Nothing Normal About This New Normal

So…  This is what they are calling the new “normal”.  I simply refuse it!  Not in a way that defies reality, but in a way that won’t qualify it as normal.  Let’s be truthful, there is nothing very “normal” about the situation most humans are finding themselves in.  Self-isolated, confined to being in our homes day in and day out.  Many of us unable to continue working because our jobs have been deemed non-essential.  Lucky are those who are able to work remotely and maintain their livelihood.  Too many are now completely dependent on government relief programs.

This new and temporary way of being is not all bad though.  Children are home and once busy parents are enjoying this extra time with their little ones.  Families are reconnecting in ways that had gotten lost in the every day rush of duties and responsibilities.  People are going out for walks to escape the confinement.  Life has slowed down.  And with the slower pace of life comes an internalization.  We are all turning inwards and getting in touch with what really matters to us.

A slower pace, however, doesn’t imply there should be stagnation.  As a matter of fact, this down time is a perfect opportunity for growth.  Now is a time gifted to us to go inwards and evaluate our lives as we once knew them and to reflect on where we want our lives to be when we emerge from this confinement.

No one knows quite how long this phase of our reality will last.  But rather than consider this temporary situation our new normal; perhaps it would be wiser to consider it to be a stepping stone towards the life we truly want.

During this time, this gift of time that we have been given, we can begin to take the steps that will allow us to restructure our lives to align with the vision of the life we truly aspire to be living.

This is by no means a new normal, but rather a phase of transition that, if wisely taken advantage of, can catapult us into something greater than we could ever imagine.  Now is not a time to lay back and rest.  Although some self-care is wise and justified.  Now is a time for self-reflection, self-development and action.

Hello 2020

It’s a new day, a new month, a new year and a new decade!  Wow!  And it’s also a repeating numbers year: 2020.  It promises to be grand!  Alright so I may be a little overly excited about the new year.  I know I’m not the only one.  Everyone seems to be a little excited about starting a new year.  It happens every year.  For me it seems to be getting more and more exciting with each year that passes.

I think this is mostly because as we celebrate the new year, we are able to put the past behind us and look forward to what is to come.  This may sound a little strange, but I believe that the shift from one year to the next is perhaps the only time in the year where people naturally live in the moment.  During new years eve celebrations and up until the countdown to midnight people are present.  In the moment.  Enjoying the things that really matter in life: the friends, the family, the togetherness and the love.  There’s a certain magic to it.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day could be lived in the moment like that?

selective-focus-photography-of-several-people-cheering-wine-3171815

In the days leading up to the new year, I tend to recap and look back on the year coming to a close.  It’s been a few years now where I create a vision of who and where I want to be at the end of the year.  I use this vision to move me forward towards the life I want to have.  Each year, I look back to assess how far I’ve come and allow myself to be proud of what I have created in my life.  It’s important to be aware of how far you have come and all the things you have achieved and created in your life.  This puts your progress into perspective.  If you are always and only looking forward, you never have a chance to acknowledge the good things that you have built in your life; the successes you have accumulated and the life you have manifested.  You will come to feel that you are perpetually working to achieve more and more without ever having the opportunity to enjoy what you have achieved or created.  If you haven’t yet taken a look back on 2019 to count your blessings, relive your successes and achievements, and be grateful for all that has come your way in the past year, I strongly suggest you take a moment today to look back at all the good things 2019 has brought your way.  Give yourself permission to be proud of the good you have done.

Sure, 2019 has brought about some life lessons too.  These are equally important and you can use them as steppingstones for the things you want to create for yourself in 2020.  This brings me to the second part of my new year ritual.   Each year, for the past two years, I create a manifestation list.  This is a list of at least 100 things I want to create, have or achieve in my life before the end of the new year.  The first year I did this, my list was pretty much in point form and to the point.  It was essentially a list of things I wanted.  This year, I am going about it a little differently.  My points are much longer than the single lines of last year.  I have made a list of things I want in my life and taken the time to make them as detailed as possible and to write down how I feel about having these in my life for each point.  I have found that going into details about what I want, and this is true for anyone doing this type of exercise, engages my imagination.  Essentially, as I am writing up these 100 things I want in my life, I am creating a vision of how I want my life to be in 2020.  It is one of the best ways to set the Law of Attraction in motion.

With my manifestation list of 100 items, I do a manifesting meditation just before midnight on the 31st of January.  I then either rip the pages of my list into tiny pieces to be sent off into the universe or I will place the pages into the fire so the energy is released into the universe.  Having rituals like this reinforces our belief that something can and will manifest.  This year my approach is a little different.  Rather than meditate for the universe to manifest these things for me while I wait for them hoping they will come into my life sooner rather than later, I am meditating for the Universe to flow the energy I need to create these things in my life towards me and guide me as I create my list into my life.  I’m excited to see how this subtle change in my request and intention will change the end results.

The bottom line is that this is a new year.  A new chapter to write.  It isn’t yet written, and it certainly doesn’t have to be the same as any previous years.  The beauty of being able to write your own chapter is that you get to choose to make it as good as you want it to be.  So here’s my question to you…  What are you creating in 2020?

I would love to hear from you!  Comment below with what you want to create for 2020.  If you have questions comment below also, I’ll make sure I get to them in a timely manner.

My wish for you in this coming year is that you create it on your terms.  That you get all you want and desire out of life and that you become the best version of yourself that you can be.  That you radiate your light into the world.

4 Weeks In

It’s been four weeks of strict Keto and my body is quickly changing for the better. I am getting used to this new way of eating and to be perfectly honest, it hasn’t been very difficult to stick to it because the food I am eating is actually super delicious. Yes it’s difficult to resist the temptation of carbs sometimes but the alternatives to carb loaded foods are actually tasty and I don’t feel like I’m missing out, so to speak.

When it comes to body transformation, the numbers speak for themselves…

Date14-03-201925-03-201909-04-2019
Weight185.2180.8177.2
Body Fat %39.839.838.7
Neck141413.75
Chest41.541.2540
Bust4342.542
Waist3836.535.75
Abdomen4139.539.25
Hips46.545.544.25
R Thigh26.52625.5
L Thigh26.2525.525
R Calf16.516.2516.25
L Calf16.7516.2516.25
R Arm1212.2511.75
L Arm1212.2511.75

Unfortunately, I don’t have an after picture to share quite yet. I will be taking one at 6 weeks with the exact same bathing suite I wore in my before picture. I can’t wait to share the transformation.

Day 21: 3 Weeks In

Three weeks, come and gone. I have stuck to a strict Keto diet for a full 3 weeks now and I can say that I feel a huge difference in my energy level, in my eating habits and in my alertness. I’m on the ball so to speak.

I’ve been learning as I go and although I have purchased numerous Keto cookbooks, I have yet to try the delicious recipes. I have to admit that I have been winging it. Mostly because of a lack of time. Somewhat because I usually don’t have all the ingredients on hand. Renewing my pantry with Keto friendly ingredients has been a process.

I have noticed that my macros are often slightly off. This is because I have, over the years, developed a habit of consuming high protein meals. I often forget to incorporate higher amounts of fat into my meals.

I am missing bread a lot and am looking to try some Keto friendly bread recipes to satisfy the cravings. I am not yet brave enough. I am a little scared that it will leave a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). I love bread, if Keto bread doesn’t live up to the expectation, it may ruin it for me forever. Perhaps I will gain courage in the coming weeks.

Day 20: Family Get Together

It’s the beginning of spring and each year, as a family, we celebrate Norooz. Better known as the Persian new year. Every year, we get together at my aunt’s house for a lunch. We each bring something to eat and have a feast. And I’m not kidding when I say feast. I usually don’t bring anything because my mom cooks enough to compensate for 4 families. This time around, I had no choice. Very few people are eating Keto in my family. Other than my aunt and myself, everyone else is perfectly happy with high carb foods. Which means they are also cooking high carb foods. I wasn’t taking chances so I cooked myself, and for whoever wanted to have some, some saffron chicken thighs with asparagus.

I was happy to see that there were quite a few Keto options on the menu including kababs, grilled chicken, fish and shrimp. Yum. I was able to have a nice plate of a variety of goodies that fit into my Keto macros.

One thing I have learned so far on Keto is that you get full fast and for quite some time. It becomes difficult to “stuff your face” so to speak. Something that in my family, especially at get togethers, we excel at.

I found it easy to say no to birthday cake later in the afternoon. This is a sure sign that the reason I am doing this is stronger than the temptation of going back to old habits. As Keto becomes more lifestyle than “something I’m trying” saying no to carbs will get easier and easier. Who knows, maybe I will even get to a point where there’s no temptation or cravings for carbs at all…

Day 19: What Am I Doing Wrong?

I’m very aware that the first week to ten days, I was losing water weight. A whole 7 lbs the first week and 1 more the second week. So far nothing this week. As a matter of fact, my weight has been fluctuating up and down. Give or take a pound. So what’s wrong?

Weight fluctuations are normal and anyone will go up or down a few pounds during a single day. However, when you are starting a Keto diet and your fat burning mechanism is in swing, weight loss shouldn’t abruptly stop. It may very well be a clear indicator that something is a little off.

Consider how much water you are taking in. For myself, my water intake had decreased slightly going from approximately 48 oz to 32. When I am talking water, I am not considering liquids such as coffee or tea. These beverages are diuretics and often will dehydrate you more than they hydrate. The water I drink is just water often with collagen or amino acids mixed into it.

The next hypothesis is that the macros are off. There are two possible scenarios: consuming too many carbs and being pulled out of ketosis or consuming too many proteins that the body then turns into glucose for storage. Either way, this leaves the fat intake too low for the body to get into ketosis. In my case, I already consume quite a bit of protein, so the possibility that my protein intake be a little hight with regards to the amounts of fat I am consuming is very likely.

Today, I am increased both my fat intake as well as my water intake. I hope to see a change in the next few days. Positive change of course. I will re-evaluate in a few days and adjust accordingly.

Day 18: Thank You, But No Thank You

After 17 full days of strict Keto eating, and a body that is consistently in ketosis and in the process of Keto adapting, I was almost completely thrown out of ketosis with one sip of tea today. Bad!

A colleague of mine offered me a tea. He brought it to my desk all smiles and I knew it was Persian tea from it’s nice and rich aroma. It was so kind of him to think of making me a tea. Since it was very hot, I let it cool down and decided I would drink it after I ate my lunch.

I love Persian tea. I was really looking forward to drinking it once it had cooled down. It took me only one sip to realized that my colleague had put crystallized sugar in the tea. One of the ways Persian tea is traditionally made, with Nabaat inside. I spat it back out immediately and went to rinse my mouth from the residual sugar. No way was I taking any chance of my body reverting to processing glucose for fuel now. I’m too close to being Keto-adapted.

I admit I felt bad and a little sad to throw out such a great tea, especially since it came to me with such care. The moral of the story is, not everyone will realize you are not having any carbs. It’s your responsibility to know what you are putting in your mouth.

Day 17: Craving Something Sweet

You know how it’s nice to have a dessert after a meal. It helps change the taste left in your mouth by the food you just ate. It’s especially helpful when you have had a ton of garlic. Well in recent days, I have been missing that something sweet after dinner. It isn’t always easy to find Keto approved sweet treats. Most, you have to do it yourself. I had made a recipe of peanut butter brownie bites last week. They were good, but they had turned out a little too soft because I only had liquid stevia on hand.

As I am leaning, I am also searching for recipes that fit the Keto lifestyle but also allow me to enjoy some of the foods I love and cherish without having to give them up entirely. Like desserts and sweet treats. Pinterest is a great way to find yummy treats. I have yet to try any of them.

One thing I did find that is satisfying my urge to eat something sweet is 70% cocoa Lindor chocolates. It’s my daily indulgence. I will only have one a day and when I am having it, I enjoying it to the fullest, allowing it to slowly melt in my mouth. Chocolate is obviously one of the things I won’t give up on.

They say that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Well, I have the will, so I’m finding ways to have my sweet treats. Keto friendly sweet treats that is.

Day 16: Making My Choices for Me

As the days go on, I am realizing that Keto, much like life itself, is about making choices that bring you closer to where you want to be. I want to be healthy, vibrant, energetic, and full of life. These key points as well as many other aspects are what prompted me to dive into the Keto lifestyle. These same goals and desires are what are keeping me going even when the tortellini I am making the kids is smelling so yummy.

Essentially, my desire for my health outweighs the desire for instant gratification and giving in to the temptation of something sweet or the wonderful aroma of carb rich meals. I’m not really ready to go entirely without the things I love. I’m thinking chocolate here. So I find alternatives that work for me. Things that are low carb and still satisfy me. For instance 90% cocoa chocolate. (Believe it or not, I have had to hide my chocolate because my daughter ate the whole bar I bought last time).

Keto friendly isn’t bland, or bad tasting, or boring. As a matter of fact, it’s some of the yummiest food I’ve had. The challenge of getting creative with what I can eat has me trying all kinds of things. I believe the word “diet” has a negative connotation that leads us to think depravation, or restriction. With the Keto diet, I have found this to be furthest from the truth. On a daily basis, I get to eat tasty, colourful and flavourful foods that I am loving. As my knowledge expands, so does my menu. The best thing is that the family is now tasting and liking the “Keto Food” I am making. There is hope in reducing their carb intake…

Day 15: Weigh-In and Measurements

The first two weeks of my journey are behind me. I have followed the rules and I get to reap the benefits. This morning I got on the scale and I grabbed a measuring tape to take my measurements. I was curious about my progress and I’m sure you are too. So here it is:

  • Weight 180.8 lbs – down 8 lbs from my start weight
  • Neck 14″ – was 14″
  • Chest 41.25″ – was 41.5″
  • Bust 42.5″ – was 43″
  • Waist 36.5″ – was 38″
  • Abdomen 39.5″ – was 41″
  • Hips 45.5″ – was 46.5″
  • Right Thigh 26″ – was 26.5″
  • Left Thigh 25.5″ – was 26.25″
  • Right calf 16.25″ – was 16.5″
  • Left calf 16.25″ – was 16.75″
  • Right arm 12.25″ – was 12″
  • left arm 12.25″ – was 12.25″

I am extremely happy with these numbers. Who wouldn’t be considering the effort I am putting in is pretty minimal. I can’t wait to see the results in another two weeks.