All posts filed under: Uncategorized

5 Key Steps to Form Healthy Habits

Why is it so difficult for us all to stick to a new habit? Every year, millions of Americans create a New Year’s Resolution, and these resolutions are discarded in a matter of weeks or months. It’s easy for many of us to start a diet or a fitness program, but what is keeping us from forming these healthy habits long-term? Is it a lack of motivation, forgetfulness, or that it’s “just too hard”? The answer may lie within the Trans-Theoretical Model, a tool that can be used to assess one’s “readiness” to start a new healthy behavior. The Trans-Theoretical Model, or TTM for short, is a cyclic model with 5 stages. Here, I will outline each stage of the TTM, as well as some tips to continue moving forward in pursuit of your health goals. STEP 1 – Pre-Contemplation Pre-Contemplation is the beginning stage of the Trans-Theoretical Model. If you are in the pre-contemplation stage, it means that you have no desire to change your behavior in the immediate future. A person in this …

Maintaining Balance in Your Life

Welcome to the NEW AND IMPROVED web page for Everything Alexandra! It has been FOREVER since I’ve published a post on my blog, and I’ve been itching to create and share some new content. Since I’ve returned to Boston for school, I’ve been juggling my full-time education studying Chemical Engineering, work, and extracurriculars. Unfortunately, the Everything Alexandra blog has taken a backseat as I’ve focused most of my energy on my classes, and my priorities have felt soooo out of balance. After I created the new Instagram page for Everything Alexandra, I noticed that the majority of my posts were about vegan food. Although I think that food and nutrition are a super important part of wellness, there is so much more that goes along with wellness, including mental health, that go unspoken about. Wellness is so much more than just nutrition and exercise (although I do believe that these are still super important), and it’s easy to get so caught up in the “physical” aspects of health that we forget to take care of ourselves on the inside. I …

3 Major Tips for Going Vegan

First off, I feel like I should say a quick disclaimer. I did NOT choose to start a vegan diet as a means to lose weight. I chose veganism for other reasons, including personal health reasons, environmental reasons, and animal welfare (but this isn’t an article about why I became vegan, which I will save for another time). A common misconception about the vegan diet is that it’s extremely restrictive. The vegan diet is often compared to the likes of “rabbit food”. These claims are WILDLY false! Although I do eat lots of fruit and vegetables, my diet extends way beyond just that. This leads me to Tip #1: Tip #1: Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things If you want to switch to veganism successfully, you’ll need to make some additional changes to your diet. If you were to simply cut out meat, dairy and eggs from the Standard American Diet, you wouldn’t be left with much else. It’s important to fill your plate with a good mix of fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, grains, and healthy …

Surviving Holiday Stress

Oh, the holiday season. It’s a time that should be filled with love and laughter and delicious food, but it’s hard to enjoy the festivities when you’re stressed out about things like Black Friday shopping, overindulging on Thanksgiving dinner, or finals week. Well, you’re not alone. This time of year can be extremely overwhelming, which is why it’s so important to manage your stress during these times. Stress is your body’s natural response to “dangerous” situations. While a little stress from time to time is completely natural, too much can be extremely taxing on your body. It affects your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to viral infections or disease. It affects your sleep, leaving you fatigued and unable to focus on school or work. And, it affects your digestion, making it more difficult for your body to absorb essential nutrients needed to keep you healthy. Basically, too much stress can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. Plus, it’s the leading cause of acne, and there’s nothing worse than trying to …

Why We Should Stop Worrying About Weight

“The only way to solve the weight problem is to stop making weight a problem—to stop judging ourselves and others by our size. Weight is not an effective measure of attractiveness, moral character, or health. The real enemy is weight stigma, for it is the stigmatization and fear of fat that causes the damage and deflects attention from true threats to our health and well-being.” – Linda Bacon, Health at Every Size I remember the first time I weighed myself on my Wii Fit balance board. I was 11 years old, and I weighed 92 pounds. That was a healthy weight, according to the video game, because I had a BMI (Body Mass Index) that fell within the “normal” range. I didn’t really care much about this new information, because, well, I was a kid. I wasn’t supposed to care about my weight. It had been a few months since I had last played the game, so when I turned it on, I received a message telling me I was due to weigh myself again. So I, now at 12 years old, stepped …

No BS about IBS

  It is quite normal to experience some belly bloat every once in a while. But if you are experiencing chronic symptoms that don’t seem to go away, you may have a deeper issue going on in your gut. Bloat and stomach distention are issues that I’ve dealt with since childhood. As a kid, I had to take fiber supplements, drink prune juice (yuck), and drink coffee to try to “regulate” my GI tract. My symptoms only worsened as I got older, and I wrote it off as either a gluten intolerance, a dairy intolerance, or some sort of sensitivity to processed food. Still, even after I cut these foods out, my symptoms persisted. It got to the point where I found myself doubled over in pain after eating an apple. An apple! By then, I was fed up with trying to deal with my symptoms. I was miserable. So, I saw a gastroenterologist, and he determined that I had IBS. If you’ve never heard of IBS, or you have but you don’t quite know what it is, …

Sweet Smoothies Made Simple

I’m sure most of you, like me, made New Year’s Resolutions. And I’m willing to bet that most of you, like me, are struggling sticking to them. I decided that, for the new year, I would try to give up (ok, more like seriously cut back on) refined sugar. This has been pretty difficult to stick to, because I have always had a sweet tooth. The most difficult part has been finding something that I can whip up when I have cravings for something sweet that I can still consume and not feel guilty about later. That’s why this smoothie recipe is AMAZING. Plus, it’s so simple, and you only need a few ingredients to make it. Instead of using ice in your smoothies, use frozen bananas instead. Slice up a bunch of bananas, put them in a baggie and stick the baggie in the freezer. The bananas will provide a lot of natural sweetness, so there will be no need to sweeten your smoothie. Fill your blender with 1/3 frozen bananas, 1/3 fruit of your …

A Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep 

It can be extremely overwhelming if you’re trying to switch your diet to all clean, wholesome foods. It’s even more difficult when you already have to plan meals on a tight budget. What may seem much easier, ordering takeout food or living off of frozen microwave dinners and ramen noodles, can actually wreak havoc on your entire body. Prepackaged frozen dinners and ramen noodle flavor packs contain high levels of sodium, which holds onto water and makes you bloat. Although takeout food may seem like a cheaper and quicker option than cooking, those dollars add up quickly, and you can end up blowing through your budget. I’m here to tell you how eating healthy on a budget is super easy, it just requires a little bit of planning. If you follow any health & fitness inspiration (or “fitspo”) accounts on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, I’m sure you are familiar with the concept of meal preparation. Meal prep consists of cooking a large batch of food at the beginning of the week that you then divide up into servings, store in Tupperware containers, and then have access to easy, healthy …

The True Reasons Why You Should Work Out

I’ve lived most of my life with low self-esteem. I’m not quite sure where this lack of body confidence originated, but it seemed to haunt me throughout my childhood, through high school and into college. I can vouch for many adolescent men and women out there who probably feel the same way as I did. I was always proud of my accomplishments, but I set my fitness goals for all the wrong reasons. I worked out to look thinner, and I aspired to look like the models on magazine covers. I would calculate my BMI and not understand why I was categorized in the middle of the “overweight” and “obese” categories, even though I wore size 6 jeans. It took me almost 19 years to realize, everybody – every body – is different, and we have to stop focusing on scales and measurements and BMI to tell us if we’ve met our fitness goals or not. So, if you’ve ever felt cheated by your scale, this post is for you. Work out to strengthen your body and mind It’s …