Author Archives for sgelman

About sgelman

I am a twentysomething NYC gal who has a passion for health and nutrition!

Finding my “happy” weight

Everyone has that magic number.  You know, your dream weight.  Maybe you weighed that number when you were in high school on the track team.  Maybe when you were in college.  Maybe you’ve never weighed it but think it’s the number that you should be at if you did everything right.  Let me tell you something that it took me a VERY long time to figure out.  That number is a pipe dream.  

Before you object, I have a little story to tell you.  Last year, I fell off the wagon.  Between moving in with D, leaving my job to pursue a new career, and other major upheavals in my life, I slowly saw nearly 10 pounds slowly creep up on me.  While this isn’t a by any means a big number, by December, my jeans just weren’t fitting the way they used to, and I really wasn’t feeling very confident with the way I looked.  I knew I had to stop making excuses and just make changes!  But at the same time I felt kind of humiliated – here I was, giving people health advice, and I had let my own health get away from me.  Not to mention, having lost a significant amount of weight in the past, there was that fear in the way back of my head that I would go back to the way I was, as crazy as that may sound.

So I decided to start slow.  It had taken me about 8 months to gain all the weight, so a pound a month seemed like a reasonable goal.  While there were definitely setbacks, including the entire month of March when I totally plateaued, I stuck with it, and as of last month, I reached my “happy” weight.  So what’s the moral of my little tale?  I started out on this weight loss process thinking that I would reach my dream weight – basically what I was my junior year of college for about one week when I was recovering from bronchitis.  Crazy right?!  This clearly isn’t a number that is realistic and manageable for me (and frankly I just like food too much!).  So I revised my goal and gave myself a little more wiggle room in the process.

When dietitians figure out the ideal weight for a man it is 106 lbs for the first 5 ft, and then 6 lbs for every inch higher.  For women, it is 100 lbs for the first 5 ft and 5 lbs for every inch higher.  But this number can be minus or plus 10% depending on your frame size and build.  Simply put, no weight fits everyone and is TOTALLY dependent on your build and figure.  This tool on Self.com is a pretty good estimate of “happy weight” (although not perfect!) to help you get that number.

So the next time you talk about being unhappy with your weight – consider this, maybe you ARE at the right weight already!  Or maybe the situation isn’t as dire as you might think.  Weight isn’t the only measure of health – although it can be the most immediate and for many, the most discouraging.  Getting to your healthiest body means not only eating healthy most of the time and getting physical activity, but cultivating your mental well-being.  Simply put, constantly restricting your eating habits to reach an unattainable goal greatly discourages your mental well-being and could affect your physical health as well by slowing your metabolism rather than revving it up.  So now that bikini season is officially here, maybe it’s time to embrace your hot bod, as is.

Running “Naked”

No I’m not talking about running in the nude.  I’m talking about running with nothing on your feet, or as many have dubbed it “Barefoot Running”.  If you take a stroll down the Westside Highway path, you’ll find plenty of them — runners with either minimalist shoes or those weird Vibram 5-finger rubber sneakers which kind of make you look like an alien attached to a human body.

At first I thought that this was just some sort of new fitness fad that would be here today and gone tomorrow — I have been running in my Asics Cumuluses for over 4 years and the thought of messing with that in any way just seems like a recipe for disaster and even worse – injury.  And plus – we’ve grown up all our lives wearing sneakers or shoes, so wouldn’t changing that cause more harm than good??

But all that was before my sister handed me a little book called “Born to Run”.  This book details how its author, Christopher McDougall, went on a quest to figure out how to fix his injured feet and still be able to run.  Along the way he learned about an ancient Indian tribe called the Tarahumara, ultra-runners who would run hundreds of miles day after day wearing nothing but barely there leather sandals and eating nothing but cornmeal.  And they never get hurt.  And they do it several times a week.  Oh and also they run until their 80s and 90s.  Huh?

So does this barefoot running stuff really keep you from getting injured?  Could it be better for you then sneakers??  The jury is still out on this one.  According to a recent article in the New York Times:

“…it would seem as if running barefoot should certainly be better for the body, because less pounding should mean less wear and tear. But…Just taking off your shoes does not mean you’ll immediately attain proper barefoot running form. Many newbie barefoot runners continue to stride as if they were in shoes, landing heavily on their heels.

The result can be an uptick in the forces moving through the leg, Dr. Warren pointed out, since you’re creating as much force with each stride as before, but no longer have the cushioning of the shoe to help dissipate it. Most barefoot runners eventually adjust their stride, he and the other presenters agreed, landing closer to the front of their feet — since landing hard on a bare heel hurts — but in the interim, he said, “barefoot running might increase injury risk.”

So the Gotham Skinny verdict is:  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!  If you’re running and you haven’t had injuries, there’s no need to change things.  But if you do have consistent injuries, it might be worth looking into.  Just make sure you take your time and ease into it slowly, wearing normal shoes for most of your run and then switching them out at the last mile to barefoot running shoes (gradually increasing your mileage over time).  Make sure to pay attention to form and take shorter strides, landing lightly.  And as my favorite cross country coach always told us: RUN GOOD.

Stay posted for some delish and healthy 4th of July cocktail recipes……

Sunny D-light

Happy almost weekend!!  Ok you have D to thank for that cheesy blog title.  As summer comes into full swing (Hello summer Fridays!  Welcome back my fave white jeans – you’ve been in the back of my closet way too long!), the markets are full to the brim with some of my favorite summer produce.  From brilliantly ruby cherries, to sweet yellow corn, to delicious watermelon, my local Whole Foods looks like a rainbow exploded all over it.  And don’t even get me started on those tomatoes…I could wax poetic on heirloom tomatoes for days.  So without any further ado, here goes with a list of my top picks for summer produce that will make your skin glow, keep you slim and make your tastebuds smile!

Watermelon:

Nothing says summer to me quite like a slice of a juicy watermelon.  And in this heat it is insanely refreshing.  For me, eating the stuff inevitably draws up memories of day-camp and watermelon seed spitting contests.  But this delicious fruit packs plenty of nutritional benefits for kids of all ages.  While it is 92% water (hence the name!) it also vitamin C, vitamin A, lycopene and potassium.  The first three are antioxidants that protect your eyes, hair, skin, and immune system, and potassium can help rebuild sore muscles among its many benefits.

Try this new twist on watermelon (for 2 servings):  Combine 2 cups of chopped seedless watermelon with 1/4 cup feta, 1/8 cup chopped red onion, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt and some chopped basil leaves.  Eat and enjoy!

Corn:

Maybe I really am a Southern gal deep down because my heart goes pitter patter at the site of corn on the cob.  Growing up, my mom would serve the freshest corn on the cob as an appetizer straight of the grill (with a rub of butter, salt, and pepper).  When corn is sweet and in season, there really is nothing more delicious.  Corn provides a good dose of fiber, and is full of betacyptoxanthan, an antioxidant that guards against lung cancer.  But what to do with all that leftover corn?  Last summer, my sister and I discovered this delicious vegetarian recipe for corn pancakes (just swap out the white flour for white whole wheat which tastes the same as white but has all the benefits of wheat varieties).  You can make them savory by adding a little greek yogurt and chives, or sweet by adding maple syrup.  Either way they make a great light dinner or brunch – and you really taste the corn.

Eggplant:

I used to be really daunted by trying to prepare and cook eggplant.  I mean look at those things!  They seem ridiculous.  But once I finally bit the bullet, I discovered a whole array of delicious and healthy flavors at my fingertips.  Eggplant is a great source of fiber and contains a compound called chlorogenic acid, which helps fight free radicals (nasty little chemicals floating around in your bloodstream) and can help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Eggplant tastes great straight from the grill, but try this asian twist on it: Make a marinade using 1 tbsp mirin (japanese sweet wine), 1 tbsp white miso paste, 1 tsp minced ginger, and 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil.  Brush mixture over 2 small-to-medium eggplants that have been sliced to about 1/2 inch.  Top with sesame seeds and broil these babies until golden brown.  Voila – miso-broiled eggplant!

Figs

While dried figs are around throughout the year, once you’ve had a fresh fig, you’ll never go back.  Figs are plentiful in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and are also a rich source of calcium, which promotes bone health.

While figs are great straight up, I love to make a simple and delish desert by coating a pan with cooking spray, chopping 2 or 3 figs in half and sauteeing them for about 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.  Serve in a bowl with a dollop of greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar.

Enjoy these tasty treats and try to stay cool in this ridiculous heat wave!

Memorial Day AFTER

It’s Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend.  You’ve been celebrating with your friends, drinking beer all day, and partying most of the night.  You haven’t made some good decisions food-wise (just a couple of chips turned into half a bag, with guac, a burger, and a huge piece of apple pie).  You wake up feeling kind of gross – between the drinks and the food you feel like you may have been rolled over by truck a couple times.

Sound familiar?  We’ve all been there, and while I can give you tons of tips on how to eat healthfully at a barbeque, how to not overdo it on the drinks, etc…  guess what?  I’m not going to.  Sometimes you just don’t want to think about that!  And that’s ok as long as you don’t make having one indulgent night a weekly thing!  What I will do is give you some tips that will help you bounce back quickly from a bender.

  1. Ditch the Booze-brunch:  It’s a common misconception that after drinking and eating heavily the night before, it makes sense to have a bloody mary the next day.  A little hair-of-the-dog that bit you right?  While initially the alcohol does make you feel better, by breaking down any remaining ethanol in your system into less dehydrating compounds, the hangover will just come back harder and with more of a vengeance later in the day.  And that’s no party for anyone!
  2. Fried foods are a no go:  Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it sucks the water out of your system like a very dry sponge.  So anything salty or fried will only dehydrate your system further and make you feel more like poop.
  3. Hydrate like it’s your job:  Water, gatorade, and coconut water will all do a good job at replenishing your system and helping to beat any morning-after bloat.  Also, try eating foods that have a high-water content, like cucumber, celery, fennel (helps to debloat!), apples, and watermelon.  All of these foods will help to balance out your system and replace any electrolytes your body lost.
  4. Skip the gum:  Avoid anything that is sugar-free or contains sugar alcohols, which will bloat you up like the dickens (yes I just said that).  So skip it and stick to real food.
  5. Break a sweat: I know this probably sounds like really annoying advice, but the absolute best cure I have ever found for a hangover is working out.  You may feel yucky at first, but sweating out those toxins will do your body a world of good, not to mention your digestive system.  Even forcing yourself to go for a brisk walk outside can help get the blood flowing again and help your body repair and recover.

Have a very happy, healthy, relaxing and fun Memorial Day, be safe and thank a serviceperson if you can (it is THEIR holiday after all!!)

Whey to go!

Saturday night, D and I were hanging out at our friend, J’s apartment uptown before going to a bday party.  We were all congregating in his kitchen, and I glanced over a saw a ginormous tub of whey protein powder supplement.  I said to J, “You know you really don’t need that stuff.”  Being ever the politician, we both got into a little debate over it.  So the question remains…do normal, regularly weight-lifting and exercising individuals really need that stuff?  Besides, the icky ingredient list (corn syrup and red dye #40 were present…not so good), it’s a common myth that you need tons of protein in your diet.

Believe it or not, a regularly active individual needs only about 15-20% of their diet to be protein.  In a normal, 1800 calorie diet, this means about 270-360 calories should come from lean protein sources such as lean cuts of beef, chicken, or turkey, fish, tofu, beans and lowfat dairy.  Did you know that you also get protein in grains too?  A slice of whole wheat bread usually has about 3 grams of protein!  So a 150-lb individual needs about 55 grams of protein per day, which translates into one medium piece of grilled chicken, a greek yogurt, and two pieces of whole wheat bread!  So where does the extra protein go?  Well, let’s just say that protein supplements make your pee really, really expensive.

You may ask — but what about building muscles after a workout?  Protein supplements are often touted as the ultimate post-workout muscle building drink.  The truth?  You’re better off drinking a glass of chocolate milk.  A study in the International Journal of Sports and Exercise Metabolism, found that athletes drank chocolate milk, that beloved childhood favorite, they recovered faster and better than drinking water or sports drinks like Gatorade!  The findings suggest that chocolate milk contains the optimal ratio of carbohydrates and protein needed to quench thirsty muscles.  Not too mention that moo juice contains key nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, which high-tech, highly processed sports supplements do not.

Bottom line?  EAT REAL FOOD.  If you eat a balanced diet full of whole grains, plenty of veggies and fruit, lean meats/legumes/soy, and dairy, then you’ll get all the protein your body needs.  Supplements, bars, and powders aren’t real food.  You may get extra protein, but you’ll also get a slew of artificial flavorings, dyes and sugar.  If you fuel yourself regularly throughout the day combined with good solid workouts and strength work will do a better job at keeping your metabolism humming and your body lean and mean than any protein shake ever could!

Mexicana Mama

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!  I must admit — I love – no- ADORE Mexican food.  And while there’s always a place in my heart for gooey, cheesy, bean enchiladas and chips and guac, those are more “special occasion splurges” than regular incidences.  So to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I’m going to “Gotham skinnycize” a typical New York City Mexican restaurant menu, and makes the best pick for you (and your bum!).

DRINKS:

  • Order a light beer such as corona light with lime, wine, or a margarita on the rocks without sweet and sour mix (instead add lime) and only a dash of triple sec.  Avoid any and all mixed drinks like the plague.  They add up to 500 calories before you’ve actually eaten anything.  And always remember to drink plenty of water and try not to go to crazy with the alcohol.  The more you DRINK, the less you THINK.  And that means that those 3 chips you ate can quickly become 20 and half a bowl of guac.

STARTERS:

What to eat:

  • Salsa: This condiment often comes with chips.  Salsa is virtually calorie-free, tastes spicy and delish and goes on everything!  Try to limit yourself to only a few chips, and ask if they can give you veggies to dip rather than chips!
  • Guacamole:  Avocados are great for your skin and provide essential Omega-3 fatty acids.  But BEWARE, the calories add up fast here, so try to only take a big spoonful.
  • “Market-style” corn on the cob:  Grilled corn is super healthy and delish!  Just ask them to leave the cheese / butter off and enjoy it straight up!
  • Ceviche: Basically marinated fish, super healthy and fresh.
  • Tortilla soup:  Like a Mexican version of chicken soup, filling and light.

What to avoid:

  • Queso Fundido: Basically just cheese fondue.  I can feel my arteries clogging already.
  • Nachos:  Cheese, beens, meat, guac and sour cream all loaded onto fried chips.  Need I say more?
  • Salads: Most salads at Mexican restaurants are salads in name only.  Add fried tortilla strips, cheese, beans and creamy dressing and you’ve got yourself a pretty unhealthy starter.
  • Anything that says battered, fried, or cheesy!

MAINS:

  • Tacos with grilled fish, grilled chicken, lean beef (try to get corn tortillas instead of plain flour tortillas) – make sure that they don’t have a lot of condiments such as sour cream, cheese, etc or ask for them on the side.
  • Fajitas: Because you can pretty much build your own meal here, fajitas can be a great option.  Take your protein of choice – just makes sure ask for them to go light on the oil – and load it up with sauteed veggies, salsa, and a sprinkle (and I mean a sprinkle!) of cheese.  Opt for a green salad or extra veggies instead of the beans and rice that usually come on the side and are often prepared with gobs of oil.
  • Chicken enchiladas: Believe it or not, chicken enchiladas can actually be a decent choice!  Just ask to skip the cheese and rice, and opt for black beans instead of refried and you’ve got yourself a great deal (about 300 calories per enchilada).  Split it with a friend and order some veggies on the side and you’re golden!

What to AVOID:

  • Quesadillas: Cheese, cheese and more cheese.  And then fried.  With a sprinkle of chicken or veggies.  Not so good.
  • Burritos: A big flour tortilla that is usually stuffed with rice, refried beans, ground beef, sour cream and cheese.  Also not a great choice.
  • Chimichanga: Yes, the name may be exciting, but it’s not doing anything thrilling for your beach bod.  It is a deep-fried burrito.  So take everything I said above and then fry it.  Oy.

Have a great night and do it up!  Olé!!!

My body on sodium

I have a confession to make.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been a salt junkie.  I put salt on EVERYTHING.  I carry salt packets in my purse just incase I get lunch to go and there isn’t any available.  At D’s parent’s house, they even started calling salt shaker by my name, because I requested it so often.

Let’s just say it’s a family trait, passed down lovingly from my Dad.  In all seriousness though, every member of my family has a particular salt shaker that they like to use (this isn’t a joke i swear!).  My sister, R, likes to use the small one with the dots on it, my Dad uses the low-sodium potassium shaker, my mom and brother use the fancy salt grinder that when you push a button, it lights up and grinds the salt for you, and I love the salt and herb shaker that has a blend homemade by our family friend.

Recently though, with all this buzz about sodium in processed foods and the effect of salt on your system, I decided to take a good hard look at my little habit.  Or should I say addiction?  Not to mention that after dining with my cousin, who subsists on a low-sodium diet due to her lovely kidneys, I felt a little inspired to kick this thing once and for all.  For the past four days, I’ve gone salt free.

Here are the things I avoided:

  • Adding salt to any food, whether it be a big bowl of soup or grilled salmon.
  • Eating anything processed
  • Salty condiments such as ketchup, soy sauce (this is a BIG source of sodium), terriyaki sauce, and vegetable broths that aren’t low sodium
  • Cooked mostly my own food.  Even low fat restaurant fare is packed with sodium (those chefs love their salt!).

Here are the things I added:

  • Chugging water like it’s my job.  Starting in the morning, I’ve had a glass of hot lemon water upon waking, and carrying a huge waterbottle with me everywhere.
  • Eating low sodium versions of my favorite foods.  Amy’s split pea soup comes in low sodium?  Mmmm mm mm sign me up.
  • Adding tons of herbs and spices to my foods.  Just because there’s no salt doesn’t mean I can’t get spicy!
  • Eating a ton of fresh vegetables that debloat, such as celery, cucumbers, romaine (any veg with a high water content can help with bloat)
  • Adding different types of vinegars and citrus to foods.  This one is really important because it helps perk up food that doesn’t seem flavorful enough (where usually I would add salt I add citrus).

The results?

  • I lost three pounds…in FOUR DAYS.  What?  Ok so this left me completely shocked.  How the heck was I carrying around this much water weight??!!  My salt intake actually turned me into a human water bottle.
  • I felt totally unbloated and really great.  Talk about wanting to throw on my bikini again.  Seriously though, my clothes fit better and I just felt a lot happier in my skin.
  • Speaking of my skin — it actually looked brighter and clearer.  All that water that I was drinking seriously helped to flush out toxins.
  • I didn’t crave sweets at all.  With the salty taste out my mouth, I actually tasted the flavors of food a lot better and found myself reaching for fresh veggies and fruit rather than sweet things.  Rather than jumping from one extreme (salty) to the next (sweet), my tastebuds enjoyed a whole array of flavors.

The Verdict?

I had NO IDEA what an impact salt was having on my life.  Not only was I walking around all day like a human water balloon, I wasn’t able to enjoy food in its best state (and to me that’s just not living!).  While I don’t think I will completely take salt out of my life once and for all – after all our bodies do NEED a certain level of sodium to function properly, and salt does brighten some flavors, I think the added salt is gonna go for some time, especially as bikini season is right around the corner!

So the question is….are you ready to take the no salt challenge??

Midterm oatmeal bars and a few of my favorite things….

Lately it feels like I’m never NOT studying for midterms.  As annoying this is (besides the obvious hit to my social life), it has also has a positive impact, at least for D.  I’ve been baking.  A LOT.  Not to sound Betty Crockerish, but there is something incredibly therapeutic about baking and smelling those delicious sweet smells in my house all day.  And my Keebler elf baking habit also is a great way to procrastinate from the pile of notes that I have to read over.

I decided to turn my lemons into lemonade.  Or in this case, my oats into delicious, gooey, chocolatey oatmeal bars.  Not  only are they scrumptious, they have oats, whole wheat flour, and cranberries.  While I wouldn’t call them “health food”, they definitely make a nice treat at the end of the day.  Just be warned that these guys can get a little dangerous if left out – so I recommend freezing any that you don’t think you’ll eat during the week.

Scrumptious Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Bars:

adapted from Carrots and Cake Recipe:

Makes 10 bars

Ingredients:

2 cups dry oats

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup canola or safflower oil

2 eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup chocolate chips or carob chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients until smooth.

3. Spread batter in prepared baking pan, and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until bars are cooked all the way through.

4. Let bars cool completely in pan before cutting. (Seriously…don’t get overexcited and try to cut them immediately!  They WILL fall apart!)

 

Stay posted Thursday for a few more of my favorite things and a how-to on healthy packing for work trips/vacations!

Spice things up!

I’m always looking for new ways to make meals more interesting, because let’s face it…it gets boring cooking grilled chicken and veggies every day right?  But did you know that there’s a way to completely change your meal without adding salt, fat, or extra calories?  No, it’s not magic.  It’s herbs and spices!!

Ok so maybe that doesn’t jazz you up as much as it does me….but truthfully, we tend to overlook herbs and spices as a great way to add zest and zing to your meal.  So first off, what’s the difference between an herb and a spice?  Is it like which came first…the chicken or the egg?  Kind of!  An herb is usually defined as the fresh or dried leaves of a plant that doesn’t have a woody stem, and a spices come from a variety of sources including the root, bark, berries, seeds and stems and then are dried.

So here are some awesome spices that may be collecting dust in your spice rack and new ways to use them!

Cinnamon:


Cinnamon is a great spice that studies have shown can help control blood sugar.  We all know that cinnamon tastes great in sweet things like oatmeal and over apples (I like slicing apples, putting them in a sandwich bag and adding 1 tsp of cinnamon for a delicious cinnamon apple!).  But they also add complexity and a mediterrnean flavor to ground turkey or beef when cooking tomato sauce.  You can also use cinnamon on different types of poultry and meats for a sweet and spicy rub.

Oregano:


Did you know that oregano has 4 times the amount of antioxidants than blueberries!!  Woah!  Oregano is common in Italian and Mexican recipes, but it tastes great on lots of other things too!  Try 1 tsp of the stuff in your scrambled eggs tomorrow morning!  D says that it “tastes and smells like you’re eating pizza for breakfast!”

Chili Powder:

Ay carumba!  This mouth tingling spice gets its heat from a compound named capsaicin, which has metabolism-revving properties and can help reduce inflammation – good for those post-kickboxing class achy thighs!  Chili powder is commonly used in hot dishes – like…well… chili!  But it also tastes good on roasted veggies (try it on sweet potato or butternut squash for a kick!) and also salmon.  Feeling adventurous?  Try sprinkling chili powder into some fat-free hot chocolate.

Curry Powder and Turmeric:

These yellow-hued spices do a lot more than jazz up Indian food.  They contain a powerful compound called circumin, which has been shown to help protect against Alzheimer’s by thwarting development of amyloid plaques in the brain (which are a main component of this tragic disease).  Reason enough to serve up some Indian food tonight!  Curry tastes great in lots of dishes – whether it be jazzing up some lowfat chicken salad, adding complexity to a stir fry, or even adding a teaspoon or two to pureed veggie soup.

Wasabi:

You may want to think twice before you order this powerful spice on the side of your sushi!  Wasabi has many health benefits (hello clear sinuses!), but you may not know that studies have shown they can help prevent ulcers in your stomach by killing H.Pylori bacteria.  The plant chemicals in wasabi may also help prevent tooth decay.  While wasabi is most commonly served with sushi, it also tastes great mixed into mashed potatoes or guacamole for a spicy, refreshing kick.

Add these flavor-boosters to your next meal and watch things get spicy!

Let’s get physical!

A couple weeks ago I came to a painful realization.  I was in a workout rut.  Day after day I was doing the same things, and getting painfully bored with it.  And of course, when you do the same thing day in, day out, your body stops responding because your muscles aren’t challenged anymore.

So, with that in mind I decided to do something completely unprecedented for me.  I bought an exercise video.  Now, I know what you’re thinking – how can a tape actually change things?  While I do have fond memories of jumping around in my living room with my dad while doing Tae Bo, I’ve usually considered exercise videos to be a complete and utter joke.  Ohhhh, how wrong I was.  So what was the video that so completely rocked my world?

It’s called the “Tracy Anderson Mat Workout”.  And it will kick your butt like you’ve never experienced before.  You may have heard of Tracy Anderson before.  She’s the trainer that has worked with Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna (see above).  And after watching Gwyneth slither in a catsuit on top of a piano at the Grammy’s, I figured, she must be doing something right because she has an absolutely rockin bod.

Ok so on to the tape.  While I don’t agree with all of Tracy Anderson’s theories (for example, she states that women shouldn’t lift anything greater than 3 lb weights or we will bulk up — which has NO scientific evidence whatsoever), the tape itself challenged me in a way that I had never experienced before.  It’s about a 50 minute workout using limited equipment – all you need is a chair, a mat, and two 3 lb weights – or two waterbottles filled with water if you don’t have weights in your house, followed by a short cooldown.  The tape itself is divided into several sections which work your legs, your arms, your butt and your abs.  It’s generally easy to follow, but the actual exercises are very challenging and DIFFERENT from anything I’ve ever tried.  Another plus is that many of the exercises focused on using your own body weight to lift yourself and work different muscle groups.  Literally there are muscles that hurt now that I didn’t even know were there in the first place!

Another plus to the tape is that I can do it in the comfort of my own home on my own schedule, and can easily pack it with me to do when I’m traveling.  Oh yea, and having D notice that my abs were looking particularly defined didn’t hurt either.  So while I definitely won’t be saying goodbye to the gym anytime soon, this is a great way to shake things up a bit and get a totally different kind of workout.  And that sounds just peachy to me.