how to get results

Swagsters-

How many ways can I say “thank you” before I feel like you understand the depth of my gratitude?

Thank you so much, again, for all your love, well wishes and congratulations. I feel like this has all come at such an amazingly, stars-aligned time for me. I had been questioning myself as a blogger, questioning my purpose and direction, and wondering if I even had pertinent things to share. Then suddenly things seemed to explode with positivity and affirmation, and I feel so much more founded in the belief that wherever this goes, I’m on the right path. So thank you all, again, for your encouragement. I literally wouldn’t do this if it was for me alone- I seek connection, community and even companionship from this venture, and having that returned to me is outrageously affirming.

Addressing “The Question”

During my recent 15 minutes of fame, right after all the love , I received the following question several times over: “What are you doing to get those results?!” After meditating on it alone and consulting with my best/blogging friends/resources, Heather and Cait, I figured out how I felt I could best answer this inquiry.

If you’re sticking around to hear me tell you exactly what I eat, and what I do for workouts and how I devote every living, breathing minute of my day to this endeavor, then you probably don’t want to read any further, as I am not going to be telling you that.

But, why not?

The truth is, my life does not revolve around those things alone. The truth is… J’adore La Vie.

I am devoted to creating a life that I am proud of, a life that I love and a life that suits ME. I am devoted to upholding mindfulness and intuitiveness throughout my days. It’s the devotion to these things that yields me results, physically, mentally and spiritually.

What does that mean? 

It means that I eat foods that honor my body and make me feel good. It also means that when my friend comes to town, we share a tub of SoDelicious ice cream and literally almost eat the entire thing while watching Fashion Police. It means that some mornings I workout hard, and some mornings I eat breakfast first and other mornings I am gentle with myself or I skip a workout all together.

It means that sleep is a major priority in my life. Well-rested Jenny is a happy Jenny and, subsequently, a happy world around me.

It means that I meditate most days. It means that I spend time blogging and, if so inspired, I will journal. I take solace in the quiet parts of my day, reflecting or reading or just allowing myself the opportunity for aural detox. I take a minute every day to give myself praise for a job well done, big or small. I make space to give myself love.

It means that I make time for my most uplifting friends, doing things that make us feel good and proud and nurtured.

It means that I take care of the practical side of my life. I’m working on my budget and finances and trying to get myself in a more comfortable place. I’m going back to school to give myself more opportunities to find a job or a career that I love and that fulfills me.

In a nutshell, what I have done to get results in my life is to take control of my life. It is mine, and for all I know, it is the only one I get. In the grand scheme of things, we, as humans, don’t have time to waste. If you want something, tell yourself you deserve it and go after it.

Now I don’t mean that I tell myself what I “should” be doing. I mean that I check in with myself, I strive for authenticity and I do what feels good and natural.

And this, my friends, is how I get the ultimate result, to say, ” J’adore La Vie.”

J’adore La Vie is a campaign that was originally launched by (the previously linked and mentioned) Heather at For the Love of Kale. I want to be an ambassador for this campaign and I want you to join me!

I challenge you to devote your life to authenticity, peace and self-love. I challenge you to make your life yours. Eating a clean healthy diet and exercising are merely a fraction of this equation.

If you want results, tell yourself you deserve results and then go after them!

What are you devoted to in your life?
What makes you say, J’adore La Vie? (tell the world on twitter with #jadorelavie)

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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.  There’s so much to be excited about. I really have this feeling that the world is ours for the taking. 😀

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. 😉

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?

photo dump: food prep

Swagsters!

….I’m tired.

It’s been a busy Wednesday so far! I am about half way into a 12 day stretch of work, so all my spare time right now is being spent keeping my home life organized. Markus had to be at work at 6 this morning, so we got up around 5:30. When I got back from dropping him off, I got back in bed for a bit, but couldn’t sleep, really, so I got up and went to have breakfast.

Initially, I had planned on going to BodyPump at 10 am, but last night my $6.49 dumbbell bargain steal was delivered by UPS! And since I just vastly prefer working out on my time rather than the gym’s schedule, I decided I would begin my home weightlifting workouts today! Today I started with back and shoulders. I did the following workout:

super sets: 3 sets, 15 reps each

I would love to tell you what I mean by “BodyPump rotator” above, but I have no idea what the real exercise is called. Hehehe. Total fail, I’m sorry… I’ll look into it and get back to you all. 🙂 I also started with a short plyometric warm up to get my body prepped. I just love weights! By the time I was finished, my shoulders were definitely burnt out.

After my workout, I put myself straight to the kitchen to start prepping all my food for the week.

Yesterday I did my grocery shopping at Whole Foods. If I calculated correctly, I shouldn’t need to restock at all this week, except for maybe bananas. I spent $53.90, a mere $3.90 more than my goal of $50. Woohoo! It was also a “heavy” grocery week, in that I needed some staples like apple cider vinegar and oats, etc, that bumped my total up. But those are things I won’t need to buy again for a while, so it’s all good!

the haul

One of the things I did this week was to buy dried chickpeas instead of canned. It is way cheaper. One bag costs about what 2 cans would, but you probably get somewhere around 4 or 5 cans worth of beans. #winning

So last night I soaked my chickpeas and this morning I cooked them while I worked out.

cook while you’re sleeping! rinse and soak your dried beans overnight.

it takes 1.5 hours to cook garbanzo beans. put ’em in the pot and leave ’em to do their thing while you do chores, homework or a workout!

I really enjoyed the process of getting these beans ready to eat. I likened it to baking bread. It’s a long process, yes, but you get to really understand how your food comes together and what goes into the bag or can of product you buy at the store. I find this very meditative as well: watching, noticing, staying aware of the state of your food. It’s beautiful.

Once my chickpeas were cooked, I decided to make a batch of hummus and Tone It Up! garbanzo patties.

mmmmhummusmmm

I used this recipe for my hummus. It’s pretty basic and quite yummy, but moving forward I will tweak it to be more my liking. (Read: more garlic! Less lemon! More tahini!)

Tone It Up! garbanzo patties from their nutrition plan!

I prepped these bad boys and then put them in the freezer. All they’ll take is a few minutes on a skillet and they’ll make a quick, delicious protein option. I did alter the recipe a bit, using almond meal instead of flax and adding curry to the flavor profile.

I used 3.5 cups of garbanzo beans between these two recipes, and I swear I still have another 2.5 cups left! I put those in the freezer as well, and will use them later this week or maybe even next week! (Can I get a woop woop for stretching that budget?!)

Next I made black bean patties, also from the Tone It Up! recipe plan. (Confession: this week I resorted to my Tone It Up! nutrition plan for lots of my meals. If you’re new to clean eating, or even if you aren’t, I highly recommend trying their plan out. They have some super awesome vegan recipes and I always consider it to be some of the best money I ever spent.)

yum!

I used my last can of black beans to make these, and a can only makes 3 patties, but that’s just fine. Next week you can bet I’ll be buying dried black beans and prepping them just like my chickpeas today!

Up next! Carrot salad is going to be a major player in my lunches this week. (This recipe, again, is from Tone It Up!… sorry if I’m alienating anyone, but these recipes are all so simple and if you really wanted something close to them, feel free to just google yourself a recipe… or buy the plan!)

carrot salad

I made several days worth of salad and that will be perfect for me as I head into the weekend at work. Such a simple and easy  lunch to take to work with me, along side a black bean or garbanzo patty!

At this point, I was famished. I was ready to actually eat some of the food I was making. So I whipped up this deliciousness:

Vegan Waldorf salad on a bed of spinach with a side of baked Japanese yam “fries.” So simple, so easy, so delicious.

I can’t even explain to you how good it felt to sit and eat. I’d been in the kitchen for over 2 hours by this point and my belly was so happy I had finally stopped tempting it with yumminess and finally gave it something to do. 🙂

And now you find me writing you this post from my side of the bed, with the blinds closed and the lights off. That can only mean one thing: it’s nap time. I have to work tonight and since I had such an early morning, I think a nap would only be wise.

Enjoy the rest of your day, Swagsters!

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  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? 

Do you have any personal goals for yourself this week? 

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!

living simply

In another lifetime, (at least it feels like another lifetime) I lived in a tiny studio apartment in historic Henderson, KY. It was a little green house, and my friend and I lived in the upstairs unit.

our little green house

We lived on a quiet little street that lead you directly to the river and the downtown area. We had 2 kitties, Lily and Harry. We shopped at the world’s tiniest farmer’s market, where we were able to only buy cucumbers, various forms of squash, tomatoes and the occasional red pepper. Strangers smiled, waved and inquired after your well-being. We biked or walked all over our little town. We had a very small shared living space that consisted of a kitchen table, 2 big fluffy chairs, a radio and just enough space to lay down our yoga mats. Our apartment was so small, our clothes closets were actually in the shared living space. We didn’t even have a TV. Most days, if there was sound coming from our wide open apartment windows, it was NPR over the radio. It was so quiet. So peaceful. So simple.

Why am I taking you on a tour of an apartment I lived in 3 years ago?

Admittedly, I am feeling incredibly nostalgic lately. I’m realizing that there is a big part of me that misses my Old Kentucky Home (if you’re from KY, you’ll get that reference). I miss the southern hospitality. But above all, I miss the simplicity of the way my roommate and I lived. It’s not that life was simple, it’s just that whenever we returned to our apartment, it welcomed us with simplicity. It was as though the apartment itself was saying, “Shhhh. You’re home now. Relax. Everything is okay.”

Before I get in over my head, let’s all agree that I’m having an existential crisis right now. Many days in a row I have been asking myself “Who am I, really?” Am I Kentucky Jenny? Am I Connecticut Jenny? Is there a Constant Jenny that links the two together? How does a person know when they are being their Authentic Self compared to when they are being the Adapted Self?

I know right?! I overwhelm myself sometimes.

After much meditation, lots of yoga, lots of looking inward, and a tear or three or four, I feel like I might finally be getting somewhere. I’m getting to a little green house in Henderson, KY. I’m getting to a place that welcomes me Home and says, “Be simple. Live simply.”

I can’t actually go back to Henderson. I can’t go back to that apartment. I can’t go back to the life I had there. But I can let simple be the essence of Constant Jenny.

This is probably an anticlimactic post because I don’t have a game plan. I can’t say to you, “These are the changes I am implementing.” I could say, “I haven’t watched TV in 3 days.” But that’s not the point. This is the kind of thing that happens organically and isn’t exactly tangible. What I can say is that this morning, for the first time since I moved to Connecticut, I feel like Me, capital M-me. It’s a feeling that words can’t do justice.

It feels simple. It feels good. It feels like home beyond geographical restraints.

Do you do anything that helps you remember who you really are? Meditate, pray, journal, etc?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?  
What are your thoughts on living authentically?

I realize I’m not asking simple questions today, swagsters. But I invite you to explore this with me. We look outside of ourselves for answers more often than not, when sometimes, the answer is within us all along, if we’re just willing to go inside and listen.