Redefine beautiful!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Me Monday. It's Your Life!

Stop Body Bashing!

In last Monday’s post I shared the story of a conversation I’d overheard between two women at a restaurant.  They were hell-bent on pointing out every perceived flaw on their body.

This is simply a photo of attractive women.  They look happy to be together.

What if these women, I called Barbie and Sandy, had accepted a compliment instead of bashing their bodies?  How different would the conversation have been?  

Since it is my post, I am going to re-write the dialogue:

“You look great!” yelled Barbie over the din of the restaurant, “Lucky you.  I would love to wear shorts like that.", she continued.

Sandy, a tallish forty-something woman with a dark knot of a bun at the nap of her long neck, looked fit and vibrant; she possessed a confident posture and rich smile.  “Thanks.  I feel great.” She replied, punctuating her words.  “Jack and I haven’t been doing the nightly cocktails, I feel like a weight has lifted off my shoulders!”

“You what.  How in the heck are you doing?”,  Barbie, a petite, rosy-cheeked blond, asked.  Her eyebrows pulled up at the bridge of her button nose framing her concerned blue eyes.  She shook her pixied head in disbelief, “Aren’t you going crazy without your vino?  Geez, I’m proud of you.”, Barbie put up her right hand to Sandy’s reciprocal hand in a gentle high five, they held them together for a moment.

Sandy laughed then said, “Look at those ‘guns’ of yours!  What have you been doing?”
Look at those guns, Barbie!

“Nice of you to notice.  I started doing push-ups against a park bench during my regular walks.  Amazing how a little goes a long way.”  Barbie flexed her right biceps beaming her signature “inside-out” smile.

When we take care of our bodies to the best our lifestyle can handle, what more can we ask of it?  Do we suck fat from our thighs, add saline to our boobs, break a few ribs or squeeze into a suffocating body slimmer?  These are our choices, too, but when do we say, “when”?  When do we say, “thank you” to our bodies for the thirty, forty, fifty, sixty or more years it has nursed babies, run after toddlers, sat on freezing, hard bleachers, jogged around our neighborhoods, scrubbed floors, herded through airport security, pretzeled into yoga poses or simply functioned in good health?

"I'm just getting started?"

There is so much more joy in life when we cease to focus on how we measure up to some rating system of the acceptable body.  When we focus on feeling good in our body without shame, we are more present for our loved ones and careers.  Even better, we are more present to ourselves and, as a result, exude a confidence that is irresistible! 

I am asking each and every one of you NOT to body-bash the entire day.  Tell me how it feels. Was it easy or hard for you?  I’d love to hear your experience!

We are still those women from our past.  We still want to play.  We still want acceptance.
 It starts with the one looking at you in the mirror!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Feasting Friday, All About Food!

Super Bowl Sunday

Adrienne and I eating desert.  Yummy!

 The play-off games were last Sunday and Randy wanted a few friends over to watch the game.  “I’ve got it all under control!”, he assured me,  “You don’t have to do a thing!” 

Those words always have me feeling just a bit nervous.

He set to the task of preparing his “famous” Buffalo wings and BBQ beef ribs on the Friday before the game.  Secret sauces and special seasonings where covertly blended and sampled with a chemists precision.  Special cuts of drumettes were ordered and by Sunday he was up at the crack of dawn pre-baking the ribs and those little legs were sizzling in hot oil.

Crispy, sweet/ hot drumettes tastes great dipped in Blue Cheese dressing.

In the meantime, a few weeks after the holidays I had declared a moratorium on rich, crappy food and was wondering how in the heck I would fare with the kinds of dishes I knew would predominate.  I had recently heard that the absolute worst types of foods were consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.  Would Play-off Sunday be similar? 

These little whole-grain crackers from Trader Joe's take the place of chips.    Tastes great!

I decided I would do my usual plan:  the 80/20 Rule!  I would eat only 20% of my calories from the crappy department and the other 80% would come from lean and healthy foods. 

A homemade coleslaw dressed in a light Italian.

Randy did a bang-up job with the chicken and ribs, but I think I would have used our regular dinnerware over paper plates and I am certain I would have used our basic white napkins (whose presence creates a tinge of guilt as they look a lot like those used at the restaurant both of my son’s worked at down the street) instead of the paper ones.  I refrained from any suggestions, not an easy feat for me.

The food was ready and set out within a few minutes of our guests arriving.  They could nosh whenever they wanted.

I home made a thirst quenching honey, Meyer lemonade and a delectable vanilla ice cream to accompany the tart. I realized later we didn’t serve chips& dip or the bottomless nut bowl.  We didn’t have sliced breads or cubed cheeses.  Adrienne brought these little pizzas for an appetizer (and a delicious raspberry tart both from Trader Joe’s), but the food was done so we just dug in to everything immediately.

Great little pastry-style pizza-ettes from...yes, TJ's!

When our guests asked what they could bring to our shin-dig, I suggested delicious vegetable based side dishes.  The idea is to have plenty of the healthier stuff along with the not-so-healthy.  I’m thinking this model would be a good one for a Super Bowl party.  What will you serve at your Super Bowl party?  Or what dish will you bring to one?  Who will you be rooting for?

A lovely salad, kind of like my Greek salad recipe below.

 One of my favorite easy tote-cuisine is Spinach Greek Salad ala Bodeci.

You can buy everything at Trader Joe’s and buy organic whenever possible.
Serves 6

1 bag ready-to-use, baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 red onion, sliced in thin rings
½ basket cherry tomatoes
½ seeded, peeled and sliced cucumber
1 small jar marinated artichokes, drained
½ cup Greek olives, pitted or un-pitted
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (Heat a non-stick skillet to medium high, toss in the nuts, shake them around for a few minutes to get all sides, then remove to a separate dish until ready to toss in salad.)
½ cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 Tblsp. extra virgin olive oil and 1 Tblsp.  White or red wine vinegar or
¼ cup Trader Joe’s Greek salad dressing
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Toss everything together and serve.  Omit or add other vegetables, legumes or nuts.  Change quantities to taste.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Workout Wednesday, Whine-free Zone

Fix Your Back, Flatten Your Tummy!

You’ve done a million crunches and every variety of abdominal exercises but can’t understand why your firm belly bulges and your low back feels so tight.  This malady may be due to unused psoas muscles, the deep, inner muscles that begin at the front of the hip near the pubis, run up and attach to the spine. You will need to learn how to control and balance these elusive muscles so that you can correct the postural reflexes that create the problem.

The Psoas can be a real pain!!  Do you ever feel discomfort in your hips or groin (or both)?

Tight (not to be confused with strong) psoas muscles will pull the spine forward along with the abdominal content, causing protrusion. You may feel pain deep in your hips and/ or groin and may easily fatigue when extending your legs above the floor (see photo A).  It is less an issue of strengthening these muscles and more about how to use them effectively that changes the dynamic that has created the problem.

Photo A
In order to understand exactly where your psoas muscles are, lie on your back and bend your left knee in towards your chest, holding it there with both hands.  Lengthen the right leg while turning that foot slightly inward and push your spine towards the floor.  You should feel a lengthening sensation on your right hip flexors (front of hip) and deep within your core along the right side.  You may reach your arms overhead for an even deeper stretch.

Discover your psoas
by holding the left knee in towards your chest an turning your right foot inward.
(a) Pull in your left knee
Control and balance exercises are not the same as strengthening the Psoas.  It is more neurological and less physiological exercises that help create the positive changes you want to see. Begin by laying on your back, (a) inhale and bring the left knee in towards chest (b) then exhale and extend the leg, hovering just above the floor, while maintaining stability in your core. Start with twenty repetitions and then repeat on your right.  If your back is strong enough you can lift the stationary leg off the floor a few inches, but it is highly recommended you try only a few of these at a time until you are sure you can perform the entire set without straining your low back.

(b)  Extend the left leg fully while maintaining stability in your trunk.
I have used a small rolled towel under Adrienne's neck to help her to relax the muscles of her cervical vertebra.

Here is another variation:  Instead of bending and extending your leg, try abducting your leg out to the side (try to keep your toes facing the ceiling) and adducting in again while keeping the opposite hip anchored to the floor.
Adrienne holds her hand atop her left hip as a reminder to 
keep it from moving while abducting the other leg.
I add a “moving” bridge between sets to help relax and “free” your spine. Think of your spine as a strand of pearls and roll your hips up and continue to elevate until only your upper shoulders are left on the floor.  Return your spine to the floor by rolling the spine one vertebra at a time down onto the floor until your tailbone touches the floor, then relax and do it again a few more times!
Thank you, Adrienne, for allowing me to photograph you for this post!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Me Monday, Focus on the Inner You

The Age of Body-Bashing

As a part of my training, Adrienne, of the The Rich Life on a Budget,  asked me what it is I want to share on my blog.  She suggested I get more specific, maintain my passion for wellness and blog on a regular schedule.  I can do that!  It’s how I work with my clients!

Please allow me to introduce:  Me Mondays ( focus on self-empowerment), Workout Wednesdays (my favorite and most effective body changing techniques) and Feasting Fridays (great recipes) -  all with a Bodeci attitude!

I make my body a priority as a result of my business. 
I know most people would say I have an attractive, fit body generally. 

Let’s get on with Me Monday.

Lately, I’ve noticed there seems to be an unsaid rule of conduct for women to speak poorly about their bodies.  Like the latest fashion, women are buying into an attitude, encouraged by the media, to rip on their butts or belly or arms …or all three.

I was made painfully aware of this behavior while having with lunch with a friend a few months ago.  A group of six women sat at the table next to us celebrating a friend’s birthday.  Their table was a noisy combination of laughter, expletives and exasperation.  When two women wanted to converse, they had to raise their voices to be heard.  I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.  It went something like this:

“You look so great”, yelled the pretty blonde woman, who I call Barbie, “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing shorts like that!” , she continued.

“But, look at your arms”, rebutted the other attractive brunette I named Sandy, “I swear mine are like cottage cheese in a plastic bag.  I’m sure as hell not wearing a sleeveless top like you!”

But give me a compliment and I am quick to point to my flaws.

“I’ve never had a problem with my upper body, it’s my ass and thighs that are so gross!” replied Barbie

“Hey, it’s not just my arms I’m hiding under this peasant top, honey, my gut has gotten so disgusting!”, says Sandy.  And on it went like a tennis match.

Later when the gang got up to leave, I saw Sandy’s long, sleek legs in a pair of mid-thigh, khaki shorts and wedged espadrilles.  She topped her look with a gauzy peasant top.  Barbie had on a long flowing skirt, a bright, fitted tank top and a wide leather belt that accentuated her narrow waist.  Both of these women could turn heads; they were very attractive and dressed to play off their individual body shapes and unique beauty.

My friend and I realized how often we do what Barbie and Sandy had done; put our bodies down as a counter to a compliment.  I call it body-bashing.  Has body-bashing become a socially acceptable norm today?  Do we do it because we feel uncomfortable when another notices our personal beauty or are we fishing for more compliments?  

I am interested in how you receive a compliment about your physical appearance.  How do you respond? 

It's my fifty-three year old belly and it is one I should be grateful for!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

365 Days Ago

Helen has just entered her second year with me.  Well, actually, we performed my assessments, took photos and did a goal setting, her first actual workout with me wasn't until January 29, 2010.

                      Notice anything different in these two photos?
                                                          Taken yesterday.
January 13, 2010

Helen said to me that she now knows for sure that anyone can achieve amazing results from a few small and doable changes in their lifestyle.  "The key is to not give up!  You don't 'blow it' anymore.  It isn't that I don't enjoy my favorite goodies anymore, I do! (She me!) It's just that I don't beat myself up anymore.  If I'm going to have a brownie, I sit down and truly enjoy very single bite.  The change for me is that since I am no longer depriving myself, I don't crave foods emotionally.  I can eat anything I want, and that is the key, to want something doesn't mean you have to stuff yourself with it.  Now I can have a few bites of cake and feel indulgent!" 

"I cannot believe these used to fit me!"
Helen has been a nurse for more than 35 years.  As a 'caretaker' to so many, she neglected taking care of herself.

"I have so much i can do now!  What is it all about?
It's all about choices.  One step at a time, I never looked back!"

I was going to list all of her stats for you from when we started to current.  It isn't important.  What is important is her personal joy at knowing she is doing something positive for herself and enjoying the journey!

What small and doable change can you make to your current lifestyle?  What has worked for you and what hasn't?  I am curious to hear your story!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Trainer Seeks a Trainer

Adrienne demonstrating one of my favorite exercises, the simple squat using one of my favorite pieces of equipment, the TRX Suspension Trainer

 When my friend and fellow blogger, Adrienne and I decided to get together for brainstorming, I never realized how darn productive it would be.  A few years ago, Adrienne and I taught a group fitness class together just after she had become a certified fitness trainer.  While she had always been interested in fitness, she soon realized that training wasn’t her cup of tea.

Look at this form!  Elbows at a ninety degree angle at her lowest point and her shoulders are stable even when she pushes back up to fully extended arms.
The push-up, as performed by Adrienne, is one of the most effective upper body exercises and most convenient!
I have been a fitness professional for many years and, like most who’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, have been feeling a bit stale.  I told Adrienne I wanted her feedback from the perspective of a client, and one who knows my profession, on some of my exercise and training techniques.  She was all for it as she, too, had a need that I could help her with; to get her fitness “groove” back. 
The leg shoot is a great exercise for strengthening the hips and outer thigh.  She smiles through her pain!  Just remember point the knee towards the floor then extend the leg with the toe pointing towards the seem of the ceiling.

The result is a great trade off: she gets the resistance training, flexibility and core work she wants (sorry, it is really hard to inflict quality pain on yourself like a trainer can do!) and I am getting valuable feedback from her unique perspective.

She can't smile the whole time!  Yep, the lunge is fantastic for  the butt and thighs and can be performed on the floor or on a step for versatility!
Adding biceps curls and this exercise goes places!
What was my lesson today?  I learned that there is always something new our bodies crave in the form of variety.  Most often it takes a professional to show us what that is.  It could be a new twist on a standard exercise or a more comprehensive approach to create a desired result.  Our bodies are meant to be challenged and every so often, with something brand new!

She is focused!
The triceps dip is another excellent arm exercise as it tones and strengthens the backs of our arms.  Remember to exhale with effort!  And Smile!
It helped me to understand how important my profession is.  I discovered my creative trainer self again and I saw how the challenges I presented to Adrienne had given her a new sense of passion with her fitness program.  

So, I am looking forward to seeing her regularly for training.  She trains the trainer in me by being the client that needs my services!  How simple is that?!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Here...and More

Drumroll please...
Jan of photoplay awarded me with the esteemed honor of the

And in accepting this award I have been asked to do the following:   
Thank and link back to the person who awarded me.
Share 7 things about myself.
Pay it forward to fifteen recently discovered bloggers.
Contact those bloggers about the award.

I know a good deal about myself these days and I know I can fulfill the first and second requirement.  However, the third will be difficult as I have been following my favorite and the same bloggers for the past eight months.  That said, I know I need to broaden my horizons a whole lot more and this award will make me conscious enough to do just that.  In the meantime, here goes:

Thank you Janice of photoplay for this esteemed award.

I am in love with my husband and he is my best friend.  
I am passionate about being a mother to my two wonderful sons and a "mother mentor" to youth whenever and wherever I can.
I love the world of art and am painfully aware that I may not have what it takes to be famous for it.
I love to workout as long as it is fun and is not competitive to the point where I may ruin another's day (or life) if I cannot perform to a level of another's expectation.
I desire travel to exotic locals and have every intention of going to all of my desired spots in the world before I leave this world.
I love to cook and eat really good food...I mean really good!
I am an introvert but everyone else thinks I am an extrovert.  (I love to spend time by myself big time!)

Now allow me to introduce the one and only Amy of Wine Country Wedding Planner!
She has only just begun, but because I know her talents and have had the excitement of reading her very first blog ever, I bestow this honor to her....