Welcome to Healthy Holidays!

We’re diving in by tackling one of the main causes of Holiday weight gain: emotional eating! Don’t let it claim you as a victim, just take a few steps to be prepared :)

 

 

What’s Your Relationship Status?

No, I’m not trying to pry into your personal life! The status I wonder about is your relationship with food. For some, this relationship is more sensitive than any other. Just as children learn how to treat members of the opposite sex from their parents, studies show that childrens’ relationship to food is also derived from parents. What does all this mean? Well, how you perceive food is more than likely a product of how you were raised. If you are raising children, you’re passing that relationship on as well. I hear a lot of people complain about the fact that they can’t get their food under control because their mom, dad, grandma, aunt, etc. always used food as a crutch. In their household food was used as a reward and at times also a punishment: “No desert if you don’t clean your room!” Getting the picture? Well, although this is very common in most families (especially those of the past 2 generations); it’s still just another excuse. And as you have heard me say time and time again, where excuses end progress begins.
You may be sitting there thinking, “Wait a minute. You have no idea how I was raised and what a toll that had on me”, and you’re right: I don’t. I do however know how I was raised. Food was the center of our house. It was used to celebrate everything, but it was also used as a punishment and as a cure all for everything from night terrors to skinned knees to broken hearts. Food was always there in a very emotional way. I learned to become attached to it. I learned to need it. I had to have it. I was a bonafide, emotional, closet eater. GASP!
So, maybe I know more than you thought. What happened then? Well, it’s simple really. I’m an adult now. I am in charge of my decisions. I decided a few years ago to dig deeper into the nutrition aspect of my life. Here’s what I found out:
It’s not the food you eat, it’s your relationship to that food!
Food is nothing but calories. Calories are units of energy. Units of energy are what keep you alive. Plain and simple. The truth of the matter is that food has no feelings. Food doesn’t love you, nor does it feel your love (hello, chocolate, sigh…). It has NO feelings for you, about you, blah, blah, blah; it could care less basically.
So how do you break those bonds? First off, stop blaming mom and dad! They did the best they could and you know what? You’re alive now, so they didn’t screw up that bad! Everything you do is all on you now. You have the ability to be awesome lurking deep down, but you have to let go of every single excuse, take responsibility for you, accept your own mistakes and take that first step forward. You are in control now. Suck it up and stop handing me the old, “Well, my mom always….” Seriously? How old are you now? Does mom still have to remind you to wipe and wash your hands? Ok then. Make a commitment to yourself, for yourself and your family to be a healthy, fit person. A cycle is only a cycle if it’s repeated.

Now let’s talk about justification.

We ALL do it…….
Well, I can have this piece of cake because I work out so hard.
I deserve an extra helping.
It was bad, but I only ate a tiny portion.

All justifications. Bottom line, if you have to justify your food to yourself, it’s something you really shouldn’t be eating. That’s the part of your brain that’s trying to facilitate change. It’s really trying to help you.
If you feel stuck in a rut, get real! Just because you tell yourself you’re watching it doesn’t mean you’re not justifying several slip ups a week. And several slip ups equals a habit: one that must be changed.
Without a change in behavior there can be no permanent change of body. You have to be fully present in each moment that you fuel. If you start to throw out a justification (“I’ll work it off in class”), then pass it by, it’s not worth your time.

With the Holidays moving to a halt and the new year picking up steam, make a conscious decision to MOVE MORE! All it takes is a few 10 minute sessions 3 times per day top reap major results and benefits. These benefits start with your energy. Fuel all this movement with the pumpkin French toast recipe below and get ready for a new, energetic you by the time January 1st rolls around!

I’m listening,

Michelle

 

 

Pumpkin French toast
calories: 360
fat: 6
sugar: 1 (without any sweetener)
serving size: 2 slices

3 whole eggs
1/4 cup egg whites
1 scoop cinnamon protein powder
3 TBLS pumpkin pie puree (no sugar)
Pumpkin pie spice (or just cinnamon will do)
whole grain bread

Mix ingredients together with whisk until smooth
dip bread in until saturated and cook in non stick skillet (a little Pam goes a long way!)
Sprinkle with very little pumpkin pie spice
if you need something on it opt for a light drizzle of agave nectar and enjoy every fall tasting bite

When Enough is Enough….

I must warn you that this particular post is not for the faint of heart….

As I sit here, tears flow freely down my cheeks. I have yet to determine if I am simply sad, or if it is a much deeper hurt than I can put words to. Frustration has left me feeling quite helpless this morning and is urging me to change paths entirely. My decision lies in wait at the turn of my thoughts…

I work in a vain industry. Say what you will about health, but much of this industry revolves around vanity. I am constantly bombarded by those who “want” to lose the weight, but quickly lose nothing but that elusive seductress called motivation. Why does this burn me to my core today?

Today is October 1st. On the 29th of this month, it will be 17 years since my mother passed away from breast cancer, marking the turn at which I live the majority of life without her. Two years ago my dad battled cancer and through aggressive treatment and a strict diet, he is cancer free. My father in law battles it still. Within 2 weeks, 2 of my friends have gone under the knife for a double mastectomy due to breast cancer diagnosis. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are children who have never seen the outside of a hospital room. There are girls in Moldova who are grateful everyday they wake that they no longer have to endure the pain and hopelessness of being a slave in the sex trafficking industry. There are millions who will go without food today…again. And yet, we wonder if we should have a piece of bread or not and debate over the validity of going gluten-free just because Dr. Oz said so. My world is shaken today and my soul wants to scream ENOUGH!

The science of weight loss truly is common sense. I am no great thinker, nor do I believe I can come up with the next big thing. It truly is common sense and for those who will follow it, I am just a memory jogger. Eat smaller portions and move more…A LOT MORE for most. I think my approach is so simple it throws most people off. It should be harder right? If it were harder than we would have better excuses as to why we have not yet accomplished our goal. It was never meant to be harder. While we focus on our narrow world of weight loss, people die daily from lack of food.

I do not mean to be the bearer of horrible news here, but I NEED somebody to open their eyes. Find something bigger! It will revolutionize your goals when you actually start working for others. In light of this fact, I though I’d share something with you:

I’m no runner, but I would like to one day fancy myself as one :) So, I have embarked on a journey to make myself a runner. Why? I believe it is the simplest form of fitness and requires very little equipment, meaning habit is all that must be formed. One thing most think is that since I have been in the health and fitness field for so long that this is easy for me. That would be a lie! Running is hard work, whether it’s 1 mile or 20! The more seasoned a runner gets, the more efficient the runs. However, I don’t think you’ll ever catch one saying that it is “easy”. With knee injuries and arthritis being my toppers to each run, it can get overwhelming and seem undoable. So, I think about WHY….

Why I Run

I run for every child that can do nothing but stare at the hospital wall.

I run for every mother who feels in over her head raising her kids.

I run for every soldier who laid his or her life down for my freedom…to run.

I run for those women who are forbidden to do such things.

I run for those who run for their lives.

I run for those whose time has run out.

I run for those who face giants I will never know.

I run for the future generations that will grow up without knowing what it means to persevere.

I run for the elderly who can run no more, but so desperately long to.

I run for those who have lost everything.

I run for those who are a slave to fear.

I run for the child in Africa who wakes every morning to run 3 miles in hopes that today there may be food.

I run for those whose depression keeps them bound.

I run for freedom.

I run for my son, that he may know what it means to finish.

I run for my daughter, that she may know strength.

I run for my husband, that he may know he is my partner in this race.

I run for those whose parents ran out.

I run for those who feel like hope is lost.

I run for the girls across the globe that fear for their lives.

I run for those who think the world would be better off without them.

I run to prove that God can use a life after tragedy.

I run to show others that God is still able to heal.

I run in spite of the pain,  in spite of the aches, in spite of the voices screaming to stop because my GOD has given me the health to run.

And I will not stop until the day He tells me it is over.

Calories, weight, fat, jean size…. It all counts as futile to me in light of what I think about when I run.

My charge to you? Think outside of yourself, and see how far you can actually go.

Think like NIKE

 

Oh my, how I do love me some Nike. Anybody who knows me can testify that this girl has some serious cases of Nike crush. The funny thing is they don’t endorse me…at all.

So what is it? Is it their style? Maybe. I do like the bright, eye-catching styles. Is it the functionality? Well, I have to admit there have been times I have been less than pleased after a purchase (have you ever tried to actually workout in shox? Really?), but I keep coming back. Why?

The answer lies deeper than the above questions. You see, Nike has a brilliant marketing and advertising team. BRILLIANT I SAY! There is nothing like a Nike commercial to get my blood pumping to my tired muscles. Nike begs me to do more and well, just do it period. And I do! They also offer athletes so much in the realm of training advice and workouts. I’m talking wannabe athletes here…like myself :)

So, how does this apple to you? Will you reach your goals if you strike out on a Nike shopping spree? No. BUT….is you take the JUST DO IT tagline to heart, your goals become more than reachable.

There are so many things in life that we cannot control. We cannot control when our kids get sick, when an assignment is overdue, when the bills don’t get paid (ok, admit it…you CAN control that one), when stress closes in on us, etc. We can control our workouts and how we move forward towards our goals. Not only can we control it, but we MUST if we ever expect to change.

So, my advice to you is this: watch yourself a Nike commercial, slip on your shoes and JUST DO IT! SWOOSH!!!! That was you…passing your goals :)

Oh, and if that doesn’t do it, take a big dose of “SUCK IT IN AND SUCK IT UP”. This is not available in stores. In fact, only a few possess it and are willing to dig deep to find it. Are you in?

Michelle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKz9RRTpH1A

 

 

Built for SUCCESS

How is it that some people just seem to “get it”. They thrive under pressure and always seem to hit the mark. It’s not as hard as one may think. They have a “WHY”.

If you have ever embarked on a personal improvement journey, then you have probably heard about a personal mission statement. This is a statement of why you exist. What are you here for? In a time when we seem to be cranking out generations of people who think they are here to get all they can, I believe it is of the utmost importance to realize that we are here to contribute to society in a positive way. One of the reasons I find this so important is because it is those with an affirmative WHY that succeed. If you’re always wondering what others can do for you, you will inevitably fail.

So, to make my point a little clearer I thought I’d share the WHY that turned my entire life around. Once I realized this fact, I was able to not only reach my health and fitness goals, but also prioritize my life and business so that I find balance and security every day. My WHY has developed over the years and is drawn from a variety of life experiences. My biggest priority is my family. I get the question “How do you keep going when motivation wears off, disappointment sets in, you get tired, etc?” all the time and the answer points directly back to my #1 priority. I want to be around as long as I can for my family. My mom never taught me how to raise kids (except for the way she raised myself and my brother and I am grateful!) and I want to be around to teach my kids that stuff. I also want to teach them to treat themselves with respect and then respect from others will follow. I may not be able to control if I get in a car wreck or not BUT I CAN CONTROL MY HEALTH. Look it up. Scientists and doctors agree that diet and exercise play the overall role in preventing obesity related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and most forms of cancer. I fight harder for my family, not my dress size. I think people find it too easy to pigeonhole me and make themselves believe that I live a sugarless life devoid of “real” fun. The reality is I have finally started living and giving my family the wife/mother they need and deserve. They get the best of me, not the very last. The dress size is just the icing on my cake…which I do eat when I so choose.

The second part of my WHY extends beyond my family into the far reaches of human kind (epic, I know!). I was once stuck on that same side of the couch, feeling as though I was NEVER going to get “there”. But that all changed when my priorities became clear. When I found my WHY all the little meaningless things (such as the number on the scale) slipped away. It did so because I am no longer selfishly focused on me. I am here to help others step out of their own way! Yep, you totally read that right. Not where you want to be in your fitness? That’s you, not your family. Not eating like you want to? All you. The greatest thing is once you realize that it really is ALL YOU and you can’t blame your family, your aerobics instructor (do you have any idea how many people stopped working out entirely when I stopped teaching a class?!?), your job, or the way the wind was blowing that day, then you can take control over that which you CAN control; the state of your health.

The question that must be asked then is, why are you here? If you’re still drawing breath YOU HAVE A JOB TO DO PEOPLE! Be honest with yourself. If life gets hard and you simply say, “This is too difficult, I can’t do it” that’s selfish! Figure out WHY! I beg of you to take out a pen and paper and get to brainstorming. Do you want to be a better role model for your kids? Do you want to contribute more financially (who doesn’t ?!)? Do you want to be a light in someone else’s life? What is your WHY? I cannot say that once you find your WHY it will get easier, but I can say with all certainty that you will SUCCEED.

To your WHY!

Michelle

Goal Setting for 2012 PT 5

T=Time Sensitive

Welcome to day 5! This is your fifth and final day of goal setting techniques to help you become a more successful andn happier you in 2012. Today is all about time. Now that you have your specific goals (chances are, even after weeding through them you have a few) you can start setting a time to reach these goals. This is where more research really comes in handy.

Let’s say you’re goal is to loose 20 pounds. Well, losing 20 pounds in a year is very broad and will likely end up pin failure since it will give you so much leeway. On the other hadn, you’ve probably heard about “miracle diets” that promise a 20 pounds weight loss in a week and surely by now you realize that’s not healthy. So, look into it. What is a healthy weight loss per week? Well, if you only have 20 pounds to lose then you’re looking at 1-2 pounds per week. If you have over 50 pounds to lose, you can safely drop 3-5 pounds per week. So, back on that 20 pound mark: If you’re seeking to drop it and watching the nutrition along with challenging yourself in your workouts you can expect to meet you overall goal in 10-12 weeks.

What if you make it through the weeks and have a tad bit left? Reset your time! You are never tied down to your time table, but it is important that you research what CAN be done so that you can expect great things to happen. Life can get in the way of goals sometimes and it is important to be flexible. I run 3 bootcamps a year and they are all 6 weeks long. I love when people come into bootcamp with a specifically timed goal for that 6 weeks. Those people usually always exceed their goal! That is because they have given themselves a SMART goal and committed to a specific time frame. Losing 10 pounds is 6 weeks is totally doable and healthy but NOT if you do not stick to specific goal setting. Just wanting to “lose weight”, “do better”, or “eat right” doesn’t cut it. Put the time in to set actual goals by following these teachniques and you will accomplish them!

Come back tomorrow for a very special treat! I’ll tackle the idea of motivation and determination as well as finding your perfect workout.

Happy New Year! Be safe!!!

Michelle

Goal Setting for 2012 PT 5

T=Time Sensitive

Welcome to day 5! This is your fifth and final day of goal setting techniques to help you become a more successful andn happier you in 2012. Today is all about time. Now that you have your specific goals (chances are, even after weeding through them you have a few) you can start setting a time to reach these goals. This is where more research really comes in handy.

Let’s say you’re goal is to loose 20 pounds. Well, losing 20 pounds in a year is very broad and will likely end up pin failure since it will give you so much leeway. On the other hadn, you’ve probably heard about “miracle diets” that promise a 20 pounds weight loss in a week and surely by now you realize that’s not healthy. So, look into it. What is a healthy weight loss per week? Well, if you only have 20 pounds to lose then you’re looking at 1-2 pounds per week. If you have over 50 pounds to lose, you can safely drop 3-5 pounds per week. So, back on that 20 pound mark: If you’re seeking to drop it and watching the nutrition along with challenging yourself in your workouts you can expect to meet you overall goal in 10-12 weeks.

What if you make it through the weeks and have a tad bit left? Reset your time! You are never tied down to your time table, but it is important that you research what CAN be done so that you can expect great things to happen. Life can get in the way of goals sometimes and it is important to be flexible. I run 3 bootcamps a year and they are all 6 weeks long. I love when people come into bootcamp with a specifically timed goal for that 6 weeks. Those people usually always exceed their goal! That is because they have given themselves a SMART goal and committed to a specific time frame. Losing 10 pounds is 6 weeks is totally doable and healthy but NOT if you do not stick to specific goal setting. Just wanting to “lose weight”, “do better”, or “eat right” doesn’t cut it. Put the time in to set actual goals by following these teachniques and you will accomplish them!

Come back tomorrow for a very special treat! I’ll tackle the idea of motivation and determination as well as finding your perfect workout.

Happy New Year! Be safe!!!

Michelle

Bringing Balance to Your Body

I know when you read that you probably envisioned some strange, ritualistic cleansing, but rest assured that is not what I will be talking about today. The balance I’ll be talking about comes from the mind first and then we will work our way to the body. Our minds can get incredibly cluttered with to do lists, appointments, jobs, dreams, worries, news, media, etc. It’s a good thing breathing is an automatic response or we might forget altogether! Clutter of the mind can bring about stress and strife in everyday life. When the mind is over stimulated, the negative thoughts have an easier time finding a place to root into the psyche.

One of the most effective ways I have found to avoid some of this clutter is by writing (duh!). I took to list writing years ago. I write goals for the day, week and month on lists strategically placed throughout the house or simply on my computer. For more info on list making see the post http://www.michellecfitness.com/blog/2011/08/19/the-best-weapon/

I have found through experience that writing down those thoughts that tend to bounce around in your head tends to lend to a more calm and balanced thought life. I rarely go anywhere without paper and pen so that I do not miss the opportunity to catch my thoughts as they pass. The negative thoughts that hold us back from our true purpose can take root in a cluttered mind. I liken this phenomenon to a crazy, busy garden. If your garden is too packed with plants and has hardly any space then weeds can plant and outgrow your beautiful plants before you even see them. Usually by that time the weeds  are so deep rooted, you end up pulling up a lot of soil just to get the weed out. It can get quite messy dealing with the gardens of the mind.

Hope is available to those who seek it though! By implementing the small art of writing down your to do lists, goals, dreams and even your children’s school projects, your mind will be more free to notice when these thoughts begin to form. This way you can kill the weeds before they grow too big. Don’t feel like you have to carry a pen and paper. Most smart phones have a note section and that works fine. At the very least, saying these things out loud help to alleviate the pressure on the mind.

Your action steps for today are to write your lists and get the thoughts from your head onto paper or your phone/computer. Then I encourage you to take it one step further and write something positive about yourself. It can be as simple as having a good hair day or as complex and complimenting your work ethic. Be honest and genuine. If you truly can’t find a compliment, head to a friend for some guidance.

Tomorrow we will talk about self care techniques that enable you to see yourself in a “rosier” light :)

XOXO Michelle

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One Step Closer

OK, you have your goals right? And you took your time planning them out and numbering the top 5? If so, great! Let’s move on.

Take your top 5 and pick the #1 goal. Now this may not be the one actually numbered 1. I know it gets confusing, but hang in there. If your ultimate goal is to earn $100,000 this year OR lose 50 pounds THAT’s the goal that is your #1. Write that goal on a separate sheet of paper. Now give yourself a time limit to reach that goal. In our case, we’ll use 1 year. Write your time limit just below your goal. Remember, time limits can change as needed. After you have done this begin to break down smaller goals. It may look like this:

Goal #1 I will lose 50 pounds

I will accomplish this in 1 years time

Sub Goals:

1. Eat more vegetables and ditch the sodas for water.

This goal will be accomplished in 2 weeks.

2. I will add extra workouts into my week. Starting with small 15-30 minutes 1-2x per day.

This goal will be accomplished in 1 month.

3. I will eat out less often and cook more meals at home.

This goal will be accomplished in 4 months.

4. I will exercise 5-6 days per week consistently.

This goal will be accomplished in 6 months.

And so on…. You get the point by now. This same process will work for any and all goals. It just so happens most of my patients and clients come to me for health related goals.

That is your challenge for today. Tomorrow we’ll talk about obstacles and how to handle them or avoid them altogether. Don’t miss it!

Michelle

Do you do the list?

Goal setting, and further more goal reaching, depends on accepting and implementing lists. I know, it seems like a mundane task to take on every day, but it IS worth it! Whether your goal is to lose 20 pounds, organize your house, find a more fulfilling career, or write a book, lists will give you the shortest way possible to get there!

Now, it doesn’t take fancy programming or even a pen and paper to do a solid list. Start simply. Most smart phones have totally free list apps. The most important thing is that you know where you are going. Think about this: When you board a plane and find your seat, you get all buckled and the first thing you hear is your pilot say “Hello Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to the flight. We’re headed to _____”. You can fill in the blank to your dream destination. The pilot knows where he is going and by knowing that he knows which routes to take and what to expect. Now, what if he said something like, “Welcome to the flight. I’m not real sure where we’re going today, but just enjoy the ride and consider it an adventure!”. That’s not quite as reassuring is it?

So, our next several days will focus on setting AND achieving your goals. It will take just a few minutes of effort on your part, but after a few days you’ll start to see a change.

So, today I want you to grab a piece of paper (or a computer keyboard) and number 1-10. These are for your top 10 goals. Do not rush through this. Take your time and think about what you truly want to accomplish. Don’t worry about putting them in a certain order, just let the creativity flow. That’s it for today! Goals are unique to the individual, but a few that my clients list are

  • Drink more water.
  • Eat healthier 80% of the time.
  • Lose 20-30 pounds this year.
  • Lower my stress response through daily exercise.
  • Do more yoga.
  • Increase my cardiovascular endurance in 6 months.
  • Start making more meals at home.
  • Write in my journal every day.
  • Cultivate a more positive attitude.
  • Volunteer more.

All of these are worthy goals and they may or may not be on your list. Think hard about what it you want to accomplish and write it down. Remember, a goal that is not in writing is just a wish.

Be back tomorrow to learn how to move forward in your goal setting.

XOXO Michelle

Find your Happy

Have you ever wondered why things just don’t seem to go your way? Why is it every time you set on a new quest, you seem to be shut down? Negative thoughts invade the mind and stop you in your tracks sometimes. So, why are some people just born with the ability to float through life, joyful and unscathed? Well, that’s a learned trait. Similar to learning a different language, it can be easier to teach our children when they are younger. First, we must teach ourselves.

Have you thought about cultivating happiness where you are right in this moment. Can you be happy with your size, your weight, your spouse, your children, your loved ones, yourself? You can! Happiness is a conscious choice, not a gift reserved for the chosen few. So, get a pen and paper because we’re going to start amping up the happy hormones right now.

Divide your paper into 2 columns. On the left list 3-5 goals you want. It could be things such as

  • Workout every day and lose 20 pounds.
  • Find my soul mate.
  • Be more involved in my children’s school.
  • Leave the job I hate and follow my passion.
  • Have 1 night a week as time with my dearest friends.

Now, on the right hand side, write down the corresponding emotions to your goals. It might look like this (as per the list above):

  • Empowered.
  • Loved.
  • Adequate.
  • Successful.
  • Belonging.

All of these are legitimate emotions that we have the right to go through. So cover up the left side and take a moment to take in the right. What is truly stopping you from feeling satisfied? Will a bigger house really make life better? Will losing weight really bring about happiness? The answer is no. These emotions are deep seeded within you already, but you must make the conscious choice daily to feel them. One day may be harder than the next as life has an ebb and flow to it, but make the commitment to CHOOSE.

I challenge you to write this down and put it where you will see it everyday.

I WILL CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY, NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Yep, it can be that easy…if you allow it. Say this first thing in the morning, anytime during the day when circumstances seem to working against you, and before you go to bed. You cannot overuse this phrase, so go for it! Your life can change if you open the door. I am living proof that this works and I would love for you to let it work for you too!

XOXO Michelle