Recently, I had the privilege of attending the MindBody FitPro Conference in LA; this conference is put on by Mad Dogg Athletics, and it was a great weekend of education, workouts, networking, and fun. I brought back a lot from the weekend and was "wowed" by the fabulous presenters. However, there was one man that impacted me the most and I think of him daily. I met him at the Friday night social hour and we hit it off immediately. His name is Hank and he had this way of working a room and connnecting with everyone. Hank is a Spin(R) instructor from Arizona and is 85 years old....yes, you read that correctly....85 years of age! He teaches daily Spin(R) classes and is a great resource for music - he loves the mixes from Europe but likes to put in some hip hop and top 40 hits. Talk about being current!?! Hank has lived all over the world and his stories were fascinating to listen to. He made a friend of everyone he met and we were all in awe of him. Conferences can be exhausting by the time you workout 5-7 hours but it didn't seem to bother him. He truly lives my philosophy that age is just a number and nothing to really consider when pursuing dreams, passions, relationships. He looked fabulous, had great energy, and a twinkle in his eyes. I doubt he has any idea that he was the most motivational, inspiring person there at the conference. He does not buy into the thinking that one has to become less active or less flexible because one is getting older. He is a living example that it's our choices that make us into the person we are - how fit do we want to be? How healthy do we want to be? What about you? Are you making excuses for how you look - how you feel? Do you say, "I'm not as flexibile as I used to be and that's because i'm no longer 18?" Do you ever say, "Someone my age can't do that." Maybe it's time to change your thinking -we are what we say we are and we are how we think and act. Stop the negative self talk and stop the excuses. A lot of times we make excuses because it's easier to make the excuse than to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and try something new. Decide today to refuse to let a number define you - define your fitness level - define your dreams. Forget the number...what would you do if you didn't know how old you were? How would you live? What would you try? Think about these questions - write down some answers - and then.....just go and do it, be it and live it!!!!
Recently, I received a booklet with coupons in it for our local Sonic. It was advertising food that is "Perfect for a study break....after school & evening snacks." One could purchase a 44 ounce drink or a mini blast or two corn dogs for 99 cents. There was also a coupon for $1 off the molten cake sundae. Well, being the curious person that I am I decided to go to their nutritional menu section on their website. (By the way, if you did not realize that most restaurants have this option available on their websites, it's something to take note of. Most of the time you can know exactly what you are eating and how many calories, fat grams, sodium content, etc that you are consuming.) If you decided to snack on the two corn dogs for 99 cents, you would eat 460 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 1,140 milligrams of sodium. Now, I'm grateful that Sonic offers the mini size of their Blasts and 99 cents is a really great deal - however, should you choose one of the five flavors that they have you are still consuming 510-530 calories and 27-29 grams of fat (based on the flavor). Most of their 44 ounce drinks would add 350-400 calories to your day....should you choose the green iced tea flavors, you will save a few calories but will still be consuming 260 calories. Heaven forbid you choose to "snack" on the molten cake sundae because this "snack" will have 800 calories and 34 grams of fat in it!!!! I'm horrified that Sonic would suggest these items as after-school snacks because all of these items are way above the recommended calorie amount for a snack. If one would choose to snack on one of these items every day in addition to his/her regular items, one would potentially put on ONE POUND of body fat just from "snacking" at the local Sonic. Parents and Guardians, please be smart! Yes, your students will benefit from an after-school snack but they do not need to be consuming 350-800 calories as a snack. The recommended calories for a snack is to keep it under 200 calories; obviously, one is going to look to veggies, yogurt, fruit instead of fast food, packaged food, liquid calories, or processed food. Apples or celery or bananas with peanut butter, hummus with raw veggies, smoothies, greek yogurt, string cheese, granola/yogurt/berry parfaits, fruit kabobs, veggie pizza on a pita, homemade trail mix. The options are limitless - making your own snacks will save you money and calories. Don't become part of the statistics - go against the norm. Be healthy - live a quality life - teach your children the importance of making good food/drink choices. Give them a snack that is going to help them be healthy, study better, and feel better!
Sugar is one of the main culprits in our fight to get Amercians healthy and fit. We have oversensationalized our sweet tooth and let it have way too much control in our daily lives. The more we get...the more we want....the more we eat; and it is an unending cycle of being way tooooooo sweet in the United States. When I go to my favorite smoothie place and order my favorite green drink, I have to remember to ask them to NOT put turbinado sugar in it NOR do I want Splenda. Excuse me, but the drink has pineapple and banana in it - isn't the fruit enough to sweeten it????? For me it is and I find it very disheartening that the average American requires the extra sweetener. We start the sweet cravings at a young age. I read a tweet from IDEAFIT that said: "Research shows that 46% of 2 and 3 year olds consume sugary drinks every day." Children's consumption of fruit juices, drinks and sodas should be limited. Our decisions to allow them to have these sugary drinks are increasing their risks for obesity and diabetes. Do you really realize how much sugar you are consuming??? Do you know how much you are supposed to have in your daily diet???? The American Heart Society has recommended that men consume NO MORE THAN 150 calories a day from added sugars....that's about 9 teaspoons. Women should consume NO MORE THAN 100 calories a day from added sugars...that's about 6 teaspoons. Our society is consuming much more than that!!! Men are consuming about 335 calories a day from added sugar; women, 239 calories. These statistics are sugars that are added to processed and prepared foods and but do not include sugar added at the table. Our children are consuming just as much - boys consume about 362 calories a day, and girls consume about 282 calories. (This info was from an article in USA Today on May 1, 2013). Knowledge is power, my friends; and it is at your fingertips. Don't ignore the information that is out there - we live in a technology driven society. Use those tools....the internet, your smart phone, the apps that have been created to help you. Be Smart. Train Smart. Eat Smart. Drink Smart. We need to stop being too sweet when it comes to our food and drinks!
June is fast approaching and that means we are halfway through the year. How are you doing with your new year's resolutions? Have you forgotten them? Do you feel like you have botched up and don't even want to try any more? Don't give up and don't quit. Take an hour or so and go to your favorite place and take another look at your goals. Are they attainable? Are they realistic? Are they specific? Are they measurable? Do you know how you can put them into action today? Sometimes we fail because we set unrealistic goals or we have a goal for a certain date and then there's no plan to continue moving forward after that date. Just recently I had a client realize that she needed to re-think her original reason for losing weight. She began making better choices and attending fitness classes because she wanted to be a "skinny mother-of-the-bride." Well, a stressful week and a wedding date that was moved up caused her to realize she may not reach her goal. I advised her to reevaluate and determine what other things would motivate her to be healthy, well and fit. You see, one is only "the mother-of-the-bride" for one day....if one only wants to be skinny for the wedding, then what does one do after that day is over? Most of the times, people will go back to old habits. Being healhy and well is more than a number on the scale or being skinny for a wedding, class reunion, or event. Those things can help motivate you but they shouldn't be your primary goal. So, take the time to see how you can tweak your goals for 2013 and begin today to make sure you finish the second half of the year strong! "Someday is NOT a day of the week."
I read various posts on social media & hear stories of people paying lots of money for a special program/challenge that is going to ensure weight loss success. Every time I see this or hear of it I cringe. If weight loss & healthy living were in a special pill, powder or drink, we would not be where we are today in our society...fighting a battle against obesity and all of the diseases that happen because of our food choices & sedentary lifestyle. If you have known me for any length of time, you realize that I am all about making good choices and being smart about our choices. A vast majority of the people who are selling these types of products do not have a nutrition degree....especially if they are selling a line that is in a home-based business. Most of the time they are taking the word of the creators of the product and the home-based business.....they do not have to submit a resume or pass any kind of test; all they have to do is put the money down and start selling the product. What works for one person may not work for another.....we are all unique. Most of the time, these are just temporary fixes. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Before spending a few hundred dollars to become a part of the newest, greatest marketing plan - I would highly suggest taking that money and applying it towards hiring a personal trainer and a nutritionist. The trainer and nutritionist will equip you with information that you can apply to the rest of your life. If you take any kind of prescriptions, you definitely want to be smart and check with your doctor before taking anything. One cannot live off shakes forever - you will want to eat real food. And I believe that God created everything we need to be healthy and disease free and I don't believe that it comes in a bottle, powder, or pill. Legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, water, fish, lean cuts of antibiotic-free meat, etc - knowing what is in your food - knowing where you get your food - not eating processed food - not eating junk food - not eating fast food. Be smart. Making good choices is really not complicated or difficult and it doesn't have to be expensive. Ask questions of the people who are selling you the products; see what their background is and ask if they have a nutrition degree or certification. Take the time to research the ingredients; you may be able to get it cheaper at your locally-owned health food store. Support local businesses and support your local farmers. Yes, it really can be this simple - all you have to do is be smart!
"It's not a diet...it's not a phase....it's a lifestyle change." This quote - along with some questions from class participants - is what inspired me to write this blog this morning. Too many times we set ourselves up to fail when it comes to losing weight and losing inches. We will fail when we diet - we probably will fail when we just want to look good for a wedding or class reunion that is in three months. Those are temporary fixes - temporary reasons - temporary goals....there's a deadline on them and once a person reaches the deadline, the desired pounds on the scale, the desired inches measured, a person usually goes back to their previous choices of eating whatever he or she wants and not exercising. These reasons cannot be WHY we want to lose weight. You need to make decisions and choices that you can turn into a lifestyle change. Wellbeing is a daily journey and it's not a destination....we will continually have to make daily choices that will help us live quality lives and that will continue until the day we die. Our reasons to be healthy have to be more than a certain number on a scale. Now, looking good and losing weight and inches are all benefits of choosing lifestyle changes, and, I agree, those are great benefits!!!! But wellbeing is much BIGGER than that! Being able to kick out 20 pushups is very rewarding when you couldn't do that one month ago. Crossing the finish line at a 5k is very powerful when you couldn't even run for more than 30 seconds three months ago. (I'm just using these for examples....there's many more accomplishments that I could mention....you have to decide what would make you feel powerful and proud!) Having more energy and stamina is very fulfilling when you used to only want to come home and lay down after a day at work. Feeling better mentally, physically and emotionally are powerful reasons to choose lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes will help you understand that it's going to take longer than one or two weeks to undo years of poor choices. A person doesn't gain 50 pounds overnight so that 50 pounds isn't going to come off in two weeks just because you started exercising. Everyday we make choices that will affect us tomorrow - the way we look and feel tomorrow is determined by what we choose today. Surround yourself with people who get this - follow motivating people on twitter.....find them on facebook....find yourself a fitness coach, a personal trainer, a nutritionist that will help you with your lifestyle changes. Find quotes and pictures that will motivate you and inspire you. Join a network or group of people that are on the same journey that you want to be on. Get the word "diet" out of your brain.....we don't go on diets!!!! We make lifestyle food changes that we can do the rest of our lives.... You can do this - you can succeed - you can have energy - you can have the body you want...you have to want it more than you want that Big Mac...Whopper...donut....large pizza...super sized diet soda.... What will you choose today???? A destination or a journey????
This week on The Biggest Loser is was time for the contestants to face their fears - they did and they discovered that the reality of what they feared wasn't as big as the fear itself. Fear is a crazy thing - it can immobilize us, cause us to react negatively, cause us to make bad choices, and keep us from living the life we dream of living. Just this week I had two different women tell me that they would love to try my boot camp class but are afraid to do it - rather than face the unknown many people would rather continue living unhealthy, continue feeling disappointed and upset at the person they've become, and keep making excuses for where they are and who they are. This makes me sad and, at times, makes me upset and angry. Many people go through life and never realize all they are truly capable of doing and being simply because they allow fear to keep them from taking the first step. The first step IS the hardest - i know this and have experienced it for myself....I've made many first steps where i totally felt like i was stepping off a cliff and was just trusting that a staircase would magically appear to keep me from falling too hard. Guess what? I have always survived and been so thankful that I took the step. I love the quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." I have never been skydiving but I know several people who have. They all said that the first step is very frightening but the exhilaration that follows is worth it and the fear is forgotten; in fact, most people end up doing it again. Eleanor Roosevelt said: "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do." 99.9% of the time the fear is in our mind....it usually isn't even a real thing; and if we aren't careful, we can dwell on the fear and make it bigger and bigger. How does one know he or she really can be afraid of something unless he or she tries to do what he or she is fearful of doing???? For instance, the ladies that said they are afraid to try my boot camp class - unless they've tried it, how do they know to be fearful of it? They have no truth to base their fear on - it's only a fear of the unknown and that which they imagine it to be. Think about something you are afraid of doing. What can you do to help you face that fear? Life is too short for you to not live your dreams and to live a life that is below your potential. If we don't face our fears, we take the chance of getting to the end of our lives saying, "I wish I would have.....I should have...." I don't want to live my life and then look back with regrets and wish I had done this or done that...especially when it was within my power do it and I chose to allow fear to hold me back. The only way to get rid of fear is to face it head on and conquer it. Make the choice today to NOT allow fear to hold you back from anything. Live the life you dream about - pursue your purpose - pursue your passion - pursue your dreams. "The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized - never knowing." ~Jim Rohn It's time to look fear in the face and just do that which we are afraid of doing. No more excuses - no more putting it off - no more avoiding the fear and allowing it to get bigger. Do that which you fear and enjoy the freedom that comes from discovering we have "nothing to fear but fear itself!" Ready...set....GO!!!
I recently had the privilege of embarking on my first cruise ever - I am now a believer and have joined the ranks of those who say nothing beats a cruise!!!! I've taken many vacations and have enjoyed them but there is nothing like being on a ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico where time just seems to stand still. I guess it is true because there is a tile in the elevator floor that changes daily to remind you what day it is. I was on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Sea; and their goal is to make it the vacation to remember for each of their guests. In my opinion they definitely achieved that. The customer service, the food, the shows, the friendliness of the crew, the cleanliness, and the interaction with the captain and his staff definitely made an impression on me. One thing I was just a bit nervous about was the testimonies that one WILL gain weight during a cruise. Well, thankfully, I was able to prove that myth to be untrue; but it's because I chose to make it untrue. I was quite pleased with all the options I could pick to help me out with my goal of NOT gaining the infamous "cruise 5 pounds". Here's my observations of what one can do while cruising to become healthier. There's a fabulous fitness center on board, and they also offer fitness classes throughout the day. You know the excuse of not having a gym membership or not enough time to try new things???? Doesn't work here. Since we are not working, we can't use the excuse that we are too busy. The cruise is a great place to try something you may not be able to fit into your schedule at home or might be too intimidated to try at home. You'll never see these people again so what have you got to lose? There are also personal trainers available for consulting - what better way to get motivated? You can make an appointment with one and totally be able to focus on what he or she tells you because there's no distractions...no phone ringing...no place to hurry off to. I know one is on vacation but all the distractions and all the responsibilities that pull at us are not around when we are in this setting - why not take advantage of it? One morning I took advantage of the pre-dawn quietness to go to the track and run a 5k then work on completing 100 lunges, squats and pushups as the sun was coming up. I never get to do this at home in this kind of setting - it was invigorating, yet peaceful and serene. There was also all kinds of dancing opporutnities - line dance, 70s dance night, cardio dance fusion, etc. So, after dinner, one could kick up their heels and burn off some calories!!! Speaking of dinner, there was always the "Vitality" option on the menu. If you chose the items that had a "V" by them, you could keep your caloric intake to 800 calories for a starter, a main item and a dessert AND....the options were always tasteful and delicious! I guess I should mention that if you want to avoid the 5 pound weight gain, you probably should avoid the buffets, the all-you-can-eat ice cream, the late night food choices, and eating everything on the menu at dinner time. And if one avoids the stairs and only takes the elevators, one might even lose weight! :) The best thing is....if you choose to spend an hour or two being active, you still have 10-12 hours to sit by the pool and do nothing!!!! I loved sailing away and am eagerly anticipating my next sail away date.
It's early afternoon on Friday, December 28th and I've enjoyed a leisurely laid-back morning with my parents. My sister is back at work in Detroit; my oldest niece left yesterday for Holiday Youth Convention; and my youngest niece is with her Dad. Yes, there's many things I could be doing but sitting and drinking coffee while watching a movie is what I chose to do. Mom and Dad are up and going about their day but I decided to pause and reflect on 2012. I remember ringing this new year in with friends in Washington DC and I had such expectations and promises of where the year would go. Well, suffice it to say, there were several sharp curves in my road that caused me to change direction numerous times this year. What does one do when that happens? You stop - take a day or two to refocus and get back on track and then you see where the road takes you next. I think the biggest adjustment in my life this year was the passing of my grandmother. For two years, my life centered around her....I kept instructing fitness classes but did not work a full time job so I could spend time with Grandma every day at the nursing home. It was on a Thursday evening in July that she took her final breath and we said our goodbyes to her. So, once again, I am having to stop, refocus, and decide where the next part of my road will take me. Life is all about moving forward - putting one foot in front of the other and giving 100% in the moment. It's about making choices every moment - choices that keep us going towards our goals, our dreams, our aspirations. It's having a plan but being able to make adjustments to the plan when life calls for the adjustments. There have been many tears this year but also been many laughs. I also am able to look back on bittersweet memories - ones that cause me to smile but also cause me to have tears. The times gone by this year have also made me realize that I am worth my dreams, my hopes, and my goals. Too many times I am willing to put them on hold and focus on someone else's wants, goals, and needs - which is okay to do but not at my own expense. Life is about continually learning, growing, and being. Just when I think I've learned my most valuable life lesson....another opportunity presents itself with an even bigger life lesson to learn. I'm thankful for the hands of my trusty friends that hold mine during times of fear, grief, sadness, and doubt. During the times gone by of 2012, I've had many moments where my heart has been overwhelmed by the kindness, thoughtfulness, and love of friends and family. If one is rich in love, family, and friendship, one doesn't need much else. Will I be sad to see 2012 leave? Not really.....I'm looking forward to a new year of blank months and days in which I get to write new things. I'm excited about the new opportunities - the new roads - the endless possibilities. However, I will bring the old acquaintances to mind and remember times gone by. Happy New Year to you and yours - to all our days.....
Christmas is upon us - the time of the year when we spend countless hours choosing the right gifts for our family and loved ones and wait with anticipation to see the look on their faces when they open them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (depending on your Christmas rituals). I know I want each gift to be perfect and be something that will bring joy to the recipient. I especially enjoy giving the gift of music so that every time he or she listens to the music they are reminded of me and my love for him or her. There is nothing that beats the feeling of giving; there TRULY is a joy in giving. My wish this Christmas season is that we go beyond giving to just our families and loved ones. There are people outside our circle of friends and family that could benefit from our joy of giving. There are endless possibilities of all the ways that you can give this season. How about the mailperson who brings you your mail every day? Wouldn't it be fun to leave them a gift by the mailbox? How about the person in line behind you at Starbucks? Wouldn't it be fun to pay for their drink and bring a smile to their face when they get to the window to pay and discover it's already been paid for???? I think the best way to bring joy to my heart is to give anonymously.....to be a Secret Santa. It's the greatest feeling in the world!!!! Adopt a grandparent at your local nursing home - there are many residents that do no have family members to visit them. My family always takes a tray of cookies/desserts along with hot chocolate, tea and coffee to our local fire department and police station on Christmas day. We have done it for at least 15 years. Why don't you sit down with your family and brainstorm allllll the different ways you can give this Christmas. Write them down and make a giving tree, an advent calendar, a giving jar, etc. If you are not a creative person, just go online and look for ideas or check out Pinterest. Each morning pick a way to give and perform the giving that day as a family. You could even wear Santa hats as you transform yourself into Secret Santas. I guarantee you and your family will make some incredible memories and your heart will overflow with true joy this Christmas. 'Tis the Season!!!!