Monthly Archives: February 2014

For the Love of Lulu

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I know, I know. I’m ridiculous with this post, but I have officially become a dog person.  I take selfies with her, I worry about her when I work long hours, and my clients ask how she is doing as if she is my child. I never even liked dogs until her.  Their slobber, their jumping. Eww, gross dog get away from me. I never had a dog growing up either, although golden retrievers have always had a special place in my heart. Maybe because of Comet on Full House or my cousins golden named Buster, but they were always so loving. So kind. Loving and kindness always resonate so well in my heart.

Anyways, It’s my dog child’s birthday and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate, besides homemade dog cookies and playing catch, then to share why she has been such a constant in my life, during her 3 years on earth.

I remember picking her out from her litter and the ride home. She whimpered and squirmed in my lap and tried to cuddle against me but I held her awkwardly away from me, like someone does in the movies when they don’t know what to do with a crying baby, or how I do in real life holding a crying baby.  I realized she was mourning being away from family, and as I looked at her adorable face and sloppy ears I pulled her in close. I realized that I would be responsible for her comfort and well being in life. And little did I know, she would be responsible for mine.

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She seems to have this innate sense of what it means to enjoy life and love unconditionally. And if I could hear her thoughts, this is what I think she would say.

1. I follow you around because I just want to be a part of your life. In all you do, whether you are at home doing the simplest of things or you are getting in that car to go somewhere fun, I like to be by your side. When you take out the trash or get mail, I like to accompany you just because.  When I snuggle at your feet while you drink coffee or lay in the middle of the kitchen when you cook or do dishes, it is just because I like to be close.It is being together that counts.

2. Even if you do not have time to take me on walks,  forget to fill my water bowl or forget to feed me breakfast,  I understand.  Life gets overwhelming and people make mistakes. We cannot do everything, all the time. But it is ok because I love you unconditionally. I know that you are doing the best you can and I appreciate that.

3. Appreciation and love are important and are things that we should not take for granted. When you come home from work that is why I am so flippin excited to see you, every single day! My excitement is immense and I want to let you know how happy I am to see you. That is why I wag my tail uncontrollably and retrieve my tennis ball, so I can show you what I have been up to all day. Just because time goes by, does not mean these things should change.

4. I think it is important in life to find a balance between play and rest. We need to get out of  our comfort zone, try new things, enjoy sunny days, run around like wild, chase after what we desire, have fun and soak up everything life has to offer. And then we can go home and nap. Be lazy. Release from our minds the things we have to do, and the expectations that are placed on us, whether that is from others or ourselves. Whether it is a moments rest or a lazy afternoon, that is what rejuvenates us and keeps us going strong. We need to rest up so we can have more time to play.  Xoxo, Lulu.
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So to my precious Lulu. Wishing you an exciting, playful and restful day. <3

Happy Birthday Lulu!

Toning, Fat Burning, and the Afterburn

I am sure you have heard all these phrases but what do they really mean? Lets begin with the “afterburn” which is formally referred to as EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption). Why the heck does this matter? It matters because it is the machine that keeps burning calories up to 24 hours, post workout. Technically speaking, EPOC is the measurable increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous exercise or activity to help erase the body’s “oxygen deficit.” Once you workout, oxygen is used to help restore the body to a resting state.

So why is there all this talk about lifting, lifting, lifting? Lifting weights increases the lean muscle mass you have on your body. For every additional pound of muscle you have on your body, you will burn up to an additional 50 calories per day. Add 10 pounds of muscle to your frame and you can burn an additional 500 calories per day, 3500 calories a week, equating to about 1 lb of fat loss. Weight training will speed up your fat/weight loss efforts and ensure that when you do lose, it is fat, not muscle. You will work hard to earn that muscle, so make that muscle  work for you! Burning calories at rest? I like it. (side note: while cardiovascular exercise will burn a significant amount of calories it’s EPOC effects are not the same).

But, I don’t want to be bulky. I want to be toned!  I hear this ALL the time. Do you know what toned is? Toned arms, legs and buns are more muscle and less fat. And how do you get more muscle? You lift weights. (Seriously, don’t be afraid to lift heavier weights, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. The benefits go way beyond looking good in a bathing suit. You build strength and increase bone density…hello osteoporosis prevention). “Toning” is a fancy way of saying that you have visible muscle definition, less fat and are lean enough to show off all that muscle you worked so hard for. Yay more muscle and less fat. So how do you get rid of the fat? Burn it?

“Burn the fat”, “fat blasting”, “fat burning” are all great phrases to get your attention.  What happens when you are in the “fat burning” zone? You are essentially utilizing  your energy stores differently. You are using more fat for fuel, then carbohydrates. Key word being utilizing, not burning. Let’s take two examples. You do cardio for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity. Yes, you are using more fat than carbohydrates. Now say you do a 30 minute, high intensity workout, you may utilize slightly less fat and more carbs, but your calorie burn will be higher, and if that 30 minutes is an intense weight training session, you will be working towards building that lean muscle and using even more calories at rest. We use fat all day, every day, as we go about our busy lives. Get use to thinking about the fact that when we workout we are using stored energy.

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I am all out of time for today, but will give you some muscle building tips in another blog. For now I will leave you with this quick 30 minute workout. Have a great day and happy lifting.

Perform 1A and 1B for 3 sets alternating. Repeat for 2 and 3.

1A 10 Dumbbell Squat to Press

1B  10Dumbbell Row

2A 10 DB Bench Press

2B 10 DB Step Up

3A 30 seconds plank

3B  30 Reverse Crunch

Perfectionism in Disguise

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I would never, ever call myself a perfectionist. That is someone who just wants everything to be to just right, who takes the time to make things look beautiful and is never satisfied. I mean, I have sloppy handwriting, I do not care about the presentation of my food and sometimes I go out and about in my sweatshirt because I really could care less, as long as I am comfortable.

So when I was told I had to let go of this perfectionism thing, I said “Please, do you know who you are talking to?”  In my attempts to deny this nonsense, I realized that I do have an overwhelming concern to do everything “right” and spend my days comparing about why everything in my life, including myself, is not good enough. Ah perfectionism at its finest.

You know the saying “comparison is the thief of joy.” Is that the most honest saying ever? Think about it. You are going about your day, maybe just completing a intense workout, dressed super cute or gave a bad ass presentation at work,  and then it happends. You compare yourself to your friend who had a “better” workout, the girl who looks “cuter” and the speech that was given is “better.”

Believe me, I struggle with this all the time. I compare myself all the time. Whether it is to the perfect body, the perfectly dressed, the highly successful, or the perfect way of eating, working out, living. No wonder I am stressed and anxiety ridden. I am shooting for a moving target, a target I will never hit, perfection. I have trained myself to ignore the strengths and progress I am making in life, and have chosen to focus on my weaknesses and shortcomings.

You know what?

The woman with the perfect body, she has her struggles too.

The effortlessly matched fashionista, may not view life as effortless.

The successful business person, they have challenges too.

I have become victim to the thought ‘If I do everything right, I will get everything I want’. I have since realized that doing everything right does not get you everything you want. That is not how life works. My own standards are some made up ideal I have in my head and has consumed my thoughts, making me feel inadequate.

Deep down I know everyone has their own challenges and burdens. We all feel inadequate in our own ways. The struggle is to not let our self proclaimed inadequacy rob our happiness and self love.   We must realize that how our bodies are shaped, how our clothes look, whether our dinners look like they do on pinterest ( sounds silly but I know someone out there has had these thoughts too), or how much money we make, does not define our worth or value. We are not only successful when we reach our goals but have little success along that way that should be celebrated each and everyday.  It is possible to have ambition and feel blessed with the life you have at the same time.

To keep my perspective in check:

My mom told me this all the time growing up. Put it in perspective. When my sisters and I told her we didn’t want to eat our vegetables she told us we were lucky to have food, as some children in other parts of the world do not. When we were upset we couldn’t get a new shirt on a shopping trip, she told us to think about all that we did own and be grateful for that. And as a kid, let me tell you how frustrating that is to argue. We couldn’t because we knew we were blessed in our own ways. When I feel myself getting down about not being a certain way or meeting a certain standard, I ask myself.

Did I wake up with a roof over my head and food in my tummy?

Am I am healthy and able bodied?

Do I have friends and family in my life who love me?

Do I make time for activities in life that I truly enjoy?

I tell myself.

Love yourself.

Trust yourself.

Don’t be afraid to fail and do things differently.

Be patient with yourself.

You are enough.

Where you are right now is perfect.

Do not let goals define your worth.

Perfectionism is a tricky business. The endless energy we spend worrying about things that do not matter brings us down in so many ways. I am reading, Loving What Is by Byron Katie and she points out an amazing question that I have started to ask myself when these thoughts creep into my head. What is one stress-free reason to believe that thought? What is one stress free reason to believe someone is more attractive, more successful or “better” than you? If you cannot find one, release your feelings, release your thoughts. If is does not truly matter, let it slide.  As much suffering and pain we experience in life, it is also full of goodness, meaning and beauty. Who we are is enough.

 

 

Patience Makes Pancakes (Cinnamon Swirl That Is)

Patience Makes Pancakes (Cinnamon Swirl that is)

Do you ever feel impatient with even the smallest of tasks? I do! Sometimes I feel like I don’t even have the patience to make pancakes. I’ll whip up eggs and toast, or peanut butter and oatmeal in five minutes just so I don’t have to take the time to find all the ingredients, mix, cook, etc.  I, however, am trying to teach myself to slow down….in life. I am trying to become less impatient and enjoy things in the moment instead of jumping ahead to the next thing task or event in my day.  It can be quite challenging at times but I find the only way to change this bad habit, is to practice implementing the new one.

Even with an intangible concept, such as patience, it takes effort and time, to CHANGE your habits and behaviors.  While this is a very small subject on such a grand scale of feeling and emotion, I have been trying to practice the little things that require patience, to help me develop the concept in a greater sense. It is too overwhelming to take it all in at once. I’ll start with pancakes. 🙂


Enter Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes 

With patience, combine all pancake ingredients together, in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. In a small bowl mix your cinnamon swirl ingredients together.

Ingredients:

1 cup of oats

2 eggs

1 banana

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup almond milk

Cinnamon swirl ingredients:

1.5 tbsp of melted coconut oil

2 tsp of cinnamon

2 packets of truvia/stevia

In a skillet with a non-stick cooking oil and pour your batter onto the heated surface. Immediately, take a spoon and drizzle your cinnamon mixture over the pancake in any design you choose. Flip, cook through and serve. Top with pure maple syrup, greek yogurt and berries or any other yummy topping your heart desires.

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“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” ~ Joyce Meyer