What The Heck Really Creates Exercise Habit Change?

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Hi Everyone,
It’s Totally Tone Tuesday and it’s the day we talk about strengthening, stretching, and balance.
If you’ve noticed there is a direct correlation between leg/core strength and balance. In other words, people who have strong legs and cores tend to have better balance. But here’s the thing, how do we best develop solid leg and core strength habits?
Strong legs and cores can be achieved through a multitude of ways. For people who have never weight trained before, I usually always recommend machine weights over free weights. Some trainers de-emphasize machine weights because they feel clients will enjoy the latitude of different exercises one can do with free weights over machine weights.
It’s my belief that like most things in life, starting with a solid framework from which to build from is important. In the gym this means, exercising all the major muscle groups in a structured organized way that lets the individual build strength progressively without worrying that he/she  is doing the exercise incorrectly- machine weights, once learned correctly, allow for a more structured and progressive strength foundation.
Once an individual has a solid foundation of strength progressively implemented then all the other tools in the gym can be utilized for more variety and difficulty. This is where free weights and cables come into play that offer more variety and difficulty because core and leg strength become central to lifting various weights in a multitude of planes that cannot be derived on the machines.
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Like most things in life, skipping important foundation steps decreases the likelihood that an individual will create the necessary habits for long lasting change.  In the arena of health and wellness, if we focus on foundational strength training and then progressively adapt to more difficult exercises, not only is our body ready physically but our mind is as well. This mind body balance is the difference between superficial change and real habit change that most of us seek.
What about you? Are you creating the foundation habits for long lasting change?
All My Best,

Sabotaging Your Own Fitness and Healthy Eating Goals?

Do you Find That You Just Can’t Change Your Ways No Matter How Hard You Try?

I have an uber important question for you today. But stick with me for a minute because it may appear hokey.

Do you have a fear of eating healthy and exercising more?

Do you ever feel ready to take it to the next level, and yet sometimes find yourself behaving in ways that directly conflict with what you say you want? “I want to feel better. I want to lose this weight that is driving me crazy. I want to have more energy.”

Do  You Dream?

Do you dream of having the energy and confidence that comes from taking better care of your body, and yet you still eat crap food and never make time to work out?

If this scenario has ever happened to you, you are in good company. Many people experience this.

Here’s The Thing

Because our beliefs drive our  behavior, it doesn’t matter how much we say we want to feel good, have more energy, and lose a few pounds, if deep inside us, arriving at success in healthy eating and exercise equals some kind of pain.

My experience in working with others and with myself is that under the surface, we wonder if it is really worth all the pain ( loss of freedom with eating whatever we want to, eating out with friends and family less often, loss of time with doing more cooking instead of just going out, rejection of our family and friends who just don’t get why we want to feel really good and energized because they think we already are, embarrassment of being “picky” when eating out with others, or just plain shame that we “need to improve ourselves” when those around us do not think they need to improve themselves).

The Bottom Line

It doesn’t matter how much you say you want success.  If you believe somewhere deep inside that it isn’t worth the pain, you will not let yourself do what it takes to succeed.



5 Step Guide to Aligning Your Beliefs With Your Actions:

Step 1: Expect to mess up. Changing lifestyles is messy. Realize that change is never a one way direction but more a zig zag.

Step 2: Get Specific. What are you fearful of? Is it thinking you will never get to eat dessert or have a couple glasses of wine with your friends? Is it that you’ll have to exercise with those gym people? These questions are so important. Write them down. Then…

Step 3: Make a promise to yourself. For example if it turns out that your fear is that you will not be able to have a glass of wine and dessert with your friends then make a deal with yourself. It will go something like this: “Hey, I know I am on a healthy living plan but if it turns out that I am not able to make sensible adjustments for having dessert and or a glass of wine at a party then we can stop this healthy living agenda immediately.”

Step 4: Start looking at positive role models who have a healthy lifestyle, exude energy, look great, and yet still occasionally have a drink or dessert. These models are all around us so start looking and admiring how they do it.

Step 5: Set an affirmation that aligns with the belief system you are trying to build. Here’s an example:” I believe that healthy living gives me the best possibility for a carefree life unencumbered by physical,emotional and mental pain.

Try it out and let me know how it goes.

All my best,



How to Increase Your Motivation to Get Fit and Lean

imagesEKRS18DNHere is a question I was recently asked by a soon to be retired professor regarding having the motivation to start and complete a weight loss program.  I have a feeling he’s not the only one having this problem. I wanted to share my response to him with everyone.

Question: I am a college professor and soon to be retiring.   I believe that  if I can get fit and healthy before retirement, I will enjoy retirement much more than if I were not fit and healthy.  So far I have not acted on it, and feel like my life is on hold. I do not want to retire if I am not feeling fit and really alive like my students, yet I do want to retire and have the energy and the passion to do things for myself, family and community at large. My question is, how can I increase my motivation to get fit, get healthy, and begin anew?

Answer: This is a great question because so many of us desire a certain way of being in the world yet strangely we can’t find the motivation.  Major Life changes such as retirement are rarely easy. We get caught up in day to day living and urgent matters of the day take over.

Your plan for getting fit and healthy has to begin with the fun stuff of envisioning your  future self as a “retired person.”  In my practice people often say they are motivated to change, but so often cannot articulate the real reasons for change. Often they think that if they lose weight and get fit their life will be transformed – if I am slim and fit all the pieces of my life will flow seamlessly kind of thinking.

The step you may be missing is that of envisioning a future self in all it’s totality. Part of the reason people can’t seem to lose weight or keep it off is that in their zeal to get started on “the big weight loss/get fit plan, they forget why it’s  actually important to be the fittest and healthiest they can be.   Sure many say they will feel better, and look better, but it goes much deeper than this.

Increase Motivation Steps: write several paragraphs answering the following questions.
I call this writing exercise blabbing as no one else needs to read it.

1. Why is it important for you to be fit and trim? And How will being fit and trim impact your loved one’s health?
2. How will being fit and trim change your life positively as you get set to retire? What fun things will it open up?
3. What will you dare  dream of doing  as a fit lean person that you cannot do now?
4. Would you have less fear of your life to be if you felt your health was optimal? How would you think differently about the fun possibilities in life?
5. How will you be able to contribute more to your own life and the life of your loved one’s if you were fit, lean, and the healthiest you could be?

Read your vision daily. Make no expectations to act until you are ready. In most cases, people begin to start  acting within a short time period. If that is not the case with you, then review your vision and aim to dig deeper within yourself and make more of an emotional connect. Emotions cause us to change, so drive it with emotion and get rid of the cognitive mind stuff we typically pride ourselves on. This is about change which begins from emotion and not that brainy beast of ours.

If You Are Not Moved to Act After Several Weeks
Then you gotta get going. It’s tough love time!
Know that action will have to begin whether you are ready or not!  I call this faking it until you make it. Fake how you want to be and set up your action plan. Feel confident that action causes change in the brain so begin where you are at, and not where your spouse, neighbor friend, dog, cat are at. This is about you. It’s tough love time and begin to take action – start changing your eating habits and get moving.

Get Rid of Old Style Thinking and Lose Weight Now- Do This

Girl, Female, She, Her, Lady, Femme
Last week it was established that:
1. Yes, you can target belly fat.
2. Belly fat burns so much quicker than other body fat.

I was not in dreamland when I made those statements, and I think you get it that belly fat can be targeted. Those of you who are 30 Days to Lean members have lived this truth by immersing yourselves in a better way of eating. This cleaner way of eating targets fat especially in the mid section where it is most damaging to our health as well as where we despise having it the most. Now I know that many of you say, “I can’t be helped in losing weight.” You may say things like, ” I eat healthy Kim. I eat clean. I’m a healthy eater, and I barely eat many calories!”  And to that I say, ” You are missing the point. That is old style thinking. We cannot lose weight when we are eating like birds!”

You See 

That part of you that says, “let me just count calories, and increase my exercise and I’ll lose weight”, attitude is killing your ability to lose weight” Funny thing is, if you ask yourself how often you have went on this “old style thinking type of diet” only to find out that you end up fatter, it is probably for many many years!  I am here to  say stop that! ( in a nice way) A mind shift is needed.

A Review But New Information Too

Below are the three things that people are doing or not doing that sabotage their efforts at losing fat in the middle. * The asterick indicates what you should work on right now to remove belly fat.  No procrastination!. No crying! And no saying “no!” Let’s get this job done guys!

1. Exercise. Slow and steady exercise burns belly fat. The more you do it, the more fat you burn. But you can’t increase your stress in the process. Walking or very light jogging is best. The average person will ignore this advice and keep burning themselves out and then wondering why their food and sugar cravings are through the roof.

* What To Do Now

walk daily for 30- 60 minutes at a low intensity. Low intensity means below 70% of your maximum heart rate. To get your heart rate at 70% of it’s maximum do the following: subtract your age from 220 and multiply it by .70. The number you get is a guideline to use  for your walks.

If you are a bit fitter and can jog keeping your heart rate under 70% of it’s maximum than you may jog. Note – jog /walking is a good option for those of you in between fitness levels. The key here is to keep your cortisol ( belly fat hormone ) low and not raging high. Doing so will decrease your belly fat ( notice it is not the calories you burn that I am counting – old style) while keeping your appetite in check. Maintaining a healthy, ” I look forward to eating appetite is central to weigh loss vs a “I am a raging hungry maniac because I worked out like a “raging bull and I need to consume everything in site,” becomes a problem while in the process of losing weight. Be low key guys. That is if you really want to focus on weight loss. I, like some of you love to work out and play hard, but this is not the time. What you are essentially doing when you work out so hard is not just increasing cortisol, but giving yourself permission to eat poorly instead of focusing on the food you eat to decrease belly fat. This is not the case for some people, but I tend to think that it is for many people. They train in the gym so they may overindulge. Not too cool.

2. Reduce stress. The other thing you must do when you are in the process of  losing weight is to reduce stress. This of course goes hand in hand with moderate light exercise which reduces stress but there are other things that one can do to reduce stress during this time period of weight loss.*What To Now

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Find Your Daily Routines

In great part members of the 30 Days to Lean program are so successful because they are forming new routines built around food. I have helped them incorporate the mindset of “when we eat – we eat!” No guilt. We eat breakfast. We eat lunch. And we eat dinner. My members will tell you, they look forward to the new eating routine and when they eat, they enjoy it. This is the missing link in old style dieting. But here’s the thing, when they do not eat-they do not eat. This is the beauty of forming a routine of eating. Not only can we look forward to eating because we have not mindlessly snacked all day, but we have better blood sugar and hormonal balance because we are not asking our pancreas to work in overdrive.

The psychology of new eating routines is, as one members says very liberating. At first, it seems intimidating to suggest one does not snack, but as members settle in and begin to make sense of this whole concept of weight loss, they begin to get it! And what I love even more about this idea of eating and enjoying real food 3 times a day is that science says, we lose more weight, more quickly when we stop eating in between meals! No snacking is a winner all the way around. I like to say to my members, “the goal should be to eat like you mean it and enjoy every bit, then go on with your life!” Having this attitude is a must to real weight loss for a lifetime.

How Eating Like This Reduces Stress

The food industry perpetuates the idea of constantly eating. Food is everywhere and I believe it is stressing us out in a very bad way. So many people tell me they constantly think about food, and that they cannot imagine not having one or even several snacks throughout the day and evening. The bottom line is that what we focus on, we stress about. Some people do not think about food all day long, but when it comes to the evening, bang, they are focused on it all night long. This is not good. We need to eat, and enjoy, then be done with it- waking up feeling great the next morning and starting all over. This is normal. And it’s what we are doing in the 30 Days to Lean Plan.

Is it difficult to not eat between meals? It can be initially. Can you do it? Maybe. Maybe not. You have to be motivated to change and this is a big reason I never try to convince people that it is simple. If it was simple from the onset, everyone would be lean and mean. The best part? When it becomes simple life changes for the good. That’s when we call it a lifestyle change, but you gotta  have the right head, the right attitude, and the motivation to change.

3. You have to address insulin resistance. This is the toughest of the three things to do to lose belly fat.  And it takes changes toyour diet, not just eating less. This is why the Top 3 Diets fail in the long run, because they do not address this point. 

* What To Do Now

Stay tuned For Lose Your waist Wednesday May 13th.

Hint: It’s about what we eat, not how much. And even though I mention slow cardiovascular exercise like walking as a means to lose weight, know that it is what we eat that has the number one impact on belly fat loss and weight loss in general. So in other words, if you want to lose weight real fast and real smart, you must eat the right foods. Exercising your buns and belly off is lowest in effectiveness of the three most effective go to’s for weight loss that I have listed here today.

Bring Health Back to The Body and Watch Weight Loss Happen

imagesGBDUD2F6I Had A Few Moments
I had a few moments between training clients yesterday so I sat outside by the pool to enjoy the sun.
Shortly after taking a moment, a 30 Days to Lean Member stops by and we chat.
This is What He Said
“After 60 days of being on your plan my wife and I feel great. We have changed our habits and changed our lives. The best part is, he said (and this is why I love what I do), is that I do not feel deprived. I eat. I look forward to eating. And I love the wholesome foods that we cook ourselves.”
In The Beginning of Change we all tend to get a little hyperactive for lack of a better word. We think things to ourselves like, ” I could never give up that sweet daily dessert at night or I can never give up that bread, or whatever it is that we tend to crave. I get it. Part of life is eating and eating things we love. Remember I am Italian and food is so so importante!
What Happened?
Here’ the thing, this member who lost 18 pounds was able to motivate himself long enough so that his body chemistry actually changed. What happened to the cravings? After 10 days of eating only from the plan he, like many of the other successful members started noticing a waning desire for sugar whether in the form of simple or complex sugars ( candy bar or breads as examples).
I have simplified this to illustrate the point that in order for real weight loss to take hold one must accept a certain amount of discomfort initially. But in reality, because this member and his wife were able to eat so many other foods with abundance, they began the process of bringing health back to their bodies. The hormonal chemistry changed and life got better: better sleep, better energy, better health numbers, better disposition, and a more content happy lifestyle while still enjoying great foods and parties!
What You Gotta Know
1. Food Choice Matters!
2. We become content through immersion of proper foods and life gets sweeter!

Weight Loss is More Than Cutting Calories

images10GX9I2LHere’s the thing….
Losing weight is so much more  than cutting calories.

Years ago when I wrote for the Times Union Newspaper, I wrote an article on how to lose weight by cutting back on portion sizes/calories.  When I think back on this article I cringe.  In my defense, the information on best practices for losing weight were not nearly as sophisticated as they are today. I’ve learned much since that time.

Here are three powerful tips for permanent and quick weight loss.  We are all in this together, but you gotta do the work.  Insight without action is just plain…well not good!
1. Eat! Eat and Eat!
I tell my 30 Day members,  ‘this is your time to feel really good.’ We are not looking to see how miserable we can make ourselves as we lose weight, but instead, how happy we can make ourselves.  Losing weight in the middle is in big part about eating the right foods. Eating an abundance of the right foods is what satiates us, keeps us from having to exert will power at every turn,  makes us happier, and makes us feel and look more alive. It also is long lasting so we do not gain the weight back.
2. Eat – Stop – Eat- Stop -Eat – Stop.
This I call interval training for eating. You will not see it in any nutrition books but you will reap the benefits of huge weight loss if you get used to eating like we were designed to eat. This way of eating is the way many of us grew up. When we ate, we ate! When we didn’t eat, we didn’t eat! This interval training for eating sounds all fancy but it isn’t. Just know that when you eat – eat. And when you do not eat – you do not eat. The research is clear. The member  results with the 30 Days to Lean  program are clear. Unless you are a full fledged diabetic, fasting between breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a powerful tool. Here’s the thing: Just enjoy yourself when you do eat. Eating is such a great part of our lives. Get back to basics. Get back to truly loving food. When you do, life is so much sweeter!
3. Sleep.
Studies published in TheJournal of the American Medical Association  suggest that sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body’s metabolism, which may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.

Sleep loss appears to do two things:

  1. Makes you feel hungry even if you are full. Sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. As a result, individuals who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake.
  2. Increases fat storage. Sleep loss may interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which leads to high levels of blood sugar. Excess blood sugar promotes the overproduction of insulin, which can lead to the storage of body fat and insulin resistance a critical step into the development of diabetes.
Follow these three tips and see the progress!