Thankful Thursday: Is This What I Truly Want?

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay — and rise!”

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

-Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s poetry always moved me, but I didn’t quite appreciate the beauty and simplicity of her words until recently.

My journey- sometimes impossible but always worthwhile- continually forces me to confront my past, my fears, my choices and my vision of a life that I am working so hard to shape each second of every day.

It’s not easy. Nothing worth having, ever is.

But Angelou’s words always seem to appear when I needed them most, as a reminder to strip down the obstacle to it’s barest core and walk away from it with a lesson instead of a burden.

I’ve worked myself into the ground, trying so hard to do everything I can to move past this point in my journey and get to the next level towards my higher purpose. It’s as if I’m trying to make up for eight years of stagnant growth in a few months.

I ignored my body’s urgent messages, namely exhaustion and lack of focus, to slow down and committed myself to a grueling schedule.

I made excuses for skipping the things that actually make me feel good, like exercise and healthy eating, and told myself that it would have to take a backseat to what was necessary in the moment.

I forgot that experiencing the journey moment by moment was the whole point here, and the destination is only a byproduct.

We work ourselves into the ground or up against a wall and grind ourselves down even further until there’s nothing left. It’s become a silent disease that cripples us and stifles our passions. But we sacrifice it all for a vague dream or a status quo, never taking the time to stop and ask ourselves:

Is this what I truly want?

Maya Angelou was a remarkable woman in so many ways. She left a permanent mark in the world with her brilliance and her dedication to teaching us the most important lessons in life: self-acceptance, equality, kindness, dedication, love.

I’ve given up so many times in the past at exactly the point that I find myself now. I get so tired and the vision that appeared so sharp and bright when I began, suddenly gets blurry and confusing.

But if there’s anything I’m grateful for this week, it’s that I’m hitting that turning point and choosing to ask myself the important questions so that I can continue moving forward, not backward.

Get a workout in. Skip the piece of cake and reach for fruit instead. Go to bed earlier to get quality sleep for the day ahead. Saying no when I possibly can’t get it done. Saying yes when fear tells me not to. These are the little steps I’m taking to get there, bit by bit.

Thankful Thursday 529

Do you take the time to take care of yourself?

What are you thankful for this week?

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5 Super Easy Ways to Stay Healthy this Memorial Day

Memorial Day, Happy Memorial Day, Animated Graphics, Animated Gif, Animated Gifs, Keefers photo: Memorial Day, Happy Memorial Day, Animated Graphics, Animated Gif, Animated Gifs, Keefers 673990b9.gifIt’s the unofficial start to summer which means cookouts, beach trips, and a food-filled weekend!

It can be easy to get caught up in the fun and slip off the health wagon once the summer parties begin. From high-calorie eats at barbecues to boozy afternoons at outdoor beer gardens, you can quickly fall off track with your health goals.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are many simple ways to substitute typical summer party fare for healthier alternatives that will keep your celebrating while in shape, all season long.

Here are five tips to stay healthy this Memorial Day weekend and onward:

1. Skip the ketchup. It may seem like sacrilege to forgo the ketchup on a hot dog or burger during a barbecue, but think about how much of it you’re eating throughout the day. Ketchup, as yummy as it is, usually has high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. No need to load up on all of that added sugar each time you reach for that bottle. Mustard is a great alternative, in moderation. It’s much lower in fat, calories, and sugar, but can be high in salt. If you’re not a mustard fan, get your ketchup fix with thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes. They’re naturally sweet, and are nutritional powerhouses with fiber, vitamins A, C, K, B6, and lycopene which protects your skin from the sun and supports strong bones. Better choice, no?

courtesy MyRecipes.com

2. Greek yogurt is all-purpose. Greek yogurt is a familiar breakfast staple, Throw in some granola and chopped fruit, and you’re good to go. But did you know that you can also use greek yogurt for savory dishes? If it’s your turn to bring the potato salad, swap the mayo for the low-fat and protein-packed yogurt instead. I’ve tried this before, and I can guarantee that your salad will still be delicious and creamy without weighing you down. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:

Potato Salad
courtesy Shape magazine

3. Treat yourself with dessert. And by dessert, I mean fruit. LOTS of it. One of the best things about summer cookouts is that its perfect timing for some of the best fruit in season. Berries, peaches, plums, mangoes, pineapples, watermelon; there are many different varieties available that are both healthy and delicious. A slice of cake may seem tempting, but wouldn’t you rather snack on this instead?

Courtesy TheBetterMom.com

4. Hydrate the smart way. Let’s be honest here. Most barbecues have some kind of alcohol, whether it’s beer or fruity cocktails. It’s a holiday and you want to kick back and have some fun. I get it.  I’m not going to rain on your parade, BUT if you’re looking to go the healthy route this year, be mindful to keep your alcoholic drinks to a minimum, one for women and two for men. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re spending the day outdoors and playing games. How about you throw in some of the dessert in your water, like these fruit-infused waters?

courtesy TheYummyLife.com

5. Don’t just sit there. After a long and terrible winter, don’t you think it’s time to get up and move around a bit? Go for a swim or hang up a net and play a friendly game of volleyball with your friends. Do all of the things you told yourself you were going to do once the snow melted. Get those potato sacks out of storage. The weather is finally right, so put on that sunscreen and have some fun!

courtesy of Univision

 What are your plans this holiday weekend?

How do you stay healthy during cookouts and summer parties?

Please feel free to share your comments or questions below or on FB and Twitter.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY EVERYONE!

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Thankful Thursday: Holding On For Tonight

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist

There are times when nothing helps.

I had the kind of week where I lost sight of the big picture. Autopilot kicked in and each day bled into the next, with little change in my mood or outlook on some major life changes that are looming on the horizon.

Meditation, exercise, writing in my journal, affirmations; none of it worked.

What frustrated me was that I felt more on track and confident in the last month then I had in a long time. Why the sudden turn around?

Then, I saw this:

I fell in love with “Chandelier” as soon as I heard it a month ago. Sia makes great music and I’ve adored her for awhile now.

But watching this video was a different experience.

Do you remember what it was like when you sat on a swing and pushed yourself as high as you could go? That exhilaration? The glee and wonder of it all?

I spend so much time analyzing, contemplating, second-guessing; just plain thinking myself into circles. All the while, I’m standing still, locked in a perpetual state of worry.

Sometimes, don’t you want to just get up and spin around in circles or jump up and down on your bed, like you did when you were a kid?

The pure reckless abandon of spins, jumps, and playing endless games that you invented, is what makes being a kid so damn incredible.

Watching this video brought me back to those days, but it also pushed me forward. Maybe I won’t run around my apartment leaping from furniture or throwing myself on the ground. I definitely won’t try doing splits anytime soon.

What I can do is learn to let go of all that tension I carry around, and to live in the moment. For no other reason then to embrace the idea that the we’re only guaranteed today and we should truly live in the time we have.

We have ups and downs and sometimes our circumstances make it hard to shake off the bad energy. I’m a realist and oftentimes a pessimist (there, I said it). There’s no harm in cutting yourself some slack to do something, anything that makes you feel like that kid on a swing trying to get higher off the ground.

Thankful Thursday; Holding on for Tonight

When was the last time you felt free and joyful like the young girl in the video?

What are you thankful for this week?

Please feel free to share your comments below or on FB and Twitter.

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