Do you remember learning that song as a kid? Do you remember how exciting it was to constantly be learning and experiencing new things as a child? Or what about seeing the wide-eyed wonderment on a mini-person’s face as she tastes ice cream for the first time, or he comes face to face with a puppy? Children are constantly in a state of learning and absorbing all of the information around them. The world is so new to them and full of exciting happenings. But, something happens as we grow up, and responsibilities and conditioning set in; we kind of forget that life is STILL all about learning. Sometimes we become so used to the activities in our lives, the drive to work, to-do lists, and so on and so forth, that monotony is the norm and we turn on the autopilot switch. How many times have you driven home from work and didn’t even really remember how you got home? And not because you had too many margaritas at happy hour (NEVER drink and drive!). But back to my point… life makes it easy to pass up opportunities to learn and grow. And even when the lesson is heading our way like a dodgeball at full speed, quite frankly, we know how to play the game and rather dodge or duck than feel the full force of a painful lesson.

what was i learning

If we are not learning and growing, what’s the point? We were put on this planet, in this lifetime, for the evolution of our soul. Sometimes this requires pain, sometimes joy, sometimes ups, and sometimes downs, but at the end of it all there’s an upwards and onwards sort of movement and growth that molds who you are into who you’re meant to be; but, only if you’re willing and open to it. Every single day is filled with opportunities for Aha moments, for letting go, for building your faith, for understanding, for love, for truth…and even for those lessons that are not that pretty, but yet necessary if we ever want to move forward. The lessons are there. Life is pretty good about figuring out ways to teach you something, but only if you’re paying attention. If you never stop and smell the roses how will you know if you like the scent? If you’re allergic? If you prefer the scent of tulips? Or if you simply don’t like sniffing flowers? Imagine how much you could grow, how your career could skyrocket, how you could thrive in so many areas of your life if you opened yourself up to learning something new every single day? Are you in? Cool, I thought so. Below I give you a few tips to open your eyes and heart to life’s lessons.

-Slow down

-Breathe, deeply and slowly

-Be aware of thoughts of the past or of the future, release, and become present to this moment

-Take a moment to look around and take in your surroundings

– Feel your body: how do your toes and feet feel on the floor? Are you sitting in a chair…how does it feel? Can you feel the slightest breeze on your cheek if you really slow down?

– Imagine yourself as a child experiencing everything around you for the first time

-In moments of frustration, especially involving others (like a boss, or family member that pushes your buttons) pull back from the impulse to react and ask yourself, “what is this person here to teach me?”

-When you react quickly to triggers, whether in anger, or any other emotion, ask yourself, “what does this tell me about myself?” or “why does that trigger this emotion for me?”

-A few questions to check in with yourself: “Who am I being right now? Do I like this person? What choices can I make to reflect the best version of myself?”

-At the end of the day, before bed, make a journal entry titled “What did I learn today?” It can be one lesson, it can be many

the day you stop learning

You have 365 days a year to take one, two, or all of these and transform any given moment into a lesson. If you started now, how much could you learn and grow in a year? So, what did you learn today?

 

Sending you lots of love and unicorn magic,

nv

Our minds have a funny way of convincing us of imaginary things. And the worst part is we dive into this imaginary world of “I’m not good enough,” “I never get things right,” “I will never find love,” “it’s too hard,” “I can’t do that,” and the list goes on and on pulling our souls into an abyss of victimhood, sadness, and darkness that is inescapable. Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic, but we do get drawn into the ceaseless chatter and believe all sorts of lies about ourselves. It’s so automatic, that we don’t even stop to question the validity of some of the crazy ish in our cabezas. Today I had a pretty cool moment…out of nowhere a good-for-nothing thought found its way into my consciousness, and immediately I mentally found evidence of exactly the opposite, thereby disproving the original negative thought. Poof! Begone! The awesome part about this is that I was almost like an observer watching my mind find evidence to prove itself wrong in a matter of a split second. *Insert thumbs up emoji here*

You can do this, too. Say, for example, you make a mistake, and immediately your mind goes to “You suck,” “you always make mistakes,” “go crawl under a rock,” etc. In that moment, pull the needle off the broken record and instead search your memory bank for experiences that prove exactly the opposite…you know, that you’re a pretty cool person, and that, while you might make mistakes SOMETIMES, you also get a whole lotta things RIGHT. I guarantee you’re bound to have plenty to choose from…like, maybe, that time you passed a test, or when you got a promotion, or when you rocked that presentation you did. In fact, when you’re bored (instead of spending 3.2 hours on social media) write all the things that you’ve accomplished, the qualities that make you a great person, all the things you’re great at…. keep adding to it every time you do something you’re proud of. So, the next time you want to find a rock big enough to hide under because your mind wants to convince you that you suck at life, you can say…. Hold up! I have a whole list of evidence to prove you wrong, so shut it and go back where you came from!

 

02952fe201184b742342a678210dbb14

I don’t know about you, but I was pretty certain that billion and something dollars was MINE! I picked numbers based on unmistakable signs that I had received from the universe the day before the drawing. I asked my boyfriend to pick numbers as well; and I’ve gotta say his numbers looked like winners, too! For a whole day and a half I felt giddy at the thought of winning such a ridiculous amount of money. We made awesome plans for our billions. We imagined helping our families, heck we even mentally bought an island. The dreams and visions were pretty magical and there was an air of hope and excitement for the future. I told myself I was already a billionaire.

And then, all of a sudden, 6 little numbers had the power to make billions of dreams come crashing down to a place called reality.

So, no, most of us didn’t wake up billionaires. Most of us still have to be somewhat responsible adults with bills, jobs, problems…BUT, WHAT IF we were crazy enough to keep dreaming, keep hoping, keep planning as if the future held something ridiculously amazing just for us? WHAT IF we were wild enough to wake up excited about the possibilities before us? WHAT IF we were insane enough to live every single day as if we knew we were going to win the jackpot?

Or what if that’s not crazy at all? There really are BILLIONS of possibilities and you don’t have to play the lotto to get ONE shot. We forget we have options. We settle into lives that we’re not ecstatic, or even semi-happy about. And then we wait for someone else to tell us we have a ONE in 292 MILLION chance of making our dreams come true. I get it, an absurd amount of money may solve some of your problems, it might make you temporarily super excited about life, make you realize you actually hate your job (or maybe you already know that you just don’t think there’s any other option) and quit, and who wouldn’t want to buy whatever they want? And, yes, I played, too…because, why not? And I’m glad I did. That anticipation and that certainty that WHEN I became a billionaire anything and everything would be possible reminded me that anything IS possible. It jolted me out of my routine and into a creative mode (quite possibly why I’m writing this blog after being MIA for a while…sorry peeps!!)…because guess what? Even if nobody hands me a billion dollars just for picking a few numbers the world is still my oyster.  And maybe feeling that way without a billion dollars is the real jackpot.

Most of ya’ll are thinking I’m full of it right about now, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t want a billion (or even a million…or even a thousand) dollars. But I also want to wake up every morning looking forward to the possibility that something absolutely amazing might happen today. I want my passion to burn so bright that it makes me jump out of bed before the sun even rises. I want to be as confident as if I was certain I had the winning numbers printed on a small squared paper tucked in my back pocket. I want to be as excited about life as if I was about to be announced as the latest lotto winner. I want to dream as big or bigger than the amount of last night’s lottery. And I don’t want any 6 little numbers to take that away from me, even if I can’t buy a mansion, or a yacht or pay all my bills without a problem for like the rest of my entire life. Because even if we aren’t billionaires yet, we can hope, dream and plan for big, bright futures. We can wake up every day believing that something WONDERFUL is about to happen…and it just might.

 

wonderful

This is not meant as medical advice.  I felt it was important I throw that out there.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with some very uncomfortable symptoms: heartburn (which started after eating chocolate one day, and I was so sad thinking I could never eat that heavenly creation again), bloating, indigestion… and when I say indigestion, I mean I’ve been feeling like my food is not being digested.  I had an apple, I felt it sitting in my upper stomach.  There were days I didn’t even want to eat, so I drank green juice.  I still felt full, and pressure all the way to my chest and throat.  Since the symptoms didn’t subside, I made an appointment to see my naturopath, who explained to me that when there isn’t enough stomach acid being produced the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t get the signal to close.

Courtesy: WebMD.com

Courtesy: WebMD.com

The LES is a bundle of muscles at the low end of the esophagus, where it meets the stomach.  Stomach acid signals the LES to close, that way preventing acid and other contents in the stomach from traveling backwards up the esophagus.  When the proton pumps in the stomach are not producing enough acid, this bundle of muscles doesn’t get the message to close.  My naturopath gave me a tincture (a liquid herbal concoction) to stimulate production of acid, especially at every meal.  She also prescribed a test for H. pylori, a bacteria that could be the culprit.  I have yet to get tested for this pesky bacteria because of my busy schedule (although, there really is no excuse!).

I didn’t get better.  In fact, the symptoms got worse.  Nausea and headaches every time I ate.  Then nausea and headaches, even when I had yet to eat!  I gave in and went to Urgent Care thinking, “Ok, FINE, I’ll see what a so-called real doctor says” (since most people don’t consider my naturopath a REAL DOCTOR, even though she is).  Funny enough, I was told the opposite of what my naturopath had told me at Urgent Care: an overproduction of acid was the problem according to the physician’s assistant who saw me.  According to her, the proton pumps in my stomach responsible for acid production were going nuts!  Of course, my first thought was, “Wouldn’t an overproduction of acid actually mean my food would be digested?”  Her response, “Not necessarily.”  She wanted to put me on Prilosec for 30 days.  THIRTY DAYS!  And possibly longer.  The Prilosec would neutralize the acid, while also telling the proton pumps to chill (like my medical jargon? ha!).  So this physician’s assistant gave me some white, and disgusting drink with the disclaimer, “This is gross, but if it works we’ll know that’s what the issue is..” (referring to acid reflux caused by overactive proton pumps).  FINE.  I guess I’ll take it.  Immediately my tongue and throat started going numb.  Then it dawned on me, this isn’t fixing the problem, this is NUMBING ME so I don’t feel the symptoms!  Yea, no thanks.  I don’t need to cover up symptoms, I’d like to get to the root of the problem.  Not to mention, it didn’t work anyway.

So, as I’ve done many a time before, I left the doctor’s office, in this case Urgent Care, with the determination to do my own research and tackle whatever the heck is going on with me naturally… or as naturally as possible.

While researching I came across so much information about how horrible acid blockers and proton pump inhibitors (medications that tell the acid producing pumps in your tummy to quit it) actually are. In fact, these medications actually CAUSE the very same symptoms they are intended to rid you of, once you stop using them; so, are you supposed to take these for LIFE?!  Ummmmm no thanks (just taking a moment to remind you this isn’t medical advice, and also don’t get off your medications without consulting your doctor).  Not to mention, all the research I’ve come across actually backs up my naturopath’s diagnosis, and refutes what I was told at Urgent Care.

I guess I just needed to be reminded why I have a naturopath, who works with me to find natural ways of healing.  I also really like her, her name is Jennifer Abercrombie and I’ve linked her page all throughout this post.

As I write this I am still feeling symptoms: heartburn being the main one.  From all of my research I’m starting to self-diagnose, but will follow up with my naturopath and will make sure to take that recommended H. pylori test.  I’ll keep you updated.

Long story short, do your research.  Take the reins of your own health.

xoxo

medicine

Food is sooooooooooooo GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!  Especially the fried kind…the high-carb kind…the kind you eat for dessert… nom nom nom…ALL OF IT!  Most of our lives revolve around food or thoughts about food.  The thoughts about what we are going to eat, what we SHOULD eat, what we SHOULDN’T eat, the guilt about what we ARE eating that we SHOULDN’T be eating.  It’s such an obsession.  It’s exhausting.

Recently, as I was beating myself up (AGAIN) for gaining weight (AGAIN) over the past few months, I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever really eaten according to my long term goals.  I juice for days to lose weight quick and then I binge.  I go on cleanses and then I binge.  I guess I just don’t have a middle ground.  In any case, everything that I’ve been doing is counterproductive…kind of explains why I have yet to reach my fitness goals and stay there, or why my weight fluctuates so much.

The truth is, if it were that easy the weight loss and fitness industry wouldn’t be making billions of dollars off us!  Because, well, it’s not easy.  It takes commitment, consistency, and will power.  It takes saying no to that cupcake, when you reaaaaally want to stuff it in your mouth.  It takes making the choices that ARE in alignment with your fitness and weight goals, moment to moment, day after day.  And, no, that’s not easy, especially when everyone around you isn’t on board, and when food seems to have such control over us.  It takes telling all that food that, no, it does NOT have control over you.

Food should nourish, rebuild, energize, give life…not take it by controlling your every thought.  I don’t really know where I’m going with all this… except that it’s time to regain control and not be at the mercy of sweet, salty, fried, and savory.  CONTROL ME NOT, food…CONTROL. ME. NOT!

food

a year from now

So part of falling off the wagon, unfortunately, sometimes includes not finishing things we told ourselves we would do. Maybe we set out, fully motivated, to start a new project or reach a new goal, and as the motivation waned, so did our efforts to reach the goal. Suddenly, we find ourselves back where we started; and, what’s worse, on top of that we are beating ourselves up, and left with the regret and guilt caused by thoughts such as, “if only I had kept going.”  Such are the thoughts swirling around my head as I contemplate many of the things I started months back, but then lost motivation, got distracted, lacked discipline, or simply got lazy.  One of them being a book I started working on, and told myself I would write every day.  I was good about it for quite a while, maybe a few months even…then I skipped one day, two days, a week, two months.

But, see, I want to be a finisher, not a half-asser.

So, in that spirit, I encourage you to re-start something you never finished, and, this time, see it through. Goals won’t be accomplished overnight.  It takes consistent and persistent effort.  But don’t you want to know what it feels like when you’ve reached the finish line?  When you’ve lost the motivation, visualize exactly that, yourself standing at the finish line looking back at what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come…let that feeling drive you. Remember what the failed attempts feel like…you know, that feeling that totally sucks… let THAT feeling drive you.  When you want to give up, don’t.  Nope.  Not this time.  Not anymore.  We are going to start to finish what we start!

 

 

It happens to the best of us.  Maybe we get comfortable, maybe life got in the way, maybe we got in the way of ourselves.  Falling off track.  It happens.  And sometimes, let’s be honest here, it happens because we got lazy, or we were full of excuses.  Whatever it may be: diet, exercise, blogging… in my case, all three… sometimes we fall off the wagon.  After dealing with depression for a few months (more on that in a future post) I’ve been having a bit of fun lately, which, of course, there’s nothing wrong with, except for the fact that it’s gotten me a little bit further from my goals than I’d like to be.  Recently, however, I decided to make a new determination and strengthen my commitment to my goals.  I usually don’t make new year’s resolutions (yes, I know it’s a little late) because I feel like I’m always working on myself anyway, but in the past few weeks I’ve decided this year I’m going to tackle one of the most crucial contributors to success in any area of life: discipline.

Discipline is the missing link, at least for me, between where I am and where I want to be.  Where motivation fails, discipline can save you… or, at the very least, keep you going.  Discipline is doing the things you know you need to do to get closer to your goals, even when you are too tired, too lazy, too busy, too (fill in the blank) to actually get your butt up and do them.

try again

 

The beautiful thing about life is that every single moment is full of opportunity… to get back on track, to start fresh, to get back up, to recommit, to get closer to our goals.  I’m taking this opportunity to recommit to you, and to myself.  It’s LITERALLY a new day, how ideal to post this right at midnight… totally not intentional, but I like the way that worked out… so, yes, it’s a new day!  Let go of what happened yesterday, last week, etc.  Let go of beating yourself up.  Instead, decide right now what you’re going to do (or in some cases, not do) in this moment to get back on track.  We can do it together.

Sending you lots of love and unicorn kisses!

nv

Can you imagine being told, “I will love you when you’re in better shape,” “I think you’re great, but I would really love you if you had more money,” “I would really fall in love with you if you were prettier.” What kind of messed up person would say that to someone, right?!? In the midst of the “Oh heeeeeeell no” that is going on in your head right now and the, “If someone EVER told me that!!!!!!” sassiness you got going… what if I told you, someone HAS told you that before? In fact, you’ve probably heard it several times, in different ways and through different actions, from none other than YOURSELF. Yup. Think about it. We set all these conditions for love and happiness. “Sure I like myself…but I would love myself if I lost a few pounds.” “Yea, life is alright, but I’ll be really happy when I get a promotion.”

You wouldn’t take it from anyone else, so why take that kind of limited conditional love from yourself? And yet we do it almost daily. Judging ourselves, beating ourselves up, and depriving ourselves of self-love because we aren’t this, don’t have that, and don’t look this way or that. Ok, so let me ask you this: when does it stop? When you attain that thing you think you want or need to love yourself or be happy…will you, in fact, love yourself and be happy once and for all?

photo-5When you set conditions for love and happiness you send a message to yourself and the Universe that you are not worthy, not deserving, and that you are not enough as you are. When love and happiness come only if this or that happens, that love and happiness will dissipate if the conditions set forth change. How fleeting and unfulfilling it is to love and be happy based on factors outside yourself. And funny enough, like I mentioned before, we wouldn’t take that from a partner or anyone else, and yet we set all kinds of conditions, not only for ourselves, but for others as well. “I will do this for you, but what do I get out of it?” “She didn’t invite me to her party so I’m not going to invite her to mine.” “I love you, but I really want you to change.”

Conditions keep us away from the true love and happiness that we deserve, the true essence of joy that we are at the core. When we were born, we were blank slates, bouncing baby boys and girls with no expectations. When and how did we start setting all these conditions that became a brick wall cemented one condition at a time keeping us disconnected from feeling unconditional love for ourselves and for others and experiencing happiness regardless of the circumstances? Love and happiness are states of being. How beautiful it would be to love and be happy independently of the changing tides of life. Because you deserve it. Because the world needs it. Because it would be a complete waste of your beautiful life to spend it incessantly wanting and basing love and happiness on getting.

By no means am I saying not to strive to be better.  What I am saying is you don’t NEED to be anything other than what you are to feel love and happiness.  Working on yourself is a part of life, but as you do, accept and love yourself without conditions.  Be gentle, be kind.  Kick the conditions to the curb.

I love you…without conditions.
xoxo

how would your life be differentI don’t like chisme, pronounced “cheese-meh”… that is, gossiping. I’ve been guilty of it, and it seems it’s difficult to stay away from because, if you pay attention to what people talk about, you’ll notice how prevalent gossip is in most conversations. Gossip doesn’t necessarily ONLY refer to talking about other people, that’s a huge part of it; but, it also includes stories you share about yourself, especially when it involves making yourself the victim. It’s easy to think, “Well I’m just sharing what happened to me, how is that bad?” Well, most often we keep sharing how this co-worker upset me, or how you can’t believe that you got rear-ended, or how you were dating this guy/girl and then he/she stopped talking to you out of nowhere… ok, you get the point.

We LOVE to talk about the bad stuff. But consider that in re-telling the story you’re staying in a negative energetic space, one that will most likely keep attracting more of the same.   I’m not a talker, I know that’s weird considering I’m a TV host/reporter and I talk A LOT on TV, but in life there are so many things I do not talk about; especially over the last few years, where I’ve become extremely aware of what I put out into the Universe. And most often I have very little or no response to gossip, particularly if it has to do with someone speaking badly of someone else. But even just listening is as much a part of the problem as doing the actual gossiping. When you’re involved in a negative conversation, much like when having a negative thought, there is actually a chemical reaction that occurs in the brain and body, the effects of which can be worse than smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating junk food. Considering that fact, your health can be compromised by constant gossiping or even just listening to gossip.

happiest people

Personally, I’ve learned to remove myself from situations and distance myself from relationships that involve a lot of gossip. Or, if I am in a situation where someone is complaining about someone else, for example, I offer a different perspective hoping to bring light to the situation versus being pulled to the dark side.  Don’t be pulled to the dark side.  Consider stopping the gossip standing up for your health.  You may need to distance yourself from people, and they may be upset at you or judge you.  That’s ok.  That’s their battle, not yours.
Do you think you can stay away from gossip for one entire day?  I think you can.  How about you give it a go?  For the next 24 hours do not gossip, and if others try to gossip to you, change the conversation.  You can even be honest and say, “Hey I’m trying this thing for a whole day where I don’t gossip.”  Who knows, maybe you may even inspire them to do the same.  You may even decide to do it for 2 days, or 3 or a whole week!  Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
As always sending you lots of love.
xoxo
nv

 

That’s exactly the kind of response I receive when people find out I’m juicing… for the next 30 days (well 19 more days, to be exact). Which is why I haven’t told many people…I’m not a fan of explaining myself, or why I do what I do. And, yes, it sounds absolutely crazy, even to me. Just to confirm my level of insanity people are like, “Juicing? You mean, no food? At all? JUST JUICES?!! For THIRTY days?” With each word carefully enunciated, as if I would all of a sudden say, “Oh no no, I thought you were asking something else.” So just to be über clear: I have decided to go on a juice fast for 30 days. This means ONLY fresh vegetable and fruit juices, water, and herbal tea. I drink about 4-6 juices a day, and I mix it up as much as possible to make sure I’m not missing out on vital nutrients. So don’t worry I’m not starving myself, because, of course, the next thought and question people have is, “Is that even healthy? How are you getting protein?” I won’t get into all of that, because this can get quite long… instead, let’s get into what you really want to know…

image-1

Why? Well, other than apparently having lost my mind, the biggest reason is actually to see if I could be disciplined enough to go through such a cleansing process. That’s another reason: cleansing. After dealing with a few health issues, and some back problems AND being diagnosed with arthritis in my lower back, I want to remove everything that can be causing inflammation (all illness essentially begins with inflammation of some sort). While a few days of clean eating and juicing can be very cleansing, usually we end up going back to foods that may be having an adverse effect on our bodies.   When you remove EVERYTHING for a longer period of time, eventually your palate changes, you tune in to your body, and you are able to tell the difference between cravings and nutritional needs. At the end of it all, when you SLOWLY reintroduce foods there’s no way of denying what foods just don’t work with you… trust me, your body will let you know: bloating, discomfort, gas, pain, acne, fatigue, nausea, headaches, just to name a few.

Now I’m not asking you to do a 30-day, 20-day, 10-day or even a week-long cleanse. BUT how about….(you’re thinking I’m ‘bout to say something crazy…chill…wait for it)… you just try incorporating juices into your daily diet? Let’s say 1 per day? Or at least every other day? Try it. See how you feel. To help you out, check out some of my favorite juice combinations below. Sending you lots of juicy love😉

 

Nat’s Fave

3 cups of kale

2 apples

1 lemon (peeled)

1” piece of ginger (optional, for a little kick)

 

Asparott

4 carrots

10 asparagus spears

1 lemongrass stem

 

Mean Green Juice (from Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary – a must watch!)

1 cucumber

4 celery stalks

2 apples

6-8 kale leaves

½ lemon (peeled)

1” piece of ginger

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