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Archive for the ‘healthy living’ Category

I decided to start coming to my little corner of the blog world and do some posts on self-improvement. My own self improvement. I have realized that lately I have been quite the negative nelly and I really am not liking it. I think I need to give myself a bit of a pep talk, put on my big girl undies, and take life by the horns…

Self Improvement: Negativity vs Positivity

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I think everyone can attest to the fact that is it so easy getting caught up in negativity. Negativity is around us constantly, whether its from ourselves, a co-worker, family member, friend, or even the constant negative nelly on your facebook wall. Usually, I try to keep a somewhat positive approach to life. I try hard not to dwell on the past and try even harder not to worry about the future. Of course, having negative thoughts is pretty much second nature to all of us so its a lot easier to think negatively when things go awry than smile while shoveling shit and ‘look on the bright side’ of things – especially when things just aren’t going our way.

I feel like since our world is filled with so much negativity as it is; I really shouldn’t be adding to it. News these days is usually not good; between unspeakable crimes, the suffering economy, and people struggling to make ends meat; there is plenty negative already.

Of course, I don’t want to be one of those people that is always positive because honestly – that is just annoying. Almost as annoying as someone who is constantly complaining about life – almost.

Anyways, I have a plan. A plan that includes some things I am going to try in order to get some of my positivity mojo back:

1. Live in the moment

Although this may seem like a given, sometimes I feel myself being bothered by things in my past and in the present. Instead of worrying about something I can’t change (the past) or something that has yet to happen (the future) I need to focus on just being here, in the moment. I need to remind myself that I only have control over the present.

2. Focus on the positive

By reminding myself of the positive things in my life, I plan to shift my negative thinking. I am going to start listing at least five things that I am grateful for (doesn’t matter if its in a note, in my head, whatever) Doesn’t matter what it is – big or small – just has to be something I am grateful for. By

3. Stop Dwelling

This one is a major issue for me. I find myself getting so caught up in something that I usually end up dwelling on it for days. Yea, this needs to stop. If something doesn’t go the way I want it to, I just need to accept it, deal with it, and move on. Dwelling on negative issues/things is getting me no where.

and finally,

4. Turn that frown upside down

By that I mean that I am going to try and put a new ‘spin’ on anything crappy that happens to come my way..                       for instance: my ex-best friend pretty much took every idea that I had for my “dream wedding” (venue, reception ideas etc) I was pretty bummed about this especially the venue (I know this may seem petty) but I have decided to look at it in a different way: she doesn’t matter. I am still going to look at my original venue space and if its “it” then its it. I also am taking the opportunity to explore different reception ideas and am looking at it as another opportunity to get creative!

 

Any other tips out there?

-Amy

 

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I often ramble on here just about certain things that I may have on my mind or that I feel I want to just “get out there”. This post is definitely going to fit under that category…

The other day I was talking with a friend of mine (K) and the topic of weight came up. [… a little information to preface: I have known my friend K for pretty much my whole life. She is short (just about 5 feet) and has always been really small and very skinny often trying to maintain her weight in the “healthy range”…]

So we were sitting by the pool and weight came up, as it sometimes does with women. She had mentioned that her cousin, who is overweight, got called fat and was obviously hurt by the comment. K responded by trying to make her feel better, but her cousin snapped back at “K saying “how she doesn’t know how it feels”.. or does she? K has been called “too skinny” plenty of times, and has even had the “go eat a cheeseburger” comment thrown at her for good measure.

As someone who has been on both sides of the fence, being called ‘too skinny’ is just as offensive as being called ‘fat’. I have been asked “are you still trying to lose weight? You are already too skinny” similar to when I was overweight and someone would call me “fat and tell me I need to go Jenny Craig”) Both comments come from opposite ends of the spectrum, but both comments have the same effect: they make a person feel inadequate about their body.

Although I have only considered the ‘too skinny’ comments in passing, after talking with my friend and considering my own experiences I do think that the skinny comment is just as offensive as the fat comment. Since our society [if you’re an American] values thinness, I don’t think people realize that it can be just as hurtful to call a person “too skinny” as it can be to call a person “fat.”

When I think back to the way being called ‘fat’ made me feel I realize that being called ‘too skinny’ makes me feel just the same. Both comments leave me self-conscious and inadequate. Regardless of where the comment comes from, it is intended to point of a flaw…

And I don’t think anyone really needs someone else pointing out their flaws…

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I have been reading healthy living blogs for about 3 years now, and seriously was hooked from the very beginning. I realized that there was this whole other community out there, and the more blogs I found, the more I wanted to keep reading. I was learning new things every day, and I started to read blogs daily.

A few days ago, a couple of blogs I read did awesome odes to their Momma’s by doing a blog post about 10 things that their moms have taught them. I loved them and have a ton of things that my own my mom taught me, but thought I would step outside the box and list some of the things that blog reading has taught me..

1. Natalie Dee makes the best cartoons – ever.

2. Not all vegans are granola-head, hippie people.

3. And speaking of eating lifestyles, some of the most mainstream types of food can be made delicious, healthy, and vege/vegan!

4. When you continuously read someone else’s blog for years, you feel that you know them .. but you have never met. And if you do not read blogs, then my previous statement may make less sense to you.

5. Sometimes, all it takes is a Post-it to make someone’s day.

6. Never be afraid to voice an opinion, even if its about something controversial.

7. Even though blogging is done in cyberspace, you can completely tell if someone is real – via their blog. Their honesty is what keeps me reading.

8. Real strength isn’t muscles – it’s writing about your past and present struggles and inspiring others.

9. Taking random pictures is totally normal – if you are a blogger.

10. Regardless if anyone ever reads my own blog, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that writing is something I enjoy. Having readers would just be an added bonus…

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Have you learned anything amazing from blogging?

-Amy

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Today was a rainy, dreary day. I complain about the weather. A lot. I know this, and at least I am in not denial about my constant bitching complaining about the weather. But, when you wait for Spring after dealing with the crap winter we had here in the Northeast, and then Spring decide not to show up for the party – well it is a little disappointing. But, there really isn’t anything I can do about the cold weather now is there except pollute the earth and pray for “Global Warming”. Nope. Moving on…

Today was nothing special in Amy land. I got a cardio work out in, did some chores around the house including super fun stuff like laundry and dishes. Yup, fun stuff I tell ya. However during my puttering around (i love the word “puttering” btw) I also did a little thinking. The topic? My relationship with the scale. After reading quite a few posts about scale use –  (like on Trying to Heal and Meals and Moves) my mind got going and I started to think about my use of the scale…

I wish I could sit here and say that I am one of those people who have gotten rid of my scale and haven’t looked back. I wish I could say that I do not weigh myself, and that I don’t even own a scale. But, I can’t. I do own a scale and I do weigh myself. But, lets backtrack a bit…

When I was overweight I never, ever weighed myself. I never stepped on the scale, and the only time I found out how much I weighed was when the doctor weighed me. And it was during one of those doctors visits that the doctor told me I was overweight and needed to lose weight. (Although the funny part about this was that I was not even at my highest weight when I was told this; I was about 145 pounds at 5’4 – and I had already started actively trying to lose weight) It was when I actually did start trying to lose the pounds that the scale became a part of my life. At first, I welcomed the scale. I welcomed the feeling I got from seeing the number drop and drop. And even if it didn’t drop, I was still ok with that too. I was losing from 200 pounds, so being the “skinnier” me still seemed so far away for me. (I often wonder if it was this reason that when I was at a higher weight, it didn’t seem to matter if the number on the scale changed or not.) Unfortunately, my relationship with my scale eventually changed, and not for the better.

It was only when I started to enter 130’s that the scale actually started to matter to me. Of course, as my weight got lower the number on the scale began to stay the same and on some days even go up. Like many others, when I would step on the scale and the number went up (or even stayed the same) it took a toll on me. I would get down on myself, and beat myself up over it. I thought the fact I wasn’t losing I had initially meant that I was doing something wrong or not working hard enough. The scale affected me, regardless of I wanted it to or not.

It was around this time that I took my first nutrition class and this was also when reading healthy living blogs became a part of my life. I slowly started to gather more and more knowledge about health, nutrition, weight loss, etc. I learned about water weight and how many calories a pound of fat. Everything that I was learning pointed out the fact that my scale was a crappy unreliable weight loss tool. Regardless of all this, everything pointed out in front of me in black and white, I still couldn’t ditch the scale.

And, I still can’t. I have become dependent on this silly little tool of mine. It doesn’t determine my mood or any other aspect of my life for that matter, but I just can’t seem to rid my bathroom floor of it. In the last year, I have watched my weight go up and go down – on the scale. And even when the number was on the higher end of my “happy weight spectrum” I was still ok with that (albeit I made an effort to fit more comfortably into my jeans); it was more about just knowing.

I wonder if I will one day live scale free. I wonder if I can go “by just how my jeans fit” or measuring myself in another way. Maybe a part of me, the crazy-disordered me, thinks that if I get rid of my scale I will one day wake up right back to where I started. Maybe not. The point is I haven’t figured it out yet – and this ok.

Because every day I figure out a little bit more

– – – – – – –

-Amy

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*Waves* Hi! Everyone get their taxes done? Celebrate the Boston Marathon? RUN the marathon? Majah kudos to all the runners who ran today in Boston. It truly is amazing and I truly do not think I could ever run a half-marathon let alone a full!

So today I decided to jot down some mini-goals for myself to try and keep myself accountable for a couple of random things in my life. I am big believer in setting “mini” goals more frequently; than major goals like NYE resolutions. It is just how I roll. I think we all have goals we want to achieve and I like to remind myself more often than not.

MINI GOAL MONDAY 4/18/2011

1) Eat more veggies! A part of this goal is to experiment more in roasted veggies in the kitchen. I really am a terrible cook, so my veggie intake suffers because I get bored of boring (heh) vegetables easily.

2) Focus on my core and back in the gym. I am good about getting to the gym regularly, except I mostly do all cardio. I need to step up my core work and start stretching. No more half-assed stretching.

3) Continue to look for ways to get a better nights sleep. My sleeping patterns are so messed up that I sometimes think I am destined to fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning for the rest of my life. But, I am not giving up. I am going to research more holistic approaches this week.

and rounding out my goal list of the week:

4) Cut back just a tad on the caffeine. I am getting real used to energy drinks and this is bad. Very bad. (and probably not helping my sleep)

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The other part of my post is a list. I LOVE LISTS. All kinds, I am not choosy! Yesterday I made a small list of 3 things I should NOT have done but today is all about positivity!

3 things that made me SMILE today:

1) Realizing my real nails are getting stronger by the day. Confession time: I had acrylic nails from the age of 13 until about 6 months or so. Once I took the fakeys off, my nails were so brittle and damaged. They were literally paper thin. It was sad. And it was gross. But, I am happy to report that my real nails are slowly getting there… with the help of Sally Hansen of course:

2) I sweated buckets during my workout today. I love when that happens. I also love having the gym all to myself at my complex:

3) And speaking of my complex, THEY ARE PREPARING FOR POOL SEASON! aka Summer aka Amy isn’t always freezing! Needless to say, I am super excited. Like super. Summer is by far my favorite season. The hotter and muggier the better. I LOVE HUMIDITY. Seriously.

Yesssssssss.

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Ah, caffeine. My friend. My dependent. My pick-me-upper when about to fall down. Some people get it in the form of coffee, others in the form of energy drinks. Some like it natural, some prefer it straight up in supplement form. Me, I am not choosy. I like it any way I can I get it. Would I say that I am addicted to caffeine? You bet your ass bottom dollar.I have written before about my relationship with chemicals, so it is probably no surprise that I am even guilty of drinking those crazy energy drinks.

I think back to my first experiences with caffeine, and I immediately think about my mom. I remember being a little kid and waking up on mornings, and pestering her for one or thing or another. She would often reply with these words “not yet, I haven’t had my coffee yet.” I quickly learned that mommy without her coffee = grumpy mommy. Point taken.

But then, as I got older, coffee became something to share with my mom. On weekends, I would wake up with her and we would both make our cups of Maxwell House instant coffee, take a seat, and drink our coffees together. I think I started drinking coffee when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I believe I have had a caffeinated beverage daily since that time. Of course, back then, there wasn’t Redbull or Rockstars, but there was always some beverage that had a nice jolt of caffeine that was readily available. I was always a fan.

So, many years later, I actually think about my addiction to caffeine. Other than the fact that yes, I do feel caffeine withdrawals if I don’t have it, I am more concerned if I am doing a disservice to myself by having my dose of daily? Well, what to the experts say? Hard to tell. One day, studies reveal caffeine to be harmful and addictive. The next day, a little bit of caffeine can be beneficial. Then there is how you get your caffeine fix… coffee with antioxidants? Who knows what to believe. And, how is one to make informed decision about topics like this when there is such contradicting information out there?

I know there are also mixed opinions about caffeine in the blog world as well. Some are all for their morning cup of joe; others aren’t really a fan. Me…

Guilty.

I feel that I could have worse addictions and will continue to use caffeine; however I think I am going to make a conscious effort to try and cut back on the crap energy drinks aka chemicals.

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Ever since I wrote about “non exercise guilt” I have been giving my eating and exercising habits a little bit more thought than usual. For the majority of the time, I have been always been a gym rat (or at least active in one way or another) on a daily basis. Even when I had my desk job, I used my lunch break to squeeze my workout in (luckily the building I worked in a training room upstairs that employees could use for free – so it actually was quite common) It wasn’t until the Holidays that my regular routine was interrupted (since we moved in December!) and then again in February, when I got a bit of post-vacation blues. Other than that, it has been a major aspect of my life.

If you had asked me 5 or 6 years ago why I worked out, the answer would be simple: to help me lose weight. But after I dropped the weight and I really started learning about healthy living and studying health and nutrition in my classes, my outlook on exercise completely changed. The point in which my thinking was completely turned around was when I read that exercise can actually add years to a person’s life expectancy. Of course, when I entered into a relationship with someone who was 16 years my senior, I began to care more about things like living longer and living healthy. But that’s besides the point.

Then, of course, there is the benefits of exercise for me:

Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.

And there’s more. Regular physical activity can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer. (source

And although the benefits are amazing, I do believe that exercise habits have to be in balance with other aspects in life life eating/nutrition…. Which leads to my point of my rambling…

You see exactly one year ago (May 1), I quit my desk job. It was absolutely, without a doubt, effecting me in too many negative ways for me to continue to ignore. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally drained and therefore was no pleasure to be around. Eventually, I got to my breaking point. After talking it over with the boyfriend, I walked in one day and gave my notice. It was the best decision I had ever made. Seriously. Ok, I got sidetracked again with my incessant babbling on (I do that often) Where was I? Oh, yes. Back to after I left my desk job…

And that I did - I went back to school!

The days of sitting at a desk all day were over. Days of munching all. day. long. were also over. My day to day changed, my eating habits changed, and even my exercise habits changed. Before I knew it, July came around and the boyfriend looked to me and said, “Honey you are too skinny” Of course, I had never heard these words before (it usually was just the opposite) but after stepping on the scale, I was shocked to see that he was right.

I had not taken into account the major changes that came along with NOT sitting at a desk 9-5. I wasn’t eating what I was eating before and clearly hadn’t realized that I was practically grazing all day long. (which in turn did lead my work pants a tad tight but nothing I really gave thought too) and I was practically sedentary for the majority of the day. When I realized my lifestyle had changed, I had too change my eating/exercise habits so they would be more balanced with my new lifestyle.

For the first time in my life, I wasn’t concerned with eating too much, but with not eating enough for my day to day life. I had to pay more attention to the details of my diet, and be more mindful of how my body was feeling. So, as it is one year later you are probably curious if I have found my “balance“…

Short answer: Not even close. It was a lot harder than I anticipated, and each day that I become more informed about health and nutrition; I believe I become closer to finding my balance.

But, at least I am a work in progress.

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