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. 🙂

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

See you soon!

Jenny

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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)

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?

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!

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mighty me

It’s Tuesday, and if you’re reading this you survived Monday, so HOORAY FOR EVERYONE!

My good mood and positive outlook are still with me today, as you might be able to see, even though the sun is not exactly shining today.

My morning routine was a little scrambled today, as I had an appointment to get to after taking Markus to work. So instead of going right into my morning workout, I woke up and did an 8 minute mediation before heading downstairs to breakfast. I decided I would workout after my appointment, when I had more time. Plus I had a big idea that I would go for a run today. I’ve signed up for the Rhythm Race on August 18th, so I figured I might as well prepare myself by, um, running.

My workout started with the Whistle Workout from BodyRockTV. I love this work out. It’s 16 minutes instead of 12, and those extra 4 minutes are killer.

I’ve done this workout 3 times now and I’m so glad that I started writing down my reps because today I saw some improvements I was not expecting! Check it out:

Here’s a list of the exercises. It’s 24 rounds of 10:30. (For full explanations of exercises, see the link to the video above.)

1. Surfer kick-outs
2. Alternating upright row with a twist
3. 5 high knees + 1 half burpee
4. Back lunge with kick (right)
5. Back lunge with kick (left)
6. 5 star pushups + 1 burpee
7. Ninja jump tucks
8. Exploding pushups

The first time I did this workout my reps looked like this:

1. 7/7/6
2. 15/15/15
3. 5/5/5
4. 13/14/13
5. 13/14/14
6. 2.5/2/2
7. 7/7/7
8. 8/14/13 (I ended up doing these on my knees after the first round so I could maintain form)

Now, after doing this workout 3 times over the span of a month, my reps looked like this:

1. 11/10/10
2. 15/14/15
3. 8/7/8
4. 12/13/13
5. 13/13/14
6. 2.5/2.5/2
7. 8/8/8
8. 14/12/13

I highlighted my notable improvements.  I was SO proud of myself when I saw this. It felt so good to see that my hard work is paying off. I’m getting stronger and faster. A lot of my (and most people’s) fitness adventure is kept alive on faith and trusting that changes will happen, aesthetically. That’s well and good, but sometimes we (myself included) forget about the changes in physical strength. It was a good reminder to me of what happens on the inside. Plus, having tangible results every now and again is just so inspiring! And I couldn’t not pat myself on the back. Not even my little negative voice can deny that I’ve made improvements!

After I caught my breath a bit, I hit the pavement for that aforementioned run. I have a little almost-2-mile path that I do in my neighborhood and I decided I’d go with that default run today. For not running very consistently, it went really well! I even went a little farther, since the run ends at my front door, and I wanted a chance to walk and cool down a bit.

woop woop!

Today’s been one of those days that reminds me why I actually work out. Not just to have toned muscles and a strong, healthy body. But to pat myself on the back, to build confidence. To stop and say to myself, “Wow, Jenny. That was impressive.” “Wow, Jenny. You are strong.” And to mean it. To see how hard I work and push and then see how I survive it. It becomes a metaphor for life. It’s how I get my swag and take it into my real world.

I can do anything. I am Mighty Me.

Have you done anything lately that makes you feel mighty?

Are you running any fun themed races soon? 

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!

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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? 

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