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rub your face, and the scoop on leeks

03/30/2006

Beautiful Readers,

OK-no time to spare…client waiting in Manhattan. Well we just brought in a new trainer who I am wildly excited about. Her name is Amanda. She is a certified cheerleading coach (very cool– not much of that going on in NYC, now is there…) with a bunch of years experience doing personal training at Equinox, and, best of all–she is from Indiana originally. Excellent.

She also plays guitar, and stayed up all night recently, gluing ribbons onto barrettes for the cheer-leading team that she coaches on a voluntary basis in a public school downtown.

Now for the title of this post.

First, (and this is all that I will be saying about this item) I have reason to believe that Leek soup, described as a diet aid in the book French Women Don’t get Fat, may have a certain diuretic quality. Don’t ask how I know.

Have you ever wondered how it is that so many women claim to see results after just weeks of using  some creme or product, when, in fact, studies would suggest that it does nothing.  Some of it is just the joy of the placebo effect, I’m sure, but the rest? Well, I have a theory. If you read the instructions, on many products, they call for rubbing. Yes, rubbing. "Rub in creme thouroughly", ‘"rub into fine lines in a circular motion" you know what I mean.

I would like to propose that rubbing some part of your body can be widely considered a massage. And massaging something increases blood flow to the massaged area, which can, over time, improve circulation slightly in that place, and presto! better looking skin, with or without the creme.

Therefore, if your anti-cellulite cream also works as a good massage lotion–then, go for it. But it is my feeling, that some kind of oil ( something non-comedogenic((doesn’t block your pores))) and a little massage, is actually the secret to many of the useless but ‘results appearing’ cremes.

Facial massage, if you talk to most good facialists, is great for your skin. Regular, gentle, patting around your eyes can smooth out some of the crows feet, (or at least "make them ‘appear’ smaller", as many products claim). And if you push around your subcutaneous fat a little every day(has to be a pretty darn firm massage) you can probably "slightly improve the appearance" of cellulite all on your own.  Rubbing things also stimulates oil producing glands, that will moisturize the skin a bit better too.

So there’s the rub.

Cheers to you all, and now I sprint to the subway!

Alix

Dried Edamame with Wasabi

03/25/2006

Well so far today has been lovely. Did Personal Training with a favorite client early this morning, went straight to a good Vinyasa yoga class with an instructor who I gave my card to, in the hopes that she might want to work with Beautiful Fitness. This yoga instructor, who I have always really liked, gives great direction, and insists that the object is not to ‘make’ yourself stay in the pose but rather to ‘allow’ your body to use it’s natural balance to keep you there. More falling initially that way, but I suspect, better results over the long run. A very good class with a nice self-embracing vibe.

After that–got a pedicure, and a massage at a Park Slope 5th ave salon called Elements.  I was not planning on getting a massage today (though I think about them all the time), but as the woman who had painted my toenails did the ‘complimentary shoulder rub’ while they dried, a bonus bit of service that some salons use, to keep you coming back–it was so so good that I could not resist another 10 minutes on the old pear-shaped timer.

Now to snacks–I’m on a diet these days. Not that I am fat at all. In fact most Beautiful Fitness clients would probably be surprised if I said that I was trying to lose weight at 5′3" 118 lbs, but I am constantly experimenting with my weight. I am still trying to figure out what shape will be the most becoming on me. For awhile I was about 8 lbs heavier, but since my breasts don’t ever seem to get any larger (small B cup) I really just looked a little flabby instead of sexy in a more zaftig sort of way. Perhaps in another life I will be more ‘curvy’ as is so popular now. Yes, yes, I know, I can buy curvy. Maybe someday I will.

Also, I have recently read French Women Don’t Get Fat. No real wisdom in there as far as I can tell, except for the classic European "don’t ever, ever, stuff yourself" attitude. The one thing the auteur (or is she an auteuse?) does recommend, that piqued my interest, was that her French doctor told her to exist only on Leek soup for awhile as she attempted to lose weight. Now, I’m not going to live on Leek Soup (unless I make it with sausage or something), but I am interested in adding it to a reduced calorie diet that I will temporarily be on here, while I explore my inner, really skinny, self.

So of course, now I am obsessed with snacks. Since meals are not really happening for me in any great, satisfying way, I plan to live on snacks. And leek soup. Fortunately, just in the nick of time, at around 4 o’clock after eating only one of those little Greek yogurt and honey packs, some coffee, an apple, a bottle of vegetable juice, and some damn fine bittersweet hot chocolate (from another charming Park Slope establishment, called The Chocolate Room-also on Fifth ave), I think I may have found a perfect snack: dried edamame with wasabi.

I recognize that dried spicy beans may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Wasabi for one, is not universally beloved, and it’s strong–so if you don’t like it, there is no ignoring it. And edamame, especially when dried, while it does have a kind of nice nutty flavor, given that they look like green peanuts, they certainly don’t have that tasty, oily, peanuty, getting-a-lot-of-calories-all-at-once, appeal. Dried edamame are kind of dry, and not fantastically satisfying.

Yet, edamame with wasabi is terrific. Low calorie: 120 cal per 1/4 cup. Very high in protein: 28% per 1/4 cup serving, and they taste fabulous. They’re a lot like wasabi peas, except I never eat the peas because I imagine that they have all the nutrients of wasabi cardboard.

So that’s my snack tip for the day, and I think it is a valuable one. Wasabi Edamame. And for those of you who may not know, edamame is just a fancy Japanese name for soybeans. Good for you in a number of different ways, isofavones, protein, low fat… and with wasabi (horseradish, I believe)they will clear up your sinus’s too. Just don’t touch your eyes while you are eating them–it stings. And yes, I did it.

Now, off to see if the Indian resteraunt will sell me Lassi to go. That’s got to be low in calories…

Welcome to Beautiful Fitness’ brand spankin’ new web log!

03/23/2006

Wow. I was happy enough when I saw Beautiful Fitness immortalized online in our bare bones, 1and1 website. And now we have a blog. Excellent. Beautiful Fitness, in case you don’t know us, is an in-home, fitness and wellness services company (mine) that offers personal training, yoga, and Pilate’s, to mostly, professional women in the NYC area. Business is good, primarily because we offer excellent, effective, professional, and well-priced, service to smart women at home.

Our URL is www.beautifulfitness.com, and you can contact us at 718-576-2568 (we’re based in good old Brooklyn with most of our clients in Manhattan). Perhaps we can be of help getting you into (or back into) beautiful shape.

OK, that’s it for the sales pitch–let’s talk about you, and how you are looking and feeling. That’s what this blog will be about. Real beauty and fitness. With no advertising-spin. Blogs are great. I can tell you that certain products, services, exercises, or diets don’t work at all, without repercussions, because there are no advertisers to alienate–plus if I tell you that something has been making a difference in the way that I, our one of our clients, look or feel–you’ll know it’s true, or at least, that I honestly believe it is.

The beauty industry has been making a mint on us poor women who find that as soon as we stop feeling ‘weird’ about the opposite sex, we start wondering if they like the way we look. This phenomenon is so deep, that at that same age, girls even start to care about how other girls look, and wonder if they are attractive enough to impress other girls. Feminist tragedy? Probably. But it is also true. And it ain’t changing today. And probably not tomorrow either. Though, at least now, we know enough to be a little self-aware about it.

So until I personally take up the long fight against this unfair burden to women, and am willing to put in the time to combat it– I don’t want it working against me. I want to look as good my genetic reality will allow with the least amount of time and effort. I also want to stay really really healthy, and relatively smart, and sane, until I die. That’s it. Welcome to Beautiful Fitness’ view of beauty and welllness.

Having said that–the Beautiful life is not all bad. I happen to really enjoy a very wide range of physical activities. I participate in enough of them, that I think I may have at least one worthwhile suggestion for each of you, about ways to get in shape, and keep that shape, until you are quite old.

And as for my beauty/fashion recommendations and insights, hopefully you will find them, either funny, or helpful, or both. I love this stuff. I really do. I think of it like art, plus, a woman’s manipulation of how they are perceived by others. Powerful business.

At the same time, I’m pretty secure, at least about this category of life. I was always pretty, but never jaw-droppingly beautiful, and was raised in a feminist environment that told me every day that none of this stuff really mattered. All in all it was a pretty good position from which to develop fairly healthy attitudes about appearances.

But yet, having been a "Queen Bee" type in high school (that’s quite a long time ago now), with Manhattan upbringing and a quite pretty mother who put on makeup before she went to the grocery store–I was more interested than most young women who grew up like I did, in looking cute.

I can still remember saying more than once that I never wanted a job at all. I wanted to be pretty and popular-like-forever-professionally. Well–I could write a great deal about the obvious problem in trying to make that particular dream come true, but that’s a different blog.

For now, though, you readers can benefit from the knowledge that my trendy, fashionable, relatively fit, well-traveled, Manhattan-born, yet solidly middle-class self offers on a subject that a lot of women seem to love to read about : Looking beautiful and feeling great.

And now that I am of a certain age and have had a little life experience, been married, divorced, and felt the joy of watching my kids growing up around me, I am interested in how to go about the aging thing beautifully too. Hopefully my insights here will entertain and inform you about a subject that, as women, we encounter every day.

All the best,

Alix Florio/ Beautiful Fitness