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Finally! The holidays are over, you’re full swing into your new year’s resolution… and then it arrives… Superbowl Sunday. The first “holiday” of the year, synonymous with laziness and an overindulgence in food and alcohol, here to test your willpower. Maybe for you, it’s no big deal, but for the majority of Americans, this is the biggest day of the year. After all, the Monday following the Superbowl has the highest number of people call in sick, more than any other day of the year!

So what is your plan for the big game? Lots of chips and queso? Wings and beer? If you’re wondering how you are going to get through this game without falling off the wagon entirely, hep is here! You can absolutely stay on track with your healthy resolutions without depriving yourself of a good time. And let’s be honest, avoiding the guilt and bloating that accompanies overindulgence isn’t half bad either!

The Playbook:

  • Get some exercise in before the big game. If you are not currently exercising, a nice walk will do just fine. If you are engaged in a regular workout program, go get in a killer workout! Keep in mind, however, just because you exercise does not mean you can eat whatever you want. Nutrition is a bigger piece of the weight loss/health puzzle than any of us realize. If you work out every day, and eat shit… you will not lose weight. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Okay, you might lose a little, but you’re definitely not on a path to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Eat in moderation. What?! Moderation?! On Superbowl Sunday?! Yes. You’ll feel better afterwards, I assure you.
  • Moderation applies to alcohol as well as food. If you’re going to drink beer, choose a light beer instead of a dark, heavy beer. After each beer, have a full glass of water. Before you go to bed, drink another.
  • Bring your own snacks to the party. If you’re going to be the guest at a party, offer to bring some snacks. Chances are good they will have plenty of snacks already, but chances are better that they will involve chips and salsa, queso, pizza rolls, and other processed crap. So bring some carrots, some hummus, apple slices and peanut/almond/cashew butter, cucumbers, zucchini (are you catching on to the raw veggie trend?), raw nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.), even pretzels are better than pizza rolls!
  • Cook a healthier version of your favorite recipes. Instead of ordering pizza, try making your own, and load it with veggies! Possibly even leave off the cheese. Yes, I’m serious, and yes, it’s still considered “pizza.” You’re just living outside the box, that’s all! Here are some ideas.
  • For heaven’s sake, say no to soda. ‘Nuff said.
  • Before you eat anything, ask yourself if you’re even hungry, or if you’re eating “just to eat”. Humans need food to survive, but we’ve made it so much more than that. The Superbowl party should be about the game, friends, family and good times, which doesn’t mean leaving the party 7 lbs. heavier than you arrived.

Remember, you are the only one in control of what you do or don’t eat. Every decision you make regarding your health, wellness and happiness are yours, no one can take that away from you. So enjoy yourself on Sunday, but don’t use the Superbowl as an excuse. If you decide you’re going to indulge, decide what you’re going to indulge in before you get there and how much you are going to have, then stick to it! Don’t ever let your hunger make the decision for you, since when you’re hungry, you’re likely to settle for less than nutritional food. And worst case scenario, if you do overindulge, all is not lost. Don’t beat yourself up over it, guilt is a stressor, which leads to increased cortisol levels, which leads to belly fat, so that’s not going to help at all. Just move on from it, and get right back into your healthy routine the next day. If you slip up, realize that you are human, and fix it. Now if you’re “slipping up” frequently… that’s another issue.

Peace, love and football,

Melissa

I bet you want to know what it is, huh?! Well, it’s not new. I just put that in the title to trick everyone who think sthere’s always something new and cool on the market that’s going to make them look like a supermodel or give them special powers. Sorry, this is not a new medicine. But it is the best medicine. So what is it? The best medicine is exercise.

Today was a very tough day. I decided to take my older cat to the vet this morning because she was acting funny and breathing heavily. It didn’t feel right. So I took her in, and things went from bad to worse extremely fast. I am ushered into an exam room and the next thing I know, they’re calling for immediate triage, putting her in an “oxygen box”, telling me they have to do a risky chest tap to pull fluid out of her lungs, that it’s such a stressful procedure that many don’t make it through the procedure, they might nick a lung, and they’re asking me if I want to pet her before they take her back?! What?! I just asked you for my wi-fi password so I could log on to check my work email?! What do you mean she “might not make it?” Enter stage 1: Denial.

I’ll keep this short. They drain the fluid which filled 1/3 of her chest cavity, find out it’s lymphatic cancer, there’s nothing a surgery would do to help since the fluid, tumors and cells would remain, and we could be in the same situation tomorrow. I’m told there’s not much choice. I call my husband to meet me at the vet to say goodbye. I call my Dad, he breaks down too. This is bad. Wait, is this really happening? No, surely it is not. My cat is 11, not 18, I should have at least 7 more years with her! And she was fine the other day! What are you talking about?!

Long story longer, I put my cat down this morning. My baby, my very first pet as an “adult”… who has been with me through many moves, many of the worst and best times of my life. I have seen this cat change and grow so much, just as I have, and she is a part of me. I cried all day. I mean, ALL day. I cried myself into a nap at one point. When I woke up, my brain didn’t have time to even realize I was awake yet, and my eyes were already filled with tears. I felt my husband’s hand on my head, and was so thankful, but so miserable. I realized I kept putting my hand to my chest… because my heart hurt so much. I’m not sure what I was trying to do… comfort my heart? It didn’t work. I barely ate, tears just streamed down my face all day. Time was barely ticking by, and I just wanted this horrible day to be over and erase it from my timeline.

The evening hits and I realize I’m so tired of my thoughts that I want to get out of my mind. I can’t box because I accidentally slit my thumb with a knife. I can’t go to yoga because I’ll be a hysterical crying mess. So I decide to try a new class at Equinox that I heard was super tough, MetCon3. Sounds perfect. I plan on kicking my own ass.

I checked my emotions at the door, and told myself that for the duration of that class, I would focus solely on what the instructor was saying, and give it everything I had. And I did. I worked so hard, and it felt so good. A dark cloud was lifted, life didn’t seem so bad, and afterwards, I could talk about it without breaking down… I felt better. Like, a LOT better.  I’m driving home thinking about my day and how horrible it was, but I’m thinking about it in a different light. I feel so much better after my workout, my head is so much clearer, I can’t even begin to explain what kind of a miracle exercise can be.

As I thought about how much better I felt (and still feel, by the way, even though the adrenaline has worn off), I realized that no amount of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, wine or food could EVER have made me feel better so quickly, the way this workout just did. It was amazing, just as I knew it would be. I tell people all the time that the hardest part of a workout sometimes is just getting through those doors, but once you’re there, it’s not so bad, and I absolutely practice what I preach. So you’d better believe that if I write a blog post about the top 7 excuses people use not to exercise, you will not seeing me use one! So I’m telling you this story to reassure you that everything I tell you, I whole-heartedly believe.

Depression is a very tricky thing. It is evil no doubt, and can be your worst enemy. But if you play it right, it can also be your best friend. Sounds ridiculous, I know. Tonight my depression was my sole motivator in getting my depressed butt up off of the couch and clearing my teary eyes and cloudy head. Use that sinking feeling you have and turn it around into something positive. Only you have the ability to do it though. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my cat. I miss her terribly. But I won’t let depression get me this time. I’m through stage 1 of this grieving process (denial) and have most definitely entered stage 2, anger. I’m pissed that my cat isn’t here anymore. And I intend to work those emotions out again tomorrow. I feel blessed that I have found a healthy outlet like exercise to release my stress and emotions. It can happen for you too.

I miss you Myla. I know you are in kitty heaven, you can breathe easily, there’s no fluid in your lungs and you are happy. And I will meet you in heaven one day. I hope… if I’m a good girl. 🙂 Rest in peace my love.

 

Peace, love and healthy outlets,

Melissa

Challenge your body to change your body
Force Changes Within Your Body

What do you do when you workout? Do you jump on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike? If you do, what else do you do? Read, check facebook, watch TV? If you are, you are focusing on other things besides your workout, which is fine if your main goal is to read, and you just happen to be mindlessly moving your legs while you do it. However, if your goal is to challenge your body, you’re going to need to focus on your workout. Some would even go as far as to suggest taking the earbuds out so that you can really listen to your body and focus on how you’re responding at different levels of intensity. The truth is, you must overload your body in order to create a change. It needs to endure more stress than you have put on it in the past if you want different results than what you have currently.

Let’s face it, you’re a busy person, so now that you actually made the time to get to the gym, you want to make it worth your while, right? You want to challenge yourself during a workout. Put the phone down, and get out of your comfort zone. Take a quick look at the people at the gym who are checking their email, reading a magazine, or watching TV. Chances are good that the majority of them probably do not appear to be working very hard. A good way to judge how hard you’re working (if you don’t have a heart rate monitor) is to use the talk test. How easily can you have a conversation? If you’re struggling to get words out and breathe at the same time, good, you’re working hard, keep it up. If you can easily carry a conversation, however, it’s time to kick it up a notch… or three.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. – Frank Devito
I suggest alternating between higher and lower levels of intensity. The shorter, but higher-insensity workouts will prove better in the end for various reasons. One of which, is that you will raise your resting metabolic rate, which means you will burn more calories at rest. You will have a greater EPOC, or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption level, which translates to your body is burning calories for a longer period after you complete your workout. Also known as the “afterburn.”
By working out at a higher intensity, you actually won’t have to spend as many hours in the gym. Workout harder, workout smarter. Check out some of my suggestions for interval training.
Peace, love and logic,
Melissa

One of the hardest things to do when it comes to working out, is to get yourself to the gym. Once you’re there, you should pat yourself on the back for taking the first step. Then get straight to work!

The next part is actually putting in the work. Yes, there are health benefits to doing low-intensity exercise, it just all depends on what your goals are. If you’re trying to push yourself to that next level to see results, and you’re sitting in that “grey area” or “comfort zone” on the elliptical machine… you know the zone… where you’re working just barely hard enough to make it look like you’re doing something, but you’re not really uncomfortable… you won’t get to that next level by working within your comfort zone. It’s important to be mentally “checked in” when you’re at the gym. You’ve already gone out of your way to get there, and maybe it’s even for one of those crazy early 5:45am classes. So do everything with intention, don’t just go through the motions. Really concentrate on the exercises you are executing and do them to the best of your ability. You’ve already done so much to get there, now you need to make it worth your while. After all, nothing worth working for comes easy!

There are a lot of different ways to approach your workout, and how you approach it will depend on what you want to get out of it. It may help to set yourself up with a personal trainer, who can evaluate your current health and workout regimen, review your goals with you and figure out the best way to get you there. Because truthfully, everyone is different, so each person’s path will be different as well. One thing I challenge you to do though, is to work OUTSIDE of your comfort zone. That means when you start to feel a little bit uncomfortable, take it UP a notch, and make yourself more uncomfortable. For some, this can be an incredibly difficult thing to do without a personal trainer or workout partner, and that’s okay. Just find yourself someone who will push you beyond your limits, because this is really where you’ll start to see results. Keep at it, and in a week or so, that point you pushed past where you thought you were going to throw up and die will be no big deal!

Another way to push yourself is to take a GroupX class (Group Exercise/Group Fitness). The energy in these classes is really amazing, and you may even make some new friends! Some of my very best friends in the world are people I’ve met while taking a GroupX class. It’s kind of like group therapy, too! Read more about GroupX classes here

So in short, get yourself to the gym. Even if you stay for 10 minutes, it’s 10 minutes more than you would have done if you skipped it altogether. And like I always say, no one ever leaves the gym wishing they hadn’t come! Be proud of your accomplishments, and also realize that not every day will you have the best workout. But if you have 3 or more workouts in a  row where you’re not feeling up to par, something is off, and it’s time to take a look at your life… eating and sleeping habits, relationships, stress, work, etc. It could also be time to call in a personal trainer.