Friday, May 17, 2013

Boot Camp Q & A

Start With The Inside is holding Boot Camp workouts 2X a week, starting Thursday, May 23rd:
* Thursday evening at 6:30 pm at Tribble Mill Park in Lawrenceville [drive to playground area and keep going until you reach the end of the parking lot]
* Saturday morning at 8:00 am at Alexander Park in Lawrenceville [meet by restrooms]

Why should I do a Boot Camp workout? 
People like our Boot Camp workouts because they are different. We don't scream at you. We don't make you do unsafe exercises. Yes, those trainers are great to look at, they are fun to watch on tv, but it's not about the trainer, it's about you. What will motivate you to workout? What will be something fun that you can do and get a good workout at the same time?

What do you do in a Boot Camp workout? 
We will do different exercises in each workout. We will work with balls in a group, we will work on cardio, we will work on strength training using your own body weight, we will work on our core and posture. You will get a good workout. You will stretch. You will laugh. You may cry, but it won't be for long. You will leave feeling inspired and energized.

What should I wear/bring? 
Wear comfortable clothing. It will be warm in Atlanta, so best option is shorts and t-shirt, light jacket if cool, but you'll probably end up taking it off anyway! Wear good shoes and good socks. Bring a towel and water for during and after workout.

Is it just for women? 
No, men can come. We do not discriminate or intimidate. They will be sorely impressed by the women nevertheless. Kids can come as well, as long as they are over 12, with parent and parent signs a release.

How much does it cost? 
$50.00 for the 6-week series, 2X a week, starting Thursday, May 23rd through Saturday, June 29th. If you cannot commit to all of those dates, you can pay $5.00 per class and come to the ones you can make.

How can I sign up? 
Visit our website Start With The Inside and click on "Get fit for Summer". You can use PayPal option to pay for 6-week session.
Also visit our event page on Facebook. Use this event page to share with your friends and family and invite them to come as well.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Does it take a village to get a person healthy?

Sometimes. Or maybe just a push in the right direction. When it comes to weight loss and living healthy, accountability and motivation are very important. People like to meet set goals and they like to be inspired along the way. It is scary to take the steps to lose weight by yourself. Even with the help of an expert doctor or supportive family and friends, it is still up to you to make the ultimate changes.

In Gwinnett’s Losing It!, that village is there to help you make those changes. In this 12-week healthy weight loss program, we guide a group through the changes necessary for healthy, permanent weight loss. No pills or shakes. No crazy workouts. Just common sense education on nutrition and workouts. And getting your head into it. Start With The Inside focuses on making the emotional changes necessary for weight loss. I went through these changes in my own transformation 12 years ago and now helps others make their health transformation. 
“The most exciting part of a transformation is seeing the real person emerge from an unhealthy body. People lose who they really are or hide behind big clothes to cover themselves. When they make real change, it shows and not just in their clothes, but in every aspect of their lives.”
In this 12-week program, participants meet with a trainer once a month on nutrition and workouts, attend weekly teleconference calls and weigh-ins, attend monthly group events and workshops, and learn the essentials to living a healthy life. It’s not about getting to a certain size, but more about getting off medication, getting a healthy body and making those changes that hold a person back from a healthy life. Participants learn about proper body fat percentages, how to make healthy meals and how to exercise at any level. The group celebrates the end of the 12 week program with a 5K walk/run.

This will be the seventh season of Gwinnett’s Losing It! since 2011 and Start With The Inside is calling on local companies in Gwinnett who want to help their employees get healthy. Companies can sponsor employees in the 12-week program. The next Gwinnett’s Losing It! will begin April 8, 2013, and goes through the end of June. Registration opens on March 15, 2013. Cost is $249.00 for the 12-week program.

For more information or questions, visit website Start With The Inside and click on “Gwinnett’s Losing It!” or contact or 404-925-2626.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Losing weight the healthy way

It's December and no one wants to think about their health right now, they have too much to do. They'll think about it in January, with everyone else. What better time to start registration for the next Gwinnett's Losing It!

What is Gwinnett's Losing It? 
GLI is a 12-week healthy, weight-loss program teaching people how to lose weight the healthy way, with no pills, shakes or gimmicks. A group of 20 people, all with the same goal - to lose weight, to improve their health, to change their lives.

How does it work? 
It's not magic. It's a lot of hard work. And trust. And common sense. According to the CDC, more than 69% of our population is overweight or obese. This affects more than our looks. This affects our health, our medical insurance rates, our performance on our jobs, our sickness and illness rate, our ability to care for our families. It seems as more conveniences are made - packaged foods, fad diets and crazy workouts - it is NOT addressing the true issue of being overweight and obese.

Our emotional health IS related to our physical health and vice versa. If the packaged foods, fad diets and crazy workouts are not working, then it's time to try something new. Something that addresses the emotional side of weight loss. Why can't you lose weight? Why can't you keep it off? Are you just destined to be overweight or obese? We have 12 weeks to show you how. Through weekly teleconference calls, monthly group meetings, monthly individual meetings, weekly weigh-in's and more, you learn how to take back control of your health. Many of the people in Gwinnett's Losing It! started because their doctor recommended they lose weight. They changed their lives through our program. Not just because of what they weighed, but because they got off medications, they started eating better, they started exercising. They started living better and doing what they were truly meant to do. Not just exist, but live a good and healthy life.

There is no better feeling that good health. 

This is our 6th season of Gwinnett's Losing It! and I am excited to start in January with 20 new people. I am excited to share, educate and watch as these people take the tools they need to change their lives. Will one of them be you?

If you are interested, visit our website for more info and to register:
Gwinnett's Losing It!

If you know someone who may be interested, send them this blog or website.
If you have questions, contact me directly at

I am here to help you - let's get started!

Sandi Porter

Monday, October 15, 2012

Can I lose weight and still eat chocolate? aka the Chocolate Nazi

It's October and you know what that means? 

It's chocolate-overload time. Chocolate mini-candies and chocolate bars. Chocolate everywhere. Half of Walmart is candy right now, in preparation for the ultimate chocolate holiday - Halloween. Forget the costumes, get the candy. Make sure you get the good stuff so there is enough left over for you after the trick-or-treaters. I know what you're going through. I'm a Chocoholic. I know.

Every year in October, I bring out my No-Candy Pledge and get it going. 31 days for the month of October. No Candy. No candy in the house, no candy in the car, no candy at work. Pretty extreme, huh? Not if you are a candy or chocoholic. When candy or chocolate is a trigger food for you, it's the best thing you can do. Because you can't just have one. Let me just make it clear:

- This article is not for those people who absolutely LOVE candy and chocolate and are offended when anyone won't partake in it like they do.
- This article is not for those people who are not trying to lose weight.
- This article is not for those people who are not interested in being healthy.

That being said, can you still lose weight and eat chocolate? 

Not exactly. Well, let's be more specific. Not really. I don't think so. Okay, now I'm turning into a Chocolate Nazi. Just a little bit.

There is a big difference between LOSING weight and MAINTAINING weight.
There is a big difference between a toned, fit body and a skinny body.
There is a big difference between a healthy lifestyle and an unhealthy lifestyle.

When you are losing weight, you need to have a plan. How you are going to lose the weight, what workouts you are going to do, what nutrition you are going to have. It's better than just waking up every day and saying "Hey, I think I'll lose some weight today". However, when you are maintaining your weight, you have some flexibility. You can miss a workout and not worry. You can have a little extra when it comes to eating. You are not trying to lose weight - or gain it - you are just maintaining your weight. And that's where some of the problems come in. You may be trying to lose weight and your friend, you know, the one who loves candy and chocolate is just maintaining. Therefore, she can eat candy and not worry about it. But you cannot. Or you may be trying to lose weight and your friend, the one who loves candy and chocolate doesn't care about her health.

It doesn't matter.

This is your weight and your health. 

If candy and chocolate is a trigger food for you, meaning when you have one you just have to have another and 10 candies later, you are still eating it, then it's okay to just stay away from it. Instead of being teased by friends, "You can have just one", "One is not going to kill you" and "That seems kind of extreme not to have any"; buck up and be strong. Who cares what people say about you not eating candy or chocolate? Do they have to fit into the jeans you are trying to fit into? Do they see your doctor about your health?

So now let's talk about the actual "health" of eating candy and chocolate. We are told that "it is okay" and that "dark chocolate is actually healthy for you". Bought and paid for by our chocolate producers. Chocolate CAN be good for you. The actual cacao bean that is. Not the over-processed, highly chemical additives, nonsense chocolate that is in 98% of our products today. Dark or milk or white. It's not the cacao bean. In it's natural form, chocolate is healthy, but we don't see it in that form today. In the typical "Snickers", "M&M's" and other candy bars, there is no form of healthy chocolate. But there is marketing and advertising, as well as our childhood habits of stuffing ourselves with chocolate and candy starting in October every year. Funny, that's when people start getting sick too. Hmmm.

Can you lose weight and eat chocolate? Tell me your story. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

How to handle trigger foods

When it comes to weight loss, most of us have a trigger food. A food that when you eat it, it causes you to eat more. A food that when you try to stop eating it, it is very hard to do so. A food that when you don't eat it, you want it all the time. Chips, candy bars, brownies, ice cream, chocolate Easter eggs and chocolate Easter bunnies. Typically, a trigger food is one that is not so healthy for you. High in fat, high in sugar, high in something not so good for you. Most of the time, a trigger food is not a healthy, clean food. You don't typically say "Oh, give me some asparagus now" or "What I wouldn't do for some broccoli right now".

So, how can you handle trigger foods? 

Here are three steps that I teach to my clients:

1. Substitution. Find a healthy substitute for an unhealthy food. What is the emotional attraction to the trigger food? Is it the texture? Is it a childhood memory? Find out what attracts you to this food and try to duplicate it. Examples:
Ice cream - cold and creamy. Start to experiment with making your own desserts with cottage cheese by blending it to remove curds, mixing yogurt with frozen fruit, or protein pudding. Healthier options that are not so high in sugar and fat.
Candy bars - chocolately and sweet. Replace with protein bars that are similar to candy bars. There are some good ones out there that still have sugar in them, but not as much as a candy bar. Try Luna or Clif or Lara bars.
M&M's - not so bad when you have just a couple, but who ever has just a couple? When I had a huge problem with M&M's [everyday], I started getting edamame [soy beans]. I would get a bag and boil it in a pan, rinse and drain and then put in small ziploc bags. When I had that craving for M&M's, I would eat edamame instead and it solved that craving. No, it wasn't a chocolate M&M, but it was similar to a M&M in size and texture and that was enough for me.

2. Moderation. After you find a healthy substitution for an unhealthy food, next is learning moderation. Portion control. Here's the deal - you can overeat a healthy food just like you can an unhealthy food. Except for maybe asparagus or broccoli. Learn proper portions.
Ice cream - after making healthy substitutions and happy with my cottage cheese and yogurts and protein puddings, I learned I was lactose-intolerant and had to cut back. Jeez! So, I tried it every other day instead of every day.
Protein bars - when I was getting closer to my goal, I also had to cut back on the protein bars I was consuming. It is easy to do because you tell yourself that they are healthier than a candy bar. So, I would cut a bar in half and have the rest the next day. Or I would have one every other day.
Same thing with edamame or any other trigger food. Learn to moderate and not focus on the food so much. What are the emotions that cause you to go to that food? It is more important to find that out during this time.

3. Elimination. Okay, here's the part where all the diet snobs roll their eyes and will have the sugary comments about depriving themselves and how it will hurt you to eliminate anything or restrict yourself in any way. You know, it's okay to go without once in a while. We live in a fast-pace, give it to me now, whatever I want society and along the way, we have forgotten self-control, self-discipline and common sense. If you have a problem with a certain food, say chocolate like me, is it okay not to have it for a certain amount of time? Um, who the hell cares? It's nobody's business what you eat or don't eat. Oh, except for the people around you who tell you it's okay to have a chocolate treat because you've worked so hard. Or the friend who can eat anything and not gain a pound, but criticizes your choices.

Elimination is tough. Some people can go straight to the elimination stage, skipping 1. substitution and 2. moderation. That's fine, if it works for you.

Elimination can be a temporary thing.

It doesn't have to be permanent. There are certain periods of time when I give up chocolate completely. When I am training for a race, when I have a photoshoot or big event coming up.

Find the reason WHY you have an emotional tie to a trigger food and then find your way to deal with it.

It's okay to not have a trigger food for a period of time if you take that time to figure out WHY it is a trigger for you and WHAT you can do about it. Will I ever have chocolate again? Of course, I do now. But I don't focus on it. And I can handle it now. It's not a problem for me now. It is still a trigger food, but I handle it in a healthy way. I use substitution when I need to. I use moderation when I need to. I use elimination when I need to. It works for me. It can work for you too. So, will you try?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl Healthy Eating Strategies

It's on a Sunday. It's filled with a big game and fun commercials and a big half-time show. It's friends and family and cheering on your team. It's just another Sunday afternoon football game, right?


It's Super Bowl Sunday and it's all about the food.

At least that is what we are told. I wanted to write an article giving my clients a heads-up and a way to help them - recipes they could try, food to avoid, a what-to-eat-at-the-buffet-table kind of article. And then I realized, we are already bombarded with those articles. At least I am. Every health or fitness company I know has sent me "10 Best Healthy Eats for the Super Bowl" and "Top 10 Tips to Survive your Super Bowl Party" and it goes on and on. 7 recipes, 3 things to try, 9 things you won't believe. Blah, blah, blah.

What does this mean for the average American who just wants to not wake up on Monday morning hung over and bloated from a chip-fest or wants to be healthy and avoid the bad stuff?

It means you must be a freak.

A freak.

This came to mind when I met with a client this week who has done really well. We took her progress report [measurements, bodyfat%, BMI] and photos, and I sat down and asked her, "What have you done in the last four weeks?" She looked me straight in the eye [a very good sign] and said "Every single thing you told me to do" [another very good sign]. After a very good meeting, she told me about her next challenge, a girls weekend with her friends. Previously, this would have been a time to relax with her friends, eat and drink. But this time, she wanted to do things differently. One of their friends was what she called a "freak". This "freak" exercised every day while they were there. This "freak" brought her own food and ate well. This "freak" did not drink alcohol because she didn't want to "drink her calories".

"I want to be a freak" is the next statement out of my client's mouth. She told me of her plans to take her own food, to stay on her healthy nutrition plan, to exercise while she was there [took her weights in the car] and her desire to be a "freak".

A freak. 
  • Someone who exercises daily.
  • Someone who eats healthy. 
  • Someone who drinks healthy. 
I'm a freak too. I'm a freak who goes to a Super Bowl Party and doesn't make it about the food. I don't have plate after plate of chips and dip and then complain the next morning because my jeans don't fit. I eat in moderation and I avoid the foods that are too fatty or are not right for me. I eat fruits and veggies and lean meats. I talk with people. I enjoy the game and the commercials and the half-time show.

I'm a freak. 

So, instead of giving you my top recipes that are going to "save" you from this football holiday, I will challenge you and ask you,  

"Are you willing to be a freak?"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sacrificing for your health

Are you sacrificing your health or are you willing to sacrifice for your health?
In our quick weight loss, pill and shake-dominant society, what is considered a sacrifice anymore? 
  • A strict diet plan?
  • A regimented workout plan? 
  • Not eating chocolate? 
Oh no, she brought up the subject of chocolate again. But another research just came out that said chocolate is good, so good for you. Uh huh. Take a look at our chocolate-laden, sugar-addicted society and ask yourself a question - "Who is making money on these 'health surveys' and 'research' that shows that chocolate is good for you?" Anyway, back to the subject. You know I shouldn't have brought up the "C" word. 
We sacrifice in other areas of our life. We put ourselves on a budget and try to stay within it. We work at a job and are successful at it. We have children and teach them right. Is that a sacrifice? Yet, when it comes to our health, egads, it becomes a sacrifice. Oh no, I have to work out or oh no, I cannot eat a candy bar every day. It's a sacrifice. We don't like being told we cannot do something. Because we work hard in all those other areas - we handle our money, we work hard at our jobs and we love our children. But when it comes to the thing we have to do every day regardless of if we want to or not - we have to eat and we want to do it our way. And so we do it our way. 
  • The stores make it easy for us - unhealthy food is cheap. 
  • The fast food restaurants make it easy for us - unhealthy food is fast [and cheap]. 
  • The medical community make it easy for us - they have pills and shakes and if that doesn't work, surgery for obesity will cure all. 
But what about what our heart says? 
What about that inside voice telling you that you know it is not right. You know it not right to overeat. You know it is not right to be sedentary. And yet, the easy way is to sit on the sofa and watch TV with your chocolate and your glass of wine. And forget about sacrifice, it's too hard. 
So, are you sacrificing your health, day by day, and hoping it will get better by magic some day? 
Or, are you willing to make a sacrifice for your health?