Sunday, June 3, 2012

Being the Best Version of yourself

When I started my yoga teacher training, my mentor told me that our goal should be to inspire at least one person a day to work out. I've made this my mission ever since whether personally in a yoga or spin class or via social media such as facebook. I actually had a conversation with a friend the other day and she told me that I inspire her to lead a healthier lifestyle. This friend is younger and I don't see her often and I had no idea that in the limited time I did get to see her that I inspired her to want to be healthier. To be fair, I've had a head start on a lot of you out there. I began my fitness journey 3 years ago as a way to get in shape before my wedding. Before then I was on and off when it came to working out. I'd go in waves, as I'm sure everyone does. I was a Miller Lite girl for almost three years and I can tell you even being in those skimpy outfits did not inspire me to be healthier. They inspired me to be skinny but I cared not for muscle. Being from the south I think the mentality is to look good but don't be seen breaking a sweat. I'd take step classes at the YMCA in air conditioned rooms. People would come in and out of the classes and no one, that I ever saw, was working HARD. I'm talking, sweat pouring out of every part of your body, feel like you might faint or die, biggest loser style work out. I never saw it. Ever.

To be fair, it wasn't until I actually started teaching yoga, spin, kettlebells, and barre that I began making changes in my own diet. As a flight attendant I was accustomed to being on the go and eating whatever I could whenever I could. I would fly 4 day trips and being gone for that long away from home meant being at the mercy of hotel mini fridges, a small lunch bag and, if I was lucky, a microwave. Not exactly conducive for healthy eating habits. When I came home from my trips I would sometimes cook, but usually my husband was tired of eating in from cooking for himself every night so we would eat out. It's not like I always ate terrible but I wasn't exactly a stranger to sugar and carbs. So when my weekends started filling up with teaching classes something had to give. You can't possibly teach two-three classes a day then do your own workouts and expect to have energy to survive the rest of the day if you aren't taking in what your body needs. Being at the gym more meant being around other teachers who had much healthier eating habits than I did so I started to learn tips from them. Snacks I could eat, simple meals I could make. My mom got me a subscription to Whole Living and it blew my mind. Simple recipes I could make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I started with their new year whole living action plan detox smoothies and loved them. I would go to sunflower market and buy bulk raw almonds and trail mix that I could keep with me during the day when I needed an energizing snack. Every time I went to the store I bought bananas or apples and used them in my smoothies or ate them for a quick snack.

Like anything else in life, change doesn't happen overnight. I honestly don't know when my body shifted from thin to toned then to muscular and strong. 2 years I set a goal for myself to be able to hold a handstand in the middle of the room- and now this:
The yoga teacher's retreat in Costa Rica also gave me a good perspective on healthy eating. The resort controlled our breakfast, lunch and dinner and they cooked only what was fresh or what they grew in the garden. An example of breakfast:

Usually fruit, coffee and sometimes yogurt and granola


As you can see it's mostly veggies with a little protein.

So I started trying to replicate these meals at home for myself. Here's an example of my lunch one day:

It's a turkey and cheese sandwich that I pressed with my panini maker and then watermelon with pepper and strawberries. I was making these almost every day that I was home. This was a step up from the grilled cheeses that I would usually make for myself. When I fly I eat anything from soup to chicken salad, tunafish or these: 

These are perfect for me when I am flying or running around town. At $4 they are a little pricey but I find they fill me up and the contents aren't perishable so I can stick them in my suitcase whether I am flying for work or fun.

Other examples of snacks I have throughout the day are these:

I find that the seaweed chips are a great substitute for chips and seaweed has lots of good stuff in it for you. The freeze dried fruit reminds me of space ice cream and I take them hiking with me or flying when I can't bring fruit (certain fruits aren't allowed in canada) and they are just plain amazing. I'm hopelessly addicted to Homemade Harvey although it's a bit of a search to find it at the store (I found Vitamin Cottage and Safeway are carrying it now) and the hope hummus is made locally in boulder and after tasting it at Vitamin Cottage and hearing the story about how it came to be I couldn't resist. Great company, honest ingredients.

I cook more at home as well. Here's an example of a dinner I made the other day:
Chicken with purple asparagus that had truffle oil on them and brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts are my new favorite to make. Cut them in half, brush with olive oil and put them in the oven on broil setting until they get crispy, turning them over once.

This was another simple meal I made. Frozen fish filets (any kind that you like) cooked in the oven with pineapple and then a salad with beet dressing. I wasn't crazy about this beet dressing but I combined a beet in the blender with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and a little water. I'm still searching for the perfect beet based dressing. Steamed beets have been another favorite of mine to cook with - I just love the color and sprinkled with a little goat cheese they are amazing.

Let me just say I'm not crazy about cooking. Some days I just buy a rotisserie chicken and pull it apart and put it on some lettuce leaves and call that dinner. But I have made significant changes into how I look at food. I see it as fuel now not an enemy. I don't drink soft drinks anymore only water or un-sweetened tea. And I work out. A Lot. But my workouts are my social time and my mental saving grace. I have found exercises that work for me and that I like. What works for me may not work for someone else. And you aren't going to gain muscle or change your body with just one workout a week. It has to be a commitment and the workout goes with the eating and it hopefully all just comes together. I'm putting this out there for everyone who struggles with where to begin or the how can I take this to the next level. I never thought I could change my body as much as I have. I never knew it was possible. And I guess that's the thing you never know where you can take your body until you try and until you stick with it. Each and every day. And yes you'll have days you don't want to go to the gym but if you want your body to change then you have to make changes.

An hour workout is only 4% of your day and if you don't fill that time working out, the time will pass anyway.

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