Throw the Word ‘Diet’ Away!

So, month 2 of 12 is officially in session, so I have a question:

How many of us are still saying you’re going on a “diet”?

Don’t you truly just hate that word?? I know I do.  Every couple months or so, I would call myself going on a “diet”, and within about a week in, I would be  giving it up and saying “I QUIT” to the entire concept.  This was obviously not yielding any positive results.  That is excactly why about two years ago, I decided to stop calling any change I made to my eating habits a “diet”.  I just called it what it was; deciding what I was and was not going to eat anymore.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I referenced my eating habits as a diet, and that has made all the difference in how I feel about what I choose and choose not to eat.

Everyone has their own way of tackling the number 1 resolution of a new year; losing weight and eating better.  I found out the hard way a few interesting and critical things:

  • I can’t lose weight the same way everyone else does, and I have to make the gym fun for me
  • I am not going on a “chicken-brown rice- broccoli” diet of sorts, because it will piss me off and I’ll eat a pizza instead.

Instead of trying to lose weight like people I saw on TV or social media, and limiting myself to only 3 foods consistently everyday, what I decided to do was to implement simple, yet better habits about my health.  Right now, I am currently weeening myself back off red meat (which is very rare that I eat it anyway) and I am working on letting go of pork as well.  I promised myself to work out at least three times a week on strength training HIIT circuits.  I feel like the more  I implement things I enjoy doing, the more it will not feel like a chore or such an important  obligation that I don’t want to make a valid commitment to it.

Now, when I commit to a specific change in the way I eat, I also never count out the things I  love most; which was something I did before (totally elimiinate things I thoroughly enjoyed).  Now, I continue to eat things I love, but in moderation.

For example, I love Pepsi.  I don’t know if there is anyone or anything that will have me not like or stop drinking it.  In previous attempts at weight loss, I attempted to quit drinking Pepsi cold turkey, but it never worked and I found myself frustrated and just quitting.  Now, I have developed a new attitude towards weight loss and now, instead of quitting it cold turkey, I just drink it in moderation.

The overall lesson I learned from this experience is that your life is what you make it, and whatever you choose to do is your business.  If you don’t want to lose weight, then dont.  If you do want to lose weight, don’t make it a hassle.  Turn it into something you are going to enjoy doing; if not, you will never actually have fun or feel good about your weight loss.

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Self-Care Sunday: Therapy

Wait, what?

I know, I know..

The “T” word is quite intimidating, isn’t it.

Therapy has been something that even I have been hesitant about wanting to try, but I’m realizing how beneficial it would be to my life to have someone who is able to speak with me one-on-one about things that I may not be able to be fully open with with my family and friends. In contrast, i know many people who are not too fond of therapy or counseling, and don’t want to talk to a complete stranger about their innermost thoughts. Neither feeling is wrong, because we’re all different; however, I have seen and read that there are truly some benefits to speaking with a therapist.

There are so many things we deal with in our lives that we may not want to burden our friends with. We don’t want them to worry about us; however, our mental health is just as important as our physical health, so you definitely want to make sure you’re taking the steps to ensure your life is on track mentally.

There are also so many ways that therapy has advanced now in the age of social media, that if you’re not comfortable with seeing someone face to face, you can even have a therapist that you speak with virtually. It’s a pretty cool concept to me, because some people still want a bit of privacy while getting the help they need. It’s hard to sit in front of a person and be completely vulnerable.

For me, writing has always been one of my top methods of self-care, so that I would be able to get everything out that I need to when I’m feeling some type of way. It wasn’t until recently that I seriously looked into therapy, mainly based on the type of job I have. The type of traumatic things I see and go through definitely take a toll on me emotionally and mentally, and pairing that with all the other responsibilities in my life can be emotionally draining at times. I would write about it, but I realized that sometimes writing is not enough.

The most important concept behind this is that you are finding a way to take care of your mental and emotional health, because we sometimes forget about those things. When someone asks how you’re doing and you always say fine, is that really how you’re feeling? I know for me, most times it’s not. Among so many other methods, having an unbiased neutral party to talk to not only will help with processing your emotions, but they can also provide perspective and insight on some of our most complex issues.

Self-Care Sunday: Give Your Goal a “Why”

As we near the end of the first month of 2018, a lot of us are checking in with ourselves and making sure that our goals and intentions for 2018 are still in tact; while most of us have already fallen by the wayside at Week 2. While we all had lofty goals and everything sounded good on 1/1/18, by now I’m sure some of us may be slipping into old habits and forgetting why we set goals in the first place. One way we can overcome this hurdle, is by remembering one important question in all of this; “Why?”

“Why did you choose this goal over any others for the year to achieve? Why did you want this to be the one thing you focused on? Why did you want to succeed in this particular area in your life?” These are just a few of the questions that begin to build a foundation to finding out some fascinating information about yourself, and about the intentions you set in motion for your year ahead.

I am no stranger to this bad habit, and there have been many years that I have fallen into this self-inflicted trap; and by February, I was back to my bad habits. For 2018, I am trying to do things a little differently, and this year, I think one way to combat that first month of the year burnout, is to sit down with your list of goals and really dig glen to the root of why you made those goals in the first place.

If you have more than one, maybe they all tie into one common “why” for the 2018 year, or maybe you have different “why’s” for each goal; either way, each goal has an overall reason why you want to achieve it, and you have a right to yourself to find out what that is, and you owe it to yourself to commit to staying consistent with those goals.

Once you are able to really determine the why behind your overall goals, the mission for your life may appear a lot clearer to you, and also, your goal may seem a lot more important if you remember that there is actually a deeper reasoning behind all of this. You deserve to give yourself 100% effort towards working with achieving whatever you set out for yourself in order to make this a more positive and prosperous year ahead and sometimes it takes a little self-reflection to see that.

Asking yourself the question why also gives you the room to understand and know whether or not you need to alter or change your goals for the year. It’s never too late to make life changes, and sometimes you find that something you thought is for you, turns out to not be in your best interest after all. If that happens, you just have to learn to adjust your goals and put new ones in place. Life changes in an instant and nothing in this world I believe is meant to remain consistent. If things are meant to be changed then they can be changed and will be changed.

As we begin to dive into 2018, I encourage all of us to do some check-ins and definitely ask yourself the hard question of “why”. Find out why the goals we put forth are important, what will they do for our lives and how they will impact us positively. If they will not have any benefit to us, make some changes, but if they need to be modified, put forth the best effort into them that you can, because ultimately, you are the one striving to achieve them, and you want to be proud of the plan you put in place for yourself and what your were able to accomplish at the end of the year.

3 Ways to Improve my Emotional, Mental and Spiritual Health

Now that I have surpassed a big milestone in my life (turning 30 in November), I am consistently pulled into a position of how I feel that this next chapter in life is a part of a big transition for me in life. I feel like im at a point in my life where there are so many opportunities that will come into fruition for me after I turn 30 that I want to make the most of what life has in store for me when I turn 30. In order for me to achieve this, I must be emotionally, mentally and spiritually aligned and healthy so that I will be able to properly receive what is for me in this next phase in my life. Without these three aspects of my life in check, everything I feel will not fall in place and be completely out of sync for me.

Oftentimes, and also do many times in my life, I’ve walked around in life not knowing which way to go or how to get to my desired goal in life. As I’m sure we all have at one point in our lives, I’ve suffered from several emotionally trying events in my life; some that I’d wish I had never had to experience; however those experiences are what shaped me and molded me into who I am today, and they also shaped how I view how to prepare myself into becoming more emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy for anything else that may arise in my life.

I want to highlight at least one thing I do to remain emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy throughout my life and hope that it helps someone else in their life if they are going through trying times, or need any suggestions in these areas as well:

1. How to stay emotionally healthy:

  • Conquer my self-awareness: in order for me to remain emotionally healthy, I had to remember that the first step is to always be aware of my inner self and stay grounded in that. If I kept on the forefront of who I was emotionally first, those around me will realize my worth and watch over me when I truly need it most. For me, this and my overall happiness were things I had to and continue to have to work on, because if I’m not happy with these things about myself, then others around me will not see these qualities in me.

2. How to stay mentally healthy:

  • Take charge of your self-care: There is no reason that in 2017, no one is not abiding by a self-care regimen by now. I feel as if this is not s staple in your life, it needs to become one quickly. I adapted a self-care attitude early in 2017 and have not looked back since. Making my self-care a priority has not only improved my mental health, but it has also proven to make me a healthier person inside and out.

3. How to stay spiritually healthy:

  • Take time out of the day to meditate: Meditation has become a lifesaver for me in many circumstances. Taking as little as 5 minutes to breathe has been quite a lifesaver and a refreshing restart that I never thought it would be. Meditation has also allowed me to gain more spiritual awareness with myself, especially in the times when I feel I’m losing touch with it. With my busy schedule I get very lost in everything that surrounds my job that I sometimes lose sight of taking the time for those things, and that is where meditation becomes a big priority for me.

Self-Care Sunday Highlight: Yoga

This week’s highlight for self-care is something I’ve been adding into my fitness regimen lately; yoga! Lately, at

least two-three times a week, I’ve committed to doing at least 20-30 minutes of yoga.

A lot of people wonder what you can get out of yoga, or what the point of it is; well I’m here to tell you that it’s much more than stretching and holding specific poses. Yoga actually has some very deep and meaningful purposes for your mind, body and spirit that can be very beneficial to self-care.

Yoga, pet Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, is defined as the following:

  • a system of exercises for mental and physical health
  • a Hindu philosophy that teaches a person to experience inner peace by controlling the body and mind

There are several types of yoga practices and techniques that all serve different purposes. I have always gained a positive benefit from doing yoga after workouts and at the beginning of my workday, paired with meditation. I will admit, it’s been a while since I’ve done it, but my hope is to start back up pretty soon. It always helped me start my day with a clear and positive mindset and ready to accomplish anything!

Some of the benefits you receive from a regular practice of yoga are as follows:

  • Overall better flexibility and range of motion
  • Increased energy and mood
  • Muscle toning
  • Weight loss
  • Improves blood flow

Overall, if you’re into health and fitness and ensuring you keep yourself looking and feeling good, yoga is a good practice to keep in your routine! And it just makes you feel awesome!!

Combatting Job Stress and Burnout

For the past month or so, I’ve really been battling with something that we all may deal with at one point or another in our professional lives; job stress and burnout.  Lately, I’ve been working my fingers to the bone at the job and it’s really been taking a toll on me.  With the nature of my job, these phases are common and I have gotten used to them coming and going, but this one seems to be coming and staying for a little longer than usual.

A lot of people deal with this on more occasions than we think.  Most professionals take the “suffer in silence” road and tend to find ways to persevere through these emotions, despite what they may be feeling.  This can be a dangerous thing to do, because burnout can cause a lot of negative affects to someone mentally, physically and emotionally when it comes to their job.  Personally, I’ve been dealing with stressors that have personally affected my health, which has been the primary reason why I’ve had to seriously take a step back and find ways to mentally separate myself in order to get a break.

I know that I have personally felt the effects of burnout in my job, and I also know that I am not alone.  I’m sure there are several people who are battling with this same issue daily; those of us who get up in the morning immediately thinking of all the things on our plate for the day, and possibly automatically without the slightest thought, beginning to obtain slight anxiety over the day.  I know it’s happened to me before, and I’ve had to program myself into not thinking in that manner.

I’ve been thinking of ways to combat this burnout feeeling, and small steps I can take towards trying to continue to find the positive outlooks on my job depsite the pressures that may come down each day.

  • Adapt a Positive Mantra or Affirmation: I’ve begun to state a positive mantra or affirmation daily that I recite daily (may be the same or different depending on the day) to help me get through the rough moments in my day.
  • Take Much Needed and Regularly Scheduled Breaks: If you’re allotted 2-15 minute breaks and an hour lunch, take advantage of them!  Also, use the opportunity to step away from your desk or take a drive away from your office and get some fresh air.  Spending an entire day indoors or in front of a computer does nothing but make you feel like a zombie at the end of the day.
  • Always Highlight  a Positive in Your Workday: In my line of work, some days are not always positive, but I try to always find a highlight in the day to hang on to.  Sometimes,  a positive is much needed in your workday in order for you to remember that it is not all bad, and sometimes it’s worth trying again the next day.

These are just a few things I try to do on a daily basis to keep my hopes high and my spirits up when I am having a long, draining day at the office.  So far, I’ve found them to be quite helpful during the day.

Let me hear from you.  Are you suffering from any work-related stressors, and if so, how do you relieve the stress?  How do you combat burnout and what are some ways you keep your spirits positive when the workdays are getting the best of you?

Self-Care Sunday Highlight: Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

I'm going to keep it simple this week and take a page out of one of my favorite podcast's books, The Friend Zone

For the wellness segment this week, Fran talked about how she began drinking 3 liters of water and raved about all the positive benefits just one extra liter of water gave her daily, since she was already drinking two liters a day.

This motivated me to highlight hydrating as a self-care topic for this week, because people be sleepin' on water, tho'. Lol.

For about as long as I can remember, I have been on a "gallon-a-day" kick; meaning yes, I drink at least 100-128 oz of water a day.  I feel like anything less now my body is not at it's best.  I knew that part of me becoming a healthier me began with increasing my water intake, so I took that and told myself that I would start drinking more water. There are certain formulas out there that tell you exactly how much you should drink based on your weight and body type, but so far based on how much I work out and everything, a gallon has pretty much kept me well hydrated throughout the day.

I also wanted to highlight a few of the benefits water has, because although sometimes you cannot see it, water does amazing things to your body if you pay close attention:

  • Clears up your skin

  • Cleanses your body of nasty toxins

  • Relieves fatigue and gives you an energy boost

  • Boosts your immune system

  • Relieves headache tension

Since the beginning of me drinking water, I've seen a great increase in all these things, and when I'm not getting enough water, I can tell. I feel tired, my skin looks washed out, and overall I feel very dehydrated.

Sometimes water is not my favorite thing to drink, but I know my body cannot live without it, so I make sure I keep my gallon jug with me, and anytime I need a thirst quencher, I tip it back and chug-a-lug!

So, this week, monitor your water intake. If you know you don't get enough water or don't think you're getting enough water, try to increase how much water you drink in a day and see how it changes your overall feeling after about a week.