The Struggle

Importance
Importance

Sunday afternoon, I lied or is it lay, oh whatever, I took a nap. In general, a lovely Sunday afternoon activity. As I lay there, I felt my neck become uncomfortable. There are two pillows on my bed and each one has a different feel and support. This allows me to switch from pillow to pillow to customize my sleeping experience. Wow, that sounded like a pillow store ad, didn't it :-) In any case, during my nap I realized that I had chosen incorrectly. My neck was a little uncomfortable, thus I was not napping but instead I was thinking that this pillow was just not going to do the trick. Now, mind you, the other pillow was a mere foot from me. Ready to jump in and do all of its magic in aiding my sleep, but, for what felt like an eternity. I sat there (or rather lay or lie) and contemplated how much better the other pillow would be. The other pillow was right there! I did not have to go and buy it, I did not really even need to leave the bed but the decision to take action really felt like an effort. This lead me to think about how often we do this when contemplating instead of acting in our own Life in Synergy.  I know that I have had many days when I waste minutes or even hours thinking about going for a walk instead of just taking the first step. Or that glass of water stays on the counter without being consumed or I stop entering my food throughout the day.

Every aspect of living a Life in Synergy is really like that pillow. It is right there within reach. It is easy, it is attainable, it is all doable. All you have to do is stop thinking about it and reach for it. Stop the endless contemplation and take the first step and you will be able to rest in comfort and happiness.  Glad to say, I eventually switched pillows and proceeded to 20 minutes of bliss. Reaching for your next step in the Life in Synergy wheel can and will do the same for you. Just stop thinking about it and make the switch :-)

#Inspiration

Over the last few weeks we have had a ton of snow days, which for me means lots of tv time as well as facebook, twitter and instagram :-) It is always inspiring to read the endless quotes posted, "today is the day" "your life is your own" you are in charge of your destiny" you have read them all, quoted them to your friends, liked them in your feed and had a moment of inspiration quickly followed ten minutes later with a complaint about the snow, a judgement about your body, a comment about someone else or an angry response to something, etc. We have all done this, and here in lies the never ending dilemma. If you are responsible for the course of your life, how do you really change direction? So often, we play out the fantasy in our heads, I am just going to ____________ fill in the blank (quit, move, diet, stop, etc.) the bold life changing moves, if you have done one of these bold moves you may have discovered that as my husband The Rabid Monk calls it... you packed your shit suitcase and brought all your old patterns and crap with you. Bold moves are often like a big party, they take tons of planning, cost a lot and rarely leave a lasting change. They are great for a day or a month but what you are really looking for is a lifetime of change. If you are dissatisfied you have to walk a new road, a jet cannot take you there, you must stand on it and walk it every step of the way. It is not enough to post a quote, say a phrase or start a new plan, you need to create a new way of living and live it every day until you forget the old road existed. This happens with each action, each step and in each choice. Is what you are doing, saying, creating and experiencing right now contributing to creating your Life in Synergy? If not, choose again, stop right now and choose again. Is being right better then being happy, is being first better then being satisfied, is being "better" better then being at peace? You get to choose, but only one moment at a time, you get to choose, but you must continue to choose again and again and again. This will truly lead to the lasting journey. Take your steps to your peace, happiness and freedom! Here are the steps I took today :-)

Thanks for the update, now give me 20!

Here in the northeast it has been snowing for the past few weeks. There have been many snow days, too many unwanted days off, snafus with commuting, schedules and an embarrassing amount of Netflix watching (yes, I have been shamed by my tv as it asks, "Are you still watching." Yes, yes I am. But, seriously, please stop it already people. Stop telling me the weather forecast, it will snow on Thursday, or Saturday, or next week. Right now, it is not. Right now the sun is sort of shining, the tv is off, it is warm enough outside to have logged over 8,000 steps so far today and there are workouts to do, classes to have fun in, cute scarves to wear and fuzzy slippers as part of our team uniform. (Everything is better when you are wearing cozy slippers :-)

Smile & Give me 20!!!

Smile & Give me 20!!!

So please, stop telling everyone about all of the c%$!p and smile at your fellow commuter, do a great workout, eat a salad instead of a cookie, buy a new toy (one of our staff members just bought an old fashioned turn table :-) and enjoy today instead of looking forward to the next disaster. If that is not possible for you, if the joy of your day is sharing sad news and bad stories then...give me 20 first; 20 curls, 20 leg lifts, 20 push ups....20 something. Make this your rule for a day! Not only will you get a great workout, it is a sure fire way to create a change in mental attitude. Before long you will be bragging about your twenty and leaving the complaining and bad news forecasts to cable news where it belongs!

Blizzards, cookies and learning to pick yourself :-)

IMAG1172
IMAG1172

Last week we had a blizzard here in Boston and the only reasonable response to that was obviously to bake chocolate chip cookies. I mean we needed sustenance in order to survive, right? :-) Now, those of you who know me, understand, that me actually adding the butter and eggs in to the pre-made mix provided by my friend Ilana and then turing the oven on and baking them mostly by myself (of course my husband Brian, the king of the kitchen helped :-) was a huge accomplishment worthy of accolades all by itself. But in my moment of glory and chocolate chip happiness I not only made these delicious morsels of happiness, I made sure that the cookies I ate, calculated to be 230 calories per cookie were duly allotted for in my daily number so that post blizzard I could continue my life in synergy at my ideal weight. No harm, no foul, cookies loved and blizzard survived. Yesterday, we had yet another snow day...... and herein lies the lesson in really choosing your Life in Synergy....

Yesterday's storm did not come with the same, its a great snow day mojo. I was frustrated about having to close the studio, worried about what people would think about me for not being open, bored with sitting around and watching tv and in general, pretty unhappy. I know, chocolate chip cookies.....they worked last week. Do you see the difference? Last week, choosing the cookie was fun, joyous, easily allotted for and appreciated. This week, I was trying to use the cookie to solve my frustrations and problems. Down went the cookie at 6am.... and then the ravenous hunger set in. I could not get enough food after that. Each entry in to my food log giving me anxiety as my number quickly disappeared. Perhaps a cup of herbal tea will do the trick, no, a walk on the treadmill, no, more bad tv.....no. I just wanted more cookies. I genuinely believed that I was starving. As my calories remaining for the day reached the 0 mark, my stomach was aching, my frustrations were high, this was a Life in Synergy moment.....my opportunity to choose arrived.

The choice; was eating another cookie in that moment going to lead me closer to MY LIFE IN SYNERGY. Would I wake up today feeling great, eager to get back to work, excited to work with my clients, anxious to share, teach, inspire and achieve. I knew the answer was no, but the argument raged in my head for a solid hour or two. Craving the cookie was just a negative pattern I was creating and literally feeding. Thinking I was starving was just my bodies way to help me to create this pattern. Remember, your body knows that whatever you ask of it is for its survival. It was sending those cravings at volume 10!

I know that this sounds silly, but it was a really tough decision NOT to have the cookie, my brain was working over time creating reasons that the cookie was necessary. I work hard, it is just a cookie, I deserve it, these are arguments we have all given ourselves. But what are they really arguments for? I can honestly say that there have been many times when I did not choose me, that I gave in, that I thought the cookie was important than my ultimate happiness and success, which of course lead to days and sometimes weeks of a downward spiral. But last night, I chose me. Last night, I grabbed an extra glass of water and went to sleep. Last night, I made a Life in Synergy creating self-first decision.

The result, I woke up this morning so excited to write this blog, something I have not wanted to do for a while, I got on the scale and it read 124. (you all know, my weight is usually 125 :-) I had some fun emails to read and in general I started my daily feeling great, oh yeah and NOT hungry. 

There is so much power in choosing you! When you make the choice to put your self first, to really make decisions based upon what will bring you happiness today and tomorrow, you send a ripple out that can help effect not only yourself but others. Maybe, one of you reading this will choose you, inspiring the next and the next and the next. Today, choose you. Today, decide, ask yourself, "Will this make me happy tomorrow?" Will this be another paver in my road, that I build each day, that ultimately, leads to my Life in Synergy. Every decision counts, every decision helps and moves us along. Choosing the cookie last week and not choosing the cookie this week both served that purpose. This is your life, this is your body, this is your dream. Live it fully!

xo Helena

Holiday Habits

j a n u a r y(3)
j a n u a r y(3)

One of the best gifts I have ever received is peace with my body. Not the kind when you "just accept" (also called denial) who you are but the great kind when you know that you are completely capable of creating the body and that life that you choose and when you look in the mirror you LOVE what you see. After years of hating it and abusing it with endless diets, workouts and really, if I am being honest disappointment and outright hatred. Each day now, it  is blissful to just be able to get dressed, to not have to think about how things look and feel on me. To enjoy my body for its capabilities not its short comings and to know that I can change anything I do not like with a little communication and understanding. To be able to have my cake and look hott too! Instead of spending the next few weeks agonizing over "being bad" give yourself the gift of choosing you. When you reach for the sweets as work just factor it in and if you do not have room for it, you get to decide.... what is more important, feeling great about yourself on New Year's or a snack that you don't even really enjoy. You know me, I am not preaching deprivation here, no crazy diets just spending each day of the holidays like you would any other, eating  your #, taking your steps and fitting in a few SFM workouts for you. Listen, a glass of champagne only has 90 calories, you can fit that in your number and getting in your steps is a piece of cake, just go to the mall to shop!

Start 2015 in peace and happiness, and if you don't, no judgement here. Each Life in Synergy journey is different, sometimes getting off the road just reminds us how sweet it feels on it. Happy Holidays!!

#Thanksliving

Happy Thanksliving!

Happy Thanksliving!

You know, I used to be just like you. Filled with questions and anxiety about what my next workout was going to be, which diet was finally going to work and how I was ever going to be able to look in the mirror and like and dare I say maybe even love what I saw. Each Monday I would start anew. Each workout I would push myself harder in the quest for happiness, I never found it. I found endless emotional highs and lows, frustration and depression that I was never going to look the way I wanted or as good as my friends and don't forget the pain. Continuous pain in my neck and shoulders, my knees, my back.....I had taught myself that life was filled with torture (killer workouts), famine (silly diets) and disappointment. This is NO WAY to live your life. So today, I am eternally grateful that I had the nerve to walk away. The nerve to live through years of hate mail from my critics and doubters. I am thankful that I now know how to eat, everything and NEVER feel guilty. That at 50 my body looks and feels amazing without a single bit of bone crunching cardio or knee destroying squats and lunges. That I have the ability to change my shape and be in control of how my body looks and feels. That I choose my Life in Synergy and create my own happiness. That each day I work with great people that were willing to trust and now have freed themselves and are the smartest and hottest staff anywhere. And finally I am so thankful to all of you, for your success, your endless emails telling me about it and the hottness and happiness that you have attained.

Happy #Thanksliving

A Life in Synergy is NOT scary!

Halloween Lily!

Halloween Lily!

I became one of the first Gold Certified personal trainers in the country in 1987! Back then I was designing weight training rooms for women, teaching aerobics classes to adoring fans from around the country and the world and advocating the latest diets. I was 110 pounds, I had chronic pain in my knees, back and shoulders, I had muscles I hated and in general I was completely unhappy with how I looked, felt and how much time I spent every day thinking about, planning and discussing my diet, my workouts, and my inadequate body and life. That was scary! Was I always going to have to increase my workouts and eat less? Was I never going to be able to just live???? It was these truly scary and desperate thoughts that led to me creating the Synergistics Fitness Method, Nutritional Alignment, and the whole Life in Synergy Lifestyle. All of the abuse that I was heaping on myself on a daily basis as well as the real pain I felt was just the push I needed to take that first scary step. To look in a different direction for a different solution that would not only change my life but the life of thousands. The change that led to discovery, understanding and a hotter, pain free body with less work and a lot more fun!!!!

What are you afraid of?? Feeling great? Seeing the shape of your body finally change? The ability to enjoy a bagel or a slice of cake? Or maybe, you are afraid of what you are going to do when you truly have a body that you love and the free time to enjoy it???

Gaining a Life in Synergy is a journey of self discovery, learning, and life expansion. Haven't you spent enough time beating yourself up?  I know that you are scared, I know that every magazine, tv show and celebrity tells you to stop eating carbs, I know that a the time, the endorphin rush that you get from an intense cardio class feels good. But, how do you feel the next day??? If your thighs are huge, or your boots don't fit and your shoulders are jacked and you don't like how you look in strapless then what is it all for?? If the first thing you have to plan, is when you are going to fit in your shower after your cardio, when do you get to fit in your life???

Do not be afraid, having a great body, great food and the time to enjoy it all is here!!! Start your Life in Synergy journey today!!!! All treats no tricks!

Health Benefits of Molasses

Molasses - a little goes a long way!

Molasses - a little goes a long way!

When it comes to adding something sweet, blackstrap molasses will not only satisfy your sweet tooth but also provide you many of your daily needs. A two teaspoon serving provides 12% of your recommended daily dose of calcium, as well as acting as a good source for iron, copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Blackstrap molasses is great mixed with yogurts, oatmeal, or even try it in your marinades or salad dressings. Remember a little goes a long way.

Pack a Cooler

Cooler bag for the road!

Cooler bag for the road!

Before long car trips or summer rides, think about packing a cooler. By planning ahead, you, your friends & family can enjoy fresh sandwiches made with multi-grain bread, fresh fruit, vegetables and ice cold water. This is a great alternative to wasting time, money and unwanted calories at rest stops with fast food chains and less hassel.

A Bowl of Cherries

Antioxidants to the rescue!

Antioxidants to the rescue!

Could cherries be a healthy snack that may also reduce pain? High in vitamin C and B as well as the essential mineral potassium, cherries contain many promising health benefits. Research has shown that antioxidants in cherries can help block inflammatory enzymes, which can help to reduce pain. Other benefits from introducing cherries into your diet include reducing the risks of heart disease and cancer. At this time of year, Bing cherries are coming into season. Pick some up today.

Make Your Potato Salad Healthy

Spice up your Potato Salad!

Spice up your Potato Salad!

Here is a terrific idea to help reduce the calories and add more flavor and nutrients to a summertime favorite. The next time you make potato salad, start by cutting the recommended amount of mayonnaise used in half, significantly reducing the calories. Also leave the potato skins on, as most of the fiber and nutrients can be found here. To add more flavor without adding too many calories, try combining fresh chopped herbs such as basil, cilantro and mint as well as grated lemon zest, red onion and garlic.

Maximize Your Salad

Strawberry Gorgonzola Walnut Salad
Strawberry Gorgonzola Walnut Salad

Any season is a great time for salads, and here is a great tip to maximize the health benefits of your salad. Try adding fruits that are high in Vitamin C to your salad. Research has shown that vitamin C helps the body absorb and digest iron. Iron is a mineral that is vital to good health. Some fruits you can try that are high in vitamin C are orange wedges, papaya, mangoes and strawberries.

Tasty and Nutritious Salmon

Salmon - tasty & nutritious!

Salmon - tasty & nutritious!

One of the tastiest and most nutritious foods around has to be salmon.  Salmon is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, selenium, iron and zinc. Try grilling or broiling salmon and for added flavor use seasonings such as olive oil, chopped garlic, and fresh herbs like parsley, dill, basil and cilantro. Research suggests that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids may help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Eat Your Beans!

Often overlooked beans have many health benefits. Beans are high in fiber and rich in protein, calcium, phosphorous, folate and iron as well as vitamin B6. Some varieties you can try are kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lima and fava beans. Research has shown that eating beans on a regular basis may help lower cholesterol and help prevent diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Amazing Almonds!

For a quick and easy nutrient dense food try almonds. Almonds are one of the most nutritious of all the nuts. They are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron and monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats). Try a small handful or about 1/4 cup in salads, cereals, or in yogurt. Research suggests almonds may help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Calcium for Healthy Bones

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for healthy bones. It is recommended that adults between the ages of 19 - 50 get about 1000 mg per day, adults ages 50 and up should get about 1200 mg. Some good sources of calcium are low fat dairy products such as skim milk and nonfat yogurt.  Other good non dairy, sources are dark greens like kale and spinach, beans such as white beans and navy beans.  Also fish with edible bones like sardines provide a great sou rce of calcium.

An Apple a Day!

What is behind the apple a day myth? Pectin, a soluble fiber found by many studies to reduce cholesterol as well as lower the risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and cancer. Consuming one medium sized apple daily will not only provide you with a healthy snack alternative (an average of 80 calories) but also 5 grams of fiber.

Barley, Good for the Ticker!

Barley aids in fighting heart disease. Did you know that adding food containing barley as part of a healthy diet may help you reduce the risk of heart disease? Barley is a rich source of fiber  and both soluble and insoluble fiber and aids in the reduction of cholesterol.Barley aids in fighting heart disease. Did you know that adding food containing barley as part of a healthy diet may help you reduce the risk of heart disease? Barley is a rich source of fiber  and both soluble and insoluble fiber and aids in the reduction of cholesterol.

Recent research has identified a type of soluble fiber, beta-glucan, as being a major component in barley and is responsible for lowering cholesterol. Clinical studies show that eating whole grain barley or dry milled barley products such as pearl barley or barley flakes, barley flour that provide at  least 3 grams of beta-glucan soluble fiber per day can be effective in lowering ones total LDL cholesterol levels. Recent research has identified a type of soluble fiber, beta-glucan, as being a major component in barleyand is responsible for lowering cholesterol.

Clinical studies show that eating whole grain barley or dry milled barley products such as pearl barley or barley flakes, barley flour that provide at  least 3 grams of beta-glucan soluble fiber per day can be effective in lowering ones total LDL cholesterol levels.

Pears

One of the healthiest of the fall fruits has to be the pear. Pears contain many essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins B2, C and E, copper and potassium. Vitamin C aids in stimulating white blood cells and is important for a healthy immune system. Make sure to eat the skin of the pear because that is where many of the nutrients are actually hidden. Try adding fresh chopped pears to your favorite cereal and salads. Steaming a half of a pear and adding a touch of ground cinnamon is also a wonderful treat (and good for you!).

Think Green!!

Cilantro in a bunch!

Cilantro in a bunch!

For a tasty seasoning that may also aid in fighting cancer, try cilantro. Cilantro is a herb that is similar to parsley, there is much promising research suggesting that the phytonutrients in fresh herbs such as cilantro may help combat a variety of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Studies are also underway showing cilantro also aids certain types of depression. Try using fresh chopped cilantro in salad dressings, soups and sandwiches ( or the good old salsa with cilantro and chips-in moderation of course).