This Is The Lifestyle

Positivity is like fitness… You don’t talk about it, you live it! :)
I could not resist this shirt. Lol!! 

Without Judgment Clarity Exists

There is eternal power and influence in motherhood.

-Julie B. Beck

Seeing the first image of our baby inside of our womb, the excitement of feeling the first kick inside our swollen bellies, the forever waited sound of the first breathe and cry at birth—all produces a plethora of emotions and fairytale like dreams.

Instant tears of joy and feelings of entitlement for our baby boy or baby girl—They will have our best and they will be the best at whatever they set out to do in life. We will always be there for them.

What is missing from the arrival of our bundle of joy is, a book of wisdom. Although you can find just about any book on any topic of how to do anything online and in stores, no single approach to parenting is a guarantee.

Every child and every mother is unique. We become mothers with an abundance of love and only our bag of history, experiences, and knowledge—the good and the bad.

Just as our moms raised us the best they could, we follow pursuit and plan to do the same, but better (or so we think).

It has taken me many years to step away from the idealism of how my mom should have raised me versus how I was raised.

Burying the judging gavel, allows me to see with clarity.

I see myself in her, which took over 25 years to happen.

I am an extension of my mother and I represent book two of Lena.

That little seed of kindness inside of her has blossomed within me and for that I am grateful.

That mighty strength of hers, which moves the heavens and the earth, has not fully matured within in me; I yearn for it, but patiently wait, as the growth is ongoing.

We are fiery women. Like an out of control woods fire, Mom’s flame skips around readily. I have the flame too, but work hard to suppress it. Occasionally the beast escapes. When the fire kindles, I am Lena’s lookalike.

Mother’s love for fashion and style (when she was younger) was evident in her old pics– Hmm… I got that from her too!  Lol!

She loves to win…so do I. :)

While I may not like or agree with everything about the process of how I have become the woman I am today,

I very much like who I am and give homage, praise and thanks to my mother for creating me.

To all the moms, mother’s-to-be, fill in moms, Nanas, mom-moms and everything else, Happy Mother’s Day and thank you for all that you do!!! :)

Motherhood quotes that make me smile: :) 

“A mother is a mother from the moment her baby is first placed in her arms until eternity. It didn’t matter if her child were three, thirteen, or thirty.”
Sarah Strohmeyer, Kindred Spirits

“…moms, even good ones, sometimes lose it a little so as not to lose it all.”
Susan Squire

“A mother who would stop at nothing for her child is dangerous woman when crossed.”
Solange nicole

“I cannot admit this out loud. In the first place, we are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA.”
Jodi Picoult, House Rules

“Half the time your kids end up hating you for at least 5 of their teenage years[.] And don’t ever expect anything so mundane as a thank you”
Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm 

14 Principles To Less Stress

Two weeks ago was Stress Awareness Day.  I had good intentions of posting but daily life took over and until today, the post remained a draft.

Since mom says I sugar coat everything,  I am just going to say it, stress is a real mother****** !

Former heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson was known for delivering speedy and powerful punches that resulted in his opponents on their back floored and confused wondering what the hell happened.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Well honey, stress will do the same thing, except slower. Been there done that; trust me, you don’t wanna go there.

Experiencing subtle chest pain, random heart palpitations, and/or loss of sleep are just a few indicators that you may be experiencing stress.

Just because you’re not experiencing more of the common systems, doesn’t mean that your body is not experiencing stress.

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) published a list of 50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress.Your body is speaking to you; listen to your body. Avoid the  mistake I made 22 years ago.

At 27 years old, throughout my work week, I experienced more than half of the symptoms. Too busy trying to be supermom, super wife, attending night classes, and managing a front office at a hotel, I ignored every damn symptom.  I thought my daily adrenaline rush was normal.

“Normal” it was not. Living short on patience and cursing folks out at the drop of a hat isn’t normal and neither is it okay.

I was young!  Chile please!  Who has heart attacks and strokes at 27?  Not me!! That mess wasn’t on my radar.  I was slim, managed to run and practiced Tang Soo Do!

I was oblivious and numb to what I felt. I did not understand why I felt the way I did.  As far as I was concerned, my daily adrenaline rush and fast paced day where, I cursed at least one person, by the days end was my norm.

If you don’t recognize the symptoms and figure out how to slow down, eventually your body will stop you dead in your tracks. it doesn’t matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, stress is stress and will slowly and methodically break the body down.


To reduce your stress, try these 14 tips:

  1. Use a calendar – If you don’t already record important dates on a calendar, start this immediately.  I like to use my smart phone, it works better than a date book. It has reminders. Add every event, doctor appointments, nail appointments, kids games, practice etc…  By doing this, you will have a clear picture of your real availability.
  2. Learn to say No! – You don’t have to attend every party or event you are invited to.  Look at your calendar and realistically decide if the event fits into your day. Ask yourself, How long is going to take me to get there? Do I need a baby sitter?  Do I have a class or work?  If it doesn’t fit, politely decline. If the person gets upset with you, perhaps it is time to evaluate your relationship with them, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Assess relationships – Evaluate the people in your life, including family. Think about how you feel when you are around them. Ask yourself, Are they positive influences?  Do they bring positive or negative energy your way? What are they doing with their life? Are they happy? When you are around them, do they make you feel good or bad?                                                                                                        
  4. Do the dirty work – With respect to rule #3, if you recognize that a person or people in your life are bringing you down, man up and do what has to be done. Phase them out of daily life. To end the relation, you don’t have to have a knock down-drag out fight. Just stop calling them, don’t invite them over and stop hanging out with them.  I’m serious!! Life is a journey of peaks and valleys.  No one is exempt from the highs and lows in life; however, people who are always negative–Debbie Downers and Negative Neds– Using an oversized lifelike straw, they suck the life and energy right out of you. Quick!!  Run!!!  Let them go!  They won’t understand.  Eventually they may ask.  If they do, tell them the truth, but be nice about it.  “I just couldn’t take your energy.”
  5. Effectively plan each week – Periodization is a concept used in strength training, that trainers use to help clients reach their fitness goals. Over simplified it is planning in phases for long-term performance. To accomplish your personal or professional goals, you can take the same approach.  Write a plan and strategically work towards it. Before your week begins, look closely at your schedule. Some days your schedule will be tighter than others; plan for these days. Example:  During football season, our schedule is regimented, so I plan our family meals. On Sunday, I cook larger family meals so there are a couple of days of leftovers. I buy the large size take out styrofoam plates from BJ’s or Sam’s Club, so when necessary, he can eat on the run. No plates, no dishes, no take out, no wasting money, and best of all, healthier meals!  Planning ahead like this, keeps you ahead of your game and avoids putting you in the stressful reaction mode.
  6. Mind YOUR business!  – Don’t make everybody’s problems your problems. We’ve all been there.  You know a family member or friend who just ain’t living right and they always have drama going on.  “She needs to do this!”  “She ought to be doing that!”  “If it were me….”   Stop it!!!  It ain’t none of your business, stay in YOUR lane. Nobody designated you as the official problem solver. Deal with and fix your own ish!
  7. Mind YOUR money! – An inability to manage your money can be a huge stress. It’s a basic concept.  Live within your means and avoid trying to impress others with your ish!  Grown and mature folks don’t give a damn about what kind of car you drive, designer handbags, expensive shoes, or where you live.  My car is 9 years old. The flaps on my running boards came off, she doesn’t have heated seats, but she has heat and air.   The ride is decent, but she’s PAID OFF!  So when a driver of a luxury car pulls up to me, I celebrate their pleasure and mine.  :)  When the time is right, I’ll have my “dream” car, but for now, I’m minding my money.  As my friend says, “All that glitters ain’t gold!”                                                                                 
  8. Stop putting out other folks fires! – Recognize that their emergency is not YOUR emergency.  Lol! I used this philosophy all the time. The lack of planning on someone else’s part does not have to be your problem.  I am all for helping others, but for some people, their emergencies are more OFTEN than NOT. Sympathize, empathize and everything else, but it’s their problem to solve not yours. The time and energy you spend bailing them out will ultimately mess up your day and you may end up feeling stressed.
  9. Make time for you – Care for yourself first. What are your interests? Do you have a hobby or want to go back to school?  Whatever your interest, do it!  Even if it means your kid has to take one less activity, do it. Life is too short and too uncertain to put your life on hold until your child finishes school.  Tomorrow isn’t promised is a cliché but its meaning is bona fide. Your family will benefit from your happiness.
  10. Meditate – The mind, body and spirit improves with meditation.  You don’t need an hour or even 30 minutes…  Start by finding 15 minutes in your day.  Once it becomes routine for you, you’ll figure out the best time and where you can meditate for longer (if you chose).   The Rest & Relax Guided Meditation App is my favorite. At $1.99 it’s worth it.  You pick your music, desired length of time and the session is guided. It’s a great application that can help you get started.
  11. Eat well – You are going to feel exactly how you eat. Eat crap and you’re going to feel like crap-there is no getting around it. If you listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel, you will understand what I am saying.  Regardless of your fitness goals, try to eat a balanced diet. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy grains, and water daily into your diet. Minimize or avoid excessive sugary drinks and food, alcohol, packaged foods, fried food, and fast food.  Destroying your body with poor nutrition will eventually lead to illness such high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
  12. Exercise – You don’t have to be a fitness junkie like me, but incorporating exercise 3-4 days per week can have an positive impact on your quality of life.  Walking, weight training, yoga, running, CrossFit, aerobics, Zumba… just move.  To keep fitness interesting and fun, add a variety of workouts to your program. Find a gym or trainer that is right for you and an informed one that can help you meet your fitness goals and STICK WITH IT. Your heart is a muscle. When you exercise, your heart benefits and will function more efficiently.
  13. Sleep – The body  needs REST.  Going to bed late every night is counter productive to healthy living. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.                                                   
  14. Get annual physicals  – No matter how well you feel or look, get your annual check ups.  For ladies, that means, OBGYN’s, Mammograms, a general practitioner, and an eye exam. That’s a lot right?  Men have it easier. Lol!  Prevention is key. You might feel well, but something still could be wrong. There are many diseases such as breast and uterine cancer, that are silent and don’t exhibit symptoms, so keeping up with annual doctor visits can save lives.

I’ve been told that I smile a lot and I do!  :)   That’s because I live a simple life.  The less complicated, the better. My life isn’t perfect, but I live by the 14 principles, which sometimes requires tough decisions, but I do what I have to do, to maintain happiness and balance in my life.

Do you have other tips that you use to deal with stress?  I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and make it a fabulous day!  :)

Begin Each Day Like This

 

Photo courtesy of my friend JH.  Thank you! 


What we do is not as important as how we do it. The attitude, the energy, and the flavor that we infuse our actions will determine the scope and magnitude of the results.  

We are enroute to B’Dazzle’s Saturday morning tutoring.  While it is early and I would appreciate sleeping in, I am immersed in gratitude for the gift and blessing of life. I woke up this morning, not everyone did. 

When you get up in the morning, before getting out of bed, take a deep breath and slowly exhale.  

Give sincere thanks for another day. 

Smile. 

Regardless of what lies ahead of you, commit to giving it your all.  Find the sunshine in as many moments as possible. 

Smile.

Don’t be discouraged by happenings that you cannot control. 

Smile. 

Go about your day with a positive attitude and keep forgiveness in your heart. 

Smile. 

Practice random acts of kindness. 

Smile. 

Most of all, “Be the kind of person that you want to meet.”

Make it a fabulous day!  Smooches!  :). 

Yes, I Care About You

“I’ll have an order of hot wings, spicy please and a Coors Light.”

At 25 years old, this was my standard eat after aerobic class. With my workout partner sitting across the table from me, we laughed ridiculously about class, our uncoordinated moves and how fine the instructor was.

We were young, slim and trim, and as far as we were concerned, we were going to stay that way forever.  Lol! When you’re young, you think that way– at least I did.  :)

Recently I saw a video of “The Stanky Leg Workout” and I laughed so hard. These people are having a blast dancing to a choreographed aerobic workout. The class is getting their cardio in, as well as,  getting their heart-rate up.  :)

For some reason, the video reminded me of the early 90’s when me and my girl worked out then feasted on the hot wings and beer.

I wondered what the participants in the class ate after their Stanky Leg Workout. I wondered if it mattered to them or if they understood how relevant their post workout meal is to the hard work they put in during class.

After all, when I was 25, I didn’t give a hoot about post workout nutrition. It didn’t matter. I was lean; could not gain weight, did not have any fitness goals, so what I ate did not matter. We worked out because it was fun. Both of us were married and with kids. We enjoyed the hour of “me time” away from work and family.  If this is the case with you; that’s cool–enjoy every minute!  If you workout for additional reasons, this post is for you. :)

What are your fitness goals?

lexawrites.com

Fitness goals motivate your behavior.  Fitness goals dictate what you do before, during and after your workout.  Your goals move you to live a certain lifestyle.

lexawrites.com

I am not an expert, a certified nutritionist, a certified personal trainer, or any other fitness pro (yet); however, for over 20 years, I have lived a healthy lifestyle and continue to educate myself in the world of fitness and nutrition.  It just keeps getting better.

I care about myself and…

I care about you!  I don’t have to know you to care about you.

Everyday I see the results of unhealthy lifestyles. I see it in children, parents, and in my family. I have lost family members to cancer, diabetics, and morbid obesity. It’s not pretty.

When I see an obese child, it makes me sad; and I want to cry. I know they’re getting teased in school and, if nothing changes for them (or their parents), they will experience a lifetime of unhappiness– failing to reach their full potential in life– unless a positive change occurs.

By the way, I AM NOT saying that a person cannot be heavy or large and be in shape and live happily. I’m talking about lifestyles that lead to major healthy issues such as, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and more.

I want to take the obese child and the parent by the hand and tell them there is a better way. In reality tho, I’d get cussed out, so I stay in my lane.

I receive daily emails, texts, private FB messages, and phone calls from people asking me for help; this inquiries compelled me to write this post.  My advice to you is to sit and decide what your goals are and to write them down.

Don’t generalize: “I want to lose 20 pounds.”  Instead be specific:

To reduce my blood pressure to ______ and to reduce or get off my medication, I want to lose 20 pounds.

Start a food journal.  For three or four days, write down the following:

  1. What you ate/drank
  2. How much ate (estimate don’t measure)
  3. When you eat (time of day)
  4. Why you’re eating (breakfast, lunch, boredom, at a party, etc…)
  5. How you felt after you ate

This may seem time-consuming and cumbersome; however, to get the results, you MUST do the work… inside the gym and outside. There are no quick fixes.

If you don’t understand what you do or why you do it, you cannot make progress.

So what should you do after any workout?

Eat within the hour. If you are not going home immediately after your workout, pack your meal and take it with you to your workout. Eat it in the locker room, in the car, or on the bus, just eat.  After a workout, your body is in recovery and needs fuel to recover.

If you’re into bodybuilding, pre and post meal workouts are more complicated.  This post is more generalized for the average person.. if there’s such a thing.

Eat what?  This will vary greatly depending on your fitness goals.

Generally speaking, avoid:

  • fast food
  • fried foods
  • processed food (such as lunch meat)
  • sugary drinks/soda (including diet sodas)
  • packaged foods
  • frozen foods (unless you froze natural food yourself)
  • can foods

Try eating:

  • green/leafy food (spinach, broccoli, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc..)
  • lean meat (skinless, boneless chicken, turkey, beef, etc…)
  • fish
  • beans (sometimes I use organic canned beans but I always rinse them well)
  • water
  • brown rice or pasta
  • yams/sweet potatoes
  • whole wheat vs. white
  • yogurt (plain with fresh fruit)

This lists above are general.  Again, depending on your health and fitness goals, your diet will vary.

Before starting any fitness regimen or nutrition plan, you should ALWAYS discuss it with your doctor.

Likewise, if you are being treated by your doctor for any condition, discuss and develop a plan with your doctor.  Safety and overall wellness should always be your first priority.

I hope this helps. :)

Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous day!

Snap Out Of The Recipe Rut

When the mood strikes me to cook, get out of my kitchen!  Occasionally I get tired of eating the same food and have the time to try something new.

Sunday was the case. I cooked roasted peppers, quinoa stuffed peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, sea scallops, a small piece of salmon, baked drum sticks (for my family), center cut pork loin (for me), and plain oven baked sweet potatoes (for me).  Lol!  Was in the kitchen from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  On the brighter side- By 7:00 p.m., my meal prep was completed for the week.  High 5!!

If you’re stuck in a recipe rut, I don’t have the answers, but Pinterest does… at least for me.  On Pinterest, I can find everything, so if you’re stuck, just search a favorite ingredient like avocado, quinoa, yams, rice, or whatever you’re into.

How do I go about selecting a new recipe? I look for:

  • a nutritious recipe or at least one I can change & make healthier
  • a recipe that has at least one or two main ingredients that I favor
  • an attractive dish; something that is pretty to look at
  • prep time – How much time do I have to spend cooking and how much time do I want to spend on cooking the dish
  • unconventional usage of an ingredient

Here are few of my favorites:

Recently I tried this Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

red stuffed pepper

Stuffed pepper before baking

yellow stuffed pepper

After baking. See what I mean about looking pretty?  How could you not want to eat something so colorful and appetizing?!

To make food interesting, sometimes it’s just a matter of preparing the food in a different way or swapping out ingredients to infuse the dish with a new flavor.

I now favor my broccoli roasted with fresh garlic and olive oil. I‘ve fallen in love with it oven cooked, plus it is less likely to overcook in the oven than stove top. This method is no fuss, quick, nutritious, and delish!  Once you go “oven style,” you won’t go back!  :)

This Caribbean Salad is beautiful!  I can’t wait to try this one!!

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Lastly, be open to try new foods.  I’m eating food that I didn’t know existed a few years ago.

One of my favorite easy go to is baked spaghetti squash.  First of all, it’s no fuss cooking. Second, it’s mild in flavor so you can mix it with just about anything.  Third, it’s like eating FREE FOOD!!  Lol!

1 Serving ( 250 ml/ 1 cup) of Spaghetti Squash is 33 calories and only 5 grams of calories from fat!

Protein:  .6g

Fat:         .6g

Carbs:    6.9g

Come on!!  Why wouldn’t you eat this!  Add grilled shrimp, salmon, sea scallops, or whatever else you chose and you’ll have the most delightful meal!

Wait one more!! I don’t eat ice cream and haven’t for many years now.  Recently I tried a new recipe and Lawd!!   I’m in trouble!!

I couldn’t wait for my “Healthy” ice-cream to completely freeze, but it was OUTSTANDING!!  My version of chocolate ice-cream is from, where else but Pinterest.  I ran out of peanut butter, so I added a two teaspoons of the coconut milk.  There’s a lot of fat in the coconut milk. 

  

Delicious!!  :) 

I hope that I’ve inspired you to try and to seek out new recipes.   If you are on a journey to improve your lifestyle by getting fit and eating smarter replacing your old recipes with cleaner and more nutritious ones is an excellent first step.

Be encouraged and make it a fabulous day! :)