Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 30 Time's what you make of it!

Today is day 30 of the Challenge.  Wow!  Time does fly by.  A lot has been learned in the 30 days of blogging this journey.  While, I was eating pretty clean anyway, my body hasn't changed significantly, but my mind has.  I feel more in control and more balanced with a better understanding of self, others and the relationship we all have with food. 

30 days, 1 day, 1 hour.  It's all important.  What we make of every minute in our life contributes to who we become, how we grow and the more significant life becomes.   It's our choice how we spend our lives.  We can sit around and feel sorry for ourselves and wonder why?  OR We can take each moment, go after what we want, make big goals, little goals, to do list, challenge ourselves and see how capable we really are.  It does take a plan, it does take a few challenges.  More importantly, it takes ACTION and BELIEF.  Without action our plan and goals are meaningless.  Without belief, we cannot implement the action with full force. 

You have to believe your goal is obtainable.  Forget what everyone else thinks.  Prove them wrong.  You may stumble, fall and the goal may not be reached in the time frame you expected, but it's keeping the goal alive, keeping it in the forefront of your mind at all times and finding the strength, motivation and willingness within you to keep you going day in and day out while you hurdle over every obstacle.  We all have them.  Think of someone who's already achieved the goal you are after.  They did it.  Maybe under different circumstances, they had different obstacles.  But they did it.  YOU can too!  Believe it!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 29 Helping Others!

I continue to grow strong and learn from this challenge.  I have no doubt I will continue to take this further but improve every step of the way!  30 days sure does fly by and so much can be learned in a short period of time. 

What I find interesting working with individuals who are ready and willing to make a change is how much they start to help others.   With their stories and learning's, they too start to reach out and tell people of their new found knowledge.  I think this is very powerful!  When we help others, we help ourselves!  When we begin to preach or teach our beliefs, we are more likely to follow them ourselves.  We grow not only in our new paths but as human beings as a whole.  The power to help heals ourselves in so many ways.  It digs deep into our souls, a satisfaction of being is established.  We are givers and when we do find this gift, it so overcomes the selfish aspects of taking.  A whole new meaning of life is established.

Many of you know of or have seen the movie Pay It Forward.  It is still one of my favorites.  We all struggle sometimes, but to get help from a friend, family member or even a perfect stranger shines light that we are not alone and when we receive the selfless gift, it is easy for us to find the reason to Pay It Forward.

If you have knowledge, share it!  If you can help someone, emotionally or physically, help selfishly. Find out how much it helps you!

When speaking to my students I hear stories of them helping co-workers with their eating patterns or motivating them to eat properly.  All the blogs that everyone is doing, is helping many as each blog and each individual helps a different person as all relate differently.

This blog started out to be one story and has ended up a completely different one.  I hope my stories, experiences and outlook helped someone, even if just one person, to decide to change their lifestyle.  I know writing it, helped me.

One more day but the journey....will never cease.

Going Strong.....ALL DAY LONG!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 27 Sharing the Success!

Skipping over Friday and Saturday, I just needed a little break and focused on my students, kids and a little down time.  This Friday was SO much better than last.  I had no urge for the typical Friday night cheat night.  Remembering how bad I felt last weekend was enough for me to stick to good clean eating.  I wanted to enjoy my weekend and get in some strong workouts!  Saturday morning, I did just this.  Good ol leg day.  I'm at a new gym so maneuvering around probably slowed me down a bit, but if you've ever seen me workout...this is a good thing.   Today, is Sunday and I have every intention of getting in a great workout, it's nice out so I'm thinking...stadium stairs with a few sprints!  By the looks of my yard and house...I'll be burning a few calories around here too.

Friday and Saturday, I had some great conversations and/or text from my students.  WOW!  What successes!  Take a look!
  • Anita went from "I'm not cooking, so you have to help me find a way to eat healthy eating out.  I also love Braves games and this will be a problem."  to "I'm now cooking, making a mess in my kitchen but loving it!  Also, I'm taking my food to the Braves game because I no longer want to eat hot dogs and pretzels."   She's not sure of her weight loss but the jeans that she could barely get over her hips....she's now wearing them!
  • Rebecca - She is past her 30 days of no drinking and continues on with this challenge!  She's losing weight, eating right and it's now her chosen path!
  • Kelly - Going strong!  We didn't weigh him this week - I don't like to weigh every week.  But...he was looking much more defined.  I was seeing muscle!  The fat is definitely shredding.  We joked he's going to be spraying for mosquito's this summer with his shirt off, showing off those muscles!
  • Steven - Continues to improve and gaining weight every week!  This is his goal!  He's slowed down on his drinking and started to hit the weights again!  Steven and Kelly are brothers with 2 opposite goals.  One to lose, the other to gain, but they work off each others energy and they BOTH show me the can do attitude.  It's no wonder the Mosquito Squad is a successful business!  If you see 2 guys spraying for mosquito's with muscles pouring out this summer, those are the Sanders Brothers!
  • Chad!  He started his blog and texted me last night....20 pound loss!!!  WHOOHOOO!  
  • Sandi - Looking stunning and big smiles!  She too is strutting a pair of jeans she's brought back out of the closet that were no longer fitting!  
The list goes on!  I couldn't be more proud of these individuals.  Changing lifestyles is not an easy journey, but seeing how the confidence is just beaming out of these amazing people is ....well....there are no words.  It's a feeling you'll need to experience.  One that you can, it's all up to you!

Going Strong.....ALL DAY LONG!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 24 Self Talk

When talking to some students about their nutrition, I often hear the words, "It's hard".  This is often followed by excuses as to why it's hard to eat correctly.  Some excuses are:
  • "My company ordered in lunch and all they provided was sandwiches, chips and cookies. "
  • "I have to eat out a lot to entertain clients." 
  • "My best friends birthday is coming up and we are going out for dinner and drinks."
  • "My parents or friends are having me over for dinner."   
  • "I travel a lot and don't have good choices."
 We love to put the blame on someone or something besides ourselves.  If you put up a mental block and provide yourself with excuses rather than solutions, then yes, it's hard.  You can however, make it much easier on yourself.  Instead of looking at everything in a negative manner, take initiative, control and stand up for yourself.  If you truly want something.  If you truly want to be healthier, lose a few pounds, prevent disease, prolong your life, feel better, have a stronger mind.....then change your attitude.  You have to be willing to change the way you think, create reasons why you CAN, stop saying "It's hard" and start saying, "It's easy".

How you talk to yourself has a HUGE impact on whether you can, can't, it's hard or it's easy.  We are all given different genes and talents, but the WILL, self talk and attidude to be our best is completely up to you!  Let's examine the above excuses and see how we can change your mindset, self talk and attitude.  Suggestions in blue. 

  • "My company ordered in lunch and all they provided was sandwiches, chips and cookies. " 
    • Instead:  I take my lunch to work.  So when when the company decides to have a lunch meeting, I'm prepared.  
    • or:  I've suggested to my company some healthy alternatives to those of us concerned about our health.  I emphasized the difference of performance after eating certain meals.
    • or:  I took the bread off the sandwich, ate the meat, lettuce and tomato.  After the meeting, I stepped out real quick to grab a healthy snack or meal from the grocery store.
  • "I have to eat out a lot to entertain clients." 
    • Great!  This is my opportunity to have someone else chop up my salad!  Saves me some work in the kitchen at my companies expense!  Now Mr or Ms. Waiter.  I'll take the Grilled Chicken Salad, just remove the bacon, croutons and put the dressing on the side."   or Mr. or Ms. Waiter, I see you have a Grilled Chicken Sandwich with fries.  Can you omit the bread and replace the fries with the grilled vegetables?"
  • "My best friends birthday is coming up and we are going out for dinner and drinks."
    • You know this is coming up, so maybe this is your free meal night.  Have fun.  
    • OR  order just like the above recommendation and offer to be the designated driver!
  • "My parents or friends are having me over for dinner."   
    •  You know this is coming up, so maybe this is your free meal night. 
    • OR offer to bring a dish, or just show up with some fresh raw vegetables as an appetizer.  
    • OR explain your new lifestyle, either they can work around your menu or you can have them over to your home. 
    • (I also covered this in a previous post - so refer back regarding talking with your parents about your new lifestyle!)
  • "I travel a lot and don't have good choices." 
    • You ALWAYS have good choices.  It's just a matter of finding them or preparing prior to your trip and packing up some tools and snacks to take with you.  I've also covered this in a previous post! 
With the right mindset, you can make your healthy lifestyle journey much easier on yourself.   I'm often thrown excuses and with every excuse, I have a solution.  I'm not saying you can completely change over night, but if you truly want to succeed, you have to change the way you think and APPLY the techniques, strategies, knowledge and your WILL!  When you fall, it's just about being strong enough and determined enough to brush it off and start again.  As with anything in life.  We would never know how to ride bikes, drive cars, read a book, learn a sport if we didn't fall and get back up!

Going Strong.....ALL DAY LONG!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 23 Growing up

I've been having many discussions lately regarding habits and the way we were raised.  Majority of our habits are formed by the time we are 8 years old.  I grew up with a variety of changes.  Initially, living next to my Grandparents, where my Grandfather was a farmer and vegetables were plentiful.  At the same time, my Grandmother was quite the southern cook.  I spent many hours with her in the kitchen making cakes, while chicken pot pie and mash potatoes were on the stove.  Our meals typically consisted of a variety of vegetables but also a variety of main dishes and don't forget to leave room for dessert!

My family then moved about 1.5hours away from my Grandparents.  My dad decided to go back to school after having 3 kids.   He worked nights at the Coca Cola Plant.  He studied, went to school and worked on our very old home during the day and weekends.  My mom had a job too, but income was very little.  Money was extremely tight.  Somedays, we were lucky that someone brought us a bag of food to hold us over for a few days.  It was mostly canned food such as apple sauce, pork n beans and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  My dad got an internship with a church (he is a minister) that we had to drive pretty far out too every Sunday.  I remember fighting over a bottle of Mountain Dew with my 2 older brothers.  One would spit in it so he could have it all to himself.  After church (which was so small and so had outhouses!  Yes...I once experienced prairie life!)  one of the members would have us over for lunch, which was much similar to good ol' Granny's cooking.  I remember biscuits and lots of them!

Once my father graduated from College, we moved to Virginia.  We had a decent size backyard so my mom decided to have a garden.  I was in the first grade at this time, and working in a garden was just one of the chores I was responsible for.  Still, very modest living, preachers just don't make a lot of money. Fast food was just not an option or even a consideration.  We were active in sports so the occasional hot dog, hot fries, popcorn at the ball field were a treat.   For fundraisers as a kid, we sold peanuts (a far cry from what kids are selling now).

Four years later, we moved back to North Carolina in the SMALLEST town in the whole state.  Population 300 with a caution light as you go through the town.  I lived here until I graduated high school.  This town consisted of nothing but farmers, preachers, teachers and a few nurses.  I went from being the only girl on my baseball team in Virginia, getting involved in tennis and couldn't wait to do track and field to being forced to play softball with the I took up basketball. We only had 3 tv channels to watch and my mom never wanted us in the house...well unless we were doing chores.  So we were outside constantly.  We had a basketball goal and eventually got a light put out so we could play at night too.  We all became pretty talented players.  (I still have a decent shot).  My brother got a full scholarship and I probably could have if I stuck with it, so all that playing did pay off.  Again, we had vegetables galore!  Apple trees in the backyard and then....there were the church functions. In a small town, that's about the only gatherings there are. (Ones I was allowed to go too anyway).  These church functions ALWAYS involved food.  Pig Pickn's to the largest spread of cakes, pies, mac and cheese, mash potatoes, biscuits, fried chicken, ham, corn....basically starch and sugar city!  Still, not much for fast food.  I lived 14miles to the nearest fast food establishment.

By the time I was in the 5th grade, I was working in tobacco fields sun up to sun down on my summer vacations.  For lunch, the farmers wives had that big ol spread again...after all, we did work up an appetite!  MORE biscuits! Then when I entered the 9th grade, I started cleaning houses and in a sense started my own little business.  I was good and I was booked solid.  There was this little dutch lady that I worked for and boy did she bake!  I'd work all day, she'd bake all day and forced me to stop and have snacks and lunch everyday.  She was proud of her baked goods and whether I liked it or not, I said "yum!".  I couldn't make a proud lady sad. (plus we were taught to respect our elderly, you always say thank you and never provide negative feedback) I think she hired me more as someone to eat her food rather than cleaning.  I'd then take home tons and tons of food after work. 

The trend here in my life....while vegetables were plentiful, I ate tons and tons of baked goods.  Sugar, sugar and more...sugar! It was no wonder by the time I got to college, I started having intestinal issues.

The good trend...I developed a good active lifestyle and became a pretty good worker bee.  I once carried a "small town" title of Miss Independence and that couldn't have been a more accurate title.  I had my own checking account opened by the time I was in the 6th grade, all monies deposited earned by me.

Now, as a parent, while I'm no where near perfect, I am more mindful of the habits I'm creating for my kids.  While guilty of it myself, I will continue to try harder to break the emotional, traditional or economical relationship with food.  I don't want it to be a "gathering" of friendship (such as the church events mentioned above), a "forced" (the dutch lady story) feeling in order to make someone else feel better.  I want food to be what it was intended to be.  Enjoyable, yes.  But one of fuel for the body, one that is our personal choice and we eat for health sake, to feel good, strong and productive.  I was not taught what the effects of food would do to me.  I was just told I had to eat my vegetables.  Then if I did, I could have dessert.  There is no lesson learned here.  We need to educate our youth as to the why and not "reward" with the wrong message.

As adults, we can change our habits, but it does take work.  Consistent work, techniques, support and who we surround ourselves with are huge contributors to this change.  So be mindful of your surroundings, find a support group, other like-minded people and change your habits.  Your life and, if and when you do have kids, you'll be helping to mold theirs.

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 22

It's day 22 and I'm feeling awesome!  I got in a great workout this morning to start my day, a healthy breakfast, clients are continuing to make progress and systems and strategies are in play!

I'm going to keep it short and simple today with one thought in mind.  Knowledge is powerful, but even more so, is to apply your knowledge day and and day out, minute by minute.  If you don't ACT and DO and FOLLOW your plan, whatever it is in life, your knowledge is useless.   It doesn't have to be complicated, have a simple plan, but have one and follow it through.  Never give up AND even more important than this, never put off what can be accomplished today, in this moment.  We don't know what tomorrow holds or even the next hour.  Accomplish what you can now! 

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 21 Moving On!

Today was MUCH better.  So I failed Friday only made me stronger.  I understand my body that much more, I WANT to feel healthy and alive that much more.  I can become a better coach and mom THAT much more.  You see, if we learn from our failure, we can let them guide us to being a better person.  It's overcoming our struggle, picking back up and getting better and better with each step.  The key is to stop, listen and remember the lesson when the next temptation to slack off hits. 

My body was getting good clean fuel for 18 straight days, then when contaminated, it reacted.  It's a huge lesson.  It goes to show what is good for my body and what isn't.  Just like when I began the diet, I got the clean dieters high the first week.  My body reacted in a good way, saying:  "YES!  Here is your reward for feeding me the proper fuel, I shall grant you energy and good feelings!"  Then when I fed it the wrong fuel, it puttered just as a car would if given the wrong fuel.  It said: "NO!  Now you must be punished by lack of energy, focus, and feelings of aches and pains, now I will make you bloated!" I think I need to listen to what my body has to say.  I want more of the Yes and prefer to just skip out on that no.
It may be day 21 and only 9 days left of this specific challenge but with the way my body said no, I'm not so sure I'll be going back to pizza for a while.  Maybe make my own with proper ingredients that keeps my body saying yes!

I kept today's diet on the light side, probably barely broke 1200cals of good clean eats.  I ran stadium stairs and played with my kids so plenty of fuel was burned, but my stomach was still full and needed a slow fuel day.  I feel so much better and my mind is clear, focused and driven yet again!  Yay!

We all fail from time to time.  But pay attention to the lesson when you fail and you'll reap much knowledge to improve! Apply your knowledge to make your journey stronger!  Learn what works for you.

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!


Ok.  I admit it, I let stress get to me and I had Pizza with my boys on my typical Friday night cheat night.  I hadn't seen my boys this week, missed them and fell into the parent trap of wanting to go out with them for pizza.  I could have chosen a better way to spend an outing with them and in fact, I had spoken about this earlier in the day with one of my clients.  We discussed how we are examples for our kids and we don't need to be creating habits of "comfort, reward or family time" to be associated with food....then I go and do just this.  Honestly, it was more for me than it was for them.  I think I used them as an excuse to go cheat.  Bad mark on the mom and coach board.  ( Shows I'm human and suffer the same struggles.)

The side effect:  I felt horrible!  Here it is Sunday and I still feel horrible.  I"m bloated, achy, tired and just blah.  I usually workout really hard on weekends and my weekend suffered too.  So was it worth it?  NO!  UGH!  This does reinforce the effects of food.  That cheat wasn't even all that enjoyable and it messed up my energy, focus, drive, workouts, etc.  for the entire weekend.  Not to mention, my self esteem.  Seriously.  I didn't want to go anywhere because my stomach expanded to the point I looked a few months pregnant.  So weight loss or not...eating healthy....IS SO WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD!!   It's not all about the vanity.  It's FEELING amazing, have a STRONG MIND and having the ENERGY to keep up with today's busy life.  If you feel good about yourself, you're going to be more productive.  Now, I did try to keep myself productive over the weekend, but with busy house work.  Because I felt so bad...I didn't want to blog, read, research.  I wanted to take my mind off of it for a bit.

So to learn from my own mistake...for me...cheats really set me back.  I need to remember the next time there is an urge for something that's not good for me, if I participate in the urge, it's going to be harmful for a few days...not to mention the vanity part that eventually shows up on the hips. Most importantly...for me...there is immediate consequences. I can't afford a weekend of the blah's.  Lesson learned and I'm ready to eat clean, grain free and healthy once again.  Give me my moxie back!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 18 Traveling

I have many students who travel frequently, so today, I'm sharing some ideas that I provide them for traveling.

Packing for your trip:
·         Portable foldable insulated bag – in case your hotel does not have a fridge
·         Baggies of nuts, vitamins, protein powder etc.
·         Small George Forman Grill (optional – going the distance!)
·         Oatmeal single packets (if no microwave – you can run hot water through the coffee maker! )
·         Plastic forks, plates
·         Cans of tuna, chicken
·         Request hotels with microwaves and small fridges

Upon Arrival:
·         Go to a local grocery store!  If you can’t or don’t want to pack some of the above items, make it a priority to head to the grocery store upon arrival.
·         Purchase
o   Pre-made chicken, tuna and boiled eggs
o   Oatmeal
o   Protein powder
o   Milk
o   Pre-made veggies and salads
o   Nuts and sprouted bread
o   Hummus and veggies for snack
o   Light popcorn – if you have access to a microwave

·         Don’t be afraid to ASK!!!  If your room doesn’t have a microwave – maybe they have a room where they provide continental breakfast – usually a microwave can be found in there – or if there is a restaurant – ask to use theirs!

·         If no fridge – you have your portable insulated bag – grab some ice from down the hall and bam!  Refrigerator issue solved!

·         If you are going to be in meetings all day – pack your food and take it with you!  You never know what food options will be provided - so be prepared!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!                                                                                                                 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 17 Live In The Moment

I speak with so many wonderful people everyday, ones who want to make a change in their life.  They realize they need the change to feel better, look better and live a longer life so they can enjoy their family, watch their children grow, be able to play with them and have the strong mind it takes to keep up with all the curve balls life throws at us.  Your health is a HUGE factor in so many areas of life. 

While its important to look ahead at what can be accomplished with a healthy lifestyle, let's not forget to live in the moment.  Take one day at a time.  If you can make today strong and conquer your fears, your cravings, your workouts, your to do list...just for today, never putting it off, you'll be amazed how soon your goal will be accomplished and not only this; the journey will be easier.  When we focus too much on the future and all the obsticals we face, we tend to put off what's important today.  Have big goals and dreams, yes.  But also have daily goals that will lead to the major goal.  Know what you have to do TODAY in order to reach the big goal, then take it day by day, moment by moment.  Make today strong!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 16 What to Believe

There is so much information regarding nutrition and exercise, many people don't know what to believe.  One person will say one diet is good because it works for them.  Another will argue that their diet, which is the opposite, is better because that's what works for them.

No matter how you choose to eat, higher proration of carbs or higher of protein or higher of fat.  They can all work as long as other macro-nutrient prorations work in conjunction with your choice.  We are all different.  We have different metabolisms and body types.  We all workout at different levels.  There is no one size fits all. 

One thing that is constant is sugar intake.  Whatever diet macronutrient prorations you choose, sugar should not be included in the forms of table sugar or its substitutes.  If its not natural, don't bite!  We do live in a world of talked "cheats" or "free meals", these on occasion can be ok.  The reason for this is mostly sanity since we were raised on so much sugar and feel deprived when changing our lifestyle.  It is suppose to give us more "social" acceptance.  But necessary...I don't think so.  If we eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, protein and even occasional healthy starches such as sweet potato, you are feeding your body everything it needs.  You can play with your proratations with these foods.  Higher fat, more fatty meat, whole eggs, nuts.  Higher protein...ok eat less of what I just mentioned and make it leaner cuts of meat, egg whites.  Higher carb, no problem.  Eat more sweet potato, veggies and fruit.  Just stay clear of harmful substances, sugar and man-made products.  

How do you find a plan that's right for you?  Seek someone out such as a nutrition coach who can put a plan together based on their knowledge of your metabolism and body type.  Then log and monitor your progress and tweek your plan until you have the one that works best.

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 15

Today, I'm still going strong.  I have to say...I did have an urge for some oatmeal or pancake (yes...I LOVE pancakes...but a pancake however natural you make it, is not a pancake without syrup), but I kept myself busy, diverted and the urge did indeed pass.

I'm sticking to the allowable foods.  While, I don't think I'm losing any weight, my mind is strong and constant.  This is something that is very important to me.  I spoke to someone about this today.  He's an X3 Sports Member and has been making progress with his weight but goes through some very difficult times staying on course.  I asked him too, for now... take the scale, throw it out and to stop logging everything.  Just focus on what goes in his mouth. Eating healthy goes beyond the scale and weight loss.  Brain function is huge, a healthy heart, feeling energetic!!  You have to think of this as a lifestyle and ALL the benefits that go with it.

For me, my mind is a powerful tool.  It should be for you as well.  If used properly we can get an amazing amount accomplished in a days time and I thrive off accomplishment.  It's another way to reduce stress and correct hormone imbalances.  Stop thinking of eating correctly as a way of weight loss, sure that's nice and it WILL happen but it takes time.  There is no instant gratification UNLESS you look at other factors such as brain function, how you actually feel, energy and other appearances such as hair and skin.

Proper nutrition goes beyond the pounds on your body and if you are consistent long'll be at a good healthy weight.  The way it was intended.

Sleep well, move your body, fuel it with proper nutrients, complete task and accomplish great things every day.  Enjoy the journey to your new lifestyle.

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 14 So You're Skinny...or NOT

Today, I was able to play with my kids in the backyard.  A fun family Sunday morning game of dodge-ball and soccer.  We took some pictures and I gotta say.  I didn't like them.  Not one bit!  I eat healthy, I exercise and my body is NOT where I want it to be.

Later, we go to the park (yep...we spend THAT much time there if you read yesterday's blog).  I watched and observed yet again...this time walking around the playground in circles while the boys played.  I saw people of all sizes and shapes, watched what they were eating, who was sitting, who was playing.  A girl can REALLY get down on herself.  We are horrible about this.  I saw skinny girls, mid-sized and over weight.  I felt I was somewhere in the middle.  I'm not your skinny chick, but don't feel I'm overweight either.  Sure..I'm a girl.  I could lose a few pounds.  I've gained a good bit in the last year, some due to the weight room, some due to .....stress.  We live in very stressful times and as a single mom, you can only imagine what goes through my head at times.  

What we have to keep in mind...ME INCLUDED, is to not to get too bogged down into looks.  I looked a heck of a lot better last year than I do this year.  Yet, my fitness has increased, diet continues to improve...stress....a work in progress.  HORMONES do run the show a good bit.  I will have to continue to work on my stress levels if I want to return to the weight I feel most comfortable.  In the meantime, I'm REDUCING some levels of stress by feeding my body the right foods and exercising.  I have to remember...If I didn't do these 2 things....I may be HUGE! SO, I need to be thankful I've maintained a healthy lifestyle and appreciate where I'm at.  When I stress about how I only adds to the mountain and I need to make that mountain a hill, then a small hump.

On the reverse, I hear people say:  "I have a great metabolism.  Look at me.  I'm skinny!  I can eat whatever I want, it's hard for me to gain weight."   They are one of the few lucky ones...but are they?  When we think we can eat everything we want and then do, we are at even higher risk of diabetes and heart attacks among other many diseases due to our diet.  At least the ones of us who have to work for it are more aware of what goes in our mouth.  Skinny, medium, large  it doesn't matter what size you are, we ALL need to feed our bodies with the proper fuel to live a long, lasting disease free life.  I don't know about you, but I want to die of old age and I don't want my last years of my life to be in and out of hospitals because of some disease that could have been prevented.

Eating healthy should be a way of life.  Take the vein reasons out of it.   Embrace who you are and KNOW you are doing the best you can to be the best YOU.  Stop trying to look like or be someone else.  We are all built differently.  .....Trust me...I'm preaching to myself here!

Embrace YOU!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Day 13 Observing

 The diet continues to be whole.  100 % compliant. 
I want to bring up something I've observed this month.  I spend a lot of time in parks since I have two active little boys.  2 weeks ago, we were at a park and there was this lady in a swing.  My guess she was in her 60's, no child that belonged to here in sight.  She just sat there on that swing, eyes closed, smiling, enjoying the moment.  I was there at least an hour and she was there the entire time...swinging.  She seemed very much at peace.  
Yesterday, I was at the gym.  There was this lady on the treadmill.  Again, probably in her 60's...she wasn't walking or running on the treadmill.  She was dancing.  Honestly, she would have made a 23yr old look bad on a dance floor.  The Chick had some moves!  
Neither of these women cared about their surroundings but they did what they wanted to do and were enjoying life because of it.  I took a lesson from them.  The next time I went to the park, which was today, I found a bench and did step-ups.  I've done this before, but here and there, never really powering through not caring what people thought.  Today, I did and I did it with a smile.  My kids found friends on the playground so good ol mom had to fend for herself.  I wasn't just going to sit and watch, so I found a bench and moved while watching.  People starred but WHO CARES?!  I'd much rather be the observed crazy lady who is fit and healthy than the overweight mom sitting on the bench drinking a Coke. I'm not making fun of that mom, in fact I wish I could help her.  BUT, she was making fun of me.  Go figure.  I was the odd one out for not sitting while my kids play and not adding chemicals to my body by drinking a Coke.  
Do you know what?  I did have an influence today.  Infact, I had 2.  Two little girls started to do what I was doing, they were watching and observing and yelling "Exercise!".   I just gave them a kind smile.  
You see, while as adults, some people can not be influenced.  They have to WANT to change.  I grew up with religion forced on me and I would never FORCE nutrition on anyone.  If you are reading this blog, it's because you want too.  If you come to me for counseling, it's because YOU are ready for a change. 
Do keep in mind however, that we are being watched.  The children look to adults for guidance.  What example do you want to be?  What impact do you want to make?  
I'm glad I was the "crazy" parent doing step ups and drinking water.  Who knows what an impact that simple visual made for those 2 little girls.  
As for my kids, I think they appreciate me being a non-traditional mom.  We laugh, we have fun and they learn by my example.  I want the best for them.  So, I do my best to lead them in the right direction. 
Keep in mind.  You are not only an example for your kids, but all kids whom surround you.  You can make impressions.  I remember as a kid, going to the park.  I lived in Virginia and we spent a lot of time in this park called Gypsy Hill Park.   The reason for the name was because, well, many Gypsies camped out there.  There was a large variety of people in this park.   I watched and helped the homeless with my Dad.  He showed me a caring heart from a very young age.  But, because of his beliefs he did shun me away from some others in that park. I was about 6 or 7 and  I remember a lady, meditating.  I was away from my parents for a short while, and I started to ask her questions and THAT lady in a very short time, started to talk to me about nutrition and eating naturally.  Now I think she was vegetarian and I obviously didn't go that route..I'm more of a carnivore.  But, I remember her, she impacted me.  (Here I am at 35 writing about a lady I met for 5min at age 6/7) My parents soon found me talking to her and because she was dressed all in white (different), they quickly pulled me away.  (I had a habit of doing this.)  I was raised that there was one way and that was it.  BUT I always had a very curious mind, one to think on my own.  I couldn't be brainwashed if I was put under extreme circumstances.  I think what I think.  I observe and gather my own thoughts.  My parents never really liked this and we have had some battles, but I'm glad I'm a strong minded individual.  It allows me to see past certain traditional ways and enables me to see things for what they truely are. 
I respect people for who they are and have a way of knowing why they are the way they are.  There are patterns I've learned over the years.  Simply, by observing. 

I've ended up rambling a bit today, but my point is this.  Be free to be who YOU want to be.  THINK about the influence you want to have on others and REAP the rewards of a less stressed life.  Once you come into your own, you'll have a greater sense of peace and HELPING others by simply your actions.  This is a remarkable reward that boost self.  Self awareness, Self contentment, Self satisfaction.  The list goes on.  
Again, you ask, what does all of this have to do with nutrition?  Stress has a huge impact on weight loss, weight gain and weight management.  If you stress less about what everyone else thinks.  You'll reap many many benefits. 
Be YOU!  

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 12 Apples

It's Friday, my typical cheat day.  Today was one of those days where my brain just wouldn't turn off and that cheat day...or at least some wine would have hit the spot.  Instead...staying loyal to my challenge, I cheated on ....apples.  That's right...I went to the sweats....just to buy....apples. 
I came home to try and take my mind off things and turned on the tube to watch some of my favorite re-runs of How I Met Your Mother and Old Christine.  4 apples in.....pigging out in front of the tv has a whole new meaning. 
Today's lesson?  I challenge you to pig out on some fruit next time you would normally have pizza/m&m's whatever your cheat is.  Most likely you'll have an ah-hah! moment.  One that says:"eh...I really don't need this. Why do I find the need to pig out and watch TV for comfort?"

Going Strong.....APPLES and all!  .....ALL DAY LONG!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 11 of 30

We've had a rainy week here in Atlanta and WOW!  What an impact weather has on moods and energy levels.  People skip their workout routines, cancel appointments, do whatever they can to "just get through the day".  My guess is that it's been a very unproductive week for many!
I am pointing this out to make you more aware of this trend.  When it's raining, day in and day out, we have to make a conscience effort to keep the energy up, moods up, hormones balanced! Here are some ideas:
  •  Ensure to get in some HIIT training - it may not be as strong but always makes me feel revived and .....well...young at heart! 
  • Wear business clothes.  It forces you to sit and stand tall with proper posture.  This sub-conscientiously provides you with a more attentive mind and spirit. 
  • Get OUT of the house or office!  Staying home, in comfy clothes?...Come on!  That's laziness waiting to happen! Have lunch with a potential prospect, co-worker or friend.  The conversation will keep your mind on your toes!
  • Complete your to-do list!  A feeling of accomplishment brings on a sense of energy!  
You say this has nothing to do with food....REALLY?  Oh, YES it does!  When energy is low, we are not working out, sitting in the home, wearing sweats all day....what tends to happen?  THE FEEL SORRY FOR ME MUNCHIES!    Ut-uh.  You are now triple slamming your week and going back in time with your health, fitness and profession.

Get up!  Get OUT!  and MOVE!

I'm still 100% compliant!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 10 of 30

What amazes me is how easy this lifestyle actually is.  I was speaking to a student today and she said:  "Caroline, this is so easy!  I feel great!  I don't feel bloated and I'm not achy in the morning like I use to be!  This diet works!  I didn't even have a starch at all yesterday! (she's allowed 1 a day).  I think I have found I was allergic to wheat/gluten.  This is amazing!"   Music to a coach's ears!  I do hear statements like this over and over.

When people are given the proper plan, with a plan of attack and proper support, the word diet quickly changes to "my new lifestyle".  I hear the words...."I get it!"  My job now is to continue to support her, keep guiding her in the right direction.  She's finding she can create all kinds of fun and exciting foods in the kitchen and she's loving it!

I have students who tend to eat out a lot ...I problem.   Today, for example.  I ate out 2 times!  I did take some initiative on where to go out.  Hey...we have a voice...use it!  For lunch, I ate at a yummy Brazilian Steak house...just look at the yummyNESS!

For Dinner, I went out with my team and got so caught up in conversation, by the time I thought about taking a bowl was empty :).  We ate at Chow Baby.  For anyone who hasn't been there, go give it a try.  You pick your own veggies and meat and they have 2-3 sauces that are sugar free!!!  They saute your selection and bring it out to you.  This goes to show you, healthy choices are out there!  Just look for them!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 9 I Just Want A Pancake!

I woke up this morning JUST WANTING A PANCAKE!  haha!  Cravings do enter the mind!  But we always have to keep our goal.....above the craving.  Cravings pass.  Here are a few techniques to surpass a craving:
  1. Eat something healthy instead
  2. Divert!  Put your mind on something else!  Go do a project, chore etc. 
  3. Give me 50!  I'm not sure what it is about moving the body...but it works!  In fact, I'm not hungry or want to go near food for at least an hour after a hard workout.  
When going through a lifestyle change, we REALLY have to make a conscience effort to retrain old habits.  It takes time, it takes MUCH EFFORT, but the reward pays off.  Because I didn't partake in that pancake, I don't have to feel guilty.  I'm staying on course.  If I did, I would have felt guilty, I would have eaten more than a fact, possibly would have over indulged.  Once you give in, the mind thinks:  "Well, shoot.  I messed up....mind as well just indulge and REALLY mess up.  I'll get back on track tomorrow!"....Come on!  I know you ALL can relate to this way of thinking.
You have to DIVERT!  Create better, healthier habits for yourself.  The craving will pass, you'll feel better about yourself, confidence will continue....the UPWARD spiral of goodness and health will continue.
Another thing I'll do, is look at body transformations and get inspired!  Whether it be my students or just random transformations on various websites.  After looking at these, any thought of putting something bad in my mouth turns to wanting to hit the gym!  Its so amazing.  Here are my 3 increadients to health:
  1. Controlling your thoughts, having your MIND in the right place
  2. Deciding (MIND) what it is you put in your mouth...taking responsibility
  3. How you move!   Push your body to limits, see how far you can go and let your MIND take you there!
Are you seeing the trend here?  Seems like the MIND is in all 3 incredients.  Take control, use techniques to master your thoughts...FEED it the right fuel.   You don't feed your car anything but the required fuel.  You don't feed your pet human food....if you do ....BIG mistake....human food, takes over that pets mind and it becomes a begging machine and an annoying little critter to be around come feeding time.  Do you SEE the effects on food and the brain?  Just take a look at the dog who gets table scraps....

I want to go back a moment, referring to my statement on sugar.  I said from the beginning of this blog it's about eliminating sugar in the forms of man made sugars, grains, table sugar and its substitutes.  A friend of mine stated to me today, "Doesn't the brain need sugar to function?"  The answer is yes!  It does, BUT the right kind.  The brain needs about 125-150g of sugar per day.  This can easily be attained from vegetables and small portions of fruit.  Lets not forget one important bit of science.  Our bodies are able to manufacture sugar for energy from fats and proteins So why the brain fog yesterday?...It comes down to simply my body adapting to lower sugar levels...detoxing per say.

From lunch on yesterday (because I really like to use my brain optimally everyday :)  ), I made it a point to eat nothing but veggies and added some fruit...wahlah!  Brain fog gone...with the RIGHT kind of food! It's the wrong kind of sugars that lead us to the obsession with food, addictions with food and eventually obesity and disease. 

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 8 Energy Where Art Thou?

Day 8 and I do think the official carb flu has hit!  I was very tired today.  While, I do eat veggies, my carb intake has decreased as sugar intake (and its substitutes) decreased. I noticed over the last few days, my vegetable intake has not been that high so I needed to alter this a bit.

With this being said, I ate nothing but vegetables and added some fruit  from lunch to the end of the day and the energy did pick up a little.  I'm not bouncing off the walls, but I can think again!  I do love brain function!  Living in brain fog is by no means fun but I DO think it's a necessary component for some people.  Those who are coming off high carbs and sugars in the forms of grains, table sugar and processed food.  They may have to make a little sacrifice to detox themselves of these toxins, but this detox will help them to reduce their sugar cravings and help to abandon emotional attachments with food. This all goes back to how sugar effects brain function.  Sugar is a foreign substance - a drug - that needs to be eliminated from ones system and withdrawals do occur.  Rest assure, this process does pass and boundless energy does return.

I have to say, I got a little excited today, exchanging paths with someone who use to have Raynauds disease.  I have this too and it really is a nuisance!  Basically, I'm allergic to cold weather.  When I get cold, my hands and feet become completely white, dead-like even.  They hurt.  Blood does not circulate to the tips of my joints. This fellow "Primal",  stated he no longer has Raynauds as an effect of his new lifestyle.

While health, previous intestinal issues, energy, brain function and sugar cravings are my main reasons for eating this clean, this is yet ANOTHER reason to keep moving forward.  Eating healthy really is a cure-all.  (ok...not all but a cure-to many many pains and illnesses)

Let me tell you how my passion with health really grew and took off to be where it is today.  I've always been into sports, athletic and interested in health to some degree, however, not until college did this become an obsession.  You see, I started to get extreme intestinal issues.  I had SEVERE episodes that you may not even be able to stomach the description if I gave you one.  But know this. The pain of the episodes were one of thinking I was dieing.  The timing, was always unknown and I became scared to leave my home.  I went from doctor to doctor, in which no one listened or even really seemed to care.  I was young, looked healthy.  There couldn't possibly be anything wrong with me.  They gave me pills to try.  They TOLD me what my symptoms were instead of LISTENING to what I had to say.  I got frustrated.  I began to do research of my own.  I found out that friends had similar issues.  I changed my diet based on my research and helped many friends with their issues.  I haven't had an episode in years and began a life of helping to heal others with diet change.
I continue to research and with each finding, I find more proof that backs up clean eating.  Getting rid of most grains (intestinal issues), I have healed myself of one illness.....NOW, eliminating sugar (cravings, mind control, obesity, many diseases) and processed food (poison, yet another contributor to illnesses, obesity and hormone imbalances).   ....CAN this heal my Raynauds?  Can I play in the cold once again?

I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 7 of 30 Tap In!

There are so many topics floating around in my brain it's really hard to narrow down today.  I think I want to continue to TAP IN-to the brain.  So many people miss this very important step when it comes to the battle with food, changing a lifestyle, playing a sport, preparing for a speech, a project at work, the list goes on.  If you can TAP IN-to your own mind and understand your own thoughts, how YOUR particular mind works, you can discover a complete unknown world about YOURSELF.  Once you have a better understanding of yourself, you can apply the proper techniques necessary to help YOU in YOUR particular situation.  Yes, we can all learn from other people.  I've made it a lifetime of learning other peoples' mistakes and actions, by simply observing to avoid many pitfalls of my own.  But, it's not until we have a true understanding of SELF can we EXCEL beyond our expectations.

For example, this morning I went to workout, it wasn't as powerful as it usually is on leg day.  Typically, on leg day, I'm ALL-IN, focused, pumped, driven.  I LOVE my mind during the 2 grueling hours of heavy weights, driving myself to dizziness....I just get a kick out of it.  There were some driving forces that took me away from this thinking and I wasn't fully allowed to stay focused on the task at hand. 
  1. The weather - I have noticed an incredible impact the weather can play with my energy, drive and focus
  2. My own mind - maybe I'm thinking so hard about thinking - trying to capture so much for this experiment, it's taking its toll on my workout...
There is a reward from today's experience though and once I write this all down...I may just go back (clear headed) and give another go at those weights!   Here is what I was thinking while working out.  I was indeed thinking about the typical drive, focus and energy I have when doing leg workouts.  It's 2 hours long and I'm usually pumped a bit before and after, then as the day goes on, this way of thinking tends to fade.  I want to know what it is about doing leg weights that gets me in that frame of mind and how I can KEEP that thought process to be sustained longer.  Not only longer but also on days I don't do leg weights. 

My thoughts are that it comes down to not only a passion, but ACT of passion.  I think about the fighters at the gym.  When you talk to these guys, they are the sweetest, biggest teddy bears you'll meet.  It's hard to imagine they can get in a ring and fight with such passion, aggression and fierceness. But they do...over and over again.  The mind changes, something "ticks" inside them.  They TAP IN......until their opponent TAPS OUT! 

The mind is so powerful and if we can really TAP IN-to our own thoughts, learn how WE operate, we can use our KNOWLEDGE to continue to grow.  

I hear so many people say "I don't know why".  Take the time to stop, listen, follow patterns and you'll find that answer.  It's there.  Once you find it, use it!  Use the answer to build upon your weakness, demolish it and make it TAP OUT!

As for me, I will use my knowledge to expand the ACT of my passion into my day, day in and day out.  I can't do leg weights all day long and everyday, but I can TAP IN-to the mindset in which I have while under that environment or time.  It will take FOCUS.  Focus is a very difficult thing, especially in today's modern world of phone and sound interruptions.  But, I will continue to study the act of focus to learn how to TAP IN-to the passion that drives me enough to sustain a long productive, driven, passionate day...all day...everyday.  (Then, I'll need to learn how to turn it off, so I can sleep...)  In a sense, all this blogging is a driving force, a constant passion.  Just one different from my leg workout.  It's one of passion to tell my story, to help others.  (One that took over my leg workout....another lesson of separating passions...and focusing on task at hand) I only hope I'm reaching out to the right people.  Ones who want and need the help and are ready for change.  

One does have to be ready and timing does play a big part in ones success.  Your MIND has to be in the right place.  We hear how people stop smoking cold turkey or how people make drastic lifestyle changes very quickly.  There is something that they TAPPED IN-to that made them do this.  It all starts with the MIND. YOU have to make the decision to TAP IN.  You may have to make some friends and family members TAP OUT.  Keep fighting them to understand that health and fitness is a way of life, some will tap out. Others...well, maybe you just have to remove yourself from frequent interactions until you've won YOUR battle.  Then, you can come back, show them how you've changed, how great you are and it just may be what they needed to TAP them IN. 

Day 7 of 30- meat, eggs and veggies!  It's actually getting easier.  I thought the removal of my low sugar ketchup and sugar free syrup would be an issue.  It's starting to be a distant memory...a habit broken.  I think it actually proves it was a driving force in my Friday cravings, due to the sugar alcohols they contained.  While, for some of my students, I think sugar alcohols can play a role in lifestyle transformation.  However, it can also play a role in cravings and binges.  I've done a good bit of reading on the subject, but now I'm a true believer that they need to have there exit strategy in ones diet....when the time calls for it. 

Do I believe what we eat influences brain function?  ABSOLUTELY!  Sugar and its foreign substitutes such as certain artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols all influence cravings that lead to binges and uncontrollable urges that result in not only obesity but the core cause of eating disorders today.  If we ate what nature intended for us to eat, exercised the way our bodies were meant to move, we'd be naturally lean as our bodies were intended, our minds would be sharp and our energy boundless.   Disease would be less and we would age with grace and beauty.  I don't think we should put all the focus on outer appearance, but the result of eating properly lets us enjoy our individualized beauty the way it was intended.  Going back to my previous blog, you are what you eat.  What you eat and how you move should be a lifestyle, not a trendy diet.  X the sugar, the man made product/chemicals, the processed foods that flood our pantries.  Clean them out!  You'll easily reap the rewards and function better than you have ever functioned before.

Going strong - ALL DAY LONG!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 6 of 30 Come Into Your Own Uniqueness

Wow.  Today was powerful.  I love my job, I'm incredibly grateful for it.  (Thanks X3 Sports!)  In fact, it just doesn't seem like a job.  I get to help people...all day, everyday.  How is that work?  There is research involved, but...I love that too!  Learning, growing, giving.  This is what life is all about.

My team was suppose to go hiking this am, but it rained so we decided to meet at a local book store and have a chat.  We sat there and before we knew it, hours had passed.  We had great conversations about food, behaviors and lifestyle change.  One member had lost a significant amount of weight.  He told me he once smoked 3.5 packs of cigarettes a day.  Had a daily routine of coming home and having a bourbon, went out to eat all the time and mindlessly ordered off the menu.  Now, his life is completely different.  He may still have an occasional drink but it becomes less and less. He feels as though he is now the odd one out.  How sad is this?  The odd one out for being healthy, working out and living a lifestyle that has now become...rare. He's made a choice to be different, to be healthy.  He has a new obsession and loves his new found life.  He told me a story today, that struck hard.  He was in a grocery store at the checkout counter, cart filled with fresh veggies, fruit, fish, meat, all the right ingredients for healthy living.  The ladies were whispering, "He must be single to eat like that" , another one whispered, "Do you think he's gay?" (stereotyping...are all gay people healthy??) People really amaze me about their thinking....or lack of. Has it come to this, to be looked at as the odd one out for being....healthy? 

Another team member, you all know him, Kelly Sanders.  He said to me today:  "Caroline, I'm smiling.  I'm smiling all day long."  Kelly has made a remarkable change in the last 3 months.  He keeps surprising me with amazing progress and I couldn't be more proud.  He's a quick learner, plays by the rules and understands the consequences.  He gets it and likes where he is in his journey.  He too had bad habits to break.  Along his journey, he has had situations where people in his life just didn't understand his new lifestyle.  He too deals with this challenge.  However, he knows his decision to be healthy is the one for him.  He's taking charge and I don't see any signs of going back!

These 2 men prove, life can change.  You can be different.  It's a choice.  We need to stop caring about what everyone else thinks.  Do what's best for you.  Another member stated to me today: "I'm having a tough time this weekend, because I'm at my parents' house.  They made me my favorite food and I feel obligated."  This is what I call, parental acceptance syndrome.  Parents raise their children the best they know how.  We are brought up to respect our parents and think they are always right.  As adults, it's hard to separate these beliefs.  We always feel a need to be accepted by our parents and don't want to disappoint them.   This girl is so very sweet, I can't picture a slight argument with her parents.  I'm not saying she should throw up her hands and say..."NO, I don't eat this way and I won't eat that."  But rather, maybe have a discussion with them about her beliefs in better health, how she wants to live her life.  I mean, we are talking about food choices....not any drastic measures of craziness.   This is something that is good for her.  Parents tend to have a hard time understanding when a child grows up and doesn't follow traditional standards of how they were raised.  But this, my friend, is evolution.  We each get smarter and smarter with every generation.  I sure hope my kids out smart me!  Heck, I think they already do!

Sometimes, it takes time, to come into our own and bloom.  We are raised to care about what everyone else thinks.  We are taught to be on guard.  There are some good reasons for some of this training.  But, there comes a time, we have to sit back, take a look at our lives and decide where we want it to go.  As an adult, it is only us that holds us back.  Take charge of your life.  Once you figure this out, you will have found one of the golden treasures of life.

People will come and go from your life, but you will always have to live with yourself.  Become who you want to become, like yourself and love life!

I am still going strong!  Meat, eggs, fish and veggies!  Today, since a member stated he couldn't have sushi.....I made sushi, rice free!  Take a look below!  Eating clean and healthy doesn't have to mean boring.  I do tell my students:  "Think about it.  you don't want to eat something too yummy, if you do, what happens?  You take a bite and say...ummmmm that's good!  Then you proceed to take another bite and before you know it, your stomach is hurting because you had too much."   Food is fuel, yes, but it can be tasty and fun too! (however, to prove my point....I couldn't put that riceless sushi down...YUM!)

I had another amazing day!  I have a feeling another blogger is coming real soon.  In the meantime, take a look at the two blogs below.  I'm very proud of these guys.  It takes a lot of guts to commit to something, but to share their story and put it all out on the line, is very brave!  They too, share some very valid points, from a different view.  Let's all grow and learn together.  We are all different.  Embrace the difference!

Going strong.....ALL DAY LONG!  

Kelly's Blog:

Jarrod's Blog:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 5 of 30 What You Eat Matters, Fasting and Free Meals!

We all know the phrase, "You are what you eat".  But do you really know the meaning of this phrase?  I tell many people when I first meet them, "One day, you'll find yourself driving down the road, smiling.  Not because of some great incident that happened, but just because you're happy."   If you haven't had this happen to you, you're missing out!  Today, I found myself smiling all the way my car.  Obviously this has happened to me time and time again since I share this experience with my students.  It holds true.  We are what we eat and its SO much more than the initial thought of appearance.  You see, when you eat right, here is what happens:
  • You do indeed start to look better
  • You feel better
  • You have a sharper mind
  • You gain confidence
  • That confidence leads to:
    • Better job performance
    • Better relationships
    • Better parenting
Overall, it brings on a happiness that EXCEEDS the initial self image reason you started on your mission to change what you eat.  I met with a new member today.  He hit me smack dab hard in the middle of my heart.  It was the first time we met, he opened up to me, obviously knowing he needed help.  He knew he had an unhealthy addiction to food and bad behaviors. It was out of control.  He was very emotional.  His father had died of diabetes, he knew what he was doing was wrong and this would lead him to the same path if he didn't change.  He hates the way he looks in the mirror and has been on 1 date in almost 10years.  His addiction to food is influencing or even taking over his entire life.  For this young man, when he beats his addiction, he will have a whole new outlook on life.  He will be healthier, have the gained confidence and may just find the love of his life.  I can't WAIT to see him at the finish line.

As for me, I'm still going strong on meat/eggs/fish and veggies.  I am continuing to learn a lot about myself.  I use to be so tied up in counting and timing everything, I lost site of what my body was telling me.  Removing the stress has been invaluable.  I feel amazing and I can't tell you the last time I went without food for 15 hours, but I did do this yesterday, including sleep time.  I do believe Mark Sisson of the Primal Blueprint has a point when he says it doesn't interfere with metabolism.  He discusses how our ancestors were many times feast or famine and they were well....a heck of a lot leaner than we are today.  It gets me thinking.  I'm around MMA fighters quite a bit while working at X3 Sports.  They go through fasting periodically to cut weight and their metabolisms are fine and healthy, even the older ones, where the process has been repeated for many years.  I do think there is a point of long term fasting that can have an effect on metabolism but short burst...I see no issue.  In fact, I can actually see some benefits.

What we have to remember when we go without food for long periods of time, is to eat the proper foods when we do eat.  I think conventional teachings about timed eating every 3-4 hours is based on this.  To prevent people from gorging on all the wrong food when they are hungry because they didn't eat all day.  I do think there is a place for this and teach many of my students this method.  It's a learning process and a step to make before moving on to the next.  All a part of the journey.  I had a discussion with yet another CEO of X3 Sports about this, this week.  He doesn't like to stop during the day to eat, so when he gets home in the late evening, he has an issue of overeating.  If he were to come off sugar and program himself to eat the proper foods when hungry, this would not be an issue.  He can keep his eating time-line if he would have at least a moderate breakfast before his day starts (as I said earlier, in my opinion, short burst fasting can be ok...repeated long fasting can hurt metabolism).  He just needs to alter what he eats....meat, fish, eggs and veggies followed by moderate nuts and fruit.  It's really hard to overeat meat and veggies.  If you don't believe me, then I challenge you to 30 days of only meat and veggies, no limits - see if you gain weight!  :).  Most likely, you will lose body fat, while possibly gaining muscle.

Typically, on Friday evening, I have a "Free Meal"  whatever it is I want.  Today, I'm breaking that habit.  I thought it may be an issue, as I've always looked forward to this time.  I do think there is a place for free meals and I allow these to my students.  It is another step in the learning curve, adaptation to change.  BUT, I think I will be removing these so called planned free meals for myself.  I'm ready for advancement!  In fact, I think the free meals hurt me more than they have helped in my most recent times.  I think they increased my urges, made me eager.  I found myself so obsessed with the Friday night "treat" (remember yesterday's discussion on treats?) that it took over my thought process by midday on Friday until I was able to indulge...then, without fail, would have more than I should.  Many nutritionist, especially those in the body building arena will tell you to have "free meals".  They say it helps mentally and it increases leptin and there is some truth in this.  However, I think it can be done in a safer, mindful way. One that doesn't reverse advancement and increase cravings but one that works in favor of increased metabolism and decreased cravings.

I tell my clients who start out with me.  "You are going to cheat.  Plan it!"  As with any change, it has to be gradual for most people.  Planned cheat meals play a role in the process of changing ones lifestyle.  Depending on where my clients are when we meet, both in diet and mind, will depend on how frequent they are allowed to cheat or partake in a "Free Meal".  My thought process behind this is to teach them to be on plan for one day, two, three or a week...when they feel the urge or craving for a food coming on, they are to tell themselves, they can have it.  They just have to wait a few days.  This is all a technique to retrain the sub-conscience mind.  Our sub-conscience mind is like a computer, it's programmed to like certain patterns.  If you throw complete change at it, it will fight you every step of the way.  If you tell it no, or it can't, it will fight you even harder.  So saying: "Yes, you can have it."  and putting it off to a planned time to have it, this increases your success rate while going through a lifestyle change. 

For me, I am finding, I need to let go of the obsession of that next free meal.  I personally, don't like the way it took over my mind, nor did it make me progress metabolically in any way.  I'm not saying I will never have another pizza or slice of cake ever again.  I'm just not going to have a planned or set time to where I'm so fixated on cheating and then over indulging.  It worked for a while, it served its purpose, but I no longer see its need.'s all about a process, learning, growing, listening and understanding ones self and what works best.

We are all different.  We all have different needs, thoughts, body types.  I don't believe in any one size fits all program.  Timing for each individual's process is different as well.  We just have to take the time and most importantly pay attention.  Learn about yourself!  If you have a hard time doing this, find someone who can help guide you. 

Until tomorrow!

Going Strong....ALL DAY LONG!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 4 For All The Right Reasons

I'll start with a quote today: "The greatest battles are not physical, but psychological. The demons telling us to give up when we push ourselves to the limit can never be silenced for good. They must always be answered by the quiet, steady dignity that refuses to give in." ~Unknown

I heard a story today from one of our trainers (one who really cares about his client) about a girl who lost weight and fat percentage and was upset about it because it wasn't enough.  She's a beautiful woman, had noticeable change, she thought so herself until she stepped on the scale.  She let that single instrument measure her success.  I'm very saddened by this.  She should be rejoicing!  She made tremendous progress!  Sometimes, we get so bogged down in numbers, we lose focus of the whole picture.  Instead of focusing on numbers, focus on progress, success, achievement - these are your driving forces!  When you get too bogged down in the numbers, you will sabotage your efforts every time.  You will raise your cortisol levels and prevent further advancement. I know this for a fact as its happened to clients and myself over and over again.  I can eat almost perfectly, exercise like crazy but if stress is involved, cortisol is raised and IF I am looking for a number to justify my success, the numbers will fail me.  Its hard to get past this cycle.  You have to make a conscience effort to change the way you THINK.

To prove my point, I have 2 team members right now.  Both have been doing an excellent job.  They took praise and success as ammunition.  (I give little "shout outs" and recognition when its deserved) They FEEL better and KNOW the changes they are making in their life through diet and exercise is improving their life bit by bit.  They don't expect instant results and understand this is a journey.  I'm am very confident these two people will exceed their expectations and find that its about being healthy, enjoying the journey and making this a lifestyle.  Their end result will be sustainable weight loss, forever energy and a fulfilled life.

I was listening to a radio show (The Bert Show Atlanta) this morning on the way to a meeting.  They were discussing how women tend to be more body image conscience over men.  The men chimed in and admitted, this was not so and they were very image conscience.  They constantly worried about the extra bulge they carried.  I so wish I could have chimed into this conversation.  If everyone stopped looking in the mirror, ate and were physically active because it made them FEEL good, the perk or side effect would be a healthy lean body.  Thinking too hard about the image will backfire every single time.  You may lose a few pounds, but time and time again...once you've reached your goal and start to feel confident, you'll revert back to your old ways and regain the weight lost.

This has to be a lifestyle for health benefits, to FEEL ALIVE!  The result will be a long happier, more energetic, healthier you. Your skin, hair and body will automatically look phenomenal. You've got to take the STRESS out of it.  All of our bodies react differently, some lose quickly, some slowly.  Embrace who you are, treat yourself the best you can because THIS is what you deserve.  What good is looking like a supermodel (in which, many of us do not have the body types for no matter how hard we tried) if we feel tired, depressed and obsessed about everything we ate or if we didn't workout that day.

So far, in my journey this is EXACTLY what I am doing.  I've stopped measuring, counting, weighing myself.  I'm eating what is right for my body, when my body tells me it wants it.  Period.  I workout because it feels great, to release all the new-found energy I've created, because I ENJOY it. 

Stop with the instant gratification.  One of the CEO'S at X3 Sports said a statement that stuck in my head this week.  "Just because you don't SEE yourself gain weight right after eating a donut, doesn't mean its not effecting your body."   It's a very good point.  Too bad there is not instant visual of this...donuts would be history as it should!  My point is, just because you don't SEE the results you want, it doesn't mean your body isn't changing.  Sometimes, it just takes time, persistence, a long term commitment.  It takes tuning into your body, enjoying the journey and FEELING the benefits along the way.  Just because you don't SEE the donut hit your hips right away....go ahead ...keep eating it day in and day out...see what happens!

Back to my experience...I can really preach sometimes. I woke up this morning HEADACHE FREE!!!! YAY!!!  I usually always wake up hungry, this morning...not so much.  I had some spaghetti squash and later when I finally did start to feel the hunger pang, ate a few eggs. For my next meal (not sure of time...not timing it...not eating on normal times whatsoever) was some beef, bacon, chicken sausage - all organic.  Later I baked a chicken and DEVOURED it.  It was so juicy and yummy!  No, I didn't eat the whole thing, but more than I would if I was measuring.  (may have hurt the tummy...just a tad :)  ) I ate a little broccoli, not much veggies today.  My last meal...the chicken was at 3:30, left me plenty sustained for the rest of the day.

The energy wasn't bursting out of me like yesterday in the am, but I felt great all day!  The "burst" did come, however, this time about 4pm and I just HAD to get up and move.  So I did just that, turned up the music and did some Russian kettle-bell swings, pull ups, push ups, ab work.

My mind is sharp. In fact, my mind has been non-stop in the whole process.  There is so much I want to share with you, I wish I could just record my thoughts and hand you over the tape.  I do believe this process is what will make me successful.  I have a story to tell. Something to prove.  At the same time, I'm helping people.  Being able to put this all in writing is inspiring, accountability, allows me to use my brain and be creative.  It drives me in a sense. It gives me something to aim for, to look forward too; a story to tell...a small reach the larger goal.  Yet another technique I teach my students from the beginning and going back to previous post...goal setting...its HUGE!

Another great day in the making!  100% compliant!

Going strong....all day long! 

oh...and a picture of my bird! :)   

I'm KIDDING!!  Here is my bird!  :)

Hungry??  The pleasures of being on top of the food chain! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 3 of 30!

Do you know what's amazing about all this?  How powerful the mind and accountability is.  When people go on diets or are on a new adventure to start something new, the initial start is either:
  • very easy - new start, pumped, motivated
  • very hard - adapting to changes, have a hard time getting in the right mindset.
For me, this one so far is very easy.  I have in my mind:
  • how so many people are following
  • I'm a nutrition coach and I'm out to set an example
  • I have 30 days of this, this is just the beginning and there is NO WAY I'm not going to be 100%.  
  • I am looking at this as improving my lifestyle, getting better and better and going way beyond 30 days. 
This morning when I made my favorite breakfast...french toast, it didn't bother me.  Sure, it looked DAMN GOOD.  But, I knew where my boundaries were. I am ONLY on day 3 and that was that...the few scraps that were left, went directly to the trash.  (I tell my nutrition team members this all the time.  If there is a food around that tempts you, throw it in the trash immediately.  Surely, you won't go digging in the trash for food...if you do, see me ASAP.  We've got some serious counseling to do! )  But do you see how my mind is working?  When you set a goal with a time frame, you are more likely to stick with it longer.  Temptation is in front of me....In my mind I'm THINKING..."I'm only on day 3 of 30"....temptation is not an issue.  We are natural born goal seekers.  We NEED goals to succeed.  THIS is how our brain works!  We need challenges!  Commit to one of your own and see how it works!

This morning - I had that initial head ache again - but as soon as I had breakfast and my cup of coffee, it was gone.  This makes me think its not a withdrawal from sugar because I didn't eat any sugar for breakfast. Simple eggs and bacon.   Maybe due to overnight fasting?  Maybe a reduction in calories?  Although, I'm not counting, it could be.  With this type of diet, I'm not hungry, there are no extra calories with condiments, I stop when I'm satisfied, only eat when I am hungry. So, this morning's head ache could very well be reduction in calories and my body is adapting.

Now let's talk energy.  I had so much this am, it was like I was injected by the happy hormone in mass doses.  I HAD to workout and workout HIIT style or I'd go nuts.  I worked out so hard with jumps and sprints (x3 Sports Fast Trak style) threw in some kicks (x3 Sports kickboxing style), sweated until I was drenched, fell on the floor a few times in exhaustion but WANTED to get up and KEEP moving!  WOW!  I FEEL amazing! say starchy carbs aka/and sugar give you energy.....really?  Because this is NOT what I am experiencing.  I'm wired! whoooo! haha!

Do keep in mind, I'm not suggesting this kind of diet to anyone, blankly.  Everyone has different needs and a diet should be customized that way.  Nor did I take a giant leap of change.  I've been eating pretty healthy and have been making the transition to be able to do this challenge.  My journey is more about self control, commitment, accountability, how sugar and starches effect the body and mind and how the MIND plays a huge part in ANY diet or CHANGE in ones life.  The missing link. This is my personal choice, my personal plan and my personal journey with EVERYONE'S help!

For lunch, I met with my team members.  We had a very healthy meal together and GREAT conversation discussing food, lifestyle and challenges.  It's amazing how helpful it is to be around other like-minded people.  We did have one topic I'd like to discuss with you.  It was about  how we tend to "reward" ourselves.  Many times we endulge in bad foods as a reward....but think about this for a are "rewarding" yourself with bad food??  This doesn't seem right does it?  Why would it be a reward to eat something that will turn all your efforts back in time, make you feel bad and cause harm to your body?  Instead, as we discussed, we felt like we were rewarding ourselves by going out to a restaurant and not having to do the dishes!  Now for any of my team members out there, THIS is a reward!  I have them all cooking and making messes in the kitchen they didn't know they could make!  If we actually take the time to "THINK" things through and use our "MIND", you'll get much further, things will be easier, less stress will be involved.  Think smart!

Take a look at my tasty lunch!  I had  the paleo burger (removed the raisins, had just a few of the tomato). 

For dinner I had fish and zucchini.  Overall, a fantastic day! 

Before I leave I wanted to share a quick article on sugar, take a look!

Until tomorrow!