I started this blog in June 2016, and I thought this would be a good time to post my why. The idea of starting a wellness journey came from an unhappy place in my life. I realized my sad self around Spring 2015. It hit me hard. I had been ignoring the signs of unhappiness for many months. My body started physically reacting in ways that I would now call wake up calls. I was breaking out into hives for no reason, I wasn't sleeping, and I started having panic attacks. I would go from having a loss of appetite to over eating based on how I was feeling. There was a lot going on in my life at that time with family, friends, and work that were unusually stressful for me. Instead of asking for help, getting help, or even acknowledging that I was struggling I let myself go down this rabbit hole. It led me to sleepless nights and an overall feeling of incompetency, anxiety, and fear. I tried to pull myself out by using my own will. My own will was broken though. It was skewed with less than helpful ideas of how I could make myself better. Then I made the worst decision ever which was to completely ignore that I was in trouble and start focusing on making everyone else happy. Surely I could get happy if I made other people happy, right? Well, in a healthy state of being that's probably true. But in my state of mind, making other people happy wasn't going to be enough. I kicked myself for weeks for not doing this sooner, but at my worst I decided to seek professional help. I made the appointment to see a Therapist. She's a Licensed Social Worker and we've been working together since Spring 2015. As having been a Therapist myself, I often cannot grasp why I didn't go sooner. It's been baby steps but my work with my Therapist has catapulted me into the best version of myself that I have ever known. We've talked about a lot in those sessions, but the biggest take away for me has been to make self care priority #1. I am no good to anyone, let alone myself, if I am not eating well, sleeping well, moving well, and loving my life. This blog is documenting how I am moving with purpose, and how these movements are contributing to my healing and continued happy life. What I do every day matters. How I think of myself and my experiences every minute matters. The foods I put into my body matters. Making my body move through fitness matters. Taking care of myself is just the first step. Everything else that I want good in my life will come because of this. If I am well, then I am contributing in meaningful ways as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, cousin, and friend.
Saving my mind, body and soul is my why.
This year I turned 40! Embracing my grey hairs, my laugh lines and stepping boldly into my future. Everyday is an opportunity to express gratitude for my life, family and friends. Thank you. Realizing that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I will never have this day again so I'm making it count. I have dedicated my time to aging well so that I can enjoy this day to the fullest. Cheers to never giving up, loving yourself and believing that there is something in us bigger than our obstacles.
I've read that getting back into a fitness routine can be compared to riding a bike. Once learned, it can never be forgotten. Well, I decided to take it literally by actually getting back on a bike. So I bought one! 😄 I haven't owned a bike since I was a child. What is most surprising is that my body not only experienced muscle memory (I was able to ride the bike with ease), but my mind has been recalling loads of happy & adventurous bike rides I had as a child. With each new ride comes a new fantastic memory of my childhood feelings of wonder, freedom, carelessness, enthusiasm, small pleasures, sense of wonder, and curiosity. These rides have helped remind me that those qualities are still in me. My adulthood has sort of compartmentalized those experiences into stuff I don't have time for. However, biking and everything it reminds me of makes me happy. Happiness snuck in a door I did not think was open. This wellness journey I've been on keeps getting better and better 😄
A large part of this journey has meant that I've had to learn how to cook. I am not a cook and I don't particulary enjoy cooking but I do really enjoy the eating part of it. Here's one of the surprise meals I made while learning how to cook Paleo.
(pics of what I used are in gallery below)
Use an instant-read thermometer. It should read 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part. If you don't have a thermometer, make a small slit in the center and peek to make sure it's white and opaque, not pink.
King Oyster Mushrooms & Collard Greens
By far my favorite part of this meal are the mushrooms.
Double click link below to read the Health Benefits of Oyster Mushrooms.
(THIS POST IS NOT SPONSORED BY TOPKICK)
I am turning 40 in a few weeks. Since my 39th birthday, I have been thinking a lot about the quality of my life. How do I want to age? My husband just turned 40 and my son is 7. My in-laws live with me and they are both in their golden years. As a wife, mother and daughter in law, my household of 5 has always come first. I'm also a daughter, a sister, sister in law, and friend. Each one of these roles are tied to very important responsibilities that I hold dear to my heart. I love them all so much.
As I contemplate on all of the wonderful people in my life, I feel compelled to be around as long as possible to take care of all of them. For many years I was convinced that everyone else's needs had to come first in order for me to be happy. I do genuinely take pride in being able to take care of them. However, I think I tipped the scale when I started neglecting my own health and wellness for the sake of theirs. I have learned over the last year that it is ok for to make myself a priority. It's empowering and it has actually strengthened my bond with my family. Every fear that kept me from putting myself first turned out to be not true. Once I decided to commit to aging well, I began to redefine my own thoughts of how I will age.
I started to envision my future self as active, adventurous and unencumbered with medical issues. Ultimately, I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life!
In 2015 through Spring 2016, I sat on the sidelines watching my then 6 year old son Owen train in Taekwondo at TopKick. It was thrilling to watch him challenge himself physically. I am so proud of him. Then one day it dawned on me. I could be taking Taekwondo too! I'm already there twice a week with Owen. We could even take class together. Well, I am a few months in and have recently been honored with the white belt. The white belt is considered the beginning. Starting pure without any knowledge of Taekwondo. It was incredible to join in on the same classes Owen was in. We trained for a few weeks together and then he graduated to a higher ranking green belt. We're in separate classes now but we talk every day about the new kicks and blocks we're learning. We train together at home. I am certainly benefiting mentally and physically, but I cannot express enough how much closer I am with my son. It was an unexpected benefit. The other day I asked Owen how he feels about our time together training in and he answered, "Because we share something we like, it builds us up. It gives us time to have fun, take chances and learn."
Check out my video below. It's me practicing the roundhouse kick. You see me from behind. I'm the one that kicks the ball. I have a long way to go, but I certainly look forward to each and every class. The classes are not easy, but I am determined to see this through.
WINNERS ARE NOT PEOPLE WHO NEVER FAIL, BUT PEOPLE WHO NEVER QUIT
This blog is not sponsored by Sport Rock Climbing Center, Sterling, VA
I do want to thank the staff for being so kind on our first visit. Our Belayer was not only knowledgeable but she was encouraging as she cheered us on all of our small accomplishments. The facilities are clean and everyone is friendly.
The moments before I took my first step off of the ground, I found myself taking a deep breath and surrendering to the rock. I take my first first step. Now I'm one foot off the ground. My second foot goes up and there I am one with the rock. Trusting my mind and body . . . I keep going. That moment before I leave the ground is an important moment. It's a conscious decision to succumb to the unfamiliar. It's an acknowledgement that I am not good at this. I tell myself that it's ok that I'm going to be terrible at this. I choose to embark and I decide to have fun. The challenge no longer becomes daunting. I feel joyful. By resigning to the unknown I become open to the experience of it all - good or bad. Repeated self-effacing moments like this are re acquainting me with humility. Becoming a mother also felt very much the same way. I had all of these ideas about how I was supposed to act, then I had Owen and nothing went as planned. It took me a very long time to let go and live in the moment with Owen. I realized that acknowledging that I am new at something is not the same as meaning I am a failure.
Take a peek! It's my first time top roping. I have a belay and harness on. Their was a very kind woman working that day being generous with her words of encouragement. I was accompanied by my son and my brother-in-law Lu Duong. He's an avid rock climber. I wouldn't have tried this without him. You can hear Lu, and my son in the background yelling all kinds of encouraging words. They are so sweet. These vids below are very short as I did not go very high. Just wanted to share with you my experience with the purpose of encouraging you to try something new. It doesn't have to be rock climbing. Whatever you try, you'll find it to be rewarding on so many levels. Take a chance! It makes life exciting!
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." - Hellen Keller
I already love water but during the summer time I love infusing my water with fresh organic herbs and fruit. It's healthy, easy and so yummy. If you're watching your caloric intake, this is all around a better choice. For example, a one serving glass of fresh squeezed orange juice contains the juice of 4 oranges or over 240 calories. Three orange slices in an infused water only is only about 30 calories. If you're not watching your caloric intake, then all you have to look forward to is that fresh burst of flavor in every sip. My favorite part about infusing my water is that I can customize my flavors. Have you tried infusing your water? What's your favorite concoction?
Try my "Summer Splash" infused water recipe.
- half of 1 grapefruit
- 3 Mint Leaves
- 1 Pitcher of Water
- Wash your grapefruit first before you peel it. Also wash your Mint leaves. You want to get any possible pesticide off before you submerge it in your pitcher of water.
- Cut your grapefruit in half
- Use a knife to cut the peel off of that one half of grapefruit
- Once I got the grapefruit out, I cut the grapefruit into large chunks
- Drop fruit into pitcher
-Pick 3 Mint leaves and drop into pitcher
- Fill pitcher with water
-Let pitcher sit in refrigerator for a few hours before the first sip
-Refill your pitcher as needed (NOTE TO SELF: Your water will be less infused the more you refill your pitcher so depending on how much water you drink, your concoction may last only a few days)
Cheers and bottom's up!
My fitness journey started with my desire to try new things. I wanted to get out of the gym and into new spaces. I wanted to challenge my mind and body with different physical activities. In the last year I've thrown myself into Kickboxing, Resistance Band Training and Taekwondo.
I am having a ton of fun. I am meeting a lot of nice, new, people. I am learning from a lot of friendly and supportive experts. I'm feeling empowered and more confident. I'm experiencing unexpected endless benefits. Learning all of these new activities has not only been challenging to my mind, but it's been most challenging on my body. As my body gets stronger, more flexible, and agile . . . the more I experience muscle "knots", AKA Trigger Points. It's like I'm getting to know my body all over again. There is discomfort in parts of my body that I didn't know could get uncomfortable.
This muscle pain can vary from person to person. I use a spiky massage ball to ease my trigger points. It helps me relieve muscular tension. My trigger points happen to be in my feet, my upper back in between my shoulder blades, and my lower back. Using my spiky massage ball every day. It improves my athletic performance, flexibility, and enhances my posture. There are dozens of different types of massage balls on the market. Not all are spiky. Some are large, some are softer. They are different shapes and sizes. Many just use a hard lacrosse ball. Personally, after trying a variety of balls, the spiky massage ball suits my needs best. Click here for examples of other self massage tools.
Below are pictures of me and my progression of pressure I use with the spiky ball on my lower back.
Stage 1: I put about 10% pressure on my spiky ball. At this stage I'm trying to plant the spiky ball on my trigger point.
Stage 2: I put about 25% pressure on my spiky ball. At this point I am adding pressure to A) to make sure I'm on the correct trigger point. If I need to adjust I'll go back to Stage 1, readjust, and then return to Stage 2. B) If I'm on the correct trigger point, I'm putting 25% to ease into the process. I never go from 0-100 with my spiky ball.
Stage 3: By now I know that I'm on my trigger point. As I look at my pictures below, I realize how funny it would be if you could see my face. Applying pressure to my trigger point at 75% is when my muscles start to angry with me. They are screaming, "What the heck are you doing Paula! This hurts!." Yes, I realize it's counter intuitive, but it's necessary for me to move now to Stage 4.
Stage 4: At this point I'm all in. I put 100% body weight on my spiky ball, and by now my body is saying, "Thank you for hanging in there. This feels much better."
Click here for other videos on other places of the body you can use a spiky ball.
I call it my new best friend because it goes everywhere with me. I have it around for long car rides and at work stations where I know I'll be sitting for long periods of time. I wish I had discovered it sooner. I can imagine that it would've been helpful during the months post birth of my son. I was achy all over and could've really used the daily relief. In any case, it's here now and I share this story because it's become part of my daily active life. Learning how to reclaim my health and well being has taken on a new literal form. My muscles talk to me and now I listen. My spiky ball massage ball routine is how I help my body recover. As I age, my daily routine of maintaining a healthy mind and body are comprised of a lot of little activities. This is just one of them.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher.
FUNNY SIDE BAR: MY SON HAS BEEN WATCHING ME DESIGN THIS BLOG POST THROUGH WORDS AND PICTURES AND INTRODUCED HIS VERSION WITH HIS LEGO BLOCKS. SO CUTE! LOVE THIS KID!
Thank you for visiting!
Summer is here, the sun is out and a heat wave is hitting large segments of the country. To cool off and get your micro-nutrients into your diet in a fun and delicious way, I have the "Cool Greens" smoothie recipe I need to share with you. It's a simple and tasty smoothie. I hope you enjoy it as much as my son and I did.
INGREDIENTS (for 1 serving)
- 1 cup of frozen spinach (I get mine from Trader Joes) My pictures reflects that I used 1 cup of raw greens today. I don't have a preference between frozen and raw. Try them both out and find out what you like.
- 3 strawberries
- 1 carrot
- 1 cup of Almond Milk or Coconut Milk (I am allergic to Coconut Milk so I use Almond Milk)
- Wash your ingredients
- Dump all ingredients into your blender (We used our Vitamix)
- Blend for 30 seconds. (You can blend more or less depending on your preferences. The less you blend the more pulpier your drink. The longer you blend, the less chunky the drink).
My son will only drink them if blended enough for a smooth swallow. He's not feeling the chunky smoothies with a lot of pulp. That's his middle ground and I'm taking it! I'll get veggies into him any way I can get it.
If you tried the Smoothie let me know how you like it. If you put a twist on it, let me know what you did. I'd love to start a community on here where we share our healthy drinks.
Cheers and bottom's up!
I am a Fitness Instructor at KUT (Kickboxers Ultimate Training)