The Mindful Diet: Practice Mindful Eating- Days 4-6.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a life. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. -Maya Angelou

Read more https://www.happypublishing.com/blog/second-chances-quotes/

It feels good to be back writing again. It has been a very eventful few days. The Mindfulness task for the past 4-6 days has been focused around practicing eating mindfully. I have spent the past 3 days in Chicago, IL visiting my best friend. Typically when I visit a larger city like Chicago I get a tad overwhelmed. I think it might either be the amount of people pushing past you in the street, or my Uber driver literally getting in an all out honking match with a moving truck to see who can cut the other off first to get stuck at the next red light. But, this visit in Chicago was different. While I was focusing on what I was going to feed my body, I also was able to partake in a few activities that fed my soul.

The activity that really stuck out in my mind was not something that I would call a grand event. It was an Uber ride requested by my friend to pick me up to take me to her school in which she teaches 2nd grade.  As I got into the Uber the driver and I exchanged our “hellos” and proceeded to have quite a ride, unexpectedly he began telling me his life story. Even though it was 8:30AM and I hadn’t had any coffee I decided to listen. The driver’s story began by him telling me about his daughter having a new baby and that he was a grandfather —to which I responded the usual questions ( Is it a boy or a girl? Do you like being a grandfather?) he was super responsive but took it a step further.  He asked if I was from Chicago, and if I was familiar with a larger building (which I can not recall the name of) . I let him know that I was from Michigan and was unfamiliar with the area. He then proceeded to tell me that he had done security for over 30 years and that a majority of those years he acted as security for a building that housed drug dealers, gangbangers, and other families. So, at this point I didn’t know where this conversation was headed, but I was intrigued. We talked about choices and how the times that we live in now are so fast paced, and can sometimes be perceived as cold. The driver then proceeded to tell me about when he was 5 years old he had watched his mother shoot his father, and although his father had lived he was required to live in group homes until the age of 18. He worked as a car washer, in an apartment building office, and other odd jobs—but the thing that he said that kept him on the straight and narrow path even though he had experienced this traumatic event was the fact that he wanted to prove everyone wrong. That people were not expecting him to amount to much and were waiting for him to either be on drugs or  get locked up— even his own family members would treat him as an outcast due to the fact that he was doing well and many of them were struggling.  While he told me his story unapologetic, I couldn’t help but  come to the conclusion in my mind that in everything we do in life we have choices—we have the choice to eat ice cream or to eat a salad. We have the choice to follow through on our new years resolutions and goals vs. procrastinating, and we have the choice to take the path less traveled vs. following the paths that others have laid down for us. Now, I couldn’t tell you what prompted this conversation between the two of us that day, or that I have just naturally have a disposition in which people who I hardly know are chomping at the bit to speak with me—but I can tell you all that I am a better person for learning about this man. Instead of staring at my cell phone, checking my Instagram app for the 50th time, or just talking about the bare minimum to end the conversation. I decided to be inquisitive, a good listener, and to allow myself to be open and vulnerable to others.

So no, I did not end up counting how many chews that I took with my food like the challenge had requested, nor did I start a food journal, but I can confidently tell you that I am “full” in more ways than one.

 

So, Johnny from Chicago, IL if this blog ever finds you, I want to say thank you for sharing your story with me and I am blessed to have met you.

Cheers to Monday,

AV

Note: I will be posting new entries on Monday’s and Sunday’s. So please feel free to follow the blog to get updates.

THE MINDFULNESS DIET: Set Smart, not more food goals— Day Three.

“ Let your thoughts go in and out of your mind, but don’t invite them to stay for tea.”- My Yoga Teacher

Today’s act of mindfulness centers on setting smart— not more— food goals. So, instead of telling you about the cup of unsweetened apple sauce that I ate for breakfast this morning (which would put both of us to sleep), I want to talk about how my relationship with food impacts how I feel about the world.

I have done my fair share of diets. I could probably list those off, but that would put you to sleep as well. The most recent dietary change that I can say that I have been working on has been a Pescatarian diet. This diet consists of not eating meat products, but I do eat fish. I have been on this diet/ lifestyle change for a little over a year. Although, I have stuck to this way of eating, things have not always been easy for me. In the beginning I experienced headaches, nausea, and swift changes in my mood. Every time that I go out to eat with friends or clients, I am the person who is pulling up the menu on her phone hoping that I have something that I can eat. Frankly, up until 2 months ago this change in eating overall made me angry. I was angry at my lack of food choices. I was angry because while everyone has burgers at the barbecue–I loaded up on potato salad, and most of all I was angry because I was not losing weight. Which brings me to the reason on why I started this eating change in the first place. I had originally started changing the way that I was eating for the last 26 years of my life because I wanted to look good in my bathing suit in Miami. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is bad about wanting to look amazing.  By Thanksgiving time this year I had enough of having crab cakes instead of turkey, and was debating going back to my old way of eating until—it hit me. I finally decided to slow down and really reflect on the reason I was so angry inside and why I couldn’t shake the negative feelings even through I felt like I was doing everything right.  The conclusion I came up with is while I was so focused on having my 6 pack of abs (shoot I’d take a 4 packs of abs at this point), I was doing all of these changes for the wrong reason. I was trying to change my outside appearance without having changed my inside appearance first. I had to shift my way of thinking from just wanting to look “hot” in my bathing suit, to wanting to feel “hot” every single damn day.  So in order to get back on track I set up a elliptical, weights, and yoga mat in one of our spare bedrooms and committed to working out 3 times a week at 5AM. I committed to taking 2 yoga classes per week, and I committed to saying one good thing about myself per day.  Now I can proudly say that no, I do not have abs like Jillian Michaels, but I am loosing weight. My attitude is peace and calm, and I am starting to feel “hot” one hour at a time, one day at a time.

Here’s to the Wednesday Warriors—Cheers!

AV

 

THE MINDFUL DIET: COMMIT TO A DAILY YOGA PRACTICE- Day Two

Today was my first day being an unemployed stay at home puppy mother—well at least until Monday.  I had grand plans of staying up until 2 am and conducting my own personal Netflix marathon, then waking up at 11am and making a large breakfast, but none of these events occurred today. I woke up at 5am to the wonderful sound of my husband’s e-mail alerts going off, and then began my day taking the dog outside in the foggy abyss for a walk. After tossing and turning until 7:30AM, it was clear to me from this point on that even though I had nothing to do, and nowhere to go today—I was finding it hard for to wind down—and that got me thinking about today’s post.  Why is it so hard for people to disconnect? I literally tried everything to remove myself for stress. I deleted my old work e-mail account; I turned my phone on silent, and cleared my schedule of any appointments; and yet I still could not take a deep breath in and then exhale out. Once I got in the parking lot for my yoga class, I debated with myself if I wanted to grab a pizza at the Little Cesar’s next door—but instead willed myself into the studio. As class began I felt myself going though those poses and doing the breathing exercises with ease. I felt strong, and disconnected from the outside world, but more in tune with my body and the nature around me then I had ever felt before. Now, I am not a yoga expert by any means. I am constantly working on my flexibility, and you won’t see a headstand coming from me any day soon—(in fact I did attempt one in my bedroom and it looked more like a tumble), but going to the mat today was the remedy—it was the cure.  I know that yoga is not for everyone, but I want to encourage anyone who is struggling to find sense of self to step onto the mat. I was not inspired in the studio today, but rather I got today’s inspiration in none other than Whole Foods. I know that sounds strange, but it is true. After eating my over-priced salad, I was walking out and noticed a set of baskets to my right. As I began to read I knew that they were not just any old baskets but they were Blessing Baskets (please see link below) the concept was made by a woman who considered herself ordinary, but in my opinion she had extraordinary ideas. Producing the baskets allow basket makers in 3rd world countries the opportunity to receive compensation for their work. The artists are paid above the normal fare trade prices, in hopes to move them out of poverty. Now, I know you will think how does this relate to yoga? Well throughout my practice I have learned that yoga isn’t about just stepping onto a mat, or doing headstands, or snapping pictures of yourself in your new Lululemon outfit (even though I love seeing all of those things occur). Yoga is a lifestyle. Yoga is a frame of mind. Yoga helps ordinary people like you and me to have extraordinary impacts on the world. So, the next time you are beating yourself up about missing a yoga class (which you should try not to because you will feel AWESOME after you attend), or eating that extra doughnut—Close your eyes, inhale, and then exhale and remember that you don’t need a mat to be mindful, and that sometimes the ordinary things that we see in life can inspire us to do extraordinary things.

Cheers,

AV

Please check this out : http://www.blessingbasket.org/

The Mindful Diet: Dedicate your intention—Day One

“ Mama said there’ll would be days like this, there’ll be days like this my mama said  ”

– The Shirelles

Today has been pretty interesting for me.  As a result of some soul searching I decided to quit my job today, reason being life is too short to do something that doesn’t make you smile at least once a week. I had been thinking about quitting probably since one month after I started, but I decided to give it a fair chance.  The people I worked with were great. I was hitting all of my sales goals, and my professional goals, but something was missing— PASSION. Now, I won’t pretend that I am some super enlightened being, or that I have everything figured out because in all honesty… I haven’t figured things out. I have been practicing taking one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. So yet even with my day being so eventful, I wanted to take time out to dedicate my intention for the day.  I woke up at 5am (or I was awoken by a 6.5 lbs Yorkie trying to attack my mouth—either way I got up) and turned on my Happy Light (if you have questions about this light please let me know), and pulled out my journal, put my pen on the paper until I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to write. So then I began to sit some more, but this time the Yorkie had moved on my lap, when finally it had come to me.  I dedicated today to speaking with passion and grace despite adversity and fear. To embrace the small things around me. After two days of rehearsing my exit speech that I would have with my boss, I went in and I shocked myself—instead of giving all the things that I thought they could fix, I spoke about my passions, what I planned to do next in life, and where I wanted to go. I thought I was going to explode, but I didn’t—I thought my words would be a sword but they weren’t, and at that moment I had realized that despite knowing that technical recruiting isn’t my calling, I learned some pretty valuable life lessons in those seven months.

  1. Sometimes you will have a bad day, and that bad day could be a bad week.

During these past few months I was so stressed that sometimes my bad minutes would turn into bad hours, which would turn into bad days, then into a bad week. Despite this happening, I decided to never stop looking for the small “wins”. Whether it be finding a kick ass pasta place for lunch, or finding a dollar on the ground next to my car. I learned that within the bad there is always good—and I will always try to find it.

 

  1. You get by with a little help from your friends.

The Beatles were right on with this statement. “On the days like today when the only thing that you are sure of is that your socks match”. Nothing beats a pineapple margarita and some good conversation. My husband, Mom, sisters, and best friends have been nothing short of amazing. They have listened to me laugh, cry, and start to find out who I am—without shutting me out. I discovered to make moves in life you have to have a good team behind you to listen when sometimes you don’t even listen to yourself.

 

  1. The most important things in life are not things.

This was a crazy concept to me before seven months ago. I would have told you that I wanted to be a millionaire with a private jet and private playhouse for my dog. Something inside of me has changed. After restarting my Yoga routine and working on some self-care items, I now know that money and material things aren’t everything—and that the best things in the world are the things you can’t buy—they are made and discovered by you.

Cheers to Monday!

AV

Building a Foundation: My Journey of 42 Days of Mindfulness

“I got that money on my mind but I ain’t blind. I see that if I want it, I have to grind.”
Jonathan Anthony Burkett

These very words have been my life’s motto for the past few years. I was grinding and grinding until one day I just stopped. I don’t remember the exact date that I actually paused for a moment and realized that as I was grinding away, that I actually had no idea what I was doing all of this grinding for. I mean, I am fortunate enough to have many of the things I want, and lot of the things that I need.  By the end of the week I felt like one of those hamsters on a wheel that are going in circles, but yet tend not get dizzy.  In this moment I had realized that the bags under my eyes were to deep for any type of concealer to cover.  When I woke up in the morning I either always had a headache or a stomach ache, and the thought of actually interacting with other people after 5 pm made me fairly nauseous which would then usually result in me retreating to my bed with my dog to watch reruns of the Twilight Zone on Netflix. I was overworked, uninspired, and lived for Fridays.

After having a quarter life meltdown to my best friend over the phone, telling her  my grand plans to run away with my Yorkie and a backpack—I realized that I had to do something, anything to take my life back. I was tired of being tired, I was tired of not being present for Monday- Thursday, and I was tired of the negative vibes that you could smell on me from a mile away. I knew it was time to take action.

This blog is here to document my journey from being someone who took a backseat in her own life,  to someone who knew she was meant to be the driver. I plan on showing my progression of becoming one with nature, becoming a better employee, a better friend, and a better partner.  I know this will not be easy—from someone who has her PhD in Netflix, I will struggle from time to time—but I want to document that too. My life may not be perfect, but it’s all mine.

So, even if no one ever see’s this, I plan on starting my journey by doing the 42 Days of a Mindful Diet Challenge, which you can find in The Yoga Journal. I will be doing 1 mindful activity per day and sharing my results. Please feel free to join in!

Cheers,

AV