Why my life coaching is done with a splash of wine

Why my life coaching is done with a splash of wine

As I am finishing up my year long coaching and business certification program this month, I have done a lot of reflecting on where I am now, where I started and how much growth as happened within me because I decided to prioritize myself and choose me first, for once.  I have shared before that when the light bulb went off in my head, when I finally got tired of saying “maybe next time, ” “no, I can’t” (or shouldn’t, “one day” and “that would have been nice”, magic started happening around me.

First of all, there is enormous freedom in taking responsibility for your own life, because you realize that you and only you decide what happens to you, and that it’s nobody else’s fault if something goes wrong, neither is it their doing when you achieve something wonderful.   There can be a lot of anger, hurt, resentment and frustration when we give our power to other people and put them in “charge” of our own destiny. It is not your boss’ fault for not giving you a raise or for “making you stay those long hours, that’s your decision.  It is not your partner’s fault that you “have” to do the laundry or clean the house every week, you decide.  And it certainly isn’t the weather’s fault that you are overweight because it always seem to be too cold outside for you to go out and run.  Or Ben & Jerry’s for making that damn delicious ice cream that just happens to find itself into your freezer on a regular basis. You get my point.

Secondly, when you start prioritizing yourself and take your happiness seriously, you indirectly give others around you, who want and desire the same thing, “permission” to do that for themselves as well. So many of us live by these invisible rules and regulations in our mind about how we should, must or have to live, when in fact, we don’t even know who ‘they’ are that made them up.  Is what you are doing not making you happy or fulfilled? Then why are you doing it? Or are you, like I was for so many years, waiting for that ‘one day’ or maybe next year, when things will miraculously line up for you, all the things will be perfectly in place and you will be a whole new person, even if you’ve done nothing different to work towards that? Think about it.  Isn’t it time you started loving yourself, and loving life?  I have been able to inspire and support many women since I started my personal growth journey myself, and I can tell you – nothing else tops the feeling of being of value and feeling like I have a purpose – I’ve finally found what I was looking for all these years!

Thirdly, I am embracing being ‘multi passionate’ and that I have a gazillion certifications and interests in a wide variety of subjects, because I have a passion and thirst for life and I never want to stop learning.  So often in my life have I been shamed or met with dripping irony when I’ve started a new journey or moved into a different line of work, by people who just didn’t understand me, or maybe they felt uncomfortable because they couldn’t label me or put me in a particular box. “She’s a lawyer,’ “She’s an athlete”, etc.   Just picture when I was training for a body building competition, while drinking wine and cooking up waffles, pancakes and tacos in my catering company all at the same time! What to do with me!?!

So where am I going with all of this? When I left my position as a wine buyer last year to study life coaching, I knew I would always have a love for wine, because I truly enjoy it, not just the taste of it but the mystery, learning and challenges that come with exploring the wine world.  Just because I have decided to help women find their passion and purpose too, would that then mean I would have put my love for, experience, skills and years of education for wine behind me?
Most certainly not. Because now I play by a set of new rules. They are called MY rules.  In my world, anyone can do anything, anywhere and at anytime as long as it makes them come alive, as long as it makes them happy and is not hurting anybody else.  I’m sorry if you can’t fit me into a certain category or understand what I’m doing, but I’m actually having fun, I’m loving life and I would love to show as many people as I can, that it’s possible for them too.  By modeling that you can create your own life the very way you ideally would like to see it, more people will find the confidence to create something beautiful for themselves as well that represent what they are truly about and what they love to do. And as a result, the world will have more brilliant, varied, inspired and happy members, don’t you think?

As for me, I think life coaching and wine has a lot in common, so my decision is that my kind of coaching will have a splash of wine in it – and some great plant based gourmet food too.  The great Robert Mondavi put it best:

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By that I mean that the food and wine will be a vehicle and symbol of enjoyment as a reminder that we need to do things in our lives for the pure joy of it.  I am a big fan of inserting more PLAY into our lives, and not be so serious all the time. When I speak about conscious living in my life coaching, I mean we also consciously have to select fun and play as well, because it is in these moments we truly tap into our creativity, and get to experience what magic this thing called life is really about.

So if you are looking for your core genius, desperate for more fun in life but think you have to trade joy and happiness for financial security and know that you are not quite living up to your full potential and tired of thinking that must be for everyone else, just not you…. Let’s connect via Skype for an hour, have a glass of wine and chat!  I would love to hear about your hopes and dreams and learn more about you….

You can schedule a time that’s convenience for you right HERE

In the mean time, if I can support you in any way at all, connect with me in my FB group, Books and Barolo Plant-Empowered Bon Vivant, on my FB page Sunny Gandara or comment here! Wishing you a purposeful, fun-filled and productive week! ❤

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Are you Comfortable Being Uncomfortable?

Are you Comfortable Being Uncomfortable?

A lot of things have happened in my life since the last time I blogged. The biggest news is that I finally took a leap of faith and gave notice at my day job in retail job as a wine buyer two weeks ago, and will be diving into entrepreneurship full time to pursue my passion in health, fitness and transformational life coaching.  A fellow female entrepreneur and colleague told me “Get comfortable being uncomfortable!” A famous Jillian Michaels quote, which I found ironic and yet perfectly suitable, as Jillian Michaels’ online program was what first got me back to fitness after a hiatus of a few years, and I consequently lost 30 lbs.  That line really hit a chord with me, because it is what is necessary in all ways of life, in order to change and grow as a person.  Let me give you some examples below.

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  • why are diets so difficult? It’s because we are uprooting our routines, we are changing the way we eat, and perhaps think, about food, about life, and ourselves.  The food we are used to and have grown to love so much may not be available to us when we want it.  Food is also strongly associated with memories, more so than the actual taste of it. How often have you not thought about that dish your mom made you regularly while growing up you love so much, but when you think about it, was no gourmet meal, and not really THAT great, but brings back a sense of comfort that you crave? Diets are also hard because instead of going for that bag of potato chips or glass of wine (or five) to soothe us when we’ve had a stressful day, or just want to forget about everything and watch the tube and mindlessly snack on junk, we are asked to grab a healthy salad and go for a walk/run. Wtf?! Where’s the fun and comfort in that? Because we, as a society, want to be immediately gratified in that very moment, we don’t think very long term about how our rash choices we make in that instant, can affect our future health and well being.

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  • as most of you know, I’m a big advocate of a whole foods, plant based diet. I do encounter resistance to this way of eating, mostly because people are not comfortable with their lack of knowledge about this lifestyle, and they are threatened because they don’t like that I will take away their favorite foods. “But chicken is healthy”, and “There is so much protein in Greek yogurt and it is my favorite afternoon snack”, “only rich people are vegan”, and so forth… They can’t fathom that plants can actually create far more exciting dishes, that not only taste better, but that are better for your health and easier on your wallet. Health and fitness is not just about what you look like on the outside, but it’s how your body is treated on the inside. I believe the latter is something most people down prioritize, because it’s not something they can see with their eyes, until of course, they become gravely ill and are forced to pay attention.   Eating a whole foods, plant based diet also will help billions of animals each year, as they are being abused, tortured and killed daily for the sake of people’s few seconds of pleasure on the plate. This is highly uncomfortable to think about for most people.  They desperately cling to terms like “grass fed”, “organic” and “free range” and claim that the meat they eat come from animals who have lived a happy life on a romantic farm, while the truth is so far from that. All animals end up in the same, horrifying trucks along with factory farm animals, being denied food and water for as much as up to 36 hours, and end their “wonderful lives” in slaughter houses that reek of blood, horror and death.  All living beings want to live. Nobody wants to die so they can become your steak. Animals feel pain, happiness, love and fear. Yes, this is indeed very uncomfortable to think about for most of us, but I think the animals suffer a much bigger level of discomfort than we do, so don’t we owe it to them to at least look into how the meat and dairy industry operate? How our demand for these products, no matter where they come from, encourages an industry which contributes not just to unnecessary killings, but to global warming and world hunger?  When there are thousands of plants available and only a few animals, why is it so hard to consider going plant based? Oh yes, that’s right… it’s uncomfortable. It takes a little effort. It will break up your belief system, challenge your daily meal plan and make you feel upset. I’m sorry, but get comfortable being uncomfortable. The animals will thank you.

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  • I recently lost my pup, Dallas, to cancer. The day we had to say goodbye was the most difficult day in my life since the day I got notified that my five month old nephew, Mark, had passed away from that very same disease.  “Uncomfortable” is probably not the word to use in these situations, as much stronger emotions were in place, but what struck me , is that I was highly uncomfortable seeing my loved ones around me grieving and in pain. When my husband is going through a difficult time, I immediately want to make him feel better, rationalize the situation, and almost undermine his feelings, and deny him the time he needs to go through the motions, just like I need to do the very same thing for myself. It’s much “easier” to just take all the sorrow and grief on my own shoulders, than to see people I love having to suffer.  It’s uncomfortable, in a big way.  But I have to go through being uncomfortable to give other people the space and the respect they deserve to sort through their own feelings so they can move on in a healthy, timely way.

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  • and lastly, of course – giving up a steady income, risking everything to live the life you were meant to live, to follow your passion.  Not many people dare do this, but I believe everyone wants to do it.  Instead, they come up with a million excuses as to why they can’t. “I’m too old”, “I don’t have the savings or funds to build a business”, “Nobody is going to want what I have to offer”, “My idea is old, it’s been done a million times before,” “My spouse doesn’t support me”, “I’m too busy with the kids”, “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur”, and so on and so on… Excuses are much easier than being uncomfortable right? Not knowing what the next month is going to look like, constantly having to ‘hustle’ to find clients, feeling unsettled and knowing that YOU are the only one to blame if things don’t go well.  It’s easier and much more comfortable to blame others if something in your life goes wrong. It’s more comfortable to throw out one of those lame lines above than to actually start working on yourself, take responsibility for your own life and happiness and stop hiding.

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So think about these points for a few moments, and ask yourself “Why am I really not ready to make a move?”  Is your mac and cheese more important to you than those love handles that you keep crying over in the mirror each morning you put on your (too tight) pants?  Or could you perhaps find the creativity in you to make a similar dish with better ingredients that would make your taste buds just as happy?

Would you rather be on autopilot and go to a job every day that you hate but don’t have to think about much, rather than feeling alive and trying to make a difference in the world?  Or can you devote perhaps an hour a day to “me time” and do things that you love, or used to love, but claim you no longer are ‘able’ to do?  Because trust me, you are!

Are you ok with just living a mediocre life being miserable or slightly unhappy, not feeling like you’ve lived up to your potential? Then by all means, continue what you’re doing and have at it. But don’t complain….We all have the same 24 hours in the day, we all have talents and a purpose here on this earth and the opportunity to pursue what we truly are passionate about… it just takes making a decision, making a plan, and of course… being willing to be uncomfortable for a bit until you achieve your goal.

But if you are in the slightest bit curious about what greatness lies in you that I can help show you how to revive, then get in touch and I would love to chat with you!  I believe in you – and the world needs what you have to offer!!

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3 Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey + Some Exciting News!

3 Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey + Some Exciting News!

Happy Monday, folks! I always love Mondays, unlike most people, because it’s my day off from my regular day job and I get to work on what I love: my new coaching business, which means the day is filled with health, fitness, mindset and motivation! I am really optimistic about the months to come, so many exciting things ahead, some of which I’ll reveal in this blog post.

Yesterday marked the last day of my 6-week “Eat To Live” program by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, where I followed his plan of eating lots of green vegetables, fruit, bean and legumes, and limited whole grains and tofu/soy products, and no oils, rather just healthy fats in the form of avocado, nuts, and seeds. I enjoyed this way of eating very much, although the “3 meals a day” only (no snacking in between) I found difficult to follow because of my active lifestyle. I sometimes found myself ravenous in front of each meal, and thus it becomes harder to stick to your plan.  I will be including an afternoon snack in the future, but will stick to the “no oil” rule, and include a little bit of whole grain during the day or right after my workouts.  All in all, the 6 week program was a success, I lost 8lbs and my clothes are a little less snug!

I’m now ready for the next step in my health and fitness journey. As with everything, you need to find motivation to keep going and improving yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally – the body and mind needs constant stimulation and inspiration, and we’re responsible for providing this to continue to improve and take it to the next level.  Working with a few of my clients in my new health coaching business, I have noticed a common thread: They are not fond of going to the gym. They either a) don’t have the time, b) are intimidated by the gym or c) don’t like the environment of a gym, and have no idea what to do once they are there.  As a personal trainer, I have spent quite a bit of time designing workout programs for them to do at home, and it sometimes took away the focus from other things I could be doing.  This is when I stumbled across a few of my colleagues who are involved with Beach Body and are fitness coaches full time. It dawned on me: this is a perfect fit for my health coaching business! I can direct people to the BeachBody site, they can order whatever workout program looks enticing to them, and they have me to coach them and I also get to benefit from the great, and HUGE variety of products Beach Body has to offer! The company is filled with inspiring, creative, smart and resourceful women (and men) who are passionate about helping people create a healthy and active lifestyle. I always go with my gut, and this time it said “go for it!” So there you have it – introducing your new Beach Body Fitness coach! 🙂

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I’m really excited to start, as I know people have gotten fantastic results from participating in these programs, and today marks day 1 for my own fitness challenge: The 21 Day Fix Extreme. I just finished the plyo workout, and boy it sure had my glutes and leg on fire!

Do you need that extra little push to fit in exercise and healthy fitness into your life? I would love to help you! In as little as 30 minutes a day you could be on to not just the body of your dreams, but feeling healthy, energetic and happy throughout the day as a result of treating your body with the respect and attention it deserves.  As some of you know, diet is also important, and as a professional chef, I am passionate about making plant based, whole foods not just accessible, but delicious and creative.  I am dedicated to providing both of these services to my clients.

Feeling a little bored with your workouts or uninspired with the way you eat? Try these 3 tips to keep you motivated on your health and fitness journey. As always, it requires you put in some work, but the results you will get will outshine your efforts, each and every time!

1.  Keep variety alive in the kitchen.  There is an abundance of different greens, vegetables, whole grains and legumes out there to allow you to eat a different meal every day of the year. When I was on a traditional body building diet (which is the worst way to eat, mind you), I was told I had to eat tilapia and aspargus five times a day, and yes, that included breakfast (!). Who can in their right mind think that this is a healthy and fun way to live?  No wonder people fall off this diet and end up in a stupor of chips, chocolate, burgers and fries topped with soda, beer, booze and more at the end of that intolerable experience.  No chiseled physique is worth treating your body with such disrespect!

Seek out different spices and herbs that you may never have heard of, stock them in your pantry and add them to your steamed, baked or water sauted veggies, cooked whole grains, beans, lentils or you can even add some of them even into your oats or quinoa porridge in the morning.  Go for Moroccan cuisine one day, Scandinavian the next, Chinese or Japanese the following day and end with Middle Eastern or Spanish another day. Spend a couple of hours during the weekend researching some easy recipes (or hire me as your coach, I’ve got an abundance of quick, easy to make recipes and you’ll never have to wonder about dinner ever again:) and prep up some meals for the week on Sunday night. It takes the guess work out of what you will eat, and you will be excited and look forward to each meal every day. Healthy does not mean you have to suffer or give up flavor or fun, it should be tasty and nutritious and keep you happy!

Produce from the local area fills the isles at the Bremen Farmers Auction August 28, 2012. (Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)
Produce from the local area fills the isles at the Bremen Farmers Auction August 28, 2012. (Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)

2.  Work on your mindset.  We all know the saying “the mind is a powerful thing”, and truly, what you tell yourself each and every day determines how you will feel and what action you will take that day. It takes just as much effort to be miserable and unhappy as it does to choose a positive mindset and decide you want to have great day – so why not choose the latter? Getting in daily exercise is a huge one here, because who feels crappy after a work out? Endorphins are released, we feel stronger and better equipped at taking on the challenges of the day.  Reading books on self development and following inspirational people on social media and surrounding yourself with likeminded, supportive people is also very important to your success.

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3. Hire a coach.  This is not a plug for my own business, but rather – it is a step I included because I myself have had the best results when I reached out to someone who had more experience and knowledge in the field I was trying to improve upon.  I have hired a personal trainer and I had a coach helping me with my diet and keeping me motivated, inspired and not to mentione, accountable, as well as giving me an outside perspective. It is tremendously valuable and only by taking action in investing in yourself will you truly understand this.

Realizing you can’t do it all yourself, and having the courage to ask for help, is the first important step in telling yourself and your body: “I value and respect myself. I prioritize myself because without my health I have nothing.”  I think of my body as my best friend – it tries so hard to keep me healthy every second of the day, even though I may not always make the best choices for it.  Try and think about your body as a person who just wants the best for you – and try to feed it the best, nourishing foods it needs to function properly and make sure you move around every day so it stays in good shape. When things get hard – hire a coach and have an outside friend and supporter keep you on track.  Guaranteed you will never regret it!

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Eat To Live: Check-in after Week 1

Eat To Live: Check-in after Week 1

Hello beautiful people! I hope you all had a nice weekend! I’m now headed into week 2 of the Eat To Live program by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I am surprised at how excited I am about this journey and how great I feel; I realize I desperately needed a “boost” in my own self-care and this was just what I needed.  Eating mostly raw has given me a vibrant look and feel only whole foods can provide.  Results: I am down 5 lbs, although I suspect most of it is water weight (and honestly it’s weird getting on the scale after a year of not going on it once), but I feel less bloated, more energetic and my skin is glowing. So much so, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments from customers at work from people who don’t even know what I’m doing, thinking I’m just drinking a lot of water, which is true too 🙂

As many of you know, the most difficult part of this for me, is not being able to enjoy wine. As a wine buyer and being surrounded by hundreds of wines every day, it takes a little extra effort to work on my mindset and just focus on WHY I’m doing this.  The first true test was Memorial Day weekend this past weekend, a vacation associated with BBQ, beers, margaritas, sangria and excess in general.  I am happy to report I managed to think the “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels” mantra successfully all weekend, and in the end, didn’t even miss it. Today, I woke up clear-headed and positive – well worth it, as always, in the end.  Instead of sitting around doing nothing drinking, we took long walks down by the river and discovered a new trail (the Hudson Valley in New York is SO beautiful this time of year) and worked in the garden and got our tomato plants in the ground:

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I also made some very tasty dishes, including these mashed black beans with avocado:

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Then I added some veggies, spices and herbs and the mix went into these beautiful lettuce leaves, from lettuce heads I picked up at my local farmer market on Sunday morning:

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Here is the recipe for these beauties:

BLACK BEAN LETTUCE BUNDLES

adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrmans “Eat To Live” book

Serves 4

2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 large, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed

1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup mild or medium salsa

juice from 1-2 fresh limes (to taste, I like a lot!)

2 tsp ground cumin

8 large romaine lettuce leaves

In a bowl, mash the beans and avocado together with a fork until well blended and only slightly chunky. (I season my mix with salt and pepper, although Dr. Fuhrman says no  salt… sorry but I like my food well seasoned and that’s probably never going to change). Add all the remaining ingredients except the lettuce and mix.

Place approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture in the center of each lettuce leaf and roll up like a burrito.

While I am not a big believer of “detoxes” and cleanses, I believe that eating a raw vegan diet for a few weeks to clean up your system is highly beneficial. As you can see, eating like this is very easy and inviting; recipes are not complicated, eat only unprocessed foods that grow in the ground or on trees, drink lots of water, and move a little bit every day to honor your body.  To me, eating a beautiful, colorful salad like this one I had for lunch yesterday, is so much more inviting than having a grey or brown looking slab of meat dripping with saturated fat on a grill:

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I play around with different oil-free dressings to make my salads exciting to eat every day, and I take my time eating now, I don’t just shove it down because “I have to eat a meal”.  Feels invigorating!

So what did I do to celebrate my weight loss and successful first week? The old me would probably celebrate with a cheat meal or a glass of wine, but I am careful rewarding myself with food, as I don’t find that gives me much (except for 2 minutes of bliss) anymore. Instead, I took my babies (my gorgeous boxers, Thor and Dallas) on a long, peaceful walk this morning while most people were asleep and took in these beautiful sights:

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Each morning I write down at least 20 things I’m grateful for, and I meditate on them during my walk. This keeps me going, and reminds me of my “WHY”.  My why is not just about fitting into my old jeans from last year, but it’s about being kind to my body, respecting it and thanking it for working so hard to keep me healthy and alive. What is your why?

 

Healthy thinking versus “healthy eating”

Some of you know I only post here when random thoughts I feel strongly about pop into my head.  I am not the most consistent blogger. There are so many fitness blogs out there, and most of them just repeat themselves or jump on the latest bandwagon of ‘secrets to weight loss or a flat tummy’ (sorry) which is fine because they will always reach somebody who needed to hear exactly that message right then in order to start their fitness journey.   Personally, I guess I just need to write when I need to “talk” to myself and put  my thoughts into written words.

I returned from Norway a couple of weeks ago and just had a revelation when it comes to diets and healthy eating.  The people who seem to be naturally slim and fit, are active individuals and healthy all around, do not obsess about what they eat. They (most often) choose wholesome food:  grilled chicken or fish, some vegetables, a splash of olive oil and they even allow themselves a couple of spoonfuls of dessert. But the key here is they don’t overdo it, but they enjoy life, food and the company around them. There is no “forced” thinking like “oh no, that has too much sugar, fat, carbs” etc.   They have a glass of wine in good company and allow themselves a piece of cake when they are celebrating someone’s birthday, because that makes them happy and that is what they feel like.  How rebellious!

Nobody obsesses about food more than Americans, and nowhere else in the world are there as many obese individuals.  In the supermarket isles, there are now more “low fat”, “non fat”, “no sugar” products than ever before, which also equals PROCESSED foods.   Just because a food has some (healthy) fat, does that mean it’s bad? Of course not, as long as you are not binging on it. And that’s just the problem:  For those that preoccupy themselves with “bad and good” food, think they can eat twice as much non fat ice cream, because after all – it’s got no fat, right? Eating becomes more of an all engrossing activity rather than what it’s supposed to be: nourishment and enjoyment.

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When I lost 30 lbs some years ago, I ate all the foods I was told later on when I started competing, were labeled BAD. I had pita bread and hummus, beans, fruit, Ezekiel bread, cheese and olive oil. And guess what; I was much thinner than I am now (not that that is a goal of mine), I just ate a certain amount and didn’t obsess about food items I couldn’t have.  My body got all the major food groups, so there were no real cravings at all. I want to stop looking at certain foods as “bad” and just eat wholesome, natural foods.  Have you ever noticed that when someone tells you you can’t have something, that is all you think about?  I noticed that big time when I was prepping for my first show, and as a result I ended up binging after my competition. Did it feel good? Was I satisfied afterwards? Not really.  There was no enjoyment in eating until I couldn’t eat anymore.

As I read status updates and blogs about competitors going through their “on season” diets, none of them sound happy. They are hungry, irritated, frustrated and feel weak, they think about food 24/7 and they cannot WAIT until after the show to… eat! Not good food, but what they want to eat are crappy things like Dorito chips, Oreo cookies, hamburgers and french fries… All this just to achieve washboard abs for about 1 day. Hmm… yes sure it is fulfilling to know you can reach a goal like that and to know that you can actually gain the “discipline” to get down to single digit body fat, but it’s only temporary. I don’t want to live my life holding my breath waiting for a specific date,  I’d rather learn to enjoy life every day, and perhaps when I’m back to my normal self with a more relaxed attitude to eating, then decide on a new competition date.

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So my goal for the coming months is to regain a healthy relationship with food. Eat when I’m hungry but not too much. Just allow myself to eat whatever I want as long as I can pronounce the ingredients, and is something I can find at my local farmer market.  Enough already with the “sugar free syrups” and the artificial crap, which doesn’t taste good anyway.  I may not give up my protein powder, but then again I only eat that once a day after my workout anyway.  I think all of this is possible, I think I can have a ripped body and still enjoy life and food. Imagine that!   Food for thought, and if this has made you hungry, I’m leaving you with a balanced, healthy recipe that you should not feel guilty about eating – but not too much of it, remember? !  Makes for a light, delicious dinner this weekend and is super simple to make.   I’ve borrowed this recipe from Jillian Michael’s, as she was partly responsible for my first weight loss (I did her online program years ago). Happy eating!! 🙂

ALMOND ORANGE RAINBOW TROUT WITH CHIPOTLE YOGURT SAUCE

Adapted from “Master Your Metabolism Cookbook” by Jillian Michaels

For Rainbow Trout:

Olive oil spray, for baking sheet

1/3 cup (1 oz) sliced almonds

1 slice whole-wheat bread, torn into pieces

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

grated zest of 1 orange

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

4 (4 oz) rainbow trout fillet, rinsed and patted dry

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt

For Chipotle Yogurt Sauce:

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped, plus 1 tsp adobo sauce

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste

2 tbsp fresh orange juice

1/2 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil.

Begin fish: In the work bowl of a food processor, place the almonds, bread, garlic, orange zest and cayenne pepper. Pulse several times until roughly chopped. Pour mixture onto a shallow plate.

Prepare Chipotle Yogurt Sauce:  In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the chile and adobo sauce, garlic, lemon and orange juice, blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl, add low fat yogurt and stir until combined. Taste and add more lemon juice or some salt if desired. Set aside.

Season trout with salt and pepper. Brush top of each fillet with the nonfat yogurt. Press the yogurt coated side of each fillet into the almond mixture. Place the fillet nut side up on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until fish is firm and not translucent in the center, about 10 minutes.

Spoon the sauce onto the plates, place a piece of trout on each and serve with rice or potatoes of your choice.

Calories: 221

Fat: 9.8g

Protein: 25.3g

Carbohydrates: 10.9g

rainbowtroutjillianmichaels

 

Diet and food temptations – the mental game

I always find that my clients, friends and people I talk to in general find dieting a much tougher challenge than the actual working out part. Why is that? Probably because training  typically only takes about an hour max (unless you are one of those airheads who do cardio three hours a day, lol) whereas you are left the other 23 hours facing the fridge, the cafeteria, the restaurant, bar, deli on the corner, vending machine at work, etc….. temptations everywhere around you.

caketemptations

We are taught that food is “fun”, food is “social” and it’s something to do when we get together  in groups, whether it’s meeting friends for a glass of wine, or  going to holiday parties, birthday celebrations, weddings… food is everywhere! And the food is never carrots and celery sticks with low fat dips, grilled  fish or chicken (with no  oil)  and salad, but more often fried foods, cakes, desserts,  alcohol… well, you get my drift.  It’s hard to stand up against peer pressure and not  resort  to what everyone else is doing. My favorite is “Oh, come on-have a piece of cake, you deserve it!” (what exactly does that mean?) or “you are so fit – one piece won’t hurt!” No, I’m sure one piece won’t hurt, but what if I have to go to another gathering the next night, and then the next night, that won’t be just “one piece”, and why is everyone so preoccupied with what I’m eating? Why can’t get  togethers be about having great conversations and doing a fun (non food related) activity?

boardgames

Of course I’m playing devil’s advocate here. As most of you know, I’m a professional chef and a wine educator, so I live  off of people’s desire to eat and drink, in fact I encourage  it.  And I participate in  these events regularly.  Where would I be without parties filled with food and wine?  I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t have  a piece of cake at your daughter’s birthday party, or go out to a lavish dinner with your husband or boy friend for your anniversary or have a bottle of wine to celebrate a promotion,   enjoy with your Saturday evening meal or even just if you feel like it… Life is more than just a treadmill, some weights and looking good in a two piece. Life has to be enjoyed too. But.. there is also finding that balance, that  dreaded, cliche like “B” word…

Balance

In my mind, there is nothing admirable in a person who obsesses about her/his workout and diet and isolates him/herself from the rest of the world to avoid temptations  in the real world, just to keep that top  notch figure. Are you really living the life you want? Miserable, constantly thinking about food and being irritable because you can’t have what you really want?  I doubt it.   What  I find is a successful person, is someone who knows how to balance the two – eating healthy 90% of the  time, but will not  freak out at the  sight  of a bowl of ice cream or a slice of pizza and think “thunder thighs!!” but just accept that the choice you make there and then, is quite ok. If you decide to eat it, it’s because it can be a ‘cheat meal’, or a meal you want at that time (sometimes it’s better to have ONE piece of what you crave instead of eating around it – you’ll end up eating more calories in “healthy” food and fool yourself you made the better choice).  If you decide not to, it’s because you want to keep your diet in check and you are on a health kick.   In the end, you may feel better with that choice.  Both options are good, if they make YOU feel good. Don’t feel guilt, shame, regret or anxiousness over food. This is when a problem can occur. Food should be nourishment to your body, yes- but in my opinion, it should also be enjoyable.  Food is amazing, it’s part of our culture and it CAN be a positive addition to your life, not just something you have to deal with.

Assorted healthy food.

Once you practice trying to have a more relaxed relationship to food, your weight will drop. You will no longer have insane cravings, because as we know – cravings are mental, never physical hunger- and you will start wanting real food to feed your body, to feed your muscles.   Cravings are made-up  ‘realities’  of what you THINK you want – but when you let go and tell yourself “hey, I can have it if I want to”, it’s  amazing how quickly you will turn it down because you’ll find you no longer want it 🙂

Today all I wanted was a grilled piece of chicken with some fresh vegetables, that is when I knew I was HUNGRY, not obsessing about some piece of chocolate or loaf of bread.  My body is craving healthy, nourishing foods that contain protein, carbs and fat these days, this is when I feel best;  full of energy, light and fit.  Try to mentally picture yourself how you’ll feel after you eat a big chocolate or a bowl of ice cream.   Will that make you feel better afterwards? Will it help you reach your goal? If the answer is no, turn it down most of the time.   Treats  like these are called treats for a reason- they are not an every day indulgence,  but a  piece of food reserved for a special occasion. Treat it as such, and you will appreciate it even more- and your body will be happy too!

icecream

 

Photo Source: itv.com

 

Know your CPR

While I think it is important for you all to know CPR  (and mandatory for all you trainers out there), I am speaking of another kind of CPR vital to your success when trying to achieve or maintain a fit lifestyle.  These qualities are present in all the people you see out there who have mastered a lean, muscular body. You have to be:

Consistent

Patient

Resilient

Consistency is probably the most important of all, as it may perhaps be a result of the other two parts. How often don’t we hear our friends, colleagues, family or gym buddies tell us of one diet followed by another that is the ‘next big thing’, while their bodies don’t seem to change at all.   “Oh, I’m on this new diet now, it’s supposed to turn all your fat to energy if you eat before 3” blablabla.. As modern human beings, we’d like to hear that it’s easy and quick, there is some sort of magic formula that will turn our bodies into abs, buns and legs of steel while still being able to eat, drink and do whatever we feel like.  Wouldn’t that be nice!   Meanwhile, if you glance across your gym you might see a number of fit people there among the not so fit ones.  Do you think they all have the same schedule, eat the same thing and do the same exercises? Of course not. But what the fit people have in common is consistency.  They go to the gym every day, they stick to healthy, low fat foods and they constantly set new goals to work towards, not just have one single date they obsess about.  They may not have the most advanced training program or the most high tech equipment, but they are consistently training, whether it’s weight lifting, biking or running or both, and even a  less than optimal training program will produce results after a while.  Which brings me to the next point.

consistency1consistency

PATIENCE is just as important as consistency. Many people I come across only want to know “how long is it going to take to look like that”, not what they have to change or do or how they need to act in order to achieve their goals.  This is when the mind has not connected with the body, and as we know, the mind is a powerful thing.   Whether it is fitness or weight gain, the mind is the most important part of your body you need to change.  You must learn to love your body whether it is 300 lbs or 120 lbs, and understand that working towards your dream body will take time, just as it took time for you to gain those extra pounds you no longer want to drag around.  Know that if you eat right or as healthy as you possibly can every day, get your workouts in and at the same time be kind and gentle with yourself, you WILL get there.   Gaining a great physique is a life long job, there will always be some parts you want to modify or improve upon; this is what is so motivating and inspiring about fitness.  We can always get better, whether it is esthetics or strength (you may want to keep pushing to lift heavier, and set new PRs, etc)  thus our task is never done. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proud and happy with your body- just that there will always be a new goal and a task you can work on if you are a person who need continuous goals to strive towards.  Don’t just hold your breath for when those 10 lbs are gone – who knows what you will look like? The scale doesn’t tell you anything. Just because you reach a certain weight, doesn’t mean all your problems disappear or you become a brand new person inside. Be patient with yourself in every aspect of your life while simultaneously respecting yourself enough to constantly (and patiently) working towards greater achievements. Because you are capable!!

patience

RESILIENCE is what separates the winners from the losers, the ones who make it and the ones who just can’t seem to collect their minds to get there.  When reading about successful people, I can guarantee that everyone has had a story of failure – a time when they attempted something and did not achieve what they had hoped.  Failures at one point or another is guaranteed, so learn how to recover from them. While some might get so discouraged they stop trying, successful people shrug it off and try even harder the next time.  In fitness, you won’t always jump out of bed in the morning, excited about the day, full of energy, feeling happy and ready to hit the gym. Some days you will feel lethargic or have low energy, be depressed, experience an emergency, have sick kids, and your day will be all messed up.  This is when it is really easy to give yourself an excuse not to keep going.  These are the times that build “character”, and makes you stronger too, if you just decide to go about your day and continue eating right and working out anyway.   Keep thinking of the importance of consistency in our first point and I guarantee your body and mind will thank you.  Embrace your failures because without them, you wouldn’t know how to succeed. You learn more from the times that don’t work, than the times that do. So be grateful for tough times, because they shape you as a person and make you more interesting.

I read somewhere that it takes just as much energy to be miserable as it does to be happy – so why would you choose the former? You have a choice how you look at your life, your day, your opportunities, problems, strengths and weaknesses.  We all have them, just as we all have the same 24 hours in a day.  Choose to be resilient and the feeling of victory is near!!

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