resolutions

Experiments in … Holding My Self Accountable vs. Allowing My Self To Falter (aka: A Resolution Round-up)

It’s December! Already! How did we come to the closing of the year so quickly? It feels like I was writing out my resolutions just last week. But, I guess, time flies when you’re having experiments in bliss.

What a wild and wonderful year it’s been! While I must confess that I have lagged on my resolutions in this last quarter of the year, I am exuberantly proud of the personal progress I’ve managed to make in 2014. I have completely restructured my lifestyle and my health continues to improve daily. As a direct result, of course, my quality of life is improving. This process, like so many others in my life, and in Nature, is happening at the Tortoise’s pace. The Aries in me can get impatient at times, but I just keep reminding her that most true and lasting positive change takes time. My true nature seems to be more that of the Tortoise than the Hare, anyway, so this pace, in the big picture, suits me just fine.

So, I think I’m going to just dive right into my resolution round-up. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

January was all about organization. Resolution #1: Organize home and life. Considering the fact that I was getting settled into my new loft and starting to fall into a good flow of client retention at work, I feel like this resolution was met. I will pretty much always believe that there can be more organizational improvements made. That’s the Virgo in me.) But I feel very good about my organizational work this year. Yay! One resolution met!

February saw the advent of the elimination diet. Resolution #2: Treat myself to an elimination diet during the month of February. Then adjust everyday diet accordingly to eat for optimal health and not for emotional reasons. This was perhaps the best and most important gift I gave myself this year. In fact, it’s one of the best things I’ve EVER done for my Self. This elimination diet, which ended up lasting through March, was the beginning of my discovery of the low fat high carb vegan lifestyle. And this lifestyle has been and is still creating so much positive change in my health, and in my life, in general. Hooray! Two resolutions met!

Exercise was the theme for March. Resolution #3: Get moving! Exercise regularly and joyously. Physical exertion has been an ongoing topic of scrutiny for me this entire year. I get plenty of exercise. I walk or bike almost everywhere. My job is physical. I stretch and wiggle all the time. And I occasionally even fit in some formal workouts. So, I have no qualms about claiming the prize on this resolution. Would I like to make some changes and improvements in this arena? Yes. But I’m satisfied with where I am until those changes can be made. (More on this in an upcoming post.) Awesome! Three resolutions met!

April was about cultivating creativity. Resolution #4: Do something creative every week. Make actual artist dates a la The Artist’s Way. Have some kind of finished project to show for your efforts at least once a month. Okay, so this is where my footing starts to get a little slippery on the resolution road. While I have managed to participate in many creative endeavors this year – probably more than I have in the past several years – I have not been as consistent as this resolution dictates. So, we’ll call this one a Room For Improvement.

Meditation was the plan for May. Resolution #5: Cultivate a meditation practice. I was doing some really good work on this resolution for a while. Unfortunately, I eventually let Life seep into my practice and suddenly so many excuses seemed to take precedence. However, spiritually speaking, this is what a meditation practice is. It’s not about perfection, but about practice. It takes time to make it a habit. It involves failures as well as successes. And it’s as much a lesson in how the failures are handled, as it is about how many successes are had. So, I’m considering this one a Room For Improvement, as well.

June was an attempt to separate my personal life from my working life. Resolution #6: Give myself days off of work and don’t work on those days! Seems like such a simple aim. Alas, it continues to prove otherwise for me … often to my detriment. I continue to struggle with my own boundaries about how much I can reasonably work. I’m also a sucker for helping out when I am needed. And while this stems from a good place of wanting to be a helpful and contributing member of the work team, my inability to refuse these requests for help most often leave me overwhelmed, overworked, and with a strained immune system. So, while I was doing okay with this resolution during a few months mid-year, overall I am calling this resolution a fail. Or rather, this is an opportunity for more reflection on my personal needs and how to provide for and protect those needs in my own words and deeds. Let’s do it!

Financial health was the name of the game in July. Resolution #7: Save some money. Well, I did manage to save some money this year. However, I also managed to spend most of it in these last few months. I don’t regret putting the money where I did, but I’m eager to start saving again. This time, I hope I can manage to create a more substantial nest egg. Another growth opportunity. It’s on!

August asked me to indulge my social side. Resolution #8: Be more social. I think my failing with this resolution was that I didn’t designate any specific parameters to be met, so I have no real concrete way of gaging how successful I was at achieving it. That said, I feel like I gave a decent showing out in the world. I even hosted a couple of parties. I’m still fairly hermity, but I managed to get myself outside much more often than I have in years past, so I’m calling this a win. Alright! Another resolution met!

September was about taking care of my Self. Resolution #9: Make room for some kind of Self care every week. Well, while I didn’t get too caught up in documenting how often I was doing things for my Self, I can say that I practice Self care regularly. Whether it be meditation, hydrotherapy, yoga, time in sunshine, cuddles with my best bunny friend, or sundry other delightful treats, I treat my Self often. So, this resolution is one that can be happily checked as accomplished. Heck yeah! Five resolutions met!

October wasn’t about me. It was about others. Resolution #10: Volunteer at least once a month. I am very sad to admit that this resolution got lost in the shuffle of end-of-the-year busyness. It’s a downright fail. I mean, er, another opportunity to work harder in 2015! I’m looking forward to it!

November urged novelty. Resolution #11: Try something new at least once a month. While this is a notion I support, I admit that I wasn’t specific enough in it’s phrasing. I’m sure there were many new things I tried at many times throughout this year, but I did not always take note of them. So, I think I’m going to consider this a faulty resolution. Maybe I will try to tweak it into something more measurable and specific, perhaps, for next year?

December was all about spirit. Resolution #12: Cultivate a spiritual practice and attune to Nature by observing the Wheel of the Year, Esbats and Astors. I’m afraid I didn’t do very well on this one, either. While I was almost always aware of when these events were taking place, I was not good about formally (or informally, if I’m being honest) acknowledging and honoring them. We’ll be seeing this resolution again, dear readers. Be ready.

So that’s it. Five resolutions met. Two resolutions partially met with Room For Improvement. One faulty resolution. And four resolutions unmet leaving opportunities for new growth. It’s not perfect, but it’s decent. And I’m happy with this progress. I’m looking forward to setting some new resolutions for 2015. I suppose I will have to get busy with that really soon. Still, it’s gonna have to wait until another entry.

Happy New Year, lovelies! 2014 has been a wild and wonderful ride. Thanks for sharing it with me! If you’d like to share how you did on your resolutions this year, I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below (or message me directly if you tend toward a more private nature). May 2015 bring you health, wealth, bliss and love!

xoxo,
melanie

August/September/October: Playing Catchup!!

Hello gentle readers! Many apologies for the extended absence. So much has been happening in my world, and I have been working very hard to remain unburied by it all. Sadly, that didn’t translate into my prioritizing the blog updates. Sometimes you just have to remove yourself and take care of your Self before you can jump back into the game, you know?

Anyway, here I am, and I’m going to jump straight in with my resolution progress reports for these three months past.

At my last writing, I was working with July’s resolution of “Saving Some Money.” It was going decently until I used my money to pay off all my debt, including an old forgotten debt that was marring my credit report. So, I’m back at Square 1. Actually, it’s more like Square 2, as I have a plan already in place for saving money every month. So, I’m on my way. And, as is one of my favorite personal mottoes: Slow and steady wins the race!

August’s resolution was to Be More Social. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t thinking about my resolutions during this month at all. However, I managed to keep this resolution nonetheless! I managed to make several dinner dates with friends as well as general social meetings with friends I don’t get to see in the course of my everyday life. And these meet-ups have continued through to the present, and will, hopefully, continue indefinitely. So, good on me!

In the month of September I was to Make Room For Some Kind of Self Care Every Week. Did I do it? Yes, actually. Once again, without actually paying any attention to my resolutions, I was subconsciously fulfilling them. (Yeah!) I have a standing weekly appointment with my acupuncturist. We do any combination of acupuncture, tui na massage therapy, and/or cupping every Tuesday. So, my resolution is covered. On top of that, however, I’ve also been trying to get more regular massage sessions as well as the odd facial service here and there. I’ve also been working in more yoga classes where I can be a student and practice rather than just teach. It’s wonderful. I’ve discovered two really wonderful studios in town – one where I have been practicing and already feel a kindred connection with the community of practitioners, and another where I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to attend some classes. I actually spent much of September on the treadmill and in my bedroom doing some muscular endurance, cardio, and flexibility training. Woot! However, as my body has been shifting these last several months, and continual working on concrete floors, walking on concrete sidewalks, and living at home with concrete floors, some of my old postural injuries have started reappearing. I consider this good progress – which may be strange for some folks to understand – but I am also taking things much easier right now as I try to work through these injuries in a holistic and safe way. All in all, a resolution met.

October’s resolution is to Volunteer At Least Once a Month. While I am very excited about this resolution, I am feeling like it’s not going to be met this month. I’m not even sure if it will be met this year, if I’m being really realistic with my Self. However! Regardless of what happens with this beautiful resolution this year, I will be recycling into 2015’s list. So, get ready for some good giving back soon. And even if I’m not able to actively do much volunteering right now, I am donating services to deserving organizations in the area, so I guess this might be a half-fulfilled resolution with a promise of more to come.

So, that’s got us up to date for now. How about you? Have you managed to keep any resolutions? Or have you evolved any resolutions to work in a better or more authentic way for you as you’ve grown this year? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences.

I’m hoping to carve out more time for writing in the last phase of this year, so keep checking back here and on my personal blog (Experiments In Bliss) for more news.

Have a beautiful Autumn, a happy Halloween, a powerful Samhain, and gorgeous Life of living your Light!

xoxo,
melanie

JUNE: Take Time Off!

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Welcome to June, dear readers!  I hope this glorious Spring is treating you well: filling your hearts, lifting your spirits and warming your cockles.  Here in the American South we’ve been having a beautifully drawn-out sweet and temperate Springtime.  What good fortune we are having!

 

The month of May found me cultivating my meditation practice, as you may recall.  This resolution – while perennially difficult for me – has proven to be much more attainable than expected.  I have managed to sit for my practice most days this month.  And I’ve not really felt guilty about the days I didn’t sit, but I did, strangely, miss the experience on those days.  I have discovered that evening meditations work best for me right now.  In the past, I always tried to practice meditation in the mornings after waking, and with mixed results.  However, meditating just before bed is proving a welcomed addition to my nighttime routine.  It allows me to soften my mind and body in preparation for sleep.

 

In an effort to keep myself from getting too “thinky” about the practice, I have only been asking myself to sit down and count out 50 breaths.  I have a pretty slow breathing pace, so this allows me a decent amount of time ‘on the cushion’ for my practice.  I do hope to eventually add more breaths/time, but for now, this seems to be sufficient for me to feel benefits and to still feel like I can sustain the practice without too much effort.

 

I have noticed that I am drifting into sleep much more easily and comfortably.  (However, my sleep, once I’m in it, is still fraught with physical discomfort and crazy dreaming.  Will have to figure out how to address that at some point, but that will have to be left for another blog entry.)  I have also been experiencing some pretty auspicious emotional shifts happening.  I don’t attribute these solely to the meditation practice, but I think the practice is definitely playing an important role.  I will talk more on that later.  I’m also feeling like I have a much calmer internal sea; much more equanimity.  There may be some emotional debris bubbling to my surface, but deep underneath all that is a new stillness and serenity.  It sounds a little hokey when I type it out here, but I don’t know any other way to describe it.  I believe those moments I’m spending in mediation are directly contributing to the well of contentment, and that is motivation enough to keep up the practice.

 

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June’s resolution is one that I feel would be well applied to the lives of most modern Americans:  Give myself days off of work and don’t work on those days.  Sounds simple enough, sure.  But, in practice, this can be a nearly impossible feat for many of us.  In fact, the timing couldn’t be better on this resolution.  Just last month I made the decision to add an extra day of work to my schedule.  I was already scheduled to what I believed to be my maximum number of client hours in a week, but I was feeling concerned about money (thank you, IRS), so thought I’d try working a little more.  Surely I’d be able to do that – work one more day a week … just for a few hours … no problem!  Well, as it turns out, it is a problem.  So, a few days ago, I changed my schedule back to the old one.  The moment I did that I felt a weight lift from my heart and from my shoulder girdle.  Whew!  Just adding that one day a week to work had increased my stress levels, dramatically decreased the quality of my sleep, affected my ability to make the best food choices for myself, roused an old muscular injury (which is still not ironed out), and made me feel so exhausted and overwhelmed that I found myself just wanting to crawl into a hole to get away from it all.  No good!  And … No more!  I’m back on a schedule that my body, mind and spirit can handle.  And, in the spirit of June’s resolution, I am not going to plan too much drudgery on the days when I’m not at my job.  Instead, I’m going to do things that make me feel good.  Brilliant plan!  I encourage you to try it, too!  I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

 

Well, that’s it for now, superstars!  Today’s a day off for me, so I’m going to wrap this up and go enjoy the rest of this beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I hope you do, too!

 

xoxo,

melanie

Hello Again and the The Great Illness Battle

by Erin

Hi. It’s been a while. The baby is finally in day care and after a year of complaining that I haven’t had any time to do work, here I am not doing work. But considering my last post was in January, I think that’s okay.

It is the end of May. It is feeling like summer around here after a pretty extended winter chill, BigKid had his last day of preschool, and Babe turned one-year old. What do all these things have to do with each other? Illness (or the lack of) has been on my mind. Back in January, I mentioned that I was on a rampage against viruses. I am happy to report that we survived the winter and school year with Babe and BigKid remaining infection-free. Husband also managed to escape illness. I, however, was not so lucky in the wellness department. Given the way I was treating myself  while (unsuccessfully) balancing full-time baby care, part-time preschooler care, and part-time small business owner, it is not surprising.

We are no strangers to viruses in this house. BigKid and Husband both constantly suffer from sinus/allergy issues. When BigKid was a baby there was a period of three months when he was on antibiotics before eventually getting tubes in his ears – we did not want to repeat this with Babe. So, my whole goal this year was to prevent illness instead of just treat symptoms. This list is a little prevention/ a little treatment. While I can’t say exactly which of the list below worked (very unscientific, I know), I know that (a combination of) SOMETHING worked.

1. SLEEP – This one was my big failure in regard to my health, but I have always been protective about my kids’ sleep. Here are recommendations about children and sleeping via the National Sleep Foundation.

2. ELDERBERRY SYRUP – Next to sleep, I think the addition of this into our daily routine had the greatest effect. BigKid took it every day. We gave him extra doses when we started to hear sniffling. We took it when we felt run down or felt like something was coming on. It is best known as an immunity booster.

3. MIRACLE THROAT CONCOCTION – This one was for the adults of the family. The moment we got a tickle in our throat, I whipped up a batch of this. It was nasty, nasty, nasty, but it burned so good. Every single time we put it to use it seemed to work. At most, I think one of us used up to four doses – two days of one spoonful in the morning and one at night. (Side note: for kiddos, raw honey plus any ingredient in this concoction that they will tolerate can help with sore throats.)

4. RUNNY NOSE ROUTINE – We are learning that Babe has a hellish time with teething. He suffers from all of the symptoms websites list for teething. So, there was a lot of snot coming out of his nose this winter. Snot has the potential to lead to congestion, then infection. Snot was not allowed in my house. My plan of attack included raising his mattress on an incline and giving him Hyland’s cold tablets. The mattress would usually stay inclined for about two weeks. Then it would go down for three days. Then it would have to go back up. This lasted for about three months. The cold tablets were usually used for half a day before the faucet-like dripping would stop. Given that this is homeopathic remedy, it may not work the same for all kids. (Their teething tablets, for instance, do not work on my kids).

5. HUMIDIFIERS – This is pretty standard in our house all winter long. Every bedroom has one. They are especially good for preventing sore throats and runny noses. They are work intensive because of all the cleaning, but they are well worth it.

6. LAVENDER- So, I do have to admit, BigKid wasn’t entirely infection-free. On his LAST DAY of school, he came down with strep throat…something that had been going around his class for two weeks. He didn’t eat anything, he had a fever of 102, and his throat hurt. He was miserable and I didn’t help much because I didn’t treat the fever until late in the day. I wanted to make sure a) the fever was doing its job burning out the infection, and b) he had fever at the doctor’s office so there was no doubt he was sick. About an hour before leaving for the doctor, I rubbed lavender oil on his feet.

I have been doing a lot of reading about essential oils lately, and I finally decided to take the plunge and experiment. The day the oils arrived in the mail was the day BigKid was sick. So I quickly looked up fever treatment and went to rubbing. Whether it was the oil or the nap he took, about three hours later (prior to taking the first dose of antibiotic), the fever was gone, BigKid was eating, and happily playing (vs. sitting like a giant, hot, miserable lump on the couch).

 

Overall, I feel pretty good about our health so far. Not counting myself, we have only had one non-checkup visit to the doctor. Hopefully, with both kids in daycare now, I can finish the year strong as I build my immunity back up.

What about you? How do you prevent illness? What is your go-to “nip it in the bid” treatment?

March: Get Moving!

So, February is out and we’re making way for the madness of March.  It’s time for an update on my resolution progress.  (By the way, I actually wrote most of this at the end of February, but didn’t get to finish it until now.  Oh well, such is life.)

This month’s resolution was to go on an elimination diet for the whole month.  And did I?  Well, I actually started on the second of February, but, yes, I’ve maintained the diet since I began it. 

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Fair Warning:  Talk about “lady things” and bodily functions is about to commence.  Gird your eyes if you’re the dainty type.

I allowed myself to start on the second because I started my period on the first.  I have, as long as I can remember, had a history of pretty horrific menstrual symptoms.  I nearly always get extremely moody and achy the week before I begin bleeding.  Then the first day or two I am often accosted by some gnarly cramps.  The cramping has gotten worse over the past few years leaving me doubled over with pain on more occasions that I’d like to recall.  The cramping is usually accompanied by nausea, headaches and achy, achy joints.  It is not a pleasant situation.  And it is the only time I am ever driven to take OTC pain relieving medication.  (Yuck.)  So, on that first night of February, when I was due to set out on my new food journey, and I was feeling like the worst kind of crap, I decided to take the night to wallow in my long-practiced food follies.  It was a last chance to highlight all the ways I use food badly – treating myself for feeling badly by eating comfort foods, stuffing sour feelings with sweet treats, eating mindlessly in front of the telly after work – as well as a chance to say goodbye to some of my most beloved food friends:  pepperoni pizza (at least it was gluten free and organic), gelato (there were bananas in it!), and sweet potato chips (vegetable chips, that’s healthy, right?).  It was delicious.  And I felt HORRIBLY afterwards.  Turns out it was an excellent motivational boost to starting the elimination diet. 

My experiences since beginning the diet have been, well, varied.  The first few weeks really sucked.  Let’s [appropriately] lose the subterfuge of the sugar coating, shall we?  It’s been hard navigating this new way of eating.  It’s been a challenge to come up with new recipes that are easy, delicious and portable – a must for me as I work long shifts and can’t just pop home to make my lunch or dinner.  I have finally managed to amass a few standbys and staples that I know I like and can whip up on a moment’s notice should the need arise.  I am slowly training myself to stock my pantry, fridge and freezer with the basics to make these dishes on the fly.  Although, truthfully, part of eating so close to the Natural Way means focusing more on a slower, more mindful relationship with food, and moving away from that sense of immediacy and convenience that seems to reign supreme in these unhealthy modern times.  But, realistically speaking, as I’m still adapting, convenience is a big help for me right now. 

From a physical perspective, I have been experiencing a whole host of healing symptoms.  As I’m rounding up week five, I am able to notice some patterns emerging.  (Bodies are so fascinating!)  Of course, when in the throes of symptomatic detoxification and cleansing, I was completely blind to any sort of organization in what was happening.  I have experienced the following symptoms, in varying degrees of intensity, during the month of February:

Skin breakouts/blemishes

General itchy skin rashes – usually on my wrists and ankles

Category 3 rosacea flare up (a first for me)

General skin inflammation (mild) 

Flatulence

Bloating

Mild diarrhea

Mild constipation

Stool of differing colors

Flaky skin and scalp

Insomnia

Fatigue

Achy joints

Hay fever type symptoms

Headaches

Mild nausea

Mood swings

Fuzzy brain / inability to focus

An excessive earwax situation

At present, most of the symptoms, though not gone, are greatly diminished.  When I started my period recently, there was only very mild cramping.  I didn’t even need any pain relievers.  Hooray!  My menstrual cycle has also regulated itself back to my natural rhythm of bleeding with the new moon. 

I’ve noticed a kind of clarity emerging in my mental, emotional and spiritual states, as well.  I’m not quite sure how to describe this accurately other than saying it’s like a veil is being lifted from my brain and from my heart.  It’s happening slowly and non-dramatically, which is, to my mind, how it should be. 

 

I drew a rune about halfway through the month.  It was the Elder Futhark (or Viking) rune of Laguz.  Here is the description of that rune from The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum:    

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Laguz

Unseen powers are active here, creative and fertile powers of Nature.  The attributes of this Rune are water, fluidity, the ebb and flow of tides and emotions, of careers and relationships.  Laguz fulfills our need to immerse ourselves in the experience of living without having to evaluate  or understand.  It speaks to the desire for comfort and the satisfaction of emotional needs, to the lunar side or our nature.  For while the sun strives for differentiation, the moon draws us toward unity and merging.

 

This Rune often signals a time for cleansing:  for revaluing, reorganizing, realigning.  A Rune of deep knowing, Laguz may call you to study spiritual matters in readiness for self-transformation.  Success now lies in contacting your intuitive knowing, in attuning to your own rhythms.  A Rune of the self relating rightly to the Self, Laguz signifies what alchemists called the conjunctio, or sacred marriage.  In fairy tales, it is the end where the hero and heroin live happily ever after. 

 

Seems appropriate.  I do feel like I am opening myself more to the great wide world, seeking union where, in the past, I’ve often sought solitude.  And all that ‘revaluing, reorganizing, realigning’ I started in January is still gathering momentum as the pace of the year begins to quicken … as it always, and inexplicably, does. 

So, the point of this post is to provide an update on my progress.  And I feel I’m making good progress.  In fact, I feel there is still much more progress to be made where this diet is concerned.  I feel like I’ve only just begun to really heal my gut.  And I’m actually, strangely, enjoying this experiment so much that I am choosing to continue the elimination diet through March.  I’ll keep you posted on how things continue to unfold. 

Now that February’s been summed up, let’s move on to March.  March’s resolution is: Get moving!  Exercise Regularly and Joyously.

 

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Get moving!

Well, I’m pleased to report that I’ve already been working on that one.  I’m still doing my Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis mat workouts with my friend.  Now, full disclosure, I have let myself cancel on a couple occasions, but those were few, and I’m recommitting to a more ‘no excuses’ regimen this month.  I’ve also started to do cardio again.  I had let that drop off during and after the move, and just kind of kept it on the back burner until a couple weeks ago.  Now I’m doing rebounder cardio following my Tracy Anderson workouts and it’s going beautifully. 

The floors in my new place are concrete, so they are not very joint friendly for doing dance aerobics like I was doing previously.  So, I decided to break out the rebounder to solve that problem.  The rebounder (mini trampoline) is a great way to get in cardio work without jarring your joints, and – BONUS – it’s great for getting your lymph system moving.  This is extra important during any kind of detoxification program, as the lymph system is the body’s way of eliminating wastes on the cellular level.  The shifts in gravity experienced on a rebounder help the lymph from getting stagnant and pooling in certain areas as can easily happen in our modern arse-sitting lifestyles.  I hope to eventually replace the rebounder I scored from Freecycle with a nice Bellicon one.  For those of you who are interested in rebounding, Bellicon is one of the best brands available.  They use bungee bands rather than metal springs, so they don’t have that creaky squeaky sound effect thing happening when you’re using them.  This is a bonus for those of us who live in dwellings with paper-thin walls.

I’m also hoping to start actually taking some yoga classes in addition to the ones I’m teaching.  Scheduling isn’t always on my side in that regard, so we’ll see how that works. 

Then there’s the fact that I’m still a staunch pedestrian who walks everywhere.  It’s built-in physical fitness.  Walking to work is about a thirty minute brisk walk, then another for the return trip.  Brilliant!  Reason no. 43 why I love not having a car!

I’m liking my prospects with this month’s resolution, really. 

How are your resolutions and goals for the year progressing?  Are they still working for you?  Are you still working for them?  Any changes?  Insights?  Additions/subtractions?  Leave a comment if you’d like to share your own experiences with resolutions, nutrition, health or fitness, or anything, really. 

Big love to all of you!

xoxo,

Melanie

February: Elimination Diet

February’s Resolution has me treating myself to an elimination diet during the entire month.  An elimination diet is one in which common allergy-triggering foods are eliminated from the diet for a set period of time – in my case, a month – and then slowly added back into the diet, one at a time, to monitor any reactions or symptoms that might follow the reintroduction.  Exciting stuff, yeah?  So, the good thing is that most of the foods that are common allergy triggers are things I already don’t eat much of or at all.  The less good thing is that I am really going to miss honey, dairy, and nightshades, and I am going to have to be vigilant in preparing my food ahead of time so that I always have something within arm’s reach available should hunger strike or should my schedule get hectic.  (Which, of course, it will.)

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These are the foods I’ll be eliminating this month:

Sugars – all except for fruit

Alcohol

Coffee/caffeine

Dairy

Grains

Legumes

Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)

Potatoes (white)

Garlic/onions

Soy

So, what will I be eating?  Well, I’ll be eating fruits, vegetables, nuts (except peanuts), most natural fats, eggs and meat.  Plenty of things I love on that list.  I will, of course, need to stick with my organization momentum from January to research some good recipes, and to make them in advance, so I can have meals and snacks at hand during the busier bits of the month.

Aside from wanting to be as healthy as I can be, this diet is an opportunity for me to learn more about my body and how different foods and ways of eating affect my body physically, mentally and emotionally.  My friend, Katy, even turned me on to an app that is helping me track how I’m affected by my lifestyle choices.  It’s called mySymtpoms food and symptom tracker.  I’m still acclimating myself to using it, but so far, I’m really happy with it.

This resolution is also going to be a wonderful experiment in will power.  Will power has never been my forte.  In fact, when it comes to food, at least, I’m a bit of a hedonist.  I can talk myself into justifying eating something better than any spin doctor in Washington, DC can talk the public into forgiving a crooked politician’s transgressions.  It’s time for that kind of nonsense to stop.  You hear that little devil on my shoulder?  You’re going down, mister!

I digress …

So, I’m doing this!  I invite you to join me if you feel the desire to do so.  If not, I ask you to send your support from wherever you are to help bolster my resolve, especially during those low moments when all I want is a pint of ice cream and a glass of bourbon.  Have you ever done an elimination diet?  What were your experiences? Leave a comment … inquiring minds want to know.

Happy February, dearies!

xoxo,

Melanie

More Energy: Part 1

by Erin

I’m tired.

There are many reasons why this is the case but the two biggest are 1) I have a 9 month old who is just now (more often than not) sleeping (almost) all the way through the night, and 2) in an attempt to grow my business, I have been blessed with more work than I should really be taking on right now, with only about nine good daytime hours in a typical work week to actually work. That means some late nights. So there is some context (whining) for you.

What to do about it?

Get more sleep. But that is just not possible right now.

After some extensive research (about 20 minutes of internet searching), I have compiled a list of strategies that may help boost my energy and don’t include increasing caffeine intake. Rather than take on all items from my list at the same time, which is sure to fail, I will be gradually adding them into my daily routine. First up: food. (Those who know me would not find this surprising.)

So over the next few weeks, I plan to:

1. Eat protein or whole grains within thirty minutes of wake up

2. Fill up my water bottle and drink it throughout the day

3. Take my multivitamins at lunch instead of breakfast

4. Make an effort to have a protein + fiber snack during that afternoon drag from about 2-4 p.m.

5. Drink a glass of milk before bed

Most of this should be pretty easy; a lot of food  I need should already be on hand. It really comes down to being mindful about eating at certain times of the day. I’ll check in later with some whys (because that fulfills another resolution) and observations.

How about you? Can you add one or all of these into your routine? Tell me how it works for you.

Now, I am off to bed.

It’s on, 2014!

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Hi Resolution Revamp Readers!

Erin has kindly invited me to contribute to this blog again this year, and I am happy and honoured to do so.  (Thanks, Erin!)  My first post regarding resolutions, in which I lay them all out for the year ahead, is on my personal blog:  Experiments In Bliss.  You can pop over there and take a gander if you like.  However, I’ll be doing all of my updates on this blog.  I look forward to once again sharing this forum of inspiration and motivation with you, and I can’t wait to hear how you’re changing and shaping your lives in 2014.  Good luck!

xoxo,

Melanie

New Year and New Experiments

01 January 14

Now that it is the end of January…welcome to the new year!

Last year I made some huge goals. Then life slowly crept in and ate up some of the time I would have used to accomplish them. All in all, I feel pretty good about what I achieved last year. And given that my philosophy with “resolutions” is to be forgiving, I view what I did do as a success and what I didn’t do as something to look forward to this year.

So, The New Year. Given the intensity of last year’s “list”, I decided to just use the blog this year as a place to reflect on and keep track of projects and experiments that arise throughout the year. That, of course, didn’t stop early January inquiries from friends, acquaintances, and my hair stylist: “Any resolutions this year?” Why do I feel like I need to explain when I say “no”? Maybe because it doesn’t always make for interesting small talk. Anyway, it got me thinking… As usual, I really did have some goals that I have set for myself. They just didn’t happen to time themselves with the turn of the new year.

So for now, here are some places I am already headed this year:

  • The Great Illness Battle: When the cold weather arrived and the first (and hopefully last) case of bronchitis weaseled its way into our house I pledged war on all viruses and bacteria. I HATE when my kid gets sick. I DREAD the baby getting sick because a) it sucks for him, b) it has the potential to totally ruin some really good sleep schedules that we’ve been working on together, and c) with our first guy, the first runny nose turned into three months of antibiotics and tubes in the ears. And, with two young kids, when one parent is stuck in bed (or SHOULD be in bed, but just can’t quite manage it) no one is happy.
  • Waking Up: HOW IN THE WORLD CAN I GET MORE ENERGY? I AM SO TIRED.
  • Art times 10: Did that whole “I’ll make art for you” post travel around your Facebook feed? Basically, it was a pledge to the first ten respondents that you would make some art for them in the coming year. What? An excuse to get arty? I was sold. But wait, that means I have to follow through.
  • Anti-hypocrite: Basically, I roll my eyes at people blindly following trends because some social media guru told them to, but I’m just as guilty. I want to start looking into WHY “you shouldn’t have aluminum in your deodorant” or “elderberry syrup will help boost immunity”. Can I back up some of my choices with real science? Most of this research will involve health and wellness claims with a healthy dose of eco-friendliness on the side.

With 12 months in the year, I am sure many more projects will present themselves. More posts about all of the above to come.

So, what is your “resolution” plan this year?Interested in writing about it again/for the first time? Let me know.

Rebalancing … Again

There is a beauty in your presence. 

 

That’s what my Yoga Tea bag had to offer me this morning.  And I really must confess that I do not know how those freakin’ Yogi Tea people know exactly what message I need at tea time.  It’s uncanny, really. 

 

So, at last writing, I had been pretty good about committing to my five resolutions for May, and had just added five new resolutions for June.  Well … I must confess that I did not do so well with those new resolutions.  In fact, June seemed to be a month of chaos where I found myself taking those proverbial two steps backwards.  With every day that passed in June I seemed to be falling a little more behind … in my schedule, in my commitment to my Self, in my thought patterns, you name it.  I could see the snowball effect beginning to take shape, but I was also feeling more and more fatigued.  Geez Louise!  How am I supposed to get all this done if I haven’t got any energy to do it?

 

I began wondering what could be causing me to be fatigued at this level.  Then, as is often the case, paying attention lead me to the information I was seeking.  I became aware of the fact that I was working a lot, but also working later hours.  I would go into work at around 1:30 or 2p, and be there until 9p on many nights.  Then I’d walk home, and be really tired and hungry and not feel like making a proper meal (and, really, it’d be too late to make a proper meal), so I’d end up snacking on whatever was convenient.  While my snack food go-tos are much healthier than those of the average bear, they are still simple comfort foods – the sweets and salties that Mama Nature offers up and that I can concoct from Her bounty.  So, I’d be eating a lot of fruit, and some plantain chips (which are like crack to me, I admit), frozen fruit bars, and, when it really got out of hand, pints of Talenti gelato.  (So good!!)  It didn’t take long to realize that I was having a candidiasis flare up.  All those simple sugars were wreaking havoc on my body.  That was the source of the horrid fatigue!  So, I’ve started taking my probiotics again, and that is helping me heal enough to have some better judgment and will power for trying to reintroduce balance back into my daily routine.  And it’s working!

 

I had begun to let my yoga and meditation practice slip a couple of days, and now I’m back to accepting no excuses for missing my practice.  I am changing my work schedule around a bit to try to keep from working such late hours.  I’m also trying to remember to take some healthy snacks with me to work so I won’t be so hungry and tired when my shifts are over.  And I’m trying to remember to pay attention always. 

 

So, now I’m back on track.  And rather than try to come up with some new resolutions for July, I’m just going to try to get back to those ten previously listed.  I’ve re-written them below in case you’d like to try adding them to your routine, too.  If you do, I would love to hear how they’re working for you!

 

Thanks for reading!  I hope your resolutions are serving you well!

 

xoxo,

 

Melanie

 

 

Resolutions:

 

1.  Meditate daily.

2.  Practice yoga asana daily.

3.  Eat clean.  (No emotional eating.  Real, planned meals.)

4.  Do something creative every week.

5.  Drink 4 liters water daily.

6.  Go to bed by 11p every night.  Wake up by 8a every morning.*

7.  Exfoliate daily.

8.  Visit with a friend(s) once a week.

9. Spend at least one hour each week researching work-related travel opportunities.

10.  Spend at least 30 minutes daily working on my business.  (CEUs, online research, book study, website planning, class planning, workshop planning, etc. etc.)

 

*This was 6a, but I just realize that I require more sleep than that!