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?

Healthy Chicks in the News: Featured on BU’s Sargent Choice

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I didn’t have a post planned for today, but wanted to share some exciting news with my readers! I was riding home on the T after a rather rainy coffee date with a friend, and was pleasantly surprised when I looked down at my phone. Boston University’s Sargent Choice Nutrition Center has recognized Healthy Chicks as “Best of the Food Web.”

When I saw that I’d been featured, I quickly head over to their site to read more. As I read every last word, my body filled with warmth, chills and gratitude as their words really touched my heart. That right there is exactly why I choose to do what I do, and it means the world to me to be recognized for that.

As you all know, connecting with my readers & clients, and helping other women lead happier, healthier more vibrant lives (without dieting) is what I live for! It’s my “natural high,” my purpose, my calling. If I can make someone smile a little bigger, feel more comfortable in their curves or question what they’re putting into their bodies, I have done my job.

I encourage you to go out and read the article. They really couldn’t have captured who I am and what I believe in any more perfectly. I am grinning from ear to ear!

As always, please feel free email me, leave a comment or check out my health coaching programs. I am here for you and want to help you 🙂

Friday Flashbacks: Counting Calories

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Good afternoon lovelies! Today I am excited to announce a new weekly feature on the blog: Friday Flashbacks. As I’ve mentioned time and time and again on this blog, while it may look like I have it “all together” health-wise that was not always the case. And for those who know me I am far from perfect; I’m a real girl.

But back in my late teenage years and early twenties I reallllyyy struggled with the scale, dieting, counting calories and everything in between. I have been there, there as in a place I never want to be again, a place many of you may have been (or may be now).

Friday Flashbacks will take you along with me back on a journey in time to peak at what my lifestyle/mindset was back then and how I’ve grown. I want you to know that I’ve gone through a lot to get to a place of self-love and that undoubtedly YOU CAN TOO.

COUNTING CALORIES

The first time I started counting calories was sophomore year in college. College was one of the first times in my life that I truly felt pretty because I finally got down to my “ideal weight.” Only problem was I didn’t feel pretty inside; I was simply looking for outside validation from friends, frat boys and anyone that would give me the time of day. Every time someone told me I looked skinny or asked how much weight I lost, I felt a sense of accomplishment, sort of like the feeling you get when you’re younger and bring home a report card with straight As to your parents. I was proud.

During these times, food and calories completely consumed my life. I thought about food more than I thought about boys, and trust me that was a lot. From the moment I’d wake up, it’d be “What am I going to have for breakfast?” but not in a healthy, joyful excited way. Rather, I’d be freaking out over what kinds of food I’d allow myself to eat at breakfast, and the caloric total of each and every meal.

After one bite of my egg-beaters, I’d already be on to thinking about lunch, mentally adding up the calorie counts in my head. My mind was like a mental invisible calculator (a screwed up one), stressing me out, making me anxious and never giving me the right number.

“BAD BAD BAD,” I’d tell myself when the calories started creeping up. And then once they hit 1,000 that would be the end, and from then on I’d be highly cautious about eating anything else. Even if it was still early during the day or I was starving, 1,000 was my limit, period.

Sometimes, I’d sit in class, pretending to be taking notes, when really I was vigorously scribbling down everything I had eaten for the day, every last bite. Half cup egg beaters (60 calories), glass of water (0), half an apple (50), salad-no dressing (5), 4 carrots (20). It was stressful, annoying and terrifying all at the same time, but I had to do it and when I did I’d feel a sense of relief. OK, 600 down, 400 to go.

Some would call this a “food journal,” where people write their food intake down for the day to better see what they are really eating and to stay on track. Food journals are healthy…when done right. But my lists and mental notes were not healthy. It was a psycho obsession that I had to do or else.

One time I came home from a long day of classes to have “dinner.” The meal consisted of 5 mini rice cakes, a little scoop of peanut butter and a few carrots.

“What are you going to make for dinner tonight Rachey?” one of my roommates asked me.

“Um, oh, well this is my dinner,” I said.

“Are you serious? That’s like bird food, a snack at most!”

Embarrassed of my dinner (or lack there of), I piled on about 5 more mini rice cakes to my “platter.”

“SO THERE, TAKE THAT!” I thought to myself.

Looking back now, my “dinner,” attitude, and extreme restriction completely breaks my heart, mostly because I waisted several years of my life STRESSING and RESTRICTING rather than LIVING. In fact, I didn’t even know what it felt like to live, to relish in the moment, to simply be. I didn’t know what it was like to “go with the flow” and was envious of my friends who could eat whatever they wanted, work out when the mood struck and just be a twenty-something college student having FUN.

I apologize to everyone who had to watch me struggle, though I owe the biggest appology to myself for ever letting myself get to the point where I thought I had to eat like that to be thin, pretty and desired. Where I thought counting calories and eating bird food was the key to Skinnyville. Where I thought restriction would equal happiness.

While I am extremely grateful for “catching myself” a few years ago before I took things further, I only wish I had someone to talk to about these internal struggles, this never-ending battle I was facing. I wish I could have seen the beauty around me, that life is much more than food and weight and calories. Who knew there was so much more out there to soak in?

You often hear me say, “Counting your blessings is much more gratifying than counting calories” as this is something I want to ingrain into every young woman’s head. I truly believe this is the first step to breaking free of restriction. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s why it’s important to speak up, to get support, to allow yourself to have emotions (the good, the bad and the ugly). You owe it to yourself. You are worth it.

Do you make time to count your blessings each day? Are you stuck on calorie counting? I’m here for you! Please feel free to email me or schedule a FREE 15-minute “BODY LOVE” Nourishment session to learn more about my health coaching programs & to see if we’d work well together. My programs are designed to help women like me live to their fullest potential, break free of diet-obsessed living, and learn to use REAL food & self-care as n.o.u.i.s.h.m.e.n.t.

Healthy Chicks in the Community Week 5: A Traveling, Twenty-Something Librarian

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Good afternoon ladies! Sorry I’ve been M.I.A the past couple of days. I’ve been super busy working and living, including my day trip yesterday to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. It was truly one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in a long time, and I can’t wait to update you on everything I ate, learned and did!

In the meantime, I’ve got this week’s spotlight on Healthy Chicks in the Community for you, a twenty-something who loves her veggies, traveling and lazy days spent watching New Girl. She’s also a past client of mine, who increased her energy, and reached her goal of running a Half Marathon while working with me! How amazing is that? I’ll let Courtney take it from here…

NAME/AGE: Courtney, 26

BLOG (If Applicable): http://wanderlusting02.wordpress.com/

CURRENT CITY: Casablanca, Morocco

PHOTO TAKEN: Hiking in Costa Rica

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I’m the elementary school librarian at the Casablanca American School in Morocco. I basically get kids excited to read books and learn!

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Traveling. I am so lucky to be living in a country that is exotic AND close to Europe.  My next trip is going to be to Tangier, Morocco, Ceuta, Spain and Gibraltar, UK.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Eating tons of veggies and spending some time outside. It’s been really difficult finding a quiet place to relax outside in such a big city, so being out in nature has become a gift.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I have a lazy day in my pajamas with too much coffee and watch New Girl.

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Olive Oil, zucchini, kiwi

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: Nutella.  Morocco has so many different and cheap brands of Nutella that it takes a lot of self control not to devour an entire jar.

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Running.  I love how a good run clears my head and uplifts my spirit.

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Sweet potato fries (especially the fries from Trident Cafe on Newbury St in Boston).

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Be patient with yourself and with your body. We tend to be our harshest critic on everything that we do and most of the time it’s not true or fair. Taking a step back and giving yourself a break will help you energize, focus and appreciate you for you.

If you’d like to be featured as one of my Healthy Chicks in the Community, or know someone who you want to make blush, email me for more deets. And remember, if you aren’t feeling your healthiest self or are struggling to make positive changes, shoot me an email anytime to schedule your FREE 15-minute info session / sign up for one of my health coaching programs.

I’ve Been There: A Flashback On Why I Quit Dieting & Started Living Once and For All

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[May ’09 – counting calories & deprivation]    [Summer ’12 – living my life – happy & carefree!]

note: I was not my heaviest here but still unhappy

One of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in holistic health counseling is because I’ve been there.

There as in a place where I tried everything (I mean everything!) to make my body change when it wouldn’t budge. There as in frantically adding up my calories for the day during Psychology class, while pretending to take notes. There as in canceling Mexican night with my girlfriends because I feared a margarita and quesadilla would make me fatter. There as in feeling like a little kid on Christmas every time the scale went down a pound, while feeling like I wanted to crawl in a hole and die every time it went up .2 pounds.

There as in hooking up with boys to make me feel better about myself and my body, and feeling I wasn’t skinny enough, pretty enough or good enough. There as in calling a pile of rice cakes with fat-free peanut butter “dinner.” There as in having a mental breakdown every time I ate something “bad”  and then rushing to the gym to “burn it off.” There as in looking in the mirror and hating what I saw.

Throughout my teenage years and part of my early-twenties, I tried hundreds of diets, shed countless tears, consumed pounds of “diet” food (I call it fake food now) and yo-yoed up and down in weight. Every day, I felt frustrated, tired and guilty. I wanted answers and I wanted them now but I was looking in all the wrong places: diets, restriction, outside approval.

I remember when I became fed up for the 1,000th time, I finally scheduled an appointment with a local nutritionist the summer after graduating from college. She had me bring in a list of everything I was eating, and so I did. It looked pretty much like this: egg beaters with veggies for breakfast, salads with fat-free dressing for lunch and diet meals or grilled chicken strips and microwavable veggies for dinner. I also consumed fruit, rice cakes, fat-free cheeses, sugar-free jello, Crystal Light, and anything labeled “Low Calorie!” or “Low fat!”

The nutritionist weighed me, told me that I was overweight for my weight range, looked at my food journal, and then I’ll never forget what she said to me next: “Nothing here stands out to me. It all comes down to one thing. You must be eating too many calories. Calories in, calories out.” Mind you, at the time I was exercising nearly every day!

I left there feeling completely shocked. Less calories, is she kidding me? I, even during my most distorted views on food, knew that couldn’t be right. I already knew I was restricting myself and that restricting myself even further wasn’t the answer. Looking back, I now can clearly see I was forcing my body in a state of starvation mode, wasn’t eating enough and most importantly wasn’t eating REAL FOOD. I was nutritionally deficient! No wonder I wasn’t happy with my body, nor losing weight.

But what that nutritionist said really stuck with me. The next day, I woke up and realized I had two choices. I could (a) continue the way I was eating and spend a lifetime depriving myself & cut my calories further as the nutritionist recommended or (b) Forget everything I ever told myself about eating and just live.

The thought of the first option made me sick to my stomach. If all of my friends can go out for pizza without having a panic attack and eat whatever the heck they wanted, then why should I need to cut back further? It simply didn’t seem fair. It wasn’t right, and I knew it. So I went with the latter, and decided that if I’m not losing weight by restricting myself to the limits, why not enjoy life instead even if that means gaining a couple of pounds?

I have to be honest: it was scary at first. Eating whatever I wanted, listening to my body (something I’ve never done) and trying to eat “normal” was so outside my comfort zone. But I did it. And every day it became easier. The best part? Once I started fueling my body with REAL food, loving myself for who I am, and experimenting with exercises that made me feel good inside, to my surprise the weight fell off.

I proved that nutritionist wrong.

A calorie is not a calorie if you’re nutritionally deficient and putting chemicals into your body.  Cutting back on calories isn’t going to make you lose weight if you are not happy on the inside. Living at the gym is not going to make frat boys want you more if you are not in love with yourself first. What you eat isn’t nearly as important as HOW YOU FEEL. Your relationship with yourself & your body is the most intimate and precious relationships of all. Women don’t need to spend their lives feeling guilty, alone and deprived. Life is meant to me enjoyed to the fullest!

This does not have to be you! If you see yourself in my story, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am here for you because I would have died to have someone hold my hand, listen to me and tell me it was all going to be OK, to ask me “How do you feel?” So yes, I’ve been there…I’ve been SO there. And now I’m here to be there for YOU. Check out my health coaching programs for opportunities to work with me one-on-one.

Schedule my FREE Body Love Breakthrough Session today!

Today’s Healthy ChickLit: On Self Care & My Spotify Relaxation Mix

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Are you taking care of yourself?

Have you checked in lately regarding how much time you set aside for self care? When I was studying to become a Holistic Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, self care was one of the first topics we discussed. Yes, even before we went into the nitty gritty details of nutrition, fitness and more.

What’s self care, you ask? To me, it means taking the time to do “me” things that are good for your body, mind and spirit. Because, as I’ve said over and over again if you’re not happy & healthy on the inside, you are definitely not going to be happy & healthy on the outside. It’s just how it works!

Lately, I’ve noticed I’ve been putting my self care somewhat on the back burner. Between the change in seasons, a new job, starting my own business, and meeting with clients life can get pretty hectic at times (which I know you can all relate). While it’s easy to put yourself last during these crazy phases, it’s actually during these times more that ever that you need to recognize what you are doing, and take care of yourself first.

Some of My Favorite Ways to Incorporate Self Care:

  • Extra-long hot showers
  • Self-massage with all-natural body oil (like jajoba mixed with an essential oil of your choice!)
  • Deep breathing & meditation (I have Gabby Bernstein to thank for this!)
  • Snuggling up with a good book before bed & lighting a candle
  • SLEEP, SLEEP and more SLEEP
  • Making a yummy, feel-good clean meal for yourself (get some great ideas from The Clean Plates Cookbook)
  • Taping a nap when you need one
  • Yoga
  • Skipping the gym when your body is telling you “no”
  • Going to the gym or a long run or ____ (insert exercise of choice) when your body is telling you “yes”
  • Making a hot pot of yogi tea
  • Listening to relaxing music & zoning out (see my Relaxation Mix below)

My Relaxation Mix on Spotify

I’ve recently discovered Spotify, and I’m already 100% hooked. I love that you can make different playlists for different occasions and feelings, or as they say “music for every moment.” Below is the mix I put on whenever I need to relax and give myself a little extra love & care. If you can’t tell, I’ve got a little girl crush on Regina Spektor lately.

You’d be surprised by how much self care impacts our overall health & wellness, and can prevent you from reaching your goals if it’s not in check! If you’re struggling with treating yourself and your body with love, I’d be happy to set up a FREE 15-minute healthy lifestyle info session or tell you more about my coaching programs. Email me with any questions or to schedule your session today. What do YOU do to incorporate self care?

10 Positive Mantras To Break Free of Diet-Obsessed Living

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or ever took a sneak peak at my About Me page, you know that healthy living didn’t come naturally to me. In fact, my entire college years were consumed of yo-yo dieting, hours and hours at the gym, “fake food” and obsession with my weight. I can’t even tell you how many tears were shed over the darn scale alone! I was unhappy, and in effect definitely unhealthy. I felt frustrated, F-A-T, alone and “not good enough.”

It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I decided to throw all of my “food rules” and restrictions out the window and actually start LIVING. At this time I also discovered yoga, running, clean eating and my secret talent for cooking. When I switched from dieting to living (and felt OK with it), everything and I mean everything began to change.

If this sounds like you, or you know someone struggling with similar issues, here are 10 mantras to repeat over and over again to start make that positive shift toward a healthier lifestyle. Because, after all, you won’t see a change in your body or your health if you aren’t OK up there first (in that beautiful little mind of yours, that is).

1. This is the body I was given. It is strong and beautiful. Embrace it.

2. No one can love me until I love myself first. Self love is the most powerful kind of love.

3. My body needs good food for energy and support. I will fuel it with wholesome, healthy goodness.

4. Just because something is sugar-free, low-cal or fat-free doesn’t mean it is healthy. Read the ingredients! Know what’s in your food!

5. Counting blessings is much more therapeutic (and fun) than counting calories.

6. I will never be truly happy if I am depriving myself. Stop doing this. For real.

7. Food is meant to be celebrated, not feared. I will celebrate and honor my  food.

8. There is no such thing as a perfect body. I choose to love up my assets and forgive my flaws. They make me ME.

9. If I am beautiful on the inside, I am beautiful on the outside. I will take care of my inside.

10. An hour of solid, blissful yoga is more powerful than running 10 hours on an elliptical machine could ever be. It’s not about the number of calories burned. It’s about how I feel.

For more information on living a vibrant, diet-free lifestyle, check out my invigorating health coaching programs or schedule a FREE 15-minute healthy lifestyle consultation with me. Life is meant to be LOVED and CELEBRATED and I want everyone who went through what I went through to know that it doesn’t need to be this way forever. YOU are in charge of your destiny and health. Sometimes, we just need a little helping hand or change in mindset. Happy weekend friends!



Athleta’s Fitness & Fashion Event on Newbury

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Last night, I was invited to attend “New Year, NEW YOU!” a fitness-inspired fashion event at Athleta on Newbury Street. Since I love fitness and fashion (well, when it comes to my workout gear) I was IN.

The event was hosted by Eventbrite and Athleta, two fabulous community-oriented companies in my book, so unsurprisingly was a huge hit. The evening entailed a sneak peek at Athleta’s new spring line, with local fitness teachers walking around to mingle and show off their beautiful clothes.

When I walked in there was a great crowd of ladies, all looking to have a good time and get their Fitness & Fashion on! After I signed in and chatted with some of the management team, I head over to the apps & drinks table to grab some quick, healthy bites. I filled my plate with a variety of cheese, some toasted pita, hummus and stuffed grape leaves and also snagged a Peach HINT Fizz for a light and tasty treat.

I was so excited to see Melina’s juice (from e.t.c Juicery) being served too! “How cool, I know her!” It’s safe to say her new juice is going to be a hit, as I went up for two cups myself while I was there.

Speaking of familiar names and faces, one of the first fitness models I saw was Kristy, someone I used to work with a while back at one of my first jobs in Boston, and who I ran into again at Ombe (where she now works) a few months ago.

[Kristy (left) posing with two other Athleta Fitness Fashionistas]

I also chatted with some other fabulous ladies along the way, all looking chic in their Athleta-wear.

[The whole group of stylish ladies smiling big!]

[Me & the ever-so-graceful Pilates teacher Swan Lyon]

It was so  nice seeing all of these strong, fit, happy ladies. They’re ALL Healthy Chicks in my book.

And one of my favorite part of the nights: I met President and Co-Founder of Prana Power Yoga Taylor Wells who was there for a book signing featuring her new book Create the Best Life Ever.

We had so much fun chatting about life, positive affirmations, fitness and nutrition. In fact, I was so touched by her words that I even bought her “Create the Best Life Ever” Positive Affirmation cards, which I think will be a wonderful addition for my own practice with yoga and meditation, and to use with my clients during health coaching.

I then went picture-crazy, trying to capture all of my favorite Athleta items & colors:

Overall, it was a wonderful evening filled with inspiring ladies, delicious food (and drinks), and incredible fashion. I also can’t get over how lovely Athleta’s store is, from the lighting to the impeccable layout. If you haven’t stopped in yet, you MUST. Just head on over to 92 Newbury Street, and I promise you’ll be in for a treat.

What’s your go-to fashion style during an exercise? Comfy & casual? Cute & fitted? Colorful or neutrals?Share below! P.S. If you haven’t already done so, please go check out my Healthy Chicks in the Community initiative. I’d love to get as many fabulous ladies involved as possible!

What FitFluential Means to Me: The Inside Scoop from a FitFluential Ambassador

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As I’ve mentioned before here on Healthy Chicks (and as I’m sure you can tell by the badge on the right), I am a proud FitFluential Ambassador. If you haven’t checked out the FitFluential community before, which was founded by Fitness Rockstar Kelly Olexa, I strongly suggest you do so over here.

While FitFluential is packed with an amazing group of like-minded enthusiasts sharing their passion for wellness every hour on the hour, today I wanted to share with you what “FitFluential” means to me. More specifically, my very own definition of living a “healthy lifestyle.”

Discovering an Exercise Routine that Makes you Shine

[Move100 Campaign; Photo Cred: Move100.org]

Just like there is no Perfect Man for every woman, there is no perfect exercise that works for everyone. In fact, I don’t believe in rules or perfection at all.

Some live for CrossFit and Pilates, while others feel their best by doing yoga and running. Some spin 6 days a week, while others enjoy being one with nature and going for long hikes with loved ones.

The point is, it’s not going to work for you unless you enjoy it. Find the exercises that make you shine, and run with it. What gives you a natural high? What makes you feel strong and confident about your body? What moves you?

Remember this can change, as we go through phases throughout our lives. Currently, I’m into yoga (for inner peace and serenity), running (for clarity & sweat) and circuit training (for strength). However, I wouldn’t reccomend this routine for everyone as THE. BEST. EVER. There is no best. Do you. This right here is one of the many reasons I love the FitFluential community so much: everyone brings something different to the table.

Also, be sure to take risks by trying new classes and different types of exercise, as you may surprise yourself. This morning I took a hot yoga class with a friend at Prana Power Yoga in Central Square and haven’t felt such a sense of bliss in a long time. In the past year, I’ve completed my THIRD half marathon (I can’t believe I’m saying that), PR’d my 5K by over a minute, and took part in the Move100 Initiative.

Setting intentions for yourself is really helpful in reaching your fitness goals as you are doing it for YOU and no one else. Attempt to let go of competition and comparison and challenge yourself. It’s much more fun that way!

Fueling Your Body With Food That Makes You Feel Your Best

Just like my viewpoint on exercise, I feel the same way about how we eat. One diet doesn’t work for everyone! Remember that. While your best friend may do well on a strictly vegan diet, you may thrive on good-quality, organic grass-fed meats. While some may be able to devour the bread bowl like it’s no tomorrow, others (like myself) may have difficulty digesting gluten in large amounts.

While we’re on this topic, I don’t even like the word diet in the first place. To me, healthy living is a lifestyle and something that’s a part of your life 365 days of the year. So you over-indulged in pizza last night or your weight went up two pounds on the scale. When you’re living a healthy lifestyle, those little “slips” start to not matter as much.

In fact, I am so passionate about helping other women overcome a diet-obsessed lifestyle, that I’ve created a unique wellness program for exactly that. I’ve been in there, that place where the scale rules your life, where you stay in from social outings with friends out of fear of the menu, where food is scary and overwhelming. And let me tell you, there is not fun.

In the past few years, I’ve never been in a happier place with myself and my body. And it all started when I stopped dieting and starting living, when I stopped buying fat-free, cardboard tasting, diet-everthing and started eating real food, when I stopped fearing food and began to fall in love with it.

For me, eating well means filling my plates with clean food, local and organic as much as possible but not ALL THE TIME. It means eating a plant-heavy diet (lotsa greens!) with loads of colorful fruits, good quality grains, fish and occasional organic chicken. It means having fun, and not being afraid to make mistakes, in the kitchen! It means recognizing the foods that make me feel crappy (too much gluten, fried food, etc) and loading up on the foods that make me feel fantastic (sauteed greens, quinoa bowls, green smoothies in the Vitamix, homemade soups, sushi + fish).

And of course, there are nights where I drink one too many glasses of red wine or indulge in a little too many cheese & crackers, but that’s OK. Be realistic about it and ask yourself “How Do I feel?”

Communicating + Collaborating

[random run-in with Cait at Daybreak; photo cred: Cait Plus Ate]

This one’s a biggie! I think making relationships with other people (both similar and different to you) is key. I love how everyone in the FitFluential community is so willing to share, connect and spread the love!

It’s so fun discovering different bloggers, attending unique events and taking part in incredible wellness initiatives.

I find such a joy in creating new friendships (both in person & virtually) with amazing women all over the web including some of my old-time Boston faves like Jess from Eat Drink Breathe Sweat (who actually introduced me to FitFluential) to some of my new faves like Heather from For the Love of Kale and Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate. Honestly, these women are amazing and ever-so-inspiring. This whole community is!

Oh, and communicating &  collaborating goes outside the “blogosphere” too. It’s about connecting and networking with people every day to  ignite that inner passion, and potentially create amazing relationships along the way.

Having a Positive Attitude (Most of the Time)

[enjoying some giggles & QT with the boy]

For me, above anything else, healthy living is about your attitude and mindset. Be confident in who you are, walk your talk, fill your life with positivity, take risks, embrace your body, lend a helping hand when you can, and SMILE. I think it’s important not to take life too seriously and to have a little fun with it.

Be sure to make time for the people you love and surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you. Drop the envy & jealousy and replace it with admiration & determination. Be the best you that you can possibly be!

SHARING TIME! What does FitFluential mean to you? For fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, share your thoughts here! For others, how is living a “healthy lifestyle” defined according to you? What do you agree or disagree with? Remember there is no right or wrong answer. That’s the beauty of it all.

Healthy ChickLit: Just Move

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Today’s ChickLit: Take time every day to MOVE, even if it’s just taking your dog for a brisk winter walk or dancing in your PJs.

We all know exercise is good for our health, and can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and other serious health concerns. However, to me, exercise is much more than that.

It’s about movement, clarity, motivation and feel-good energy (you know, that thing called endorphins). While usually I like to sleep in on Saturdays, today I woke up (sorta) early for an a.m. Hatha yoga class at my local gym.

Not only did it feel good to stretch, strengthen and challenge my body, but it gave me an incredible rush of energy and “happy hormones.”

So even if you don’t have time to run 7 miles or take part in a kickboxing class, make time for something, anything that’s going to get you moving.

As we like to say over at FitFluential: #MOVE #GETAFTERIT

How can you make more time to move? If you need a little boost to get started, check out my “From Oy Vey to OK in 30 Days” Health Coaching Program, individually catered to Y-O-U. I work with women in their 20s to help them reach their full potential in fitness, healthy eating, lifestyle and happiness!

 
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