Did you GIVE BACK for Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll! Can’t believe it’s already November muchless Thanksgiving day!! I have had such a great week, preparing recipes and donating some time yesterday at Sacred Heart Community Center. The gym I belong to (FNS), organized a community give back day. While just in time for the holidays we were able to pack boxes for families in San Jose who can not afford a Thanksgiving dinner. The boxes included a turkey, butternut squash, potatoes, corn on the cob, fruit and some breakfast items all given by donation from strangers, Trader Joes and Second Harvest Food bank. The total families fed was around 4,300. WOW! This is amazing. I will say everytime I volunteer it is a real awakening to the fact that it could be any of us at any time that can’t afford the next best thing- including food. To me giving thanks on Thanksgiving is more than just saying what you are thankful for at dinner, but rather taking time out of your busy schedule to help someone in need. When I left yesterday I was completely humbled and thankful that I have a great family, job, my health, and food that will be provided to all of us.

Today I gathered with friends to run the annual  Sillicon Valley Turkey Trot in downtown San Jose. I posted about this race a couple weeks ago, but as a reminder it is for a great cause. Donations go to Second Harvest Food Bank, the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, and the Children’s Health Initiative of Santa Clara County.  These charities provide families with their most basic needs for “health, hope, and a home.” I ran the 10k with a 58 minute race time. Definitely happy considering the last race I ran I sprained my ankle. And hey, under an hour? I will take it!

Have a great day everyone, give thanks, eat lots and be thankful you have your health most of all! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Who Says I Don’t Like Turkey?

I just signed up for the annual Turket Trot. Who else is running this race with me? This is probably the only turkey anything I will ever participate in and it’s for a great cause. The procedes of the race are donated to Second Harvest Food Bank, The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, and the Children’s Health Initiative of Santa Clara County.  These charities provide families with their most basic needs for “health, hope, and a home.” The Silicon Valley Turkey Trot  is now in its 8th year and the total amount given to charity has exceeded $2.2 million. While we enjoy our families and Thanksgiving dinner- there are many people in need that can use our help. There are 9 days left to sign up….What are you waiting for? Just think….You can burn the calories before you eat the calories and give to someone in need! 

How Healthy Are You?

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Answer Yes or No to the following questions:

  1. Do you eat at least one piece of raw fruit each day? yes
  2. Do you eat at least five servings of vegetables each day? yes
  3. Do you eat rice, quinoa, millet, oats or other grains at least three times a week? yes
  4. Do you eat a serving of raw vegetables each day? no
  5. Do you eat raw seeds at least three times a week? no
  6. Do you use seaweed in your cooking? no
  7. Do you include fish in your diet at least twice a week? no
  8. Do you chew your food thoroughly until it’s liquefied? yes
  9. Do you go out of your way to avoid foods containing preservatives, additives, colorings or E numbers? YES
  10. Do you avoid foods that contain sugar or added sugar? yes
  11. If you are stressed do you wait until the feeling has passed before eating? no
  12. Were you breast-fed as a child? yes
  13. Do you always make sure that you take time to eat properly, even if you feel tired or busy? try to
  14. Do you eat breakfast every day? no- working on this
  15. Do you drink bottled spring water every day? yes
  16. Do you drink at least eight glasses of filtered, spring or mineral water every day? yes
  17. Do you avoid beer/alcohol/soda when eating? yes
  18. Do you drink water approximately 25 minutes before eating your main meals, instead of drinking water with meals? no
  19. Do you eat a varied diet instead of eating the same foods every day? working on this
  20. Do you make raw vegetable juices at least once a week? yes

Add up the number of Yes answers.

17-20: Excellent- Top of the Class
12-16 Not Bad- Could Try Harder
11 or Less: You’re Flunking Out!

How healthy are you?

{If you don’t have this book yet, I recommend you purchase}

What I love about Me: Sarah Sotelo

{Tell us something you love about yourself}

I love that I have found my passion at an early age. I made a lifestyle change about 5 years ago and it has forever made me a better person. Little did I know that simply changing the way that I ate and lived life would make me feel better, lose weight, maintain a better attitude and allow myself to be an example for others. I love making a difference in other people’s lives as well as knowing that each person that enters mine is also teaching me some sort of greater lesson. I love that I can see beyond the platform in front of me and look toward the greater good. A happy and healthy lifestyle is a choice, and I am glad I have made the right one.

{What is your favorite physical feature?}

My favorite physical features are my eyes and smile. I think you can tell so much just by looking in someone’s eyes whether it’s truth, love, compassion, or even disappointment. Nothing spells out happiness better than the light in someone’s eyes and the joy in one’s smile.

{What is something you used to dislike about yourself that you have now come to appreciate?}

I used to hate my body. I never did anything to make it better- I worked out only sometimes, ate like crap, drank too much and didn’t really care. I never understood how I didn’t look like the girls in the magazines (which I don’t want to now) and why I was never satisfied.  After a huge transition from college to the “real world” I have noticed a dramatic difference in my body. Like I said before, I made a lifestyle change that has only made me realize we are in full control of the way that we look and view ourselves. I became vegetarian, stopped blaming other people for the way I looked, started making exercise a priority and started forgiving things that have happened in my life and were not going to change the way I viewed my future unless I did. It is an incredible feeling to know that you are in charge of your behavior, and how you react to situations. In 9 years, I have transformed by body to now be completely comfortable who I am – without having to compare myself to others! I am comfortable. I am secure. I am nobody else but Me.

{What is your proudest accomplishment?}

My proudest accomplishment is finishing my Nutrition Education Program. I loved being surrounded by educated people who get it- and won’t settle for anything other than healthy living. I am grateful that this has put me in the direction of my future career. I am also grateful that I work hard and can travel and see other parts of the world.

{Tell us about your style. What type of outfit do you feel the most like yourself in?}

I could live in Lululemon and my Nike Free shoes ALL day every day! (I pretty much do.) What’s wrong with that!? In real life I love to dress comfortable as well as classy. You won’t find me in heels too often because I am 5’8 and feel like I am tall enough! Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be sexy- throw some heels on with a cute dress here and there, but on an average day, it’s flats, skinny’s, cute shirt with some jewels to finish off the outfit. I love getting ready, and feel that you should always try to look your best when you are in public! (This doesn’t count working out!! )

{List your top three favorite things to do?}

My favorite things to do in life are educate people on living a stronger, happier and motivated life without falling into the day to day norm of others, working out in the gym as well as any outdoor activity and I absolutely love to shop. Nordstrom and Whole foods are by far my favorite stores. I think I go to WF 5 days a week! I have a hard time laying low and doing nothing…If you know me, you know that I am always on the go.

{What makes you the happiest?}

My health, family, friends and puppy make me the happiest. My ideal day includes a great workout, Starbucks coffee or Whole Foods smoothie, a little blog searching and cooking of some kind. I love traveling and learning about new favorite places. So far, NYC  and Paris are my two favorites! I am trying to get better at relaxing and being able to stay still, but this is definitely a work in progress.

{How do you find your motivation to work out?}

My motivation to workout comes from the way that I feel after I do it, and knowing that I am in total control of the way that I look. Seeing the change in my body in the last couple of months has shown me that I am capable of doing things outside the box, such as knowing that I am strong enough and can finish. I am not competitive, but FNS has allowed me to do things I had no clue I could even do (Such as a pull up, tire exercises, and pushups!) Knowing that the workout never gets easier and we just get better motivates me to continue my journey to great physical health. When you are surrounded by positive, like minded people It only drives you to want to be better. I love working out with friends and being held accountable. SO thankful to have stumbled upon this gem.

{How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle between work, school, family and social life?}

To be honest, sometimes it can be hard to balance work, school, family, social life etc. I find that my social life has taken a turn in a different direction. Of course I still like to go out for a drink with friends, but I would much rather save the date for a morning hike and coffee, or farmers market or even an outdoor activity. I guess I can relate this to priorities. When I go out and drink, I hate the way I feel the next day and most weekends it’s just not worth it. I would rather be productive and challenge my body and enjoy the day than be stuck feeling like crap. This allows me to encourage people to want the same, and save the date with me for a healthy meal or hike. After all, you are the company you keep. Family and friends have never been hard to maintain. I enjoy spending time with both, and am a firm believer that we make time for the things that are important to us! We are all busy, but if we want it we will attain it.

{What is your main goal you are reaching towards in the next 6 months, and year?}

I am currently taking classes to complete my Registered Dietician Degree. This is my main priority above all. I started my blog in April with hopes that people can learn what I am about and know that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not about being too extreme but rather having balance and enjoying life. Most importantly,  I will show people that living this way is by no means a “have to” but purely a WANT! In the next 6 months I am going to give a small talk/ lecture to family and friends about the importance of taking control of your health. At this point, with our healthcare system and easy accessibility to prescription drugs and profit- I think people need to take responsibility for what they put in their body and how they feel as a result. I will be running my first half marathon in about a month and will continue with FNS. My theme for the year is “Bite the Bullet.” I sometimes think too much before I do something, so I am vowing to myself to just do it.

Thank you for taking the time to read these stories from people who encourage and inspire me on a daily basis. It is much harder to write about yourself than you think. While answering these questions I had to take a second and think of the things that I really value in my life and translate into words what is important to me! I hope this helps you better understand who I am, and what my mission is in life.  I encourage you to write these questions down and answer them yourself. We are all an inspiration to someone in our lives, so use it to the best of your ability.

-Sarah

What I love about Me: Nicole McAleavey.

{Tell us something you love about yourself.}

I love my dedication and follow through. Whether it was by studying dance for 10 + years and achieving my optimal artistic expression (well optimal at that time, as we are always growing) or venturing more recently into a new nursing career path, when I put my mind to something I do it, and with all of my heart.

{ What is your favorite physical feature?}

My favorite physical feature is my smile. Nothing quite compares to how a genuine smile makes not only other people feel, but the person who is smiling as well.  I am talking about the kind of smile felt from the inside and then radiates out.

{What is something you used to dislike about yourself that you have now come to appreciate?}

I used to dislike my butt. Like most pre-pubescent girls, body image was not really on my radar and I pretty much ate whatever I wanted.  As I entered 8th grade, so did my newly acquired or should I say transformed rear. I can now honestly and thankfully say I am out of the “lets tie a sweater around my waist” phase and I will never have to buy padded booty jeans!

{What is your proudest accomplishment?}

Two of my proudest accomplishments thus far: being invited to join an eight member dance company and dance along side my mentors, and getting into every nursing school I applied to.

{Tell us about your style. What type of outfit do you feel the most like yourself in?}

My style ranges from boho to simple and classic with some great vintage finds. Lace and faux fur are some of my favorite textures and I love to throw in some bright colors/prints and of course jewelry…big jewelry girl.

{List your top three favorite things to do?}

Top 3 favorite things to do and in no particular order: workout/ be active outdoors, photography (or anything I can do to channel my artistic energy), and travel.

{What makes you the happiest?}

What makes me the happiest is knowing I may have helped make someone’s day just a little bit better. Whether it be by smiling at a stranger,offering a listening ear to a friend in need, or being the sounding board to a frustrated patient in the hospital, it’s the little things that can have the most profound effects.

{How do you find your motivation to workout?}

I find my motivation to work out in the knowing how I feel not only after my workout, but also during. There are those times when your fatigue level is high, but when you feel that chill and KEEP going, you have several realizations with yourself: You are stronger than you think you are and your growth potential is limitless. The euphoria and energy I get post workout and through the rest of the day is addictive and keeps me coming back for more. And last, but certainly not least, being a part of a supportive fitness community has played an essential role, so thank you to all of the team and members of FNS!

{How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle between work, school, family, social life etc.?}

For me a healthy lifestyle is one of balance, however to play hard most of us have to work hard which doesn’t always leave a lot of time for other things. With that said, we make time for the things that are important to us. Now that school has begun, maintaining this balance will be challenging at times but not impossible. It is about prioritization and time management. The better I manage my time the more of my time I have to fill with family, friends, and other hobbies. In turn, I am happier and being in the right state of mind I am able to work harder. It is like a big feedback loop; manage time, have more time for family, friends/”me”, I feel balanced, I work harder!

{What is your main goal you are reaching towards in the next 6 months?}

Right now, my main priority is launching my nursing career and in the next six months be the best nursing student I can be.

5 Ways to Be Better

{If you learn this, anything is possible}

{Drink at least half your body weight in oz.}

{Cut out or limit these Dangerous addictions}

{Are you addicted to sugar?}

{It’s called choice}

{This is a PROMISE!}

I can’t tell you how many times people approach me and ask, what are some things I can do to either lose weight or simply to be a little bit healthier. This makes me beyond ecstatic! Clearly, this might be harder for some than others depending if you are willing to give up the addictions we all have been led to believe are normal; sugar intake, meat and dairy overload, lack of exercise (or moving for that matter) and of course the cost of food….the cheaper the better, right? WRONG.

1. Consistency and Discipline are key. If you want to see any sort of results, stick with it. You don’t see weight loss over night. Just as long as it took you to put it on, it might take to shed.

2. Hydration: Most people mistake hunger for dehydration. (Ex: 140 lbs, drink 1/2 body weight = 70 oz. H2O)

3. Refined Carbohydrates: It’s true, these do nothing beneficial for your diet. If you see processed (anything packaged- white bread, white flour, white rice, crackers, muffins) stay away! These are bad carbs. We can reap the health benefits of good carbs by choosing carbohydrates full of fiber. These carbs that get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Examples: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.

4. Sugar: If you are eating the Standard American Diet (which most are) you are eating added sugar. Things like juice, soda, alcohol, gatorade, frozen foods, white breads, packaged foods, candy, ice cream and frozen dinners all contain added sugar that don’t need to be put on the label. YES, you read that right. I am not saying eliminate sugar all together, but just take a look the next time you are preparing for you next meal. You will be surprised.

5. Working Out: There is no getting around it. You have to MOVE if you want to maintain weight loss. If you are not a fan of the gym, pick your favorite activity such as basketball, walking, hiking, pilates, yoga or tennis and get moving! Don’t make working out a chore, but rather a blessing. The better you feel, the more you will want to work out.

Try one of these or all 5 and see if you find a difference. There is nothing wrong with a little change, and trust me your body will thank you later.

*If you want to see change, you have to make a change! Good Luck!

First time: Aerial Yoga

{The Yoga Studio…So Peaceful in Here}

{I Am a Monkey!}

{Much harder than it looks!}

So happy to have finally tried Aerial Yoga! Let’s just say it’s much harder than it looks. I was thankful the class started with some breathing exercises to get the body relaxed and ready for suspension. Since it was my first time, I was probably more scared than most-mainly that I would fall out and hit the ground head first! Luckily this didn’t happen! Coming from FNS all week, I was a bit sore. This was perfect because it literally streches your ENTIRE body out. You know the feeling of being sore and thinking, “Ohhhh, that’s what that muscle is for?” Sort of what I am feeling this week. The teacher was great, helped us newbies out and said it would get better each time you go. The rope was a little awkward feeling around my hips at first, but she said this was normal. The poses inside the hammock allow you to relax and literally let go of everything. The only thing that was a bit scary (aside from thinking I was going to fall) was the head rush feeling of being upside down for so long….Controlling the breath helped with this unpleasant feeling! My favorite part was the last 5 minutes of breathing completely inside the hammock, like a cacoon. To be able to let go, breath and dive deep into peaceful thoughts is absolutely refreshing. Overall, it was great and a nice finish to my week! I purchased the new student 5 classes for $50 and will be back next week! Who wants to join me?

 “Remember, it doesn’t matter how deep into a posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there.” ~ Max Strom

Snack Time

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{Greek yogurt w/ granola and Agave (if desired)}

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{Fruit and Granola Medley}

{Fruit Kabobs}

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{Whole wheat bagel – no cream cheese!}

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{Edamame w/ Sea Salt}

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{Raw/Unsalted Almonds are best}

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{Little to no salt is best}

I love incorporating new snacks. Pinterest has been my go-to for all things creative these days! I always hear that people, “just don’t have time to be healthy” but I am here to tell you….you’re wrong! With a little preparation anything is possible. Here are some yummy eats to include throughout the day! Try to pick the least processed and least salted items (if packaged). Be creative and have fun making new goodies apart of daily snack time!

All photos can be found on http://www.pinterest.com

My 30 Day Challenge…What’s yours?

Ladies and Gentlemen! Let me introduce to you FNS!

“The FNS Training Center was designed to meet needs and goals of our members, whether it is training for competition, losing weight, increasing athletic performance or living a healthier lifestyle, our programs provide a successful roadmap to reach an optimal state of well being in mind and body.

All FNS Training programs work together synergistically to provide a holistic system in which the body and mind are trained to react in all situations.”

www.fns360.com

{Fitness NEVER sleeps!}

{“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.”
-Dale Carnegie}

I was introduced last month when I had put a post on my FB asking friends about new workout places they reccomended. I was in need of  a workout change. Although I love working out and being active (running, yoga, gym) I would hardly consider myself competitive when it comes to this aspect of my life! I get nervous and then forget that you actually have to push through what scares you in order to see results or even be a better person! After multiple people suggested FNS, I gave it a try!

Let’s just say it was the hardest workout of my life! I would rather have ran a marathon then feel the pain I felt the day after the first workout! haha. No, but really.  This was a clear indication that I needed to step it up…Just because you run, or do yoga does not mean by any means that you are “in shape.” Having a variation of these + endurance means that you are in shape! There is a free trial the first week- which due to soreness I only made it to 3! Enough to get me back.

Today begins the best 30 days to date! I have started my blog about healthy living, and adding great eating habits for all of you. Now it’s time to challenge myself! You can’t ask of others what you wouldn’t do yourself, right?

What’s your 30 day challenge? 

One Pose at a Time.

{Real Peace is always unshakable...Bliss is unchanged by gain or loss. -Yogi Bhajan}

{Your mind is your instrument. Learn to be its master, not its slave.}

{Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.}

{The most important pieces of equipment for doing yoga are your body and your mind}

I am obsessed with all things health and nutrition. This began about 5 years ago when I made a lifestyle change and became a vegetarian. I started working out, watching what I ate- and WALA…I started to feel better. Suddenly my stomach aches and bloating went away. It’s amazing to me how when one becomes educated and small changes are made, how big of a difference there is in the way you live day to day. It has been a couple of years since I began my Yoga practice. I can remember my first Bikram class like it was yesterday. The fact that I made it all the way through was the best part. Now, pushing through the poses while maintaining breath is what matters the most. Balance of the mind and body is what gets me through my everyday life.

My goal for this blog is not to change anyone, but to invite them on my path! I have a passion for healthy nutrition and awareness among all and can’t wait to share with you what I live for. Stop wasting time, and begin your life today!

I am eager to actively make this world a happier, more educated, healthier place one post at a time.

❤ Sarah