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I am not big on new year resolutions per se. Don’t get me wrong—setting goals, creating a plan of action, and taking concrete steps toward achieving your goals is a good thing. And it is a tried and true system for successfully effecting change.

My problem with resolutions is that most people approach January 1st as a trigger that will magically empower them with unwavering motivation and self-discipline to quit smoking, go from couch potato to super human at warp speed, or arrive at some other lofty destination without laying down a solid foundation for change or for dealing with the challenges along the way.

Either way, you will need motivation and self-discipline, but without knowing where you are headed or having a plan to get there and an emergency preparedness plan for the bumps in the road, your motivation and self-discipline will soon drain out into the ethers and you will once again be back on the couch using your stomach as a TV tray table. I mean seriously, if you don’t think ahead to pack the spare tire, you will have a much bigger problem to solve when you get a flat. And eventually you will get a flat.

Then there's your feelings. Huh? Yep, your feelings. If you want to shrink your body size from a Mack Truck to a Mini Coop, your goal weight is arbitrary compared with how you believe this change in stature will make you feel—from self-conscious and self-loathing to proud, confident, and sexy?  Now that’s two totally opposite states of existence. Are you truly ready to be on the other side?

I ask because there’s a story behind your desire to change, to be different than you are now. It will help you immensely if you can identify that story and put it front and center so you know exactly what you are dealing with. And the story isn’t just about the end result; it’s about your beliefs around why you are in the position you are in and the reasons you are not where you want to be. Your feelings and beliefs are intricately woven in and around these stories. They prop you up, and they mask your fears and insecurities. They define who you are. And they manifest your physical reality.

Do you believe that Norm Peterson (Cheers barfly) would feel comfortable if he woke up one morning looking like James Bond? No, he would still be the same guy on the inside with the same thoughts and insecurities; he would not feel comfortable in his new skin. (I mean, how awkward would that be for Norm to be suave and debonair?!) Rather than embrace the new reality, he would likely sprint back to his cozy spot at the bar, his familiar comfort zone.

The point I am getting at is that making significant personal change is a process, one that requires planning, personal action, self-reflection, flexibility, and integration. It is personal. It is challenging. And, it is rewarding.

I hope you found the content of this post insightful. I will be providing strategies to help you every step of the way in your 2015 “self-improvement adventure” so keep your eyes peeled for future posts. Thank you for reading!

Here’s to you becoming the best you that you can be in 2015!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison



 
 
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<-- This is a boiled egg, avocado, nitrate-free bacon and sprout collard green wrap accompanied by fresh grapefruit and pomegranate seeds made fresh in my kitchen. I will be sharing this recipe and many more in the 2015 FIYB Healthy Lifestyle Initiative (HLI)!

If you are looking to make some sweeping changes for the new year, please join us for the FIYB HLI – FitInYourBody Healthy Lifestyle Initiative.

We will be methodically rolling out strategies for success related to healthy lifestyle behaviors that enhance health, wellness, and quality of life. I will be providing worksheets, menu plans, healthy recipes, exercise tips, how-to videos, and much more.

The community of participants will have a separate blog to communicate their questions, challenges, strategies, successes, and feedback so that we can all learn from one another.

It’s going to be a great year. I sincerely hope you will join us!!

SIGN UP HERE

If it’s free, why do you have to sign up?  Because, I am developing a support hub and a community of individuals who are sincerely interested in improving their health and assisting others in their development. Please know that member information will never be shared or sold without the member’s express permission.

How can I provide this for free? I am developing a self-empowering health promotion system that will eventually be packaged and sold. Essentially this is a beta test and the participants are self-selected volunteers. Also, it is my intention to provide such high-quality content that the participants will readily refer my services to others. This way it is a win-win situation for everyone.

Join us, won’t you?


 
 
Hello Everybody!

With Christmas only two days away, I thought a brief note would be more appropriate than an essay featuring a list of suggestions that no one is going to follow between now and the start of the new year anyway.

Seriously, I am just writing you today to say thank you.

I started this newsletter/blog a couple of months ago and I have been receiving a steady stream of positive feedback ever since. And I want you to know how much I appreciate it.

I am grateful to be able to share what I have learned over the years with people who are genuinely interested.

With that said, I have two requests for you:

     1.     Please be safe in all of your holiday travels and adventures. 
     2.     If you choose to overindulge in any less-than-ideal activities between now and the new year, (you know, like    
             eating the entire batch of Christmas fudge in one sitting, having a little too much fun at the New Year’s 
             party, or attempting to win the Couch Potato Olympics by a landslide) please forgive yourself afterwards and 
             move on.

I wish you, your family, your friends, and your loved ones eternal peace, love, joy, and happiness.

Gratefully yours,

Allison    
 
 
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Happy Holidays!

Can I just say, I am so excited for the New Year to arrive?!!

I have been gearing up for the 2015 FIYB Healthy Living Initiative. What is it? Well, I am going to walk you through the steps to becoming the healthiest you possible.

It’s not a “change everything at once” plan. There will be no harsh dieting, days of starvation, or any other radical changes, sacrifices, or torturous activities that cause major distress.

Rather than burden you with New Year’s resolutions that are likely to fail, I will be suggesting incremental lifestyle changes each week. And, I will be providing you with lots of resources to help you make these changes, including meal and exercise planners, recipes, exercise recommendations, and much more.

In fact, I will have a dedicated page on my website where you can find the information and refer to it as often as you wish. So if you get off track, you can simply return and start where you left off, simple as that!

And the best part: it’s FREE!!  That’s right, there will be no charge for you to access the page. The only thing I ask is that you register so I know who is participating and so that I can communicate directly with participants individually and as a group. That way, we can tackle the challenges you experience, answer the questions you have, and share your successes, suggestions, and feedback.

If we work together as a group, we can help each other overcome the obstacles we all encounter.  And, we all have them, including myself and other healthy lifestyle promoters (whether they admit it or not). Together, we can tackle the seemingly unachievable goal of ideal health and fitness. Let’s go!

If you are interested in participating, please sign up here

Oh, and here’s the recipe promised in the subject line of the email. Thank you to my friend Tami P. for this killer dip recipe!!!

Lemon Garlic Artichoke Spread

12 oz frozen artichoke hearts rinsed, drained, and thawed

2 -3 cloves of fresh chopped garlic

Juice of ½ of a lemon

2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian parsley

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Kosher or sea salt, and cracked black pepper to taste

Coat artichokes in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and roast at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  

In a food processor, place artichokes with chopped garlic and lemon.  Add olive oil as you go.  Place in bowl and stir in parsley reserving 1 teaspoon for garnish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish and enjoy!  

**Add 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan for a different taste/texture.

Enjoy!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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In a recent article, I addressed the importance of detoxing as a means for resetting your body’s healing capabilities. But what does that actually entail?

In simple terms, detoxing consists of reducing or eliminating your exposure to harmful substances and/or removing these substances from your body and your environment.

Detoxing helps prevent disease and it allows our organs (skin, liver, kidneys, etc) to function more efficiently and effectively. And it has many benefits, including:

·      Increased energy
·      Improved brain function
·      Weight loss
·      Disease prevention
·      Improvements in chronic health conditions
·      Increased vitality
·      Higher quality sleep

However, detoxing can get quite complicated. So, unless you are the type of person who thrives on diving in head first by tackling everything at once, I recommend taking it in incremental steps, incorporating different aspects into your lifestyle over time. To help you feel better faster, however, it will help to jumpstart yourself with a 2–4 week detox diet, followed by a less restrictive regimen that is closer to your current lifestyle and therefore easier to maintain over time.

One easy way to start detoxing is to look for things in your environment that have chemicals or heavy metals in them, such as deodorant, hair care products, soaps, detergents, laundry supplies, air fresheners, fragrances, scented candles, etc. As these products run out, replace them with chemical-free, natural products. These are readily available in health food stores and in the natural products section of the local grocery store. 

Making your own products is a great way to reduce your exposure and save a lot of money, but there is a time trade-off. In any case, I will share more information on this topic later, but if you are interested in making your own detergents, house cleaners, and such, please contact me!

Another first step in detoxing is to get in the habit of purchasing locally grown, organic produce. If that seems cost prohibitive, start on a small scale. Apples, celery, strawberries, and a few other fruits and vegetables tend to have more pesticides on them from conventional farming methods (for a list of the most important produce to purchase organic, Google “dirty dozen organic”).

The third and most important step is to eliminate processed foods from your diet. That’s right—sugar, breads, pastas, pizzas, chips, etc. The further it is from the food chain, the worse it is for you. (Did you know cellulose is used in many processed foods? It is wood pulp, and our bodies are not designed to process wood products). If stopping altogether is daunting, put rules around it. For instance, if you currently eat pizza once per week, have it once every other week instead, then reduce it to once per month, and so on. And I shouldn’t have to say it, but it is important to stop eating fast food and drinking sodas altogether.

Fourth, filter the water you eat, drink, and shower with. There are lots of undesirable particulates in municipal water and in many bottled waters. Any level of filtering is better than none. I highly recommend reverse osmosis water for cooking and drinking.  See also my recent article about water and water filtration.

Like many things, there is no one-size-fits-all program. But by starting with the four key steps listed above, you will be well on the way to living a lifestyle that supports the healthiest and most vibrant you that you can be!

Don’t forget, we are starting a Healthy Lifestyle Initiative in January. If you are interested in participating, please sign up here. This does not commit you to anything, it just gets you on the list of interested people that we will send more detailed information to in the near future.

Once again, thank you for reading this post!

Yours in health and wellness,

Allison

 
 
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As a personal trainer, I have worked with people across the spectrum, from deconditioned individuals to competitive athletes, youth to seniors, as well as individuals in special-needs populations.

Technically speaking, the formula for exercise prescription is the same for all populations except that modifications should be made based on individual circumstances.  Obviously, a competitive couch potato is not capable of doing the same workout as a competitive athlete. That said, there are some general rules of thumb that apply across the board.

Safety first
  • If you are over 40 or if you have any health issues, get a physical before starting a new exercise program. 
  • If you have a metabolic or blood sugar condition, check your sugar levels before, during, and after exercise – and, keep a record so you know your triggers for blood sugar changes so that you can deal with them safely and in a timely manner.
  • Start where you are – choose a routine that is appropriate for your fitness level (don’t run a marathon if couch potato is your normal pace, start with a 5K instead!).


Be aware of your body at all times

  • Learn the proper form for all of your exercises and check it relentlessly (you know, that is the reason gym walls are covered with mirrors).
  • There is good pain (from muscle exhaustion) and there is bad pain (from inflammation of joints, tendons, previous injuries, back problems, etc), notice any discomfort during exercise – if the pain is from muscle exhaustion, that’s fine. If your discomfort is from anything else, you need to change something (your form, the entire exercise, your pace, etc).

Know that the real challenge is mental rather than physical

  • Getting into the routine of exercising (or any new habit) is difficult. The biggest challenge, however, is not the activity itself but the mental chatter around it - pay attention to your thoughts! You can change them if you are aware of them. And, if you can change your thought patterns, you can change anything!!

Trust your intuition

  • If your gut is telling you that something you are doing isn’t safe or something is off, do something else or ask for help from someone you trust. Or, call me!

Change things up

  • Don’t do the same thing day after day, your body will not progress past the initial benefits of your routine.
  • Boredom kills motivation - try different styles of exercise like cycling, yoga, zumba, boot camps, weight lifting, hiking, running, etc… when you find an exercise style that fits your sensibilities you will be much more likely to stick with it over time!
  • Muscle confusion is a good thing. Changing up your exercise program regularly will help your body improve at a faster pace.

Proper nutrition will help you achieve the results you want

  • If you eat healthy, you will feel better, have more energy, and look better.
  • Your body will also have the building blocks it needs to convert energy into movement and to change the structure of your heart, lungs, bones, connective tissues, and muscles.
  • If you sustain any injuries, you will heal faster.
  • If you want to know what a day of healthy eating looks like, read last week’s post here

Don’t forget, we are amping up for a healthy lifestyle initiative for the new year. I will be providing nutrition and fitness guidance for any/all who wish to join. This will include tips for meal planning, healthy recipes, and exercise planning and incentives. We will also discuss as a group the challenges we encounter and present strategies for overcoming these challenges. If you are interested in participating, click here.

Thanks for reading this post. Catch you next week.

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison