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Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

We all have that safe place inside – the place were we feel comfortable, we know whats behind each door, we know what to expect, we’ve been here a million times…our comfort zone. The thoughts and feelings that come up when we step outside of this zone can be so strong and scary that often they send us running back.  We say it all the time in class -” Step outside your comfort zone, that’s where the real magic happens” but saying it and doing it are two totally different animals. This weekend I found myself in numerous situations and opportunities that immediately turned that little (sometimes very loud) voice of fear and doubt on loud and clear. I recognized my go to thoughts streaming in, rationalizing why I should get myself out of this situation and back to safe ground. But I stayed. I made a decision to stay open, stay present, and stay when I was uncomfortable. Now on the other side I can tell you it was worth every minute. It’s profoundly true that the breakthrough comes when we allow ourselves to trust the growing process. I believe the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of how things will end up stops so many beautiful moments from manifesting into amazing opportunities. It’s incredible how small choices add up and lend the courage to explore with great curiosity the bigger, scary choices. The beauty of the the whole process is that you possess  the strengths and tools to make that choice, to stay, to let things get messy, to be imperfectly perfect. Take a deep breath. Keep your eyes and heart wide open, opportunities to step outside and grow are all around you. Try it on – I bet it will look fabulous on you 🙂

#seizethesummer

It started off as just a hashtag….. what if when opportunities came knocking this summer, we just said YES – actually HELL YES! An idea that we could squeeze every precious drop out of our short summer and seize the moments without question. And we did just that. We lived. We explored. We laughed until we cried. Looking back it was some of the best days of our lives. We all yearn for the long summer nights, the vacations away from it all and the time spent with those we love so much that coming back to “reality” can be somewhat depressing. With Labor Day here and gone, it was time to retire the hashtag and I couldn’t help but search my mind for the next one, thinking that this hashtag has truly transformed my way of living! And then it hit me – it wasn’t the hashtag, yet the shift in my priorities.  The stress of everyday life hadn’t magically disappeared during these three months – nor did we escape all of our adult responsibilities, but we balanced it all out. We put us on the calendar and let go of the guilt that so often surrounds us when we do so.  We all have one life – we were put on the magnificent planet to do more than work, pay bills and die… we were meant to LIVE! The fall symbolizes shedding of the old to make room for more beauty to grow. I encourage you all to shed that which no longer serves you and brings joy and happiness to your life. Sure we can’t all up and quit our jobs and run off with the Lost Boys, but we can start by saying “Yes” to small opportunities to explore all life has to offer. You’ll be surprised how fast they all add up!

Day 4 (and 5 opps) – Nutrition Changes Everything

As I sit to write today’s blog – and yesterday’s – feelings of guilt start to set in for missing a day.  I give myself a minute to digest my thoughts and suddenly realize this is the problem with most “diets”.  How often do we start out on some crazy, unrealistic, diet regime only to find failure?  How deflated are we to start back after this?  As important as nutrition is for us physically, I believe having some forgiveness for ourselves on this journey is as important for us mentally.  I mean you’re doing this to feel better about yourself right? Now this will mean different things for each person depending on your goals.  For the path that I am currently on, zero sugar means zero sugar.  Introducing this back in for a “cheat day” would knock the whole thing off track.  I have found ways to give myself rewards though to satisfy my mental cravings.  Today I felt like a kid on Christmas when I poured that tablespoon of sugar free creamer in my coffee, my reward. Sidenote – I tend to be on team “no sugar free shit” as this is code to me for chemical shit storm, but again we come back to forgiveness and moderation.  Maybe a better choice would have been some natural stevia to sweeten it up a bit, something to try next time.   If we begin to look at our nutrition as a lifetime game changer, its crucial to have this kind of understanding along the way. (P.S. This is not my invitation to you to binge out lol ) Without it, the first speed bump we hit sends us off the path completely, sending us right back into our old eating habits.  What this journey has taught me so far is that if I commit to being more mindful about my food choices my little victories add up.  Focusing on these little triumphs instead of just the end goal helps keep me on track.  This mindset paired with the understanding that I’m not perfect, that some days will be harder than others to stay on track gives me a different perspective on the whole diet game.  I find myself smiling as I write that thinking how funny it is that that little love affair I have with yoga continues to find it’s way off the mat and into my everyday life…..

Day 3 – Nutrition Changes Everything

Day 3 – Wednesday AKA Strength Day at the Space – I have a love hate relationship with this day normally and now  I find myself wondering how my new found nutrition regiment will get me thru the day.  Thoughts of doubt start to creep in, maybe today I won’t push as hard, maybe I should take it a little easier than normal.  Reluctantly I roll out my mat and run thru the sequence one more time in my head. The usual crew starts to stroll thru the door, looking to me for motivation and smiles. It then hits me that if it wasn’t for these guys I would not be practicing today, they are what is pushing me to stay accountable and suddenly I’m energized and ready to go.  After class I feel like a new human, invigorated.  How could I give up now when I have so many people looking up to me to find their strength? Move over chocolate – you’re not getting to me today! Egg white omelet down the hatch, black coffee cursing thru my veins, Wednesday it’s time to rock you out. Everything and then some that I was feeling about morning flow was multiplied by 100 during Kettle Bell Conditioning at night. There was not a dry shirt in the studio as every single soul in there was pushing themselves to their max. Feeding off the energy of their neighbors, digging deep, and crushing thru goals. Physically my body was exhausted after, but mentally my brain was on fire! The love and appreciation that I felt to all those that came to class overflowed as I began to think of everyone that has helped to make up the rTribe we’ve created.  I’ve always heard the saying that “It takes village” – mostly correlated with raising children but it got me thinking, what if this is true in regards to finding happiness.  Looking up the definition of Tribe brings it all home – “A tribe is a group of people that care for each other and look out for each other no matter what. They are bonded by a strong sense of shared values, meaning, and purpose in life”. Throughout most of our evolutionary history, humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies where people were much more dependent on tight knit relationships and cooperation. Modern day society ( with the introduction of agriculture and industrialization) has swayed from this human instinct and desire to be part of a community, a tribe. Now there’s no denying that many great luxuries have come with this as well, allowing for people to live more independently but is there a cost? As wonderful as it is to live the life we do – honestly most of us have it pretty damn good – why is it that depression and suicide are more prevalent in our culture than that of poorer nations? Could there be a correlation between loneliness and these mental issues? Where this may be a deeper concept than we’re ready to tackle in today’s blog, I come back to the sense of accountability being part of rTribe gives me.  Stepping out of my individual wants to serve the greater good. That feeling of euphoria  you share with another person when they smash thru their goals, letting go of barriers that were once there. I feel as though it is a missing piece in our lives today.  When was the last time you stepped outside and had a conversation with your neighbor or a stranger for that matter?  Do you know your post man/woman’s name? Maybe today instead of worrying about our sugar intake we start to meet our community, form our Tribe. I’ve said since we opened our doors – the hardest part for people is walking in – once you do your part of the rTribe, you’re family.  As Helen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Thank you, all of you for giving me back this missing piece.

Day 2 – Nutrition Changes Everything

“The moment you stop learning is the instant you stop growing.” What a fitting quote on my daily calendar as today I stumbled across a new cook book, The Sugar Free Kitchen. Much to my surprise and delight the beginning of the book was as if someone was writing it just for me on this journey. The introduction talks about becoming aware and mindful of where sugar is found and to understand that a lifetime of no sugar would be unrealistic, even inadvisable.  As I continued to read I began to educate myself on the differences between fructose and glucose helped bring a lot of things in perspective. One the body recognizes and processes – glucose. Where the other can be damaging if eaten too much as the human body is not designed to deal with large amounts of it – this being fructose.   Only the liver is able to process fructose is significant amounts, which if overloaded, will convert it straight to fat. The results of this is not just weight gain but linked to a whole gamete of other health issues including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Where natural sugars (glucose) stimulate the release of insulin in the body, fructose has a clever way of sneaking under the body’s natural radar system.  Insulin produces something called leptin, this chemical is responsible for regulating fat storage and when it is not released, the fructose is unregulated.  Unfortunately, fructose is hiding in many day -to – day foods. We’ve all heard the new buzz about watching out for high fructose corn syrup in our foods, but what about when we think we’re being healthy and reach for an apple or a raw carrot? While these choices are nutritious, the sugar they contain quickly adds up. I began to think back to my school days, trying to remember a health class that taught the importance of nutrition, I was stumped. I recall obviously being taught about the food pyramid and balanced eating but believe that maybe it was a chapter discussed over a week. Why is this not in the forefront of our education for our children? How is what we put in our bodies as fuel not equally as important as common core mathematics? Now let me stop here – I love my daughter’s school. I believe in the passion and drive that her teacher and the entire staff deliver every single day. And then I realized, maybe it’s not the job of the teachers to teach this lesson, yet maybe it starts in our own kitchens, with our own lifestyle. When starting this journey, I was approached by many people asking me: “Why are you going on a diet?” “What’s the point of a two week quick fix?” To me this is neither of the above. This is a commitment to lead by example, not just for my peers but most importantly for my kids.  We live in a society where it has somehow turned cliche or “hipster” to be healthy.  Where mindful eating practices take a back burner to convenience. There’s no shamming here, as I fully get life gets crazy busy – sometimes you need to pull thru a drive – thru – I hear ya. But maybe, just maybe, with the help of the community, the support of our peers and the spreading of knowledge we can help support a generation that gets back to our roots – literally – eating mindfully, learning different methods to deal with stress and emotions and recognizing prevention of health issues as the cure. You may say that I’m a dreamer……..

Day 1 – Nutrition Changes Everything

First thoughts when as I wake up – ugh I really want creamer in my coffee. I mean truly is there a reason to drink black coffee?? As I reluctantly sip, I start to think about the emotional attachment we have with our food. Do I really need the creamer? ( Clearly not as my coffee was drank as fast as ever). How often are we driven to eat because we are stressed or sad vs. a nutritional need? This thought stuck with me all day as I began to realize my body didn’t need the junk food I was craving, yet it was my mind I had to convince. There’s no denying that my nutrition game has always been my downfall.  More specifically sweets. I can rock out healthy choices at every meal but put a Reese’s in front of me and game over. Now I know life is all about balance – yoga teacher pun – and that a treat every now and then isn’t going to kill me. However, I have decided that I want to train my brain to be more mindful about my eating habits just as I do with my physical exercises. Break away from old habits and fuel my body with the right nutrients it needs to perform at the optimal level.  So here goes, day 1.  Coffee down, Yoga class taught, time to eat! I could feel the hangry creeping in at this point and was pleasantly surprised to come home to a delicious chicken salad awaiting me. Loaded with organic greens, locally raised meat, cucumbers, and a little dressing – life was back to being good. Actually better than good, GREAT! After that meal I was energized and ready to tackle the rest of my day. Then I went grocery shopping……Finding my cart drawn to all my favorite late night goodies, I dug deep and resisted the urge to give in. I noticed I was even more cautious about the snacks and things I bought for the kids. I found a little victory dance as I checked out sans M&M’s ( I swear they were calling my name.) After putting away the groceries, it was time for a little afternoon snack. The hubby and I split an avocado dressed with a little lemon juice and black pepper – fuel to get me thru my upcoming PTA meeting. Water bottle in tow and out the door I go.  I found myself energizing and proud of the day thus far – sure it had be a whopping 24 hours since my last delicious chocolate treat, but hey 24 hours is 24 hours and I was holding strong! An early dinner to fuel us thru Run Club consisted of my favorite meal – Breakfast for Dinner! Egg whites, spinach, turkey sausage, broccoli, and feta cooked in MCT Oil – Yumtastic!  Right around go time for Run Club, I felt my first physical symptom of my new nutritional journey, the headache. Instantly my  mind is on team chocolate telling me “See! See what you’ve done! This is a stupid idea – eat sugar!!!” I start to question the origin of the headache – have I drank enough water today, am I actually hungry?!? And then I realized that here in lies the addiction to sugar my friends. I was literally withdrawing from having this so prevalent in my system. I start to think back to the countless articles I’ve read on detoxing, juicing and the negative affects that sugar has on the mind and body. I take a deep breath and dig deeper. No time to focus on the headache (desire for sugar) with a 2.71 mile run ahead right? I didn’t even realize until I was asked by a friend how my headache was after my run that it was gone! G-O-N-E. No quick pop of a pill, no caving to cravings, just a good ole jog and I was good. I truly believe that conquering nutrition is much harder than any physical goal you have for yourself – but that being said – even more rewarding when you do. I’m not saying I’ve moved mountains on Day 1 but I’ll take my little victories and keep on keeping on.  After all that’s all we can do. Rejoice in your little moments until you look back and realize that is what has shaped the big game changers. Maybe someday I won’t love Reese’s the way I do (maybe) but for today I go to sleep smiling, feeling proud, and ready for Day 2….even if it starts without creamer in my coffee.

 

Reflections with Gratitude

‘Tis the season to sit back and reflect on all we have to be thankful for. This year I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude to so many people who have dedicated their time to making rSpace the wonderful place that it has become. It truly is amazing how in two fast months we have all come together and created a Space that feels like our second home. Friends have been made conversing over at the juice bar, neighbors have become family and our community has become closer as a whole. Thank you doesn’t seem to quite capture it all as I sit here with tears in my eyes but THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart and the center of my soul, I express my gratitude to all of you. I owe my family the biggest thank you of all for standing beside me on this journey and supporting me all along the way.  If you know me you know how much I love my quotes so here goes “Let us be grateful to people who make us Happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Namaste Friends