Your Body is Capable of More, Ignore the Naysayers

I’ve been deep water via @runcompetitorpool running these past few weeks. I had been having trouble with my plantar fascia this training season. I went to the podiatrist, did physical therapy but the fascia had enough of training. I ended up with a partial tear and a walking boot.

I don’t love pool running, particularly but I am grateful to be able to do an exercise that keeps up my running fitness. I’m currently only allowed to do this, swim, or activities where I’m off my foot. No biking, including Spin, elliptical and the like. I can walk only in the boot, even in my house. I go to the YMCA 5 days a week. On Saturdays I do either chair Tae Bo or other chair cardio workouts. (and they really do get my heart rate up).

It hammers at your confidence to be injured, especially when you’ve had other injuries recently. I’m hearing a lot of “maybe this isn’t your sport” “maybe you should stop running” and “why would you want to do this anyway.” It’s annoying and it’s not helpful, even when it’s meant well.

My tipping point today was a woman told me I was crazy for even thinking of walking a half-marathon. I know what I am and aren’t capable of. When my foot is healed I’m completely capable of walking 13 miles. If I were indeed crazy I’d try walking it whether I was healed or not. Nope, not crazy. I respect my injuries and my body’s healing process.

Our bodies are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. We are made to move. Running a marathon may not be everyone’s cup of tea but neither is Zumba, Spinning, or rollerblading. To each their own, just move.

Keep your body strong and healthy. If you’re sidelined try to find something that you can do and ALWAYS check with your doctor before attempting it. No sense in sitting on the bench longer than necessary.

Don’t listen to the naysayers, either. You know, deep down, what you’re capable of.

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The Pressure to Be Perfect

perfectMost of us put a crazy amount of pressure on ourselves to do things perfectly. I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive to do your best in most circumstances but perfect is generally not attainable. Or, at least, our idea of perfect isn’t attainable.

In a perfect world I’d be running every morning, my house would be clean (not even in wildest imagination do I think my house could be spotless), meals would be prepped ahead and I would have dinner ready well before 8 pm.

In truth, my house gets messy, I run or exercise when I have time that particular day, and some days we often eat dinner after 8 pm. What I get right; my meals are usually healthy, greens are washed and ready to go, there are healthy grab and go meal options for when I am crazy busy, and I fit exercise in.

I have run with friends who beat themselves up if they need to walk, run a little slower or end their run early. Listening the their bodies actually helps their next event, they’re not too exhausted to give it their best. Generally they do well at their races and sometimes even beat their envisioned times. The training may not be their idea of perfect but the results are pretty darn good.

I have a client who is frustrated with his meal choices but hates cooking. My job is to figure out if there’s anything he doesn’t mind making at home and how to have him order the best options for the rest of the time.

Is it perfect? Nope, but it’s better than eating junk food or meals that are supposedly healthy but don’t keep him satisfied. He has also confessed to hitting up the drugstore and grabbing candy at night. Seriously? I’d rather you ordered a meal or, at least, grabbed a yogurt and a piece of fruit.

So you don’t always buy organic, meals aren’t always from scratch and dry shampoo has become you’re biggest beauty must-have. The world isn’t going to end.

Are you struggling with healthy choices and making time for fitness? Email me,, to schedule a consultation. Together we can come up with a plan that works for you.

Why I Dislike My Fitness Tracker and Use it Anyway

runners legsI am not a fan of my fitness trackers. Yes, I have two. No, I don’t wear them both at the same time. I’m not quite that obsessive.

They have their good points, especially if you tend to be sedentary during the day. I sit at my computer a lot for work and like the reminder to get up and move more. I also like to see how consistently I am exercising on days when I don’t run.

What drives me nuts is that FitBit seems more accurate with mileage and counts the exercise I log towards my steps. But the Jawbone UP3 wins for one simple reason; I can program it to buzz me when I’ve been sitting for longer than an hour. I can choose the time period as well as the days for this. (It’s turned off on the weekends. I move more than enough without the reminder).

The truth of the matter is most of us sit way too much during the day and an hour’s worth of exercise doesn’t negate that. Blech. There are days I’m better at getting enough movement in than others. For the days I’m not moving the tracker comes in handy.

There is a weird satisfaction on feeling it buzz when I’ve hit my 10,000 steps for the day. And it can be annoying when it doesn’t hit those steps when I’ve been active during the day. Some days I will walk around the house to get those extra steps, other days I don’t.

Would I recommend the activity band? If you sit a lot during the day and this can help get you moving I say yes. If you like data and want to track your food, sleep and exercise then I say go for it.

Rather not wear a tracker? There are other ways to remind yourself to get up and move. A reminder in your phone or computer can help. Wearing a cheap pedometer can help you track your mileage. There are plenty of apps to help you get up and get moving, too.

Do you get enough movement in during the day? Need some help in getting track for a healthier lifestyle? Send me an email,, to set up a consultation.

Half and Full Marathon Thoughts and Training Plans

Brooklyn Half 2014I have entered into temporary running madness. 3 half-marathons in 3 months with a full set for November. Not just any full marathon but NYC, which is intimidating, exciting, scary and thrilling all at the same time. Some days I think “what the heck have I signed up for?” and other days I think “I’m going to rock this.”

I ran one of my halfs last month and it was fun. I was glad when I hit the finish line and I think, uh oh – how will I do a full? And while I’m looking forward to my Runapalooza half-marathon in Asbury Park I’m not as excited about the Brooklyn half. I’ve run both and I prefer Asbury. I signed up for Brooklyn because my friends are doing it. Yes, Mom, I will jump off the bridge if my friends do!

I remind myself that I’m not training for a full at the moment and that I can run 18 miles when I am trained for it. I am stronger than when I trained last year for the NJ Marathon. I am still doing my PT exercises and I am going to follow the beginner plan. I am not a beginner runner but I am a beginner marathoner. I’m not naive enough to think there isn’t a difference.

I’m deciding on my training plan, I’m tossed between traditional marathon training, which is what I do for my halfs, and the Hansons method. You run about the same mileage each week but the Hansons method doesn’t have runs longer than 16 miles. The thought is you are running that distance on tired legs so it’s similar to running the last 16 miles of the race. You’re fatigued but less beat up over all. Then again, 6 days of running sounds crazy!

I have friends who have run NYC and they assure me I can do it. I believe, deep down, that I can do it. I can see me crossing the finish line and I am looking forward to it.

Have you run a full marathon? Want to share some tips or advice? I’d love to hear from people who tried the Hansons Method, too!

Why I Don’t Believe in Everything in Moderation

968eIt sounds great, doesn’t it? “Everything in moderation.” Especially when you’re trying to shed a few pounds and watching what you eat. But that damn scale keeps creeping up. You start wondering why and get frustrated because you’re following all things in moderation. So why isn’t this working? Do you need to give up carbs or maybe try a low-fat diet?

Then you start looking back over your food diary and realize that you’re eating moderate portions of snacks three times a day, every day. And there’s a relaxed eating day over the weekend on top of these daily treats. Think about it, a cookie mid morning, a salty or sweet snack in the afternoon and a square of chocolate after dinner may be in moderation but those treats add up. That’s not including the weekend dinner out, cocktails and the pancakes for breakfast.

There are also the foods you can’t seem to have in moderation: A pint of ice cream, rather than a half-cup serving. The bag of chips instead of one ounce. Sometimes you even sensibly portion our treat out, only to go back for another serving. You think, well I’ll just have a little less at dinner or I’ll skip whatever later on. Except you don’t. We are creatures of habit and instant gratification is a powerful draw.

A lot of the runners I work with feel they deserve a treat for running so many miles per week. I love treats too and I know when you’ve burned hundreds of calories on a long run a doughnut, plate of waffles or cookies can be a powerful lure. While I don’t say no, don’t eat them. I do say eat a healthy meal first, replenish what you lost. Then if you want a treat go for it.

Daily treats become more of a habit instead of something we actually want. And we end up needing more of them to satisfy cravings. Instead of giving in to every craving wait a while, have some water or drink a flavored tea. Still want a sweet, eat some berries. If you’re hungry pair a piece of fruit with a protein. Some easy choices are yogurt with those berries, string cheese and an apple or a small banana with nut butter.

There will be days when you really want that cookie, cupcake or serving of chips. Go ahead, sit down and enjoy every bite of your treat. (Don’t keep extra servings in the house if you know you’re going to go back for more). I also suggest planning it for one time during the day. It may be easier to say no to a cookie when you know you’ll be enjoying that ice cream later on.

Do you have trouble moderating you servings? Not sure why your weight is creeping up? Email me,, and together we can come up with a plan designed specifically for you.

Eggs Are Dairy, Bread is Bad and Other Food Lies

I always ask my client’s what they eat and what they enjoy eating. A common theme are the clients who proudly tell me that they only eats egg whites and wheat toast without butter when they get breakfast from the diner. When I asked why no yolk I hear “I don’t eat dairy”; “cholesterol is bad for you” or “they’re so full of fat.”

As odd as that seemed to me it is a popular misconception that eggs are dairy; they are not. (A true dairy product is made by the mammary glands of a mammal. Eggs do not fit this definition; they are an animal by-product). The yolk contains the most nutrition and I recommend clients eat at least one yolk. but honestly why not go for broke and eat both. One egg has 75 calories, 6g protein, 5g fat and are no longer considered a food that raises cholesterol.

The fat throws some people, I know. I’d rather see you eat 2 eggs and pair it with a slice of bacon and a bunch of veggies than an egg white omelet with toast. Why? The fat is going to keep you full, along with the fiber from the vegetables. The fat also helps your body synthesize the nutrition from the veggies. The slice of bacon tastes good and is another protein source. (Keep the bacon to a slice or two and buy a nitrate free uncured brand).

I don’t demonize bread or recommend always skipping it. I like whole grain sprouted bread, especially toasted and spread with grass-fed butter. I just think we tend to eat a lot of it an, try having a side of oatmeal or grits if you want a more nutritious carb choice when dining out. It’s rare that your local diner has 100% whole grain bread.

If you’re going to eat bread, eat 100% whole grain bread preferably sprouted. I generally buy Ezekiel brand bread and keep it in my freezer (it goes bad quickly). Read your labels, whole grain products need to say 100% whole grain. Otherwise they’re just a mix and generally not much more nutritious than white bread.

Do you want to boost your energy, regain your focus and keep up with your kids or grandkids? Email me,, and I will work with you to create a plan that works for you and your busy life. (It will even include chocolate, I promise).

Not So Challenging Fitness Challenge

cropped-running-with-dog1.jpgIt can be challenging during the holiday season to fit workouts in. There are a lot of fitness challenges out there right now to help motivate you. Run streaks, 21 day yoga, 21 day Fit and the Do Something Challenge. I happen to like the concept of the last one, even if I don’t love the exercises.

I’ve participated in an arm workout challenges, yoga challenges and a run streak. I loved my arms after the first challenge, ended up doing my own yoga practice (and that’s not a bad thing) and was close to hating running at the end of the run streak. (You can check out my blog on why I would never do another one). What I can say proudly is that for the last 15+ years I have exercised regularly.

I do some form of fitness at least 5 days a week, usually 6, whether or not I belong to a gym. So my challenge to you is to do some form of exercise for at least 15 minutes a day, every day through New Year’s Day. Yes, I want you to move on New Year’s Day – it will help the hangover.

There are no other rules. Activities could be walking, dance, yoga, Pilates, Cross Fit, running, strength training – or whatever else floats your boat. You can mix and match your activities. Do something gentle on days before or after a hard workout (if you choose to do one) to let your body recover. My goal is to get you to move during a time when you think you are too busy. Holiday shopping? Walk a few laps, take the stairs and park your car a bit further from the mall. There, you got your activity in.

Seriously, I don’t care what you do – just move. You can hashtag me on Facebook or Twitter with #notachallenge and let me know you got your fitness in. Add a picture if you like!

Reducing Inflammation Naturally

glowing skinAre you suffering from chronic inflammation? In previous posts I’ve talked about foods to avoid and foods to include to reduce inflammation. There are other things that you can do to reduce swelling and pain so you’re not reaching for NSAIDs or Tylenol. Taking over the counter medicine regularly can cause a variety of physical complications. Stress management, diet and exercise can help manage symptoms with little to no side effects.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Natural supplements help the body have a more appropriate inflammation response. Omega 3’s can help to reduce morning stiffness and joint pain.

Probiotics – Probiotics add good bacteria back into the gut which helps to reduce pain from arthritis and intestinal inflammation.

Yoga – Regularly practicing yoga can reduce inflammation by 20% and helps reduce fatigue. Yoga also manages stress which can cause flare ups for those with chronic illness.

Meditation – There are a variety of meditation practices, including ones geared towards those who fidget. (I resemble that remark). Taking the time to sit and be still reduces the stress that contributes to inflammation.

Exercise – Moderate exercises such as walking, swimming and the elliptical machine bring movement to the body and reduce stiffness. High impact and intense activities raise inflammation levels so it’s important to go easy when you’re experiencing chronic inflammation.

Relaxation – Make time to do activities you enjoy. Giving yourself time to do things you like lets you relax and melts stress.

Sleep – This varies for individuals but getting the right amount of sleep for you is crucial for managing inflammation. Sleep deprivation can result in chronic inflammation.

Hydrate – Not drinking enough water leaves the body dehydrated which leads to a variety of conditions, including inflammation. Not a fan of water? Add fruit slices, herbs or a splash of juice to make it interesting.

Making changes in your daily life can have a big impact on your health. Gradually adding new habits makes it easier to adopt them for lasting change. Let me know if you need help with that, that is exactly the way I work with my own clients. I can be reached at

Staten Island Half-Marathon Finish & Recap

2015 SI half marathonI finished the Staten Island half-marathon on Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day but a little on the warm side. I started out running with friends who were in my corral but we know that we all run our own race. Which means we part ways as needed and no one minds.

Spectator support isn’t high at this particular race and those who came out were thanked profusely. I was feeling a bit cranky at mile 5 but seeing my friends and hearing them cheer gave me the boost I needed at that moment. I also found a friend of mine and me ran/walked together for a while.

The course was altered from the previous years and included a stretch on the boardwalk. I despise the boardwalk, there are loose boards and I caught the edge of one. Luckily I didn’t trip, just cussed a bit. I found another teammate and we ran together for a bit. After the boardwalk at around mile 8.5  was the first tough hill. I laughed to myself as people were cursing it. The next hill made this look like a bump in the road.

Mile 9 was a steep hill that feels like it goes on forever. I’m used to running and/or walking up this hill during practice. Unbeknownst to me a friend of mine was behind me and focusing on me helped her up the hill. I wish I had seen her! By now it was mile 10 and I thought well, 5k left now you’ve got this. And hallelujah, finally some shade!

At 11.5 miles I started having a little hip pain. With 1.6 to go I was finishing either way and it wasn’t bad if I had to walk the rest of it. I see a little Yorkie on the course, off leash, and I cannot figure out who he’s with. I worry that he is lost but he went trotting over to someone. I keep going.

At the 13 mile mark a man thinks he is being helpful by yelling at runners who are walking to start running. He’s calling them out by shirt color and I’m getting mad. I’m running next to someone who clearly has some sort of disability and needs to run/walk. I am running but I know that if my hip hurt I’d have to walk. I yell at the man and the person I was fretting over thanks me. He said, “We’re all out here doing the best we can. I am pushing to finish.” I assured him he would and we wished each other well.

I crossed the finish line I smile as I hear the announcer call out my name. My legs ache from the hills but my hip feels surprisingly good. I grab water and wait for my friends to finish. I check my watch and this is the fastest run I’ve had since March. Whoo Hoo! While waiting I see the Yorkie and his owner and both of them are wearing medals. I can honestly say I have never seen a dog run a half marathon before.


10 Foods That Reduce Inflammation

berriesIn a previous post I wrote about foods that cause inflammation. In this post I’m focusing on foods that will reduce inflammation. While we need some inflammation to have the body’s immune response kick in, chronic inflammation is out of control and is linked to a variety of diseases. Incorporating these foods can naturally reduce swelling in the body.

Beets – The dark red pigment of beets is from betalains and has many antioxidant properties. Not only do beets and beet juice reduce inflammation, they protect against heart disease and cancer.

Berries – While most fruits can help reduce inflammation, berries are particularly effective. The dark colors mean they are rich in anthocyanins and have powerful antioxidants. Raspberries are effective for preventing arthritis and blueberries protect against intestinal inflammation and ulcerative colitis.

Dark Leafy Greens – Dark leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals and disease fighting phytochemicals. Vitamin E, in particular, is believed to fight against pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Fatty Fish – Fatty fish are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, mackerel and sardines that have been broiled or baked are excellent sources of omega 3s. Not a fan of fish? Try a high quality fish oi instead.

Ginger – A cousin to turmeric, ginger has been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestine. It also helps quell nausea. Ginger is a staple in Asian and Indian cuisine and can be added to a variety of dishes. It can also be enjoyed as a tea.

Nuts – Nuts are full of healthy fats and antioxidants, which can help fight and prevent inflammation. Almonds in particular are high in vitamin E and walnuts are high in omega 3s.

Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is a great source of plant based mono-unsaturated fat. Olive oil has been shown to have a similar effect as NSAID painkillers in the body due to the compound oleocanthal, which gives olive oil its taste. Note that olive oil can become rancid when cooked at a high heat.

Soy – Recent studies show that whole soy does not increase breast cancer risk and that it can reduce the risks of inflammation on bones and the heart. Choose tofu, edamame, tempeh and miso but avoid heavily processed soy, such as soy protein isolate, which does not contain the same benefits.

Tart Cherry Juice – Tart cherry juice are believed to have the highest antioxidant content of any food. Tart cherry juice is used by athletes to reduce inflammation and reduce the need for NASAID pain relievers.

Turmeric – Turmeric is believed to help to turn off a NF-kappa B, a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers the process of inflammation. Add ground turmeric to rice, vegetables and curries. You can also make a tea out of it. Turmeric works best when paired with some black pepper.

Do you need help with reducing inflammation? Please email me,, and together we can come up with an eating plan that works for you!