Redefine beautiful!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Change is the only absolute.

It is sort of comforting to hear that.  Change can be kind of scary like when moving to a foreign country or going through a divorce. But if we want to change for the better, it is a good thing.  I guess if we want something bad enough, we'd be willing to change those patterns of our behavior that has lead us to our current outcome.  If the current outcome is starting to look shabby, change is the only absolute!  It will either get worse or it will get better.  We get to choose.

I dislike (immensely) dealing with financial matters.  Whether it is all that confusing small print from the declarations of some financial institution (see, even the word institution sounds so uninviting!) or balancing the household checkbook (which is often confused with my business account), I have severe avoidance issues.  But, the only way I will be able to one day have financial freedom one and financial confidence today, is to start crossing off those financial "to-do's" from my list, now!  I need to make the last thing I want to do the first thing I do!

The truth is, I want to know where I stand financially and I really want to understand things like investment portfolios and IRA's, and why I can't seem to have a consistent increase my retirement accounts.  (Actually, I'd welcome a stable balance!)

So, I did the last thing I wanted to do on my list, I paid my bills, de-cluttered my pile of bank info and anything that wasn't important I tossed.  Now I take a break to blog, another item on my list.  Done.

Next, I'm going to finish that online fitness seminar to complete my certification requirements.  (Ughhhhh....oops! new attitude!  I'm going to do it!)

OK, I'd better get on it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Day She Faced Her Fears, Part Two

(Continued from last week.)  I didn't know what to say to Mary that day having seen the scale go up not down consistently for two months.  And, she had made it clear she'd freak out if she saw her weight.  At one time, demonizing the scale served a purpose for her, and for many women of our generation, because our cultural desire for thinness had become obsessive.  But, the problem is not the scale but the type of power we give it.

Mary had worked as a financial advisor at a large firm prior to becoming a mom so I asked her, "How important is it to know your bank balance in sound financial planning?"  The bottom line is the scale cannot vocalize a thought or opinion about you, good or bad.  And you can use the scale for YOUR benefit; as a tool to provide helpful feedback for losing excess fat or for maintaining a healthy weight.

There is no end to this story.  Most times Mary feels trim and strong and sometimes she forgets to check her balance.  And Mary's happiness doesn't have a bit to do with what number is on the scale that day.

After reading Part One of One Day She Faced Her Fears, Christine, my friend and client, started a blog, Personal Priority to share her experience with weight loss.  Losing the fear of not being good enough can be really liberating!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Day She Faced Her Fears, Part One

Mary (not her real name) is now twenty-nine pounds lighter than she was two and a half years ago when I first met her.  She is strong and energetic, too, but she had to go through months of denial and an additional gain of ten pounds before she faced her fear and walked through the uncomfortable door called truth.

I remember with great detail our very first meeting, when her weakened musculoskeletal structure was not only blanketed in thirty pounds of excess fat, she was also layered with nondescript folds of faded sweat fabric.  And even though she's an attractive woman, her over all look said, "I'm not worth it."

At that initial visit with me Mary told me she had just turned fifty and by her own admission could be identified as a career mom; her three children's hectic education, activities and social schedule kept her extremely busy .  Mary took her job very seriously and I'm sure her kids were better off for it.

Mary had sat uncomfortably in a comfortable chair and stated her goal:  she wanted to get into better physical condition and to lose unhealthy excess fat from her body.  "I really can't believe how I've let myself go.  I'm always so exhausted that the very idea of exercise just seems like living hell right now."  She replied to my question about her current exercise routine.  "That's why I'm here, I know if I pay someone, I'll show up."

"So tell me how you think your goal benefit you?"  I asked.

"I really want my kids to be proud of me."  She answered quickly.

After getting a pretty good picture of Mary's current lifestyle, I asked her if I could do a body composition analysis and fitness evaluation.  "I won't get on that thing!"  She declared as I started to pull  out the scale.  "I absolutely do not weigh myself.  I just know it would send me over the edge!"
Courtesy of
Because it is very important for my clients to trust me, I acquiesced and put the scale back.  "I can understand your anxiety, but the scale has gotten a bad rap.  To me it's simply a tool to see how your body is responding to your lifestyle changes."

She spent a moment in consternation, "I guess it's OK, I just don't want to know what the scale says."

I wrote her weight down  discreetly in her chart and once I'd collected as many facts as I could about Mary, I discussed some ideas I had about how we could proceed with her fitness program.

Three weeks later, she was five pounds heavier than she was that first day.  "I'm really starting to feel like I'm getting stronger.  And, I think I've gotten lighter!"  I wasn't sure what to say.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

120 Days Later....

120 days ago today I made the decision to go alcohol free.  Free of alcohol?  Yes, free.

As a result:
  • I seem to have become a bit more creative.  I entered three pieces of my art in the Sonoma County Fair and received a first, second and a third place.  And I really enjoyed the creative process while I was painting these pieces.  
  • I feel improved sleep, digestion, skin, memory, energy and overall aging issues in general.
  • I feel more confident; I mean there is nothing like knowing I could be called on in an emergency late at night after a party.
  • I feel more available to my loved ones and more present in my daily routine.
  • I feel powerful as a role model to my children and others.
  • No longer have the "monkey-on-my-back" syndrome.  ("Did I say something stupid last night?  What did so-and-so say again?  I wouldn't be feeling like this if I didn't have that last drink at the party.  Oh, gawd!  Did I really do such-and-such?"
  • I do not count calories.
  • Feel a bit leaner around my waist and face. 
  • Love seeing the bright whites of my eyes when I wake early (feeling refreshed and not groggy).
  • I cannot dull the anxiety of stress from my roles in life and relationships (with the wonder drug of America!)
  • Have learned to cope with the hard edges of life with a new found attitude; I like myself and and I do not need to fix everything right now.  I am OK today!
  • I am more calm.
  • I am more patient.
  • I am more forgiving of myself and others.
  • I bounce back from my monthly, long (airports, cancelled flights, delays, on my feet non-stop) weekend, travels seamlessly and ready to train and teach upon my return.
  • Feel a new high!  Clear energy!

I have become a fan of the San Francisco Giant's.  Now Randy wants me to go with him to the games.
He is still far more intense and into the actual game.  I like the personalities of the players...and the food!
This time last year I was thinking about cutting back on my drinking.  I thought perhaps 4 ounces of wine a day (for health purposes) would be the way to go.  I think I thought the same thing a year before that and even the year before that.  An on and on.  I do not judge the moderate drinker (or the heavy drinker, for that matter) because I know how much a part of our lives alcohol is, especially here in the wine country!   And, a drink or two is considered "good for you".  (Adrienne, of the Rich Life on a Budget, wrote about her personal experience with A-Fib and it's relationship to alcohol.)

I also know the flip side of the overall "benefits" of drinking alcohol.  We are all different in what we want for ourselves and how we spend our time on this earth.  And we will change our priorities with age.  Alcohol simply ceased to work for me anymore.  It became more of a nuisance than a pleasure.  

I never thought I had a problem with alcohol and I still do not think I had a problem with it.  I didn't go through withdrawals or anything physically uncomfortable, but I did go through a period where I had to make the conscious choice to not drink.  It wasn't that difficult and it is really OK if it were occasionally.  I don't have to be comfortable all the time.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Get Out of Your Way!

I moved out of my way and into to my life.  Yep!  My Life.  And right now I feel fantastic!

There was a bit of catching up to do, so I didn't make my blog a priority for a while.  I had bigger fish to fry like finishing all those half-done projects that took up precious space in my world, not to mention, made me feel guilty.  I also got rid of the old and out-dated piles of stuff (or those projects that never made sense in the first place).  I had to decide what was no longer working for me and be prepared to change it.
The pool was no longer working for me.  It cost a bunch of $ to maintain and I felt guilty for not swimming more.
So I had it changed it into a Koi pond.  (Thanks Randy!)

First, let me share with you how amazing it feels to not lug around that heavy, old, tired load of doubt, guilt, worry and shame.  I still have just enough of those feelings to make sure I am not living in exalted joy twenty-four/ seven, but, I have to wonder why I continued to do those things that kept me pretty much in the same darn place I'd been at for a while; unfulfilled. (And guilty because how dare me not feel fulfilled when I have so much to be grateful for!)

I have worked at being on a spiritual path for most of my adult life and have read most of the self-help, spiritual and psyche themed books out there, but often, I'd feel more shame after reading those books than I did before; maybe I'm just not as good a person as they are.

But this isn't about spiritualism, this is about self-acceptance and without it, I would never be able feel the gratitude I was supposed to feel or "live in the present" when I was constantly worrying about my future.  I finally forced myself to get rid of what was creating the self-doubt in the first place so that I could get the hell out of my way and on to living my joy.  There comes a time in our lives when we need to get over our childhood, or whatever the story is we hold on to that keeps us a victim in our life.  So, I worked in a practical mode; no more reading about it!

I decided to work on one thing at a time, just like I suggest to my clients.  And, I decided, I would begin with what I never thought I would ever get rid of from my lifestyle:  The first thing I got rid of was drinking alcohol.

And then everything just started taking care of itself.  It is pretty cool what those kinds of shifts in our lifestyle can do for us!  We are the ones who make our choices...

Friday, May 27, 2011

What is Better?

realistic?  yes, all it takes is the development of new habits.

Intensity or moderation.  Longer or shorter duration.  More protein less carbs.  Less protein more carbs.  No fat.  No sugar.  No dairy.  No meat.  No life.

Regarding shorter vs. longer workouts, I am of the mind to say any workout is better than none.  Efficient programming is better than duration.  If you are pinched for time, do a harder, quicker workout targeting the major muscle groups (chest, lats, glutes, hamstrings, quads and abs) is great.  When you need to be a bit more careful due to injuries or limitations, go a bit longer and moderate your movement.

Regarding carbs, proteins and fats:  be careful not to delude yourself into thinking one type of diet is the answer to your weight issues.  ("I'm going to eat vegan now because I hear it is the best for you and I want to lose weight.")  The key is to eat as organic, natural and whole as possible and to eat LESS than you are eating now.  Most everyone I train says, "I really don't eat that much."  Well, they are eating more than their body needs if they are overweight.  If you want to weigh less, you must eat less even if you exercise regularly.  Even if you exercise a whole lot!  If you are overweight, it doesn't matter what else you do, you have to eat less.  I have now said that three times, so I hope it sinks in.  I have to repeat this to myself for about a month before I truly get it.

I realize there are some conditions that make it very difficult to metabolize calories correctly and one can still be over weight while consuming minimal calories.  But those cases are not common and most likely you do not have a medical condition that makes you gain weight even though you hardly eat.  (If you truly think you have a medical condition, consult with your physician to get the correct tests.)

Once again, the tried and true habits that work:


Monday, May 23, 2011

I want to get into great shape!

I have been challenged to get off my butt and write!  A person close to me called and said, "please tell me what to do!  I want to get into really good shape, but I have a busy schedule and feel overwhelmed at all of the diet and exercise advice.  Where do I start?  What should I do?"

Let me make this easy on you and me.  If I allow myself to simply write without worrying about grammar and typos, I will be most inclined to stay on track and give you regular posts.  Huh?  This sounds a bit like getting in shape.  It is the small and doable tasks that keep us moving forward.  Trying to be perfect is no good when it comes to making changes!  Let's start with the basics:

1.  Stop eating junk!  Start with fast foods and sugar filled drinks.  Limit alcohol to one (tops two if your a guy) drinks per day.  Avoid deserts and candy as much as possible.

2.  Get moving!  When in doubt, do one of my videos

I will be adding some new exercises after I teach my class this morning.  I need to get moving.  See you soon!