There's lots of changes going on lately, one being my new blog forum that you can find at http://healthychicks.wordpress.com. From now on, this is where I'll be blogging from so be sure to follow me and add me to your RSS : )
Friday, September 3, 2010
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 burgers topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese...MMM!
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!
Posted by Rachel at 2:23 PM
Thursday, September 2, 2010
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?
Posted by Rachel at 2:17 PM
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]
Posted by Rachel at 4:22 AM
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I’m a morning person. I always have been. My roommates in college used to envy the fact that I could wake up right when the sun came up perkier than ever. They also used to loathe the fact that I’d stomp around the apartment with my sneakers slamming cabinets and shuffling around pots and pans to make my morning omelet, as they tried to get their beauty sleep (sorry girls!) So yes, I’ll admit that getting up in the morning is a tad easier for me than the average human being.
However, I am not Superwoman and I too have my days where I want to throw my Blackberry out the window as the annoying alarm rings in my ear. Take this morning for instance. I set my alarm for 7:30 a.m. because I wanted to get my morning run over with before the horrendous 100-degree weather hit. However, I was angry when I heard my alarm go off this morning. Not only did it interrupt a good dream (don’t you hate that?) but I also was not ready to get up. So I sat there for a few seconds debating whether I should go back to sleep or not, and decided to rip the Band-Aid off. Yes, the first few seconds are painful, but once I sprung out of bed I was good to go. Then when I put on my running outfit and sneaks, I knew there was no turning back!
So, no I wasn’t born with super powers, nor do I have any magical advice to give you on how to get yourself going in the morning. But I do have some motivational tips that’ll help you make it through a tough workout painlessly.
1. Spring Out of Bed: As I already mentioned before, getting out of bed is the hardest part, then the rest is a piece of cake! Do whatever you need to do in order to move your body from your comfy cloud-like mattress to a standing position. I use the “rip the Band-Aid off” method, where I give myself a few seconds of recuperating then just jump up before I can talk myself out of it.
Thinking about how great I’ll feel AFTER my workout also helps me get through the initial doubts. Just think: if you go back to bed you’ll already waste a few hours of your day, and probably won’t end up achieving your goals for the day. Just take the day on my friend…really you won’t regret it!
2. Fuel Up! Confession: I didn’t listen to my own advice this morning, and boy do I regret it. Before you set out, make sure you’re properly fueled. First things first: drink a good amount of water before you head out. Then, eat something small yet substantial that’s going to get you through your workout. An apple with some natural peanut butter, Greek yogurt, piece of toast, protein bar, or half of a fruit smoothie all work. Eat something small that you know your stomach can handle. Then when you return from your workout, you can dive into something more filling.
3. Set a Goal… It’s always good to have some sort of goal in mind, whether it’s going a certain distance, doing a certain amount of reps at the gym, or trying a new yoga class. Today my goal was to run another 5 miles, as I hit the 5-mile mark last week and wanted to see if I still had it goin’ on. Alas, I mapped out a route and set off to see where my legs would take me…
4.…But Don’t Take Your Goal Too Seriously: Goals are always great, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve what you set out to do. Today was HOT out. Yes, even at 7:30 a.m. the temperature was already nearly 90 degrees. (So much for beating the heat). Anyway, midway through my run I had to re-access whether running the full five miles was right for my body. I thought about stopping and walking the rest (around mile four) but realized that my breathing was in control and another mile was definitely doable, so I simply slowed down my pace.
Sure, I didn’t run the five miles in record-breaking time, however I DID IT and felt amazing afterward! Had I felt faint or dehydrated, I would have stopped and felt OK about that. It’s all about listening to your body, and not pushing yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with.
5. Take Advantage of Mind Tricks: I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes exercise can be strenuous and downright painful. That’s when I start playing tricks with my mind. If you know you still have another three miles to go (or another 30 minutes in a challenging group fitness class), thinking about it (and looking at the clock every 10 seconds) is going to drive you absolutely crazyyyyy.
Instead, play mind tricks. Today I blocked out any discouraging thoughts, and instead started thinking about what I was going to do the rest of the way. All the sudden, I was half way around the loop again without even thinking about it. I also like to look at the smaller picture; that is when I’m running a far distance, I’ll use street signs or telephone poles as different benchmarks. That way, instead of thinking about an ADDITIONAL THREE MILES, I’ll take it one sign at a time. Music also helps get your mind off the struggle, which leads me to my next point…
6. Jam Out: Seriously, I don’t know how people exercise without amazing tunes to go with it. But I suppose if you aren’t an Ipod person, chatting with a friend, watching the TV at the gym, or listening to the surrounding noise helps—any distractions really! But if you’re like me, I like my jams, and lately I’ve been really feeling my newest playlist, “Workout Baby.”
I recently downloaded “I Like it” by Enrique Iglesias (feat. Pitbull) and absolutely love it. Actually that’s an understatement. Confession: I played it THREE times during my run this morning; that’s how obsessed with it I am. So, download some new tunes, have your hip, music-obsessed friend burn you a few CD’s. I’m telling you: new, upbeat songs can make all the difference during your next workout.
Hope this helps! Please share your personal motivating tips that help you charge through…
Posted by Rachel at 10:57 AM
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
So, as some of you know, I quit the gym at the beginning of the month in order to save money—a whole $65 a month to be exact. And now 30 days later that day has come; today is my very last day of using the lovely gym facility. So of course I’m going to use it up to the very fullest. I’ll take advantage of all the equipment, use every little weight I can get my hands on, prance around ‘til I touch every cardio machine, and of course soak up some relaxation in the steam room at the end of my workout.
To be completely honest, the steam room and laundry services are what I’m going to miss most. The rest I can do on my own. Really, I’m not the least bit upset. No, I’m not nervous I’m going to gain weight or become one of those people who’d rather watch TV and eat a box of pizza than get some exercise. I already have a healthy lifestyle engrained into me, so I know—gym or no gym—nothing is going to change. I’ll still find a way to energize, challenge and move my body in order to feel my ultimate best.
Anyway, back to my plan: My goal is to become more of a “runner.” My dad’s a runner, my cousins are all runners, but running really never was my thing. I used to dread the mile run in gym class when I was younger, and I once started to cry on a 5K with my dad when I realized we weren’t even half way. However, lately things have all changed. I’ve suddenly began to enjoy how wonderful it feels to move my feet and take my body as far or as short I want to take it. Instead of cringing when I’m only two miles in, I give myself a mental pat on the back and feel inspired to keep going. Suddenly, I feel as thought I could run forever, like something finally snapped and said “this girl is meant to run.”
OK, enough of the deep stuff. I’m mostly excited to become a runner because it's FREE; I’m going to use the money I would have spent on my gym membership (yup, that $65 a month that I mentioned before) to sign up for races a few times a month instead. This way I’m still getting my exercise and doing my body good, but also am putting the money toward a good cause. As some of you know, my grandmother (who was by far the kindest, loving person in the world) was taken by cancer a few months ago. This makes me want to run for her, and every other person our there who didn’t (and doesn’t) deserve to lose their life over such an awful disease. I’m planning on signing up for a few 5K’s this fall to “race for the cure” and help raise money to find away so these terrible things don’t happen anymore. And I encourage others out there to do the same. After all, every little bit counts and each one of us really can make a difference.
So off I go. Bye-bye gym membership (well, after I totally use it up this evening) and hello runner girl!
Posted by Rachel at 7:39 AM
Friday, August 27, 2010
So last night was Mexican night i.e. way too many margaritas, chips and salsa in one sitting, with salt overload might I add. The margarita glasses were rimmed in salt, the chips were swimming in salty goodness and our limes (for the tequila shots later on) were even coated in salt. Why, I don't know? However, I didn't beat myself up over it at all because I eat healthy every day, and had eaten "clean" all day long. What's a little fun gonna do?
That doesn't make up for the fact that I felt like a huge bloated blob this morning when I woke up. And, expectedly, when I stepped on the scale this morning I was two pounds more than I usually am. While two years ago I would've cried and beaten myself up over the fact that I "gained" two pounds in one day, I am a much wiser version of myself now. Instead of freaking out, I laughed and thought to myself, "Yep, that's what salt will do to you." Ladies, I'm only going to say this once: IT'S ONLY WATER WEIGHT. There is no possible way you can gain two pounds in one day, unless you literally ate lard for 24 hours straight (and even then you'd probably, um, poop it out). It's amazing that it took me years to figure this out and to finally stop over-analyzing and obsessing over the damn number on the scale.
I love that after all these years, I can finally be rational and happy about my weight. Yes, it's going to go up and down. Yes, there will be days I feel "fatter" than others, and days I feel ultra skinny. However, what it comes down to is the way I feel in my own skin, how I fit in my clothes and the general healthy lifestyle that I live. I wish everyone could realize that when you lead a healthy lifestyle most of the time you are allowed little indulgences here and there, and they WON'T I repeat WON'T affect your overall goals and weight.
So, simply put: enjoy life and stop freaking out about stupid numbers all the time. Instead, dive into that third margarita and know tomorrow will be a new day, and the number on the scale will go back to normal as well! I promise you that.
The Healthy Chick
Posted by Rachel at 12:58 PM