Archive for You/Mind

THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF IN 2021

As trainer and nutritionist, my views have been shifting over the years. As a trainer, I have been consistent:  I want people to build muscle, have strong bones, be cardiovascularly sound, enjoy moving, and feel energized and alive. As a nutritionist, my philosophy has evolved: My approach is not about weight loss. It’s about learning how to nurture your body with good nutrition. Since so many women are in a bad mental place when it comes to food, my goal is to lower the volume on all the mental chatter that we have about our bodies and food choices. I want to slowly change the internal dialogue from mean/judgmental to kind/compassionate. It’s moving to a place of acceptance and having more mental freedom. This doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to weight loss, it is just not my primary focus.  Most people come to me, for just that.

Unfortunately, we live in a DIET CULTURE, which entices us to try the latest plan that will FINALLY make us feel happy about ourselves and our bodies. This is total BS because diets don’t work. In fact, diets only make things worse. They make us feel that we somehow failed. We did not fail—the diet failed us! This sense of failure leads to self-deprecating thoughts, crushing our spirits. The stress of all of this has profound effects on our physical well-being. In my view, the diet industry preys on our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It tells us that we have to eliminate food groups , detox our bodies, look a certain way, and be “fixed”. If you are old enough, you’ve been bombarded with these messages for decades. These messages seem to get louder and louder at the end of each year so we can “start over” in the following year.

In 2021, I want you to throw out the diet culture and move towards focusing on how you can nurture your mind, body and spirit. This will not be easy. I know you will be tempted to go back to Weight Watchers or to try, once again, the Keto diet or Whole 30. If you’re going back to a plan that didn’t work, please don’t think that it will work this time. It won’t.

A great way to start the process of changing your mentality is to listen to a podcast that focuses on doing just this—ditching diet culture. The podcast is called “RUN, SELFIE, REPEAT”. While this is a podcast about running, the founder, Kelly Roberts does an 8-part series about getting rid of diet culture with her friend and nutritionist, Kayla Reynolds. Unfortunately, you will be able to relate to EVERYTHING that they’re saying! We have almost been brain washed when it comes to food, eating and our bodies.  Like most things, this is podcast is not a panacea but you will find it thought-provoking, disturbing, and funny all rolled into one. Some of you will want to listen to all of the episodes. For others, one or two will suffice. Either way, you’ll get the message loud and clear. Just a warning—the episodes are long. The hosts are young and sassy, and while they are extremely knowledgeable, they also use the word “like” way too for my liking! (a pun!). Do not let that deter you—there’s great info in there!

Once you’re done, if you want to talk about this with me, reach out! Nothing would make me happier.

Let’s hope 2021 is better for us in every way: No more COVID and no more DIETS!

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ELECTION 2020: A TRAINER’S TAKEAWAY

Well, we all made it through the election and we’re still standing!

Putting politics aside, I am so impressed with the record-breaking millions and millions of Americans (on both sides), who came out to vote!  In the middle of a pandemic, both grassroots movements and established entities needed to come up with a different plan. And they did! I live in NY State and this was the very first time that we were allowed to vote early in a presidential election. Obtaining an absentee ballot was also, very easy. While I voted on election day, many friends and clients waited on line for hours, while others mailed in their ballots. In all cases, people were motivated to make their voices heard. This happened all across the country and it left me feeling incredibly inspired.

If we look at the country as a whole, we can say with certainty that the country made it happen for itself. Just look at those voting numbers! We can now do the same on a much smaller scale. Take a breath and pause to see how you can make things happen for yourself. Don’t wait until January 1, 2021 to set a “resolution”, that you can make right now. If you’re exercise regimen has gone out the window in the pandemic, push yourself to try an on-line zoom class; reach out to the nutritionist you’ve been wanting to contact; create a support system with a friend to keep you on-track for consistent walking or healthier eating; commit to being persistent with drinking more water, or stretching, or drinking less alcohol, or reducing sugar. The time is now!

On a personal note, most of you know how much I HATE the winter and despise the cold weather.  Yes, I have a bad attitude about it, which never serves me well. Every year, when the weather gets chilly, I sadly put my bike away and say goodbye to it until the spring. This year I said, “NO!”, and vowed to change my attitude. For the first time, I adopted the philosophy of Billy Connolly, who said “There’s no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes.” So, I invested in some warm bike clothing and have been out for rides on VERY chilly days. I will ride as long as I can, and appreciate each and every ride where I push myself to get out and do it. You can do the same!

Thanks to all of you Americans, who inspired me!

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CORONAVIRUS: TRY IT ON

The other day I got a text from a client. She asked, “What do you think about the keto diet for me?” I thought about it and responded to her. Like every decision in life, there are always pros and cons, which I outlined for her. In addition, I wanted her to really imagine what her life would look like following a high-fat/low carb diet and sit with that for a while. In other words, I wanted her to mentally TRY IT ON. I didn’t want her to focus on the pros because that’s the easy part. Instead, could she live with the cons?download

Focusing on which con you can live with better is how I go about making decisions. I’m finding this strategy even more useful now that we are living in this strange, Covid-world. Depending upon where you live and what the infection rate is, should you go out to dinner and sit outdoors? Get your hair cut? See friends in a socially distant way? Stay mostly in your house to keep safe?  Visit your parents? Go on vacation? All of these have pros and cons.  I say, TRY IT ON for a while. Then, figure out which con you can live with best.

You might find this strategy helpful in these very challenging times. 🙏🏻❤️

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CORONAVIRUS: SPREAD THE JOY

The other day, while enjoying a bike ride, I stopped at gas station to buy a bottle of water. I shuffled into the mini-mart wearing full bike gear and a soggy mask.  On the way to the refrigerated section, I passed a big, burly man and mumbled a quick “hello” from under my mask.  Surprisingly, he boomed back to me, “YOU BE SAFE OUT THERE!”

The stranger’s comment made my day—it was lovely and unexpected.  When I went to _107317680_peopletalkingintheparkcheck-out, I took the time to ask the cashier, how he was doing. He looked a bit startled, but a short conversation ensued. He told me he was finally getting used to wearing a mask.

Of course, when I walked away, I was secretly hoping that he felt the way that I did. Maybe, just maybe, he, too, would take the time to say something nice to the next person he encountered? (Feel free to roll your eyes at my undying optimism.🙄 ) Whether he did or not, I’m going to believe that he did.

Our lives, right now, are pretty depressing. So many families are struggling and juggling and trying their best to figure out how to navigate through this crazy new normal. I’m finding, especially now, that a little kindness goes an extremely long way.  Give it a try—if anything, it will make you feel better.

I will end this blog post by saying THANK YOU FOR READING THIS. ❤️

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CORONAVIRUS: POP GOES THE BLOOD VESSEL???

Last week I went for a very long bike ride in hot, humid weather. When I came back home, I noticed a small, purple bruise over my right eye. It was swollen and tender to the touch. My first thoughts were, “Could this be a bug bite?” and ” Did a small rock hit me along the way?” Surely, I would have noticed these things during my ride. So, I did what any IMG_1846rational person would do: I took a picture of it and sent to my doctor, who happens to be one of my best friends.  I asked her, “Is this a bug bite? Leukemia? Covid?” (Rational, right?) She responded, “No, you broke a blood vessel while riding!”

I broke a blood vessel?? Since this has never happened to me before, I started thinking about it. Broken blood vessels come from excessive straining. This can happen during childbirth, weightlifting, vomiting or even coughing too hard. In my case, it probably happened when I was climbing up a hill and not breathing properly.

Breathing is a wondrous phenomenon. When we breathe we send oxygen into the body.  Oxygen, which gets carried to our working muscles via the red blood cells, is essential for making energy.  Breathing correctly during exercise (exhaling on exertion) will prevent injuries and enhance performance.  Not breathing properly, as I experienced, can have consequences. In addition to straining the blood vessels, holding your breath or not breathing well can cause hernias, spikes in blood pressure,  and increase back pain.

Putting exercise aside, deep breathing has far reaching benefits: It can reduce stress, make you feel calmer, help you fall sleep, improve your lung capacity, and reduce pain. This is why women are coached to breath during childbirth.

If you’ve never tried square breathing, let’s give it a try together. Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor. Slowly inhale through your nose to the count of 4. Hold at the top of the breath for a count of 4. Then gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4. At the bottom of the breath, pause and hold or the count of 4. Do this a few times.

SEE WHAT I MEAN?!

Now that we’re living in a pandemic, deep breathing is vital. We all are experiencing more uncertainty, more anxiety, and more stress. So, whether you are riding a bike, taking a zoom class, walking your dog, or need to give yourself the gift of feeling calmer, just BREATHE.

 

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