Today

Today, I didn’t move much. I worked from bed. I played with my dog. I got my nails done. I even flowed through some yoga tonight. But I didn’t move much.

And that’s okay.

You know what else I didn’t do today? I didn’t change my eating habits just because I didn’t hit the gym. I didn’t get mad at myself for not moving enough. I didn’t guilt myself into moving more. I didn’t think of myself as less of a person simply because I wasn’t active today.

Today I didn’t move much. I was still productive. I still felt good. I still did right by my body. But I didn’t move much.

I love activity. I love moving my body and seeing what it can do. I love being outside, hiking or walking with my dog. I love riding my horse. I love doing yoga. Sometimes, I even love running. But today, I didn’t move much.

And that’s okay.

Movement shouldn’t be a punishment for what you ate, nor a chore you have to do. You should do it because it makes you feel good. It makes you feel like your best self. It makes you happy. You should move because it’s good for your body and your soul. But there are going to be some days it just isn’t what your body craves. These are the days you rest. These are the days you recover. These days make you lazy. They don’t make you anything.

Today, I didn’t move much. I felt good. I ate healthy, I was happy. But I didn’t move much.

And that’s okay.

Mild Thai Peanut Sauce and Noodles

In the last few years, I’ve developed a little bit of an addiction to Thai food, particularly Pad Thai. There’s just something about the peanuts and all the seasonings that make my tongue happy. However, this relatively consistent craving for Thai food has primarily been satisfied through take out from a select few restaurants here in Fort Collins. While my tastebuds are definitely okay with this, my wallet and waistline aren’t so enthusiastic. So, I decided it was time for me to make my own Thai Peanut Sauce.


I’ve seen a few recipes for similar sauces, but I wanted to make one that was mine, and that’s just what I did. I decided to keep this recipe relatively mild as my body doesn’t handle really spicy food well. However, I’m sure you could spice it up a bit if you’d like, but this low heat level was just perfect for me!

The sauce recipe is as follows (makes ~2 large servings):

~Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan over low-medium heat. Whisk together until smooth. Serve immediately.

The perfect application for this sauce is this Thai Peanut Chickpea Noodles dish with Basil and Chicken. It’s super high in protein, filling as heck, and absolutely delicious. Give it a shot! (The below recipe is for two servings.)

  • 2 serving Eat Banza Spaghetti, cooked
  • 6 tbsp Mild Thai Peanut Sauce
  • 1 Large Chicken Breast seasoned with:
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Garlic Powder
    • Crushed Red Pepper
    • Turmeric Powder
    • Olive Oil (or oil of choice)
  • Chopped Basil to Taste
  • Crushed Peanuts (optional)


~ While your pasta is cooking (follow directions on package), heat olive oil (or oil of choice) is small  pan and season both sides of chicken with the above spices. Once oil is hot, place chicken in pan cook over low-medium heat. When cooked about halfway through, flip chicken and cook other side. Cook until sides are a little crispy and the breast is cooked all the way through.

~Once pasta is cooked, strain and toss with Mild Thai Peanut Sauce. Place noodles in bowls, top with chicken, chopped basil, and crushed peanuts. Enjoy!

The Body Image Post

Something has really been weighing on my heart lately. Why do people find it so necessary to put themselves down? Why is it that we feel the need to believe we aren’t skinny enough or strong enough or good enough? Why do we love to hate our bodies? Why do we love to hate ourselves?

I’m going to be real here: I’m a size 14-16 (women’s clothing sizes are dumb), I have a major sweet tooth, and I probably don’t work out as much as I should. However, I do meal prep to some extent every week, I include some kind of fresh produce in every meal, and I’m always looking for fun and creative ways to eat healthy, clean, nutritious ingredients. Additionally, I love to be active (most of the time) and try to incorporate some form of exercise, be it the gym or some outdoor activity, at least three or four times a week. However, as much as I try to live a healthy life, I am not perfect. I enjoy my ice cream sometimes. I occasionally eat take-out. I have some lazy days. I do what I know will help me live a happy, balanced life. And you know what? That’s okay. None of that makes me an ugly person or a bad person. None of that makes me LESS of a person. It just makes me a person.

Now I’m not saying I’m positive about myself all the time, nor am I saying I don’t want to make improvements. But here’s the cool thing: you don’t have to put yourself down to make yourself better. You don’t have to think you’re “too fat” to want to work out. You don’t have to think you’re “too skinny” to want to get bigger. You don’t have to be anything at all in order to improve your relationship with yourself. You don’t have to be anything or anyone else to live a healthy, happy, balanced life.

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Something I’ve been noticing a lot of among our society is that self-love is incredibly undervalued, while a negative self image is glorified. In particular, I’ve been seeing a lot of people vocalizing their self-deprecating thoughts on social media. This practice can not only be detrimental to you and your own self-worth, but also can hurt those who are struggling with their self-image. Our society is so focused on putting ourselves down and obsessing over our flaws that we shut out any love we could have for ourselves.

By all means, work your butt off in the gym,  eat your veggies, and drink your protein drinks if that’s what makes you happy (and yes, that makes me happy too). But do it in a way that honors your body and your mind. Don’t do it to spite yourself, do it to love yourself. Don’t do it to be better than anyone, do it to be a happier you.

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Please, please remember that your body is completely and utterly unique. It will never, nor should it ever, be identical to anyone else’s. Continue to strive to be your best, continue with whatever journey you’re on, but understand that part of being your best is loving yourself no matter what you look like. It’s about loving who you are and honoring that. Health isn’t just about being skinny. It’s about strength, happiness, and self-love. Self-deprecation will only stand in the way of your health and wellness, and the sooner we all realize that, the happier and healthier we will all be. Self-love can be achieved regardless of your body type or fitness level, and it’s imperative for living a fulfilling, happy, balanced life. Just as you must learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else, you must first love who you are to truly love who you are looking to become.

Why It’s Okay to Not Be Who You Always Thought You’d Be

Remember back in kindergarten when everyone would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? What did you say? Personally, when I was little, I wanted to be an artist because my dad told me I was probably the only kid my age who drew fingers on the hands of the people I drew. I thought I had this great artistic ability. I even drew a picture for the bankruptcy judge when I went with my mom to court one day (she’s a lawyer). However, my perception of my artistic abilities was vastly inaccurate.

As I got older, I decided I was going to be a veterinarian. My experience with livestock, horses, and companion animals had me convinced that saving animals was my destiny so I began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in animal science. While that passion for animals still drives me today, one undergraduate biology class quickly convinced me that veterinary medicine was not my calling. With that in mind, I began simultaneously working on a second bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. Little did I know, that decision would take me down a path I’d never even considered: pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural business.

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In terms of hobbies and sports, volleyball was always a sport I thought I’d be playing my whole life. These days, I have every intention of returning to the sport in a recreation capacity, but it has not played the role in my life I always thought it would. The same is true for roping and rodeo. While I still have an immense love and passion for the sport of roping, my life’s has diverged from the rodeo road, taking me to a much different place: graduate school. Luckily, I’m still able to ride and share my love of horses with my younger cousin through riding lessons, but had you asked me three years ago what I’d be doing at twenty-three, I would have confidently said I’d be going to ropings every weekend and practicing as much as I could.

Freshman Year Skyline Stampede

Lately, I’ve been feeling conflicted, as we all do from time to time. I have felt the pressure of these past expectations and goals I have set. I have been experiencing disappointment and even shame for not having met most of them. I’ve been thinking about how I’ve let me past self down by now having different priorities than I did then. Was I not dedicated enough? Did I make the wrong choices? Would I be happier had I stayed on that path?

With all of those questions rushing through my head, I’ve been able to realize a few things:

  • Nothing in life happens as it “should”. You can try to plan and prepare as much as possible, but life will always have a way of throwing you a curve ball that might change the way you swing your bat (yay baseball analogies).
  • There are so many paths you can take in life, and very few of them are “wrong”. Any path can be the “right” path if you don’t know your destination. And let’s face it, no one in this life really knows exactly where they are headed. So embrace the journey and see where it leads.
  • You are NOT letting down your past self by having different priorities today. As you move down your various paths in life, each step requires different choices. Three years ago, my priorities were roping and college, paying very little mind to my overall health and wellness. Today, roping has taken a back seat pursuing my master’s degree and a balanced lifestyle. As much as I miss roping and have every intention of returning to it someday, right now, it simply can’t be a priority.
  • STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. This one continues to be a major challenge for me. With social media allowing us all to share our lives, it’s so easy to see some fitness guru posting what they eat in a day or how much they workout every day, and start feeling inadequate. One thing that has been a bit difficult for me to swallow is seeing all my old rodeo friends going to rodeos or ropings, practicing during the week, and really showing their dedication. As proud as I am of all of those individuals, when I see those things, I can’t help but think “I’m not near as handy as they are,” or something along those lines. Then, I remind myself, that we are all on different paths. We all have our goals and no single person’s goal is any better or worse than anyone else’s because they are all so unique. Comparison will never benefit you as your life is so incredibly different from everyone else’s.

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When I was young, I thought I’d have everything figured out by now. I thought I’d have a steady career, exciting hobbies, and possibly even a family. After all, when you’re five years old, you think twenty-three year olds are real adults (oh how wrong we were…). Throughout your life so far, you’ve thought you’d be a certain person by now. Chances are, you aren’t the person you expected you’d be by now. Our paths through life are incredibly unpredictable and honestly, that’s kind of beautiful. What fun would life be anyway, if we knew exactly who we’d be tomorrow?

When you love your body but it doesn’t always love you back

Just like a lot of people out there, I try to take care of my body. I do my best to exercise regularly, eat well (for the most part) and maintain a positive attitude about my body and my health. However, I am human and sometimes I give into my not-so-healthy cravings. I love chocolate, an occasional decaf latte, and tacos, and while those things may not be the best for me, the occasional splurge is normal and honestly sometimes vital for your sanity.

That being said, I try to show my body the love it deserves, the love it needs to be healthy and beautiful. Not only does that require a (mostly) healthy diet and regular exercise, but a healthy body is also a happy one, one that is seen in a positive light. I think we often forget the instrumental role our self-image plays in our health. It is imperative to our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing that we appreciate and love all that our body does for us, and therefore nourish and love our bodies in the way they deserve.


But what happens when parts of your body fight against you? What happens when your body says you can’t do something you really wanted, or even needed to do? How is a person supposed to love and appreciate a body that is so set on providing them pain?

As a person with a chronic illness, I ask myself those questions all the time, especially on days, such as this past weekend, when it feels like my illness, and thus my body, are trying to ruin my life. And as crazy as it may seem, I feel that these are the days we need to love our bodies more. Not only physically, with the food we feed it and the medications we use to treat it, but mentally as well.

Yes, my body is fighting itself. Yes, it hurts like hell and there’s nothing I can do about it. Yes, these symptoms might feel all-consuming, like not only are they your burden to bear, but they can make you feel like a burden to your loved ones. But think about this: your body is fighting to protect you (even if what it thinks it’s protecting you from is really one of your vital organs). Your body is functioning the best it can to ensure your survival. Your body is giving you everything it has so that you can be okay again. Your body is stronger than most for what it has endured and overcome. Your body is still absolutely incredible.


In times of physical pain from a chronic illness, a regular illness, or any kind of injury, it’s important to understand what is happening in your body. Do your research, learn the best methods to physically care for your body, and once you’ve done that, thank your body. Thank it for being alive, for being able to feel what it feels (even when it’s unbearable pain), for trying its best to heal itself. Thank your body for giving you the ability to do the things you are able to do and try to understand that the more we love our bodies, the better they will love us back. Just like a lot of people out there, I try to take care of my body. I try to exercise regularly, eat well (for the most part) and maintain a positive attitude about my body and my health. However, I’m human and sometimes I give into my not-so-healthy cravings. I love chocolate, an occasional decaf latte, and tacos. And while those things may not be the best for me, the occasional splurge is normal.

On The Days You Just Can’t

Anxiety and depression seem to be becoming more common in our society these days. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect about 18% of Americans and around one third of those affected don’t seek treatment. Additionally, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, at least 6.7% of Americans have one major depressive episode per year. However, sometimes, even when the depressive episode isn’t what you’d consider “major, or if your anxiety creeps in for no apparent reason, it makes it hard to function sometimes. It’s mentally and physically exhausting, focusing is nearly impossible, and it seems like you just can’t do anything. You feel trapped and, let me tell you, it sucks.

So what can you do when you don’t think you can do anything? What can you do when your body feels weak and heavy, just like your brain, for no apparent reason (or even if there is an obvious cause)? How can you help yourself, even if it’s just in the short term? Here’s what I do:

  • Take a little time for reflection. When did you start feeling this way? Did anything trigger it? For a few minutes, just sit in the feeling, recognize the feeling for what it is, and absorb it. Yes, it can be extremely uncomfortable to do so, but until you identify the problem you are currently having and really accept that you are feeling what you are feeling, it is much more difficult to feel better
  • Just get up. Sometimes, this can be the absolute hardest thing to do on days when it seems like you just can’t. However, this is probably the most important thing you can do to help yourself. Just get up and start moving. Start going through the motions of your every day life. Just start. I know you can.

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  • Go outside. Once you’ve started your day, the next step is to get some sunshine (if there is some). It’s amazing what a little vitamin D can do for the soul. Even if you just go outside and sit, it can be extremely therapeutic. Try to focus on the sounds around you, the smells, the warmth of the sun, etc. Mother nature is pretty powerful, and she takes care of us.
  • Move. Exercise of any form produces endorphins, and in the words of Elle Woods: “Exercise gives you endorphins, Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” And if it’s good enough to help prove Brooke Windham’s innocence, I think it’ll help you fight your depression, even if it’s just a little.

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  • Do something that normally makes you happy. I know with depression, the things that make you usually make you happy don’t seem enjoyable at all. With anxiety, they might get your heart and mind racing. But once you’re in the midst of those activities, you might just find the little spark that puts a smile on your face.
  • Cuddle. Whether it’s a significant other, a pet, or your old stuffed animal, it’s amazing what a little cuddling can do. It’s especially helpful if all of the items mentioned above really do seem impossible.

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  • Light candles. For me, a little lavender and the smell of “calming waves” bring me peace. Additionally, the warm glow of the flame has a calming effect. It’s like bringing a little bit of the spa into your home.

When functioning really is impossible, that’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and try to work through it. Take care of yourself first and everything else will come.

I’m definitely not a therapist, and have no professional experience with mental health, but I do have personal experience. What I have mentioned above is how I cope on the days I just can’t. I have had quite a few days, particularly while I’ve been in graduate school, where functioning seems like the most daunting task of all. The aforementioned strategies are how I get through those days, and I’ve began seeing a therapist to help develop coping mechanisms and be more proactive with my mental health.

Please take care of yourself. Health isn’t just about kale salads or CrossFit. Your mental and emotional welfare are also extremely important when trying to live a full, balanced life. You can help yourself, even if that means seeking professional help. But on the days when you can’t speak to a professional, or feel like you can’t do anything, the above strategies may be able to give you a little more strength to get you through the day.

 

Sources:

https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics 

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml

7 Things I Learned in Yoga Class

Yesterday, I went to yoga for the first time in almost a month. During the semester, I would do a shortened (1 hour) ashtanga class every Friday, lift weights and do cardio at least 3 times a week, and sometimes do additional yoga classes. While I wasn’t the most dedicated yogi, I was consistent and I was improving every class. However, when the semester ended, I went on vacation and, while I continued to do mini solo flows, it just wasn’t the same. Then I returned to Fort Collins and I was ready to jump back on the mat, but my gym wasn’t offering yoga classes for two weeks due to cleaning and scheduling changes. So yesterday, when I was finally able to go to practice again, I learned a few things:fullsizerender-8.jpg

  1. Go with the flow. Don’t fight yourself, don’t fight the flow. Breathe and move with that breath. It’s something every yoga teacher tells you, to move with your breath, but I think it’s honestly the most important thing. Not only does it keep you steady and controlled, but it really keeps you focused and moving. I also fully believe this carries over into the real world: don’t fight yourself, follow your breath, and trust in the flow. Life is better when you go with the flow.
  2. Consistency is key. As I mentioned previously, I hadn’t been to yoga in almost a month and boy did my body feel that. While moving through chaturanga dandasana, I noticed it was WAY harder than normal. My tri-ceps and thighs were shaky and that’s not something I’d experienced since my first yoga couple classes of the semester. Additionally, all the progress I’d made with inversions had taken a couple backwards steps. Luckily, I hadn’t completely lost it! But still, it reminded me that it’s definitely something I need to practice, more than once a week, or in this case, once a month.
  3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is something I struggle with in many aspects of my life. I don’t like being uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy stress or confrontational situations, but that’s exactly what I had to deal with during yesterday’s flow. My muscles were sore and tired, my body wasn’t near as balanced as it had been. As uncomfortable and frustrated as it made me, I just had to remind myself that the only way to make progress is to get out of your comfort zone, so that’s what I tried to do.
  4. Listen to your body. I know I just said to being uncomfortable is a very good thing, but not if it’s legitimate pain. In yoga, as with any workout or sport, if you’re feeling pain in joints or muscles, stop what you’re doing. Breathing deeper into a stretch, feeling your muscles lengthen is great, but only to an extent. Listen to your body. If it hurts to do something, make the appropriate adjustment or just stop altogether. You aren’t going to find yogi bliss if you’re in pain.
  5. Work with what you have. If you are just starting to try yoga, or coming back to it after a break, you aren’t going to be as flexible, strong, or balanced as the instructor and maybe others in your class. Additionally, if you’re a little bit bigger like me, it can sometimes be hard to see yogis all over the internet that are tiny, bendy, and that can do poses that don’t even seem human. Just remember, yoga doesn’t have a size and your success on the mat is not measured by your flexibility. Do the poses the best you can with the body and skills you have. Utilize blocks and straps if they help you, just do what your body can do! FullSizeRender-7
  6. Do it for you. If you are in a yoga class because it’s trendy, all of your friends are doing it, or simply because you think it will make you look a certain way, you aren’t going to get the full benefit. Even if you’re not a particularly spiritual person, yoga can help you find your strengths, your weaknesses, and most importantly, yourself. It can be a completely challenging experience, but the bliss you can find is amazing. However, that bliss won’t be near as impactful if your heart, mind, and spirit aren’t fully present.
  7. Be adventurous. If yoga is new for you, you’re already being pretty adventurous and that’s wonderful! Even if you’ve been doing three classes a week, or you’re returning from a bit of a hiatus, put yourself out there a bit. Challenge yourself. Try the more difficult poses, work on your inversions, HAVE FUN. You might fall, you might think you look ridiculous, but you will never regret trying something new.

So, if you’re thinking about trying yoga or thinking about stepping back on the mat, keep these things in mind! Namaste!