When I was younger, I wasn’t a picture of health. My mom will tell you differently (MOM if you’re listening… I had glasses, no boobs, and long crimped hair. I was not cute), but I was, frankly, overweight for my age and had zero self-confidence. I didn’t like the way I looked or how I felt.
By the time I reached high school, my brain was already infiltrated by media telling me that I needed to be thin, pretty and perfect. For the next several years of my life, I focused on losing weight and I did, but honestly, I still completely lacked self-confidence. I spent tons of time in the gym, and while this period in my life ignited my love of running and fitness as well as of good food, it also negatively skewed my perspective on how to reach my goals.
I’ll save the long story for another day. The short story is that I wrecked my metabolism by trying any “lose 10 pounds in a week” plan that I could get my hands on and over-exercised.
Thankfully, I came to my senses (dear senses, you sure took long enough). I realized that to be clear-minded and happy, you need to fuel yourself with delicious, nutritious food and make time for self-care. In my case, self-care includes lounging when I need to, listening to my favorite music, taking yoga classes, and spending time with my family and friends. Most importantly, I spend time alone, giving my head a chance to catch up with my heart.
Now, in the age of social media and the internet, I have the opportunity to seek out people whose philosophies align with mine. I’m able to be inspired by amazing humans and learn new lessons from these people every day. One such person is Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga, a NYC based studio that focuses on movement to bring awareness to the body and become stronger both in mind and body.
I’ve followed Tara for some time now, and recently her popularity in the U.S. skyrocketed thanks to her collaboration with Reebok (you’ve probably seen her famous cloud pants before). While she does design some bomb clothing, it’s her lifestyle that I admire most. When I found out she was writing a new book called the Make Your Own Rules Diet, I knew I had to read it. Just from the title I could tell that this wasn’t your typical “follow my plan to look hot!” book. This was going to be the real deal – a life changer.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to read an advanced sample of Tara’s book and share it with you. I can assure you that as soon as it’s released (November 11!), I’ll pick up a copy of my own. Here’s what I took away as the core of the book:
“When following someone else’s rules leads us further away from ourselves, we start swimming in dangerous territory. We chase the external and grasp at the next best thing that never lives up to its promise. And worse yet, we begin to think of ourselves as failures.”
This book aims to lead us back to ourselves in three ways: the mat, the cushion, the kitchen (i.e. yoga, meditation, food). Tara writes that when we spend time in those three areas, we can feel, move, and believe. Those are the three principles by which we can make space for ourselves and begin to thrive.
“The more space you have, the better you start to feel and the more you’ll want to continue the great feeling.”
Tara’s writing captivated me throughout the book, which includes personal anecdotes and stories (she’s so inspiring!), yoga routines, meditation routines, recipes and two different “transformation” plans to follow, if that’s your ish or you need a little guidance.
While I only had a sampling of these, I can assure you that the meditation and flows are easy to follow and rejuvenating and the recipes simple, clean and delicious. Look! I can prove it. This is Tara’s Roasted Acorn Squash Soup. It took minimal time and prep. Plus, I didn’t see a single recipe in the sampling I received with more than 10 ingredients, not counting spices, which I LOVED.
I’m highly recommending the Make Your Own Rules Diet for one specific reason: Tara doesn’t tout her views as the best, she simply wants to share information with you and let you make your rules. We are all different, so how could one prescribed diet or routine fit us all? It can’t! With that in mind, you can truly take away what works for you from this book. I loved it, and I know you will, too.
Full disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I received a BLAD copy of Make Your Own Rules Diet free of charge. All opinions are my own.
Questions of the Day:
>> Are you familiar with Tara Stiles?
>> What do you think of the lifestyle philosophy shared here?