Archive for December, 2011

More or Less

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and are gearing up for a new year tomorrow. I had a very spoiled Christmas, filled to the brim with good food, good company and more gifts than I deserved.

I’m ready for 2012, are you?  It seems there are two sets of people on new years, those that diligently create resolutions and goals, and those that are violently against it. I’m a resolution person, but if you’ve been reading any amount of time, you already knew that. Mostly, I just think it’s fun to create a spread sheet of what I want more of and what I want less of.

Right off the top of my head, I want more contentment in the small things in my life. This past year, I was not content with contentment. I spent the year worrying that if I wasn’t piling on the projects and giving light to all of my ideas that I wasn’t moving forward. I was eager to skip steps and make things happen unnaturally for the sake of making something, anything, happen. That was a huge lesson.

I believe my health suffered because of this. Most notably that I’ve had a cold and now getting over a stomach virus in just two weeks.

As I sit here in my safe and quiet house, I realize how important this stability is to me. What I do is wonderful, I love passion, but I love knowing that I’m doing all that I can to maintain a happy home life for myself and my husband. That I’m doing what I can to keep myself healthy. And in this I find myself retreating, a lot. This year, I see myself saying no and passing on projects. I see myself riding the waves as they come. Taking the long road to my goals, rather than the “Let’s make this happen now!” insanity that I put myself through last year. I see myself going with the flow and trusting that I can grow and move forward just while, and especially so, taking care of my home, health and happiness.

This year, I will be narrowing my projects down to one. business. which is my design/art/creative business. And working on my blogs. Other than that, I will be cooking more and eating more vegetables, and taking time to dance and have fun and most importantly, to just be.

I want more fresh fruit and vegetable juices.  I believe in juicing and how good it makes me feel.

I want  to complain and worry less.

I want more exercise.

I want to take the long road and be okay with the journey.

I want to stop worrying, finally, about what other people think.

I want more sewing, painting and illustrating.

I want less social media.

I want more cooking.

I want less driving.

I want to make realistic and attainable goals.

Happy New Year!

 

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Reduce Stress Through Meditation

Stress is an issue for many people living in the fast and furious 21st century. Many people when they are stressed, turn to food as a method of relief. This results in unwanted weight gain. There are techniques to manage and effectively reduce stress. One of stress reduction method that has gained tremendous momentum is meditation. Meditation techniques still the mind and focus it on calm and steady thoughts. As deliberation turns inward, the introversion frees the flow of thoughts, visions and memories aligning the mind and the body in awareness and relaxation.

Purpose

Meditation and mindfulness are routes to reduce stress and regain the equanimity needed for a productive life. Many types of meditation address the importance of breathing while focusing the mind on thinking positive thoughts or visualizing constructive images. Guided meditation is a growing practice for many who desire to relieve stress and enhance the peace, health and composure of their life. With various guidance topics and recordings available, meditation, sometimes termed “centering,” calls the individual to tune into the body and breathe with the energy force of the world.

Benefits

According to Andrew Weil, M.D., “Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.” This reduction in stress levels often results in creating a positive energy flow through the body that can prove effective in alleviating anxiety and even chronic pain. With relaxation of the muscles and nerves, blood and energy flow more freely to all parts of the body generating an enhanced feeling of well-being.

Proponents of mindfulness and breathing additionally laud “Improvement of body luster and general health” and “improvement in concentration” as benefits of meditation.

Though meditation is essentially a spiritual practice reaching across cultures throughout recorded history, its purpose elaborates as it is embraced. Individuals involved in guided breath meditation often evolve their practice to explore the very nature of themselves as they find success in dealing with problems and issues.
Relaxing at Beach.
Interviews with people involved in meditation reveal that it can be an antidote for depression, stress and even fear. Offering increased joy, confidence and health, advocates find that meditation and breathing exercises assist them in gaining strength, when combined with yoga, and general health as they make meditation a way of life. Mindful breathing when combined with meditation helps practitioners to expand their horizons of life consciousness.

Process

Process and methods of meditation span a wide range. A simple Zen practice of counting breath exhalations up to five and then repeating is a good place to begin. This simplified technique means that while never counting above the number 5, the breathing meditation can continue for hours.

With guided meditation processes your imagination is exercised as you are piloted through a journey. Often a word of intention is selected as a focus for breathing and meditation that helps with discovery of healing and healthful realizations. Frequently, practitioners of breathing, mindfulness and meditation utilize recordings. This accompaniment of appropriate music or sounds of nature can add depth and texture to the experience. Recordings are readily available in stores and online. Also, you may decide to compose a recording of your own from music, poetry or quotations that you find inspirational.

Many times meditations will begin with concentration on one aspect of the body such as the breath. As you begin a meditation it is necessary to find a comfortable sitting position. Once sitting comfortably with eyes closed, you will be guided to hold your stillness and breathe deeply. Initially you will turn your mind to focus on your breathing, shifting your attention to inhaling and exhaling. As you breathe deeply you will notice your body becoming relaxed. Then there will be guidance to concentrate on other areas of the body moving from the right side to the left side. For instance, focusing on the right shoulder as you breathe noticing the muscles there and imagining those muscles becoming a stream of liquid as you breathe. This will be repeated with the left shoulder and so on moving your focus around the body as lead by the recording or leader of the meditation.

As the meditation progresses, you will transition into listening to words that you have selected. Slowly, you will begin visualizing these words or ideas with your mind’s eye. It is these words that guide you through the meditation giving your subconscious time to flow along with the meditative message or visualizations.

Meditation is such an enjoyable and healthful experience that is sometimes necessary to tear yourself out of the elixir that it manifests. Closing the meditation is like saying goodbye to a pleasant journey though the next journey into mindfulness and peace already beckons.

Relaxation Tips

  • Finding a comfortable sitting position is vital to effective meditation and stress reduction.
  • Achieving relaxation and breathing requires a comfortable position for reflection. Sitting with head slightly tilted forward and hands folded or placed palm up on the knees is recommended for guided breathing mediation.
  • It is frequently the case with daily stress that the tongue is glued to the top of the mouth. If so, relax the tongue to rest at the bottom of the mouth inside the teeth.
  • As you progress in your mediation you will often experience distraction, return gently to focus on your selected message and your breathing.
  • Finding a regular spot to meditate daily supports guided meditation by giving place to it in your life.

Incorporating meditation in your life, will help you feel better about yourself, reduce stress, help you to stop using food as a crutch…thus leading to weight loss. I think much of our stress is self-imposed and prevents us from reaching goals we set for ourselves (ie: weight loss).

Give meditation a try and come back and share how it’s helped you with your life goals.

Resources on the Meditation Process and Exercises

General Meditation Resources

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Zone Diet Plan



Zone Diet Plan

Zone Diet Plan

The Zone Diet Plan is a popular diet plan among celebrities. People often choose a celebrity endorsed fad diet in order to lose weight. And if a fad diet is used and endorsed by their favorite celebrities, then they would obviously prefer it over other diets.

The Zone Diet is one of those Celebrity endorsed diets with users like Mekhi Phifer from ER, hockey player Brian Leetch, and Brad Pitt.

I will tell you to start that the Zone diet plan is difficult to follow but the carb to protein to fat levels seem to be quite good for any active person.

Now, as a matter of fact, just because a diet works for your favorite celebrity doesn’t mean that it would work for you too. Different people have different body compositions and what works for one doesn’t necessary work for another! Another thing to note is that the Zone diet is said to be miles apart from a strict vegetarian diet. Considering the fact that experts say that vegetarian diet is the best diet for quick weight loss, and that people who thrive on a vegetarian diet usually remain fit and healthy, you maybe curious as to how the Zone diet works.

So what is Zone diet plan all about?

According to the Zone die tplan, your meals must consist of 30% fat content, 40% carb content and 30% protein content. With this combination, your insulin level will be balanced. When your insulin level is balanced, you automatically lose weight (since higher levels of insulin trigger the storage of fatty tissues in our body). As you can see, the Zone diet is particularly useful for those who want to get rid of diabetes or any heart-related ailments.

Barry Sears is the creator of the Zone diet plan. Some people will call the Zone Diet a fad diet, I don’t know if that is true as the Zone Diet and variations of it have been around for quite some time. Considering the fact that the Zone diet is a fad diet, I have found that it is much more flexible than the other diets in the same category.

The problem with this diet, however, is that it is not only hard to follow, but it also comes with a couple disadvantages:

1. The recommended ratio of protein in the Zone diet is a bit high compared to protein and carbs. Experts however contend that the ratio of fat is all right

2. By restricting the intake of certain foods, the Zone diet also restricts the intake of the essential nutrients and vitamins. This can adversely affect your health so supplementing with multivitamins is essential.

So whats the verdict, Is the Zone Diet Plan any good?

I kind of like the Zone diet. As a book it is a great one to have in your bookshelf and try it out for yourself. When you do look around though the Zone diet plan is probably most popular with athletes as the high protein is especially good for people that need the muscle recovery.

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