Cellulite Shmellulite

I have two words for you: Swim suit.

We just got back from an amazing week in Cancun and it’s not the pool, warm weather, and sun that I’m all pumped up about (well, actually, it definitely is, but indulge me…). I’m mega excited about the fact that this was the first time I strutted around all day in my swimsuit without trying to meticulously hide my thighs. I didn’t take my towel and leave it on the edge of the pool as I usually do, so that I could wrap it around my legs as I snuck out of the pool. And I didn’t wear a cover-up into the pool, because let’s face it, cover-ups are just as good as carrying a giant sign with an arrow pointing at your ass saying, “hey guys, look here, my ass is big, and I’m embarrassed by it, but I think I’m clever by hiding it with a small piece of fabric”. And I didn’t stare at myself endlessly in the mirror before going out to the pool willing myself to think that maybe my thighs aren’t as big as I perceive them to be. No, instead I had an amazing time, because I decided once and for all, that this time I’m just not going to care.

All the other times I’ve gone away I’ve been so obsessed with what I look like compared to everyone else that I was basically saying to myself, “you’re not allowed to have a good time. Ever.” I remember going to Acapulco a few years back and thinking that every woman around the pool was stunning. I wanted to disappear into my lounger, because all the other women had better bodies than me. I also remember being in Puerto Rico last year and seeing a girl surrounded by a gaggle of guys. It didn’t matter that there was a bit of a paunch to her belly and a bit of cellulite on the back of her thighs, she was laughing and having a fantastic time. At the time, I assumed that it must mean that her body was better than mine. That must be true, right?

No. She just had better confidence. And it wasn’t until this past week that I really felt what it was like to be confident about yourself no matter what. Yeah, my thighs may jiggle a bit more than I like, and my butt isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t matter. I had an amazing time, because I wasn’t so busy trying to camouflage every move, and I just enjoyed every minute of being myself. I’m pretty awesome I realized, and so are a lot of other people sitting around the pool.

We’re always told that there’s nothing sexier than a girl with confidence, but it’s hard to really believe that when you’re sitting by the pool next to a girl who deserves to be on the cover of Maxim. I’m here to tell you though, that it is one hundred percent true, because there is nothing more repulsive than someone who can’t laugh or have good time, because they’re too busy worrying about wanting to look or be different. Seriously, even girls can’t stand to be around other girls who are always asking, “do I look fat?” There’s really no use in comparing yourself to someone else. Some people have the perfect stomach or the most amazing legs, but that’s not what makes you light up a room, and that’s not what makes you happy. You make yourself happy. So, worrying about the things you can’t change is really just a waste of time. And I promise you, I feel different now. I will never be that girl again who tries to hide anything, because it’s so not worth it. I’ve felt the power of letting all that go and there’s no turning back now.

Feeling Ahhhhhmazing!

So, get out your bikinis and strut around your house tonight singing at the top of your lungs. Just let it all go.

have a little swagger

You can gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along & You must do the thing you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Anyone who has trained with me knows that I’m all about “conquering yourself”. You are your biggest critic and your worst enemy. You tell yourself, “I might fail, so why should I even start” or “I’m never going to be able to do 10 push-ups” or even “I’ll look stupid in the gym, so I’m not going to go”. You’re so sure that you’re not going to make it, but you haven’t even really tried. There’s no such thing as failure, but there is something called quitting. If you try, but fail, that’s just a hiccup on your way to learning, but if you quit before you fail, then you’ve given up and will never see your true potential.

This Tuesday I’m going to my first Toastmasters meeting. I am PETRIFIED! Seriously, I want to crawl into a little ball and hide under the bed, I’m so scared. I can just see myself getting up and giving a speech with my hands and knees shaking uncontrollably and heat running down my spine, and having that feeling that everyone knows how nervous I am. I’m doing it though, because if I don’t I know I’ll never be the motivational speaker that I want to be. I won’t be able to help millions of people like I know I need to. And I know that if I don’t try then I’ve just given up.

Challenge yourself this weekend to do something that you’ve put off out of fear. If you’ve ever done something that you were afraid of you probably had a huge rush of exhilaration after, because you got over yourself and just did it. And you probably found that it wasn’t actually as scary as you thought it was going to be. Whenever you’re faced with something that scares you, run to do it, because you’re just making yourself more fearful than you need to be and it will only get worse. This is what builds confidence and allows you to be in control of your life. It’s what makes you stronger than you ever thought you could be. So push yourself beyond your comfort zone and have a little swagger.

  • Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!
  • 21 Day Challenge – May 3rd to May 24th

    Beginning today, I’m starting a new feature of my blog. Every 21 days I will be posting “The 21 Day Challenge”, which will help you create a complete lifestyle change. Rather than just tweaking one thing here or there without any direction, these challenges will make conquering yourself much more manageable and doable. So, get out your calendars, mark today as your start date and then mark 21 days from now. Cross off each day as it passes and don’t be too hard on yourself if you “mess up” (which is likely to happen at some point – it’s normal), just recognize why it happened and come up with a plan to deal with it next time.

    Today is May 3rd, so 21 days from now will be May 24th.

    Yesterday I realized that if I were to think of the one thing that has helped me lose weight over the years and really signifies the fact that I have changed my lifestyle it wouldn’t be the amount of time that I work out during the week. In fact, that’s really a much smaller portion of it than I thought. It’s what I do when I’m not in the gym that gives me the extra edge, like not taking the subway when I can walk, carrying a basket in the supermarket and not using a shopping cart, or simply standing more than sitting.

    So, for the next 21 days your challenge is to make sure that you’re putting in the extra effort, even if that means deliberately standing for 5 minutes every hour that you’re at work (that’s an extra 40 minutes of activity every day!). Just choose one more thing and do it for the next 21 days. Let me know if you need help or suggestions. Good luck!

    White Noise

    “At the peak of tremendous and victorious effort… while the blood is pounding in your head, all suddenly becomes quiet within you. Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before, as if great spotlights had been turned on. At that moment you have the conviction that you contain all the power in the world, that you are capable of everything, that you have wings. There is no more precious moment in life than this, the white moment, and you will work very hard for years just to taste it again.”
    – Yuri Vlason, Russian weightlifter

    I don’t know what you think when you read this, but my hair stands up on the back of my neck, I get chills, and a rush of joy surges through my body. I’ve been at that place that he’s talking about and it’s like a drug. There is no greater feeling in the world than pushing yourself to your physical and mental limit and feeling like you’ve conquered the hardest force that ever was. Your mind shuts off and for once there is complete and utter peacefulness. There’s a sense of gratitude you have for being alive and being able to do these things. And the best part is that your head is totally quiet. I call this “white noise”.

    Physical fitness is so much more than just a means to an end. If you allow it, it can be the most amazing journey you’ve ever been on. You will discover hidden things about yourself that you never knew were there and endless possibilities. Through exercise I found my inner strength. I found happiness. I found peace. I found a warrior. I found that I am so much more than I thought I was and that I have the mental strength to do anything I want. I get chills just thinking about it now.

    We go through our day to day routines not really present. We do them almost mechanically, because we’ve memorized the patterns so well. But still, we’re always stressed about what needs to get done, how we’re going to do it, when it’s going to happen, and what’s going to happen next. This isn’t living life, it’s working. That’s because it’s so hard to live in the moment and really let go of all your worries and cares. Wouldn’t you want just a few minutes of silence where you could really experience just being? Where you could let your body really feel itself, without all the filters that we have on every day protecting us? It’s hard to believe if you’ve never experienced it, but exercise can do that! It’s the main reason why I’ve worked out 5-6 days per week for the last 10 years. I’m constantly chasing that feeling of being free. This didn’t happen over night and I had to work at it, but if you ever achieve that state of bliss where your mind finally shuts off for a few moments I promise you that you’ll keep chasing it.

    Your challenge this week is to move for the sake of moving. Run because you can, jump because you can, push yourself because you can. Let go of all the ideas you have that are really keeping you from feeling alive and free. Stop thinking about exercise in terms of weight loss and vanity and instead think of feeling euphoric. If you really want to lose weight stop fixing everything on the outside and instead focus on healing your inside first. I promise that when you find inner happiness the outside will reflect that. You’ve been given such a gift by the mere (actually not so mere) fact that you’re human, don’t waste it on petty hang ups that can ruin your life. Use the body that you’ve been given and really feel what it’s like to be alive and experience everything life has to offer.

    Just Be!

    166.5 Miles Down, 17.5 More To Go!

    I love trying the impossible. I love proving myself wrong of all my doubts. I love pushing myself to the limit and overcoming fear. I just ran 12 miles yesterday and feel like a complete rock star! Wait, not to sound too perfect, I’ll tell you the truth.

    10 miles felt like a good distance (I know, that sounds crazy enough!), but those last 2 miles were really pushing it and my legs felt like I was carrying 12 tons of lead up a mammoth-sized hill like my life depended on it. Armed with my arsenal of water, Sports Beans and Cliff Shot Blocks I did it though and felt like nothing could stop me. I felt like a superhero must feel when he discovers his superpowers for the first time. My running partner, Shilpa was like, “we have to keep moving or else I’m going to throw-up”, and I thought to myself, “that was awesome, I can’t believe how great I feel”.

    On the way back home is when it all came crashing down. I knew that my legs were moving, but I couldn’t get there quick enough. Every step felt like an accomplishment. But finally after an agonizing 5 long blocks I made it through the front door. Roman, Billiam, and Ozzie enthusiastically greeted me and the second I bent down to pet the dogs is when my bubble really burst. I could barely stand back up, and when Roman asked me how I felt I could barely muster a pathetic “like a rock star”. I definitely didn’t sound like rock star or look like a rock star at that moment, but I still felt like one. Then the nausea and chills settled in and I know I should have eaten something, but I just couldn’t bring myself to swallow anything. I sat at my dining room table looking like a beaten dumpster diving raccoon.

    Walking down the stairs to the living room I was more like a feeble grandma with a walker than an athlete. I could only walk down sideways, holding on to the banister, one leg at a time. A throbbing pain shot through my left shin and another throb shot trough my right hip. I just ran 12 miles and now I needed one of those Hover Rounds and the chair that brings you up and down the stairs. I will tell you this though, About an hour later I finally ate something. And I didn’t just eat anything. I ate something that I would never in a million years eat. I could have had a salad or a healthy wrap or something, but I just burned 1200 calories (a full day of calories!), so I had a mama jama sized peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a 1/4 of an apple cinnamon muffin. For many of you this is no big deal, but you should know that for me, this is a huge accomplishment and turn of events. After 12 miles, some major nausea and chills, a yummy pb & j sandwich, and some muffin Roman and I took the dogs for a mile and a half walk.

    So, rock star, you betcha! I’m such a freaking rock star that I even got dolled up and put on heels to go hang out with our friends later that night and didn’t come home until 1:30am. Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me! And, I’m on day 7 of my 100 calorie or less night-time snack and going strong.

    Here’s my secret: It all comes down to sheer mental will. None of this would have been possible had I not BELIEVED I was going to do it. Once I committed to it there was no going back and I wasn’t going to give up, because that would mean that I let myself down. So, I invite you to RISE UP and commit to yourself to do something that you’ve always wanted to do, but have put off. Anything that will make you feel accomplished and successful.

    Throughout my recovery I honestly think that this journey I’ve been on for the past 10 weeks has been one of the most pivotal moments for me, and I have proven to myself how strong I am. I will never be that broken girl I once was and nothing will ever stop me again. Rise up.

    F.E.A.R.

    False Evidence Appearing Real

    There’s never been a better time to do something about your weight.

    Actually, what you tell yourself most likely is that “I’ll begin eating better on Monday” or “I’ll start working out on the 10th, because blah blah blah blah”. Those are empty promises you’re making to yourself, because really, there’s never a good time. It’s not your love for chocolate and mac and cheese that’s been holding you back, although that’s been your mantra for quite some time. You’ve been avoiding this as if somebody told you that going naked to work is the new dress code. And why? Because of FEAR. Did you know that fear is the strongest motivator? People will do anything to avoid something that frightens them. Even if the thing that they’re doing is destructive.

    Now, I’m not talking about bone chilling fear, the kind that you would get if you heard a serial killer was living next door. I’m talking about another kind of fear that everyone has. For instance, I have a fear of public speaking. I start shaking, my stomach gets butterflies, I feel hot, the whole thing feels surreal, and my voice starts to warble. I definitely would try to avoid this at all costs. Many of you who keep putting off changing your lifestyle to take off the weight that’s been bothering you for years have fear. Even if you’ve tried numerous times to shed the pounds, but can’t seem to do it, something is holding you back. There are many ways that fear manifests itself, let’s look at 4 of them.

    Fear Of Failure:
    It’s a bold move to admit that you’re overweight and need to do something to finally commit to breaking up with Ben & Jerry once and for all. “What if I don’t succeed? What if I fail and give up and never lose the weight? What will people think?”, you say to yourself. These are totally understandable thoughts when facing something that seems bigger than you, but if you never do anything to change it then nothing will ever change.

    Fear of Losing Your Identity:
    Many people who have been “big-boned” their whole lives hold this as their identity and forming a new image could be a very scary thing to face . This is what you’re known for and this is what people notice about you. You’ve gotten used to it and there’s a possibility that people will form new judgments of you and treat you differently.

    Fear of Obligation:
    Deciding to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle is a big undertaking and can seem very daunting. With work, relationships, kids, and finances, we’re faced with so many commitments as it is and adding another can seem too hard. It’s easier to just give up then truly invest the time, money, and mental focus.

    Fear of Facing Reality:
    For so many people emotional eating is a way to cope with hidden insecurities and anxieties. It acts as a protective shield that masks underlying feelings that are easier to literally stuff away with food than deal with. Food is comforting, consistent, and will never judge you. This one takes massive courage and is probably the hardest one of all to conquer, but I promise that it is doable with a little hope and support.

    For this week’s challenge, conquer your fear. As I mentioned above, fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. Whenever we think about possible outcomes to a situation our mind will always take us to the worse-case scenario, and that worst case is what keeps holding us back. But, what if you challenged your thoughts and feelings and took a chance on seeing for yourself if that worse-case is reality or if you’re just avoiding change? Is it really worth avoiding if you’re unhappy and struggling anyway? Imagine what your life could be like if you just took a chance and uncovered what the future holds. What if the new you is even better? You might finally rid yourself of that ball and chain that’s been holding you prisoner for so long. Unleash the new you and finally discover true happiness and freedom.

    I want you to make a list of the things that are really holding you back from losing weight. It’s not your love for food or your busy schedule. You can love food, but still be a healthy weight. Find out what it is that’s keeping you from fully living life to its fullest and being the happiest that you can be. Once you have your list, find the thing that is the easiest to work on and DO IT! I am always here if you need some support and encouragement, so all you have to do is ask. It might be difficult and it might be scary, but I promise you that you can do this.

    Time and time again I’ve empowered myself by the struggles and fears that I’ve faced and have been able to overcome, and I’ve proven to myself that the things that I’ve been afraid of all along weren’t even worth it. Now I look at fear as a challenge that I know I can conquer and will never hold me back. When I have a list of things to do the first thing I check off is the easiest thing on there, but right after that I do the hardest. Once I put that out of the way I know that everything else is a cinch compared to it. Love yourself and stop letting your weight hold power over you. Don’t you want to just get off this roller coaster once and for all and feel free?

    Perfectionism

    It’s fantastically magical here in New York City, with 16” of snow! For people upstate and in New England I’m sure this is nothing, but for a city girl like me it’s so exciting. I don’t know what it is about waking up to a snowy morning, and I think most adults want to just stay in, but I want to plow through it like a kid. I just want to put on my warmest clothes and dive right in. I’m not even in school, but I’m watching the news to see all the school closings. And my dogs, Billiam and Ozzie are prancing around in my backyard, with their legs buried deep, having the times of their lives. I’m going to go make me some snow angels later!

    Ok, I want to talk about perfection. If you’re a yo-yo dieter or have body image issues, chances are you re a perfectionist. You have a need to be flawless. You take personally any mistake you make as a strike against you. Your self-worth is wrapped up in it and you think, I m not good enough, I need to be better, I should be better . What s even worse is that somewhere down below you think you ll NEVER be good enough.

    When I was 4, I remember being in school and being so nervous to talk to my teacher. I didn t say a word to her all year, because I didn t want to make a mistake and be embarrassed. You re probably thinking, what mistake could I possibly have made, and the crazy thing is that I knew that! I knew that speaking to her wasn t a big deal, but I had a tremendous fear nonetheless, because I didn t even want to take the chance of possibly messing up. I eventually grew out of that in 6th grade, by deciding that I just wasn t going to care anymore. At first I was afraid to take the leap to be more outgoing, but the more and more I did it the more friends I had and the more I realized it was really no big deal.

    In high school, even though I got over a few of the things that were holding me back, the perfectionism manifested itself in different ways. I became obsessed with dieting and looking a certain way. I compared myself to other girls and always thought I didn t match up. I though that if I just exercised, if I just dieted, if I just changed the way I dressed, or if I just wore my make-up a specific way I d be better.

    I didn t realize how my needing to be a certain way was keeping me from really living life. How checking myself in the mirror 15 times wasn t going to make anything better, how still comparing myself to other girls wasn t going to make me stronger, and how doing and redoing something over and over again wasn t going to make it or me perfect. I would obsess about 1 single strand of hair being out of place. If I made something and it didn t come out how I planned I would just throw it in the garbage. I once made a pie crust 5 times, because it wasn t how I expected it to be. What if someone saw it and thought it wasn t good enough? And the dieting actually got so bad that I couldn t even eat an extra carrot without feeling guilty about it. I had so many destructive thoughts, which eventually landed me in the hospital with an eating disorder (which just shows you how potentially devastating thoughts like that can be).

    The problem with trying to be perfect is that it s impossible. Failure and mistakes are inevitable, but we don t rationalize that. Instead we feed the cycle by beating ourselves up and constantly striving harder and crazier towards an ideal that is never going to happen. Have you ever finally reached a goal and thought, “I ran 3 miles, but it wasn’t a good run” or, “I lost 15 pounds, but I should have lost 20″, or even “I threw a great party, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been”? Take the word “but” out of your vocabulary! Even if on some magical planet you did achieve perfection you d be miserable trying to sustain it. It would suck the life out of you and any pleasure you had would be gone, because you re always living to please an ideal that doesn t exist. We should be trying to please ourselves!

    I ve realized over the years that not being perfect is important. It keeps us sane. If you re trying to eat healthier, part of that is allowing yourself to indulge in a cookie once in a while. That doesn t mean you messed up or that you re weak. It means that you love yourself enough to give yourself that present. Even if you find yourself eating too many cookies, it s not the end of the world. Brush the crumbs off and begin again.

    I talk a lot about being healthy for our own sakes. I m not going to deny that looks aren t important, but we can t be so black and white about it. We could all wear the same outfit, dye our hair blond, be a size 6, be the best mother that never loses her cool and can hold down a job and household with ease, and be the best wife that knows exactly what her husband wants all the time, but that would make for a boring world and a boring us. Laugh at your mistakes and others will laugh along with you.

    My husband told me recently that the first thing he noticed about me was my crooked front tooth. He loves it! All my life I ve toyed with the idea of fixing it, because now I don t have Chicklet-like teeth like so many beautiful people out there, but I ve come to like it too. It s what makes me different. What s even more though, it s taught me that imperfections are amazing

    We have to agree to let go of some of our hang-ups, because it s those imperfections that make us who we are. And to deny that would be to hate ourselves. And if you hate yourself how could you possibly ever live a happy life, free of obsessions? How could you ever like your body?

    Right now, I want you to go over to a mirror and point out something that isn t perfect. Something that you re critical of. Resolve to look at it a different way. Find the thing that makes you unique and flaunt it!

    For this week s challenge give yourself permission to mess up. Challenge yourself to not fix it and see what happens. Stop feeling guilty and stop holding yourself back from enjoying life! You ll see that the world didn t end. People are going to judge you no matter what, but sometimes we re our harshest critics and you have to just let go of that.

    Now, I’m off to make some snow angels…

    No Shortcuts

    To go along with this week’s theme of being positive and doing all that you can do to lose the weight once and for all, check out this quote by Michael Jordan:

    “I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things halfheartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect halfhearted results. But that’s how a lot of people approach things. And that is why a lot of people fail. They sound like they are committed to being the best they can be. They say all the right things, make all the proper appearances. But when it comes right down to it, they are looking for reasons instead of answers. Part of commitment is taking responsibility. That’s not to say there aren’t obstacles or distractions. If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them, everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

    For this week’s challenge, take inventory of yourself and think about all the excuses you’re making. Look for your weaknesses and see what you need to improve on. Instead of having so many “reasons” for why you can’t lose weight, can’t exercise, can’t eat properly, can’t take care of your body and mind, find all the ways that you can.

    It’s not enough to just show up to the gym or to have a healthy lunch, you have to really internalize your goal, really believe that you want to lose weight once and for all and feel confident, and then don’t let anything stop you. I live in New York and I know how there’s never enough time in a day, but still, even that’s no excuse for not following through. I get it that you might have kids who suck the life out of you sometimes, but still, if you want to win then you have to fight! Stop whining about how you can’t. You can, you’re just looking for reasons to quit.

    We’ve been taught since we were children that you “get an A for effort”, but that’s a bunch of crap. When was the last time you put in just an effort and dropped 20 pounds? The truth is you get an A for effort after effort after effort after effort, and so on. You won’t win this battle otherwise and you certainly won’t see results. There are no shortcuts, so accept it and fight!

    Conquering Defeat

    My legs felt like springs today. No pain, strain, nothing! Effortless and I can’t believe it, because I’ve had major IT band and shin issues for the past few weeks. Maybe it’s the warm humid air in Miami. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m in a fuzzy lalaland right now. Just finished my 7 mile run without my running partner and I feel great. It was hard to get started this morning, but it’s only 10:30am, I’m done, and now I have the whole day ahead of me.

    I finished in a little bit over an hour, so I should be good for the 3 hour cut-off at the race (they pick you up and bring you to the finish line if you take over 3).

    I can’t believe how far I’ve come. When I first started training I thought 3 miles was a lot, but now it’s a piece of cake. I’ve been learning a lot about myself too. That it’s not about how many calories you’ve eaten, what size you are, how heavy you are, but about your capabilities and your strength. Strength of body, but especially your mind. If you can power through discomfort and your mind talking you out of finishing, than you are stronger, braver, and more able than any skinny person out there. I take pride in my strength and my accomplishments. I’m doing this for me and no one else. I have nothing to prove to anyone else, only me. I can’t wait to meet my husband and puppies at the finish line and feel the exhileration of conquering any weaknesses, doubts, defeat, perfectionism, but especially thoughts of failure.

    Never Give Up

    You’re going to face so many challenges on your way to a healthy weight. Don’t focus on the obstacles, focus on the outcome. NEVER GIVE UP! It’s right around the corner. You just have to have a big enough “why” to keep you going.

    For this weekend’s challenge dig deep within yourself. What are you sick and tired of? Are you lonely? Do you hate looking at yourself in the mirror? Are you a size 18 and growing? Do you want to finally put an end to the upsetting emotional eating cycle? Get really frustrated and write down why you’re going to work the hardest you’ve ever worked to reach the size you want to be. Never ever give up!