Posts filed under Mind & Body

6 Yoga Bag Essentials

Recently I've been getting back to practicing yoga. I've tried many fitness routines along the years and yoga has always been the workout I gravitate and come back to. 

The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body. Yoga’s focus on strength training and flexibility is an incredible benefit to your body. The postures are meant to strengthen your body from the inside out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good, too.

Each of the yoga poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates.

Yoga is not just about working out, it’s about a creating and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

Miami Beach Yoga

Whenever I get the chance, I love to wake up early and head to the beach to practice my hour long yoga and meditation session. Not only do I get to take in a breathtaking sunrise, but the weather is absolutely perfect. Not too hot with a light refreshing breeze.

Miami Beach
Miami Beach Yoga

I make sure my yogi bag is minimalistic and simple, with just a few essentials to make my practice as mindful as possible.

Miami Beach Yoga
Yoga Bag Essentials

My 6 Yoga Bag Essentials:

1) Water: Proper hydration is key! I prefer to take a cold small bottle of water but coconut water is also a nice option. Whichever beverage you prefer, make sure you have plenty of fluids available during and after your workout.

2) Hair Ties: This is a necessity! I sometimes see girls working out with their long flowy hair and they always look like a fitness ad model. I'm not one of those girls! I never wear makeup and my hair is always up in a ponytail or braid. The last thing I want is my hair in my face when working out. I carry at least 2 hair ties with me- just in case I lose one.

3) Small Towel: If you're anything like me, you tend to sweat during yoga. I like to keep a small towel beside me to keep dry. You can also use the towel for extra head cushion when you're laying down on your yoga mat.

4) Dry Shampoo: I only wash my hair twice a week in order to keep it shiny and healthy. Dry shampoo has been my go-to beauty essential in keeping my hair fresh during the day. No need to wash your hair and strip it from it's natural oils if you don't have to.

5) Healthy Snack: A snack is always a must when I workout (or whenever I step foot outside my house). I prefer something light but that will fuel my body after my yoga session, such as a heathy organic power bar but a granola bar, almonds or popcorn are also great choices. 

6) Cleansing Cloths: The Cottonelle® with CleanRipple® Texture cleansing cloths are perfect when I'm on the move and want to feel fresh. They are designed to clean better, so you’re clean & confident enough to go commando! The small package is the perfect size to carry in my yoga bag and the innovation on all Cottonelle® toilet paper and flushable cleansing cloths are designed to keep you clean so you can feel confident enough to achieve your fitness goals!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.Thank you Cottonelle® for sponsoring this post.


Posted on October 21, 2016 and filed under Mind & Body.

3 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Life

declutter

"Clutter is not just the stuff of your floor- it's anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living" - Peter Walsh.

Decluttering your life is a process that is needed in order to get yourself on the right track. Some steps may require more time than others. Keep in mind, life changes are never easy- it takes patience and dedication.

It seems as though there is always a new challenge or twist that life throws at us that prevent us from moving forward. But it's up to us to rise above it and come out stronger and better than before.

The most important lesson I've learned thus far, is that the only person holding us back from achieving everything we want out of life, is ourselves. We're responsible for obtaining the proper tools needed to catapult us on the path to success.

The best way to gain control of your life is by decluttering and removing the things and people that are weighing you down.

Here are three easy steps you can start doing now, in order to live a more organized and focused life.

1) Declutter Your Mind: We've all been guilty of infiltrating our minds with negative thoughts. We're human. Although I'd like to think I'm a fairly optimistic person, I too, sometimes fall victim of that negativity spell. Luckily, I always find a way to pick myself back up. Which is more important, in my opinion. Never allow your negative thoughts to consume you. Instead, override them with thoughts that are uplifting and encouraging. I know it's easier said than done, but if you slowly work on this mental exercise every day, you'll start to notice and feel a difference.

I've found that meditating and writing in my journal has helped with living a more positive and productive lifestyle. The more I refused to give into a negative mindset, the more happier I've become. Like everything else in life, these type of changes take work. The goal is to keep pursuing a clearer and more peaceful mind.

2) Declutter Your Surroundings: I used to be an extremely messy person. That messiness carried over to my surrounding area. From my car to my work desk, to my room. The mess was everywhere. The day I vowed to get more organized and keep my space tidy, was the day I saw a major shift in my focus. Something so simple as keeping your environment free of clutter, brings forth a change in attitude. One of them is appreciating what you have. You can't be grateful for the things you have, if you don't know what they are.

The first step was clearing out my closet. I got rid of or donated any piece of clothing I hadn't worn in years. Follow the same concept in every inch of your home and workspace. I guarantee once you do this, it will motivate you to aspire for more. Organization has a weird way of doing that. But hey, no complaints here!

3) DeclutterYour Relationships: This is the most important and probably the hardest step to do. No one wants to be the bad guy that ends a relationship. But I'm here to tell you, it has to be done. I remember reading a quote that said: "You become like the five people you spend the most time with, choose carefully". That was my "aha" moment. It made me stop and think about the kind of people I wanted around me. I wanted driven, focused, successful and good people in my circle of friends. People I could learn something from and that would motivate me to push myself out of my comfort zone.

This new perspective was applied to my social media connections as well. I removed people from my friends list that had no value in their posts or pictures. Value as in no substance or passion. I love seeing post of people being passionate, whether it be their kids, work, hobbies, food (I'm one of those), or whatever it maybe, I love seeing it. What I don't like is negativity. There is nothing worse than seeing someone complain day after day about their life. People don't realize it, but negativity is contagious, and I for one, am not interested in it.

"Only when you remove things from your life, will you make room for bigger and better things to appear."

Take time to focus on the things that no longer serve a purpose in your life and slowly start detaching yourself from them. This process takes time. It won't happen overnight, but once you get the ball moving, you will immediately start attracting better things in your life. And who doesn't want more of that!


Posted on June 27, 2016 and filed under Mind & Body.

Experiencing Halotherapy at the Salt Room

the salt room

I first heard about The Salt Room a few years ago, on a friend's Instagram post. I remember thinking what a cool concept it was and that I needed to try it asap. Just the thought of sitting in a room made out of salt intrigued me.

I suffer from allergies and always seem to be stuffy. I don't bother using nasal spays because I'm afraid I'll get addicted to it or the effect will wear off after a few days. Plus, I'm about trying natural remedies instead.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Salt Room on Mills Ave, to experience halotherapy, also known as salt therapy.

the salt room orlando
the salt room orlando

What is Salt Therapy?

For more than 20 years dry salt aerosol, administered in specially-designed halochambers, has been used to treat upper and lower respiratory conditions such as cold and flu, allergy, asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, sinus infection, sinusitis, rhinitis, hay fever and emphysema.

In addition, the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of dry sodium chloride aerosol has been shown to effectively treat ear infection and conditions of the skin such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.

Salt acts like an expectorant, accelerating mucus clearance and improving lung function while killing harmful bacteria and soothing the respiratory system.

During the 45-minute session, you can relax, enjoy music or read in their cozy, spa-like salt covered rooms while breathing in microscopic salt particles.

the salt room orlando
the salt room orlando

Surface areas in The Salt Room Orlando are covered with natural sea salt which creates a sterilized and negative ion environment.

the salt room orlando
the salt room orlando
the salt room orlando
the salt room orlando
the salt room orlando

Shoe covers are provided before you enter the salt room.

the salt room orlando - shoe covers

The salt air is highly-controlled and concentrated, which aids in providing improvement of symptoms after only one session.

the salt room orlando
the salt room orlando

Benefits of The Salt Room Orlando:

Three comfortable spa-like treatment chambers.
Each has been meticulously designed to enhance the treatment experience. The quiet Relaxation Room, fun Children/Family room and a one-of-a-kind Yoga Room.

It’s an all-natural complement to your doctor prescribed regimen.
Dry salt aerosol therapy is 100% drug free and can be used safely in combination with your current medications and treatments to provide relief like you’ve never experienced before.

Salt Therapy has been proven effective in multiple clinical trails
In clinical tests salt therapy (also known as “halotherapy”) has proven effective at relieving symptoms of a variety of respiratory and skin ailments.

Inexpensive, safe and effective additional therapy for patients with cystic fibrosis.
A recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that long-term salt treatment had a positive impact on lung function and reduced pulmonary exacerbations and did not have any negative side effects.

In addition to salt therapy, The Salt Room Orlando offers acupuncture, massages, and skin care services.

the salt room orlando

A single session for the salt therapy costs $45. You can become a member and take advantage of the monthly discounted prices for all their services.

Check out their current specials here.

I'm looking forward to my next salt therapy session- as well as trying out more of The Salt Room's services. I've never tried acupuncture, so I'm thinking that will be my next experiment!

 

THE SALT ROOM

1804 North Mills Avenue
Orlando, Florida 32803

Phone: 407-965-3065

Hours of Operation
Monday-Friday:
9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday:
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m

www.saltroomorlando.com


Posted on May 31, 2016 and filed under Around Orlando, Mind & Body.

Lunch with Chipotle at Lake Meadows Naturals Farm

I was recenlty invited by Chipotle to have lunch with their marketing and management team at Lake Meadows Naturals Farm located in Ocoee, Florida.

Even though I live only 20 minutes away from the farm, I didn't know of its existence. Thankfully, after having the opportunity of touring their facility, I'll definitely be paying them a visit from now on.

Lake Meadows Naturals is a local farm that sells cage free chicken and duck eggs, grass fed beef and goat, Berkshire pork, honey, and fresh herbs. Everything is clean and organic, which is the main reason Chipotle gets most of their fresh ingredients for their Florida locations from there.

Lake Meadows Natural's mission is to supply the area with great tasting and high quality food, while at the same time educating their customers along the way.

Their mission is perfectly aligned with Chipotle's "Food with Integrity" motto.

Did you know that Chipotle is the first and only fast food chain to ban GMOs from their menu?

"This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, told the New York Times. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.”

It's always nice to discover new places, especially a great find like Lake Meadow Naturals, that supports Chipotle's movement.

The owner of the farm, Dale, gave us a private tour around his property and explained to us in great detail everything that goes on in the farm.

We started off the tour by getting up close and personal with these little guys.

How cute is that face??

After falling in love with the baby chicks, we went inside the incubator room to see the baby turkeys.

A little baby turkey hatched while we were there!

After they're born, Farmer Dale puts them in the incubator to keep them warm.

We later entered the quality control/packaging room.

The eggs are placed on a conveyer belt that is lit up in order to see if the eggs have any imperfections. If they pass the test, they are washed and ready to be packaged. You can purchase these eggs in their farm market store.

Now came the fun part.

Picking our own eggs!

Mission accomplished!

It was harder than it looked but I successfully picked my dozen eggs.

If you're up for the challenge, you can pick your own every Saturday.

Before leaving the coop, I had to take a picture with my new friends.

Now onto the rest of the tour.

First time trying a mulberry.

Look at that smile!

Farmer Dale offered us fresh green beans straight from his garden.

How gorgeous is his house!!

Gorgeous views of his land from every angle.

Farmer Dale was nice enough to have us in his home for our delicious lunch sponsored by Chipotle.

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Chef Tonda Corrente from La Femme Du Fromage prepared our meal.

The peach cobbler was pure perfection!

A perfect ending to the day.

Make sure when you visit Lake Meadows Naturals, you stop by their farm market store. It's filled with fresh produce, assortment of cheeses and plenty more!

After attending two events sponsored by Chipotle, I think it's safe to say I'm BFF's with them.

Well, the official term is "brand ambassador" but same thing right?

Huge thank you to Chipotle for including me in this lunch event and a special thank you to Farmer Dale for his generous hospitality.

Can't wait to whip up something delicious with the eggs I picked out!


Posted on May 15, 2015 and filed under Mind & Body, Food & Entertaining.

The 5 Love Languages

We all want to feel appreciated and wanted. We all want to feel understood and cared for.

We all want to feel loved.

Whether you're single, dating or married, the thought of loving and being loved is what life is all about.

Last weekend, during a girls brunch, the book, The 5 Languages of Love by Dr. Gary Chapman, was brought up. I'd never heard of it before. One of my friends starting explaining the concept behind it and suddenly it cliqued. It made perfect sense!

We all love differently, therefore, the way we want to be loved is different. It doesn't necessarily fit into the "one size fits all" box.

That theory is behind New York Times Best Seller's The 5 Languages of Love book.

Unhappiness in a relationship often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman.

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While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he identified five love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch.

In a friendly, often humorous style, he unpacks each one. Some men or women may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one person, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as filling their "love tank." Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, giving back rubs, and sexual contact. Chapman illustrates each love language with real-life examples from his counseling practice.

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How do you discover your partner’s – and your own – love language?

Chapman’s short questionnaires are one of several ways to find out. Take the quiz here.

Once you have established which love language holds higher importance in both yours and your partner's life, it's time to learn how to speak it.

Learning how to speak it is just as important as identifying it. 

If you're not showing the correct type of love your significant other needs, then your efforts won't be appreciated as expected.

For example, you buy your spouse gifts or clean around the house, thinking you're showing them how much you care, but in reality, you won't be fulfilling their needs if their most important love language is Touch.

Why?

Because what they truly desire is to be touched. A hug, a kiss, an embrace, etc. That's what they need the most in order to feel loved.

What you want might not be what the other person wants.

(Photo Source)

Love Language: Words of Affirmation

  • How to communicate: Encourage, affirm, appreciate, empathize.
  • Actions to take: Send an unexpected note, text, or card. Encourage genuinely and often.
  • Avoid: Non-constructive criticism, not recognizing or appreciating effort.

Love Language: Physical Touch

  • How to communicate: Non-verbal – use body language and touch to emphasize love.
  • Actions to take: Hug, kiss, hold hands, show physical affection regularly. Make intimacy a thoughtful priority.
  • Avoid: Physical neglect, long stints without intimacy, receiving affection coldly.

Love Language: Receiving Gifts

  • How to communicate: Thoughtfulness, make your spouse a priority, speak purposefully.
  • Actions to take: Give gestures and gifts thoughtfully, with and without special occasion. Even small things matter in a big way. Express gratitude when you’re given a gift.
  • Avoid: Forgetting special occasions.

Love Language: Quality Time

  • How to communicate: Uninterrupted and focused conversations. One-on-one time is critical.
  • Actions to take: Create special moments together, take walks and do small things with your spouse. Weekend getaways are huge.
  • Avoid: Distractions when spending time together, long stints without focused one-on-one time.

Love Language: Acts of Service

  • How to communicate: Use action phrases like “I will” and “I’ll help…”. They want to know you’re with them, partnered with them.
  • Actions to take: Do chores together or make them breakfast in bed. Go out of your way to help alleviate their daily workload.
  • Avoid: Making the requests of others a higher priority, lacking follow-through on tasks

I took the quiz and my love language is: Words of Affirmation.

I'm the type of person that likes to be praised. I like hearing and seeing it. Growing up, my parents would constantly give me words of encouragement and instill in me that I am beautiful, smart, and capable of doing anything I set my mind to.

No matter how big or small my accomplishment was, it was always celebrated. Naturally, Words of Affirmation is my most important love language- and one that I hope to receive someday from my future husband.

To purchase the book, click here.

(Photo Source)

For more information about the 5 Love Languages, watch the interview below with Dr. Gary Chapman and Oprah.


Posted on February 11, 2015 and filed under Mind & Body.

Metanoia: My New Favorite Word

People often ask me what Metanoia means. Some think it's my name- while others can barely even pronounce it.

Metanoia is the word that has been a huge part of my life for the past year. It's a word I stumbled across on Instagram a while back and immediately identified with it's meaning.

metanoia.png

To me, metanoia represents growth. The possibility of improving ourselves, living the life we envision and the ability of chasing our dreams.

In order to be successful and happy, we should constantly be evolving and learning. Learning new ways, new strategies, new routes.

One of my favorite quotes is:

"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

We have the power to create our own paths, opportunities, and destination.

That theory is behind Metanoia Living. To showcase the pursuit of a lifestyle. The Metanoia Lifestyle. Inspiring you be open to change, to travel, to discover and to create a happy, fun and balanced life.

We are all in unique journeys and paths in life. For that same reason, the word metanoia can be personalized to each one of us. We add our own value to the meaning.

Metanoia serves as a daily motivation and inspiration for me- which is why it's my favorite word. Hopefully, it becomes yours too!


Posted on February 2, 2015 and filed under Mind & Body.

Buddha Teas

Buddha Teas Home Page

As an avid tea drinker, I always love experimenting and trying out new flavors. My preference always seems to go with the light soothing teas.

I particularly enjoy green tea the most. It's my favorite! 

When possible, I try to swap out drinking cold drinks during lunch, for warm green tea instead. Drinking something warm after your meal helps with digestion and has many great health benefits.

I recently discovered Buddha Teas when they sent a couple of their teas to sample.

I love how they pride themselves on presenting their customers with a wide variety of pure herbal teas and tea blends that are packaged in bleach free tea bags with no extra ingredients, so that you'll be getting the most out of every cup of tea. 

With Buddha Teas you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised by the pure quality of tea you'll be receiving.

I received their Saffron & Green Tea and Solar Plexus Chakra blend.

solar-chakras-nutrition.jpg

Saffron & Green Tea: The combination of saffron and green tea provides more than a sensational tea blend. Put together, these two natural ingredients provide an abundance of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Saffron is a natural source of riboflavin and folic acid, along with protein, essential fatty acids and crude fiber. Green tea is well known for offering countless nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B complex, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron and manganese. It is also a natural source of alkaloids, amino acids, flavonoids, and its primary catechin, EGCG. Naturally, this tea also offers a variety of antioxidants.

Solar Plexus Chakra: The solar plexus chakra, known as manipura, is the center of our emotional being. This chakra affects the will, self-control and perception of one’s self. It is located above the navel, and is represented by the color yellow. When balanced, the solar plexus chakra helps to ease frustration and tension, calm feelings of anger and improve natural intuition. Meditation on this chakra focuses upon the phrase “I do”.

I actually combined both teas together for an infusion blend and loved it! I found that it added another dimension to the flavor.

There is nothing more relaxing than sitting back and enjoying a nice cup of tea.

Buddha Teas has a good variety selection, such as green, black, herbal, speciality, premium, and chakras teas.

The newest addition to their product line, is the Chakra Tea blends- which infuses herbs with Crystal Energy to balance the 7 chakras.

Not only did I enjoy the teas, but I loved their website as well. It's filled with useful information about their products, as well as tips and advice for living a healthier and mindful lifestyle.

Posted on January 26, 2015 and filed under Mind & Body.

The Skimm

TheSkimm

I'm not the type of person that tries or purchases anything a celebrity endorses. I don't fall for that type of marketing.

Except for when my girl Oprah recommends something.

Remember her chai tea?

So when Oprah became a Skimm'er last month, naturally I had to become one too!

TheSkimm

What is TheSkimm?

TheSkimm is a daily e-mail newsletter that delivers a quick and entertaining rundown of the current top news stories to your inbox.

I admit, I rarely watch the news and sometimes don't know exactly what's going on around the world.

Not good!

That's where my friends at TheSkimm come in. They do all the reading for you and break it down with easy to read, fresh editorial content that literally takes 5 minutes to get through.

This morning I started off my day with my favorite mug and TheSkimm- the best morning routine!

TheSkimm

If you're anything like me,  you'll love this newsletter. It's the perfect solution to never again being out of the loop on major news events.

Make sure you sign up and give TheSkimm a try!

Trust me, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Happy Monday and Happy Skimming!

Posted on November 17, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

Finding My Voice

Stuttering Awareness

Today is an important day.

It's a day I didn't know existed until this year.

A day that brings awareness to something very personal to me.

A day, that just a few months ago, I would've been ashamed in celebrating.

Today is International Stuttering Awareness Day.

National Stuttering Awareness Day

And why is this day so important to me?

Well, because... I am a person who stutters.

I started stuttering at the early age of 5. I vaguely remember attending different types of therapies and seeing various speech pathologists and counselors- without really knowing why.

I wasn't aware I "stuttered" until I got to middle school. I'll never forget the moment I realized something was different with the way I spoke.

I was in the cafeteria lunch line getting ready to order my food.

"I'll have a bbbb-bagel please."

A kid in front of me didn't waste the opportunity to mimic me. "Bbbbb-bagel?" Followed with a snarky laugh.

I just looked at him, puzzled as to why he would say that. Did I pronounce it that way?

I stuttered without realizing it.

I was now aware.

I always struggled with school. Not because I wasn't smart or couldn't comprehend the material given, but because simple activities such as reading out loud, giving presentations, or even asking a question in class, caused so much anxiety and fear that I dreaded going to school.

The first day of classes were the absolute worse!

"Please introduce yourselves and give us an interesting fun fact."

Every time I heard that sentence I wanted to cry.

"Hi my name is Fiorella. I get anxiety when I'm put on the spot. I get flustered having all eyes on me. And my fun fact: I'm probably going to stutter on every word that comes out of my mouth!"

Up until a month ago, there were only three people who I spoke openly about my stuttering. My mom, my dad, and my sister. I never shared with anyone else. Not even my close friends.

It had been my deepest darkest secret that I constantly tried to hide.

I learned tricks and ways to get around my stutter. I would avoid certain situations or words that I knew I would get stuck on. Some days, no matter how hard I tried, every word that came out of my mouth was a stutter.

For someone who doesn't stutter, it's probably difficult to comprehend the affect and power that stuttering has on someone. The constant fear, stress and emotional damage it provokes, is much more than you could ever imagine. After all, everything in life involves having to speak. When you're not able to do so in the manner that you'd like, it's frustrating and debilitating to your self-esteem and worth.

Stuttering is like an iceberg. The visible part, which is the stutter, is just the tip. Most people have no idea that stuttering affects the person more in the internal and psychological level.

stuttering iceberg

It's hard to describe what stuttering feels like. You know what you want to say, but when you open your mouth nothing comes out, also known as a block, or a stutter occurs, which can be in the form of a repetition or prolonged sound. There's no reason why this happens, it just does. Which makes it that much more frustrating.

Telling someone to "slow down" or "relax" doesn't help and actually comes off as patronizing.

Photo Credit:  Daniele Rossi

Photo Credit: Daniele Rossi

Stuttering is a genetic and neurological disorder, where the brain sends the wrong signals to the vocal folds, causing them to shut while speaking. Most people associate stuttering with nervousness because when people get nervous, what do they do? They stutter. Well, more like they experience minor disfluencies - which is different from actually stuttering.

While nervousness can play a factor, it's not the cause of stuttering, as most people would assume. As of now, there is no cure, since the origin of this speech impediment is still unknown.

Research has proven that if you continue to stutter by the time you are 8 years old, chances are you will continue to do so in your adult years. There are many speech therapies that help in controlling and managing your stutter, but unfortunately some of these methods tend to wear off and only focus on the "tip" of the iceberg, not the emotional component.

In August of this year, I attended a three-week intensive program at The American Institute for Stuttering in New York. Little did I know how much my life would change after AIS. 

American Institute of Stuttering

I don't think I've ever been more challenged and pushed to my breaking point than I have in those three weeks I was there.

For the first time in my life, I was in a room full of people who stuttered. Who knew exactly what I was going through. The fears, the frustration, the embarrassment. I'd never met another person who stuttered before the intensive, so seeing and hearing someone stutter for the first time made me feel extremely uncomfortable.

Yes, uncomfortable.

How could a person who struggles with stuttering feel uncomfortable being surrounded with someone else who stutters?

In a way, coming face to face with something I've hated about myself for so long made my stuttering more of a reality.

I had not yet come to terms nor accepted the fact that I stuttered.

I quickly learned that in order to improve your speech, you must first learn to accept it.

Acceptance does not signify you've given up. It just means you are no longer allowing it to consume your life. For so many years, I let stuttering dictate my every move. Infiltrate my mind. Paralyze me with fear.

But at the end of the day, the only thing holding me back, was myself. Not my stutter.

The American Institute of Stuttering taught me to have confidence in myself. To love myself. To muster up the courage to write this post. If you would've told me six months ago that I would be sharing my struggles with the world, I would've never believed you.

But here I am now.

Open and honest.

"Feel the fear and do it anyway."

The real magic occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone. When you confront your fears. When you start to truly believe in yourself and face your demons head on.

I spent a big portion of my life worrying about how people would perceive me if they heard me speak. If they heard me stutter. I wasted my energy stressing over something that was out of my control.

I've come to realize that no one cares if I stutter or not. It's not something that difines me or takes away from my value.

I'm so much more than my stutter. 

No matter who you are, we all deal with our own struggles, insecurities and fears.

Thank you Brandon for being so brave and sharing your message with the world in your video. It sometimes does feel like we're standing over a scary ledge. But once you let go of all your doubts and fears, no one and nothing can stop you!

"What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"

Stuttering is probably one of the most misunderstood and complex disorders out there. Even as a person who stutters, I must admit, I didn't know much about it. I didn't want to. All I cared about was finding the magic pill that would make me fluent.

But that's not the answer.

Raising awareness is just as valuable. This is why days like today are so important. It sheds light on what stuttering really is and how it affects millions of people worldwide. But most importantly, it lets people like myself know that we are not alone.

If you stutter or know a person who does, below you'll find amazing resources that has helped me in the past couple of months.

National Stuttering Association: Find local chapter meetings in your area. Attending these support groups has helped me throughout my journey of acceptance.

Stutter Talk: Amazing podcasts that offer guidance and support for someone who stutters. Highly recommend checking them out.

American Institute of Stuttering (AIS): is a leading non-profit organization in the United States that offers state-of-the-art treatment to people who stutter, and support to their families.

Megan Washington TED Talk: One of my favorite TED Talks. Such a bold and powerful speech from Australian singer/songwriter Megan Washington.

Hopefully this post will encourage and motivate anyone who deals with their own struggles, to learn to love and accept themselves. It has taken me until this year to finally achieve that- and I can tell you, there is no better feeling.

"Don't be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others"


Posted on October 22, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

Karmic Blessings

karmic blessings

I'd been searching for mala bracelets for a few months now, but without any luck. If you search for mala beads online, you'll come across hundreds of them. All different types and colors. But everything I found was either too big, ugly color or just didn't have the certain look I wanted.

My search ended when Lisa from Karmic Blessings sent me a few mala inspired bracelets.

Not only are they gorgeous, but they came in my size.

I have tiny wrists, so it's always difficult to find accessories that fit me properly. Luckily, Karmic Blessing offers an XS- 5' size- which is perfect for me.

mala beads

Malas are universal because they can be used by anyone interested in seeking balance and harmony in their lives.

Malas can be utilized to focus on the present moment and assist in reaching a deeper, more spiritual and satisfying place in one's life. They can be used during prayer, meditation, or worn daily.

mala beads

Karmic Blessing's bracelets are inspired by traditional Malas, also known as Buddhist prayer beads, which are used as counting tools when repeating mantras during meditation.

Today, mala beads are popular not only with Buddhists but with yogis and the spiritual as well.  Some individuals simply wear a mala to remind themselves to remain mindful and focused with positive intent.

mala beads

You may be attracted to the symbolism behind the stones or just simply to the design and style- either way, there is so much beauty in how and why you choose your Mala.

These are the Mala Inspired Intention Bracelets that I chose:

Sky Jasper & Tiger Eye:Sky Jasper is a protection stone that balances energy.  It eases emotional stress and brings feelings of happiness.  Tiger Eye, used for the solar plexus chakra, it is a good fortune stone that aides with mental clarity.

Sandalwood:It attracts positive energy, is uplifting and promotes tranquility.  It is often used in meditation.

Brecciated Jasper:  Brecciated Jasper is a stone of strength and vitality.  Used for the Root Chakra, it clears negative energy and promotes health and healing.

Dragon Blood Jasper Grounds spiritual energy.  It enhances life force, courage, and strength.

mala beads

When you order from Karmic Blessings not only will you receive stunning and beautifully handmade mala bracelets, but you can be assured that every bracelet is made with love and attention to detail by owner Lisa.

You can read her story on how she founded Karmic Blessings here.

Malas can be used as a beautiful visible reminder to be more conscious of certain aspects in one's life or serve as a creative way to express your soul's intentions.

Thank you again Karmic Blessings for my mala bracelets, I absolutely adore them!

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Style & Beauty, Mind & Body.

The Comparison Game On Social Media

The first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is to reach for my cellphone. (Don't we all?)

Facebook and Instagram gets checked even before getting out of bed. You would think checking the time, weather or email would be better choices, but no, social media trumps them all. At this point, it has become an automatic unconscious routine for me (I know, I'm working on this, don't worry).

Where else can you catch up on the most current events, get the latest celebrity news, find new recipes or fashion ideas, read motivational quotes or see what your friends are up to, all at once?

Social media has revolutionized our way of living and is a great outlet for people to express themselves and find inspiration. Whether you treat it like a hobby, an obsession (for many), or even how you do business, social media has many great benefits.

However, it can also have the total opposite effect and can often lead to jealousy and comparing yourself to others- which are the two quickest ways to kill your ambition, motivation, and make yourself feel bad about yourself.

comparison

You know that feeling you get when someone posts about the new project they're launching, that exotic trip they're taking or that trendy new restaurant they're eating in? That feeling of, "They're doing something really cool and I'm not!" That worry of not being as far along as you want to be or the notion that everyone else is ahead of you in that imaginary race that only exist in your mind. All these comparisons strip away from your happiness and only feeds into this social media fantasyland.

Because that's what social media really is. Fantasy.

People filter what they choose to show. For the most part, it's the end result, never the means on how it was achieved, that gets shown.

highlightreel

Even the most confident person falls into the comparison game every once in a while. I do it too. It's natural for us to want and lust over the things we don't have.

So how do we stop these feelings from occurring?

1) Don't Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else's Middle: I have to constantly keep reminding myself of this. I'm in my own journey and at my own pace. An area where I struggle with, is with this whole blogging world. It's easy to get caught up with other bloggers and compare myself with them. They're prettier than me, have better content, a nice fancy camera, have connections, etc. I have to stop and realize that all these successful bloggers have been doing this for years. I just started eight months ago. There's no way I could even begin to put myself in that same category. To be successful takes time and hard work- it's not going to happen overnight. All I can do is keep focusing on myself and the rest will come.

2) Look In The Mirror, That's Your Competition: You know that saying, "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday"- well, it couldn't be anymore truer. We often waste our time obsessing on what other people are doing that we lose focus on bettering ourselves and achieving our goals. We need to stay focused on what's in front of us instead of checking on everyone else. They're not looking at you and worrying about what you're doing, they're moving ahead. You don't gain anything from comparing yourself and you might even throw yourself off track by doing so. It's self-sabotage and not worth it. Remember, "Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners".

3) Enjoy Your Own Life Without Comparing It With That Of Another: In order to achieve more in life, you have to appreciate what is in front of you. One of my favorite Oprah quotes is, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough". Give yourself the credit you deserve and keep moving forward. Instead of viewing other people as competition and being envious of their life, view them as motivation. If this person could do it, so can you! The fact that they accomplished or attained something that you want, just means it's possible. No one is born with super hero powers or a bigger brain. It all just comes down to how bad you want it. That's it.

4) The Better You Feel About Yourself, The Less You Feel The Need To Show Off: One of the greatest things about social media is that you get the chance to post the fun and exciting things happening in your life. But sometimes the portrayal is not accurate. I used to have a friend that was all about her social media appearance. We couldn't even enjoy a nice simple girl's night in without having to worry about posing for a picture so she could share it on Facebook. She had to constantly post and stage her every move. Very misleading- I know for a fact that her life is not as exciting as she paints it out to be. But I guess that's the whole point? Trying to portray this perfect life- which we all know doesn't exist. We all go through our own struggles, insecurities and not so great days, but remember, those pictures will hardly ever get posted.

The quality of your life is determined by how much you enjoy and appreciate the people and things around you, not by how many followers or likes you receive. And to compare yourself with others that think so, is just setting yourself up for disappointment.

"Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside."

Posted on September 22, 2014 and filed under Blogging, Mind & Body.

A Little Vitamin D

outside-2-e1406564267572.jpg

I spend most of my time indoors, whether it's working on my blog or school assignments, I always find myself behind a desk- which can sometimes be boring. But I found that if I allow myself a few 15 minute breaks throughout the day, I become more productive and motivated.

For most of those breaks, I go outside.

This morning I decided to do my meditation in my front yard, instead of my usual meditation corner in my room. The day was just too pretty not to enjoy it.

outside-2-895x1024.jpg

Feeling the sun beaming on my face and breathing in fresh air, really changes my outlook.

We live in a world that sometimes makes it difficult for us to be present. We are constantly filled with distractions that take away from fully enjoying the important things in life.

You'd be surprised what a little vitamin D and putting aside a few minutes each day to be quiet with your thoughts does for your emotional state.

This week, make an effort to detach yourself from what you're doing and go outside for some alone time. This means, no cell phone (social media)- just you, the sun and your thoughts. Even if it's only five minutes, you'll feel energized and more focused to take on your tasks and day.

Posted on July 28, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

Vesak Day: Buddha's Birthday Celebration

Traditionally, Buddha's birthday is known as Vesak Day (Buddha's Birthday Celebration). It is the major Buddhist festival of the year, as it commemorates the birth, the enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), all in one day. It is usually observed  in the month of May, on the day of the full moon. This is when Buddha's mother is said to have given birth to him in a garden in the Himalayan foothills. This year it fell on May 13th- although it sometimes varies in different Asian countries.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to this year's ceremony at the Guang Ming Temple, located in Orlando.

Guang Ming Temple
Guang Ming Temple
Temple
Temple

I'd never been to an event like this before, so I was curious and excited to see how Buddhist celebrated Buddha's life.

Buddha
Buddha

I was first introduced to Buddhism last year, while researching about meditation. The more I read about it, the more it resonated with my personal beliefs. Since it sparked my interest, I decided to take Buddhism 101 classes at the temple, in order to learn and comprehend more about this practice.

It quickly opened my eyes and heart to a new way of thinking and observing my surroundings.

Buddhism is not necessarily a religion, but more a way of life. It's a practice and spiritual development that  leads you to a path of happiness through the awareness of your actions towards yourself and others.

The great thing about Buddhism, is that anybody can practice it.

Vesak Ceremony
Vesak Ceremony

The ceremony starts off by devout Buddhists and followers alike congregating at the temple before the procession begins. The day is filled with rituals and offerings.

Devotees bring simple gifts of flowers, joss sticks (incense) and candles, to lay at the feet of the spiritual teacher. This is done to remind us that, just as flowers wither and die, and joss sticks and candles burn away, so does life- its temporary.

"Everything in life is temporary. So if things are going good, enjoy it because it won't last forever. If things are going bad, don't worry, it can't last forever either."- Buddha

Offerings
Offerings
Buddha Offerings
Buddha Offerings

A display of a small image of the baby Prince Siddhartha in a small basin filled with water and decorated with flowers is used for the bathing offering.

Buddha Bath
Buddha Bath
Baby Buddha Bath
Baby Buddha Bath

The "Bathing of the Buddha" is an important part of the celebration. It is where water is poured over the shoulders of the Buddha and serves to remind fellow Buddhists to purify the mind from greed, lead noble lives and practice morality and kindness.

BathBuddha
BathBuddha
bathing

After the ceremony, everybody gathered outside to feast on vegetarian meals and to watch the live musical performance.

photo 4 - Copy (2)
photo 5 - Copy (2)
pic2
pic4
pic6

What a nice way to end the day. But before leaving, you know I just had to sneak in a little meditation session.

Meditation
Meditation
photo 2

I had a great time discovering new traditions and experiencing first hand the celebration of Buddha's life. I look forward to attending next year as well.

The Life of Buddha
The Life of Buddha

Although there are about two Buddhist temples that are closer to my house, I prefer making the drive to this one. Everybody is always so welcoming and friendly. That is one of the many reasons why I love coming to the Guang Ming Temple- there is always an event or a class going on for the community.

If you're interested in learning how to implement Buddhism in your daily routine, click here to view an excerpt from the book, The Path to Happiness by Thubten Chodron. It provides a great guide on practicing Buddhism in your everyday life.

I love exploring and discovering new ways to bring happiness and peace into my life.

And I hope to always continue to do so.

"When you come upon a path that brings benefit and happiness to all, follow this course as the moon journeys through the stars."- Buddha.

Posted on June 20, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

What You Get From Giving

giving

I initially saw this video circulating on my Facebook newsfeed a couple of weeks ago. Even though it's been shared numerous times, I wanted to share it one more time- for those of you that still haven't seen it yet. The video is from a Thai life insurance commercial.

If their goal was to make you shed a few tears, then they definitely succeeded with their mission. One of the best videos I've seen in a while.

I absolutely love watching videos like these. They serve as a friendly reminder on how to continuously  treat other people, because let's face it, we tend to forget sometimes.

If you enjoyed this heartwarming video, click here to watch another one that is just as powerful and moving.

giving
giving

We all have the power to be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give them yours. If you can make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

"Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier" - Mother Teresa

Posted on April 21, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

Meditation- Finding Your Flow

meditation

By now most people have heard about meditation. In the past few years, it has gained immense popularity all over the world. Long gone is the notion that it can only be practiced by Buddhist monks or "Yogis". Anyone can practice and reap the benefits of meditation. But what exactly is meditation? Do you just sit there and close your eyes?

Well, yes... but there's a little more to it.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. It originally was meant to help deepen the understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.

Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. It produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind causing you stress- clearing away the information overload that builds up every day. This process results in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional state and overall health. Luckily, these benefits don't end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and can even improve certain medical conditions.

(Source)

I was first introduced to meditation last year when my friend sent me a link to a free 21 day meditation program. Like so many, I'd heard about meditation before but never found the need to implement it into my life. Mainly because I knew nothing about it. I just assumed it wasn't for me. You know, I wasn't that "type" of person (whatever that meant).

After the first week of meditating, I fell in love with it. I felt calmer, more centered and patient after each meditation. In a way, I also felt rejuvenated. Now, if I don't meditate, I can automatically sense a difference in my mood, my attitude and overall drive for the day.

I haven't been keeping up with it though, which is probably why I've been so out of sync lately. I'm excited (and in desperate need) to start back up again on Monday.

Why Monday? Well, besides it being my favorite day of the week, Oprah and Deepak Chopra, who is one of the most respected and well known spiritual teachers in the world, are sharing another 21 day meditation, called Finding Your Flow. Normally the price for one of their meditations is $50, but every few months, they offer one of them for free. So if you've ever wanted to try out meditation, now is the perfect time! Their 21 Day Meditation-Finding Your Flow starts on Monday, April 14th.

21meditation
21meditation

To register and participate, click here.

In the registration page, you'll find a sample of one of the days in the 21 day meditation (Day 6). You will get an idea on the format of the meditation and from there you'll be able to determine if it's something you'd want to try.

What I love about Oprah and Deepak's meditations, is that they're guided. Meditation is not easy, it takes practice and patience to get your mind to stay still. Being fairly new to this whole meditation world, I prefer having guidance throughout.

If you do decide to participate, here are some helpful tips from Deepak to prepare you before and during the meditation:

Meditation Tips:

  1. Where to Meditate: Since these are guided meditations, you can plug in, close your eyes, and go within any safe place you choose, somewhere you will not be disturbed.
  2. When to Meditate: Morning and evening coincide with our body's quieter rhythms. Our body knows how to be still; we just have to give it the opportunity. Studies show that routines begun in the morning last the longest, but any time you look forward to meditating is the right time.
  3. Body Position: Being comfortable is most important. It is preferable to sit up straight on the floor or on a chair to help cultivate alertness, but if you are ill or need to lie down, that is fine. The mind has been conditioned to sleep when the body is lying down so you may feel sleepier. Your hands can relax on your lap, palms up or any way that you feel most open.
  4. Thoughts: Thoughts will inevitably drift in and dance around your mind, but that's normal. Don't try to do anything with them – let them be. If you find yourself thinking about what's passing through your mind, just return to focusing your awareness on the mantra or your breath – you will soon slip into the space between thoughts.
  5. Breath: When we pay attention to our breath, we are in the present moment. In an unforced, natural rhythm, allow your breath to flow in and out, easily and effortlessly.
  6. Meditation Length: The effects of meditation are cumulative. Setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to retreat is beneficial. Many schools of meditation prescribe 30 minutes of meditation twice a day. As your meditation practice evolves, you can extend your time. It's better to spend just a few minutes meditating every day rather than meditating for an hour a week.

Make sure you pick a comfortable place in your home where you're free of distractions. It doesn't have to be a huge area- a little spot in your room will do.

Here's my little meditation corner:

If you've ever been interested or curious about meditation, I'd recommend giving this 21 Day- Finding Your Flow meditation a try. It might be exactly what you've been looking for to improve your focus and health.

Namaste.

Posted on April 11, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

I'm Back!!

As some of you may have noticed, I've been absent from Metanoia Living. No, I didn't grow tired of blogging or suddenly decide that it wasn't for me anymore- I just took some time off; a little break. Time to center my thoughts and get myself focused again.

The whole purpose of Metanoia Living is for me to share with you my journey of changing my mind, heart, self or way of life- which is what metanoia means. Pursuing my goal of self improvement. But the past few weeks, I felt as though I was stuck in a rut. For the lack of a better term, I was feeling blah!

How could I possibly write a Motivational Monday post, if I myself wasn't feeling motivated? What words of wisdom could I possibly share if I didn't believe in them? I lost motivation and interest for everything- school, nutrition, exercise, blogging... everything. Don't worry, I wasn't depressed. Far from it actually. Like I've mentioned before, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I'm normally a very optimistic person and rarely get down on myself, so it was out of the norm for me to feel this way.

I think a contributing factor was attending one of our friend's funeral a few weeks ago. Funerals always have a way of making me think about my life and what kind of legacy I'm leaving behind. If I were to die tomorrow, who would attend my funeral, what would be said about me, what would I be remembered for?

I know they're ridiculous questions, but you can't help but ponder about the answers.

So on top of being in that state of funk, I added the "does my life matter?" question to the equation- to make things worse (of course).

I let negative thoughts consume my mind. I was focusing on the wrong things and not giving myself the credit I deserved. Feeling unmotivated and wondering if your life has "meaning" is not a good combination. It's not healthy and it strips away from the validation that you are making a difference.

Luckily, yesterday I kind of just "snapped" and realized that it was silly and unnecessary for me to feel that way. Nothing productive or positive was going to come out of me being stuck in that state of mind.

So no more feeling BLAH!!

Time to get my life back on track and in order. Back to my daily routine, writing, and being my motivated self.

break
break

Little breaks (or maybe even mini break downs) can be a blessing in disguise. It could be a way for you to start over- to push the "reset button", and to reinforce the belief system in yourself.

So stay tuned- I'm back better than ever!

-Fiorella

Posted on April 9, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

The Most Precious Gift You Could Give To Someone

I've come to the realization that life is too short to be worrying about trivial things. There is so much beauty in being alive. In being able to appreciate the things around you. In the ability to create new memories. But above all, in the opportunity to spend time with the ones we love. "The trouble is, you think you have time"- Buddha

We are all on borrowed time. What you make of it defines you and the type of impact you'll have in a person's life. The most precious gift we could give to anyone is our love and attention. Being fully present in someone's life is absolutely priceless. Nothing compares to being there for someone and showing them how much you really care. We live in a world where we don't say it enough. Where we don't show it enough.

Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone, so always make sure you take the time to express your love and appreciation to the people close to you. Call your parents and tell them how much you value them. Take your significant other out for a romantic evening. Set up a lunch date with your girlfriends. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. Even the smallest of gestures can have a profound effect on someone.

feel
feel

Continue to cultivate and nurture the meaningful relationships you have in your life, for in the end, they truly are what matter.

Posted on March 24, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

Super Soul Sundays

supersoulsundays
supersoulsundays

What I look forward to the most on Sundays, besides spending time with my family, is watching Super Soul Sundays on the OWN Network. For those of you not familiar with this channel, it's the network owned by Oprah. Hence the name OWN - Oprah Winfrey Network (so clever that Oprah).

My admiration for Oprah didn't start until recently; four months ago actually. I've always liked her and would occasionally watch her talk show when it was on the air- but that was it. Now, I view her as someone who has guided me through my soul-searching journey. I would've never fathomed that someone whom I've never met could have the power to do so. But she has.

And it's all partly thanks to her "Super Soul Sundays" program.

What is Super Soul Sunday?

It's a place where you can nourish your mind, body and spirit every Sunday on OWN. Super Soul Sunday is designed to help viewers awaken their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the word around them. Exploring topics such as spirituality, the afterlife, alternative health, happiness, and personal fulfillment are shown. Super Soul Sunday presents fresh and thoughtful insights into what it means to truly live your best life.

I consider myself a spiritual person, more so than religious. I enjoy learning new thought-provoking and inspirational ideas. Super Soul Sundays showcases different perspectives on life and how to implement them- which is perfectly aligned to what I'm currently seeking.

The all new season premier airs this Sunday, March 23rd at 11am. If you're in the Orlando area and have Brighthouse Network, OWN is on channel 52 and 1270 for HD.

I'm most excited about the series, Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth. Which is based on spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. It's a 10 part series in which Oprah and Eckhart take viewers on a chapter-by-chapter journey through Eckhart's seminal work. Every Sunday at 12pm, you will learn how to focus and become more aware and present.

anewearth
anewearth

I actually got a copy of the book last week and started reading it already. I've heard so many great things about this book and how life changing it is- which makes me excited to simultaneously read and watch the series.

Besides, if Oprah recommends it, you know it has to be good!

newearth
newearth

Every week, make a conscious effort to enrich your soul in any way possible. Whether it's through the books you read, the shows you watch, or the things you do- you are responsible in shaping your future.

"The power is in you. The answer is in you. And you are the answer to all your searches. You are the goal. You are the Answer. It's never outside" - Eckhart Tolle

Posted on March 21, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.

6 Week Weight Loss Challenge: Week #4

When I started this challenge four weeks ago, I was extremely excited to have people join me in this weight loss journey. I figured it would be a good way to keep me motivated, while at the same time, helping people. I have to confess though, I kind of regret starting this challenge- but purely for selfish reasons though. Every time I want to excessively eat, I always have Tuesday's results post in the back of my mind. Oh, the stress!

I guess the whole accountability factor does really work. Which reinforces the notion that if you want to lose weight, you should consider having someone help you. I know it's difficult sharing your weight or your struggles, but trust me, making my journey public has been the best thing I could've done. I'm not saying you should go out and blog about it, but confiding in a friend does work. You need that encouragement and sense of pressure. Having a partner along the way will make a huge difference.

Like I said on my first challenge post, everything I write is based on my own experience and opinion. I share it, so it can possibly help you as well. My method is not the only or correct way to lose weight. But hopefully you find some value from these posts.

Ok, so after that mini novel, let's finally begin this week's results.

week 4
week 4
week4
week4

I'm torn with the results. On one hand, I'm extremely proud of myself for reaching 112 lbs. Around this time last year, I was weighing 112.2lbs, so finally surpassing that weight makes me very happy. On the other hand, I'm a bit disappointed in my body fat % increase and my muscle mass decrease. Not what I had hoped for, but there's really no point in getting down about it. Next week I'll just have to step up my working out regime and watch what I eat a bit more. Done!

Here are this week's tips:

heartrate
heartrate
heart rate monitor
heart rate monitor
  1. Use a heart rate monitor: I decided to take my heart rate monitor out of retirement. I bought it last year and probably used it for a month straight then stopped. But now it's back in business! This little bad boy is a great tool to view the calories burned and to monitor that you're staying within your fat burning zone. To calculate your zone/max heart rate, use the following formula: Based on those calculations, my range falls between 118-168. Last workout, I averaged a heart rate of 145, which is right in the middle. I use the Polar FT4 model. I can't rave enough about it. If you're in the market for a heart rate monitor, I highly recommend this one.
  2. portion-distortion
  3. Trick your mind: It's no surprise that we typically eat more than one single serving. The problem is that we eat with our eyes. To avoid overeating, I normally eat in smaller plates. That way my plate appears to be filled with more food than there really is. If you only have big plates, another great way to cut back on your portions, is to spread your food out. The picture below cleverly illustrates how our minds can trick us into eating more than we should. Remember, it's all about portion control, portion control, portion control! I can't stress this enough. You can kill yourself at the gym 7 days a week, but if you're not eating healthy and watching your portion size, you'll find it difficult to lose weight.
  4. workouts
  5. Sneak in quick work outs: We all get busy with work, family, school, and life in general, that sometimes it's hard to find the time (or motivation) to work out. But by making small adjustments to your everyday routine, it can, in the long run, yield positive results. I used to be the type of person that would only park in the first two spots of my destination. I didn't care if I had to wait 10 mins for it, I refused to park far away. Now, I intentionally park father away just to sneak in a few extra steps. I also opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. You'll be surprised on how much these minor changes can help with your weight loss.

This week I only have three tips to share. I didn't change my diet too much and the workouts pretty much stayed the same. I'm losing weight at a healthy and consistent rate, which I'm pleased about. Even though I've only lost 3 lbs and 3.5% body fat, I am starting to see and feel the results. Since I'm short (5'1), every little pound gained or lost, immediately shows.

jeans
jeans

I'm nowhere near my goal weight, but I've already seen an improvement in my tummy -which is my problem area- and in how my jeans fit. They don't feel as snug as before. A great indication that I'm actually losing weight.

These final two weeks, I'm going to push myself and really stay focused and dedicated. Hopefully by next Tuesday, I'll break the 110 mark.

It seems as though I've lost most of you during the second week of the challenge. (Don't worry, I'd be right there with you if it wasn't for having to post each week) But don't think you can't join or start back up again. You can always go back and read the previous challenge posts to get some tips and motivation. Remember, it's never too late!

year
year

Let's end these last couple of weeks strong and show ourselves that we can do it!

Posted on March 18, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body.