How to resist temptation

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Has the weather in the Northeast worn you down yet? The US and Canada started 2014 off with freezing temperatures and polar vortexes that kept us in their grip for a solid 3 weeks. Now that we learned how to bundle up for all occasions, we get more snow and more to come. We have had colder weather than the arctic, big snow falls, sleet, freezing rain and then some. Usually our response to this weather is to turn to comfort. More precisely comfort food.

For some it is the hot chocolate, for others, savoury dishes that seem too heavy in the summer but now hold a certain allure. We drink more and vegetables take a lot more preparation to make them hot and comforting, so they can land on the back burner.

I'm no stranger to the effect that gravy, creamy dishes and sauces, roasts, pies and other sweets hold in the winter. Exercising in the cold weather is harder too, so is motivating ourselves to even consider it when there are only limited hours of daylight.

BUT: here is how to resist temptation with a few shifts in your mindset.

  1. KISS: keep it simple, skinny! I talk about routine a lot and it is true. The more your mind and body know what is coming (or not) the more reliably they will keep you on track. For example, if you eat a wholesome healthy warm dish of oatmeal in the morning on six days out of seven, then you will be less tempted to grab a quick muffin, egg sandwich or croissant on your way to work. The same goes for exercise. If you plan certain classes ahead and pack your bag, you're sort of forced to go.
  2. KO the sugar! I'm not saying you have to quit sugar all together. Although, it is certainly healthier. But if you start paying attention to white sugar in foods that is hidden, that is half the battle won. The simple carbohydrates don't do much more for your body than providing it with quick energy. We all have enough stored in our bodies to provide the body with that. The other problem is that while your body is busy digesting the carbs, other components of your food, proteins and fat, are being stored. Try and find alternatives, like honey or grab a piece of fruit before eating the chocolate bar.
  3. REM: Rest.Eat.Me(ditate)-Time! Not in that order but you get what I mean. Sleep is important in combating temptation and resisting it. I'm a compulsive snacker especially under stress. And I don't usually reach for an apple. When you get enough sleep and eat your last meal long enough before going to bed and then supplement that with 15 minutes of quality time for reflecting, the chances are that you will be less frazzled and make healthier choices.
  4. DIY: do it yourself i.e. cook! We all lead VERY stressful, busy lives but especially in the winter, our choices for takeout can be dumb. When we prepare our own food, we know exactly what goes in it. It's a beautiful thing to cook, to savour the aroma of dishes, to share it with partners and friends and it prolonges the process of enjoying it, too. If you live alone, cook and then freeze things or have regular potluck lunches with colleagues so you can sample some of their food.
  5. Check your MO: as in moderation, as in fallback plan! We can't always resist temptation but we can limit the amount of indulgences that we give in to. The easiest is to not keep too many unhealthy food options around the house. Or have them in individual packs. When the urge is big, make it a ritual that you enjoy. Reward yourself, have a great experience and then move on with your day and week. For example, have one row of a chocolate bar, have a few spoons of ice-cream, eat a slice of pizza and please spare yourself the guilt afterwards. This may just be my humble opinion, but I'm pretty sure guilt will make you fat ;)

Now, all these tricks are for when you are at home. But we are no hermits. Whenever you are out in public and temptation arises, remind yourself of the awesome things that you have in store for yourself at home. When you go to a party, try and keep normal meal portions in mind, then increase them by a little because it's a special occasion but keep paying attention if you start to feel sluggish, heavy, bloated or tippsy. Chances are that is just the prelude of how much worse you'll feel the next morning...

I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know in the comments how you resist temptation. Pass on this article if you liked it and come on over to Facebook and like my page.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!

xxR

Leg Toning Exercises - Bespoke Training (video)

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In this new video I have compiled exercises for toning the legs. Using a Theraband or elastic resistance band makes them fun and strengthens and lengthens the muscles in the legs in a gentle way, while increasing your range of motion and core strength. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know in the comments or come on over to my YouTube channel to check out the rest! And make sure to check out my friends' website over at Melt Massage and Bodywork (where I shot this video and you can get a great massage!).

Discipline: Rad or Bad?

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I just read this article about discipline and how celebrities apply the 80/20 rule to stay fit and slim without denying themselves occasional indulgences. It sounds reasonable and I try to live by that same rule. It's often more along the lines of 70/30... but what I am trying to do these days is keep my meal plan simple during the week and allow myself a day on the weekend during which I don't have to think about what I eat and can indulge. I have found that it keeps my cravings at bay and improves my overall well being tremendously. Ok, so maybe I apply 80/20 on those other days sometimes, too :) As I have mentioned before, my schedule as an athlete used to be very structured, time wise, but also in terms of what I ate and when. The structure provided me with a sense of safety and stability in my life, it made me feel invincible to be able to be so physically active and high school was its own structure, too - that I fit in between workouts. During intense weeks, I would run 5-6 times a week, swim 3-4 times, fence 3 times, shoot 3 times (plus autogenic training) and ride once or twice. Phew... just typing this makes me tired now. Days would start at 6am (in the pool) and end sometimes at 9pm (leaving the fencing gymnasium). Wash (often!). Rinse. Repeat.

I was recently invited by a group of women (who have families to take care of), to run with them. Meeting place was 6am at Grand Army Plaza. Which meant getting up at 5.30 and being out of the door by 5.40am. It was remarkable to see how these women met with such fun at such an early time, I thoroughly enjoyed their company and when we were done, their day started with making sure that their kids were out the house and off to school, etc. My only responsibility was to feed my dog and then check my schedule for the day. I won't be doing it all the time, but there was something that made me feel very proud about adding so many hours to my day and having been productive already by the time I got home at 7am.

Being self-employed demands a certain amount of discipline. Working with people and helping them create a different lifestyle demands being creative in my approaches to mask that discipline as enjoyable exercise and delicious meals. Working with people in public class settings means, picking up on each person's vibe, and rewarding the discipline of them showing up with an experience that will be memorable physically and emotionally.

Getting positive feedback is a direct reward of my discipline. What a beautiful circle.

I have learned in the past years, to be less harsh with myself. The control freak in me has to consciously relinquish the rigor of that discipline that is such a strong part of me and allow myself to go with the flow and let events unfold.

I have found that creating structure is important when it is around practical things, such as my calendar, exercises planning for the people I work with but in my personal life, I am allowing a few more elements of surprise. I still don't like surprise parties or ordering dishes for the table instead of me (more on this in a different post)... but I have learned through my dear friends, that life can be a delicious "box of chocolates. You never know what you gonna get".

And I'm ready to embrace it. I dare you to try the same!

xxR

The Body Sculpt Class - What is it? Who is it for?

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I'm teaching a body sculpt class three times a week now at Melt Massage & Bodywork, an awesome massage space that has a beautiful room for yoga, pilates, workshops and me :) For most of what they offer, the class description is straight forward or people don't even have to read it because it speaks for itself. Prenatal yoga, Feldenkrais, Reiki, postpartum workshops, Pilates... I wanted to add something into the mix that is similar but different. A class that allows people to move continuously for 60 minutes without a Bootcamp or Crossfit feel where you push through exercises, in competition with yourself and everyone else. But rather exercises in which we work together and individually, making them easier when we work together. For both of us. But with an option to always challenge ourselves, too. Every class ends with yoga to stretch the muscles that we used and open up areas of the body which may be stuck and which - once released - feel so good and thereby make our mind feel good. At the very end: Savasana... everyone loves a few minutes to relax.

Melt is set up with everything you and I need. Therabands for sculpting and lengthening, of course yoga mats, blocks and bolsters for restorative poses at the end and blankets to sit on while we do ab work. It has a great group of instructors and where else have you seen a reception area that has water, apples and candy?

So who is it for? I've seen a lot of women taking my class and I think men believe that if it doesn't involve weights but mainly your own body weight, it may be too easy for them. But that's not the case. I have seen grown men struggle when I showed them exercises, that pregnant women did with ease and grace and anywhere we work with our own body weight, it can get pretty challenging. After the session, you will already feel, that areas that we exercised feel tighter, your core will be burning, but you won't be exhausted. You will be sweaty and relaxed and proud of what you accomplished.

Having studied many different disciplines, I am convinced that each practiced individually has tremendous potential but combining them is even more effective. Because there is no set routine, your body can not plateau and get used to being worked in the same way as previously. It needs to adapt and become smarter. And that's what we want, a continuously evolving body, that is smart, strong, flexible and ready to take on any task that life throws at us. You will also gradually see your waist whittling away and your arms and legs becoming more defined as an added bonus.

The biggest advantage of working your body in this way is, that it is fun! Exercise doesn't become a dreadful chore, but we look forward to it. We see results in our strength, cardio-vascular capacity and flexibility. The positive side effects also include the influence that this kind of training has on other disciplines. So it can be a great add-on for runners, triathletes, yogis, swimmers, etc.

I hope to see you at one of the classes. If you haven't yet, make sure to sign up for my newsletter with updates on health, food, new classes and much more.

Like my FB page if you liked this blog post, comment and share.

And come stop by at Melt - more information can be found here: www.bit.ly/chittamelt

I dare you to sweat with me!

xxR

Monday Moves: planks, planks, planks / stütz, stütz, stütz

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I must admit, I wasn't always the biggest fan of planks in any form, but since doing them daily with and without clients, it is astonishing how it has defined and strengthened my core. It has helped me alleviate sciatic pain and I even recorded a little video with useful exercises and tips that you can find on YouTube or right here on the blog. I muss zugeben der Stütz, war nicht unbedingt meine bevorzugte Übung (kam gleich nach Klimmzügen) aber seit ich ihn täglich durchführe, mit Kunden und ohne, beobachte ich mit Staunen wie sich mein Rumpf verändert hat. Soviel stärker und definierter (Bonus!). Die Übung hat mir geholfen meine Ischias Schmerzen unter Kontrolle zu bekommen und ich habe sogar ein kleines Video aufgenommen, das ihr auf YouTube bewundern könnt oder direkt hier auf meinem Blog.

Monday Moves: Work it on Labor Day/ Arbeite am Tag der Arbeit

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Work it on labor day and increase your core fitness. Do three sets of 20 repetitions. You can do this exercise with a partner, where you reach up and hand them the ball or you can just reach up and then roll back down. Keep your shoulders off the ground. For extra credit do the third set across and past the knee, 10 on each side Mache drei Sets mit jeweils 20 Wiederholungen. Du kannst diese Übung mit einem Partner durchführen und ihm den Ball reichen oder ohne Partner soweit nach oben reichen wie möglich. Und um es noch etwas interessanter zu gestalten kannst du die letzten 20 Wiederholungen zur Seite machen, weit am Knie vorbei, 10 nach rechts und 10 nach links.

 

Tasty Tuesday: Kale & Coconut/ Grünkohl & Kokosnuss

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A simple yet yummy recipe as a side dish or a main course. I like to buy the kale pre-washed and bagged and make a big batch of this. Spread the kale out on an oven tray after massaging it in some sesame oil. Set the oven to 300-350 F and bake for about 15 minutes. Make sure to check on it and maybe toss some more in between. Towards the end add some coconut flakes. I use Trader Joe's Roasted Coconut Flakes. Take the mixture out of the oven and toss in about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce or more if you like it. Enjoy!For an extra kick and some grains you can add some cooked barley and have a delicious vegetarian dish. Ein sehr einfaches und extrem leckeres Rezept das man als Vorspeise oder Hauptspeise geniessen kann. Ich kaufe den Grünkohl gerne vorgewaschen in der Tüte und verarbeite die ganze Tüte auf einmal. Verwende Sesamöl und massiere es in den Grünkohl. Richte die Blätter auf einem Ofenblech an und backe sie bei ca. 180 Grad für etwa 15 Minuten. Achte darauf dass die Blätter nicht anbrennen. Gegen Ende kannst du die Kokosnussraspeln hinzufügen. Ich verwende hier in den USA Trader Joe's Roasted Coconut Flakes. Nimm die Mischung aus dem Ofen und mische sie in einer Schüssel mit ca. 3 Esslöffeln Soja Sauce oder ein wenig mehr falls du das magst. Lecker! Für einen extra Kick und ein ganzheitliches vegetarisches Mahl, kannst du noch gekochte Gerste hinzufügen.

Monday Moves: Get back in the saddle/ Sich wieder aufschwingen

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I went riding yesterday. Unfortunately since moving to NYC, it has been sporadic and this time I was aching to finally do a little bit of obstacle jumping again. And I did. A small jump trotting and two in a row cantering. It's like riding a bicycle, you don't forget. There's the hand-eye coordination, giving the horse impulses, verbal and physical, looking at the obstacles, not turning the corner too narrow to stay in a easy canter, looking ahead, lifting out of the saddle (just a bit) and then take off :) I am the happiest person in the world today. I'm also super sore. And if this experience has reminded me of one thing it is that all it takes often to overcome set backs or difficult situations is to giddy up or to be less literal, to get back in the saddle. To try again and to ultimately stick with things until they become a routine. Then, when the routine is there... tackle something new.

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.”

― Mary Anne Radmacher

Gestern bin ich reiten gegangen. Leider kann ich das nicht mehr so oft, seit ich nach NYC gezogen bin und diesmal war ich sehr aufgeregt, weil ich endlich wieder Springreiten wollte. Und ich hab es getan. Ein kleiner Sprung aus dem Trab und zwei hinter einander weg aus dem Gallopp. Und was kann ich sagen, es ist wie Radfahren, man vergisst es nicht. Da ist einmal die Hand-Augen Koordination, dem Pferd Impulse zu geben, sowohl mit Worten als auch nur mit dem Körper, sich das Hindernis anzusehen, die Kurve nicht zu eng zu nehmen um in einem leichten Gallopp zu bleiben, vorausschauen, sich aus dem Sattel erheben (nur ein wenig) und dann der Absprung :) Ich bin heute die glücklichste Person auf der Welt. Und ich habe mega Muskelkater. Und gestern hat mich besonders an eines erinnert, nämlich dass es oft nur die eine Möglichkeit gibt, des sich wieder Aufschwingens um sich von einer schwierigen Situation zu befreien oder schwierige Umstände zu überwinden. Man muss sich wieder aufschwingen. Es wieder versuchen und im Ende dabei bleiben bis es zur Routine wird. Dann, wenn die Routine wieder da ist.... tu etwas Neues.

"Mut ist nicht immer ein lautes Gebrüll. Mut ist manchmal die leise Stimme, die am Ende des Tages spricht: “Morgen versuche ich es wieder”

― Mary Anne Radmacher

Words on Wednesday: Less is More

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I just stumbled across an old friend from Uni online, who commented on a Facebook post saying that "we have lost the awareness to be excited by the little things"... Ever since I left my office job, I realized that while I'm doing what I really love, time slows down. I have an awesome session with a client and the hour seems much longer (I think for them too, depending on what we're doing). No but in a positive sense I cherish moments much more.  Before, I obviously also had really great days at the office, but the simple setting which was an office that forced me to be at my desk at certain times of the day and dictated that I was to have lunch around 12-2pm made me really look forward to 6pm and the freedom that came with it.

I tried to bring food to the office to not have to rely on food chains because ultimately in a 5 day week I would have at least one, twice. I'm not good at leaving things on my plate, so the places dictated how much I was eating... Now I take my time to prepare breakfast and some of the results you see on here. I enjoy eating it, I go workout, by the time I come back I really look forward to preparing a nice lunch. And I cook most evenings. There was never really time for that before.

Even though I work physically and mentally harder getting Chitta off the ground, I run around, I work out with my clients and I try to keep up with my own exercise routine, I feel less tired than I often felt after a whole day at the desk. My anxiety levels are lower even though every new client feels like going on a first date, my hair and skin are healthier and my digestion... well, you know :)

My friend's comment was on an article about how we consume a lot these days and I must admit as a budding entrepreneur I consume much less these days. And interestingly I'm happier.

This NY Times article also weighs in on how we have become a society of consumers and how the author scaled back which - you guessed it - made him happy.

How does all this relate to what I'm doing?

I once met a client who told me she was working out six times a week, she had changed trainers a few times, she did her own cardio but still she said "I don't run faster than some New Yorkers walk".

In my trainings, I try to bring as much versatility to each session as I can. Often I switch up exercises after only a few sets or combine them and I try to squeeze the maximum result out of each proposed exercise. And I am seeing peoples' results. My pregnant ladies felt energized after sessions albeit challenged, other people have lost weight and others were able to increase their strength, flexibility, coordination, etc. All of them - if I had them do their very first session again today - would do it without breaking a sweat and hardly being out of breath.

These results make me incredibly happy! And they show that by tickling my clients with these 1-3 hours per week, which is easily incorporated into their busy schedules, we are making amazing progress in a relatively short time. Think of their muscles being excited too by the diverse, rapidly changing movement and because they are happy, they interact better, within (intramuscular coordination) and between each other (intermuscular coordination). It all creates a well oiled machine. Moreover, because the results stick, this new regimen becomes sustainable: it's fun to see yourself transform.

I strongly believe in breaking the loop of living to work, rewarding ourselves by consuming more, buying more, eating more and ultimately feeling obliged to exercise more.

I dare you to work to LIVE, then the work itself becomes rewarding, consuming becomes a luxury and eating is a part of a delicious routine that creates balance in our body... a strong body that loves to be tickled regularly.

xxR

PS: Every now and then, stop and smell the flowers...

Monday Moves: Exercises for Lower Back Relief (Video)

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I am very excited that this first Youtube video is online, now! I hope it will be helpful to relieve some of your issues around the lower back. You can increase the number of repetitions per exercise as you see fit.

And I would love to hear more from you about it, in the comments below.

xxR

Moving with ease and accepting impermanence

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This post falls under the same category as 'how our puppy taught us to stay sane' except this time she is the culprit among other things. I have been known to do things fast, to do many things at the same time and somehow that results in me, always having a deadline...

So for 2013 that meant getting above mentioned brand new puppy in January and training her, concluding a yoga teacher training in March, opening a business in April, planning an international wedding in May, bidding the in-laws and family farewell closer to June (they all decided NYC was only worth a trip if it was at least two weeks) and then marching full steam ahead with promoting my business while working with clients. It is only August but I feel like I've filled the first half of this year with enough tasks for a full 365 days.

And now... we're moving apartments. To be exact by the end of this month. Boxes, movers, bills, organizing, while maintaining our jobs as two entrepreneurs who work from home. And right on cue, Zola our pup came down with a UTI (urinary tract infection). I am sure all of my female readers can commiserate and believe me, the symptoms are just the same. I wonder if it's stress related.

The term 'moving with ease' is used a lot in the wellness field. Usually to describe economical physical movement. Ultimately it means that we move using little strength while getting to where we want gracefully without breaking a sweat.

I am not good at that.

As an athlete I was taught how to do things economically, in an agile way and simply trained so many hours, that very little could make me tired. International competitions involved the following: travel, short nervous first nights, a semi-final on the first day, one recovery day of light training to get rid of as much lactic acid as possible, the biggest event: the final on day three, another day of recovery at which point that lactic acid had stubbornly set up camp in our muscles, and the team event. 5 days, 3 full pentathlons, one last night of partying and connecting with everyone and a flight home. The next day I was focused on the next competition and back on (the) track.

My current events are slightly different but I was thinking of ways to make them easier. This is not a five step plan on how to do things. For that you could check my article on how to lead a balanced lifestyle. But rather I would like to describe a feeling to retreat to when things get overwhelming, that has helped me and that I have to fight for to create in my daily life.

I usually get into that feeling in random places. In NYC most often on the subway. It is one of the few places where there is no cell phone service and if I am not reading or drafting emails a place to reflect. It is there that I remember that I constantly am planning the outcome of different things and even the ones that can not be planned. On a side note I recently saw the kaleidoscopic art work by Suzan Drummen where she lays pieces on the floor to create mandala like structures. And people can walk right up to them to admire them. It made me very nervous to think that someone would bump into one of the pieces or step on them and destroy Ms. Drummen's thousands of hours of work.

But then (after laughing out loud at myself) I thought of the Buddhist concept of impermanence and how important it is to remind ourselves that it is not a bad thing. And that's exactly where I found some peace. Things around us are in flow. We, mere mortals, can't stop it. Things happen, sometimes amazing things. Sometimes things that initially are disappointing but ultimately lead to something different. And most of the time that next situation is not half bad.

Of course there are very trying times when there seems to be a succession of only yucky things and right now I feel like there are a lot of chores awaiting me while I would much rather enjoy the lull of August and kick back instead of leaning in.

I am working hard and somewhat successfully to take each day as it comes, to wake up and not rush to mid-afternoon or evening in my head. To acknowledge that if I allow the hours to unfold, they pass slower than if I'm already at 5pm and stressing out over how short the day is. To really enjoy downtime, be it a meal, a quick coffee with a friend, a workout session I particularly enjoy or walking the dog. And to stay present without escaping into the crazy future place in my brain.

There you have it: presence and impermanence. The two states that help save my day. Today.

I dare you to try it. Have a calm rest of your week.

xxR

Monday Moves: Work multiple body parts/ Trainiere mehrere Körperbereiche

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Sculpt multiple body parts at once. Deep lunge w/ resistance band. Good for the core, thighs, upper back, bingo wings & armpit. For starters use the lightest resistance band, wrap it around a pole as shown in the photo or at home against a sturdy object on chest level. You should be pushing out the palms straight in front of your chest. Do 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions; then switch the legs and repeat. Over time, build towards 30 repetitions and/ or use a stronger band. Trainiere mehrere Körperbereiche gleichzeitig. Tiefer Ausfallschritt mit Trainingsband. Diese Übung eignet sich besonders gut um den oberen Rücken zu trainieren, die Oberschenkel, die Unterarme und den Achselbereich. Fur Anfänger: schlinge das Band um ein Objekt auf Brusthöhe, bringe dann die Handflächen gerade vor deiner Brust nach vorne. Beginne mit 3 sets von jeweils 15-20 Wiederholungen und wechsel dann das vordere Bein. Mit der Zeit, kannst du dich auf 30 Wiederholungen hoch arbeiten.

5 ways to get back to a healthy back

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I mention in my about section that I suffered from sciatica... It started at the ripe age of 28 and I had no idea what was happening. I was in a very stressful office environment under a lot of pressure to make a project happen and suddenly my leg started aching. Having just run a half marathon I assumed I hadn't trained appropriately or over-trained or simply wasn't young enough anymore to bounce back without problems as I would have ten years earlier.

With more pain that wouldn't stop, other thoughts came up: "it's the long term effects of training so hard as a young person", "I have a serious injury that I keep aggravating by exercising", "maybe I should try yoga", "ouch, stretching hurts- yoga is not the solution".

I became increasingly alarmed and stopped running, by this time the pain was shooting down my hamstring into the back of my knee and all the way down into my pinky toe. The result was that I couldn't sit in an office chair for many hours a day and worse, even lying became a problem.

I spent hundreds of dollars on heat patches, arnica, traumeel, tiger balm, eventually acupuncture and a chiropractor. I tried for as long as I could to stay away from pain medication to avoid getting hooked on them. What I didn't know at the time because it had never happened to me, was that chronic pain can cause a large number of other related issues: my digestion became horrible, irregular and it caused weight gain, any meal caused painful bloating. This was closely followed by skin problems, my face became a minefield of acne that I couldn't get under control, so I stopped going 'bare' and used more make up (I don't have to tell you that that wasn't a great idea). Other side effects included fear because I didn't understand what was happening and people suggested herniated and/or bulging discs, anxiety trying to still do well in my job and ultimately a slight onset of depression because nothing worked.

I am not trying to depress you here, but this is to show you how bad it was for me... Eventually I found out what sciatica was (I was way too young for it, but it is happening more to younger people).

And here is, what helped me:

  1. Realizing that there is usually a psychological component to physical pain that becomes chronic. I had gone through a breakup, work was intense and I tried to do it all at once, all by myself, and as fast as possible.
  2. Finding out that my pelvis and therefore my hips and shoulder strap were about 2 inches higher on one side (no wonder I was in pain). An amazing chiropractor placed a finger on my right hip and then one on my left, stepped back and showed me...
  3. Accepting that anti-inflammatory medication when used responsibly to avoid pain and manage it, will help. I was always worried about addiction.
  4. Walking away from doctors that were ready to operate, prescribe incredibly strong pain medication for open-ended periods of time and generally anyone who told me that I would never be well again.
  5. Listening to myself and addressing the root of the problem, namely the anxiety that was caused by my job, the stress that came with it and learning relaxation techniques (I went back to autogenic training, tried meditation and learned how to do yoga without overstretching which can aggravate lower back issues). Also, mindfully removing those same triggers from my personal life, carving out 'me time' and not being rushed.

I get VERY few onsets of sciatica these days, a whole lot of things have to happen all at once to bring on an attack but I've also learned exercises and tools to get back to pain free. It took 2 years to get to where I am now. And I am writing this article precisely because I don't want people to wait as long as I did, to take action and hopefully avoid surgery.

The NY Times Health and Science section posted an article today on how back pain is being over-treated. I will be posting a video of a few exercises to help level the pelvis and restore balance in the hips, soon; to contribute to healing naturally and empowering individuals like you, to stop the pain.

I hope you will like it and mostly of course, that you don't need it in the first place!

Today I ask you to tuck your pelvis and engage your core!

xxR

 

 

Tasty Tuesday: Donut Peaches/ Donut Pfirsiche

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Donut peaches are a beautiful summer fruit for breakfast. They are high in fiber, vitamin A and C and antioxidants. Think: healthy digestion, skin and heart. Donut Pfirsiche sind im Sommer eine wundervolle Ergänzung zu einem gesunden Frühstück. Sie enthalten viele Ballaststoffe, Vitamine A und C und Antioxidantien. Folglich verbesseren sie unsere Verdauung, das Hautbild und den Herzkreislauf.

Monday Moves: Balance for the Core/ Balance für den Rumpf

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Place an object on the soles of your feet and your hands under your bum. Lift without dropping the yoga block, book, or what I'm using in this photo: a 3lb Everlast exercise ball. Platziere einen Gegenstand auf deinen Füßen, deine Handflaechen unter deinen Po. Hebe die Füße zur Decke ohne den Gegenstand, z.B. einen Yoga Block, ein Buch oder wie in meinem Fall einen ca. 1.5kg schweren workout Ball, fallen zu lassen.

Despicable Carbs?

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I recently read this article about what athletes should eat in lieu of pasta and 5 yummy healthy things were listed. They provided antioxidants, essential oils, fiber and many other things. The thing they couldn't do is give athletes valuable energy that you need when you train for several hours each day. In this day and age where many people want to be fit and look young, many train hard and need to fuel their bodies to sustain energy and avoid turning their bodies against themselves. I know what I'm talking about as I have witnessed what can happen when you lose weight from all the training and feel like there is no amount of food to remedy that. Your blood sugar drops, general crankiness sets in and you are tired a lot. And if this continues for a long time, the body starts attacking itself. Some of the results are not necessarily visible immediately. It starts with less energy so the risk of injuries goes up, i.e. you are tired you become sloppy, you fall. Longer term issues can mean conditions such as osteoporosis, especially in women, which "only" becomes a problem when you're older.

So why is it that we condemn pasta (and rice and potatoes) so much? Do we fear weight gain? Or has the wellness industry put a stigma on them?

For some sports under close supervision of doctors, athletes carb-load. The shorter chain sugars are consumed to increase performance and give muscles essential energy during a half day or day of intense work. All energy bars, gels and drinks are essentially made from the same thing but somehow when we glue those to our handlebars it's less bad than eating a bowl of steaming (whole wheat?) pasta. A lot of Asian countries live on rice and in many African countries big portions of meals consist of maize (e.g. South African pap and Kenyan ugali) and people are for the most part slim.

I've told many people the very strict meal plan I used to be on before major events and it's no fun eating the same thing every day for approximately 10 days but boy was I happy that aside from healthy salads and lean protein there was a good pasta dish at the end of the day that ensured I would wake up refreshed. I am a no fun when I'm hungry, all the above mentioned symptoms kick in.

Where am I going with this? Back to YOU! Us as individuals.

Cake

With a gazillion options in what to eat and drink we have become less intuitive about what we need and enjoy. A healthy body will regulate the amounts of food too. There's a balance between full and hungry and the occasional indulgence is no big deal. So, listen to your body (the gut feeling- no pun intended) to be healthier, more frugal or if you eat more one day, balance it out with exercise the next day.

And in all of this remember that being a fit, healthy person is a state in which YOU lead a fulfilled enjoyable life. It should not be a chore.

I dare you to try it. Now go have a piece of chocolate.

xxR

Monday Moves - Exercise Kneeling/ Übungen knieend ausführen

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I often ask my pregnant friends to do strength exercises kneeling to engage their core. It's strengthening those important muscles in a gentle way. If this feels hard on the knees, fold over your mat, for support. The same works for everyone else who's not pregnant, too. Try it! Ich bitte meine schwangeren Klientinnen oftmals, Ubungen knieend auszuführen um ihren Rumpf mit einzubringen. Dies hiflt die wichtige Rumpfmuskulatur auf sanfte Weise zu stärken. Natürlich trifft das selbe auch für nicht-Schwangere zu. Versucht es!

 

Healing - A lifelong process

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In my first blog post on this site I talked about the benefits of physical activity to overcome grief. But overcoming grief for me hasn't necessarily been the same as healing myself. The more I listen to people and read about this topic, the more I see how grief is an incredibly individual thing whereas there are broader approaches to healing that can benefit more than one person. For example meditation or any of the other four ways that can help lead a balanced lifestyle (exercise, eat everything in moderation, keep good company and switch off your tech!) can be good for healing too. In general calming the senses and tuning back inside is important to realize that something is off. That can be just temporary and our body's cry for rest, or issues that have gone on for a long time where we need to change our habits to turn the ship around.

But what does healing actually mean and what do we need healing from? Healing literally means to make whole, to restore the health of an unbalanced, unhealthy body. I believe that as babies we come into this world whole. Then life chips away at us and usually our immune system (both physical and emotional) can cope pretty well but there are life events or patterns that hurt us on a deeper level and have the ability to derail us and make us sick.

For a long time I didn't really notice that I needed healing. My life was always busy - with my sport at first - then with moving and living in New York. Relationships seemed fine while they lasted and hurt for the appropriate amount of time when they broke up. Until several years ago when a particularly long relationship ended and the change of moving from a home that I had co-created back to a share with strangers, threw me off. It coincided with a difficult workplace situation and all the talking with my friends still left me clueless as to how to turn around my situation and go back to being fearless and carefree. However, once I realized I needed healing all the things that had caused my 'imbalance' became painfully apparent. I had finally unlocked this area.

What followed were many discussion and a lot of reading and a lot of trying to remedy what was going on. But as I quickly discovered most of my approaches were merely band-aids. As I had done it before, I went running. Running for me had always been 'moving meditation', my way of disconnecting from the outside world and connecting to my body and mind. This time running didn't help. It was an escape - I was running away from changing habits and staring my fears and unresolved issues in the eye.

Thus began my journey. I sat down and started writing down things that I wanted to do in my life and how I wanted to be treated. Call it manifesting or becoming clear. I cultivated (more) patience and gave myself permission to not achieve things so quickly. I went easy on myself mentally and most important physically. I went into my most painful experiences and looked at them from my place now rather than as a younger version of myself who was in the midst of things and overwhelmed. I practiced gratitude for where I was in my life at any given day. I let myself cry for each time I had held it back to be strong.

Some of the effects I could see and feel relatively soon. Restoring balance in my body led to less aches and pains and restoring balance in my mind made me happier, overall.

I dare you to try it. Heal yourself and accept that it is an ongoing process. It's a good goal to have to ultimately be free of things that we have accumulated over the years, that weigh us down. Forgive yourself for new issues that arise along the way. Take them in stride and cherish them as life experiences. We were not made to be perfect. We were born to be real.