WEIGHT LOSS IS MERELY A SIDE-EFFECT OF GETTING HEALTHY!

I spent the better part of my life as an obese person and I conquered it in a healthy and permanent way. I am now an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach. Click here to read more about me. Good luck in your journey to a healthier, more alive you!

I have created this page that outlines the 5 ESSENTIAL KEYS for PERMANENT WEIGHT LOSS. This is a great place to start and it won't cost you anything but the time it takes you to read it! The only money I make is off of my ad clicks, which is very little. So, if you would like to show your support of my page, a wonderful way to do so is to click on any of the ads that may interest you on this page. However, don't buy into any weight loss gimicks. You don't need to pay anyone for the answers. They are all inside of you!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Need For Comfort

  1. Today I received some very upsetting news about a client's health. I found myself on the brink of tears pretty much the whole day. Pushing it down and painting on my smile for the rest of my clients. By the time I left the gym, I had one thought on my mind...I want something tasty! I wanted Reese cups or a burger or maybe some fries....preferably all of the above.

    This type of reflex is probably... pretty relatable to a lot of people. It was my go to comfort (food followed by hours of tv or mind numbing computer games). Not any more. Why? Because I also have had enough experience with how I feel by the end of the day and the next morning when I give into this reflex.

    So, today was supposed to be my rest day from exercise. When I was done working at the gym, I had a little bit of down time before I needed to be anywhere. Perfect time to hit McDs. Instead of hitting the drive through, I grabbed my "emergency workout gear" and did a fast, hard workout. After my workout I grabbed a Kombucha, rolled my window down and put on some happy tunes while I drove to my next stop.

    While I was driving this amazing rush of happiness poured over me. The sadness melted away. As always, I could not control the sad and stressful things swirling around my life. But what I could and DID control was my reaction to it.

    I felt strong. Physically and mentally.

    Comfort can be found in many forms. Some forms of comfort will leave us feeling depleted and empty. Others will fill us so full that we are ready to face the next stressful or sad event which will ALWAYS show up eventually.

    My old comfort was short lived and caused me great pain. Now I find comfort in my health, in my son's smile, in that perfect crook under my boyfriend's arm and in every great, simple thing in life that makes tomorrow just a little brighter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Here Comes the Shame Again



A couple days ago I posted the picture above on this blog's Facebook page. It represents where my body is at right now. Along with the picture, I shared my thoughts and feelings about my body and the attitude I intend to take about my body going forward.

However, upon closer review, I find myself feeling ashamed in different aspects of myself, not just my body. Quite a few of these aspects I have absolutely zero control over. Like my age. I have to say, this is not one that I saw coming. I was slightly bothered by getting into my late 30s but never expected to feel shame over it. And when I ask myself "why?" I can't help but be ashamed about the answer!! I feel ashamed because I'm afraid younger people may find me obsolete. And I'm afraid I'm not aging well and I'm getting ugly. There I said it.

Then there is another area of my life in which I can not go into detail. This area has actually prevented me from blogging as much as a I used to because I am not free to openly discuss certain issues that have taken place over the last couple years for fear of retribution. So forgive my vagueness. However, there is a person in my life who is constantly on the lookout for ways to laugh at me and shame me for whatever reason they can find. I feel like I can't openly talk about my insecurities and problems on this blog anymore which I absolutely hate as this blog used to be my therapy. Not only does this person make me feel shame about who I am, I also feel shame for not standing up for myself. I have to be honest, I can't find a way to make peace with this area yet but, here is my hope: I am going to start being more honest again about me and my life right now and let the chips fall where they may. It is my life. And I will not keep hiding.

Yet another area I feel shame is in my inability to be perfect. This one is silly enough that just typing it makes me shake my head at myself but it's true! I am not a perfect mother and this is probably the biggest source of my shame. I don't feed my son perfectly probably about 1/3 of the time even though I know the health risks he could face later down the line. I feel like I don't pay him enough attention at times. I let him watch t.v. I try to limit it to an hour per day but if it's a really rough day, sometimes it's quite a bit longer. Sometimes I lose my cool and yell at him.

A huge area I am definitely not perfect is in my health and fitness. I do good a lot of the time but sometimes I just lose my shit and eat all the wrongs things and even occasionally drink too much. I love to exercise so I don't have trouble sticking with that. However, I do have a tendency to sometimes be too extreme in my exercise which I ALSO feel shame about because I feel like I'm abusing my body in that capacity too.

This flows into my next area of shame. No one would categorize me as overweight. Most would even say I'm fit looking. However, I don't have that super buff, hard bodied look that most people expect a personal trainer to have. This makes me not pursue clients as aggressively because I feel like I don't look the part. I feel like they will look at me and say "Pffft, like YOU can help me!"

I also feel shame when I look at myself naked. This one is really hard to type. It's even harder to not delete and to know that everyone will read it. On a really super great, toned, un-bloated day, I almost don't hate what I see in the mirror. The rest of the time....shame. Sheer and utter shame. I don't really know how to make peace with this one either.

So yeah, this blog post is a little different from the rest. I usually try to end things on a good note and talk about the positive in all this but I don't think I can at this moment. This is my struggle. How do I make peace with all my shame? Hopefully just acknowledging it is a good start. In the meantime, all I can do is be the best person I can be. I'm so far from perfect, it's depressing. I'm not even always a nice person. I have selfish moments. But I am definitely a good person. I love people. I would never ever deliberately hurt a person, so why do I hurt myself? And I forgive people so easily. Why don't I forgive myself?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

7 Ways to Lose Weight

I've decided to start with a list of 7 but I plan to edit the number in this title quite often to include lots and lots more tips of various changes you can make to lose weight. Here's the deal, don't pick one and think that this is going to change your life. Okay, pick one today, but pick another in a few days. You didn't gain weight with one meal, one missed night's sleep, etc. So why in the world would you think you will lose all the weight with one supplement, one exercise program, etc?

1. Sleep! Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, SLEEP!!!! If you stay up half the night, you're not going to lose weight effectively. Period, bottom line, no butts about it. Get yo butt in bed!

2. Small, frequent meals....or 3 meals with no snacks....seems like a contradiction? Well, not quite. I always preach on how every person is different and has different needs. Try both of these styles and see which works for you. My personal and professional observations have led me to believe that for MOST overweight people (especially those who have been significantly overweight for a number of years), small, frequent meals will work best. They keep you from getting too hungry, they don't squirt out massive amounts of insulin into your blood stream like a big meal could.

3. Find a good balance of macronutrients that works for you. I went through a small stage where I believed that calorie counting and balancing macronutrients (protein/fat/carbs) didn't matter....I was wrong. Our bodies are different and they thrive on different amounts of calories and macronutrient ratios. Mine (which I hesitate to share because I don't want anyone to just mimick it then declare "nope! that didn't work"), is about 40% fat, 30% protein, 30% carbs. When I eat less fat than this I get cravings and brain fog. When I eat more fat than this, I get queasy. When I eat less carbs than this I get cranky, when I eat more carbs, I get cravings and fatigue. Fiber is also an important component. It will keep you full. PLEASE do not get your fiber from FiberOne bars. Total crap. Seriously. Horrible.

4. Eliminate unnatural foods from your diet. Nothing will screw up your metabolism faster than (aside from massive amounts of sugar) toxic chemicals that your body has no idea what to do with. Well, actually, your body knows exactly what to do with these toxic ingredients. STORE THEM IN YOUR FAT CELLS! Learn about GMOs and avoid all ingredients that you can't pronounce. Better yet? Only eat foods that don't have ingredient lists! When I want some kind of yummy not so perfect treats, I opt for soy free, organic chocolate bars or some organic corn tortilla chips. Not perfect or health food by any stretch but my body is like "oh yeah, corn, chocolate, sugar, I know what to do with this stuff."

5. Exercise! I'm not going to go too in depth with this one because I have a ton of blog posts on the importance of exercise. Here is the one thing I'll say. It's not about calories burned, it is about changing your body on a biological and hormonal level.

6. Speaking of hormones....get yours checked! Hormonal imbalances can cause everything from depression to cravings to weight gain for no apparent reason. Both men and women should start by getting their testosterone levels checked. Yes, women too! Especially if you're over 30.

7. Chill out dude! Find ways to reduce stress. Meditation or prayer, exercise, A BETTER NIGHT'S SLEEP, doing things you love, take 3 deep, mindful breaths. Elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels cause cravings and encourage your body to go into a fat storing mode.

....stay tuned for lots more suggestions as I have time. And, I would love to receive any suggestions that have helped you (in a healthy manner) lose weight yourself!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Naked Truth

I constantly struggle to find balance in my life. I also constantly find myself with imbalances that are quite inconsistent with both the lifestyle for which I aspire and embrace as well as the one I preach to my clients. However, it's actually very interesting to be on the "inside" of the fitness world and see how both fitness professionals as well as fitness enthusiasts constantly demonstrate these same kind of imbalances. Some are amazingly extreme. In fact, some of the biggest body builders I know turn out to be alcoholics. A much more common area for this imbalance in the fitness world is most definitely diet. They seem to fall into four categories.

The first, and most common, in my observation, are the younger and/or individuals with fast metabolism who, at best, just focus on making sure they get enough protein (from whatever source). Or, at worst, eat whatever they want and are able to attain their appearance goals with exercise alone. I literally know a guy who pigs out on Oreo cookies to try to get bigger.

The second kind are those who believe they are eating pretty decent but don't really know anything about nutrition. You see lots of conventional yogurt and crap protein bars being broken out around the gym. Fortunately, they do pretty well because, even though they may be doing quite a bit wrong, they do know to avoid lots of desserts and extremely bad foods.

The third kind, the category I fall into, are the extremists. We know what we are supposed to do but we constantly flip flop back and forth between our desire for perfection and our desire for indulgence and immediate gratification, whether it be alcohol, cheese covered everything or any other lovely that is so right only because it's so wrong. We can generally be identified by our passion for life combined with our constant struggle with our inner demons.

Then there is the fourth, and by far rarest type. The ones who know what they are supposed to do and actually do it. Pretty much always. I have lovingly nicknamed them..."freaks". I desperately want to be them but can't relate to them at all and are at times convinced they are aliens. I envy and loath them all at once. They make me so acutely aware of how unbalanced I can be.

So yeah, I'm the extremist. I go to extremes quite often. A perfect example of this is having spent the better part of my life as a morbidly obese person who binged on horrible foods and sat in front of a television as my primary source of leisure time. Then I did a total 180 and began chronically exercising anywhere from 7-11 times a week. Consuming crazy amounts of protein powders and other unnatural supplements such as fat burners and pre-workout drinks, in search of the most perfect looking body I could possibly get.  

Somewhere along the way I came to appreciate my body for more than what it could potentially look like so now I'm at a bit of a crossroads. Along the way I developed better eating habits (but all the while have struggled with no so healthy cravings and indulgences). But these developments have resulted from some pretty extreme dietary experiments. My worst of which would probably have been my all fruit diet. I have to say, I felt unbelievably amazing in the beginning. The massive amounts of fruit kept my belly full and made my skin look insane. The honeymoon was great. Unfortunately, as we (my fruit and I) settled in together, I gained the 10-15 pounds that occurs in many romances.

After my fruit fail, I became a bit discouraged and gained about 3-5 more pounds. I felt pretty lost and unmotivated and HUNGRY! I've dealt with chronic hunger and fatigue most of my life.

However, I truly feel that as I progress through this journey, despite my many fails along the way, I am finally circling in on the perfect foods for my body (which would probably be just a slightly altered version of the types of foods fit for most any person who struggles with their weight).

The reason I am feeling so good about the way my nutritional decisions are headed is because of the way I finally feel....FULL! When I quit wheat I knew I was onto something because the constant hunger wasn't nearly as bad. But I also knew I hadn't quite arrived because I could still eat a full and "balanced" meal and feel hungry 30 minutes later. Likewise, my afternoon slumps had lessened but still definitely existed.

The diet (as in, food choices, not the dirty four letter word "diet") that I am now zeroing in on makes me energetic almost all of the time and barely ever hungry between meals. But I am not 100% free of the hunger monster or the afternoon slump which tells me there's more tweaking to do.

SO! I am going to start blogging about my journey with food as it unfolds. To get a peek now at examples of how I'm eating, you can check me out of instagram:
http://instagram.com/thekeytopermanentweightloss

And anyone can go back and read my blog and see where I started with food. It was absolutely horrible. Then you can read on and see my little "food phases", all of which (except the fruititarian debacle) I strongly believe moved me one step closer to where I find myself today. I'm zeroing back in on a more natural weight (I am now convinced that, with my added muscle mass, 145 is too low for me and I should be more around 155...although I'm not going to attach an arbitrary number like weight to my goal) and I feel so SO much better and more balanced. I'm even happier!

Just keep in mind, my diet, just like myself, is an evolution and is nowhere near over. Don't just blindly follow what I or anyone else is doing. Use the knowledge that I have gathered and share with you as something to help you get started on your own journey of self-discovery. Only YOU can know what's best for YOU and only YOU are going to care enough to go out there and figure out what it is. I will say this, and I'm sure it will ruffle some feathers because it always does....

DO NOT trust someone just because they have letters behind their name.

DO NOT depend of the FDA or USDA to care one iota about your health.

DO NOT grab on to one notion and run with it.

I am so guilty of this! I become passionate about something and buy into and jump in head first. My raw food phase is a perfect example. I was convinced that raw food was the way to go. I ended up feeling like complete garbage and my stomach was so jacked up. However, what I did do is walk away from my raw food phase eating WAY more raw food which I think is absolutely vital to our health.

So, bottom line. Be your own scientist. Pull from many sources. Experiment then decided.

"Be open to everything but attached to nothing."





Sunday, January 19, 2014

You Can't Hate Yourself Healthy

I see it all the time. The regret. The punishment. The self-hatred that results from someone's perception of failing. Especially women. Well, I'm here to say it all stops now! Change your thoughts, change your life!

Being overweight is not your problem! Being overweight is a side-effect of your true problem. Treating your body poorly. Why do you treat your body poorly. Because you don't love yourself.

Now I'm sure there are some that are nodding their heads in agreement as they read this. You know it's true. There are others, however, who are feeling defensive, already deciding to post an argument when they're done reading this. Okay, there are one of two options here and I will present them to you.

Option 1: You are in the very, very rare small percentage of the population that has a medical condition that prevents you, no matter how well you nourish yourself, from losing weight. If this is the case, I hope you're already seeing a doctor about this and I wish you all the luck in the world.

Option 2: You're in denial.

Period. Those are literally your only two options. How do I know? Well, first, because it's basic science. Put healthy foods into your body in appropriate amounts, combine with moderate exercise on a somewhat regular basis and you will not be obese.

If you're not doing this, how do I know this means you don't love yourself?

Well, because we take care of the people we love. We don't abuse our children. We don't tell them they are failures and constantly deprive them and insult them when they don't meet a goal perfectly. (If you DO treat your children like this, please see a specialist immediately.)  We, instead, nourish their bodies and their minds and ensure they always have no less than what they deserve in order to be healthy, body and mind.

So let me rephrase all that for you and see if you love yourself. Can you say the following?

"I take care of myself because I love myself. I don't abuse myself. I don't tell myself that I am a failure and constantly deprive and insult myself when I don't meet a goal perfectly. I nourish my body and mind and ensure that I always have no less than what I deserve in order to be healthy, body and mind.


Okay, so let me stop here and say, I am not perfect at this. Not by a long shot. I am a work in progress. The fact that I didn't love myself is why I was "sick" with obesity for so long. Now I am aware of it and becoming aware didn't just make me suddenly love myself. Instead I constantly have to practice positive affirmations and be constantly aware of my internal dialogue. And I also find that the more time and energy I invest in my health, the more love I automatically have for myself because the mere act of doing it makes me deem myself worthy and lovable.

What we give our love and attention to grows and thrives. What we send hate to, shrivels and dies. Our bodies are no different.

So stop punishing yourself because you fell off the wagon. Stop saying "I screwed up today so I'll do perfect tomorrow." Instead, say, "I am deciding as of this moment to do everything I can to nourish my body because I am worth it. Then find reasons to believe it."

While the self-talk and positive affirmations can help, also make a list of the people who need you and value you and focus on them to help you get started. I think being Phoenix's mom helped get me started. Because I love him so much that I have no choice but to take good care of his mommy. I don't want him to take care of me when I'm old. I don't want him to see me suffer. I want to set a good example for him so HE can be healthy too.

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Find love for yourself.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's Your Excuse?

When I talk about diet and/or exercise to clients, I get an array of responses. I also get a whole boat load of excuses. Okay, I'm not gonna lie, the clients that I feel most compelled to help (other than the ones with NO excuses who are raring and ready to go) are the ones who simply say "I just can't help myself, I love junk food" or "I know I need to exercise but I hate it." It's not just about the fact that they are being honest with me (although that helps a lot) but rather that they are being honest with themselves. 

Meanwhile, I've got the morbidly obese clients who swear up and down that they eat a perfect, nutritional diet and just can't seem to lose. Yes, there is such thing as a true thyroid issue but they are few and far between. In fact, I've had spouses, friends and family members often confide in me exactly what these clients truly eat. Okay, I can even deal with this. Pride is a powerful force so I get it. Unfortunately, I can't sit there and tell you how to control and prevent binges if you swear you've been eating nothing but chicken and broccoli for years. But, again, I get it. 

Then there's the common excuses: "I don't have the time" (I never hear people say they don't have time to take care of their kids, weird??), "I'm this way because I'm depressed" (no, more than likely, you're depressed because you're this way. Your hormones are out of balance, you can't move freely, you're probably sleep deprived and you're starved for nutrients). And my personal favorite "I'm this way because [insert person's name or situation here] made me this way." I'm not going to lie, these are the people that I feel the least motivation to help. Everything always happens TO them and they have no power over it. They are the eternal victims. I have very little patience for self-proclaimed victims. Sorry.

However, today I had what had the be the most interesting and worst excuse I've encountered so far in my career. I was speaking with a new client and my interview turned, as it always does, to nutrition. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: So how do you feel about your diet.

Her: Oh no, I don't diet.

Me: Well, good, I don't believe that people should technically diet. What I'm asking is how do you feel about the quality and nutritional value of the food you eat.

Her: I really don't want to change my diet.

Me: I understand change is hard and I'm not saying you have to eat perfectly but you're inevitably going to hit a wall in your weight loss if you don't at least make some healthy changes to your diet.

Her: Well, actually I can't eat a healthy diet.

Me:

Her: I tried eating healthy once and it raised my potassium levels dangerously high. The doctor said so! And, come to find out, all healthy foods have it, bananas, even kale (end of list apparently)

Me:

Her: So yeah, I just want to focus on exercise because I'm not going to change my diet.


So, basically, she is saying her doctor has told her that eating a healthy diet is dangerous for her health. I don't believe this, by the way. As little as most doctors know about nutrition, the one thing they've been taught to regurgitate whenever the topic of nutrition comes up is "eat a balanced, healthy diet." 

Okay, so makes for a funny story for me and she surely doesn't believe this so no problem there. The excuses clients make to me basically go in one ear and out the other. At the end of the day you are either ready or you're not and it doesn't matter if I call you out on your BS. The result will be the same. You do the work and I will be your guide. So your excuses to me won't harm our time together. It's your excuses to yourself  that do the damage. And we all have them. Here's some of the greatest hits of my past excuses as well as what my new replacement excuses are:

Then: I had a bad day. I deserve to sit down and chill and maybe have some take out.
Now: I had a bad day. I really need to get in a good sweaty workout to make me feel better. Then maybe if I'm still craving some comfort food I'll have a little something naughty while I'm making dinner.

Then: I worked out yesterday, I don't need to work out today.
Now: I worked out yesterday, and it's gone. Now it's today, I'm not sore or tired from overtraining, so time to work out again.

Then: My son is just being too demanding and we are stuck in the house on a rainy Sunday, I can't possibly squeeze in a workout.
Now: My son is being too demanding and we are stuck in the house on a rainy Sunday. If I don't get in a good workout and work out this frustration, I may lose my freaking mind.

Then: I ate bad for breakfast, guess I'll just eat bad for the rest of the day. OR, I ate bad for breakfast so I guess I'll starve myself for the rest of the day (and then it reverts back to the first version once I get really hungry again).
Now: I ate bad for breakfast, guess I'll eat really healthy for the rest of the day to make sure I get my body all the nutrients it needs and balance my blood sugar.

Then: I can't afford to eat healthy.
Now: I can't afford to NOT eat healthy because the cheaper stuff isn't actually real food. (Oh, and it turns out, when I'm not eating out constantly, my food expense ends up being the same)

Then: I don't have time to exercise.
Now: Oh wait, I have 10-15 minutes to scroll through Facebook, I could do a quick HIIT workout instead.

Then: The people around me aren't eating healthy, how can anyone expect me to?
Now: The people around me aren't eating healthy, maybe they will see me eating healthy and be inspired. I should eat better than ever when I'm around them.

Then: I'm tired because I need sugar.
Now: I'm tired, I better not eat sugar or I'll be even more tired in a little while.

And so on.

Have you paid attention to your own excuses? Not so much the ones you tell other people but the ones you tell yourself. 

Notice them.
  
Challenge them.

Change them!

It won't happen all at once but just becoming aware of your excuses and taking the time to challenge them will start to set off change. All changes start right between our two ears. Even if you don't act on your new, positive excuse, just think it anyway. Start reprogramming your brain and eventually it will start coming up with these new excuses on it's own. Then, BAM!, you suddenly find yourself working out on a Friday night even though it's cheat night and you worked out every day this week. Why? Because you now have every excuse in the world to do so!





Monday, December 16, 2013

Confessions of My Affair

So I promised on my Facebook page today that I'm going to go back to my blogger roots of being completely and unabashedly honest about my life. A great place to start is with an ongoing affair I've been having. Very few people have been aware of this until now. This affair has hurt me many times and seems to get worse as time goes on. However, I willingly go back for more. It's as if I am drawn back, powerless to the allure of it. I just can't help it. It makes me feel so good. Yet, soon after, it makes me feel so bad. 

The object of my unquenchable desire? Cheese.

I love it. I mean I LOVE it.  Ooey Gooey hot sharp cheddar calls to me. Little hunks of feta make a good salad a great salad. A meal seldom feels complete without cheese. Not a big deal, right? Well, no, not right. In addition to it comprising WAY too many calories of my diet, it makes me feel bad after I eat it. My stomach starts cramping, my sinuses swell up, my throat gets sore and I feel an overall sensation that I can only describe as "yuck". 

WHY can't a quit cheese?! I have conquered postpartum depression with diet and exercise. I have lost 100+ pounds "the old fashion way" and gained crazy muscle. And throughout my life I've cut out cigarettes, soda, diet soda, energy drinks, sugar, bread, soy products and about anything else tasty you can think of. What is the allure of cheese that makes it so impossible to kick? 

Well, from what I've been researching lately regarding food intolerance (which is what I quite obviously have), we tend to crave the foods that hurt us the most. It's something about the body preparing itself for the assault the food is about to make on our bodies so it releases some happy hormones or something. Whatever the cause, I can't seem to cut the cheese (actually I can....quite often after eating it actually...oh come on, you can't have a cheese post without a good "cutting the cheese" pun).

Here's my theory as to why....I HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO MAKE ME FEEL GOOD!!!! Okay, that's not true. I have exercise, I have people who I can laugh and have fun with, a son that lights up my life, good movies/books that help me grow and the occasional alcoholic indulgence (yes, yes, I know, more on this another time). Okay, but cheese is the only thing I have left that really really makes my mouth happy! And exercise is awesome but you can't melt it on veggies and make them taste delicious.

And, keep in mind, because I refuse to cut out the healthy foods that my body actually needs, it's also making me go over my calorie limit each day. In fact, the only reason I don't gain weight and can actually still see improvements in my body is because I work out like a mad woman and practice intermittent fasting. Otherwise, I have no doubt that my little love affair with cheese would be written all over my body.
 
What's a cheese lovin' girl to do? 

Well, I think I will start by keeping it out of the house, which I do more and more often. I will ask my loved ones to nag me about my cheese consumption in their presence, I will pay close attention to how unbelievably shitty I feel after I eat it (which should be enough!!), I will continue to educate myself on why it is not healthy for me (although I eat raw organic cheese for the most part so the evidence isn't stunningly horrible against it) and I will continue to be open and honest about it on my blog and Facebook page until I feel mounting pressure to quit if for no other reason to save face but, ideally, to inspire and motivate others to kick their bad habits as well.