Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bikini Season is a Comin'! Don't Worry, No Crazy Diets This Year. . .

Bikini season is here and that means lookin' and feelin' sexy in teeny bikini's, little bitty shorts and cutesy dresses! This year, I will not even consider the dreaded four letter word D-I-E-T. There will be none of that nasty Cayenne pepper juice that the celebrities use, and no cabbage soup (ew). Dieting is for those going on spring break who want to drop 15 pounds for the big vacay, and then gain back 30 with all the beer and crappy food. No, that's not very "Healthy Chick"-like.

Instead, we healthy chicks want to focus on sculpting sexy muscles, toning our bods and burning fat. Looking beautiful and shiny and glowing on the outside and feeling even more beautiful and shiny and glowing on the inside.

That's why this year, I researched foods to help build muscle and burn fat. I came across this lovely article called "20 Super Foods You Need to Build Muscle and Lose Fat" at StrongLifts.com, and thought it was only fair to share it with you.

After reading this, you'll definitely want to stock your fridge with these magical fat burners! Here goes:

1. Whole Eggs: Yup, turns out you don't have to eat those "Egg Beaters" or all Egg Whites after all. The yolk has tons of nutrients and protein. Just don't go eating 5 eggs a day, and you'll be good to go!

2. Fish Oil: Phenomenal for your skin, hair nails and bod! It also reduces inflammation (bye bye bloat and puffy eyes!) I take supplements, but you can also get your fish oil from fatty fish as well.

3. Wild Salmon: Tons of good for you Omega 3's and oh so yummy!

4. Berries: Blueberries, Blackberries, Cranberries, Strawberries. You name it-berries. Berries are packed with antioxidants and have a naturally sweet taste! Buy fresh or frozen and add to oatmeal, yogurt or just snack on 'em plain.

5. Yogurt: Go Greek, and get the plain low fat kind. No, Go-gurt and Fruit-at-the-bottom sugary kinds doesn't count ladies! But that doesn't mean you can't sweeten your plain kind with agave syrup or berries!

6. Flax Seeds: Protein, Omega 3s, and all! Grind them to get the most of 'em or use flax seed oil!

7. E.V.O.O: Yup, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add this to salads, saute your veggies in it, and be creative with it!

8. Mixed Nuts: Go nutty with almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc! Just aim for the natural nuts without added salt and sugar. That will just backfire the whole concept of the nuts.

9. Red Meat: I know many are afraid of it, but a top road or sirloin burger or steak won't hurt you once in a while. Just keep your portions in check, and don't eat it every day. Red meat actually is loaded with protein, vitamin B12, iron and zinc.

10. Broccoli: I like to coat mine with garlic, olive oil, lemon and a dash of Parmesan cheese.

11. Spinach: Learn from Popeye and go for this miracle veggie! It prevents muscle and bone loss, also containing tons of nutrients to prevent cancer and other diseases.

12. Turkey: Go lean! Make sandwiches with lean cold cuts or chop up ground turkey in your pasta or veggie dishes.

13. Quinoa: It's not only gluten free, but also packed with fiber and protein. You can add quinoa to soup, make a veggie stir-fry with it, or simply eat it plain. Eat it as you would rice (just with wayyyy shorter cooking time!)

14. Oats: This wonderful breakfast reduces cholesterol, and fills you up with good carbs and tons of energy. Sprinkle your morning oatmeal with flax seeds and cinnamon and enjoy!

15. Tomatoes: Top on homemade pizza, wraps, salads, or omelets!

16. Oranges: Yup, we all remember them from soccer practice. Now, it turns out they actually are great for your bod, contain loads of vitamin C, and phenomenal antioxidants. Eat oranges plain, just as you did back in your soccer days.

17. Apples: They may not keep the doctor away, but they help weight loss by filling you up. I love dipping my apples in almond butter or sprinkling them with cinnamon!

18. Carrots: Rich in fiber AND low in calorie. Dip these wonder veggies in hummus or eat raw.

19. Water: Your body needs water to digest and process all this good-for-you food. Drink 2 cups of water with each meal, and throughout the day.

20. Green Tea: After your morning coffee, switch to Green Tea. It speeds up fat loss and protects the body against cancer and other scary diseases!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Little Life Goals

I think often in life we get far too wrapped up in all the drama (i.e. the 5 pound winter weight gain, the guy who just wants to be "friends", the coworker you butt heads with, the "eh" job) that we forget what the whole purpose of life is; that is to be happy and enjoy it to the fullest.

I know for me, when things aren't going too well, I beat myself up and it's hard for me to see the positive light at the end of the tunnel. Instead I turn into this negative monster, where I think everything's bad when in reality it's not. In fact, it's not at all. My life is splendid really.

Take last week for example. I got so down on myself all because things weren't working out in my love life, and the job I hold isn't my "dream job", so instead of working at it, I instead got fed up and turned into Miss Negative Nancy.

But, that's not who I am. I am no negative Nancy. I never have been. So why lately have I been so damn hard on myself? I've realized these past couple of months, I started letting what other people think of me affect me so much, that I was losing sight of me, the me I love. Is he going to call? What am I doing wrong? Why doesn't he like me? Why am I still working this job? I went to college for God sakes. Ugh, I gained 3 pounds. How could I let this happen? I was doing so well. I am sure many of you have thought similar thoughts, nasty, ugly cruel thoughts about yourself.

Well, throw them out! That's what I did.

Suddenly, I took a big, solid look at my life, and realized I was acting like a crazy person, a person I myself didn't even like. That's when I realized what happened. I lost sight of the little goals I used to have for myself, the little tiny inspirations that drove me to keep working at it, and keep doing my thing. This may sound funny, but in college I liked having assignments and essays and midterms (to a certain degree of course) because it made me work at something, and I in turn felt productive. After all, I was going to college to get my degree in journalism to in time become a magazine writer. This was what drove me, the little goals I worked toward.

Lately, I had been losing sight of all these dreams, so I decided to make a change, and start having little itty bitty "life goals" to work toward. No, they don't have to be anything dramatic, but rather simple little things that you can incorporate into your every day life. Pissed at yourself for gaining weight? Well, don't throw yourself a pity party. Maybe start running or walking a little bit every day to make you feel good about yourself inside and out. Angry about your love life or lack there of? Start focusing on you and your confidence and passions, and in time everything else will come.

Take my list for example. It's nothing drastic. It includes little things like going for an a.m. run before work each day (for clarity not weight loss), drinking more water for energy and cleansing, cutting out coffee in the afternoon and switching to tea for tranquility, doing yoga once a week for my mind, taking more day trips in Boston (to used Bookstores, museums, etc) for diversity and culture and continuing the hunt for my dream job...and never quitting.

This may seem silly, but this list helps me focus on me, not the cute guy, the not-so-good part time job or any other outside distractions. And since the list, voila, I've become a much more happier, cleansed person. It's like I had this epiphany overnight. I suggest if any of you are in the same boat, you go ahead and make your self a LBL (Little, Big List) that is a little list that goes a long way, and watch as your happiness levels rise. Go ahead, jump for joy! You are amazing, sexy, powerful, and beautiful. Yes, you really are.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bethenny Frankel On Indulgences

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to see Real Housewive's of New York star Bethenny Frankel speak about her new book, "The Skinny Girl Dish" at Barnes and Noble in Boston.

While many fans were there ranting and raving about meeting a "celebrity," I went to hear her speak about healthy living. You see, I have been a big fan of Bethenny for more than a year, because her first novel, "Naturally Thin" helped me get over my fear of food, enabling me to look at it as exciting, energizing, fueling and decadent. That's what Bethenny's motto is all about: shutting out your negative "food noise" and embracing it, because after all that's what a naturally thin person does.

Anyway, at her book signing, Bethenny opened up the floor for questions, and I asked her what her biggest guilty pleasure was, expecting her to say something like chocolate cake or greasy pizza. But rather, I was impressed by her response.

"Well, I don't really have a guilty pleasure, because I feel you can eat whatever you want in moderation. A little of this, a little of that. Although my current obsession is red velvet cake, or even just red velvet frosting. I think you could give me a red velvet shoelace and I'd eat it."

That's amazing to hear a woman say she doesn't have a guilty pleasure, that food doesn't leave her with extreme guilt. After all, it is just food, just an insignificant object really, and yet it leaves so many women obsessing over it, analyzing the caloric content of it, and hating themselves because of it.

I think all of us, including myself, need to try and detach ourselves from all the negative emotions food may bring on, and start looking at it as we did when we were little kids. You know, when the homemade chicken soup your grandma brought to you could cure any cold, and mom's pork chops and mashed potatoes warmed your soul. When a hot dog was just a hot dog, not a fatty piece of lard, and chocolate cake was just chocolate cake or something to enjoy at a birthday party, rather than something that will destroy your waistline.

Sure, it's not the best idea to have Poptarts for breakfast, mac 'n' cheese for lunch, and pizza for dinner, but a slice of pizza or a bite of that gooey brownie that just came out of the oven isn't gonna kill ya. Trust me.