Monday, February 20, 2012

go further than you think you can...

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try and be better than yourself.” –William Faulkner
Saturday, I spent several hours taking new types of yoga that I’ve never experienced at the Texas Yoga Conference. I sang, I chanted, I took breath that I didn’t know I was able to. My authentic self came out on the mat and emotions rose that we’re hidden deep down inside of me. As a result I left the conference feeling lighter, more connected to myself and those around me, friends and strangers alike. I also left with very sore muscles.
Sunday, I ran 18 miles with my running partner Blake. After hours of yoga the day before my legs felt like heavy cement blocks. It was hard to keep my head up. My back ached, my feet were cramping. But we did it.
Today, I wanted to sleep in and rest my body, but I got myself out of bed and headed to a hot yoga class with my community. I’m so glad I did. By pushing myself a little more I was able to work through my soreness and feel better about myself. While this sounds so simple (getting up and going to a yoga class) it was actually a big step for me. I realize I haven’t been pushing myself as much as I know I could be… in all aspects of my life.
My yoga instructor today, whom I love, respect, and admire, shared something that really clicked for me. As we were in down dog he told us to look forward to our hands, but further than we usually do. When we only shoot for what we think we can achieve we’re actually stunting our real potential. Look further, aim higher and you may surprise yourself.
I immediately thought about my goals. Am I setting them SMALL because I fear that I won’t be able to reach them? Or am I setting them BIG because I’m living in possibility of reaching them? Think of a goal you have. Can you take it a step further? Ask yourself this question with every goal you have. Maybe you have a blog and want to increase your readership. How many followers do you want? Do you want 500 or 1000? (Duh, you want 1000!) Don’t pick 500 because you are not sure if you can reach 1000. Shoot for 1000 and see what you get J
In my current role with my company, I’ve worked with a lot of people on development of themselves and others. What I notice in most (myself included) is that we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and we’re not confident in our abilities to be our own strong leader. Can I fill those shoes? Can I run this store? Can I be better than my predecessor? Of course you can! You just need to believe and work on developing yourself instead of dwelling on what you don’t have and envy about others. That never gets us anywhere.
The Faulkner quote above is an excellent reminder for us all to realize that we are not limited by anyone or anything besides ourselves. The possibilities for us are endless if we are open to them. Dream BIG, go BIG. You are not confined to sitting in a cubicle all day. You don’t have to be overweight anymore. You CAN run a marathon if you want.  It may be scary, and you’ll probably fall on your face a few times, but you’ll be DOING things you didn’t think you could. Be inspired to be YOU. You’re living in an endless ocean of possibility. What can you create?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

girl scout cookies...

I've had three boxes of these devilish treats sitting on my kitchen table for a full 24 hours now.  They should go in the pantry with the rest of the food but for some reason I'm finding twisted pleasure in leaving them right where they are. 

In my previous experience with this,  Ive learned that the cookies always win. No matter how hard I try to just eat one, I usually end up eating an entire sleeve of them. By the end of my 5 day cookie bender, I usually weigh an extra 5lbs and the guilt and shame don't help with the sugar withdrawal that follows.

Where I am now is that I've realized that if I want to loose 50lbs this year I cannot put that cookie in my body. Are eating cookies bad? No. Am I going to have a cookie this year? Probably. But right now, as I'm learning self control I'm not allowing myself to indulge... and the feeling is beyond exciting for me.  I've taken sort of an anorexics approach to eating ( I'm in no way insinuating that anorexia is a good thing!) I'm finding pleasure in only eating smaller portions of food. The high I get from NOT over eating is much more satisfying that shoveling shit food into my body. Who would have thought?

Anyway, I think what the Girl Scouts of the USA does is incredible. They instill a sense of entrepreneurship and pride into young girls and that IS changing the world. I'll always order because I believe in the organization.  But will I eat an entire box to celebrate that? No. I've left that in the past. 

So next time you're asked to buy cookies, instead of cursing them out in your head because you're too afraid you wont be able to exercise self control, remember what the organization is really up to. Is not about trying to make people fat with their product, it's about teaching young girls courage and self esteem. 

Quick gripe: Why are Samoas, not called Samoas in Texas? I have gone to order girl scout cookies for 3 years now and I damn near have a heart attack thinking they did away with them. They refer to them as Carmel deLites (Nothing is lite about them!!!)  I'm not a fan. I'm calling them Samoas for life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

attitude check...

Is your attitude getting in the way of you being able to see all the good that surrounds you? Do you avoid making eye contact with fellow joggers at the park? Have you ever told how the clerk who rings you up at the store how much you appreciate them or ask them how their day is going?
Meet Carl. He has no idea I’m about to blog about him or how he has helped me recognize just how good people can be. Carl walked into our store two years ago unsolicited and just looking to tell someone about what he was up too. An employee brought me a brochure and business card and said someone was at the store to see me. I was working on a project in the back office and normally would have just taken the collateral to look over at a later time. However, something inside me made me want to meet this mystery person. After all, I would hope someone would do the same for me. Carl has one of those smiles no one can forget. It’s genuine and authentic. His beaming personality instantly drew me in and I was fully enrolled in what he was saying.
Expedition Balance is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing coping strategies such as yoga and wellness to veterans who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder.) Carl founded Expedition Balance, and it’s an organization that appears to me as having been born out of the love and passion for people helping people.
Had I not let down my guard and been open to meeting a new person that day, I wouldn’t have met Carl. I now see Carl at all the happening yoga events around Houston and he visits our store often. This past weekend I saw Carl walking from his house to the grocery store to do his shopping on the most beautiful day, reusable totes in tow. Carl and Expedition Balance, have inspired to me help others and lead by example. I’m excited to share that we’ll be working together on a project for later this year… stay tuned for details! It's going to be awesome!
Every person that you meet in your life is there to teach you something. We are surrounded by millions of people day in and day out. Of course you can’t stop and get to know every single one of them, but you can acknowledge them with a smile, let that other car take the good parking space, or buy a coffee for the person standing behind you in line at Starbucks. Be a GREAT person in this world. It can and will spread. It starts with you being open to seeing the good in everyone and in every situation. Since meeting Carl, I’ve declared to myself to give ALL people a chance. I love meeting new faces in both new and old places. Hearing stories and sharing goals with strangers has now become a passion. Try it out and let me know how it goes J

Sunday, February 12, 2012

my first words on this beautiufl sunday morning...

I can’t believe it either. It’s been one week since I would say I’ve “gotten myself together” when it comes to food. I’ve recognized a problem, made it known to the people in my world, and started slowing down to think about what I’m putting in my body.
Tools for success this week:
1.) Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman
2.) The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno
3.) Asking the question “Will this food help me achieve my goals?”
4.) A wake up call that my goals are not BIG enough
                Monday morning, I drove to my local Whole Foods where I had planned to pick up an electrolyte enhanced water (a MUST have for runners), and a locally made Kickin’ Kombucha to sip on (Everyday Hibiscus is where it’s at, y’all! Sitting next to the drink section my eye caught a glimpse of Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live. Because my last blog was roughly written around this idea I picked it up (not minding that I’m on a tight budget these days.) This book isn’t a “diet book” that holds empty promises of weight loss. It’s a tool for education on how we as a society are eating and unconsciously shortening our lives. The bottom line is to fill your diet with nutrient rich foods and you’ll live long, healthy and happy lives. Raw is always better! (Insert “that’s what she said joke.) The concept is so simple and easy that a snail could understand it.

I found myself spouting little zingers of information to random people all week. Zingers include:
*Over 90% of the calories consumed by Americans come from refined foods or animal products causing our society to become incredibly nutrient deficient
 *Most weight-guideline charts still place the public at risk by reinforcing an unhealthy weight standard- most of us CAN weigh up to 10lbs less than what some of these charts tell us
*If you pinch the skin by your belly button it shouldn’t be more than 1in for women and ½in for men. Anything over that will put you at risk for certain types of disease (heart disease, high blood pressure and my current nightmare… diabetes!)

The second book that influenced me this week was Dr. Mike Moreno’s “The 17 Day Diet.” This one has got me eating on a regular schedule and focusing on lean proteins like turkey, egg whites, and plenty of raw veggies. I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and allow myself 2 snacks in between meals. This book is less about a “17 day plan” and more about a lifestyle change. Its worth picking up if you have extra pounds to shed. It’s a quick read and offers a LOT of support in terms of what to eat, how to shop for it, and some yummy recipes as well.

Slowing down and asking myself “will this food help me achieve my goals?” has been pivotal in my change this week. I even talked skinny people out of eating cupcakes this week! I encountered several offers to get drinks after work and politely declined because I knew those empty calories would benefit me in no way (other than to keep me warmer with a little beer buzz blanket during this chilly week in Houston!) I found it EASY to say no to food- a first for me for sure!
I was satisfied with my goal of loosing 40lbs, UNTIL Thursday, when I realized that if I want MORE I have to put it out there. That being said my goal is now to lose 50lbs. It sounds WAY SCARY (more so that 40lbs!) but hey, let me put that out into the universe and get my tail into gear! No time to waste here. Every food choice I make matters! Do you smell that? It’s skinny creeping in!

What are you putting into your body? Ask yourself that this week J Cheers!

Monday, February 6, 2012

complicating the choices i make to reach my goal

Do the following exercise out loud (seriously):
1.       Spell STOP
2.       What do you do at a green light?

1.       Spell JOKE
2.       What is the white part of an egg called?
Aha! Did I get you? Do you see what mistake you made? Why do you think you answered the second part incorrectly? It’s OK. Most people do. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Let’s analyze it for a moment. Our immediate answers were wrong because we didn’t take the time to think it through. As humans, we often walk around on auto-pilot. We don’t mean to be oblivious but we are. Have you ever driven someplace and arrived at your destination and been like “uhhh, how did I get here?” Or gone through your work day and come home to “Hunny, how was work?” and you have no response? My favorite is reading a single page in a book five times and still not knowing what the hell it said.
I can easily apply this to the way I’ve been eating for the past year. I don’t slow down to think about what I’m putting in my body. I mostly eat for instant gratification. If you ask me what I ate for lunch yesterday I may not even remember, which tells me I probably didn’t think much to plan it out or care at all about the product I was consuming. Instant gratification is what got me to where I am now. My goal is to feel in control of how I am taking care of my mind and body, but how can I do that if I’m not conscious of the decisions I make?
Moving forward from this day, in regards to food I am committing to “feeling whole” by making the right food choices for my body. This means I will need to complicate my thought process and slow it down by asking myself “is this going to get me into my skinny jeans?” “Will this make me feel whole and satisfied?” By tripping myself up and slowing down before I decide to eat or drink something I’ll make it harder for myself to eat unhealthy.
Making smart food choices + exercise= weight loss and that is NOT a complicated thought.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

i'm a gormand. a-gour-what?

Humans can survive for up to 3 weeks without food. We’ve all heard that before. Can you actually imagine not eating for 3 weeks? Imagine how you would feel? Empty, fatigued, probably pissed off and close to cutting your arm off with a dull pocket knife, right?
Exciting news! I just discovered a new word: gourmand. A gourmand is best used to describe someone who is deeply interested in eating and synonymous with gluttony. Great, so now I’m a sinner. Samantha Ann Halkias Gourmand Bivenour. That’s me!  (and yes, I have a very long name)
So what am I doing about it? I have been blown away by the comments of last week’s blog. I’ve had friends and family come and say how inspired they are and offering their words of encouragement. I’ve had people open themselves up, sharing their stories, and thanking me for being bold. I’ve had friends apologize that they never spoke up and offer help when they could see the toll that my weight gain was taking on me. It’s exciting, inspiring and scary at the same time. There is no turning back for me now. I don’t want to let readers down, I don’t want to let my friends and family down, and most importantly I don’t want to let myself down! I started writing this blog because I’ve chosen to take personal responsibility for the choices I’ve made in regards to food.
This week, with the help of my husband Brett, I’ve been critically thinking about my food choices and asking myself, “Can I eat just enough to support me until my next meal?” The answer to this question is a no brainer. Especially when you realize that humans don’t need a 750 calorie meal 3 times a day to survive. (Let’s get real, I’m positive my meals have been packed with WAY more calories than that!) Please don’t confuse what I’m saying with “being healthy.” Of course to be healthy we need to be eating a variety of foods to gain the right nutritional benefits for our bodies.  BUT for where I am right now, and the weight loss goals I have, I need to consider (in a BIG way) cutting back and experimenting with eating for sustenance and not pleasure for a while.
Sionara, gourmand. Hello skinny, bitch!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

asparagus makes your pee smell...

BUT it is so good for you! Typically a SPRING vegetable, runner's and athletes alike can benefit from asparagus, as it is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, protein, potassium, iron and folic acid, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.  It is also low in calories and sodium making it a perfect side to a lean protein or a quick snack.

So here is a super easy way you can cook it.

All you need is:
Asparagus (duh) 
4 paper towels
Access to a microwave and a little bit of water (to wet the paper towel)
Pinch o' salt (You get enough of this from practically everything else you are eating so don't go too heavy)

1.) Lay out paper towels (use 2 wide and double over)
2.) Clean and cut the bottoms off your green sticks (asparagus)
3.) Lay them out flat on the paper towel
4.) Sprinkle water on them until the paper towel is completely damp then roll paper towel from one end to the other
5.) Pop in microwave for 1 min 30 seconds
6.) Let cool in microwave for 1 min then remove, unroll, and EAT YOUR GREEN VEGGIES!

Did I mention it goes great with a little glass of crisp, white wine? My current favorite being a complex, grassy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand's Marlborough region.