Baby Steps

Growing up is simply realizing that you are finally ready to do all the things you always dreamed of doing, but were too afraid to try.  It’s exhilarating.

 

Today I finished day ten of a 30-day hot yoga challenge.  I’m proud of myself for letting go of my fears and letting my body work it’s magic.  I feel so enlightened and I know I am literally transforming my body from the inside out.  All I know is that I feel incredibly strong.  Mind, body and soul.  Things are exciting.  My mind is more free lately and it feels wonderful.

Gratitude-Day 7

 

Today I am thankful for my body. This amazing vessel that carries me throughout each day; treacherous and exhausting as it can be.  I sometimes feel it took me forever to be comfortable in my own skin.  I used to be so focused on my “flaws” when, in reality, flaws are mostly things we make up in our own head.

 

I’ve noticed that most of my visible “aging” has taken place since I moved to New York approximately three years ago.  Maybe at first I had an adverse reaction but I now welcome it all with open arms.  The grey hairs, the slight wrinkles; it’s all a part of who I am now.  I feel more defined, seasoned and just grown-up.  This no longer scares me.  It’s more exciting than anything else.

 

No one is perfect and it saddens me that we are pushed by so many forces to fit into a certain mold because someone says that we should look a specific way.  Our differences are what make us beautiful.

I will always be a little bit overweight, with stretch marks, spider veins, a pudgy belly and a slight double chin but I am healthy, happy and I love myself.  I am an extraordinary machine.

 

 

 

Long-Legged

I guess we can call this a rough draft.  I am sure to re-visit this at a later date but for now I just need to get it out.  Because I feel very strongly on the topic.

I wish to discuss some things very important to me.  Body image and respect.

First off, body image, especially in today’s society.  Let me first say that I am pleased with the direction that the everyday depiction of a real woman’s body is headed these days.  I see more and more full-figured woman in the media, advertisements, tv-shows, etc than ever before.  But I believe there is still a real problem with society’s expectations of what size we should be or how we should look.

I believe much more emphasis should be put on the health aspect instead of “weight” and “size”.  I’ve battled with my “weight” for a large portion of my life.  Now that I have spent the last  5 years or so learning what it means to be “healthy”, I wish someone had introduced me to this lifestyle sooner.  Instead of drinking slim-fast at age 9 (which is just fucking horrible now that I look back on it) or basically starving myself and taking very dangerous diet pills at age 21, I could have just learned how to eat real, whole, healthy foods and just be good to my body.

These days I am so proud of my body and I have no problems saying that.  I embrace every little imperfection and make an effort to appreciate my whole self with every glance in the mirror.  Maybe it’s wisdom that’s come with aging, maybe it’s so many empowering conversations I’ve had with my close female friends, or perhaps it’s all those times I spent changing in locker rooms finally realizing that no one is perfect and we all have our faults.  I don’t know exactly but I am thankful for everything I’ve learned about myself.

Here is the problem.  Now that we are approaching warmer temperatures, everyday clothing choices are no doubt more revealing.  Especially when you’ve previously been bundled up with 3 or 4 layers.  In all neighborhoods that I’ve resided in since my move to NYC, there seems to always be those men.  The ones who stand around in groups just waiting for a girl in a skirt, dress, shorts, whatever to pass by.  Then the filthy, disgusting, inappropriate,  grotesque and degrading comments begin.  It could be anything from a statement, a whistle, a look, a kiss noise or beyond.  Either way, it’s uncomfortable and unwanted.  This happens every year and at times it actually makes me question what clothing I choose to wear for the day.  I think if I were in any other city I would be quicker to speak up and express my dislike of this.  But to be on the safe side, I usually do everything I can to modify my path so that I do not have to come in direct contact with these men.  This is difficult in a city where I rely on walking and public transit for all my travels.

I do not deserve to be treated in this way nor does any other woman.  The lack of respect makes me sick and I wish I knew how to change it.  Just because I am tall, have long legs and decide to wear shorts for the day, doesn’t give some creepy guy the right to say derogatory things to me.

So I vow to wear whatever I want to this summer.  Without worrying about what disrespectful comment I might receive.  Because it is my body and my freedom to be me.  I will never again let someone else make me feel bad about that.

Building a Better Me

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I feel it is only normal to fall off the fitness wagon every now and again. For me it is the simple fact that I am only human and sometimes I have the will power and sometimes I do not. I can only limit myself for certain undetermined waves of time before, eventually, I have to cheat on this plan somehow.

There are a plethora of body types out there and different ways that people treat their bodies as well as how strong of a metabolism they may possess. I was not blessed with a high metabolism as I have to work very hard to keep fit and maintain a healthy diet. This takes an extreme amount of self-control and sometimes near excruciating exercise plans. So as I said, this discipline only lives in me for certain periods of time before my deep-rooted bad habits begin to slowly resurface.

When I make good choices and treat my body well through the food I consume and how active I keep myself, I always feel a high sense of accomplishment. I feel stronger, happier, more energetic and just plain content with the person I am. Working on myself in any way continues to be of high importance to me always.

I’ve began to take better care of myself again. The trick for me this time was to incorporate new ways to stay in shape. I think after I ran the 5k back in May I was just feeling very burnt out. I still love running but I needed a change of pace. So thankfully in this amazing city I live in there are various fitness classes being offered throughout the duration of summertime and to make it even better they are completely free. These classes range from Zumba to Yoga to Pilates to Spin and beyond. I attended my first Zumba class today and I loved every second of it. It really got me moving, taught me some awesome moves and provided a killer workout for my entire body. The best part about these classes is that they are being held in prime locations. I never thought I would be dancing my butt off at a Zumba class along the East River, with the view of the Manhattan skyline as well as the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve also started doing some early morning runs in Battery Park along the Hudson. It feels good to escape the enslavement and confinement of the gym and just reminds me of how lucky am I to be back here in this place with endless opportunities.

I’m going to work very hard from now until the end of the year and beyond because the challenge alone fills me with so much energy, passion and drive. It feels good to push myself and I will continue to do just that.

My Mantra

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We may know where we want to go but do we have a plan on how to get there? Sometimes I feel like I’m treading this path blindly and have no idea what to expect from day-to-day. The moments are all so intense because my state of mind tends to change so rapidly. Living in the moment is one thing that I am still learning how to do. Enjoying whichever direction the wind blows me feels very free. I have felt that I am missing some direction or maybe its just that I don’t have enough constants in my life. I have been researching a bit on meditation and personal affirmations. I have never created one of my own so I thought this would be the perfect time for my first one. This will be my own personal reminder of who I am every single day. I highly suggest that you write out your very own mantra. I feels empowering.

I am strong, independent and loving.

I feel balanced, centered and grounded.

I will conquer this day by radiating positivity.

I will release the past.

I am completely free to be myself.

I have the power to overcome any obstacle.

Every day my mind and body gain more strength.

I can breathe with ease and creativity constantly flows throughout me.

Simplicity in my life is beauty.

I love unconditionally and will always be loved in return.

I am surrounded by many souls who understand me and I accept them in their entirety.

I will be successful throughout any endeavour I may choose.

The present is the home of my dreams.

I am blessed and eternally grateful.

How Running Saved My Life.

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At my very first remote understanding of what becoming “healthy” was, I was more than willing to jump on the bandwagon. I had explored diets religiously for years prior but what really kick-started the process was my decision to become Vegan. The way I felt on a daily basis changed for the better almost immediately. Although I still had many bad eating habits to overcome, this new way of eating and treating my body felt magnificent. I kid you not when I say that I even had people tell me I was glowing unlike ever before. Along the way I have tried many other adventures such as fasting, raw foods and even juicing. But overall I am just much more aware of what I eat and how it makes me feel. I’m not saying that I don’t eat crap sometimes because believe me I do. I have an undying love for sweets unfortunately. But when I choose to eat a lot of things that aren’t exactly healthy I do know that I don’t feel well and I don’t like feeling that way. I’ve learned that I would rather eat to feel energetic, nourished and happy. So I had already broken through the initial barrier between the very unhealthy way I used to live and this newly adopted, energized, smart and worthwhile lifestyle.

I never thought I could stand to run longer than maybe a minute at a time. I didn’t think my body could handle it. Thankfully, there were success stories of my friends everywhere I looked and I had heard of the Couch to 5k program. Slowly I built my pain tolerance because believe me, it was and still is at times, excruciating.

While I’m running, nothing else matters. The stretch marks, the little belly I’ll probably never fully get rid of, the patches of cellulite here and there, the countless times I was picked on and called “fat” as a child and beyond… It all disappears. I have nothing to prove to anyone surrounding me. I exist only inside my own mind. The thoughts I produce while running are nothing short of powerful. I feel undeniably amazing. I can conquer anything. It is a high matched by nothing else I have ever felt.

Most of my initial runs have been at the gym, confined to the treadmill, due to the fact that I am not yet inclined to do so outside in the cold. I made a discovery while having interactions with many of the same people on a daily basis at the gym. Sometimes when I’m running so hard and pushing myself further than I ever have, I glance to my right, then to my left. I imagine that we are all an army of soldiers running together, supporting each other. We are the walls that hold each other up. We are a team. I am inspired to be among others who are doing what they love. I feel this is extremely symbolic of our lives. Without our own personal armies of soldiers, we can feel so frail at times. It helps to have those people by your side. Friends, family and strangers alike.

Who knows how far this new hobby will lead but I sure am learning new things about myself along the way. It has already been the most rewarding process of my life. Much respect to all my fellow runners out there.