Sunday, May 31, 2009

So I went to New York this past week, and they're not lying when they say NY is a melting pot. It's like a huge box of blocks full of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. It was eye-opening for me. It showed me how small Philly actually is, and how many (outer) beautiful, hip people there are (all gathered in one place!). New York is actually a good place to provide motivation if you wanted to drop a few pounds...passing by so many skinny, modelesque people will make you want to get fit as well. And with all the walking you can do across that sprawling city, it would be easy to shed some weight if you really desired.

While NY is known for its blending of people, I am also very fond of the numerous juice blending places the city offers. On almost every block you can find a fresh-squeezed juice venue. Since NY has such a mass and mixture of people, it is able to provide a wide array of restaurants and cuisines. New York has more nutritious/vegetarian/macrobiotic/etc. based restaurants than I have ever seen in once city. These kinds of restaurants allow you to go out and get good food that's actually healthy, making them great options for when you want dine out without loading on all the typical grease and fat.

Almost everyday I would wake up and walk down the street to pick up a freshly-juiced carrot juice. You could also choose to have a mixture of several fruits/veggies. For example, you could mix carrots with a combination of parsley, celery, beets, ginger, or spinach. Pictured above was a beet/carrot juice blend that I enjoyed one morning. I also sampled a fresh-squeezed orange juice, but surprisingly found it to not be nearly as good as the carrot juice blends.

While I already happened to be a fan of carrot juice, I was super excited when I saw it being offered in so many restaurants/cafes. Carrot juice is astoundingly sweet, and doesn't taste like what most people would expect. While it does have a hint of earthiness to its taste, it's nothing like V8 or any other vegetable concoction. If you haven't ever tried carrot juice, I definitely recommend it. And nothing beats freshly-juiced carrots (or freshly-squeezed anything for that matter). Personally, I enjoy just simple carrot juice, but it's also worth trying with either beets or ginger.

Carrot juice is loaded with vitamin A (good for the eyes!). It also contains vitamin E and B vitamins, as well as numerous minerals that include calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. The vitamin A from the beta carotene in carrots is said to cleanse the liver, strengthen bones, and protect skin. It's also low-cal for a juice, containing just 70 calories per one 8-ounce serving.

Providing numerous nutrients and health benefits, and a great taste too, carrot juice is one of my favorite drinks. Give it a try, especially if you get the chance to head up to NY and go to one of the fresh-juice venues.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I forgot just how great of a workout cross country bike riding is, that is until I promenaded through the countryside on my mountain bike this morning.

I quickly realized after struggling up the first hill that the ride wasn’t going to be the morning motorcycle cruise I had imagined. I made it up the first hill without an annoying amount of huffing and puffing. But my cool, smooth breathing ended there. The next hill (and pretty much every hill after that) I was gasping for air like a fish out of water. Struggling up hills on a bike is much more difficult than it looks. Bikers often breeze past runners climbing to the tops of hills, but I think I’d rather be the lingering runner. Biking a hill is by far more strenuous than running one.

But all those hills are worth it. After the peak of a painstaking hill, there almost always proceeds a phenomenal downhill. Speeding down those hills is a rush like no other. And trust me, the downhills felt extra great after the long uphill struggles I went through to get there. Wind through my hair, and sun on my back, ahhh love it.

Cruising through less-traveled back roads brought a sense of tranquility to my workout as well. Except for the occasional car, it was just me and my bike, hitting the pavement (and every now and then a gravel road). Although I run these roads, I am never able to get as far as my bike can take me. It let me see more of the countryside and explore roads I infrequently come upon.

I’ll definitely be embarking on another countryside bike ride soon. And I recommend it to anyone looking for a good leg workout. You’ll be panting harder than your dog running next to you. Dust off your bike and let it see the day of light! If you don’t live near the country, explore your town/city and check out some of the less illustrious parts of town. You may discover a hidden gem/secret spot right in your backyard. And while you’re having fun cruising around, you can burn roughly 500 calories in just 60 minutes!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Compost...Good for the Soul, Good for the Soil

Ok, so it looks kind of (well maybe not just kind of) disgusting, but compost does wonders for the soil. Composting turns icky food scraps into organic treasure. With the help of microorganisms such as worms, bacteria, and insects, organic material is broken down, sending nutrients back into the soil. This decomposition cycle releases carbon dioxide back into the air, and leaves behind humus, nutrient rich soil that is perfect for cultivating plant life.

Compost naturally contains many nutrients that enhance soil. Many of its wide range of nutrients can't be found in other synthetic fertilizers. Due to its properties, composting helps to balance the pH level of the soil, creating an ideal composition for planting. It loosens soil making it easy to work with, and also creates conditions that prevent soil from losing a war to erosion and run-off disasters. The microorganisms that feed off of and decompose compost also help to enhance soil by aerating and breaking down wastes into simpler forms of which nutrients can be more easily absorbed by plants. Composting also helps soil to retain water, an essential ingredient for enabling plant growth.

I'm a huge fan of organic farming because chemical pesticides are just down-right bad for you, and are simply unnatural. Composting is an alternative way of fertilizing and promoting healthy plant growth. By using life's natural organic waste, you can cut down your dependence on artificial supplements. Pesticides are hazardous to human health as well as the health of the environment, and most large-scaled farmers just completely ignore this for the fact of trying to yield the highest profit possible.

Composting is undoubtedly beneficial for a small-scaled farmer who has no need to use harmful pesticides in the first place if they would just put in a little effort. Composting can help to replace the pesticides that many farmers feel they need. And it can be done for FREE. All it requires is simply a little time. At absolutely no cost, you can enrich your soil and grow mouth-watering crops that will also help keep money in your pocket by decreasing the amount of money you spend on costly produce at the store!

Besides all of these benefits for you, your soil, and the environment, composting helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes into our already over-flowing landfills. By reducing landfill waste, you are helping to reduce methane that is a byproduct created in huge landfills, an element that contributes to global warming.

Composting is easy. If you have the space in your back yard, simply dig a hole and start throwing your food scraps down into it. Each time you eat/cook, collect them into a bowl, and once the bowl fills up, deliver its components to your very own self-creating gold mine. There are also other ways to compost if you don't want the food decomposing openly in your backyard (for instance, if you have limited space, meaning the food would be rotting within close proximity of your house). Check out or for some alternative ideas.

Be In The Positive :)

After doing the previous series revolving around A New Earth, and The Secret, I've been noticing a lot of other publications that have been discussing the importance of staying positive. Being positive is key. If you want to live in happiness, you have to think positive thoughts. You can't be happy when you're mind is full of negativity. This can be tough at times when everything seems to be going wrong, but instead of letting your mind dwell on the wrong, fill it with other simple things you can be happy for. There is always something to be happy for, whether it be the sun, the rain, the grass, the little moments of silence, the fresh-air, the daily interactions with your friends/kids/family, etc.

I recently read in a magazine a great tactic on how to remind yourself to cherish the simple moments and be conscious of their worth. This will help you stay present and keep positive. This is how one couple remembers to think in the positive: "To cultivate positivity in our relationship, my partner and I started a 'thank-you box'. We placed Post-it notes and a pen beside a box on our kitchen counter. Whenever we feel grateful for something the other has done (picking up groceries, giving a back massage), we write it down and put it in the box. On Sunday nights before bed, we pull out the notes one by one and read them aloud. It starts the week in a positive way."

This is a great idea. Since often we harp on negative thoughts rather than positive ones, one of the best ways to turn this around is to write down your gratitude for day-to-day moments. You can create a box to be shared with your friends or family, or even just make one for yourself to remind yourself when you may be feeling down that there was always that time worth your gratitude.

Just remember to stay positive, because life is full of ups and downs. Rather than focusing on the downs, let's focus on the ups, and you will see that you're life will naturally start to become filled with more ups than downs.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I went outside to do some yoga this evening just prior to the setting of the sun. I was planning on doing only a few poses, but ended up doing a whole session, finishing with a relaxation into the dark of night. It was surreal. I don't think I've enjoyed my yoga practice this much in a very long time. As I live in the country, except for the occasional distant airplane or motorcycle hum, I am able to completely revel in all of nature's beautiful music. During my practice, I took notice of the numerous melodic sounds of the nearby birds, and as the night wore on, I was able to hear the sounds of crickets, peepers, and the slow rustling of the spring-green leaves. Doing yoga outside is an experience like no other. It is calming and utterly serene. It is as if you are passing time in a stand-still picture, a picture you don't want to ever escape. Performing series after series of supple poses, creating the spitting image of "picture perfect". Even if you don't live in the country or in an ideal natural setting, get outside and enjoy a few stretches. The sun sets everywhere, and anyone is capable of utilizing and enjoying its beautiful essence. At the end of your session and even in between each pose, take a moment to completely stop and absorb your surroundings. Notice each little sound, or movement of nature. Listen to the birds, watch the clouds swim by, notice the ant busily crawling through the grass. For just a few brief moments, just be, in the presence of nature, no matter where this "nature" may be.

If you feel in a rut, if you feel mentally or physically blocked/sluggish/clogged/etc. take some time to get outside. The outdoors naturally brings inspiration/vitality/light, and will reawaken your senses. Whether you're doing yoga, or just sitting in the grass soaking in the fresh-air, nature will faithfully be there to spark new ideas into that creative brain of yours. Undoubtedly it will take your breathe away from time to time.

Yoga Is Beautiful

Yoga is so fantastically beautiful in itself. It brings a state of peace, one that is often rare in day to day interaction. I encourage you to try yoga if you don't practice it already. It will make you feel great, both mentally and physically, and become in touch with yourself.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Final Breakfast of the Series

For your last breakfast idea, try cooking up an egg and pair it alongside some whole wheat toast, or even better, some oatmeal. Make it fried, scrambled, hard-boiled, or however you like it.

Eggs are a substantial way to start your morning off with some muscle-building protein. One egg contains a mere 70 calories, but provides approximately 6 grams of protein, and all of the essential amino acids. Eggs are also a good source of choline, a nutrient that helps brain function, and helps to regulate the nervous and cardiovascular systems. A recent study has shown that more than 90% of Americans are deficient of choline. Just one egg provides about 1/4 of your daily needs of choline.

Eggs are also a sufficient source of vitamin D, selenium, iodine, and B vitamins. Additional studies have proven that eggs protect eyesight and help prevent cataracts.

However, eggs should be eaten in moderation because they can raise cholesterol levels if excessively consumed. The yolk contains all of the cholesterol in eggs, but don't skip out on eating the yolk because it also provides many of the beneficial nutrients. I recommend limiting consumption of eggs to two days a week, however many experts consider eating one egg a day to be alright. If you already have high cholesterol, I would stay away from consuming eggs daily. When making eggs, I usually only cook one and add other fibrous foods like fruit and whole grains to fill up on. I would recommend this approach, unless you plan on making an omelet or scrambled eggs which generally require more than one egg.

Pair this breakfast with fruit. Like I mentioned previously, mango is my favorite fruit. If you have yet to taste a mango, be sure to give it a try. However, after purchasing it from the store, you many need to wait a few days for it to ripen up. It's well worth the wait though!

This concludes the healthful breakfast series. Remember, it is important to eat a healthy breakfast each morning to refuel your body and jump-start your day. Look to include whole grains, protein, and fruits/vegetables with each breakfast. I have given you 7 breakfast ideas, so if you fall into a slump and need a little help thinking of a creative way to make your morning meal, you will now have an idea for each day of the week. With a different breakfast for each day of the week, you're sure to never get bored, and will start making time and looking forward to eating breakfast each morning!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Word on the Street, Ms. Blueberry is Who Oatmeal Wants to Meet

As soon as you let blueberries into your oatmeal pot for some mixing and mingling, you're sure to never go back (and they won't want to either). This combination tastes as good, if not better, than blueberry pancakes; And who doesn't love blueberry pancakes?

Blueberries are one of the most beneficial fruits of which you could add to your diet. They rate among the highest in antioxidant levels. A study done by Tufts University rated blueberries to be the highest in their capacity to destroy free radicals. They are relatively low-Cal, but high in vitamins. And when obtained in season, their sweet taste is one that very few foods can beat.

Like I've mentioned before, oatmeal is also a super healthy way to start your day. Oats a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber (a prime component of food that makes you feel full). Because of its insoluble fiber, oatmeal is said to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). Oatmeal also helps to stabilize blood sugar, and has been shown to help reduce heart disease. Similarly to blueberries, oats contain beneficial antioxidants, such as selenium which is associated with reducing the risk of cancer.

The list of health benefits that both oatmeal and blueberries provide could go on and on. Put these two powerhouses together, and there's no way they couldn't do anything but boost your body's vitality.

To make blueberry oatmeal (2-3 servings):
-1 cup of old-fashioned oats
-2/3 to 1 cup of blueberries, washed
-Maple Syrup
-1 tsp. Sesame Tahini (optional)

Place one cup of oats with 2 cups of water in a pan. Bring the water to a boil, then place the lid on the pan. Turn the heat to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes (personal discretion as to how done you prefer your oatmeal). Add the blueberries and cook until just a few start to burst and melt into the oatmeal (about 2-5 minutes). Place oatmeal into a bowl and stir in the sesame tahini if desired (this will add creaminess to the oatmeal). Drizzle maple syrup on top. Voila!

This breakfast tastes best when blueberries are in season. The oatmeal will be sweeter and will require less sugary maple syrup needed on top. Lucky for me, summer is on it's way, bringing its ripening powers with it. Bluberries should arrive around the end of June/ beginning of July, roughly two months away! You may want to add a few walnuts/almonds/etc. to round out this meal and add some extra protein to your breakfast.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Quick Fix and My Food Combo. of All-Time

If you're on the run and need a quick way to fuel your morning, cereal just may be one of your best options. Simply pour some cereal and splash it with some milk (or I prefer soymilk). However, be careful what you choose because cereal can be loaded with sugar and empty calories. This morning I had a bowl of Heritage Flakes. This cereal is packed with organic ingredients and contains 6 grams of fiber (22% of your daily needs) and 4 grams of protein, with a mere 4 grams of sugar. One serving accounts for just 110 Calories.

Some other healthful cereals I enjoy (In general order of healthiness):
-Kashi GoLean (11 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber! Add in some bananas, because although the cereal is not bad, it could use a little boost)
-Shredded Wheat (packed with fiber, also pairs well with slice banana)
-Total Whole Grain (Low calorie, fortified with vitamins)
-Cinammon Life (High in sugar, but made with whole grains, and provides 7 grams of protein. Eat more in moderation)

Those are just a few of the cereals I rotate around for breakfast. If you're trying to adjust from a more sugary cereal to one of the above options, try mixing a quarter of your favorite sweet cereal with 3/4 of one of the more nutritious cereals. Before you know it, you will gradually get used to the taste of the more simple cereals, and prefer them over a sickeningly sweet breakfast.

Pair your bowl of cereal with my favorite: BANANA WITH PEANUT BUTTER
I am constantly eating bananas with PB, whether it's for breakfast, a pre-run or post-run snack, or a late night indulgence. I absolutely love this combination. Quite frankly it could be one of my favorites, if not favorite thing to eat. I seem to never get sick of the combination. It's perfect for a morning start, as it combines fiborous, potassium-filled banana with a little bit of healthy fat and protein-loaded peanut butter. If you haven't tried it, it's a must do (unless you're allergic to peanuts that is, if so stay away and sorry for my ranting!).

A simple bowl of cereal paired with a banana and peanut butter will be sure to leave you full and satisfied all the way until lunch. So break open that banana and pop that box of cereal on your way out the door whenever you feel you're in a crunch for time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baby Will You Be My Yogurt and Fruit

There's no better combination than yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Mmm Mmm Mmm. Here's how I make my morning parfaits:

-Nonfat (or 2% if preferred) Greek Yogurt
-1/2 Banana, sliced
-1/4 cup Pineapple, chopped
-1 Orange, sliced
-Berries/mango/apples/any fruit on hand
-4-5 Walnuts, chopped
-1 Tablespoon of raisins (optional)
-Honey (optional)

Combine all the fruit in a bowl. Place a generous scoop of yogurt on top. Sprinkle the walnuts around and drizzle some honey if desired.

Greek yogurt has up to twice as much protein as regular. It also contains less sugar and is lower in lactose. It's texture is naturally more dense and creamy than that of the average yogurt, making it taste extra indulgent. It gets its creaminess from a straining process that removes the whey, or liquid, part of the yogurt. Try picking up some Fage Greek Yogurt instead of your regular Dannon/Yoplait/etc. yogurt at the store. Stonyfield also makes a Greek yogurt product, labled Oikos, which has gotten good reviews, however I have yet to try it.

Walnuts also add a substantiary amount of protein to this breakfast. They contain heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids (actually contain more compared to most other nuts). Walnuts have been shown to lower levels of LDL cholesterol (the enemy kind). They are also rich in B vitamins and Vitamin E.

And as always, fruit contains a colorful array of vitamins and nutrients, as well as fiber. By placing these three ingredients together, you easily create a masterpiece of art just waiting to be eaten!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Green Smoothies and Muffins (Yep, that's right green and muffins)

Want to pack a high-powered-punch into you're breakfast? Try a green smoothie, a complete vitamin-fortified, healthy morning shake that guarantees to start your day off right.

Green? But how can a smoothie be green? It's simple.

For one serving (a large glass) or two smaller servings, combine the following ingredients into a blender:

- 1/2 apple (whatever variety you prefer)
- 2-4 large Kale or Collard leaves, or a handful of smaller kale/collard/spinach leaves (you can vary this amount according to personal preference)
-10-15 strawberries (blueberries can be substituted as well, or use a combo. But if you're just being introduced to green smoothies, your best bet is strawberries because they help to cut and balance out the taste of the greens)
-Approx. 8 ounces of water/soymilk/ or a combination

Blend until smooth. It helps if you have a blender with a sharp blade and little bit of oomph, but if not, just keep the ingredients dancing in the blender for an extra few minutes.

And it tastes good too? Yes, give it a try. Although it won't be as sweet as your typical strawberry and banana smoothie, the drink tastes pretty good. To say the least, it's definitely edible. Think of it as a vitamin pill, as you drink down an assortment of different health-boosters. You can also get creative and throw in any other kind of fruit you have lying around the house. The more fruit you add, the sweeter the drink will taste (but you will also be adding more sugar and extra calories, so be choosy).

Pair the drink with a muffin. Not one of those sugary, processed, high-fat muffins, but an English muffin (sorry if I got your hopes up for the dessert muffin, but no, that's not a suitable way to start your day). Toast a whole-wheat English muffin, and add butter (I like to use Smart Balance spread), jam, or both. You could also try topping your muffin with a layer of almond butter to provide a little punch of protein. Almonds are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including manganese and copper, two trace minerals that deactivate free radicals flowing around in the body that hinder energy flow. Almonds also contain riboflavin, which aids in the carrying out of oxygen-based energy processes. While they will add a bit of fat to your breakfast, lucky for you, the majority of the fat almonds contain is monounsaturated (the healthy kind).

Make sure you make your English muffin is whole-wheat or sprouted wheat. The whole grains provide substantial fiber, helping to make you feel full quicker and stay full longer. Make sure you choose brands that advertise "100% whole-wheat", not just "whole-wheat". Often times the first ingredient on supposedly "whole-wheat" products is enriched flour (or white flour) followed by several other ingredients, and then whole-wheat flour. This means there's only a smidgen of whole-wheat flour (the healthy, fibrous flour) in the product, just enough to label it as "whole-wheat" and to fool consumers. (I'll post later in detail about this issue.) I like Ezekiel Sprouted Grain English Muffins, which can often be found in the freezer section of grocery or health food stores. These muffins contain 6 grams (or 20 % of your daily needs) per muffin and 8 grams of protein. Also, there are not artificial or processed ingredients. You could also try Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Muffins. The first five ingredients are relatively pure, but this brand does contain some processed ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, so if possible, stick to the other brand.

Get your blender shakin' and your toaster poppin' and bon appetit.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Breakfast #2....Jazzed Up Oatmeal

I love oatmeal. Not plain, ordinary, white oatmeal, but blue, nutty, or fruity oatmeal. Oatmeal is extremely versatile and takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it. This is why I love it. Several of my following posts will probably be about oatmeal, so get ready to boil some oats and and some zest and zing.

This morning I had oatmeal with ground-up nuts. This simple combination tastes amazingly great. The omega 3's from the nuts and the fiber from the oatmeal provides a great, nutritious way to start your day.

Simply toss in a few tablespoons of varied raw nuts into a coffee or spice grinder and finely grind. Try a tablespoon of walnuts, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, and a tablespoon of almonds. Mix the nuts right into the pan containing a two-serving portion of oatmeal (one cup dry oats), or generously sprinkle the nuts on top of each bowl. Add salt to taste.

Add a piece of fruit to round out the meal. Choose whatever you're in the mood for and will naturally satisfy your sweet tooth. I chose cantaloupe. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Start Your Day Right

Two things needed to ensure a pleasant, successful day: 1) A good start 2) Energy

Two things needed to ensure a good start and energy: 1) A smile 2) Fuel

For the next several posts, I will be posting some great breakfast ideas that will guarantee to leave you satisfied and feeling good. Get rid of the image you may have that portrays health food as bland/dull/unexciting cuisine. I am here to show you that there are plenty of breakfast options that are auspiciously nutritious and delicious. Not only do the options I plan on showing you look appealing to your taste buds, but they will make you look good too!

Numerous studies have shown that breakfast is an important step in helping you lose weight.
In a recent survey of 2,959 members of the National Weight Control Registry (a group of more than 5,000 people who have lost a minimum of 30 pounds and kept them off for at least a year), 78 percent reported eating breakfast every day, and nearly 90 percent eat breakfast at least 4 days a week. Eating breakfast will keep you from pigging out during later meals, and it will also help to refuel your body and give you energy early on so you can start burning calories right away. You should aim to get 20-25% of your daily calories from your morning meal. According to the Mayo Clinic, breakfast increases productivity and concentration. People who eat breakfast also tend to have lower cholesterol and a decreased risk of heart disease.

Your best options are high-fiber, low-fat, unprocessed foods. It is easiest to do this when you make your own breakfasts at home. This way you know exactly what is going into your body.

I will be charting assorted breakfast ideas that I myself am consuming for my morning meals. I will blog at a later time in the day after I have consumed the meal so that I can update how my breakfast has left me feeling throughout the day. So let's get started.

Today I consumed a plate of cut-up watermelon, cantaloupe, raspberries, and blackberries. I also had a small handful of nuts. Fruit is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that keep you looking and feeling fresh. Try making a fruit plate with at least 3 different kinds of fruit. I chose the above fruit because of their varied tastes and colors which made my meal look very eye-appealing. By having a variety of fruit, you will be less likely to get bored and more likely to be excited about eating breakfast. Look for fruit that is local and in season- this fruit will be the cheapest and taste the best. However, sometimes it's nice to choose fruit that you wouldn't have everyday. Get away from the bananas and apples once in awhile and splurge for that pricier, more exotic fruit. Treat yourself to something like the blackberries I consumed this morning, or maybe purchase some of my favorite-mangoes. Since fruit contains natural sugar, it's important to eat something like nuts to keep you from crashing after a spike in blood-sugar. Nuts provide protein and heart-healthy fat to keep you sustained until lunchtime. If you have large hands (hah), make sure you grab a small handful because although nuts are healthy, they can be calorie-heavy.

I felt pretty sustained until lunchtime, even after doing an hour session of yoga. The nuts and the fruit complimented themselves well and awakened and kept my body energized all morning. Try this tasty, guilt-free breakfast, and I guarantee you'll be feeling great!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Final Post of Series- Compulsiveness


“An addiction lives inside you as a quasientity or subpersonality, an energy field that periodically takes over you completely.” For many people, compulsive eating is one of the major problems preventing them from losing weight. Compulsive behavior is due to lack of consciousness, lack of awareness with your present state of being. “You are identified with the internal voice due to the lack of awareness, you find yourself walking to the fridge and reaching for that rich chocolate cake.” You let your thoughts control you without being conscious in the present moment. Most often you aren’t even hungry, but you find yourself chowing down on a whole carton of ice cream or devouring a bag of greasy chips.

Next time this happens, be aware that this is simply compulsive behavior. Instead, when your thoughts emerge and begin telling you to overeat, stop and take three conscious breaths before you engage in eating. Become aware of what you are about to do. Slow down, and feel the present moment. “Consciously feel that need to physically or mentally ingest or consume a certain substance or the desire to act out some form of compulsive behavior. Then take a few more conscious breaths. After that you may find that compulsive urge has disappeared- for the time being.” Ask yourself, “will this really make me happy?”.

“Remember to catch any thoughts that justify the addictive behavior, sometimes with clever arguments, as they arise in your mind. Ask yourself, Who is talking here? And you will realize the addiction is talking. As long as you know that, as long as you are present as the observer of the mind, it is less likely to trick you into doing what it wants.” It is not you that wants to excessively eat. It is the addiction. The addiction wants to control you, force you into a never ending cycle of eating, guiltiness, weight gain, etc. Become free of this addiction. If you are completely present, you will realize that compulsive eating will not help your present state, will not make you satisfied, presently happy, or feel good in the present.

So remember, the next time you feel inclined to overindulge, stop, become present and aware, and realize what you’re doing. Realize it’s a sacrifice towards your ultimate goal of losing weight. Realize that you can move past your thoughts, you can observe them without them pulling you in, without becoming entangled and trapped by them. You are not your thoughts; you are the observer of your thoughts. You can sort through these thoughts and choose which ones you want to act on.

That completes my series on how to mindfully lose weight by applying some principles from The Secret, and A New Earth. Just remember to always stay present, be conscious of your thoughts and don't let them control you, and believe in yourself for anything can happen if you strongly believe in yourself.

Monday, May 11, 2009

3rd post of series- Believing

If you want to lose weight, you have to believe. You have to believe in yourself, believe that it will happen and that you can make it happen. Imagine as if you’ve already lost the weight and feel how it feels to be light again. Imagine the feeling of success in your head. The Secret explains this principle well. “To lose weight, don’t focus on ‘losing weight’. Instead, focus on your perfect weight. Feel the feelings of your perfect weight, and you will summon it to you.” If you are already feeling what it feels like to have lost the weight, you will no longer desire to engage as often in those activities that may have lead you to putting on the weight. You will be free of this, for you will already be feeling what it feels to live at your desired weight.

“The condition of being overweight was created through your though to it. To put it in the most basic terms, if someone is overweight, it came from thinking ‘fat thoughts,’ whether the person was aware of it or not. A person cannot think ‘thin thoughts’ and be fat.” If you are thinking “thin thoughts” you will be in the mentality of a thin person. You will subconsciously engage in activities that go along with a thin body.

You must also be confident with your present self. Although you may desire a change, you will never get anywhere if you can’t be happy with the present. “You must feel good about you. This is important because you can’t attract your perfect weight if you feel bad about your body now. If you feel bad about your body, that is a powerful feeling, and you will continue to attract feeling bad about your body. You will never change your body if you are critical and find fault with it, and in fact you will attract more weight to you.”

Believe in yourself, but also be happy with yourself in the present. Be happy with each stage of the process of transforming your body into its ideal.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2nd Secret, New Earth Post- Acceptance, Enjoyment, Enthusiasm

Here is some more food for thought--These are simply just interpretations and applications, use them as you please or don't use them at all, but I find each of these principles highly beneficial in achieving a life full of content.

There are three forms of consciousness that The New Earth advocates that I think are extremely worthy of using in every present moment of life: Acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. "You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all- from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others."

While exercise can be extremely fun, and health food can eventually taste superior to junk food (not to mention make you feel better), understand that reaching this point of view is a process. If you are stuck still dreading each day of exercise, or label health food as bland and dull, at least you can bring forth acceptance to every present moment in which you are engaged with either one of those essentials of losing weight. “Whatever you cannot enjoy doing, you can at least accept that this is what you have to do. Acceptance means: For now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly.” Don’t despise getting healthy, for it can be tough, but rather accept it and come to terms with the present moment, seeing it as something that must be done for your well-being.

Once you have reached acceptance, you will eventually move towards enjoyment. “The peace that comes with surrendered action turns to a sense of aliveness when you actually enjoy what you are doing.” The process of getting fit and being healthy will grow on you. Before you know it, you will enjoy working out and will easily be able to replace your McDonald’s breakfast with some blueberry oatmeal. So don't give up too early. Speaking from experience, I used to fuss and complain when it came to running, feeling as though it was too hard, too strenuous, but through continuous practice I have grown to LOVE almost every aspect of it. It’s all what you get used to. You keep running, and before you know it, not only will you be dropping the pounds, but you will no longer be dreading your run, as it has become part of your daily regimen. It will be like brushing your teeth. You might not love brushing your teeth, but its not like you wake up every morning and say “Ughhh, I really really don’t want to brush my teeth right now.” Ultimately, strive to seek enjoyment from your daily work-outs and healthy lifestyle, for you have accepted that this is what you need to do if you want to lose weight, so to be happy, all you can do is look for the positive in what you're presently doing.

Enjoyment will bring you further and lead you towards enthusiasm. “Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm.” Once you gain enjoyment from what you’re doing, you can become enthusiastic about doing it and about your goal. By enjoying each present moment, you can always be enthusiastic about what you’re doing. Don’t look to the future to be enthusiastic about some upcoming event. Be enthusiastic about the present moment. The present moment is all that you can be in right now. Be enthusiastic about it and you will find happiness. If you can’t eventually become enthusiastic about your workouts, they aren’t going to last. You’ll be waiting and waiting until you’ve dropped the desired amount of weight that you wanted so that you can finally stop working out. But working out is essential for you whole life. Once you quit exercising, I’m sure you’ll see that quickly you will start gaining all that weight you just lost. Instead, if you can try to accept that exercise is needed, and find enjoyment in doing it, and be enthusiastic about the act of doing it, you will be able to stick with it and keep a balanced weight for life. As quoted in The New Earth, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.”

“With enthusiasm you will find that you don’t have to do it all by yourself.” This enthusiasm will bring you energy to keep going, keep you pumping it up at the gym, and keep a smile on your face while you’re at it.

So the next time you go to work out at a time when you may not be feeling too enthused, just think- acceptance, enjoyment, enthusiasm. By following this path, you will be leading yourself towards happiness.