Just start.

If I’m being honest, typically the last week in the month is a bit of a free for all when it comes to “good habits.” Meaning, I tend to put off working out… pour myself a second glass of wine… eat another slice of pizza… because there’s next month to start over!

I am the queen of fresh starts and clean slates. Usually- and I’m not exaggerating here – if I don’t start something on the first of the month, there is a good chance I’ll put it off for another 29 – 30 days.

I have a friend who did a 30 Day Yoga Challenge (which I’ve done a few of myself) and she just randomly started on like the 8th or something. When she told me this, my mind just couldn’t comprehend. I could never start something so abruptly. I need a “fitting” timeline (like starting on the first of the month!). Structure (4 week milestones neatly lumped together on my calendar for easy reference and note taking). An end goal (what’s a better “end” than the end of a month or year?!).

I remember actually asking her, “how can you just start something like that so randomly?”

This friend is a lot more laid back than I am. I’m sure she is often entertained (and exhausted) by my complex – sometimes complicated – way of thinking about things. She stared back at me. “What do you mean? You just start!”

You.just.start.

Say, wha?

I’m not 100% behind these words just yet but I am getting better at not letting the need for “fresh starts” take such superiority.

Even if it is against my nature. I really do like the idea of starting something new (or again, in most cases… eat better, drink less, move more…) at an appropriate time. My mind is run by timelines and To Do lists (don’t you want to be friends with me!?). At the beginning of each month I sit down with my planner and write down my fitness, writing, and personal goals. Surface level, I would say this is a good habit. It keeps me focused for the month but doesn’t result in boredom because I am constantly changing things up.

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The trouble begins when … life gets in the way. Which, of course, it is BOUND to do. For example, this week I had planned to do the classic cardio and strengthen training combination everyday.

And then I remembered I had a work dinner on Monday night.

And I was invited to a work event Tuesday afternoon/evening.

Two out of five of my workouts were already failures*. Typically, at this point, (PARTICULARLY because it is nearing the end of the month, the easiest time to let myself off the hook) I would have given up and resolved to start up again next week (or, next month).

But, I’m starting to recognize that consistency is best; not having a “perfect” month. So on Wednesday after work, I laced up my shoes, grabbed the trash (trying to save time and a trip down the stairs by taking  it out on my way for a run), and headed out the door.

And then I dropped my keys with the trash in the dumpster.

Luckily my neighbor was home and helped me fish them out but by the time we got them, Mike was home and we had to go pick up my car from getting some routine maintenance before the dealership closed.

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Dumpster diving

Three days in a row of life getting in the way of my perfectly planned workouts…

When we got home, I was getting hungry but I knew I had to do something. I headed outside again with the intention of running/walking 2 miles but by the time I was done with my 1st mile, I was ready to go in and start dinner. I figured 1 mile was better than nothing and decided to “make it up” on Thursday (today) and Friday. If I just did a 1/2 mile more each day, I would still come close to hitting my goal.

Today I set out for my 2.5 miles and was hit by an allergy attack after my first mile! I tried to continue but I was sneezing and snotting everywhere (not cute).

Another day of sub par exercise.

To summarize, my goal for this week was to workout everyday. I got out twice and only did 2 miles. But I’m going to go out again tomorrow (it’s the 1st of the month anyway!) and the next day and …well, then it’s Sunday and I’ll probably sleep in then but you get the point.

Just start. Just go. Just do it. (#Nike)

 

*I could have gotten up early and worked out in the morning but my success rate is pretty much 0 here so I didn’t even try.

Yoga Mat Confessions

I have a confession. I workout like … a grandma.

I don’t push myself to the max.

I rarely break a sweat when I “work out.”

I like to go on leisurely walks and do simple yoga flows.

…Sometimes I will add in a 5 pound “strength training” circuit.

Like I said, I work out like a grandma.

(It’s actually quite possible that many “grandmas*” work out harder than I do.)

I always say I am going to push myself harder and get stronger, faster, more toned, …better. But after I run I feel like I have the flu (no joke, my nose runs, my body aches, my head hurts) and I cannot physically lift more than 10 pounds without ruining my form.

I see some of my friends on Instagram with their rock hard abs and strong legs and think dayyymmmn… if only I had the time… 

But, the thing is, I do. I do have time to hit the gym and keep increasing the pounds I lift; even if I tremble and shake and can only do one repetition at first. I have the time to play soccer – or pick up another cardio focused sport – and work out while having fun so it doesn’t even feel like a work out. If I really wanted to, I could carve out time in my day for working out hard; like I find time for writing and walking and yoga and for reading every label in the grocery store (it literally takes me hours to shop for food).

But, for me, working out for any reason other than to move (because, let’s face it, we all feel better after a walk and some downward dog… we just do) and to mentally decompress just isn’t my thing.

So I officially declare that I accept my “grandma” workout tendencies. My stomach is soft and my thighs touch. My calves jiggle and, guess what?, so do my arms. Most days I opt for modifications while I do my chaturanga. I walker slower around one corner just to deeply inhale these insanely delicious purple flowers on my block. I don’t drag myself to the gym before daylight or try hard for muscle definition. That’s just not how I roll. I work out slow and soft. It’s a bike ride to the farmer’s market over an hour on the treadmill. It’s a light flow on my patio on a nice day over the 26 postures in Bikram yoga. It’s low-impact and minimal results. It’s letting go of the “perfect” body and, really, the time it would take to achieve it…

But, please know, that if you do subscribe to the No Pain, No Gain notion, I salute you. You are likely physically stronger than I am. You choose to dedicate your time and energy and hard work to your body, while I reserve those efforts for other aspects of my life. You probably have more strength (more muscle, more endurance) than me, but we are equally fierce. Neither is better as long as we are both happy and healthy.

On that note, make no mistake, this is not an anthem for not moving at all. I’m not writing this as an excuse to throw in the towel and swear off all exercise. I am not asking you to join my tribe and rebel against joining CrossFit. I am by no means saying I rather watch Netflix all day than be outside, working my feet and legs, breathing in the air, and knowing my heart is working a little harder pumping my blood throughout my body.

I have to move. I have to move for my mind and my body. But I don’t have to move for results. I can simultaneously respect the hard work it takes to get abs of steel but not become a slave to the gym myself.

I choose to take the hour a day dedicated to my body doing something that releases tension instead of creating soreness, but that’s just me. After all, I workout like a grandma, remember?

#VegOut

♡ Ashley

*I just like to use this term for elderly ladies, ok? However, of course, I do realize not every woman over the age of 60 is actually a grandmother… Like my own grandmother always reminds me!

Let’s Get Physical

Yesterday I completed a 30 Day Yoga Challenge and while I think yoga is an important part of working out – for it’s restorative benefits – I think there are also many other exercises that need to be incorporated into your physical health routine.  …Many other exercises that I have neglected for the past 2 weeks. It has been a really busy May and I decided only doing yoga daily would be enough for the last 2 weeks this month. In other words, I’ve been on a body-break AKA not really working out and …indulging more that usual.

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The Last Splurge

As I write this, I’m sipping on a margarita with every intention to have a giant piece of carrot cake for dessert after dinner. Hello, sugar OVERLOAD! Hello, I just watched the documentary Fed Up (you can read about that here) and should be way more concerned about the amount of sugar I am ingesting today. But, as mentioned, I’m on a little break. So, bring on the carrot cake!

Until tomorrow.

Tomorrow I am starting a 14 day sugar detox + TEATOX. I think 1/2 way through the year is a perfect time to get back on track health wise, if you’ve fallen off the wagon. Which, let’s face it, most of us have! So? what are the rules guidelines for this revitalizing cleanse? I’m not treating the next 2 weeks as a strict carrots-and-celery-sticks-for-lunch-with-chicken-and-broccoli-for-dinner regiment because it won’t be sustainable! Instead, I am going to drink my SkinnyMint tea every morning and every other night for it’s “boasting metabolism and detoxifying” properties along with eating* healthy, whole foods and drastically limiting my sugar intake.

  • This means NO ADDED SUGAR OR SWEETS for the next 14 days
  • LIMITED alcohol (if any!)
  • And AT LEAST 2 hours of physical activity a week – yoga not included.

This is probably going to be hard for me because, although I eat pretty healthy most of the time, I am a BIG believer in balance and that means it’s okay to have a cookie or a glass of wine once in a while. These next 2 weeks won’t be about balance though… (I think it is important to note, they won’t be about deprivation either!) The next 14 days are going to be about a body-revitalization. They will be about getting things back on track, loosing some bloat, toning up, and trying to adjust to a new life style with A LOT less sugar.

I’ll be posting on a semi-regular basis with updates on how both the sugar detox and teatox are going. I hope you’ll come back and read about it!

#VegOut

♡ Ashley

*This is NOT a 300 calorie a day type thing!

Ideally vs. Reality

I’m currently on Day 11 of a 30 Day Yoga Challenge and this evening, as I was in savasana, my mind relentless wondered. As it always does… I have a serious case of monkey mind and it aggressively flares up when I’m supposed to be in total relaxation, concentrating only on my breathing.

Innnn through the nose, ouuuut through the nose. Innnn through the nose, ouuuut through the nose.

Meanwhile, I’m just on the floor, palms ups, thinking about mundane things like what I am going to have for dinner tomorrow, remembering times I had in college, and trying to bring myself back to my breathe every time my wandering brain swings to another branch.

This got me thinking. Specifically about the way I sometimes wish my life were and the way it actually is.  For example, ideally, I would get up every morning and do yoga after enjoying a nice cup of hot water with lemon, in my organic herb garden. My reality is, I go to sleep every night thinking about giant Americano I am going to make in the morning, with my generous splash of half and half. My reality is, I mostly do yoga after a long day when my guilt gets the better of me and I roll out my mat. (Or, when I’m on vacation like this past weekend, I take to the mat after a hot toddy or two…side note: I was pleasantly surprised at my tipsy balancing skills.) My reality is, I have a black thumb that can’t grow a damn thing.

This can really be applied to any situation. Ideally, I would get my sh*t together and post on my blog AT LEAST once a week. My reality is, I haven’t typed a thing for this baby in about a month. Ideally, I would be on GMA talking about my 2 books I’ve published. My reality is, less than one hundred people have bought my books because my less-than marketing. And, for the most relevant scenario (as pertaining to The Veg Voyage anyway), ideally, I would have kept up with my Meatless March goals and would be transitioning into trying out more vegan fare. My reality is, I had wings this weekend.

I guess all I can do is hope my ideals and my reality get closer and closer to finding each other, falling in love, and becoming one. Until then, I’m going to try really hard to eat less meat (again) and write more blog posts. Nam-as-te!

#VegOut

♡ Ashley