Monday, December 27, 2010

Why you should be involved with Gwinnett's Losing It!

When is the last time you accomplished something you thought was impossible?

I have been advertising Gwinnett's Losing It! for the last month and maybe you've seen bits and pieces of it here and there. Now, I want to tell you about it from the heart. Because it's been on my heart. For a few years now.

I love my job. I love training and helping and educating people improve their health. I am not your typical trainer. I truly believe that health and wellness has to start inside before you can make changes on the outside. I do things a little differently than most trainers.
  • I listen.
  • I train you to workout at your home.
  • I incorporate nutrition training as well as physical training.
  • I teach how to overcome emotional obstacles to losing weight. 
  • I will be your best cheerleader and I will be there when you need it. 
  • I do not sell pills/shakes/magic potions and I don't ask you to buy them. 
10 years ago, back in 2001, I had my "breaking point" when I saw a photo of myself after a visit with family. I was discouraged. I had always been able to control my weight to some extent, but after I had babies, I just kept getting bigger and bigger and unable to lose weight no matter what I did. My doctor did not help. Just a recommendation to "lose weight". I did not know that I was obese when I was. So, after seeing this photo of me in my blue jean maternity pants, I realized something had to be done. The baby I am holding is my nephew, my "baby" is sitting on the floor and is 4 years old.

Desperate for help, I started with Body for Life, a 12-week challenge. I lost 11 lbs. over 12 weeks, but my size didn't change at all. I took the free-day literally and ate like a wild woman on that one free day. I found a coach in Woodstock, about one hour away, and I met with him monthly. His words changed my life when he told me one day "Sandi, you will never lose any more weight [I was on a plateau] until you get this fixed" - pointing to my heart. He knew I was having problems at home and he told me I had to fix it. So I tried. And then, he guided me to another 12-week challenge called Leanness Lifestyle with Coach David Greenwalt. Through this intensive, 12-week program, I was finally able to lose weight and get closer to my goals. I lost 23 lbs in 12 weeks, but this time, my size changed. My weight changed. My bodyfat % changed. My life changed.
  • I found the support I needed. 
  • I found the workouts and nutrition guidelines that I needed. 
  • I found out how to deal with the "inside" stuff that had held me back for years. 
  • I found out how to set goals and make them. 
  • I found out how to get my life back. And I've been living it ever since then. 
I no longer wear big clothes to cover my bottom. I no longer sit on the sidelines when doing things with the kids. I compete in races. I challenge myself. I love being fit and healthy. I love it so much that I made it my job to help others. I love the expression on a client's face when they "get it". I love the tears that come when they overcome. I started this contest, Gwinnett's Losing It!, for those very reasons.
  • I want to change the way we view our health in Gwinnett County. 
  • I want to help our citizens live a healthy lifestyle. 
  • I want to educate and motivate and help others to make the changes they need in order to make their goals. 
  • I want to get companies involved in the health of their employees. 
  • I want you to feel the same way about your body and your health that I feel about mine - like anything is possible. I will be 45 years old this year and I don't feel a day over 20, ever! Okay, maybe 21. 
I know there are other programs out there. Take this pill, lose weight. Drink this shake, lose weight. Buy a membership in this gym, lose weight.

It's not that easy, is it?
  • I know where you are. 
  • I've been there. 
  • I can help you. 
  • I can help you get your body back. 
  • I can help you get your health back. 
  • I can help you get your life back. 
It's on my heart to help you. What's on your heart?

Registration is through December 31, 2010. Sign up on my website for an application packet. First teleconference call is Monday, January 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm EST.

If you know someone who could benefit from this, please forward this information to them -- OR -- if you know a local business that would like to sponsor this program, send them my contact information. I am also looking for businesses that will sponsor an employee to go through the program - or would sponsor someone who cannot afford the program. Cost is $199.00 for 12 weeks.

Our gold sponsor is Legacy Wellness @ Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

Contact me directly at or 404-925-2626.

Be strong and be healthy, friends!

Sandi Porter
Start With The Inside

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What if you don't make a set goal?

Mid-December is a great time to set goals for the new year. Goals for what you want to accomplish. Goals for your business. Goals for your family. Goals for your financial life. Goals.

Goals = an opportunity to get "it" done. "It" being the sincere desires of your heart.

But, what happens if you set a goal and you don't make it?

Goals can be tricky because they if not done properly, it can become or might be conceived as a failure. And failure is not good. Because it makes you think you can't do something that you want to do. Because it keeps you in a small place thinking you can't spread your wings.

When you are making goals, it's important to:
  • Be specific. Instead of saying "I want to lose weight" or "I want to get more organized", tell exactly how much weight you want to lose and how you will do it. Or what steps you will take to get organized. 
  • Be realistic. In regards to weight, normal [and safe] weight loss is 1-2 lbs. a week. If you have 50+ lbs. to lose, know that time-wise, it is going to take a good year to lose that amount of weight. Set goals that you can meet. 
  • Be flexible. Things change, weather happens, people change. Be prepared for the unexpected if it happens. Don't give up on a goal just because something happens. Revise it if you need to, but don't give it up. 
I encourage all my clients to set goals, not just at this time of year, but during the year as well. Whenever you have a tug on your heart, a "I would love to do that, but..." thought, a task that would challenge you, I encourage you to set a goal to do it, the desires of your heart.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Losing weight - is it all a numbers game?

How much can you lose? How quickly can you lose it? How many carbs do you have a day? Numbers, numbers, numbers. Is that what it is all about? Weight loss, that is?
  • What if you follow the numbers game and it doesn't work for you? 
  • What if you are not a numbers person and just don't get it?
Is it all a numbers game when it comes to weight loss? 

Don't get me wrong, the numbers are important. You gotta know your numbers:
  • Your weight
  • Your measurements
  • Your body fat percentage
And you may even know or want to know:
  • The percentage of carbs you should be taking in each day
  • Your heart rate when you exercise
  • How long it will take you to lose weight
But, as focused as we are on the NUMBERS, does it really work for us when we are trying to lose weight? I go crazy this time of year when I see the marketing and advertising for the fitness/health/nutrition products and services.
  • Lose 20 lbs. in 10 days!
  • Lose 10 lbs. in 3 days! 
  • Try this diet for 17 days!
  • Take this pill for 30 days!
Really? My question - What happens after those 10 days, or after the 3 days, or the 17 days, or the 30 days? When you take a pill for 30 days and "lose weight", what happens when you STOP taking the pill? Do you gain the weight? Do you continue taking the pill for another 30 days, or indefinitely? When you are so focused on the NUMBERS, you tend to forget the obvious.
  • What about your heart? 
  • What about your head? 
  • What about your gut instinct? 
When you see these ads and promotions and are tempted by the "easy-ness" of taking a pill or shake, think about it. Is a pill or shake really going to change your body? Is a new "diet" going to fix your body? Is a quick-fix, high-weight-loss going to help your health?
  • What does your heart tell you? 
  • What does your head tell you? 
  • What does your gut instinct tell you? Your inside voice? 
Read my Thanksgiving detox article and remember the three E's we talked about in that piece:

E - Eat right. 
E - Exercise. 
E - Emotionally prepare.

This not only applies to getting ready for the holidays, it applies to your health life as well. Get your head into the game. It's not all about the numbers, it's about your health, your life. It starts with the inside...

I am here when you need me -

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Injuries and the emotional affect

When you are used to working out and you cannot, it hurts.
When you have a physical injury, it hurts.
When you try to recover from an injury, it hurts.

So, when does it get better? Do you have to put your life on-hold while your body heals? 

These are questions I get asked a lot. Having gotten older and hopefully wiser through the years, I put into practice for my clients what has worked for me. I've been injured before and it is not fun. It hurts your pride. It hurts your body. It hurts your emotional well-being. But bear with me while we look at some of the most common conditions surrounding injuries. Causes and affects:

  • Overtraining. Doing too much too soon. 
  • Poor form. Lifting too heavy or not having proper form during exercises. 
  • Equipment. Poor shoes cause many feet issues.
  • Just a fluke. Hate those. An accident or a twist of the body. Unfortunate, but still an injury.
Affects: [on you]
  • Not making a goal. 
  • Hurt body. 
  • Doctor's visits and frustrations. 
  • Broken, strained, sore body part. 
Now, let's add one more cause and one more affect:

Cause - Emotional stress over a situation.
Affect - More emotional stress over a situation. Lack of resolution to situation.

What? Have I eaten too much turkey this Thanksgiving? What do you mean by emotional stress?

I truly believe that most injuries are the cause of emotional stress that is not resolved and it is your body's way of:
  1. Slowing you down 
  2. Making you look at the problem and then 
  3. Resolving it
However, most of us skip #2. Really we do. #1 is easy - we have to slow down. We have to rest and recover and let the injured part of our body heal. #3 is hard, but we do it. We eventually go back to our previous exercises and get back to it. But #2 - actually looking at your "problem" - that's not fun. That's not necessary, you may think. But I truly believe it is a part of the healing process. And if you continually skip #2, you will continued to get injured and frustrated, injured and frustrated, and never totally get healed. By the second or third time, you may just give up and stop trying. And this doesn't just have to do with a physical injury - this may apply to your life in general. Push it under the rug. File it away. Don't deal with the real issue.

The real issue is uncovered when you:
  • Admit the emotional stress
  • Deal with the problem causing the emotional stress
  • Recover from the problem causing the emotional stress
Every injury is an opportunity to heal what is really going on in your body. But, will you listen?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Handling the pressure - Journal or Punching Bag?

Stress. Holidays. Family. Bills. 

Hey, the holidays are here. Your heart starts being faster. Your to-do list starts getting longer. Your patience grows weary. Your body starts getting sick. You might lose your focus. Heavy holiday meals take their toll on your body. Missed workouts become common as you adjust to your over-booked schedule. Is it any wonder that we become "stressed out" this time of year? Is it inevitable - or is there something you can do about it?

How do you handle the pressure? 

One of the first things I give my clients is a journal. A Health Journal. This is not a "Dear Diary" journal, nor a workout journal, nor a nutrition journal. It's a health journal - to record what you feel and say about your body and your health. It's a place to record your frustrations - and your successes. It's a place to record your questions and fears. It's a place to go inside and see what the real reasons are for what is holding you back.

Back in 2001, when I entered a 12-week weight loss contest through David Greenwalt's Leanness Lifestyle [the best coach ever], we were required to submit journal entries every 4 weeks as part of the contest. I recently uncovered these and read through them and I was astonished at what I read. Here are some excerpts that show my progress through the 12 weeks:

  • Week 1 - "I want to find the missing person I used to be. She is hiding behind 20+ of unhealthy, unwanted fat. She is hiding behind unrealized goals and dreams. I need a support group to push me. I need a challenge to break my old ways and feel alive again. I don't want to be stuck in this same place - in the same unhealthy weight for one week longer". 
  • Week 4 - "I learned how many extra "little" calories I was adding to my meals and snacks that were healthy foods, but put my caloric intake over the top. My ultimate goal was to watch the pounds, but I have seen other results. I am starting to envision other goals becoming reality as to my role in this life and how I can help others". 
  • Week 8 - "Three important aspects key to my on-going success were motivation, focus and attitude. My attitude turnaround came week after week of seeing my goals being met. I feel empowered. Emotional changes include confidence and a feeling of accomplishment."
  • Week 12 - "I found the missing person I was looking for! I feel alive! I love life! I made these seemingly unattainable goals 12 weeks ago and now today I look back and it seems like a dream. I was consistent. I was driven. I accomplished my goals!"
My journal entries were key to my success. They pointed out, in writing, my fears and uncertainties. But writing them down did something for me. It allowed me an outlet, a safe outlet, where no one would judge me, where I could finally be honest with myself, and where I could finally start overcoming my issues.

Get a health journal! Use your health journal! Start writing down your frustrations with your body and life. Don't keep it all inside! 

Part two of this blog is a Punching Bag. I learned the importance of a punching bag when I starting taking karate classes with my kids 7 years ago. They would have us do "sessions" of kicks and punches on the bags and I found out - "Hey, this is not just for exercise". This is emotional! This is fun! This is a way to get out aggressions in a safe way - oh, just like a journal. But this gets it OUT of your body.

Now, I have Eugene at home. Eugene is my punching bag. And when times get rough or I get stressed, I put on my gloves, put on my resolve and go to town on Eugene. Left hook, right hook, kicks, punches, whatever it takes to quell me. It usually doesn't take long, just a few minutes. Then I breathe, and move on. And give Eugene a break.
  • Do you have a journal? 
  • Do you have a punching bag? 

How about getting one? How about using one this holiday season? Handle the stress of the season by getting your emotions OUT and getting HEALTHY - inside and out!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eating out at restaurants - How to make healthy choices - Part 2

Okay friends, let's move on to another group of restaurants:
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Subway
  • Zaxby's
If you missed our post on previous restaurants - Frontera, Macaroni Grill, O'Charley's and Nagano, you can find it here.

Again, not going to throw numbers at you, well maybe a couple, but not many. What's more important to me than the numbers is the mindset. The mindset of making healthy choices, the mindset of not caring what people around you think when it comes to your food, the healthy food that your body needs. Make sense? So, here we go:

  • Chargrilled chicken sandwich, Southwestern chargrilled salad - any chicken that is grilled, not fried
  • Chicken soup, in moderation. This soup is great is you are sick! But, it is high in sodium, so be sure to drink plenty of water if you have it and only once a week!
  • Cool wraps with grilled chicken. 
  • Chicken salad sandwich, over 500 calories
  • Yogurt parfait with granola, 39g sugar
  • Waffle fries, between 300-400 calories alone and no nutritional value
  • Here's a little trivia for you - just because they come out with "holiday" flavors, it doesn't mean it is healthy for you. Peppermint chocolate chip milkshake has 930 calories and 127g sugar. At 32g a day, yes, that's nearly FOUR days worth of sugar!

  • 6" Sub sandwiches are great! Best meats to choose: Oven-roasted chicken, roast beef or turkey breast. 
  • 9-grain wheat bread or wrap
  • Pile of veggies on sandwich: Green peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes
  • Olive oil and vinegar drizzled on top
  • Fresh fit sides - apple slices or yogurt
  • High sodium meats like ham
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cheese, too fatty and processed
  • Chipotle southwest sauce, over 100 calories for just a small amount
  • Pickles, high in sodium
  • Cookies

  • Grilled chicken sandwich meal, honey mustard dressing on the side
  • House Zalads with grilled chicken
  • Buffalo wings meal, all meals are served with celery sticks
  • Basket of celery sticks with Zax sauce
  • Onion rings, over 600 calories in appetizer
  • Fried pickles and crinkle fries
  • Chicken salad sandwich, mayonnaise alone adds over 200 calories to this sandwich [just because it says "chicken" doesn't always mean it is healthy]
  • Milkshakes, Caramel pecan pie is over 800 calories and 92g sugar, not as bad as Chick-fil-A's above, but still almost 3 days of sugar in one beverage

Remember friends, as I said before:
  • You are in control. No one is making you order something you don't want to eat. 
  • Keep it light. Restaurant portions are 3 to 4 times a normal serving. So take some of it home for lunch tomorrow. 
  • Don't stress and don't be swayed by opinions of others at the table. It's your business what you eat, not theirs. 
  • Be strong and be healthy, you CAN make good choices.
You CAN eat healthy when you go to restaurants, you CAN be in control. Is it worth it to your health to be? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saving your calories for dessert - is it worth it?

Have you ever uttered those same words?

"I'm going to save my calories for dessert!"

Said at a restaurant, at Aunt Sally's for Thanksgiving dinner, at home when you just want dessert. Really bad. You decide to not eat much of your dinner, if any at all, and splurge your calories on a dessert. This was illustrated last week on The Biggest Loser when one of the contestants, in a nutrition-eating challenge, chose to do the exact same thing. So, it is worth it? More specifically, what does it do to your body and your efforts to lose weight?

Let's look at it more closely. Let's pretend we are going to O'Charleys for dinner. We order:
  1. House salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  2. Cedar plank salmon with asparagus
  3. Ultimate chocolate cake
Here's the breakdown for those:
  1. House salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing - 270 calories, 15g fat, 19g carb, 10g protein
  2. Cedar plank salmon with asparagus - 610 calories, 38g fat, 6g carb, 59g protein
  3. Ultimate chocolate cake - 1080 calories, 59g fat, 151g carb, 12g protein
Total for this meal: 1960 calories, 112g fat, 176g carb, 81g protein

Kind of high, huh? Let's make it lower by just eating 1/2 of the meal:

980 calories, 56g fat, 88g carb, 40g protein

Now, let's take 2 scenarios: One with just salad and entree [eating 1/2 and taking the rest home], and one with just salad and dessert.
  1. Salad and entree: 440 calories, 26g fat, 12g carb, 34g protein
  2. Salad and dessert: 675 calories, 37g fat, 85g carb, 11g protein
Okay, a couple of red flags:
  • Calories increase from 440 to 675
  • Fat grams increase from 26 to 37
  • Carb grams increase from 12 to 85, big jump
  • Protein grams decrease from 34 to 11, big jump
Now, first of all, and please listen when I say this - I DO NOT expect you to count calories and fat and protein and carb grams when you eat out. Really, I don't. It is too time-consuming and too much like Weight Watchers, designed to take your emphasis off the FOOD and put it on a NUMBER. I am simply showing you the differences here so you can compare.

One of the concepts I teach in my Healthy Shopping 101 classes is that it is NOT always about the calories or the grams, but it is about the ingredients as well. What do you think the ingredients are for the salad? Mixed greens, balsalmic dressing. What about the entree? Salmon, asparagus. What about the dessert? Chocolate and sugar and a little bit more sugar. About 114g of sugar - daily recommended amount is 32g.

You cannot just look at the calories, but look at the food. How do you think your body is going to process the first choice? What about the second one? So, did the Biggest Loser contestant make the right choice? Do you make the right choice by skipping entree and saving your calories for dessert?


It's not the same.

And it's not all about the calories.

I know you want the dessert. You crave it. But, if you are trying to lose weight, it is not the best option for you. Please visit my Facebook fanpage for healthy recipes in the "Notes" section - especially the recipes designed to help your sweet tooth.

It is possible to eat healthy when you eat out! Good luck, friends!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eating out at restaurants - How to make healthy choices - Part 1

"I try to eat healthy, but my family eats out a lot" 
"I can't eat healthy when I go out"
"I eat healthy all week until I go out with my friends"

Eating out is a given in today's society - whether it is once a week or several times a week. But, here's a little trivia for you:

You CAN eat healthy when you eat out at a restaurant. 

Really, you can. I'll show you how. But first a disclaimer:

I am NOT your typical trainer. I am going to tell it like it is. I am not going to throw numbers at you, because, does it really matter? Sure, it may for a little while if you see something 500 calories vs. 1,500 calories, but here's the kicker - I want you to get it in your head and your heart - what the good choices are, without even knowing the numbers. I want you to start getting it by listening to common sense, by listening to that inside voice. So let's get started:
  1. Mexican - Frontera Mex Mex Grill
  2. Italian - Macaroni Grill
  3. Japanese - Nagano
  4. American - O'Charleys
Only two of these restaurants have nutritional info available on-line - Macaroni Grill and O'Charleys. Go to the links if you want to see how your choices add up. Again, I'm not going to throw a bunch of numbers at you, I am going to be honest and tell you what I WOULD HAVE if I went to this restaurant [a question I get asked all the time].

1. Mexican - Frontera Mex Mex Grill
  • Salsa, the spicier, the better and homestyle guacamole - would not have chips with these, but have them with my main entree.
  • Xochitl Soup [chicken and avocado with rice and pico de gallo]
  • Crazy Taco, would order with no cheese or sour cream and would only eat half of shell provided. 
  • Fish Tacos, the menu says "lightly fried", I would ask them if they would broil or grill the fish, sometimes they will. 
  • Parilla chicken, charbroiled, order with no sour cream. 
  • Tacos Al Carbon, no sour cream. 
  • Fajitas, chicken or shrimp, no sour cream.
  • Cheese dip, even though it is famous and delicious.
  • Tortilla chips - this is a whole other blog. Just don't even start eating them. Concentrate on who you are there with at the restaurant, not what is put down in front of you. 
  • Mayan Tortilla soup - too much cheese and cream-based. 
  • Nachos, quesadillas and chimichangas - too much cheese period, greasy. 
  • Mexican pizza - see above.

2. Italian - Macaroni Grill
  • Roasted vegetable appetizer. 
  • Margherita Pizza, would eat 1/2 of it and take the other 1/2 home. 
  • Chicken Marsala, again, would only eat 1/2 of it. 
  • Grilled Halibut or King Salmon, only 1/2 of it. 
  • Pomodoro sauce [tomato basil], Arrabbiata sauce [spicy red]
  • Bread basket, just don't even start, unless night before big race. 
  • Spinach artichoke dip, calamari - too much fat. 
  • Italian Sausage Pizza. 
  • Parmesian-crusted chicken, Penne rustica, Lobster ravioli, Chicken scaloppine. 
  • Fettuccine alfredo. 
  • Basically any cheese-covered dish or creamy sauce dish. 

3. Japanese - Nagano
  • Miso soup, no fried crackers in it. 
  • Side salad. 
  • Steamed rice. 
  • California roll. 
  • Grilled chicken and vegetables. 
  • Soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, loaded with sodium, try tasting your food without it. 
  • Fried dishes including fried sushi and fried rice. 

4. American - O'Charley's 
  • California Chicken Salad, vinaigrette dressing, eat only 1/2 of salad, take the rest home. 
  • Cedar-planked salmon with broccoli
  • Cedar-planked tilapia
  • Grilled turkey burger with sweet potato fries or asparagus
  • Southwestern twisted chips and overloaded potato skins
  • Teriyaki Sesame Chicken, too much sodium
  • Pecan chicken tender salad, chicken is fried
  • 12-spice chicken pasta, creamy sauce
  • Fish n chips, fried
  • Better cheddar bacon burger, dripping with fat
  • French fries
  • Broccoli cheese casserole
Okay, that's it in a nutshell. I don't dread going out to eat. I enjoy it. Just keep this in mind:
  • You are in control. No one is making you order something you don't want to eat. 
  • Keep it light. Restaurant portions are 3 to 4 times a normal serving. So take some of it home for lunch tomorrow. 
  • Don't stress and don't be swayed by opinions of others at the table. It's your business what you eat, not theirs. 
  • Be strong and be healthy, you CAN make good choices. 

So now, will you?

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Subway, Chick-fil-A, Zaxby's and McDonald's.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Battle of the wills in weight loss

Weight loss is a battle. Nothing new, right? Why is it so easy to gain weight and so hard to get it off? It's a battle with...
  • Food - what to eat and what not to eat
  • Working out - getting through workouts that are tough
  • Excuses - keeping you from making progress
  • Time - scheduling workouts and food preparation
  • Family obligations - dealing with family members who need your time
  • Your mind - overcoming emotional obstacles from your past or present
  • Your will - your desire to make a change
How strong is your will? Can you overcome the battles that you face everyday?
  • Your WILL to succeed
  • Your WILL to change
  • Your WILL to live healthy
  • Your WILL
Your will can be your biggest enemy or your best supporter. Your will will get you through the hard times or break you. You have to find out if your will is strong or weak. So, how do you do that?

After living fit and healthy for almost 10 years now, it's almost become standard for me.
  • I am no longer tempted to overeat or eat things that aren't good for me.
  • I get in my workouts, even if they are tough. 
  • I set goals and overcome any excuses that I might have. 
  • I manage my time by planning ahead for my week. 
  • My family understands that they are my first priority. 
  • I have let go of past hurts and regrets. 
  • My will is strong. 
But, it's still a battle. I struggle with doing the right thing. I struggle with the direction to take my company. I struggle with my relationships. I struggle with setting goals and achieving them. But you just have to keep going on. The battle of the will's.
  • Will I - eat healthy today? It's pretty much a given, I will. 
  • Will I - workout today? Yes, even though I am injured, I will find something I can do. 
  • Will I - give up when times are tough or buck up soldier? 
One of my battles right now is swimming. I don't like it. I don't know if it is my time in the Potomac in September, but I don't like it now. Of the three triathlon sports, it is the one that I need the most help. I suck at it. I am slow. And it is a pain in the ass to schedule a swim workout in my life. But I have to do it. I'm injured and it is the only cardio I can do right now. So I do it, twice a week. And it is a battle every time I go there. It is a battle packing my workout bag. It is a battle driving over there. It is a battle changing, dealing with the hair, blah blah blah, but I just do it. About 20 laps into it, I start to feel ok. It is tedious. It is boring. But I always feel the same at the end. So glad I did it. Energized. Healthy. Happy to have won another battle.

Battles are not bad things. Battles show you how strong you are. Battles make you stronger so you can face the next one. In the battle of the wills, I am ready to take it on again, are you?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Okay, so you overdid it on the candy, now what?

I know, I'm the LAST person you're going to tell, right?

Don't worry, I've heard it all before. I've done it all before. You don't spend 8 years being overweight/obese and not over-indulge on candy. Why do you think I take the no-candy pledge now?

But seriously, it started out as one a day, a handful a day, candy corn, chocolate candy bars, candy suckers, and those awesome candy corn pumpkins. What was a handful a day now turns into a handful an hour and you start snipping at anyone who comes near the candy jar and wondering just how much more you can get at the 80% off candy at Kroger. You just need a little something-something to get you through now. Every day, every hour. Pretty soon, you start noticing:
  • A definite change in your attitude. It's everybody else, you say, who's in a crappy mood. They just need some of your candy, damn it. 
  • A cloudiness that just doesn't go away. Can't finish a sentence, a thought, a project. Crap, so unmotivated. 
  • Parts of your body are jiggling a little bit too much now. When you walk up the stairs, somebody else's ass is coming with you. When you wave goodbye, there is jiggly skin under your arm now. The jeans are NOT fitting now and dang, that button makes such an impression on the skin on your belly. 
  • Your skin looks bad so you put on more makeup. 
  • You feel helpless. 
Now what?

First, breathe. It's going to get better. I won't even say "I told you so"... let's get you feeling better. First steps to detox your body from candy:
  • Drink water, lots of it. If you drink 16 oz. water bottles, strive to drink 4-6 a day. 
  • Limit sodas and alcohol during this time. Cut up lemon or lime and put slice in your water. Lemon is a natural detoxifier. 
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat these in place of the candy. A banana in the morning, an apple in the afternoon. Have a green vegetable with dinner, like broccoli or asparagus.
  • Make your snacks in advance. You can find plenty of snack recipes on my fanpage under "Notes"
  • Get out and exercise, even if it is just to walk. Push your body a little bit. 
And here's the hardest steps, if you can:
  • Stop eating the candy. Just stop. 
  • Start writing down why you started eating it in the first place. Keep a journal of your frustrations, your dreams, your goals - physical goals. Keep track of your emotional health like you do your food and workouts. Why does candy have such a hold over your life? Start writing. Start the healing process. 
You CAN overcome a candy overload. You CAN. You just have to buck up soldier and do it. So, will you?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's the difference between sea salt and table salt?

Which one is better for you? Sea salt or table salt?

Table salt is probably the most common salt found in our pantries and stores. Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits. It is chemically processed to eliminate minerals and contains additives to prevent clumping. Table salt is very fine. You usually put it in a salt shaker and use during cooking or eating.

Sea salt can also be found at grocery stores. Sea salt is produced through the evaporation of seawater. There is very little processing and it contains other minerals like iron, sulfur and magnesium. Table salt is course. If you put it into a salt shaker, it may clump. It can be used during cooking or eating as well.

Salt is a necessary part of our nutrition, but here in America, it is overused to the extreme. A healthy daily consumption should be 1500-2000mg, while most fast foods, restaurant foods and processed foods like frozen meals, contain this amount for one serving. As a society, we are generally eating way too much salt.

Personally, when I started losing weight, I reduced my salt intake. It was just the healthy thing to do. I realized that salt, like many other things in my daily nutrition, was a habit. A habit that I could break. I started to go without it at the dinner table. I started to taste my foods first instead of shaking on the salt without tasting. Salt can be damaging to your health if you have an overabundance of it. Ways it can affect your body:
  • High blood pressure
  • Bloating
  • Metabolism and hormones
All of these affect your weight loss to some degree. It wasn't worth it to me. Do I use salt today? Yes, in moderation. I prefer sea salt because I believe it is less processed. It is different than table salt in flavor and in consistency, but again, I don't use it that often so it's not that big of a deal to me. I would highly recommend if you are a salt person to do two things:
  • Reduce your daily salt intake and learn to taste your food without salt
  • Change to sea salt for a period of time and see if it makes a difference for you
The bottom line is - and this is how you should view other foods as well - pick the one that is least processed and the most natural.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Why are you always dissing candy and chocolate?"

I get asked this question again and again.

From my friends, from my family, from complete strangers who follow my Facebook fanpage. Followed by other assorted comments "I feel bad when I eat candy now" or "You're making me feel bad when I want chocolate" or "What are you? A chocolate nazi?" or the worst "You're trying to bring down my Halloween". Sigh. Bring down Halloween? Okay, well, let's get started then. Here's why I am "dissing" candy and chocolate:

Short story -- When I was overweight, I was addicted to candy and chocolate and it affected my body negatively. 

There, I said it. I am a candy-aholic. I am a chocolate-aholic.

Do you know what it's like to be overweight? To not be able to fit in clothes? To be embarrassed to be at the beach or pool in a swim suit? To feel emotionally in a long tunnel with no way out? To have rolls of fat in your back, in your belly and in your butt?

I do. 

I don't like it. 

I fixed it and I don't ever plan on going back. I like being fit and healthy. I like being able to fit in my clothes - ALL of the time. I like going to the beach or pool in my swim suit. I like being emotionally healthy. I like my strong back, my flat belly and well, you get the point...

Candy and chocolate were HUGE obstacles in my weight loss - for MANY years. And after training women for the past five years, I have noticed the same thing - that candy and chocolate are HUGE obstacles for not just me.
  • It has become an American habit. 
  • It has become an emotional addiction. 
  • It has become a part of the reason why we can't lose weight. 
When I "diss" candy or chocolate, I am just putting the information out there for you. Did I know how much sugar was in candy corn before I ate it? No. I just ate it. Did I think about it more after I found out how much sugar was in it? Yes. I don't eat candy corn now. I haven't for a couple of years now. And I'm okay. Yes, I still love it. Yes, I could still eat it by the handfuls. But, no, I choose not to now. I choose not to because I know what it will do to my body. I know the results of sugar-overload for me and it's not pretty. Not only the physical affects, but the emotional affects as well. It is an immediate depressor for me.

I'm not trying to make you feel bad when I post about candy or chocolate. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty or take away your Halloween. I'm trying to EDUCATE and HELP those that want it. I'm trying to make a dent in obesity in America. I'm trying to save your life like I saved mine. So, will you let me?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Emotional healing and scabs

When you fall down as a child, you may skin your knee. You get up, wash it off and put a bandaid on it.
When you fall down as an adult, you may skin your knee. You get up, wash it off and put a bandaid on it.
  • You keep the bandaid on it to keep it protected. 
  • You change it when needed. 
  • You may put some medicine on it. 
  • You wait for it to heal. 
  • It may hurt for a while, but it gets better. 
 So, what do you do about emotional hurts? Where is the bandaid that helps you recover and heal from the other things that happen in our lives?
  • How do you keep it protected from harm? 
  • How do you change when needed? 
  • How do you "put some medicine on it"? 
  • How long does it take to heal? 
  • Will it ever get better?
Wouldn't it be great if our emotional healing was as easy as our physical healing?

Wouldn't it be great if we fell down in a certain area of our lives, got up, washed it off and put a bandaid on it? It would eventually scab over, we'd put some medicine on it if needed, and wait for it to heal. The bandaid comes off and poof, it's like it never happened before.

But unfortunately, it doesn't seem that easy or it doesn't seem to happen that way. When we get emotionally scarred, it stays with us.
  • If someone hurts us, we hold onto that.
  • If someone disappoints us, we hold onto that. 
  • If someone tramples our hearts, we let them. 
Where's the bandaid for that?

You are the bandaid. 

You are the source of the healing that you need. It's inside of you. So many times, people go through their lives shoving things under the carpet, hiding things in their heart, with emotional scabs all over their body, showing up in the form of obesity, physical conditions related to being obese, fat, cellulite. It's time to get out the bandaids.
  • You keep the bandaid on it to keep it protected. 
  • You change it when needed. 
  • You may put some medicine on it. 
  • You wait for it to heal. 
  • It may hurt for a while, but it gets better. 
Do this with your emotional hurts. Get it out there. Let it heal. It may scab over and not be pretty, but it will heal. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No-Candy - Is it a physical addiction or emotional tie?

It's day 7 of the official No-Candy Pledge. How are you doing? Feeling strong? Feeling weak? I know, I've been there. It gets easier every year, I've done it for so many years now that it is second nature to me and you could not PAY me to eat candy this time of year [or any time].

It's a battle. It's there ALL the time. Of course, now you are noticing it even MORE because you are not having it. Keep NOT having it. Keep walking by the piles of it in the store, keep walking by the bowls of it at work, keep refusing your friends when they offer it to you, keep being strong. We started this for a reason - what was your reason?

Is candy a physical addiction or is it an emotional tie?

Physical addiction - Addiction defined: The state of being enslaved to a habit orpractice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, asnarcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Yikes. Is it that serious? Uh, yes, in day 7. In day 1 also, but more in day 7. So severe trauma - is that what we have to go through in order to get over our candy addictions. Well, that depends on how you look at it. 
  • Yes, you will have to learn how to say "no". 
  • Yes, you will have physical cravings that are hard to deal with. 
  • No, it shouldn't be severe. 
  • No, it shouldn't be traumatic. 
Friends, we're talking about candy here. It's just a little bit of unhealthy, over-processed, unnatural piece of goo. It's not your life. Read on...

Emotional tie - Aahh, here's where it gets hard. Dealing with the emotional stuff. When you have a fight with your husband, do you want a piece of candy? When your kids are driving you nuts, do you want a piece of candy? When you've had a hard day and just want to relax, do you want a piece of candy? When you've worked out hard and you deserve a treat, do you want a piece of candy? It's a habit. You talk yourself into thinking that it's okay because you do this "_____", whever "this" may be for you. 

Again, we're talking about candy here. It's just a little bit of unhealthy, over-processed, unnatural piece of goo. It's not your life. 

I know you want it. 
I know you need it. 
I also know what it does to your body -and-
You started this for a reason - What was your reason? 
  • Was it to break a physical addiction? 
  • Was it to break an emotional tie? 
  • Was it to see how strong or weak you are? 
  • Was it to see if your body can do it? 
  • Was it to make a goal and feel success? 
  • Was it to change your life? 
All of these can happen for you, if you choose to stick with it. Please stick with it. You can succeed. You can be strong. You can make this goal and feel good about it. You can change your body. You can feel like you are on top of the world and can overcome any obstacle. Are you still with me? 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Which peanut butter should you choose?

Choosing a peanut butter is hard! Let me rephrase that, choosing a healthy peanut butter is hard! It's not as easy as "Choosy moms choose Jif".

You're eating healthy and want to incorporate peanut butter into your nutrition plan but are unsure about which kind to get. So, let's look at some...

You can do this at the grocery store, or you can simply type in Jif peanut butter and it will take you to the site, press on "Products" and it will bring up a photo of the product and the food label. For these purposes, let's look at "Creamy" peanut butters, serving size is 2 tablespoons for each one:

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
190 calories, 16g fat, 7g carb, 7g protein, 3g sugar

Jif Creamy Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
190 calories, 12g fat, 15g carb, 8g protein, 4g sugar

Calories are the same. Reduced fat has 4g less of fat, but look at the other differences - more than doubled the carb and added a little bit more sugar. Look at the ingredients for each. If I had to choose between these two products, I would go with the more natural product, being the first one.

Important: When you are comparing products side-by-side, you need to look at more than just calories. Look at breakdown of foods as well as ingredients. There are many more preservatives and additives to this reduced fat peanut butter, which makes it more unhealthy. 

Second, Smucker's...

Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
200 calories, 16g fat, 6g carb, 7g protein, 1g sugar  

Smucker's Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
210 calories, 16g fat, 6 carb, 7g protein, 1g sugar

The organic version has more calories, everything else is about the same, except the ingredients. The organic has peanut oil. You would think that the natural would have less ingredients than the organic, but in this case, it doesn't. 

Now, let's look at another organic peanut butter...MaraNatha...

MaraNatha Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
190 calories, 16g fat, 8g carb, 7g protein, 3g sugar
organic dry roasted peanuts, organic palm oil, organic unrefined cane sugar, sea salt.

If organic ingredients are important to you, then buy organic. It is a little bit more expensive than regular. But is it truly better? Well, only you can make that decision, but out of all of these, I would lean towards the Smucker's Natural product. 

So, if you are at the grocery store, needing to buy peanut butter and totally confused - I understand! It is confusing. Do what I do at the store - take the products, 3 or 4 of them, put them in a row, food labels facing you and do a comparison. In those items listed above, we learned...
  • Calories - not much of a difference in either brand or type of peanut butter. 
  • Fat - is lower in reduced-fat types, but more additives to make up for it. 
  • Carb - higher in reduced-fat types. 
  • Protein - not much of a difference in either brand or type of peanut butter. 
  • Sugar - not much of a difference in grams, but types of sugars.
So, overall, remember this when adding peanut butter to your nutrition plan: 
  • Use in MODERATION. Serving size is 2 tablespoons. Stick to that, measure it out if you have to. Very high calorie food for a small amount. 
  • Know what is more important to you. Is it important that your nuts are organic? Is it important that there are as few additives in your food as possible? 
  • The choice is yours. But look at the whole story before you make your decision. 
Peanut butter can be tricky. My personal preference is to get the most natural peanut butter - the most natural ingredients with the least amount of food additives. I am here to help you - just let me

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How do survive the No-Candy Pledge for 31 days

Remember friends, you are NOT alone in this battle. We will be going through this together if you choose to take the pledge. The response I got in e-mails was more than what I saw on fanpage, so I encourage you to comment on the SWTI fanpage under "Discussions". Share your experiences, your fears, with others who may be having the same thoughts.
  • This pledge is not punishment. 
  • This pledge is not impossible to do. 
  • This pledge is not the worse thing in the world. 
Do you want to know how to live healthy in an unhealthy world? This is it. Taking steps that the average American is afraid to. Doing things that others may see as extreme but are healthy for you. Why is this so hard, giving up candy and chocolate for a month? These are the issues I hope to address during these 31 days:
  • Excess sugar and sugar addictions - This is harmful to your body. Your metabolism is affected by excess sugar and your body is NOT able to burn fat efficiently. When it is constantly being fed sugar, it starts showing up AS fat on your body. Your body cannot process it effectively. You may have muscle on your body, but it is covered by a layer of fat. 
  • Physical addiction to candy and chocolate - You've got to have it. You're used to having it. You feel sad when you don't get it. Mad. Angry. Depressed. May not treat the people around you very well. It is a physical feeling that you NEED just a little bit just to get through the day. This is addiction. 
  • Emotional ties to candy and chocolate - Just a little bit won't hurt. It's a special occasion. I did good today, so I can treat myself. It will help my PMS symptoms. It will help me FEEL better. It will take my stress away. 
My plan is to educate you through these 31 days. To help show you that it can be done. To show you how good your body can feel. To show you how you can break free of your addictions and not let them control your life.

So, now, how do you do it? 

Well, first you make the decision. Print out the pledge, check the boxes and sign it. Hang it by your desk or a place you will see it daily. You do NOT have to share this with everybody you know, it's up to you. You can just do it. Believe me, people will have their opinions on it either way.

Then, come up with options for not eating candy. What time of day do you usually eat it? What could you make as a healthy substitution for it? Go to my Facebook fanpage: and go to "Notes" section where I post recipes. You will find recipes that you can make. I like to make something healthy like muffins or bars or bread once a week and keep them in ziplocs or container in the refrigerator and then take one a day as I need it. If you are craving something sweet, make one of the sweet recipes. Other things you can do is get grapes and put in sm. ziplocs. Keep them with you when you normally have candy. Chew sugar-free gum. Drink water.

We are dealing with physical and emotional habits. But you CAN do this! It is an emotional frame of mind. Do you believe you can do it?

I am here to help you. Send me your concerns. Share your concerns. Again, this is not punishment, this is finding a way to break free and be truly free. And that's a great thing. Come on, let's go...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No-Candy Pledge 2010

Okay kids, here it is…the official No-Candy Pledge of 2010. You thought I was kidding, didn’t you? You were HOPING I was kidding, right?

Before I publish the actual pledge, I wanted to give you some information on the background of the Pledge. It began back in October of 2001, 9 years ago. After spending many years overweight and miserable, I was in the middle of a weight-loss contest. We started in August of 2001 and ended in November of 2001. October has always been a bad time to lose weight for me. Why?

Because I am a candy and chocolate addict.

Plain and simple.

As soon as the stores started carrying the bite-size chocolate bars, I bought them and hid them in the cupboard. Thinking no one knew where they were but me. I ate them during the day like they were, well, candy, duh. I told myself “at least I am not eating a whole candy bar”. But you know what? If you eat 10-20 a day, umm, that’s a candy bar, or two. But I was addicted.

So here’s my problem. I was in a contest. I wanted to win. I wanted to lose weight. The pressure was on, so here’s what I did. I sat down with my kids who were at that time 4 and 7. I made a promise to them that I would not buy any Halloween candy. I made a promise to them that I would not take any of their Halloween candy. I asked them to help me so I wouldn’t eat any candy. I looked into their eyes, held their hands and made a promise to them.

That changed everything.

Not only was I holding myself accountable, but now I was accountable to my kids. It worked. I made it through the holiday without indulging. And I lost weight.

Now back to 2010. 9 years later. What happened during that time? Well, I got into a habit. A good habit. I sat down every year with my kids, held their hands and looked into their eyes and PROMISED them. And I kept it every year. And I have been the same size 4 since 2002. Not bragging, just being realistic here. This is coming from someone who NEVER thought I would get below size 10, ever. But I have been for 9 years now. This is not a fluke. This is life now. This is health.

I was addicted to something that was not good for me. Candy and chocolate played havoc on my hormones and my metabolism. It kept me fat. It kept me miserable. Not only the physical affects of overeating sugar and crap, but the EMOTIONAL affects of having something else take the place of what I really needed – LOVE.

  • Eating the candy is not going to replace the love you want.
  • Eating the candy is not going to make your relationships better or easier.
  • Eating the candy is not going to give you the love that you want.

I’m being honest here. You’re not going to find the solutions to your problems by eating candy. So there’s my candy story…now about the pledge…

  • Yes, it’s funny
  • Yes, it’s serious
  • Yes, it’s radical

You may think…

  • She’s gone over the edge this time.
  • She’s trying to make us feel guilty about eating candy.
  • She’s making a big deal out of nothing.
  • And of course, she’s trying to take the fun out of Halloween.

Well, here’s the reality…

If you don’t want to do it, DON’T. No one is forcing you to do it. Stand up, come on, let’s do it together, put your hands on your hips, and collectively, roll your eyes up, all together now. There. Just don’t do it. Problem solved.

HOWEVER…if you feel the slightest twinge that something in this blog clicked with you. Or you have been wanting to get control over candy and chocolate in your life. Or you are stuck in your weight loss. Or you just want to be healthy for once and all. THEN…take the pledge. Go out on a limb. Do it.

I will hold your hands, I will look into your eyes, and I will do it with you. You are not alone. This will change your life. I guarantee that this will change your life. So are you with me?

Notes: You can download the No-Candy Pledge on my Facebook fanpage, print it out and keep it somewhere you will see it daily.

Monday, September 27, 2010

To lose weight, sometimes you have to stand out in a crowd

Losing weight is not easy and it's not fun. You have to work hard. You have to concentrate. You have to set goals and make them. And sometimes, you have to stand out in a crowd. You have to be different than everyone else around you, you have to act different than everyone else around you. It can be quite intimidating.


People get used to routine. They get used to being around people at work or home. They get used to eating certain meals at certain times. They get used to habits that they have just done for years. And then, in comes the weight loss. To effectively lose weight, you are going to have to change SOMETHING. Either your exercise habits, your eating habits, something has to change. And that's where the conflict comes in. Most people have a hard time with change. Because're the oddball:
  • You're the one who brings in a healthy lunch instead of eating out every day. 
  • You're the one who plans ahead and makes healthy meals instead of fast food. 
  • You're the one who makes time in the day to exercise. 
  • You're the one who sets a weight loss goal, and makes it. 
  • You're the oddball. 
Get used to it. 

Get used to being teased. Get used to jealousy. Get used to snide remarks and rolled eyes. Get used to lack of support from your biggest supporter.

It's okay. 

You can STILL do it! 

It's okay to be the red apple in a sea of green apples. It's okay to swim against the current. It's okay to go in through the out door [as my daughter says about me]. It's okay because it means that you are sticking to your convictions. You are sticking to your true desires. You are sticking to your plan.

And if your plan is to lose weight in a healthy way, then it shouldn't matter what anyone else has to say, or do. Continue doing what you are doing. If it is working and it is healthy, then get stronger emotionally and learn how to stand up to your critics. Stand UP and stand OUT in a crowd. Will you do it today? 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Did the Biggest Loser premiere go too far?

aka from a trainer's perspective now...

I write articles for on weight loss and will be reviewing The Biggest Loser each week, but I wanted to take it a step further and maybe a little bit more politically incorrect here, because I can...

First, read my first review:

Okay, now let's talk about the trainers. Bob and Jillian. Everyone loves them.
  • They train. 
  • They motivate. 
  • They help all these people lose weight. 
Okay, that's all good. But let's look in between the lines.
  • They are paid performers. 
  • They do what they need to do to get an increase in ratings. 
  • They [well one of them does] sponsor and advertise for fat-burning supplements or "speed pills" as I call them. 
But that's just MY opinion, let's see what they say out of their own mouths: [comments from Tuesday night's premiere]

"Your body wants to be healthy and will respond with small changes" - Bob - totally agree
"I manipulate her with every card I've got" - Jillian, in talking about pushing client Anna when she wanted to give up
"Patrick, I'm going to break your legs and beat you with them. Now get up" - Bob training a client
"Don't roll your eyes at me girl, I will ruin your life in this place" - Jillian training a client

Okay, you've heard worse at the gym, right? Uh no. Not at any gym I've been to. And I know - this is "reality TV" - it's for the ratings, it's supposed to be dramatic and get people's attention. But, here's some of the things that bothers me the most:
  • The training scenes that they show. Bob standing on the chest of a person while he's holding the bars of the treadmill, screaming at him. Jillian on the back of a person who is trying to walk/run across the gym, screaming at her. In the face, yelling, belittling, disrespecting. Get my point? Do you know what would happen if I did that to my clients? I would get fired, I would lose my insurance. Period. 
  • The emotional devastation they put their clients through. "I feel like I failed and my life is over" says one of the contestants who didn't make it through one of the challenges. Yes, overly dramatic, but is it worth it? Will these contestants KEEP the weight off? Will they learn to LIVE a healthy lifestyle or is it just for the show. 
You've seen the people from past seasons. They don't always keep it off. Yes, they have some very successful past participants and I love them, I think they are great role models. But they also have a lot more that they DON'T show or when they do show them, you realize that person still has issues and has NOT kept the weight off.
  • My job is to change lives. 
  • My job is to change bodies. 
  • My job is to EMPOWER my clients, to EDUCATE them, to HELP them live a healthy life. 
And here's my biggest gripe:

The average person sitting at home watching it. Will it motivate them to get off the couch? Or is it just entertainment? Do they eat the same bowl of ice cream - while watching the show - that they do every other night? Will they look at the crazy antics of the trainers and think "I can't do that" or "I'm not ready for that" or "I'm not strong enough for that" or other unrealistic, negative emotions that will keep them STUCK and not moving forward towards a healthy lifestyle.

Okay, that's it in a nutshell. I will continue to be honest. I will continue to tell the truth. I will continue to educate my clients and anyone else that will listen. This show is not an answer-all show, but it does have some good outcomes that I will highlight, along with the bad, which I will also highlight. But every week after I watch it, I am more and more convinced and more and more dedicated to what I believe - that it TRULY STARTS WITH THE INSIDE. Do you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cutting calories to lose weight

Wow, what an amazing concept! Cutting calories to lose weight. Could it actually work? Should it actually work? Let's talk about it...

There are three effective tools to help you lose weight [and surprise, there are no pills or shakes involved...]
  1. A good strength training program - lifting weights, girls!
  2. An effective cardio program - it's about more than the stairmaster or running. 
  3. A good nutrition program
So, let's go deeper into #3 - a good nutrition program. What does that include?
  1. Eating healthy foods
  2. Staying away from unhealthy foods
  3. Eating in moderation
Now let's add a fourth onto that - cutting calories. Usually, when you talk about losing weight or starting a new nutrition program [we don't say "diet" around here because "diet" means you are going to "die" doing "it"] - the thing that comes to most people's minds is cutting calories. Cutting calories does help. But it's not the only thing. Along with cutting calories, you should be concerned with:
  • Nutritional value of food
  • Nutritional breakdown of foods; what percentage protein, carb, fat
  • Total calories according to what you are doing that day
Cutting calories does help when you are:
  • Eating too much food or
  • Stuck on a plateau
The only way you can know if you are eating too much food is to write it down and find out. You can go to and enter in the food you eat each day. You will see a chart at end of day showing your nutritional breakdown for the day. However, there are times when - even if you are eating healthy foods - you can still be overeating. Stuck on a plateau is a good indicator.

During my weight loss battle, I got stuck a few times. In one of the times, I was doing everything I should be doing - exercising, eating right - and I still couldn't lose the weight. I was stuck. My coach at the time told me to cut what I eat in half. What? "I'll starve" was my response. "You won't" was his response. For example, for a snack [my favorite snack] during the day was a protein bar and an apple. I could eat this on the run or during carpool. Cut the protein bar in half, cut the apple in half. What? I don't think so. Again, I'll starve. But, I was desperate and so I tried it. When I scooped out my cereal in the morning, I only did 1/2. When I made a sandwich for lunch, I made it open-faced and only used one slice of bread instead of two. I did this for two days.

It worked! 

Please read on...

Was my weight-loss success due solely to cutting all my food in half?
It was much more than that. However, it did help me see that I was still overeating, even when I thought I was being good. It did help me acknowledge the power that food had in my life. The dependence. The habits we get into. I did not have to do this forever. Really. In fact, I only had to do this for a short time, until I met my weight goal.

When you are in weight loss mode, you have to do things differently. You cannot just keep everything the same and think you can make progress.

You can cut calories to lose weight. You just need to do it the right way.

Will you? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Food and Pain

No one likes to be in pain, right? But, what if the food you are eating is causing pain? Would you stop eating it? Or would you just go on eating it, day after day, thinking that it's just the way it is and it's just too much work to change?

In dealing with clients with nutritional issues, I've noticed an interesting phenomenon:

The average American is willing to deal with pain caused by bad food choices:
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Inflammation in their body
  • Joint pain
The average American is NOT willing to deal with pain caused by saying "no" to bad food choices:
  • Hunger pains
  • Emotional distress over not getting what they want
  • Physical habits of eating a particular food
Read that again. Americans are WILLING to deal with physical pain caused by foods, because, well, just because. It's too hard to change. It's not going to make a difference in the long run. It's too hard to deprive yourself of what you want. But, if you want to change, if you need to lose weight, this is one of the obstacles that must be overcome.
  • You have to get hunger pains. 
  • You have to get over not getting what you want every time you want it. 
  • You have to retrain yourself and your habits. 
Certain foods cause pain. And coincidentally, these foods should be avoided if you are trying to lose weight:
  • Fast foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Fried foods
  • Sodas
So, what kind of pain are you willing to deal with?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Milkshakes at Zaxby's

Zaxby's has a new milkshake - a Birthday cake shake! Now you can have your cake and milkshake at the same time...or so you thought. The question of the day it healthy?
  • It looks pretty. 
  • It looks pretty healthy? 
  • Is it? 
Let's look at the details: [hang onto your chair]

860 calories [yes, you read that correctly]
37.5g fat
113g carb
10g protein
98g sugar [read that again, and again]
256mg sodium

Do any of those numbers look healthy to you?

This is a carb-loading, fattening, over-the-top sugar coated, high calorie DEATH TRAP! Really, it is. It's scary how UNHEALTHY this one item is. Do you think you'll go to Zaxby's and have this alone? No, it's dessert. On your birthday, I guess. But still, if you already eat a reasonable meal - let's say 850 calories - and then you add this?

Obesity is sky-rocketing in the United States and this milkshake is a good reason why. No, it's not all the milkshake's fault. It's Zaxby's fault for making and advertising such a product. It's our fault as consumers for eating it, for not looking up nutritional information on-line before we go.

It's time to stop the craziness. Just because you hear the phrase "milkshake" doesn't mean that it's healthy because it has milk. If you are SERIOUS about living a healthy life or helping your kids live one, then you have to be serious about what you are eating. And it starts with taking these out of your nutrition plan.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The final day of my challenge

I joined a challenge, 30 days ago:
The challenge was to blog 31 times in 31 days in August. I joined it for many reasons:
  • To learn about blogging
  • To meet new people and expand my network
  • To find out what this is all about
And so I did: 
  • I learned this is much more complex than just writing. I tried to write a variety over the last 31 days - product research, emotional eating issues, exercises, general fitness and health - but mostly on what I founded my company on - learning to listen to your instinct, your inside voice. 
  • I met many new people, outside my normal network. I learned how to tweet, even though my son says I am cheating on Facebook. I know just enough to be dangerous now. I am not an expert, but this horse-and-buggy-girl has come a long way in 31 days to understanding the power of blogging and networking.
  • I am still trying to figure out what this is all about. I found out that the most important things to me for my blog is to educate and encourage others. One client may have a question about a product and if I can do the research for that client, yet share it with all my clients [and potential clients], then it is a good service that I can provide. One client may have an issue that they are having a hard time dealing with and I can write about it, showing her that she is not alone, and help other people at the same time. 
It's over, so now what? 

Well, I'm not going to give it up. I am going to continue blogging. I probably won't blog every day or twice a day when I was trying to catch up. I don't want to overwhelm people with information, but I want to keep educating and encouraging others. I don't want to just write about myself either. I want to do what I set out to do:
  • Help others who are struggling to lose weight
  • Educate and expose the truth about weight loss scams and advertising
  • Encourage everyone to live healthy and fit lives
So, now, please tell me. If you have ready any of my blogs for the last 31 days, I need to know:
  • Has it helped you? 
  • Was it information overload? 
  • What would you like to see in my blog? 
I'm going to celebrate that I did it! I entered the challenge and did what I said I could do and learned a lot along the way. So now, I'm going to celebrate, it's my birthday as well, so that worked out well :) Please send me your comments and have a great, healthy day!

Sandi Porter

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dinner at Little Caesar's

Ok, time to pick on Little Caesar's...just kidding, kind of. When I pick a product to evaluate, esp fast food, it is usually because I get asked about it or I see it in a sales flyer with a coupon, urging one of my healthy clients to purchase it for money savings or convenience' sake. My job is not to discourage you from ever eating at fast food restaurants. My job is to educate you and inform you and maybe open your eyes a little bit. It's not to offend someone or be negative in any way or even make you feel guilty. You choose your health and you make decisions about what you eat.

So, Little Caesar's. This week's sales flyer shows 3 products:
  • Crazy Bread and Crazy Sauce
  • Caesar Wings
  • Ultimate Supreme Pizza
Let's say you purchase these products for your family and for the sake of our research, you eat:
  • 2 crazy breads [look at the sizes of these, you would probably eat more but I'm being conservative]
  • 2 Caesar wings [again, these are small, you would probably eat more]
  • 2 pieces of pizza [ditto]
For the totals, we will just count calories and sodium. 

Crazy Bread:
Serving size: 1 breadstick, 100 calories, 3g fat, 15g carb, 3g protein, 150mg sodium
TOTAL = 200 calories, 300mg sodium
Crazy Sauce:
Serving size: 1 container, 45 calories, 5g fat, 10g carb, 2g protein, 260mg sodium
TOTAL = 45 calories, 260mg sodium

Caesar Wings: 
Serving size: 1 wing, 60 calories, 4g fat, 1g carb, 4g protein, 290mg sodium
TOTAL = 120 calories, 580mg sodium

Ultimate Supreme Pizza: 
Serving size: 1 slice, 310 calories, 14g fat, 31g carb, 15g protein, 640mg sodium
TOTAL = 620 calories, 1280mg sodium

GRAND TOTAL = 985 calories, 2420mg sodium

Okay, quite a total. What's the big killer? The sodium. Normal range is 1500-1800 for a WHOLE DAY. If you ate like this once or twice a week, you are looking at physical problems caused by sodium overload - bloating, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, high bodyfat%, obesity. And we haven't added any drinks yet.

Do you understand how our society is getting more and more obese by the day? We cannot continue to eat like this and just think it will get better one day. It won't without serious action on our own behalf. Do you HAVE to eat at Little Caesar's? Do you want to eat at Little Caesar's? Is it just easy? Is it just convenient?

Is it just easier to sweep it under the rug and forget about it?

Knowledge is power. Education is power. Esp when it comes to weight loss. It's your choice. What will you choose?