Loss Over Christmas

Not all loss over Christmas is a bad thing. Last night I had an epiphany. I was a little bummed to step on the scales yesterday and only see a 0.6 pound loss for the week. Then it occurred to me....I LOST weight over Christmas! I actually did this a couple years ago too. The loss felt pretty significant after that because I (and most people) tend to GAIN over Christmas.

This just reinforces what I've known for a long time. When you're ready...you're ready! It may come in the middle of a day on Wednesday or, in my case, the week of Christmas. On the flip side, when you're not ready, it doesn't matter if it's a new week, of a new month, of a new year. It doesn't matter if you've just purchased a weight loss package of some sort or personal training sessions with yours truly, you won't succeed. Mindset is everything!

And my head is in the game! It is a combination of just getting to a point where I felt thick and gross and really flooding my brain with inspirational/informative material. And I'm happy to say that the thick feeling is officially GONE but my motivation isn't! I am so excited to once again see what I can do with my body. And to not have the self-limiting thoughts of "but what if my this-or-that never looks perfect" is so unbelievably liberating. This time around it's just to be the best I can be for ME ME ME! I want this body to do everything it can do for me as long as it can do it. Anything else is gravy....flour free, healthy gravy....if such a thing exists please inbox me!

Back on Track!

I just have to post about how excited I am to be back on track and to also share the things I've done to get back on track so quickly.

It's funny, in some ways it's way easier to get back in the swing of things now because not only have I adopted a lot of healthy habits that are either already in place or very easy to reapply but also because everything was sooooo much harder when I was really heavy. The movement, the cravings.

Now, that being said, there are a couple of things that I find actually harder to deal with now that I'm trying to lose so much less weight than when I've set out to do it in the past. One is that the weight drops a lot slower. I remember when I was 275, 250, etc., I could lose crazy amounts of weight when I first started. I'm talking like 6, maybe even 10 pounds in the first week! I could continue to see pretty big drops in the first few weeks to follow as well. Four maybe five pounds a week! Talk about motivation! Now I work hard, watch everything I eat, and lose one pound in a week. But I have to remind myself that this is what happened around this weight last time. Some weeks I would see no drops at all. The flip side is that I get to feel pretty good about myself NOW instead of working for months on end before I feel halfway decent so I guess I'll take the trade off.

The other thing that makes it a little harder is actually what I just talked about. I feel pretty decent about myself right now. While this is definitely a good thing, it isn't always the most motivating thing when it comes to depriving myself of things I want. This is where the lifestyle change comes in though. I'm slowly learning to shift my focus from "I can't eat that because I want to lose weight and/or look at certain way" to "I choose not to eat that because I want to feel good and energetic and live a long healthy life."

Sometimes it's hard to step out of the instant gratification mindset and think long-term. So here's what I've applied to my life in the past two weeks to help me get back on track:

  • Remembering that every day counts. Sometimes it helps to break weight loss goals down into days. As in, if I want to lose 1 pound per week, that means I have to lose .14 pounds per day. Sometimes just seeing this number makes me extra aware that every day, every choice really does count. Likewise, I like to calculate how much weight I gained per day when I slacked off, for the same reason.
  • Focusing on feeling good each day instead of the end result. It's a lot easier to say no to a 200 calorie candy bar because I know it will almost immediately make me feel crappy than to resist it because it will help me lose 0.05 pounds.
  • Have someone to which I am accountable. For my clients it's me. For me, it's my boyfriend. I like to call him on Monday morning after I've weighed and measured and share my successes.
  • Preemptive eating! Because I struggle with cravings and unstable blood sugar, it is sooo important to never let myself get too hungry. I always have protein rich snacks (like my Sunwarrior vegan protein blend shake) and low-sugar fruit w/ raw nuts to snack on. Likewise, I know not to pack snacks I enjoy TOO much. I could literally eat a 1/2 pound of raw cashews so I would be crazy to carry them as an emergency snack. However, raw almonds I will only eat until the hunger is gone because I'm not crazy about them.
  • Constant reminders. I love to watch documentaries, listen to podcasts, audiobooks, etc. to keep me informed and focused on what's important to me. For me it's nutrition. Exercise isn't a problem because I love it but for some people this might need to be included in your focus.
  • Water, water, water. When I'm dehydrated, I'm tired and hungry.
  • Plenty of sleep!! This is an area I've slacked off on lately but I'm officially back to a decent bedtime and I feel so much more in control.

So this is basically just a short list of everything that I've listed on my 5 Keys to Permanent Weight Loss link but apparently even being the creator of the list doesn't exempt me from needing to be reminded of it every now and then!

Merry Christmas to Me

This morning, after having my son wake me up periodically throughout the entire night, I finally decided that yes, we could call 5:05am "morning" and got up to see what Santa brought. I watched him open gifts, play with this and that for a few minutes before abandoning it for something else and then eventually he wandered off into his room. 

I sat sipping coffee, talking to Gino and looking at everyone else's Christmas on Facebook. This Christmas is a little hard on me. It is literally the first Christmas I'm not spending with my parents due to sickness in our family. The first time in 38 years. I guess I'm lucky that I had 37 years of uninterrupted family time each Christmas before this happened and, if we are all lucky, we will all be together next year.

As I looked at Facebook the little "memories" notification came up that allowed me to look at posts on Christmas day years past. That's when the embarrassment set in. The realization that just 6 short years ago (who knows, probably even more recently than that), I used to be one of those females I roll my eyes at. On Christmas day 2009, there it was...a vague passive aggressive post about how I was going to ask Santa for new shoes instead of a man next year. 

It all came flooding back to me. How unstable I was. How unfocused I was on my son. On myself for that matter. And the guy I was chasing?....That's the worst part! He wasn't just not worth chasing, I was nuts to want a life with this man. I will leave it at that because this isn't about him or any other unworthy guy I chased during that dark time in my life. They were symptoms of a bigger problem. My lack of self-worth. My need for distraction. 

So on to what this IS about. I think where my head was 6 years ago...and where it should've been. I was surrounded by my family. We were all healthy. I was in my early 30s instead of my late 30s. I was freshly out of a 12 year marriage that was toxic for the both of us and that was the beginning of what I should've perceived as my fresh new start. My little boy was only 16 months old. What I wouldn't give to be able to rewind to that time today. I wouldn't want to permanently rewind time because, despite any unhappy aspects of my life at the moment, I am thankful for where I am right now. I would just want to step back and turn my focus to all those people most precious to me and soak up every moment of Christmas cheer with them. Even though I remember how much I enjoyed seeing my son open his gifts, I'd love to go back and watch him again without the wasted thoughts of a passing infatuation in the back of my mind distracting me.

I'm all about lessons and using them to help me grow. This lesson is definitely not lost on me. Even though today is sad in that I am worried about family members (oh, and I'm sick), this is still a moment that I could possibly look back on in the future and regret not being fully present...except that isn't my life anymore. I am not going to claim to be fully squeaky clean, Buddha-ish, present 100% of the time but I am damn near close! 

This morning as I sat alone watching PJ open his first gift (Gino staggered in to join us around gift #3), I wasn't focused on the fact that I was sitting alone with my son on Christmas morning when I am usually surrounded by a room full of laughter and noise. I focused, instead, of that exact moment. That imperfect, exhausted, sick, uncertain, almost lonely moment that I would never ever get back later in my life. I barely even took pictures because I was so focused on that special, sweet moment. The way the lights from the tree reflected in his wide blue eyes when he looked up from each gift. The excitement as he tore open a present and almost threw it aside to open the next. He will never ever be 7 years old on Christmas again. He pretty much knows something very suspicious is up with this whole Santa thing. I feel like I almost slowed down time by being so ultra focused on every precious detail of this morning. Experience each moment as though it could be my last...because it could.

This is my life and 38 years of it are gone. I have no idea how many years (or maybe even just hours) I have left. I have spent so many minutes, hours, DAYS focused on things other than THE MOMENT and those moments are gone forever and I probably need to think about how much I regret that but...I just don't have time!


I have now officially struggled with my weight for 30 years. Sometimes it's so disheartening to feel like I've come so far but still feel like I have so far to go. Maybe not physically as much as mentally....although somewhat physically as well lately. I'm currently up to 178 from my all time low of 145. I've said plenty that I have NO desire to be that small again. With the added muscle mass of the last few years, I know that probably isn't even possible to achieve and look healthy and I don't really have a desire to see that number again from an appearance aspect, a maintenance aspect as well as just how I felt.

However, I DO want to see a lower number. BUT for a very different reason than in the past. It's actually for the same reason I don't want to be 145 again. I JUST DON'T FEEL GOOD! I feel...YUCKY! I feel thick! And heavy! I don't like the way waistbands feel on me. I had almost forgotten what all this feels like and I refuse to live like this for long. So how long will I live this way? Exactly how long it takes to lose 3 pounds since these last 3 pounds seem to be completely piled onto my midsection.

But I also don't want to stay at 175 anymore either. It was nice to just to "coast" for a while. To not really think about my weight for once. But what I realized is that this just doesn't work long-term for me. A few months ago my family had a hard blow. I feel like I've been through an emotional rollercoaster. At times I literally could not focus on myself and my needs because other's needs were more immediate. And I started turning to food for comfort. Not on the grand scale I used to turn to food. Why? Because that feels HORRIBLE! When you're depressed and you fill yourself so full of garbage that your stomach feels like it's ripping open?!?! I can't even remember how that used to be comforting. No, it's way more subtle now. Dessert after lunch. Wine with dinner. Cheese on....everything. On top of all this, I am unbelievably aware lately that my hormones are shifting as I approach 40. My weight is being redistributed, away from my butt and arms, to my stomach and chest. Yay for the chest part but a big ole fat BOO for the stomach part! I am eating WAY less than I did to maintain this weight now than I did as a teenager and I'm positive I have more muscle mass now! Yeah, life is happening and it isn't pretty at times.

And I kind of went on autopilot with my workouts too. I still average a solid 4-6 days a week but I was going through the motions. Maintaining. So last week, when I started feeling thick, I really stepped it up. I got back to my sweat soaked workouts and stopped with a lot (not all) of the little extras. I'm down from 181 which is nice but I still feel thick. I'm guessing those 3 pounds were "threats" of fat that never got stored.

I feel re-inspired. Re-motivated. But, again, for very different reasons.

I used to want to look as fit and hot as possible. There, I admitted it. Then, somewhere along the way, that got really old. It helps (AND HURTS) that Gino thinks I'm as hot at 155 as 180. In fact, he prefers me a little thicker. And, besides, when I'm with someone, I tend to only care what HE thinks about me so doing it for male attention or to impress females holds very little interest for me. On top of the contentment of my relationship, there's another contribution for my lack of motivation. It, oddly enough, comes from a very healthy place. As I grow older, and become more spiritual, I have become acutely aware that we are not our bodies. These "shells" we live in are just that, shells. And to decorate them and try to impress other people with them has grown to feel so unbelievably silly and shallow to me. And being reminded as of late of my own mortality and that no matter what I do, if my life plays out as it should, my body will one day break down and I will die, has caused me to stagnate.

Very disheartening.

So I need new motivation. And I have it! I want to list it out here because I am officially back on the weight loss wagon.

  • First and foremost, the thick feeling needs to be GONE! I can't and won't live this way! I want to feel light on my feet again!
  • The best way to balance my peri-menopausal hormones (yes, I said it) is to eat healthy!
  • To have a long, productive life.
  • To be able to provide care for those in my life that need it.
  • To have all the energy I need to play with my son, put in a hard day's work and have energy left for my man when the day is done.
  • To inspire my clients.
  • To be my best self!! Always!
I think I would like to just get down to 165 and see how I feel and go from there. 13 pounds? After 130 pounds?! I got this shit!

It is really hard to admit to the everyone (clients, blog followers, friends, haters, etc.) that I still struggle with my weight. It is my lifetime struggle but I'm thankful for it. The feeling of thickness is more than a bother....it is my alarm system telling me, quite clearly, that I've gone off course. I wasn't nurturing my body the way I should and now it's time to focus on ME again! And that's okay. It's not selfish. It's extremely necessary. And, besides, it's actually really fun to lose weight! I kind of miss the thrill of stepping on the scales and seeing the smaller number and my old clothes sliding on a little easier! But this time around I need to make sure I stay focused on the important reasons for losing weight and not get caught up in the superficial stuff. It's so easy to get caught up in the bodybuilding, gym clique, what-supplement-is-hot-this-week world but it's not what's important and it doesn't sustain you when real life happens. I am now living proof of that.

Where The Inside Meets the Light

This meme is so timely in a society where an 18 year old girl getting plastic surgery gets way more coverage than an 18 year old girl being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

We admire people and elevate them to some special status for winning a genetic lottery that provides them with symmetrical features, nice hair, good proportions, whatever. But I've always thought that the true test is when the inside starts oozing to the outside, in either direction, which just takes years of living. Mean, angry people become hard looking and have frown lines. Happy, positive people, who may have started early in life not looking significantly exceptional, develop gentle lines that hint at all the laughter and smiles that have taken place in their life. Their eyes twinkle with acceptance when they look at you. THAT has become real beauty to me. The beauty of youth can sometimes be a mask that will someday inevitably fall away so we had better make sure our souls are in order when it does.

For the Ladies!....We Need Some New Memes!

I've been seeing this meme going around lately, it's a slight variation of other memes I've seen actually. It starts out saying something like "I may not have a perfect body. I may not have a flat stomach...."

Enough!!!! I definitely haven't seen any men posting this. Why? Because the average man would NEVER think to qualify a positive statement about himself by acknowledging his self-perceived physical imperfections.

Now I totally get that this meme is supposed to be saying "it's okay that I'm not these things" but by simply stating them to begin with reduces us to our bodies, our appearance. So I'm going to come up with my own meme statement...except I'm way too unmotivated in this area to actually turn it into a meme....

"I am a holy creation having a human experience. Every day I try to maintain this vessel that has been bestowed on me for the purpose of sucking as many days as possible out of this amazing blessing called 'living on earth'. When I occasionally become distracted by superficial things like what society dictates my vessel should look like, I quickly steer my soul back to what matters: loving my fellow man, being gentle with the Earth, expanding my soul, guiding my child into adulthood with the tools he needs to live his own happy, abundant life and helping others nurture their own vessels in order to have the best experience on Earth they can."

We are ENOUGH. As is. In this moment. So, do I have a flat stomach? Absolutely not. And I've definitely struggled with my society-imposed "imperfections". Some days I still struggle but that's when I give myself a little talk about what's important and that my list of "imperfections" doesn't get to be in my "I am" statement because I'm waaaaay more precious than that. Now, that isn't to say that I don't strive to be as strong and healthy as I can be, but no longer is it so that I will look a certain way. It's so my body creates as few limitations as possible for living my most amazing life.

What should and shouldn't be in YOUR "I am" statement? Think what you would put in your daughter's or your mother's statement if you were writing it. Would you EVER start your teenage daughter's statement with acknowledging what society probably doesn't accept about her body?

Re-write your own "I am" statement to reflect the love and honor you deserve!

Why I Am Thankful to Be a Drama Queen

I am absolutely convinced that I have always felt things on a more heightened level than the average person. When it comes to pain, I am a total wimp. When it comes to happiness and love, I am a total spaz. Anger? Watch out! You could possibly attribute this to my Italian genetics. We seem to be a lively, expressive bunch. But I know plenty who are way more chill than me, like my brother. So there goes that theory.

Regardless of the reason, whatever I'm feeling, everyone around me KNOWS I'm feeling.

This used to embarrass me when I was young. I couldn't control my tears (I really still can't). I couldn't control my smiles or my laughter. I have zero "cool factor" to me. What you see is what you get.

And over the years I've finally come to realize that it is an amazing gift that I have had bestowed upon me. I FEEL and then I LET GO.

What's made me think about this lately is noticing what happens to people who can't let go. Whether it be emotional trauma or anger (which are often two in the same), it makes them sick. First mentally and eventually physically. It festers and spreads until it manifests as something real and tangible like disease.

One only need go back and read this very blog to see I've been hurt plenty in my life. And I only talk about the somewhat socially acceptable things. I have been hurt by some in ways I would never write about. I'm familiar with what horrible pain another person can cause to your heart, or even to your body.

So I keep analyzing what makes me able to let go and not others and I keep coming back to how fully I can't help but feel my feelings. EXCEPT for one time in my life. And that was my 20s. I was so unhappy and felt trapped by life. Crying wasn't received very sympathetically in some situations in my life so I learned to numb myself. I cut myself off from my emotions. And I paid dearly. It's no secret I spent most of my 20s morbidly obese, depressed and sick. When I finally got in touch with who I was again, it turns out that emotional girl I suppressed was waiting to bust out. And she is basically as emotional as ever!

So every time I hurt, I HURT. I cry, I scream, I rock back and forth. It's all very dramatic. When I laugh, I burst out with the most obnoxious, startling, non-feminine laugh you've ever heard. I feel the full spectrum of my emotions as they move through and out my body. And I am so thankful.

How to Eat Your Veggies and Love It!

I'm really getting back to a place where I feel really good! OMG! I have eaten so many veggies lately. In fact, I am literally sitting here right now eating probably about a pound of lightly cooked veggies with some shrimp and a little ghee/Sriracha concoction I came up with mixed in. I am always amazed when I get back to eating large volumes of fruits and vegetables (emphasis on the vegetables) how I can control my appetite and just how good I feel!

However, I can think back to a time when the thought of eating veggies turned my stomach and tempted me to just stay overweight if that was my only option...THAT is how much I hated them.

Vegetables are sometimes an acquired taste. So here are a few suggestions of how to ease into the veggie world until you're a veggie eating maniac like me some day:

-Start by making a list of vegetables you actually like and resolve to work them in at least once a day. Eventually resolve to work them into each meal, even if it's only a small amount. This will help your taste buds begin to adapt. Remember, we aren't aiming for things like potatoes and corn. We are aiming for things like broccoli, cauliflower, onions, leafy greens, brussels sprouts, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, etc....vegetables low in calories and high in water, fiber and nutrients. Veggies such as these have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity which can help prevent diabetes AND help you lose weight!
-Try to cut back on processed sugars, artificial sweeteners and anything that says "natural flavoring" on the package. These "fake tastes" will make your taste buds less sensitive to the subtle flavors and sweetness in vegetables, you'll only be able to taste the bitterness.
-Turn everything into a salad. I actually got this little tip from the amazing author, Jon Gabriel. Like pizza? Dice it up and put it on top of a salad. Spaghetti? Same thing. Or, do like I used to do, and promise yourself you can eat whatever you want for dinner if you get your veggies down FIRST.
-Use dressings, marinades, butter, croutons, etc. Don't worry about the calories to begin with! Your goal right now is to change your habits and this will lead to LONG TERM changes, not short term starvation diets that never ever ever seem to work. If you like ranch dressing, smother a buttload of diced, colorful veggies in it and learn to love that crap! Once you like it (and you will!), start to lighten up on the dressing a little. My ghee/Sriracha sauce is a perfect example. I just ate a literal pound of veggies and absolutely LOVED every bite of it because of my tasty sauce mixed in. And it probably added about 100-150 calories to my almost no calorie vegetable plate. Oh and bonus! It is grass fed ghee which many consider to be a very healthy form of fat!
-Eat like a toddler. Get one of those sneaky chef cookbooks and learn how to disguise the taste.
-Educate yourself. The more you learn about the health benefits of vegetables, the more you will start to view them differently.
-Make it beautiful. Cut your veggies in cool shapes and decorate your plate. Arrange your salad in a way that makes you tempted to Instagram it.

And be patient with yourself!! It took years and years of gagging on things to finally get to a place where I actually CRAVE vegetables so give yourself time and patience and never ever stop trying!
Fruits and vegetables are life giving foods so you must decide when you're eating, are you eating for life?

BED: Binge Eating Disorder

The last few days have been really hard for me. I've been beyond stressed out. On top of it I've been feeling depressed. Life feels overwhelming and I found myself eating my feelings again. It's something a lot of people ask about. "Is it possible to lose weight and keep it off if you suffer from BED?" My answer most days would be "yes". On my hardest days, it would probably be "I'll let you know in a few more years" because I can feel pretty out of control sometimes.

However, when I look back over the years at how much these binges have changed, when I'm in a good healthy state of mind, I can clearly see that it's just a constant and gradual evolution. It is not easy. It is not sexy. I would say that Binge Eating Disorder is probably the least sexy disorder out there so who wants to even talk about it? Well I do!

I'm tired of the shame. I'm tired of feeling gross and unsexy and like I have to hide this part of myself because people may find me unappealing and possibly even reject me. The more I learn about why we turn to food and seem to lose control, the more I start to look at it as pure science instead of some mysterious and disgusting part of myself that I must try with all my might to suppress. 

We are programmed to seek out as much food as possible. We are programmed to respond to mental stress with hunger! It is biological! Here's why: our primal brains recognize two types of stress.

Physical stress, which is marked by stress followed by actual movement, and results in our primal brain believing that we are in immediate danger and must flee quickly.

Emotional stress, which is marked by stress followed by sitting still, and results in our primal brain believing that we are in a state of famine and are concerned about where our next meal is coming from. Add on top of this that, if we are chronically on a diet, we are often obsessing about the foods we "can't" have which tells our subconscious, primal brain that this food is really important. Our primal brain responds by overriding our conscious mind and rational brain and MAKING us eat that food as soon as we have access to it. 

Add to this primal instinct the fact that we also are seeking out a pleasant mental state. That's why when things are just peachy, we can often resist the cake in the fridge. But after a stressful day, not so much. 

In some ways, like with our primal brain, we are such simple creatures. In other ways we are so complex. 

So, anyway, back to my own struggles. The past few days I have felt almost completely out of control. Now, like I said, when I look back on what my old "out of control" used to be compared to what it is now, it's a relief to see how far I've come. My old "out of control" would've involved half a large Papa John's pizza, a giant glass of soda and a big ole piece of chocolate cake for dessert. We are talking easily 2000 calories over and above what I might've allotted for myself that day. And I would feel so out of control, feeling like I didn't even know if I was done eating for the night because that "demon" inside me might hijack my body again and MAKE me eat something I didn't even want to eat. Now, my "out of control" is something like 2 oz of raw organic cheese and a serving of organic crackers made from seeds and then maybe a piece of chocolate out of Phoenix's Halloween bag after dinner. Now, I can floss and brush and say "I'M DONE!" after these "mini binges" and know that I really am done but these are still binges nonetheless. Even though they probably only amount to about 500 calories, they are still over and above my allotted calories for the day and, most importantly, they are eaten almost out of compulsion, not a deliberate decision with my rational brain....and that's when I get scared. Like a recovered alcoholic, as someone who has always struggled with BED and has lost 100+ pounds, there is ALWAYS an underlying fear of "relapse". 

But the last few days have reminded me just how in control I am now. I have a method of sorts for bringing myself back to a good place. It's comprised of things I've read in countless books as well as things I've learned work from personal experience. Here's the short list and I'll add more if other things come to me.

-I stop restricting calories. In fact, my calorie restriction has gotten down to almost nothing in general lately and I've recently decided that I will eat to my maintenance level for now on and depend on exercise calories to eventually reduce my weight a little. It will take a long time but I don't care. I'm sick of feeling hungry and thinking about food all the time. Now, I understand, this wouldn't work as well for someone who has a lot more to lose but that person would also have more calories to play with in a day! I'm sick of only having 1400 calories for a whole day! It's no way to live because I am, by nature, a hungry gal!
-I focus on what I SHOULD eat. I keep having to come back to this. It isn't rocket science but here's the problem, healthy food is often more work to prepare, more money and not always as tasty as processed food that has been designed IN A LAB to make us crave it and become addicted to it. They even have a term for it, it's called "the cravability factor". I like to first remind myself through reading and watching stuff about how these food manufacturers are trying to take advantage of me and this helps me get good and pissed off because I am no one's fool! Then on to the good food. I take a good omega 3 supplement, I eat lots of fresh stuff and really nourish myself.
-I never ever ever let myself get too hungry. This used to be my hard fast rule all the time but life happens and sometimes I would find myself going way too long between meals. However, when I'm nice and balanced and in a good place mentally and physically, I could handle this. When I'm in a not so good place, I binge. So I get back to making sure I'm consuming something protein rich and nourishing as often as I need to in order to never get very hungry. This works better than I can even express. 
-I flood myself with information. I watch documentaries about eating healthy. Hungry for Change and Food Matters are two that I always recommend people start with. Forks Over Knives is good too although I don't agree that vegetarianism is always the best choice for people....like me, I need my meat. I listen to podcasts and just find whatever I can to not just inspire me but inform me and make the effects of healthy food and not so healthy food more real in my mind.
-I move!! I exercise more. Not to burn more calories but rather because exercise makes me feel good and often curbs my appetite. I also try to get up and move when I feel mentally stressed. This not only helps lower my stress level, it also sends the message to my primal brain that my stressor is some kind of external threat, like maybe a predator. This makes the primal brain turn off the fat storage mode and turn on the fat BURNING mode because chubby girls can't outrun lions very well.
-I listen to hypnosis and guided meditation CDs. Well, they're on my iPod now but that's what they used to be back in the day. This is something I've done here and there for years. I believe it can really help. Some people are a little freaked out by them. Hypnosis will not persuade you to do things you wouldn't ordinarily do. All they do is put your brain in a more open and receptive state to receive and internalize information. I have CDs on everything from eating healthy to learning to love exercise and quitting addictions. They won't single-handedly "cure" an issue but they're just a nice big chunky drop in the bucket of change.
-I get back to my spiritual self. My wonderful boyfriend is kind and "awake" enough to keep guiding me back to this when I stray way. I am, by nature, a task oriented person. Give me a checklist and a pencil and watch me make shit happen! When it comes to abstract things like "nourishing my soul"....not sure how to put that on a checklist. It doesn't feel productive at the time. But once I've gotten back to that place of spiritual well being, I am much more centered and, as a result, much more productive.

So there you have it. BED isn't something that will go away overnight or possibly ever. But learning the root causes of it (which requires taking the time to truly educate yourself) and really tuning into your body and what you need will help you reach a place where you are much more in control and healthy.

For me, that's where I am finally back to after a few days of feeling like I was losing control. I could feel myself regaining control and balance yesterday and I woke up today feeling energized and completely back in control. And that's another great thing about this evolution!! Over time you will KNOW when you're about to lose control and when you're back to a good place because you become more in touch with your body and your mental state. So even when you're out of control there's this little glimmer of hope because you possess that power now. Stick with it. BED isn't a life sentence of obesity. Learn your "disease". Because it's not even a disease! It's nature gone a little awry in this new world we live in! And you DO possess the power to change it. I'm living proof.

Gratitude and Hating Myself

Today in yoga I had an epiphany. This month my class and I had resolved to try to avoid complaining. We included gossip as complaining. One area that I failed to include was inner dialogue. Halfway through yoga I caught myself!!!

"Too heavy, you're not light enough"
"Shirt coming up, your belly is showing"
"You are so weak today!"

Then finally I said something different.... "ENOUGH!!!" I stopped what I was doing and went into child's pose and had a little talk with myself. I forgave myself and resolved to be in the moment for the rest of the class and embrace exactly who I am in that moment! And that's exactly what I did! And I feel amazing now!

So that's officially included in my November resolution...pay close attention to inner dialogue that doesn't mirror the gratitude I am trying to apply in my life. I DESERVE to be loved and accepted at all times, not just when I'm having a good hair day, if I've eaten the right foods in the right amounts or when my body fat is to an acceptable level, I deserve self-love each and every day of my life!

Time to Reset

I'm not recording goals or restricting calories today. When I get off course like I did yesterday, I've learned that the best thing I can do is eat to my calorie limit for a day or so and really focus on nourishing my body and getting back in the right frame of mind.

This is for two reasons:

1-If I'm out of control with my eating this means one of two things (or both). My body is starved for extra nutrients because I've been working it so hard and/or my relationship with food needs attention. I would guess it's both. I tend to use food for emotional reasons and I've found that nourishing and loving my body with healthy food makes me less apt to put yucky stuff in it when I'm having a bad day. Form follows function. When I pay attention to doing the right things for my body, it makes me not want to do the wrongs things....most of the time anyway.

2-After putting toxic food in my body instead of the healing, nourishing food that it needs, I figure it needs more nutrients the next day to make up for it.

Yes, I would like to lose about 10-15 pounds but I've finally reached a point in my life where I want to feel better more than anything. And although I've felt a little chubby for the last couple months, I know that I look healthy and my body never fails me. I'm learning to be gentle and patient with my body and my mind. To place healing and nourishment before seeing a smaller number on the scale. The main reason why I've decided that 175 isn't where I want to be long term is because I FEEL too heavy. I feel like my frame is made to support about 160 pounds. That's when I felt my best, strongest and lightest. These few extra pounds seem to hold me down a little and my feet have been hurting lately and I can't help but wonder if this is why, jumping around so much with more weight than my feet are designed to handle. I see a chiropractor next Tuesday and I'm anxious to hear his opinion of whether he thinks it would be helahty and safe for me to start running again. Especially if I could manage to get a couple pounds off my frame first. I run very little right now and only with clients and I miss just running for fun. Plus, I'm sick of plyo and I feel like my joints need a break. We will see.

I've been really struggling with stress and depression lately. I've got a lot of my plate right now and I've been dwelling on it and not dealing with it in a healthy way. I had a little come to Jesus with my boyfriend, Gino, and he made me realize that I've ONCE AGAIN been neglecting my spiritual self. I almost instantly felt better just to realize this. I HAVE to set aside time to nurture my soul. It's just as, if not more, important than nourishing my body and taking care of the people around me. It is the foundation that holds it all together. So, I had planned to skip the yoga class that takes place in the very building where I work because I just felt like I had so many more important things to do. But, instead I'm going to go into the studio a few minutes early (when I actually do take this class, I usually work on paperwork until the very last second and then rush in), I'm going to sit down on my mat and meditate. I am so thankful for Gino for always pulling me back to this part of myself that I tend to neglect. I will show my thanks by being a more pleasant girlfriend tonight, haha.

Wednesday November 4, 2015

Each month in the yoga portion of my class, I've begun having a theme. Last month it was "letting go of ego." This month, since it's the month of Thanksgiving, it seemed natural to have the theme of gratitude. I've found that these themes really help me to stay focused on my spiritual development (something I tend to neglect otherwise) because at least once a week I have to read or watch something or I will be caught with my pants down rambling about some vague notion of gratitude that I have. I started off this month by challenging everyone in the class (including myself) not to complain for the entire month. Complaining includes gossiping! I've caught myself complaining and/or gossiping a couple of times since then and change my thought process. This is challenging right now because someone I love dearly is sick and it's hard to stay positive. But it's the very reason I need to stay positive! Not just for myself but for her and for everyone around me.

More on my feelings and learning on gratitude later. Now for my goals...

Today's Dietary/Fitness Goals:
100 oz water -80 oz
Upper body strength -done!!!
pick up and juice veggies in the evening -done! (thanks to Gino for juicing when I hit a wall)
Something raw with 4 out of 6 meals -horrible!! eating was horrible!
Hit 35g fiber goal -had to do psyllium husk to meet my goal
prep tomorrow's food
Stop eating by 6pm...stopped by 2:30 because I ate so badly! I figured my body needed a break!...ended up having a protein shake around 6:30 so my body wouldn't eat my muscle
So I can be in bed by 9pm!! -in bed by 8:45 but awake until probably close to 10

Other Goals:

Spend at least 10 minutes cleaning the studio -done
Read one entire ACE or Ideafit email (to always be an informed & evolved trainer) -done!!
Meditate -crap
spend 30  minutes uninterrupted quality time with Phoenix this evening -done
Clean car -didn't happen :(
Call Chiro to make apt -done! Finally!

OMG!! I did horrible!! I was carb crazy today! I've noticed that I get really hungry for carbs when my body is really sore from strength training so I choose to believe my body needs it...although I could definitely choose better carb sources. All I can do is eat extra clean tomorrow. Sorry Tammi's body :(

You can look HERE on MyFitnessPal to see my food log for today

I try never to do the same exact workout twice. Our bodies adapt so easily that they'll never react the second time the way they reacted the first time to a particular workout.

Superset #1
Incline bench DB press
Bent over DB row
2 sets low weight, 20 reps; 3rd set med weight, 12 reps, 4th set high weight, 6-8 reps

Superset #2
Push ups
TRX rows
3 sets max reps

Superset #3
Flat bench DB chest flies
Lat pulldown
2 sets low weight, 20 reps; 3rd set med weight, 12 reps, 4th set high weight, 6-8 reps

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm feeling really good about my training lately! This is the time of year when you have people dropping like flies. And, while I am definitely slower, I am still trucking along with a pretty consistent and full training schedule, all things considered. I've even picked up two new clients this week! And I'm not just feeling good about the number of clients that I have but, more importantly, the quality of clients I have. Most all are extremely dedicated and consistent. It is inspiring to ME to have inspired clients. It makes me determined to be more selective about who I agree to or continue to train in the future. It is not helpful to a client who is not ready to change for me to continue to accept payment and go through the motions with them. It's not helpful to me either. I am too sensitive to the feelings of people around me to expose myself to people who aren't ready to change. It discourages and stagnates me. Now, make no mistake, I am NOT referring to clients who STRUGGLE to change. I am talking about clients who truly don't even try. They cancel more than they show up, each excuse being sillier than the last. Clients who struggle...I love you!! The struggle is real! I still live it every day. Food is my best friend and worst enemy. I am working hard to develop a good relationship with it each and every day. Sometimes it nourishes and cleanses me....other times it poisons me. Depends on my state of mind on any given day or even moment to moment.

So, speaking of food....I have a new love that I want to scream from the rooftops! I just found it a couple days ago. It's called Promise Gluten Free Chia Seed Loaf. Now I'll go ahead and tell you the two things keeping this from being a deep and everlasting true love. (1) It's not perfectly clean ingredients...although it's not horrible either! (2) You have to get the crust pretty hard to get the middle decently toasty. But, even considering all that, I am still pretty in love! 150 calories for 2 slices with ELEVEN grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and no sugar! Bread is by nature not an ideal food. However, when you're a real person who wants an occasional piece of toast or a sandwich and you're trying to reach 35 grams of fiber a day while staying in your calorie limit, this bread can really help fit the bill! Other drawback...the price. Almost $5 for a small loaf. Silver lining? Between the fiber and the cost, I'm content with making it a once in a while treat and not overdoing it.

I post these goals at the beginning of the day (for accountability more than anything!) and then I'll go in tonight and update them...

Today's Dietary/Fitness Goals:
100 oz water -done!!
2 servings of herbal tea -done!!
Prepare for and teach class -prepared
pick up and juice veggies in the evening
drink at least 8 oz bone broth -done!
Something raw with 4 out of 6 meals -3 out of 6, not bad
Hit 35g fiber goal-hit 32g by 12:30!! Whoa! It's gonna be a rough night!....40g total baby!!
prep tomorrow's food-half done anyway
Stop eating by 6pm... -done by 5:45!!!
So I can be in bed by 9pm!! -9:45, I'll take it!

Other Goals:
This is my shortest day of work this week so I have big plans for those couple of extra hours....
Spend at least 20 minutes cleaning the studio -done!!
learn 2 new body weight exercises -done!
Read one entire ACE or Ideafit email (to always be an informed & evolved trainer) -didn't do...but I did listen to a couple youtube videos on nutrition while I did some paperwork
Meditate -didn't do :( This is a hard one for me that I really need to work on!
spend 30  minutes uninterrupted quality time with Phoenix this evening -more like an hour! We had fun!!
Clean car -rained all day so I organized one of my kitchen cabinets that was driving me crazy instead
One load of laundry start to finish -2 loads!! Folded and put away!
Call Chiro to make apt -um oops!

You can look HERE on MyFitnessPal to see my food log for today

(teaching class today)
20 minutes high intensity "cardio dance" (generic Zumba)
12 minutes core circuits (45 sec work/15 sec rest)
    -straight leg reverse crunches
    -plank reach (plank w/ alternating raise of opposite leg/arm)
    -windshield wipers 
    -thread the needle (side plank w/ reach under the body) -right side first round, left second
    -extra slow bicycles w/ pause in the middle (try to sit up high the whole time)
    -repeat all above exercises twice then follow with a 2 minute plank...do what you can.
25 minutes yoga (this ends up being about 10-15 minutes fast flow followed by guided meditation)

November 2, 2015

There's something about Fall that really motivates me!! It always has. Something about the crisp coolness and quiet inspires me to be a better person. And this year is proving no different. I feel it deep in my core. I go on organizing and cleaning binges like a woman possessed. Okay, in all honesty, I guess I kind of do this all year but I get waaaay worse this time of year. I wasn't always that way though. I used to actually be quite the slob! However, I've learned over the years that there's nothing like a made bed, folded laundry and a clean car to make me feel in control when the rest of the day may be going to crap! So yeah, I'm taking it up a notch these last few days and purging, scrubbing, organizing and all those other lovely "ing" things that make me feel lighter inside. I also want to get back to daily blogging! Maybe not every day and almost definitely not on the weekends but I miss "talking out" my feelings and seeing my accomplished goals displayed on the screen.

So, being the nerd I am, I thought it would be fun to create a template to follow each day. I may tweak it as I go but here's what I have so far...

Today's Dietary/Fitness Goals:
100 oz water -hit about 90oz! Not bad!
2 servings of herbal tea -didn't happen. I'll try again tomorrow
Leg workout -done!
Something raw with 4 out of 6 meals -done!
Stop eating by 6pm... had a 100 calorie snack at 7pm. But it was healthy!
So I can be in bed by 9pm!! -9:20pm. I'll take it!

Other Goals:
learn 2 new TRX exercises -done!
spend 30  minutes uninterrupted quality time with Phoenix this evening -done! Plus some!

You can look HERE on MyFitnessPal to see my food log for today

    20 fast TRX Squats
    3 sets 8 TRX pistol squats each leg
    Superset: 3 sets 12 hamstring rollouts on stability ball + 12 glute kickbacks each leg w/ heavy resistance band
    Superset: 2 sets 12 hip thrusts w/ 20# dumbbells + Sumo squats w/ 20 lb dumbbell
-15 minutes practicing new Zumba songs for November class

Then various movement while training my clients all day!

Things I Learned While Hiking That Apply to Real Life

I started this post months ago. It's actually crazy how many unfinished drafts I have on here. I was finally inspired to finish this one after a wonderful hike this last weekend that reminded me of these important lessons...

Recently my boyfriend Gino and I had (what has become) a very rare opportunity to spend a day doing whatever we wanted. No work, no kids, no grown up responsibilities. In my 20s (before my son and life change) I would have happily spent the day sleeping in, rolled out of bed around 11-12, maybe grabbed a biscuit (or two) and possibly headed up the mountain to some easy to access nice view to enjoy while I ate a burger. Or I might have bypassed the scenic trip up the mountain altogether, ordered out for pizza and spent the day in my jammies for a movie marathon.

That seems so foreign to me now. That actually sounds like an incredibly wasteful and depressing way to spend a day. Now, for some, this may be the perfect way to spend a day off if their life is constantly go go go and they rarely have ever had this opportunity. But I think it's bleak for me because I spent so much of my life having those days. Time seem so finite to me now. Not a moment to spare.

So we rolled out of bed about 6am (so, yes, we got to sleep in!), took care of the last of our adult responsibilities and, around 8:30am, up the mountain for a rigorous 5 mile hike we went. I've done longer hikes, I've done more strenuous but this hike challenged me because I felt like garbage most of the trip. Why? Because I made the stupid impulse decision to get a breakfast wrap (sans wrap of course) on the way out.

By the time we arrived at the top, I had burned off the miserable rock that had sat on my stomach and I was feeling good. We spent what was probably the longest amount of time I've ever spent on the top of a mountain. It was at least an hour. Maybe more. I actually fell asleep at one point and woke up feeling so refreshed and positive. It was a beautiful and perfect moment in time. On my way up and while I laid on the rocks looking at my majestic surroundings, I pondered on how much I've learned on a mountain trail.

1. Enjoy the journey, not the destination. This is probably the most obvious lesson but it's a good one. I've spent some hikes solely focused on the "pay off". That one moment, one spot where all the hard work would add up to a breath taking 360 degree view on God's best work only to get to the top and be covered in a cloud of fog and see nothing. Or, best case scenario, get to enjoy those few moments but at the sacrifice of sometimes hours of hard, grueling work to get there. However, over time I've learned to embrace every moment on the way up. That giant leaf that glows in the middle of the others on the ground, the sun peeking through the trees, the switch backs on the side of the mountain that provide a glimpse of the view that is to come at the top, all of it. The quiet, heavy breathing of you and your companion(s) as you hit the rough spots. I've learned to go inside myself and use that time to find my peace.

Life is very much the same way. I used to live for a vacation, for the weekend, at times even for death and Heaven. I spent so many grueling hours just getting by, all of life seeming like a stressful never ending string of tasks necessary to get to that one moment in time when I would finally be happy, finally be worthy of stopping and looking around. And often I'd finally get to that long awaited moment only to find it (metaphorically) covered in fog.

I shared this parallel with Gino and he made me realize something even more profound. I had fallen into the tendency of never stopping to look at the glimpses of the view I would see at the top because I had grown to think "why bother? The view will be better from the top." But he pointed out that the view is never exactly the same in any two places. This translates into life perfectly. Every moment, every single dot on the timeline of our lives is preciously unique. My son will never be exactly this age again, I will never have this exact perspective of life again. I should always always stop to appreciate the "view" of my life in this exact moment.

2. The more times you forge up the mountain, the more it takes to challenge you. I used to spend my entire hike, from the trail head until I sat down in the car at the end of the hike, absolutely miserable, unable to focus on anything except how unbelievably hard every step was. I constantly had to stop (usually holding up the other hikers and feeling so lame and out of shape) to catch my breath and muster up more strength in my shaking legs to take another little stint before I would have to, inevitably, rest again. However, over the years, I've noticed that it takes longer and a more steep incline before I slip out of the peaceful comfort of the trail into the grueling labored walk to the top.  Don't get me wrong, it happens. But it takes a lot more for it to happen and the people I'm with are usually more than happy to stop and rest too if I ever reach that point.

Just as in real life, the more I am faced with challenges, hardships, the more it takes to distract me from the beauty of life and sink me into the misery of the moment. Every painful, horrible experience I've had in my life has made more and more things that I used to consider unbearable simply a stone in my path that needs only to be stepped over before I move on with my peaceful journey.

3. Don't hike with your hands in your pockets. Anyone who has spent any amount of time on a trail can appreciate this advice even without a metaphor attached. Honestly folks, it's downright dangerous to hike with your hands in your pockets. With trip hazards everywhere, you want your hands free and ready to stop that 8 pound ball on the top of your head from crashing down on the rocks...or at least slow it. Likewise, you never know when the person in front of you is going to snap a branch back in your face. Look alive people. 

This translates to real life perfectly. We need to WAKE UP and stop walking around only half paying attention to what's going on. With distractions everywhere, car accidents are so much higher, I would guess child neglect is too. We need to stop allowing silly distractions to turn our attention away from what's really important. Whether it be the child who is growing up almost unnoticed in the shadow of our phone or the country that is being hijacked by money hungry corporations, or all the not so dramatic things in between, life is passing us by whether we are strolling through life with our hands in our pockets only half paying attention or not.

4. The food you pack will determine the hike you have. This one isn't so thoughtful and metaphorical as the rest but super important nonetheless! I used to look at hiking as the perfect excuse to eat what I wanted because the calories would be torched before they had a chance to cozy into my fat cells. However, over the years I've learned that not taking the time to plan and pack what I was going to eat would usually result in me throwing a candy bar and chips into my pack and then maybe stopping for some fast food on my way out of town. The end result would be an absolute MISERABLE hike! In addition to my stomach making noises that would have some asking "was that a bear?", I could FEEL my body lagging from lack of nutrients and the rush of sugar and unnatural fats. I would end my hike feeling almost hung over sometimes.

A work day is extremely similar in that the old adage definitely applies: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." If you head into your workday without your little healthy foods packed, you will very often end up eating from fast food places and vending machines. You will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride that will start at breakfast and probably end around 10pm as you stand in your kitchen eating ice cream straight out of the container, feeling as though you are possessed by a demon, not in control of your own body. 

I've learned from not just hiking but every day experience, that it is IMPERATIVE for me to pack many small protein rich healthy meals to keep my metabolic fires burning during the day and keep me from getting too hungry. Some people might not need to graze all day like this. In fact, there is the excellent argument that eating small, frequent meals causes insulin to be present in your body all day long and, thus, prevent fat burning. However, here's my take. If you struggle with controlling your appetite, you're going to crash and burn by the end of the day and go to bed flooded with insulin when you lose control from going to long without eating earlier in the day. So instead I eat my small, frequent, appetite controlling meals during the day then stop eating around 6-7pm. My body then burns its fat while I sleep. Everyone is different and just like planning the perfect fuel for YOUR hike, you have to find the perfect fuel for your life in general. 

5. Be gentle with the earth. I've always noticed that the deeper you get into the woods, the less likely you are to find litter. I firmly believe this is because true nature lovers (the ones who go for the long, deep hikes) would never throw their crap down on the ground. No metaphor, just don't be an a-hole and respect the earth. It's the only home we have.

6. Downhill traffic always yields to uphill traffic. If you're a hiking newb, this will put you ahead of the game as this isn't something that everyone just knows right off the bat. Unless there is an extenuating circumstance, for instance, if people are on a steep downhill slope that makes stopping hard or even dangerous, the people hiking down always stop and allow the people headed up to pass first. I've wondered why this is in the past and I've settled on the reason being that hiking uphill is hard enough without having to stop and watch the hikers enjoying their leisurely stroll downhill pass.

Real life? When someone is struggling, stop and smile at them as they pass. Help them if you can. Don't rub it in their face that you are NOT struggling. Because, guess what, you guys are on different parts of the same path and we all have struggled and will struggle.  Likewise, pay attention to their struggle to remind yourself that it's okay that you did or will struggle too. Realize when they pass that they are the same as you. We are all connected and all will pass this way until our "hike" is done.

February 2010: I Was Only Cheating Myself

I was looking back through my old posts on sparkpeople.com (where I used to blog and log calories) and I found this post that reminded me just how far I've came over the years, even considering how far I had come at the time. It's a big reminder of something I still believe to be true: being aware of your decisions and dealing with your emotions is ALWAYS the better option and will ALWAYS make you feel better in control...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Last night was rough. My son had awaken countless times because he's so congested. After being up and down all night long I was exhausted when I woke up this morning and realized I had 20 minutes to get myself and my son ready and be out the door. I was also starving and stressed out over some internal "issues" I'm having about my relationship right now...but that's a totally different blog I suppose.

I go to McD's to get some eggs for a quick protien boost and suddenly I HAVE TO HAVE a sausage biscuit. I decide quickly I am going to have one, and a diet Coke too, and that I'm also going to have a "cheat day" cause I haven't had one in a while. Now, this wouldn't be so bad if I was doing it for the correct reasons (to keep my metabolism "guessing" and to relax a bit on my regimine and indulge a little in some things that I love, savoring every meal with heavenly delight) but I was doing it for completely emotional reasons. When I have cheat days for the right reason I feel completely satisfied, rational, energized and effective (effective because I am shaking up my metabolism). But this quickly became an urgent need to eat whatever I wanted and as quickly as possible. I soon had an early lunch which consisted of taco nachos & french toast sticks from Jack in the Box.

Then the bottom fell out. I went from exhausted to miserable. I felt like I couldn't keep my eyes open and my stomach was churning. I sat for a while at work thinking, "maybe some chocolate would make me feel better" and then it hit me like a ton of bricks "Wow! this is the exact thinking that made you fat in the first place. You've came so far and now you're back here again?? Really? No wonder you feel like crap, you haven't had any real food today." I was ashamed but then I pushed through that feeling too because it, also, was not effective.

Instead, I logged the calories I had already eaten to assess the damage. Reviewed the stats as an objective scientist of sorts then I moved on. I popped on my headphones and found a self-help podcast on my iPod to listen to while I did some squats and stretching to get my blood pumping. Then I filled up my water bottle, chugged 16 oz of water, filled it up again and washed down some vitamins. Now, I'm having a snack of a little bit of grilled chicken, carrots and slivered almonds to get some protien, complex carbs and veggies in me. And I feel better already! Not just physically but emotionally. I made a list of my "issues" with my boyfriend and then put it to the side to look at later but at least it's out of my head now and can't do any more damage sitting on that piece of paper (unless if my boyfriend were to find it, teehee).

My cheat day was officially over at about 11am today and I have NO remorse over cutting it short because it wasn't a real "cheat day" it was the beginning of an emotional eating binge that I was pathetically trying to pass off as a spur of the moment cheat day. I could look at this morning as me falling off the wagon and wondering how I could have such a huge backslide with everything that I know and when I'm supposedly supposed to love myself so much now but this is how I choose to look at it instead:

I have grown so much and become so in touch with my body that I stopped a "reflex" that I've had for about 20 years or more (binge eating). I stopped it cold in it's tracks FOR THE RIGHT REASONS!! That's HUGE! When I think about how far I've come, one of my favorite sayings comes to mind: "True nobility is not being better than everyone else, it's rather being better than you used to be." This morning, amidst 72 grams of fat and a whirlwind of fast food wrappers, I somehow found nobility.

Happy 38th Birthday to My Body

My mind and soul are timeless, always changing yet always the same. I can't really put a number of years on what's inside because, the older I get, the more convinced I am that my soul is eternal. However, my body....that's another story. I can most definitely attach a number to my body. 38 years ago, all ten pounds of me came bursting out of my poor tiny mother. 

My body was always on the larger side compared to other females. Even before I gained weight, I always had....we will call it a strong presence. While I've finally come to embrace my height of just over 5 foot, 7 inches, my wide hips and not so dainty hands, I spent most of my life wanting to be a tiny, precious thing that males would want to carry around in their pockets and protect from the world.

When I was younger I felt clumsy and awkward looking. I worked against my body at every turn, for most of my life. As time has gone on, I've stopped doing this for the most part. And for her 38th birthday, I am giving my body the gift of unconditional acceptance. 

This is my birthday message to my body....

I accept the surgery scars. The burn scar on your torso. I accept the stretch marks. I embrace them. I accept the soft, loose skin around your belly button. I accept your small breasts that will never be perky again. I accept your dimpled backside. I accept your hands and feet that become a little more veiny each year. I accept your thick arms. I accept your nose that is almost too large for your face. I accept how your gums are crooked and higher on one of your front teeth than on the other. I accept that no matter how close I shave your legs, they are stubbly an hour later. I accept that you put on weight at ten times the speed that you take it off. I accept that your hair is almost always a little wild and frizzy. I accept the gentle lines on your face that I know will become less gentle with time if I am blessed enough to live a long life. I accept every single thing about you, my precious vessel, that has carried me on every adventure of my life....and I'm sorry.

I"m sorry you've had to work so hard for me to be hated so much along the way. There is no one else in my life that I would judge so harshly and show such hatred for. You deserve so much more. I have treated you badly. And still you have never let me down. I have pushed you up impossible mountains and, with your legs shaking, you have delivered my soul to the top of every one. Sometimes with blood oozing out of various places. And the next day you hardly complained. You created and carried my precious child and I abandoned you for the duration. Out of my mind with depression. But, still, you went through the motions for me in my absence and delivered him safely. You allowed me to express my love for him and many others in a physical way. You have seen me through every task for 13,870 days so far. How beautiful, how magical that you would serve me in such a way. I owe you my life. Literally. 

So for your 38th birthday I promise you love. I promise to stop comparing you to everyone else because you are MY perfect, beautiful body. I promise to never take you for granted again. I promise to be gentle and understanding with you as you age and grow frail. And, when I leave this earth, hopefully many many years from now, I will leave you behind. My loved ones will embrace you after I have moved on to my next big adventure. I know I can't take you with me but I will hold dear every memory you have allowed me, my beautiful perfect and holy body. Happy Birthday to YOU.

I Am No Longer Your Weight Loss Coach

Over the past couple of years, traffic to my Facebook page as well as this blog has slowed down a lot. However, after pondering a bit, I've decided that's a great thing! At one time, my blog had become so high traffic, especially with the hits being highest on the calorie counting and weight loss specific posts that I felt very boxed into the "fitness corner". I felt like I could no longer write about whatever I wanted if I couldn't somehow tie it in to fitness and weight loss. When I did I would sometimes see that the people following my Facebook page would unfollow it which drove that idea home in my mind. Blogging became such an important form of "therapy" for me a number of years ago and I felt myself creating lots of drafts and never publishing them because I felt they didn't fit my "weight loss message". The same message that I didn't really believe in anymore. Which I'll explain more in a minute.

Now that traffic is slow and I'm building my business in the real world and not so interested in building it online, I don't feel this pressure to have large numbers of followers anymore. So, I'm taking back my blog! For myself and my handful of dedicated followers (both online as well as my clients). I have decided that I am changing the name and theme of my blog back to what it originally was "In the Front of My Mind". I have learned over the years (as I hope all of you have) that weight loss is merely a side effect of becoming healthy. And not just physically! Emotionally and spiritually as well! I want to get back to my roots. So weight loss isn't my focus any more than reversing type 2 diabetes or reducing the risk of heart disease is. My focus is making the WHOLE person, whether it be me, my client or an anonymous reader, the best version of themselves that they can possibly be.

Our society is so focused on weight loss! How small can we get? How fit can we look? We follow pages of women who post endless gym selfies that often do nothing but make most of us hate ourselves, yet we think somehow they hold the answers. I promise you, if you turn your focus away from weight loss and onto truly loving yourself (which involves just the practice of doing kind, loving and gentle things for yourself), you will find the key THERE! Educate and inspire yourself with TRULY inspiring things! If that happens to be the girl half your age who dedicates her life to looking a certain way and then tweaking with the lighting and angle of her pics to give her that perfect, unattainable look....then go for it! But if you find that looking at those endless, self-worshipping pictures makes you feel like garbage, STOP!!!!! That will get you about as far from your weight loss goals as humanly possibly because we don't dedicate time and energy to something we hate.

The obesity epidemic is symptomatic of a society out of balance. Out of balance with nature, with each other and with themselves. We are so desensitized and overstimulated, overfed and overworked that we don't allow our bodies and minds to come back to that natural place of balance that we all have the potential to come back to. We need to turn off our phones, tvs, computers, etc., put down our packages of foods, kick off our overpriced, over-supportive shoes and go take a walk in nature...and maybe eat some green stuff while we're out there.

For too long I've fallen into the trap of trying to look or be a certain way. I recently read a Facebook post from a woman who recently left the fitness industry after almost 10 years. She talked about how it had almost caused her to abuse and hate her body because her body had become this prop to promote her business. I almost fell into that trap as well. It's so easy to do! Everyone is watching. But not anymore. I am ME. My arms are a little flabby but I am strong as an ox. My strong abs might not show through my soft belly (which my hunky boyfriend happens to love) but it'll brace against my 7 year old running toward me at full speed and protect all my innards. I'm almost 40 but I can run circles around most teenagers in this country. I LOVE salty, cheesy stuff but I love my body and my health enough to keep them in their "once in a while" compartment. I am a balance of good and ugly and so are you. Let's embrace EVERYTHING we are TOGETHER and stop trying to fit a mold. If people "unfollow" you, on Facebook or real life, to hell with them! I am not here to try to make everyone tune into "The Tammi Show". I am living my life in a sloppy, mish mash, beautiful and wide open sort of way and I want EVERYTHING, my business, my relationships and, yes even my blog, to be a true representation of all of that. So tune in if you like...or don't! Either way, in the words of the late, great Wayne Dyer, "Don't die with your music still in you."

Heaven Is Here (feat. Matisyahu)

COUNTING CALORIES 101: My List of Low Calorie HEALTHY (yet, tasty) Foods and Other Tips for Easier Weight Loss

Once upon a time, I lost a crap ton of weight and lived happily ever after. The end....

Nope not quite. Over the past few years my weight has slowly crept up until I was 35 pounds up from all time low weight. This was my wake up call that something was not right. At 175 pounds (30 pounds up), I announced that I was done trying to lose weight and I was just going to maintain...then I gained 5 more pounds. So I went back and looked to see what in the world I was doing so different then. And, SURPRISE! I was actually paying attention to what I put in my mouth! Every single day!

I am shocked at how far I had come from these basic principles that led to my huge weight loss. I am a total science nerd and am always researching the latest studies that prove this and that about nutrition and fat loss. I had become my own science experiment. Going from Frutitarian (all fruit, Lord help me!) to no carb because there is REAL science that backs all this up, and everything in between, I kept creeping higher and higher up.

In the process, I had stopped eating as many unprocessed, whole foods. HOW does this happen?!

Well, it does and all you can do is get back on track and try again. So now I'm 7 pounds down from my (post-weight loss) all time high of 180 pounds by just doing these annoyingly basic things that I began my blogging career screaming from the rooftops. 

Now that I'm all hardcore back into counting calories, I want to share my list of foods that I rely heavily upon (along with a few other tips). And I want to start by saying that these are NOT all perfect foods!! Not by a long shot. However, all have some redeeming quality that makes them a staple in my diet.

A huge rule with any eating plan is that you not only want to feel good but actually enjoy the food you're eating so that you can do this for life! The other side of this rule is to find foods that you don't enjoy TOO much to the point where you're tempted to overeat on them. Those are best left out of the house and reserved for special occasions....at someone else's house perhaps.

I'm going to leave off the most obvious list of all and that's non-starchy veggies! Find at least a small list of low calorie veggies that you love and put them into rotation. At the moment, I am digging a sliced cucumber with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt on it for only 45 calories. I love to make giant salads with pickled veggies mixed in for a punch. I splurge on some tasty dressing, even if it costs me 120 calories because I know it will make my giant (and I mean GIANT) salad delicious and I am a creature of pleasure. If it's not tasty, I'm not going to keep eating it.

Proteins are so important for weight loss. They satisfy you for little calories and help you body hold on to muscle (and even sometimes still build it) instead of burning it during weight loss.

-Shrimp. Love it!! Something like 85 calories for 10 of the medium ones.

-Sunwarrior Blend Protein. 100 calories of clean, vegan protein that is quite tasty! Sometimes I like to mix it up in the blender with a tbsp. of natural peanut butter, water and ice for a delicious, satisfying shake that's under 200 calories!!

-Boring Old White Meat Chicken. I honestly am not a huge fan of white meat. I prefer dark meat but ooooomg!! It's so many calories. So, while it's actually a very healthy choice from a nutrition standpoint (healthy fats), it can make creating a calorie deficit kind of hard so save the dark meat for special occasions and when you're in maintenance mode. In the meantime, you will need two things to make your boring old chicken pretty darn tasty: a super yummy seasoning mix (I'm really digging Adobo at the moment) or cook it with hot sauce for buffalo chicken. Add it to a salad with carrots, celery and sprinkle of blue cheese and you have "hot wing salad". The second thing you need is a meat thermometer! I promise you, chicken is waaaay tastier when you haven't overcooked it to the point of work boot material.

-Cottage Cheese. A lot of people turn up their nose at this one and, trust me, plain cottage cheese makes me gag. But mixed up in a salad with a little ranch dressing, I've got a protein packed, AMAZING tasting salad. Don't be my 7 year old....try it!

-FARM Eggs!!! There are a lot of foods that I will tell people to just buy regular but this is one that, if there's any way you can, you want to splurge on the farm fresh eggs. The creamy orange yolks will be an entirely new experience for you if you're used to conventional eggs. Not to mention they are packed full of Omega-3's which have been shown to assist in weight loss. My favorite way to have my eggs is over easy and on top of a giant plate of cooked veggies. Yes, right over top, so it's like a warm, creamy gravy. Again, don't knock it 'til you've tried. A giant plate of cooked, non-starchy veggies with two eggs on top is around 200 calories and will make you SATISFIED!!

Always watch your portion sizes on carbs! All people are different but most people with weight problems have a hard time consuming a lot of carbs and keeping their blood sugar regulated. Always pair complex carbs with protein. At the VERY MOST, you want no more than 3 times the carbs as protein. So 10g protein, max 30 g carbs. But a 1:2 ratio is even better! Find your "carb tipping point" by starting with just a couple bites of COMPLEX carbs and see how you feel. You can slowly add an extra bite or two at a time during the coming weeks. You know you've passed your carb tipping point when you feel tired and/or hungry almost immediately after a meal.

-Ole Low Carb Xtreme Wellness, High Fiber Wraps. Okay, this is officially the ONLY mention you'll see of wheat on this list. As a general rule, I think wheat greatly hinders weight loss efforts and I try to avoid it. Now, that being said, I have been known to slide these babies in from time to time and here's why. First, they are only 90 calories and pretty freakin' big! Second, they have NINE grams of fiber!! Fiber helps satisfy you (not to mention, exercise is not very fun when you're constipated). If you just NEED to wrap something up, use these gems.

-Boiled Sweet Potatoes. This is not the most amazing thing in the world but it's pretty darn tasty for the amount of work it takes. Cut a sweet potato into 1 inch slices. Put it in boiling water until soft and then salt it with some Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. Very tasty! It's also great to go on top of salads the next day to add and sweet and creamy texture.

Because this is real life!

-Attune Probiotic Chocolate. Here's what I love about these dark chocolate bars (other than the fact that they are AMAZING tasting). They have 80 calories, only 6g of sugar AND 3 grams of fiber! Bonus? They have live probiotics!! Don't know what probiotics are and why you WANT lots of them now??....educate yourself immediately! Unhealthy guts make for dumpy butts....Oh! I am SO coining that phrase! Don't you guys steal it!

-Zen Evo Dark Chocolate. These little bars are around 40-45 calories and a little pricey. But I love them because they have things like green tea extract and raspberry ketones in them (depending on the version you get, like "Energy" or "Fit"). So I always feel like they curb my appetite a little and the caffeine seems to offset the slump I sometimes feel after eating sugar.

-Full fat ice cream!! Mind your portion size, but a 1/2 cup serving usually runs 150 calories. I emphasize full fat because the fat and protein in ice cream will actually slow the absorption of the sugar which helps prevent cravings for seconds. With all these types of foods, chew slow. Let the food roll around on your tongue. This helps start the whole digestion process and sends signals to your brain and belly that you're satisfied WAAAY sooner than if you're just inhaling without chewing!

-Raw macaroons. This has been one of my favorite finds lately! Find macaroons with really good, healthy ingredients. Most of these will range 75-100 calories. What I love about them is that, in addition to tasting amazing, they have protein, fat and fiber, and less sugar than most desserts. This helps that sugar crash AND (for me anyway) it is so satisfying I can actually eat only one and not want more....this is nothing short of a miracle for someone like me! Find a flavor you love but don't LOOOOVE to the point where you need more than one to be satisfied.

Drinks (when you're sick of good old fashion water!)

-Kevita. I loooove my Kevita! Starting as low as 5 calories per serving, it is full of live probiotics and all kinds of other health boosting goodies. Sweetened with stevia leaf extract, it has a subtle sweetness that's all natural. Best part (other than being healthy)? Due to the fermentation process, it is naturally carbonated. I will warn you, things like Kevita and my next recommendation are acquired tastes but most people grow to love and crave them after a while.

-Kombucha. You want to be careful with this one because a lot of manufactures will add sugar. I generally go with the brand Synergy because their kombuchas start as low as 30 calories per serving. This is another gut healthy, naturally carbonated drink.

-Water w/ REAL stevia leaf extract. You can experiment with this by adding mint leaves, lemon, cinnamon, cucumbers, etc. Just watch out for sugars in things like fruits and fruit juices. Even though it's natural it will still affect your weight loss either by extra calories or cravings.

Extras and Things to Make Everything Tastier

-Feta Cheese. Okay, definitely not a perfect food but that's okay! 1/4 c of feta is 70 calories or less and will make any meal amazing while adding some protein!

-Parmesan Cheese. Just like feta, parm can make any meal amazing and it takes even less calories to accomplish this with Parmesan. But, keep in mind, you want to use these cheese as a garnish for a giant meal of veggies! The veggies will be what will fill your body, nourish you and keep you satisfied. The cheese just makes your mouth happy while you get those veggies in.

-Fresh Garlic! It's a pain to chop so I will do a whole one at one time and put it in a tiny mason jar. It makes anything delicious and you can top any veggies with fresh chopped garlic and Parmesan cheese, stick it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes and you'll be in heaven!!

-Egg Drop Soup. I'm so glad I finally tried this. The calories seem to range from 50-75 per cup and it's soooo good and filling because it has some fat and protein.

-Bone Broth....you need to just look this one up! It can become your new best friend!

-Spices!!!! We know this but it's like we don't KNOW this!! Look for fairly clean ones with words you can recognize in the ingredients list and then invest in some good spice mixes (I mentioned earlier, Adobo is one I really like at the moment).

-Pink Himalayan Sea Salt....again, look this up! It's healthy!

-Real Vanilla Extract (and other 100% pure extracts)

-REAL (ceylon) cinnamon...Know the difference!

Things That WILL Make You Hungrier

-Artificial Sweeteners...even too much stevia can cause cravings because, even though it's natural, it still is sweet and sends the message to your stomach that food is on the way so approach with caution.
-Excessive Carbs
-Stress or lack of sleep
-Commercials about food!!!

...avoid these things whenever you can

Things That Can Curb Your Appetite

-Exercise (especially high intensity)
-Fiber! Fiber! Fiber!
-Moderate consumption of healthy fats
-A good night's sleep
-Small amounts of natural occurring caffeine
-Big bulky foods like leafy green salads and broth based soups
-Getting enough nutrients!!! This one is HUGE! Your body will keep sending you the hunger signal if you're not giving it what it needs in terms of nutrition.
-Spicy foods (for some people)
-Sour foods (for other people)

Other Calorie Counting Tips for Weight Loss

-Really pay attention to those carbs! They can destroy your efforts. 
-Find big foods w/ little calories to keep you full and nourished! Stretch that calorie budget! Make it a game!
-Aim low! Only aim to lose about a pound a week. Creating too big of a deficit WILL set you up for disaster! Don't be the hare, be the tortoise.
-Speaking of aiming low, enter all your exercise in at 50%. Meaning, if you did Zumba for 60 minutes, only log 30. This is something that was just recently brought to my attention! Machines and apps drastically overestimate the amount of calories you're burning because they don't deduct your BMR (as in, the calories you would burn anyway, even if you didn't work out, which are already factored into your daily calorie allotment).
-Stay hydrated. Adequate water will give you energy, help you exercise harder and prevent false feelings of hunger.
-25g of fiber per day
-PLAN AHEAD! Try using an app like www.myfitnesspal.com to log your calories. Plan all your calories the day before whenever possible.
-PLAN YOUR CHEATS TOO!! Twice a week, plan to eat those extra 500 calories that you're usually creating a deficit with. This will do two things, it will give you a chance to eat those things you've been resisting AND it will help keep your metabolism high. You don't want to go long periods of time with a calorie deficit every single day. Your body will lower your metabolism and burn more muscle to compensate. So, yes!! Absolutely cheat, but plan it ahead of time and only eat as many calories as you can while not changing weight in that day. Want more calories on a Saturday? Get up and work out hard so you can bank those calories and eat them later! I went for a 5 hour hike last Saturday and burned an extra 1000 calories!!! I enjoyed pizza and ice cream that night and still had a calorie deficit when I went to bed. 
-Don't lie and don't guess. In the beginning you need to measure everything. 501 calories is all it will take to move from losing weight to gaining it in any given day. And 500 calories is way less than you may think! It could be a couple packets of honey mustard from Bojangles and some salad dressing you didn't eyeball very well.
-Eat small, frequent (protein and fiber rich) meals. There is actually some controversy around this one lately to the point where I stopped doing it. And, guess what!....I gained weight!! Yes, eating frequent causes your body to always have some insulin present. But guess what going too long without eating does to an overweight person....makes them eat everything in sight! You need to eat BEFORE you get very hungry. However often that is! Sometimes I eat 8-9 times a day! Just don't eat dumb, non-food items like 100 calorie snack packs or you WILL overeat your calorie limit at the end of the day.

And most importantly....

Count ALL Calories....SEVEN DAYS A WEEK!!!!!!

This is the number one reason people counting calories don't lose weight. You can eat perfectly for 4 1/2 and COMPLETELY destroy all your efforts and even GAIN weight for the week by throwing down on the weekend with no regard for what you're eating. Plan your weekends too! Count those calories. Want to pig out?! Go for a 5 hour hike!!! Realize that the calories still count, even when you don't feel like counting them!