A Shot of Hope
I know, it’s been awhile. I also know the start of 2021 has been a bit of a sluggish one for my body and spirit. However, as we’ve reached the start of another new month in a year following one like no other, I feel more optimistic than I have in who knows how long.
I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday. The mask I wore to the appointment couldn’t conceal my emotions. I actually felt tears of joy fill my eyes and heard a slight tremble in my voice as I answered the nurse’s questions before she administered the totally painless shot. Then reality hit: in just two more weeks, I’d be considered fully vaccinated. The moment was, in a word, surreal.
One year ago at this very time, we had absolutely no idea when we’d have a handle on the pandemic nor did we know when life-saving vaccines would be available. On a personal note, I wondered when it would be safe to see, let alone hug my elderly parents again; how long New York City would remain in a state of “pause” with sirens punctuating what became an eerie silence in so many parts of this concrete jungle; and of course, when would the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from this horrible virus stop soaring. At this time in 2020, I was also just a couple of weeks away from taking the online Johns Hopkins Contact Tracing course that would lead to a job with New York City’s Test + Trace Corps. I can’t help but smile thinking about how the program has evolved in its outreach efforts, with many of my colleagues now making phone calls to help our neighbors receive vaccines.
As for the aftermath of the vaccine, I did feel pretty crummy after both my first and second dose. However, the side effects only confirmed my immune system was doing its job and after 48 hours, I was pretty much back to normal following each shot. I’ll take two days of feeling “off” versus ending up in the hospital – or worse – if I somehow contract the virus in the future.
Meanwhile, plans are underway to get New York City completely re-open. Broadway tickets go on sale today for shows starting September 14th. Restaurants are open later. In a couple of weeks, you can catch a Yankees or Mets game and get a vaccine at the stadium. Warmer sunshine and throngs of people have started filling the parks. There’s just a buzz of new optimism in the air. With the unofficial kick off of summer on the horizon, that buzz can only grow louder. As we head toward that growing light at the end of a painfully long tunnel, I wish you and yours good health and safety. Here’s to better days ahead and making some serious plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Finding Ways to Help
As someone who loves to write, it’s been difficult for me to really put my emotions surrounding the events of the past 12 into words.
As so many people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut continue to try and literally rebuild their lives after Sandy and the added stress of this week’s Nor’easter, I’m providing a few links with information on some of the ways the rest of us can help.
Whether you live in the New York area or around the country, hopefully you’ll be able to use some of these ideas to chip in and lend a helping hand.
- The season may be over, but you can help the Yankees and Mets score big by helping those affected by Sandy:
- WCBS 880, the all-news radio station I listen to while getting ready for work every morning, offers this list of organizations that need help and ways to get involved with them:
- There are approximately 90 Modell’s stores throughout New York. Most are accepting clothing donations along with toiletries in partnership with WPLJ radio and Goodwill of New York and New Jersey. Click the link below for a list of store locations and the items needed most, such as coats, scarves, gloves, toothpaste, toothbrushes and baby wipes).
- One fitness-related note, all New York Sports Clubs locations remain open to anyone affected by the storm who may need a place to shower, charge a phone or even de-stress a bit with a workout.
Thanks again to all of you who’ve sent me messages asking how my family and friends fared after the storms. Again, I was very fortunate throughout the storm and while my parents remain in the dark on Long Island, they’re safe. My prayers remain with those who continue to struggle and wish them some moments of peace in the weekend ahead.
To end on a lighter note, I also want to thank all of you who’ve supported me in the Face of Fitness contest for Fitness Magazine this week. Voting continues through Sunday and even if you’ve voted already, you can vote every day until November 11th. Click here to cast your vote.
To all of you who support this blog and all my efforts, I wish you a wonderful weekend filled with plenty of opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Summertime, Baseball & Bad Food Choices
Last Friday, my friend Rob and I were chatting about our weekend plans during an edit session. That’s when he asked a question that left me stumped: what could he eat that night at CitiField while watching the Mets take on the Reds that wouldn’t leave him feeling totally sluggish for the 10 mile run he had planned for the next day?
Listen, when I get to cheer on my beloved Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium, I know it’s going to be hard to eat anything super healthy during the game. Know what? That’s okay! Part of my stadium experience is indulging in some of the higher-calorie items that you’ll probably never find in my kitchen like hot dogs, steak sandwiches, beer and brownie sundaes.
Rob and I ended up in a “deep” discussion to weigh his options. (Don’t worry, we still met our deadline!) I’ve never been to CitiField, but I was pretty sure he’d be hard pressed to find fresh grilled chicken or fish or a veggie-loaded salad. So, my simple suggestion was to watch his portions.
Instead of having two hot dogs or one hot dog and a sausage with peppers, I recommended he choose one or the other and have a bag of pretzels on the side rather than French fries or nachos. As for the libations, I told him to stick with light beer and drink a bottle of water in between each beer to cut down on the total number of suds consumed during the game.
Making small changes like cutting back portion sizes (if you really want those fries, share them with a friend!) and eating sensibly throughout the day before you head to a venue with less-than-optimal food choices are a couple of ways to enjoy yourself without going overboard. Also, the every-other-drink rule is one I follow whether I’m at a ballpark or a BBQ. It’s a great way to keep your alcohol consumption -and all the sugar and calories that go with it – in check. Since one of my mantras is “everything in moderation,” I find no reason to skimp on summertime fun!
In the end, Rob ate a small cheeseburger, drank only a couple of beers and loaded up on the water. On Saturday, he woke up and conquered his 10 mile run. Success!
This scenario illustrates what I consider to be the wonderful domino effect that fitness can have on your life. You get into a regular workout routine, look forward to your run, swim, kickboxing or Zumba classes and enjoy the endorphin rush you get from breaking a sweat. Before you know it, the last thing you’ll want to do is negate all your hard work by putting bad fuel into your body.
In a world filled with unhealthy relationships, diet and exercise are two things that happen to work in perfect harmony to keep you on the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!