Search This Blog

Loading...

Followers

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Belated New Years!!

January 11th… Really? 

Where did the year go!  We’re 11 days in, and so far it’s been a slow start.  I haven’t really done much.  Honestly though…  I’d like to blame Jack Bauer, and the rest of the '24' cast for making such a GREAT show!  I’ve only recently been following this, and MAN is it good!  I’m currently on Season 4.

I’ve been working out lots.  I’ve started running for 30 minutes 4 times a week, as well as fitting in Muay Thai in when I can.  I can honestly say it’s time to step up my game, not only physically, but in all areas of my life.
General resolutions I’ve made this year:

  • Improve my conditioning for Muay Thai.
  • Earn my blue Pratchia in Muay Thai.
  • Save enough to go on a trip this winter.
  • Lose 15lbs of extra chub.

Spiritual Resolutions I’ve made this year:

  • Live more in the present moment; only go back to the past, and into the future for practical reasons.
  • Have more patience and understanding for my fellow man.
  • Smile more.
  • Take the time necessary for my own personal happiness.
  • Meditate more often. 
These goals aren’t too ambitions, but just enough to keep me busy.

Well back at’r!

Love and light,

Matt

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Physical Activity

When you strengthen your body, you strengthen your mind, your heart, and your character.

Take a moment, and think back to the Paleolithic period.  Cavemen had to walk for miles just to find food; they also had to RUN for miles so they wouldn’t BECOME food. 

They built shelter with there bare hands, by lifting heavy objects, and were much more physical then your average sedentary North American today.

What does all this mean?

We’ve become an unhappy, unhealthy society, fostered by a lack of physical exertion. 
When you aren't moving, and just sitting idle, their are certain required brain functions that aren't being put to use.  Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins; these are chemicals that can help a person to feel more peaceful and happy.  Exercise can help some people sleep better.  It can also help some people who have mild depression and low self-esteem (myself included). Plus, exercise can give people a real sense of accomplishment and pride at having achieved a certain goal, be it weight loss, or improving performance for your favourite sport.

When people hear the work ‘exercise’ they usually think of:

  • Running like a rat on a wheel (This can get boring REAL quickly)
  • Lifting weights (I’m talking the traditional barbell/dumbbell stuff)
  • Taking an aerobics class (If you’re lacking coordination, these can be a REAL test in humility)
 Exercise science, training ideas, and workout programs have come a LONG way since the dark ages of leg warmers and headbands.  I say out with the old, and in with the new! 

Below, you will find a list of some of my favorite things to do.  Try some of these ideas to get your daily work out in!

  • Martial Arts/Boxing/MMA.  If you want an activity that will kick your butt, and leave you feeling drained, then training martial arts is for you.  I’ve been performing Muay Thai for the last year, and let me tell you, I thought I was in shape.  My instructor Kru Jeff showed me I wasn’t.
  • Hybrid functional training.  There are a multitude of workout programs that employ bands, sandbags, boxes, risers, fancy set/rep schemes, and even your own body weight that will keep you interested.  They are not only easy to follow, but can be a LOT of fun too!  I suggest clicking here to check out a few.
  • Join a recreational sport.  Hockey, Baseball, Basketball, Squash, and Racquetball are all excellent choices for the competitive enthusiast looking for a challenge.  There are usually community centers in the area that offer these types of activities.  Your local YMCA should also have many resources with regards to team sports.  Check them out!
Here are a few less demanding options that you might want to look into as well:
  • Yoga.  This is a great way to quiet your mind and relax your body. There are different ways to practice yoga - some vigorous and others relaxing. Try this style of movement for maximum relaxation.
  • Pilates.  While more vigorous than some types of Yoga, Pilates forces you to concentrate on what your body is doing while helping you work on core strength, stability and flexibility.
  • Massage. Although not really a ‘workout’ per say I think we should all try and schedule in some massage time so you have something to look forward to. If that isn't an option, indulge at home with a hot bath or lounging around and reading your favourite book or magazine.

Nutrition

Pizza, bread, donuts, cake, and the 7-11 didn't exist back in the caveman times either, so it should come as no surprise that these things should not make up the majority of your diet.  

On a hormonal level, what we eat also affects brain function, endorphin release, and mood control.  We all want to be peaceful, and happy correct?  So eating properly is key.   

The following is an example list of foods that I recommend eating, as well as a few examples of foods that I would NOT recommend eating.  I feel that both lists are important, as there are MANY foods out there that you think are ‘OK’ when in fact, they’re not.

Acceptable Protein sources:

  • Lean Beef
  • Fish/seafood
  • Lean Poultry
  • Eggs (Whole and whites)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Lean Pork
  • Skim or Soy Milk
Un acceptable Protein Sources:

  • Deli Meat
  • Fatty meats like Duck and Ham
  • Processed Meats (Hot dogs, cold cuts etc...)
  • Hard Cheeses (ok in moderation)
  • Whole Milk (ok in moderation)
 Acceptable Carbohydrate Sources:

  • Rice (Preferably Brown)
  • Potatoes (Preferably Sweet)
  • Beans
  • Whole Oats
  • Fruit (in moderation)
  • Green leafy Vegetables
Unacceptable Carbohydrate Sources:

  • Maltodextrin (ok Post workout though)
  • Junk Food
  • Sweets
  • Potato Chips
  • Candies
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Alcohol
  • Breads and pasta (ok in moderation)
 Recommended Fat sources:

  • Avocados
  • Raw Nuts (cooked in moderation)
  • Cold Pressed oils:
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Borage oil
    • Safflower oil
    • Sunflower oil
    • Flax seed oil
    • Cod liver oil
    • Udo's Choice 3-6-9 oil
 Unacceptable fat sources:

  • Butter (ok in moderation)
  • Margarine (the kind that have trans fats)
  • Heated Oils

A typical meal plan should comprise 3 meals, and two snacks a day.  Here is an example diet to get you started.  Feel free to make any substitutions for the lists above.
  
Breakfast:

Choice 1

  • 1 egg with 4 egg whites omelet
  • You can throw in some veggies ½ cup
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
 Choice 2

  • ½ cup yogurt with
  • ½ cup granola
  • 1 banana
  • 1 whole egg

Lunch:

Choice 1: Salad

  • Lean protein any kind (chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • 2 cups baby spinach with 1 cup veggies
  • 1 piece of bread (Preferably brown)

Choice 2: Wrap

  • Lean protein any kind (chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • Cheese 1 or 2 slices
  • Veggies 1 cup
  • Tortilla 1
  • Lettuce/mustard
 Choice 3: Hot Lunch

  • Lean protein any kind (chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • Veggies
  • Small sweet potato or
  • ½ cup of rice
 Dinner:

Choices can be the same as lunch or also

Choice 1

  • Spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • Spaghetti sauce ¼ cup
 Choice 2

  • Lean protein any kind (Chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • Veggies 1 1/2cups
  • Salsa
  • ½ cup rice
 Snacks: 3/day

Choice 1

  • Some Nuts… any kind… almonds are good
  • Banana or some other fruit

Choice 2

  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ berries

Choice 3: Pick one cheat
(One night only)

  • 1 cup frozen yogurt
  • 2 rice cakes with peanut butter
  • 3 cups popcorn
Drink as much coffee and tea as you like, but TRY and drink at LEAST 1/2 gallon of water (2 litres/8 cups) a day.




Woah!  That was a doozy!  I never meant to write so much, but I do feel passionate about this topic, and felt it necessary to discuss in detail.

Constant use, and the right type of fuel is important for any machine to run smoothly.  

Until next time,


Matt

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Easy come, easy go

Good morning.  I haven't updated this in a while, as I've been VERY busy this holiday season, visiting the folks, and hanging with my daughter.  The holidays are now over however, and it's time to get back to reality. 

The break was good, and I really enjoyed my time with family, and friends... but I couldn't seem to shake this nagging feeling all throughout the week.  This feeling that something was missing, or wasn't right. 

One thing in particular that I noticed is that I REALLY go back to old patterns, and habits when I'm not giving myself the time and care that I need.. and THAT is where I've been going wrong.

I usually meditate every morning, then start the day off with a bit of reflection.  Lately however, I've let that slip to the wayside.  I was given a gentle reminder this morning by a GOOD friend that I was being a bit much, and that I should perhaps get back to the present. 

The funny thing is that I was SO caught up in my patterns, that I actually vocalized my displeasure with hearing such a notion, and was just about to argue back, but decided to go for a coffee instead.

Upon my return, I saw the error of my ways, and realized what had happened.  It wasn't really a matter of her being right, and me being wrong, but more of an issue with me not being in the present moment, and not appreciating and respecting myself enough. 

I AM human, and I AM going to make mistakes.  This is to be expected.  It's nice that my friend allows me the freedom to make these mistakes, without judgment, and with a lot of patience. 

Mistakes are our greatest teachers, and the take home lesson is this:

"Take care of yourself no matter what.  You are no good to others, if you are no good to yourself"

With that... I leave you with a wonderful chakra clearing meditation that helped shake the "funk" out of my head.




Namaste... love and light,

Matt

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Is tomorrow REALLY Xmas Eve!!!
I still have a couple (read: lots) of things to pick up before Xmas.  Mainly wrapping paper, chocolate, stocking stuffers, and the like.  Nothing I can't handle.  I figured the mall would be total pandemonium, so I took it upon myself to start the day off well with a wonderful meditation from Deepak Chopra.

 

This one definitely got 5 stars in my book.  It was very soft and welcoming first thing in the morning.  Just what I needed.

The idea of the holiday season has finally come on full force.  I can't WAIT to get out there after work, and tear it up.
I will report back this evening.

Love and light,

Matt


Update:

I went to the mall, and it was actually pretty decent!  Not too too packed at all.  The masochistic side of me was actually kinda disappointed.

I didn't get everything I required, so I'll hit it up tomorrow again at lunch. :)




Wednesday, December 22, 2010

3 Days and counting!

Good morning.  Only 3 days left until the Xmas...  and MAN this is a crazy time of year.  Stress can often times rear it's ugly head, but we can all CHOOSE not to let it get to us.

Every year, I panic.  It usually begins with the idea of gifts.  I can't STAND shopping for others, as I never know what to get.  This usually turns into worry, as I consider whether or not they are going to like what I get.  I play the game of "who got *ME* a gift?", as I'll "have" to get them one, so they won't feel left out... and the cycle of stress, annoyance, and panic begins.  


Once the list has been comprised, I worry about whether or not I'm going to have enough money to pay for all these things.  This usually involves cutting other expenses, so that others are satisfied, and putting my mental sanity on hold for a bit.


We have to stop, and realize that 'worry' can only manifest itself, if we live in the future. The future is not here yet, so worry serves us no purpose.  Stop, breath, and live in the present.  

Does anyone share custody of a child?  I do.  Time sharing usually involves the parents, step-parents, multiple sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and everyone else that wants to see your child over the holidays.  We have to co-ordinate dinners, time spent with whom, and hoping that it all fits into a neat package that we can all agree upon.

Exhausting isn't it?  Well it doesn't have to be.

This year I have made a couple of adjustments to the whole scheme.  Under my brothers advisement: "I don't want anything this year, and I'm not buying anything this year."  

Pretty simple stuff, but kind of hard to swallow at first.  Your egoistic mind is going to want to convince you that you are being selfish.  Your mind will begin to work, and you will second guess whether or not this is a good idea.  Which will add to the current stress you are facing.  Try to remember... You are NOT responsible for others feelings, and have no bearing on them at all.  Should you choose to go this route, be proud of your decision, and embrace it.

A fellow blogger by the name of Leo Babauta, wrote a wonderful piece entitled "The Case Against Buying Christmas Presents"  Feel free to check it out!  LOTS of good stuff in there.  

The following, are a few of my own tips for other single parents out there that might find it rough around the holidays.
  • Consider that the holidays, and gift giving is for the kids.  If you must make certain purchases, try and limit them to the children.  
  • Employ a monetary cap of sorts, and STICK to it.  There is absolutely NO need to break the bank.  
  • Focus on why you are giving.  If it is to impress the party in question, maybe you are "giving" for the wrong reason(s).
  • Make gifts, bake goodies, and put a little more of a personal touch into things.  Thoughts and effort trump gift cards ever time.
The holidays should be a time of relaxation.  A time spent with family, friends, and loved ones.  A time, where stress should not dictate, nor control your emotional being.  

Remember WHY we give what we give... sit back, drink some egg nog, and be merry...

Until next time.

Matt

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ladies and Gentleman - We Have Liftoff!

Well I'm feeling fine now.  I’m not entirely certain as to what the problem was, but I feel as though nothing was even wrong.  This is very odd, and something to think about in the future.  I'm not going to argue with it.

Have a good day,

Matt
Back to the basics revisited

Interestingly enough, that didn't seem to help.  I'm sitting here at work, and the simple noise of my co-workers voices humming is very distracting, and annoying.  I can't handle this, and feel like I'm going to lose it...  

I think running, and a workout at lunch time might help... here's to hoping...

Matt
Back to the basics

How did I start this off, and what was the key to keeping me happy, healthy and sane?  It’s time we got back to the basics. 

I’ve let my daily routine completely slip, and haven’t been practicing the things that have worked thus far.  Meditation and stretching have gone to the wayside.  The familiar grind has taken over, and I have put myself second again.

I am going to start off with a nice guided mediation, followed by some light stretching, then a shower to complete the routine.



This started off sort of fast for my taste, and took a bit to get into.  It was nice, and worked well, however it ended too abruptly.  I think I may pick another piece to use next time.

I already feel much more grounded and serene. 

It’s good to be back.

Matt


Running on Empty

Tonight I feel a little lost, and empty.  It’s sort of a strange sensation; one that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I had the most wonderful weekend.  I left work on Friday evening, and went to get my daughter Lilli from her Mom’s place. 

When I got there, she was dressed up in the most beautiful outfit ever.  She likes to do up her own style, and fashion, much like her mother.

We left her Mom’s place, and headed to Baton Rouge for a Xmas party being held by a few old co-workers. 

Lilli chose her usual BBQ ribs from the kids menu, while I opted for the Baton Rouge Burger - 8 oz of Angus beef, with smokehouse bacon and melted Monterey Jack cheese.  It was like a party in my mouth, and everyone was invited.  Amazing. 

After dinner, we went out to shop for a gift for my mother’s 60th birthday.  Lilli and I were able to find a really nice foot bath set.  We weren’t sure if it was an ideal gift, but she wound up really liking it.
 
Sat afternoon was spent at my mothers place.  Her, my brother and I all hung out together.  We had a wonderful chat about life, happiness, and what it all ‘means’  I found it quite engaging, and left there feeling on top of the planet.

That evening I went to my Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts Christmas party.  I spent the evening with a REALLY good gang of people.  We had all you can eat fajitas, as well as a variety of desserts, and coffee.  We wrapped it up, and I went home at a VERY late 3:30am. 

I got up early Sunday morning, to go get Lilli…  I picked her up; went shopping at the mall for a bit and then headed back home.  We hung out here, played topple, and goofed around on the computer.  I was feeling pretty beat, and a little impatient, so I had a snooze.

When I got up however, I felt a little shorter fused then normal, and kind of grumpy.  It could have been that I hadn’t eaten properly that day, and that the nap had thrown me off, but it wasn’t a very good feeling. 

We finally took her back to her Mom’s place, and I went back home.

I still couldn’t seem to shake this feeling of annoyance.  Oddly enough it seems MUCH better after writing all this down…  I think I just need more rest.

Things I’ve discovered while writing this:

  • I definitely don’t do so well if I don’t get enough sleep.
  • I didn’t take the time to meditate at all this weekend; perhaps my chakras are clogged up?
  • Taking the necessary time for me, and my needs is important, and required for proper mood control.

That’s it folks… Thanks for ‘listening’… until tomorrow morning.

Matt



Friday, December 17, 2010

Good morning friends!!



Creating, and updating this blog, has been one of the greatest tools that I've used so far along my journey of personal growth.  I dedicate this morning's entry to those whom have helped me on my resent quest for enlightenment, and personal awareness.  Although this is a short list, and there are certainly other people that have helped me.  These are just a gathering of those that I think deserved special mention.

In no particular order:

  1.  Mélanie - Mélanie has not only been there through thick and thin, but has also been my rock, my saviour, and the keeper of my heart.  I met Mélanie some years ago, and have had the recent pleasure of re-acquainting with her.  Mélanie is the one that sparked this whole process, and has helped me see myself for who I truly am.  I love her sincerely.

  1. Tina Su - Although I knew that something had to change, I wasn’t entirely sure where to start.  I began looking for answers, and happened upon Think Simple Now .  Think Simple Now, is a candidly written blog that focuses on personal happiness and addresses real-life issues on our path to inner fulfillment.  I found TSN’s articles, and blog entries to be very engaging.  Everything was laid out in a format that was easy to read and understand.  This was just what I was looking for!  After sharing much correspondence with Tina, she took a personal interest in *my* happiness, and helped me to start a daily routine to reach *my* goals.  I can proudly say that I’ve never felt better about myself.  Thank you one thousand times over Tina.  You’re the best!

  1. Valerie Reynolds – My mother, my saviour.  If there were a woman who could walk on water, it would be my mom.  Mom has been in my corner, guiding me, and offering me solace throughout my entire life.  I am certain that I would not be half the man I am today without her warmth, love, and guided assistance.  I love you Mom… always, and forever.

  1. Ryan Davis – You don’t happen among many people who ‘get it’ in life; my brother is one of the lucky few that do.  A speaker of few words, with an energy that could move mountains, Ryan embodies all that is Buddhism.  Anyone who can proclaim that “Happiness is waking up in the morning to the sun shining, while enjoying a glass of orange juice” doesn’t really have to say much.  He is my brother, my friend and my spiritual mentor.  I love you bro.  Thank you for everything.

  1. Khrū Jeff – Khrū Jeff is my Muay Thai coach, and instructor, training out of The Ottawa Academy Of Martial Arts.  With a record of 24-5 in Amateur Muay Thai and having held provincial and Canadian National titles in CAMTAO and the World Muay Thai Federation, Khrū Jeff is no stranger to competition.  His competitive spirit and drive has helped me like no other.  When I was down on my luck; Khrū Jeff was one of the few that took a personal interest in me.  We shared a few life stories that have really helped shape me.  He reminded me that talk is cheap, and actions speak.  He checks in with me often, and reminds me to be a warrior, and to live a lifestyle that is congruent with my goals.  I love you Khrū Jeff.  Khawp khun khrap.

  1. Gaetan Larocque – My boss at work and my friend in times of need.  “Gaets” has really given me a second chance at life.  I think he was there, when I was at my worst.  We’ve had quite a few heart to heart chats.  He is a very warm and kind hearted man.  Thank you Gaetan.

I love you guys with all of my heart.  You are all a true blessing.

Love and light,

Matt