Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 8 - Gifts

If there is one thing that we can count on during this time of the year, it is the tradition of giving and receiving gifts. This entire process can sometimes become a chore, especially when the gifts revolve around food. I thought this week we would discover some things that we can give that are food related and how we can handle the food gifts that we get.

Here are some great examples of gifts that you can give that aren't food related, don't cost much money and might help to encourage your loved ones or friends to jump on the health and fitness band wagon with you. There's nothing better than a support group.

•Put together a little cookbook of some recipes that you enjoy and love. Even make some samples if you can.
•Have a get together with your friends.
•Ladies think of pretty nail polishes or some home made body scrubs. Get a great little jar and there ya go
•Men, how about some gloves or offer to help your friend with some yard work or something. Can you say "Extra activity points"
• Candles
• Books
• Magazines that you have read and have enjoyed the articles. I have many, many old running magazines and such. I can't bring myself to throw them out but I'm sure my friends would love them, especially my running buddies.
• Journals
• Reusable water bottles, you'll be helping the environment too.

Now what to do with the plates of goodies that people bring in to you. Choose wisely what you will keep and enjoy. Choose one or two of your most favorite goodies and get rid of the remainder.

• Wrap them up and take them to a local shelter
• How about the fire department or local police station
• Take them to work and share them with your co workers
• Take them to a church function and share them with your church family
• Share them with a shut-in or elderly neighbor or to a nursing home.
• Send them to work with your spouse or significant other
• Last but surely not least, THROW THEM AWAY!

Some of you may be aghast at the thought of throwing them away. However, if you really truly don't want to have them be sitting on your hips for the remainder of December and all of January, take a deep breath, close your eyes and let them go into the bin.

Here is to wishing you a happy an healthy holiday gifting giving and gift receiving season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 7 - 2009 Goal Setting

Now that we've bragged about where we've came from in 2008 its time for us to get started on setting goals for 2009. There is nothing better than feeling as if you are in control of this process and crossing some things off our list of "to-do's"

Many people have a hard time setting goals. I know I'm still not the best but I'm getting better and just starting with a few things and accomplishing them can really help us be motivated to set bigger and longer term goals.

The other thing I want you thinking about are goals that are not necessarily related to your ideal scale number. Let's start looking at life in terms that are much bigger than the scale. After all, does that 12x12 pad control your life, are you living for the three digit number that appears there? I hope not! Let's start living LIFE!

Here are a few S.M.A.R.T. tips to help you set some goals:

• Specific. Some of the questions you might want to answer are who, what, when, where and why of the goal. For example, "I want to compete in the OSU Triathlon, May 3, 2009."

• Measureable. Can you measure the specific pieces of the goal or points along the way so that you know how close you are to achieving it or when you actually do?

• Attainable. Can you achieve the goal? Anything is attainable if you are willing and able to do what is necessary to achieve that goal.

• Realistic. Is the goal realistic? The objective of the goal is to be able to achieve it and if we truly believe that we can achieve it then I believe we can but we also need to look at the entire spectrum of what needs to happen to get to that end result.

• Timeline. We need to set a time to when we will finish this goal. That gives us an opportunity to put a plan into place and know that everything we do helps us to reach one step closer to our goal.

It is easy for us folks that have struggled with weight loss and fitness to have our entire being and self revolve around a scale. I so often ask people how they are and the response I get is inevitably that they will know once they step on the scale. Isn't that sad?

Folks, there is more to us than a number on the scale. We are living, breathing, loving, learning, individuals that should be putting forth more into our lives and obtaining dreams than worry about a 10 second stance on the scale.

I'm challenging you this week to start righting down some goals for 2009. It could be anything from learning to paint, maybe you have always wanted to, to learning to drive a tractor.

The key here is to start putting down on paper the hopes and dreams that we all had as small children and believed that we could do and start working towards realizing those dreams.

I would love to get comments on goals that you are setting out for yourself for the 2009 year. I'll be posting mine.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Learning to Love your Body

I had a person email me today in reference to my recent article regarding alcohol. Although it seemed to be of value to her, she gave me a comment about "hips that won't go away"

I her asked to give me a bit more insight on how she was feeling because she was obviously not having a good day.

Obesity is at an all time high in this country and with that comes the notion that women should all fit in this so called perfect body. You know, the Twiggy type, probably not more than 13 years old and a minuscule percentage that will ever walk that runway.

As a result of this conflicting notion of being overweight and trying to fit the perfect image comes a self-loathing that is equally destructive. You can use this anger or frustration to fuel your desire to be more healthy and fit but at the same time you have to love your body where it is now because even after you lose the weight it will still be YOUR body.

Here is a great list of twenty ways to start loving it today!

Compiled by Margo Maine, Ph.D.

Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.

  1. Your body is extraordinary--begin to respect and appreciate it.

  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.

  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day. Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.

  4. Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.

  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.

  6. Don't let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.

  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like and that feel good to your body.

  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.

  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance. Try one!

  10. Be your body's friend and supporter, not its enemy.

  11. Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.

  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.

  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.

  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don't exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.

  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Tell yourself you can feel like that again, even in this body at this age.

  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself--without mentioning your appearance. Add to it!

  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, "I'm beautiful inside and out.

  18. Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself.

  19. Start saying to yourself, "Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.

  20. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Now, I would love to hear comments about why and what you love and respect about your body.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 6 - 2008 In Review

We talk a lot about goals at Weight Watchers and Phit4Life and the importance of having goals. They give us something to strive for and to ascertain where we are in our journey. We get a sense of accomplishment in achieving them and they help us to stay motivated. However, the down side to being goal driven is the tendency to forget about rewarding ourselves and taking a good look at where we are now in comparison to where we came from.

This is a hard one for me and I'll be honest with you. It's tough when you are in maintenance. You don't get a reward, sticker, star or keychain for just staying the same. Should I be proud of the fact that I've maintained this weight loss for almost 18 months, you bet I should, but do I? Nope! Shame on me and shame on you too! I have accomplished some great things in the last year and none of them were reflected on the 12x12 pad that we all love to pay such homage to.

Here are some of the things I have done in 2008:

1. Ran my second half marathon in Indianapolis, the largest half marathon in the U.S.
2. Enrolled and completed my Personal Training Certification, including becoming CPR and AED certified.
3. Ran a 5k in July
4. Helped to support and rally three wonderful Weight Watchers members to train and run their first 5K and inspiring them to even run a 10K.
5. Started Phit4Life which includes a full body workout class and online personal training services.
6. Ran my third half marathon at the Fort Wayne Inaugural run in September.
7. Successful lead three Weight Watchers meetings inspiring other people to live fit and healthy lifestyles as well.

And folks these are just the big ones that got me some bling to wear around my neck a neat tee shirt or a cool certificate. It doesn't even touch on the countless things that I've learned about proper nutrition, intense exercise and goal setting strategies or all the things that I do as a wife, mother, colleague and friend. I have accomplished a lot in 2008 and I have a lot to be proud of.

I'm challenging you today to get out a piece of paper or better yet, comment back here to tell me about all the things that you have done in 2008. Be proud of where you are today and where you have come from it will help you set your 2009 goals, which is what we will talk about next week. Now get busy braggin!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Types of Cardio Training

There are a number of types of cardiovascular training that can help you meet your fitness and training goals Today I'm going to talk about three of the most common types in use. I'll address each of them separately and examine how they can be incorporated into your fitness regimen for maximum fat loss and fitness.

Steady State

Steady State cardio is done for 60 to 75 minutes. It tends so be somewhat monotonous and may even be considered by some as boring. During this type of exercise we want to keep our heart rate at 55-65% for maximum fat loss effect. How does this actually work you might wonder. Performing steady state cardio has little to no effect on cardio vascular fitness levels, but it does wonders when it comes to burning through fat.

Let's look at it in this way. Put a pan on the stove and put some butter in it. The pan represents your body and the butter is the fat you want to destroy. If you turn the heat to a low setting the butter or fat will slowly melt away and the integrity of the pan in unaffected. It may take longer to melt the butter but it gets the job done without sacrificing anything else. More on this pan analogy in the following sections.

Interval Training

Interval training occurs when you work hard for period of time, usually about one minute, followed by a recovery period of the same duration. This can be continued for 30 or even 60 minutes. The objective is teaching your body to go harder for a shorter period of time without crashing. It also amps up our metabolism, resulting in a great afterburn.

It has been found that by doing this type of cardio, the body increases its cardiovascular ability or the ability for the heart to pump blood and oxygen to other parts of the body. It has also been shown to increase the body's anaerobic capacity. This means that your body will become more efficient at using other means than oxygen to supply energy to itself.

Turning again to the butter and pan analogy, it would be similar to turning the burner on and off. As you do this the pan (your body) starts warm but stays warm and gets even hotter. It continues to melt the butter even when the pan is turned off and it is using indirect heat (anaerobic) to melt the butter when the direct heat (aerobic) is turned off.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High Intensity Interval Training is the cousin to Interval training. HIIT occurs when you go all out; balls to the walls, so to speak, for 20 seconds, maybe thirty and then in a recovery mode for the balance of the minute. You will repeat this cycle for about 20 minutes; maybe 25 if you are lucky. When you are done with a HIIT session you should have nothing left to give. When you do HIIT it puts your body in an anabolic state. Because of this we can only continue it short amount of time and could suffer muscle loss if we do not fuel ourselves properly.

Consider the pan analogy once again. In a HIIT session we torch the butter (fat) within minutes but if the pan has nothing to burn after the butter has flamed up, it will actually turn upon itself and ultimately warp or ruin the pan.

Each of these modes of cardio can and should be incorporated into your exercise regimen. Keeping your body guessing at what will come next and how it should respond, is key to successful weight loss.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 5 - Alcohol

We know that with the holidays come the endless parties and many involve alcohol. Not all alcohol is created equal either, so with a little bit of education we can make wiser choices and still come out on top.

I'm going to be blunt here, but by now most of you are used to it. Booze is a total waste of calories/Points but a lot of us like to enjoy some every now and then. My best advice is that if you are in fat loss mode, you don't have the wiggle room to do it often. Maybe once every six weeks. If you are maintaining or even trying to build you can do it more often but it really is a waste of nutrients.

If you are going to drink try combining it would some protein. In doing so it will have a minimal affect overall on your weeks efforts. Just remember that if you drink you will probably not see a loss on the scale. Alcohol packs on fat and water retention and when I drink it can take 2-4 days before I see the scale back off from the drinking.

What's best to drink? Wine first only because it has some benefits for the heart. Next I would just stick with light beer, mixed drinks that are mixed with diet soda. Stay away from fruity drinks, cream based drinks, and such, these are loaded with extra sugar. A vodka and diet coke will set back about 80-100 calories versus a white Russian which is a nice 250 calorie a drink. :)

Additionally, if you are going to party it up on the weekend you need to pay the piper prior to going. An additional 10 minutes of hard cardio intervals daily to make up for your indulgence is required. If you want to drink you need to be ready to have a calorie deficit going into it.

If you do choose to drink go into it knowing that the scale will probably not show you any love on the next weigh-in. Alternate each alcoholic beverage with water or a diet drink. Set a limit to the number of drinks you will have and stick to it. Better yet, offer to be the designated driver for the night!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interested or Committed to Weight Loss?

A client of mine sent this to me today and I just had to share it. I hope you enjoy and are willing to discuss in the comments where your mind is today and what you will do the rest of this week to be in the committed group!

From The Wt. Loss Minute By Linda Spangle, RN, MA
Author: 100 Days of Weight Loss

"What is wrong with me?" Carol slammed her hand down on the table. "I'm so frustrated with myself! Every morning, I tell myself that today will be different. I'm going to stay on my diet the way I should, and NOT fall off by the middle of the afternoon."

"Have you been having trouble with this?" I asked. "You wouldn't believe it," she sighed. "I've done everything you've said. I plan out my meals, set out my exercise clothes, buy healthy foods, and write down what I eat.

"But every afternoon, it's like this monster comes over me and I lose my determination." Tears began sliding down her cheeks as she continued, "It feels too hard! I've had a lot of challenges and disappointment lately, and I always end up reaching for a glass of wine or a few cookies to help me cope. Then I get upset because I've messed up my diet again."

I handed her a box of tissues, then responded, "Carol, there's nothing wrong with you at all. What you're doing is extremely common and normal. I think the real issue is how you're coping with your life struggles."
Then I asked, "How badly do you want to lose weight? How important is it to you?" Carol wiped her eyes, then responded. "I want it VERY badly. I can't stand how I look and feel right now. I would give ANYTHING to be able to lose weight."

"Anything?' I asked. "Does that mean you're willing to give up having wine or cookies when you get upset or feel challenged?" Carol thought for a minute. "Are you saying I can't ever have a glass of wine after a bad day?"

"Not necessarily," I replied. "Being successful isn't about setting rigid rules or feeling deprived. It's about making choices based on what you truly want in your life."

It sounds great to say 'I really want to lose weight' but making this happen takes effort. If you tend to routinely fall off your diet plan, you may want to look at the difference between being interested and being committed.

When you're 'interested' in losing weight, you say all the right words, but it doesn't take much to get you off track. A hard day, another disappointment, and you're back to food being your best friend.

In contrast, when you're 'committed' to your weight-loss plan, you stick with it no matter what. You don't blame circumstances or other people for your slip ups. On days when you get worn down or don't "feel" like dieting, you stay on the plan anyway.
Here's a summary of the two directions.

If you're "interested" in losing weight...

* You stick with it only until something better comes along (such as doughnuts).
* How you feel determines your outcome. If you don't 'feel like it,' you stop your efforts.
* You need to see results. When the scale doesn't move, you lose your motivation.
* You blame everything else (people, travel, circumstances) for your struggles with staying on your diet.
* Whenever you face challenges in life, you give up and plan you'll start your diet again tomorrow.

If you're "committed" to losing weight...

* Nothing stops your efforts. You stick with your diet, "no matter what."
* Emotions don't control your actions. You stay on track even when you don't feel like it.
* Your motivation isn't linked to the scale. You assume that if you stay motivated and work hard, you'll eventually see results.
* You don't depend on other people for your success. You know it's up to you, not them.
* A bad day or a lot of challenges don't affect your efforts. You keep going in spite of it.

At this point, Carol nodded. "I thought I was really determined to lose weight, she said. "But I've been acting like I was onlyinterested in it. Starting today, I'm going to change my approach and live in ways that show I'm truly committed to my goals."

Folks, let's really brainstorm reasons why we don't make the committment switch and stay in the interested phase. I want to know what is that you think is really holding you back and how you are going to bust through it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 4 - Moving Around a Holiday Party

At this point we have talked about some of the three most important elements of getting through the holiday season; planning, activity and healthy, yummy recipes. This week we are going to discuss how to move around a holiday party setting so as to come out the other side unscathed.

My first point is to plan. Remember in the beginning we talked about what parties were ones that you wouldn't give up. If this is one that is negotiable then maybe not going is the option. I know you might not like that, and your host may be a bit offended but hey, who is most important in all of this? If that is what it takes to make or break your weight loss and fitness goals then I say excuse yourself politely.

If you decided that this is a party that you must attend here are a few tips that you can use.
    1. Make sure that in the weeks and days leading up to the party, you are spot on with your plan. That means no extra bits of chocolate or eating the leftovers on the spoons. It also means getting in your exercise each and everyday. Now is not the time to slack off.

    2. Just as we wouldn't go shopping in a state of starvation, do not send yourself into the lions den without having had a good amount of food before you leave. I mean within 30 minutes grab yourself a can of tuna or other protein, put it on a piece of whole wheat bread and have a piece of fruit. This will set you up so you don't feel like you are starved when you arrive.

    3. Limit your alcohol. Do you really want to be drinking a days worth of calories in one or two beers or a couple of cocktails? If you must drink stay away from the fruity drinks as they pack a wallop of extra calories in the sugar content of the drink mixes. Alternate each glass of alcohol with a glass of water.

    4. Dress the part of success in that you want to go feel slim and trim. Put on a skirt that makes you feel pretty and sexy. You won't want to be busting out of the seams if you are wearing form fitting fashion.

    5. Enjoy the event. The event is not about the food.. The event is about getting together with family and friends. Some of whom we probably haven't seen in several months or maybe even a year. Take pictures of your children or recent vacation, think of the conversations that you want to have with people to help divert the focus away from the food.
By using some or all of these tips above you can participate in holiday parties, feel included in the group and still maintain your weight loss and fitness lifestyle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Day In My Life

I get a lot of questions from people wondering what I eat and what I do for exercise or how do I get it all done. So I thought it might be fun to share what my day looks like as well as the foods I eat and workouts I do on a regular basis.

Day starts: 05:15 a.m.
Son off to school 06:30 a.m.
Work 08:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Workout at lunch 12:00 p.m. - 01:00 p.m.
Work 01:00 p.m. - 05:00 p.m.
Pickup son from practice 05:00 p.m.
WW meeting 05:45 p.m. - 08:00 p.m.
Home for dinner 08:00 p.m. - 09:00 p.m.
Prep for next day 09:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

This is a typical day for me. I have two WW meetings, one on Monday and the other on Thursday. Those days are very busy for me. My son dives so I have to get him from diving practice daily after work. He will also frequently accompany me to WW meetings or the gym if necessary. On Saturday mornings I have a WW meeting at 8am and a boot camp class that I teach at 10am so half my Saturday is used up as well. Sunday’s are used for laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying and food prepping for the next week.

I also have horses and dogs at home that need to be fed, pampered and played with. I have a husband as well, so I can’t waste much time and any amount of free time I have needs to be used wisely.

I tend to use one menu for my food for the week and then change it weekly. This is just easier for me as far as food preparation goes so I always know what to expect.

Here is the menu I’m following this week.

B – 1 lg. egg, 3 egg whites, 1 c spinach, ¼ c salsa, 1 t canola oil (scrambled) ½ c oatmeal
S – 1 sm. apple, 2 TB peanut butter
P/W – 1 scoop protein powder mixed with water, ½ sweet potato
L – ½ bag mixed greens, 1 pouch of seasoned tuna, and ½ c oatmeal mixed with ¼ c pumpkin
S – 1 scoop protein powder mixed with water, ½ oz almonds
D – 4 oz ground turkey, ½ c marinara sauce, ½ bag cauliflower
S – Scoop of casein protein powder mixed with sugar free Jell-O pudding.

This is about 1700 calories, 55 grams fat, 153 grams carbs and 163 grams protein

Currently, I’m completing two full body workouts and a lower and upper body split during the week. I do cardio the other days and swim one night of the week. Here is an example of the workout I completed today. I did three sets. Tonight I’ll do 30 minutes on my NordicTrack ski machine at home.

Superset One: Frog Thrusts
3 passes walking lunges 3 passeswith 20# DB
3x10 OH Presses 10 reps 25# DB
3x10 Lateral Raises 10 reps 15# DB

Superset Two: Step Up Jumps Single Leg Alt (split 15 sec one leg, switch) (use a step bench) completed3x10 Weighted Step Ups 10 reps 20# DB
3x10 Dumbbell Strt Leg Deadlifts 10 reps 115# BB
3x10 Bentover Rows 10 reps 65# BB

Superset Three: Straddle Jumps on Step Bench
3 passes Bearcrawls 3 passes
3x10 Chest Presses 10 reps 70# BB
3x30 sec Planks 3 sets of 30 seconds each alternating leg raises

Superset Four: Mountain Climbers
3x10 Pop Squats 10
3x10 Biceps Curl 10 reps 20# DB
3x10 OH Extensions 10 reps 25# DB

So there you have it, if you ever wondered what I do for a workout or what I eat, this is it. If you have questions please feel free to post them up, I’ll be happy to answer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 3 - Eating Healthy and Yummy Foods

Holidays sometimes bring to us huge food challenges. Although we know that the holidays aren't about the food we have to be realistic in that we know we will be facing foods and needing to bring foods with us that are both healthy and yummy or let's face it, we probably just won't eat it. I mean there is more to life than chicken and broccoli, right?

The first thing I think that we have to acknowledge is that food can be both healthy and great tasting. It takes some practice to be good at cooking with different flavors and getting used to different textures but all of this is part of getting food to taste good.

Secondly, if you are Weight Watchers member and have access to E-tools you should be using them. There is a plethora of information on the site that allows you to search for recipes and input your own recipe to find a Points value and work changing ingredients to fit into your Points area. Many times just changing eggs to egg whites or whole milk to non-fat milk can significantly change the Points value and the taste is not sacrificed in the least.

So, what if you aren't a Weight Watchers member or you are but don't have access to E-tools. There are many sites on the internet, cook books either in the meeting room or the library that provide healthy recipes and all the nutritional information for you. If you aren't interested in those two options we can even purchase software that allows the nutritional information to be figured and you can start your own recipe collection for just a few dollars. MasterCook is a great one that I use and recommend.

Fresh fruits and veggies are great to keep around on trays during this time. Almonds and other nuts are a wonderful source of fat and cheeses and yogurts are a great way to get dairy and milks in too. Combining some of these together with some creativity can make for a great snack or mini meal while we are waiting for the BIG event.

Lastly, everything in moderation people, if you must have some of grandma's pie that is only made one time per year, have that piece and enjoy it. But forgo the mashed potatoes or count on exercising a bit more to make up for it.

I would love to get comments on what healthy and yummy recipe you are making for yourself this year to stay on plan and achieve your goals while still satisfying your taste buds.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So just what is protein?

If you are training and eating to lose weight, protein needs to be a staple in your diet. Why? Without getting all scientific or geeky on you, here is a simple explanation.

A protein is a long chain of amino acids. Proteins have different functions, some of which are; maintaining structures within our ligaments, aiding in digestion, the building and repair of muscles, and the production of antibodies and hemoglobin.

Protein is one of three essential macronutrients identified in dietary requirements. Since its primary function is the growth and repair of body tissue, it is required for just about every cell within out bodies.

Protein will also boost your metabolic rate, which in turn helps your body torch the fat. Some research as shown a boost in metabolism in as much as 30% for several areas after protein in consumed, whereas, a high carb meal might only produce upwards of 10%. This means a higher protein diet keeps our metabolism burning calories even after you have eaten.

Protein also helps to stave off hunger. Starting your day with a large egg and egg white veggie omelet will hold you over much longer than the fruity cereal that you may be wolfing down now. That is assuming you are even eating breakfast. The breakfast issue is itself an important topic, which we will address in a later post.

Protein after a workout means potentially less pain later. Drinking a protein shake immediately after workouts has been shown to be the best way to boost muscle protein synthesis at the most critical time of your training day, thereby optimizing the muscle building and growth processes. Conversely, if you don’t use the post workout window to feed the muscles properly, those fibers will actually breakdown rather than rebuild. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) may also be offset by a post-workout shake.

So, with all of the above information you can see the importance of protein in your diet, so let’s work on getting in some more during the next week.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide – Week 2 – Exercise

You probably knew that you wouldn’t get through a 12-week series with me and not have me mention exercise, right? The reason that I’m putting it into the 2nd week and not towards the middle is because last week we talked about planning and I think that exercise should be planned into this season just as are all the parties, pageants and gatherings.

At a minimum if we can keep our exercise in place, then we are helping to burn a few extra calories or gain a few activity points. This will certainly help because I just know that extra unplanned goodies will be had.

Exercise doesn’t have to be done in one block, and during the holiday season big blocks of time usually aren’t readily available. So if we acknowledge that, we can then insert little pockets of extra movement throughout the day. This gets our exercise in and can actually benefit our metabolism by giving it several positive bumps during the day.

Here are a few things that you can do in 10-minute blocks throughout the day. Select three or more of these, and you have your activity in for the day. Everyone has 10 minutes, between commercial breaks at TV time, standing over a stove cooking dinner, breaks and lunches at work or waiting for a son or daughter to finish an after school practice.
  • Walk a half-mile or better yet push yourself and walk 1 mile.
  • Jog in place or do high knee raises.
  • Dance around the house to your favorite music. Get your kids involved and they will benefit too.
  • Jump Rope or fake jump rope if you don’t have one.
  • 5 minutes of squats, followed by 5 minutes of bicep curls (use some soup cans from the store).
  • Walk up and down stairs.
If you don’t want to do one of these for ten minutes combo up a few of them and make each of them be 2-3 minutes and you will be feeling better and energized in a relatively short period of time.

Our holidays are busy, but by incorporating a small amount movement we can stay on track and give a gift to ourselves.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sailing In Rough Waters

Achieving weight loss and fitness can be likened to sailing. Wikipedia offers this description:

“Sailing is the art of controlling a sailing vessel by changing the rigging, rudder and dagger or centre board. A sailor manages the force of the wind on the sails in order to change the direction and speed of a boat. Mastery of the skill requires experience in varying wind and sea conditions, as well as knowledge concerning sailboats.”

The vessel is analogous to our bodies and the sea and winds, to the ever changing environments, and challenges we face on a daily basis. We are the sailor, learning how to manage all these things as we move through life. Sailing can be a fun, yet frightening experience as one learns this skill.

Many times as we sail, the waters are calm and we are learning how to maneuver through life. As long as we are weighing and measuring and losing weight and things are going our way, we are quite happy. We sail parallel to our ultimate goal of reaching the coast line but we are content with the status quo. However, we soon become dissatisfied with our existing position and decide that we must grab the helm of the boat and sail directly toward our goals. Directly into the rough waters.

During this time, we have to decide what we really want and whether we willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to get to our goal. It won’t be easy and certainly not as fun as just sailing along, but it will be worth it in the end.

Are you sailing along and discontent with your current state or is it time for you to sail into the rough waters?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 1 - Planning

The holiday season is really only a few days long but it somehow gets extended to 90 days or more.  Nevertheless, it is fast approaching and I thought that a great way for us to approach this period is to break it down week by week.  Let's see if we can get through it with less stress, some weight loss or maintenance. We can even set ourselves up for making New Years Resolutions that don't involve losing the dreaded 5-7 lb gain that often follows the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham feasts, and New Year's drinking binge.  Join me over the next 12 weeks where we will look into everything from planning and moving around a work environment to goal setting.

You may be tired of hearing me say it but, plan, plan and then plan some more.  Plan for what you know is happening and even more importantly, plan for what might happen and of course, expect that there will be occurances that completely catch you off guard.  This is the time of the year when the unexpected happens all too often.  Remember, failing to plan is planning for failure.

So, how do I suggest you start? Decide what you really want out of this holiday season.  Do you want to maintain, lose or would you even accept a small gain in the scale.  Yep, you heard me right.  If you know that you are willing to accept a small gain in the scale then let's just put it out there right now.  Then, get your a calendar and start marking down those parties and events that you know you will NOT miss.  You know the ones with grandma and grandpa, church or school related events, and put them on the calendar now.  Start investigating what is going to be happening at these events as we will have to move through them.  We can't be having cookies and eggnog at them all and if we go without knowing what we are setting ourselves up for, crash will happen.

Once we have a schedule done, then we need to start mentally rehearsing how we will handle these occasions.  We have several options, from bringing some of our own lower point and lower calorie dishes, to avoiding the food entirely.  We will get into some of those other areas later in the series but for now keep your calendar handy so we can always know what we have in store for us.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Diets Don’t Work

I work for Weight Watchers and this is our slogan. It really is true. If we want to lose weight and become fit and healthy we need to stop believing that just by depriving ourselves of what is intended to keep us alive will make us thin.
  • Diets don’t work! I know I said it once, but I figured it was worth stating again. If they did, we would all be thin because don’t we all start one every Monday morning?
  • If you are hungry, truly hungry, then I say eat. In fact, studies have shown that people who eat small frequent meals/snacks during the day are less likely to be overweight. Why? If you are eating every few hours your body will never become hungry. When I started this practice, it was so foreign to me that I set an alarm clock at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm,and 9pm. Yes, I eat at 6am and even right before I go to bed!
  • NOTHING is off limits. Stop right there and take a breath, because you heard me right. Some foods are better choices than others but if we deprive ourselves of something that we really want then we tend to binge. I say, work it into your week’s meals, plan for it, eat it and enjoy it.
  • If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat. This is a tough one as each of us have triggers that lead us to believe that somehow those Ho-Hos in the cupboard will satisfy the feeling of anger over your child’s current report card. Trust me it won’t.
  • This brings me to the issue of our emotions. Learn to respect them. Learn what emotion you are attempting to satisfy with food and learn to find other ways to comfort or distract yourself from that emotion. Maybe, your child’s poor grades make you feel that you are not in control of him or her. Find something that you can control. Like what you put in your mouth. You will feel better and will learn to work with your children on positive ways to overcome their issues.
  • Respect yourself both on the inside and on the outside. Who you are on the inside is more important than what you look like on the outside. I’m always talking with my Weight Watchers members about “fixing what is on the inside and then our bodies have no choice but to follow”. Each of us is a wonderful being made in God’s image and has talents and gifts that can be shared with our families and friends. Identify your gifts and start using them.
  • As you begin to value your health you will want to become more active. Find something that you are good at or that you enjoy, perhaps a walking group in your community, a softball league or riding bikes with your family. All of these are great activities that get you moving and feeling better about yourself.

Remember all of these things don’t have to be done in one week. Choose one and work on it for the next 21 days. We know it takes 21 days to make something a habit and in a matter of a few months you will be on your way to a healthier and more fit you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Traveling and the Phit Lifestyle

Part 4 - How do I Exercise on the Road?

You might think that with traveling comes the halt of all healthy eating and exercise. During our series we have discussed how we can go about eating healthy through proper planning, grocery shopping and wise restaurant choices.

Today I want to discuss exercise. Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that we get a “get out of jail free card” from exercise. This is something that can be incorporated into your day with little or no effort, again with just a bit of planning. Here are a few tips:
  • Take the stairs and ask for a room that is not on the ground floor. Why? I took the elevator up when I first arrived. I’m on the second floor and other than my trip arriving and my trip departing I have taken the stairs daily. This is at a minimum twice daily and on a few occasions four times. It doesn’t seem like much but it all adds up.
  • Since we planned our hotel we should know whether a gym or not exists. If it does, use it! Plan to wake up 30 minutes earlier or make a date with it at the end of the day. The hotel I stayed in was open until 11 p.m. No excuses there.
  • No gym available? Gotcha covered. Resistance bands; purchase them for about $10.00 and bring them with you. The box contains a great little workout and you can do them in your hotel room. They don’t take up much room and fit nicely in your luggage.
  • Don’t have resistance bands or forgot them? Sorry, but I can fix that too. Regular, wide and narrow pushups bang out a fantastic upper body. Now toss in some lunges and squats and you have a great lower body workout. What about your core, throw in some planks and planks with knee raises, run the stairs a few times, jog in place, do jumping jacks or high knee raises and your cardio routine is done.
The point here is that you don’t need to forgo a workout just because you are traveling and return home being set back in your fitness level. Put some creativity into it and you can be active anywhere and at any time.

Being phit for life means that you will have periods during your life where you are not in control 100% of your food and exercise. However, incorporating just a few of the tips above, research, planning and execution and you have no need to worry about traveling for business or pleasure.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Being the Best YOU

I saw a military commercial the other day that talked about how joining the army or some other military branch, could make you better. I'm sure they can do a few good things but it made me think about how we always want to change ourselves into something or someone else. It seems we're never quite satisfied with the way God made us and the inner and outer beauty we all have.

None of us can twitch our noses or bob our heads and become someone else. We aren't paper dolls on which we can mix and match arms, torso and legs and honestly, I'm not sure I would want that anyway.

What we do have control over is making ourselves the best we can be. I'm sure some of you can't even imagine all the things that might be good about yourself and I'll tell you that it isn't always easy complimenting oneself. I'm challenging you to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and choose one part of you that you love. I don't care if it is that little spot that is between your right ankle and right big toe, just find a spot that you find attractive. Guess what, we aren't going to change a darn thing about that spot. You love it, right?

Now, look at one part of yourself that you really want to change. Maybe it is your arms. Maybe you can envision that with a little bit of work you would have lovely shapely arms. That is where we start. Position yourself on a path towards full acceptance of the best YOU, that you can possible become.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Traveling and the Phit Lifestyle

Part 3 - Dining out in Phit style

Okay you say, packing snacks and small meals are no problem, but how do I handle eating out. I mean you aren’t the chef, right?

Dining out doesn’t need to be a scary experience. As with anything we need to go into it with a plan. Knowing what restaurant we will eat at is a great start. Also, go into it having some sort of idea of what you want to eat. I mean just the basics. Is this your MB (metabolic boost) meal or do you just want a good healthy dinner? Chicken, steak, fish? What is your poison?

Personally, I don’t even look at the menu if I know that I’m trying to keep within my menu style of clean eating. I mean why even tantalize yourself with the many options? My philosophy is that if I don’t own it I can’t eat it and once the order comes out of my mouth, I in essence, “own it”.

Last night, I decided that I wanted salmon. I love salmon and if I can get it I will. As soon as the waiter came and asked me for my drink order I told him that I would like “dry grilled salmon” over a plate full of steamed veggies. I’m not picky on the veggie part so what ever they have is fine with me.

Now I will say that you will be asked if you want a potato, salad with dressing, rice anything because someone asking for this kind of food is not the norm for most restaurants and this is where you need to be strong. If you have your plan in mind then you must stick to it and if you must, write it down and read it off to him/her.

There are a few vocabulary words that you should learn during your dining out experience.

• Heavy or cream sauces
• Blackend – this sounds healthy but to get that nice crispy part, normally lots of butter or some type of oil is used.
• Fried, breaded or stuffed ANYTHING
• Sour creams and butters. (These aren’t the lo-fat version, folks)
• Skip the bread and rolls. If you can see that it is offered on the menu just tell them you don’t need it.

Ask for:
• Baked, broiled or grilled, poached or steamed
• Extra veggies
• Salad dressing on the side or just choose balsamic vinegar and olive oil that YOU apply to the salad
• Choose, water, diet drinks or unsweetened tea and coffee.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What makes you CHOOSE to live a healthy and fit lifestyle?

After 14 days of eating right and exercising while on the road, two of which I really whined about, I started to think about WHAT is it that makes me CHOOSE to live this type of a lifestyle now. I mean, really, how easy it would be to just have had a free-for-all during these last two weeks and chalk it up simply, to being “on the road”.

Two years ago when I was one month from turning 39, do you see what’s coming? I thought if I ever wanted to be “skinny” by the time I’m 40 I’d better do it now. Little did I know that those few thoughts and words would cause me to embark on a journey that would change my thoughts about food and exercise 180 degrees.

Over the last two years my thoughts have changed from about being skinny to being “healthy and fit”. I’m never going to be skinny but I can be healthy and fit. I have chosen that my longevity and the health of those that I love around me are more important than the filling in a Ding Dong or a bit of cold chicken nuggets.

I now choose to take care of myself and others by purchasing healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and preparing healthy snacks that my children and spouse can eat. They will eat it if its there, trust me. I choose to take extra time out of my day to move a bit more, through weight lifting and aerobic activities and getting my family involved too. It’s a great time to learn what is happening in the lives of those around us that we love.

As you move through your journey you need to keep in front of you, the objective you had when you started. Sometimes it is just as simple as wanting to look hot in clothing and that is okay, but be prepared that through the process you may decide that other priorities are becoming more important and as they do that you keep them in the forefront of your daily choices.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Your life begins now

I was thinking the other day of how many times I hear people tell me that once they lose weight they will be able to do something else in their life and they will finally be happy. People, I’m here to tell you that you are selling yourself short on living your life to the fullest potential now. No number on that 12x12 pad will make you happy. Do you think skinny people in Hollywood are truly happy? Some maybe, but it isn’t because of the number on the scale.

Choose today to take the first step to living your life now. Choose to make a better life for yourself and family. You can start walking today. I don’t care, how long or how far just start. Five minutes of walking today will lead to an hour in the future and who knows what next. Take your bike out; you know the one that you got when you bought bikes for the kids at Christmas because as a family you would ride? Tune it up and get riding, your body and your children will adore you for it.

You are worth the investment of some time and energy. You are only one step from completing things that you never thought possible, if you will just start today. Don’t let a number on a scale dictate to you. Don’t postpone your dreams another day.

If you aren’t sure where to start, drop me a line and let’s see if working together, we can’t help you start your new life, beginning today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Traveling and the Phit Lifestyle

Part 2 - Safe bets on food for PhitLife traveling

I had about five hours that knew I would be “out of sorts”, in airport terminals or driving to and from the airport to my hotel. I knew that I didn’t need a huge meal during this time so I packed a protein bar in my bag. Unfortunately, due to the new airline restrictions I had to wait and purchase a bottle of very expensive water after I got through security.

I had about an hour lay-over in Cleveland and chose at that time to eat my protein bar and take a stroll around the airport. Don’t take the escalators or “people moving” devices. Move yourself. Walk up the stairs. It made me feel pretty darn good that I actually got to the top of the stairs before the escalator people and I really didn’t even get out of breath. If you have time, do it a couple of times and you just got a great workout in.

Upon my arrival to the hotel I quickly found a store, turned on my refrigerator and headed over for a quick shopping trip. Here is what I now have in my fridge and hotel cupboards.

• Plain oatmeal. I found them in single serving sizes.
• Almonds
• Turkey pepperoni
• Dannon Lite and Fit yogurt, individual servings.
• Apples
• Grapes
• Cherry tomatoes
• Individual servings of tuna
• Low Carb Snickers protein bars
• Protein powder (brought from home)
• Snack size baggies. Buy then or bring them.

I now have several different options to take as snacks and such during my workday. I brought one of the crushable coolers and a gel icepack and I’m ready to go. It’s great knowing that I don’t need to blow every meal and snack just because I’m not in my usual surroundings.

In Part 3 we will look at tips for a successful dining out experience.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sweet Toxicities

Do you know that an animal could die if it licks or even steps in antifreeze? One would wonder why an animal would ingest something that is toxic enough to kill. It’s because it tastes sweet to them. You may wonder where I’m going with this. Let me explain that each day most people are putting into their diets and their children’s diets a substance that is just as toxic, yet they don’t even think twice about it. What is it? It is refined sugar. It is in just about everything.

Sugar is a pure refined carbohydrate and the body is not able to use this substance unless it contains additional vitamins, minerals and proteins. Sugar will actually cause our bodies to produce an acid in our blood stream. That acid interferes with our cells ability to breath. Yikes, that is scary uh?

Sugar also is devoid of anything nutritionally valuable and is sometimes called “empty or naked calories”. In fact, it’s worse than nothing, because it will leach vitamins and minerals from our body. Remember, we can’t metabolize it without vitamins and minerals.

Sugar is also one of the number one factors leading to obesity and diabetes, both of which will shorten our lives. It causes us to crave more of it too and really acts like a drug of sorts.

The best thing for you to do is to start decreasing the use of sugar. It will be difficult at first. Begin by not buying sweetened cereals for you and your family. Then start weaning yourself from candies and other sweetened products. Instead put in their place healthy, sweet choices, such as honey, fruits or organic natural sweeteners. Your local health food store is a great place to find these types of products.

I promise that you, your body and your loved ones will thank you as they learn to live without this terrible substance in their bodies.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Traveling and the Phit Lifestyle

Part 1 – Planning is everything

I’m traveling for a few weeks for business and I really want to return with a couple pounds of fat lost or at least with none gained. This is day three of the travels, counting the actual day of getting here and so far I’m feeling pretty darn proud of myself.

Here are a few tips that I can recommend to you before you even leave your house.

1. Decide what your goals will be during your travels. I mean is this a business trip or a vacation? Do you want to lose weight, stay the same or maybe you are even willing to accept a gain.

2. Research where you will be and what will be available to you for exercise. I have a nice hotel. It has a pool, hot tub, gym with treadmills, elliptical and bike as well as a universal type weight machine and a nice array of free weights. Just knowing that I have this equipment at my disposal makes it easier for me to know that I really have no excuses in that department.

3. Learn what amenities will be available to you in your hotel room. Most hotels these days provide a small refrigerator and a microwave or for a minimal cost you can have one placed in your room. Again, just preparing yourself for this will alleviate any concerns as to how or what you can keep in your room for food and snacks.

4. Know what your schedule will be if possible. I knew that I’d be running around and that my first choices of food would not be at my beck and call so I knew that I would have to get to my destination, do a bit of shopping and some minimal preparation to be successful.

In future posts I will talk about what and how to organize your week’s schedule and what are some great foods to have one hand.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Oscillating Life

I’m having a really rough day today and I felt that it was important to put these types of days out there just as much as I talk about all the things that we should do. I mean, most of us know what we should do most of the time. Its how to do it when you don’t want to that gets us.

I’m sure that all of this is stemming from my couple weeks of traveling, being out of my usual environment and although I did great during my travels it was mentally exhausting towards the end, physically too, in the sense that I had to exercise, eat and sleep in atypical surroundings.

So, here I am a few days after I’ve returned to my characteristic setting, healthy food stocked in the pantry and refrigerator, fresh pillow cases on my own bed and family around and yet I feel somewhat empty and out of sorts. I have a half marathon coming up on Saturday and I’m not even excited about it. I have to run 5-6 miles tonight and I’m doing everything possible to figure out a way NOT to put on those running shoes. Ever had these discussions with yourself?

Here is what I have decided to do.
  • Do what I know needs to be done. This is no time to be stopping the cart. I’ve got me a race to run and I’ve trained hard for 12 weeks to prepare my body, mind and spirit for this event. I can’t let a few days of feeling yucky ruin what I’ve worked hard for. I would feel worse if I did.
  • Start focusing on what I will do after my marathon. A lot of athletes have a let-down after an event. It’s like the high of all the work is let out like air in a balloon. I think I might be feeling this early.
  • Make sure that I have only good healthy choices in front of me. This isn’t the time to have a box of Pop Tarts in the house. I’ll tell you exactly where they would go. :)
  • Get to bed early over the next few days. I think I’m overly tired and being over tired leads us to make poor food choices and binge when we really don’t want to. I could use the extra sleep prior to my big day anyway.
  • Get my last run in tonight. It is part of my training schedule. I will be able to cross it off my schedule and know that I kept up my part of the schedule for 12 weeks, not missing one run, even during two weeks of being away from home.

Our lives are not always going to be a “bowl of cherries”. But with the right direction and not allowing ourselves to deviate from our intended goals we can move past the pits and enjoy the fruit.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Practically Perfect in Every Way

No one can hear these words without thinking of Julie Andrews and Mary Poppins. Ah, if only it were that easy.

I was raised in a family where my father taught us to do it right the first time and when I say right, I mean to perfection! This is a great characteristic to have. However, it can also be a detriment to an individual, especially when learning to live in a world that isn’t perfect, especially when we are bombarded with the quick and easy fixes that the commercial world likes to drown us in on a daily basis.

Changing my eating and exercise habits for the most part has been easy. I was told by my trainer, eat X and I did. I was then told exercise like Y and I did. That’s kinda just me. I’ll paint it whatever color you want, just tell me the color. The problem with this is that when I do make a mistake I give myself a flogging behind close doors. I mean, gasp, I would make a mistake or eat a cookie, two or maybe even three? I mean what type of person would I be if I did that?

Yesterday, I had a horrible day. I don’t know why, perhaps it really just was the side of the bed I rolled out on. I ate horribly for the day. I ate Sugar Smack cereal, how’s that for a great way to start your day off? Then I ate a handful of almonds. Not so bad you say. Well, I had some running around to do at lunch and figured I would eat on my return. NOT, I stopped at a local market and ate Circus Peanuts, you know those little sugar loaded Styrofoam-like things and some of those lovely little sugar coated orange slices and to wash it down, well a Diet Pepsi, for sure.

I then needed to run 2-4 miles as I’m in training for a marathon. I’ll tell you, a person doesn’t run in 85 degree weather 70%+ humidity and eat what I did during the day and think that she will feel great. Cause, guess what I didn’t. My three mile run was worse than my 10 mile run three days earlier. Why? Because when you eat crap, you feel like crap and your get a crappy workout. It’s that plain and simple.

So, this morning I pulled myself up by the seat of my pants, ate my oatmeal with protein powder, a great little bowl of cottage cheese, tomatoes and almonds for an a.m. snack, some chicken and veggies for lunch and some tuna and an apple for my p.m. snack. I’m feeling great with the good food inside of me and know that I’ll have a killer, “Benches of Death” routine this afternoon.

I’m learning that it is okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to do the best that I can. When I fall short, I hop back on this rocking horse of life and move forward. I’ll leave the “Spoon full of Sugar” and perfectionism to Mary Poppins and her charges.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

THE Secret to Weight Loss and Fitness

Does this get your attention? I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, “How did you lose your weight?” or “What do you do to maintain your weight”? People are waiting with baited breath, wanting to know what magic pill I took, what I drank or what gadget I used. So, I’ll let YOU in on my secret and I promise you too can lose weight and get fit and it’s simple.

• Track what you eat and I mean track it all! The good, bad and the ugly. If you don’t know what you are doing now, how can you change it?
• Measure and weigh your food always until you are at your goal weight. No one realizes how much the extra bite, lick and taste is as far as extra calories and all of those add up. The cold fries off little Johnnie’s plate or the extra licks of little Susie’s ice cream cone.
• Move more. Every person should be getting in 30 minutes of a cardiovascular activity daily. Walking is great, but I want to hear that you were breathing hard and sweating. You should feel like you did something. That’s fat burning, baby.
• Weight train. You need a minimum of two fully body workouts per week using free weights, machines or resistance bands. Weight training increases muscle, keeps us standing upright, reshapes our bodies AND a big plus, allows us to burn more calories when we are doing nothing? How great is that? And, let’s just dispel a myth, right now, that you will not get bulky by lifting weights, it just won’t happen
• Change your thought patterns. In each of us lives a Fat Girl or Guy. You know that little voice in your head that whispers, “You aren’t worth it, you will fail because you always do, a little more won’t hurt you, that’s enough exercise for today.”

Kick that little brat to the side and start looking at all the things that you are doing right and what more you can do. Log those things down and keep them in front of you so that you see the changes that you are making.

Now, normally when I starting telling people about the fact that I ate better, tracked what I ate and worked out hard, I see the person’s eyes glass over and start staring off into the distance. People, you want and easy fix and I’m hear to tell you that the five steps above
are easy and will get you to your ultimate goal of weight loss and fitness.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Family, Friends and Food

I just had this huge rush to write. I have a friend who is working towards eating right and exercising more. She has come so far in the last eight weeks and I know that the next eight weeks can be even better.

Her dilemma this weekend is to get through two or three activities with friends and family and food. It’s like the three big “F” words (lol)

I gave her some suggestions and I’m hoping that she will follow them and end up being successful in the end, getting her one step closer to be powerful over her life and food demons.

· Activities involving friends and family do NOT and I repeat, do NOT, have to revolve around food. Seriously, are you there to visit the pie and the mash potatoes, or are you there to celebrate the person’s life or event.
· Take your food with you. As soon as you get there and people starting eating, pull it out and put it on a plate. Do you honestly think someone will question you about where you got that and if you do, tell them you brought it from home!
· Drink plenty of water. Bring your cooler and keep it full of water bottles. Have water in your hand to sip keeps you busy and keeps you full
· Lie, yep, you heard me say it. If you have to lie, this is one time I believe it is okay and really it might not be a lie. Tell them you are in training. You are right, you are “training” yourself to be a healthier you, so really maybe it isn’t a lie.

And for people that are reading this and are “food pushers”. STOP I’m begging you! If you care about the loved ones around you and want them to be with you for the rest of your life, please don’t push them into eating foods that are not healthy and they don’t want to consume. It’s hard enough to say no to these foods without you tempting us. We want to be there to watch you celebrate and to be a part of your life but we want to do it without the food being the center of the world.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


As we approach fall we sometimes have a sense of looking back at where the year as gone. I see this more frequently with individuals that have children in school. School sort of exemplifies the end of the year because once school is in session, it is the never ending running hear and there, homework and PTA meetings. Where does that leave us and our healthy fit lifestyle? Juggling that is for sure.

Here are a few tips that you can use to help get you back on track or at least running in the right direction.

Plan, plan and then plan some more.

Why I list planning three times, you might wonder, because, how many times do we plan something just to have a wrench thrown into it and then be stuck not knowing what to do next. Have a couple of plans so that if the first one doesn’t work we are prepared for what to do next.

Take some time to prepare things up front.

We all have to grocery shop and we all want a quick and easy fix, weather it be a choice of a snack or a meal idea. After you are done grocery shopping, take some time to cut-up and bag some raw veggies, wash your fruit or package your almonds. That way when the morning comes you can grab and go. You can even cook some of you meat products in advance and use them for a couple of meals during the week.

Schedule your “me” time.

You schedule everything else and this should be no different. If you make a date with yourself and block that time out for you then nothing else should come up to take its place. You are NO LESS important that someone else.

I would love to hear your input on what things you do, to help you get through this period of time and if you need some help, post up that as well and we will see if we can help you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Looking back

Looking back into what we used to do or how we used to behave can be depressing or motivational.

Perhaps in the past we ate healthier, we were thinner, had a little less grey hair. However, if you are following my writings then you probably are on fitness and weight loss journey and looking back on where you used to be could be motivational.

Think of how many changes we need to make during this transformation. We are learning to make better food choices, eat portions that are meant for us and fuel are bodies like a fine tuned machine. None of these changes came overnight and so many times we are beating ourselves up over what we aren’t doing or what we could be doing better. Yes, we all can improve, but we should all also be proud of the small changes that we are making to bring us closer to the goals we want to achieve.

Give me a shout out of some of the changes that you have incorporated into your life and are proud of.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Moving towards the dream

After reading my last few posts I thought all of this sounds great, but what do we do to make those dreams come true. I mentioned believing is the first step as if you don’t really believe in the dream how on earth can you get it to come to fruition.

Then I ran across this quote and it brought to mind a few more elements that need to be addressed so that we can truly live our dream.

"Our self-image and our habits go together. Change one and you change the other."

This is so true. What we do each and everyday molds us into the type of person that we are and can help to change us into the person that we want to be. So, how do we go about it?

1. Identify the habits that are contributing to the poor behavior. Are you not choosing the healthiest foods are you making excuses to not exercise?
2. Decide on how you can make a change in that habit.
3. Execute the new habit. Plan better; ask for help from someone, read some books. Hey, just get up off the couch and move a bit more.

Now you aren’t going to make these changes overnight and some days will be easier than others. But through consistency it will become a new routine. As you embrace the new habit you will begin to see yourself as a different person, a stronger person, one who has more desire to try new things to be unconventional and standout from the crowd.

Today choose your new habit and begin to watch the new you emerge.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dorothy and her Friends.

My brain is a strange thing it comes up with some of the craziest things and at the strangest times.

I wrote yesterday about dreaming and the importance of it. Dreaming is the first step in the process. We have to believe that we are capable of accomplishing that dream. We may need more money, more education or a change in something else but we should believe that no matter what we can accomplish the dream.

When I think of the Wizard of Oz and the characters in the movie it makes me think about how each of us have many of the tools inside of us to bring those dreams to a reality, we sometimes just need someone to point them out to us or perhaps a brushing up on some of those skills.

It’s important for us to take an inventory of the skills and abilities that we do have and to cherish them and use them to better ourselves.
Tell me what skills and abilities do you have that are helping you to move in the right direction?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Wonderful World of Disney

Most people have been to Disneyland or at a minimum have watched Disney movies.

Walt Disney said " If you can dream it, you can do it"

and he did. The Magical Kingdom is that because of the dreams and aspirations that Mr. Disney had. It takes us to a place or time where anything is possible. The underdog wins and all is good.

So many times in our fitness and weight loss journey we think of little things. Yes, all those little things will add up to something bigger but are you really dreaming dreams and stretching yourself to think of the possibilities that are bigger and greater than maybe you even thought possible.

As long as we think & dream small we will stay small, we will never achieve those bigger results because we haven't put them inside us. If we dream of not just the possible but the nearly impossible and keep it in front of us we are likely to move closer to it.

Dream large and live life.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Props to the girls

This week I had the honor of running with Karen, Deb and Michelle. They are three WW members in my Monday night meeting. During the spring I gave an open invitation to my members to come and walk or run with me on Saturday morning.

We started the Couch to 5K program. It's an awesome program for anyone that wants to learn to be a runner. One year ago I started the same program.

It was just amazing to watch these ladies transform over nine weeks. I'll never forget the first impressions I had of them. One I thought for sure was doing it just to drag her friend along. What a great friend she was to support her friend in this weight loss adventure. The friend, I thought would never come back after week one. The lady who I think of the most though was so concerned on week three when she would have to run three minutes. She actually told me that she wished I would NOT have given her the schedule.

Now, nine weeks later these ladies are wanting instructions on how to train for a 10k race coming up in September and I think next year I'll have them on the 1/2 marathon wagon with me.

What this shows me is that little things we do in our lives can have enormous impact on those around us.

So this week my hat is off to Karen, Deb and Michelle. I'm so proud of you three. Keep it up and never look back!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Not To Wear

Do ya’ll just love this show or what? As ruthless as they are I would love to be on there. I’ll be the first to raise my hand to wearing clothes that just don’t flatter me and yes my favorite word is “comfortable” BRRRRR just must make Stacey and Clinton shiver when they here that.

I thought that today I would talk about some of things that you can do during your journey to feel better and look better. I mean after all this is a journey and we are learning about ourselves in all aspects why should learning how to dress ourselves in a flattering way be any different.

1. Take an inventory of all your clothes. If you have been holding onto them for the last few years until you could fit into it, you probably shouldn’t be wearing it even if you could fit into it J let’s just get rid of it and move on, shall we?

2. Go and get fit for a good undergarment. Ladies undergarments are essential. We need to have “the girls” where they belong and it isn’t in our mid section either. No matter what size you are good fitter undergarments are a must.

3. Do some research on the type of body you have and dress IT to the nines! It will change over time so make sure that you are re-evaluating as time goes by. Plus size gals can look and feel great about themselves in the clothes that are available in many of the stores.

4. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. Remember how you loved playing on your mom’s jewelry. A pretty pair of earrings, a necklace and some bracelets goes a long way to top us off. A pair of nice shoes with open backs and toes also helps to accessorize and elongate our bodies.

5. Take time to see what colors and fabrics fit you best. Take a friend with you that can help you see the different styles and such. This is no time to bring little Joey or little Sue, this is your time so take it and enjoy.

These are a few things that you can do to help you through the transition. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Share clothing or shop at a local thrift store. You would be amazed at what you can find if you take a little bit of time.

You are changing during this time and need to show yourself and everyone how far you have come even if you aren’t at your goal. You are beautiful on the inside and a little bit of planning and preparation can show the world that you are on the outside too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Patterns of our Journey

“To understand is to perceive patterns” Isaiah Berlin

Have you ever looked at quilt, checker board or anything that has a pattern and thought, WOW, that isn’t right, or perhaps you felt it was a complicated pattern but when you step back the entire picture just works. It works because of the pattern. It might not be something that you understand but the artist or whoever put it there, because it works for them. Others might or might not “get it”

Our eating and exercise lifestyle has a pattern and when we understand that pattern we will be in more aware of what we are doing.

A great way to figure out your pattern is to:

1. Write down everything you eat and drink and WHEN.

Why you ask does it matter when I eat something. It matters because you need to establish your own unique pattern. You may not be eating enough, you may be eating too frequently and if you don’t really know, then how can you make a correction.

2. Write down how you are feeling and your physical satisfaction when you eat.

You may find that by writing down how you are feeling that you really aren’t hungry. You are reaching for the food because of some other reason. Again, recognize a patter.

3. Make the adjustments as necessary.

Once we have identified the when, what’s and why’s we can make adjustments as necessary.

Finding out pattern and learning to change it when it is necessary is a key to being successful in this journey.

Tell me what you see as your pattern.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fire it Up

Wow, it has been some time since I've jotted down the crazies that run through my head. So much has happened. I'm starting a second WW meeting as a leader. I just love the one I have now, I'm working towards my Personal Training certification and can't wait to fire up some people over exercising or moving more and eating healthy.

So many times I hear people say that they lack "the motivation" to continue or get started on a healthy eating and exercising plan. Here are a few things that you can do to get motivated.

1. Write down what you want. Not just a simple statement either. Write down, how it will feel, look, smell or even taste. Yes, success has a taste!

2. Start planning how you can make the goal become a reality. If you don't know how, then reach out for help. Attend a Weight Watcher meeting or get with an on-line trainer. Our group is a blast. We workout hard, eat right and encourage people.

"Motivation is the fuel, necessary to keep the human engine running" Zig Ziglar

What is your fuel?

Monday, March 24, 2008

So you don't have the willpower?

The definition of will power by Encarta is ‘a combination of determination and self-discipline that enables somebody to do something despite the difficulties involved.”

I have heard on so many occasions people say they don’t have the will power to eat right, or make the right choices or exercise to be fit. I’m sure I’ve even said it myself when I was working towards being healthier and more fit. It’s almost as if each individual person believes that somewhere deep within themselves they either have or don’t have this innate control.

I don’t think that we are born with a certain level of willpower. I think that as we grow and learn that we hone this type of skill. Small children have very little willpower over what they do or don’t do and as they grow they lean how to exercise more of this. Hence, the terrible two’s :)

However, a quote from James Gordon can really sum up the debate of willpower. He states “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.”

So where are you in your journey? Are you ready to change, really change?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007 in Review

Many times when we are in the midst of changing the change is so slight that we forget how much really IS changing. I’m like this frequently and honestly it isn’t a good thing.
I’m really hard on myself and forget that once I’ve reached a goal that I should take at least a little bit of time and reflect on that particular goal and really relish what I’ve done so far.

So as we are now in 08 and I thought what a great time to do just that. Reflect on where I have come from before I start the next chapter of my journey.

Total weight lost 38.6 pounds
Total inches lost 41
Obtained WW lifetime status August 08
Ran first 5K August 08 in 36 minutes, placed 4th in my age group
WW receptionist September 08
PNP moderator September 08
WW leader October 08
Ran first half marathon December 08 in 2 hours and 34 minutes

I know I have so many others that I can’t even measure. My level of confidence has increased, my knowledge of health and fitness has improved friendships have grown and people’s lives that I have touched for the positive are all examples of immeasurable progress.
Most of these things I did without even having a plan, can you imagine what we can do if we actually sketch out our goals and actually work towards them!