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?