As women, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to our friends, acquaintances, co-workers, siblings, business partners, fitness idols, you name it. While being inspired by someone or looking up to someone is perfectly fine or normal, it’s when the comparisons set it that things can get a little messy. This typically leads to feelings of jealousy, resentment, judgement or straight up “not good enough” which can be extremely harmful to your personal wellbeing.
While I still struggle from time to time to resist my ego and natural inclination to compare myself, I’ve realized it does no one any good. Here’s why you should stop comparing your plate, pant size, paycheck, yoga posture and everything in between:
1. You don’t know their full story. Often times when we compare, we wish we were *just like* the other person OR we judge the other person. The truth of the matter is that we don’t know their full story, and we may never know their full story. Pay attention to your own story instead.
2. Bio-Individuality: Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. This is why some women swear by vegan diets, and others thrive on lean meats. It’s also why some hate to run & prefer yoga, and others could run outside all day every day if their life depended on it. If you’re constantly imitating someone else’s behavior, you’ll lose site of your own strengths. Listen to your body and pay attention to what makes you feel your very best self (not your best friend).
3. There’s Only One You. Yes, there are other people out there who are doing what you do. Yes, there are other women who are making double (even 10x) the amount of money you make. Yes, your best friend is in The. Best. Relationship. Yes, your yoga teacher has the most toned arms ever. However, there is only one you. Focus on yourself and let your inner goddess shine.
4. Focusing On Yourself Allows for Growth: I used to be that girl in yoga class that would stare at everyone else’s poses to make sure I was doing it “right.” Turns out, looking at everyone else prevented me from getting stronger. Once I began listening to the cues and focusing on my body, I began to get stronger. Suddenly getting it “right” or “wrong” didn’t matter anymore. It’s what’s right for your body that counts. This holds true for all aspects of your life.
5. Jealously is Ugly: Jealousy aint pretty. To be jealous means that you, in some way or another, aren’t satisfied with a particular part of your life. Once you quit wasting your time being envious (and trust me, I’ve been there) suddenly your life becomes THAT much more fabulous. It’s just how things work!
What areas in your life do you compare yourself to others? How do you snap out of it and bring your focus back to YOU?
Good morning ladies! And ’tis a goooood morning indeed. The sun is shining bright in Boston right now, and The Boy & I just got back from a quickie, sweaty run together to take advantage. I even whipped out the shorts for the first time this year! Oh yes, it’s simply THAT nice out.
I’m super excited because I leave for my NYC trip this afternoon! I’m going to be attending Holistic MBA Live, a rockin’ business conference for wellness professionals put on by the lovely Stacey and Carey of Holistic MBA. As I’ve been striving to grow & spice up my business lately, this conference could not have come at a better time. I have so many exciting things in the works!
Even better, while in NYC, I get to spend four whole days (well, nights) with my best friends from college. As you can tell, I’m high on life right now! Best friends + networking + business coaching = my cup of tea.
Anyway, today’s Thursday so let’s get to this week’s feature for Healthy Chicks in the Community. I am happy to introduce you to a lovely lady who I had the pleasure of meeting for one of her spin classes followed by some vino. Let’s just say, she’s full of energy, love & a zest for life so we naturally had a lot to talk about. I’ll let Ali take it from here!
[photo provided by Ali courtesy of lululemon]
NAME/AGE: Ali Baldassare, 28
CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA
PHOTO TAKEN: This is my Lululemon Ambassador photo taken at the end of last year. It is currently hanging up on the wall in the Lululemon store on Newbury St. so next time you’re out shopping, check it out! Speaking of photos, stay tuned because I’m currently planning a fitness photo shoot over the next 2-3 months and it’s going to be epic!
WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: Most people would never know it, but fitness is NOT my full time job. It is my full time passion though Right now, I do have a 9-5 job working for a pharmaceutical company, although with the amount of classes that I teach and clients that I train, I could easily argue that I pretty much have two full time jobs. One day, I’ll be able to answer this question by just saying “full time pilates and fitness instructor” and maybe that day will be soon! No one said making your dreams come true was easy, right??
NUMBER ONE PASSION: Teaching, inspiring and motivating people to live a life they love in a body they love!
I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: 1) When I eat well. Eating a good clean diet makes me feel energized, awake and ready for anything! 2) Remembering to make time for me. Things can get super hectic, but taking time for me can really help me not feel overwhelmed and run down. It can be anything from going for a run, taking a yoga class, getting a massage or a manicure/pedicure, etc. 3) When I surround myself with other really inspiring and motivating people.
BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I have bad days when I feel unmotivated, discouraged and just want to throw in the towel and give up, but deep down I know things will always turn around. Those bad days are what makes my good days that much better!
TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: 1) Bars (Lara bars, KIND bars, or Luna bars are some of my favorites) 2) bananas, apples, spinach, almond butter, raw almonds 3) my blender. I am always on the go and rarely home for any significant length of time so anything healthy that I can throw in my bag or anything that I can mix up in a blender is perfect. I’ve been really into making all kinds of smoothies lately and they actually keep me full….says the girl who is ALWAYS hungry!
NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: CHOCOLATE. Anything chocolate. I have a really big sweet tooth!
EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Dance. I grew up dancing and love everything about it. Dancing has a way of allowing me to escape the world and just let go. It makes me feel free, alive, and happy. It also has so many great benefits like keeping your body limber and enhancing your agility, flexibility and balance. Even when I’m completely exhausted, I always look forward to teaching my weekly Zumba classes!
FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Every now and then I like to enjoy a cheeseburger
MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: You are capable, powerful, and in control of your life! Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be complex or hard. Everything is based on your perception, your goals, and your choices. There are endless ways to exercise; there are so many different ways to incorporate healthy eating into even your busiest of days. All you have to do is find the right balance of the two that works for you. Healthy living really can teach you so much about yourself and it’s not a one size fits all concept. What works for you may not work for me, but that’s the beauty of it all. We are all unique. Remember, you are the only one who can live your life, so don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Keep things simple. Have fun! Be you! Strive for growth, balance and opportunity, not perfection. You are all amazing. Believe it and own it!
If you know me or have been reading my blog for a while, it’s plain to see I’m big on goals. I love creating goals for myself (both big and small), holding others accountable for their goals via health coaching, and am a sucker for vision boards (even as a teenager apparently). I’m a “Goal Junkie” if you will.
And this past year, I’ve come a long way with many of these goals. I’ve landed a part-time job of my dreams with sweetgreen (and have been loving every minute of it), I launched my innovative health coaching programs (including my Healthy Supermarket Tours), I greatly expanded my freelance writing, and I made big strides in my relationship and even moved in with The Boy (my very first living-with-a-man experience).
But, while I’m a pretty avid goal-setter, sometimes I get ahead of myself by creating too many goals at the same time, turning my dreams & visions from inspirations to one, big overwhelming mess.
That’s why when I was invited to lululemon athletica Prudential Center’s “B.H.A.G. Yourself to Greatness” event yesterday evening, I gladly accepted in a hot second. What’s a B.H.A.G. you ask? Why it’s a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a goal-setting strategy the lulemon athletica folks have got down pat. It was time for me to take a good, hard look at my life and get that B.H.A.G. out there to the world! And what better way than by chatting over tea & healthy goodies with a lovely bunch of like-minded, inspiring people?
At the event, we were encouraged to share our one-year goals, and then broke up into small groups to plan out the how as well as set timelines for ourselves to hold one another accountable. We then broke it down into mini 3 week, 6 week, 3 month, 6 month and 9 month goals.
And now, for my one-year B.H.A.G.: I am going to publish a book (an e-book and/or actual book) on healthy inspirations for women focusing on the fact that there is more to life than dieting, body bashing, “fat days” and counting calories. My book is going to be inspirational, feel-good and light-hearted focusing on the “why” & “how” rather than the “what” (think: none of that diet book stuff with strict rules and guidelines). The why & how is where all the juicy, good stuff is anyway! More details to come on that…
Because I’ve been there.
Because I understand how sucky living your life dieting, counting calories, and hating your bod can feel. And that being skinny & exercising like a mad woman means nothing if you aren’t truly happy inside.
Because I know first-hand the power of a hug, a pick-me-up, or a confidence boost.
Because I want to share my love with as many women as I can.
Because life is so much more meaningful (and fun) when you start living with purpose and zest!
Because I’m a writer, and writing brings me joy. It makes me feel alive.
Because I’ve started writing said book a zillion times (with a zillion different drafts, post-it notes and scrap pieces of paper filled with my thoughts) and know the time is now to start. For Real this time.
Because I know I’m meant to share what I have to say with women all over, of all ages and sizes, who went through or are going through what I did.
After we shared with the group, we broke our Big goals into small, manageable goals to ensure they get checked off. Step one? We had to create a Do It Now, and mine was a.) announce my B.H.A.G. to friends, family, readers, and my peeps and b.) add it to my vision board. So here I am today, announcing it to you guys: my lovely readers, my fans, my friends, my family and anyone else who reads my blog. I hope you follow along on this exciting, juicy journey!
Let me ask you, what’s your B.H.A.G.? What gets your heart pounding, makes you stay up ’til the crack of dawn, and makes you ooze excitement? I want to hear!
Quick note: I apologize for the lack of blogging last week. I was greatly affected by the events that took place in Boston, and took a week for myself to process my feelings, pray, reflect and begin to heal. While it will take time, I am finally starting to feel like myself again… Much love to you all!
You know those moments when just the right thing comes along at just the right time? It’s as if it was planned that way on purpose, like a little special hug from the Universe. It usually sneaks up on you during one of those “off days,” rough patches or time of grieving. All of the sudden, a little pick-me-up sort of falls into your lap out of no where.
To be honest with you, I’m still feeling a bit off in coping with Monday’s events, and have been having a hard time writing let alone feeling myself. I just keep replaying the day over and over again up to the moment of the attack, thinking “What if it were me?” However, I’ve certainly been finding love & joy in everything around me to not only help myself cope, but also those around me. To help our city heal.
You see, when you look for love it’s everywhere, really. You can find love in things as small as your morning cappuccino or as large as an entire community coming together to pray & heal.
Love is in the eyes of your barista, your lover, the stranger on the street. In that couldn’t-have-been-a-better-time email, note card, text, voicemail or phone call. It’s even in that most perfect fortune attached to your yogi tea.
Love & light is in you, and me and the entire Universe (something I was reminded yet again during the final minute of my yoga class last night).
Just keep your eyes and your heart open and you too will find love. This week, I have found love in…
*The overwhelming number of calls, texts, emails (from some people whom I haven’t spoken to in years) I received to ensure my safety
*The surprise visit from my mom, who came up from CT to take me on a lunch date, followed by some shopping & strolling in Harvard Square to cheer me up
*The warm rays of sunshine on my face
*My delicious mug of French Roast coffee
*The home-made meal The Boy whipped up the other night to put a smile on my face
*The adorable Buddha card my friend Jen sent from Toronto, pouring her love & admiration for me. It seriously couldn’t have arrived at a more perfect time.
*Hugs from friends who I adore
*Goodnight kisses & cuddle seshes that felt especially consoling this week
*The restorative yoga class I took last night, with the most beautiful “Om” at the end. The teacher even sang to us during Shavasana. It was absolutely beautiful & perfect.
It was just what I needed….exactly at the right time.
I want to know, when’s a time where you were sent some love at just. the. right. time? Share your stories below! Much love to you all…
Sometimes we need a hug, sometimes we need mental clarity, and sometimes we just need a good healthy dose of inspiration! While I can’t technically give you all a hug (though I totally would if I could…e-hug?) I’ve got just the Spotify playlist for you that should clear your mind and ignite your creativity.
As someone who is constantly thinking (and writing) music is a great way for me to unwind, let loose and allow my thoughts to form naturally. Whether I’m writing at a local coffee shop, brainstorming in my bedroom or attempting to reach a deep meditation, music is always a blessing. I hope you enjoy this ultra-inspiring, thought-provoking playlist, including 10 hits that have been on my radar lately!
What do you do to clear your mind and ignite your creative juices? What are your go-to tracks or artists?
If you’re new to my blog, each and every Friday I post a Friday Flashback, taking you on a journey back into my past life. Why? Well, because I’ve been there and can totally relate to body image issues, dieting struggles and all the other things in between.
This week, I want to touch upon how we treat our bodies. During my prime time of diet-obsessed living and calorie counting, I completely disrespected my body.
I filled up on toxic, chemicalized “diet” foods that promised to make me skinny (at least, according to all the magazines and advertisements) and ate or drank my feelings away. I abused myself in the mirror (telling myself I am fat, I am not pretty enough, I am not good enough) and abused myself in the gym by overworking it and forcing myself to exercise (even when I didn’t want to or when my body was saying “No! Enough!”) I listened to what the number on the scale said, instead of what my body was telling me loud and clear.
I remember being so hungry: for real food, for love, for the answers. Unfortunately, I was starving myself by loading up on both toxic foods and toxic relationships alike. And if I ever decided to “treat” myself & go all out? (I put “treat” in quotes because my treats really weren’t treats at all) Forget it! I’d spend the rest of the weekend consumed with guilt and attacking myself for being “bad.”
It’s safe to say, I was not treating myself with love (far from it). In fact, I was treating my body with hatred, fear and guilt and quite frankly it didn’t feel good.
Flash forward to now, and I’ve learned that our bodies are one of the most powerful and beautiful tools we have. Now why would we treat something so miraculous so poorly at times? I want you to be honest with yourself and ask, “When was the last time I did something truly nice for myself?” Can you answer that question with 100% confidence?
I challenge you this weekend to throw all your self-sabotaging thoughts out the window and pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Put the scale, rules and guilt on the back burner and bring a lil love to the spotlight. Know that it’s OK to be “bad” once in a while, and break the rules. Trust that your body will give you the answers you need, leading you to the truth. And remember, no matter what, treat your body with pure love…always.
When was the last time you did something kind for yourself? How do you treat your body with love? Are you stuck on dieting and self-sabotaging thoughts? I’m here for you! Please feel free to email me or schedule a FREE 15-minute info 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.
Every day, there’s usually something that stresses you out, be it the kids, money or your monotonous job. During the holiday season, it seems this stress goes completely haywire, creating Scrooges and Grinches left and right.
Yesterday, while having lunch at the Prudential Center, I noticed hundreds of businessmen, mothers, and sales clerks running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.
What is going on?
At a time where money, family and stress tend to get the best of us, let’s all take a step back and remember what the holiday season is all about. Here are 7 simply ways you can lead a happier, simpler lifestyle right now and get this…they are absolutely free (or at least cost less than your Starbuck’s latte).
1. Skip the workout you’re totally dreading, and instead go on a winter stroll with a loved one. Along the way, you can window shop, browse some new restaurants in the neighborhood and spend some quality time together. You’ll sweat it out, get some fresh air and simply feel better overall.
2. Save some money, and make homemade gifts for friends and family this year. Not only will your wallet be happier, but your gifts will have an extra special made-with-love touch, that no piece of technology or gift card can bring. I found some great ideas on Pinterest, like this DIY Vanilla Bean Butterscotch Sauce. (I’m not yet giving away what I’ll be crafting for gifts this year.)
3. Take the Passion Test. I recently stumbled upon the test in Natural Awakenings magazine while reading this moving article “Fashion a Passion.” The next day, I met with a friend right away to take the Passion Test ourselves. I was surprised by what I discovered after completing the test, and realized the things that are most important to me in life including expressing my creativity (I’m going to get back into my feel-good greeting card business!), taking care of my own health (and others) through massage, weekly yoga and health coaching, and obtaining financial freedom so I can feel comfortable enough to take a vacation, buy expensive organic groceries at Whole Foods, and live the life I want to live.
4. Ditch going out for drinks, and have a good friend over for an eve of homemade cocoa, healthy apps and The Holiday or Love Actually.
5. Remember to say “I love you” every day, even on those tough, pain-in-the-butt, my-life-is-the-worst kinda days. Show your loved ones how much they mean to you every. single. day.
6. Save some money on expensive beauty products, and use what you already have around the house. Did you know organic, unrefined coconut oil works as a great all-natural moisturizer and conditioner, or that turmeric and apple cider vinegar (diluted with filtered water) can help with inflammation and acne when applied topically (or ingested)?
7. Next time you enjoy a cup of hot Yogi tea, read your fortunes out loud to your roommate, friend or significant other. It’s incredible how much you can learn from these little pieces of wisdom, like the quote in the photo above. Right now, I’m loving their Skin Detox and Positive Energy.
What are some ways you can simplify your life today to create a happier you?
Last night, I was lucky enough to listen to an extremely empowering lecture by Joshua Rosenthal, the Founder and Director of Institute for Integrative Nutrition (where I will graduate from in a couple short months!)
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like every time I am going through a certain internal battle or issue, the perfect lecture comes along like it’s speaking specifically to me. This particular discussion was on fear. Fear of change. Fear of growing. Fear of trying something new. Fear of the future. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being in that “transition phase,” as Joshua calls that place of uncertainty.
If any of you have ever ended a relationship or a friendship you knew deep down in your heart wasn’t working, or left a career you weren’t fulfilled in/ that you weren’t passionate about, or even took a risk to go after something you truly believed in, you know how scary that in-between phase can be. “Will I ever be successful?” “Am I ever going to find love again?” “How am I going to make enough money to support myself?”
And 9 times out of 10, everything sorts itself out. You find a better job that suits your personality, you fall in love again (even if it’s just with yourself), and you move on. These times are the moments we learn the most about ourselves; they’re moments of growth.
My favorite part of the poem is this line: “And so transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang out” in the transition zone — between the trapeze bars — allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens.” This to me says it all.
Read below for the full piece, which I’m sure you’ll find quite inspiring.
The Flying Trapeze
Sometimes, I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging
along or, for a few moments, I’m hurdling across space between the trapeze bars.
Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life to the trapeze bar of the moment. It carries me along a certain
steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control. I know most of the right questions, and even some
of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily, or not so merrily, swinging along, I look ahead of me
into the distance, and what do I see?
I see another trapeze bar looking at me. It’s empty. And I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new bar
has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts I know
that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present well-known bar to move to the new one.
Each time it happens, I hope—no, I pray—that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I
know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moments in time I must hurtle across
space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I do this I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my
previous hurdles I have always made it.
Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the
But I do it anyway. I must.
Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but we do it
anyway because hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so, for what seems to be an eternity but
actually lasts a microsecond. I soar across the dark void called “the past is over, the future is not yet here.” It’s
called a transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are the illusions we
dream up to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear that can accompany transitions, they are still the most
vibrant, growth-filled, passionate moments in our lives.
And so transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves
permission to “hang out” in the transition zone — between the trapeze bars — allowing ourselves to dwell in the
only place where change really happens.
It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening.
Hurdling through the void, we just may learn to fly.
Do you ever feel like your life is like a series of trapeze swings? How do you get through those periods of “transition”?
[via my fortune cookie from Billy Tse's last week]
I’m really not a fan of the actual fortune cookie (tastes like sweet cardboard to me), but I am always a sucker for the secret message within.
This particular fortune really stuck with me, as I have many ideas for my business rolling around my head at the moment. Each and every day, I feel even more inspired about everything I’m learning at IIN, my growing practice as a health counselor, and the wonderful people I meet along the way.
I am truly blessed to be living the life I want to be living for myself (rather than have to be living), even if that means taking some risks and not always being certain of the “what if?” But I guess that’s all part of the journey, right?
If you’re feeling inspired by a particular something or someone, then by all means go out and live that inspiration while it’s on fire. What are you waiting for? As my fortune says, it’s time to “go deep.”
So I completed my first 10K this morning. Yup, the girl who couldn’t even run two miles a few years ago, cried in the middle of a 5K once and has never ran more than five miles ran an entire 6.2 miles today! The best part? I couldn’t have felt more alive, energized and motivated during the race, and feel absolutely amazing now! (Well…my legs could use some hardcore hot tub time, but other than that life is good) Oh and I beat my goal time of 60 minutes…59:34 baby! Anyway, I know first-time races can be a little scary, intimidating and a heck of a lot of work, so I put together a little list of inspirations to get you through your next race. Whether it’s your first 5K, your first 10K or your very first run EVER, these little mental motivations got me through the race today and hopefully work for you too:
1. “I’m going to pace myself and go at a rate I feel comfortable with and know that I can maintain. If I get tired, I will slow down. If I feel good, I will speed up.”
2. “It’s just me and the road. Everyone else doesn’t matter right now. This is my race.”
3. “Just focus on one step at a time, one mile at a time and the finish line will be there before you know it.”
4. “I am strong, I am healthy, I can do this!”
5. “There will be people who finish way ahead of me, and people who finish way behind me. And that’s OK!”
6. “Everyone is out here for a good cause, and each and every person here is amazing. Support each other. It’s not JUST about the time and it’s NOT a competition.”
7. “Just get through the race. Crossing the finish line is going to feel amazing, especially listening to all the people cheer me on. Then I can chug water and eat a big breakfast (Mmm)!”
8. “Remember to breathe. In through your nose…out through your mouth…in through your nose…out through your mouth.”
9. “Enjoy the scenery while you’re at it. This isn’t something you see every day and it makes the race go by a heck of a lot faster.”
10. “If I can do this, I can do anything. Next time, I will push myself even farther and continue to challenge myself.”