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I remember the good ole days when if I wanted to change jobs, I just found the one I wanted, applied and like magic started the next week.  These days, times are very different, very different indeed.  Finding a decent job, is almost like winning the lottery.   I wonder though, can there be some good in this chaos?

I am from Michigan and our state was the first to feel the burdens of our national crisis or were we the start of it?  Home of the car industry had some major consequences when it crumbled.  People were losing their jobs left and right and I was one of them.  No, I didn’t work for the car industry, but when things started collapsing it was like a snowball effect and it kept rollin’. I worked for a telecommunications company for 10 years before they closed their doors.  It took me a year to find a job paying half what I was making at my original job doing mindless work.  That job lasted 1 ½ years before getting laid off again; company shut down.  At this point I was frustrated. A lot of my family and friends were going through the same thing.  Times were tough. I did little jobs here and there even factory work where I came home drenched in oil and dirt, but you do what you have to do.  I then opted for waitressing in the evening and a part-time; short-term secretarial job during the day and tried to pick up some college courses here and there. My life turned upside down.  I truly felt like I had taken many steps backward.  Going from a 50k, supervisor job to a waitress making less than 15k.  Talk about a humbling experience.  I became depressed.  I felt unworthy; eventually alienated myself from my friends and family.

Then the day had come, the day that changed my life forever.  I was working at the restaurant and was serving dinner to a good-looking couple.  They were talking about their worldly travels and couldn’t wait to take another trip to Europe.  Hmmm…this got me thinking, how could I travel and see the world? I always admired those people that had time and money to travel around the world experiencing different cultures.  It was on the top of my “to do” list.  I had a little savings and knew that time wasn’t a factor; it had to be much better than what I was doing now and who knows what could come of it. I still had faith and hope that my life could change for the better.  So, I decided to really give my life a shake and see what treasures I could find along the way.  I gave myself a year to prepare; to save and sell all of my possession.  Yes, I did and it worked out perfectly.   Looking back during that time, I am amazed at how I struggled after losing my job at the telecommunications company.  Constantly fighting…fighting to survive.  But after making that decision to travel, I couldn’t believe at how “easy” it was to make it happen. It was like God was saying, “Ahhhhh…yes, you have finally found your way child”.  It was almost effortless.

I remember the day handing over my keys to my apartment (the one I loved so…) and giving my keys to the new owner of my car.  I was keyless which was a very strange feeling.  I felt a huge sense of freedom and exhilaration.  I felt like a bird taking off; soaring through the sky –not a care or worry in the air only enjoying the wind beneath my wings.

My plan was to stay in Oslo, Norway (I knew a friend that lived in Oslo) and do some studying for six months and travel throughout Europe while there.  After six months, I had NO plan, I was going to play it by ear and see where the universe would take me.  Oh the freedom of it.  And oh…what treasures I found in Norway.  I took trips through the fjords and ate Norwegian cuisine with fabulous Norwegians.  I travelled to Sweden enjoying a beautiful spiritual retreat that was much needed. I made a stop in London to do some sightseeing, watched “The Lion King” at Lyceum Theater and adored that everybody called me ‘luv”.  Ahhh…the life.

My six-month journey was coming to an end and I had to start to think about my future.  I almost felt panic-sticken at the thought of going back to Michigan which was at an all time high unemployment rate of 17 percent.  I couldn’t do it. So, I searched and searched and came across teaching English to Foreigners.  What a grand idea! I love teaching and was lovin’ this travel thing…so, off I went to Prague, Czech Republic, for five weeks to take a course on teaching English to Foreigners. Prague was a delight.  One of the most amazing cities I have ever been.  The historical treasures in this city were awe inspiring.  My five week course led me an opportunity to teach English in South Korea for one-year. Off to Asia I go! My life had completely turned around. Within seven months, I had travelled to five different countries; trekked the Norwegian fjords, studied in Prague, watched a lovely play in London and dined on the floor eating rice with chopsticks and drinking soju with Koreans.  Who would of thunk it? A few years before that, travelling to Europe for a two-week vacation seemed like an unreachable goal.

My experience in South Korea made me realize how much I loved teaching and gave me the desire to get my teaching credential to become a teacher in the States.   I met my littleheart in Korea (will save that story for another day) and viola, I am now living in San Diego working towards my teaching credential.

I wonder if the telecommunications company didn’t close it doors….where would I be today?

If you are going through the unemployment cycle of hell.  I feel your pain.  But, maybe, just maybe…there is something you are supposed to be doing different?  If you are frustrated and having a hard time with finding a job– think of other possibilities (you obviously have time to think so why not make it productive thinking :-)) such as;

  • Have you ever had a burning desire to do something totally different? Maybe now is the time to take some risks.  Take time to do some research on what you need to do to make it happen.
  • Are you secretly happy that you are no longer working for the boss that never appreciated you anyway?  Why not become your own boss?
  • Are you feeling lost on your path?  Try going to the library and reading up on books that have always interested you—the library is FREE!
  • Are you feeling unworthy and scared to death?  This is the time to utilize those community resources that are available.  The internet is a great tool to do some research on what might be available to you during your time of need. Make sure you have a good support system and use them for mental support!  Surround yourself with people that are positive, uplifting and inspiring.  If you don’t have these people in your life; go to the library and read inspirational books that will inspire you.  Connect with your faith.
  • Think outside the box…what you are doing isn’t working for you; get creative.
  • Feeling helpless?  Help others by volunteering.  It is also a great way to network!

Now, I am not saying to sell all your possession and leave the country for a year and half.  I am saying, maybe what you are doing isn’t working so you need to change up! Take a risk, do something different and see what treasures come to you; losing your job might be the best thing that ever happened to you.

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Treasure Your Health

My family has a history of health problems.  My brother was diagnosed with cancer a week before his 30th birthday and has been cancer free for about four years now. My mother has a multitude of health issues; back problems, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  Watching my family go through the burden of these issues, I decided this was the year to make sure I am doing all that I can to be healthy.  So, I took everything up a notch and added more organic foods into my already healthy regimen and also got rid of the “junk” I put on my body and opted for organic lotions and creams.  With a big huge thanks to my boyfriend, Steve, who is very passionate about organic, all-natural products and has educated me on such. While changing up my routine; I also took my fitness up a notch and have been working towards my goal weight.  My doctor’s appointment was A-Ok and brings me a smile and a sigh of relief.

So, I have been feeling like I am right on track!  Until….yes, there is an “until”, a few days ago while exercising I pulled my back out.  I am always a stickler on good form and have done this particular exercise a thousand times (speed squats), so didn’t understand why I suddenly felt a very sharp pain run through my left buttock up to the middle of my back.  ZAP! This almost took me to my knees.  I screamed in pain. My boyfriend comes running towards me with worry and compassion.  That was that.  In that second of shooting pain, I have now become highly dependent on my boyfriend. I can barely walk and the simplest things have become the biggest chore.  I am not comfortable in any position. Making the bed, doing the dishes and just basic picking things up take time and patience.  I’m wobbling around like a little, old lady holding onto a cane.

Oh how I miss thee healthy body. Interesting when we have health, we don’t really notice it, and when we don’t have it, we long and long for it.  I have decided now is the time to add “health” to my “what am I thankful for” list during my daily meditations or am I too late?

When hit with a setback such as this; I often take time (or rather have time) to self analyze. I ask myself questions such as; what brought me to this point?  What could I have done differently?  What can I do now?  Am I doing all I can do to heal?  How is my internal dialog?  Is there a lot of self pity or are my thoughts on recovering and allowing the moment to be.  What does the universe want me to know?  Now that is a huge question that is pretty thought provoking.  What do you mean, what does the universe want me to know?  I believe when something of this nature happens, that we have neglected to listen to the universe.  In order to get our attention, things like this can happen.

In my case, I have had back pain for over 10 years now.  It is a constant pain, after going to a chiropractor for a year…and no relief, I decided it was probably something that I had to live with until my recent ZAP!  No more. I will take this ZAP as an indication that I should probably act like a fierce lion hunting for prey in my attack to regain a healthy back. Or maybe right now, a turtle with an intention of a lion.  In any case, the ZAP has me fierce with determination to attain a strong, healthy back.  Ignoring my constant pain has led me to this god-for-saken moment; pun intended. 🙂  As I hear God whisper in my ear; “I have given you 10 years child…and you have ignored me”.  Hmmm….

Are you ignoring anything?  Are you healthy?  If so, do you appreciate your health?  If not, what are you doing to get healthy?

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Week 4 has been a good week.  I am down again from 75.7 kilos (149.25 pounds) to 75.5 kilos (148.80 pounds).  Not a lot…but it is going in the right direction.  This is almost double the amount of weight that I lost on the P90X nutritional plan for an entire 13 weeks.  So, yes I am very happy about this eating plan….I could accomplish some serious changes in the next few months!

Week 5 is starting off not so good as I am feeling blue.  I have this stomach issue and can’t seem to keep anything down.  So I am eating saltines and drinking gingerale the last two days. I have been able to workout a little so hopefully I can get moving again soon.

I have decided to change up my blog.  This blog was a way to hold me accountable and I feel I have made great strides.  I have been accepted into the graduate program at the University of California San Diego and will start the program in six weeks.  As of this past Saturday, I have finished my fifth (YES 5!) test that I have had to take to get into this program.  I have been studying and taking test for the past eight months and now I feel I can exhale a little and focus on things that give me joy! Therefore, I will be blogging more…my new little project.  Stay tuned for more.

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God bless-ed!  The scale was very good to me, good to me indeed.   I was hoping for  68 kilos (151 pounds) on the scale for week three, well…the scale shocked me when I saw 67.8 kilos (149 pounds) instead! It skipped right over 68! Oh…how we like thee.  So since the start of my Super Sonic Sexy Style 6-week program, I have lost 4 kilos (8 pounds). Nice.

Feeling good and even bought new clothes.  Goodbye 14/12 (L) and HELLO 10/8 (M).  It has been a very long time and a very long journey.  I can almost exhale.

S4 eating plan for week three

Meal 1-steel-cut oatmeal with fat-free milk, cinnamon and 1 packet of stevia

Meal 2-berries and protein shake w/water

Meal 3-wild rice stir fry

Meal 4-fruit protein shake, veggies

Meal 5-protein shake with water

S4 workout plan for week three

Monday-20 minute Turbo Jam

Tuesday-50 minute Turbo Jam

Wednesday-P90X Plyometrics

Thursday-45-minute Turbo Jam

Friday-50 minute Turbo Jam

Saturday-20 minute Turbo Jam

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Week two of S4;I did very well however, the scale wasn’t in my favor.  It was a constant roller coaster most of the week.  It couldn’t make up its mind between 69.4 kilos or 69.1 kilos finally ending the week at 69.1 kilos which is what it read last week. Disappointed?  #$##$#@@!!! Just a tad.  Nothing more frustrating than giving up all of your heart passions; chocolate, wine, cheese and crackers for more veggies, fruits and lean proteins to see the scale at a halt.  I will give it one more week before seeing if I need to make any further changes.

On a positive note; I can do 10 ½-push-ups on my toes.  Nice.  My iron pills have helped with regard to working out.  I have more energy and not exhausted after a workout—I feel more energized.

Let’s hope for 68 kilos in week 3.

S4 eating plan for week three

Meal 1-steel-cut oatmeal with fat-free milk, cinnamon and 1 packet of stevia

Meal 2-berries and protein shake w/water

Meal 3-vegetable curry

Meal 4-fruit protein shake, veggies

Meal 5-protein shake with water

S4 workout plan for week three

Monday-Belly dancing yoga total tone video

Tuesday-Hip hop abs cardio

Wednesday-Slim and 6

Thursday-Turbo Jam

Friday-Slim and 6

Saturday-P90X Plyometrics

To superstyle health!

~littlejl

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P90X-finished!

I finished P90X!   I have tried the Body for Life Program and only ever made it to about week 8.  This time around, I did 13 weeks of P90X which I am elated about.  However, not quite elated about my weight loss.  I lost 6 lbs and a total of 10.25 inches.  That equals about 2 pounds per month. Honestly, I would have liked to have seen more stunning results.  My after picture doesn’t show much change either. Especially with the fact, that I was working my ass off. These videos are very challenging. I feel like I worked hard for very minimal results. I only missed two workouts but there were two weeks that I worked out seven days to make up for it.  I cheated three times on the menu plan.

Reviewing other P90Xer’s success; I am seeing that the woman are not seeing results like the men are.  Therefore, I am going to change up my eating plan.  After diligently researching and testing meal plans, I think the P90x nutritional plan still has too much junk in the menu plan; for example–bread, tortillas, whole wheat crackers, protein bars, these items are filled with sugar. Flour (any kind) seems to be a no-no when trying to get RIPPED! And cheese (yes, my favorite—ugggh) has way too much fat.  Maybe men can eat these foods but women—seems to be a no-no!  I think once I get to a “maintenance” phase I could eat those on occasion.  But for now, in the trash they go.

So…let me break this down.

Week 1 Week 13
Weight 160 154
Body fat 30.50% 29.20%

Likes

I love the videos and love that there are many workouts; 12 of them.  I love change so this works for me. The workouts are very simple, easy moves made challenging.  Not a lot of complex footwork.

Tony Horton is kind of goofey, I didn’t know if I was going to like him at first—but with time he grew on me. It is nice to be able to turn off the chatter on the DVD as well.

I love that I don’t have to drive to the gym.

I really like the “muscle confusion” idea of the program and it makes sense.

I have seen results in my arms that I am happy about.

Dislikes

Not a lot of leg work that women desire.  I would like to see a video geared towards hips, butt and thighs.

Yoga. I actually love Yoga but honestly, for now-I think I need to wait on this until maintenance phase.  For my goals, I need more cardio.  So, I changed the yoga to a cardio DVD. I think this will be good for me when I am maintaining and want to work on my flexibility and add some spice to my weight training program.  I understand what Tony is doing with the addition of this video.  But it doesn’t meet my goals right now.  Plus once I reach my goal weight, I’ll be slimmer which will be much easier to get into these pretzel poses!

I think the nutritional plan is still too lenient for woman. A nutritionist put the eating plan together.  Any time a “nutritionist” gets involved; I’m a little leery.  Why? They should know what they are doing, right?  Well, in my personal opinion it depends. I think that they are good for those that have medical health conditions; such as diabetes, heart conditions, etc. or those that are very obese and need to be educated on good health.  But as far as getting ripped—I’m not buying it.  There is a video of her talking and well…she doesn’t look athletic.  Sorry, but she doesn’t.  She seems very average shape and could probably benefit from the P90X herself.  I want to listen to women that have nice, lean bodies. I want to know what they are eating and what they are doing.  Of course, one should always be mindful to ensure that he or she is getting their necessary requirements for a healthy, long life.

So what will I do with all this information?  Start a new program; why of course!  So, I am starting a 6-week program starting, well; NOW. More about that in my next post. I won’t give up!

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Finally something happened! I lost 1 kilo, God blessed; I worked damn hard for it too. I have two more weeks of this challenge….

Workout Schedule

Cardio X

Slim and 6 total body workout

P90 fat burner

Chest and back, ab ripper X

Slim and 6 cardio burner

Shoulders and Arms, ab rippre X

Menu

Meal 1 – sprouted buckwheat cereal, nuts, agave, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds, fat free milk

Meal 2-couscous, nut burger

Meal 3-Power shake; with whey protein, fruit, milk, creatine, L-gutamine, and flax seed

Meal 4-lowfat healthy dinner; either healthy pizza or enchilada

Successes

I’m happy that I have made it this far; 11 weeks.  It is tough but I have stuck with it.  There have been days that I didn’t want to workout–but I pushed myself.   Since starting this challenging I have only missed three workouts and they were yoga workouts.  I have changed my mental attitude rather than focusing on the scale; I’m focusing on being healthy and how my clothes fit.  I feel good!

Areas of improvement

Last weekend, I had a brownie and some Indian food but I still kept my kilo off.  I think it is better for me to indulge a little as it gets me on track again the next six days.  I just need one day of not thinking about this to get me amped again.  I haven’t been eating salad lately…I usually eat a huge salad on alternating days but I’ve been in a funk.  I will get back into the salad mode today!

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