Start of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred Challenge!

I am starting a new fitness challenge. It’s an old one, as the video was released in 2008. But, the reviews on Amazon are very promising!

I have used this video in the past, but not consistently. Now, I plan to take the 30 day challenge and see what results I get.

Now, I do plan to alter it a little. I’m not going to exercise on Sundays, so the plan will take me a little longer. My start date was yesterday, May 10, and the end date is June 13.

In addition, I am not going to eat any sweets (with the one exception being Mother’s day).

I think this is very doable -it’s only 20 minutes of exercise a day. I am excited to see how this turns out!

Here are my before pictures:

Here are my measurements:

  • Weight: 144.4 lbs
  • Jeans Size: 6
  • Arms: 12″
  • Waist: 30.25″
  • Stomach: 34.75″
  • Hips: 39.5″
  • Thighs: 24″

I will show updates on day 10, day 20, and finally day 30. Wish me luck!

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Weekly Round Up (September 19-24)

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I am starting a new blog post series, called the Weekly Round-Up. This way you can find all the posts in one spot. I think this will be great for my readers who don’t have time to check my blog every day. ❤

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Blog Post # 1: Sunset At The Oregon Coast -The beauty of Yachats, Oregon

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Blog Post #2: My Rocks And Wellness Package -The rocks and goodies I received in the mail from Athena Perrakis

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Blog Post #3: Book Review: Looking Fly on A Dime -Pretty much the best thrifting book ever!

 

 

My Rocks and Perfume Wellness Package

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I received a package in the mail today, and fell in love. One of my favorite rocks/metaphysical shops is called Sage Goddess.  This company is owned by Athena Perrakis, an amazing woman. I’m pretty sure that this is the best purchase I have made from Athena at SageGoddess.com.

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(Athena is quite the character, and her personality and essence are woven into this company. )

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Custom Perfume Blend

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I ordered a Custom Perfume Blend, where you can choose three of Athena’s perfumes mixed together. I chose Transformation, Claritas and Sacra. I discovered this combination one day when layering some sample scents and knew I had to have it. This scent is so beautiful and sophisticated, with a dose of feisty fun. It starts off soft and elegant, then delves into fun fruitiness, and finally finishes off with a spicy kick.

  • Top Notes: Magnolia, Jasmine and Hyacinth
  • Middle Notes: Peach, Mango, Grapevine, Blackberry and Raspberry
  • Base Notes: Ginger, Cardamom

I also purchased the Intention Perfume Sample trio. Athena has several perfume sample options, so you can try before ordering a full bottle. I chose Wisdom, Radiance and Beauty. My favorite is definitely Radiance.

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Well Offering

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I love my Well Offering. This is a fun purchase, where Athena and her SG team choose a gift set designed to nurture you. I chose the smallest option. This set was based on healing, which I loved. It was exactly what I needed!

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The stones included were: Bloodstone, Black Kyanite, Green Calcite, Fuschite, Green Fluorite, Tibetan Quartz (a stone that I was super excited to receive!) and Carnelian. I also received a set of Master Healer Tea Lights.

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Peace, Clarity and Focus Gemstone Set

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I can’t believe I received this extra! I thought I had missed the free Peace, Clarity and Focus gem set with that with the Well Offering purchase, but I didn’t!

It came with Purple Aragonite, Lepidolite with Tourmaline, Golden Labradorite and Fuschite. I have never even heard of purple aragonite -it is a pretty rare stone. Such a beautiful set!

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Extra Treasures

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Here are the rest of my “extras”. Athena often does free item with purchase, and I was able to get some amazing treasures.

I received a mini sage smudge bundle, which I can’t wait to burn. I love smudging! (In case you don’t know, smudging is when you burn sage, wood or herbs as a form of aromatherapy and emotional clearing. It is so relaxing.)

I also received a smoky quartz sphere, and my piece is just beautiful.

Lastly, I received a mini-bottle of Athena’s 5 Year Anniversary Blend. This perfume was one of the main reasons I ordered! The main notes are Clary Sage, Hibiscus Flower and Barrier Reef. The scent reminds me of flowers and ocean, although it is hard to describe. So lovely.

And that sums up my recent purchase from Sage Goddess!

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any shape or form for this post. All thoughts, opinions and feelings are my genuine and mine.

Losing The Weight

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So, I realize I haven’t updated on my weight loss progress. And, I wanted to let you know that I have lost 43 of the 50 pounds that I wanted to lose! I started this weight-loss goal New Year’s Day in 2014. I’d say that was a pretty successful New Year’s Resolution. I am determined to lose the last 7 pounds, which I will write about in a future post. But today I wanted to talk about how I lost the weight.

Love Yourself Now. –No, really! I’d say this was pretty much my biggest aid in losing weight. All of my other previous attempts at losing weight ultimately ended because I didn’t believe in myself. I was unkind to myself, and over-demanding. And enough was never enough. So, I worked really hard during this whole process of being kind to myself. If I didn’t exercise that day, I didn’t beat myself up over it. I told myself that it was okay, and that I would do better tomorrow. And I did. It is so easy for us -especially women -to fall into patterns of verbal self-abuse. But it is so damaging! Instead of using constructive criticism (Well, that didn’t go so well today. I think maybe I can do this tomorrow instead), we often use destructive criticism that ends up derailing weight-loss efforts entirely. Trash talking myself didn’t help, so I had to say, Stop it, Dana! And, an amazing thing happened from my efforts. Now, as I look back at photos of myself at my highest weight, I don’t cringe or hate the old me. I feel compassion. I wish I could go back and tell her that it was going to be okay, and that she was worth just as much then as now. Yes physical health is important. But so are mental and emotional health. I don’t think it is a crime to have healthy self-esteem even at an unhealthy weight. In fact, like I said, I think building this self-esteem is crucial towards successful and long-term weight loss. I’m actually thinking of writing a book on the subject.

Focus on Small Actions and Building Habits –One of the biggest reasons why diets and exercise programs fail is that they are often too extreme to start with. I knew this about myself, so I started making small changes. I had one less slice of pizza, one less cookie. I added one extra serving of vegetables, and so on. It was actually hard, because a lot of people were telling me that I was doing it wrong. But, I persevered, and found that it worked. I slowly brought my portions down to a normal size. And, I did something similar with exercise. I started with 5 minutes of exercise a day –a ridiculously easy amount that I knew I could do –and then slowly increased it. Next thing I knew, I had a lot of healthy habits that were easy to maintain.

Use Mindless Eating To Your Advantage –Often eating while watching movies or TV is demonized as being the reason why America is so fat. And maybe it is part of the reason. But for me, I thought, what if I can turn this into a good thing? So, I started using this time as a time to eat sliced up vegetables, and to drink more water. Since I wasn’t really tasting what I was eating anyways, it helped me to add more healthy food into my day, without making it a big deal.

Get Up When You Fall –This was also huge for me. I had started weight loss efforts last January, and was doing pretty well. But then, around March, my habits started to fall through. I thought I had ruined my chances for success, and felt discouraged. But, I decided to regroup. I figured out what had not worked for me, and I re-designed my weight-loss goals. And, because I got back up, I was able to accomplish so much. If I had given up, I would have only lost about ten pounds (and I might have gained it all back). But, I went on to lose another 33. So, if you’ve fallen off the wagon from your New Year’s Resolution already, don’t worry! You can still get back on track!

Think Up, Not Down –For me, I found it so much easier to cheer myself on by thinking about weight lost differently. Instead of thinking, “Okay, I have 47 more pounds to lose,” I thought, “Hey, look, I already lost 3 pounds! Go me!” I thinking focusing on what we have already achieved helps bring added motivation. Big goals come with delayed gratitification, and one of the best ways to bring instant gratification is focus on the positive of what we are doing now, and what we have already done. Of course, now that I’m close to the finish line, it’s encouraging to think, “Wow, I only have 7 more pounds to lose. I can totally do that. I’m almost there!”

Well, I hope my words were encouraging and uplifting. If you managed to get anything out of this post, I hope it is that we need to love ourselves right here, right now. Life is too short to spend it hating ourselves. So love yourself, and watch as your goals become easier to reach!

4 Ways To Develop Healthy Self-Talk

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This wall art can be purchased at the I Am Awakened etsy shop. At the time of this post, it was listed at $5.50.

This post is a continuation of last week’s Overcoming Self-Criticism. While I shared my story of working towards overcoming this nasty habit of being unkind to myself, I wanted to give some concrete ways of healthy self-talk.

So here’s a list of 5 things I have done in the past that has helped me with positive self-talk:

  1. Writing a “happy” list. I have written about things I am grateful for, or a list of my favorite things. I like to write down favorite memories, moments in nature, my favorite foods, etc. Sometimes remembering what you love and what makes you happy can help you to feel that happiness again.
  2. Reminding myself that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to experience. I can move on from where I am. This particularly helps when I feeling stressed about being stressed, or angry about being angry. 🙂
  3. Using a creative outlet. Now, when I say this, I don’t mean that long novel you’re editing, or the piece of art that you can’t quite get right. I mean something fun. I’ve made collages, or played with acrylic paint. Sometimes I make up a silly song. I think the combination of creativity and play allows me to be more accepting of myself.
  4. Forgetting Myself. This one can seem counter-intuitive, but it does work. When I take time to try and make sure those around me feel loved, I tend to forget my doubts about being lovable myself. There are many different ways you can do this, including volunteer service, reaching out to coworkers or family members. (Of course, please don’t neglect your personal needs in the process.) This can be a great way of overcoming self-criticism.
  5. Write A Self-Love List -Seriously. Write down all of the things you love about yourself. What are your talents? Your interests? Your accomplishments? Personality traits? Sometimes this can be a little hard when you are feeling down -believe me, I know. So, you can start by asking friends, family and loved ones things they like about you. Or try writing things down when you are in a good mood. Then refer to this list when it gets really tough to be nice to yourself. I’ve made a list like this, and it has helped me to pull of many a rut.

These are some of the items in my toolbelt that I use when I am having a “hate Dana” moment. I hope that they will  be able to help you on your journey towards a healthy self-relationship. 🙂

 

My Bedtime Routine

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Today, I decided to share my bedtime routine. I have struggled a lot during my life with being able to get a good night’s sleep. Part of this is because I had poor sleep hygiene. Staying on electronics until the last minute, and then just hopping into bed left me staring at the ceiling for at least an hour. But with my newish routine, I am able to sleep well, and wake up feeling well rested.

* Herbal Tea –To mark the beginning of bedtime, I drink a cup of herbal tea. It’s delicious, calming, and helps me transition to sleep mode. My favorites are lemon and chamomile.

* Yoga Routine –To further continue into sleepy time, I do a 20 minute yoga routine. I use the Yoga Journal dvd, Yoga For Morning, Noon and Night. It’s designed for beginners, and the night yoga routine is nice and gentle.

* Meditation –I take about ten minutes to meditate. I don’t do anything super complicated –often times I just still mind and listen to the sound of my breaths. But this is a nice time to be still, and connect to God. I like to incorporate prayer into my meditation. Sometimes I use rocks as well. 🙂

* Journal –To help make sure I get rid of any pressing thoughts, I write down about my day, and how I’m feeling. This really helps to keep me grounded, to remember my life, and to help me not stress about stuff as I’m going to bed.

All in all, my bedtime routine is about 45 minutes long. But, for me, it is so crucial in helping me to get a good night’s sleep. What are some of the things you do to help you get ready for bed?

Eating In Moderation, Not Extremes

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(I love Panera Bread! So delicious, and so many healthy options! It’s a fun place to eat out. This isn’t an example of extremism -just a yummy picture.)

 

Day’s 7 post is all about taking a stand on a controversial issue or hot topic. I feel like I’ve covered a lot of topics during this challenge, two chief among them being weight loss and novel-writing. Although my novel is my passion, my blog is mainly for helping other women. So, I’ve decided to cover a controversial topic in the diet and fitness industries –extremism.

In our society, we have so many pressures as women to be perfect –perfectly beautiful, perfectly healthy, perfectly successful and so on. And when we’re not, there are a thousand products just waiting to “change our lives.” Most promise quick results in a short amount of time, dangling a golden carrot over our heads. While I know that intensive workouts and super restrictive –but healthy –eating plans can work for some people, it doesn’t work for others. In fact, most dieters end up failing. I personally believe that this is because we choose to run before we’re ready to walk.

I guess I am advocating for smaller changes over a longer period of time. Yes, eat better, exercise, get enough sleep. But in my experience, a 180 degree change all at once just isn’t effective. Make small goals and reach them. Then make slightly bigger goals and reach them. 🙂 There’s great wisdom to the rolling stone that slowly builds momentum. To me, we were designed to adapt slowly to the challenges of life.