Tag Archives: healthy-living

A Letter to The Haters

healthybellyselfie

In celebration of this letter I present to you my #healthybellyselfie – something I have been terrified of sharing/posting for months. I’m free!

Are you ever on the brink of saying, sharing, posting, shouting something very brave that puts you in a very vulnerable position? Where you are ready to hit send, post, publish, or whatever and then …

… then you think of all the possible “haters” and how they might react?

I kid you not, it happens to me almost every time. And I have a running list of haters – who will be offended, who will unfollow me, who will unfriend me, who will unsubscribe from my newsletter … sometimes it’s different haters for different venues, sometimes there are haters across the board.

But then do you ultimately decide to put yourself out there? To share with the world that which is the most frightening for you to share? To release all your shame. To make your mess your story…

I ultimately and consistently decide to continue to put myself out there. In a social media, virtual kind of way … and the more I do that, I do it in a face-to-face, real life kind of way.

And what happens when I do?

Hugs. Tears. Laughter. Sharing. Support. Community. And feedback in the most beautiful and honest way.

I forget about the haters – they seem to dissolve into thin air – because I see who all the likers … no all the lovers … are.

And I will tell you that I have been unsubscribed from, de-friended, unfollowed, and so forth by some of my penned “haters.” Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, maybe it’s instincts, but regardless I’m learning that it doesn’t matter. That as I make my mess my story and my mission, I’m going to offend, annoy, and piss off a few folks along the way.

But I have to tell you that it’s so worth it when I start to see a community of brave and heart-filled souls building around me. It’s a slow and steady build and one brave soul is worth losing 1000 hater/followers on any social media platform.

As Brene Brown so eloquently puts it:

Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.

I will NEVER win over the haters, so I’m making a promise to myself (and to you) that I’m going to quit trying and quit worrying about them. Who knows, maybe they will make their way back to me someday? Either way, I wish them well.

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Simply Living and Living Simply

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Flowers blooming out of the ledge at Zion National Park.

On my most recent visit to my chiropractor we were catching up as it had been over 2 weeks since my last appointment. Dr. Josh Lander is still a new fixture in my life but I have already seen huge gains in the health of my hip and knee. During our sessions I feel free to ask any questions about the work he is doing (to help with my injuries) but we will also chat about race schedules, I ask random questions about running, and during this last visit he asked if I had been up to anything cool.

I immediately felt the need to respond with an impressive laundry list of my recent feats. Work, personal life, vacation, you name it. I was so relieved that I had something “cool” to talk about – my most recent trip out west.

I told Dr. Lander about the many places I visited with my cousin in just 4 days, covering over 1000 miles as we drove through Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

When I turned the question back to Josh, and asked if he had been up to anything cool recently, he replied with a chuckle, “working my ass off.” He expanded to say “that and fitness. I had lyme for 3 months over the winter so I’m just really happy to be able to be focusing on my fitness again. I’m living simply.”

That’s when it hit me how much we (or at the very least I) often strive to have more on my plate: more classes, more clients, more events, more slots full. And I often find myself wanting to be able to regale folks with all the amazing things I am up to, but then have a sinking feeling that A) those things aren’t really that amazing and who’s going to give a damn? or B) Who wants to hear if I’m just living simply and feeling super happy by the little things like being able to run?

I can answer that second question for you: I do!

I was so relieved to hear someone, who is highly successful, happy, and motivated, be completely honest and also proud of the fact that they are living simply. And feeling fulfilled from having their health back.

And when I really think about it, and dig a little deeper, I too feel full from the fact that my migraine patterns have shifted to the point where I can work, be social, regularly attend yoga, and run outside. I am so grateful that my health has taken a turn for the better. It is a very simple, yet substantial (and literally life changing) gift.

It’s time to stop beating ourselves up for not doing enough, for always feeling like our plate isn’t full enough. Our plates, our hearts, our souls – they are plenty full if we stop and take inventory. Yes, I’m telling you to take it easy on yourself, create a groovy balance in your life, find your mojo, live simply. Or simply live.

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Kale+Shitake+Avocado = LOVE

I am kicking myself right now for not taking a photo of today’s lunch: Sautéed Kale, Shitake, and Shallots Salad with Avocado, and Hard-boiled egg. Using ingredients I had on hand, I created what I would consider an incredibly delicious and quite healthy (and easy!!!) meal.

It’s great for winter because it’s warm. It also took me less than 20 minutes to put together so it works well when you’re in a time crunch!

Here’s what you need (serves one):

1/2 head of kale, roughly chopped or torn into pieces (the stems: you can take them or leave them)
1 shitake mushroom, chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

1 egg
1/2 avocado

Here’s what you need to do:

Prepare egg (or eggs) in water to hard-boil. For instructions on how to do this, click here. I would definitely recommend doing this and THEN chop the shallots and shitake since it takes about 15-18 min to hard boil.

Pour olive oil into pan and sauté shallot and shitake with cumin and turmeric for 3-4 minutes. Add kale until it starts to soften. Add fresh lemon juice, stir, and remove from heat. Transfer to your favorite bowl or dish and top with avocado, egg, and season with salt and pepper and extra olive oil if needed.

Please accept this in place of an actual image of my food.

Please accept this in place of an actual image of my food.

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Swimming and Breathing

Post-swim NYC Tri, 2012 – thrilled to be out of the water!

While discussing my upcoming 2013 race (Ironman Lake Placid – gulp) with my friend last week, we were going over the various distances (as people often inquire) of each leg:

swim 2.4 miles

bike 112 miles

run 26.2 miles

The numbers blew his mind, but his biggest concern was “What do you think about during the swim??” My immediate response: “Nothing … or at least that’s my goal.” And it’s absolutely true. While I have never done a 2.4 mile swim, my longest has been 1.2 miles for a half-Ironman, and for any open water swim I know myself and where my mind has the potential to go. If I let my mind wander I will a) start swimming off course, b) start psyching myself out, and, worst of all, c) panic.

An open water swim can be a pretty frightening and intense experience. You look through your goggles and on occasion you can see what is beneath you, however it’s not rare to hardly be able to see your hand in front of you. Adding to that people swimming by you, pawing at your feet or, worse, kicking you in the face (knock on wood I’ve never suffered any injury from this). I will never forget my very first open water swim: Seaside Sprint, Bridgeport, CT 2010. As soon as I looked in the water and saw nothing but darkness, I panicked.  I started feeling short of breath, my wetsuit immediately felt like it had shrunk 2 sizes. I tried floating on my back, keeping my head above water while doing breast-stroke, and distancing myself as much as possible from the other swimmers.

Long story short, I finally made it to the half-way point and got myself together. The one thing that took me through that final 1/2 mile was monitoring my breath. That and starting to hear a cheering crowd.

So, back to the original question “What do you think about during the swim?”

The swim portion of a triathlon can be a very lonely experience. You don’t have any crowds cheering for you and you can’t even make conversation with your fellow racers – one of the delights during the bike and run of a triathlon.

When I did NYC Triathlon in 2010, my first olympic-distance race, I was racing for American Cancer Society in memory of my uncle who had passed away from cancer. The first moment I started hating the swim, I looked up at the sky while taking a breath in, and thought of him. I thought of the hardships he went through and how through all of that, he still had so much love for his family and so much humor. If he could get through that, I could certainly get through a swim in the Hudson River. This brought me back to the present moment and, most importantly, my breath. Breathing is obviously an important part of swimming and each time I jump in the water, the first few minutes are always a little scary. But once I settle into the rhythm of my breath, the fear and trepidation of what’s to come and all the “what if’s” of race day start to melt away. Sometimes I will count my breathing, or even hum along to the rhythm I am creating. Don’t get me wrong, following your breath while swimming in open water is HARD work – in the same way that sitting still and meditating for an hour is hard – but if it prevents me from the panic and helps propel me forward into race day, I’m all for it!

Use your breath as a tool

How can you apply this to you? Well, think of any difficult or trying situation you have experienced or may experience in the future. This encompasses any situation where we find ourselves overwhelmed by stress or anxiety: starting a new job, having a difficult conversation with a loved one, or even spending time with certain relatives we may find hard to deal with around the holidays! Next time you find yourself in a tough spot, try taking a few deep breaths, and really LISTEN to your breath. Not to get all yogic on you but try to notice the quality of your breath – is it hard to breathe in deep? Does it feel a little restrained? Stay with it and see it you notice any difference in the way that you are able to approach the given situation. Oh, and let me know how you do.

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