Friday, April 26, 2013

Are you using your mind wisely?


Before we go into the weekend, ponder on these wise words for a moment:

"I had a lot of tragedies in my life — most of them never happened." –– Mark Twain, famous American philosopher

"I find inner peace when I'm 'out of my mind'" –– Lyrics from a Music/Rap genius

Do you see what these famous lines have in common? They are encouraging you to get out of your head. Stop living "in your head." Come out of there and live in the here and now — yes, live here in THIS EXACT MOMENT where nothing is wrong; in this exact moment where "problems" cannot survive. The only thing "really happening" right now is you reading this article. That's it. Nothing else.

Most of us are so conditioned to create frightful or discouraging thoughts in our heads. But here's the thing: if those thoughts are in your head, then they are really only illusions. Illusions can only appear real once your attention is strongly focused there. So if you want peace of mind, get out of your head and be here, be present to this moment. Don't let the illusions in your head run your life and take you over.

Whether a "problem" is simply a prediction in your mind due to anxiety, or an imagination created by fear, your body cannot tell the difference. It cannot tell the difference between something that is happening RIGHT NOW in front of you and something that is in your mind. So as long as you're conjuring feelings of stress, your body will react accordingly by releasing stress hormones (such as cortisol), which can cause more disturbances in your body. 

Good news is your body can handle this kind of setback, however, the bad news is too much secretion of stress hormones over long periods of time can cause problems. This prolonged exposure to elevated levels of stress hormones can cause havoc in your system and eventually negatively affect the functional efficiency of your entire body. As a result, weight can fluctuate, dis-comfort will arise, and dis-ease can show up in various forms. 

So use your mind wisely. Use it to remember past mistakes and lessons so you can do better today. Use it to plan your day-to-day, moment-by-moment, to live a more enriching life. Use it to focus on ways to make things better for yourself and others.

DO NOT use your mind to worry and make a "problem" bigger than it really is. Do not dwell there in the past and be completely consumed and rendered paralyzed by it. The past is only but a memory and has no power over you unless you choose to focus all your attention there, and in doing so, energizing it and re-living it day after day.

Here and now is the only place you can make things happen, make things better; not there in the past, living in your head! Do not use your mind to predict the worse future or case scenarios unless you are doing it strategically with confidence to solve a problem. Otherwise it would only be counterproductive. 

Do not use your mind to make yourself sick or keep yourself sick. Practice being here. Start today. When you catch yourself getting lost living in your head — thinking of this, that, and everything unsettling (which will happen over and over again) — just kindly recognize that you're doing it, and bring yourself back to here and now by being intensely still and focusing on your breath. 

Be stubborn in this practice no matter how many times your ego tries to steer you back into living in your head. It is only in time, with repeated, uncompromising effort that this practice will open doors to a whole new world of peace and fulfillment so grand that your little ego mind could never have imagined.

Remember: A lot of the pain that we are dealing with are really only thoughts.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weight loss tip: Forget the scale! Here's why


Try to aim for "real overall results." Don't fixate only on your weight. "Losing weight" does not always ensure you are better, healthier, stronger, or more empowered. There are too many other factors that can be used to measure your success. Here are some examples:

- I have so much energy now. I can even run faster, jump higher, lift heavier than ever before! Grrr!
- I lost inches everywhere and can now fit into those jeans and actually look GOOD in them. Yes!! 
- My arms, legs and abs look strong, tight and defined — no more flabs for me, thank you very much! 
... you get the picture! ;)

Remember, the scale is not always the best indicator of success. I know for a fact that I weigh the same as most of my petite friends (I'm only 5'3"), however, though I may weigh the same as them and in some cases even weigh more than them, I still wear smaller clothing sizes than them (size 0-2 believe it or not). They wear bigger sizes than me (ranging from size 3-4). 

Why is this? Well, with my short intense workouts, I'm able to build lean muscle mass, burn fat, and keep it that way! With more lean muscles on me, I'm quite dense for a petite girl and therefore weigh more than I look. My muscles may render me heavier, but they also make me much leaner and tighter looking. Hence, I wear an extra small. So you see?...sometimes you've just got to say, "Who cares what the scale says if I drop inches and I look good in my clothes!" 

So no need to focus on the scale all the time. Focus on your performance and you will be TRULY EMPOWERED. You'll be able to workout with your body in a way that you couldn't before. Better performance will result in better body strength, shape, stamina and more! All these factors go hand-in-hand. So if you focus on drastically improving your performance, rest assured your body (inside and out) will drastically improve itself to match up!

If you want to workout smart to maximize your efforts; spend less time to burn more fat; learn short, intense workouts that work; feel free to get some ideas here by clicking the link "Fat-Burn Workouts" on the top bar. Or just click here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A lesson on "perfection" you need to understand


“That's perfect!" I exclaim (with a huge grin) when someone is doing their best to make positive changes in their lives. Most would then reply somewhere along the lines of, "Really? I have such a long way to go... How will I ever get it perfect?" And my respond would then usually go a little something like this:

Don't aim to be "perfect." Aim instead, for improved performance! Aim to do your best in every given scenario. As long as you're doing your best you'll always get better; this in itself is perfection — that continuous journey of making a conscious effort to do your best, to try your best. 

And your best will not always be the same. And that’s perfect, too. It will be different when you're happy as oppose to sad. It will be different when you're sick as oppose to healthy.

But doing your best, given the circumstances you’re in… well, that’s perfection! It doesn't mean you won't still make mistakes or have challenges to overcome. But by doing your best based on what is available to you in that moment, those so called "mistakes" and "challenges" will come with their own set of rewards every step of the way. They will be exactly the journey you need to learn, grow and evolve into the fullest expression of your best Self. 

This twisting and turning journey called life that we so daringly embark on is just the thing that makes us nothing short of perfection. So next time you see someone (including yourself) doing their best, just thank them for displaying perfection. Tell them, “You’re perfect for doing your best!" 

After all, is there anything more perfect than a person doing their best?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I am now homeless: How can I care for my body?


I appreciate all the emails I receive; one in particular last week really struck me. It came from a man who recently became homeless due to financial crisis and is now living in his car. 

One great question he asked was: "What is a dietary regime to follow? One that is cost-effective, easy/portable and provides adequate nourishment for what may be a prolonged period of frugal and austere living."

He doesn't have much other than his protein shake and access to a shower/sink in a local facility. Regardless of circumstances, I feel my advice to him could be helpful to others as well. So please feel free to share.

Dear Matt,

Thank you for sharing your email. I do hope things turn around for you soon. In the meantime, because I don't have all the details on your current circumstances — health wise, etc., I can only do my best to advise on a more general basis (based on the info you did provide).

No matter what, you'll always NEED to have all your macronutrients: protein, carbs, good fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and lots of clean, fresh water, in order for your body to function optimally. That said, I'll try and keep it as simple and cost-effective as possible. 

First, you may need to get a portable mini cooker (or stove)—basically something you can boil water with or do some simple cooking or warming up of food. This way, you can make your instant oatmeal and things like that. To give you a general idea:

- Whole grain instant oatmeal (just add water). This will give you long lasting energy all day, as well as, fiber to keep your intestinal tract healthy. 

- Eggs — you can make hard boiled eggs to get your protein and good fats. They are also very filling.

- Canned tunas (and other fish) are cheap as well, and are filled with protein. You need protein to maintain and build your muscles. It also helps build many other parts of you like your hair, nails, etc.

- Whole wheat (brown) bread and peanut butter, add some jam if want.

- Fruits for vitamins and mineral. Get whatever is in season as they will be well priced. The more colorful your fruits and veggies, the better!

- Bananas will certainly fill you well. Your protein shake will be great to go with it.

- Get bags of greens where you can steam or just eat raw: spinach, broccoli, lettuce. You could get the canned ones if it's cheaper. But you must get your green veggies for vitamins and minerals your body needs, and to keep your energy and vitality. Not to mention, they can care for your skin.

- Canned items can be cost effective given your scenario, so please get stuff like lentils, beans, or peas. This will keep you full while providing the fiber, good carbs, good fats and protein your body NEEDS.

Adding to this: drink lots of clean water. Your body is 70% water so you must match that everyday with at least 8 glasses per day or more, especially more if you're moving around a lot. If you can, boil the water to ensure it's clean. Also, squeeze lemon in your water for Vitamin C, alkalinity, cleansing and many other benefits. Also, important thing to add...

...Please take good care of your teeth and gums. Make sure to brush, floss and rinse everyday. This can help prevent health problems in your mouth that would otherwise easily absorb into your system and compromise the health of your body.

Aside from that, moving your body in a productive way is essential for good health (workout, exercise, stretch). This will keep your mind, heart, circulation, bones and muscles strong no matter what you're going through. You can do body weight exercises like the kind of workouts I have on my website. Check out all my earlier workouts that do not require any equipment.

Also, proper rest is essential to put all the food to good use in your body and for your body to recuperate, heal and maintain balance — to thrive day-to-day — to think clearly and move in a positive direction.

Take this time to also find a helpful book to inspire you. I recommend "Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. I believe it will carry you through this journey as he, too, was once homeless. This highly sought-after spiritual leader is such a success today because of his experience from being homeless for 2 years. 

My well wishes to you, always, 
Penny