Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Food Experiment

Following up on this post, after keeping track of my food intake for a couple weeks I learned a few things when I leave my eating unchecked:

  • I spike different groups of food: I'll eat tons of veggies for two days running, then eat virtually none the next couple days but eat a ton of protein, etc. I think over the course of the week it balances out, but my daily intake is very unbalanced.
  • I eat what I consider too many highly processed items (I also realize that I am still probably way below the National average).
  • When left to my own devices, I tend to eat four meals day.
  • I've always been jealous of people who "forget" to eat because I always remember food. Turns out, I'll forget to eat breakfast on a regular basis. 
  • I often go way too long between lunch and dinner (8 hours), which is also my work time. I end up doing my final massages with little to no fuel and then gorge when I get home.
This week, I've got a food plan I'm following and next week I'll take a look at what worked, what didn't, and what needs modification. I'm working off the assumption that four meals a day is better for me, so I've added a "tea" into the mix. Really just a glorified snack but I'm making the attempt to have it be more substantial (ie, more protein).

I also came to a realization as I was driving to work yesterday. I'm angry. A LOT. I don't know why I'm angry. Really, I don't. I mean I know I've got things in my life testing my patience (hello, siding guys who have taken the place of the roofing guys) but I shouldn't be this angry. And I use food to keep it from bubbling up and over. Because it works. If I'm full, I'm sated, if I'm sated I'm not going to go off the rails and bite someone's head off for existing. As soon as I started regulating and cutting back on the amount of food I eat, I get angry again.

I don't want to use food as a means for tamping down my anger. That is not a healthy way to go about doing things. So... what to do? My initial response what to tell myself "Get over yourself. You have nothing to be angry about." Would I tell another person that? Actually, I probably would because this is what I tell myself. Not very compassionate, is it?

So maybe I need to be a wee bit more compassionate to myself. I don't know why I'm angry. Does it matter? The point is, I am. And it's okay. I don't have to act on it; just recognize it and make my way through it. 

If you can't find any compassion for yourself, how can you hope to have any for others?

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's All About Perception

Yesterday was an amazing summer Sunday. It was the kind of day you wish would last forever and lives on in your memory as a Good Day. It was the kind of day to cherish. I spent the majority of it in nature with good friends, and a minority of it inside with good friends. But the whole of it was Good.

One of my conversations yesterday left me pondering the idea of perception. What I had taken to be an absolute truth of a situation was in direct opposition to what a friend of mine knew to be absolutely true. It wasn't anything bad - quite the opposite - just two very different experiences of the same thing.

Which led me to ponder... how much of our perception is actually projection? How much of my "truth" was actually me projecting my fears and issues all over the damned place, painting a picture that had no basis in reality?

I won't go so far as to invalidate my experience of the situation, because if I was projecting, it was because I felt I needed to protect myself from something I wasn't ready to address. At the time, I was in emotional survival mode, more so than I even realized. To be honest, it's a minor miracle that the worst I did was a little projecting. When we know better, we do better. Right?

When you discover that something you took as truth is actually a story you're telling yourself to get on/get by/excuse your behaviors is quite the humbling thing. Luckily for me this time it was pretty minor and far enough in the past so I could look back and be okay with it. Even a little amused. Because BOY did I have it wrong!

One can only hope the next time I feel like I'm strongly perceiving something, I can take a step back and say "okay, is this what I'm really getting or is this what I'm sending out?"

Ah... our fickle little selves. How amusing we are.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

These Hips Don't Lie

I am no longer able to eat like I did when I was 20. Or 30.


For the most part I am pretty accepting of my body... as much as any woman in a Western culture can be these days. However, I'm carrying around a little too much of me and no matter what or how I try I just can't seem to get rid of it. I don't want to lose a lot; I've come to the conclusion that I'll never see my lowest weight again and I'm okay with that. 5 pounds. That's all. And they will. not. budge.

So, I am keeping a food diary. I'm being extremely honest. I'm not trying to eat better to skew the results. I want to see what I'm eating, how I'm eating, when I'm eating, and perhaps target some of the issues.

I've already come to the conclusion that I can no longer eat Ricotta cheese. I've been ignoring the issue for a couple years now, but it is officially on the "if I eat it stand far, far away from me" list.

Double pout. Because LASAGNA.

I'm drastically reducing my bread, grain and pasta intake. I've got some whole wheat pasta I'm using up, but once that's gone I think my main grain staple will be rice. I'm not cutting out breads altogether because life is meant for living, but more like down to every once in a while when I'm out and about. I don't think I necessarily have digestive issues with it; it's more of a can't stop once I start issue.

So we're going to try the food diary for a couple weeks and then take a good hard look at what I could be doing better. Because there is always room for improvement.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Asanas Outside

I met up with my dear friend Jennifer today to take some pictures of me doing yoga outside. This has been something I've wanted to do for a while, but it's really hard to take yoga pictures of yourself because the timer usually goes off just as you are either halfway in the pose, or losing balance out of it because you got into it too fast. These pictures will come in handy if I ever get going as a teacher. Enjoy!

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Sukhasana (Easy Pose. Not like it's easy, like you find your ease here)

Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Full Wheel Pose. My arms are a little far out there, but still!)

Balasana (Child's Pose. Extended Child's Pose, to be exact)

Eka Pada Adho Mukho Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog, 3-legged variety)

Close up of Wild Thing Pose (Camatkarasana)

Samasthiti  (Equal Standing Pose)

This is technically Tadasana (Mountain Pose), although we've taken
to calling this Diana, Goddess of the Hunt

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2 Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose. Proof that I was able to find this pose once, for one whole second.)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sometimes There is No Going Back

This past week has been an extremely lean week for me financially. Next week will be much better (thank you, Universe!!!) but when I went grocery shopping on Monday I found myself in a bit of a quandry. Most of my pantry has been depleted at this point and there was no way I could afford to buy organic. I would also have virtually no time to make myself healthy meals. I'm pulling a 6-day week this week and I have been fully booked for all of my shifts. NOT COMPLAINING! It's just that when you're getting home at 8p or later after a full shift of massages, cooking is just not on the plate. Hell, standing is not on the plate.

So I did something I haven't done in years. I went to the conventional freezer section and got some Healthy Choice frozen meals that were on a twofer sale.


Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and when you're at the terrible place of no money and no time you have to make allowances for yourself.

There was a time many, many years ago when I lived off Smart Ones and Lean Cuisines. It is how I actually lost 30 pounds. I started weaning myself off them when I went vegetarian and I discovered that most of them had some kind of animal flavoring added. That's when I really started cooking for myself.

When I started learning about conventional vs. organic I cut out the conventional frozen dinners altogether and switched to Amy's, which has better ingredients and a much better flavor. Even then, it was an occasional treat for those days I didn't feel like standing at the stove. I was also making literally double what I do now and could afford to spend $5 or more a meal.

So I had the Healthy Choice meals to fall back on this week, and I was very thankful for the ease they allowed me after a long day. The taste however, not so much. It turns out what used to be a defacto meal for me is now one of the least appetizing things I can eat.

I guess it's a good thing to learn.

Other people's monkey bread counts as a very appetizing thing to eat.

It's definitely time for me to re-stock the pantry with quick and easy meal items that are much healthier for me. There are plenty of cheap and healthy protein items I can stock for emergencies such as this, and rice and pasta are easily found in bulk sections. Perhaps it is also time to take a Sunday and make myself a bunch of homemade frozen dinners. That way I can guarantee the quality and keep the prices low.

Because I really don't want to have to eat that shit again. Blech.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sorry/Not Sorry

"I'm Sorry."

When you've been hurt, inconvenienced, otherwise wronged by someone, those are the words you want to hear most. They are an acknowledgement from the other individual that they did something that was unkind to you and they regret their actions. When used correctly and sincerely, those simple words can have a profoundly deep impact on everyone involved. They can be a catharsis.

I have noticed that in my own speaking, I am often using these words for something other than the intended use. I'll apologize when a friend tells me they are having a bad day. If someone I know suddenly finds themselves grieving, my first response is "Oh, I am so sorry for your loss."

Am I the one responsible for my friend's bad day, or the loss of a loved one? I hope the hell I'm not!

When I say "I'm sorry you're having a bad day" what I mean is "I acknowledge your tough situation as I have experienced something similar and it is not enjoyable."

I do not wish anyone bad days or grief, but I have come to the conclusion that I need to stop apologizing for things I have not done and have no control over, because it lessens the sentiment. It makes the "I'm Sorry" I give when it is truly meant to be given have less impact. If I am apologizing for everything, then it means nothing.

So, I am not sorry you are having a bad day. I am not sorry your Aunt Ethel died. It really, really sucks that you are having a bad day. My deepest condolences to you on your loss.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you through this.

Because being there for the person is worth way more than any empty apology for something I didn't or couldn't possibly do.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Open Heart, Insert World

There is a belief in yoga that we - each and every plant, animal, human, and funky-ass thing living at the bottom of the ocean - is connected through our Self. Not our "self": that bit of ego that tells us that we are an individual. Rather our Self: that bit of the Divine (however you perceive it) that lives in each of us. Maybe you call it the Soul. It is that bit of Eternity that returns to the Mother Ship once we are done with the container in which we currently reside.

The Western world places great emphasis on the self. We appreciate individuality (so long as we're all the same, individually). We appreciate independence. We appreciate self-sufficiency. We do not understand giving without any thought of receiving. We do not comprehend serving for the sake of serving. If someone does something for nothing, we think them the fool. It never occurs to us that it is the exact opposite of nothing that they are receiving... that just because their reward is intangible that it must not "count."

When you truly start embracing the idea of Wholeness, you look at everyone in a whole new light. That homeless guy on the street, panhandling for money? He's you. That dancer on the stage starving herself thin and lost in the music? She's you. That person in line having a really bad day and taking it out on a poor minimum-wage cashier? That person is you.

Suddenly you start to feel for everyone and where they are in their moment. Your heart breaks for the woman walking to work in the rain because that's the only way she can get there. You feel you might explode from happiness when you see an Olympian who struggled and managed third place. Or fifth place. When your heart is open, the world can enter.  And just when you thought things couldn't be more wonderful and beautiful, you realize a terrible thing. Open hearts scare the living shit out of others whose hearts are closed.

Suddenly, you are attacked and derided for being too sensitive, for not having a sense of humor, for caring too much about people "who don't matter." You open your heart because the Divine wills it, and then you are ripped to shreds as a reward. But because your heart is open, you see the pain and suffering of those who try to bring you down. Your heart opens even wider to accommodate their fear and pain.

The heart is ever expandable, and those who reside there are the bravest of Souls.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Got $20 in my Pocket... Oh, Wait. No, I Don't.

I just paid my July 1st bills.


It was a good thing I had some money in my savings account to transfer over, because there was no way I had enough in my checking to cover all that was due.

Damned car insurance, fucking things up.

I do my very best to live within my means. Are there places I could cut back? Most definitely. But generally speaking I usually squeak by. But an insanely slow Spring at work means I simply have not been bringing in enough money.

It's looking like things are starting to pick back up at work so I am hopeful that the downward slump is over. I seldom worry about money, but I've got to say I don't think I have ever seen my account that low in my life.

It is scary, yo.

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way . This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been...