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
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!...
Eating out is very social, entertaining and fun but can really take a toll on your health if you aren't mindful about what you're consuming. I use to be the kind of eater where I would go out with friends, order whatever sounded good and was cheap, then shovel it all in once it came and leave feeling much worse than when I walked in. This isn't the worst thing you can do. I allow myself room to splurge a bit here and there; we all need to treat ourselves. However, that pattern of eating out can be quite dangerous if you eat out more than 2-3 times per week and are "shoveling it in". Outside food is a problem when it is the majority of what you eat and becomes a staple in your diet.
There are still healthy options that you can find that will not rip a hole through your stomach if you are unable to cook at home and have a job, or school schedule, that doesn't allow for much flexibility. Here are three options for eating out on-the-go:
1. Stop by a supermarket and go to the salad bar. Most supermarkets have them and they offer tons of healthy options. The one thing I warn you of though are the dressing packets that are there. Most of them are loaded with saturated fat, sodium and useless calories. Instead, head to the dressing aisle and find a small sized dressing that is healthy. Most stores now carry salad dressings made from yogurt in the produce section.
2. If salad bars aren't an option, try McDonalds... you can pick your jaw off the floor now... However, food selection is very important here. Try a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato (hold the mayo) and get rid of the fries and soft drink. Instead, get apple slices and a water. Not my favorite option but certainly the most healthiest at McDonalds. By the way, if you're wondering about some of the salads at McDonalds you might want to think twice... check out those nutrition labels on their website. (http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf) I'm not a fan of fast food, nor do I promote eating eat. However, I figure I give you a nice alternative for when and if you DO choose to eat it.
3. Sushi! I'm a huge sushi lover and I would eat it everyday if I could, but I'm not that rich! Sushi has tons of health properties. Seaweed (in the sushi) is a good source of iodine, which helps the thyroid and it also can help with arthritis pain. You can really screw up sushi if you get a Philadelphia Roll, which is cream cheese, smoked salmon and cucumber. Try to get healthier rolls like vegetable, California or salmon. I also request brown rice instead of the white along with low sodium soy sauce when I eat sushi.
I can imagine some of you who are reading this thinking, "Who really gives a shit. It doesn't matter if get white rice or brown". You're absolutely right, it doesn't matter... to you. But over time, these little things add up and it doesn't help with weight loss. Brown rice is the better option.
Until next time, enjoy eating out and always be mindful of what you're putting into your body!