Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

A Magic Pill For Getting Your Greens

June 8, 2016

 

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We all know that we should be eating more vegetables. In fact, 75% of all Americans only eat one or two servings of vegetables per day, versus the recommended 5-13 servings. Of those one or two servings of vegetables  that are being eaten, almost half are in the form of chips or french fries.

Many health advocates hopped on the smoothie and juice wagon, drinking much of thier recommended amount for breakfast each day. However, many of those green juices contain four times the amount of sugar the World Health Organization recommends consuming in any given day. While drinking your vegetables is certainly an easier fix than chowing through bunches of kale, and stalks of broccoli, there is now an even more streamlined way to get your greens.

A new product called 8G is a fizzy tablet that you drop into water, which provides you with 8 different types of greens, all in one simple dose.

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The brain child of Dawn Russell, a former model, and current British royal, was developed after her battle with stage three cancer several years ago. Russell traveled the world seeking alternative cures when a bone infection prevented her from under going traditional chemotherapy. While many turned out to be more harm than good, she discovered that the more greens she consumed, the stronger she became.

Russell is not touting greens as a cure for cancer; she had several surgeries and other treatments as well. She does believe that eating healthy greens contributed to saving her life.

8G is comprised of 8 different greens, including spinach, wheat grass, blue green algae, kale, spirulina, aloe vera, chlorella and barley grass, which are purported to detoxify, oxygenate, and alkalize the body. It contains vitamins C, and B3, B5, B6 and B12, zinc and niacin. 8G is free of wheat, gluten, sugars, dairy, allergens, salt and preservatives. Each tablet contains only 9 calories, and is portable enough to keep in your handbag to drink anywhere that water is available.

After years of development, testing and tasting, not only has Russell hit on a formula that is palatable, she has also gotten the cost down from $100 to just $12.50 per vial of 10 tablets.

The Penninsula Hotel Group and Nordstrom are among those who have embraced the product, and expansion plans already underway.

You can try it yourself, by ordering through the 8G website.

Photos: Courtesy of 8G

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Food Fatigue

March 25, 2016

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I’ll cut to the chase on this one… I am on day 40 of another Whole 30. Yes, that’s right. I am 10 days past the program deadline, and still compliant. Why, you may ask? Because I am food numb.

I don’t have a specific craving for anything, my energy level is fairly high, and my stomach isn’t filled with hot lava anymore. All good. Except that I am so bored, I don’t even want to bother eating anymore. During the last 10 days, I have loosened up a bit. I sprinkled a tiny amount of soy sauce on something. I ate a French Fry. I even used a dollop of non-compliant mayo on my tuna fish. Part of the reason to do a Whole 30 is to change your relationship with food. Mine has certainly changed. Food has become completely dull to me.

There are plenty of foods that I can enjoy on this diet; vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, eggs and most nuts. Olive oil, coconut oil and ghee. Surely, I can put together something that stirs my senses, yet I keep going back to the same few dishes.

I need to find some balance in my eating life, to sustain the positive effects of an extreme Paleo diet, sans meat, and a regular American diet filled with processed carbs, sugar and even more meat. I get irked at all the recipes and food photos that pop up on my various feeds, because everything seems to have butter, cheese, sugar, or is fried. My own site is filled with non-compliant recipes and decadent baked goods available to order. Yet, I can’t eat any of that. And while clean eating and a healthy diet is great, a little flexibility and, frankly a little enjoyment isn’t a bad thing.

After my last Whole 30, I had a little fear that once I started to go rogue, I would fall back into bad habits. And I eventually did. I want this time to be different. I want to be able to indulge a little, and go right back to what I hope to be the new normal. I know it works for me, but is there a really good reason to leave out all grains, legumes and dairy? I need to explore what does and doesn’t suit MY body, and tailor my eating accordingly. While Whole 30 and ultimately Paleo focuses on a meat heavy diet, I can’t tolerate meat. But maybe I can tolerate the yogurt, rice or beans that I left behind. It is time to gently and slowly start exploring other healthy food groups and see how they make me feel. And a glass of wine after my event tonight might now be a bad idea either.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unbelievable

January 22, 2016

We try to keep up with the innovations and discoveries in the health and wellness genre, as recent studies reveal better ways of eating and exercising all the time. While many findings are premature and only point to certain conclusions, they come from reputable sources and are worthy of a look-see.

Some, however sound too good to be true, perhaps because they are.
My Facebook feed is full of people posting that certain things are good for their health, because they so desperately want them to be. Diet soda better than water? A glass of wine the equivilent of an hour in the gym?  A chocolate bar a day for weight loss? Pretty doubtful. Yet these are actual headlines that have popped up recently, that people have taken seriously.

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The University of Alberta, in Canada found that rats who consumed one glass of red wine per day had similiar benefits to an hour of exercise. Hmm. Although many studies have lauded the resveratol found in red wine, we find this one a little hard to swallow. Compared to an hour in the gym doing what? Drinking wine?  I love a glass of red as much as the next guy, but I don’t think I am going to give up on the gym quite yet.

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That study that found that drinking diet soda is better for weight loss than drinking water?Funded by an organization that has Coke and Pepsi execs on the board. The researchers were also paid a stipend by the group, and the lead author was paid by the British Sugar Bureau. Of the 55,000 studies carried out, only the information from three of them were used. Only one of the three was able to show a weight loss benefit for the diet soda drinkers, as compared to those that drank water. Credible? We say highly questionable.

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John Bohannon, a journalist embarked on a prank study which bestowed the virtues of eating a chocolate bar a day to promote weight loss. While the news from the faux German study swept the world, the conclusions were, in fact unfounded. You can read Bohannon’s account of the hoax here.

Like with anything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before you settle in for a night of Netflix, accompanied by a glass of wine, a bar of chocolate and some diet soda thinking it is a magic bullet for weight loss, I’d like to chat with you about purchasing a certain bridge in New York.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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In Good Health: Fitness Trends To Watch in 2016

January 7, 2016

 

7091300071_compAs one year comes to a close and the new year begins, we view the clean slate before us and resolve to eat better, exercise more and take better care of our bodies than we did the previous year. The new year’s resolutions will come and go, but trends in health and wellness will continue to manifest throughout the year.

In 2015, we saw a new crop of juice bars, boutique fitness studios and athleticwear brands mulitply like rabbits across the country. Superfood juices became superfood bowls, and those that dared to eat carbs ate avocado toast. Exclusive, expensive and specialized studios popped up everywhere, with a better, more novel way to ride a bike, lift a weight and burn a calorie. These once unique boutique gyms soon started to spread their wisdom and some, like Soul Cycle, have become more prevelent in the New York City landscape than McDonalds.

Last year, we went hard. HIIT, or high intensity interval training was the common denominator in many of the hottest workouts. Gasping for breath and dripping with sweat were key determinators of a great workout. While we still see a preponderance of high intensity experiences leading the way, a few key factors will change.

This year, competition will take over the scene, with gyms like Orangetheory and Flywheel using leaderboards to track anything from speed, watts, mileage and heart rate across all participants. Full service gyms, like luxury player Equinox, are getting into the act with their specialized cycling programs being rolled out across the chain.

The concept of “Go big or go home” will take on a new sense of importance, with rest and rejuvenation becoming just as important and going all out in the gym. This will manifest itself in interesting ways, from planned active recoveries to a influx of regeneration activities breaking into the scene. Meditation studios, such as MNDFL are cropping up, as are sensory deprivation and cryotherapy outlets. L.A. leads the way with a new facility called Wanderlust Hollywood,which challenges members to “find your true north, and cultivate your best self,” through yoga, meditation, food, festivals and mindfulness.

We are discovering the benefits of sleep are much greater than we thought, and getting a full 8 hours could become way cooler than staying out all night.

If you can’t get to the gym but still want the experience, no worries. Peleton’s special bike allows you to stream into a class taking place in real time in their NYC studio, or select one from their extensive library. The Daily Burn allows you to stream classes with some of the top instructors in the fitness world today, and choose from a variety of genres to tailor your at home workout just for you. Watch for this concept to grow, allowing people to access the best class experiences when and where they wish to have them. Think of it as the Netflix effect.

Functional training, and bodyweight training are also gaining popularity. They require no fancy equipment, and train us not just to lift a heavy weight, but to be able to get our bags in the overhead compartment of an airplane without help, and lug our groceries up a few flights of steps. What’s the point of building muscles if you can’t use them?

Where we once we willing to scramble from studio to studio to get in our workouts, we are now looking for a more wholistic approach that gets it done all in one place. With fitness publications striving to answer the age old question of which should come first, cardio or strength training, these classes throw caution to the wind and mix it up. (Also, please stop writing those articles. I’m pretty sure that unless you are training for an elite event, it doesn’t really matter. Just do it!) From Equinox’s cutting edge introduction of Shockwave a couple of years ago, which incorporated rowing intervals with strength segments, to Barry’s Bootcamp which uses the treadmill, these classes aren’t exactly new on the fitness horizon. They are, however gaining momentum. Watch for more of these hybrids to pop up, and new combinations to emerge. Rowing and weights, cycling and yoga, boxing and pilates? Who knows what the next big idea might be!

Speaking of boxing, that is another form of training that seems to be having a resurgence. Whether it is true boxing from Aerospace or Shadowbox, or boxing inspired workout classes, like Equinox’s new The Cut, there seems to be renewed interest in this genre. Victoria’s Secret models swear by it, and from the looks of some of the participants, if you want to be strong, lean and cut, this could be the ticket.

Group reboots, which include training programs, nutrition and lifestyle coaching are gaining momentum. With goal setting, accountablilty and the support of a team driving their success, these specialized programs have proven to be very effective. Look at Barre 3’s 28 to Great, Anna Kaiser’s Transformation, and Equinox’s ETC as examples.

Technology will continue to grow as we monitor our stats, track our progress and compete against our peers. Whether it is apparel, accessory or equipment based monitors, this area will only get bigger, and more complex as new technology is developed. Watch for new developments to continue to astound us. Chances are, whatever you want to track, there is an app for it.

Stay tuned as we delve into our predicitions for the new year in wellness and food!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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A Dose of Healthy Motivation

June 18, 2015

Fitness and nutrition is a big topic around here at Indigo Jones, and we believe that working out, staying strong and eating well are the keys to good health.

I was inspired by the folks at ETB Fit   to share a little bit about my workout regime, how I stay motivated and fueled.

Here a few of my personal tips to get you going:

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Prioritize your workout as you would anything else in your life. You wouldn’t just simply not show up for work, school or a doctor’s appointment just because you weren’t feeling it. Schedule time to exercise and respect the commitment you made to your body and yourself by adhering to it. Unless you are sick, injured or truly unable to make it, get your butt to the gym!

Find something you like to do, and you are more likely to do it. While I don’t love every aspect of my workout while I am doing it, once it is over I feel accomplished and eager to do it again. I like to work hard and sweat. I would opt for a tough, noisy spinning class over yoga any day. I hate overly choreographed, dance type classes, but love the adrenelin rush of bootcamp and circuit training. I also like putting on my headphones and hitting the weight room or running a few miles in solitude to center myself. Find something that you enjoy, and do it!

 

4270900130_compShake it up. While my repertoire of workouts is consistent, I don’t do the same thing two days in a row, and try to make each workout a little different from the last. I take indoor cycling classes 3-4 times per week, lift weights 2-3 times per week, run and take high intensity interval weight training class once a week. I work with two different cycling instructors who push me past my limits each time, and change up their classes frequently. I vary the exercises, the order,the weight and amount of reps when strength training. While running is not my favorite pastime, mixing it in makes a difference in my endurance level and burns more fat. I schedule one full rest day each week, and allow two if my schedule is crazy.

Listen to your body. Sometimes, I feel like I need more cardio, and other times I feel exhausted. Once you start to know your body really well, it will guide you to what you need. Pushing past a little workout soreness often makes me feel better. Pushing through true pain always ends in disaster. If I am feeling really run down, I will schedule a more gentle workout. On a day when my legs are maxed out, I will concentrate on upper body and abs to give them a rest. A stroll on the elliptical is a really low impact way to move without over exerting myself. The foam roller is a good friend, and using it helps massage away all the kinks and tightness. Keeping my appointment with myself is key, but being kind to myself is of equal importance.

 

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Get up and go! I find hitting the gym first thing in the morning is best for me. I get my workout in before the diversions and excuses of the day get a chance to take over. If you can’t bear working out in the morning, pack you gym bag in advance and make sure you go later.

You are the best form of transportation. I am lucky to live in a big city where I can walk everywhere. Just getting where I need to go each day can easily rack up the recommended 10,000 steps or close to 5 miles. Before you hail the cab, jump on the subway or bus, or get into the car to go a short distance, consider walking or biking it instead.

Nutrition is key. Whoever said that good abs are made in the kitchen and not in the weight room was absolutely right. All that exercise can easily be over powered by a bad diet. I joke that I am scrupulous about my nutrition except when I’m not. To me, that means eating an extremely healthy diet most of the time, and allowing a few splurges along the way. Life is too short not to have a little fun!

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I often ask myself which I would rather have, a cookie ( slice of pizza, bowl of pasta, etc.) or a 6-pack. Sometimes the cookie (or several of them) wins. When I get too far off track, I start to have digestive issues, and a spare tire. That is when I do a total reset and just rely on lean protien for a few days to get me back to healthy eating. A squirt of sriracha here and there helps lesson the boredom of it.

In the morning, before I go to the gym, I start with something light, but high in protien. That is either plain Greek yogurt, or a smoothie made with a few handfuls of fruit, water and some protein powder. While the tenents of good nutrition are what they are, I have learned to listen to my body about this as well. I do best with a diet high in protein, and very low in carbs and sugar. Although I don’t eat red meat, I do eat a lot of fish, seafood, eggs and a little chicken. I love pasta and bread but frankly, it doesn’t love me. It puffs up my belly and causes almost instant weight gain. I am not a nutritionist, or a doctor, but I do know that avoiding refined carbs makes me look and feel a whole lot better than when I eat them. Figure out what your body likes and doesn’t and feed it appropriately. Just remember, pizzatarian is not a “thing,” and french fries with ketchup are not really good vegetable choices.

When I am eating restrictively, I take a multivitamin each day to make sure I am getting the nutrients my body needs.

 

 

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I avoid eating things that come in packages. Low fat, low carb or low sugar packaged foods almost always use something unhealthy to replace the good stuff. I would rather splurge on the real deal, than eat chemical laden, high calorie versions. I prefer to make my own soups and sauces, and try to steer clear of processed foods. I prepare most meals at home, and take my lunch to the office. That way, I have food when I want it, that is pure and healthy.

I snack on nuts, yogurt or hummus and vegetables. With a high activity level, I need to refuel to keep my blood sugar and energy levels high. I have found it is better to have a snack in the afternoon, than to go home starving and shovel the first thing I can find into my mouth.

I drink water during my workouts to stay hydrated, but I know I don’t drink nearly enough. I sip on green tea throughout the day, starting with matcha, and tapering off to decaffeinated versions by mid afternoon. I never drink soda, or waste calories on fruit juices. I love a glass of wine, and try to limit it to the weekends, or nights out.

I record my activity and food intake in an online journal. That helps me keep track of how much I am eating, and holds me accountable for the good and the not so good choices. It is also is a way for me to make sure I am taking in enough calories when I am eating more restrictively.

Being healthy, fit and looking and feeling great are top priorities for me. You don’t need to spend all day in the gym or only eat lettuce to achieve them. If you find your passion for wellness and embrace it, the rest will follow!

Fitness photos: Glasshouse Images

Cookie photo: Spencer Jones /Glasshouse Images

Protein powder photo: courtesty of ETB Fit

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Image Issues

February 16, 2015

Cindy Crawford is arguably one of the most beautiful women on the planet. At 49 years old, she is still posing in a bikini with the confidence of a 20 year old, and from most accounts, looking pretty damn good doing so.

Recently, this unretouched photo from a 2013 Marie Claire photoshoot leaked and has been taking the internet by a storm. It features Ms. Crawford in a bikini, looking a lot more average than we expected.

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Ah, the wonders of Photoshop! Celebs have even taken to using it to touch up their Instagram selfies. The blatant overuse of this tool has given us a false sense of what people really look like, and has caused some damage to our self esteem in the process.

As regular readers, you know I work out hard and often, and try to eat as healthfully as possible. I hate the idea of looking good for my age, and want to just plain look good. I am forever comparing myself to other women, often those half my age, and trying to fine tune my body to fit the image of attractiveness I see out there. Although I am in pretty good shape, I am self conscious in a swim suit, and I constantly obsess over every little imperfection.

Seeing Cindy Crawford raw and unretouched made me instantly feel better about myself. It made me realize that a good part of the things I try so hard to perfect, aren’t perfect on the celebrities I see either. Many stars have admitted to wearing double Spanx that are so tight they can’t eat or use the bathroom at red carpet events. We have all seen photoshop fails where the pictures are so over edited, that the model appears deformed, but we forget that all magazine photos have been retouched to some extent. Those jiggly parts are simply removed, and skin is smoothed over to look almost poreless. While it is nearly impossible to spot reduce in real life, it’s super easy to do with Photoshop. And all of this retouching has created an unrealistic view of what is beautiful. It holds us to a higher standard that apparently, even supermodels can’t achieve.

Seeing Cindy Crawford looking a little “soft” shows us another side of beauty that is more about feeling comfortable in your own skin, albiet skin that is a little puckered and blotchy.

photo: Marie Claire

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What Is Your Fitness Age?

October 24, 2014

 

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We are all the age we are, and there isn’t anything we can do about it. We can however change how our body ages, through a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

This test, created by a team at the K.G.Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, can accurately estimate your fitness age, which is a good predictor of longevity and cardiac health.

Taking this test won’t stop the earth from orbiting the sun, nor will it reduce the amount of candles on your cake. But it might just be a wakeup call to take a look at your lifestyle and make healthy changes while you are still able to. (High intensity intervals anyone?)

*Humble brag: My fitness age is less than 20 years old. My biological age is significantly higher than that. A testament to working out religiously, and eating mindfully.

To take the test and see how you fare, click HERE.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Exercise Your Way Young?

April 17, 2014

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We all know that exercise benefits our health in many ways, but a new study shows it might also help us look younger too.

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that mice became ill when sedentary, but thrived when given access to a running wheel. The theory was then applied to humans, with positive results.

A group of  men and women ages 20-84 were split into 2 groups; the first exercising vigorously for 3 hours per week, and the other less than 1 hour per week. It was discovered that after age 40, those who got more exercise also had thinner and healthier status cornuems and thicker dermis layers, a skin composition more similar to those aged 20-30.

They also studied a sedentary group of people over the age of 65. After three months on an exercise programs, the participant’s skin was found to be similar in make up to that of 20-40 year olds, and they looked visibly younger.

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Instead of investing in costly lotions and potions to battle the visible signs of aging, perhaps it’s time to start working out. You heart, lungs, bones and skin will thank you.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Avoiding the Flu

January 14, 2013

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My office sounds like the TB ward at a hospital; coughing, sneezing, sniffling and more endless coughing. It’s that time of the year again, and according to the Center for Disease Control, the flu has reached epidemic proportions.

A flu shot makes you 62% less likely to catch this severe version of the seasonal bug, and this year’s vaccine is well matched to the most prevalent strain.
Even with the shot, stringent measures are necessary to protect yourself from the flu virus.

Wash you hands regularly. Use soap, warm water and rub your hands together for the time it takes you to sing happy birthday twice. Dry them well.

If you can’t wash your hands, a hand sanitizer like Purell is the next best thing.

Sneeze into your elbow, use a knuckle to press the elevator buttons, and use your elbow to turn off the faucet. The less you actually touch, the less germs you actually spread.

Avoid touching your face, and especially avoid rubbing your eyes. The eyes are not only the “gateway to your soul,” but also a key entry point for germs to get into your system.

Avoid overly crowded places. Being smashed into a subway car at rush hour nose to nose with hundreds of strangers is a sure fire way to spread germs. Holding onto the pole just takes it to the next level. If you can, walk to your destination instead. You will avoid the risk of infection, lower your stress level, and burn a few calories in the process.

If you must take crowded public transportation, be sure to sanitize your hands immediately.  The rest is just unavoidable.

Airplanes are another hotbed of germs. Take some disinfectant wipes along to wipe down your armrests and try tables. Drink water throughout the flight to stay hydrated and keep nasal passages moist.  I have heard people swear by smearing a little antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin on their noses to form a barrier for germs. Old wives tale, or good idea? You be the judge.

I skip the salad bar, especially this time of year. I realize this is one of my freakish germ phobic issues, but think about it. Everyone that goes through the line is touching the same utensils and breathing on the food. If every single person did not just wash their hands before approaching the salad bar (and you KNOW they didn’t) than it is one of the germiest spots around. Now take those hands that just shared tongs with the entire unwashed population of salad lovers and go eat with them. Yep, now you get the picture.

Unless you intend to wear a HAZMAT suit and mask, some exposure to the virus is unavoidable. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthfully and exercise. All of these are factors in building up your immune system.

If you do get the flu, drink lots of fluids, rest and please, stay away from the rest of us until you get better!

Respect Yourself

December 27, 2012

Young woman having body treatment on legsIt’s been a tough few months. In late October, Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, leaving us powerless for almost a week. Days later, we experienced the chaos of voting, followed by another storm.

Just as we were getting back to normal in early November, I fractured my knee.
Hobbling around was difficult at best, and for the first month, I barely moved, yet somehow managed 60-70 hour workweeks.

I just started walking a few days ago, albeit slowly and gingerly.

It is amazing how weak I have become. I am experiencing soreness, akin to the morning after a crazy hard workout, just from walking around.

As an avid exerciser, and someone who walked everywhere, this sedentary life has been difficult. More importantly, it has been eye opening.
I think I have been not only rehabbing an injury, but also rehabbing my lifestyle.

Prior to my accident, I had an extremely healthy diet. I lived in fear of skipping a workout, and felt guilty over indulgences. I tracked every movement and every calorie with an iPhone app. The mere thought of not working out for a few days, let alone months, terrified me.
The first few weeks were the most difficult. Not only could I not make it to the grocery store, I couldn’t stand long enough to prepare the food. Add in a beyond crazy work schedule, thanks to Sandy tearing through in the middle of a big deadline. Eating well was not a priority. I ate whatever, whenever, and worried that I would end this 10 pounds heavier.

Guess, what? My weight has remained about the same. Yeah, I am surprised too.

A few realities:

My increased activity levels left me always hungry.
Deprivation left me always wanting something else.

Muscle weighs more than fat.

It takes a long time to build muscle. Fat takes over pretty quickly.

My appetite is reduced; therefore my calorie intake is reduced. Although I am not limiting myself to being fat free, gluten free, or sugar free, I am simply eating less. If I want a cookie, I eat a cookie. I don’t seem to want 6 of them.

Muscle does weigh more than fat. While my weight is about the same, my pants are actually getting to be too big.  Where there was muscle tone, there is now just flesh. I am looking skinny rather than healthy. My formerly hard body has been replaced by a very soft one. I now know that the number on the scale is not an indicator of how I look, or how much body fat I have.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not advocating a poor diet, or a non-active lifestyle.

I am not living on fast food and processed junk.
I will be back in the gym the minute the doctor tells me I am strong enough to do so.

What I am advocating, is giving ourselves a break. Would working out 4 days a week instead of 6 be so bad? Would eating healthfully but not obsessively, work better than constant restriction and occasional binges? For those who don’t have a good diet and exercise routine, the thought of all or nothing often feels too daunting and stops them from even trying. For those of who do, obsession can easily take hold.

I want to be strong and healthy, and of equal importance, happy.

I love how I feel after a hard run or a challenging cycling class. I have more energy and stamina when I eat well. But, moderation, for those of us capable of practicing it, is a good thing. And it works both ways. Too much of a good thing, is still too much. My body was trying to tell me to back off, with cranky aches and pains and constant exhaustion. It finally, just cracked. Right across the kneecap.

While many of you are crafting your New Year’s resolutions to start diets, lose weight, or join a gym, why not join me in vowing to respect our bodies and all it does for us?

Instead of thinking about a diet, why not think about nourishing your body for optimum performance? Care for your body as you might care for something else that is important to you.  Listen to what your body is telling you and respond to it.

We only get one body; take good care of it.

photo: Glasshouse Images


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