Tag Archives: health

Tips For Boosting Your Metabolism

What exactly does “metabolism” mean? We hear it talked about enough, but do we really know what it is or what it needs to stay vibrant and healthy? I’d venture to guess that most of us have no clue. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! 🙂

Metabolism: the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow, heal and make energy. Hmmmm… sounds important. A properly functioning metabolism ultimately means the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy body. How can we get our metabolism to function optimally? Implementing the following tips into your daily diet would be a great start!

Metabolism Boosting Tips:

  • Eat whole foods and lots of veggies- the more you’re able to eat unprocessed foods that come from the earth and animals, not labs and factories, the more your metabolism will like you.
  • Eat and drink the right foods-
    • Broccoli
    • Asparagus
    • Lemon and lemon water
    • Celery
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Green tea
    • Garlic
    • Berries
    • Grapefruit
    • Apples
  • Exercise to get your metabolism up and running (literally!)
  • Plan ahead- Try to stick to a somewhat set eating schedule. This will allow your body to be more aware of when it’s actually hungry. It also helps maintain hormonal balance. This is essential for weight loss, as an imbalance in certain hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, will cause “false hunger”.
  • Aim for 3 small meals and at least 1-2 small snacks throughout the day. When we go too long without eating, our metabolism slows down in an attempt to conserve resources aka FAT. Our body doesn’t want to give it up easily, unfortunately. From an evolutionary perspective, this was advantageous because sometimes we would have to go long periods of time between meals. When you’re hunting and gathering, obtaining food on a consistent basis isn’t exactly a sure bet. So, the metabolism slows, as does weight loss. FEED your metabolism, don’t starve it! In small quantities throughout the day, of course.
  • Don’t cut calories to under 1200 per day. As I just stated, we need to eat in order for our metabolism to function. If you’re consistently feeding yourself too little, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. And you’re hungry, which probably pisses you off. Learn to listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs and in what quantity. As a result of all the crap we eat on a daily basis- with all the additives, fake ingredients, and inflammatory oils, many of us are highly imbalanced hormonally and don’t get the signal to stop eating. Luckily, with time and effort, this can be fixed!
  • Incorporate heat-generating spices into your daily meals. Cayenne, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are all excellent choices.
  • Drink your water! You’re probably not drinking as much as you think. Measure out your water each morning for a week to determine exactly how much you should be consuming. You should be drinking roughly 60-70 oz./day. I recommend filling up a water bottle with measurements for ease. After awhile, it will become second nature to drink that amount.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. I know, I know. You’ve heard this one a million times, but it really is true! It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, and in fact shouldn’t be, but simply something to get your metabolism running for the day. Also, what we eat first in the day sets the stage for the rest of the day. So don’t go for the donuts at work; that cup of yogurt with berries would be a much better bet.
  • Get adequate sleep. Another one you’ve probably heard a million times and scoffed at, but again, it really is true! Some people say they can live off, and even thrive, on less than 6 hours/night. This is what I say to that: you’re either lying or you’re kidding yourself. Study after study has shown that quality sleep positively affects our hormonal signaling, leading to less feelings of false hunger. If you have chronic sleeping problems, it would greatly behoove you to figure out why.
  • While I strongly believe in starting with diet when engaging in self-improvement measures, targeted supplements can be a helpful metabolism-boosting tool for some people. Here are some great examples:
    • Vitamin B6- helps with water retention, reduces sugar cravings, and helps supply fuel to cells, which then burn calories more efficiently.
    • Chromium- stabilizes blood sugar and reduces carbohydrate cravings.
    • CoQ10- generates cellular energy and increases body’s ability to transform food into energy.
    • Turmeric- excites the production of bile juice which breaks down fatty foods.
    • Vitamin D- studies have shown a strong correlation between obesity and low vitamin D levels.
  • If you’ve tried all of the above for more than a few months and your weight is hanging tough and you feel sluggish as ever, then you should consider getting your thyroid checked.

The sum total of your efforts will certainly be rewarded. However, like most things in life, it’s not going to happen overnight. Way too many people expect to feel magically healthier, more energized, and automatically slimmer simply from eating a salad. Once. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, or reality, but it simply doesn’t work like that. You have to make your health a top priority, be consistent in your behaviors, and put in the effort! It will pay off though, of that I’m certain. 🙂

Supplements: What You Need To Know

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Nutritional supplements produced $32 BILLION in revenue in 2012, proving they are quite a lucrative business. But are they necessary? The answer to this question is pretty complex. Depending on who you talk to, you will usually either get an enthusiastic “YES!” or a emphatic “NO”! So who’s right?!

The ultimate answer lies in each individual and is dependent on a number of variables specific to that person. To put it simply, some people benefit from them and some people don’t. If you’re in great overall health and eat a nourishing, whole foods diet on a regular basis, then you are probably someone that falls into the “don’t” category. If you have a host of health problems and have a less-than-ideal diet, then yes, supplementation could be highly beneficial. However, thinking that taking a few pills 1-2x/day will magically make you healthy, slim, and glowing, while still eating like crap is… magical thinking. It will not work. You MUST eat a whole foods diet; you may not necessarily need to supplement.

There are a few reasons why someone would benefit from supplementation though:

First, in the case of vegans and possibly vegetarians, one would need to take B12 and would likely benefit greatly from vitamin D and a B complex, as all of these nutrients are difficult to impossible to get from plant sources. Without adequate B12, one stands the chance of developing irreparable nerve damage. In addition, some vegans may need to take an iron supplement, though one should get their iron levels tested prior to supplementing, as it can oxidize in the body if not needed.

Secondly, in the case of nutrient deficiencies. As a result of our poor diet, these deficiencies are quite rampant in our population. This can be assessed with a simple blood test or hair mineral analysis of vitamin and mineral levels in the blood or hair. If any of them are low, then supplement! If not, then don’t! Easy, peasy.

Lastly, in the case of certain health conditions. Targeted nutritional supplementation can be incredibly effective at resolving specific issues. For example, someone with joint pain and inflammation could likely benefit from some fish oil, glucosamine, and vitamin D; someone with IBS would be advised to take probiotics, L-glutamine, and digestive enzymes.

Some Considerations:

  • Quality– Not all supplements are created equal. Buying in bulk from drugstores isn’t a good idea, as these companies typically use the lowest quality forms of vitamins and minerals, which aren’t going to be assimilated into the body and are basically worthless at best and inflammatory at worst. Health food stores can be a better bet, but you should still remain wary of quality. What’s the expiration date on the product? Are there any knowledgeable people working there to assist you? Pharmaca is great source for high quality supplements. They are also online. Speaking of online- this is usually your best way of getting the best deal and the best selection of products. Can you tell I recommend this route? 🙂 Make sure you do your research though. To reiterate- not all supplements are created equal!
  • Ratios– It’s very important to not over-supplement with one specific nutrient. For example, women are told by their doctors to take calcium for osteoporosis. What we’re not told is that we need to supplement this in conjunction with magnesium. Not doing so could actually result in WEAKER bones! Do your research before supplementing with one lone nutrient- doing this for long periods of time usually isn’t necessary and can sometimes even be harmful.
  • Duration– Most supplements don’t need to be taken indefinitely. The exceptions might be probiotics, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 for certain individuals with chronic situations. For most of us though, we only need to take a particular vitamin or mineral until our levels of that nutrient are back to optimal levels, again determined by a blood test or hair mineral analysis. However, if your diet is poor, then supplementing long term with certain products, such as a high-quality multi-vitamin and mineral, vitamin C, and calcium/magnesium, could be beneficial. Again though, there is no true substitution for a healthy, whole foods diet.

Here’s a list of a few reputable companies:

  • Designs for Health
  • Metagenics
  • Thorne Research
  • Natural Factors
  • Garden of Life
  • NOW

If you’d like further elaboration on this topic or advice on your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to post in the comment box below or message me! I’m always happy to provide nutritional knowledge to those genuinely interested.

Moral of the story– Do your research before buying to make sure you’re getting quality and that you actually need it! Don’t waste your money on something you saw on TV or your friend said she took… will it be helpful for YOU? That is the question.

Ways to NOT Gain Weight Over the Holidays

It’s that time of year again.

While most people use the holidays as an excuse to become gluttonous, ravenous beasts, it’s really pretty disgusting. We only have one body- why do we repeatedly treat it like crap?! I know, I know. Food tastes good. And many people feel rather entitled to these displays of grandiose gorging and overindulgence. “It’s the holidays. I’m suppose to eat like a pig.” The thing is, doing so makes you look like crap AND feel like crap.

Does this sound crappy to you? Then abide by the following tips. I have a little secret to share with you too- food can actually taste good AND make you look and feel good! Spread the word!

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

  • Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach. You’ll be tempted by… pretty much everything. If this isn’t realistic, then be sure to drink lots of water to trick your stomach into thinking you’re not hungry.
  • Scope the appetizer table for the healthiest foods, i.e. vegetable trays, hummus, smoked salmon, guacamole, kabobs, sushi, salad, etc., before picking up a plate and go for them first. On that note, use a small plate always (even non-holiday times) to maintain portion control.
  • Chew your food slowly and enjoy every bite. It takes the brain 20 minutes to get the message from the stomach that it’s full, so the slower the better!
  • Allow yourself a “splurge” meal and dessert 1-2x/week so you don’t feel deprived. It’s especially tough during the holiday season to see everyone enjoying cookies and cake- you want to get in on the fun too! And that’s ok… IN MODERATION!
  • Bring healthy options, such as vegetable trays and salads, to holiday parties.
  • Drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks, both to lessen the load on your liver and to rehydrate. Plus, you’ll likely drink less because more time will be spent consuming water.
  • Treat the appetizer table like it’s a snake about to bite you. Stay away, stay far, far away.
  • Though I’m not a huge fan of gum due to their artificial ingredients, it can be really helpful at assuaging one’s hunger. Chew it while cooking dinner to avoid nibbling and tasting everything. OR, better yet, chop up some raw veggies and chomp on those.
  • Don’t starve all day so you can rationalize indulging at a holiday party at night, as many people do. If no food is eaten throughout the day, the blood sugar drops, leading to intense cravings and complete loss of control. You will definitely overeat if you starve yourself. Not to mention completely shut down your metabolism.
  • Walk after large meals. Hell, walk whenever you feel like it. You need to move frequently to keep your body at its appropriate weight.
  • Are you an emotional eater? Take control! Write out a list of reasons you think you are prone to overeating and using food as a crutch. Be honest with yourself. By doing so, you’re making it apparent what isn’t working for you in your life at this moment. Then fix it. Yes, this is much easier said than done, but every day is a new day that brings with it new opportunities for self-improvement. Stop making excuses and just do it.
  • Think about how horrible you feel the morning after a food binge. If you never want to feel that way again, then stop doing it to yourself! Again, this is another “easier said than done” situation… you probably won’t be able to break this cycle overnight, but with time, diligence, and introspection- it IS possible. Believe me, I know from extensive personal experience.
  • Make healthy desserts made with whole food ingredients, such as raw brownies, coconut cake, and chocolate walnut fudge. The great thing about these types of desserts is that they satisfy the sweet tooth without messing with brain signals and hormones, as white sugar laden and/or artificially flavored desserts are able to do, causing us to eat them well past the point of satiety.
  • Only eat foods you REALLY like. You don’t want to waste the calories on so-so junk food.

Holidays don’t have to ruin your waistline OR your health. Think of these last couple months of the year as a great time to socialize with the ones you love, not as an opportunity to rationalize eating way too much food. Being a member of the “Clean Plate Club” is ridiculously overrated. AND IT’S MAKING US GAIN WEIGHT. We, as a culture, need to change our mind frame about what’s really important over the holidays. Hint Hint: It’s not all about food.

Don’t Diet… Eat for Health!

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, L.A. Weight Loss…. What do these companies have in common? Well, besides the fact that they force you to buy low-quality food with loads of artificial ingredients… You may lose weight on them, but will likely regain that lost weight as soon as you start eating normally again, which will lead to greater overall weight gain in the long term. I don’t know about you, but paying to gain weight doesn’t sound like a good deal to me.

BUT GREAT NEWS! There is a simple solution… eating for health! This means that you focus on eating the most nutrient-dense foods available, as much as possible. By doing so, you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to burn that fat off. Enough with the starvation diets- We need to feed our metabolisms in order for weight to come off.

If you give the body what it needs, you’ll see the scale drop. It may not happen overnight, but it WILL happen.

Also, by focusing on optimal health instead of weight loss as the main objective, you’re ridding yourself of the guilt you get after eating anything that’s not “diet friendly.”

I’m a perfect example of this concept- While I have never been overweight, I have ALWAYS wanted to lose 5-10 (or more!) pounds. I tried everything: vegetarianism, calorie-counting, excessive exercise (followed by excessive binges on junk food), etc. The minute I stopped caring about my stomach roll, it went away! I believe it’s because I used to be more concerned about my appearance than my health. When optimal health and disease prevention became my focus, the pounds slowly fell to the wayside, never to return.

What do I eat on a daily basis to maintain my weight loss? Whole foods. It’s really that simple. Oh, and lots of fat. Interesting observation- When I started eating meat again and began buying exclusively full-fat, whole milk products, I lost 7 pounds in roughly 2 months. That’s quite a lot for someone that’s short and already pretty slim. Because I was a veggie, I ate way too many starches and carbs and not nearly enough fat and protein. My macronutrient ratios were all out of whack. By balancing these important ratios, I was able to not only lose weight, but get rid of various health problems as well. I used to have mood issues, low energy levels, joint pain and inflammation, and horrendous allergies. I no longer have any of these issues. Well, except these damn allergies! The point is I stopped focusing on calories and started focusing on nutrients. And it worked tremendously.

We, as a society, need to stop punishing ourselves for any alleged deviation from “a healthy diet”. Times are a changin’ and our definition of what constitutes health food has dramatically evolved over the years. Gone are the days of margarine, 6-11 servings per day of bread and grains (thank you Food Pyramid for steering people in the wrong direction for decades), and low-fat everything. Today we know that fats are good for us, red meat is not the devil, and too much bread makes us feel like crap. Let’s get back to the basics people! Traditional foods are the way to go.

By consistently eating fresh, unprocessed, whole foods, weight loss WILL happen. And it’s not as hard or time-consuming as you might think! It simply takes advanced planning and commitment. It is TOTALLY worth it, trust me 🙂

Whole Foods Grocery List

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Want to achieve optimal health and vitality? Then buy these foods and ONLY these foods. Packaged, processed foods are largely devoid of nutrients, contain ingredients we can’t pronounce and the body doesn’t recognize (because it’s man-made food!), and can alter our brain chemistry so we ravenously crave them. GET OUT OF THE BOX!! Your health depends on it.

Vegetables4-7 servings per day

Brassica family

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnip
  • Watercress

Carotene Family

  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Corn
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Pumpkin
  • Winter squash- acorn, butternut, spaghetti
  • Radicchio
  • Red pepper
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Tomatoes

Allium Family

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Scallions

Other

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms, especially maitake and shiitake
  • Jicama
  • Okra
  • Parsnip
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Summer squash- yellow and zucchini

Fruits- 2-3 servings per day

Flavonoid Family

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Purple grapes
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raisins
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Carotene Family

  • Apricot
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Watermelon

Citrus Family

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Tangerines

Other

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

Beverages

  • Filtered water
  • Chai tea
  • Green tea
  • Herbal teas- ginger, chamomile, liver detox, slippery elm, rooibos
  • Vegetable juices
  • Coconut water
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk

Whole Grains- 1-4 servings per day

  • Whole grain breads
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa

Nuts & Seeds1-2 servings per day

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

Legumes– 1-2 servings per day

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas, hummus
  • Edamame
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Tempeh
  • Miso soup

Cold-Water Fish– 3-5 servings per week

  • Salmon- wild
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Tuna- eat sparingly due to high mercury content and unsustainable fishing practices
  • Cod
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Trout

 Animal Foods2-4 servings per week

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Turkey

Dairy– 1-2 servings per day, if tolerated

  • Butter
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Cheese- feta, goat, asiago, parmesan, romano, mozzarella
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt

Herbs & SpicesUse liberally

Fresh Herbs & Spices

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Ginger root
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon

Dry Herbs & Spices

  • Bay leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

Miscellaneous

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Maca powder
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Sea veggies- hijiki, nori, wakame, dulse
  • Olive oil
  • Salsa
  • Sea salt
  • Stevia
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup- grade B
  • Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • Vanilla extract

Notes

  • Eat organic, fresh, seasonal produce as much as possible. Farmer’s markets are a convenient and cheap way to accomplish this.
  • Eat organic animal products and pastured/grass-fed, if possible. Full-fat dairy is preferable as well.
  • Wild-caught fish are usually preferable to farmed.
  • It’s all about quality over quantity. It’s going to be more expensive to buy organic, but well worth the additional costs.
  • Check the ingredients labels on all packaged goods- don’t buy anything with names you can’t pronounce.
  • Diversity of foods is key. Buy different fruits and vegetables each week for a varied nutritional profile.
  • Shopping primarily at Whole Foods and farmer’s markets will help make the above suggestions easier.

Cilantro-Lemon Sardine Salad in Avocado Halves

Cilantro-Lemon Sardine Salad

I never thought sardines would be on my list of favorite foods. They’ve always, well, made me want to puke upon first olfactory whiff. Fish in general and sardines in particular have had this effect in the past. So, it is a new arrival to the list, and long overdue it appears. It turns out they’re SUPER healthy for you. They carry quite a nutritional wallop with copious amounts of vitamin B12 and selenium, each necessary for nerve and skin health. Add in omega-3 fats, protein, vitamin D, and calcium and you’ve got a full spectrum food source, making for an ideal lunch option!

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 1 can of sardines with bones, packed in either water or olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise (or not!)
  • 1 Tbs. spicy mustard
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. dulse flakes
  • 1 whole medium avocado
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, except the avocado, in a small bowl and mash together with a fork. The bones in the sardines are small and hardly noticeable, so eat them bones and all for the added calcium boost.

To separate the avocado flesh from its skin, lightly run the tip of a spoon around a halve, then dig the spoon into the center of the avocado.

To serve, scoop a generous dollop into each avocado half, with a side salad of organic mixed greens and a light balsamic or miso dressing. Sounds a lot tastier than you initialed imagined, huh?

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Notes:

Eat whole, canned sardines for the calcium found in the bones. This is a super-effective means of acquiring this important nutrient. Just try it! You won’t even be able to taste them.

Replace cilantro for your preferred herb, such as basil, oregano, rosemary, or sage.

Lime can be used instead of lemon.

Since sardines are so small and low on the food chain, they don’t carry as much toxic mercury build-up in their bodies, making them a superior option to larger fish, such as tuna and swordfish. When mixed together with other ingredients, sardines taste very similar to tuna, so give it a try before you rule it out.

Reflections on a 30-Day Yoga Challenge

Well, I just finished a 30-day yoga challenge and boy am I sore! But man, does it feel good. I’ve been practicing yoga for about 12 years now, but not consistently… and a few of those years saw VERY few sun salutations. Especially while living in Tahoe, where I would much rather shred the freshy gnar gnar then get my stretch on. Adrenaline rushes beat inner peace by a long shot in those days.

Now that I’m living in San Francisco and have greater aspirations for my body and soul, I’ve picked it up again and have been trying to practice at least a couple times a week. Then, about 3 months ago, I finally pushed over my plateau and felt l was finally progressing. This gave me inspiration to attempt a 30-day yoga challenge in order to see how much further progress I could make.

For my yoga challenge, I used You Tube videos (free!) and did a different one daily. I’m not a fan of repeating the same workout over and over, but if that’s more your style, then by all means. That said, I LOVE You Tube videos for exercise purposes. Cardio, HIIT, strength training, yoga, pilates… you name it, I’ll do it. There’s less time wasted because you don’t have to go anywhere AND you can work out in your sports bra and booty shorts. Some of you may feel comfortable doing this at a gym, but certainly not me. I must admit though, sometimes I don’t work as hard because there isn’t anyone watching me. If this sounds like a problem you might have, then this might not be the best plan for you.

I don’t want to make it sound like I was doing intense, hour + long classes every day, because that definitely wasn’t the case. My practice changed daily depending on my immediate circumstances, i.e., energy level, mood, and muscle soreness. Some days I did challenging power/vinyasa classes and other days were spent doing primarily stretches and relaxation poses. However, I always meditated for at least 5 minutes while in shavasana at the end of my practice. This daily meditation seemed to help me cope with life’s stressors a little easier… I really hope to continue with this helpful ritual!

The first week was awesome! I overcame my plateau quickly and felt like I was progressing exponentially. It was a very rewarding feeling and something I didn’t anticipate happening so rapidly. Unfortunately, the 2nd and 3rd week were a little uneventful, but the last week or so saw further improvement, so I can’t complain! I’m not really surprised by this though. My body was tired after exercising daily and needed time to build up endurance and strength, which it did. Yay to strong muscles!

Successes

  • Getting over my yoga plateau.
  • Only missed one day- I made it up the next day, and don’t feel bad about it.
  • Gained strength, flexibility, and endurance. It’s pretty amazing how much stronger and limber I feel after only a month. I can now do chaturanga pose like it’s going out of style and my binds are actually binds now, not just my arms wrapped around my body. Well, I suppose it depends on the bind 🙂 It’s super motivating to see such quick progress… try it for yourself and see if you have the same results!
  • Greater awareness of body position, both during my practice and in day-to-day life.
  • A constant need for movement and a strong desire to explore my body and it’s abilities.
  • Most importantly, I’ve developed a lifelong love for the activity and feel confident I’ll continue practicing regularly from here on out. I honestly couldn’t imagine otherwise.

Challenges

  • Practicing every day got a little monotonous, despite my frequent video switch-ups.
  • My left wrist sustained a mild injury, which I have continued to work through. I know, that’s obviously a really smart move.
  • My body was feeling pretty darn tired by the middle of the month and is likely responsible for my lag during the 2nd and 3rd weeks. Fortunately, I recovered by taking it easy a few days in a row and was able to finish up strong (literally and figuratively).
  • In addition to my daily yoga practice, I was also continuing to run, do HIIT and strength train (not all on the same day), so this extra activity was definitely responsible for my burn out as well. Perhaps I should have strictly focused on yoga, but that would have been too boring. Like I said before, I prefer changing my exercise routine, well, constantly.
  • Weekends! I’ve never been an enthusiastic supporter of weekend exercise (unless it involves snow and/or nature), and that fact has certainly not changed. Man, were some of those days tough! Gotta keep your eye on the prize though. Ugh, I think I just puked in my mouth a little.

What does the future hold, you ask? Well, now that I feel somewhat proficient at basic yoga poses (finally!), I intend to gain a better understanding behind WHY I’m actually practicing yoga. In hind sight, I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not pursuing this sooner… why do yoga if you don’t know why you’re doing it?

Also, trying partner yoga looks like a great way to spend quality time with my boyfriend, or should I say, FIANCE!!! Yes, its true, Greg proposed last Tuesday and we couldn’t be happier… I foresee a wedding blog in my future, which is obviously very original. But I digress. Check out this demonstration and tell me this doesn’t look fun, creative, amorous, athletic, and unifying all at once. I haven’t been this excited about a pop culture fad since I first heard about flash mobs.

Obviously, I want to learn some advanced moves as well. So far I’ve got crow pose down pretty solidly, and my head stands are decent, but I’ve got a loooooooong way to go. The great thing about yoga is that you get a little better each day. It may not seem like it from day to day, but when you do a 30-day challenge, you start to see improvements a bit quicker and it seems somewhat quantifiable.

Oh, and I should probably start going to actual, real life classes. Wearing clothes while practicing yoga is something I’ll have to get used too again.

My “aha” Moments and Thoughts

  •  Daily practice leads to gradual, noticeable improvement.
  • Slowly but surely, grasshopper.
  • Mind over matter. Or at least, that was the intention. My practice was highly dependent on my mood and energy levels. There aspects basically determined how things were going to go; either swimmingly or stinkingly. Yeah, I just made that word up.
  • I now have an uncontrollable urge to do sun salutations, sometimes at inappropriate times.
  • Practice makes perfect. On that note, it looks like I’ve perfected the art of writing obvious cliches. All joking aside, my daily practice helped me gain greater awareness of my body, self-expression, strength, confidence, and flexibility. And this is only the beginning!
  • I truly appreciate the creative expression, energy, and flow that yoga has brought to my life.
  • No matter how inflexible you are… you can become flexible. I know it may seem crazy to think that you could someday do a front bend and lay comfortably over your legs for several minutes, but you can. With daily stretching, your muscles feel as though they’re elongating and you can feel yourself inching towards the ultimate goal.

There’s no doubt about it- regular yoga practice has made me a believer. I simply FEEL BETTER after a yoga session, both physically and psychologically. And it seems as though these feelings are lasting longer and longer after each session. I’m grateful I finally got around to making yoga a part of my life. I’d highly recommend it to all of you.