Exercise is Poetry of the Body

Exercise moves your physical body and occupies your human mind for you cannot exercise and think about anything other than what you are doing for fear of injury. Stay focused. Exercise helps you engage all parts of your body and mind and get them working in unison in a way that few other activities can do. Exercise is the execution of God-consciousness. It is poetry of the body just as meditation is poetry of the soul. 

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Lifestyle DIVA Top 10 Arbonne faves

I often get asked what my absolute favorite Arbonne products are. After all I have been a huge fan of the pure safe and beneficial philosophy and have incorporated as many products into my house as I possibly can. You might say my home is ‘Arbonnized!’ When I do a wellness presentation I am often asked – what are the few products that I can absolutely NOT do without…so I thought about it a bit, and came up with my favorites! I am not going to give you the company speak about the products – after all, you can get that by reading up on the website – rather, I want to share with you MY personal experience, and why I choose to use these products. These are by the way in no order of importance – rather they are in the order that they popped into my brain as I thought about this post.

  1. Chocolate Protein Powder – with 20 g of Vegan protein powder with THE BEST TASTE on the market – this one is a no brainer for breakfast! I am a busy mom of two very active kids under the age of 7 and my daughter’s school is 20 minutes away from our home; prior to dropping her, I drop my son off at his school – so I have to build in that detour time to my morning. There is no other way for me to get done all that I need to get done in the morning – run or ride, meditate, clean kitty litter, get dressed (with full makeup and hair done because I often meet clients and go to networking events first thing after drop off), get two kids up and make sure they’re getting through their morning regimen, pack lunches and feed THEM nutrient dense breakfasts. After all this, there is no room for me to sit and eat breakfast – so I semi-prep this protein shake the night before with whatever raw vegs I have in the house, flax seed, couple berries, teaspoon of almond butter and then in the morning, I add the powder and almond milk, couple ice cubes and my breakfast to drink in the car is ready! I really don’t know how to survive breakfast any other way. This is afterall the single most important meal of your day – your body has starved for more or less 12 hours from last night’s dinner onward – you owe it to yourself to eat/drink a healthy energy-filled breakfast!
  2. Energy Fizz Drinks in Citrus or Pomegranate – This is actually a new addition in my household – I try not to consume caffeine even if its from Guarana which is a natural caffeine – except for the little that I get from my decaf almond milk lattes that I indulge in once or twice a week. One day it occurred to me that I should try this as my exercise hydration drink instead of FRS which is the brand my husband prefers. And holy cow, not only did I feel great during the workout, but the whole day went well – I wake up at 5.15 (inching my way up to 5:00) so that I have an hour to myself before I have to start the household. I often don’t get to bed till 10.30 – and lately it has been 11pm. I did not drag.
  3. Chocolate Protein Bars – with only 7g of sugar, these are the least sugary bars on the market today! Arbonne re-purposed the texture so they no longer taste like the texture of cardboard! (Thanks Arbonne!) I always carry this in my purse, because I never know where I will be during lunch time since I no longer work out of an office outside the home. (Thanks Arbonne!!)
  4. RE9 Advanced facial cleanser – Ok, so this cleanser is incredible at removing makeup. I have done full on stage makeup (not for stage, just because I wanted to REALLY doll up for an event I was attending) and this cleanser did such an awesome job of taking it all off without me feeling like I had stripped my skin of its natural oils. My husband with eczema even on his eyelids can use this without issue.
  5. Revelage SPF 30 day cream – This one is specially awesome because its a two-fer – day time moisturizer and UVA/UVB protection SPF 30 sunblock all rolled into an incredibly natural, not-to-thick-to-apply moisturizer with a really lovely barely there naturally occurring fragrance. (remember no synthetic fragrances!)
  6. Arbonne Baby Care (ABC) hair and body wash – this is the rock star in our house because not only do both my kids use it and I don’t have to be careful around their eyes with this – it is truly NO MORE TEARS unlike another brand that shall remain unnamed. I also use this as a hand wash at every sink in my house including in the kitchen. It is gentle yet effective for my husband’s eczema-stricken hands. (as a scientist he washes his hands a million times a day)
  7. FC5 Skin Conditioning Oil – My daughter had a spot of eczema on her face when she was 5 years old. I washed the affected skin with the baby wash mentioned in #6 3-4 times a day and followed with this oil. It cleared it up in no time. This also worked wonders for my poor calico cat Zeta who had serious dry skin issues and whose scratching would wake us up at night. She had scabs the size of peas by her ears and around her neck – this miracle oil cleared those up as well as soothed her skin. PS: If I had a dog, i would probably wash him/her with the baby wash too!! Cats of course can sense that I am even THINKING of bathing them and will go so deep into the recesses of my Eastern King bed, that there’s no way to fish them out.
  8. Ginger Citrus Body Butter – this is a seasonal favorite that I stock up on when it hits the Arbonne shelves on September 1. It’s usually out of stock by mid November! This body butter has become the hot favorite of any client or friend who I gift it to! It has the lightest scent that is so subtly elegant and the silky feeling on my arms and legs lasts anything else I have ever tried – except maybe the Shea Butter lotion which is pretty darn awesome.
  9. Primer – The Arbonne primer goes on like a lotion and dries to a powder finish! The texture of this product is so incredible – the feeling on my face ever so luxurious. I love the way it prevents my eye shadows from creasing, how my foundation stays on true all day long and as I pointed out already, my days are long. On a Sunday morning, I often use this alone – without following it with foundation…perhaps just a dusting of mineral powder.
  10. Pencil Eyeliner – Ebony – As an Indian, I like to ‘kohl’ my eyes. I have for as long as I can remember lined my eyes in black all around. The thing is – pencils usually don’t last 12 hours and I have such long eye lashes (yes I know, cry me a river!) that liquid liner smudges…I used to use the MAC gel pot, but I had the hardest time removing that at the end of the day – even after using two cotton pads per eye with eye make up remover – I would still have a residue look of eyeliner from the day. I hated how much I had to rub the gentle/sensitive/1/4- thinner-than-anywhere-else skin under my eyes to get it all off. Enter Arbonne’s Ebony 5 years ago and my eyes, the skin under my eyes and I have all been a happy customer! Ebony is pitch black, smooth and long lasting…and yet comes of easily with Arbonne’s ever so gentle eye makeup remover, making me feel truly free of makeup at the end of the day!
  11. It’s a Long Story Mascara – yes that’s actually the name of the mascara and yes, I realize I ran out of the 10 spots…but I HAVE TO leave you with this – there’s not a single woman that I know that doesn’t wear mascara. Remember I mentioned that I have long lashes…well these make it so that I not just sweep but even mop the inside of my sunglasses! It’s the one thing we all buy every three months (if you don’t do that – start NOW!) because the pump action introduces airborne bacteria into the tube and do you really want to mess with your eyes for a $36 product? (if you’re using an $8-$12 mascara off the shelf…here’s my question to you…do you know what you are putting that close your eyes? Read the labels!)

So there you have it! I use over 45 Arbonne products in my house daily – from skincare for men, women and children, hair care, baby care, makeup, vitamins, supplements, etc. These are products that I would buy anyway. So the fact that I could buy good quality, superior-ingredient products delivered to my door for an amazing price appeals to me a lot. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Entering the 4th and final week of the detox challenge!

DETOXTomorrow marks the final week of the detox and I cannot be happier with the results so far! I haven’t lost a lot of weight (4lb – but I only wanted to lose 5 – so I’m on track!) but my body fat has gone down by over 4%! By far the most impressive result for me has been discovering the tremendous will power that I have been able to will myself to have. Which tells me, it was always there – just buried so deep that it had to be excavated by digging through layers and layers of mindless eating. And since I will be 41 in a week – it stands to reason that there were many many years worth of layers to be dug through. Discipline doesn’t stop at just the eating thought – for a long while now, I have wanted to wake up at 5am daily – so I can have that extra time to myself to read, meditate, workout or just BE before the rest of my family and household needed to be woken up. But I couldn’t do it – I always snoozed from 5 – 5:30 – I had nailed down getting up at 5:30am instead of 6am during last year’s 30 day challenge! So this time I was determined…and while I am not at 5am yet – I am easily getting up at 5:15 – so that is a step in the right direction for me. Those 15 minutes made it so that I could enjoy an extra 15 minutes of quiet time, meditation time or running time. I know that in a few more days/weeks I will have no time taking another 15 minutes for myself and reaching my two year goal of getting up at 5am daily.

Sunrise from my backyard
Sunrise from my backyard

There is truly something magical about being up that early. Winter sunrises (and sunsets) are quite spectacular and the ones I get to experience right outside my backyard are no exception. This makes it all worthwhile. Additionally there is something special about the energy just before sunrise.

Another goal for myself that I have really wanted to implement and haven’t been able to, is exercising 5 days in a row consistently. See, for years, I had trained myself and my mind to think that my running days are Tue-Thur-Sat. Tuesday and Thursday were short runs, and Saturday was my long run day — and for years, I never worked out more than that. With my kids getting older and sleeping through the night – I no longer had the excuse that my kids need me first thing in the morning. My husband is more than capable of taking care of the kids first thing in the morning should they wake, and more often than not, I am back from my run before anyone wakes up! So there was no reason NOT to exercise more anymore. Brain training is a powerful thing – it was really hard to break that habit. And I am HAPPY TO REPORT that I did! This week – I worked out 5 consecutive days in a row – for the first time in over 8 years I did that! I ran on the days I run, and I did the bike trainer on the other days and I felt AMAZING! The breakthrough was huge, the fact that I am now rewiring my brain to believe that I have to work out daily except for Sunday is an amazing feeling, because this is a habit that I will keep for life! 

This has been such a successful program for the people that joined us and did it as a Facebook community boot camp of almost 400 people! Our next boot camp starts on February 3, 2014! It’s not too late to jump on board, get Fit for February on the heels of Super Bowl Sunday! Won’t you join us? If you’re in the Santa Barbara area, come out to Lole Atelier (714 State Street) on February 1 at 10am – come get a free workout courtesy IM=X Pilates Studio and learn more about this program. Sample the products that make the basis of this incredible life changing program and enjoy the camaraderie of like minded people! IF you’d like more information about the event on February 1 in beautiful Santa Barbara, use this form to let me know that! 

Conscious Rebellion

I was an extremely rebellious teenager. I was one of those kids who would essentially do exactly the opposite of what I was asked to do. What is that phrase? I would cut off my nose to spite my face. That was me. I didn’t know why I was rebelling – I just did. In hindsight I guess it was just self-expression.

Along the way I turned things around and began to realize that I wasn’t doing myself any favors! Since then (2001) I’ve come a long way since my days of rock n roll (that’s a post for another time) and have striven everyday to live the best life I can. Through trial and error I found what optimized my performance (personal and professional) and created a recipe for my life– a go-to check list of things that bring me back to center. These include:
-meditation
-running
-unadulterated time with my family
-7-8 hours of sleep
-healthy and conscious eating
-reading 5-10 pages of a good book
…you get the picture!

I’ve lived this way for years- with varying degrees of focus on these ‘ingredients’ for my best life- never quite mastering the art and science of doing them all at a level I consider optimal! Life happens and something slips- but for the most part I’ve always done few/all these behaviors daily! These behaviors are so engrained in my DNA now that when I stray too far- I start to experience physical withdrawals! I start to ‘feel’ unlike myself, I might have trouble sleeping, or just feel a general sense of malaise and discomfort.

A short while ago I fell off every wagon imaginable in my life! I haven’t meditated, run, slept well, eaten my best (ok not too bad here but not what I’m capable of) nor read anything good in at least a few weeks. And I’m amazed at how it’s affected me. I put on a big fundraiser on May 10 and I know I get into ‘crazy mode’ the fortnight leading up to it– where my life is completely out of balance. Usually however I can take the couple days off after it to recover and get back up on my feet! It wasn’t that big a deal- just about 200 people…and my 4th year planning it- so it wasn’t new; so I can’t attribute it to that.

I thought a lot about this and realized that I was having a conscious rebellious moment/day/week/month. Where instead of rebelling against someone else’s authority I was rebelling against my own– again back to that teenage behavior of cutting off my nose to spite my face! This time though I was fully aware of the consequences – and did it willfully. I have to admit that it felt good to eat gluten (bread, orzo, rice, baguette) and dairy (Brie), to have a martini (pear/pomegranate), to have a soy decaf latté and garlic mashed potatoes (not all in the same meal!)…all things I’ve avoided in my mainly gluten, soy, dairy free lifestyle. I’ve been sleeping late but having to still wake up early which doesn’t work out that well, and I’ve probably increased my alcohol tolerance (2 drinks vs. my standard 1 drink and I’m inebriated)…I don’t drink regularly and so yes I’m a total light weight!

Once I figured out what I was doing, I felt a bit better – initially I thought I’d gone off my deep end! My inner sensor had been screaming for a while and it was getting exhausting ignoring it. When I stopped ignoring it and actually acknowledged, honored and accepted my rebellion it became a lot easier to work through/with.

Now that I’ve allowed my inner teenager to surface, it’s time to grow up again; but let me tell you– it’s not as easy to gain the momentum that you’ve had. I’ve been trying to sleep early and yet here it is 10:30pm and I’m still writing; I’m back to gluten free, but not yet dairy free, so I know I need to make baby steps so I don’t resent the ‘grown up voice’ telling me how to live. So I plan to meditate tonight after nearly a month of not! I’m reading Norman Vincent Peale’s Positive Imaging, and instead of going out with my colleagues from the day’s training – I came back to my hotel room to detox and wind down from the day. All baby steps toward ‘re-disciplining’ myself because I know how I feel when I’m at optimum! I know how amazing it is to be at my best and I want that mind/body/spirit back! I know my family and my friends and most of all myself all benefit from that version of me! The one I love most of all.

Now the tricky part is if you keep giving into the rebellion! Then this becomes the new normal and thus begins the downward spiral. So allow yourself a few days/weeks of going against your own grain but remember to listen to your inner guide…that nagging voice that tells you that you know you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing but you shut it out and so it anyway! Don’t shut it out too completely. Leave that door ajar so you can see a glimmer of that self that is so good at being your best self! Don’t ‘go over to the dark side completely!’ It’s really hard to return.

I would love go hear stories of how you’ve brought yourself back from whatever your brink was— please use the comments and share with others who’d benefit… I’m sure we can all learn from each other!

May the force be with you!

Confessions of a Serial Runner

Don't let that little voice win!
Don’t let that little voice win!

Sometimes I still hate to run, but love to have run!

I’ve been running since I was 7 years old. I ran track all through school – 100m sprint was my race. I HATED distance running… in 1998 I ran my very first 5K in Central Park, NY – it was the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure – and boy you would have thought I ran a marathon! I was so out of breath and so beat up after it that I hobbled around for days. See those days, I HATED to run, but loved to have run! I loved to say that I was a runner…never mind that what I was doing was just about putting one foot in front of the other at a slightly faster clip than walking. In fact, I have a cousin who used to be a Speed Walk racer and I bet she would have beat me, had we ever put that to a test!

So What Changed?

I discovered that I was running too hard. See as a sprinter you give it all that you’ve got right out the gate! You only have a short distance to run and so you run fast and hard! However that’s not sustainable – and sure you can train to be a fast distance runner (I wasn’t born with those Kenyan genes) – but for the average Jane wanting to run – sprinting long distances isn’t realistic. So I slipped into a more conversational pace and lo and behold, I developed a true love for running.

I call it my moving meditation – it’s the only time that I can guarantee I will slip into true mindlessness. I truly become one with the road under my feet, the sound of my own breath mingled with the tweets (birds, not 140 character posts) of the birds and the occasional car passing by provides me with the white noise I need to totally ‘zone out.’ I have some of my greatest a-has and longest periods of quiet mind during my runs.

So why suddenly am I talking about running? Well – intuitively you would think that running outside your comfort zone would bring you the greatest reward – and if you were training for the Olympics you would be absolutely correct! However, for those of us who want to run for the pure enjoyment or exercise value – the way to run is to be able to hold a conversation with yourself. Even at that pace, if you do it consistently enough – you WILL get faster. I have run at an average 10 minute mile for over a year, and suddenly, without warning – I have started to run 9 or even sub 9 minute miles. I am still amazed when my RunKeeper program announces an 8min 25 second mile! WOW! ME??? no way!! Yup! ME!!!

So apply this to anything in your life – do it consistently for long enough, sometimes even without thought of reward and the reward will come anyway!

Run On!