reformation

Dear Swagsters,

I, Jenny of Tofu Swag, do solemnly promise that moving forward I will blog on a regular basis. It won’t be every day. But it will be at least once a week.

There. I said it. No take backs.

In the time that I’ve been away, I’ve been doing a lot of self-work. (Read: A LOT OF YOGA.) Sometimes you just have to prioritize and make sure you’ve balanced the most important things in your life before you can spice it up with some of the other stuff. My hope is that I’m finally getting there. The beginning of autumn has been a whirlwind, and sometimes so much change can be overwhelming, especially for a girl like me (and maybe like you!).

Remember that old tv show “Out of This World”? (Hello, I’m dating myself right now.) So, if you don’t remember, it’s this girl named Evie and her dad is from outer space or something like that, and he talks to her through this glowing prism that she keeps in her bedroom. The fun thing about Evie is she has this special power where she can put her fingers together and time stops:

What I’m saying is, to all things that I could do this to, I did. (Also OMG why isn’t TV this good anymore?!)

Anyway.

I missed you guys.

So I’m amidst a reformation. But really it’s more like I’m getting back to me. I have learned a big lesson this autumn and it has a lot to do with priorities, motives and honoring Me by releasing myself of “should.”

I’m going to save you the long drawn out thing, but the point I’m moving towards is that part of my struggles with maintaining this blog is that it wasn’t exactly Me. It was what I thought Me “should” be. Blech. Sustainability comes purely from your center. You can keep up a farce for a while, but when the going gets tough, you’ll lose the energy to put on a show. And that’s what happened to me.

So I have some big-ish plans for this here little bloggy. It’s all in the works and details remain to be ironed out, BUT, my sincerest hope is that what I’d like to do will come to fruition and I can begin sharing with you all a very special part of what I believe is my life’s purpose. πŸ™‚

In the mean time, as previously stated, I promise to be a more regular presence here. So keep checking back!

See you soon!

Jenny

speechless gratitude

Swagsters, yesterday was OUT OF CONTROL.

I got a wild hair yesterday morning and decided to send a progress photo to my trainers over at Tone It Up!, Karena and Katrina. I’ve been following their plan since March, and I love it. They taught me how to eat in a healthy way, in a way that I could be proud of and in a way that left me feeling sure I was properly nourished. They also inspired me to get off the cardio machine and start weight training. And last but not least, the community they have built has brought so many amazing people into my lives. I’ve honestly never been part of a community of women that is so supportive and inspiring in my entire life. I swear to you, nothing has been the same since I joined this plan. Every part of my life has become more enriched thanks to them. I highly recommend joining the team to any girl who wants to manifest a happy healthy life for herself!

Okay, off my soapbox. (Disclaimer: This is my own opinion of K&K and the Tone It Up! plan. They did not ask me to review or opine in anyway. I’m just that happy with these ladies. ❀ )

So the picture. I decided to send it not because of the physical side alone, but because I was proud enough to do it at all. Does that make sense? I didn’t want accolades for the physical changes, I was just so pleased to be willing to share. The physical changes mean nothing if I hadn’t grown strong enough mentally to appreciate them and my hard work.

So I sent them this picture via Twitter and Instagram:

woohoo!

And much to my surprise, and pleasure, my trainers tweeted me back!

*starstruck*

I was so excited that they were as proud of me as I was. What a blessing!

The rest of my morning was mostly spent responding to encouraging tweets from this wonderful community. I felt very lucky and blessed. The sun was shining down on me.

That afternoon I was off to work. Shortly after I got there, my phone started blowing up. I had texts and missed calls and facebook messages and tweets like crazy. What was going on?! I thought. When I read the first text I got, I was directed to this:

say whaaaaa????

My trainers had featured me on their facebook page! And they mentioned my blog!

I was floored. I wanted to run out of my job immediately and spend all night tweeting and facebooking my appreciation and gratitude.

And last night I looked at my blog statistics and saw this:

average day?

Oh you know… from 50-something views to over 800. NBD.

Now, the next day, I am still riding the high of gratitude. This journey would be nothing without the support of my trainers and this community. This is what makes it fulfilling. The encouragement, support, love and kindness from everyone that responded to these posts yesterday is why I keep doing what I’m doing. When I’m feeling impatient, unmotivated and down, I can always turn to this community and I will immediately be uplifted.

I wish words could even do justice to love that has filled my heart right now. The love that came from you all. The love that I’d like to give right back.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In the yoga world, there’s an exclamation that is used to celebrate something with lots of love: Jai!

That’s what my heart is screaming right now. Jai! Jai! Jai! Namaste! Jai!

Much love to all of you, my Swagsters. You’ve really given me new life, new purpose, new affirmation, and I owe you everything I have.

life on the wagon

Swagsters!

I forgot to tell you about a very important event yesterday!… I bought my books for school!

Classes begin in exactly 3 weeks, and I can’t even explain to you how excited I am. This is really the start of something new for me, and for Markus for that matter. Once I’m finished, we’re really going to be on our way. Β There’s so much to be excited about. I really have this feeling that the world is ours for the taking. πŸ˜€

Nerd Alert

So, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m going back to school to get a degree in Economics. This first semester back I’ll be taking two Econ classes and two Geography classes (I’ve decided to minor in Environmental Geography). I was planing to take one more class, but have recently decided to stick to four classes, as I will still be working full time. Anyway… outside of the cost, buying school books is one of my absolute favorite things in the world. I love looking at the required reading and getting a peak at what we’ll be covering over the semester. Like this gem…

*swoon*

I wish I was joking about how excited I am to dig into this book. I just find it all so fascinating and pertinent. I sincerely cannot wait! My anticipation reassures me that I’ve made a smart choice by going back to school. πŸ˜‰

But let’s get serious for a second…

I’d like to switch gears and share something with you all that I’ve kept quiet for a while. Sure, some people in my life know about this, but tonight I felt like I was ready to go public, as what began as a sad situation has transformed into a source of immense pride for me.

Swagsters, as of today, I have not had a drop of alcohol in 25 days.

Through the course of the last few years, I struggled a bit with over indulging in beverages of the alcoholic persuasion. While I wouldn’t say I was an alcoholic, I would say that I had problems with moderation when I did chose to drink. I know that there were times, many of them, that I drank alcohol as a way to cope with and escape from my life.

Over the years I’ve usually been able to catch myself before things got too out of hand, but recently, I realized that I was spending too many nights saying to myself, “Tonight is the night I prove to myself that I can drink with moderation.” And then I would proceed to get drunk. The next day I would feel ashamed, embarrassed, depressed, bloated, uncomfortable, tired and just generally ill.

25 days ago, I hit a low. 25 days ago I finally awoke to the realization that even though I enjoy the taste of wine and beer, I could no longer put it into my body. I realized that, for me, the consumption of alcohol was pure poison to my body, mind and spirit.

(Side note: This does not mean that I think no one should drink. I mean to say that I, personally, should not drink.)

The first few days after I quit, I was glad that I had done so, but I was still left with the lingering guilt, gastrointestinal discomfort and body dysmorphia that drinking brought into my life.

But then, the clouds started to lift away and the sun began shining down on me. I remember thinking for a while beforehand that I always felt like there was a cloud hanging over me, and I was beginning to think I might actually be depressed. But as the days of sobriety wore on, I finally began to realize: that cloud was laced with booze. Slowly, but surely, I started to find happiness again. My heart began opening up and I started to see the real beauty in the world around me.

This week, I have really been noticing the changes. Body dysmorphia is nearly a thing of my past. In fact, I’m growing immensely proud of my strong, healthy body. I’m reaping the benefits of my clean eating and exercise, instead of nullifying them with alcohol. (I’m starting to see abs, y’all.) I have more energy. I don’t need naps. My mood is more stable. I am able to better focus. Without the cloud of guilt and shame, my spirituality has been set free.

Today, I was truly struck with pride. 25 days ago I was as close to hating myself as I could possibly be. Yet, instead of hating myself, I chose to see the open window of opportunity. The universe was offering me a chance to make a change, and I took that opportunity.

And I am so proud of myself.

I have never felt this level of pride for something I have done. I suppose I wanted to share this all with you because it explains the place I’ve been in the past few weeks. It explains why I have spent so much time examining myself, my authenticity, my Truth, my Me-ness.

The Real Jenny is stepping up now, and showing herself.

That being said, I hope you all will stay this journey with me. I feel conflicted because I do not know what direction this blog will take. It will be transforming into it’s authentic self right alongside me. I worry that people won’t like what I say or write, but I am going to keep plugging along, in the hopes that my purpose will reveal itself.

What do you say Swagsters? Dive in with me?

relax, recuperate, rejuvenate

A little later than intended, I’m back.

These past two days off of work have been wonderful, and as much as I kept telling myself, “Jenny, you should blog! You should write! Don’t neglect it!” I just couldn’t bring myself to do any “shoulds.” I just needed to focus on self-care.

So what have I been up to? Here’s a bit of what’s been going during my time off:

Relaxation

Yesterday, I walked to pilates class. The studio is a little over a mile from my house, and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. I felt little twinges, now and again, of guilt for giving up my shift… and then I saw this:

divine intervention

Signs from the Universe don’t get much more obvious than that! Silly as it may be, seeing this license plate helped me relax and know that I had done the right thing.

Pilates was kind of a bust, to be honest. It was a beginner’s class, but I didn’t find it very challenging. Either way, I was proud of myself for trying something outside of my normal workout tendencies, and, I told myself… at least I walked there! πŸ™‚

I had a couple of errands while I was in the area, and the one I was most excited about was going to get a library card. I have NO idea why I haven’t done this any sooner. I’ve been swooning over some books online, reminding myself that I don’t need to spend a ton of money on books and suddenly the obvious hit me: get a library card, silly! So I did. πŸ™‚

And I brought this baby home with me:

I’m a David Mitchell fangirl.

Number9Dream by David Mitchell has been on my to-read list for a while. My absolute, all time, nothing better, mind blowing, life changing favorite book is his novel A Cloud Atlas. I’ve been itching to read more of his work for a while now. I’m almost 100 pages in (oh man, I love days off), and so far I’m really loving it. It’s different than A Cloud Atlas, but not in a bad way. If it’s anything as life changing, rest assured, I’ll be writing about here. πŸ™‚

#BudgetVegan food

Today was the last day of week 2 on my grocery budget. This week was much better than week 1. I found that by the end of the week I a) was not running out of as much food (I didn’t need a replenishment trip at all!) and b) was not bored by too many leftovers. I was able to add more variety in my diet this past week, and I even found room to stray a bit from my planned menu.

cheezy lentils stuffed pepper

This was one of my unexpected meals. I had bought this red pepper intending to make a tofu scramble, but somehow that never happened. In the spirit of wasting less, I decided to stuff it! The insides are just green lentils in a cheezy sauce. I’m still tweaking the sauce recipe, and then I”ll post the recipe for this baby. This was super yummy and I can’t wait to refine it. Even Markus was impressed with my fancy looking dinner!

warm peanut butter cup protein oats

I have really been enjoying my protein oats with cooked oats this week. This particular version includes cocoa powder and is topped with PB2, watered down to a saucy consistency. I’m not sure if it’s because the oats are cooked , or what’s going on, but this week I have not needed a snack between breakfast and lunch. This is such a satisfying meal that today I had to force myself to eat lunch 4 hours after breakfast. If you know me, you know that is a looooooong time for me to go without eating. I usually eat every 2-2.5 hours.

homemade hummus on quinoa flax bread

Lunch today was the first time I realized I was running low on things. Not too shabby, considering it took to the last day of the week to get there! I only had a small bit of veggies left, and those were reserved for dinner, so I made one of my favorite, most simple lunches. As I said, I wasn’t super hungry yet, so I went with something smaller. Markus bought some quinoa and flax bread from Whole Foods, and so I, um, borrowed (thanks, honeybuns) two small slices, toasted them and topped them with homemade hummus and avocado. On the side I had half of a grapefruit.

Then it was grocery time! Today was an exciting day: I got a discount at Whole Foods. I have a friend who works there and graciously allowed me to use his discount.

20%, y’all.

However, I didn’t want to use this as an opportunity to cheat. If I spent my whole budget ($55 this week) after the discount, I would have considered it a fail. So I still weighed all my veggies and fruit, only bought what I needed for the week, and chose brands that were on sale, etc. Before my discount I ended up at $60. I don’t know how that happened, except for maybe the part where I bought $9 (aka 3 pounds) worth of brussels sprouts. Oops.

Actually, I did buy a few extra veggies that aren’t normally on my weekly list, like chard and some mushrooms. Either way, going over by $5 is no big deal, and again, I won’t need to go to the grocery again until next Tuesday.

But lest we forget the discount. What I actually paid was $48.

Damn, that felt good.

I got a LOT of food for $60.

Moving forward, I will definitely be reconsidering my purchases to try and get closer to my budget goals. I figure a margin of $5 is not a terribly large margin, anyway. But maybe there was room for some rearranging and rethinking. Who knows! It’s still a process of learning and either way, I’m still saving between $60 and $70 a week by menu planning and paying strict attention to what I’m putting in my cart. I can’t fault myself for the extra $5!

So, Swagsters… What have you been up to the past few days?

 

falling off the face of the earth

Swagsters, I hope you know I haven’t left you or forgotten you!

Life has been crazy. I just ended an 11 day streak of work. The first half it was just dandy but by the last few days, I had no energy except to work, come home, eat dinner and go to bed. I was feeling so overstimulated by the noise, people and sights around me. All I wanted after work was dead silence, not to move or even open my eyes. Yesterday I didn’t even have energy for a positive attitude, and worse yet… I didn’t want to even try to be positive. It was that bad.

Today was supposed to be day 12 of work, but I gave my shift up. Yesterday showed me that body, mind and spirit… I needed a break.

So I slept in this morning and soon I’ll be headed to Pilates class. It’s going to be a total ME day. I’ve got I restore my swag levels, ya heard?

I hope you can all forgive my absence, but know that I’ll be back tomorrow with a brand new post for you!

Lots of love and a thumbs up to greet the day!

20120806-090913.jpg

failure: you can do it!

Happy Monday, Swagsters!

It is a bright, sunshiney day and I’ve got a disposition to match it! Ever since I Β woke up yesterday, I sort of feel like I’ve been floating around, smiling and okay with whatever comes my way.

Workout

This morning I woke up and did BodyRockTV’s Get Pumped on the Patio workout, followed by abs and finally, I rounded everything out with an 8 minute meditation. It’s all about balance! Exercise + meditation are honestly, for me, the most positive ways to start my day. Admittedly, my meditation has been sporadic, and I’ve been getting to it “when I can” so today I decided to just throw it on the end of my workouts, since I do both in the same room.

Right now I’m feeling so energetic, like I haven’t experienced in a long time. I think I was actually overwhelming Markus a bit when I took him to work this morning. He was still waking up and I was practically bouncing off the walls in the car. (If cars can have walls… you know what I mean.)

Budget Update

Okay Swagsters, I have been doing really well with my budget this week. It’s been great not going to the grocery store every day and spending money. It takes a lot of stress off my back to not feel like I’m constantly handing all my money over to various vendors. Wednesday is the first official day of my new budget system as well. I’m excited to see how things go!

Grocery day is also Wednesday, and I must admit, I’m going to be cutting it rather close. I definitely need to refine my planning a bit. I totally underestimated my veggie consumption. Don’t ask me how that happened.

Tonight I’m going to work up my meal plan for the next week and my groceries as well. This week I readjusted my budget to $50. Upon further reflection, I realized that $50 is a much more realistic number than $40, for me. And I don’t think that’s a terrible amount of money to spend at all for one week of clean, vegan eating! I ended up spending about $54 at the end, because I ran out of carrots yesterday and that’s simply not going to fly for me. Gotta have my carrots.

I caught myself thinking, “Dang, Jenny, you failed at your budget this week. You had to buy more. You didn’t do very well.” Well I let that thought go for about 5 seconds before I stopped it and said, “Hey there, Negative Voice. I’ve never done this before. I’m practicing and it’s probably going to take a few weeks to adjust. So, why don’t you just cut me some slack, okay? I’m trying, and that’s the most important thing.” (And then, in my mind, I stuck my tongue out at Negative Voice, but that’s not very mature, so let’s gloss over that fact, yeah?)

Do you ever do that to yourself? You try something new and then immediately adopt this attitude that you should be brilliant and perfect at it and shouldn’t have to need even an inch of flexibility with it because you are you and you don’t fail (where “don’t” = “are not allowed to”). I catch myself in this trap so often. It’s one of those things that goes along with having an eating disordered past. I’m not allowed to fail. Everyone else is free to do so, and I won’t even judge them for it. “No one’s perfect!” I’ll say with lots of compassion. But then I’ll turn to myself and say, “How dare you fail! That’s not acceptable! You specifically wrote on your blog what your budget was and what will they say when they see you went over?!”

What an overwhelming way to speak to myself! I’ve let it go on too long, and my goal this week is to really work on being compassionate towards myself. I work on taking power away from my negative voice, but a lot of times it’s not very compassionate. It’s almost like I roll my mind’s eye at myself and say, “Come off it, Jenny! Be positive for a change! Stop thinking this way! STOP BEING MEAN TO YOURSELF, YA BIG DUMMY.”

Oh right, because that’s toooootally being nice to me.

Yesterday I worked on readjusting my approach. When I spoke back to my negative voice, this time, I tried it differently. I brought some patience into the mix. I brought some compassion to the table. And it makes a HUGE difference. I relaxed a lot quicker when I spoke back with love instead of anger. I’m killing the Negative Voice with kindness.

Weekly Goal

So that brings me right to my personal goal for the week: stay aware, practice mindfulness and be compassionate towards myself. I do not have to be perfect and I do not have to be a harsh critic of myself. I will strive to be gentle and nurturing with myself. Because I deserve my own love.

Can you relate to my perfectionism? What do you do to combat it?Β 

Do you have any personal goals for yourself this week?Β 

How do you practice compassion towards yourself?

I have got to jet, Swagsters! Work is on the docket today and I’m at risk of running late! Have a great Monday!

the perks of sleeping soundly

I took it way easy last night. After dinner I pretty much planted myself in bed with my kindle and the rainstorms. As I previously mentioned, my friends and I have started a little book club and our first book is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I’m already about 1/3 of the way through it and holy cow… I have half a mind to call out of work so I can keep reading today. I’ve been completely sucked into this. It’s so good!

comfy cozy rainstormy night

I fell asleep a little after 10 and woke up organically this morning, without an alarm at 7. My alarm had been set for 8, though, so I took the time to have a nice long wake up. I laid in bed til about 7:45 doing my morning phone-errands and listening to NPR. It was a total #jadorelavie moment.

When I got myself out of bed, I was feeling more than ready to workout. Admittedly, I’m a bit sore from yesterday’s return to weight-lifting, but not too sore. The kind of sore that benefits from moving, know what I mean? So I went with the most recent BodyRockTV workout. It was tough, but my joy of being back in my routine helped me push through.

Last night I also scored a major win. I happened to have a $25 gift card to Overstock, and I’ve really been wanting to get heavier dumbbells for my house. I only have 5lbs right now and those don’t cut it for my weight lifting needs. As much as I enjoy BodyPump classes, working out at home has spoiled me and I would just rather do it on my time instead of the gym’s schedule. So I meandered over to Overstock and scouted things out. I found a set of adjustable dumbbells that max out at 40lbs. Well that’s well more than what I need. After my gift card and using a free trial of the Club O in order to skip shipping, I was going to get these babies for $9.99. Then inspiration struck and I searched the web for Overstock coupon codes. Swagsters… I nabbed this dumbell set for $6.49! I practically feel like I’m an extreme couponer. This is the next step in ridding myself of my gym membership and saving $25 a month. Next on my home gym wishlist is an equalizer, but we’ll give it a bit more time before I invest in that. πŸ™‚

Speaking of saving money, however, I made my budget system last night! I figured out what I need each month, each week and even each shift at work, assuming I work 5 days a week. It includes bills, rent AND my contribution to the savings Markus and I decided we need to get a new apartment in a year. It is so beyond doable and I’m really excited to get started. Hooray! I feel really empowered now, and really in control of my situation. Such a good feeling. πŸ™‚

Having all of that figured out was a major contribution to my finally being able to sleep last night. What a relief!

Last thing before I go: a new breakfast recipe!

Banana Bread Breakfast Protein Pudding

Recently I’ve been thinking about trying to omit tofu from my morning breakfast pudding. Now don’t go thinking I’m hopping on the “soy is bad” bandwagon because I am not. I personally think it’s a crock. I love soy-based proteins and I will not shy away from them. Ever. But for the sake of diversity in my diet, I’d like to change it up and free up tofu for other meals during my day. At the same time, I like a nice, thick, creamy breakfast pudding. This yummy breakfast just sort of… happened. I was officially out of silken tofu for the week and, to keep within my budget, I don’t plan on buying more. I did a quick run through of what I had available to me and this meal was born. And it is GOOD. The full recipe is on my ReciPage and so I’ll leave the link for you right … HERE.

Well that’s it for today, my friends. I hope you all have a great Friday! I’m off to work in a bit and planning to have a nice night in with my Kindle and the Olympics Opening Ceremony!

Are you reading a book right now that you just can’t put down?

Do you workout at home or a gym?Β 

Do you have any fun weekend plans? Are you going to watch the Olympics?Β