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.

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.

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.

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!

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Do you ever have those mornings when all you want is something to satisfy your sweet tooth? You consider running to the donut shop or the local coffee joint for that sugary pastry or drink, but you tell yourself you shouldn’t. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after all, and it should be a healthy one, right? While I am a fan of the occasional morning confection, I’m all for finding healthy ways to satisfy the sweet cravings. And I have found a smoothie that does just that: my blueberry muffin smoothie.

Full of fruits, protein, healthy fats, and with the potential to add vegetables, this recipe is not only nutrient dense, but incredibly delicious, too! It only takes about five minutes to throw together and it’s a great on-the-go breakfast, something I am incredibly fond of as I don’t always have time to sit down and eat. Also, coming into the hot summer months here in Colorado, I often don’t feel like cooking, so a smoothie is a great way to beat the heat, but still get in a satisfying breakfast.

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So what does it take to make this smoothie taste like a blueberry muffin? Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana (preferably very ripe)
  • 2 tbsp Wild Friends sugar cookie peanut butter (it’s only sold here in the winter, but you can find it here when not in season)
  • 1/4-1/3 scoop of MRM Veggie Protein- Vanilla (find it here)
  • 1/2 tsp honey (I use local for the allergy benefits)
  • 1 handful baby spinach (or whatever leafy green you like!)
  • 3/4 cup Califia Farms unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

Throw it all in the blender, and blend! I highly recommend putting it in the blender in the order I have listed for easier blending, but each blender is different, so do what works for you!IMG_1220

This recipe is for a single serving. I personally use my Nutri Ninja Blender with Auto-IQ boost (find it here). The blender came with the single-serving size, the full blender, and the Nutri Bowl option. It’s literally the best blender I’ve ever owned, perfect for those of us who can’t quite justify spending the money for the coveted Vitamix blenders. Plus, seeing as I usually make smoothies just for myself, it’s easy to just make single-servings. However, you can adjust this recipe to feed as may people as you’d like.

One of my favorite things about this recipe, beyond the fact that it legitimately tastes like a blueberry muffin, is the fact that it’s relatively versatile. You can use any honey, any milk-base, any vanilla protein powder, and whatever vegetables you’d like, as long as you stick with the blueberry, banana, and sugar cookie peanut butter base. I’ve personally tried it with dairy milk and coconut milk as well, and used kale instead of spinach, and it all tasted very similar. My one main suggestion would be to stick with the Wild Friends sugar cookie peanut butter, as the flavor is incredible and the ingredients are super clean. img_1223.jpg

I hope you all enjoy this healthy version of a breakfast favorite! I would love to hear if you try it and what you think, as well as any modifications you have made!

 

Why I Don’t Run

Ok, nothing against all the runners out there, but it just isn’t my thing. I don’t enjoy it. And that’s it, that’s the reason I don’t run.

gympicBut in all honesty, I’ve tried running many, many times. I was a student athlete in high school, so sprints, short runs, and running stairs were a regular occurrence for me. I know it’s a wonderful cardio and full-body workout, but running just isn’t for me. In addition to not enjoying running, it physically hurts me. I don’t just mean my knees or my tired leg muscles, but it tends to cause flare ups of my Interstitial Cystitis. And let’s face it, no one wants pelvic pain and the constant urge to pee when they’re working out. Or ever, really ever, really.

 

Have you ever stopped and thought about why you work out? Or about if you enjoy your workouts? Do you often find yourself dreading exercise? Have you ever thought about why you’re dreading your workouts? We often feel as though we HAVE to work out. We HAVE to run to get skinny or lose weight. It’s just what people do, right? Well, who says you have to?

First, being “skinny” doesn’t have to be your goal. While burning fat can be a great side PoudreHikeeffect of healthy diet and exercise, it isn’t my main focus. What I do focus on is being healthy, happy, confident, and balanced. The rest will come. I make a point to workout in some way, shape, or form at least four times a week, but I never run. If I want a good, quick cardio workout, I tend to stick to the elliptical or the bike. While it may seem like they are “easier” workouts but for me, they are wonderful ways to get my heart rate up and sweat, with less impact on my joints and sensitive bladder. Another great full-body workout that effectively increases your heart rate is the rowing machine. Honestly, rowing is one of my favorite workouts because you get cardio and strength training benefits all in one smooth motion. If I have more time, and it’s a nice day, hiking is probably my favorite form of exercise. Not only do you get a killer leg and cardio workout (especially if you’re climbing), but there is no better therapy than enjoying beautiful scenery with your dog (or friends, or on your own).

What I’m trying to say with all of this is to find a workout that works for you. It’s not all about burning calories and fat. It’s about listening to your body and appreciating what it can do. If running makes you feel miserable and you dread it every time, maybe find another cardio workout. If it brings you happiness and your body loves it, by all means, run your heart out. It’s okay for you to pick the workouts you WANT to do, not just what other people make you believe you should do. Always remember, workouts are a celebration of what our bodies are capable of, not a punishment for what we eat or didn’t do.

Bare-Faced

It has been way too long since I have posted anything on The Lazy and Beautiful. Life gets in the way and I felt like I lost my voice for a while. Between graduating with my Bachelors degrees to, rather unexpectedly, starting graduate school, I’ve been a little lost lately. I lost track of my personal goals in pursuit of my career goals. And while your career is important, loving yourself is essential, and I’m finally back on the right path.

With the stress of graduate school always looming over my head, I stopped caring about what I was eating, what I looked like, and, most importantly, how I was feeling. When classes ended in December, and my first of three graduate-school-174319287semesters was over, I was able to step away from the madness that is graduate school and
figure out what needed to change. First and foremost, I needed to feel like my best self again. With that as my ultimate goal, the changes have been a lot easier. I’ve been focusing on eating healthy, real food (although sometimes a girl just needs some Pad Thai), exercising and riding my horse regularly, and practicing self-care. And for a while, I thought self-care meant always looking your best, looking like you feel good, and looking happy. But that’s not what it’s about. Those are just side effects of actually feeling good. In the process of finding that good feeling, I discovered face masks and candles, body scrubs and chocolates, soft sheets and sweet dreams. Most importantly, I discovered what makes me happy. barefaceno

Even with this improved mental state, I still had some insecurities hiding in the shadows. Along with my academic and career problems were my physical insecurities. I’ve gained wait and stopped taking care of my skin. I was wearing makeup every day as I normally did, but not feeling beautiful as a result. And what is the point of makeup if to not feel beautiful? (Although I pray you all feel beautiful just the way you are.)

This week, however, I got very sick. A sinus infection knocked me on my butt on Sunday and now, on Friday, I am just starting to recover. During this illness, I have been completely exhausted, and didn’t care much about my appearance. And it turned out to be the best thing for me. It has now been six days since I have worn makeup, and I swear my skin has never looked better. I believe it is a combination between a great skin care regimen, eating better, and giving my face a break from being covered by goop and powder all day, every day.bareface

Had I not been sick, I don’t think I would have ever discovered this. I have heavily relied on makeup to make me “pretty” for years. At first, even though I was too sick to really care, I was self-conscious about what my skin looked like, how I looked with blonde eyelashes, and if my eyebrows looked to thin. I was nervous about what people thought. But I went without makeup just the same. By the fourth day, I felt downright great without any cosmetics, just clean, natural skin. Now, I’ve fully embraced my bare face, realizing I’m not only beautiful without makeup, but I am me.

Now, I’m not saying I will never wear makeup again. I love it too much. However, I now realize it is not a necessity. I am no more or less of a person with a full face. I am me regardless of what’s on my face, and that is more than enough.