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Core Fusion is-a-workin’ (or something is)

8 Nov

So I must say when I stepped on the scale this morning I was dazzled by my consistent 3 pound (plus some change) weight loss since two weeks ago. But not only did the number on the scale make me jump for joy, but I can feel it in my energy, my body and the way my clothes fit. I simply feel goooood, healthy and toned. 

I must be doing something right. Go me! First things first, I haven’t been fussing or freaking over my weight. And I think that’s a huge mistake many women make. When you constantly worry about your weight, it’s not going anywhere but up. Since I’ve been too busy to think about trivial things such as the number on the scale, those stubborn little pounds are beginning to melt away on their own. I tell you: stress does nothing but make matters worse when it comes to a healthy weight  loss. 

However, to be realistic, I’m obviously doing something right to make for the sudden drop in poundage. It’s not magic, after all! So what is it? I must say most of my thank-yous go out to Core Fusion Body Sculpt (and Rachel Wilkerson for telling me about it). Ever since I started this last week, I’ve been feeling really good all over. While these classes may not leave you dripping in sweat, you can really feel the burn…literally. Like, thighs-shaking, abs-quivering true burn. It’s like I can feel my body gaining muscle, losing fat and revving up its metabolism by the end of the 50-minute segment. I seriously can not get enough of this workout, and recommend it to anyone who wants to tone up and torch fat all over! 

I’ve also been eating super clean lately, cleaner than usual I’d have to say. Ever since I overdosed a bit on fall baked goods, I’ve been cutting back and trying to eat mindfully for my body and mind. Of course, I treat myself to dark chocolate and fried goodies here and there, but for the most part I’ve been eating, and craving, purely lean, clean wholesome eats! It’s what my body wants at the time, and I think it’s definitely thanking me for that (and it’s even starting to show!) 

Oh, and I’ve recently started taking D vitamins because I read how important they are for women in their 20s. Can’t hurt to get a little extra sunshine in the system, eh? So, yeah, that’s pretty much my prescription right now for good health, or at least what’s been working for me. I’m ready to take on the holidays and look my leanest ever for this Thanksgiving’s feast! 

No You Don’t HAVE to go on a diet: Cleaning Your Body & Soul

18 Oct

The other day, I decided I want to dedicate one day a week to cleansing my body. No, this doesn’t mean I’m going to fast or go on one of those crazy cabbage soup/grapefruit diets. I don’t do diets (anymore). Every day I hear/see/read of young women who “have to go on a diet” and it makes me go crazy. No, you don’t have to go on a diet. Fueling with healthy foods? Yes. Devoting more time to exercising for the mind and the body? Sure. Cutting out carbs and sugary treats once a week? Fine. But saying you have to go on a diet sounds miserable.  

I’ll let you in on a little secret: diets don’t work. Seriously. Sure, you may lose a couple of quick pounds to look slightly better in your too-tight dress…for one night. But wouldn’t you rather live a healthy lifestyle where dieting isn’t a part of it, and you look and feel good all of the time? If you say no to this, then sorry I can’t help you, but if you are nodding your head yes, then stay tuned. 

I used to be one of those girls who “had to go on a diet.” I’d have to go on a diet to look stunning for sorority formals, to look like a knock-out on spring break in front of the frat guys, and to impress friends and family when I’d go home for Christmas break. Sure, I’d lose weight and fast…but it was all for the wrong reasons and the wrong way. I’d eat 1,000 calories or less per day, spend hours in the gym, and never treat myself to anything. It was straight up torture. And of course the weight would come back on eventually because a lifestyle of torture is simply not the way to live. A lifestyle of dieting was completely miserable. 

Now I don’t do diets. I hear the word diet and cringe. It just sounds God awful. Diets? Maybe for models and movie stars but helllll nooooo are diets for me (nor are they for you). Instead, I practice a lifestyle of healthy eating and living, where I eat well (not perfect) every day of the year, and diets never cross my mind. This kind of lifestyle allows for eating one too many brownies every once in a while and skipping the gym here and there. It allows for carbs and fat and wholesome food. There are no restrictions in this kind of lifestyle…you just live

Of course, there are still times where I want to crack down a bit (whether it’s for an upcoming vacation or big event) to look and feel my ultimate best. But instead of dieting for these types of occasions, I’ve learned that clean eating is the way to go! Of course I try to “eat clean” every day, but that doesn’t always happen. But let me tell you, when you do eat clean you see all the difference…in your hair, skin and body. When I went to New Zealand six months ago, I lost 4 pounds simply by eating clean: no preservatives, no packaged foods, no crazy dressings, no fried anything. Simply all-natural, fresh, local meals. And I didn’t even have to try! How’s that for a diet? HA! 

But I have to admit: I haven’t been eating so clean lately now that fall is here. I have an addiction to baking, and have been indulging in maybe a few too many pumpkin muffins. Then when I went home this past weekend, my mom bought some kind of apple fritter type donut. They were warm, they were freshly baked…I couldn’t resist. While I’m not going over board, all these little bites here and there are bound to add up, and a bloated tummy is no fun for anyone. 

So while eating clean may not be feasible all of the time, I’m going to try my best to do so throughout the week, with one day dedicated to cleansing. During my “cleansing day” (I have yet to decide what day it’ll be…perhaps Tuesday?), there will be no processed foods allowed. No coffee. No dressings. No dairy. No meat. No baked goods (not even a bite). Instead, I will load up on lots of water, caffeine-free tea, whole grains, nuts, veggies in olive oil, and fresh fruit. 

The Perfect Cleaning Day 

breakfast: 1/2 c. oatmeal or quinoa flakes with 1 TB all-natural nut butter; 1/2 grapefruit; water; herbal tea

snack: fresh fruit salad with flax seed oil, or sliced cucumber in olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon 

lunch: 1 c. spinach with cucumber, canned tuna (no salt added, plain),  avocado, olive oil and lemon juice 

dinner: lots of steamed veggies (spinach, broccoli, kale) with garlic, olive oil and lemon (w/ a side of brown rice-optional) 

*snack on frozen berries, fresh fruit, raw veggies, edamame, and raw nuts 

*avoid salt (causes bloating) 

*drink lots of water

*take yoga to relax the mind & body!

*take a bath/ looooong shower 

*treat yourself to a facial (I love mixing warm water with oatmeal, leave on for 10-15 minutes) 

*avoid caffeine, sip on herbal tea 

This is my personal “cleansing” plan, which may not work for everyone. Do you do body cleanses or healthy one-day detoxes? What works for you? 

How to Handle a “Fat Day”

8 Oct


Fat days. We all know ’em. We all hate ’em. And they happen to the best of us: the skinny people, the curvy people, the happy people and the moody people. Let’s face it: fat days are inevitable my friends, but it doesn’t mean they have to suck as much as they tend to do. I’m writing this post because I had a…dun dun dun (my attempt at scary, frightening music)…fat day yesterday. I woke up and I just felt like a big, bloated blob. It had nothing to do with how I looked in the mirror, what my friends said, or the scale (in fact, I didn’t even weigh myself). I just felt like a big girl, even though in reality I know I am not. I’ll admit: I don’t have fat days very much now, but they still happen once in a blue moon. I used to have “fat days” nearly every day in college…especially sophomore year when I was ironically much thinner than I am now. That’s because “fat days” are mental…it’s an emotion and a feeling in your head, not a reality. You can wake up and “feel fat,” but to the outside world you’re still the same, beautiful, wonderful women you were yesterday. You may feel fat for a number of reasons: too much pizza the night before, a bad day at work, a ridiculous fight with your boyfriend, skipping a workout (or 5), or just going through a rut. But in reality nothing has changed about your exterior at all. You are still the same person you were the day before…and the day before that. 

While my personal “fat days” occur far fewer than in my unhealthy past, I won’t deny that they still don’t happen every now and then. The difference is that now I know how to handle these unfortunate days. My solution used to be kicking the scale in fury (really, I’d kick it across the bathroom like it was my worst enemy), having a mental breakdown, and starving myself the rest of the day while throwing myself a pity party. I remember one day in particular in college that I literally had a panic attack, uncontrollably crying to my roommate for no reason other than that I felt “fat.” She told me I was beautiful, that I looked the same as I always do, that it was all in my head. Now I know she was right along. I am beautiful (and so are you). I (and you) do look the same you always do. And it is all in our heads. 

But how do we handle these damn fat days that sneak up on us once in a while? I am here to tell you my surefire way to deal with the big, bad elephant in the room and move on with it. The next time you have a “fat day,” you’ll kick its big, fat ass (really you will). 

Step 1- Realize Where Your Feelings are Coming From: Are you stressed? Over-tired? Physically feeling bloated ’cause your jeans won’t zip? Pissed off at a friend? Guilty of overeating? In a poopy mood because of the dreary weather? You must find the culprit first, and that will help you better understand your feelings. For me it was a mixture of physically feeling bloated with having *one of those days* due to many things (I was feeling lazy, uninspired, pissy, with maybe a touch of PMS). The bloat thing was easy to solve. While I didn’t get fatter overnight (um, impossible), I didn’t really hydrate myself the day before, hence holding on to a heck of a lot of water weight. I also enjoyed some salty late-night eats, making me extra-bloated. No girl likes bloat. Solution? Drink more water! All day yesterday I guzzled the H2O and felt fabulous. As for the blah day, I realized I just needed to get out of the house, “unplug” and do something (anything!) and maybe I’d start to feel a little better. And boy did that do the trick. Once I found the source of my problem (re: the fat day), I realized quickly it was all in my head. 

Step 2- Do Something Sexy: Put on your hottest, curve-hugging dress. Rock those skinny jeans! Wear that risqué VS thong you save only for *special days*. Today is a special day. It’s a day for you, so make yourself feel your ultimate best! Straighten your hair if you usually wear it curly, dab on some perfume even if you are just going to the grocery store (hey, ya never know), shake your hips and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Yup, you’re sexy and wonderful. The fat thing was all in your head. I put on my go-to “skinny” yoga pants I got for $8 at Marshall’s and immediately felt a little better. The worst thing you can do for yourself is hide under layers of baggy sweats and sulk in front of the TV because you feel fat and gross. Get dressed up for you even if that just means putting on a fave piece of jewelry, squirting pretty body spray or wearing your go-to yoga pants (like me). 

Step 3- Get Moving: Get out and embrace the day! In college, if I felt fat, I’d have a “fat”, I-feel-bad-for-myself day where I’d lay in bed, cry and eat stupid zero-calorie food. blah. What’s the fun in that? GET OUT OF THE HOUSE GIRL! LIVE A LITTLE! Get moving and soon you’ll start to forget you were ever feeling down. It’s the same thing as when you’re having a “bad day.” Once you get out, start laughing and find a distraction, you quickly forget why you were even upset in the first place. Go grocery shopping. Take a trip to your favorite park. If you’re stuck at work, go for a quick stroll on your lunch break to get out of the office. Yesterday, I went for a 3.5 mile run (it helped a little), took a long hot, steamy shower (it helped a little more), lotioned up (getting closer), and then booked it to the park with a few good books and a notepad to write. The trip to the park did the trick. I was able to refocus and concentrate on *me*. Do what works for you!

Step 4-Eat Something Delicious: The number one mistake I made in college was starving myself on fat days. That actually works against you! How the hell is a day of eating iceberg lettuce, sugar-free jello, and egg beaters going to improve your mood? It’d actually make me feel worse. We need to eat food that makes us feel good, ignites our taste buds and that we can enjoy. When I was in Italy a few years ago, I ate whatever the hell I wanted – pasta, pizza, gelato, risotto, seafood, fresh bread, gourmet cheeses – and guess what? I didn’t have a single fat day over there. Not one. Fuel your body. Enjoy your food. Eat what you love and move on with it. I could have very well sulked yesterday, ate a banana and called it a day. But instead, I fought through it. I made my fave breakfast from when I was a little kid (“a kill-da-guy-egg”, don’t ask), and you bet your butt I enjoyed every last bite of it. 

Step 5 (The Most Important)-Move On: Tomorrow is another day and I assure you this stupid, fat feeling will go away. It doesn’t control you. It’s just a feeling, a figment of your imagination and if you don’t let it get to you, it won’t. Tackle your next “fat day.” Show it who’s boss (and that my lovely lady is you.)

Healthy Impacts: The Positive Influence on Readers

5 Oct

[me: happy, healthy, & alive–curves & all]

If you haven’t already heard there has been an uproar of comments/concerns/controversy/anger/discussion over the latest Marie Claire article “The Hunger Diaries.” The article shines the light on how “healthy living” blogs may be putting their readers and themselves in danger, potentially promoting eating disorders, extreme dieting, and over-exercising. While I could go on and on about my take on the article or my opinion of “The Big 6,” that’s not why I’m writing. 

I’m writing because I do agree with one thing the article said: that blogs, including healthy living blogs, do have an influence on their readers. And I think that can be a good thing, in many cases! In fact if it were a bad thing, I’d have no purpose in having this blog or working on a memoir based on my experiences before I started this blog. I write because I strive to have a positive impact on women all over, making them feel wonderful about their bodies, happy for being themselves and enthusiastic about living a healthy lifestyle. 

You see if people took a chance to read blogs like my own (and hundreds of other positive, influential, inspiring women) they’d realize healthy is so much more than running 60 miles a week, cutting out carbs or squeezing into your Little Black Dress. Being healthy is feeling comfortable in your own skin, exercising for your mind and body, experimenting with creative recipes in the kitchen, and helping other women feel good about themselves. 

I can’t count the number of positive responses I’ve gotten because of my blog, and the positive effect it has on my readers, including friends, coworkers, strangers, fellow bloggers and tweeters. Just today, my sister’s roommate who hates any healthy food told me she absolutely loves my blog. “It actually makes me want to eat healthy food!! Pat yourself on the back that is a huge accomplishment.” I find it amazing (and inspiring) that because of my feel-good approach to writing, tasty wholesome recipes and healthy living approach to life, others want to follow in that path. I’ve had other’s write to me saying that I’ve helped their body image and confidence, that they love my healthy eating tips, and some who enjoy my silly, happy random posts that have nothing to do with dieting. Blah. The word diet just sounds scary. 

That’s exactly why I am working on writing a memoir: to help women see there is so much more to health. You see, I wasn’t always healthy. While I was thinner at one point (a good 15 pounds less than I am now), I was by no means healthy. I obsessed over food, wrote down everything I ate, counted calories, freaked if I didn’t work out at least an hour (or 3) a day, and thought boy’s didn’t like me because I was “fat.” That’s what my life was like for a solid 4+ years. It was absolutely torturous and I couldn’t find a way out.

But I did! Look at me today: a happy, curvy, perky, vivacious, lively, fun, healthy 23-year-old. I love my body, I love yoga, I love exercising because it makes me feel good, I love cooking, I love trying new restaurants and exotic foods, and most of all love life. I’ve come such a long way and I only wish other women who have ever struggled (or are currently struggling) can get to the point I’m at as well.

So stay tuned my fellow readers. This Healthy Chick is comin’ out with a book within the next year that’s gonna knock your socks off : ) I can’t wait to keep writing and bring you along on my journey to health and happiness. 

Listening to Your Bod

4 Oct

Yesterday my sister called me complaining that she had a stomach ache because she overdid it this weekend. “I ate way too much this weekend,” she moaned. You see, she wasn’t upset over the fact that she over-ate (I’ve always admired my sister because she’s never let food make her feel guilty by any means), but rather she was upset by the way it made her feel...physically. It was family weekend at her school which meant parties and endless meals out. Between an entire chicken parmesan entrée to chips, dips and beer, she was definitely feeling it come Sunday night. Maybe a year ago, this kind of eating wouldn’t have made a difference on how she felt, but ever since she’s developed a healthier diet, she can no longer handle loads of grease, cheese ‘n’ fatty appetizers all in one weekend (and frankly, neither can I). 

This brings up my point that I-among many people who I know-choose to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet not because it’ll make us “skinny,” “healthy” or “heros” in any way but because it makes our bodies feel good. It’s funny because when I was a little kid (yes, I was a little chubby) I could eat an entire chicken parmesan feast (pasta and all) with a large soda, then dessert and feel wonderful afterward, still hungry even. Now if I tried to tackle that kind of meal I’d definitely feel the burn…in my stomach. My tummy can only handle half a burger these days (which I only do on occasion) and I also had to give up pasta, breads and pastries due to my gluten intolerance (grr). While years ago I could have probably downed an entire large pizza in one sitting, a slice or two (of gluten free) now does the trick. You get the point. 

Once you start to develop healthier eating habits, you begin to crave healthy food,  not because it’ll make you thin but because it makes your body feel good. While many tease me that I’m a health freak or admire my “amazing willpower,” it’s really not because I’m heroic or super motivated in any way; it’s just I enjoy healthy, wholesome food. Believe it or nut, but I actually crave grilled salmon and chicken with roasted vegetables. Hummus, edamame, kale, and other food people find “weird” or “healthy” appeal to me, and many others. I love cooking and experimenting with new foods each and every day, making meals that’ll fill me up, spark my creativity and ignite my taste buds. 

I guess my point is that being healthy isn’t so hard after all. It’s just a lifestyle choice that soon becomes second nature to you. I don’t avoid Doritos because I think they’ll make me fat but because I’d rather indulge in fresh fruits and veggies (they taste better) and I’d rather avoid the stomach ache I’d get from eating a bag of oily, greasy chips. Same goes for the ChickenParmesa/beer/party food indulgence my sister was complaining about. While I’m sure the meal was decadent and she enjoyed every bite, she had to pay the not-so-pleasant consequences of feeling bloated and full the rest of the weekend. Maybe eating half or saving some for later may have been more gentle on her body?

That’s the whole point: listening to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Know that foods are going to bother your stomach, and eat them sparingly. If cheese or beer always makes you feel bloated, maybe skip those foods on a weekend you have a lot of plans going on. It’s all about knowing what works best for you and your body, and using your body as your #1 decision maker. Take last night for example. I made a large salad with fresh veggies, Whole Food’s chicken veggie salad and a few mini mozzarella cheese balls. It filled me up for quite some time, and I figured that’d be it for the night. However, 9:00 rolled around and I was hungry again. No I wasn’t going to deprive myself, but I also knew I didn’t need an additional meal. So I met in the middle. I was craving salty and savory so I made a mini plate of low-sodium nachos with cheese and boy did it hit the spot. That’s listening to your body at its best. While 9 p.m. Sunday nachos might not be the norm,  it’s what my body was craving at the time, so I fed into it. 

I encourage you to do the same.

Do you listen to your body? What kinds of food make you feel good? Are there others that you struggle with (i.e. allergies, intolerance, bloat, etc)? Please share your personal experience with listening to YOUR body…

Managing Overeating & Finding a Healthy Balance

30 Sep


It’s fall and while the weather’s getting a little cooler ‘n’ the leaves are a-changin’ colors, you’d rather your body not change as well (for the worse). But we’ve all been there. When it’s colder outside and sweatpants become your go-to get-home-from-work outfit, it’s so much easier to finish off that leftover pasta or have just one more slice of pizza or only a bite of the melt-in-your-mouth cookie (which quickly turns into eating 4). Trust me, I know how hard it is, and how easy it is to get a little off track when you no longer have to worry about public trips to the beach in you teeny-weeny bikini. You find yourself letting go and giving up on your exercise routine because it’s just soooo much easier (and more fun) to cuddle up on the couch with a good movie and some sweet treats. 

My good friend came to me with such problem the other day. Being a nanny by day (God help her, she’s a champ), she’s constantly surrounded by “kid food” i.e. frozen pizza, leftover birthday cake, extra-frosting cupcakes, and chicken nuggets. Thankfully for her, the mother of the family is rather healthy and normally carries nutritious food in the house. However, one of the children just had a birthday party meaning LOTS of leftover food. She said they had everything in the house from pizza to carrot cake, just sitting there staring at her. And she did what any bored, stressed nanny would do: she indulged in the carrot cake (which she said was the most moist, delicious cake she’s ever had) and finished off the pizza. She then came home telling me how crappy she felt for over-eating, emotionally and physically (her stomach hurt too). 

While I did feel bad about her stomach ache, I didn’t want her to feel bad about her indulgence because it was a one time thing and I know she makes healthy decisions 90% of the time. Of course, it wouldn’t be so good if she did that every day, but it was one day and in a way I don’t blame her. She learned from her mistake (felt crappy the rest of the day) and then decided to move on with it (went to the gym later that night). And then the next day she was back to her normal, healthy, wholesome diet just like that. 

You see it’s all about balance. Balance means making up for binges by realizing it’s a one time thing and moving on with life, eating grilled fish with delicious seasoned veggies for dinner and then having that homemade cookie you want for dessert, skipping a workout one day because you aren’t feeling it but then working extra hard the next, taking a break from work/studying/craziness to do some yoga. You get the point. 

Life is way to short to eat/be/exercise perfectly all of the freakin’ time, but we can do so in a balanced, almost-perfect way. Heck, I practice balancing all of the time. It’s the only way to make it through life sanely without beating yourself up over every little “mistake” (eating too many chocolate chips) or accidentally overindulging in pizza because you deprived yourself from having just one slice and ate the boring apple instead. 

Just yesterday, I made a number of balancing decisions. When I went apple picking with my mom, the farm had just made freshly baked homemade apple cider donuts. Now normally I’m not a donut girl. But, a freshly baked donut right out of the oven from a farm?  That was worth it to me! So my mom and I split one small one to make for a healthy decision. Later in the day I listened to my body and wasn’t feeling hungry around lunch so I simply had a mini-lunch of freshly picked apple slices and sharp cheddar cheese. It filled me up and I moved on with my day. When it was too hot outside to go for my run (what’s with 90 degrees in fall?) I went paddle-boating with my mom for an hour on the lake and took in the beautiful foliage. Sure I wasn’t sweating up a storm, but my legs got a heck of a good workout and I didn’t beat myself up over skipping my run. Later, when dinner rolled around I enjoyed my sushi (and a lot of it). I don’t get the chance to have good sushi very often, so you bet I had a little bit of the California Roll, a little bit of the Spicy Tuna roll, and a couple pieces of the Special Maki Creation: Lobster Mango Roll. It filled me up, I was satisfied, and guess what? I didn’t even want or need dessert after. 

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about making healthy decisions day by day, but not beating yourself up over little slips here and there. Do what makes you feel good. Go to the gym because you want to go and it’ll make your body feel strong and your mind feel clear. Eat the cookie if you really want it, not because it’s sitting there and you’re bored. Skip out on pizza if you’re craving a grilled chicken salad, or have a slice with a side salad if it’s what you’re craving. Skip the gym and go for a long walk once in a while, or do some yoga to clear your mind. Can’t decide on what to eat? Distract yourself for a few minutes (on the computer, reading a magazine) until you really know what you want, and can clearly tell if you are hungry or not. Always have healthy snacks on hand so you don’t pig out on chips just ’cause they’re in front of you. And don’t feel bad about eating too much carrot cake in one sitting. Tomorrow is another day. Just jump right back on track! 

Create a healthy balance, and I can assure you you’ll be one happy, healthy chick!

How do you manage overeating when there’s loads of delectable fall food in front of you? What do you do to maintain that healthy balance? 

There is More to Life Than Calories & Weight

23 Sep


Do you know that there was a time when all I thought about was calories and my weight? It was downright tiring but I simply couldn’t get it out of my mind. I’d count calories in everything I ate, even if it was just a tiny yogurt, an apple or a small salad. I’d weigh myself every day (sometimes five times a day) and beat myself up if the number on the scale went up at all (even .5 pounds). I’d exercise obnoxious amounts in order to burn off everything I ate and so I’d feel “skinny.” It was downright self-sabotaging and every time I look back on my former self, I can’t believe that this negative inner “weight talk” consumed an entire 4+ years of my life. There is so much more to life than that. 

While it’s sad to realize that’s how low I used to think about myself, I couldn’t be happier about the person I am today. Four years later, I’m now a happy, confident, determined young woman who doesn’t think an ounce about calories or stress about weight gain. I’ve finally come to the realization that there is so much more to life, and if you are happy with yourself and your body then the number on the scale doesn’t really matter. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my “fat days” occasionally or sometimes feel a teensy weensy bit of jealousy toward other women’s bikini bods, but my weight-consumed days are far in the past (Thank God).

It’s come to my attention, however, than many women went through or are currently going through the same sort of thing I went through. I hear women every day talk about “needing to go a diet,” wanting to drop 10 pounds or discussing the best fat free/low cal foods for weight loss. I see perfectly healthy girls skipping lunch or eating a 100 calorie pack and calling it a day. At times, I want to confront these women and tell them it’s all going to be OK and they will be able to stop obsessising with diets and weight loss soon enough. Then other times I’m tempted to butt in and tell them the answer isn’t a carb-free diet, sugar free soda or longer trips to the gym. There’s a lotttt more to it than that.

But at the same time, I’d also be lying if I told you that getting over my weight obsession was easy, or there is some magic wand you can wave to make everything normal again. (Wouldn’t that be nice?) Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and I had to go through a lot of self realization in order to get to the happy, perky, care-free self I am today. That’s why I’m in the midst of writing a book–a memoir of sorts–about the struggles I went through, how I overcame them, and how other women can do the same! Hopefully if I could finally get over the hump, then you (or your sister/best friend/mother/daughter) can too. 

As I sit here eating an open-faced turkey ‘n’ cheese sandwich on Ezekiel bread with sliced cucumbers and a side of sweet potato chips, I smile and think of how happy I am that I’m finally over those terrifying days of my past. Damn this is a good sandwich and I can’t wait to have another one of my chocolate chip pumpkin muffins afterward! 

Do you struggle with your weight or let negative thoughts consume you? Have you overcome that weight-talk as I did, and finally found your “happy place”? If so, how? 

Single Chick in the City: An Honest Confession/Rant

17 Sep

Warning: I apologize ahead of time if I go on some kind of rant 

While I may be a healthy chick and am 99% of the time a happy chick, I am also…dun dun dun…a single chick. Now many of my in-a-relationship friends root me on, and tell me that “being single is fun.” “You are so young.” “The right guy will come along some day.” Well, 23 years have gone by and he still hasn’t. OK OK, I understand that yes, I am young and yes, I probably will meet “that guy” some day and everything will all work out. But it doesn’t make that in-between, waiting around, what’s going to happen phase any easier. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that as much as I’m trying to stay positive about being a single chick, sometimes it gets to me, and this week it’s gotten to me a lot more than usual. I try to be all strong. “I’m OK by myself.” “I don’t need a guy.” And that’s true. I know I don’t neeeeed one, but it doesn’t mean that every once in a while the thought can’t pop into my mind that’d be nice to have one. 

Many of my relationship friends also like to tell me, “When you stop looking it’ll come.” Honestly, I’ve heard that since 7th grade. I’m not looking, am I? It’s not as though I go crawling around town checking out men like an aisle in Forever 21. Cute. Not Cute. Yep, he’ll be a keeper. No, I don’t do that. Sometime’s at coffee shops I’ll smile at the cute guy across the table, and at bars I look around to see what’s out there and go up to the occasional guy to chat, but that’s just because I’m a social gal and I love meeting new people. I wouldn’t call that looking or hunting them out by any means. 

Anyway, this past year I tried to let my singledom not get to me as much. After all, I moved into a new city (the lovely city of Boston) and realized it was a time to focus solely on me. And that I did. I got myself a job (or three), started cooking anything and everything (creating many of my own unique recipes) finally learned to manage my budget, made some amazing friends, learned the importance of strength training for women and began lifting weights, explored the city’s adorable coffee shops, bookstores and hidden gems, went to New Zealand with my family, went brunette, quit my job (or two), learned to embrace my body, began running (and love it) and am finally focused on my writing career. Those were all things for me I’d say. Not for you, not for my family and definitely not for men. 

So I guess the whole “why am I still single” thing is especially getting to me now, because I AM happy, I HAVE focused on “me” and I DON’T think about it all the time. I guess what I’m trying to say is I feel it’s finally time I get a little taste of what a relationship is like. College I understand; No, college I was not ready for one. I barely had my act together, I was not happy with my weight or my body or my appearance and I wasn’t focusing on “me.” However, now it’s all different. 

I guess in a way I am proud of myself. I finally got to that place I’ve been trying to get for years, a place where I am happy with what I am doing, content with my body, at a weight I feel comfortable with and at an overall “happy place.” So for now, I suppose I will concentrate on all that I’ve overcome in the past couple of years, however once in a while it’s hard not to let the single-bug get to me. Then again, if that’s the biggest of my worries, I’ve come a long way and am pretty damn lucky.  

Single gals: Do you ever let being single get to you? What do you do to push out that negative noise and just “be”? 

Sexiness is a Sate of Mind: Let it Shine Through!

15 Sep


Sexy. The dictionary defines it as three things: 1. provoking or intended to provoke sexual interest, 2. feeling sexual interest; aroused 3. interesting, exciting, or trendy. However, I don’t  feel sexy is really definable when you think about it, as it’s relative to the person at hand. What may be sexy to one isn’t necessarily sexy to another i.e. the guy I was drooling at while at the bar last weekend, my friend found to be “heinous.” Yes, she indeed used the word heinous. You can compare cars, dresses, ties, shoes, restaurants and everyone is going to have their own definition as to what he or she finds sexy. 

On other notes, what makes a woman feel sexy changes from person to person as well. And I was very interested in digging deeper into the minds of different women of all ages to see what sexy means to them. First I’ll start with myself. This may seem strange, but I feel my absolute sexiest when I’m in tight workout clothes heading out for a workout. Yes, a form-fitting tank and some cute cropped yoga pants with a pony makes me feel 1,000000 times sexier than when I’m decked out to the nines in heels and a dress. Why? Because I’m doing something that makes me feel good about myself (exercising) and in turn makes me feel good about my body and my look. Hence after a long, sweaty workout I feel oh so sexy on the inside out (yes, even if I have sweat dripping down my face and my hair is a little knotty). No perfume, minimal make up, lots of sweat and still I feel on top of the world. 

The thing that I realized is: sexiness is a current sate of mind, an attitude of sorts that varies from person to person.

Another reader agreed with me on what sexy is to her, saying that she feels her absolute best after finishing a race. Why? Because she feels amazing about what she just accomplished, in turn making her feel confident and hot. Some women said it had more to do with glamour, and they feel their best with painted nails, super high heels and a hot, trendy dress. This, I’m guessing, is because they feel good about themselves in the mirror and this feel-good state carries outwardly. I can relate to these women in a way. Sometimes when I’m in super high heels and a glamorous outfit, I know I look good, so I feel good on the inside and my confidence shines (it’s a chain of sorts). Therefore, while I may look like the same old Rachel to the outside eye, the inside Rachel is feeling sexy and confident and that’s what people see.

I had some other more unique responses. One woman said she feels her sexiest after a few glasses of wine because after having kids her body isn’t the way it used to be, in turn making her feel sexy much less often. While she said she is working on it, I suggested to her that sexiness is a state of mind and if she can find something that makes her feel good on the inside, I can assure that she’ll in turn feel sexy on the outside. Maybe this could mean throwing on some sensual lingerie that she feels good in, not that her husband will necessarily like. Or it may mean putting on some tunes and dancing around the house half naked, just letting lose. There’s a million things to do that can alter your inner mindset, letting your sexiness explode. The thing is it has to be something you do for you not someone else; that’s when your true sexiness will shine. 

Some have no problem with feeling sexy, and walk through life with confidence and sex appeal every day. That’d be nice to be one of those people, but for the most of us the feeling of sexiness comes and goes. One woman responded with an extremely bold and honest answer. “I feel my sexiest when I’m having sex.” What a blunt answer. Then I thought about it, and can understand how for some women this is a huge boost of confidence. I mean, what other time are you more in tune with your body? If you can feel your sexiest when you’re having…um…sex then more power to you! I think that’s a wonderful thing.

When it’s all said and done, sexiness is healthy and us women shouldn’t be afraid to feel sexy and be sexy. It’s empowering, stimulating and such a confidence booster. So I dare you to go out and be sexy today. Rock the sexiness, and feel it from the inside out! 

When do you feel your sexiest? Do you recall any times you’ve felt not-so-sexy or things you’ve done to boost your sexy confidence? 

Confessions of a Sensitive Chick: How What You Say Can Make or Break Someone’s Day

14 Sep


I have a confession: I am a very sensitive person, and sometimes tend to care wayyyyy too much what people think of me. It’s mostly because I take what people say very seriously, especially those I value most. Sometimes this can be a very bad thing because I’ll let the tiniest little negative comment affect me in a BIG, BIG way. Someone told me I was big-boned once, and I thought about it all day long, feeling fat. When a coworker once told me all I think about was guys and that I need to get over myself (and my drama) I cried at work. When a guy in college told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship, I assumed it was me and wondered what was wrong with me. Was I not pretty enough? Why did I let these little comments get to me? Who are they to make me feel bad about myself? What they say shouldn’t matter, after all. 

I specifically recall when I was a junior in college in an advanced Health Communication seminar class. The crazy, negative, intimidating teacher (who everyone in college feared may I add), went around the room asking all of us what we wanted to do when we “grow up.” “I want to be a writer,” I said timidly. (For an outgoing person, I’d always get so timid in college lectures.) “A WHAT? SPEAK UP!” she screamed back at me. “A writer…I want to write for a magazine,” I added quickly. “FUR A MAGAZINE? CATS HAVE FUR. It’s FOR, F-O-R. Before you become a writer you may want to learn to speak correct grammar.” I was humiliated. I completely shut down. I felt stupid/hopeless/mortified/embarrassed/weak. 

So what did I do? I dropped that class first of all, then went home and sobbed to my dad (sorry dad). But what my dad said to me turned my day around in a snap. First he made a lame attempt at a joke, saying I should have said “FUR YOU!” But then he told me how great of a writer I am, how wonderful of a daughter I am, and how much I have to offer. Suddenly, I was back to my normal self, high on life, just from his one little chat.

You see, sometimes my sensitivity to what people say can be  a good thing (when they say nice things, that is). It’s a shame we can let those little negative, hurtful comments get to us so much and don’t relish enough on all the nice, positive things people say. Think about it: you remember those terrible, mean, god awful things people said about you (behind your back or to your face), but those little happy comments seem to fade away. 

I want to make it an effort to remember more of the positive things people say to me. You know, the little things people say throughout the day that can turn your day around, making you high on life. Those are the things we should remember. Yesterday was the perfect example of this. As many of you know I was having a “blah” day, and no matter what I did I couldn’t snap out of my blah-ness. And you know the deal. When you’re feeling blah, every single thing that happens gets to you even more than usual. Therefore, minor, trivial things suddenly seemed to be bigger than they actually were. Anyway, I walked home from the cafe I was at all afternoon still feeling “blah” when I turned on my computer to find one of the nicest compliments (from someone I don’t even know…on Twitter!) 

“I just spent the last hour reading your blogs…So inspiring. Thank you!!! #amazing” (@heatherg22)

Wow, someone spent an hour reading MY blog? And she’s inspired by it and found it amazing? I suddenly felt on top of the world. After all, my goal is to inspire women day by day through my writing, hoping they can take a little something from it and learn a tad along the way too. So when a reader sends me a wonderful compliment such as this, it reallllllyyyy makes me feel good. You see, the tiniest things people say really do make a difference, especially for someone like myself who takes what people say so seriously. 

So lesson learned: next time you’re about to say something to someone that may not come out quite so nice, bite your tongue. And next time you wonder whether or not you should compliment someone or do something out-of-the-ordinary nice, DO IT. What do you have to lose? We need more little, nice happy thoughts in this world to dwell on (instead of little mean, thoughtless ones). After all, it makes for a much more cheery day!

Are you sensitive to what people say to you? What’s something not-so-nice someone’s said you just couldn’t get over, or something wonderful someone’s said to you that completely brightened your day? 

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