I was sitting here thinking about all of the people I have worked with over the years.
What was the common denominator between people who were successful at establishing a lifestyle transformation verses those whom were not. Initially you might think of descriptive words like driven and dedicated. You may also picture someone in your mind that adheres to a program, makes the right choices and always meets their goals.
These initial thoughts are not exactly wrong.. but they are not exactly right either. I think when we start comparing one person to the next or even to ourselves, we see things in black and white. We don’t consider all the grey areas or where this comparison comes from.
The grey areas are where I like to say the magic happens.
These are the times where you are really testing your mental health and capacity to deal with what has happened to you in the past.
These are the opportunities to speak your truth out loud.
Being able to speak your truth out loud, is what I have found to be the common denominator. It starts when someone has a goal and finds them self constantly starting over in their approach to meet that goal. The realization sets in that they cannot do it alone. So maybe they ask a friend to be an accountability partner or hire a professional. For most, they will either prosper here. There are still some that it is another thing to add to the list of things they didn’t see through.
Why is that? Here is what I think.
We never speak the truth out loud or we don’t speak the entirety of it.
We bottle it up. It festers until we become so stressed out and ridden with anxiety that we start attributing it to being how it is and never investigating why it is.
I will use myself as an example.
For years I struggled with body image. I thought that if I just weighed a certain amount that I would look a certain way and then people would like me and I would fit in. I remember being conscious of my body composition and weight as early as third grade. I can still replay a memory of sitting at the lunch table, you know the long ones with orange circle seats that you sat as a class at. We were sitting there, some kids eating their lunchables and others eating a tray lunches, pizza day to be exact. Someone brought up their shoe size because they had new shoes on. Then it led to how much everyone weighed. Most of the girls weighed an average of 50-60lbs. I weighed 92 lbs. When you are 6/7, you think everything that is bigger is better. Everyone was boasting about having the biggest foot. Imagine my confusion when I realized being the heaviest was not cool. I remember looking around a realizing how much smaller all the other girls were. This was the start of my obsession with comparison. It carried over through grade school. In the physical fitness tests, in the class line up and of course at recess.
It wasn’t until 5thgrade that I started to realize that all my thin friends were being deemed as pretty and the catching the boys attention. It wasn’t until then that I realized I also wanted that attention. I remember a new boy moving to our school and literally telling girls that he would only date them if they were skinny and wore all adidas. Yes, the swish suits and those ugly shoes. This literally became a thing that all the girls started doing. I begged and begged my parents to get me both. I was distraught when I got a pair of knock offs for my birthday.
Not only was I not skinny but I wasn’t going to have the cool shoes either.
Sixth grade. The year that we all wanted to wear the boys football jerseys. You know, the youth mesh ones that the football boys would wear on Fridays to school and would give to the girls they liked to wear around until the end of the day. Another ego check. I was never the girl that got to wear the jersey. All my friends were though. I think this is when I really started wishing that I could look like them. This is when I started to really notice physical features of the girls that the boys liked, were deemed popular and had all the friends. Adidas were going out of style. This is the year that everyone started wearing make-up. I hope that white eyeliner never comes back in style. This is the year the girls would go into the bathroom where there was a gap in between the stalls and hang onto the sides and flip themselves around. If you couldn’t do it you were not cool. You were not invited to sit at the popular kids table.
Junior high. This where I became aware that if you ate less and exercised, you would lose weight. I would go through the salad bar every day while other girls were getting pizza and tostitos. I had a couple of friends that I had developed from making the volleyball team that summer. Our table was sort of the catch-all table. The people who sat with us were the people who were on the outside of the popular group circle that week. Junior high was the first time I was ever told by a boy that I was fat. In the middle of our computer class, in-front of everybody. I was never asked to go to the dances. It was because of volleyball that I started making friends with some of the cool people. I found myself doing and saying things to impress them. I started not sitting at the catch all table. This was also the about the time Holister became the new thing. I begged to get a $100 pair of jeans. It didn’t happen until the summer after 8thgrade.
High school. 9thgrade, the year of the bully. The summer before I spent it training for volleyball tryouts, put myself on an ice diet (If I were hungry between meals, I would eat crushed ice), laid out every day and started making friends with the girls that I had always wanted to be accepted by. Freshman year was off to a good start despite the fact that I grew up in a very strict home. I made the varsity volleyball team, had new friends and older boys were noticing me. It felt like things were finally turning around. Until they weren’t. Older boys noticing me, meant older girls noticing me to. I attracted a bully that would torment me for the next three years. She was always making comments about how I wore the same jeans (those $100 Holister jeans) multiple days in a row, how I was fat, how I lived in a trailer and how I smelt like cigarette smoke. You name it, she had something to say about everything I did or didn’t do for that matter. She was someone who was in the “in crowd.” No one really followed her lead, but I think they were scared to become the target, so they were just along for the ride. I spent four years trying to figure out how to fit in or at least not be made fun of. I spent four years letting a bully create the narrative for myself worth which directly translated to my body image. If you know me today, you know I have no patience for bullies. Especially as adults.
1stand 2ndyear of College. College should have been a great time in my life, and it was at times. Congruently it was also some of the worst times of my life. This is where I can now look back and see where depression set it. I went to school to play volleyball. When I got there everything was going great. Then, I made friends with some of the girls on the team who partied and drank a lot. Coming from a home where I had to be home at 9 and had little opportunity to dabble in social scenes meant that this new found freedom was tested to the max. To the point where I decided I would rather have a good time than play ball. I began binge drinking.. which was normal occurrence on my campus. I put on 40lbs and became depressed. I hated what I saw in the mirror, guys were not interested in me and I was hateful towards the girls that were getting attention. I was stuck in this rut for about two years. I can honestly say that I hated myself. I would stand in the mirror and say horrible things to myself and then drown those things in more alcohol.
3rdand 4thyear of college. The hate became so strong until I hit rock bottom. This is when I started exercising and stopped eating. This was the start of my first eating disorder. I would eat one meal a day so that I could go out and party still. I would wake up and run off the alcohol at the YMCA. I did this for a while until I stopped seeing any weight loss. I finally cut back on drinking and started exercising double time. I saw a little more progress and then it stopped. I did a little research on how I should be eating to lose weight and ramped up the exercising even more. I saw some more progress, and then it stopped. With obsessive habits I had made it to my original goal weight. That is when I got even more greedy. I started comparing myself to the people had been seeing in the fitness industry. I then started wanting to look like a bikini competitor. I was also feeling good about myself at this time. Girls were wanting to be my friend and boys were paying attention to me again. I began going out again. I would binge drink, which lead to binge eating which then lead to then purging and still over exercising.
This was the start of my second eating disorder.
Fast forward to today. Almost 30 years old.
It has taken me 10 years to realize that all of this came from a narrative that I let other people tell me. I took that narrative and continued to write the same words over and over in my own head. I wanted to be accepted so badly that I allowed myself to believe that I was not desirable and would never be accepted because of my body weight. I was not able to start healing my relationship with myself until I went back and figured out what happened to me to cause me to think these things. The real transformation didn’t start to happen until I admitted these things out loud. By admitting them out loud, I took power away from the boy who called me fat, the bully, the mean girls and my own negative thoughts. They say admitting that you have a problem is half the battle. I don’t think “they” have ever been more right. The people who make it through and who are successful, stop making excuses. They stop justifying their actions, obsessive behaviors and illnesses. They simply acknowledge them and then go to work facing them head on.
Taking your life back and changing the narrative is not easy, but it is possible. You have to speak the truth that is your life, right now.. today in order to make tomorrow and the coming years better.
Happy Valentines Day friends! I am rushing to get this up before I head out the door to go try Jiu Jitsu for the first time. If I'm being honest, I am nervous! I have been on the search for the next big fitness endeavor to take on. If you guys have any suggestions, let me know! As for this casserole, it was a total win at my house.
The only downside was when the pan was empty. :)
2lbs of Chicken Breast or Rotisserie Chicken
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt, Pepper
8 oz Plantain Chips
2 TBSP nutritional yeast
3 cups chopped broccoli
11/4 cups condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup mayo ( can use vegan sub)
1/2 cup + 2 TBSP cashew milk (can use almond but sauce will be thinner)
1 half fresh squeezed lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roast Chicken Breasts + olive oil, salt and pepper in oven for 20-25 minutes
Meanwhile, pulse plantain chips until they have a sand like texture. Add in the nutritional yeast. Pulse until combined.
Cut Chicken into thin strips
Lightly grease 9X13 casserole dish
Place Chicken and Broccoli in the bottom
In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients plus 1/2 tsp of salt 1/4 tsp pepper.
Pour soup mixture over the top of chicken.
Top with plantain mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes or until it is hot and sauce is bubbling in center.
I recently hit up a local Thai restaurant for the first time. Having no idea what to order, I went with something I recognized. Red Curry Chicken. Now, what came out was absolutely not what I had envisioned. I thought I was getting a plate of curry chicken, vegetables and rice. I was a little shocked when I was served a soup..BUT let me tell you, it was AMAZING! I came home and went to work on a recipe that was a little healthier.
1Tbsp olive oil
1 Lb chicken thinly sliced
2 scallions, chopped
2 TBSP red curry paste
2 TBSP Tumeric paste
2 big cloves garlic minced
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 low sodium chicken broth
1TBSP fish sauce
Chopped/sliced carrots, onion, bell peppers and broccoli (use what ever you want)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Three stems of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook chicken strips in a large pot until almost thoroughly cooked and then remove. Keep the broth. Once all vegetables are chopped and ready to go, heat oil, red pepper flakes, red curry paste, turmeric and garlic in the same pot as the chicken medium-high heat. Add all vegetables at once and let cook down. Then add coconut milk, water and fish sauce let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then add the chicken and let simmer for 10 minutes. As you remove the soup from heat, add the thyme.
You can opt to put rice into the entire pot or just serve in each individual bowl like I did.
The most frequent questions I get lately are usually related to how did I know to get my hormones tested and what am I doing for treatment.
I eat well, I exercise regularly, I don't consume alcohol often and I make it a point to get 7 hours of sleep. I still felt like crap, I was retaining water and I was emotional. All of these "symptoms" are your body yelling at you.
Saying HELLO SOMETHING IS WRONG.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism based on my blood work. If you want to test and see if you have a thyroid disorder consider asking your doctor to run these labs.
TSH- measures how hard the pituitary is working
Free T4- measures if the thyroid gland is working
Free T3- checks if T4 is being converted to T3 so your body can use it.
Reverse T3- measures how much T4 is being converted into T3
Anti-TPO & TgAb-checks to see if your immune system is attacking your thyroid and may indicate an autoimmune disorder.
Vitamin D- you need enough of this for thyroid function
B Vitamins- thyroid regulator
Sex Hormones- if irregular can affect T4
Cortisol- stress can cause thyroid disorders
I always suggest that clients have their blood work done. To insure you are not fighting yourself. Getting your hormones balanced should be first priority. If it comes back normal with nothing wrong, GREAT. Now you know, that if you put in the work that you should be able to get healthy!
Large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp grass-fed butter
1 cup beef stock
1 tbsp minced garlic
Leaved from 3 stems of thyme, chopped about 1 tsp
1/2 Tbs sweet potato flour or any type of flour
1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp coconut oil
2 boneless skinless 4 oz chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper
3 slices baby Swiss cheese
Heat the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook, stirring frequently. As needed, add in small amounts of beef stock to keep the onions from burning as they caramelize. Cook until onions are very tender and caramelized. About 30 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and sauce one minute.
Then Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir until combined. Add the rest of the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Pour onion mixture into a bowl and sit aside.
Return pan to stove and increase heat to medium high. Add in coconut oil. Season Chicken liberally with salt and pepper and sear in pan for 2-4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the onion mixture over the top of the chicken and then add the cheese on top. Cover and let cook until cheese is melted down.
I am currently in the middle of an online training about reseting the way that you think.
The body of it so far seems to about the choice between two brain settings.
Default thinking or deliberate thoughts.
Your default thinking is something that you fall back on when things get hard or you want to quit. It is, for most people the negative thoughts we tell ourselves and often times causes anxiety.
"I am not successful enough."
"I will never get there."
"I don't have the right genetics to lose weight."
"I am ugly."
"I am to fat."
"I cannot do that"
"No body likes me."
This list can go on and on. These thoughts generally give someone the validation they are seeking to quite pursuing whatever thing it is that they are trying to accomplish.
These are typically themes through out someones life. The person who has been on every crash diet that has been available. The person who never completes a project. The person with a severe case of FOMO.
Deliberate thinking is redirecting those thoughts to something positive. Creating an ANCHOR thought. This is something that I think I will continue to use through out the rest of my career.
Here are my anchor thoughts:
"I am on my own time line, I am exactly where I need to be."
"I am seeking the help to learn who to lose weight and be healthier."
"What is the harm in trying."
"The right people love me"
It's November, still two weeks from Thanksgiving AND IT. IS. SNOWING.
UGH. With this weather, brings on some of the best comfort food known to man.
Something, that I have found over the years that is easy to make lighter/healthier versions of, is soup. So that is what I have made for this miserably cold day.
It is an alternative recipe to Olive Gardens Italian Zuppa.
Serving size about 1 1/2 cups-Fat 6.7g-carbs 18g-protein 38g
4 slices Center Cut Low Sodium Bacon, Chopped (or cut with scissors)
1/2 cup turkey sausage crumbles or 3 turkey sauce links, removed from casing
1 Medium white onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 Large russet potatoes
3 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup Half and Half
1 package of extra lean ground turkey
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Brown turkey in pan.
2. In a soup pot, cook bacon pieces until crispy; remove from pan and let cool on paper towel
3. Sauté onions and garlic in bacon grease, in the same soup pot.
4. Peel and cube potatoes
5. Add chicken broth to pot.
6. Add potatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to pot; bring to a boil and then let simmer
7. Add half & Half, turkey and spinach.
8. Cook until potatoes are tender.
9. Top with bacon bits & (not included in macros) mozzerella cheese.
When it comes to calories, alcohol has 7 calories per 1 gram. This is very dense especially compared to the main macronutrients:
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of pure alcohol = 7 calories
To track alcohol, we will be allocating these calories to carbs and/or fats. Never substitute alcohol for protein (because that’s just cheating).
IMPORTANT: If you are using a “mix” in your drink that has carbs or fat in it track that first. Then with the calories left over from the alcohol, do the math:
Track as carb: Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic beverage & divide by 4.
Track as fat: Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic beverage & divide by 9.
Or split between the two.
Example: if a drink has 200 calories you could track as:
Carbs 200/4 = 50 grams of carbs
Fats 200/9= 22.2 grams of fat
Both 100/4= 25 grams of carbs
100/9= 11.1 grams of fats
I'm not too sure where I got the bug to start running again. Growing up, I was horrible at running. Always felt slow, never consistent, yet I always wanted to do the fun 5k's and obstacle courses I would see advertised. My best friend and I had been doing some weight lifting paired with short runs and we eventually signed up for my first 5k! It wasn't my best run, but I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and wanted to get better.
Fast forward a few years later, I had been training Rachael, one of my clients, for about a year when she asked me to help her train for a 5k. We decided to start incorporating runs into her training sessions. Getting started with running is the hardest part! It can be scary! I also love getting involved with the workouts my clients are doing. I don't want them to feel alone! Stepping into a gym or starting any sort of workout can be intimidating! Running with a friend is also great accountability. When you feel like stopping you have each other for encouragement!
Rachael did great on her first 5k! She then completed a half marathon relay this past spring and we are training to run a full marathon relay together come November! When we get the chance to run together we enjoy posting silly stories on Instagram! Partly because it's fun, and we hope it can encourage others to get out and get active!
Running can be tough! But if it's something you would love to get better at don't be scared to get out there and try it. Here are three things I would suggest;
When you start anything, when you start out on a path to anywhere the first step, the first day, the first minute you're excited. Then the next day comes and you think "this is tougher than I thought" and the enthusiasm from the beginning of the process starts to fade out and you forget the purpose of why you started. It gets monotonous and you become angry and frustrated.......And what happens then? Most people quit. Here is the funny thing about quitting. When things start to get hard that's generally also when it starts to get easier. It becomes more fun and you grind it out and it starts to click. You start to lay a foundation. You build it through effort! Nobody can judge effort, because effort is between you and you only. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Every day is a new day and every moment is a new moment. Love the process to get to the prize.
Be pissed off for greatness!