How I Became Healthier in Quarantine

My Journey of Losing 15 lbs Stuck in my House

Before I begin, I would like to preface, a person is not defined by the number on the scale or their dress size. Be confident in the body you are in & only change for yourself. Nobody else.

When Stay at Home Order hit our state, I went into serious panic mode. I ate my feelings in Pop-tarts & Doritos, distracted my mind through binge watching Netflix, sleeping in super late, & not exercising at all. I was pushing 140 pounds [ for someone short like me, I felt huge ] & feeling so sluggish. I had to make a change.

I decided to finally make a change because I knew I wasn’t being the healthiest I could be. Besides not loving my outward appearance, my mood was poor & I couldn’t remember the last time I ate greens. My goal was to feel better both physically & mentally. Here’s how I did it.

Got Outside:

My motivation to get active was rather slow growing. But I found walking outside seemed easy enough. Being inside your house for long periods of time seems fun until you realize you literally can’t leave besides for groceries. I can barely contain myself being stuck inside during a snow storm so, I became very stir crazy during quarantine. Walking for at least 30 minutes a day, especially to the docks [ which are a few minutes from my home] was the change of scenery I needed.

Ate Less Snacks:

Beginning of quarantine, I had the habit of eating Doritos & Pop-tarts while watching movies & tv shows in the evening. I started not including them in my grocery list as often & replaced with healthier options. Peanut butter crackers have been my favorite replacement. It helps boost my metabolism! But do I still have a Pop-tart every so often? Heck yes! Does my boyfriend try & hide them in high to reach places? Yup! Haha!

Cut Back on Sodas:

My addiction to sodas is real! I’ve tried to quit cold turkey & had serious withdrawals. I learned I was just a very dehydrated person. I drink more water. I’ve replaced soda’s with tea [for the most part] & try not to have sodas available in the house. I’m definitely not perfect, but I’ve seen a difference in myself once I cut back.

Drank More Water:

In the morning, I started drinking water with lemon & that is a great way to wake up & boost my metabolism. I also tried the Gallon of Water Challenge which was so difficult. But that made a huge difference in my skin, digestion, & energy levels.

Smoothie Meal Replacements:

This has been an easy way to get my vegetable intake. I usually drink a strawberry, banana smoothie with spinach & vanilla almond milk. So tasty!

Intermittent Fasting:

This was one of the biggest helps in my weight loss journey. I usually try to skip breakfast & wait until lunch. In the morning, drinking lemon water helps me stay full for longer periods of time. The hardest part was not eating after dinner. Snacks are my down fall.

Yoga & Meditation:

Again, these practices have benefited both my physical & mental health for years, to the point where I feel like a different person when I skip a day. Flexibility is just as important as lifting & cardio. I find it so peaceful & rejuvenating. This routine has really helped during these tough times of stress, uncertainty & confusion.

Here’s a yoga video I’ve been loving. Perfect for these tough times we’ve been living in.

Yoga for Anxiety & Stress

Also love Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. She has monthly printable schedules available online.

Cardio

My boyfriend got me hooked on elliptical training. We have one in the basement. I try to bike for about 30-45 minutes Monday – Thursday. It’s the time where I listen to a latest podcast or YouTube video. I would love to own a treadmill someday.

our own little home gym has been great during corona season.

 Weightless Strength Training

I give credit to Chloe Ting’s Summer Shred Challenge to my body transformation. Her ab videos are killer! But they work! Most videos are about 10 minutes long so I would try to do 3-4 in one sitting.

Chloe Ting Ab Workout

With gyms being closed & then with limited restrictions, I was glad to find at home workout videos. Eventually I would love to open my own set of weights.

 Keeping a Gratitude Journal

A big part of my weight loss was gaining a positive outlook on life. Writing short sentences of gratitude helped keep me on this path. I definitely recommend it to everyone.

Final Thoughts 

A lot of my moments of sleeping late, not exercising, & eating poorly was due to feeling more negative about life events & circumstances. Im a very sensitive person & hold a lot of feelings inside. I combat that behavior through bad habits. It’s something I work on daily. Being more communicative about my feelings & being real with myself has lead me to where I am now. And I’m proud of myself. 

What is something you have accomplished lately or wish to fulfill in the future? 

3 M’s For An Intentional Life [Collab with TheGrowthStory]

I’d like to thank TheGrowthStory for collaborating with me on this piece. I’m so proud of how it turned out. And I hope you all enjoy it. 🌿

We are amidst one of the most troubled times in the 21stcentury, with the pandemic and the economic crises. Most of us (including me) have been affected in various ways, either our health has been affected or our careers.

In collaboration with The Growth Story I present you this article, we will be diving into the 3 M’s [Mindset, Meditation & Minimalism] & attributing these key aspects in the journey of living in the moment and living more intentionally.

With the state of the world being what it is right now, it is quite easy to feel unmotivated, stressed & anxious over the uncertainties of Covid19 & other political stances presented in the last few months. 

With financial struggles, social disconnect, health scarcities, & radical changes on the mind, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. Your feelings are valid. But now more than ever, we as a society need to stand up & power through such negativity & challenge our psyche in a direction of optimism.

Whatever is happening with the pandemic and the economy could have not been predicted by us, nor could we do much about what has happened, we can just do our best by staying healthy and sound, in our minds and body. 

We share the views and strategies as a part of our own experiences and hope that you all find it to be of value.

🌿 Mindset

A positive mindset is a powerful thing. It has the ability to place us in a state of gratitude which helps us tackle even the most challenging obstacles.

Our minds can get troubled if we do not care for them. Most people are careful about the physical diet and fitness, it is imperative to consider and improve our mental diet as well (actually is far more important to care for the mental diet as it affects our choices in life).

By taking care of the mental diet I mean, taking in more positive and uplifting content and learning things that help us to grow in life.

Practical things that can be done:• Start a gratitude journal. Write something you are thankful for everyday. Ex: I am thankful for my family, friends & pets. By having a regular practice such as this, you are tricking the mind in developing a new outlook on your day to day life.• Read more good books that encourage us and enable us to learn and grow. Books are often condensed learning of the entire lives of the authors, they are amazing tools to accelerate learning.• Reduce the consumption of news: The news agencies take an advantage of our negativity bias and show us more negative news to keep us hooked.• Journal 3-4 times a week: Honest journal entries are a great way to relieve stress and to understand our feelings and motives in life. Once we start writing, we start forming more coherent thoughts and we start thinking more clearly.• Go for a walk: A peaceful walk is great for connecting the mind and the body, and if it’s a walk in the fresh air of nature, that’s the best thing that can happen wrt health.

🌿Meditation

Meditation is one of the simplest and surest ways to calm a busy and overwhelmed mind. All it takes is sitting in silence and concentrating on breath and sensations in the body.

The act of breathing is such a powerful thing. Seriously. Whenever I feel stressed, taking a few moments of deep inhales & exhales can make the biggest difference.

It forms pathways into our unexplored subconscious mind, we can often tap into our deepest sources of knowledge and creativity during meditation.

Also, we understand our emotions better, and we learn to respond to situations rather than reacting to them. Our focus improves, our mood improves, we increase our awareness and start noticing more of life.

Meditation Practice:• If you have not yet been introduced to the world of meditation, I would suggest you to find some online videos/apps to get started.• The main idea is sitting in a place in a relaxed manner and focusing on the breath, and letting the thoughts come and go. Whenever you realize you are distracted, come back to the breath.• If you do guided meditation frequently, then I suggest applying the practices and doing non-guided silent meditation at least 2-3 times a week (10-20 mins each time).• Eventually make a shift to the non-guided form of meditation.

Take note that meditation is no magic pill, it is a skill that can be improved over time. And once you get good at it, you can see the tremendous benefits in your everyday life.

🌿 Minimalism

You may have heard that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, that is what a minimalist approach to life offers.

Minimalism is more than just getting rid of excess stuff! It’s an overall lifestyle catered to living intentionally & having an appreciation of what you’ve been given. Becoming this way isn’t an overnight ordeal. It takes time, patience & reflection of your own being.

Why Minimalism? When you do away with all the aspects of your life that no longer serve you, it is easier to develop a way of living that is meant to create an atmosphere of bliss. 

Something I believe we all learned during such unprecedented times is the importance of simple things. 

When the world sheds so much familiarity, it’s crucial to look into yourself & determine what makes you feel whole. 

Ask yourself one simple question: What makes you the happiest? Those are the things you must cherish.

Once you go deep in this practice, you start realizing that you are not the things you have, and you don’t need more things to feel better. In the process, you save some money, and give yourself more room to breathe (both in your physical and mental space).

I hope this article has been of value.

Be sure to go follow Uzzawal @ TheGrowthStory for more amazing content such as this.

– B 🌿

The Toxicity of Influencer Culture

The average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year. There is this constant urge for MORE and NEW where it just becomes an endless cycle of overconsumption. And with the age of social media & influencers, this trend isn’t leaving us anytime soon.

If I was younger in this generation, I’d be a complete mess. With items being just a click away & a saturated amount of photos & videos depicting these “so called perfect lives” at your finger tips, how isn’t this lifestyle affecting people’s wellbeing?

Sometimes I miss the 90’s because to me, the pre-digital age was simple. Children still went outside to play. Now parents have to monitor screen time. People’s lives were a bit more mysterious & your past didn’t follow you as easily.

The world of technology, although is quite convenient; it can also cause a burden in the comparison battle.

Even at the age I am now, & a few years ago I would get sucked in feeling like I wanted & needed certain products to make me happy. The picture perfect life society shows online, is nothing compared to their reality. And even with this knowledge, I was quickly consumed by those worlds. Deleting my Instagram in 2016 was the best decision I ever made.

The thing that got me the most, besides the illustrated depiction of success, was the overexposed advertisements. Influencers would post a picture of themselves in an outfit against a bright pink wall & every inch of the image would have affiliate links to brands & companies.

And no, I’m not saying sponsored content is dumb & unnecessary. It’s a way to make a living. You can’t deny this. But you can’t just sit around oblivious to the fact it’s affecting the viewers decisions. Especially, these younger viewers.

I believe influencers of all platforms should keep in mind what they are promoting to their followers. They are role models after all. People trust their opinions whole heartedly. So they better really enjoy what they promote. I myself have purchased most of my makeup products on the sole fact someone [a beauty guru] recommended it.

Back in college I actually wrote a piece about how beauty influencers on YouTube negatively affect our youth. And I still find it holds a lot of truth. “Buy this makeup product, because it will enhance your beauty.” I don’t care how aware teens are about advertisement ploys & gimmicks, they still buy these products don’t they?

No wonder you have people struggling with self esteem, body image & depression. But that’s a topic for another day.

The point is, influencers push product from left to right. And it’s never enough. There will always be a new product to try or a new trend to pull off, with the majority of these products being rather luxurious & designer. Not to mention the amount of money wasted on said products. The average person can’t be dropping thousands of dollars on designer bags & clothing. But the Influencer makes it seem feasible. When most of the time, these men & women get sent these items for FREE! The change needs to come from us viewers where we say enough is enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sale from time to time. The Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale for example is a favorite of mine. And Sephora’s VIB Sale? My debit card is already crying just thinking about it. But honestly, I’ve learned to put the wallet away. It’s not like anything truly different shows up on the racks. Oh boy another basic white tee! Another pair of black ankle boots! How original. And how many lipsticks does one person really need?!

For some reason when a basic girl looks out her window & notices a leaf has fallen from a tree [a sign fall season is approaching] another pair of boots or a sweater needs to be added to the wardrobe. Even though she knows she owns 10 sweaters already.

And believe me, I was that girl. Before I discovered minimalism, I thought I needed all these material items to be happy & successful. I still love fashion & expressing myself through makeup looks & outfits. But I’m more mindful of my shopping habits. I’m not against owning expensive things or spending money. The key is to ask yourself if you truly need it?

Being a blogger myself may make me sound like a hypocrite because I talk about products & clothing pieces. But to me it’s more so the concepts I talk about that hold importance to me & the reader. When I talk about my wardrobe for example, I may talk about brands & stores but the main goal is to teach people they can be happy with less of it.

As a minimalist you don’t feel the need to buy certain things to make yourself feel whole. You should feel this way without anything. Picture yourself in an empty room with only yourself & your thoughts. How do you feel? If you feel empty, there’s a problem. Your objects shouldn’t define who you are.

I think as long as you take in consideration what these companies & influencers are aiming towards, which is fueling consumerism, you can take charge & alter your perspective. It all can just be way too much sometimes.

I’d rather have less things I really love over an abundance of items that are just ok. I don’t want to keep feeling the need to declutter & send bags of things to donation centers & landfills.

The world of social media & influencers has created this idea of “bragging” & “showing off” as an acceptable way of being. And although it’s good to feel proud of what you have & accomplished, I think apps like Instagram has ruined that for people.

Instead of selling an image that is desirable, how about just live it? There’s so much wishing & wanting in this life. But nobody wants to actually get up off their phones & do it themselves.

⁃ B 🌿

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