Episode 43

This was the week before I got sick and also before I chopped off all my hair. It was a good week. I deep cleaned the fridge, reflected about the role of trauma in weight loss, and did my daily workouts.

Episode 40

Another week in the books! I keep wondering if should stop making content altogether, just because it’s so time-consuming. However, I realize, too, that I feel a lot more motivated to stay on my routine and work hard on my workouts when I am recording myself. I guess it’s a good trade-off. Maybe putting in the time to make these videos pays off. For now, I am going to keep them going!

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Episode 39

This is my second vlog that encompasses a full week-ish of content. This is the week before we went on vacation to Maine. I actually did not record at all while on vacation, but my husband used my camera on his drone and got some footage that I ended up incorporating into the vlog.

Episode 38

I have noticed that many people who post weightloss | wellness | fitness vlogs tend to have pretty long videos — like, up to 30 minutes. I thought to string together several days’ worth of footage so that my vlogs can be longer. This is my first attempt, and the video only ended up being a little more than 5 minutes long. Oh well! Guess I need to learn to talk more, or record more…

But here is my first weekly vlog post, rich with almost a week’s worth of media.

Episode 37

I was a bit bummed to have lost so much footage from this episode, due to my computer crashing. However, I do feel lucky to have been able to recover what I did from the day. Today I hit a chest and triceps workout, spent some time at a local river, and also watered my plants. Fascinating stuff in the life of a middle-aged woman, for sure.

Today I also researched more successful YouTubers and I see that many of these weight loss and wellness episodes tend to be much longer and be comprised of much more talking to the camera. I think that I may try to shift into this kind of modality — but it won’t be until after Episode 40, at least, because I am still behind in uploading old footage.

Episode 36

I continue to play catch-up on processing videos from weeks ago, amidst trying to recover files from the latest computer crash. This heat wave is really getting to me. But, nevertheless, here is Episode 36 in which there was no heat wave, and I can look back upon that day fondly.

Episode 35

My PC crashed and I lost all my files; after four days of working on getting my computer back up and running, I am finally able to post my content. I was already two weeks behind on posting content, and now I am even farther back. I hope that I can catch up soon! Anway, in this episode I do some reflection on my journey, hit a legs and shoulders workout, and head to the beach for some reading after some delicious food.

Episode 31

We had a fun birthday celebration at Three Sisters Sanctuary. I hit a legs and shoulders workout in the home gym. And I reflected on how I handle stress.

Episode 28

I have taken a couple days off and I am few videos behind on posting. Here is Episode 28 with reflections on my continued gut cleanse, a frozen yogurt bites recipe, and a biceps and back workout.

Episode 26

I wax poetic about taking responsibility for my reality as I float on the lake. Then, I crush a chest and triceps workout, and finally I bring it home with some time with friends.

Episode 24

I finally got my replacement GoPro and I am back with my daily vlogs on this wellness journey! I really missed making content. In this episode I take a walk, have a reflection, go swimming, do step aerobics, do yoga, and hit a fireworks show with the family. Summer doesn’t get better.

Episode 23

This weekend while swimming in the lake, I thought to take some footage of swimming underwater and my GoPro drowned! I lost some footage, but here is the last footage, which is a back and biceps workout. A new GoPro should arrive tomorrow, so until then…enjoy!

Episode 19

I take a hard look at what has made me unwell on this wellness journey, because acknowledging why I feel unwell is part of growing and learning. I hit a biceps and back workout after making space to care for my mental and emotional health.

EPISODE 15

Today was one of my favorite days on this journey so far. I feel that I checked all the boxes, including back and biceps workout, a run, yoga, kayaking, good food, and time with loved ones. It was a win!

Episode 14

Following a shoulders workout and step aerobics, I confronted the same panic I have felt for 22 years after doing cardio. I include some reflection about panic disorder, weigh in, and then make some sage smudge sticks.

Mother With Daughter, 2001

In May of 2001 I experienced a full-term stillbirth, laboring with my first daughter, Aislinn Maeve, who died of heart disease with a hole in her left vertricle. I was lucky that the doctor could provide a reason for her death, as I know that the cause of death remains a mystery in so many stillbirth situations. I often think about Aislinn and all the good things that she brought into my life. I speak to her, as one of my guides. She would be 22 years old today, and even though I have come to reflect on her death with much positivity in my life, it also will always occupy a place of sadness for me — a feeling that I do not seek to change. I’d like to share a poem that I wrote called “Mother with Daughter, 2001” in which I tried very hard to remember that difficult experience 22 years ago — an experienced I tried so hard to never forget. In this poem I try to remember how I felt, what I saw…what it was like to hold her for the first and last time.

Mother and DaUGHTER, 2011

I remembered when I held the last body,
her face not perennial, a soft rose whose season had passed.
The stem of her spine laid down in my palm,
as if she could bloom if I gave
her everything I had. The first look I took
at you lingered on your face petals,
ruddy pink-cream and once,
alive. I wrung out all
the unsuckled milk from the cloth of my breasts,
their fibers twisting against an unfolding
mouth, to bring you to life, with soul portions  
of flesh to eat as cake. The husk and rind
of my body laid prostrate, a mother
wound for you –
the feast of generations.

EPISODE 8

I was so excited to hit our new home gym yesterday. I went light and did a full body workout. Check out Episode 8 of my wellness journey, which features the workout, a weigh-in, and a reflection. 

Episode 7

I hope that this is the last day that I have to work around an injury. I feel like I am ready to do some light lifting and cardio again, and resume this journey the way that I envisioned it! In Episode 7 I do 90 minutes of yoga, some core work, and have a walk. I think I’m ready.

Episode 6

Oh! The thrilling life of a 42-year-old woman! In this episode I go for a walk, do some gardening, make dinner, and mourn that I still cannot lift weights due to a back injury. It is — in short — precisely what is expected of a middle-aged life…at least today. I hope tomorrow I can crush some goals.

Episode 1

I decided to start a YouTube daily vlog to reflect on my wellness journey of diet, fitness, and mindfulness. I am already four episodes in, but did not post on this website yet! So, stay tuned for the first few episode saturating this site for a moment. Please follow on YouTube if you would like to stay up-to-date (and I will try to remember to post here, too).

April Update

Spring 2022 is off to an excellent start. I really feel as if I am coming out of hibernation in a lot of ways; the most significant way is that this past year I was able to truly be more authentic that I have been in decades — maybe ever. I’ve been standing in my truth, speaking what I believe, and showing my real self even to people in my community. I feel very free.

This spring is meaningful. Firstly, we used some our refund to continue working on our garage-gym space. Finally! We began the project last summer but only got as far as cleaning it out before we ran out of funds. Currently, I am in the process of sealing and painting the space. I purchased some equipment and also some inspirational decor. Also, an air purifier and dehumidifier. We got materials to build a wall and door, and to finish the ceiling. That may be the extent of our funds for this season, but working on the space is exciting!

Phase 2 is coming along

We have been meeting our goal of going to the gym at least twice a week while we work on our home gym. I have been reaching or exceeding my 5-day-a-week workout goals every week. Posing on social media has helped to keep me motivated (FOLLOW ME @moonbodiesjournal and on Facebook).

FEATURED WORKOUT

Back Lunge and Step with single hammer curl

Compound exercises are a great way to elevate the heartrate and recruit several muscles simulaneously. This back lunge/single hammer curl combo is sure to ignite your quadriceps, biceps, and glutes — and don’t forget the core, which you need to stabilize.

Major Muscles Include

Quadriceps

Biceps

Glutes

Equipment needed

Dumbell

Follow my YouTube Channel here!

Kale, Carrot, & Apple Muffins

Recently my neighbor had a baby and the first food that she consumed after birth were these nutritious, fruit- and vegetable-packed muffins, which I made with much love. These muffins taste great and will appeal to adults and children, alike. They are gluten-free and vegan, to boot.

Ingredients

1.5 cup kale
3 vegan eggs (3 tablespoons flax meal with 9 tablespoons of water, let sit for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon gogi berries or raisins, soaked and drained
1/2 cup sugar
1 peeled and grated apple
1 peeled and grated carrot
2 cups gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt


Process

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Tear kale to small pieces and boil until tender. Drain and puree in food processor or blender until smooth (add a little applesauce to smooth out as needed).
  • Combine vegan eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Beat in kale puree, grated apple, and grated carrot, and remaining ingredients. Do not overmix.
  • Pour into muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes or so (until muffins are firm).

*Recipe was adapted from Veggie Desserts.

Home Gym Dreams

A couple weeks ago I decided to try out the gym with my husband, who got a membership. The gym is the closest to us but is still 30 minutes away from our home. I have been craving the equipment of the gym for a long time now, so I gave it a try.

Of course, I loved being at the gym; it always feels like home for me. Looking in the mirror was tough, though, as I could see the wear and tear on my body during the last few months. That middle-aged poundage was apparent to me, and though I know that I am my biggest critic, my daughter recently said, “mom, not to hurt your feelings, but you’ve gained some weight.” Trust a kid for the truth.

The following week I wanted to share my excitement about the gym with my niece, so I texted her to meet me there. We worked out together and it felt really great. I enjoy supporting people in their workouts, and in their wellness journeys in general. When I do that, I feel that I help myself, also.

By the third visit to the gym, I began to feel that familiar longing to have my own space again at home for a gym where I can again record my workouts and also offer at-home sessions. That has been put on the back burner since the summer due to financial challenges. Today, however, we received some money from clients that we had been waiting on for a long time and I thought:

Why not use the surplus of this money to make that dream a reality, finally?

Right?

So today I got to it. I brought up all my previous paperwork from the summer for the home gym space and I got to sorting out items in order of importance. The list is long, as anyone knows who attempts to rennovate a garage space into a gym on a tight budget. I purchased what I could afford and now I am dreaming BIG TIME about this space again.

Here I was in the summer, cleaning it out. Since then, the walls have been washed and the floor has been scrubbed, a window has been repired. I have a lot of work to do to get this space ready.

Fitness Journal | Back & Biceps

The last Fitness Journal that I posted back in December was also a back and biceps split, so I guess I am picking up where I left off, right?

I stopped recording my workouts for a time but I really do enjoy documenting them; it inspires me and requires me to take time to pay closer attention to my wellness in the process.

Watching the video back, I can see that using my phone will not cut it. I need to go back to using the GoPro camera that I used in previous content; also, I need to turn up my video lights. Oh well. Getting back to the grind is not always intuitive.

Self-Care Bingo

One of my groups is doing “self-care bingo” this week and I wanted to select a couple areas to work on. One of the prompts is to write down 5 good things about myself. Here they are:

  1. I am living in my most authentic way in this moment.
  2. I go out of my way to express and show and take care of others.
  3. I am able to admit my mistakes and take action to fix them.
  4. I can do hard and scary things when I know that is what is right for me to do.
  5. I can take care of myself but also let others care for me.

2021 Reflection

What did you feel held you back in 2021?
What have you corrected?
What are you still working to change?

My tie to emotional eating held me back in 2021, which was the year that I reached my highest weight. I felt a lot of anger and fear. While I gained much weight, I also achieved some amazing things, though. I found community with “my people” for the first time in my life; I actually feel as if I belong in several groups, and I have never had that before. I have more friends now than I have experienced in my life, and these are friends with deep connections. In 2022 I work to continue to look at my relationship with eating.

What’s your biggest non-scale victory you’ve discovered so far in 2022?
Are the scale numbers lining up with your plans? What do you plan to correct?
How will you celebrate by being active today?

My biggest non-scale victory is beefing up my social life as self-care. I lost many friends in the last two years and I decided to go out and find my people: those who are truly aligned with me. I actually DID that! And I feel closer to people and more connected than I ever had. For an introverted person, that is amazing…it’s a victory. The scale numbers are sometimes reflecting my victory. Celebrating always centers around food or retail therapy and I would like to change that but I nothing else really resonnates with me or feels like celebration.

What have you learned/noticed about yourself in the past six weeks that you hadn’t seen last year?
What ONE THING can you change immediately that’s been on your mind?
Take a walk with me today…can I have 15 minutes of your day?

I think that I am pretty self-aware. But I have become more outspoken about who I am and what I believe to be right in the last year. I am more capable of speaking my truth now. One thing that I could change immediately is my eating pattern. I can focus more on the daily rather than the weekly.

Goals for 2022

Today’s Question in Fat 2 Fit MFP Group:

What was your number one goal for 2022?
How’s that going?
What’s today’s plan?

My goal for 2022 was to stay open to the chaos. Checking in with myself, I am very happy with how I continue to combat my challenging habit of numbing out when things get ugly. I am getting better at setting boundaries so that I can feel safer in an “opened” inner space.

Today’s plan is to keep focused on my hydration, as that is so often the missing link in any day, as I drink so little.

February 2022 Mindset

Being clear is a good plan for weight loss and lifestyle change. My plan for February 2022 is as follows:

Weight: From 146 to 142

Diet (per day)

  • One meal a day Intermittent Fasting
  • Eating window: 4-7pm, 7 days a week
  • Healthy, whole foods | no sugar
  • 128 oz of water
  • 1200-1400 calories

Exercise (per week)

  • 6 days of cardio | 30-60 minutes
  • 4 days of strength
  • 3-4 walks
  • 2 yoga sessions

Sleep (per day)

  • 8 hours

Accountability

  • Log food in MFP
  • Daily blog (and share in MFP)
  • Weigh-in Wednesdays

Weight Loss Group Prompts

This week I am responding to some prompts from my “Fat 2 Fit” weight loss group in MFP. I joined the group in January and have found myself feeling both inspired and overwhelmed. The following is today’s question:

What was your biggest regret from 2021 in your health routine (fitness, nutrition, water intake, etc.)?
How has that changed?
What’s on tap for today?

“Regret” is not the perfect word for me, as regret is something that I do not feel. Even horrible experiences are not ones that I regret. I feel grateful for challenges in my life, and I always try to see how I can use them to move forward. But, I will reframe the question for myself, because I understand the essence of the question.

2021 saw the biggest weight gain I have ever experienced in my life. I am currently at my personal heaviest weight. When I look back to the last year, I am not sure about why I have gained this weight. My go-to answer would be mishandling stress from the pandemic — and that makes sense, and it is true. My deeper answer is that I wanted to gain weight; a part of me must have wanted that in order for it to happen. So I look at it, and ask myself why I would want to feel this way.

Of course, answering a deeper question like that requires a lot of personal responsibility, but I am not afraid of that. I have always been afraid to gain weight. In fact, being muscular and fit has driven me since I was 16; I was obsessed with how I looked, being beautiful, strong, desirable. I’ve held on tightly to that and I have never really let it slip until this last year. A part of me, I think, has always wondered what I would do if I were fat, if I could let my hold on my beauty go…who would I be then?

Honestly, I know I’ve gained weight in order to explore this, on a subconscious level. It’s been eye-opening. So much of my worth centers on my beauty. But I am curious! I want to see where this can lead me, how I am going to deal with it, how I am going to feel, whether I can use this as an opportunity to step out from behind my mask. When people see me as common or fat or ugly or old, can I maintain my worth in my own eyes?

My “regret” is that I am so attached to how I look. I have done well with navigating through it, lots of positive self-talk and affirmations. And yet, I cling, in part, to what others want me to be.

Today, what’s “on tap” is more of the same. Being present in a plump body for the first time, allowing myself space to feel that and witness that. And working toward something truly stronger as I manifest, through highs and lows, who I really want to be.

I Sing the Human Electric

This is the female form,

A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,

It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,

I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it

– from “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman

Omnia Vanitas by William Dyce

As I age and develop a deeper relationship with/to my body, I am intrigued by its changes and how I move to greet them. The relationship between me and my body symbolizes how I grapple with the world. This blog seeks to explore that connection. Diet, exercise, and wellness practices will be tracked, as well as reflections and plans. I am curious about what health looks and feels like as I move through middle age, and how I can forge a resilient reflection that feels authentic.

Workout of the Day | Legs and Shoulders Split

One of my favorite exercises this week came with my legs and shoulders split on Sunday. I finished my workout with some kneeling squats and internally-rotated bent front shoulder raises. This brought a fantastic burn. The rest of the split was also very good, with some curtsy squats, overhead press (not shown), goblet squats (not shown), clamshells, glute extensions, upright rows, and a tri-series of shoulder raises.

The workout lasted about 45 minutes.

Posting my workouts again feels good; it keeps me motivated and inspired. Enjoy!

November’s Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse 2021

The Beaver | Reed | Frost | Snow | Fog Full Moon of November is the first Full Moon following Samhaim and for this reason it is sometimes considered in Pagan practice as the marker of the new year. For those particularly in tune with the thinning of the veil, the November Full Moon carries special importance. This year the Full Moon couples with a partial (97%) lunar eclipse that is the longest (around 3.5 hours) in the last 500-1000 years.

The culmination of this cycle is, for me, about wholness, as every Full Moon is. However, the Beaver Moon conjures something unique. I am asked to seek a feeling of wholeness in the experiences and emotions of death, grief, loss, and “darkness.” Those aspects of myself that may appear “broken” or even “lunatic” request license to guide me now. I sit down into sensations of discomfort and fear — fear of being judged, fear of surrendering to the unknown. I resist the urge to change anything about that. I allow myself to find strength in this space where my companions are those antagonists that I would usually try to change or heal.

And so, here we meet in a bit of a different situation than is usual for us at a Full Moon. Rather than setting an intention for new beginnings, healing, and change, we stare each other down and decide to not change a thing. We decide that this time there is no new beginning; there is only what has always been: our deepest, darkest adversary. The shadow self steps into the circle. We do not blush or ask it to leave or rage against it or turn our face away from it. We open up our arms and embrace her. That is all that we can do during this time of foreboding cosmic alignment: during a session in which the cosmos sings “this is the dark night of the soul.”

Sure, there is darkness here. There is struggle, opposition. And yet, in these things Kali Ma or Hecate can impart that this, too, is part of the cycle of life/death and all that exists in between. We notice, perhaps, that the dark goddesses are goddesses of creation and destruction because they traverse a path avoided by many. They sit down at a crossroads and though that space is dangerous, it allows them to see in all directions.

I am with you in this celebration of darkness because it, too, is a tool for ascension. I am with you in this turbulence of the soul. Together we look at what we usually try to avoid. We are scared but we are brave. In fact, bravery is not possible without fear.

Control Causes Suffering

There is much going on in the country currently to present a facade of control. Sometimes control is a good quality in our human experience; however, much of the time control is only a fantasy that brings more harm.

While wanting control is natural, it also causes much suffering in our lives as we feel how little can actually be controlled. Rather than continuously reaching for a feeling of wellbeing through what we can control, I invite viewers in this video to experiment with surrendering control. A meditation is included.

Workout of the Week | Alternating DB Chest Press

Adding this alternating dynamic into a classic dumbbell chest press kicked up this exercise quite a bit. You have to do more stabilizing in the core. You will also feel the flexion in each arm a bit more because you have to deal with balancing the motion.

Tips

  • Check your elbows and do not dip them below your shoulder height or the top of the bench (if you’re using a bench)
  • You can do this exercise lying on the floor — that assures that your elbows do not dip down too low!
  • Go heavy! Make sure that your weight amount is appropriate for your actual strength. After a set, you should feel the burn

Recipe | SheetPan Tomatoes

We have had so many tomatoes in our garden this year. I made this Sheetpan Tomatoes dish for dinner and the family loved it! It was super easy and very tasty.

Ingredients

3-4 large tomatoes
12-15 cherry tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 large white onion
1 head of garlic
1/4 c. olive oil
1 TB balsamic vinegar
Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Fresh herbs from the garden

Process

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Cut tomatoes into wedges (for larger tomatoes) or slice in half (for cherry tomatoes)
  • Cut pepper into thin strips (about 1/2″ wide)
  • Slice onion into wedges
  • Pull cloves from garlic head
  • Dredge all in olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, and herbs on a baking sheet
  • Roast in oven until tomatoes are juicy and a little carmelized, about 25-35 minutes

Free Class @Meta: Brainiac Step | Monday September 13 | 5pm EST

At Meta I offer one free fitness or yoga class per month, available streaming live. Free access to fitness and wellness classes encourages stronger community and also helps members of that community to feel braver in their bodies. That’s what Meta/Physical Studio is all about!

Join me on September 13, 2021 for 45 minutes of Brainiac Step: a high-energy choreographed aerobics class with inspiring music and memorable moves. The class is beginner-friendly — so feel free to come as you are! — and also good for experienced steppers.

What can I expect in the class?

Step aerobics is a group exercise class that utilizes an elevated platorm (a “step”). The movements mimic walking up and down stairs but with a dance-inspired twist for a high-intensity cardio workout. In Brainiac Step I build choreography with “blocking” so that each class has usually 4 blocks. I teach each block slowly and with clear instruction. The “grand finale” of class is putting the blocks together as a routine.

What do I need to take the class?

A step is recommended, although you can do the class without a step. Some participants use a yoga mat to indicate the area to “step” on and others just use the floor. All movements can be done on the floor. Also, feel free to use one or two risers under your step if you want an extra challenge.

You will also need:

  • a device to access the class (a PC, Mac, phone, tablet, etc.)
  • access to Zoom (it’s free)
  • a webcam so I can see you!
  • speakers that pair with the device you’ll use to take class
  • access to Moxie so you can sign up (it’s easy! just click on the class you want)

What does the choreography look like?

This particular session will be choreography for “Ground Control,” a Level 1 routine. Here is the “grand finale.”

But don’t get overwhelmed! You CAN learn step! Here is a break-down of the some of the moves that make up the blocks:

Three-Knee Repeater
Turn Step

Looking forward to seeing you on Zoom LIVE for this fun class!

Tarot Tuesday: The Divine Masculine

For this Tarot Tuesday I used an the Sacred Geometry Activations Oracle deck, so it’s more like an “Oracle Tuesday.” The Divine Maculine card signals the focused start of an endeavor with consistent follow-through from start to finish. It also denotes protection, security, and structure. This card is tied to the material world, so focus your energies on what is happening in this plane of existence for you.

Helpers to internalize the meaning and value of this card include: bergamot and sandalwood essential oils, and tiger’s eye crystal.

For the full reading, check out my video on YouTube!

May you engage the energies of the divine masculine in your journeys throughout the week, and may they assist you in reaching your goals.

Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again, my friends.

Workout of the Day | Incline Push Ups with Side Plank

I love doing push ups on the incline, like using a step. I feel like I can go deeper into the chest and also sustain my movements more slowly. The incline makes the exercise a little bit more accessible for those who often go onto their knees for a push up. It also targets the chest differently, slightly. Adding the side plank at the top of the movement allowed for deeper engagement of the core.

Tips

  • Keep the elbows pointed towards the back/side of the room at about a 45 degree angle rather than straight out at the shoulder. This protects the elbow and shoulder and also targets the chest better.
  • Leverage your upper body weight toward the front of the motion rather than the back so that your weight is distributed over the work of the exercise.
  • Knit the shoulder blades together.
  • Keep a straight line from the crown of the head to the ankles.
  • Don’t overextend on the plank when you open your arm to the ceiling (like I did in the first execution).

Workout of the Day | Back Lunge Sequence

Lunges are wonderful when they’re done with good form! Anyone who has done a lunge with poor form knows the pain that can burst through the knee joint.

Today’s WOD is a lunge sequence using only body weight. It’s great to balancing and so the core is engaged, as well. The exercise targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute muscles, of course.

Move with grace

Step back into a lunge. Be sure that your front knee aligns with your front toes and does not reach beyond your toes. Aim to keep your knee back, tracking with your ankle.

Propel forward toward Warrior III posture, maintaining balance.

Drive your back knee up and forward.

Step back and gently place the leg into position for a back lunge.

Recipe | Orange Soy Tuna Loin with Garden Herbs

I love to share recipes of my meals when the whole family loves what I made. This tuna loin dinner was adored by my husband and daughter, and it was super easy to make.

I got inspired to make this dish after harvesting the early September crops from our garden. The herbs were in full force, so I thought about what to make.

The basil I picked in handfuls, as well as the chives. There was plenty of thyme, oregano, lemon parsley, sage, and rosemary. I used them all in the marinade for these delicious tuna steaks.

Ingredients

Two tuna loins, patted dry
Sea salt
Ground pepper

2-3 TB Olive oil
2-3 TB Bragg’s amino acids (or soy sauce)
Juice from one orange (I used Cara Cara)
1-2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Chopped fresh herbs (put them all in!)

Process

  1. Pat the loins dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix marinade with the rest of the ingredients and let the loins sit in the marinade for at least 1 hour (or just until dinner time!). Flip the loins over at intervals to be sure that every inch sops up that goodness!
  3. Heat a cast iron pan to high. Coat with a little olive oil. Sear the loins on each side to desired done-ness. We like ours raw in the middle, so I seared about 2-3 minutes on each side. I also got the sides by rolling the loins on the pan with my tongs.
  4. I gave a squeeze of orange at the end.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we always do!


Workout of the Day | Goddess Squat with DB Goalpost Side Bends

This morning’s Core Commitment class went well! It was my first virtual fitness class since I was sick yesterday for the grand opening — I know, right?!

There were a few tech problems during the class, which were frustrating. But after that was fixed, the class was smooth. I can still feel the burn in my abs and thighs and glutes as I type this post!

Standing Focus on the core

Today’s WOD is a Goddess Squat with DB Goalpost Side Bends. This standing core exercise primarily targets the transverse abdominus and the internal and external obliques. You need to engage your pelvic floor as well. The quadriceps and glutes and shoulders get a little pick-me-up with this exercise as they stabilize your body in the correct position.

Do the Exercise
  • Get deep into a wide-legged goddess squat. Be sure that your knees and toes face the same direction. Hold this posture throughout the exercise!
  • Lift arms into a “goalpost” position with elbows bent and palms facing forward. Try to keep elbows raised to shoulder height!
  • Keeping your hips still, bend to one side aiming one bent elbow toward the hip bone. Use the core muscles to stabilize the upper body.
  • For added intensity, reach the top arm overhead as you bend.

Enjoy the burn, my friends!

Grand Opening Tomorrow!

I am so excited for the grand opening of the virtual studio tomorrow, September 1! Classes kick off with 45 minutes of Pump & Grind at 9am EST (sign up here!).

To welcome clients and participants to the studio, I made a little video saying hi!

HI!

Meta/Physical is a wellness studio offering fitness and yoga classes, ritual, personal training (starting February 2022), and reiki, massage, and nutrition (coming when the brick-and-mortar studio opens). We are body-positive and supportive in all wellness journeys. Our goal is to aid clients and participants in being braver in their bodies.

Workout of the Day | Core with Weighted Medicine Ball

My 12lb medicine ball has been one of my favorite purhchases for the home gym. It is so versatile! Today I used it for a thorough core workout that also targeted glutes, quadiceps, and triceps. Here are four exercises from the session.

Triceps push-up on medicine ball

Be sure to squeeze your elbows in toward your ribcage to full flexion and also back up to extension. Balancing on the ball made this super sweet!

Kneeling Lean-Back with twist

Adding the twist and the weight made this simple move fiery! Keep the chin slightly tucked and engage those abs!

Plank Roll Out

The dynamic movement of this exercise targets the entire abdominal region. Pull slowly all the way to back to kneeling and then roll out again.

Mountain climbers on medicine ball

Drive the knees forward (and also, perhaps, laterally toward the elbow) and keep a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Don’t let your butt creep up.

Which exercise did you like best?

Lunchbox Chia Puddings: Chocolate, Banana, or Strawberry (Vegan | Gluten-Free)

I am always looking for ways to fill my daughter’s lunchbox with items that are delicious but also healthy — oh, and quick and easy. These simple puddings have few ingredients and set up overnight.  You can make them in small lidded containers and just pop one in the lunchbox before your kids are off to school.

Ingredients:

1 cup Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (or plant-based milk of choice)
4-5 tablespoons chia seeds (4 if you like a soft pudding, 5 if firmer)
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (2 tsp if you didn’t use the vanilla brand above)

For Chocolate:
2 tablespoon cocoa powder (or carob powder)

For Banana:
1 small banana

For Strawberry:
1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (or any berry)

Strawberry
Chocolate
Banana

Process:

Combine ingredients in a blender and mix for 30 seconds.
Let sit for 5 minutes, and then blend again for 30 seconds.
Pour into small containers, cover, and refrigerate up to 5 days.

Tarot Tuesday: Communication

The card that I pulled from Caryn Sangster’s Chakra Insight Oracle deck this morning was not immediately in line with what I asked to recieve. I requested from the universe to pull a card that would guide me through the week. I expected something (I don’t know what) that was not the communication card. But the more that I explored what the card brought up in me through meditation and journaling, the more that I understood that this card may be exactly what I require as I move through the week.

Does this card resonnate with you this week?

Today’s Tarot Card

The look of this card did not immediately align with my feelings today. Generally, I feel that I’ve been very good with my communication.

But then I considered, “what do I really want to say?” and suddenly there was much more to unpack. Being fluid and honest with expression to others is something that probably every human could improve upon since we tend to be so afraid of judgment.

This card is about expressing yourself authentically through verbal and bodily communication, but also about listening and showing up authentically in order to connect with others. It is also about being truthful in your communication with yourself.

I chose the aquamarine crystal to pair with the card because aquamarine brings courage through its calming energy. It aids in calming the mind and body so that we can get really quiet inside to know what we think and feel.

I also meditated on the water element because that, for me, is a freeing of emotional energy, which I think is necessary for the kind of communication opened with this card.

Which aspect of communication feels stuck for you right now? How can you move into a more open and honest space with your words? Is there anything that you are hiding from yourself?

Workout of the Day | Step Aerobics

Today I did a high-energy cardio workout! Step aerobics is light and fun, and I did my own routine to some excellent music. It lifted my spirits and got me primed for a great day.

I used sections of my routine to make quick how-to videos for my Step 101 YouTube Series, which I created today, I’m excited to say!

Today I did my routine “Ground Control,” which was a lot of fun. Here are some of the additions to my series:

It’s a lot, right!? The workout was stellar and the videos came out OK, too!

Workout of the Day | Biceps & Triceps

In this sweltering heat, I had to get in some movement early in the day. Rolling out of bed, I grabbed some equipment and hit my fitness space as soon as I could once my mom duties were in place and my child was into a morning project.

Biceps and triceps today! Here are just a couple of the exercises that I did:

Single-arm biceps curl with resistance band attached to kettlebell

2 sets of 20 on each side

I wrapped a resistance band around a 15lb kettelbell and did some traditional biceps curls, just doing one side at a time.

overhead Kettlebell Triceps extension

3 sets of 15

Using said kettlebell, I sat down for some overhead triceps extensions. Remember to keep your elbows in!

Concentration curl

2 sets of 20 on each side

This variation on the preacher curl was convenient! Sitting, legs wide, I took my elbow to the inside knee and used that as leverage.

Prone Triceps press and extension

3 sets of 15

I took my extension in a straight-arm variation here, and I took it sloooow!

Hammer Curl with side Variation

Here is your usual hammer-style biceps curl but I added in little joint rotation with a side curl variation.

Workout of the Day | Core on the Floor

I hit the floor today for some core exercises and while not all of my work is featured here, it was a luscious 30-minute burn!

Glute Kick-backs with resistance band

I kept my spine neutral as I performed some bent-leg glute kickbacks, engaging my core and flexing my feet.

Straight-Leg Glute lift and fire hydrant raise with resistance band

Using the resistance band on the fire hydrant raise was exceptionally wonderful, targetting my oblique muscles. Moving slowly through the motion brought some extra burn!

Cross-Body bar lift sit-up

The 20lb bodybar added a challenging dynamic as I sat all the way up and pushed the bar across my body.

Bridge with pilates ring thigh squeeze

My entire carriage was electric as I pressed up into bridge and squeezed the pilates ring.

Double Leg drop with reach-through

Squeezing the pilates ring while doing the double leg drop for the lower abdominals was a fantastic sensation, but the reach through the ring was what really drove this exercise home!

Side-lying double leg lift with knees to chest

I used the pilates ring for extra resistance as I squeezed it while lifting my legs in a side lying position and then driving my knees toward my chest.

Double leg drop with pilates ring squeeze

Adding those squeezes in the extended position of the leg drop was dynamic and tough!

Workout of the Day | Chest & Back

Chest and back workout in the books today as I continue my fitness journey from #mombody to #fitmom! I love lifting weights, and these sessions are so pleasurable for me. Take a peek at my routine today (some pics are missing, such as chest press with barbell and a few others).

Kettlebell romanian deadlift with single-side row

3 sets of 15

I did some asymmetrical strength work today, starting with this one. Rather than doing a single leg, which I did later, I just concentrated on the one-sided upper body workout. The row was not wide or narrow, but somewhere in between, targetting the lats and upper and middle back. Got some hamstrings, too, with the deadlift.

Single-Side Kettlebell Chest Press with Single knee lift

2 sets of 15 on each side

Keeping with the asymmetrical work I took the 15 lb kettlebell in one hand and did my chest press with a crunch from the lower abdominals. This compound exercise was dramatic. I loved it!

starbird with single-side kettlebell row

2 sets of 15 on each side

Speaking of compound movements, I followed up with a single-side row with the kettlebell tight to my ribcage while I lifted the opposite leg in a leg lift: good for glutes and lats!

Weigted Ball toss

3 sets of 50

I did not know that this exercise was going to be the toughest — that may be because I did 3 sets of 50!!!!! I know, right?! My chest was on fire…and my shoulders, too. It was a total win.

upright weighted bicycle with ball

3 sets of 20 between lifting sets

So, I snuck in a couple abdominal workouts while I gave my chest and back a rest. Here is an upright bicycle exercise I did with the weighted ball.

Pilates ring chest press and twist

2 sets of 10

I did these really slow and I wasn’t able to do a third set because the time under pressure in my chest was just absurd. Squeezing that ring while extending my arms turned out to be very challenging! It was fantastic.

3 Direction bent over raises

I loved the burn that this exercise brought! I moved very slowly as I lifted a 5lb dumbbell parallel with my head meridian, brought it back to center, lifted out in a traditional bent over raise, and then brought it back, and then extended toward the back of the room. My back was burning up.

standing starbird single-side row and lift

To round out my back work and improve my balance I finished with this move that really made me use a firm drishti. Success!

Tarot Tuesday: White Tara

I like to pull a card at the beginning of my week, which is usually Tuesdays due to my schedule. The first day of the week is a great time to take inventory of what’s going on inside. Tarot, I find, can ground me and give me focus for the rest of the week.

Today’s Tarot Card

Today’s pull comes from Doreen Virtue’s excellent deck the Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards. I love this deck because it does its own kind of storytelling; and I love stories. My White Tara card had me pulling out my White Tara statue and place it on my daily altar. I also rubbed some frankincense essential oil on my palms and breathed it in while meditating, with black tourmaline close by.

White Tara and me

My reflections about the card were that I have done much work in breaking down my walls. This has lead to increased potential for sensitivity and vulnerability. These are not negative aspects but rather opportunities to explore heightened psychic and spiritual awareness and to check those boundaries!

The frankincense and black tourmaline each do a good job of invigorating the sense of self-protection but not enough to throw back up those walls.

Reflection included appreciation for my journey. Though I may not yet have achieved a peaceful life entirely, I am more open to riding the waves than ever. I have increased my compassion and have been able to be more understanding by letting down my guard.

What is the situation of your walls as you dive into the week?

Let me know in the comments!

I hope that you have a blessed week. White Tara is here as your guide.

Perfect Lunchbox “Cheese” Crackers (Vegan | Grain Free | Gluten Free)

My daughter loves cheese crackers. This recipe is super simple and it’s incredibly fool-proof.  The crackers are “cheesy”-tasting and just crunchy enough. They stick together well and travel in a lunchbox nicely.

Ingredients

A flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons water, left to sit for 5 minutes)
1 3/4 cup superfine almond flour
4-5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon date syrup (or maple syrup) — optional

Process:

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, lay down baking paper, or cover with oil
Set oven for 200 degrees

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix with hands, forming into a crumby ball.

Place ball on sheet and cover with parchment or wax paper.

With a rolling pin or evenly-shaped cup, roll the ball out from the middle toward the edges of the sheet, until the mixture is equally flat.

Carefully remove the paper.

With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the desired shape into the cracker mixture.  Add fork holes in the center if you’d like.  Sprinkle extra salt, if desired.

Bake in the oven for a little more than 2 hours.

Crackers will be easily lifted from the sheet with your fingers when they are ready.

Store in an air-tight glass container in a dry place.

Summer Energetic Cleanse, Part I

I’ve done cleanses throughout my life for various reasons. This cleanse, coming in at the end of summer, is to clean up my energy by cleaning up my diet and allowing my energetic and physical bodies to process all the doubt I’ve been feeling.

Doubt!? What Doubt?


Embarking on a new project is daunting sometimes. As I settle into the idea of starting my own business, doubt creeps in occasionally. Doubts like:

Am I fit enough to start a fitness business?

Do I have the prowess to guide others?

Can I manage everything on my plate?

Will I be a positive role model?

On some days, the list could go on, my friends.

When I feel that doubt creep up, I try to look it in the eyes. Some of this doubt is warranted. For example, I will open my business in sync with the beginning of a new journey toward wellness. That means that I showcase myself in less-than-perfect form. I show my body at the start of a process. It looks like mom bod. Some people will expect me to look like a model.

For a recovering perfectionist, that’s a big deal!

But I take my time with myself.

Taking Time with Yourself

Ok, that isn’t always easy. For a type-A personality, taking time with anything — especially the self — can be a hurdle. It has been for me.

The truth is that when you show compassion for your process — the process that you really NEED — then getting the results that you want can take time. True, sometimes change is instant. I love THAT kind!

Oftentimes the kind of change that we can wear only comes after a long engagement to ourselves.

Today, in day three of my cleanse, some ugly feelings came up. Let me tell you about it.

Today’s Ugliness

Revealing my ugliness to others has taken me some practice but I think that sharing these glimpses of imperfection have helped me to grow in the way I desire. So, I share this.

This morning I did my daily workout. I loved it. I focused on shoulders and I thoroughly enjoyed my workout. I recorded myself doing the exercises with the intention of posting the videos on Instagram. I really LOVE this because I feel like I am reaching out for community and also offering inspiration. It fills me.

I weighed myself when I was done.

As someone with a history of disordered eating and body image who has (successfully!) battled various disorders, the scale is a mixed experience for me.

Usually I will do some affirmations or a chant I created to invoke a feeling of balance within before I step on the scale. But since I was doing the cleanse for two days already, I figured that I would like what I saw.

I didn’t like it.

The scale had climbed up on me.

It affected me hard because I had been focused on clean consumption and, even though I know better, I expected change immediately.

Self-digust and self-hate crept in. Now, this is a bugger that I know well and through the years I have developed tools to deal with her.

But I started hating on myself: squeezing my belly fat, puncing myself in the stomach, speaking mean words to myself, and having hateful thoughts toward my body, including harmful acts. I haven’t had such intense negative feelings about myself in years.

I let myself feel my feelings for a short time because in my experience, that is a necessary action so that I don’t “numb out.” Then, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that I have some tools at hand and that I can choose to use them if I wish.

Well, I did NOT wish.

So, I continued in a hateful spirit, knowing that I was making a conscious choice to do so.

After a few minutes, I reached a place at which I could use my tools. I put on more comfortable clothing first, because the clothing I was wearing made me feel fat. Rather than sit in it and feel bad for myself, I changed.

Then I looked myself in the eyes in the mirror and I repeated, “I want to take care of myself. Change takes time. I want to change.”

That brought on some tears because I knew that it was true. Very true. I also knew that it was hard sometimes. Very hard. So I felt that. Slowly, a space of compassion opened up.

My husband wanted me to talk about my feelings with him but I wasn’t ready. He sat with me in silence, just holding space for me. After a time, I was ready to talk about how I had felt.

There was a memory I had and I was surprised that it came to the surface. I was in 8th grade and my mom was taking pictures of me and my sophomore boyfriend before going to a semiformal. She said to me something like “suck in your gut, it makes you look fat.”

Huh? I was like, 115 lbs wet.

Wake up moment: I realized that this was the moment that I developed an disordred relationship with my body. My mom, who was obese at the time, body shamed me in front of my older, handsome boyfriend. I thought to myself at the time, “omg, if my mom, who is overweight, is calling me out like this, what do I really look like? What am I not seeing?”

And so.

No one, not my mom or anyone else, is responsible for how I feel about my body. I take complete responsibility — radical responsibility — for how I treat myself, how I feel about myself, what I do, etc.

BUT. For the first time in my long struggle, I think I pin-pointed the start of this problem in my life. It was not my mother’s comment, really, but more my willingness to open to the reality of that comment and accept it as my own.

THAT was a moment that I gave away my power.

It felt good to reveal this openly, just like it feels good to write about it now.

Our paths toward wellness may have a lot of speedbumps. But at the end of the day, I KNOW without a doubt that I make progress every single day. Sometimes that looks really ugly. I might feel like I am failing or flailing…but this is all part of that process. I am not going to postpone my dreams or my joy because I have ugliness.

I am going to reach a place at which even my ugly is beauty.

I am in transit.

Day 3 of a cleanse, apparently, is a time to clean house.

The Year of Radical Self Care

Most people, I think, require deep rest. If you are part of this capitalist society then you may be aware that rest is not an easily-procured thing. Oftentimes rest is considered weakness. This is true for both men and women but in some different ways.

I, like most moms with a career, have not had opportunities for rest and have had to carve time out for self-care. Once that puzzle was figured out (and it takes some trial and error), a more complicated problem emerges: how to allow that care to emerge, how to accept it.

Found a few minutes in the day to spend on caring for your needs? Figured out what to do to take care of yourself? Now the problem — how do you accept that care?

Seems like a problem fraught in privledge, and it is. It is also one grounded in the internalization of cultural ideals about women and mothers. It is also a problem of capitalism, standardized educational practices, marginalization, and stigmas about mental health, to only name a few that pop off in my mind when I think about why it has been so difficult for me to accept my plan of self-care.

Seems like a problem fraught in privledge, and it is. It is also one grounded in the internalization of cultural ideals about women and mothers. It is also a problem of capitalism, standardized educational practices, marginalization, and stigmas about mental health, to only name a few that pop off in my mind when I think about why it has been so difficult for me to accept my plan of self-care.

Here’s my confession: as soon as I sent out my resignation letters, I began what has turned into a month of frantic searching for another job. My mind cannot stop probing into what I am going to do.

Now, my husband is on board and vowed to support me financially for the next year as I supported him financially during the first two years of our relationship. He wants me to take this time, as he did, to explore and find enjoyment in my career again.

I have many questions: what are my passions now? What brings me a sense of vitality and grounding? Where is my heart? What does self-care look like in my 40s?

Anyone would be lucky to have this opportunity.

I am also taking this year of radical self-care to prepare for adoption from foster care, a process into which we are about one year.

Sounds great, right? How wonderful to have alotted this time and space for such magickal work!

But I am struggling to allow myself this space! I have an interview lined up next week and I only JUST posted grades for my last class three days ago. The panic is REALLY REAL for me, yet I am not completley sure what I am panicked about. It’s a nameless dread…always.

Homeschool and Stay Sane During the Pandemic

Homeschooling your elementary school-aged child for the first time during a global pandemic, while you are working and also doing ALL. OF. THE. THINGS. was not expected to be easy — but did you expect that it would be THIS hard? I’ve heard even my teacher friends complain that they can teach students just fine, but when teaching their own children, it’s a battle that they just can’t win.

In this video I share some best practices and tips for new homeschoolers who are low on time and energy…and patience. You can reach your goals and also keep your sanity!

Creating for Yourself Rather than Creating to Please Others

There are so many wonderful aspects of creating in order to please, entertain, or otherwise serve somebody else; however, creating strictly for your own purposes, to serve yourself, is a function with which many people lose touch as they grow. When one no longer creates for herself then a quest for acceptance from others that seemingly can never be filled, is created.

In this video, I talk about a need to come back to creating as a function of serving the self, and the importance of bringing that into focus once more.

Support me on patreon @ https://www.patreon.com/elanavery/

The Fantasy of Illness

“Fantasy” is used to denote desire and not make-believe.

In this video, I present the idea that during the covid pandemic the subconscious may project a wish for illness due to societal and personal value systems. The “fantasy of illness” is a desire that acknowledges one’s understanding of self as a sickly individual in need of care from others; this is not necessarily a negative desire, but one that should be brought into awareness when moving toward the society that we wish to build together. A “fantasy of illness” does not indicate that one makes oneself ill but that a person may feel relief when the world around her begins to reflect her inner fears of being unwell.

Please Be High Maintenance During the Pandemic!

Some people have reflected that they are glad that they are not “high maintenance” during the pandemic. But when I thought about high maintenance during this time, I felt that it was quite desirable and could serve our higher journeys. In this video I encourage high maintenance in the form of having, identifying, and expressing needs, expecting those needs to get met, looking at the ego and her strengths, exploring the “victim” archetype, and challenging authority figures. Perhaps embracing a high maintenance approach to life can save lives.

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/elanavery?fan…SHOW LESS

The Pleasure of Creating for Yourself Rather than for Others

There are so many wonderful aspects of creating in order to please, entertain, or otherwise serve somebody else; however, creating strictly for your own purposes, to serve yourself, is a function with which many people lose touch as they grow. When one no longer creates for herself then a quest for acceptance from others that seemingly can never be filled, is created.

In this video, I talk about a need to come back to creating as a function of serving the self, and the importance of bringing that into focus once more.

Support me on patreon @ https://www.patreon.com/elanavery/

Wellness Diary: Week 9

At the end of Week 8 I weighed myself and found that I lost a pound after staying steady for weeks. This sent me into a panic, as losing weight usually does.

I am not sure that many can relate to freaking out when the scale goes down; most people celebrate weight loss. But for me, when I see the scale move down I begin to panic. The reasons for this are manifold as all reasonings for complex reactions are: they relate to trauma and, of course, fear.

Nevertheless, there it is.

I lost a pound and spent the next few days in an overeating binge haze, trying ostensibly to regain that weight and more.

My second reaction after this was to vow to never weigh myself again, trying to pin down the symptom of the problem as if fixing THAT would fix the underlying real problem.

Self-awareness goes a long way, and has helped me un-do my ridiculous thinking patterns over the years.

No, stopping weighing myself is not going to take care of my problem. I have learned that avoidance only conjures MORE avoidance, and that when piled on top of my already-pretty-strong trauma around weight, only makes the problem worse.

What needs to be done is what has ALWAYS needed to be done, and continues to GET done: I need to hunker down deep into my anxiety and phobia and trauma and LOOK at what is happening, and FEEL what is happening so that I can understand it. It’s a tough thing to understand, but I DO know what is going on, and I DO know how to fix. I have the key to everthing.

I just need to continue on my journey as a voice inside tells me that I am not perfect enough to continue it. I hear that voice. I acknowledge it. I reach out my arms to hug the girl who speak that way to herself. She can either choose to take that hug or not…but it’s there no matter what, and without judgment for her.

So, I continue on to Week 9, having lost no weight in 9 weeks, having questioned myself time and time again, having thought about quitting this journey….but staying dedicated to myself. Here in Week 9, I’m not giving up because my goals are more than weight loss. My goal is to live my best life, standing in my strength, which means never avoiding my weaknesses, but positioning them as tools to help me know myself better.

I believe that THIS approach is what really changes lives.

Danse Macabre: Grendles Modor

I am so happy to announce that a poem that I wrote entitled “Grendles Modor” has been published in Danse Macabre Journal’s “DM Du Jour.”

I wrote the poem when I was an undergraduate back in 1998 when I read Beowulf for the first time. Two years ago (in 2018) I went back and edited the poem because I was teaching Beowulf in my World Literature course and felt a new inspiration. My revision goal was to highlight the feminine power of Grendel’s mother, who was always the most fascinating character for me in the epic poem.

Find the poem here: https://dmdujour.wordpress.com/2020/12/07/jenn-avery-grendles-modor/, or read the poem below (with proper formatting).

Wellness Diary: Week 8, Day 3

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
140.627.4%2438.532.23821
I ate really well yesterday but my weight creeped a tiny little bit. In my life, this has been my standard: when things go really well, at first they look worse before they start looking better. Such is life. In generaly, my journey has been a study of maintenance, as I have hovered around the same weight for 8 weeks.
MovementDurationBurn
 Yoga
Step Aerobics
 60
30
215
251
I tried yoga with a new instructor today and I have say…I HATED the whole class. That is a rare sentiment for yoga, for me…but…there it is. After the first 5 minutes I was very tempted to just leave the class but I stuck it out for the whole hour. It was painful to go through. It was like, workout yoga, which I used to like in my 20s but quickly grew out of. I cannot stand the style of yoga that I did today.

Step aerobics was super fun! I did a new release on Les Mills on Demand (#119, I think), and had SO much fun!
Calorie GoalCaloriesOther Nutrition Goals
 1200-1300 1140 No sugar, small portions
I got a new food scale, and it’s going well. My husband made pasta for lunch today and I felt that I had to eat it even though I would rather completely avoid pasta because it’s a trigger food. He scooped me out about 3 servings, so I had to get the cup measure and recalibrate to 1 cup. My goodness, looking at one cup of pasta is a sad, sad vision. It’s, like, the size of my tooth. It’s enough to make an emotional eater cry.
Self-Care, Parenting, Stress, Joy, Balance, Writing
 Yoga, Blogging
The yoga was good self care and I did some blogging, which was great.

Wellness Diary: Week 8, Day 2

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
140.227.4%2438.532.23821
No change in weight!
MovementDurationBurn
Yoga
Walk
45
30
 97
233
Today was a lovely day of movement! Yoga with Emily is a weekly favorite. It left me with tingles in my body. The walk was really nice out in the cold with the dog.
Calorie GoalCaloriesOther Nutrition Goals
 1200 1086 No sugar, under range
I cannot tell you the last time that I came under my range. Not that this is something that I want to do a lot, but oh my GODDESS — yes! I did such a great job today keeping portion small and NOT overeating. The last time I did that was…2014. So, kudos, friend.
Self-Care, Parenting, Stress, Joy, Balance, Writing
 Writing, Yoga, Snuggles
The yoga, of course, counts as self care, and so does snuggling down with my daughter for our weekly girls’ night. We watched a movie tonight and it was nice. I also got in some writing of my novel: always THE BEST.

Wellness Diary: Week 8, Day 1

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
140.227.4%2438.532.23821
I continue to not lose or gain any weight. I remain around the heaviest weight I have been in my life.
MovementDurationBurn
 Spinning 30 251
I did not want to workout today, as it is my “day off,” but I got on the bike first thin in the morning and spun those wheels for 30 minutes.
Calorie GoalCaloriesOther Nutrition Goals
 1200-1300 1244 No sugar
I had some alcohol today and I also had sugar while I wrapped gifts.
Self-Care, Parenting, Stress, Joy, Balance, Writing
Writing and Gaming
I really lose myself in my writing today. It was wonderful! I wrote a lot of my book and also did some other related writing.

Wellness Diary: Week 7 Day 3

Thanksgiving included a lot of eating, as expected. I started the day by eating cookies and then had a super delicious, healthy dinner, followed by pie. So, there were some good and some not-so-good choices for reaching my wellness goals. I did not get in any movement.

We had such a great holiday!

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, I have mixed feelings about how to move forward. A part of me just wants to focus on my eating, doing small portions and good protein and veggies. The other part of me feels that I should do this plus get in some exercise. But exercising while feeling chubby and full from the day before is not attractive to me.

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
140.427.4%2438.532.23821
I only gained .2 lbs over Thanksgiving. I would consider that a win!
MovementDurationBurn
 Indoor Cycling
The Trip #17
 30 256
I really did not want to exercise today! My bedroom, where I exercise, is currently FULL of STUFF as my husband replaces our bathroom floor. There is a shopvac, floor pieces, the hampers from the bathroom, and more, all over the place! Not motivational at all. But I dragged the bike out and aimed for 45 minutes of spinning — I did 30 minutes.

Calorie GoalCaloriesOther Nutrition Goals
 1200 1165 No sugar, refined carbs
I did an excellent job today, nutrionally. I came in a little bit under range and made healthy choices.
Self-Care, Parenting, Stress, Joy, Balance, Writing
 Blogging, Writing Novel, Time with Friends
I began the day with some blogging and social media work and then spent 20 minutes writing my novel. That always feels really fulfilling. Then, later in the day, some girl friends came by with their kids and we had a great time chatting and having tea.

Week 7, Day 2

Today’s highlight was absolutely Irish Step Dance, as far as movement goes. The day was rainy and I did not get in the walk I had planned. But I had fun dancing.

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
140.227.4%2438.532.23821
My goal is now to lose 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know that this may seem like a crazy time of year to try to lose any weight at all, but I hope that this mini-goal will keep me motivated. I feel like it is achievable!
MovementDurationBurn
 Irish Step Dance60 minutes 417 
Irish Step Dancing is always a lot of fun. There were more participants tonight due to classes being cancelled for Thanksgiving, so it was super fun. I just did not like wearing the mask, which made breathing hard when things got tough. We did the slip jig and then also another dance (I don’t remember the name) that was quite an exercise for the brain.
Calorie GoalCaloriesOther Nutrition Goals
 1200-1300 1343 No sugar
The day began super well, and I did very well all the way up until dance was over. My husband surprised me by ordering take out from Texas Roadhouse, and I was really disappointed by this even though it was a gesture of love. I expected that we would be having meatballs and veggies for dinner but instead he ordered me prime rib (which I do not like — he meant to order ribeye, which is my favorite), and a baked potato (I would have ordered brocoli). I was absolutely starving for dinner because I ate under my calories for breakfast and lunch and had just burned a ton of calories dancing, and I did not want to hurt his feelings by not eating the meal. So, I ate it. And I would have come in just at my range, but then I felt “off the rails” and had couple bites of the peppermint bark that we got for making gingerbread houses. I only had a couple bites, but that was enough to put me over my range for the day, and also undid my goal today of avoiding sugar.
Self-Care, Parenting, Stress, Joy, Balance, Writing
 Knitting and watching a show with my daughter; making a video blog post; singing Christmas songs; physical.
I ran into a situation today in which I felt really strung out. The thought of homeschooling today was causing stress, and despite getting 9 hours of sleep I felt really tired. My husband suggested that I just listen to my body and “why not snuggle down and do some knitting and watch a show?” I really rarely ever watch anything unless I have alone time late at night, maybe once a month. But, I took his advice and snuggled down with my daughter. We both did some knitting and we watched a show. After that, I actually did feel rejuvenated and was able to be present for the rest of the day. We made some gingerbread houses and just skipped the formal learning for the day. I also had to run some errands today, including having a medical physical.

Week 7, Day 1

I realize that my plan for weightloss is not going very well. I am 7 weeks in and have not lost one pound, in fact I have gained weight. Of course, the plan is not just about losing weight but also about getting in movement, taking time for myself, eating the right foods, staying hydrated, and more. But at the end of the day, I like to see the outcome of my work showing on my body. If I am honest then I know that I have been overeating for the entire 7 weeks because I am an emotional eater and a binge eater. Some days I’ve had it all under control, but other days I am truly out of control.

With the holiday season here I have been eating sweets and going out to eat more than I would like. I’ve had a feeling of overwhelm most days, getting the house decorated, managing household things, doing mom things, doing work things, trying to cut out time for personal things. There is no break — it’s just relentless. I need better strategies for managing everyday life.

Although I do not generally like using strict schedules and plans — because I think that living should be more organic — they can work for me when I’m struggling. I am considering creating a plan for myself that has more boundaries, in the coming days.

Today is Tuesday and I did some movement today. I did an hour of power yoga with Lisa and burned 157 calories.

I did not log in my food.

What is Karma, and Why Can it Feel Heavy?

I am so excited to release my first video blog post on my “Heavy Karma” YouTube Channel!

This week I present my understanding of “karma” because I wanted to explain why the channel is named “Heavy Karma,” and also the foundational idea that drives the creation of ths channel and the process.

I need to develop an intro and outro for my videos, obviously, and also use a better camera! But thanks for watching!

Week 6: Days 1-5

This week I felt as if I was in a fog, literally all week long. I did not log in my food — not because I was “off the rails” but really just because I forgot. This was an auto-pilot kind of week, of which I have not experienced in a long time. I felt lethargic, disconnected, really tired. I had my period this week, so this may have been why, although I usually would get these symptoms during PMS, which is the week before my period hits.

It has just been a strange week, as if I have not been home.

I did a lot of introspection this week, and made some big decisions. I suspect that this emotional work was taxing on my physical aparatuses, and this may be why I showed up the way I did.

There haven’t been any negative feelings or struggles…just extreme tiredness and forgetfulness. Somehow, though, I managed to get in some movement, though as I write about it I can hardly remember what I did or how I felt.

Monday

On Monday I had a big epiphany about a situation that has been haunting me for 30 years or more. It’s always in the back of my mind and I never know how to deal with it. But on Monday, something really clicked for me and I dealt with this issue in a way I had never dealt with it before. I even made a video in which I expressed my feelings concerning this speed bump in my life. It was very exhausting and left me feeling quite empty for a bit of time, but I do feel that in the bigger picture, this was fruitful work. Now that I write out this reflection…no wonder I’ve had the week that I did! Oh my goodness.

I did a bit of yoga with Traci and it felt nice.

I finished the day with 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra/Meditation with Amy. It was beautiful and really helped me to assimilate the spiritual/psychological work that I did that day. But after the meditation I had a splitting headache for the night and had to go to bed early.

Tuesday

The only movement that I got in on Tuesday was walking the dog for 30 minutes and then a 15 minute excursion down to the lake with my daughter for a homeschool project in Geology. I managed to burn a little over 200 calories. This was a heavy flow day and I wanted to do yoga but I just did not want the back-flow in my Diva Cup, so I avoided it. I logged food in the beginning of the day but then just forgot about the rest of the day.

Wednesday

By Wednesday, I was feeling a little bit more present in my body again. I had a 40 minute walk and burned 228 calories. And then I went to Irish Step Dance that night and danced for 60 minutes to burn 346 calories. It was a big burn day for me, and active. The dancing was really fun.

Thursday

On Thursday I did a nice power yoga session with Lisa. I have not done a class with her since March. It was so nice to connect with her and her style again. The yoga that I’ve done this week helped me to connect a bit more, but I continue to move toward integrating my big movements from Monday.

Friday

I woke up feeling the heaviness/disconnect/whatever that I’d been feeling since Monday. But I tried out Les Mills Body Jam in the morning, doing the techno release. It was so much fun that I felt, for a few minutes, that I was releasing some “gunk” (Lisa’s work in yoga from Thursday). I did 20 minutes of dance followed by 5 minutes of core to burn 218 calories.

I am not sure what more — if anything — the week holds for me, but I hope to bring my goals into focus next week, carrying forward the work I did on some long-standing issues at the start of this week.

Week 5, Days 2-5

This week was a mess in terms of getting in time to reflect, breathe, or sit down to write a blog post. Somehow, even with my quadriceps injury continuing to heal, I managed to get in some movement almost every day. The week was full of moments in which I had to “pop the hood” and examine/identify my emotions so that I could make a more conscious choice to overeat or not.

Tuesday

Tuesday I went for a walk in the forest for 30 minutes and burned 184 calories. The weather was beautiful and I spent some time at the beach with my daughter enjoying the sun.

I had an excellent day nutritionally, eating well and mindfully and even coming in a little bit under my calorie goal.

Wednesday

Wednesday was a rough one emotionally, as my daughter had a lot of struggles that affected me. I did some self-care with 45 minutes of yoga (127 burn) and then I did my Irish step dance class for 60 minutes with a burn of 316. I had so much fun and even though I could not lift my heels as high because of my injury, I loved it.

Nutritionally the day was great and again I came in a little bit under my range.

Thursday

On Thursday I wanted to give my quadricip a rest so I did BodyPump upper body only, for 26 minutes with 127 burn. I picked up Pho takeout and was still able to stay only a tiny bit above my calorie range. I was happy about that.

Friday

On Friday, the day really got away from me. I did not make one entry in my food journal, but I believe that I stayed within a healthy range despite that. I began the day with some BodyCombat for 28 minutes with a 218 burn. It was a fun workout.

Overall, I did not expect much from this week but ended up doing better than I expected although not as great as would be ideal for me.

Week 5, Day 1

Well, I have had a revelation that I have reached a low place at which I feel there is an opportunity for growth and for learning. I made a post earlier today titled ” Food and Other Addictions” that explains this.

Every Sunday when my daughter leaves to go with her father, I spiral out of control with my eating. Obviously it is related to my emotional relationship to food.

I no longer wish to have this relationship.

I seek something healthier and more functional in my life. Of course, I realize that this takes a lot of time and that I have already spent more than 25 years on working through my food addiction/emotional associations. But the work is never done, and when the cycles repeat, there is an opportunity to reach higher and learn more.

Movement ActivityDurationBurnNotes
Spinning
Weights
 10
10
50
59
 
I really craved spinning today on the bike; I wanted to listen to some motivational music and just cruise. However, because my quadriceps is still healing, I was not sure if I would be able to ride. I stayed in the seat the entire time and kept the resistance low to moderate, and pace moderate. However, right around the 10 minute mark I began to feel an uncomfortable tightening in my quad, so I stopped immediately. I finished up with some weights, doing upright rows, clean and press, dead lifts, and biceps curls with my 30 lbs barbell, and then some floor work with crunhes and a couple leg lifts (to see how my quad would handle that — it felt good).
Calorie GoalCaloriesNotes
 1200-1300  
I have experienced several days of binge eating, and this prompted me to realize that I do not want this for myself. I am being triggered more frequently to overeat and this is most likely because I am not addressing some uncomfortable feelings and I am not honoring my wellness journey. I need to look deeper and connect more with my needs at this time. Today, however, I did well resetting and reminding myself that I can treat my body well.
Daily Self CareNotes
Facial Waxing
Facial Moisturizing
Yoga Nidra
Journaling
Gaming
 
I was more conscious of little acts I could do today in order to honor myself. Not having to meet my parental duties today, of course, provides more space for that but I am hoping that with more practice I can integrate more self care into every day of the week.
Bowel MovementNotes
 1 
I had a bowel movement this morning that was substantial. I am trying to stay hydrated, as usual, but not really ever reaching that goal — not by a long shot. Today I drank about 30 oz of water.
GoalsMini Goals
Reach 125 poundsLose .5-1 pound per week
Be more present with parentingMake mental and emotional space, spend quality time
Manage stress betterUse meditation and affirmations; feel feelings
Balance work/play/family lifeDo all things, every day, rather than bingeing
Feel more joyDiscover new passions and feed established interests
My present weight loss goal is to reach 137 pounds. I think that is realistic and I like taking larger goals and breaking them down. Today I managed stress better than I have in a long time. I had a lot of balance today between work, self care, and personal time.

Week 4, Day 5

Somehow I actually got in 5 days of movement despite my healing quadricep. On Friday I did a morning yoga class with Katy. There were times that the movement was too much on my leg but I was able to modify some postures.

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
 138.8 27.3 24    
Moving the scale is really hard. I am not looking for any big change for another couple weeks. My body takes quite a lot of time to shed weight.
Movement ActivityDurationBurnNotes
 Yoga
Walk
 50
30
 168
209
 
The yoga was so great. I have not done a class with Katy in a long time — since March — so it was nice to hold space with her again. The class was pretty full and that energy was good. The walk with with my daughter in the woods and we did lots of imaginative storytelling and then she collected some magickal water from our favorite place, the “heart of the woods.”
Calorie GoalCaloriesNotes
 1200-1300 1730 
My eating today was not ideal. We celebrated Friday Family Fun Night together and decided to go out to eat. I did well at dinner, ordering a steak and vegetable sides. If I had not included in sweets when I came home, I would have stayed fairly in range. But I did some emotional eating and that spiralled into two more days of eating poorly.
Daily Self CareNotes
Yoga 
I did not get in much time for self care today; but I can count the yoga as some self care.
Bowel MovementNotes
 0 
I again had no bowel movements today. I tried to focus on hydration but only drank about 16 ounces of water.
GoalsMini Goals
Reach 125 poundsLose .5-1 pound per week
Be more present with parentingMake mental and emotional space, spend quality time
Manage stress betterUse meditation and affirmations; feel feelings
Balance work/play/family lifeDo all things, every day, rather than bingeing
Feel more joyDiscover new passions and feed established interests
Today was a joyful day. Spending that quality time with family was great. I was also very present in my role of parent today.

Week 4, Day 4

Movement ActivityDurationBurnNotes
 Weight Lifting 24 123 
I forgot how much I have always loved weight training. I laid out some weights and did a great session, including triceps press, dumbell flys, triceps dips, resistance band pulls, crunches, hammer curls, wide rows, and overhead press. It felt really good. The triceps dips feel completely different when you have a belly!
Calorie GoalCaloriesNotes
 1200-1300 1353 
I did some stress eating today, related to difficult emotions, as usual. I was not proud to eat the jello or square of chocolate, which I went to when I felt disappointment today.
Daily Self CareNotes
Gaming
Painting Nails
 
I played 20 minutes of The Sims 4 today. I also did some work. I ate lunch outside in the treehouse with my daughter. We also painted our nails today. I think that I tried to strike a balance today and did a good job.
Bowel MovementNotes
 0 
I have not had a bowel movement on my own for a long time now. I am beginning to feel the heaviness and yuckiness of it. Constipation has always been a problem in my family. I admit that I just cannot seem to drink more than, like, 16 oz of water a day despite always having a goal to drink half my body weight in ounces. It just never happens. I have tried all the tricks.
GoalsMini Goals
Reach 125 poundsLose .5-1 pound per week
Be more present with parentingMake mental and emotional space, spend quality time
Manage stress betterUse meditation and affirmations; feel feelings
Balance work/play/family lifeDo all things, every day, rather than bingeing
Feel more joyDiscover new passions and feed established interests
I do not think that I really tackled any of these goals today. I had a lot to accomplish around the house and with cleaning up the Halloween party mess since today was finally warm enough and the ice has melted.

Week 4, Day 3

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
 140.8      
Weighing myself this morning was disheartening. When the scale creeps up, I feel depressed because I associate parts of my worth with my weight, despite decades of trying to undo that association. I know that my lack of bowel movements has something to do my weight gain between yesterday and today, so I need to focus on getting more fiber and vegetables and water today.
Movement ActivityDurationBurnNotes
Yoga
Walk
 45
35
 95
 
After my walk I understood that I could not do dance tonight because my quadricep was aching. I felt disappointment about that, but was glad that I am able to move right now at all. The yoga session with Emily was blissful, as always. I find that moving into postures with the extra weight around my midsection makes yoga a bit more challenging than before.
Calorie GoalCaloriesNotes
 1200-1300 1195 
I actually felt incredibly full today, and not in a good way; I felt full in a way, like, “I have not had a decent bowel movement in a long time.” I felt all the toxicity that comes along with that feeling. I ate well, though, and stayed in range.
Daily Self CareNotes
 Hygeine Plucking eyebrows, moisturizing legs
I have been noticing that my legs looks really scaly (dry) lately, so I moisturized them, which made me feel like I was taking care of myself. I also plucked my eyebrows, which I have not done in about 7 months. It did not need much upkeep since I like to keep them full, but taking care of my appearance a little bit motivates me to focus more on external beauty sometimes.
Bowel MovementNotes
 0 
Constipation is a regular and often long-lasting problem for me. I did not do any magnesium supplementation today but tried to drink more water than usual.
GoalsMini Goals
Reach 125 poundsLose .5-1 pound per week
Be more present with parentingMake mental and emotional space, spend quality time
Manage stress betterUse meditation and affirmations; feel feelings
Balance work/play/family lifeDo all things, every day, rather than bingeing
Feel more joyDiscover new passions and feed established interests
The morning began with taking care of business as I spent a lot of time on the phone with the bank. That immediately dropped me into a feeling of disequilibrium. I then headed into homeschooling. Yoga gave me a nice mental and emotional outlet that brought a feeling of wellness. The day was very varied in activities. I felt like I was moving cleanly between activities and mindsets today.

Week 4, Day 2

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
 139.4 27.4% 24.1 38.5in 32.2in 38in 21in
Today, the stats did not move from yesterday. I wonder if I am going to be able to lose at least .5lb a week.
Movement ActivityDurationBurnNotes
 Yoga 45 min 95 
I took a risk today and decided to see if I could manage doing yoga. My quadricep continues to feel better every day. I can bend it slightly now and put full weight on it. Five days have passed since I tore it. The yoga session was slow and compassionate, and I was able to even get into goddess and warrior positions in which my quadriceps were bent heavily.
Calorie GoalCaloriesNotes
 1200-1300 1233 
I was pleased with my nutrition today. I ate a balanced diet and I stayed in my range.
Daily Self CareNotes
 Yoga 
The yoga session today counted as self care, and it helped me to balance the rest of my day.
Bowel MovementNotes
 1 
I took some OxyClean supplement (magnesium) last night and I had a bowel movement this morning.
GoalsMini Goals
Reach 125 poundsLose .5-1 pound per week
Be more present with parentingMake mental and emotional space, spend quality time
Manage stress betterUse meditation and affirmations; feel feelings
Balance work/play/family lifeDo all things, every day, rather than bingeing
Feel more joyDiscover new passions and feed established interests
I attempted more balance today. I did work in the morning, the homeschooling. I then moved into yoga and then I spent the rest of the day painting the living room and rearranging the furniture. I was glad that I was able to accomplish so much today.

Week 4, Day 1

Well, last week finished poorly despite my very strong efforts. On Friday I knelt down to put a jacket on my dog (first snow and cold weather) for our walk, and I tore a muscle in my quadricep. That the muscle tore was not surprising since it was sore already for over a week, and I had just been doing more activities, including dance and step aerobics. Something was bound to give. But it gave SO HARD that I wound up screaming and crying for almost 10 minutes because I felt such excruciating pain radiating down my leg.I “whited out” in pain.

I had to lay in bed for the day. I felt down and ate a lot.

The next day was extremely stressful because I had to hobble around to set up for our Halloween gathering. I spent about 6 hours in constant movement just getting the yard set up with decorations and games, getting food ready, going shopping for last minute items — my leg was KILLING me and I was so stressed out on top of the pain. I ended up eating a lot of candy and generally bingeing on unhealthy foods and alcohol.

For the rest of the weekend I just let my leg heal. I ate more candy. My head was not in the game because I was feeling down.

As I begin Week 4, I am like…what the hell am I doing? I am into this “program” for 4 weeks and I feel worse off than when I began. I have gained weight and have next to nothing to show for this time.

Something needs to shift. I decided to create a new template to use each day:

Daily Check-In

WeightBody FatBMIHipsWaistBustThigh
 139.4 27.4% 24.1 38.5in 32.2in 38in 21in
At my heaviest I was 144 so 139.4 is not the worst weight I have been; however, it is disheartening to see the scale that high.
Movement ActivityDurationBurnNotes
 Yoga Nidra 30 0 
Yoga Nidra was excellent tonight, with Amy. I went into a deep meditation, feeling tingly energy all through my body. It was an excellent way to decompress.
Calorie GoalCaloriesNotes
 1200-1300 1298 
I did allow a serving of ice cream tonight but stayed within range. I am also almost reached my daily iron goal, which rarely happens.

Daily Self CareNotes
 Yoga Nidra 
The Yoga Nidra session was good self-care today. I continued to struggle with how to stay positive with my quadricep injury. I also had a deep conversation with my husband about our current situation, so that was good for my stress level.
This was my still shot in position, testing the camera angle, before the class began.
Bowel MovementNotes
 4 
I used OxyClean supplementation today in order to have a bowel movement because I had not had one in five days.
GoalsMini Goals
Reach 125 pounds Lose .5 – 1 pound per week
Be more present with parenting Put aside mental and emotional space
Manage stress better Meditate and do yoga, feel feelings
Balance work/play/family life Make time for all things
Feel more joy Explore interests and passions
Today I handled my stress pretty well. Although, I felt overkill with gaming, as right now I only have one day to game. I also did too much work and had too much screen time. My daughter was with her father, so I did not have to balance parenting.

Week 3, Day 4

Today’s Movement

I was extremely sore today from dance last night. This old body requires a lot more stretching before dancing than I did, and my quadriceps are feeling it. However, I did 27 minutes of step aerobics because I love it so much. 220 calories burned.

I was jumping all around and had a great time!

Today’s Nutrition

I did a great job today. I got some good food in and stayed in range.

I am feeling motivated for the rest of the week!

Week 3, Day 3

I think that today, this third day of Week 3 is kind of like the first day of the program. I finally got up the courage to weigh myself this morning. As I suspected, I had gained back almost all of the weight of my heaviest weight of all time. I just 2 pounds lighter now than the heaviest I have ever been. So, that is disappointing. On the other hand, it also gives a lot to work toward.

How easy gaining all my weight back has been! All it takes is days of homeschooling, stress, struggles to manage work time, and lack of personal time and suddenly…well, it’s easy. As an emotional eater I have no problem eating my feelings. I’ve been feeling exhausted, chubby, and sometimes overwhelmed. Doing things as someone who is borderline overweight is challenging, but I keep encouraging myself to move forward.

Today’s weight: 140.2

Today’s Movement

I began today with 25 minutes of practicing Irish Step because I had my first actual class tonight. Last week, you may remember, I had to cancel attending my first class because of a migraine. Practice was good. I see from the videos that I need to work a lot on keeping my arms behind my back, as they peek out the sides of my hips! But I did a few warmups (and also practiced the jig, which is not pictured here). I felt ready for my class.

Irish Step Practice: 179 calories

Here are some excepts from my practice. I am still in my pajamas!

After lunch and homeschool I did 45 minutes of Yoga with Emily on Ompractice.

Yoga: 95 Calories

Then I headed to the studio for an hour of Irish Step. We learned a Halloween dance for the Monster Bash on Friday, and we also learned the slip jig, which was very challenging for me. The other students have been working on it already for two weeks — I felt like my brain was melting!

Irish Step: 386 Calories

Today’s Nutrition

Nutrition today was pretty good. I ate my dinner when I came home from dance.

Week 3, Days 1 and 2

Week 3 began well with a no-sugar day after I had spent the last week eating a lot of Halloween candy. After the challenges of Week 2 I was ready for some grounding and recentering.

Day 1 Movement

Mondays are currently my “days off” from parenting and they tend to be challenging days. I do the bulk of my teaching work on Mondays, so a lot of energy is expended on the computer. We had some training on Zoom for two hours, too, which made for a very “heady” and tech-centered day. By 7:30 I was craving body movement so badly. Although I rarely like to exercise at night, I already had my spinning shoes on before the meeting ended — I was ready to ride! I did a smooth 20 minute session. My highlight song tonight was Dua Lipa’s “Blow Your Mind,” which I really enjoyed.

I burned 162 calories and had a good sweat going. Then I cooled down and stretched and logged in to Ompractice to do 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra with Amy. It was profound. The meditation bordered on hypnosis and I felt incredibly relaxed and transcendent.

Day 1 Nutrition

My goal was to avoid sugar. I met that goal today and plan to sustain it through the week until Halloween, when I feel OK about having a couple pieces. I did not eat too healthy today, but I was glad that I did what I set out to do.

Day 2 Movement

I did 45 minutes of Yoga with Emily this morning and burned 95 calories. Then I took Samsara for a walk for 35 minutes and burned 179 calories. The weather is getting a little bit chilly now but the forest was really beautiful.

Day 2 Nutrition

I did great meeting my protein goal today and also avoided sugar. I was happy with the way that the day went, nutritionally. It was the best day I have had in awhile.

So far, Week 3 feels good!

Week 2, Days 4 and 5

I am honestly surprised that I HAD a days 4 and 5 this week! Go, me! If you have been following along in my Heavy Karma blog then you know that this week has been one of the worst weeks emotionally and food-wise (of course, because I am an emotional eater) that I have experienced in a very long time (about a year, at least). I had very low expectations for this week and I did very poorly with my diet (ate a lot of Halloween candy). My fitness focus has been mostly on yoga because I was in deep need of restorative movement and connection.

Day 4 Movement

We celebrated a birthday in the family today and played so many physical games, such as capture the flag, frisbee, football, and more. As I write this post, I am three days out and my quadriceps are still sore! I personally did a lot of sprinting and jogging. It was so much fun and it was great movement and exercise!

Day 5 Movement

I rejoined Ompractice on Day 5. Last year, around this time, I joined as well and did not leave the program until March. I like doing the live virtual yoga classes in Fall and Winter because it brings a sense of community to me during a period that my friends tend to hibernate (and so do I). Today I did a hour-long yoga class with Traci. The class was the fullest I have ever done in my experience with Ompractice with around 13 students. I suppose that since I left the program in March many people have joined due to the pandemic. I liked it! I renewed my membership for a year.

Day 4 Nutrition

My “nutrition” has been anything but lately. I realize that my program in Week 2 has been horrendous due to emotional struggles. I went over my calorie range today and also did not eat a whole lot of healthy foods. I am hoping for a better week next week.

Day 5 Nutrition

I went over my calorie range today because I binged on Halloween candy. My husband and I usually indulge in pasta on Sunday nights and I had planned on NOT doing this because I indluged in candy. However, once it was there in front of me, I jumped right into the bowl.

I do feel that I am ready to re-center my goals in Week 3. I feel committed and inspired to see some better outcomes next week.

Week 2, Day 3

Today I was still feeling some of the residual effects of the retinal migraine I experienced earlier this week. I felt ready to push in a workout but I decided to hold back for one more day and just focused on yoga and meditation.

Today’s Workout

As usual lately I practiced yoga while my daughter did some Prodigy Math in the background. Through the years I have gotten quite accustomed to meditating and doing mindful activities in the midst of loud noise and constant interuption!

My yoga was fluid and grounded today. I could feel the long duration since the last time I practiced yoga consistently, which was back in March. I would like to recommit to doing yoga at least twice a week as part of my new wellness program here.

Today I did a nice range of movements to bring flexibility to my mind and body.

Today’s Nutrition

I cannot remember that last time that I felt so much stress for such a long duration as I have these last two weeks. The bulk of the stress comes from setting some boundaries with difficult people in my life right now, and having to deal with the responses to those. I know that I am doing the right thing for myself and for my daughter — but the stress that comes from having to deal with some issues that I have put off for too long in the hopes that positive change would happen on its own, is heavy.

I do feel like this challenging period is coming to an end, finally! Yet, my eating has been tough to control, as I am an emotional eater, a food addict, and a binge eater. Today I went just a little bit over my range, but I did not eat very healthy.

Also, this week I only got in 3 days on my wellness journey rather than my goal of 5 days. I know that this is due to the immense challenges and also due to the migraine that took 3 solid days out of my usual schedule.

Week 2, Day 2

Yesterday was to be Day 2 of the second week of my wellness program, but I was hit with a rare retinal migraine, which I have not experienced for over a year now. There was a time for a span of almost 20 years, during which I experienced these debilitating migraine attacks frequently. They always begin with aura in my right eye and then I lose my sight in the right eye. Then I experience aphasia (which can last for hours), then numbness in my limbs, then vomitting, and then — when the experience is really bad — I lose control of my bowels. These early phases can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. After the first phase, then the migraine begins to set in. It is only on my left side and usually renders me completely unable to move or do anything for the rest of the day. There was a time when this would happen a couple times a week.

During the last four years I have made enormous strides in learning tools for helping me “stop” the attack at the aura stage so that it does not progress at all through the other symptoms. I do, however, still have to go through the migraine that results. This was the case yesterday.

I have come to learn through the years that my triggers for these attacks involve some emotional and physical components. Usually they happen when I have done strenuous exercise. Usually, it will happen before my period or right at the beginning of my cycle. And, usually there is some stress-related emotional charge happening at the time, which I have been working through.

The day was to be my first formal day at Irish Step Dance class, so I was really bummed when my husband had to notify the instructor that I was not able to attend. My focus for the day was just to get through the day to the best of my ability. There was a lot of drama to deal with — more than usual, unfortunately — and I had to slur my way through some speaking as I had to attend to some issues. I went to bed early and got 10 hours of rest.

This morning I felt a lot better but I continue to feel the “aftermath” of the attack. My brain is foggy, my eyes are slumped down, my head is sore, and feel very exhausted even though I got plenty of sleep. I know that I have to take it easy although I want to workout and push the limits. I have learned to take these cues from my body when it tells me that is enough is enough. I suspect that I know exactly what the problem is, emotionally, right now, and I plan on slowing down and dealing with these stressful issues right now even though they are difficult.

Today’s Workout

I eased into this recovery day with some mindful yoga and meditation, taking my time to enjoy each delicious movement. I focused on gentle, intentional breath for healing. For the meditation, I found my inner light and worked that through my chakras, paying particular attention to the heart and throat, which are the areas that I need attention the most through this emotionally-charged moment in time.


Also, I reached out to a friend and we are meeting today just so I can have a little extra care today, mentally.

I had a great walk in the beautiful forest this afternoon. I love this time of year!

Today’s Nutrition

Lately I have been staying within my calorie range but eating a lot of chocolate — one day I even just had 600 calories of chocolate for dinner. My goal has not really yet been health-focused as much as it has been range-focused since I do generally eat very healthy (unless I am grappling with emotional turmoil, as I have been lately, then I tend to binge eat). My focus remains on staying within a healthy range of calories right now, but the next step is to deal more directly with my binge-eating moments.

Week 2, Day 1

I intended to take two days off from fitness in a row at the end of Week 1, but that did not happen. The weather was too beautiful and I ended up going out for a walk with friends on Saturday and a super long hike with my husband on Sunday. So, Monday was my only real rest day. I began my second “week” on Tuesday. During these three untracked days my food was OK. I was in range for two days but ate a lot of halloween candy.

Today’s Workout

The day was not good, emotionally. I had a lot of things to deal with and needed to do a lot of self-care to be able to do all the things that needed to be done. I was exhausted, angry, sad, and frustrated at various points. I planned to workout all day but by the time evening came, I still had had no space for working out. So, when one of my zoom links for a meeting did not work and I could not get in touch with anyone to remedy the problem, I just got on my bike and did 30 minutes while continuing to check my phone and email. That was all I could fit in today.

I spent almost half the workout at peak heart rate, which is something that I have not done in many years — probably almost ten. I used exercise today the way I used to use it before I rehabbed my exercise addiction: as an outlet for anger. I do not like using fitness this way. It was not a comfortable expression.

Today’s Nutrition

Because I had so much going on today I made chili in the crockpot early this morning so the family could eat and I could still get done everything on the agenda. I barely had time to do any eating today, really. It was just such a hectic and tumultuous day: one that is rare. But I came in under my calorie goals.

I could not sleep well when the day was done. Hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Week 1, Day 6

Today was a day off for me. The majority of movement for the day came from housework and walking with some friends around the lake. We had a little fire in the backyard while our girls did some Just Dance inside. It was really nice.

Today’s Workout

I would not call the walk today a workout, but it did burn 116 calories!

Today’s Nutrition

I stayed in range today. My husband made dinner and we all snuggled down on the couch for our continuing Halloween (family-friendly) movie night. I was happy with how the day went, with plenty of laughs, beautiful weather, a food diary in range, and some gentle movement.

Lunch was definitely the highlight, with some haddock over a bed of veggies.

Week 1, Day 5

I embarked on a new dance journey today! I signed up for Irish Step Dancing at my friend’s studio and had a private lesson before I join the regular adult class (which has been underway for two months already). I loved learning how to dance; it was so much fun and such a challenge.

Today’s Workout

Waiting to workout until the evening was difficult; I spent more of the morning and afternoon feeling like I should have been working out. But I was glad that I waited until my lesson because I needed the energy. The lesson was long (2 hours) and slow-moving because my teacher was trying to catch me up on two months-worth of steps. It was a workout for my brain, for real. But I really loved the style.

Here I am in the studio at the end of the dance lesson.

While the lesson was two hours, I did not dance that whole time. I would say I spent about half of it dancing. I burned 487 calories. I experienced a lot of interval, as you can see, going high and then stopping and going low in my heart rate.

Today’s Nutrition

Nutritionally today I stayed within range and ate really healthy with a wide array of whole foods.

Week 1: Day 4

Emotionally, today was a drain. There were a lot of challenges to confront in different areas of my life. My goal was to just try not to binge eat, because that is my default for all things uncomfortable.

Today’s Workout

For the workout I did 20 minutes of tap dancing. Tap dancing is an unfamiliar movement for me, and it utilizes my brain in new ways – sometimes it gives me a little headache! This was my second time working through the tap dance warmup on DancePlug. It is SUPER basic but for me, who has never done tap before, it really was difficult!

I burned 126 calories for this little jig, but many more brain cells just trying to get my feet to do it semi-correctly.

Today’s Nutrition

I did avoid a binge today, but I also went over my calorie range by a bit. The foods were healthy and I met my protein goal — but I hope that tomorrow I can stay in range better.

The “extras” were totally from emotional eating due to a visit from my mother and a couple other unsavory experiences today. I did some meditation to help deal with big feelings, and also did some other selfcare throughout the day.

Week 1, Day 3

While my daughter worked on some math this morning (we are homeschooling this year) I got in some movement. True, that I had to be available to help her while she worked through some complex problems, but I certainly worked up a lather. Feeling like I have my priorities straight helps a lot.

Every morning I recite the same affirmation: “I do everything on my plate today and I can do it well.”

Today’s Workout

I did some crosstraining today with 20 minutes of indoor cycling and 10 minutes of strength training. The spinning was intense for me, with intervals that I strove to keep at 70 RPM or higher. Sometimes that was tough, especially after a sprint.

Glistening with sweat!

Strength training was quick and effective. I used a combination of resistance bands and barbell to hit squats, leg lifts, glute squeezes, biceps curl, upright row, and abs.

In all I worked out for 30 minutes and burned 215 calories. Later in the day I went for a 30 minute walk!

Today’s Nutrition

I was nervous about nutrition and calories today, as we had friends over to celebrate a birthday. I knew that I could drink wine and eat cake. So, I tried to save the major calories for dinner. Even still, I ate a bit more cake than I wanted to and went over my calorie goals.

I came in at more than 1600 calories, which is not ideal but also not as horrible as it could have been, or as horrible it has surely been in the past!

Week 1, Day 2

The second day was easier than the first; perhaps this is because I did some dancing today and dance is something that I really love. Fitting a workout in on Tuesdays can be tough because the day is so varied. Even though I had to pause in the middle of my warm-up yoga to bring in groceries, put them away, and do recycling, I was able to come right back to it and pick up where I left off.

Today’s Workout

Yoga is always a great way to warm-up the muscles and get the body, mind, and spirit ready for dancing. I did 38 minutes of yoga.

Video motivates me — I am not sure why. But I feel enthusiastic about fitness when I am doing it with someone, so since I do not have anyone to do it with, video has taken the place of community.

After yoga I moved into some dance.

I wrapped up a dance routine I have learned/practiced once a week for the last three weeks, this morning. This is the first dance routine I have tried to learn in decades! I love dance but I just have not had an opportunity to dance at all in such a long time.

I use DancePlug and this routine is called “Real Life” and is choreographer by Mariah Spears. The routine is beginner-level jazz/funk. It was challenging for me to learn, as I am a beginner-beginner at dance. But I had a great time, as I always do. When you watch the video clip, I hope you laugh with joy because I felt a lot of joy although I did not really nail the routine. Dancing is just about expression and fun for me (though I would like to learn how to jump). I am not sure, though, what the heck was up with me facial expressions! Hahaha!

A little less than half of my dancing was not recorded by my FitBit because I had it, mistakenly, on pause.

In sum, I burned around 150 calories for an hour of working out, which is really not that much at all. But movement is not always about burning a lot of calories but just feeling good.

Today’s Nutrition

There were some emotional reasons to overeat today, as there are every day. But I stayed focused and even said no to some chocolate tonight. I stayed in my calorie range and had some good protein.

Week 1, Day 1

A little movement goes a long way!

– Today’s Focus

Today is a day off from parenting for me, as all Mondays are right now. It is my only “day off” from this mode and so offers some unique considerations. One is that I tend to have big emotions because my child is not here with me, and this often causes me to emotionally eat — read: binge eat. Generally I do not work out on this day, taking it as a total day off to allow my body and mind and spirit to recover from the previous six days in “go mode.”

Since Mondays are such difficult days for me, I wanted to ease into my new program by taking some of the pressure off. Like many people, I place a lot of pressure on myself to be “perfect” and to achieve as much as possible (in ways that can be measured, especially by others). But this Heavy Karma approach that I created for myself is about sitting in these tendencies and accepting them in order to understand them so that I no longer need them.

I am taking my time today to feed my passions! I lost four hours first thing in the morning working on a passion project and was still in my PJs at 1pm. When I began to contemplate how I wanted to move my body, I immediately thought of step aerobics — another passion!

Today’s Workout

I did BodyStep Remix #3: Step to the Party on Les Mills On Demand. I have been LOVING these remixes. This was my first time doing this particular installment. My focus was to just MOVE and to enjoy the movement.

This was my first time making a video of this kind.

The workout had me sweating but it was not my favorite of the series. I burned 377 calories for this 45 minutes of step aerobics (7 of those minutes were at peak heart rate). That’s a good burn for me!

Today’s Nutrition

When thinking about what to eat finally was a factor, I was apprehensive, as I always have been when I have to think about food. I kept reminding myself that moderation is my goal but that a bigger goal is to feel what I feel and learn what needs to be learned.

I logged my food on MFP to keep track of my nutrients and my calorie expenditure. I came in at 1237 calories.

In sum, not a bad day. This was a good way to get on track.

Rejuvenation with the Cardinal Directions

A soft breeze is a wonderful thing, especially during the summer months. The summer is a time, too, to recharge intuitive powers. All that warmth and sunlight just invites a fresh perspective and a lighter outlook! The body feels a natural ease.

To hone my intuitive powers, I engaged a “Rule of Three” spell guided by the tenent that the energy put out will be returned three fold. The intention here was to call upon the spirits of the North, East, South, and West, requesting blessings and clarity. In particular, I made a request to receive messages to guide me in developing deeper intuition and to open a pathway toward knowledge.

Three by Three Rejuventation Spell

Prepare: Find a bird feather (if you are vegan, you can use a craft feather) and tie it to the end of a ribbon or string. The feather is meant to elevate the spirit, and also to carry messages from upper realms. Secure the ribbon in an outdoor space in which it can receive wind from all directions (in other words, make sure that nothing blocks the flow of air in any direction).

Spell: Observe the feather. When it moves strongly in a cardinal direction, turn to face the source of the wind (so, if the feather blows toward the North, face the South and offer your chant to the South). Repeat the spell three times, holding your intention in mind.

[Eastern] forces share with me
Leave no secrets, make them free
Wind and spirit, three by three
Restore peace and knowledge to me

May this magick rejuventate you and brighten your sacred intuition!

Angitia and Parasite Cleansing

ANGITIA

Healing Goddess Snake Goddess Poisoning and Toxicity Thaumaturgy

When I began an herbal parasite cleanse for healing and vitality I sought a spiritual guide to aid my journey.

I found Angitia, a rather obscure goddess worshipped in Ancient Italy. She is/was known as a great healer, especially from poisoning and particularly in poisoning from snake bites. A master of herbal medicine and spiritual journeying, Angitia is sometimes connected to shamanic history.

Her powers and prowess called to me and I immediately conjured a spell centered on her abilities to support me during the parasite cleanse. The spell has two parts, and can be performed successively or independently depending on what is needed in the moment.

Angitia Parasite Cleanse Healing Spell

Tools: Green candle (or a healing candle of choice), a bowl of salted water, a wand (optional, if this is part of your practice), a likeness of Angitia or a snake artifact

Prepare the Space: Light your candle(s). Create a circle (with or without a wand) that is conducive to healing according to your practice. Place the bowl of salted water at the center of the circle, along with the likeness of Angitia or snake artifact.

Recite the Spell: Repeat a number of times (feel this out, you will know when the right number of repetitions has been reached):

All around an inside me
Greater health and vitality
A body balanced with ease and joy
Dispel the parasite, Destroy!

Kneel down