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!!!!
The time for feasting is upon us....from now until the end of the year it seems as if everything centers around food and drink. I looked up statistics for the estimated amount of weight gain for the average American. It varies from two to seven pounds .... and that is for the average american!!! Some people gain more! Yikes! Another scary thought - that weight gain is likely to be fat and not muscle. Want a visual? Go online and google: five pounds of fat versus five pounds of muscle. It is not a pretty sight!!! My challenge to you this year: DON'T BE AVERAGE!!!! Refuse those two to seven pounds - make choices that will help you avoid any weight gain at all. Stay active! This is not the time of the year to start skipping workouts....keep moving and add more movement through your day. Park farther from the entrance of the mall....always take the stairs...add five minutes to your daily workout....amp up the intensity of your workout....add intervals to your cardio workouts....find local 5ks to participate in. Make sure you keep drinking your water....lots of water!!! You know all those fabuous, healthy choices you make in January???? Keep making those choices. If you wouldn't eat it any other time of the year, don't eat it now. Ladies, if you have to, put on your bathing suit every day - just as a reminder. Be aware of hidden calories that are in sauces and gravies and drinks. Use smaller plates when you have a choice and eat mini portions. Take advantage of all the technology that is available to help you figure out calories. Be smart - be healthy - and refuse to be average during this 2012 Holiday Season!
Read this status on facebook a few days ago:
If you think healthy food, diets, exercise equipment or gym memberships are out of your budget try several days in a cardiac ICU! #health
This was written by Mark Condon, a musician/songwriter/recording artist. He suffered a massive heart attack a few weeks ago and had to have surgery and is very blessed to be alive.
This status caught my attention and really got me to thinking about all the excuses people offer about why they cannot be healthy. I guess we should change our thinking as to how much it will cost us if we DON'T eat good food, exercise, belong to a gym, etc. You WILL spend money - one way or the other. If you choose not to buy healthy, nutritious food, you will spend your money on medication to help control your blood sugar, your blood pressure and your cholesterol as a result of NOT buying healthy food. If you choose not to spend your money on joining a gym, purchasing exercise equipment, joining a class, you will spend money on remedies and prescriptions to help you with the aches, pains, and diseases that will come as a result of not moving your body. One stay in ICU for a few days can costs you tens of thousands of dollars.....if you don't have health insurace, yikes!!!! Wouldn't you rather spend $50-$100 per month to attend group exercise classes or to join a gym? Wouldn't you rather spend a little bit more money on the food you are putting into your body? Sure, either choice is going to cost you....you have the power to choose - what price are you willing to pay?
It's that time of year.....mixed emotions fill households across the United States. Some parents are overjoyed that their household will be returning to a routine - other parents are sad to lose the daily time with their children. Some students are excited to return to their schools and to see their friends on a daily basis - while other students are full of dread and anxiety. There are things that can be done to help our children be at their best and ready to face their academics again.
Lunch time: In 2009, the average number of children participating in the National School Lunch Programs was 31.3 million. If you've not been in your child's lunchroom lately, I suggest you check it out. There's a reason why many communties are working to change the menus on their school's lunch program. School Lunches tend to be nutritionally void and full of things you may not want your child to eat. If you pack your child's lunch and snack, you can be in control of what is going into their bodies. Here's a great way to plan for school lunches:
Sleep is another very important component of helping your child be at his/her best. Most children/teens are sleep deprived and this shows up in their academics, their moods, their emotions, and their energy levels. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-11 hours for children, ages 5-10; and 8.5 - 9.25 hours for children/teens, ages 11-17. Here are their recommendations to help this happen for your children and for YOU:
- Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
- Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep "sleep stealers" out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
- Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking
Another great way to make a difference in your student's life and in their school is to volunteer your time. As a person with an elementary education degree and as a student assistant, student teacher, and substitute teacher, I can vouch how much it means to your school if you can volunteer a few hours a week or a month. I love this list of "25 Ways You Can Make a Difference" from schoolfamily.com:
School is such an integral part of our lives and is a big part of our children's daily lives - let's make sure we are part of that and know what's going on and helping our children to be and do their best!
I've watched some of the Olympic Trials and am one of the millions who will watch the Summer Games in London. It's inspiring, motivating, invigorating to watch athletes from all over the world compete and give their all to try and win a medal that reflects the hundreds of hours, sweat, tears, pain, hard work and dedication that they've put into getting to that point in time. We laugh, cry and cheer as we watch our favorite athletes challenge themselves. They show all of us that nothing is too difficult to achieve if we are willing to put in the time, energy and effort to making our dreams come true. All of us can have the same tenacity in going for the gold in our lives...whatever that may be. We all have been given a measure of faith, hope, determination, will power, discipline, and talent. We just have to learn to tap into it and utilize it on a daily basis. We should never limit ourselves by thinking small or thinking that we can't do something. Anything is possible - we are the ones who determine whether or not we succeed. Is there something you would like to do? How are you going about achieving it? Have you set any goals? What are you doing daily to get it done? Don't keep putting things off. Take some time to think about your dream...then write down a plan of action. What will you do on a daily basis...weekly basis...monthly basis to achieve it? Things just don't happen...we have to plan, work, and go for it! You can never run a marathon if you don't run your first mile. You have to start somewhere. How's your thinking? Are you limiting your possibilities by thinking negatively? If you think you can't, you can't. If you think you can, you can. Most of our battles take place in our minds...we are what we think. Start affirming yourself on a daily basis....write down statements that begin with, I am ________/I can _______/I will_______. Read motivational quote, books, etc. Surround yourself with people will who inspire you, motivate you, and encourage you in pursuing this dream. Challenge yourself - don't be afraid of a challenge. There's nothing like the feeling after pushing yourself to accomplish something you weren't sure you could do! Life is meant to be lived with passion, purpose, and tenancity.....don't settle for the "norm" or for mediocrity. You are more than you think you are.....dream BIG!!! Go for the gold!!!! I believe in you....now, YOU believe in you!!!