Take this time to reflect!

“Freedom is instantaneous the moment we accept things as they are” – Karen Maezen Miller

I know I know, just what you need, another self-help type blog post. But before you click the x and go back to your daily social media scrolling, take a couple minutes and hear me out.

Trust me, I get it. There are TONS of articles and blog posts being sent out about health, fitness, diet, nutrition, immune systems, business plans, courses you can take, you name it. What they all have in common unfortunately is this conception that because you have all this “time” being quarantined, you “should” take advantage and be “productive”. Notice I put time, should, and productive in quotation marks. That’s because those three words are all relevant to what each particular person is going through. Productive for one person might mean having a clean house and dinner ready by 5 pm, while for others may be just simply getting out of bed by noon and taking a shower. (We’ve all been there). Constantly seeing and reading these posts can have a negative impact on our mental health and psyche. We WANT to be productive, but we’re also just trying to survive. I get that.

Here’s where we can start to shift this mindset.

What if I told you that you can be productive without actually doing anything at all?

You would think that’s a trick right? There has to be some type of catch. NOPE. No trick, (treats optional 🎃 ), just facts. Or words. One word actually. That word is embrace. Yes, really EMBRACE this quarantine. The world has slowed down, dramatically. Events are cancelled, weddings are postponed, schools are online, restaurants are take-out only, gyms are closed, the list goes on. While this is not great for our economy, it IS great for us. We are finally given this opportunity to really SLOW down and REFLECT on our current lives.

But D-rob, how do I embrace the quarantine?

By first ACCEPTING it. You need to accept the current situation for what it is. It’s not going anywhere. No matter what our leaders are saying, it seems that the virus will not fully go away until we get a vaccine, which can take up to a full year. I know when people hear that time frame, they start to worry and get anxious about what that will look like. Try not to think that far ahead. Accept that time frame. Your anxiety and thoughts will not change that.

Okay, so I’ve started to embrace this, now what?

Awesome question. Once you accept and start to embrace this, you’ve already won half the battle. Now you can look inward. Really look inward. Slowing down naturally allows us to reflect on our life. This is where you can start to ask yourself some important questions. Notice I just said ASK. Not answer. You don’t have to answer anything that you are not ready for. By simply asking yourself these questions, you will trigger your subconscious to actively start answering these questions without you thinking about it. I like to call this process “marinating”. Just let those questions marinate for a while. Your answers will come to you when they are ready.

I want to reflect and ask myself the right questions, but I’m afraid I won’t know what to ask. What are some good questions to ask myself?

This process can scare people away because we don’t know the correct questions to ask. And for each person the questions will be noticeably different. Here are three general questions to get your ball rolling. (Physical Education teacher reference 🏀).

1) Are you happy with your current _____?

Simple, but effective. Are you actually happy? Happy with your job? Your relationship? Friends? Health? Weight? Whatever the topic is can apply. Happiness is something that gets overlooked. We get comfortable with our current situation and are often blinded by that level of comfort. However, comfort is not always happiness. Ask yourself that question with each topic and let those marinate for a while. No rush to answer. Remember, you now have all this “time”.

2) If you can change anything in your life, what would that be?

Change scares us. Just seeing that question probably made you cringe. That’s normal. Hopefully for you, the weight of that question is lifted somewhat because you do not need to come up with an answer. Just ask the question. That’s it. Simple.

3) What is your DREAM ______?

Same concept as question number 1. Fill in the blank with your life, relationship, job, health. Many times, we lose track of what our dreams are, or simply become off-course. This question jumpstarts the process to get back on track. Your subconscious is filled with your inner most dreams and desires. It’s time to wake them back up.

How do I ask these questions? Do I read them aloud? Write them down? What works best?

Each person will have a different approach. What I have found that works best is writing them down with a pen and paper, like in a journal or notepad. For some people writing it in their phone works best. For others, repeating the questions aloud helps them. Find what works for you. The key is being relaxed when asking these questions. Right before you go to sleep is often the time when you are most relaxed. Use that to ask yourself these questions. As you sleep, your brain is doing ALL the work for you. Answers will come. (Just like that father who appeared in a baseball diamond in the middle of a Iowa cornfield 🤔⚾️🌽).

I hope this post serves to help you in this reflective process. Reflecting doesn’t have to be this big scary thing. We naturally are reflective creatures, the trick is quieting the noise around us. And in this time, that is the hardest part.

Be patient with this process, and be patient with yourself.

Peace and love,

D-rob ✌️🧘🏻‍♂️

If you liked this post and want to learn more about what questions to ask yourself, you may be interested in my services as a Life Coach. A qualified Life Coach will continue to help and guide you in this reflective process making sure you are asking all of the right questions. They will help you create and work towards new goals and dreams to start improving your life. If you’re interested in what I have to offer and what makes me different, click on the menu tab and select “Who is D-rob?”. That will bring you to my bio and contact information and fill you in a little bit about me. Leave your contact info or shoot me an email! I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to helping you live your best life!

My top 3 ways to transform your eating plan to guide you to a healthier and happier you!

First, if you made the resolution to become healthier, to become fitter, to start to live a better life, I seriously applaud you. That first step is often the most difficult, and you are on the path to living a healthier and happier life! But, yes there is a but, (“Look, Nemo touched the butt”. You know I always get the movie reference in 😝) if you do not make the same commitment to your nutrition and eating plan, solely working out will not get you the results you are often seeking.

So here’s where this article comes into play. Most likely, you have seen and read about various fad diets that are often promoted by celebrities and read about in your latest health magazines, that often have tons of rules, guidelines and restrictions that often can lead you to cheat on those diets, thus decreasing their effectiveness. I am not discrediting any of those diets. If you can follow them and stay consistent then by all means go for it! But for most, there is a simpler approach to take, and I am going to tell you how.

To get the results you want, AND improve your health and wellbeing, there’s THREE things I believe are the most important AND can jumpstart you to your health goals for 2020. That’s it. Three. Incorporate all three things for the next month and you will see and feel results.

1. Do not eat for 12 hours a day.

The first, is to change the amount of time that your body ISN’T eating. Yes you read that right. Everyday, our bodies need an ample amount of time to do what it’s supposed to do, especially when it comes to digestion. Our bodies need to adequately digest and break down the food to get the nutrients we need, then transport those nutrients all throughout our bodies, from our head to our toes, our muscles, joints, bones, organs, tissues, and cells. The only time our bodies give this process its full attention, is when we sleep. 8 hours is that magic number for sleep that is required to make sure we are functioning properly and getting enough rest to recharge for the next day. And our bodies do well with that. However, in terms of what we are eating in relationship to our eating window, we do NOT give ourselves enough time to use that energy our body stored up from the day before. We are a species that is built for storage. We evolved on being able to go long periods without eating in order to survive because we had to move and hunt for our food. With the access of food being readily available today, as well as the societal impact on “eating a balanced breakfast” advertised on tv’s since we were kids, our brain has tricked us into thinking we need to eat as soon as we wake up regardless if we are even hungry. This isn’t the case. But its okay if this is describing your eating pattern. It isn’t hard to fix. Our bodies and brain adapt fairly quickly. All you have to do is give yourself a few days with this approach and you will be well on your way to developing a new eating routine that sticks. So here’s what you do. Give yourself a time period of 12 hours to devote to NOT eating anything. 8 of those hours are going to be spent sleeping. So the time frame in terms of meals will be from after dinner, to before breakfast. I suggest a time frame of 7pm to 7am. That means your last meal/snack will be at 7pm. Do not eat anything until 7am the next day. Even if you wake up earlier than that, you can not eat. If you do, you do not get the benefits that come from this state of fasting. You may have heard of this before, even from prior posts I have written, called intermittent fasting. 12 hours is the minimum amount of time needed to give your body the positive effects from this approach. Plain coffee or plain tea without any sweetener is okay as long as there is no added sugar during this window of not eating. Once you reach 12 hours, you can then eat your normal day’s worth of calories. To enhance the effects of this fast, you can increase the time you’re not eating to 14-16 hours. Working out first thing in the morning on this state of fasting is also extremely beneficial and gets your body into a state of “ketosis” or fat burning mode. (The same ketosis that happens in the ketogenic diet that has become popular and trendy). What is lost in that diet however, is your body does not need to stay in constant ketosis to reap the benefits. You can get a lot of those same benefits from starting with just a 12 hour fast each day. This first thing to implement is the easiest, because you are not changing anything to your actual eating plan, yet. You are just shifting the time you are NOT eating. Do this for one month, and I promise you will see results.

2. No dairy!

The second thing is going to be directed at a specific food group. And yes, it involves restriction. I know, I know, diets that restrict don’t normally work out in the end due to cheating, but I strongly believe this restriction will fast forward your health and fitness results, as well as make you internally feel a lot better. That restriction is dairy. Yes, that also means cheese. (I’ll lose half of you after this statement I know it). Dairy has been routinely studied and linked to causing inflammation in the body. And inflammation in the body is bad. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to prove that. (Or a health teacher 😏🤓). It has been linked to increases in the risks of many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and various forms of cancer. Not only that, but many of us lack the proper enzymes to even digest dairy products. This increase in inflammation that happens in our bodies from eating dairy products leads to stomach issues, inconsistent bowels, IBS, yeast overgrowth, bacterial infections due to the increase in bad bacteria, and ulcers. Not to mention decreased immune function. (70% of our immune system is in our guts, so if our guts are not working properly, neither is our immune system). What doctors and nutritionists have found over the years is that if their patients took out dairy, a significant portion improved their symptoms relatively quickly. You see, when your gut starts to feel better your entire body reaps the benefits. I know this one is usually the hardest to do, but for one month try it out. No dairy products. (Sorry pizza lovers).

3. Add a salad of leafy greens.

Last but not least, the third thing to implement in your nutrition plan is to add a salad of leafy greens to your meals, or part of your meals. Leafy green vegetables have SO many benefits, too many for this post, but I will try to sum those up as best as I can in the least amount of words! Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard, box choy and microgreens are some of the healthiest for you. They are high in vitamins A, C and K, great sources of iron and calcium, as well as a great source of fiber. They are vegetables that your stomach bacteria absolutely love and thrive off of. Not the bad bacteria that feeds off your dairy addiction. (See how number two intertwines with number 3). Since you’ve cut out dairy, the bad bacteria have nothing to feed off of, or at least less. The influx of leafy green vegetables gives more for your good bacteria to feed off this increasing. The more good bacteria your stomach has, the better you feel. Plus, a big bowl of leafy greens has a considerable amount of fiber and water. So when you eat that beautiful green instagram able meal , you not only get hydrated, but you feel fuller faster, with less food, thus eating less. So if one of your other goals in 2020 is to lose weight and reduce calories, substituting a salad as one of your meals is a great choice to make!

Well, there you have it. My three things to implement in your nutrition plan to transform you into a healthier and better you. You have the fitness down. Now comes the nutrition. Or maybe its backwards. Start with this nutrition plan, then add some fitness. Whatever you choose, it’s consistency and determination that will help you reach your goals. Start with these three things, and you will be on your way.

As always, peace and love…..(and lots of salads 😎)

-Drob

The quest for happiness (inner peace) 🧘🏻‍♂️✌️

Today’s blog won’t be long, I hope. I just wanted to write. You ever get that feeling and REALLY listen to it? You know, ACTUALLY give in and do it. I feel a lot of us put that feeling off because we get sidetracked with the regular demands of life, but simply forget that the number one demand in this life is US. Yes, YOU. That person staring back at you in the mirror (which is probably dirty, windex people 😝). What makes that person in the mirror happy? What drives them? Do more of that. For me, it’s a combination of being creative, and inner peace. That includes writing, reading, meditating, drawing, coloring, jigsaw puzzles, etc. I need to use the right side of the brain regularly or I drive myself mad. And you don’t want to see me mad? (Just take my word for it okay 😂).

What I wanted to write about is simple. The inner peace portion. How do we find it? How do we maintain it? All that good stuff. To some, it seems like mumbo jumbo. To others, it’s not. To me, it’s something I’m continuously seeking, finding, researching, and learning about. The search for happiness is a myth. But the search for inner peace is fact. Don’t mix up the two. You can be happy and peaceful or unhappy but still at peace. On the flip side you can also be sad and still at peace or sad and not at peace. We hold the cards. We decide where we fall. This is the part that people seem to confuse. Many of us are on this unreachable quest for something to make us happy. We’re looking at the next goal, the next day, the next job, the future vacation, the future accomplishment, whatever THAT is, DOES NOT EXIST. And do you know what happens when that future day comes? You don’t magically become happy. You just find another future event to mark on your little iPhone calendars (or Androids 🤦🏻‍♂️), and start looking ahead to that day. Which comes and go’s and now you’re in this cycle that is not making you happy. And notice how I said quest to make us happy. I didn’t say at peace. That’s because you can’t relate to it, yet. And that’s okay. This post is to help you get started on that journey.

Okay, here’s what I want you to do. Close your eyes wherever you are. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Expand your ribs and stomach so it becomes big like a balloon. Now exhale, let all of that air rush out of your nose and squeeze your stomach pulling your belly button towards your spine. As you are breathing really listen to the sound of the air going in and out your nose and throughout your body. Listen closely to any sounds around you. What can you hear? Really try to listen. Good. Now on your next breath observe how your body feels. Are you tense anywhere? Sore? What hurts? Try to pinpoint these areas visually in your head as you are breathing. Perfect. Now repeat this two more times. Open your eyes. How do you feel? Less anxious? More calm? I hope you do. If yes, congratulations, you just spent your first minute being at peace. If no, that’s okay too! Repeat again and again throughout the day until you get that YES!

The reality of searching for inner peace is simple, but not really. Confusing I know but hear me out. Yes, sometimes all it takes is a simple breathing exercise that we just did, which is called mindful meditation. Being mindful is being aware of your surroundings, your body, your breath, just flat out aware. You’re not a zombie in an endless search for your next meal of human flesh (sorry, I just saw Zombieland 2 and it IS almost Halloween). Snap out of your snooze fest. The minute you stop your brain from thinking in the past, or thinking about the future, you have won the battle for inner peace. Do more of that throughout your day, and watch what happens in your life.

There will be times where I will expand on this topic even more, but there are two books that I have read that I recommend to you if you are serious about finding inner peace. They are “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer, and “The Power of NOW” by Eckhart Tolle. Inner peace is a real thing. No matter what has happened throughout your life, you can be at peace. Or you can be happy. Whatever you want to call it, just stop searching for it. It’s already here. 🤓🧘🏻‍♂️✌️

The Intro

The ability to help people has always provided me with a sense of accomplishment that few things in life can deliver.

::Cue beginning to Jay-Z track, Public Service Announcement::
“Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is HOV, H to the O-V…”
No, no it’s not. It’s Derek, or “D-rob” for short. But you should know that already. And if you don’t, please stop reading now, and go on over to the “Menu” and click “Who is D-rob”. This will give you a better insight to my backstory and who I am as a person.

Ok, back to the original program. Excuse the music lyric. My mind is 80% movie quotes and song lyrics. If you love both movies and music, there is a great chance of you enjoying these references. If not, well, um, I don’t know what to tell you but you’re seriously missing out.
The reason I started this blog was because of this incredible passion and drive to write. I began to formulate thoughts and opinions and ideas that are simply too illustrious to be shared in the 280 characters Twitter now allows, or for the ever unpopular and scrutinized long “Facebook status rants”, that only opens yourself to comments from people who you haven’t talked too since 11th grade Chemistry.
My second and more important reason I started this blog was to help people. Helping people has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. Helping others was the reason why I became a teacher, and will be sharing with you in posts later down the road some wild and crazy stories I have that will bring you a broader sense of appreciation to what us educators encounter on a daily basis. The ability to help people has always provided me with a sense of accomplishment that few things in life can deliver. (Well besides great pizza, that always delivers).
My next post, “The Heart of a Lion”, will be my most challenging to write. I am going to take you through my past journey through the Health world as a series of illnesses led me across a path I thought I would never had to travel. That path transformed my body physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and I strongly believe that path was given to me so I could help other people who are facing similar battles in their own lives. Remember, we are all in this together and…
::Cue end of the track::
“…Only God can judge me, so I’m gone, either love me, or leave me alone” – Jay-Z.