Happy New Month!

Hello August | via Tumblr on We Heart It.. Summer will soon end and once gain fall comes calling with it's crisp air and burnished leaves of gold.  TG:

Happy Monday everyone.  Today not only ushers in a new week, but a new month.  There is something magical about new beginnings.  A chance to start over, a time to make goals.  January 1st everyone is so set about what the new year will bring them.  I am not that excited about new years, I prefer to look at new weeks!  Making small, manageable goals ladders up to something phenomenal in one year.  Think about it.  If you made a point to make a small change every Monday- imagine what 52 Mondays of change look like!
Last week I was so happy I hit every one of my workout goals.  Sometimes it isn’t always possible and I see there are obstacles already popping up this week.  Preparation is key to success.
Back to goal setting for the week and month ahead.  Sit down with yourself and come up with 4 things you want to focus on this month.  Then actually write them down!  Pick one a week to really focus on, then the next week try to do 2, then 3, then 4.   For example, they may be things like:
– Drink 1/2 my weight in water every day (this one is my downfall)
– Log my food this week
– Bring my lunch instead of buying it
– Eat breakfast every day
– Eat fruits and vegetables every day
-Try a new recipe/new food this week
– Exercise 2,3,5,7 x this week (you choose!)
– Incorporate strength training into my week (especially if you favor cardio)
– Incorporate cardio into my week (especially if you favor lifting)
– Incorporate stretching into my week
– Give a compliment to a stranger every day this week
– Do something nice to someone without being asked (or thanked or expecting something in return)
New month, new beginning! Make a change and Sign Up for the Skinny Ms. newsletter! Never miss out on fitness tips or healthy recipes from Skinny Ms. #cleaneating #fitness #weightloss:
I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish!
Share with me, comment here:   What are 2 things you are going to focus on this month?
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5 Things that Hold us Back from Happiness

For anyone who knows me, my number 1 pet peeve is excuses.  Not just excuses about exercise, but excuses in life.   I have always had goals for myself and when I see something I want, I ask myself- “how did that person get there?”  Then I make a plan and set it in motion.  You can achieve anything you set your mind to with determination, consistency, and a solid plan in place.

I think reading helped me keep that spirit and “can do” attitude alive.  Since I was little I loved self-help books like SARK Eat Mangos Naked (a favorite in high school).  Then, as I got older I found other books like “The Compound Effect,” “You are a Badass” and “Crush it.”  It never hurts to keep learning.

On this continual quest for knowledge and empowerment, I was introduced to a podcast called “The Model Health Show.”  A podcast I listened to struck such a cord with me, I decided to listen again and take notes.   99% of this blog post is courtesy of Shawn Stevenson’s Podcast from June 14, 2016- “5 Things that Hold Us Back from Happiness”  with my own little quips inserted here and there.

In Shawn’s podcast he notes a study from the University of London that states people are 35% less likely to die if they felt happy and content on a typical day.  Generally we are happy as children, then happy again as seniors but it is those in between years of the rat race that really wear us down.   I can totally see that!  Being a working mom with 2 kids, training for races, helping others, and trying to keep my family happy is no easy feat.

So, what holds us back from happiness and how can we turn it around?  Here are his top 5 reasons (in no particular order)

1. Excuses.

This is probably why I loved this podcast so much.   Our primary excuses are usually work, money, and health.  Things are always so much harder when life isn’t going your way.   Tony Robbins said we all have a blueprint set for our lives.  For example, maybe your blueprint is you wanted to get a job, get married, & have kids before 30.   How would you feel if your blue print did not match your life condition?  What if you were 31 and single or unemployed?    It isn’t a horrible thing, but since your blueprint does not equal your life condition you may feel unhappy.   You have to be mentally aware of this and re-adjust your blueprint.  Maybe because you are single and unemployed you can travel the world and paint or volunteer for the Peace Corps?  The world is open and you are unencumbered.  Change your perspective and make the most of the life you have.

2.  The if/then syndrome:

If this happens, then I’d be happy.  If I get this raise, then I’ll be happy.  If the kids get into college, then I’ll be happy.  If I got this beach house, then I’ll be happy.  If I got this divorce, then I’ll be happy… This is what Jim Rohn calls living on “someday I’ll”.   We can’t wish our life away.   Live in gratitude.  What do you have now?  Sure, you can have ambition and work towards something but we need to enjoy the journey!

3.  Skip the Drama!

I never thought about this really before, but I absolutely love it.  Don’t bring the drama around you, don’t look for it, and don’t live into it.   *To do something for someone else, WITHOUT expecting anything in return is the secret to long lasting happiness*.  Oh My Goodness YES.   There is nothing worse than having to keep score, make sure everything is fair, and decide when to be nice to someone else based on how they have treated you in the past.  I am a HUGE believer that if I choose to care about someone, I will be there for them.  I will buy them birthday gifts; I will go to their events… I will be there for them whether they make the same effort for me or not.  I don’t measure my kindness or my happiness by how others treat me, but how I treat others.   Nit picking and living into the drama does not do me any good.  Maybe this is because I believe everyone is genuinely good at heart and everyone’s intentions are pure.  Even if that isn’t the case.  It makes me happy and I don’t want to turn into a cynic.

4.  Future/Past Paradox

Do you mentally visit the past to predict the future? It is a blessing and a curse to think externally.  People think past = future.  We need to see the beauty in our current situation.  If you still live in the past, you miss the power to change your future.    A challenge for you is to change your perspective and CHOOSE to show up differently.  Bring YOUR energy and happiness to the situation.  When you walk into a room brighten that room.  YOU bring the LIGHT.  Living in gratitude is a reflection of the good things that are happening at the current moment.  On a side note, I am LOVING the Instagram challenge #100happydays.  It is forcing me to find the beauty in every day.  Today it was eating a juicy peach.

5.  BELIEF THAT YOU DESERVE IT!

I am amazed at this one.  I remember watching “the Biggest Loser” last season and a speech Bob Harper gave to one of the contestants.  They were having a heart to heart and her biggest roadblock was her deep rooted belief that she didn’t deserve to be fit, to take the time for herself, to win etc.  Once she changed her mind set and told herself that she was worthy and she did deserve it, she started kicking butt!    Realize how much you do matter.  Enjoy the process, and overcome whatever challenges come your way.  You have everything you need to live a good life within you, they just may be dormant.  No one is better than you, but people may be different than you.  Be 100% unapologetic for who you are.  Like Sarah Jessica Parker was told in the movie “The Family Stone”  Let your freak flag fly!  No one will ever exist like you again and no one was like you before, so be the utmost you.

I just loved all this so much and it is great to be reminded again and again of these important points.  Now lastly, being happy doesn’t mean being stagnant.  You can have goals and be ambitious.  Heck, you should!!!  But, enjoy the process.  You deserve to be happy if you choose to be, and if you need to make some life changes, make them.

Have a great Monday.

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10 Reasons to Workout Today

Last week I wrote about finding and harnessing the power of your why, did you have trouble finding a reason?  If so, here are 10 you can work with:

  1. I will have more confidence
  2. I will be one step closer to my fitness goal
  3. I will be more mentally alert
  4. I will be happier
  5. I will have a desire to eat healthy foods
  6. I will be more motivated to workout tomorrow
  7. I will burn more calories for the rest of the day
  8. I will have an increased amount of energy
  9. I will be doing something for me
  10. I will be healthier

 

If you are still in a slump, it is a fun exercise to create a vision board for your life.  Play around on your phone or computer.  I love the app Photofy.  Make it the background on your phone or your computer desktop.  Put it on your fridge or inside your pantry where you hide your oreos 🙂

here is one I made in 2 minutes.  I am training for a half marathon, trying to practice more yoga, and want to be present for my kids.

Motivation Monday- Finding your why

I’m pretty sure I wrote this before, but it bears repeating.  The VERY first thing I ask anyone interested in starting any health journey is “why.”  Why do you want to lose weight?   Sure, looking great in your clothes and fitting into those jean from high school is nice, but that won’t keep you on track.  Cupcakes and alcohol are way too good.

21X_Wk2_Day7_image

Most people know my story (and if you don’t you can check it out in about me section), but my why is making sure I am taking care of me so that I can have more energy and patience for my family.   I have 2 toddlers, I also work full time as a scientist.  I know that when I indulge too much and don’t exercise I am just a nasty person and my family gets the brunt of it.  I feel tired, bloated, sluggish and screaming toddlers make me lose my sh*t.

What also keeps me motivated is having other people help keep me accountable or incentives.  This week I have a private facebook group going.  We are all going to post every day something we are doing to stay healthy, whether that be a workout or a healthy meal.  At the end of the week I am raffling off a prize to a randomly selected winner.  The only rule to be entered into the raffle is to post something in our group daily.  If you need some extra accountability and want to meet some like minded people,  I would be happy to add you too 🙂

today is the day

I urge you this week to sit down with yourself, grab a piece of paper, a journal, a napkin, anything and be honest with yourself.  Why do you need to stay on track this week?  Maybe there is a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes in your family and you need to lose weight to stay healthy, maybe you need some extra patience for your kids, maybe you have a stressful week coming up and a few good sweat sessions will help make you feel better.  Endorphins are a powerful thing.

goal

Let me know your why in the comments below.  I believe in you.

Won’t Stop till Brooklyn

I can’t believe it, it is now official!  I registered for the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon! 

I have been doing at home workouts exclusively for 1 year now.   While I got phenomenal results, it was time to get outside and switch things up.

A few weeks ago, my awesome sister in law invited me into her “summer running streak” group, in 3 weeks I logged 44 miles so I figured if I could do that I could sign up for a race.  Nothing keeps me motivated like a race date.    Super excited for this puppy, and yes I get excited to add a medal to my wall.

Brooklyn - Half Marathon

Now comes the hard part.  For me, it is scheduling in those long runs.   My husband works Saturdays, and my kids are 2 and 4 so I will either be headed to the gym for a date with the treadmill and Netflix, or an early morning Sunday before our family day.

Anyone else running this race?  Anyone interested in training with me?  I’d love to interact with fellow runners during the training.  It is always more fun to train with a friend, even a virtual one.

All before 8 am

Some days fly by.

Last year I attended a TED talk given my by company.  The CEO, Alex Gorsky, really is a phenomenal man.  He practices what he preaches and I felt (and still feel) so proud to be a part of his company.  He is super active, runs marathons and always participates in the yearly company sponsored triathlon.  He also needs to travel the world for business on a regular basis.

Something he said really rang true to me.  He said “I have no control over what the day throws at me, but I can control how early I wake up.”

Although I’m not a CEO, I feel the same way about being a working mom & wife.   Since I’ve started waking up earlier, I feel like I’ve added so much “free” time to my day.

Although it’s not glamorous.  Proof below.

Today we needed to get the kids up, dressed, and fed so I could be out the door by 7:30.

My run started around 5:45am, it was so beautiful out this morning!
I ran a nice 3.5ish mile loop around my neighborhood.  It was bright, it was the perfect themperature, the sun was shining through the trees, hardly any cars out… I ran into several deer though.  Those pesky buggers weren’t even scared!


I rocked out to some Britney Spears Pandora…


When I got home there was someone who had just woken up and was waiting for me by the door


Look at those sleepy eyes!

Before I could even stop sweating, we had work to do.  It was breakfast time!


Luckily, we made it out on time.  Kids fed and dressed, lunch packed for mom, shake in hand.    These kids don’t know how good they have it!  Breakfast was all set when Jimmy came downstairs.


Coffee and in my meeting by 8.  It’s lunch now… Is the day over yet?

It wasn’t fast, but it felt good.


Snapchat:  jessicaheidifit

Stuck between two passions


This is so how I felt at 4:30 this morning getting up to go to the airport.   Been doing a LOT of soul searching lately.

I actually didn’t know I had two passions until less than a year ago.  

My first has always been science.  I’m a chemist.  I have the privilege to work for one of the worlds largest health care companies.  I’ve liked science and facts for as long as I can remember.  Santa got me an invisible man anatomy set for 5th grade and a microscope by 7th grade.   This weekend we took the kids to the museum of national history in NY and I was so excited to donate my microbiome to science.   Ironically I’m a chemist for skincare and not a doctor or biologist. 

  

I proudly wore my sticker “I swabbed for science today”


My second passion is helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. (Which I guess ties into biology).  

 I am starting to realize it’s all science.  I’m amazed at what the human body is capable of and what you can achieve through exercise and nutrition.  
I was really shocked by my own transformation when I honed in on my nutrition and treated food like a science last year.  I weighed it out and counted my nutrients.  My “macros.”  I’m not as strict now as I was last year because I like ice cream and wine, so I’m struggling to find the right balance for me.  As always these guys come first…

The other portion of a health journey is mental.  Through helping others it seems to me that health, fitness, and achieving goals is more mental than anything else!  Another science, the science of the mind.

People have the hardest time mentally, we make excuses for everything (myself included).  I’m tired, I don’t have time, I’m “too” out of shape, I don’t have money, I don’t know how to cook, I’m too busy, I don’t like (insert physical activity here), I’m stressed…I’m in a rut. 

So I guess thats where I am right now.  In a rut.  I want to continue helping people reach their health and fitness goals, but I feel like I can no longer use Facebook as a platform for connection.  Too many negative people, too many co-workers, too much judgement of how I spend my time.   

Since I’ve been in my “rut” I’ve been horrible about keeping up with my exercises (daily) and indulging way more than I should.  Coaching kept me accountable.  

So, what’s the point?  I guess the point is I am still figuring stuff out, how to live into both passions.   I have a very small group I’m hosting for summer now. 
Questions for you

– how do you connect with new people?

– what is your biggest excuse?

– what are you passionate about and are you living your passion? 

– would you be interested in joining us?

Call to Action- Let’s Get Fit For Summer

With the warm weather upon us, we are reminded that summer is coming. I for one am so excited to do more outdoors. I just wish I didn’t have to cook dinner when I come home! Looks like I’ll be making more on the grill.

That being said, what I also love about this time of year is how committed people are to their health and fitness goals.

What are you doing to get fit? Is it working? Are you open to something NEW?

Last year, I started helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and it has been the most rewarding experience.  A few highlights include

  • A mom who was on the verge of tears daily who is now content and enjoying her kids childhood
  • SEVERAL running PRs (2 5Ks improved by 4 minutes and a half marathon by 20)
  • 30 lb weight loss
  • A few women who were able to advance their yoga practice (hello headstand)
  • New friends made by all

I am looking for women, specifically working moms with little time on their hands. People who aren’t the best cooks and need quick and easy kid friendly recipes. Women who rarely take the time to take care of themselves and always put everyone else first. Women who are exhausted and just don’t know how they could possibly even find time to exercise. Women who have a gym membership, but never go. Women who are living on coffee for breakfast or their go to cereal they have been having since their college days. Women who used to have time to train for races before they had kids but now running takes too long.

I’m looking for you, because last year I was you! 30 minute workouts, easy food, and most of all SUPPORT have changed my life.

I’m not saying I can change your life, but you can. The power is in your hands and I have had the pleasure to connect with so many women this year, women who were hanging on my a thread and now just feel good.

MAY 1st is the start date. Send me a message and we’ll work together to find something that will work for your unique situation and preferences.

We are going to have an awesome summer, you ready to join us?

Jessica Heidi's photo.

Fact Friday: Antioxidants

I am driven by FACTS (as a scientist) and I have been feeling that there is so much fluff out there, people never know where to go for information, and is that information true? Then, what does that information mean to ME? So, what I have decided to do is create a FACT FRIDAY post where I will highlight a different ingredient in food or skincare as or class of chemicals and give YOU facts from reputable sources and be as clear as possible without expressing my opinion, just the facts.

 

Please feel free to request what ingredients you are curious about.

For my first Fact Friday: I was going to talk about chia seeds, BUT I realized you may not know WHAT Omega-3 fatty acids or antioxidants ARE or WHY you should even care?! So our first fact Friday is going to be about: ANTIOXIDANTS, what they are, how they work, and why they are important.

ANTIOXIDANTS:

Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals….HOLD UP.

What are free radicals? What kind of damage can they do to your body?
“Free radicals” are unstable atoms, or molecules, in your body. They are missing important components that would make them more stable. So they rob other cells of those components to meet their needs. This causes injury to previously healthy cells. Over time, this damage can lead to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Your body produces free radicals through its NORMAL processes. Your body also contains ITS OWN antioxidant molecules, which deactivate harmful free radicals. But things like cigarette smoking, pollution, and excessive alcohol consumption can create SO many free radicals that your body has a hard time defusing them on its own.

aap-antifreestop

Antioxidants- What they do
• stabilize those free radicals and can help minimize the damage to your cells
• Help decrease inflammation
• Help maintain the immune system
• Potentially decrease the risk of degenerative diseases

Antioxidants include
• vitamins (such as vitamins C and E
• some minerals (such as selenium)
• flavonoids, which are found in plants
• The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables

antioxidants

Antioxidants in Shakeology:
• Camu-Camu
• Acerola Cherry
• Bilberry
• Goji berry
• Green Tea
• Luo Han Guo
• Pomegranate
• Rose Hips
• Vitamins A, C, E

 

Resources: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-topic-overview

http://www.webmd.com/diet/antioxidants-directory

ACE Health Coaching Textbook

Fact Friday- Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Don’t be scared of the word “fat.”  Fat is essential in our diet for our cells to function properly in our bodies.

I am going to throw some serious science at you guys today!  As always my takeaway message is eat in moderation.  Here try to eat foods high in Omega 3s (list below) and try to minimize Omega 6 rich foods (processed foods, certain oils etc)

What is the Difference?

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are a chemical class called fatty acids.  The # corresponds to which carbon has the first double bond (Start counting from the right, and each point is a carbon)

Omega fatty acids UK

Your body does not produce Omega-3 fatty acids, so you need to obtain them from your diet.  Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis.

How do they do this?  They set off signals in our bodies to reduce INFLAMMATION.

Omega-3s curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body), this especially helps your heart.  At high doses they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. Finally, they can slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.

Omega 6 vs Omega 3

This may seem like a scary crazy image- but the takeaway message here is Omega 3s set off your metabolic pathway to release anti-inflammatories in your body.  How cool is that?!

Where to Get Omega 3s

When possible, try to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods. Aim to eat fish high in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids two to three times a week.

These include:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Sturgeon
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

Good food sources of ALA are:

  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil

While foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have health benefits, some — like oils and nuts — can be high in calories. So eat them in moderation.

 

So I threw a lot of complicated stuff at you-  takeaway message….  Live in moderation.  Try to eat foods high in Omega 3s and minimize your intake of processed foods and oils.

Happy Friday!

Any requests?