dark.chocolate

Get in the Mood for Love with These Recommended Meals from New York City Registered Dietitian

Broccoli Isn’t Just For Heart Health!

Today the States will be painted in love. Lots of people are cynics about it.  But I kind of think that in a world with headlines dedicated to sorrow, war, and corruption, it’s a nice change of pace to celebrate love. It might do us good to do it more often.

That said, for the non-cynics looking forward to a night of passion, planning that special meal, you might want to include some of these elements to get in the mood. (We can’t leave it all up to Barry White.)

So, get sexy with these foods to spice up your dinner, and after-dinner, plans.

  1. We love broccoli! It’s that superfood that just keeps popping up everywhere. The antioxidants found in broccoli (and all leafy greens) help blood circulation. A boost in blood circulation can boost that female libido. Raw, or steamed, broccoli is heart and hubba-hubba healthy, all-in-one. (Who knew!? And you thought I’d start with chocolate. I’m a nutritionist. I had to start with broccoli!)
  2. Chocolate tops the list of sexy foods to serve – not only because of the pretty boxes. Chocolate boosts dopamine production, as well as releasing phenylethylamine and serotonin. This all results in aphrodisiac and mood stimulators.
  3. Watermelon provides some sexy, sweet crunch. The Texas A & M Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center found that, though 92% water, that last 8% contains a phytonutrient called citrulline. The body converts it to arginine. Arginine relaxes blood vessels, similar to what Viagra does in the body. With this in mind, The 4th of July could be mad passion – watermelon and fireworks.
  4. Oh, those oysters! Zinc is the name of the game here, and oysters are the food highest in zinc. Zinc is a nutritional aphrodisiac that boosts sperm motility, morphology, and capacitation. Add the way you eat oysters, and you’ve got a lot of zing going on there.
  5. No worries non-oyster lovers, pine nuts, too, are packed with zinc. So, if you don’t want an oyster, think pesto!cloves
  6. Cloves and nutmeg aren’t just for Christmas foods. Cloves have been used to treat male dysfunction in India for centuries. And nutmeg is called “Viagra for women.” Cloves, too, help with breath, making for some pretty spicy kissing.
  7. Get hot with chili peppers … Serve passion on your plate with Capcaisins, to stimulate metabolism, blood flow, heart rate, and sweat production. Have you ever wondered why mole is so so good?figs
  8. Figs drizzled with honey can turn ho-hum into whoa. Probably one of the most sexy fruits – because of their shape – they have been considered great fertility stimulants (represented by the seeds). Add that to the fact they are natural pheromone enhancers, drizzled with aphrodisiacal honey, and you’ve got a sticky, sweet, after-dinner passion on a plate.pomegranate
  9. Pomegranate’s red, crunchy seeds have been an essential food to boost passion from the beginning of time. This estrogen booster is a “begetter of mad desire.”

Now, it’s up to you. Start off with oysters and spicy sauce. Or stick with a salad with leafy greens, crunchy broccoli, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Sticky, honey drizzled figs, or strawberries dipped in chocolate are favorite Valentine’s desserts. Whatever combination you choose, set the mood for passion with what you serve on the plate!

I hope today you celebrate love, passion, and great food. Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Mary Jane Detroyer

NYC Registered Personal Trainer Gives the Best Reason NOT to Exercise

Be a Health Winner, Not a Big Loser

StigmaMany of us read the NYT article about The Biggest Loser “six years later” tracking the weight of the contestants and discovering that the majority of them gained at least 85% of lost weight back. America watched them work the pounds off, celebrated their new bodies, and off-camera, those pounds, over the years, went back on.

The obesity epidemic in the United States isn’t a made-up problem. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, more than 2 in 3 adults in the United States (in 2014) were considered overweight or obese.

It’s easy to pass judgements on the “biggest losers” and overweight people. Societal messages perpetuate the idea that weight is under a person’s control. Weight stigma is rampant. It’s not uncommon for overweight people to be labeled lazy, sloppy, less competent, even bad influences. It seems almost silly to have something so easy to cure be considered an epidemic. Obesity’s cure is weight loss, right?

“Obesity is a serious disease that cannot be ‘cured’ with weight loss,”  writes Dr. Donna Ryan, spokesperson for The Obesity Society.

Now that doesn’t make sense. Or does it?

As devastating as the weight regain is for the contestants of The Biggest Loser, it’s been great for science to understand metabolism, weight loss, and weight maintenance. “The results, researchers said, were stunning. They showed just how hard the body fights back against weight loss.”

Society, and pop science, does a great job of selling us formulas and gimmicks. A popular one is muscle burns more calories than fat – so to get a better resting metabolic rate, get muscle. But this didn’t work for The Biggest Loser contestants. Researchers have always been aware that during dieting, metabolisms slow – it’s the body’s natural survival reaction. But what researchers never realized is that those slowed metabolisms never rebounded over the years. The Biggest Loser contestants, even though they had more muscle mass, were in a biological battle with their bodies that kept on slowing the metabolism, working double-time to get the weight back on.

As a registered personal trainer and dietitian, I can tell you the best reason NOT to exercise is to lose weight. There. It’s out there on the page. And it seems radical. But, at the end of the day, it’s true. Exercise as a means to lose weight is not the way to go.

Many readers might say, “What’s the point of exercising?”

Next week I’m going to discuss the benefits of exercise – not as a means to an end, instead as a means to live a healthy, vital life. If we can change the chip – stop looking for panaceas to mold our bodies to match magazine covers and societal expectations, we can find ways to accept our bodies and strive for a healthy life and all its wonderful side effects.

6 Resolutions to Get in a Healthy Frame of Mind

Resolve Not to Resolve to Lose Weight

 

We’re ending January with probably the most positive resolution: Resolve not to resolve to lose weight. During the New Year, most people focus on change and make resolutions. It’s a natural time to reflect on our lives, our goals, our futures. But what happens when we tie those resolutions to a random BMI number?

How do we view our resolutions about falling in love with food and exercise if our weight does not change? Or, what if we don’t get to a “goal weight”? Or do we stop healthy activities because we’ve lost ten pounds? Or the weight just doesn’t seem to come off?

The resolution is a birth of an idea that has to be developed to reach reality. Developing this idea can take a lifetime, should take a lifetime, as health resolutions impact our energy levels, strength, brain function, gut health and more.

So, as a registered personal trainer and dietitian, I implore you to resolve not to resolve to lose weight. So, where does that leave us with? Not to worry! There are many amazing resolutions I recommend to get you healthy!

  1. Resolve to reduce stress: Stress is a necessary part of daily life, but managing stress is essential for physical and mental health. Eat healthy (avoid sugars and highly processed foods). Exercise. Get sun. Laugh. Carve out time to do things you love. Meditate (for perspective and to be present). Step away from the news and social media.
  2. Resolve to drink more water: This one’s easy, and so so healthy! Move over processed juices and bring on some water. Drink water with lemon, cucumber slices, or cut up melon and strawberries. Download a water app to track what you drink and keep your body clean and healthy.
  3. Resolve to reduce food waste: In the United States, yearly, approximately 60 billion tons of produce are thrown away. Everything from buying in-season fruits from farmer’s markets to sticking to a grocery list are ways to reduce waste, save money, save the environment, and eat healthier.
  4. Resolve to say, ‘yes’ to the things that bring you joy: Do you love reading? Do you love having coffee with a friend? Do you love going to the movies alone? Do that. Do that more. Because the more joy you bring into your life, the healthier you’ll be.
  5. Resolve to make meals memorable: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” (Zen proverb). Whether you’re eating alone or have to serve dinner for a big family, make meals matter. Make meals memorable. Because every bite is a gift. A meal doesn’t begin with the first bite, instead the idea. So get excited. Plan ahead. Go grocery shopping with friends or your kids. Prepare the meal together. Make this time sacred with no TV, no telephones, no computers allowed. If eating alone, light a candle, and make it a time to reflect on and cherish the things you did during the day. In family or with friends, listen to the beautiful stories your family has to share. Eat alone to connect to yourself. #EatTogether and connect with your family, friends, and community.
  6. Resolve to love your body: Because you are gorgeous.

We’re wrapping up a month of resolutions with resolutions you can stick to. When it doubt, start with #6 because when you love and honor your body, that’s the first true step toward health.

Here’s to a 2018 filled with laughter, health, connection and being present!

NYC Exercise

Fall in Love With Exercise (Really) with 8 Tips from New York City Dietitian and Personal Trainer

Resolve to Love to Move

NYC Exercise

 

In our month of resolutions, this might be the most radical: getting exercise-phobes to love … exercise. Exercise, just the mention of it, has become many people’s great nemesis. There are many funny memes and supposedly inspirational quotes that float around the internet about it:

Exercise in the morning … before your brain figures out what you’re doing.

My favorite exercise is a cross between a lunge and a crunch … I call it lunch.

My fitness goal is to get down to what I told the DMV I weigh.

You earn your body: I want to get healthy. I want to eat better. I will eat right. I will exercise. I will earn my body.

Just as with food, one of the key problems with exercise in this country isn’t how we exercise, instead why we exercise. Exercise, often, is a means (or punishment) to a goal (this “ideal” weight) that, once achieved, gets shelved. So instead of developing a healthy movement mindset and lifetime habits, we end up creating short-term goals and high-intensity workouts to achieve them. This puts us at risk for the emotional, and physical, ups and downs of yo-yo dieting.

And as soon as a personal trainer says the word, “exercise,” people’s minds conjure up a sweat and menthol-smelling gym with neon lycra and techno music. Honestly, a gym can be an intimidating place for many.

There are limitless ways to find exercise in your life and start to live a life where movement is a core part of it. So, exhale, and fall in love with not only exercise but what your body is capable of doing. Here are 8 tips to help you learn to love to move.

  1. NYC ExerciseDo what you love! Exercise isn’t limited to gyms, running, and pilates. Really. Walking, salsa classes, swimming, yoga, jump roping, riding a bike … Exercise comes in every shape and size, just as people do. Try different activities until you zone in on what you love (okay, like more than the others … sometimes love takes time).
  2. Don’t start with a marathon. Oftentimes, in the New Year, people get excited about exercise and start with some crazy, ambitious activities. A pretty common scenario is someone deciding to run, buying some shoes, and running five miles the first day. This ends up in crazy-sore muscles and joints and lots of discomfort for many days. Then going out that second day feels overwhelming. Instead of starting with pain (because with new exercise, you may feel discomfort, but I never recommend pain), start with something small. Go to a track and jog the curves, walk the straights. Do two laps the first day. Build up as your body gets stronger. Or walk to the park with your kids, instead of taking the car. While they play, walk around the park, don’t sit down. Every little bit counts. Any movement is better than no movement.
  3. Take time to be present. I love the Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” When was the last time you took an hour to yourself? To be present, listening to your breath, being aware of your muscles? Exercise is an escape from the madness, from technology, and a way to be thankful for your body and mind. Whether you take twenty minutes or an hour, take the time to exercise as a time for yourself. This is a gift.
  4. Peer pressure can keep you exercising, especially in those first critical months. If you know your co-worker is waiting for you to pick her up to get to the gym at 5:00 am, and you don’t show up, you will often drag yourself out of bed to get there. Joining a class or setting up a lunch-walk group are great ways to keep you accountable and not alone.
  5. The intimidation factor: As opposed to “positive” peer pressure, many larger-sized people feel ashamed to exercise with others because they believe everybody else is in better shape than they are. Yoga, Zumba classes, pilates … can be incredibly intimidating experiences. Look for supportive environments where you feel welcome and comfortable. A great example of this is Buddha Body Yoga in New York City.
  6. NYC ExerciseMake exercise a family affair. Yes. I can already hear the groans and mumbles. How can you get your teenager off the couch? Go to your community center and sign up for classes as a family – everything from geocaching to dance, tennis to handball. Creating spaces for the family to exercise together helps form lifetime exercise habits in kids. Healthy kids = healthy adults.
  7. Pump it up: Turn on the Footloose theme song and get moving. It’s impossible to not want to rock out and move to some songs. So, make a soundtrack for vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, gardening, and other household chores. This, too,  is a cool way to build endurance to the sounds of your favorite songs. Create a playlist. Move, run, walk, jog, jump-rope to a number of songs. Build up from there, adding one song each week until you get through the playlist.
  8. Walk everywhere (or bike): To work. To the grocery store. To school. Make your feet the first transportation option. And if you have to drive, park in the space farthest from the store. Take the stairs (if it’s safe and they’re illuminated). Find movement opportunities everywhere.

Be kind about your body and your exercise process. Understand that everybody has a different curve, so to speak, for getting into exercise. Every time you move, you are helping build a healthier body and mind. We’ve got our beautiful bodies for a lifetime. It’s a great idea to start to show them a little more love … one step, one movement, at a time!

 

NYC Dietitian

2018 Health Trends and Resolutions for the New Year from New York City Dietitian and Personal Trainer

Resolve to Love Your Body

NYC Dietitian

Last week I discussed falling in love with food, tradition, and how each bite we take feeds our bodies, allowing them to do amazing things. It’s not necessarily what we eat that makes us unhealthy, but how we eat and view food. This week, I want to discuss something that I wish would trend: love your body.

NYC DietitianThe beauty, plastic surgery, cosmetic, health and nutrition industries have made self-hate their bottom line. Here are just a few headlines I’ve scooped up from 2018 articles (keep in mind, we’re just 10 days into the New Year).

  • 57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science
  • 32 Ways to Reverse Holiday Weight Gain in Just One Week
  • The Skinny on Holiday Weight Gain
  • Weight-Loss Solutions for the New Year
  • New Year’s Weight Loss Tips – Ways to Keep the Pounds Off
  • New Year’s Resolution: Lose Weight and Get in Shape

This happened with a quick Google search. And as much as I promote fitness and health, I don’t doubt that we are feeding billion-dollar industries at the price of millions of people’s self-esteem and real health. When we focus on weight and numbers, we’re losing the big picture of what health means. Numbers are arbitrary and, contrary to what the industries sell that thrive on us wanting to be that “perfect” wrinkle-free size, health can come in every size, every color, every shape, and at every age.

So, this week, in my month of New Year’s resolutions, as a registered dietitian and personal trainer, I want you to resolve to love your body. This doesn’t mean you won’t want to find ways to be healthier. It simply means you value your body and its incredible attributes. When you truly do that, finding a healthier path to eating better and exercising is pretty easy.

NYC DietitianSo, here are five tips to truly start to value YOU and your beautiful self. It’s time to build you and your family’s body self esteem.

  1. Don’t diet. Live. Diet implies sacrifice, pain, and punishment. All of the headlines focused on losing that “unwanted” holiday weight. Certainly, we all indulged over the holidays, but food and health isn’t a crime and punishment relationship. In fact, as Linda Bacon says, when we value our bodies, all bodies, it’s the first step toward “compassionate self-care.”
  2. Watch your language! Kids catch on quick to what parents value. When Moms and Dads talk about fat and thin, diets and weight, children are more likely to be highly self-critical. This can be a slippery slope to body image problems and disordered eating.  Here are some ways to talk about weight in positive ways to children:
    • Always talk about health, not weight.
    • Getting healthy is always an option.
    • Don’t criticize or compare.
    • Don’t put foods or activities on the naughty/nice list. 
  3. Write it down. Take a long hard look at yourself and write down five things you love about your body. Yes. Five. Do you love your freckles? Do you love that you can walk anywhere you want? Do you love your arms so you can hug your children? Every time you think about another thing to love, write it down. Do not write down negatives.
  4. Put down the magazines, turn off the TV. Photoshop, makeup artists, special effects, and really tiny or freakishly in-shape actors are what we see every day. But in no way does the media mirror the reality of American men, women, and children. At all. Without being critical, notice the shapes and sizes of the people you work with, people at the grocery store and supermarket. I’d venture to say none of them look like Thor or Wonder Woman. There are so many ways to be beautiful and healthy. You’re one of them.
  5. Give yourself time. It takes so much time to construct a healthy body image, support the ones you love, and really become an advocate for health. We’ve been inundated by such negative messages for decades, it will take time to peel them away. So, please, give yourself time to nudge away the negative thoughts and really love your body.

Being kind and compassionate toward your body and the bodies of others are critical first steps toward making this resolution happen. I’m an advocate for Linda Bacon’s HAES – Health at Every Size. She writes, “Imagine a world where all bodies are valued and all people are supported in compassionate self-care.”

Imagine that!

Mary Jane Detroyer goals.2018

2018 Health Resolutions from NYC Registered Dietitian

Four Ways to Fall in Love with Food Again

Mary Jane Detroyer goals.2018

What comes to mind when you read: chocolate cake, cheesecake, thick slabs of bread with garlic butter, baklava, fettuccini, and paella? Somewhere along the line, Americans forgot how to love food. Everything decadent comes with a price tag and/or punishment (hours at the gym, days without anything sweet or fatty, weeks of juice cleanses and more). Dr. Linda Bacon writes in Health at Every Size, “When asked what came to mind upon hearing the words ‘chocolate cake’, Americans were most likely to connect it with ‘guilt’ while the French connected it with ‘celebration.’” 2018 is a year to celebrate! And during the month of January, I’m going to offer resolutions everyone can stick to. For my first blog of the New Year, I want to remind you of the pleasure of food and how a step to becoming healthier is not necessarily based on what we eat, instead how we eat. It’s time to fall in love with food again. Here are four ways to fall in love with food again, as an individual, as a family – no more guilt, just pleasure in every bite.

  1. celebrate.foodMake mealtime sacred: Every time we sit down to eat, it should be a time to be mindful of what is on our plates, how it got there, and how we can savor each bite. Yes. This means no more eating in the car and on the run. Whether we’re alone or with family and friends, take the time to sit, savor, and eat.
  2. Unplug: Silence is a rare commodity in our world. Everybody’s so busy taking photos of their meals and posting them, it’s almost as if we’re judging our meals by other people’s responses to the image of them as opposed to how they actually taste. So many live life through a screen. But when we’re distracted, not only do we overeat but also miss out on a lot of the stuff happening right then and there. So, instead of being distracted by the TV, our cell phones, computers and more, why not focus on what’s on our plates? Even if we’re alone, we should practice mindful eating by sitting at the table, enjoying the flavors, textures, and colors of our food, and immersing ourselves in a moment of silence.
  3. The meal doesn’t begin at the table. In Buddhist philosophy, the meal doesn’t begin when you have a steaming plate of food in front of you at the table. It begins during preparation. I’d argue it begins at the grocery store, and even before. When we consider where our food comes from, who grows it, who harvests, boxes and ships it, it’s a moment to reflect and be grateful. And when our children participate in the preparation of meals, it’s a powerful moment to teach gratitude, appreciation and awareness.
  4. french.crepeFood is history. Oftentimes the meals we prepare come from family recipes: our parents and grandparents. Some may come from recipes from trips we’ve taken or friends we’ve made along the way. Food is the way we can tell our family and life stories – one bite at a time. And sharing these flavor traditions with our children, friends, and people we love is a great way to celebrate life and food.

2018 is a year to celebrate flavors, our bodies, nutrition and health! Start the celebration by falling in love with food again. No more guilt! Happy New Year!

christmas.gift

Simplify the Holidays with These Favorite Gift Ideas from NYC Personal Trainer and Dietitian

This Holiday Season, Give Health

christmas.gift What do you give someone who has everything? There are only so many bottles of creams or cute mugs a person can have. And, honestly, so many of the things we give end up cluttering cupboards and, eventually, being handed down to someone else. I’m not Grinching here. I’m being real. So, I’ve decided to give a list of the best of the best – the best gifts for everyone on your list (from teachers and coaches to your mother-in-law to grandmother to your kids and neighbors). This year, for the holidays, give health. Here are 5 unique holiday gift ideas for everyone on your list!

  1. Give time: Give oodles and oodles of time. Don’t underestimate the power of carving out time to spend an afternoon with a child, with your husband, with a friend. Make homemade cards together. Friends of mine have an aunt that, each Christmas, invites each niece to ice cream and Christmas shopping. This has become tradition, and an afternoon with Aunt Gloria has become a favorite Christmas gift.
  2. beijingGive traditions: Share a favorite holiday recipe with your children. Have them make it for their teachers. Tell stories about growing up. Share old family photos. Start a new tradition, like having the family join a jingle jog. Go caroling. Get your kids involved in collecting toys or clothing for a local shelter. Giving traditions is the best way to create a lifetime of memories.
  3. Grow it! You don’t need a huge garden to enjoy the beauty of plants and herbs. There are fun seed subscription clubs for beginner to advanced gardeners. Or, head to your local gardening store to pick out some seeds and pots. These are great gifts for teachers, coaches, and the people involved in your or your children’s lives.
  4. ice-skatingGive activity: This is for everyone! Dance classes, a scuba course, or golf lessons – giving the gift of activity is a great way to not only give health but also time!! Whether you sign a child up for dance class, yoga, or spring league baseball, giving activities and the habit of sports is a gift of a lifetime. Kids that grow up being active are often adults that continue to be active. Basically, developing an activity mentality with kids is giving health.
  5. Give experiences: Instead of exchanging gifts, go somewhere … as a family. Get a CityPass for the family, and become tourists in your own town. Go to the movies. Download the NYC Public Library schedule, and get involved! Explore a nearby hiking trail. Visit the ocean. Climb a mountain. Go to the zoo. Explore a different neighborhood. Go away for a weekend. Go to a baseball game. Go paragliding or scuba diving. Go on a brewery tour or wine walk. There are so many unique things to give for the holidays that can fit every budget.

The holidays don’t have to be a glut of wrapping paper and time-sucks standing in line at the mall. The holidays are the perfect time of year to enjoy one another’s company and create new experiences outside of the consumerism vacuum. I wish everyone a happy holiday and New Year filled with promise, health, laughter and love. We’ll see you in 2018!

Pears

A Pear A Day … Celebrate National Pear Month with NYC Registered Dietitian

Creative Ways to Make Pears Part of Your Winter Recipes

Pears

The pear has always taken second seat to the celebrated apple. Luckily, December is National Pear Month (yes, this is a thing), and people are becoming pear aware.

Okay. All kidding aside, I really do want to take a moment to celebrate the often overlooked pear, its nutrition qualities, the varieties that exist, and the great ways you can incorporate pears into your December festivities. Plus, being in season (one of the only fruits in season, actually), you’re likely to get fresher pears at a lower price than other out-of-season fruits.

So, let’s talk about the pear, why I love them, and how you can make them part of your winter recipes. (It’s not just a December fruit!)

  • Pear Nutrition InfographicPears are crazy-high in fiber (20% of the recommended daily allowance), not to mention potassium (5% of the recommended daily allowance) and Vitamin C (10% of the recommended daily allowance).  The Institute of Medicine recommends 25 grams of fiber per day for women 50 and younger and 21 grams, per day, for women over 50.  For men, it’s 38 and 30 grams of fiber respectively. A pear is a great way to start the day.
  • Pears are a sweet, low-calorie option for the afternoon munchies. A medium-sized pear has about 100 calories and goes great with sharp cheeses, whole-grain bread, and/or crackers.
  • Pears actually ripen off the tree. (This fruit is crazy adaptable!) So bring home some hard pears and leave them out at room temperature for a couple of days.
  • There’s more than the Anjou – the classic, sweet, crispy green pear we’re used to picking up at the market. In fact, USA Pears claim there are over 3,000 pear varieties in the world. Some other interesting varieties include: Comice pears, sweet and juicy; Starkrimson pears, a gorgeous red color with a sweet, almost-floral; Asian pears, called apple pears, crisp and juicy, like an apple, but with a distinctive texture; Bosc pears, grainy and earthy. It’s National Pear Month so try out some of these unique, and tasty, varieties.
  • Who says pears can’t replace high-calorie fried foods for your holiday gatherings? Try these unique pear and beer pearings http://usapears.org/beer-pairings/  (couldn’t resist). With the holidays and so many high-calorie drinks, it’s easy to lose track of those extra calories. Partnering beer with pears is a smart way to indulge while keeping those calories in check.
  • PearsInstead of the typical sweets holiday tray, bring on the pears. Provide savory options (pears with prosciutto, cheddar dip, nut butter), or sweet (melted dark chocolate).
  • Fancy up your grilled cheese sandwich by making grilled cheese and pear sandwiches – adding that taste of sweet to balance out the heavy cheese. Manchego or sharp cheddar are great options. Try it with a crusty bread.  Other mouthwatering recipe options can be found at the USA Pears website.

As silly as it may seem, celebrating fruits is a great way to break out of our comfort zone. Most of my readers probably never realized you could make pear hummus, pear chutney, or pear toast. It’s exciting to use in-season fruits and vegetables and a smart way to ensure you get a variety of foods, nutrients, while reducing your carbon footprint… All this by celebrating the pear!

Winter Hiking

6 Tips from NYC Personal Trainer to Avoid the Winter Exercise Humdrums

Stay Active, Stay Warm, Stay Fit During Cold Winter Months

 

Winter Hiking

The fireplace is cozy. There’s a tin of cookies a neighbor has brought by. Outside is gray and drizzly. What’s another day camped out, drinking hot cocoa, staying inside?

With the exception of winter sports athletes who wait for that first snowfall, most people’s exercise habits decrease, if not completely disappear, during the winter months. As a personal trainer, much of my time is spent, in spring, coaxing my clients out of winter lethargy. But it doesn’t have to happen that way.

Before being sucked into the holiday-winter-no-exercise-high-calorie-foods trap, plan your winter exercise and stay active, stay warm, and stay fit during these cold winter months. Plus, winter brings cold and flu season. Instead of standing in line at the pharmacy and getting zapped by the latest strain of the latest virus, exercise can keep you healthy by boosting your immune system.

Here are 6 tips to avoid the winter exercise humdrums:

  1. It’s just winter:  Really. It’s not the end of the world. Winter happens every year. And, yet, we all seem to be surprised about it. So, instead of dreading the cold snaps and frosty mornings, prepare for them! (Because it’s going to happen again … and again … and again.) So, change the way you feel about winter weather.
  2. Skiing Winter ExerciseBundle up: Not the George Costanza winter-coat bundle up, instead, invest in good, quality gear. Long underwear should be either synthetic or wool, as well as socks. Cotton is not a good winter clothes choice. And it doesn’t have to cost a million. There are many second-hand stores in the NYC area that sell previously owned clothes. Be aware of how long you can be outside safely. And go outside! 
  3. Keep your brain active: Cozy up with a good book, a board game, crossword puzzle, or clear off a table in the corner with one of those 10,000-piece puzzles that is all blue sky! Our bodies go into a near comatose state while watching TV, so unplug and get those neurons bouncing around.
  4. Winter Exercise WalkingWalk … everywhere: Walk to the bus. Walk around your favorite museum. Walk while shopping, even if you’re not shopping. Walk the stairs. Park in the farthest spot. Walk to the park. Every step counts, and the more used to walking around the cold city, the better you’ll be! Download a walking app and make it a family affair.
  5. Winter Exercise SwimmingTry something new: Snowshoeing, ice skating, indoor swimming pools, winter hiking … most of these activities are just a subway ride away in New York City. Coax your office into doing a winter excursion, instead of the yearly high-calorie office party. Consider putting together a weekend outing group to explore these exercise opportunities with your family. Winter is just starting, so now is a great time to get hooked on a winter sport.
  6. Get a wingman: Working out is hard to do when it’s cold and there’s Netflix. So now is the time to succumb to peer pressure. Keep yourself accountable with a workout wingman. If you know that your friend is getting up before dawn to meet you to work out, it’s a great incentive to keep working out and keep a friend!

Here are just six easy ways to stay active during the winter. Let’s face it: winter happens. Finding creative ways to stay active during winter months is the best way to keep fit and healthy, and, in doing so, probably keep some of those nasty winter bugs away as well!

Healthy Thanksgiving Turkey

5 Tips on Celebrating a Healthy Thanksgiving from NYC Certified Personal Trainer and Dietitian

happy-thanksgiving-nyc-nutritionist

Right now, the web is flooded with articles about how to eat a nutritious Thanksgiving meal – cutting back on gravy, eating microscopic slices of pie, and, of course, carb-alert! Carb-alert! Carb-alert, oh my! Or, even more common, we’re inundated with articles that explain you how can, and must, burn off those Thanksgiving calories with exercise, juice cleanses and more.

I’ve read the articles as well. Trust me, I’m all for nutrition and exercise. But really, I’m for health. And Thanksgiving, taking the time to share a meal with family or friends, to be grateful for the abundance on our tables, to celebrate coming together, to share, to watch football or a movie together, is an incredibly healthy activity. One day of indulging in tradition, in special food, feeling stuffed even, is not unhealthy. Connection, love, and sharing is good for the mind, spirit and body.

I believe Thanksgiving gives us all a unique moment to reflect about our lives and our loved ones, the food on our table, and the time we spend together.

I’m asked a lot about what’s the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving from a personal trainer and dietitian point of view. So here are my favorite personal trainer and dietitian tips to a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.

  1. healthy.thanksgiving.dinnerEnjoy! Celebrate the tastes of your family’s traditions. Welcome new traditions and flavors as your family grows. Flavors are our history! Share recipes. Share stories. Write a Thanksgiving recipe book for your children, so they can celebrate with their friends and families.
  2. STOP. Stop. Take three breaths. Observe. Proceed. A way to be thankful on Thanksgiving and every day of the year is to practice mindful eating. Use all five senses to really celebrate every bite we take. Every bite that goes into our mouths nourishes us and is something to be grateful for.
  3. Slow down! Don’t rush to serve the table, serve the food, clean up the table and throw the pies out there. Take your time. If just for one day you decide to let the dishes pile in the sink, do it. Put your fork down between bites. Look around you. This is health. This is living.
  4. Say, “Thank you.Independent of religious beliefs, practicing gratitude at every meal is a way to reflect about not only the food, but also the people who grew the food, cultivated the food, transported the food, stocked grocery shelves with the food, prepared the food and more. Understanding the process of putting together a meal, being aware of its origins and ingredients, and recognizing the monumental effort that goes into creating this meal, and every meal, is something to celebrate every day.
  5. Healthy Thanksgiving TurkeyCelebrate, and share, abundance. Be mindful that having a table with a Thanksgiving meal is a gift, and it can be something we can share with others in need. So, donate to a local food pantry – time, money, or food. Make a casserole for a family you know doesn’t have enough food. Make family giving a habit (donating clothes, books, extra food etc. to charitable organizations) all year ‘round.

If Thanksgiving is the one day each year you get a chance to sit down with your family, focus on your family, love, the stories you can share … not calories and washboard abs.

I love this quote from Thoreau: I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.

Happy Thanksgiving!