Monthly Archives: October 2014

Of Mice, Bikes and Keeping goals in mind

Hi guys, I’m back after a rough couple of weeks. As a mentioned in my last post, change is never easy; it is wrought with many uncertainties and inherently involves some degree of risk. Sometimes things work out as or better than you expected, but other times the road is a little bumpier. I guess my road has started off a little bumpier than I would have liked, but that’s part of life!   The first week (Oct 6 – 10th) I had an unwelcome visitor in the form of a mouse (ugh). This past week, my bike, along with three other bikes in my apartment building, was stolen. I found out later that it actually happened on Wednesday night but I didn’t notice till Thursday. I ended up filing a police report, but then by a bizarre sequence of events, my bike was recovered! (Long story short, my movers accidentally bent the rim of the tire and so the back wheel wouldn’t turn; thus the thieves left it behind and my super put it in the basement). Anyway, Thursday night (when I thought my bike had been ripped off), was not pretty. I was really distraught about a whole series of things that had gone wrong since moving back, and was just an emotional wreck.

Through all these ‘festivities,’ and the roller coaster of emotions I was feeling, I found myself questioning a lot of decisions I had made – about changing careers, moving, relocating etc. I started questioning many decisions and asking a lot of “What if..” questions. Making a career change mid-life was not and is not an easy decision. You give up so much, including financial stability, a regular income and time, and put other things like relationships and life events on hold in order to pursue your dreams and goals. It is hard work and requires a huge investment of time, money and sacrifices – but it’s also so worth it to know that you are pursuing your dreams and not settling for anything less than exactly what you want. This past week, when things weren’t turning out to be quite as I had expected,I started comparing my life to those of others around me who have very successful careers and certainly a much larger bank account than I do right now. However, this comparison did nothing but augment my anxiety.  Thankfully, I have an amazing group of friends who are like family to me, and wonderful parents who were so supportive and talked me through the rough times. The odd recovery of my bike was also a nice sign (NYC’s way of saying “Welcome back – but you have to go through a period of hazing before you get settled in.” Don’t worry – I still love you NYC). So I am back, and looking forward to good things. I spent a lovely Saturday at a food festival with some dear friends, and had a great run around Central Park today – and loved every minute of it 🙂 And I keep in mind why I chose to do what I do – because I love it. That’s why. I have a dream and I am pursuing it, and at the end of the day that is what I have to remember when things get a little rough.

This little episode did however get me thinking about our tendency to compare ourselves to others in different areas of life. For some it may be comparisons related to finances, lifestyle, careers etc, while for others it may be comparisons around body image, looks or athletic abilities. Whatever the comparison may be – is it really worth it?? Is it really necessary? And what exactly does it achieve? Not much, except for causing unnecessary mental anguish and preventing you from recognizing and celebrating your own accomplishments and abilities.

One area in which I hope to help my clients in the field of nutrition and health is dealing with negative self-talk and comparisons surrounding food and body image. Food can be such a sensitive subject for many individuals; eating a “bad” food can lead to a downward spiral of negative self talk, comparisons to other individuals with supposedly “perfect diets” and “perfect bodies,” and a great deal of mental anguish and distress. And yet the comparison is unjustified; it is a disservice to your own self, to your body and what it can accomplish, and to your lifestyle and needs. While comparisons can sometimes be a positive thing and drive us to make changes for the better (for example, make healthier food choices, exercise more consistently), they can become crippling if they prevent us from doing what is best for our own body. Someone else’s diet or exercise program may not be right for you, because your life is different; you are different. So that is one area in which I really hope to help individuals who are seeking to change their diet and/or lifestyle. To find what works for them, and to help them live their healthiest life.

What about you? Do you often/sometimes find yourself making comparisons between yourself and other individuals, and if so in which areas of life? Career? Finances? Social life? Fitness? What helps you break out of this mode of thinking?

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Adjusting to life in NYC

Phew – I’ve been back in NYC and in my new apartment ( a studio) for a little over a week now – and yet I still have unopened boxes everywhere. So much for unpacking as soon as possible! Oh well – I will try to get most of it done this weekend. This past week has been busy (when is life in NYC not busy??!) but part of the reason that ‘unpacking’ was put on hold was because I had an unwelcome visitor in the form of a mouse haunting my apartment. I guess most New Yorkers would just say “Well that’s part of living in the city,” but it was such a gross shock to me. I hadn’t encountered any mice when I last lived in NYC, and certainly not in my suburban abode in Massachusetts. Anyway, the mouse fiasco occupied a large portion of my evenings – with calling and meeting with my superintendent, laying out traps, throwing away an entire pan of vegetables (including the pan) thanks to the  mouse ( I will spare you the gross details) and then finally dealing with the creature when it was caught. Hopefully that nightmare is over and not one that recurs (please, please, please!)

Despite the mouse saga, I did get in some quality workouts after work and make some quick, easy and delicious dinners this past week. I had done some food prep last weekend by roasting some sweet potatoes, carrots and an acorn squash, washing and drying lettuce for salads, chopping some vegetables to quickly saute or steam, and stocking up on almond milk, fruit and other staples. I had also portioned out some fish and chicken to grill or pan fry during the week, and made a batch of tuna salad and hard-boiled eggs for a few lunches so that I had healthy foods on hand for quick meals. Doing just this basic food prep saved me so much time and money during the week – and enabled me to eat some great, healthy meals, so it’s definitely worth it!

Three dinners that turned out great and were amazingly quick to throw together were: (you may recognize a couple from my Instagram feed):

Poached cod, sautéed rainbow chard, roasted acorn squash, salad and a side of salsa for dinner

cod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Kabobs with grilled zucchini and carrots, and sautéed Swiss chard topped with tomato and avocado.

chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a simple dinner of pan-fried salmon, sauteed vegetables and sliced tomato

salmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All three were simple, healthy and required minimal ingredients and time to put together. It was also much cheaper (and tastier and healthier!) to make these dinners at home rather than ordering or eating out. I will do a future post on how I put together these dinners after coming home from a long day, walking the dog, answering emails, and going to the gym – but for now I’ll leave you with the images for some inspiration. You can also follow me on Instagram @farahz78 for some quick breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas!

What about you? What kind of meals do you put together after a long day? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Changes

The last time I posted was in February  which seems like a lifetime ago. Life just got away from me and so many things have happened since then. In a nutshell, I graduated from Framingham State University with a Masters in Food and Nutrition, studied for and passed the RD exam (I’m finally a Registered Dietitian!!), did a Tough Mudder in Vermont with some dear friends, worked as a per-diem clinical dietitian in Massachusetts for 4 months while applying for jobs in NYC and Florida, went to 2 weddings, and then the biggest change of all….moved back to NYC for a new job! I’ll be working as a clinical dietitian at a long-term care facility in the Bronx and also building up my own counseling practice (which will be announced in the near future) over the next year or so. So yes, a lot has happened and although I’m very excited to be back in NYC and starting a new job as an RD, I’ve also felt incredibly overwhelmed the last month.

Moving is considered to be one of the most stressful events that individuals experience in their life; in fact, health insurance companies consider it a “life event” which allows you to change or enroll in a new health plan outside of their typical enrollment periods. I can testify to that. Yes – moving is stressful, even more so when you are moving out of state and trying to find a job and an apartment at the same time – and in NYC, the stress factor is multiplied by a 1000 since everything happens with such urgency you barely have time to consider your options before you have to make a decision. Fortunately, I have incredible friends who are essentially like family to me both in NYC and in MA, and they have been a Godsend. From housing and feeding me on my numerous trips down to NYC, to being there for moral and emotional support through this entire process- and I love them dearly. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this transition could not have taken place without their help. Thank you all – you know who you are 🙂

Moving on (no pun intended), in light of all the stress that has surrounded this move (from the movers not being able to fit all my stuff OR deliver it on time…yes, I still have no furniture and will not till Saturday (hopefully) – and I start work tomorrow, to several melt-downs as I was cleaning out my old apartment in Massachusetts, trying to squeeze everything in my car, and realizing that my new neighborhood is such a drastic change from my old neighborhoods  in NYC and MA), I started reflecting on what makes ‘moving’ so stressful.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s not just one thing that makes it so stressful, but a combination of various factors that compound the anxiety surrounding a move: the change in location, the disruption of your normal schedule, the start of something new (e.g. a job), the need to reevaluate what you want to keep and what to purge, the need to find new amenities at your new location and a new commute, the need to pack, the logistics of changing addresses and informing people of your new location…and the list goes on. Change is always stressful because it involves so many unknowns…What if this doesn’t work out? What if I hate it? What if  I made a mistake? Am I making the right decision? Is this what a want? What if….? And that list goes on…

But change is also exciting and invigorating – and that’s what I have tried to remember through the past month, and especially over the past week. I am starting a new career in a city that is like home to me. I will be in the same city as or close to friends who are like family to me, and I’ll finally be earning some money again after the last few years of grad school! 🙂 The first few months and really the first year will still be a challenge as I get used to a 9 – 5 job and commuting again, and balancing work with exercise, a social life and some ‘me time.’ But I’m looking forward to my new life – near friends and family and a bustling city that I have missed over the past 4 years. I’m back NYC – albeit in a completely different neighborhood and with a different career, but I’m back and looking forward to exploring more of this challenging yet rich, rewarding and culturally diverse city!

What about you? Have any of you made a career change? Or moved out of state many times? What was your experience with moving? Would love to hear your stories!

 

 

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