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.