How Positive Alliances Produce Real Change

This week I had the chance to participate in a multi-day communications seminar. And before you ask, no it wasn’t one of those cliché “Rah! Rah! You can do it!” seminars. It centered around the importance of effective communication in both your work life and personal life.

One of the biggest rules was email and texting are NOT communicating. They are a means to share information but only talking (preferably in person) is considered having a conversation. That struck me since as a millennial I think my first inclination is to just communicate as fast as possible with text and email.

Even more importantly I learned how real conversations and listening to people without interjecting allows for the conversation to become much deeper. Sometimes silence is the best decision.

Huddle-up team

When I left this seminar, I realized that I had a new perspective and felt much closer to those who attended it with me. The quote I remember most from one of the speakers was: “You are the average of the ten adults you spend the most time with.”

It was that statement that lead me to think about change. Not just about being confident enough to make a change but why having a support system around you during that time is vital to accomplishing change. So who was in my huddle and ready to support me?

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Cheers to your healthy holiday

This time of year, I basically feel like I might as well be running in circles throwing tinsel everywhere and slapping a bow on an endless amount of gifts. As I enter my mid to late twenties I’m noticing how each year there seems to be more people to buy for and less money to do it with (*eye roll* thanks student loans!). While I can’t really control the size of my family parties, one thing that gives me peace of mind during the holiday craze is the fact that I know I can still keep my health and wellness on track.

I celebrate Christmas in my family but I think these ideas can apply to any family gathering. Although I look forward to the celebration of the holiday more than any other time of the year, it’s been a challenge for me to stick to my health values.

When I started my health journey over 2 years ago, I always felt worried about what I was going to do for food at holiday parties. I never liked the feeling of eating the heavy food that my mom refers to as “stick to your ribs” but leaves me feeling like Violet Beauregard in blueberry form.

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Anyone Can Cook: a Plant Based Cookbook Recommendation

If you’re thinking did you just quote Ratatouille in part of that title? Yes, yes I did. Who doesn’t love Disney movies and food!? Also if you read “anyone can cook” in the same accent as the French chef then bonus points for you.

Anyway, its been a while since I’ve been able to post on my blog. Starting a new job, keeping up with the gym and a healthy routine, and making time for friends and family meant that something had to give.

But in a way I’m glad I had the chance to step away from writing since it gave me the idea to write this post. One thing I noticed about my routine is that even when I was running on empty I never compromised on cooking myself and family a healthy dinner.

Despite being terrible about posting on my blog the last month I kept up with posting pictures on my personal Instagram account of the dinners I was able to make. I wish that I was one of these people who just had a natural knack for tossing ingredients together and end up with some amazing new dish. That is just not a talent in my wheelhouse. I need direction and exact measurements otherwise cooking can get ugly, fast. So I thought I would share a cookbook that has become one of my go-to resources.

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Food Fight: Finding balance with healthy food

Last night I had Chinese food takeout for the first time in over 2 years. I’m talking fried and greasy takeout. If you’re thinking “congratulations?? Why is that a big deal?” I get it. To most people it really wouldn’t matter. For a lot of people getting Chinese food takeout or swinging into a McDonalds drive-through is a commonplace action when it comes to fueling the American diet. Don’t take that as me judging, I used to eat an unbelievable amount of greasy takeout food (especially through out college) so I’m just like everyone else who craves a deep-dish pizza at 11 PM.

Food is tradition

I grew up in an Italian family where you had to make sure you were eating meals that “stuck to your ribs.” Trust me, a side salad was a tiny afterthought to lasagna, baked ziti and Italian cookies. I was never the kid at school who had a bologna sandwich and chips; I’d show up with left over chicken Parmesan and spaghetti. None of the kids would trade their Lunchables and Oreo cookies for that (sigh).

Okay getting back on track, my point is that I never learned healthy eating habits. My family wasn’t purposely trying to steer me in a bad direction; I know now they really had no idea about healthy nutrition. Even now, my parents sometimes balk at the idea of replacing comfort foods with healthier versions. This is because to many people “healthy” has become synonymous with “bland” or “gross.”

Now that you understand my previous knowledge on nutrition, I think you may relate to where my health journey has lead me to today when it comes to food.

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Unplugging from the daily grind

I’m someone who is always on the go and I like it that way. I am actually more productive when I’m busy because I know I only have a short time to accomplish what needs to get done so I’m hyper focused. But having this mentality has a huge downside. It’s one where you’re so focused on where you need to go you’re not always aware of what’s happening to your body along the way.

I’ve been known to push myself until I’m just physically too tired to continue: leaving me either exhausted or battling a full-blown cold. Take it from me, running on empty just to check things off your list is neither healthy or motivation to continue with activities that are actually a positive influence in your life.

I make it a goal to workout 4 to 5 days per week, cook and eat healthy meals everyday, find time to blog, read, and have a social life. Cramming all that into a week while you’re working full time means you need a schedule to keep everything running on all cylinders. But let’s be real, no one can keep that pace forever. So I decided to test for myself ways to unwind and make sure I was actually enjoying everything I was doing throughout the week.

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Motivation isn’t just for Monday’s

Being motivated to exercise and make positive food choices is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle. But how do you find the motivation?

Positive Attitude Means Positive Results

It can be tough to find motivation to exercise, especially when first starting your health journey. You know those people you see on exercise infomercials who are just unbelievably jazzed about doing some insane exercise routine? And you’re sitting on your couch watching them and thinking, “Seriously?! If I did that right now I’d keel over . . . there’s got to be a better way for me to start exercising.” I totally get it because I’ve been that girl on the couch without any motivation or direction.

A very valuable lesson I’ve learned is to look at that situation from a different mindset. Instead of looking at that program from a defeatists point of view put a positive spin on it. Maybe think of it like this: “I’m going to set a goal to take a High Intensity Interval Training class just like that one because I know I can achieve that.” I found that line of thinking makes you more likely to research how to reach that fitness goal whether through group classes at a gym or personal training sessions or whatever safe method works for you.

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No Photos Please: why I entered an amateur modeling contest

I’ve been apprehensive about writing a body positivity post because I’m not an expert. In fact, I’m a young woman still trying to find her own sense of what it means to be confident about her own body. I have mixed feelings about what beauty and body positivity actually mean. So I thought the best thing to do was to share my journey up to this point.

The heavy chick that loves Harry Potter

Up until the last year or so I’ve known my “label” in society. I was the heavy girl who participated in activities but never said much: forever keeping my nose in a book (mostly Harry Potter) out of concern about being noticed too much. It’s not to say I wasn’t social, I definitely was but in a much less confident way. To me, social gatherings meant photographs; whether it was pre-game photos with the girls before a night out in college, a team photo at a sporting event or just a friend wanting to take a selfie. Cameras were everywhere and internally I wanted to hide.

Dress-up is only for dolls

I conveyed a false confidence but secretly dreaded getting dressed up because being “plus-sized” meant limited clothing choices. This is partially because although I was heavy I’ve never been curvy so most clothes I liked in my measly section of the store weren’t made to fit my body. Plus I’ll be honest some of the designs they put on clothes sizes 14 and up can just be heinous and ghastly. I can’t tell you how many times I threw something back on the rack in disgust thinking, “Who in the hell picked this pattern?!”

I honestly said to my mom after a particularly frustrating shopping trip, “I feel like designers are taking left over scraps of crappy patterns, stitching them together in the dark and then putting them on the rack to be sold to girls like me.” In other words, I felt like the fashion industry didn’t give a crap about my self-expression because I wasn’t in the straight-sized category.

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