Like the Weather

I’ve started and discarded more than one blog post for today. None of them are flowing or feel inspired and all of them need a lot more work. And they are not working out today. This happens every once in a while, you’d think with taking a blogation I’d be ready to go. But I am not.

Its dark and gloomy again. Last week we started out with a storm that left us with a foot of snow. A week later, today, we have another storm that is supposed to leave us another foot of snow. Welcome to spring in the Rockies. Last I heard we had 150% snow pack in the mountains so we have had a lot of weather this winter.

March is the month when I start to feel the lack of light, our days are longer but its been so cloudy, we haven’t seen much of it. It becomes hard to keep up even with the Happy Tips. Cabin fever is setting in. I want to get outside and dig in the dirt. Get my potatoes started, turn over the garden beds, pour boiling vinegar on weeds all that pre-planting stuff.

All About the Weather by 10,000 Maniacs has been stuck in my mind this morning and feels like an appropriate song for today.

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Happy Tips, staying up in winter.

Its getting towards the end of winter and the lack of light and time spent indoors starts to take its toll. Moods starting getting gloomy and sad being stuck inside coupled with the lack of sunshine. I know for me it tends to be subtle thing that creeps up on me and I realized I have a case of the winter blahs.
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So what can you do to alleviate this. You don’t always have the choice to get out into the sun this time of year. Clouds, snow, rain all that fun winter stuff can defeat your best efforts to perk your self up. So here’s what I do.

Exercise. I make sure I am moving whether it is lifting weights or Januaries Cardio Blast to help elevate my mood. I keep moving any way I can.

Meditation it helps keep me aware of my mood and evens me out when I start going
topsy turvy. 5 minutes a day of sitting and being still will make a big difference.

Vitamin D is hard to make the natural way during the winter. Supplementing it can help bring your mood up and is an easy fix.

Green Smoothies. There is something about them that perks me up if I am feeling blah. Plus its an easy way to get some more veg and fruit into your life.

That’s how I keep my mood up this time of year. What do you do?

Valentine’s Day and letting it go

Hey peeps, I know this week can be a tough one for many people. Valentines Day is kind of overwhelming thrust upon one. Its an overblown holiday that all too often at least in my world ends poorly or rarely holds up to expectations. Pretty much I’m over it and don’t pay much attention to it. But what it does make me think of is all those years I wanted to have a good Valentine’s Day or even have one and the disappointment that usually ensued.
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My first best Valentine’s Day was not all that great by most standards but by mine it was stellar. I worked in a restaurant so of course I worked and my boyfriend at the time had to work the next morning at 5. We met at my apartment and exchanged gifts. That’s it.

Its hard to drop expectations or what you want to happen when others are getting flowers at work and you get nothing at all. Its disheartening but at some point I decided frack it and started buying myself Valentine’s gifts or doing something that I wanted to do. Didn’t matter I was not in a relationship or in one. It became a day that was no longer ruled by disappointment.

Language and Body Image

As I was perusing pinterst one day I came across the alleged inspirational saying of, :Dear Fat, Prepare to die. xo Me.” This kind of inspiration is up there with fitspo and squat bums for me. Its a negative phrased in the positive and for a person who has and still battles body image issues it strikes a chord.
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The chord it strikes is the one that had me, thinking size 8 me was fat. You see size 8 me was skinny and didn’t know it. You may wonder how I didn’t, but I didn’t. I didn’t like my exterior, it was fat. That’s what I thought and I lived with that kind of thinking. That girl would have been happy for her fat to go and die.

Having a positive self image has been a struggle for since 6th grade. This was my pivotal moment of going from a girl with strong self esteem to no self esteem due to peer ostracization based on my religion.

Fat is part of you. Whether you have too much, just enough, or not enough. The condemnation of part of you is not cool. You may want to lose some fat but why use negative language. Die, fat die. How does that even help? Especially if you do not already like yourself.

Positive phrasing turned my weight loss adventure into an adventure of becoming a healthy person. I gave up goals for systems. Systems have proved my friend and have led me to a place where I like me. I like me just as I am. Yeah I have fat days but they are temporary blips in my world. I do not have a weight loss goal or an inches lost goal. I have systems to create healthy patterns and habits.

My goal is to be healthy and enjoy my life. I desire to celebrate what I am, what I look like, rather than kill parts of me off. I am over fakespiration, that pretends to be positive but at the same time belittles you.

Let’s say it together “We are awesome and wonderful.” Say it and believe. Because it is true. Language

Yoga in Focus

Each month I pick out a theme for my yoga practice. I focus on that aspect at least once a week often two days a week and leave the rest open. The reason why I started this is that it helped take me out of my comfort zone. Because sometimes you have to pick sequences that are not your favorites.
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Creating a well rounded home practice includes asanas that are not in your top ten. By pushing yourself out of your favorites you start to grow and improve your yoga practice. Some of these are things I am not good at or can even do fully. I try to cultivate a practice of joy in the moments of struggle or just sheer absurdity of it. Laughter makes any of the versions of paralyzed mermaid pose frankly more fun. Or when your arms are ready to fall off in an intense kundalini yoga kriya, laugh it makes it better. It may not change what you can do but it feels better.

January tends to be yoga that focuses on cleansing and de-toxing after the indulgence of the holiday season it feels good to support your liver and kidneys with yoga. February is a more subtle month there isn’t a big need after that January cleanse month.

What came to mind this year is heart openers and solar plexus. Why these two choices? I am starting with the second. It is still on the dark side where I live, not a lot of light yet. More light than there was a month ago but the days are still short. Focusing in on the navel is a great way to tap into the power of the Sun and your own personal power. It brings out the light in you.

Heart openers because this is the month of Valentines Day when many end up feeling like crap. Its a weird holiday that places so much emphasis on being in a romantic relationship. It also makes people feel lonely and loser like for not being able to participate. But what it comes down to is you need to love and like yourself and remain open to love, the world, and opportunities. Heart openers are going to help you do this. They also work through emotional issues since they open up the heart chakra.

Pairing up the heart with your will means you align yourself in love. The choices you make will come from the gut and the heart. That makes it a wonderful, powerful, and awesome place to live.

Don’t lift more than 5 pounds? My purse weighs more…

Whenever I come across information that tells women not to lift more than five pounds, it makes me wonder how they came up with that number. Why is five pounds the alleged magic number for women and weights? Nothing in our lives weighs more than five pounds? How is that even helpful to anyone?

It makes me think about what I pick up in a day. How heavy is that bag of groceries? More than five pounds that’s for sure. Women pick up heavy things everyday in real life. Kids weigh a lot more than 5 pounds, even my little cat weighs more than 5 pounds. I carry her around with one hand.
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My guess is my purse weighs more than 5 pounds too. Which lead me to ask just how much does my purse weigh and pull out a scale. The current state of my purse is that it needs to be cleaned out. It stays that way for months. So the contents of my purse in its current state is typical.

My purse weighs 8.8 pounds. I thought it was going to be 9 or 10 pounds so I was pleased to come in under my guess. I was correct that I carry around over a pound of lipsticks. Its been this way for months now and I just keep collecting more change so it will only get heavier until I break down and empty it out.

Next time you time you hear the message women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, ignore them. It is a ridiculous idea that women are either incapable of lifting heavy things or that we shall wind up with big bulging muscles (most of never will get to bulgy). For me lifting heavy things had made me more compact and strong enough to lug my heavy purse around all day with no problem.

Don’t let others ignorance hold you back from strength training. Lifting heavy things will do wonderful things for your health and your vanity.

Lost your Exercise Mojo?

Sometimes you just lose your exercise mojo. For whatever reason you just do not want to exercise at all. Those favorite activities become a chore and just something to go through the motions with or skip it completely. It happens, sometimes the exercise mojo just goes away. So what do you do when that happens?
 photo 23520d60-2dde-4055-9acd-e5a6e88729e0.jpg1. Take a rest week. Do not exercise and if you have been eating at a deficit eat at maintenance for this week. Its about long term health, sometimes losing the mojo is a sign we need to rest.

2. So you took the rest week and still don’t have any mojo. *raises hand* Dial it back. This is not the time to push your limits. Keep a minimum of activity going on formal or informal. I’m currently in a dial it back phase as my mojo is so fracking missing.

3. Do something different. Try a new class or exercise routine. If you love vinyasa yoga try relaxation yoga. That different thing might be more rest days if you already exercise consistently.

4.No judging or blaming yourself. Being stern with yourself is not going to help. Mojo loss is not the usual hemming and hawing about exercise, don’t yell at yourself. What would you tell a friend? I bet you would tell them to rest and dial it back.

5. Mojo loss is temporary. You will want to exercise again, don’t worry, it will come back. Not wanting to exercise at all means to me that my mind and body are trying to tell me something, especially when I finish a workout and still feel blah or tired.

When all exercise sounds awful listen to your body and mind. Taking some time to rest, de-load, or dial back is healthy and in the long run better than forcing yourself through mojo loss.

Surviving the Holidays

Surviving the holidays can seem like a collision course. We are thrown together more often and not always with the folks we want to be with. There is food everywhere calling our name, sometimes with an aunt or friend urging us to have a bit of this and that with a third helping on top. It gets stressful navigating that collision course.

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Here are my top tips for making it through.

1. Breathe! Inhale, exhale, repeat. Long deep breathing has saved me so many times.

2. Eat what you love not what you think you should. That means when Auntie Alice is trying to make you take a huge portion of something you hate, you say no. Life is too short to eat food you hate. Eating carrots when all you really want is stuffing makes for a sorry existence and over eating. Eat what you love.

3. Keep exercising. Your normal schedule might be too much but keep active. It just will make you feel better and kickboxing can be a great way to release stress after repeatedly denying Auntie Alice.

4. When all else fails laugh. A co-worker at my first job used to say “I have to laugh or I would cry.” That has stuck with me. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the situation.

What do you do to survive the holiday season?

Shopsgiving?

As I sat there watching the news the other day in awe that yet another retailer was staying open on Thanksgiving. I started to wonder when did Thanksgiving become Shopsgiving? The shift has been happening for years. It is evident by news stories that people are willing to go shop instead of giving thanks, willing to go stand in the cold to get a good deal, willing to get up at five in the morning to stampede into a shop.
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Where is the willingness to spend time with family and friends or even just relax and be alone. Why do we no longer focus on giving thanks? When many of us have so much to be thankful for. Thanksgiving needs to be taken back by those of us who still believe in giving thanks, celebrating family, and traditions.

My traditions include eating, cooking, laughing, sometimes with people and sometimes solo. Gods know I loved my solo Thanksgivings in Salt Lake. I ate turkey, stuffing, gravy, and pie all by myself and watched whatever movie was in KBYU. It was awesome. These days I spend it with my parents. What I do not do is go shopping.

How will you give thanks this year on Thanksgiving?

Be a Light Weight to be a Heavy Weight

Just lift heavy gets tossed around a lot and as beginner I didn’t really know what it meant or what to do. What they were telling me to lift was too heavy but I kept trying to lift that amount that was heavy, because that is what the magazine told me to do. I hated it. It didn’t make me feel strong or better about myself. I felt worse so I stopped lifting.

I didn’t lift for years. I did yoga and ran. Fast forward a couple of years and I was struggling with the fact that my body wasn’t changing at all. I felt like a blob who had an excellent aerobic base. What I was doing was not working and I was not happy with my progress.

Enter New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLW.) I committed to lifting weights for the six months it took to complete NROLW. What I did not do is start heavy. I started light even for me sometimes. Starting light did something that starting heavy never did and that was give me confidence. I could do it and it felt good.

What I realize now is that as a beginner form is where it is at. Actually form is always where it is at, good form is good. Starting out too heavy had me sacrificing form and that isn’t good. Build good habits when you start, unlearning bad habits is harder.

NROLW changed how my body looked drastically and I didn’t change my diet other than eating a bit more. The jiggly bits were no longer so jiggly. I no longer felt like a blob and everything in life was easier to do. Weight lifting wasn’t what I loved but it became a staple for what it did for me and to me.

Eventually I was hooked and weight lifting is one of the three things I really love to do. Lifting heavy will come with time and work, don’t force it. Sometimes you have to be a light weight to get to the heavy weights.