Category Archives: Body Love

Friday Five: Five People I Love

The final installment of my Weightless-inspired Friday Five series:

1.) My husband.

2.) My mom.

3.) My beagle.

4.) My best friend.

5.) My sister.

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The Unexpected Perks of Fitness

For the last few days, I’ve been going without makeup. This isn’t a big deal, especially for people who’ve known me for a while, because I never used to wear makeup. And part of it is that I’m just feeling too damn lazy to put on makeup. But the other part of it is, well, I feel good.

So it didn’t really surprise me when I saw this article on Blisstree. I mean, yeah, half the time when I put on makeup, it’s to make me feel better about myself. Got a zit? All I really need is a little concealer to cover that bad boy up, but then I go and do up a smoky eye with mascara and then put on some pink gloss. Because, y’know, I want to feel pretty. And I don’t feel pretty when I have a zit.

Or when I’ve been sick. Or when I’m bloated with PMS. Or when, well, when I don’t feel pretty. It used to happen quite a lot. I went from not bothering with makeup because I didn’t feel like I was a “pretty girl” to overdoing the makeup in an attempt to put myself there.

And then, I realized, that lately, I feel awesome about myself. Like, most of the time. I’ve been exercising regularly, eating well. And I’ve maybe lost a little weight. But I don’t really look any different. I notice small differences, like the way my tummy actually lies flat in the mornings and how my eyes don’t look as puffy, but no one else would find these nuances.

The difference is in how I feel.

And that’s the thing about being fit; it’s about feeling awesome. Because when you feel awesome, you will project confidence and beauty. And then you go from feeling awesome to just being awesome.


Friday Five: Five Things That Make Me Happy I’m Alive

Still inspired by Mel and Weightless, here’s my ongoing Friday Five series.

1.) Really delicious, vibrant food. Like farmers market tomatoes with just a hint of salt and olive oil. Or good-quality chocolate. Or a nice steak.

2.) Sex. Yeah, I had to say it.

3.) Vampire Eric on True Blood. What can I say, I have a crush.  Though I miss his pretty hair.

4.) Moving my body. Whether I’m running, lifting, playing, or dancing, I love to move.

5.) Puppy snuggles. My dog is the snuggliest.


Yoga Streak Update

Shiva Nataraj, sculpture at the Musee Guimet, Paris, France

I’ve chosen this image of Shiva to represent my journey during my yoga streak for two reasons.  The first is simple:  I keep a small statue of the Nataraj on my meditation altar and focus my intention on it at the beginning and end of my yoga practice.  Secondly, Shiva as a deity and his dancing manifestation represents the passion and fire in yoga and meditation.  It’s not all serenity and clouds.

They say that it takes 21 days to instill a habit.  Tomorrow will be my 21st day of my yoga streak, and I can tell that I’m starting to build a routine.  Two days of the week, I have to do my practice in the evening, three days per week, I use yoga to re-center myself after a run, once a week I attend a class (right now, Bikram), and once a week in the early morning I do a full, hour-long practice, based on Ashtanga yoga fundamentals.

I’ve learned that I feel the most affinity to Ashtanga, and I hope to take a guided Ashtanga class in the next couple of weeks to build a regular home practice.  I still don’t know how this will fit with my other exercise.  But I’m working on it.  For now, I’m making sure to do some yoga every day, even if it’s 10 minutes of restorative practice to soothe my back after a day at work.


Friday Five: Five Things For Which I’m Grateful

Continuing my body love Friday Five series, inspired by Melicious and Weightless, here are five things for which I am grateful:

1.) Pacifica Perfumes. No synthetic fragrance, so I won’t react badly to them, and the Persian Rose scent is so absolutely heavenly. It relaxes to a deeply sensual oriental scent. Love it.

2.) Kale. I eat a lot of kale.

3.) On-campus rec center. I work within a ten-minute walk from a rec center with treadmills, an indoor track, a nice weight room, indoor and outdoor pools, steam room, sauna, mat room, and climbing wall. Awesome.

4.) My amazing husband who does most of the cleaning.

5.) Chocolate. Because it is that time again.


Product Review: Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Skin Creme

I thought I’d write up a quick review for a product I’m really loving right now.  I have problem skin.  It reacts to just about everything: stress, bad diet, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, poor product choices.  Lately, I’ve been having some pretty epic breakouts (for me) because of the stress of travel, bad diet, and some poor choices of moisturizer.  Particularly, I’ve realized that shea butter, as well as coconut oil, causes me to break out.  Ick.

Now, since shea butter and coconut oil are both supposed to be so good for your skin, it can be difficult to find reasonable products that don’t contain them, but also don’t contain petrolatum or synthetic fragrance (which also cause me issues).  I love love love the texture of Nivea creme, but don’t appreciate how after a day or two of better skin, I start breaking out again (oh, right, petrolatum).

Enter the Bees.  Burt’s Bees is hit-or-miss in some ways, but this creme is bang on.  The texture is that rich, velvet-y texture of Nivea, albeit slightly grainy, and melts in your hands.  It’s thick and stays on your skin.  I mostly use it on my face, but I also lube up dry elbows and use it when I give myself a manicure.  Yes, it’s greasy.  It’s primarily made from oils and wax.  But it’s natural oils and wax, which your skin can absorb.  I slather on a pea-sized amount at night after washing and use a much smaller amount, which I just barely pat into damp skin in the morning.  It absorbs while I make breakfast and then I’m ready to make up after brushing my teeth.  Brilliant.

 

 


Calorie Awareness and Optimal Nutrition

I alluded previously to the fact that I prepare a lot of my food by weight so as to be more aware of what I’m eating. This is a practice borrowed from the practice of calorie restriction with optimal nutrition (CRON), which I do not practice. Well, I suppose I do eat less than I would when I don’t monitor, which might be considered “moderate CR,” but I’d rather call myself “calorie-aware.” Basically, my approach is to try to stick to a calorie level that is supposed to maintain my weight and activity level.  If my weight drifts one way or the other, I adjust calories accordingly.  Oh, and I try to get all my vitamins and minerals from my diet.

That’s where CRON-o-meter comes in.  I highly recommend this software (which also has an online version now, at http://cronometer.com/.).  The best part is that everything is edit-able.  I can go in and set custom nutrient goals, using the pre-loaded government guidelines to start, and then tweaking those that I think need tweaking.  Vitamin D and magnesium got a tweak today when I read up on stuff.

Then, I just watch what I eat.  I use a digital scale to weigh a lot of the food I eat, as it adds consistency to my meals.  I mean, professional bakers have long used scales to ensure consistency in their recipes; I just steal that trick to make sure I’m eating the same amount of yogurt every day, for example.  My husband has started weighing out certain foods, too, since we find that it helps make sure things last the whole week.  Before I would eyeball my yogurt during the week and have maybe 3 tablespoons of yogurt left by the end of the week.  Drag.

Also, little tip:  If you pour wine in 4-oz. servings instead of 5-oz. servings, you get an even number of servings out of a bottle.  This is good when you have an even number of people in the house.  Also, 4 oz. of wine is 100 calories.  That’s my kind of 100-calorie snack.

So while I don’t really practice CRON, I use a lot of their tricks to keep my diet healthy without feeling deprived.  For example, today was my apartment complex’s free breakfast day.  They give out a donut and a juice (sugar high, right?).  I love, love, love donuts, but I rarely eat them, so of course I’m going to go for the free donut.  But I entered it in (I weighed it because the donuts they get are smaller than average and not really as caloric as the standard “doughnut” entry) and added protein, veggies, and healthy fat to make up a decent breakfast.  And you know what?  Even though I had a sugar-filled pastry as part of my breakfast, I still feel satisfied at 11:30am because I also got plenty of protein and good nutrition.