How to Survive in a Snowstorm

You may recall that winter storm Juno interrupted the relative calm, weather-wise, of January 2015.

And now storm Jonas has done that to us in 2016.

Were you ready for the forced one-day hibernation?   Did too much TV get viewed?  Did you walk to Dunkin Donuts and have two, or three, muffins?

Now is a good time to prepare for our next round of white stuff, or an ice storm, or whatever awaits us during the winter of 2016.

Every household probably has its own ideas for using that unplanned family time.  Here are half a dozen of mine that may work for you in some combination.

·      Some screen time is fine, but not too much.   Try to spend as much of it as possible in a common area, not each person on his or her own device in a different corner of the house.

·      Pick a movie the entire family can agree on and watch it together.   Then, maybe talk about it over organic hot chocolate or hot tea.

·      Plan a family walk, over land if you’re in a good area to do that, or along neighboring streets if they’re clear and you keep a sharp eye out for remaining plows … as long as you all have already been out to shovel the driveway, together.

·      Naps!

·      Try to make a nourishing – and healthy – family dinner happen.   Maybe everyone could take part in the actual meal preparation.  Or, perhaps there is a group baking project:  organic vegan chocolate cake?!  (See me!)

·      How about a family arts and crafts project?  Clear the kitchen table, bring out stickers, scissors and paste.  Put paper up against the wall, pretend it’s an easel and let the kids paint away.  Let the weather be an inspiration:  snowmen made out of marshmallows, or cutting out large snowflakes.

Do you have novel ideas for me?

And, remember, the first day of spring is only 54 days away!

Healthy Eating . . . on Vacation?!

You are halfway through January, are feeling blimplike from holiday events, AND February vacation is right around the corner.   How will you sustain good eating habits during your week away in the Caribbean or Europe?  Before you leave, research alternatives for good eating – restaurants, juice bars, health-food stores, and bring a list with you.

Now, borrow three ideas from my past blog posts, which can be applied even when you are on vacation.   

The 80/20 rule (November 20, ‘Cheating’ 20% of the Time) can work when you are away.  Adapt it to your own vacation habits and preferences.   There is likely to be some sacrifice.   Three generous meals a day may not make the cut, and certainly, dessert at lunch or dinner may have to go.  That still leaves one slice of pie or two chocolate chip cookies.

Next, organic options (November 6, Why Buy Organic?) are increasingly more accessible even in remote locations.  Now, pull out that list you drew up before leaving.  In fact, re-research:  consult Web sites you may not have found back home, with farm-to-table restaurant choices, and tiny local boutiques with no Web sites.  Stock your guest room with healthy juices, bars to snack on, and opt for restaurants whose menus are not based primarily on sugar, cream, red meat, and overflowing bread baskets.   

Finally, go back to my October 26 post (Eat During the Day… NOT at Night).  This one is tricky for vacationers.  

·      That 8:30 p.m. dinner reservation may have to shift to 7:00, sacrificing some late-afternoon sun.  Or, if a late dinner has been part of your vacation pattern forever, prepare to forego one course, limit yourself to one piece of bread, and/or try to take smaller bites than usual as you eat.  

·      Two cocktails plus two glasses of wine at dinner?  One plus one instead, please, nursing them and chasing them with water refills.

·      Accepting the chef’s offer of the taster’s menu of each dessert?   Only if you satisfy yourself with tiny nibbles and can visualize that several bites will be left on the plate that goes back.  

Obviously, a simpatico spouse or traveling companion will make all these undertakings more realistic.  If you are not on the same page with your traveling partner(s), then it’s time to visualize again.   Focus on yourself – chase the one cocktail with even more water, and maybe the bread basket should be declined when your waitperson first offers it!

I am looking forward to your reports – and your own ideas! – by March 1.

‘Doing a Little Something Extra’

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

The (reformed) Grinch, in the words of Dr. Seuss, was on to the magic of Christmas.

We all feel pressure to buy the right gifts for our loved ones, to spend more money than planned or to insure that stockings are overflowing.

There’s nothing wrong with those impulses, as long as you remember the sentiments may not be the ones that make each December’s spirit last well into the new year.

How can you give something that is measured in the heart and not via overwhelming stacks of presents?

For some families, that might mean designating one Secret Santa for each family member, with suggested budget guidelines.  For others, perhaps no presents beyond the stocking is the way to go.  Or, best of all, how about giving to those who are less fortunate and will not be receiving any presents, via Toys for Tots or a similar organization in your neighborhood?

Who better to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas but Peanuts creator Charles Schulz:  Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.

Across the Generations… Chapter 2

A decade ago, Briana started training my Mom, who was into working out.  Then, in 2009, as a high school junior, I started getting interested in working out too, not because I was looking to lose weight, but because my parents wanted me to lead a healthy lifestyle.  One day, my Mom said, ‘Why don’t you try working out with my trainer?’ 

Grace W. & Malissa W. (MOM)

Grace W. & Malissa W. (MOM)

It wasn’t until senior year that I finally decided to meet Briana, after hearing about her for years.  We hit it off right away. I knew she was the real deal because of how sore I was after the first session.

Not only did she get me in shape that summer, but she prepared me for my first year of college.   She taught me what to do while I was away by giving me a program of exercises I could follow.  I continued to see her on and off through college. I even asked for training sessions as part of my graduation gift.

I understand why my mom loved her so much. I now feel the same way. She has taught me so many things about life.  She is a very positive influence in my life.  Not only is she my trainer, she is my friend and my life coach.

-- Grace W.

Giving Thanks

To most people, Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays when it comes to … family.  And family means all sorts of emotions.

Emotions can create: 

·     pressure to have a third helping of stuffing, 

·     a path back into the kitchen, and nibbling on bits of leftover apple pie crust,

·     the need for yet another glass of wine.

It’s always important to be in touch with why you are giving thanks today, and hold on to those feelings through the long weekend, and beyond.

While you’re at it, this afternoon, strike up a conversation with a family member who is shy and seems to be feeling the pressure to have ‘family holiday fun.’ Assuming there is a sit-down meal, consider offering a brief but heartfelt toast, singling out the person, or people, responsible for the meal.  An hour after the meal, suggest an outdoor family walk.

Above all, inside your head and your heart, give thanks.   In the words of an anonymous proverb, “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.”

‘Cheating’ 20% of the Time

The so-called 80/20 rule gets mentioned in much of day-to-day life.  No 80/20 rule matters more than the one that applies to what you eat each day, especially headed into the holiday season.

It is important to eat three meals a day, have a balanced array of foods from each food group, eat slowly, and make sure you sit down and enjoy what is in front of you. 

So much of nutrition stems from lifestyle choices. 

·     One client struggles to stay below 200 pounds, and, although she does not work full-time, there are so many parts to her household planning, dinner one night might be tacos, with several margaritas the next and skipping it entirely the next. The importance of her health is not number one.

 ·     Another answers the stresses of her high-pressure job with drinks each night, sometimes two bowls of pasta for dinner.  Even a 60/40 balance is a challenge.

·     A third will not give up evening cocktails.

·     And a fourth cannot sacrifice the 3:00 weekday Snickers break.

You can… cheat, 20% of the time.  That might mean a piece of birthday cake, brownie or cookie, an extra glass of wine, a piece of chocolate (preferably dark), chips you enjoy because you want the salt, even one slice of bread from the bread basket at a special night out. 

No question, to establish balance in your life and apply it consistently to what you put in your body is challenging.   Maybe a friend can help you with NUTRITION ADVISING… maybe an empathetic spouse… 

Maybe, me!

Why Buy Organic?

Americans are increasingly buying organic food, now that it is more readily available, in stores, in restaurants, at farmers’ markets …  Join the party!

Organic means:  chemical-free, pesticide-free, non-GMO, tastier, and more nutritious.  If we protect our soil and water -- because we are not adding chemicals -- we protect our eco-system.  

Yes, buying non-organic is a habit engrained in most of us since childhood, and conversion can take time.

*  One husband and wife I work with still have not been persuaded to buy organic, but now read labels and make better choices.

* A second couple, before their wedding, would think nothing of eating Lucky Charms for dinner.  Over the years they started to remove bad foods from their diet.  When they went through in vitro, they learned about the key organic foods you should eat, notably the “Dirty Dozen,” as well as organic meat and wild seafood.  Now they always try to buy as much organic as they can.

* I took one mother and her two daughters to a local food store and taught them how to buy organic alternatives.  They are hooked.

May I go food-shopping with you some time?!

Products that have shaped my life

How do you choose what you will wear, or what products you will use? It’s all about quality and what works for you over time. It has taken me over a decade to finally find the brands and companies I love, and each and every one of them have helped make a difference in my life.

I used to buy sneakers based on color, style or what was on sale -- and not how they truly felt while I was wearing them.  A decade ago I went into a local running store and tried on a perfect pair of Asics.   I loved the style, the color and more importantly how they felt when I ran, exercised and worked.  I’ve never have gone back to wearing anything else.
Following my first 50-pound weight loss, my mentor gave me a pair of Lululemon pants as a congratulatory gift.  When I put them on I felt like a different person. They gave me confidence in my body, and that has never changed.  I wear everything from pants to hoodies, tank to tees.  I run, work, sleep, and travel in them.  They are a part of me every day.
TriggerPoint Therapy
When was the last time you were in pain?  At a conference years ago, I was having bad knee pain and noticed a brightly colored table with balls, foam rollers and sticks. I was intrigued. I picked up one of the sticks, started to push on different parts of my leg (self  myofascial release), and almost immediately felt restorative effects.  At that moment, I was amazed by TriggerPoint Therapy and have never stopped learning about their products, which are a vital part of my life and my clients’ lives. 
How do you choose where you buy your groceries? If I lived in a climate-based environment where I could buy local and organic food year-round, I would. Whole Foods is second best to a local organic farmers market.  Whether it is the numbering system in the meat department, careful placement in produce or the variety of products throughout the store, it is a one-stop shop for me.  Buying organic can be expensive, but Whole Foods has great sales and their own brand in organic, which makes decisions easy. 
Do you know of an all-natural vegan skin care line?  A good friend of mine owns Zen Society. One day she gave me samples to try her product. I used the samples for a week and not only did I love them, I truly embraced the ingredients and quality of the product. Everything the locally-based company produces reflects my belief that what you put on your skin is as important as what you put in your mouth.

A happy client is a healthier client

"SUCCESS is the word I use to describe my association with Briana! In 2006, as a milestone birthday was approaching, my goal was to feel and look my best.  Briana was just on her way to becoming a Master Trainer with NYSC.  I enlisted her help to achieve a healthier, stronger body.  

A strenuous exercise regimen was not my idea of fun; however, Briana was creative, with a keen understanding of my particular needs that I looked forward to.  We trained two to three times a week and I began to feel the best I had in my life! Not only does Briana customize great workouts, her relentless energy, positive attitude, professionalism, and dedication to excellence are top-notch.  

Today Briana has grown her personal training business to include certified nutrition and holistic life coaching at Life’s Decisions BLW. If you want to look and feel your best, I highly recommend you meet Briana Walegir and step up your life."  

 -- Donna C.

Eat During the Day… NOT at Night

How many people can say they faithfully do not eat for three hours before bedtime?   Precious few.

It is easy to give in to hunger pangs in the final waking hours each day, while sitting on the couch or at a desk, even while surfing your laptop in bed.  Those three hours are important for your gastrointestinal system because they give your body a chance to digest, so your system isn’t overworked before sleep.

There are all sorts of ways people get on the wagon … and fall off.

  • One client is good for three weeks at a stretch, then lapses
  • One is conscientious Monday-Thursday, but finds Friday-Sunday difficult
  • Another is rigorous with herself during the day, then snacks on popcorn in the evenings

Do not beat yourself up if you cannot instantly sustain this routine seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.   But don’t give up!