Spring is a time for new beginnings

cropped-paradise_landscape_facebook_timeline_cover-fb.jpg

Yesterday was the first day of spring and let me tell you how excited I am to finally see the light at the end of this long, cold tunnel that we call winter!  I woke up in a good mood which is not the normal Monday feeling.  Work was pretty easy. The sun was shinning and temps were in the 50’s.

My yoga community was working together on performing 108 sun salutations to wring in the new season. For more info on the what or why, you can read it here. I could not wait to get home and try for myself.  I managed 30 before getting lightheaded so I thought it best to stop and switch to heart openers for gratitude instead. I finished the session with mediation with my mala which is like a rosary.  It consists of 108 beads that you repeat an intention with each breath per bead.  I felt grounded and  refreshed when I was done.

After my yoga session, Dan and I actually cooked dinner instead of going out. Nothing mind blowing but it was nice to stay in.  We have started doing this the past few weeks, one day a week.  It is like a reverse date night since we never cook for ourselves anymore.

Since spring is a rebirth~ a time for new beginnings, I have made some changes that I put in to action starting this past Sunday.  Generally, if you put a plan in writing, you are more likely to stick with it.  And if you have been reading along for a while, you know how much I love a good list!

  1. I treated myself to a body, mind and soul detox. I have never bought someone’s detox program before but this one is only $129 which I think is very reasonable. It is 21 days of yoga, mediation and food planning.  My word for this year is determination: to change old eating habits, get back on my fitness track and grow as a person. If you want to make changes, you have to invest in yourself and do the work.  So when I saw this offered, I knew it was right for me.  This starts on April 3rd and I cannot wait to start!
  2. My food…. even though I am still eating the same way I have been since my calorie counting days, there is always room for improvement. I know I consume more carbs then I should. This is the difficult part considering we eat out every night. I have started choosing more salads or swapping fries for salad or fruit when I can.
    ~ I also want to cut back on animal protein. I eat chicken 6-7 days a week and it’s getting old.  Pork and beef are rarely eaten.  I eat eggs every morning for breakfast, lunches are generally something vegetarian.  So cutting back at dinner should not be too hard.  I am not planning to go total vegetarian but cutting back could be a good thing.
  3. I have also decided to cut back on my beer consumption to 2-3 days a week and only allowing 1-2 beers per those days (special events not included). What I order to drink depends on where we go for dinner.  So this should not be to difficult either.
  4. Drink more water on the weekends.  This does not sound hard, I know. But I actually don’t drink a lot of anything when I am home after my morning coffee. I tried this Sunday and had to conscientiously write down each time I drank 8 oz. At work I hit 88 oz every day before 3:00 without thinking twice about it. Maybe I should start ordering water with my beer… two birds, one stone.
  5. Start a daily meditation practice.  I had a good practice going back on 2015 but fell out of habit. I am up to every other day after starting a week ago.  This detox I am starting will help make this a habit.
  6. Get more cardio and weight lifting into my workout routine.  Yoga and weights anyone?
result

Breakfast pizza and apples/sunflower seed butter

So there you have it.  I haven’t done a list like this in over a year.  I am really looking forward to seeing changes in the way I feel, how my clothes fit and over all reduce stress.

I am determined to make 2017 my year of change.  I am not unhappy or anything.  Actually I think I am quite the opposite.  However, I do feel that life gets stuck in a loop and you need to jump off and try a new ride once in a while.

How do you jump-start your health plan? 

Do you have any favorite meatless lunch food ideas that you can share? This is where I struggle with keeping it exciting.

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year 2017!

Today is the start of a new chapter. The pages are still unwritten. What will your story say? Will you finally forgive and release those that have done you wrong in the past or will you allow those negative feelings to continue to hold you down? Will you look at past mistakes as failure or lessons to grow and become stronger? Only you can break the cycles you repeat every year. Was 2016 the same shit as years past? Now is the time for you to step out of that shadow and begin to make changes to a happier, healthier you. You pages are unwritten. What will your story say?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is what I shared on Instagram this morning and wanted to also share on here. This will probably be my last post for a while. I have decided to step away from blogging and focus more on my IG account. My intentions for 2017 are set and I feel that platform suits it best. I hope you all will continue to follow along there so we can stay connected. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a very happy and healthy 2017.

With love,

Mary 

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….

Change ahead isolated sign

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? 

 

 

 

A Fall Road Trip

Fall is my favorite season. All my senses seam to go into sensory overload in a good way. The air smells different. The temperature is cooler.  Foods are suddenly heartier and flavored with pumpkin or apple and spice. And then there is the fall foliage hitting it’s peak in the mountains. When our daughter Allyson got accepted to Dartmouth, then decided to continue playing the sax in their scatter band, I envisioned my husband and I going up every fall for a football game and watching the band perform. As a band mom for four years of high school, I knew I would miss those days. Life always had other plans for us though. We always seemed to drive up too early in the season or the other seasons entirely. Fast forward to senior year we finally made plans to do it right this time.

We picked a date that worked for Al and our sister (who just happened to make the move from Boston to New Hampshire!) so she can meet up with us too. We patiently waited all summer for our little getaway. Finally the weekend came! With our mom in on the trip, the three of us hit the road on Friday morning.

The ride up was beautiful. Here in parts of PA, we still have a lot of green on our trees. NY and MA had the most vibrant red, yellow and orange leaves of the whole trip. 

VT and NH probably hit peak color last weekend but still didn’t disappoint. There is one area approx. thirty minutes south of White River Junction, VT heading north on I91. No matter what season it is, it always mesmerizes me. I posted it to my IG account. Go check it out when you are done reading!

It takes about six hours to arrive at our hotel in WRJ and we are minutes away from campus in Hanover, NH. We arrived just in time for an invite to meet up with Allyson at the football field to watch the band practice.

It was a full moon this weekend. The moon looked so big and beautiful! No matter how many times I tried to capture it, no picture did it justice. But I do like this one from Friday night a lot.

We stayed at the field for a little bit then decided to head to town where we met up with Al for a later dinner and drinks.

I call this picture Reflections. That’s our mom, my husband Dan and Al.

Saturday morning we got up early for breakfast then squeeze in a hike before the afternoon football game. Al wanted to take us to Gile Mountain to the fire tower to show us the spectacular views. 

The hike itself was about an hour. I wish we had more time to explore but we needed to get back so Al could meet up with the rest of the band.

That’s our sister in the gray jeans and unfortunately the only picture I have of her from the weekend 😔

I have video of the performances but they are long so I will spare you. But this screen shot of them marching off turned out ok.

The band has a tradition that if our team wins (and we did!), the band will parade through Hanover on then over to the campus library where they quietly march up to the Tower room, aka the quiet room, and play music while the quickly march through. Then they quietly exit the building. Being the stalkers that we are, we finally got to see that too… And of course I filmed it. 

After the game, we said our goodbyes as Al had a social engagement to attend and the rest of us were going back to our sister’s new place about an hour away, meet up with her boyfriend and get another late dinner. I hope to see the area in the daylight sometime. Unfortunately it was already dark when we arrived. Their house is cute and they have a great, private back yard with chance visits by bears and foxes. They are right on the edge of the White Mountains with prime hiking spots to visit sometime. Lucky for us, they are big hikers too.

One new place in Hanover that I have to mention since I fell in love with the vibe here was The Skinny Pancake. It’s a small food shed & crepery chain out of Vermont. All the food is local and they have a good craft beer selection as well. We stopped in for a drink on Friday night and we loved the place so much we went back for breakfast. The decore is (or looks like anyway because I am not sure) reclaimed barn wood with tin ceilings and simple light fixtures. And our bartender reminded me of a young Jennifer Tilly. When we went back for breakfast, I chose the Noah’s Ark which was 2 eggs, bacon and two crumpled sweet crepes. No stuffed crepes for this dairy challenged girl. But everyone else really enjoyed theirs! I had to top off my breakfast with a pumpkin spice latte with almond milk.

Delicious!! 

What a great way to start the day… A great breakfast and a hike. Or how about watching a football game with a colorful mountain view and ending with a family dinner? I have to say it was pretty perfect to me. It was very hard to leave this morning and come back to reality. My little corner of PA is picturesque too but nothing compares to that part of New England. It was time to make the six hour drive home, pick up the pups from the kennel and settle back in to our daily grind of life. The next time we go back up will most likely be in June for graduation. Where does the time go? I am happy that we took the time from work to make the trip happen. It’s one I will remember for a long time.

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.) 

retoxcover

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.)

crummy-commercial

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.

retoxyoga

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? 

 

 

Farewell August

August, you spoiled me with your warm hugs and brilliant sunlit smiles.

I cannot put into words how great this month was! This month started with my birthday, day trips, family gatherings and Allyson currently visiting for two weeks between the end of her summer internship and the start of her senior year which starts in September.

We explored new towns and found new favorite spots to eat or shop locally as well. This month has been about having no itinerary and the wanderlust that took us on spontaneous adventures. It’s true what they say that if you live in the moment and don’t schedule every minute of your free time, that time will feel like it lasts much longer. I was off three days last week and it felt like a full week. Keep that tip in mind for your next long weekend or vacation and you will see what I mean!

I know this is bad for a blogger to admit but I didn’t take many pictures either. One day I even left my phone at home! Crazy, I know. It was a strange feeling at first but so freeing at the end of the day.

20160825_112746

My new grand niece was born 8/19!   Eliana James –  Eliana is in honor or her grandmom Ellie and great grandmom Anna.   James is for her great grandfather who’s birthday she was born on. She is such a little peanut! We love her to pieces.

 

20160825_131159

With the new baby in the house, Allyson and I took her big sis and bro to the park for some auntie/cousin time. These two have big imaginations!

 

20160827_091320

My new book that I cannot put down.  Look for a review next month sometime!

 

20160828_190633 Summer is for relaxing with the pups on the deck, grilling food, listening to music and sharing cocktails with the family.

20160827_131547 And just one last reminder… Never miss a chance to sparkle!

 

I hope all my stateside readers  have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

I am not quite ready for summer to unofficially end. But I do long for those cool crisp fall days and everything smelling like pumpkin spice and the leaves begin to change.

Tell me…. What are you most looking forward too about fall?  Or what will you miss most about summer? 

 

My Happiness Project – July edition

Well, here it is. My twelfth installment of #MyHappinessProject. I almost titled this “July- The final chapter”. But it just felt wrong. I have enjoyed these monthly roundups! I have enjoyed thinking back on the month reviewing the photos and reminiscing. So, I am going to keep it going.

July is always a weird month to me. On one hand it feels long. On the other, it’s like you blink and it’s been weeks since we celebrated our Independence Day. I feel like we did so much! Here is just a little highlight of the past few weeks…

On the 2nd we hosted our annual 4th of July picnic

My niece was newly engaged and asked Al to be her maid of honor

We celebrated my sister turning 50 (that’s her in the blk/wht)

The sunsets were spectacular

And yoga on the deck at sunrise was inspiring

Overall, I’d say July has been very good to me. When I started this little project last August, my goal was for it to help me focus on the little things in life. Live in the monent. It has done that and so much more!

I hope you are enjoying your summer! Stop in again soon!