31 Days of Health Recap

The month of January was quite the adventure for me! How about you??

I got the idea to do 31 Days of Health around the beginning of December. I love the New Year. I love reflecting on the past year in regards to what accomplishments I’ve made – seeing just what I am capable of doing, and understanding I am capable of so much more. It is a time to look ahead and implement new standards and new goals. Instead of keeping that all to myself, I wanted to share it with the world!

Little did I know, I was all in for a project that was way bigger than I perceived. You see, I had every intention to see this through. It didn’t matter to me if I had a huge response rate, or zero response rate; it didn’t matter if the response was good or bad. These are fears that would have completely held me back in previous years. And now, I have a different view on fear – I crave it! So 31 Days of Health was happening whether I ended up liking it or not (and whether you ended up liking it or not).

I was not prepared for this project. What I have learned about a project like this is that it is ideal to create it entirely, and then share it! But that is NOT what happened, having gotten the idea in December, and not beginning any of the writing – or creation of images! – pretty much until December 30. What I am about to explain to you what happened to me is something I have felt very guilty for, and I apologize if any details gross you out -you’ll know what I mean by number one 😉 :

  1. I missed my period. Started to get it! But it was just playing tricks on me (aka I was spotting). This has never, in my entire history of “menstruating-hood”, happened to me. And haha! No. No there was not any chance of pregnancy, if you know what I mean. Stress was to blame. I felt so guilty for sharing tips to reduce stress, meanwhile I was stressed out to the point I confused my hormones.
  2. I got sick. Like, almost went to the hospital sick. I again felt guilty for sharing healthy food suggestions that pump up your immune system and reduce your risks for getting sick. I also couldn’t shake the thought that I was putting myself through a lot of stress as I had preached reducing stress, meanwhile I place stress at the heart of my developing a croupy cough, which apparently is rare in adults.
  3. I threw my entire sleep schedule off, and definitely was not getting enough sleep. Guilty again! For sharing the suggestion to go to bed early and wake up early. I could have accomplished this, had I chosen to continue posting each day early in the morning. Instead, I found I preferred to post by midnight. Yes, I used the schedule feature for the blog so that it would automatically post at a designated time, but that isn’t possible for Instagram. Out of all the features Instagram has, can they make this?? Either that, or I will totally pay someone to manage my social media, because I truly dislike social media. And after this adventure, I have developed a stronger belief in a world without social media. Call me old-fashioned! Call me what you will – I want nothing to do with it!
  4. With the stress, the sick, the lack of sleep and changed schedule, I was completely off my exercise routine. Shame! Day 2 was all about exercising! I am just now getting back on my game.

I wanted to keep all this a secret and make you believe that I am this magnificent role model. I was afraid that you might not trust me if you found out all this craziness happened. But I am taking a chance. Because this wasn’t about me. This was 100% about you!!

It is possible to implement all of these healthy actions into every day usual routines. Hence, why I believed it was so important to end on “Give Yourself a Break.” Life does happen. There was nothing usual about my January, so I encourage you not to compare. While it is possible to practice all of these healthy actions, it is necessary to leave room for mishaps. That is the beauty, and perfection, of life. Appreciate the struggles just as much as you do the blessings. Would you be who you are today, where you are today, or as strong as you are today, without having gone through some struggle?

Here is something I need from you: Hoping you still have faith in me, and that you have followed and practiced some – or all! – of these healthy action suggestions, can you share with the world and me which one(s) really spoke to you? And if these did create something positive in your life and you want more from me, what would you really love to see me produce? This will allow me to create more efficiently, so pleeeease don’t feel like that would be selfish of you, or that you would be asking me to go through another bout of stress. Look, I will pursue another project whether you ask me or not, so I think it’s worth it for you to get something you want!! Comment below, or if you feel more comfortable chatting privately, send me an email.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Thank you for reading. Thank you for following. Thank you for trusting me.

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 31: Give Yourself a Break!

Ahhhh! It’s the last day of 31 Days of Health!! Amazing. I’ve noticed some consistency with the folks liking these posts – thank you. I hope there have been some positive rewards for you as a result of following the thoughts I have to share. In a day or two I will get into a recap of these 31 days, and what to look forward to from Fabulous Nutrition. For now, let’s devour this last healthy action!!!

Today isn’t necessarily about, “Hey, put your feet up and relax!” Of course if you need a reason to do so, please, put your feet up and relax! Today is more about accepting imperfection. I’ve thrown a lot out there this month to help you move toward a healthy lifestyle from including certain healthy foods in your diet to practicing healthier habits. There are even more things you could do to carry out a healthy lifestyle. And you know what? It’s not all always going to be easy.

Life happens. Some days you’ll be a little short on time, short on patience, short on sleep, or short on all three together! Don’t stress it if you slept in even though you went to bed planning otherwise, or had good intentions to avoid added sugar but couldn’t resist a cupcake, or tried to start your day on a positive note but your children have truly tried your patience today.

What matters most is your persistence over time. Think: progress over perfection. In fact, all the good and bad, right and wrong, ups and downs…that is perfection! We can’t know and appreciate success without knowing and experiencing failure.

Be patient with yourself. Appreciate your successes. Appreciate your failures! Give yourself a break! And when you do fall, intend to get back up.

Happy Day 31! You made it!!!

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 29: Infuse Positivity Into Your Day

Infuse positivity into your day. Ahhh, this life saver. Love this one!

There is so much power in this healthy action! Can you believe that it is possible to be spiraling in a whirl of horrible emotions at one minute, and the next you can be feeling the exact opposite? It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling depressed, angry, sad, hopeless, or annoyed. You do have the ability – I don’t care who you are; if you’re human, you have the ability – to change your brain chemistry in an instant with this tool!

Years ago, I was an angry individual. I still struggle with handling this shitty emotion, but certainly not in the magnitude I have in the past. Anger was my go-to emotion for just about anything. It was the emotion I wore on my face often to signify power. It is still so familiar to me, that even in times of jest I use it for fun.

I think there were two catalysts that set me towards freedom. One was that I noticed chronic anger in others, and I could see it was not an attractive trait. The other was the multiple times I had been innocently asked, “What’s wrong?” when truthfully, at that time, nothing (at the surface) was wrong. I remember walking past a man on the street one day who said, “You dropped your smile on the ground!” I was so pissed at him…BECAUSE IT WAS JUST MY FACE!!!

But I heard it so many times that it was kind of starting to hurt my ego. I felt weak. I began to notice: I look mad pretty often. I suck. And I knew deep down I craved more for myself, so I decided I would try to change my image. I don’t think, at the time, I expected that slight action to lead me to happier places.

I decided that I would try lifting the corners of my mouth more often. I’m sure it didn’t start out looking very pretty or natural. But you know what, that shit worked. I just did it as often as I thought about it. For years I told myself I was miserable and that I wasn’t worth anything. I was depressed… I believed that I was too stupid, weak and shy to do anything admirable. I believed I was fake and lazy. I believed that I had nothing valuable to share with the world. As a result, all of these feelings surfaced as anger. But as I molded my face into a smile more often, I was telling my brain something phenomenal – that I was happy.

It wasn’t just the faking it ‘til I made it that launched me into a happier state. No, that was the beginning! When I experienced pain, I started reading positive quotes. I came to create a private Pinterest board titled “Pick Me Up” and another called “Keep Building.” Some days I would wake up feeling awful, and it just became a habit for me to open up my brain-building Pinterest boards and read through all the quotes that resonated with me. Lo and behold, I was fueling my brain…strengthening my brain! I was blessed enough to cross paths with someone who introduced me to affirmations. I began habitually listening to these on YouTube. These led to discovering more, and more, and more uplifting content.

And one day, I realized: I am happy! Even in the midst of difficult times, I can confidently say I am the happiest I have ever been.

It doesn’t matter if your story is better or worse than mine, the power of positive words goes a long way. There is a science to it, though I don’t really know much about it. All I know is that you can transform any moment, day, week, and year by the words or feelings you choose feed your brain. Try it today.

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 26: Forgive

For today’s healthy action, I absolutely recommend you set aside anywhere from ten to thirty minutes of time for you to peacefully explore this exercise. I will give you a heads up: this has the potential to bring up some pretty sour feelings, hence why you need to give yourself some undistracted time alone. If at any time it becomes too intense, take a look at yourself in the mirror and affirm: “I am safe.” Feel the breath you take in and know that you are alive, and that, my friend, is all you need to give yourself a boost of strength when the thoughts you are bringing to the forefront of your mind are making you feel as though they are your current reality. Take as much time as you need, and feel free to give it up if it’s too much to take on at this time.
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Step one: Close your eyes and visualize the life you desire. Imagine every detail: the home you live in, the relationships you have, what types of clothes you wear, what your fitness level is, what type of person you aspire to be, what car you drive, your financial state, the career you lead, what hobbies you partake in…Go on and allow yourself to have some fun fantasizing!!
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Forgiveness can bring you closer to that life. What, or whom, can you forgive? Consider that everything, and naturally everyone, you come into contact with, you hold some type of relationship with. If something doesn’t work out in your favor, what or whom are you likely to blame? Your mother, or father? Brother, or sister? A friend, a spouse, an ex? Your children? God, the world, or life? Your finances? Your boss, or your coworkers? Yourself – your past choices, your level of intelligence, weaknesses or failures, your body??

Step two: Explore whom, or what, you are harboring resentment towards. This should be relatively easy. Often the things that bother us most, especially when asked, can pop into our head in an instant. What part of your dream life is not yet a reality? Why isn’t that a reality? Don’t stress it if nothing comes too quickly. Maybe that’s a good sign you’re not harboring much resentment. Give yourself as much time as you need to think through.
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Step 3: Choose just one thing to forgive. If you don’t know what that means, or how to do it, that is perfectly alright. You can simply choose to be open to forgiveness. Say the words: “I am willing to forgive (insert who or what you are forgiving).” You may not feel anything as a result of saying this just once, but over time as you practice being open to forgiving that person or experience or thing, then is when you will begin to feel something.

The best way I can describe that feeling is freedom. The negative thoughts you once had no longer keep you stuck in your not-ideal life. You feel love, appreciation, and acceptance for all that has been and is in your life – yes, the good, the bad and the down-right disgusting. You are meant to love and enjoy life. You can grow from those awful things; it is 1000% your choice.
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Step 4: Take a deep breath, and let this exercise go. Take another look at yourself in the mirror, if you need to, and give yourself a smile. Say the words, “I’m Okay.”

Sending you all the love, strength, and energy you need today to make today fabulous, regardless of how good or bad it is.

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 24: Turn of Distractions

Are you loving these daily health challenges!? Let me know! I’m going all the way to the end of January unless you beg me to stop. I promise, so I hope these are doing some good for ya!

Challenge yourself today to turn off your distractions. You’ve got to say No to the things that don’t matter so much. Are you checking your phone the second you wake up? Are you spending too much time watching TV or looking at social media? Do you allow people or new tasks get in your way of accomplishing an important project at work? Hey, even cleaning your house a bit more than is necessary or working out too much can become distractions. I don’t know what your distractions are, but you totally do.

Today’s healthy action may not immediately strike you as health-related. Turning off distractions, however, does influence your growth in so many areas of your health. Why else would we call them distractions if they were, in fact, contributing to our overall success?? By saying No to the stuff that truly doesn’t matter, we make time for everything else that does.

For all the times each of us have said: I wish I had the time to do this, or, I wish I had the time to do that….we do have time!! We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and…we are all human!! Which means we are all capable of great things just as much as the next person!!!

You can avoid watching hours of TV to incorporate some exercise or create a meal from scratch, getting your physical health into shape. Alternately, you could avoid working out excessively to invest some time in building a business and your financial health.  You might say no to watching the news if it tends to worry you, causing you feel stress in your own life, thereby enhancing your emotional health. Keeping your phone out of reach while with your family or out to dinner with friends is an excellent way to build your relationships and enrich your social health. By saying No to all those low priority things, you open up all the doors to having the richest life you desire! Dream, dream, dream…and get to making those dreams your reality by closing all the useless doors. With that said, I’ll check back with you tomorrow as I enjoy my distraction-free day as well.

alyssa

Hey, I want to thank all of you for following me! I just reached 50 followers and I’m absolutely grateful for that. It means a lot to me that you actually want to receive updates of the content I’m creating. If what I’m sharing with you moves you in an awesome way, please share with your inner circle! You can share to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest or WordPress! Let’s work together in making our world a healthy place. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

31 Days of Health. Day 21: “Reduce” Smoking and Alcohol

Before we dive in today: we are at three weeks in this fabulous 31 Days of Health!! Congratulations!!!

You have heard more than a million times before how harmful smoking is to your health. You’ve seen plenty of informative commercials about it. You may have heard before, that some alcohol is good for you, therefore you allow yourself to indulge, even though deep down you know that it’s not. So it doesn’t make sense for me to charge you to STOP! You are probably so desensitized by “Stop!” that it literally sounds like white noise.

Instead of commanding you to stop, I ask: can you just reduce your intake? Instead of half a pack of cigarettes today, can you take it down by three? Even one less is progress! Instead of losing control and downing as many drinks as you feel like, can you have a plan going in, and decide how many drinks you’ll limit yourself to? Are you the go-big-or-go-home type, like me, and want a harder challenge? Instead of reaching for a drink or a smoke after a long day, get active! Relieve stress through movement! Avoid, avoid, avoid for as long as you can – push your limits!!! Discover just how incredible you are!

Know that YOU choose your emotions. You choose to be stressed, happy, or angry. Sure, outside experiences can influence your emotions, but ultimately you make the choice of how to deal with those experiences. We’re talking about serious habit changes today that can be accomplished by making slight shifts in your thinking patterns and responses.

Let me be absolutely clear: both alcohol and smoking (notice I’m being generic with *smoking*) are toxic to your body. I don’t care what studies have researched the health benefits behind drinking wine, beer, or whiskey. While the results may have some valid points, it is likely the intake of alcohol was limited to one drink. To give you a visual of one drink: one glass of wine is equal to 5 ounces; a beer is 12oz, and liquor is 1oz. More than that is where things go south. So unless you can exercise excellent control, it’s useless to allow yourself to believe that drinking is good for you. Smoke of any kind does not belong in your lungs; and I don’t expect you hold a special place for carcinogens in your heart either.

Truly healthy foods and beverages don’t pose risks to your health.

In your efforts today, focus on progress, not on failure. Failure happens, so what!? Get back up and keep going. You’re not dead yet.

Sometimes, having someone there to tell you to get tough and fight through the struggle is what you need. So…

Get tough!!!
Love, Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 20: Reduce Starches

Reduce your starch intake is the name of the game today!

To understand starch, you must first understand glucose. Glucose is a single unit of sugar or, carbohydrate, and it is the most used source of fuel by your body and brain. When one glucose unit bonds with another…
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a large chain of glucose is formed – this is called starch. Starch is stored energy for both plants and humans. For example, when glucose is unavailable for fuel in your body, such as during a period of fasting, or increased physical activity, starch is obtained from the liver to be broken down into glucose for energy use.

Plants that are known for significant starch content include potatoes, peas, corn, legumes/beans, and grains. A higher starch content = higher carbohydrate content = higher calorie content. But it’s not exactly the calories that are a concern. It is the carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the most readily digested macronutrient. Why? Because they all break down to glucose, and your body needs this simple sugar to keep you alive! Once glucose is obtained, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and used by cells to carry out all sorts of processes constantly happening throughout your body and brain. However, there is a cap on how much glucose is needed at one time. Excess glucose is stored in the liver in the form of starch; or in the adipose tissue as fat.

Heavy intake of starches leads to frequently elevated blood sugars, and/or increased storage of fat. Therefore, a higher intake of starchy foods may lead to reduced insulin sensitivity (as a result of having frequently elevated blood sugars), and weight gain. As you may recall from Day 7 (Avoid Sugar), excess fat mass is inflammatory, which can lead to several chronic diseases and other ailments.

Don’t get me wrong, starches are not on the No-No list. Many foods that contain starch also contain a good dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and sometimes even protein! Balancing them with other non-starchy foods, including healthy protein and fat sources, is the ideal way to incorporate these foods into your diet. I do, however, recommend choosing starchy vegetables over grains most often as vegetables will offer a greater range of nutrients; and when choosing grain foods, choose whole foods over processed types more often (i.e. bulgur wheat over whole grain bread).

So for today, plan to eat less potatoes, peas, corn, legumes, or grain foods such as rice, pasta, bread, and cereal.

Enjoy!