The 80/20 Principle

Yes, we know the struggle. Tired of the constant dieting? The “if I can just make it past 3:00 PM I’ll be fine!”. Find yourself frequently cutting out food groups in an attempt to keep off the weight?

We tend to run into these internal battles with ourselves and food when we try to live our lives at 100%. Eating well, 100% of the time. Working out at 100% effort, 100% of the time. Performing at 100% at our jobs, at home and in our communities.

Let me introduce you to the 80/20 principle as it pertains to nutrition. To maintain our wellness goals (and still stay sane in the process, yes that means a glass of wine or your favorite pizza from Za!), we are encouraged to incorporate the 80/20 principle into our lives. So what does it mean?

It means that 80% of the time, we want to eat a nutritionally balanced diet that incorporates all of those food groups we’ve been learning about since elementary school. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats. However, we want some wiggle room (to enjoy that delicious ice cream of course)! That’s where the 20% comes into play. By allowing ourselves to enjoy foods that may not be as nutritionally beneficial for us as others, we are better able to create a healthy lifestyle as opposed to adhering to a “diet”. Notice I used the word, ENJOY. Not “obsess over” not “binge” not “freak out after eating and run right to the gym”. Remembering to develop healthy relationships with what we choose to put in our bodies is crucial to incorporating this principle.

No one is expected to live at 100%. Remember, it’s all about BALANCE.

Post written by Stephanie Sudjian, Registered Dietitian at the Cambridge Athletic Club

Member Spotlight – Larry P.

Larry recently joined the CAC and re-capped his very first yoga class experience in the essay below. It’s funny, it’s satirical and it’s oh so true:

Yoga. Gettin loose in the 60’s (again)! I recently participated in my first ever Yoga class – 75 minutes of physical activity and “poses” seemingly designed, in my case, to provide instant and constant feedback to just how out of shape I’ve become. It’s not that I needed this class to confirm this (of this I’m aware) but each and every step throughout the 75 minutes revealed every muscle group I’ve neglected by a lifetime of not properly stretching.

As the class progressed I marveled at the flexibility of the fellow yogarites (???) that surrounded me. Skiing the black diamonds at Park City is a piece of cake compared to the physicality required of these exercises. At various times I wanted to stand and applaud their abilities, though this would have been a self-serving act…. standing in a yoga class is easy, all the rest….not so easy. Where Gumby-like flexibility is required for most of the exercises, my frame more closely resembles a body assembled by Dr. Frankenstein. Case in point. In all of the film adaptations I’ve seen of the Mary Shelley classic, good ol’ Frankie never assumed the “downward facing dog” or “locust” or “cobra”, or any number of the “bird” poses. No…Frankie always walked stiff-legged and upright…you get the picture. So here I am… Frankenstein in a room full of Gumbys.

Undeterred, I soldiered on, though there were many times I wanted to call a time out, but I found the routine did not allow for such luxuries. I instead resorted to those poses I could do. I found myself repeatedly resorting to the pose where one puts their hands together in prayer, in my case praying the 75 minutes would soon be over.

At one point, the yoga instructor led us through a bending exercise, from an upright position, where the objective was to reach over and have your palms lay flat on the mat without bending your legs! I attempted this, came up about 2 feet short, and compromised on a position where my palms rested comfortably on my knees – a stance that was familiar to me from all those years playing center field. Preparing to chase down a line drive or a fly ball is not the objective here, rather the intent is to bend your torso completely over as if a flexible straw! That ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, in fact likely never, but you gotta start somewhere, so I’ve created a new pose,” the not so nimble center fielder”.

They say that yoga will improve my golf swing. In that I have no doubt as there are endless possibilities for improvement to my golf swing. But I have far less ambitious objectives in mind…like reaching into the back seat while driving to pat the dog without pulling a muscle in my back…or adjusting ski bindings or the buckles of my ski boots without the need for developing a strategy to do so…you can never find a step stool on the ski slopes when you need one! I exaggerate of course, but not by much. Frankenstein wore the equivalent of ski boots.

So, I’ve embarked on a journey to get loose in my 60’s. I can only hope that my muscle memory partially forgets all my transgressions along the way, and perhaps allows for a level of flexibility that will serve me well in the years to come. We’ll see. Namaste. -Larry P.

Valentine’s Day Blog

Who said Valentine’s Day was only meant for celebrating the relationships we have with our significant others? 

This year, celebrate a positive, healthy relationship with the FOOD that comes along with this holiday too! How? Follow these 4 simple tips to enjoy your sweetheart (or sweet-TART) and stay mindful while doing so!

1. Chocolate is NOT taboo on Valentine’s Day, even when you are still trying to fit into your favorite skinny jeans the next day! Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love. Why not throw those extra pieces in your big box of chocolates into the freezer to enjoy throughout the week? Or better yet, share those chocolates with your friend’s at work the next day. Savor the flavor and spread the LOVE! 

2. Eating healthy can be both delicious and nutritious. Whoever said chocolate was “bad” for us must have never tasted DARK chocolate! Move away from labeling foods as “good” or “bad”. Look at food for what it is, and the benefit it provides the body. If you’re going for the sweets this Valentine’s Day, grab some dark chocolate rich in antioxidants that help our bodies maintain a strong immune system in this cold weather!

3. Instead of footing a large bill at an expensive restaurant (which let’s face it ladies, also means spending money on heels and a new dress!), try out a new recipe for two at home. Get in touch with your creative side and experiment with doing something that nourishes YOU and the person you love. Too often we get sidetracked with caring for everyone else, that we neglect to care for ourselves. So what’s stopping you? No one said you had to be the next Martha Stewart to cook up something delicious!

4. Stop counting! Looking forward to giving or receiving that big heart box, but worried about the fat and calories? No need! If you need something to count, skip counting the calories, and instead count the amount of bites you take to enjoy the savory piece of chocolate. Rather than thinking about the next piece you can get your hands on, stay in the moment and enjoy what you are eating. Chew your food enough so that it doesn’t give you indigestion. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that it is full! Think about that before you go for the next piece of chocolate. 

CAC is offering free guest passes on Valentine’s Day too, if you’re in the mood to workout pre-chocolate  😉


Meet with our Dietitian, Stephanie, for more great recipes and other nutrition services!


Happy YOU Year!

AVOID junk food. LOSE 20 pounds by summer. DON’T miss a workout. Sound familiar? It’s that time of the year again when the holidays come to an end; the house is in shambles from the revolving door of company, and the days of staying in pajamas all day cease to exist. Maybe our clothes are a bit snugger, our workout routine has fallen to the wayside or maybe we just want to feel better than we do right now. No matter where you are at in this moment, I challenge each of you to read the above quote and listen to how you react to it.  New Years’ resolutions can be overwhelming for many, and much of it can be due to the thought process surrounding the above quote. For my Type-A perfection chasers, maybe you’re right there with me on this one. “Well I was SUPPOSED to “x” but that didn’t happen so I have to start over again tomorrow because today was a total failure.” What if I asked you to look at the above quote as a DAILY quote rather than a quote read only on January 1st of each year? Would your perspective change? Perfection is unattainable, but each day we wake up, we have multiple opportunities to make decisions that promote self-care (even if we miss the first few). The reason resolutions tend to overwhelm us, is because our goals aren’t SMART. Huh? Bear with me…


What exactly do you want to achieve? Why?

Weight loss I want to lose 20 pounds so I can avoid using up sick days 

How will you know you reached your goal? (Use quantifiable value)

My clothes will fit better I will weigh myself every Sunday to determine if I’m losing weight.

Can you see yourself achieving this goal?

Well, I need to lose the weight so yes… I have a Trader Joe’s five minutes away from my house that I can shop at and a gym membership where I am able to workout four days a week 

Is it a worthwhile goal? 

Is it the right time?

I work two jobs, go to school and have four kids that all have after school activities so meal prep and time for the gym is scarce, but summer is in a month so…. I have time on Sunday’s to prepare healthier meals for the week instead of eating at McDonald and my family is supportive of my need to cook and eat healthier.

How long will it take to reach your goal?

As soon as possible I will lose the 20 pounds in four months.



I leave you with one important reminder. “Attitudes are contagious. Make sure, no matter where you go or who you meet in life, yours is worth catching.” The way you treat yourself dictates the first of the 365 blank pages. Take care of yourselves. Be SMART. Happy YOU year.


Stephanie Sudjian, RD

Healthy (and HAPPY) for the Holidays!

Healthy (and HAPPY) for the Holidays!

Let’s face it; the holiday season can bring about unwanted stress and overwhelming feelings despite the effort exuded to ward them off.  Who said eating and drinking had to contribute to this stress? Enjoy the holiday cuisine, but don’t let it be your sole focus.  This holiday season, I challenge each of you to truly embrace what the holiday season means to you. Maybe it is visiting with distant relatives, cherishing the memories of a passed loved one or celebrating your good health. Be mindful of ways you can better yourself this season, not compare yourself to Aunt Sally, cousin Jimmy or the girl in the mall. The stress to fit a specific mold can only be controlled by YOU.

Our physical health is driven very much by how we feel emotionally. Balancing stress during the holidays is critical to making healthy choices.  Instead of placing the primary focus on food this holiday season, maybe you and your loved ones start a new holiday tradition like ornament decorating OR keep the cooking traditions and try some recipe modifications.

Try out some healthy alternatives when cooking this holiday season!

*Replace vegetable dips and heavy dressings with some seasoned plain Greek yogurt.  Mix 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt with ½ a packet of good season’s Italian dressing mix for the same great taste with two times the protein!

*Replace half of the butter in your recipe with unsweetened applesauce

*Try using spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla extract to sweeten up your favorite holiday treats without the added sugar!

*Replace cream cheese with low-fat cottage cheese

*Replace cream with skim milk

*Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt

*Practicing mindful eating habits is also a great strategy to use when it comes to making healthy choices.

*Research suggests the first two to three bites of food are the bites we enjoy the most. Savor the flavor! Before continuing to eat a specific dish, ask yourself if you’re satisfied with what you’ve had or if you truly need to continue eating it.

*Make sure to sit at the table with family and friends while eating rather than in front of a TV or computer screen. This helps us focus on what and how much we are eating.

*Take breaks between bites of food, and between courses of meals. It takes about twenty minutes for our brain to signal to our bodies that we are no longer hungry.

*Hydrate (and no, not just with those delicious holiday cocktails!). OK, but if you must… try out some healthy holiday drink recipes like Apple Cider Sangria, Pomegranate Mojitos or a Winter Sea Breeze!

Fit For The Feast!

Fit For The Feast

What tools do you have in your toolbox this Thanksgiving season to survive ENJOY the holiday’s? No, I don’t mean wrenches and screwdrivers, or power tools to loosen your belt after downing those delicious mashed potatoes and gravy! Let’s “hammer” home some ideas and concepts we can throw into our toolboxes this season to help us truly be thankful for the things that matter most in life, like FOOD (ok, ok, I mean family…)! Remaining fit and healthy through the holidays IS possible without dieting.

Tool #1: DON’T fast for the feast.

Many people tend to cut back on their energy consumption until the “feast” begins.  While this may seem like a good plan in theory, it leads to overeating and uncontrollable hunger later in the day. It also slows your metabolism! Munch on some vegetables and hummus or throw a fruit & yogurt parfait together before heading out the door.

Tool #2: It’s YOUR choice in the end.

Don’t deprive yourself of the special occasion foods you love! The more you tell yourself you’re dieting and “can’t” or “shouldn’t” have something, the more likely you are to overeat it later in the evening. Pick and choose what is most enjoyable to you. If it comes down to your aunt’s excellent sweet potato casserole or your cousin’s famous brownies and you still can’t decide, have both! Yes, I did just say to have both. Are you wondering where the catch is? Well…if you choose to have both, cut back on the portion sizes of both so you can still enjoy without overeating.

Tool #3: Don’t skimp on the workout.

Whether it’s an annual turkey trot or a brisk morning walk, don’t forget to exercise before you head out to celebrate the holidays. Exercising has been shown to help maintain normal hormone levels that control appetite and metabolism even when we eat more than we should, especially around the holiday season.

Tool #4: Be mindful about seconds.

If you are still feeling hungry after finishing Thanksgiving dinner, go for some more turkey or vegetables.  Try to avoid the mashed potatoes and stuffing.  Proteins and vegetables help fill us up quicker and keep us fuller longer! Remember to save room for dessert 😉 Pumpkin pie is on the way!


HEALTHY Halloween!


Whose calendar looks like this on November 1st?  Now that fall is upon us, the holiday season has officially begun!  Deep breath. This is a GOOD thing.  Believe it or not, Halloween is the best holiday to begin teaching kids mindful eating behaviors (and let’s be honest, we could all use a hand or two dusting off those spooky cobwebs!).

First and most importantly, remember that Halloween is ONE day.  Similar to any other holiday or special event, the same 24 hours are allotted to this holiday.  Phewf!  Rather than viewing Halloween, or any holiday for that matter, as an inevitable five pounds, sugar rush or automatic trip to the gym the day after, work on embracing the uniqueness of what Halloween has to offer. Halloween is a great holiday to incorporate three central ideas of mindful eating:


Everything in moderation! The more we deny ourselves the things we love, the more we tend to crave them.  To help with falling into the “all or nothing” approach, portion out your favorite treats you tend to over-indulge on and allow yourself to still enjoy them when you truly want them.  If decreasing the portion size is too difficult, decrease the frequency you eat these “less nutritionally beneficial foods” (like candy). Halloween is a great example of this frequency concept. Candy is something that could be enjoyed on special occasions or holiday’s as opposed to every day.


You must be thinking I am crazy for recommending a taste testing of CANDY. Stay with me…when we taste any foods, we determine which we like and don’t like.  Allow your children, or yourself, to sample a bite of different pieces of Halloween candy.  Decide then which two or three you and they like the best.  The rest of the candy can then be eliminated (or donated!), or split up depending on interest amongst your family and friends. Allowing our children and ourselves to experience and experiment with different foods (yes, even candy) teaches us to truly select foods we enjoy eating as opposed to just eating what is in front of us in the moment.


Similar to #1, ration out the treats you love! The more you ration them out, the longer they last 😉 It is the attempt to control the immediate problem at hand (sweets) that gets us.  To make all of the candy disappear quicker, we must eat it all and then “get right back into the healthy living lifestyle”. MYTH! This is the all or nothing approach referenced in #1.  By denying ourselves the things we love to eat, we set ourselves up to run into eating a whole bucket of candy in one sitting as opposed to enjoying it sporadically and proportionally.

…ok so how do I do this you ask?

  1. Try to avoid eating candy straight out of the pumpkin…portion out ~100 calories (two “bite-sized” pieces of candy) into small zip-lock bags.
  2. Put the portioned out candy in a cabinet out of eye-sight-or stick some fruits and vegetables in front of the candy bucket starting at you in your refrigerator so when those cravings kick in, you can first ask yourself if you REALLY crave the candy or need some colorful foods instead. Fun fact: eating fruits and vegetables fill us up quickly because of their higher fiber content!
  3. OR Try handing out less tempting treats at your house if these tips don’t seem to resonate. Hand out pretzels or fruit snacks instead! If it’s not the excess amount of sugar available in one place that spooks you out enough, maybe it’s the potential trip to the dentist!

Five Tips to Keep Nutrition Simple

  1. Everything in moderation! Even too much of something good can be detrimental. Did you know eating too many carrots can turn your skin orange??
  1. Eat the rainbow! The more you can incorporate different fruits and vegetables into your diet, the more vitamins and nutrients you get. While spinach is great, forgetting to incorporate some tomatoes will leave you lacking in some important vitamins your body needs.
  1. Listen to your body-it knows best! Let’s face it, we live life in fast-forward mode. Sometimes, that causes us to eat mindlessly, or skip meals all together. The more we pay attention to our hunger cues, the more mindful we become to what our bodies truly need. That being said, be aware that everyBODY is different! There is no one customary way to eat that works for each person, and the diet industry is constantly pushing a new fad each week so listen to what YOUR body needs. After all, the gut is our second brain!
  1. Minimize the added sugar intake. Women should be consuming no more than 24g of added sugar per day and men, no more than 31g. Keep in mind that naturally occurring sugars in milk and fruit do not count in this total. These are purely sugars ADDED to foods such as baked goods or sweet breakfast cereals.
  1. Go for the food! Supplements can be helpful, but usually only in people who are deficient in certain nutrients. Eating a well-balanced diet in accordance with the USDA guidelines eliminates the need for many expensive, sometimes unregulated supplements.

Member Spotlight – Patricia S.

I was always fat as a kid. It was called chubby. I never wore the trendy dresses all the other girls wore. My clothes were more expensive, well made and boring. I started dieting as early as high school, it was a struggle for me to stay in a size 14. I did a tour in Weight Loss Centers in my early 20’s. Not very successfully if I remember correctly.

I finally discovered the joy of working out when I was in my mid 20’s. I’d had my daughter when I was 19 and had gained 60 lbs during the pregnancy. I was desperate to lose the weight I had gained. I wasup to 200 lbs! I joined European Health Spas and bought a “Lifetime Membership”. Of course, they went out of business and my membership went down the drain but not before, I discovered the joy of endorphins.

My next gym membership was with Fitcorp. I was a member there for 20 years. I fell in love with aerobics, step aerobics, yoga, Pilates, etc. Though I worked out every day, and did a class on Saturday mornings I still struggled with my weight. I was an oxymoron “Fit and Fat”. I used food as a coping mechanism for many years. My weight fluctuated up and down. My weight went down when I was being “good” and my weight went up when I was being “bad”. I next discovered the joy of water workouts. I started doing aqua aerobic classes in my neighborhood and fell in love with that workout. I ended up, this time, becoming a certified aqua aerobics instructor. I began teaching three classes a week.

By this time, I had joined the CAC and was working out during my lunch hour and teaching three classes a week and sometimes subbing a class on Saturday mornings. However, my job was stressful and there was food everywhere in my office. I was grazing on food all day in my cubicle and my metabolism just could not keep up. I would get very discouraged by my weight gain and not go to the gym for long periods. However, I never stopped my membership. There was still hope that one day I would get my weight under control.

Last spring I went to St. Martin on vacation and I was at my heaviest. For the first time I had to wear a seat belt extender on the plane. It put me in real funk. I did not enjoy my vacation. I felt bad about my body and where I had let food take me. This was my wake-up call. I decided then and there that this would have to change. I decided that I would use the tool of weight loss surgery. The procedure does not guarantee you will lose weight. You have to be compliant with the huge decrease in food and be willing to exercise. I knew I had the exercise part down pat. I love to move!

In December 2015 I had the surgery and I have to date lost 90 lbs. This time I was willing to not only exercise but also let go of my food addiction. My doctor told me I was a “superstar”. I am so enjoying my workouts. It feels good to be able to move my body with all that extra weight off my body. I feel strong and empowered.

I love Bootcamp with Margarita, Izzy’s TRX classes and yoga with Megan. I have signed up for personal training with Margarita while continuing to teaching water fitness 3 nights a week. My fitness idols are Serena Williams and Schyanne (a Personal Trainer  at the CAC). They and so many others inspire me to reach my fitness goals. Speaking of goals: I want to be in peak condition when I retire in 5 years. If I continue on this path I am on now there is no doubt this is a possibility.



CAC Mobile App

Cambridge Athletic Club App for iPhone or Android


Download the FREE Cambridge Athletic Club App to view and sign-up for classes! Classes will be automatically added to your schedule with just a click. You can also use the App to check-in at the club (instead of your scan-card), update your billing and profile information, and easily access our social media pages and contact information.

Optimize your time and maximize the convenience of scheduling classes and checking in from your mobile device!


App Instructions:

STEP 1: Down the App either on iTunes or Google Play, depending on your mobile device

STEP 2: Log-in

*Existing Members: Log-in using your existing information from your CAC member account HERE. If you do not remember your password, just click ‘forgot password’ to re-set or contact us for guidance by calling 617.491.8989 or Please do not create a duplicate account as the system will not recognize you.

*New Clients: Select create an account and you will be prompted to set-up your log-in information. You will be sent an email to verify your account and asked to provide a little more after the new account is set-up.

STEP 3: Select your location at the top center of the app. You can choose either Cambridge Athletic Club or CAC Tech Sq.

STEP 4: Check out all the cool features of the app!

-Click on the card image next to your name/email to pull up your bar-code to scan in at the front desk

-Select ‘Group Ex Classes’ tab to view schedule and sign-up online

-Go to ‘My Account’ to update billing and profile information