Thoughts On Yoga

Today’s Happy Note: Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

I know that not everybody is into yoga, and that’s fine, but it really has been life-changing/saving for me.  I can enter class seething, panicked, distraught, weepy, or in pain.  And leave relaxed, smiling, calm, joyful, spiritual.  Today we did a lot of inversions, balances, and twisting, including one pose I have never done before that I could not find any name for or picture of online.  It is basically what the top person is doing in this photo, only upright, with back foot and hand on the ground:

Hangle Dangle

Source

Anyone have any ideas?

What I loved most about class today was that my emotions started coming up, uncontrollably.  As my body physically opened up I could feel the things in my heart pouring out as well. I have heard Averie (who is giving away some awesome hemp products here) and other yogis talk about this before but have never felt it.  Well, I have news for you: this is not one of those crazy newfangled yoga things.  It really happened — I was alternately smiling and crying during class.  It was wonderful and soothing to let things out of my body like that.

I think yoga has made me more spiritual and more comfortable in my own body.  It calms me down and lifts me up at the same time.  It helps me realize that I do indeed know God, in some guise or other, and that I have this wonderful, amazing body that I need to treat well.  I run because it makes me feel clean and strong, in heart and body and mind, but yoga adds an element of spirit, I think.

Have you tried yoga?  It seems like most healthy living bloggers either love it or hate it.  I am definitely in the loving it camp.  I do recommend trying a few different classes, styles, studios, gyms, or videos before giving up; each experience is different and you really need to find what works for you.  Polly’s videos are always a good place to start!

My absolute favorite studio in NYC is Yoga Vida. Highly recommended, and relatively inexpensive.

The eats:

Diet snapple iced tea and plain oats with soymilk and PB.

Tuna made with plain yogurt and hummus, giant pile of steamed veggies.  I know everyone thinks they’re boring, but sometimes I lover plain and simple lightly steamed veggies.

Two afternoon snacks is the way to go.  PB and chocolate chip Larabar and a basically empty AB jar with plain 2% Fage (I’m in love  — the fats are pretty much miraculous), frozen blueberries, and Justin’s chocolate PB (didn’t really go with it, taste-wise).

I realized that recently I have been falling into the blogger-comparison trap.  I think, “healthy living bloggers should have one afternoon snack, dinner, then a small dessert, or two afternoon snacks and no desserts — I must be overeating!”  BUT this is what works for me.  And I never eat (or want a morning) snack, and I keep main meals a bit smaller.  So there.  I can have two afternoon snacks and a dessert if that’s what my body wants.

Random WF bowl.  It had arugula, walnut/grape chicken salad (my favorite kind), a few bites of potato, black bean udon noodles, shredded zucchini/summer squash, and marinated kale salad.  I am NOT a kale girl, but I really liked this one.  It had shredded carrots, cabbage, and lots of balsamic.

Blurry raspberry protein shake: vanilla soy milk, half a banana, handful frozen raspberries, lots of ice, half scoop of vanilla whey/soy protein, and a few spoonfuls of coconut sorbet.  Topped with dark chocolate and chocolate PB.

A good day of eats — lots of variety, lots of nutrients, good portions that kept me full but not too full.  My belly is a happy belly right about now!

Some days I feel like all my meals/snacks involve nuts or nut butter.  I really truly believe that, if it came down to it, I would say PB is my favorite food.  Oats, Greek yogurt, apples, and carrots are all tied for second place. 🙂

What’s your favorite food?

Thoughts on yoga?

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Nut Butter Sneaking Habit

Today’s Happy Note: Napping.  Self-acceptance.  Let me explain: I have felt pretty sleepy and a wee bit lethargic this week.  Normally when that happens, I get angry at myself (“gee Caronae, why can’t you be more productive; you’re so lazy; you suck”).  Not this time.  I had a splendid afternoon nap and I just took it for what it was.  I am not a terrible person.  I don’t spend all my time sleeping.  My body knows when it needs a little extra love and rest, and I listened to it.  I am proud of myself for that.  Small victories people.  Small victories.

Something else I’m proud of: My run today! Tuesdays are speed work days.  I’ve said it before: speed work scares the crap out of me.  It’s really hard for me because my fast twitch muscles are kind of non-existent.  Because I know it’s hard, I work myself up into an anxious fit and then make it even harder for myself!

Not today.  The plan was 2 mile warm up, 4×1 mile @ tempo pace, 2 mile cool down.  I did 1/4 mile easy run/walk between each fast mile, for a total of 9 miles.

My tempo pace goal was 9:00 minutes per mile.  I crushed it!

Mile 1: 8:36

Mile 2: 8:34

Mile s: 8:30

Mile 4: 8:27

I was so shocked.  I worked hard, it felt hard, but I did it!  I love that amazing feeling you get after a good hard speed workout.  I enter into a state of physical, emotional calm and my body and mind become so content and relaxed.

I’m proud of myself indeed.

No Therapy Tuesday today because my therapist had an emergency and had to cancel.  I felt really bad for her; I could tell how stressed and anxious she was when she called; she seemed really upset and I actually felt like the inconsistency bothered her more than me!  Then, as I was walking home from work, I ran into her outside the grocery store. It was really weird to see her outside of the office environment (her office is actually in her apartment, which I really like because it seems more comfortable and less stiff)!  I could tell how completely harried she was; I was actually a little bit nervous that she was about to have a panic attack or something.  Anyways, I told her not to worry and to calm down.  Sort of a weird little reversal of roles.  We rescheduled for tomorrow.

I heart frozen berries.

And chocolate-topped smoothies.

Dinner was epic, not to mention that it took five minutes to prep.  I combined a can of tuna with a few spoonfuls 2% Fage, garlic hummus, chopped bell peppers, and guacamole.  Holy easy dinner.  Holy tastiness.

I just ate a weird iced tea slushy concoction.  It looks really weird so I’m not gonna share any pictures.  It’ for your own benefit, trust me.  It was iced chamomile tea (sweetened with stevia and honey) blended with a boatload (yes, that’s a word) of ice cubes.  Random, but I was craving something cold and icy, and this did the job.

Confession: I have a nut-butter-sneaking habit. I take pictures of most of what I eat, since it is helpful for me to have a record.  But spoonfuls of nut butter and tiny handfuls of nuts often escape the camera.  I don’t deprive myself, ever, but I also know that I don’t necessarily need those extra calories. So I’m making a promise to myself to photograph everything I eat; even those tiny spoonfuls.  I don’t share all my eats on the blog everyday (today there were maybe two spoonfuls of unpictured nut butter and a serving of TJ’s mini PB cups).  Can you tell I like PB?

I didn’t eat a lot today given that I ran nine miles (and maybe walked two more?), but I think it makes sense given that I ate more than I needed to yesterday.  I love how my body balances things out and really figures out what’s going on and what it needs or doesn’t need.  Bodies are so smart.

Be back tomorrow with Therapy Wednesday!

I hope you’re all having a most wonderful week.  Relax, smile, breathe!

Anti-Anxiety Plan of Attack!

Today’s Happy Note: Reading in the park.

Mental Health Note: I was so wound up when I left work today that I could barely walk in a straight line.  I have no idea where this came from.  I guess part of depression is feeling inexplicably sad, lonely, or confused.  That might be it.  It was a pretty straightforward day at the office.  Very routine.  Normally the routine soothes me, but today it just unsettled me.  Maybe because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other things I had to do.  On my way home, I devised an anti-anxiety plan of attack!

  • Take a few moments to myself to walk through the park, look at the trees, breathe, and read.  I rarely leave the house without a book, and today was no exception.   I had “The Gift of Therapy” by Irvin Yalom with me.  Yet another book borrowed from L.  I am devouring it.  It is most wonderful and calming.  Not in a creepy way, but it reminds me of L, which reminds me to stay calm; that someone nearby loves and appreciates me unconditionally is an instantly comforting thought.
  • Make a list of specific things bothering me and plan out howto deal with each thing (i.e., just do it, shelve it for later, ignore it, etc.).
  • Don’t worry about a workout.  I like to take one weekday rest day each week and I purposely don’t plan it ahead of time precisely because of days like this.  The idea of traveling to the gym or the gymnastics center or the yoga studio or dripping with sweat in the 90 degree heat was unappealing.  I work out enough that responding to a day of stress by not working out actually makes sense.  I did do about three miles of walking.
  • Take extra time to write in my journal.
  • Don’t stuff my face, but do have exactly what I want for dinner…

Which leads me to these masterpieces:

I was craving frozen fruit all afternoon/evening!  The first bowl has frozen cherries with one spoonful AB and one spoonful PB.  The second one is Talenti coconut gelato topped with dark chocolate, frozen berries, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few mixed nuts.

Coconut, berries, nuts: I could have done way worse.  Definitely plenty of sugar.  But oh so tasty.  Sometimes food needs to serve both a physical, nourishing purpose and an emotional, satisfying purpose.  I think I successfully accomplished both here! 🙂

Don’t worry, other eats of the day involved veggies and protein!  Like lunch:

Giant tuna mess with hummus, herbs, snap peas (nom nom nom!) and peppers.

Off to do work and clean my room!  Neither of which I especially want to do.  Sigh…

What do you do when you are inexplicable feeling down?

Favorite frozen fruit?

The Two Pound Salad.

Today’s Happy Note: Joined a gym!  NYSC is cheap and the staff are nice so I went with that.

Randomly, I had a really weird experience at Equinox.  When you go in for the first time, you sit down with a manager.  The manager was crazy!  For those of you non New-Yorkers, Equinox is a really high-end gym.  They have a branch very close to me and they don’t list their prices online, so I just went in.  Anyways, I was talking with the manager and he asked me where I live.  I politely told him both my mailing address and my street address, in case he needed either.  He was like, “um, that’s not walking distance.”  I gently pointed out that my apartment is just under a half of a mile from the gym.  He continued to yell at me that that was not walking distance.  Why did he care?  And this is a gym — presumably, many healthy people, for whom a half mile is not very long, go there!  Whatever.  I think he was upset when I said I was a student — like he knew I wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Then he proceeded to demand if I had walked by any other gyms on the way.  I said, “yes, but I wanted to check out this one.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be here…”.  He then asked me detailed questions about the prices and amenities of the gyms nearby I had visited, one of which he stated that he used to work at!  I asked him why he needed to know the price if he used to work there and he said “well, that was last year, they probably changed it.”  This was getting more and more bizarre.  The final straw: he asked me what I knew about Equinox.  I said I know it is a very nice gym in the city.  Was I supposed to know more than that????  He then said, and this is a direct quote, “well, it’s gonna be really hard for me to sell it to you from that standpoint.”  Um, excuse me?  You’re the salesperson.  That’s a pretty idiotic (not to mention, rude) thing to say to any potential customer, regardless of your personal feelings about them.  I didn’t realize that it was a test or something.

Anyways, I’m not upset or anything, just confused.  Who acts like this? The guy was either really dumb or really rude.  Neither of which are especially good qualities for a salesperson.  Weird.

Happy Memorial to American readers!  I hope you enjoyed your day off, if you had it off.  A three day weekend was quite nice.  The weather was perfect!  I met up with my friend Linda in CP and we walked, talked, lay in the grass and ate brownies for hours.  It was really fun and I didn’t have to be lonely at all on the holiday.  I think I actually walked close to five miles today.  Also did a 20 minute power yoga class from yogadownload.com. Hi Linda!

Dinner was American-inspired.  Ish.  Tuna salad  is American, right? Especially when made with hummus and Greek yogurt…

Caronae’s tasty tuna

1 can tuna in water (I used TJ’s)

Big spoonful plain 2% Greek yogurt

Big spoonful hummus (I like sabra garlic the best)

Shake lemon pepper

Shake sea salt.

Mix it all together and eat it atop a salad with tons of veggies.  Perfect light summer dinner.  Twas a happy Memorial Day meal.

I actually couldn’t finish this!  It probably weighed a good two pounds.  I saved a lot of the tuna for lunch tomorrow.  This is probably the most veggie-riffic meal I’ve ever had: mixed salad greens were topped with tuna salad (with cucumber and carrot mixed in), steamed broccoli, and leftover asparagus, sugar snap peas, and mushrooms. Noms all around, per usual.

I’m watching the Cake Boss marathon and about to munch on some sorbet!

Goodnight!  I hope you all had a fabulous, relaxing day.

The Things That Make Me Happy Post

Today’s Happy Note: Everything!  See below. 🙂

1. Haircuts!  I wish I could blow dry my hair and make it smooth and shiny like this…I don’t even own a blow-dryer or any styling products.  My hair is very long, thick-ish, a bit dry, wavy, and prone to frizz.  I want some things to put in it to make it pretty.  Where should I start?

2. Dance parties in the living room.  I didn’t want to run so for a fresh, alternative form of cardio, I danced!

Ignore the messy house (I think it’s endearing!) and that bizarre tanline I’ve got going on.  I need to stop running outside in such weirdly shaped tops.

3.  Rediscovering tuna!  I always thought tuna had to be either boring and plain or mixed with mayo and unhealthy.  Wrong.  I mixed a whole can with a giant spoonful of hummus, giant spoonful plain yogurt, yellow pepper, celery, lemon pepper mix, and sea salt for lunch.  Served in a flat out wrap.  This was a very refreshing lunch, and I most certainly plan on eating more tuna this summer!

4.  Sweaty yoga sessions.  It wasn’t hot yoga or anything, but it was muy humid around here today and there were a lot of bodies in that room.  Unfortunately I had a slippery mat, but the actual class was great!  I loved all the planks and shoulder stretchy poses and balances.  I had two great tripod headstands, which was nice.  Little successes always makes me feel more confident.

5. Eggs.  Seriously, why is such a simple food so incredibly tasty?  I think that I may have actually fallen in love.  They are creamy, savory, smooth, filling, cheap.  What more could I ask for in a protein?  I have been doing a lot of two-egg puffs in the microwave.  They cook in less than two minutes!  Oh, and I almost always eat them with the yolk.  One, because I think it’s weird to buy separate egg whites and I’m too lazy to separate out the whites from whole eggs, and two, because the yolk is ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU.  Yes, I said it.  It really has no connection whatsoever with blood cholesterol levels.  The yolk is a source of healthy fats, vitamins, and proteins that can’t be found in the whites.  Eggs have gotten a bad name, but there is actually no science behind this — just a lot of hype,  myth, and misinformation.  So crack open some eggs.  Yolks and all.

Served with hummus, salad, and carrots, this is a wonderful weeknight summer dinner.  Light but also stays with you.

6. Breakfasts that come with a side of sunshine.

7. Baking.  I’m making a special concoction for a blog friend tonight.  One that says “Michigan!”  Hint: what fruit is MI famous for?  I’ll  share some pictures tomorrow.  I haven’t started yet because my mother is currently at war with a thick steak and the broiler.  The broiler is winning.

8. Friends.  I’m going to see one of my best friends from high school tomorrow.  Friends make me so very happy.

What makes you happy today?

Perfect Sunday

Today’s Mini Goal: Do some “just for me” writing.  This means that it’s going to be in my journal, it’s not for class or for the blog, and it doesn’t have to be “pretty.” Sometimes it’s very therapeutic to just ramble-write.

I just realized how downright cranky I was this past week.  Sorry guys!  I blame evil hormones.  But any-hoo, I’m feeling happy, healthy, and refreshed today, and it’s the start of a new week.  What made my day so healthy and happy?

Well I shall tell you of course!

1. Leisurely morning! Woke up naturally around nine, read in bed for a while, then met a friend for a delicious brunch, including (but definitely not limited to) sunny-side up eggs and a super sweet latte!

I love nice mugs.

2. Study time!  Not necessarily fun, but it wasn’t too bad and it was nice to spend a few quality hours with the library and just get things done.

3. Baking!  Well, mixing things together at least.  As a busy college-student, I love energy bars.  But I don’t always love their long, sleazy ingredient lists.  Enter Averie’s No-bake pb/coconut/chocolate chip energy bars (I used ab though)!

So fun to mix up with your hands!  By the way, the reason you see Averie’s stuff so frequently on my blog is because:

1. Her stuff is tasty — lots of yummy ingredients all combined together will never fail me!

2. Her stuff is easy — I have no kitchen appliances and and a kitchen the size of my thumb, but I can still make or adapt many of her recipes.  As an added bonus, they’re vegan, if that’s what you’re looking for!

This is how they looked when finished:

With a DCD blob.  So nummy (by the way, that’s a word I made up recently — it’s a combination of “noms” and “yummy”, and I like it.  A lot.)

4. Fantabulous run!  While my homemade bars chilled in the fridge I set out for a perfect run.  The weather was very spring-like today with temps in the 40s, a nice breeze, and mostly melted snow.  It felt like April.  I love love love running in the spring.  It always lifts my spirits, and today’s fake-spring run just made me happy all around.  Despite my legs being a bit sore/tight/heavy from yesterday’s 15 miler, I still felt fast and free.  So splendid.

With the completion of ten miles today I officially hit 40 for the week.  And it wasn’t actually a week, since all those miles were run in the last four days (due to my crankiness/laziness at the beginning of the week).  Here’s the breakdown:

Thursday — 10 miles

Friday — 5 miles

Saturday — 15 miles

Sunday — 10 miles

This is the highest I’ve been since my December injury.  I’ll probably peak around 50-ish. I’m feeling good at this point in my training cycle!

5.  Getting Things Done:  It’s such a stress-reliever to get things done on Sundays.  Here’s what I’ve gotten through so far:

~picked up teaching materials for a program I volunteer with Monday nights.

~prescription pick-up

~checked bank balances

~bought chocolate chips (hey, this is an important weekly task)

~did laundry (in the dryer now!)

~chatted with my best friend J

~called my grandparents and talked with them and two of my aunts

~weekly veggie prep.  I love washing and chopping tons of veggies in Sundays.  That way I can throw them into salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries or eat them with hummus or pb throughout the week.

Leaning tower of veggies = yum.

6. Made an easy, nutritious dinner of half a leftover tuna sammie with a giant pile of stir-fried veggies topped with hummus and white cheddar:

In the stir fry: olive oil, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, rainbow chard, salt, lemon pepper, red pepper.  I love how artsy rainbow chard makes a meal.  So fun!  Oh, and I conversed with a cute boy on my floor while making said dinner 🙂

Next on the agenda: acquire some hot chocolate, fold laundry, and another hour or two of reading (hello Burke!).

I’m really glad I have been able to move on from the downs of the last week or two.  This makes me feel mentally strong and accomplished.  I am capable, beautiful and powerful and I have the ability to move forward no matter what.  Take that, depression!

I hope you had a wonderful, refreshing weekend.  What were you up to?  What grand adventures will you be embarking on this week?

I Like Me.

Today’s Mini Goal: RELAX.  Tomorrow I am going to stay calm, stay in the present, unclench my jaw, unfurl my fists, and take slow, counting breaths.

My training plan technically only calls for five days a week of running at this point.  As I get to my peak, I’ll do six for a few weeks, but right now, five is fine.  I was going to head out today after work, which would have made it a six day week, but then I told myself that I needed a break, it was dark, and I was tired.  I’m glad I made that call.  I think I’m going to do the shred (probably level 2) and some abs later, and I walked about two miles earlier.

Okay, let me repeat that.  I’m going to do the shred.  Do you know what that means????  Probably not, in less you have been an extremely perceptive reader, but it means I have my laptop back (obviously, I can’t so much do the shred in my school computer lab or my floor’s tv lounge)!  Presumably,  this would be an extremely joyous event, but it actually turned out to be extraordinarily stressful.  Let me explain…

I went for a walk after work.  Deposited a check, got a small snickers flavor at The Lite Choice (using one of my coupons, talked about here), and headed down to Best Buy to pick up my computer.  On the bus ride there, I started having a little mini panic attack.  For some reason, I felt like I was seeing couples everywhere around me, and I just started feeling intensely, painfully sad.  About being single (which, to me, means alone), lonely; feeling “unlovable.”  This is how my depression talks to me — it tells me these very negative, sad things that make me retreat into myself.  Honestly, that was a very scary bus ride.  Briefly, I was transported back to a place I never want to go again.  When I got off and walked into Best Buy, I asked one of the saleswomen where the Geek Squad section was (they had my computer).  When I heard my voice, I almost jumped backwards, not recognizing it as coming from my own body.  It was small, diminished, weak, unclear, fearful.  It was not my voice.  I was wearing a lavender sweater with a hood on it, and I felt distinctly as though the front of me was collapsing into the back of me; like I would eventually just fold inwards so many times that I wouldn’t be visible.  I have no idea why this was going on.  Maybe it was hormonal or chemical or I was tired or stressed from a difficult week.  I don’t know, but I don’t like that place.

So that’s the beginning of the saga.  When I went down to pick up my computer, everything seemed fine.  That is, until I turned it around and realized that they had failed to secure the hinge in the back on the left side.  The reason I sent the computer in in the first place is because the entire hinge was broken off so that I could lift up the left side of my screen, and wires and tubing were poking out of everywhere.  This is all fixed.  But they didn’t secure the hinge.  I asked the sales rep if this was a problem, and he examined it and concluded that the repair people had made a serious mistake.  Um, okay?  I just had my computer sent off to another state to be repaired for a month and you basically didn’t fix the whole thing?  I almost burst into tears right there.  Instead, I decided to be authoritative.  I told the salesman (who was quite nice; it wasn’t his fault) that there were two options here:

1. It could be fixed immediately; i.e. over the weekend.

OR

2. They could furnish me with a replacement while they shipped my baby off for another month.

Apparently these people have low customer service standards, because neither of these options were palatable to them.  Basically, my only option was to send it back, “free of charge, of course.”  I was actually really insulted by this point — did they think that I would even consider paying them to fix part of the problem that they created in the first place????  Am I being irrational, or does this sound ridiculous?  I tried to explain to them that I’m a student and a writer — I’m kind of computer dependent.  But to no avail.  Disaster not averted.  Ugh.  At this point I have my computer, which I am grateful for, but the hinge remains open in the back.  I can take it down to Best Buy and have them ship it out again within 30 days if I decide I want it fixed, or, I can pay them another bajillion dollars the next time I have a month during which I don’t need my computer.  Which will be never.  Computer fail.

Sorry, rant officially over.

I called my mom when I left the store and just cried for a while, and felt marginally better afterwards.  Then I headed to Whole Foods for some retail therapy of the very best kind (I actually needed some groceries, so it was semi-legitimate!).  Finds:

My new vegetable!  Chayote squash!

Maranatha honey almond butter!!!! I had a few spoonfuls when I got home and it is so smooth and creamy with the perfect hint of honey.  Oddly enough, this was 9 dollars (I considered it my splurge purchase of the week) and the regular almond butter was 19 dollars for a jar???

I bought myself some flowers to cheer me up.  Tulips.  White ones.  Here’s my theory on flower buying: roses can be tacky, carnations are usually just plain ugly, lilies can be big and overwhelming, and pretty multi-color bouquets can clash with a room.  But you can’t go wrong with monochrome tulips.  Ever.  My mother has the most massive, gorgeous garden at home, and while I was there healing from last February through August, I picked lots of bouquets.  My favorite thing to have in a vase is peonies.  There aren’t many things more beautiful than freshly cut peonies sitting in a little bath of sunlight on my mother’s ancient mahogany dining table.

I also had some delicious apple pumpkin soup at WF:  Mmmmm….

Salad for lunch.  I was hardcore craving some tuna.  Weird.

And for breakfast I was hard core craving a chocolate chip muffin.

There are times in life when you just need a giant pile of carbs for breakfast.  This muffin satisfied that need, and despite the lack of protein, fiber, or fruits, kept me full for over four hours.  Score one for muffins.

I got some maple buckwheat flakes cereal and had a bowl of that with my soup (things you eat in bowls are always tastier).  It was really good, just sweet enough to be satisfying, but not sugar-coma/craving inducing.  Score one for maple buckwheat flakes cereal.

I am spending the evening with some books, some online tv, 20 minutes of shredding, jasmine tea, and me, myself, and I.  Last night I went out with friends, and I can usually handle only one night out per weekend.  I know, lame.

I really need some positive self talk right now.  Please feel free to ignore this; I’m kind of talking to myself here.  Okay, here goes.  I am a good writer.  I am training for a half marathon.  I get good grades.  I’m a good friend.  I have a good heart.  I am a good baker.  I love me.

Why do you love you?

Alright, hope everyone has an excellent weekend.  Let me know what you’re going to be up to (I have many fun things planned!)