2017 Resolution – Love Myself Healthy!

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Image Source: The Balanced Blonde

Another year is just beginning and I absolutely LOVE the idea of giving up all desires to be skinny.  Honestly, it is completely overrated, even if you’re overweight.  American culture has trained us to think that any excess body weight means you are overweight, which if not true at all! From this day forward, I suggest telling yourself that you are making changes to become the healthiest you for you.  Forget what society expects!  You DESERVE the gift of health.

You all know that I am a firm believer in the ancient healing art of Ayurveda. Following this ancient medicinal system, we are taught to treat our body with reverence. Your body’s are a reflection of our current health. All of your past decisions have made you who you are today. Embrace the lessons you’ve learned from them and use them to move into a healthier lifestyle.

Remember that even if you aren’t in perfect health, you are just as worthy of self-love as a body builder!

My story

Before my enlightenment

Throughout my teens, I followed so many diets in an attempt to look like my best friend who was much skinnier than me. I never took into account that my bones were thicker than hers, which meant I SHOULD NOT look the same as her. Fast forward to my twenties. I became friends with many “overweight” people who were doing things I couldn’t; my best friend from college played on our school’s rugby team. She ate junk food on occasion, but more often than  not she would eat mostly healthy foods. This is where I picked up my theory on how to eat to mold your ideal body!

Life preparing me for my enlightenment

This idea stayed with me long after we left college, but it didn’t click completely until I was living on my own in Philadelphia, PA. One sunny April day in 2013, I decided to walk to my local library. On my way there, my sneaker got caught in a crack in the sidewalk and I fell hard on my knees. While my knee injury wasn’t too bad, there was another lesson in store for me. About two weeks after my knees got better, I started having uncontrollable back spasms. They were so intense that when I went to my mother’s orthopedic surgeon to try to figure out what was wrong, that he couldn’t even touch me without extreme pain!

He ordered a number of different tests to decipher what was wrong but every test came back with negative results. His only conclusion was that my body had locked up from the intensity of the fall to protect me from something, and he was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! He then told me to go home and get as much rest as possible.

Enlightenment realized

After seeing this doctor, I made it my mission to take as much time to rest as I possibly could. Not only that, I realized that I should use this down time to make healthier food choices. Before my accident, I ate fast food multiple times a day. Since I could barely move around my apartment, let alone go downstairs to pick up food from a local restaurant, I brought into my home yogurt, instant oatmeal, protein shakes, et cetera – anything that was easy to make so I didn’t aggravate my injury.

After a few weeks of following this meal plan, my family started asking me questions about my workout regimen. They were concerned that I had been ignoring my doctor and working out. When I told them that the only thing I was doing was making better food choices, they were shocked. My sister even came over one day to check up on me. When she saw that my refrigerator was full of everything I had told her, she went home and left me to recover.

By the end of my recovery, I had lost 30 pounds, with NO EXERCISE!! To date, I’ve lost about 85 in total and I NEVER diet.

What’s the lesson for you in all this?

I’m telling you my story to reinforce the idea that with this new year, you should make a resolution to become a healthier you in small steps. You have developed your current eating habits over the previous months and years of your life – you can’t expect lasting results to come from drastic changes. Food is our first and best medicine for creating a healthier body.

I began this blog as a reminder that you have to love your body, regardless of what shape it’s in. When you love your body exactly for how it is, the easier it will be to make small, positive changes. My story is a testament to that fact. Millions of people start popular diets every day, have success in the beginning and then gain it all back… Why? If a diet is so great, why can’t people stay on them for life, or at the very least maintain the weight they’ve lost?

The truth is: consistency is the biggest piece of the puzzle. I’ve been way off track with this – my mother’s death took me by surprise and I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted because of the depression that set in after losing her. From this day forward, I vow to do better for myself…. Especially because my mom believed wholeheartedly in what I do!

In order to achieve this goal, I must remember that small, yet constant improvement and upgrades to my current preferences is my keystone to finishing the health journey I started back in 2013.

Neither you or I can do intermittent health care.  Healthy eating must happen daily.  Aside from occasional “free meals,” we have to eat to nourish and maintain our bodies.  It is an odd thing that has happened in our society where food intake is such a social and pleasure thing instead of a way to fuel our bodies.

So the conclusion is there is nothing wrong with always being aware of what we do to stay slim and strong and healthy.  We should love ourselves for who we are on the inside but also love the potential we have; both inner and outer and always strive to live up to it.

 

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Regaining My Balance 

Image Source: Quotesgram

​Is your life feeling out of balance? Mine sure has been lately, but I am determined to adjust to my new reality ASAP. I can’t wait to use these tools to help me get there 😊🕉️💖
Balance is referred to in different ways, depending on which organization or expert you look to:
IIN calls it primary foods

Maslow called it a hierarchy of needs

Anthony Robbins called it a wheel

I call it a pie. 
It doesn’t matter what we use as criteria. When it comes to experiencing balance in our lives, we all have certain needs that need to be filled throughout our lives. And the more balanced our fulfillment of these needs, the smoother our boat will sail and the closer to balance we will get.

Whatever we call it, it all comes down to balance. If our life is not in balance then we are in trouble.
Self actualization (morality, creativity, problem solving

learning, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts)

Esteem (self esteem, confidence, respect) 

Love and belonging (friendship, family and intimacy) 

Safety (security of body, health, family, property, employment, resources and morality) 

Physiological (breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion)
Everyone can rank these in a different order of importance. At the same time, we may each rank them differently at different times in our lives. What is certain? If one of the above is lacking and another is over emphasized, then we are out of balance.
Anthony Robbins does an exercise with a wheel representing career, physical, spiritual and financial. We have to rank each by “how it is going.” Visually we are able to see, for example, that we are doing great financially and physically, but perhaps not spiritually or career-wise. If we are out of balance, our wheel will not roll.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition calls it “primary foods.” Outside our triangle of nutrition is a circle that consists of relationship, spirituality, career and physical activity.

The truth is, we can fix what we eat.  We can eat more greens and get rid of processed foods, but if we don’t take care of the other areas of our life, we will still not experience balanced health and happiness. You can be completely healthy with your diet yet still feel imbalanced. 
To help you see the topics more clearly, take a look at the following basic needs and ways of fulfillment.
Self Actualization (morality, creativity, problem solving, learning, lack of prejudice and an acceptance of facts)

Prayer, Thoughtfulness, Meditation

Journaling

Fun

Study

Spirituality

Contribution

Esteem (self esteem, confidence, respect)

Gratitude

Feelings

Love and Belonging (friendship, family and intimacy)

Relationship building

Caregiving

Forgiveness

Intimacy

Safety (security of body, health, family, property, employment, resources and morality)

Environmental safety

Health & well being

Job Security

Career growth

Financial empowerment

Environmental preservation

Ethics and morality

Physiological (breathing, environmental, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion)

Clean air, meditation, breathing exercise

Environmental impact on health and well being through design (ex. bringing nature into the home, healthy light, smart space) 

Nutrition

PH Balance

Probiotics

Losing  weight

Better Digestion

Super foods 

o Acai

Algae

Aloe Vera

Bee Products

Cacao

Camu Camu Berry

Chlorella

Coconut

Goji Berries

Hempseed

Incan Berries

Kelp

Maca

Marine Phytoplankton

Noni

Yacon

Raw Nutrition 

o Juicing vs. Blending 

o Nuts and Seeds

o Sprouts

o Grasses

o Seaweed

o Roots

o Mushrooms

o Recipes

Exercise and fitness

Water, the amount and cleanliness 

Intimacy as a physical need

Amount and quality of sleep

Digestion

Bodily function, sight, hearing, pain

Cleansing

Illness and healing
We will be adding to this and focusing on each topic as total wellness.  Look forward to future blogs on each line item and broken down even further for more tips on how to improve the quality of our lives.  If anyone has any categories they would add to each need, please comment below.

What is YogaVeda? 

For this Wellness Wednesday, I wanted to take a little time to explain what my blog is all about. I mentioned earlier that I have used the ancient healing arts of Ayurveda and yoga in the past, and when I really followed them, I was the healthiest I’d ever been! To give you a better idea of what I mean, imagine getting multiple (3 to 5) headaches and issues with upset stomach/heartburn every week – Tylenol was ALWAYS in my medicine cabinet. 

Then when I had a back injury that put me on bed rest for 5 months, I had to reevaluate my relationship with food and went back to the basics. Here’s a great quote from Ayurveda:

During my recovery, I focused on eating simple, protein rich foods that would properly fuel my body. Since I couldn’t move very well, I stocked my refrigerator with Chobani yogurt that had fruit on the bottom. The yogurt had the protein I needed to maintain my muscles and fats to insure that the tissues in my joints wouldn’t deteriorate. 

Two months into my recovery, my doctor yelled at me because she thought I was ignoring her order to rest because I apparently had lost a significant amount of weight. By the end of my recovery, I had lost 30 pounds!! I owe that weight loss to Ayurveda, which is the ancient Indian tradition of seeing how the foods you eat react with YOUR body (no two people are alike so following a cookie cutter diet is stupid and potentially dangerous!). I’ll do other posts explaining the basics of Ayurveda, but let me give you a brief example. 

Ayurveda and me

My body type is called pitta and the main element in it is fire. This shows in my ruddy complexion, my occasional fiery temper and my tendency to experience heartburn. Because the main element in my body type is fire, it is important for me to avoid very spicy foods because I can overheat. The best foods for me, especially in the hotter months, are cooling foods like water, berries, melons, leafy green veggies, yogurt, etc. Basically, you should visualize water being dumped on forest fires – water keeps the fire from damaging too many things. My body is the same way!

Again, I’ll do more detailed posts soon regarding ayurveda, so don’t worry if you’re not a pitta like me.

How does yoga play into this? 

Most people know that yoga is a series of gentle stretches and poses that help our bodies maintain flexibility. What you don’t know, however, is that those stretches and poses can also tell your body to fix certain blockages. 

As I get deeper into my training as a yoga instructor, I’ll be able to explain this in more detail, but think about when you are hunched over a computer for a few hours and you have a sudden urge to get up, stretch and walk around. That is your body’s way of maintaining itself. And that’s exactly what yoga aims to accomplish, help your body realize what is out of sync and do gentle actions to correct it. 

Combining the two to create a new experience: YogaVeda

My new healthy lifestyle model is called YogaVeda because I teach you how to harness the power of food and movement to become the healthiest you possible. I will never tell you that you need to get up at 3am and do an intense military-style workout. I’ll also never tell you to completely eliminate a food or meal from your diet (unless you’re allergic!); I just help you find a better version of it. 

If you combine good, nutrient dense food (because we all need to eat!) and simple, regular movement, you will be surprised at what you’re actually capable of! 

230 Days to a New Me 

This Saturday will be my first class in my journey to become a yoga instructor, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what comes from it .😊💖🕉️

I realize that this opportunity isn’t just about meeting my health and fitness goals. It’s also an excellent chance to show more people the ancient healing arts of Ayurveda and yoga, which  modern medicine, and more specifically the pharmaceutical industry, has deemed unworthy. 

To begin this journey, I am posting my beginning photos of the areas I want to improve on my body. Granted, I’m not the most outgoing or camera friendly person, but I can’t deny the world an opportunity to see how these AMAZING practices can transform your mind, body and spirit for the best. 

Arms 

Pic #1: side view

Apparently, I’d convinced myself that arms are basically in good shape, I just need to tone them up (especially my triceps!). After seeing the picture my boyfriend took for me, I realize I have more work ahead of me…. I say BRING IT ON (I love a challenge 😀)!! 

Pics #2 & 3: side flex and front flex

Again, I got my work cut out for me, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE that I can already see an outline of the line between my biceps and triceps (being positive will go a long way 😊❤️) 

Stomach 

It’s kinda cool how I can kinda see the lines where my washboard abs and killer obliques will be 💖💖

Back

I got a lot of work to do here! Over the years I’ve exercised through dance and walking but these stupid back rolls are still there 😠

Waist 

I can clearly see the smallest part of my waist from any angle, but these back rolls and love handles are hiding it 🙁

Collarbone 

I know it’s a little strange to want to track how visible that indentation between your neck and collarbone is, but I grew up never being able to feel it let alone see it, so I’m super excited to see that progress 😊

My wishes for this blog

Again, I don’t pretend to know that I’m anyone special because EVERYONE is capable of creating the body of their dreams. I am just trying to show the world that the wheel of fitness doesn’t have to be invented; the ancient healing arts of Ayurveda (knowing how YOUR body reacts to food) and yoga are two of the BEST tools at your disposal. Just so you know, my  next set of update photos will be posted in a blog on September 20th 😀

I hope you get a little bit of inspiration from my journey.  

Namaste 😀💖🕉️