What I learned in Italy

By Melissa Kathryn

melissaitalyI recently spent 8 days in Florence, Italy, and it was incredible.  It had been over a decade since I lived there and I couldn’t wait to see how I felt when I returned and to see what had changed in that time.  Whenever I travel, I look for lessons and things that I can take away to incorporate into my own life.  Italians have a beautiful way about them, the way they eat, view family and enjoy life.  It is something that gets lost in our culture.  We are all about quick fixes, fast and easy, super size everything and if you love, love in excess, if you spend, spend in excess, if you eat, eat in excess.

I’m not meaning to sounds like I’m knocking our country, I am so proud to be an American (I just laughed as I typed that thinking of the song) but there are ways that we are living, or in my view, not living, in which we should be.

As I walked the streets of Florence, I was reminded of how wonderful it is to simply slow down, to take in every moment and be present.  I started my trip, working, that’s right, waking up in the middle of the night to work on programs and write my marketing.  That had to stop.  So, I packed it up and made the decision to fully immerse myself in my vacation and in the Italian culture. I am half Italian so that part came naturally…

I ate beautiful food, drank incredible wine, spent hours walking endlessly through cobblestone streets filled with history, art and natural beauty.  I spoke Italian, ok, I tried to speak Italian, and I met amazing people.  I took cooking classes, visited wineries, saw the countryside and was among loved ones, my family.  Life doesn’t get much better.

So what did I learn? I clearly can’t do that everyday but what I brought back with me that I want to share with you is this:

10 Tips Italians Live By to Live your Best and Healthiest, Most Pleasurable Life Yet:

1. Be present – don’t be caught up in the past or the future, the present is what you are living and experiencing now.

2. Enjoy your meals – taste your food, engage your company, take your time eating, drinking, talking and walking.  Meals are an experience and meant to be shared and enjoyed.

3. Family is your life-line – take care of each other, make amends, communicate, be open, spend time together.

4. Move more – walk everywhere, bike, run, dance – move your body.  It’s a gift, not a chore.

5. Simplify your life – the more you have, the more you need and the more you spend.  De-clutter.  Get clear on what you really need and want.

6. Surround yourself with love – Italians are always among family and good friends. They take care of one another.  We are all brothers and sisters.

7. Live Passionately – enjoy every moment.

8. Language is everything – speak passionately, mean what you say. You are the words that you speak.

9. Simplify your meals – Italians use no more than 5 ingredients including all of their spices, which allows for the real flavors of your foods to be tasted and enjoyed.

10. Eat seasonally – eat for the season, eat fresh foods from the farmers market – less pesticides and chemicals.  Support your local farmers.

Challenge:

Incorporate at least 3 of the items listed above into your day each for 1 week and see how your day-to-day experience changes…for the better!

You Binged. Now What?

By Melissa Kathryn

So it goes a little something like this…

You’re good all week, you’ve worked out everyday, you went to bed early, you’re feeling fabulous and like you’re on your way to your weight loss goals…and then the weekend hits. All of a sudden something drives you and you find yourself to be home, sitting on your couch eating whatever carbs and sugar you can get your hands on.

The next day…self-loathing hits you like a tons of bricks. You feel sick, still full from the night before. You are ridden with guilt and shame. Disgusted with yourself. “What’s wrong with me?”, you ask.  “Why do I do this?” “All of my hardwork…now I need to go to the gym just to work it off “.

This can occur from a fight with a spouse, boredom, loneliness, family, going home, stress from work or from life.

There are a multitude of triggers for binges. The key is finding yours. (Tweet it)

Binges are an onset of emotions. What’s interesting is we turn to food because our bodies actually want to make us feel better. At an early age, we were taught to view food as something to make us feel good. When we fell down or did something well, we were rewarded with food, (usually candy or very fattening and highly processed foods). Think about it – if you fell down, you got ice cream. If your team won a game, you went out for pizza and ice cream. Food was instant gratification to bring you happiness, ease pain, or make you feel fulfilled.

There is a stigma around emotional eating. Saying you’re an emotional eater can not only feel wrong, but feel shameful. What’s interesting is that most people’s eating is driven by their emotions over their physical hunger. You don’t have to be obese to be an emotional eater and you don’t have to classify yourself with an “eating disorder”.

This process is about recognizing the “Why Factor” so you can do a course correct. Learn from your binges. They are lessons.

Binges are a way to escape or suppress bad feelings, to gain control and to feel good feelings instead – know this to be true. So the next time, ask yourself, “Why am I reaching for food?” Identifying your triggers is the most direct and effective way to get to the root cause.

Challenge:

Identify your triggers by asking yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What happened in that situation that set me off?
  2. What are trigger situations for me? Meaning, where do you not feel in control or find yourself always overeating or binging?
  3. What am I really hungry for? What happened then that made me upset and why?

How to Recover:

  1. Identify your triggers.
  2. Forgive yourself and learn from your experience – know there is unhealed pain or lack of fulfillment or patterned behavior driving your actions.
  3. Today is a new day – the past is the past, you are in control of your actions, thoughts and emotions moving forward.
  4. Drink tons of water with lemon to help your body digest.

Take positive actions and make today a fabulous day!

Have You Hit a Plateau?

By Melissa Kathryn

1364227_55425257I’m not just necessarily just talking about a weight loss plateau or a fitness plateau, but a life plateau, where everything seems stagnant.  You find yourself going through the motions of life but not really being present and enjoying.  It can seem like you’re an observer of your own life.  Do you know what I’m talking about?

I have clients come to me often feeling this way, sometimes in one particular area but often times it’s overall.  What do you do when the scale isn’t moving, when your fitness routine no longer gives you the same results, when your job doesn’t excite you or your relationship is lacking passion and your life, lacking fun?

What can happen is we feel drained, overwhelmed and exhausted because we continually go back to our old ways of doing, hoping to get our desired results.

Radiance Challenge:

This is when I like to do a reframe exercise, which is when you take your current way of doing something and reframe it.  There are two components, a mental reframe and a physical reframe.

Mental Reframe – look at your circumstance and your perception, instead of having a negative energy behind your efforts, change your view point and look at it from a place of empowerment.  You are in control and you can create whatever experience you choose to have.

Physical Reframe  – this is your next action – what are the new action steps to get you where you want to be.

When you are experiencing a plateau in weight loss – simple tweaks around food that will make all the difference. Go back to the basics and listen to your body.  Take your mind out of it.  Take all of the crazy diets and things you read for quick weight loss and go back to what works for your body, what FEELS good for you.

When you are experiencing a plateau in fitness – again, change your routine – you should change your fitness routine every 6-8 weeks for your body to give you optimal results and to continually challenge your muscles.  Add intervals and plyos or sprints to your cardio – add strength training if you don’t have that component, and if you do – add more resistance or more repetitions depending on your desired goal.

When you are experiencing a plateau in relationships – mix it up, add some sizzle, have fun and let go.  Communicate your desires with your partner.

When you are experiencing a plateau in life – take a time out, plan a vacation or find time for you, even if just a few quiet minutes alone.  Create your own oasis.  Fuel your tank so you are not left depleted.

Sometimes, it’s simply changing your daily routine, walk a different path, take a different train, shop at different stores, try new things and a new way of doing things.  Mix up your own life – You are in control!

This doesn’t need to be hard and shouldn’t feel taxing, it should feel exciting!

I’m personally doing a reframe on my current routine.  I’m so excited and looking forward to leaving the NYC for a bit to spend some time at the beach during the summer months.  I love being near the water and fresh air, my body and spirit crave it as much as my mind.

Figure out what you need and make it happen! Sometimes it’s simple changes that can make all of the difference.  Start small but know you are always in control and are the creator of your own body, life and experience.

What I Gave Up Because I Felt Fat

By Melissa Kathryn

scaleHave you ever stayed in because you felt fat? Missed a party, didn’t go on a date? Even worse, declined going on a trip or vacation because you didn’t like your body and the thought of being in a bathing suit put your mind into a complete frenzy?

I recall several instances in my life where I did not go on trips, made up excuses to not go out and didn’t attend parties, date or events because I “felt” fat.  I look back now and I get frustrated at the experiences I could have had.  Instead I chose not to go, which is essentially choosing isolation.  What happened next? I would feel even worse for not going, which would lead to emotional eating, then self loathing…and the cycle continues.

Does this resonate with you? Can you recall a time when you chose, willingly to miss out on life because of your weight?

By staying in isolation, by choosing to say “No” to life, you are missing out on life, living and experience joy.  It is through isolation that we continue to deprive ourselves of happiness.

Here are simple steps that you can do to ensure you stop missing out on life and start living it!

  1. It begins with Self-Acceptance – start to learn to love yourself and your body exactly as it is.  Weight is weight, you are you are your core – you have to begin by loving her (your body) and accepting her no matter her size, shape or the way she looks.
  2. You body is your temple – care for it. It provides you with everything you ask it to do.  Be kind and loving, nourish your body with movement and food.
  3. Say “YES” to life – be you and the rest will come.
  4. Recognize that “You” are judging yourself, whatever thoughts you have, they are not the thoughts of anyone else.  Work to get out of your head and into your heart for yourself.

Once you do this, the fulfillment you will find from the pleasure of being around others and the experiences you will have, food and your weight will become an after-thought.