Guided Meditation For Positive Energy

Move away from distraction and calm yourself for a few quiet moments. Breathe in for a count of 4 (smell the roses) and out for a count of 8 (blow out the birthday candles).

Allow yourself to close down all of the foggy thoughts in your head for just a few moments. Your to do list, the worries you have, the people in your life, simply let it all fade to the shadows. If you need a visual, picture a dark night sky with stars twinkling. Breathe from the depths of your stomach, allow your ribs to expand and collapse with each breathe.

  1. Think of someone or something you love SO incredibly much. Focus on that and hold it close to your heart.
  2. Focus on the sensory stimuli- what senses can you extract from this being?
  3. Allow this feeling to heighten your thinking. Maybe you feel the chills, a deep sense of warmth, maybe you cant stop smiling.., allow it to bring you closer to unconditional love. Hold yourself there, in that light. Allow yourself to feel good, and full of joy. Extend deep gratitude toward this source of light.
  4. Extend this energy of light into your family and friends, as if it’s covering them like a cozy blanket. Extend it to your physical home, that only good energy can enter. Extend it into your work environment, that it may elevate your quality of work and those you serve.
  5. It’s almost as if all aspects of your life are glowing, radiating like the beams of the sun. may what you do today and going forward, be it an extension, one ray of sunshine to spread light and love to the world around you.
  6. We all crave to be creative in our own way. Allow yourself to sink into the creative, connected energy that elevates our experience every moment of the day.
  7. When you face resistance throughout your day, allow yourself to avoid the temptation to react. Remember that we all crave to be connected, understood, and loved. We all show it in the way it was once shown to us. We’re each on a unique journey of figuring it out, and we are all just walking each other home.

Workout Motivation (When You Hate Working Out)

Maria Fitnezz community feedback: “I think it would be great to have a podcast about working out when you hate working out, and not necessarily from a “lack of motivation” perspective. Usually that’s what people assume the problem is but I think the problem is that I just procrastinate everything. I am the biggest procrastinator I know. I know that I’ll enjoy working out, I know that I should do it and I know why. I just don’t want to take the steps to get from point A to point B!!!!! Why am I like this and how do I force myself to move without making working out just a checkbox on the to do list or something I associate with negative thoughts/forcing myself to get up so I can stick to my meticulously crafted wellness plan??”

Does she sound like you? If so, listen up!

I’ll start with the fact that this problem has nothing to do with some people wanting it more than others, thats never the problem. Women have cried to me about how badly they want to like what they see in the mirror but never actually take the steps to do it- it’s not that you dont want it bad enough, because I know you do. I see it and I see that you’ve tried many times.

But at what point did you think you tried one too many times? Because you’re here aren’t you, looking to make progress but not actually making it?

The piece of advice I’ll give you is that the body achieves what the mind believes.

If You want to achieve anything at all, you first have to believe in your ability to do it. And you might brush this off as, like, duh of course I can do it. You talk the talk but have you actually walked the walk to prove it? Think about how truly satisfying it would feel inside of you to prove to yourself, just this once, that you do have what it takes.

That brings me to tip number two- setting the standard of excellence, of mastery for yourself as the bare minimum. What if you adopted the identity of someone who only produced the best quality of work that they’re physically and mentally capable of?

When I very first started, exercising was incredibly unbearable. Like as in, the first workouts I ever did at 16 years old were various types of planks, I mean I dove into fitness headfirst with the things that sucked the most. And I told myself if I could get through 30 minutes, literally 2% of my day, everything else would get easier.

You’ll be a better mom and wife because of the sense of self-worth that comes from movement. You’ll begin to reverse the cycle of negative emotions associated with movement when you change the neurotransmitter pathway in your brain to associate movement with runners high or a sense of accomplishment. And that’s just a brief summary of the science behind it. And it takes so much more practice than you think.

Nobody loves pushups, they just come easier for some because they practice over and over. There’s this concept called the 10,000 hr rule where in order to become a master, it takes 10,000 hr of intentional effort.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this: are you willing to do the dirty work it takes to achieving the goal? Are you willing to embrace physical pain during a workout to get better at it and hate it less? Or, does that sound like too much work that you’d rather sit on the couch? In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about this idea that if you get 1% better everyday, you will build compounding habits that build on each other.

My only piece of tangible advice for this, is to write down on a piece of paper with a pen everyday is: did I get 1% better today? With a yes and no check box. I know thats the opposite of what you want (aka checking a box off) but it’s a good visual that eliminates the excuse, the “I tried” bc ultimately trying is the same as failing. You either did or you didnt, and the only way you fail is if you didn’t.

How To Overcome Cravings

Does anyone actually know how to do this? KIDDING. But you must know, this formula isn’t a one and done. I come back to this often when I find myself slipping up.

Temptation in terms of food, is a fact of life. It’s not something you can peacefully avoid when theres a voice in your head screaming at you to eat the lemon bluberry cupcake- which happens to be my fave flavor. I also don’t believe life is worth living without indulgences. I take indulgences very seriously and put them as a high priority as something to savor.

So, just how do you stop? How do you stop grazing the cabinets every night to fill a void you’re not even sure food can fill? Well, that’s the first step. Figure out what it is on your mind that you’re looking for in food. Because its probably something you’re missing in your life in some other aspect. This is hard because it requires a level of honesty with yourself most people spend their whole lives running from.

The second tip that I have in overcoming cravings is pretty obvious- don’t keep things you crave at the house. Practice leaving the kitchen after a meal that fills you up, and distract your mind with something else. A good book to look forward to, a puzzle, a game, a movie, fill that space with a healthier guilty pleasure.

A say “guilty pleasure” because I know that you understand what I mean. But actually, I don’t believe any sort of guilt should be present, not even in the same sentence, as indulgence. Indulging in something feels like a gift on your birthday, guilt feels like I’ve done something wrong and need to be punished for it. That’s how majority of us treat our bodies. And so the vicious cycle begins. What if, instead of calling it a “guilt free” or “cheat meal,” you reverted to “treat meal?”

I start by buying fresh produce, planning my meals, and being gentle with myself. This is the time most of us restrict because we’re mad at ourselves. But instead of going extreme, I start slow. I start by showing up to my workout appointments at 6 a.m. in my living room every morning. I start by having a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I keep eating dessert, I keep snacking if that’s the case, but I make good meals.

There’s an ebb and flow that happens about every 3 months where I get off track, usually its around a certain time of the month. I don’t freak out, I don’t get super angry at myself, I just let it be and know that it will pass. If I didn’t allow myself to have fluctuations, I wouldn’t be a healthy, well-rounded person. I love sweets even at the cost of savoring them once in awhile.

The next tip I have to overcome cravings is to figure out what you can’t live without and work around that. Personally, I can live without alcohol. I prefer it. I don’t love the way that I feel when I drink, I don’t need it to have a good time, so I choose to drink socially once or twice a year if that. I also don’t eat meat or fish for moral reasons and fried food gives me bad migraines and doesn’t mix well with my system. Something I absolutely cannot live without is cookies, pastries, and chips. So I make that list, and then I compromise.

Look, there are plenty of people who will tell you to give up sugar because of how bad it is for you and to give up drinking and fried foods, blah blah blah. My thing is, I’ve tried it. I’ve tried living without the small indulgences that I love, and I was not happier than keeping them. The mindset I have around cravings is to give into cravings when they arise in a way that both benefits your treat center and your nutrition center.

I highly, highly don’t believe in suppressing cravings. Think of cravings as emotions, because first of all, it is an emotion. If something horrible happened to you and you pushed it way down without dealing with it, chances are you explode on people around you who don’t deserve it. How about giving into cravings in a way that compromises both your health and your craving- hence the protein biscuit I eat for dessert. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing, it applies both to craving and both to eating well.

I encourage you to stand back and observe your cravings- when they’re the worst, how long they last, what other habit patterns you follow when they come, and how best you can make space for them to temporarily visit?

Maybe you have kids, a grueling job, or you’re in school- every time you prepare a meal, think about how that’s going to translate in the long run of the goals you want to achieve. You want your kids to grow up and be healthy and strong? Great, they’re watching your every move, make sure your meals are worth mimicking. You’re leading a team of people at work, so how can you muster up the ideas, the confidence, the energy to deliver your best if you aren’t eating things that are green? If you’re in school, it’ll be so much easier for you to focus and work smarter not harder to get assignments done and remember what you need for the test when you’re eating fresh berries that have so much research behind how good they are for memory.

The way you eat defines how well your brain will be able to perform either at it’s best or it’s worst on any given day. Tie your nutrition into how well you’d like to show up for your future self and you may change your mind about that next time you crave something that’ll spike your blood sugar. You can’t live to your fullest potential if you’re coping in a chip bag because life is overwhelming. Figure out the cause, and the effect of taking your stress out on food will likely take care of itself.

Intermittent Fasting

Intro

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between eating and fasting, exactly how it sounds. It’s not necessarily a diet, just a window of time you choose to eat and time you don’t. Typically, most follow either the 14-16:8 method which is where you eat your daily meals within an 8 hour period or the 5:2, which is 5 days of eating normally, 2 days of fasting.

Blood sugar + Insulin

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (aka glucose) from carbs in the food that you eat for energy now or to store for future use after you eat. It makes sure your blood sugar levels don’t get too high or too low. *Key example

How do you know if you have insulin resistance? How this can benefit you is that if you feel like you are starving all the time, having mood swings around meals times, or can’t quite get ahold of your appetite, this could be a good time to try this style of eating. One of my great friends is an RD who proofread this episode and provided insight, so you’ll have to listen to find out! S/O to YOU Meg Wolf. 🙂

*Like anything, I 100% recommend you work on this with your MD or a registered dietician. Always bring a professional in because of possible other underlying health factors. Personally, I don’t have any of those so I decided to give it a try.

My Experience with IF

At the beginning of March, I got a headache that made me lose my appetite one afternoon at work. So I ran to the store and grabbed soup, pretzels, chips, crackers, and anything else bland that I could find. I ate all of it for lunch (when normally I’d eat a protein with lots of vegetables, and lentil noodles or rice or something like that). So after the stress, the empty lunch of no nutrients, and the many, many oreo balls later, I felt sick to my stomach and simultaneously craved unhealthy foods (also an abnormal feeling bc I eat well). I was reading genius foods at the time, and the part of the book I was at, talked all about benefits of intermittent fasting and how it resets many things like hormones that control appetite, fullness, energy, blood sugar, I mean all the things. So I went ahead and loosely tried it.

I don’t diet or count calories or macros, I eat intuitively. Which feels like eating all the major food groups (protein, fats, and carbs in the form of fruit, vegetables, and starches) and focusing on whole foods that come from the ground and not a package. I also eat dessert bc I love it and treat myself to not so balanced meals on the weekend within reason. I say within reason bc when I completely fall off the bandwagon, again, I feel like crap. And I hate feeling like crap- the ideal version of myself feels energized and full and still enjoying really good foods, so that’s the target I aim for.

*There are a few conditions in which IF would not be advised. However, I’ve been practicing this style for months now and I can honestly say between my energy, not feeling as crappy after dessert the next morning, and not thinking about how hungry I am much of the time, this style truly works for me.

Resources

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-1-diabetes/what-insulin

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/insulin-and-insulin-resistance#basics

My Story of Self-Confidence

How many of you listening lack self-confidence? How many of you wanted to apply for a job, send an email, or say how you actually feel… but stopped yourself. You stopped because you don’t think what you have to offer or say was worthy of getting chosen. And telling yourself you wouldn’t get chosen was easier than someone else telling you.

How many years of your life have you lived based on the opinion of someone else?

I’m be better off keeping to myself than associating with people who made me feel less like a person and more like a punching bag that they could poke fun of whenever they wanted.

If I had been accepted into that world, I wouldn’t have ever learned to stand on my own. And standing on your own is super scary, but super worth it.

I don’t know the specific circumstances that you’ve gone through, but I know what it feels like to be an outcast. And succeed because of it. Even though high school got better, the years I spent there were all hard for different reasons. And I’m SO thankful that it ended when it did.

What you have to share, whether it’s with your family, with your friends, for a job, to present in a conversation, it’s worth it.

Notice I didn’t say happy… because to me, confidence means taking the best possible care of yourself and living in a way that makes you happy.

And I certainly don’t know what you need to hear to make it click for you just how amazing you are but man if I could go back to the 15-year-old version of myself that had no clue what she was in for, I’d tell her to keep standing back up, every single time she fell. I’d say that life gets 110% better after this ends.

That someday, you’ll be sharing the story of how you got your wings and are able to lead a community of women that also need to gain theirs.

Food Label Myths Part 2

*Disclaimer: I have no credentials in this field other than being a licensed physical therapist assistant- so I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist, nor am I certified or licensed to give formal advice. For all questions or serious inquiries, I’m going to direct you straight to the professionals.

3. Myth: Protein bars vs “carb” bars

I actually learned this from celebrity nutritionist Kelly Leveque, author of “Be Well” by Kelly. Before I dive into this topic, we’re going to circle back around to macronutrients- aka the amount of carbs, fats, and protein in a food.

A big piece to this puzzle is I experiment a lot. After I tried a entire Perfect Bar a few different times, I noticed that I didn’t feel foggy or sluggish or bloated which means my body responded well to it. This is RARE as I’m sensitive to protein powders / bars that don’t agree with my stomach.

4. Myth: Plant based vs “Clean”

The last myth we’ll be covering is how true are the claims made by companies that products are “natural” “plant based” vs “clean” and are they the same thing?

First of all, no they are not the same thing. I did a little digging and found an article that clearly stated a company can claim a product is “all natural” if just 1% of any ingredient on in the list comes from or is derived from a natural resource. Same rule applies for organic.

The take home message for this one is to not believe everything you see on a food label– all these buzz words of organic, natural, clean, plant based etc aren’t always the whole truth. Make sure to check the quality of the ingredients included, consult a professional when in doubt, and do some self educating as you have an incredible amount of resources right at your finger tips.

Take what I say with a grain of salt as my hope for you is to make better choices by being armed with the right information. Please don’t be afraid of eating fat sources or bananas, experiment for yourself, and if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut, eat foods in their most natural form that come from nature, and keep learning and growing by seeking credible resources. Hope this helps you make simple, better choices. It’s a never ending journey of learning, but doing your best means that you’re on the right track to succeed!

RESOURCES

Glamour Magazine Article 

Perfect Bar Ingredients 

Food Label Myths Part 1

**Disclaimer: I have no credentials in this field other than being a licensed physical therapist assistant- I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist, nor am I certified or licensed in anything.  For all questions or serious inquiries, I’m going to direct you straight to the professionals.

I’m always hesitant to speak on topics like this bc it’s out of my comfort zone and my scope doesn’t include nutrition advice. I don’t want to be mistaken for someone who makes false claims, you know? So with this, its all info you can locate on google and some common mistakes I frequently see in the health field or just through chatting with friends.

  1. Myth: Grams of fat content per items = gram of body fat you will gain by eating it.

So just to be clear- amount of fat in food is a totally and completely separate concept than fat (adipose tissue) on someone’s body.

A few examples of nutrient dense sources of lipids, or “nutritous fat content in food,” include avocados, some forms of cheese (not fried), dark chocolate, eggs with yolk, fatty fish (salmon, trout, and sardines to name a few), nuts, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconuts/oil, and full fat yogurt.

There’s also the different kinds of fat: saturated, unsaturated (which include mono and polyunsaturated), and trans fats. I’ll leave that up to you to type into Google to learn a bit about as not all fats are created equally- some more nutritious than others.

There’s been a lot of conflicting info surrounding egg yolks and coconut oil on whether theyre actually good for you or not, and my advice is . . .

2. Myth: SUGAR. Something that drives me bananas is when I’ll ask my patients at work what their diet is like and many of them will say they eat a granola bar for breakfast. I’ll ask if they pair a berries or a banana with it, and they’ll tell me “oh gosh no, bananas have way too much sugar.”

Okay, here’s the deal . . .

  • Ask yourself when eating something sugary- is this from the ground? How processed it is?
  • How many grams of “added sugar” does the container say? Both are important, but added sugar is especially important, even more so if you’re diabetic.

    I’m sure most of you are familiar with the fact that they say women should eat no more than 25 g of sugar per day, including fruit. While I have no idea if that’s still an industry standard, I figured out why that is in the book that I’m reading “Genius Foods.” ***I’m not an expert, this was just my own interpretation!

The take home message is . . .

Examples of sneaky words that all mean sugar: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, organic brown rice syrup, and more.

 

RESOURCES

The Cleveland Clinic – click here to read the full article

Genius Foods – Book by Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal

 

A Book That Helped Me Grieve

The most powerful book I’ve ever read is called . . .

The morning of the day we decided that it was time to send my pup to heaven, before we made the decision, I happen to come across this book that felt very right to read at this particular moment.

Story of sending my childhood dog at age 15 years old to heaven on New Years Eve.

One of the biggest things that grief and tragedy have taught me is to slow down. It’s funny for how often I talk about slowing down, but my morning cup of coffee is about the only time I embrace a slow pace. I believe its important to move slow, but my life is high energy and fast paced more often than not at this point. I drive a little slower, I sit still a little longer, and im not in such a rush. I’m aware that when I rush, I lose my inner peace and without that I have nothing.

When big and scary tragic things happen, I move slow and give myself the opportunity to feel things in whatever way feels right- usually I feel quite empty until I start writing to move the energy.

Today, as I’m wrapping up writing this episode, a patient of mine who has moved into more of the role as a friend after working with her for over 2 years, surprised me with the help of my boyfriend to make me a scrapbook full of memoirs of my pup.

I’d like to set an intention to all loved ones- family, friends, pets, or special someones who have passed in all of our lives. May the road rise up to meet you, and may we hold you close to our hearts everyday until, at once, we reunite again. Always in our hearts- this one goes out to you Shane. xoxo

How To Enjoy Spending Time At Home

I never thought I’d be actually writing on this topic… but the more people I talk to, the more this topic comes up. And I’d like to start by addressing the problem, the real elephant in the room: Most of us find being home uncomfortable because we don’t truly spend enough time alone with our thoughts.

Sure, things are scary with the actual virus and many people struggling to pay their bills and I by no means want to undermine the severity of these issues. But for 80% of us, the scariest part is the extra time our minds finally have to reveal in their true colors. Generally, our minds revert back to past traumas and how we handled those. While you may not be directly affected with the virus or financial stress, you’re most likely experiencing second hand anxiety by absorbing everyone else’s exhausting coping mechanisms spread all over social media.

There comes a point where it all becomes too much. You begin to sing someone else’s narrative to the point of not being able to recognize your own. And I want you to repeat this in your head immediately after reading because it’s important: We’re all doing our best to get through this unfamiliar occurrence. Just because others don’t agree with the way you’re handling your thoughts doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Trying your best, survival, and handling uncertainty are 3 separate intimidating experiences, do not feel bad for caring for yourself in a way that others may not necessarily agree with.

In the same breath, I’d also like to remind you that while the surrounding circumstance isn’t ideal, you don’t have to dread every moment of the day because the news tells to you. For some of my friends, they really needed this break from their busy lives as stress was beginning to manifest in unhealthy ways. For others, it may be a welcomed occasion to spend more time with their kids. It is what you make it, and how you perceive it to be will determine how you’ll walk through this season and every difficult one to follow.

This comes a bit more naturally for me as I’m a true homebody. I cherish time spent at home. My home is a cozy, spotless sanctuary that rejuvenates my physical and mental health. Every morning I look forward to a cup of coffee and a good book as if it were a therapy appointment. I put on headphones and tennis shoes to work out while jamming to an exciting playlist. I still get dressed in my self-appointed “uniform” of athleisure, even if I’m working from home.

So how can you possibly make the best of this time alone at home? Well, my first recommendation is to spend intentional time resting. Not on your phone, not watching tv, but like actual physical time to let your mind drift. If you’re the kind of person who’s mind spirals at the thought of “unstructured thinking,” then try a guided meditation to give it some direction. Before you can change those spiraling thoughts, quietly sit back and pretend the listening voice and the spiraling voices are two separate people having a conversation (because they actually are). Acknowledge that the spiraling voice is there, but know that you don’t have to give it the power to dictate your narrative. More in the book “The Untethered Soul” for this one!

Another recommendation I have, unsurprisingly, is to write in a journal. But not actually the traditional journaling we do in One Ray (which is quick and routinely), make this a special opportunity to go back through your mind and get thoughts out that are covered in cobwebs. I used to write fake letters to people who did me wrong (usually ex-boyfriends lol) and wouldn’t send them. If someone is stealing your joy simply by existing more than they should in your mind, time to either write a fake letter that never gets sent! Write it out, girl. Your mind is designed to come up with new ideas, not store old news. Write your fears, memories, your hopes and dreams, favorite quotes, favorite songs, and make it worth looking back over in 5, 10, and 30 years. I do that to my high school journals and crack up at things I thought were a priority back then.

Lastly, catch up with your family. This is something that was actually a wakeup call for me. Invite people you wouldn’t normally call out of the blue to a conversation of catching up on each other’s lives. This is something I’ve been really trying to do more in the past few months. Just about 2 months ago, my boyfriend and I hosted a small dinner party with my dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, and her boyfriend and honestly it was one of my favorite memories ever. Nothing big or exciting happened, just celebrating being together and laughing at memories was something to savor. I also feel like I’ve had more genuine, non-distracted conversations with my virtual patients or friends during quarantine because I suddenly don’t have a to do list of stupid obligations that occupy too much of my time for what they’re actually worth.

Chances are, we won’t get another opportunity to slow down. You can spend this time wallowing in the news, or you can use it as an opportunity for growth and re-acquainting yourself with your cobwebbed thoughts. The time will pass either way, how do you want to look back and remember this period of a collective, mandatory pause?

The Importance of An Honest Conversation

In the past year of my life 2019 into 2020, I’ve experienced quite a few life changes. Things like moving out of my childhood home, letting go of friendships, growing my business, watching my pup pass away, and a few health scares in close circles of mine… it’s been a ride. I feel as though the timing of this podcast couldn’t have come at a better time as I feel confident to be more vulnerable in this space than any other platform I’ve been on over the past 3 years. By no authoritative standard am I qualified to give perspective or advice on life…

The one thing I’ve taken from these amazing and traumatic experiences is that it happened to give me the courage to speak my mind when my gut feels something needs to be said for the greater good of the community. It goes back to the old saying- only speak your mind if something is kind or necessary.

In this moment, the feeling of that previous friend breakup came to mind and thats not how I wanted to leave things this time. I learned my lesson already.

This only intensified the truth that feels right to me deep in my soul- tough conversations are hard, but incredibly necessary to help people heal.

Especially in speaking up for myself as a woman business-owner, I truly believe this is why I’ve convinced myself  that I’m capable of having the courage to stand up for myself and be direct in hard situations.

It’s hard to feel bitter and grateful at the same time.

I used to have a problem sticking to healthy habits, so I created a beautiful journal to solve the problem for other women. I believe in the power I have to create a ripple in the world of confidence and self-care, so I started speaking on stage and behind a camera on subjects I feel strongly about to create a fulfilling life with a foundation of good mental and physical health.

Believing you can means that you’re halfway there. Speaking how you feel in a direct but well-intended way means you’ll spend way less time creating made up and probably untrue scenarios in your head and avoid a headache of arguments.

I encourage you to schedule a time to have that conversation. I challenge you to get so lost in a project or hobby that you forget what day it is and you cant stop smiling because of the beauty in self-expression that creativity brings out from the deepest parts of your soul. And I dare you to tell yourself over and over again that you can, even when you want to believe that you cant. I’ll leave you with one last thought- It’s brighter on this side of the sun, and I believe so deeply in your ability to connect to the very reason you were placed on this earth.