Welcome to the Age of Living Smart

One year ago today, the readers of Bodysmart News and I began a conversation about how our lifestyles can become smarter.

One year into this new beginning, the signs of a smarter health conscious group of people in our local communities are evident. Smarter thinking is creating a more sophisticated mindset of what it means to be truly healthy.

People Are Questioning
Eating healthy, exercising consistently, and living life in the present moment, is beginning to take off in our local communities. People are questioning the effectiveness of quick fix dieting practices, outdated modes of exercise adherence, and wavering self help practices aimed at seeing life as joyful and satisfying.

Awareness, it seems, is all around us. “I’m tired of eating these so called healthy meals found in supermarkets and restaurants. They are overly processed and loaded with sodium”, says one client in St. Augustine whose trying to live a healthier cleaner life. “And exercise”, one Serenata Beach Club member remarks, “is getting to be too much of the same old thing.” “Stepping out of the box of the same old routine is a good sign that people are aware”, one fit looking member comments, “that there is a need to progress physically and mentally in different directions.”

A Local Physician Notes
And, a physician here in town, reminds me that, “the need is there to work from the inside out with people by inspiring a more enjoyable process for living healthier. Health coaches are miles ahead of the game.” And, he states, ”those coaches that are armed with a background in kinesiology, physical therapy or personal training, are going to be the leaders in the next decade when it comes to infusing a sensibility into people that is effective in treating lifestyle induced diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, and premature heart disease.”

Two years into this conversation with Bodysmart readers, this new found perspective on health continues to take shape. Readers have progressed from asking, “What is the quickest way to lose weight?” to “What exercises should I be doing to be healthy?” “Is cardiovascular exercise better than weight training, and should I be doing both?” “I am exhausted after work, is it a good idea to exercise when I am so tired, as I have high blood pressure?” Questions such as these are inspiring to hear as they indicate a smart trend in thinking. A trend that recognizes that life is about feeling good about ourselves, our health, and what we can obtain that brings us a satisfying life.

Being Lean Makes Us Feel Good
However, as a trainer, I don’t want people to feel I am downplaying one’s desires to lose weight and look better. We all want this. Being lean makes us more feel alive, more in tune with life, more vibrant, and more satisfied with our physical appearances.

The reason I am so excited about this new trend in thinking is that positive psychology tells us that when it comes to weight loss, focusing on weight is futile, but focusing on behavior change is central to shedding weight for a lifetime. “With an emphasis on the power of mindfulness and positive lifestyle strategy planning we can actually begin to see people change their lives. In most cases body composition changes and people lose weight, feel better and become more satisfied with the way they are focusing their energies,” says health coach Sandy Moore of Boulder Colorado. “Health, Moore says,” is viewed more as changing behaviors vs changing body fat content.”

Changing Behaviors is Essential
In my 10 years as a personal trainer and health coach, I can attest to the fact that those that lose the most weight and keep it off, are the ones that have learned to change behaviors. In my practice people are aware of behaviors they do not want to change and they let me know. This is an important point, because we can’t change what we don’t want to change. And that’s OK. The important aspect is to get started on behaviors you feel ready to change. One should have no feelings of guilt. This is the old way of thinking. Just change what you want to change now, and keep it simple. You will progress. You will feel better. You will see results. There’s no hurry, but you must go into these changes with a positive spirit by making them manageable and meaningful.

Without a doubt this new focus on behavior strategies accomplishes the ultimate goal, which for most is losing weight. But many people still are not aware of how health coaches assist their clients. Everyone knows what a personal trainer does, but not everyone knows what a health coach does.

What is Health Coaching?
Health coaching can be described as a newly emerging profession that focuses on developing a partnership with individuals who are interested in improving their health status in order to enjoy a more vital and vigorous lifestyle. It has its roots in the findings of behavior scientists who have shown that one-to-one coaching is among the most effective approaches to helping people make and sustain improvements in their lives. A coach enables change by focusing on the client’s stated needs, values, vision, and personal goals in order to bring about his or her physical and mental best.

Weekly strategy planning with the client in a conversational setting is a large part of what a health coach does. At first glance, it often appears that “little work” is taking place. After all, most of us are conditioned to what we see on TV, for example, with the Biggest Loser television show, and how they have their clients exercise physically hard. It seems we are conditioned to think that the more physical exercise we do the, the more weight we will lose. This is rarely the case, and people are beginning to understand this fact. Don’t misunderstand me though, as health coaching involves quite a bit of strategy planning in exercise adherence. But for those that are most successful, balancing exercise with healthy eating changes is an absolute must in any successful weight loss plan.

Weight Loss is Best Accomplished in Collaboration With Others
For me personally, most of my clientele have a weight loss goal. “OK,” I’ll say, “you want to lose weight? Let’s set a three month weight loss goal. Now, forget about it!” Many look at me with questioning amazement. But only briefly. To tell you the truth, many are relieved. And that is exactly how I want them to feel. Think of all the times you were caught up in negativism while trying to diet. Wasn’t it a constant struggle of feeling good about yourself then bad about yourself? Now ask yourself if this is really the way you want to diet. Like so many things, learning new skills is best addressed with a positive spirit and with a collaborative partner that has an interest in you. Most successful businesses are those whose top people are coached and partnered in a collaborative effort to breed success. This idea, I am happy to report, is taking hold in savvy weight loss communities across the nation. And we fortunately, here in the Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine areas, are a part of that community.

Let’s continue to build a smarter community. Together we can realize a more abundant life. One that is free of obesity, lifestyle induced diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and all diseases that can be attributed to our lifestyles. Besides, looking good, feeling good and performing great is central to our continued good health!

Keeping With The Times

Several ago, I had a friend who relentlessly pumped me for information on diet and exercise. She wanted to lose weight very badly. She would constantly ask, “Please just tell me what to eat and drink and I will do it. Tell me what exercises to do and I will do them.” She was obviously desperate. I knew she had been on every diet plan out there and that she did lose weight on each plan. I also knew she always gained it back. I knew I could get her to lose weight, but I also knew that if we did it the way she wanted me to do it, by telling her what to eat without understanding the why’s of what to eat for weight loss and optimal health, she would gain it back. Her pleas were not pretty. Desperation never is.

Years later, I saw her at an event in town. She looked great. I mentally recalled how she had siphoned information from me. I decided to use her old technique to learn of her success. I asked her what she is doing specifically to look so good. I asked her what specific exercises she did and how many sets and reps of each. I asked her how much time she was spending exercising every day and how often and at what time of day. I asked her to be specific about what she is eating and how much she is drinking as well at what time of day she is doing her eating and drinking. In short, I was reminding her of when her highly focused attention to often senseless detail camouflaged the big picture.

I was happy for her but I wanted to magnify the point made years earlier that there is not one specific plan that is going to work for all people. Yes, many diet plans do work. Many are sensible. What tends to happen however is that once the structure of being told what to eat, without having your brain involved in the process, is weight gain. She confided to me that our conversations had made a difference in her life and that one day while alone in the confines of her own thoughts, it finally ‘hit her like a rock in the head’, her words not mine. Once she realized she had to get real, use her brain, and stop looking for the magic bullet of a special food or particular exercise, things began to take shape in her own mind.

You see, what this friend had done was combine many of the principals of the time instead of just one or two gimmicks. She instituted daily exercise adherence, portion control for all meals, protein at each meal, more water, less sugar, less alcohol and a few other time tested principals for weight loss at that time.

That was several years ago. Several years ago, science was not as advanced on best practices for losing weight as it is today. Fortunately, she lost the weight – but it took a long time because much of the then current information called for difficult behavior changes such as reducing portion sizes, and eliminating much. Today we know better. Losing weight is less about portion control and more about what we eat.

Congratulations to my friend for hanging in there and smartly combining all the principals of the time to lose the added weight and most importantly keep the weight off. She was one of the savvy ones who used the difficult to implement behavioral practices of the time to lose weight.

Luckily, today science has advanced considerably in what we know about the body and how it utilizes fat best. Fortunately for me, I have many more ways in which to help clients become healthy fit and lean. Thankfully we no longer have to embrace only difficult behavior changes like my friend did, that is, the hard way – a rock smack right to the head – knocking sense into her and giving her a will of iron. Weight loss advances now offer more than simple practices of exercise and eating behavioral adherence. Science has told us much over the last few years. And that’s good news for those aiming to lose weight quicker.

In my next post, we’ll take a look at some of the advances in science and see how you can quickly and easily implement those changes into your own weight reducing routine. One final thought. Weight loss is not about denial of foods, but in finding the foods you may eat in abundance! I like to call this “Eating Like You Mean It!”

Stay connected as I review common practices that keep people from losing weight. And guess what, they are not what you may think!

Getting Fit and Keeping Fit the Smart, Savvy, New Generation’s Way

Do you ever wonder why you are successful at managing your career, your kids, your budget, and your often crazy social calendar, but for some mad reason, you can’t manage your weight? You’ve got what it takes – you just need a little coaching.

“Do not look for expensive cures, new age fads.
Examine your thinking.”

~ © Alison Stormwolf ~

This Advice from poet Alison Stormwolf, is projected on a screen before each health seminar I host. This candid saying serves as a reminder that healthy living is about controlling our minds. On first appearances, it seems out of place in a healthy living seminar. However, as the weeks progress, members within the group are not only more aware of the mindset needed for healthy change, but are more capable of producing the actions needed to live a more healthful, energetic, and carefree life.

With no mention of weight loss as an outcome of the group health coaching seminar, you may be thinking, “So…. tell me ….how much weight do the members lose?” Good question, since losing weight is on many people’s minds as we enjoy mid summer activities. Let’s revisit this question of weight loss for a moment though, as some perspective needs to be shed in order to get up to speed on why focusing on health living perspectives vs. dieting information results in not merely a leaner, lighter, stronger and more beautiful body, but is a more effective and savvier approach than the old school mentality of “munching on celery while secretly craving corn bread.”

A little healthy living perspective on information overload
“I Can’t Think!” is the title of a recent health article by Sharon Begley in Newsweek magazine. Decision Science has only recently begun to make sense of research on how the brain processes information, but scientific evidence is suggesting we are living in an age of info-paralysis that is very difficult to prevent. Scientists repeatedly show that increased information leads to objectively poorer choices, and often times down – right bad decisions. In our health information overload society where we’re inundated with “do this – don’t do that, eat this – not that” kind of logic, it seems we are doomed for failure when it comes to healthy living and weight loss attempts.

What is a person to do? Psychologist Joanne Cantor author of the book Conquer Cyber Overload and Professor emeritis at the University of Wisconsin, says, “it is so much easier to look for more and more information than sit back and think about how it fits together.” When it comes to dieting, you’ve probably surmised, this is what’s happening to many of us who read countless articles online, in our e-mails, in e-books, paper books, not to mention( sigh) all the dvd’s, cd’s and I pod downloads we listen to in the hopes, by osmosis, we’ll lose weight, get fit, and live happily ever after. If our busy lives could be that easy!

Growing body of evidence
There is a growing body of evidence concluding that a more reasoned, mindful behavior style approach is not only more effective to weight loss, but most effective in keeping weight off for good. Increasingly, many coaches today trained in the area of positive living and healthy weight loss are turning their clients on to a behavior style approach for lasting change.

Coach Kellie hall of Atlanta, Georgia explains to her clients how behavior change is most difficult initially, but that the results can be life altering . “Change is most difficult in the beginning, in large part due because our habits are ingrained in the neural pathways in our brain. By repeating a new behavior over and over, and in small increments, such as eating fruit for dessert instead of pie, we are forging new pathways in the way we think and act.” Thanks to neuroplasticity which is the ability of our brain to change in response to new experiences, we have the capacity to change our habits, creating new neuropathways, and experiencing life in a whole new, more engaging, more meaningful, and more effective manner.” This new behavior which was once monumental, she explains, “becomes automatic when a behavior style approach is fostered.”

In my field of health coaching, potential clients are coming in restless. They know they need to lose weight, but they also realize changing behaviors is no longer an option. This is a good thing however, as it signifies a needed mind-shift that is necessary for real and lasting change to occur. In the past I would have to convince people of the merits of losing weight through behavior change, but now they are increasingly coming in with a driven sense of purpose for a smart plan that compliments their lives but yet is inspired by their own talents, strengths, motivations, and desires. I like to kid my clients and say what I do is make them smart. In reality, they are the smarty pants. I just nudge them along until they see how to make sense of applying the most personally meaningful health information smartly, just as they do with their own careers, families, and social affairs.

Stop the Busy work
In your desire to lose weight you may have found it easier to keep reading the vast amount of information, than to process what appears to be most important. If this is you, here’s where to begin. Make no bones about it, smart savvy readers know traditional dieting is not the answer to losing weight. We are looking for solutions to lose weight, feel better, and look better, and know that ultimately changing behaviors is a definite must do. Here’s how to begin. Read the following.

Note the mind-shift needed and start putting healthy living into action today!

Step One: Use movement to inspire you

Mind-shift needed
Movement has the capacity to inspire a vision of how we want to live and feel.
Move more daily. Tell someone. Start today. Worry about the details later.

On the opening day of my healthy living seminars, I encourage clients to begin their daily routines with exercise. The act of moving our bodies makes us feel better about ourselves, has the capacity to inspire a vision of how we want to live. And it makes us feel better about our lives in general. Movement sparks in us a desire to do better at whatever we do!

One client of mine illustrates this ability of exercise to enhance her life when she tells the group, “I went for a walk yesterday and without even trying I ate less at dinner.” This is the power of what exercise can do. “It makes me feel more alive”, says another member, “It makes me realize there are other things to do besides eating.” Don’t get me wrong”, she continues, “I still enjoy eating, and I know it’s ok to like to eat, but I am beginning to feel more satisfied and in control of how much I really need to eat. Eating is more enjoyable when you know you did a little work for it.”

As a health coach I encourage people to expand on these thoughts. Talking cements these connections in place so we’re more apt to continue healthful ways. We don’t get all emotional. We simply tell it like it is and carry on. This, to me, is the beauty of how others who are in similar situations can propel themselves forward. Exercise, combined with articulating connections undoubtedly helps us to see more clearly the possibilities of how we can, and will lose weight. Tell a friend. Tell a spouse. Your life is important. But just go out and exercise! We’ll work on the details later.

Step Two: Seek Progress Not Perfection

Mind-shift needed

Seek progress not perfection. Do not use perfectionism to quit trying.

Action needed
Take baby steps. Start small with exercise and healthy eating changes.

Coach Kate Larsen said it best in her book, Progress Not Perfection: Your Journey Matters, when she illustrates the importance of progress as a means of measurement instead of perfectionism Too often it seems we get caught up in this all or nothing attitude. You’ve heard it before, “I’m going to lose weight; I do nothing half way and this includes weight loss!” These people typically fail, and often are the ones that use this approach as an excuse to stop trying to lose weight and get healthy. “I’m a capable person. If I’m going to do this it will be with gusto – exercising 2 hours a day and eating nothing but clean food. That’s just the way I am!” It may sound heroic, but the truth is, ironically these actions reflect the opposite. They have used perfectionism as an excuse to stop trying.

Don’t let this be you. Weight loss is not about being perfect. The true heroes persevere, and do not use this mindset as an excuse to give up. A persevering mind is a strength. Let this be you.

Step Three: Focus on what really matters in weight loss

Mind-shift needed
Savvy people don’t get caught up in all the hype of dieting tactics. They get down to business and get the job done.

Action needed
Stop reading expert advice tips. Get real. Eat less of whatever you eat and get started now.
“Should I eat only protein and vegetables at dinner time? Should I eat fruit with every meal or just in the morning?” Here’s my best advice to you if you feel inundated with do- this not- that kind of information – stop reading. It’s paralyzing you into inaction. Here’s what you need to know. You will lose weight if you eat three quarters to half of what you normally eat during most meals of the day. That’s it. “Really”, says one client, “I am so tired of all the information out there.” When asked to describe what he feels is holding her back from losing weight, she pauses and says, “I just eat too much. But then sometimes I hardly eat, and then I eat again too much.” I can’t tell you how often I hear this in training and coaching clients. It’s ok though. Awareness is the first stage of weight loss.

We all know what to do. We’ve just allowed ourselves to get consumed with tidbit dieting techniques because that is how advertising affects us. However, advertising cannot get all the blame. Too often we use dieting techniques as a diversion to keep from doing the real work of eating less.

Make it your job to focus on decreased food consumption regardless of what you typically eat. As with exercise, we can work on the details later. It’s not necessary to change everything all at once. Eating less works! And it works with whatever foods you are familiar with eating. You will see beautiful results. You will feel beautiful results. Think about this. Really! We are silly. “We must start thinking rationally again!” By the way these are not my words, but the words of one group member that lost 17 pounds in 11 weeks.

Step Three: Weigh yourself to keep awareness

Mind-shift needed
Don’t be afraddy cat of the scale. It’s a valuable tool that keeps you aware. Recognize the power of accountability.

Action needed
Weigh yourself daily; naked if you must. Record to further cement your conviction.

Awareness is Key Factor to Weight Loss
Weigh yourself. It’s ok. A daily “weigh in” compels us to be aware. You will hear different opinions on this, but those who weigh themselves daily hold themselves accountable increasing their resolve. Weighing ourselves helps because it compels us to be aware. If you don’t think this is true, then consider if you ever purposely did not weigh yourself after a day or two of eating too much. You did this because you did not want to deal with reality. Getting on the scale daily is a tough discipline to establish, not physically of course, but mentally.

We love to be weighed when we know we’ve lost weight, but the challenge is to weigh ourselves after a full day of eating too many calories. This is where most people stop.

Go ahead, get on the scale. Let reality set in and get going again. Keep in mind that it is all about progress not perfection. You will lose the weight you need to lose to feel better and look better if you keep this mindset and commit to simply continuing on. “Think of it this way”, says one client who lost 42 lbs, “It’s not like you are starting all over again when you get on the scale and your weight is up, you are just continuing with trying to reach your goals and life goes on. If I got upset about a weight increase every time it happened, I’d never lose weight. I have to keep on moving. It’s the only way. And the sooner you realize it, the better. “

It is insight such as this that has helped me as a health coach and trainer realize that weight loss is best done in the context of joyful living. And this is the 5th mindful connection that if acquired can help you not only lose weight and keep it off, but will elevate your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

Step Three: Live joyfully while losing weight

Mind-shift needed
We change best in the context of positive living.

Action needed
Exude confidence and good cheer as you go about your weight loss journey.
Live joyfully while losing weight. Sounds a little hokey I admit, but this field of health coaching changes not just those who I assist, but it has changed me as well. Years ago, I never fully realized the impact positive living and attitude had on our ability to change. Like everyone else, I did not discount its significance, but I never gave the idea that we change best in the context of positive living the status that it deserved.

Since the time I began coaching, I’ve learned much about what positive living really means, and especially what it means in changing some of my own behaviors. What prompted me to include positive living into my own seminars is that I was seeing a pattern of how people dealt with weight loss.

Many people literally tried to make their life miserable while striving to obtain a desired weight. One 40ish male said he was going to work out 3 hours a day until he lost 20 lbs. I thought to myself at the time that reality TV was making his life miserable.

Another woman said she was not going to go out with friends until she was thin. Another client admitted that in years past she would punish herself while dieting by not letting herself go on vacation until she weighed a certain amount. Maybe these extremes are not indicative of how you lose weight, but what I know is that we have to stop the insanity of punishment as a means to better ourselves.

During times of behavior change we need to be driving ourselves in the opposite direction. We need to ask ourselves how to establish an environment that is conducive for healthy change.

Scientists know rewards are central to continued behavior change. We should be rewarding ourselves after a day, week, or month of behavior changes. Our brain functions best with a reward system and scientists have unlocked the secret that cements the newly learned brain connections so necessary for lifelong change. I tell my clients, “Go ahead. Make your environment beautiful. Reward yourself for doing a fine job. Go to the movies. Go out and enjoy your vacation. Have a party for friends and enjoy it all. What really is the point of losing weight if we are not experiencing life as it is now?”

In essence, whether our goal is to lose a few pounds or many, waiting to be happy and content with all things in our life before we begin a plan of healthy living should not be a prioroty. Go ahead and begin today. Follow these five mind-shifts, and get moving with a more enlightened, smart, and savvy weight loss approach illustrative of today’s new generation of smart weight loss losers!

Our Wealth is in Our Health,
904 501 6002

Work and Play the Old World Way And A Stretching Plan For Your Home and Garden Projects.

Two years, nine months, and some odd days ago, I described to a friend the perfect day. I would live as the old country Italians lived. There would be no rigorously set schedules to follow. The day’s work, play, family attentions, social gatherings, and personal responsibilities would flow freely, and naturally together.

As a young adult, many of us had few major responsibilities. There were no pressing concerns other than to play, learn and do a few household choirs. The challenge for me as I described to my friend, would be to revert back to those carefree young adult days while maintaining a full time career and family responsibilities.

Today, almost three years following that conversation, the minutes and hours which define specific responsibilities are nicely blurred, and the mindset needed to live carefree continues to be ingrained. I can go about my daily life, living and breathing what I love to do while balancing out responsibilities of daily living on my own schedule.

Coming from descendants in Italy, I may have an advantage in developing this old world vision of what my life could look like, but the greater advantage I see as a health coach is the realization that healthy living involves more than just working out and eating right. Healthy living involves such simple acts as opening our homes and inviting friends and family that inspire a sense of carefree purpose and joy in our lives.

This time of year it seems is a great time to reflect on how we may beautify our homes and gardens not only for enhancing our own enjoyment and healthy living I.Q. but for our families and friend’s as well.

With the arduous workloads you will be doing to carry out your home and garden plans, I’ve devised a list of 10 stretches that you may do after the day’s work is complete. Stretching is most effective in preventing increased stiffness if it is done right after physical activity. For best results implement them twice daily until soreness/stiffness subsides.

1. Supine Back Flexion – on back bring knees to chest and wrap arms around knees.

2. Supine Back Extension
– on back with knees bent, raise hips and buttocks 10 times holding for 5 seconds at the top of the extension.

3. Supine Torso Twist- on back with knees bent allow knees to fall to side of body while arms are outstretched to sides of body with palms down.

4. Supine Hamstring Stretch
– on back with one knee bent and one leg straight gently pull the extended leg toward you while maintaining a straight leg. Keep head on floor.

5. Standing Torso Extension
– with feet shoulder, knees slightly bent, and one hand on hip, extend opposite arm over head and lean to opposite direction keeping head up.

6. Standing Quadriceps Extension
– standing extend one leg behind you and gently pull ankle toward buttocks. Keep alignment tall receiving stretch in front of thigh.

7. Standing Calf Stretch – lean into wall with one leg extended and one bent. Keeping back leg heel in contact with floor, lean into wall receiving stretch in lower calf area.

8. Standing Arm Rotations – standing with knees slightly bent, rotate both arms forward 10 times the backward 10 times in large circles.

9. Standing Chest Stretch – standing with knees bent; bring both hands behind lower back while squeezing back muscles with shoulders relaxed.

10. Standing Trapezius Stretch – standing with knees bent, allow right ear to drop to right shoulder. Reverse.

Hold all stretches for 2 sets of 30 seconds except for numbers 2 and 8.

Our Wealth is in Our Health,

Bring Your Fitness Attitude to a Whole New Level with Coco Chanel

Do you ever wonder why you have a great attitude about your career, family, and often-crazy social calendar, but there is a little attitude adjustment needed when it comes to scheduling your daily workouts in? Here’s a secret. You’ve got what it takes – you just need a little fashion-fitness attitude to get you going.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
– Coco Chanel

If we can’t take advice from Coco then from whom can we take advice from? Not particularly known for a timid voice, I’m sure if Chanel were alive today, she’d have a few choice words to say about attitude alterations when it comes to adhering to fitness regimens.

I had a little fun with this so you could see how designer Coco Chanel’s successful attitude can inspire all of us to build a fitter, leaner, and more beautiful body today. Take a look and see how you can develop what the French call l’attitude.

Fitness Challenge One: Out of town guests arrive for the weekend and you were just getting ready to take a long run.

L’AttitudeShe Communicated Success: For Chanel, beauty was not just about looking good. It was about presenting oneself in a way that garnered respect from the outside world and allowed one to move forward with one’s own goals. By taking care of your appearance, Chanel believed, you would be able to present yourself as a powerful and successful person, even if you were not there quite yet.

Tell yourself this:My guests will be fine. They can help themselves to cappuccino and croissants – draw a bath – and relax in my beautiful abode. I’ll arrive later invigorated and ready to have a beautiful weekend.

Fitness Challenge Two:
You set out to train for an upcoming tri-athlon, but you are having second thoughts. You’ve always wanted to do one, but are thinking it may be a little too challenging this year.

L’AttitudeShe Was Resilient: “Elegance is refusal,” Chanel said,“ refusal to give up.” Chanel never lost faith in herself. Despite having to overcome her age and her ruined reputation, she was able to make a comeback in the industry at the age of 71. She reinvented her designs and gave them a fresh spin, which helped make her company a leader once again.

Tell yourself this:
Be elegant. Mind, body, and spirit are strengthened by challenges.

Fitness Challenge Three: You are at the end of a long day and you are tempted to scrap the workout session with your trainer.

L’AttitudeShe Was Inspired: Chanel once attended a masquerade ball dressed as a figure from a Watteau painting. The compliments she received for her outfit prompted her to turn it into a woman’s suit. Everything from paintings, to men’s clothing, to architectural shapes, to simple flowers served as inspiration for Chanel and wound up in some form or another in her creations. By looking to the ordinary in order to get ideas, Chanel was able to create the extraordinary.

Tell yourself this: I’m in need of a mind-shift. I have the mental flexibility to get inspired by my surroundings even when they seem ordinary. I can do this, and make my life extraordinary.

Fitness Challenge Four: You’ve been traveling all weekends and finding time for fitness has been rough. You know if you wear comfortable shoes while traveling you could sneak in some walking time, a few squats, and maybe a few wall pushups while at the airport, but you think to yourself, “Style is so important- high heels are an absolute must.”

L’Attitude She Was Different: From her style, to her personality, to her marketing, everything about Chanel was unique. She brought a new vision of women’s fashion to the industry and, with its boyish qualities, simplicity and clean lines, she revolutionized the field. She brought fashion down to a practical level, all the while maintaining a sense of class and elegance that appealed to the elitist of women.

Tell yourself this:
Confidence is key to pulling off anything. Besides, I’ve got class. I’ve got elegance. I can pull this off. No problem!

Fitness Challenge Five: You have been scrambling all day long at work. You’ve just noticed that you failed to pack the correct attire for your lunch break workout. In your workout bag you have your husband’s gym shorts, an old tattered – shirt of his, and your gardening tennis shoes.

L’ Attitude
She Was Daring: She fashioned elegant women’s dresses out of the same material that was used to create men’s underwear, and at a time when women weren’t even supposed to be thinking about men’s underwear. She cut her hair and wore loose clothing when society told her she should have long, flowing hair and tight corsets around her body. Chanel was willing to take the risks she needed in order to reach the top.

Tell yourself this: If it’s good enough for Coco Chanel, it’s good enough for me!

You can get an attitude! And Chanel can help!

Road to Weight Loss (Part 3 of 6 Weeks)

Lifestyle change is about progress not perfection. Today is the 15th day of a 6 -week journey on the path to feeling good, looking good, and performing great at any age. We begin the 3rd week of our trip by exploring today’s mind connection- progress not perfection. But pause for a moment before continuing and ask yourself these 3 questions –

+What cardiovascular exercises have I engaged in this week?
+What muscular strength training exercises have I begun?
+What stretching exercises have I incorporated into my day?

Congratulations to those of you who are actively following
by putting healthy living into action! You are doing well!

Get Focused Review your commitment to the following powerful instigators of lifestyle change. Use a 1 to 5 rating with 1 being a low level of commitment and 5 a high level.

Tally each category.
Use the following to assess your commitment to changing your lifestyle behaviors –
Total of 20 – 25
Signifies a high level of commitment to lifestyle change. I am confident you will improve nicely on your own. If you feel the need for technical training, have fitness questions that need addressed, or if you believe you are ready for huge gains in physical fitness and energy levels, then seek out a health coach/trainer. Motivation can wane so seeking a trainer/coach is always an option if needed.

Total of 15 – 19 Indicates you have potential for making some improvements on your own, but should consider a health professional if a minimum score of 20 is not obtained within 3 weeks.
You are motivated but too little for big changes to occur. Often people whose motivation is at this level tend to vacillate between seeking the help of a professional and not seeking help. When opting for the latter, discouragement abounds and feelings of a failure often cause further inaction. Hiring a professional is an option to be considered sooner rather than later.

Total of 14 or Under Signifies a lack of motivation. Do not despair. Often an experienced coach will help you work through finding motivation. While it is true that only you can do the work, similar to many important tasks in life, the support of a trained professional can make the difference between success and failure. So if you lack commitment, if you lack motivation, consider continuing along the road to lifestyle changes by enlisting the aid of a trusted coach/trainer

Rate Yourself In Each Area Use movement as inspiration – Rating 1 – 5
Think progress not perfection – Rating 1 – 5
Focus on what really matters in weight loss Rating 1- 5
Weigh Yourself Daily Rating 1 – 5
Live Joyfully While Getting Fit 1 – 5
Total _______________

Be reflective. Be frank with yourself. Rate yourself now before focusing on this week’s mind connection number two.

Progress not Perfection Too often we expect perfection when seeking to lose weight.
“I’m going to lose weight. It’s going to be all or nothing. I do nothing halfway and this includes weight loss!”
These people typically fail. Complicating matters, this approach is often used as an excuse to stop trying to lose weight and get healthy.
“I’m a capable person. If I’m going to do this, it will be with gusto – exercising 2 hours a day and eating nothing but clean food. That’s just the way I am!”
Heroic? Questionable.

Perfectionism need not be used as an excuse for not persevering through lifestyle changes. We all fail in fully living up to our own ideal expectations. Those that assess and adapt their behaviors without judging too harshly will do well. Weight loss is not about being perfect. A persevering mindset is what matters.

This Week’s Plan/Review Assess your commitment, and act on plan by using the rating chart above. Continue designing a plan implementing the three types of activity; cardiovascular, muscular strength/endurance, and stretching. Remember, this is simply a beginning. There’s no hurry to figure things perfectly. You will figure it out as you go along. Most importantly, assess and revise -have fun-and eat less. I’ll see you back here soon.

Road to Weight Loss ( Part 1 of 6 Weeks)

Stop the nonsense! Today’s top health coaches believe the smart person’s way to fitness and weight loss is all about making meaningful connections. It appears the days are short lived for the “Do this – don’t do that kind of mentality.”

Healthy living, fitness, and weight loss are about bringing meaning to our lives. We are, I am happy to report, stopping the vicious cycle of nonsensical diets and exercise regimens that are so pervasive in our TV dominated culture.

Keyed to today’s consumer’s new attitude, this weekly six week series will get you feeling good, looking good, and losing weight. Created to put you in charge, this non-gimmicky approach is for those savvy readers who are weary of the tidbit dieting approach and are ready for a more authentic method called lifestyle change!. Here’s how we start.

Read the rest of today’s article to get an overview of the new attitude practices you’ll be using. Then for the entire week put no pressure on yourself other than reading the recommendations daily and allowing them to seep into your consciousness. Osmosis dieting? No! However, we have to set the stage for you to get your head on straight and thinking clearly. If you really feel compelled, make a few lifestyle changes but set no strict guidelines today.

Use movement as inspiration. The act of moving our bodies makes us feel better about ourselves. Movement has the capacity to inspire a vision of how we want to live. Movement makes us feel better in general. It sparks a desire to do better at whatever we do. This is the power of movement. Why not use it rather than some weight loss shake offered by promoters who know if they divert our attention long enough, they’ll make some sizable cash.

Think progress not perfection. Coach Kate Larsen said it best when she titled her book Progress Not Perfection: Your Journey Matters. Often seeking perfection in attaining weight loss sets us up for failure. Perfectionism should never be used as an excuse to stop trying. Do what is attainable and reachable realizing the goal is not to be perfect but to be persevering. After all, isn’t perfectionism just another word for quitter?.

Focus on what really matters in weight loss. Don’t be sidetracked about whether you should eat celery or carrots, more protein or vegetables. Don’t get hung up on dieting details. Here’s the only detail you need to know: You will lose weight if you eat three quarters to half of what you normally eat during most meals of the day. That’s it. Don’t clutter your minds with information that will not significantly cause weight reduction.

Weigh yourself again and again.
It’s OK. A daily “weigh in” compels us to be aware. You will hear different opinions on this, but those who weigh themselves daily, lose weight. And the reason they do is that it forces them to be aware and make the necessary lifestyle changes. Weigh daily. Don’t be an afraidy cat.

Live joyfully while losing weight and getting fit.
Sounds a little hokey but it’s true. Do not discount the impact positive living and attitude has on one’s ability to change. Make your life beautiful. Have a good time with family and friends! Cultivate a positive attitude. Your happiness will be your reward. Your positive attitude will ensure success

Next week I’ll expand on movement as inspiration. For this entire week make, lifestyle changes only if you feel compelled. Don’t worry about specifics. Just get going! And don’t get all-anxious. Fake it until you make it. We’ll take it one week at a time. I am confident you will be feeling good, looking good and performing great in much less time than it may have taken you in the past to lose weight – gain it back – then lose it again. You’ll look better too!
Until next week…

Our Wealth is in Our Health,

Why we Fail at Changing Lifestyle Habits

“Most people would agree that our body would rebel if we asked it to go from an eight-minute mile run one day to a six-minute mile run the next. Yet in our fervor to diet down to the perfect weight, we ask our brains to do the same by drastically changing our lifestyle habits in one day. Consider that our brains, like our body, will break down under similar demands.” Kim Miller

I only ask that you think about this. It takes more than willpower to change our habits. It takes thoughtful consideration for who we are, patience, and strategic planning for us to make lasting lifestyle changes. Consideration for small incremental lifestyle changes is an absolute must for long lasting behavior changes. Let the old way of dieting be out and the smart way to a healthier life be in! You can do it. There’s no hurry.

Personal Training and Wellness Coaching – What You Need to Know

Reading the results of various studies in the health field is fascinating. However, being in the business of fitness and helping people obtain their health, fitness, and wellness visions, in addition to feeling and looking good is even more fascinating. I chose personal training and wellness consulting over group fitness because of the creative flexibility it allows me in meeting the unique requirements that each individual brings to training sessions.

I have both young and older clients ranging in ages from 11 to 84 years. Some of them are in good conditioning and like the added challenge of one or two hard workout per week. Some are in the beginning stages and want to tone their bodies, build muscle and bone mass, sleep better, or stave off health risk factors caused by inactivity. Still yet, and increasingly so, I have people who benefit from e-mail or phone consulting strategy sessions where walking and nutritional planning is implemented on their own.

This type of work never tires me so I thought it would be interesting for you as well and compiled a short list of insights and observations that I’ve observed over the 23 years I have been in the health field. By the way, in case you are adding numbers, my years in the health field started when I was two. Ok, twenty two if you are pressing me!

Getting Started Is Difficult – the most successful exercisers just do it, realizing the difficult feeling will disappear once the activity is started.

We are Smart to be Concerned About Belly Fat- men with a waist circumference over 40 inches and women over 35 inches are at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. Proper eating habits and cardiovascular exercise trump abdominal exercise for reducing waist size.

People that Randomly Exercise Have a Healthier Mindset than People that Never Exercise – I’d rather train a person that is inconsistent than try to convince a person of the benefits of exercise. Those that are inconsistent realize exercise benefits and only need better organization and priority planning, whereas those that deny exercise benefits have no reason for change.

We Adapt – our bodies are highly powered machines that when progressed smartly respond appropriately regardless of age.

The Treadmill Gets Bad Press – walking is functional and we need to be able to continue walking regardless of age. After all, we can’t ride a stationary bike or get on an elliptical trainer to move about in our own house or go out shopping. The bike and elliptical trainer are soft on the knees, and serve an important role for those that ache. Use the treadmill or walk outside occasionally, but don’t eliminate this movement from your exercise routine.

Consistency is More Important Than Intensity for Healthy Living – however, both intensity and consistency need practiced if training for a specific muscular look is desired. Both can be done simultaneously.

Motivation is Key in Exercise Consistency – it doesn’t matter where we derive motivation. Using “looking better” as a motivating impetus is not a bad way to think. Training, regardless of our motivation makes us not only look and feel better, but gives us better health numbers.

Life Looks Better Viewed Through a Healthy Body – want to change your attitude? Train your body.

The Lateral Pull Down is the Most Misused Gym Apparatus – too much weight and bad form. Keep chest upright and not contracted. Never take bar behind your head.

Having a Personal Trainer or Wellness Consultant Does not Have to be a Lifetime Commitment – some people are reluctant to use the services of a personal trainer because they think the trainer is looking for a lifetime income and they don’t want to feel obligated. Trainers are utilized in multiply ways and most good trainers enjoy the variety of reasons that people come to them whether for one single session or a continuous program. Credentials are important. The following are various reasons people may hire a trainer.

1. Learn proper alignment and form on machines and free weights.
2. Weekly as an extra energy boost to typical routines.
3. Quarterly for changing routines, and offering more progressively challenging tasks.
4. After the Holidays as a motivational jump start.
5. Prior to special events to look and feel good.
6. Weight loss jump start.
7. E-mail accountability programs to boost fitness or wellness goal success.
8. Body sculpting program for swim wear season.
9. After cardiovascular rehabilitation to reinforce implementation in new setting.
10. Learn safe back strengthening exercises to decrease back pain.
11. Full body conditioning prior to or after surgery to decrease surgery complications.
12. Reduce blood pressure prior to deciding on taking prescription drugs. May be on own or in gym.
13. Increase bone strength prior to deciding on taking prescription drugs.
14. Design training routine for sporting competition.
15. Abdominal training exercises post pregnancy.
16. Target muscle training such as triceps ( back of arms), hip, and gluteus routines.
17. In home training or consulting on various fitness routines or health programs.
18. Home gym set up consulting and implementation advice.
19. Blood sugar reduction program on own or with trainer.
20. Nutrition and exercise consulting via e-mail, phone, or in person.

Some trainer’s offerings are not as diversified as others. Asking them about their qualifications and how they can make the program most convenient for you while reaching your goals should be top priority. You are hiring them, and attention to your needs and how best they can be met should be their number one priority. It should be offered, but always ask for a no obligation free consultation.

In an upcoming blog look at how one client saved a huge amount of money by hiring my consulting services over the phone and internet. Hint: It cost him only $240.00 dollars and he was done in a month. The best part is, he doesn’t need me anymore, and life and health are good! I’m out of a job, but that’s ok. Life is good on this side too!

Living Disease Free, Happily, and Productively

There are three primary reasons why we may not have a vision for living happily, productively, and relatively disease free into old age:

1. We believe that healthy lifestyles and specific lifestyle habits are too difficult to change so we abandon the idea of living well into our 90’s and 100’s

2. We are unsure if it is too late to make lifestyle changes due to age and health circumstances.

3. We are unsure whether the payoff of healthy living will increase our life’s quality and longevity to the degree that we would like.

These are legitimate concerns. Let’s look at the first point today: lifestyle habits are too difficult to change. The following are a few questions that you may ask yourself when addressing this point:

1. How long will it take to make a specific lifestyle change? A Specific lifestyle example may be consuming 1800 calories daily compared to 2500 calories daily.

2. How long must I implement this specific lifestyle habit? Should it be a lifelong habit or can I sustain it for only a short duration? There are many instances when short duration lifestyle changes are perfectly appropriate.

3. What can I reasonably expect in terms of life quality and lifespan when I implement this change?

4. How much of my life am I “giving up” to implement this health change?

5. Is there a systematic approach that may help me obtain this lifestyle change that is not drastic as in many fad diets?

6. Will I adjust to the lifestyle change or will I feel deprived continually?

7. How will I feel about myself after making this lifestyle change?

This last point is something for us ponder. There is no guarantee that certain lifestyle changes will increase our lifespan, but most experts agree that we can tip the scale in our favor to a higher quality of life and perhaps an extended lifespan by avoiding habits we know are counterproductive. Such habits may include but are not limited to: smoking, lack of physical exertion, lack of sleep, stressful life patterns, lack of meaningful friendships, eating and drinking in excess, emphasis on eating saturated fats and simple carbohydrates, and lack of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in the daily diet.

We are rarely told that lifestyle habits are difficult to change. Lifestyle changes take great effort. We must keep in mind our methods of change however. Changing our lifestyle in such a way that is systematic, thoughtful, and intelligent, can bring about changes that become not only a part of us, but a way of life for us – a way of life for us that seems not only easy and healthy, but more vital and vigorous well into our later years.

For those of you that are not familiar with the coaching method in lifestyle management and have health related lifestyle issues such as overweight, high blood pressure, high blood sugar or diabetes, that you need to manage, call me at 904 501 6002. It is not necessary to belong to a gym or travel for consultation. Most coaching sessions are 30 minutes in length and address weight and health questions through ongoing dialogue. I have a wide range of various programs starting at $140.00 monthly. It would be my pleasure to help you!

Feeling good, looking good, and performing great at any age. It’s what we are about! You have what it takes! It’s my job to find it!

Our Wealth is in Our Health
Kim Miller