Tuesday, July 16, 2013

99 Problems? Your legs are going to be tired!

Work Out Your Problems.  Literally.

We all have ‘problems’, right?  (I don’t know if I like the word “problem” as I think perception is really what makes a problem, but for the sake of a universal language, let’s continue to use the word “problem” and I promise not to frame it in bunny ears for the rest of this post).  I suppose they are worthy of our attention as ignoring them does not necessarily make them go away.  While we may need to tend to them from time to time, we don’t need to let them own us.  Especially the ones we have no control over.  Here is what I do when I’m letting things beyond my control outshine my joy:

Step 1:

Find a hill or a large set of stairs:

(A prize for anyone who can name this location!)

Step 2:

Gather a stone for each problem you are facing X 2.  Today I gathered 10 stones.  I didn’t actually have 5 problems that were weighing me down, but I wanted to run the stairs 10 times, so I dug deep and came up with  some extra ;) Actually, just things I wanted to improve on more so than “problems”…sorry, I said I wouldn’t bunny ear it again…Then take your stones to the top of the hill/staircase.

Step 3:

Line up said stones at the top of the hill/staircase and assign a problem to each of the first half (5 in my case) and assign something you are grateful for to each of the second half (also 5).  Run/walk back to the bottom of the steps.

(Didn't occur to me to take a pic until I finished round 6.  Anyone else get smarter near the end of a cardio session?)

Step 4:

Run back to the top of the steps and toss the first problem stone into the distance (in my case, I toss it into the water).  This is my way of 'giving it to God'.  I don't need to carry the burden any more, I've let it go to be taken care of in due time.  Run/walk back to the bottom and repeat this until each problem rock is gone.  Continue with this pattern when you get to the gratitude rocks, but this time, instead of throwing the gratitude rocks, just place them back on the earth and think about what each one represents (or say a little prayer of gratitude for each one).  Keep going until all of the stones have been addressed.

(Anyone know where I'm at yet?)

I notice that when I toss out my worries first I end up gaining energy when I’d normally be fatiguing.  Today, I definitely felt lighter as I finished my last few gratitude rocks.   Beware, the brain is a powerful muscle.  I felt so strong mentally that I didn’t realize how hard I was pushing myself.  When I went to drive home my legs were shaking like a leaf.  My car has a manual transmission and my calf was not wanting to push that clutch in!  But I survived and felt amazing when I was finished.  I rehydrated with about 16 oz of water and put together one of my favorite protein shakes:

Quick, easy and tastes like a frozen PB & J!  I am loving that brand of Almond Milk.  Only 2 ingredients, almonds & water.  It's creamy and only 40 calories.  I've only seen it at Whole Foods, but I am on the lookout for it at other locations.  The brand is Califia Farms.  Let's all go buy some so that they keep making it!! Don't you hate when you are the #1 fan of a product or show that no one else is into so it ceases to exist!  The first time I noticed this phenomena was when the show Nearly Departed was canceled in the late 80's.  Then I was stung again when Veronica Mars was canceled a few years ago.  I tried to save it!  I grew a small cult of fans, but it wasn't enough.  Let's not let this happen to Califia Farms Almond Milk!!  Tell your friends :)  Buy some for your mother.  Share the love :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Feeling Cantankerous?


Ever get in a mood you just can't shake?  To some, it may seem like I'm a ball of sunshine and rainbows all the time.  Get near the fainting couch because I've got news for you...Sometimes I'm grumpy.  It happens to the best of us.  You can't plan for it and you can't stop it from coming, but every now and then I just want to be mean.  There isn't usually a series of unfortunate events that lead to my mood meltdown, it's just an eternal thing that rears it's ugly head sometimes.  So...how do you make it go?  

First of all, sometimes it's OK to just resign to it and let yourself have a moment to be a grump.  But first,  try setting yourself up for some mini successes.  These are quick tasks that make you feel better.
For example:

1.) Clean out the car:  Usually 5-10 minutes of clearing out the trash and wiping down the dash and steering wheel of my car makes me feel a little more calm.

2.) Next, Take your clean car and treat yourself to something you won't feel guilty about.  I love iced tea, so picking up an iced green tea always puts a smile on my face!  Trenta-iced-green-tea-unsweetened-no-water :) That's how I like it!

Take this mood lifter to the next level by grabbing a few extra and delivering one to a friend or loved one.  Another sure fire way to improve your mood...do something nice for someone else.

3.) Take on a new challenge:  Setting a mini goal will allow you to direct your energy on the task, not your mood.  This should be a goal that can be attained somewhat quickly.  You are setting yourself up for a mini success to improve your mood, so think short term.  

Some ideas include things like:  Write 5 notes to 5 different friends just to say hi or that you are thinking about them, then drop them in the mail. 

Organize your "junk drawer" if you have one.  I don't have a drawer that I toss everything in, but I typically have a bag or basket that I load when I'm doing a quick clean-up.  Something I say I'll sort through later...you know how that ends.

Try a new recipe.  All of those mouth watering images on Pinterest actually have recipes attached to them.  Pick one you've been drooling over and actually try it.  Even better, make it and share it with your neighbor or co-workers.

Insert your own <here> and please tell me what it is!

4.) Read something funny.  You can follow comedians on Twitter or maybe you have a favorite blog that you find funny.  Sometimes I find things even more hilarious when I'm in a bad mood.  For instance, I was on Pinterest and stumbled upon this.  I don't think I'd even give it a second glance on a normal day, but today, it made me spit my matcha latte all over my Macbook.

5.) Get outside!  Find a favorite spot to relax, jog, walk enthusiastically, etc.  There are gorgeous, wooded trails and parks everywhere.  Getting close to nature can definitely change your perspective on things.  Anyone want to do some stairs with me?

6.)  If none of that works for you, just decide to be happy.

*disclaimer: If you feel like your bad mood is chronic and you are unable to shake the feeling, you may need to seek counseling...heck, we could all use a good therapist.

Here is one last stitch efforts to make you smile today....

I wrote myself love letters from Kirk Cameron when I was 9...to make my sister jealous...or mad (I don't think I fooled her).  I am happy to report I outgrew this phase and I stopped dotting my i's with little bubbles.

*You may have noticed that I didn't put "work-out" or "do Yoga" on this list.  While I find both of those activities to be sure fire ways to improve your mood, I felt they were too obvious, and that I should offer some other ideas.  But, of course...work-out, lift weights, do Yoga, box, run, swim, be active.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Amour Alert!

Things I'm loving right now!

As I grow with my blog, I'm trying to settle in to certain rituals with it to help me keep my posting on track.  I think weekly/monthly or periodically at random I'm going to have an Amour Alert! list.  This will be things I've come across that are fitness/health/nutrition, etc. related that I think are so amazing that I must share them with all of you fine readers.  If you ever see/experience something that you think is worthy, let me know!! 

SOOOO, without further ado, here is the first list...drumroll please...

1.)  Jawbone's Up Band- This is a wristband that tracks your movement and sleep.  There are many products like this on the market right now, but this one seems to be the most user friendly.  There is an App that coincides with the band that tracks your sleep cycle, calories burned, you can input what you've eaten in order to track calories and you can even log your mood (which is a great way to recognize how certain foods and behaviors make you feel).  The price is about $129.99.  You can get it on Jawbone's website, from Amazon, or at the Apple Store.

Diane sports the teal band to represent Cervical Cancer awareness.  

2.)  Summer Squash/Zucchini- It's that time of year again!  Zucchini is in season and available on the cheap.  If you aren't growing some yourself, hopefully you have a neighbor or co-worker with needs to unload some of their crop.  If you don't have a zucchini/squash hook-up, never fear...it's darn cheap this time of year.  To get the creative squash juices flowing, check out this article with 75 recipes that incorporate this versatile crop.

I loaded this plate at the Whole Foods in Upper Arlington.  The top, right compartment has a ratatouille dish with zucchini chunks and the rosemary skewer has lots of great summer veggies including squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers and portobello mushroom.

3.) Arbonne Vegan Protein-  I am currently loving this protein blend.  It's a vegan protein that contains NO soy protein (which is awesome, because isolate soy protein has been getting a bad rap for the way it's processed and how out bodies metabolize it).  Instead, to make it a complete protein, it's a blend of pea, cranberry and rice protein.  This blend contains 20 grams of protein, 20 vitamins and minerals and it tastes phenomenal.  It's blends so smooth and creamy, you will think you are drinking a milkshake.  I usually just blend it with a cup of unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk and a cup of frozen spinach, but sometimes I get crazy and add berries or a banana or a spoon of almond or cashew butter.  Just depends on my mood and whether I'm having it post workout or for a meal.

They come in good sized bags.  The chocolate is my favorite right now, but the vanilla is great too and works well if you are adding fruit or using it to add some protein to your baked goods.

4.) Outdoor conditioning-  I love early mornings in the summer.  This is a killer workout that you can do right when you wake up.  Lace up your shoes and get outside to burn some calories before you hit the shower in the morning.  No equipment needed except for a patio chair or bench for the dips:

Those are just a few things that come to mind that I'm into right now.  Anything calling to you this time of year?  I'd love to hear about it!