STAND UP

2016 was a tough year for a lot of us, and as I look forward into 2017 to formulate my goals and targets I have come to realize that a three-pronged ideal can help us find better physical and emotional health. Therefore, this year I suggest we all adopt the following mantra: “Stand Up. Stand Up Straight. Stand Up Strong.”

Stand Up:

These words double as a fitness reminder and a social cue. Anyone with a goal of improved physical shape and health should simply stand up more, walk more and sit less (or at the very least stand up and move every 30-minutes). Likewise we should all stand up for preserving our own personal values as well as America’s tenuous democratic values as we forge into unknown (and for many of us very scary) territory with Trump at our helm.

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Stand Up Straight:

I often address the rampant increase of postural distortions in adults and children here in my blog, but this year I am on a personal mission to help everyone improve their health by observing and improving their posture. Your spine is the gateway between your brain and the rest of your body. If you have curved-in shoulders or hips, and knees or ankles that rotate inwards (pronate) you are cutting off and/or shorting out a lot of nerves that bring signals to and from your brain. So set a phone or watch reminder, or buddy up with a friend and remind yourself several times a day to stand up straight and tall, keep your shoulders squared and relaxed, and remember to breathe low and slow.

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Stand Up Strong:

This one can be taken both literally and figuratively. First, you must remember no matter how tough your path is currently, this too shall pass. But the key to improving your emotional or circumstantial life is to stay strong emotionally (and physically) and remember how strong you really are. Stand up for yourself and show your strength! Second, we must all stand up in a show of solidarity and strength so we can change that which is not working for all of us. We truly need to stand up strong together against racial, gender, and LGBT discrimination, double-standards of wages and rights, religious persecution, women’s rights, and the general bullying of anyone who disagrees with the “moral majority’s” opinions (that starts with the Oval Office)!

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For those of you who find this post a bit too soap-boxy, please indulge me as I am a child of the 60’s and it’s in my nature to stand up for my rights, my health and my peers. So if you agree, repeat after me (and then DO IT): Stand Up. Stand Up Straight. Stand Up Strong!

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2017 Fitness Challenge

Every January a large percentage of our population renew their vow to get into shape and embrace fitness as a way of life. Every March the amount of people still on track or experiencing any success in their fitness goals is about 20%! If that’s you, read on because I’m going to help you succeed this year by giving you some much needed direction.

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The problem is usually that most people jump in too fast (or pick only one course of exercise) resulting in either burn out, boredom, injury, or just lack of sustained motivation. Without keeping your fitness routine varied and effectively focused you will not be able to sustain – especially if you aren’t already addicted to exercise.

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So below is a generic (yet adjustable to each individual) fitness routine that will last you through January. Those of you who stick with it, write to me and I’ll give you February, etc. If after 3 months you have stayed the course and seen and felt results – well then you can sign up (and pay) for more routines. But I am offering first quarter 2017 free routines, so take advantage people!

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Keep in mind, that nutrition is 70% of your battle. So if you are really committed you may want to order a customized meal plan from me (workouts247.com), but regardless I urge and remind you NOT to DIET. Diets do not work! Keep your nutrition lean and clean 85% of the time (15% is free for you to drink, eat sugary, fatty, hi-caloric stuff) and eat 6 small meals/snacks per day. Drink water water water and follow this routine and I know you’ll see results!

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Also stay off the scale – we’re trying to build muslce and reduce fat and the scale will not show the results you’re looking for. Only the way your clothes fit and the way you see your body are valid proof of your fitness success.

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So here is your FREE 3 Day – 30 mins workout routine for January. Most of this can be done with little to no equipment, and all of it is perfect for a gym. Either way, modifiy as you need to for your fitness levels and access to equipment, but do not modify how aggressively you attack this workout. BE A BEAST! If you need clarification on exercises, weights, etc., you know where to find me. Stick with this and next month you’ll be ready for a 5-day workout!

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DAY 1 – UPPER

10 burpees
10 incline push ups
15 Triceps dips
15 DB curls
10 DB up-out-in-downs
15 DB hammer curls
15 DB triceps kick backs
10 Leg lowers & raises (Abs)

Repeat circuit 2-3 times

DAY 2 – LOWER

25 Jumping jacks
10 Step Ups (each leg)
15 Jump Squats
10 DB Tap Squats
15 Wide to Narrow Squats
10 Dead lifts into Calf Raises
15 Single Leg Lunges (each leg)
25 V-sit in and outs

Repeat circuit 2-3 times

DAY 3 – TOTAL BODY

5 Mins steep incline treadmill walk (Or any cardio that kicks your butt)
20 DB Lunge walks with shoulder presses
10 DB push ups with alternating single arm rows
20 DB squats
20 Mountain Climbers
15 DB Curl to presses
15 DB Shoulder Flies
15 DB Triceps Ear Busters
3 Thirty-second Planks (prone iso abs)

Repeat circuit 2-3 times

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No Resolutions

A few years back I created this post and it seems like a good time to remind you all to embrace the new year, and renew your motivation to change or meet goals you want to achieve. Set yourself up in a positive way and perhaps this time, you’ll accomplish more than any year prior!

Every year thousands of us make New Year’s resolutions that 99% of us break or don’t complete. Most prevalent are goals to lose weight and get in shape. But just like the chronic cigarette smoker who knows that smoking is bad but can’t stop because they’re addicted, losing weight and getting into shape needs more motivation than just your brain saying (along with everyone around you) that you need to do this to be healthy.

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When you’re in the thick of it, the last thing you want to do is stop doing something that seemingly makes you feel better (i.e., smoking, eating that pint of ice cream, drinking that bottle of beer). Even though you know that these choices are not in your body’s best interest, your brain is used to these comforts to deal with life’s stresses.

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This is why we fail at new years resolutions. They’re made because it’s traditional to make them not because we have complete conviction behind the need to change. So, while the concept of a resolution is good – setting goals and starting them on a pivotal date – there is clearly not enough motivation placed on these goals to sustain our focus, and motivation is key!

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So how then do you get and sustain true motivation? That, my friends, comes from within, when you are truly ready to acknowledge how unhappy you feel in the physical condition you’re in. It’s not about needing to get healthier for someone else; it’s not about wanting to feel sexier or more attractive; it’s not about wearing a different clothing size. It’s about YOU wanting to be different. YOU wanting to end the depression that follows you around because you feel unattractive or don’t have the energy to keep up with your kids or friends.

If personal changes are important enough to you, nothing will stop you.

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Once you want the change for reasons so strong that nothing can deter you, then it instantly becomes a goal you can achieve. You don’t need a date on the calendar to get your started. You don’t need an extreme diet. You don’t even need a personal trainer (did I just say that?!). All you need to keep your desire for change always in the forefront of your brain. What do you stand to gain by this change. Don’t focus on what you’ll lose (energy, clothes, life) – focus on what you’ll gain. Gaining something is actually a stronger motivator than losing something.

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So enjoy the holidays and your New Year’s celebration, but skip the resolutions. Instead contemplate what you want to gain and how badly you want it. Then go get it!

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(And of course, if you DO want a trainer, or a tailor-made workout routine created by a professional trainer, give me shout. I’m here to cheer you on and help you stay focused!)

Happy or Bah Humbug?

This post first ran last December, but I believe it bears constant repeating, so I gave it a little update and serve it up again.  Please read and remember – life can be stressful and intrusive to your goals, so don’t beat yourself up about unrealized dreams – but DON’T GIVE UP either.

As the year winds down and the holidays rear their busy, caloric, stressful heads I want to take a moment to remind you to be accepting and compassionate – OF YOURSELF! Clearly all of us should be accepting and compassionate of others, but I find that so many people can give love and compassion to others but NOT to themselves. Those types are even tougher on themselves this time of year, which leads to more stress and less enjoyment of what should be a wonderful time. Is that you?

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The most typical issues that you might beat yourself up about are:

  • I didn’t reach my goals
  • I didn’t get in shape
  • I’m still at the same dead-end job or relationship
  • Once again I don’t have enough money to enjoy the holidays

So listen what I am yelling at you right now: STOP IT!

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If you didn’t reach your goals because you didn’t try, okay, so know you must see that inactivity and/or indecisiveness clearly doesn’t work. So find stronger motivation and perhaps an easier goal to reach (i.e., the first step towards the total end goal) and come January, get off your ass and start moving towards that goal!

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If you didn’t get in shape because you didn’t stick with healthier nutrition and an exercise regiment, again, nothing will change until you do. But you are human and not alone in this – so stop beating yourself up about it. Just follow this blog, join a gym, find a trainer, or whatever it is that will MOVE you (pun intended) toward your fitness goals in the new year.

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If your job still sucks the life out of you, and/or a relationship has run itself into the ground with no hope of improvement, then decide if you’d rather be exactly where you are NOW one year from now, or somewhere else. If you can’t bear the thought of still being STUCK this time next year, then again, get off your ass and do something about it. There’s ALWAYS a choice that can be made and implemented.

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Lastly, as for the dreaded cost and stress of holiday shopping – I know for a fact that most of us would really rather spend quality time with our friends just sitting around being together, drinking wine, playing cards, watching a movie, having a meal, etc. Same goes for fun or funny homemade or gag gifts that break no one’s bank. A token present or little joke gift to remind someone that they’ve got a friend who cares is really the best gift of all. No one wants a gift when the giver has stressed themselves out over it or incurred debt. The only person who truly demands a certain amount of money spent or certain high quality of gift is usually YOU, the giver. Otherwise, they’re not a person you should be hanging with anyway.

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I’ve actually implemented a White Elephant gift exchange with a large group of my friends. Everyone spends a maximum of $25 and then after an hour or so of drinking and laughing over the constant stealing of gifts (look up white elephant parties if you don’t understand) everyone leaves with one nice gift and no one went broke.

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So do what you can to be happy and not bah-humbug this holiday season, and get your ducks in a row to hit the ground running come January. Then let the rest of your worries go and just enjoy life as it is. (And remember you’ve got me in your corner – I’m always happy to help keep you motivated too!)

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Kids & Seniors

Most fitness websites, articles, and posts are focused on the 25-59 age demographic, as clearly this is the group that cares (or worries) the most about their bodies. But I think we need to pay a little more attention to the “befores” and “afters” if we are to truly reduce the rampant obesity that plagues America for our future generations

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First off we’ve got to teach the current (and future) generation of kids to move more, eat better, and specifically make fitness an equal priority to school work and time spent just being a kid. Get them off their electronics and using their muscles, training their cardiovascular systems, and keeping circulation and metabolisms running on high.

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Next however, we need to tend to our current crop of seniors (60-85+). For most people in this age rage, fitness was probably not a priority during their youth, and therefore the taste for it, as well as the ability to embrace it, is quite low. However, if we modify our approach to fitness for seniors we can still give them improvements to their deteriorating health and bodies while not trying to turn them into fitness addicts – which they’re never going to be. If we, the 25-59-ers make it our priority to get our parents/grandparents moving and staying active, we will show all generations that physical age can have fewer boundaries than previously set. (Not to mention that keeping the body active stimulates the brain and keeps it active too!)

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While many fitness organizations or programs do focus on kids or seniors, there still isn’t enough enticing options to keep those that are young and easily distracted, or old and easily deterred from continuing on fitness as a priority. Sadly schools throughout the U.S. have dropped standard P.E. programs due to budget cutbacks, and senior centers are fewer and less populated, especially outside of major cities.

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So what I suggest is that each family design a weekly program or routine for everyone in the family, from 2 to 80. Include as many generations together as possible. Make fitness diverse, fun, satisfying, and easy to do and everyone will keep coming back for more.  For kids, make it a game; or a group challenge; or create personal best goal chart.

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For the grandfolk, take it slow, but always add a little more to each day/week/month. Include incentives that work for them like a daily/weekly walk to update them on family affairs or discuss current affairs. Take them on a picnic or to the movies while parking a little further away than normal, or conduct a chair workout, etc. If they simply can’t be made more mobile, stimulate their brains with jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, or get them telling stories of their youth that you can document for prosperity and family history.

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As our year comes to a close, I charge all of you to think of ways to get your kids and/or your elderly parents more active, document their growth, and share it here. If it takes a village, let this “cosmic” village be the test ground to show that our next generations will be leaner, more active, and live longer than the previous ones.

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How Hard Will You Work?

Recently I heard a report on NPR that since illegal immigrants are having a harder time getting into and staying in our Country, American farmers are having a harder time getting their crops harvested. Now while I whole-heartedly agree that you’re welcome to come to America seeking a better life, you must do so through proper channels (just like in any other Country), the problem with turning away (or sending back) so many of these hard working individuals is that American citizens are not willing to pick up the slack.

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For whatever reason, a majority of American’s have decided that hard manual labor is beneath them and not worth the money it pays. One Washington farmer stated that every time he’s hired an American to work on his vegetable farm, they quit within a few days finding the work too hard. One such worker even stated that he’d rather work 8-hours at McDonald’s for minimum wage, than 12-hours on the farm for $3-5 more than minimum wage!

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Meanwhile his foreman of 20 years (originally an illegal immigrant who now has a green card), is very happy to have the consistent work and has been able to bring the rest of his family from Mexico, buy a house, pay taxes (unlike our President Elect), and his grandchildren are all going to college. That’s the American dream, right?

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Many small farms have even had to close down (leaving those American families without income) because they can’t use illegal migrant workers any more but few American-born workers will fill the gap. Even the large, federally subsidized farms are having trouble getting their fast-growing crops (thanks to GMO seeds) harvested in time because they can’t hire enough “legal” workers.

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I have to ask, what’s wrong with working in the field people? I know it’s “back-breaking work” in a lot of ways, but fresh air, and lots of calorie burn (active farmers are rarely over-fat) is not too shabby an option if you need consistent work – compared to working in a fast-food joint at least in my opinion. It’s not just farming and gardening that we shy away from. Even unionized jobs like car manufacturing assembly (where machines do 70% more of the heavy lifting labor than 100 years ago) cater to our need to have “down time” and comfortable environments and food breaks, yada yada yada. While Unions are important to keep us from being abused by employers, we still need to embrace HARD WORK.

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My husband used to run a day spa, and he had an abundance of white educated applicants for front desk jobs and massage therapists. But the drudgery work – the cleaning of rooms and maintaining of equipment – was filled 95% by Latin American immigrants (Guatemala, Honduras, etc.) Granted, a lot of it has to do with language skills and education – but there still seems to be a disconnect between jobs available in our country, and jobs that we’re willing to take. Yet we complain about those who will do that drudgery. Can’t have it both ways.

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So I think we need to take a hard look at what we’re teaching the current and future generations about hard work and how to earn a living when life throws you a curve ball. I’m teaching my daughter to always have a back up plan to your career goals, and always be willing to work hard for whatever it is she wants.

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With 2016 winding down, and a radical new presidency upon us, now more than ever we need to band together as Americans and be willing to work ALL the jobs our Nation needs to stay “great.” From farms, to mechanical labor, restaurants to offices, no job is too small if it gets you (and America) from point A to point B.

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The Things We Say

With society being so focused on enforcing “politically correct” language these days, I’m constantly surprised at how many standard statements are not deemed rude or demeaning. For instance, I saw a woman at my daughter’s school yesterday carrying a 4-week old baby. The woman was slender and in workout clothes. She was surrounded by other women all saying how incredible she looks after only 4 weeks! (Believe me when I say not all of them had sincere tones to their “compliments.”)

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The issue I have with this example is that it is implying that women after childbirth (and pregnant women as well) do not look good. Stretched out bodies or extra fat is viewed as “unattractive” and although the majority of women take 6 months or longer to get their bodies back to pre-birth shape (if at all), the idea that a woman who doesn’t look like she just had a baby after only 4 weeks is incredible (i.e., special and/or coveted) bothers me.

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Where does that leave the rest of the women, and how they feel about their bodies? This rides tandem to my pet peeve of people asking naturally thin women if they ever eat. You would never walk up to an over-fat woman and ask her if she ever eats less or diets, but you can walk up to a skinny woman and tell her she needs to eat more! We’re constantly judging each other’s bodies.

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I’m also surprised by how many women will comment about a woman who clearly has spent a lot of money on her clothes, hair and purse (i.e., appears to have large amounts of discretionary money) as if it’s a put down. Yet we don’t know her story, and the irony is that America loves the idea of working just enough to make lots of money and then spending it as a blatant indication that you HAVE it. But these same women get their panties in a bunch if a clutch of “wealthy” woman looked down on a woman wearing sweat pants and carrying a purse from Target.

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The bottom line is that there’s just too much judgment and negativity going around where women are concerned — towards women and BY women. Despite the fact that we almost had a woman as President of this great Nation, women still only hold 4.6% of CEO Positions in S&P Fortune 500 companies (23 out of 500 to be exact). We (women) are still holding each other back with our pettiness and constant need to compare, judge, and find ways to feel superior (or make others feel inferior).

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So take a hard look at how, where and why you judge other women and decide for yourself if you can improve your perceptions, and think about what the affects of what you say. Just like last month’s historical election, it takes all of us, one-at-a-time, to make a change!

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Turkey Day Trepidation

A few years ago I posted the following article, and clearly it bears repeating as we all venture off tomorrow to indulge in high-caloric feasts and/or family festivities. I’ve updated it a bit so read and remember, it’s going to be ok!

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Does Thanksgiving give you anxiety?  I am amazed at how many of my clients have anxiety over the Thanksgiving holiday. They worry about what to cook, how to cook, when to cook, what to eat, what NOT to eat, and the biggie: how much weight they’ll gain.

Okay, people, listen very closely to what I’m about to say….

DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!

The reality is that unless you gorge yourself on crappy processed carbs, sugar and fats for 48 hours non-stop, you’re not going to do that much damage in one day/meal. Now I know some of you look at the Thanksgiving feast as just that … crappy processed carbs, sugar and fats. But I know that in reality most of the meal is not that bad for you if approached simply and with moderation.

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By moderation, I mean utilizing one (or both) of the following two approaches:  healthy substitutions and/oror smaller portions/quantities.  Here’s a simple list of choices and/or substitutions that are quick and painless and can make the difference between a 1200 calorie meal and an 600 calorie meal:

TURKEY:  eat the white meat. Packed with protein, very lean. If you love the dark meat, just mix a small quantity in with the white meat.

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MASHED POTATOES:  substitute mashed sweet potatoes or yams. Use olive oil and non-fat milk instead of butter and cream. If your starch tradition also includes yams covered with marshmallows – keep the portion ridiculously small.

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STUFFING:  hard to make substitutions here (using gluten-free bread is one option), but if you are a stuffing junkie – keep the quantity small. I make stuffin’ muffins filled with lean apple chicken sausage, veggies, and apples which allows for less bread and better portion control in general.

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GRAVY:  another one that’s hard to substitute in a way that’s healthy and tasty, but if you keep it as a garnish and not a soup-sized portion, you’ll be alright.

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VEGGIES:  skip the green bean with mushroom soup and Velveeta casserole, and just oven-roast your veggies with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper.  You can then fill up your plate guilt free with these vitamin and fiber rich vegetables.

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PIE: what can I tell you, desserts are where most people have the hugest weakness. I make organic apple pie casserole (with no refined sugar) with crumbles of gluten-free granola on top (therefore no crust) but if you have no healthy options, keep the portion size small including the whipped cream or ice cream toppings (or better yet, skip the toppings).

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ALCOHOL:  Being that I am NOT a tea-totaller, wine is definitely a part of my thanksgiving feast. But I keep it to Red (which has less sugar content) and in general is healthier for you – if kept to moderation of course.

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In conclusion, don’t sweat Thanksgiving. It’s a lovely holiday where friends and family gather to eat, drink, catch up and hopefully share a few laughs. Keep your nutrition in check but don’t micro manage it, and on Friday, work out instead of or before shopping (although walking the mall is good for burning a few calories as well).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

How Far Ahead Are You?

Whether you’re a “plan-ahead planner” like me, or an “addictive over-achiever,” or even a “procrastinator-extraordinaire,” we all suffer from walking ahead of ourselves on a fairly regular basis.

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What that means is that at some point during our days/weeks, we spend a quantity of time thinking about situations or conversations that are looming on our horizon. Some of us do this almost constantly, while others dabble – but no matter how much or little, any time spent thinking about (playing it out in our heads) an upcoming situation or conversation we expect to have is time spent not paying attention to the NOW.

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While I might justify the benefits of thorough planning ahead for everything from the next day to a trip months away, others can equally justify their choices to play it by ear and “wing it.” There’s pros and cons to both styles. But even if you “wing it” I guarantee there are numerous times you think about how you want a conversation or event to happen. This sets up expectations that, if not achieved, can cause disappointment, anxiety, or the dreaded “confrontations” that so many claim to hate.

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I’ve talked before in my blog about confrontations and how they do not have to be seen as a negative (Confrontation Or Communication), so that aside, my issue today is that moving further down your path – in your head – sets up a false future that often doesn’t match up to reality. Experiencing repeated situations or conversations that don’t live up to your imagined outcomes can cause self-doubt in your choices. The irony here is that we’ve imagined how things will go – forgetting that the imagination is supposed to be creative and not realistic!

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So how do you stay in the present – stay focused on the path directly in front you in the now? That’s a question that millions tackle on a daily basis. What I do know is that for me, when I catch myself playing things out ahead of time – I stop and focus on what I’m doing NOW and do my best to keep my attention there, and only considering what needs to be done as the very next step.

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One of the tricks I learned during my Dramatic Arts training is to NOT try to ignore the pink elephant in the room. The more you try to ignore it, the larger it grows. Instead, we learned to turn our focus to something in front of our face that we create right on the spot. I would imagine a purple giraffe and delve into the details of that giraffe, which would cause me to completely forget about the pink elephant.

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While it takes practice, this trick works great when applied to the topic of this blog.  Just today at the gym I found myself focusing on a conversation I want to have with a friend. I was rehashing all my bulleted points, filling in their imagined responses. I shortly realized I wasn’t paying attention to my workout. I shifted my focus to analyze my form and the tempo of my movements and in short order I was thoroughly engrossed with the exercise at hand and enjoyed my workout all the more.

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Try it for yourself and let me know the results.  I guarantee the next time you find yourself traveling down the road in your head, just pull over and think about something relevant to right now – delve into the details of that and you’ll quickly shift your focus away from that false future that you were creating.

Flat or Round

As a business owner, I utilize many of the top social networking sites to promote Dane Life Fitness. Sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr utilize a visual format to entice viewers to stop and read, and then perhaps “buy” whatever it is we’re selling.  Lately I have been dismayed as I see a huge surge in posts displaying women whose abs are so muscle bound that they sport more than the proverbial 6-pack – they have an 8-pack and oblique striations (see photo below).

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These are not muscle-bound she-men training for a body building competition, these are young (20-30’s) athletic women who have achieved the type of abs usually viewed only on super low-fat and fit men.  Clearly it’s great that women have figured out how to finally lower their body fat levels to such a state that their flat tummies rival men – OR IS IT?

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While I applaud these women who work hard and make their daily focus be exercise and extreme nutrition, I’ve stated time and time again that women NEED body fat if we are to be healthy.  Obviously we need our body fat levels to stay in a certain “lean” range for our health’s sake (17-28% depending on age and build), but the female form is not supposed to be as low-fat as the male body naturally is. Not to mention that the aforementioned extreme nutrition makes life sometimes feel stressfull — after all, we’re supposed to be able to enjoy  good food, wine and chololate (in moderation) aren’t we?! (Oprah says yes!)

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Why this is a detrimental trend in my view is because women with body fat levels lower than 17% can and do see a weakening in their immune systems, poor circulation (personal thermostat levels), menstrual and reproduction systems compromised, and thyroid confusion (thyroid malfunction is not surprisingly on the rise). It is especially hard on the body when these low-fat levels are forced vs. natural. What I mean by that is some girls/women are born naturally thin with super fast metabolisms. I was one of those – I was 5′ 7″ by age 15, but I still couldn’t break 100 lbs until I was about 22 (with 15% body fat). But I didn’t starve myself ever, I had (and still do) have a great immune system, and clearly my body could handle it. Forcing your body to have super low body fat levels when it’s not natural creates a great strain internally, especially on your organs.

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Now that I am in my 50’s, and while still lean and healthy (19% body fat), no longer sport my own concave lower abs, I realize more than ever how detrimental it is to women to be always told we need to have flat abs. We’re supposed to be slightly round between our ribs and hips – we’re supposed to be curvy and…well…feminine. These uber-lean models are changing what our young girls think about how their bodies should look.

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The worst part of this is that 85% of men when polled about their preferences fessed up to actually not finding super skinny or overly-toned women as attractive as someone with a little “softness” to their build. Men want us to be women – not walking muscles.  So one must ask, why are we so obsessed with a washboard stomach?

With all this as food for thought, once again I plead with all my female followers and friends to maintain healthy levels of body fat, but more importantly to love your bodies and your stomach in particular. Join me in re-labeling what is attractive and sexy in our own perceptions and embrace being well-rounded individuals – including our abs!

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