Who else is trying to lose middle-age weight gain like me? I've been on a trial and error of everything under the sun for the past several years. Losing extra fat isn’t the only goal though, I also want to be strong enough to climb mountains and flexible enough to do all kinds of splits. Someone asked me the other day, “Why do you need to do splits?” I blurted out, “Because it will keep me from feeling old!” When you perceive someone as old, what is it about them that seems so? For me, it’s their lack of mobility and freedom to do what one once could.
I haven’t cracked the code on what works for me… yet. After trying no sugar, low carb, high protein, bouts of fasting… I know at least one strategy works for me: high plant protein meals with an abundance of raw or steamed veggies, some fruit, and limited amounts of starchy vegetables/grains/sugars. This combination of nutrients fuels me with endless energy and mental focus. I will happily eat more grains and starchy vegetables if I start to feel tired and/or need more energy, but I don't crave these when filled with a rainbow of micronutrients.
Strength training also helps me feel strong, conquer the outdoors, and revs my metabolism (so I can eat P.S. & Co. sweets)! I took a break from dedicated strength training the past 4 months due to a minor injury and working more at the restaurant while we were understaffed. Instead, I focused on lots of yoga and ballet, as well as allowing myself to taste test all of our desserts to my heart’s delight. After taking photos and weighing myself for the first time in 4 months, photos don't lie! I can’t out-workout too much eating - no matter how clean and nutritious. Despite training hours a day, I still gained weight and lost strength because I simply ate too much food. Ten years ago, I could eat our cookies every day and not gain a pound. Now, in my mid-40s, there are few liberties with my metabolism!
I no longer add oil, sweeteners, or straight-up salt to my personal cooking. I may add fermented foods or kimchi for that punch of saltiness or even a dash of tamari or miso paste, but salt tastes so much better when it comes in another form. My taste buds have adjusted to enjoy eating this way. It’s helped me taste so much clearer. I can taste the vibrant flavors of vegetables and fruits as if they are bursting with fireworks in my mouth. Who knew how much more delicious food tastes when it's not covered in oil, salt or sugar? These ingredients certainly make food more addictive. When I do eat out at a restaurant or even P.S. & Co. dishes, these decadent meals will cause water retention and a bloated belly from the extra salt/oil/carbs. It has transformationally changed my perspective on how I enjoy food. Knowing that I can feel tired after a decadent meal has influenced my cravings. Those celebratory meals are just that now, enjoyed at celebrations, but not every day or even every week.
After doing 72-hour water fast 8 months ago, the only good thing to come out of that experience was that I learned what true hunger cues feel like. It’s so normal for me to see a P.S. & Co. Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie or a P.S. & Co. Black Bean Brownie and just grab a bite! How about all of those cake slices for Reels or Instagram posts? Yup, all of those bites go into my mouth.
I’m sharing my new routine for the next 6 months with the hope that by announcing this to you, I will feel more accountable and focused on the end goal!
Sleep and meditation are daily non-negotiable. I need a solid 7-9 hours of sleep with morning/evening meditation to help calm my mind and energy. I used to religiously intermittently fast, but now I fast when I’m not hungry. If I eat a lot the night before, I have no problem fasting for 16-20, even 24 hours. If I eat light the evening before, I will wake up famished.
Here is my go-to morning fuel routine. If I’m not hungry, I will drink at least 40 oz of water by noon. If I wake up hungry, I will drink any or all 3 of my favorite go-to morning drinks listed below:
Apple Cider Vinegar + Lemon Juice cocktail: 12 oz water + 2 oz Bragg’s ACV + 2 oz cold-pressed organic lemon juice. I will sip this throughout the morning with a straw (in case the vinegar wears away my tooth enamel). With so much water diluting the vinegar and lemons, it tastes refreshing!
2. If I’m still hungry, I’ll make my favorite plant-protein shake combo: 56 grams of Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein - Chocolate + 10 grams of Navitas Cacao Powder (the cacao cuts the sweetness of the monk fruit in the protein powder). I love this protein powder because it’s made of organic nuts and seeds (no soy/pea/rice protein or stevia.). It is very expensive, but it’s the only protein powder that doesn’t jam me up!
I usually do a hot power yoga class at CorePower by noon. I’m addicted to sweating every day and feeling stretchy. It’s helping me advance towards my split goals. After not doing yoga for 20 years, CorePower has been an amazing reintroduction. It’s become my daily escape.
3. After yoga, I will sip my favorite green juice: P.S. & Co.’s Green Special! Made with lots of spinach, celery, cucumber, and a bit of lemon. While leaning out, I prefer juice without fruit, and this green juice tastes surprisingly good. I usually only finish half of this juice in one sitting. It’s quite filling and nourishing. If I’m hungry for a late-night snack, I will finish the remaining half and call it a night. I recommend this for people weaning themselves off coffee/caffeine. Guests have shared they have felt no caffeine withdrawals when they replaced their morning coffee with our Green Special. And, a famous Oscar Award-winning actress also once shared that the Green Special changed her skin! (She had one almost every day during filming in Philadelphia.)
After yoga, I will stop in the restaurant to catch up with our colleagues or work on the business. Then… off to my late afternoon torture session - high-intensity mobility and split training with Kip Martin of Symmetry Dance Wellness! I call it my meditation in pain.
Since turning 40 - Kip is my secret weapon to achieving my life-long goal to fall into splits. It’s been 4 years, and I’m still not there, but he’s taken me far since we first started. We do these sessions 2-3x/week. I am determined that 2022 will be the year to nail splits. If there’s a ballet class after my stretch session, I will stay for ballet which has been rewiring my brain by learning routines and musicality. I’m hoping this will prevent my brain from Alzheimer's or early onset memory loss - fingers crossed!
Check out Kip below. These are the split standards he's helping me go towards.
Kip is your guide if you are serious about healing from injuries, learning ballet or improving your mobility and flexibility. He will push you past your limits - and never settle for mediocrity. It’s so rare to find a teacher who will push you beyond what you think is possible. I feel the zeitgeist is more about not pushing oneself too hard because life is too hard. If that works for you and makes you happy, you do you! How lucky you are to be content. For me, life is exciting when I can push myself to new heights and goals. I think conquering small, personal goals helps me trust my decisions in business and life.
This year, I have a few hiking trips planned: in April I’m headed to Spain, in July to Mont Blanc, in September to Mt. Washington, and hopefully more. In addition to yoga, stretch sessions, and ballet with Kip, I’m restarting my strength training routine with 3 at-home workouts/week, 2 at-home HIIT workouts/week, and trying to fit in long daily walks/hikes with Tuffy to help me get ready for these upcoming adventures. My 6-month training schedule seems like another job, but I’m so excited to become strong enough to hike mountains!
Almost forgot to add in what I like to eat for snacks and dinner during a full day of activity: organic peanut butter, fresh fruit, P.S. & Co. Muesli bars, and a large bowl of salad greens with steamed/roasted vegetables, high protein tempeh or tofu, lentils, beans, rainbow vegetables, herbs, red quinoa...the list of yumminess goes on!
Next week, I will leave for Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. Follow us on Instagram and TikTok to join me in exploring these countries' beautiful outdoor adventures!