Archive for the ‘ Lifestyle ’ Category


Are you invested in yourself?

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The other day, a colleague of mine posted this status on her Facebook page that really got me thinking:

“I am meeting SO many women entrepreneurs who have spent a ton of money on coaching programs when internally there’s a boat load of fear and other internal gunk that’s resulting in little return on investment. I hope for the day when we can all wake up and realize that to cultivate financial abundance externally, you need to feel abundant internally.” Stacy, ZenConnect

When I first read this, I got defensive almost -But  I’m one of those women who have in the past spent a boatload of money on something I thought would “fix” me! After pausing for a moment to soak this in, I realized she’s 100% completely spot on.

To me, it all comes down to one thing: you can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on the best _____ (nutritionist/business coach/health coach/school/relationship guru, you name it) but if you aren’t invested in yourself first that money is going to get you squat.

And when I say invested in yourself, I mean really freakin’ wanting it. Being willing to learn & grow. Being OK with stepping outside your comfort zone and taking a huge leap even if you don’t know where it’s going to take you. Being clear about who you are and what you want. Loving yourself enough to say “yes” and loving yourself enough to say “no.” Being invested in yourself means that, expensive programs & money aside, you are determined to get that end result anyway. Period.

It brings me back to college when I so badly wanted a boyfriend (or so I thought). I desperately tried to get my freshman fling to fall in love with me and date me, and when he didn’t I felt like a failure. What I really wanted was someone to show me attention and give me affection so I could feel better about myself & my body. I wanted confidence, and as you know that’s something you can’t buy or get from a man. It must come within. As you can see, I wasn’t ready internally to be in a relationship. I hadn’t yet invested in myself enough to realize what I really wanted, to love myself and my body for what it was.

Four years later and I’m engaged to the love of my life, my soul mate. But most importantly I am in love with myself.

In recent years, I paid a business coach $500 for one phone call that again I thought would “save” me and shoot my business forward into success. While it worked for a little (due to my motivation from the phone call and drive to succeed) I quickly fell back into old patterns of fear, overwhelm, comparing and feeling like I wasn’t “enough.” I was not ready. There was no mindset piece to her coaching. And well, without a shift in mindset, hundreds of hours of to-dos, action steps, and business plans will get you nowhere.

The first time I felt truly ready to invest in myself (and an expensive program) was during my trip last spring to Holistic MBA Live: Step Into Your Spotlight. During the weekend, I had a giant breakthrough around my relationship with money. I realized I was treating money as I used to treat my body – obsessing over my bank account, comparing my salary with friends,  and shaming myself for not having enough. It was during this trip that I realized I was done letting those limiting beliefs get in the way of my success.

And so I invested in Holistic MBA Core (a business-coaching program for holistic wellness coaches) with the lovely Stacey Morgenstern and Carey Peters. I took a leap of faith because I believed in what these ladies had to say, I was ready to stop selling myself short and most importantly: I believed in myself. That I could really do this thing!

And let me tell you these ladies & their program are brilliant! But the thing is, it was more than a how-to business coaching thing. There was also lots on limiting beliefs, money woes, breakthroughs and mindset. And that’s what really pushed me forward: thinking internally, getting uncomfortable, and looking within.

Where am I now post-program? I now feel financially free & am making more money than I’ve ever made by doing what I love. I’m in the midst of writing my first e-book chockfull of wellness inspirations for women to live a happy, healthy diet-free life.  I was brave enough to launch my first group program, where I had 10 women participate. My relationship with money, while a work in progress, feels really darn good. Things feel right. Because I invested in myself. I put in the work. I got a little vulnerable and “naked” and took some risks.

Why am I telling you all this?

As a health coach, I adore working with women to help them feel more confident in their own skin, end their harsh relationships with food & their body, believe in themselves and reach their personal wellness goals. However, the real progress and shifts comes from the client…doing the work, trusting, and believing in themselves enough to want these changes.

When you invest in a coach, you best be investing in yourself too. You see, you can’t expect a program/coach/book/boyfriend to “fix” you and miraculously make your life better. But you can invest in YOURSELF to make these internal changes while investing in someone/something to help guide you there.

Because at the end of the day, well it all comes from within baby!…

Monday Inspiration: Fill Up with Love

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What lights you up? What are the things that make you feel complete, like you are living according to your truest self?

On being more present during your lunch break

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Today during a business meeting at lunchtime, we got to talking about one of my favorite topics: food. More specifically the behavior in which we consume our food.

The gentleman I was speaking to commented on the importance of quality food, and just as importantly MINDFULNESS. He had recently hit a weight loss plateau, and instead of going into Diet-Crazy-Juice-Fasting-Panic-Mode he made one simple change: the WAY he ate at the table.

“I just started doing more of this,” as he flipped his iPhone upside down, “and less of this.” (gesturing eating quickly while texting) And guess what? He realized his food now tastes better, he feels more satisfied, lunch leaves him REFRESHED versus bogged down, oh and as an added perk: he lost the weight!

This immediately took me right back to my college days, as I’d stand in my kitchen late at night frantically shoving spoonfuls of low fat peanut butter and leftovers down my throat. The days I’d eat 5,000 rice cakes and never feel full, and the days I’d chug coffee with artificial sweeteners and sugar-free chocolate while making a tight deadline. I was one hot mess.

The minute I decided to actually eat my food (that is, real food) and I mean truly taste it and be there for my meal, the weight started coming off. And not just the physical weight – but the pounds & pounds of emotional weight I was carrying around with me. Suddenly I felt peace: with myself, with my body, with my food.

It’s not magic. And it’s not rocket science either. It just requires a little patience, a little trust and some experimenting with your body. Even for those of you who think you have “no time” you do have the time to be more mindful when it comes to your meals. Because ask yourself this, what’s it costing you not to give yourself that time?

Here are 4 simple ways you can be more present during your lunch break starting NOW. No diet fads. No gimmicks. No calorie cuts. No rules. Just simply real, genuine, No-BS advice that works.

1. Take 2 – 5 slow, deep breaths before your meal. Get grounded and feel the moment. Notice how you feel in your body. Inhale refreshing, vibrant energy and exhale all the negative crap that’s fogging your mind. When you eat in a stressed out, frantic state, your body can’t properly digest or metabolize your food, hence storing it as fat. And you don’t want that, now do you?

2. Unplug. Put your phone on airplane mode, shut off all electronics, turn off the TV and let go of any outside distractions. Thoroughly enjoy the experience of eating, noticing the taste, smell and texture of your food. And pay attention to your body’s cues: are you full? Are you content? Have you had enough? Honor that.

3. Note how you feel. Perhaps keep a food diary, simply noting what you ate and how you feel. Begin to observe which foods leave you feeling refreshed and energized, and those that leave you feeling burnt out, bloated and irritable. Investigate this. Be the detective of your own life, and observe what works and what doesn’t. Because guess what, what works for you doesn’t necessarily work for your best friend.

4. Slow it down. If you normally take 5 minutes to eat breakfast, take 10. If you typically get take out or fast food for lunch, try bringing your own meal. Make a homemade dinner for a loved one and sit down together at the table with a glass of wine to celebrate it. Know there is no rush. Be in the moment.

Do you pay attention to how you eat? Which of these techniques will you practice this week?

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Running, PB-Loving “Yogi Next Door”

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Good evening ladies, and welcome back to another week of Healthy Chicks in the Community! I am super pumped to share this week’s chick with you, as she’s one of the most genuine, real gals I know.

When I met Cara for the first time, she was decked out in the cutest lulu yoga outfit, smiling from ear to ear as she made her way around the room to greet the follow yogis. I immediately thought, “I want to be friends with this girl!” Since then we’ve become good friends, bonding over yoga, salads and good laughs. The best part about her is she’s just a real, no-BS gal next door (or shall I say Yogi Next Door). What you see is what you get, and I absolutely love that about her! I’ll let Cara take it from here…

NAME/AGE: Cara Gilman, 29

BLOG/TWITTER (If Applicable):Blog: @runneromie



PHOTO TAKEN: Lululemon Photoshoot at the Alden Castle in Brookline

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I’m a full time yoga and cycle teacher. I teach at Back Bay Yoga, JP Centre Yoga, Sports Club LA and Sweat and Soul Yoga. I’m also an ambassador for Lululemon and Sweetgreen.

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Helping others feel more connected to themselves whether it’s teaching a class or offering advice and support.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Consistently sleeping 8 hours a night, eating REAL food (not on the run protein bars and snacks) and having balance to my workouts–yoga, cardio (running/spinning/swimming) and weight training.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: Go for the processed foods when I don’t have time to prepare my own food. I also get cookie cravings at night and have caved in many of times! This usually happens when I haven’t been eating REAL food throughout the day or when I feel irritable because I have not gotten enough sleep.

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Peanut butter, bananas & raw honey

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: I LOVE blueberry muffins and breakfast breads. Fall is my most favorite season. Not only for weather but for the warm, sweet and savory dishes!

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: I can’t just say one. It depends on my energy and my mood. Running has always been my way to feel confident and strong in my body. Yet, yoga allows me to get real with myself and really understand what’s going on with me. Yoga and running are my yin and my yang.

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows.

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: In order for you to feel better about yourself, you have to put yourself first. Sustaining a healthy lifestyle is a commitment and just like any relationship, you have to be dedicated to show up each and everyday for you.

Sending a big thank you for Cara for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community. If you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom.

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Zenned Out, Yoga-Loving, Gluten Free Eating Entrepreneur

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Good morning ladies! Now I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a feature for Healthy Chicks in the Community, but I’m excited to get it going again this week with a very special lady.

As a past client of mine, this Healthy Chick always wows me with her strength, guts and drive to go after what she wants. Not only did she just start her own biz, but she also works full time at Harvard Business School. Talk about gettin’ stuff done! I’ll let Erica take it from here…I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her mission as I have.

[second to the right]

Name/Age: Erica Zendell, 23

Blog/Twitter:, @ezendell

Current City: Boston, MA

Photo: I traveled to China on a recent work trip and met the lovely founders of the organization ‘Gluten-free Shanghai,’ whose resources made my time in a land of soy sauce and wheat buns so much easier!

What I do for work: I am balancing work as a research associate at Harvard Business School and starting a healthy snack food business, Zen Cookery!

Number one passion: Building my business, which seeks to help those with special diets in their desire to feel whole and at peace with food by cooking up superior-tasting gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly food products.

I feel my healthiest self when: I get a full night’s sleep and get some sort of exercise early the following morning. In the summer I love a good bike ride along the Charles River.

But I am also a real girl and sometimes: I stay up late binge-watching shows like ‘Glee’ and ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and spend too much time looking at friends’ pictures on Facebook.

My top 3 kitchen staples: shelled edamame, frozen bananas, and flaked coconut. Edamame makes for an interesting variation on hummus, frozen bananas I’ll use in homemade vegan/gluten-free ice cream, and coconut is simply miraculous.

Number 1 guilty pleasure: singing 90’s one-hit wonders at karaoke nights across Boston and Cambridge bars.

Exercise that makes me shine: I never thought I’d say this, but yoga. I started about five months ago, and while I was highly averse to the idea of doing yoga, it’s been a huge help in a variety of subtle ways for my mind and body.

Favorite comfort food: homemade sunflower and coconut butter cups–they’re like Reese’s, but better (and better for you)! I’m seriously considering adding them to my product line for Zen Cookery!

Message you’d like to share with other healthy chicks: Check out Zen Cookery on Facebook, Twitter, or and spread the word! We’re looking to take on Boston and beyond in our quest to change the business of allergy-friendly food. Say you heard about us on Healthy Chicks and we’ll give you a special discount off your first order! 🙂…

How To Let Jealousy GO & Live for YOU!

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Oh, jealousy. As much as we try to avoid it, sometimes it creeps up when we least expect it. And no matter what, it’s always downright ugly.

For some reason, jealousy always reminds me of Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Envious of Arial, the evil sea witch attempts to steal Arial’s voice & transform into a beautiful human being in order to win over Prince Eric. And while Ursula manages to pull it off for some time, eventually her true colors shine through. In the end, jealously never wins.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when it stems from jealousy, comparison and negative thinking, it aint pretty.

A few months ago, one of my clients shared a quote with me that really stuck:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” —Steve Furtick

After all, we truly don’t know their story; we have no clue what’s going on behind the scenes. And while we all struggle with insecurities and “off days” from time to time, the absolute worst thing you can do is compare your lows to someone else’s highs. Trust me, I’ve definitely been there and still struggle with this from time to time.

For example, when I was starting off my business as a health coach, I’d often beat myself up over not making enough money or not being far enough along. I’d then throw myself a giant pity party by comparing myself to all the other successful, smart, beautiful practitioners who seemed to “have it all together.” After hours of comparing and self-judgement, I’d only feel worst about myself in the end. Not to mention I’d waste hours and hours of my time feeling sorry for myself.

Next time you catch yourself comparing your situation to someone else’s, ask yourself what’s really going on inside. Whether it’s your naturally thin friend who can eat anything she wants without gaining a pound, your super social coworkers who go out every night, your fitness idol with dream abs, your colleague who has it all together with her career or the fact that all your friends are in perfect relationships, investigate what it is you admire about them. Then take some time to figure out how you can transform the negative, ugly, jealous energy into positive, passioante productive energy in order to propel you forward.

For instance, if you’re constantly pissed off that your body doesn’t look like your best friends, sitting there and beating yourself up over it is just going to do you more harm then good. Perhaps it’s that you wish you were stronger, more confident or felt more comfortable in your clothes. Or maybe you’re angry with yourself for letting your workout routine fall apart. These are all things that you can work on adding into your life right away. But only YOU can make this happen.

If you’re worried about your financial situation, staring at your near-empty bank account or resenting your friends who make more money than you isn’t going to make you rich. But putting your thinking cap on, getting creative about ways you can make more money, and creating a budget for yourself surely is a step in the right direction.

You see, when you live for YOURSELF versus the high expectations based upon someone else’s standards, everything falls into place. This is the sweet spot where true happiness & transformation occurs.

So go ahead and get off Facebook, unplug and get cozy with your own thoughts. What is it that you truly want? What is one thing you can do right now for YOU that will bring you one step closer to getting there? Focus on that.…

{Our Story} How The Boy Popped The Question

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For those of you who don’t yet know, yesterday something incredibly magical and life-changing happened for me: The Boy & I got engaged. And for those of you who don’t know, The Boy’s real name? Jason. Let’s call him “J.”

And now for the million-dollar question, How did he do it? Well ladies (and gents), I’m about to tell you…

On Friday evening we were out in Rockport celebrating our beautiful friends Ross and Megan’s wedding. While we were dancing (and perhaps after a tad too much wine), J asked me if I’d like to go for a run with him in the morning on the Charles before we took off for his mother’s 60th birthday celebration.

I immediately laughed at him and teased him for suddenly showing such interest in exercise. While he most definitely works out from time to time, usually I’m the one pushing we go on runs together more often. He snapped back at me that it’s only going to be fall for so long and we should take advantage of the weather while we can. So I agreed.

The next morning I woke up exhausted and somewhat hungover. J was no longer in bed, so I went to look for him and found him stretching in the living room. “Ready for our run baby? I already brewed the coffee!’

With eyes half shut and hair in my face, I told him he was crazy and that I’d rather go back to bed. But after a bite to eat and some coffee, suddenly a river run was sounding quite enticing.

So we set out for our Saturday morning run…together…both not feeling 100% but forging through. I noticed when we just crossed over to the Charles that J had his hand in his pocket a couple times & some suspicion set in but I brushed it off and thought, “No way…you’re just over-thinking things again Rachel!”

As we came around the small bridge bringing us closer to the water, J tripped and took a major digger. “Ouch, my ankle!” “Are you OK?” I replied back as I continued to jog in place. And he just kept shouting “My ankle!” Then he said “My wrist, I mean my ankle!”

So I walked a little closer to him, and he grabbed my hands, got down on one knee and told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Then he popped the question…right there in front of my favorite weeping willow tree on the Charles River…overlooking Boston. The city we love. The city that brought us together. He had been waiting to take me to that tree until he proposed.

I said yes.

Runners passing by began shouting and cheering for us as we embraced under my special spot. It was absolutely perfect, more than I ever dreamed of it to be.

The most special part of the story is that he proposed on his mother’s birthday, who for those of you who don’t know has been coping with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease for several years now. This year, her husband (J’s step-father) threw a beautiful party for her to celebrate her 60th birthday among 120+ friends and family.

To be there with her, sharing the beautiful day with so much laughter, love and good food, was more than I could ever ask for.

Feeling so much love & joy right about now.

A Lesson On Getting Out of Your Own Head

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Yesterday during my extra-sweaty yoga class at Sweat & Soul Yoga the teacher said something that really stood out to me. She had mentioned that most of the time we’re in our own head (very me-me-me!) and sometimes that can be hard to snap out of.

While it’s important to put ourselves first most of the time (and make our general wellbeing a top priority) sometimes we become too involved with ourselves.

An example the teacher gave during yoga was when you may think you’re all fine & dandy until someone cuts you off on the highway and suddenly it’s a full fledged road rage fest with lots of swearing & middle fingering. Not so fine & dandy after all, now are we?

Essentially getting out of your own head is realizing we’re all in this together. We all go through shitty days and we all have lucky, on-fire kinda days. We all suffer and we all feel love. We all get really angry, and we all know what it’s like to feel a sense of peace & calm. Essentially we’re all one…in this crazy beautiful world together…as equals.

Last week, I was on the train and it came to an abrupt stop so I accidentally flung backward and apparently nudged another passenger. “UM, HELLO, I DON’T EVEN GET A SORRY?” the women shouted to me. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you,” I replied back (as I had headphones on and couldn’t quite make out what she said) “WHATEVER, NEVER MIND!” she shouted back. Looking back, that woman may have been a little too inside her head that day, not realizing that maybe, just maybe I accidentally fell into her without even realizing it, and that quite frankly the entire train was getting aggravated by the bumps. We were in it together.

Today I had my own test with getting too involved with ME. I went to the nail salon to get a pedicure and waited 20 minutes with my feet sitting in cold water before someone attended to me. I took a deep breath and said “It’s OK. It’s just time.” After 75 minutes of time I didn’t really have, I headed home to get some rest before a meeting tonight. When I took off my shoes, half of my toes were ruined…polish completely smudged. And I’m going to a wedding tomorrow. Great, just GREAT!

While I was pretty darn angry at first, I had to laugh at myself. This is a test. The universe is testing my ability to handle curveballs, forcing me to snap out of the world of Rachel. So I laughed, and then hopped on over to my laptop to write this post. You see, it’s not the end of the world. I can go back later or early tomorrow morning to get them fixed.

Ah, this is what she was talking about yesterday, I thought to myself. Now I truly get it.…

Event Recap: Yoga at Fenway Park & New Balance’s Anue Fall Yoga Collection

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I’ve done hot yoga, Vinyasa, Slow Flow, Pranavayu and Bikram. I’ve been taken into deep 20-minute meditations and I’ve also had my ass kicked. I’ve done yoga at the beach, in the dead of winter and in the grass outside. But this past Monday, I took my yoga practice to a totally different level…or shall I say league.

On Monday evening, I was lucky enough to get my flow on right in Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox! Sponsored by Equinox and Anue by New Balance, “FenwaYoga” was created to raise money for the Red Sox Foundation’s two main programs: the Scholars Program and RBI Youth Baseball & Softball.

I sported my brand new blue Temple Keyhole tank and black Spee capris, finished off with a super cozy heather tunic all from New Balance’s Anue fall yoga collection to stay warm and cozy throughout the evening.

I’m so glad I bundled up because it was definitely a chilly one…but that’s OK because we were doing yoga in Fenway Park.

Class started sharply at 6 p.m. on the warning track, just as the sun was going down.

It was lead by Boston’s beloved “Om Gal” Rebecca Pacheco. I loved Rebecca’s sense of humor and soothing yoga voice. She did an incredible job taking us through the 90-minute flow. While the weather was in the 50s, Rebecca did a great job keeping us moving to stay warm!

It was absolutely surreal being amongst hundreds of other yogis getting our downward dog on in Fenway. Now that’s something I never expected to say! Sending a big, warm thank you to Equinox, New Balance and the Red Sox Foundation for making this happen.

Note: I was provided a complimentary media pass to attend the event, as well as clothing samples from New Balance for review.

Cruising On The Odyssey for Wine, Chocolate & Brunch with Blog & Tweet Boston

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Last Sunday, I was invited by Jen from Blog & Tweet Boston to attend one of Odyssey Boston’s Champagne & Chocolate Brunch Cruises. All I needed to hear was that there’d be complimentary brunch (including wine & beer) and I was sold. I decided to bring The Boy for my “Plus 1” seeing as though the past two cruises we’ve tried to go on were poured out. Hey, three times a charm, right?

When we woke up to 70-degree sunny weather in Boston, I knew we were in for a treat! The two-hour cruise took off from Rowes Wharf right outside the Boston Harbor Hotel, where all the cruisers congregated beforehand.

[happy campers!]

We boarded the boat about 45-minutes early, and went straight to the bar for our first complimentary drink. I went with a glass of white wine, and then hiked up to the top deck to soak up some extra sun.

Funny fact: There was actually a wedding reception aboard celebrating, so we tried to stay out of their way as much as possible!

After a little sunshine, we joined the rest of the bloggers downstairs for a brunch buffet. There was such a wonderful display of food, including scrambled eggs, Belgian waffles, Penne Primavera, Smoked Salmon, Orange-Ginger Tilapia, Roasted Sirloin and cheese galore. For dessert there was a beautiful chocolate fountain with sweet dippers like strawberries, rice crispy treats, and marshmallows. Perfect with a glass of wine might I add!

Following the feast, The Boy & I we went for a much-needed breather to the upper deck after a quick visit to the bar for Octoberfest (for him) and a mimosa (for me).

While up there, one of the tour guides shared some fun facts about Boston including various urban myths & legends. I loved his energy & enthusiasm, and definitely learned some new tidbits about the city.

Overall, the cruise was such a lovely (and delicious) way to spend an afternoon in the city. I’d recommend The Odyssey Cruises for anyone looking for a romantic getaway or afternoon bonding time with their girlfriends.

A special thank you to Blog & Tweet Boston for providing two complimentary tickets to Odyssey’s Champagne & Chocolate Brunch Cruise.

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