Healthy eating/healthy living: Day 5

Finally Friday and we are at day 5! The first 5 days of clean eating have not been as hard as I had anticipated. Cravings for sweet snacks were at a minimum and I pretty much felt satisfied with all of my meals. I don’t even want a bacon cheeseburger. I am even drinking more water. My energy levels have been up and down, but I don’t wake up as groggy, which is a very good thing.

I even feel lighter. But that could be all in my head. I did weigh myself this morning and I was at 173.8,  remember on Monday which was day 1 of the plan my weight was 177.0. So to be down 3.2 pounds feels good. My body is still in the detox stage.

Meal planning continues to be a bit of a struggle, mainly because I don’t know what I feel like eating. I think I should keep the meals as simple as possible for now, but I think that will get boring. I know I can eat tofu, and vegan meats, but I am staying away from that right now. I do like tofu, but I don’t miss meat that much yet. I am fine with veggie filled meals right now.

The diet will continue to be vegan lite for now, which really just means vegetarian. Although be a true vegan sounds like a good idea in my head, in real life I just know that it won’t work out. So instead of setting myself up for failure, I will be a 30 day vegetarian and then transition back to sparingly eating fish for the omega-3’s sometime in the future.

It is still close to 100 degrees in the DC area. I have not been running. I need to run. I also need to wake up at 6am. Goals for next week. In good news, I signed up for the Annapolis 10 miler today. The race is on August 27, so I have about 6 weeks to get ready. I would like to finish with a time under 2 hours. I also have about 6 weeks to get faster. I will run one day this weekend! Hopefully.

Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast: Kale, banana, strawberry, pineapple, flax seed smoothie

Multi grain toast with almond butter

Snack: Watermelon slices

Lunch: Spinach with eggplant, sautéed zucchini noodles with basil and coconut aminos, baked sweet potato slices.

Snack: Raw almonds

Dinner: Vegetable stir fry with baby corn, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, chick peas, half sweet potato with cinnamon

Snack Raw almonds

Work out: Crossfit

For Time:
2k Row*
*EMOM  4 burpees

 

Advertisements

Straight from NY to Paradise Turns 5! -Happy Bloganniversary

Happy 5th Birthday! If my blog was a child I would be getting ready for it to start kindergarten. Awww blog you have grew up so fast (insert mommy tears).

Life happens quick, sometimes too quick for me. I constantly think about writing daily, however everyday I find an excuse not to write. Time goes by and life continues to happen, and still I feel like nothing gets done. I finally sat down and decided to write today, finally I am writing!

After months of procrastinating and sitting in that endless pile of overwhelm, I decided to turn to what I know and write. It comes with great irony that I picked this month to return to writing. Word Press has been so kind as to acknowledge that I have reached my 5 year blogging anniversary! It is really hard to believe that it has been a whole 5 years since I have started blogging.

In the last 5 years my life has taken more twists and turns than I could ever imagine, emotionally I feel that I have been through it all. But yes you are correct Word Press, I have reached my 5 year blogging milestone. 5 years ago Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day was given life, and my own personal life was given a voice. I had a story to tell, I wanted to tell it. I wanted to inspire others not to be afraid of change, not to be afraid of living, just live. Life happens and life changes so go with it.0171.jpg

I really want to laugh and cry as I write this. I think back on the girl I was 5 years ago, I was single and fierce! Fresh out of a roller coaster of a relationship, still in love with the man who was my past, but ready to start a new phase of life as a free spirit and face the future.  I was ready to take on the world, unstoppable in a sense, but I quickly learned that I could be stopped. The world does not exist for you to live in it alone, it is out there for you to share, to embrace with others, to help others, and sometimes even get help from others. In August of 2009 I had been living in Honolulu for 6 months. And to tell you the truth, I was very much alone. I was still confused about my impulsive decision to move to the other side of the world, and even though I had met a few people, I had a very real fear that if I died no one would notice. The feeling that I would go unnoticed was scary, adding that to a sense of uncertainty about my job, my life, and what to do next, I was really mess of emotions, with anxiety and self-doubt leading the pack.

Yes I was single and fierce, but really I was alone.  Lucky for me I quickly discovered that I was not the only mainland escapee that have flown themselves over to an island in the middle of the pacific to get away from….well everything. I found a love of activity and a love of new friendships. Over the last 5 years, my biggest accomplishment was basically proving to myself that I can live. No matter how depressed I am, how lonely I am, and how much I just want to disappear, I know that I can live, and life always gets better. I think I may have forgotten that lately with the chaos of everyday life back on the mainland. I experienced life in Hawaii for a reason. I experienced being completely on my own for a reason. My next lesson to myself is always to remember those reasons, life is meant to live on purpose, and everyday is a new opportunity to fulfill that purpose.

 

In 2009 I was 27, single, impulsive, and extremely naive. In 2014, I am 31, in a relationship (no not married, sorry), less impulsive, more aware, and slightly more responsible. At 27 I just wanted to run away. At 31, I’ll admit I still want to run sometimes, but I will try a bit harder to stay, to work through it, and always keep in mind that with each day life will keep getting better.

So 5 years later, what did I really learn? In Honolulu I found a love of nature. A hike, a run, or  the view of the mountains as the sun wakes you up is the epitome of everything calm, and the most powerful way to ensure that you will have a good day. I learned to love to push myself. No matter if it was at work, in the gym, or running a race, I knew I could always go harder, do better, and motivate myself to never give up. I learned to appreciate yoga, I really miss the easy access to the yoga studios that are located on every corner. I learned that I am a survivor, life is lived with challenges, now I know that I can overcome every one that comes my way. I learned that I hate dating. I would never want to date in Honolulu again! I learned that I really do miss people when they leave, goodbyes are hard, I hate them almost as much as dating.

Finally, I learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. When I moved to Honolulu, I knew only myself, and had three suitcases. Strangers helped to me find a home, helped me to find food, and ensured that I was able to keep my job. Those strangers became my friends, who eventually became my family. Never take the kindness of others for granted, that lesson made the difference between me having a home in paradise and just being homeless in paradise.

5 years later, I am living in Virginia, working in D.C. and I am no longer a girl on a rock in the middle of the pacific. I am a 31 year old woman in the DMV!  I am surrounded by friends, family, and strangers. Life continues to be full of twists and turns, so keep reading to see where I end up over the the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what happens, all I know is I just have to be ready for the changes.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

 

maui 2

I can do it all by myself, except sometimes I need help

When I was young, about the age of 3 or 4 my mom gave me the book All by Myself by Mercer Mayer. At the age of 31 my mom still reminds me that ever since I read that book over 25 years ago, I have always wanted to do things all by myself. When I was a child it was simple things like tying my shoe, or doing my homework. I would sit and try it over and over again until I got it right. I wanted to do it all by myself. As I got older life became more complex, and the complexity of things that I could actually do all by myself began to change. In high school it was filling out college applications, I didn’t need help, I could do that all by myself. However, once I got into college I had to pay for tuition, books, fees, oh and lets not forget that I actually needed to move everything out of my bedroom in Queens to my dorm room in Connecticut, yeah I needed help. Mainly from my parents, and because they are great parents they helped, and because they had hindsight to know I actually couldn’t do it all by myself I really didn’t even have to ask for much help. They just knew what to do.

As we get older we have greater needs in life, and may need more help. I have always been one to hate asking for help because I could do it all by myself. My favorite question to ask my clients in therapy sessions is “how is that working out for you?” When I think about times that I didn’t ask for help but really knowing that I needed help, I reflect on how poorly that is working out for me. When I bought my first car, I went into full-blown panic mode. Buying a car is stressful and I needed help. Luckily I had that help, my ex boyfriend helped me find a car, and my dad helped me to get my care registered, inspected and ready to drive. Needless to say without that help I would have been left stuck and riding the bus for a mighty long time.

Before moving to Hawaii, my mom asked me was I scared to go alone. My answer of course was no, if the fear was there I was never going to admit that to anyone anyway. She told me she doesn’t worry about me because she knows I will be fine, she reminded me that I have always had that determination that I could do it all by myself. That determination helped me to take leaps in life and never look back. That determination helps me prove to myself that no matter where I am in life and what I am going through, I will always at least try to do it all by myself, even though sometimes I may fail.

I am no longer a 3-year-old kid who just wants to tie her own shoe, or a 4-year-old who just wants to walk into a new classroom all by myself just to prove that I am a big girl. I am a 31-year-old who has grown to realize that as much as I want to do it all by myself, sometimes I need help, badly.

I realized the importance of help when I was living in Honolulu, I was all by myself, and couldn’t possibly do everything alone. Upon arriving on the island, I received help from my first landlord. She was overwhelmingly kind to me. She was local from Kauai and now living on the Windward side of Oahu. She went out of her way to welcome me to the island, I had no car, she drove me around, she showed me how to get to my job, how to get to the store, and what I would need to do to be safe in Honolulu. Her warming attitude made me feel like I would have a great home in Hawaii. I continued to find help along the way in friends, those friends helped me to overcome a sense of loneliness, and seemed to always make sure that I was doing ok. I received help to stay in shape from my motivating workout crew, and due to the fact that I had amazing co-workers, they never failed to help me learn my way around the island, and adjust my mainland style of building therapeutic relationships, to the local style of how to be a successful therapist. I was starting to learn that needing help was not a sign of weakness, but much-needed to keep building future success.

Now I am back on the mainland and have found myself in a place where I once again need help, and I continue working to overcome the struggle to ask, although it has gotten a lot easier. A few weeks ago I went snow tubing and broke a bone in my leg when it hit a block of ice.  Ok maybe I should have not been so quick to jump into winter sports since I have been living on an island that was 80 degrees every day for the past 4 years. Nevertheless, it was fun, well expect for the part where I broke my leg.

Being on crutches with a broken leg, yeah I have needed help. I want to do it all by myself, but life’s turns has hit me and now I can’t. This has truly been an experience in asking for help. I literally have needed help from everyone who is around me. Even my 7-year-old god-daughter has had to help me carry my purse. Lucky for me I have an awesome support group. My friends have been nothing less than amazing and have been there fully to help me. I end up feeling guilty though, I hate to inconvenience others or need help for something that I could just do on my own a few weeks ago. I remind myself that this is a temporary situation. It’s still hard most days.  It’s not forever, just for now, and now I have to continue to ask for help. This has truly been an eye-opening experience, I was the girl who thought I could do everything by myself. I could do it all, no help necessary. Now I can’t even drive my car, so to go anywhere outside of the house, yeah I need help.

Though this current situation of my broken leg is temporary and with time my bones will heal, it is a sudden much-needed reminder that life is not meant to be lived alone. If you always have the right circle of support you will never be alone, and when life throws you a curve ball, don’t struggle, put pride aside and just ask for help.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

No expectations, no regrets, A life worth living

The best things in life are often the most unexpected.

I love moments of self-reflection. Looking back on life’s moments always offers me greater insight into what I am fully capable of accomplishing in life. Life always has a way of working out if we choose to let it work. For that I am eternally grateful. Moments of self-reflection help me to realize how far I have come in my own personal growth, and remind constantly that life is a journey. At times that journey is slow, at times it moves faster than I can ever imagine, but I am always evolving on this journey.

The exciting part; you never know where the journey will take you. The scary part; you never know where the journey will take you. But you feel the need to go. I like to go fast.  In February of 2009 I packed up everything I had, left everything I knew, left everyone I knew, and moved to an island in the middle of the pacific. Having no idea where I was going, and vague plans that I could only hope would work out I began a new journey.  I had no idea of what I would find, no idea who I would meet, and had no expectations. It felt right, so I ran with it. Scary? Well, yes maybe a little. Was it needed? Yes most definitely.

In September of 2013  it was time to close my Hawaiian chapter, a bitter-sweet ending to an unbelievable journey. I arrived on the island emotionally empty. To be honest, I had hit life’s emotional rock bottom. Nothing mattered. To be in a state of going through the motions just because you have to, felt like a state of not living. My life needed more, my challenge was to find it.

I spent the last 4 and a half years of my life on the island of Oahu.  Wow writing this from a Washington DC coffee shop, it’s still hard to believe that it was not all a dream. I arrived with nothing, I left with more than I could have ever imaged. I was happy.  How did that happen? My emotionally empty glass was suddenly full.   I gained a new family or Ohana as they say in Hawaiian. I never thought I would meet people who would overwhelm me with a sense of Aloha. I was embraced by an amazing level of kindness from day one.  Friendships were formed. People cared about me. Strangers grew to love me, and will always have a place in my heart for them. I always thought the only people who would ever care about me lived on the east coast. I was never alone on the island in the middle of the pacific. I had people who loved me. Why is that so hard for me to believe? Even as I sit here and write, it seems like a dream. A false reality that never existed. A made up adventure of my life. But it really happened. I lived it. A  time in my life when I was able to let go and live. To prove to myself that I could live. Living was OK, I gave myself permission to just live.

When I was packing up all my belongings to leave Hawaii, I wondered to myself how did I get here. Seriously, I felt like I was in a fog when I left New York on that cold February morning in 2009. I cried all the way to my first layover in LAX. It was a day I will never forget. That force of knowing that my life needed change, gave me the strength to leave. When I was packing up my apartment in Honolulu, many times I wanted to cry. I had that part of me that wanted to stay. I had built a new life. Fearful that I would have to start over again. Fearing what the east coast would now hold for me. I was leaving different. I wasn’t the same girl who arrived on the rock in 2009. In essence I had changed. That’s what life is about, changing. I could never have lasted as long so far away from familiarity if I had remained the same. Somewhere along the line I grew up. I found hobbies. I fell in love. I fell in love with the island, with adventure, with mountains, with the ocean, with the culture. In my mind, shoot I was local. Even though I could never master the art of speaking pigeon, and still would never attempt to pronounce many of the Hawaiian street names, I still felt a sense of local flavor.

I went with no expectations, and gained more than I could ever imagine. I made new friends. My newfound extended ohana took care of me.  Those friends  pulled me through the bad days, and made good days all the more exciting. It worked. Life worked the way it was supposed to. I learned lessons. Even though I wanted to figure out if I could really cut my own safety net of my family and friends in New York while managing alone, that was impossible. I learned that no matter where I am in the world life can never be done alone. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. I found friends. Friends that helped me adapt. Friends that cared, friends that loved me, and made me feel at home. Friends that would miss me when I’m gone.

As each day passes here in the east, it all continues to feel like a dream. Was that time a brief intermission in life a time solely for me to recollect myself? Or maybe it serves a greater purpose that I am yet to find out. Not sure what is up next. All I know now is that as I begin to settle in again on the east coast, and embrace winter, God is always at work, and He always has a plan. I just can’t wait to see what happens next, but until then I will continue to live.

I have a confession: I am a black woman, and I work out

 

I’m a black woman and I work out.

Actually I work out a lot, and I am damn proud of it. So yes, black women do work out. I almost killed myself in the midst of my kick ass cross fit workout  this morning, so again, yes black women do work out.

Recently, there was a large stir surrounding a NY Times opinion piece insinuating that black women want to be fat. Black Women and Fat, was written by Alice Randall, a writer who has embraced her own weight loss journey. Randall states “many black women are fat because we want to be.” With that point I would have to disagree. I know many black women who are overweight, but  they do not WANT to be that way. Not to make excuses, but to lose weight and keep the weight off requires a true lifestyle change, many black women are not yet ready for that lifestyle change.

As the article proceeds, I can completely understand what Randall is saying. Though the title may have turned off a few readers, she actually makes good points. As a black woman I embrace my curves and thick figure, black men love that. Black men love that my hips are thick and that my butt is big. It is what makes me sexually attractive as a black woman. I accept that. I have never had a man tell me that I need to lose weight, or I should eat less. In fact since I work out 5 days a week, and 6 days on a really good week,  I am often asked why I work out so much, or I get the “you’re trying to lose weight?”, in a sideways crazy sounding voice.

Obesity truly has been a generational problem in many African-American families. The problem stems from years of unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. My grandmother used to make fried pork chops, butter grits with cheese, and biscuits  when we would visit her at her home in Georgia. When we would go to the south I would drink the sweetest iced tea, and lemonade I have ever tasted in my life. Full of flavor and loaded with sugar, it was delicious.  Subsequently my mom would cook the same way. Food wasn’t good if it wasn’t friend, or soaked in butter. I remember my mother used to put a slab of pork fat into collard greens to add flavor, and yummy it was.

But it also kills you.

My grandmother died from heart disease, both my parents have type  2 diabetes, my father has high blood pressure. I don’t want to die before I have ever had the chance to live.

So yes, I work out a lot.

Eventually my mother did start to change the way that she cooks, no more fried everything (awww I miss those days). No more full sticks of butter used on food, for now on it is baked or steamed, which I have grown to enjoy. With healthy eating, I also feel a hundred times more healthy.

Not only do I work out, I eat healthy. The combination increases overall health and happiness.

No matter how much I work out, I will never be a size 2 or model thin. Actually I don’t ever want to be. Curves are what make me a woman. I have had a personal struggle with weight all my life. Yeah I was the “fat kid” in school. It sucked. When I was in college I lost a lot of weight, nearly 40 pounds, everyone thought I was sick, how ironic. Well I actually did start to look sick, so I gained some weight back. Since then I have felt great.

I truly enjoy working out. It is a lifestyle requirement for me. To kick start my day, I start with a work out. It gets me going. To fight my periods of depression, I turn to working out. I am a true believer that a great consistent workout it better than any anti-depressant.  I get bored easily, so my workouts always change. I recently added cross fit to my regiment. While doing cross fit, I have periods of feeling like I either want to die or vomit. I am still alive, and no, no vomit yet. I get out of breath, winded, my muscles are screaming, but it is great! In a few short weeks I have started to feel stronger, I am eager to go back, ready to do it again. Despite the unbearable soreness, and my screaming quads I always go back for more.

My goal: to go longer, stronger, harder, faster.  I also do spin classes, yoga, running, and when I need a quick filler workout I’ll even hit the gym and run on a treadmill. However when you live in Hawaii, running on a treadmill at the gym can get very old, very quick.

The key to sticking with a workout out routine is to do whatever works for you. Find something you like and grab on tight. It may not be the same as what everyone else likes, or what everyone else is doing. Once you find it, continue with it. Watch yourself improve, the improvement will keep you going.

I suck at cross fit. I have absolutely no upper body strength and can not do 1 pull up. My personal goal is just to do one pull up. Just because it is hard at first doesn’t mean that I won’t get better at it. Each day I return, is one more day of improvement.

Have a vision of what you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to get stronger, maybe you just want to fit into old clothes that you have in your closet. See your vision in real life. Become that vision. Make it a realistic vision. If you dream of looking like a model…well that may not happen. Work with your mind and body on what you want to become. If you see that mental picture, believe it, stick to it, your body will follow.

At 30 I am now in the best physical shape of my life. Who would have thought. I never thought that I would be signing up to run races, and continuously look forward to running the next race. By the way, I still hate running, but I love competing against my own personal best time. Each time I race, I want to beat my time from the previous race. That keeps me motivated. I am excited I have realized what I could really do. I am doing activities that would have been an easy, “no, never, get the hell out of here” a few years ago. So far this year I have ran an 8 mile race, and two 6 mile races, with more to come. Slowly working my way to that half marathon.

I love being able to walk, to move my limbs, to run fast, to hike, to struggle while trying to do pull ups. I am working now to prevent years of having to be on medication for diabetes, or heart disease. I am working now to do my part in staying alive.

So yes, I am a black woman and I work out! And I love it. 🙂

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

No more first dates please!

So I have a confession: For the first time ever in my life I ran out on a date. I didn’t even say goodbye. I just left. I had enough. I wanted to scream. To avoid screaming, I made the most non under dramatic exit possible. Like a superhero I bolted out the door with lightning flash speed (we were at the movies, I ran out on the movie. Who does that?) The first,  hopefully the last and only time that I will ever have to engage in such a act. But to be honest, I couldn’t take it anymore, I just had to go.

The details of my bad date aren’t really that important. Since I left, trust me it was bad. I am 30 years old! In my own right, I have a higher standard of dating. To engage in a date with a drunk guy at the movies is not on my to-do-list. Yet it happened. So long story short: he was drunk and obnoxious, I was mortified and sick to the pit of my stomach, and I bolted towards the end of the longest two hour movie date of my life. I was tempted to walk home at nearly 11:00 at night, yeah it was that bad. Lucky for me, I have awesome friends who are willing to rescue me from the horror of my dating life (thank God, maybe the heavens do like me!). I was saved from walking, the night ended with great laughs, and another story to add to the book.

I never fail to get that all too common reminder as to why I hate dating.  When I seem to have a memory lapse, suddenly it comes back to me, the reasons why I can do without a first, second, or third date. In fact I have come to this conclusion: I never want to go on a first date again! I feel the need to be saved from the pain of having to endure the torment of horrible conversation, or sitting across the table from someone who should probably be at the nearest AA meeting than out in public with me.

Yup, its official, I am throwing in the dating towel. In a perfect world I would just be able to bypass all the mundane initial date “stuff” and move to the actual relationship. The relationship, the stage where we are exclusive. The stage where we are comfortable with one another.  He tells me how much he loves my smile, he knows what to say to make me laugh, I do sweet girlfriend things and  he enjoys listening to my useless tidbits that should probably land me a spot on Jeopardy. That stage where I don’t have to shave my legs every single time we go out because he is fully aware that hair grows on them, and if I want to sit around that house in sweatpants, then fine! Sweatpants are perfectly acceptable attire, he doesn’t care.  I would much rather prefer that stage, than the stage of the awkward first, second, third, fouth…..date.

Who said dating was fun? They lied. The truth, it sucks. No wonder speed dating is so popular, the commitment only lasts for 8 minutes. Short, sweet, and to the point, to me that equals perfection. If I can’t stand you at minute 8, we can part ways and never have to speak to each other again. So much better than waiting for minute 120 or 180, those minutes seem to last forever.

If only life had a fast forward button. If I could close my eyes today, and be in a completely monogamous relationship tomorrow, well I’ll take it. We know we will work, we have what each other are looking for, and we want the same things in life. Sounds good to me. Oh wait, life doesn’t really happen that way. I must endure the pain of a first date to get to that point.

Did anyone watch “What Chilli Wants” on Vh1? I see now why Chilli’s list was long enough to circle the entire earth…twice. To go out on a date and have an utter sense of disappointment is a pure waste of time and energy. At least if you know what you want to can see, attack, then conquer. Well maybe not so harshly, but you get the point.

To move to the relationship stage, dating must come first. If anyone knows a way around it, trust me I am open for ideas. As I eagerly hope for that amazing date that happens with ease involving  great conversation,  encompassing moments that I hope can last just a little bit longer, and a feeling of utter calmness, I will do what I can to stay positive. I will still go out, after a through screening process 🙂 Believe me the screening is not that bad.

At 30 I have a new take on dating. No wonder it is far more difficult than when I was 20. I am in a new realm. I have evolved. I have higher standards, I have expectations. Yup, dating is more complex now than ever. But, as with everything else in life, the more I try, the closer I am to getting it right.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.