7 Benefits of a Cold Shower( #7 shocked me)

Years ago, I began to hear how cold plunges and cold shower were healthy. That sent shockwaves through my system, and I vacillated between total denial and the compelling desire to prove that theory wrong …. surely subjecting yourself to freezing cold water, by choice, was a terrible idea.

You see, when I was young…okay, okay, I admit,  even now as a grown adult, I would stand by the side of the ocean, lake, pool or anywhere there was cold water and wait until everyone was about to get out. Then I would jump in and immediately jump out again…just so I could say I did it but I wouldn’t have to spend any time in the .

I know it’s kind of wimpy, but I’ve been just fine with that. However, recently I've had several teachers, friends, and even strangers, yes, a woman on the subway  tell me about the incredible value of cold showers and how I "had" to do it. Ugh…..it was clearly a sign.

So I begrudgingly tried to...

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Is Your Food Identity Preventing You From Losing Weight?

Last year, a woman named Andrea decided to do my health coaching program. She wanted to lose weight, so she expected that we'd spend most of our time talking about diet and exercise. But she soon learned health coaching tends to involve your whole life, not just your body.

At our first session, Andrea was shy. She felt self-conscious, and she didn't have much faith that she could change her eating habits, since she'd tried before and failed.

"I just can't bring myself to eat salads all the time," she said. "I know they're good for me, but, I don't know. That's not who I am."

"Well, who are you?" I asked.

She shrugged. "I love to bake. I have a serious sweet tooth," she said. "And I'm Italian, so I grew up eating pasta and bread. And I love visiting my family and having a big meal together. I don't want to give up those things. They're a part of me." 

What Andrea was describing was her "food identity." What's that, you ask? It's a collection of beliefs about...

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How to feel amazing

One day last year around this time, I got home from walking my dog, Sadie. The trees had just started to bud, so there were hints of green and purple throughout Riverside Park. The sun was out, and I'd only needed a light jacket. It was starting to look and feel so beautiful outside, and yet, I realized as I stood in my kitchen, wondering what to make for dinner – I felt awful.

Heavy, dragging, like I was carrying fifty extra pounds. Closed-in, cramped. I felt like winter, and I wanted to feel like spring. That's how I knew it was time for a detox.

I usually do a detox once or twice a year, and always in the springtime, for precisely that reason: I need to shed that heavy winter feeling. I want to blossom, open up, to spring into a place of lightness and freedom and movement.

Recently a friend asked me what detoxes did for you. "Are they really useful?" she said doubtfully.

Her question made me think. Here's what I told her:

  • Detoxes make you feel lighter. This is true...
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7 Surprising Things that Happen when you Exercise

Last week, I heard from "Gina," an old client I'd lost touch with years ago. Gina wanted to meet for coffee, and so we met at a vegan café on the Upper West Side.

"I wanted to thank you in person," she said as we sat down.

"For what?" I asked. I'd only coached her for one session before she moved, so I didn't know if I'd had a real effect on her.

"It was you who first encouraged me to start exercising," she said, "and that has changed my life – my work, my mind, my emotions. Everything."

Then she told me her story.

When we'd first met, Gina was struggling. She loved her work as a research professor, but she felt she was missing out on pretty much everything else: friends, family, romance, her mental and physical health. Lately, she'd been feeling tired and foggy, and was having a hard time focusing.

I know what it's like to not be able to focus! When she told me that, back in our first coaching session, my first question was this: "Are you exercising?"

"Ha!" she had...

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How to eat your way out of a slump

body and health coaching Jan 29, 2019

What if I told you that what's causing your slump might be in the food you eat?

No, this isn't some conspiracy theory. What we eat has a real impact on our gut health, our brains, on every single aspect of our bodies – which includes how we think and feel.

I saw this clearly a few years ago when my friend "Tara" called me, sounding desperate.

"I don’t know what to do," she said, sounding close to tears. "I feel exhausted all the time. The littlest things make me break down crying. I can barely function at work…I need help. Something's wrong."

Tara had a history of ups and downs, and had tried various treatments. But something still wasn't working. We talked, and our conversation turned to food.

"How are you eating?" I asked. "What's your diet like?" I wondered if something in her diet might be exacerbating her current state.

"Not great," she said. "I know I should be eating better, but I'm so tired I can barely cook, so I just eat junk food most of the time....

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What your diet says about you

body and health coaching Nov 13, 2018

This is Part 1 in a series about Identity and how it affects our decisions. Stay tuned for more!

Last year, a woman named Andrea came to me for health coaching. She wanted to lose weight, so she expected that we’d spend most of our time talking about diet and exercise. But she soon learned health coaching tends to involve your whole life, not just your body.

At our first session, Andrea was shy. She felt self-conscious, and she didn’t have much faith that she could change her eating habits, since she’d tried before and failed.

“I just can’t bring myself to eat salads all the time,” she said. “I know they’re good for me, but, I don’t know. That’s not who I am.”

That’s not who I am.

“Well, who are you?” I asked.

She shrugged. “I love to bake. I have a serious sweet tooth,” she said. “And I’m Italian, so I grew up eating pasta and bread. And I love visiting my family and having a...

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What would you do with a second chance?

This month, I completed my second Spartan Race up in Tuxedo Park, NY. I was part of an amazing team, including my dear friend Linda, who taught me a powerful lesson on the Slippery Wall.

Linda was my sorority “big sister,” but we lost touch after college until a few months ago. We reconnected through Facebook, which was how I got involved in the Spartan race in the first place. She’s a lawyer here in New York, and when we met up last fall, she was still wearing a head scarf from her second round of chemo for breast cancer. After her first round, she told me, she’d thought she was done with cancer. So when it came back again, it shook her to her core.

I have to live my life, she realized. I have to get out there, have fun, be with people. I have to step outside my comfort zone, and go for the things I really want.

One of those things was the Spartan Race, a couple weeks ago.

One of the obstacles was the Slippery Wall, a slanted wall that you had to...

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Two ways to win in life (And win a Triathlon!)

A few weeks ago, my family took a trip down to Houston to visit my husband’s dad and stepmom. While we were there, we saw our friends Edward and Istra. They’re one of those couples who create this amazing synergy in their pursuits – which, in their case, is doing (or rather conquering) triathlons.

Edward got into them first, and he actually went professional for a while. His wife Istra started doing them soon after, and now, she’s just finished her third Ironman.

If you know me, you know that nothing fascinates me more than people performing at their best. Overcoming challenges, digging deep into their mental and physical resources to accomplish amazing things. Having a done a few sprint triathlons myself, I can appreciate how much stamina, dedication, and strength it takes.

So of course, I spent the week peppering Edward and Istra with questions. How do you do it? What motivates you? What are your tricks for pushing through the hard parts? What are your...
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How Our Made Up Rules Are Linked to Our Identity

body and health mindset Apr 19, 2018

The other day, at Whole Foods buying groceries for dinner, I passed by a display of chocolate bars. “Maybe I’ll bring one home for Kaya and Ty,” I thought, and began inspecting the labels. I decided on my favorite – dark chocolate with sea salt (yum!).

By the end of the week, the chocolate had disappeared– but they’d never touched it. I don’t know if they even knew about it. Piece by piece, it had been my little treat.

This wasn’t the first time that had happened. But recently it dawned on me how ridiculous it is, that I have this rule: I don’t buy chocolate for myself. I can buy it for my kids, though – even if they don’t get any of it.

It makes no sense, and yet it’s dictated my shopping choices for years!

We all have our own “rules.” They dictate our behavior. They reflect our beliefs. And they help – or hurt – our goals. Sometimes, like my chocolate rules, they’re unconscious...

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How to get the Mindset of an Olympian

When the Olympics are on, it’s a safe bet you’ll find me in front of my TV, cheering, shouting, biting my nails, and yes, crying. Considering that I almost never watch TV otherwise, you might say I’m a little bit obsessed.

To me, the Olympics are the ultimate mind-body-emotion experience. These athletes have put their heart and soul on the line. They’ve pushed themselves physically and mentally, while holding it together emotionally. And we get to see their shining moments.

So many stories from this year’s Olympics could easily become Disney movies. After watching the zillionth one (it was Nathan Chen’s comeback in long form figure skating, after such a disastrous short form), I got to wondering – what kind of mindset do you need in order to do that?

So I did a little research. I found dozens of ways to get an Olympic mindset, and here are my top five:

  1. Train like it’s a performance. If you only practice halfway, then you’re...
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