Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No, It's Not Easy for Me Or How to Workout When You Really Don't Want To

I hear it over and over and over and over..."Oh, it's so easy for you. Look at you. You're so good at getting your workouts in and eating healthy. Must be nice."

Um, no. It's not easy for me. Never has been. What I have done is practice...and practice...and screw up...and get back on the horse...and backslide...and start over...

Until I've created a history of regular exercise and healthy eating that supports a healthy lifestyle.  BUT that doesn't mean I WANT to workout all the time. Take this morning, for example. It's cold here. Like, below freezing cold. I bundled up and headed out to my yurt because that's what I do every morning before the sun comes up, not because I was jumping for joy over the prospect.

I got the heaters going and then meditated (bundled up) until it was time to fix the kids' breakfast and take them to the bus stop.

THEN I had to force my butt back to the yurt and make myself workout.

Eventually, I took off the hat...then the coat...rolled out my yoga mat and got started. I had to practically pry my butt out from in front of the heater, but that's par for the course. It's not easy every day.

One thing that gives me the extra umpfff necessary? Knowing in a few minutes I will be feeling totally different. Why? Because I choose fun music for my yoga practice AND soon I will be sweating and breathing hard. I like that. Why? Well, because I feel good afterwards. I promise, if you get started your mindset will change faster than you might think.

Why am I so excited about this yoga practice? Let me tell you a secret to wanting to come back to your workouts: make it interesting. Why do I love yoga above all other forms of exercise? I'm always working on something. I have goals. I shake it up. Yoga stays interesting to me because I can never perfect it. It's not called yoga perfect. It's called yoga practice and I'm practicing different things all the time. Like this flying bird kriya thingy...

Before you know it, you're lying in savasana, wondering why you were so resistant in the first place.

I absolutely LOVE the feeling after a good workout. I love the way my body feels, how hungry I am, how energized I feel, and most of all, I feel good mentally. If just for a moment.

No, it's not easy for me, but I have learned how to stack the odds in my favor, that I'll actually get a workout in. First, I schedule my workout first thing Monday through Friday. If I get a workout in over the weekend, fine. If not, that's fine too.

Second, if I fail to workout one day, it's not the end of the world. I get on it the next morning first thing. I keep making the effort. I never schedule anything during workout time. Period. Do you schedule appointments when you sleep? of course not.

Third, I set a time limit for my workouts. 60 minutes tops. Usually more like 40 minutes. No exceptions. No excuses, unless its the weekend or I've given myself a special day to play around for as long as I like. Usually, though, I have too much going on for that.

Fourth, I choose workouts that are interesting to me. I'll try new workouts and keep a running list of the ones I really liked. Those are my go tos. I have goals. Whether its learning a new kriya (which can take years of practice, btw) or gaining muscle mass and definition. If you like to run, challenge yourself with distance or speed goals.

Last, I have learned that the rewards of working out FAR outweigh the rewards of sleeping in or sitting on my ass drinking another cup of coffee. Believe me when I say I've done it. I will slip on occasion and do it again. And I will not like the way I feel the rest of the day. I like those things, too, but if I don't workout, I will tend to be more irritable, tired, and anxious throughout the day.

That last lesson is a tough one to learn. It's taken me fifteen years of consistently working out to figure it out. So don't give up. Ever.

And here's my yoga playlist for today's practice...

What is your favorite excuse not to workout?

What's your favorite workout?

Namaste, my peeps.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recipe of the Week: My Alternative Universe version of Quinoa-Cranberry Chicken Salad

I love finding healthy, yummy recipes and tweaking them. I know what I like. I have cooking
routines that save me work and the temptation of grabbing unhealthy foods, and I like working new recipes into that routine. It's better to make recipes fit into my lifestyle, rather than making everyone miserable by trying to alter my cooking habits. *clears throat* Enough said about that. I'm perfectly aware I have issues. Moving on...

Hence, my Alternate Universe Quinoa-Cranberry Salad. I found the recipe listed in a clean eating detox post my friend Liz Schulte shared with me.

Here's the link to the original Quinoa-Cranberry Chicken Salad recipe by Jenessa's Dinners.

Here's the deal. I slow cook a couple pounds of chicken breast every Sunday so I have instant gratification protein in the fridge. Seriously. When I get back from a weight training session, I'm liable to inhale the refrigerator if I don't have that chicken handy. So, instead of grilling the chicken in this recipe, I used the slow cooked chicken I already had in the fridge. Makes life so much easier around here.

I also keep packets of seasoned quinoa on hand for quick meals, too. Sooooo, instead of scouring the local grocery stores for red quinoa, as the recipe calls for, I used the Sesame Ginger quinoa I had on hand. Easy peasy, no stress for momma.

The rest of the ingredients were things I keep on hand anywhoooo so that was even easier. Here's how it all worked out in my alternate universe that is Melissa's World.


2 large chicken breasts, slow cooked in crockpot (seasoned any way you like. I use Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tbls. olive oil
3 tbls. balsamic vinegar
1 tbls. lemon juice
1 drop doTERRA Lemon essential oil
1 package Roland's Quinoa - Toasted Sesame Ginger flavor, prepared and cooled
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/8 cup slivered almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

You'll notice that I changed some of the amounts from the original. That's a personal preference thing AND to make this recipe fit my macronutrient requirements.


Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool. Chop chicken into 1 inch cubes. Chop scallions.

Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Lemon essential oil, and salt and pepper. Whisk to blend, then add scallions and stir.

When quinoa is cooled, mix all ingredients.

That's it! Ta da! Yummmmmmmm....

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it turned out and what personal tweaks you gave it.

Much love and light to everyone. :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What is Happiness?

I’m not sure. I’m really not.

Is it that feeling we get when we buy something new? I think that’s excitement, but what’s the difference?

Is it that feeling we get when we hug our dog? Or is that love? Contentment? Comfort?

Is it that feeling we get when we kiss our significant other? So why does it not always feel the same? The first kiss is different from the last kiss, isn’t it?

How about when we eat a four course meal? There’s a few moments of euphoria, for sure, but I doubt that’s happiness. Maybe it is for some folks. Later on, I will always always crash, and that feels like crap. By the way, what DOES crap feel like? Never mind. That’s a loaded question.

Is happiness a fleeting emotion? And if so, is chasing happiness much like chasing the perfect high? An endless, fruitless search that leaves us frustrated and dazed? Maybe even brain damaged?

I’ve read that happiness is overrated, that satisfaction is a much better prize. I’ve heard happiness comes from being content with what we have, not coveting or wanting. I take issue with the “not wanting” because its NOT possible not to want. Try it. At least, trying not to want is like trying not to have to pee. Pointless and painful.

Maybe its the TRYING that leaves us wanting and unhappy. Nah. Because trying is important. If we don’t try, nothing will ever happen. Of course, we know what Yoda says: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Hmmmmm…

I have NO answers here. I’m just pondering.

What do you think happiness is?

Do you think its worthwhile to pursue it?

If not, what should we be pursuing, if anything?

Maybe we need to stop pondering all this (not that pondering is a problem, but knowing when to stop is) and just, uh, BE happy.