Exploring Meditation

Meditation has been shown to be helpful for treating depression in clinical studies conducted by mindfulness Hopkins University. In fact, 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s important to know that meditation only should not replace meds or other treatments for anxiety and depression. In the world of psychology, treatment is multi pronged. Also, what works for one patient, may not work for another.

This John Hopkins study found that “mindfulness meditation”, a form of Buddhist self awareness designed to focus precise, non judgmental attention to the moment at hand–showed promise in alleviating pain symptoms as well as stress.

If you are new to meditation, or have been doing this for a while, a good app to use is Headspace. Headspace offers guided meditation courses, you can customize the length of each meditation session as well.

In the world of personal development, Gabby Bernstein is an excellent coach in meditation. Head over to her website here and download a free guided meditation. Her books are pretty great too. I just finished ‘The Universe Has Your Back’ and loved the advice.

You can meditate anywhere. At home sitting in a chair, at work, on the subway, the possibilities are endless! I usually sit cross legged on the floor. I feel more centered when I am sitting on the ground. Some people light candles, or play music. Whatever gets you focused.

When starting out in meditation, I find that listening and focusing on my breathing helps keep my thoughts from wandering. Close your eyes, breath and just listen. It’s hard since our minds want to wander. But just practice re-directing your thoughts, and pretty soon, you’ll be meditating.

It’s a Nutrition Plan…Not a diet.

I hate the word diet. It is such a limiting word. I prefer the word nutrition, which brings up an image of health and longevity.  I started my nutrition plan a couple of months ago and wonder why I waited for this all my life!

It’s so simple to follow and I feel so much more energy. No supplements, cleanses, or shakes are required. Just water and veggies most are the requirements. That’s it.

water

I was so used to feeling deprived on other plans. Remember Slim Fast? Having to drink that cup full of chalky  nasty? I tried Weight Watchers, counting points, counting calories, measuring my food. I even tried portion controlling cookies into baggies, but then ended up eating 5 bags in one sitting! I also have tried Adkins and Keto, losing weight, but then gaining it back.

The plan I am currently on is so sustainable, and flexible. Drink at least half your weight in ounces of water daily. More water=more weight loss. Also, style your plate to eat veggies most. In fact, you can eat as much non starchy veggies as you wish. I have found that I am #obsessed with cauliflower rice. That stuff is incredibly versatile. Try to substitute cauliflower rice instead of regular rice in your next recipe and your mind will be blown.

I also love this plan, because recipes are incredibly easy and don’t involve tons of ingredients. Veggies are so versatile, you can eat them any way you like on this plan. (Just don’t eat fried veggies all the time).

But my ultimate favorite part of this plan is that not only have I lost weight, I also feel incredibly healthy. My hair and skin are in great shape. I have more energy. The incredible simplicity of this plan is great!  And if you want to have dessert, eat it!

Then name of the plan is 2B mindset. If you are interested in learning more about this, just let me know. What nutrition plans do you follow, or have tried in the past? I am curious to see what others have tried, failed, or had immense long-lasting success.

Being Authentic in a Digital Age

I’m pretty new to Instagram, otherwise known as “the gram”. Sure, I’ve used Facebook for about 10 years, but never really posted much due to fear of what others will think. “What would they think if I posted that selfie?” As I am currently in my new season of life, my mindset, beliefs, and way of living have changed. I am more confident IRL, but online, I am not.

It’s so easy to be completely overwhelmed by all content on IG and Facebook. It’s all about like and followers. We try to mute our true feelings, hopes and dreams, fears and failures. As if being a “normal” person is such a bad thing. Why is that? Do we want others to think we ‘have it all together?’. What if our fails and real lives inspire others? What if we can make a difference in others lives by just being ourselves?

There has been a gradual shift it seems in the past several years of folks being authentic, body positivity seems to be all the rage. Is this going to be a permanent thing? I hope so. No longer are posts about other people’s highlight reels, and one-sided political posts. It’s now sort of gravitated into the good and bad. We see people now for who they are, not who they want to be. This authenticity, I believe, gives others who are not so confident, the extra boost of hope they need to be their best selves.

So sit down and “clean up” your social media. Unfollow those people or businesses who make you feel like crap about your life. Take a social media fast for a day or so. Then come back and start living your authentic life.

When You Feel a Mental Block

My mind has been so unsettled lately. I started this blog off strong, but then I just sort of ran out of steam. What’s the deal? Well, I think it may be due to being mentally overwhelmed. I have spent the last few weeks researching blogging, trying to get followers, how to write good content. It was like information overload. Then I can’t write. The words don’t seem to come out.

I love google, and being able to find information on about anything for free. But at the same time, all this information is overwhelming to process. Then I get stuck in the comparison game, especially when visiting other blogs, Facebook or instagram. I have to remember that this blog is a newbie, it’s not going to be perfect at first. I’m not going to be completely consistent in posting new content. My pictures and layout may suck.

Truth be told, this past year has been a whirlwind of emotions and conflict, and I think that now I am finally settling down, it is time to process everything. My migraines have returned. Stress and anxiety over other issues I have swept to the side are resurfacing. I feel something shifting in me. The move to Florida was more than a change in physical location. It was a change in mindset. It has caused me to question who I am and who I want to become.

To help with handling all of this change, I started listening to self-development podcasts. I started praying again. I started seeing a therapist. I started listening to how my body was responding physically and took steps to get my health on track. When you go so long ignoring yourself both physically and mentally, trying to make things better seems like an uphill battle. I tell myself, “You have to take things one day, one thing at a time.” Nothing successful happens overnight. The situation you may be in right now is not going to last forever.

I really want to stress and share how important self-care is during a time like this. Just a few minutes out of the day to sit and chill out. Leave the phone in the other room and just relax. Take a shower, and drink some coffee. Pretty soon, the mental block starts to lessen. That weight on your heart starts to free up and you can write again.

What things do you do when you are feeling a mental block?

Life with PCOS

PCOS, what the hell is that? It stands for polycystic ovary syndrome and it affects millions of women world wide. Click here for a brief overview of PCOS.  I was just recently diagnosed with PCOS several weeks ago. Looking back, my symptoms over the years have just worsened as time went by, now at 35, I decided to finally get it checked out.

I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor and had a huge panel of labs drawn. These labs included Testosterone, TSH, DHEA, FSH, and many other endocrine tests. They all came back normal!

Next test was a pelvis ultrasound. This was to check for cysts on the ovaries, and guess what? That test came back  normal as well.

I’ve never been a thin person. I was a physically healthy child, loved playing outside and then once I hit my teens, my weight increased and my self esteem decreased.  I loved food, hated intense exercise, and found every excuse I could to skip P.E. in high school. As a young adult, I found my weight would steadily creep up and become more and more difficult to lose. I also started to get extremely tired all time, which doctors would tell me was due to my clinical depression, lack of consistent physical activity, and crappy diet.

Over the years, I’ve tried all the diets, intense exercise with trainers that would help me lose a little weight, but had me physically exhausted.

Then I started growing a beard. The medical term for this is called hirsutism. This really started up about five years ago, and has not stopped since. I have tried it all, waxing, shaving, plucking. Once I was brave and used Nair depilatory cream on my face, which resulted in no hair, but a nasty chemical burn on my chin and neck. Oh, and I almost forgot my happy trail on my stomach, which has to be shaved every few days.

Once the hair started showing up on my body, it started falling out of my head. I used to have long hair, about mid back, that I had to completely cut off a few months ago due to looking so scraggly and thin. I mean, clumps of hair coming out after washing, it was so bad. Now my hair is short and you can totally see my scalp. Forget styling my hair, it falls flat and the handling of it causes more hair to fall out.

Blood sugar crashing. AKA insulin resistance. If I ate a muffin at 6am, four hours later, my blood sugar reading would tank to 58. I found that I had to eat every few hours, then I would spike in glucose and crash hard. It gave new meaning to the term hangry.  It is frustrating, because my fasting glucose labs were normal. My hgA1c is 5.0%. I’m not diabetic.

Another symptom of PCOS is fatigue. Even if I slept for 12 hours the night before, and drank 4 cups of coffee in the morning, I would still be tired around noon.

So even with all my diagnostic testing coming back normal, can I still have PCOS just based on these symptoms? The answer according to my family doctor is yes.

I have to admit, I am a little overwhelmed by this currently. How do I start getting my health back on track? If you have PCOS, what advice would you have in terms of health and wellness? Please leave a comment below.