I’m coming off of an insanely amazing –and indulgent- Thanksgiving where close to 16 of my friends and family gathered to eat and drink outside on the bay here in warm and sunny Miami Beach. See yours truly cutting the most insane pie I concocted above….and NO, recipe not included, it’s too dangerous.
So, my situation is that I’ve got no time to recover and reset. I’m now facing non-stop party time with Art Basel upon us in MIA (and lots of girlfriends flying in to play), my twin boys birthday in mid December, then of course, Christmas in DC and NYC and finally a crazy masquerade ball for New Years back here in sexytown. Clearly, there will be no letting up from now until 2016. I plan to partake and play in it all, but will rely HEAVILY on a few tips to feel emotionally and physically clear, clean and happy. My “tips” are not-so-secret because they’re fairly straight forward and simple; no subscriptions, food plans or coaches required.
Below are 12 Health / Wellness / Fitness Not-So-Secret Weapons that I share here in the spirit of giving, TMI and with the hope that even just a few might help you dance through your festivities feeling as hot and delicious as it is here in Miami 😉
1. Turn in early for DOWNTIME in BED. I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well as I have been since moving to Miami. I’m not 100% sure why, but I think now that I’m not mixing my music for class late at night has something to do with it. Anyway, if minimizing stress is just not an option this month, then getting 7-9 hours of sleep on those nights you are not going out, is your next best bet. The “wind down” will help you do that. I am in bed by 9, sometimes 8:30(!) and turn out the lights by 10:30. Do whatever works for you in this bed “downtime” before closing your eyes, but reading, meditation, deep breathing, good conversations and sex are at the top of my list (note: anything electronic is not).
2. Cut gluten, dairy and sugar.
During the day and especially on evenings I’ve decided that I’m staying in, I keep is super duper clean and cut out my evil trio: gluten (any processed carbs), dairy and sugar. An example food diary would be: coffee w/almond milk before workout. Around noon I’ll have a dark leafy green salad with raw purple cabbage, two poached eggs, avocado, and walnuts. Late afternoon, after a cup of green tea, if I’m feeling hungry I’ll eat some lean protein (either turkey meatballs or a few chicken tenders) OR half a pear w/almond butter. Around 6-7PM dinner could be grilled fish, asparagus and seed bread with clarified butter. If my sweet tooth is literally taking over my mental capacities, I’ll eat 1-2 dates and then brush my teeth immediately so I don’t go back for more. You can see my son Diago proudly presenting a My Chickpea Cauliflower that we whipped up together. There are also some days I decide to focus just on plant based diet.
3. Speaking of food, I have been following Intermittent Fasting (IF) guidelines for the past 3-4 weeks and I LOVE IT. The link above as well as this one, are both great resources on the why and how since I’m not an IF expert. Its not a diet, its a pattern of eating that allows your body to burn more fat in a fasted state. As you can see from my timing above in #2, I eat my last meal around 6-7PM. With the exception of my 6AM coffee w/ almond milk (occasionally I add a teaspoon of coconut butter), I “fast” until around noon the next day. This pattern works for me personally because I workout late morning and usually have don’t have an appetite until around 10AM anyway. If you are interested in IF, I encourage you to play around with a pattern that works for your lifestyle and schedule. I don’t miss the early meal at all and am likely shaving off a couple hundred calories from my daily diet with this pattern. Please don’t try IF if you are not already leading a relatively fit and healthy lifestyle or if you are starting to incorporate exercise into your life for the first time.
4. Coconut Oil Pulling. The very first thing I do in the morning, before anyone else is awake, is I put about a tablespoon of Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in my mouth and swish and swirl it around for about 15-20 minutes. It is said to be a detox for your mouth and I’m a believer! Personally, I feel like my teeth are whiter and my mouth cleaner/fresher in the 6-8 weeks I’ve been doing it. Its a no brainer. With the oil having a party in my mouth, I empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, make my kids breakfast, make my coffee, etc etc. No one is up and I keep myself busy so it’s over and done with in no time. On the mornings my kids wake up early with me, we’ve resorted to hand signals and written notes (kinda like in that show The Leftovers, never mind if you haven’t watched). Anyway, when I’m done I spit the oil in the trash, rinse my mouth and then I’m onto my happy place with coffee. Here is a great resource on why Oil Pulling is amazeballs and how and why you can do it. LOVE!
5. Rumble and ball rolling. If an old fashioned foam roller is all you’ve got, great, get to it on the daily. If you want to take it one step further, I’ve been using these two toys (see the links and pictures above) on the regular and they are indispensible. I take the ball with me everywhere but especially to yoga and barre classes. I show up 5-10 minutes early and roll the shit out of my hips and hamstrings so I have way more mobility and get so much more out of the class than if I showed up cold and tight. I also hit these two up before bed. Two weapons to help flush out soreness, improve athletic performance and finally, lengthen and lean out tight muscles. Lauren Roxburgh is the world’s expert on this. She has a gazillion and one ways to roll. Follow her and get her book on this so you can do it right!
6. Drink a gallon of water a day. Enough said. Period. My work is done here. That’s a wrap.
7. For a serious boost, I recently got a L Carnitine injection from my friend, Health and Wellness Coach Jelena Petkovic. If you’ve ever had a B12 shot, this is also a great energy boost. Pretty much immediately afterwards I felt like a super hero. For my NYC people, there are several health and wellness centers such as Parsley Health and Be Well By Frank Lipman that can administer vitamin shots. I plan on getting another one this month for sure, likely tomorrow. Here’s a great piece of the important of Vitamin B in particular.
8. Electronic and social media diet. In my opinion, going days on end without social media is a bit extreme and unnecessary especially this month. But, what I have done of late is put my phone away for a big chunk of time to focus on what I enjoy doing with myself and those around me (friends and family). For example, I’ll get home with my kids around 5PM and immediately silence and put it away. I cook dinner, help them with homework, eat at the dinner table with my family, give and receive massage from various family members, take a hot bath and wind down. I’ll check it again around 9, but only emails and texts to make sure I haven’t missed anything important. I’m not on social media again until the next morning. In this season with obligations pulling you in every direction, it’s nice to stay connected in the real world and enjoy the people around you. If anything, maybe try to keep your phone down at your holiday parties and gatherings. I mean, why be social if all you want is media?
9. Take a Fit Shift.
For this month, I’m shifting my workouts to pretty much only very sweaty cardio, yoga and barre. I’m taking a break from lifting weights, bootcamp and intense HIIT sessions. I know I’ll incorporate them back in, however, shifting your workouts for a season or even just for a week at a time, gives the body a nice break and helps to avoid overtraining and workout plateaus. Depending on what you’ve been focused on, your shift may be quite different from mine. For example, someone who has been running and cycling a lot may want to focus on bootcamp classes. You get the idea. Right now I am trying to make my cardio (outdoor runs and indoor cycling) as sweaty as possible after nights out to flush out the inevitable toxins. No matter the season, my all-time favorite workout is still hot power yoga and very hard barre classes – can’t do without them for very long.
10. Feeling someone put their hands on you is healing. Giving that touch is generosity! So with that giving spirit in mind, go rub up on someone! Every night I massage my boys backs before they go to bed. Even for just a few minutes. My husband and I try to give each other 10-15 min head, neck and shoulder massages before turning out the lights. We are usually horizontal and falling into a comatose state so it can be a bit half-assed, but it’s better than nothing! Self massaging your own shoulders is super effective in releasing the tightness that may have crept up throughout the day. Here’s a great piece on Ayurvedic Self Massage. Don’t wait for the right time, I get it on with friends waiting in line, my hubs while we are watching our kids play soccer (oooohhhh those jealous soccer moms 😉 LOL LOL) or by yourself in the shower. This may sound sexy, but it’s really not about that. It’s about tuning into your physical self.
11. Meditation. I’m trying my best to get into it more. I’m not very good at it, but I DO find deep breathing to be helpful, especially when I feel scared, anxious or upset. I have been using this app called Relax and Sleep Well (but you can find what works best for you). Here’s a list of some good ones. ALSO, I do 10 deep belly breaths before eating my meals. It helps me eat mindfully and slowly.
12. Confidence is the best outfit. Without a doubt! It truly does not matter what I’m wearing when I walk into a party or event, if I feel fucking fantastic, I’m going to have an incredible experience by giving the best of myself to whoever is around me JUST because of how I’m feeling. Using the above “weapons” help me do just that.
Happy holiday’ing, playing, partying and just living your moments!!