The UN-Diet Plan

So here we are on another Monday and facing a new month ahead.

Holiday season looms and many people start to shudder at the thought of finding a new DIET….

“When will it end?”, you might wonder at times. ¬†“Why can’t I just finally stop needing to lose weight and get fit again and again?”

I’ve been asked so many times from clients and friends about the newest, fad diets and what I think about them. Let me simplify and just tell you that I think all diets are crap. They are created to deprive us and make us feel bad about ourselves.

Why? So that we finally stop following that said diet and gain the weight back again (because we didn’t really learn anything of value except that we suck and can’t lose weight) only to have to find another diet plan as soon as we hit rock bottom or need to get into better shape for an event.

Can we just ban them for good? I finally did and I want to empower you, my dear friend, to do the same. (If you already have then high five to you but please pass this along to someone who might still be stuck in diet hell)

It took me years to finally learn what areas were holding me back and un-learn what I needed to change in order to finally succeed and enjoy my life. I didn’t want to eat broccoli and chicken breast for the rest of my days. I didn’t want to cut out carbs. I didn’t want to live on salads. I didn’t want to NOT have fun when I wanted. (I may sound like a 2-year old throwing a tantrum but honestly, don’t you feel like that when you’re told YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT?? we now understand 2 year olds better!)

I’d love to give you a guideline to start today. Since we are taught to be “good” or “bad” in any given moment or following a plan of what we “can” and “cannot” eat (which is ludicrous to think long term but we need to take baby steps first) I am sharing my 7 Day Slim Down plan, Exercise Plan and Grocery List with you. But let me explain what this plan actually is and what it is not.

  1. It is NOT a diet. It is a blueprint of how to start implementing real foods into your life again. Most of us learn to cut out as much foods as possible. So we wake up each morning and skip breakfast (because who’s really hungry in the morning anyway, right?) then we end up scarfing down some unhealthy foods before lunch because we are so hungry. This continues throughout the day as we go through our feelings of guilt from eating what we shouldn’t have eaten and then starving ourselves some more because we ate too much of what’s not good for us.
  2. It IS a blueprint (as mentioned above) and by noticing there are 3 meals every day and 2 snacks in between 2 of those meals is your starting point. You can either choose to follow the foods written out for reference if you don’t like coming up with your own; or you can use the grocery list of foods and swap out items that you actually enjoy and/or have on hand. I’ve never liked following a meal plan written out for the masses either but it’s a helpful tool to learn from and adjust as needed for our own lives and likes.
  3. It will help with drinking more water (which most of us don’t get enough of) because being dehydrated makes us think we are ‘hungry’ and if we just stick to our water intake we won’t have as many hunger pangs throughout the day. Start drinking water early in your day and glug it! I wake up and immediately (no, don’t go do ANYTHING else until this is done!) drink 1/2 to 1 full liter of water on an empty stomach. We wake up dehydrated already and what’s the first thing most of us pour down our throats? Coffee…which just dehydrates us more. Now, I love coffee and would never dream of telling anyone to stop drinking it because I won’t either…but I will first get my water in and then enjoy my coffee! ūüėČ
  4. This forces you to eat foods that are from nature. We are so used to buying convenience foods because we tell ourselves we are “too busy” to eat healthy but I call B.S. on this too. It takes less time than you think and saves you tons of money in the long run to buy whole foods and cook them up yourself. Trust me, I haaaate spending extra time on anything but if I can get a healthy meal cooked and still smile to enjoy it; then anyone can! I am not a natural ‘foodie’ and don’t enjoy taking my time when cooking but there are so many quick and easy recipes online that we are out of excuses.
  5. This plan also comes with a simple ‘at home’ fitness program. You don’t have to follow the workouts but commit to at least taking a daily walk for 15-20 minutes and timing yourself so that you see when you’re able to walk faster and/or add more time to your walkabouts. If you choose to give the workouts a try and are hesitant because you don’t know if you’re able to finish them – just do at least 10 minutes and if you don’t feel like continuing after 10 minutes is up, then stop. Easy peasy. Let’s stop making things so difficult that it stops us before we start.

I know you can do this. It’s only 7 days, after all and you can start any day of the week that you desire. What I challenge you to do is to stick to the full 7 days. No, they don’t have to be perfect and if you make mistakes along the way or fall of track…don’t stop. That’s the old patterns of diets. Instead, try to just stay on track with every day. Finish each day to the best of your ability and write it down in a notebook. Was it hard to eat the foods? Did you get some activity in? How did you feel throughout the day as opposed to the week before? Etc…

I’d love to know if you give it a go. Just drop me an email today: kathyprofitness@gmail.com

How to stop struggling and eat healthy already!

Eating healthy can feel overwhelming and complicated and challenging. I found an article on the Team Beachbody Blog that pinpoints the 7 most common struggles when it comes to eating healthier and I wanted to share with you today. Hope it helps!

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We are inundated with options on how to eat; low carb, organic, whole grains, Paleo, vegan, keto, body type…and so many more it can make you give up before you begin. Which is the best option and why are there so many? You’re only interested in what works and you want results sooner than later, right?

Let’s first understand that it isn’t going to be a “quick fix” or temporary change; it’s going to take some effort but once you get over some of the struggles and create your own balance…you’ll be surprised at how much easier it becomes!

Let’s start from the beginning and keep it simple, ok? First of all, we are going to visit the¬†7 most common issues when it comes to healthy eating and how you can¬†make it simpler to start now.

Issue #1: How do I eat healthy anyway?? 

I know it can seem overwhelming to start the healthy eating lifestyle if it’s something you’ve never done before. Which foods are healthy? How do you cook these foods?

First of all, take a deep breath and relax. You are definitely not alone in this area. When you start eating healthy, it’s normal to feel a bit unsure about some of the food choices and how they will taste. Will you like them? Will it be difficult to do? Where do you get the best products and how do you eat healthy when you’re eating out? It’s about starting slowly and taking it one step at a time. This is always the best practice to long term habits; as you have time to learn as you go and lessen the feelings that can overwhelm us when we are in a rush to do it all at once.

Start with a basic list of foods you can stock up on. (For my FREE 7 day Slim-Down grocery list and meal plan, click HERE) Then, each week, just add one new item or try one or two new healthy recipes until you start to find your groove.¬†You’ll notice that you gravitate towards certain choices and once you eliminate (or cut back) on processed foods and sugary foods, your taste buds will be more interested in the natural flavors that healthy foods provide. I like to watch the cooking channel to gain some new ideas and browse through Pinterest or google for new recipes. The secret is to never get bored with your food selections so you don’t start to crave the unhealthy foods that you used to turn to.

Issue #2: But healthy eating costs so much more!! 

I know you’ve probably heard it before, or even said it yourself, “Fresh fruits and veggies spoil so quickly. Buying organic foods costs so much more. It’s just so expensive!”

Right? If you can’t afford to buy all organic foods, that’s totally fine! Be picky about the ones you spend more on. ¬†Check out¬†the clean/dirty produce list to help guide you to the best options. If you can’t afford to buy organic at all, choose the produce from the clean list instead.

Buying produce in-season can always help save money; and it tastes so much better too! Frozen fruits and veggies can also be easier on your budget and are just as healthy fresh choices (they are flash frozen at their peak of ripeness). Instead of using crushed ice cubes in your Shakeology or smoothies, use the frozen fruits instead. If you are tired of dealing with wilting raw spinach or kale leaves; add them to soups or use frozen spinach or chopped frozen kale instead.

I have a client who lives in Alaska and struggles getting in enough fruits and veggies because they have to wait for shipments to come to their area and purchase the foods before they are all gone from other shoppers! Talk about¬†real¬†struggles! But she gets it done with the frozen options and on a really bad period of low or no veggies/fruits, as long as she gets her Shakeology in – she is certain she is feeding her body the right nutrients to stay balanced. When there is a will, there is always a way! ūüėČ

Issue #3: I hate grocery shopping! 

I totally understand this issue but have since come to terms with it as I’m a crazy coupon lady now! ūüėČ But for those of you who really do hate shopping, you have many options now! There’s online help to the rescue. Grocery stores deliver more frequently now and it’s easy as choosing the items from the online website. Amazon now provides a service with Prime Now and you can order on your phone or computer and schedule your groceries to be delivered at a time that’s best for you. Need I say more?

Issue #4: Unhealthy food marketing is everywhere now!! 

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All you have to do it scroll through Instagram or Pinterest and you’ll see crazy food recipes and pictures of double stuffed cookie dough pie dipped in chocolate or slutty brownie bars oozing with marshmallows – and so much more. The temptations can almost hypnotize us into feeling as though we need¬†these items. There is never a shortage of candy, doughnuts or cookies at the office either. So what to do?

Why not start a new trend in your circle? Be the change you want to see in others. I find it so ridiculous the choices we continue feeding ourselves and the ones we love and yet, complain about our lack of control or our growing waist lines. We can take back control and provide healthier solutions in the office, home or at events. You can find healthy baked items online to take with you to the next birthday celebration, that next early morning meeting or during special get togethers. It gives you the option to eat better and not feel like you’re depriving yourself; and it also helps someone else make a better choice along with you.

Issue #5: I don’t have the time to eat healthy!¬†

This one is one I hear so often that I’m surprised it isn’t listed as #1! I know the thought of driving through the fast food chain drive-thru seems so much simpler than coming home and figuring out what to eat and how to make it. But can I share how much easier my life is (for me and my family) now that I’m meal prepping for the week on Saturday or Sunday? I even save so much money because I have all of the items I need on hand for the week in my weekly grocery store visit; instead of rushing back and forth when I realize I need one of this or that. All it takes is an hour or two on the weekend to meal prep and it saves you hours of time during the week. No more rushing around trying to figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week.

I create my weekly meals and write out the recipes, ingredients and head to the store. This all takes me about 2 hours max. I then spend time putting the foods away and posting my weekly menu on the refrigerator so I (and my family) know ahead of time what’s available and what’s being served. Need more help?¬†Healthy meal planning is easier than you may think. In order to get started, Beachbody has some meal plans here to provide some great ideas.

Click here: Meal Plan Ideas

Or here: 90 minutes meal prep from start to finish

Issue #6: What if you make a recipe that¬†doesn’t work for your¬†family?¬†

This has happened more times than I’d like to admit but it’s true. I’ve made a recipe that I was sure was going to be a hit with the family; and even though I might love it, either the hubby or kids (or both) said otherwise. First of all, the ego is hurt but what about the food that’s left? It’s tempting to just go back to the choices they prefer and forget about cooking healthy forever! (melodramatic music, playing in the background)

But I have to tell you to stay strong and keep going. Try different foods or cook the foods in different methods. If you find you (or your family) won’t eat steamed broccoli, then try roasting it with some olive oil and salt sprinkled over. Just making some simple changes can do wonders for your taste buds.. and theirs!

Issue #7: You are fearful of missing out on the the decadent foods you love! 

When we feel deprived of foods (or anything, really), it makes us want those things more than ever. I recommend allowing your favorite foods every once in awhile; or at least a few times each month. If we focus on the feeling of being restricted, we cannot enjoy the healthy habits we are gaining. Eating healthy does not mean being absolutely perfect. That’s not possible. Choosing to eat healthy 80% of the time – allows us to enjoy some treats and “cheats” 20% of the time.

You can eat your pizza and brownies and cookies…just not every day!

What is your favorite treat that you don’t want to live without?

Recovery; What is it GOOD for?

Recovering takes work. Whether you are recovering from a hard workout, a surgery, an accident or race, an illness, etc – it’s usually something we view as a passive process. Almost like a non-event.¬†Right? I have heard from so many clients who desire to workout 7 days of the week to their maximum capacity refuse to accept this concept. So I would like to break it down so you can understand why it is so crucial to¬†work¬†on your recovery periods. Stop assuming that this process is something that simply takes care of itself with time.

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The¬†recovery phase¬†starts as soon as the physical task ends. It doesn’t start 60 minutes later, later that night or in the morning when you roll out of bed. It begins while you still have sweat pouring down your face – and this is something I’ve been known to repeat when I was teaching group exercise classes and I’d see people who thought the “workout” was over, sneaking out of class.

The cool down and stretch is the beginning of your recovery period; do NOT skip this!

I’d repeat this so often and still see those who weren’t buying it anyway. I know how to recover because I had to recover. When I trained for my fitness competition, when I trained and ran my first full marathon, and when I’ve completed intense training plans in order to reach goals, I’d find my body ragged and in need of more than just some rest and time. I suffered through some adrenal fatigue, I’ve dealt with injuries, pains, and lack of desire to move my body any longer (which is weird for me because I am a high intensity loving junky – but you don’t have to be like I am in order to need recovery)

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Let’s understand what “RECOVERY” means: The very first step to having a better recovery is to simply¬†understand¬†what this means. Much like your car’s engine, the human body is constantly producing waste products from functions such as contracting muscles, absorbing external forces, digesting foods and cooling itself down. When our body’s are subject to higher activities with higher intensity levels; higher temperatures; longer durations, it produces higher levels of waste. (bet you didn’t know that!) This means that the body is always working to rid itself of these toxins, such as lactic acid, damaged blood cells, urea (within our urine) salts and elements of inflammation.

The next important part of the recovery period is the support of healthy, oxygen-rich blood into the body parts that have worked hard during the activity, or workouts. Carrying away the toxins (bad) and bringing in more blood, oxygen, sugar (good) is the simple process that we can visualize during our recovery. The bad stuff (toxins) are removed from the body by systems that include our skin, sweat, urine, lungs, rectum and even open wounds. The good stuff, like nutrients, fluids and oxygen are then delivered to the working muscles, the brain and the organs by the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. It’s like we have our own personal worker bees buzzing around inside our bodies doing damage control after we pummel ourselves with life, stress and workouts.

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Let’s talk about¬†the¬†right way to recover:

The recovery phase benefits that impacts our bodies can be broken down into several areas….

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1. Injury Prevention

In order to allow our body’s systems to work together effectively before the next tough workout, etc, our body must first restore key body abilities and functions. It’s important to regain this balance before we place additional demands and stress in order to prevent injuries. Pay attention to these:

  • muscle flexibility
  • joint range of motion
  • blood sugar levels
  • tendon flexibility
  • spine mobility
  • hand grip strength
  • bodily hydration levels
  • mental concentration

2. Better Performance
Most of us view recovery as “getting over” the tough workout and “getting back to normal”, right? Well that’s wrong! The truth is that vigorous workouts or challenges are more about creating an investment¬†into higher performance. By changing how we think about recovery phases, we can speed up our recovery and allow ourselves to both overcome the challenge that’s passed and to perform better and stronger with higher levels of energy and balance to our body and minds in the future.

3. Badass Levels of Confidence

Imagine you are an amazing athlete (which you are) with a perfect recovery plan (which you may need some work on, most of us do). You’re enjoying the results of preventing injuries and better performance (score!). Would you be confident as you move into your next workout? Would you have more energy and fire to take on new and seemingly “scary” exercise challenges? I think you’re saying that you would and you may even be saying, “BOOOYAH”

What it takes to recover effectively:

1. Hydrate.¬†This is something that’s quite easy to do and yet most of my clients admit skipping more often than they should. Did you know that your body is made up of 60% water – not sodas, not protein drinks, not energy drinks and not even Shakeology! ūüôā I repeat: 60 % WATER!! This means that at least 60% of our consumption must be pure water. It’s important to not that replacing lost fluids with water (and salt, electrolytes and calories) as soon as freaking possible after a workout is our top priority! (check out HYDRATE, I love it!)

2. Heat reduction. ¬†When we exercise in a hot environment, it’s crucial to cool the body’s core (chest = heart, lungs and organs) so we stay alive. Getting cool water to our heads, getting out of direct sunlight, enjoying some cool air or a cool breeze and drinking cold drinks will all help to cool our elevated body core temperature. I know it’s what we want to do because being overheated feels miserably hot…but it’s important to also understand what to do and why we do it.

3. Getting rid of the waste (not what you think).¬†¬†Getting your legs elevated, as well as some easy knee, ankle and toe motions in a cool environment will help to increase your body’s natural ability to get rid of the toxins in the muscles of your legs and hips. Do you even?

4. Refuel and replenish with nutrition. ¬†Did you know that the 30-minute window after a hard workout is the best time to get in a high-carb (yum!) and low-protein snack? This helps the body restore muscle glycogen and blood sugar levels. Don’t miss this window!!!

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5. Restore muscle balance.¬†It’s important to rebalance the chemicals, fluids, nutrients, sugars and flexibility within our bodies in order to help our muscles regain their functions. If not, this is when muscle contractions can occur because of complicated nerve and chemical reactions within these muscles.

6. Get some shut-eye¬†(sleep).¬†When we are busier than usual, one of the first areas to skimp on is sleep. But did you know that sleep affects every single cell inside of your body? Yes, every one of them! That’s a LOT of cells being affected. Sleep is the easiest, cheapest and yet, most important, part of your recovery. You’ll need at least 90 minutes to slow your brain and body down before your earlier bedtime. Stop using your smart phones, any and all electronics and loud music in this time frame in order to prepare your mind to embrace deeper sleep. A cool room with no light should be part of your nightly sleep pattern to master this critical step in your recovery plan.

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So, how can we recover properly?

Make recovery non-negotiable.

Make sure to plan your recovery into your daily routine just like tying your shoes before you jump into your workout or putting on your seatbelt before heading out onto the road. Don’t wait for soreness or pain to be your reminder to do so.

Examples:

  1. Morning stretch with coffee
  2. Arriving at morning workout with an ice pack and ace wrap in cooler for the drive to work
  3. Ride your bike to/from gym workouts
  4. Stretch for 3 songs after every workout

Don’t underestimate the power of the right foods and drinks.

Your body works freaking hard for you so it totally deserves to get the energy it needs from the best sources that are available: whole foods and not processed and man-made crap! Choose dark colored veggies, fruits, fresh, fish/chicken/beef and water are all perfect sources to replenish your body during it’s recovery phases. I like to use RECOVER and SHAKEOLOGY to help my body recover and run at it’s best.

Examples:

  • Post-workout berry/kale/veggie shakes or my shakeology ūüôā
  • Fish and veggies dinners 3x/week
  • Drink 3 bottles of water before lunch at work every day

Do more of what made you sore.

The day after a very hard workout is the perfect time to do a similar ‚ÄúMini-Me‚ÄĚ workout. Most people shy away from doing this because they assume it’s too soon¬†and¬†too uncomfortable.¬†But when did “comfortable” help us achieve new levels of success? Just make it a small workout though, and not the same exact workout you did the day before. For example, the total workload, weight, intensity, or distance should be no more than 10% of the previous day‚Äôs brutal workout. Does that make you feel better now? ūüôā The goal here is to get the muscles and joints to repeat the motions of the tough workout. This helps to restore healthy joint range of motion and muscle mobility while also helps to restore normal blood flow into the sore and fatigued muscles.

Example:

The day after your grueling workout:

  • Barefoot walk half a mile on level grass or sand while drinking water
  • Run ¬Ĺ mile on level grass or sand with running shoes
  • 2 burpees + sideshuffle 20 yards each way
  • 5 air squats
  • 2 pullups
  • Walk backwards 40 yards
  • Aggressive roller on legs, lats and back for 10 mins
  • Full-body stretch and an easy bike or swim for 10-30 minutes

Start sooner.

The sooner you start your recovery, the quicker you will make a full recovery. Don’t wait until after the soreness sets in to start because this will only delay the total recovery period. (and I don’t like to wait! LOL) Practice doing some “old school” style cool downs while the blood flow is still higher and the body is working hard to remove those high levels of toxins lingering in your muscles, blood and tissues.

Examples:

  • After every workout: 15-30 minutes of non-running cardio
  • Roller and stretch within 15 minutes after a workout
  • Have a pre-made recovery carbohydrate-heavy drink waiting for you after every workout (Shakeology and Recover are my go-to’s)

Listen to your inner warrior‚ÄĒyour body.

Our body has a natural and awesome ability to know what it needs to feel better and to heal itself. It always needs some TLC, so give it some. ‚̧ Sometimes it may be tough love that isn’t as comfortable or as fun but if it helps your body to do it’s job quicker and with less effort, you will be happier long term. Examples: If you’re sore, ice your muscles. If you’re feeling tight, then stretch! If you find yourself feeling like your legs feel dead or you have zero energy stores then cancel your run and do a yoga routine or intense stretch with some core work and schedule in a massage.¬†

Ice is your BFF.

Forget the ridiculous saying: 72 hours after an injury, switch to heat. It’s a lie because it only applies to a small percentage of injuries for high-level athletes. Injury Management rule of thumb:

If a body part is warm, red or swollen, ICE it.

Ice is an athlete’s best friend because it reduces pain and decreases inflammation.  Use an ice pack or bag for 15 minutes MAX.

 

Here are some more examples:

  1. Sitting in a cold shower, cold mountain stream or ice bath is a great way to use ice to reduce body inflammation, pain and‚ÄĒlet‚Äôs be honest‚ÄĒtoughen your mind.
  2. Using 1-minute ice/1-minute heat/repeat 3-6 times contrast therapy is an easy way to decrease swelling for a chronic injury that is not red or warm.
  3. For acute and chronic injuries, ice should be applied to the site of the injury.

Embrace massage, rollers, yoga and stretching…PUH-LEEZE~

I use a hard roller every night before I go to bed and as soon as I wake up in the morning. Too many people skip this and the effects add up sooner or later and I’d rather you not suffer the pains from something as simple as this step. As you age, flexibility and mobility become a higher priority. The use of rollers, massage, yoga, flexibility exercises, Pilates, and stretching is crucial for keeping your muscles pliable and your joints limber.

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Examples:

  1. Roller on legs and shoulders every morning and night
  2. Regularly scheduled massages
  3. Easy stretching with deep breathing should be comfortable and relaxing. If it’s painful, you’re being too aggressive and, therefore, not effective.

Changing the way you think about recovery.¬†This is the first step to embrace the benefits of mastering these critical recovery skills. Learn more by educating yourself, listening to your body, ask others for recovery tips, learn from your mistakes and put your recovery plan in place by planning it out like your workout. This will ensure you continue to handle yesterdays’ workout challenges and be ready to take on today’s.

Motivation: What is it and how do I get it?

What is motivation? How do you get it? How can you help motivate others?

These questions have always been factors in my personal and business success; as well as how I can help both my clients and my team mates.

So let’s start with “what is motivation”?

The dictionary defines it as the following:

Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.

Motivation results from the interaction of both conscious and unconscious factors such as the (1) intensity of desire or need, (2) incentive or reward value of the goal, and (3) expectations of the individual and of his or her peers. These factors are the reasons one has for behaving a certain way. An example is a student that spends extra time studying for a test because he or she wants a better grade in the class.

Yes, I Think I Can!!

Isn’t that interesting? I find that when the commitment level is highest, the results are more apt to follow. When we begin a new goal or challenge with mediocre interest and commitment, then we are met with either mediocre results or we will quit before we reach the goals because the desire wasn’t strong enough to push past obstacles. And there will be obstacles. Life will challenge us and if our commitment levels and intensity are strong enough, we will prevail. An example that helped me see this as truth was when I decided to commit to competing in a fitness competition. It is one thing to decide to compete, it changes when you commit in writing and in putting money down.

I had always desired to reach goals to compete on stage with professional fitness competitors. My biggest struggle has always been in following a nutrition plan as laid out no matter how unhappy it makes me at times. I love to workout and I love to eat. I know many others who will agree with me on these two facts. But in all reality, as I’m sure you know, we cannot exercise to un-do a bad eating plan. But what if we follow clean eating principles, you ask? right? (I know this because I too wondered about this) I ate a strict and clean diet. I eliminated processed foods, white sugars, white flours, fast foods, anything that contained ingredients that I didn’t recognize as whole foods or could not pronounce. Simple is best in my opinion. But simple wasn’t allowing me to reach the goals that I was dreaming of realizing.
What Is Pushing You Today?

Good enough¬†was definitely not good enough for me. I wanted to be at my peak; in both fitness and how I looked and felt. I wanted to drop my body fat below 20% and I wanted to feel like a badass. That’s about as technical as I get. So, I hired a professional fitness competitor to coach me in my workouts, meals, and training to walk and own the stage. I received a lot of negativity from people in my community and those who considered competing on stage a moral sin. That was definitely something I struggled to get past. In my heart and mind, I knew why I was doing this and it was not to “show off my body to others”. It was more about proving that I had what it took to take my commitment to the highest level I could imagine. What could be scarier than committing to walking across a stage in nothing but a bikini and heels and feeling like you’ve already won?

I wanted that. I wanted to conquer that fear.

before and after comp

So, I paid my trainer every month for 6 months to write me up the best workouts for my body to reach the goals I needed to win my trophy. She created meal plans and I signed up for the NPC competition in March of 2012. My husband and family supported me 100% and that was all I truly needed to feel confident with my support.

It was a grueling six months. I had never done anything as challenging as this in my entire life. The commitment level I took on was one I had never quite imagined I had in my reach. The plan was to workout for 6 days a week at the gym (or anywhere I could get the workouts done) and the workouts generally lasted 90 minutes to 2 hours a day.

No non-committed person would agree to this. If I hadn’t signed up for the event and tell my family and friends what I was doing, I may have easily dropped off when it became hard.

And it did become excruciatingly hard. I had decided to begin my training in October of 2011 and in my haste to register, hadn’t considered that I would be following the intense plan over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday events. My commitment level was set and I knew it would be hard but I still told everyone that I was going to stay strong.

During this season, I also earned a week at a resort for some Leadership training in my Beachbody business. This meant that I would be a guest at a 5 Star Resort overlooking Dana Point harbor in California. All food and drinks were included. The gorgeous room and all the accommodations were paid for. I could have easily decided to “just enjoy” the foods that were served and do my best to stick to the clean foods, right?

Wrong! That would not be the highest level of commitment that I was working towards. So what to do? I asked my trainer/coach what she had done in her training seasons as she traveled. The answer was to pre-plan all of my foods ahead of time. Then call the hotel and ask them to set me up in a room with a mini refrigerator because of my “medication” needs. I knew this wasn’t completely true but in my reasoning, I figured that medications meant my daily requirements for my goals in staying true to my needs and this is exactly what it was. I packed up my foods in plastic containers, brought my supplements with me and planned to do my workouts in the hotel gym in the early mornings before the conferences began.

All in all, I did it. And it was absolutely fabulous to know I stuck to my promises and succeeded in my goals.

When we are committed to this level, nothing can throw us off track. Life will always challenge us in new and unexpected ways and it’s up to us to prove to life that we are not going to back down. If we back down, we are not as dedicated to the goals as we said or thought we were.

True story.

I took that stage and won not one, but two trophies that day. I took away 2nd place in my division (and I was truly one of the oldest competitors, at 40 years of age); as well as 3rd place in the overall division (which means out of all the competitors)! I was ecstatic and felt like I could take over the world.

So what about the desire to motivate others? Once you are motivated to degrees that propel you along no matter what may come in your way…there comes a time we hope to motivate others to reach their own goals.

The easiest answer is to live your best life. Become the best version of yourself. I work in the fitness and health industry, as well as in the network marketing industry. This means that I want to motivate not only my clients and customers, but also my team mates who have desires to succeed in their own business and financial goals. Emotion, however is timeless. I can want the success for my clients and teammates more than they truly want it themselves; and if I don’t understand this fact, I could easily overwhelm myself and decide to quit on my own goals.

You cannot change people but you can always point them in the right direction and lead through your own lifestyle, results and actions. This is what I live for every day. I’ve inspired my family, friends and many in my community to take the initiative in their goals and there is no better feeling than the feeling of someone thanking you for helping them change their life. There is nothing better than seeing your children adopt habits and goals that far outweigh any of their peers because of your lead. There is nothing better than being the best you can be and living up to your goals through the challenges of life.

This is why a mentor or a coach is critical to your success. Remember how I had my own trainer to help me with my competition goals? I, myself, have been a personal trainer for over 20 years…and yet I hired my own trainer/coach with my goals. Why? Because I knew I was taking my commitment to higher levels and unknown territories and who better to help me than someone who’s been there before? A mentor/coach will give you a plan and consistently push you to rise up further. A mentor/coach will not allow you to become complacent and finding a mentor/coach will spark your mind because you are already playing the game at a higher level than you have ever done before.

If you would like to get started on our next goal and need some help and mentoring, I am looking for new and committed clients to do just that! There are many options in getting started but let’s start here; fill in the form below and click submit and I’ll reach out to you to talk about the best plan for you. Nobody will see your answers but me! ūüôā

 

A glimpse into our NO SUGAR private forum

Here we are only 3 1/2 days left of the 14 Day NO SUGAR challenge and I’m a bit surprised at how well it’s gone. You’d think with cutting out all sugars; real and artificial, healthy options and natural options – that life would get a bit crazy and uncontrollable, right?

I thought so too..but these ladies that are part of the challenge this month are rockstars and hardcore committed to finishing stronger than they started. I’ve also done better than I’d imagined since I didn’t even think I needed to stay strong because I’ve done this before (excuses much???) but when I say I’ll do something, I stick to my word. What’s life without having integrity?

Today I will share actual comments and shares from these women who are keeping me motivated every day and helped me bypass a fancy ice cream waffle cone this past weekend, that was decorated in the shape of a rose. ūüôā

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NO SUGAR CHALLENGE Challenger comments:

“It’s getting easier to turn down foods and drink with sugar in it. I started the challenge well, then got hit hard by cravings and hostility (who knew I’d be so bitter!). Now I’m nearing the end, and am fighting every day to finish well. I went to another dinner tonight where I could’ve easily taken one bite or sip and no one would have ever known. But I would know. I couldn’t undo all the hard work. I couldn’t let down the other women in my challenge group. I wanted to say ‘yes,’ many times, but actively chose to say ‘NO.’ Gonna finish strong.
As hard as I’m fighting for food health, I need to also fight for my body. I feel a cold coming on; I made an executive decision to sit this one out. My body needed the rest, so no workout today.”
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“Yesterday I had a non scale victory when a friend told me it looked like I lost weight! I have been trying to cut and lean out from body beast. I was excited to hear that even though the scale hasn’t moved a ton, which I am totally okay with.”

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“I am grateful that today was the second day I woke up early and did my t25 speed workout. Burpees involve a little hop to the back. I am glad I can do that since my shoulder was out of commission all year. I’m hoping to get stronger day by day.”

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“I am seeing RESULTS! 21-Day fix with Shakeology…I’m not getting hungry because I’m eating the right things before I feel that “ravenous” feeling I used to get when cutting calories. Now I never get there and I know what to reach for!”

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“I am so grateful for all the wonderful new friends I have made in these groups! All of you have been so great and supportive -“

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So, I’m not done clearing out the sugar yet, but I had a dream last night and I refused to eat sugary treats even while sleeping!#breakthrough¬†“

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“My change I made this week is that I went grocery shopping, took my time and made sure to get what I had on list not just rushing through grabbing unhealthy choices that fill the belly! Felt great plus I have eaten breakfast everyday this week and can notice I feel so much better!!!!”

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Do you see how I’ve been able to stick to this for almost 14 days now? If it was just me, honestly, I would have easily caved during the weekend ice cream treat. Who wouldn’t, right? I know I may have seemed a bit psychotic in passing up the gorgeous treat but it was more of a victory to stick to the goals that I had made for myself. We all wrote out a contract to follow and are working towards earning a reward we’ve promised ourselves if we finish the challenge without giving in…and there is also a punishment for not following through and we have to “give up” something in exchange for slipping up.

Easy? Not really, but if the goal and the commitment is strong enough then the practice becomes easier to handle as our bodies, minds and willpower get strengthened. What is your biggest vice of the moment and would you be willing to forego the habit for 14 days?

How do you lose weight and keep it off for good?

How do you lose weight and keep it off for good? Have you been trying to lose weight and not sure why you keep repeating the same cycle? Lose weight, gain weight. Lose weight, gain weight. What is it that is creating this never-ending cycle of craziness?¬†¬†Have you ever called yourself a “failure” and considered¬†giving up altogether and just admitting defeat?

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I know that pain. I was stuck in it for over 15 years and now that I’ve found balance; I’m not surprised that most of the people I talk to today are also stuck in this cycle, with no idea how to get out.

I will be honest about weight loss. It is one of the hardest balances to maintain because of how we go about it. We treat weight loss as though food is the enemy. Yes, food can act like a drug at times by how it makes us feel; but it is not the problem. The real issues lie in how we perceive foods and how we feel about ourselves over years of ups and downs. Think about it; an alcoholic or a chain-smoker would need to give up their vice “cold turkey” in order to become free from the “drug” addictions, right? But with foods, you would¬†die¬†if you gave it up. So what do we do instead?

We take the next step that usually seems so “easy” which is to follow the hyped “diets plans” that promise quick results and the perfect body just by simply following their “magic plan”.

Well, I’m going to burst that bubble for you right now because it’s been going on for much too long now.

There is NO MAGIC PLAN OR SOLUTION! NONE!

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There will never be a magic pill that can do what we need it to do for our bodies and there will never be a food or a secret that will be unveiled in order for us to reach our goals and dreams for that desired body shape and weight we have always dreamt of.

Why? Because by focusing on these “bandaids” to our problems, we are never getting to the core. So, what should we do instead?

Honestly, it takes gosh-darned hard work. Yes, there are going to be some ways to make it all easier (as I will share with you what has worked for me) but the work and the effort will all still be a non-negotiable for your own success. Bummer, right? Actually, I believe this is really the silver lining that we’ve been searching for all this time. Since we are not true “failures” any longer, but just simply failing at a no-win solution; we have more power than we ever thought possible!

I have found that we tend to fall into two categories that seem to be hurting our efforts:

  1. We eat well below what is necessary for our bodies to sustain it’s primary needs. And then we expect our bodies to sustain the needs as we add in extra exercise, (which is just more stress) and “diet/processed” foods (which do nothing to fuel our bodies in any way at all, and instead start to break it down) ¬†– AND/OR –
  2. We eat what we want, when we want it because we consider the fact that we can work out and exercise to the point of over training. We also may be using energy inducing products/caffeine drinks, thinking that this will all help to “burn it all off” and more… ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Well, both of these methods are failures.

Would you succeed at first?

Sure! But that’s not saying much at all. Take for example, one diet I have seen in the past called, “the candy bar diet”. ¬†I remember hearing all about it and thinking “Wow! Eat all the candy that you want and still LOSE WEIGHT??” #genius, right?

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!

Oh my goodness, that’s a tempting thought when we are stuck in these viscous cycles of craving sugars, fats and unhealthy foods but this is NOT going to help us at all!

Consider just for a moment, all of the foods and all of  the choices we eat in a given day or week. Now think for a moment of cutting them ALL out; one by one. What would happen, at first? Obviously if we are eating less; foods and food groups, we will lose some weight, right?  OF COURSE! This has always been the case, and probably why we get stuck in this cycle.

So for example, in the Atkins diet you cut out most everything that isn’t high protein and fat. Even in this “candy bar” diet, you are cutting out MOST everything that is good for you but the body only knows the fact that’s it’s getting in lower calories and less food choices. ¬†So, it will lose weight in the beginning. Now think for a moment, what this looks like inside of your body.

If you are eating LESS calories but it’s all filled with TOO much of something that will lead to¬†another bigger problem; and later down the road, leads to¬†health problems and health scares?¬†¬†Too much sugar? Leads to more weight gain over time; leads to diabetes, leads to heart issues, and more. How about too much protein? How about too many carbs? How about too much additives? How about too much of¬†everything???

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Now, change needs to happen; and it needs to happen with us first understanding that we are not just here to reach this magical number on the scale. We must focus, instead, on the true health benefits of what we are doing to ourselves day after day.

Now I know it’s not as¬†sexy¬†to consider our health and our long-term good habits versus just losing some weight for summer season or a reunion or a wedding, right? But this IS honestly the #1 reason that we are becoming more obese and more unhealthy and that we are creating more health issues for ourselves than anything else. We need to stop this¬†NOW!!! Are you with me?

If you’d like to learn more about the tips and strategies that have helped me and my clients in finding a better way and a natural balance for your life, please fill out the info below and I’ll contact you to to chat.

 

Why Diets Make Us Fatter

Diets do not work.

They are simply temporary fixes – or bandaids – to a deeper issue. There is always a deeper reason that we overeat, undereat and deal with our emotions with foods. It has nothing to do with the foods; except that it helps us deal with certain issues. It’s really just our “drug of choice”.

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The problem only grows worse because the diet industry¬†feeds¬†(pun intended) on this fact. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that is counting on our emotional eating issues and confidence struggles in keeping us caught in the yo-yo dieting cycle. It all starts because we want to reach a desired weight or body image (for me, it was always about having abs, after giving birth to 3 kids). So we find the latest diet craze and decide that this time, we are going to achieve our life long goals and begin our new crash diet.

Sound familiar? There are about 54% of the U.S. population who are trying to lose weight at any given time…like right now. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that includes diet supplements, diet books, packaged and processed foods that promote the desired weight loss.

But the weight loss results usually don’t stick around long enough for us to enjoy. We will usually regain the weight (and sometimes more) and repeat the process again and again. The typical “dieter” tries at least 4 new plans each year. The mentality we share is to get on and get off of any diet as quickly and as painlessly as possible, right? I know this totally describes my past issues and struggles as a self-proclaimed “dieter”. The only way for lasting success to happen, is to follow a sensible plan that we can sustain as a new lifestyle plan.

So I repeat again,¬†diets¬†do not work. They are not meant to stick. There is another way. It’s called “balance”.

Here are the steps to finding your own balance:

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1. Stop finding comfort in foods

This one was a biggie for me. I’d get stressed out, for any reason at all, and turn to food for comfort. It was my drug of choice. And the biggest problem with using foods as a drug is that we can’t just quit “cold turkey”…we¬†need¬†food to live so how to get past this problem? Find out what the root of the issues are first. Where did the stress start; and how do you usually deal with that feeling of stress? Once this has been established, we can then create a plan of action to work on instead of diving into the pantry and refrigerator. I like to make a list of strategies I can turn to instead of foods. I can then find one of the items on my list and enjoy this time of distraction instead of eating my way through the kitchen cabinets. My favorites? Spending time with my family; going for a walk (even just 10 minutes outside can change our outlook) and checking in with my challenge group on Facebook. I know when I surround myself with those who struggle too and who are working on similar good health habits; I tend to feel less isolated and can move forward with more confidence.

2. Reset your goals

Life is full of events and needing to “look our best”, am I right? Summer vacations, weddings, and reunions are just a few examples of why we would typically start a new “diet” to slim down for. But again, once the event has passed, we return to our old habits of eating whatever and whenever and turning again to foods for comfort and solace. When we are focusing on quick weight loss again and again; our bodies become less interested in responding because it’s not quite sure when it’s going to get more foods and quality calories again. Remember, our bodies do not want to¬†die.¬†(and that’s pretty cool, in my opinion!) If short term goals are your problem, create longer term goals instead. Create milestones of smaller achievements like joining a walking club, or signing up for your first 5k and then looking for a new challenge once that is achieved. This keeps life more interesting and we take the focus off of the scale and put it into our successes and long term journey.

3. Ditch that scale!

I know that when we begin a new diet, the whole point is to weigh less on the scale. We focus all of our success on what that silly scale registers at on any given day and time. I’ve been guilty of feeling absolutely ecstatic about my success when I was eating close to nothing and working out most hours of my day; only to fall to pieces if the scale registered just a half a pound more than the previous “weigh in”. That’s unacceptable to me now. I have since gotten rid of my scale and I do not measure my success in that device any longer. I find that taking weekly or monthly pictures of myself is a great way to see actual shifts in my body. I enjoy the simple act of seeing my inches shrink as I measure my body’s results every month too. (and bonus; as this difference equals less body fat too!) Just learning that our body can fluctuate on the scale in more ways than we can predict. Some examples are, how much water we are retaining; how hydrated we are; what time of day we are weighing in; what time of the month it is…and so on. Research actually shows that women who focus their success solely on counting calories and restricting their foods are more stressed out and have higher levels of cortisol, which only leads to more overeating.¬†I like to empower myself in choosing a plan that makes me feel my best and eating the foods I enjoy without feeling deprived or ravenous.¬†This makes it easier to stick to the plans and see results longer term.

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4. Don’t be afraid to share with others

Tracking what you eat every day can help you lose up to 2X the amount of weight as people who just guesstimate it. But I’m not just talking about writing it down on paper. Social networking and challenge groups that I run every month, gives us something we can’t get from just a food diary. We get that virtual support of others who are dealing with their own struggles alongside of us. It’s so much easier for me to pass up my weekend treats when I know that there are a group of other women who are staying strong with me. I know this is the #1 reason I can stay accountable to my goals in the past few years.

5. Pick up the pace on your motivation

Our motivation can also yo-yo along the way. It’s at these times that we need to refocus on our goals and long term results when we contemplate skipping our workout or decide we aren’t as excited about our progress as before. Have you ever heard how endorphin highs can help us feel like we took a “happy pill”? It’s true and can be realized wether we jump into an activity or surround ourself with positive energy.

These are some basic areas to get started on ditching the nasty diet syndrome for good. Like I mentioned above, the monthly support groups that we hold are responsible for motivating me (and many others) and keeping me on track without the previous up and down yo-yos that would occur without any fun and structure.

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If you are interested in some info on joining our next group, fill in the info below and I’ll contact you shortly: