Failure means you’re trying… right?

Well hello there, sorry about missing last month, let’s pretend that didn’t happen :)

To be honest there was a project last month and it failed so spectacularly that I wasn’t even sure how to write about it in a way that didn’t make me sound like a complete baby.  I still haven’t figure out how to see it in a good light, but I decided to write about it away.

Last month’s project was an attempt to go vegan for the month.  I figured I was already in a diet changing mode and it has been on my list forever.  Actually it’s probably been on my radar since that last time I tried to go vegan just about 10 years ago.  However the first time I was a horrible vegan and got quite sick and nutrient depleted.  Now I don’t blame that on the vegan diet in general, just what I chose to eat, which was little and less.  Which of course didn’t work out that well for me.  So this time around I wanted to do it well and I researched lots of awesome vegan recipes.  It started off pretty well: I really liked all the food choices I had, I didn’t feel hungry or like I was missing out.  However as the days went by it got harder and harder with each of these situations popping up:

I joined some friends out to eat and didn’t look at the menu ahead of time.  There was actually nothing vegan at all… at all!  It really sucks to be hungry and just have to sit there and watch everyone around you eat, and eat all the things you can’t have.l

 …yum  :(

I loved all the food I prepared, but it was quite a lot of work for most of the meals.  Also it required a lot of ingredients I don’t normally stock, which isn’t a big deal except it makes planning a necessity.

glass food container

Cooking and eating felt like it became a full-time job.  Just to eat enough calories to keep training well I felt like I was eating veggies non-stop.  When I wasn’t eating I was planning meals or chopping/ prepping for the next meal.  I also began to think about food all the time – which was unnerving.

thinking-foods

and then I broke – almost 2.5 weeks in I had a full on tantrum while training.  I literally lay on the floor whining until daniel agreed to go with me to get a burger.  I DON’T EVEN LIKE BURGERS!

tantrumdon’t mind me, I just need a minute… or 5

For the rest of the month I tried to be vegan three days a week, which I did… but I still feel like it was a massive fail.  Maybe 2 months of playing with my diet is too much or maybe I’m just too much of a baby either way… FAIL!

Although it wasn’t all for naught.  I did learn that not eating meat didn’t make my body feel better.  In fact a small amount of meat usually resulted in better training sessions the next day.  However dairy was another story.  Dairy definitely made my allergies worse.  After the first week without dairy I didn’t have a need to blow my nose or any phlegm in my throat.  My reactions to our cat were also reduced, although not eliminated.  Which sucks because I love cheese and cream in my coffee, but it’s good to know cause I also like to breathe :)

Even with small steps, you eventually get somewhere

no-sugar

This post feels worlds apart from my last one.  Not that sugar doesn’t still tempt me, but it’s much less often and much less intense.  Here are the techniques I used to keep sugar at bay.

1.) Get as much of it out of the house as you can.  My husband doesn’t like sweets at all, so this was an easy one for me to do.  It was easier for me to resist a sugar craving when there was nothing in the house that could fix it.

2.) I ate more fruit.

lifeologiahowtoeatfruityum!  

3.) I recognized my craving patterns.  The biggest one for me is after dinner.  Almost like clockwork, even when I wasn’t thinking about sweets before, I always wanted a dessert after dinner.  I switched up that pattern by always making a cup of tea or hot lemon water (I’m an old lady) right after dinner.  It helped a lot.

4.) The small picture.  Taking things one day at a time instead of thinking of a future where I am never allowed to eat sugar again.

5.) Slowing down and focusing on what I am eating.  I eat fast and I’m on the go a lot.  By trying to slow down my eating and focusing on the flavors I’m more satisfied with what I am eating, and less preoccupied with what I’m missing.

And here are some things that I read about that didn’t help me at all:

1.) Smell the dessert/ sweet that you are craving.  This did not work for me.  I have to say I only tried it once, but for me it dramatically increased my craving and it gave my craving a goal.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the piece of chocolate until I eventually ate it.  Plus I don’t want to be the weirdo smelling other people’s desserts in public.

2.) Just having one or two bites.  At least right now, one bite is not an option my brain understands.

Funny-cat-meme-Cake

I don’t think I am %100 sugar free, but I have cut down a lot and I am already craving it a lot less.  It’s a little magical to me how easily I can taste sugar in places I couldn’t before, like bread and salad dressings.

**side note**  WHY is there sugar in store made bread?  I’ve made bread a lot and there is no need for sugar at all, what’s the point!!  When you put sugar in bread it becomes cake.**

Lastly a word of advice for anyone who in interested in lessening their sugar consumption:  be prepared for it to be hard.  Sugar is addictive, a mood stimulant and it’s everywhere.  But the difficulty begins to subside in as short as a week with little to no sugar.   Forever without sugar sounds daunting and impossible, but when you take it one day at a time… well then it’s as easy as apple pie (sugar free apple pie of course!) :)

constant failure

 

 

baby-eating-cake

Who me?  No, I didn’t have any cake, nope not me

I’m not sure I have ever failed quite this bad and consistently at a project yet.

Since I am failing so bad, and this is a self-imposed project I decided to re-examine what I am doing and what my goal is.  I started this month with the idea that I wouldn’t have any sugar for the month.  However I clearly am not dealing well with cutting it out completely.  I’m not sure why, but I think I am eating and craving even more sugar than before simply because I feel like I can’t have it.  I’ve never done great with deprivation diets so I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  But it is disappointing :(

Not one to allow failure to get the best of me I have decided to start again, this time with the basics:  How much sugar is healthy?

According to the American Heart Association women should have no more than 25 grams of sugar per day which is equal to 6 teaspoons.  For men it is no more than 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons per day.  There is no suggested amount of added sugars in one’s diet.

How much is average?

The average adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, and the average child consumes 32!! (That’s 92g and 133g respectively)

sugar-spoons

How much am I consuming?

I averaged around 15 grams (4 tsp), which doesn’t seem horrible, but it was mainly all from breakdowns at the end of the day.

15 grams might not seem that bad, but what spurred the project is the strength of my cravings and the consistency in their behaviour.  I crave sweets consistently for the following reasons:

  • they are around
  • after dinner
  • when I complete hard tasks
  • when I am bored
  • apparently when I decide not to eat sugar

Another reason I wanted to do this project is that I feel awful after I eat sugar.  I feel physically bad (headache and trouble sleeping) and mentally bad because I know better.  However this knowledge never seems to help me when those cravings hit.

So I’m starting this project over, but armed with more information about my self and when to be on my guard.  I am going to mainly try a bait and switch technique whenever I crave sweets.  Hopefully doing something else instead of just trying to ignore them will work better.

drink tea or water

brush your teeth right after eating

move around more

take a bath

start a small project

get off the computer

read

write!

clean or organize something

I’ll start with those and see how this week goes!  

 

A little more about sugar:

nursing-your-sweet-tooth4

 

Sugar…sweet, sweet sugar

sugar_sugar-500x486

April’s project is having a rough start :(

My original plan was to give up sugar for the month.  I clearly underestimated both how much I love sugar and how many random things sugar is in.

IT’S IN EVERYTHING!  I check for sugar in places where I know sugar will be, but it’s lurking everywhere!  Which in turn makes me angry and sad about the state of our food system, which leads me to want sugar to stop being sad.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Why less sugar? – well my tastebuds love it, but my body doesn’t.  I get a headache, it leaves me with this weird jittery energy and I just feel bad.  But that urge to have something sweet usually overpowers my knowledge that I will feel bad after.

I tried to go cold turkey and I lasted four days, which feels both sad and embarrassing.

No_sugar__no_fun_by_Naimane

So I regrouped (over hot chocolate) and made a plan to slowly step down from sugar.

week 1: spend a week eating normally and just check how much sugar you are really eating

week 2: cut out all instances of adding actual sugar to things and sweets (things that are clearly refined sugars)

week 3: cut out as much sugar as you can (except fruits*)

I honestly think I want sugar more when I can’t have it.  To help avoid this I am going to allow one day a week where anything goes (saturdays)

girl-eating-chocolate-cake-280X280My goal is to reset my sugar cravings to a more reasonable level and find some other things that I can use/ do when I am craving sugar.

frutta fresca di stagione

* I am not going to cut out fruit.  While fruits can be very sweet, they come “packaged” with a lot of fiber, water, vitamins and nutrients.  The fiber slows down the digestion of the fructose in your body so your sugar hit is slower, plus it alerts your body that you are full which sugar by itself does not do.

 

April’s DIY box and March’s reviews :)

First out with the old, my march DIY makeup box contained:

march diy boxMarch Reviews:

Adidas aluminum free deo:

First of all I did actually find it for sale at a Rexall (Canadian drugstore) for about $4 or so.  Deodorants without aluminum are hard to come by.  I was happy to try this for the month and it lead to interesting results.  First, I did need to reapply it at least twice a day whereas I never need to reapply my regular antiperspirant deodorant.  That isn’t that big a deal, but I found it wasn’t quite up to the task of lasting through my workout/training.  What I found really interesting is that I think I smelled better even while sweating after a month of not using my regular deodorant.  I’m really interested to try another non aluminum deodorant and see if that pattern continues.  However for everyone’s sake I will probably use regular deodorant when doing shows :)

Fat Hair “0″ Calorie Amplifying Mousse:

I started the month using this a lot.  I think it probably does add some volume in the way hairspray can add volume.  It was great to use especially if I was going to wear my hair down.  However I often shower at night and/or wear my hair up for training and in those cases it didn’t seem to make a difference.

CeraVe moisturizing lotion:

This is a great catch-all lotion.  It’s a little light for the dry winter we’ve been having, but in general it’s a great body lotion.

Urban Decay Vitamin Infused Prep Spray – I think that’s a fancy title for primer

I didn’t really like this one, it seemed to burn my face when I would spritz it on.  I guess that could all those vitamins… but more likely it’s alcohol.  I definitely will be tossing the sample and not purchasing.

Natural House Body Brush – How do you use this, why do I have one… Who knows!

So apparently you use this brush to brush off the dry skin before you shower. The list of potential benefits is a little mind boggling though.  I didn’t notice any actual scientific studies to back up these claims, but it was nice feeling.  I will probably keep this one up for a little longer at least.

LUSH mint julips lip scrub:

I do really like this lip scrub, however I don’t think it’s that great for my lips.  Since it’s just flavoured sugar I tend to lick my lips a lot after putting it on, which is one of the main reasons that lips dry up.  Even if I wanted to keep using it, I wouldn’t buy it again because as I stated before it’s literally sugar with flavouring.  Here’s a link to making your own lip scrub if you ever want to try it.  Hmmm after reading that link, apparently you aren’t supposed to lip it off at all, I guess I’ll have to try that lip scrub myself!

Burt’s Bees almond milk hand creme

This creme is greasy, hard to get at, but works quite well.  I found it best to put it on right before bed.

Sephora lemon creamy body wash

This was just an average body wash, nothing that spectacular.  The scent wasn’t overpowering, but also was barely there.  I will not buy it again.

Ultra repair cream by First Aid Beauty:

This cream surprised me the most.  It’s a light cream that really sunk into my hands and feet and helped a bunch of cracks in my poor, dry hands.  It was non-greasy though too.  I liked the Burt’s Bee’s cream, but you basically have to only use it at night it’s so greasy.  This cream I could use and then open jars!  I tried a lot of lotions this month and I learned that there is no magic lotion to completely heal your hands overnight once you’ve let them get so dry, same this for lips.  I never really had patience to keep using lotion or lip balm daily, I always treated it as a one time fix when my hands were dry.  I started putting on lotion each night before bed and it made a huge difference!

 

…and now, in with the NEW!

April’s DIY Make up box

april box

 

The Health Deodorant – I bought this around the same time I got the adidas deo… when I get excited about an idea sometimes I enjoy the buying part more than the trying part.

New beginnings scrub – I got this as part of a package awhile ago… never quite got around to using it.

Sephora blotting papers - Another freebie that I never have used.

Kiehl’s ultimate strength hand salve - It’s been such a long, dry winter I was looking for anything to fix my hands.  I ended up only getting a sample because the lotion was $18!  Now that I’ve used up the Ultra repair cream by First Aid Beauty I am interested to see if it works as well.

Smith’s rosebud salve – In one of my many. many fits of severely chapped lips I bought this on a whim.  I’m interested to see if it’s better than the sugar brand because I would rather not spend $30 on chapstick.

Smashbox candid lip gloss – I can already tell I don’t like this one, yet I am having trouble throwing it away :(

Buxom lash mascara – another freebie, but I need a new mascara for shows this year.

Smashbox eye shawdow trio – I bought this to replace my old show make up, but again haven’t used it yet… I feel like there is a pattern starting.

Watt’s up! – an eye shadow highlighter .

Stay don’t stray - eye shadow primer.

Again I picked a lot of things this month, but the 4 of them are specifically for shows (mascara, eye shadow, primer and highlighter)  I really, really wanted to buy new makeup, but instead I went “shopping” in my old make up and I’m glad I did.  I pretty much had everything I needed already anyway.  So yay I guess, but also shame on me for hoarding so much stuff I can’t even remember what I have.

shame-600x320

Shame on you make up hoarding polar bear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A month of meditation

Green-Buddha

 

My taster series of meditation has been going smoothly, although it’s a little different than I thought it would be.  I kinda thought the book would explain a little bit about different types of meditation, I would try them for a week and then switch to the next type.  For example: “regular” meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation, using music, guided visualization or any of the other forms of mediation I don’t know anything about.  Instead, each chapter/ week has had a slightly different way of addressing the stream of consciousness parade (so far).  I was initially disappointed, but I have grown to really like this approach and in the beginning, the less distractions during meditation the better!

The weeks thus far have been:

1.) getting started and focusing on breathing

2.) noticing sounds and then letting them go

3.) noticing body sensations

4.) labeling incoming thoughts as being in the past or the future, and focusing on staying in the present

5.) THIS WEEK!  saying “no thanks” to your thoughts when they appear and demand your attention.

 

I have been doing my meditating first thing in the morning and find that it does settle my brain.  It’s been a really nice way to start the day off. I tried meditating at night when my schedule changed this past week, but I found it much harder.  My thought parade is going twice as fast and one time I even fell asleep!  I have really liked this project and I am going to finish out the chapters over the next month.  It’s pretty easy to find the time now when my schedule is reasonably consistent and I am at home, I hope I can keep it going during the summer touring months!

 

Any noticeable differences?

Why, I’m so glad you asked ;)  …and YES there have been!  I wouldn’t say it’s completely changed my life, but here are a few of the basic pros I have noticed:

  • It has created much more order in my morning. As the start of my day I find my self getting going faster and easier after meditating.
  • It has helped me control my parade of thoughts when I am not meditating.  Well control is a strong word, but it has helped me notice what’s happening and stop it before I get too far off track.  You know how you walk into a room and forget why you’re there… I don’t do that as much anymore.
  • During training when I benefit a lot from a quiet brain, I have been able to “control” my thought parade in much the same way.  This helps me concentrate on my handstand much longer than before.
  • It has made multi-tasking more uncomfortable… which for me is a good thing.  I’m not sure why, but for the first time in my life I don’t enjoy having the TV on while trying to do computer work or other paperwork.  I am now more comfortable focusing on one thing at a time.

This post brought to you by:  Pink Flamingo Tea (DavidsTea)

a citrusy and delicious herbal tea

Davids Tea Pink Flamingo

Beginning Meditation

meditation

I’m now into the second week of the book’s mediatation course.

SO far I like it.  8 mins is really no time at all so I don’t feel like it’s taking too much time out of my day.  It’s kinda amazing how long 8 mins can feel though, especially the first few times I was trying to meditate.  Or as the book (and yoda) would say, ” there is no try, you do or do not meditate”.  Which is another way of saying stop judging yourself immediately and just start the process.

Here’s how a typical meditation session goes.

Deep breath, deep breath, focus on breathing, focus on breathing

deep breath, (hear an airplane), envision an airplane, remember my last flight, think about how much luggage fees annoy me, feel annoyed

oh no I forgot about my breath, oh good it’s still there, deep breath, deep breath, focus on breathing, focus on breathing

repeat, repeat, repeat until 8 mins are up.

—————————————-

As I understand it so far, the practice of mediation is learning to just allow these thoughts to happen and try to catch yourself falling down the rabbit hole of thoughts as soon as possible.  In essence, you are not trying to stop having thought parades, you are trying to recognize that a parade it happening and let it pass rather than get caught up and join in the parade.

Balloons are paraded down 7th avenue during the 83rd Macy's Thanksgiving day parade in New YorkThis is how my mind can feel sometimes

So far the book keeps coming back to these two principles to keep in mind while meditating:

“Allow … allow … allow.  Allow whatever comes up. And exclude nothing. Emotions, thoughts, images – they’re all treated equally. The more you completely accept them, the more present you are and the more fluid your meditation.”

“Catch and release.  When you realize that you’ve hooked onto a thought gently unhook and release it.  Over time, you’ll become much more skillful at noticing when you’ve “hooked” something.  After a while, releasing will become easier and more automatic.”

As a complete novice this book is perfect for me, it feels a little like the cliff notes to Shakespeare.  Cliff notes can be a great place to start when Shakespeare seems intimidating, but you know you are missing out on something.  However, my interest is piqued and I have actively started meditating!

 

This post brought to you by Blueberry merlot tea, which I am absolutely loving!blueberry tea