Virtual Validation [#DailyDEBO]

DailyDEBO

The need for validation through social media is an epidemic on the rise. As we sprint through the digital age with non-stop evolving technology, we are blinded by the screens of our phones and ignorantly distracted by likes and retweets. 

The ability to connect with people without internet is an interpersonal skill that we are losing sight of. I call it diarrhea of the thumbs – it’s an uncontrollable need to post, check, like, tweet, comment, and share.

Sure, people use social media as a tool to reconnect, or for engagement, to be part of a community, or for promoting brands and business, but it is not a platform for emotionally charged projection.

You cannot feel energy through an iPhone and Androids are not exactly capable of sending or receiving vibes. But still – so many people seek the instant gratification (or justification) by sending a post and connecting with someone about it.

I realize, it is human nature to want to empathize with someone about what they are feeling, but the blindness of doing it from behind a screen gives leeway for misguided tone or misunderstood diction.

Social media isn’t going anywhere, obviously, but keeping a mental note to be mindful and present in your face-to-face connections can help hinder the constant need for virtual validation.

Shake It [#DailyDEBO]

DailyDEBO

Yesterday, I blogged on music, which got me thinking about the immediate effects of music on the body and basically… and how important it is to dance. There’s a saying on every inspirational meme page that says “dance like nobody is watching” and as cliche as it is – you should. 

It’s so effortless too. Put your favorite songs on a playlist (or opt to listen to something new), turn the speakers up, and just start dancing. I do stupid stuff you would never see me do on a dance floor (but trust me, it feels good to let it out). Twirl. Jump. Shake it. Twerk. Grab the end of the dresser and back that ass up! Whatever. Just move.

This, to me, is one of the purest forms of self-care. It’s free. It’s formless. It’s natural. Once you feel the energy flowing, you’ll catch yourself smiling. My favorite time to let loose is on the weekends after taking my time getting up out of bed and making myself a cup of coffee. #DailyDEBO 

Hello Mercury Retrograde [#DailyDEBO]

DailyDEBO

Mercury has been retrograde for one whole day and this morning, as I remembered this, I grabbed my labradorite sphere, put it in my bag, and I get to my car only to find a completely flat tire. 

I don’t believe in astrology to the point of navigating life through horoscopes, but the movement of the stars in the sky and the energy resulting from that movement has been present in history and literature for centuries. And I believe in that. 

There is no definite way to prepare for this time of uncertainty, however, over time, I have noticed traits that become amplified when Mercury goes retrograde. So, naturally, there are a few things I am doing (or avoiding) with extra care.

Here they are:

  • Take a walk if feeling anxious
  • Expect surprises – especially bad ones
  • DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT have important conversations via text 
  • Re-read everything before pressing “send”
  • Over-communicate plans
  • If unsure, triple check
  • Don’t go out so much – stay in as much as possible
  • Sage the house regularly 
  • Meditate every day – even if it’s just one minute
  • Start/finish a project you’ve been meaning to spend time on 
  • Tell your friends you love them 
  • Reach out to old friends and set aside time to reconnect
  • Make lists for everything – even make lists within lists
  • Do not reply/react right away
  • Re-read everything before pushing “send” (note: I had a professor once tell me, “if someone mentions something twice, it’s because it’s important”)

Lastly, just remember: if it feels off, it is! Comment with any tips you have for surviving Mercury Retrograde. #DailyDEBO

I Lost 12 Pounds in 3 Weeks – 20 Pounds after 6

Fitness & Food

I’m not going to lie, health and nutrition – more specifically the idea of making my immune system capable of fighting disease – are what got me started on this fitness journey, but now I am becoming addicted to the physical changes I am seeing in my body.

Edit: I wrote this after losing 12 lbs. in 3 weeks, but after 6 weeks, I was (and still am) down 20 lbs.

Everyone is different and no two bodies are the same so do not consider this a full-proof plan to weight loss. I did a lot of research, read up on nutrition and cellular reproduction, and chatted with a nutritionist. I was very vigilant (and still am) so be sure to educate yourself before making dramatic changes. And, more importantly, I didn’t half-ass it, so use your whole ass if you’re serious about creating a healthy lifestyle.

What Didn’t Make the Cut

No fast food or soda – I don’t even feel like I need to elaborate on this. Just no. There is no such thing as a “diet” soda. Nobody goes to Burger King for a salad so don’t convince that is a healthy alternative. No – just stay far far away.

No dairy and bread – okay, this is really hard because it’s easy to avoid a glass of milk, but cheese… cheese is sooooo good. And so is bread. But say goodbye (for now). You may choose to reintroduce dairy and bread into your diet at a later time, but again, this is just what worked for me.

I cut out red meat entirely. 

Grocery Shopping

I became very acquainted with my grocery store’s produce section. When I started this, I told myself I would only eat things that grew from the ground, or on trees, etc. Have that mentality. Fruits and veggies usually take up 75% my my shopping cart. Read up on foods that are “super foods” and choose those when you can. 

Side note: I get a wholesome sense of pleasure when I look up whole foods’s nutritional facts and see the vitamins, minerals, antioxidant contents while eating the food. It’s weird, but helps me think about how that food is nourishing my body.

15% of my cart should is generally plant-based protein. I incorporate nuts, seeds, quinoa, lentils, beans, potatoes, stuff like that.

The remaining 10% is poultry – eggs and chicken. When buying chicken, go fresh, never frozen!

Did you know: an egg has every single amino acid needed for essential functions in the human body. They also have almost every vitamin needed for a healthy human diet (excluding vitamin C). It’s no wonder the nutrients in an egg can turn a single fertilized cell into an entire baby chicken.

 Preparing Nutritious Food

I stopped using oils, butter, seasoning, and cooking spray. I leave out condiments. Yes, I understand how good ketchup is on eggs – as hard as it is, don’t do it. 

A very simple rule I have for just about anything: if it has an unnatural ingredient like sodium benzoate – just avoid it. For example, vegetable glycerin has proven to be harmless; it’s common in a lot of foods as a form of sweetener. Just simply: don’t – our bodies do not need that. Our bodies were not designed to break down these compounds. 

WATER ONLY

Go for unsweetened sparkling water here and there, but no Gatorade, no juice, no energy drinks. Water only. I started infusing all my water with fruits or mint leaves to make it a bit more enjoyable.

Oh Yeah, and Be Active

Up until now, this whole post was about your diet. Working out is NOT going to be the reason you lose weight (yes – it helps) but nutrition comes first. If you have a gym membership – go. It doesn’t matter what you do but go and sweat, and sweat for 45 minutes at least couple of times a week. I like to get a good workout in on Saturday and Sunday because 1. the gym is empty, and 2. that means I only need to go once during the week (when I am super busy). 

If you don’t have a gym, still – make something happen. Run around your neighborhood. Go for a brisk walk on your lunch break. Take the stairs. Go for a hike. Like I said, working out won’t be the reason you lose weight so whatever you already do, just take it up a notch. 

I didn’t notice a change in my body until the 3rd week. Then, I hopped on a scale and was so proud, I nearly cried. Do not weigh yourself every day. Do not measure your waistline. Just wait. I can’t promise results, but if you focus on being healthy rather than your appearance, you won’t be disappointed.

Think It While You Do It [#DailyDEBO]

DailyDEBO, Fitness & Food

There was something I read once about the mind as a muscle. And how it worked with other muscles. I don’t recall the study, but here’s my very condensed recollection of it: someone studied two groups of athletic people. Group A was asked to think about every aspect of their bodies while they practiced a certain sport. Group B was not asked to do this and their minds were free to wonder. 

I think the sport was basketball (even if it wasn’t, let’s roll with it). Group A was asked to imagine their muscles performing perfectly with each jump shot or layup. They were asked to think about their heart rate with each stride. For every movement, Group A was asked to break down their effort to the cells and tissues within their bodies allowing them to perform this movement. Meanwhile, Group B chatted among each other, engaged in conversation, thought about their day, probably looked at their phones every once in a while, etc.

The result: Group A, the group who made a very strong effort to think about their bodies in relation to the physical activity, made huge strides in mental and physical health over Group B. Group A’s overall performance levels were higher. Everything from the athletes’ form and accuracy, to their energy levels, and oxygen flow was incredibly better than Group B.

I’m no athlete (or scientist) but this theory can be applied to other things in life. According to Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s book, Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy, this concept is widely known and practiced in the Eastern world and is a crucial step in the path to enlightenment.

For example, when I eat, I think about the food being crushed down into smaller bits in my mouth. When I swallow, I imagine the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants absorbing into my bloodstream. I try to see my cells receiving nutrients. I envision energy being created within me. When I drink water, I imagine flushing my digestive system with hydration. I sense my liver and kidneys healing. And I feel the absorption my body is receiving.

If people can improve their performance in a sport by thinking about what they are doing while they are doing it, then by nature, you should be able to do this with our health, our relationships, our work, anything! #DailyDEBO

Acknowledge and Release [#DailyDEBO]

DailyDEBO

Each morning, usually in the car on my way to work, I play music loud, and reflect silently on my current problems, accomplishments, hardships, goals, pains, happy moments, and whatever else I might be feeling. 

I make an effort to channel my emotions and energy with a sense of intention and intuition because it feels good to be able to control these things – even just for a few minutes.

During this time of inward attention, I allow bits of laughter, tears, a smile, sounds of excitement – or some days – most days – all of it. Heck – I don’t even know what I’m feeling half the time, but I feel it strongly and most importantly, I allow it.

When the feeling floodgates open, it can be overwhelming, but when regulated with gratitude, it can be so empowering. For me, not being able to control my emotions makes me feel enslaved to them.

Allowing time to acknowledge and release unwanted thoughts, feelings, and emotion is a mindful practice that helps me better understand myself. #DailyDEBO