Being a Snowflake

I recently had a polite disagreement with an MS expert. His business is built on helping people with MS and we disagreed that the disease could be altered by changing a patient’s environment. 

I argued that diet, community, restoration, and exercise dramatically alters the direction of this disease. I defended my position by sharing my personal experience and his comeback was to remind me that MS is a snowflake disease. While we are all the same thing (diagnosed with MS) not one of us is the exact same. 

I would argue that he just won my argument and proved that was true for all chronic diseases.  Health is similar to a complex snowflake. There is not one easy answer or pill that will cure a disease. Chronic disease is influenced by the environment and the smallest habit modifications can have a lasting impact. It is almost impossible to compare another person living with the same diagnosis. We need to treat the person, and not the disease.

A snowflake is a result of a journey through the clouds from inception to its final resting place. Similarly, health is not defined by one moment in time whether it is good or bad because it is a long complex journey.

Eight years ago I gave up cereal, dairy, pasta, artificial sweeteners, english muffins, and  frozen yogurt. Those daily choices used to define my diet. I researched the importance of stress management and I recommitted to my health. My snowflake changed shape, but I was not cured.

Today, I am still down 40 pounds. I fantasize about cereal and english muffins, but they are not in my daily life. I meditate, I exercise. I practice regular yoga. Sometimes, I struggle with stress, and stay in bed eating my favorite caramels. My snowflake is constantly changing shape and it is unique to my journey.

During the holidays my disease took hold and I was living with an indescribable pain. After months, I wanted to throw in the towel. I was following the rules but weeping with pain at night. I thought it was unfair because I was doing so many things right.

For a brief moment I thought, f**k mediation just give me a bowl of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios with Skim Milk and and a banana. I would get angry thinking of people waking up pain-free downing bowls of cereal. Those non-meditating jerks were living a better life, so, why should I keep following all the rules?

Because, one good choice does not heal, and one bad choice does not make me sick. I am not the person I was 8 years ago or the same person I was last year. I will be a different person tomorrow,

Being kind to myself and patient with my body was important to heal this time. I visualized what throwing in the towel would look like. I wasn’t happier 8 years ago eating cereal every morning for breakfast. Eating frozen yogurt on the couch while I watched The Biggest Loser was comfortable but not fulfilling, so, why was I so angry? 

I was angry with the short term results, not the process. Honestly, the process is the best part. I love the person I have become in the past 8 years. I still love that person who ate frozen yogurt on the couch eight years ago. I need to accept and embrace my snowflake. I will never be angry with past choices because it has led me here.

Even when I get frustrated with the journey that will just help shape me and not destroy me.  I am stronger because of my pain. I am better because of my successes. I will have weak moments and phenomenal celebrations in my future.

Getting out of a rut

At least they are gluten free

I am constantly helping people get back on track, so, what happens when I hit a low point? I embrace my low points because I realize it is the only way to get back up.  

Last Thursday was particularly challenging. I let my family know it was a low point before I changed into my running clothes and strapped on my running sneakers. I tried to go for a run but instead I drove to Trader Joe’s(just walking distance from my house), bought my favorite chocolates, and cuddled in bed with Netflix. I had to text my husband because I couldn’t find the remote control. The good news is that there is an app I could download to watch Frankie and Grace in bed with my dream chocolates. I watched way too many episodes in my chocolate covered sheets. 

When my family learned about my tough day they all bought me the same chocolates from Trader Joe’s. When I finally got out of bed for dinner I realized my husband bought me my favorite ice-cream with hot fudge and caramel. So, instead of dinner I ate ice cream and tried to sleep, but the sugar kept me up until 2 am.  

Surprisingly, eating a lot of sugar did not provide a solution to my stressful day. I embraced my low point and at 2 am wrote down a meal plan and workout schedule for the following three days. 

My plan had one big obstacle…my work week was crazy. I might not have time to even get my first workout in, but I set my alarm for 4 am, and worked out at 5 am. I jumped over that first hurdle and I was back on a normal schedule.  

We are allowed to struggle and not feel good. We are allowed to choose a day and time to start to feel better. If we truly love ourselves then we shouldn’t punish ourselves for not being perfect. If we really care about our family then we should always choose a healthier lifestyle as soon as possible with no judgement for past bad choices. 

Please let our team hold your hand jump over those first hurdles. You are not alone in struggling.

Yours in health,

Nicole

Unfamiliar Territory

Dear Pat’s Nation,

We are in unfamiliar territory. The Pats are done for the year.  We don’t know the future of Belichick or Brady.  No one is in the mood to purchase TB12 meals

How do we move forward with so much uncertainty in our future?  No worries because your embody Pollyana is here to look on the bright side. I can think of 4 reasons to be excited for January in New England.

  1. Every single weekend in January just opened up for your entire family.
  2. Time to do household chores just increased dramatically. 
  3. Happy Birthday to all Capricorns and Aquarius out there. You have a birthday party planning freedom for the first time in 10 years. This is a particularly important for anyone 10 years old or younger. 
  4. On a personal note, anyone who is a fitness industry employee just became available to work an additional day of the week, and we are excited to offer you even more classes in services in January.

Let’s focus on number 4 for a little.  For the first time in 10 years, I am not concerned about the staff this month. I won’t have to find coverage or have zero attendance on big game days. I don’t need to coach members on food choices during football parties. So let’s celebrate a new January for New Englanders by getting excited for everything that January now has to offer at embody.

Today 

Join us at 4 for the new Tai Chi

January 12th-January 19th

Bring a Friend Week. You will get an embody gift for every friend who joins the program. Don’t let your friend commit to a gym with intense contracts and minimal results.  Encourage them to join a program that promotes the exact opposite. Results without any long term commitments. (My friends are coming this week because they couldn’t wait. Make sure you welcome them the embody way.)

January 15th 

Winter Reboot. Get pumped for a new meal plan, new stress reducing program and new equipment.

January 18th 2-4 pm

Bring a friend and join us for the “No Diet” talk with Wholistic Health Alliance. There will be great information, and as always, healthy and delicious food. 

No Treadmill for My Gym

On January 15th, we will unveil our new equipment. We are working towards creating our dream studio, slowly with input from our community. On January 1st, we were on the fence about a piece of equipment, and headed to a local gym to try out the fancy treadmill. We walked three floors of shiny equipment and were in awe. The facility was gorgeous! We saw cardio equipment lined up in front of the window facing a beautiful warm winter day.  I get it. If you sign up for the gym because of the amazing facility you are obligated to get your money’s worth. Even worse, if you sign your family up for a membership, everyone has to use the gym. You start making decisions like going to the gym to walk on a treadmill on a beautiful day. The fitness industry encourages people to drive around a parking lot to find the closest parking space, and limit more outdoor time so they can walk on a treadmill inside, or even worse go on an elliptical and watch Law and Order. 

While in Paris, I couldn’t help but research the fitness industry. Everyone was smoking and drinking as they walked past small fitness studios with very few people inside.I could barely walk or run the streets of Paris because they were so packed with pedestrians and bikes. I never saw a three story building filled with gym equipment. So why do I think people in France live longer? Well, I am not a scientist and have not done any real analysis but I do think the fitness industry in the U.S is not helping with our stress or helping us get healthier. There is no shortage of research on the French culture and their longevity.  “The French Paradox” was coined to describe this cream sauce eating, heavy smoking culture. Well, why I wouldn’t advise taking up smoking, I would like to point out my observations while in Paris. Parisians sit and eat and respect their meal (and themselves). There is no take meal in the car on the way somewhere. Parisians walk to markets and enjoy feeling healthy. There is evident pride in one’s health directly related to their meals and movement. I learned so much by being immersed in this culture. In fact, my first piece of advice for many new members at embody has always been to cancel all gym membership and stop working out so much. The advice works. Our members lose weight and feel better.

When we drove home from the exquisite fitness facility, we passed fewer people walking on the bike path on a perfect day than we saw in that facility. A lot of people set goals in January.  Exercise is a wonderful gift to give yourself, but don’t feel like it has to happen with fancy equipment under artificial lighting. If you hire a trainer remind them you are training to live an active lifestyle. Although the facility we toured was beautiful,  the bike path on a sunny day is far superior. The high end facility is not as healthy as walking to Trader Joe’s and preparing a meal with real food in your kitchen. We are more committed than ever to providing our members with a program that focuses on stress management and great doctors appointments.  We want to aggressively get the message out there.  

The fitness industry is frustrating but the only thing I am more frustrated with is social media rants with no real solutions. Here is definitely my rant, but also a solution. Here are some of my favorite outdoor activities in the area.  https://www.paddleboston.com/skitrack/skitrack.php  http://www.greatbrookski.com/  http://minutemanbikeway.org/ https://bostonfrogpond.com/

In addition, embody wants to help.  We have created a running group for our members that continues year round!   Also, if your friend joins embody during the month of January, you get a free gift from us. You get our favorite embody sweatshirt to wear on the couch after doing something fun outside. Also, we will support that outdoor activity goal.  Here are some ideas; 5k, cross country skiing day pass, outdoor skating, or downhill skiing, dog walking, walking to any walkable errand. Let’s celebrate your commitment to embody by using that body to be active. The only rule is that it has to be outside!  A gym needs to be place to train for your life and not a place to spend your life.

BTW Are we buying that treadmill? No, we decided that a running group would be a better investment in our members.  

My Road to 50 Miles

I have lived with lupus most of my life, and on the 8th Anniversary of my MS diagnosis, I ran the JFK 50 miler. I wouldn’t have considered running if my coach, business partner, and friend had not tricked me into training. I would not have survived the run without her.

The training was brutal! I had to train my body to do things that weren’t natural for me. Eating sugar again and eating sugar while running was a shock to my system. It was challenging but thanks to great public bathrooms, I survived. Running multiple times in a day and giving up on having good hair was tough, but in the end my legs could run two marathons in 48 hours without any side effects(except bad hair). My training plan was so good that I was over confident at the start line. It only took 6 hours of running the JFK 50 miler for me to begin to question my ability complete 50 miles in one day.

It was a difficult course that brought me through the Appalachian Trail for miles with blood soaked stones and runners with broken bones. Falling was common and a just a little scary for someone with MS. I felt like I should where a t-shirt that said, “You have no idea.” I kept thinking that it was irresponsible for someone with a balance issue to navigate this trail but I survived. I remember another runner saying, “You won’t win the race here but you could lose it.” Her words were in my head for miles and I made up the time on the flats.

The entire run was filled with pain, joy, and lessons.

The course is known for its support and I was not disappointed. Food, gatorade, water, Christmas cookies and even Santa was available. The volunteers and runners were the best part! The veteran runners loved offering advice and when you have endless miles to run any guidance is welcomed. People only wanted to finish and no one seemed to care about their time. I discovered that runners considered their past attempts as opportunities to learn and never failures. These veterans had great advice about slowing down and enjoying the experience and views.

And, then there were times that I was alone for a long periods and lived off the messages and supportive words I received before the run. I had a hard time falling asleep the night before because my phone kept alerting me to the flood of support.

Every once in awhile a medic on bike would ride past me with more words of encouragement like, “You are looking better than most of the people.” I started to get concerned for most of the people and questioned the logic of running this type of race. But, I also wondered how they knew just what to say to keep me going. Being reminded that I wasn’t alone in my pain and suffering gave me some weird type of solace. When things got really bad I thought of my daughter who reminded me to stop if my health was in jeopardy and weighed that against my desire to finish. I kept checking my body for any noticeable signs but felt strong.

Just like life you can prepare as much as you want but in reality it is in the moment that we learn how to run the race. The last 30 miles were tough and most runners would run/walk which lead to this amazing game of leapfrog. You would pass a struggling walker who would pass you in just a few feet. I would spend hours with the same people getting to know them at their most vulnerable moments which lead to a contest of supportive of words. “You are doing awesome.” “You are crushing it.” “Where are you from?” “You are probably a very fast marathon runner.” “Those are really short shorts, you must be freezing, but I am impressed.” “Please go ahead of me and run like the gazelle you are.” For a compliment hoar like me it was truly heavenly. I love giving as much as receiving when it comes to encouragement and this was a love fest for my type of people. Apparently, people who lacked the common sense to not sign up for a 50 miler were my people. I desperately wanted these strangers to cross the finish line.

In the end I finished in a respectable time. I received a medal that will be one of my proudest medals. I called my husband immediately to thank him for the years of support and quickly went to the medical tent. As soon as I listed my medical history I had every medical professional in the facility hovering around my cot. I always have to manage my chronic diseases but Dr. Google didn’t have any research articles of what to expect after running 50 miles with lupus and MS. I agreed to an ambulance ride because my daughters words were in my head.

The paramedics and intake nurse were fascinated with my disease management and had a lot of questions. I was reminded of the magnitude of the feat. A 46 year old women living with lupus and MS finished a 50 mile ultra marathon. I was discharged early because rest was more important than being observed at the hospital.,

The run was a great reminder of how I am surviving two chronic disease. I learned so much from training and running the race that will keep me moving forward as I face new roadblocks….and I will face new ones. Here are the top 10 things I learned:

1. Coffee shops have the best bathrooms.

2. I am only as good as my coach and my ability to listen to her.

3. I will always chose the path with no regrets.

4. Past attempts are not failures if you keep learning from them.

5. I feed off my community and their words.

6. Other peoples success fuels me.

7. I am not cured of chronic disease but I will have some great days.

8. Accepting the limits of diagnosis is challenging but necessary, especially for the people I love.

9. Grilled cheese at mile 32 is not appealing.

10. Check the weather before I pack shorts.

Bye-Bye Back Boobs

“Mom, you lost your back boobs.” I can still remember hugging the hubby in a tank top when my girls made the announcement at dinner. My back wavered between a B and C-cup for nearly 3 decades of my life. So, how did I get rid of my back fat in my 40’s? I did a million toning classes…just kidding. Did I get cool-sculpting at a Medispa? Nope. Actually, I lost my back fat when I quit the the gym and stopped dieting. That’s right, I lost my back fat by cutting down my fitness classes and eating more food!

Let’s focus on the myths associated with getting rid of body-fat.

Getting toned is a made up phrase. There is no class that will tone your muscles. Burning fat and increasing muscle requires a holistic approach to fitness.

Spot training doesn’t work. One million lat pull downs will not get rid of your C-cup back boobs. 1200 tricep extensions will not get rid of batwing arms. Six millions sit-ups will not get you a 6 pack…but it could get you a trip to the hospital with a possible muscle strain.

You can not burn the fat off your body by cutting calories and adding more cardio. I am convinced that formula was the reason why I gained 40 pounds in my 20’s and basically hovered around that weight until I hit my 40’s and I lost 40 pounds. Overrestricting the amount of calories the body gets and increasing the amount of energy production usually sends the body into survival conservation mode, aka: not burning calories.

Hormonal shifts related to our age are not the reason we put on fat. This can signal our bodies WHERE to put the fat, but we are in control of the calorie surplus. However, years of engrained beliefs, dieting and poor habits can wreak havoc on your hormones and metabolic rate. The fountain of youth is real and comes from a healthy lifestyle.

THree best ways to get rid of back fat

Posture

Grab a bag of sugar (I know it will be hard to find in your kitchen) and sit it on the counter. Now, gently pull up on that bag of sugar and notice the difference. Does that bag look thinner? Bad posture can add the appearance of 15 pounds of fat in a second. Focus on improving core muscles and fix the posture muscles that are going slack with too much computer and phone time. Functional training, yoga and pilates are the best ways to support good posture. This is one of the fastest ways to see immediate results while having the additional benefit of helping with injury prevention.

HIIT Workouts

Tons of cardio will only add stress to your already stressful life. I was teaching a spin class, going for run, and teaching another spin class when my 39 year old photo was taken. I would keep my calories close to 1200 just to be in a calories deficit. I was always taught a 500 calorie deficit meant one pound a week of weight loss. Too many workouts without proper nutrition actually causes weight gain. Use targeted HIIT workouts (25 minute high intensity interval training) to challenge your body and maximize your time and effort.

Eliminate sugar

Don’t track another calorie if you want to lose fat! Our bodies need calories for energy. Limiting those calories can be dangerous to our metabolism. And sure, not all calories are created equal. Our body does not need the amount of sugar that is in average meal or drink. For example, a Chai Latte at Starbucks has 56 grams of sugar. This is too much sugar for anyone in a single day. It’s even scarier that many of us consider that Chai Latte a healthy cup of tea. Tracking and eliminating sugars is only a piece of the puzzle. Be careful when it comes to following grams of sugar on a meal-tracking app. Artificial sweeteners don’t show up on those apps which can be deceiving. Artificial sweeteners need to be managed for many reasons. I lost 5 pounds in one week when I gave up all artificial sweeteners.

Research shows that consuming artificial sweeteners leads to over-consuming calories from other sources. Leading the brain to think it is getting sugar, and then not handing it over creates a sugar seeking brain and an unsatisfied appetite. Adapting your tastebuds to less sweet flavors doesn’t truly take that long, and is healthier in the long run over artificial sweeteners – all artificial sweeteners. Even the ones from plants. Years ago, I would say that artificial sweeteners should only be used in the event someone could not manage blood sugars, in the case of diabetes (which is why these sugars evolved) but research, science and the nutrition environment has changed dramatically over the last 15 years, and I say without hesitation, that no one needs to be consuming an artificial sweetener. Work to get sugar out of your routine, and then once in awhile is fine. Some folks do not manage that reintroduction well and may need years of sugar free life before reintroducing it to be successful, but it is possible.

Anne Rollins MS CSSD RD LDN

Final thoughts

There is no quick fix when it comes to fat loss. Successful long term fat loss requires changing habits. The hardest part of changing habits is getting into the rhythm of success. Find a plan that works and stay accountable.

embody The Lifestyle.

Getting healthy after vacation

I just celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. My husband and I are almost 50 years old and at our healthiest as a couple. We climbed two mountains over 8000 feet combined in less than 24 hours. In addition to our age and the fact, our marriage lasted, what makes this story interesting is our journey up to those mountains. My husband is recovering from a blood clot in his leg and I am living with lupus and MS. My husband was in the emergency three months ago(weighing 20 pounds more) and I am the middle of training for a 50-miler and haven’t missed a day of training.

How did we beat the odds? How did my husband lose 20 pounds in three months and recover from a serious medical condition? A healthy lifestyle. How do I maintain a 40-pound weight loss and manage chronic disease while training for a 50-miler? A healthy lifestyle. It is hard to stay motivated and vacation can derail anyone. I am sharing my plan to get back to my healthy lifestyle after vacation. I am not worried about the 5.8 pounds I gained on vacation because of my concrete plan to get back on track.

Define the vacation. The first thing I do is define the vacation. Is this a one-time vacation experience, or is the vacation an extension of my current lifestyle? Traveling for my 25th wedding anniversary is a one-time-only experience that I won’t get back unless I get divorced and remarried and even that will take another 25 years. If I was visiting our family’s summer house that would be a different vacation and plan.

Defining my vacation helps set the rules for my time off. A one-time vacation means I go off the plan completely. I had wine every night and ordered for the experience of trying different things. A family vacation is a recurring event that requires a minor deviation from the plan. I will have an extra night with wine and chocolate but stick with my healthy habits. I make most of the meals at home and order with a plan at a restaurant. I would not expect to gain 5.8 pounds in 5 days.

Go out with BANG! On the drive home, I started designing my post-vacation meal plan as I was finishing a package of Twizzlers and ordering pizza. It was important for me to have no regrets because I am was going hardcore the next morning.

Don’t let the last supper become a habit that is harder to break. I threw away the last piece of pizza the next morning. I don’t even know where that last Twizzler went. My last supper ended with no regrets and no do-overs.

Weigh-in with no judgment. It will be impossible to measure my healthy choices without understanding my starting point. I gained 5.8 pounds in 5 days. I loved that massive double-sided pecan turtle. I devoured my favorite pizza. The scale will not be a surprise at my next doctor’s appointment if I step on it today. I have learned to have a healthy relationship with the scale.

I am excited about my weigh-in next week! My weekly weigh-in will keep me on track after 8 pm. After 8 pm is the hardest time for me to stay motivated and without accountability, I will just start shopping for pajama jeans at 9:30 and grab some ice cream.

Don’t abandon the best parts of a vacation. I slept eleven hours the first night. I meditated two times a day. I spent hours unplugged. We go on vacation to reset our button and that is something that will only help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I plan on adopting new healthy habits to continue managing my stress. Starting tomorrow I am eliminating any screen time while I eat for at least one week. I will continue meditating two times a day. I will add more daily vacations from life this summer by setting new fitness goals.

My commitment to restoration over the past year was key to a pain-free hike. I muscled through chronic knee pain for all my past hikes from the time I was eighteen. A big shout out to John my acupressurist. I have only missed one appointment in the past six months and that commitment paid off with my best performances on a mountain while training for my first 50-miler. I am pain-free thanks to a commitment to acupressure. I did not have a massage at the spa we stayed at but I can’t wait for my regular appointment with John.

My vacation was wonderful. I had time off from cooking and cleaning. I hiked over 8000 feet in two days which justified the homemade pasta with truffles for dinner. I am not sure it justified wine every night but years of disciplined eating did justify taking a break from my routine. My vacation would not have been possible without a healthy lifestyle.

I am excited for my hubby. I wouldn’t have been a great partner for my husband during his recovery if I did walk the talk. There is nothing more annoying than telling someone to eat healthy as you enjoy bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. We love cooking together and ran together for the first time in years.

I am sharing my reboot meal plan with the majority of the ingredients from the Farmers Market because a healthy lifestyle tastes delicious. https://embodythelifestyle.net/farmers-market-recipes/

Tips to Stay Motivated

So I am currently training for my first 50-miler and I was recently diagnosed with a severe nickel allergy. This weekend was a double whammy. It was hot and I was hungry. My options were limited because I am following a nickel free diet and I have a strict training schedule.

When you have MS the heat will aggravate symptoms so it is a great reason to stay in a room with A/C. The nickel content in most processed foods is very low. This weekend life would have been a lot easier to rent movies and eat pizza in the A/C. So, how did I stay motivated with all these great excuses?

Visualization is a key to managing temptation. How would I feel in 30 minutes after I finish that pizza. How would I feel if I woke up at a normal time and couldn’t run all day?

Commit to a schedule. If I am struggling with my nutrition, I pick a day to start eating better. My workouts are scheduled with a purpose which makes it easy to stay on track. I keep my goals realistic and attainable.

Support from the community. I announce my goals to the people around me. I look for friends and family willing to keep me accountable.

The only reason to be immobile is if we are concerned with risk of paralysis. Otherwise, you need to move. I can not think of a reason to eat processed foods, but I am sure I will hear some great reasons from members this week.

It is very easy to slip into bad habits especially with valid excuses. We should never put our health on the back-burner too long. Today is the perfect day to feel better.

Reckoning Day

Yesterday, my iPhone TouchID was able to recognize my thumb print for the first time in a long time. My skin had been so inflamed that my fingertips and toes were unrecognizable. I lost the feeling of touch 6 months ago.  You don’t realize how important the sense of touch is until it is lost.  

Any new symptom that could be related to my lupus or MS forces me to pivot with my plan, while remaining focused on the ultimate goal. I also schedule an appointment with my rheumatologist and neurologist when I start to notice new symptoms. Food is my medicine, exercise is my therapy, restoration is my cure. I implement lifestyle modifications while I wait for the appointment.
I consider myself a healthy person, but it is hard for anyone to be perfect all the time.  My body speaks volumes and I adjust. I am the most important member of my healthcare team.

Before I met with my team of doctors:
I recognized any new or old stressors and either cut the stressor out of my life or figured a way to change my reaction. Thank you, Goose, for your awesome advice.  
I embraced more restorative treatments and classes.
I listened to a trusted coach about my workouts. Thanks, Anne!!!SMXLL

I further modified my already healthy meal plan and started the AIP.A Week in The Life of AIP

By the time I met with my doctors, my skin had dramatically improved and most of the worst symptoms were gone…for now. I have now been on the AIP meal plan for 30 days.
How my body has changed:
In the last 6 days I ran over 45 miles with no pain. This is a big feat for anyone with MS or Lupus.
In the past 3 weeks my vertigo finally disappeared. I had lived with it for three months.
I am down 9 pounds and 3% body fat, without focusing on weight loss.
My brain and neck scan were “unremarkable”. Unremarkable is remarkable with my chronic diseases.
My blood work was great.
Daily habits
Breakfast:Breakfast Hash with bacon and avocado.Caffeine free tea
Snack:Fruit
Lunch:Tuna fish with salad, or any leftovers from dinner.
Dinner:One-pan chicken(check out recipes in our AIP plan for details)
64 oz. of water
Weekly Habits
60 minutes of outdoor exercise, 6 days a week
1-2 restorative classes:Yoga, Yogilates, Pilates, and Tai Chi
1-3 restorative treatments a week:Normatec Boots, massage, and acupressure
2 functional training sessions a weekI always jump into sessions at embody.
Being disciplined is a choice but the alternative is terrifying.  People always seem worried about giving up a favorite habit.
How can I drink coffee without cream?   I have such a sweet tooth?I love my spin classes?
I like to respond with some of my favorite reasons to balance your lifestyle.
It’s fun to ace all your medical tests.Your sleep will improve.And you will need a new wardrobe.

How are you balancing your lifestyle? 

​​SMLXL

A Week in the Life on AIP

I started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) 4 weeks ago. It means I eat when I am hungry. I don’t focus on limiting macros. I drink a lot of water. 
I am going to share some of the tricks I discovered to stay on plan while traveling and facing temptation.
On The RoadI didn’t have time to pack food before I left to watch my daughter play softball for a few hours. The field she plays on is surrounded by some tempting restaurants, and on top of that I was planning to drive to Philadelphia after the game. 
Before the game, I drove to Whole Foods and quickly purchased a package of turkey breast, salami, avocado, and citrus fruit on sale and organic strawberries. I grabbed everything I would need in order to eat (like utensils and napkins) and a large water to wash it all down. SLXLM

​​MXLLS

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On the field’s sidelines I wrapped a slice of avocado with deli meat and ate until I was satiated. I watched the games and then drove to Philadelphia with my other daughter, eating the leftovers in the car while she drove.  
I was staying overnight in my daughters apartment and we both needed a fast dinner after a long trip to Philadelphia. Instead of giving in to all of the temptations of fast foods places, or the amazing restaurants that line the streets, we stopped at the most basic of all supermarkets. 
We purchased chicken breasts, avocado oil, broccoli, ginger root, garlic, scallions, and coconut aminos.
When we got to the apartment, I heated the avocado oil, fresh garlic and ginger in a cast iron skillet.  I sautéed the broccoli, added sliced chicken and garlic coconut aminos, and then finished by adding fresh sliced scallions. Dinner was ready in 30 minutes (and that was with a bad stove).
I felt great on the trip and I drove back home feeling awesome. 
I always pack my sneakers for every trip.  I scheduled my long run when my daughter was going to busy. I ate some dates on my long run for the extra fuel. After the run, I ditched my car and enjoyed the city on my legs.  SLXLM

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At HomeAt home, during the week, I ate breakfast hash or leftovers from dinner or lunch for every meal.
A few of my favorite dinner and lunch options for the week were:
1. Asian Inspired Soup
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cubed, 3 inch pieces1 small Napa cabbage, halved and sliced thinly 64 oz bone broth4 carrots, diced3 shallots, diced1 stalk lemongrass2 inches peeled fresh ginger salt1 tsp fish oil2 tbsp coconut aminos
-Saute shallots and carrots in instant pot until soft-Add pork shoulder, coat with salt and saute until browned-Cancel saute function. Add bone broth, ginger, lemongrass and more salt, stir. Close instant pot, set valve to sealing and turn on high pressure for 17 min.-Once cooking is complete, cover instant pot valve with a dishtowel and turn to venting. -Once pressure is released/venting is done, open instant pot and use a fork to pull apart pork. -Put in napa cabbage. Close instant pot, set valve to sealing and put on high pressure for one minute. -Once instant pot is done, release valve, add fish oil and coconut aminos, adjusting to taste, then serve.
2. Tuna fish salad
1 can of  Wild Planet tuna mixed with a small avocado, garlic powder, salt, lemon, and 1 tsp of avocado oil.
Add to a bed of greens and add greek seasoning with 2 parts olive oil and 1 part red wine vinegar.
3. FruitSLXLM

This doesn’t need much explanation. Fresh fruit is always amazing.
Staying On when Dining Out
Maggiano’s Little Italy
Dinner reservations weren’t until 8:30, and the day had been another long one sitting and watching softball.  Dinner plans at Maggiano’s could be a recipe for disaster, with some of my favorite meals on the menu.  
Instead of the chicken parm I would normally get, I chose a Center-Cut Filet Mignon and asparagus, trading the potatoes for a side of spinach.  I enjoyed a glass of dry red wine with the meal, which is allowed on AIP.

Porter Bar and Grill
I researched the restaurant and couldn’t find anything great on plan, so I decided to eat before I went. While I was there I had a glass of dry red wine. To me, nothing looked appealing and it helped that I knew it was not going to be a late night.
When I got home, I ate some yummy leftovers. While this may not work in all situations, this certainly works for some. Exhaust all your options when navigating the outside world of food before going off plan.