yoga

What I Ate Wednesday: back in business

The past two days have been “stock up on food and quit spending money at restaurants” central.

Haha good joke — I’ll keep spending money at restaurants but a girl can dream of a world where her kitchen is better than a restaurant, right?

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Highlights included:

  • Vegetables: peppers, onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, avocado
  • Fruit: kiwi, apples, bananas, grapes
  • Frozen: spinach, Morningstar veggie sausage, shrimp, whole wheat bread and English muffins (I keep them in the freezer because I don’t go through them very fast)
  • Fridge: eggs, coffee creamer, minced garlic, salsa, Chobani 4% plain yogurt, Chobani key lime and coconut yogurt, raspberry jam, turkey deli meat
  • Pantry: peanut butter, black beans, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, Parma Rosa sauce mix, whole grain tortilla chips
  • Spices: cinnamon, bay leaves, paprika, tabasco sauce

Is my grocery haul usually this big? Nope. But by some grace of God I ran out of staples like peanut butter, jelly, creamer, eggs, etc. all at the same time. So it was quite the loot! But my eats recently have benefited from all the effort I gave at the grocery store.

And with that, my first WIAW in…..what, four months? Not cool! So let’s walk through my Tuesday eats.

WIAW

I woke up and had half a cup of coffee with half and half and stevia. My body and brain just can’t handle a full cup of coffee anymore!

Breakfast

After seeing what Kathie Lee and Hoda were up to and answering some emails/working on blog stuff, I started on breakfast.

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Egg sandwich: 1 egg, a few egg whites, onion powder, red pepper flakes, spinach and Parmesan cheese, plus a piece of veggie sausage and raspberry jam. SO GOOD.

I headed to work early to do a little shopping and add to my rapidly expanding lululemon collection. Hey, when you work there, it not only becomes justifiable, but necessary. I put together my lunch and snacks before I left because I knew I wouldn’t be home until around 10pm — food prep is so helpful to not only stay on track, but also to keep myself from eating out.

My break came at around 4pm, so a little later than usual. I snacked on some unpictured almonds while I worked and then finally it was “lunch” time (when I work the closing shift my day is pushed back a lot, so my breakfast usually is around 10 or 11, snack around 2 and then lunch around 4).

Lunch was what I like to call a “snack pack”:

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4% plain Chobani with grapes and stevia, a mini Luna bar, some carrots and sugar snap peas and a kiwi. I also packed some Skoop protein + almond milk but completely forgot about it.

As soon as work was over I scrambled to take a Hot Power Fusion yoga class at Corepower Yoga with my roommate, Colleen. I didn’t get a picture of the before, during or after (which, to be honest, is probably best, seeing as we were both sloppy messes by the time the class was over), but I’ll share a few photos from my Monday workout instead. I woke up bright and early to attend Sweat on State, where we got our sprints, ball slams, and triceps push-ups on. KILL ME NOW. My triceps still hate me from that workout.unnamed (52)

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The instructor was able to catch me mid-triceps push-up. I wish you could see my face here because it was pure agony.

I finished in just under 25 minutes. Normally I would never think 25 minutes is enough. But I literally lay on the floor after that workout in so much pain and I couldn’t wait to get back home and crawl into bed. Sometimes, 25 minutes of pushing yourself to the max is enough. I love Sweat on State more and more each time I go — I’m starting to build a great fitness family there and really appreciate not only the intensity and variety of the workouts, but the sense of community that exists there.

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Flashforward to yesterday’s workout — Colleen and I ended up getting home around 10pm, and just as I imagined, I was famished. I made the quickest, most appealing dinner I could think of:

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Whole wheat toast with tonnnnns of peanut butter, sliced banana and cinnamon

Now it’s late and this Cinderella needs to get to sleep before the clock strikes 12. I’m about to grab a few handfuls of chocolate chips, some carrots and a cheese stick (because I’m always hungry), and head to bed. It was quite the full day and I’m ready for some zzzzs.

Questions:

  • What was the best thing you ate yesterday?
  • What was the laziest meal you’ve made lately?
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metta movement chicago: #100miles100smiles

Lately I have been incorporating more yoga into my life. Not just the physical poses but the mental and emotional dedications that it calls out of you. And while I’m still getting the hang of the physical aspect, I can’t begin to tell you how much happier I am when I take moments every day to move closer to a yoga state-of-mind.

In yoga there is a deeply rooted belief in giving without expectation. This is one of the most beautiful phrases to me and, coincidentally, one of my greatest challenges. I always, always, always give with expectation. I am loyal and am always thinking two steps ahead about how to add a little sunshine to someone’s day. I love people and so I find myself thinking about them more than the average person (or so I think). Unfortunately, in the past, this has been met with very high expectations in return. When people don’t return the, for lack of a better word, favor, I get disappointed and hurt. It has affected many of my relationships in many different ways. That being said, sometimes our greatest weaknesses can transform into our greatest strengths once we identify them, and thanks to yoga and the philosophies surrounding the practice, I have been able to face that weakness head on and work on it.

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: I’m extremely lucky to work for a company that not only exemplifies a healthy outlook on life but fosters this kind of personal development. And beyond individual well-being, lululemon athletica is dedicated to social health as well.

Every year lululemon provides funds to support community projects that contribute to social and environmental health. This is called the “Metta Movement”

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Metta

the idea of generating love and happiness for others

an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest

the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others

This year is my first year participating in our Chicago-area Metta Movement, and I couldn’t be more excited to share the details with you! (I’m looking at you, Suzy, Bethany, Amy and all my other Chicago-area bloggers!)

#100miles100smiles

This Friday (November 7th) lululemon athletica Chicago will be hosting our first ever 24-hour event to raise funds and awareness for Smile Train, an organization dedicated to providing free, safe surgery for children in developing countries with cleft lip and/or palate. David Coligado, one of our store ambassadors, was inspired after a trip to South Africa where he saw how poverty has affected how the other half live. A particularly saddening fact is that physical deformities can affect children for the rest of their lives, not only physically but socially. For example, every baby born in Uganda with a cleft is given the name Ajok which means literally, “cursed by God,” with some newborns killed or abandoned right after birth. What people don’t know, however, is that any child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes. That is life-changing for a child in a developing country, and a goal that Dave literally wants to run for.

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Through this year’s Metta Movement, we, alongside Dave, are hoping to raise $25,000 for Smile Train.  Dave is, in a word, a superstar. He will be running on a treadmill in our store window for 24 hours — with the goal of running 100+ miles.

**drops the mic**

No, he’s not a robot but he’s as close to superman as I’ve ever seen.

In order to give him the most support, love, and gratitude, we are opening the doors of our Rush/Walton location this Friday night at 8pm after our normal shopping hours are done and throwing a party all night! That’s right, as he runs into the wee hours of the night, we’ll be hosting an event unlike anything we’ve ever done before! From appetizers (by Graham Elliot) and improv, to neck massages, flash tattoos, silent auction and everything in between, the night is going to be a blast! And that’s not even the best part: we are hosting workout classes in our store ALL NIGHT. Ever wanted to try Shred415?  Head on over to lululemon on Rush/Walton at 1:15am for a free class (yupthat’srightfreeeee). Boot camp? No problem. See you at 2:15am. Hip hop yoga? 5am it is! And if you’re just a crazy person and want to jump in the lake with Dave and all of us crazy educators, we’ll be jumping in Lake Michigan at the end of the event! Because, I don’t know, I think Dave might need an ice bath after that. Just sign up!

If you’re not from Chicago you are still MORE than welcome to support Dave in any way you can – thoughts, prayers, vibes, or heck, your wallet. Whatever strikes your fancy. Just visit his site – get to know him a little better. He’s a Chicago gem.

We are crazy-excited to help Dave reach his goal so that he can travel overseas this December and personally deliver a check to the Smile Train medical team. I mean, how often do you get to be so directly involved with changing the lives of one person, let alone a hundred children?!

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Please feel free to reach out to me via email {ihadabiglunch@gmail.com} if you have any questions or want more information about this amazing event Friday night! You know you wanna go 🙂 It’s like having a slumber party, but with all the other fitness freaks of the world. Can I get an amen?

Here’s the final schedule – take a look!

unnamed (11)**This post is composed of all my own thoughts and opinions about this event – it does not come from lululemon athletica.

What makes you strong?

After an insanely tough sculpt class tonight at Corepower Yoga, I got to thinking about strength.

I think we’ve all gone through that phase where we just want to be cardio bunnies. It seems to make sense – if I run, all the fat will just fall off my body and I’ll leave it in the dust, right? Most people now know (hopefully) that that’s just not true. Cardio is an amazing component to a healthy lifestyle, but it just won’t cut it if that’s all you’re doing. The truth is, once you’ve gotten a taste of what it feels like to be strong, you’ll never go back.

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So what is it that makes YOU strong?

What workout do you do that makes you feel invincible, like you could conquer the impossible?

What’s your strength routine (or, are you a cardio addict?)

Non-fitness related, what is it in life that makes you feel strong? What gives you strength?

For me, it’s yoga sculpt once or twice a week, EGGS on EGGS on EGGS, wine nights and deep conversations with my friends, and when I’m out at a bar and “Teenage Dream” comes on. Then, I am a superhero. So, what makes you strong?

Yoga Loft Chicago

One of the coolest perks of my job is we get to try out a variety fitness studios and classes in the city. Sometimes they come to the office and we do a group workout in one of the conference rooms but this past week we were lucky enough to be invited to Yoga Loft, a gorgeous, almost hidden studio in the heart of the River North neighborhood.

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All I knew before stepping foot in the studio was it was going to be a “sculpting” class. I assumed that since it was a sculpt class at a yoga studio it would be yoga + weights and maybe a little more movement than the usual yoga class. BOY was I wrong. But let’s rewind…

We walked into the small but well-utilized space and were immediately faced with rows of dark wooden cubbies for our belongings, a variety of weights to choose from, Dixie cups full of water and a wall of yoga mats. From the second we walked in it was a very warm and welcoming place.

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Next we met Tim, who was our teacher for the day. I should have realized when he said he was a personal trainer that we were NOT going to be doing yoga, but I remained blissfully ignorant to what lay ahead.

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All 15 of us grabbed some five pound weights, headed into the studio and sat down on mats already waiting for us. The room was hot as could be so I knew it was going to be a doozy.

Now, onto the workout. After a quick five-minute “warm up” (a term I use lightly because it was tough in and of itself) we jumped right into a 40 minute bootcamp-style workout. Now, I’ve tried just about every workout: spin, body pump, Crossfit, running, yoga, etc., but these 40 minutes were by far the toughest I’ve ever experienced.

We performed two circuits, including some of the following moves:

  • Moving pushups (moving side to side after each one)
  • Burpees + jump with knees to your chest
  • Pushup + lunge + jump lunge to the other leg
  • Planks
  • Forward and back kicks + punches
  • Mountain climbers
  • Sumo squats
  • High knees

I could keep going but you get the picture 😉

The intensity of this workout plus the heat in the room made for a hilarious picture.  All 15 of us were slipping and sliding on our mats, and I even fell a few times while trying to hold a plank. The longest break we had was 15 seconds, a well-deserved rest that only came two or three times during the workout. Needless to say, it was the quickest 40 minutes of my life. After it was done we all looked around at each other and couldn’t believe we had just been moving like the for 40 whole minutes!

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Now that is some good old fashioned sweat! (Plus a side of some serious forehead)

I left Yoga Loft feeling better than I have in months. They aren’t lying when they say that exercise gives you a serious high. I could have flown home on that endorphin rush!

The thing I’m most excited about is that Yoga Loft  is offering new students an incredible deal: two weeks of unlimited workouts for $35! Anyone who has gone to a small studio in a big city knows just how expensive they are, so this is a steal. Megan and I are definitely going to go back for the next two weeks and get our sweat on again – we’re addicted!

If you’re from Chicago and want to check it out with me, I’d love to go with you in the upcoming weeks! Just check out their website, see if it’s something you want to test out, and let me know! I’m always looking for new fitness partners in crime 🙂

Questions:

  • When was the last time you had an amazing workout?
  • Do you belong to a regular gym or a small studio?
  • Any ideas for how to make a little extra cash so I don’t have to sell a kidney to keep going to classes like this once my two weeks are up?

weekend happenings + finding peace in a culture of scarcity

Welcome back to Monday! I’m tempted to be overwhelmed by all the negative parts about Mondays – missing the weekend, having obligations, less time to do what I want, feeling an overwhelming sense of scarcity (I didn’t get enough sleep, I should’ve worked over the weekend, I need more coffee, I didn’t get my to-do list done), and already, before the day’s even started, looking forward to the weekend.

Do you ever wonder if this is why life seems to fly by so fast? Because we’re constantly “looking forward” to things instead of enjoying the simple things that we get to do every day?

I’m in the middle of a new book (shocker, because I haven’t read a book by choice in God knows how long) called Daring Greatly. It’s all about our culture of scarcity, of “powering through” to get to the relaxing or fun parts of our lives. Ideally we’re all supposed to be doing something we love each day, but even if that’s not true, it’s seriously so important to realize and catch yourself when you look past the day and to the weekend, or a trip, or a happy hour, or even just 5:00 that night. Life happens all the time, not just when we barrel through a workday and finally get comfy on the couch 8 hours later.

Do I seem emotional? Man have I been lately. That, coupled with the fact that I did an hour of yoga before dawn this morning, have turned me into complete mush. Heartwarming commercials are making me cry, and One Republic is playing constantly on my computer and giving me the kind of butterflies in your stomach that only really personal music can give you.

I’ve been freaking out lately. Overreacting, having panic attacks, even practically pulling my hair out.  Nothing has changed but for some reason I’m not coping well with my life right now. But I do know one thing – waking up this morning and doing sun salutations while the sun rose was quite literally one of the most peaceful things I’ve done in awhile. Daring Greatly has made me take a step back and see everything in life as something to be appreciated for what it is—living! I sometimes look around the train on my commute and wonder, do the people around me realize how random and insane it is that we’re even alive? It’s too early to get too deep (haha) but really…think about your life and how crazy lucky you are! I know I’m doing that more and more lately.

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 I’m really trying to get a handle on this out-of-control feeling that keeps rushing over my body when things don’t go my way. I had a bad weekend. I looked forward to a night off on Saturday and, so is life, things didn’t turn out exactly as I’d planned. What was my response? Pure anger. I was so, so angry. I let it ruin the whole night, and I wasted it. Now there’s nothing I can do to change what happened, but it’s so therapeutic to write it down, admit it, and hopefully react better next time. No more running to the bathroom to breathe deeply into my hands and pull at my hair.

I woke up this morning with every intention of running four miles. I was going to pound the pavement and get that high that only comes from a good run. I was going to turn my music up to max volume and tune out the world. But when I woke up this morning I felt a voice telling me that tuning out the world by blasting loud music and pushing my body to its limits this morning was not the way to start my week. This morning, the only answer was yoga. I didn’t have a mat, my hands are covered in rug burns now, but I feel incredible. I woke up with the sun and now I’m going to start my week in peace. I got enough sleep last night, I’m excited for the week ahead, and I know I’ll handle whatever comes my way. Let’s all avoid the culture of scarcity and just accept ourselves, and our lives, as enough, as worthy.

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My weekend wasn’t all bad—Saturday morning I spent some great quality time with my parents. We went to the grand opening of Trader Joe’s in my hometown and it was, as expected, a blast and a half.

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Sunday morning Zain and I went out to brunch at a French-themed restaurant, so right there we were combining two of my favorite things. It was almost an hour-long walk there and back to the restaurant but the sun was out and it gave Zain and me a chance to talk, electronics-free and enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. I was able to indulge in one of my favorite French treats (a croque monsieur—holy moley) and enjoy the feeling of Spring in the air.

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Also, in a weird twist of fate we passed by a CTA stop that looked IDENTICAL to the metro stops in Paris. The whole morning took me back to my time aborad.  I think it was a sign – that was a time when I was forced to be independent, flexible, and vulnerable. Who knows, maybe it was God’s way of telling me to reignite that strength inside of me, even though I’m home now

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As I sit here, writing this early in the morning, I can’t help but have this awesome feeling of hope for the week. I’m smiling because I can feel myself growing emotionally and spiritually, two parts of myself that I tend to neglect. Don’t get me wrong, I have the physical health down pat. As “healthy living” bloggers it’s basically a rule, right? But health isn’t all about getting your vegetables in. We are complicated, beautiful, messy humans, and we have many sides to take care of. So I hope that by acknowledging my weaknesses as of late I’ll be able to make a difference in my emotional and spiritual state. That way I can truly call myself healthy.

Okay—so enough about me. Tell me about your weekend! What cool things did you do or how did you relax?

Questions:

  • Do you see yourself living a culture of scarcity?
  • How do you take the time to cultivate your emotional and spiritual sides?
  • And to lighten things up, tell me your favorite animal and why 🙂 I love pugs and can’t stop looking at pictures of them. INSTANT HAPPINESS!

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Have a beautiful Monday!

Weekend Happenings

Hi, all! How was your weekend? Did you know it was the first weekend of FALL? Crazy!

While I still didn’t manage to do anything too autumn-ish, I know the next month will be filled with apple-picking, pumpkin-carving, candy corn-eating fun, so I’m not too worried.

This weekend I stayed in the suburbs for the first time in awhile.  I had two shifts at the restaurant so it just made sense to stay home. Luckily that meant I got to spend a lot of time with my family and make some great food!

Saturday was a rest day minus a casual walk with my dad through our neighborhood.

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Isn’t this apple tree gorgeous??

Sunday was a little different, however. I dragged myself out of bed at 9 and headed to the gym. I spent a lot more time there than usual because I wanted to do both cardio (elliptical) and take a yoga class. My lower back has been kiiiiillllling thanks to the intensity of bootcamp lately so I knew I needed to force myself to stretch!

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Needless to say I walked through the door after almost two hours at the gym ravenous and quickly made myself an egg sandwich before church.

ImageEzekiel whole grain english muffin, two eggs with spinach and parmesean cheese, and a Morningstar sausage patty.  Coffee on the side, of course.

The afternoon was spent watching football before heading to the restaurant for work.  I don’t know if it’s just that I’m paying more attention this year, but all the games have been so good! Most of the games I tune into have ended up being close which makes it so entertaining.

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Grilled cheese with tomato and an apple on the side before work

I got home late last night thanks to the Bears game (wooooo we won!) so I grabbed the first thing I could find for dinner.

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Cherry walnut pancakes that my dad made in the morning alongside a cup of plain greek yogurt (with truvia). I passed out watching reruns of Parks and Recreation before I ate the banana, so there’s that.

This morning before work I’ve already been busy with a KILLER workout at bootcamp.

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AMRAPs are nuts (as many rounds as possible). I, along with a few other people around me, were close to throwing up. At the moment you feel like death, but now I just feel like a badass 😉 I’ll spare you the picture of my tomato face afterwards, and instead leave you with a few hilarious posts from “Thug Kitchen”. Is it weird that I find food humor funny?

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I hope you all have a great Monday! Happy Fall!

Question: what was the best part of YOUR weekend?