"It was just not my scene."
I've always been on the heavier side—but it wasn't until college that I realized I was an emotional eater.
I'd eat when I was stressed out, if I had a bad day, or if I was upset. My core meals weren't necessarily unhealthy—but the amount of emotional snacking I did each day really did me in. Sweets were my weakness: Throughout the day, I'd have cookies, cereal, or chips—as often as I wanted, and as much as I wanted.
During that time, I tried all the diets—Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, various cleanses—but I'd always end up gaining any weight I lost back.
After having surgery in 2013, I knew it was time to make a big change.
I was born with hip dysplasia—a condition that allows the hip joint to become fully or partially dislocated often—so working out has always been painful for me. My hips can only last for about 30 to 40 minutes in the gym or walking before I start to experience severe pain.
I had surgery for my hip dysplasia in December 2013, and while I was recovering, I was able to prepare myself mentally for my weight loss journey—something I had never truly done before in trying other diet plans. Basically, I realized I had to make this change for me, and me alone.
I started with an easy-to-follow program—but it wasn't sustainable.
I saw a commercial for Nutrisystem, a program I hadn't tried yet, so I decided to sign up. It was super expensive, so it wasn't sustainable for me in the long run, but it gave me an easy place to start from because it was real food that was portioned out for me.
I stuck with it from January of 2014 to August of 2015 and lost 35 pounds through dieting alone (I was still recovering from surgery, so I wasn't able to work out yet).
After I quit Nutrisystem, my cousin started a program called Wellness Warrior, which focuses on eating whole foods, eliminating unprocessed foods, and keeping track of portion control. It also urges you to limit snacking, and to choose healthier snack options.
Here's what I would eat on the diet during a typical day:
Breakfast: Egg whites and a smoothie made with berries, kale, and almond milk.
Lunch: A salad with berries, vegetables, and chickpeas.
Dinner: A veggie burger with a side of vegetables like broccoli or spinach.
Snacks: Various fruits and vegetables, greek yogurt, or almonds.
When I was finally able to start working out, I quickly realized the gym was not my scene.
After I lost the first 35 pounds, I started (lightly) working out by joining a local gym. I would go for about three times a week and use low-impact cardio equipment at a slow pace—but I was so bored, so I quit after a few months.
After that, I started going outside to walk and jog around the neighborhood four or five times each week. But I knew I needed to do more (and find someone to keep me motivated), so I hired a trainer.
She understood my physical limitations and tailored our workout sessions to help me stay on track without pushing me past my limits. She taught me to pick up my cardio pace by doing shorter (but faster) cardio intervals. I also started strength training, so I could get stronger without overexerting myself.
Now, nearly five years and multiple surgeries later, I'm still going strong.
Though I had another hip surgery in April of 2018, I still meet with my trainer one hour a day, four days a week—focusing more on mobility and recovery for right now. I've also started attending workout classes to add variety to my routine.
But sometimes life gets in the way. If I can't make a full class or meet with my trainer one day, I'll text friends to go for a quick walk or run. Through my limitations and overall experience, I have learned it is super important to just get your body moving in any way you can.
As for my diet, I've found it's easiest to stay on track when I stay busy. Meal-prepping has been key for me, and I always try to have healthy snacks ready to go in my house so if I'm on the run, I can just grab and go.
There have been so many rewards to losing weight—but the biggest reward has been my newfound sense of self.
Sure, the compliments about my weight loss from family and friends are great, and it has definitely made exercise easier and more enjoyable—but that's not why I started this journey. I just wanted to make a healthy change in my life, for me.
Over the past few years, I have been proud of myself as well as disappointed in myself. I have tested myself, both mentally and physically, and I am so thankful to have learned so much about myself through the process.
And, to anyone going through their own weight loss journey, remember you will have days where you fall down. But, despite your limitations and struggles, you can accomplish your goal as long as you push through and remember your why.
I'm grateful to be starting the week with a dose of clarity. Over the weekend, I got to have some very 'sexy' conversations that created a space for open communication and deeper intimacy with loved ones.
Note: the conversations weren't sexually arousing in the slightest, I was talking to my parents after all. :p
On Saturday, I had an extensive conversation with each of them about the work I do. They've had many questions and curiosities over the past few months and they've undoubtedly had some concerns as well.
After some miscommunication about content I've been posting and information I've been sharing in a public forum, we got to create clarity and dive deep into talking about WHY I became an Intimacy Coach and what fuels my passion for this work.
In these conversations, I was faced with confronting feelings of judgement, discomfort, shame, defensiveness, and so much more.
Without consciously knowing what I was doing in the moment, I looked back and realized that I had embodied courage and vulnerability in conversation with them, which led to connection, understanding, intimacy, and love.
What the hell does any of that mean, anyway?
I've recorded a video that shares my process for how to tap into courage and vulnerability in real time! Below is a cliff notes version...but watch the video, I expand on all of this and give helpful examples of how to navigate each part of the process.
Become aware of automatic thoughts - they are NOT us
Become aware of sensations in the body (without judging them)
Take a deep breath
Ask: How would I like to proceed?
Ask: Does this make sense / are we on the same page? (level set)
Create a commitment / give your word to something - create who you will be in this relationship and how you will show up
As always, take what works for you and leave what doesn't. This process is not meant be a linear process. In other words, you can ebb and flow between the steps, multiple times, and out of order. Make it all your own!
Special shout outs to Tara Brach and her talk on Living with Courageous Presence(part of the inspiration for this email), Landmarkfor equipping me with new ways to create an empowered life, and most of all to my Mom, Dad, and Aunt for their unconditional love.
It’s always good to switch up your routine, so today I’m putting aside my free weights and picking up a slam medicine ball. It’s great for an indoor workout and easy to travel with to take outside. Here are 3 moves you can try.
Slam ball workouts are great for developing power, strength and speed.
#1 - Overhead slam: Stand feet shoulder distance apart and core engaged. With ball in both hands, lift your arms overhead and throw the ball onto the ground in front of you as hard as you can. Squat down and pick up the ball (lifting with your legs and not your back!), lift it back up over your head and repeat 10 times.
#2 - Russian Twist: Sit on the floor, both legs bent in front of you about hip width apart. Lean back at a 45 degree angle. Hold the ball in both hands at your chest, then twist to one side, lowering the ball to the ground. Rotate toward the other side, bringing the ball up higher to prepare to slam it down. Throw the ball onto the ground on the opposite side. Repeat for 10 throws on each side.
#3 - Rolling push-up: Get in push-up position with one hand on the ball and the other on the ground. Bend elbows and lower your chest to the floor and then push-up to the start position. Roll the ball over to the other hand and repeat. Complete 10 pushups total.
Repeat these three moves 3 times!
✓ Create a motivating space to workout
If you don’t opt for our personal training sessions in Nyack and don’t want to join a gym, our warrior workouts are designed for at home gyms! Clear some space in your favorite corner and make a little sanctuary of your own. Add candles, inspirational quotes, and anything that will motivate you to get moving.
✓ Dress to Impress
When you look good, you feel good! And that goes for your workout clothes too. Buy some new tanks (or shop our warrior wellness ones!) and leggings that will make you feel awesome about yourself! That extra boost of confidence will make you work harder. Every time you reach a goal, don’t reward yourself with food, but with fun new workout apparel to add to your collection.
✓ Write it down
Studies show that writing down your goals, feelings, daily workouts and food you eat during your new wellness journey can double your success rate! Not only will we be keeping you accountable each day and providing weekly tasks to incorporate into your lives, but having a journal to reflect on how you feel mentally and physically throughout this journey is key.
✓ Music gets you moving
Music makes the world go round and will definitely get you more motivated to workout. Create a playlist or pop on your favorite Pandora artist to keep you going. I’m all about Shakira on the Latin Pop station….because damn girl….your hips don’t lie!
✓ Schedule in your workouts
Getting up early to workout is a great way to boost your metabolism right from the beginning of your day, but if you’re not an early riser, schedule in your workouts during the day as if they were important business meetings. This will create the habit of working out either daily or at least 2 to 3 times per week if you’re just starting out. Make sure you always take the time out of your day to exercise! It will boost your mood and send you all the good endorphins to make you happy.
✓ Drink H2O, Always
One of the best things you can do to stay focused and energize is to hydrate! Carry around a water bottle with you wherever you go and make sure you drink half your body weight in ounces of water. It will also fill you up and curve your appetite between meals and snacks.
✓ Clean out your kitchen
Get rid of old, expired things, and make room for healthy, fresh ingredients! Schedule in your shopping days so that you can fill your kitchen up with whole, unprocessed foods. Remember to read labels of everything you buy, but stick to choosing lean meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit and healthy carbohydrates and fats
The exhaustion of your kid’s extra curricular activities can take a toll on any parent. You may know the feeling…you open up your google calendar or physical planner and start getting stressed out over all the color coded events for the month.
Nope, it’s not your schedule, it’s your kids.
Sports practices and games, school play rehearsal, cooking classes, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, youth group, music lessons, robotics, tutoring sessions and volunteer work. You name it, your child is on the list. I’m a huge proponent for enrichment. Learning the concept of teamwork, strengthening their social skills and building self-confidence are all amazing, but when is it too much?
Be sure to observe your child’s behavior and emotions:
Do they always feel rushed, stressed or anxious?
Are they more tired?
Have their grades dropped?
Do they put up a fight when it’s time to take them to a certain activity?
As children get older, some may narrow down the list themselves. When my son was younger he decided that he wanted to focus on baseball and not play football and basketball. My 10 year old daughter on the other hand wants to join everything! She already has softball winter training three days a week (did I mention the 40 minute drive each way?), and basketball and play rehearsal twice a week. Now she wants to join Girl Scouts.
Before the stress begins to build inside your head, the first thing you need to do is have a conversation with your child.
Why they want to join that activity. For example, my daughter said she wanted to join a certain after school activity because she just wanted to hang out with her friend. I suggested rather than sign up for this activity which was a greater commitment to our already packed schedule, what if we just scheduled a few play dates with that friend instead. Would they consider giving up something else in order to fit in this new activity? Most likely the answer will be no. This is a great lesson for your child in prioritizing. And if the answer is yes, then maybe your child’s interests are changing and it’s time to rethink their schedule.
Finally, let’s not forget about you.
Yes, we all want the best for our children, but we can’t burn ourselves out as parents hustling multiple children to activities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to turn around because I found myself driving halfway to basketball practice, when I knew I should have been going to softball. Either cut back on the list or ask for help. If you don’t have immediate family around, swap pickup and drop-off days with other parents.
What tips do you have? Feel free to comment below!
If you were sitting where I'm sitting right now, you'd be in bed with me, looking out of a window at a luscious green tree against a clear blue sky filled with sunlight, listening to birds chirp, and feeling the heat of the rays spill in through the window and across the bed...I forget that I'm in Brooklyn sometimes. It's moments like this that have me feeling intimacy with myself, which serves how I show up to hold space around intimacy for others.
As an intimacy coach, I get to talk to people all the time about their relationships (romantic and non), their sex lives (or lack thereof), what brings them pleasure, their fears, etc.
What I've noticed is that all the people I've spoken with have a strong desire to get to the bottom what's "not working" in order to create workability in their relationships (to self and others), they just seem to get stuck somewhere.
Coincidentally (or not), the "getting stuck" usually happens at the same place: trying to figure out how they feel, what they want, and how to communicate it.
Many of us dream up scenarios of what love could look and feel like. Some of us may have a goal or intended outcome in mind around our "perfect" partner, or the ideal kind of relationship to have with a parent, sibling, child, etc.
So what stops us from creating all of that right now?
I don't have a definitive answer, however, I can say I've observed a few things that get in the way:
Living in a place of fear and/or not acknowledging underlying fears that operate in the background
Lack of clarity/communication about one's needs (foundational needs that would have one feeling safe)
Lack of clarity around desires and/or a sole focus on desire as the "answer to everything"
Lack of awareness around assumptions being made about self, other, and the relationship
If you know me at all, then you might know that I LOVE providing easy formats and templates for people to use. So, ya ready? Here it is:
I've shared this with countless people as an easy way to journal/reflect on a particular scenario/relationship.
What is it you fear? (list them all out and be really honest)!
What is it you need? (what are your basic needs that must be met in order for the relationship to thrive)?
What are you desires? (what would you like to create in the relationship)?
What are your assumptions? (what assumptions might you have about yourself, the other, the relationship, i.e. what do you think you already have the answer to without ever having asked the question)?
That's it! Simple, right?!
Not only can this format help you create clarity, it can also provide a clear message that you're able to share with others without going off on tangents about past events, self-deprecation, blame, etc.
I invite you to give it try. You may decide to keep the information to yourself, you may decide to share it. Whatever you choose, I hope that it supports you in creating more workability and joy in your relationships.Fe
Mornings can be a challenge for some but your choice for breakfast doesn't have to be! Check out my top 5 favorite breakfast meals that take less than 5-minutes to prepare in the
morning and will start your day off on the right track....a healthy one!:
1) Eggs (any style)
Perfect for low carb carb and high carb days. Eggs as your first meal is always our #1 recommendation. If you are short on time, make some hard boiled eggs the night before so you can easily grab and go!
2) Plain Yogurt (add in your own mix ins)
Yogurt is a deliciously smooth option, just be sure to use plain greek yogurt that is high in protein and low in sugar. Siggi's is my favorite brand. For low carb days, I like adding some honey (for sweetness) and peanut butter or almond butter. For high carb days, I'll add honey and top it with fruit (usually blueberries and strawberries)
3) Protein Shake
I love adding in frozen fruit like berries or a banana for days that I'm working out and frozen vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower on other days.
4) Healthy Egg Muffin Cups (here's the recipe)
These are super easy to make and can be easily stored in the frig for a great grab and go breakfast option.
5) Overnight Protein Oats (here's the recipe)
This recipe is a great option for your higher carb days. Plus, you can have them on hand for a few days, packed in glass jars or tubber ware.
First realize that the Ego was created by the mind as a protective mechanism.
It is and always will be part of the mind, body, spirit connection.
We can not be human without an ego, but we can weave the ego into our higher selves, through the heart meditation.
When you find yourself in the middle of emotions or actions, that no longer serve you such as:
Sadness Pride Judgement Worry Anxiety
Bring your awareness to the center of the middle of your upper abdomen, and BREATH.
This is your 3rd Chakra, move your consciousness there, as you begin to observe your thoughts and feelings. The 3rd chakra is about will and action moving through this physical world. Sense all around this area of your body with each breath.
Take long deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Stay here as long as you need, until you feel a shift in emotions.
Then begin to have a dialogue with your inner child. Asking him or her what are they feeling? Where is it coming from and or why are they acting in this particular way? Let it know that you hear them, honor them and now it is your turn as the Adult and connected to the higher self to protect them.
You are part of the whole now, you can begin to see your BIG self merging with this Small self within this Chakra.
Continue to Breath into this center, until the emotions are fully gone. Either eyes open or closed.
Then take your awareness embracing your inner child up into your Heart Center. It is from the heart that the Ego must now reside. For from the space of our hearts, we can develop understanding, compassion and non judgement. Place your Ego/inner child deep within the chamber of your heart.
Use this whenever you feel your words, actions are not coming from your heart. Go back into the 3rd Chakra and bring up your ego once again. Becoming the observer, and always using the breath you can become a Phoenix child raising up from any old narrative from the past that no longer serve you
The Ego gets a bad rap. We always like to blame our behaviors, our untethered emotions, our circumstances on the ego, lack of ego, too much ego, or even uncontrolled ego. However, the ego is really here to be the protector of our innocence. It has served us through the years to navigate us through this world. It is the untethered ego that can cause chaos and uncertainty in our lives and our paths. But when our ego is tethered to our higher self, we realize our ego can become a Phoenix Child rather than an Inner child. Raising up from the ashes of our old wounds and narratives.
As part of your meditation practice or any walking mindfulness, allow a space for the innocence of your youth, to integrate to the wisdom of your maturity. The wisdom of the higher self, the observer of your life. That soft voice in your head that whispers to us of the grander vision of your path. Breath deep into this space.
This is how we tether and integrate to the higher self. For the ego can cry out its wants and fears, when not grounded in self love. Having us live not from the precious moment of now where all miracles are manifested, but stuck in the past that is consumed by regret or projected into an unknown future that is governed by fear.
Our action and thoughts now arise not from Love but from these fears and these desires. We become caught in a groove of unresolved emotions and as mice on a wheel we endlessly repeat behaviors that no longer serve us.
When we connect to our hearts through meditation and breathing we can actually sense the space around our physical heart expanded in all directions with each inhale and exhale. Tethered to our Higher Self, through this Heart Chakra portal.
Rejoicing in the innocence of our Phoenix child, now reborn. We can experience the playfulness and joy, we once felt. We rediscover the freedom of manifesting our destiny from a place of love and compassion. From this place, we soar, removed from the chains of fear, hate, judgement and isolation. We begin to see again with the eyes of a child, with wonder. No longer feeling separate.
We now can see others too, as the innocent children they once were. For our eyes and hearts are open to the Divinity in each of us. From this place, love can blossom, as we shift into a heart of center consciousness.
Today, I will be mindful of my actions and embrace the precious innocent child within my heart.
I will allow him or her to be playful, to be trusting, and joyful as the day unfolds. I will open my divine sight and begin to see the innocent child in others. As I open my eyes and my heart, I follow the path of compassion, led by my Phoenix Child. Becoming a Warrior of Light.
I started soccer at the age of three and eventually played professional. One day I just stopped playing. I was burnt out, injured and hungry to experience life outside a game. I thought soccer was my life.
Then yoga and meditation found me. My soul broke open to vulnerability, unconditional love and gratitude. I fought the teachings as the way out due to a lifetime of ignorance, until the answer came in savasana: it was time to surrender. I walked directly into the things that scared me most. I finally started my imperfect dream company. I ditched toxic relationships (especially the one with myself). And most importantly, I decided to make love the priority.
Surrendering isn’t easy. But I draw tremendous strength from knowing how I was living wasn’t working. I don’t have to be perfect – I just have to keep moving forward with an open heart.
* * *
Ready to get un-stuck?
Here are some words of wisdom on surrendering to what life has in store for us:
1) Stop Waiting.
We will never achieve our goals if we don’t start in the first place. Whether it’s diet, business, relationships — the time is now. Avoid the trap that we have time to start later in life.
“Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time? My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer
2) Leggo Your Ego.
Defend the ego less, try to understand where thoughts arise. The ego is protecting an image created by society – let it die by observation. If we can watch our thoughts, then we are not our thoughts. Go beyond words, be fearless love!
“The day you decide that you are more interested in being aware of your thoughts than you are in the thoughts themselves – that is the day you find your way out.” ~ Michael Singer
3) Be A Starving Lion.
Maybe we are stuck because we’re chasing the wrong dream. If we don’t want it bad enough, let go and find something we are passionate about. A lion knows it has to eat to survive – and we know we’re headed in the right direction when we chase goals like our life depends on it.
“Optimism, pessimism, f*ck that; we’re going to make it happen.” ~ Elon Musk
4) Don’t Feed Haters.
When we stop taking everything personally, that energy is freed up for greater pursuits. Negative feedback can be beneficial – just remember not to personify it as our worth.
“When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~ Miguel Ruiz
5) Dump The Unicorn.
That “perfect” person or situation doesn’t exist. Focus on the QUALITY of relationships, business, school…everything!
“Quality is the best business plan.” ~ John Lassester
6) Ink It.
A dream doesn’t mean being the best at something, or achieving grandiose goals. It’s anything inside us that’s asking for attention (and won’t shut up). Whether we want to become yoga certified, adopt a dog, or just read a book monthly – write goals out with timetables and post them in a visible spot. Studies show that those little reminders can significantly increase chances for success!
“You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.” ~ Seth Godin
7) Attempt Love Suicide.
It’s a simple fact: we’re all going to die someday and holding back love is detrimental to living fully. Imagine everyone we meet during a day will die at midnight; treat them with kindness, compassion and love to the point of exhaustion.
“Remembering that you are going to die one day is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. Follow your heart.” ~ Steve Jobs
8) Try New Shoes.
If we are feeling lost, put ourselves in another place: a malnourished child. A shelter dog. A polluted river. Then go out there and volunteer your time for others and the earth. When we serve, we forget ourselves and all that is left is love.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Gandhi
9) Be Joy.
Don’t fall into the trap of “I will only be happy if…” we get the perfect partner, better job, nicer car…but then what? The mind will continue wanting, it will keep climbing for some unreachable peak. Try to be happiness in the present moment, and make joy unconditional.
“Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.” ~ André Gide
10) Get To Work.
Instead of complaining about work and anticipation of pain, we just watch the narrative in the mind and do the work. Yes, it will be hard, although procrastination will kill our dreams of creating the best version of ourselves.
“Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.” ~Eric Thomas
* * *
Now stay motivated with kevala - view our apparel line - make everyday your masterpiece.
It’s Mother’s Day!
This is for you, Moms. In fact, whether you are a mom or not, this is for all the women out there who feel trapped in a cycle of, “On Monday, I am going to eat healthy, lose weight and really take care of myself.”
It’s time to get un-stuck, and we are here to help.
We know that it is hard to find time to focus on you. And when you finally do take some time for yourself, you probably have a vague sense of guilt that there are other things more worthy of whatever effort or sacrifice you are making to work on you.
That’s part of being a mom. You put others first.
But consider this. Neglecting yourself is not good for you or those people who depend on you, especially the little ones. The only way you can keep attending to your many responsibilities and joys is if your health is optimum.
Once your health starts declining, you will have no choice but to focus on yourself.
Wouldn’t you rather do it now and know what it feels like to be fit and full of energy and still be there for those people who depend on you?
It’s hard to start
Yes, starting is hard. In fact, it is probably the hardest part.
It may be hard because you’ve ‘started’ before and failed. That doesn’t matter anymore. You are not doing it alone this time. We are here to walk with you every step of the way. We’re looking forward, not backward.
It may be hard because you have no idea where you will find the time to exercise. We’ll help you with that too. That’s what we do.
It may be hard because changing life-long patterns of eating seems completely undesirable right now. We’ve been there. And believe me; if some of us can do it, you can too. The amazing thing is that once you get a taste of the energy and vitality that eating well brings, you won’t look back.
Waiting is dangerous
Listen. The longer you wait to take your health seriously, the more damage you are doing to your body.
There is only one way to slow down, stop and reverse many of the effects of aging (whether you are 20 or 70 years old): sensible eating and consistent exercise. (Well, that’s two, but they have to happen together)
· Do you want to avoid the ravages of heart disease (the number one killer of women)?
· Would you like to never experience the pain of a fractured, osteoporotic bone?
· Do lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your knees and reducing aches and pains sound attractive to you?
· Would you like to run a marathon (even if you’re 60!)?
You’ve dreamed about it long enough.
Make this Mother’s Day the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Thousands of women just like you are doing it. And we want to help you do it.
Be strong, vibrant, fit and full of energy.
It’s time to start.
Ever find yourself spending way too long scrolling social media, archiving those fitness and nutrition plans posted by your IG fave, promising yourself that you’re going to start on Monday? Only for Monday to come and go you’re still there scrolling and nothing has changed?
Here’s why: Personal Wellness Plans are just that, personal. Wellness is not a Poncho, one size does not fit all. Setting your sights on goals and intentions that belong to someone else is a recipe for disaster.
Here’s the secret: You, are your own best expert. If you’re finally ready to achieve real, sustainable results in your personal wellness, it’s time to get clear. You need a plan. And one tailored just for you – not something you screenshot and archived from the ‘influencer’ with 3 million followers.
Merriam-Webster defines wellness as: The quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal. Taken a step further, Margaret Moore, founder of Wellcoaches Corporation, the first school of Coaching for health professionals and a global standard setter for professional health and wellness coaches, says that “cultivating a thriving mind is necessary to attain a healthy body” and she emphasizes a “whole-life focus.” This multi-dimensional approach to wellbeing takes into consideration your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health all in alignment with a purpose that is unique to you.
That’s the trick: The only definition of wellbeing and thriving that really matters is yours. Below are some tips on how to get started creating a plan for wellness that works for you.
Get Clear on your WHY.
One of my favorite coaching questions is ‘Why is this important to you?’ And the follow up to that is usually, ‘and why else?’ Getting to the bare truth about what drives you and sets you in thriving-mode is the foundation of any successful wellness plan.
Craft the vision. Every great production (your life included) starts with a clearly defined vision, a mission statement, or a story.
Here’s a fun exercise to get clear quickly. Picture it: exactly one year from now, you’ve experienced an exponential change in all areas of your life. Life is AWESOME. You are thriving. What do you see? How do you feel? How are you physically different? How are your relationships different? What does your daily routine look like?
Now, write it down. Get fancy with it too. Describe what your life looks like in all the thorough and vivid detail you can manage.
The cornerstone to high achievement and higher personal performance is setting goals, building personal routines, creating new habits and sticking to it. All of it.
Take a moment now and notice the very real changes your future self has experienced in your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. What are the steps you need to take in order to get there? Work your vision backward and notice goals begin to emerge. Keep in mind that progress and change take time and consistency. As you take your timeline forward, set three-month goals, followed by two or three weekly action steps that will serve to support those goals.
Keep in mind that a SMART GOAL is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Here’s a quick example: If a component of your ‘year-from-now-future-self’ vision is that you are ‘strong and fit’, one of your 3-month goals might be that you will experiment with at least 3 different physical fitness activities to see what you enjoy. Then your action step or goal for this coming week might be that you will register for and take a one-hour yoga class at your local gym.
Now write them down. I repeat, write them down.
Studies show when you write down specific goals, you are 42% more likely to accomplish your goal than someone who has an unwritten or no specific goal at all.
Keep Track & Chart the Course
Habits form through repetition – keep your vision where you can see it. Regularly revisit your goals and your action steps and make adjustments or revisions where you see fit. Remember, you are your own best expert.
I invite you to start today.
Liani Greaves is a Wellcoaches® Certified Personal Coach and owner of The Storms Retreat. She works with creatives and leaders to help them step into their power and fuel high performance. Learn more at www.livewellstartingnow.com
The warm breezes of spring mean that Easter is around the corner! After the heavy colors of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, the bright, cheerful colors of spring are a welcome sight. But the cheerful colors are not limited to flowers and eggs. There is no escaping the onslaught of sugar that threatens us at every turn. From jelly beans to chocolate bunnies, empty calories abound.
You need a plan.
First, the facts
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you really do need to know what you are getting yourself into when you reach for that fluffy, yellow peep. Brace yourself, this is going to hurt…
Sugar is really bad for you.
When you consume Easter candy, you are getting a large dose of sugar. Whether it is in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup or cane sugar, it slams into your system like a bowling ball, and the effects are disastrous.
Within the first 20 minutes or so, your blood sugar level spikes as the sugar enters your bloodstream. It arrives there in the form of glucose, which is your body’s main source of energy. This sudden rise in blood glucose stimulates your pancreas to start pumping out large amounts of insulin, which is the hormone that helps your cells take in the available glucose. Some of this glucose is used immediately for energy. But the rest stored as fat by insulin, to be used later.
The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces as it works hard to remove the glucose from your blood. But these high levels of insulin are not healthy. For one thing, the extra insulin in your blood stream signals to your body that you need more glucose, which causes you to crave even more sugar. But even worse, after repeated exposure to high insulin levels, your cells begin turning numb to the effects of insulin, and this leads to a condition called insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. When your cells no longer respond properly to the storage effects of insulin, the sugar in your blood has nowhere to go, and so it continues circulating in your blood. This is what is known as a ‘high blood sugar level.’
The result is that you feel fatigue, because you have no way of accessing the energy that is in your blood stream. You will likely feel weak, tired and have trouble concentrating, because your brain uses glucose to function.
If your blood sugar levels stay elevated, damage begins happening to various parts of your body. For example, the capillaries become damaged (which leads to blindness), your kidneys become diseased (which can eventually require dialysis) and nerve damage occurs throughout your body (which can lead to amputations). The heart muscle also suffers, which leads to heart disease, and your organs begin aging at a faster rate. You also become more susceptible to infections.
The ravages of sugar cannot be overstated: that handful of jelly beans is not worth it.
But it’s Easter!
Easter only comes once each year. Do you really have to be so uptight about it?
Yes, you do. Because there will always be an excuse to eat poorly. Last month it was Valentine’s Day. The month before that saw New Year’s Eve. Before that was Christmas. Before that was Thanksgiving.
And the holidays in each of these months weren’t the only excuses for eating unhealthy food—no doubt your schedule included countless other “can’t-miss” opportunities to throw all caution to the wind! You likely had business dinners, birthday parties, evenings out with friends, fundraising banquets, breakfast meetings, church dinners…
Every one of these occasions screams, “But this is special!! It’s okay just this once!”
At some point, you have to stop the insanity, make a decision and choose health, so that the indulgence truly becomes the exception; not the rule.
So let’s look at some alternatives for your Easter celebration. You do not have to sit there munching on steamed asparagus while those around you are tossing back marshmallow ducklings by the dozen.
Consider the following ideas for Easter basket treats and munchies. Sticking to this list will ensure that you are clear headed and full of energy while your buddies are slipping in and out of consciousness after their sugar highs!
· Dried fruit (eat with a protein such as nuts)
· Very dark chocolate (choose some with very little sugar)
· Fresh fruit
· Whole grain crackers and pretzels
Non-food ideas for kids’ baskets:
· Play dough
· Jump rope
· Sidewalk chalk
· Garden starter set
· Butterfly habitat
· Beading supplies
· Swimming toys
· Card games
Have a healthy Easter!
It’s time to stop planning and start empowering yourself. The time to move is now, and a group personal training is the perfect way to get started.
Exercising by yourself can be tough. Nobody knows if you skip, there is no one to push you a little harder, and you don’t have a commitment to anyone else. One day off turns into two, and before you know it, weeks have passed without you even raising a sweat. Getting fit in isolation can be done, but it’s much harder and requires a resolve few of us have.
That is perhaps why the popularity of group personal training programs is exploding: people sign up for them because they work.
Group Personal Training Benefits
1. The biggest benefit that a group personal training offers is support. When you join a group personal training program, you are ensuring that you have like-minded people to motivate you and a qualified leader to help you reach your weight loss and fitness milestones. If staying motivated is a challenge for you, then a group personal training program will energize you to keep going. Members of group personal training programs can become close friends as they work hard and celebrate together.
2. You will push yourself harder in a group personal training program. During your workouts, there are no distractions to cause you to lose your momentum or excuses to slack off. Your coach will expect compliance, and while we will certainly work within your ability, you will be amazed at how far you can go in the right environment. The feeling you get when you know you have pushed yourself a little further than you thought you could will give you confidence in all other areas of your life.
3. Cost wise, you can’t go wrong with a group personal training program. They are led by certified personal trainers (not group fitness instructors), and this means that you get tailored, one-on-one help that approaches the attention that you get when you hire a personal trainer. But it costs much less!
4. Ready for quick results? Group personal training program generally incorporate variations of high intensity interval training or HIIT for short. HIIT training has been scientifically proven to be more effective and more efficient than traditional exercist programs. We’re not playing games in here. Our goal is to change your life and have a great time doing it!
5. It’s fun! Team training takes the torture out of serious workouts. There is nothing like laughing with each other as you struggle through those last push ups or pant through that last few seconds of burpees. In fact, a recent study has proven that pleasant distraction reduces pain.1 Don’t worry-we’re not going to torture you, but any serious fitness work has moments of discomfort. The distraction of having others around you doing the same thing can mean the difference between finishing with a smile on your face and not finishing at all
If you are tired of the same old fitness routine or tired of your good intentions to get in shape leading nowhere, then a group personal training programmay be exactly what you need.
Baby, it’s hot out there!
If you have been working out over the past winter and spring months, you may be surprised at the new challenges that summertime fitness throws at you. Today is the first day of summer, and you are probably discovering that your body reacts to the heat and humidity differently than it does to cooler, drier conditions.
But don’t let the heat cause you to lose your momentum. You can keep working hard in the summer, you just have to adjust your approach a little. Keep the following summertime fitness tips in mind as you continue getting stronger and healthier.
1. Cool down first! You can improve your performance in the heat by lowering your body temperature before heading outside. Taking a cold shower or simply putting ice cold cloths on the back of your neck can help you to better tolerate the heat.
2. Find some shade. You may need to move your workout to a different area in order to be in the shade. If you are a runner or biker, change your route to a wooded area.
3. Avoid coffee. Opt for Spark ®! Because coffee acts as a diuretic, it forces water out of your system. This is the last thing you want when exercising in the summer heat. If you must, save your coffee intake for several hours before or after your workout, rather than near the time you will be exercising and add Spark® to your daily routine. Spark® delivers energy and enhanced mental focus with 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients! Purchase product here.
5. Choose your clothing carefully. Now more than ever it is important to wear clothing that will move sweat away from your body and help it evaporate it quickly. A cotton t-shirt may be fine in the winter, but you will be much cooler in a fabric designed for exercise.
6. Change your workout time. If you are used to exercising during lunch or in the afternoon, you may need to adjust your schedule for the summer months. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times for outdoor exercise. On blistering, hot days, even the shade will not bring much relief.
7. Wear white or light colored clothing. Lighter colors reflect the heat better than darker, more intense colors.
8. Take breaks. Your body can only handle so much extreme heat. When the thermometer climbs, you may find that you need more frequent breaks to keep performing at your best. Be sure to take them. Listening to your body and caring for it is not a sign of weakness: it’s smart.
9. Monitor your heart. The heat places greater stress on your heart. Keep tabs on your heart rate as you work out in the heat. If it spikes quickly or stays too high, give it a rest.
10. Hit the gym. You may find that it is best to simply move your workout indoors for the summer. If you would prefer not to put your body under summer stress, work out in a gym. You will have the added benefit of personal attention and group accountability. It’s a great time to work on form, increase intensity, and plan out a new and exciting workout routine. Beat the heat by mixing things up this summer-try a gym workout.
Other than New Year’s, there is probably no other time during the year that motivates us to make a fresh start like springtime does. When the warm breezes start blowing, we want to throw open the windows and let the rebirth all around us revitalize our homes and our spirits.
Because it seems natural to clean out the old during this time of year, it’s a great time to come face to face with our excuses for not getting fit and healthy. Excuses pile up just like the clutter that we accumulate in our houses, but it’s time to come clean.
What is your excuse for not choosing health?
I don’t have the time to exercise: This is likely one of the most common excuses. You are busy. You have to work all day (or all night), you have to get the kids to school, you have to cook dinner, go to the grocery store, mow the lawn, change the oil in the car, care for your aging parents—there is simply no time for exercise.
Consider this. If you do not exercise, you will almost certainly begin experiencing the illness and disease that comes from an inactive lifestyle. When you begin experiencing symptoms, you will have to make an appointment with the doctor, drive to your appointment, wait to be seen, schedule additional tests at the hospital, and wait for your prescriptions to be filled at the pharmacy. And with chronic illness, this scenario will be played out month after month after month. And it takes a lot of time.
Will you find the time in your busy life to see to your medical issues?
Yes, of course you will. You will make sure that you adjust your schedule and your life to accommodate your illness. So why not adjust your schedule now to accommodate the prevention of illness through exercise? You do have the time; you just have to decide to use it.
The truth is that if you do not make the time for exercise, you will have to make time for illness. And exercise takes a lot less time out of your life than disease.
I don’t like to exercise: Again, a pretty common excuse. But it won’t let you off the hook. Lots of people do not like to exercise, but they make themselves do it anyway. Do you like feeling tired? Do you like being overweight? Do you like having to undergo medical tests? Without exercise, you will feel tired, be overweight and become sick, so it comes down to choosing your ‘dislike.’
I don’t have the energy to exercise: If you are unfit, you likely have low energy. And when you don’t have much energy, the last thing you can imagine is exercising. But until you become more active, you will not have the energy you so long for. As you begin exercising, you will start having more energy. You won’t start feeling better until you start moving.
It’s just not the right time for me to start working out. “I’ll start working out when…
· I get some decent exercise clothes
· Summer vacation starts
· The kids go back to school
· I get my house organized
· Work lets up
· I have more time
· Life calms down
· The kids get older
· The weather warms up a little
· The weather cools down a little
· Someday…just not today
It will never be the perfect time to start a fitness routine.
You just have to start.
Surrender your excuses
Decide to stop hiding behind your excuses. Make a clean sweep and toss those excuses out. Everybody has excuses for not exercising. The fit and healthy people around you choose to give up the excuses and just do it. That doesn’t mean it is easy for them. It just means that they love feeling energetic, strong, healthy, and empowered enough to push in and get it done.
You can be that way too.
Did you know the average person only eats 50 different types of food their entire lifetime?
The following recommendations apply to any meal situation whether you are in your home, at a fast food restaurant, fine dining or traveling.
Prepare or Request your meal to be prepared one of the following methods:
- Steamed Broiled Dry (without butter or oil)
- Open Grilled (Grilled with all fat able to drain off)
- Barbecued (sugar-free sauce)
- Microwaved (with all fat drained)
1. Use the Helping-Hand System for portion control if you have not received your recommended daily micronutrient intake.
2. Select 1 (one) of Protein foods per meal. Approximately one serving the size of the palm of your hand.
3. Select as many of the vegetable foods listed as you wish. Have at least the minimum serving, approximately 1 (one) hand-fist.
4. Eat high density high glycemic (HDHG) carbohydrates only following an intense exercise session if you are in phase 3 or 4 of your program.
Foods to Avoid
- Processed food
- Meats high in nitrate
- Food with added salt
- Food with added sugar
- Saturated fat
- Fried foods
- Refined foods
- Ingredients you can’t pronounce
- Most Dairy products
- Empty Calories
Vegetables – Frozen or Fresh
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Avocados (Really a fruit and mostly good fat)
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Bamboo Shoots
- Bean Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Collard greens
- Green beans
- Green peas
- Mushrooms, crimini
- Mushrooms, shiitake
- Mustard greens
- Potatoes (HDHG)
- Romaine lettuce
- Sea vegetables
- Snow Peas
- Squash, summer
- Squash, winter
- Sweet potatoes
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
Fruits – Frozen, Fresh or Dried
- Bananas (HDHG)
- Cantaloupe (HDHG)
- Figs (HDHG)
- Pineapple (HDHG)
Beans & Legumes – Fresh or Dry (HDHG)
- Black beans
- Dried peas
- Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
- Soy beans
Grains – Whole or Sourdough (HDHG)
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat
- Mahi Mahi
- Tuna (Canned white low sodium)
- Sea Bass
- Orange Roughy
- Tuna (Ahi)
Poultry & Lean Meat
- Beef: Eye of Round
- Filet Mignon
- Flank Steak
- Sirloin Steak
- Extra Lean Ground
- Buffalo: Eye of Round
- Filet Mignon
- Flank Steak
- Sirloin Steak
- Extra Lean Ground
- Lamb Chops
- Pork Loin
- Chicken Breast
- Chicken Liver
- Chicken Dark Meat
- Turkey Breast
- Turkey Loin
- Turkey Drum
Eggs & Low-Fat Dairy
- Cheese, low-fat
- Milk, 2%, cow’sMilk, goat Yogurt
Nuts, Seeds & Oils - Raw & Unsalted
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat Germ
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Fish oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Olive oil, extra virgin
- Sesame oil
- Walnut oil
- MCT oil, supplement
Herbs & Spices
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili pepper, dried
- Coriander seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Mustard seeds
Natural Sweeteners, Beverages & Other
- Blackstrap molasses
- Local Honey
- Maple syrup
- Raw Sugar
- Date Sugar
- Diet Tea
- Hot Souce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Sea Salt
With the holidays behind us and New Year's resolutions looming over us, let's get real and take a hard look at the dreaded, yet avoidable, winter weight gain. Yup! It’s a common problem—people tend to pack on a few pounds during the winter months.
We want to fight back and arm ourselves with a plan of action so that when the warm breezes start blowing in, we're looking damnnnnnn good! So, let's just dive in on ways to avoid packing on those pounds.
The good, the bad…and the solution. Oh yes!
Although winter weight gain varies from person to person, research shows the average person gains five to seven pounds...yikes! Some people gain this extra weight because they have Seasonal Affective Disorder—a type of winter depression. But most of us can’t blame winter depression for our tendency to pick up extra weight during the winter months.
So, why does winter weight gain happen? According to Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, it happens because we eat more and move less during the winter months.
This is bad news and good news. It is bad news because it would be kind of nice if we could blame our cold-weather corpulence on something exotic like the jet stream cycle and waddle off for another espresso.
But it is good news because we can do something about it. We don’t have to greet spring with softer middles and tighter clothes. So let’s celebrate and walk into the New Year like a badass warrior and tackle winter weight gain with our weapon of choice: discipline.
Hour of decision
According to Merriam-Webster, discipline is a “rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity.” This is perfect. In order to fight winter weight gain, we have to discipline ourselves to follow some rules.
Ready? Here we go…
1. Banned language: For the next several weeks, do not allow yourself to say, “Just this once.” If you pay close attention, a ‘just this once’ situation comes up practically every day. You go to a party. It's aunt's sister's best friend's birthday dinner. You've had a bad week and a bag of chips will make you feel better. Your co-worker brings in leftovers from last night’s party. Your child doesn't finish their dinner or dessert. You have to say no every single time. Otherwise, you will never get ahead.
Just grit your teeth, resist what others are having and make good food choices. I’m not saying it is easy. I am saying it is necessary.
2. Plan your occasional splurge, and do not deviate from the plan. Unending deprivation is never a good idea, but you have to be intentional about the time, place and food that you let yourself splurge on.
Love the hot wings at your favorite restaurant? Then let’s make a deal. Eat clean for ten days. No cheating. And then at the end of those ten days, go have the wings. Guilt-free. Just enjoy them. Then set the next goal. But you are not allowed to deviate from your plan in the meantime.
If you do, you lose the wings.
Don’t waste your fun calories on something that doesn’t compare to those wings!
3. Keep moving. Exercise is not an optional activity. Now, more than ever you have to get your body in motion. Exercise is very effective at preventing weight gain—and that is what we’re after right now. Don’t even worry so much about losing pounds; just work to keep the winter scale-creep from happening to you. Try to get some cardio in at least six days a week.
Remember: a summer body is built in the winter. Let’s be ready for it, and leave winter weight gain where it belongs.....with Santa!
It’s happened to all of us. You know the feeling - you are away from home running errands, or you are out late because you had to stay at work longer. And you realize that you are hungry. Not just a little hungry though. You haven’t eaten for hours, your head is starting to throb, and you can’t even think straight.
Bottom line: you have to eat. Now!
As you survey your options, you realize that getting something to eat that is even remotely healthy is going to be nearly impossible. But you have little choice, so you grab a burger or a salad with “grilled chicken.” (Do you have any idea how much that piece of ‘grilled chicken’ has been processed and soaked and manipulated and transformed before it arrives in front of you?) Or a small order of fries just to get you through.
And just like that you have put food into your body that will lower your immune response, raise your blood sugar, reduce your energy and contribute to weight gain.
It is a tough situation, and like I said, we’ve all been there. Sometimes you really do have to eat ‘right now.’ But over time, these eating emergencies add up and significantly impact your health and fitness achievement.
The answer is to stop having eating emergencies, and I will show you how to do this. It does take some planning, but it isn’t as hard as you might think.
The first step is to make a list of healthy, on-the-go foods that you enjoy eating. Make sure that you include things with healthy fats, protein and carbs (if it’s around your workout time). When you are very hungry, you need to have all the macronutrients covered in order to get quick energy, satisfy your hunger and clear your brain fog. This does not have to be a complete meal, but it needs to be balanced enough to substitute for one if needed.
Here are some ideas to help you get started.
· Unsalted nuts. Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts. (These will provide protein and good fat)
· Raw Veggies. They are crisp, juicy, cold and sweet and full of the micronutrients your body craves.
· Cheese. If you eat dairy, having a small slice of your favorite cheese will give you a complete protein, a little fat and be very comforting. Remember: the goal is to tame the beast inside you that is calling out for a hotdog from the nearest drive through window. This is a mental exercise as well as physical!
· Nut butters. Cashew, almond, peanut...find your favorite. Almond butter is great on a banana; cashew butter is perfect on whole grain crackers. Go ahead and put 7-8 chocolate chips on top if you want. This is a tiny indulgence that will go far to settle your craving.
· Boiled eggs. Do you like cold, salted boiled eggs? They are a powerhouse of protein. Just be sure to get free range eggs.
· Sardines. Yes, you read that right. If you like fish, you can buy small packets of wild caught sardines that travel very well.
· Water. You have to drink water.
The second step seems obvious, but it has to happen if you are going to eliminate impulse eating: buy the food on your list. You have to get it in your house, so you have it when you need it.
The third step is to plan your food kit. This food has to travel with you, and you have to decide how you are going to transport it. The secret is convenience. If you only have five minutes to grab your kit on your way out the door before work, it has to be streamlined. Ideally you will leave yourself more than five minutes, but life happens.
Here are some tips to help you set up your food kit for ease and speed.
· Small cooler. Purchase a small cooler that will hold an ice pack and several other things. Keep this in your kitchen so you can grab it on the go.
· Plates, utensils, napkins. Whether you use paper/plastic or your everyday items, get a bag and put a couple of plates, some utensils and some napkins in it. You will use this same bag every time you use your kit, so it becomes a habit. It can be a plastic bag, a cloth bag or a paper bag. It doesn’t matter. The point is that you can grab this bag on your way out the door and know that it has what you need in it.
· Small storage containers or plastic bags. You need individual containers to put your food in. Don’t take the whole package of cheese or the whole bag of chocolate chips, because you will end up eating too much. Put one or two pieces of cheese in a container, and put only 7-8 chocolate chips in a bag. Toss some nuts in one container, some cut up fruit in another. Also, you don’t have to prepare everything in advance. In a pinch, you can eat a big bell pepper just like an apple! Just have a plan so you can get it fast when needed. Some things don’t have to be separately packaged, such as your nut butter. Just toss the whole jar in the cooler…if you can control yourself.
· A tote bag or duffle bag. This bag will be your “picnic basket,” so to speak. Stuff everything into it that does not go into the cooler.
· Water bottle. You need something to store a lot of water in.
Now do it
You’ve done the hard part. You’ve figured out what foods will make you happy and help you through the emergency, you’ve stocked up on them, you have gathered what you need for transport and you have your water situation figured out.
All that is left is making it happen. You have to take the food with you when you leave the house. The first few times you do this, it will seem complicated and tedious. But eventually, you will do it with little thought. It will be habit. That is why using the same cooler, the same bags and the same water container every time is so important. You will likely even find you grab the same foods nearly every time—it’s just easier. And it has to be easy, or you won’t do it.
The happy result is that when you are out and realize you are hungry, you will not have to eat food from a restaurant. You will have an assortment of health and energy promoting foods at your fingertips.