Tag Archives: Fitness

Punching My Card

At the beginning of the year, I made a promise to myself: to be healthy. I know most everyone starts the new year off with diets, new workout routines and juice cleanses. While all of that was part of my resolution, it has become so much more than that.

mentalityI knew being healthy was going to mean a change in behavior and a shift in mindset. I like to eat really good food and finding time to fit in a workout is always a challenge. But 2014 was the year when it had to change. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life and knew something had to change. I found Zumba classes close to the train station, making it easiy to get there after work. My job also offers a strength training class after work in the cafeteria. These classes combined with a close-by yoga class and a run makes for a successful exercise week.

Each of my classes gives their participants a card to punch at each class. This card punching process has become addictive. I look so forward to class each week that I have on occasion flipped out when I couldn’t attend. Take last Wednesday for example. I couldn’t get to my strength training class because I didn’t take my car to the train station. I was in full tantrum mode by 6 a.m. After a few deep breaths, I realized that whybeing so upset means my fitness routine has become a priority for me. This was a shift in behavior as working out was never a constant priority; now it is. I look forward to my classes and want to order a salad for lunch. Of course priorities might have to shift some days and I will miss a class. But in the end, my overall well-being ranks high on the priority list now.

Since I’ve built working out into my weekly schedule, my body feels better and my attitude is more positive. I don’t huff and puff up the subway steps and actually look forward to my walk to Penn Station after work. Now I just need to stick through it during the spring!

Has fitness always been important to you? If not, what changed? Feel free to share your thoughts!

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Every January like clockwork, my mother and I kick off our weight loss, eating right campaign. We set goals, pack our lunches and track our progress. We’ve been doing this forever as our battle with weight loss has been a lifelong journey. This year, however, something felt different.

zumbaAs I planned out my healthy living 2014 campaign, I wanted to find exercise classes that worked different muscles and were convenient. If I went home after work, the probability was high that I’d be on the couch and not working out. Enter Zumba class, held Mondays and Saturdays, right by the train station. I started in mid-January and am fully obsessed. I had taken Zumba in the past but this class was different, probably thanks to my super energetic instructor Maria. I leave class each week feeling energized, happy and healthy.

Our Zumba class is held in a room that has a giant mirror on the front wall. It’s great to watch the instructor in the mirror, but class after class, I hide behind the pole to avoid seeing myself. I could not bear to see all of me jiggle in the mirror. When jumping and dancing around, it’s very clear where ALL of my problem areas are. I literally cringed for the first couple of weeks. Then I saw the Aerie “Real” campaign.

Aerie, the sister clothing company to American Eagle Outfitters, launched their “Real” campaign for the

One ad that is part of the #AerieReal campaign

One ad that is part of the #AerieReal campaign

spring collection of underwear and bras. The campaign highlights real women, without makeup or Photoshop touch-ups. Their slogan reads “Because the real you is sexy.” I saw this campaign and thought they have a point there. The following Saturday at Zumba, I wore a see-through razor back tank that read “Fun, Free, Fearless.” It was big deal for me, to wear something so transparent that did not cover me up.

Like many women I know, body imagine and self-confidence is a HUGE issue for me. Most days, I don’t feel insecure or worry about my body. I used to work out, at the gym or in a class and feel SO self-conscious in my spandex and tank top. Going to Zumba has taken me out of my comfort zone and helped me to see there’s no need to be self-conscious. I am working out, bettering myself, making myself stronger. There’s no need to compare myself to the Barbie-like instructor at the front of the room. While I still don’t stare at myself in the mirror, I’m learning to care a little less about what jiggles.

The Biggest Loser winner Rachel. Healthy or sickly?

The Biggest Loser winner Rachel. Healthy or sickly?

As a society, we typically focus on being skinny, not healthy. Take the season 15 Biggest Loser winner, Rachel. Yes, she lost a bunch of weight, but now she almost looks sickly, not healthy. Yet, she won the competition and is praised for that. We need to shift popular thinking like Aerie did. Women are beautiful at all ages and sizes. That message needs to be consistently reinforced in our younger generations of girls and to all women. We need to face the mirror and be happy with what we see.

Christina Aguilera’s powerful ballad below reminds all of us that we are beautiful. In case no one else tells you today, you are a beautiful, strong woman!

Motivation Mondays: The Stress Factor

Last week, the world lost a Hollywood icon: James Gandolfini. He passed away suddenly from a heart attack while vacationing in Italy with her son and sister. He was only 51 years old.

Gandolfini was most infamously known as Tony Soprano, the lead mobster from New Jersey, on the hit HBO series The Sopranos. He had other movie roles, most recently the C.I.A. director in Zero Dark Thirty as well as a role on Broadway. He was known as a gentle giant who loved his family, friends and being Italian. As an avid Sopranos fan, I was saddened by his death but it also served as a wake-up call.

gandolfiniGandolfini was a younger man, who wasn’t sick and had plenty of living left to do. Yet, in an instance, he was taken away from his family and friends. Anyone who knew Tony Soprano knew he was a big guy.  As an Italian, he loved his pasta and wine too. His presumed weight problem coupled with the stress of being a Hollywood star unfortunately were a lethal combination. I’ve seen this pairing too often in my own life. My grandfather passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 47. This past December, my 42 year-old cousin died the same way. All were taken too soon.

Weight is a constant battle for me as well as most of my family members. Actually, weight in general is probably something most of the world struggles with. No one should obsess but everyone should be conscious of their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Working out regularly and eating healthy helps you maintain a healthy weight. But what about the stress factor?

Stress is almost just as bad as eating poorly and being a couch potato. But, in my opinion, it is not as easy to manage as counting calories or hitting the gym. Stress puts undo pressure on all parts of your body: your muscles tense up, your heart rate increases and digestive problems develop. The longer you let stress affect you, the more prevalent these issues become.

So, here’s the deal: we all need to commit to managing our stress better. A couple of ways to handlestress stress better include:

  • Pinpoint exactly what stresses you out and choose a couple of ways to deal with the problem. Even write them out to glance at when the problem occurs.
  • Close your eyes and take some deeps breathes.
  • Leave your desk and go for a walk.
  • Set boundaries and stick to them.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • LAUGH more 🙂

The death of James Gandolfini should be a reminder to all of us that stress negatively impacts our health regardless of how old we are. Making the changes will be hard but will be totally worth it. Check out the clip below of the gentle giant, Gandolfini on Sesame Street.

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