100 Recipes #5 Flat Belly Brownies (FAIL)

So, keeping with the Belly Fat theme, I made these brownies today.

They are the most god-awful tasting brownies in brownie-dom.  They’re not nearly sweet enough, and the texture is what I imagine recycled paper towels might taste like

If this is what it takes to have a flat belly, I’m depressed.

But it’s not.  I know that.

I had a great workout with Tim at a different gym today. I fell in love with this machine.  It’s made by a company called “Hoist,” so that’s what I call it: the Hoist.  I want one for my living room.  I think it would look awesome there, right next to the Rothko print.

It has a barbells on gliders, on GLIDERS!  And Tim showed me all kinds of torturous moves I can do on it.  And he took VIDEO!  You wanna see?

Sorry.  Not yet.  The video he took today is the “Before” video.  In a month, when I am looking all buffalicious, I’ll use it for dramatic contrast..

In the meantime, I want you all to rest this weekend, read a good book, and don’t bother making those brownies.

Eat Halloween candy instead.

The Power of Stickers

I was once a teacher so I know the power of stickers.  Put a sticker on a kid’s paper and that’s all it takes to make that kid’s day.  Promise a sticker to a kid for good effort and that kid will work like the devil.

Go figure.

I was telling Tim the other day about my streaks and how I am motivated by streaks; by keeping something going for as long as I can: this blog 5 times a week, my hour meditation every day, my paper journal-writing every day.

I now have a workout calendar and I’ve started a new streak (though it won’t be a streak “officially” until I’m 10 days in.)  The deal is that I am going to do something worky-outy every day: hike, bike, lift, run the stairs, etc.

Today Tim and I did Yoganand’s Pranakriya Yoga Workout, which is kick-asana.  He brought me stickers to put on my calendar for everyday I work out.  Little smileys with sweatbands.

I don’t really need external motiviation to keep going, but damn, these stickers are awesome.

stickers2

 

 

Belly Fat

On Monday Tim assessed my fitness in an effort to target my weight lifting regimen to meet my goals.

There was a “Flexibility” Test and a “Push-Up” Test and a “How-Far-Up-Can-You-Jump-and Touch-A-Spot-On-The-Wall” Test.

Measurements were taken at the bust, bicep, waist and thigh.  And I went on the scale.

(Does this give you some idea how much I must trust Tim?  I went on THE SCALE, people. And I told him THE NUMBER.  I only do this for people in lab coats, with clip boards, wearing name tags, who have already taken my insurance numbers and a coupla vials of blood.

I weigh 111.  My waist is 27 inches.  I forget the bicep number and the thigh number, but he wrote it all down.

In the push-up department, I can barely do 8.  My flexibility (ahem) is “above average.”

My goal is to have a 25 inch waist (by Thanksgiving) and to build my upper body strength to the point where I am able to bench press 80 lbs. (not by Thanksgiving.) This is what Tim’s assessment test results said I should be able to do.

So, what this means is that all my training from here on out is going to be focused on building upper body strength, and in the process, reducing belly fat.  (omg I cannot  believe I actually said the words “belly fat”)

But hey. Now that I think of it, if I put “Belly Fat” as the title of this post I might get hundreds of people to subscribe to this blog.  Could work.  Let’s make a game of it.  If you want to hear more about my BELLY FAT, hit the RSS feed button right there on my  sidebar above “Categories,” or up at the url address of this site.  Go ahead.  I dare you.)

So, back to the gym.

In the hand weight department, the heaviest ones I can I can pick up at this point (notice I did not say lift, I said “pick up”) are the 20s.  I can maybe do 10 chest presses with the 20s, but only if Tim hands them to me once I get into position, and then takes them off my hands when I make that dog-just-hit-by-a-car whimpering sound.

I looked at the 40 lb hand weights today, and don’t tell Tim I said this, but I cannot even imagine the person I will have to morph into in order to pick up those babies.  I will have to become…dare I say it?  Strong.

Strong of body, I mean  I am strong in lots of other ways, but I’ve never been strong in my body.  I am somewhat flexible from years of yoga.  And I can endure aerobic things for a while, and I can endure lots of mental pain and suffering.

I don’t even blink at the prospect of a root canal or an exam of my lady parts.  But lifting very heavy things?  No.  You would never ask me to help you move your couch.  Me, you would ask to move into the living room for coffee and cake.

I am kinda worried about this inability to conjure up in my imagination the me who will someday be able to hoist aloft 40 pound weights with nary a blink.  Who will that person be??  What will she look like?  What will she do with all this newfound strength?

Move your Barcalounger?

Kick up into a handstand?

I can’t fathom it.

Yes, the Mantra

I run hot and cold with mantras.  I was really into japa mala for a long time.  Chanted a long Sanskrit mantra taught to me during a training at Kripalu. (Om namo bhagavate vasu devya.) Wore my mala everywhere.  I still have one hanging from the rearview mirror of my car.  It came in handy during “waiting” times.

(Now I read my Kindle during long waits.)

That Sanskrit mantra was too long, though.  I could never get my breath around it.  I switched to a shorter English one at another training, and I still use that one from time to time, and I like it a lot. (“I open myself to you.”)

A few months ago I was on a “Thank-you” mantra-jag.  That one was very, very  nice.

I say my mantras with a mala—108 beads, 1 recitation of the mantra for each bead.

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my morning ashtanga practice makes me feel very quiet and meditative inside, so I’ve taken to sitting on my cushion after savasana with my beads and do japa mala.

This morning, for some inexplicable reason, I started chanting “Yes” as my mantra.

108 recitations of “yes.”

Whatever the question, or even if there is no question, the answer, the response, will always be“Yes.”

“Yes” is opening me up.  I believe this could very well be the year of “Yes.”

I watched Jim Carey’s movie “Yes Man” last weekend.  (cute.) And I read a section of Improv Wisdom that suggested an exercise of a week of saying “yes” to everything.

Yes.

A piece of apple pie now?

Hmmmm…..

 

 

Patanjali and Gary Vee

I’m almost finished reading Crush It, by Gary Vaynerchuk, a book about how to monetize your passion.

The big message of this book is: You’ve got to love what you do, work hard, and have patience.

There’s lots of other marketing advice too, but these are the big themes he pounds over and over, or I should say he “crushes.”

He uses the word “crush” like people use the word, “Win,” or “Nail”, or “Kill.”  As in: “I nailed that shot, OR, “My speech at the conference killed.”  Gary Vee wants us to “crush it,” in everything we attempt to do in life.

(All righty then!)

I absolutely love this guy’s exuberance.  This book is one of those fast, breathless reads, where I almost got whiplash from nodding my head in agreement so hard.  (ouch.)

Oh me and my “enthusiasms” as my mother used to call them.  “There goes Kath again, off on one of her enthusiasms.”

(Whatever, mom.)

But being the person I am, the one who is always trying to find mash-ups between yoga and life, as I was reading Crush It I was reminded of one of my favorite of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

(Patanjali, for those non-yoga people, is to Yoga, what Buddha is to Buddhism.) It’s this sutra that came to mind: (the translation is Mukunda Stiles’)

1.14

That practice

Is indeed firmly grounded

When it is pursued incessantly,

With reverence,

For a long time.

When Gary Vee said you must totally love what you do, that’s what Patanjali meant by reverence.  When Gary Vee said you have to work till your eyeballs fall out, that’s Patanjali’s “incessantly.”  And when Gary Vee said you gotta have patience, and that this “Crushing It” may take a while? This is Patanjali’s “for a long time.”

I love it when marketing guys channel Pantajali.  Don’t you?

Gary Vee and Patanjali (pronounced Pah-TAHNGE-a-lee).

So. Cool.

(Yeah, and shut up, mom.)

 

The Kindness of TSA Agents

My friend, Rick Dale’s mother died this morning.  He got the call at 4A.M. that he should come, she wasn’t doing well.  He had to get a flight from Maine to Pennsylvania.  When he got into Philly, he got the news that she had died.

Going through security he did all the shoe business, and the laptop business with the bins and all, but forgot his carry-on back at the start of the process.  The TSA agent had to go retrieve his bag and wasn’t too nice about it.

In his telling me this, his voice broke and he said, “I wasn’t going to tell the agent that I just got the call that my mother died.”

So here’s the thing: We never know when we encounter another person what they are going through, so we need to cut each other a break.  We need to practice “what if.”

What if the reason that person is being an asshole (or forgetful, or stupid) is because they’ve just lost someone they loved, or been dumped, or just had a bad diagnosis at the doctor.

Life can be hard and harsh and we need to show some kindness.  Just in case.

A New Category: Gratitude (#1)

This one’s going to be a little “gratitude” post because I just got home from my Beginner Yoga Class {2 of 8} and they rock!  Seriously.  I love this group. They are really into it and I can tell.  I just put them through a challenging standing sequence and they hung in there with devotion that was inspiring.

And when I got home, the dish fairy had done the dishes and there was a glass of Parker Station Pinot Noir (new to me, and about a “3” on a 1-5 scale) ready on the counter.  The blurb on the bottle said, “The best Pinot you can afford to drink daily.”  But it is the Pinot I WANT to drink daily?  (meh)

And then it was Linda Food day.  So a delicious vegetarian meal was all set for me to just heat up and enjoy.  “Linda Food” is Spring Garden Foods, a subscription weekly take out that Linda Murray cooks up in her kitchen from the freshest, yummiest ingredients, most of which come from her own organic garden.

Here’s what I got tonight: Creamy herbed potato soup, Waldorf salad and a Vegetable-feta cheese strudel (crispy layers of filo dough with seasonal vegetables and chesses flavored with dill and parsley.

Lots of gratitude for all the people in my life who nourish me in so many ways: Body, Mind and Spirit.

Sorry if this sounds cheesey, but I am part of the “Cheese Sisters.”  (I am the one they call “Sharp Cheddar.”)