Tag Archives: diet

Broken Windows

Since injuring my back at the gym on Sunday, I’ve had to take it easy. This means not doing my usual workout routine. And it’s been hard. I joined the gym in January and, while I signed up because I enjoy exercising and sweating and being healthy, I’ve also delighted in toning up, wearing tighter outfits and having people tell me that I look amazing. Who wouldn’t, right?

Part of me knew that I shouldn’t put too much value on my physical appearance. It’s dangerous attaching how good you’re feeling to something so transient. And another part of me told myself to relish it while it lasted. Which may also be saying something about an unconscious belief that good things don’t last very long. But that’s another day’s work (or blog post).

So, I haven’t been able to hit the gym this week and I noticed my mood dipping a little. I started wearing looser clothing as though I’d gained weight in just a few days. Another reason for feeling out of sorts was that I’d been, quite literally, stopped in my tracks. I had to accept the situation and understand that these things happen for a reason. There was a learning here somewhere (lots of lessons, in fact) if I were to cease feeling sorry for myself long enough to go looking.

Gretchen Rubin writes about the “broken windows theory” of policing, which holds that when a society tolerates minor crimes such as broken windows, graffiti and drinking in public, people are more likely to commit more serious crimes. Rubin suggests that this can also be true on a personal level. These are the signs of disorder that make you feel out of control and overwhelmed. For me, they are not leaving the house all day, not getting my class preparation done and not exercising. Rubin says that enforcing small signs of order makes us feel more in control and happier.

The theory makes sense and it’s great to get things done and to look after yourself. However, this does not mean being rigid. Sometimes, we have to let go of control or we’ll end up miserable. Life happens. We cannot base our happiness on how we think we should look or on how much exercise we feel we should be getting. If we have too many “broken windows” and those shattered panes are destroying our inner peace, we need to look at building the inner peace and self-love and to hell with the windows for a while.

This week, I’ve been watching TV series GirlsThe main character is a 24-year-old writer who’s carrying a bit of extra weight. She gets lots of men and struts around naked. The more I’m watching, the more I’m used to seeing a fleshier actress. This goes to show that the more exposed we are to skinny celebrities, the more we believe that this is the way we all should look. It’s refreshing to watch a show where the characters’ appearances are a little more normal. Even the sexiest female character has a bit of belly and often doesn’t wear a scrap of makeup. And she’s still a beauty. A natural one.

In one of the episodes, leading lady Hannah admits that she’s just like everyone else, that she wants to be happy. That she feels alone. And that she’d been trying to control the way things happened and how she was feeling. Isn’t that why we do what we do in life? To feel happier, less alone and more in control? Why we diet and exercise? Why we purchase new clothes and cut our hair? Why we study for exams and work? Why we save money and buy houses? Why we search for partners and start families?

But beneath the need for happiness, connection and control is a longing for love. And where better to begin than with yourself? Just because. No only-whens and only-ifs. Unconditional love. If you had that, you wouldn’t need to do anything, have anything or control anything. It wouldn’t disappear as soon as your job or relationship ended. It wouldn’t crumble when you gained weight or grew older. It wouldn’t elude you until you had a house and a successful career. It would be a part of you always. It is you. You’ve just forgotten. It’s already there. And it strengthens with use. Today, instead of going to the gym, I choose to exercise my unconditional love. It’s tougher than any workout but the reward makes it so worthwhile.

im not beautiful like you

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Happiness Now!

There is no better spiritual practice than doing the things that make you happy. Happiness is your meditation, your mantra, your prayer.  Laughter is your therapy, your medicine, your exercise.  Self-love is the only diet you need, the best relationship you can have, and the greatest education you can undertake.  

You don’t need rules, regulations and hardship to achieve happiness.  Do what you love.  Live your joy, your enthusiasm, your inspiration.  Anita Moorjani tells us to be ourselves, recognise our magnificence, and live our lives fearlessly. There is no better message.  It is so simple.  If we understood this on a deep level and really believed it, we would never need another self-help book.

Robert Holden said: “You will never become happy.  You can only be happy.” Stop striving for happiness.  Be it.  Don’t wait until you’re on holiday or in a relationship or earning enough money before you’ll allow yourself to feel happy. As the old adage goes, “There’s no time like the present.”  I say, There’s no time but the present.  So give yourself the gift of happiness right now.

Life doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it out to be.  If your raw food diet is making you miserable, the thought of meditating for an hour is bringing you out in a sweat, your stack of still-to-read self-help books is putting you under pressure, and the gym is about as alluring as a garlic-smothered crucifix would be to a vampire, give yourself a break.

Wander around the library and treat yourself to that novel everyone’s been raving about.  Bake carrot cake muffins.  Dance.  Sing.  Paint.  Swim in the river and feast your eyes on the ocean.  Travel to foreign cities and sample their culture, their language, their cafés.  Give someone a hug.  A real hug.  Spend time with friends and be present with them.  Laugh.  Cry.  Play with your children. Light a fire and watch a wonderful movie with a sweet mug of tea.  Go hiking in the mountains.  This is your life.  Be yourself and do it your way.  Love it.  Live it.  Do it now.

sillygrrl.com/2010/02/03/my-year-long-happiness-goal/

How to Deal with a Pre-menstrual Female

Most women suffer from Pre-menstrual syndrome at some point in their lives. This nasty affliction causes food cravings, moodiness, cramps, headaches, breast tenderness, and much, much more. Fortunately, not all women get PMS all the time. It depends on a range of factors, including hormone levels, diet and lifestyle.

I’m a woman so I’m allowed say this but pre-menstrual females can be extremely tricky. If you’re one of the men lucky enough to bag a woman who sails through her cycle, without even the slightest touch of PMS, you must have done something really good in a past life. If not, here’s some information, tips and insights from one of the not-so-lucky females…

The pre-menstrual woman suffers from exhaustion, irritability, and bloating during this time. She will be convinced that she’s put on weight. Even though she thinks the exact same thing every single month, she will not see a pattern. She will compare herself to a whale. She will wonder if she could possibly be pregnant, even if the last time she had sex was in 2004.

Don’t be surprised if she refuses to get out of bed or if she starts keening during an episode of Secret Millionaire. If you hear her wailing “Just kill me now” and “I hate my life,” don’t be alarmed. She’s probably just deciding what to wear.

If you’re another female, now is not the time to tell her how well your diet / marathon training is going. If you’re male… a 10-day sabbatical might be for the best. If you’re her partner, she will want to punch you in the face every time you cough / laugh / speak / breathe a little too loudly. She will admit she was being unreasonable. But not right now. Right now, everything you say / do / don’t do will drive her demented. That’s just the way it is.

We all know that women can get cranky, spotty and depressed just before their period but did you know that women can also become clumsy? Yesterday, I walked into a barrier, opened my car door into a wall, knocked my elbow off the same wall, and dropped my purse in the newsagent. As coins spun all over the shop floor, the cashier asked, “Are you okay, miss?” I wanted to scream and cry and pull my hair out and maybe pull his hair out a little too but I merely sniffed a barely audible “Yes” before getting on my hands and knees in front of the rather cute customer I’d just been eyeing. FML.

Some women swear by Evening Primrose Oil to curb the symptoms. Here’s my testimonial: That is some good shit! One month, I ran out of the capsules and thought, I probably don’t even need them. By God, it was probably the worst month of my (and my shell-shocked new boyfriend’s) life. In other words, it works.

In Chinese Medicine, one of the main causes of PMS is Liver Blood Stagnation. Acupuncture is great for getting the energy and blood moving around the body. Exercise also does the trick but I’ll let you suggest that one to her.

But it’s not all bad… *scratches head*… Eckhart Tolle has a section in The Power of Now about how women, because they go through this condition each month, are closer to enlightenment! Is it worth it, ladies?

And guys, if you’re starting to feel sorry for us, don’t worry. You more than make up for it with this: 

Image: http://alittleteenangst.tumblr.com/post/12149939979

No More Excuses

It’s all well and good having brilliant flashes of insight into our behaviour. It’s marvellous to come to some understanding as to why we might be miserable. We can have many an Aha moment as we read tonnes of self-help books and watch endless YouTube clips of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. But what’s the point if we never actually change? We moan:

“I’m exhausted because I push myself too hard. I’m constantly striving for perfection. Because I think I’m only worthy of love and acceptance when I’m perfect.”

What a wonderful realisation! But what can we do with it? We might take a little rest (if even) and resolve to love ourselves unconditionally, before falling right back into our old self-destructive patterns. Working too hard, exercising and dieting to excess, and denying ourselves any morsel of pleasure in life… until the next time we binge or act lazy or reconnect with a bad habit; until we fall ill or get depressed and can no longer do all those things that make us feel we deserve a space on this planet. And yet again, we punish ourselves and cry, and wonder what’s the point of life… And if we don’t break down completely or (worst case scenario) decide to take our own lives, we pick ourselves up, wipe away our tears, root out those Mooji clips and dusty Thich Nhat Hanh books and start all over again…

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. At least we’re trying. I know I do the exact same thing, time and time again. I thought my life would never be the same after watching an inspiring movie, after being introduced to Byron Katie’s work, after reading Awareness, Mutant Message Down Under, Veronika Decides to Die, The Power of NowAnd I really believed it. Every single time. Until my next spell at rock bottom, when I was left wondering where it all went wrong.

Maya Angelou wrote, “When you know better, you do better.” So, if we know what’s to be expected from that sort of conduct, why not save time, energy and heartache and just change, once and for all?

All the motivational books and videos and quotations do help. But they can only bring us forward a certain amount. It’s not called “self-help” for nothing. Ultimately, it’s you, and only you, who can help yourself. People can give you advice, tips and recommendations, but if you’re not ready to take them on board or if you’re unwilling to change, then it’s not going to do much good, is it?

“You can’t teach anybody anything, only make them realise the answers are already inside them.” Galileo

It’s much easier telling others how to live their lives, and to spot where they’re going wrong. We can talk all we want about needing to transform our thinking, but when it comes to actually making a change, most of us chicken out. Because it’s unfamiliar and scary. It takes courage, determination and persistence to change.

I’m not going to finish this off with a persuasive video clip or a book list that’s guaranteed to change your life.

Just change. Do it.

Images: http://blamethecrane.tumblr.com/; http://stylishwebdesigner.com/50-stunning-photographs-to-refresh-your-mind/