This is how much I love you guys. I'm giving you a gallery of Ugly Exercising Face and my extremely dorky happy dance when weight training is over. My children would call it cringey and they'd be right. But I'm hoping it will help me make my point.
Let's back up a minute. This is the month that I'm really pushing a lot of clients and members to step up their exercise game. And I'm right there with you. I've been told by doctors that I need to do more weight-bearing exercise to increase my bone density. Then in October I attended an event where I got to meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg's personal trainer. Y'all. She's pretty much the Coolest Woman To Walk The Earth, and by the way, she's a FOUR-time cancer survivor. She hired Bryant Johnson when she realized it was time to get stronger.
So I'm at this event, and remember, I'm a health coach, so I should know better, but I still asked: What should I do, because I HATE WEIGHT TRAINING and I hate the gym. And he told me like it is. He asked if I cared about my health. He pointed out all the things I do to take care of myself. And finally he asked, "Then why aren't you doing this?" (And then he gave me a big kiss and some free workout equipment! SWOON! But that's a story for another day.)
Since then I've downloaded a great app on my iPad to make it easier to get in some weight-bearing exercise. But I'm inconsistent with it. So this week, I made a commitment to practice what I preach. I put three weight-bearing workouts on my calendar every week. I'm keeping that promise to myself, and I'm making it work for me. Notice I'm working out in my bedroom. Nothing fancy. Me, some weights, some resistance bands, my app and, oh yeah, my autographed copy of The RBG Workout. Because he's right, if she can do, so can I.
New habits are uncomfortable, you guys. They just are. Keep going. Make a commitment to yourself. Make a promise to yourself. And just keep doing it. Do you know how long it took me to make that morning lemon water a habit? Months. Some mornings, it seemed insurmountable. Impossible. I was tired, and everyone was up earlier than normal and asking me for stuff. But I did it anyway. And it got easier.
When that reminder came up on my phone today to go do my weight workout, I didn't want to stop what I was doing. But I did it anyway. Because I know it will get easier. DO IT ANYWAY. Keep going. I'm right there with you.
Here’s the deal: every Friday evening through the beginning of May, I have to drop a kid off at rehearsal on Mill Street in Vienna. I will then go for a walk on the W&OD trail. If you’d like to join me, meet me at the Vienna caboose at 5:15 on Fridays. You do not have to be a Member or client, and your fitness level doesn’t matter. You just show up, come as you are, even if you’re not in workout clothes. We will walk until someone’s ready to turn around, and then we will end our walk either at Caboose Brewing Co. or Whole Foods in Vienna for a coffee, tea or beverage ~ your choice. This is a place for moving, connecting and winding down the week, NOT competition, feelings of “I can’t” or judgment. If no one shows up, I’ll be walking anyway, but any or every Friday, feel free to join me! Text me at (917) 531-4409 if you’re coming that week so I know to watch for you. Let’s get moving! Release stress! Reduce cancer risk! Increase those telomeres! Connect! We might even see a gorgeous sunset or a bee that fell asleep in a flower with pollen on its butt! (I look at those pictures whenever I need a smile.) See you there!
Remember those awesome pumpkin doughnuts on Fox 5 Good Day DC? Okay, not exactly a superfood, but certainly a seasonal treat (which I believe in) and inclusive for people with food allergies (which I really believe in).
Believe it or not, the foods that pack the maximum nutrient punch can also be delicious ~ thanks to my husband. We recently had the privilege of sharing my love of anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods and his love of cooking ~ at a private event showcasing leafy greens and organic wines. (Oh, did I forget to mention he's in the wine industry?)
We have a million more tricks up our sleeves for helping you love what's good for you. If you're interested in setting up a private workshop and cooking demo (and even a wine tasting) for you friends, organization or workplace wellness initiative, contact me for more information and pricing.
As you know, one of my core beliefs is that we must serve our communities and help the undernourished. Many of you were part of our 5K team back in January that raised money for Food for Others. I've also had the privilege this year of serving as a coach for Girls On The Run of Northern Virginia, an organization dedicated to guiding and mentoring pre-adolescent and adolescent girls through an interactive curriculum centered on confidence, strength, connection, community and other important life skills . . . all while training for a 5K. This morning I had the privilege of kicking off GOTR NOVA's 20th anniversary on NBC 4 with some of my girls. I'm looking forward to another season with this incredible organization.
I posted these pictures yesterday for National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Now I don't mean to leave my male clients out, because this applies to you too. Inactivity is a killer. Literally. Our bodies were meant to move, and it's not just for maintaining weight and heart health. You need it for hormone balance, stress management, controlling inflammation, brain health, cancer risk reduction and more. Listen, it's a well-known fact by now that I personally dislike the gym. So I find other ways to move - with girlfriends on walks on the W&OD trail, on my bike with my husband, on horses with my daughter, on skis with my family, with my Girls On the Run team (and I'm a Coach On A Walk at those practices and races, so no excuses!). Get moving, y'all! ESPECIALLY if you're a woman of certain fabulous age . . . menopause throws a real wrench into your metabolism, and the best way to fight back is to move your body and do weight-bearing exercise to increase muscle mass and preserve bone density. So bundle up . . . I'll see you out there!
I'll turn 50 at the end of May, and I want you to be a part of it. Make sure you're following Wellness Feast on Instagram, because I intend to celebrate this milestone all year long. Until recently, I didn't exactly love the idea of turning 50. But lately I've experienced a shift, and now I'm truly excited about it. Might I suggest we spend the rest of 2020 celebrating all the beauty, growth and opportunity coming our way in this new stage? Join me on Instagram and tag Wellness Feast and #50andfabulous with all the ways you are thriving in your 50s ~ growing, stretching, being true to yourself, serving your community, experiencing love, overcoming obstacles, celebrating your friendships, nurturing your spirit . . . I want to hear it all!
I'm a few weeks late in posting the promised review of the eMeals app, because I had a heavenly little ski vacation in the middle. So first let's bottom line this: eMeals is a great resource as long as you remember to use it. It's like the rule of making lists: they're great as long as you remember to go back and actually read them.
Here's the skinny:
I downloaded the app and set it up. Very straightforward. My only complaint is that I wanted something that was a hybrid of the "vegan" plan and the "clean eating" plan. I eat mostly plant-based, but I found the vegan plan had a lot of meals that were trying to mimic meals that usually have meat - like casseroles or nachos with chili - so many of them called for fake cheese and fake meat. I don't eat either of those ~ I feel like they are so full of chemicals, you'd be better off eating high quality meat and high quality cheese. REAL FOOD, people. The clean eating plan had a lot of meat-based recipes, but what's nice about eMeals is that you're not locked in. You can pop over to another plan and download recipes, so that allowed me to pick and choose recipes from other plans, such as the Mediterranean plan or the Quick and Healthy plan.
The app gives you a set of recipes for each week. You choose which ones you want, and then it puts the ingredients into your shopping list. This is the part that took me a few minutes to figure out. (I can hear my kids saying, "Okay, Boomer" right now, which is when I always remind them that their GRANDPARENTS are in fact the baby boomers, they should be saying "Okay, Gen-Xer" to me when they roll their eyes).
The shopping list allows you to check off anything you already have in your fridge and pantry, then you send the rest to your shopping app of choice ~ I chose Amazon Fresh in hopes of getting mostly Whole Foods items, but you can also use Instacart, Walmart, etc. The downside here is the universal downside of letting someone else shop for you: they're not going to pick the best produce. But I figured I owed it to y'all to try every step of this, plus I'm not going to lie, grocery shopping is not my favorite.
I sent everything over to Amazon Fresh. I was pleased to see that for each item, you get a choice of what brand or quantity you want to buy before it goes into your shopping cart. Once that was set, I picked a delivery window and done! Of course I forgot that one of the ingredients was wine, so I had to scramble to make sure someone over 21 was at my house to sign for the groceries. Again, not eMeals' fault. (On the bright side, I had just finished taking a lot of y'all through the 14-Day Reset Cleanse, so I poured myself a little of that wine while making the farro recipe, and thought lovingly of my spirit animal, Julia Child: "I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.")
That week, I made farro with spinach and mushrooms and an orzo dish with lemon, spinach and crispy broccoi. They were both delicious, and I'll likely make them again.
Then I got off track. Because we went out of town for a few days, and my husband dipped into my "eMeals supply" to make other things, I found myself with some random ingredients, like gnocchi, sundried tomatoes, tamari, and lots of peppers and beans, because I ended up not making some of the other recipes like Chickpea Quesadillas and Southwest Chili Pot Pie. But it worked out well because I made a quick dinner of the gnocchi one night with organic marinara sauce and steamed spinach, and as I type this, my husband is whipping up some vegetarian chili for the Super Bowl.
All in all, I think eMeals is a great concept and a useful resource as long as you stay with it, otherwise you end up paying $60 a year for nothing. If you're like me, you have to pop into your AMEX or VISA account periodically to see what recurring charges you forgot about. But the real value here is that it eliminates the dreaded "What should we have for dinner?"
The most important thing to keep in mind ~ if you don't have buy-in from your roommates/spouse/kids, it's really not worth it. You're basically doubling your grocery bill and your work. This is a tool that is supposed to make life easier, not more complicated.
In the midst of a variety of circumstances several years ago, I stopped making New Year's resolutions about my body. I still set specific, measurable goals around my health, my career, my relationships and my spiritual growth. But this body of mine is loved, not criticized or beaten into submission. If you're still struggling to make lasting change in your health or your life, I want to help. For the month of January, I'm offering a 90-day private coaching package for over a third off my usual fee. How about we get you off the resolution carousel? This is the year to invest in yourself. I promise it will be worth it, and you can bet those unhealthy habits or mindset blocks are costing you more than you know. Contact me to set up your free consultation, or head over to the STORE if you're ready to go!
SPECIAL SEMI-PRIVATE COACHING EVENT
$525 per person
I'm now offering a 12-week coaching package for groups of at least three people. You'll receive the benefits of private one-on-one coaching in a small group. We'll set health intentions, explore what's getting in your way, make positive habit changes, tweak your diet and lifestyle choices and set up a strong community for support and accountability. How great would it feel to head into the new year with vibrant health (instead of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and overweight)? To participate, send me an email with the names in your group, and I will contact you to finalize the details.
I think it's difficult for anyone to describe their typical day, and I certainly wouldn't presume to bore you with my hour-to-hour schedule. But I often get asked what I do when it comes to the areas I find myself discussing the most in my coaching work: food, movement, spirit and sleep. So I thought I'd share what I "typically" do here.
I'm sure everyone knows by now that hands down, the best habit I've changed is my morning routine. I used to wake up with my mind racing, make coffee with the phone already in my hand and start worrying about everything I'd seen in my texts and emails, all while trying to make the first of multiple breakfasts and three lunches at 5:45 in the morning. (My kids are 10, 13 and 16, and they go to three different schools at three different times!) I wasn't doing anyone any favors ~ by the time everyone had woken up, I was anxious and overwhelmed.
As I've read about the importance of an intentional start to the day, I've revised mine and now it makes all the difference in the world.
When the alarm goes off and I sit up, the first thing I do is say "thank you." I get up, ignore the phone, start the coffee maker, pour a huge glass of water, squeeze a lemon into it and drink it down. Then I pour my coffee (I put ghee and MCT oil in mine) and head to the couch for meditation. Sometimes I'll use a guided meditation. Other times, I'll hear my middle schooler start the shower and I know I only have a few minutes, so I'll just spend a minute or two bringing my attention to my breath.
Breakfast for me is usually a big handful of berries, a couple tablespoons of flax seed meal and chia or hemp seeds, raw nuts, a dash of ground cinnamon, a sprinkling of granola and unsweetened soy or almond milk. I'll also take a whole bunch of supplements with breakfast. And I often have a cup of green tea mid-morning.
I'm pretty active anyway, but before I settle down to work, especially if I'm going to be sitting in front of the computer or meeting with clients, I'll try to dedicate some time to exercise. Some days I'll ride (my bike or a horse) or go for a brisk walk. I don't like going to the gym, so if I can't get outside, I'll do yoga, weights or high intensity interval training with an app on my iPad. If it's a nice evening or the weekend, I'll go on a long bike ride with my husband.
If I have time, I'll do transcendental meditation or kundalini yoga, as well as some Bible study or spiritual reading.
Lunch is hard for me. I never want to stop what I'm doing, and I don't really like typical lunch foods. So I'll usually have avocado toast with an egg, or salad and a veggie frittata. If I'm really feeling uninspired to put together a proper lunch (or I'm pressed for time), I'll just make a quick smoothie. A typical smoothie will have berries, greens, avocado, cucumber, frozen bananas, flax chia blend, coconut oil, nut butter and soy milk, with some cinnamon and vanilla extract thrown in.
Dinner can also be a challenge, because my weekday afternoons and evenings are so busy with the kids' activities. I'll have whatever vegetables everyone's having with their dinner, but I don't eat meat, so I'll add a huge salad or chickpea pasta with tomato sauce. If we're out, I'll share my daughter's veggie burrito and order a salad, or I'll get pizza with tons and tons of vegetables (Mod Pizza is a favorite of ours). But my husband is a great cook, so when we can all eat together, we'll usually have fish or a plant-based dish (we love daal, lentils and spinach, kale pesto with black bean spaghetti, vegetarian chili) and lots of veggies, and I always add a big serving of mixed greens with some flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I do like wine, so I will have a glass or two on the weekends. Right after dinner I take bone supplements with calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K.
My kids get a little energy surge after dinner, so sometimes we head out for a walk around the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights (or in the summer, we'll walk down to the park for a little while before the sun goes down). Otherwise, we'll clean up and I'll hit the couch with my husband. Sometimes I'll have a cup of herbal tea ~ my favorite this time of year is a harvest blend with orange peel, ginger and cinnamon. I'll also have a book with me, but I'll inevitably get sucked into something he's watching. Ken Burns' documentary on country music was my most recent favorite (other than the World Series, of course!).
My pre-bed/sleep routine is one area where I'm pretty disciplined because I have to get up so early in the morning. I'm often asleep before the kids! I turn off my phone and leave it in the kitchen. Since a lot of my books and my alarm are on my iPad, I put it on airplane mode so I'm not tempted to check email or social media. All my devices are programmed to switch to warm light at sunset so they're easier on my eyes (and brain). I'm usually in bed by 9:30 with my book and I'm asleep within 15 minutes.