Day 14: 30 days to fit

Poor health is not caused by something you don’t have; it’s caused by disturbing something that you already have. Healthy is not something that you need to get, it’s something you have already if you don’t disturb it. ~Dean Ornish

Today was my idea of a perfect recovery day! My son deigned to sleep till 8am!!! Hallelujah!

We hung out in pajamas till nearly 10am -kids played – I organized their closets!

After a late breakfast for them they went off to our playroom – (our living room- converted to playroom) while I sat in the kitchen drinking coffee (décaf with soy creamer and turbinado) and read an entire book!! A short one – granted– but an entire book– all 100 pages. Can you say luxury?

Lunch for me was a protein shake because I was in a cooking frenzy- both to prepare for dinner with my parents as well as to prepare for the week ahead! I cooked Indian style potatoes, cucumber (from our garden) raita, a milk chocolate tart with crème fraiche, black-eyed peas with chicken – Indian style and then also a separate chicken and potatoes as back up for the kids incase that Tandoori chicken I’d marinated the night before didn’t fly! My 6yo devoured two drumsticks of tandoori- my usually more open to Indian food 2yo didn’t care for it too much! I actually think that it was too bland for him. He prefers more spice and we had scaled down the spice on a few drumsticks to make it ‘kid-friendly.’ I made rotis, sliced up raw onions sprinkled with lime juice, salt and pepper and white basmati rice to finish the meal! I had a bit of everything except the rice. Yes– including a roti! It was too hard to pass up!

So after seriously standing and cooking for nearly 5 hours– I was ready to take a load off and hung out in the backyard under an overcast sky with a cool breeze and blew bubbles with the kids!

After the kids were asleep it was me time! Sundays are typically the day when I prepare for the week ahead anyway – however with the new executive management challenge I’ve just signed up for with my company — and I’m committed to my success – which means creating and following a roadmap! I’m less than 5 months away from getting my free white Mercedes Benz from the company! This challenge is going to expedite it! I’M ALL IN!

The discipline of this 30 day health program has helped me discipline my mind more- I feel very ready to do whatever it takes to achieve success! My sharing it here is an added level of accountability!

I believe Napoleon Hill said it best–

What the mind of (wo)man can believe, the mind of (wo)man can conceive and achieve.

GAME ON!

Conscious Rebellion

I was an extremely rebellious teenager. I was one of those kids who would essentially do exactly the opposite of what I was asked to do. What is that phrase? I would cut off my nose to spite my face. That was me. I didn’t know why I was rebelling – I just did. In hindsight I guess it was just self-expression.

Along the way I turned things around and began to realize that I wasn’t doing myself any favors! Since then (2001) I’ve come a long way since my days of rock n roll (that’s a post for another time) and have striven everyday to live the best life I can. Through trial and error I found what optimized my performance (personal and professional) and created a recipe for my life– a go-to check list of things that bring me back to center. These include:
-meditation
-running
-unadulterated time with my family
-7-8 hours of sleep
-healthy and conscious eating
-reading 5-10 pages of a good book
…you get the picture!

I’ve lived this way for years- with varying degrees of focus on these ‘ingredients’ for my best life- never quite mastering the art and science of doing them all at a level I consider optimal! Life happens and something slips- but for the most part I’ve always done few/all these behaviors daily! These behaviors are so engrained in my DNA now that when I stray too far- I start to experience physical withdrawals! I start to ‘feel’ unlike myself, I might have trouble sleeping, or just feel a general sense of malaise and discomfort.

A short while ago I fell off every wagon imaginable in my life! I haven’t meditated, run, slept well, eaten my best (ok not too bad here but not what I’m capable of) nor read anything good in at least a few weeks. And I’m amazed at how it’s affected me. I put on a big fundraiser on May 10 and I know I get into ‘crazy mode’ the fortnight leading up to it– where my life is completely out of balance. Usually however I can take the couple days off after it to recover and get back up on my feet! It wasn’t that big a deal- just about 200 people…and my 4th year planning it- so it wasn’t new; so I can’t attribute it to that.

I thought a lot about this and realized that I was having a conscious rebellious moment/day/week/month. Where instead of rebelling against someone else’s authority I was rebelling against my own– again back to that teenage behavior of cutting off my nose to spite my face! This time though I was fully aware of the consequences – and did it willfully. I have to admit that it felt good to eat gluten (bread, orzo, rice, baguette) and dairy (Brie), to have a martini (pear/pomegranate), to have a soy decaf latté and garlic mashed potatoes (not all in the same meal!)…all things I’ve avoided in my mainly gluten, soy, dairy free lifestyle. I’ve been sleeping late but having to still wake up early which doesn’t work out that well, and I’ve probably increased my alcohol tolerance (2 drinks vs. my standard 1 drink and I’m inebriated)…I don’t drink regularly and so yes I’m a total light weight!

Once I figured out what I was doing, I felt a bit better – initially I thought I’d gone off my deep end! My inner sensor had been screaming for a while and it was getting exhausting ignoring it. When I stopped ignoring it and actually acknowledged, honored and accepted my rebellion it became a lot easier to work through/with.

Now that I’ve allowed my inner teenager to surface, it’s time to grow up again; but let me tell you– it’s not as easy to gain the momentum that you’ve had. I’ve been trying to sleep early and yet here it is 10:30pm and I’m still writing; I’m back to gluten free, but not yet dairy free, so I know I need to make baby steps so I don’t resent the ‘grown up voice’ telling me how to live. So I plan to meditate tonight after nearly a month of not! I’m reading Norman Vincent Peale’s Positive Imaging, and instead of going out with my colleagues from the day’s training – I came back to my hotel room to detox and wind down from the day. All baby steps toward ‘re-disciplining’ myself because I know how I feel when I’m at optimum! I know how amazing it is to be at my best and I want that mind/body/spirit back! I know my family and my friends and most of all myself all benefit from that version of me! The one I love most of all.

Now the tricky part is if you keep giving into the rebellion! Then this becomes the new normal and thus begins the downward spiral. So allow yourself a few days/weeks of going against your own grain but remember to listen to your inner guide…that nagging voice that tells you that you know you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing but you shut it out and so it anyway! Don’t shut it out too completely. Leave that door ajar so you can see a glimmer of that self that is so good at being your best self! Don’t ‘go over to the dark side completely!’ It’s really hard to return.

I would love go hear stories of how you’ve brought yourself back from whatever your brink was— please use the comments and share with others who’d benefit… I’m sure we can all learn from each other!

May the force be with you!

Who Are Your True Friends?

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I saw this quote on Pinterest and it got me thinking about a recent exchange that I had with someone I considered a true friend. I haven’t known her too long– just a couple years – and yet there was something about her that made us just ‘click.’ For a while we managed to spend a fair amount of time hanging out in spite of the many responsibilities we both had in our respective lives. Then life got busier for both of us- and I realized that I wanted to downsize my life and focus my priorities on just a few things – essentially I stripped my schedule to barebones to open up time for the spiritual and professional exploration that came along with my 40th birthday this February. (Midlife crisis?)

Anyway something happened and she felt slighted and unimportant. She left me a voice message to tell me this. I spent three days agonizing over this- partly indignant (Doesn’t she know how busy this mom of two, professional entrepreneur, wife, daughter, sister is?), partly confused (my longest and closest friends are those I haven’t spoken to in over a year and yet when we talk we can pick up where we left off as if we talk daily- doesn’t she understand true friendship doesn’t have physical boundaries?), and partly resigned (if she can’t accept what I can offer then this relationship has run it’s course).

So in turn I wrote a lengthy email- explaining pretty much what I just said here – and ended with wishing her nothing but the best and all my love and good wishes. I thought to talk to her personally but I always do better with letters and always resorted to pen and paper (before email) for the weighty conversations where I want to think before I speak so I don’t put my foot in my mouth.

Even though I wrote that email with the best intentions- it didn’t sit well with me – reality is that I take my friendships seriously – even if I don’t show up physically for them and I guess she had come to mean more than I realized.

I reached out to her – she responded that she too still cared. I said I’d like to talk in person and she concurred. Her schedule and mine prevented us from doing it immediately. I left a message for her to call me to schedule something — I’m still waiting…

This got me thinking a lot about friendships and relationships in general – I realized again that my closest friends I have known since grade and high school in India. Months and even years can go by and we might not talk– we may even forget each others’ birthdays but somehow – just somehow that doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that our hearts are connected and when I think of these friends or when we do talk- the familiarity, comfort and connection is as powerful and strong as though we are in touch daily.

True friendship is truly not measured in the physical time you spend together- rather in the bond that your hearts form that link you beyond just word and action. It’s hard to pin down, but I think you know what I mean…Don’t you?

How do you measure true friendship?

Your kids are people too

One of the things I’ve noticed as a mom of a kindergartener is that when I go pick her up I will find parents picking up their kid(s) but they’re on the phone completely ignoring their little one walking alongside them. One mom a few days ago was so offensive that after she picked up her child (couldn’t have been more than 6 years) she started to walk back to the car completely ignoring her daughter who walked alongside her only to tell her ‘what’s wrong with you, where’s your bag?’ So the poor kid runs back to the after school classroom to get her stuff while mom keeps marching on all while announcing to whomever she was in conversation with on the phone ‘I’m leaving, whether she’s coming or not.’ Which the little girl obviously heard as evidenced by the look of terror on her face and the worry with which she juggled all her many belongings. My heart went out to her.

We would never dream of carrying on a conversation when walking with a friend or colleague – that’s plain rude– so why is it ok when you’ve left your kid at after school till nearly 6pm with an 8am start to your day?

Lately I’ve seen so many parents completely engrossed with their iDevices that their kids are being completely ignored! I see it in parka, playgrounds and even at recitals. When did Facebook take precedence over quality time with one’s family?

I’ve heard it said that you only have 18 summers with your children and from parents of teenagers I’m hearing that they don’t see much of their kids because they’re spending time cloistered in their bedrooms FaceBooking or texting with friends– so don’t set the precedent that you will come to regret!

If you wouldn’t text/tweet/post in the middle of a business meeting, why would you during time spent with your family?

Falling off the wagon but not hitting the ground hard!

So this past weekend, I had family come to visit. My husband being the amazing cook/bbq-er that he is smoked ribs and made buffalo chicken wings, grilled zucchini and smashed potatoes! Our house was filled with 6 children including mine, ages ranging from 2 – 14! Talk about needing a glass of wine! BUT – no actually I didn’t fall off the wagon there. Nope, I am not in recovery – if you remember, I talked recently about the Arbonne 30 day fit kit – well the first no no on the list of no nos is alcohol! The goal of this program is to help you naturally cleanse your system of foods that are allergenic, addictive and acidic (caffeine, milk etc.) and so there’s a list of foods that you must abstain from for the 30 day period. It’s not to have you NEVER eat/drink those foods again – rather it’s just to rid your body of them for 30 days so you can see how it responds, when you re-introduce them into your body one at a time after the 30 days are up – much like you would introduce new foods to a 6 month old baby! One at a time, to see the reaction. For some of my clients, they’ve discovered gluten is bloating, for others they realized the headaches they were having were related to dairy or gluten, and for yet others there was no difference except a ‘lightness’ when they eliminated these allergenic, addictive and acidic foods. Leave a comment with your email address for the entire list if you’d like to have it.

Anyway – so here I am, 2 weeks into this program and doing rather well I might add…no temptations for bread, pasta, peanut butter, caffeine…and then along comes this BBQ from the heavens! Well – there’s nothing better to drink with a BBQ meal than beer…so I allowed myself ONE of my absolute favorite beers – Abbey Leffe, Blonde. I didn’t over eat the ribs and chicken like I usually would have – not because I didn’t want to, but only because 2 weeks of being on this program and my stomach has shrunk so that 2 ribs and 2 small chicken wings and 1 spear of zucchini is all I could take on after my beer. My 10 year old niece did a better job demolishing the chicken than I did! I had made gluten free, dairy free brownies for the allergic kids, and so that was the perfect compliment to the meal! I got to eat a piece without feeling guilty- gluten and dairy are both on the NO list! (so is sugar, but again, I just had a small piece).

The next day, we went roller skating! Now, I haven’t been on skates in 20 years but it came back as easily as if I had been skating daily for years! It was so much fun, didn’t feel like exercise and it was a great social/physical activity to do with 6 kids with boundless energy! After 90 minutes of skating, Coldstone Creamery seemed to be the obvious next choice! Here we go again – temptation…so I ordered a dark chocolate peppermint ice cream with almonds, brownie and coconut shavings (try it if you haven’t it is absolutely divine!); but then proceeded to share that with my dad, my brother and my son! So I am lucky if I got two bites…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I learned that it was OK to fall off the wagon, as long as you didn’t hit the ground too hard! I did the things I wasn’t supposed to do, but I did them in moderation.

  • Depriving yourself makes matters worse – when your body wants something, give into the craving – but just don’t over do it! If you want dessert and don’t have anyone to share it with – take a few bites and then sprinkle salt or pepper over the rest, thereby ruining it for yourself. (learned that from my mentor!)
  • Don’t be a party-pooper! – whether it’s a party you’re attending/hosting, or when you have family in town like I did – people who don’t visit often, you want to enjoy their company, and we are such a food society that a lot of our celebrations happen around food! Enjoy it – just within limits.
  • Get back on the wagon as soon as possible – So I knew that the weekend was one of eating things off the NO list – the moment they left, I went right back on to the YES list and made sure that I stayed committed to my program.
  • Do away with the guilt – If you’re going to ‘cheat’ enjoy it! Don’t eat every morsel with remorse or guilt. You’re ruining the experience for yourself, and the vibe you’ll give your guests is one that they’re the reason you’re miserable. Instead, embrace the foods, and savor every bite – appreciate the fact that you are eating foods that have been off limits to you and let the flavors linger in your mouth (another great way to ensure you don’t over eat).

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Do you do ME time?

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So, the kids have been out of school since December 20 and we’ve had some serious fun these past couple of weeks…a mellow Christmas and New Year meant that we were feeling pretty rejuvenated; got some good projects done around the house, but also made time for play dates in the park, dinner with extended family and even afternoon naps (remember those?) – however being a mom to a nearly 6 and nearly 2 year old who decided during this break that he was no longer going to nap made for pretty active days…quiet time was sort of a joke!

I started work on the 2nd, but my daughter doesn’t start school till the 7th, so she came along with me wherever I went. My son reluctantly went back to daycare.

Today started as a usual day – however by 9.30 am it was pretty evident to me that I needed a break from everyone including my kids! I really needed a day away from people in general. I was on people overload! I wanted time to think, day dream, sit, enjoy coffee while it was still hot and oh yes…get my nails done without worrying that my daughter’s “nail polish train” at the salon wasn’t going to result in nail polish art splashed all over the floor. So I dropped off the little boy to daycare, and dropped off the little girl to her grandmother! (thanks Ma!!). I had one appointment which blissfully got canceled and then I had this glorious, sunny, warm Southern California day all to myself.

I had a lot of work to do, but I knew that I would be a lot more productive if I just took an hour or so to do nothing – so I took myself up to my gorgeous barely used sun room – left my phone where I couldn’t hear it vibrate or buzz and just sat on my barely used (cat occupied) couch. I went on a stroll through the boardwalk of my mind, allowing the soft breeze caress my face, listening to the sound of the ocean crash along the shore of my mind’s eye. I tried to recollect the last time I had done this, and I couldn’t. Thoughts of work, family, kids and commitments also popped into my head – I gently acknowledged them, and nudged them back out.

A while later, I was so rejuvenated from my mental beach walk that I powered through an intense project and then decided that my nails could use some attention. It turns out that the last time I paid them any attention was over 3 months ago! YIKES!

By the time I picked up my kids, I was so excited to see them – as though I hadn’t seen them for days! We had a really fun evening playing together.

So do your family a favor – tell them you need a break from them and go do something that is purely, strictly, exclusively, solely for YOU! They’ll appreciate it!