The Power of Affirmations

Hello again, fellow readers! I hope that you are thoroughly enjoying your summer. :-) This month, I was asked to write about mental restructuring. In other words, what can we say to ourselves to reinforce positive progress or goals?
Why is Mental Restructuring Important?
It is important, because if you make the decision to make permanent or long lasting change, it cannot happen without changing your mindset. It is about “getting your mind right” or becoming mentally prepared for the things that you want. Part of that has to do with the things that you say to yourself on a regular basis. A lot of us have a tendency to say things to ourselves that we would think twice about saying to an enemy. James C. Allen wrote a book called, “As A Man Thinketh“, which is all about the importance of our thoughts and how they affect the outcomes of our lives. Mr. Allen once said, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
Whatever you think… is. If you think that you are fat and lazy and no one could ever love you for you, then you are correct. If you believe that you are fat and lazy, then that will be your excuse as to why you don’t exercise or why you choose not to make a real effort to do the things that you know that you need to do. As far as the love relationships go, you may find someone that loves you, but because you’ve hidden your true nature under a bunch of layers, the ones who loves you can only love the mask, not the real you. So, as I said, whatever you
think… is.
How to Get Your Mind Right
There are plenty of ways to go about getting your mind right: hypnosis, meditation, prayer, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and more. One of the ways that people do it is through affirmations. Everything that you say to yourself is an affirmation of some sort. You have the power to change things in your life simply by making positive affirmations every day. Things like, ” I never catch a break”, “everything always goes wrong”, “I am so broke”, “I am such a fat loser”, are all examples of things NOT to say, but I’m sure all of you have said one or more of these statements, or worse, to yourself at one point or another. I’m sure statements like these don’t make you feel good. As such, your negative emotions are what is put out there and negativity is what you get in return. Whereas, the reverse is true with positive affirmations. If you think that you are a magnet for great things and wonderful opportunities and truly believe that, then that is what you will speak into existence.
I’ve heard two different points of view regarding affirmations. On one hand, I’ve heard that you should say positive affirmations even when they aren’t true or if you don’t believe it. On the other hand, I’ve heard that if you don’t believe the affirmations, then they won’t work for you. Whether or not this is true I am not sure, but I know it can’t hurt you. As a matter of fact, I think it is important to develop a habit of positive self talk as soon as possible. I believe that it can totally change your life. There’s no time like the present to get started!
So What Do You Say?
Affirmations are so simple. In fact, you are already doing it. We just need to tweak it a little. Here are some tips.
Most affirmations start with “I am”, but they don’t have to. Here are a couple examples. “My body is amazing.” “My health is improving every day.”
All affirmations should be in the present tense. You cannot change the past and the future is something that always occurs later. You only have this moment. The present. Right now. That is why your affirmations should focus on the present.
Affirmations should be positive and should use positive words. “I don’t overeat,” is not a good affirmation, because “don’t” is a negative word. “I only eat when I am hungry,” or “I eat until I am full,” both say the same thing as the first affirmation, but they are positive.
Keep your affirmation straight and to the point. Shorter affirmations are easier to remember and repeat. Shorter affirmations have more of an impact. Wordy affirmations lose their power.
How Do I Do Them?
A lot of people think that they can just say them out loud and that is all, but there is more to it, if you want them to work for you.
Before you begin, I suggest taking a few deep breaths to clear out any mental residue so that you can concentrate. When saying your affirmations, say them with feeling. Say them like you believe what you are saying. If the affirmations aren’t true, then imagine what it would feel like if they were true. Allow yourself to bask in those feelings. Repeat the affirmations. It feels really good to repeat them. Say your affirmations how ever many times feels right to you.
If you find it hard to say your affirmations in the beginning, then I highly suggest starting with things for which you are grateful. Gratitude is an extremely powerful affirmation. I wrote about it on my blog, Big Diva Hq. You can find the post here: http://bigdivahq.com/personal-development/be-grateful/ It may be hard for you to say an affirmation that is not true, but using gratitude really helps. For example, “I am healthy”, may be hard for you to say and feel, so find something about your health or your body for which you can be thankful. You can say, “I am grateful that I am making healthy eating choices”, or “I am grateful for going to the gym last night”, or “I am grateful for making a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle.” “I am grateful for taking the first step towards having a healthier body.” See the difference?
Do your affirmations daily. Consistency is the key here. Affirmations are a great way to start your day. They put you in a great frame of mind. I feel great after I say my affirmations and that feeling is carried with me throughout the day no matter what happens.
When you get into the habit of speaking positivity and love to yourself and you will be greatly rewarded in life. I can personally guarantee that, so give it a try! Best wishes on your journey! :-)
Ms. Pillowz

Fasting and Exercise

Hello everyone! I hope that all of you are well. :-) I was asked to write about exercise and fasting, more specifically the dos and don’t of exercising while fasting. Based upon my experiences, I’ve put together a short list.

DO your research – Before I even started the first fast, I did a ton of research. One of the questions that I looked for was if it was ok to exercise while fasting. There are a number of blogs out there that discuss this in pretty good detail. The best ones I found were the ones that talked about how they felt while exercising and after exercising. Granted, everyone is different, but reading the stories are truly encouraging and you can get great tips as well.
DON’T exercise at the beginning of your fast. The beginning of the fast is the best time to really observe your body and the changes and signals that you experience. It is important to get to know how you feel at different times of the day. It is vital to be able to recognize your bodies signals for when you are hungry and when you’re having a “healing reaction”, which is a type of ill feeling that happens when your body needs to release toxins that have been stirred up as a result of the fast. It could mean headache, nausea, a stomachache, back pain, or something else. Typically, once you eliminate the waste from your system, the reaction goes away. The point is that the beginning of the fast should be spent becoming acclimated to your bodies reactions and changes. Once you feel comfortable, then…
DO pick a time to exercise. I highly recommend exercising in a relatively consistent manner. Pick whether you want to exercise in the morning, afternoon, or evening. It’s been my experience that I can manage my body’s response to the fast better if I keep things consistent and on schedule. For example, I typically did my salt water flush every day between 9 and 10. That way, my system was completely flushed by 11:30 at the latest. I liked to exercise in the morning. When fasting, my energy was pretty high, and when I exercised I felt energized and exhilarated. When I exercised at night, I found it harder to get to sleep.
DO take it easy when you exercise. You are operating on a limited caloric intake, so it is important to dial back your routine a little bit. Pace yourself, especially when you first start out.
DO drink plenty of water. Water helps to flush toxins and when you are fasting, toxins are being stirred up in the body and they need to be flushed. Water will help that. It will help ease some of your reactions.
Exercising during a fast can feel great, but please be careful and if at any time you feel ill, then stop. Don’t overdo it! Please feel free to ask me any other questions if you have any. Good luck!

There’s Something about Fasting

Thank you all for your feedback from my first post! Sorry, for the delay in getting out the follow up post. I’ve been travelling a lot for my job. :-)
I was asked to write about fasting this month. There is so much that I can say on it, that I may even talk about it again in a later post.
Let’s start by defining fasting. According to the Medical Free Dictionary, “Fasting is voluntarily not eating food for varying lengths of time. Fasting is used as a medical therapy for many conditions. It is also a spiritual practice in many religions.” More information can be found here: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?word=fasting
There are so many types of fasts out there. As mentioned above, there are religious fasts like Ramadan or Lent. There is the water fast, where you only drink water. This is typically not recommended in anything that I’ve read. There are also juice fasts and time related fasts. I’ve even seen fasts to require you to take pills. I don’t really consider these types to be fasts at all.
Why do people fast? People fast for spiritual or religious reasons, weight loss, detoxification, or other medical reasons. When I fasted, I did it to detox and to jump start a healthier eating regimine. You can read all about my fasts on my blog, BigDivaHq.com. All of the related posts are grouped here: http://bigdivahq.com/tag/master-cleanse/
Once, I read a comment on some website where the commenter thought that fasting was a hoax. She believed that the body had its own natural system to release waste and that fasting was totally unnecessary. I do agree that the body has its natural waste release system, but I also believe that with pollution we inhale, heavy unhealthy items that we eat, unnatural chemicals and harmful products that we put on our bodies daily take a toll on our natural waste system.
I also believe that disease is a product of harmful waste that has built up in the body. With such a heavy burden our bodies have: to totally cleanse all the things that we put in it and on it, systems start breaking down or the body doesn’t do as thorough a job as it should.
The good thing is that our bodies are amazing healing vessels. Giving your body a break from certain types of foods or food altogether allows for it to focus on clearing out what is still there. Granted, I am by no means a doctor, however I’ve thoroughly researched the subject before I embarked on my first fast and since then, I’ve done 3 more.
Before I go, one thing that I want you to understand about fasting is that it should not be used as a quick weight loss strategy. Yes, you will lose weight, but once you start eating again, you will gain the weight back. You can, however, use the fast as a spring board to better food choices and a healthier overall routine.
I haven’t done a fast since the winter. I feel like the Master Cleanser no longer suits my needs. In speaking with a friend who is a health and holistic nutrition specialist, I was advised to be careful of the type of fasts that I choose. She told me to do a fast of only fruit and vegetables so that my body can be bathed in nutrients. (How refreshing does that sound? lol) I think that I will give it a try the next time. I’ll be sure to keep you posted. 😉
Feel free to ask any questions or post comments about your own experiences! Thanks for reading!
Be blessed and be a blessing today and everyday!

There’s Something about Fasting

Thank you all for your feedback from my first post! Sorry, for the delay in getting out the follow up post. I’ve been travelling a lot for my job. :-)
I was asked to write about fasting this month. There is so much that I can say on it, that I may even talk about it again in a later post.
Let’s start by defining fasting. According to the Medical Free Dictionary, “Fasting is voluntarily not eating food for varying lengths of time. Fasting is used as a medical therapy for many conditions. It is also a spiritual practice in many religions.” More information can be found here: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?word=fasting
There are so many types of fasts out there. As mentioned above, there are religious fasts like Ramadan or Lent. There is the water fast, where you only drink water. This is typically not recommended in anything that I’ve read. There are also juice fasts and time related fasts. I’ve even seen fasts to require you to take pills. I don’t really consider these types to be fasts at all.
Why do people fast? People fast for spiritual or religious reasons, weight loss, detoxification, or other medical reasons. When I fasted, I did it to detox and to jump start a healthier eating regimine. You can read all about my fasts on my blog, BigDivaHq.com. All of the related posts are grouped here: http://bigdivahq.com/tag/master-cleanse/
Once, I read a comment on some website where the commenter thought that fasting was a hoax. She believed that the body had its own natural system to release waste and that fasting was totally unnecessary. I do agree that the body has its natural waste release system, but I also believe that with pollution we inhale, heavy unhealthy items that we eat, unnatural chemicals and harmful products that we put on our bodies daily take a toll on our natural waste system.
I also believe that disease is a product of harmful waste that has built up in the body. With such a heavy burden our bodies have: to totally cleanse all the things that we put in it and on it, systems start breaking down or the body doesn’t do as thorough a job as it should.
The good thing is that our bodies are amazing healing vessels. Giving your body a break from certain types of foods or food altogether allows for it to focus on clearing out what is still there. Granted, I am by no means a doctor, however I’ve thoroughly researched the subject before I embarked on my first fast and since then, I’ve done 3 more.
Before I go, one thing that I want you to understand about fasting is that it should not be used as a quick weight loss strategy. Yes, you will lose weight, but once you start eating again, you will gain the weight back. You can, however, use the fast as a spring board to better food choices and a healthier overall routine.
I haven’t done a fast since the winter. I feel like the Master Cleanser no longer suits my needs. In speaking with a friend who is a health and holistic nutrition specialist, I was advised to be careful of the type of fasts that I choose. She told me to do a fast of only fruit and vegetables so that my body can be bathed in nutrients. (How refreshing does that sound? lol) I think that I will give it a try the next time. I’ll be sure to keep you posted. 😉
Feel free to ask any questions or post comments about your own experiences! Thanks for reading!
Be blessed and be a blessing today and everyday!

How Do I Prepare For This Journey?

Ah… My dear Glenda… Thank you so much for this opportunity! Who knew that a funny conversation on the bus back from Old San Juan would be the start of a friendship 3 years and going strong? Your readers are surely in for a treat, because you are the same witty, intelligent, positive, thoughtful, and warm spirited lady I met in PR. That is why I call you “Glenda”. You’re definitely the good witch! :-)

I suppose that I should do a short intro before I get into my advice. I am Ms. Pillowz and I am the blogger for Big Diva Headquarters at BigDivaHq.com. The purpose of the blog is to encourage confidence in and provide inspiration for big girls. I want Big Girls to know without a doubt that we are beautiful, deserve the best of everything, and can live a healthy, positive and utterly fulfilling life. I’ve since found that women of all shapes and sizes come to my site for encouragement. I am so grateful that I am able to help women through my blog and I look forward to what the future has in store.

Glenda has asked me to do an advice column, which will be updated once a month in relation to health and wellness. She put out the first question, but please feel free to send any of your questions here and I will answer it the best way I can. :-) Now on to the question at hand, “How do I prepare myself for this journey [weight loss] mentally?”

1) Don’t focus on weight – People focus WAY too much on the number on the scale. Weight is not a determinate of health. Skinny people can have diseases and disorders typically related to being overweight. Whereas, a big person could be in great shape. Another problem with the scale is that it doesn’t take into account that muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle helps burn fat and makes your body more toned. This probably explains why Glenda gained weight after she began lifting weights, but I’ll bet that her clothes were looser. Lifting weights is a great way to get healthy.

2) Focus on being healthier instead and define FOR YOURSELF what that means. Does being healthier mean lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, at least 2 – 3 bowel movements every day, lower stress levels, etc? What does it mean to you? Be specific. How do you know when you have reached “lower stress levels”? What exactly does that mean? Once you’ve figured that out, write down your ideas of how you plan to achieve these goals. What will you eat? What will you stop eating? How will you exercise? How often will you exercise? Water intake?

3) It is very important to do a self assessment before you start a program of any kind. What are your current eating and drinking habits? Exercise habits, if any? What are your weaknesses: overeating, carbs, not eating enough, sugar junkie? How often do you eat? What kind of physical activities do you like to do? What are some things that you would like to try to keep it interesting? How much do you weigh? What size are you? What is your age? What is your ideal weight / size? Be realistic. A woman who is 5’8 and has a large frame is not meant to be 110 pounds. Why do you want to lose weight? What is the purpose? Is it because the doctor said that you needed to? Is your significant other threatening to leave if you don’t drop some pounds? Or do you want to feel better, more energetic, etc? Another good tool for self assessment is a food journal. For a week, record EVERYTHING that you eat and drink. You ate 2 M&Ms before dinner or half of a cheese biscuit from Red Lobster, (you just couldn’t resist), write it in there. This gives you a true account of just how much you really eat. You can make a suitable eating plan from there.

4) Lastly, it is so easy to get down on yourself when you are unhappy with your weight. Many of us can’t take compliments or turn them into negatives. Our self talk can be very hurtful and demeaning. We tend to talk to and think better about complete strangers than we do ourselves. That has to change if weight loss and being healthy is going to be a long term commitment. Instead of criticizing body parts, love them instead. Get in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful from the hair on your head to the bottom of your feet. Keep saying it. Looking in your eyes when you say it. How does it feel? Was it hard? Did you believe it after a while? Look in the mirror and thank your spare tire for providing you with comfort and support. Tell it that you no longer need it. You can protect yourself now and you are ready to release it. Do this daily for reinforcement of the belief. Forgive yourself for your weakness of chocolate and bread. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Learn from it. Accept it. Move on. It is important to show yourself some appreciation and love throughout your life. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.

Peace and blessings!

Show yourself some love, appreciation, and respect during this process. Support your feelings.