Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12.31.08: Stone Cold Resolve

As evening falls on this New Year's Eve, I can hear the wind blustering more and more by the minute but I am heading out into the cold and happy to do so.

In about an hour, I'll take the train to NYC to take on the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, a 4-mile fun run in Central Park at the first moment of 2009. I'm doing this run on behalf of UNICEF, an organization helping kids across the globe.

This is the first of my Save the World Diet challenges. I'm so thrilled this year of taking on a physcial challenge each month for charity is finally here. I'm sick of sitting on my rear -- worrying about the state of the world and my weight.

So I hope you'll join me this year, by focusing on what you can do to help yourself and help the world by taking on physical challenges for charity.

There are 5Ks, bike rides, swims and so on, but it doesn't have to be so formal. Getting healthy and helping the world can eating and exercising so you feel energetic enough to shovel your elderly neighbor's driveway. Please post your aspirations for the coming year... I'm so happy to have you along for the journey!

Running is the least I can do and I hope you'll support me by making a donation on my Facebook Causes page:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12.30.08: What Not to Wear -- Maternity Clothes

As I was preparing for interview with What Not To Wear Co-Host Clinton Kelly, it occurred to me that the majority of my tops were maternity wear.

I haven’t been pregnant since February.

My closet was mix of hopeful hangers full of things that fit me when I returned from Kilimanjaro, when I felt great about my weight. They haven’t moved for more than a year.

The only thing that I could come up with was a purple maternity sweater, something I picked up at Target when my belly started to grow. My daughter is 10 months old and it still fits.

The truth is, I have been feeling downright frumpy these last few months. I work from home so I don’t have to dress up. There have been days – with the balance of baby and work -- when I’ve been lucky to get a shower. There are days that moments after I put on a fresh shirt, it’s full of baby something. Baby spitup. Baby food. Baby snot. I stopped bothering to change my shirt when it gets a spot, figuring it will be the canvas for that day’s baby happenings.

In fact, when it came to my interview with Clinton, who was appearing at the Bridgewater Borders to sign his book Freakin’ Fabulous, I couldn’t remove my parka because my shoulder was smudged with my concealer. (Note to self: Don’t trying applying makeup while holding daughter).

Clinton was a nice guy – and was used to being asked what to wear – and What Not to Wear. I didn’t bother asking his opinion on my outfit, but when he started talking about the frumpy women on his show, I took note.

He said many mothers who come on the show put themselves last on their priority lists, and feel they are being better mothers because of it. He said actually they are doing a disservice to themselves and their children, by showing a lack of respect for themselves.

Looking frumpy, for me, is a consequence of feeling frumpy on the inside. So I decided it was time for a bit of a makeover, starting with ditching all my maternity clothing. It was my own little intervention.

I took an afternoon to myself, something I hadn’t had in a long time and hit the post-Christmas sales, armed with something to return – an ill-fitting boxy jacket with the tags still on it, a gift card and a few of my own dollars. I spent about two hours in the mall, just trying thing on – making sure to search deep in the clearance items as my budget wasn’t big. I looked for things that made me feel good and could be easily tailored. I took his advice about buying a good-fitting bra, a structured jacket and other feminine tops (as recommended on the show).

You might say, why not just wait until you're well into this year's Save The World Diet challenges, when your old clothes will fit again?

Well, I’m sick of feeling frumpy – and feeling good about myself starts now.

What kind of wardrobe makeover can you do – whether revisiting old clothes or shopping the sales – can you do to make yourself feel good at this moment?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

12.28.08: Can't Wait for the Start

Yesterday I learned my friend who wanted to do the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park is not going to be able to do it with me. I could hear the disappointment in her voice as she backed out from the event because of an injury with less than a week to go.

I could have let this be an excuse to also back out. Afterall, this midnight run was her idea and one of the biggest challenges will be staying awake that late! But my husband and I decided to go on and do it anyway. While we were excited about having our friend along, this is about our wellbeing -- and the good of others (I'm using the run to raise money for UNICEF). We're not going to back off from this mission, The Save the World Diet where I take on a physical challenge each month for charity.

I'm not in perfect shape by any means. I've got 40 pounds of baby weight, wiggling when I run. But I'm going for it anyway -- even if I need to walk part of it.

The midnight race -- at the first moment of 2009 -- will be the beginning of something incredible. I just can't wait to start.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

12.19.08: Getting Beyond Fear

I've been feeling a little pang of fear these days as I announce my intentions to do my Save the World Diet -- a physical challenge for charity each month of 2009. It's scary putting it all out there, telling the world what you want to do -- I mean, what if you fail?

I wash away the fear with the knowledge that it would be much worse to not do anything, to just sit here and waste my life away. The longer I wait to drop these excess pounds, the higher my risk for diabetes, heart disease and oh so many ailments, not to mention a dearth of energy and exciteement about life in general. Now that's a scary thought.

I want to use my body to the best of it's potential. I want to spend my year helping others, and feeling an amazing sense of accomplishment -- knowing that Doing Good is Good for You.

So just a few weeks to go. I'm over my cold. I'm back on the treadmill. I'm really going to do this.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

12.15.08: Stepping Into Something New

Last week was one of those weeks. My 10-month-old daughter was under the weather. The weather stunk. Then I was under the weather. With all of these excuses, I didn't get to the gym much.

I know that I am at my best when I am eating well and exercising regularily but sometimes weeks worth of working out can slip away in just a few days. Once the workout schedule crumbles, good eating habits often also disappear.

By Saturday I felt terrible. I was crankier than my daughter, stressed that none of these extra holiday-time tasks were done and in tears as I tried to venture to Costco. I turned back from the big box retailers to spend the afternoon chilling out, realizing that hadn't done much lately to care for myself.

It is so incredibly important to take time to care for myself everyday. My workouts are my break. Without them, even for a few days, my world is off kilter and the stress builds up and up.

So today, after I finished my work, I loaded Anna in the car and we headed to the gym. I had been meaning to try a Step Interval class. I had often watched through the window and saw what looked like a group of people having fun.

Today, I am happy to report I was one of them.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12.10.08: Oprah's Weight -- Heavy Struggles

There's been a lot of talk in these past few days about Oprah's weight gain.

In an article for O magazine, Oprah wrote that she used her Thyroid condition as a crutch and then allowed weight to pile on. I did the same thing during my pregnancy. Oprah, I feel your pain.

I don't know what it is about those of us who struggle with weight. It's like there's this switch for when we're doing well to stay in the zone, but once our old habits are triggered it's so incredibly hard to stop, like a frozen computer that you just can't reboot.

The promising message from Oprah's story is she is going to focus on her health, not getting skinny. This is the right path. I always do better on any weight loss journey when I focus on what I want to do, not how many pounds I lose.

If I said I want to lose 20 pounds, it doesn't mean anything. If I say I am going to do a marathon (which, by the way is the May challenge in my Save the World Diet plan,) well then I better get running and fuel my body so that I can make it (even if it means walking) to the finish line.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

12.02.08: New Feature -- Tuesday Tunes

So many of us listen to music while training -- I'm often plugged in to my club's audio system or toting my husband's iPod shuffle. So here's a fun mental trick to let music motivate you. Dedicate a song to your weight!

This is something I did during my Kilimanjaro climb training. It helped me focus and stay connected to my body while working out. I used break up songs to bid adieu to lost pounds. My favorite was Kelly Clarkson's 'Since You've Been Gone', which I'd sing to previous pounds "Since you've been gone, I can breathe for the first time." The song details an unhealthy relationship which I'd equate to my past with food. I'd sing love songs -- such as John Mayer's "Your Body is a Wonderland" -- to my newfound healthy body.

Each week, I'll bring you Tuesday Tunes that we can all dedicate to our weight, to help motivate us along our journey. There might even be a playlist along the way.

This week's tune: What Goes Around Comes Around -- Justin Timberlake

This song, which is in the Club Com rotation at my gym, Can Do in Short Hills, reminds me that what I do to my body today will come back to haunt or hurt me somewhere down the line.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

12.01.08: Coffee for a Cause

Today is World AIDS Day and to mark the event, Starbucks decided to donate 5 cents from the purchase of certain beverages to help fight AIDS and support those afflicted with or affected by the disease.

When I posted the event on my Facebook account, I got some flack saying that 5 cents is a puny amount compared to the amount of profit the company makes. Even though those nickels do add up when it comes to the millions of Starbucks customers, it's not so much about the money raised as it is the awareness.

Companies such as the Gap and Apple have taken part in the Product (RED) Campaign, making it hip to wear clothing or get gear that also goes for a good cause. If it weren't for these campaigns, and Bono behind them, some people may not take time to think about the global epidemic of AIDS.

It's the little things that add up -- whether trying to lose weight or help the world -- that lead to big change.

So, kudos to Starbucks for raising funds and awareness for the cause. I picked up my Grande Gingersnap Non-Fat Latte this morning and drank to hope for all those living with the effects of HIV/AIDS, especially the more than 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa.

And if you want to do more than sip coffee, join me on my Kilimanjaro climb to benefit AIDS orphans departing in December 2009. To make a donation on behalf of my journey or in honor of World AIDS Day, go to:

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