Monday, April 26, 2010

Today we broke the MYTH about Beauty....

Week 6

This week was probably our most AMAZING week thus far!!!! The theme of the week was BEAUTY!  Half of the girls along with, Theresa and Alyson met at the East Hampton Middle School for their annual Wellness Fair. We had a table along with organizations like the Wellness Foundation, East Hampton Ocean Rescue, various physicians and dentists, the ECCO farm, Southampon Hosipital, the YMCA etc...  We were there to tell anybody and everyone about our journey.  We had a photo slide show, examples of positive affirmations, and some giveaways from Cardio Coach, our corporate sponsor. Cardio Coach offers "downloadable audio workouts" to be used on any cardio machine. They have provided us with t-shirts and mp3 players for all the girls. These mp3 players came preloaded with a workout for the girls. The i-tri girls will be working with Cardio Coach to help develop a Cardio Kids program! We spoke with students, teachers and parents about every aspect of our program. People were very interested in what we are doing listened to what we had to say. We are a part of something BIG!!! It was very good practice in public speaking

During our classroom workshop we debunked the myths about BEAUTY....We are force fed images of what is beautiful everyday in all forms of media. It can really drive us mad -  trying to compete with these images and thinking we need to look like these models in order to be considered beautiful. Truth is, these models do not even look like what we see in magazines and on TV.  The girls were given popular magazines and asked to choose an image of a women they thought was beautiful. Then they had to share why they chose that  particular woman. Answers varied; her eyes, hair or long legs. The girls were then shown a video from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty called EVOLUTION .  This short film showed the process it takes to make a model into the MODEL you see in magazines, on tv or on billboards. It shows the makeup application, hair styling and photographing. However the transformation does not stop there. The film then goes to show how the photos are digitally enhanced to make the models eyes bigger, her neck longer, hair more voluminous and cheeks thinner. No wonder we have a distorted image of beauty in this country. This led to a discussion about what the girls thought of the model. Many of them thought she looked strange when it was all said and done. She did not, they said, look like herself. We all know there are so many pressures to look and act a certain way. But the truth is we are ALL beautiful and we just need to recognize and feel it!

After we discussed this, the girls were asked to pick a physical feature they love about THEMSELVES and write it on an index card. They also chose their favorite character trait to add to the card. We then spoke about how many of the features the girls chose, were THE SAME features they loved about the models! We all have beautiful traits! Finally, Theresa had found these geodes a while back. They look like ordinary rocks, gray and dingy on the outside. However, when we cracked them open with a hammer, they were beautiful crystals on the inside! JUST like us!!!!!

After school we revisited B East . Two dear friends of Theresa's taught us Bellydancing. Shona Gawronski and Kate Topliff were amazing. Watching them dance was incredible. They were graceful and poised. They completely embodid what it means to be feminine.  When we arrived at the studio, they had jingly skirts waiting for us! They were so pretty. We all felt beautiful. Oh by way, Theresa and Alyson did our makeup before we left. We all got dramatic eye makeup. Very theatrical! Shona and Kate broke down one of their favorite dances and taught us how to do each part of the dance. They taught us to just listen to the music and to our bodies. By the end of class we all did the whole dance, twice!!!! We left there feeling so beautiful and feminine!!!! Thanks Shona & Kate!!!!


Thursday night we had a health fair at our school. We were able to finally share our experiences with everyone we go to school with and their families. Thanks for all of the support!

Saturday we were back at the YMCA for more training. We finaly got in a running workout. In fact we used the MP3 players given to us by Cardio Coach.  We had such a good time. It was a challenging workout. Sean O'Malley, Cardio Coach himself, led us up a fog filled mountain and over hills. He helped us the whole way with encouraging words and peaceful music. When we finished we felt we really accomplished something. We look forward to helping Sean and the Cardio Coach team develop and test a Cardio Kids version of the workouts. We are so excited to share our thoughts with them. Thank you Cardio Coach for all of your support!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finding the TRUTH....

Week 5

This week we learned about SUGAR content in products we are all so used to consuming. Ms. Jennifer Taylor, from the Wellness Foundation, taught us all about sugar.  We discussed how sugar gives our body a high, we have tons of energy, but then we crash and become really tired. The only way, she taught us, to get that high again was to eat more sugar. Our body begins to crave it. Then she layed out products many of us have eaten and may even love. She showed us each product and held up the amount of sugar (using sugar packets) in each product. There were products we thought were good for us but it turns out they are loaded with sugar. One of the most shocking discoveries that day was about Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Ms. Taylor told us about a man who works for Pepsi but will not allow his own children to drink it. This man uses the product to CLEAN HIS GOLF CLUBS!!! Alyson mentioned she has used coke to clean her toilet! WHY are we putting this stuff into our bodies & WHAT is it doing to us?

Then she taught us how to make healthy sorbet using fruit juice and frozen fruit. It was soooo YUMMY! She also told us how to make our own vitamin water by simply adding fruit to water and allowing it to sit overnight!

GREENHOUSE Update: Our Plot is sprouting!!!!

After school we went into town to the Kamadeva Yoga Studio. Owner Jessical Bellafato generously allowed us to use her studio for our Pilates  Mat class. Melissa Roach, of Pilates by Melissa (, led our class. She is a very energetic instructor and we were glad we did not have to stay silent the whole time!!! Many of the exercises forced us to use our core muscles to maintain our balance. We learned Pilates was an exercise for both our mind and body.  It combines stretching, stregnthening and posture exercises.
It tones, and stregthens through graceful movements of the body. Like Yoga, Pilates forces our attention inward to our body, our breath and the movements we are making. It also helps improve flexibility!  
We did exercises with our legs, lifting and circling them. We did some rolling exercises that stretched and massaged our back. Overall it was a great class!

Saturday was supposed to be our first track workout. Sadly we got rained out. So we went to the Y to continue with our swim workouts/lessons. We are all really starting to get the hang of it. Our strokes are looking better each day. After our lesson we enjoyed some REAL vitamin water, Alyson made strawberry pinapple and cucumber waters. They tasted so good!

Some Exciting News To Share!!!

We recently received a very generous donation from a FAN in Ohio. With this donation and support from Gubbins Running Ahead in East Hampon, we were able to outfit the girls with with proper new running shoes. Thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Training our Minds...

Spring has sprung ... it is a time for renewal and growth...

Today's theme encompassed this very well. We arrived to our workshop to find cards of encouragement made out to each and every one of us. These cards were mailed to us by Susie Roden, Community Outreach Director of the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center She organized a Hallmark card drive from our followers in the breast cancer community. Many in this community have been following our journey and decided to send us cards of support! Thank you to all of you who are supporting us! It could not have come on a more perfect day. Just as we were learning about staying positive through our struggles. You are an inspiration to all of us! We are so grateful for your support and encouragement. We hope you join us on our race day to cheer us on from the sidelines!!!!  Hey you never know...maybe we will have inspired you to TRI as well!!!

During our workshop we learned about AFFIRMATIONS. We learned about the difference between negative and positive affirmations. Alyson and Theresa surprised us with a shocking role-play skit in which Alyson was the voice in Theresa's head - picking herself (Theresa) apart and making negative comments about Theresa's appearance, weight, failures etc...We discussed how we ALL do this to ourselves but would never let our friends speak to us the way we all speak or think about ourselves.
We learned that these negative thoughts are NEGATIVE AFFIRMATIONS! (powerful statements - that AFFIRM how you feel) Each negative thought only leads to negative beliefs and experiences..."its like a magnet" Katie realized during the discussion. Alana asked "isnt that a waste of time?"
Yes! Negative thoughts are only a waste of time!
Then we thought of times when we made negative affirmations and found ways to turn them into powerful POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS. We made affirmation cards to hang up at home where we will see them and think and say them everyday!   I AM BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!
Continuing with our growth theme of the day we headed to The Springs Community Seedlings Project located at OUR school!!! Karen McFarland, from  the Seedlings Project gave us our own planting bed in the greenhouse. We planted seeds for lettuces, kale, peppers, and cucumbers. We will tend to the plot and then harvest when the plants are ready.

It will be great to experience the entire GROWTH process from planting, caring for and tending to the plants and then harvesting them to eat! Can we say picnic?

 Later in the afternoon we visited the Mandala Yoga Studio in Amagansett, NY. Owner, Jolie Parcher, led our amazing experience. First we started with some simple breathing and centering exercises. She guided us through some chanting.  For many of us this was our favorite part! Then Jolie led us through various poses. We learned that anytime we are feeling anxious or scared, we just have to switch our attention to our FEET! Our feet keep us grounded and connected to the earth.  For many of us this class taught us how to refrain from talking for a period of time and how we may feel the urge to talk but we chose not to talk and do the class in silance. Olivia said she learned "she could be quiet for a long time and block out noises." It took us a while to be able to be completely silent, but in the end Katie felt "happy, calm and amazing!" We finished the class in the Savasana pose. Savasana is lying on your back on your mat with your palms face up. We were silent for about five minutes.  It was so relaxing that Karla actually fell asleep for a few.

Overall we learned how we have the POWER to CHOOSE ! The power to choose Positive over negative thoughts; the power to choose silence over making noise; the power to listen simply listen and feel what our bodies are telling us! We have the power to change our own lives!