Ask any one of my closest friends and they'll tell you I've been a little all over the place for the last couple years. Not sure what I want to do, where I want to go, what or who I want to be, taking and leaving the advice and guidence my parents gave to me as a child, making sense of teachers and professors advice, etc.... Mid 20's are quite a challenge sorting through most of this crap, some of it is great and some can be left at the door. There is one thing though that remains a constant and reoccuring theme that I've been learning as I keep trecking on; and that is that life is a tapestry.
A tapestry, for those who don't know, is "a piece of thick textile fabric with pictures or designs formed by weaving colored weft threads or by embroidering on canvas, used as a wall hanging or furniture covering." (Wikipedia) Or we can reference a quilt as well for this blog post.
Let me explain. I've been the kind of person to look for and pursue the BIG moments. Working at Juilliard, conducting musical productions, losing 150lbs. While these are big achievements and have taken a great deal of time, education and persistance, these moments are only one piece of fabric within the whole stitched together with time and doing. They aren't the end-all, be-all, nor should they be.
I was at the gym the other day and was flipping through the basic cable channels; Rachel Ray was on. She was being interviewed about her life and career as a celebrity and well-known TV personality. The interviewer asked her, and I'm powerphrasing, what she would change or do differently about her past if she could. She said she wouldn't change anything, even the things that were a struggle or that, at the time, seemed to be the worst moment of her life. She said that life is like a quilt and that if she were to change one stitch, it could change everything about the course of her life so far. Which reminds me, it's kind of like those time-travel episodes in Family Guy where if one little thing is altered in the past, it causes a chain reaction of events that can make life very different in the present and going forward.
It's not 2017 yet and I'm not a resolution type of guy. I'd rather set 3-5 big goals to work on for the year and achieve them. I keep learning that life is meant to be explored, evolve and unravel from moment to moment without us as human beings messing with the process and trying to control the direction of every stitch and aspect of our quilt/tapestry. Focus on each moment and enjoy the highs, lows, unsure areas, the scary parts, the happy parts, the confusing parts... it ALL makes up the quilt and tapestry of life; to resist these things is to resist what is and to delay putting together a fullfilling and rewarding life, whatever that means for you.
Try new adventures, make new friends, step outside of the box and attempt things and situations that are interesting, fearful, rewarding and exhilerating without hesitation.
I leave you with my favorite quote:
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever" - Steve jobs
It happens to all of us in some form or another. Our reactions, however, may be very different.
You meet someone brand new and they introduce their self using a first (and sometimes) last name. You strike up a nice conversation about something you enjoy, maybe music or movies. A week or even a few days go by and you run into this person again, only you have no clue what their name is or what letter of the alphabet it started with. Panic sets in which leads to coming up with crafty ways to get them to say their name again so you can look like you remember. Or perhaps you ask them for their number at which point you play dumb and ask them how they spell their name. "It's Matt...", he replies. "My name is Matt". Dumbfounded, you put your tail between your legs because you've been caught! Sound familiar at all? Not all people react this way or even give something so simple as someone's name much thought. But why is it that names are so difficult for many to remember?
I tend to be open and honest when reintroducing myself by saying something like "You're going to have to forgive me, what's your name again?", which then I follow it up by saying my name as well so they can remember if they have forgotten mine. I've been known to ask people more than 2 or 3 times what their name is. Some get frustrated, some laugh it off, and some even are offended that I didn't remember them! I love psychology and analyzing things like this, which is why I'm writing a blog about it. I have a few theories as to why this happens, the first being that names are a useless means of information for the brain.
A name is useless data for the brain. Unless your specific brain has come across someone or something associated with a familiar name once before, chances are you won't remember it.
The name James ranks number 1 in the USA with over 5.3 million males with the name. Take a moment right now to think about 1 person whom you know to have the name James. Now, if you were to run into a brand-new face and their name happens to be James, you will most likely connect and associate them to someone or something with whom/which you have already had a connection, whether you're aware of it or not. James is a book in the bible, is used in "James and the Giant Peach", a song by Billy Joel, and is also the name of many actors, performers, and musicians. So it's more likely that a name like James won't escape your brain since there is a wide variety from which your brain can pull from like past experiences, prior knowledge, things/people in culture and society and other associations.
"Boran" on the other hand is one of the least commonly used names in the USA, ranking fewer than 1,700 people and is statistically the 49,057th most popular first name. I will have some trouble remembering a name like that if I were to ever come across someone named Boran, although, now it should be easier for me personally since I am using his/her name in this blog post! "Hi, my name is Boran", they said. "Great! I wrote a blog about you"... now I've made the mental connection to his/her name. There is one Chinese singer named Jing Boran, and the name is also synonyms with Boran cattle. Okay, I admit, I had to do a google search to figure out someone named Boran. It will take me quite a while to learn a name I'm not familiar with if I've never heard of it before.
The fact is that it's not our fault nor should we try to play a game to avoid an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation like this. It's understandable as it's part of our biology and wiring as human beings. Some people can remember names quite easily and some have more difficulty. Where ever you fall on the spectrum, just remember that it's okay to not know. I taught high school for 1 year, and by graduation day, I STILL didn't know all of my students names, and I had 55 of them to remember.
I'll leave you with this short, yet comical video from "The Office" (I apologize for the poor quality)...
Statistics in this blog were found using the USA Census and www.howmanyofme.com
I really love psychology and human behavior. I find it fascinating and love to learn and educate myself on my own about it by reading articles online, listening to audio books and watch people at the mall and other public places.
Humans tend to go to extremes and then bounce the opposite direction (the pendulum swing) or what some call all-or-nothing thinking. We grow up with it as a child, think about the conversations surrounding a child in the Western world: "Good behavior or bad behavior"... "Right or wrong"... "black or white"... "yes or no"... "this or that"... "good witch/bad witch"... "good cop/bad cop"... "smart or dumb"... "happy or sad"... you get the picture. These are all polar opposite examples of what should be a spectrum, and when we aren't careful, can fall into those extremes when talking about anything. Facebook for example.
Many love it, many hate it, some have a love/hate with it and go from "I'm going to delete it" where they write a beautiful farewell status claiming they are jumping ship because they can't take the stuff in the newsfeed, friends getting married and engaged, babies etc. etc. etc... to the "I can't NOT be on Facebook".
How can we find a nice middle ground? Forget the fact that the newsfeed is tailored by Facebook's many algorithms based on who you interact with, what you write, who you like, what you click on etc.... The answer is simple. Observe how you use Facebook and make small, achievable changes.
About 2 months ago, I was noticing how unhappy I was with what I was doing, where I was going and who I've been spending/not spending time with. I also noticed how often I was on Facebook scrolling through the newsfeed and comparing my life with the ones portrayed in the newsfeed. I can't deactivate my account as I use it for gigs and networking with other musicians, but I can't spend hours on it either feeling like I'm lacking something or need to be MORE to keep up with the other people, more or less doing the same crap. So I found a healthy, workable compromise.
Here's what I started to do:
1. I started by deleting the app from my phone. It takes up a little over 600MB which is a lot considering I have 2 weeks worth of songs for my listening pleasure that need the space!
2. I started using the safari app on my phone instead to open Facebook and check notifications with musician and gig groups.
3. I stopped scrolling the newsfeed. How is this possible?! Simple. I have Facebook bookmarked in my safari across all my devices to go to my Facebook page instead of the www.facebook.com page. This way, the first thing I see isn't the newsfeed where it's very easy to get sucked into a photo post, then video, then a status and then 3 hours go by. Setting a bookmark to point to a page that is different than the main page where the newsfeed lives is a reminder to you that you are abstaining from scrolling. I still get my notifications at the top of the page and if ever I need to go to a group of friend page I use the search feature at the top.
Doing this has helped tremendously with not comparing and getting sucked into the void that is the Facebook newsfeed. I still use Facebook for my own networking/work purposes but find that time spent scrolling is time taken away from you.
Thanks for reading and check out my other blog posts on the right!
Are there really facts of life? A bible or text in which to live by? A rulebook? A path to wonder down? A direction to go in? People to follow?
For centuries people have found solace and comfort in following something, whether it's Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Judas, the path to enlightenment, even Justin Bieber and the more recent growing celebrity of YouTube stars and social media moguls.
It seems this behavior in humanity repeats itself in every generation in some form or fashion. But what if you don't believe in or choose to follow these people or ideologies?
The past 2-3 years have been a struggle for me. I find myself at times feeling like I'm tip toeing down a very foggy path where all I can see are the few feet in front of me and the rest is unclear. This is one of the most frightening, paralyzing and frustrating things for me. High school gives you a clear path to graduation day. College has a path to follow as well, and again, graduating and having a feeling of accomplishment and finishing something at the end.
Now what? What's the next thing? Is this it? Do I return to school for a masters as a filler to bide my time because I don't know what I want? Maybe get on a plane to somewhere foreign and explore my way through a totally different environment? Perhaps I'll practice living off the land in the mountains of California!?
All my life I've had a path. Granted, I've had control and have made choices along the way toward something bigger, but I was still on a path. The feeling that I am out in the open, naked, scared and unsure of which direction to take has caused me to turn to things like food, creating problems, taking jobs that aren't fulfilling.
Friends and family assure me that I will "figure it out", like it's some Rubik's Cube puzzle that will one day have a resolve at the end.
The problem isn't that I feel lost, it's that I feel like I SHOULDN'T be. That I should know my 5 year plan and have something lined up to work on. I hate that. The feeling of being stuck in something. I don't want a 5 year plan, I want a now plan. A plan to work through today.
I don't even like calling life a journey, as a journey often has an ending or conclusion. Instead I'm going to choose to call it an evolution or exploration. Evolution doesn't have an end point, it keeps going and going; it evolves and unfolds on its own.
Here are some things that help me ease these feelings of panic and fear. They are in no way a means of eliminate these feelings, they are merely an array of tools to apply throughout the day to cope:
1. Yoga/Meditation - I can not stress the importance of turning off the noise of social media & the world around us. Practice being still and quiet. This is where I find relaxation, clarity of self and have an understanding that the fear and world we create in our minds cause us to act in such a way. My fear of the future puts me in panic mode and I feel like I'm in danger. Instead of grabbing a bunch of M&M's, I take 5 deep breaths and bring awareness to my feet and hands and gently let thoughts pass me without giving them much weight or validity. You can even do this in the car!
2. Working Out/Gym - Along with life's frustrations, there is a punching bag at the gym and a bunch of things I can use to beat out my frustration. I also like to run (when it isn't snowing).
3. Sex - Who doesn't love sex?! An orgasm is a perfect way to relax you as well as having some fun in the process. The good news is you don't need to have a second person with you to partake.
4. Music - I enjoy listening to punk rock and tend to use that as a means of enjoying the moment I'm in and find that most of the punk rockers I like to listen too tend to have similar messages of breaking the mold and doing what you want to do in life. Great examples:
- American Idiot - Green Day
- The Anthem - Good Charlotte
- Festival Song - Good Charlotte
5. Unplug - With every app and device demanding our undivided attention 24/7, it's hard to quiet the expectations of the "world" and opinions of others. Delete the apps from your mobile device. Break the habits that bind you and the cycle that keeps you killing time and from doing projects and things that are truly important to you.
6. Lose the Expectations - Nothing is worse than feeling like you're expected to do something that goes against what you really want to do. Pretty silly, right? Make a list of the expectations that hold true for you while not allowing the opinions of friends and family to get in the way. They will make suggestions but their opinions and suggestions have everything to do with THEM and what they would do. You are a different person than your parents and family.
7. Stigma & Dogma - This goes with number 6 as well. Don't allow stigma and dogma to rule over you and set your path. They will ruin you.
It's okay to not know what you want to do, where you want to go or even who you are and what you want to be doing. Life is meant to be lived, explored and allowed to evolve in what ever time it takes on an individual basis. What works for 1 will not work for all. We are all too different and multilayered to be generalized under one umbrella.
I leave you with a quote by Steve Jobs.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs
The full speech can be found here - https://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die
This blog post is more or less a springboard for an article (see below) that I read over a year ago about the Millennial Generation. Millennials, for those who are unaware, are the generation that was born in the early 1980's to early 2000's.
I found this article by Abby Ellin very spot on and interesting. I won't go into detail about my feelings with the article, rather, I want you to explore and discover what is mentioned with blind eyes.
Click "Download File" for the PDF of "The Beat Up Generation" article. It was publish in Psychology Today and is written by Abby Ellin.
OR you can read it here online - https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201402/the-beat-generation
That went fast. I blink and summer ended! It felt like this entire year zoomed by and I haven't had enough time to figure out what I am doing with my life. This question has been looming over my head ever since I started teaching a year ago. I didn't enjoy teaching and I made the bold decision to quit at the end of my first year; I don't regret my choice. Though, I do have lots of options to try.
It feels like I've walked down a straight & narrow path in the woods only to end in an open field with no more path to follow or direction to lead me to a new destination. This feeling is both liberating and terrifying at the same time! What do I do now? What do I want to do? Which path should I create next? These are questions I've never really thought about before but have taken some steps to help pull me in a direction.
With a new year starting, and resolutions soon to be too, I've created a list of things/habits I've been trying to use to help myself find my way. I hope you find some of these steps useful and applicable to your life and/or situation.
1. First: I have been an avid social media and technology user for a while. So much that I've started to find myself scrolling through social media sites for up to an hour after I wake up in the morning. My day would be filled with tasks, working, practicing and then Facebook, Twitter and Instagram shoved between. I have a pile of books on my dresser waiting to be read and tons of small projects waiting to be done, which you can probably gather not many pages have been read and the small projects are still waiting...
A few weeks ago, I decided to make a change in my usage. I deleted all social media applications from my iPhone and allow myself only 10 minutes per day to check them using my computer. I must say, a change in habit has helped me accomplish a lot more and to appreciate my time I have. Not to mention, I feel happier and less pressure to have to keep up with what is happening with friends and family online. A text or call works just as well and keeps me in contact with them on a more personal level than throwing up a status.
2. Second: Have you ever stopped and looked at the clouds? I mean really looked at them? They gently float by at a snails pace! Nature reminds me that every goal, habit, career etc... takes time and gentleness to grow, develop and move along. My weight didn't come off over night. It took small changes over time to actually see the results that I worked for. It takes time and effort to do the same with career changes and building a life.
I feel technology plays a big part in this since everything is at the touch of our fingers and is readily available anytime, not to mention technology exercises our instant gratification muscle so we find it difficult to wait for things to be accomplished and grow.
3. Third: I'm a thinker. I tend to focus a lot on what I want to do and then think my way through it instead of taking action. It feels like I'm standing and staring at the food in the Chinese Buffet and not taking a plate and trying something. With so many options presented before me, I don't know which one I want to try or where I should start first. Always questioning and trying to logically make a decision on what to eat, meanwhile I'm standing there starving instead of making a decision to eat something.
The one thing I really have been pushing to do is to act. Try. Do something. Go audition for something I really like to do. Make crazy YouTube videos to show my friends. Go out to NYC to see a show and talk to people about what I'm looking to accomplish (this is where number 2 comes in by the way). Acting on something will yield some kind of result, big or small, but if I stand looking and watching, time just keeps on ticking and I won't ever get time back.
This post is kind of sporadic; I have a lot to say! I'm trying things every day and feel there are many other people at every age going through something similar. Whether it's a job you're in that you don't like and want to get out of or a relationship that isn't working or going in a new direction.
I'm learning a lot as I go day-by-day and week-by-week about people, life, myself, my wants, goals, desires and dreams; there are many and too many to try and accomplish at once. I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday and spend it IN PERSON with your friends and family. Have a happy new year and try new things and take risks!
It's been a little while since I wrote a blog post, but now is as good a time as any!
I've been struggling the past 2 years or so with food. I mean EXTREME struggles from going all vegan, to no-sugar, to all-sugar, to raw food... the list goes on. Not a day goes by that I didn't find myself with anxiety every time I made a meal and nitpicked every single ingredient I cooked with. I've watched every food documentary Netflix has to offer which led to even more anxiety about food. This became an ongoing problem, so much so that I gained 25lbs.
My whole weight-loss journey from the start seemed smooth and free of this obsessive behavior. I allowed the actions of other people and their lifestyles dictate my actions and what I am doing for me. I'm learning not to do that and to really ask myself, "Does this work for me?"
I have three tips, mostly for myself but feel others may benefit too, that I keep in mind as I work to keep healthy and free myself of the obsessive, anxiety filled behaviors around food. They are:
1. Don't Control - There are some things that we have direct control over, and some things we don't have direct control over. Based on those documentaries I saw on Netflix, I went as far as to not have chewing gum because of the aspartame in the ingredients. I would get anxiety over the thought of having a piece of gum because I feared it could lead to health problems later in my life. Then I would see other people chewing gum without a care in the world and felt deprived because I REALLY do like to chew gum. I've had to give up control and realize that the amount of aspartame in chewing gum will not do anything to me or my body. I don't have direct control over those ingredients.
2. Let Go - This piggybacks off of #1. I have to let go of control and the idea of trying to "save the world of toxins". Food is food. Sugar, for example, in moderation is something enjoyable and delicious. Sugar in mass quantities has some serious effects, but anything taken to an extreme level will have some kind of negative effect. Bottom line, "too much of anything is too much" (to quote one of my favorite bands @All Time Low).
3. Find Value - I don't see my weight loss of 150lbs as a "big deal" and always refer to it as "it's nothing". I've been doing this for a while and I tend to do this in other areas of my life as well, but that's for another blog topic, another day. I realize that I don't value the hard work that I put into losing that much weight. In order for me to keep off what I lost, I need to see and START valuing what I've done, or else maintaining or losing any more will have no purpose and be valueless. I started pulling out old pictures of myself to remind me of what I've accomplished. It's not easy but it helps!
I hope you get something out of this. We are all works in progress that do our best everyday. Until next time!
"Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it."
With the start of summer being tomorrow, I can now say that the past 10 months has been one big roller coaster for me both physically, mentally, emotionally and everything in-between. However, you wouldn't understand the past 10 months unless we venture back in time to age 5.
I've always had something to "go to" since I've been a toddler. Think about it, we all go through this. At the age of 5 we start Kindergarden, or Pre-K (depending on your situation). We attend school till we are seniors in high school. Then off to college we go for 4 more years. Graduate at the age of 22 and head off into the working world without much of a break in-between and work till retirement. Whoa... let's slow down that train!... Too fast.
Now, I understand that this doesn't fit ALL people, but most people I know have followed this path, which reminds me of an industrial assembly line... not the life I want to be living. I decided to go into music education when I was in high school, mainly because my friends were doing that, so I wanted to do it too. The next "go to" step after graduating high school was graduating college.
The plan after I graduated college was to take the year to work towards applying for a masters degree and to continue making money through playing gigs and working miscellaneous music jobs. I had something to "go to". Work was sporadic and unsteady.
This time last year, I was going into rehearsals for a summer production of a musical and had nothing to "go to" once it was over. No gigs. No steady job. No nothing! I felt that I had no other options to "go to" so I might as well teach music. I went to school for it, so I guess that means I have to do it, right?...
Ten months ago, I started a full-time teaching job. I went into it thinking that it was the perfect job with a great starting salary and incredible people, and it was! But from day one I felt something wasn't working. I kept telling myself things like "well, you have nothing else to do so you have to teach", "you're in this job so you can't do anything else." and I felt trapped.
My moment of clarity came when I compared my working relationship with that of a physical, romantic relationship. I knew from the moment I started that I didn't like it and wanted something different. I couldn't place my finger on what it was specifically about the job that I didn't like, all I know is I felt like it's not what I'm supposed to be doing. If you are in a relationship and feel like something isn't working, do you stay with that person and force it to work? Or do you cut them loose to explore and find someone else? Do toddlers try to force the star shape into the square at the doctors office when they are playing with the Fisher Price toy? Or do they eventually learn what shape works better?
We tend to hold on to the things we know we don't work but feel bad about leaving them which keeps us stuck. And the longer we keep forcing it, the harder it is to get out later down the line. So I made the decision to leave teaching after one year. I'm excited, and yet terrified, about what I'm "going to" in the future, but I listened to my heart for the answers which feels so liberating after I made my decision.
I don't regret one single thing about these past 10 months because had it not been for that, I wouldn't have gone through the process of finding out what works for me, as hard as it was at times. We all have the power to change our situations, and it may take time, but are you willing to take a risk and follow your heart? What's stopping you?...
I find it second nature to maintain my daily eating when I'm home and under complete control of the quality of food I consume. I know what the food labels say and I know what foods work for me and what foods don't.
This time of year is riddled with outdoor gatherings, family parties, weddings, vacations and many other exciting events which offer a variety, and often mass quantity, of unpredictable food choices. I find this to be a nice challenge and percieve these unpredictable eating events as an adventure to see what combination of food choices I can make to create a high-quality, healthier option.
I've spent a good portion of my young life overthinking my food options when ever I went out to eat. It felt like I was out of control and unable to eat healthy. This is far from reality. The control comes from me and what I choose to eat. Sure, I have no idea if there will be any whole foods at a wedding I attend or if the continental breakfast at my hotel will serve anything other than processed breakfast meats and a tray filled with muffins and refined carbs. However, I do know that no matter what options are before me, I get to make the choice for the healthy option for me.
I recently attended a trip to Hershey, PA with my high school choir. The continental breakfast consisted of eggs, sausage, pancakes, breakfast cereal, muffins, pastries, and hash browns. Oh yeah! And a small bowl of apples and oranges. I found myself stuck with not many healthy options for breakfast. I realized that this eating event is only one small moment in time that will not ruin my health. I opted to have eggs with two muffins by the way. A small treat that I seldom partake in.
Whether it's eating at a restaurant, hotel, school or social event, always remember to listen to what you're hungry for and choose an option that works for you. Even though you don't have any control over the quality of food options present to you, you DO have control over what you choose to eat.
"Now goes quickly. See, now it's past!" - Stephen Sondheim
One of the most difficult things I try to practice each day is living in the "NOW". I am a thinker and find that I spend way too much of my day-to-day life just thinking and questioning everything. What do I do with my future? What and how much I'm eating? How is the way I live related to how I was raised? Is there going to be an "ah-ha!" moment when I finally get it? Where do babies come from? Why is the sky blue?... Okay, those last two were just for fun... or were they? (SEE!)...
I'm quite sure there are other people who, whether consciously or unconsciously, have this ongoing dialogue in their brain. How do you stop the constant conversations and not feel like you need to find answers to questions that just will never have a concrete solution? I've found a few things that help.
First thing is to change how you think about thinking. Sounds quite cliché, I know. Try this.
Imagine you're sitting on a bench at the platform of a busy train station. You're not waiting for any particular train nor are you in any rush to move from your comfortable seat. Perhaps you take your phone out and take a selfie, check Facebook, or text a friend. A train approaches the station platform filled with passengers. The train stops and the doors slide open. Few people decide to step off the train onto the platform. A couple new passengers choose to climb aboard. The doors close and the train departs; you choose to sit.
Ten minutes later, another train arrives at the station platform. The doors slide open and a few more people step off of the train onto the platform. Some take their time and walk calmly, while others push their way through the crowds to make up for lost time. The doors close and the train departs; you choose to sit.
Five minutes go by. Another train swiftly pulls into the station. The doors open and few people exit the train. There is no one waiting to board. The train idles there for ten more minutes with the doors wide open. You wonder if the doors are stuck and if there may be an issue with this train. You decide to stand up from your warm bench to walk over and take a gander. You approach the train and stand on the edge of the station platform. You hesitantly poke your head inside the doorway. There are no passengers onboard. You decide to avoid this train and just let it pass. Returning to your spot on the bench, the doors of the train close and it departs the station platform.
Each train that passes is like a thought. We as human beings have the option to take the train or to remain on the platform. We get to choose which thoughts to entertain and explore and which ones we will let pass us by. Sure, they will come again and the thought may be there. But you get to decide whether or not you want to travel and explore those ideas and conversations in your mind. Some thoughts will have no destination and some will. Some will derail you and others may keep you stuck at the station.
This analogy of the train station, along with 5 to 10 minutes of meditation, has improved how I react to situations at this moment in my life and has reshaped how I think about thinking. It's given me freedom and understanding that I don't have to think to find answers. I just have to sit and watch the trains go by. If I get on one, great! Let's see where it goes. If I keep sitting, then I keep sitting and nothing happens.
Hello lovely readers!
It has been quite some time since I have been able to actually sit down and come up with something worthwhile to write for this blog... and you can imagine by the title of this one, that I'm still struggling! I've slowly been learning a concept that may seem obvious to most, but for me hasn't sunken in quite yet.
I spent the last few days reading through piles of books lying around the house, talking to friends on the phone, and pitter-pattering on social media websites for entertainment and to find some kind of "answer" to an unknown question lying deep in my subconscious. (I'm getting fancy now...) What I came up with is this: Everyone struggles with something!
You have no idea how profoundly comforting it is to hear that at my ripe ol' age of... twenty-something... To deny this reality only hurts ones self and doesn't allow room for growth as a person. In order to grow, there needs to be a struggle. Think about people who are muscle builders. Muscles need to rip and tear in order for them to grow and become bigger. The same is true with life. The good, bad and confusing situations thrown at us are used as a means for human beings to grow, develop and learn important life-lessons. Even though I do not know the "answer" to my said question, it's perfectly okay to not have an answer for why things happen and to just push through.
How many times does a baby have to fall and hurt itself in order to learn and walk? How many close-call-car-accidents does one person need to endure before he/she learns to slow down and not text and drive? It took Edison over 1,000 tries at the light bulb before he eventually came up with what we all take for granted today. The point is, we need to have struggles in order to grow. Even if the struggle is uncomfortable. Once we overcome a struggle, we grow and eventually look back with different eyes and a clearer picture of who we are and what we are all about (the "answer" to an unknown question).
I was always under the impression, somewhere in the back of my brain, that once I reached my goal weight, I would be done. No more. Finished. Ended. Could check it off my list of things to do. Don't have to think about it anymore. Don't have to work as hard in order to stay fit and healthy... Nothing could be further from the truth for me.
The truth is that I have, and continue to have, struggles within life and shouldn't expect them to ever go away. There is no "end" to them. However, how I choose to handle these struggles as they come, can either hurt, help or do nothing for me; the choice is mine to make!
"Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it..."
- Charles R. Swindoll -
Since the start of August 2013, I have been putting myself under unnecessary pressure and setting unrealistic expectations for myself, which in turn has caused me to use food as a way to cope with these feelings. This struggle has not been ideal, but I am coming out stronger and am learning to let go of the expectations I went in with. They make great goals for the future! But right now, they aren't helping my health and wellness.
I've learned, and now am grasping the idea, that any type of weight loss, weight management, health, fitness and wellness is a constant, ongoing process that will carry through all of my life. There is never an "end" to managing and maintaining my health. Being mindful of my lifestyle of health and wellness will be a sure way to keep off, and maintain, my weight for the remainder of my anticipated very long life I plan on living.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my ongoing "Everyone Struggles" saga. I find this all to be part of being a young, twenty-something in the world today. Although, I'm sure many folks who aren't twenty-something can identify with the things I speak of here. Put into practice just going with the flow of things and not react. I find this to be the best thing that works for me at this moment in time.
Have a safe and happy New Year everyone! Bring on the struggle! Until next time...
Creating a vision board is a great way to set your goals, wants and desires to paper. Many people talk and dream about the goals they hope to achieve in life and never fully accomplish or pursue it.
A vision board will give you a perspective and sense of direction for yourself. Here are 3 simple rules to keep in mind when you are creating your vision board:
1. Print photos, logos, slogans or any other media that fits your desires and goals. Don't be shy about dreaming BIG; no idea is too small or silly!
2. Make sure you put a photo of yourself (or a small mirror) towards the center of your poster. This helps you to visualize yourself surrounded by all your dreams and wants in life.
3. Hang your poster where you will see and read it every day. If you put a mirror in the center (which I was supposed to do in the video but never did) it helps even more when you look at your vision board.
I have a friend who created a vision board years ago, and it's funny how it actually worked for her. If you stick to it and don't doubt what you're doing, the possibilities are endless!
I like to think of certain foods as a blank canvas. What do I mean by that? Well, take something really simple like scrambled eggs. The FIRST thing I think of when I'm going to cook some for breakfast is "what can I add to the eggs to make them more nutritious to my body?". Eggs alone contain a great deal of nutritional value to them, but eggs also make for a terrific blank canvas for your imagination to explore and run wild.
Let's stick with the egg. Try adding some spinach, sliced cherry tomatoes and feta cheese for a tasty omelet. Feta adds saltiness and the cherry tomatoes incorporate sweetness so you satisfy the taste buds and aren't depriving yourself of flavor. Chop up fresh basil and toss it in before you serve if you want an even sweeter omelet. There are many ways to cook an egg and you should do what you're comfortable with. The beauty of blank canvas foods is the freedom to experiment and "paint" something fun and delicious that is also healthy and nutritious for your body!
If you're not in the mood for eggs, then try plain oatmeal or a no-sugar-added breakfast cereal. Getting the no-sugar-added, unflavored oatmeal/cereal allows for YOU to control what you're eating and let's you start with that blank canvas. What I do is take oatmeal and add cinnamon, frozen berry medley (they thaw out in the hot oatmeal), slivered raw almonds and a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup. These are all-natural sugars and ingredients that are nutritionally beneficial and add depth to any meal. Mix it up a bit! Try banana and apples in your oatmeal with cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla extract. See!... it's fun and exciting to figure out new ways to create awesome tasting, non-processed and healthy foods to keep you feeling great.
I consider blank canvas foods to be salad, stir-fry, tomato sauce, wraps and sandwiches. There are many things you can do and add to these mediums to improve your overall health. I want to know what you come up with! What do YOU paint with your food?
Healthy food gets a bad reputation for being boring and rigid. Good news is it doesn't have to be! Healthy food is what you make of it. Restricting yourself to foods you don't enjoy will leave you feeling miserable about what you're doing and eventually will give up all together. Create something you will enjoy using the blank canvas foods. I'm interested in learning what you come up with!
Until next time, happy painting!...
I can't live without my iPhone, iPad or MacBook Pro. What makes it worse are the crazy amount of apps that are available. Here are my top 5 free health apps (in no particular order) which I find quite useful and informative.
~ Shop Well ~
Shop Well is an app that takes your nutritional preferences (no sugar, low salt, no preservatives, etc...) and gives you food choices and brands to buy to live a healthy lifestyle. All you do is scan an item with your device, let's say Wheat Thins, and Shop Well gives that specific item a grade based on what you set your nutritional preferences to be. It also gives you the ingredient list, nutritional label and reasons why you should or shouldn't consume a certain product. Shop Well has a team of registered dietitians working to give accurate information to people who use this app. I highly recommend giving it a try!
~ Chem Cuisine ~
Ever wonder what Xanthan Gum is or why High Fructose Corn Syrup is not healthy for you? Well, Chem Cuisine, short for Chemical Cuisine, is a database of hundreds of food additives and chemicals that are found in processed foods throughout the grocery store. You can look up any ingredient found on your nutrition label and Chem Cuisine gives you the types of products it's found in, whether or not you should stay away from it or consume it moderately, and it backs up the information with research and tons of information. Chem Cuisine is run by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) which has a team of dietitians, nutritionists and researchers who study the chemicals in our food supply. This app has a lot of great information and can be useful to know what it is that is going into our bodies.
~ Map My Walk/Run ~
There are two kinds; map my walk and map my run. Both work the same way and I really don't see a difference between the two. Turn this app on and go for a stroll or sprint miles around your neighborhood. This app uses the GPS in your device to track how many miles you run/walk, how long it takes, how many calories you burn, the incline at which you were running/walking and so many other features. Even if you aren't an avid runner or find much time to go for a long walk. Map My Walk/Run can be left on while you're walking around the mall, grocery store or hiking up a mountain. It's basically like a highly sophisticated pedometer, except it's an app! I don't ever workout without using it. Their online site uploads your run or walk from your phone and you can track your food throughout the day as well. If you don't like this app, Nike also makes a running/walking app as well (http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/)
~ MyFitnessPal ~
This is an awesome tool for anyone trying to count calories and log their food throughout the day. MyFitnessPal is a free calorie counter, diet and exercise app. Similar to Map My Walk, it allows you to track your diet and monitor your portion sizes. It even tells you how many calories you should be consuming based on your height, weight and age. This app also offers a slew of other apps which can track your walks, test your pulse and much more. Check out the other apps here http://www.myfitnesspal.com/apps.
~ AnyList ~
Last, but not least, there is AnyList. AnyList is basically just that. You can create a shopping list and check off what you already have in your cart as you shop. The cool thing about this app is that you can share your list across other devices. So if you have a family and need to add things to the weekly shopping list, you can just by using the app. Once one person adds something to the list, it is automatically synced to the rest of the family and it really helps to keep everything in order when you go grocery shopping. Not only that, but you can store your favorite recipes and just add your ingredients from the recipe to the list for a quick and easy-to-use app. I never shop at a grocery store without a list!
I hope you find these as enjoyable and useful as I have. If you have any cool interesting health apps to share, let me know! I love to try new things and open my mind to different views and information. Enjoy!
It takes some thought and work to make healthy choices and it can be expensive/time consuming to prepare your own meals with natural ingredients and whole foods. So how on earth do we make this work? One quick, cost effective and healthy solution is to utilize your freezer and buy frozen vegetables and fruits.
Let's look at the cost benefits of frozen. Take corn, for example. ShopRite sells frozen bags of corn kernels at $1.99 for a 24oz bag. They also sell fresh ears of corn in the produce section at $4.99 for a 4-pack. 1 medium ear of corn yields roughly 6oz of corn kernels, which equates to 4 ears of corn needed to match the 24oz bag of frozen. So, you can either buy:
- 24oz bag of frozen corn at $1.99 OR
- 4 ears (24oz) at $4.99
You save a whopping 3 bucks if you buy the frozen bag. In fact, you can get 48oz of frozen corn for the price of the fresh.
This is true for the corn, and yes ShopRite and other supermarkets have sales that will vary the cost. However, fresh produce goes to waste faster because... well... it's fresh produce. Most people don't use all of what they purchase when it is fresh just for that reason, not to mention, not everybody eats corn everyday.
Cooking with Frozen:
I'm not the professional on, "which is better for you frozen or fresh?" when it comes to produce. From what I've experienced, it makes no difference nutritionally whether you eat frozen or fresh vegetables. I find it so much easier to work with frozen produce as I can take as little or as much as I want with no waste. Not to mention you save money doing it.
There are many ways to work with frozen produce. One way is to put some of your favorite veggies into a microwave safe bowl and add about 1 cup of water. Microwave for a few minutes and drain the water. Now you have thawed, cooked veggies as a side dish without wasting a steam-able bag (which costs a lot of money) or wasting time preparing and washing fresh produce.
Another way I like to cook frozen vegetables is to start with your frying pan! Heat your pan on med-high with a serving of olive or safflower oil. Take a bag of frozen onions, mixed vegetables or whatever you plan on adding to your meal and measure out about a handful of each frozen bag. Throw it in the hot pan and let it thaw/cook. Add some brown rice and your favorite lean protein with a little bit of low sodium tomato sauce. Stir it all together and serve! You don't have to waste any time cooking healthy when you're on a time crunch. It's fun to do and helps me to maintain my weight while being busy.
Along with frozen veggies, supermarkets sell frozen fruit as well. I'm not a huge fan of frozen fruit as it's kind of hard to thaw it out unless you have some time to follow the instructions on the bag. Something cool and sweet I enjoy in the summer are frozen mango chucks. I eat them frozen right out of the bag. It is almost like eating an ice pop and has the same texture and consistency when you bite into it. Frozen fruit is also a great smoothie maker. Just take a cup of your favorite fruit blend and throw them into a blender. Add a scoop or two of low/non-fat Greek yogurt, a banana and some spinach and blend it all together. You have a sweet, rich and creamy option that is jam packed with nutrients and tastes divine! Not to mention you save time and money with frozen fruit.
I do enjoy having fresh veggies/fruit when I can afford it and feel like having them. If you're looking for a way to have a quick meal that is cost effective AND healthy, then frozen is definitely the way to go! I have posted some information about fresh vs. frozen below for your perusal:
1. Fresh vs. Frozen
2. Frozen Vegetables are Hot!
During my week, I tend to eat a healthy diet consisting of tons of veggies, fruits, nuts, lean protein and complex carbs. There is, however, that one day during the week that I allow myself to have something a little extra that is outside of my realm of health foods; pizza, cake, chocolate, ice cream, sweets etc... I usually make this day Friday since it's the day I weigh myself.
This is how it goes down:
I usually go out to a diner with some friends and indulge on the one thing, or several things, I have been craving all week. At times, though, I don't feel like getting anything at all, but since it is Friday (my "little something extra"), I tend to order off the menu anyway. I place my order, get my treat and indulge. Depending on what it is (generally nothing remotely close to the bottom of the food pyramid) I don't feel thick or heavy after eating it, but sometimes I do. On Saturday, I usually wake up with stomach pains, bloating, cramps along with other gastrointestinal sounds and what not. These "symptoms" last a day or two and then go away.
As crazy as it may seem, my body was and has been talking to me all along. For me, I find it hard to listen to my body when I am out with a group of friends, family or anything social. Let's face it, eating is fun, enjoyable and just so damn tasty, but the reaction to my body after the Friday night "forgy" (food + orgy) shouldn't go unnoticed. I've been failing to listen to the signals my body has been sending me. It is very important for each of us to listen to our own bodies and what is true for us, not just with food, but in every aspect of our lives.
I've talked in past blogs about becoming mindful and self aware of ones self and feel I have strayed from that a little bit. It's okay though, we are all works in progress and no one is perfect or has all the answers. The answers come from within. I've slowly been learning this mindset and have found several sources in which I find helpful such as www.tinybudda.com. This site has a lot of good, useful, suggestive information that has helped me through some things over the past few months. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, even if you aren't Buddhist, it doesn't matter.
So I have made a promise to keep listening, being mindful and aware of what my body/heart is saying to me. Whether it be with food, relationships, family, career choices and friendships... all the answers we seek can only come from listening to ourselves on the inside. Until next time!
What's your new year resolution for 2013? Maybe it's to quit smoking, find a new hobby, work out at the gym, or, the most popular, to lose weight!
Let's first look at the word resolution. Webster's Dictionary defines resolution as:
1: the act or process of resolving: as
a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones
b : the act of answering : solving
c : the act of determining
There is no use for the word "resolution" for someone who is trying to change a habit or lifestyle they no longer enjoy and/or feel unnecessary to keep. I'm a big believer in using positive reinforcing words that attract people to change rather then confiding them to a mental jail cell. Such words like "diet", "can't", "don't", "shouldn't", "mustn't", "resolution" can discourage people from making an effort and deflate their motivation balloon. I love motivation, being motivated and having words in my vocabulary that push me along. Words/phrases like: "have this instead", "let's do it", "keep going", "push on" etc. Something so simple as a word can change someones mindset and thought process. Instead of calling it a DIET call it a lifestyle change, or mindful eating. Turn things into a positive and that can really give you a boost of motivation and drive to change.
So instead of a "New Year Resolution", I am going to label it "New Year Lifestyle Change". Since this blog is geared towards some type of weight-loss or maintenance of weight, I will not be talking about how to quit smoking or what new hobby you should be looking to take up. However, some of what I will tell you may be helpful to other New Year Lifestyle Changes that don't have to do with weight.
The hardest thing to do is start. Where do I begin? What do I do? How do I start? Last year at this time I had those same questions and even more. One thing I cannot stress enough is to start small. We've heard that saying, "Slow and steady wins the race"... no need for an explanation on that.
1. Start Small - No human in their right mind would wake up and do a 26 mile marathon without training for months first. So why put a huge demand to lose 20 or 50 pounds on yourself at the beginning of the new year? I could imagine some of you waking up on 1/1/13, going hard at the gym and eating two heads of lettuce... WHY?! Pick 3 small, achievable goals to start. For example, look at 5 pounds at a time, 20 minutes of exercise and eat more fruit and vegetables with every meal. Nice and simple right? And it is very achievable. Once you have mastered your workout and meal, then you can add more goals like maybe doing 45 minutes at the gym and eating whole grains instead of white. Bottom line is to keep it simple, small and achievable.
2. Eat what you like - Eat foods you enjoy. We have this notion that healthy food has to be tasteless and boring and you can't have fun with it. This is further from the truth. I admit that I hate to eat raw vegetables and that I would much rather eat something that tasted better. But I know that vegetables contain vitamins and minerals needed for our bodies to do its job properly. One way I like to incorporate this into my eating is to make soups, stir-fry, salads and vegetable wraps/sandwiches. I try to find clever ways to mask the taste of raw vegetables by using spices and other flavors that don't contain additives or processed chemicals. For example, try putting mushrooms and mixed veggies in with spaghetti and meatballs. Think of what kind of veggies you can add to your dishes to make them more nutritionally beneficial to your body.
To add to this, if you don't like the taste of tomatoes (me), then don't eat them! Even though they are good for you, you will most likely throw in the towel if you aren't enjoying what you are eating and will revert back to old habits. Maybe find a way to put small cubes of tomatoes in your salad instead of whole chunks or slices. For me, the cubed tomatoes aren't noticeable among the dressing and other flavors in my salad, so I can tolerate having them.
3. Have a long term goal - I know I said you should start small, but you have to know where you are going before you get there. Find your overall goal you would like to meet; mine is to lose another 40lbs. Now you have a direction. So, this is when you start thinking in terms of 5 pounds at a time and slowly work towards the bigger picture. You'll get there in no time if you stay on track and keep going. If you slip here or there, that is fine. As long as you can bounce back and keep going. It takes about 30 days for a new habit to be developed. Try something for 30 days or more and see if you can do it and make it work.
No one expects you to turn a switch in your brain to change a life style over night, so start small and always be mindful of your body and what you're feeling.
You go out, or stay home, with family and relatives you haven't seen in the longest of times, pile on mounds of food onto your plate like we are planning for the next apocalypse and eventually by your 3rd plate of food, you undoubtedly are now burdened with food baby twins, or in my case triplets. THEN!... While you are digesting, trays of assorted desserts, which seem to keep on coming, start to crowd the dinning room table and just when you think you couldn't eat anymore, you find yourself scarfing down cookie after cookie. Sound familiar? I know for me this is, or WAS, my typical holiday feast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Sure, we can rationalize this behavior and say "It's only once a year, might as well enjoy it!"... but are you really enjoying that belly-to-the-wall, bloated, uncomfortable, fat feeling at the end of your feasting? I sure as hell don't enjoy feeling like my belly button is going to invert itself and "shoot someones eye out" (name that movie!).
I find this to be the hardest time of year for anyone trying to watch or lose weight. I know it's hard for me especially because I love the cookies and endless trays of food that are presented in front of me at my relatives. Not to mention I enjoy variety and when presented with all this food, I just want to try it all! How can we still indulge without feeling horrible by the end of the night? I have a few ways to help keep on the path of mindful eating through the holiday season.
You have to know where you are to understand and figure out where you are going. Sure, you can wing it, but you will have to back track at some point to figure out where you went wrong. To avoid that, you should set some goals for yourself to make it easier and give you a greater sense of direction.
Here are a few goals you can set and some motivative ways to get started and lose weight:
1. If you have a lot of weight to lose, it could be overwhelming to look at the whole picture. Instead, take your weight loss 5 pounds at a time. When I started, I was 295. My first goal was to break the 290 mark, then it was the 285, 280 etc... to lose the weight. This gives you small goals to shoot for so when you finally add it all up, you have a bigger picture and a smaller you!
2. Go shopping and buy an article of "goal clothing". I had mentioned this in a previous blog post, but it is worth mentioning again. Shop for a new shirt or a pair of new pants. They must be new as to help you with your goal. I figure you will want something to look forward to, not go back to old clothing, so put some cash towards your goal and purchase one article of clothing you really want that is one size smaller than you are now. Again, we are not looking at the big picture if you have a lot to lose. Think about a mountain climber. They don't start with Everest or Fuji as their first endeavor, they start with small mountains and hills then work their way up to where they can climb the big boys. So we must do the same or else we will end in disaster.
I was a 2XL and bought a nice XL button up shirt from one of the stores I really liked. Once I was able to fit into that comfortably without buttons on the verge of explosion, I went out and purchased another goal shirt. It may be a waste of money and it seems silly to buy something you will not wear again after you surpass your goals. Let me tell you, it is worth the $30 here and there to give you motivation to becoming a healthier person.
3. Keep a diary or free writing journal for yourself. Free writing is very stress reliving and is a great way for you to vent about life. You don't have to commit to writing every day, but it is good to exercise your brain and write out how you feel and what works for you and doesn't work for you. You'll be surprised what you may find out about yourself once you start doing this.
4. Have your cake, and eat it too. Enjoy your food! Eat cake and cookies and pizza, you will not die. Though, you shouldn't go buy a sheet cake and start forking it to death. Everything in moderation. Nothing screams failure more than depriving ones self of foods they love. People HATE to be told what they can and can not have, and those who are submissive to that tend to be depressed and feel terrible because they feel like they are trapped and can't have what they crave. Give yourself one day during the week that you allow yourself to have a piece of cake, or have an extra slice of pizza, or drink alcohol. This gives you something to look forward to during the week and you will be helping yourself to keep going. I usually make this the same day that I weigh myself, which is Friday.
5. There is no BAD food... eliminate "bad food" from your vocabulary. There are foods that are not healthy for your body, but if you categorize food as "bad" and "good", you will set yourself up for depriving yourself and feeling guilty if you have said "bad food". For example, I have friends that claim pizza is BAD for you. Next time I eat pizza, that little voice in my head will be screaming, "This is bad! Don't eat it! You'll die! You'll gain 300 pounds!"... so far from reality. Pizza is bread, cheese and tomato sauce. Nothing unhealthy about that! It becomes unhealthy when you consume 10 servings. One slice of pizza out of a week will NOT making you gain a damn thing. Again, everything in moderation.
Enjoy the process and look forward to each day of this journey. Be happy in your journey and don't give up! There is always tomorrow.
di·et - noun - a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight. (webster)
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word "diet"? Restrictions, bland food, can't eat this, can't eat that, deprivation, starvation, boring? Any of these ring a bell? I hate the word diet, period. I've done everything from starvation dieting to Jenny Craig and had results but didn't follow through or succeed. In fact, I gained what I had lost while on it and ballooned beyond what I was before I started. So if not the word "diet" then what do we call it?
I use mindful eating and lifestyle change to describe what I do. Mindful eating takes brain power and some focus. It's about becoming aware and conscience/mindful about what you put into your body, how you eat, and what is IN what you eat. A plan which I find to follow this way of eating is Weight Watchers. I'll admit that I have used Weight Watchers and lost 35lbs while on it, however, I never stuck with it enough to lose all of the weight. Some of what I do now I have learned from doing W.W. but haven't been on the program for years.
I find it easier to be mindful when you are cooking at home because you can think about what you are making and have total control over how you prepare and cook your meals. It does, however, become more difficult when you eat out to be mindful, but it is possible. You just have to put you mind to it. Easier said than done, right? To start becoming mindful, you first have to start practicing becoming mindful, and the easiest place to do that is in your own home under your total control.
Cooking at home is hard for most people, but you can plan out your meals ahead of time and make it work. It's a good idea to have a core meal plan that you stick to that is consistent. I get asked a lot what I eat, so I am going to break down my core meals which I stick to for most of the week.
I start on Sunday by going grocery shopping for what I am going to eat throughout the week. I buy my fresh veggies and shop the perimeter of the store. The perimeter of a grocery story contains the least processed and most nutritional foods for you, so if you stick to the perimeter you can't go wrong! Then I come home and prepare my food for the week. I chop up my veggies and store them in Tupperware containers in the fridge for easy, quick access. Makes it easier for food on the go.
Almost every meal I eat has a serving of protein, a whole grain/carb, and at least 1 fruit and/or vegetable. I try to eat all of my colors of the rainbow from day to day. I don't count calories religiously, but I do make sure I eat nutritionally. I could count my calories and have 3 Big Mac's in a day and still meet the daily requirement, but 3 Big Mac's don't give me the nutrition that my body craves on a day to day basis. Here is what a normal day for my eating is: (note: I am using the times as a guide, I don't actually time to the minute when I eat)
9:00am - Breakfast = 1 serving of the following:
Honey Nut Cheerios or Raisin Bran (my carb)
Organic 2% milk (my protein)
1/2 cup of blueberries (my fruit/rainbow food)
1/2 cup of strawberries (my other fruit/rainbow food)
11:00am - Snack
1 Greek Yogurt
1 Granola Bar (without the HFCS and hydrogenated oils)
1/2 of a Banana
1:00pm - Lunch
Veggie Wrap which consists of cucumbers, zucchini, yellow, red, green and orange slices of bell peppers, dark greens, 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese, honey mustard, whole grain wrap.
Sometimes I swap this with dinner or I have my PBnJ.
3:00pm - Snack
Mixed fruit: Melon, pineapple, orange, grapes, or anything else you want to eat that is a fruit! I sometimes add almond slivers to this to give it a crunch.
5:00pm - Dinner
1 salmon filet, about 4 oz.
1/2 cup of brown rice
1 cup of mixed veggies
I usually have two pans, one for the fish, and the other for stir fry/side dish.
I cook with 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil or sometimes safflower oil.
I flavor with 2tbsp of low sodium teriyaki sauce, or sometimes I take a serving of my favorite jar of sauce (low sodium and fat/calories of course) and use that. Stir fry is awesome because you can sneak in all sorts of healthy nutrition. I usually add garlic and ginger to my stir fry. It makes the flavors pop and it tastes amazing. If you aren't into fish, you can use chicken!
7:00pm - Snack
1/4 cup of Mixed nuts: UN SALTED, NO SUGAR ADDED, NO CRAP ADDED!
8:00pm - Optional Snack
Celery and baby carrots with 1 serving (2 tablespoons) of dressing
Do not eat after 9PM. You can play with this 100%. You can have salads, and pizza and whatever you want. Just make sure you're being mindful and are realizing what you are eating. Pizza is a dangerous meal because people tend to over eat with pizza. Think of some ways to make Pizza more healthy. Maybe add some veggie toppings and see if you can get whole wheat dough. Most pizza places offer that now.
You may also think this is a ton of food, and you are right. But if you read my last blog post, it's about eating throughout the day and eating more. You WILL be satisfied for the whole day if you follow something like what I have above. I have tons of recipes and cool cooking ideas that I'll share over the course of the next few weeks. If you are motivated to do it, you will! Keep mindful and enjoy what you are eating. Being healthy and mindful doesn't mean your food has to taste like ass, you just need to know what to do to it to make it healthy and taste incredible at the same time.