Finding peace in dark times.

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Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.

What can I say, life is crazy. Bad things are happening all around us. It’s easy to let these things get to us and perhaps prevent us from doing anything to help. In the midst of a sad, angry and anxious state of mind we often want to escape it all and ignore it. I don’t have any answers as to why bad things happen to good people, but I do know the best remedy for the sadness you may be feeling about all of the tragedy occurring right now: help someone or something in need.

Helping others and showing we care is the best way to get out of our depression and possibly prevent more bad things from occurring. It’s been proven that when we perform unselfish, philanthropic acts it enhances our ability to heal and energizes us to keep going and do the next right thing. It’s also the best way to help our society by alleviating the ills of those who suffer increasing their ability to be a positive, instead of negative, force in society. Making contact and showing you care is a great way to do this.

These acts can be as simple as making a small donation to a cause you care about or even holding the door for someone. Everything counts. I am so grateful when someone stops to let me perform a left turn! Or another example is when the person in front of me at Starbucks buys my coffee. These are small examples, big ones could be becoming a mentor to a child who needs guidance and love, volunteering at your local boys and girls club, homeless shelter or hospital, going on a mission with your church…

Choose a cause you care about and think of ways you can help. It doesn’t have to be complex, simple gestures make a big difference.

What is a cause you really care about? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by this question, try and narrow it down to one or two that you can dedicate a little time and energy to.

xo,

Hilary

 

 

Start your week off right!

I was looking at articles on this subject to get inspired and came across one that was intended to be amusing but is actually quite sad. It made me realize how far I’ve come since my drinking days. On PuckerMob.com, a site I had never heard of, the article “Case of the Mondays, 8 Ways to Kick Start Your Week“, the author simply discusses immature and disgusting ways to nurse your hangover from a weekend long binge.

This used to be me. Rolling into the office trying to just get through the day, hating my job, myself and everyone around me. That’s no way to live. I live without a drink now and am so much happier. I know to some it seems like a fate worse than death to give up drinking, but really it could not only save your life but help you create the best life you’ve ever had.

As a sober, responsible and inspired human, Monday is a great day for me to reboot. It’s a new week which gives me the feeling that I have a clean slate. Here are a few things that help me start my week off right…

  1. Wake up with time to spare. I used to be a consummate late sleeper, snoozing until the last possible moment, then rushing around to get myself ready in the morning and rushing out the door. I still have a tough time waking up, it’s a little easier now that I have natural alarm clocks, my 3 sons, waking me up every morning before 7. I try to get up a little before they do to have sometime for myself in the morning whether to workout, have a cup of coffee or stretch and meditate, it really helps to have that time to myself before the kids wake up and it’s all about them.
  2. A healthy breakfast. I used to never eat breakfast. Now I can’t go without it. I’m not that hungry in the mornings but if I skip it I’m become ravenous later in the day and eat things I shouldn’t. Also, eating a healthy breakfast is so important to kick-start your metabolism for the day.
  3. Think about what I want to accomplish for the day / week and make a list. Once I’ve cleared my head a bit and my older 2 get off to school I like to think about the week ahead and what I would like to accomplish. What appointments do I have, when am I going to squeeze in working out and updating my blog, what fun activities am I going to do with Tommy, dinners for the week, who do I need to call or message etc… having this list in front of me is a good way to organize.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What suggestions do you have for starting your week off strong?

xo, Hil

Best sources of protein.

egg-white

With a protein to fat ratio of 60:1, egg whites are unquestionably one of the purest forms of protein in the world. –Bodybuilding.com

I’m really amping up my workouts lately. My goal is to not only tone but build muscle. In order to build muscle it’s crucial to consume the right amount of protein and the right kind. Protein is known as the building blocks for bodily function and maintainance. It is necessary for the development and repair of hair, skin, eyes, muscles and organs.

Protein as Energy

Protein is used as energy when your body has used all of the carbohydrates and fats that you’ve consumed. I’ve read that using protein in this way is actually not good because your body needs protein for more important purposes, like rebuilding muscle tissue. However if you consume protein in excess your body will store it as fat and too much of it is harmful to your organs. So a healthy balance is vital.

3 Great Sources of Protein

  1. Egg whites. Everywhere I go I read that eggs are the perfect protein for a fit physique. They contain all of the essential amino acids needed to rebuild muscle and are one of the most efficient proteins in that they are readily used by your body for protein synthesis. Egg yolks have great nutritional value as well, but are high in cholesterol so keep the use of them down as much as possible.
  2. Chicken and Turkey breast. These low fat options are packed with protein. I suggest cooking enough at the beggening of the week to easily use on salads, in brown rice or for a healthy sandwich made with whole wheat bread. They are a great, easy way to add protein to so many dishes.
  3. Beans and Legumes. These are high in protein AND fiber. Fiber is a wonderful source of carbohydrates that helps keep you fuller longer and assists in regulating blood sugar. Kidney beans are a popular options for fitness enthusiasts as they contain 14 g or protein and fiber per serving.

What’s your favorite protein source?

Thanks for reading!

xo,

Hilary

3 tips for a fit Holiday Weekend

Holidays are always a tough time to try to stay on track with your diet. Add a “bunny” bringing massive amounts of delicious chocolate and candy to your house and it’s a whole new ball game. I don’t know about you but my sweet tooth is pretty massive.  I already ate a couple Peeps today.

peeps

So here we go…

  1. Don’t get your kids too much candy! I’m guilty of this and have also been guilty of eating about half of the candy I buy them. So do yourself a favor and buy the requisite candy, just not too much of it. Perhaps add a non traditional gift in the basket like a book or last year I put seeds and some garden equipment in there. I know it sounds lame but it provides them a fun learning experience and God willing, they get the joy out of growing their own plants.
  2. Plan to be active as much as possible this weekend. This is always a good idea but especially when you have a party coming where you are likely to indulge. Getting active and therefore feeling healthy will help to curb bad craving and it will encourage you to stay on track. If it’s nice enough, get out and hike or go to the playground and do some HIIT while your kids are on the jungle gym. If not get to the museum, that always provides some good walking and education for you and the kids. Our favorite is the Museum of Science in Boston. If we have time and it’s nice out we walk along the Charles River. What’s your favorite museum?
  3. Saturate yourself with nutrient rich foods. I’m not going to deliver the classic advice that you should make nutritious choices in a party environment. First off, that would make me a hypocrite. I follow a pretty “when in Rome” philosophy when it comes to going to celebrations and eating out. However, I do recommend planning ahead of time by eating healthy, nutrient rich foods the rest of the weekend so you’re  less likely not to over do it when you’re around the delicious appetizers, entrees and deserts that are sure to be served up on Easter.

Have a lovely and safe holiday everyone!

xo,

Hilary

3 Tips for staying fit this weekend

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Think of the weekend as an opportunity to amp up your fitness game.

People often use the weekend as an excuse to cheat on their diet and not exercise. That’s fine as long as you are not trying to bring your physical, mental and emotional state to a higher level. However, if you are (and if you’re reading this you probably are) I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Change your mind about the weekend. What do I mean by this? Think of the weekend as an opportunity to practice health and wellness instead of a chance to binge, sleep and watch Netflix. It’s ok to indulge a little, but if you change your general mindset and get in the habit of thinking of the weekend as having more time to focus on participating in healthy activities like hikes, running, getting to a yoga class or spending a little time making a shopping list for the week containing more whole foods and less processed ones; it will help you stay on track and not gain or regain those unwanted pounds.
  2. Do something good for someone else. This is a great way to show gratitude and to get your mind off of those unhealthy foods you may be craving. Make a plan to volunteer a little of your time or give back in some other way; this will fill your soul with love and gratefulness rather than filling your belly with fried food and sugar.
  3. Plan ahead. You know weekends are hard so make a plan to keep on track. Schedule a workout class and make sure you have healthy food options in your house to curb cravings.

What healthy activity are you doing this weekend?

Xo,

Hilary

Why people get fat.

coffee-cake

 

I was the perfect example of why people get fat yesterday. I met a friend for coffee and made the mistake of going to the coffee shop starving! Normally I would try to eat something before hand or bring a healthy snack to hold me over. But let’s be honest, in real life sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

So I peruse the shop for something “healthy” to eat and there’s not much. Bagels and baked goods are the main attraction. This is why I try to arm myself from making bad dietary decisions when I’m out by eating something healthy beforehand. Instead I go for the delicious and calorie ridden coffee cake. Now, there’s nothing wrong with calories, we’re all taught in school that calories = energy. However there’s a BIG difference between good calories and what I like to call, negative calories. These foods give you very little energy and then leave you more tired and hungry afterword.

This coffee cake, as delicious and sumptuous as it was, basically held me over through my coffee date and upon getting into my car to go to the gym my stomach was rumbling in hunger. I forced myself onward to the gym, probably didn’t get in the best workout because all I could think about was lunch. I then came home absolutely famished and ready for a nap. So the problem lies here. I ate a calorie filled “snack” to tide me over that just left me even more hungry and willing to eat anything in site later in the day.

Point of this long-winded story is to make healthy choices, by choosing to eat unhealthy you will in turn eat more later to make up from your body being drained of energy trying to digest the negative calories you consumed.

In short: Eating healthy throughout the day will prevent you from eating more than you should.

Here are my go to “on the go” healthy snacks:

  1. Nature Valley Protein bars.
  2. Kashi trail mix bars.
  3. Fage yogurt. I like Chobani as well, but Fage has less sugar and you can control how much fruit you put in.
  4. Bananas.
  5. Horizons Organic mozzarella cheese sticks. 
  6. Almonds and cranberries.

xo,

Hil

 

Weight Loss tip: Change your attitude.

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I used to get sick of hearing about fitness professionals and fit celebrities thinking of food as fuel. Even though I knew it was the right attitude to have, I thought it was silly and improbable that I could actually make choices based on the idea that I was fueling my body. I love the taste of food and that’s what I based my decisions on most of the time.

Nowadays I’ve completely adopted the attitude that food is meant for nourishing the body, not just for taste. A lot of it has to do with getting older. The effects of what I eat on my mind, body and emotional state are much more obvious than when I was in my twenties.

Mindfulness is another big component of adopting this attitude. I wake up in the morning and instead of not eating (do NOT skip meals!!) or eating an unhealthy breakfast, I realize the importance of starting my day off right. I make conscious decisions like eating whole wheat toast instead of white, or having egg whites instead of the whole egg and including calcium to balance out the meal like a glass of milk or yogurt. And of course adding some sort of fruits and vegetables to all your meals is key. I love avocado for any meal. It’s one of the most nutritious and filling foods you can eat.

Weight loss is not something you can focus on for a few months and then forget about. You need to make eating healthy your lifestyle. This is my mantra that I repeat over and over again to people who ask me how to get fit, stay fit and be healthy. If you struggle with weight loss and keeping it off you probably need to change your attitude about the whole process. Here are a few tips:

  1. Be patient. Whenever I hear someone talking about going on a crash diet it makes me cringe. Crash diets do not work in the long-term! Make a point of eating healthier and making better choices all day everyday and you will see the weight come off. Maybe not as quickly as you would like, but it will result in a lasting change that you can maintain.
  2. Take every opportunity you have to get some exercise. Every little bit counts! So walk to work, take the stairs and park a little further from the entrance than usual. You’ll be amazed at how much these little changes make a big difference. I used to walk to work everyday when I lived in the city, it was the main form of cardio I got and it worked for me.
  3. Get to know your body and what works for you. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. What works for one person may not work for another. Everyone is different so rely on how you feel personally to make healthy decisions regarding diet and weight loss.
  4. Love your body throughout the process. This is most important. Love your body for all it does and has done for you. DO NOT beat up on yourself. You are beautiful just the way you are and need to appreciate your beauty and use that confidence to motivate yourself to be better and take better care of yourself.

xo,

Hil