My Experience: Meditate Your Weight

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Yesterday I completed the final day’s meditation and journaling for the three-week journey that Tiffany Cruikshank offers in Meditate Your Weight. She’s a doctor who has been using this course with her own patients for years, helping them lose weight, and so she decided to publish it.

Around January, I’d become frustrated with the 5-10 pounds I’d gained over the past couple of years and I didn’t know what to do about it. I eat super healthy (or at least 80/20) and usually worked out 5 times a week. I thought I’d give a go at examining the mental side of things and see if that was my issue, as I suspected it was (because I’m really hard on myself mentally, about most things).

I love reading books like this – and one of Gabby Bernstein’s books that’s a 40 day mental work-out – because it gives me something to look forward to doing every morning. I really enjoyed checking the box of, ‘Yup, done!’ I also, and I HATE to admit this, loved the freedom from my Vedic meditation practice for three weeks. I think I just needed a break. I don’t know why, but I did. Don’t judge me.

Anyways, it’s a 3 week process to go through and unpack your mental baggage that you have about yourself as a person and the image of yourself; to discover what makes you feel good and what gifts you have to offer the world. It sounds cheesy, but it was helpful. The best day is probably day 18, which is the visualization meditation. Where you visualize (duh) yourself at your healthiest. It’s powerful. I felt really good after. I also really enjoyed the daily mantra one day of “My inner glow makes me radiant.” I might get that printed on a bracelet.  Stop it, I know it’s cheesy.

Did I lose any weight, you might be wondering. I lost a couple of pounds, but her message overall is to find your healthiest SELF, not your healthiest weight. She actually recommends throwing your scale out.

So, two thumbs up for this book. It’s good to work on your health mentally just as it is to work on it physically. I celebrated finishing it with a 5k and an iced coffee at my favorite coffee shop. #winning

5 Reasons Running May Not Help You Lose Weight

OK, nevermind.

Remember how I’d been going to the gym and using the elliptical 4 mornings during the week? Well, according to the above article that may have fucked up my metabolism and have a part in screwing up my weight. 

BUTbut… I ran 5k twice last week and I almost enjoyed it and I’d like to keep doing it at least once a week. I ran for 31-33 minutes at a time so I’m thinking that might not be overdoing it too much. 

This above article really drove home the need to do more weight training. I went to an Ashtanga/Iyengar-heavy yoga class last night and aside from my Saturday morning class, I’m going to do my best to stay away from Vinyasa/Power/Fire/Body Assault yoga classes. 

And then, this morning, I used my arm weights and did a couple free weight exercises and then put on my Barre DVD and worked on the arm module and about half of the core module. I’m going to use the shit out of that DVD.

This morning I also noticed that eating cold foods in the morning don’t sit well in my stomach. Back to oatmeal for me! #protein 

5 Reasons Running May Not Help You Lose Weight

Working out too much or just the wrong way?

I’ve been thinking lately that there’s a possibility that I’ve been working out too much. Or working out the wrong way. When I lost a whole bunch of weight from 2011-2012, I was mainly doing yoga and running (a mile here, a mile there). 

Now I’ve added the elliptical and weights. Then I did shit ton of sit ups for a while. My torso looked great.

With primarily yoga (half vinyasa, half ashtanga/iyengar), very minimal hand weights, and the elliptical, I’m not sure I’m such a fan of how I’m looking, or rather, how I’m feeling.

I decided to run on the treadmill on Friday night instead of doing the elliptical because I wanted to run and it was too hot to run outside. I ran for about 24 minutes; a little over 2 miles. I felt great afterward. Running on the treadmill is the worst but I watched a very old episode of SVU, so I was kept entertained. On Saturday morning I went to my hardest vinyasa class and lost half my body weight in sweat. It was awesome.

Which brings me now to the topic of yoga: I used to do primarily vinyasa classes, which I only do once a week now. I could do them more but they seem so boring (save for my Saturday morning class with one of my favorite teachers). I’m rediscovering my love for ashtanga and iyengar, and not just going for updog as fast as possible, and as many times as possible.

And lastly, I’ve read about working out too much and how important rest days are. As far as I’ve been concerned, at least in the past, rest days are for the weak. But maybe now I’m coming to terms with the cold hard fact that they aren’t. I need a rest day, or two. I’m thinking this could be my potential schedule:

Monday: Ashtanga/Iyengar Yoga
Tuesday: Running + sit ups
Wednesday: Running + sit ups + Ashtanga/Iyengar yoga
Thursday: Running + sit ups
Friday: Rest?
Saturday: Vinyasa 
Sunday: Rest or Run?

I’ll try it out this week and see how it works. 

Springtime Rant

So, I’m wearing a black dress today (#newyorker) and it’s a little short. In fact it’s a little too short. I’m pretty sure I shrank this dress in the dryer a few months ago and haven’t worn it since.

But is it really shorter just because it shrunk or because of my winter weight that’s hanging on like an annoying toddler? I’m really trying not to stress the 5 pounds that I’ve gained in the winter months but the struggle is real. I’m eating lots of vegetables and really only snacking on pretzels (I know, processed, ugh). I think I need to eat out less and cook more. 

When I “went out” (meaning I had some friends meet me at a neighborhood bar for wings, beer, and cake before being home by midnight) for my birthday last weekend, I had five beers. That’s usually 2-3 more beers that I’ll ingest in a weekend so maybe that’s the culprit for feeling shitty this week. Then there’s also shark week. So, yes, it’s probably a culmination of all of those.

Digression re: booze: I only really drink on the weekend and not that much like – 2 beers max. Sometimes I’ll go out and have one beer during the week. So I don’t think it’s my alcohol intake that’s making me feel gross. 

Here’s what my eating usually looks like during the week:

  • Breakfast: Lately it’s been a pear/banana/almond milk/almond butter /spinachsmoothie or a packet of organic oatmeal with 1.5tbsp of creamy peanut butter and 1 tbsp of jam mixed into it, and coffee.
  • Snack: A Hershey’s chocolate nugget or a couple of pretzel sticks. And green tea.
  • Lunch: Veggies and protein from Dig Inn, or some spiralized vegetables in olive oil from home with some kind of cheese or protein, or today it was chicken schwarma in a pita.
  • Post Lunch: Coffee and/or green tea and usually a peanut butter cookie Larabar. And maybe veggie chips or more pretzels.
  • Dinner: Usually it’s a leftover rice dish, or spiralized veggie noodles, or Greek yogurt with frozen fruit in it.
  • Post Dinner: Tea and something chocolate. 

I digress… BUT! the weather is finally nicer so I can start running outside again. I think the elliptical is getting a little monotonous in the mornings and I’m not sure how much effect it’s having on my health anymore. 

I still downward dog regularly, duh.

I think I should go back to being super committed to the barre DVD that I have and do more than just the arms. I also want to use the actual weights in my gym. I don’t want to look muscular, but I know that weight lifting is super beneficial to burning calories efficiently and getting in shape, so why not?

That’s my minddump for the week. If you have any suggestions or where I’m going wrong with my food, leave a comment. Thank you for listening. 😉

New York Kinda Morning

The universe apparently thought 30 minutes on the elliptical on Tuesday morning wasn’t enough exercise. When I made my way to the train around 8:30, commuters were exiting in a huff and I knew there was an issue with the train. I asked the MTA attendant if a train was going to arrive and she said something like “yes, but I don’t know when and there hasn’t been a train for a while.”

So helpful.

Instead of trying to figure out what was going on, I walked back up and attempted futilely to get on the downtown bus to catch the express a dozen or so blocks away. Everyone else on my line had the same idea so the bus was asked and I just decided to walk it.

Inhaling the morning air, getting my heart rate going (yet again), and stopping for a coffee at Plowshares was a way more ideal situation than waiting to get on a packed train.

But my journey wasn’t over yet. Plain impatience lead to my walking another 8 blocks once the express train arrived at Penn Station. More chilled air and finishing my coffee led me finally to my office. Only about 20 minutes later than usual (not late though, as I’m an early bird).

I could lament about how much the MTA blows (sometimes it does) but mostly I’m just grateful that I had the opportunity for the morning walk. I’m always thankful that my commute is on a train (where I can read), or at the very least, via walking. Because despite all the ways the MTA annoys me (and my fellow denizens of New York, I presume), it’s still the best damn transit system in the best damn city in the entire world.

And I get to live here.

We ran an easy 2.3 miles yesterday before grabbing a croissant and coffee at The Hungarian Pastry Shop. We’ve started running along the Hudson in Riverside and it’s a nice change of pace.

The run would’ve been totally easy if I hadn’t gotten the route messed up and instead took us up Riverside Drive which has lots of hills. Whoops. 

Running outside is so much better than a treadmill, or even an elliptical. No matter what is on TV, it is always so boring. 

Sunday’s Run

Even though the 4-mile race that my dude and I signed up for is over, we’re going to keep up running because it’s a good burn and it’s fun to do together. I think we’re going to aim to do a bunch of 5k’s in the spring and just try to get faster. We’re both not distance runners, by any means, and also it’s been proven time and again that distance running is not good for your body. So, why would we ever wreck our bodies? 

I mistakenly paused my app from 98th Street until 88th Street and then realized it and hit go again. So, we did more like 2.5 miles. We ran down Riverside Drive, then in Riverside Park, and ended near Lincoln Center, so we went to get brunch at The Smith afterwards. I tried the banana french toast – so good, but such a huge portion. 

I had once toyed with the idea of running a 10k (I have, on my own, once) but I’m not married to the idea and if it never happens, I’ll be okay with that. 

This was my workout last Friday night. I ran down to my yoga studio and then took an intermediate yoga class. 

No matter how many times I do that, I never remember not to do it again because it just kills. It makes the running suck because I have to be somewhere at a certain time and it also makes the yoga suck because I’m so tired from the run.

One day I’ll learn.

“Race to Deliver,” 11.22.15 aka #runningsucks

Yesterday Justin and I awoke at an unusually early hour (for a Sunday morning) of 6:30am for the “Race to Deliver” in Central Park, benefitting God’s Love We Deliver. I think it’s a great organization and the timing worked out perfectly. We’d had several weeks to prepare (aka running a couple of times per week) and I knew it wouldn’t be warm out anymore – yessss. 

We grabbed bananas and made our way to Central Park. We’d stayed up way-too-late watching the first episodes of The Man in the High Castle so we were running on about 5 hours of sleep – not the greatest idea to be honest. And it was chilly! My long-sleeved shirt was definitely not enough warmth when standing still. 

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We took our place among the 6,000 people running the race and just went for it. We ended up running the race in 40:52, which equates to 10:13 miles. Not too bad. I absolutely detest running hills so my quads felt like they were on fire every time we went up a hill. We just ran and ran and didn’t stop and it felt like shit most of the time (for me, at least) but we did it.

My reward was seeing a couple of corgis in the park as we were exiting. I almost died.

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Afterwards we treated ourselves to brunch at Jacob’s Pickles on the UWS. We arrived a little after 9:30 and we were shocked to still see a mass of people waiting outside for a table. Luckily we grabbed seats at the bar. Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on biscuits with coffee, fruit, and hash browns. 

We might consider doing a 5 mile race next time – in the spring – but who knows. Running is pretty damn boring, but it’s a good way to burn calories and it’s not too bad when you’re running with a partner when you push each other to going farther than you thought you originally could.

to barre or not to barre

I tried my first-ever barre class last night at YogaWorks last night. In fact, it was the first barre class that my YogaWorks location had ever offered. I’d heard lots about the barre method but I always turned to old faithful: yoga, or running. But I saw the new class on the schedule and decided, fuck it.

Since YogaWorks doesn’t have a bar yet it was a barre class without the bar, which worked surprisingly well. Which is to say that it hurt immensely.

It reminded me of a mix of 80’s aerobics, a little bit of dance, and a little bit of yoga. There was no namaste or shavasana, which was weird but expected.

I did my best and I’m surprised I’m not more sore today. I might try to get to one class a week, just to switch things up. I’m absolutely sure my arms would look fantastic if I went twice a week but let’s not get crazy.

I think it’d be just as effective to buy the props and a DVD. Which is something I’m considering. But I’m totally glad I tried something new, something I wasn’t sure I could do.