Winter Solstice Reflections, Gyms, Workout Routine

Today is the winter solstice of 2017. Seems that many of us pause and take some time for deep reflection this time of the year. It’s kind of an annual review. Where am I and how does it align with where I want to be? Are there large changes to be made? Habits I’d like to adopt?

I’ve been licensed as a massage therapist for 4 months. While I still work as a nurse most weeks, the majority of my work time is spent in a lovely room, in a lovely space, with essential oils being diffused, my homemade candle flickering, Wholetones music playing and a client that I’m grateful for on my massage table. My intention was to be booked out for 4 weeks at a time by the end of the year, and that’s exactly what has happened. It has taken a lot of effort, but it’s here. I love it so much. I feel like my work is my hobby, my creative outlet and my gift. I love helping people feel better in their bodies. I love learning more.

I am a personal trainer and health coach, but don’t push that work. This is certainly the time of year people are thinking about their weight and health, myself included. I’ve lost 17 pounds since spring with ease by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet and moving my body throughout the day. Once in a great while I will weigh and measure my foods, counting calories and macronutrients. It’s more to prove a point now, like that I do, in fact, get enough protein without eating animals. And that I do eat a rather large quantity of food. I like it that way. I like that my diet continues to evolve, to be more aligned with the seasons as well as my feelings about animal welfare.

Several people I’ve observed over the years turn to whatever the latest pill or potion is to lose weight, only to gain it back. Not only is the weight back, but the feelings of failure are worn around like a weight every day for many people. I’ve been there! Although I still have my struggles, they’re much fewer and farther between than they used to be. I truly believe the fundamental reason why the pills and shakes fail is that they don’t address the root of the problem. What if you loved yourself enough to nourish your body? What could you love about yourself right now, in this moment? Until you examine why you keep repeating the cycle, it will continue. Also, what are the ingredients in your shakes and bars?? Synthetic vitamins? Isolates? For me personally, I like a large quantity of real food. I like to put away a pound of veggies, or several cups of starch in the form or rice or yams every day. I do not like restriction, and if I think I can just have a little bit when it comes to chocolate or nut butter, I’m lying to myself. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. Serves me well in some aspects of life.

Ok so, here’s my current workout plan:
plan

If you’re wondering what the heck Heart Butt and Blast are, check this site: https://ashleyblackguru.com/heartbutt/ – the Fascia Blaster is the only tool I’ve found that addresses my bound up fascia, and I’m able to see/feel a difference with regular use! I’ve struggled for years with IT band and Achilles pain, so this is huge for me. Most days I do my strength training and blasting in the morning, in my bathroom with the space heater on. I play loud music and do the strength exercises with a resistance band in sets of 10 for the duration of a song. Then I blast one area for a song (left upper leg, for example) and repeat for 3 full sets.

For cardio, you will no longer find me on some machine under fluorescent lights watching negativity on a screen. Here’s my cardio gym on Tuesday. Quiet stillness except for me moving my body through space, and the chatter of winter birds. The forest floor blanketed in sparkling white. Crisp, fresh air. Hills are my high-intensity intervals. I’m finding that a gentler pace and more restorative approach is more aligned with this season.

and Thursday, with my enthusiastic 4-legged soul mate:

 

I’m not so into “Resolutions” but in 2018 I’m taking steps to:
 – replace some evening glasses of wine with tea
 – create a morning ritual to involve a little yoga and meditation
 – create space in my schedule to relax, especially in the evenings

Weight Loss Update + Today’s Menu + Fascia

Time for an update. I will openly say I am an all or nothing kind of person. Most of the time that serves me well. If I’m in on something, I’m all in. This past couple of days, that included a loaf of sourdough rye bread and a generous portion of buttercream frosting. See, I still have my struggles with food sometimes. I stepped on the scale at 126# this morning. At 5’1″, while I’m no longer overweight, my goal has been 120#.

I eat plants for the most part. This is what’s on the menu for today and has been more typical for me lately. I feel fantastic like this. Due to nagging tendon issues for over 7 years (more on that later), my exercise level has been low. Yoga, walking, and about an hour of biking per week.

BreakfastBreakfast was butternut squash, green and red cabbage tossed in a mix of balsamic vinegar and brown mustard, then baked at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. It’s a large cookie sheet. I like to be full. Of vegetables!

Lunch

 

 

 

Lunch – I dumped a bag of frozen broccoli into a glass dish and baked it while my breakfast was in the oven. To that I added a baked sweet potato that I’d cooked in a batch a couple of days ago. Top with hot sauce.

 

 

Snack

 

I’ll probably have a snack before massage clients this afternoon, which is 1/2 of a baked kabocha squash with a tiny bit of brown sugar, and a Granny Smith apple. (Edit – I couldn’t eat the squash. Too full yet.)

 

 

SupperBefore I head out for work, I’ll throw the following into my Instant Pot for supper: Black eyed peas, brown rice, salsa and spinach. That way, supper is ready when I get home this evening.

Simple food.

Roughly 900 calories. 80% carb, 14% protein, 6% fat.

 

 

 

 

 

fascia blasterFor the past 7 years I’ve had struggles with my tendons/connective tissue. For a few weeks now I’ve been using this tool to “comb” my fascia. I warm up my by either doing cardio in a sauna suit, cranking up the space heater in the bathroom and doing yoga, or my latest addition – steam room! I picked up a small fryer, filled it water and a little peppermint essential oil, then put it in a crappy old tent. Last night I was reading a book in there by headlamp while an owl was talking in a nearby tree 🙂 I feel some positive changes happening and I can see changes in the shape of my body that I’m happy with.  The tool I’m using is called a Fascia Blaster. The hard, gravel-like crap in my IT bands and Achilles seems to be softening with consistent use. Steam room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, from January 2017 to October 2017. Less exercise. More plants.
Me
Me

Henna For Hair

For several years now, I’ve been coloring my hair with crushed leaves. Recently I dabbled in red, and I love it. People are frequently curious about how I color, so I thought I’d do a quick post.

In the photo to the left, there are crushed indigo leaves (black result) and crushed henna leaves (red). I’m digging the 2-tone look lately.

 

 

The thing about henna is, it’s a commitment. It’s chemical-free and actually good for your hair, but you can’t dye over it with something lighter. I don’t think there are blonde options. I do have a rather alarming amount of gray these days, and henna does the job on keeping them quiet. I’m not ready for that yet.

Henna does smell kind of like tea leaves. Or hay. I find the red color “bleeds” when it gets wet for a week or so after. The red fades over the course of a few weeks, so I touch it up when I want to give it a boost. I love it, but not everyone does.

The green powder is indigo and the brown is henna. I mix it with warm water to a pudding consistency and put it on hair that’s been washed with Dr. Bronner’s soap and towel-dried.

While my hair is up in a towel, I apply a homemade salve around the hairline and to my ears. Henna definitely stains skin!

 

 

I separate out the portion from my ears down in the back and slather on the indigo (gloved hands are a must!). Then I tuck the indigo part into a little bun. I section the top using jaw clips and just apply the henna a bit at a time, working from root to tip and using my hands to saturate the hair. Gather it in a bun on top of my head and….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover it in a bandana. Make funny faces. Go to bed and leave it in all night. If I had a nice pillow I’d probably cover it with a dark towel, but most of the time I use a dark towel as a pillow anyway. So the leaves do their thing while I snooze. It won’t fry the hair or do any harm at all. In the morning I wake up, grab a cup of coffee, do some stretching and then rinse it out until the water is pretty clear. No soap!

 

 

 

 

 


And, voila! You can see the 2 colors in this photo.

All styled up.

Leaves 🙂