Going Dark for July 4th Weekend

On a holiday that’s all about the lights (okay, fireworks, but you get my point) I’ve decided to go dark. Dark on social media, that is.

fireworks

Fireworks over Boston in 2013.

Today Joe and I will head out on his parents’ boat to go to Provincetown for the 4th of July weekend. It’s always a really fantastic time full of the beach, great food, and plenty of drag queens. As someone who is tied to her phone, it’s also usually full of checking email, posting to social media, and just generally “checking in” with the rest of the world. Not this year.

Photos from Provincetown two years ago.

Photos from Provincetown two years ago.

From today until we return to Boston on Sunday evening (don’t worry, we have someone taking care of the guinea pigs while we’re away), my phone is staying in airplane mode unless for some reason I get separated from Joe.

That means no Instagram posts until I return, no email (work or personal), and taking time to focus on enjoying everything there is around me. I’m not turning the phone all the way off because I do want to use it for photos, but anything that requires a data or wi-fi connection will be off limits.

This is a huge deal for me. I can’t even remember the last time I went three full days without email or Facebook. For that matter I can’t remember the last time I went one full day without email or Facebook, but it was definitely before I met Joe and before I started this blog.

In a world where everyone is always connected, it can sometimes feel like we never really connect. This weekend is about disengaging from the world at large so I can reengage with those around me.

This is something I need to help me re-center and re-focus. I think we could all use some time in the dark.

I am challenging each of you to go dark for at least part of this holiday weekend. Turn off your phone (or put it in airplane mode) when you go to the family BBQ or head to the beach. Let the world around you be your entertainment. Make your own memories rather than looking at everyone else’s.

I’ll see you all on Monday! Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

xoxo,
Becki

Big Changes Ahead

Today’s post had to be delayed until all of the appropriate people were informed, but now I have some exciting career news. First, let’s take a look back at what got us here.

In 2009 I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After graduation I was lucky enough to start a position as a research assistant and later project coordinator at Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston.

In 2011 I started graduate school in counseling psychology and, knowing how important research was to me, was once again lucky to find an amazing position this time working in qualitative research on prevention strategies in schools with City Connects. It was in this position that I first started to consider the impact of physical activity, nutrition, and healthy choices not only on positive child development, but also continued adult mental health.

In 2013 I graduated with my master’s degree in mental health counseling and decided to enter the fitness industry to build on my fascination with the effects of exercise on mental health. At first I paired research and fitness by helping to pilot a physical activity initiative at Harvard. Then I transitioned into full time personal training, which is what I have been doing for the past year and a half.

training

Now, as July 13, I am transitioning back into research with a brand new position with City Connects. My last day of full-time personal training is July 9th.

This hasn’t been an easy decision, nor has it been a particularly quick one despite the sudden nature of this revelation. As much as I have loved working as a personal trainer and being able to impact each and every one of my clients individually, I miss the global implications of working in research. In addition to direct impact on clients I want to effect change on a much larger level.

After months of trying to figure out why I felt like something was missing from my life I realized that I am being called back to research and to continue my education. My new position will allow me to dust off my research chops before I apply to doctoral programs in clinical psychology within the next two years.

I am going to miss my personal training clients, many of whom have become friends, a great deal. I will also miss my coworkers and the environment of working in a gym, but I know that this is the right decision for me. I couldn’t be more excited and that speaks volumes about the steps I am about to take.

The support I have received from the blogging community in the past is the reason I wanted to share this with all of you. I have shared all of my other big decisions and transitions and this one is no exception. I’ll still be blogging (maybe even more frequently since I’ll have more consistent and traditional work hours), but this is a big change that is sure to affect me in a lot of ways.

Thank you in advance for all of your support and a huge thank you to Joe and my family for helping me navigate these difficult decisions.

xoxo,
Becki

Summer Bucket List: Bell In Hand

One of the items on my Summer Bucket List was to visit the Bell In Hand, Boston’s oldest tavern at 45 Union Street near Haymarket Station. This past weekend while out for drinks with Joe and a couple of friends I finally got the chance.

Outside Boston's oldest tavern, Bell In Hand.

Outside Boston’s oldest tavern, Bell In Hand.

After tacos at Tenoch in the North End (definitely go, they’re so good!) and a cider at the nearby Waterfront Cafe (terrible service, finally got water after my third request over the course of over an hour despite not being very busy), we made our way toward Bell In Hand to give it a shot.

It was only 6pm, but already getting very busy, so we walked around from what seemed more like the club/bar side and into the dining room side (which also had a bar). Bell In Hand also has an upstairs, but we didn’t venture that far.

Because it was busy, we scoped out the people at the bar to see who was closest to leaving. I picked out the four people who had just a little left of their drinks and asked the bartender to take their photo. That’s always a pretty good sign they’re wrapping up.

Sure enough, they finished what was left of their drinks and left us with four prime spots at the bar. I opted for mixed drinks to try out their specialties while my friends both opted for beer and Joe got his usual bourbon and coke.

Also because it was busy the service was a little slow, but not terrible. Our bartender was on his second week of the job and still learning the cocktail menu. I tried a few different cocktails including a Strawberry Lime Bellini with Prosecco that was just okay and a Southern Sipper made with tea, lemonade, mint, and vodka. The Southern Sipper was probably my favorite drink of the night.

Strawberry Lime Bellini and the Southern Sipper

Strawberry Lime Bellini and the Southern Sipper

As it started to slow between dinner and the evening rush (which we were told would start around 10:30) we had a chance to talk to the bartender and service got considerably faster.

By the time things had slowed down at the bar, we were feeling just a bit hungry again and decided we wanted a snack. The Buffalo Chicken Nachos looked good, but I assumed the chicken was breaded and fried and therefore a no-go (gluten). As it turns out, the chicken is grilled and coated with buffalo sauce (win!) and the tortilla chips are made from corn (win!) so the nachos were a safe bet.

I had every intention of photographing said nachos, but they were just too good. After the first bite we didn’t stop eating until they were gone. All that was left on the plate was some buffalo sauce and a few olives.

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What remained of the Buffalo Chicken Nachos when we finally took a second to breathe and take a photo.

As we wrapped up to leave we circled back toward the bathrooms and I was able to witness how the front bar had transformed. Flashing lights, loud music, and a whole lot of not-my-scene. I was grateful we had stuck to the dining room side of things and should we go back again (because seriously, those nachos were great and I’d love to try their other food), we’ll stick to the dining room yet again.

As we were preparing to leave Joe asked if I was happy with my trip to Bell In Hand. All in all I’d say yes, if for nothing else than the amazing nachos, great people watching, and fairly extensive drink menu.

Have you ever visited the Bell In Hand, either as a local or a tourist in Boston?

xoxo,
Becki

Something Sweet with Almond Breeze Original Almondmilk

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Here in Boston, today is one lazy, rainy Sunday. The rain started sometime before 10pm last night and is projected to continue strong throughout the day. What better way to start a lazy Sunday than with pancakes, right?

Let’s back up a little though. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze sent me a 32oz. container of Almond Breeze Original Almondmilk to try and I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first because I generally used the Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened in everything, including just to drink. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about sweet almond milk, but I’m always up for trying something new.

The first thing I tried was putting it in my morning cereal and I was hooked! The cereal I’ve been eating is lightly sweetened, but with the addition of the Almond Breeze Original Almondmilk it added just enough extra sweetness to feel like I was having a special treat. This of course led to one or two occasions of a post-dinner bowl of cereal as well in the past few weeks.

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So when I woke up this morning and the weather was still wet and chilly, I knew immediately that I wanted to make pancakes with my Original Almondmilk.

For the pancakes I combined eggs, ripe bananas, approximately 1/4 c. of gluten free oats, a dash of cinnamon, and about 1/4 c. of almond milk (based on consistency).

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I mixed it all together and then put them in a medium-hot pan with coconut oil. Patience isn’t my strong suit so instead of standing over the pancakes I had to lower the heat and walk away to do dishes. When I returned and flipped my pancakes I was not disappointed.

When I took them out of the pan I topped them with a little bit of almond butter, assuming they would be sweet enough thanks to the banana and almond milk that they wouldn’t warrant any extra syrup or sugar and I was right!

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Even though I’m a big fan of Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened Almondmilk when it comes to drinking, using Original Almondmilk in my recipes adds a great layer of flavor that ensures I don’t need to add any extra sugar, something I’m always trying to watch.

At just 60 calories for 8 oz. it’s a much better option for me than adding calories from white or brown sugar, which I often use in recipes.

I can’t wait to see what else I can come up with using Almond Breeze Original Almondmilk. Do you have any suggestions or recipes I should try?

What’s your favorite flavor of Almond Breeze Almondmilk?

xoxo,
Becki

Ready for Summer with Whole Foods Market Charlestown

It’s no secret that pretty much everyone in Boston is thrilled to finally have summer weather. The rest of the country may be wondering how much longer Bostonians can fit our monumental winter into every conversation (hint: I still hear about the blizzard of 1978, so probably a while), but seriously after this year we all just want as much sun as we can get.

Whole Foods Market gets that.

I spoke with Jon Latessa, the Marketing Team Leader at Whole Foods Market Charlestown and he told me about a great offer for this weekend.

“The sun’s out for summer – that means more adventures like hiking, biking and outdoor yoga! For those looking to kick off summer with all the proper supplies, Whole Foods Market Charlestown will be offering a “Ready for Action” bag on Saturday, June 27th at 10am for $12. Bags will include summer essentials to prepare you for outdoor adventures, including protein powder, arnica gel, sunscreen, aloe vera and deodorant.”

So this Saturday (tomorrow), June 27 at 10am you can head to Whole Foods Market in Charlestown to pick up a Ready for Action Summer Bag to help you prepare for whatever comes your way this summer. Charlestown is a neighborhood in Boston for all you non-Bostonians out there — and incidentally, my neighborhood. That works out nicely, right?

WFM Ready for Action Summer

I got a chance to check out the bags in advance to give you a sneak peek of what you’ll be getting if you stop by WFM Charlestown this Saturday.

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The bag itself is a super fun, bright, and durable clutch that is perfect for carrying around what you need for the beach. The burlap-type texture feels fairly sand repellent and it’s a beautiful summery blue.

Inside you can find everything you need for your summer activities, from sun protection to nutrition. Here’s a look at what was in the bag.

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  • Boiron Arnicare Gel (0.5 oz.) – Paraben free for muscle pain and stiffness and swelling from injuries or bruising.
  • Goddess Garden Organics Everyday Natural OR Kids Sunscreen SPF 30 – I got the kids sunscreen to test it out on my sensitive skin. It’s water resistant for 40 minutes.
  • Aubrey Pure Aloe Vera (4 oz.) – Just in case you forget to apply sunscreen every 40 minutes.
  • Amazing Grass Amazing Meal in Vanilla Chai (0.88 oz.) – You know I love my protein powder for meals on the go!
  • Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw Organic Green Super Food in Chocolate Cacao (0.34 oz.) – Contributes 34 nutrient-dense greens, sprouts, and veggies. Great for a day at the beach when packing a salad or a juice is tough.
  • Spectrum Essentials Seed Blends (0.5 to 0.7 oz.) – I got both a Warrior Vitality (rich in Omega-3s) and Orchard Fruit (supports digestive health) to try. Great supplements for overall nutrition.
  • Nuun Active Natural Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs (10 tabs) – Hydration on the go is always important in the summer sun!
  • Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant (2.25 oz.) – Because who doesn’t want to smell nice and stay dry?

The bag also contained a Spectrum Essential recipe book and three coupons for Amazing Grass, Aubrey and Cal Naturale Svelte products!

Can you believe all of that was packed into a clutch-sized bag? That’s a $50 retail value and tomorrow you can get yours for $12 at Whole Foods Market in Charlestown. Make sure you stop by early though, because the deal starts at 10am and is only while supplies last.

What’s your favorite product for being ready on the go in the summer?

xoxo,
Becki

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

I have noticed over the past few weeks that the beginning of summer is a lot like the first of the year; everyone comes into the gym with lots of goals.

Whenever I meet with a client for the first time I start by asking about their goals, without any additional prompting. This time of year I hear a lot of “Well, it’s swimsuit season, so I’d like to look great in a bikini at the beach.”

My response is generally, “Okay, great, but first tell me what that means.”

What I’m getting at with these clients is that their goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. That is, they need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-specific.

Make Your Goals S.M.A.R.T.

Looking great in a bikini at the beach is neither specific (what makes one look great?) or measurable (how will we know you are there?) and without those I have no idea if it is attainable. It is relevant because beach season is upon us, but I don’t know how time-specific it is, other than summer. Are you going to the beach this weekend or are we talking Labor Day?

This is usually the part that tricks people up. Many people know they want to feel better, but they don’t really know what will get them there because they haven’t given it much thought.

Our society puts an emphasis on appearance (don’t get me started again), so instead of thinking about how we feel, we think about how we look.

So I start by asking why. Why do you want to “look great in a bikini” at the beach?

The response is usually something such as, “Well, I’ve recently gained 10 pounds and I feel like a blob.” Now that I can work with, 10 pounds is a lot more specific and measurable. It’s also relevant because no one wants to feel like a blob, but we still need to make it more time-specific.

This happens a lot when people come in and tell me they want to be more “toned” or to get fit. How would you know you are toned? What does fit mean to you?

Here’s a good example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal:

An otherwise healthy person who weighs 200lbs comes into the gym on July 1 with the goal to lose 10 lbs by Labor Day to feel more confident at a family barbecue. What makes this S.M.A.R.T.?

Specific: Lose weight (note this is the specific aspect of the goal rather than “feel confident”)

Measurable: 10 lbs of weight loss is something that can be easily measured on a scale.

Attainable: 10 lbs in 8-9 weeks is generally considered attainable and safe for a weight loss program.

Relevant: This goal is particularly relevant to this person because it will make him/her feel more confident at a family party.

Time-specific: There is a well-defined end point for the goal in question.

This applies to all sorts of goals, not just those related to fitness. Here are some other examples.

Someone might have a goal to find a new job (specific) with better compensation or better benefits (measurable and relevant) by the end of the year (attainable and time-specific).

Someone with obsessive compulsive disorder and a compulsion of hand-washing (relevant) might have a goal to only engage in non-bathroom-related handwashing (specific) three times a day (measurable) for the next week (time-specific) or to limit each handwashing session (specific) to 30 seconds (measurable) for the next three days (time-specific). These types of goals would be set with the person’s therapist to ensure attainability and timeline within the course of treatment.

No matter if your goals are career-, fitness-, or general life-related, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals helps set you up for success so you don’t find yourself feeling like you’re falling short.

Do you try to set S.M.A.R.T. goals in your life? What are your current goals?

xoxo,
Becki

Sriracha Almond Crusted Turkey Meatballs

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This is an original recipe created by Becki at Fighting for Wellness for Blue Diamond Almonds and may not be reprinted without attribution.

Blue Diamond is one of those brands that I just love. With every new flavor they introduce, I fall more deeply in love. As a sriracha hot sauce lover (I put that stuff on just about everything), I was beyond excited to try the brand new Blue Diamond Sriracha flavored almonds, especially once I learned they are gluten free.

When they arrived I dove right in. Can you blame me? While not too spicy the flavor was everything I wanted from sriracha. Full on chili pepper flavor with just the slightest hint of sweetness and the awesome crunch and flavor from the almonds themselves. Pure heaven.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing Blue Diamond sent me two cans because it didn’t take me long to get through the first one.

I knew that before I demolished the second can I wanted to spice up a recipe from last summer where I used Blue Diamond almonds as a binder in my turkey meatballs, this time using the almonds to coat the meatballs to seal in the moisture. Sriracha Almond Crusted Turkey Meatballs were born!

Sriracha Almond Crusted Turkey Meatballs

Sriracha Almond Crusted Turkey Meatballs

Makes 11 large meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1/2 c. gluten free bread crumbs (I made my own using one slice of toasted gluten free bread, then pulsing in a blender)
1 Tbsp. dill weed
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. (heaping) plain Greek yogurt
1 large egg
1/2 c. chopped Blue Diamond Sriracha flavored almonds

Sriracha almond crusted turkey meatballs ingredients

“But Becki,” you may be asking, “why 11 meatballs?” The short answer is that I coated each meatball with chopped almonds as I rolled it and didn’t make sure I would have an even number (which I didn’t). The long answer is that at least this way when the meatballs finish you can try one and still have an even number to serve your guests. You’re welcome.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with oil. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, spices, bread crumbs, Greek yogurt, and egg. Mix well. Roll mixture into balls (large for meal-size; small for appetizer size) and coat in sriracha almonds. Place evenly on prepared baking sheet and cook 25-30 minutes.

Sriracha Almond Crusted Turkey Meatball prep

Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Sriracha Almond Crusted Turkey Meatballs finalAs a lover of dill, sriracha, almonds, and turkey meatballs I can honestly say this is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever made in the kitchen. The only change I might make in the future is to add a little bit of sriracha sauce to the meatballs themselves for an extra kick, but these meatballs are the real deal.

The Greek yogurt keeps the meatballs nice and juicy while the breadcrumbs and egg hold it all together and the almonds seal in the flavor. Dill lovers will rejoice at the flavor, but it isn’t overpowering for those who don’t fancy themselves dill fanatics. The ginger helps to bring out the sriracha flavor in the almond crust.

These are great by themselves, but would also be amazing with pasta and a bit of sauce (maybe even a Thai sauce like in my Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai, which also incidentally has sriracha in it).

Macronutrient approximation based on MyFitnessPal recipe creation tool*:

Sriracha almond crusted meatballs nutrition facts

*Serving size = 1/11th of the recipe

Whether you’re looking for a brand new almond flavor for snacking or want to add a kick to your recipes, the brand new sriracha flavored almonds from Blue Diamond definitely hit the mark.

What’s your favorite flavor of almonds? What’s the best thing you’ve ever cooked?

xoxo,
Becki

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai Recipe

Every once in a while playing around with healthy recipe ideas yields an unexpected goldmine. A little over a year ago I had a spaghetti squash on hand and wanted to do something different with it than my usual marinara/meat/cheese combination. As a lover of Pad Thai, that seemed like a great idea. It was good, but not great.

Then a few months ago I decided to try again. Whether it’s from the months of watching Food Network religiously that gave me new ideas or the experience of eating a lot more Pad Thai, but this time it was great.

My usual method of cooking (a little of this, a little of that) meant all I really knew was the ratio of ingredients I used, but after sharing a photo to Facebook, everyone wanted the recipe. It’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe for Recipe Thursday, but today is your lucky day!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai Recipe

I started by preparing the spaghetti squash early in the day. I intentionally undercooked it because I didn’t want it to get too soft when I made my Pad Thai.

This recipe really is all about the sauce.

Equal parts coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, soy aminos and PB2. Mix over medium heat then add lemon juice and Sriracha to taste. I like mine spicy, so I added quite a bit of Sriracha.

While the sauce is heating, add 1 c. spaghetti squash and about 1/4 c. broccoli slaw in a pan to heat with a very small amount of oil. Add any additional vegetables you would like (I added sugar snap peas and some purple cabbage). Beat 1 egg or 2 egg whites in a bowl and make a well in the squash/broccoli slaw mixture. Scramble the egg inside the well so it doesn’t coat the vegetables. Once the egg is cooked through, mix with vegetables and add the sauce on top.

It’s that easy! The longer the sauce sits the thicker it will get. Add water, almond milk, or more of your wet ingredients (in equal parts) to thin it out if needed.

If you have limes or fresh lime juice, try substituting that for the lemon juice. Finish with some ground peanuts if you have them (I didn’t, but I know they would add an extra punch). 

I used broccoli slaw because I didn’t have any sprouts, but certainly bean sprouts could be used.

xoxo,
Becki

 

Summer Bucket List 2015

Every change in seasons I come up with a whole list of things I want to do with Joe. Fall usually has the biggest bucket list (it’s my favorite season full of apple picking, corn mazes, and haunted houses), but this year’s summer bucket list is pretty impressive. With the record-breaking winter Boston had this year I want to take advantage of the warm weather as much as possible.

Joe suggested I share my list in case people want to join us and to add some accountability to the process.

Summer Bucket ListRestaurants 

  • Bell in Hand Tavern – The Bell in Hand is billed as America’s oldest tavern (established in 1795), so it’s a little surprising to locals that I’ve never been here. The fact that it essentially turns into a club at night is part of the reason I never checked it out. The summer plan is to go for lunch one day before the party crowd makes it out. – UPDATE: Bucket list item completed on 6/27!
  • Wahlburgers – As a huge New Kids on the Block fan (and a fan of the whole Wahlberg clan), I can’t believe I haven’t made it to their burger joint in Hingham yet. This is a must, sooner rather than later.
  • Tangierino – This is actually a restaurant in our neighborhood (along with a few others on this list), but neither Joe nor I have been. They have an awesome looking brunch menu, so that’s the plan.
  • Benevento – This restaurant in Boston’s Italian neighborhood (the North End) has a gluten-free menu, which is a huge find! The only other time I’ve been to dinner in the North End was years before I met Joe, so this one is a long time coming.
  • Pier 6 – Another restaurant in our neighborhood, Pier 6 is right on the water with beautiful views of the Boston skyline. We haven’t been since it was called Tavern on the Water and we’ve heard great things about it since it changed hands.
  • Brewer’s Fork – This is the newest restaurant in our neighborhood and while it doesn’t have a ton of gluten free options, it’s literally at the end of our street and we’ve yet to try it.
  • Union Oyster House – Boston has a lot of firsts and oldests. This is America’s oldest restaurant (still open) and opened in 1826. Don’t be confused. Bell in Hand hasn’t always served food. I love oysters, so there’s no good reason I haven’t been here.

 

Experiences/Destinations

  • Picnic at Walden Pond – If it’s good enough for Henry David Thoreau, it’s good enough for me. Plus I really want to have a proper romantic picnic with Joe.
  • Whale watching – We can do this from Joe’s parents’ boat, but haven’t yet. That’s just silly.
  • Newport Cliff Walk – Newport, R.I. is known its mansions and beautiful shoreline. This combines both and we missed it last time we were in town. Time to revisit!
  • Shakespeare on the Common – I first attended this outdoor theatre performance two years before I met Joe. Each year it is a different Shakespearean work and every time I have attended it has been a great time. This year is King Lear and I’m sure it will be one of the best yet.
  • Hiking Mt. Monadnock – We hiked Mt. Monadnock in the fall and we want to go again this summer. Our favorite hike so far, I think the second time around will be even better.

Monadnock white arrow trail

  • 4th of July in Provincetown – Every 4th of July week Joe’s parents go to Provincetown on their boat. We’ve joined them for the past several years and this year we’re riding down with them on their new boat.
Highlights from two years ago in Provincetown.

Highlights from two years ago in Provincetown.

  • Broadway show in NYC – I’ve seen shows in Boston, but never in NYC. We’ve tried a couple of times, but always end up sidetracked by all of the other things to see and do in the city. This time I’m determined to choose the show (and buy the tickets) in advance. What do you recommend?
  • Trips to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket – Both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are close enough that every time they’ve come up in conversation in the past, we always say “someday” and never actually do it. This is the year.

It’s admittedly an extensive and ambitious list, but with the beginning of summer not actually until Sunday we should have plenty of time.

What’s on your summer bucket list? Do you know of something else that should be on mine?

xoxo,
Becki

Size Does Not Define You

You may remember a while back when I posted about not letting the number on the scale define you. Often people get hung up on wanting to lose weight to fit into what doctors say is a healthy BMI (spoiler alert, BMI is a pretty useless measurement for determining health – Percent Body Fat is a much more helpful tool that virtually no one in the medical community measures).

You define you

When I get clients who are looking to lose weight, I often ask them what that means to them. If they want to lose 10 pounds, how did they choose that number? What I most often hear is that they want to “look more toned” or they want their clothes to fit better.

Generally speaking, I think these are great goals (the overuse of the term “toned” aside, that’s for a different post). More muscle definition and looser clothing does not necessarily require weight loss. If you gain muscle and lose fat your net weight may stay the same, but you’ll be smaller with more muscle tone.

My concern is that sometimes people swing too far the other way and focus not on their weight, but an obsession to be smaller, whatever means necessary.

Yesterday I started to see some images circulating on Facebook that compared the body shapes of the world’s top (Olympic) athletes, side by side. Here are a few of the images by Howard Schatz and found on BoredPanda.com.

Source: Howard Schatz via BoredPanda.com

Source: Howard Schatz via BoredPanda.com

Source: Howard Schatz via BoredPanda.com

Take a minute and think about what these images say to you. To me they say that you don’t have to be 15% body fat to be a badass. You don’t have to be a size 0 (or even a 6 or 8) to be fit and strong as a female and you don’t have to be all muscle to be fit and strong as a male, but you can be those things as well as fit and strong. You can frankly be any number of things.

I’m all for getting fit and striving for the body that makes you comfortable in your own skin, but what I care more about is people being comfortable in their own skin and from there striving for goals that enhance the strengths they already have.

We all have strengths that have nothing to do with our size so why do so many of us let our size define us?

People will always try to pick you apart, it’s the sad reality of living in a world where so much emphasis is placed on appearance. The question is whether you let what other people think trump your love for yourself.

If I had to guess, I would imagine that some of the athletes pictured above were picked on because of their size (whether “too big” or “too small”) at some point in their lives. My guess is also that none of that even matters now. They’re freaking Olympic athletes!

It reminds me of a quote from Gabourey Sidibe after people were making mean comments about her weight and appearance at the Golden Globe Awards.

Not everyone will agree with me here and I’m sure there will be plenty of people who say that being overweight isn’t healthy (it does carry health risk factors) and that encouraging people of all sizes to be body positive encourages obesity. What I hope those people take away from this is that I’m not encouraging people who are overweight and unhealthy to just accept and celebrate where they are.

What I am encouraging is for people of all sizes to be healthy in the way that makes the most sense for them.

For some that will mean eating healthy 80-90% of the time, working out 6-7 days a week, and decreasing their body fat to athlete level. For others it will mean walking an extra block to catch the bus and choosing a side salad with a low-calorie dressing on the side instead of fries while out to eat. For others still it might mean decreasing their stress and improving sleep and have nothing to do with weight, food, or fitness.

Healthy is not synonymous with skinny or small. It is also not synonymous with toned or being able to run a marathon. Healthy has a lot of components and does not need to be the same from person to person.

Ask yourself what healthy means to you (not what you’ve been told it should mean, but what it actually means). Strive for that. Strive for what will make you not only healthy, but happy.

Healthy and happyWhat makes you happy? How do you define healthy for yourself?

xoxo,
Becki

 

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