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Archive for January, 2012

My Own Inspiration – Sista!

One of the reasons why I started this blog was to share a part of my life in hopes to inspire and motive others in some positive way. Well, I figured that I would write about one person that helps motivate me…my sister (a.k.a. Sista!!)

Although she is five years older than me, we are extremely close and people often mistake us for twins. I don’t mind this though – she is absolutely beautiful! But, there are so many other reasons why I look up to my sister, and I am sure many people feel the same way about their siblings. With graduate degrees, starting her own businesses, and zealous passion to be her number one version, Maria makes being smart, beautiful, and independent look so easy! But I know how hard she works, and I admire that.

She is one of the reasons why I continued to study to get my own graduate degrees, started training for marathons, changed my career path and followed my dreams to move to CA. I do not try to copy my sister, because she has her own goals and passions, and that would just be annoying. Instead, I try to emulate her passion and dedication. She has made many breakthroughs this year, and whenever I am feeling down or like I should just give up on something, I think of her and I always get back to it!

So, I just wanted to say – thanks Sista! For showing me what hard work is, and what it actually means to be true to yourself ☺

Pictured below, a side by side of my sister and me…so cool that I could even be a little like my big sister!


Abandon a Goal? Yes!

One of my favorite books that love to read, especially when I am in need of motivation, is called Thinking Body, Dancing Mind It is about reaching extraordinary performance in all areas of your life, but I especially enjoy it because the authors share their messages through examples of sports and athletes. One of the chapters that I recently looked back at was about goal setting, because this time of the year really has me analyzing my goals, as I am sure it does for many others. The book shared this quote:

“Within the Self, there is a central force of character that unifies thoughts and actions. When you are not in accord with your goals, you may feel indecision, conflict, or malaise; when you are, a sense of self-confidence and well-being will surround you.”
-I Ching no. 45

I couldn’t agree with this more, especially since I recently decided to abandon my goal of completing a triathlon this spring. I set this goal with a family member last September. Since then, we have been swimming, running, and cycling. This was especially hard for me since I barely knew how to swim at the time and the most i had ever biked was 10 miles! My goal was to be able to complete the swimming portion of a quarter mile in 10 minutes or less, and the last time I swam I had gotten as fast as 1:15 a lap. I could do about six in a row, and I needed to do 8…almost there.

But sometime mid December, I just didn’t feel like going anymore. I thought maybe because I was training and dieting for a bikini show earlier December, that I was just tired. I told myself I’d get back on track as soon as it was over. Well the show came and went, and two weeks passed. Then I said I didn’t want to swim because I felt fat and out of shape, and didn’t want to put on my suit! So I thought to myself, if I’m not going to swim then at least I will bike!….but I never did. When I went to the gym, I would say to myself, “I feel like running, I will run” or “I will bike when I get one outside, because cycling inside is so boring to me!” But that was all excuses! And I knew it…

Why was I making these excuses though? I wanted to do a triathlon and I wanted to do one with my sister! Frustrated with myself, I set out to plan my workouts just so I could have something to follow day by day, no excuses! I wrote it out on my iPad on the way to my New Year’s holiday vacation. I knew that when I got back from my vacation, it’d be business! Crazy, hardcore training! No excuses!

Well, during my vacation, in freezing cold NYC, I completed the longest run that I had done in a while. With gloves, headband, two pair of socks, and tons of layers, I don’t remember complaining at all during the run. It was a hard, exhausting run of course, but it felt natural and fun for me. Thinking back now, I remember asking my friend that week like almost everyday, “When are we going running?” or “let’s go running! Let’s go running!” Also, I didn’t pack my suit for swimming or shorts for biking, I packed my sneakers and outdoor gear for running! That should have told me something.

Well it did, I know the reason that I made all those excuses was not because I was tired, lazy, or lacked motivation, it is because it was the wrong goal for me! So I changed my goal. I changed it that week on vacation actually, when I got an email saying that I had been accepted into the NYC half-marathon lottery for March 2012! I was so excited and still am, I even scream yahoo! Now, my new goal is to do the NYC half-marathon in 97 minutes. That time gives me a guaranteed entry into the NYC full marathon, something that I have wanted to do for a while! You know you have the right goal when you go to bed thinking about how excited you are to get up the next day and make it a great run! There is no indecision or conflict, just self-confidence and well-being! You enjoy the journey of reaching the goal, because it is after all, all about the journey, not the destination!


Starting the Year off Right – OATMEAL!

This is my first post of the year and I really wanted to start it right! I wanted to post something important and relative to starting the 2012 year off right. Then I thought, just because it is new year doesn’t mean January is anymore important than any other day of the year – they are all important! And all those days need to be started of right! So for many of those that have getting in shape, losing weight, exercising, eating better, etc. as new years resolutions, I am going to share what works for me as far as starting everyday right:


There is something magic about oatmeal that I cannot quite explain, but ever since I have started eating oatmeal for breakfast everyday since 2007, I have become more physically fit and healthier. Yes, it all started in May of 2007…

The facility where I was working at the time offered this free service for a health screening, and since I hate going to see the doctor, I decided to take advantage of it. The screening recorded things like weight, bmi, sugar and cholesterol levels, etc. Well, like I wrote in my Bio, I have been exercising since I was a little girl so I was confident that I was in good shape, but I still wanted to see what the numbers were. Receiving the health report to me was like getting your report card when you are in school, and I felt like I got an F when the report told me that my cholesterol was high!

Determined to improve it, I thought to tweak my eating habits. I didn’t really eat bad at the time, but I did go out for lunch a lot. And I hated going out for lunch! I would be so hungry by the time lunch came around that I’d eat a big lunch and then be full and tired for the next hour at work and would want to just take a nap at my desk! So I thought to change that by eating a healthy breakfast, because breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. It really is. A healthy breakfast means I don’t overeat at lunch, I don’t feel sluggish after lunch, I don’t pick myself up with a crazy energy drink or something, and I feel great in time for my workout right after work. It is a miraculous domino effect in the positive direction. So, ever since that day I got my health screening, I have done one thing religiously, and that is to eat oatmeal for breakfast.

Oatmeal by itself is gross, mushy, tasteless, and boring. But if you mix it with things, it is like magic! Add eggs to turn it to pudding! Add protein powder to change the flavor – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, ROCKY ROAD!! (make sure to add it after oatmeal is cooled off so you don’t cook the powder). Add peanut butter to make it decadent! Add flaxseed or coconut oil to get in your healthy fats! Add apple and cinnamon to taste like pie! Add banana and berries to get your daily fruits! I haven’t tried chicken or vegetables, but who knows!??

So after eating oatmeal everyday because it is heart healthy, tastes delicious, fills me up, is cheap to buy, easy to make, convenient to travel with, and provides just the right amount of energy, I went back for my screening the next year and all my readings were good! In fact, they have been good every year since! And I continue to eat oatmeal.. In fact, I continue to do many other things that I didn’t do before May 2007, like run in marathons, compete and place in bikini competitions, save money, feel amazing, and perhaps most importantly, keep my cholesterol in check!

Today I mixed with eggs and chocolate protein powder, tastes like chocolate pudding!