Category Archives: Self Care

Visualizing Your Success

Watching the Olympics last night, I noticed something that I had never noticed before. Many of the women about to compete in the hurdles competition were swinging their arms and seemed to be talking to themselves while they gazed down the track. What they were most likely doing was visualizing their race – running it in their minds before they physically ran it. And by doing so, they were seeing themselves winning by projecting success in their minds before the race.

Visualizing success this way is not new. Sports coaches do this regularly when they are coaching their teams. In one of his many interviews, Michael Phelps mentioned that his coach “taught him to use his imagination” – probably starting when he suggested to Phelps at age 11 that one day he would be on the Olympic swim team.

Many health, career and life coaches also teach their clients to imagine succeeding to make success a reality.  Self-improvement gurus often tell clients to “act as if” what they want to happen has already happened. The Secret is built on this premise – that by keeping a thought in your mind, you will attract that wish into your life.

Anyone can use this to succeed at whatever they want. The question is, why doesn’t everyone use visualization to attract everything that makes life delicious? Instead, so many of us project things that we don’t want – worrying about the future, or living in the past.

But it’s easy to turn things around – just start today by visualizing something that you really want and seeing yourself getting it. Imagine your new job in the most ideal work environment, surrounded by people that you like and appreciate. Imagine finding that significant other, and how wonderful and beautiful they are and how they make you feel. Imagine yourself in the best shape of your life and enjoying your strong, healthy body. The clearer your picture is of your goal, the more likely the chances you will achieve it. If you can see it, and stay focused on how you can achieve it, you will find and seize it when the opportunity arrives.

7 ways to stay healthy without breaking your budget

Has inflation hit you through your grocery bill? I’ve noticed recently that my food shopping has become much more expensive over the past few months. Here are some ways to cut costs without sacrificing your health:

1. Eat in season – If you’re buying fresh produce, it’s always better to eat whatever is available right now. Sure, you can get apples in spring or early summer, but they’re more expensive – and less fresh – than the seasonally-ready strawberries or blueberries.

2. Buy local – farmer’s markets often have comparable or better prices on certain items that you might find in your grocery story. By buying from the farmer’s markets, you’re supporting smaller businesses, helping the environment and getting fresher food (since the produce doesn’t travel as far).

3. Buy organic selectively – some conventionally-grown produce is so highly sprayed that you would be better off buying organic to avoid the massive amounts of pesticides you’d otherwise be consuming. For some other items, it’s not as crucial that you choose organic. See this article on MSNBC for more about which items should be organic.

4. Go veg – Eating vegetarian meals can save you a lot of money as veg sources of protein cost substantially less than animal products. If you’re opposed to becoming vegetarian full time, you can try it part time – plan to have some vegetarian meals during the week. You can get protein from plant sources such as tofu, tempeh, and beans.

5. Reduce your protein – If you are still adamant about keeping meat in your diet, use the Chinese Medicine philosophy of eating meat – eat mostly vegetables, with meat as a flavoring or condiment in your meal. One serving of chicken, beef or pork should only be 3 oz. This is much less than you’d get in a typical restaurant or takeout meal, but this is all you really need.

6. Eat less – It may sound drastic, but frequently we Americans are eating more than we actually need. Slow down your eating, and tune into your body. Do you really need the next bite? Or are you satisfied? If you’re hungry later, you can always have another small meal.

7. Fast – It sounds extreme, but a one-day fast will not only save you money, it can also help you live longer and healthier. Fasting allows your body to take a break from digesting all of the time, giving it the crucial rest it needs to renew and repair. But before you jump into fasting, you should get guidance from an experienced health coach or professional.

The Manic Cure

I’m feeling rather frazzled lately. Too much on my mind, and too many things to keep track of at once. Even though I have the check list of to do’s, it still seems like I’m missing something. I need to slow down, but how can I when my mind is racing like this?

A friend of mine recently told me about her friend’s very simple remedy for constant activity. When she feels like she needs a mini vacation, she gets a manicure.

I’m not one of those girly girls who likes to go to the salon all of the time or even wears nail polish (except for my toes in the summer because my feet look so much better in sandals when I do). But there’s some good sense in this piece of advice. When someone is working on your hands, you can’t do anything – write, read, talk on the phone, push buttons, etc. You have to just sit still and wait for them to clean, cut, shape and polish your fingertips. Then you have to wait for the paint to dry. It’s boring to sit there watching the little fans drying your digits, but that’s all you can do. And then you realize that you haven’t done anything for at least 30 minutes and, well that feels pretty good actually.

I think it’s about time I get one.

The Wedding Diet

Oh yes, the infamous wedding diet. This is when brides-to-be do everything they can in their power to get slimmer, trimmer and tinier before their Big Day. For some, the BIGGEST DAY OF THEIR LIVES. And, in order to be fully prepared for the biggest day of their lives, it’s essential that they become as tiny as they possibly can to fit into the smallest wedding gown, because as you know white is not slimming like black is. Oh no. It’s time to work out till you drop and diet until you pass out. Otherwise, there’s no way you’ll be prepared for the BIGGEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE.

Ok, I have to admit it. I have been working out, and fairly hard for the past two months, partially for vanity reasons. And yes, I’m getting married very soon. And yes, I have to admit that I have been watching the scale. And happy that the numbers have become smaller. Even though I know that they’re just numbers and really it’s more about how I feel in my clothes. But yes, I have this slight vanity urge happening that makes me want to be in the best shape of my life, look my prettiest, see my thighs at their thinnest that I can ever remember when I’m sitting on the deck chair in my bikini during the honeymoon. Pure vanity.

The thing is that I know that my wedding is just one day. One special day, but not the only good day I’ll ever have. And good health is more than looking amazing in a dress for a day or a bikini for a week. It’s not about numbers, calories, miles run, reps performed.

A Delicious Life is about feeling good inside and out. Yes, when you take care of yourself with good diet and regular exercise, you start experience life in a more delicious way. But a delicious life is feeling good about your whole life – the work you do or aspire to do, the relationships you have with friends, family and loved ones, and the connection you have to your own spirit in whatever way makes sense to you. Living a delicious life can start with your diet or your exercise routine, but to truly have it all you need balance in all areas. That’s when you can really have a delicious life.

While I’m working out for extreme vanity reasons now, I know that I’ll keep these healthy routines way after the big day. I’m happy to be in great shape again. I’ve been in good shape before – especially when I was training for my triathlon and the 5k races I used to do. It’s a great feeling to be back in excellent physical shape, even if my healthy habits only started because of a white dress.

Fend Off Brain Power Failure

According to a recent sleep study, sleep deprivation can cause the brain to work more slowly, especially when processing visual information. Scientists refer to this as a sort of “brain power failure.”

Getting enough sleep is essential, but that amount is not the same for everyone. Adults usually need 7-8 hours, but some do well with six, while others can’t function without nine. Children need more sleep than adults, and older people need less sleep than those in their mid life.

You can catch up on sleep by sleeping extra hours following a sleep deprivation period, but it takes a toll on the body nonetheless. If you can stick to a regular sleep schedule, you’re more likely to get the rest you need.

And for those who say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” – if you don’t sleep, you will be dead faster than you think. It is not possible to continue living without sleep.

Side note: The best way to prevent an oncoming cold – get lots of extra sleep, drink water and take your vitamin C.

The best way to get in shape

Part of having a delicious life is about loving the skin you’re in. Finding movement that feels right for you can help you love your body that much more. When you take care of your body with vitality-building exercises, you are rewarded with higher energy levels and more positive emotions (not to mention a sexy hot bod).

I work out in the morning because I know there’s no way of getting out of it. At 6:00am, I’m too sleepy to reason with myself. If I make myself just get up and do it, I’m already 10 minutes into the workout by the time I fully wake up, and then I’m not resisting working out.

Sometimes I have an awesome workout. And sometimes I want to die. Most of the times, I like working out. But sometimes, if I’ve stayed up too late the night before (like last night), I really don’t want to get out of bed. I think about hitting the snooze button. But then I get up anyway.

Why? Because the best – and only – way to get in shape is to consistently put one foot in front of another. That means, just show up.

Even if it’s not your best workout day, or if you can only work out for 20 minutes. Or 15. At least you showed up. That’s 15 more minutes than you would have done had you stayed in bed. And once you get into the habit, you won’t think twice about skipping a workout. It will become second nature like brushing your teeth, just another step in your routine.

It takes about 21 days to ingrain a new habit. Once you do something consistently each day for about 3 weeks, it becomes part of your daily routine. If you continue past that time, you’re probably going to keep the habit for quite a while.

I’m 19 days into my new workout routine. I’ve noticed that the shape of my body is starting to change. All of my pants are loose, and most everything else in my wardrobe fits well or is moving to the “too big” side. And while I’m sleepy today, my overall energy has definitely increased over the past few weeks.

I highly recommend trying a new workout routine and committing to it for at least 3 weeks. Try something that challenges you. If you’ve been a runner forever, take up a new cardio sport such as biking or swimming. If you lift weights, try yoga. If you’re a weight lifter, try Tai Chi. Even if you’re in amazing shape, you may be surprised how difficult a new type exercise can be. And, if you’ve been bored with your same old routine, you might find yourself loving working out again.

Something to get you started (if you’re in New York City/Brooklyn):

Free yoga and tai chi classes in Bryant Park
Body Church – free full-body workout Sundays in McCarren Park
Shape Up New York – free fitness classes in New York City
Swimming Pools – free adult lap swim in mornings and evenings throughout the summer

***********

Want to kick start a new diet or exercise routine? Try my week-long cleanse class – a quick, flexible, easy way to get moving. The class starts May 7, so sign up today!

Earth Day Speech

Last week I did a speech about Earth Day and why you should care about it. I wrote it based on this post – and here’s the video of my speech:

I hope this inspires you to take action. Let me know what you think of it.