Greetings and Welcome!!!

First of all, Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!!  2015 promises to be a great year, and I am very excited to be kicking off this initiative with you.  But, before we get started, I would like to give you a little background on how this initiative came about.  (This is going to be a little long so please bear with me – I promise to keep future communications shorter – but this is important stuff!)
**if you don’t care to read the background, just read the last 2-3 paragraphs and the post script of this letter**
 
I have worked in the healthcare and/or fitness industry for 25 years, and I have been an active health enthusiast since a very young age. I began my professional career in the industry as a Senior Healthcare Management Consultant with Ernst & Young in 1990, then I became a Health Data Analyst and Client Reporting Manager for a subsidiary of Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield. Between these two jobs, I learned the ins and outs of the healthcare industry from the provider’s perspective (doctors and hospitals), from the insurer’s perspective, and from the employer’s perspective.
 
While I loved the work I was doing, the corporate environment was not an ideal fit for me. I decided at 32 years of age to change my career so I left my job and went back to school. To subsidize my income, I became a certified personal trainer in 1996. I have been training people ever since, and I started FitInYourBody® Personal Fitness Services in 2006.
 
As a health enthusiast, one thing I found curious over the years was the trend toward obesity and chronic disease and the seemingly impossible challenge of losing weight. It stumped me for many years because it was so easy in the 80’s. Clean up your eating habits, move your body, and voila, you easily reeled in those extra pounds. Really, it was that simple.
 
At first, I attributed the ease of weight loss and vitality to youth. But over the years, the challenge of staying healthy and trim, or obtaining that goal, has grown exponentially more difficult. Employing the same weight loss techniques not only didn’t work, but they seemed to have the opposite effect.
 
So here we are at January 2015. There is an alarming rate of obesity and chronic disease in adults, and childhood obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases are on the rise, autism is on the rise, and the average age of puberty in children is going down (in 1860 average age of onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years, today it is 8-12 years), and there is a direct link between Body Mass Index (BMI) and puberty1.
 
Being an analyst, I am a trend watcher and I fully understand that there are underlying causes for all trends. These trends deeply disturbed me so I became obsessed with figuring out what the hell is going on. And intuitively, I knew that being healthy should be a natural occurrence, not some unachievable desire moving ever further out of reach.
 
What I found in my research scared the daylights out of me. It was very difficult for me to accept the truth at first, but the evidence is so clear I could no longer deny it. And having accepted it, I was able to shift the focus of my research from what went wrong to what can I do about it.
 
So, what did go wrong, why are we in this mess to begin with?  I will spare you the gory details but in a nutshell, for-profit industries place profits first. Healthcare and big agriculture are for-profit industries. Unfortunately, that means that our health and the quality and integrity of our food takes a back seat to money. And, if you dig deep enough you will find industry executives in these and related industries (chemical and oil particularly) embedded in the executive positions of the agencies that oversee and regulate these industries, supposedly in the name of consumer protection.
 
I am not on a conspiracy rampage here, I am just telling you the truth. If you are interested in specific details, I will be happy to provide them. But all you really need to know is that the system is broken. Mass produced food is now engineered like cigarettes to be addictive, it’s laden with substances that are toxic, and official recommendations, policies, and legislation that arise from the overseeing agencies and government officials are not necessarily in your best interest, and frequently they are counter to your health and well-being. These are simply “business decisions” playing out on a grand scale. And the effects over time are cumulative, and frankly they are dangerous; hence you see the trends in obesity, chronic disease, and puberty.
 
How do we get out of this mess? Take your health and well-being into your own hands, period. Vote with your dollars. If you refuse to buy food with no nutritional value, produce that are laden with pesticides or that have been genetically modified, or animal products that have hormones and antibiotics in them, the industries will change their model accordingly, and/or a new healthier, consumer-friendly model will become the norm.
 
Will you have to pay more for food? Yes. Will you have to give up some consumption habits that you enjoy? Probably. Will you look and feel better? YES!  And, I promise you from my own experience, if you make the right changes, weight management will no longer be a struggle, your health will improve, you will look and feel better and have more energy, you will not miss the junk in your current diet, and you will realize that the money and time you spend is a proactive investment in your health and well-being. Think of it as a health savings account that accrues with interest.
 
The purpose of the FIYB HLI is to get the word out on how to take control of your health and well-being. I want to empower you to make the changes that will maximize you health, well-being, and happiness. I will be sharing a lot of information, tools, and techniques that I have found to be helpful in my personal self-improvement journey.
 
Early next week I will send you instructions on how to get started, provide you with some initial tools and helpful links. In the meantime, be sure to read this week’s blog post: http://eepurl.com/baqtl5. And, please start gearing up mentally for the challenges ahead. Everyone is on their own journey. Some challenges will be mutually shared and others will be specific to each person. Some challenges will be easy to tackle, others seemingly insurmountable. Just know it is doable! And, we will have each other for support – there will be a blog forum for sharing, questioning, ranting, or whatever you feel the need to express as you track along the journey.
 
Thank you for coming along for the ride, I look forward to working with each of you over the upcoming months. And PLEASE SHARE this with anyone you think might benefit from the contents. All I ask is that you not give them the tools and resources you receive, rather I ask you to have them register so that they are part of the community.   The registration page is http://www.fitinyourbody.com/new-year.html.  You may, however, forward them today’s newsletter.
 
Here’s to 2015 being the best year ever!
 
To you, your health, happiness, and well-being,
 
 
[for a prettier version of this post click here]

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



 
 
Picture
<-- 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?


 
 
[for a prettier version of this post click here]

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