Tag Archives: health

Get Rid of That Guilt: Why Skipping a Workout is OK

9 Sep

This morning, I got up early and headed out to meet my friend at Starbucks for…wait for it…PUMPKIN SPICED LATTES! Yes, they are indeed back and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Not only do I love the flavor, but it makes me ecstatic for the fall season: pumpkins, running outside, not sweating in my 100+ degree apartment, kettle corn, hayrides, apple picking… Seriously, I could go on forever. 

Anyway, as we chatted over our absolutely delicious “fall in a cup” lattes in the park, my friend admitted to something: she felt guilty for skipping her morning run. “I woke up early so I could run before work and then just laid around the house and didn’t do it. Now I’m going to feel guilty the rest of the day.” As I took another sweet slurp of my latte, I reflected on how I’ve been there a million times in the past. Whether I wasn’t “in the mood” to go for a run or skipped a cardio class at the gym due to pure laziness, it’s hard not to feel a little guilty when you skip a workout. I remember in college if I didn’t go to the gym for an hour each day or missed out on my weekly cycling class, I’d completely beat myself up over it. I’m lazy. I’m fat. Now I’m going to gain weight. I may as well not eat for the rest of the day. I should have just gone to the gym. Negative thoughts would haunt me for the rest of the day. Therefore, I’d force myself to exercise on days my body wasn’t feeling it, and skip out on fun dates with friends in order to go to the gym. Looking back now, it’s completely pathetic that I put so much emphasis on my psychotic workout plan.

Now, my mindset has completely changed. I don’t let myself feel guilty anymore because if I decide not to work out, I don’t think of it as a bad thing. The phrases skipping or giving up have such negative connotations to them. It’s not like you gave up on eating healthy forever or decided to drop out of school. It’s one workout for Pete’s sake! Therefore now when I choose not to do a workout, I think of it as just that. This was my decision. My body wasn’t feeling it at the time. I’m going to go with what my body tells me to do, rather than meeting my expectations. 

Once you have this mindset, you’ll never feel guilty about missing a workout again. In fact, I decided to skip  opt out of my morning run yesterday, and ended up having the most fabulous, healthy day because of it. I was able to make a hearty breakfast, do 20 minutes of morning yoga, and go for a long walk with my friend later in the afternoon. Sure I didn’t sweat a bunch or torch hundreds of calories, but I felt good about it and made the right decision for that day. On the other hand, I will be going on a 5 mile run this evening and couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m excited to challenge my body, see what my time will be and run in this gorgeous fall weather. However, if I happened to not be feeling it at the time of my run, I’d chose to do something else and would move on with it. It’s all about listening to your body. 

After all, working out shouldn’t be a chore; you should feel motivated and inspired by it! Whenever friends complain about going to the gym or talk about “forcing” themselves to go, I tell them to stay home and do something else, or go for a long walk to sort things out. If you’re feeling miserable and dragging yourself to exercise, it’s NOT going to be a good workout. And let me tell you: 25 minutes on the elliptical at a slow “I-don’t-want-t0-be-here” pace is going to do nothing for your body or overall weight management efforts. Our bodies need a break once in a while after all. And if you’re someone who exercises nearly every day, the occasional rest day is more than OK; in fact it’s good for your health. We don’t want to overwork our bodies now, do we? 

So to wrap things up: next time you find yourself feeling guilty about “skipping” a workout, try to listen to your body and think about what’s right for you. If you really are just being lazy, give it a few minutes and see how you feel, or start by just going for a walk and begin running if you feel like it (not ’cause you HAVE to). However, if you really do just need a day of rest, take one guiltlessly. There is always tomorrow and one little missed workout is not going to make the slightest difference on your overall healthy lifestyle (I wish I had known this in college). Trust me. 

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Finding Your Healthy Passion

5 Sep

[source]

A few months ago, one of my friends came to me in distress. “Rach, I’m just so jealous of you that you have a passion. I feel like I’m not passionate about anything,” she said in distress. “Sure you are. You are one of the most loving people I know, and there are tons of things you enjoy!” “I guess. But I just don’t get excited about anything. I don’t have any true passions.” 

This made me sad at the time, as I wanted her to open her eyes and see how much this world has to offer, and more importantly how much she has to offer the world. It was especially hard for me to understand, because she was right: I am passionate about lots and lots of things; some would maybe even say I’m TOO passionate. So how could my friend not find one little thing to get excited for, to make her feel good about herself? I wanted deeply for her to figure that out. 

Fast forward a few months to this email I received from that same friend: “I’m sure you all know that I’ve ALWAYS bitched about not having a ‘passion’…and I think I know something that will make me excited and that is learning how to sail! I’ve always loved the lake/ocean/water/boats/etc so I think this will be fun and there are some somewhat cheap sailing lessons right here on the potomac!” she wrote. She also mentioned how she started a book club with some work friends (and hosted the first meeting), began taking hot yoga classes, and had been taking a lot of trips with friends. You could hear her excitement (and passion) in her email; it was THAT loud and vibrant. Honestly, I couldn’t be more happy for this particular friend (you know who you are) because she finally saw something she had all along, and was brave enough to dig deeper in order to seek it out. Bravo!

As for me, I get silly, obnoxiously excited for almost everything. Sometimes I feel like I still have some (or most) of my 10-year-old self locked up in my 23-year-old body. Take today for instance. I’m sitting here like a little kid on Christmas because I get to go grocery shopping in an hour with my roommate…to TRADER JOE’S (my favorite place on earth.) Not only do I love buying fresh, healthy eats for the week, but the free snack counter is one of my favorite parts of the trip. I anticipate what it’ll be every time…it’s like a secret goodie bag. Seriously, it’s my favorite. thing. ever. 

Lately, I’m also super excited about my new love for running (I ran another 5-miler today-yay!), crafting up innovative recipes, my new ‘n’ improved blog look and mostly MY RECIPE BOOK that I can’t wait to get published. As you can see, I have a lot to be happy and passionate about, and so should YOU!

What are some things you’re particularly passionate about, or simply little things that make you extra-excited? 

Healthy…Dudes?

4 Sep

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from men. There are those who read my blog religiously, others who enjoy what I have to say about women, and some who just simply like the concept of it and want to know more. While my blog is called “Healthy Chicks” and mostly geared for, well, chicks, I suppose much of the advice I give can be for both men or women, really. 

So for all of you men out there: don’t be ashamed to read my blog and give me suggestions. In fact, I’m flattered that both men and women can enjoy what I have to say. No, I’m not going to change the name of my blog to “Healthy Chicks ‘n’ Dicks,” nor will I suddenly become an expert on the male species, but I do welcome readers of all backgrounds and genders. 

When it all comes down to it, both men and women can follow a happy, healthy lifestyle…and who knows, maybe we can learn from one another? I’ve got to be honest: I’ve flipped through Men’s Health magazine, and actually find it interesting what they have to say about men, health and even relationships. Not to mention the majority of my friends from home are all dudes, so I’ve learned a lottttt about the way they think, act, and treat women (sometimes I wished I’d  had earmuffs for). Regardless, it’s neat to hear different perspectives from people young, old, man or woman. 

So I don’t care if you’re a 16-year-old teen girl, a mother of three, or a 54-year-old man (hi dad). I welcome you to read, comment, criticize, or love my blog all the same. 

What are some life lessons (on relationships, health,  fitness, love, whatever) that you’ve learned from a dude? 

Friday Shenanigans: What’s On My Mind

3 Sep


Today was a pretty random day, hence making for a pretty random blog post. I started my day off amazingly with a nice 3-mile run in the sun with my best friend, followed by an even more amazing breakfast that consisted of an egg white omelet with veggies and feta and two pieces of Ezekiel toast (I guess it was more like brunch since we ate at 11 a.m.) Anyway, I then threw on my cute, new sundress for a meeting at Panera, only to be graced by rain later this afternoon. (Go away Earl!) Now I’m sitting here on my couch half-soaked, hair a mess but still ready to write, write, write. Random, I know. Alas, five random thoughts on my mind this lovely, rainy Friday evening…

1. People Watching : Seriously, I think this is one of my favorite hobbies of all time. This afternoon I went to a cafe, ordered a large iced coffee, then parked myself on a window-side stool facing the busy streets of Boston. I not only got to write and enjoy my deliciously perfect coffee, but I also got to observe hundreds of interesting people walking by. From construction workers who stared at me through the windows and adorable elderly couples to families sprinting to get away from the rain (quite amusing) to little girls dressed in cute Little Mermaid outfits, I got a little glimpse of everything. I always find it interesting to observe other people’s habits, styles and conversations. Call me weird or a stalker, but I’m telling you it’s so much fun, especially when you’re writing and need some extra inspiration!

2. Vodka:I know, I know…I call myself a “Healthy Chick” but even us healthy chicks have to treat ourselves to a good drink once in a while. And this has been quite a long, stressful, hectic week so I think I deserve a drink…or three. Since I don’t drink beer (I’m weird and think it tastes like stale bread), I am planning on making some Vodka seltzers tonight (with maybe a splash of Crystal Light) to enjoy with friends before we head out to face the rain. Earl, you are not stopping us from having fun!

3. Dinner-In: Last week, I went out to dinner with my family nearly every night. Of course each meal was delicious, but my single, budgeting city-gal self couldn’t handle the HUMUNGOUS portions. Of course I cleared my plate most of the nights because hey, I’m going to take advantage of free food while I could. But, this week I’ve never been so happy to cook single portions at home for myself. I’ve had some delicious dinners this week, including fresh salads, vegetable stir-fry, and a yummy Thai-style Lime Rice with tofu (you have to take a peak!) What’s on the plate tonight? Homemade turkey burger topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. YUM! 

4. Boys: Honestly, is the entire city of Boston taken, married or just plain un-datable? Really, I could use a date or two…While I may have it together with health and fitness, dating may just not be my forte…Guess “it will happen when you’re not looking for it.” (I’ve been hearing that since I was 15.)

5. My Recipe Book: As some of you know, I’m in the process of publishing my very own healthy recipe book, filled with simple, nutritious dishes to make from home. Anyway, I put a lot of thought into it today and am so excited to get this baby going (still have some tweaks to figure out). Be sure to stay tuned for updates on this exciting project of mine!

TGIF!!

The Power of One Little Compliment

2 Sep

Today when I was ordering my food at Panera, the barista caught me by surprise. While normally it’s just the usual place your order, fake smile, take the buzzer and go, today was different. “I absolutely love your dress,” the woman said. “It looks so cute and comfy!” Not only did the lack of robotic communication take me by surprise, but I was also completely flattered. She then continued by telling me the salad I ordered was a good choice, and that I seem like one healthy girl (little did she know I’m a “Healthy Chick” after all). Anyway, back to the point: this stranger’s simple compliments completely made my afternoon. And they weren’t even over-the-top or extravagant in any way. I walked back to find a seat beaming in confidence, just because of two little nice lines from a stranger.

This got me thinking about how I wish we saw more of these kind exchanges more often in life. Too many times throughout the day, I see people frowning and looking completely pissed off, or watch as people blurt out rude comments without thinking. I see it every day in line at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Yelling. Shouting. Snide, sarcastic comments. Impatience. It’s as if people have completely forgotten how to have friendly conversation, or somehow feel as if they’re superior in some way. It’s sad, really. Sometimes I wish I could smack some sense into these people or force a smile onto their face. Seriously, it just makes me plain angry.

Did you ever stop to think what a teensy weensy smile or one little simply compliment could do for someone else’s day? I know it sounds cliche and we’ve heard it a million times, but still you don’t see enough of this “happy talk” anymore. And you know what? The best part about it is it’s completely effortless.

So I challenge you to turn your iPod off during your next commute to work and smile at that stranger. Or actually engage in some sort of conversation with the guy that bags your groceries every. single. time. Compliment a woman you admire for her true beauty. Really, it can’t hurt. And I can bet you that your tiny, little act of kindness will actually make some sort of difference on anothers day…even if you can’t SEE it right away…

What are certain kind exchanges you’ve had lately, or something someone told you that completely brightened your day?

How Pilates Can Turn Your Life Around (Feature Interview with Jennifer Blaine of Jennifer Pilates)

2 Sep

I have to admit: While I consider myself a health and fitness enthusiast, I know very little about Pilates. I tried a class a few years ago at my local gym and boy was it a challenge (in a good way of course). Let’s just say every participant in the class was 100% ripped (especially the instructor), and my abs hurt for the next three days.

However, that one little class is the extent of my Pilates knowledge. But there has got to be more to it than that! After all, magazines rave about how it’s the most amazing workout for your body, and celebrities swear by it. So what is it that makes this exercise so darn great?

Since clearly I don’t know the answer to that, I interviewed Pilates instructor Jennifer Blaine of Jennifer Pilates to find out more about this mysterious, miracle exercise. With studio locations in Boston and on Cape Cod Jennifer truly does live and breathe Pilates. Alas, I’ll give the floor to her…

RC: When were you first introduced to Pilates?

JB: I was introduced to Pilates in 1997 after being in a car accident in Boulder, Colorado. I had such severe internal tissue damage and Pilates was actually recommended from my doctor. So I rehabbed with it for about two years…

RC: Wow, you’ve come so far! How did you get to where you are today?

JB: Well one day one of my instructors couldn’t show up to class and asked if I could sub in, since I’d been there for two years. So I kind of helped out a little bit that day, and from then on Pilates changed my life…I left my corporate job and dove into Pilates. It really was a blessing in disguise.

RC: That sure is. What’s unique about your background?

JB: I’m trained as a classical third-generation master Pilates instructor, derived from the classical methods of Joseph Pilates himself from the “Harvard of Pilates Schools” The Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado.

RC: And you have locations in both Boston and Cape Cod? Or do you just stay here in Boston?

JB: I’m in Boston [at the Newbury Street location] three days a week and on the Cape (at the Osterville location) two days a week.

RC: Wow, that’s great. You’re a busy girl! What’s something you would tell someone who knows NOTHING about Pilates (like myself) or may be weary to try it out?

JB: Pilates is great because virtually anyone can do it. I have clients who are 8 years old and clients who are 90 years old. It’s especially great for people looking for something new.

Pilates works from the core outward so in one session you’re working your entire body from head to toe. There’s no messing around…you’re in, you’re working and then you’re out. It’s just so wonderful…I don’t even feel like I’m working out. With Pilates you really can get a great workout in just an hour.

RC: That’s wonderful! I know some people who spend hours at the gym only to see no results. How is Pilates beneficial to your body?

JB: Well, after 10 sessions, you’re really feeling a difference in your body. After 20 sessions, you’re beginning to SEE a difference—losing inches, toning, strengthening, and gaining stamina. Then after 30 sessions you completely change your body and really see such a big difference. After all, the sessions are 50% stretching, 50% strengthening.

RC: What is some of the feedback you’ve heard from clients? Any unique stories?

JB: I have a golf pro who has been following me from my studios forever because I changed his golf game. Everyone asks him, “What happened? What did you do?” Focusing on the core outward really changed his body and his game…his ball is now going further and straighter.

I’ve also worked with downhill skiers and tennis pros in helping them stay in tune with their bodies. Even clients returning after having twins who are trying to find their abdominals again. Pilates is great for everyone!

RC: That’s amazing that it’s extremely versatile, good for both men and women. What are your other hobbies and interests besides Pilates?

JB: I’m an avid golfer and an avid tennis player. I also enjoy skiing, hiking, boating and sailing. I’m a real outdoorsy girl. The ocean is a big part of my life in the summer and skiing is a big part in the wintertime. And so is Pilates of course. I practice what I preach!

RC: Definitely, it makes all the difference when you’re doing what you love. Thanks Jennifer!

Purchase your very own private session with Jennifer Blaine today! Click here for more info.

[Interview also featured at CoupMe.com]

Quit Taking Life So Seriously: A Lesson from My Yoga Class

8 Aug

This morning during my Vinyasa yoga class the instructor said something that really caught my attention. In the midst of our downward dogs, chair and tree poses, he shouted, “Go ahead, have fun with it! I promise you if you let loose and don’t take yoga so seriously you’ll enjoy it a lot more.” It was true: the entire class was wayyyy to serious, as that’s the “normal” way to practice yoga. When I looked in the mirror and saw my fierce, intense, semi-scary looking expression, I decided I needed to relax and put a smile on. After all, that’s what yoga’s all about anyway, right? Relaxation, enjoyment, restoration. Why the need to be so serious all the time?

I have to say while it was a little odd at first to break my usual yogi mindset, I had one of the most enjoyable classes of all time. The instructor was upbeat, the room was buzzing with positive energy and instead of the usual music (you know the serene sounds of waterfalls and other instrumental tunes that make you want to fall asleep), he played an energizing mix of jazz and light rock. I was diggin’ it. I was able to let go of all thta tension and extreme focus, and just be.

So, learn a lesson from this inspiring yoga class of mine: try to take life a little less serious. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Goof off. Be your crazy, wonderful self. Really, it’s OK. Actually, it’s more than OK; it’s absolutely fabulous.

If Ya Can’t Read it, Don’t Eat it!

4 Aug

Like many others, I used to be one of those people who immediately went to the back on the box, wrapper, bag, etc. to check calories and fat content. If it wasn’t in the ultra low calorie range, I’d chuck it back like a little kid grossed out by broccoli. Now that I’m a little older and a little wiser about what healthy actually is, I still go straight to the back of the package…but for something else: ingredients.

Yes, many “healthy” eaters are unaware of the importance of knowing exactly what you’re putting in your mouth. Forget calories, fat, sugar, and sodium for a second and take a good, hard look at the actual substance. For instance, many people would think that fat free flavored rice chips would be a semi-healthy choice, but when you read the ingredients on some of these “diet-friendly” choices it’s absolutely frightening. In fact, more often than not these diet foods have more than 20 ingredients, half of which you can’t even pronounce. If you wouldn’t dare try a diet you’ve never heard of before or date a guy without knowing his background, then why the heck would you put unknown, foreign ingredients in your body? Instead, go for something that you clearly recognize the ingredients, like Food Should Taste Good chips. Not only are these chips all natural, but they’re Kosher, low sodium, Trans fat free, gluten free, and lactose free with no preservatives, cholesterol, or MSG. I especially love the Sweet Potato flavor, that has only six ingredients: Stone Ground Corn, Sunflower Oil, Sweet Potato, Corn Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice and Sea Salt. They taste great alone, dipped in natural peanut butter or dunked in fresh salsa!

Another example of this is all that sugar-free crap. I won’t lie: I used to add sugar substitutes to nearly everything. I’d pour two packets of Splenda into my iced coffees, buy sugar free candy, and even sprinkle packets onto my oatmeal or fruit to sweeten it up. Looking back, I really don’t know what I was thinking. Listen up folks: our bodies aren’t made to process that crap; it’s NOT natural. Now, I use Agave syrup or honey instead, much natural, healthier choices.

Now, forget about packaged foods for a while. The absolute best thing you can do for your body is eat 100% natural, meaning fresh fruits and vegetables, lean unprocessed meats, nuts, oats, whole grains and dairy products without any additives in them. I promise you that if you eat 100% natural most of the time, you’ll be surprised of how amazing your body will look and feel: energized, refreshed and renewed!

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