Small Change = Big Gain

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If you've been reading my blog or following my newsletters, you'll know that one of my biggest philosophies is to start making small changes in your life that eventually will lead to big ones. This is the basis for my with with individual clients when we determine how to achieve whatever goal it is they seek to accomplish. And it works.

Sometimes, we just need a little reminder about the basics. So, here you go.

If you're trying to lose weight, for example, you will never succeed if you say you're going to cut out all carbs and sugar and go to the gym 5 days a week. It's too lofty of a goal. Instead, if you just commit to walking 10,000 steps a day and adding greens into at least one meal, you'll start to create the building blocks of a healthier, more active lifestyle that will ultimately lead to weight loss.

A few of years ago if you had asked me if I was a morning person I would have said "Hell no!" After my father died and I was looking for ways to start my morning off on the right foot, I would go for walks with my husband and I fell in love with how quiet the city was before 8am. Those mornings turned into workouts or sometimes they remained walks. I slowly became a morning person and am much more fulfilled that way. I feel like I'm getting the most out of every day even if I'm in bed by 10pm. 

Whenever I get the chance to share this tiny piece of wisdom, I jump on it. So, when Elysium Health included my two cents on the topic in an infographic, I was thrilled! Elysium takes more of a scientific approach to healthy habits, as shown by the graphic's focus on cellular metabolism as well as the company's own research into NAD+. Check out what they unveiled about the major impact small changes can have on your life.

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Bermuda's Secret To A Stress-Free Life

Taking a walk along Horseshoe Bay.

Taking a walk along Horseshoe Bay.

“Everything will happen eventually.” That’s what my driver, Larry, told me when I touched down in Bermuda a little over a week ago frantic that I still had a ton of work on my plate. His words seemed unreasonable in the moment as I was trying to make everything happen immediately despite being on vacation. And that got me thinking: how much of our lives is filled with wanting everything to happen NOW?

I am certainly guilty of that behavior. Living in a city and working in a fast-paced business breeds this idea of getting as much done as possible on the fastest timeline. How many times have you refreshed your phone waiting for an email response to a message you sent five minutes earlier? How many times have you checked your recent date’s Instagram to see what he or she is up to since they haven’t texted in 24 hours? All of these things don’t make us more efficient or fulfilled. If you’re anything like me, they leave you feeling exhausted.

So, when my lovely tour guide in Bermuda casually said those four words, it didn’t resonate at first. I had an interview and an article to write and a deadline…the list could have gone on. I got all of my “stuff” done in my way and by that evening I just wanted to go to bed. You realize that’s nuts considering I was in one of the most beautiful places in the world right? That’s why I started to replay those words over and over in my head: “Everything will happen eventually.”

If you want to know more about Bermuda check this out: The Best Beaches and Things to do in Bermuda 

Checked off a bucket list item of riding a horse to the beach.

Checked off a bucket list item of riding a horse to the beach.

I promised myself for the rest of the trip I wouldn’t do any work and focus on just going with the flow. Everyone in Bermuda was ok with it, so why couldn’t I? As I relaxed and stopped focusing on everything that had to get done, time seemed to do something funny: slow down. While I often find myself saying “there’s not enough hours in the day,” on this tiny 20-square-mile island the days seemed longer and a good night’s sleep took on a new meaning. What would happen if we all slowed down a bit and adopted this Bermudian advice?

I understand we live in a world with actual deadlines and appointments, but what about all of the other “stuff” that can happen eventually? Do you really need to spend your Saturday running errands, or can it wait? Do you need to plan a work dinner multiple nights a week, or can you spread them out a bit more?

I challenge you over the next month to focus on clearing your plate. Keep your must-have deadlines and to-do lists to a minimum, and stop worrying about immediate responses. Instead, start to try and enjoy all of your newfound time and headspace because all of that other “stuff” will happen eventually.

‘Project Runway’ Judge Nina Garcia’s Healthy Travel Advice: ‘Learn From The French’

Nina Garcia is one of those enviable women where you have to ask, “How does she do it all?” The 51-year-old is the Fashion Director at Elle and Marie Claire magazines, and has been a judge on Project Runway since its premiere season. Here career and personal passion for travel have brought her all over the world (she just traveled to both Peru and Paris) and the fashionista seems to do it all with ease. Luckily, she opened up to me recently about her secret to staying healthy (and sane) with seemingly no free time. Hint: her dog has something to do with it.

Q: You travel so much, how do you stay healthy on the go?

A: That is a great question that I think many people struggle to find the answer to. Here’s what I’ve found works for me: walk as much as possible and don’t give yourself a chance to fall into the slump of jet leg. The best cure for tired travelers is to hop on a treadmill and get that blood pumping. Otherwise it’s a downhill battle.

Q: What’s the hardest part about traveling and staying fit?

A: That’s an easy one. All the eating. Who doesn’t want to eat all of the amazing fare when they are traveling? Certainly, I do. Since I usually cook at home with the family, it is disruptive to my diet and my overall health. But I try to make up for it by doing some extra walking around the city.

Q: How has being on the road so much changed your health routine?

A: It’s changed it quite a bit. I’ve learned that it’s okay to get on the health wagon and occasionally fall off from time to time when you find yourself in a new place with amazing food and little time for a formal workout (it’s hard to justify not taking a bite or two). But I’ve learned that we can use technology as a tool to help us keep track of our overall health. When I was in Peru, for example, I wore my Huawei Fit [a light weight fitness smartwatch] while I climbed Machu Picchu. I never would have guessed that I was capable of taking that many steps.

Q: Have you learned any wellness advice from other cultures?

A: Yes, the French. Everything in moderation.

Q: Where are some of your favorite places in the world and what’s still on your bucket list?

A: It’s too hard, even to name a few - I really love exploring and seeing new places. Last year was filled with some incredible trips. I went to Alaska, Macchu Piccu and Cuba. Every place was breathtaking. I’d love to visit Africa. Going on a safari sounds like a dream. Patagonia is on my list, too

Q: What about when you are home, how do you maintain a healthy regimen?

A: I got Titan, a golden retriever, in March 2016 and he has been a huge part of my life. Titan has actually made my whole family healthier because we all get out and walk him together. Any pet owner knows that it’s all about routine, and dogs absolutely must get their exercise. It has also been great for my sons to feel a sense of responsibility for him as well. It keeps us all on track.

7 Things To Do In Wine Country That Don’t Involve Wine

Northern California is home to many things, but very well known for one main attraction: booze. From Monterey County all the way up to Napa Valley you have some of the best vineyards in the world producing top notch wine. While sipping on the various varietals is a great reason to pay a visit to the area, there are also tons of other activities that are alcohol free.

Here are 7 things you can do in wine country that don’t involve a sip of wine.

Visit The Home of A Great Artist

The new home of a private collection of more than 570 works of art by Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali opened this summer in Monterey. Dali17 is one of the places Dali used to live and the exhibit represents the largest private collection of original Dali art in the United States. The museum is the first and only of its kind on the West Coast.

Go On A Safari

Nope, you didn’t read that wrong. Elkhorn Slough is one of California’s largest wetlands and part of a National Estuarine Reserve. The wildlife-rich reserve winds inland many miles and provides an important feeding and resting place for sea otters, curious harbor seals, sea lions, hundreds of species of birds and more. You can book a guided trek through this incredible nature landscape with Elkorn Slough Safari Tour.

Try To Spot A Whale

California is one of the only places in the world where visitors can see whales year-round, and there’s no better place for whale watching than in Northern California. While in many areas whale watchers have to go far from shore to see a whale, along the Monterey coast up north, whales can sometimes be seen offshore with the naked eye.

Take A Helicopter Tour

Monterey County is home of the iconic Highway 1, Big Sur, and one of the largest wine growing and producing regions in California. And now helicopter tours. In true Central Coast style, leave your car behind and explore the mountainside vineyards of the Santa Lucia Highlands, California’s premier cool-climate wine growing region via helicopter and/or an ATV. Remember, you’re not drinking, so the brand new Sky Safari Adventure is a great way to explore the area sober. You’ll be able to spot whales, seals, dolphins and sharks from up above, before landing at the Monterey Zoo, home to tigers, bears, birds, elephants and more.

Eat An Artichoke

This sounds weird, but this veggie is actually worth the trip. Pezzini Farms, located in Castroville (the Artichoke Capital of the World since 1929), offers fresh artichokes and local, farm-­fresh products. A visit to The Choke Coach for French Fried, Grilled and Steamed Artichokes is also a must for your artichoke fix.

Go Glamping

This new upscale tented camping experience launches in mid-November as the newest camping experience in Big Sur. Ventana’s Redwood Retreats offer a rustic-luxury take on traditional camping with 15 safari-style canvas tents available in the resort’s ancient redwood forest. Each tent features inspired cabin-style décor, a king bed, natural fiber rugs, picnic table, dinnerware and separate gas and wood-burning fire pits.

Get Zen

The new Art & Seekers program at Ventana Big Sur features mind-body-soul experiences that celebrate the essence of the natural and calming experiences. Workshops include drum circles, quartz bowls & cymatic resonance sessions, create your couple mandala, nature charcoal drawing, neuroacoustic music therapy and photography-hike workshops as well as glassblowing and watercolor painting for groups.

Portland is Good For the Body and Soul. Here's Why.

Over Fourth of July weekend I was lucky enough to take a quick trip to Portland, Oregon. I never really spent time in the Pacific Northwest, aside from a wedding in Vancouver last summer, so I went in with an open mind.

Of course, I was told the typical tales of how every resident wants to secretly be a farmer. While I didn't speak to enough people to confirm that rumor, what I do know is that the way of life there is made for healthy and happy living (my goal in life if you haven't noticed).

Aside from the creepy man who followed me for blocks insisting I put my hand in his brown paper bag, overall Portland is what holistic health coach dreams are made of.

Here's why:

1. The food is da bomb
Sure, you can have donuts for multiple meals (which I may or may not have done), but the fresh ingredients and flavors make eating a salad a religious experience.  “In Portland, we’re surrounded by small farms that are capable of producing customized ingredients for chefs who only know how to cook seasonally,” Marcus Hibdon, Travel Portland's senior media relations and PR manager told me. Joshua McFadden, executive chef and partner at Ava Gene's added, “The access to real food is amazing. The raw products here are some of the best in the world.”

There are so many healthy options, like vegan ramen for example, that it's not hard to stick to eating whole foods and lots of greens. It makes all of the indulgences (Salt & Straw ice cream anyone?) available that much less resisting, but also that much more satisfying when you can, well, indulge in them.

 2. It's easy to be active
It seems like everyone in the city would prefer to use two wheels instead of four making it easy to join in on the bike culture. This constantly active mindset is one that I always try to instill in my clients. Just move every day. Then there's great outdoors to be explored nearby and it seems like that's what everyone is doing every weekend. Mount Hood and Multnomah Falls are within and hour of downtown and the drive there is just as stunning. Who needs late night bar hopping on a Saturday when you can go natural wonder hopping?

3. Creativity is encouraged
Unfortunately, so many of us fall into the trap of working 9 to 5's and feeling like a cog in the machine. By the time you get home, you're exhausted and have no energy to pursue outside interests if you have any. In Portland, the whole community encourages you to turn your side passion into a full time business if you want. There are literally entire stores dedicated to promoting local craftsman and many restaurants are owned by locals.

Having a place that inspires you to open your mind to possibilities and tap into that inner childhood dream is ok in my book. It's one of the things I feel we as a society are missing the most. Want to create hand-stitched leather saddlebag for bikes? Go for it!

4. People genuinely care
Ever get asked by a stranger how your day is going? Well, in Portland they mean it. And there will follow-ups. Yes, there is the stereotype of how everyone is super nice, but it's true. The cab driver was so excited it was our first trip to the city, the woman at hotel check in took the time to point out her favorite bars on a map and every store I walked into took time to compliment me (without pushing a sale).

As a New Yorker it took me a little while to settle into this friendliness, but after a couple of days it was nice to feel like I could let my guard down and relax. I heard so many interesting stories from different people and felt genuinely considered everywhere I went. Living in a place like this can certainly make it easier to live a happier life. It's contagious right?

The Secret to Curing Your Food Addiction

Trying to eat better? Brad Lamm has a solution: Know your style.

Lamm, an interventionist who works with those struggling with food addictions, has identified six types of eaters and their motivations. Knowing your type is crucial. “It reveals the behavioral changes you need to make,” says Lamm, founder of Breathe Life Healing Centers in Los Angeles. To find your style, read on.

Emotional eater

The style:

“You eat in tragedy or triumph, rather than [by taking] natural hunger cues,” says Lamm. You lack the ability “to distinguish between food as fuel [and] food as a coping mechanism.”

The strategy:

List “nonfood” ways to elevate your mood, such as a spa treatment.

Habitual eater

The style:

You indulge in junk food under a “just this once” excuse, but don’t stop eating. “If you’re not careful, ‘just this once’ becomes a part of your daily routine,” says Lamm.

The strategy:

“Journal about your eating each day to help you see your habits in black-and-white, and keep an eye on where and when to cut back,” says Lamm.

External eater

The style:

You fall victim to food that appears in front of you, like bagels in the office kitchen, and you’re susceptible to advertisements.

The strategy:

Shake off the “I see, therefore I need to feed” mentality, says Lamm. Be aware of external cues and your sensitivity to them. “Stop and think, ‘Do I really want to eat this?’ ” says Lamm.

Critical eater

The style:

You have a wealth of knowledge about nutrition and health but a strong “all or nothing” way of thinking. You might consume an entire box of snacks and think, “Well, this day is a bust anyway, so whatever,” and subsist only on green juice the next day to counteract your overindulgence.

The strategy:

Ease up on your food rules and be more realistic. “Think less about how self-destructive you feel when you’re ‘off the rails’ and more about how your next eating choice will be a healthy one,” says Lamm. “The whole day doesn’t have to be a wash if you made one poor meal choice. Restart it at any time.”

Sensual eater

The style:

You relish every bite and don’t hold back when trying exotic and decadent dishes — even if it means putting on the pounds.

The strategy:

“Keep your portions in control and this style of eating will not get the best of you,” notes Lamm. “Stick to the ‘three forkfuls’ rule” — allowing yourself only three bites of indulgent dishes.

Energy eater

The style:

You work out all the time, so you think you can eat all the time, but you tend to “inaccurately calculate the quantity of fuel [you] actually need to power through [your] day,” says Lamm. The snacks you’re eating are likely healthy, but you’re consuming too many.

The strategy:

Try journaling to get a clear picture of just how much you’re eating, and make an effort to eat more protein to help you stay satiated.