Nicki Anderson
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Can Work and Workouts Coexist?

By Nicki On March 23, 2014 No Comments

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After only 6 weeks in my new position, I hear the voices of my clients from the past (my clients from the fitness world). Client after client would swear that they just didn’t have time to exercise and eating well was near impossible due to eating out for business meetings.  I rarely bought it and believed if they wanted it bad enough,they could make the changes.

As I write this, I have become my client. Working 12-14 hour days, my flexible schedule no longer exists as I’ve become a product of work hard, exercise later. This past week as I found myself feeling a little “off” after once again eating out. I now have a much better understanding of my clients challenges. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

 You really have to want it. My day starts around 7:15 a.m. or so. If I want to get a workout in, I need to be up at 5:00 a.m. and in the shower by 6:00 a.m. I have chosen to set aside M,W,F as my exercise days, but right now I’m lucky if I hit two of those days. Thank God for Saturday and Sunday, those are my make-up days. I do commit myself to no less than  three days of workouts with a feeling of exhilaration if I can make four. Who’d a thought? After 30 years  of listening to what I thought were excuses, I now get it. However, I do the best I can knowing that staying committed to my workouts allows me to perform optimally both personally and professionally.

Oh the food. I now average eating out about 7-9 times per week. Additionally, there is always food at the office, not necessarily healthy food. Although I don’t eat any of the left-overs at the office there’s still eating out.  I thought I had it under control. I never eat anything fried or processed. I stick to “clean eating” as best as I can, but the bottom line is that restaurant food tastes good for a reason, the secret ingredients whatever they may be. Even in salad there likely lurks something that may not be good for you. After years of eating most all of my meals at home and being largely in control of what I put in my mouth, that has all changed. After this last week of once again feeling “off” after eating out, I’ve realize I simply need to keep the fridge at work stocked with healthy food. When eating out, make it minimal such as  a side salad, or small bowl of soup (ugh the sodium) and then come back to the office and eat what’s in the fridge. P.S. Why do hotels that have fixed menus think when you order vegetarian it means  pasta and cheese? Just throw a bunch of veggies on a plate and I’m happy. Interesting perception. peopleatrestaurant

Breakfast is still the most important meal. Because my time is crunched, I’ve been grabbing a Larabar with some fruit. I was used to better quality such as oatmeal, eggs, green smoothies, leftovers from dinner. I need to get back to that.

The weather has sucked. There is no doubt (I’m sure psychologists have research on this) that a long, cold, snowy winter changes food cravings along with the desire to exercise. Oddly enough, during the time of year when we need it the most, we don’t do it. Guilty as charged. I do hope once summer hits things will change. I live four blocks from work and have walked to work a total of one, yes ONE time. Why? Weather along with meetings where I need my car. It stinks. Once the weather shifts (if it ever does) I will get back to walking.

At the end of 6 weeks, here’s what I’ve discovered. As a country we don’t design life around healthy living, we design it around convenience which means too much fast-food and too little exercise. For years I believed that no matter how busy your life, you can and must make time for health. I still believe that however, my reality has altered. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.

  • So how about you?  Do you squeeze in the time to care for your health or do you find that it’s just too hard? If it’s the latter, I feel your pain, but do what you can to make it work, even if it’s just a few short walks here and there. Let’s not let work trump our quality of life, it’s short enough as it is!
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Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it.

Nicki

Recent Posts

Take a Risk and Embrace Your Purpose

By Nicki On February 8, 2014 4 Comments

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A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity for a new job.  The challenge is that I was working a couple of other jobs and making my own schedule. This made the idea of a 9 to 5  j-o-b less than appealing. When this position became available, a few people reached out and told me I’d be perfect for the role. I highly doubted I was their ideal candidate. However, my curious nature nudged me into researching the position more thoroughly. The more I learned and read, the more I realized that perhaps this was that time in my life where I had an incredible opportunity to marry my passion with my purpose. However, the 9 to 5 idea was far from tempting and  I remained skeptical.

I loved my life, after 20 years of business ownership, I was able to create my own schedule. I could either accept or turn down freelance jobs and my time was completely my own. I was able to spend the entire summer gardening and cooking, running on a whim, (versus getting up at 5:30 to get it in before work), and actually having friends over to enjoy a leisurely dinner. I loved it. But the truth is, I had this pull in my gut to seek out every  opportunity that came my way.

I don’t do well when I’m not seeking out or fulfilling my purpose. Although I dove in with freelance work and volunteering with two of my favorite charities, I still grew restless. The idea of sleeping in every morning didn’t appeal to me, a loosey-goosey schedule didn’t go well with my ADD and I found myself desperately seeking out “my place.”

Over 20 years ago I had a dream to start a business. I remember not sleeping at night just thinking about bringing my dream to fruition. My purpose and passion was crystal clear, I loved inspiring people and felt I was pretty good at it. I took the dreams and turned them in to reality and before I knew it, I had a thriving personal training business with staff and great clients. I was able to travel all over the world and share my insight on how to start or grow a business. I loved doing that. Talking to entrepreneurs and assuring them that with hard work, clear vision and excellent customer service, you can’t lose.

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Teaching business skills in Durban, South Africa

I have always said that as long as I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead, I’m on the right track and in my  place. A few years ago I woke up and I didn’t want to get up. In almost 17 years that had never happened. I knew something was amiss. It was like realizing you’re in a relationship that’s no longer working, it takes a long time to admit it and then do something about it. That’s exactly what happened to m e. I somehow felt guilty about not loving my business anymore. But I had also realized that I did what I came to do and now it was time to walk away and leave room for someone else. Fortunately, that someone else showed up and took over my business allowing me to go out and find my next place.

It took me almost 2 years to find my place. Steve Jobs sums it up. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

Looking back and connecting the dots pointed to this new position. All those years of giving business lectures to hopeful entrepreneurs. All those years of consulting and assuring weary business owners that failure sometimes happens, but it simply gives you what you need to build stronger and avoid the same mistakes. All those years learning the importance of networking and business building. These were all dots connecting me to this position. It became very clear that this position was to be my new place.

As of February 2, 2014 I took on my new role as President/CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. You might wonder why that after y ears of fitness? Check t his out for a better idea. But the truth is once I decided to accept this position, quiet confidence became my best friend. Typically women focus on the doubt and miss all the possibilities. As the first woman CEO of this organization, you can bet I went forward with trepidation. I also went forward with excitement and when people asked, “Why?” I simply responded, “Why not?”

I have written more than once about the beauty of hitting your 50’s. In our 50’s we’re more willing to take chances (which seems ironic), we’re more confident in our abilities, we are better able to listen versus trying to constantly get our two cents in. And,  we easily walk away from things that offer us little in the way of positive growth.

I just finished my first week in my new position. There were some amazing things as well as some tough decisions. But I’m up for the challenge and most importantly I have found my place. Every day I get to advocate on behalf of business owners, big and small. I get to find ways to help make other people successful. That is truly my purpose and I am passionate about moving that purpose forward.

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My first speech as NACC President/CEO

Some people search forever to find their place, but very often that place is where it’s been all along, in our heart and mind. It’s taking what’s in your heart, combining in it with your intellect and creating magic.  I see all to clearly now how my dots connect and I am happy to say that I really like my new place.

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


Save Your Dollars and Sense- The Real Scoop on Weight Loss

By Nicki On January 6, 2014 6 Comments

 

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O.K, I have to admit that every January I cringe when I see the ads for weight loss. The miracles abound and the “real” answer to weight loss woes are simply a click away. Too  much belly fat? There’s a program for that.  Excess holiday weight gain? There’s a drink for that.  Get abs of steel with 4 simple steps. My response to all of those secrets to success is bull$&@*!  After 30 years in the health and fitness industry I ask that you read the rest of this post knowing that what I’m sharing with you is fact. No hype, nothing earth shattering simply the honest to goodness truth about weight loss, why people are overweight and ultimately what the ONLY solution is.

First, let it be said that I made the conscious decision to sell my fitness business and walk away from the industry after 30 years. I was fried, frustrated and felt it was time to move on and find my passion and purpose somewhere else. I’m sharing that with you so that you understand I have no ulterior motives other than to motivate you to walk away from any “too good to be true” ads and prevent you from parting with good money for bad solutions. So, here we go.

1. Diets don’t work, period. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all lost weight on them, self included but for the long-term they do not work. What works is CHANGING your diet. Each day,bit by bit, small change by small change.

2. Say good-bye to fried food, fast food and fake food. You can’t expect to make these changes over night, but I can assure you, if you get rid of the 3-f’s your body will respond in kind, i.e. you’ll drop some lbs. and feel significantly better.

3. Ignore the television ads and 3 minute solutions in magazines. Here is what you should always remember, if there were truly a drug, vitamin, piece of equipment that really helped you lose weight successfully, it would be on every news program, on the front of newspapers, etc.  There isn’t one so the next time you see an ad that shares “Millions of people have already bought our product and been successful” they’re likely lying.

4. Here are the ONLY things you need to know to reach a healthy weight, reclaim your health and potentially get off of medication:  Eat less, move every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes), drink more water, limit alcohol, get a decent amount of sleep and love yourself.  That’s it, that’s the secret, that’s the miracle.

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Books, magazines and ads can spin weight loss any way they want to, but the truth is #4 is the ultimate solution. Of course, your expectations need to be in line with your lifestyle. In other words, if you like having that occasional glass of vino, you know that exercise daily may not happen and you still love your Friday night pizza, don’t expect miracles. But if you’re still eating better, drinking more water, moving more consciously (even if it’s getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to grab a drink of water) you’ll be ahead of the game by years end.

O.K. I feel better. Do you?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it. Happy 2014!!

 

Nicki

 


Au Revoir 2013 ! Welcome 2014! A Look Back

By Nicki On December 31, 2013 No Comments

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2013 was less than dull,  and my hunch is 2014 will be just as full.

As I look behind to write this post, some things were dreadful, while others I loved most.

Mother Nature took her toll reminding us all  that when push comes to shove, she makes the call.

Sadly war continues in far away places, though a different kind of war lives in U.S. spaces

Hunger and homeless claim innocent lives, while soldiers keep dying despite children and wives.

Celebrities still influence in ways I don’t get, while reality television remains stations best bet.

Finally marriage is equal to all, yet plenty are opposed shouting, “It’s a bad call.”

A new Pope believes love is free and equal, and reminds us the importance to be a giving people.

Beloved athletes made their cheating known, while some celeb slurs created a nationwide groan.

Miley Cyrus made a scene with a simple foam finger and claimed to the world, “I’m a serious singer.”

There were people who passed much too young as well as others whose praises we sung.

As I look back there is plenty of  pain, but sole focus on those would leave nothing to gain.

Therefore I say, “Au revoir” to ’13 and open the door and welcome ’14

No matter the year good comes with the bad, the joy and celebrations so many we had.

As we look forward to this new date, there’s so much good to anticipate.

We all have the capacity to love and learn, the desire to give and accept our turn.

We all have the ability to choose good over bad, and make solid choices we’re lucky to h ave.

No matter what comes the world will go on,  just keep kindness and love as your number one.

Here’s to an amazing 2014.

Nicki

 


Let Go of Scrooge and Create Your Own Holiday Joy

By Nicki On December 21, 2013 4 Comments

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For the last 15 years I have experienced and enjoyed the holidays fully. When I was young, I had the all too common experience of divorce in my family which resulted in less than stellar holidays, and often some form of drama. My story isn’t unusual, but how I decided to change it all is  important

From the time I was about 11, which was shortly after my parents divorced, I never looked forward to the holidays. They were painful, often included awkward moments debating  where we were to spend Christmas, who bought what for whom and how much they spent on each child and on and on. It was never enjoyable.  I was more excited to see the holidays end versus start of the season. My recollection is that the celebratory part of the holidays were nonexistent.Therefore, my best defense or my coping strategy was getting sick. Invariably, every Thanksgiving or Christmas I was sick.

Being sick kept me in bed and gave me a “free pass” to skip out on the holiday drama. I found it worked well. Unfortunately, when I started my own family the behavior continued. One summer I went to visit my relatives and we began reminiscing. We got on the subject of the holidays and my cousin asked about my family holidays, “I hate the holidays. It just stirs up all the old crap and quite frankly, I dread them every single year.”

She looked at me with cheerless eyes and said, “Oh Nicki, now is the time to create your own history. You’re doing yourself and your family a huge disservice by allowing the past to dictate your future.  Why not start your own family traditions and build new, happy memories?”

Why hadn’t I thought of that? How selfish I was to allow my bad experiences to flow over in to my family. I started thinking about the time I had wasted having a pity party for myself. “What’s done is done,” I thought. What was odd is that I had managed to master the skill of leaving behind my past  in so many other areas, yet the holidays I couldn’t seem to cut loose. That was until my cousin put things in perspective for me. Sometimes you’re just ready to hear things.

The following Christmas I made the decision to enjoy the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I vowed not to get sick and to enjoy MY family. It was time for our family to write our own history and most important for my children to experience great holidays. Trust me, it wasn’t easy but it really wasn’t  about me now was it? It’s about so much more no matter what your beliefs.

This Christmas will be the 15th Christmas since having that discussion with my cousin. Each year becomes more fun, more enjoyable and we have built some pretty incredible memories. At the end of the day it really was up to me to discontinue the cycle of negativity and create an opportunity for my children to construct their own memories and traditions. And we definitely have traditions, special, wonderful, fun, loving traditions.

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No matter your history, your future is yours to write, however you choose. We can continue to live in the past allowing it to dictate our future, or we can grant ourselves the opportunity to generate new memories making the past something to cherish. To me, that is the best present of all.

I wish you warm holidays, wonderful traditions and most importantly a story full of hope, love and possibility.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


How to Gift the Physically Fit Mam

By Nicki On December 16, 2013 No Comments

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(Guest post by Quinn McAdams )

The holiday season has arrived, and many people are thinking about Christmas gifts. Finding the perfect gift for anyone is difficult, especially for a man who is active and fit. Obvious items like running shorts and shoes are helpful, but do not make a statement. Below are some ideas of some unique gifts for the healthy man who has everything.

Weighted Vest

Adding extra weight during a cardio workout will aid in building endurance and strength. Giving a man a weighted vest will allow him to put on muscle as he does his cardio routine, whether by running or going to the gym. It is a gift he is sure to appreciate.

Golf Shoe Bag

Many fit men enjoy playing golf and wind up with dirty shoes after the last hole. This can cause a big mess if they are simply tossed into a car trunk. A golf shoe bag is a stylish way to solve this problem. It comes with vents, which allow the shoes to dry out while preventing mud and grass from spreading inside the car. I bought my husband one a few years ago from this site.

 

Heart Rate Monitor Watch

Fit people like to keep track of their heart rate while working out. A heart rate monitor watch is a great way to do this. The watch can determine target heart rates, whether the training regimen is focused on burning fat or improving fitness and find the right balance between activity and rest. The device can also conveniently push fitness data to a computer.

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Touchscreen Gloves

Nothing is more frustrating than being out on a run in cold weather and having to use a smartphone with standard gloves. This has caused some men to simply run without gloves, which is not comfortable. Touchscreen gloves have thinner material at the fingertips to allow the person to easily change music and answer calls while exercising.

Filtered Water Bottle

Staying hydrated during workouts is very important. Those who exercise outdoors often drink bottled water, and using a filtered water bottle is a smart way to save money and respect the environment. The bottle provides the convenience of being able to fill up anywhere, and it can be useful in emergency situations. Check out some filtered water bottle reviews here.
Giving the right gift requires thought and planning when it comes to the active man. The guide above is a good starting point for practical, useful gifts that will continue to please for years to come.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Why I Love Nelson Mandela

By Nicki On December 8, 2013 2 Comments

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I live in Chicago, a very long way from South Africa.  About four years ago I had the privilege of visiting South Africa and it was there that I learned a lot more about this incredible warrior and liberator, Nelson Mandela.

I’m embarrassed to admit that in 1993, I was so busy raising my children and starting my business I didn’t pay close attention to Mandela’s greatest milestone, fighting for and guaranteeing full rights for all black citizens. When I visited in 2009 there was no sign (to me) of apartheid. People compare Nelson Mandela with Martin Luther King, Jr. for their unwavering efforts to give all people of color the right to live freely in a country that touts justice and liberty for all.

With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela I couldn’t help but think back on some of the amazing forces that have fought for human rights and inspired me. Going as far back as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and of course Rosa Parks. There is Desmond Tutu and one of the more recent, young activists for human rights, Malala Youzafzai. 

The common denominator amongst this group of  individuals, (yes I know there are many more), is leadership. Taking the risk for something they believe in and doing whatever it takes to bring justice to fruition.  These individuals took the helm at a time where death was always a potential outcome yet never wavered from their convictions. Compassion is also a strong part of their DNA. Because of their personal struggles, they rose above to save others from the same fate. Humbles me just thinking about it. Risking ones life to save another.

I have always been drawn to those individuals that lead with integrity, honesty and passion. It is empowering to see that because of people who dared to dream and take the risks to make it a reality our world is a better place.

There is no doubt Nelson Mandela has touched an infinite number of lives, mine included.  How lucky for those that knew him personally.  He was a force to be reckoned with if he wanted change yet he was a consummate peacemaker.  How one can combine those qualities and create the changes he has can only be explained as extraordinary.

My feeble attempt at honoring a man who is responsible for positively changing so many lives is shared below.  Please enjoy some of my favorite quotes by not only Nelson Mandela, but the others who also fought for the rights of so many. As a mom, woman, business owner, community advocate, and volunteer these quotes and many others, have helped me become a better person.

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“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” -NM

 “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – NM

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” MLK

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” MLK

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” AL

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”  – AL

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – FD

“Without struggle there is no success” – FD

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. ” – RP

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – RP

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” – DT

“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.” – DT

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” – MY

“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.” – MY

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Thanksgiving- Lost in Translation

By Nicki On November 25, 2013 2 Comments

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One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is that it’s not about the gifts, it’s about family. Coming together, sharing a meal, sharing stories and realizing what really matters. However, thanks to this crazy world of consumerism, we can’t even forget about the world around us for one day because stores have decided to open. I don’t know about you, but I really hate the idea.

If you look at the evolution of Christmas, this once very sacred holiday has become more about everything other than the historical meaning. People have become obsessed with shopping and getting the perfect gift.  Money, greed and stress have replaced, peace on earth.  Kind of crummy.

I know there are some people that cherish Black Friday as  a family tradition. They wake up at the crack of dawn and begin their shopping marathon. Given that it’s AFTER Thanksgiving I figure to each his own.  But now it seems no holiday is immune to the marketing  ploys of big business. The one day a year when people come together, the good, bad and the ugly of holidays feasts and it’s now compromised because the world of retail has come up with one more tactic to part you with your money and your family.

Personally, I will not even think about going out shopping on Thanksgiving, it’s the one day out of the entire year where we sit down as a family, with no agenda, no place to be, no rushing off to work and we can just be a family. No cares, no worries. I always considered Thanksgiving the calm before the storm. The big exhale of the holiday season. thanksgiving-pledge

I don’t know about you, but I plan to stay toasty and warm without any plans  other than being with my family. I owe it to them and to the holiday. It’s is a time to be THANKFUL. The idea of putting shopping before family just doesn’t sit well with me.  As much as people have complained about losing Christmas or Chanukah to the world of retail, that loss now includes Thanksgiving, the one holiday I thought was immune. Sadly, I was wrong.

What will you be doing on Thanksgiving?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

 

Nicki


Kevin Trudeau is a microcosm of what’s wrong with the diet industry

By Nicki On November 14, 2013 2 Comments

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Much to my satisfaction, Kevin Trudeau is headed where he belongs, jail. I know he’s got some fans out there, but I’ve been following this guy for years. Kevin Trudeau is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the diet industry.  He is a consummate swindler.

Run-ins with the law are nothing new for Trudeau. In the 90′s he was convicted of larceny and credit card fraud. He was also sued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for misleading claims about his book. He settled with the FTC in 2004 and agreed he wouldn’t try and promote any of his products, other than books.  In 2011, he broke his agreement and a suit was filed against him. Eventually, his entire BS caught up with him and this week after only one hour, a Chicago jury found Trudeau guilty of contempt for misleading infomercials about weight-loss.

Not only have I have followed Trudeau’s shenanigans, I’ve followed hundreds of other scam artists promising desperate dieters the “secret” to losing weight. Kevin Trudeau is not a lone ranger in the world of weight loss.  The difference with Trudeau is that he was an easy target vs. the faceless ads that pitch their diet pills, potions and creams out to the public promising thinner thighs, flat bellies and a life filled with happiness simply because you chose their product.

I was a trainer for over 20 years. I saw the heartache of men and women who fell victim to Trudeau’s false promises and a myriad of others. People came to me broken, frustrated, hopeless. That is what Kevin Trudeau and so many other BS diet programs have done to the population and continue to do.  They have put out products enticing people to try and if they do, they will find the “secret” to the perfect body. If they don’t, it’s not the product that failed, it’s them.

I liken the diet industry to a carnival. We know that most of the games are rigged, yet we still pay money hoping to win big and when we don’t, we blame ourselves.

Sure, there might be the 1-2% of people that find marginal success, but the reality is that the stuff Trudeau pushed along with so many other diet programs is nothing more than a ploy to separate people from their cash – carnies.

Over 35 years ago I lost 50 pounds, the old fashioned way. I changed my diet, gave up fast food, started riding my bike and walking. Within a year I had lost 50 pounds. Folks, there’s no magic, there’s no “secret”, there’s nothing except the decision to change your lifestyle, period. It isn’t always easy, but it’s the only thing that works long-term without any side effects.

There are times when I am just exhausted trying to tell people about practical steps to weight loss, sadly I’m often trumped by some new program promising a fast and easy way to the perfect body. Television and magazine advertisements prey on the fears of aging, especially menopausal women.

I can’t tell you the number of infomercials I have viewed asking the question, “Are you suffering from bloating, fatigue and depression?”  Guess what? Thanks to the American diet millions of people are suffering from those things. No magic pill or potion will do anything to change it. Unless of course you’re suffering from some lifestyle related disease. But even then, moving more and eating better is pretty cheap and a very effective alternative to medicine.

I am convinced that part of the obesity issue is a direct result of ineffective diet programs. Every time someone loses weight with a fad diet, they eventually gain it back and more and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically.

I am glad Kevin Trudeau is heading to jail. I wish the same fate for the countless others that continue to sell bogus programs and products all claiming they have the “secret” to thinner thighs in 30 days.  FTC, are you listening?

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 11/14/13)

So what do you think?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


All healthy fats step forward- not so fast trans fat

By Nicki On November 9, 2013 4 Comments

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It was almost 20 years ago when I started reading about the dangers of consuming foods containing trans fat. I was raised in the age of Crisco and fake butters. My Grandmother used Crisco freely knowing that as long as it was homemade it was good for you. That’s what the ads said, so it must be true.

This week the FDA made it official, trans fats are in fact bad for your health. Well, it’s preliminary, so we’ll have to wait for a solid decision. ‘sigh’

By the time I started studying nutrition, I discovered some of the foods that I fed my children were in fact harmful to their health. Wait,  you mean to tell me that fruit roll-ups aren’t made with real fruit? And, McDonalds isn’t serving my family good-for-you foods? Outrageous I tell you!

Yep, when I started digging in to the truth behind the foods being  pushed, advertised and promoted to our country and kids, I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how it was o.k. to push food that clearly caused heart disease, obesity and diabetes. I understand all too well now, M-O-N-E-Y.

Given that smoking (though it took years) is finally  recognized as dangerous and banned in restaurants and the workplace, it seems foods that cause death and disease should have the same red flags. But you know and I know there’s not only money to be made in the world of food, the pharmaceutical companies are making out like bandits.

Do you know that the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that advertise prescription drugs on television and in magazines?  And we wonder why prescription drugs are so ridiculously expensive. Don’t blame the pharmacies, blame the big advertising pharmaceutical budgets.

Any way, back to trans fats. So this week, the FDA as made a preliminary decision that a major source of trans fats– partially hydrogenated oils– is no longer “generally recognized as safe.” Apparently, if the preliminary decision is deemed final, than foods cannot contain partially hydrogenated oils without approval.  In  my humble opinion, if a food is not safe, what would ever constitute approval?

Healthy fats supporting good health.

Healthy fats supporting good health.

If you look at any snack food, basically anything in a box, anything processed it will contain trans fat. And beware of labels touting “No Trans fats” as there is a formula that companies can get away with and still use trans fat.  Although over the last few years, manufacturers and restaurants have  made small strides in reducing trans fats in their food, it’s still out there and it’s still a health concern.

I have to go back to what I’ve been preaching for a long time. The closer your food is to nature, the healthier it will be for you. Frozen fruits and veggies are fine for those that don’t have access to fresh.  And there are plenty of healthy options for busy, on-the-go people.

Read your labels and start cutting out processed foods in your diet. The truth is that our country, a very advanced, smart country is extremely  unhealthy. Poor diet is the norm. After 30 years in the fitness industry, I saw the bodies of women change. I saw their health issues change and I feel very strongly that it was mostly food related.

Just like smoking, the truth is finally coming out about trans fat.  For years the nutrition experts have warned against consuming trans fats and they were dismissed as fanatics.

When things sound too good to be true, they often are. “Eat all you want and don’t gain weight.  Cookies that are only 10 calories each! 100 calorie snack packs.”  All of those likely carry trans fats and are not a natural source of food that your body can digest and utilize properly.

There are some great websites to learn more about healthy nutrition. Remember, changing your diet doesn’t mean deprivation. It  means paying attention to the foods that work well with your body and make you stronger and healthier. The current American diet only serves to weaken our body and house disease. You can be a catalyst for change not only for yourself but for future generations.

What do you think?

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 


Charlie Trotter’s Quiet Inspiration

By Nicki On November 7, 2013 4 Comments

2000 (163)

Over 10 years ago I bid on and won an auction item that made a dream of mine come true. I won a day in the kitchen at the infamous Charlie Trotter’s restaurant. I felt like I had hit  the jackpot.

I showed up at  the restaurant at the requested time,  11 a.m. I was expected to work until 8 p.m.

When I walked in to the restaurant, I gave them my name and I was brought up to Charlie Trotter’s office. I’m thinking I’m going to be vetted or something to make sure I wasn’t some lunatic coming in to the restaurant. To my surprise, in walked Charlie Trotter.

He extended a hand and  half jokingly asked, “What made you want to pay for a day in my kitchen?”  I told him about my love of cooking and how I admired his journey and accomplishments. I finally confessed, “I’m just a big fan and wanted to see the inner workings of your shop.”  I then went on to share that I owned my own business and was hoping for some business insight. When he heard it had to do with health and fitness, we chatted about that.

After a few minutes I was escorted out to change in to my new kitchen attire. I felt so important, so cool. Once in the kitchen I felt almost as happy as I am at the beach. Water and food, two of my favorite things.

By 8:00 p.m. I was exhausted. The kitchen was tense, constantly busy and I learned more about cooking in those 9 hours than I ever did in any cooking class or “how-to” cookbook. It was incredible. I couldn’t wait to get home and try out some of the things I learned.

At one point, Charlie came in to the kitchen and the yelling started. But what I found interesting was when he left there was no rolling of the eyes or disrespect. Charlie Trotter demanded perfection because he wanted his guests experience to be perfect.tour10

At the end of the day, Charlie Trotter was dedicated to people having a great experience. He knew they were spending a lot of time and money there and he wanted to make sure they would leave anticipating their next visit.

A couple of years later, I repeated my Charlie Trotter experience. He was even friendlier the second time around. I was able to attend their staff meeting, (that was interesting) and interact with some of his chefs. I wonder now, what chefs I might have been working with back then that went on to greatness because of Charlie Trotter? Charlie made me feel comfortable and welcome. I’ll never forget that.

When I owned my studio, I would always tell my staff that if you go off and open your own studio, or become a great trainer, I will be proud of you. I will be proud because I hope that it was something you experienced under my tutelage that made you better, stronger, more business savvy and successful.

That is what Charlie Trotter did for me. In just two visits to his restaurant and my brief conversations and full day observations I was reminded what a brilliant talent he was, not only as a chef, but as a  businessman and philanthropist.

I will treasure  my conversations with him and my time in his kitchen. I will always admire his ability to change the rules and make them his own with the end result being satisfaction for his customers, staff and hopefully for himself. Her deserved that.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki