Tag Archive for #beyourbestyou

{Move More Monday}



{Move More Monday}



Here’s a fun one to add to your warm up or joint prep: Inchworms with a reach and a row.

You get some shoulder movement, hip hingeing, hamstring activation, and lots of core stabilization to get the body ready to work–it’s one of the warm up drills we’ve been using in class as prep work for our daily perfect push up practice.
This inchworm variation can be a great ‘just get a little less stiff’ exercise or as another part of a core training progression by adding reps to the reaches and rows.
Lots of ways to make this move work for you–give it a shot and let me know what you think!

the ONE question we need to ask.

There is ONE question we need to ask ourselves.  ONE question that can make a huge difference in our choices, and therefore our results.



This is THE question we really need to ask anytime we want to make a big change or start something new, and I think it’s a question that many of us kind of skip over in the hurry to just do that next big new thing!







I remember about 10 years ago I wanted to change my hair—specifically, I wanted to go red/auburn rather than the blond highlights I’d been sporting for the few years prior. So I did!



With the help of a quality hairdresser, we made me a redhead in the course of a couple of hours.






Awesome, right?!? Hmmmmmm…it was awesome until most of the color had washed out of my hair in the first 10 days and I was scrambling to get the right shampoos and conditioners to make it last longer.



It was great until the third week when all of my gray hairs came sparkling out for all the world to see—and even at 31, I had lots of them.




By the fourth week, I realized there was no way I could reasonably maintain this hair color without a huge amount of energy and expense. So I went back to the more manageable blond (gray hair camouflaging!) highlights.



And then what….




There was the time I threw myself into training for a marathon in 6 months—except I wasn’t in shape AT ALL and ended up with a stress fracture 3 months in.




Seemed like a great idea in the beginning, when I was going to raise money for charity and lose 20 pounds of post-breakup weight gain!




And then what….




Then there was the time right after I’d gotten married, and my husband was stationed in Germany while I was still living in Seattle, finishing up the school year before (hopefully) moving to Germany with him, when I felt the need to ‘get skinny’ by exercising more and taking Hydroxycut. This was back when Hydroxycut was the full-ephedra variety—before people figured out this caused cardiac issues.





I lost some weight/leaned out a little, but not a ton since I wasn’t changing my diet—the pills were going to do the work for me!—but I gained a nasty temper, borderline anxiety attacks, a manic response to everything which added to my insecurities instead of making them go away.





Even so, I kept taking Hydroxycut for a while because it was a great pre-workout stimulant (insert face palm here), I didn’t think I looked good enough, and I was afraid of what would happen if I stopped taking it.





In each of those situations, and so many more, I just acted—took drastic action, in fact—without ever stopping to consider what would happen on the other side of that decision—And Then What??





It’s like when we go on a diet. We are all kinds of charged up to make a big change in our weight, our appearance and we just can’t wait to feel and look better! We throw ourselves in, full steam, and do what it takes until we finish the program or hit the right number on the scale.




What we so many times forget, or just neglect, to ask is: What happens AFTER I finish this diet/challenge/program?





We do the 21-Day Fix, investing the roughly $140 for the kit—because this is going to FIX things!


We lose weight and inches.


We get compliments.


We feel accomplished…And then what?



What happens the next 21 days?




Do you do another 21-day fix, or do you go back to your old habits and regain all you lost—including some confidence?




We decide we’re going to follow one of the Herbalife or Shakeology plans, complete with all the necessary products, for a month.



We lose weight—because we’re definitely taking in fewer calories and maybe getting the ‘help’ of some appetite suppressants.



But the plan isn’t sustainable. It doesn’t account for birthday parties, and social occasions, and it costs a small fortune that really isn’t in your monthly budget.




And then what?




Do we try to find a way to keep up with the cost of these products?



Do we just go back to our old habits? Do we turn to another, less expensive weight loss product to help us ‘keep it off?’




The one question to ask before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, before we spend a bunch of money on a weight loss kit, challenge, plan, pill, potion or program: AND THEN WHAT?





What will we do on the other side of that choice and effort?



What will we do when the challenge is over, or the diet has reached it’s desired effect?



If we take a pill, potion, prescription or supplement system, do we plan to take it FOREVER?




When we stop taking the product, and I seriously doubt any of us plan to take a weight loss supplement all the way into old age, WHAT HAPPENS THEN?



The biggest problem with all these diet and weight-loss programs, products and approaches is that they are simply designed to be temporary.




They were never built, or meant to last. They were created to provide a financially lucrative band-aid.





But what about when we start with small habit changes, like we’ve been talking about lately? When we are able to make roughly 26 of those small habit changes over the course of just one year, we can also ask And Then What?




Then we are on a successful, sustainable path towards maintaining a healthy weight and body composition, not to mention sparing our sanity and our pocketbooks.




We are in the process of finding the true-forever solution—the one that fits us best, adapts to our lifestyle, that we like and have ownership of, that’s what.



We know ourselves, we trust ourselves, we are in charge of ourselves—and it’s freaking awesome.




THAT is something no diet, pill, potion, program or challenge will ever be able to give us.




How I f-ed up over the holidays…and how I won’t anymore.

HHHY FB cover

 Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving.



It’s that day of the year that induces hand-wringing by some (“There’s so much good food and I can’t/shouldn’t eat some/all/any of it!”), enthusiastic and expectant hand-rubbing by others (“Oh yeah, it’s that day to eat whatever I want, ALL DAY LONG.  Bring it on!!”), and just a whole lot of headache for others.



Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the holiday season for those of us in the U.S., and  it also often marks a departure from our otherwise normal and balanced eating habits.  


“It’s the Holidays!,” you’ll hear people say, “Treat YoSelf,” or “I’ll just have a little this time,” or “I can only get this once a year!” or “C’mon, you can splurge a little, it’s (insert name of holiday gathering, meal or event here).”


Growing up, it was normal to me to have tons of special holiday foods around–fudge from Gramma, cookies from everyone, spice breads, fruit cake (but let’s be honest, I didn’t eat THAT), and a ton of other ‘only get them once a year’ treats.


Holiday meals were rich and heavy.  It was the norm to fill your plate, stop for a moment after you’d eaten everything on it, then refill on your favorites.  You weren’t done until you were STUFFED.  Then maybe you came back later in the day for more, or pie.


It’s probably not a huge shock that I wasn’t a super lean kid, and that in my teens and 20s I continued to put on weight over the holidays.  So I’m pretty familiar with the Holiday Weight Gain phenomena!


Then I ‘got fit’ and became a personal trainer.  Which meant I leaned out quite a bit, and was responsible for maintaining a physique worthy of being a trainer.  My abs were my ‘claim to fame,’ lol, so staying fairly lean was a priority.



Except….except I fell into a certain mindset fallacy that happens to lots of us–the ‘post-diet’ fallacy.


You know the one, the “Now that I’m skinny I can eat whatever I want” fallacy.  


The one that causes so many post-diet weight gain rebounds–the one that pretty much keeps the diet and supplement industries in business!!!



Yep, I’d leaned out, ‘gotten abs,’ knew what I was doing, knew all kinds of ‘fat-burning workout tricks,’ and just generally felt invincible because I’d established a maintainable level of exercise: nutrition.



Enter: The Holidays.

Enter:  Arrogance.

Enter: Complete detachment from realistic thinking and behaviors.


For the first 3 years I was a trainer, I engaged in the same pattern of behavior, starting right up on Thanksgiving.


Before Thanksgiving, I maintained my normal eating and exercise habits, right up until that Thanksgiving Dinner–no extra treats, no big breaks from normal routines in the kitchen or gym.


But then…then my old “It’s the holidays!!” mentality would kick in–only it was a little worse than when I was a teen or 20-something.  Worse, actually, because I felt ‘skinny,’ which amounted to License to EAT.


Does anyone else hear me there???


I had a big case of ‘I’m ‘X’ size/weight/body fat percentage, so I can eat whatever I want’ thinking.


Which worked out great for me…for about 3 weeks.  Then I would start ‘wearing what I was eating,’ because for me it takes about 3 weeks for me to feel/notice weight gain.  Um, oops.



Only then I’d be full into Christmas season with all its extra events (parties, dinners, Christmas Markets), so I’d just say “Well, I’ll take care of it after Christmas.  It’s the HOLIDAYS after all, it’s not like I’m going to diet until New Year’s!”



Then New Year’s would come and go, and I’d be uncomfortable with my body and feeling shame about my dietary and body composition backslide.


On top of that, it would take me a good 8-12 weeks of hard work and structured eating just to get back to where I’d started on Thanksgiving Day!


Oh my goodness, how many of us have been there?!?



Finally, I just got sick of the whole pattern, so I spent some time examining what I’d done in past years: the thought patterns involved, typical pitfalls, and unhelpful behaviors that were at work.


Because before we can do better, we have to know better.  Understanding where my behavior comes from helps me know better to do better!


Here’s what I’m doing to avoid any ridiculous holiday-related mindset fallacies or weight changes–things that might just help you ‘stay in the middle’ for the next few weeks, too 🙂


–> Changing my mind:  Trading out the old thoughts for new ones.


There will be no more “I’m ___ size,” or “I worked out so hard this week, so I can eat whatever I want” thinking.


My new mantra:  “I’m staying in the middle, so I can stay in the middle.”


–> Dealing with stress more proactively.


Stress has provoked some pretty strong emotional eating and drinking reactions in the past, so I recognize that I need to head the feelings of ‘dis-stress’ off at the pass.


This means I’ll be writing in my gratitude journal daily, taking short ‘time outs’ when I need them, and using Brendon Burchard’s Productivity Planner to keep my priorities straight.  If it’s not a priority, it’s not getting stressed over!


If you’re curious, you can get your own copy at:  http://www.highperformanceacademy.com/HPA-1pageproductivity.pdf

And the YouTube video that expands on the principle: How Millionaires Schedule Their Day



–> Practicing mindfulness techniques, especially around food.


I’m committed to continuing to recognize and monitor my hunger cues, cravings, thirst and satiation (feeling satisfied and full) as I’ve been doing ALL YEAR LONG.  Just because “It’s the Holidays!” doesn’t mean I have a ‘License to EAT,” LOL.


I’m also committed to recognizing when I’m tired, and respecting my need to chill, sleep more, lighten up on the workouts, or take a walk instead of self-medicating with caffeine, more food or drinks.


–> Planning my Indulgences.


Using a practice I call “Planned Indulgences,” I’ve found a method for enjoying treat foods on my own terms.


Basically, I know all-or-nothing approaches to treats and treat foods–especially your favorites!–leads to a ‘restrict and binge’ behavior when willpower gets low or your attention isn’t as focused on what you’re eating.


As in, when you get ‘caught up in the moment’ at the end of the day or at a special event.


Plus, when you spend so much time and energy fixating on what ‘you can’t have,’ you’re taking energy away from noticing all the other amazing things going on around you, which means less enjoyment of the season or special events.  And isn’t the whole point to enjoy ourselves–to be relaxed and appreciative of the specialness of the season?


  • So when I look at my schedule for the week, I identify any special events going on.
  • I choose what treats I’ll be enjoying that week–keeping the number reasonable.
  • I set an expectation for myself, and then all I have to do is follow through and enjoy my planned indulgence.
  • No fixating, no stress, no guilt, just enjoyment of the treat AND, moreover, then occasion!

scheduling for the win!


–> Practice my ‘Minimum Effective Dose’ approach to eating rich and/or holiday foods.


When it comes to taking drugs/medications, the general opinion is to use the smallest amount to get the effect you seek.

Meaning, if 200mg of Ibuprofen alleviates your pain, there’s no need to take 600mg.  You’re always looking to use the ‘minimum effective dose.’


Same goes for treat foods!


While I definitely use my Planned Indulgence method to have some of the tasty stuff, I also implement my Minimum Effective Dose (MED) approach to enjoying those treat foods.


Meaning, why eat a half a pie when a single piece will satisfy the desire to indulge?


It’s overkill, it causes tummy ache, and all too often a sense of regret or even shame.  In other words, it’s so not worth it.



Figure out what your MEDs are for your favorite treat foods (which requires being mindful when eating and some ‘guess and testing’), and you’ll be on your way to enjoying the treat foods you like best in a way that’s agreeable with both your palate and ‘staying in the middle.’


–> Remembering, and reminding myself, what the true nature and purpose of the holidays and their celebrations are really all about.


It can be easy to get caught up in the ‘enjoy holiday foods’ part of the season, and some of us can really get fixated on those foods as being the center of an event.  Understandable, since the turkey dinner with all the fixings is what Thanksgiving features as it’s main event!


For a really nice change of family Thanksgiving traditions, check out:



Rather than fixate on ‘getting my fix’ of that certain food, I’m focusing on what I’ll really treasure and remember about each holiday and festivity:  the sights, the sounds, the smells, the PEOPLE.


I’ll be stopping to take it all in, to make memories, to take pictures, give hugs, be in the moment.



We don’t get any guarantees about where we’ll be or who’ll still be with us next year, so it’s worth taking that moment in and appreciating all we DO have in the here and now.



By reflecting on past motivations, mindsets and choices, I’m able to create a new, more agreeable experience for my present–and you can , too.


If how you’ve navigated the holiday food waters hasn’t been agreeable with you in the past, try a few of my tips:

  • Trade out the old thought pattern for new, helpful ones
  • Deal with stress more proactively
  • Practice mindfulness techniques, especially around food.
  • Plan your indulgences
  • Remember your treat food MEDs
  • Remember the true essence of the holidays


And stay in the middle to stay in the middle–happily.



To get more tips, mindset tweaks, and done-for-you workouts to keep you ‘in the middle’ and happy, sign up for my weekly email newsletter here:
A new tip, technique and workout goes out every Friday!





Trainer Tip Tuesday: be YOUR best you–at any size



It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday, and this one is both close to my heart and one of the core values of Real Life Fit by Kate:

Be YOUR best you.



There are so many ideas, thoughts and opinions about what our ‘best’ should be, and sometimes all that noise is hard to shut out!


But really, at the end of the day, WE have to define for ourselves what OUR best sounds, looks, moves and feels like.


I was so inspired and moved by my cousin Lisa’s words today, which demonstrate this belief in action so well:


“Today I am thankful that I am strong. I have an auto immune disease that is debilitating sometimes, but….I am strong. I have a job where I lift heavy patients who can’t move much sometimes, and I can do it easily. I can run! I am good at it! I’m not a super fast runner, but I can do it. I find a pace that I can maintain, and I can run forever. That’s my goal, not speed. I’m not stick-thin, I have muscles and am thankful for my dads genes. I am strong and grateful for it!”



We live in a culture where skinny and super lean are touted as ‘fit’ and the ideal version of the female form.


I call bullshit.



I say it’s up to each and every one of us to decide and define what OUR best version of ourselves is–in terms of skills, abilities, size, shape, strength, and our quality of character.


There is no wrong way to have a body

Which is why I say often, and hashtag even more frequently:  Be YOUR best you.


Spend time finding out what you want, what makes you tick, what you value most, and how YOU want to be in this world–then make your actions, your fitness, nutrition and personal choices align with that best version of you.


Anything else is just cheating yourself.


And you deserve to live a full and meaningful life.



Why get smaller? Workout to be MORE.

I work out to be MORE of myself, not less.

Day before yesterday, I had a conversation about what my deepest fitness beliefs are.


It was a little hard to put them all in words at that moment, but there are a few primary, cornerstone beliefs that guide my own fitness and how I train and coach others.


One of those primary beliefs that came to mind first was that I believe in working out to be more of oneself, not less.


I know that can sound weird at first, because we’re so socially programmed (especially as women) to exercise to make less of ourselves in terms of size, weight and body fat.


The objective is always to get smaller in some way.


Now, I’m not saying ‘hey get out there and get as BIG as you can’ instead (unless that’s your thing, then by all means, do!).


I’m saying that maybe if we shift our attitude towards the purpose of exercise in our lives, we will be happier with our bodies, our selves and our lives.


I’m saying that using exercise to grow into more of our human potential, into more of our best selves–the strongest, most capable, most courageous, whole-hearted, inspirational versions of our selves can be SO much more fulfilling, while STILL yielding those aesthetic results we seek.


It’s not an ‘either-or’ prospect: the goals of growing stronger, becoming more AND changing one’s body composition are mutually agreeable.


My bottom line: life is fuller and better when we approach exercise and fitness with a growth mentality full of joy and hope, rather than with a ‘shrink’ mentality full of fear and dissatisfaction.


It’s why I say: Work out to be MORE of your self, not less.


The FASTEST way to lose weight, burn fat and feel better for good…

Change never fails because it's too early...quote-2

…isn’t fast at all.


Hear me out.


My husband was in the states for a training not too long ago, and had access to ‘normal’ American TV–that is, TV programming complete with commercials.


Living in Germany, we have American television shows broadcasting through AFN (Armed Forces Network), but because of the agreement between the military and those stateside networks supplying the programming, we have only military-created commercials/informercials (or as I like to call it, propaganda!).  So the culture shock of being flooded by a tidal wave of sales pitches and products made an impression on him this trip.


“Kate,” he said in one of his first phone calls home, “you would not believe how many diet and workout and exercise equipment commercials there are.  It’s like every other one is for some diet pill, or DVD, or super supplement, or exercise tool.”


Seriously, he was pretty shocked.

I wasn’t.

The fitness/diet industry is BIG BUSINESS.


These diet/fitness businesses target people sitting at home, feeling dissatisfied and frustrated, offering them a glossy, gorgeous, EASY miracle solution to their difficulties.  And people will buy these ‘miracle’ solutions, too–I know I did!


Sitting in my father’s basement TV room while visiting home, 6 months postpartum, with a gorgeous and healthy baby, I was also feeling trapped–10 pounds heavier than my pre-baby weight, wearing a bigger pant size, and A LOT more squishy than I’d been before getting pregnant.



November 2005 kate and taylor playing in the rec room

Prior to this trip, I’d been stuck at home with an infant and very few friends at our duty station in Fort Polk, Louisiana, I was emotionally eating throughout the day and not exercising at all, aside from daily walks with the stroller when the weather (and temperature) permitted.  I was isolated, stuck in the middle of nowhere, had no childcare available to me, my marriage was strained, and I was so desperate to make things better SOMEHOW.

While mindlessly watching some show on cable tv, an informercial for The FIRM came on.  It caught my attention.  The FIRM offered a way to work out at home, provided a DVD workout series to follow, a monthly workout plan, a step apparatus and a series of very convincing ‘before and after’ testimonials from people just like ME.


This was the answer to my problems!  If I got bought the The FIRM intro kit and series, I could reshape my body, I could look like them–lean, tight, toned, beautiful!  THIS would make me happy! Hallelujah!


 I scrambled for my wallet and promptly ordered the kit that had been promoted.

Following The Firm workouts did get me active again, and helped–for a little while.  But nothing really worked until I was forced to get real with myself, to learn to strength train safely and effectively, to develop a healthier and more balanced relationship with and attitude towards food, to learn to own my thoughts and behavior and take responsibility for my choices.


I learned to be the pitcher rather than the batter.  

This process, because true change is process not a product, started in 2006 and continues today.


June 2006


March 2015

Some products on tv are pretty decent–such as The FIRM–are pretty safe and reliable, with a positive cost:benefit ratio (low on risk, higher on reward/outcome).  But none of them are a miracle cure.


Diet pills are an ‘EASY’ button for a little while–until they don’t work well any longer, or cause a whole host of physical (and emotional) ailments.



Some training DVDs and programs can create a ‘training response’ for a while, but are often too strenuous or too high impact for a person who is just starting out or those who might have (old) injuries or conditions.


And many of the Quick-Fix diets, challenges and programs (21-Day Fix, in particular) only work for as long as you use them (and keep buying them) or follow their rules–usually too regimented and strict to follow for much longer than the 21 or 30 days allotted for the program.


Recently, I’ve seen women giving testimonials about the how well the 21-Day Fix worked, saying they were really starting to see results–on their THIRD round.


Question for you:

If this ‘Fix’ really ‘fixes’ things, why does anyone need to do multiple rounds to get results???


“Sure, any female who’s allotted a point system or given a micromanaged selection of TV dinners will succeed, but only as long as she’s paying up and being spoon-fed. Once she starts thinking for herself in the kitchen, those same vices she wrestled with before become problematic again.” https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/10-mistakes-women-make-with-diets


All of these programs, potions and pills do one thing that ultimately sabotages our efforts at losing weight, losing body fat, gaining lean muscle, becoming more shapely, feeling more satisfied and confident in our abilities–they cultivate reliance on THAT program/potion/pill, rather than really educating and fostering the development of self-reliance, because where would the money be in that?!?!?!


The ONLY way to really change for good (and even this will continue to be a moving target as we age and change), is to LEARN what your body needs in terms of healthy nutrition and physical activity as well as finding the positive thought processes and self-talk that sustain you through periods of challenge.


If you’re kind of at a crossroads, or struggling a bit or feeling frustrated with a lack of progress or just kind of ‘stuck;’ if you’ve tried lots of diets, done lots of ‘challenges,’ and things don’t stay ‘fixed,’ consider these questions:

  • What will you be doing in 10 or 20 years from now?
  • Will you still be ‘fixing’ things with diets, pills, potions and/or challenges, relying on buying a product, program or advice from the representative of a big-business company–or even contemplating something more drastic, like surgery??
  • OR will you have internalized healthy and sustainable eating patterns and movement into your daily life in a way that supports and meets YOUR body’s and lifestyle needs??
  • Will you be grasping at straws or will you be thriving, trusting your own knowledge, judgment, intuition and working in partnership with your body instead of against it?

The FIRM wasn’t the answer for me.  Neither was Herbalife, or GNC diet pills, or the Zone Diet, or the Body for Life diet–or any other handful of extreme, desperate measures I’d taken between the ages of 20 and 30, when I’d sought to subdue my body, to force it to look and behave the way I desired it to.


None of these products or approaches was the answer I sought to look and feel better because none of them TAUGHT me anything.


None of them helped me better understand how nutrition affected, and could affect, my body.  None of them helped me gain the knowledge I needed to strength train and work out safely and effectively.  None of them helped me learn to think stronger, to overcome the inevitable hurdles and pitfalls in normal life that can so easily throw you off track (if you let them).  None of them taught me to believe in myself–in my own resilience and strength and abilities.


Real and lasting change, the kind you can maintain and adjust and adapt throughout the rest of your life, comes from:

  • cultivating greater self-awareness
  • learning how to make healthier food choices
  • learning how to strength train and exercise efficiently and effectively
  • learning how to adapt your habits to work harmoniously with your lifestyle
  • learning how to think stronger and developing resilience

These things take time to develop.

Gandhi pull ups

The gorgeous thing is, once you develop these key areas of thinking and understanding, you have them for good.

You have the tools you need to adapt and overcome, to tweak and evolve as you grow and change throughout the rest of your life.  You have the ability to live with less angst and more joy and peace where food, exercise, how your body looks and feels are concerned.


You can’t get that from a quick fix or a pre-programmed diet.

The fact that change takes time shouldn’t be off-putting.  The fact that change takes time means that it is an investment you make in yourself, and just like investing money, dividends or payoffs take TIME.

And aren’t you worth that investment?



If you’re ready to give up on the quick fix and learn to make changes that will both work for YOU and LAST, if you’re ready to trade in gimmicks and products for solid workout knowledge and plans, if you’re ready to invest yourself in YOU, then The Nourished Mind coaching program is for you.


**Opens to the public on January 26, but get on the wait list NOW to receive priority access and exclusive deals not available to the public**
—> http://bit.ly/TNMwaitlist


Remember, I’m always here for you.

Keep it real!


Pills, Powders and Potions: Prescriptions for FAILURE.

I’m going to come completely clean about something:  I absolutely, unequivocally, fundamentally and vehemently LOATHE weight loss/diet products.  LOATHE.


I’ve sat on the fence for a while, keeping my thoughts to myself publicly, but it’s time for me to get real, to draw that line in the sand and just say what I really think and feel about weight loss/diet products such as Shakeology, Herbalife, ItWorks, Body by Vi, and a whole slew of other ‘get-skinny-quick-by-taking-this’ lines of products.


I might piss some people off for saying the things I’m about to say, but I can’t sit on my beliefs any longer.


I.  Freaking. Loathe. Them. All.


Over the past couple of years, I’ve witnessed local fitness instructors and personal trainers at my local Army post peddle their wares on the local social media sites as well as within the fitness center facilities themselves.


> I’ve seen them use their positions to influence how women feel about their bodies.


> I’ve seen these fitness professionals manipulate the need for community that so many Army spouses need when they are stationed overseas, thousands of miles away from their families.


> I’ve heard of outrageous recommendations by these same fitness pros, such as taking two Herbalife shakes a day (roughly 200 cals each) and only eating one small meal at dinner.  Oh yeah, I think there were some appetite suppressant products thrown in that mix, too.  These were recommendations made by a personal trainer to her client, who also became her Herbalife customer as well.


Wow.  That sounds healthy.  And sustainable, too.

> I’ve witnessed repeatedly, Shakeology 30-day challenges being offered, with one of the tag lines reading “We will also be replacing one meal a day with the healthiest meal of the day, Shakeology.”


Healthiest meal of the day my ass.

Other products being offered locally in local social media groups:  another 21-day Fix Challenge Group (“Want to lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days?”);  an It Works 90-day Challenge (“Become a Loyal Customer by signing up for a 90 day challenge and receive that 40% off for life!!! Get started today!!! #‎ItWorks); and more Herbalife products–there are over 100 you know…(“Need energy? Lose weight? Gain weight or muscles? Healthier skin and hair? A better heart or digestive system?”).


This is all such bullshit.  And I hate it all.

Here’s Why:

1.  As a fitness professional, if you are actively telling your clients and/or class patrons to take/use a weight loss supplement or product, you are effectively telling them that their training and nutrition efforts are not enough and they will not succeed without your product.


–>If you are a quality trainer, shouldn’t your coaching on fitness and nutrition be enough to  create a ‘training outcome?’  Shouldn’t your coaching be in the vein of cultivating better self-trust, self-reliance, and giving people the tools they need to succeed in the long-run, rather than undercutting their personal growth by pushing a ‘cheater’ supplement?


2.  Promoting the use of weight loss supplements/products is effectively telling people they cannot trust their bodies and cannot trust their own willpower or judgment.


–>If you’re really invested in helping people lose weight, change their body composition and feel healthier, then you’ll be helping them learn to think more carefully about their relationships with food, to regard their bodies as an amazing vehicle rather than an enemy to be battled with and conquered.  You’ll be teaching them to understand true hunger cues, and how to make healthier food choices when faced with cravings, etc, not run to a supplement to suppress these feelings.


3.  Promoting the use of weight loss supplements/products is promoting dependence on an artificial means of accomplishing a desired physical change and/or aesthetic outcome.


–>If you’re really interested in helping people affect true and lasting change, you’ll be giving them the tools they need to make healthier choices in the gym and the kitchen, so to speak.  You’ll be helping them learn what’s most appropriate and effective for THEIR unique body, disposition and lifestyle, not pushing a ‘fix-it’ product as a quick band-aid.


4.  These products only work for as long as a client/customer takes them.  I have yet to meet someone who plans on, or has committed to, taking a weight loss product for the rest of their lives.  


–>If you’re really interested in the welfare of your client/customer, you’ll be giving them the tools they need to get healthy and feel good for the long run, not just a supplement as a crutch.


Which leads me to….


5.  When the client/customer does inevitably stop using these weight loss supplements WHAT HAPPENS THEN???


Generally, disappointment and defeat unless they learned to eat effectively and realistically, to exercise in a way that is good for their body and harmonious with their lifestyle.  Generally, there is a rebound, as with any ‘diet’ or temporary nutrition fix, which is pretty much all that those supplements/products are–a TEMPORARY fix.


Sure, you’ll see ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures posted of client ‘success,’  but where are the ‘happily EVER AFTER’ pictures–the ones that are taken 5 years after no longer using those products??


In stark contrast, I’ve seen plenty of those pictures from people who take the time to make incremental, sustainable changes to their exercise and nutrition habits, who took the time and invested themselves in cultivating greater self-awareness and self-trust….I’m one of them.


Here’s the thing:  I know this all, inside out, from personal experience.

I’ve been that desperate person, wanting a quick fix, wanting a change, feeling trapped inside an ‘uncooperative’ body.


Between the ages of 20 and 30, I tried GNC diet pills (gave me reflux), Herbalife (expensive, and worked until I couldn’t pay for it anymore), Hydroxycut (kind of worked, but made me really agitated and downright mean), the Zone diet and bars, the Body for Life diet and workouts–epic flops and wasted efforts.


So many attempts at quick-fix shortcuts.  And NONE of them worked.  Not One.

Here’s the other thing:  Change doesn’t work when it’s pressed from the outside-in;  change works when it’s developed from the inside-out.

As a Certified Personal Trainer and a Health Coach, it’s my job, my mission, to foster self-reliance in those I work with.


It’s my job to promote and help cultivate greater self-awareness and self-trust, to empower my clients with the information and behavioral tools they need to make lasting changes.


It’s my job to help them–to the very best of my ability–learn and grow into more of their human potential so that they are better equipped to navigate the waters of their life in a sustainable, successful and satisfying way.


Yes, this process is slower than 21, 30 or 90 days.

BUT this process, the one of building yourself from the inside out, of developing trust in your own capabilities, of learning to regard your body as a gift and your ally for life, this process will STICK.


Adopt the pace of nature_ her secret is


Because by engaging in this process, you’ll learn to live in a way that works for YOU.  There won’t be relapses or rebounds, no yo-yo’s, no excessive pendulum swing in habits and outcomes.


You’ll stay the course because you’ll CHOOSE the course–your course.


Weight loss products don’t do that.  Weight loss products don’t teach you to trust your body.   Weight loss products don’t teach you to trust the process.  Weight loss products don’t teach you to trust your own feelings and judgment.  And this is why weight loss products ultimately fail.


THIS is why I LOATHE weight loss products.


*I’m in the business of teaching people to learn to trust their bodies, not fight them.

*I prioritize helping people cultivate self-trust:  to learn how to work in partnership with their bodies, to feel and understand the physical signals of hunger and fullness.

*I help people learn to adopt healthier eating practices, to empower them with nutrition knowledge and effective eating strategies.

*I help people understand their personal history with food, to forgive themselves for their pasts and build healthier futures.


**And I balance helping my clients learn to make better food choices without stress while helping them find greater body acceptance and peace with their bodies, as they are right nowwhile working towards where they want to be.


If you’re sick of the diet-rebound cycle, if you’re tired of searching for that ‘perfect’ meal plan, if you’re ready to give up on the ‘miracle supplement,’ and you’re ready to make peace with your body and learn a new approach to eating that will stick *for good,* then The Nourished Mind lifestyle coaching program is for you.  
**Opens to the public on January 26, but get on the wait list NOW to receive priority access and exclusive deals not available to the public**
—> http://bit.ly/TNMwaitlist


Oops, I did it AGAIN.


I felt so strong, and happy, and proud, and ready to take on new challenges after physical therapy.


During that session, I was able to fully appreciate how much progress I’ve made in the treatment of my lumbar/SI joint issues since I started treatment in December (2014).


I have progressed in difficulty in all of my exercises, I’ve developed an even greater level of body awareness and muscular control, and, best of all–I’ve been pain free for weeks.


My efforts are paying off, and that’s a source of great comfort, hope and pride for me.  I walked around like I was ten feet tall the rest of the day.




Until I reviewed the proofs from my most recent photo shoot and turned into my own worst critic.


Nevermind that those photos showed my strength, nevermind that I was my most relaxed and the happiest I’ve ever been when getting my picture taken, nevermind that there are some gorgeous shots in that collection.


The thing my tired mind zoned in on:  all the ways in which I wasn’t CUT or RIPPED or LEAN or….WORTHY.





I thought I was way past this kind of thinking, of getting my self-worth tied up in, and defined by, aesthetics.


I’ve spent the past two years in particular getting comfortable in my own skin, encouraging other women to adopt more positive body images–to love their bodies ‘as is.’


I’ve focused on practicing gratitude rather than criticism and comparison and I still fell into the trap of comparing myself, my body, to the images I see so often in social media.


Shoot, I even compared myself to my ‘old self,’ which I guess freaked me out even more.  WTF.


I went to bed, struggling with myself, trying to ‘right the ship.’  And when I woke up the next morning, I had a moment of clarity:



These are the only times I feel dissatisfied with my body:

  • When I look at fitness photos of other women and then compare them to my own (or compare my current self to my ‘old’ self)
  • When my body doesn’t feel strong, capable of performing at the level I’m accustomed (and this is usually due to a lapse in training–which is easy to get over, because I’m always actively planning my ‘comeback’)



The times I don’t like my body the most are the times I focus purely on the superficial and/or COMPARE myself to images of others or to my past body.  HOW FREAKING RIDICULOUS.  It was another reminder that “comparison is the thief of joy.”



What the most recent pictures can’t show is how much better I feel in my body now than I did in the past.  How much more capable an athlete, person, trainer and coach than I’ve ever been before.  How much more kind, compassionate, understanding and supportive I’ve grown–to myself and others.


Understanding what triggers my feelings of dissatisfaction and lack of worth, I turned to the other side of the equation:  when it is I feel most satisfied with my body.



These are the times I feel the most at peace with, and proud of, my body:

  • When I run
  • When I lift heavy things
  • When I can do difficult tasks safely (moving heavy boxes, tires, carrying my 65-pound dog up and down the stairs, etc.)



And those times are pretty much everyday occurrences.


Here’s what I know for certain:  Focusing on aesthetics (how you look) alone as a motivator and way to evaluate success (and worth) vs. failure (and lack of worth) is a surefire recipe for never, ever being satisfied.  It’s like constantly aiming at a moving target–FOREVER, because aesthetics are transient.


I refer to it as chasing the ‘Aesthetics Unicorn,’ because it’s about as possible to ‘catch’ and keep a physique permanently as it is to catch and keep a unicorn.



Our bodies are always changing, adapting, and AGING.  We just can’t look exactly the same as we did or exactly as we think we should all the time. It’s just not possible.  It’s also permanently dissatisfying.  What a way to live.



I might have gone there, to that joy-stealing-aesthetic-comparison-never-quite-good-enough place for an evening, but I sure as hell don’t want to live there.  And I sure as hell don’t want YOU to live there either.


Here’s how I pulled myself back from ‘the ledge’:

  • I identified my emotional trigger:  comparison, focusing only on the superficial physique, judging myself in a one-dimensional manner
  • I challenged the negative thoughts and examined their validity:  Does my leanness really reflect my true fitness, my message, my skills and abilities?  Is it a good measure of anything I stand for or hope to accomplish?  Am I serving others by engaging in this kind of thinking?
  • I redirected my thinking in a positive direction:  I considered all the things I’m proud of and feel good about.  None of them had to do with having or maintaining a super low body fat percentage.  All of the things I am proud of are performance-based:  pull ups, running, lifting progressively heavier weights, learning new and challenging movements and exercises as I age, setting a positive example for my kids, clients, community of what positive thinking and consistent hard work can accomplish.
  • I expressed my gratitude for a healthy and mobile body.  Not everyone gets or has one of those, I’m going to appreciate mine.


==>THIS is exactly why I started choosing to focus on performance-based goals rather than aesthetics-based goals about 2 years ago.

==>THIS is why I continue to focus on performance-based goals as my source of challenge, motivation and worth.

==>THIS is why I encourage my clients so strongly to focus on performance-based goals, too.

==>THIS is why I promote doing things like pull ups and push ups so much.


Turning the focus from the outside (appearances) to the inside (muscular strength and endurance) builds a healthier mindset, a more positive outlook, and a more satisfying life experience.


My new healthy thinking mantra, to combat any of those icky negative thoughts that will inevitably pop in from time to time:


“I work out to be more of myself, not less.”





When you have those moments when you feel ‘less than’ or allow yourself to go to that ugly place of comparison, try to:

  • identify what triggers that feeling,

  • stop the negative thought from running away with you,

  • redirect your thoughts into a positive direction–find something to praise,

  • practice gratitude for the body you have,

  • and work your mantra.


We all go ‘there’ sometimes, but we sure as hell don’t want to stay there.