A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way

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My vacation is in full swing and so far, I’ve been enjoying every moment of it. Everyone needs a break once in a while and I’m trying to really turn off work and relax. On Thursday, Jared and I leave for a 5 night trip to Vegas, and I can’t wait!

I know for me, it’s easy for diet and exercise to fall to the wayside when I’m away. I don’t beat myself up over it because you SHOULD indulge, that’s what vacations are for. But falling off the wagon completely always makes me feel worse, so I try to get a bit of exercise in when I can. For me, it’s all about preparation. When I’m home, my workouts are in the calendar so I do the same thing on vacation. Maybe not as specific, but I plan in advance which days I’m going to work out and which days I have off. I call the hotel ahead of time to find out if there’s a gym. If there isn’t one, I decide ahead of time what ‘in the room’ workout I’m going to do (for this trip, I’m using a barre video from Gina at The Fitnessista). It takes a little extra planning, but I’m always glad I did it. And everyone is ALWAYS impressed when they hear you worked out over vacation!

**Click here for Gina’s awesome workout!

Friday Faves

I’m so pumped for this weekend! I’ve got a weekend full of family beginning with my brother and his girlfriend spending the night at our apartment, Jazz at Lincoln Center with my parents on Saturday, and my family Hanukkah party on Sunday. I’m taking time off the next two weeks and I can’t wait to rest and relax before the New Year.

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I LOVE colorful healthy food and this simple stir-fry always fits the bill!

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Celebrating Hanukkah with the Empire State Building

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Manhattan Mini Storage is known in New York for their hilarious and spot on ads. This is one of my favorites.

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The most amazingly epic engagement photo. Shot by the brilliant photographer Ed Hafizov at Zorz Studios

Happy Hanukkah! +3 Tips for Staying on Track this Season

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Happy Hanukkah everyone! Hanukkah is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I love the decorations, the festivities, the candles, and of course, the latkes and donuts.

This month, my monthly pot-luck dinner with the girls fell on the first night of Hanukkah and I was thrilled.  I immediately offered to make latkes. They make your entire house smell like fried oil, but it’s always worth it. Our dinner included latkes, pistachio chicken, an apple and cranberry salad, plus a yummy tofu dish and sides of brussel sprouts and broccoli. We ended the meal with hot-from-the-skillet munchkins. It was a feast and we enjoyed every single bite.

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There was a time when I meal like this would have caused me a ton of stress. First of all, how are you supposed to track all of this food? And more importantly, aren’t the latkes and donuts going to completely derail my diet? But I look forward to them every single year, so what am I supposed to do?

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I’m a big fan of tracking calories and nutrition and there can be so much stress when you know you can’t track everything perfectly. I’ve learned a couple of lessons over the years to help me stay on track (and stay sane) in these types of situations. Because at the end of the day, celebrations should be just that – CELEBRATIONS! Not added stress in our lives. Here are my tips to help you track your way through the holidays.

  1. Be aware of portion sizes and make your best nutrition estimate based on what the dishes are and whatever food database you choose to use.
  1. Ask your friends for their recipes and use them to track what you ate. Again, you’ll have to be aware of portion size and try to estimate the best you can. I do this one all the time and have collected some of my favorite recipes this way!
  1. This one might be a shocker, but consider disregarding your tracking for one night. Yesterday, I ate a healthy breakfast and lunch and kept my snacks minimal. I didn’t have time for the gym because the dinner was at my apartment so I tried to get extra steps in. And I relaxed. I kept my portions reasonable and I tracked what I could (like the latkas, which I made and the donuts, which I got the recipe for) and this morning, I’m right back to tracking again.

Not every tip will work for everyone and that’s ok. If you have an all-or-nothing personality, tip #3 might not be your best choice. If you’re going to a party where you don’t know people well enough to ask for recipes, tip #2 might not work for you. But remember, what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. And enjoy the holidays!

Friday Faves

Happy Friday everyone! I felt a little off all week because I couldn’t work out at all due to an injury. The difference in my energy levels was really amazing. I’m doing better though and looking forward to working out tomorrow at one of my FAVORITE dance class, Broadway Bodies.  Also on the agenda for this weekend is the Brooklyn Winter Flea + Holiday Market and a beer pong tournament to support a good friend and her Team in Training team. They’re raising money for cancer research, so if you’re in New York City and looking for something to do, come join us!

Have a great weekend!

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I love getting gifts ready for Hanukkah!

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I just bought these rain boots and they were just in time for the gross weather this week.

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There’s a very good chance there will be at least 1 picture of Christmas in NYC until December 25th.

**None of the links in this post have been sponsored. All opinions are my own.

Do Before and After Photos Make You Feel Better or Worse?

If you look up practically anything fitness or health related on Pinterest, you’ll be bombarded with images of women with incredibly perfect bodies. Beautifully tanned and chiseled and often accompanied by a ‘before’ picture. The same can be found on gym, diet, and weight-loss pill advertisements. Many people find these pictures inspiring and motivating – that seeing someone go from point A to point B makes them feel like, ‘Hey, I can do that too!’

Personally, I waver on my opinion. I worry that comparing myself to the people in these images will create false expectations and lead to failure. I know that the pictures don’t show the full story – like the cost benefit ratio of getting that awesome body or the extreme lifestyle changes the person probably had to make besides just food and exercise. And I know that Photoshop and camera tricks can manipulate pretty much any image. On the other hand, they can be motivating because I assume that not EVERY image is fake and that people CAN change.

I was inspired to write this entry by the video below (from Buzzfeed.com). Take a look and let me know what you think. Do these types of before and after photos make you feel better about yourself or worse? Do they motivate you or have the opposite effect? I’d love to hear your opinions.

Entertaining, the Healthy Way

Entertaining

This weekend, we had friends over for Friday night dinner. Jared and I love to entertain, and it’s important to us that our guests feel special and welcome when they’re in our home. One of my goals as a health coach is to prepare a meal that isn’t just delicious but is healthy, as well. I think it sends a message that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring, bland, or unappetizing. And often, health-ifying a recipe doesn’t take much more effort than its unhealthy counterpart.

This Friday, I made chicken puttanesca with the option of whole wheat pasta, apple-walnut salad with cranberry vinaigrette, and chocolate cupcakes. I will say that dessert is often the hardest for me because it can be tough to find recipes that are nutritious. The recipe I made isn’t exactly healthy and I wouldn’t suggest it as a regular option, but for special occasions, it was a delicious and much lower in calories and fat than the original recipe.

Here are the recipes for our Friday night meal. Where do you go for healthy recipes?

Delish

Chicken Puttanesca

Apple-Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Chocolate Cupcakes (I used seltzer water)

Friday Faves

This week was wonderfully productive and fun – a great way to come back from a long weekend. This weekend, I have very little on the agenda which I’m so excited about! Decorating for Hanukkah, hanging out with friends, and what will hopefully be a healthy and delicious brunch that (if all goes well) I’ll share next week!

My workouts this week were varied and super fun. I always try to take a day or two off each week from my heavy workouts, but on those days, I try my best to hit a high step count (which for me is anything over 14,000)

Monday – Zumba at the Ailey Extension

Tuesday – off, 14,685 steps

Wednesday – Barre at FlyBarre

Thursday – off, 16,886 steps

Friday – Spinning at FlyWheel

Saturday – Broadway Dance at Broadway Bodies

Sunday – Yoga at Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness 

Here are some of my faves from the week.

Christmas lights

New York City Christmas lights

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Adorable puppies in adorable sweaters (This is Abbey Road, my parents pup)

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Fishing in the Hudson River. A rare site.

My favorite part of the week - a live recording of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me at the NJ Performing Arts Center. The picture's not great, but I can check this off my bucket list!

My favorite part of the week – a live recording of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me at the NJ Performing Arts Center. The picture’s not great, but I can check this off my bucket list!

 

Have a great weekend!!!

 

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**None of the links in this post are affiliates nor is this post sponsored by any of the mentioned studios.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

Nobody’s Perfect

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Do you have a guru? Perhaps not in the traditional sense of the word, but maybe someone you consider as a master or teacher? For a long time, I’ve admired and respected the teachings and insights of author, Gretchen Rubin. Rubin has written a number of books on a variety of subjects and it’s her two books on happiness, The Happiness Project and Happiness at Home that led me to jokingly (and not so jokingly) refer to her as my guru.

As a lover of quotes, lists, and mantras, it’s no surprise that Rubin’s Secrets of Adulthood resonate with me. One of my absolute favorites is, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

No one is perfect and it’s silly to try to be. Sometimes we have an extra drink when we know we shouldn’t. Sometimes we accidentally leave someone on an email that we meant to take off. Sometimes we miss a workout because watching the latest episode of Modern Family just can’t wait any longer. What’s important is to remember that if those mistakes truly only happen once in a while, it’s ok.

I keep this hanging on the wall as a reminder to acknowledge my mistakes and learn from them – but to also let them go and not beat myself up. We all deserve a pass once in a while.

 

**This post has not been sponsored by Gretchen Rubin in any way; I’m simply a fan. If you’d like to read more, check out www.gretchenrubin.com.

4 Tips for Working Out in the Cold

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Happy December! I hope you all had a great weekend whether you were celebrating Thanksgiving or not. I loved spending time with family and getting some time off to rest and recharge.

Every year, December sneaks up on me.  I have a love/hate relationship with December because I can’t stand the cold but I love the holiday season. Hanukkah is my favorite holiday of the year (I decorate our apartment thoroughly and throw a Hanukkah party almost every year) and I love Christmas in New York.  Even though I don’t celebrate; I love the festive cheer, the lights, the craft markets, and the carols.

Winter is also the season when people start hibernating. It’s tempting to stay bundled up on your couch all winter, but imagine how great you’ll feel if you can motivate yourself to keep working out even when it’s cold outside.  You’ll be invigorated, energized, and have a feeling of accomplishment. Not to mention that each winter-workout will bring you one step closer to your fitness goals!  Here are a few tips to keep you safe, happy, and feeling great during your winter-workouts!

  1. Wear the right gear. Check out this fantastic page on Runnersworld.com. You put in your information (like the weather conditions, time of day, how you like to feel when you run) and Runners World suggests what to wear to keep comfortable. A hint: layers are always a good choice. Click Here.
  1. Warm-up and Cool-down the right way. Before your workout, jog in place or do some jumping jacks indoors. You’ll want your body to be warmed up before you head into the cold. After your workout, keep your cool-down brief and go back inside to stretch.
  1. Drink. You might not seem to sweat as much during a cold-weather workout, but it’s just not as obvious. Make sure to stay hydrated the same way you would in when you sweat a lot.
  1. Know your Limits. Sometimes it really is just too cold and outside workouts can become unsafe. If the wind chill is extreme or the temperature is well below zero, keep your workout inside.