Taking a Spin, Planning a Meal, and Spraying Bitter Stuff

“If we face our unpleasant feelings with care, affection, and nonviolence, we can transform them into the kind of energy that is healthy and has the capacity to nourish us. By the work of mindful observation, our unpleasant feelings can illuminate so much for us, offering us insight and understanding into ourselves and society.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Warning: Long post ahead! 

I have a lot to say this go ’round! This week was a good week for me and I am starting to pinpoint the places where I most need improvement. I am still figuring out what works for me and I think I will be doing that important work for a while yet. But, as I am constantly reminding myself, this is a JOURNEY. Maybe one of the most important ones I will ever take and I don’t think it will ever end (at least I hope not!). 

Like many folks, I make those not so great food decisions when I am unprepared for the day. I myself do not have a desk job. I work with children and I work in the garden and as such, I don’t sit down….like, at all. I just don’t sit. I am constantly moving about, running after children, hauling dirt around, going to a fitness class. So, I know that I am in need of a lot of energy boosting foods throughout the day. However, I don’t always have those things on hand. It is not possible for me to leave my classroom and drive somewhere to pick up food and our cafe is…how do I say this…not for me. So, if I forget lunch one day, my choices are basically nil. 

This week I have decided to get organized on the food front. I spent my Saturday night going through foodgawker.com (best site!) searching for recipes using what I have in my pantry. Then, I made myself a meal plan that I am going to do my best to stick to. For breakfast I am going to have pumpkin oatmeal with a hard boiled egg and coffee everyday this week. I think by already knowing and having ready the first meal of the day, I’m setting myself up for success. Plus, it’s a grab and go when I have an early class. Here are a few links to other things I am making this week:

black bean & wheatberry chili: http://www.vegetarianventures.com/2012/12/03/black-bean-wheatberry-chili/#.Um23nUizKph

quinoa with acorn squash, apples, and red pepper: http://www.balticmaid.com/2013/01/quinoa-with-acorn-squash-apple-and-red-bell-peppers/

spaghetti squash tacos: http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2013/01/spaghetti-squash-tacos/

The tacos are for dinner this week but the others are lunch items. They’re all vegan and high protein so they will keep me full and satisfied throughout the day. I am hoping this more organized approach will help me out a lot and take some of the guesswork out of being in the kitchen. As much as I like to lollygag in there, it’s good to have a dose of organization when cooking for the week. Will keep you posted on the progress here!

Also on the food front, I had my check in with Lindsey on Thursday and shared that I have a portion control problem. I enjoy the act of eating so much that, especially when pasta is involved, I cannot stop at the appropriate time. Any notion of what makes a portion of pasta goes out the window and I am an insatiable carbo-loading beast. I love the stuff. She suggested that I adopt the mantra “One Scoop”, meaning that whatever is out there, unless it’s fruits and veggies, one scoop goes on the plate and that is the end of it. I am going to give that a serious go. She also suggested that I start using bitters before my meal to kickstart my digestion which in turn will make me full more quickly. They sell it at Ellwood’s in a little spray bottle for about $8. There are a few flavors, all of which are (you guessed it!) BITTER. BIIIIIIITTTTTEEEEERRRRR. I got the maple one, the most un-bitter of the bitters on the shelf and it is still…you get it. But, apparently that bitterness signals our digestive juices to start up! So, now I am trying to spray a few sprays about 10 minutes before I start eating. This gives my digestive system enough time to get going. Here is a video about the bitters and how they work from the people that make them!


Lastly, I got out of my comfort zone this morning thanks in part to fellow challenger Sarah. She posted on our facebook group that she was looking for a spin class buddy this morning at 9. I had yet to try spinning as I am firmly in my yoga bubble. But, I can’t pass up a new opportunity even if I’m hesitant so I said I would go! Plus, these classes regularly are $18 a pop and we get 13 FREE classes. I am always reminding myself how incredible this all is. So, I got those crazy bike shoes on and hopped on that bike. Turns out my resistance wasn’t where it should have been because it was way too low. When I tried to do the push ups and whatnot I thought my knees were going to fly out and I had very little control. My upper and lower body were not on speaking terms apparently and I felt very uncoordinated. But, I was in the front row and I did something I don’t normally do. I watched myself biking in the mirror and looked at myself and in my head I told myself over and over “you are strong, keep going”. And, not to sound corny, but that moment was really powerful to me. It almost felt like a confrontation with the naysayer in me. For that reason, I am excited to learn more about spin and get back on the bike. I’m doing so on Tuesday!

So goals for this week to sum every long winded bit of this post up:

1- stick to my meal plan as much as possible

2- continue being consistent with my food journaling

3- remember to spray those bitters!

and a bonus: be fully present in my fitness classes this week

Going to go uncramp my hands now. Have a great week!


Losing Momentum, Gaining a Husband!

This week I did two classes and had planned to do more but by Wednesday afternoon I knew I needed to shift focus for a bit. I did Monday morning barre and Wednesday morning yoga at Om. I had a bit of a secret, though. I was getting married on Saturday and not many folks knew about it! It was practically an elopement except our parents were present. We got married yesterday at Pony Pasture, right by the river and in a meadow. It was perfect and I don’t feel a bit guilty for not working out for 4 days because now I have a husband and I had a fabulous time with my parents and now in-laws! I drank beer and ate pimento cheese knowing full well that this week I would come in refreshed and ready to go. It would be so easy to make myself feel bad about my eating choices on my wedding day but the truth of the matter is that, besides having some pumpkin beer, my food was decently healthy! I had spaghetti squash and then for my entree I had eggplant roulade and it was a sensible portion. Our wedding dessert? Three chocolate covered strawberries. No bad feelings here, just a newly married lady ready to go to barre in the morning.

It’s a little hard not to feel like I should have lost more weight at this point, but I am constantly reminding myself that this is for the long run. I lost 3 pounds last week and that was really encouraging but I felt great anyways. I am etching these new habits into my life in such a way that I will be able to keep it up beyond our challenge period. That being said, I am an eager beaver and have missed the classes these past few days, especially hot yoga. Goodness, do I love me some hot yoga. And, alongside that, I have the goal of going to two barre classes this week instead of one. And since I missed hot yoga last week I’m hoping to double up this week. Plus my normal Wednesday Om class. AND, I still really want to take my belay class. WHEW. What a week this will turn out to be. But, I’m ready to get back into the saddle.

I have been kind of slacking with my food journal. Along with going to barre twice, being more consistent with my food journal is my goal.

My other goal? Enjoy hanging out with my HUSBAND. What?! Because this, all of this, classes, food journal, and Michael, are my life. They all deserve time. And I am grateful for all of it all of the time.




The Louder Voice

When it comes to working out, I tend to have two voices swimming around in my head. The first, usually louder the day before planned workout, says things like “Yeah, I’ll get up early and go for a run” or “Meeting so and so at yoga in the morning before work FOR SURE”, and things like that. But when that time comes, another voices rises up usually as soon as the alarm goes off in the morning. This voice says things like “but you didn’t sleep well last night and you had a bad dream and you really have a lot of other stuff to do today, plus you need coffee and it was a waxing gibbous moon last night so you shouldn’t really go this time but NEXT TIME, next time for sure.” This is the same voice that then turns around and makes me feel AWFUL for not going. I have flaked out on countless workouts, even if friends were going and waiting for me. I found some excuse not to go.  Truthfully, especially when it is a new place, I am intimidated out of my mind and cannot mentally get past that. I have sat in the parking lot of where I am supposed to go work out and with my heart pumping out of my chest and then driven away because I get so worked up about it. The guilt attached to that is equally as crippling and I’m determined to get past that because it has seriously held me back.

This week, I have made major strides in this. My security blanket AKA my friend MegAnne (a fellow challenger) was not able to make it to workouts with me this week so I did what I was dreading. New places with new workouts AND mostly by myself, though I did meet a couple challengers at these workouts which was so great. I went to barre on Monday for the very first time and I will tell you what, that stuff is hard as hell but I can’t wait to go back Monday morning. My butt and thighs had all of the feels for the next 3 days afterwards. I was like a wet noodle walking out of that place but it was my birthday and I started it by doing something that was out of my comfort zone. I hope that that theme will continue throughout the year ahead and beyond. On Thursday, I went to FIT Richmond for the first time. Going in was a little awkward for me because it’s a small space and the previous class was still going on so I just sort of stood there for a while until it was over and I could hand my waiver to someone. To my surprise and delight, the same yoga teacher I’ve been going to at Om was teaching this class. I love Becky! It was the perfect bridge between a place where I am becoming more comfortable (Om) and a new place where I hope to become more comfortable (FIT). I also discovered that that Thursday practice was the strongest yet. I am falling in love with yoga in a big way, more than ever before. I look forward to those classes.

On two occasions the negative voice rose up this past week. I didn’t give it the chance on Monday morning but on Wednesday morning I woke up NOT wanting to go to yoga but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to any other class that day so I managed myself out of the bed and went, very happy that I did. Plus, as I was leaving in the morning Michael sleepily told me that he’s really proud of me and that propelled me out the door in the best way possible. The second was in the FIT parking lot. I got there a little early so my mind got too active. I told it to shut up and I went inside.

This week and in the weeks to come I hope to continue shutting up the negative voice and really listening to the voice that gets me to my workouts. I didn’t manage to get to Crossfit this week but I hope to make that happen during week 3. I’m thinking the yoga class or if there are a group of people going I will join in. I know I can do it!

I thought that every time I post I could provide a list of things I will be cooking on Sundays in anticipation of the busy weeks to come. Preparation is key for me to be successful in making healthy choices so I will be spending good parts of my Sundays in the kitchen getting all the ingredients ready for my meals for the week. Here’s what I’m doing this week:

1. Bulgur wheat (I got mine at Trader Joe’s but you can get it in the bulk section of Ellwood’s, too.

2. Sweet potatoes

3. Hard boiled eggs

4. Batch of oatmeal with apples, bananas, and walnuts

5. Roasted beets and green beans

And then, of course, some inspiration for week 3

1. The Workout Motivator

2. It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.  - Krishnamurti

3. Jillian Michaels - Google+

4. This process is similar to maslows hierarchy in that the cycle never ends with your physical self until our breath ceases to exist. Naturally, our spiritual selves are ever changing and, as with the tide or the weather, we accept our place, honor our presence fully, breath through the lumps, and express graditude for the day. Without our symbiotic breath and body we remain cavernous and wanting.

5. If it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you. >so true, literally and figuratively! Took me almost a year to get this pose (Crow) down, but when I did "Shazam"!

Come on, week 3!


Week 1 Review, Week 2 Intention

I’m starting to find the pockets of space in my week where exercise can fit. This is huge because for a long time I thought I didn’t have those. It turns out I enjoy getting up for an early class before work, even if I’m driving to the class before the sun is up. I’m rediscovering my love for yoga and lightly sauteed kale and just trying to be grateful for the amazing gift that is the Get Well Challenge. I mean, who gets this kind of opportunity? And even more, who gets it and doesn’t take full advantage? It’s called a challenge for a reason. Tomorrow is the start of the second week and I already have a focus. 

My intention for Week 2 is to focus on what I’m putting into my body in addition to what I’m doing with it. Week 1 was great because I was able to go to classes in places I had always wanted to go but couldn’t afford. However, 1) I spent entirely too much money on food (a bad habit of mine) and 2) did not put enough focus on the healthfulness of what I consumed. I’m used to making myself feel guilty about things but I’m fighting that this Imagetime. Today, I went to brunch with my mom, fiance, and stepdad for my birthday. I had a mimosa, a vegetarian eggs benedict, and then they brought out free dessert. I had a lemon mousse. I thought that would be better than cheesecake. Normally, I would beat myself up about that and then beat myself up about it even more when I didn’t make it into the gym the next day. But, that’s not productive and I won’t be doing that this time. Instead, I’m continuing to etch out those spaces in my day to take a fitness class AND making sure I’m meeting my needs nutritionally. It’s a new week, it’s a new day.

Not to mention, tomorrow is my birthday. In about 25 minutes I’ll be into my 27th year. This is the year I get married, the year I finally have my own garden, and the year I fight for myself. So, how am I celebrating? For starters, a 7am barre class. My first barre class EVER. After work, I’ll head to Richmond Natural Medicine for my weekly check-in. And, before dinner with Michael at The Daily (I am already fantasizing about their beet salad), I’ll check in with Katie, our program’s “pusher” to talk about my hang ups, strengths, and everything in between.

I’m also looking at this week as the week where I face my crippling intimidation of Crossfit. Thursday, I’m coming for you. My fellow teammates that have tried it so far have said our local Crossfit gym seems very supportive, helpful, not pushy, and friendly. I’m also eager to get into the indoor rock climbing so I’ll start my weekend off with my first class there. On Tuesday, I’m excited to do some meditation at Ellwood’s. And, of course, lots of yoga.

I certainly don’t think I lost any weight during Week 1, but, you know, that’s okay. I’m looking back at week one as my week to get organized and ease into things. This week, I attack.