My Weight Loss Journey & The Whole30 Challenge

IMG_20160618_123840A month ago, I decided to get really serious about dropping 15 pounds. It’s the 15 pounds of winter fluff that I acquired when I lost my mind over the insane amounts of cookies, cakes, brownies and pies that my mother made during the holiday season. Aside from having a wicked sweet tooth, my diet has never been bad. I’ve always been a healthy eater, but during the winter months, my level of physical  activity decreased to zero. So I had one of those moments when I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw, so I decided to get serious about changing it and also I thought about the massive amounts of money I would have to spend on a completely new wardrobe.

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So far, it hasn’t been an easy journey as I am working muscles that I haven’t worked in months. It’s amazing how quickly you can find yourself out of shape and not even realize how it happened. Walking felt different. I found myself short of breath after walking up a few steps. I felt weighed down. So I set a goal. My current goal is to jog at least 2 miles a day. So I go with my mother to the track at the nearest college in my area and I work my way to two miles. Some days it’s a combination of walking and jogging. Some days if my ankles are sore, it’s just walking, but the goal is to never end below 2 miles.

I came across an article on Bustle of a woman who tried an 8 minute ab workout for two weeks and documented her results. So I thought 8 minutes isn’t such a long time…why don’t I try it? So I do a freestyle series of 8 minute abs every morning as I listen to The Friendzone podcast episodes and then before bed at night.

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Berry & Banana Quinoa Bowl

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My mother and I have been doing the gallon challenge daily. I try my hardest to finish an entire jug of water and I can say that even though I’ve always preferred water over juice and soda…I have NEVER drank so much water in my entire life. Good thing I work from home because during the day, it’s hard for me to go anywhere given the frequent amounts of bathroom trips I have to make, but it’s worked wonders for my skin. It’s helped me shed five pounds of water weight (the hard part is keeping it off), and it’s reduced bloating. There are several health benefits to drinking water, but imagine how effective those health benefits can be when you drink ONLY water.

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Strawberry & Mojito Lime Chicken Salad

As I said, my diet has never been too bad, but it has gotten better. I’ve trained my tastebuds to want loads of vegetables and fruits. I eat salads often and try my hardest to shy away from the healthy, processed things every now and then I indulge a little bit, but I’m trying to break bad habits.

In comes the Whole30 challenge. This is a diet that’s intent on resetting your body. It follows the scientific fact that 80 percent of your health begins with the digestive system and your gut. So it’s intent is to cut out things in your daily diet that have a huge impact on the bacteria in your stomach. In conclusion to the thirty days, it allows you to start reintroducing those foods back into your diet, but it encourages you to listen to how your body responds to it in case there are things that you should definitely cut permanently. ***This is not a weight loss diet*** but after reading through testimonials some have talked about a flatter mid section. Click the image to read more about The Whole30 diet. I figure why wait until Monday when I can start tomorrow?

I will say that today when I look in the mirror, I can do it with a smile. I’m loving what I’m starting to see and I’m definitely becoming less critical of myself.

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Learn more about the Whole30 challenge here

 

 

Flick of tha Wrist | The Benefits of Female Masturbation

Among other national holidays celebrated this month, May has been named National Masturbation Month. As I sit and think about female masturbation and the openness of female sexuality, in general, I realize that it is still a very taboo subject when it doesn’t involve pornography or male pleasure as an end result. Why is that? Why is it still deemed unusual for women to pleasure themselves and speak freely about it? Masturbation is treated as almost a “rite of passage” for boys transitioning into their prepubescent stages, as it’s expected for them to begin touching themselves at a young age. But we are subconsciously promoting shame among girls for doing it. Even after the sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s, and in a supposedly post-feminist era, the idea of women and masturbation together remains a little too complex for some.

The idea that women can enjoy sex on their own has yet to gain cultural acceptance in some places. It’s as if time froze in the ’50s and many social conservatives still see it as unethical, or freaky. Pop culture often depicts women touching themselves as overwhelmingly pornographic as if it’s only something women branded as sexually liberated can partake in as opposed to every girl. It’s like the idea of having a bowel movement. We all do it, and it’s a natural bodily function, but some hold on to the idea that women don’t do it. There are some women who won’t even talk about it in the presence of men or women alike.

A study on sexuality conducted at Ohio State University surveyed women and found that they were more likely to admit they masturbated if they were guaranteed confidentiality. However, their male counterparts spoke openly of pleasuring themselves and even overshared at times.

I recently had a conversation with one of my male friends on the subject of masturbation. He gave me a detailed description from start to finish on how he sets the mood, as well as the rhythm he uses, and it was literally the most natural and amusing conversation I’ve ever had on a sexual subject. He definitely gave me way too much information, but it was informing nonetheless.

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On the flip side when I brought up the subject with a few girlfriends, I got hit with the “I know we’re friends and all but…” responses.

So why can’t a normal girl like me just touch myself on a Saturday night while watching a Netflix movie because I feel like it? Why can’t I initiate healthy conversations of self-exploration in a group chat with my girls without getting shut down or being hit with “OMG” from them? It makes me wonder, does female desire make us uncomfortable? Are women not allowed to be horny just because, and without purpose? Why aren’t some women even comfortable talking about it with other women without clutching their pearls?

In light of Masturbation Month, it’s time to remove the stigma from the act. If you ever find yourself tempted to touch down there, here are some things to consider: Female masturbation has several health benefits, from preventing cervical infections by relieving the urinary tract, to strengthening the pelvic floor and balancing hormones. Aside from these amazing health benefits, getting in tune with yourself also has several psychological and emotional benefits. The most obvious being that it’s a mood booster. And many times we have sexual encounters with men that flop because we expect them to know all of our buttons and what gets us off, but we don’t even know how to do that for ourselves. By exploring our bodies, we learn the rhythm and the things that we like. Having open discussions about masturbating allows us to articulate to our partners what we like; it’s a confidence booster because it’s showing others that we are in control of what pleasures us. Sharing these feelings and experiences with friends also allows us to learn and teach each other how to change our perception of female sexuality and masturbation. So if you find yourself in the middle of the day having the urge to love on yourself just because, do it and enjoy it. Take your time, savor it, listen to your body and know that there is nothing dirty about it…unless, of course, that’s the vibe you’re going for.

Five Buddha Bowl Recipes You Should Try!

So I’m just gonna tell on myself and my boyfriend. Yesterday we had a very unhealthy “lunch” of fried chicken and french fries from a local chicken shack in Baltimore. It was soooooooo good, but very heavy and literally five hours after eating it we still felt full and sluggish as if we had JUST eaten, that’s when we both said…we gotta do better. So I sat down and made a very healthy grocery list and attached it to the fridge with a magnet so that whenever we needed to shop we always had a blueprint. We found a mini booklet of all the healthy eating spots in Baltimore should we decide to eat out one night and decided no more junk!

Now, I would consider myself a Chipotle addict despite the health issues they’ve been having. I could eat Chipotle everyday, but I’m sure my bank account wouldn’t appreciate that kind of hurting on it, so I stumbled upon the next best thing, Buddha Bowls on Instagram via So Buddhalicious.

What is a Buddha bowl?

How do you build a Buddha bowl?

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Seriously, there’s levels to making a delicious Buddha Bowl, but they’re very filling AND they help regulate your metabolism while storing key nutrients that provide energy among other things.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl (via The Minimalist Baker)

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The Big Vegan Bowl (via Oh She Glows)

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Forbidden Rice “Superfood” Salad (via Get Off Your Tush and Cook)

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Falafel Bowl (via Pinch of Yum)

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Spicy Mango and Avocado Rice Bowl (via Love & Lemons)

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For someone who hates the robotics of meal prepping as I do, these are definitely some mix and match style recipes that can change daily. We haven’t decided whether we wanted to go completely vegan or ease our way into vegetarianism, but we definitely agreed on eating a lot more of nature’s goodness and less meats and besides throwing together a bowl of veggies should be simple enough for someone who doesn’t cook (side-eye to him). These meals also give me an excuse to shop for cute bowls. I’m becoming quite an Etsy addict.