Cleansing for Passover

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You have probably heard all the gossip about the latest fad diet or juice cleanse or whatever and at this point the only thing you really matzo deserves a good cleanse is the back of your refrigerator from any chometz.

Some of us, fear that Passover with all of the matzo balls or macaroons, oddly timed meals and family stressors will ruin the waistline we worked so hard to achieve.  I think Passover can be a great time to institute some good nutrition for yourself and your family. The market shelves are already brimming with boxed specialty latke mixes for Passover, Passover candies, Matzos of every variety and we are carefully checking labels to insure they meet our high standards. We may also start getting concerned about the higher costs of all of these specialty items.

I’d like to invite you to also use this time of preparation to take a look at the junk we puff ourselves up with on the outside and begin fresh this spring by taking the holiday as an opportunity to simplify, and cleanse the body with un-packaged, simpler and self-made goodies that nourish us on the inside in ways that will make us glow as well on the outside.  You can choose to “simplify with ore packaged foods and mixes..or you can choose to simplify and actually save money by using more fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables.  You can make your own convenience foods such as carrot and celery sticks, or melon slices pre-portioned and ready to go in baggies in the fridge. You can even nibble on these while you clean. Soups can be a wonderful addition to your meals because they make you feel more full and (assuming you aren’t using bullion) contain no artificial colorings, flavorings, unhealthful oils either. You can even be your own sous chef and slice all the veggies and separate them into portions all on the same day for different uses-for sides or soups or for steaming all at the same time to economize on time.  Salads are another great option with a lean protein like a poached chicken breast makes a great lunch to keep your blood sugar stable (and your mood) while you are preparing and during the holiday as well.

If there is one area–besides the Matzo not to spare expense–it would be oil. Grapeseed, Walnut oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut are all better choices for your health than the cottonseed and palm oils which will be readily and more cheaply available. These more healthful oils are worth the extra expense!

Make sure to stay hydrated while you are scrubbing and organizing too and re-charge your emotional and physical battery as you prepare to leave Egypt! Take time to tune in to how you are feeling. Do you need a break? Do you need some you-time. Maybe as we get closer you can’t get to the gym or class because of the time crunch but can you do some bodyweight exercise at home or a video? Maybe try to do 3 burpees or pushups between cleaning each shelf of the fridge or turn on some music and dance each time you finish cleaning an appliance.

If you are already using free software like MyFitnessPal.com to track your calories, Do Not vacation from that during Passover. Continue to log- before or after Yom Tov too. Just the act of logging keeps you on track to staying within your caloric requirements.

Finally, choose Chol HaMoed activities which allow you to enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise. Plan a family hike, take a tour, go vegetable picking at a farm but stay active. You should be blessed to come out more free and energized with your cleaning.

Those are my tips. Do you have tips for thriving and using this prep time to tune up your nutritional cleansing and pantry cleansing?

Veggetti

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1455987_743692369040441_7586790813147492486_nMy friends give me a sly look when I tell them I bought myself a veggetti at Bed Bath n Beyond..I’m not saying it won’t help in the bedroom but its for the kitchen..to make spaghetti spirals out of your zucchini. Just top with sauce and you should be good to go…(minus all the extra calories and refined white flour in regular high-gylcemic pasta.) Now everyone can be happy. Sshhh..don’t tell the marketing folks who wrote “without the carbs” on the package that vegetables are carbs.

Are You Living Your Dream Yet?

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Clients: Check your goal sheets against this article about what it takes to meet your goals. So many of us want to be a smaller size but is it worth the lifestyle changes to maintain it? Are you living your dream yet? http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean

How To Skinny Up That Latte

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Now that the coffee shops are brimming with holiday treats…This article has some great tips on how to skinny it up at Starbucks. All good to know, but you still can’t out-train a bad diet! (Organic coffee and milk or nut-milks are also healthier options because of fewer pesticides. Also drip coffee won’t raise your cholesterol the way espresso can-yes u read that right). Also, let’s skip the NSA crap. Studies show it slows your weight-loss efforts. Keep it real. http://www.starbucks.com/blog/how-to-skinny-your-beverage

Have You Been Naughty?

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santasOne of my long-time clients confided to me last week that the scale hasn’t moved in a while.

She just doesn’t feel that into it anymore, and she’s exhausted.  Ever since the holidays she hasn’t been eating great – skipping meals and eating high-fat, processed foods – and hasn’t been doing all of her workouts.

Between family visiting, the holiday goodies, the change in schedule and starting back at work after her baby, she has taken quite a bit of time off from her program, which previously consisted of some cardio dance classes and yoga, in addition to strength training with me once a week.

Looking back on our schedule, it had been at least a couple of months off.  She feels like giving up, like maybe she’s never going to reach her goals.  Although she knows what she is still doing has health benefits, maybe she’s never going to get into that smaller dress size she had in mind.

Wow!  Is that you?  It has happened to me, too!

Yes, even some fitness pros have moments when the whole enchilada, workout and nutrition, goes kaboom.  Maybe a stress, like family visiting or emotions or a bingeful off-season gone awry or an injury, set you back and you’re not sure if you can ever pick up all the pieces…or if you even want to.

Naughty, very naughty!

It doesn’t feel good to be in that “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” state.  I’m not going to tell you to pick yourself up by your boot straps and get moving because we know if that was gonna happen, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Now is the time to be nice to yourself.  It feels awful enough already. You haven’t worked out and yet you are tired nearly all the time.  Be good to yourself.  Can you think back to a time when you were energetic?  What activities were you enjoying?  Are you doing any of those things now?

Here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Dig out that workout and or nutrition journal and go back to the early pages when you were so excited. Read through your goals…especially the “why” behind your desire to start a fitness program.  Do those reasons apply still?
  • Try a new recipe from a healthy cook book or online site or magazine.
  • What did you do differently at the times when you were looking and feeling better?  Were you eating breakfast, did you have more salad?  Did you go places or do things that made you happy?  Would you want to do just any one of those things now?
  • Skip the ‘go hard or go home’ style workout, try a restorative yoga class!
  • Try a new piece of equipment.  I know some of us have equipment graveyards in the closet and under the bed, but if it gets you off your tush and back on track even for a little while perhaps its money well spent.  The idea at this time isn’t to start a new long-term program, but to merely get off the couch.
  • Too much effort to get out?  Why not just put on Pandora and dance around in the kitchen to some tunes!
  • Pull out a DVD and just hit play.  No commitment, just hit play and see if you want to try it. YouTube a cardio workout or check FitnessGlo.
  • Get a Groupon for an activity you have always wanted to try.
  • Have that pedicure, that cup of tea, that chat with an old friend…something to just incorporate “you time.”  After all, that’s what your workout should be – time to be good to yourself, not beat yourself up or down.  Maybe all the holiday stuff – the emotional and the seasonal treats everywhere and the focus on doing so much have made you disconnected from taking time to recharge yourself, so take the time to self-indulge with feel-good things to build you back up.
  • Go shopping for a new fitness outfit or sneakers. The sale racks are bursting right now with returned gear that might motivate you to put it to good use.
  • Make a date with a friend to go walking…Or come to one of my walking groups. Groups can make us feel part of something bigger and making new friends and having the support of a group helps reset your mood and motivation.
  • Buy a few sessions with a personal trainer – someone who can focus on you since you spend so much of the day, whether as a Mom or daughter or student or a hard worker, putting yourself aside for others.  The trainer can focus on you, coach and motivate you.  The trainer can create effective and safe workouts so you don’t have to worry about becoming injured or creating a workout program that will be effective.  Have an expert in your corner.  Its cheaper than therapy!
  • Just get outside!!!  (This is the one that got my long-time client back on track).  I find the air, the change of scenery, even for a 10 minute walk once a day, helps break me out of my sedentary rut.  Being in nature lifts my mood and the walking gets my circulation going.  Don’t overthink it.  Just get outside once a day and see how you feel.  Maybe just a walk around the block today.  Maybe in a couple days you will feel like a block and a half.  Maybe you like hiking or horseback riding or raking leaves in the yard.
  • Don’t let your mind talk you down. If the thoughts come, like “Oh, why bother?  I am fat and nothing will change,” just acknowledge it, “Oh, you again” and tell it “next” or something similarly non-judgmental, but dismissive and let go or focus on part of your life you like and think gratitude thoughts.  Just be in the moment for those 10 minutes you are walking or noticing the smells outside or the colors of the leaves.
  • Know this is normal and temporary.

Six Super Safety Tips

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self-defense

Earlier this month we were treated to a fantastic self-defense workshop from Leslie Bockian.

Although you might have missed the opportunity for hands-on practice and entertaining, but practical self defense with everyday objects (including a pen, a toilet tank lid, and a flashlight), you can still up your odds of successfully avoiding being a victim by studying these Six Super Safety Tips!

Follow these easy strategies from Leslie Bockian to increase your security:

1.  PRACTICE BEING AWARE

The single most important idea for personal safety is awareness of your environment.  Every attacker, regardless of the type of crime, looks for the easiest possible target, and being able to take you by surprise gives the assailant a huge advantage.  The more alert and aware you are, the less likely a criminal will even try to target you.

2.  LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCT

Trust your instinct.  If something just feels wrong – with a person, a location, a situation, etc. – something IS wrong.  You’re not imagining it, and you’re not being “paranoid.”  Don’t waste time trying to analyze exactly why you feel uneasy, just change the situation:  leave the area, move away from the individual, reschedule an appointment – whatever it takes to make the uncomfortable feeling go away.

3. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BODY LANGUAGE

Make it a conscious practice to move with an air of confidence and a sense of purpose.  Attackers look for people whose body language looks weak, confused, off-balance, or distracted – in other words, an “easy target.”  Don’t let that be you.

4. MAINTAIN A SAFE SPACE

As much as possible, keep a cushion of open space around yourself. If an assailant can’t reach you or your belongings (cell phone, laptop, jewelry, purse, etc.), you are much safer. Keep in mind that attackers OFTEN use tricks to try to get too close to you, usually asking you for some kind of help (“Please, have you seen my missing child?  Here’s a picture!”).  Don’t let them use the fact that you’re a nice person as a way to harm you.  It’s OK to refuse to help if doing so will put you in danger.

5.  USE YOUR VOICE

Your voice is a wonderful self-defense tool.  You can yell “Fire!” to get attention; you can give the assailant a direct order (“Stop right there!”); you can yell a name to make the attacker think someone will be coming out to help you; you can even outwit an assailant.  You’ll hear amazing stories of these kinds of strategies in every self-defense workshop.

6. TAKE A SELF-DEFENSE CLASS

Being the victim of a violent crime disrupts someone’s life in a truly devastating way, and to a staggering degree.  Take a fun and convenient one-day women’s self-defense workshop!  Send Leslie your email address to be notified of the dates and times of upcoming classes (cspselfdefense@myway.com)

Do you ever CHEAT?

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chocolatecakeMy newest client this week was having a really productive session.  She was working hard, breaking through mental barriers about what she could physically do and doing great.   Then she looked at me incredulously and asked, “Do you ever cheat?”  I was taken aback.  I have found people share all kinds of personal info during a good sweaty workout, and not wanting to make any assumptions, I asked her to clarify what exactly she meant by cheat.

“I mean, eat cookies, cake, ice cream, chips, things like that…You know, cheat on your diet.”  Totally relieved she wasn’t confiding about her married life,  I answered “Oh, of course I eat cookies, cake and ice cream sometimes. In fact, I ate so much vanilla ice cream with each child, my husband exclaimed how astonished he was each one was born without a cone.”  “It was just about the only thing I could tolerate without gagging from morning sickness,” I confided.  We chuckled.  Then I got serious.

The thing is, I don’t consider it cheating.  I don’t even like the term “cheat food.”   If you live life on and off of a diet all the time then you have to make these kinds of black and white, good and bad distinctions and call eating high calorie nutrient-poor foods “cheating.”   The goal though is to make a healthy lifestyle, where you can incorporate all kinds of foods without having to feel like a bad person.  You simply work the food into your calorie allowance…and it can be done even if you don’t like to count calories.
For instance, I try to fill my days with a combination of proteins and carbs at each meal to keep my blood sugar stable throughout the day so I don’t crave sugary, salty high calorie foods.  When I want to eat a high calorie food like a piece of cake, I go ahead and enjoy some; a reasonable portion and I eat lower calorie more nutrient dense foods the other days.  For instance, a kale salad and tuna for lunch, instead of pizza on that day…and I do a little more exercise.  I try to keep it in balance.
That said, I’m not trying to look like a swimsuit model.  If I had to do that for my career, I would need to be a little more stringent in my diet and probably need to cultivate the ability to live with more deprivation.  For me and most of my current clients, we just need to live life in balance is all.  No cheating.

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