The past year Ive grown obsessed with what my family consumes.
And, unlike many who’re focused on the SUGARS this time of year—Im preoccupied with what our brains are consuming.
we consume minions.
was sparked during the Super Bowl when the Tornado was “assigned” to watch the half-time show by her music teacher.
Now, I love me some Beyonce, but through the eyes of a 7 year old the ‘theatrical display’ assumed a whole new meaning.
- Questions arose (Mama, is that an appropriate outfit to wear? Why is she wiggling her (giggle) BUTT like that?).
- Imitations were done (days later. swift and immediate ‘oh heck NO. that is NOT appropriate for you to mimic.’ rained down).
- Realizations happened (slow to formulate/left to percolate until I was ready to share).
I was forced to acknowledge–despite my tattoo’ed exterior and laid-back demeanor–Im pretty uptight about our “brain-food.”
I knew I was more laid-back than many with regards to what I put in my vessel (hello Diet Coke!), but it was entirely by accident Id let myself backslide in what I cram in my cranium (hello boyfriend realtors!).
Id forgotten the SKINNY IS BEAUTIFUL incident.
Id allowed a teacher to dictate what the Tornado consumed within the confines of our home.
It was a wake-up call.
I stepped back, examined & revamped how we lived.
I focused on being aware of what my *MIND* consumed and reminded myself little eyes are always watching.
what she’d read if given free reign (!)
I worked to ingest uplifting messages and offer just these for her consumption, too.
I tremendously cut back on brain-junk (from movies to magazines) in an effort to live more positively.
I reached for this not STAR Magazine.
I also worked to be mindful of what I contributed to the world.
I focused on being careful what messages I put out to others be it with my mood, writing, thoughts or general negativity.
I returned completely to conscious living.
I avoided negative people as when I let negativity surround me/permeate my thinking it finds a safe harbor in my head and in my home.
I consistently reminded myself of (a mangled version of) this quote:
J.R. and I disagree on the people version (thats a different post), but I do believe we are the average of the top five things we cram in our cranium.
lately we’ve done more of this.
It’s G.I.G.O. here for our bods and our brains.
If I choose to believe worrying is praying for what we do not want (I do) then I must concur what we focus on is what we become.
My moment of Superbowl Halftime irritation turned into a year long focus on what I feed my brain & what I feed my child’s brain sets us up for who we will become.
In the same same way when I ate junk food I turn into a physical manifestation of a junk food physique.
Careful cranium consumption.
We are so much more than our vessels and it’s possible to have a lean, mean ripped vessel and *still* have a trashtastic mind.
I know. Ive been there.
- Are you as cautious what your *mind* consumes as you are with what you put in your *mouth*?
So, you know, lets keep it just between us.
or Ill get fired.
The problem is, in a way I havent felt in a few weeks, I feel called to write it.
I have to write the story whether I share it or not.
And, being the misfit I am, Ive grown too excited not to share.
Allow me to back up.
(I kid you not about the *not supposed to share.* I found out the hard way it’s something of a secret who’s in the head pictured above.)
(I kid you not both posts are a celebration of the sweet sweet freedom pretty much no one in OAKLAND reads my blog)
- After many many false starts it was time to
shine embrace the TERROR Id had no idea would envelope me when placing an animal head over mine.
(I kid you not about sheer terror. Do we grow claustrophobic with age? I couldnt see. I couldnt *breathe.* The head is truly the closest Ive been to a full-on panic attack.)
I marked my debut as the child’s school mascot on my calendar and launched my fear-filled countdown.
You see, after donning the head in the photo above, PANICKING & yanking it off as quickly as I could I wasnt confident I could ever place it on again.
The mere thought of pressing the cougar-head over my own & PINNING it to the furry suit was enough to spark me to hyperventilate.
(I kid you not. As the child eagerly counted down days to her school’s Halloween parade I prayed something–ANYTHING!–would intervene so I didnt have to appear.)
Last week the day arrived.
FINALLY!!! through her eyes and CRAPBALLS!! (<—technical term) though mine.
(I kid you not as I awaited the parade start-time I WISHED for an emergency to prevent me from attending.)
That’s my regular clothing. Im not in costume
Alas nothing intervened and it was time for me to make my COUGAR-debut.
I told myself I could do it. I reminded myself of the POWER of
moving meditation and the fact I could employ this as I ‘paraded.’
(I kid you not I outwardly panicked as they zipped me in the suit and affixed the head tightly to the body.)
I had an ‘out’ (another mom offered to do it if I “just couldnt”).
Problem was–more than disappointing the Tornado–I knew I’d be disappointed in *myself* if I didnt dig deep, focus on self-soothing & take the furry-leap.
And so I did.
(I kid you not I couldnt believe I did it. I didnt think I could. I spontaneously created a mantra of *you can breathe you can breathe* & chanted the entire time.)
When I was done (to my chagrin there’s no video of me dancing Gangnam style) it was a feeling of accomplishment unlike any Ive experienced in a long time.
(I kid you not Ive said this sentiment over & over to the poor Husband as no one else is *really* supposed to know Im the mascot.)
I write about doing one thing each day which scares me (pitching brands. pushing physical boundaries) yet cougar’ing showed me how *rarely* we grown-ups have the opportunity to do something which terrifies us and emerge the other side feeling UNSTOPPABLE.
(I kid you not. I feel frighteningly indomitable. NaNoWriMo? PUHLEASE! That’s simple. I can see *and* breathe when writing! Whats to fear?!)
I was afraid.
I had no faith I could face my fear.
I faced. I conquered. (I shocked!)
I feel as though Im capable of *anything* right now.
And that feels fantastic.
This post is inspired by too many people and blogs to cite. Too too many to give adequate link-love.
From SHAPE Magazine to my fave Coco there have been an abundance of “whats in your gym bag?” or “whats in your purse?” posts.
And, seeing as Im the consummate misfit, each time I spy one I think:
I dont own a gym bag. I never carry a purse. I stuff everything in my bra.
And, seeing as Im the consummate misfit, *thats* the post Ive longed to write.
When you see me like this:
Fitbloggin fashion show = hotel room key
fashion show rehearsal = key & money
Or spy me sweaty:
gum, keys, debit card.
Theres always a lot more there than meets the proverbial eye.
A lot more which I tend to either use right away (gum for coffee-breath, cash for food, key for key-stuff) or completely forget until I disrobe
hours and hou rs later when I finally shower mere moments after exercising.
mid-fashion show. mid ‘where is my key?!’ panic.
Today’s post was prompted by the cascade o’crap which launched forth yesterday when I de-bra’ed.
- paper money.
- a pistachio I couldnt pry open.
- a gum wrapper.
- a random red skull bead.
As I watched the pistachio bounce across the floor I wondered, again, if Im the only woman who consistently has whole tree nuts fall when she disrobes.
And a post was born.
Merely so I can ask you:
- Over-share with me. Normalize for me. What’s in YOUR bra?
PSA: On the remotest chance there is any validity in the cell phone/breast cancer connection I urge you to never, ever tuck your phone in your bra.
I love my VAMPIRE GURL.
It seems we all be TIRED TIRED this time of year.
We’re coming off the Halloween High. Gearing up for holidays-to-come. And the lament I most frequently hear is how *exhausted* we all feel.
A National Sleep Foundation survey found over 63% percent of Americans aren’t getting the slumber they need and are leading groggy, tired lives.
While I can’t help you find that elusive extra hour of slumber, I do have a few ideas how we can fight energy-vampires around us and win.
I want to do yoga.
I want to PLAY.
There are weights which need hoisting.
I have trashy television to watch.
I can’t afford to be drained of energy.
As a result, Im committing to 5 healthy habits to beat back vampires & AMP UP MY ENERGY thru 2014.
- Make your coven eat breakfast! We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies reveal many of us don’t put this theory into practice. Research also indicates breakfast does more than spark metabolism—it’s *also* linked with lower levels of stress hormone cortisol. Stress is an energy vampire (and heart attack trigger)! Make it fast. Make it simple. Make breakfast part of your morning routine & set your day up for energy-success.
- Hydrate (insert awkward NOT with blood joke) With cooler weather it’s easy to forget about hydration The majority of our blood, however, is made up of water and becoming dehydrated causes it to thicken. The result is the heart works harder to pump blood through the body & we feel fatigued. There’s still debate as to HOW MUCH water we need. I tend to go with the fact *most of us* need more than we’re getting. Misfit tip: If you dont rock the water try adding in water-containing foods (yogurt, watermelon, oranges, cucumbers and broccoli etc).
- Cut back on (afternoon) caffeine While it may
cause you to weep openly feel counter-intuitive to *skip* your pick-me-up there’s science behind this. An afternoon latte provides energy for a few hours. The vampire, however, arrives at night. Caffeine remains in the body for 3-5 hours after ingesting and, if you’re sensitive, for up to 12. Even if you don’t experience difficulty falling asleep the quality of rest can be Vampired impacted by late day caffeine. MizFit tip: Almost all decaf. coffee contains a measure of caffeine. Perhaps make this the season you swap even decaf. for a hydrating glass of sparking water with lime?
- BREATHE!!! Lately Ive noticed Im “shallow breathing.” My lungs dont fully inflate (so I yawn & feel worse) & my poor overworked cranium never gets the oxygen it needs to feel awake and alive. In an effort to keep away the energy snatchers Ive begun setting reminders to BREATHE. Once an hour I pause & take 10 slow, deep, FULL breaths. My breathing breaks are brief—but the impact on my energy level is lingering. Try it. I, too, was a skeptic.
- Drive a STAKE through sugar (just in case you’re not on my low processed no sugar bandwagon) Sugar, I speak from experience, is one of the biggest energy vampires around. Not ready to surrender the sweets? Perhaps include fiber with your sugary snacks. It sounds odd but fiber slows rate of sugar entry into bloodstream. Something as simple as whole grain crackers with your chocolate can mitigate the energy dip & is like SILVER to energy-vampires. Really feeling like a misfit? ROLL THAT FUN SIZED SNICKERS IN SOME CHIA. It’s far tastier than it sounds…
What do you say?
Are you in to EAT (breakfast) DRINK (lottsa H20) BREATHE and be LOW-SUGAR merry with me?
Have you already succeeded in beating away the
blood energy suckers & forcing em into the Veil of the Shadows?
Many thanks to Erica for letting me borrow her Halloween picture.
I am a regular size woman who found her fitness groove at the ballet barre.
Before walking into my first class, I had the following thought process that perhaps you too can identify with:
- I am too FAT to take this class.
- I am going to suck at this because I don’t have the right body shape: long, lean, ballerina body.
- When I was six years old, I quit ballet. Ooops I missed out on the training
- Of course I need to lose weight before I go to my first barre class
Thank goodness, I decided to ignore the noise and just go to a barre class because my fitness life has never been the same.
What the heck is Barre method?
It’s a mixed of ballet barre with yoga, pilates and bodyweight resistance training. The focus is on small isometric movements that challenge muscles you never thought they existed along with building your core stability and balance.
Typically, each class is broken down into 4 to 5 series that targets muscle groups such as: core, arms, thighs, and glutes/legs. Each series last about 5 to 10 minutes with a 1 to 2 minute in between stretching. Classes are about 60 minutes long. The price range varies from $20 -$40 per class (depending on your location and studio).
What attracted me to Barre Classes?
In all honesty, I wanted to try out that would provide me great results within a short period of time.
What kept me coming back was the warmth and attention from the instructors. Without failed, the instructors introduced themselves, asked questions and paid close attention to my form. They provided the necessary modifications and the positive reinforcement to keep going.
Yes in most classes, I am the biggest girl. However in this setting, we are all equal in the level of torture, I mean, work that we do.
Some series, I can be in level 3 while in others I still need to a take a break in between each exercises. Everyone at some point has experienced the leg shakes that reminds you the work is getting done.
Whether is your first or 100th class, it happens no matter your size. Again we are all equal.
At the barre, I shredded the years of body shaming.
The belief that I needed to wait to lose all of the weight in order to feel good about myself. I found strength, courage and confidence. I have tapped my inner child while walking with a better posture.
My arms, thighs and glutes shrank and muscle definition emerged within a few sessions. I discovered strength in my core that I didn’t think it would be possible.
For today, I challenge you to release the idea that you have to be a certain way to exercise.
That yes you can be a regular size women taking a barre class!
Fancy Lady Misfit costume.
It’s Halloween week and posts abound which focus on having a happy and healthy one.
Suggestions for satiety. Prompts for passing on candy. Tips for tossing sweets in favor of raw veggies.
Traditional tips which work, but are *not* how we roll up in herre.
This year we’re taking a DIFFERENT approach to Halloween than we have in (more adult) years past.
We’re joining the kids, we’re donning the costumes, we’re RIDING THE CHARACTER wavvvvve to a healthy Halloween.
My three tips for how getting into character can create your healthiest Halloween ever:
- Create a narrative. Costume optional (sigh.)—but narrative-creation is not. This Halloween you’re an actor. What’s your motivation? Challenge yourself as to why youre striving to be healthy tonight? Now consider all areas of your life. What would healthy you/your character eat? How would you dress & how would this reveal to the world how you view yourself? How would you carry yourself/walk etc? For Halloween (perhaps longer?) commit to responding to all scenarios as your ‘healthy self’ or character.
- Share your costume-plan. As zany as it sounds, sharing your role-playing plan with support people helps! I (over)share everything with friends. I first shared this concept over 2 decades ago–but then it was intended as a 1 night thing. The subtle shift in how others affirmed the way I saw myself that Halloween kept me on the path to change. Bring your inner-circle into your act-as-if plan. Loving accountability partners have helped me sustain my life-changes for 20+ years.
- Respond as your character. This week—if youre me next week, too, when candy is on *sale*—temptation abounds. Parties. Treats at work. Halloween can be a healthy living minefield—but not to our healthy character-self. Would our Halloween character skip workouts for couch time? Would costumed-you *really* select a Snickers over socializing and enjoying conversation? Before you respond to *anything* this Halloween ask yourself how your character/healthier self would react. Change your mindset. Change your body. It IS that simple.
In a way, this is how I live the *other* 364, too.
Am I feeling like skipping my cardio? Am I not in the mood to git my PLAYOUT on?
I ask myself what my SUPER-HEROINE counterpart would do.
Am I longing to pass on good whole, clean foods & meal preparation in favor of a fast, processed’y snack?
I ask my self how the dainty Queen would dine.
I act as if….when Im not feeling ‘as if’ pretty much year ’round.
And so–I challenge you.
Join me this Halloween and, if youre up for it, through the next twenty or thirty decades as well.
- How will you cruise through candy season, stay in character, & live healthy?
We’re doing laundry.
Ive tweeted, facebooked & yammered here about the many welcoming & interesting people Ive met since our move. Joshua Safran is a prime one example. Ive invited him here today to chat about his memoir, Free Spirit, because I wanted you *all* to meet Joshua Safran, too. His story is an important one and one rarely told from the male perspective.
Carla is my friend and neighbor, and asked me to help her observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October.
For the 1 in 4 women and children who have experienced it, no explanation may be required.
For the rest, the mixture of family and violence can sometimes be unapproachable and mysterious.
The best I can do is tell you a little about my story and the work I’m doing to help raise awareness and break the cycle of violence.
As a boy I watched my mother battered and abused at the hands of my alcoholic stepfather countless times.
For over 30 years I couldn’t speak about the horror of those experiences or my own shame in not standing up for my mother.
Instead, I became a lawyer and began advocating for woman like her.
In 2011, the film Crime After Crime about my team’s 7-year legal struggle to free a woman from prison for killing her batterer went to the Sundance Film Festival and debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
What the film didn’t show, however, was the courage that my client gave me to tell my own story.
Now, I’m excited to announce that my memoir, FREE SPIRIT: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid(Hyperion/Hachette), is officially available to the world, and the critical response has been wonderful.
Yoav Potash, the producer/director of Crime After Crime, and I are also thrilled to share this incredible and one-of-a-kind short film we made together for FREE SPIRIT.
(MizFit note: The book Free Spirit? Phenomenal. The book trailer? Amazing & unlike any Ive ever seen. The subject matter? Adult. Not for kids unless youre prepared to launch some tough, important conversations.)
As we observe National Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, please keep Crime After Crime and FREE SPIRIT in mind.
The goal of both projects is to create a bigger, more powerful national conversation about stopping family violence, to educate the uninformed about the cycle of violence that rolls on from generation to generation, and to give hope and healing to those who are still struggling to free themselves.
(MizFit note: Crime After Crime can be streamed from Netflix & FREE SPIRIT is widely available at bookstores or libraries.)
Once upon a time I was invited to speak at an event in NYC. The event was great, but what eclipsed even that were the people I met. People like Danielle.
One word for you about Danielle: TotalGirlCurshIBeggedHerToComeHereAndGuestPostLovenessment.
Please to enjoy.
15 years ago, I took my first yoga class and borrowed a mat- it smelled like feet and I couldn’t stop thinking about the last person’s sweat touching my face as I folded into child’s pose.
I bought a mat on my way out, and haven’t borrowed one since.
Depending on what type of yoga you practice, there are many mats available:
eco-friendly, extra thick, travel weight, and anti-bacterial to name a few.
Originally, yogis practiced on the floor, but mat choices are now the equivalent of ordering a tricked-out coffee at Starbucks.
For most regular yoga classes, such as Vinyasa, Anusara, Iyengar, or restorative yoga, you can use any of the mats I suggest here, it’s more of a preference when it comes to material, color, weight, and price.
What I will tell you, as with most things, you get what you pay for.
You can find a cheap PVC mat for 10 bucks, but it will smell toxic, you will slip all over, and it will start to rip after a month or so.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before purchasing a mat:
How much do you sweat, how often do you practice, will you travel with it, do you care about the environment, what type of yoga do you practice, and how much can you spend?
The following is a list of my favorite mats to practice with- I know it’s excessive, but it’s my equivalent of a “working woman’s” shoe collection.
Kulae- Elite hot yoga mat: This mat is perfect for hot yoga classes, because it combines the function of a traditional mat with incredible absorbability. I love that you don’t need a towel on top. Thankfully, it’s also eco-friendly, so it won’t end up in a landfill. $77
Prana- Revolution eco-mat – Made without toxic glues, the mat is heat-laminated for added durability. This mat is wider than most, so it gives you more room to move around. It’s extra sticky, and gives great support. I love how it feels on your hands and feet in downdog. Be warned, it’s heavy. $89
Jade Harmony Mat- With this open cell, natural rubber mat, say goodbye to slippage, even when sweaty. This yoga mat “changed my practice” 9 years ago- it even keeps your
elbows planted in shoulderstand. $55
Manduka PROmat- With a non-slip fabric–like finish, this yoga mat is luxuriously dense for unparalleled cushioning. It’s beloved by many yoga teachers for it’s cushioning, and it’s the only mat with a lifetime guarantee- who doesn’t love that! $84
Lululemon ‘The Mat” -Made of natural rubber, with a polyurethane coating, this mat will prevent sliding through the sweatiest of classes. Luckily, the antimicrobial additive prevents mold and mildew- and it comes not only in black, but soothing pastel colors. $68
Hugger mugger Earth Elements- This mat is made of TPE and is non- toxic. Its soft surface provides great traction for any type of yoga, and because it has a great dry-sticky surface, your hands will stay put. $53
If you practice hot yoga, you’ll definitely want a towel over your mat once you begin to drip:
Any towel will do, but I love the Magic Carpet from Spiritual Gangster-they come in the best colors and you don’t slide all over like on other mat covers.
Once that mat gets all sweaty, and yes- smelly, what do you do?
Most people suggest cleaning a yoga mat in the tub, which to me, is akin to wrestling an alligator.
Make your life easy, and if the label says you can, toss it in a washing machine- just make sure you put it on cold, and the HANDWASH setting.
Do not put it in the dryer, hang it up over your shower door, or outside in the sun. Otherwise, wipe it down at least once a week with mat spray, or tea tree oil and water. You can take this out of it’s too long
If you don’t own your own mat, I highly recommend reading this NYT article, advising against shared yoga mats, asap- it’s not just about smelly feet.
What to do with your yoga mat when it starts to “shed?”
- Line your trunk with it to keep grocery bags and plants from spilling
- Use it as padding under your knees when you garden
- Cut it up and make “bases” for your kids in the backyard
Do you have a favorite yoga mat I haven’t tried, or a great way to recycle your old mat?
Let us know in the comments below!
Danielle is the founder of Xen Strength Yoga with Weights and author of The Happiness Zone with Dr. Barry Sears; coming 2014. Shes practiced/taught yoga for 15+ years and just launched an online yoga with weights teacher training.
sweet morning liquid-of-life
A little while ago I stumbled upon this blog post.
It resonated with me because it’s precisely how blog reading feels/is to me. I read blogs in the morning with my coffee *before* the zaniness of my day begins.
I also liked the concept because my favorite blogs to *read* are written in that manner.
As if we were just two friends getting together and chatting over coffee.
Ive got lots rolling around in my cranium today and really–if I could–I might not blog at all.
Id just invite you over for a cup.
Id share Im feeling sad & make you listen to a story.
Id tell you how, when I was a trainer, I had a multimillionaire client who led a fear based life. He was terribly frugal because he feared he’d never have an idea as great as his first. He worried if he lost his wealth he’d never re-create it. Im not that man. When people appropriate my ideas I think AWESOME. MUST HAVE BEEN A GOOD ONE! I HAVE MORE! but then Id reveal how seeing “friends” appropriate my ideas has made me sad.
Phil Spector specs.
Then Id grow excited and share how I saw something which increased my faith in humanity & resilience.
Id tell you I was feeling the sad of the above when I saw a woman walking her dog. More aptly put she was helping her dog to walk.
asked if she’d share the dog’s story & she told me this: Barkly has a disease like Multiple Sclerosis and about six months to live. Right now he’s pain-free so we walk daily. I was amazed by the dog’s joy (I was repeatedly face-licked) & resiliency (the cart was new) *and* by his human’s capacity for kindness. The interaction made me grateful Id slowed, stopped and asked.
Id sit for a moment, absentmindedly twirl my hair and shout: OH! I forgot to tell you…
Recently Id noticed the Tornado’s hair looked nice yet different. I complimented her (to my delight she said THANK YOU!) and asked: Did you cut some bangs?! True to age seven she initially denied the hair cutting. True to being a misfit-mama I laughed & told her Id been 7 once, it was fine, & next time Id happily bring her to a salon. Id tell you about our mother/daughter group at school & how it’s a reminder things are *so* different now than when I was 7 and yet simultaneously entirely the same.
when I was young I did this too!
Id ask how things were with your family & Id share how the longer Im married the more Im realizing it’s just like fitness.
Id talk about weight-loss maintenance & say how, for me, it’s just recommitting to healthy living each morning no matter how the prior day went. I say Ive realized marriage is the same. Id yammer about how no one talks candidly about the time and work required *daily* to maintain a healthy union. How (like weight-loss maintaining) marriage maintenance isnt “sexy” so few people are honest about the effort required. Id mumble about blogging this, but trail off knowing Id likely not.
Sadly, at this point our cups would be empty and life would beg to intrude on our time.
We’d separate promising it wouldnt be as long between our coffee talks—yet both of us knowing, as promises were made, it probably would be.
- If we could have a slice of silence, coffee and over-share today—what would you tell me?