Cherish Your Shower Time!

During a recent meeting with one of my bridal clients, I noticed that she was clearly stressed.
When asked what was going on, she said that she was anxious about balancing wedding planning with other daily tasks. First, I told her to take a few moments to just breath. She inhaled slowly and exhaled deeply. Then, we acknowledged her feelings and brainstormed. As we were talking, she had an “aha” moment about overly long to-do lists and the perceived need to be constantly on-the-go. She needed to slow it down and reevaluate her plate.


Our conversation reminded me of a recent experience in the shower where my actions were so quick and robotic, I didn’t even remember if I shampooed. I stopped for a moment and asked myself, “Talya, why are you rushing in the shower?” The shower should be a time to relax. It should be a place of peace and solitude to soak in the hot water – even for just a few minutes. I had my own “aha” moment and realized that I was considering a shower as part of my to-do list rather than a treat.


So often in life we just go through the motions. We run from place to place, try to cram too many things on our to-do list, and even worse, we beat ourselves up when we don’t complete the lists. We absolutely deserve to take 5-10 minutes to enjoy a shower! I guess my clients sometimes help with my accountability…who says a coach doesn’t need a reminder every once in a while? :-)


My client and I came up with a few ways to reevaluate the level of importance of the individual items on her daily schedule. We also discussed the need to allow herself to slow down and get more enjoyment from a simple activity such as her shower. The “allowing” part is the key. Many of us tend to think that if we’re not constantly doing or going, we are not good enough. In actuality, in order for us to be our best, we need to give our body and mind a chance to rest.


Below are ideas to help you slow down this holiday season and gradually create new habits to be your best self in 2019!


  • Give Yourself More Time to Get Ready in the Morning – Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. This extra time will provide a cushion so you can more calmly get ready for your day. I know it can be tempting to snooze and stay under the covers, but your future self will thank you.
  • Start the Day with Gratitude – Before you get out of bed write down what you are grateful for in a journal, count your blessings to yourself, or say them out loud to your significant other. It is such a peaceful, positive way to begin the day!
  • Make sure to carve out time for you – I know I sound like a broken record with this, but it is so important to schedule time for you. Make sure that you block out some time each day to do something you love!
  • Shorten Your To-do Lists – Reevaluate your daily tasks. What are the top 3-4 items that are most important to you? Are there items on your list that can be done the following day or assigned to someone else? Don’t worry, everything will eventually get done, so give yourself permission to spread the tasks out over time. 
  • Give Yourself More Time to Get to Your Destination– Allow just 10 more minutes! Who needs the added stress of cursing at traffic or red lights? Enjoy this time to listen to music or a good podcast. It’s an added bonus to arrive early and to calmly begin your next activity.
  • Take Breaks – Create reminders on your phone to take a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day. Use this time to breathe, stretch, meditate, walk around, listen to your favorite music, or do whatever relaxes you. The goal here is to get away from screen time; so rather than scroll through social media, enjoy these moments to rest your eyes and mind.
  • Incorporate Stretching and Low-Impact Exercises –Rather than solely focusing on high-intensity exercise, modify your workout routine to include low-impact movement such as Yoga, Pilates, or Tai-Chi These exercises incorporate mind-body connection, will ground you, and connect you to your breath to promote relaxation and reduce your stress.
  • Create a Work Cut-off Time – Work-life balance is key, especially with the constant accessibility via phone and email. Choose a time to turn off the laptop, finish your emails, and shut down until the next day.
  • Prepare the Evening Prior – Make lunches, lay out your clothes, and prepare your gym bag at night, so you have less to do and think about in the morning.
  • Go to Bed Earlier– Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier and gradually build from there. Try watching one episode rather than binge-watching your favorite TV show at night.
  • Unwind before bed – Dim the lights and create a positive setting for a peaceful night sleep. Turn off the electronics, take a bath, read a good book, and perhaps listen to a relaxing meditation.
  • Nap on the weekends – Naps are something I am gradually incorporating, but my husband is a pro in this area. :) Allow yourself to take a short nap on the weekend. Even if you just close your eyes on the couch for 10 minutes, give yourself permission to take some downtime.

Rather than criticize yourself for what you didn’t achieve, congratulate yourself for everything you complete each day! Listen to your body, slow down, and allow yourself to rest. The next time you take your shower, cherish the moment -- stand under the water and let it run!



Aim For Progress, Not Perfection! Start Your Journey Today!


Does someone or something constantly seem to get in the way of your personal goals because you are waiting for the right time? How often have you said to yourself, “I don’t have time,” or “I will get to it when things calm down?” Do you push off personal to-do lists to the next day, which turns into the following week or month? You are not alone!


We have all been there. Many of us look for the “perfect” time to begin the work of achieving our goals, but I have news for you: there is no such thing! There will never be a “right” time because life happens. There will always be disruptions. For example, people will ask you to do something for them just when you planned to do your grocery shopping; you will receive phone calls when you intend to go for a bike ride; or you stay up too late to watch another episode of your favorite show, and then you can’t wake up early for your yoga session.


You will always be pulled in different directions, and there will always be others to blame. Since you can’t control the external factors, you have to take charge and decide to be the boss of your own life. You have to make yourself a priority—no matter what—and create the time for yourself.


I have been helping my Mom with her short-term goals: health, second career, and hobbies. It has taken her a while to understand that she was the only person getting in the way of achieving her goals. She continued to use “lack of time” as an excuse. My Mom was eager and had good intentions to gradually incorporate new habits into her daily routine.  But she continued to say, “Tal, there are just too many other things going on at this time, and I have to wait until life settles down.”


During a recent phone conversation she blamed lack of time again, and I said, “Mom, will there ever be a good time?” She paused and finally had her “aha” moment. My Mom realized she was the only person getting in her way. She now understands there will never be the “perfect” time and knows she doesn’t have to be “perfect” at achieving her goals.


The key for my Mom and for all of you who want to make a health and wellness transformation is a commitment to make small incremental changes. Be kind to yourself along the journey, and know that you aren’t going from 0-100 overnight. Yes, there will be days that may not go exactly as planned, but as long as you try, you are one step ahead!


Below are some tips to help avoid the excuses, release the perfectionist mindset, and finally take that first step towards achieving your goals!


Love yourself as you are – First and foremost, acknowledge all of your positive attributes. Be grateful for the beautiful person that you are and appreciate the wonderful things in your life. Then ask yourself, how do I want to nourish my life and my body even more? What are my goals that I’ve been holding back on because I was waiting for the “right” moment? Give yourself the gift of taking that first step towards creating a life that you love!  


Prioritize - Many of us have several areas of our lives we’d like to tackle to improve our emotional and physical health. This can be a daunting task. The key is to narrow the list and prioritize. Choose what you’d like to work on first. For example, maybe it is most important for you to eat healthier, or you may want to reduce your stress. List your priorities and talk to someone—perhaps a coach—who can help you to focus on what is most important for you. I’m always here to help you!


Set small, realistic goals - Once you narrow the list to the top 1-2 items you’d like to focus on first, you can create achievable goals aimed at improving those aspects of your life. When you set smaller, achievable goals, you will be more motivated to move forward. For example, if physical fitness is your priority, choose to exercise two days a week for 20 minutes per day rather than every day for an hour per day.


Analyze your schedule and be specific - Select a day that is best for you to begin working on your goals, and schedule a time that is most convenient for you. Use your calendar to decide on the day and time that you will complete your goal.


Create a plan of action - List the steps necessary to achieve this goal. For example, if you are prepping your lunch for the next day, make sure you have the proper ingredients and Tupperware. If you are going to the gym, pack your bag the night before. Set an alarm that reminds you “this is my time now.


Hold yourself accountable - Tell someone—such as a family member, a friend, or a coach—about the goal you’ve set. Create a support system to cheer you on along your journey.


Be okay with saying no - I know it is easier said than done, but when you say no to someone else, you are saying yes to you. When you take care of yourself first, you will be better equipped to help others.


Be positive - Start each morning with a positive mindset, and set an intention to do your own personal best.


Stop judging yourself - Be kind to yourself and release the inner critic. Your goal isn’t perfection. Focus on the small, positive changes you make each day.


Lastly, acknowledge all of your successes! No accomplishment is too small. The creation of new habits takes time, and the path isn’t linear. The goal is progress, not perfection!


The Power of Creating Strong Family Connections and a Balanced Home-Life

“Relationships are more important than life, but it is important for those relationships to have life in them,"
-Swami Vivekananda


Positive relationships, especially with your family, play a large role in helping to lead a happy, healthy life. Family is precious, and time spent with them is valuable. Everyone knows this, but sometimes it’s easy to become absorbed by your job and daily activities; and those closest to you can fall by the wayside. It’s not that you don’t love them or care for them, but rather that your focus is elsewhere. Even though it is unintentional, you may not realize the impact this has on your home environment and family dynamics.


You may come home from work drained from the long, strenuous day and feel that you don’t have anything left to give to others. It can be tempting to just lie down on the couch rather than play with your children or talk to your spouse. While you absolutely deserve a nap and should take one, make sure it doesn’t interfere with your family time. It is a balancing act that involves allotting quality time to your family AND designating specific time to you each day.


Connect with your children on a daily basis: enjoy a meal together, participate in an interactive activity, or support them from the sidelines at their school game. Even spending 20 minutes together is better than no time at all. Devote time to your spouse each day: exercise together in the morning, go for a walk in the evening, play a game, or snuggle in front of the television when the kids are asleep. Yes, life gets busy and schedules are hectic.  But every bit of time you can spend with each other will help to fuel the relationship.


Once you have allotted designated time with your family members, it is important to actually be fully present with them. We have all been guilty of texting or emailing while our family members are trying to communicate with us. When this happens, we’re not fully listening to what they are saying. Look at your family members when they speak, listen to what they say, and minimize distractions. You will be amazed by the deeper connections you will build.


Scheduling time for you each day is just as important as allocating time to your family.  You need to make sure that you are nourished physically, emotionally, and spiritually in order to be your best for others. Think about what fulfills and rejuvenates you. Perhaps it is a visit to the gym, a run outside, or a yoga class before you head home. Maybe it is reading a good book, listening to music, playing an instrument, browsing your photograph collection, working on your latest art project, or just sitting peacefully with a cup of tea. Think about what you enjoy most, make a date with yourself, and take that time for you every single day.


Below are tips to improve your work-life balance and your family relationships with an aim towards creating a happier home environment.


Steps You Can Take as a Family

  • Set aside the time to connect every day – Designate family dinners, activities, and date nights with your spouse.
  • Do activities you all enjoy – Find commonalities, and do things together that you all love.
  • Put away the electronics – When you sit down to a meal, try to make it an electronic-free zone so that you and your family can connect. If you are on-call, keep your phone on ring, but leave it on the counter rather than next to you at the dinner table.
  • Communicate openly and share your feelings – Be open and honest with your spouse. You will reduce your stress and feel a sense of relief when the issue has been aired.
  • Forgive and move forward – Yes, tiffs are normal. Rather than hold a grudge, forgive each other. Try to find a happy medium instead of focusing on the need to be right.


Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Home-Life and Add More You-Time

  • Use your car ride as a time to relax and decompress for the day – Take advantage of the time you have in the car. Listen to your favorite music, book, or non-work related podcast. Take deep breaths and perhaps listen to a short meditation when you park in the driveway before you enter the house.
  • Separate work and home-life – When you come home, hang up your “work hat” and acknowledge that you are stepping into a new space with people who love you.
  • Eliminate all of the negative and focus on positive topics – Sometimes we get so wrapped up in work that we tend to focus on it too much at home. If you spend an entire evening at home complaining about events at work, it can be stressful to you and to your family. I recommend that you and your spouse dedicate 10 minutes to talk about the negative things that happened during the day and then move on to a positive topic.
  • Use Your Planner – Schedule your you-time in your planner. Write down what you will do, when you will do it, and how long the activity will last.  Plan time with yourself.
  • Be flexible – A busy day does not mean that you should neglect yourself. Carve out some time for yourself, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Any length of time is better than none at all.


As is true with the formation of any new habit, you should take it one step at a time. Start small. Try to gradually incorporate one or two of the suggested strategies. See what helps you and your family to create the life you desire.  As Michael J. Fox said, “Family is not an important thing, it’s EVERYTHING.” And when you take care of yourself, you will give your family your “best self” and work towards creating cherished moments spent together.


Plan Today for a Successful Tomorrow!

March is here! How are you doing with your health and wellness goals? Have you been allocating time to reach these goals? Do you make commitments, but “more important” things pop up that get in the way? You may say, “I’m going to the gym this week” or “I will bring a healthy lunch to work every day,” but it’s already Thursday and you haven’t managed to complete either. It’s wonderful that you have the desire to lead a healthier lifestyle! Learn to plan ahead for a more successful tomorrow! Create concrete action steps and develop the necessary tools to help reach your goals.


Choose a day on the weekend to create 2-3 realistic short-term goals. Specify how and when you plan to accomplish them. With a set plan of action, you can track your progress and are more likely to stay on course. In addition, it is crucial that you are prepped with the necessary tools to reach your goals. For example, in order to pack a healthy lunch, first make sure your refrigerator and pantry are stocked properly. Once you set your weekly goals, it is very helpful to let your significant other, relative, close friend, or coach know your plan of action, so you have accountability.


Below is a list of action steps and associated tools to successfully plan ahead to achieve short-term goals towards a happier, healthier life!

  • Use your calendar –Make your calendar your best friend! Schedule appointments with yourself. Use the calendar for daily reminders and accountability. Include tasks such as: your weekly grocery store trip, cooking, daily workouts, meditation sessions or journaling, self-care practices, and that one thing you will do for fun and fulfillment each day! Schedule time for you!
  • Purchase storage containers – Stock up on a variety of large glass containers to store your weekly chopped produce, prepped meals, and leftovers.
  • Keep a well-stocked pantry of healthy cooking essentials – Make sure your pantry is always filled with key ingredients such as a variety of seasonings, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, healthy oils, (olive, avocado, and coconut) vinegars, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy sauce alternative), mustards, and tahini.
  • Create a Shopping list and plan weekly recipes– Choose a few recipes to make in the upcoming week and find recipes that contain overlapping ingredients. Always include extra greens, veggies, and fruits to add to any meal or snack.
  • Go grocery shopping on the weekend – Take your list of ingredients to the store (and don’t go when you are hungry J), so you know exactly what to buy and are less likely to spend money on impulse purchases and unhealthy temptations.
  • Pre-chop vegetables and prep the base of your meals – I don’t believe in making all of your meals for the week on Sunday because honestly who wants to spend an entire day in the kitchen??? Rather than cooking everything on Sunday, use this day to cook a couple of meals, prep grains and legumes, and chop vegetables to store for later in the week. You will be able to do other things on the weekend and will save time when cooking on a weeknight.
  • Cook in bulk –Cook in large quantities, so you can mix and match foods later in the week to add more variety and use leftovers. Also, you can freeze mostly anything to enjoy in the future.
  • Make lunch and prep snacks while cooking dinner – Your morning is precious and time management is key. Rather than throw something random in a lunch bag, or even worse not take anything at all, make lunch the night prior. Now I know what you’re thinking, “I have no desire to return to the kitchen after cooking a whole meal and washing dishes.” And I totally agree! A great solution is to prep your lunch WHILE you cook your dinner, so you reduce the clean-up and are out of the kitchen earlier.
  • Purchase proper exercise clothing and gear – Buy something new and fun! Make sure you have appropriate exercise clothing and gear such as: a quality pair of sneakers, gym bag, yoga mat (if doing Yoga, Pilates, or stretches), and a large water bottle.
  • Set a specific plan of action for your workouts - Rather than just say you will work out 3 days next week, write down the specific days and times you will exercise, where you will do the exercise, and what workouts you will complete. Choose which friend will join you!
  • Prep your gym clothes the night prior and pack a bag – If you plan to go to the gym in the morning, lay out your exercise clothes the night before so you don’t even have to think twice about what to wear. If you need to take it one step further and sleep in your gym clothes, then do it - whatever will work for you! Make sure your water bottle is filled and the gym bag is packed. If you plan to go to the gym towards the end of the day, keep the gym bag with your clothes in the car so you don’t have to go home first and be tempted to sit on your couch.
  • Set Alarms and Reminders – Use alarms for anything that will help you. Set reminders to drink water, take breaks to breathe, and get up to move throughout the day. It is very easy to lose track of time, so an alarm will help you stay focused on your intended action steps. Don’t think about hitting the snooze button!

Now that you have tools to create a plan of action for meeting your goals, it's also important to remember that things don't always go 100% according to plan. Be kind to yourself and leave room for some flexibility. If you initially intended to go to a 6pm yoga class and your best friend decided to plan a last minute birthday celebration, don't get discouraged and neglect exercise all together that day. Take a breath and think of a Plan B. Is there another class you can go to that will fit into your schedule? Can you do an alternative physical activity? Even if you can no longer do an hour workout, how about a 30-minute workout? Can you do a video at home? The important thing is that you are still doing something!


Take action! Plan today to excel tomorrow! Create a concrete list of small, realistic steps you will take each week to gradually work towards your health and wellness transformation.






In 2018 Fuel Your Life Beyond the Food!


Very often our health and wellness goals and New Year’s resolutions revolve around food and weight. While a wholesome, nourishing diet is a very important goal aimed at leading a healthy, energetic life, it is just one piece of the puzzle. If other aspects of your life don’t fulfill you, no amount of vegetables will make you happier. Now, I’m not telling you to eat junk food and sit on your couch all day. What I am saying is focus on the complete picture; fueling your life physically, emotionally, and spiritually will bring you closer to a happier, healthier, more fulfilled YOU!


In 2018 I want you to broaden your health and wellness goals. In addition to adding in more whole foods to crowd out the processed foods and sugar, focus on leading a life you love! Do you participate in physical activities you actually enjoy?  Do your relationships fuel you? Does your career motivate you? Do you have a spiritual practice that inspires you? Do you do something fun every day? Do you make time for YOU and include self-care rituals that nourish you?


I have clients whose initial main focus is to lose weight, increase energy, or heal digestive issues—all very important goals.  We work together towards gradually adding in more whole foods that nourish their unique body and crowd out the foods that don’t serve them well. But that is only one aspect of what they gain in my 6-month integrative health-coaching program. They find physical activities they actually look forward to doing each day. They learn ways to reduce their stress through breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga. They improve relationships with their loved ones. They are happier at their jobs. They become more mindful while eating and in all aspects of their daily activities. They sleep better and are more at peace. They carve out time to do activities that rejuvenate them. They radiate with a newfound appreciation for themselves and their life!


Leading a healthier, happier life goes beyond the food on your plate. Here are some of my favorite tips for gradual modifications you can incorporate in the coming year to fuel yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually:

  • Slow Down– In this fast paced, technology-based world we are always in a rush. We run from place to place and constantly think of the next task or event. Resolve to add 10 extra minutes to get to your next activity. Take a step back and look around and truly appreciate the moments with your family, friends, and all that nature offers in this beautiful world.
  • Sleep More – Make sleep a priority. Give your body a chance to rejuvenate and rest as much as possible. Start by going to sleep 30 minutes earlier and turn off electronics an hour before bed, so you can truly unwind.
  • Do Physical Activities you Enjoy – Experiment and find physical activities that motivate you. If you don’t like running on the tredmill, then don’t run on the treadmill. Do you Love to dance? Take a dance class. Cherish your time in nature? Go for a hike. Do you enjoy team sports? Get a group of your friends or family together for a game. Do you enjoy group strength training? Take a boot camp class. Are you looking for more of a lower impact class? Try yoga or Pilates. The important thing is to do an activity you like, so you actually look forward to it!
  • Do What You Love – Find a career you love or make changes, so you can love the work you already do! Does your job bring fulfillment and gratification? Are you using your strengths and creativity? Are you motivated? Are you working in a positive environment with those who encourage you? Do you look forward to work? Are you involved in networking groups to enhance your career? Ask yourself these questions to see if your career aligns with you or how you can improve it.
  • Find a Spiritual Practice That Speaks to You – Spirituality comes in many forms including religion, yoga, meditation, art, music, and nature—just to name a few. Add to your life a spiritual practice that inspires and enlightens. Find something that grounds you and is your happy place. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Appreciate, Forgive, and Cultivate Positive Relationships – Relationships should provide joy, comfort, and growth. Acknowledge and appreciate those around you. A simple “thank you” can make someone’s day. Forgive those who have done you wrong, and make peace with the past. Talk to the person or write a letter that describes how you feel; often just writing the letter without sending it is enough to let it all go. You will feel a sense of peace and closure. Release the negative people in your life who are downers and surround yourself by those who support you and motivate you to be your best self!
  • Be a Yes for You – Too often I hear clients say that they just don’t have time for themselves, yet they manage to do things for everyone else in their lives. It’s OK to say no to others when they ask you to do something. It’s OK to place your needs first. Be a YES for you in 2018 and carve out time for you every single day, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Do something relaxing and fun! You are not selfish for doing so, and absolutely deserve it.
  • Start and finish the day with gratitude – When you wake up in the morning, acknowledge everything you are grateful for in life. List the items out loud or write them down. Count your blessings when you go to sleep and appreciate all of the good things that happened that day. You will start to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
  • Set Intentions - Intentions help you achieve your goals and provide a roadmap to your desired destination. Set intentions for yourself each day such as: “I intend to slow down and find the beauty in everything,” “I intend to be selective with my time,” “I intend to try something new,” or “I intend to stop before responding to someone right away and acknowledge both sides of the situation.” Intentions will motivate you, provide a focus, and set you on a path to work towards your goals.
  • Listen to your body– Last, but certainly not least, always listen to your body. If it needs rest, then make sure to get sleep and slow down. If your body is aching, do stretches. If your stomach hurts, pay attention to the foods you are eating, how you are eating, where you are eating, and incorporate stress releasing activities such as yoga and deep breathing. Your body knows what it craves and is your best healer.


Make 2018 the year to nourish your body, mind, and spirit. We can work together to create the life you love!


Start Your Day on a Positive Note!

How do you start your morning? Do you:
  • Feel overwhelmed by your to-do list and start thinking about what you have to complete first?
  • Immediately go on auto-pilot and mindlessly complete your morning chores?
  • Hit the snooze button one time too many until you realize you will be late for work or your first appointment?
  • Take care of everyone else in the household before you even think about yourself?
Any of these scenarios sound familiar? Your morning does not have to start this way. You can choose to start each day with intention and on a positive note; and you can make that happen with a morning routine that just focuses on nourishing you and your body.

Picture this – You set an alarm 20 minutes before your usual wakeup time, and you are the first person in the household to awaken. Rather than pressing the snooze button and rushing to get everything accomplished before you head out the door, you decide to use this precious time wisely. You stretch your body to full extent from head to toe and check in with yourself. You take some deep breaths and gently get out of bed. When you enter the living room, you open the window and greet the morning sunshine. You notice and appreciate the sound of silence and stillness around you. You prepare a cup of hot water and lemon, and curl up on the couch with your journal to list the top 3 things you are grateful for that day. You smile as you realize there is so much to be thankful for in your beautiful life. You then spend the next 5 minutes breathing deeply as you inhale positive thoughts and exhale any tension or negativity that you may be holding. You open the door and step outside to take in the crisp, fresh air. You are now ready to start your day and take on anything that comes your way!

How does this scenario sound? Peaceful, right? What a fabulous way to start the day! And all it took was an extra 20 minutes. How we choose to start the day has a huge impact on our mindset. When we begin the morning on a positive note we set the tone for the rest of the day. Everything just seems to look a lot brighter. Conversely, if we wake up and immediately begin to worry about our to-do list, check our emails, rush and only focus on everyone else in the household, it starts the day with anxiety and frustration—and where does that get us?

Now you may be thinking, “How do I add another 20 minutes to my morning?” and I totally get it.  You don’t have to take 20 minutes. If taking 10 minutes helps, then that is 10 more minutes that you’ve dedicated just for you. New habits take time to create, and you slowly work towards them. First start with 5 minutes, and see how that goes. As you notice how much better you feel each morning and begin to appreciate this additional time you’ve created just for you, start adding another 5 minutes and then another 5 minutes. You will cherish this new-found “you time” and will look forward to it every morning.  The key is to start somewhere.

Below are some of my favorite ways to start the day on a positive note. See what fuels you, and slowly incorporate it into your new routine.  

Deep Breathing
–Lie in bed or find a quiet space in your house on a chair, a couch, or a yoga mat on the floor.  Close your eyes. Inhale and exhale deeply and focus on the sound of your breath.

Drink Hot Water – Rather than reaching for a cup of coffee, start your day with a cup of hot water and lemon, and sip it slowly.

Stretch – Stretch in bed or lie down on the floor. Pay attention to how your body is feeling from head to toe.

Yoga – Do some gentle yoga poses to wake up your body. Do your own routine or follow a short video such as Morning Yoga with Adriene.

Meditation –Take 10 minutes to do your own form of meditation while sitting up or lying down. If you prefer a guided practice, try the apps Headspace, or Insight Timer.

Morning Walk –Go for a walk around the block. Inhale the fresh air. Look at the animals and trees around you. Appreciate all that nature has to offer, and if you’re lucky watch the beautiful sunrise.

Get Fresh Air - If a walk is too long, just step outside for a few minutes with your cup of hot water and take some deep breaths.   

Gratitude – Appreciate what you have in life. Say these things to yourself or out loud. If you enjoy writing, keep a gratitude journal.

Morning Affirmations – Say positive, inspiring affirmations to yourself such as “I am blessed,” “I am healthy,” “I am beautiful” “I am worthy,” and “I am looking forward to a fabulous day!”

Set your intentions and goals for the day – Set your intentions for the day, and begin with a positive attitude. Write down a couple of small goals and action steps you will take to achieve them. Take a minute to appreciate how far you have progressed towards your long-term goals.

As you continue the rest of your morning, be mindful and present in all that you do.

You have the power to choose how to start your day. Each morning is an opportunity for endless possibilities, and even one positive action can help you to get off on the right foot. When you establish morning rituals that include positivity, intention, gratitude, and presence, you will uplift your spirits, reduce stress, and gain a new sense of energy for another amazing day ahead!


Just Breathe

Have you ever been in a situation where you were angry or anxious, your chest tightens, and all of a sudden you realize that you have forgotten to breathe? I think we have all been there at some point. We let the stress of our day-to-day activities consume our mind—we forget how to relax, and the increased level of stress can be harmful to our bodies. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, stop what we’re doing, and breathe deeply.

The automatic act of deep breathing comes so naturally to babies, yet as adults many of us do not breath properly or to our maximum potential. Our constant on-the-go mindset in this fast paced life has led to increased anxiety, which results in a rapid heartbeat and quick short breaths from the chest instead of from our lower lungs.  Many of us tend to reach for unhealthy “quick fixes” such as comfort food or alcohol to manage stress; these only temporarily mask the issues and can have other negative consequences.

Stress management is crucial for a happier, healthier lifestyle, and deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful tool that can be implemented anywhere at any time. When you breathe deeply and slowly, you reverse the stress response in your body by slowing down your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, and calming your body and mind.

Take just a few moments each day to tune into your breath; the resultant reduction in stress will yield additional benefits such as muscle relaxation, increased energy, enhanced blood circulation, improved digestion, deeper sleep, and an overall heightened sense of peace and happiness.

Focus on consciously breathing slowly and rhythmically by engaging your abdominal muscles and diaphragm instead of the muscles in the upper chest and neck. Inhale through your nose for 5 seconds as you bring air deep down into your lungs. Picture your lungs expanding. Hold for 3 seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds. Continue to do this several times, and you will immediately notice an enhanced state of relaxation.

Helpful Tips to Incorporate and Enhance a Deep Breathing Practice
  • Set aside the time - Carve out specific times in the day to practice deep breathing.  A great way to start is by taking 5 minutes first thing in the morning and 5 minutes prior to bedtime. You will begin your day with a sense of energy and peace and unwind with a sense of relaxation for a deep night sleep.
  • Take a computer break - Work-load building up? Stressed about a project? Staring at the screen for too long? This would be a good time to take a computer break, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. You will clear your mind, reenergize, and more productive.
  • Take advantage of traffic - No one likes to sit in traffic; but rather than getting angry, take long, deep breaths, and you will feel much better.
  • Use Daily Reminders - Place sticky notes around your house and the office with a reminder to “Just breathe.” It’s always helpful to have a visual reminder.
  • Place a hand on your abdomen during the practice - Notice your stomach rise and fall during each breath.
  • Add some peaceful background noise - Play calming music or nature sounds during the practice to achieve a deeper state of relaxation.
Play around with your breathing practice and see what methods work best for you.

We can’t always control the stressors in our life.  We CAN, however, learn to manage the negative emotions in a more positive way by focusing on our breath. As you incorporate deep breathing practice into your daily life, in time it will become a natural habit.

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”--Etty Hillesum


Accountability: The Journey from Commitment to Results!

Recently someone said to me, “Talya, my wife and I know what to do to lead a healthy lifestyle. We know that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, cook healthy meals at home, and add more exercise to our life, but what advice do you have to help us get there?” My answer is accountability.

As is true for that individual, most of you know what needs to be done and yet many of you struggle to achieve interim goals that lead to sustainable habits.  Identifying these goals is a step in the right direction--it is in fact the first step towards achieving health and wellness transformation. Adding accountability to the mix is oftentimes the key to bridging the gap between commitment and results.

Having someone in your life to hold you accountable adds the motivation to stay on track and to achieve your goals.

As an Integrative Health and Wellness Coach, I work with you, support you, and hold you accountable as you make gradual modifications to your diet and lifestyle based on your unique needs. I can help you learn to listen to your body and what it craves: physically, mentally, and emotionally. You will take small steps towards your intended goals towards a progressive transformation and have a coach to cheer you on along your journey!

Working with a coach who will hold you accountable derives several benefits:

  • Commitment - having a committed partner increases the probability of following through with stated goalsWhen a client commits to working with me, they have my commitment to be with them every step of the way to create positive, progressive lifestyle changes.
  • Motivation - reporting to a coach provides the motivation to continue to work towards established goals. I love it when clients leave each session excited and confident to tackle their next goals. It is inspiring to see the smiles on their faces when we meet again and they share their success stories.
  • Positive reinforcement - a coach helps steer you through the off day or week. A coach will help you to identify what may be standing in the way of reaching your goals and help you to adjust accordingly.  I always remind my clients to keep a positive mindset and move forward no matter what happened on the prior day. The important thing is to progress towards a better tomorrow.
  • Support - a coach supports you and cheers you on along your journey so that you don’t have to go it alone. I check in with my clients several times a week to follow up on their progress and provide support between sessions. We celebrate daily achievements and successes together, no matter how big or small.
  • Focus - a coach will help you to identify why you want to achieve your specific goals and help you to stay on track during the process. I work together with my clients to focus on the items that are the most important to their physical and emotional needs.
  • Time-Management Improvement - a coach will help you to create specific, concrete, measurable action steps to best fit your schedule and needs. For example, rather than a plan to exercise 4 days next week, my clients and I review their planners.  We select specific dates and times for their workouts, list the type of exercise they will complete, and include the length of time for each activity.

As Bob Proctor, Coach and Mentor said, “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to result”. I look forward to the opportunity to support you and provide you with accountability during your progressive health and wellness transformation.


Vacation Balance & Bounce Back

School is out! It is time for warm weather, sunshine, outdoor activities, beaches, barbecues, swimming, and of course travel. I’m sure you are looking forward to your upcoming vacation to relax, unplug, spend quality time with your loved ones, have adventures, try new activities, experiment with food, and have fun!

We can all use a vacation to get away from the hustle and bustle of our daily schedules. However, vacations can also be a time where we let ourselves go a bit, neglect our self-care, and overindulge. I am a huge fan of traveling and that, of course, includes trying the local food and beverages; but I take a balanced approach.

Rather than living a life of restriction and deprivation, I follow the 90/10 rule where you maintain a healthy lifestyle 90 percent of the time, but allow yourself that special treat once in a while. Vacation is definitely a part of that 10 percent.  Now that doesn’t mean you go crazy and pile up a mountain of food onto your plate in the buffet line, eat a whole pizza pie, or drink a pitcher of margaritas every day. You can, however, try each of the items from the buffet, have a slice or 2 of pizza, order the specialty cocktail, and enjoy the local cuisine.

Now you may be thinking a few things to yourself right now. “This sounds like a great plan, but how do I actually follow this and not go overboard?” “What else can I do while on vacation to maintain a healthy lifestyle?” “If I do happen to overindulge, how do I get back on track after the trip?”

No worries! Below I will provide tips to help you maintain a balanced lifestyle while you still enjoy your vacation and will also add recommendations to get you back on track if you may have gone a little overboard.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips While On Vacation
  • Stay hydrated - Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go and keep an eye out for local fountains to refill.
  • Prepare and pack smart – Bring exercise clothes and sneakers so you are properly equipped to go to a gym, get some outdoor cardio, or enjoy a long walk as you take in the local attractions. Bring appropriate footwear, so you are able to walk each day.
  • Keep moving –Take any opportunity to walk. Skip the public transportation and explore sites by foot. Take a break from sunbathing and stroll on the beach. Use the hotel stairs instead of the elevator for some added cardio.
  • Bring healthy snacks –Always have a high fiber, healthy snack on hand whether you bring some items from home or you find a local grocery store near your hotel. The snack will keep you full until your next big meal, so you are less likely to overindulge. Great examples are vegetables or fruit with nuts, nut butter, or hummus.
  • Scope out the menu – Check out restaurant menus in advance to look for some healthier options. Don’t be afraid to ask the server to cook an item differently or swap out a side dish.
  • Eat slowly – Have a portion of the famous deep fried dish, but chew slowly, be fully present, and enjoy every morsel.
  • Be mindful of portions – Select a few of your favorite items from the buffet or family style platters, but fill up your plate once. Use a salad plate instead, so it looks full, but in fact you halve the size of the portion.
  • Enjoy alcohol in moderation – Alcohol is generally a part of socializing while on vacation, and I am a huge wine lover.  But rather than a whole bottle of wine, have a couple of glasses.
  • Save room for the entrée - Be mindful of table appetizers such as breads, muffins, and crackers at restaurants. Have the warm roll, but set the basket aside.
  • Be mindful of dressings and sauces – Enjoy the toppings, but ask for the dressings and sauces to come on the side, so you can control how much you pour onto your dish.
  • Guilt Free Dessert – It is a definite must to try the local dessert, so stop for a cup of creamy gelato before heading to the Colosseum or order a Nutella crêpe before visiting the Luvre, and enjoy them fully and without guilt.
Get Back on Track Post Vacation
  • Go grocery shopping right away – Stock up on fruits vegetables when you get home and plan your menus for the week.
  • Meal prep –Choose the evenings you are going to cook that week, so you don’t spend hours in the kitchen each night. Prepare your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks the night prior, so you don’t even have to think about making the healthy choice the next day.
  • Load up on lots of greens –Flood your body with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to reenergize. Make a green juice or a smoothie in the morning, have a colorful salad with a variety of greens for lunch, and enjoy extra broccoli, asparagus, spinach, or brussels sprouts with your dinner.
  • Eat at home – Try to eat at home as much as possible that first week you return, so cooking becomes more of a habit again. You also know exactly what’s going into your food, you will avoid sodium-laden meals, and—as an added bonus—you will save money!
  • Catch up on sleep – Of course when we travel we all want to stay up later to explore the nightlife or to get a head start on the morning adventure, so sleep is often neglected. Therefore, it is so important to make sleep a top priority when you return. Go to bed early and get a deep night sleep to allow your body to heal and rejuvenate.
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated – it’s just as crucial to stay hydrated post vacation to flush out the toxins and mitigate bloating. Start your day with a cup of water and lemon in the morning and bring that handy dandy bottle with you throughout your day.
  • Fuel up with fiber – Get your digestion back on track after a vacation with fiber. Include beans, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, berries, whole grains, and vegetables.
  • Use your calendar for exercise accountability – Mark down on the calendar the days and times you plan on working out and include what activity you will do each day.
  • Don’t weigh yourself- Don’t obsess and worry about a number on the scale. Rather, focus on setting new short-term goals such as getting to those exercise classes and having fun cooking new recipes for the week.
And most important...move forward & no regrets!  Don't beat yourself up for any vacation splurges. You had a fabulous time, made your choices, and now you start anew tomorrow! 

Enjoy your travels everyone! :)







Go Green!

Spring has arrived and the growing season is upon us. I cannot wait for the farmer’s markets to open to try all of the local fresh produce! If you have been to a farmer’s market, you probably gravitate towards the brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as the plump red tomatoes and the mouth-watering berries. While tomatoes and berries are very beneficial to your health, don’t forget the greens!

Green vegetables are usually the most commonly missing foods in a person’s diet which is a shame because they are essential for a healthy body and immune system. Let’s be honest... when you hear the words “green vegetables”, do you sometimes think of bland and boring? Do you automatically think of celery sticks? Or are you envisioning that sad, iceberg lettuce salad with a sprinkle of grated carrots and croutons? I also would be avoiding greens if that’s all that was available. Forget that image! There are so many delicious greens easily accessible all year round, and there are limitless ways to enjoy them.

Some of my favorites include: Spinach, Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Artichokes, Green Beans, Arugula, Bok Choy, Endive, Mesclun, Swiss Chard -- and there are so many more!

Experiment with new greens you’ve never tried and change it up each day so that you don’t get bored. See which ones you enjoy the most and don’t be afraid to try something new J. The more variety you have in your diet the more health benefits you will receive from the wide array of nutrients.

Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s great to be told what greens to eat; but where do I find them, and how do I prepare them? I’m here to help deal with your frustration!

Below are some tips to incorporate nutritious greens into your diet and experiment with delicious ways to prepare them.  

Try greens from different sources – See what you enjoy from your neighborhood supermarket. Scope out the local family owned produce store. Stop by that health food store you’ve always wanted to try. Support the farmers at a nearby farmer’s market or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I am personally so excited to be joining the Seton Harvest CSA this year!

Purchase produce that works for you and your lifestyle
– If you like to purchase loose vegetables by the pound, then do so. If you prefer bulk packaged vegetables, then buy those. If you are short on time and like to buy pre-cut vegetables, then that works well too. If you find that your vegetables often go bad quickly, then start with frozen and buy a smaller amount of fresh greens to incorporate in your meals.

Have fun with salads! -
I love experimenting with a variety of colorful vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and whole grains. Keep it raw or add in cooked vegetables. Make it savory or sweet to your liking. Top it off with some nuts or seeds for additional crunch. The sky is the limit! Click here for some salad recipe inspiration.

Use various cooking methods – Aside from enjoying the crisp refreshing greens in their raw natural state, there are several quick and easy cooking methods. Experiment with boiling or steaming. Sautee greens in a skillet with some protein and your favorite grain. Grill them on a skewer. Toss the vegetables in the oven with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper; set the timer, and roast them while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Start with breakfast:
Start your day on the right foot by adding greens first thing in the morning. Add greens to your eggs or toss them into your favorite smoothie or green juice. Include them with avocado in a savory breakfast bowl. Find some delicious green smoothie recipes here.

Wrap it up or sandwich it!
– Add a variety of greens to your whole grain wrap or sandwich. Add them to your chicken, turkey, tuna, or to your burger.

Use green herbs
– Keep on hand a variety of fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill, and parsley. Sprinkle them on your salad or add them to your sautéed or roasted vegetables. Add some to your steamed vegetables and drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil for some extra flavor.

Dress it up! – Now I’m not talking about dousing your greens with store-bought dressings like blue cheese or ranch; they are processed and filled with added chemicals and sugar. Experiment with various vinegars, healthy oils, seasonings, and spices. There are so many quick and easy recipes! Click here for dressing tips and inspiration!

Dip it! Enjoy green veggies such as green beans, snow peas, zucchini, broccoli, or celery   with a healthy dip. Experiment with guacamole, hummus, or nut butter. Try my delicious homemade Simple Hummus recipe. (you will never go back to store-bought again)

Indulge in “chips” – Rather than reaching for potato chips, make your own green vegetable chips. Branch out and try different chips in addition to kale. Crispy Brussels Sprouts are my personal favorite! See various leafy green chip recipes here.

Get creative with leftovers – Use the steamed broccoli and asparagus from last night’s dinner and add them to your whole grain breakfast bowl. Sautee them with your morning eggs. Add them to your salad or wrap. Toss them into the skillet with your favorite protein for dinner. You will save time, reap the added nutritional benefits, and enjoy the varied flavors!

Stock up and prep ahead – Set yourself up for the week by stocking up on your greens on the weekend, so you have them at your fingertips when you’re ready to prep!

I’m a firm believer in the gradual addition of greens to your diet to naturally crowd out the sugar and processed foods. Rather than avoiding burgers, have that burger with a side salad or steamed vegetables instead of the fries. Enjoy your steak with roasted asparagus or broccoli dressed in olive oil and lemon. Add spinach to your pizza. The most important thing is to start with something, and find enjoyable ways to continue to incorporate greens into your life. Go green!