Lighter!

Happy Saturday, Ya’ll! Apologies for the the short absence again, but at least this time, it was by design.

I find that when the demands of life (family, work, side projects, etc) start to consume all time and mental capacity, it’s important for me to take it one thing at a time as not to become overwhelmed, which was just about to happen. At present, I have a huge work event I am in the midst of planning and executing, transitioning my daughter to a new classroom and teachers, and consulting on a venture that is exciting, but really engrossing. On top of all that, I have been really focused on my health and exercise lately in the hopes of reaching a goal that I have had for quite some time come August (more on that later).

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Instead of just falling back on my usual semi-joking phrase of “I need a second ‘me’ to get all this done,” I took a hard look at my efforts and did an inventory of my time, and you know what I found? I found that I wasn’t using my time efficiently enough. During working hours, I was getting sidetracked with business calls and meetings that could be discussed via emails and not in-person meetings and, during the early morning hours, when I wanted to work out,  I wasn’t waking up early enough to do that or my meal prep as a vegan (which I’ve been easing into since last September and committed to at the top of the year). Essentially, I was shorting myself all the way around.

So, what did I do?

I put myself on a regular schedule, getting up at 5:30am or 6am everyday (yes, even the weekends), and starting out my day and ending my day with exercise of some sort 6-days a week (yes, two-a-days… one strength session of 50 minutes and one cardio of 45 to 60 minutes) and just a cardio or strength session on the 7th day – something to get me moving, but not like the other 6 days (essentially, a bit of a rest day). I joined [solidcore] for my strength and, for cardio, either run (ok, jog really… I am slow! lol!) or do spin at CorCycle, REV Cycle, or FlyWheel depending on my schedule. They are all a part of the health and nutrition plan my amazing husband and founder of BYBD Fitness & Nutrition has put me on.

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I found Organifi Green Juice and it’s been a game changer for my morning pick-me-up. I am so energized, I haven’t had the need or draw for caffeine or sugar of any kind for more than a month (I am not a big coffee drinker, but I love black teas and have been switching over to herbal teas more and more).

By far, really sticking to a vegan diet has felt wonderful as well. My meals are satisfying, my digestion is back on track, and I just feel GOOD when I eat the right things at the RIGHT TIME. I now understand and follow my Circadian Rhythm and have been implementing an 8-hour eating window that has aided with my weight loss, which will flip to a 10-hour window when I get into maintenance mode. I listened to this podcast on the Tim Ferris Show from Dr. Rhonda Patrick that my husband sent me and the first hour alone was mind-blowing! She even inspired me to investigate doing a water fast as well, which I did for 10 days. I had only planned on doing four days, but at the end of four, I felt energized and so clear-minded, that I decided to extend it to five days. At the end of Day 5, I decided to do it for a solid week and just extend it to seven. At the end of Day 7, I was like, “F It. You came this far. Might as well make it the full 10!” I am so happy that I did it. For those not familiar with water fasting, first – do your own research and make sure you consult your doctor. It triggers stem cell regeneration, aiding your immune system, and “stimulates the production of ketones, an energy source for neurons, and that it may also increase the number of mitochondria in neurons.” (Arjun Walia, www.collective-evolution.com)

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Water fasting for me was also a very spiritual experience. I prayed… a lot. I meditated… a lot. I rested when I was tired (which can be a lot, so be ready for that and do sleep or nap as much as possible when you feel the need), but woke up refreshed and feeling challenged in an empowering way, not a depleting one. It was MOTIVATING! I didn’t expect that with intermittent fasting, but it was definitely enjoyable and something I hope to do again in a few months.

All of this was happening in conjunction with putting into action the words and wisdom of Jen Sincero via an audiobook my sister gifted me, “You Are A Bad Ass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.” I am not a big “self help” book person, but this one? Man! Jen speaks the truth all up and down this book. Seriously! I have listened to it twice now in the car as I am driving to and from meetings and it has been so enlightening, I’ve been extremely thankful for her words and my sister’s thoughtfulness in putting me on to it, because never would have picked the book up myself.

I’m down 20+ pounds and somewhere between my pre-pregnancy weight and my wedding weight, so I am happy about that. Goal weight is what I was at when hubs and I started dating nine years ago, and, given my diet and exercise schedule right now (and my husband supporting me in being away at all these classes, taking the lead on home life so I can go and make it a priority), I know I will hit that target in another 6 to 8 weeks. I’m excited!

On top of all that, I just signed with a new agent to help me pursue new avenues as a TV Host / Radio Personality, which has always been my passion. It’s a move I should have made years ago when I decided not to re-up with my former agent.

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I just feel “lighter.” Not just because of the weight loss, although, boy! That’s been freaking awesome! I mean, I am not as stressed. I let other people’s problems (yes, even loved ones’) be THEIR problems. I assist where I can, but I don’t WEAR those problems as my own, which is something I tended to do – eating when I was stressed or worried about someone else or forgoing working out because I just wanted to sit and be still and be alone with my worry for them, as if that was doing them any good.

I feel “lighter” in that I am allowing and seeking out positive energy from those around me and giving it off too, especially to strangers and acquaintances. I am “lighter” in that I am sloooooowwwwwing doooooown and taking one task at a time. That right there is probably the toughest for me, especially with work, but I work better when I take projects little by little and the results have been impressive.

I feel “lighter” in that I see and appreciate the little moments with my husband and my daughter and our dog even more IN the actual moment, because I am focused on the present and not thinking about what needs to be done next, or tomorrow, or next weekend, etc. This too is an exercise because you know, especially as a mother, we are always thinking about a million and one things that need to happen. But, when I am doing this right, I feel like the best mommy and wife in the world because I am dialed in, immediately relieving myself of the ‘mommy guilt’ that creeps in on us when we least expect it and when it really isn’t deserved.

I’m learning that while it is important to give, it shouldn’t be done to complete exhaustion. “Put your own oxygen mask on first,” people. It’s time for all of us to breathe. The air (and the water!) is fine 🙂

Love,

El

Grads Without Gigs

It’s graduation season which means I have had a lot of conversations recently with young women I mentor lately, either formally or informally, about their careers and their futures. But today, I had the opportunity to speak with a young woman who graduated last year and still hasn’t found a full time job, much less one in her chosen field. Seeing this new crop of grads heading into the workforce just reminded her of the anniversary of her own graduation and her former feelings of hope this time last year turning into frustration now.

We had a good conversation, and of course, I offered her words of encouragement and practical approaches to the job search that she said helped, but still, I could tell this was difficult for her… in part because of her own self-imposed limitations.

“I can’t move where I want to because it will be too expensive.”

“I can’t look for a job too far away from where I live now, because the commute would be crazy.”

“My field is not common in this area. The gigs are rare and not coming up.”

All valid points, by the way. She wasn’t just making excuses or being lazy. But – all those reasons struck me as having the same theme: MOVE!

In this case, it really is likely a “move” in both locality and mindset needs to take place, but for many of us – especially new grads – it may be one or the other.

FEAR HANDCUFFS US! We tell ourselves that we can’t do something and back it up with ‘credible’ reasoning saying that whatever we want to do doesn’t make sense or that it is too risky. We end up short-changing ourselves and the rest of the world from the people we are supposed to be as a result.

This is something that I have to remind myself about to be honest, because the older I get – especially now with a husband and child and dog to consider – I have become much more risk adverse. Once I realized that, I began to make it a habit to try and do something that scares me regularly, like keeping up with this blog, indoor skydiving, recently taking Amharic classes, or trying [solidcore] for the first time (which I am now addicted to, by the way, and go three to five times a week!). Doing something you are afraid of keeps you YOUNG, keeps you SHARP, keeps you EXCITED! It’s super important to remember that as you grow older, but it’s also important to remember when you are indeed young.

If you are feeling stuck, think about what you really want, where you really want it, and how you really want it, and then MOVE your mind, body, or both and take the first step. The first step is the scariest, but then… it’s just another step on your path to actualizing the gifts that are you. Do something new, out of your comfort zone, and STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF. No more excuses. You got this. We got this!

Love,

El