Monday, December 17, 2012

Can We Reverse the Aging Process?


 
No matter how gracefully some people seem to do it, aging, in and of itself, is a tissue wasting process. While every organism eventually dies, most people today are overfed, overweight, and over stressed. Each of these factors diminishes your vitality and speed the aging process. But what everyone would like to know is can we stop it? 

How often have you heard, or probably even said, 'if I could just turn back time'? Speak to any doctor or nutritionist today and most will say the fountain of youth is inside - inside your cells and inside your kitchen. What is seen on the outside and how you feel on the inside is dictated by what you do and what you eat.

In order to remain vibrant, health has to become an integral part of your everyday and a great way to begin is simply by walking. Incorporating just 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce your levels of stress, help you sleep better, decrease anxiety, control your blood pressure, and help you gain more emotional stability. All of these factors influence aging. Another significant way to calm your body is to begin the meditative practice of yoga. But if the mere thought of having to sit still and quiet stresses you, begin with a basic breathing exercise - five minutes of diaphragmatic breathing. Take long inhalations through the nose - the belly should become full of air as opposed to the chest rising – exhale slowly through the mouth, and you will feel your body begin to relax. Do this while sitting in rush hour traffic and road rage will begin to dissipate. This alone should add years back to your life. It’s important to find activities things that you enjoy so that you look forward to moving. So dance, swim, or join an athletic team.

In addition to staying physically active, turn your kitchen into a natural, age-defying pharmacy. It should be stocked with foods known to reduce stress and aging exceptionally well, like whole grains, beets and raisins which are full of magnesium, the anti-stress mineral. Oranges and grapefruit, both rich in vitamin C, and bananas, avocados and yogurt, all rich in potassium, lower the blood pressure. Boost your immune system with fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants like carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, and blueberries.

Drinking plenty of water will also reverse the effects of aging. The benefits of proper hydration are numerous, affecting almost every process occurring in the body. In addition to maintaining the health and integrity of every cell, it also acts as a natural moisturizer keeping the skin soft and supple. Water is the elixir of life, and drinking it amply will prevent premature aging.

Just as remaining active and having a healthy diet affects your quality of life, your mental fitness is equally crucial. No matter how fantastic you treat your body, time will continue to tick away. How you deal with the changes is what matters – you can allow them to drive you mad or accept them. The skin will lose some elasticity, the page may have to move a little closer or farther away to read, and your sprints may be a little slower, but accepting the inevitable changes rather than seeing them as crises will keep you from sinking into a depression over your aging which of course, ages you even faster.

Help your body fight off the negative effects of stress through a proper diet and exercise and as you age, keep the important things in front of you. If you continue learning, remain, or get involved in your community, explore things that interest you, always seek to find a new purpose, and laugh as often as possible, you will begin to slow the hands of time keeping you healthy, fit, and beautiful.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

When You Need Something Done...

...do it yourself or call the best!
 
 
Besides me, the greatest trainer I know, and truly trust my body with, is my best guy friend, Rae Siskind. Rae was my Personal Trainer in Atlanta and now that I'm here we hook up as often as possible. As I've shared with you already, I'm being led down sugary trails right now so in order to combat what could be a very hefty holiday season for me, I had to call in the big guns.
 
I never have to wonder if the workout will be a good one because like I said, Rae is definitely the A-list trainer. No matter how much of a celebrity I become, he will always be the only one I call. Because he knows my injuries and limitations, he's able to quickly adjust just in case something happens, which is not so far fetched when you're dealing with a back like mine - something can tweak at any time. I've dealt with other trainers before and they seem to be a bit gun shy with me even though they know I'm strong and can do, or at least will try anything. I always find myself asking them, 'ok, what's next?' and feeling totally unsatisfied. Rae doesn't baby me. If I say I'm good then we keep going.
 
I love his confidence and he pushes, pushes, pushes. I will be relying heavily on my friend this season because at the tender age of 42, sugar pockets just seem to hang around longer than they used to and I can not have that! As much as I love sweets, I don't want to look like I love sweets and there's only one way to ensure that doesn't happen... keep the sweat rolling your back!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nothing Gained, Nothing Lost...

Minnie Mouse has been tucked away (at least until I can find a use for my cute pink polka dot skirt), and it's back to the gym. I WILL stay on track this season. I WILL NOT gain a single pound due to my overindulgence in cakes, pies, and candied yams, yes ma'am. I WILL NOT lose a single pound of muscle because I WILL keep it moving!

Girls, one of our biggest trouble spots is the triceps! Fat just likes to gather back there but I'd rather it not. I know what I ate yesterday and since I don't want those cupcakes hanging under my arms, I'm burning them out today! Now, I'm sure it's a safe bet to say you'd rather not feel the jiggle either so...

What's the plan?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I think I found my drink for the holidays!

Blood Orange & Pomegranate Mimosa

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups chilled blood orange juice
  • 3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
  • 1 750ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Combine blood orange and pomegranate juices in a pitcher. Divide among 10 glasses. Top each with Prosecco. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Tips:
  • Look for blood orange juice near other refrigerated or other specialty juices or squeeze your own juice from fresh blood oranges. If you can't find either, regular orange juice will work too. (If you've never had a drink with fresh squeezed juice, let this be the season!!)
  • To seed a pomegranate, fill large bowl with water. Lightly score the fruit into quarters from crown to stem end, cutting through the skin but not into the interior fruit. Hold th fruit under water, breakit apart and use your hands to gently separate the seeds from the outer skin and white pith. the seeds will drop to the bottom and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. Seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutrition:
  • 138 calories; 0g fat; 20g carbs; 0g added sugar; 1g fiber; 8mg sodium; 331 mg potassium.
Recipe found on one of my favorite sites: www.eatingwell.com

 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ummm... Sugarrr...


I am an admitted chocoholic. I wake up to find little packages at my door from my neighbor (or I did before I moved). Even my clients bring it to me. The only time I say no to chocolate is if there’s coconut in the mix. But then again, I recently had some coconut that I liked.

Yes, I have a problem. This became quite evident to me when I recently woke to find it smeared all over my bed. This is rated G, I promise. Apparently, I fell asleep eating Powerberries which are these little tart, sweet, fruit chewys covered in dark chocolate from Trader Joe's. Yea, ridiculous! The next morning I pull back the sheets to make the bed and there’s chocolate everywhere! I guess I dropped a few as I slipped into my happy chocolate sleep.

Now my favorite time of year is here – the season of TREATS!! Halloween parties begin this weekend and there will be candy around for weeks to come. Thirty days after hanging up the Catwoman costume is Thanksgiving. Cakes, pies, and candied yams, yes ma’am! But the last thirty days are a god send with someone having a party almost every single day which means more cakes, pies, and candied yams! Whew…

For the next two months, sugar is king. No matter where you go there will be treats and if you’re like me, it’s impossible to say no. I plan on enjoying this holiday like I always do but this time around I'm staying physically active. Yes, my workouts suffer in the winter too but I'm 42 years old now and things don't respond the way they used to. I will enjoy my sweet season but I promise myself that I will not gain any weight nor will I lose any muscle (the result of not working out).

Who wants to take this challenge with me? When January rolls around and everyone else is writing their New Year's resolution, of which losing weight is ALWAYS one, you and I will be ahead of the game because we got a jump on the holidays.

Go to my Facebook page www.facebook.com/NaturalRhythmFitness and send me a message. We'll build a community to help us all through the holidays. There will be tips and support and recipe ideas for healthy versions of our favorite sinful delights.

Now that's a pretty good gift...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Today was fantastic!


Today was fantastic! I started with a cleanse, a tomato facial mask. You can find tons of great recipes online for homemade facials but today I used Say Yes to Tomatoes and took full advantage of the fact I work at a really great gym, Equinox. I can use the sauna, steam room (my favorite!), Jacuzzi, rooftop sun deck, and pool. So I had a spa experience without the spa price. I went in, slathered my face with the tomato mask (I’m having issues with some breakouts and lycopene is a wonderful healer for this) and stretched out by the Jacuzzi which is nestled between the steam room and sauna so the area is warm and wet. I used this as my meditation time and I chose to focus on being grateful. Twenty minutes of giving thanks felt really good.
I hopped in the shower (which is stocked with Kiehl’s thank you), then got my day started. It was the end of a two-day continuing education class and much to everyone’s happiness, the instructor condensed a 5 hour day into 3 hours, still giving us all the information but by making it interactive and light, it was easier to absorb. Yes, I added this to my thank you list.
I’d already planned on walking the beach today and now I’m there early. Again, thank you!
The first three people I meet are beautiful older ladies with wonderful hats on. The ocean is providing a nice breeze but those sun rays are no joke. I thought for a quick second about the fact I didn’t have anything on my shoulders but we all know I get cold fast so soon and very soon I’ll be putting my jacket on anyway.
The next woman I meet is just as fantastic just sans hat. I told her she reminded me of someone I knew and we ended up walking along the beach together chatting. Shoshana, an older, exotic beauty from Israel who’d lived in New York for years and is now rooted in Santa Monica doing healing work from her heart, www.bestheartcenteredtherapy.com.  We bonded over a few things, one of them being our love of romance. She, a young 61, and me, a young 42 both ready for our incredible men that have the balls to be passionate!
We exchanged numbers and I’ll be sure we see each other again.
On my walk back, someone, I could tell it was a little one, starting jogging right behind me. After a few minutes, I turned to see who it was and I see the most adorable little girl who couldn’t have been more than 7. I said, ‘Hello. And who are you?’
‘Anushka’, she said.
She had a head full of the thickest, blackest, shiniest hair with the most adorable haircut. She runs over to the nearby rose garden and starts to smell all of them. I now notice that she’s with her mother so I introduce myself and reach out to shake her hand but she doesn’t extend hers and I realize that her hand isn’t like mine. The muscles in it don’t work and the fingers are pursed together, almost like a stroke victim but she didn’t look as if she’d had a stroke. Thank you for my health! We chat for a second then I walk over to Anushka whose still smelling roses and we begin to compare. Some are very sweet and then she takes me to her favorite. ‘This one smells clean’, she says and begins gathering the petals that dropped around it. When I asked what she was going to do with them she said, ‘make rose water!’ Anushka and I bonded over her cute little haircut and her love of rose water and her mother and I bonded over the simplicity of, and my appreciation for, Ms. Anushka.
Today was a good day! I chatted with some fabulous, older ladies, exchanged numbers with a couple of them, and met an energetic little girl that literally made me stop and smell the roses.
I’m looking forward to a peaceful night’s sleep filled with visions and dreams and starting my tomorrow with the energy of Anushka to manifest those dreams… Thank you!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And this is Sandy...

I spoke recently about a new project that I've gratefully been asked to be a part of - Mt. Saint Mary's icomunidad First Year Experience Program. My job will be to help the girls realize how a healthy, sound mind and body, will enable them to move through the challenges of college with a bit more ease. Sandy is a part of the Mt. Saint Mary's staff. She mentors students in the STEM program which influences girls to, and supports them in, their choice to follow a career in math and science. How much more powerful she will be as a role model by moving through this challenge. You can view some of her video posts at www.facebook.com/NaturalRhythmFitness and these are her words...
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Motivation, where are you?! I wish Costco would sell it by the bulk, that way I could store it in a cabinet and use it as needed. I am admittedly inconsistent. There’s no other way of putting it. I’m 28 years old and have been struggling with my weight since I was 8. I’m only two years away from the big 3-0 and I hear it’s even harder to lose weight after that!

Healthy is an adjective unknown to my family, exercise is a verb that I rarely practiced, and insecurity is an adjective that became synonymous with my name. My weight prohibited me from being an active kid. While in high school I wanted to join the Choreo[graphy] team, but all the girls were skinny; no one looked like me. Plus, they would wear skimpy outfits that revealed parts I did not want to expose. So instead, I took a P.E. dance class my junior year and discovered that I LOVED dancing and was pretty good at it. This let me know that I could try-out for Choreo, but it was my own insecurities that led me to believe that even though I danced better than half of those girls, they would never select me because of my weight.

My senior year proved to be a pivotal moment for me. With prom approaching, my friend and I made a pact to lose weight. We worked hard, we were disciplined, and dedicated. I still remember the first mile I ran non-stop…Success! Within weeks I began getting compliments of how good I looked and at that point I had lost roughly 15lbs. Prom came and went, and by then there was no turning back! I knew how to eat healthier and what it took to be fit. By my first quarter in college, I had become a gym member, learned more and more about fitness and even got a trainer, but unfortunately, my school was known for its reckless party scenes. I started drinking, partying, and stopped working out completely but I tried to maintain a healthy diet, at least compared to that of my roommates, who all seemed to live on carbs!

By graduation I had gained 30lbs! I was disappointed and mad because I had taken a million steps backwards, but it was my fault. The first thing I did when I moved back home was join a gym. With time and effort, I lost he weight and was able to maintain it… for a while.

By the time I started my Master’s program, inconsistency had won again and my motivation was nowhere to be found. I felt I was too busy to take care of my body and rarely stepped foot in the gym.  Although I didn’t gain all 30lbs back, I was getting there slowly, but surely. I was back to feeling insecure and lost.

In January 2010, two of my friends signed up to compete in a triathlon happening in June and somehow I convinced myself and my mentor to compete. I was completely unfamiliar with triathlons and thought it was a relay where each of us would complete one leg of the race. I thought, ‘Yes, I can do the running portion because I love to run. Wait a minute, I have to do what?!?’

So, of course the journey was not an easy one, but with the help of my team, especially my mentor’s encouragement, I learned how to swim correctly, began biking for miles, and began to run more than my typical 2 miles. I have to say that running our first mock triathlon was the best feeling ever! A few laps in the ocean (I almost drowned wearing that stupid wetsuit), about a 10 mile bike ride up and down the Malibu highway, and my first 4 mile run; all non-stop. I seriously wanted to cry as I crossed our ‘pretend’ finish line because Sandy showed up!

June 27th and it’s tri-time! Game face is on and my nerves are crazy but there’s no turning back now! This race was not easy but I finished it. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling I got when I was closer to the finish line and saw my family, friends, and teammates cheering for me because my motivation was slipping away. Legs, please don’t fail me now we’re almost there! Yes! I finished...and lost a few pounds in the process. Call me triathlete now, please!

I have maintained a healthy lifestyle since then. I work out pretty consistently, but sometimes my bad eating habits take over. In the last two years, I have lost 20lbs, participated in my first half-marathon, become stronger, but I still can’t seem to get down to my ideal weight. I have worn weary of the same gym routines and have reached a plateau. Reaching a healthy weight and becoming stronger are definite goals but the main focus is consistency because after all, I deserve to be healthy. I’ll be participating in another half marathon a week before my 29th birthday in October. Naturally, I want to beat my time and be lighter for the sake of my knees, but more importantly, I want to be a step closer to being in the best shape ever by the time I’m 30.

I have found my motivation again and this time I’m not losing it because I have a great support system and I know I can push myself… hard!  My ultimate goal is to compete in the San Diego International Triathlon. I am Motivated. I am Confident. I am Found. Yes, I will do this!

This is Sandy's video after her 1st day...

video

Now Meet Stephanie...

 Stephanie is addicted to almonds. Yes, almonds are one the healthiest foods on the planet containing protective nutrients like calcium and magnesium for strong bones, Vitamin E and phytochemicals that aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer, they lower cholesterol and are protein powerhouses. A 1oz. serving, which is about 20-25 almonds, contain around 120 calories from fat. Though it's a good, essential, healthy fat, she was eating them by the bagful. The BIG bagful! That's 16 servings people, and by her own admission, there was nothing physical in her life. And there's one more caveat - Stephanie works the infamous 'graveyard shift' which means her internal clock is totally off. What to eat? When to eat? Do I eat at all being that it's 3am?

There are many people who can relate to these crazy working hours. I actually used to be one of them. In college, I worked at an in-patient pharmacy during the wonderful hours of 7p - 7a. If you've ever visited a hospital floor then you've seen those med carts next to the nursing station. I'm the chick who filled those little boxes and allowed your nurse to wake you for your 2 AM dose of Naprosyn.  Many of the products we use to get through our days are prepared and delivered while we slumber. For those of you whose waking hours tick away on the lunar clock, Stephanie's movement through this process will help you realize that you are not destined to gain the 'overnight vending machine' weight. You can watch as she posts her video logs on www.facebook.com/NaturalRhythmFitness.
These are her words...  

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When I was growing up, I was always a skinny kid. Even through high school, I ate like a horse and NEVER put on weight. That was partially due to the fact that I played softball and I never sat in the house. I was always out playing with my friends, riding my bike, etc. I ate constantly and my mom would always say, "one of these days, that's going to catch up with you”, but it never did... until my freshman year of college. 

When I got to college and started dorm life, I was in heaven! I was up all night with my friends talking, laughing, partying and EATING. I stopped playing sports and had never been to a gym to do a workout outside of what I did on the softball field. Heck, I didn't need to... or so I thought. I'm from a small town in the South and health and fitness wasn't really a hot topic there. 

Anyhow, back to college. By Christmas break of my freshman year I had gained almost 20 pounds!
WHAT?!? How was this possible??? I had always eaten like this and never gained weight BUT, I hadn't always been inhaling cheeseburgers and pizza and passing out at 3am. So, I took my butt to the gym! I learned how to work out properly and my weight has always been exactly where I wanted, give or take 5-10 pounds every now and then... that is, until I discovered an addiction to raw almonds. 

Okay yes, it sounds crazy but, I lived in New York from 2005-2010 and I spent my last two years there in an acting program where I snacked on raw almonds. I would just sit there eating them while I observed class. I went from snacking on small packs in class to the big bags while I watched Whoopi on The View.

Not to mention, I had grown tired of living in New York and the cold weather so in the winter time, I refused to leave the house unless I had to. Now, I know what you're thinking, "but almonds are good for you!" Yes, they are but not the way I ate them. I have an all or nothing mentality so after I’d stuffed myself with tons of calories from almonds, I would feel like, ‘well, no need in working out’, or think, ‘I may as well go to Chipotle’. Horrible.  

Fast forward and I now live in LA but by the time I got here, I had packed on an extra 20 pounds from my self-sabotaging, endless almond inhaling, non-workout habit. I felt miserable and discouraged because I had packed on more weight than I ever had in my life and I knew it was going to be a struggle to get it off. I eventually started working out once I got here but not like I used to and ummm… I'm still addicted to almonds. 

When I found out about Candace, (thank you Simone Cook-Missick!), I instantly jumped at the chance to join her program for two reasons:
1.       Because I knew that if I was being held accountable, I would straighten up, and
2.       Ummm… have you seen her?!? She's in AMAZING shape!  

What's most important however is, I want to be healthy, inside and out and I think that working with Candace will set me back on the right track. I'm looking forward to the workouts, meeting the other ladies and watching this transformation over the next 12 weeks!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And so we begin...

This past weekend my ladies had their official weigh-in and the dreaded 'before photos' taken.

Over the next few months we will all take this trip together as they discover who they are, what they are made of, what they are able to do, and simply, how incredible they are. You will follow along with us as we discover countless ways to get and stay in incredible shape using everything around us, and release the myths that eating healthy is expensive and that cooking is too complicated.  

Each woman was purposely chosen because each is in a different stage of life and has her own story. I’m an avid believer that girls are genetically better and that we have incredible powers. Our bodies can sustain another life inside, we are designed to teach and nurture and support, and by coming together we DO become stronger. So we'll test this mantra. Though the ladies do have me one-on-one, on the weekend we all come together to help each other, support each other, and to push each other through whatever struggles may be arising.

They will document the whole process and I will post their words and videos here and on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/naturalrhythmfitness. You'll get to hear what they're feeling, thinking, not looking forward to, pushed through, and succeeded at. (Make sure you LIKE us on Facebook to watch this unfold) 

Allow me  to introduce you to Danni. This is her story, in her own words...
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Today is Saturday June 23, and what should be an amazing day for me has turned into an epic meltdown.  If the wakeup call of losing the weight was not apparent before, it was very apparent today.  It reinforces why I wanted to be a part of Candace's training program.  When I first applied to the program it was because I wanted to be fit and have a different relationship with my body.  At 50 years of age, a new grandmother, ex athlete, and going through menopause, I want to start the next chapter of my life healthy and whole.  I knew that I had gained a few pounds over the years, but nothing to the extent of what triggered a huge melt down this past Saturday.  This was the first time I've ever felt shameful for my weight.  

The story begins like this.  I've worked really hard for the last four months to produce a short film that received a spot in the Los Angeles Film festival, a major accomplishment for anyone in the film industry and a chance to connect with other filmmakers.  My director called the night before to inquire on what I would wear to the premier of our film.  I told her that I was sure that I had something in my closet I could wear and I wasn't worried.  Not long after that call the festival directors sent an email stating we should dress for the red carpet, as we would be walking it.

Saturday morning I wake up, happy and proud that my hard work will now be shared with others.  My friend Kathryn calls and wants some company at brunch.  I oblige thinking I have plenty of time to get ready.  I mean after all, the festivities don't begin until 6:30.  I'll leave the house at 5:30 to get there on time.  Kathryn and I have breakfast and discuss my excitement for the film and the evening yet to come.  She tells me to relish in the moment and how happy she is for me.  We discuss what I'll wear and I tell her the same thing I've stated all along, that I have something in my closet that I can wear.  We part ways with hugs and good lucks from Kathryn.  Here begins the time line of the meltdown of all ages.
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1:00 PM I jump in the shower and wash my hair still feeling fantastic and looking forward to the evening’s events.  I get out of the shower, blow dry my hair and begin to really think about what I'm going to wear to the premier of our film.  I turn on my flat iron and head to my closet to pick out my outfit for the evening.

2:30 PM I'm combing through my closet and pull out my favorite black dress and a pair of heels.  I find the perfect pair of earrings and a simple necklace and head back to the bathroom to flat iron my hair. While looking in the mirror I begin to notice that my stomach is not as flat as I would like it to be for the dress I chose.  I immediately look for the Spanx to wear under the dress and lay that alongside my dress and shoes.  I finish flat ironing my hair and decide to do my makeup, paint my nails and have all of that done before getting dressed. 

3:30 PM I call my niece to wish her a happy 6th birthday.   My sister jumps on the phone to wish me good luck and to send her a picture of me on the red carpet.  We giggle like school girls and talk about the excitement of seeing my film on the big screen.  That call is followed up with calls from my daughter and parents who are all excited and proud for me.  I look at the time and let them know I have to get ready and I'll call them later.

4:00 PM I put on my Spanx and look in the mirror to see how it's shaping my figure.  I see that the bulge is diminished but not completely flat.  Small panic, but since I'm wearing black it shouldn't be that bad.  I head over to my bed and grab the dress to put on.  I step into this amazing dress, again my favorite, and it won't come past my hips.  This can't be right!!  I slip the dress back down and look at the dress like there's something wrong with it because it couldn't be me.  I mean this has been my go to dress forever and for it not to fit, it had to be the dress.  I check the tag and it's a size 10 so it has to fit because that's my size, so what's the problem?  I step back into the dress with the same results only this time I'm trying to shimmy it past my hips.  It's a no go and I realize that the last time I wore this dress, or any dress for that matter, was almost two years ago.  I sigh with disbelief but think that if I can't get it on by stepping into it, I can just pull it over my head and get it on that way.  I begin pulling the dress over my head and now the top section is failing me as well.  I'm flailing, twirling, tugging and pulling to get this dress over my head.  I get it over and it doesn't fit.  OMG it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit!!!!!!.  This is the beginning of the melt down.  I struggle to get the dress off and begin yanking other things of their hangers to try on and get dressed for this event.  Dress after dress, skirt after skirt, top after top nothing is fitting.  How could this be, how could I have a closet full of beautiful clothes and nothing fits.

5:00 PM I'm sitting in the middle of the floor surrounded by almost my entire closet.  Tears streaming down my face I begin to think of excuses to tell everyone on why I can't make the event.  My spirits are low and I feel failure and defeat.   What if I just defy the rules and wear a nice pair of jeans and a cute top?  What cute top?  You just tried them all on!!!  Back to the closet pulling at things, trying on, nothing fits.  I'm losing time and I have to figure it out.  Am I going? Am I bailing?  What do I say to everyone if I don't attend?  I think about running to the store and buying something new, but now I know nothing fits and I don't have the time to meltdown in the store as well.  Plus I'm unemployed with no money to spend on an outfit that I won't be happy with.  Back to the closet and there's a purple dress that's left.  It's a simple dress with a flared A-Line swing to it with a small belt.  I slip that on over the Spanx and immediately I feel like Barney.  I try and belt it and it looks worse.  I take the belt off and decide to dress it up with jewelry.  I'm not happy but I have to keep moving forward as if I love it.  I've ruined my makeup from crying, so I wash my face and start over.  I begin to notice every flaw on my body.  My neck is thick, my arms are big, my face looks bloated, and I feel huge.  I can't believe I've let myself go to the point that I have nothing to wear that makes me feel special for this occasion.   My sadness is overwhelming.

6:10 PM I notice the time and I'm officially going to be late.  Maybe I should just call and say I'm sick.  There's a voice in my head that says to just get to the car and get in.  I follow the voice and I'm driving and thinking about how bad I feel and look.  This is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness but it is marred by weight and the appearance of that weight.  I mean, I knew that I had gained a few pounds but not to the tune of not being able to wear any of my beautiful clothes. I'm consumed with the thoughts of ‘how did this happen’ and ‘when did this happen’ but, no need to go through the whys or the hows right now. . .  I'm already low.

6:45 PM I’m late but maybe this will work in my favor since I was supposed to be on the red carpet at 6:30PM.  I park the car and begin to fidget with my dress while walking to the check in for all filmmakers.  I see a few people I know and I am so uncomfortable standing with them.  I'm tugging, pulling, and trying to suck in my gut.  What are they thinking? Do they also see the weight gain? Are they being kind in telling me how great I look?  I missed pieces of conversation because I was so consumed with my own inner turmoil.  I've never felt shame for my body before and the feeling is devastating. 
7:00 PM I’m walking to the theater when a hand grabs me.  It's Jane, one of the festival directors and she's guiding me to the red carpet.  I tell her that we are late and we should just head to the theater.  She tells me I'm crazy and this is my moment to shine.  Rachel, the director, is waiting and grabs my hand and we proceed on the carpet.  My heart is racing as all I can think is that I look like Barney and I'm on the red carpet clumping along like a huge purple dinosaur.  I catch my reflection in the window of the theater and I am mortified.  My ass is wide, my dress is wide, my arms are huge, and the list continued.  I try and hide behind other people as we walk on the carpet.  As Jane and Rachel stopped to speak with a reporter, I raced off the carpet and made my way inside to the bathroom, where I stood in line with my head down in shame.  I made it into one of the stalls where I stood behind the door and let a few tears shed.  I pulled myself together, made it to the sink to wash my hands and prayed to God to get me through the rest of the night.  I sat in the darkness of the theater to watch the film and felt safe for the moment.  The lights come up but I can't tell you what the reaction from the crowd was. The joy and excitement I felt early in the day wasn't there. 

8:30 PM I’m walking to the reception with my friends Warren and Toi who are discussing the film and how much they enjoyed it.  Warren asked if I was ok and I painted a smile on my face and replied that I was just tired.   It was hard to disguise my sadness.  It was difficult to create that smile of happiness when inside I was so overwhelmingly sad.  I made one round at the reception just to say thank you to those that came out to support.  I made a quick exit and headed home numb to the experience of the day.  I drove around for a little while trying to figure out how I let my weight spiral out of control. 

11:00 PM I’m home and I remove my Barney suit immediately and jump into the shower to wash the shame of my weight off me. I kneel to say my prayers and thank God for Candace who I will see tomorrow to begin her program. 
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This evening was my wakeup call and I plan to learn and use every moment of time with Candace wisely.  There is no photo for me to share with friends or family of that evening except for the ones taken by others.  The embarrassment of my weight is nothing I want to share at this moment, even though it is prevalent for everyone to see.  This is a journey and I know that there will be ups and downs along the way, but I hope that I will never feel as bad about my body as I did today.  I know that how we perceive ourselves also has a huge mental aspect and my goal is to find the joy of this journey with my body; to learn to love it, embrace it, and discover its beauty. 

It was extremely hard to write this, to expose myself and my feelings to the masses, so you have to know that this is coming from a place of pure honesty and commitment to this process with Candace. I hope that by sharing my sadness, and my feelings of shame and deflation, I’m able to help someone else who may be standing in a similar place in time.

This is my weight loss journey…

Friday, June 1, 2012

Packing for the weekend....

This is how I pack for the weekend... A bag full of toys heading to the park to get in a great workout.

I'm an outside kinda girl, always have been so a lot of my workouts are done around my neighborhood, in the park across the street or at the kiddie playground not so far away. Not to say I never go to a gym, I work at Equinox so I live in one basically, but I need constant change and I gotta have my sunshine so what better thing than to constantly be on the lookout for a new spot to push myself.

It's summertime so there's no excuse about the weather. It's free so there's no excuse about it being affordable. I'm lucky enough to have a park close to me so I can simply walk across the street. But if that wasn't there, I pass at least five (that I can see) on my way to work. And that's going in one direction... there's multiple ways I could go. Sometimes I do it alone, sometimes I work out with a friend, sometimes I work out with a trainer, sometimes... sometimes... sometimes... I'm a Gemini what can I say??

Not sure what to do? I can help you. Take pictures of your yard, your neighborhood and send them to me. I'll come up with some fun stuff for you to do.

As our mother's used to say when we were bugging them - Go outside and play!
Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to send me pics!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's my birthday... So what do I want?

I want women to see their bodies as the most incredible structure ever built.

Why is it that we marvel at the architecture and design of rock and glass but never at the architecture and design of our own selves? We are a wonder of engineering and far more complex and awe-inspiring than any man-made creation. Remember this - our building material, bone, is stronger yet lighter than steel, man's building material. Our living skeleton is a phenomenon of mechanical efficiency. And the beauty and strength of our construction lie not in one part, but in the harmonious integration which all the parts, soft and hard, rigid and flexible, tension bearing and pressure bearing, make up together.

Brilliantly engineered to distribute force, our skeleton not only bears the body's load and enables movement but also stores minerals, protects internal organs, and houses the main bloodworks.

There is a wonderful world living inside us and you shouldn't have to be a scientist to want to protect it.




 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

13 Excuses You'll Never Hear Super-Fit Chicks Make

1. I Just Don’t Want To Work Out!
If your basic problem is that you just don't want to/don't see the need to exercise, you need a major wake up call. We all need to work out regularly if we want to live longer, better-quality lives. I have friends and clients who just refuse to exercise, and so I have to give them a little tough love. As a last resort I'll tell people about the health risks of not exercising and ask them whether they want to be independent, or dependent on others when they're older. It's an eye opener.

While this may sound harsh, a shock to your system can be just what you need to get motivated. The only reason people change is because they've touched pain. This pain can be anything from seeing an older family member struggle with his health, to getting fed up with being out of breath after a flight of stairs. Embrace that, remember it, and figure out what you want to do differently.

If you haven't had your "moment of pain" yet, here are a few stats from the Get America Fit Foundation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that may serve as your wake up call:
• Obesity is the No. 2 cause of preventable death in the United States.
• Being overweight or obese increases your risk for breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, colon cancer, hypertension, and strokes.
• People who are severely obese (with a Body Mass Index of 45 or more) live about 20 years less than people who are not overweight.

2. I’m Already Skinny, What’s The Point?
Getting thin isn't the only (or even the best) reason to exercise. Whether you need to lose weight or not, you should approach your workout with a clear goal in mind. This could be anything from looking better in your skinny jeans to finishing a 5K.

Before you even start a workout program, you need to ask yourself a few questions: 1. What is my goal? 2. What do I need to do to get there? 3. How do I want to experience this journey? And of course, there are a few things to keep in mind with each of these questions:

For the first one, your goal should be about approaching success instead of avoiding failure. It's really all in how you phrase it. So instead of making your goal "I don't want to be the fatty in Pilates class anymore," a better goal would be "I want to be able to make it through a Pilates class and still have energy for a quick run after." A positive goal gives your mind a clearer path to follow and gives you a higher likelihood of success.

When it comes to the "hows" of achieving your goal, there are plenty of resources available to help you map out a journey. "You can always go to a website to get a program customized for you. There are tracking mechanisms built in … each day you'll be able to see your overall performance and it will let you know if you're staying on track or not.

And as for how you'll experience your workout journey, it's important to realize that it won't be all sunshine and rainbows. Change is met with resistance internally, so you need to be honest and allow yourself to experience some frustration and anger.

3. Exercise Is Boring
Yes, mindlessly running on a treadmill while watching the news on your gym's TV can be a total snooze fest. But dancing in a Zumba class, rock climbing, and paddle boarding are the exact opposite of dull -- and they still count as exercise.

The trick is to continually search for workouts that are fun so you actually enjoy exercising. Aside from trying new classes at the gym, browse YouTube a lot to see what new stuff folks are trying out; it's interesting to see what some people do with little to no equipment.

But even if you do stick with your regular routine, you can create a fun environment to motivate yourself to get through even the most mundane routine. Lighting, amazing music of all genres, and humor can help you push through a workout.

Another way to keep exercise from getting old is to add in the element of competition. Anything we do repeatedly (like lifting weights or 30 minutes on the elliptical) becomes easier, and that's when our brain starts to resent the exercise. When an exercise isn't fun anymore, the brain needs surprises, risk, and danger. Competitive sports can give you that risk and danger.

4. I Suck At Sports
If the thought of joining your company's softball team sounds like less fun than an all-day root canal, that's OK. Your workout should play to your strengths.

Research shows that we are much more motivated, resourceful, and resilient in an area of strength than in an area of weakness. Like taking charge? Lead a morning group run in your neighborhood. Does kindness drive you? Train for a cause, or buddy up with someone else who also needs motivation.

How do you know when you've found the right workout? The right exercise should be relaxing, get you in a hyper-aware state from endorphins, get your mind wandering, make you feel good, vital, and youthful, and leave you sore, but a good sore.

5. I Never See Results From Exercise
The best way to combat this frustrating feeling is to set yourself up for a "quick win." By starting off strong -- with a super-healthy diet and perhaps some boot camp-like fitness classes -- you could lose three to five pounds in your first week, which should certainly get you excited to continue.

And when you hit those inevitable plateaus, there are a few ways to keep yourself going. Try visualization while you're working out. I want my clients to 'see' a healthy and strong body. I want them to 'see' themselves crossing the finish line as we're spinning on the bike. Visualization training is incredibly helpful. Focusing on your goal is a much better way to push yourself during a workout than focusing on how fatigued you feel or the fact that the scale hasn't moved in a week.

6. I Want To Have Fun -- Not Be A Super Health-Nut Freak
Get excited, because it turns out cheating on your diet can actually help your workout. I recommend my clients have a weekly cheat meal (where you can eat whatever you want). Not only does this give you something to look forward to each week, but a cheat meal releases the hormone leptin, which tells the body you're not starving. The result? It can actually boost your metabolism and make you lose more weight over the next week. Just don't hop on the scale after that pizza: You may initially go up in pounds from water weight and salt retention, but by the end of the week you'll be lower.

7. I’m Too Sore
If you're feeling too sore to move the day after a workout and can't even begin to attempt another minute of exercise, it's time to rethink your strategy. Sometimes it's beneficial to end a workout a little prematurely. It enables me to end on a high note while I still feel very energetic, it enhances my post-workout glow, and it truly makes me look forward to my next session.

This method is an especially great idea when you're just starting out. People start giving 100 percent and then they burn out quickly. You're better off starting slowly with something like strength training or a yoga class if you're not used to exercising. Then build up your stamina and try more challenging workouts.

8. I Have An Old Back/Foot/Leg Injury That I Don’t Want To Aggravate
While this excuse will get you out of some workouts, there are plenty of exercise methods that can actually help heal old injuries and ease body pain, which in turn can motivate you to work out even more.

If you have back, hip, or leg pain, Pilates can help strengthen your core and improve your range of motion. If you fix little nagging injuries, you can get better workouts and enhance your performance.

I recommend starting with stretching, interval training, and resistance training if you're overweight. Extra weight can often mess up your alignment and cause injuries if you start running or doing hard-core aerobics.

9. I’m So Frustrated With My Progress
Frustration is totally normal when you're working toward a fitness goal. The key, however, is to understand how to work through it. First, we need to realize that frustration is a secondary emotion; it's actually a reaction to hurt or fear. So ask yourself what you're afraid of. You may be fearful of some outcome, like 'All the work I'm doing is not going to pay off' or 'I'm not going to get where I want to be.' When you know what's really bothering you, you can address that and make adjustments in your fitness plan to work through it.

I also want to point out the frustration isn't actually bad. Frustration is where growth takes place. Most people are trying on a regular basis to be comfortable, but that's not where true learning and growth happens. When you're frustrated, know that you're on the edge of the comfort/uncomfortable zone.

When you do get in that zone, it's a good idea to stop, take a deep breath, and have a conversation with yourself. Remember that you're doing something great for you. It's also helpful to visualize yourself feeling strong and excited and motivated -- even when you're actually feeling the exact opposite. Just by doing this you are planting those seeds in your brain and making it more likely that you will continue.

10. Exercise Is Overrated!
C'mon, you know this isn't true. But you may feel like it is if you don't really understand what you're doing. I teach clients why they're doing the exercises, why they need to eat a certain way, so they understand what they're doing. When you don't know why you're doing something, you'll fall off the wagon at the first sign of a setback.

To help you understand why the heck you're doing all those lunges, ask your trainer (if you have one) what the benefits of each exercise are. Or if you're going at it alone, check out fitness websites and magazines for more information on the benefits of exercise, both in terms of overall health and weight loss. It's a lot easier to trade an Oreo for a run if you fully understand what each does for your body.

11. I’m Too Tired/Hungry To Work Out
This one has some genuine validity. After all, your brain cannot be starving and have an effective workout. State of mind dictates everything about physical performance. That's why proper nutrition and getting enough sleep is so important. Think of your brain as having a gas tank; just like your car, it can't run on empty.

So yes, sometimes you may have to skip a workout so you can catch a few extra zzz's or whip up a healthy meal. But don't use lack of sleep as a consistent excuse. Instead, make it a priority to get a full night's rest so you can perform at your best. And in a circle of life kind of way, keep in mind that exercising during the day can actually help you sleep at night. So even if you don't feel like jogging 10 miles, do a small amount of exercise, get a better night's sleep, and be ready to tackle more tomorrow.

12. My Life’s Depressing Stressful Enough. I’m Not Adding Exercise To It
If you're dealing with a job you hate, a stressful home life, or any major or even minor life crises, exercising is probably the last thing you want to do. But really, it should be the first. Exercise boosts endorphins and allows you to handle stress better (both by releasing stress during the actual workout and building up your stamina to deal with life in general). If you can't get out of your slump, here are two tactics to try:

First, re-work your thought process. Instead of saying, "I must work out," say, "I choose to work out." ‘Choose’ statements are healthier for your brain, and those ‘must’ statements keep you from reaching a workout-induced euphoria.

Next, practice gratitude. In a study where one group was told to keep track of things they were grateful for and another group was told to keep track of their hassles, the gratitude group was found to exercise about 90 minutes more per week than the hassle group. It makes sense when you think about it: Mulling over the raise you didn't get or how far away the gym is isn't exactly going to motivate you to get up off the couch.

13. I’m Too Busy With My Kids
Kids can certainly be exhausting, but there are ways to use them to your workout advantage. I remind my mom clients of a few things: 1. Regular exercise can boost your immune system, which is helpful when you're surrounded by germy kids. 2. Parents can set a great example for their kids by living an active life (most overweight and obese children have parents in the same situation). 3. You can exercise with your kids, which helps keep them active, keeps you in shape, and is a fantastic bonding experience.

So instead of plopping the kids in front of a DVD while you run on the treadmill (or, OK, take a nap), put your iPod on and have a living room dance party or head outside and play. Just seeing nature can be an easy motivator to get moving, and doing activities that made you happy as a kid can help too.

Remember, strong is the new skinny!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Slave??

A couple days ago, a friend accused me of being a slave to my body. He says my life is spent in a gym and that I constantly workout.

He said it as if I don’t enjoy every bite of food I put in my mouth. He said it as if my hand isn’t constantly in a bag of chips. He knows I have a weakness for chocolate that I willingly cave to, a lot. He said it as if I don’t enjoy how it feels to be vibrant and strong and as if I don’t like that I look younger than my peers. I am always at the gym because I work at a gym but I don’t believe it takes hours in the gym to develop the body you want so my workouts are tough and quick.

I think I understand his statement though. Most people still believe that being healthy must be hard. I don’t know what else to say other than it’s not! Most of my meals take no more than 15 minutes start to finish and I eat real food. Nothing prepared, packaged or substituted. It’s not expensive or boring because I refuse to throw food away so I get creative with the leftovers. That way I don’t feel like I’m eating the same thing which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most people still believe cooking healthy must require all kinds of equipment and special toys. Unless you’re trying to stuff your own sausage or press your own almond butter, a basic set of cookware will get you everything you need.

My workouts are quick, my meals are simple, and I don’t think I’ll ever give up chips or chocolate. My life is healthy, my body is strong and this actually feels quite like freedom.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And this is what happens with the leftovers...

Last night's dinner was truly simple and really good. Yes, I do say so myself. A parmesan breaded chicken breast on top of fresh basil leaves and beautiful tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Done.

Eight total ingredients - chicken, parmesan, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, pepper, basil, and tomatoes plus twenty minutes in the kitchen, and dinner is ready!

I cooked two chicken breast which give me plenty to use for breakfast and lunch. There were about three big bites left over from dinner so this morning I took those bites, sliced up less than half of the remaining breast, added nine more ingredients - eggs, garlic, onions, spinach, olive oil, tomatoes, avocado, sea salt, pepper, and twelve minutes later... breakfast! 

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No, I didn't feel like I was eating the same thing. My common denominators were the chicken and tomatoes. But the garlic and onions for sure made it a totally new eating experience. And even if it did feel the same, who cares. The dish tasted phenomenal! Yes, that's me patting myself on the back right now. And I'll be having the last of the chicken on a BIG salad for lunch.

Who has trouble cooking for one?