Sunday, October 9, 2016

The "weight" of IG and the Macros.



Summer throwback to Norway - these amazing kids, this amazing place, an amazing journey.
 
How to begin this blog...After not posting since May, it's challenging to pick this back up and launch into all of the thoughts I feel compelled to share.

Around this time last year I was 6% body fat. I could see every striation of muscle and ligament in my torso. I was hovering around 120lbs, weighing myself daily, and fit into my skinniest of skinny jeans. I tracked every morsel of food that I ingested in the MyFitnessPal app. My decision on what to make for dinner or where and when to go out with my husband for date night were guided by 3 numbers - Protein/ Fat/ Carbs for the day. My value became measured by how close I was to "0" on those three numbers for the day as well as whether I was making 'progress' in my weight, leanness and ability to see more abs.

I believed I was 'in control' and equated happiness with that notion.

In August we headed to Mexico for vacation and I stopped logging in the app. The fact that this was such a struggle, literally breaking away from an addiction, was a huge warning sign for me. A couple of weeks later we headed to Norway and I continued to eat 'intuitively' without the app. Instead I focused on enjoying the integrity of real food and the experience that was there for the taking.

Being in Norway was a huge turning point for me, for my self worth, my self esteem. Looking back, the biggest contributing factors were that I was not logging my food AND I was not on Instagram/ FB etc. much. Coming home I started to evaluate why this trip and process had such an impact on me.

I think it is absolutely something to be congratulated and revered when someone makes such improvements in their quality of life resulting in their body composition changing. It is great when someone feels inspired to post a before and after and be proud of this change and commitment. However, what I do question is the mindset that 'leanness is all that matters" that has become an epidemic and running rampant on social media. It's impossible to go on Instagram and not be bombarded with selfies of abs, lean bodies and veins popping out of abdomens. Let me clarify, it's not the picture or the progress that I have issue with, it's not the preference on aesthetics or the desire to post your pride to the public. It's the fact that this is spiraling out of control to peoples' value is boiling down to their absolute level of leanness.

And here comes the controversy.... I question the Macro obsession and its' role in this. Yes, you can lean out and dial in your food to a degree that creates ultimate consistency and consequently minimal body fat. However, when that becomes the primary focus and life is controlled by numbers, the reflection in the mirror and before and afters, it's a problem. It's a disorder.

In my experience, I think the Macro's are a wonderful tool to get people on track and to create awareness withe what they are eating. I continue to recommend it to athletes who are new to the notion of improving their diet and quality of life. I am not worried about these people. I worry about those of us who are experienced and who have taken it to an extreme. It's as if there should be a 3-month limit on Macro'ing. After that point folks should take a break from tracking and do a gut check on whether their mindset is becoming polluted with the obsession to track and get leaner.

"Intuitive eating" while having balance should be the focus. It has taken me 5 months to feel comfortable with not logging, and I still haven't managed to delete the app from my phone. I cringe at public figures in our community that are continuing to preach that it doesn't matter what you are eating because you can still maintain your abs. Quality has taken a down turn in every way. Quality of food, quality of sourcing your food, quality of cooking, quality of social interactions, and quality of mindset.

This is MY experience, my journey and surely there are many people who have a completely different take on all of it. However, I post here on the chance that there is someone who might share this struggle or frustration and that they might see this and feel relief. My intent is not to piss off the people who are happy, TRULY happy, with their selfies and abs and not feeling imprisoned.

I am more than my body fat percentage. I am more valuable than how many abs are visible to the eye. I am more valuable to my family when I am teaching my kids about a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. I want my daughter to see me leading by example. I want to practice what I preach when I tell her that she should not feel insecure, unattractive and compare herself to people on social media. Most importantly, I want HER to know she is more than her size, her body fat and her weight.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Refocused.


 
Livy loo's favorite is the Bee Nuts shake and any of the grain free muffins! Always helps when you are not feeling up to snuff.

 
Funny face dinner pose. Acorn squash, red lentil and coconut milk soup, wild rice medley and fresh wild cod. 
 
 
Fresh cod...Fish is my favorite (and easy) thing to cook for our family!


Had these carrots in fridge so I cooked them up with a little olive oil and drizzled honey over them - I refuse to throw food away!

Homemade Bone Broth. Yes please.

Monday's cooking extravaganza - soups, cauliflower mash, brown rice stir fry...I think we are onto something here to cook regularly as a community. 
Salad with an over easy egg on top outside on the patio on a sunny day. No restaurant around can match that.
 
Death & Co. in the city. The most perfect bar crafting cocktails with more attention and care than you can imagine. Seating room only. 
  
Asparagus soup to kick off the Spring. So easy and tasty.



It has been a challenging couple of months and various scenarios have forced me to refocus and reconnect with my identity. But yesterday was pivotal - I swallowed my ego. It did not go down easily and smoothly but rather, I had to work at it and fight every moment.

Since I started CrossFit in 2008 there has been an element of competition involved - sectionals, regionals as an individual and as a team. CrossFit and competition with myself are synonymous. This past year when my back went out it brought all of that to a halt. No longer was it a choice to not be competitive but rather a necessity. It took months, but I have fought back from a state where I couldn't do more than walk. I have been so grateful to participate in CrossFit workouts and be healthy. Enter the Open. Enter the Ego.

I started the Open with the understanding that I had no expectations but rather acceptance that I would not be able to do all of the workouts and not be competitive. However, after surprising myself with a great performance in week 1, the temptation set in and my ego was fed. After 3 weeks of the Open I was enjoying being in the mix and started to lose sight of how far I had come since my injury last fall. I was getting greedy.

155# for a deadlift was a weight that I repped through in Diane without question. It was a moderate load. However, as of Thursday I had not lifted more than 115# off the ground in almost a year. Logic would tell me that this was not wise nor responsible. The ego told me that I could give it a try. You see, the ego loves to manipulate "identity" - it ties performance, achievements and success to what defines us.

27 reps.




I felt it. That split second where it feels like the wind got knocked out of me and a volt of electricity just surged into my back and down my leg. It was in that moment I got brought back to being unable to move, get up, lay down and walk. All of the pain flashed through my mind in that one rep where I felt that zing. I panicked.


That was it.


I put the bar down and walked away. Standing out in the lobby of the gym I heard everyone yelling and cheering for each other and I was mad at myself. I was frustrated. I was sad. For about 5 minutes I did what I've done for years - I was confused in thinking this workout meant something more than it did. I doubted myself and who I was because of a 13 minute exercise endeavor. I realized that this is what I do: I wrap up my identity in workouts, achievements, numbers on a scale.

In the same way the ego of workouts and numbers trapped my thinking, it was the same experience with the macros. This does not mean CrossFit or the Macros are wrong, bad or problematic. It simply means I had to refocus and create awareness around the temptation of the ego that creeps into those endeavors. The observable, measurable and repeatable mantra that we hold dear needs to be within reason and not become a prison.

Last week I deleted the My Fitness pal app from my phone. It was a huge relief. I have revisited enjoying food and feeding my body for health in the same way the past few months of CrossFit have been about enjoying participation and fitness. My identity is not a position on the leaderboard nor is it the success of hitting macro numbers every day.

This reminder will be a daily one for me. The realignment of values and focus seeps into everything in my day and a sense of freedom to focus on what is important and meaningful versus the peripheral. Each of us has a different definition of what those values and critical elements are, the reminder is to hold those things high and not let the rest define us.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Death of The Macros.

My new favorite place...Opened in September in Millburn NJ. Although I am not gluten intolerant nor will I be indulging in baked goods (paleo or not) daily, they have amazing espresso drinks and make their own coconut milk! They also crush the smoothie game....
I've always loved cold treats - shakes, ice cream, fro yo. Lately I've been whipping up my own shakes at home. This one is next on list to add to the arsenal.
 
 
Sunday is prep day. Sweet potatoes, carrots, fennel, onions...plenty of time to cook up these gems to have for dinner and then use for left overs tomorrow!
 
Sandwich for M on homemade bread: Avocado/ olive oil drizzle/ Organic turkey breast/ Organic VT cheddar. Made with Love!

 
When in doubt - a soft boiled egg atop anything makes it better. Arugula, avocado, balsamic drizzle, some left over cod and gluten free bread...
 
Truffle popcorn, good wine and an amazing gift from Iceland courtesy of my best friend...a mini carafe that has a line marked at 6 oz. She knows me well...

It's been a while since my last post, but in that time there's been quite a bit of discovery. I'm finally ready to get thoughts on 'paper' and share.

For just about 1 year now, I've been committed to the "Macros" and the "Flexible dieting" method. I have had the guidance of several Macro coaches and in that time I have played with numbers/ Refeeds/ timing etc. I have shared my highs and my successes as well as the value I found in this approach to eating with friends, family and our athletes. However, I also feel it is my responsibility  at this point to share my lows and hesitations having come full circle with this experiment.
 
For me, balance was always a challenge. There were items on my 'no' list and for the past 8 years, since my introduction to CF, I had accepted that fat wasn't evil and instead of fearing fat, the real enemy was processed sugar. At first exposure, the Macros gave me a sense of freedom and the ease of knowing I would not immediately put on weight or inches by having frozen yogurt or a donut every so often. I was able to enjoy some 'treats' with my kids without feeling the guilt that had previously been so prevalent. For a few months, the Macros felt like the perfect solution for me, as I finally found peace with food.

Fast forward a few months. The Macros has gained a tremendous amount of momentum in our community over the past couple of months - everyone is signing up to learn how to 'find their numbers' and work the My Fitness Pal app. Being lean has become THE validation of peoples' knowledge and general success. I can't scroll through my FB page without encountering a multitude of "before and after" selfies or photos of food that our community previously deemed to be a 'cheat' and now are part of a daily regiment. It has taken a drastic turn.

Personally, the momentum was building as well, however, in a very different way. I found myself consumed with my phone app. It was an appendage and was deserving of a place setting of its' own at our table for every meal. Date nights were being compromised because the idea of going out to a restaurant and relinquishing the control of cooking my food myself was daunting. I no longer felt a sense of freedom, but instead like I had simply moved from one prison cell to another.

I realize this part of my experience has everything to do with my history of an eating disorder. However, this 'disorder' was not limited to me. The real concern was what it did to Bill, someone who had previously had a healthy relationship with food until he embarked on the Macros. The disconnect from the quality of food and the experience was apparent. Food was being reduced to a number and an app - no longer an experience or something to feed the body when it needed it. When and what to eat was being determined by numbers - reduced to a binary code.

Eating disorders aside, there is an even bigger concern that we can all relate to. This trend is shifting toward the sacrifice of quality. While I do think is is possible for the Macros to be followed without this being the case, it is simply not happening. Instead, most people are choosing to focus on the "flexible" part of the program. It starts with opening the door to a donut here and there and seems to escalate to daily doses of processed foods and sugar. Posts from folks on the macros consist mostly of 'fake foods': protein cookies, drinks, and concoctions that 'hit their numbers' but rarely are the images of fruit, veggies or organic/ local high quality foods.

The truth is a calorie is not a calorie for our health. As a CrossFit L1 Seminar Staff member I stand in front of future L1 trainers on weekends and talk about hyperinsulinemia and the link to modern disease. We emphasize Quality first and then Quantity. Our prescription is both of these factors and as much of the time as possible. We don't promote taking short cuts and fitting in poor quality food as much as long as the numbers match up. 

Flexible dieting is giving people a high five and handshake for deviating from our prescription for health. It would be like CF coaches everywhere telling their athletes you can abandon mechanics at all costs in order to achieve intensity.  Forget threshold training and slight deviations from mechanically sound movement, the Macros approach is much more Machiavellian in that the emphasis is only on the ends, not the means. It violates our creed. It violates our integrity.

I know this post will not be well received by everyone, some of whom are friends. My intention is simply to share my honest experience and observations because I feel it is my responsibility as a professional. Can the macros be done with high quality, organic, local and non processed foods? Of course. Is that what is happening and how people are approaching it? No way. If people want the macros to maintain credibility they need to start emphasizing doing it with the quality we know is necessary for health.

For me, I am still tracking my quantities and using the app. That's the God's honest truth after all of this. However, I am committing to eliminating processed foods and returning to the original: "Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar".

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tough love.


Skip-bo has become the house favorite card game...although we've spiced up the rules a bit...
 
A little espresso to kick off a day of hunkering down, yum. I love the bialetti stove top maker.
 
  Chicken, salsa, coconut rice. Perfect and easy. 

Shrimp, butternut squash, guac, salsa, sour cream and cilantro to garnish. E-Z.


I have been accused in my life of having a 'tough love' approach that is not always effective. Perhaps that's true, perhaps not, however, what I do know is that I have a tremendous amount of empathy as well. Empathy as a coach with athletes, a mother and as a friend. The most effective motivators and mentors have the perfect balance of these two elements: tough love and empathy. 

To make change in one's life, true lifestyle habit change, takes tremendous honesty and effort. It is not something that someone stumbles upon and has accidental success with. On the contrary, it will take a lot of failed attempts, discomfort and an almost constant questioning of whether the 'juice is worth the squeeze'. However, there is one critical component that it will require in addition: support.

"Support"

  1. 1 :  to endure bravely or quietly :  bear
  2. 2a (1) :  to promote the interests or cause of (2) :  to uphold or defend as valid or right :  advocate <supports fair play> (3) :  to argue or vote for <supported the motion to lower taxes>b (1) :  assist, help <bombers supported the ground troops> (2) :  to act with (a star actor) (3) :  to bid in bridge so as to show support forc :  to provide with substantiation :  corroborate <support an alibi>
  3. 3a :  to pay the costs of :  maintain <support a family>b :  to provide a basis for the existence or subsistence of <the island could probably support three — A. B. C. Whipple> <support a habit>
  4. 4a :  to hold up or serve as a foundation or prop forb :  to maintain (a price) at a desired level by purchases or loans; also :  to maintain the price of by purchases or loans
  5. 5 :  to keep from fainting, yielding, or losing courage :  comfort
  6. 6 :  to keep (something) going
I've never actually looked up or read the definition before and in doing so it made me smile. Too often support feels like it is synonymous with enabling, however in reading the true definition it is so apparent that it is far more. Support is about the 'best interest', to 'endure', to 'keep from losing courage' and 'to keep something going'. None of those are feasible without some tough love and honesty.

As a coach and leader in our community, I take to heart each and every athlete and their quality of life. We constantly ask ourselves, 'what will make their experience better?" and "what will allow this individual more success at (xyz)?" The answers might not always align with what someone wants and certainly not what is the path of least resistance for them. However, the advice and solutions will not be adjusted or hidden because of their potential 'sting'. Enter the empathy. "I understand", "I've been there", "I AM there". It is crucial to embrace this piece of the individual's experience. This is the credibility that allows for the tough love to potentially follow.

Perhaps it is very obvious...but I am here as the coach to fulfill that role because it's not always an appropriate one for friends and family to fill in an individuals' life. Tough love and empathy relative to these lifestyle changes can can complicated when it's coming from someone in a more 'intimate' relationship. It can also be complicated because the goals of that individual that they require 'support' for may not align with other peoples' in their life. Their coach is their mentor and light at the end of the tunnel to assist.

Bringing this back to the realm of today and what is ahead for 2016 or even just tomorrow...we have a G360 kick off that has been pushed out until next Saturday. I understand lives are busy and there are things on the schedule that take priority. I know all too well the fear of signing up for something and disappointing yourself if you do not meet the 'perfection' you set out to achieve. I know what it is to be frustrated and feel like you are not doing the best job you can with yourself or your family's best interest. And I also understand that the thought of 'what am I really going to learn or get out of this' crosses ones mind. Empathy.

But.

Are you happy with your health? Are you making healthy food for your family 80% of the week? Are you responsibly fueling your kids now and for their futures? Do you feel good about yourself? and....How many excuses are you making about why you are not making the changes you want? Tough love.

We are not doing a 30 day challenge. We are not doing a 60 day challenge. We are doing a 1 day challenge. All you need is 1 day to decide you are going to try. 1 day to agree to embrace a little tough love from your coach and perhaps yourself, and take that first step. I promise you will be armed with resources, education and community. 

Today we are all snowed in. What a great day to sit down for 30 minutes and think about what you want and what challenge you might like to embrace relative to your health this year. Just maybe we can help you get there.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Push yourself.


So excited that I could do this workout today and that my back is making progress!!! It's amazing the perspective shift on workouts when you are injured. Very grateful for the process and the ability to move. Also grateful for the learning and perspective shift. Thanks CrossFit Linchpin for this one...

Resorted to the treadmill with the weather the past week...this was a good one! Trying to keep up 2x a week Endurance workout this year.

FULL CART! Tons of good proteins, veggies, frozen goods and more - 6 bags of groceries...$200 bucks!!! Love this place! (Just don't go on a Sunday between 11-4!)

My Aunt in Norway is the queen of homemade EVERYTHING. She works full time, has raised 2 kids and still finds the time to cook everything from scratch using the best ingredients. This was the prep for a chili relish that she jarred to use over the winter. It's a probiotic which is great for the body. A little teaser....plans in the works for a visit from her to host a cooking class as part of our G360 this Spring!

Quick, easy and very delicious meal the whole family enjoyed! Shrimp (bought precooked and just sauteed quickly with some taco seasoning in a pan to heat) with spicy corn salsa from TJ, Guac, Sour cream and a yummy tortilla topped with chopped cilantro. All measured out and in the MFP! 

Lagging a bit on my resolution, but still here to post! Day in the life theme continues...Monday I took a class at Soul cycle (my weekly guilty pleasure) with a new instructor, Erika. I am pretty picky about the instructors and who I want to spend 45 minutes on a bike with! The experience can be very challenging if you let it be and having the right tour guide that provides that opportunity is key.

Erika was off the bike (coaching from the floor vs riding the bike) due to an injury she was suffering from. To say the least it was 'challenging'. The combination of the class plan (hills/ sprints etc) with her cues and motivation was deadly...in the best way. During the class at one point as I thought I might die, she took a second to encourage the new folks and tell them what a great job they were doing. At that moment my immediate reaction was, "how the hell aren't they dead if they are new?!" 

But then I realized something...(and not necessarily relevant to newbies because for them the smart move is to ease into the intensity at first), NOT EVERYONE PUSHES THEMSELVES.

You may be thinking, "No shit!" But to me it was so obvious in that moment how much opportunity and progress is left on the table because we don't try or don't push out of our comfort zone. 

We talk about this so much at CrossFit, but I wonder how often we practice it - both in the workout and outside of the gym. How often do you really go for it. How many times to you think, 'I can go faster', and actually do it. Maybe it happens, but does it happen often enough?

In keeping with the theme of 'opportunities vs boundaries', you truly need to break past that automatic response that 'it's good enough' that you have established for yourself. And we all have it, regardless of our ability level.

Taking this beyond the gym is simple. What about in your relationships? Truly pushing your comfort zone with changing your behavior or your usual reaction. What about with your personal goals? Falling off the wagon is almost guaranteed...that in itself is not the 'boundary'. The boundary is not getting back on. Falling off the wagon is the opportunity. 

I would argue that if you are 'successful' and not pushing up against any boundaries in your life, you are void of opportunity. In essence, that has become your new boundary and limit. To fail is necessary.

For me, I typically see the opportunities to push through in workouts and physical endeavors, that is not so much of a hurdle. The personal, behavior opportunities are the ones I need to start taking vs shying away from. 

Wake up each day knowing you will be presented with that chance to push yourself. See if you can identify it. Here's the real catch...it might just mean backing off a little though and giving yourself a break.

Friday, January 8, 2016

A day in the life...


A friend, Paul, gave us the book "What to do when it's your turn" by Seth Godin. This excerpt is a great reminder for me daily...life keeps going and to make progress we MUST FAIL. And...things don't have to be ok all the time. Inevitably, they will not.
 
LOVE this snack! A piece of grainy bread (9 grain or wheat will do), homemade chocolate cashew butter (2:1:1 ratio of Cashew butter: local honey: unsweetened good quality cocoa). Sprinkle a little salt on top and good to go! (Yes, coffee and a Quest bar made their way in here too...Moved on from the Quest bars to Caffeine and Kilo and trying some new ones...more to come!)
 
I recently took myself off the Diary sharing option of My Fitness Pal. I've been working with a coach from Working Against Gravity, #TeamWag, and just need the accountability to her and me...that's it. I want to be helpful to friends, members, clients, but I also need to keep some things private for sanity sake! 

 
Last night I had a puzzle to solve of a little too much fat and not so much carbs left... it took some thinking, but I ended up with some apples sauteed in ghee with 1/2 cup whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top! Delicious!
 
One more creation....Hashbrowns (Alexa are the most flavorful but Trader Joe's are good too and a steal!), 1 oz avocado, 1 egg white and 1 over easy egg. Yum.

I decided to try sharing 'day in the life' and thoughts/ encounters I experience versus attempting to cram profound thoughts into 1 monthly (or so) post...One of the things I appreciate in Social Media is when I relate to some of my mentors. When I see that they too struggle and share my battles, that life is not simply a breeze on their side. It helps to know I'm not just failing miserably...Here was Wednesday/ Thursday snippets...

Wednesday 
Woke up and battled about whether or not to go to yoga. Pretty much a back and forth since Tuesday night but promised myself to just get there for the heat and the mindset if nothing else. THAT is arguably the true benefit for me beyond the stretches. Staring myself in the face, contemplating only that moment in which I'm existing with no phone and no pressure. And so I went. And it was well worth it. 

I would not be telling the full truth if I didn't add that my focus strayed multiple times to the world of comparison - women that are smaller, thinner, leaner, more flexible, more feminine, more elegant, prettier, had better hair, appeared more spiritual...the list goes on. It's amazing what goes through the mind at any given time. Instead of being critical of myself for having those thoughts I acknowledged them, accepted them and re-shifted my focus back to the task at hand.

This week is my second week working with Team Wag and my coach Ivette. I am working on patience and lasting results vs a quick fix and I have been trusting the process since I'm at a higher calorie count than I had previously been on. 

Made a killer pasta dish that I figured out all the macros for and enjoyed using my brain for the math. I understand it's time consuming, but it's definitely worth a few extra steps to have some say so in whether you are moving toward or away from your goals and commitments. I had not yet been doing any timing of food and decided I would start incorporating that into my efforts so I spent a few minutes planning Thursday. 

Thursday was going to be a full morning but there's something so satisfying about being prepared and planning ahead...and so I did.

Thursday
Hit the ground running! Today was the day I had planned to fulfill 35% of my carbohydrates prior to my workout...that was about 70 grams worth of carbs. Note to self, don't choose a food that is low density for a morning meal that necessitates that much food...I chose hashbrowns...so it was A LOT of food. in hindsight oatmeal would have been better! But, I did it, ate it all and got to the gym for a workout before coaching.

I've been ensuring time for proper warm-ups and the reverse hyper as I am just getting back to working out since the back injury. I am so grateful to be able to move again and want to be smart not to jeopardize that! 

The workout was 4 rounds total, and in the rest post round 4 I decided, 'why not', and I went for a 5th round. Sometimes there's something to be gained by silencing the battle in your mind and just saying "F*ck it", you're going to do this because you are able.

Thursday night my amazing husband drew me a bath as I was feeling like I might be coming down with his cold he had been battling all week and I had some time to myself to relax with bubbles and candlelight.

I quickly became aware of the strange anxious feeling I got as I had nothing to read, to look at, to do...Just lay there and think....

So I thought. 

Laying there looking at my legs poking up out of the water and my belly protruding beyond the bubbles I initially had negative thoughts about myself - "Why isn't my stomach more flat? Do my legs look too big? Too small?" But, I managed to switch that to a more positive process. I started instead reminiscing about all that my body has been through - 2 pregnancies, 4 years of competing in CF regionals, various phases of fitness to include but not limited to Ashtanga 5x a week, teaching 20 fitness classes a week, training for triathlons, marathons... and the list goes on. It's been through trauma, injury, anorexia, and flabbiness. It's been there through it all.

Thinking in that way made me smile at how amazing it really is. And I made a small vow to have that awareness of gratitude towards my body vs shame or disappointment. Having high expectations is
par for the course, but remembering a little praise is an important piece to include in the journey.

Last night ended with watching an episode of Homeland with Bill after getting the kids to bed. And I thought as I laid there with him about all the nights we slept alone, texted each other goodnight and promised to never take for granted the time together when it was a reality. And so I didn't. 

Closing my eyes knowing I did my best and that tomorrow would be filled with opportunities to feed the good and positive thoughts was a great end to the week.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Kamiwaza: opportunities or boundaries?

Christmas cozy. It was a great holiday season, but feels good to be in the New Year...

 
Breakfast at The Standard Hotel after a night of Death & Co. cocktails and dinner at The Polo Bar.


Livy is a natural rockclimber! Love testing fitness elsewhere.


The indoor Farmer's Market in Morristown. What a surprise to see all of these vendors inside!

Love this sign!

Purple sweet potatoes!

A great healthy bow of wild salmon, grains, strawberries and herbs...this was before the holiday food madness...a little fresh respite.

Can't get enough of the greek yogurt lately. Fage 0% with cashew butter and a little bit of honey with some apple slices is a perfect snack.

Trader Joes on January 3rd. Time to get real with cooking and good food again!

It's that time of year when "New year, new you" slogans and "New Year's goals" are everywhere you turn. The impetus is on making a change NOW and that a better version of you is on the horizon as you kick off the new year.


Don't get me wrong, I like any chance there is to set a goal and kick off a new routine/ ritual and look for self improvement. However, the question is what are we improving on? Is it something lasting and truly instrumental in who we are as people or is it something temporary and fleeting.

There is nothing wrong with setting a goal such as getting leaner, losing weight, or getting to the gym x many times per week. These are all still health related and when attained should make progress in terms of our longevity and general well being. However, if they are not attached to a why or a bigger internal compass, they have a good chance of fizzling out by the time Valentine's Day chocolates are in front of us.

Recently my favorite SoulCycle instructor, Christina, presented a choice in class - see an opportunity or set a boundary. Essentially - you can say Yes or choose to say No. This stuck with me as I thought about goals and how far we are willing to reach. The notion of "Kamiwaza" defines this beautifully. On Seth Godin's blog he explains this concept which has no exact translation in English:

"The Japanese have a term for this, which is “kamiwaza.” “Kamiwaza” means god-like, with no wasted motion, with confidence, and yes, with hubris. And so, when we see a cheetah running through the jungle, we see kamiwaza, because the cheetah could not run any better, any more fluidly, any more perfectly. But when human beings set out to do it, we check ourselves. We hold ourselves back. We imagine that a platform is for other people, not for us, because we haven’t been picked. Oprah didn’t call. Howard Schultz didn’t put us in charge of this steering committee. It turns out that in this new fluid economy, waiting isn’t going to be a particularly productive plan."

 Essentially, don't set boundaries so low...see the sky as the limit for opportunities. And, what better time to implement that notion then when you are establishing New Year's goals...So here goes my attempt...

One of my goals, like every other year and many other people in our gym, is to focus on my nutrition to the extent that it is all encompassing. I may have set boundaries on that in the past with rules, strict guidelines and numbers on the scale. However, this year I want to connect that goal to something bigger - self improvement. Nutrition, health, quality of life are all paramount to how I live and what I preach. To limit my goal to only hitting numbers in My Fitness Pal would be a waste.

How do I make this about self improvement? Cooking meals at home for my family. Sourcing out local farmer's markets, farms, establishing a co-op for the gym are all extensions that involve a process and learning. Meeting numbers is fine but meeting them with quality food like fruits and veggies vs processed foods is even better. Losing a few pounds or percents of leanness is always a goal, however, finding ease with whatever the number is on the scale and not letting that reflect my self worth is the true goal for the year.

I'm sure the natural response to all of this is something like, 'no shit'. The 'how' is the crux of the matter. The answer to this is that there is not answer. The answer is, be honest with yourself. The simple fact of checking in with yourself is that it has to happen regularly and it has to be sincere. That honesty and work is the no-ceiling approach to take.

Perfection doesn't dictate the end state, rather awareness.

Part of the honesty and awareness is answering the question of how hard are you willing to work? Regarding nutrition and making improvements...are you willing to take the time to shop and plan in advance? Are you willing to try new foods, recipes and learn? Are you willing to take the time to weight/ measure and do some calculations? Are you willing to not complain about all that you are 'giving up' and instead focus on how you want to feel and what you are looking to accomplish?

For me, those aren't necessarily the hurdle...for me, I am willing to do the work, the cooking etc. Instead, my challenge in goals surrounding nutrition are the notion of having them lead to self improvement. I need to check in regularly on if I'm using weight loss and 'hitting' numbers as a crutch or am I really connecting with my bigger picture of health. I need to ask myself if I am sacrificing experiences with friends, family etc. for hitting my numbers? Am I keeping things in perspective? All of this is an interesting exercise as it leads to other goals I have such as patience, having FUN, expanding my experiences and exposure.

I am excited about saying yes to opportunities and not letting everything be a low ceiling and a boundary. The 'what if's' can wait. After all, it's about the process, not the end state. Apply that to any one of your goals and you will have success this year for sure. A New year, not a New you, the same you, and that's perfect.