Always Listen to Your Body

body.jpg

What’s up guys?! Happy Wednesday!

Lately, I have been itching to discuss an ideology that I’ve been adopting a LOT these days. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

What does it look like to listen to your body? Sometimes, it means not being able to give your 100%, 100% of the time. This is something that I still continue to struggle with, but I’ve been progressively learning to take my personal limits in stride.

As I’ve discussed in my blog posts before, exercising is extremely important to me. Although it’s nice to see physical developments as a result of working out, I appreciate exercising more for the mental benefits it provides. Exercise combats stress and depression, two things that I have been known to struggle with in my life. Devoting 2-3 days to working out per week is essential to my mental wellbeing, and for that reason I refuse to give it up. I regard it as my due diligence to see to it that I get the exercise I need to ensure that I am operating at my most pristine mental capacity. Sometimes however, I am a little too ambitious. I book myself for a workout class at 8am, the morning after being up until 12:30am doing my grad school reading/assignments. On these mornings, it is particularly difficult to wake up and work out. So what do I do? I listen to my body. If my body is saying that sleep is more important than exercise for that day, I turn off my “snooze” button and fall back asleep for another hour. I almost never regret missing my workout for extra zzzz’s. In my personal opinion, it’s a good tradeoff.

If you know me personally, then you probably know that I’m a little bit neurotic when it comes to my school work, which I see as a general reflection of my ambition, perseverance, and motivation. It irks me when I don’t complete the assigned reading before class, or I feel that I have underperformed on a paper or assignment. In the past, I’ve been relatively successful at devoting 110% effort into my school life–even going above and beyond when possible. However lately, I am realizing that this is next to near impossible in grad school. If I were to give 100% in everything I do, then there would never be enough time in a day. It’s about learning to recognize my limits, accept them, and then not beating myself up in the end. In grad school you learn about prioritizing, and you also learn about “scraping by” or just “doing what you need to do”. Point is, I’ve been listening to my body lately and ignoring my guilt. If I’m falling asleep while reading, then I choose sleeping. I’m not going to die if I don’t finish…in fact, it probably won’t matter at all. If I need quality time with friends for the sheer sake of sanity, then you best believe I’m going to make myself get what I need…even at the expense of other tasks. Balance is truly everything….and mental health and sanity is always #1. In fact, I even give myself ‘break days’ during the week, where I promise myself not to even open a book or take out my laptop. It’s important to be present in life, and to continue to enjoy living.…which can often be sacrificed for the sake of education or getting ahead.

Getting sick? Make that your focus. Listen to your body and give it what it needs to get well. If you ignore the signs or symptoms your body is presenting, then you will only suffer for longer. Make time to visit a doctor, allocate 20 minutes to pick up the meds you need from a local CVS, go get that “Cold Buster” from Jamba Juice, or crank out that Chicken Noodle Soup recipe you’ve been pocketing. You might not think you have time for any of this, but the fact is, you don’t have time to NOT do this. Your health is important, and if you are not operating at your best, then nothing you do will be a reflection of your best efforts. Take care of your body, then take care of your other responsibilities.

Your body is smart. You will always know what you need if you are perceptive to its language. Be mindful and aware of what it tells you. Take it into consideration. After all, it is the vessel in which you live. I can think of nothing more important than that.

Stay beautiful, stay in tune.

xx allie

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10 Stress-Relief Tips

stress relief

We know stress as the enemy. Not only does it feel terrible, but it is also associated with a lot of negative health implications (both short-term and long-term).  Nevertheless, although it is an uncomfortable experience, it serves an important biological purpose. Stress presents itself when a challenge has been posed, and it helps to rise us to the occasion and harness our ability to take on the stressor head-on. So although it can be a pain the in butt in many ways, the experience of stress is probably not going away any time soon. So then what do we do? We learn how to cope with the stress we experience in healthy ways.

Here are 10 tips that have been helpful to me in minimizing my experience of stress and transitioning out of it:

  1. Take 5 Minutes to Stretch—The experience of stress causes tension to build up in our bodies. When our bodies are rigid and tense, it is hard to feel relaxed. Many people have come to believe that the mind and body are connected, and that there is communication that occurs between the two. I suggest stretching in a dark place, where you are less distracted by your surroundings and are able to really tune into your body, stretch your full range of motion, and center yourself. You would be amazed just how stress-relieving the act of stretching can be!
  2. Use Essential Oils—Our sense of scent is powerful, and there are some natural scents that are believed to be more relaxing, soothing, and stress-relieving than others. If you tend to feel stressed out often, I would highly suggesting investing in one or two essential oils/sprays. I recently purchased an inexpensive lavender sage pillow mist, and I am happy to report that the scent is not only relaxing and enjoyable, but also seems to help me sleep at night. Another calming scent is eucalyptus.
  3. Try New Workouts—The key word here is “new”. As you probably know, working out in and of itself is already a great stress-reliever. But oftentimes we get so used to our typical routine, that it becomes mindless. We go to the gym, put our headphones in, and go through our series of machines, all while letting our mind wander. Trying a new workout presents a new challenge, engages our mind, encourages focus and present moment awareness, and disallows us from ruminating on the issues from our day. Immersing yourself completely in a new workout separates you from the distraction of your phone and the outside, stressful world. Go hiking, try studio barre, engage in a pilates class, or go swimming. Literally anything you can think of!
  4. Take a Bubble Bath—Honestly, bubble baths are so underrated. They are a fantastic way to disengage from the world, and tune into yourself. Pick out a yummy smelling bubble solution, pour a ton in, and just soak away all of your troubles. Perhaps even turn on some rainy-day tunes, jazz, or classical music. Taking 20-30 minutes for this “you-time” will make all of the difference.
  5. Get Lost in a Good Book—Oftentimes, reading can take you away. Immerse yourself in a new fictional world, or take the time to learn a new subject. When you spend 20+ minutes of your day to make a dent in a book you enjoy, you feel a sense of accomplishment for your self-motivation and follow through.
  6. Take Yourself on a Date— Have you been wanting to try that new restaurant down the street? Or that new dessert place? Then go! Treat yourself to an indulgent meal…and heck, even “cheat” a little! Get comfortable doing things by yourself, and you’ll feel good about your new-found independence.
  7. Write it Out—If you have something that you just can’t get off your mind, write about it. Get it all down on paper. Do a stream of consciousness activity. Sometimes just the act of writing can help us to make sense of something that’s complicated, or serve as a sense of catharsis. No one has to ever see what you write, and in fact, you can even toss your notes when you’re done!
  8. Organize and Plan—If you’re feeling stressed out by all of your responsibilities or upcoming deadlines, then take some time to plan and get organized. Purchase a planner, or make notes in a calendar or phone. These days, it’s much too hard to try to remember everything in our heads. So simply relieve yourself of that obstacle. When you start to see all of your plans on paper, and allocate your time and efforts accordingly, it all starts to feel doable. Be in control of your plans, and stop letting your plans control you. There are 24 hours in a day, and plenty of time to get everything done. It’s all about being efficient with your time, and responsible in your planning.
  9. Get Enough Sleep—I can’t stress this one enough. If you’re not getting at least 7 hours a night, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Sleep is crucial, because it helps your body restore and renew itself from the wear and tear of the day. Sleep replenishes your mind. If you’re overtired or sleep deprived you are just adding onto your stress load and putting your health and body at risk of illness. Do yourself a favor and make a personal pact to go to bed by a certain hour every night. Whether it’s 10pm or midnight, stick to it!
  10. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself—Last but not least, be gentle with yourself. Make an effort to abstain from using negative self-talk. Don’t be angry at yourself for being so stressed. That causes you to feel EVEN MORE stressed. That’s almost the same as trying hard to fall asleep before a certain time…you end up being unable to fall asleep. Be self-encouraging and positive. Give yourself a break. You’re only human, and you’re not perfect. Stress is a normal part of life, and it’s more than likely temporary.

Well, that’s it for this post! I hope you find it to be helpful. Feel free to share any helpful tips you have for reducing the impact of stress! Happy almost September!

xx allie

Learning & Accepting Your Limits

limits

As I get older, I realize more and more that there simply is not enough time in a day. Over the course of the last few years, I have discovered what is largely important to me to feel happy and complete inside. Among these are the following:

Spending quality time with my best friends and family

Working out regularly (mainly for the emotional benefits and stress relief)

Reading for pleasure (to quiet my mind at night and continue to self-learn)

Maintaining outside camaraderies with my coworkers

In order to see to it that I accomplish these goals on a weekly basis, I find that my days are jam-packed! I leave the house at 7:30am for work, and oftentimes don’t return home until 8pm or later. By the time I eat, shower, and prepare myself for the next work day, there is little time for tv or reading before turning in and going to bed before 11pm (which is what I tend to aim for on the week nights). From an outsider’s perspective, it looks as though I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. But to me, this has become pretty much the norm. I have grown accustomed to having a busy life, and for the most part, I don’t mind it.

There come times however, where I must acknowledge my limits and take time to preserve my energy and nurture my mental well-being. For instance, I try to plan my workouts for the upcoming week on Sunday so that I can make my other plans around these time blocks. In many cases, this works well for me as I have made it a HUGE priority for myself to work out at least 3 days a week in order to combat depression and the onset of stress. In fact, since I’ve been working out more routinely, I’ve noticed a decline in my susceptibility to illness. Not only is my mental well-being gaining strength and resilience, but so is my body and my immune system. WIN-WIN. However, I would say that at least one day a week I finish work and realize that I just simply do NOT have the energy, and would be better off skipping out on my pre-planned workout. In these cases, I feel that it is important to listen to the signals my body is sending me and take time to rest and recover. Although I’m always a little bummed out that had to forfeit my workout, I know that I am doing my body a favor by listening to it. This is a prime example of knowing my limits.

Sometimes I’ll have a friend ask me if I am available to hang out on a weekend night or do something fun on a week day night. While I always feel a strong inclination to want to accept any invitation to spend time with my friends, sometimes I have to take time to deliberate whether I have the resources to. What do I mean by this? In many cases, I have already planned at least 2-3 hangouts with different friends during the week, and while I might be available during the time that they’ve requested to hang out, it might be the better option for me to just relax and take a breather. In other words, I don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) book every free minute of my day. Sometimes it is nice to be able to recharge during the weekends and get a good night’s sleep. While it is tough to decline a fun hangout, sometimes it’s what my body and mind truly need. This is another example of knowing my limits. Despite my desire to stay busy and continue to nourish my friendships, I also allocate time in the week to block out for rest/recovery.

If you know me at all, then you know how much I love to read at night before bed. Some days, however, I am just so exhausted from a jam-packed schedule or mentally arduous work day. While it somewhat disappoints me to have to skip a night of reading, I understand that sometimes my brain needs a rest from thinking. For this reason, there are times where I forgo my book and choose to be on autopilot while watching a mindless tv show or series. It is so fulfilling to sit back, relax, and be entertained without having to put forth any effort in return.

I chose this topic to write about today because I am starting grad school in exactly a week, and I know that once I do, I will have to re-learn my limits and adjust accordingly to my new challenges. While I am cutting down my work hours from 40 to 20 per week, I realize that classes and homework will account for much more than what I’m surrendering. I will likely have to make sacrifices in order to accomplish my responsibilities. This might mean less workouts per week, getting less sleep, spending less time with friends/family, or even putting ‘on pause’ my pleasure reading. While it is hard to anticipate how drastically my schedule will change and exactly what kinds of sacrifices will be in order, I am prepared to be flexible and morph into my new role as a student again. I am working towards my professional career, and that often does come with some sacrifice. I simply cannot wait until I am finally a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, whatever that may take!

Since the inception of my blog in January, I have been doing my best to continue adding new posts at least once per week. I will continue to try to update my viewers with new posts, as my journey is only just beginning! Please be patient with any inactivity for the next few weeks as I try to re-learn my boundaries, adjust to my changing schedule, and allocate time for this very important blog. I appreciate all of the amazing comments you send me, and the extreme level of encouragement to continue. You all are the best!

xx allie

fabfitfun Summer Box Review

 

fabfitfun box

What’s up guys! A few days ago, I received my summer edition of the fabfitfun box. I gotta say, it did NOT disappoint. I’m really obsessed with these boxes, because I can’t get over what a great value they are. They come loaded with season-specific products that are name brand and high quality. Let’s review the contents of my box:

  • Michael Stars Ruana Scarf/Sarong: I knew that this was going to arrive in my box, since it was the spoiler product prior to its delivery. I wasn’t too excited for it initially, but after receiving it, I absolutely love it! It is super soft and thin, and I love the black & white color that I got. It looks trendy over a white blouse, or can be tied to your handbag or used as a scarf. It’s literally the perfect summer garment. Retails for $54.

ruana

  • BKR Little Water Bottle (glass): Since I workout often, I am constantly looking for a clean water bottle to take with me to the gym. This one is cute, girly, and convenient. Retails for $35.

water bottle

  • Ultra Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50: When I go outside to tan, I use tanning oil spray for my body (that is a 15 SPF). However, I know I’ve been needing a face sunscreen that is more protective and sensitive. I really like this lightweight blend, as it is not oily at all and mixes very well with my foundation. Retails for $24.
  • Cargo_HD Picture Perfect Highlighter in Bronze: This is a very subtle highlighter (less of a bronzer), that really just gives my face a nice glow. It kind of sets my makeup and leaves me looking awake and renewed. Retails for $30.

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  • Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate: I love eye creams and concentrates, because you can never start your anti-aging regime too early. It doesn’t just soak right in and dry up. It lasts for hours, leaving the skin around my eyes to feel soft, moisturized, and supple. Little bit goes a long way. Retails for $29.
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk: I haven’t tried this out yet, but it looks like a higher quality dry shampoo, and it comes in a sizable bottle. It’s supposed to help you regain volume and texture, without leaving a white residue. Retails for $20.

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  • Ready, Set, Create Art Set: Honestly, I wasn’t too too stoked with this item. I’ll probably regift it, or give it to a child I know. There were some other item options that I would have preferred to receive here (too bad its random sometimes!). I really liked the Himalayan salt kit, and also the body massage oil. Retails for $22.
  • Kris Nations Mystic Gemstone Bar Necklace: Aside from the Michael Stars Ruana, this is my favorite thing in the box. I love handmade dainty, girly necklaces, but this one is special to me because I received the moonstone which is helpful for harnessing positive energy. Goes with literally any outfit. Retails for $58.

necklace

  • Collagen Peptide Stick Pack and 20% off Coupon: I’ve seen collagen inspired products before, but never in an ingestible powder. They aren’t kidding when they say that it’s odorless and tasteless. Initially, it seemed like a HECK of a lot of powder to put inside my coffee cup, but it dissolved right up and was indiscernible upon drinking. I felt good having it in the morning, as it was 9 extra grams of protein, and collagen is great for joints, bones, skin, hair, etc. I might just have to buy some more and use it on the daily.

Basically, this box was WELL worth the money I spent. It’s original price is $49.99, which is a steal…but if you use my code, you’ll get an additional $10 off your box…making it only $39.99!!! (which is less than the retail price of the Ruana itself!)

My code is: fffa2p6

GO GO GO GO GET YOURS NOW!

xx allie

Pro Lexapro

lexa

About a year ago, I remember searching the internet left and right for individuals’ personal accounts on their experience with taking Lexapro. I remember feeling like no amount of information was enough to tell me with absolute certainty whether I should start to take this antidepressant or not. While some people rate it with 5 stars, others give it a 1. I knew that I wasn’t happy. I knew that I experienced what appeared to be an abnormal amount of anxiety. I knew that day-to-day life shouldn’t be as difficult as it was. But who was to say whether Lexapro would help, or alternatively make things worse? Apparently, it was a risk that I was willing to take at the time.

Today, I wonder where I’d be without my daily dose of Lexapro. Would I still be crying every day on my drive to work? Would I still be angry, and lash out at people who said the wrong thing, and got on my nerves? Would I still feel hopeless, and wonder whether I would ever be able to find positivity again in my life? I may never know. But one thing I do know for sure is that my 5mg dose of this antidepressant has completely changed my life.

While I’m not usually an advocate of medication, I am an advocate of taking medication when you truly need it, and have no other options that you feel will suffice. I am writing this post on my experience with Lexapro because there are so many people that suffer with depression, but refuse to try taking medication for fear of a dependency on it, or the negative stigma that is unfortunately associated with these types of mental health pills. I remember having the same fears. I remember wanting to feel better ASAP so that I could stop taking them immediately and resume with my medication-free, ‘normal’ life. However, today I feel 100% stable and happy, and I can’t imagine ever getting back off. Life is different now. Life is better. I can breathe again, and not be bogged down by the occasional sadness and disappointments that are an inherent part of being human.

Lexapro has changed my outlook on everything. I am positive. I am optimistic. I see the good in even the bad situations. I am finally who I was meant to be. I am reaching my potential. It is amazing how effortless life begins to be, when you get rid of the constant cloud that is burdening and weighing you down in everything you do. I feel like I am finally on the same playing field as those around me. I feel that my emotions are not as charged, or volatile.

If you ever got to know me in real life, you would never guess that I’m on Lexapro. You would never guess that I was once depressed. I am normal on medication, and a little less normal not on medication. I have learned to accept that I am better with the help of this pill, and that therefore I need it. I am learning to accept that I have depression, and that my brain chemicals may very well be naturally ‘off’. That’s okay. I am happy to be who I am, as I feel that I can appreciate a happy life so much more now that I’ve experienced the darkness.

I often write about my experience with Lexapro, as I still have trouble believing that such a little dose of this pill can have such an incredible, long-lasting effect on my life. I feel grateful every day that I have given it a chance to help me.

If you think you may be struggling with depression, it might be worth it to visit your health professional. Changing your life is a function of your willingness to take control of your life, rather than letting it take control of you.

xx allie

P.S. –Please remember that this is my personal experience on Lexapro. Lexapro may not work for everyone, and may not be right for you. Consult with your physician before attempting to take any antidepressant for the first time. Often medication is recommended with therapy. I have been seeing a therapist regularly, which helps in tandem with the medication.  Please do your research before deciding to make any significant changes to your life, in this respect.

The Number on the Scale

summer

For those that live in the northern hemisphere, summer is finally here! Woohoo! For you Aussies that follow the blog—this post may not necessarily be time-relevant for you. But feel free to give it a read anyways!

If you’re like most people, then you may get nervous as summer approaches since hot weather equals less clothes, and therefore less coverage. The media enforces this further by promoting 10-day rapid weightloss fads, slimming juicing diets, and chiseled abdominal techniques. But let’s be honest, the average person doesn’t get the rocking body that we see in the magazines and on tv overnight. But IT’S OKAY, since those are unrealistic expectations anyways!

This post is one of the few reminders to you that it’s more important to be healthy, than to be skinny. American standards of beauty are next to near unattainable…and for crying out loud it’s just ridiculous! Who says that a beautiful girl has to be 110 lbs (50 kgs)? Beauty is not measured in pounds or kilograms.

As I matured into a young woman, it was hard for me to accept my weight of 140 lbs (63 kg). Most of my friends were much tinier, and wore much smaller clothing sizes than I did. While I am lucky and never struggled with an eating disorder, I noticed that I would judge myself in photos and when looking at my reflection. “My arms are too big, I don’t have a thigh gap, and my face is getting rounder.” The negative self-talk was relentless at times. But with the years, came emotional maturity and personal acceptance. I’ve always been a fan of the gym, and to this day I continue to work out 4-5 days per week and eat a balanced diet. I am healthy and strong, and proud of my curves and density. I have learned to appreciate my assets (both the good and not so good), and be grateful for them.

No two people look exactly the same (well unless you’re an identical twin), and we should embrace our unique appearance and distinguishing features. Of course it’s okay to have fitness goals and to work towards them, but once it turns into an obsession be careful. If you’re happy and you’re healthy, then it doesn’t matter what the scale says. Ditch it! Try not to be hard on yourself when you ‘splurge’ and have a burrito or scoop of ice-cream. Part of life should be about enjoying the occasional indulgence, and fluctuation is very much normal. Balance is key.  

Most importantly, be confident! There is absolutely nothing more striking and sexy than a person with confidence. Remember that beauty starts from within.

Stay beautiful, folks.

xx allie

 

 

The Courage to be Vulnerable

stranger on a train

Nobody is perfect. We can’t pretend that we are. Everybody has something in their past that is painful to think about, no matter how long ago it occurred. Becoming self-aware, and facing the difficulties of our past is often not the first thing on our agenda. In fact, many people spend their entire lives in denial or avoidance of their deep-seated trauma. They unknowingly let it affect their patterns of behavior, coping mechanisms, communication style, and relationships. They are held hostage by their ignored inner conflict, and are inhibited from operating as their best self.

To me, this is the biggest shame of all. A hesitancy to want to look within is the greatest self-sabotage a person could inflict upon themselves. They are hindering their own self-growth, and are therefore not making the most of their human experience and emotional capability.

So why would a person refuse to look within? The vulnerability. It is scary to look within. It is scary to uncover the dark truths of our past, that we have worked so hard to suppress. Why should we dive headfirst into our painful memories, if we have the option to avoid them? Why shouldn’t we just bury those thoughts into a dark corner of our mind, that we never revisit again? Because, try as we might, they will continue to affect us as long as we choose not to face them.

Therapy is a practice that is accepted by some, and refused by all others. While many people have come to believe that it is vital to their mental wellbeing, others believe it is a stark sign of weakness. No matter what state they are in, their sense of pride convinces them that they are not a candidate for therapy and would never benefit from sharing their emotions with a stranger. I am here to dismantle the latter notion.

Since nobody is perfect, then we can all agree that there is always something that a person could learn to do better. There is always room for improvement. If you know you could improve at something, then wouldn’t you want to? If you could strive to be a better you, then what’s stopping you? If you are in agreement with this, then already everyone is a candidate for therapy.

Why would you want to talk to a stranger, when you don’t even feel comfortable talking to a loved one or friend? This stranger is not just someone you’ve picked off the street. They are a professional, who has been trained to guide you through your subconscious and help you to face the daunting and crippling ghosts of your past and present. They have your best interest in mind, and will do anything they can to help you on your journey of becoming your best “you”. They will provide a safe space for you to speak and think without restraints. They will push you to be vulnerable, but hold your hand along the way (so to speak). They are always on your team.

In psychology, there is something called “the stranger on the train phenomenon”. This is the idea that sometimes a stranger can be our most trustworthy confidant. It is called the “stranger on the train phenomenon”, because people who meet on a train can often talk for hours getting to know each other quite well and sharing some very personal secrets, simply because they know that they will likely never see the person again. To me, this is kind of like a therapist. While of course you will likely see them again, they are not at liberty to discuss anything that you tell them with anyone else (much like the benefit of never seeing a person again). Your therapist can be your stranger on a train.

While many people believe that therapy is for the weak, I would have to disagree. Therapy is for the courageous. Therapy is for those people who have the strength to look within, even if it means being uncomfortable and facing your biggest fears. Therapy is for those who are ready to be a better version of themselves. Therapy is for the humble–the people who know that they are not without flaws, and are willing to work to be better. I admire the people who go out of their way to do something courageous and difficult for the better. For the better of their relationships. For the better of their self-concept. For the better of their future.

xx allie

 

Update: 10 Months on Lexapro

allie

It’s been 10 months that I’ve been on Lexapro now, and let me tell ya, time flies when you’re happy.

Lexapro has undoubtedly changed my life. On only 5 mg, I am a different person. I am finally me. The effects of lexapro were, and continue to be, astounding for me. I see the world through rose colored glasses, and glean positivity from most all scenarios. Things that would normally bother me, still do, but I no longer ruminate on them and allow them to ruin my day. Small problems stay just that…small. Things no longer escalate into catastrophic emotional turmoil or a downward spiral with no end. Responsibilities no longer feel  daunting, overwhelming, or impossible. I welcome my responsibilities more readily, and do not feel angry or resentful to have them. I am more confident, as my self-esteem has greatly increased. Make no mistake…it is not inflated, but it is finally normal and exists! My irritability and anger has subsided, making my interactions with others much more pleasant than before. I am no longer guilty for carrying so much negativity around everywhere I went.

Lexapro is like a magic wand. It’s science, but it feels like magic. I didn’t doubt it’s ability to help me get through my depression, but I never imagined how drastically different I would feel in my day-to-day life. A good day before Lexapro, is a mediocre day on Lexapro. The bad is never as bad as the good is good. I still get sad. I still cry. I still care about all of the same things I used to. But now, things don’t seem as drastic. If something upsetting happens, it’s not the end of the world. I am more equipped to handle disappointment. I am more motivated to finish tasks I’m not excited to begin.

The positive effects of Lexapro last over time. I have been on 5mg from the very beginning, and have never felt a reason to increase my dose. My body does not get used to it, and then need more to get the same effects. The right dose is the right dose, period. (Or at least in my own experience).

Lasting side effects:

When you’re depressed, you often lose your appetite. Food isn’t appetizing, and it doesn’t taste nearly as satisfying either. As the lexapro kicks in and diminishes the depression, your appetite comes back. Food becomes enjoyable again. To me, this was a good thing. I had lost about 20 pounds while depressed (mostly because I was eating 1/3 to 1/2 of my normal portions). In the last 10 months, I’ve gained about 10 pounds back. I feel that I am at my healthy weight now. Do I think the Lexapro caused me to gain weight? No. I think getting my appetite back caused me eat regularly again. My body restored healthy weight back to my body. I’ve also been more motivated to work out lately, meaning muscle weight is most likely included. Lexapro didn’t cause me to gain weight. Lexapro restored my appetite.

Sleep: I have not had one night of bad sleep since I’ve started taking lexapro.  Sleep was never an issue for me even before taking the Lexapro, but it’s drastically improved nonetheless. I sleep very soundly throughout the night, and hardly ever stir. I struggled with crazy bad dreams up until lately, but they’ve slowly settled down and become less frequent. Night sweats were also relatively frequent after starting the Lexapro, but those too have become less frequent with time.

That’s about it. Lexapro has provided me with so many amazing benefits, and next to no long-term side effects. If you are struggling with depression, and have been thinking about trying an antidepressant, I would highly recommend trying Lexapro. One of the best parts about this pill is that it’s also an anti-anxiety pill. My anxiety has decreased substantially, and no longer gets in the way of my life. I am now living without any unnecessary or crippling constraints. Lexapro has given me the freedom to live my life happily.

xx allie

 

Must Love Peanut Butter

How To: Homemade PB Oat Snack Bars

 pb bars   

As a snack, I love to eat nutri grain or protein bars with nuts, oats, or chocolate to satisfy my cravings, sustain my appetite, and provide me with some energy (typically in the afternoon). I enjoy Lara Bars, Nature Valley Bars, Kind Bars, Fiber One bars, and more. Recently, however, I’ve been starting to get tired of my go-to choices. None of them sound particularly appealing, so I’ve set out to my make own snack bar!

Only one problem: admittedly, I’m not the best chef. That’s why I tend to look for recipes with few and simple ingredients. I came upon one recipe that seemed simple enough for even ME to succeed at.

Here’s what you need (Makes 10 Snack Bars):

1 ½ Cups of Oats

1/3 Cup of Crunchy or Smooth Natural Salted Peanut Butter

2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds

2 Tablespoons of Honey or Agave

1/3 Cup of Chocolate chips

1 egg

Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. You may need to heat up the peanut butter in order to mix it properly (Be careful not to get it too hot, as it will melt the chocolate chips).

Place the mixture in a greased pan, and pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes!

Cool, cut, and enjoy!

Note: I store my extra bars in the refrigerator to keep them cool and fresh.

I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious treat. If you have any easy recipes to share, please comment on this post!

xx allie

Acai Bowl–How To!

acai

 

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to try an acai bowl, then I’m sure you understand their allure.

Every week I venture out to a little local coffee shop to purchase one of these delectable treats, often spending upwards of $8. And while that’s not too bad of a price to pay for a superfruit meal or filling snack, I’ve found a cheaper way to satisfy my craving.

Thanks to the all-fabulous Trader Joe’s stores, you can now purchase unsweetened organic acai puree packets for only $4.50. They come 4 packets per bag, and are separately portioned out to be just the right amount for a smoothie or bowl.

So now here’s what I do to make the perfect bowl:

Blend 1 half-thawed acai packet w/ a handful of frozen mixed berries, a smaller handful of frozen mango chunks, half of a banana, and a splash of almond milk.

Voila! You’ve made the perfect, thick n’ creamy base.

Now for the toppings:

Drizzle of peanut butter, handful of granola, the remaining half of the banana, a pinch of coconut, and a drizzle of honey or agave.

DE-LIC-IOUS. And literally all of these ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joe’s…your one-stop shop.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to mix and match ingredients for a different flavor that satisfies your own unique cravings. I also recommend chocolate chips, yogurt covered raisins, chia seeds, almond butter, goji berries, blueberries…and the list goes on!

While I normally spend $8 on a bowl… I would venture to say that my homemade bowls don’t cost more than $3 apiece.

Do you have a great Acai recipe idea? Feel free to share by commenting on this post!

xx allie