Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Once upon a time, 2 years and 30lbs ago...

I used to think that good health was something that came from a visit to the doctor, not the food that I ate or how I managed my stress levels. When I didn't feel well or something hurt, I hoped for some sort of diagnosis that would lead to a pill or cream that would make it all go away quickly and painlessly. I know this sounds strange coming from a Health Coach but hey, I'm being honest here and that was my state of mind just a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, I grew up playing sports and eating healthy foods (we had a garden in our backyard and we even had a chicken coop where we collected fresh eggs for brunch on Sunday mornings) but I thought about food as something that tasted good and as a way to manage my weight... not as something that had any bearing on my health.

Two years ago, I was 30lbs heavier, my cholesterol was as high as 239 and I suffered from chronic digestive issues.
I was naive enough to believe that what I ate didn't have any affect on how I felt and that food just amounted to calories in/calories out. I was naive enough to believe that eating healthy meant I had to give up everything I enjoyed and everything that tasted good. I was naive enough to believe that my red sensitive skin was just my genetic predisposition. I was naive enough to believe that my chronic stomach issues were just my terrible misfortune. I was also naive enough to believe that a Dr. that spent 5 minutes with me knew more about my body than I did, someone who has spent a lifetime with it.  It didn't seem that any of those beliefs were serving me as I was overweight, unhappy, unhealthy and stressed out so I knew I needed to make a change.

I started working out and joined the Weight Watchers online program. I lost 20lbs but when I realized that even though I had lost weight, I still didn't feel my best, I started looking into the connection between food, mind, body and overall health and well-being. I knew I had to address not only my diet but also my stressors, my emotions, my sleep habits and my work habits as these are all related to physical well-being. I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I stopped eating meat, I started running more frequently and taking classes at the gym, I read every book and article I could get my hands on and attended as many lectures and workshops around the city as I could. I first met Dr. Peter Bongiorno, N.D., L.Ac. at one of these lectures. He was speaking at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NY and after listening to him, I knew that I had to schedule an appointment with him asap.

Dr. Peter spent 90 minutes with me during my initial visit. Yes, you read that right. 90 minutes! He listened. He asked questions. He took notes. He even asked me if the recommendations that he made seemed reasonable to me and if I thought I could realistically integrate them into my current lifestyle. The answer was yes to the supplements (digestive enzymes and a probiotic), yes to eliminating dairy and caffeine for a few weeks, yes to getting a good night's sleep (preferably between the hours of 10pm-8am), yes to meditative yoga to help reduce stress (although I am still working on fitting this one in) and a resounding yes to not checking work email when I am not in the office.

Dr. Peter took all of my concerns and questions seriously and didn't dismiss anything without first digging deeper.  Now, my skin has dramatically improved, I can spend hours in the sun (with sunscreen of course) without breaking out in a rash, my digestive issues have cleared up and I feel content knowing that there are doctors out there that will listen to me, take my concerns seriously and work with me to make recommendations that are congruent with my lifestyle and my new beliefs.  Two years later, I have achieved my goals and am happy and healthy.  I am 30lbs lighter, have a cholesterol level of 176 and I have embarked on an exciting new career.  Time to set new goals!

We are all in control of our destiny.  You just have to believe that it's possible for you to be happy, healthy and successful.  Having people in your life that support you and hold you accountable is invaluable. For help and support reaching your goals, click here to schedule your FREE 30 minute Goal Setting Strategy Session with me and find out how we can work together. If you're lucky enough to live in New York and are interested in making an appointment to see Dr. Peter, click here.

Have a Healthy Day,

PS- Make sure to check out our Q&A with Dr. Peter Bongiorno in the Fresh Equation newsletter this Thursday!  Subscribe to the newsletter here so you don't miss it!  In the meantime, you can watch Dr. Peter here http://youtu.be/CKiK4ayaJe8.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seeing Double: Inspired Dressing

Adapted from my: How you do one thing is how you do everything. blog post. Read the full post here.
How you do one thing is how you do everything.

If you follow my blog, you're familiar with the way I cook. I find a recipe that looks and sounds good and I follow about 1/3 of it. 1/3 is adjusted to suit my personal taste. 1/3 is adjusted because I don't have the items on hand that are called for in the recipe. The outcome is usually something that resembles the original recipe but totally suits my taste and I don't even miss the ingredients that I had to omit or replace.
As for my personal style, it's a mix of inspiration from magazines/blogs, pieces in my closet that I love and the help of my stylist (and sister), Bryn of Byrdie (check out her blog here). 1/3 of my outfit is usually inspired by a magazine tear or post from a style blog. 1/3 of my outfit is adjusted to suit my personal taste. 1/3 is adjusted because, sadly, I don't have an Hermes Birkin, a Cartier Love bracelet or the amazing leather skirt that Olivia Palermo is wearing in the photo below. So, I make do with the next closest thing in my closet.
How you do one thing is how you do everything.

I thought it would be fun to share with you how I interpret my outfit inspiration and how, just like when you start with a recipe, you can usually come up with something pretty darn close and equally amazing with what you already have on hand.

Stripes. This outfit is very simple but, surprisingly, I never paired these classic items together in this way before.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Seeing Double: Inspired Dressing

Some of you have told me that you don't have anything in your closets that resembles what you see in fashion blogs or magazines so you can't re-create these looks. I initially thought thought the same thing... that I would only be able to come up with 2-3 outfits before running out of looks that I could create from what I already owned.   But, the key is to know your style and to find inspiration from people that have similar taste or whose style you admire (not people whose taste is dramatically different from yours).  If you do this, you will see that you have a lot of similar items in your closet and that you will be inspired to wear them in new ways that you didn't think of before.

Unfortunately, for this look, I had to sub her Hermes Birkin bag for a leather tote from Zara but the idea is the same.  What do you think?
Photo Credit: Bryn Sanders

Have a great day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Say Yes to the Dress...

If you haven't read the most recent Fresh Equation newsletter then you missed a great Q&A with Cassandra Quinn, Bridal Dress Consultant extraordinaire and Manager at Lovely Bride.  But don't worry, because today, in honor of the launch of my new Bridal Bliss program, I'm sharing Cassandra's top secrets to finding the wedding dress of your dreams.
1) Be open to your stylist’s suggestions, they have seen so many dresses on so many people, take advantage of all of their experience! You just might fall in love with something that you would never choose for yourself.

Photo Credit: Lovely Bride
2) Don’t bring a huge group of people along with you. Too many opinions will keep you from focusing on what it is that you like, and it is your dress after all. One or 2 trustworthy companions is more than enough.
Photo Credit:  Google Images

3) Don’t expect to collapse into a puddle of tears when you step into “the one”. There are many ways to choose a dress and that fireworks moment just isn’t realistic for everyone. Of course you want to love your dress but there are so many gorgeous dresses out there to love. Some people make a very logical decision based on availability or price of the dresses that they like and they always look just as beautiful.
Photo Credit: Google Images
Happy dress shopping!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Seeing Double: Inspired Dressing

Many of you have asked me to include links to the items that I wear in the Seeing Double: Inspired Dressing posts.  I want to... but I have intentionally not included links for 2 reasons:

1. Because the point of these posts is to inspire you to create looks from what you already have hanging in your closet... not to go out and buy the exact items featured. 

2. Because a lot of the items that I'm wearing are not from the current season (like this Marc Jacobs coat which I think is from 2003) and therefore not even available for purchase anymore.  But I'm sure you can find similar items out there if you really do want to buy pieces to recreate these looks... but always  make sure to shop your own closet first!
Solange Knowles                                             Yours Truly          
                                                             Photo Credit:  Bryn Sanders
Have a great day!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't mind if I do...

I don't eat meat. I sometimes eat fish. I don't eat dairy for the most part... except for some cheese every once in a while and an occasional scoop of ice cream.  However, after getting the results from some recent blood work, I'm trying to eliminate dairy from my diet completely.  Thankfully, Michelle Adams, of Lonny, told me about the most amazing coconut 'ice cream'.  It's called Coconut Bliss and it is just that!

Coconut Bliss does contain fat but I love this explanation, from their website, of the difference between the fat found in coconut and the fat commonly found in most animal protein:

While its natural richness creates the creamy texture that people love, the fat in coconut milk is very different from other fats. High in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) identical to those in human breast milk, coconut milk has similar germ fighting and heart-protective properties.
Unlike other fats, MCTs do not need to be broken down and can be used immediately by the body as energy; it's the ideal fat for people who commonly have trouble digesting fat, such as those with a slow metabolism, colitis, and hypothyroidism. Coconut fat actually stimulates metabolism.
There is a lot of information on the web about the health benefits of coconut.   We have found this site to be extremely thorough, and is a great place to start.www.coconutresearchcenter.org

Unlike conventional ice cream, Coconut Bliss also contains fiber so you won't get that sugar rush/crash as the fiber helps to control the absorption of sugar into your blood stream.  Even though it's a much better option than regular ice cream, just because it's dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free, doesn't mean you have a free pass to eat the whole container!  Enjoy it wisely.

Coconut Bliss offers 14 flavors according to their website, but my favorite flavor without question is Mint Galactica.  What's yours?

Have a great week!