What is Meditation? A Simple Definition.

Meditation is no longer some unattainable new-age hippy nonsense that people do while chanting freakishly weird sounds. Nah, nah, nah. Meditation has been going through a sort of resurgence throughout the past few years. Perhaps that’s due to the countless scientific studies conducted on how meditation can actually change the brainbuddha-199462_1280

When I was losing my mind post break-up, I had to find a way to curb my anxiety. I realized that I needed to sit down and figure out who I was. I knew I needed to accomplish a few things:

  • I needed to be OK with being alone.
  • I needed to realize that my happiness comes from within and not external factors.
  • Finally, I needed to stay away from the things that give me anxiety and not expect them to alleviate my anxiety.

I found the answers through meditation.

To me, my simple definition of meditation is to find that infinite, boundless ocean that is within yourself.

What does this mean? It means that we all conduct life when we are at the surface of the ocean. There are endless waves that hit you from all angles. These waves can be from bad situations, positive events, negative feelings, or even happy emotions. These waves can knock you down and make it difficult to breathe. How do we combat these waves?

sky-264778_1280We don’t. We sink a few feet below the surface and we’ll realize that the ocean is way calmer down here. There are no waves. It’s just endless, calm ocean. And it’s even better when we ride with the current. No fighting. Just moving with it.

We can tap into this ocean of infinite awareness through the act of meditation. We can take ourselves out of the hard hitting waves and focus on ourselves and this present second.

So, start now. Take a deep breath. Imagine yourself sinking beneath the waves. And exhale.

Nice, ain’t it?

Woof Woof: Don’t Treat Food as a Reward

Gimme Dat Treat

Gimme Dat Treat

You absolutely crushed your physics exam? Let’s get some ice cream! Your softball team won the championship? Let’s get some 1/2 priced apps! You got a phenomenal performance review at work? Let’s get a cocktail (or seven)!

Last time I checked, I’m not a dog. I don’t have a tail to wag. I don’t bark whenever someone knocks at the door. And I most certainly don’t sleep 95% of the day (Lookin’ at you, Dave-the-Dog). So, why is it that we reward ourselves for good things with treats as if we were dogs?

Treats are given to dogs to encourage the dog to keep doing the trick. If you sit when I tell you to, then you get treat. But we aren’t dogs. We understand that life is just generally better if we do X. We don’t need Y to do any better (or poorer) with the task.

Things that you can do instead of rewarding yourself with an ice cream cone:

  • Do something restorative that will make you feel better: get a massage, buy a new pair of shoes, take a long bath, etc.
  • Treat food as being secondary: going out for a celebratory dinner? Focus on the company you’re with instead of the food on your plate.
  • Create something even if it sucks: being creative and making something with your hands lasts way longer than that slice of pepperoni pizza.
  • Do not associate your happiness with food: happiness is so much bigger than food. Food is a small part, but not the entire kit and kaboodle!

Now, am I saying that you should just stop treating yourself? NO! You should always TREAT YO SELF, but maybe we should aim to do it in restorative ways instead of destructive ways.


Back On Track: Rediscovering Mindful Eating

We get it. You fell off the wagon and you’re crawling in the dirt trying to catch up with the horse. It’s hard, man. You’re dirty and you desperately need a shower. I’m currently in the shower getting rid of all the muck and dirt from behind my ears, but I’m determined to get on the wagon and ride down that Oregon Trail. Yee-haw, little doggie.

Buddah was mindful in ways outside of food

I don’t know if Buddah really practiced mindful eating.

So, now that we’re on the right path, how do we avoid falling off again? We need to rediscover mindful eating

What is mindful eating? Well, let’s start by what it isn’t.

Mindful eating is not:

  • Shoveling food down your throat.
  • Eating just to eat.
  • Standing in front of the fridge and devouring the last of the flan that your mom made for your dad’s birthday (it was great, by the way).

Mindful eating is: 

  • Realizing that food has a purpose and that purpose is to simply nourish your body.
  • Using all of your senses to fully enjoy and appreciate the food that you’re eating.
  • Done with full intention on caring for yourself, both mentally and physically.

So, now that we know what mindful eating is, how do we know we’re eating mindfully? 

Ask yourself these questions, you food Buddah:

  • Am I taking a pause between eat fork-full to make note of the food?
  • Am I noticing the act of chewing instead of just swallowing the food?
  • What are the textures of the food?
  • Does this food remind me of memories or invoke some emotional response?
  • Am I actually enjoying the food? ‘Cause if I’m not, I should stop eating this shit.

Try some of these things while eating dinner tonight and let me know how it goes for you. I have found that I feel fuller and more present in that moment, which is great for my anxiety!

Real Talk: I Gained 13 Pounds

I’ve been avoiding the scale since November. I have been more than complacent. I figured if I plugged my ears, closed my eyes, and hummed to myself that it wasn’t real. The truth of the matter is is that it is real.

I have always wanted this blog to be about the ebb and flow of weight loss. Losing weight is not a linear line that is perpetually going down. It has its dips and jumps. It is long and winding. It is tiresome and ruthless.

The last time I weighed myself in late November, I lost 100 pounds. Victory! Today I weighed myself and I gained 13 pounds. So, that’s 13 pounds in 6 months. That’s… unsettling.

I could sit here and be disappointed in myself and go gorge on whatever food I have in the house, but I’m choosing not to. I’m making the change this very second that I will be better than I was. I will be faster than I was. I will be stronger than I was. I will be dedicated and more efficient with my eating. I will be more diligent towards my workouts.

To those of you who have gained weight or are upset with themselves: you aren’t alone. But either we can keep watching the horse pass us by or we can hop back on and ride off into the sunset. Who’s with me?

P.S. Maybe all my weight went to my ass? ;)

The Evolution of Self-Esteem

There’s no doubt that people will tear another person to shreds if it means that they get what they want. Women are put up against one another in some sick match to see who is more beautiful, sexy, or feminine. We see our co-workers as rivals and we need to climb the ladder faster than them or else we think we haven’t succeeded.

How come we can’t just be? Why can’t we just see ourselves at face value and adore ourselves for who and what we are? Why is our self-esteem buried when someone else is “better” than us? Why can’t we just be proud of our accomplishments for what they are?

My now infamous ass picture.

My now infamous ass picture.

This week I did something insanely out of character: I took a picture of my ass and I posted it on social media. Why did I do that? Because I’ve put a lot of endless hours and sweat into my fitness routine and, for once, I was really proud of my accomplishment. So proud that I felt that I could share it.

It has taken me years to feel enough confidence in myself that I could share a “taboo” photo. I have battled with my inner demons over how I look and what other people think for what seems like an eternity. Me posting that photo was almost like I was chipping away at my own struggle and I was vulnerable. Very vulnerable.

People may have thought that I was showing off or trying to get attention. In retrospect, yeah, any picture we post online is begging for attention. We wouldn’t post if we didn’t want other people to know what we are doing with our lives.

But the truth still remains: we don’t know the struggle that someone deals with on a daily basis regarding their own self-esteem and self-worth. Why do we judge others for stepping out of their comfort zone and embracing something that they are proud of?

Just food for thought.

Happiness: Tips On How to Regain Control

I spent the vast majority of my life hating myself. I found ways to fill the void, whether that be with food, relationships, working out in excess or not working out at all.

I’ve recently gone through an epiphany where I choose how I feel. I choose to not let others affect me. I choose to override my anxiety. I choose take a deep breath and have a great day. These are all very real conscious decisions where, in the past, I would have let my demons engulf me.

I have my good days and bad days, but here are some things that I rely on to help me regain my control:

1.  Find one thing that you absolutely adore about yourself everyday.

  • What do you love about you? What part of you makes you smile? Is it your hair? What about your shoes? Or is it the way you laugh? Wake up every single morning and instead of saying, “Fuck. I am so fat,” find that one thing that you love about yourself. Believe it, too. ‘Cause you’re rad.

2.  Write out your core characteristics.

  • Your core never changes. Your true character is eternal. Things may happen in your life that are beyond your control, but your true self is timeless. When every single thing around you seems to be going wrong, think about how your character remains constant. Remember that your core self something that no one can take away from you.

3.  Focus on the present. 

  • It’s hard to think about all the “what ifs” and retracing the past and imagining the future in your head. Take a step back. Breathe in. Focus on how you existing right now is amazing. You’re alive, so therefore there is more right with you than wrong with you. Right now is the only thing that you need to focus on. The past is over. The future will come (but you can’t control it). You can control this very second.

4.  Don’t go backwards. 

  • If you spend too much time thinking about the past, you’ll never be able to move towards the future. You need to always push yourself onward and upward. “To infinity and beyond,” as our good friend Buzz Lightyear would say.

I don’t claim to be Miss Positivity on a daily basis. I don’t claim that I never give into my anxiety. But I am constantly working on making myself better, faster, stronger (Hi, Daft Punk), and more awesome than I was the day before.

Know your worth – you deserve happiness.

I’m faster and stronger than you, ED

It’s been a year since I found myself in the depths of a raging eating disorder. It almost pains me to glance through my old TimeHop updates and read ridiculous tweets about how I was only going to be eating greek yogurt for the day and how I needed to burn 1,000+ calories only to binge on sushi later on in the evening. diet-398613_640

This week marks National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and I felt compelled to write a blog about the struggles that I faced and the struggles that I continue to face.

In February of 2014, I was forcing myself to eat low caloric meals in order to gain some sort of “privilege” that it is to be skinny. I would only allow myself to eat 900-1000 calories a day to get to that goal faster than I had hoped. It didn’t help that one day I would be restricting and the following day I would binge. It was an endless cycle of restricting and bingeing. Thus, I wouldn’t lose weight.

In March of 2014, I finally somehow admitted to myself that I had a problem. That something wasn’t quite right in my brain. That my obsession with food and my obsession with working out were not working harmoniously, but damaging me. Damaging me both physically and mentally.

My therapist had diagnosed me with EDNOS, which is basically like a great mix of all the eating disorders thrown together in one giant clusterfuck. It was time that I take ahold of my eating disorder and not let the eating disorder control me.

I started to read as many books as I possibly could on recovery (although, some of them were “too real” for me to read and I had to put them down). I reached out to my friends who were open about their struggles with eating and exercising. I tried to find my inner strength that told me that I was worth it. I was worth the healthy food I put into my body. I was worth the moderate exercise that I put my body through. The food and exercise were not punishments, but they were nourishment.

I have made immense progress since I last wrote my “manifesto” (of sorts), but I still find myself struggling. There are days where I binge and I feel insanely guilty and I’m filled to the brim with anxiety to the point where I have to take a Klonopin. There are days where I feel somewhat proud that I didn’t eat. Most recently, I didn’t eat for almost a full 48 hours and I felt exhilarated, as fucked up as that is. And there are days where I’m just a normal human being and I workout and eat good meals. The latter happens more frequently than the formers.

Today, I still feel in control, yet out of control. But I’m not giving up. I am fully aware that this demon will be on my heels for the rest of my life, but he won’t catch me. I’m faster and I’m stronger than my disorder. I’m more intelligent than my disorder. I value myself and my sanity more than my disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please seek help. You aren’t alone. Don’t let the demon win.


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