Candlelight Yoga

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Namaste plaque at Gordmans

The very best part about health and fitness is being able to share it with family and friends. M is super supportive with the food and friends make exercising so much more fun! Today my college BFF Rachel asked me to attend a candlelight yoga class with her which is totally out of my comfort zone. I hate feeling like the weakest one in class or feeling like everyone is judging me. But how can you say no to quality time with a friend? Double whammy how can you say no to quality time with a friend when it reaches your fitness goal for the day too? Answer: You can’t. And honestly I’m not going to get anywhere in life if I’m always afraid of what others are thinking of me or even more important what I am thinking of myself. Because yes there might be one or two people judging me for a second but mostly I’m guessing they are focusing on themselves and the class. So really the only person holding me back is actually myself and I am not okay with that.

In general I like to try new things whether it’s food, genre of book, new vacation spot, occasionally a new clothing item I normally wouldn’t buy, or something else. What I really don’t like though is the very first time I try something new. I’m a lot like my oldest niece in that respect, she wants to try something new but will ask a zillion questions in the weeks and days leading up to that new thing so she is as prepared for it as much as possible and doesn’t look foolish. So I asked Rachel a bunch of questions since she had taken a class from this yoga studio earlier in the week. What pants do I wear? What shirt do I wear? Do I wear shoes, socks, or are we barefoot? Where is it? Is it hot? Should I bring water? How many people show up? Are they all crazy flexible? What’s the teacher like? You get the idea. But I showed up ready to give it my best shot.

We arrive and I take off my shoes and socks, hang up my coat, take a towel and a mat and of course find a place at the very back of the class. The instructor lights candles, turns the lights down low, and begins playing music. I have a limited knowledge of yoga but have done enough to know a few of the poses which was good because the instructor wasn’t all that great at detailing each one. The poses and duration of stretch was pretty high considering it was supposed to be a beginners class. There were no modifications. Which was good in the fact that it made me push my body a little harder and kept my stamina higher but bad in the way that it made me feel less comfortable in the class and I’m sure I suffered quality of stretching/posing for duration. That’s how the first two-thirds of the class went. Then we switched over to some yin yoga poses which is more on the ground work where you hold it for a few minutes at a time and really relax into it. This was very relaxing. My favorite pose the “dead mans pose” (or whatever it’s actually called) is the one where you lay flat on your back with all parts of your body in total relaxation. The jaw, the neck, the shoulders, the legs, the arms, the hands etc.  Then the instructor comes around and gives a brief massage with “mojo oil”. I have no idea what it was but it was very relaxing. And then the hour was up.

Now that I know more of what to expect at a yoga studio I’ll feel much more comfortable trying another class. In fact Tuesday we decided to take on hot yoga. So here’s to accepting the invitations the world hands you to go outside your comfort zone because if nothing else you have challenged your body and mind into something different and that can only lead to growth.

The Picture of Success

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If I am counting now (including tonight) this blog will have saved me from myself four times and there in itself is all I could have asked for with this whole blogging adventure. We came so close to caving in tonight to the craving monster. We played Russian Roulette and watched The Food Network and suddenly we were desperately hungry for thick, fluffy, golden, scrumptious french toast. What can I say, we like to live dangerously I guess! This all shook down around 7:30 even after we had a delicious and healthy supper of pork chops, roasted broccoli, and strawberry vinaigrette salad. We clearly were not hungry but it is quite amazing the power of persuasion. And again the biggest reason I said no was because how could I write about that!?

Instead M and I decided to separate so neither of us could tempt the other into giving in. He went into his office to get some work done and I decided to tackle the mountain of dishes I’ve been avoiding. I slipped in my ear buds and played my new favorite “music.” There is an app in the itunes store called Naturespace and it is full of high quality “3D sounds” taken from nature. Some of the sounds like the trickling river have very low musical instrument accompaniment. However most of them like my favorite titled “Loki” are taken straight from nature. If you listen to it without headphones through your phone’s speaker it sounds like nothing special. But put in the earbuds and WOW! It literally feels like you are in that place in time. My favorite has frogs and crickets singing during a thunderstorm. It is totally zen. So I listen to my Naturespace and I take time by myself to melt away all thought all while doing a chore. When I finished the dishes I was relaxed and feeling great and I couldn’t believe an hour had passed. I just had to take a picture of the success of the day. Talk about finding new ways to deal with your stress. Instead of coming home from Perkins feeling sludgy like a bottle of thick syrup, I stayed home and was productive. Even better than that it was a choice I could feel proud of.

Brussels Sprouts for Days 

 Today I made M’s favorite dish Prosciutto pesto chicken with spicy Brussels sprouts and it was YUMmy! I found the recipe on Pinterest here: http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2014/02/07/prosciutto-wrapped-chicken-and-asparagus/ I just happen to use Brussels sprouts instead of asparagus. It’s funny how I used to think Mondays were the “hard” days. Mondays used to be the, “ugh! I have to get my life together and eat right and workout and it F-ing sucks!” I was always focused on how much it sucked. Now Monday’s are usually our best day. We wake up ready to crush the week. Now our “hard” days are the weekends when it’s harder to stay on track. Eating healthier is now easier than stressing about naughty foods.

Monday’s workout today was supposed to be Cize but wow I had no idea it was going to be so dang tricky!! Hats off to any of you that can even finish 5 minutes!  I was lost and way too frustrated so I quit BUT I immediately switched and tried another workout from Shaun T called Rockin’ body. And that one was way more my style and just a lot of fun. So cheers to Mondays and kicking some ass. 🙂

Getting Back on Track

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On Sunday my brother and sister-in-law came to our house to visit. It has been a long long time since the four of us have had the chance to spend so much alone time together. Usually we only see each other during holidays or other family functions when there are other relatives around. It was so nice to have them all to ourselves especially since they recently told us they would be moving across the country very soon. M and I knew that the days that they were here weren’t going to have much moderation. Yes, we could have called them up before hand and said, “hey we are really working on what we are eating and staying on target” and I know they would have been absolutely supportive and agree to eat whatever we ate. But somehow we understood that this time is different. We aren’t just on a quick diet to lose weight and then go back to our regular old ways. We truly mean this to be a lifestyle change and while in the beginning of this new journey we want to start off more like a diet to keep us on the straight and narrow a diet truly isn’t what we want to accomplish. We are looking for longevity. We also believe food and drink are a part of life and celebrations. So I cooked the delicious (and a little bit decadent) meals my brother-in-law requested and we drank beer and whiskey all while having an amazing time together playing board games and Nintendo.

We did have two rules for ourselves while they were here. Rule number one was to try and listen to your body as much as possible. Don’t necessarily worry about what you are eating but listen to your stomach when it says it is full. Rule number two was even though it’s going to suck to see how much we ate we still have to track everything. Every bite every drink. Neither of our Fitbits were very happy with us we both had big red x’s all four days but we tracked it anyway. But we didn’t let ourselves beat us up. We told ourselves it was okay.

They left to go back home last night and today my hubby left for work with his water bottles, and packed lunches and snacks. This morning I woke up, did my workout and had my Shakeology ready to go back to our new ways. I truly believe life is about moderation not deprivation. We were successful not because we beat ourselves up and made ourselves feel bad for the choices we made but because we said it was alright and that we had a plan in place.  I am happy we indulged and enjoyed ourselves during their visit. But I am so happy we were right back at it today ready to continue on this adventure not a diet.

Weekend Struggles

I’ve been to the dark side. I indulged quite a bit over the past few days but I am still proud of the small accomplishments I’ve had during that time. Let me rewind a bit and bring you back to last Friday. M and I both worked that day and had done really well with following our “diet.” We’ve been out to eat before on this new adventure and always planned ahead and everything goes just fine. We eat the smart choices and don’t eat too much. We decided since it was a Friday to go out to eat. The last time we went out we had a Shakeology before leaving the house to help fill up the tummy without filling up the calories. This time we did not and I think that was a poor decision on our end, not because we ate too much but because neither of us had had that much to eat that day (not on purpose but that is just how our schedules happened to be that day) and we had a lot of containers/calories to use. And we used them all up in that meal. It was a delicious meal and we left the restaurant feeling very satisfied. The problem came later that night. Some of those old cravings came back and came back with a vengeance.

We knew that our bodies were full, after all we had just had a big meal mere hours before. But our minds were saying, “order pizza! Make some oil popcorn! How about some chips?” I think our minds had gone back to how it used to be, i.e: going out to eat, ordering a big meal, coming home having whatever kind of snack we wanted. We used to live in a very ignorance is bliss state of mind. We never thought about what we ate, we just ate it. Now that’s not to say we didn’t eat healthy foods because we did but it wasn’t the careful mindful proportions of all foods like it is now. My hubby broke down and had a snack. He was pissy about it but he did not eat junk food. He had 2 oranges and string cheese. I think the only reason we muddled through that desire to have junk was because of this blog. I kept saying to M, “what am I supposed to say on the blog? I can’t lie and I certainly can’t tell them I went out to eat AND ordered pizza!” So I did not have any snacks. And I’ll be honest it sucked. But the next morning I was so glad that we didn’t. We had company coming over Sunday afternoon and we knew that food would be a struggle while the company was visiting and had we given in Friday night I know we would have just kept giving in the whole weekend until after our in-laws left. Saturday wasn’t as easy as the previous two weeks had been with food in terms of feeling satisfied with what we ate but we powered through and kept on track until Sunday afternoon. A struggle those two days were but victories none the less.

Forget Manpower

  Buying our first home this fall was really exciting for us. We couldn’t wait to make it our own and to take care of something that was ours. The doctor says for now M isn’t supposed to shovel because the repetitive motion can easily throw his back out. That chore then falls to me. 

I enjoy shoveling. I used to go to my mom and sisters houses and shovel their decks and driveways (usually with my niece as a fun energy burning activity) and I always rather enjoyed it. Beautiful snow, a little exercise, and the freedom to choose if and when I wanted to do it. Well after this winter the blooms a bit off the rose with that one!

 When we first started comparing our home to the others in the neighborhood (because who doesn’t do that?) we felt lucky to see that we had the only two car cement driveway on the whole block! All that extra space for friends and family so they don’t have to park on the street. Well after three inches of blowing snow makes a two foot tall drift in your driveway you no longer feel so lucky! As much as I don’t necessarily mind getting off my rear to do the job it’s the -20 degree windchill that really sours the experience. Gone are the fun 30 degree sunshine “fun shovels” with my niece. And because I hate doing laundry just slightly more than I hate being cold I risk going out dressed in my leggings. (To note I don’t reccomend this, it’s for the truly insane or truly anti-laundry and since I’m a little of both out the door I go in leggings). Well as you can imagine that idea didn’t last long. Back inside I came to look for appropriate pants and I can up with nothing but for a pair of my husbands hunting pants. My neighbors probably think I’m wardrobe challenged after seeing all my outdoor wear so far this year (earlier in the fall while doing yard work I would wear my yard shirt which is my dads old blue faded too big for me button up Hawaiian shirt). I start shoveling the mountain before me all while enviously eyeing what’s-his-name up the street and his jolly snowblower. Push, scoop, lift, throw repeat. It’s hard work in the freezing cold but it’s amazing what some girl power can do! Seventy-five minutes later I stood back to admire a beautifully shoveled (double!) driveway and the whole stretch of sidewalk we are responsible for. I did it! My Fitbit is buzzing with pride as well as I reached and surpassed my step goal for the day. I decide to celebrate with a nice cup of hot chocolate all while admiring my newly cleaned driveway from inside the warm house. Job well done.

This dog though

CollageI didn’t want a dog when my husband Mitchell did but I understand how and why we came to have Jackson. I’ve grown up with dogs my whole life so I understand just how much care and time actually goes into taking care of a dog. My husband did not have much experience with dogs and so he enthusiastically told me, “oh yeah I’ll take him for walks and bathe him and take great care of him.” Fast forward two years later and here I am at home alone this week with our big whiner. He’s barked all of five times the entire time we’ve had him but oh boy can he whine! And groans and whines and whines and groans some more! He’s also always on my nerves, forever in my grill, and I have yet to experience what it’s like to go to the bathroom alone at this house. One day I thought I had him because he was in the middle of his bunny chasing dreams when I escaped to the latrine. I had my pants down all ready to get to business when his nose smacks the door open and he came trotting in like, “woah! I almost lost you there for a second!”

Anyway, he has been whining at me all day and even though the weather was finally warm enough for a walk I try to put it off until after it gets dark because halfway through our walk I unleash him and let him run at the huge park by our house. (This is a no no technically hence why we wait for dark but it’s 90% fenced in and no one is ever around.) It’s a big hassle getting him into his doggie boots because on one hand he hates them and is of no help putting them on but on the other hand he knows we are going for a walk and is so excited he can barely contain himself. His tail is thumping wildly and he rolls onto his back and paws the air. But we finally get him ready to go and I get my ugly warm walking coat on with mismatching hat and scarf and we take off. He practically drags me along because he knows where to go and halfway there we end up jogging because he’s just so excited. Finally we arrive at the big park and I unhook him and off he goes. He’s got to be going at least 30 miles an hour running in huge circles. He sprints towards me and two of his booties come flying off. He circles me twice before flying off again. After all the hassle it has been, this moment is actually worth it for both of us. He is pure joy and it’s contagious. And despite all the stupid things that annoy me about him I am hopelessly in love with him. I have Mitchell fully supporting me with the food aspect and as long as it’s even halfway decent weather I have Jackson there to support me/drag me into exercise.