Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How NOT To Make a New Year's Resolution

It's that time of year again. Christmas is over, New Year's is on the way, and people are saying what is expected of them - hey, let's set some New Year's Resolutions? What are your goals for the year? What can you accomplish this year? Yada, yada, yada, boom, boom, boom. 

What do you think is the most popular or common New Year's Resolution? Losing weight, maybe? I've heard, esp. lately, that 90% of the people who make a New Year's resolution to lose weight, or become fit, fail to keep their resolution. Well, duh, I could have told you that. I've done that! Who hasn't? 

A New Year comes along and all of a sudden, it's time to analyze your life, what is good, what is bad, what you can change, what you cannot. But come February and March, when the "resolutions" are pretty much in hindsight now, what do you do then? Make another resolution in March? Or does it become just another notch in the bedpost of failed resolutions and you go on. 

So what is a "Resolution"? Dictionary says it is a "resolve or determination; the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure". So you resolve to do something, you determine a way to do it. But here's the hard part - actually doing it. 

Let's go to the heart of the matter - the actually doing it part. You've already read all about making New Year's Resolutions. If yours is weight-related or health-related or fitness-related, you've probably even read more. How many times you should work out a week, what specific foods you should eat, what classes you should take, what foods you should not eat, how to set weight goals. That's all fine and dandy, if you can do it. But if you've failed in the past and you knew all of this in the past [health information], then what's going to change this time around? How many years have you made the resolution to get in shape or lose weight? Has it happened yet? What can you do to finally make a change?

How about NOT making a New Year's Resolution? 

How about going against the grain and everyone else you know? Don't set yourself up for failure. Don't set unrealistic timelines. Don't make yourself do something you don't really want to do. Don't make a New Year's Resolution. There, do you feel better? Is some of the pressure off now? 

Now let's get to the other heart of the matter - what's in your heart? Really in your heart? What is the one thing _____ that you want to do in your life that you are not doing? 

What is the one thing _____ that you secretly say to yourself, "When I get in shape, I will do this _____"? or "When I lose weight, I will do this ______"? 

Can I tell you something? If we take all of those ______'s and multiply them ________ by everyone who is not doing their  ________, we'd have a whole lot of ______________________ done in the world. What are we missing by not doing our _______? World Peace, the answer to cancer, being nice to your neighbor, friendliness, love, new businesses, books, geniuses. What exactly are we missing out on? We're missing out on a whole lot of people [2 out of 3 people have a weight problem in America right now] who are not accomplishing their goals, their heart's desires. They will do it when they get in shape, and they are not getting in shape. They will do it when they lose weight, and they are not losing weight. 

I'm asking you to make a difference. I'm asking you to make a change. My life changed 9 years ago when I decided to STOP making the resolutions and just SHUT UP and do it. It's not a once-a-year thing for me to make goals. It's an every month thing, an every week thing, an every day thing. I choose to get up and be healthy. I choose to eat healthy foods. I choose to workout my body. And I choose to do my _____. 

Get free from the annual "New Year's Resolution" this year by NOT making a New Year's Resolution, but by deciding what you really want in your life. Decide if you really want to do _____, and then just go out there and do it. Make the steps to do it, make the plans, you know how, just follow your heart, listen to your INSIDE voice. It starts with the inside. 

I'm going to do it today, are you?


Saturday, December 26, 2009

How To Detox From Christmas Cookies...

It's the day after Christmas and are the cookies still around? Some are, the good ones are gone, of course, but there are still some stragglers, enough to tempt you and help you with the sugar high you are used to after munching on them for several days now. 


How do you detox from Christmas cookies? 

There are several types of Christmas cookie connoisseurs - 
...those who make the cookies
...those who decorate the cookies
...those who eat the cookies
...and the most common breed - those who make, decorate and eat the cookies

'Tis the season. 

Ya gotta have cookies, right? 

In the 8 years since I have lost my weight, you would probably get a different answer each year. One year it would be "no cookies, don't even start". Another year it would be "it's okay to have one once in a while, don't worry about it". Another year it would be "just eat in moderation". I wish I was strong enough to be like the first example every year, but I'm not. Every year it is a struggle...because I am a baker, I love to cook. I am a momma, I love to please my kids. And because I love the season and Christmas cookies and baked goods go along with the season. I do make several organic varieties now, but then there are the good ol staples that cannot be modified. 

Regardless of how many cookies you consume, whether it be one a day, or the dreaded one an hour, you still need to detox from the cookies...

• Once they are gone, don't make any more. Regardless of if you have the ingredients. 
• If all the good ones are gone and you are still nibbling on the stragglers, no matter how crummy they are, throw them OUT! It's okay, I give you permission. 
• Get back on a good nutrition schedule [notice I did NOT say DIET!], making sure to get enough protein and healthy fruits and veggies. I like to make a protein shake with frozen fruit and banana just to get some extra protein in. I also put red grapes in ziplocs and snack on those when I get the sugar urge. Isn't it amazing how FAST your body gets used to sugar...and then how HARD it is to give it up? 
Be strong emotionally. Christmas is an emotional holiday. Time with family, presents, food, events, it all takes a toll on your body - and your emotions. Cookies that would never tempt you before now are calling your name. Be strong and know what you want. If you are trying to lose weight or get healthy, then you've got to just let it go [and the cookies] and get back on-track. 
And one of my favorite options - take it to the WORKOUT! Run, bike, lift weights - do something! Jump rope if you have to. Take your emotions to your workout and just get it out! 

The best way to detox from cookie overload is just to stop eating them. Period. 

It's only once a year. Indulge if you choose to indulge, NOW GET BACK ON-TRACK. Don't wait until January to get back on track - because we've got 5-6 days left of December. Trust me on this one. Get back on-track NOW. 

I am with ya friends, everyone has their own battles and everyone has their own Christmas cookie battle. Now it's time to win that battle...

Are you going to?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Parties - To Partake Or Not?

'Tis the season to be overweight, falala lala lalalala. Oh no, that's not how it goes. So why do we feel that way? Is it the crazy schedules, the parties, the get-togethers, the shopping, the driving near mall areas, the parties, the concerts, the plays, the parties, the cheese straws and sausage balls? Ha - it's the parties, all those parties with all that food. Christmas parties - to partake or not? 

I love Christmas. I love Christmas parties. Who doesn't? You get to see people you don't normally get to spend time with. You get to eat good food that you don't normally eat. There is a carefree and loving atmosphere at Christmastime, you know, of course, after you run around like a maniac, starving all day, wrapping presents and baking food and driving in bad weather. That's all just part of the experience, right? 

When you are trying to lose weight, Christmas parties can make or break you. But it doesn't have to be like that. You can go to Christmas parties and eat good food, you can go to Christmas parties and not over-drink. It is possible. It's all in how you approach the upcoming parties. 

If you think and SAY "I'm going to blow it at this party, I can't stay away from the cheese straws", then you most likely will blow it at the party and overeat the cheese straws. 

If you think and SAY "I always drink too much alcohol at parties and then go overboard on the eating", then most likely you will drink too much and have a eating fest. 

It can be very hard and frustrating - so what do you do? 

First of all, remember the reason for the season. Put your priorities on what is truly important. Christmas parties are a time for you to get together with friends. It's not all about the eating. Well, part of it is about the eating, but not all of it. Is it about the cheese straws or about talking to friends, laughing with friends, loving friends? 

You already know what to do prior to the party - drink water, don't starve, exercise - you've heard it all before, you read it in every magazine this time of year. You know what to do. So now get your mind into it. If it is important for you to eat healthy, even at parties, then eat healthy. If it is important for you to stay away from certain foods, then do it. If it's important to you to make a change in how you do things, then do it. 

It's only a Christmas party! It's not a life and death decision. 

I love to eat at parties. I get to try new foods, but I hold fast to what I do any other time I go somewhere other than my home and eat. I have already made those choices. I know what foods are not good for my body, so I don't eat them. I haven't been to a party yet where there is nothing I can eat.

Do your homework. The foods that you know are not good for your body, you stay away from them during the week, so stay away from them at a party. If alcohol is a problem for you, then acknowledge it and stay away from it. 

Most of the time, the problem is not the food - or the alcohol. 

It's you. 

It's you, making a decision, conscious or not, that you will overeat or overdrink. 

It's you, making a decision on whether you will stay on-track with your nutrition program or whether you will "blow it" just one more time because Oh, it's a party. 

It's you. 

You decide. Don't blame the season because you made a bad decision. Don't blame your friends for having a party. Decide today to do it differently than you have in the past. And go to the party and have fun.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Is Surgery The Only Option for Being Obese?

Being overweight is so hard. Being obese is even harder. 

Not only are you plagued by physical health problems, but you face emotional issues such as depression as well. Then along comes help. First in the form of a pill by our pharmaceautical society and then if that doesn't work [and it never does], don't worry, more help is now available, surgery. I am truly amazed at how popular weight loss surgery has become over the last 5 years. So, is surgery YOUR only option if you are obese? 

I attended an event last week. It was for a women's group, local leaders and workers, and the focus was on health & wellness. It was a great opportunity and I met and talked with many outstanding women before the program began. Then the sponsor spoke. It took everything I had to stay in my chair. Before the meeting, I noticed a representative putting flyers on each seat, explaining how a new weight-loss surgery could help you lose weight. I was very distressed to see this. Then the sponsor spoke. 

This gentleman was a very distinguished doctor. He had excellent credentials, which he explained. He worked for a very reputable medical center in our community. And then he proceeded to explain more about obesity. His first statement that astounded me [yes, I took notes so I would get it right] "To treat the disease of obesity, surgery is the only option". 


And then his second statement "Obesity is not a lifestyle choice". 

Double aaaggghhh!!!

He continued to elaborate on how successful the surgeries are and how safe they are. He was very technical and talked in a monotone voice and did not look at the women as he spoke. Now I may be oversensitive because I deal with this issue every day, but all I could see was a room full of maybe impressional, smart, professional women who were all waiting to hear what this "medical expert" had to say, how he could help them. And he just told them that surgery was their only option. 

Luckily I had a chance to speak with many women afterwards and we did talk about the other options. But the damage had already been done. How many times are we faced with lies like this, how many times a day? TV ads and programs, radio advertisements, magazine and newspaper ads promising instant results. Pills, programs, and now surgeries -- all to handle the one little thing that keeps growing in our society - obesity. 

So is surgery the only option? 

Please know that I am not a physician. I cannot walk you through this complicated surgery and explain the details to you. I do not work for a large medical company. I do NOT endorse pills or fat-burning products. 

I am a fitness professional. I am a certified Fitness Trainer. I am a certified Specialist in Performance Nutrition. I own a health and wellness company Start With The Inside. I was obese, for 8 years. I am not obese now, and have not been for almost 9 years now.

And I see obesity and it's affects in my clients every day. And in my experience, I can tell you that the most prevalent issue in obesity is not the physical problems that accompany it, but the EMOTIONAL issues that lead up to a person being overweight or obese. 

Poor self-esteem
Bad relationships
Not knowing how to communicate
Not knowing how to handle stress
Bad habits
Over consumption of comfort foods 
-and- my favorite
Pushing things under the rug so you don't have to deal with them

Sound familiar anyone? 

I have empathy for anyone who is obese. I truly do. I know what it was like for me. It was miserable. I was miserable. You become more and more desperate as each pound comes on. And when people come along, or products, that promise results, are easier than facing the facts, we, in our fast-food, give-it-to-me-now-and-I'll-worry-about-it-later society, we are easily influenced by all of these promises. 

It's easier than dealing with the EMOTIONAL issues, right? 

Yes, it is easier. But it's much harder to recover from. Weight loss surgery is cutting open your body and doing something that is unnatural, it is just not natural. Does it sound natural? Does it look natural? And what are you faced with after surgery? A broken body that can recover, but your emotional issues are still there, left undealt with. Is the distinguished doctor with excellent credentials going to be there to help you - to help you deal with even more emotional issues now? Honestly? I don't think he will be there. I think he, along with his collegues, will be celebrating another notch in their belt, another scientific accomplishment, another thousands of dollars to him and the medical industry. 

I know it's hard to deal with the emotional issues, but you HAVE to. You have to find out WHY you are in this situation. You have to change your habits. You have to change the way you talk to yourself. You have to start with the inside. And I know you can do it. Do it today!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can You Maintain Your Weight Over The Holidays?

Okay, so you decide not to lose any weight over the holidays, just maintain. 

So how do you do that? 

This week is tough, the week after Thanksgiving. I see three kinds of clients - those who blew it nutritionally on the big meal day, those who kind of blew it on the big meal day, and those who did great on the big meal day and then proceeded to blow it over the weekend on their nutritional plans. 


Is it possible to maintain your weight over the holidays? 

First of all, what is it to maintain? The dictionary says: "to keep or keep up; continue in or with; carry on". Okay, maintenance? The dictionary says: "upkeep, support, defense". A great coach once told me that maintenance is not the lack of work. You still have to be focused, you still have to be sharp and not let your guard down. You still have to work. And when you are trying to lose weight, let's be honest, that's work. 

One of my diehard clients had this to say about maintenance during the holidays: "The way I see it - the holidays are Nov. 26, Dec. 24, 25 and 31st. Why do I need a whole month of maintenance?" By the way, I love this client! She is making progress and has a great mindset. She is continuing to work hard during the month of December, even with obstacles in her way. But what she said is true - we are only talking about 4 days here! So why does everyone take off in the month of December? 

It's too stressful so you don't have time [make time] to workout. 
It's too many parties so you can't eat right [make good choices]
It's too cold outside to workout and I don't have a treadmill [give me a jumprope or a bench and I'll prove you wrong]
It gets dark early so I can't workout outside [duh, go inside]

It's just too darn BUSY! [get over it, workout!]

You can maintain during the holiday season. It starts with what you tell yourself and how you speak about the holidays. 

If you say, to yourself AND others, "I'm just too tired to even think about exercising right now" - guess what? You'll be too tired to exercise. 

If you say, to yourself AND others, "I know I shouldn't eat this, but I'll get back on-track in January" - guess what? You'll be mad at yourself and chances are, you'll have an even harder time in January getting back on-track. 

If you say, to yourself AND others, "I'm just too busy, I am just going from one thing to another, I can't think about being healthy right now" - guess what? You'll continue being busy, you'll continue going from one thing to another, and you won't be healthy. 

It doesn't take long for this to affect your body. Sicknesses seem to come along, whereas you may have been able to fend it off before, now you cannot. You get wore down, everyday activities wear you down. You get tired of celebrating. You get tired of overindulging, but it's a habit now. You just get tired. A bad December can last through March, I know, I've done it in the past. Why do you think the gyms are so crowded in January and February? 

Take the advice from my client, it's only 4 days of celebration, it's not 31 days. And take my advice, you'll feel better. Keep moving, keep eating right, keep telling yourself that you can do it. And before you know it, the holidays will be over. 

You MAKE the choice - every day. 

YOU CHOOSE to live healthy 


YOU CHOOSE to live unhealthy

Whatever you choose, own up to it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chocolate - Is It Good For You?

Chocolate is great for you...no wait...chocolate is bad for you...no wait...chocolate is good for you - well, food and health industry - which is it? 

Is chocolate good for you? Or is it bad? 

Each day I am bombarded with "new" information on what is considered healthy and what is not - does that ever happen to you? And do you ever see the information contradicting itself as I do? Sometimes it makes you want to sit back and think...hmmm...what is the money trail here? Is it the big bad chocolate companies that are making money from our chocolate addiction or could it be the "health" industry doesn't really want us to be healthy, because then we wouldn't buy their products that claim to cut your body fat from a pill or a shake? 

This is a hard topic for me because...I am a chocolate addict. Know anyone else who is? Yeah, that's what I thought. 

When you are young, you are rewarded with chocolate. Growing up as a young lady, you start using it as a weapon against the dreaded PMS symptoms. Here, eat some chocolate, it will make you feel better. When you combine that with other not-so-healthy foods, you get other addictions including ice cream, candy bars, candy and other high calorie foods. Before you know it, you just need a little bit, maybe every day, to get by. Just a little bit won't hurt, right? 

Hang onto your hats because I'm going to go against the grain again, or as my daughter says, go in the out door again...

Chocolate is not healthy for you. 

There, I said it. I am not a scientist so I cannot give you the scientific breakdown of why. I am not a pharmacist, so I cannot give you the biological breakdown of why. I am not a physician, so I cannot give you the logical breakdown of why. And finally I am not a drug pusher, so I cannnot give you a reason to not want it. 

I am a fitness professional. I see what chocolate does, an overabudance of chocolate, does to bodies. I see what it does to young people who view it as a reward. I see what it does to young women who use it for PMS symptoms. I see what it does to 40-year old women who are addicted to it and are obese and just can't give it up. 

I've been all of them. And maybe so have you. 

What is the psychological reason for chocolate to keep coming up, time after time? I mean really? What is the reason it comes up in common conversations with women everywhere? Chocolate is good for you. Chocolate is bad for you. What's the real reason?

Is it an emotional drug? 

Is it comparable to a drug? 

I don't have the answers for you. All I know is that if it affects your body in a negative way, i.e. sugar high/crash, obesity, overweight, then you have to give it up. You just have to give it up. You have to put your blinders on, regardless of the next newest report that is going to come out and say how healthy it is. Any true chocolate lover knows that it cannot be THAT good for you. I've quit it before, I've had relapses before, but most importantly, I recognize that it is a problem for me and I treat it as such. It is not part of my daily life. It can't be. Chocolate is very good at replacing emotions or feelings. The hard part is when you give it up, you must deal with those emotions or feelings and stop using chocolate as a way to escape. 

Oh, yeah, that's the hard part. 

Is chocolate good for you? Tell me, what do you think?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Survival - Part Two

Part Two...which is worse? Is it the overload of food that drives you crazy or the overload of relatives that drives you to food?

As I counsel more and more clients on how to actually survive Thanksgiving Day - not overeating, eating healthy foods, drinking water, etc. - one thing keeps coming up, family dynamics. Every family is unique and in my belief, every family is somewhat dysfunctional. And it's funny, the personalities that are similar, the characters that are similar in every family and it seems that there's always one [sometimes more] that just knows how to push the buttons when you are trying to eat right. For the purpose of this blog, we'll call that person "crazy". I know, just hang with me...

So, you try to prepare for the day. You cook good foods, you know what you want to do, you're drinking your water, everything is fine and then boom, crazy does something crazy and you find yourself taking an extra slice of pie, going back for thirds and fourths, having another glass of wine and before you know it, you're sitting on the sofa unbuckling your belt and unsnapping the top botton on your pants and you're miserable. Crazy keeps going crazy, 'cause that's what she/he does and you wonder where you went wrong. Huh?

How can this be avoided?

You can't control crazy - so what are you supposed to do?

You're right. You can't control crazy. Crazy is as crazy does. Crazy has been acting crazy because she/he has always done it and just gets away with it. Doesn't matter if it is right or wrong. You're in a family, you're supposed to forgive and forget, right? Then why are you always the one trying to get crazy to stop acting crazy?

When a family gets together, it should be a good event. There should be laughter, friendship, fellowship, sharing, happiness. And sometimes there is. But sometimes there is jealousy, disagreements, different parenting styles, different opinions, sadness. And when you add food into the equation, lots of food, oftentimes it just gets caught up in the moment and you overeat. Some people find it very difficult to get together with family and not overeat, esp. when they start living a healthy lifestyle. For one thing, you are more aware. You are more aware of what you are eating, how your body is responding and your emotions. Overeating is equated with not being aware, not being aware of how your body is responding [until it's too late] and covering up your emotions. With Food.

I know this is a sensitive topic and I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you.

I could make a lot of money selling products and packages, but I choose not to, because I want you to know the truth. And the truth is you have to start with the inside. You have to make the decisions to face your problems, to face the crazy's out there, to put what you KNOW about nutrition into action and then, just to DO IT.

Crazy is not going away. So deal with it. Find a way to deal with it.

In my personal life, it was about boundaries with crazy. I had to decide to go with my instincts and limit contact with crazy. This was not liked by some in my family. Too harsh. Not forgiving and forgetting. I had to make it a point to not be around crazy in order to limit any affects that crazy could have in my life. And this meant affecting the dynamics of our family get-togethers. It was hard, but so worth it as now I have eliminated that problem and don't overeat because I can't handle a crazy person. Do what it takes.

What is crazy's objective? In my case, it was "if it's not about crazy, it's not about crazy, and on and on" all attention had to be on crazy and it usually was, one way or another. So, take that attention away. It doesn't mean that crazy is going to change, it means that you are.

You change your environment.

You change your reactions.

You change your patterns.

You get healthy. Don't wait for another holiday to just get by, do it now. Prepare yourself emotionally to make it through Thanksgiving Day. I know you can do it. Just start with the inside...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How To Make It Through Thanksgiving Dinner...

When you are trying to lose weight [or maintain your weight], Thanksgiving Dinner is like going on a cruise. You are going to be around a lot of people, there is tons of food and drink, and the odds of you coming away from it pounds lighter are very slim.

It doesn't have to be that way. 

Thanksgiving should be a time to celebrate our country's heritage, a time to fellowship with our family and friends, a time to rejoice that we are alive and healthy, a time to enjoy good food.

Yes, that's right. Good food. You can find good food on a cruise, too. No really, you can.

Thanksgiving Day food-wise is only as hard as you make it.

So, what do you do?

Here's my top tips: 

• First and foremost, have a positive attitude about food. If you go into this Day [or a cruise] thinking and SAYING "I am going to blow it, I know it", then guess what? You will blow it. If you go into it fearful and paranoid thinking and saying "I'm afraid I am going to blow it, I just know it", then guess what? You will most likely blow it. However, let's think positive. Why not? Has the other options worked? Think and SAY "I know I can do good on this day and I will do good on this day". Your body responds to what your mind tells it, right? Then focus on the positive. Give yourself a chance to do good, then do it.

• Along the same lines, STOP saying the word "BAD". Example - "I know this is BAD for me", "This is a BAD food", "I know I'm going to be BAD". Stop calling foods BAD. Foods are life, foods are energy. You need life, you need energy. Now, granted, some foods are better than others, but don't go into it saying that all foods are BAD and BAD for you. Again, negative connotation associated with food. Think positive about food.

• It's all about portion control. Let me ask you a question - typically, on a Thanksgiving dinner, would you say that you probably eat about twice what you normally would eat? If your answer is 'yes', then I would say to you, then why not take 1/2 of what you would normally eat? You're not going to starve. When you are looking at the gorgeous buffet table all decked out, take your plate, and start piling it on - but take only 1/2 of what you would normally take. You know, just because there is a big serving spoon in a casserole - IT DOESN'T MEAN that you have to take a serving spoon size. Cut it in HALF!

• Get some balls. No, not turkey balls or dressing balls, or even pumpkin pie balls, I'm talking about guts. Well, let me rephrase again. Build up some nerves, be brave and learn to say no. Now I know you are going to see Aunt Sally just once this year and she just slaved over that sweet potato-marshmallow-brown sugar delight just for you because it's your absolute favorite. So eat some of it. Remember, 1/2 of what you would normally take. Are you offending her? No. Is everyone in the room watching every thing you are eating? No. [most of the times, they are so concerned with what they are eating]. When Aunt Sally comes around with the dish to give you more, you just tell her that you had it and it was absolutely wonderful and maybe you'll have some more later. No need to scream or cry or explain your dietary restrictions or even the dreaded, ahhh, "I'm trying to lose weight". Just get some balls about you and say no. No big deal. It's a big deal if YOU make it a big deal. If Aunt Sally chooses to make it a big deal, then that is her problem, not yours.

Friends, I know you know what to eat. You tell me all the time. You hear it all the time. I can give you all kinds of tips that tell you what kind of food to eat, what to drink, how to exercise - and believe me, THOSE THINGS are very important. But most of you already know those. What I want to share with you is how to EMOTIONALLY prepare yourself for this meal or this day.

Again, it is only as hard as you make it.

So make it fun. Make it a day to celebrate. Make it a day to enjoy your family and friends and yes, good food. Get your exercise in, watch your portions and be reasonable. It's okay to take a day off your normal routine, as long as you get back in your normal routine afterwards, not a week afterwards, a day afterwards.

Best wishes to you all as you celebrate Thanksgiving. You know what do to, so now go do it. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What To Do When Your Support Isn't Supporting You

Weight loss is a battle! You feel like you are fighting against your body - do the workouts, eat the proper way, cut out certain things, add others, push, pull all the time. You set goals, you start seeing results and then it happens, your support isn't supporting you. Now what do you do?

Your support can be your spouse, friends, co-workers, other family members. Usually it is someone you are close to, someone you live with or spend a lot of time with during the days. And it's not like they don't know your goals, they do. You probably shared your goals with them, or they may be on the journey with you. Either way, something happens and they let you down.

It could be something they said, something they did, a behavior change. Whatever it is, it throws you off balance and you start to slide. Maybe you eat a little candy or miss a workout, just once. Then it happens again and you slip again, a couple of times a week. Your weight-loss progress starts to slow down and the once-a-week's become several-times-a-week or weeklys. You start to get discouraged. And you're not getting the support now from your support.

This is a cycle I see often in the weight-loss battle. I've been through it myself. It's not fun.

It could be a spouse who doesn't want you to workout in the morning.
It could be a friend who makes a snide comment about your nutrition plan.
It could be a co-worker who always has candy and everything else you are trying to avoid and is constantly offering it to you.
It could be a family member who just loses touch with you and blames it on you spending too much time on yourself.

How can you do it without your support? 

How can you lose weight without support?

Most of my clients have heard my "hubby-support" story about when I was in a 12-week weight-loss contest [leannesslifestyle.com] and I had made the decision to give up ice cream for the 12-week period. Was it required? No. But I knew it was hindering my progress and so I made the decision, informed by family and was determined to stick to my guns. The first weekend, and oh, the weekends are so tough when you are trying to lose weight, my supportive, type-A husband came home with 2 bags. I knew it wasn't going to be good because I can tell a mile away a grocery bag that has ice cream in it. Call it extra-sensitive perception or whatever, I know ice cream in a bag when I see it! He happily proclaimed "Hey baby, Kroger was having a sale, buy-one-get-one free, so I bought two and got two free!"

He said this as if he were expecting me to jump up and down and kiss and hug him.

Didn't happen.

In fact, quite the opposite. I was not happy. Did he not hear me just a few days ago when I shared with him my goals? Did he not understand it? I don't get it.

He didn't get it either. But I had made a commitment and I was going to stick by my commitment. I didn't eat any ice cream and by the weekend's end, the ice cream  was gone and I hadn't had one bite. This continued the ENTIRE 12 weeks. I continued the entire 12 weeks. Not one bite of ice cream. Did I make my goal? Uh, yes, I sure did! That was 8 years ago.

I had to make a decision, not only about my spouse supporting me, but about others around me as well. I had to endure the snide comments, the lack of understanding from  co-workers or friends, the lack of support from family.

And I just shut up and did it.

One of the major problems women have in losing weight is the TIME they have to spend on themselves during the process. They have to workout, they have to eat right, they make decisions every day about their health. And it INTERFERES with other's plans. And that's where the conflict comes in. Your support person may not want you to change. They may say they do, but in reality, they don't. They want the same person to look a certain way [for whatever reasons], they want your focus to be on them, they don't like CHANGE.

And to that, I say, you have to make a decision. You have to decide what is more important:

-Being the person that your support person wants you to be, no matter if you are healthy or not.
-Being the person that you know you want to be.

The hard part is that you might lose someone along the way. You may lose a friend. You may lose a co-worker. And here's the hardest part, you may lose a spouse.

If someone loves you, then they should accept you the way you are. And if you want to change the way you are, a true supporter will love you anyway.

I was fortunate that my spouse continued to support me, well, he is lucky :) but I had to lose support in other areas. I don't have parents that support me. And you can go on, you think about it, you grieve about it, but overall, you just get over it. That's one of the reasons I get so "clingy" and scared when I am facing a big race or an accomplishment. You always want your parents to be proud of you and I don't have that. I have a husband who loves me and my kids and sisters, but that's it. I'll never hear "good job Sandi" from my parents, so I look for other ways to hear it, from friends and family, but when it comes down to it, I am my biggest supporter.

I am the one who tells myself "great job Sandi".
I am the one who is doing the hard work.
I am the one who is living a healthy life and proud of it.

Take the focus off your support and put it on you. It's okay to do that. Now, make a commitment to yourself and don't let yourself down. And pretty soon you'll be telling yourself as well "great job!"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Modern Technology and Fitness

It's on the computer, it's in the computer, it's with the computer, it's inside your computer. Your workouts, your nutrition, your heartrate, your stats. But what about what's inside of you?

As you might have guessed, I am an old-fashioned girl. Nicer than what my husband calls me which is "horse and buggy". We actually got in an argument about it Saturday night on the way to meet friends at a restaurant as he is lost [I knew where we were] and freaked out when I didn't know where the navigation button was on my phone. I know the gps button, but not the "navigation" button. Huh? Anyway, he threw out the old h and b insult and the argument began. 

Are computers taking over our life? Now granted I have made progress, I have a website, I am on Facebook [somewhat reluctantly] and I am blogging, but somewhere along the way, I wonder if we've lost a little bit of ourselves?

Modern technology is great. With the touch of a button, you can access e-mails, Facebook, tweets, weather, news, anything you want - anything! Your car can talk to you. You can program your workouts. You can record any tv program and watch it later. Technology has improved so much in the last 10 years it is mindboggling!

Modern technology and fitness is great. You can program your workouts. You can monitor your heartrate. You can follow nutrition plans. You can track your progress. The computer can be a great asset to your fitness program. I've had many successful clients who do just that. But they also do one more thing...they listen to that inside voice.

That inside voice that tells you when something is wrong. That inside voice that tells you that you might need to take a day off in the gym. That inside voice that tells you calories were too low for the day or too high and you need to adjust. That inside voice is something that cannot be programmed into a computer. It is your instinct, your gut feeling.

And sometimes, people get so programmed in bad habits, they lose their inside voice, or they stop listening to it.

And sometimes, people get so programmed in their computers, those lose their inside voice, or they stop listening to it.

See the problem?

So what do you do? Get rid of the computers?

Not likely. They are too important now. Even to old horse-and-buggy's like me. But you can start by listening to your inside voice. Bring the human factor back. Really know what your body is saying. Get in tune with it. Computer programs are great, but knowing yourself, who you are and what you want in life is even better. And when you start listening to your inside voice, your instinct, then you can follow the computer programs and still see results.

What's inside of you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why The Obsession With Candy?

I love Fall, I don't like Halloween. The ghosts and demons come out of hiding and in my life, that means the candy and chocolate. Is it just me or is there candy and chocolate everywhere you go these days? Even worse, chocolate candy. I'm obsessed with it and I get madder and madder every time I see it.

You may say to yourself when you see my postings each week on Facebook or Twitter about staying away from candy and being strong, alright already, we get the drill. Candy is bad. Candy will send you down a road you don't want to go on. Get over it. So what? Why the obsession with candy? 

My obsession with candy, I guess, began when I was a child. We were rewarded with candy, it was a thrill to have something sweet. Halloween was a treasured holiday because we would fill up our pillowcases and some years, it would last even until January we got so much! I was raised on candy. I didn't see any harmful affects until I was older, and by then it was too late, I was hooked.

When I started having children is really when I started realizing that I had a problem with candy. When I say candy, I mean chocolate. Chocolate candy, but it can also be candy corn, which is also very popular this time of year. With pregnancy, the pounds came on, but once the baby was here, so was the weight. And I couldn't get it off. No matter what I did.

And so this went on for a good 8 years. Trying every diet and workout under the sun, but unable to give up my beloved candy. Halloween was the worst. As moms, we go out and buy the "bite-size" candy bars, you know, because they are so much healthier than the actual candy bars. Huh? A candy bar is a candy bar, 45 calories or not [see previous post "It's still an oreo..."], 90 calories, 190 calories. It's still a candy bar in your body. How does your body digest that? Like it does any sugar, fat, over-processed item you put into it. Hard. Just like soda, ladies especially, it affects - your metabolism, your hormones and your ability to lose weight.

But you already know all this, we're told it all the time. So why do we still eat it? Because it's there?

My battle with candy may have began when I was a child, but it's still going on as an adult. But now, I'm on the other side of the fence. I know how destructive it is to your body. It was to mine! Have you seen my before and after photos? I don't ever want to go back to that! I like being healthy, feeling fit and how I do that is by giving up the candy.

Candy is the enemy now.

A little radical?

I don't care anymore. I don't care if you secretly call me a "candy czar" or make fun of me because of my FIGHT with candy. I don't care if you think I am off my rocker when I ask why candy is on counters, in schools, at homes, at restaurants, at gyms, everywhere! I know I make people mad. I know I make people uncomfortable. Believe me, I've lost some friends over it.

But I believe it!

I believe that candy and chocolate is a huge downfall to many women who have weight to lose and lives to regain. And I won't stop. I won't stop the fight against it.

And I won't have any candy. That's the obsession now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saggy Boobs

Guys [males], this post is not for you, please leave and see next post on beer bellies...

Ladies, we have to talk about this. I know it's on your mind, esp. if you are trying to lose weight, have lost weight or thinking about losing weight.

What do you do about the saggy boobs?

When you embark on your fun weight loss journey, you envision that the hard things are going to be fitting in the workouts, the actual workouts, learning how to eat right, eating right - but most the time, those are easy compared to the emotional issues that come up and the saggy boobs.

Why do you lose weight in your breasts - when you want to lose weight in your stomach or hips or thighs? It doesn't make sense and it is so frustrating! If you've lost weight, esp. a substantial amount of weight, you'll know what I mean, when you bend over and see the concave that used to be full and pretty. Ugh. Anyone know what I mean? Full, robust breasts suddenly become flabby, saggy bags of skin. Ick.

It is at this point that most women say "whoa bessie" and pull out the stops on the weight loss train. This is not worth it, they say. They hate the flabby, saggy bags of skin. Their husband hates it. They won't look in the mirror. It affects what they think about themselves and how they act. They think to themselves "If this is what is going to happen when I lose weight, this is not worth it". They may not come out and say that in public, but EMOTIONALLY, this is a huge battle that most women are not up to facing. Let's face it, our breasts are very important to us. Guys [males], what are you still doing here? Go please. You're not going to miss anything, okay, and it's not all about you... :))

Ladies, here are the facts, down and dirty...

• Your breasts are made up mostly of fatty tissue. When you lose weight in a proper way, you will lose fat. And this is one of the first places it will come from [for most women]. What is the next place? Wherever you have fat on your body, usually your stomach or thighs or hips - however - you have to keep burning the fat in order to get there. You cannot stop because your breasts are looking saggy. I know how frustrating it is, it's very disheartening when part of you that you love lets you down, way down, and you blame your body. When I was in my heyday after nursing two babies, I wore 38D babies. Yeah baby, I had robust, beautiful breasts! And then I started losing weight. Gasp! I went to 36's, then 34's. I went to C's, then B's. Not a huge change, right? Ugh, wrong. Huge change. I lost approximately 70 lbs in 15 months and although I finally fit in a size 4, I had so much saggy skin, I looked like a sad dog. Not a good dog, a bad dog with saggy face!

• Your body needs time to adjust to weight loss. It always amazes me that people take years to get in the condition they where they are overweight and miserable, but then expect to lose it all within 2 months and everything is fine. NOT! Real life is not The Biggest Loser, losing 4-14 lbs a week. Real life is losing 1-2 lbs. a week and being consistent. Take it slow. Make it last. I was absolutely heartbroken when I finally reached my weight goals and I was left with saggy breasts. You can cover up with clothes, which is what I did before when I was overweight, but it's not the same. You know what's under your clothes, ladies, and it does matter. You want to feel sexy and great-looking, esp. to your spouse or loved one.

• It takes time for your skin to adjust. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, it will adjust, you just have to give it time. I cringe when someone mentions having surgery, weight-loss surgery or plastic surgery to correct something that could be taken care of with a little care and planning. Anyone can lose weight - IF they want to. It's about your choices and decisions every day. I can tell you from experience that your skin will adjust. And I can also tell you it takes time - 6 months to a year, at least. Here's where some women will crack under the pressure. They just can't take it how they look and schedule a dangerous surgery or SUBCONSCIOUSLY they start gaining weight. Can't put their finger on WHY, but they just do. They don't want to deal with the saggy boobs. When I went from 38D's to 34B's, I maintained that weight for a good year before finally, my skin adjusted. I kept a good program focusing on proper strength training [lifting weights], effective cardio and good nutrition; and kept my weight where it was. Now, I am happy to tell you - boys, you had better be out of here, I mean it - there is absolutely no sagging and I have beautiful perky breasts.

Will this happen for everyone? I don't know. I haven't lost 100 lbs. I only lost 70. But isn't it worth it to wait and see?

Don't give up when you start losing weight and your boobs get saggy. You have to get tough EMOTIONALLY and TRUST your body! Your body will adjust, it just takes time. Now, who's going to be my busom buddy out there? Anyone?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Should I Join A Gym?

Is it absolutely necessary to join a gym to lose weight or get in shape?

This is a question I get all the time from women who need to know "What do I do?" and "How do I do it?".

It depends on the person.

When someone first talks about "getting healthy", their first thought is "I have to workout". "I have to workout" means - a place to workout, a time to workout and...a workout. Time is spent on planning a routine, planning to make time for this routine and then where will you do it. The focus of the new weight loss routine is "working out". For some, this means starting out gung-ho, going strong for approximately 2-3 days, then peetering out, frustrated and tired, take a few days off, and then - wait for it - start again on Monday. This cycle can go on and on endlessly. Do you know anyone who starts their weight loss program every Monday? Come on, tell the truth, I know you do. I know it may be you. It was me, once upon a time.

Getting healthy includes much more than just "working out". Unfortunately, working out is what we place the emphasis on, and get frustrated when we cannot make it work.

A good weight loss plan includes 3 major components - Strength training [working with weights], Effective cardio training and nutrition. I would also add a fourth component - internal strength. What is internal strength? The core of my business - Start With The Inside - finding your reasons why you are not doing something and fixing them, listening to your inner voice once again, and loving the person you are, regardless if anyone else does or not.

So, it's not all about the workout. It's about the workout AND nutrition. Percentage-wise? Get ready...
20% workout
80% nutrition

What? How can that be? Does that mean you only have to workout 20% of the time. Noooo. It does mean that you have to place much more emphasis on your nutrition plan WHILE you are working out for a well-balanced program. And nutrition is what most people have the most problem with. Anyway, to get back to our topic of do you need to join a gym, it can go either way.

• Are you motivated by other people or are you okay with being by yourself?
• Are you secure enough to workout in front of other people [and mirrors] or do you enjoy the privacy of your own home [and mirrors]?
• Does your budget allow you to join a gym?
• Can you schedule adequate time to actually go to the gym?

A gym can be a great motivating factor to get you to workout. There are other people, most with the same intentions as you. There is commardarie, access to every workout machine you can think of, classes. However, your home gym can also be a great place too. Some women are terrified to go to the gym - they don't want the guys to watch them [and you know those guys are watching you...], they don't know what to do in the weight room, they are scared and intimidated. Others need to be around people. It depends on you.

If you can purchase dumbbells and a bench, technically, you can lose weight at home by following a good program that includes strength training, effective cardio and proper nutrition. It can be done at home. IF you have the internal strength to do it. During the year that I lost the majority of my weight, I did not belong to a gym. I was too scared. And then when we did join a gym, I was too intimidated to do anything but cardio workouts for one year. It took me a long time to get the courage to workout in the weight room with the guys. So, I've worked out both at home and at a gym. Like I said, there are good things about both ways. It all depends on you and what will get you to take action.

No, it's not mandatory to join a gym. But it is important to do something, either at a gym or at your home for strength training and cardio workouts.

So it's up to you. Do you have the internal strength to do it. I know you do. If you don't know if you do or not, let me know and I'll help you find out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'll Get In Shape When _______ [fill in the blank]

You have great intentions. You start a workout routine. You start a new diet. Everything's going great, on day one. Maybe even day two. Then day three, something happens. Or maybe day four. Your attention is drawn away, the crisis is here. Oh no, I can't focus on being healthy now, because this _____ [fill in the blank] happened! I'll do it when this _____ [fill in the blank] is over.

Days pass, still unhealthy. Weeks pass, still unhealthy. Maybe even months pass, still living unhealthy. Then you start again. Day one is great, this time you make a whole week. Then something happens, _____ [fill in the blank].

Do you know how often this happens?

Do you know how frustrating and heartbreaking it is?

Some people stay in this cycle for years, some for many years. Some don't come out of it. They continue to "put off" getting in shape or getting healthy because of the "stuff" that happens to them. TO THEM. Can I just throw something out there for you to chew on? It's not all happening TO YOU. It's called life. And it just happens.

I can absolutely guarantee that WHEN you start a new program, whether it be a new workout or a new nutrition program, something bad will happen in your life. Someone will die. Someone will get hurt. Someone you know will go through something tragic. Something will happen that will throw you off-guard. You might lose a job. You might start a new job. You might move. Your schedule might change. Guaranteed. Something is going to happen when you start trying to live healthy.

So...if you already KNOW something is going to happen, and you already KNOW it's inevitable, then why not LIVE HEALTHY ANYWAY???

Why does everything have to stop for stressful situations, if your life is continually one stressful situation after another? When you get through the stressful situation, aren't you even more miserable with your body because you've allowed harmful habits to drown out your misery, ex: caffeine, sugar, alcohol? Sure these might soothe the pain temporarily, but does it help the shape of your body? Or do you feel like you are continually starting over, in worse shape than before?

Here's my prescription as a Fitness Professional and as one who has gone through it personally:

You start a program, you stay on it. You keep working out. You keep eating clean. You do it when you are stressed. You do it when everything's going good. You do it when everything's not going good. You just DO IT.

Years ago, while I was in the midst of my weight-loss, I got a phone call from my sister that my Dad was in the hospital. No one wants to get that call. Unfortunately, my car was in the shop and my husband was gone, about one hour away. I could not get to the hospital quickly, so she offered to come and pick me up and take me. So I had about 45 minutes to wait anxiously, not knowing how he was, what was wrong, getting more frantic by the minute. This was my daddy. So I fret and cried and called people for about 30 minutes, then I started thinking. I got out my cooler and started packing it up. I packed it with protein drink, protein bar, grapes, water, tuna, healthy snacks. I knew that whatever happened, I most likely would be spending some time at the hospital, and I was right. We were there for HOURS, all day long. But I had brought my cooler with me. I ate healthy snacks on breaks. I ate healthy meals in the cafeteria with my sister, who could not believe I had thought ahead and brought a cooler. I couldn't believe it either, but I was so determined not to fail this time, that even in the midst of extreme stress and uncertainty, I was prepared. In the end, my dad was okay and so was I. But instead of coming home, drained and uncomfortable from bad hospital food or a day of not eating at all, I was stressed, but still eating healthy and not running to the chips, sugar or alcohol to alleviate the pain.

This is just an example, there were many more, during that time. And during that time, habits formed, and now healthy eating and healthy living is just a part of life now. Yes, bad things still happen. People still die. People still hurt. People still go through tragic things, and yes, I know these people and I live with these people, but THIS IS LIFE. This is what life is all about. People living, people dying. I hate to be a downer here, but everyone you know is going to die. Some day. Why not live each day in a healthy way so you can enjoy every day that you have?

_____ [fill in the blank] is going to happen. It's just going to happen. So, can you be strong enough to just let it happen and live a healthy life anyway? I know you can.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How Do You Break Up With Sugar?

You've been going out now for quite a while. You've been close, you've had disagreements, you've had good times and bad times, but it's over now. You know now that it's not good for you. You know it's time to leave. So, how do you break up with sugar?

Sugar addiction is tough. Breaking up with sugar is no easy task. It takes a lot of discipline. It takes a lot of courage. But it can be done.

I remember as a child eating things like Twinkies, huge chocolate bars and spooning spoonfuls of sugar onto my breakfast cereal. Sugar was very natural for me to eat. I was skin and bones so no one thought it would matter if I ate just one more sugary treat. Then, as I grew, sugar stayed prominent in my life, as I went through the stages of becoming an adult. Sugar played a huge part when I met my husband and we decided to get married. We would celebrate our connection by picking up a 3-pack of Dove chocolate ice cream bars and go to a local park. There we would talk about our future, be in love, and of course, eat Dove chocolate ice cream bars - we split the 3rd bar!

Sugar and I started to disagree when I went through postpartum depression after the birth of my first child. I started to think that maybe sugar wasn't so good for me. But sugar battled back and won. I stayed a victim for 8 more years, during that time becoming more and more addicted, during that time becoming more and more overweight, during that time becoming more and more hormonal, depressed, obese, helpless, miserable. I blamed everything - my metabolism, my hormones, my husband, becoming a mother, the environment, the President, everything. Nothing could make me happy, but my sugar.

Until the day I gave it up. Talk about a power struggle.

After seeing photographic proof of what my body looked like, that's always fun and a good wake-up call, I rebelled and started to question my relationship with sugar. I tried to cut back. I tried to quit. I tried to have just a little bit. I tried many things to break up with sugar. But, sugar didn't want to break up with me. I did it anyway. It wasn't good for me. Period.

So, how do you break up with sugar? [your options]
Cut back. Do you really know how much sugar you are consuming? Look at the food labels of what you are eating each day. How much sugar is it? Are you eating packaged foods? Are you adding sugar to foods? You can cut back by monitoring what you are currently eating, and cutting back on the sugary foods and drink. Sodas and chocolate are the biggest culprits of sugar, but don't be fooled. Breakfast cereals, bars, juices - all can have high levels of sugar as well. Just cut back in what you normally consume.
Go cold turkey. Eliminate sugar from your nutrition completely. This one is hard. Have I done it? Yes, absolutely. Very hard to do, but great results. This option is for the very disciplined or very pissed off person. You get mad at the sugar. You see what sugar has done and you refuse to let it near you. You go through a few days of withdrawal, but you get over it and you start thriving physically and emotionally.
Have just a little bit. You don't eat sugar during a normal day. You don't eat processed foods, but you get your sugar from natural sources, like fruits or honey. You occasionally have ice cream or something sugary, but immediately go back to a healthy nutrition plan. You can have just a little bit, but it does not consume you, the desire to have sugar.

Which option is best for you?
Depends on you!

Which option worked for me?
All of them!

I started out with cutting back. I eliminated the foods that were high in sugar and kept the ones I just couldn't give up. I educated myself on what foods had hidden sugar and stayed away from those. Then one day, I had to go cold turkey. I was in a contest and wanted to win. I just gave it up. It was hard, extremely hard, but I was mad and it worked. I did it for 12 weeks. Then I had just a little bit and went back to cold turkey and went back to having a little bit.

Today, battling with sugar is still there. It hasn't gone away completely. I do go cold turkey a couple of times of year and you know what, it's not a big deal now. When I am preparing for a contest or event, I won't eat sugar. You cannot pay me to eat sugar, because that's how much my discipline has grown. But then when the contest is over, I will have a little bit - a little bit - but then I go back to a healthy nutrition plan with no added sugar. Sugar is still in my life - but it plays a much smaller role, and now I am in control. I like having control over my metabolism, my hormones, my moods, my energy, my life. Now there's no one to blame but me if I do something wrong.

It is possible to break up with sugar. Are you mad enough to try?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Candy Wars

"I want Candy" sings the song you hear in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, even workplaces. So to celebrate October 1st, let's talk about candy.

The Candy Wars start in October as we prepare for that blessed holiday "Halloween" which for kids is focused on dressing up and getting tons of candy and for the adults who are focused on watching their kids dress up and getting tons of candy. Who's giving the candy - adults? Who's eating their kids' candy - adults? Who's eating the extra candy that they buy not to hand out to the kids - adults? [I know you're out there]

So what's so bad about a little candy?

Well, where do we start? How about sugar, fat, sugar, fat, destroys your metabolism, affects your hormones in a negative way [hello ladies?]. But it's so good, right?

What's so good about it?

Taste? Yes, it does taste good. And then you berate yourself for hours after because YOU KNOW it's not good for you.

Low-calorie? Sure, you can get the mini-bars, they have much less calories and fat [see my blog entitled "It's still an oreo"]. I used to buy them in bags starting in October, because they were on sale and they were "low calorie". But did you know if you eat 4-5 of these low calorie mini candy bars, ah, low and behold, you're eating a candy bar!

It's a pick me up, it gives me energy to get through the day! Really? But what about the crash you get a couple of hours afterwards and then the overwhelming desire to have just one more to pick you up again. Some people, like me, never quite experienced the crash fully because they just keep on snacking, keep on shoveling it in, decreasing hormone after decreasing hormone.

It's easy. Yes, it is. They give it away. At schools. Here, bring in something good, here's a piece of candy. Do a special project, here's some candy. Oh, it's your birthday, here's some candy. It's everywhere, it's accessible and yes, it's cheap.

Cheap in monetary cost, but what is it doing to your health?

As a former candy and chocoholic, I am rebelling. I am putting on my armor once again and I am fighting the war. The Candy War.

I am refusing to back down. I am refusing to be seduced by "just one piece isn't going to kill you".

Each Halloween, since 2001, I have sat down with my kids and made a pact. [You can read more about this in my October newsletter "The Masks We Wear"]

A candy pact. We set the rules on what is thrown away, limits, and most importantly, I make a pact with them. I will not eat their candy. I promise. Not one piece. I will not buy any candy. I promise. Not one piece. We take the candy out of the equation and guess what, they're not interested in it anymore.

And since 2001, what has this brought me?

• A healthy and fit body.
• A metabolism that works great.
• A healthy hormone balanced body and mind.
• Healthy skin and hair.
• A peace that I am in control, not the candy.

Can you do it? Can you fight against the Candy? No question about it, you can. Question is...will you? Will you stand up for your body and mind and say NO MORE! No more poison in my body, no more sluggish feeling, no more cellulite on my thighs and tires around my belly, no more depression and weepy off-hormones.

Will you?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just Breathe...

Do you ever notice yourself holding your breath? I do all the time, on myself sometimes, but mostly with clients as I am teaching them a new exercise. Babies do it, kids do it, adults do it. We all hold our breath at times. Sometimes when you are scared, or nervous, or stressed is a big one. Through the years, I have learned how to breathe properly, in exercise and in daily life, and it is so important to your health and well-being. Learn how to just breathe...

I saw this on TV last night as I watched my first episode of 'Dancing With The Stars'. I know, I got sucked in, finally. I have never seen one episode of this show, but, and my 80's, I mean 70's friends will understand, I watched to see Donny. Nuff said. Anyway, there were a few couples that talked about breathing and how important it was and then when they danced, it was obvious the ones that were holding their breath or having problems breathing. They were stiff as boards and so nervous. I remember being like this. My husband would look at me and ask me why my shoulders were around my ears. Stress!

Breathing is so very important to your body, not only to keep your lungs strong, but to really help your body function in a healthy way. If you really notice your breathing during the day, and this is hard to do because we all take it for granted, you may find that you hold your breath sometimes too. So start breathing. Deep breathing. When you say deep breathing to most people, they blow out through their noses. Try this...

Get in a comfortable position, seated or standing. Relax your arms and shoulders and neck.

For a count of 6, breathe in through your nose. Slowly.

For a count of 6, hold your breath.

For a count of 12, blow out of your mouth, keep blowing for the full 12 seconds if you can.

Repeat several times.

See the difference between just blowing out your nose? Deep breathing, using your abdominals, really using your lungs, really relaxing your body. Do this when you are stressed, or tired but can't sleep. Or nervous about something. It's something small that we can all do to improve our health and those around us. Just breathe...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Not a Pill or Drink That's Going to Do It!

I got my daily call today. Another new product came out and the company wants my opinion. Maybe if it's good, I can recommend to my clients. And this one is natural, so it must be good.

STOP! Stop right there!

It's a pill. It's a drink. It's a potion, a magic potion that's going to take away any unwanted fat, stress and flabby muscles. It's a miracle! NOT!

Sometimes I am nice to the caller, sometimes I am not too nice. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don't and hang up. And then there are the times where I turn the tables and preach to the poor salesperson about how I don't believe in pills and potions and that it start with the inside - it is the emotional self-discovery that is going to make a change, not a pill or drink. Of course, I go into much more detail then and lose them about 1/2 way through. And then they don't call me anymore :)

The American society is so focused on PILLS! You don't feel good, you take a pill. You don't look good, you take a pill. You can't sleep, you take a pill. You want to improve your health, you take a pill. Pills, pills, pills. And drinks. Energy drinks, new water, flavored water, healthy water. All to make you feel better, to help you lose the weight and change your life. Huh?

But does it?

I can think of two instances in my life where I realized the importance of not taking pills.

1 - More than 8 years ago during my obese, struggling to lose weight, desparate stages, I went to a reputable vitamin store and bought a "Fat Burning" pill. Guaranteed to help me lose the weight. I went home and tried it. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't function. I was high as a kite. But this is what I needed to lose the weight, right? So I took it back to the reputable vitamin store and the nice lady behind the counter told me after I told her I was having heart palpitations "Maybe you should just take 1/2 a pill". Huh? Oh duh, yeah, that will work. I got my refund and didn't go back.

2 - During my contest in 2001, I was working with a Coach who recommended I try a "Fat Burning" pill, a good one, just to help my efforts. At this point, I was already on the way to good health by changing my workout and nutrition habits, but I was in a contest and wanted the best results. Same thing happened to my body, couldn't sleep, high as a kite. "Don't take it" he said, just get rid of it. Some people can take it, some cannot. You are one of those people that can't take it. Don't worry about it. I still had good results in the contest.

If I could give you one newsflash that will change your life, it's this: "It's not a pill or drink that going to do it for you - It's YOU!"

You have to change your workout routine.
You have to eat right.
You have to be responsible for your choices.
You can change your body.

And you can do it without a pill or drink.

If these products worked so well, then why isn't everyone fit and healthy? They don't work, that's why.

Now, are there cases where a pill is necessary? Absolutely. There are times when your hormones are off, or you are not feeling well from infection and you need to take a pill to get better. But the fat burning, stress reducing miracle pill is not it.

It's YOU! Stop giving the pills a chance and start giving YOU a chance. I know you can do it and I'm here to help if you need me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

"I should do this", "I should do that"

Major pet peeve as a fitness professional. Fitness is about education. Making progress is about putting that education to use in your life. Some people get educated, but they don't apply it in their life. They just keep saying the "shoulda's". This can last for weeks, it can last for months, it can last for years.

I've been in this category as well. For eight years, I was in this category. I researched and read more about fitness and health than anyone I know, but I never applied it to my life. I just kept struggling and saying the "shoulda's". I hate that.

Because the "shoulda's":

• Make you feel like a failure before you even start.
• Tell your mind that even if you do make some progress, you will not make much.
• Allow you to keep making excuses for not applying what you know to your life.
• Keep you in this place of "comfort" where it is too hard to make changes.

"I know I should eat healthy, but it's too expensive"
"I should not drink Diet Coke, but I just do"
"I should workout"
"I should go to the doctor"

"Should" is another bad word in my vocabulary now, along with "fat" and "ugly". So how do you get out of the "shoulda's"?

You start making change. You take it one day at a time, one hour at a time if you have to. You make a list of what you want to do. Make it a positive list. Don't write down things that may be negative, like "I can't have any sugar" or "I have to lose weight"...write down positive goals, like "I want to improve my health" and "I want to be in a healthy weight for my age and height".

You just start making changes. Small changes. And you do it every day. Are you going to fall off the wagon? Yes, but you just get back up and start again.

Please, in the name of fitness, remove the phrase "I Should" from your speech and replace it with "I Will" today. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm No Jillian

The Biggest Loser new season debut was this week and yes, I have gotten lots of questions from clients about what I thought. I do not watch a lot of tv, but I did start watching this program a few seasons back because many of my clients did and I wanted to answer their questions. I got sucked into it. Like most things, there is good and there is bad.

Good would be the participants and hearing their stories and seeing how you can relate in some way to what they are saying or going through. Of course, I love to see the before and afters like everyone else.

Bad because of bad training and unrealistic weight losses and contests and game play. And this is from a competitive person. Duh. I think I won one of those contests about 8 years ago. When someone loses 28 lbs in a week and my client sits in front of me with a 8 lb loss over a month and thinks that's bad, that's what disturbs me.

I don't dislike Jillian, I'm just no Jillian, to the dismay of my husband. She's beautiful. She's tone. In some ways, she is a good trainer when she talks about getting inside to find out what the real block is to losing weight, or when she talks about the nutritional component to weight loss and how important it is. But, just in case you were wondering, here is why I'm no Jillian...

• I never swear at my clients.
• I do not use the 'F' word when speaking to my clients to motivate them. A funny story about that, my son knows we do not use the 'F' word around here, but the 'F' word to him is 'Fat'. He knows I don't like that word, so he replaces it with a proper term like 'Obese'.
• I do not grab my clients by their shirts and drag them around. I don't push them or shove them.
• When I see signs of struggle or overuse in a client, I help them stop, get their heart rate back down into a safe zone.
• My clients do not spend a week in the hospital after our first workout. No really, they don't.
• I do not scream in my client's faces or make them cry.
• I do not ask my clients to squat while I stand on their quads.
And finally...
• I do not make my clients carry me on their back while they work out.

But the results! It must work, right? Remember that these people are taken out of their life, they are put in a ranch where their job is to lose weight. They work out several times a day for hours. All of their food and drink is prepared for them, no sodas or junk food. I would love it if I could stop every client from eating soda and junk food, but my clients live in the real world. I have to teach them how to resist it and how to make healthy choices.

And it is a show. They need drama to keep interested viewers. They need to go to the extremes and make people mad or sad. This week's show was a real tear jerker with the stories. The lady whose family was killed was amazing, I don't know how she gets up every day. And they must love Jillian because they all hug her at the end, right? Duh! They're afraid she's going to kill them! And what is the percentage of participants that keep the weight off? The real story? I don't know.

I just know that I want more for my clients. I want more than reaching a goal once and then fading into oblivion. I want them to live healthy lives and live out their dreams. Don't get me wrong, there are a few very successful people from the show. I love Ali! She is my girl! She is one of few though. She has a great attitude, has kept the weight off and is a very good example to those around her.

I just know I'm no Jillian...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sometimes you need to listen

God gave us two ears to listen and one mouth to speak, but I am stubburn and I forget sometimes. Sometimes you need to listen.

I have 3 weeks left to train for my upcoming triathlon. Last week, they closed all Gwinnett County pools for the week, so I was left without a place to do swim training. But I have an awesome friend LT who invited me to swim train with her at her pool. I agreed and told her to take it easy on me. She is all of 90 lbs and all muscle. I was a little worried, but I knew I had to workout. It started out well, we warmed up with 400, she passed me twice. Okay, now I'm a little more worried. Then we did 50's on a clock, as fast as we could. She wanted to do 10. I think I did 3. Ugh. I know something has been missing from my training. I get in my groove and go for distance, when I know I need to practice speed. But it's different when you have someone pushing you and telling you what to do. But I did what she said. I shut up and listened. She did do the Escape to Alcrtraz triathlon, so she knows what she's talking about.

I need to listen. And I was glad I did. I came away from the workout knowing exactly what I need to do for the next 3 weeks and a feeling that I was going to improve drastically my swim time.

Then, there's the bike. Steve got a bike. Oh dear. Big time listening now. Steve is a type-A, former bodybuilder umpire who likes to tell everyone what to do. Except me. Well, he tells me, I just don't listen. So we started biking together. Ugh. The first couple of times, he spent yelling at me and I spent blocking him out. We went on a group ride with my bike friends and he still acted like a jerk. But then I knew one of my goals was to improve my bike time and maybe he could help me. I started listening. I was not shifting properly. I was coasting. I wasn't using my biggest gear. The list goes on and on. Then just like the swimming, I started getting better and I realized this is exactly what I needed to do. Each ride we take, I get better and faster. I shut up and listened.

I feel I am a compassionate trainer and I feel I listen to my clients, but maybe I should listen more and talk less. In the span of two weeks, my bike and swim are on the way to getting way better, because I listened. What else can get better if I listen better? I'm going to try and see.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oops I did it again...

Is the weight loss battle neverending? Why can't I control my cravings? My sister asks me this as we dine on lunch the other day and like a little girl in a Catholic confessional, I start to confess. Ugh. Will it ever end?

Over the years, I have been proud of my accomplishments and proud of my ability to keep the weight off and stay fit and healthy. I have been the same size since 2001, good, huh? I need to focus on the good, and not the bad.

The good is I ran a 10K race on Monday and did really good. I have run this particular 10K for the past two years - the Labor Day Classic, going from Cumberland Mall to Whitewater. It is supposed to be one of the country's hardest because of the hills. Here's my time for the past ones...

2007 - 1:07:17 [yes, I know, I told you I am a slow runner]
2008 - 1:05:58 [I was so proud of improving my time last year]
2009 - 1:01:00

Now talk about proud. I can do a 10K under an hour, just not this one yet. But improved my time by almost 5 minutes! Awesome! I was extremely happy and went for my celebratory dinner - bison burger at Ted's and ice cream at Cold Stone's. The ice cream is a treat, I usually limit ice cream to once a month if any because of my previous addiction to ice cream and chocolate and esp. chocolate ice cream. So all is well, until the hubby brings home more ice cream. More chocolate ice cream. The first night I had a little bit. The next night I didn't have any. The next day I happened to open the freezer and it was still there and I couldn't resist, I had some. Hours later, in the peace of my home, no kids or hubby around, I ate the rest of the container. Just like I used to 8 years ago. UGH! Is this weight loss battle neverending? Why can't I control my cravings?

It was overwhelming. The feelings of guilt and self-punishment. Here I am, making a PR on this race, feeling really good about upcoming triathlon in October, everything's going good, and here I am, eating bowls full of chocolate ice cream. ??? So as my sister is asking me these questions, I tell her what I tell my clients and then I start to listen to what I am saying:

Get over it. You made a mistake. It's done. Can't go back. Go forward from this time on and do good. Don't over-analyze but see why it happened and avoid those situations again. Don't overexercise to compensate. Drink plenty of water and just continue on your healthy plan.

Sigh....breathe deep...okay, I'm just going to get over it. I made a mistake. I'm going to continue on.

Anyone out there ever do this? I know this happens to my clients because I sit with them when they confess to me. I hate it. I should know better. I do know better. All I can do is go forward from this time on and do good. So onward I go...