Where to go from here?

The other day I was asked, “What do I want?”

Of course I made jokes at first because that is what I do.  When I got serious about that question I started to think about it.  I mean really think hard…

I finally responded back, ” I want to inspire people to find their happy.”  Which got me thinking about change….

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I have been thinking a lot about this blog and it’s future here on WordPress….

Do I keep writing about random things and hope people will read it?  I feel this space needs more substance.

Am I interested in keeping up with it enough to pay the yearly fee?  Meh… it’s not a deal breaker….

Is it servicing it’s purpose? I mean, I don’t cook much anymore so I am not sharing any recipes.  I don’t run or belong to a gym….  Most of the brand ambassadorships do not serve a purpose to me anymore…

My blog is having an identity crisis and it needs to either shut down or get a make over.

I originally started blogging years ago as an outlet for my life stories and I feel like I am swinging back to that routine again.  That is totally fine! However, I feel like I spend most of my time on Instagram nowadays posting picks with mini stories attached to them. My life isn’t what it was back in 2009. I am not the same person as back then.

 

So how do I incorporate what I want in life into Four The Health Of It?  I am thinking of ways to blog more and hopefully inspire people to better themselves. This was never intended to be only a fitness or running blog.  It’s about overall health.

Isn’t being happy a big part of that? 

 

 

 

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Learning to Retox my life

September is yoga month! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have become a total yoga junkie.  It’s gone beyond just a daily practice. It’s a way of life.  My yoga life as evolved from being able to land some really cool arm balance ( the reason I started ) to learning patience, self control, gratitude and charity. My confidence has soared. My self acceptance, including body image, has changed for the better as well. I could go on and on posting pictures from my journey so far and call it a day. I have shared that stuff in the past and I don’t want you to get bored one paragraph in.

What I do want to share with you is a book that recently picked up on a trip to Barnes & Noble. It is called Retox: Yoga * Food * Attitude – Healthy Solutions For Real Life by Lauren Imparato.  Lauren is the founder of I.Am.You studios in NYC.

(The following review is my own thoughts based on parts of the book. I was not contacted by anyone involved with Retox or I.Am.You. to write this nor am I being compensated in any way. I’m just a girl on this lifestyle journey sharing what I love.) 

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I was on the fence about buying this book at first.  I was worried that it would be another diet book. Or worse, it would be 362 pages of sales pitches as to why you need to buy some on line course or product to see results.  (Yes you can buy the videos for the yoga portion on line but it’s not necessary.)

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That shit really drives me crazy!  I know you feel me too.

After reading about Lauren’s switch from wall street trader to yogi with nutritional science training, I knew I had made the right decision. She really dived deep into training to understand the body. Smart chick.

This actually is NOT a diet book at all. Retox is the opposite of detox. There is no elimination of whole food groups or crazy workout schedules to follow. This book focuses on balance between yoga, food and mindset. This is a plan for general living and how to keep it together on very given day. Lauren calls it LSP, or Life Stability Plan.

As a yoga instructor, Lauren takes you through twenty-one daily life issues and breaks it down into the three LSP’s:

  • Yoga – flows and asanas geared specifically to heal your ailment
  • Nourishment – Think of this as the “eat this not that” section.
  • Mindset – explains the how and whys of what you are feeling and how to bring balance to that through meditation

There is something in here for everyone:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Hangovers
  • Low energy
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Back pain

(Just to name a few)

You can run through the book section by section or skip around working on what your body needs most that day. For me, the first step was getting rid of the alien baby that is belly bloat.

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The yoga flow ( shown above ) is designed to focus on core movements and twists that activate your organs helping to release toxins. Each flow takes 20-30 minutes to complete.  There are also quick fixes and desk flows for when you are short on time. Perfect considering I always seem to be running late.

Nourishment tells me about foods that may be causing the bloating such as:

  • Soy (check!)
  • Eggplant / cucumber (check!)
  • Chia / nuts ((check!)(check!)
  • Raw foods  (mmmmm  some )
  • Spicy foods (check!)

You may have issues with all these foods or just a few.  If you notice certain things you eat are making you bloated, avoid them. If you can tolerate them in moderation, go for it. Just don’t over do it.

The retox instant debloaters include:

  • Warm water
  • Rice
  • Cooked foods
  • Some herbal teas like mint or chamomile

The reasons why each of these foods hurt or heal you is explained in the book as well.

Mindset: Your gut is sometimes referred to as your second brain. When faced with uncertainty, your guy can get all funky.  The stress can cause unbalance causing bloat. Sometimes you can’t just “let is go”.  you literally need to learn to trust your gut. The retox goal here is to train your mind to process the events and emotions around you. Write down what is stressing you. How does it make you feel? What are ways you can improve your situation? Then, sit tall, clear your mind and focus on your breath. Follow Lauren’s guided meditation then move on with your day.

After reading through each section in Retox, I had a few ah-ha moments.  Some things were obvious.  But Lauren brings science into her explanations so that it makes more sense. Don’t recoil by that statement.  She doesn’t get all nerdy on you. There is so much information packed into these pages that I find myself going back and reading sections again. I have learned so much about my diet alone that makes this book so worth the purchase. I catch myself asking, “Did I Retox today”?

If you are interested in Retox or I.Am.You studios, I interested links in the top of this post.

Have you read Reotx? If so, tell me your thoughts below. 

Do you have any of your own retox solutions that you incorporate into your day? 

 

 

My Happiness Project – April

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April has flown by! Work is starting to get busy again gearing up for summer which is craziness for us.  I had a few posts planned but time got away from me.  Life happens and I have enjoyed every second of it!

I have a baby announcement for this month!

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Jacob Patrick was born on April 16th to our step brother and wife.  I have not met the little guy yet but when I do, there will be pictures galore! This one was taken from my MIL’s IPad.

I have owned my Mindful Yoga Wheel for a month now and am slowly learning ways to use it.  One of my yoga challenges this month is all about using props ( Straps, blocks, wheels…).  This month of poses has helped me refocus and go deeper into my practice. Sometimes I feel stuck after doing the same poses and don’t feel progression in them. Typically, I stop doing them for a while and try new things… then I lose all that work.  This is where the wheel and other props comes in. It is helping me find new ways to do “old” postures.

Spring is finally here!  I love how everything has that new, bright green look to it. My allergies are not liking the pollen too much but it’s not a bother when I can look at the pretty trees in bloom!

 

These pictures were taken on Saturday.  Sunday turned out to be a bright and sunny day.  We managed to get out of the house somewhat early so we started off with a walk by the lake.

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By 11:00AM the park was packed with runners, families on bikes, race teams and people in boats fishing. There was even a local photographer set up with props taking Mother’s Day photos. The little kids all dressed up in their fancy dresses and bow ties were adorable!  It certainly was a good day for people watching.

One last thing I am happy about are my new sunglasses!  This is my first pair of prescription sunnies.  I have always had clip-ons or transition lenses but wanted a larger pair that actually blocks the sun.  These are working out better then I ever imagined!  I wish I had done this years ago.

So tell me….

What are you doing to enjoy this amazing spring weather? I know all you runners are in your glory! Am I right?

December goal setting

  
‘Tis the season! Time for shopping, parties, great food and other indulging. It’s only Dec. 2nd and I already feel overwhelmed when I look at my calendar. Every weekend is booked with parties. I am looking forward to the time spent with family and friends. What I am not looking forward to is the hustle and bustle that comes with it. I like to savor the moments of the holiday. I want to continue to live in the moment! So, I think I need to set some goals to help keep me on track. I haven’t made any public goals in a long time and I feel that putting it out there will help me stay sane this holiday season! 

Goal #1 – Meditate daily 

I already have a daily yoga routine. But when I meditate, it brings me to a whole new level of serenity. Taking a few minutes at the start of my day to set an intention and quiet the mind helps me to focus better. The act of meditating could be sitting on the floor taking meditative breaths and repeating a mantra, trail walking, journaling or even staring aimlessly out a window with your coffee watching the sunrise. Just be still, clear your mind and breathe. 

Goal #2 – Move more 

Since I have stopped running months ago, I have gained some weight back that I fought so hard to keep off. Dresses that I purchased last winter aren’t fitting me like they did. Now that it’s prime indulging season, I really need to get my butt moving in the morning. I have so many inspiring friends! I need to channel them at 5:00 am and get out of bed! 

Goal 3 – Don’t overindulge 

Along with the previous goal, I need to watch not just what I am eating but more in importantly how much! I believe in the 80/20 rule. I keep to this much of the time choosing my best options possible. Since I don’t eat a lot of desert, the 20 percent is mostly beer or french fries. I know this is my downfall and will be cutting back on these two things as well. If I can get through the season not gaining MORE weight, I will be a happy lady. I am not restricting myself because I want to have fun but it all comes down to portion control. 

Goal 4 – Blog more! 

I have so much in my head to get out! I don’t want this blog to fade and die. This is kind of like my journaling. 

Goal 5 – Be present 

This is the most important goal of all. I think to be fully present, the other goals need to fall into place. These goals are to help me stress less. They all exercise either my body or mind leading to a happy existence overall. 

My biggest gift I can give to my loved ones is to give them my time and attention. 

I hope you have a very special and magical holiday season. Play, sing and dance like no one is watching!

XOXO

~ Mary 

Making morning workouts a habit

Last week, I posted on Facebook that I really need to give morning workouts another try. Starting today, I am getting up a little early before work and make this a habit or else! Have I mentioned before that I am NOT a morning person?  I would rather sleep late and stay in bed watching TV until noon then get up and move. Things never used to be this way.  As I get older though, the worse it is getting.

Now that my daughter is in college, cooking for two is a chore Especially when one does not eat most carbs (hubs) and the other does not eat dairy (moi), cooking can be difficult. Dishes? UGH… Add in the fact that hubs works from home and all he wants to do it get the heck out of the house once he is done.  Quitting time for him is never the same either so that get’s hard to time dinner just right too. So, we go out to eat most nights.  It’s easier this way. This however, causes me to not want to skip my workout but also not wanting to go to dinner all sweaty from a run or what not.  So, the past two weeks, I have skipped them. The only consistency has been yoga. I have to say though, I miss running.

The same day that I posted on Facebook declaring this last ditch effort to make this morning workout thing a habit, I ran into 2 other posts with tips on how to do just that. One was from one of my favorite running blogs regarding how to use the time change to your advantage.  Lea is always full of helpful tips. Check her out over at Running with Ollie.

The second one was totally random.  One of those “so-and-so and your cousin’s best friend’s girlfriend likes this page” .  It was for Run To The Finish with the headline “Should you workout in the morning?”  I am a girl that looks for signs. Two in one day after making my proclamation to the Facebook world?  Say no more.  Hint taken.

Now to get excited about this! I bought a new pair of yoga pants. I  warned my husband that I was going to get up earlier then normal (6:30AM after hitting snooze three times=normal).  I wrote down the HIIT that I wanted to do.  I even slept in my workout clothes last night to I’d be ready on Monday morning.

So how did I do?FullSizeRender

Monday – alarm set for 5:30.  I turned it off instead of hitting snooze then finally got up at 5:45.  I fed the dogs, made the coffee then headed down to the family room.  I managed to get in a full Sun Salutation flow, 10 teasers and then a bunch of other hip opening yoga for 20 minutes. The night before I held a plank for 1:05 but this morning I lasted 20 seconds before the lower back pain started again.  I did not want to push it. So, I ended with some stretches that help loosen that spot up. I ate like crazy and drank a ton of water/tea. I lasted until 2:30 before I had a small cup of coffee ( my second of the day ).  Otherwise, I was not dragging like I normally would be at the end of the day.  Started to get sleepy by 8:00PM and was in bed by 10:00.

Tuesday – Got up at 5:50 and made my way to the family room for 20 minutes of yoga/pilates. My plank was :40 long. Dan was up already so he took care of the coffee and dogs which was a huge time saver for me! Energy levels were up all day.  I had my second cup of coffee in the afternoon but felt I could use a nap by 5:00pm.  I stayed up to watch SOA which wasn’t over until 11:30 and I was so keyed up from the episode.  I am not sure what time I actually fell asleep but it was past midnight.

Wednesday – My alarm went off at 5:30.  I turned it off and the next thing I knew it was 6:30 which is the normal time I need to get up in order to still make it to work on time. Needless to say there was no workout this morning. I felt sluggish.  I was having trouble focusing and I had my 2nd cup of coffee by 9:00AM.  This is how I always felt every morning (except for the previous two days).  I was asleep by 11:00.

Thursday – Same thing – Alarm off at 5:30 got up at 6:00.  I got in another 20 minutes yoga and my plank was :43.  I don’t know if it was the dreary, cold weather that was giving me a headache or the fact that I was so freakin exhausted all day. I worked late too which was not helping.  When I got home at 6:00 I could have passed out if I put my head down. I had some things to take care of at home which took up my whole evening.  I was asleep by 10:30.

Friday – I have been good all week!  Not hitting snooze but still getting up by 6:00 at the latest to get moving.  Well, all except Wednesday.  This morning I was still feeling the stress of the day before. The dogs are getting on my nerves too so I ended up with 10 minutes of yoga and called it a morning. My mind was not in it today. But, I got up and I tried instead of rolling over and sleeping for another 30 minutes.  Am I happy with quitting early today?  No but I will get over it. Tomorrow is another day.

Presently – I am sitting at my desk having a hard time focusing on my computer screen. I feel a headache coming on. All I can think about though is the one fish pose I need to do for one of my Instagram challenges.  I did not like the way picture looked this morning – part of my mood I guess… It is lunch time however and feeding time always makes me happy.

Overall, I am proud of myself for making it through the week.  Historically, I never got past Tuesday. I know this is an adjustment and my body will get used to this new schedule.  This weekend, I hope to stick to it and not sleep until 9-10AM.  I can sleep in a little bit but I don’t want to waste the morning. I am trying to switch back to drinking tea instead of coffee.  Coffee has only been a habit for a few years. Before that, I only drank tea.  I would prefer to cut it out during work hours. I find that when I feel like crap, I drink more coffee to get through the day. The strong coffee is not helping that.  Funny thing is, I started to drink coffee because I felt like crap in the mornings and couldn’t shake the low feeling until mid day.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Sorry this was so long and there are no pictures to make it pretty.  Thanks for sticking around until the end.  What about you? Do you struggle to get it together in the morning too?

 

Currently… Growth = overwhelmed, lazy and losing my mind!

Hey everyone.  How’s it going?  It’s been a while but I wanted to pop in with a quick update on life as it is currently.  I feel like I have a lot to say but not a lot of substance for a bunch of blog posts.  So, let’s do my favorite thing – make a list!

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Currently…

  • I am feeling overwhelmed which is making me absent minded.  My Crop Walk duties are in full swing. Since this is all new to me, I do not have a system yet and that is making me anxious and forgetful. I’m forgetting to put on makeup before leaving for work. I almost forgot to put shoes on a few times before leaving the house.  I forgot to take my doctor’s orders to the imaging lab for a test on Monday. I looked at the lady like she had three heads when she asked me for them too!  Hahaha. I decided I need an old fashion, paper calendar to map everything out to get me through to Christmas. I printed the last of 2014 to hang on the fridge so it’s right there in my face.
  • This feeling is also leaving me feel incredibly lazy.  Aside from a little yoga every day, I have not been out for a run in over a week (exactly what I did not want to happen) or completed any kind of workout.  I think I have a case of SAD mixing in there which is not helping.  Damn you dark mornings! To try and fix this issue, I am looking for a virtual challenge or something to hold myself accountable.  I tried starting a challenge last spring but I didn’t stick with it.  It’s no fun alone. Does anyone know of one starting soon? Or do you have any other ideas? I prefer it to be free or donations for charity.
  • I am in the process of downsizing as part of my shiny new five year plan. I am not going to map it all out for you at this time because people will probably think we are crazy and I do not want to jinx myself. However, Phase 1 is cleaning out the clutter. This means on line, in storage boxes, in my closets – everything. I am hoping to set up an Ebay store and setting up at flea markets soon to sell what I can for extra cash. Then, I can start phase two. I am very excited about this so please pray that it all happens as planned. I think once this gets underway, I will feel a little less overwhelmed or lazy.  Ha! See how that works?
  • I was considering putting this blog on hold for a while too. After really thinking about it, I am not ready to let it go.  I am not sure where this blog is headed but it’s title is not just about eating right and staying actively healthy.  Mental health is a big part of it too.  If writing all this down in here helps to clear the cobwebs a little and calm me down, then we are all better off for it! And hey, if I forget something afterward, at least I have it down in writing! Haha!

I hope you all stick with me while I go through this metamorphosis.  Let me know if you have any suggestions to help with accountability.

This pretty much sums up the thoughts that started all this.

This pretty much sums up the thoughts that started all this.

Good Eats – Zucchini Salad

Holy smokes! Last night I made this quick and easy zucchini salad to accompany our grilled chicken and sweet potatoes (also grilled).  This meets all of our dietary guidelines of vegetarian, dairy free and sugar free – Score one for mom! Since we all liked it so much, I wanted to share it with you fine people.

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These measurements are all estimated and figure it will feed 4-6 people.  For our family of three, there was enough left for us to have some for lunch the next day.  So, use your judgement.

  • 1 cup Brianna’s Real french Vinaigrette dressing
  • 5 small zucchini peeled cut lengthwise and sliced thin *
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • sea salt to taste

~ Mix together, cover and store in the fridge while the rest of dinner is cooking to give the flavors some time to marry together.  Give it a quick stir before serving.

*if the zucchini is large and has seeds, make sure you scoop them out so that the salad does not get watery.

It has been decided that after eating this, we all prefer raw zucchini over it cooked. So, I am sure I will playing around with other flavor combos this summer!

Have you ever tried Brianna’s dressings? This french vinaigrette is very light and did not overpower the salad. I was originally looking to use a greek vinaigrette but those typically have cheese in it and sugar.  This french version was the perfect find! Their poppy seed is my favorite (and it’s dairy free!)! I like it on salad with strawberry, chia seed and tuna or crab.

I was not asked to review this dressing nor was I compensated in any way.  This is just me, showing love to a fantastic product.