Beginning A Lifestyle Change

Hello gems! Is anyone else having serious cases of “please don’t make me go outside…” this summer because it’s just so hot? NYC has been experiencing some very warm and sunny 90 degree (and above!) weather which in turn has made me realize just how bad I need summer clothes and actually, clothes in general. Can I tell you all a secret? Most of my clothes are from 2014. They have holes in them. AH!

They’re not big holes or tears or anything, they’re small holes but… wait, why am I even defending this? I am embarrassed but mostly, ashamed. The holes in my clothes aren’t me making a fashion choice, like a brand new pair of Abercrombie jeans, actually I would say it’s the complete opposite– it’s me making no fashion choice at all. And the reason I’m not? Because I gained weight. I stopped shopping for new clothes, and tossing out the old because I felt so uncomfortable about gaining weight. I stopped taking care of myself.

Just completely disregarded self-care. In many ways: I stopped going to the gym. I stopped planning and prepping my meals. I spent way too long between haircuts. Mhm, when I mean completely disregarded self-care I mean I jumped ship! Without a life vest. And (true story) I don’t even know how to swim.

Eating healthy, getting in shape and wellness in general can be just as daunting as jumping ship without a life vest when you don’t know the needed life skills. So where does your lifestyle change even begin?

With you.

You need nothing more than to start with you, and the reasons you want to adapt new habits. Carve out some time this week to sit with yourself. Take an hour. I know there’s no time to sit by yourself for an hour, but take an hour anyway. This is for you.

You deserve to say yes to you.

So take an hour, grab a notebook or your laptop or a paper towel and a pen. Anything to write with. Find a place where you can sprawl out and relax. Set your space: I use the table and the couch as workspaces so I clear them both except for a glass of water, my laptop, a black Composition notebook and a pen.

For your first half hour, clear your head. If that means taking a power nap, then do it. Or if you’re more of a bookworm then grab a good book off your shelf. The point is to take a breather and relax. Here are 50 ways for self care if you need a memory jog. During this time I love to catch up on my favorite blogs, chat on social and scroll through Pinterest– just really kick back. It’s important to have these moments to yourself, because learning what you need and when are going to be the basis of your new lifestyle. So learn to just give yourself time to pause and live a little.

During your second half hour, you’re going to figure out your why. “Why do I want to…” Eat healthier? whyExercise more? Lose 15 pounds? Deadlift 50 pounds? Learn to cut back on my overeating? Starting a new lifestyle means you’ll be thinking a lot more about your habits. You’ll be second guessing a lot of what currently feels natural and safe to you. It’ll be challenging, which makes this important that much more important. In those times when you feel like quitting, or you’re telling yourself “this doesn’t really matter” your why will be the reason you keep going. Write down all your reasons! No reason is too small, no reason is too big. They’re all equally valued. Here’s what this looks like for me:

I want to practice self-care (taking time for my self, getting my nails done, shopping for cute clothes, brunching with friends, etc.) at least once per week.

Why?

To boost my confidence! To show myself love. So that I can be a more positive influence on this Earth. Because I deserve it. To be a better daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend. Because my body works hard for me and needs TLC– always. Because practicing self-care makes me happy. And because practicing self-care helps me stay motivated.

Don’t get frustrated if figuring out your why feels difficult at first. It can be hard to pinpoint at times, just keep taking an hour for yourself and see what asking “why” helps you uncover. When you come upon them, keep them near your bed as a reminder. Remind yourself why in the morning and remind yourself why before you go to bed at night. Copy your “why” into your phone or stash a copy in your wallet, use it as motivation. With your “why” in hand, your lifestyle reform is well within reach!

Looking for more ways to jumpstart your new healthy lifestyle? Then check out these 5 additional posts to help get you started:

1,200 Calories A Day– While In A Coma

Creating Your Fit Plan

So You Want Abs? (Part I)

So You Want Abs? Eat for Them! (Part II)

So You Want Abs? Work for Them! (Part III)

 

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The Little Dominican Eats… The Good Batch

Discovering a Good Thing

So, I was standing in line at Murray’s Bagels (TLD recommended by the way) waiting to pay for my bagel, probably checking my watch because I tended to always be late back then…(a story for a later time), when I picked up a 2-pack of Oatmeal raisin cookies. I could see the plump raisins bursting out of the cookie and the flecks of cinnamon were shimmering off the oats. On the front was a big bold “the GOOD batch.” Intrigued, I turned it over, read the ingredients. Two cookies wouldn’t hurt… I read the ingredients a few times. Eventually, I placed them back down. I was going to be quote on quote good.

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Good Things Come In Twos

The second time I learned about The Good Batch, I was trying to track down an ice cream cookie sandwich. J and I were just beginning to date, and decided to make our way down to Williamsburg that weekend. We both have a deep appreciation of food, and grew up accustomed to home cooked meals filled with tender, love and care. We were heading to Smorgasburg, a weekend food market, in what is now one of Brooklyn’s hippest to bond over our mutual love of food. (How could I not fall in love with him right?!)

It’s interesting to think about Williamsburg now, a hub for food and young creatives, when 1960’s Williamsburg, was a predominately Black and Hispanic neighborhood seeing a rise in crime, drugs, gang activity and unemployment. That’s 56 years of small gradual changes that exploded into a huge cultural shift in a pocket of New York City. But I digress, the point is J and I were going to this food event that had New York City all a buzz. Gosh, it’s incredible to think about the way food has transformed in New York City (such as reading about 1930s New Yorkers buying their groceries from carts)!

“I want that!” I yelled back to J, pointing excitedly towards the massive chocolate chip chunks peeking out from the girl’s fierce manicured fingers.

It was hot and the line was long, but we waited for an ice cream cookie sandwich regardless. Once away from the crowd, I started to pull my Chocolate Nutella sandwich out if its delicate brown sleeve. I investigated the small ridges in the big chocolate cookies and zeroed in on my first bite. I tilted my head, gently placing the ice cram sandwich to the tip of my tongue and savoring those first few crumbs of rich velvety chocolate. I chomped down! I licked my lips in pleasure, savoring the roasted buttery undertones of the Nutella buttercream. I watched J bite into his Oat Chocolate Chunk ice cream cookie as we walked down Kent towards North 11th street. He was clearly delighted by his ice cream cookie sandwich, because he closed his eyes and I could see him analyzing the flavors on his tongue. He offered his ice cream sandwich up to me, and considering I’m a sucker for salted chocolate chip cookies, I conceded. The Oat Chocolate Chunk flavor was named “The Goodwich.”

And good it was.

Good Things Always Multiply

On a Sunday, I went for a run with one of my best friends–one of the many reasons I’m glad I’m in Brooklyn.  (Love you girl!) We had originally agreed to meet up on Saturday but you know, life just happened. (And that’s okay! We both love and respect each other enough as friends that we know our relationship won’t suffer.) Entering the park I saw a large white “Smorgasburg banner,” illustrations of bread and honey and pizza lining the logo.

After our run, my friend and I scope out some of the vendors at Smorgasburg and agree to come back another day. A small little ice cream cookie sandwich pops up in the crowd and I have a vague feeling I’ve seen it before. On our way out, I see it again. The big bold logo “the GOOD batch.” I whip my phone out of my running belt and type it in.

Home, I look it up and gasp. THE GOODWICH!

Good Things Become Intentional

On a separate occasion my best friend and I agree to meet up at Smorgasburg. We stop by the ATM, look at the buzzing crowd, and decide to walk once through to see all of the vendors. I catch sight of a Cranberry Maple Lemonade from Rockville Market Farm’s cute little stand. I ask the guy his preference: the Vermont Maple Lemonade or the Cranberry Maple Lemonade and he can’t make up his mind either. I can tell why it’s a hard delicious. They both look equally refreshing. He eventually points to the Cranberry Maple Lemonade and makes it his top choice. I’m a sucker for cranberry juice so I go with his advice.

Bridesmaids - Lemonade

My best friend gets the same and we thank the guy for our lemonades. We continue a little further and I stop to take a picture in the colorful Smorgasburg cut out. My best friend decides on a lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound, (who’s tried Red Hook Lobster Pound? Better than Luke’s Lobster? Incredible Lobster Roll in your city? Tell me about it! Comment or tweet with #TLDLobsterSummer to let me know). The Little Dominican and The Babe Lyfe_The Good BatchI had a small-ish meal before meeting with her, so we circle back to The Good Batch because ice cream. (Duh!) It is a pretty stuffy 82 degrees, but we wait on line regardless (hmm… sounds familiar…).

I get the Birthday Cake, my best friend gets the Goodwich. I begin to examine the pink and blue sprinkles on my sugar cookie as we travel down a side path in search of a bench. I take a bite and pull another Kristen Stewart in Bridesmaids. It’s ridiculously good. I decide I have to find out everything about them. I Google them literally the moment I’m home.

Good Things Expand

I miss my alarm, and wake up late. It’s Saturday but I bought a ticket to Brainfood 2016 and I promised myself I would go.

“Seriously Dro, don’t chicken out!”

I am practicing how to listen to my intuition. Whenever I am faced with a challenge–such as pushing myself to attend this event that really interests me– I take a second to ask myself what would be the best decision for my soul. I know I’m going because I’m going to make myself go, so I get ready. On the train into midtown I hear my stomach growling and curse myself for not packing an apple.

Note to self: Always pack an apple.

I didn’t think I would make it to breakfast. I pull out my current read, Jen A. Miller’s Running: A Love Story, and fuss over my clothes and hair the whole ride. It’s not an entirely great body image day. I’m still a work in progress.

Off the train, I rush down to 404 10th Avenue cursing myself for not wearing comfier clothes–today is a tough body image day. I’m nervous about taking such a big step towards my dreams, and my gym schedule hasn’t been as consistent as I’d like just yet. I push all those thoughts to the back recesses of my brain and try to think about just being myself: cliché, yet something we rarely remind ourselves. I’m pleasantly surprised to find breakfast is not over, snag two of Dough‘s cute mini doughnuts!) and a free juice from Juice Press before settling in a back row to wait for the conference to start.

Lisa Mann, founder and CEO of Think Marketing, kicks off the panels with a story about the Tweet that garnered Oreo nearly 15,000 retweets during the 2013 Superbowl. I feel something in me shift. A speech bubble pops into my head:

Right now, I am exactly where I need to be.

Lisa’s words really inspire me to think about what food means to me and why I love talking food (especially after years of demonizing food). The panels include influential food professionals from part-time social media influencers to Chefs and Tech App CEOS. Discussion ranges from what it means to be healthy to inspirational stories about food entrepreneurship.

Invited to the event are also really delicious New York City Vendors, including Dig Inn and Fatty Sundays. For lunch, I have a chicken, pineapple and quinoa dish from Inday (really good!), some roasted vegetables from Dig Inn and a lightly sweetened sparkling Blackberry pop from Spindrift.

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Spindrift Seltzer Waters

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While making my rounds on the upper level I discover a visually appealing biannual publication, Cherry Bombe, that celebrates women and food. I purchase two issues, and tuck them in my backpack for home (their podcast Radio Cherry Bombe is phenomenal! Highly recommended).

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Cherry Bombe Magazine

I have to make it down to Clinton Hill before I lose the light, so I take it in for another hour and a half and then make my way out. The summer air smells different, honeyed in some way.

The Good Batch is a modern Dutch bakery nestled in Clinton Hill. Inspired by her husband’s family’s nostalgia for stroopwafels, Anna Gordon began selling the Dutch cookie at the Brooklyn flea market in the spring of 2010. This cute little artisanal bakery features brick lining the interior walls, pops of cool hues and marble tabletops. I decide on their Mini Caramel Brownie Crunch: vanilla ice cream, caramel and caramel sponge candy sandwiched between two soft brownie cookies.

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The Good Batch’s Mini Brownie Caramel Crunch

Like the rest of their flavors, it does not disappoint. A local wine owner pops into the shop with a friend, and chat up the cashier who is incredibly friendly and personable. The couple lounging by the window, their plates still sitting before them from an earlier treat, stand to go. The cashier personalizes their departure and waves goodbye, smiles appearing on their faces as they step out the door. Founder and Head Pastry Chef Anna Gordon clearly has an idea of where The Good Batch stands: it’s welcoming and inviting, like the finest pint of ice cream. A quiet boy in the corner with headphones on closes his books and starts talking to the cashier about the latest Pokémon Go craze (90s nostalgia!).

The bakery provides a comfy little space for anyone looking to study, get some work done or just laze around on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re in the Clinton Hill area, pop in and try one of their delicious ice cream sandwiches, one of their classic stroopwafels or one of their other tasty cookies and cakes!

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The Good Batch in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

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The Little Dominican Fit

Being a Fit Woman of Color in 2016

The Prelude.

I read Ann Vatow’s recent post in the Daily News where she calls for changes in her NYC neighborhood, Inwood, due to the area being “too noisy.” Having grown up and lived in Washington Heights (right below Inwood) up until this past February, I do not doubt that some nights can be louder than others but let us also remember for a second that she is talking about New York City, Manhattan at that–not a small town in Wisconsin.

What bothers me about Ann’s OpEd is not that she makes an unclear connection between a kid blasting his “dancehall” speaker on the sidewalk (I’m sorry, but can I ask for a definition please?) and the effect of train noise on a child’s reading ability, or that she admits to aggressive behavior towards a passive kid, nor that she depicts herself as a victim without a crime being committed against her. What is off putting is her third paragraph– “shocked by my aggression with a possible criminal”– as if she can easily pinpoint who is a criminal and who is not with her naked eye (is she also saying here the kid was being aggressive? Because her actions make her sound short-tempered and violent…)

She’s painting a clear picture of Inwood, a mainly Black and Hispanic neighborhood, as one of the loudest in New York City. But that’s not all. She’s also painting Inwood as one that is violent,–“the uptown street where we faced off”–full of debauchery & parties,–“I decided I was done being a noise victim in Inwood, a north Manhattan hamlet that…has reported the city’s highest volume of 311 loud-party complaints”–and filled with strife for the innocent passerby–“a gesture I assiduously avoid in my work as a yogi and health educator.” Is Ann making the assumption that this kid is in some way a part of and a reason for these 311 loud party complaints? His playing music on the sidewalk hardly seems like a party, where illegal substances are at times involved. Off of one interaction, Ann paints a kid listening to music on the sidewalk as a menace to society. She quickly mentions New Yorkers complain about noise the most, without delving into how noise is an issue in other parts of the city as well.

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Jay-Z and friends at La Marina. Courtesy of Johnny Nunez/WireImage & NY Daily News

For example, I have no doubt people near universities like NYU and Hunter would have the same complaint. Bars, lounges, smoke shops, late night hot dog stands cover all of New York City and all come with a noisy crowd. On top of that, very little nightlife closes before 4AM in the city. But Ann does not provide further clarification on her noise complaint statement. Instead she follows up with– “Nationally, too much racket has triggered violence, from California to Cleveland”–painting two places heavily populated by Black & Brown people as examples of what could become of the neighborhood if her noise ordinance is not addressed. Hmm…

 

She ends by painting herself as a helpless passerby “Yet I felt like the louder I yelled for help, the more I was ignored” in need of saving from this “violent” seemingly non-white stereo kid.

…To make matters worse, I still can’t figure out why a photo of Jay-Z and two black friends was the header image… Oy vey…

One.

I grew up questioning a lot of my identity. My parents immigrated from Dominican Republic, both by the age of 25 so I felt a lot of pressure to be “someone” because I saw their poverty as an endless struggle. My parents wanted me to become a famous lawyer or a recognized doctor or event the President of the United States of America. They made their vision incredibly clear– they wanted to see their daughter prove to the world that my nationality and my poverty did not make a second-class citizen. I wanted to become a screenwriter, a well-known novelist, someone who gave back and connected with people who understood my experience. My parents told me I had to be fierce, I had to just take the bull by the horns, I couldn’t be stopped. I felt empowered. One day while he did the dishes I told my father I wanted to be a writer and I never forgot how low I felt when he asked me “How will you do plan to make a living then?”

Two.

When I was 12, a boy I thought was cute laughed at the pants I was wearing. He asked me why my thighs jiggled so much when I walked and I never wore those paints again. Girls would laugh about my mole and boys would look at my tummy with their lips turned down. I learned to base my value off looks, and not much else. I started to think my thoughts and interests really didn’t matter, because my mom would scold me more for not doing the dishes or washing the tub but never sat down to ask me about my writing. By the time I was in High School I had conflicting feelings about being Dominican and about being a woman because I didn’t have an exotic foreign beauty (like Shakira) or non-White features (like Jessica Alba) to help people pay attention to me. I didn’t think I could become successful or make a difference if I wasn’t pretty or blessed with a pair of long gazelle-like legs. An old friend once said I would be America Ferrera’s character in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants because I looked like her. I was so ignorantly disgusted by the comment that recalling it stung for years after.

Maybe if I had known then I was beautiful, and that my thighs were made for running, and that my words could actually touch lives maybe I wouldn’t have spent so many years trying to hide.

Three.

When I decided to leave Tumblr and start blogging seriously on WordPress, my very first post, “I am The Little Dominican”, found me still questioning my identity but also my place in the Fitness industry. I dislike most Fitness magazines for encouraging women to worry about losing those 5 five pounds, and supporting the idea of a bikini body and still telling women that they should “tone” instead of telling them the truth–that when they say they tone they’re actually saying they want to build muscle!! I have had moments since that post where I have considered rebranding under a different name, a name that didn’t call my nationality out so heavily, one that didn’t require me to be “Dominican enough” to be accepted by my readers and audience. At the same time I have considered a more inclusive name, something less niche and culturally specific. But reading Ann Vatow’s article, makes me realize I can help young girls of color see themselves in their own light–rather than the light of the media.

I wanted to find women I could relate to (this was before Massy Arias, Serena Williams, and Misty Copeland). I wanted to see overweight women like me who had discovered the joys of a healthy, fit lifestyle. I wanted to find women who embraced lifting and who understood exercising did not mean losing your curves or boobs. Women who talked about ways to make rice and beans and flan a part of a balanced week. Women who could talk about the discomfort of being a full-bodied woman in the gym, and the best products to frizz at bay during spin. Women who did yoga–because yes yoga is not just for white people– and women who knew Eating Disorders do affect Black & Hispanic girls. Women creating conversations about the health issues affecting communities of color and doing the work to educate family and friends.

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Dominican “Tres Golpes”– fried eggs, mashed plantains, fried cheese & salami (featured here: chorizo, not usually included). Photo Credit: Dominicanese/Zetaboards

Growing up I never thought Dominican food could be healthy. Because my legs were strong and my shoulders were broad– I feared being “manly” or “bulky” when I should’ve been using my genetics to optimize my athletic body. I thought doing side crunches would get rid of my side handles because it was what my mom taught me. I thought I could never lose weight because I was “big boned” and because not exercising was the norm in my family. I know times have changed. But I also realize there was only one Hispanic woman speaking at the food & tech conference I attended this past weekend– it’s incredibly telling.

It’s telling when we body shame athletes– i.e. Serena Williams–but praise other athletes for “looking strong and fit with… muscular legs.” The media is telling young girls of color that being strong, being fit, being muscular, is only okay when you’re small and lean. So what happens when you’re fit, strong, muscular and curvy? What happens when you only see beautiful thick and fit bodies dancing in music videos but not in fitness videos or in fitness pages or on fitness panels? We need more perspectives from female athletes of color. Otherwise how do girls of color learn what it means to be comfortable in their skin, especially when they don’t fit into commercial sizes? And how do they learn to what a healthy fitness plan looks like or how to properly fuel their bodies when their parents might not have the proper knowledge? Now, I educate my parents on balanced meals and the benefits of exercise but when I was little a plate of full of carbs was the norm.

Four.

Here’s the truth: I am a Dominican woman who loves boxing, and being The Little Dominican Fitable to lift 35 pounds over my head and sitting down to a huge plate of tres golpes. But I am also a Dominican woman who loves looking at beautiful pictures of food, and writing about how women can learn to love their bodies–especially when they want to change their lifestyle. I am a Dominican woman who lost 35 pounds and still had hips! I am a Dominican woman who lifts heavy and has never been confused for a “man” because I had some extra muscle– can we please stop repeating that lie already? I am a Dominican woman who knows from experience Eating Disorders do not discriminate, nor are they caused by “fake anxiety issues” (true story, my dad used to think so) and I know how much it sucks to spend $60 on a blow out that literally blows out the moment sweat happens.

Epilogue.

So maybe sometimes I am not the “most Dominican” around, but that would also be denying my childhood as a New Yorker and American. I accept my love for platanos and obscure bands like Mumford and Sons. Because I am unique and my experiences can help other women (present and future) live healthier lives, love the food they eat and the body they have. And that’s pretty damn exciting to me!

Gelato with Friends_The Little Dominican

I am Recovery.

re·cov·er·y

/rəˈkəv(ə)rē/

noun

1. a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

2. the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.

Walking down Madison Avenue, the heat of the sun reddening my cheeks, I will myself away from the usual safe havens: Whole Foods, Dough, Doughnut Plant, Levain Bakery, Sixteen Handles.

“Walk on.” I whisper, staring down a large cannoli in the bakery window. “We can do this.”

Temptation on every corner.

“Hmm… Starbucks?”

“Oh! A cookie sounds really good right about now.”

“…Doughnut Plant is just 3 blocks away…”

A new arsenal of flavors and tastes on every block.

It’s hard to not be compulsive in such a compulsive city.

I don’t remember the first time I binged or told myself I couldn’t have dinner because I wasn’t going to the gym. I remember digging through my mother’s clothes chest to find the box of Entenmann’s Original Recipe chocolate chip cookies. I remember telling my parents I would never eat again as I stormed away to my room because they had made me feel insecure about my body. I remember writing really mean notes to myself as “motivation.”

Here, I was my own worst enemy.

I was in college when I started to see my disordered eating for what it really was– self-hatred. It was my lack of confidence, insecurities, and perfectionism looking for an outlet. It was me trying to destroy myself. But why? Where did I learn to hate who I was, to hate my body, to hate my hair, and my thoughts and the sound of my voice? Something needed to change.

 

For nearly a year and a half, I have been learning what it means to fight my own demons. When do I know I’ve recovered? How long do I have to be in recovery for? What does recovery from an Eating Disorder even mean? Do I recover once and never worry about it again? Am I still in recovery if I relapse? How many times can I relapse before I’m no longer considered “in recovery?” Can I even say I am recovering when people might think I am lying simply because I look like a healthy average sized female? GLP Love Yourself Campaign Spray V-Neck_The Little DominicanRecovery in all its forms is hard. But I can tell you this:

I live recovery.

Every day. Not every day is perfect. Some days I eat a little bit too much food, and it sucks because I spend the rest of the night clutching my stomach in pain and other days I feel confident enough to go for a run and eat really delicious homemade meals. It is all part of the process. And I am learning more and more about myself. I am learning I can leave the cookie if I don’t like or want it. I am learning it is okay to feel uncomfortable in my body when I gain weight. It is not okay to wallow in my discomfort. A small step is still a big step, and if it doesn’t feel right to you listen.

In the past year and a half I have probably gone to the gym a total of 10 times (if that). It sounds silly because HELLO I blog about working out and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. I hit a rough patch. I started to question who I was and who I wanted to be when my aunt died. I regretted not taking the time to get to know her when she moved back to New York. So I ate my feelings. I allowed myself to snowball. I ate without care, without regrets, Gelato with Friends_The Little Dominicanwithout qualms. I didn’t hit the gym. I gained 35 pounds. And finally, the day came when I was ready and interested to learn what worked best for my mind, body and soul.

So on days like last Tuesday I’ll enjoy 2 donuts simply because I can and because I want to and because it makes my soul really happy– that’s recovery. And on 70 degree days I will skip the gym and go for a long walk around the city instead because it’s what I need in that moment– that’s recovery too. Or when J and I venture out into Brooklyn to do legs– that’s recovery. Recovery is learning to work through your demons as well as learning self-care and learning to choose what is in your best interest.

I am recovery.

I am taking my body back. And so can you.

How To Make Flexible Eating Work For You

Good morning Fitness enthusiasts and foodies! Did you all enjoy a great Fourth of July? J and I visited his parents for a few days before I headed back to see my parents. I have been enjoying a much more flexible eating plan this summer than last summer, probably because I have learned over the past year a lot more about my habits, likes and dislikes.

When I started transitioning to a flexible eating plan last Summer,  navigating what I “could” eat or “couldn’t” eat gave me panic. Sometimes I would go a little overboard like only having 2 meals in the day because I woke up late or eating chicken finger with fries, a Twix bar, 2 cupcakes and 2 slices of pizza because well hell, if it fits my macros!

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A healthy and balanced meal from the Morton Williams food bar.

One of the best parts of summer is being able to explore new places and try new foods, so fretting about everything while you’re eating out or on the road can be a real mood killer. So how do you enjoy delicious foods during the summer months while still maintaining your wellness goals?

Instead of focusing on calories I focus on the nutrient breakdown (protein, carbs and fat) which means while prepping meals I keep my protein, carbs and fat goals in mind. Focusing on how much protein, carbs and fat I am getting throughout the day takes focus away from whether or not a food is “healthy” or “unhealthy.” If I wake up and have a bagel with cream cheese (a meal low in protein) then I know I need to think about getting more protein throughout my day. Such a flexible approach allows you to move away from negative eating thoughts and adjust all of your meals to accommodate foods that may lack certain nutritional values.

Here are 3 days of what flexible eating can look like and how you can start to flex your flexible eating muscle this summer: Continue reading