Archive for the ‘ Lifestyle ’ Category

 

impact

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I’ve seen people tackle goal-setting in many different ways. Some write down very clear, concise goals and others (like myself) enjoy setting intentions.

This year, I have been thinking long & hard about what I want 2014 to be for me, and what kind of legacy I’d like to leave behind. Who do I want to be this year? What kinds of things do I want to accomplish, and more importantly why?

It got me thinking all the goals I have set for myself over the years (both dreamy + extravagant and simple), and what those goals mean to me. Sure, goals are a great tool for getting sh*t done, but lately I’ve been wanting to go deeper.

I think it’s important to reflect upon WHY you set those goals for yourself in the first place, and what the meaning is behind those goals.

Then there are also those goals you’ve had forever…that you’ve failed to meet. WHY did you set this goal in the first place, and what is holding you back from achieving it? And just as importantly, is it even something that you really desire? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself…and am now asking you too.

After lots of thinking + tea-sipping + writing, I have decided my word, my legacy, for 2014 is IMPACT.

I want to help touch people, change someone’s perspective, inspire, grow…leave my mark.

2014 will be the year

I publish a book,

grow in my career with sweetgreen,

challenge myself in ways I never thought I could,

grow,

marry the love of my life,

and write (a lot).

Yesterday I decided to start an “impact journal,” similar to a gratitude journal although I will write down one thing I do each day that has positively impacted someone/something.

Because I’ve realized I find the greatest appreciation & gratitude for myself in the things I do to IMPACT others.

Stay tuned for lots more on this!
Lots of love,

Rachel

My Letter To The Woman Behind Me In Aisle #5 (And My Defense of Real Food)

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Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I couldn’t help but check out the grocery cart of the woman behind me. I am oddly overly interested in what other people are buying at the supermarket, as I imagine some women are interested in what others are buying at the mall. What can I say? I love food.

Anyway, back to the point. I was shocked to find that this woman’s cart wasn’t filled with food at all. Rather it was filled with fake “food-like” products.

5 packs of sugar-free Crystal Light.

a box of splenda.

1 tub fat-free yogurt (or was it go-gurt?)

2 bottles of diet cream soda

A few packages of diet “low cal” microwavable meals

Zero real food.

Mind you, this woman was overweight and judging by her diet-filled cart was likely trying to lose weight by the good ol’ tactic: cutting back on calories. She looked sad, fatigued and downright exhausted.

First of all, I wanted to give her a hug. And tell her it was going to be OK and that she is beautiful & enough. (Seriously, it’s incredible how so many women just need that boost of confidence).

At the same time, I wanted to smack some sense into her. I wanted to tell her that she was better off just using real sugar, and throwing that splenda in the trash. That she’d get more nutrients in a piece of steak and a potato than she’d find in a boxed, processed, microwavable “diet” meal any day.

That if she chugged water throughout the day, maybe just maybe that diet soda wouldn’t seem as enticing. And if it still is, has she considered seltzer water with some natural juice squeezed in?

That those teeny tiny packets of Crsyal Light are actually filled with lots of chemicals and artificial flavors including aspartame & yellow # 5, and that at this point you’re better off just drinking straight up juice. Or ya know, an apple or orange?

That cutting back on food by replacing it with “fake food” to save calories is not the answer. That nourishing your body with REAL FOOD (and lots of it) is.

A piece of real fruit picked from the tree will always trump “fruit flavored” products. A piece of organic chicken or steak (yes, fat and all) will always beat out the package of vegan veggie burgers that have 100+ ingredients, 90 of which you can’t pronounce. If you can tolerate dairy, a full-fat, REAL block of cheese is better than a fat-free piece of fake cheese that tastes and looks like cardboard any day.

Straight up beautiful, colorful vegetables – broccoli, leafy greens, bok choy, carrots – completely blow measly canned veggies or frozen “diet” meals filled with dehydrated veggies out of the water.

If you want to lose weight or straighten up your diet, don’t focus on what you need to take out; rather focus on what you can add in. And add in those things that nourish you most.

Bottom line?

Real food > Fake Food.

Period.

The end.

Healthy Habits: Why Eating More Can Actually Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

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[smile! no you don't have to give up your fave foods to lose weight!]

Usually one of the first steps people take when trying to lose weight and create healthy changes is eliminate “bad” foods or eat less. Cut out chocolate. Eat less meat. Give up soda for good. Skip lunch.

Heck, during my years of dieting (when I was eating diet, low calorie crap mind you) a nutritionist actually told me to eat less calories. “Calories in, calories out!” she cheerfully shouted, something I will never, ever forget. In reality, if she actually looked at what I was eating, simply “Eat more real food” would have done the trick.

It saddens me to see so many young women going on super-restrictive diets in order to get that dream body and feel better about themselves. I’m telling you right now: deprivation & cutting back is not the answer.

For one, I don’t believe in “bad” foods. Food is food & it doesn’t have a feeling attached to it – it either nourishes your body or doesn’t but that doesn’t make it “bad.” Secondly, when we deprive ourselves we typically want more of said food in which we either ignore the craving or end up binging late-night leading to a big fat guilt trip. And lastly, when we eliminate or cut back on the foods we love, it makes healthy living seem like a dreadful punishment. Where’s the fun in that?

Instead of cutting back or starving yourself when trying to manage your weight, I recommend another approach: eating more food. No, I’m not saying to go order Chinese takeout or binge on donuts to your heart’s desire. I’m talking about eating more high-quality, energizing REAL whole foods.

You see, when we add in more of the good stuff, we simultaneously (and painlessly) weed out the not-so-good stuff. After all, I’m a firm believer in baby steps when it comes to long-lasting positive change.

Make sense?

Here are a few simple ways you can begin “weeding out” without the headache & deprivation:

  • Order your pizza with extra veggies to amp up the greens & nutrients – it’ll fill you up quicker and you’ll end up eating less because you’ll be satisfied nutritionally
  • Rather than boring iceberg lettuce salads, try playing with various leafy greens, avocado, colorful veggies, local cheeses and proteins like hard-boiled egg, quinoa, grilled chicken or fish. For dressing, choose a high-quality olive oil with fresh lemon, garlic, and balsamic vinegar
  • If you normally eat your oatmeal plain or packaged, try making your own oatmeal with whole rolled oats & amp it up by adding berries, banana and spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Be sure to get your protein in by adding all natural nut-butter, flaxseed or pairing it with an egg on the side
  • Add dark leafy greens to your morning scrambled eggs – cook in coconut oil for an extra-tasty healthy delight!
  • After noon, swap late-afternoon coffee trips with herbal tea to keep your caffeine levels in check & blood sugar levels stable
  • Drink more water – aim for half your body weight in ounces of water & keep a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day. This will help keep you hydrated & your cravings in check
  • Swap your soda with naturally flavored seltzer water infused with fresh berries – start small by swapping one can a day, and work your way up!
  • Use gentle, natural sweeteners like agave or coconut sugar instead of artificial sweeteners or processed sugar
  • Experiment with making your plate 50% – 75% veggies & think of the other portion as the “side dish”
  • Add healthy fats to your dishes such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, flax seeds & nuts
  • Spread nut butter & fruit onto your toast, bagel or waffle for a protein + antioxidant boost instead of just eating it plain
  • Eat healthy, high-quality snacks throughout the day like raw nuts, fresh fruit, almond butter wraps (heat the wrap before hand to soften), hard-boiled eggs, veggies & hummus, greek yogurt with fruit etc.
  • Try out dark chocolate or fresh fruit (or even better dark chocolate covered strawberries) vs. processed candies & desserts to curb your sweet tooth!
  • Give your bread a makeover – check the ingredients in your bread and see if you need to check yourself! I LOVE ezekiel bread, a flourless b read made from sprouted grains & good-for-you nutrients

How can you begin making healthy swaps & “weeding out” this week?

20 Ways to Conquer The Winter Blues

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Winter blues got you down? Between colds & flu to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes you just want to curl up in a dark hole (your bed) and throw yourself a pity party. If feeling bummed out is becoming your daily norm, don’t you fear! You just need some good ol’ fashioned pick-me-ups to get  you back on your Winter A-Game ASAP.

Here are 20 ways to snap out of the winter blues starting right now!

1. Get some sunshine (or a Vitamin D supplement): Yes, it’s true – sunshine really does make you happy! Even though it’s cold out, make it a point to get outside every day so you can soak up some happiness for yourself. Also, check in with your doctor regarding your Vitamin D levels; many of us fellow north-easterners struggle with low levels throughout the winter which can contribute to the sluggishness and general “blah” feeling.

2. Take a Cat Nap: Naps aren’t just for tots, after all! Our bodies need more rest and warmth during the winter, so there’s definitely no shame in taking an afternoon cap nat, that is if it’s not at your office desk! Aim to get enough sleep for your body, and know what works for you.

3. Start Watching a New TV Series: Start watching a feel-good television series with your roomies to heighten your moods! Whether it’s The Bachelor or reruns of Friends, choose something lighthearted that will bring out the giggles. The Boy and I have recently started watching old episodes of The Wonder Years. It’s just as good as it was 15 years ago.

4. Sip On Some Tea: Make yourself a cup of soothing herbal tea to warm you up inside. My wintertime favorites are Ginger, Chamomile and Lavender. I absolutely love Yogi Tea, as their little feel-good messages on the tea bags make my day every time.

5. Meditate on It: Start & end your day with some meditation to get clear about your intentions and feelings. Not quite sure where to start? You’re in luck! My girl Heather Waxman just released her first ever meditation album “Soul Sessions,” offering easy-to-follow guided meditations combined with her lovely voice singing to you. I can’t think of anything better.

Also consider experimenting with essential oils; grapefruit & lemon are especially uplifting!

6.  Know Your Humming Foods: Get to know the foods that make you feel your very best inside & out (those that “hum” to you) and then those foods that make you feel like crap (those that suck from you). What you eat has LOTS to do with how you feel. Learn how to get clear about these foods over on this post here!

7. Find The Exercise That Makes You Shine: Are you dragging your butt to the gym to run on the elliptical every darn night, inside thinking “I hate this!” “Why am I doing this anyway?!” It’s because this particular exercise just isn’t for you. Go ahead & explore ways to move that make you feel your BEST SELF EVER. Maybe it’s rocking out with a zumba dance party. Perhaps it’s developing a yoga practice or trying that barre class for the first time. Whatever it may be, find what works for YOU.

8. Love Yourself: Self-love is the most important kind of love in my book. If you’ve been looking outward to feel love (from other people, places or things), take a step back to look within. How can you love yourself more fully? To start, make a list of the top 10 things you like about yourself. Then keep this list in your purse or by your desk to peak at when you’re feeling particularly low.

9. Pick up a New Hobby: Always wanted to be a photographer? Take out a camera and start taking some photography lessons! Is Martha Stewart your cooking idol? Get out that apron & start baking away, baby! Find a new hobby that both inspires & challenges you, and I assure you’ll start feeling better in no time.

10. Set Your Intention for 2014: If New Year’s resolutions are stressing you out & making you want to punch people in the face, forget ‘em! This year, rather than aiming to lose 10 pounds again, set an intention that is near & dear to your heart.

11. Make a Vision Board: Speaking of intentions, if you’re feeling lost & confused in life perhaps you just need to get clearer about your visions. Whip out some old magazines and a large poster board or construction paper and start visioning away. Nothing is off limits! What do you want to see more of in your life? Take a look at my Super-sized Vision Board from 2012.

12. Make a Feel-Good Playlist: Create a feel-good playlist for bluesy days! I love using Spotify to make different “albums” for different days: I have one for chilling out, one for pumping me up and several full of my fave bands. What’s on your list?

13. Hit The Mountains: There’s nothing that makes me feel quite as good as escaping to the mountains & being one with nature. Take a ski trip with your girlfriends, or give snow-shoeing a try on a weekend! Hey, may as well take advantage of this chilly weather while it lasts.

14. Cook Up Some (Healthy) Comfort Food: Whip up some healthy comfort food for you & your loved ones. Think casseroles and crockpot meals! Here’s a list from Greatist of 31 Classic Comfort Food Recipes Made Healthy to get you started. Warm, cozy foods make us feel good inside. There’s no question about it.

15. Host a Game Night: Host a game night at your place. All you need is a little Cranium, Battle of The Sexes, Pictionary, your best friends, and some wine & cheese, and it’s ON!

16. Clear Out Your Closet: Give away old clothes that don’t fit (or don’t fit your style anymore) to make room for the new. Then take yourself on a solo shopping spree, obvi!

17. Plan a Girls Night Out: When was the last time you & your girls went out…just the girls? If it’s been a while, consider planning a girls night out to celebrate your friendship! It can be a night out at the bar, a fancy dinner or even an evening in with good movies and takeout. In February, my girlfriends & I are taking a trip to sunny FL to spend some time on the beach!

18. Step On Your Yoga Mat: Yoga makes you feel better about yourself (inside & out). Do more yoga. Enough said.

19. Heat Things Up In Your Love Life: Does your relationship need a little makeover? Heat things up at home & get those sparks flying again! Kiss more. Love more. Bring on the passion.

20. Amp Up The Self Care: Make sure you are taking time for YOU & taking care of yourself. Self-care is one of the most important pieces to health & wellness. Treat yourself to a massage or simply take 30 minutes a day for you & only you.

Do you suffer from the winter blues? How do you beat ‘em?

In Review: Sports Club/LA Chestnut Hill

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This past month, the lovely people from Sports Club/LA Chestnut Hill gifted me with a club membership. Since I had an amazing experience when visiting their space downtown, I was ecstatic to give their new club a try.

Chestnut Hill is totally blowing up lately with healthy offerings! Plus it’s close enough to my Brookline apartment for me to easily commute via public transportation.

The Amenities

Upon walking in, as expected, I was in awe of how beautiful the space was. The locker rooms alone deserve a separate post in itself! They have everything you could possibly need post-workout from lotion to hair dryers to deodorant. Their showers have all the essentials including razors, shaving cream, and high-end yummy smelling shampoos & conditioners. I absolutely adore the brand of beauty care they use by (MALIN + GOETZ) utilizing natural ingredients that are good for your skin.

Not to mention the roomy sauna and eucalyptus-infused steam room that totally blew my mind! I won’t lie: one day I took the trip just to give myself a mini “spa day” at the Sports Club/LA women’s locker room that is. In my defense, I was feeling a little stuffed up and was totally craving some R&R.

Other perks include an on-site cafe, nutrition services and childcare.

The Fitness

Now let’s get to the good stuff; you know like what you came here for in the first place! First and foremost, I must comment on how clean and spacious the club is. Everything is available on the same level so there’s no running around from weights to yoga class back to the locker room. It’s all in one convenient area to make your trip to the gym as stress-free as possible, because that’s what it should be, right?

They have everything, and I mean everything. From free weights to isolated machines, special treadmills (with gripping to make it more like “running on the road”) to every workout machine you could imagine (stair-climber, elliptical, you name it), Sports Club/LA has it all.

While I was super impressed by the club’s offerings, the group fitness classes are what stole my heart. During the month, I tried a few fitness classes to really get the full club experience. My favorites were Rev & Rock with Ike Ajoku and Rev & OM with Cara Gilman. As you can see, I’m on a spinning kick lately!

Ike’s class was a blast, and you could tell he really enjoys teaching and riding to the beat of the music. He was super motivational, and his class was a great mix of sweaty and fun (dream blend in my mind).

Cara’s Rev & Om class was a breath of fresh air, as I’ve never thought to combine spinning and yoga before. I love yoga. I love spinning. And as expected I loved Rev & Om! The spinning portion was a sweaty 45-minute ride with great music and Cara’s yogi-inspired motivations throughout. She’s literally a ball of joy, smiling throughout the entire class with her little pony swinging to the beat of the music as she kept up with the class.

After 45-minutes of sweating, we cooled down with a vinyasa flow in the yoga studio. I must say: it felt AMAZING to stretch and breathe after moving my legs so much previously. My hips and thighs definitely thanked me later! I really liked her adjustment during child’s pose and Savasana that left me feeling rejuvenated and at ease. I’ve taken Cara’s yoga classes before, so I knew it’d be exactly what I was looking for!

Overall, Sports Club/LA Chestnut Hill was everything I expected and more! I’d recommend anyone who lives or works in the area to take a trip and see what it’s all about. I assure you: you certainly won’t be dissapointed.

Note: Sports Club/LA Chestnut Hill gave me a complimentary one-month membership to try out their club to review. However, I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own.

5 Holiday Gift Ideas for a Healthy Chick

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We just had our first big snowfall in Boston, and I’m feeling all warm & fuzzy inside.

Before I head out for the Sowa Holiday Market to finish up some gifts for friends, I wanted to share with you 5 must-have holiday gift ideas for the Healthy Chick. Enjoy!

For the Creative Soul: the universe knows journal

All your creative, writing gals will love these inspirational journals from the universe knows. Great for both late-night journaling and creating your food/mood journal, these babies are a must for the Healthy Chick. They come in a variety of bright colors with various messages like “live with passion” and “cherish the journey.” Plus today, Sunday the 15th they’re only $10!

BUY NOW

For the Yoga Chick: Harmony Yoga Mat By Jade

Every yogi needs a mat, and what better way to make your favorite yogi’s day than by gifting them with a brand new one? I’m one of those girls who needs a new mat, so I asked my friends in the Twitter world what they recommend. My yoga-loving friend Jen recommended Jade, so you bet it’s going on my list this year. Not only are their mats comfy & non-slip, but most importantly they’re eco-friendly. Win-win-win. I’m loving the Harmony mat in Purple (of course).

BUY NOW

For the Salad Lover: sweetgreen Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe Tee

This “Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe” tee is perfect for the salad lover & sweetgreen fanatic. This farm-to-table restaurant chain serves up fresh local salads in a hip setting, and as you can see now offers some sweet apparel too. Snag this super-soft, comfy tee for all your kale-loving friends to rock in 2014.

BUY NOW

For the Dream-Catcher: The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte

If you know someone who is chasing their dreams & full of passion, but may need a little extra push & direction, this book is for them. Danielle Laporte’s The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful and Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms is one of my favorite reads for igniting your inner passion!

BUY NOW

For The Natural Beauty: Lush Giftcard + Toms of Maine

We know that putting toxins into our bod is never a good thing, but many of us don’t stop to think about what we’re putting on our body. Most makeup, deodorant, body washes & shampoos out there are full of parabens and harmful toxins. That’s why I’m all about going au natural, baby! Your natural beauty will love the variety of perfumes, makeup and hair care from LUSH cosmetics.

I’m also IN LOVE with Tom’s of Maine all-natural deodorants, soaps and toothpastes, made with real ingredients your bod can trust. Makes for the perfect stocking-stuffer!

BUY LUSH GIFTCARD NOW

BUY TOM’S NOW

What’s on your list? Happy Holidays friends!

A Lesson from Geneen Roth: Eat The Foods That Hum To You

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In Emotional Eating Expert Geneen Roth’s book Breaking Free From Emotional Eating, she refers to foods as either “humming” foods or “beckoning” foods.

Humming foods? What the heck is that, you ask? Why it’s exactly what it sounds like; humming foods are foods that sing (or “hum”) to you, that light you up and make you feel good. They can change day-by-day depending on how you are feeling, what time it is and even who you are with. But you know it when you see it.

The most important part about humming foods is that they satisfy you both emotionally and physically. “When you eat a humming food, you don’t go looking for more food fifteen minutes or an hour later. After eating a humming food, you forget about food,” Roth writes. “You know those people who actually think about things other than food during the day? You become one of them.”

To me, eating the foods that “hum” to you means eating according to what your body wants & needs, rather than eating what you think you “should” be eating. It’s listening to your body at its best. On the other hand, beckoning foods are those that suck from you and leave you feeling crappier.

While I didn’t know it at the time, I attribute losing weight & becoming more comfortable in my own skin (without dieting) to eating the foods that hum to me. No calorie counting. No judgement. No guilt. No obsession over portion control, or worrying about what I’d eat at my next meal. Just purely listening within. Yes, your body is really really smart if you take the time to simply listen to it.

I think we all have our own humming foods, while we may not refer to them that way. They are the foods that make you feel juicy, alive and energized. They’re your feel-good foods (not to be confused with comfort foods) that satisfy both your emotional and physical needs.

Today, I’d like you to take some time to think about your own humming foods. Which foods satisfy your hunger and make you feel really good inside?

Here’s my top 10, but note these can change according to seasons, time of day and situations!

humming foods:

1. avocados + healthy fats (think: coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)

2. warm grains like rice + quinoa + oats

3. whole cage-free, farm fresh eggs

4. nut butter + ezekiel bread

5. sautéed leafy greens like kale or swiss chard with garlic, olive oil & lemon juice

6. fresh seasonal fruit

7. organic chicken

8. high-quality seafood (especially in season)

9. a good quality cheese

10. dark chocolate + a glass of red wine

beckoning foods:

1. packaged snack foods

2. energy bars

3. cold breakfasts

4. high-gluten, what-heavy foods

5. restaurant bread & butter (when not fresh)

6. processed cheese

7. pizza

8. white pasta

9. mac & cheese

10. sugary cocktails

Do you listen to your body when it comes to eating? What’s on your list of humming foods & beckoning foods?

No, I don’t need you to shrink me & make me hot: Here’s Our Body-Love Message To YOU!

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The other evening, I nearly fell off my chair when I read my friend & fellow health coach Kendall Covitz’s Facebook status:

“A trainer looked me up and down and said ‘I can make your butt smaller and shrink you.’ I didn’t say anything since I was working for another company. What would you have done?”

Yes, I was mortified this happened to her but the reason I was shocked is that the SAME EXACT THING happened to me the day before. (You’ll read all about my story below in a minute) Was this a new trend? I had to reach out to her to tell her my story. We quickly realized that not only did this happen to the both of us just two days apart, but it was the same trainer.

After making each other giggle and realize what the woman said to us was pure hogwash (we both know each other are beautiful even if that means we’re not stick thin models), we knew we had to do something about it.

You see, as holistic health coaches, Kendall and I both work specifically with women to help them feel beautiful in their own skin by eating the foods & doing the exercises that are right for their bodies. Because, as I say on this blog over and over again, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. You gotta do what works for you, girlfriend!

When someone (especially a personal trainer & businesswoman who people look up to) is going around telling women they need to change their bodies or they’d be more beautiful THIS way, that’s putting people into cookie-cutter molds & totally going against everything Kendall & I believe in.

What if she said that to someone who was happy with their curves? What if she said that to someone with body image issues, or an eating disorder? What if she said that to someone who is in the midst of a major weight-loss journey, who is proud of their success? What if it’s not every single woman’s goal to LOSE weight or have a teeny-tiny butt or be stick thin? What if that’s the body she was given?

Imagine the harm that could do.

So yes, it’s safe to say we were pretty fired up about this! Hence Kendall’s novel idea of writing a joint blog post was born.

My Story

“I can get rid of those,” she said to me, pointing to my thighs covered in a pair of black workout leggings. “I used to have big thighs like you too.”

She then hopped up and took me in another room with a mirror, and had me stand right in front of it. I was starting to feel a little awkward. And as if this was her absolute favorite part of the day, she began rattling off everything “wrong” with my body.

“I can get rid of everything bad about you and make you hot!” she gleefully shouted.

I was in a meeting for work, and I said nothing. Not one word. I smiled, laughed and moved on with my day. But the more I got to thinking about it, the more I became infuriated. Gosh, I wish I said something. Anything.

That I love my body as is. That my curves and “too big” bum make me feel womanly & I adore shaking my hips on the dance floor (and in Zumba!) That these “fat thighs” have actually finished 3 half marathons, run hundreds of miles, and skied down dozens of slopes. That I actually am 30 pounds lighter than I ever was and got there by learning to love my body & eating real food, not counting calories. That I enjoy working out for my body, but mostly because it makes me feel good. That it’s my body, and everyone’s bodies are made differently.

That it’s not her job to tell me what I “should” and “shouldn’t” look like. That I have no interest in losing any weight at the time nor do I want my butt to be shrinked, thank you very much. That I am in good health with perfect cholesterol and a healthy weight for my size. That I don’t own a scale anymore, or have any interest in owning one. That I’m proud of who I am and what I look like. That she’s not entitled to tell other women how they should look.

But I said nothing because I was there on behalf of work.

Part of me was happy that I wasn’t upset by the situation. After years of body-hatred, dieting and trying to mold myself to look a certain way, I have finally come out on the other end. I finally know my worth. No, I wasn’t sad or hurt or ashamed. I didn’t want to cry, run away or beat myself up. Rather, I was downright pissed. I was fired up.

And yes, now, I feel the need to say something.

Here’s the thing: she didn’t know my story nor care to ask. If she had said that to me 9 years ago when I was a chubby junior in highschool (right before I went on my first diet), I would have been mortified and embarrassed, hiding my body with over-sized clothing and a fake smile.

If she had said that to me 6 years ago when I was a self-conscious, calorie-counting dieting, sophomore with a borderline eating disorder, I would have gone home to weigh myself, balled my eyes out, cut my calories even further and skipped dinner.

If she had said that to me 4 years ago when I was just starting to like my body again & lose the weight by eating REAL food, I would have pinched my fat and thought maybe I was never going to be able to love my body after all.  That maybe I should just give up on this natural weight loss thing.

Are any of these scenarios promoting health or positive self-image? Is this the way to speak to young women, despite their weight or body size? Are any of these comments doing any good? What kind of message is this portraying to women?

During my years of obsessive dieting, I believed that my body needed to look like all the other girls in the magazines in order to be considered beautiful. I thought that the number on the scale defined who I was. I l let myself think that no man would ever want me unless I lost the weight and that once I lost the weight, then I’d be happy.

I didn’t realize at the time that it’s the other way around: to truly love your body and find your happy weight, you first need to start treating it with love.

I keep replaying those shameful words over and over again in my head, going back to all my wonderful clients. Most of them beautiful bright young women in their twenties who didn’t realize how beautiful they are. Most of whom feared food, hated their bodies or felt they weren’t “enough.” Most of them who were alot like me…6 years ago.

Every time I picture this trainer saying something like that to them, or any young women, it breaks my heart. These women need encouragement, hope, positivity, love. They need to know that yes, they can. That their bodies are beautiful as is, and once they themselves can see that, the transformation can begin. That your body is meant to be treated with love and kindness, as it’s the only one you have.

But by telling them no? That they cant? That their butts are too big and their thighs are too fat? That they can look “hot” if they get rid of all the “bad” things about them? That some stranger, who you just met, can shrink you to be “perfect?” Man, if only she knew the damage she could be causing.

Last night, after decorating our first real Christmas tree with my man, my home was full of so much love. Then as we were settling in for the night & cozying up on the couch, suddenly I thought about this woman and what she had said to me and started balling my eyes out. Uncontrollably. I didn’t really quite know why I was crying.

Perhaps I was finally feeling everything she said & having my reaction. Perhaps I needed to cry, and that was OK. Perhaps I was thinking about everything I’ve gone through over the past years, and was brought back back to my vulnerable, self-conscious self for a little bit. But I let myself cry. I let the feelings come out.

Then I remembered something: that I’m not that girl anymore that I was 6 years ago. That I am much stronger, more confident and happier in my own skin.

And I wasn’t going to let that woman take this away from me.

No we have no intention of bashing this woman or calling her out (in fact, we find that irrelevant & silly to stoop down to that level). But rather we desire to take the negativity & anger we experienced from this situation & spread our message: a message of body love, positivity and empowerment.

Ladies, don’t you dare let anyone tell you what your body should or shouldn’t be. Only you know what makes you feel your very best self, and no one knows your body quite like you do!

I highly encourage all of you to go to the mirror after reading this post (clothed or unclothed) and point out every. single. thing. you love about your body. What makes you you? What are you proud of? Honor that.

Please make sure to check out Kendall’s take on the issue over at On an Inhale, and give her some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’re on a mission to spread our message to as many women as we can! And please, speak up. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on the issue! Have you experienced similar body-bashing? What would you have said if you were in our shoes?

I Sweat For a Cure with New Balance Lace Up 365

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#LaceUp365

Last month, I was invited by the lovely folks at New Balance to participate in the launch of their Lace Up 365 program to celebrate their 25th anniversary of their partnership with Susan G Komen.

To honor those who have been affected by breast cancer, Lace Up 365 was born so supporters could dedicate their workouts to breast cancer survivors (featured on New Balance’s site daily) simply by hash-tagging #LaceUp365.

And to kick off this fabulous, feel-good campaign, New Balance invited bloggers to participate in some of the newest & hottest workouts all around the city of Boston: Barry’s Bootcamp, November Project, The Handle Bar and Yoga at NB Fitness. Sweating it out for a good cause? I’m IN!

Before the event, I was sent a pair of pink New Balance sneaks, a pair of pants and some shirts with the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure logo. I absolutely love my super-bright pink sneaks, which I wear proudly & think of someone to dedicate my workout to every time I sport ‘em!

Each event started with a special gathering where we heard from a New Balance representative, as well as the beautiful & inspiring stories of a few survivors! We were also given little goodie bags with essentials like much-needed water, a face towel and some nutrition bars. From there, we were off to the workouts!

I was lucky enough to join for both Barry’s Bootcamp  and The Handle Bar.

Class Recaps

Barry’s Bootcamp

The first class I took was at Barry’s Bootcamp, and I was thrilled to join as they just opened in Boston! I had only taken one class here before, and was excited to take it with one of the studio managers, Dustin, himself. I knew I was in for a treat aka. a super sweaty, challenging class. And Dustin definitely delivered!

Just to paint the picture for you all: when you walk into the room, the lights are dark with club-like lighting and the music is blaring. On this special event, however, we were lucky to have a DJ dropping the beats for the 60-minute class. You then shuffle around the room to either hop on a treadmill or snag your space on the floor. But don’t worry, it doesn’t matter too much, because you alternate positions throughout the class (roughly 30 minutes on each in 15 minute increments)!

I started on the floor i.e. strength training. Before the class began, Dustin had us dedicate the class to someone we know who has been affected by cancer. Immediately, I dedicated mine to my beloved Grandma Carol (who passed away a few years ago) and it was ON!

On the floor portion of class, we did a mix of lunges, deadlifts, chest-presses, dumbbell curls, push ups, planks and all that good stuff! Let’s just say, I was certainly feeling the burn. As for the treadmill, it’s not anything like running on a treadmill at the gym! From jogs to full out sprints (think: double digits), hills to flat roads, the workout was anything but boring. Let’s just say: I was drenched in sweat. But the strength training portion was definitely more challenging for me personally, since as I runner I was more conditioned for the tread.

Overall, I highly recommend Barry’s if you want a killer full-body workout (with fabulous coach-like instructors cheering you on) in just 60 minutes of your time! It’s so worth it.

The Handle Bar

I’ve been to The Handle Bar a few times, and the main perks that stand out to me is a. their super friendly vibe b. their fabulous, cheerful instructors and c. their music.

Not once have I gone to a class there & been dissapointed. It’s the worst when you take spin and the music stinks or the instructor is less-than-motivating. Bummer. Not at The Handle Bar! I also love their clean, chic look and welcoming vibe which is important to me as a customer.

This class was extra-special since I got to take it with the owner, Jess, for my first time! Not only is Jess super cute & spunky, but she’s super motivating and plays killer music to boot. Score.

Read my full review of The Handle Bar indoor cycling studio here!

Sending a giant bear hug & a huge thank you to New Balance & Susan G Komen for putting together these events and making this campaign come to life! I encourage all of you to participate in this campaign, by dedicate your daily workouts to a survivor or someone special in your life. Use hashtag #LaceUp365 to participate!


I am grateful for…

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With Thanksgiving Day coming tomorrow, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. I’m a firm believer that expressing your gratitude & feeling thankful is the #1 key to a happy, love-filled life. Next time you’re feeling down or particularly un-grateful (like “HOW COULD THIS EVER HAPPEN TO ME???!), I encourage you to get cozy & jot down everything you are grateful for right now.

Here’s my list:

  1. My family
  2. Having a sister
  3. My lovely fiancé Jason (even though the word still sounds kinda silly to me)
  4. My writing
  5. My blog
  6. Love
  7. My cozy apartment
  8. Cuddling
  9. Hot tea
  10. Heat
  11. My college girls
  12. My best friends
  13. Child’s Pose
  14. Fresh-brewed coffee
  15. My job
  16. Good food
  17. Our New Hampshire condo
  18. sweetgreen salads
  19. Fuzzy socks
  20. Fuzzy blankets (especially “Pinky”)
  21. My in-the-works e-book
  22. My health coaching
  23. Making people smile
  24. Helping people see themselves in a more beautiful light
  25. Helping people ween off dieting, deprivation & self-hatred
  26. Real food
  27. My future wedding – 10/24/14
  28. Mom’s chicken noodle soup
  29. Mom’s chicken divan
  30. Dad’s Thanksgiving Day turkey
  31. Thanksgiving
  32. Grandma’s homemade…everything!
  33. Running
  34. Yoga
  35. Meditation
  36. Essential oils
  37. Savasana
  38. Vision Boards
  39. #BostonStrong
  40. My mac
  41. My dog Sunny (who we had to put down last year but who was my “brother” growing up)
  42. The Sully family
  43. Miracles
  44. Good books
  45. Journals
  46. Dreams
  47. Kisses
  48. Bear hugs
  49. Modern Family
  50. Memories
  51. Good people
  52. People who tell you like it is
  53. The Little Things
  54. My body
  55. My dimple
  56. Having enough
  57. Road trips
  58. My Spotify Playlist
  59. Burning CDs
  60. Dark Chocolate
  61. Red Wine
  62. Laughter
  63. My creative mind
  64. My “mistakes”
  65. Sushi
  66. Dumpling Night
  67. Weeping Willow Trees
  68. Christmas Trees
  69. Christmas
  70. My relatives who have passed especially Grandma Carol & Papa George
  71. July 5th (my bday)
  72. Sunshine
  73. The first snowfall
  74. That moment when you *fall in love*
  75. First kisses
  76. Stretchy yoga pants
  77. Hot soup
  78. CHEESE
  79. My good luck
  80. Making wishes
  81. Long sweaters
  82. Faith
  83. New days
  84. Good days
  85. The Beatles
  86. My health
  87. My flexible schedule
  88. Christmas ornaments
  89. Flip Flops
  90. Candles
  91. Taking chances
  92. Positivity
  93. Finding beauty in little things
  94. Free haircuts (my mom owns a hair salon)
  95. Lazy Sundays
  96. Pancakes + bacon
  97. The beach
  98. The mountains
  99. Kindness
  100. My life

What are YOU grateful for?

Happy holidays loves,

Rachel

 
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