Monday, November 9, 2009

OMG! I ate the whole thing!

What do you do when you have gone over board with your eating? Maybe you had too many slices of pizza. Maybe you ate the whole quart of ice cream. Maybe you went to the buffet with good intentions, but devoured everything in site!

Not to worry. It's not over for you. Suck it up and move on to the next meal (a healthy one) or the next day (a better one). Don't look at it like "Oh well, I screwed up my 'diet' I might as well forget it."

First of all this is not a DIET!! It's a lifestyle: which means every little bite, every little exercise, and every little thought you have about weight loss would occur on a DAILY basis, for the rest of you life.

We stumble, we forget, we lapse, we're tired, we're busy, life gets in the way, a child wants attention, work stresses us, it's Girls Night Out, it Christmas, it's Easter, it's my get the idea. What some call EXCUSES. The only one making you "eat the whole thing" is YOU!

How bad do you want t??

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Become your own lifestyle coach

Why do certain "diets" work and others don't? I'm going to go out on a limb and say something I have never heard about dieting. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FAD DIET! Why? Any kind of "diet" were something is restricted (calories, fat, carbs, etc.) will work for some, maybe not all, but it works. It only becomes labeled a fad because it doesn't work for EVERYONE, or people can't stick to it for a LIFETIME, or that it becomes a less popular way of "dieting."

And I hate that word "dieting" hence the quotes. I'll call it weight loss program from here on out. I've read so-oooo, so-ooooo many books on weight loss over the years. I have oodles of magazines laying around my house. From the worse of the worse, to the best of the best, they all claim they can help you to lose weight. But can they really?

Sure, maybe, who knows. The key to any weight loss program is, will it work for YOU!! Not how well it worked for Marie Osmond, Phyllicia Rashad, or Beyonce, or the Biggest Loser winner. So here's my approach: study all weight loss programs. All of them! Read all the books, from Atkins, to South Beach, to Clean Eating to the Biggest Loser approach and Weight Watchers. By doing this, I create MY OWN PLAN.

See, it's like this. Awhile ago I blogged about my new weight loss ratio 50/30/20 (versus the 80/10/10 ratio). In mine I threw out heredity and made it nutrition/exercise/behavior modification. I have still been working on this theory, and then it hit me! Why, this is just another "formula" that people will want to follow and magically have weight loss results.

Because the 80/10/10 ratio is just a formula. It's no set in stone rule. For some nutrition is NOT the problem. How many times do you run across people who say they eat healthy (and actually do) but can not lose weight? I was one of those. I ate generally healthy, but my problem was the occasional binges...which actually has nothing to do with nutrition. I knew how to eat healthy, but my BEHAVIOR was to overeat on even healthy foods.

Note I said, BEHAVIOR, which is a key component in weight loss. So even if someone ate healthy AND exercised, certain behaviors in their lives could still cause weight gain (exercising too much, overtraining, binges, not eating enough, etc.) It's a little complicated, but basically, by "piecing" together several weight loss plans, you can fit it better into your life. Sometimes my mentality is, "Well, if Atkins worked for you, maybe me." Or, "P90X worked great for you, you lost a lot of weight, I know I will too." Just don't buy up all your stock in a particular plan--try them all out (hint...even the ones that get bad reviews!)

Lots of times I find I like certain aspects of a weight loss plan, and hate others. So what works for me I keep, and what does not, leave it. Then I incorporate another plan and see what I like about that. I hear people bashing and/or praising Tosca Reno's book like it's the Bible of weight loss (although I do recommend it for all my clients), but truly, just gain some knowledge about healthy eating AND exercise anywhere you can.

Oh, and everyone knows I am a BIG Jillian fan! But her plans have faults as well. Geez, now she has her own supplement line and people will think it's a magic pill, EVEN THOUGH SHE ALWAYS CLAIMS THERE IS NONE! So take everything with a grain of salt, from the smartest, brightest, toughest trainers/nutritionist/lifestyle coaches/authors out there and become your OWN Lifestyle Coach.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Goals serve to keep us motivated, energized and focus on an outcome. But before you go out setting goals, there are a few things to make sure of.
  • Goals should be specific
  • Ultimate goals should be broken down into incremental, short term goals (one-two months).
  • Goals should be time-based.
  • A formal method of tracking progress is required.
  • A formal plan of action is needed to facilitate goals.
  • Goal should be prioritized.

This of course comes from my LWMC text. And as always, I apply my new found knowledge (not that this was anything new I learned) to my life right now. So here are my detailed out goals for the rest of the year.

1. 117 by September 15. That's my birthday. And though I would love to actually be lower than that, I'm not pushing it. I was down as low as 117.2 earlier this year and I just want to get back there.

2. 110 by October 31. Wow! That's going to be harder than it seems. 7 weeks in between those two goals.

3. Body fat at 20% of less by December 25. I picked Christmas because I want that for my Christmas present.

Now how will I get there? Clean eating 90% of the time, and that's every day. No off day! Starting INSANITY on August 1 and doing that for 60 days. That should help me drop some crucial pounds and get the body tight. I will be starting P90X right after that and that should get the body fat dropped.

I can do this!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

LWMC here I come!

This was cool.

So I'm studying my LWMC material. Still in Chapter 15 after many weeks. It's a killer chapter. I'm finally finishing Chapter 15 in the workbook. At the end of each section there are some "Show what you know" problems for us to do. Basically like case studies of clients we will be working with. The last one states this:

"Joe has been your client for several weeks and seems to be successfully changing his eating habits with the exception of late-night snacking. What would you suggest to help Joe solve this problem"

SO I'm thinking, hmm, the self-monitoring and problem-solving I did for myself a few blogs ago would be perfect. Gee! I'm smarter than I know. Here's what the book answered.

"Determine what is causing the behavior by asking him is he is hungry, bored, or stressed while he is snacking. If he is hungry, suggest that he eats more calories during the day [Which is one of the hypotheses that I came up with for myself!] If he is bored, suggest that he get out of the house for a walk, stay busy, or stay away from snacks by doing something productive. If he is stressed, suggest that he incorporate relaxation techniques into his daily routine to reduce the likelihood of eating to alleviate stress. If Joe doesn't know why he is snacking, suggest that he keep a log to note the factors that seem to precede and follow the late-night snacking during the week, along with his thoughts and feelings while he is snacking. Once he understands the factors that contribute to the behavior, he can take steps to change them."

I loved their answer as well as mine. So people, I am getting my head in the right place with this LWMC. I may pass the test after all!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

False-Hope Syndrome

False-Hope Syndrome is when people tend to set unrealistic goals. Setting ambitious goals make people feel good. Their self-image improves, and they feel optimistic and in control. They set goals like, "I will lose 20v pounds before summer." But what happens as times goes by and goals have not been met?

Most people give up then, They think their goal is unreachable, they feel disappointed and bad about themselves. This leads to the planning fallacy, were people consistently underestimate the time, energy and other resources required to complete a given task.

It is my belief that goals can be met...if set properly. To lose 20 pound in one month is close to impossible. But stating smaller increments like five pounds in a month is more realistic. Or they want to totally eat 100% clean after just learning the concept, coming from a highly processed diet.

My advice would be to make gradual changes. Eliminate some, but maybe not all of the processed foods at first. Take out the worse culprits first, like 100-calories packs, potato chips, white rice and pasta, and bread products containing HFCS. Switch it with brown rice, whole wheat pasta and Ezekiel bread. You may not even know the difference. And make your own 100-calorie packs with fresh fruit, veggies and hummus for dip, raisins and raw nuts, nonfat plain yogurt.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Principle of Limited Self-Control

Clients often say, "If only I had more willpower..." It takes effort to change your lifestyle into a healthy one. Eating the proper foods, exercising daily and changing old habits. This all becomes something that the client has to self-regulate or self-control. Here's what researchers think of this theory.

Psychologists believe that for each person, self-control is a limited source. Some people have more self-control than others, but NO ONE has limitedless self-control. Sure, some people can avoid having pizza when it's staring them right in the face, but given the wright (or maybe it's the wrong) situation, giving in to an indulgence almost seems natural. As a LWMC, it is my job to minimize the amount of self-control a client has. By detailing out their workouts and adjusting their eating habits, they have a plan that hopefully will fit them and make it easy to follow.

Secondly, habits are comfortable and require little self-control. The more quickly lifestyle modifications can become habits, the happier and more successful a client will be. People are creature of habit and we tend to settle into daily routines. Most people can only tolerate a relatively small disruption of their daily routines. It's my job to break those "bad" habits and help my clients incorporate "healthy" habits. To do this I must allow for small changes to their behavior and allow time for each of those to become habit.

Third, coping with stress requires self-control. Face it, we all have some kind of stress in our lives. Be it our jobs, family, taking care of the house, fitting in exercise, our own health, name it! It's more difficult to change to healthy habits when we are stressed out and worrying. During the holidays is NOT a good time to start a new healthy lifestyle. We will become too busy stressing about what we can and cannot eat instead of taking the time to make healthy changes gradually.

Last, self-control seems to be renewed every day. Well, that's good news! It is highest in the mornings, and then gradually diminishes as the day goes on. his explains why people who exercise in the morning tend to be most successful in sticking to their exercise programs. It also explains why "dieters" are good during the early part of the day and often give in to temptation at night.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Self-monitoring and Problem-solving

These are the heart of lifestyle modification. As a Lifestyle Coach, there's only so much I can do. I cannot be there with a client 24-7 and grab the cookies from them they are munching on at midnight. I can't make them give it their all in a workout if they only want to just get it done. Whatever the problem is that is hindering them, they must solve this themselves. I can merely help her work through the problem.

If the problem is late-night snacking (uh, which is my issue), then I have to ask why? Okay, I'll ask myself, LOL! Why do I feel a need to eat late at night? Am I hungry. Um, no...well, sometimes. The solution here could be I am not eating enough calories in the daytime (which is very true on some days) so I need to rectify that.

Sometimes I'm not hungry and still grab a veggie burger, make a grilled cheese, or my fave, popcorn. I LOVE the taste of food and those cravings pop up. 9 times out of 10 it's for something salty. I have found that the more I limit salt, the MORE I want it. So therefore, I try to have salt without going over my limit on most days.

Sometimes it's neither of those, I'm just bored, tired, frustrated, whatever. All these emotions lead me to grab whatever junk in sight. This is when it doesn't have to be salty. Just whatever consist of "junk food." Solution: keep the junk out of the house! If all I have to much on are grapes, carrots, tofu, broccoli, beans, oatmeal and some raw nuts...chances are I don't want any of them because they are not junk food (though I've been known to eat a handful of nuts when I can't fight it).

This is problem-solving! Defining the problem: late night snacking. Brainstorming possible solutions: keep the junk out of the house, eat more sodium, and increase calories throughout the day. Ding, ding, ding! I can find out which one works and implement these behavioral changes, which becomes habits, and then result in a new, healthier lifestyle.

It's that easy? Yes, it's that easy!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Specificity takes guesswork out of training. This training principle states that for an individual to become proficient at any given movement, that movement itself must be trained and practiced.The body will adapt to the specific type of training paced upon it.

The human body responds efficiently to gradual and progressive challenges. For progression to continue and physical exhaustion to be avoided, the exercise stimulus must be regularly increased.

Overload is introduced by increasing the intensity, duration or frequency of an established level of exercises. This can be done by adding another training bout during the week, lengthening the training, sessions, or training at a higher level of cardiovascular intensity.

Consistent exercise is essential for maintaining the benefits of exercise, because these benefits cannot be stored; instead they are reversed. If a person stops exercising, the body will adapt yo the decreased exercise demands and start to decline from the previous fitness level.

Training effect
Fitness levels are improved with regular, progressively overloaded training programs. At this point a maintenance stage should be established and there is no need to continue overloading.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday can be the worse enemy for you waist line

Okay, like most, the weekends effect my weight loss efforts in a big way. What is it about this one day (actually the whole weekend) that sets most of us of course?

Oh yeah, NOT sitting at a desk all day!

NOT having to pack a lunch because like we do during the week.

Going out for activities and stopping for fast food.

Not eating enough because you sleep in most of the day (my excuse!)

Lack of exercise because you had six great days, now you need a rest.

Okay, so I get it. But one day could ruin six perfect days, so is it worth it?

Not to me!

Here's how to relieve some of the pain for those Saturday crazy days.

*Pack all your meals and snacks as if it is any other day.

*Set a routine for the day, just like your work day.

*Eat a small meal before heading out to the movies (or even better, bring your own snacks).

*Incorporate some kind of physical activity into the day, even if it's an extra lap around the mall.


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Average Woman

I don't know why this got in my head to blog about, but I was wondering, what is actually the average size of women? At my job, even though we were having a weight loss competition, none of us really were extremely over weight. Sure, some could stand to lose a few, but in reality, they all were of average size. No bigger than a 12 here at my office (though we did have a co-worker who was well over 300 pounds, but she's no longer here--also, not counting the one that was pregnant before the competition started).

So I did some research. The average female height (this is for USA) is 5'3.8". Let's just say 5"4", and the weight ranged from 140-160. So when I was at my highest, my weight was about what the average was, though I'm 2 inches short of the height. Also, the average dress size is a 14. That was shocking to me. I thought it was a 10 or 12.

Now here are a little tidbits:
*The average Miss America winner is 5'6.5"
*"Ideal" women portrayed by models, Miss America, Barbie dolls and actresses is 5'7" and 100 pounds and wears a size 8. (Though I'm sure models' sizes are at about 0-4)
*1/3 of American women wear 16 or larger.*75% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
*50% are on a diet at any one time.
*Compared to the plus-sized industry, promotion of petite sizes in magazines and the fashion world is less prominent even though well-known celebs are short.
*Some celebs 5'4" and under are:-Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen 5'0"-Shakira 4'11"-Eva Longoria 5'2"-Janet Jackson 5'4"

Over the past 20 years, the American fashion industry manipulated clothing sizes to accommodate its widening public, especially women. To show how sizing has changed over time, size eight dresses for 1980s, 1990s and today were compared. The waist circumference on a 1984 dress was 25 inches. On the 1995 dress, it was 26 inches. And on a 2004 dress, it was 27-1/2 inches. A two-and-a-half inch difference from 1984 to 2004. Sizing standard in other parts of the world remained constant. Europeans, for example, had developed an entirely different view of fashion and their sizing standards had not changed.

And if this is not enough, knowing were you fall in all the various categories can cause more mass confusion!! Categories I found were Misses (5'5"-5'6" tall, average bust, average back), Miss Petite (5'2"-5'3" tall, average bust, shorter back), Junior sizes (5'4"-5'5" tall, higher bust, shorter back), Junior Petite (5'1" tall, average bust, shorter back), Young Junior Sizes (5'1"-5'3" tall, higher bust, shorter back), Women's sizes (5'5"-5'6" tall, average bust, average back). Most commonly, the Misses sizes are the 4-6-8-10-12 you see. Junior sizes are the odd numbers, 3-5-7-9-11 and so on. Young Junior has the two-digit sizing 5/6-7/8-9/10 type of deal.

Since technically a petite size is under 5'4" what makes me mad is why the fashion industry does not cater to us shorties!! I mean, finding a pair of pants that fit me is crazy! It doesn't matter when I was bigger or now smaller, I still cannot find the perfect fit. It's like, I have to be 5'5"-5'6" to fit them. It's rare that stores even carry petite sizes.

So why do top fashion models need to be so tall? I know, I know, since I'm obsessed with America's Next Top Model, I know the answer. Clothes just look better on a 5"7" model or taller. More canvass to show off the product I guess. I'm sure on some commercial advertisements and magazines, smaller models may be used, but can they strut on the runway? Hmmm, it will be interesting to see next season on ANTM what they tell the hopefuls.

I am TOTALLY PSYCHED that they are doing models under 5'6"! Woohoo to us!! What are the designers going to say? What will the photographers think? How will the judges respond? Most importantly, will they get booked? Is this going to change the industry? Remember, this is America's Next TOP Model--a distinct difference from commercial models who don't do runway and high fashion magazines. Give it up to Tyra for actually stepping out and doing this, like her or not, it takes a lot of guts for her to go against industry type.

So now it's time for the average woman to strut her stuff!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Is it really 80% nutrition

You hear it a lot from me. You hear it a lot from other fitness professionals. Is it true? And what does it really mean?

Let's say you need to lose 50 pounds. You've never been on a diet before and generally (over)eat whatever you want and do little or no exercise. You're given a weight loss program to follow including a reduced calorie intake and increased cardio and strength training. You hate eating healthy, watching portions and counting calories, so you decide to put your all into your workouts.

You do 30 minutes a day and even sometimes go as high as 60 minutes a day if you've really been naughty with your eating. When weigh-in comes, you're up two pounds. What gives!

On the other hand, if you hate exercise and decide to give reduced calories intake a try the results will differ. You've created the necessary calorie deficit and have included little or no exercise at all. Weigh-in comes along and you've dropped two pounds!

Of course, the two go hand in hand. To maximize results of your weight loss, you MUST do both. I mean, REALLY people, there are no short cuts to this.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No More Lies

The topic for today....STOP LYING!! Be truthful about your weight loss, to yourself, to others. I'm the type of person that gives it to you straight, no chaser. Well, I try and be tactful with it if I barely know you. You know I think we're tight when I don't mince my words.

Hmm, what ticked me off? This excuse I hate to see, "You just gained muscle," when the scale goes up. Ummm, NO!!! Maybe for a pound a two in a week, if you are lifting weights like crazy. But 3-5 pounds, in a week? Of muscle?? Do you honestly think you gained that much muscle in 7 days by doing 2-3 days of weight-lifting? Stop saying this!! Even if this is the case, rare as it may be, STOP SAYING THIS!! Stop saying it to yourself. Stop telling it to others. If someone has gained a few pounds, just be honest with them and ask them if they are honest with themselves. Can you gain 3-5 pounds in a week if you exercise and eat right everyday? Anything is possible when you are dealing with hormones.

But more lies!! You don't ever have to tell me you ate two servings of pasta instead of the one as planned. Or that you ate a bag of M&MS one day. Or that you, for no reason other than it being there, ate your kids' bag of half eaten chips (this was so me last night, and I'm just keeping it real). It happens!! But when that scale doesn't move or goes up, no whining! No giving up because you are doing everything right and you don't know what's going on. Yes you do! You know!! You may not put it in your food tracker. You may not blog and confess it. You may feel so guilty about it you forgot all about it. For 98% of us, weight loss is a mental game. Forget the food, forget the exercise! Get your mind right, and then let's work on the body. Let me say it again because it's my favorite thing to say, GET YOUR MIND RIGHT, AND THEN WORK ON THE BODY!!!

The first thing I ask of the friends I am working with is to be honest with me. If you mess up and fall off track, tell me! We can figure out why and make plans so that it doesn't happen again. I'm so done with the numbers right now. I feel like it's more important for my clients to work on mentally working through this process. If you never fix that, you can drop all the pounds you want but they'll just come back on. No more excuses, NONE! No more, "Well, I'll get back on track Sunday." It's frikkin Tuesday now, so you're going to just sit around do nothing and eat junk for 4 days AND then restart for the umpteenth time? NO!! No more, "I'm doing everything right and the scale's not moving." Throw the scale away and continue to do "everything right." You're improving your health, that's what's good.

I hope I made some people mad. Because I'm mad! I rolled my eyes yesterday when I read this in response to someone gaining so much weight in one week. You're not helping your friends when you tell them they gained 5 pounds of muscle in one week. I'd just rather lose every friend I have, because I'm going to just be honest with them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Look in the mirror

You want to know who's stopping you from making it to your goals? Look in the mirror--it's YOU!

Not your friends who love to go out for pizza and drinks every week and seem to drag you along.

Not your co-workers who bring in goodies every week and tempt you with it.

Not those girl scout cookies hiding out in your cupboard calling your name.

Not your boyfriend who can eat whatever he wants and not gain a single pound (not even an ounce!)

Not the economy which you blame for the high prices in food.

Not the TV that tempts you with so-called reality shows and high drama entertainment.

Not the bad weather either: Yes it's raining, yes it's cold, yes there is snow, yes it 100 degrees today, yes it's too windy, and yes it's too sunny.

Not your "skinny" friends who do nothing and seem to stay in shape.

Not your "fat" friends who have no interest in losing weight.

Not the day of the week, Sunday gets a bad rep for starting over. "Hmm, I'll have the pizza on Friday and start back on track Sunday."

Not the magazine that glamorize the super skinny celebrities: no one said you had to look like them!

Not your children that seem to take up 110% of your time and you find it hard to fined "Me" time.

Not your job, as stressful as it is.

Take a good look in that mirror right now. Only one person determines whether are not you are successful with your new healthy lifestyle. No one or nothing can control your life but YOU!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lifestyle Modifications and Behavior Change

As a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant I must wear many hats. Not just as a coach, cheerleader and friend, but a guide. Changing ones behaviors is not simple. If it were, there would not be overweight and obesity issues today! If all a person needed to do was modify their behaviors to promote weight loss, they should lose weight, right? It's the old adage, "I know what I'm supposed to do....but I just can't seem to do it."

Our lifestyles have evolved over many years, and those behaviors work for us. It's comfortable to get up every morning make bacon, eggs and biscuits for breakfast if you've been eating that for the last 20 years. Going out with your friends for drinks and pizza every Friday may have been your thing since college. Your family expects you to make the best macaroni and cheese, homemade cakes and casseroles every year because that's just what you do. Lots of times we cannot make those changes very easily.

Lifestyle Coach to the rescue! It's my job to guide you through some lifestyle changes. To do that, I must try and understand you. If a client's cultural background is different from mine, I need to know about their diets and traditions, belief system and family structure. I cannot simply say, well eat less, if you come from a traditional family structure where everyone is overweight because the quantities of foods they eat (think of Filipe and Sione on Biggest Loser).

I liked this statement from my textbook: "For LWMC who have never had a weight problem, identifying with overweight or obese clients may be difficult. Clients do not want to be judged or criticized, especially by someone who just doesn't understand." It goes on the say LWMCs must learn more about the experiences of overweight people through a listing of books in that chapter. While I have been overweight, even 2-3 pounds from being obese, I think it's important for me to really study this dynamic. I want to be able to truly help each and every client. I don't want my clients to think just because I am thin now I don't get it. Trust me I get it!!

As a guide, it's my job to guide clients through their own lifestyle changes. You must set weight loss as well as lifestyle/behavior goals. Most people want to just focus on the weight loss. Not me! I try and stress that behavior changes are most important at the beginning. Behavior change: walk 10 minutes a day. Behavior change: take the stairs instead of the elevator. Behavior change: stop drinking soda. Small things in the whole scheme of things. Little many goals. Start a streak with these things before you even look at the scale!

I knew a co-worker who drank 6 cans of Pepsi a day!!! Wow! I asked her if she even considered diet Pepsi. Of course not. But even if she was to switch to Diet Pepsi, 6 cans a day, that would be an improvement. Then I would get her down to 3 a day, even 1, and of course none. Clients must be able to stick to these behavior changes, so many times they have to be gradual. And new behaviors they are adopting should require as little self-control as possible so that they can become habits as quickly as possible.

Sometimes our environment dictates whether or not we overeat or exercise. I was explaining to my kids last night on our walk, that in college, you can go to the cafeteria and it's like an all-you-can-eat-buffet. You can eat as many hamburgers and fries, pizza, soda, chips, cookies, whatever that you want. I didn't explain the "freshman 15" to them, that also includes limited or no physical activity, quick access to fast food, little or none of the good foods, vending machine junk food, late night study sessions with junk food, eating at irregular times, and I'm not even going to touch the major alcohol consumption (not me!). I lived next to a pizza place on one side and Taco bell on the other when I moved off campus. It didn't get any better! (I should note that I never gained in college, I lost--being a picky eater pays off!)

Or you may not have access to any gym near you and stay in a small apartment were there is no room to get much exercise in. EXCUSES!! I mean, I understand, but still excuses. Leslie's Sansones WATP does not require much space at all. Stretching and lifting some hand weights takes no space. And the vast outdoors--come on! One of the first steps to take in changing your lifestyle in "cleaning up" your immediate environments at home AND at work. Get rid of all high-calories, low-nutrition, fattening foods and purchase fresh fruits and veggies, low cal snacks, bottled or flavored water and proper cooking utensils so that you cook more and eat out less. Keep healthy foods at work as well to avoid going to a vending machine or eating those cookies from the break room (this note is to myself!) Invest in a couple of workout DVDs, some exercise clothes, small hand weights, good tennis shoes and get to moving!

So now you know what to do...why can't most of us just do it!! That's a whole other issue I may have to blog about real soon. Key words though: emotions, stress, habit, self-control, lack of support, challenge, and fear. Did I hit them all? Probably not. I'll have to come back and blog on why we don't do what we're supposed to do (I'm still learning). And I fall into one of those categories as well.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Small steps=lifestyle change

Sometimes it's the little things we do in our every day life that are the easiest to change. When trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle, I always recommend making small changes to your every day habits. Over time, they become habit, thus your new lifestyle. Here are a few things you can start with...okay, well, maybe a lot of things!! Just find a couple that works for you:

  • Walk to work
  • Walk during your lunch break
  • Walk instead of drive whenever you can
  • Take a family walk after dinner
  • Mow the lawn with a push mower
  • Walk your dog
  • Replace Sunday drive with a Sunday walk
  • Get off the bus one stop early and walk.
  • Wash the car by hand.
  • Run or walk fast when doing errands around the house.
  • Pace the sidelines at your kids' athletic games.
  • Walk to a co-workers desk instead of phoning or emailing.
  • Make time in your day for physical activity.
  • Talk a walk break instead of a coffee break.
  • Perform gardening or easy to do home repair activities.
  • Bring your groceries from the car in the house one bag at a time.
  • Play with you kids at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Dance to music.
  • Walk briskly in the mall.
  • Take the long way to the water cooler or break room.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Drink water before a meal.
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of chips and cookies.
  • Do crunches, push-up or hand weights while watching TV.
  • Keep a comfortable pair of walking shoes in your car or office.
  • Stretch before bed to give you more energy in the morning.
  • Grill, steam or bake instead of frying.

Okay, I have more, but I think you get the picture.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blast from the past

So...I'm reviewing my old blogs on my Spark Page to help motivate MYSELF. Yes, I need it, bad right now. I came across one date December 7, 2006 called "Fitness Trainer in me" Here it is:

"I'm so critical of myself and my body. I'm so obsessed with it. And that's not the bad part. I am critical of others as well. I just want to whip everyone in shape I see. In my sorority I am the physical and mental health chairperson and I am on them. But I think I was appointed because I don't take slackers. We as a whole--all of America--needs to take better care of ourselves. Losing weight is just one element. When I see someone overweight I just want to hold their hand and take them to a gym, or give them advice on how easy it is to cut calories. With friends, co-workers, whoever, I am always criticizing how they eat and the lack of exercise. Hey, I'm not perfect, but it's the personal trainer in me trying to get out. My fitness idols are my soror A.J. Johnson. She's awesome! I've seen her in person twice but have not met her yet. She's where I would like to be. She's about my height, but so tiny (with a six-pack, my ultimate goal). She's probably a size 2 or less. I don't want to be that small, but toned and motivated like her. I keep saying I'm going to take classes and do what I have to do to get my license, but keep getting distracted. One, I want to be the fittest possible before I dish being fit to others. I just have my bad days, which is fine, I just shouldn't turn them into bad weeks. I think once I'm a trainer, that will validate me being critical of others--and maybe they will take me serious."

I said that? Hmmm, I was something else. That was 2.5 years ago! I was thinking of becoming a trainer, now I AM A TRAINER!! Here's a pic of AJ Johnson in case you are wondering who she is...
She is an actress/dancer and now celebrity fitness trainer. She was in several movies, but most famous for House Party and Baby Boy. She's probably the #1 reason I decided to become a trainer, even before Jillian Michaels was on the scene. She is the truth!! It helps that she is a member of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. When I finally do meet her in person, I have to tell her how she has changed my life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tales from a yo-yo dieter

Oh, yes, I am...WAS...a yo-yo dieter. I have been super skinny, 103 pounds at age 22 in college. And my highest point 165 in my 30s. Geesh! The years in between I had lost and gained many many times. Once I took my before picture I was like...THIS STOPS NOW!!

I may not get a super, smokin' hot body, but I was going to get in better shape. One of the most famous yo-yo diets ever is my musical idol (and body inspiration) Janet Jackson. For years most people know that I have been obsessed with Janet Jackson's body. In fact, this is just one of the pics that motivated me to get in shape.
But Janet Jackson is the ultimate yo-yo dieter! Her weight has fluctuated since she was a teenager. She's not naturally thin....she works hard to get her body in tip top shape for magazine and album covers, tours and whatever. When she is not working on a project, Janet just lets herself go. Check out her before and afters....

Or should I say after and before?!? This is when she was small and then gained. She was 117 and gained and got up to 160!! Here's one of her at 180 pounds dropping to 120.

Yeah, what an idol to have! Janet, Janet, Janet...but, what she does is motivate me to end the cycle. Stop yo-yo dieting! I will keep my hot body once I get it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Make Me a Size 0

This is what a co-worker wants me to help her with. Are you kidding me? Whew! Okay, she's already like a 2, so what gives? People, what is the fascination with being super thin? Is this real or just what we see on Hollywood actresses? Now don't get me wrong, I want to be thin too but there has to be a limit. I'm currently a size 4, love my size and just working on toning and firming everything up.

But what is in a size? It's just a number! Is a size 0 better than a size 2 or a 4? Does it really matter. If you have a great body at a 2, why would you desire to be a 0? Just to hear that non-number rattling in your head? Does it make you feel superior over the 4s, 6s, and 8s?

The way I see it, you'll never be happy with your body at any size if you continue to chase some number. Mine was a specific weight. I wanted to be 110 pounds. I'm so close, but not there yet and it's draining me. I have come to realize that, that number really means nothing to me. I am loving my body at 120 and losing a few more pounds is not going to make me love it more. I worked hard to lose over 40 pounds now, so from here on out I appreciate the little things about my body.

No, I don't have a flat stomach. Yes, my arms are still flabby. My legs aren't muscled, my glutes could stand some lifting. But I still LOVE my body. I appreciate the little cellulite on my thighs and the stretchmarks on my hips. I no longer am afraid to wear my two-piece swimsuit. I'm not super skinny like a model, but I feel that I have a body many strive for. A healthy, normal body.

And a s a personal trainer, I'm not doing my clients justice by helping them get to extreme lows. Make you a size 0? Hoe about I make you healthy and we keep it at that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Before and Afters

This is probably the most important thing you ever will do. Take some pictures!! I took some that I thought I would never show another person. I mean, there were fat rolls and everything. Pretty gross. But guess what? Looking back, I am not that person anymore so they do not scare me. Well, in a way they do. They scare me to NOT ever go back there. Here is one of my befores....

Now here is my after. See what I am talking about. Take those pics and then post them proudly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Addicted to Beach Body!!

I first started Turbo Jam in July of last year. After the first workout I was like, "This is tough!" I was hooked! I love how it was the perfect mix of dance and kickboxing. I loved both. Chalene has an addictive personality too. You want to work out with her.

A few months later, I got turned on to Hip Hop Abs. The "hip hop" element I didn't think about, it was the "abs" I wanted! Anything that works the abs is good with me. So bringing in two elements I love, dancing and core training, was sure to be a hit. The moment I pressed pay I knew I found my perfect match! The dance moves were addictive and I found myself doing them whenever I heard music.

I quickly ordered Level 2 and it was better that the first. More importantly, I was seeing results!! Not only was I losing inches, but I could see the formation of my abs. Hot momma!

So of course becoming a Beach Body coach was inevitable. I hope to spread my love of fitness to others. Next up will be trying Slim in 6 and see what results I will get. Taking before and after pictures on Sunday morning, BEFORE I pig out for the holiday

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gotta make the list!

I always run into problems with my eating when I am not fully stocked with the good stuff in the kitchen. When the fridge is bare, I don't want to make a meal out of the few eggs I have left, and some dull veggies (usually frozen because the fresh is used first.) When I am all out of veggie burgers, fresh fruits and veggies, and the good whole grains, I grab the junk. Which means I stop and grab chips, cookies, candy or even fast food. Ugh!

Clean foods is the goal, which means shopping the perimeter of the store mostly. Only time I go through the aisles is for things like tea, cooking spray or oil, and maybe some condiments. Here's a quick list of items you can include on your next grocery lists.
Whole grain products:
sprouted grain bread
brown rice
whole grain pasta
quinoa whole
wheat pita bread
whole wheat tortilla

dry beans
vegetarian burgers
raw nuts

Fruits and veggies
fresh fruit (whatever you like, my faves are apples, oranges, bananas, grapes cherries, watermelon, peaches, strawberries, and pineapple)
frozen fruit (frozen pineapple, strawberries and berries are the best for smoothies)
fresh vegetables (green beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, cabbage--I love the cole slaw mixes, cucumbers, bell peppers, salad mixes, tomatoes, onions, eggplant)
frozen vegetables (frozen corn--limit this, peas, broccoli, okra, mixed peas and carrots)

olive oil
cooking spray
mustard (any variety you like, I like the spicy kind
hot pepper sauce (I like spicy food!)
low-carb ketchup (this is not technically clean, but I can't resist myself)
natural peanut butter
real fruit jam

fat free milk
plain, nonfat yogurt
low fat cheese
low fat cottage cheese
eggs or egg substitute

Pretty simple.
Here's what my meals looked like today:
1/2 cup brown rice
4 scrambled egg whites
1 slice fat free cheese
2 strips Morningstar veggie bacon

Snack 1:
1 cup mandarin oranges
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
crushed raw cashews
(See the pic! This is my fave snack of all times. I love the way the raw cashews taste slightly buttery, a little sweet and just perfect paired with the cottage cheese and oranges.)

Trader Joes soy nuggets (4)
frozen okra
2 rice cakes

Snack 2
1 string cheese

1/4 serving tempeh
bbq sauce
sauteed spinach

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A hard lesson about six-pack abs

As a personal trainer, I get this question a lot. A whole lot! It's the number one question, next to I need to lose 10 pounds. The reality of six-pack abs is, it's not possible for many of us. It ain't easy! Is it possible? Yes. The question is, are you willing to do the hard work.

If you think you can do 300 crunches a day and enjoy flat abs and a super hot six-pack, sorry to tell you the truth of the matter. It ain't happening! Ab exercises are not the number one thing you need for flat abs. It requires hard work, commitment, dedication, and something you may not have any control over: genetics.

Abdominal muscles consist of three layers. The very deepest layer is the transverse abdominal, which acts as the body's girdle, providing support and stability and plays a critical role in exhalation. Next is the rectus abdominal, which flexes the spine. Closest to the surface are the internals and external obliques which turn the trunk and provide the body with rotation and lateral movement. ALL of these muscles must be incorporated into an effective ab training program.

First, you have to drop your body fat, which will decrease the layer of fat around your abdominal. To do this you must:

1) Do regular cardio exercise. This includes, walking, jogging, biking, dancing, swimming or any other cardio activity, just make sure you are consistently doing it.

2) Strength training the ENTIRE body. Don't just focus on working the abs. Treat the abs like any other muscle. You wouldn't do 50 dumbbell curls, would you, so why do 50 crunches??

3) Have a healthy, low-calorie diet. This includes eliminating breads, pasta and high-sugar foods. Eat whole foods and stay away from processed food.

You must get all three of these, especially your diet, right on a consistent basis in order to get even close to flat abs. Now listen to this, because I'm about to burst some people's bubble: even after doing all the above and you still don't have flat abs, don't be surprised. Many of us will never see the six-pack abs because:

*The body fat level required to get flat abs is lower than you can sustain with your current lifestyle/schedule

*The body fat level required is lower than healthy for your body to function.

This is why fitness athletes sometimes follow very strict diets for only a "limited" amount of time. They CANNOT sustain the lower body fat and be considered healthy. The body fat is drastically too low, and for women, can even interrupt menstrual cycles. Many times when you see a model on the cover of a magazine with six packs glistening, it's a result of some extreme elements like dehydration, carb-depleting, or cutting weight like pro wrestlers and boxers do.

The goal to get flat abs may:

*Require more exercise than your schedule will allow and more than you can mentally handle.

*Require more attention to your diet than you're willing/able to expend.

*Require more strict adherence to diet and exercise than you have time or energy to spare.

*May not be in your genetic cards.

So do you give up? Don't give up on exercising and living a healthier life, but maybe giving up on the ideal six-pack abs is exactly what you need to make your life better. Ask yourself these questions.

Do I really want flat abs?  Am I willing to work as hard as I need to get them?

If I will work that hard, am I willing to accept that it still may not happen, even if I do everything right?

If I did get six-pack abs, what will that change in my life?

What will flat abs actually do for me?  What would happen if I let go of this ideal and focused on other goals?
For me, I have tried to achieve six-pack abs with the hundreds of crunches myth. Now that I am a lot smarter about it, I want to ATTEMPT to get them the correct way. I am open to the belief that I may not achieve them, but I will NEVER SAY NEVER. Not until I have given it all I've got.

Here are my abs right now. I have a long, long way to go!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

1st Blog!

Well, what a day it is already!! I was so busy yesterday I don't think I have much energy today. But somehow I will find it. I had to wake up very early on Saturday, get my little ones ready and we were off by 7 a.m. to the train station. My sorority and I took a day trip on a train about an hour out of St. Louis and then we were back by a chartered bus. I had a little bit of a nap on the bus back. Then we were off again to the mall. We ate at my favorite, Chevy's, and I pigged out like I wasn't the healthnut that I am! Huh! I paid for that bigtime!! My stomach hurt so bad!

We then went to see Wolverine, and me still being bushed, slept a bit there. I was fighting to stay awake and enjoy the movie. I guess I got the gist of it because it was a pretty good movie. Then, instead of going home to hit the sack, we stayed and shopped a bit. We all got new outfits and me a pair of shoes. Finally, I headed home, but do you think I could sleep? NO!! We watched a movie and just relaxed, AND then I finally got to sleep.

All that to introduce myself to my new fitness blog!! Saturday's are usually rest days for me. When the weather is nice, I like to add an afternoon walk, so I can't wait for that. But today is the day that I feel refreshed. On My Spark People page, I was delighted to see that I was honored with Spark Motivator of the Day!!! Woohoo! This is the third time for me and I love it each and every time. It means so much to me! It means I am doing my job. I am motivating others. So I had to start my blog today and see if I could reach even more people. I might come back later today and detail my very strenuous workout I am planning. Gotta get the body right!!