Friday, October 30, 2009

"Beauty is acceptance. It's being kind to other people and accepting yourself." -Whitney Thompson, plus size model

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fearing Food? Give Yourself a Break!

I recently read that in a study of several countries and cultures, Americans were most likely to attribute chocolate cake with guilt. 
Other cultures, like the French and Italians thought of words like celebration, happiness or tasty. But we said guilt. That was our word. 
That's sad to me. It's sad that we oh so often fear food, while other cultures embrace it, savor it and think of it as something to enjoy.
When I traveled to Italy a few years ago, I saw first hand how celebratory and communal the act of eating is to them. They don't think about the calories, fat, or "diet-destructing" factor of food. And when they sit down to enjoy a meal, they sit down to enjoy it, and I mean really enjoy it. 
It felt so nice to take a step away from reality in Italy, and actually allow myself to enjoy my meals, eating slowly and not thinking about it for the first time in a looong time. 
Rather than thinking, "Shit, this is going to destroy my diet," I was thinking, "This seafood risotto is absolutely decadent." 
Why can't we think like that more often over here? Where did this whole food-fear thing come about, anyway? Suddenly, our culture has become so dramatically diet/fat/calorie-obsessed that we can't even look at a piece of chocolate cake without feeling guilty about it. 
What ever happened to food making people happy? Geesh.
I think we need to take a step back, watch just a tad fewer reality weight-loss TV shows and read a little less into those "miracle" diet tips. 
Of course, it's good to have a healthy mindset and be conscious about your food choices, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. 
Yes, you're never going to catch me chowing away mindlessly on Pringles or chocolate cake, bite after bite. But that's not because I fear them. It's because I don't like the way they make my stomach feel, and would rather go for something more satisfying to me like fresh fruit or a big handful of dark chocolate chips. Yes, there was a time that I too feared food, but thank god that is over and done with because that simply wasn't the way to be. It was way too stressful.
All in all, we need to learn to look at food with a more open perspective and learn not to be so afraid of it. Let's not be so hard on ourselves, OK? 
So, go ahead and have a sliver of that chocolate fudge cake, for happy, celebratory reasons only of course!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Good for Ya Things to Do In the Kitchen Today

1. Clean out your fridge. It's time. You know it is. Organize all your fruits, veggies, meats and dairy. Throw out anything that's old, rotting or just plain in the way. And get rid of that last bite of chocolate cake that's been in there all week. Do ya really need it?
2. Make my healthy brown rice "pita chips."  Have fun with them and dip 'em in fresh salsa, yummy hummus or just snack on 'em by themselves.
3. Make a cup o' coffee with your coffee-maker ya rarely use, and drink it black or with just a dash of skim or soy milk. After all, do ya reallllly need all that cream and sugar? Skip 'em and get more health benefits from the natural coffee beans, without disguising the flavor in loads of sugary crap.
4. Blast some feel-good music (I looove the good ol' oldies like Beatles or Tempations) and go to town in your kitchen, cleaning every nook and cranny. That dust that's been there all month needs to go! You'll feel great and much healthier after your kitchen is shiny and  new!
5. Once your kitchen is all spankin' clean, cook something you never have before, like a vegetarian chili or some low fat corn muffins. Search up some fun recipes in your old cookbooks or online, then head out to the store to buy all the ingredients. You'll have a blast trying out a new recipe, and who knows, maybe it'll become a new fav?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Skinny Jeans Have Finally Seen the Light (And So Have I)

So, while this may sound shocking for many of you live-in-your-denim type folks, today was the first time in about 4 years that I actually wore jeans out during the day and felt good in them. 
It's not that I hate jeans, per say. In fact, there are more than 15 pairs of the damn things shoved in my drawer, most of them never even worn.
No, it's not that i hate jeans at all. It's that I hated them on me. I loathed them, detested them, cursed them for "making me look fat." Seriously, I went through the majority of my college nights out wearing dresses, leggings or anything else just to avoid putting on jeans. 
"But that outfit would look great if you wore jeans with it," friends would constantly say to me, as I shied away in my room, chickening out and slipping into yet another dress. 
But today I braved my fear and slipped into my new pair of Forever 21 skinny jeans and actually felt good. "Wow, OK, not so scary at all," I thought to myself as I zipped them up and got a glimpse of myself in my full-length closet mirror.
No, I didn't necessarily look "skinny" in my skinny jeans; I'm a curvy girl and I've accepted that. However, I looked healthy and good in them, and most importantly I felt good. I actually for once liked the way they hugged my body, and the way my butt looked in them, and that's a lot to say for a gal who doesn't like jeans, nor anything really that's too formfitting on my legs.
So today has been a huge stepping stone for me in my life: embracing my skinny jeans and my body all in one.
So now I challenge you to love your bod for what you've got as well (skinny, curvy, voluptuous, whatever) and put on a bold outfit tonight that you feel absolutely fabulous in. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Seven Things to Do Today to Make You S.M.I.L.E

1. Send an email to a friend you haven't spoken with in a while. Make it long, fascinating, humorous and witty, catching him/her up with your life and also making sure to ask about theirs. Maybe attach a few pics or a funny video to add some extra pizazz! 
2. Lay in the grass...on a blanket, get in your "comfy" position and finally finish that book you "never have time to read."
3. Make soup 'n' grilled cheese for lunch (use low-fat cheese 'n' whole grain bread...hey, we're also tryin' to be healthy, right?)
4. Go for a longggg run for mental clarity. Put your ipod on shuffle or a slow playlist instead of your usual rap...and don't stop 'til your head is clear and your dripping in sweat.
5. Take a bubble bath. Light candles if you want to. Then clip 'n' paint your nails afterward and maybe do an oatmeal facial (mix oatmeal with lukewarm water and let dry on face for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off-it feels AMAZING, I swear)
6. Jump in, stomp, crunch, catch or take a picture of leaves. It's only gonna be fall for so much longer...
7. Do something daring today, like approaching that guy you've been dying to talk to or finally allowing yourself to follow your h. e. a. r. t. <3

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Notable Healthy Chick Lit

No, I'm not talkin' girly drama infested literature. I'm talking healthy reads for healthy women (aka you!) Here, 6 books to buy at the bookstore A.S.A.P to make you feel enlightened, refreshed or just altogether happy:
1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert-very insightful, when you're in the mood for a thought-provoking, honest read. 
2. Succulent Wild Women by SARK-motivational, feel good positive joy of a book that will make you go to bed smiling and feeling good about yourself!
3. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella- "This book just takes your mind off your body and other issues you may have," says reader Carla Michele. "I own the whole series...the books just make you laugh!"
4. Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel-"I love this book because Bethenny doesn't preach dieting, restricting foods," says fan Kiley Johnston. "Instead she tries to teach you to listen to your body, find what it needs and treat it. She understands that you can't live your life to the fullest by restricting yourself."
5. The Blue Day Book by Bradley Trevor Greive-"It's definitely the best of the series," says Krista Chemerynski. "The animals are just so cute and they make you laugh and be happy."
6. Va Va Voom! Purify by Elizabeth Wilson-Great to read when you need a fresh start on healthy living or life in general; this book has cool, unique tips 'n' ideas to live a better, happier, healthier life!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whoaaaa Baby, What a Deal!: Keep Your Grocery Bill Down, Down, Down...

So, today I went to do my weekly grocery shopping at Shaw's, and as I waited in the checkout line, I was secretly praying I wouldn't rack up too much of a bill. Even though I did go for the deals as much as possible, I also got lots of healthy picks, some being organic, so I was kind of expecting the price to be pretty steep. But, to my pleasant surprise, after my Shaw's savings card sweep, the cashier told me it was $21.27. Yep, you heard that right: a mere 21 bucks for everything. 
"Wow, girl! How did you do that?" the cashier said, shocked of my low price. "And it's all healthy! I guess now we don't have an excuse to say that it's impossible to eat healthy for a cheap price."
And she is exactly right.
Now I feel inclined to share with you what I bought today for 21 dollar bills and some change....
2 bananas
1 large cucumber
1 large zucchini
1 medium sweet potato
1 package of lactose free American Cheese (Veggie Cheese)
2 lb. bag of baby carrots (on sale for 2.50 from 3.50)
One large bag of a dozen macintosh apples (on sale for 1.99 from 3.99)
1/4 lb. Sara Lee Chicken Breast
One box of Gluten Free, Wheat Free Buckwheat Waffles
One dozen large white eggs
=one sweet price of 21.27

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So Beautiful: Loving This Right Now

                                   (>>from PostSecret Society. . .)

Live a Lil: Have a Cupcake Party!

When I was younger, well into high school even, my motto for life was "Live a Little!" especially when it came to food.
I remember one time after a winter ball in 9th grade, a big group of us went to Friendly's afterward with our dates; classy, I know. 
Anyway, as all the little pretty girls in their pretty little dresses contemplated whether to eat or not, a friend and I each ordered a HUGE ice cream sundae, decked out with all of the toppings.
"Hey, Whatever...let's just live a little!" I remember my friend saying to me with a huge grin.
Back then, it was easy to allow ourselves to live a little, whether it be with food, boys or life in general.
But now we have obligations, obligations to "keep it classy," hold ourselves together, make it on time to work or meetings, and somehow, in the midst of it all, also manage a healthy diet and weight.
I'm not going to lie. It's pretty darn hard. 
But that doesn't mean we all can't take some time to "live a little" once in a while, or even every day.
I forgot all about that easy, carefree childhood mindset for a while, that is until today when I came into work.
It was raining and my day was going so-so, actually worse than so-so because I had just tripped in the middle of the the flip front of a car. Then my work buddy Carla said something to me that changed it all.
"I'm going to have a cupcake party soon and you're coming to it!"
Smiling brightly, her face lighting up, she continued...
"And we can have tea and make healthy snacks like fresh watermelon salsa, and then just decorate cupcakes to take home for the 'goodie bag.'" 
Right when she said goodie bag, my eyes lit up and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.
That right there made my day, and made me wonder, why don't we all live a little, just a little more often?
Go ahead, take a bite of that freshly made bread, dig into the brownie mix and pretend you're a kid again for a day. You know you want to. And hey, it's just one day and we only live once.

Monday, October 12, 2009

7 Little Things to Tell Yourself When You Just Want to Hit SNOOZE. . .

We all have those days. You know 'em... You set your alarm the night before for 7 a.m. hoping to get in a good, long workout before the day begins. You're totally gung ho for your spectacular plan; that is, until 7:00 rolls around. 
You find yourself going back and forth, "Do I get out of bed or do I sleep in?" All of the sudden, that snooze button is looking pretty darn tempting, but before you give up and press it, try telling yourself these 7 motivational mantras. . . 
1. "If I work out I'll get endorphins and endorphins make me happy! (Think: Legally Blonde)
2. "It will feel so darn good knowing a million other people in the world are still asleep and I've already started my day. . . on the right foot too!"
3. "I'll look so freakin' good tonight in my skinny jeans, LBD or that hot little # hanging up in my closet..."
4. "Yes, it sucks right now physically getting out of bed, but I know afterward when I'm sweating and flushed I'll feel absolutely fabulous. I always do. It's inevitable."
5. "If I skip today, I'll skip tomorrow, and then the next day, and the next and the next..."
6. "I'm 5 lbs. to my goal weight, and can almost squeeze into my 'skinny jeans' that are hiding in the back of my closet. I. CAN. DO. IT."
7. "If I get my workout in now, I can take a bubble bath, shop online or all in all just be a bum the rest of the day, and not think about it. Lets face it: there is no way I'm gonna drag my butt to the gym after dinner, even if I say I will now..."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Glass is Half Full (Really, I Swear It is...)

Today at work, a friend and I began discussing positive energy, and how it can really change your (and everyone else's) entire mood when it's present.

You see, this friend of mine is one of those positive "glass is half full" kind of people. Even if she's had a crappy day, exhausted from not getting enough sleep or just spent the entire day caring for her baby son, she's usually in a perky, bright mood. She's definitely a go-getter, and really doesn't allow anything to get in the way of her optimistic outlook on life, because frankly, why should she?

"It just takes more energy to be mad and angry," she said. "Why not instead just be happy?"

I wish there were more people like her with this kind of outlook on life, more positive vibes going around in this universe. After all, positive people make everything happier and sun-shiny, and are simply just more fun to be around.

My dad is hands down the most positive person I know, and I truly believe he lives a happier, healthier more successful life because of it. He doesn't let anything get it his way, and always thinks out-of-the-box when faced with a problem or tough situation. And, even when he's having one of those days, he somehow knows how to bottle up his negative energy and not let it get in the way of his relationships with others. I cherish that.
My cousin Marissa also has that positive vibe about her, which in addition to the fact that she is just plain awesome, makes me want to be around her even more. Honestly, her outlook on life is just amazing because she finds the beauty in even the uggliest, worst situations.
I too think of myself as a pretty positive person, and know for a fact that when other's can't see the littlest good in anything, it's downright annoying. When you think everything is the absolute worst it could possibly be and say it out loud, people aren't going to feel bad for you (especially those positive people). They are going to want to distance themselves from you because those kind of thoughts are irrational and can bring down everyone's mood.

Yes, it's fine to have a bad day, and to complain or cry once in a while. But, sitting there moaning and groaning about how terrible everything is and listing off all the bad things in your life just isn't necessary. Because, like 99% of the time it's really not all that bad. And, even if it is really that bad, then why don't you use some of that energy, get out there and do something about it?

Really, it's time to make a change and let the negativity go once and for all. Take a long deep look at all the beautiful, positive things in your life, all of the good, and just let the rest drift away. Make a list if you have to. And then, cut all the complaining and moaning and groaning, and just smile.
As my mom always says,

"Quit frowning and just smile. Your face looks much prettier that way" (and that it does.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Love Your Bod: "The Woman On Page 194"

Alright, seriously ladies: no more negative talk about your bod. It's about time we embrace what we have, love everything our body has enabled us to do and stopped picking apart all our "flaws," once and for all because there is no. such. thing.
Read this post from Glamour magazine's Editor-in-Chief Cindi Lieve regarding the picture of beautiful "plus size" model Lizzie Miller (shown above) that created a plethora of amazing, positive energy among readers everywhere. One little picture, the picture you see above, led women (and men) to write in thousands of letters to the editor on how beautiful this women is because...she is real.
One woman wrote in,
"This beautiful woman has a real stomach and did I even see a few stretch marks? This is how my belly looks after giving birth to my two amazing kids! This photo made me want to shout from the rooftops."
Now, why, I ask, can't we think these own lovely thoughts about our own bodies, when we can easily see the beauty in others?
Read this article (link above) and feel instantly enlightened about all those internal body traumas and insecurities.
Trust me, just let them go...It's simply not worth it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Send a Compliment: Go Ahead 'n' Give it a Try...

So, the other day I began thinking about the impact of a compliment, and how frankly they can make or break your day. Seriously, I, among many women I know, take what other women say to heart.
For example, the other day while on my way to a cafe, a woman on the T told me how much she  looooved my outfit, and immediately I felt wonderful. She turned my plain, OK run of the mill day into great in a matter of a few seconds, with just a few nice words.
Suddenly, I was cheerful and feeling GREAT about myself...not just for a few minutes, but for the whole freakin' day!
So now why, I ask, don't we dish out these sort of compliments more often? 
I feel like too many women get into the whole competitive ego thing, and feel the need to bring others down to make themselves feel good.
I've seen it many, many times, and I myself have even occasionally been a culprit of saying negative things about others, for god knows why. "Why is he with her?" "What the hell is she wearing?" "Get a new haircut!" These are just a few examples, but I've seen women get nasty behind other's backs. 
Why do we do this? Yes, it's OK to think not-so-nice things about others at times, but why bother saying them aloud? Where will that get us?
And even more so, if we have the time and energy to trash talk other women, why can't we set aside some time for the "nice talk," the compliments?
I think we all (including myself) need to step aside from the competitive cattiness that lays inside us at times, and start coming together as women. 
If a woman looks good, tell her! If you absolutely looooveee a shirt one of your coworkers is wearing, say something about it. If you've noticed a friend has lost a little weight, give her a compliment and tell her how great she looks. 
Really, a simple little compliment can really go a long way and completely turn someones day around, making it a little brighter. 
And the best part is, you'll feel good about yourself knowing you made a big change with a few little words. 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Healthy Chick's Night Out: My Top 5 Diet-Friendly Drinks

OK, so just because I'm a "Healthy Chick" doesn't mean a girl can't have a little fun once in a while, especially on the weekends. Here are my top 5 healthier drinks of choice when I'm having a girl's (or shall we say, chick's) night out. 
1. Vodka+seltzer+a splash of cranberry juice
2. White zinfandel+seltzer (soda water) = Zinfandel Spritzer (This one's my mom's signature order every time we go to a restaurant and I must say the woman knows how to order a "skinny" drink--since half the glass is calorie free, you can enjoy this tasty delight guilt free)
3. Vodka+diet lime tonic+lime wedge
4. One shot (or two) of good tequila-none of that fake, crappy stuff. (Make sure you get the good stuff with 100% agave from Mexico so it's not loaded with sugar!) 
5. A glass of red wine (While it may have a few more cals than the white variety, red wine is good for your heart and is filled with antioxidants)
*Sorry beer drinkers: I don't like the taste of beer. But if I were a beer gal, I'd stick with light varieties and be very careful about serving sizes. Those mugs can be HUGE and can easily add up to hundreds (or thousands) of cals!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Check Out the Article on My Blog Published in LifeStyler-NYC on a Budget!

Christine Rochelle, staff writer for LifeStyler-NYC on a Budget, wrote this lovely article on me and my "Healthy Chicks" blog. Check it out here and visit this site whenever you need budgeting tips for your every day life! : )

10 Fool Proof Ways to Energize: How to Conquer that Mid Day Slump Once and For All!

Yesterday was just one of those days where everyone seemed tired. I work at an athletic club, and throughout the entire day, people just weren't there usual, cheerful selves. They were coming in yawning, with bags under their eyes, looking completely burnt out. 
Even I found myself yawning and feeling EXHAUSTED by the end of the day. I frantically sipped on my hot venti green tea from Starbucks, desperately hoping for that extra energy kick, which sadly never came. One of my coworkers even had to settle for a Sugar-free Red Bull: that's just the kind o' day it was. 
I got to thinking and realized we shouldn't have to pay 2$ for an energy drink to perk ourselves up, now should we?
Here, 10 ways to energize yourself (the natural + free way) when you're having "one of those days"
1.Take a short afternoon nap if you can. I know you're thinking, "Naps are for Kids," but that is no longer the case. Naps can be for anyone, and a short 20-30 minute cat nap will work wonders for your energy level! Just make sure not to overdue your nap. Anything longer than an hour will just make you even more groggy. 
2. During your morning shower sesh, change up the temp from hot to cold to waken up your body! Maybe shower for 3 minutes at your normal hot temp, with little 5 to 10 second intervals of cold water. I know it doesn't sound enticing now, but you'll feel more awake than ever after! I tried it this morning just washing my face (hot, cold, hot, cold) and I already feel a difference in my energy level. (Plus, my face feels fresh and I'm ready to start my day!) 
3. Snack! Yes, snacking can be bad when you go for chips and donuts, but the occasional healthy snack is great for your metabolism and even better for your energy. Try eating a carb/protein combo during your afternoon slump, like a hard-boiled egg with some whole grain crackers, an apple with natural peanut butter or a homemade trail mix made of walnuts, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, dried apricots and soy nuts for ultimate energy! If your going to work, pack your own snacks, and try to steer clear from the vending machines and candy dishes in the office. 
4. Communicate with people throughout the day! It's amazing how fast time flies by, and how lively I always feel when I'm chatting with people. Flirt, gossip, or even have a debate. Simply conversing with others will help you stay alert and perky as ever!
5. Guzzle the H2O 'cause when ya don't have enough water in your system it definitely shows. Dehydration can make you groggy, and takes away that natural "glow" in your skin, so sip up my friend!
6. The obvious one-caffeine-is usually a go! Drink a cup or 2 of freshly brewed coffee or tea in the morning to make you more awake and enthused to begin your busy day! Try not to drink too much coffee during the afternoon if you can't handle it, however. I've been up late at night due to the caffeine jitters. 
7. Move around! If you're stuck standing or sitting at work all day, make sure to get your body movin' and shakin'! Maybe do a few squats in the office, or take a little loop around the block during your lunch break. Sitting there all day will kill your energy buzz. 
8. Practice yoga or deep breathing. If you belong to a gym, I strongly encourage you to get into the yoga hype. It works wonders for your mind and gives you incredible energy like no other! If you don't have access to classes, try deep breathing on your own or look up some at-home fun yoga moves online!
9. I know you hear this all the time, but eat a big breakfast! It's seriously so vital for long lasting energy, well into the afternoon. Trust me, I know first hand what eating a measly breakfast or skipping it all together can do for your body. One time, I thought I "didn't have time" so I rushed to an exam on an empty stomach. I nearly fell asleep during the test and afterward felt like death, dizzy and delirious. Don't do this to yourself! IT IS NOT WORTH IT.
10. Hit the gym or go for a run! Working out reduces stress and boosts your mood, providing you with good-for-you endorphins! Even on those days you don't want to get out of bed, or just want to go home at the end of the day, I urge you to push yourself to go to the gym anyway, because afterward you will feel absolutely fabulous!