Feeling

I knew that it would happen. That I would fall sick after the recent stress at work and also holding my little guy close when he was not feeling well. My ears feel clogged and I feel a general malaise. Thanks, Fire Monkey, for bringing the blah!

We made it to the end of Whole30 just before Chinese New Year reunion dinner where we had a nice spread of food and desserts. But right after that dinner, we immediately went back to eating clean again. This time around (our 5th time), it was not so difficult to stay on it and we definitely acknowledged the benefits of eating better.

What made it easy:

  • All of us (mum joined us) were on the same menu/eating plan so we supported each other through the process and didn’t have to cook separate meals.
  • Preparing and planning for the meals on Sundays made us ready for the week.
  • I created a menu plan for each week and cooked accordingly. We made some big meals so that there would be leftovers for another day. That reduced the amount of cooking.
  • Cleared out our snack pantry and filled it with only healthy snacks like nuts, dates, plantain chips, seaweed, and jerky.
  • Have a repertoire of easy & quick meals that you can easily make. For us, ground beef with veggie stir-fry in Thai curry paste is a favorite, or sardines mashed with avocado mayo and wrapped in seaweed.

I’ve been enjoying these podcasts recently:

  • Dear Sugar – because I enjoy listening to how we can handle different relationship challenges
  • Being Boss – because I dream about being boss one day
  • Stuff You Should Know – because I am curious about stuff

Ok, back to bed for a nap…

3 weeks into the new year

Wow, I cannot believe how the first 3 weeks of 2016 have already passed us by.

There have been quite a few changes in my life (wellness, work, habits), while the important anchors (family, home, hobbies) are still present.

We started Whole30 about 11 days ago so I should be “killing all the things” but I am actually feeling the “tiger blood” phase sooner than expected. Sorry for the Whole30 jargon 🙂 basically, I am past the difficult phase of transition and I feel like my body is liking me better. And hello my new friend, black coffee!

Last weekend, I was at the company annual conference and experienced a really great speaker – Drew Dudley. You might have heard him on a TED talk but I enjoyed listening to him talk about how we can all be leaders in our world and what it really means to be a leader. Very inspiring.

I’m still listening to my podcasts and lately, a new favorite – Imaginary Worlds. If you love sci-fi and fantasy, this is for you.

Work stress is accumulating so I need to keep up with my Headspace sessions. I do feel it when I miss them.

At home, I’ve been rearranging my workspace. It’s not quite where I LOVE it but when I get it there, I’ll be sure to share a pic. You can see a part of it in my Instagram feed to the left.

Are you still reading here? If you are, I’d love to hear from you.

Sparks

If you have heard about the new organization movement (KonMari) by Marie Kondo, you would understand the title of my post. My main take from her method is that you would want to only keep or obtain things that spark joy in your life.

Everyone, these are my current sparks:

Borns – I love 10,000 Emerald Pools and of course, Electric Love. But one of my favorites is Seeing Stars and his new single (The Emotion) from the upcoming album (Oct 16), Dopamine, has been on repeat.

Cassava Tortillas made with cassava flour (not the same as tapioca starch which is more chewy and gummy). Grain-free, gluten-free and nut-free. Amazing texture.

Journal prompts
– I wake up and write down 3 things that I am grateful for, ask myself how I am feeling and at the end of the day, write down my favorite part of the day.

Boxing – Mike installed the heavy bag he got me a few years ago in the garage and I am going to put on these pretty pink gloves and show it who’s boss. Ha! Really, I’m starting slow at a moderate pace. Three to Four 2-minute rounds of basic punches, such as jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts, with one minute rest in between rounds.

I finally completed my 30-day foundation course with Headspace and have recently begun a new pack. This has helped me so much.

What are your current sparks?

Different

“Always wanting things to be different is exhausting…” – Headspace moment

There is much truth in this line. For as much as we always want things to be different, we sure don’t do well with change. But is it possible to learn to accept change as a matter-of-fact and ease into things that happen, as they happen? I know that I am going on about my meditative practice a lot lately but it has amazed me how much difference it has made in my life in just 21 days (so far). Stealing 10 minutes out of everyday for oneself sounded like it would be impossible when I first started out. I cannot tell you how much times I tried to begin the free 10-day Headspace trial but once I pushed through day 6, I felt like I could continue. If you ever feel like anxiety is taking over your life, Headspace is a good method of meditating that is very accessible. 

It has been a while since I have traveled to a new place. I miss that sense of adventure. I guess I was born with wanderlust in my soul. 

I also find it ironic that in my 40s, I have become sort of a beauty junkie (thank you lovely beauty vloggers of the world!). I find that my interest is less about the many shades of lipstick or eyeshadow but more about how I can take care of my skin. My one and only face. Finding the right skincare has been a fun journey and like most journeys, it often is not about the destination. My skin’s needs change and I am just along for the ride. With that said, I am loving cleansing balm/oil, AHA pads and facial oils instead of creams. 

Would like to leave you with a quick simple recipe for my favorite dessert – strawberry chia seed pudding. It’s more of a jam and I eat it on its own like a fruit “jello cup”. I heat up a pound of strawberries (frozen ones will work too), smush them with a potato masher, add some honey (1-2 tbsp depending on how sweet your berries are) then take them off the heat. Once off the heat, sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of chia seeds and stir in. Set it aside to cool and thicken. Sometimes I add more chia seeds because I like their texture. I pop the cooled mixture in little containers in the fridge. I love it for breakfast too.

Birthday

My birthday came and went. There was no fanfare but it was a good one. I feel like I’m in a good place in my life right now. My recovery journey is underway and everything is going well.

Part of my recovery has been starting a meditation practice. I am using this app called Headspace and have stuck with it for 9 days now. Just taking the time to quieten the mind does wonders for my mood. You can try it out for 10 days free and see how it goes. I tried to start my practice several times for months now but once I pushed through Day 3, I started looking forward to each day’s session. As soon as I felt that way, I subscribed to a year’s membership. A good investment for my mental well-being.

I am still listening to my favorite podcasts (see previous posts) but I found a new one called Gastropod. I enjoyed an episode yesterday called The Whole Hog. The pig is indeed a fascinating animal.

Hello, August!

It’s my favorite month, for obvious reasons. This is the month (many moons ago) that I got to meet this world. There’s much to be thankful for.

Have you ever listened or paid attention to how you breathe? Recently, I started to pay more attention to how I breathe. That has helped me feel calmer. Over the years, I’ve let my breathing shorten and quicken without even giving it a second thought. Now, I try to breathe into my belly. This is part of my recovery journey. There are several breath pacer apps available for smart phones that you can download to help you. Ideally, we should have about 8 breaths per minute.

bellybreathing

I’m still enjoying 99% Invisible podcast, there are so many design-related things that I can learn about. I like that each episode is not too long and the topics are so varied. I also particularly enjoy the little bit at the end of episode where Roman Mars lets his boys share something.

Strength

Although I haven’t been going to Crossfit lately, I still love me some kettlebells. I would like to do more of these Loaded Carries with Kettlebells.

I don’t know what has gotten into me. It’s probably age but in the last year, I’ve been liking more gold than silver. Silver was all I would wear but now, it’s gold, copper and rose gold. These gold rings and ear studs/jackets are lovely.

I’m enjoying this new podcast – An Even Better You from Mental Floss. The episodes on Batman Comics and Board Games were intriguing. I learned so much. Podcasts have been inspiring me to make little recordings of “conversations with Sagan”. I might post some of them later on.

Not a paleo recipe but gluten-free – I’ve been eating these Indian chickpea crepes (Pudla). Delicious, because of the cilantro and ginger.

“Leisure … is not the privilege of those who can afford to take time; it is the virtue of those who give to everything they do the time it deserves to take.” – David Steindl-Rast

Changes

50. That is the total number of pounds that I have lost and kept off for more than a year. That is a record. That is something I am very proud of and this new body is getting stronger every day. It does not matter that it took me almost 40 years to gain control of my body. I finally have control and will continue to let it attain its fullest potential.

When I started making changes to the way I ate and adding Crossfit to my life, I was met with varying responses. Many were supportive but more like “alright, good for you but we’ll be here when you fall” kind of support. Or maybe I was over-sensitive, since I have failed so many times in my life. I never kept the weight off or persisted in those other fitness endeavors before, why would I now?

I think a year is more than sufficient proof (to myself) that this change is here to stay. It may evolve as time goes on but my diet will always follow a primal template and exercise will always include strength and interval training, with elements of play.

Elisabeth Akinwale puts it perfectly:
“…if you have conviction about what you are doing, you must hold onto that as your shield against the naysayers. You are responsible for your body. You are responsible for your own health and happiness. How your body transforms is secondary to the discipline you’re displaying and the sense of accomplishment you earn in your daily workouts and progress towards your goals. People who really care about you should be uplifted by your joy, hard work and accomplishments.”