat when hungry.  Stop when I've eaten enough.  And I leave those poor habits behind.  Including the reasons I started restricting in the first place.  Those things have no place in my life.  Any.  More.  So, I hereby release them into the ether.  They've haunted me long enough.

Your journey may be different, but the same principles apply.  Find the reasons why you do what you do.  Work on those.  The rest will follow.  I promise.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Goals. What are yours, and why?

In order to achieve something, we must have goals.  Otherwise, we're just on a road, heading wherever it takes us.  Now, there's nothing to say that's bad.  But there's something about having a destination in mind that gives us something to shoot for.

Now, that means there's a chance of failure.  But without that chance of failure, there's less feeling of awe in yourself at what you have done, when you do not fail.  And failure does not mean you cannot try again.

Every day is a new day, filled with new chances to make new choices, and better yourself.  Take them for what they are.  And remember, your bad choices do not ruin the good ones.  Yes, you can have that chocolate cake.  Just don't forget the kale and strawberries too!

So anyway, beyond WHAT goals you set (losing Xlbs, or fitting into that size X dress, being able to do X in my class or the weight room, etc)...  think about WHY you are setting that goal.  What is your motivation?  And is that motivation coming from a healthy place?

We need to change our bodies, yes.  But we need to change how we view ourselves, our bodies, our successes, and our failures.  We are all beautiful.  We need to allow ourselves to see it, and to be happy with each and every step in our journey.  It's okay to be on your way somewhere.  And when you get there, to look forward to the next goal.

But if you're doing this just to be thin because you hate yourself?  That needs to be addressed.  Being thin won't make you happy.  Being happy won't make you thin.  But being happy with yourself on your road to being healthy?  That's where you want to be.

Thin does not equal healthy.  Healthy does not equal thin.  Aim for good things.  And let health be your reward.  Whatever size it may come in.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Love Yourself First.

Saw this floating around on facebook yesterday.  Snagged it, because it spoke to me.

It is easy to be angry at your current state.  It's easy to be discouraged when you're not having an easy time of it.  It's easy to be hard on yourself for not being perfect.

Newsflash.  You are not, never have been, and never will be perfect.  There is no such thing.

Accept where you are.  Accept what got you there.  Accept that it will take time to move forward.

Accept the journey.  And accept the results as they happen, for what they are.  The achy muscles.  The need to buy new clothing.

It's not easy.  This will not be fast.  But it WILL be worth it.  Just you wait and see.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 49, Still Doing Fine! ;)

Woke up this morning and realized I haven't been counting the days anymore.  I've just been going.  And going.  And going some more.  And trying to put others first as much as I can.  Giving away my yoga strap during class, to someone who needed it more.  Being patient with the rude person at work, and still going out of my way for them when I really didn't want to.  Taking time to make breakfast for the kids when I'd rather be relaxing before work.  Helping the instructor carry extra yoga balls to the class room from the supply closet.  Just a little something, every day, trying to do the right thing.  Do a little more.

My last thyroid level check said my levels went DOWN, instead of up, for once.  This means my yoga is healing my thyroid.  It's helping it work properly, or at least it is being more active.  I like when my numbers go down.  :)  Means my dose decreases and maybe, just maybe, I can get off these meds some day.  I don't hold my breath too hard, but one can hope.

I have taken measurements occasionally and pics less frequently, to track my progress.  Looking in the mirror, I tend to see what I have always seen, so this helps me see that there really is progress.  Comparing photos back to back, and seeing inches drop on my list.  Good stuff.

So!  For my progress!  I have lost only 4lb according to the YMCA's scale from the first time I checked to yesterday...  BUT, weight is not a big thing for me.  It can stay the same, number-wise, while everything else changes.

Inches show a lot more for me, so here we go.  I have lost, so far:

  • 4" in the true waist
  • 2.75" where my jeans sit
  • 5.5" in my hips  (dude!!!)
  • 4" in the bum
  • .5" in the thigh 
  • .75" in the calf
  • 1" in the bicep (flabby triceps are shaping up!)
  • forearms remain the same
  • 2.5" in the bust
Overall, very pleased!  Things are starting to become more proportional.  What is odd, to me, is that things don't look smaller, they just look more in proportion with each other.  Pics, showing progress:

Before, what started me on my journey.  I was 2 years postpartum, and had recently weaned.  I didn't know what a normal portion was anymore, and had gained at least 30lb from my pre-baby days.  I saw these pictures, my 14s were getting tight, and knew I needed to do something.
January 27th, a week in, and today.

January 27th, Feb 8th, and today.

January 26th and today, to see the face changes.
So far, so good!  Just need to keep it up, continue to tone, and I'll keep going down this road!  :)

How are you all doing?  How do you track your progress?  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 37, and still going!

Day 37.  Still moving right along!  How are you all?

It's been a few days since I last posted, sorry about that!  Life got a little hectic, and priorities were food and making it to work and class and school on time.  The blog got pushed to the side.

But!  I need to let you know what's going on with the next leg of the challenge!  We're going to officially start this on March 1st, to make it fit between now and the April Yoga Challenge...  but that's right around the corner!  So, here goes.

Do Something Challenge, Phase 2:  Giving Back.

In addition to your 15 minutes a day for yourself, to make good choices and continue good habits, I challenge you to find something, every day, that you can do for the good of others.

It could be taking time to make a healthy meal or snack for your kids.  Taking them on a walk to explore the emerging spring or late winter world.  Taking a moment to help an elderly person cross the street or load their car with groceries.  Finding a shell to offer to a child building a sand castle.  A kind word, offered to someone who needs a smile today.

Anything is fine.  Just offer it with intention.  With the good of others in mind.

We can focus on ourselves a lot when we are trying to make life changes, like getting back in the habit of working out.  But after we have turned so much attention within, it is good to turn our gaze outward again.  See this world through our new eyes, and find a way to offer back whatever it is that we can.

So.  March 1st, officially.  You can start now if you like, of course!  And remember, it is going while continuing our daily 15 minute challenge.  As always, more is fine, but you can ALWAYS find 15 minutes to do something, every day.  Always.

Happy Tuesday, all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 30, Do Something!!

Here we are, on our last official day of this first month!  We come down our little path to the fork in the road, and are faced with our choice of where to go from here.

Will you fall into your old habits again?  Or will you stick it out with me, and see if we can make this a permanent change?  I sure do hope you'll join me!

I'm achy from my double practice Monday (morning and afternoon class!), my joints are upset with me, and my muscles groan.  But I know the best thing for them is to get out there and move again tonight.  So that's what I'm going to do.

Between tomorrow and the first of March, I'll continue the typical Do Something challenge, without the days involved, offering encouragement and support...  but, March will be dedicated to a little something more.

Do Something, but not just for yourself.  Do something for yourself, yes, but also do something for others.

I mentioned it in passing the other day, and will go into details tomorrow, but know this is not the end.

And as last year, April will be set aside for a 30 day yoga challenge.  I'd love to see you join me!  :)

As always, I hope you've had a wonderful day, and make good choices for yourself and your family tonight.

Much love!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Do Something, Day 29

Gentleness.  That was the focus of this morning's practice.  Gentleness.  To yourself, and to others.

As we flowed from one pose to the next, the focus for the day helped me let go when I couldn't do something "just right".  It's okay to not be perfect.  It's okay to make mistakes, or be weak sometimes.

We work on it, sure, but when those moments of weakness hit, when we make those mistakes?  We need to take a breath, and accept our humanity.  Allow ourselves a little slack, and move on.

So today, I give you permission.  Give yourself a break when you can't get something just right.  Be kind to others today.  Put yourself in their shoes, take a breath, step back, and treat them with gentleness.  With kindness.  With love.  You might just be surprised how the mindset changes you.

Do Something, Day 28

Finding your place of peace.  It's not always easy.  Especially when you arrive to a class and discover it's your least favorite instructor.

There is always a choice.  Turn around and walk out that door, or stick it out, and discover...  your least favorite?  Still not all that bad.

There is a place of peace, a silver lining, in every situation.  Today, I encourage you to find it, as you find your "something" to do.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Do something, day 27

Challenges.  We all face them, every single day.  To make yourself get out of bed and go to the gym.  Whether or not to get angry with the elderly driver in front of you for being slow.  To take a moment and be kind to someone in need, whether you know them or not.

We look at the task ahead and decide if it is worth it or not.  Make our choice.  And move on.

May we take the time to make the good choices.  To look at the challenge before us and rise to the occasion.  Do the right thing.  Be a better person.

And when we've done just that, and life continues on...  look back, and see just how far you've come.

There is a beautiful soul within each and every one of us.  Let us realize the potential within.  And inspire others to discover their own.  Namaste.

Do something, Day 26

Transformation.  Do you feel it?  The shift, within?  I do, on several levels.

In body, I feel stronger.  I have more confidence, and was able to do things in class yesterday that I wouldn't have thought possible.

In mind, I feel more in control of things.  I can decide how to respond to my situations.  I have choices.  I can remain calm, even in the midst of the storms in life.

In spirit, I feel like I'm finally becoming "me".  I am finally being true to myself.  To what I want, to what I need.

That's not to say things are easy, choices are easy, or continuing down this path is easy.  But I can tell you it is worthwhile.

As this challenge finds its way to a close, I have been asked if I am continuing with another challenge.  April is set aside for yoga challenge, as it was last year, but when this is done, up until then, I think we will continue.

Doing something, but not just something good for our bodies and our health.  But trying to find ways to do something good for the world around us.  I saw a challenge in an article, 30 days of giving.  It can be whatever you are able to give.  A seashell to a child on the beach, building a sand castle.  A kind word to a friend.  Taking time to declutter your home/a room, for your family.  You choose what you are doing each day, as we continue doing things for ourselves...  but give back while we are at it.

It just seems like a fitting place to move, from here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Do Something!! Day 25

Thursday.  Surprise day off.  Was going to have to do yet another home practice this week...  I've not made it to the gym since Sunday, but I have done a home practice every single day since then.  But, because I'm off today, I can make the evening class that work would have forced me to miss.

It will be nice, getting into a crowded room of people again.  It is surprising to me how little I liked the idea of sharing my practice, before, and how I look forward to it now.

Was it really only 25 days ago that this started?  It feels like a lifetime.

Take time today to absorb the affects of your hard work this last few weeks.  These last 25 days.  Appreciate the changes you have made in your body.  Be grateful you are healthy and able to make those changes.  And give thanks.

Today will be a practice of gratitude.  I am thankful for the insurance to cover my daughter's upcoming surgery.  I am thankful for my job, even on the days I don't want to go.  I am thankful my body is healing, even though it tweaks sometimes and I have to back off of things to support the shoulder.  I am thankful for my car, and my house, my family and their overall health.

There may be bad things going on.  There is always something.  But there is more to be grateful for.  Make that your focus.  Namaste.

Day 24, Do something. Even when you really don't want to.

Bad news.  The girl needs surgery.  Those bright shiny eyes of hers?  They don't work together, and the muscles need correction.  No other options.  Patches won't work.  Lowering her glasses strength doesn't work.  So.  Surgery.

That was my news first thing yesterday.  It tainted everything.  I know this is routine stuff.  I know it will be fine.  But I don't want my daughter's eyes cut into.  I don't want her to be vision impaired (more than she already is) for a few days.  But, this is what needs to happen so she can see.  She's excited about maybe not seeing double anymore...  but I'm not excited about how it has to happen.

So, when 10pm hit, kids were in bed, I still wasn't terribly thrilled with life...  I really did NOT want to get up and change and do my practice.  I wanted to sit around, mope, go to bed early, and maybe eat some ice cream.

But I did not allow it.  This is not how we handle things.  Suck it up, Harris.

So I grudgingly got out on that mat.  I turned on some music, and just started to move.  Breathing.  Flowing, not thinking about what I was doing too much.  Just do it.

And I fell asleep on the mat during savasana, woke up and meditated for a bit.

You know what?  I feel a lot better.  My perspective changed, there, on that purple mat of mine.  This is an investment.  For future depth perception injuries, like her fractured teeth and broken foot were.  This is a good thing.  This will be fine.

So.  If today is a day when you really just don't want to?  I feel your pain.  But I offer no excuses.  Just do it.  You'll thank me later.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do Something, Day 23

Day 23.  Down to the last week.  We move, we breathe, we struggle, we feel.  Push ourselves, find new limits, and discover truths about ourselves.

This has been a great little experiment, eh?

The kid just went to bed, so I'm going to go get ready for my practice tonight...  with plans to hopefully hit class in the morning.  There's an early appointment for a kiddo, though, so I might need to do home practice tomorrow too.  A reply from the man should let me know what to plan.

In any case, on I move.  Time to warm the muscles up and breathe.  That's what it's all about in the end.  Breathe.  Take time out.  Just be.

It's harder than it sounds.  And easier than you know.

Do Something, Day 22

I woke to snow.  Beautiful lovely snow.  That makes everyone on the roads crazy.  Which meant I couldn't go to my class before the day started.  There was no way I would make it back in time.  Sigh.  So I will do a home practice tonight.  Back to sleep.  Acceptance.

When it was time to get up and get kids ready, we did so.  I got the car warming up so the windows scraped easy, and scooped the drive and walk way.  Kids joined me at the car and we left.  E light came on.  Of course.  I don't have time for this.  Acceptance.

Kids dropped off with instructions for after school, and up to the gas station.  Cars blocking the road so I couldn't turn.  Deep breaths.  I am leaving early.  It will be okay.  Acceptance.

The road opened up and I made it through to the pump.  Standing outside on a cold snowy day to fill your tank is not the best thing ever.  But it must be done.  Acceptance.

Made it to work early, because the streets were not as bad as I'd envisioned.  I grew up in Nebraska and they have a whole different level of snow than Colorado does.  I was expecting Nebraska bad.  Not so.  Good stuff.  I sat and read an old Yoga Journal until it was time to go in.  Chose not to be irritated that I'd rushed there and wasted time I could have spent cleaning my kitchen.  Acceptance.

Monday is busy at work, and the morning flew by until it was time for lunch.  And I realized my lunch, purchased before my return to vegetarian ways, had chicken stock in it.  I had already opened it.  Couldn't take it home with me.  It was either give it away, but nobody wanted it, or throw it away and be wasteful, or accept that I made a mistake, eat what I brought with me, and not kick myself over the label ignorance that morning.  Acceptance.

And after I got home and made dinner, we had bedtime, and I took a long hot bath to soak away the cold of the day...  I started thinking about that yoga practice I was planning.  Would I follow a disc?  Do my own thing?  But above all, what was my focus going to be?  And it hit me.  Of course.  It's been coming to me all day.  Acceptance.

I was having one of those days where everything feels wrong.  I was feeling huge and gross, was being hormonal and easily irritated.  But feeling like this happens sometimes, and I can either get upset at myself over it, or accept my imperfections and move on.

I am not perfect.  You are not perfect.  We all have our crappy days.  And that's okay.  We have extra squish.  Can't hold that pose as long as we wanted.  Our routines got messed up.  We forget to post the day's blog post until the next morning.  But that's okay.  Accept it.  And move forward.

I will leave you with this wonderful quote I saw this morning.  It just is so fitting, and is what spurred me here to make my post from yesterday.  I wish you acceptance today.  Of the flaws in your life.  And peace will come to fill the space that is left behind.  Namaste.

For every unexpected bump, turn, or squiggle on the path of life, you pretty much have two choices:
~Accept it as if you yourself had meticulously planned it and as if you're being watched by 10,000 cheering angels who love you so much, you're pretty much all they ever sing about. 
~Or, accept it, kicking and screaming, as if it were some freak accident or random mistake that had befallen you by chance. 

I know which I would choose,
The Universe

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Do Something Challenge, Day 21~ The golden rule.

(click to see full size)

During my challenge so far, I have been trying to tap into my mindsets more, and watch how I view things.  Change that view or attitude when it's not a good one.

For example, just following a nice relaxing class where I want to be calm and slow and meander home, but I really do have to get going for the rest of the day...  someone being slow on the road can irritate me.  But just following a peaceful class?  Where should my mind be?  Not irritated with the other driver, who could very well be terrified driving on the interstate, and is therefore driving slowly....  but on how I can accommodate that other person.  Go around them rather than getting too close for comfort.  Wish them a good day, as I pass, because they're just another human, and they are no more perfect than I am.

It was shocking to me how often things like this happened and I had to change my outlook.   And it made me realize just how often I was allowing people to affect me and how I feel about my day.

It is not slow driver's fault I am in a hurry.  It is not coupon lady's fault I took too long at the store and need to rush this part of my trip.  It is not the little girl counting her pennies' fault that school is almost out, and I need to get there...

Always in a rush.  Always in a hurry.  Always somewhere to be.

I'm beginning to understand how people in a calmer more relaxed society see how we are, and it's a little sad.

Now, this doesn't mean I don't have places to be, and can be late to work or late picking kids up.  It means I need to be more mindful and watch my times better while I'm out, rather than trying to rush the end of that time to get somewhere.  That's just our society, and how things run.  It's rude to be late, can get you fired, etc.  But we don't have to push negative energy on other people for MAKING us late...  that is our own fault, not theirs.

So anyway...  just a random thought, and when I came across the poster above, it just seemed fitting.

If we are running low on gas and driving slowly to conserve it, I bet that bothers other people.  We have been in the slow driver's shoes before.  We have lost our card, or had to fish for cash at the register before, and I'm sure that bothered the people behind us.  We have been in slow consumer's shoes before.  We have been that little kid, counting out the change to buy something with our very own money.

Try and remember that we are all human.  We all make mistakes.  Give each other a break.  Check that attitude, that mindset.  And if it were you in those shoes, how would you want someone to react?  To treat you?  To think toward you?  Act accordingly.

This is an easy thing, when it comes to not saying mean things to each other, or not hitting, like we teach our kids.  The mindset side is decidedly more difficult.  But absolutely worth striving for.

(and since this also fits...  a definition of that word for you, if you are not familiar:)
namaste' heading
namaste' defined
"I honor the place in you where Spirit lives.
I honor the place in you which is
of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace.
When you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
then we are One."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Do Something, Day 20

Hitting the home stretch now.  End is in sight, if 30 days is your goal.  :)

So, how do you feel?  Do you think you will keep this up, most days, if not all?  Have you met your goals you set for yourself?

I know I am feeling great, other than my sore muscles from an intense class yesterday.  They are sore and tight, but that's not unusual, and it doesn't really *hurt*.  It just is that achy feeling.  So I took it easy today and that is good.

In any case, it's time to start thinking about your future plans and goals.  I know I plan to continue with this.  I feel too good not to.  I'm so grateful for a healthy body that can handle the movement, and am taking advantage of that.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Do Something, Day 19

That which is worth doing?  It comes with a price.  That might be time.  It might be pain or discomfort.  It might be money.  Or something else.  But anything worth doing will not be easy.  It will come with it's own personal catch.

Priorities is what it's all about.  What is important to you?  You will find time for it.  You will get up early or stay up late to make it happen.  It's all about re-setting our priorities to accommodate our good habits we want to cultivate.

It might be harder at first, and that's both normal and totally okay.  But it will get easier the longer you keep it up.  Just like our little Do Something challenge has showed us.  It's a little easier every day to get up and do what we need to do, eh?

For me and the yoga classes, getting to and from, takes time.  2 hours a class, most days.  Half an hour to get ready and get there, an hour there, and half an hour to get home and on with the rest of the day.  It also costs money, for the membership to the Y...  but mostly, time.  Especially if kids come along to swim or play.  That takes more like 3 hours per day, and not every day is equipped with an extra 3 hours.

The clothes to work out in take money.  The laundry those clothes create take time to clean.  And the discomfort from strengthening muscles makes for interesting days sometimes.

But is it worth it?  You bet your cinnamon buns it is!

I'm only 19 days into this thing, but I can't see an end in sight.  I don't want to stop when I hit day 30.  I might add swimming in on some days where it fits the schedule better than a yoga class...  and when my foot stops cramping up on me randomly.  That's no fun, and I'd really rather avoid it.  But I can see continuing this challenge into the unforeseen future.

In fact, in April, I plan to host another 30 day yoga challenge!  That's only a few weeks away, and at this rate, it will be here before we know it!  :)  Consider joining me!  This yoga thing is contagious...  can you tell?  :)  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Do something, day 18

Up too late last night.  Wanted to do a 90 minute home practice this morning, but only had time for 60, and barely that.  Can tell I'm strengthening up, as many things that would simply have been too hard to hold before are getting easier, so that's something.

I find that since I am focusing on health and strength this time around, rather than skinniness or fitting into a certain size, or weighing a certain amount, I am actually reaching my goals, more and more.

Hold that pose for 3 breaths this time.  Hold this other one for 15.  Lift up into supported head stand with core strength instead of kicking up and hoping for momentum to get me there.

I definitely  need to work on core strength, and am doing that as much as I can.  But I still need to be careful not to overdo it, so I don't strain the shoulder or something else again.  It's a fun balance to find, and not always easy.

It's frustrating to know I need to stick with knees down in plank, but the knees up makes for too much shoulder strain.  I remind myself I'm listening to my body, and am trying to call it "good".  I am accepting where I am, every day, and doing my best.  That's all anyone can hope for, eh?

Little victories tell me I'm on the right track.   I held wheel for 4 full breaths today.  I haven't even tried it in ages, because it scared me.  Last time I did it was day 3, I believe?  Running my own practice when the teacher was ill, in the room with the mirrors.  I didn't hold it for very long, and really it was just a test to see if I could.

One step at a time.  One pose at a time.  We will get where we want to go.  We can do this.  I wish you peace, and the courage to push yourself in appropriate ways, tomorrow.  Namaste.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do Something, Day 17

There is no easy button.  Some days, it is HARD to just get up and get moving and do something, like we know we should.  We want to stay in bed, under the warm covers, in the dark, pretending to not hear that alarm going off.  We don't WANT to get up and move.  We don't WANT to go out into the cold morning air to get to the gym for that work out or class.

But.  When we do, when we make ourselves get up, silence that alarm, brush those teeth, and pull on those yoga pants, we know we are making the right call.  The cold air might slap us in the face on the way to the car.  We might think about taking a trip to a coffee shop and pretending we went to class like we were supposed to.  But when we pull into that parking lot and take the steps into the building and get moving?  So much better.

This morning was one of those mornings for me.  I had a foggy head, felt like I was coming down with a little cold, just didn't want to move.  Last night's practice left me creaky and tight this morning, but while it seems counter-productive, I knew another practice was just what I needed to get that worked out.  And I know Wednesday classes are restorative.  That isn't to say they're easy.  We have to hold poses for so much longer than I'm used to, and it challenges the body, but they are calm and relaxing, and I always leave feeling refreshed.

Today during class, our instructor, Brian, was talking about pushing ourselves in the right way.  The mind sometimes says, "No, I don't want to, I can't do this anymore, I want to quit!" in the middle of a difficult pose, or after holding one for a a while.  That is something to push through.  Push those thoughts away, and DO it.  Do it as long as you can, and then for another couple breaths.  Because we have longer boundaries than we think, and we really can do it.

But when it is the body saying, "Ouch!!!", that is a different sort of thing, and it is something to listen to.  We need to be able to tell the difference between our minds and our bodies, and figure out if it's time to continue pushing, or time to ease back into something more accessible to us today.

Something they like to talk about in yoga is "finding your edge."  It means to find that place where you are getting a good stretch, are pushing yourself, up to the edge of pain, but not over it.  You want a little discomfort if you are trying to push your limits.  Discomfort is okay, but pain is not.  You need to find that place where it isn't easy anymore, and hold it there.  As long as you can.  And then two more breaths.

Sometimes in a pose, when you've settled into it for a bit, that edge changes, so we change with it.  That is good.  That is listening to the body, and that's exactly what you want to be doing.

Inhale, lift the spine long, exhale relax into a deeper fold, inhale lift, exhale relax.  Longer and deeper with each breath.  This goes for forward folds, and twists are a similar feeling.  Inhale, lift, and exhale, twist.  But listening to your body all the while, and not taking it further than is safe for you.

And that might change from one day to the next.  From morning to night.  That's fine.  Our bodies are always changing.  We need to be willing to listen to them, and change accordingly.  Our bodies are very smart things, and they know what they can handle.   All we have to do is tap into them, listen, and respond accordingly.

Today, I wish for you peace, calmness in the midst of your hardest moments, and for the courage to press through to the other side.  No easy button.  This is your pose.  Breathe through it.  Namaste.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Do Something Challenge, Day 16

I keep coming back to this picture.  Be the change.  I want our family to be healthy and happy and well rounded.  I am the place that must start.  I must be the change.

I am taking several classes a week now, and taking kids to all the evening ones while my husband works, because that's how the schedule works out.  But it also means the kids are in the pool or playing basketball several days a week.

Now, we have never been people to laze around eating bad foods and watching tv or playing video games.  Sure, we do those things sometimes, but that is not the whole of our lives.  The kids are both at healthy weights and are well rounded little people.

They enjoy reading and going for walks, playing games, riding bikes, climbing trees.  They sure love tv and video games too, but those things are kept at a minimum as much as I can.  But even then, I was feeling like we weren't doing quite enough.

As the long cold part of winter hits for us here in the mountains (our winter extends well into spring), I was starting to really feel the cabin fever thing.  Our Y membership hit at the perfect time for that, and going to move our bodies every few days (or every day, in my case) has really helped with the "blah"s that we all tend to get when we're cooped up indoors for too long.

So our ability to go and do something regularly has been a good thing.  Not just for myself, but for the kids as well.  They are getting stronger.  More confident.  They are eager to go, even though it means taking a shower.  (Blonde kids and chlorine don't really mix without special shampoo!)

I am being that change, at least in part.  Now to get my husband on board!  LOL

Do Something, Day 15!

Happy Hump Day!!  :)  Camel?  

Day 15, for me, started with a morning yoga class, wake up nice, try a few harder things, but mostly just get moving.  Good stuff.

Smoothie time, kids to school, and time for work.

Then I went to work and was tossed into the window, the hardest place to be on a Monday morning.  I was a little bitter, I'll admit, but I took a few deep breaths.  This is my pose.  And I did it.  Calmly and fairly efficiently, if I do say so myself.

Lunch was tasty vegan chili with an amazing pink navel orange.  Yummy!

After lunch I had an hour of work before I got to go home to kids who like to race me to the house.  We decided to go back to the Y for another hour class.  Kids wanted to play basketball and just hang out on a video game handheld for a while.  I ran there, chose the easier class because, well, I was already feeling the morning's practice hitting me.  The harder class did not sound like a great idea.

And the teacher was the same one from Friday, where I'd made that wonderful intention for Preston, the sick little boy.  He was in surgery while we flowed from one pose to the next, and this morning I found out he's doing REALLY well.  He was up and moving, wanting to eat, to feed himself.  Nothing short of a miracle.  So today, I decided to say thank you.  Just happy that he is doing well, that things have gone so smoothly in such a terrible situation.  And it was another beautiful practice.

A practice of thanks is a wonderful thing.  :)  Give it a try!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Do Something!! Day 14

Really!?  Day 14 already?  Is it just me, or has the time flown by?  Doesn't feel like we're almost half way there already.  I suppose that is a good thing!

Today the plan is to go to brunch with the in-laws, and since I'm also doing the veg-head thing again, I'm really hoping I don't end up stuck with plain oatmeal and half a grapefruit for my choices.  But I really really might.  I was looking at the menu online and there is nothing that is vegan.  I might do vegetarian for this meal, and just make sure the hash browns aren't cooked in lard or something strange like that...  because plain oatmeal just sounds awful.

Later on, after the hubby goes to work for his Monday of the week shift, the kids and I are going to the yoga class that's being held at the Y today.  It happens to be a family yoga class, so kids will be joining me and trying it out.

They're not thrilled, but I think they'll have fun if they give it a try.  Worst case, we don't go back for that class again.  But I'm excited and think it will be fun, so we are going.  Might have to make it up to the short people afterward, somehow, if they really do hate it.

But, I'm not convinced that will happen.  We used to have some kid yoga dvd's and played around with them and they loved them.  That was years ago, but they really liked it, and Anna has joined me in a home practice on occasion.  An adult level one.  She gives up about half way through, but she has tried!  :)

So, I suppose we'll see.  Anyway, time to go get some coffee with coconut milk creamer, and decide if I'm really going to wear yoga pants to breakfast or not.  I'm tempted.

Do Something, day 13

Home practice.  It was once my favorite thing, being the only way I could get a practice in.  Now, I find myself wanting the community feel of a group setting.  I don't have the same drive at home that I have when I'm among others.

I didn't take the time to set it up like I get to in a formal class, today.  By the time I dragged my sore bum out of bed, kids were already up and I only had 1 hour.  So I jumped right in.  While they were watching some tween show about dancers.  It was distracting, but I got a little warm up in, tried to hold poses for a solid minute at least, but it's hard to see the clock some times...

And I ended up giving up at 45 minutes, because I really did need to get ready for work.  Mind you, I had plenty of time and could have kept going, but I just couldn't get relaxed enough to really get anywhere.  So it ended up being a light day, just stretching out the tightness from the hard Thursday Night Brett class.  Still with me.  Those repetitive flowing squat lifts really got my legs, let me tell you.

In any case, it kind of put me off for the beginning of the day.  Not being able to do what I really wanted.  But because I was too lazy to make it happen.  So I was a little irritated with myself.

All at once, I didn't want to do anything, and I wanted to do more.  Odd, eh?  I suppose you could say I was disappointed in myself.  And after my "blah" feeling of the morning faded some, I found myself doing structured folds to get things from the printer, careful squats (not the pants-tearing kind, hahaha) and the like.

So I suppose, in the end, I made the whole day my practice.  Being calm during moments of craziness in the work day.  Finding ways to work in mountain pose, tree, standing folds, and breathing into my normal day.  And in the end, it was not half bad.

Our days are what we make them.  We can take our poopy moods and turn them into something better.  We have the power.  It's all in how we look at things.  :)

Do Something Challenge, Day 12

Day 12.  Day off.  Woke up and dragged a lovely friend along with me to practice in the morning.  We decided on the gentler style of the sunrise class over the harder working 5:15 class, because it's been many moons since her last practice.  She's been running instead and is not quite as bendy as she once was.

But it's not fair, because I work at it and am not as bendy as she is naturally, LOL.  Ah well, such is life.

In any case, it was a lovely calm and quiet class, working hard alternating with relaxing hard.  We were committing fully to whichever we were doing, and it was interesting seeing how quickly the mind and body can snap back and forth from powerful movements to calm melting into the floor.

I was a little shocked when the class was over already, because it didn't feel like an hour.  I could have kept going for another hour, and been just fine.  Go figure, a few weeks ago, a 30 minute class was almost daunting, with the shoulder, and now I can go for 2?  It's a really nice shift, I have to tell you.  Amazing how a little time can make such a different change.

It was a lovely practice, ran home to get kids to school, and the two of us went out for breakfast and a lovely long chat.  We need days like this more often.  And I'm beginning to really think the early morning classes are my favorites.  I love the afternoon ones after a long day at work, though...

Maybe I'll petition for more morning ones and keep doing both?  LOL  I'm having too much fun with this.

Do Something, Day 11

Day 11, I worked in the morning and went to yoga in the evening.  Brett's class.  He tends to be more of a moving active teacher with a spice of spirit thrown in there.  He makes us work for it.  Push harder, but at your own pace.  Seems like an odd combination, but I'm always the most sore after his classes, I find.

It was a good class, and I dedicated the class to a little boy whose aunt I work with.  He has stage 3 Wilm's Disease, a kidney cancer that spreads quickly as a tumor.  The tumor was beginning to invade his heart when they found it, and he'd done at least one round of chemo and radiation, but had started another round of chemo, I believe.  It had only been weeks since his diagnoses, but he was being treated aggressively due to the nature of the disease.

In any case, he was getting ready for surgery in the morning, and was all I could think of, so I decided to dedicate the practice to him, and his family, to healing and peace, whatever that ended up meaning for the moment.  You could say it was body prayer, or intention, whatever you want to call it...  but it changed the whole practice.

Yes, it was still hard, and my limbs began to shake from holding poses for a long time, as they will do in Brett's class...  but I found I did not notice so much, or really care.  It wasn't the point this time.  The intention I set at the beginning of the practice was the focus, and I was able to keep that in sight rather than the rest of it.

Afterward, I felt drained and quiet, didn't really want to talk.  Got the kids from the pool and just sat quietly while waiting for them.  It is such a difference from my usual practice just focusing on the things happening in the body and the room.  I feel energized and happy after those.  I was somber and sad, this time.  

If you have never dedicated a practice to another person, who is hurting or ill or in a bad place in their lives, I would encourage you to do so.  It brought my practice to a whole new level, and I will definitely continue to do this.  This practice is a more mental one, for sure, but it also translated to very sore muscles the following day.  I pushed myself harder than I have done lately, for a purpose.  For someone else.  And it was beautiful.

(The little boy, Preston, had his surgery the following morning.  That practice was also dedicated to him, and happened as he was going into the room.  Last I heard, the tumor was totally removed, and he was heading into the recovery room.  Updates later as I have them.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do Something, Day 10

Welcome to day 10!  1/3 of the way through our goal of 30 days.  How are you feeling??  I feel great!

Well, the muscle aches are back, but that means I'm working hard!  I can't wait to see how much stronger I am when this is all done.  Exciting!!

Today I went to a morning yoga class.  The one from last week when the teacher was not feeling well, so we ended up doing our own thing.  The teacher, happily, was not sick today, and we got to do a great relaxing mind-heavy practice.

We did some breathing techniques I don't do often, and that was great for helping find the focus for the day, and practice was calm and slow.  That isn't to say it wasn't hard.  We held poses longer than I am used to holding them, for vinyasa style practice, but it's a good thing.  I need both.

Anyway!  I hope your day is going well, and that you find your purpose for the day.  Calm.  Peace.  Happiness.  Om.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Do Something Challenge, Day 9!

This is not a diet.  This is not a fad.  This is a change, lifestyle-wide.  I am not doing this to lose weight.  I am not doing this to shrink in sizes or fit a dress or wear a bikini this summer.

The most common thing I am hearing is that when I fall back into my old habits I will put on more weight than I lost.  Well, sure, I suppose that could happen.  But I'm not exactly only drinking water with cayenne pepper in it for 2 weeks straight.

I'm eating fresh fruits and vegetables.  Whole foods.  Making my meals again instead of stopping somewhere on my way home.  Being more active and less lazy.

Before, I still did fresh foods, but also would swing by somewhere on my way home to grab dinner on really busy days.  I didn't plan ahead.  And I had to slow in my activity to help an injured shoulder heal.  You can't very well yoga or swim with a bad shoulder.  So I stopped and just tried to do what I could for the moment.

I'm finally getting back to normal, for me.  This IS my normal.  Yoga, good food, a little swimming on the side.

Diets don't work, because they are simply minor changes for a short lived time frame.  Also, you tend to think of all the things you can't have, and it's easier to trip up.
Fads especially don't work, because they fade with time.

Food changes are hard!  We get set in our ways and we have to retrain our tongues to enjoy things we might not usually enjoy.  But our bodies CAN get used to and even learn to crave the foods that are good for us.  And once we're there, if we listen to our bodies, they will tell us what they need.  Last night, I was craving orange juice.  This morning, I had a stuffed nose.  My body knew it needed a little extra vitamin C, and I'm glad I listened!

I don't want to lose weight or fit other clothes.  If I happen to get that from this, great, but that's not the point.  I want to be healthy and strong again.  I want to have energy to do things again.  Oddly, the best way to do that is to expend what energy I do have, and feed my body well.  It will recover faster if I eat better, and be able to do more, over time.  You have to spend some energy to get it.  Like spending money to earn it.  There's some truth in both.  ;)

This is no easy thing, don't get me wrong.  But if you think of your recent changes as a permanent change for you, instead of a temporary thing, and focus on the positives rather than the negative stuff (I didn't get that pose right today, or the scale says I gained weight!?)...  you will have an easier go of it.

You did something today.  That is great!  So what if the balances didn't come to you, you weren't able to lift as much today, or the scale says you're at a stand still?  You are still making great changes for yourself.  Focus on that.  And tomorrow, let's see what we can do!  :)

And in the meantime, giggle some at Diet Mammoth.  He's my new friend.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Do Something: Day 8

Good morning, all.

Up early for another morning class today.  Feeling good!  :)  Getting stronger, able to press through longer, hold poses better.  Heck, the waking up early is getting easier.  I had to fight myself to get up at my normal time last week, when this all started, and this morning, I was up early and leaving the house hours before that.  With no trouble.

It is as they say, when you exert yourself, you get more energy returned to you.  You do it more, you can handle more, and more often.  If I'm feeling tight this afternoon, I might even head back over and do a second class for the day!  If not, I'll probably work on a core practice at home.  It's getting better, definitely, but I could work on it more too.

Anyway, have to run to work for the morning.  You all have a wonderful day!  Stick with it!  You already feel it paying off.  Don't lose your momentum!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do Something! Day 7

Quick check in before bed.

Made vegan pancakes for brunch (recipe below!), went to yoga, did a little swimming, then went out for veggie crepes with the mother in law for dinner.  Kids were starving, so you know they got their little work out too!

Heading to bed here in a minute, because I plan to get up and head to the 6:45 class tomorrow morning.  :)

Day 7, feeling great!  Hope you all are well!

Coconut Pie Pancakes (from 'La Dolce Vegan')

3/4 cup flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 C shredded coconut 

1/2 tsp ground cardamom 
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup non-dairy milk 
1/4 cup coconut milk 
1 banana 
Mix dry parts in a bowl, blend milk and banana until smooth. Stir wet and dry together until just mixed. Pour into lightly oiled frying pan. Let sit on medium heat until the centre starts to bubble, flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Makes 2 large or 4 small pancakes

(I added a little vanilla extract, and then added 1 oil, flavorless or coconut would work, when they kept sticking to my cast iron pan!?)


PINEAPPLE SAUCE (from Vegan with a Vengeance)

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice 
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder 
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

In a saucepan, off the heat, stir the pineapple and juice with the arrowroot until it is mostly dissolved; stir in the sugar. Over medium heat, heat the pan until the sauce thickens, stirring often (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Find arrowroot powder at a health food store, probably with the baking items. I believe Bob's Red Mill has some if you can find it. It's a thickening agent without gelatin in it, and creates clear sauces. Tapioca starch or corn starch would work too, but not in the exact same way, and the liquid will be cloudier

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Do Something! Day 6

Good morning, all.  Day 6 is upon us!  How are you all doing?  I'm doing great, and looking forward to today's 90 minute yoga class.  I have a couple appointments today but I moved them around to accommodate my class, and I can't wait to see how I do with a longer class length!

My soreness of muscle is moving from place to place, now.  My ribs are achy today.  Must have done some good side stretching yesterday!  Legs are tired, but not as bad as they have been, so this gives me hope.  The body is learning what this is all about, again, and getting used to it.

Already noticing squish-factor reduction, but that happens for me pretty fast when I am toning up again.  I have muscle under that layer of squish, and it tends to burn off fairly quickly.  Now, whether the number on the scale has changed, I could not tell you.  I don't own a scale anymore.

Most people find that to be strange, but I have my reasons.  When I was growing up and there was a scale to be had at all times, I found myself using it.  All the time.  More than once a day.  And I would allow that number to tell me how to feel about myself.  It was not a healthy thing.

When I moved out, I didn't have a scale, probably because I didn't have extra money to buy one, but I lived happily without one for a few years.  And then I got married, and quickly was pregnant, and allowed myself to buy one.  You know, to be sure I wasn't gaining too quickly, and was gaining enough.  It was all fine and dandy during my pregnancy, because there was no desire to lose, and there was no such thing as "extra weight" then.  It wasn't weight, it was my baby, and I would just lose it later.

But then after that, I slipped easily back into my old habits.  Any time I was in the bathroom, it came out.  For no reason.  I allowed it to rule my feelings.  It didn't matter that I was gaining muscle and losing flab, so the number didn't change.  It didn't matter that my clothes fit much better and I was losing inches.  The number was king.

So when the bathroom floor flooded and my precious lithium battery hospital quality scale was broken, I made the conscious decision not to buy another one.  I do not need a scale to know how I feel about myself.  The number does not rule me.  My clothes fit well and I'm wearing a smaller size than I have since high school, so it does not matter that the NUMBER might be the same as it was when I was wearing almost plus sized clothing.

What matters is how I feel, physically, and beyond being a little sore, I feel great.  It's a good kind of hurt, the muscles growing kind.  My clothes are getting looser and fitting better, and my energy levels are finally in a good place.  I will take it.  That is what matters.

So my hope is that if you tend to let the scale tell you how to feel....  you might start to change how you think about that.  It took me years to get from that mindset to this one.  But it's food for thought.  :)  You are more than a number on a scale.  You are more than the size on the tag in your jeans.  Don't let those things rule you.  You are better than that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do Something: Day 5

4:30am.  The phone buzzes.  Yoga time!  Text sent to friend, who was brave and decided to go to early morning yoga with me.  Wakey Wakey!  She answers back, she just got up too.  We argue with ourselves to get out of bed, and eventually the mind wins.  Up.  Go.  Do it.  You'll feel better.  You won't regret it.  And so we do.

I hate ending up at the front of the class right in front of the instructor.  Because that means everyone is looking past little old not super flexible or strong ME, to see the instructor.  But that's where I ended up today.  I tried to not let it bother me.

Literally everyone in the class was pointed in my direction.  I tried to focus internally, listen to the body, ignore the other people's poses and not compare them to my own.  I might get deeper than you in the hip opener, but you can sure hold that plank longer.  No.  Turn off the inner monologue.

Focus on the breath.  Maintain the ujjayi pranayama (yoga breathing, most common breathing technique for the flow yoga stuff.).

Breathe in, arms up.  Breathe out, fold, bend knees if hamstrings demand it.  Breathe in, half way lift, breathe out and fold again, relax the head and neck.  The instructions flow through the room and every person breathes together.  We move together.

We hold the balances and fall out one by one, each doing what we can.  No one judging.  No one laughing at our inability to hold simple poses, or go deep in the folds.  We are each there, each on our own journey, each doing our best.  And that is what matters.  We are one.  We are a clan, moving on our personal journeys, but together.  And it is beautiful.

No matter if you work out alone, if you run in the early morning hours, or lift weights, or find time to hit the gym, join a class...  if you sit in your office doing chair exercises between phone calls, or do some crunches and push ups and jumping jacks in your living room...  know we are in this with you.

We understand that you might not want to get up and do something today.  But we also know how awesome you will feel if you get yourself to do it.  You can do this.  I can do this.  Together, we can make the choices to better ourselves, and step forward once more on our journey to fitness.  To health.

Thank you for joining me!  You all, knowing you are in this with me, keep me going.  Thank you for keeping me accountable.  I'm grateful to each and every one of you for that.

Have a wonderful Friday, and a lovely weekend!  Namaste.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do Something Challenge, Day 4

Day 4.  How you guys doing?

I'm feeling better, achiness-wise, today.  Not sure if that's because last yoga practice was yesterday in the morning or what...  but I will take it.  :)

I found this morning I woke up early, well rested and ready to go, and even got dishes and laundry done before work.  Just did my work shift and picked kiddos up, and have a yoga class I'll need to leave for in about an hour.  It's one of the harder classes, like Tuesday was, and I'm looking forward to it.

Should be a good night!

But today, on a slightly different subject, I've been having thoughts about our food choices during our little experiment here.  We might not feel very full if we eat a lot of junk foods, and there is a good reason for that.  This image shows why that might be.  If we are eating vegetables and fruits, it doesn't take so much of it to fill our stomachs up.  It breaks down to fewer calories per meal, naturally, but we feel full and are satisfied.

The fried foods take up less space but offer up themselves in larger calorie portions, which doesn't work out so well for us.  It might be time to start thinking about what foods we are eating and how that is affecting us.

Keep in mind, what you put in your body is fuel for your work out.  Vegetables, fruits, grains, and easy to absorb proteins are your friend.  The more of those, the better!  If you're going to eat meats, try and keep them lean and in reasonable portion sizes.

Portion control is a big thing for me.  If I am not careful, I can eat twice what I really need to live on.  Eat to live, not live to eat!  Try taking a small portion, eating that, then waiting to see what your body says.  If you are still hungry after 5-10 minutes, have another small portion, but try to take it easy.

Our stomachs are only meant to be about the size of our fists.  If we are constantly filling our plates and eating all of that, how much space must that take up?  We often eat twice what an appropriate portion is, without thinking.  Packaged foods are too big for one person if you use the fist as a guide.  Quick foods and fast foods certainly are.

It is hard to retrain our bodies to know what a proper portion is, but it's essential to eating right and getting our bodies to a happy healthy state.  Next time you make yourself a plate of food, think about the amounts.  It will take time, and you might be a little hungrier at first since your body thinks it needs what you have been giving it...  but give it a try.  It's worth the effort.  Really!  :)

Anyway, it's food for thought, no pun intended.  I will make up a nice little list for you of good documentaries to watch on the subject of food.  I'm a bit of a documentary nut, and am happy to peruse these things for you.  :)

Anyway, gotta go get kids ready for the pool, and get laundry moving again.  A mother's job is never done, as they say!  :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Do Something! Day 3

Good morning, everyone!

I woke up and dragged myself out of bed this morning.  Achy from the previous 2 days of working out when I'm no longer used to it.  The muscles screamed at me, joints refused to move, but I did it.  There was a sunrise yoga class I could maybe get to if I could get up in time.  It was the only chance for a class I had today, because I work later than my usual shift, so it was then, or never.  Or by myself later, which isn't nearly as awesome.

Don't get me wrong, the home yoga practice got me through years and years of time, but there's something different about everyone in a room breathing together, moving together.  It keeps you going.  You are less likely to allow yourself to give up.  Home is where it's at if you can't make a class, but it's nice if you are able.

Anyway.  So I dragged myself out of bed, didn't get lost on my way to the center this time, and made it there to the giant room full of mirrors before anyone else did.  An older gentleman came in and asked if we were really using this room, and I said I didn't know, but nobody was in the smaller one either, so we set up and started  warming up, just the two of us.

Another girl joined us shortly, using one of the borrow mats they have laying around.  They squish and are not sticky, but they're certainly better than the hard floor!  But when another woman wandered in and asked if we knew the instructor was home with food poisoning, we had a choice to make.

Get up and go home, or do something.  I entertained going home and enjoying a cup of coffee in the early morning quiet.  For about half a second.  And then I returned to my half lotus forward fold I was in when she entered the room.  The woman graciously offered to talk people through her Tai Chi stretch she was going to do, and the borrow mat girl joined her for a while.  Another woman wandered in when I was finishing up my second Sun Salutation round, and we all set to work on our own.

Together in the room, the small group of us, each working at our own pace.  I moved through my poses, fell out of silly ones that I should really have down by now (Tree pose?  Really!?), and challenged myself to try wheel and head stands again.  I managed wheel for almost 2 full breaths before I needed to let it go, so that was exciting.  I've been afraid of that one due to the shoulder rotation and my injury, but it feels fine.  :)

I had to move over to a wall for the head stands so I wouldn't fall over, but I am definitely still working on that and need the wall.  The older gentleman watched my third headstand for a moment, taking note of how I was using the wall as a prop, and went back to his own thing.

Overall, I am really glad I made myself get up.  Even though I really did not want to.  I could hardly move, but I knew I would feel better once I was moving in that room.  And I did.  I do feel better.  I still feel achy, like you do when your muscles acclimate to something new.  I'm starving, so it's time to go make a smoothie for breakfast, and I need to go drag kids out of bed...

But that was my challenging day 3.  I know you don't want to do it today.  I didn't either.  But just do it.  Make it happen.  You'll be glad you did.  :)  I promise.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Do Something Challenge: Day 2!

Do you feel the burn?  I sure do.  But it's a happy sort of ache.  It's the "I feel good" ache.  :)

This morning I made a pineapple blueberry smoothie with chia seed and raw almond-cashew milk.  I should have added a little agave.  It was not as awesome as yesterday's smoothie, when I didn't forget.  :)  But I also had avocado toast this morning, so that does make some difference.

Avocado toast, by the way, is smashed up avocado smeared on toast (I like whole wheat bread for this), and then you salt and pepper the tops of the avocado.  Amazing, filling, and good for ya.  :)  Good stuff.  Give it a try.  I usually use about 1/2 an avocado per 2 slices of bread.  If you store the other half of the avocado with its pit, it doesn't get as brown and yucky looking.  By the way, that's just oxidation and it is still perfectly fine to eat.  Just like apples.

I'll have to get a pic to share when I make it again tomorrow.  :)

Anyway!  Eating well, good choices, and making time to DO SOMETHING.  That's my plan.  So tonight I will be going to a multi-level yoga class and pushing myself a little while the kiddos go swimming.  And then we'll head home and have something for dinner.  I'm planning something, will make it up and have it ready to eat when we get home.  There will be no greasy fast food caving!  :)

How are you all doing?  Well, I hope.  Don't push yourself too far!  Just do what you can, and then try to do a tiny bit more.  :)  You will get there!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Do Something Challenge: Day One: My plan.

I'm up!  I'm up!  GOSH, Mom!  Stop nagging me!

Getting up and getting ready for work right now.  Kids are off school for the holiday, so I don't have to run them out the door for once!  Think I'm going to go make myself a smoothie for breakfast instead of making coffee today...  and I need to toss some potatoes (cleaned, poked, wrapped in foil) into my crock pot.

I have big plans for dinner, I tell you.  Leftover soup I made the other day, Spicy Peanut Eggplant, time consuming and a little more complicated than I usually do, but totally worth every single minute!!  And vegan, to boot.  :)

So there's that, but then I am going to debate between 2 levels of yoga classes for this afternoon.  I could probably do the intermediate-advanced one on a good day, but I'm not sure how "back in the saddle" I am there.  Probably will start with the beginner and see how I feel after an hour of that.  :)

Up, moving, time to run.  Don't forget to find your 15 minutes of time to DO SOMETHING!!  :)