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Find Your Balance
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Find YOUR Summer Body
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weight loss

Find YOUR Summer Body

Summer is here and the swimsuits are out! Mixed feelings about it?  In a culture that is drilling "bikini body" images into our heads at every opportunity, moms often feel defeated when it comes to their physical self. We are constantly putting our children’s needs before our own.  How can we take care of the kids, clean the home, cook the dinner, maintain a job, AND stay healthy and fit? As a personal trainer, I encourage my mom clients to take a realistic approach. It's not about maintaining your 24-year-old-bikini-wearing body. It's about living in your healthiest, strongest, happiest body RIGHT NOW.

Here are a few realistic ways to find YOUR summer body. I promise it’s not too late!

Workout with Your Kids

No time to workout? Get your kids in on the action. You will be able to exercise more often, and it will help your children build positive associations with exercise early in life. Win/win!

Find ways to build exercises into your daily life. Invest in a jogging stroller (I am in love with my Bob!). Find a mommy/baby yoga or fitness class. Try circuit training on the playground. Don't be afraid to be the parent doing squats and pushups on the side lines! And my favorite... have a dance party in the living room with your kiddos. They love this, and you will be burning tons of calories if you really boogie.

Practice Mindful Eating

Do you catch yourself shoveling food into your face over the kitchen counter with the kids screaming in the background? Or do inhale your meal while binge watching your favorite show at the end of the day? Munching with distraction often causes us to overeat.  In these moments we do not allow our mind to process what the body is consuming.

Practice mindful eating. Put away electronic devices and wait for a quiet moment (without your kids around if possible). Savor each bite of your food. Notice the taste, the smell, and the texture. Remind yourself that each food is nourishing your body. By doing this we are better able to receive the message when we are satiated. We will also enjoy our eating experience on a deeper level.

Find an Exercise Buddy

Do you know a friend who may be ready to make some healthy changes with you? Finding a workout buddy can help you stay on track. Set a weekly workout date, share recipes, or sign up for new group classes together.  Not only will you be more likely to exercise, but you will have more fun doing it.

Another option is finding an experienced and knowledgeable health coach, nutritionist, or personal trainer (like myself) to guide you. It may not be as cost effective as using a friend, but it will ensure that you see results in a timely, safe, and effective way.

Good luck finding your summer body! My team does amazing work with moms throughout NYC and Westchester. We are here to help.  We also offer virtual skype sessions at a fraction of the cost. Visit www.mindbodyfitnessnyc.com for more info.

Want to chat with me in person? Come to the Hastings Flea next Sunday, July 12th for 10am to 4pm. I will be giving away free sessions, doing fitness consultations, and teaching kids yoga! www.hastingsflea.com

Exercise Your Resolution

January is almost here! Have you decided on a resolution for 2016? If so, maybe you can bulk it up to see lasting change in the new year. Folks often feel disappointed in themselves come spring (or sooner) for failing to be resolute. Maybe it’s not the person who is to blame, but the resolution itself? Lose weight, eat better, make money, stop drinking, start saving… These are common (and empty) resolutions that do not lead to success. I often talk about how specificity is key when establishing and reaching goals, so when came across this resolution exercise I just had to share! It solidifies goals and allows the individual to truly define what their ideal vision of the future should be.

Here's what you do…

Write a letter to yourself to be sealed and opened on January 1st, 2017. Make sure to store it in a safe place. In this letter outline everything you wish to accomplish this year. Try to write down your goals AND the actions you are planning to take to reach them. Get detailed = Big goals, little goals, fears, excitements, obstacles.

Then describe what the ideal outcome would be. What is your ideal vision of YOU? And how does it feel to be living that ideal? Create a clear picture of what you want your life to look like by this time next year. Again, be as detailed as possible!

When you are finished, your letter will act as a map. You have to have a route to get where you are going before you set out on a journey, right? This exercise can propel you past the general “lose weight” or “eat better” goals and set you up for concrete results. There is also the added pressure of knowing you will be the one re-opening the letter next year.  Don’t let your future self down! Give it a try and happy new year!
 

Be a Part-Time Vegetarian

I love me some steak (and chicken, turkey, ham, fish…and BACON!). I always have and always will, but over the last few years I have made a conscious effort to cut down on my meat consumption. I don’t eat meat for breakfast or lunch. I also plan for 1 dinner with meat and 1 dinner with fish each week. Red meat is reserved for a once a month indulgence. Why have I cut back? There are real benefits of eliminating meat from our diets (at least some of the time). For the meat lovers out there like myself it might seem like a daunting task, but being a part-time vegetarian is a good way to help your body, your bank account, and the planet.

Here is why I am a part-time vegetarian…

My Health
People who eat little to no meat have a decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and certain cancers. Studies of more than 900,000 women done by the Archives of Internal Medicine have shown that women in their 20, 30s, and 40s who ate red meat or processes meat on a daily basis were more likely to develop breast cancer. And even more recently the World Health Organization announced a direct link between processed meats and colon cancer.Although the effects of meat consumption are not thought to be as harmful as say cigarette smoke, the findings are enough to make me cut down, especially with the processed meats! Bye bye bacon.:(

My Finances
Meat consumption can totally break the bank, especially if you are trying to eat organic, grass fed, free range products (the “healthy” meats). Compare a $14 organic chicken breast to a $5 package of tempeh or beans. Or a $29/lb cut of organic beef tenderloin?! If you opted for the plant based protein, you would be cutting out a major chunk of change from the grocery bill. I save a minimum of $50 per week eating the way I do. Sorry, Whole Foods, but you already take enough of my money. I am going to sauté some tempeh tonight!

Our planet
Word is spreading about how the livestock industry is one of the leading causes of global warming on the planet. There are a lot of percentages being thrown around by environmental experts. The facts seem to differ depending on who you talk to, but one thing they all agree on is that meat consumption is harming the planet and will continue to do so if we don’t change our eating habits. According to World Bank environmental advisor Robert Goochland, it has been estimated that up to 15% of the worlds greenhouse gases are produced by livestock and 61% of those gasses come from cows. With a growing population and demand for more food it is estimated that the world’s carbon budget will be exhausted by 2050. What?! That’s terrifying. According the US Department of Agriculture each American eats 125 lbs of meat per year, so I try do my part by making meat a once in a while indulgence. At the risk of sounding super corny and idealistic here… Just think of the difference it would make if we all cut back just a little bit?!

That being said… The part-time vegetarian life style has worked for me so far. Could it work for you?  I have some really great recipes for plant based protein meals if anyone is interested.  Contact me anytime! mindbodyfitnessinfo@gmail.com

Are You Really Ready to Change?

It’s a new year and with that comes new ideas of lifestyle change…Our bodies and minds are often ready for a transformation this time of year. But are you really ready to change? By acknowledging your stage of readiness, you may be more likely to keep that New Year’s resolution.  Knowledge is power right? 

There are 6 stages of readiness in the transtheoretical model used by health professionals.  Understanding the stages can help anyone struggling with a lifestyle change.  You can use this model to assist with anything from weight loss and exercise to substance abuse and addiction. Below are the stages.  I will use the example of weight loss since many of my clients are coming to me for guidance in this area. Which stage do you relate to today?

PRECONTEMPLATION STAGE
In this stage you probably do not think you have a problem or issue that needs to be changed. Or maybe you have tried to change at another time in your life and have simply given up. This is the “denial” stage.
You may be saying things like:
·       I am not overweight.  
·       I don’t have a problem over eating.
·       I don’t need to exercise.
What you can do to move to the next stage:
·       Validate your lack of readiness
·       Reevaluate your lifestyle choices
·       Consider the risks involved in your lifestyle choices

CONTEMPLATION STAGE
At this stage you are contemplating making a change, but getting out of your comfort zone may not seem worth it right now. This is the “ambivalent” stage.
You may be saying things like:
·       I know I am a few pounds over where I should be, but I’m okay with that. 
·       Sometimes I feel like I could make better food choices.
·       I know I should go to the gym, but I don’t really feel like it. 
What you can do to move to the next stage:
·       Validate your lack of readiness
·       Write a pros and cons list for making a change
·       Try to acknowledge the positive outcomes for making a change 

PREPARATION STAGE
This is when real plans for change start to be made.  You may even attempt small changes.  It is a step in the right direction. This is the “something has to change” stage.
You may be saying things like:
·       I will try to lose weight.
·       I will start eating better… at least on the weekdays.
·       Maybe I will try to go for a walk after dinner.  It’s better than nothing!
What you can do to move to the next stage:
·       Start with small steps
·       Build a support system of friends, family, and/or a health professional
·       Build your confidence by identifying your talents

ACTION STAGE
This is the stage that needs to be reached in order to make concrete changes. Plans are made and executed. This is the “change” stage.
You may be saying things like:
·       I WILL lose 10lbs in the next 3 months!
·       I WILL only eat wholesome foods and in the appropriate portions.
·       I WILL make it to the gym 4 to 5 times this week.
What you can do to move to the next stage:
·       Restructure your routines
·       Let yourself feel proud and self-efficient
·       Remind yourself of the positive outcomes of the change

MAINTENANCE STAGE
In this stage you have reached your goals and continue to make choices in support of that goal.  Avoiding slips and relapse is part of the process.  This is the “don’t give up” phase.
You may be saying things like:
·       I will not go back to my unhealthy weight.
·       I will stay strong when tempted by unhealthy foods.
·       I will continue my exercise routine, even though I have reached my goal.
What you can do to stay in the maintenance stage:
·       Make use of your support system
·       Remind yourself of how wonderful you feel inside and out
·       Note that relapse can happen if you let it   

RELAPSE
When in relapse you may find yourself resuming old behaviors. This can lead to feelings of discouragement and make it hard to re-establish healthy behavior. This is the “fell off the wagon” phase. 
You may be saying things like:
·       Now I will never be my ideal weight.
·       I tried to eat right, but I failed.
·       I can’t go back to the gym now that it has been so long.
What you can do to move passed a relapse:
·       Figure out what triggered your relapse
·       Build a strong plan for dealing with the triggers in the future
·       Evaluate your motivation

Exercise Your Will Power: Reframe!

Many fitness trainers shy away from discussions on will power. It's a sensitive topic because clients can often feel defeated when their "will" is less powerful than they thought. BUT just as exercise can strengthen our muscles, cognitive reframing can strengthen our self-control. Whether you are trying to lose weight, get active, or simply be the healthiest YOU possible, try to shift perspective to increase your will power. It’s a great way to reshape the way you think, behave, and ultimately feel! It works.

What is reframing?
Psychologists often use reframing to generate a change in thought by looking at any given circumstance from a more positive (and equally realistic) angle. Is the glass half empty or half full? Both statements are true, so why not opt for the positive choice?

An easy way to apply this to will power is to start replacing the word "try" with the word "will." For instance, instead of saying "I can try to make it to the gym tomorrow." Tell yourself "I WILL make it to the gym tomorrow." You have then made a concrete statement that you can stick to. When we use the word "try" we are often giving ourselves an out, so we don't need to accept responsibility for our actions. By using the word "will" we make a concrete statement and feel powerful when we accomplish the task.

You can also use reframing to improve self-esteem which can, in turn, improve your will power. Sometimes we don’t realize that it’s our negative self image that is standing in the way of our goals. Instead of thinking, “I feel so fat today...” try “I am craving a work out today!” Try to notice the negative self-talk and reframe it into something positive.

At first it is a challenge to shift perspectives, but one thought at a time we can build an optimistic approach. Take breaks when you need to, and don't beat yourself up if your will power doesn't change over night. In time it will become easier to reframe any situation. If you need extra help reaching your weight loss or fitness goals, ask for it. See a therapist, hire a personal trainer, or both!


 
 
 
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