Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

7 Day Vegan Challenge: The results

 Well, I did it. I participated in Popsugar 7 day vegan challenge.

Pros:

Saved money – I did the prep work and made each meal at home. No dining out for a week saved me some pennies. Many of the meals were for multiple serving sizes so I had lunch and dinner covered and froze the rest so I will even have some meals ready for outside the 7 day challenge week.

I didn’t really crave meat. My philosophy with eating plant based foods is that you are providing your body with proper nutrients thus you feel fuller. I was never feeling over stuffed or under nourished.

Cons:

Life happens – I did choose to do this challenge around a difficult time where I had to travel to Burlington, Vermont for a wedding. Here is where I found my biggest challenge: Eating out when traveling. I went to one restaurant and just ordered the unlimited soup and salad bar and I thought, “What could go wrong?” I piled on the veggies and put on their house dressing and grabbed a bowl of the tomato bisque. As I half way finished with my soup, I came to realize it probably was made with cream. OOPS, I think I just never thought about all details of recipes and how much butter or eggs or dairy is involved in creating delicious recipes. I find that aspect to be the hardest with remaining committed entirely to the vegan lifestyle.

Finally: I love & miss CHEESE!

Overall, I think it was a great learning experience and proves to me that real foods from the earth are essential for a healthy diet. They are filling and I know what I’m eating! No, “How do you pronounce this ingredient”? guess work.

Now what? I plan to truly minimize my red meat and dairy intake but I will allow myself forgiveness if I want to eat a slice of pepperoni pizza. I will switch from dairy milk to almond milk. I will continue to make my plate 80% vegetables and whole grains.

Check my Facebook for the recipes.

Tips to stay healthy while traveling

Over Memorial Day weekend, I spent 6 days with a crew of friends, from France to England to Boston and sometimes New Orleans, in Nantucket for the yearly Figawi boat race event. This was the crew’s 8th year at the best barn-looking house on the island. 31 York St has a “president” and the crew has changed a little bit over time but the crew is still pretty tight and loyal for the most part. I have been lucky enough to experience my 4th Figawi weekend. While I was gone I was worried about my health and fitness maintenance that I’ve been working so hard to maintain especially the past 6 months and since becoming a Beachbody coach. I didn’t want it to go out the window because of a bunch of drinks and bar food. So here are some of my healthy tips I used while I was traveling.

1) Pack your workout gear

I actually hate packing and yes I usually over pack. I plan well but I like my options too. Typically, I go shopping for cute dress up vacation clothes (which I still did and those were my go-out clothes). However, this year I planned sneakers, yoga pants, tanks, and sports bras to wear each day for lounging around the house. I mean if you are at least going to dress the part, you’re half way to a good work out. Am I right?

2) Bring your ipad/laptop/tablet

Beachbody on Demand will travel. This means you can stream up to 1000’s of routines from well-known programs such as P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix, etc. Most of the programs can be done with your own body weight and are typically only 30-45 minutes. This means you only need wifi and you. Click the link if you want more info on Beachbody on Demand

Beachbody On Demand

3) Make a music playlist for the weekend

Honestly, music feeds the soul. It makes people dance (as does alcohol). It makes you move. So whether you have your favorite beats to get a good run to the beach or dance late night with your friends around the kitchen, having good music will be motivating.

4) Eat in, if you can

Of course it’s considered a nice luxury to eat out while vacationing. You don’t have to do the work or sometimes it can be reimbursed on a business trip, but if you are trying to watch your diet, it’s important to stick to your meal prep as closely as you can, if possible. 31 York St provides us with a beautiful, huge kitchen and our group has some incredible french friends who are amazing cooks, so in this part we are lucky. They created 5 family style home cooked meals for 13 people! In doing so we had a grocery list and was able to maintain fresh ingredients including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and healthier homemade lasagnas to our good body building friend Chi-Burgers. And we got to enjoy each other’s company for $70 for food for the weekend instead of one meal out at a nice place.

5) Cocktails with fresh fruit

Now while I’m on vacation, I’m definitely going to let loose and relax with a couple of adult beverages. In the past we would rock several 30’s of light beer and not even bat an eye. As we “mature” and some of our metabolisms aren’t quite what they used to be, we’ve calmed down in our partying ways and opt for fresher cocktails. This year we made several concoctions of homemade fruit daiquiris including fresh strawberries, pineapples, kiwis, bananas etc. We even allowed ourselves to indulge in our favorite mudslide but made from scratch instead of at our beloved Gazebo where more than likely a syrup, artificial base is used. Don’t get me wrong, we still had one or 2 when we finally did make our way to the Gazebo and still had light beers but doing most of the work at home saved a hole in our wallets and our stomachs.

6) Enjoy each other’s company

In the past, our goal was to party, get out, dance, meet new people. For the most part, most of us were single so doing all of that was incredibly fun. BUT it more than likely led to overconsumption and careless late night binge eating. The past couple of years have been a little different, we have been enjoying ourselves instead of seeking who we were bringing back to the late night kitchen dance fest.

7) Pledge to stay committed

It’s so easy to lose your focus and to slip from the exercise routine when you are not working and having fun. It’s easy to get swept up into other people’s, lack of a better term, laziness or eating habits when you are traveling with others. I find keeping an exercise journal or calendar can help keep myself in check. I also will just straight up tell people what my plan for working out for the day is. By saying your workout routine out loud, you have set yourself up for accountability and no one likes to fail. Who knows you may even end up with a workout partner…which leads me into my last tip.

8) Invite your friends and take pictures

What’s more fun than doing something alone? Doing something together of course! Invite. The worst thing you might hear is no. Don’t let someone’s judgement of your routine defer you from maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Often naysayers or judgey mcjudgey’s are just jealous of your commitment and are actually upset with themselves internally. I’m not saying workout to make your friends jealous or upset, but do so to maybe motivate and inspire. This at least provides an opportunity for you and them to burn some extra calories from the previous late nights indulgence. And if they are so willing, take pictures, laugh, have fun and enjoy the moment and each other. This is what life’s really all about!

Grocery Shopping!

Grocery Shopping!

Family Dinner

Family Dinner

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Homemade Mudslides

Homemade Mudslides

Chi-Burgers

Chi-Burgers

Easy Riders

Easy Riders

Yoga with Beer

Yoga with Beer

Watermelon

Watermelon

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Nantucket, thanks for the memories!

Nantucket, thanks for the memories!