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Friday, December 21, 2012

It's all in the core

Did you know that when you neglect your core, you develop poor posture that leads to injury, tightness, poor range of motion, difficulty in performing regular everyday tasks like bending over to pick up a basket of laundry, etc.? And did you know that when you neglect your core, the weak muscles need help so other muscles have to pick up the slack resulting in injury, soreness, poor balance, and loss of motion? And did you know that strengthening your core can alleviate low back pain?

Even when we are on a fitness program, we don't always give our core the attention it needs to perform its best. This can be especially true if you are one that relies on the nautilus equipment. Free weights engage the core so much more than that equipment. I am not a fan of it. Also, it's designed to fit the "average" sized person, whatever that means.... If you prefer to do weights, use the free weights and a stability ball or stand when you can.

Our core is our center. Without out a strong core, little things start to become challenging in our day to day lives. The problem with losing strength in the core, is that it's a gradual thing that you don't notice until its pretty far gone. The good news, you can fix it.

Don't get me wrong. You shouldn't place all of your focus on strengthening your core. You need a good balance. My point is to stop neglecting it and realize that if you are having any of the issues I listed above, a weak core is most likely to blame.

There are MANY core strengthening movements that you can experiment with. If you need suggestions, there are numerous example online. YouTube even has demonstrations on how to perform exercises. Never do anything that causes pain. Listen to your body. If it hurts, skip it and move on to something else. But whatever you do....don't neglect your core.

I will be taking a break from writing through Christmas. Try to stay focused and don't let yourself get off track. Get some exercise and don't eat everything in sight. Have a great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One step at a time

Making a lifestyle change takes a lot of time. If you jump in with both feet, it makes it so much harder to keep it going. Just thinking about the list of bad habits that need to be changed is overwhelming. This is a cycle that many get stuck in. It doesn't mean you're incapable of success. It only means you need to slow it down.

There may be people in your life that are able to succeed at things when they jump in with both feet. And watching them succeed may make you feel like it's easier for them and may make you feel discouraged. It's important to focus on YOU and the changes that YOU need to make and how YOU can successfully make the changes you need to make to live healthy. It's important to stop comparing your results to others and stop beating yourself up when you need to take a different approach then so and so.

Make a mental list of your bad habits. Write them down on paper if it helps you. Put it where you can see it daily. Whatever helps remind you of what changes you need to make. Take it slow and conquer one or two at a time. Start with the easy ones. It has been said that will power is a learned behavior, and this is a technique that helps you improve your will power. Maybe one of your bad habits is skipping breakfast. Make it a point to get a healthy breakfast in every day then move on to the next habit. Once you overcome one, move on to the next.

Will power isn't easy for everyone, and not everyone has the same habits they struggle with. Focus on you're own will power struggles and overcome them one by one.

Good luck on kicking bad habits, one by one! And don't move onto the next until you've got the current habit under total control. I hope this helps you with your healthy journey. Every little thing counts!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Find what you love

I may be naive in thinking this, but I have a hard time believing that we can't all find some form of exercise that we really enjoy. I think it's all about variety and attitude. Mind over matter. So many people have a negative attitude about exercise, but I believe this is a result of not finding something you enjoy.

Usually people have a certain routine that they like to stick to. It probably gets the job done. It probably gets you the results you're looking for. At least for awhile. It's like a comfort zone. You probably have it pretty perfected by now. You know what you're doing and feel pretty confident when doing it.

Let's talk about why variety is so important in fitness...... For starters, it is so boring to do the same thing every single time! You may be pumped in the beginning and give it all you've got, but then you grow tired of it and stop pushing yourself so hard, dread the workout, and eventually just stop doing it at all. In addition to the mental staleness you experience with monotony, your body will begin to experience something very similar. It will catch on to what you're doing after about 3-4 weeks of a routine. You will see changes during this time, but after 3-4 weeks, changes slow down or even stop when our bodies have adapted to the routine. This is one of the things you can blame the plateau on. After this time period, if you don't add intensity in some way, you will stop seeing progress.

Having said all of that, it is most important to enjoy what you're doing if you intend on having success. If you hate to run, but you always associate running with exercise and never venture out and try new things, you're most likely not going to stick with it for the long haul. If your idea of a workout is going to the gym and using the nautilus equipment, and you dread it every single time, the odds of keeping it up are not in your favor.... Don't allow yourself to become stagnant. Don't allow yourself to become bored. Don't allow yourself to be afraid of trying something new.

I have heard a lot of people say "I've always wanted to run, but I just can't". I don't believe that. You may be in no shape to go on a 3 mile run today, but with the right training and right frame of mind, I'm sure you can meet that goal. Find a passion. Something you've always wanted to learn. Something you've always wanted to try or master. I encourage you to set a goal and work toward it. You will have speed bumps. There will be challenges. But stay focused and accomplish that goal. No one can stop you, but you.

If you are tired of your routine, go to workout program, ask yourself what type of goal you would like to set. What do you want to learn to do? But don't stop there. Don't get stuck in monotony. Variety is very important mentally and physically in exercise. Mix it up. Keep it interesting and fun. Learn to make changes when you get bored so that you keep moving forward. Find a friend that is in similar physical condition and conquer a goal together. Whatever you do, have a good time! Quit turning to the boring routine that doesn't motivate you. You will see amazing changes when you learn to enjoy your exercise and look forward to it.

Today is the day to start! Good luck to you with your goals!! Have fun!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Curve balls

Life throws us curve balls. One right after the other, so it sometimes seems. How do you let it affect you? How do you react?

So many times, you get on a program and you're diligently sticking to it for a good period of time, when, from out of nowhere, life throws something unexpected at you. Maybe you are injured or ill and have to take a rest. Maybe you have some sort of major stress that steels you away. Maybe you get extremely swamped with something and just can't stay on track. It happens to us all. And the natural response to something so drastic, is to become paralyzed by it. And sometimes that's necessary. Sometimes you have no choice.

When something comes at you in this way, what's your reaction? When you have to take a break from your fitness program, do you just throw in the towel on the health plan as well? Do you give up completely? When stress gets the best of you and you begin to revisit some of your old bad eating habits, do you still make yourself get out there and burn off those calories? Try to stay on top of it so that all of the hard work isn't a total loss?

It is hard to get back in the swing of a routine that takes work and discipline when you are struggling with something. It is hard to stick with it when life isn't going so smooth and you are overwhelmed.

When life throws you a curve ball, you need to do your best not to give yourself permission to just give up all together. You need to hold on to those results from all of the hard work you put in. Those results you earned. And when life throws something at you that steals your focus, you need to not let it win.

We are going to get off track sometimes. We are going to mess up. Get distracted. Backslide. It's all part of the challenge of living a healthy lifestyle. You do your best and don't let it control you. And when you DO have to take a break from exercise for whatever reason, or feel too overwhelmed to continue pushing yourself due to certain circumstances, you need to work through it and get back at right away.

If we can learn how to work through our struggles, we have a far better chance of success. If we can keep going and never give up, even when life throws a speed bump in front of us, we have a much better chance of success. When you get off track, it's important to try your best to maintain what's already been accomplished, so that when the time of struggle passes, you are picking up where you left off.

Nobody likes to start over, so never give up!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Little things matter

There are so many little everyday things that we can all focus on to improve our health. We tend to get lazy with the little things, but they really do matter. Practicing poor posture, sending the kids to grab your slippers for you, driving to the mailbox instead of walking, etc. Think about what a difference it could make in your overall health if you removed laziness from your daily life in these small ways.

In addition to these things, there are little extra things that you can focus on during the day to improve your health. Stand up straight. Contract your core as much as you can. Pull your belly button in. This will tighten your core. When getting up from a chair, don't use your hands. This engages your core. Plus its easier on the chair.... Don't be afraid to get on the floor. Practice getting up and down from the floor so that's its not something you try to avoid. Lay on the floor and stand up several times a day. If you don't use it, you lose it! When you are waiting for a table in a restaurant, stand. Why do we have to sit? You can sway from side to side to add a little movement to it. Get up and do some sort of exercise movement during a commercial break instead of hitting fast forward.

These small things all add up at the end of the day. You would be surprised if you paid attention to all of the small ways you can be lazy. And before you know it, it's a chore to tie your shoes or get up from a chair. Focus on these and make changes when you catch yourself in a lazy moment. You will see a difference.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Think about it.....

My husband was telling me awhile back about an article he read on how bad wheat is for you. Naturally, I argued with him..... But then I stumbled on the same article and others just like it, claiming how bad wheat is for us and that eliminating wheat from the diet has made drastic health improvements among people suffering from SO MANY illnesses. I have a cousin (young woman) who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, and when I shared this with her she couldn't wait to start trying it. So today I'm just going to post that article. Go read it. It's something to think about!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Opinion

I'm not a very political person, but I have my beliefs and I understand things a lot better than I can talk about them. I learn a lot from my brother who is extremely educated in this area. I don't want to start a debate, but I want to point out my opinion on how taking care of yourself is more important than ever before.

With the new Obama Care coming into effect, we are going to lose the ability to make decisions for our own healthcare. Those of us that didn't want this, need to do our part. With the government taking control over your treatment options, doesn't it make sense to try to do everything you can to fight health issues off by making a lifestyle change? We can blame so many health issues on bad habits. No exercise= lack of cardiovascular health along with many other issues. A diet rich in fat= high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. A diet rich in refined sugar= diabetes. And all of these result in obesity which contributes to a whole other list of health issues. And I'm only pointing out a few....

Did you know that you can reverse, improve, and even cure a HUGE list of health issues through diet and exercise? Instead of slapping a bandaid on it and taking a pill, why not be responsible and try to prevent, reverse, or improve your condition? Why not try to prolong the onset of health issues into old age? I understand there are genetic reasons that some of us suffer from certain health issues. That doesn't mean you can't improve your condition through healthy choices. That doesn't mean you can't prolong bigger problems due to certain health issues by taking proper care of yourself.

A lot of us feel as though we have lost in this area. And I agree. And that's my opinion. But I know that I can do my part to control my own health by eating responsibly and exercising regularly. It doesn't have to be about being at your dream weight, or about looking good in a bikini. Although those are great goals to have, they shouldn't be your primary focus. Trying to control your own health should be a great motivator and a great reason to quit making excuses for living an unhealthy lifestyle. Do your part and pray every day that you never have to give up that control over your own health.

As I already said, this is my opinion. As Americans, I believe we are irresponsible with our bodies. And what I do know is that I can rest easy knowing that I am doing my part to prevent illness. I will not say that living healthy makes you immune to anything. But we have for sure learned that unhealthy living WILL catch up to you. It's just a matter of time.

Do your part. Be responsible and do your best to control your own health so that you later don't lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.

That's my opinion......

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

I am subscribed to Joel Osteen's daily devotion by email, and today he said something that was worded so well for the point I am always trying to drive home. "The key is to keep moving forward in your spiritual journey one step at a time. Keep your eyes forward and don’t get stuck in the past." I love this because there is no mention of quitting and starting over. He says to not look back.

When you become a christian, you never go back and get stuck in the past. You may hit some bumps in the road, take some wrong turns, get way off track and need help finding your way back, but you never get stuck in your past. You always try to be better. Try to do better. And although, at times, you may get stuck in one place in your walk for a time, you regroup, pull it together, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward.

Your health and fitness journey resembles this so much. It's a day to day thing. You take it one day at a time. "The key is to keep moving forward"!! Don't take your eyes off of what's ahead of you. Don't look back, unless its to see how far you've come. Don't let doubts and fears keep you down. If you have a speed bump, deal with whatever it is and continue on when you're able. Just never get stuck in the past. You don't belong there.

Pray about your journey. God gives us strength in everything we need it for. And He wants you to take care of yourself. He will provide you with what you need to keep going.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Eating

I don't know what it is about the cold weather and Holidays that makes people want to eat, but I am guilty! All of the good food smells, tempting sweets, and winter dishes are so hard to resist. The best advice I can give you is to stay focused throughout the season, and indulge on Christmas and New Year's. Two days of indulging is far better than weeks or even months of eating whatever you want. Don't keep the goodies in the house. Reserve it for the Holidays.

I am a weekend eater.... I eat clean all week, then allow myself to enjoy my favorite things on the weekends. This works for me, but it may not work for you. Especially if you binge on your favorite things and pack on 5 pounds in 2 days. It's all about self control and moderation. I allow myself to indulge on the weekends, but I keep it under control and still get my exercise in. I am not perfect. There are weekends that I take a rest and just relax, but my normal habits are to make sure I get in a good workout each day and try to keep my cheating to just a couple of my meals, instead of blowing it from Friday night through Sunday night.

Everyone is different. If you are trying to lose weight, this may not work for you. You have to pay attention to how your body responds to your habits. You need to stay focused on your goals, even when you cheat. Think about how this will affect your efforts and your goals. I do find it helpful to allow yourself some sort of cheat at least once a week, as long as it isn't holding you back from your goals.

I may not have the best advice on how to resist all of the winter temptations. I understand how hard it is this time of year for most people to stay focused. And I understand that this is a time to gather with loved ones, and that when we gather, we eat. But, I believe that learing to stay focused is the key. Keep your mind set on your goals. Ask yourself if this indulgence is worth it? This temporary satisfaction may not be worth ruining all of your hard work over. Think about the guilt trip that will soon follow. Think about all the times you have started over. How easily you got to the point of having to start over. How frustrating that is. It's such a mental thing. You have to get control of your own mind and stop allowing it to trick you into giving up that control.

I know it's beginning to get cold out there, but get outside and get some exercise. Don't let the cold weather keep you inside. I hate the cold. I don't enjoy it for a minute. But, did you know that your body burns more calories trying to keep itself warm than it does trying to cool itself off? I say take advantage of that! Get out there and walk for half an hour. Go for a jog. Forget the treadmill.... Take advantage of the extra calorie burning boost you get in this cold weather.

Thank you for taking a minute to read my blog. My goal is to inspire healthy living and encourage you to get and stay focused. You can do it. I know you can. Anyone can. No, it's not easy. If it were easy, there would be no problem. But it is rewarding. All things that take work are rewarding.

This time of year, you may be telling yourself that you are going to get focused at the beginning of the new year. New Year, new you. And I think that's great!! If you need help from me, never hesitate to email me. I would love to help you find a plan that gets you the results you need, and works for you so that you have no excuses to quit. If you don't live near me, I may still be able to help. So you can't allow that to be one of your excuses!;) You don't have to wait for the new year to start. Today is also a good day to get started!! Good luck to you on accomplishing your goals!! My email is

Friday, December 7, 2012

Skinny Isn't Fit

As a girl, I know what it's like to want to be the skinniest you can be. I don't know why we get into this mindset, but we do. We all do.

After I had my second child, all I wanted was to get my body back to where it was before I had kids. Eventually I got determined to accomplish that goal and began starving myself and watching the pounds fall off. When I finally reached that goal, I began to realize how extreme I had to be to maintain the unrealistic goal I had set for myself. I wasn't able to consume more that 600 calories per day. Anytime I ate anything bad, I immediately felt guilty. I weighed myself daily and deprived myself of food. I was obsessed.

Over time, this lifestyle started taking a tole on me. It was such a gradual thing that I didn't realize how terrible I was feeling. I enjoyed being skinny and that was all I cared about. Then eventually I started to realize how out of shape I was. How bad my cardio was. I started noticing that I just didn't feel good most of the time. I was usually freezing. I couldn't keep my body temperature comfortable. I was moody (probably because I was hungry, haha). I would get up off the couch and get winded. I began having anxiety. I could keep going......

I remember thinking that I was too young to feel like this. And I'm skinny, so I'm healthy. Right? Wrong! I wasn't physically active. And I was practically starving myself every day to be thin.

Finally I decided to start exercising. This was super hard because as I increased my fitness level, and gained muscle, some of my clothes started to fit tighter and that number was going up on the scale. But I felt so good. Better than I could remember feeling in years. So I kept going. I had a daily battle with myself over the change in my size. But when I deprived myself of the appropriate amount of calories, I would feel sick during and after a workout. Eventually I got so tired of that sick feeling, that I quit trying to be an unhealthy skinny me. Now my focus is on being a FIT me. And I have to say, it's still hard sometimes to be ok with that. But I won't go back to that unhealthy lifestyle ever again.

I know that I'm not the only girl in the world that has struggled with this. I know that so many of us desire to be at an unrealistic weight or size, and take drastic measures to get there. Let me tell is WAY more fun to be fit and healthy and feel good, and be a healthy realistic weight, than it ever was for me to be unhealthy and super skinny.

There is a good chance that if you are struggling with this, you are lying to yourself about it. You tell yourself you eat....tell yourself you're not too thin....tell yourself you get plenty of exercise because of (insert reason here).... It's time to face the truth. And if you're just starting out on a weight loss journey, or in the middle of one, I pray that you pay attention to this and don't let yourself fall into this way of thinking. Think healthy thoughts.

Be happy with healthy! Stop trying to be skinny and focus on being fit and healthy! Skinny is NOT fit.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Designated Gear

It's natural to kind of categorize our wardrobes. We have certain things we wear to work, out on dates, casual wear for just everyday life, etc..... It's unlikely that you would put on a beach dress to attend a business meeting, or wear your work clothes to clean the house.

Society sort of sets standards on what is appropriate attire for designated functions, and we go along with that. And that's good, in my opinion. What happens is that you mentally associate certain articles of clothing with specific events. So when you put on a certain outfit, you're mentally prepared for whatever you are about to do.

Athletic wear can be comfortable. A lot of people lounge on the couch, watching TV, eating cookies, in the same shirt and pants we would wear for our workout. And in most cases, there is way more time spent lounging in those clothes, than there is working out in them. This is a bad idea! When you start to confuse laziness with the total opposite of laziness....what do you think is going to happen? When you put on those sweat pants, your brain starts thinking "it's couch time".

I have certain shoes and clothes I wear for running and working out. When I put them on, I get a little fired up. They make me feel mentally focused on what I'm about to do. Plus I get a lot more wear out of them by doing this.

It is important to have designated gear that prepares you mentally for your workout. It doesn't have to be expensive, but I encourage you to buy good stuff. You may not be the type of person that has discipline issues, but for those of you that need all the pointers you can get, you need to try this.

Hope this gives you something new to think about and helps you get and stay focused. Email me anytime you have questions or just need pointers or encouragement!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Interval Training

Interval training is something that has been used by elite athletes in the past, but is becoming more popular among the average person as a way to get the most out of a workout in the least amount of time. It is something that anyone can do to rev up a workout.

Interval training is just adding short bursts of increased intesity to your exercise program. For example; if you are a walker, add short bursts of 20-30 seconds of jogging periodically during your warm up and  increase to 2-3 minute bursts.

Anytime you increase intensity, there are risks of injury. It is important to pay attention to your body and not do too much too fast. Interval training is a safe and effective fitness plan, but may not be appropriate for everyone. Always check with your doctor if you have existing health issues that could be cause for concern with placing added stress on your body.

By alternating short bursts of intense exercise with easier intervals, it reduces muscle soreness resulting in more comfortable exercise. Having to maintain high intensity for long periods of time is difficult for many, so they never get the intense workout they need to see real change. By adding intensity through intervals, you are able to successfully maintain intensity throughout the full workout.

There are many levels of interval training, but if you are just wanting to add varity to your workout, you can detrimine the length and speed of each interval. One of the reasons I prefer this type of workout is because of the variety. If I want to do strictly cardio one day, I can enhance the workout with intervals. If it's storming outside and I need something quick I can do in the house, I can create circuits of push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, high knees, planks, burpies, running in place, crunches, etc.

Other benefits to this type of exercise program are that you do not need to purchase any equiptment, it is both aerobic and anaerobic, it keeps your metabolism going for days, it builds muscle without going to the gym or having to use weights, it improves stamina, you will burn more calories in a shorter period of time, and you won't get bored.

If you need help coming up with a program that works for you, please email me and I can help you get started. I promise you will enjoy this and benefit from it. Most of us have crazy busy lives and this is a great way to get a great workout in without having to devote a ton of time to it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Save Some Tricks

When you make a lifestyle change, the initial motivator is usually weight loss. We have an image in our head of what we want to look like, or a number we want to see on the scales, or a pair of jeans we want be able to wear again one day.

Goals are important in keeping us motivated. It's a good idea to have goals stored up so that you never stop focusing. They keep us from failing. Maybe you want to be a certain dress size, and after that learn to run, and after that learn to run a 5k.... You have to "keep the dream alive".

What I wanted to hit on today, is that it is important not to use up all of your tricks in the beginning. When your journey begins, you're usually very motivated and impatient. The problem with diving in, instead of slowly sinking in, is that when you hit the plateau, you have nowhere to go.

We find success when we get outside of our comfort zone. When you are training, your body adapts. It begins to settle in. This takes about four weeks. You will begin to see your weight loss slow down, your exercise routine will get easier, and those sore muscles will have disappeared.

The same is true for dieting. When you start a weight loss journey by just eliminating or extremely restricting all of one thing, your body adapts.

When your body catches on to the changes you are making, it starts to accommodate the changes in defense. About every 4 weeks, you have to make adjustments to trick your body again.

If you start your weight loss journey with a very extreme diet and exercise routine, you leave yourself with no place to go when your body catches onto what you are doing. When you hit the dreaded plateau, you are almost forced to quit. I mean you're doing all of this work and nothing is happening, so why keep going, right?

If you are just starting out, keep this in mind. Don't be in a rush. Try to be patient and take your time to avoid hitting that plateau. Ease into it so that you leave yourself with options. When the exercise routine gets too easy, add intensity. When the weight loss stops, lower your carb intake and up your protein intake. Leave yourself room to keep going. Don't set yourself up for failure.

I hope this all makes sense. If you have questions, please email me and I will help in anyway I can.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Starting Over

I have a burden for people who struggle with fitness and will power. I hate it for them that it's so hard to do what they need to do to get to where they want and need to be. I feel for those who have a long way to go and find themselves overwhelmed by the thought of tackling the dreaded task of starting all over.

I'm a naturally self disciplined, strong willed person. When that little voice inside my head doubts my abilities, I want to prove it wrong. I also don't like to drag things out. I'm this way with everything, especially the things that I really don't want to have to do. When I have a dreaded task, I just want to be done with it. I want to be done and stay on top of it so that I don't have to start all over. I don't want to do chores, I want to play! And I won't lie....I do like the sense of pride I feel when I accomplish my goals.

It's helpful to find what it is inside you that motivates you and use it to your advantage. Use it to not only get you to your goal, but also to keep you there. Think about the chores you face in life that wouldn't get done if you didn't do them. Things that you have no choice of whether to do them or not. Get to know yourself. Learn this about yourself and use it.

There has to be something that makes you get out of bed in the morning, get the laundry done, keep the lawn mowed, groceries bought, bills paid, dog fed, something that makes you get to work and get there on time and do your job well......

Learn what it is that keeps you on top of your responsibilities and find ways to use those things to keep you committed to your health and fitness plan. As I mentioned in the beginning of my blog here today, I have a burden for those that struggle in this area. If this isn't an issue for you, find a way to inspire those that DO have this issue. Tell your own story. Share with others about what keeps you motivated and on track.

If you have a story on this issue that you would like me to post to help others find their motivation, please email me at