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Free Yoga isn’t only on Youtube

I try to go to the Yoga class at my gym, but they changed the time of my favorite instructor’s class and it unfortunately does not fit my schedule.  I decided to watch yoga videos at home to keep up the practice on my own time.  I’m comfortable practicing yoga on my own because A. I’ve had some yoga class experience where I’m confident in my form and B. No one is there watching me fall over repeatedly.  I’m also on a strict budget, so I perused through the multitude of free yoga videos online and found the best instructor for me.

yasmin

Yasmin Yoga: Basics 1: Breathing & Alignment is a full one hour video that can be found for free on Hulu.  I’ve only practiced this one video and cannot wait to complete the other videos in the series.  All in all there are 5 one-hour episodes available for free on Hulu and the Yasmin Yoga Website has free downloads of guided meditation and other instructional videos.  Yasmin Yoga is based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Yasmin Yoga: Basics 1: Breathing & Alignment video is very relaxed without being super cheesy.  The well instructed verbal commands voiced over the yoga practice performed on screen keep you from fumbling from the tv/computer screen to your own body.  Yasmin’s fluid instruction is fairly slow with clear and concise movements that are also modified for all levels.  It’s helpful if you have a folded blanket and yoga blocks if needed, which is unfortunately not explained before the workout begins.  I would recommend this film for beginners, or anyone who wishes to focus more on their posture and breathing.

*If you are attempting to practice Yoga for the first time, please attend a class by a certified instructor to learn the basic forms to avoid injury.  I am not a certified yoga instructor and practice yoga casually.  Please listen to your body!*

USEFUL LINKS:

Yasmin Yoga Hulu Channel
Yasmin Yoga Website
Yasmin Yoga Free Downloads
Yasmin Yoga Facebook
Yasmin Yoga Youtube Channel

Furthermore, if you ever thought about joining Hulu for $7.99 per month, you can get 2 weeks FREE with no obligation to continue your subscription by using this referral link.  It’s as easy to cancel as it is to sign up!

Fighting the Bloat

I have been trying to watch my sodium intake lately since I’ve been feeling a bit puffy. It can be difficult to keep your sodium consumption down if you lead a busy life where eating packaged foods keeps you from passing out because you aren’t able to find the time to make three fresh meals a day from scratch. As much as I try, I don’t always keep fresh fruits and veggies constantly stocked in the fridge.  Planning & making meals ahead of time is great in theory, but my plate is full in other areas!

I have made little changes in my habits to fight the bloat and noticed positive results over the past month. I drink lots of water to offset any higher sodium content in my diet and stopped drinking soda! I love my daily diet sodas for a caffeine kick since I don’t drink coffee. After a week or so of kicking the habit, I already felt less bloated and shed a few pounds in the process.   Even just cutting back your soda intake instead of quitting cold turkey can lead to feeling a little better in your skin.

One thing I love about Smart Ones® meals is their reasonable sodium content. Their website even has a list of products under 500mg of sodium.  How handy is that?!

For the busy vegetarian bee on the go, try planning three meals with Smart Ones® under 500mg products to stay well within a healthy day’s dose of sodium. Start your morning with the mouth watering, sweet and hearty Apples & Cinnamon Oatmeal made with delicious steel cut oats. Spend your afternoon indulging in the filling and zesty Santa Fe Style Rice & Beans for a fiesta lunch. Then end your day with a light yet flavorful sauce over crisp veggies and cute bow tie pasta with Pasta Primavera for dinner.

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Your tastebuds and waistline will thank you if you add these lower sodium dishes to your menu.

#100happydays

Those who know me are well aware that I adore social media and try my best to use it’s power for good and not evil.  I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of something called #100happydays from friends, but surprisingly there has been no mention of Chachi.

To complete this self awareness challenge you must sign up, then post a photo via your choice of social media of something that represents “happiness” to you for 100 days straight.  All the while making sure to use #100happydays to organize your images.  This was not created to brag, it was created to inspire. I’m on board with that!

The website shares that people successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

 – Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.

 

Today I decided to take on the challenge because:

1. I love taking photos

2. I love sharing on social media

3. I love any reason to focus on happiness

I challenge you all to join me on this journey and sign up for your own #100happydays.  Once the challenge is successfully completed you will get a little 100 page book for free of all your images. Don’t skip a day!

Here is my first #100happydays image.  It’s a post card from a former student worker who is now serving in the Peace Corps teaching in a small fishing village in Cambodia.  She wrote to thank me for my letter of recommendation which helped her get accepted into the program.  My heart swelled with pride when I read it.

cambodiapostcard

Please follow me on Instagram if you want to learn what makes me happy every day! I will gladly follow you back!

Social Events and Food Temptation

I recently attended a wonderful baby shower full of friends and family at a restaurant donned with a brunch buffet of french toast, fresh bagels, and more delicious breakfast items.  Most of all, let’s not forget the huge piece of pudding filled cake and real whipped cream icing for dessert.  Cake is my downfall but I was able to eat only half then make sure to have the remainder taken away so it was not tempting me on the plate.  I realized in keeping with my calorie logging I had already gone over my daily allotted allowance by 3pm and I would not have time to go to the gym that day.  At home that evening, I had a grumbling tummy but I just wanted a light meal.  I chose to eat a Smart Ones® South West Style soup for dinner at only 120 calories. Once again, Smart Ones® meals saves the day in helping balance out my meal choices.

baby shower

Whether it’s a baby shower, wedding, or another holiday celebration booking up your calendar, there will always be the temptation of high caloric foods at a party.  Most social engagements include an array of rich food  that you may not normally eat so your eyes may become bigger than your stomach.   I go to a social event with the attitude that “I will choose to eat the right amounts of foods and I will stop eating when I am full.”  This does not always go as planned.  I plan ahead if I know there will be the types of food I tend to to avoid.  Sometimes you get caught up in the party atmosphere and you end up overeating.  If a party has carbs and cake, I am like a kid in a candy store!  That’s why the day before a party I eat clean and exercise as normal, and the day after I plan to do the same.   I don’t starve myself, I don’t beat myself up for overindulging on the day of the event, and I don’t overexercise.  I just do my best to get back on track the next day.

Get Up and Go!

We all have our own unique ups and downs while paving our path to wellness.  It could be a setback because you are momentarily unwell or other time vortexes (work, family, travel) may derail you from your typical health regiment.

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been sick with an Upper Respiratory Infection and unable to get to the gym. After a week of rest and drinking enough water to cause a drought in my state, I finally got my appetite back but my energy was still missing. I realized I was overindulging in food with the awakening of my taste buds where EVERYTHING TASTED DELICIOUS and I had no energy to burn off the extra calories.  I’ve been tracking my calories regularly and finally after a few days of reassessing my meal choices I was able to stay within my daily weight loss goal of 1400 calories thanks to the decision of choosing Smart Ones® as one of my daily meal choices.

If you’re unable to balance life and your calories on a daily basis, it’s empowering to know that you can start fresh with a clean slate the next day, or next week, and not feel you have to go all the way back to square one.  Occasional slip ups are part of any health journey, whether it be overindulging in calories or physical set backs, and tomorrow you can choose to get up and go!  Move forward from the crappy day or weeks you’ve been having and start fresh! Just be sure you are not overdoing it with physical activity after being sick and try not to limit your calorie intake in the extreme in order to to make up for a recent overindulgence in food. My advice would be to try and choose the right foods next time.  Life is all about finding that healthy balance, and some days the scale may be tipped against you but there is always a way to even the scale over time.

katywoods

Out for a short brisk walk after being sick for 2 weeks!

 

You Are Not Alone

elliptical

I have been on an amazing roll as far as portion control and exercise, I can honestly say I am very proud of myself!  I’ve tried all the crazy machines at the gym to try and switch things up, but I will always end up on the elliptical.  The elliptical runner burns major calories and it’s heaven on your joints while feeling natural to my running gate. If I can’t get to the gym, I do yoga or Pilates at home or if it’s above 30 degrees out I’ll go for a walk outside.  I am in the beast zone!  If I don’t get at least 30 minutes of cardio, I feel off.  Naturally I am worried about my addictive behavior and exercise becoming an obsession as I attain the endorphin “high”.  I also fear falling off the wagon as my social and work schedule pick up.

The thing that keeps me hanging on is that I am not alone.   Knowing that there are others out there who don’t have time to spend hours working out at home or at the gym puts my mind at ease.  It’s been refreshing to learn about others who may fall off the wagon with their portion control as well, but are encouraged and supported to get back on.  I am one of many who struggles with knowing when enough is enough.  Having a clean slate mindset has helped me stop beating myself up for losing control once in a while, and start fresh the next day.  When others confess to me that they overindulged, I’m the first one to not make a big deal out of it.  No judgement zone here!  You are not a horrible person for losing control.  Knowing you overdid it is the first step to getting back on track, but you must want to get on that healthy track or it can just become a vicious unhealthy cycle.  But always know, you are not alone and tomorrow is a new day!

It’s A Veg Head Life

Being a (picky) vegetarian, having options while grocery shopping will always be a plus.  When I first became meat free in 1996, the easy and cheap food options for my very selective personality were also not the healthiest. I lived on pizza and pasta.  Over the years I have noticed that grocery stores and food companies have embraced vegetarian culture and provided more well rounded nutritious meatless meal options.  Today, if I realize I haven’t been eating the best by going back to my old ways of carbohydrate overindulgence, I know I can always get back on track and wipe the slate clean with the help of portion controlled vegetarian frozen meals like Smart Ones®.

If you read my blog post earlier this week about couponing to save money, you know I try to shop for healthy items that also provide coupons.   Just the other week the Smart Ones® meals were on sale at ShopRite for $1.77 each.  After printing two $2 off 7  Smart Ones® frozen meals, I was able to get 14 Frozen meals for $1.48 each!  The best thing is that they weren’t 14 of the same meal!  Smart Ones® provides variety not only for carnivores, but for those who prefer meatless options.  They also often have coupons available on their website which is music to my penny pinching ears.  My freezer is consistently packed with their signature red boxes:

smartones

As you can see from my hoard of frozen meals, I am a big fan of practically all Smart Ones® vegetarian dinner options.   Italian, Asian, Mexican, I will take it!   After popping one of these in the microwave after a day of caloric overindulgence, I can mentally prepare to get back on the road to wellness the following day.  I have learned to not waste time lambasting myself for making poor food choices and instead aiming to make better choices next time around.

All in all, I am definitely someone who appreciates a second chance as well as any financial assistance when trying to eat well while on a budget.  Bonus points to Smart Ones® for including such affordable and delicious selections of healthy vegetarian meals for the picky veg heads like myself.

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