Let’s get real about weight loss

OK, so there is this thing that has been bothering me. It’s the entire reason why so many of us feel like failures when it comes to weight loss and I have even peddled along with it. But NO MORE! There is a reality to weight loss, but we aren’t really let in on that reality are we?

  1. You cannot deprive the body into losing weight. At least, you can’t deprive it into losing weight for good. Every time you embark on a deprivation diet of ANY kind, your metabolism, NOT YOUR BODY FAT, goes down. It is better to invest some time building your metabolism up instead of falling for quick weight loss fads.
  2. There is a definite science to weight loss…and most trainers don’t even know it. Basic CPT training courses do NOT teach the science of actual weight loss. They teach trainers how to take assessments and protocol for training programs. All of this is very important, but now the market is flooded with trainers that spit out meal plans like a weight loss ATM. Then, when the meal plan fails the client…the trainer blames the client.
  3. NUTRIENTS are far more important than calories. Nutrient help insure health, bone density, longevity and quality of life. If you focus on cutting calories, you inadvertently cut nutrients, leading to more fat gain and inflammation issues as you age.
  4. WOMEN: wrap your pretty head around the fact that you need to train like a man. Start thinking like men (grunting and throwing weights optional). You don’t see too many men starving themselves to fit into a certain size or see a certain number on the scale. Build your muscle, feed your muscle. And as for the flat-out lie that you’ll get BULKY…in the infamous Disney voice, LET IT GO.
  5. Get smart. Choose your trainer wisely. This person is not just responsible for helping you shed a couple of pounds….they are responsible for your HEALTH and wellbeing. Don’t take that lightly and don’t allow them to take it lightly either. If you see them training other clients exactly like they train you, run for the door. You deserve a personalized approach to your own health. Put it on the list as IMPORTANT.

Here’s one final thing that bugs me in the “weight loss” industry (aside from the fact that it should be the health industry…but that doesn’t sell as much):

MANY people fall for fancy marketing. I have blog posts about home workouts on this very blog. I also used to peddle them, but I have since seen a few issues come to light, especially since I started counseling:

  • You ONLY see the success. Let’s take Beach Body for example (please note, they are not the only ones): they KNOW infomercials. They have a specialized team that knows exactly what to do, right down to the lighting, colors and time placement. When Beach Body develops a new program, the program gets sent to beta testing. There is a controlled group of people who sign several documents stating that they will not breathe a word. In return, they get to work with celebrity trainer, get a meal plan and hopefully, a brand new body. Here’s the question: do you see the people that didn’t succeed? You know, the ones that did it for 2 weeks and got bored, injured or just didn’t mesh with the program? UM, NO! They’ve signed contracts that disable them from saying it failed for them, therefore we only see the success. Since we only see success, when we do not finish we feel like a failure….
  • Home based training is not bad, but over promising is. When I take online clients in, they are told up front that my methods aren’t super fast…they’re built to last. Trainers and fitness companies need to step away from the flash of fast and move towards better health and wellness overall. Maintainable fitness and nutrition is what keep you fit, healthy and happy with life.

Now that my soap box can be folded up :) Here’s an eye opener for you:

Januray 13 2014   rockin abs

I know I’ve posted these before, but stay with me here! These are no filter, no fancy lighting pics, just the real deal.

Pic on the left: I was down to 1400 calories, about 80 grams of carbs (that’s low people), no breads, pastas, rice, etc. and I was working out 2-3x per day.

On the right: my calories were worked up slowly to 1700 (I’m now up to 1800 and holding steady), carbs at 150 grams, zero steady state cardio, four 25 minute sessions per week and two hour long sessions to focus on building.

I have more energy throughout the day (carbs!) and I’m leaner than when I was following a plan.

The point? Learn the facts, learn your body and stop depending on people who don’t even know what they are doing! You’re health is worth the time and investment.

Want to learn more about nutrition? Join the next Nutrition Boot Camp that starts in June.

See you soon!


Thirsty Thursday: #CHEATCLEAN Recipes

Welcome back to National Nutrition Month!

What is food if it’s not enjoyable? Well, technically it is fuel, BUT if you don’t enjoy your fuel then you’re not very likely to stick with it right?

So, today I am presenting you with 4 (yeah, I said 4!) #cheatclean recipes to keep you trim and fit, but also satisfied. :) ENJOY your food!

The common ingredients you will need for these recipes are Quest Bars and protein powder. I’ll list what I use, but I always recommend you experiment! All items can be purchased at bodybuilding.com

protein PB cup

1) #CHEATCLEAN Peanut Butter Cups

I’m a Reese’s PB Cup ADDICT! And these come pretty dang close in taste, up my protein, and don’t jack up my hormones with all the sugars. Super easy recipe:

What you will need:

Foil muffin tins and non-stick spray

1 scoop BSN Syntha 6 protein powder in Peanut Butter Cookie mixed with just enough water to make a paste

1 scoop BSN Syntha 6 protein powder in Chocolate Peanut Butter mixed with just enough water to make a paste

What to do:

LIGHTLY spray muffin tins (makes 2 big ones)

place about 1/2 chocolate pb mix into both tins

Place in freezer for about 10 minutes

Place peanut butter cookie mix on top (the whole mix between both cups)

Freeze for 10-15 minutes

Place the remaining chocolate pb mix on top and freeze until done….or in my case, until you just can’t wait any longer.

Peanut Butter yumminess for less than 6 grams of sugar! WINNING!

oreo brownie bites


2) #CHEATCLEAN Oreo Brownie Bites

What you will need:

1 Quest nutrition Oreo cookie bar

1 Quest nutrition brownie bar

1 thank you letter, ready to be sent to Quest Nutrition.

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Place a bit of plastic wrap over a plate

Tear both bars into pieces and microwave for 20 seconds

Wrap plastic wrap around Quest bars and SMOOSH

Transfer your smoosh to a small baking dish

Bake for approximately 6 minutes

Cut into squares

Write thank you card.


chocolate ice cream

3) #CHEATCLEAN Chocolate Heaven Ice Cream Dream

What you will need:

An ice cream maker…seriously, they’re like $20. Go get one, I’ll wait…..

1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology (I chose this for nutrient density, YOU may use any chocolate protein powder you like….it’s not an anarchy here)

1 scoop Syntha 6 protein in Peanut Butter Cookie

1 spoon natural peanut or almond butter (um, I use BIG spoons for this, but feel free to use a tablespoon)

6 oz unsweetened almond milk

1 zucchini, peeled and chopped (don’t wrinkle your nose at me! just do it…)

What to do:

Put it all into the blender, put the lid on  (DUH) and let it rip!

Pour into ice cream maker

Try not to look too desperate as you stalk ice cream make for the next 10-15 minutes

Enjoy :)

BTW: If you’re totally against modern technology and refuse to purchase an ice cream maker….place in container and freeze for 1-2 hours.

peanut butter stuffed cookie

4) #CHEATCLEAN Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie (OH….YEAH)

Um, words cannot express how deliciously delightful these are….do NOT share. I warned you :) If you share people will always be at your house…it’s dreadful.

What you will need:

1 Quest Nutrition Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

1 Quest Nutrition Cravings Peanut Butter Cups Pack (you’ll use 1. feel free to nibble on the other, OR you can make a cookie for a very dear loved one)

an oven…

A phone! So you can take a pic of your cookie and a pic of your hot body and say “HA!” cause you have totally figured it out…

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

SMOOSH halves of the Quest cookie bar and place one on lightly sprayed cookie sheet

Place a peanut butter cup in the middle

Place other SMOOSHED half on top and close up the sides as best you can.

EAT any chocolate pieces that fall off…

Bake for 3-5 minutes

Find a dark corner to indulge your taste buds and have a little party all to yourself…cause we don’t share these.


There you have it. 4 awesome recipes that will revolutionize the way you see “diets”. I hate diets. I spit on them…but not after I’ve eaten a cookie cause I don’t waste that stuff.

Open your mind, realize that you are full of AWESOME potential just as you are RIGHT NOW. You don’t need to lose weight or get swole to live to your fullness…start now and it will come. #youareenough

Grace, peace, chocolate and a few lunges,


rockin abs

Want abs like these? Head over to the NUTRITION tab to see how you can get in on Nutrition Boot Camp OR personalized nutrition counseling. Have your treats…gain results!


It’s A Throwback: Nutritional Cleansing :)


I’ll be doing another Shakeology Cleanse SOON! Want it? Hit me up. I’ll have special cleanse packages available if you’re just looking to shed some extra weight and get your nutrition in order. Mine will be at the very beginning of March to coincide with my mission trip…cause you know, I like to travel light :)

Shakeology Cleanse Basics:

Meal 1: Drink 1 scoop of your choice Shako in 8 oz water with 1/2 a banana if needed

Meal 2: Drink 1 scoop shako in 8 oz water

Meal 3: 2 cups mixed green salad with 5 oz grilled chicken breast

Meal 4 (optional): 1 scoop Shako in 8 oz water

If you are truly starving during the day, 1st make sure you’re getting enough water and 2nd feel free to have a piece of fruit.

Disclaimer: This cleanse is not to last more than 3 days. Check out the video to see how I modified it for my lifestyle. Feel free to comment on how great my hair looks ;)

Peace, Love and Lunges!



Ditch Diets to Lose Weight

Good morning!

I hope this finds you feeling fresh this beautiful Monday :)

Today will mark the beginning of a nutrition series meant to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

The tip for today: DON’T FALL FOR DIETS!

Here’s the most important thing you can remember is that YOU do not fail diets, diets FAIL YOU! Diets are not meant for success, period. There is not a single diet that can be pointed to as the magic pill. How can I say that? Well, let me pose a question:

If you have to stay on a specific DIET for LIFE, does it really work?

In other words, is a diet working once you start living life?

Your personal diet should be just as different as you are! As you can imagine, mine is pretty weird :) We are all made different, from our hair to our intestines and our diets should reflect that difference. Each of us should eat for health first, but we should also have an enjoyment to our food. Eating clean isn’t a “diet”, it is a lifestyle that many who expect great things from their body adhere to. Why? Well, it’s customizable to each individual. This is precisely why the meal plans you find on here are only for a range of 1-4 weeks. You shouldn’t have to stay on a strict plan forever…that’s not enjoyable.

Scientists have found that is we do not enjoy our food then we are more apt to feel deprived. Notice that has nothing to do with calorie count, but rather the enjoyment factor. Personally, I enjoy salads in the warm weather…it’s the body’s natural response to the external change in temperature. However, if you offer me a salad in the winter, there is no way I’ll touch it! It’s all about the enjoyment.

So, how do you up your enjoyment of your daily diet? Invest some time in it! You don’t have to have 5 course meals every time you eat, but you do need to put forth a little brain effort to plan ahead. Like soups and stews? Fix them on the weekends so you always have something satisfying to eat for a meal. Swap out fatty meats for leaner cuts (i.e. ground chuck for ground sirloin) and amp up your veggies. Those who say they are picky veggie eaters, look for different ways to prep your vegetables. It probably isn’t the vegetable you do not like, but rather the preparation or memory tied to it. Not all veggies taste good raw and there is a LARGE percentage of us that have a hard time digesting raw veggies.

Today, I have a treat for you. EVERY week (since it’s still a little cool) I cook a pot of vegetable soup. It’s easy to digest and pairs well with anything OR can be eaten alone as a light dinner. I encourage you to PLAY around in the kitchen! Mix up your veggies and seasonings and figure out what works best for you. Remember, in season veggies are cheaper on the budget and better for the body.

Vegetable Soup


In large soup pot, place 4 tablespoons EVOO (or 2 TBSP coconut oil)

add 1 roughly chopped onion, 4-6 cloves minced garlic and 4-6 celery stalks, chopped

once the onion starts to turn clear add in 2 cups chopped mushrooms (I like baby bella) and simmer with a pinch of salt and pepper for about 6 minutes

Add to this 3 sweet potatoes (small cubes) and 3-4 chopped carrots

Bring all to a simmer, cover and cook 10 minutes

While this is happening, I usually bring the tea kettle to a boil.

After 10 minutes, add in any veggies you want (during the colder months, I usually keep frozen veggies on hand and add those)

cover with the hot water from the kettle AND done.

Your soup is ready and can be paired with burgers, deer sausage (my family fave), chicken breast, center cut pork loin, etc. Keep your meats lean and your body will respond :)

Being the queen or king of the kitchen doesn’t take a ton of time. All it takes is a little prep work and some imagination.

Come back later for more on healthy cooking and eating!

Bon Appetite! and have a healthy day,


MichellePhoto Mar 12, 4 00 22 PM


Fun FRIDAY! New Year, NEW YOU!


Beware: I’m not holding back on this one. It’s time to be HONEST to get results!

Happy Holidays: Thirsty Thursday Edition

WOW! November is almost over and the Christmas season is in full swing. It can get crazy during this time of year and I’m sure you  have your own stresses to deal with. Why not take a few moments and chill out with a good stretch, a nice fire, and maybe a few kitchen concoctions to lighten the mood :)

Belly De-Bloater

IN large container mix:

1 large cucumber, washed and thinly sliced

1 large Meyer lemon, washed and thinly sliced

1 handful of mint leaves, washed

Pure drinking water to fill

Stir ingredients together and chill, then drink throughout the day to minimize tummy bloat :)

ACV Miracle Worker

If you suffer from a sluggish digestive system, consider adding this warming and stimulating drink to your daily intake. I drink a large mug 2-3 times per day.

Juice of 1/4 large lemon

2 tablespoons all natural apple cider vinegar

Fill mug with hot water and sip away.

Clean Hot Cocoa

In small sauce pan heat over medium heat:

1 cup skim milk

Then whisk in

2 tablespoons no sugar added dark cocoa

Sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

Splash of all natural vanilla

Agave or stevia to taste (remember to allow the chocolate to shine through).

Here’s to healthy holidays and a very Merry Christmas!





Please. STOP.

OK, I’m about to jump on the rant train and dish out some really tough love. SO…if you’re wimpy you may want to run screaming from your computer. If, however, you have goals you want to reach and you’re sick and tired of not only still being sick and tired, but also of having to reset those goals over and over, take a deep breath and read on.

There are certain things that baffle me. You see, if I need oil put in my car, I have a mechanic that does that. Need something dry cleaned? Yep, I have a place that can do that as well. When my kids are sick I take them to the doctor and when my animals are sick I take them to the vet (and I very rarely confuse the 2). So, what’s all this about? I am NOT skilled, trained, or well versed in any of those things. I have professionals that HELP me. So, what baffles me? The amount of people who sheerly DO NOT LISTEN when I purge out information about health and weight loss! Seriously, it’s baffling….

I’ve learned not to hang out on Facebook because the very same people who claim to “need” (do note: this is stated as a dire need and my input would be greatly appreciated) to lose weight, upon being given the professional advice, will post about the new fad NO CARB, NO FAT, LOW FAT, LOW CAL, etc diet they are now on…for a couple of weeks. It’s like telling your kids not to play in the street because they might get run over and the next thing you know……they’re posting pics of themselves playing in the street! I know all of this seems super dramatic, but we’re allowed that sometimes in life. You see, I don’t think I’m better than anybody else, but I DO have loads of education and life experience to offer. I don’t hold back! I could just say that the weight fell off of me and go about my day allowing people to make detrimental health decisions, but that would be a trained mechanic NOT changing the oil in a car that is about to be lost forever. Not cool.

I reside among a field of experts in the weight loss world. Yep, sure do. Maybe people think this is my hobby and take it as more of an opinion or something. So, here’s the stuff I really don’t say as often as I probably should:

  • I am a nationally certified Master Trainer. By the way, that has nothing to do with how many training sessions I’ve SOLD (like unmentionable gyms…)
  • I am a listed expert in the field of body composition alteration (that would be fat loss)
  • I am one of the Elite level trainers on Dr. Oz’s website
  • I am a leader with the Center for Disease Control to help end obesity
  • I am a partner with the American diabetes Association on the Prevention front to help educate people about diabetes prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
  • I am an advocate with the ADA, helping to ensure that people already diagnosed with diabetes receive the care and education they need
  • I am a contributor to IDEA FIT (writing about health, weight loss, nutrition, etc)
  • I am a certified nutrition counselor, specializing in nutrition behaviors, youth nutrition, and post bariatric nutrition
  • And, oh yeah, I’ve lost a little weight myself

So, it totally looks like I’m bragging and that is by NO means what I am doing. Most of the time, people don’t know all of this stuff about me and I think that’s part of the problem. I am here to help, but people are unaware as to what all I can actually help with. All of the above isn’t even all of it! But it is the really cool stuff :)

When I read about an entire family on a LOW CARB, NO CARB diet I want to throw myself through a window (OK, drama). How many times do I have to scream that DIETS DON’T WORK!!!!!! It doesn’t matter which edition a particular diet is on, they don’t work. End. Of. Story. You may believe that you are just giving yourself a 2 week “jump-start” to your healthy new lifestyle, but what you are doing is murdering your metabolism and you will gain the weight back and it will keep getting harder and harder to lose. Harsh? You betcha. I cannot stand idly by and watch people do this to themselves, or much worse, their children.

There is no jump-start. There is no magic diet that will solve the problem. There is no solution that is fit for everybody. So, what do you do when you “need” to lose weight? PROPER NUTRITION, MOVEMENT, TIME, and CONSISTENCY. You must enable yourself to success by implementing those 4 things. So, if you still think a diet is the way, I’ll still be here because I WILL NOT QUIT. The fight for health among the generations is worth it to me.


How Much Do I Really Need?

I find that as humans we’re always looking for the fast approach, the easy way out, the NOW. And while we’re looking for all of that we really want to find it as quickly and painlessly as possible. It’s self-preservation and it is embedded in all of us and is what keeps us working so we have a roof over our heads. The problem is that when it comes to our health and fitness goals, self-preservation can actually hold us back when what we really need is to propel forward.

Today, I’m going to break down the fundamental basics of creating change. First, we’ll tackle the exercise conundrum. Decades ago (when we first realized that we were headed towards an obesity crisis) the AFAA and ACE put out exercise guidelines. These can still be found online. Basically, the guidelines stated this in regards to exercise and weight loss: in order to lose a considerable amount of weight, one MUST exercise at a moderate to intense pace for 60+ minutes per day. In order to maintain this weight loss, one must continue to exercise at a moderate to intense pace for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. And finally, heart health depends on a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day. Did you get all that? Want to lose weight? You better move it, move it for an hour or more per day. Want to maintain your weight? Move for 30 minutes. Want a healthy heart? Move for 30 minutes. Now, all of these guidelines are still applicable today, but just as the Strep virus has become immune to penicillin, our bodies don’t readily respond to the same old guidelines.

Now, I love using The Biggest Loser as a an example because I believe there are more people GAINING weight while sitting on their butts watching other people work out, yet they say they are “getting inspired”. Anyways…. About 4 years ago Jillian Michaels stated in an interview that people needed to be careful when striving for the Biggest Loser style results. You see, the TV phenomenon has made people believe that they could work out (ahem, for the length of the show, maybe) and drop 50 pounds in one week. When that didn’t happen they simply gave up, believing if they were meant to lose weight they would be picked for the show. Jillian stated that on the ranch they have access to a full medical staff and ALL contestants were kept on a highly monitored diet (TV magic makes it look like they are actually choosing their food) and did CARDIO 8 hours a day. Now, if I gave you a 1200 calorie diet to follow and had you walking the treadmill 8 hours a day PLUS a 2 hour grueling workout, I bet you’d lose 50 pounds. We live in reality though, so pay attention. Weight loss occurs between 1-10 pounds in a week depending on the amount of water weight you are holding on to. That’s why the Loser is notorious for week 2 let downs; the body can only let go of so much at a time. So how do you let go of the last ten, or even the first 50?

Time is of the essence. It would be a perfect world if we all had an hour a day or more work out right? My biggest pet peeve is when people say to me “Well, I don’t have 3 hours a day to work out like you.” At the time I lost the majority of my weight I was working 3 different jobs, raising 2 very small children and had a husband who traveled all the time. Now, I have 5 different businesses (meaning I do EVERYTHING, including book-keeping, scheduling and marketing), I work 7 days a week now (trying to change that), average about 50 hours of work per week, still have to 2 kids except now that they are older THEY have social calendars full, and I keep dates with my hubs. Yet, somehow I find the way to workout 7 days a week, mostly an hour right now. I must live in an alternate universe with more than 24 hours right? Sort of… I don’t waste time on TV, I haven’t known who gets kicked off the ranch or the island for years, and my social media sites I set up by third-party so I don’t get trapped in the black hole of witty saying and pictures. It’s not about managing your time so much as it is about managing your PRIORITIES.

[callout font_size="18px" style="royalblue"]“It’s not about managing your time so much as it is about managing your PRIORITIES.”[/callout]

So, say you work 2 jobs and raise kids and you really cannot find an hour to work out. THAT’S OK! Find 30 minutes but make it the hardest 30 minutes you can by upping the ante a little bit. Get a double whammy by lifting your weights circuit style and adding a short and hard interval cardio in between sets. Don’t know where to start? I have given you free workout videos right here on this site! There are no excuses for successful people and that’s where you want to be. One last thing about your workout: be positive about it! Stop complaining about how hard it is or how intricate the choreography is (if you do a class or video), or blah blah blah. Suck it up, get it done.

Food. If it really were as easy as calories in, calories out, then I could give anybody a 6 pack. WHAT you eat is far more important. SAY NO TO DIETS!!!!! I am begging the entire U.S. population to put the fad diet industry out of business. Diets don’t work and they wear down your metabolism after every attempt which is WHY it keeps getting HARDER to lose weight! You’re doing it to yourself. Eat a well-balanced plan, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, etc. and watch your portions. Slow down when you eat and make sure you are paying attention to your level of fullness. You will succeed if you set your mind to make healthy choices. Don’t eliminate any macronutrients from your diet (carbs, proteins, fats) as your body needs those to function. Also, watching calories is fine, but do not obsess over them and do not go too low.

Lastly for today, I advise you to be real and honest with yourself. I say this because I do it too, even at this level in my fitness. There are times when I could do another pushup, but I just don’t want to, so I tell myself my form will suffer. There are times when I overindulge in a sweet just because I allowed a situation (or in most cases a person) to increase my stress. I eat way large portions if I am not careful! And even if it is “healthy” food, you can still take in too much. I have to have honesty talks with myself just to keep myself on the right track all the time. Find an accountability partner to help you do this as well. Make sure they keep you accountable though, not enable you.

These are the BEST ways to get started on your health and fitness goals. Yes, it takes time. Slapping a band-aid on a clogged artery doesn’t fix it. Grow your knowledge (that’s what I’m here for), do the work, and YOU will be the next BIG success story!

In health,