Highlights from Holiday 2017

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018!

In my last post I talked about tips and tricks for staying on track during the holidays. Here I want to highlight some things from holiday experience – from not going way off track (quite a feat!) to amazing gifts to successful healthier alternatives for treats!

Gifts that are “V Brynn”: I know that the holidays are about more than gifts, but my family and friends really seem to get me. My favorites include a SoulCycle gift card, fitness themed wine glasses from my sister, Lulu Lemon windbreaker, packing cubes because I am always on the road, a S’well bottle,  Draper James mittens, and a beautiful gold India Hicks necklace. I’m blessed to have people around me who are able to spoil me, and who know exactly what I like. I call is a pretty successful haul!

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My northeast-raised ass picked up “y’all” while at Tulane University 😉

 

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Wine + Fitness = Brynn

Alternative Holiday Treats:

  • Gingerbread Balls: Saturday before Christmas, I was out all day. I had done pretty well eating wise, but was seriously craving gingerbread. I am no Betty Crocker, but I attempted this grain-free no-bake gingerbread cookie balls recipe, which was easy (thank goodness). My mom said she loved them! I thought they were slightly too wet (probs did something wrong…) and might cut the molasses next time. I rolled them in nuts instead of shredded coconut and froze them. SUCH a good treat to help with cravings! 
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Gingerbread balls rolled in chopped walnuts!

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Delicious to pop one (or a few) while frozen

  • Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cocoa with Cordyceps: I first learned about Four Sigmatic on the Almost 30 Podcast. I decided to try it over Christmas. My family has a tradition of getting coffee and peppermint hot chocolate ready prior to gifts on Christmas morning. This year, I used the spicy mushroom hot cocoa. On the first try I added to much water, so I had to put in some regular coffee and hot chocolate for a better consistency. Since then, I’ve perfected my cup – be on the lookout 🙂

 

Holiday Workouts: Just because it’s the holiday season does not mean you should say “screw it”. I got my workouts in and it a) helped me make better choices, and b) helped me feel good even after drinking a little too much red wine or eating an extra cookie. I tried my aunt’s Crossfit gym, I made up workouts in my basement on Christmas Eve, I showed my mom OrangeTheory, I ubered myself to Barry’s Bootcamp while in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve (my new obsession!). It can be done, and it’s so rewarding. I’m glad I made it a priority in 2017, and I sure has hell will continue to do so!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Share any tips and tricks you used to minimize feeling bloated and lethargic. I would love to hear! 

Let’s #SLAY2018

XOXO, 

Brynn

Have Yourself a Healthy Little Christmas

Christmas is just a few days away, and I am scrambling to eat healthy AF before I head home for the festivities. I know I’m not alone in this. I even did a juice cleanse one day last week (to my nutritionist’s dismay) and it felt good for five seconds, but it isn’t sustainable and it really wasn’t that healthy (“a whopping 152 grams of sugar!” she said. “holy shit!” I said).

Therefore, I am refocusing – continuing my road to a healthy lifestyle (because diets don’t work long term). I will try to remain consistent over the holidays – continuing to workout and eating well in between the prosecco and the Christmas cookies. Below are some strategies, recipes, and products I am going to try so that I am healthy and happy during the holidays, and not angry and deprived!

Move Every. Damn. Day. Whether it’s a full-fledged workout at a fitness studio or 10 minute at-home HIIT or even some squats and pushups in between cooking Christmas dinner, it counts. I already have time set up to do Crossfit with my aunt, and I’ve called LA Fitness to get a guest pass for a few days. I may build in a run, I may do some BBG at home – we’ll see! But I will make sure to get some movement in. Not just to burn unwanted calories, but because it feels good!

Pick and Choose. I am going to consume red wine and prosecco and cookies throughout the holiday. That is for certain. However, I also know that being home Thursday to Wednesday means I can’t binge every single day. I will not feel good during or after the holidays if I do. Therefore, I am going to pick and choose. Friday night party with my best friends? Wine, please. Christmas eve prosecco? Hell yes. Christmas day cookies? I think so. In between, I’ll hit the gym, and continue eating high fat / moderate protein / low carb foods.

Find an Alternative. While I’m down to splurge this holiday weekend, I’m also looking for alternatives, because I KNOW there are amazing, yummy, healthy foods I can make / consume! Example: on Christmas morning, I like waking up and making hot chocolate before opening my gifts from Santa 🙂 This year, I am going to make Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cocoa with Cordyceps with Vital Proteins collagen peptides. I’m hoping I love it. It’s delicious and nutritious way to start the day (and festive and fun!). I’m also looking into great healthier alternatives to Christmas foods! May also try to cook or bake some healthier versions of Christmas staples (here, here, and here). But Domestic Goddess I am not, so we’ll see how that goes (sorry to my boyfriend, and to my ancestors…). I’ll keep you updated!

Remember, you can still enjoy yourself AND add in some healthy options. As my nutritionist says, remember to “stay strong, focused on your goals, and aware of your choices!”.

Happy (healthy)  holidays!

XOXO,

Brynn

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IMG_6407 My gift from my gym’s annual “sockret santa”. Will be worn on Christmas Day 🙂

 

 

Staying on Track During Thanksgiving

Well, damn. It’s been some time since I’ve been here. If you saw my Insta story on Sunday, you know I’ve had a few weeks of feeling really down – about work, about fitness, about nutrition, about my body…the list goes on. But, I’m back! It’s time to stop feeling sorry for myself. And time to be grateful for all I have. And this is the perfect week to (re)start that mentality, after all, it’s about giving thanks!

Below is an article I wrote for my office’s wellness committee last week that is relevant to the time of year, but also how I’m feeling in general.

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, and for spending time with family and friends. But let’s be honest, it’s also about the meal. Whether you love your nana’s homemade stuffing, Aunt Carol’s sweet potato casserole, or that pecan pie that has been in the family for generations, Thanksgiving is not known for being low calorie, low sugar, or portion-controlled. Therefore, many people often struggle with food guilt, the food coma, and wondering what or how much to eat. Follow some (or all) of these tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and still stay on track:

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Skipping the AM meal(s) to save your appetite will only lead to a [insert favorite food here] binge session at the dinner table (e.g. four helpings of nana’s stuffing). Instead, make sure to eat a breakfast containing protein and fat to stay satiated while finishing up the preparation activities. Good options located here and here.

Get in a Workout

Get the family outside and throw around the ‘ole pigskin, or participate in a local Turkey Trot 5k. If that’s not your family’s style, go for a walk (alone or with willing participants), or hit up your favorite fitness class in the morning. Mom won’t miss you too much for an hour (or less)!

Participate in the Meal Prep

Healthy doesn’t have to be bland, and yummy doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Offer to prepare a side or dessert (or both!) that is delicious and nutritious. It’s an easy way to be helpful while also ensuring there are some actually healthy options on the table, not the “seemingly healthy but actually very bad” items (lookin’ at you green bean casserole). See here, here, and here for lighter recipes.

Hydrate

With WATER, not just mulled wine or hot apple cider. Make sure to take in eight glasses (or more) of H20 throughout the day, and drink a glass prior to sitting down for the main meal. This will prevent you from mistaking thirst for hunger pangs. It will also help you refrain from overeating (think “eyes bigger than stomach”).

 Cut Yourself Some Slack

Enjoy the day. After all, it is one day (minus the yummy leftovers. See healthy options for post-Thanksgiving here). Remember to be grateful for your family and friends, for your health, your job, your dog, etc. Drink some fancy red wine, eat the mashed potatoes and gravy, and remember that you will get back on track. Don’t let food guilt bring your down this Thanksgiving. It will only make you stressed, and less likely to enjoy the holiday.

See other healthy Thanksgiving tips here! I hope you found this helpful!

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

XOXO,

Brynn

The (Sober) Life of the Party

I recently posted a tweet by Chance the Rapper on my Instagram (reposted from Spiritual Gangster) that not only hit home for me, but with followers, and some of my friends too. There seems to be a constant pressure to be “the life of the party” or “the drunk girl dancing on a table”…unsuitable surfaces if you will (shout out to sorority sisters). I’ve learned that it’s not only possible, but OKAY to have fun without food and alcohol – either by being the “odd girl out” at a party or by choosing to have fun a different way.

To be completely honest, I haven’t mastered this yet.

To be completely, completely honest, I’m in Santa Fe for a wedding, and pondering 1. how / when I will indulge, 2. how I can still “have fun”, 3. how I will not be a “Debbie Downer”

Just wanted to level the playing field. Gotta keep it real, ya know?

HOWEVER, I will say that I have made some serious strides in the last few years. I used to be baffled by weekends without drinking. Brunch is what you do in DC (between museums and monuments and rooftop bars). When I started at my gym, a coach told me to find other things to do. I realized that hanging with friends was always surrounded by drinking or eating. Eventually, I started to take long walks in beautiful DC with friends, try a new museum, or check out a hiking spot. That slowly transitioned into me being able to go to happy hours and brunches and make a game time decision about what I wanted to do. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t drink or indulge (#prosecco #chocolate), I just pick and choose when I want to consume it, and how much.

What I’ve learned is…if I don’t groan about it (which I often still do) 1. I still have fun, and 2. most people don’t know or care what I’m doing (apparently the world doesn’t revolve around me always???)

PRO TIP: Sip on club soda (+ lime, lemon, orange, etc.) or nurse a drink during the night. Get your dance on, be the jokester, hold court at the end of the table…just continue to BE YOURSELF.

I hope this helps anyone trying to live his or here #bestlife while striving to reach goals! Just know you’re not alone, it’s possible to have fun soberly, and if you don’t make a big deal about it, you’re most likely golden. And if people have a problem with it, share the Chance the Rapper quote (that’s both facetious and not).

Additionally, check out the wellness trends of 2017 from one of my favorite sites, Well + Good (specifically #9 and #13).

XOXO,

Brynn

Shaklee Healthy Cleanse Thoughts

Sometimes I do right by my body. Sometimes I don’t.

While I am a proponent of balance (gimme some wine with that kale), for my goals, I know I need to stick to fueling my body with the right foods most of the time. And when I don’t I can see and feel the difference.

Due to work stress, weekend travels, and events, I let myself slide more than usual the last few weeks, and I really needed a way to refocus. Enter the Shaklee Healthy Cleanse.

It’s NOT a juice cleanse. I do NOT sell it. This is NOT sponsored. Just an honest opinion.

One of my badass, super athletic friends has been using Shaklee products for a long time, swears by them, and began promoting them over the last year. As a wellness guinea pig and supporter of my friends, I decided to see what it was all about. Why not try a week-long cleanse with some virtual supporters and see if there are results?

What does it entail?

  • Eat real food – unlimited fruits and vegetables (depending on the type), 1-2 servings of protein per day; avoid dairy, nuts, legumes, processed foods
  • Take natural supplements 2x daily
  • Go about your day normally (that includes workouts!)

Does it work?

  • Did I lose a few pounds? Sure – 5 in July and 3 this week…and I cut the cleanse short / drank coffee with coconut milk most days (not sorry about it)
  • Do I feel lighter? Yep
  • Do I look more toned? I mean…I noticed very slight changes in my stomach (my biggest “problem area”)
  • Do I feel better? YEP. How can you not after consuming only vegetables, fruits, and lean protein for 4 days?
  • Is it a miracle worker? NOPE (side note: if you find one, let a girl know plz)

Will I do it Again? Probably! Even when I run out of supplements, I like the idea of having a reason to eat a certain way. You might say, “come on Brynn, just eat that way normally”, and I would say that I do for the most part. But there’s something really helpful about having a reason / being held accountable, either by myself to finish the cleanse, or by the virtual Facebook group of fellow cleansers.

It’s not for everyone. Some people may steer clear of anything with “cleanse” in the name. Some people might not want to take supplements. You do you, boo.

Figuring out what makes you feel and look your best is important, and there are so many things out there to try. I’m just over here checking ’em out one by one 🙂

 

XOXO,

Brynn