Thursday, March 18, 2010

An education.

I started my nutrition and coaching practice because I love working with people and helping them reach their goals to live a healthier, happier life.

However, I quickly realized that as I build my practice, working with people is really only half of what I do. The other half is getting the word out there about what I do.  In simpler terms: marketing.

The idea of selling myself sends shivers up my spine. I immediately associate marketing with sleazy men, in shiny suits, with a glimmer of mischief in their eye as they slickly coerce me to buy something I don't really need.

In some cases, this is not far from the truth.

But if that's what marketing is,  then where does that leave me? I have a service to offer that I believe in, and I could sit in my apartment hoping that the gods bring clients my way, but that could take a little while...and I have bills to pay, and beyond that, I really love this work and I want to be doing even more of it!

So, I have been trying to open my heart and perspective into the world of marketing. The other day I was reading Seth Godin's blog and he said something that caused a major shift for me. He suggested adjusting your perspective on marketing form selling other people on what you do to... to educating people on what you do.

This minor change in words caused a major shift for me in how it feels to put myself out there. I don't need to put on an act or a show. I don't need to be anyone other than myself. I don't need to launch into an immediate sales pitch. I simply need to be myself, have a human interaction with people, and when appropriate, educate them on what I do.

I tested the strategy out the other night at a networking even sponsored by 85 Broads. I went alone, and it was intimidating at first, but a glass of prosecco helped me on my way. I ended up having 5 meaningful conversations with women (it was a women-only event) and in 2/5 of these conversations, the women said something along the lines of, "How amazing! I was just looking for a nutrition coach!" and they may just sign up to work with me. How's that for synchronicity.

On this blog I often hesitate to "sell" myself, but in light of these new found realizations, I thought I would switch the perspective and educate all you out there on what I do and some of the exciting things I am up to.

So, here it goes:

What I do:

I work with people, one on one or in small groups, to help them reach their nutrition and wellness goals. Some clients want to lose weight. Others want to make a switch in their diets and start eating healthier foods but don't know where to start.

In general, I don't believe in diets. Yeah, diets lead to weight-loss, but unless you keep that diet up forever, chances are you are going to gain that weight back. So I work with people to make simple sustainable changes: Adding in more veggies and water, learning how to food shop and create meal plans for the week, stress management techniques to ward off cravings and impulsive eating, etc.

Perhaps the most important aspect of my work is the emotional. Most people out there know what they should be doing. What they don't know is why they are not doing it! I help people answer that question. And I find that in answering it, everything else starts to fall into place.

It's pretty amazing work! Much deeper and more trans-formative than calorie counting.

What I'm up to these days: (in addition to working one-on-one clients)

I am really excited to announce that I am now the principal provider of nutrition support for the Fit 4 Life VIP Slim-down Program!

Here are some words from Emil, the founder of Fit 4 Life, about the Slim-Down Program:

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to fitness or a fitness nut, you’ll love the challenge of our supportive, results-based Slim Down Program.  We’ll be there rooting for you every step of the way on the journey to meet your fitness goals.

    * Lose the weight and keep it off!
    * Look and feel amazing in your clothes
    * Feel more balanced
    * Have more energy

Move at your own pace in 60-minute morning and evening classes that offer a perfect combination of fun, variety, and fat burning. In our small classes you will experience a mix of resistance training, ab work, fitness games, kickboxing, and cardio. Many of our clients have been with us for several years thanks to the great results they’ve seen.

Fit 4 Life is a fitness organization here in Brooklyn doing really great work. I've had a chance to see a few of their classes in action. They are dynamic, demanding, fun, sweaty, move-it-and-lose-it type classes. Plus, when the weather gets nice, (and it is SO nice here in NYC right now), class moves outside to Fort Greene Park!

Now, when you sign up for the VIP Slim-Down Program it includes one session a month with yours truly!

Work your butt off + transform your diet = smokin' hot YOU!

Check out the Fit 4 Life website for details and to sign up.

Oh, and Emil and I also have a potential Bridal Booty Camp type thing in the works as well! And yes, it was inspired by my own, shall we say, interest (read: trying so hard to not spiral into negative, self-loathing, bad body image days of yore), in toning things up for my own big day.

Stay tuned for details.

Other happenings?

I am really excited to be partnering with The Re-defining Diet on this tele-seminar specifically for Parents of children who struggle with weight and food.

I had a great conversation with Sarah (one of the founders) the other day. We have such a similar approach and diet philosophy.

The topic of this call is so important. Parents often don't realize the deep impact their words can have. Many of the adult women I counsel still nurse wounds from little comments that parents, teachers, or family members made to them about their weight when they were in their tween/teen years.

This is a tele-seminar, so you can participate no matter where you are in the country! Please contact me if you want further information

Remember a few weeks ago when I ranted and raved about the training I gave to after-school providers on nutrition and kids? Well they asked me back to do another one! And this time I get double the amount of time which means I can go so much deeper with the topic and include lots of activities and demonstrations.  It's a "train the trainer" model which means all these directors will be taking the information back to their sites and running their own training. And the ripples keep rippling...


There is a bunch more to report on... I have a new website in the works, a partnership with a yoga teacher, and other workshops to report on, but I fear your "education" is rambling on at this point... so I'll save these for future posts.

So, enough about me.

What do you think of me?

Haha. No...

My question to you, is: What do you have to be proud of right now? How does it feel to share it with others? If the answer is uncomfortable... go a bit deeper with yourself and find out why. Remember, people won't know all the great stuff you are up to unless you tell them. And most likely, they will benefit from having learned about it.

My challenge to you is to post about a recent accomplishment  in the comments section below.... Quit moaning and just do it. 

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cart & Soul

One of the reasons I love working with people on their diet is because I think examining what and how we eat is a great tool for self-exploration. What do our food choices say about our relationship to ourselves? Do we see eating as an act of self-love or simply a means to an end?

Through studying our relationship to food, and making changes to our diet, we can begin to understand and heal areas within us that may be wounded or self-limiting.  When we eat foods that are healthy and nourishing, we get the message that we are worthy and deserving. 

Last week I shared my interest in peeking into people's shopping carts, and hinted that this week's post would satisfy said curiosity. I shared that part of this interest is simply wanting to learn about new and different foods, and looking to others is a great way of doing this. The other part of my interest has more to do with what I have written about above.

What does studying a person's super-market cart tell us about who they are as a person?

From that question, I came up with the the idea for Cart & Soul (credit to B for name), where I will be going into different super-markets around the city and interviewing people about what's in their shopping cart and who they are as a person!

I have to tell you. Walking into Whole Foods and looking for someone to approach for this post was truly terrifying. Imagine walking up to a total stranger and asking to take a picture of their shopping cart! I felt like a total idiot. Not to mention it felt really stalkerish walking up and down the aisles staring at people and their carts... assessing whether they would be open to an interview or threaten to call security on me.  

To my surprise, the first woman I approached was totally game! I hadn't planned out my questions ahead of time, and just let the conversation take it's course. I'd love to hear your thoughts/reactions/ideas for future Cart & Soul posts in the comments section below!

Cart & Soul

Name: Tamara
Age: 37
Market: Whole Foods - Union Square

in. Wellness: When I approached you it looked like you were very carefully scrutinizing two different brands of rice cakes. It's clear you are a conscientious shopper!

Tamara: Laughs. Yeah, I try.

in. Wellness: How would you describe your approach to shopping?

Tamara: Well, I live in the Bronx, and it's pretty hard to find healthy food up there. I usually buy my basics close to home and then come to Whole Foods for all the specialty - low salt this - soy that - type things.

in. Wellness: So eating well is important to you.

Tamara: It is. It gets expensive though! I actually just started working with a nutritionist. We're going to try and see if I have a wheat allergy.

in. Wellness: Uh oh, are you on the dreaded elimination diet? (elimination diets are where you cut out foods that are common allergens: dairy, wheat, soy, etc. for about 10 days and then slowly start adding those foods back in and see how you react to them)

Tamara:  Not yet... but we're going to start soon and I know it's gonna be hard.

in. Wellness:  What do you do for a living?

Tamara: I'm actually in graudate school for social work.

in. Wellness: No way! I'm a social worker too and my fiance just got accepted for next year (Go B!) What do you want to do with the degree?

Tamara: Actually I think I want to go to law school after this. Laughs.

in. Wellness:  Burnt out already?

Tamara: Laughs. No, I want to combine them. I think the two degrees really support each other.

in. Wellness: Are you a native New Yorker?

Tamara: No, I grew up in California. But I've been here for about ten years.

in. Wellness:  Any delicious family recipes that you want to share with us?

Tamara: Family recipes? Hmm. All I can think of is salad!

in. Wellness: Sounds healthy. We're you raised eating healthy foods?

Tamara: I was, but more by default. We grew up very poor, but because we were in Califonia, fruits and vegetables were pretty much the cheapest foods, so that's what we ate.

in. Wellness:  So tell us about what we're seeing in your cart.

Tamara: Well not much right now, I'm not done shopping yet! I've got my frozen veggies... cuz I'm lazy... soy cheese and soy yogurt because I'm cutting out dairy...

in. Wellness:  Are any of the ingredients in here for a certain dish that you are known for?

Tamara: I make an amazing burrito.

in. Wellness:  So what's the secret to a perfect burrito?

Tamara: Well you can't really go wrong with a burrito. I just throw as much crap in it as I can... meaning veggies, soy cheese, etc, Oh, and lots of salsa. Gotta keep things spicy.

Thanks for sharing your cart with us Tamara!

So, what do we learn about Tamara from peeking into her cart? 

Clearly Tamara is passionate about eating healthy and is willing to work with a nutritionist, travel far from home to food shop, and do the hard work to determine which foods best serve her body. 

Tamara's food choices indicate that food is mostly a means to an end right now.  And how can it not be while in graduate school. Her priorities: fast, healthy and yummy.

Tamara admitted to me that she didn't always eat healthy in her twenties and early thirties. Interesting how now her body is leading her back to the healthful diet she grew up with. I found it particularly interesting how growing up Tamara ate healthy out of necessity, and now eating healthy is a cost burden. And of course, in. Wellness must point out, when talking about food it's next to impossible to not talk about home. 

Where to next, readers?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things.

When you go food shopping do you ever steal peeks into other people's carts, curious to see what they are buying?

I am super excited for next week's post because it's going to satisfy exactly this curiosity.

Peeking into other people's carts can be really educational. When I first decided I wanted to start to eat more healthfully, I would walk into the super market or health food store and feel totally overwhelmed. There are so many interesting and bizarre vegetables and products out there, it's hard to know where to begin. Sometimes I would steal a peek at someone else's cart just for some inspiration and a place to start.

This practice, plus learning from friends and of course reading lots of articles on food and health has helped me develop a solid list of go-to healthy products that I really adore. We're talking about the fun stuff here. The goodies that are beyond the grains, beans, veggies, etc.

One of my favorite parts of the 1st annual in. Wellness shake off, was the opportunity to introduce some of these foods to other people.

For a bit of a tropical escape, on one night I greeted the Shake Off girls with a young coconut for each of them!

Coconut water, which can only be found in Young Coconuts, has loads of nutrients, potassium and electrolytes. It's sweet and has a slightly almondy taste, and is low in calories. It's totally natural and has been dubbed "nature's sports drink". These days  pre-packaged Coconut Water has become quite a thing and can be found at many regular supermarkets and foods stores. It's a good option, but nothing compares to the real thing. Depending on where you live, finding a real young coconut may be tricky. Health food stores are a good place to start. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a coconut (by the way, you need to look for the smooth variety not the hairy ones - they don't have the water in them), then the trick becomes how the heck do you open them? Click on this link for a good tutorial. It's tricky and a little scary at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that hard. Some juice bars carry coconuts as well, so ask around!

OK, here some of my other favorite things:

I've been boderline obsessed with Sardines lately. Mashed up on to a piece of hearty grain bread (toasted) with avocado... a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon... I'm sorry, but there is nothing better.

Sardines are a super food. These little fishies are very low in mercury, have heaps of Omega 3's and anti-oxidants, and are a great source of Vitamin D, which many Americans are deficient in (especially during this interminable winter). Oh, they also have calcium... iron....B vitamins... just eat 'em. Look for ones that are wild caught (farm raised fish are far less nutritional and are doused with antibiotics).  You can also put them in salads. They're a great alternative to tuna.

Next up we have my favorite vinegars: Apple Cider & Brown Rice:

Apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used as a folk remedy to cure all sorts of ailments, plus is believed to help with weight loss. Some new research indicates it does have positive benefits in the treatment of diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss. (*note these are preliminary studies and more research is needed). I don't know much about it, but on a recent Oprah show Dr. Oz stated that apple cider vinegar can actually help to lower the glycemic index of your food (the glycemic index (GI) measures a foods impact on blood sugar levels. Foods that break down quickly into glucose in the blood have high GI, where as foods that take longer to break down have low GI)

Plus, it's just super yummy and great on salads.

I sometimes make a potent health drink out of it - 1 full glass of water, two tablespoons vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of Agave nectar to sweeten it. B thinks it tastes and smells disgusting, but I actually really like it.

Brown Rice vinegar is another great option (not for the health drink). Make sure to buy one that isn't loaded with salt, sugar and/or corn syrup.

Rice vinegar really changed my life. It's my go-to vinegar for salads or I sprinkle it with a little olive oil over some steamed greens and vegetables.

B is a peanut-butter-aholic. Not a bad thing, but you do need to be careful about what kind you buy and how you keep it. For a little while B and I had something we dubbed The Nut Butter Wars. I would buy raw almond butter one week, he would buy Skippy the next. Finally we compromised on this guy:


There should be a maximum of 2 ingredients in your peanut butter: peanuts & salt - or preferably just one - peanuts. No sugar. No added oils. And peanut butter should be refrigerated as it's prone to mold.

My newest obsession is with this:

Lacto-fermentation is what happens when the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit convert to lactic acid by a friendly bacteria.

This process creates a tangy, delicious flavor. This is an ancient tradition done to preserve food, and it does much more than that:

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”"
Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg 89
(excerpt from 

It's great with some brown rice and veggies. I also like to put it on sandwiches.

Finally, I love salty crunchy snacks, so I usually pick up a package of some sort of brown rice crisp.

Ingredients: Brown rice, tamari, seaweed.

Not bad! A great substitute for chips and they come in lots of fun flavors.

For more shopping inspiration, stay tuned for next week's post... the 1st edition of Cart & Soul!

OK, so you're local health food store is on fire, you only have time to grab one thing, what is it?