….Relax….Release….Let Go! 

“Won’t you come celebrate with me,  that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed…” Lucille Clifton 

So this weekend I had the privilege of attending a beautiful yoga mini-retreat event entitled Starshine & Clay: A place for Women of Color to be led by one of my favorite yoga teachers and mentor Octavia Raheem at her Atlanta-based studio Sacred Chill West... It’s hard to believe that I’ve been sitting under the teachings of my beautiful yoga soulsister since 2013, from studio classes to yoga festivals, and each time its always an amazingly soulful and radiant experience…

With all that has transpired good and bad, positive and negative over the course of my 2017, this was a much needed pre-holiday season detox and refresher experience in preparation for the newness of 2018. I experienced an amazing yin yoga and meditation practice with yoga nidra, and  set my intentions for the holiday season as well as my plans for the upcoming year. I met so many amazing women and enjoyed a delicious fellowship dinner with them after the yoga practice compliments of catering from Atlanta-based vegan chef  Jamila Crawford Pecou of Earth Candy Arts

The pictures below are of the many delicious, vegan culinary creations listed in the menu above…

After a very nourishing night of a mindfully healing practice and delicious soul nourishing vegan cuisine, I can truly say that I am on my way to creating space in my heart and mind for the positive changes and exciting adventures that this holiday season and the start of 2018 have in store for me….

Its time to relax…release…and let go of 2017 and anything negative that may have happened this year, and to begin speaking intentionally to ourselves  and others as humans and as women.

INHALE….

“….I AM”

EXHALE…..

“….worthy

     …..powerful

         …..creative

                ……peace

                       ……truth

                                ……..love 

                                            …..light “

So until next time, continue to speak your truth, creating the kind of life that’s nourishing to your life as well as the lives of others, remembering this one truth, each day telling yourself …that “I AM love”…and that “LOVE is art” and a work of ART is surely what we are, “somewhere on the bridge between Starshine & Clay” (Lucille Clifton). 

So until next time,  just Breathe ….relax…release…and let go!
~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is CANDICE MARIA’S FIT LIFE ~

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****DISCLAIMER**** 

Sensitive topic alert!

Never thought I’d see the day when I’d feel this way. When fitness and training, for general health and well-being as well as sports and competing,   becomes more of a chore and a struggle than an enjoyable act of self improvement. Because everyone knows…

However for the past month, I have awaken every morning bag packed headed to the gym with no pep in my step,  no passion, no excitement,  no joy! Like a cloud of despair and defeat looms over my head. I started to feel somewhat just FIT(ish) … going through the motions with no true desire to really be in the gym working out or home prepping meals and counting macros, etc. but all the while frustrated about my tendency for overeating (future blog post), the ever climbing numbers on the scale and the tightening of clothes that once fit just fine.

Part of it is sheer exhaustion and fatigue from the rigors of recent changes and transitions in my professional nursing career, that will eventually settle out once I get on a stable life-work schedule and routine. A second part of it is also sheer discomfort and pain, as a result of past injuries and musculoskeletal imbalances that nag my aging frame at now 35 years of age, that will also resolve with routine trips to therapy and adequate rest.

But lastly, a third part  to my lack of drive is more recent, and many will say its resolvable as well, as it simply requires mental toughness. But how easy is mental toughness and resilience when the very act of lifting weights and training, despite my recent decision to never return to the bodybuilding stage (details in a future post), these activities become a constant reminder of a poor decision made just a few short months ago, and the individual involved who hurt you and damaged your trust in them and consequently your ability to trust in general.

Emotional pain has a tendency to manifest itself in psychosomatic fashion, and the physical pain and fatigue experienced in the first two reasons mentioned for my lack of drive to workout and train could also be a result of the following scenario I’m about to share:
How do you find focus or enjoyment in your training when a lot of who you are, and how you train developed from the past trusted coach-athlete relationship you once had with the previously mentioned individual over three years ago. Despite no longer being in a coach-athlete relationship context with this person, and having developed a more personal relationship  in recent months, you find yourself in a situation of being betrayed to a point of no return.

So many levels of emotion and gray areas of confusion and emotion run through my mind daily since I learned the truth about this person. Not only as a Christian, professional career woman and an adult athlete, but also as a coach and trainer myself, it’s hard to grasp the complexity of the intentions this individual may have truly had from the beginning in the past during our coach-athlete relationship and based on the behaviors that occurred in the present during a more personal relationship with this individual. The blurred lines, the recent lies, and the mixed communication, etc. How do you catch all the warning signs without being blindsided?

It’s like everything you once thought you knew about a person is damaged eternally, because the trust you once had for them personally and professionally was a lie. Furthermore, the confidence you once had in yourself, your previous sport, your training and nutrition routine,  and even your own morals feels like it has died. You feel shame, guilt, defeat, doubt, depression, and simply a sense of lost control over how you manage yourself in relationships.

Currently, as a USATF Masters Athlete member of the board and association chair person for disabled youth track and field preparing for my officials credentials , I’m in the process of taking the U.S. SafeSport training. In watching and reading through the lessons in each of the training modules, all I can think about is how these same issues of safety, trust and respect, the dynamics of the coach-athlete relationship, consent, power imbalances, emotional, physical, and sexual misconduct, etc. that happens in youth sports, also happens to adult athletes as well, but in more subtle ways that rest in a gray area of “Oh you’re an adult, so you should know better” or “you knew what you were getting into”.

However, lies, manipulative intentions, and predatorial actions, despite asking the appropriate questions and no matter the age of the coach and/or athlete (whether present or former), are still unacceptable. Especially when one side of the situation has no remorse or sense of a need to at least be honest or apologize for misleading the other person.

In such cases, the athlete is essentially left to pick up the pieces of the sports activities they once enjoyed and learn to love themselves again, understand that they are not to blame themselves for what happen, regain a sense of control, and surround themselves with the people who truly have their best interest at heart.

In an effort to not go into any further details on this topic, I will close with this: What do you do when it’s not FUN anymore….? Forgive,  Forget, and Move Forward. Train harder and live well. Let your negative thoughts drive you to be your best, thinking about it won’t change what happened to you, but your actions and choices you make going forward can change you, and that is the only thing you can control. As my belief system puts it, God will deal with those who hurt you, it’s not your battle to fight! So be blessed.

I do not consider myself a “VICTIM” in this situation, but instead a “VICTOR” because I learned the truth, despite how painful it was, and I got away before things could get any worse. The take home lesson in all of this is to always stay vigilant,  question everything, and if the answers aren’t good enough,  question it again…#StayWoke!

Watch and Pray 
Threats to your personal and professional morality and sense of self-worth are always around in every sport, at every age! As a matter of fact in every area of life itself because, not to start preaching,  but we are in a spiritual war (Read Ephesians 6:10-2).

So despite the recent incidents in my life, one thing is certain, and that’s that God has kept his hand on me on this journey. When I think about my bodybuilding journey in particular, I realized so many beautiful aspects about myself that for years I never realized or considered possible. I learned to love myself, embrace my perfectly imperfect frame and developed a undescribable sense of peace and zeal for life that so many people could not understand or even comprehend (Phil.4:7),  not even the person who helped me get back into the sport and eventually betrayed me years later. So credit is owed where is due, to God! For everything I am and still becoming, it was all God’s doing all the time. He created this athlete that stands before you and is still working on, in, and through me!

Situational setbacks can make you lose sight of the ONE who instilled your passion and enjoyment in your most loved activities. For me it was my personal fitness journey and athletic accomplishments.  Throughout my past and present athletic endeavors I learned so many things about myself,  I enjoyed the self improvements that I made in my 3rd decade of life and continue to set my eyes on God for the direction He wants to take this journey in next decade, and the one’s to come, because all the actual work back then and even now was performed by yours truly by the grace and hand of the Almighty God. To Him be the Glory and the Power Forever!

So until next time….on a lighter happier side of life …

~ I AM (still) CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is (still) ~CANDICE MARIA’S  FIT LIFE ~

Welcome to the final days of the #31DaysofMindfulness and the Meatless October Challenge….I hope you enjoyed learning from the journey as much as I did! 😊

Mindful Minute

“Not everyone will understand you, but those that matter will, and will cherish what you have to offer…It’s okay to let go.” ~ Candice Maria 

Many times in life, when starting a new journey to better oneself we meet opposition. Keep in mind that a lot of this opposition, especially that which originates from family, friends, or acquaintances is many times just a direct result of their lack of understanding of the purpose and passion behind your choices.

This does not mean in anyway that you are wrong or that they are right, and vice versa. It simply means that you have to do what feels best to you, not everyone will understand at first and in time they either will or will continue not to. However, nevertheless you have to do what feels good to your soul, your mind, and your body, I mean considering we only show up on life’s door with one of each… 😉

So if they don’t understand, hold fast to those who do, and let the rest go for the time being.

Mindful Mobility WOD

For these last few days you will complete a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio and at least 8 Rounds (or as many as your body needs) of the Sun Salutation A sequence as prehab before and/or after or even during your other resistance training or athletic activities today.

Meatless Meals of the Day (MOD)

So this week’s meatless meal of the day is a simple fruit and nut spring mix salad from Publix deli along with a wonderful bottle of GT’s Kombucha (one of my favorite beverages next to plain water). 20171024_122009194780247.jpg

This concludes the blog updates for the #31DaysofMindfulness and Meatless October Yoga Challenge…enjoy these last final days and if you plan to return to consuming meat or meat products after October 31st that is OK, just as continuing to explore your new vegan, vegetarian, or vegetarian variation lifestyle that is also OK. Do what feels right to your mind, body, and spirit….simply treat it and feed it well.

Until next time ~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is ~ CANDICE MARIA’S FIT LIFE~

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Welcome back  to #31DaysofMindfulness and Meatless October Challenge. The following is your Week 4 Update and Overview for Days 22 through 28….

 

Mindful Minute

Welcome to Week 4 of the challenge, you’re a little over a week away from the finish line. 🏁

The following Mindful Minute words of wisdom and inspiration for this week is as follows….

 

Failure is never an option,  but a choice. Plan for success and believe in your plan.
 Take chances, and put your neck in the noose of life”  ~ Candice Maria 

 Loaded statements,  but definitely doable. This week is the final full week of the #31DaysofMindfulness and the Meatless October Challenge co-hosted by my friend DA ‘Grindseason’ Raimer and I. 

Let me go on record and say I will be the 1st to admit that a 💯  meatless diet or veganism is difficult for this self-proclaimed pescatarian. It was a challenge and a chance I took to test my body’s  own physical capabilities or lack thereof  to consume and thrive on a 100% plant-based diet. 

Primarily due to personal health reasons and my body’s difficulty in processing non-hemeiron food sources. I  struggled with balancing my hemeiron levels and maintaining consistent energy without always feeling tired, being hungry, and consuming more calories in high carbohydrates vegan protein and iron sources (quinoa, black beans and lentils) than my weight management goals cared to allow, along with the issue of non-diabetic reactive hypoglycemia or carb sensitivity .

 These imbalances were due to various reasons, to include being a very physically active, athletic African-American female, with a mildly distant family history of sickle cell disease (2nd cousin) among other geneticaly linked metabolic and lifestyle related chronic illnesses. However,  I’ve not been directly diagnosed with any of those issues, I  have been counseled and cautioned on my red blood count or inquired about my family history by my primary care providers off and on over the course of my adult years. However,  my proposed  self-diagnosed cause to my iron deficiency anemia is primarily due to blood loss and malabsorption. I’ll spare you the primary biological details on the blood loss lol. However, minor  blood loss can also result from muscle tissue damage from overuse or overtraing in the gym as well.

The current iron RDAs for adult nonvegetarians ages 19 to 50 years old is 8 mg (males) and 18mg (females). The RDAs for true vegetarians(vegans) are 1.8 times higher than for people who eat meat. This is because heme iron from meat is more bioavailable than nonheme iron from plant-based foods, and meat, poultry, and seafood increase the absorption of nonheme iron. 

So as much as I love veggies, I also prefer a low carbohydrates diet, and having energy without feeling like I’m having to over eat, only to never truly meet my daily iron needs without supplements. In essence, like a person with a true milk, nut, or gluten allergy or other nutritional imbalance, biochemically my body can’t absorb non-hemeiron in the absence of high hemeiron sources in an amount sufficient enough to meet my daily iron needs so that I can thrive successfully in my daily physical activities.

So failure is not an option,  it’s a choice you make to try or not to try, but you only fail by NOT trying. I could have chosen to quit the challenge,  but I kept going and listened to my body. Planned my meals and activities,  and didn’t push myself as hard in the weight room as I used to when I still consumed a diet that included fish and eggs and supplemented nutrients where necessary (iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B-12 and C, etc.)

 I took a chance, put my neck in the noose of life, and tested my body’s ability to live a certain lifestyle for a temporary moment in time. And yes, I look forward to November 1st and a hemeiron  rich piece of  salmon or tuna steak because it’s what my body biochemically needs in order to thrive and be biochemically balanced and well… 

Being none vegan doesn’t mean you are a terrible person, or that you are unhealthy.  It doesn’t mean you failed to live a health conscious,  enlightened life, it just means you understand your family health history and the health related needs of your individual body. The reasons why there are differing approaches to a “meatless” lifestyle: vegan(plant-based) or vegetarian and it’s hybrid exceptions for those of us who biochemically need or better absorb certain vital nutrients from eggs, dairy, and/or fish. You can’t neglect your biological wiring for trends and pop culture!

So don’t walk away from this month’s challenge believing that Veganism is a cure all and by God, nor is any other “lifestyle” diet (paleo, keto, gluten free, etc) At the end of the day it’s about knowing your body and creating BALANCE and MINDFULNESS through daily actions and food choices!

 

Mindful Mobility WOD

This week you will complete a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio and at least 6 Rounds (or as many as your body needs) of the Sun Salutation A sequence as prehab before and/or after or even during your other resistance training or athletic activities today.

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Meatless Meals of the Day (MOD)

This week’s featured Meatless MOD’s is al carte vegetable selections from Trifecta System Nutrition

Organic Squash, Zucchini, Broccoli,  and Asparagus…

Squash
Asparagus
Zucchini
Broccoli

This concludes the Week 4 update and  overview for Days 22 through 28 of #31DaysofMindfulness and the Meatless October Challenge…until next time ~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is ~ CANDICE MARIA’S FIT LIFE ✌🏾

31 Days of Mindfulness and Meatless October Week 3 Introduction overview of Days 15 through 21….

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Week 2 wrap-up of 31 Days of Mindfulness and Meatless October….Day 14….

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Welcome to Day 13 of #31DaysofMindfulness and the Meatless October Challenge….

Mindful Minute

 

Live such a fascinating life, that it’s open book worthy” ~ Candice Maria

A life well lived, traveled well, and lived out loud….do you live a life so phenomenal that it’s open book worthy?

I recently received a birthday card from my younger brother that stated on the cover…”She made her own life, and it was beautiful” What do others say about your life? Since it’s Friday the 13th, what do you think will come to mind after you leave this earth, during the eulogy of your death at your funeral, as others celebrate your life here on earth?

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Upon opening the card, it goes on to say ” …. and pretty soon, everybody else wanted one just like it..” Powerful words to receive on a day when you are celebrating another year of your life. Do you have an open book story to share with the world? Is there something about your life that you believe will make a difference, impact, and shock the world?

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Tell it….Welcome to the #writersblock

 

Mindful Mobility 

If you have been following along with the challenge calendar , you should be doing a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio, along with a minimum of 2 rounds (or as many as your body needs) of the Sun Salutation A sequence as prehab before and/or after your other resistance training or athletic activities today.

Meatless Meal of the Day (MOD) 

Today’s MOD feature is a Trifecta Nutrition System Sesame Mushroom Lima Beans:

Ingredient List:

  • Luna beans*

  • Onion*

  • Carrot*

  • Broccolini*

  • White cabbage*

  • Shiitake mushroom*

  • Scallion

  • Extra virgin olive oil*

  • Sesame oil

  • Safflower oil*

  • Coconut sugar*

  • Coconut aminos*

  • Grade B maple syrup*

  • Dijon mustard*

  • Lime juice*

  • Cilantro*

  • Ginger*

  • Basil*

  • Black sesame seed

  • Black pepper

  • Sea salt

  • Filtered water

*Organic

Nutrition Facts (The Macros):

Serving Size: ~ 350 grams (able to be divided into two 175g servings):

Total calories: 438

Total fat: 14g

Sodium: 532 mg

Total carbohydrates: 68g

Dietary fiber: 11g

Sugar: 30g

Protein: 10 g

This concludes Day 13 of 31 Days of Mindfulness and Meatless October Challenge….stay tuned for Day 14…

Until next time.. ~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is ~ CANDICE MARIA’S FIT LIFE ~

 

Welcome to Days 8 & 9 of 31 Days of Mindfulness and Meatless October Challenge late post due to some recent travel for teaching and training ….

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