Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year!

Christmas is over and the New Year is just around the corner.  Time to clean up and get those resolutions set.  As for me, my New Year's resolution is to be a more balanced individual.  This means being balanced in all of the aspects of health:  emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, social, and environmental.

Here's how I plan on doing it:

  • Emotional- When you start to feel stressed, take a break from whatever you are doing and meditate.  Take 3-5 deep breaths; holding for 4 seconds after the inhale.  This cleanses the body and opens the mind so that you can more clearly understand what is making you stressed.
  • Physical- I will be working out, practicing yoga, and dancing.  These activities are ones that I thoroughly enjoy and have fun doing with friends and family.  I will also be continuing a healthy diet filled with lots of whole grains, protein, and of course fruits and vegetables.
  • Intellectual- This one is really easy for me, mainly due to the fact that I am still a student, but also because I love to read.  Any chance I get, Andrew and I head to the library to find new DVDs about the ocean, books on tape, as well as books to read and learn from.  One of the biggest reasons that more people are getting Dementia and Alzheimer's is because there is not enough reading and social interaction as there used to be.  So, pick up a book and give that brain a good workout!!!! (Believe it or not, you actually burn lots of calories by reading/learning)
  • Social- Speaking of social interaction, my resolution for this domain is to hang out with friends and family as much as I can.  Studies and work are important, but when it all comes down to it, family and friends are what make you strong, happy, and healthy.  It is important to be social. That doesn't mean go out drinking every weekend, but maybe have a dinner party; go out to eat; meet up and go for a walk; and so much more.
  • Spiritual- I try to practice meditation every day, which is great for mental clarity and truly understanding yourself.  I don't pray as much as I used to, but prayer is also a good way to stay grounded and connected with not only yourself, but a higher being as well.
  • Environmental- Last but certainly not least, the environment is definitely worth adding into a resolution.  This doesn't just mean reduce, reuse, and recycle; although those are great things to do if you don't already do them, it also incorporates your living environment and the community around you.  Keep the house clean, stay away from smoke, keep up the personal hygiene, and notice the small details of life around you.  Next time you go for a walk or even just go outside, notice all the sounds and smells that come your way.  Really pay attention to them and notice if you can find where they are coming from.  All the details of the earth are not noticed enough; notice them and you will immediately feel more connected to a greater power and truly feel the greatness of this beautiful planet.
Have a safe an happy new year!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Almost Christmas!

It is 4 days until Christmas and I can hardly wait.  Work and school are a huge stress so I have been hitting the cookies and sweets pretty hard.  The good news is that I am gaining control back and feeling the warmth of the Holidays filling my soul.  This link shares some great tips about stressful eating during the holidays.  It is 10 "survival" guides for those of us who tend to reach for the goodies in order to make it through the holidays.

Although many nutritionists and health professionals tell you to eat healthy and keep exercising during the holidays, sometimes we don't have the energy or desire to do those things.  Being a believer in "everything in moderation", I say go for it! Enjoy your guilty pleasures, after all, they only come once a year.  Guilt is the trigger to many peoples' overeating and indulging, so why should we feel sorry for ourselves?  The more we delve in guilt, the more we overeat, the more we feel guilty...and so it goes...

The key to the Holidays is to fill up on veggies and lean proteins first, drink lots of water, and then enjoy and savor every last bite of your favorite treats!  (Yes that's treats...plural!)  To really savor your foods, chew every bite 20-50 times (yes, you read right).  This allows your body to register what you are eating.  Feel every sensation in your mouth, every flavor, the temperature, the texture.  Chew and chew.  Then, notice how the food makes you feel.  Do you feel happy?  Joyful?  Warm and fuzzy?  Absorb that feeling and let it sink in before you go for another round or bite.  Next, talk with some friends or family members you haven't seen in a while.  This alone will make you feel warm and fuzzy without any added calories.

The biggest thing to take away from this post is that the Holidays are for being with friends and family, not indulging on sugar and alcohol or seeing who got the best gifts.  Enjoy those things as well, but remember that your friends and family will always be there for you and that they want to share this wonderful Holiday with you.  Enjoy it with them and celebrate the season!

Luana ola!

Buon Natale! (Merry Christmas in Italian)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pita Chips

I have just created some of the best (both healthy, tasty, and inexpensive) pita chips around.  Yes, if you are a Stacy's Pita Chip lover, like myself, you just might convert to making your own as well!

While buying some groceries today, a thought crossed my mind...We're out of pita chips!  Knowing that a bag of Stacy's (our absolute favorite) would set us back about $3 to $4 for a half-filled bag, I bypassed the chip isle and continued shopping.  Just before the checkout is the bakery, where they sell whole wheat pita bread for $0.99 (you get 10 loaves in the bag)!  I can never pass up this deal because Andrew absolutely adores pita bread, and this was the perfect time to try out my improv skills.  So I bought 2 bags; one for chips, and one of him to take to work as bread for lunch (a whopping total of $2 for 20 loaves!!!...can you tell I love a good deal)

For dinner, I have cooked up some kale and baked the pita loaves.  350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, flipping half way.  I cut each loaf into bite size pieces, sprayed with cooking oil and sprinkled a little salt on them because the loaves are salt free.  Besides making the house smell amazing, the chips turned out nice and crunchy!  My plan is to dip them in hummus and have the greens on the side.

Well, Andrew should be getting home shortly.  I can't wait to surprise him!!

Luana ola!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Working Out

My first day back on the exercise train and it feels amazing!  For some reason, that I still need to analyze, I have not been in the "mood" to work out.  I have just been going for short walks with a good friend and not doing much else.  I used to be either in the gym or just being active all the time.  I did lose a lot of weight and I was tired much of the time, due to lack of calories.  I am glad to say that I am back within my healthy weight range (although I'd like to lose about 5 pounds).  What I really want is to gain my muscle tone back.  After all that unhealthy dieting over the summer (I got waaaay to skinny), I lost so much muscle mass that it is hard for me to even do 10 push ups in a row without taking a short pause at the top.

Today, I did some running and light lifting.  I don't want to push myself too far, but I fulfilled my hour workout (from warm up to cool down).  It is honestly not that hard to schedule a workout, it's getting the motivation to start. I have come to find that although I really enjoy working out with other people, it is truly the motivation that comes from within that gets you through it.  By my 23rd birthday, it is my goal to be working out 7 days a week again.  I now know that I am truly in my prime, working at my best, and ultimately happy and satisfied if I workout every day.  I thought that I could find other ways to relieve stress, but that lack of working out actually ended up taking a toll on my emotional health.  I am feeling so good right now!

On top of all of this good news, Andrew also started his new job today at Wilton!  I am so proud of him for finding a career that can really take him places.  Although I am sad to say that we will not be going to Hawaii as soon as we thought, it is truly a blessing for both of us to be working towards our future together.

I am so thankful for all the people who put up with me as I was going through the crazy things that I have to go through in order to figure out my life.  I am one of those people who has to figure out life lessons on my own.  If someone was to tell me how to do something, I would try it and possibly even believe them; but I would have to ultimately go through ups and downs before finally figuring out teh right path.  (And 9 times out of 10, the people telling me the life lesson is right, I just need to figure it out for myself.)

Luana ola!  and be grateful for everything you have to offer

Friday, December 9, 2011

Finals are Finally Here

It's that time of year that all college students dread...finals.  Beign a senior, I am definitely feeling the sharp edge with my thesis having just finished and intership just arouond the corner.  With all of this going on, I have notice that I have begun to drink more coffee and black tea, and grab a couple of extra sweets throughout the week.  Tis the season!

Today is the last day for secret Santa at the Chapel office, as well as being my last day of work there :(  I really can't believe it's already been 4 years!  It just goes by too fast.  For all of you out there who are worried about getting older, take the time you have now and cherish it!  I know I'm only 22 and have a whole life ahead of me, but it scares me to think about how fast the last 22 years went; while my grandparents are telling me that time goes even faster as you get older.  I don't want to waste any minute of life.  Life is too short to take for granted, so live it up and be the best at whatever it is you do!

Luana ola!