Mindful Monday – How to Eat Mindfully

122516_2038_MindfulMond1.jpg

Welcome to Mindful Monday. Each week I look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more conscious about my life journey. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to live in the present.

Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.


Do you ever think about what it means to eat mindfully? Wait… I’m not talking about sitting on the couch while you’re watching a movie and mindlessly eating a bag of chips. Not that kind of mindful eating!

Instead, sit down at a table with a beautiful place setting. Take a few moments to pause and taste your food. Slow down. What are you thinking about with each bite? How do you feel? Are you hungry or thirsty? What is your body telling you?

Try to connect with you – the person holding the fork.


Jean Kristeller, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Indiana State University, created a mindfulness-based eating program that teaches people to connect with the feelings and body signals. The Center for Mindful Eating shares:

“Mindful Eating is allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom. By using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body, acknowledging your responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment, and becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating you can change your relationship to food.”

Here are the Principles of Mindful Eating from the site:

“Principles of Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in the present moment.

Mindfulness encompasses both internal processes and external environments.

Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in the present moment.

With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.

Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom, and acceptance of what is.

Mindful Eating is:

Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.

Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.

Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.

Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.

Accepts that their eating experiences are unique.

Is an individual who by choice, directs their attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis.

Gains awareness of how they can make choices that support health and well-being.

Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of their food choices on those systems.”

Image credit: Summertomato.com

After reading more about mindfulness, I decided to try it. Here are some of the things I did:

  1. I thought about my food choices. I had one Rice Krispie Bar (they are tiny for 4 Smart Points) and told myself it was better to have a smaller portion than none at all. I felt in control because I was consciously making a choice.
  2. I thought about the message I wanted to send my body. I said something along the lines of, “I’m eating to nourish my body.” I did not criticize myself and say things like, “I shouldn’t eat this.” I made a choice and logged the points.
  3. I listened to my body. I had been feeling really achy lately. It is dry here in Colorado, and I knew it was time to up my liquid intake. I did so and suddenly starting feeling better each day. SCORE!
  4. I became an inner gourmet and paid attention to how my food tasted. The first three bites are what apps up our taste buds. After that, the taste goes down. I savored those first three bites and slowed down my eating.
  5. I appreciated the atmosphere of where I was eating. I love sitting at the bar in my kitchen. It is a fun, cheerful setting and always makes me happy.

My first week on Weight Watchers online was successful. I didn’t lose weight, but then, I didn’t gain either. I logged my food intake and points daily. I realized a few things about myself that I hadn’t thought about before. That is always a good thing! Reflection on past habits helps you change your perspective on the future.

Weight Watchers suggested that I get 46 minutes a day of exercise. That equals 322 minutes a week of exercise or 42 Smart Points. I managed to complete 27 points. I had some back pain issues to overcome which I have been able to do this week.

One of my readers said that by the looks of my photo, she wasn’t sure that I needed to lose 15 pounds. Thank you! Photos are the best when you can manipulate them to make you look skinnier! Anyway, here is why I want to lose that weight.

I want to feel healthier.

My extra weight gain has been in the front, (eye roll) and that weight pulls at my back muscles. The result is lower back pain and weak muscles. I also come from a family where diabetes runs rampant. My grandmother, sister, brother, and at least one of my nieces all have had issues with diabetes. I’ve had to deal with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and had a goiter, which resulted in the total removal of my thyroid gland. I will be 59 years old in April and for me, staying healthy is more important now, than ever before.

That is why I am on this journey. A few years ago, my doctor decided that for my height and frame, 175 pounds was a good weight for me to maintain. That is my aim, to return to that weight. And, then… I need to stay there. ❤

Here’s who joined us last week for Mindful Weight Loss:

Pat, from her blog, P. C. Zick.com

Annette, from her blog, Annette Rochelle Aben

Shan Jeniah’s Lovely Chaos, and her post, Building Blocks for Mindful Monday (a must read about setting goals)

Terri, from her blog, Second Wind Leisure

Kate, from her blog, Kate McClelland

Thanks for stopping by and offering your support. It always makes the path easier when we have friends along for the ride.

Remember… If you would like to join me with your mindful goals, please do. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can get in touch with your own mindfulness needs and how it pertains to your life. Write about it. We all learn from each other’s experiences.

If you’d like, you can link to my post with a ping-back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of Mindful Monday supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday posts. I’m happy to see you!

SHARE THE JOY! NAMASTE.

READ MORE ON COLLEEN’S FAIRY WHISPERS

Sign up for my monthly newsletter where you will find new reads from across the web plus a few creations of my own. Written, just for you, with fairy love and mindfulness, each month. Just fly over to my SIGN UP PAGE and enter your email. ❤

CONNECT WITH ME – I love hearing from you!

colleenchesebro.com  Amazon  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Instagram

Mindful Monday – Mindful Weight Loss

Welcome to Mindful Monday. Each week I look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more conscious about my life journey. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to live in the present.

Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.

Well… I did it. This week, I joined Weight Watchers Online. The Smart Points system is a bit different than the Points Plus system was but I feel like I am making progress. I weigh in on Wednesdays so I will have another post to announce my progress.

I felt fantastic and had a successful week. I must attribute my success to staying on my plan, journaling my food intake in my food diary, and because I started walking again. I measured all my portions and ate more protein.

Remember, even if you are not following weight watchers there are ways for you to slim down by making some changes:

Image credit: SHCS UC Davis

Portions?

Weight Watchers is not a diet. It is a healthy eating plan. You are changing your eating habits, not going without food. There is no starvation. Instead, they teach you about healthy portions.

The first thing I had to learn was what constituted a healthy portion… be prepared to cry! If you are like me, your portion sizes are way too big!

Image credit: Heathlyfood.co.uk
(provided for my UK friends)

Image credit: Claudia Campa

Here is my secret to staying happy and eating some sugar occasionally:

I call this my “3 Bite Rule.” After each bite, I savor it and actually taste it. Call if mindful chewing. It has been my experience that when I do finally indulge in a sweet, I am sometimes satisfied after only 3 bites. As far as tracking the points value, that depends on you. A 10th of a piece of yellow sugar-free cake with sugar-free chocolate frosting is 6 points according to my Smart Points app. I would say three bites is at lease one point… but you should decide that for yourself.

Remember, eating is all in your mind. My anticipation of what the sweet will taste like is what fuels my desire. Sometimes, I bite into that cookie and think, “Hmmm… this doesn’t even taste as good as I expected it would!” Rejoice when you reach this point. 😀

The other half of my 3 Bite Rule is the fact that you allowed yourself the sweet. Just not at the portion size you would have usually liked to have eaten it. Following this rule makes me feel like I am in control of what I eat. Now, I only do this once a week. Having sweets should be a treat, not an everyday affair. If you follow the 3 Bite Rule, you can have your cake and eat it too!

Exercise

I pulled a muscle in my back this week and had to refrain from the treadmill for two days. Weight Watchers suggests that I get a minimum of 46 minutes a day exercise. That is easy to do on the treadmill while reading email, etc.

Don’t forget to count your activity around the house. Exercise is exercise. We have a large house, and I spent a total of 35 minutes or so vacuuming upstairs and downstairs. In fact, one day I dusted and did laundry. By the time I was done, I had logged 1.5 miles on my phone! Get up and get active!

Healthstatus.com provides a calculator that you can input your activities by the number of minutes you performed that activity. It will then convert the minutes to figure out how many calories you burned. Just with my two half hour walks and my three hours of cleaning I used 1,089 calories.

Remember a pound of fat = 3,500 calories. To lose one pound in a week, you must reduce your calories by that amount.

So, that was my week. Successful in every way. I feel good about myself, and I feel good that I made it through week 1! Thank you for giving me the incentive to stay on plan. The information about portion sizes and my 3 Bite Rule is an excellent way to start your journey. Everyone should pat themselves on the back for a job well done!

How was your week?

Here’s who joined us last week for Redefining your Weight Loss Goals:

Bernadette from Haddon Musings

Annette from Annette Rochelle Aben, Author & Poet

Terri from Second Wind Leisure.com

Michelle from Michelle Clement James.com

55b54a42acce2fac5b037aa9ed90da79

Thanks for stopping by and offering your support. It always makes the path easier when we have friends along for the ride.

Remember… If you would like to join me with your mindful goals, please do. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can get in touch with your own mindfulness needs and how it pertains to your life. Write about it. We all learn from each other’s experiences.

If you’d like, you can link to my post with a ping-back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of Mindful Monday supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday posts. I’m happy to see you!

SHARE THE JOY! NAMASTE.

READ MORE ON COLLEEN’S FAIRY WHISPERS

Sign up for my monthly newsletter where you will find new reads from across the web plus a few creations of my own. Written, just for you, with fairy love and mindfulness, each month. Just fly over to my SIGN UP PAGE and enter your email. ❤

CONNECT WITH ME – I love hearing from you!

colleenchesebro.com  Amazon  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Instagram

Mindful Monday – Redefining Your Weight Loss Goals

012217_2215_MindfulMond1.jpg

Welcome to Mindful Monday. Each week I look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more mindful about my life journey. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to live in the present.

Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.

Let’s see, now… This year we have set goals and looked at ways to make some life changes on our mindful journey. We are learning what being mentally and physically healthy means to us, specifically. That’s great! Remember, everyone’s journey is different. We aren’t all looking for the same things, but it is easy to support each other no matter what our goals are.

I want to become healthy and lose weight. I also want to get more in touch with my empathic abilities. Those are some of the things that I decided to concentrate on this year. Some people are looking for ways to add more exercise, and others want to take it slow and focus on becoming more mindful and figuring out what that means to them.

So, what does being healthy mean?

Image credit: stylefox.com

There seems to be a plethora of pictures and definitions about what being or becoming “healthy” means. I believe we should all define that word for ourselves. Educate yourself on the differences, and then make your own decision.

Of course, becoming healthy for me is all about losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight for my body type.

The first thing we need to think about when we are setting new weight loss goals is to decide what kind of plan you are going to follow. Don’t jump into a diet that is so strict that you can’t indulge and have some treats occasionally. All you’re doing is setting yourself up for failure, and then you will blame yourself for making the decision to indulge! It becomes a vicious circle that only makes you feel guilty about living!

Instead of eating 10 mint chocolate chip walnut cookies, only eat two with a cup of tea or coffee. You still get your treat, and that makes you feel special, as it should. If you have a huge family gathering and Grandma makes her special apple pie, don’t turn that down! Have the pie. Just make it a small portion so that you get to enjoy the luxuries from Grandma’s kitchen. Life is too short to not indulge. Learn to pace yourself.

Speaking of indulgence, I am still struggling with my weight loss attempts. That is because I have not committed myself to following a plan. I have been dabbling with the idea of losing weight instead of dealing with the issue straight on. It’s time for me to commit to what works best for me: Weight Watchers.

I have had great success with the program in the past and know it works. In 2012, I lost 55 pounds and kept it off for almost three years… until I quit following the plan and doing what I knew to be right for me.

Weight Watchers is now offering an exclusive deal that I have decided to take advantage of. Click HERE to find out if this is something you might be interested in.

If so, please let me know in the comments so that we can help and encourage each other. We can create a private Facebook page and check with each other daily to share tips and tricks if you’re interested.

I am going to sign up on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. It always helps me to choose a date and then follow through on my decision. I will be sharing more of my weight loss journey in the future, and I hope you will join me.

In the meantime, ARE YOU DOING EATING YOUR VEGETABLES?

 

I did try a new squash last week. This is called a kabocha squash. Realsimple.com
shares:

“This pumpkin-shaped Japanese squash (typically 2 to 3 pounds) is relatively new to the U.S. market but has caught on quickly due to its subtle, honeyed sweetness and smooth, almost fiber less texture. The jade green exterior has light green stripes, and the meat is a pale orange. Drier and denser than most squashes, the kabocha can be baked or steamed, like acorn squash, or pureed to give soups a buttery richness. Ideal for Soups.”

It was a bit pricey but worth a try. I steam my squash (and most fresh veggies) in the steamer I bought from Target. I did like the way this squash tasted. It had a smooth texture, and I added it to my smoothies in the evening. It would taste wonderful with a bit of butter and just a touch of salt, too. I would have this squash in place of a potato because the calories and sugars are less.

Image credit: EBFarm.com

Squash is a great alternative to potatoes. I buy many kinds of squash and eat them regularly. Spaghetti squash is amazing and will save you tons of calories if you use the squash like pasta noodles. I do the same thing with this squash. It is fabulous steamed!

Cooksmarts.com
offers a produce cooking website dedicated to all things vegetables. It is worth checking out if you get sick of the same old veggies!

Remember to eat foods that have the most color but remember white is also a color in the veggie kingdom. So, don’t forget to eat cauliflower. Food that is white (potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, etc.) have a higher calorie count due to the amount of starch in the item. Limit starchy foods and replace them with more vegetables. The fresher, the better. If you must eat canned vegetables, rinse, and microwave them. It will help you eliminate much of the salt.

The American Diabetes Association has an excellent explanation of what carbohydrates are. Carbs affect our blood sugar levels, so you really need to understand the difference between the good and bad carbs. Unbelievably… fruits and veggies are CARBS!

Yoli.com shares the difference between good and bad carbs:

PopSugar.com has a two-week weight loss plan using vegetarian dinners all under 300 calories.

Go to MyPlate.gov to see what the healthy eating guidelines are.

Image Credit: MyPlate.gov

Image credit: USDA MyPlate.gov

How’s that for some veggie inspiration? Here’s who joined us last week when we discussed Empathic Healing Tools:

Adele, from Firefly465

Annette Rochelle Aben

Tess, from How the Cookie Crumbles

Tina Frisco

Lucy, from Secret Diary of Porter Girl

Thanks for stopping by and offering your support. It always makes the path easier when we have friends along for the ride.

Remember… If you would like to join me with your mindful goals, please do. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can get in touch with your own mindfulness needs and how it pertains to your life. Write about it. We all learn from each other’s experiences.

If you’d like, you can link to my post with a ping-back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of Mindful Monday supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday posts. I’m happy to see you!

Namaste. I wish you much peace and joy this week.

READ MORE ON COLLEEN’S FAIRY WHISPERS

Sign up for my monthly newsletter where you will find new reads from across the web plus a few creations of my own. Written, just for you, with fairy love and mindfulness, each month. Just fly over to my SIGN UP PAGE and enter your email. ❤

CONNECT WITH ME – I love hearing from you!

colleenchesebro.com  Amazon  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Instagram

Intuitive reasoning

Barbara shares her journey with the healing properties of garnet. You will want to read this! ❤

Art and Life

intuitively

reaching for a garnet nugget

– base chakra clearing

I bought the almandine garnet from a fossicker at a market.  The natural geometric shape formed by 10 diamond shaped faces intrigues me.  The man I bought it from told me he had found it in central Australia somewhere near Alice Springs.   The unpolished stone exudes a raw power.  Metaphysically garnet resonates with the base chakra – the energetic centre that is the foundation of physical health and survival.   Survival fears stem from blockages in the chakra.

   image  – almandine garnet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhombic_dodecahedron

Currently my meditations are uncovering my deepest fears surrounding survival.  Old memories of times where I’ve been worried about money and resources are coming back to haunt me.   Along with that I am becoming aware of unconscious programs and thought forms surrounding lack and limitation that I’ve picked up on my journey through life.

Through my spiritual…

View original post 417 more words

Mindful Monday – Change & Renewal

Welcome to Mindful Monday. Each week I look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more mindful. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to live in the present.

Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.

We’ve covered quite a few things this January, such as spiritual growth, goal setting, defining our exercise and eating goals, and even recognizing our personality types. This week I want to talk about our body’s capacity for change and renewal.

Deepak Chopra on the Daily Om shares:

“…”the forgotten miracle”–the body’s infinite capacity for change and renewal. “You cannot take advantage of this miracle,” Chopra says, “unless you are willing to completely reinvent your body, transforming it from a material object to a dynamic, flowing process. Your physical body is a fiction. Every cell is made up of two invisible ingredients: awareness and energy.”

Chopra offers a course which details five recent breakthroughs of the body that lead to self-transformation by changing the distorted energy patterns that are the root cause of aging, infirmity, and disease. Daily Om. You can find the price of the course at the Daily Om link.

Image credit: Facebook: Wild Woman Sisterhood

Thinking about change and renewal is something that has become crucial to me this year. Actually, my transformation began last year while I was writing The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy.

My idea for the story was that in unusual places around the earth one could find large calcite stones weathered by the wind and rain into the shape of a heart. The calcite heart stones were fairy Raths which formed a dome of protection around a certain artifact that humanity could not do without.

Of course, my research led me to calcite and the meaning of the stone. Calcite is a fairy stone that assists in the channeling process when it is grounded and practical, but not when the work is ungrounded or not for the good of others. Also, the stones offer protection from evil spirits, offers psychic security, and protects the wearer by helping them to stay connected to the Earth’s center. Fairy stones often adopt the people they wish to help, giving the adoptees the nickname of “little helpers.” Meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com

The more I discovered about calcite, the more interested I became. I had stumbled upon information that became transformational to me. Just like the heroine in my story, Abby Forester, I too needed to become grounded and in sync with mother earth. So, I dove into finding out how calcite could help me move forward in my mindful journey.

I started out reading Healing Crystals for you.com:

“Calcite Crystals come in quite a few colors all of which are most helpful… as they are powerful amplifiers and cleansers, particularly of the emotions.


Pink Calcite

Pink Mangano Calcite… is opaque, and there is also a pink transparent variety. Both are strong heart chakra stones.

The transparent stones encourage compassion so resonate strongly within the thymus or higher heart chakra.


Green Calcite

Green Calcite also works at the heart chakra.

These crystal stones will cool your emotions, especially on the mental plane, and will aid you to let go of things and circumstances that no longer serve you.

Orange Calcite is highly cleansing for both the sacral chakra and the base chakra.

It will balance the emotions, overcome depression, release fear and enhance creativity.

Use clear Optical Calcite for insight and clarity.


Blue Calcite

Blue Calcite is for the throat chakra, and can assist clear communication and helps to soothe the emotional body.

The lighter Yellow or Honey Calcite is a strong solar plexus chakra stone that gives you clarity and insight.

Gold Calcite works at the third eye chakra and the crown chakra.

Red Calcite is strong base chakra stone that will link the base and crown chakras.


Calcite Fairy Stone

Calcite Fairy Stones are unusual shaped stones that were created when calcite filled the areas with glacial clay.

They are gorgeous stones that have an attractive, supportive and harmonious quality that may draw you to them.

This Calcite variety is helpful to have in your life, as it seems to safeguard and support you when required.

These crystals resonate out into the area where they are located, and they are known to aid Earth healing.

Use them in meditation if you do channeling, as they can help you to bring information back from the spirit realm more accurately.”

The Seven Chakras

What is a Chakra? A chakra is a word taken from the Sanskrit language which means “wheel,” as in the wheel of life. It is believed that our chakras are like wheels, tiny rotating vortexes of energy which are located in specific areas of the body as shown above. The chakras start from the bottom of the spine and extend to the top of our head. Each chakra embodies a particular organ, endocrine system, or part of the body which directs our energy flow.

All organic life gives off faint intangible energies and electromagnetic frequencies. Life experiences, our health, thoughts, and emotions, all can change the frequency and vibrations that emanate from our bodies. Chakras can be open or closed as they relate to our mental or physical and spiritual states. When our chakras are healthy, they will spin in a clockwise direction.

Negative experiences can drain our energy stores which then causes our chakras to become imbalanced. This is why a person will feel emotionally drained, both physically and emotionally, when something upsets them. Chakra re-balancing helps to release the blockage which are manifestations of a lifetime of physical and mental trauma. Junebugmemphis.com

Explanation of the chakras, the colors, the gems, the planets, and the energies:

Image credit: Junebugmemphis.com

As you can see, the fourth chakra is the heart chakra, and it is balanced with a green stone… as in green calcite. Now you know how I came up with the name of my YA fantasy series: “The Heart Stone Chronicles.”

My friend, Irene, from IreneDesign2011, created calcite necklaces for my readers so they could have a copy of their own which you can check out for yourself below.

The large piece of calcite in the photo above (in the middle) was a gift from Irene. I have been sleeping with it next to my bed. My sleeping has grown deeper, and I find that I don’t wake up tired in the morning. I’ve also noticed that my dreams are more grounded and have become even more meaningful to me. As an empathic writer, the calcite has brought clarity to what my dreams are trying to tell me.

I can’t think of a better way to begin a journey of change and renewal than by learning how to take care of my body and the seven chakras that power our energy sources. ❤

Here is how to open your heart chakra:

Venture outside in nature. Become green by imagining the first tiny shoots of spring breaking forth from the soil.

See green everywhere you look. Close your eyes and imagine a brilliant green light exploding from your heart center which is located at the center of your sternum and below your shoulder blades.

Breathe in the green of the summer grasses.

Think and become love.

Give love freely to others.

Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Start learning about and practicing yoga.

Forgive others and yourself daily.

*Ideas were taken from Mindbodygreen.com

Read more at Mindbodygreen.com for more information on balancing your heart chakra. You will want to visit this page because I found the information to be most illuminating.

Here’s how to get your own calcite pendants:

The small calcite heart stone pendant is at the left near the hummingbird on the cover. Here is the link to Irene’s Etsy site where you can buy your own pendant: https://www.etsy.com/listing/480852170/black-silk-necklace-with-silver-wrapped

The large calcite heart stone pendant is pictured at the right just above my name. Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/480852682/black-silk-necklace-with-silver-wrapped

Here’s who joined us last week when we discussed The Benefits of Daily Walking:

Bernadette from Haddon Musings

Terri from Second Wind Leisure.com

Barbara from Create With Barb

If you would like to join me with your mindful goals, please do. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can get in touch with your own mindfulness needs and how it pertains to your life. Write about it. We all learn from each other’s experiences.

If you’d like, you can link to my post with a ping back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of Mindful Monday supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday post. I’m happy to have you along for the ride!

Namaste. I wish you much peace and joy this week. ❤

Mindful Monday – The Benefits of Daily Walking

Welcome to Mindful Monday. I can’t believe we are half way through January 2017. Where does the time go?

Each week I look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more mindful. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to live in the present. Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.

How are you coming on your mindful goals for 2017? Usually by the middle of January everyone has abandoned any goals or resolutions they have set for themselves. If you fall into that group, don’t fret. Instead, reassess your goals.

Did you set fitness goals that you can’t keep up with? Then, step back and shift your perspective on fitness. When you set fitness goals for yourself, decide if they are they realistic to who you are as a person. The number one problem with most of us is that we want to reach a state of fitness quickly, so we tend to set lofty goals that we can’t keep up with.

Does striving for the perfect fitness regime defeat our goals?

What does “fitness,” really mean to you? When you break down what you are hoping to gain from exercise, that result will change your perception of fitness. Ask yourself this question: Fitness for what?

Here is what I am talking about. My exercise goals are aimed at helping me feel better. I want to feel strong again with no achiness in my back or hips. Because I spend so much time sitting at the computer writing, this has become an issue. I live in the mountains of Colorado where the winter winds howl over the eastern facing slopes. This makes walking outside on a regular basis hard to do.

The solution for me was a treadmill. I added a board across the handles and placed my laptop on top so that I could walk and read emails, etc. I walk at 2 mph which is perfect for typing and reading messages. I started out slowly, walking only 15 minutes a day. Little by little, I have increased the time to an hour per day.

The results have been incredible. I feel better and sleep better since beginning this exercise journey. I have been able to eat some things (cookies) that I couldn’t before without gaining weight. In fact, I am losing weight and feeling stronger.

15 Minutes

Family Circle magazine, the November 2016 edition, page 187 shares:

“15 minutes – that’s the amount of time you need to exercise in order to curb your desire to stress eat after a mentally challenging day. Talk yourself into a quick treadmill workout instead of diving onto the couch, and your waistline may thank you. -AC”

However, there is scientific evidence that even just 10 minutes of movement can increase your confidence, clarity, creativity, decision-making, and emotional well-being. Read this article from the Daily Mail.

Image credit: Pinterest.com

Now… let me ask you a question. If you could exercise for fifteen minutes a day would you? Look at those benefits! You could have a better relationship. What if after you’ve accomplished that fifteen minutes of exercise you were able to come up with a brilliant idea for a book or poem?

When your exercise plan becomes fun and good for you is when the best benefit of all is met – you feel good about yourself. And, that is the best gift you could give to yourself. Self-care becomes fitness for life.

If you would like to join me with your goals, please do. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can get in touch with your own mindfulness needs and how it pertains to your life. Write about it. We all learn from each other’s experiences.

If you’d like, you can link to my post with a ping back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of Mindful Monday supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday post. I’m happy to have you along for the ride!

Here’s who peeked in last week when we took a personality test from 16personalities.com. If you haven’t checked your personality type, you might want to check it out. These tests give you insight into how you think and function. I find it refreshing to understand the way I think.

Barbara from Create with Barb

Terri from Second Wind Leisure.com

Stop by and let me know how your fitness goals are going for 2017. I love hearing from you! Namaste. I hope much peace and joy for you this week. ❤

Mindful Monday – What Personality Type Are YOU?

122516_2038_MindfulMond1.jpg

Hi! Happy Monday. I thought I would share another useful tool in the journey to becoming more mindful. I believe the more we understand about ourselves, the more empowered we become to make positive changes in our lives. What do you think?

This time we have a personality test to take from 16personalities.com. I have included “my results” in their entirety more for myself than my readers. However, it does give you an idea of how complete the test is. Make sure to click on the link above to find our your own results. Get your own and let me know in the comments what personality type you are!

YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE IS:

ADVOCATE (INFJ-T)

Here, let me show you the right path…

MIND: This trait determines how we interact with our environment.

36% EXTRAVERTED

64% INTROVERTED

ENERGY: This trait shows where we direct our mental energy.

72% INTUITIVE

28% OBSERVANT

NATURE: This trait determines how we make decisions and cope with emotions.

31% THINKING

69% FEELING

TACTICS: This trait reflects our approach to work, planning, and decision-making.

84% JUDGING

16% IDENTITY

This trait underpins all others, showing how confident we are in our abilities and decisions.

42% ASSERTIVE

58% TURBULENT

ADVOCATE PERSONALITY (INFJ, -A/-T)

The Advocate personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As members of the Diplomat Role group, Advocates have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is that they are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.

Advocates tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

Help Me Help You

Advocates indeed share a unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – Advocates will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create an advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to Advocates, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

~ Martin Luther King

Advocates find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extraverted types, but they would all do well to remember that Advocates need time alone to decompress and recharge and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw. Advocates take great care of other’s feelings, and they expect the favor to be returned – sometimes that means giving them the space they need for a few days.

Live to Fight Another Day

Really, though, it is most important for Advocates to remember to take care of themselves. The passion of their convictions is perfectly capable of carrying them past their breaking point, and if their zeal gets out of hand, they can find themselves exhausted, unhealthy and stressed. This becomes especially apparent when Advocates find themselves up against conflict and criticism – their sensitivity forces them to do everything they can to evade these seemingly personal attacks, but when the circumstances are unavoidable, they can fight back in highly irrational unhelpful ways.

To Advocates, the world is a place full of inequity – but it doesn’t have to be. No other personality type is better suited to create a movement to right a wrong, no matter how big or small. Advocates just need to remember that while they’re busy taking care of the world, they need to take care of themselves, too.

ADVOCATE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Advocate Strengths

  • Creative – Combining a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion, Advocates use their creativity to resolve not technical challenges, but human ones. People with the Advocate personality type enjoy finding the perfect solution for someone they care about, and this strength makes them excellent counselors and advisors.
  • Insightful – Seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, Advocates step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion. Advocates see how people and events are connected and are able to use that insight to get to the heart of the matter.
  • Inspiring and Convincing – Speaking in human terms, not technical, Advocates have a fluid, inspirational writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience. Advocates can even be astonishingly good orators, speaking with warmth and passion, if they are proud of what they are speaking for.
  • Decisive – Their creativity, insight, and inspiration are able to have a real impact on the world, as Advocates are able to follow through on their ideas with conviction, willpower, and the planning necessary to see complex projects through to the end. Advocates don’t just see the way things ought to be, they act on those insights.
  • Determined and Passionate – When Advocates come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard. Advocates will rock the boat if they have to, something not everyone likes to see, but their passion for their chosen cause is an inseparable part of their personality.
  • Altruistic – These strengths are used for good. Advocates have strong beliefs and take the actions that they do not because they are trying to advance themselves, but because they are trying to advance an idea that they truly believe will make the world a better place.

Advocate Weaknesses

  • Sensitive – When someone challenges or criticizes Advocates’ principles or values, they are likely to receive an alarmingly strong response. People with the Advocate personality type are highly vulnerable to criticism and conflict, and questioning their motives is the quickest way to their bad side.
  • Extremely Private – Advocates tend to present themselves as the culmination of an idea. This is partly because they believe in this idea, but also because Advocates are extremely private when it comes to their personal lives, using this image to keep themselves from having to truly open up, even to close friends. Trusting a new friend can be even more challenging for Advocates.
  • Perfectionistic – Advocates are all but defined by their pursuit of ideals. While this is a wonderful quality in many ways, an ideal situation is not always possible – in politics, in business, in romance – and Advocates too often drop or ignore healthy and productive situations and relationships, always believing there might be a better option down the road.
  • Always Need to Have a Cause – Advocates get so caught up in the passion of their pursuits that any of the cumbersome administrative or maintenance work that comes between them and the ideal they see on the horizon is deeply unwelcome. Advocates like to know that they are taking concrete steps towards their goals, and if routine tasks feel like they are getting in the way, or worse yet, there is no goal at all, they will feel restless and disappointed.
  • Can Burn Out Easily – Their passion, poor patience for routine maintenance, tendency to present themselves as an ideal, and extreme privacy tend to leave Advocates with few options for letting off steam. People with this personality type are likely to exhaust themselves in short order if they don’t find a way to balance their ideals with the realities of day-to-day living.

ADVOCATE RELATIONSHIPS

When it comes to romantic relationships, Advocates take the process of finding a partner seriously. Not ones for casual encounters, people with the Advocate personality type instead look for depth and meaning in their relationships. Advocates will take the time necessary to find someone they truly connect with – once they’ve found that someone, their relationships will reach a level of depth and sincerity that most people can only dream of.

Getting to that point can sometimes be a challenge for potential partners, especially if they are the impatient type, as Advocates are often perfectionistic and picky. People with this personality type aren’t easily talked into something they don’t want, and if someone doesn’t pick up on that, it’s a trespass that is unlikely to be forgiven, particularly in the early stages of dating. Even worse is if a suitor tries to resort to manipulation or lying, as Advocates will see right through it, and if there’s anything they have a poor tolerance for in a relationship, it is inauthenticity.

Is This for Real?

One of the things Advocates find most important is establishing genuine, deep connections with the people they care about.

Advocates will go out of their way to seek out people who share their desire for authenticity, and out of their way to avoid those who don’t, especially when looking for a partner. All that being said, Advocates often have the advantage of desirability – they are warm, friendly, caring and insightful, seeing past facades and the obvious to understand others’ thoughts and emotions.

Advocates are enthusiastic in their relationships, and there is a sense of wisdom behind their spontaneity, allowing them to pleasantly surprise their partners again and again. Advocates aren’t afraid to show their love, and they feel it unconditionally, creating a depth to the relationship that can hardly be described in conventional terms. Relationships with Advocates are not for the uncommitted or the shallow.

When it comes to intimacy, Advocates look for a connection that goes beyond the physical, embracing the emotional and even spiritual connection they have with their partner. People with the Advocate personality type are passionate partners, and see intimacy as a way to express their love and to make their partners happy. Advocates cherish not just the act of being in a relationship, but what it means to become one with another person, in mind, body and soul.

ADVOCATE FRIENDS

There is a running theme with Advocates, and that is a yearning for authenticity and sincerity – in their activities, their romantic relationships, and their friendships. People with the Advocate personality type are unlikely to go for friendships of circumstance, like workplace social circles or chatting up their local baristas, where the only thing they really have in common is a day-to-day familiarity. Rather, Advocates seek out people who share their passions, interests, and ideologies, people with whom they can explore philosophies and subjects that they believe are truly meaningful.

Closed Book and Speed Reader

From the start, it can be a challenge to get to know Advocates, as they are very private, even enigmatic. Advocates don’t readily share their thoughts and feelings, not unless they are comfortable, and since those thoughts and feelings are the basis for Advocate friendships, it can take time and persistence to get to know them. Meanwhile, Advocates are very insightful and have a particular knack for seeing beyond others’ facades, interpreting intent and compatibility quickly and easily, and weeding out those who don’t share the depth of their idealism.

In friendship, it is as though Advocates are searching for a soul mate, someone who shares every facet of their passions and imagination.

Advocates are often perfectionistic, looking for ultimate compatibility, and yet also look for someone with whom they can grow and improve in tandem. Needless to say, this is a tall order, and Advocates should try to remember that they are a particularly rare personality type, and even if they find someone compatible in that sense, the odds that they will also share every interest are slim. If they don’t learn to meet others halfway and recognize that the kind of self-improvement and depth they demand is simply exhausting for many types, Advocates are likely to end up abandoning healthy friendships in their infancy, in search of more perfect compatibilities.

Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Further complicating things are Advocates’ eloquence and persuasiveness, which lead to a lot of (unwanted) attention and popularity. Their quiet, determined idealism and imaginative expression naturally draw influence, and if there is anything Advocates avoid, it’s the accumulation of power over others – and the people who are drawn to that type of power. Advocates will find themselves more sought after than they’d ever care to be, making it even more difficult for them to find someone they truly have an affinity with. Really the only way to be counted among Advocates’ true friends is to be authentic and to have that authenticity naturally reflect their own.

Once a common thread is found, though, people with the Advocate personality type make loyal and supportive companions, encouraging growth and life-enriching experiences with warmth, excitement, and care. As trust grows, Advocates will share more of what lies beneath the surface, and if those ideas and motives are mutual, it’s the sort of friendship that will transcend time and distance, lasting a lifetime. Advocates don’t require a great deal of day-to-day attention – for them, quality trumps quantity every time, and over the years they will likely end up with just a few true friendships, built on a richness of mutual understanding that forges an indelible link between them.

ADVOCATE PARENTS

As parents, Advocates, much as in their friendships will tend to look at their relationships with their children as opportunities to learn and grow with someone they care about while working to achieve a distinctly separate but important goal – raising someone to be an independent, responsible and principled adult. People with the Advocate personality type are unflinching in their devotion to their children, willing to grin and bear any burden without hesitation. While warm and compassionate throughout the parenting relationship, what Advocates are really looking forward to is being able to communicate and relate to the person they helped to raise, as equals.

Be Unique, Just Like Me

As their children grow, Advocates will likely try to project a great deal of their own qualities onto them, demanding the same sort of idealism and honesty that they demand from themselves, and maybe even manipulating them into this in their weaker moments. Despite this, Advocates will also push their children to think independently, make their own choices and establish their own beliefs.

The highest goal for Advocate parents is for their child’s choices and beliefs to culminate in a cause that they are able to act on, contributing to the world around them.

If all this independence is taken to heart, it can cause some trouble for Advocate parents, though, as their children move into the naturally rebellious phase of adolescence. If Advocates’ children take a contrarian approach, adopting beliefs that violate their parents’ own well-developed principles, Advocates are likely to feel like their children are pointing out their flaws by following another path, a hurtful thing to such a sensitive personality type.

A Job Well Done

Ultimately, though, Advocate parents will realize that these conflicting beliefs aren’t a sign of their failure, but of their success in raising someone who did indeed learn to form their own ideals. As they mature, Advocates’ children will also come to appreciate the combination of independence and personal responsibility they were raised with. So long as their child grows up with a firm understanding of the difference between right and wrong and is able to fight for a cause they believe in, striving to be the best they can be, Advocate parents will be satisfied with what they’ve accomplished together with their child.

I know… you probably think that this is all TMI! So, don’t read my results! Get your own and let me know in the comments what personality type you are! Don’t forget to use this information in a way that helps you grow as a person.

Namaste. I wish you much peace and joy today.

READ MORE ON COLLEEN’S FAIRY WHISPERS

Sign up for my monthly newsletter where you will find interesting reads from across the web plus a few creations of my own. Written, just for you, with fairy love, each month. Just fly over to my SIGN UP PAGE and enter your email. ❤

CONNECT WITH ME – I love hearing from you!

5-things-thankful-fb

A Mindful Journey has it’s own Facebook Page: My Mindful Journey Join in each night where I share my FIVE THINGS THANKFUL for that day. Share your own!

Amindfuljourneysite.wordpress.com  Amazon  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Instagram

Mindful Monday – A New Year, A New YOU!

Welcome to Mindful Monday and my first post of the new year. Each week I try to look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming healthier. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to live in the present. Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.

Happy New Year everyone! Now, that we have the holiday’s behind us it’s time to make a few decisions on planning our mindful journey for this year. Have you done that yet?

Image credit: visual.ly

No… Well, the first question I ask myself when I start planning is what do I hope to achieve? Do I want to lose weight? If so, how much? Do I want to eat better? Do I want to exercise more? Do I want to find more time for learning meditation?

Do I want it all?


Yes, I do want it all. I want to immerse myself into the idea of becoming more mindful of my life choices – mentally and physically. However, I want to do it in such a way that the change is not too overpowering. It is human nature to resist change, so I must play a mind game with myself…

So, I Start Small!

You know how at the beginning of each new year you start making a bunch of rash and outlandish resolutions that you never keep anyway? Don’t do that! You never follow through on those resolutions and forget them as soon as they are made.

Instead, get a notebook and write what you really want. I called mine: Mindful Monday 2017. I started with ideas that I knew I could achieve. This trick always helps me to build confidence in myself. It also helps me finish what I start.

I start with a list of five things. This is my list for this year to begin my mindful journey:

  1. Lose 5 pounds and create a daily walking program with the dogs. (My goal is to lose 15 pounds during 2017)
  2. Meditate once a day.
  3. Write in my food journal daily, and list the five things you are grateful for each day.
  4. Continue writing and working on your second book. Pace yourself.
  5. Stop writing each day no later than 4 pm. Spend more time with Ron.

When I start small, I don’t feel so intimidated. I feel in control and know that with some due diligence on my part, I can do these simple goals.

Lose 5 Pounds

Notice how I didn’t say that I wanted to lose 15 pounds? That sounds so daunting! If I say I want to lose 5 pounds, I know I can do that.

Once I have achieved the goal of losing 5 pounds, I will cross it off and change the target to read another 5 pounds! In this way, I trick myself into following through on small goals. These all add up toward reaching my goal, so I get what I was after anyway – losing 15-pounds! 

Daily Walking

A daily walking plan is just what I need. I know I am sitting too much and that is never a good thing. I have begun walking on my treadmill when I check email and read blogs. I have added it to my “TO DO” list on my date planner. I like to see my list crossed off with all the things I have completed. This is another mind game I play with myself to meet my goals. At the end of the day, I am happy if my list is completed. I feel like I carried out my goals for that day.

Meditate Once a Day

I stumbled upon the Chopra Center and this great article about meditation for beginners: Learn to Meditate in 6 Easy Steps. Meditation is all about relaxation and counting your breaths. It makes you live in that simple moment – listening to your own breath going in and out… The best part is that you choose your own mantra to repeat. Here’s mine:

Write in My Food/Gratitude Journal Daily

Part of pursuing a healthy lifestyle is taking the time to do the things that keep you in line. When I keep track of my daily food intake by writing in a notebook, I lose weight. When food journaling becomes a priority, losing weight happens. As a bonus, I like to list five things I am grateful for each day. That way, I can’t have a pity party because I chose not to eat something that wasn’t right for me. My friend, Annette Rochelle Aben, asks her friends every day what we are grateful for on a Facebook post. It feels good to share what you are most thankful for that day.

Continue My Daily Writing Goal (The Meadow Fairy)

I discovered that if I write for two hours each day on my novel that I get more done that way. I’m talking about a first draft here, so it is a stream of consciousness writing. Later I will go back and edit and rewrite. This is just to get the story out of my head and on paper. This is a huge goal for me because I hope to have the second book in The Heart Stone Chronicles finished and published by late autumn. By making this goal a priority, I know I must stay on track to reach my goal.

Find an End to My Day

Find time to spend with those you love most. Step away from the computer. Get off social media. Put your phone down. Let your brain decompress. Relax and get ready for a bedtime ritual. READ A BOOK. This will make sure that you have a fabulous night’s sleep to begin your new day tomorrow!

My favorite guy

Sugar and Spice

Image credit: TFLguide.com

The bottom line is to set some goals for yourself for 2017. Figure out what you want to do and how you want to meet those objectives. As you can see, being mindful is all about becoming aware of your own needs.

If you would like to join me with your goals, please do. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can get in touch with your own mindfulness needs and how it pertains to your life. Write about it. We all learn from each other’s experiences.

If you’d like, you can link to my post with a ping back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of Mindful Monday supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my weekly Mindful Monday posts. I’m happy to have you along for the journey! ❤

Image credit: JingaJuice.ph

Remember, this is not a challenge.  Each of us has different goals that we want to reach. This is an offering of support and a place where my online community can come to talk about mindfulness. If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday post, you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making.  If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary.

Thanks for being part of my journey into mindfulness. Don’t forget to share your goals for 2017. ❤ Happy New Year Blessings to you all. Namaste.

Mindful Monday – How to Start a Weight Loss Journey

Welcome to Mindful Monday. Each week I try to examine new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more mindful. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to live in the present. Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.

Another Christmas has come and gone. How do you feel after the holiday? Do you feel like you gained ten pounds from all the holiday sweets and heavier than normal foods you consumed to celebrate the season? Me, too!

As I wander through the last days of 2016, my mind always returns to what I carried out or didn’t carry out in the past year. I did well maintaining my weight for the first half of the year. The second half of the year was a disaster. I quit eating correctly and have paid the price with weight gain. Besides that, I don’t feel as healthy as I did at a lower weight.

So… it is time to renegotiate my diet and assume control over a situation that I let get out of control. Some people like to create an actual contract with themselves. I am going to create a personal mantra.

The December 2016 Family Circle Magazine had a little article on page 126 that caught my attention. It’s called: “Facing Your Fears,” and I am quoting the piece:

“Think about one of your most positive, life-changing experiences. What did it teach you about your own power – that you’re resourceful? Strong? Creative? Use those impactful traits to create a mantra for your next life challenge: “I can and will do __________ because I’m __________.” (Fill in the blanks with your own words).”

Here are a couple of my accomplishments from years past. In 1999, I quit smoking after I had smoked for more than twenty + years, and in 2012, I lost a total of 55 pounds. Each of these accomplishments took dedication and strength. Oh, and fortitude. I didn’t give up even when it was hard. This is crucial. I can use these past experiences to create my personal mantra for 2017:

If you’d like to join me in making your personal mantra for the new year, please do. I wrote mine on a sticky note which I have placed on the front of my refrigerator. That way I must see my words every time I open the door.

Now, select the eating style that works best for you. I am going to stick with my Weight Watchers Points Plus because that has worked for me in the past. The key to the success of this program is writing down what you eat in a food journal. I’ve talked about this before and use a notebook with a page per day. I also write down five things a day I am grateful for on each page. This helps to keep me in check.

CHECK OUT this cool body weight simulator. You type in your current weight and height and then add your target weight and height. You get an image of what you look like now compared to how you will look when you lose the weight! You can even make the model look more like you. Have fun and discover some Instant inspiration!!

I have a friend who has lost weight by photographing her healthy and not so healthy meals every day and putting them on Instagram. What a great way to make yourself accountable. If it worked for her, it might work for you.

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 RULE?

I found this article on Popsugar and was really interested in this concept. Popsugar shares:

“The 80/20 principle is no diet — it’s a lifestyle change that can lead to sustainable weight loss. Folks who have suffered on rigid, limiting diets in the past find that this new rule teaches them about balance and moderation, a concept that never exists in a fad diet. When you practice 80/20, you have the space to go out socially and enjoy a meal (or a cocktail!) with friends, but most importantly, it makes the whole clean-living thing feel doable for the long run.”

“The breakdown is simple: 80 percent of the time you focus on eating clean, good-for-you foods, and 20 percent of the time you have the freedom to indulge as you please. Don’t be concerned about the math, but it’s simple: if you eat three square meals a day, three of those meals every week are your 20 percent cheat meals; if you eat five small meals a day, then seven of those small meals are up for grabs.”

I really like the idea of eating correctly 80% of the time and having a 20% period each week that I could splurge a little. In fact, I must tell you I have tried this theory in the past, and it does work. If you are looking for a way to start a weight loss journey this might be the one for you.

It is worth a try I would say if you are struggling with the confinements of most diets. Check out Livestrong.com for more on the 80/20 eating style.

Image credit: Mynaturalfamily.com

Here is another healthy living lifestyle diet:

Image credit: Evalinda George on Pinterest

Here is a shopping list to get you started and the link to the PDF you can print out yourself: oldwayspt.org

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways to live. For me, Weight Watchers is the closest version of this eating style. Watchfit.com is a great place to get started on learning the basics of this eating style.

In addition, you must figure out a way to get more exercise. I have a treadmill, so that really helps to keep me moving during the winter months. Walking is a safe way to start an exercise program. Make sure to check with your doctor if you have any health issues before starting an exercise program or diet. Remember, I am only sharing ideas and my own personal journey. What works for me might not work for you.

I have a beginning walking goal of one mile a day for five days. I want to stagger the two days off in between the other days. I do this because it is too easy for me to take two days off and then not want to walk again. Consistency is key to sticking with your goals. It seems that I have to play mind games with myself to succeed.

How about you? What are your healthy living goals for the week?

Image credit: Quotesgram.com

Have a wonderful week! If you would like to join me in your own healthy living journey, please do. Use whatever program works for you. You do not even have to follow a plan if you don’t want to. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can become healthier and fit. This includes going gluten-free, fat-free, lactose-free, starting an exercise program, or even a new way of eating such as becoming a vegetarian. If it has to do with becoming healthy, write about it!

Link to my post with a ping back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of healthy living supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday posts. Together we can become healthier!

Remember, this is not a challenge.  Each of us has different goals that we wish to reach. This is an offering of support and a place where my online community can come to take part in achieving a healthy lifestyle.  If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals, you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making.  If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary.  My main aim here is to give and get support to become more mindful of my journey to healthy living.

Thanks for being part of my fabulous journey to a healthy lifestyle. Don’t forget to share your journey. ❤ No matter what your goals are in becoming healthier, together we can do it!

I wish you much peace and joy in the week ahead. ❤

Mindful Monday – “Have Yourself a Mindful Little Christmas”

In my weekly feature called, “Mindful Monday,” I like to share my journey on the road to becoming more ‘mindful.’  This encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to.

Welcome to Mindful Monday. I’m happy to see you.

Hello, and welcome to another week on Mindful Monday. Are you busy with the holiday season? Are you running around frazzled trying to have the “perfect” holiday for you and your family?

christmas-shopping

As many of you know, as a Buddhist, I don’t celebrate Christmas, even though I was raised with the tradition. However, Christmas was a strange event in the home I was raised in. For me, Christmas was, and still is a Christian tradition. As a child, the holiday I knew, was about attending church services, singing in the choir, and having dinner with my stepmother’s grandmother and her father in law from her first marriage. I did not grow up with my siblings who were many years older than me, and I did not see them until I was a teenager. It was an unusual existence.

My step mother did not have children, and she did not like them – myself included. One year, after the novelty of having a stepdaughter wore off, my stepmother changed my perception of the holidays which has colored my entire life’s attitudes about Christmas.

One year, there simply was no Christmas. The tree was decorated (only by my stepmother) and stood at its place of honor in front of the living room window. Yes, there were presents wrapped and placed under the tree. Instead of a holiday celebration, my father and stepmother had a terrible fight. I hid in my bedroom, as usual, eavesdropping as children usually do. I believe I was ten years old at the time.

The fight raged for hours, and I knew once they started, it would not quit anytime soon. Eventually, I remember going to bed and falling asleep. When I awakened in the morning nothing was said about Christmas. The presents were gone, having vanished into the night. I never did find out what happened to them and never asked. Children were seen and not heard at my stepmother’s house.

I remember returning to school after the holiday and listening to everyone talk about what they got for Christmas. I never said a word. Instead, I buried that pain deep inside, never wanting to deal with those feelings of rejection from my parents. From then on, Christmas was stressful. I always waited for the same thing to happen again. It didn’t, but for holiday seasons for years to come; I tip-toed around afraid to know if there would be a Christmas or not.

Years later, when I had my children, the memory of that one Christmas still haunted me. I celebrated Christmas with my kids the best I could, but I was always uncomfortable with the custom. I did succeed in making Christmas a joyful event for them. We didn’t have much, but we had many fun traditions, like baking and decorating cookies, playing games together, and just living in the moment of that time together. We always had a Christmas tree and as many presents as we could afford. In fact, I don’t know that any of our five children even know this story from my past. Maybe I should have told them. Our blended family lives all over the United States, and we haven’t celebrated a holiday together in many years…

Here is the crux of my story. Christmas is not about presents or the things you get from friends and family. It is not about sacrificing your peace of mind while trying to make the perfect day for your family. It is not about Christmas trees, decorations, or any of the countless other ways we have of spending money to celebrate this day.

Christmas is about living in the moment and enjoying each other’s company. It is about traditions and the celebration of family. It is also about reflecting on the year that you and your family just soldiered your way through. It is a celebration of your triumphs and the acknowledgment of gratitude for your life.

It is also about letting go of old traditions and starting anew…

So, Ron and I have decided to start a new tradition. Instead of Christmas, we are going to celebrate the Winter Solstice (The Yule, or wheel) on December 21st, much like our ancestors of old, where fires were lit to represent the life-giving forces of the returning sun. The imagery of “the wheel” fits perfectly with the precept of the Buddhist Wheel of Life and our beliefs.

We will honor the new solar year with light, candles to be exact. My plan is to do a Solstice Eve ceremony where I meditate in darkness followed by the lighting of a single candle to represent the birth of the new sun, expressing our hope in the future. We don’t have an indoor or outdoor fireplace where we can burn a Yule log, but I am going to improvise with pine scented incense.

Image credit: Pixabay.com

My thoughts will center on letting go of that old pain from that Christmas long ago. It is time to cut those threads that have bound me to that bit of suffering I couldn’t seem to let go of. In my meditation, I want to visualize that pain tied up in a knot. Slowly, my plan is to mentally unravel those tangled threads so they can float away into the nothingness, and be gone. It is time to start anew. Ron and I have each other, and we are our family.

After my meditation and later in the day, we plan on celebrating by feasting on a fabulous dinner of baked bread and a delicious and wholesome beef stew. I am making a celebratory red velvet cake with peppermint frosting for dessert. There will be many toasts to the new solar year. This is a time of renewal and for recognizing the blessings of the new year to come. It will be about us spending time together and enjoying the fact we are alive and together.

Yet, I don’t want to lose sight of what Christmas means for everyone else. So here are my suggestions for living mindfully on Christmas day:

Relax and slow down. Pay attention to your breath. Focus on your conversations and put your cell phones, tablets, and computers away. When it comes time to enjoy your dinner, sit together as a family. Take your time as you eat and savor each moment. Think about what is vital to you on this day. Stop worrying about things out of your control. Live in the moment and enjoy. Let the love of your family wrap you in a joyful embrace.

Remember, this is not a challenge.  This is an offering of support.  If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals, you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making.  If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary.  My main aim here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in my life. Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Namaste. What are your mindful goals for this week?


Peace and joy to you all during this holiday season. ❤