“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” This quote is from a very famous 1976 movie called, Network. I was a teen when this came out and I recall seeing Peter Finch brilliantly deliver that famous line as Howard Beale. Now it’s my turn to use it.
It’s April, spring is a comin’ and with that comes the excess of weight loss ads. Even on my Facebook page there’s a push for a green tea bean and how to burn 30 lbs of belly fat per month effortlessly. It’s killing me. Quite honestly, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!
Right around the time Peter Finch was given his Academy award for his role as Howard Beale, I entered the health and fitness industry. I was four. 🙂
Although awareness about obesity has certainly increased, obesity back in 1976 was 8.7%., and today it is 34.7% . Obesity and its related diseases costs our country 190 billion dollars in healthcare and lost productivity. Yet, health clubs and diet programs grow in popularity right along with the American waistline.
The thing that leaves me scratching my head is why those that desperately need health clubs don’t go. Given my experience from a personal and professional perspective, I can answer that question, intimidation, unrealistic expectations, fear, feeling out of place, indifference from staff and lack of the truth. Now before my health and fitness friends shout at me, there are a number of very honest, ethical health and fitness professionals and clubs I admire. I just wish there were more. However, with every great, honest health and fitness pro, there are 5 behind him or her waiting to push the latest fad diet, supplements and God knows what else.
I was in business for 20 years doing everything I could to educate, motivate and inspire my clients to get healthy the old fashioned way. I hope I made a difference to some. But, thanks to The Biggest Loser and uneducated fitness pro’s that promise 20 pounds in 20 days, my honesty and real life approach was trumped all the time.
- Consumers have got to know at this point that anything that sounds too good to be true- is.
- Consumers have to know that it starts with taking a long, hard look at lifestyle and realizing that things have to change, not overnight, but change must occur.
- Consumers have to know that beating yourself up mentally and physically is NOT the way to achieve good health, it’s quite the opposite.
- Consumers need to know that there are health and fitness professionals out there actually interested in helping clients go through the process, safely and effectively so that weight loss isn’t temporary but sustainable.
- Consumers have to understand, work is involved and at times it’s hard. Then it simply becomes a question of whether or not you’re ready. If anyone tells you weight loss is easy, they’re lying.
- Health and Fitness clubs have got to know that for someone walking in to a health club overweight and out of shape, it is terribly intimidating. Please have someone working the front end that gets it, not someone who is bored with their job and intolerant of incoming guests.
- Health and fitness clubs need to welcome and respect those that can’t withstand an initial hour-long class that includes squats and lunges as their first class. (I see this all the time).
- Health and fitness professionals have got to denounce the fast-n-easy weight loss scams out there, stick together and create an alliance for ethical health and fitness practices.
- Health and fitness professionals can play an amazing role in the health and wellness of our country as long as they understand what the deconditioned client needs to be motivated and ultimately successful. It’s got to be a solid partnership.
- Health and fitness professionals have an obligation to put clients first and “do no harm.” Check out IDEA’s Code of Ethics.
I have to say, I dread this time of year as much as I do December, resolution season. Weight loss adverts ad nauseam.
If you’re currently frustrated because you didn’t stick to your goals, don’t be, 98% of people don’t. Instead be more realistic. Don’t buy in to the promises of fast and easy weight loss, thinner thighs in thirty days because aside from all those promises it’s really about you and your health. The only reason you should change your lifestyle if you’re currently inactive or dealing with excess weight is y our health, period. I’ve kept 50 pounds off for over 30 years, not because I’m a rock star but because I remember what it felt like to carry that extra weight and I know what my body feels like now, it’s a marked improvement. At almost 52, I’m medication free.
Save yourself money and frustration. If you need help getting on track and staying there, hire a qualified professional that doesn’t make ridiculous promises. Find someone who puts your health first.
If you remember nothing else when those crazy weight loss commercials come on, remember these three things:
1. If diets worked, obesity would be non-existent. 2. The only way to get yourself healthy for the long-term is find a way to move everyday, even if it starts with a walk around the block, and focus on eating less food with more nutritional value.
3. It’s weight loss season and the hype is here, don’t get sucked in.
Here’s to a healthy spring and a healthy you.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On February 2, 2011 No Comments
Since I lost my weight close to 30 years ago, I find that the biggest culprit of successful, long-term weight loss for people is unrealistic expectations. People see magazine covers or television shows, or award shows and assume that the way the models and stars of Hollywood look is the way they should look. It’s unfortunate that this has become the goal for many of my clients including kids, not good.
When people are setting weight loss goals, I often remind them that the best “goal” weight is a living weight. What is a living weight? It’s the amount you weigh that is sustainable, healthy and realistic. In other words, if you lose weight and have to starve yourself and exercise 24/7 simply to maintain the weight, that’s not your living weight. If you find that you’re constantly weighing yourself and skipping meals just to stay at your “ideal” weight, it’s not your living weight. If you’re constantly obsessing over your weight, it’s not a living weight.
If you’re in the process of or considering losing weight, it’s important you keep reality at the forefront of any positive changes. Consider the following:
- Remember, if you’re starving yourself to lose weight, it’s not going to be sustainable.
- If you’re working out for 2-3 hrs or more a day, 7 days a week, your weight loss will not be sustainable.
- If you’re embarking on a dietary change, make sure that the changes you’re making are manageable. Now keep in mind, most people eat too much, but gradual changes are more likely to be permanent changes vs. cutting down to 1200 cals per day.
- If you’re obsessed with your weight loss and weighing yourself every day to see if you’ve gained back any weight, that’s not a living weight.
- Living weight is all about the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time exercise most days of the week as well as eat more healthfully. 20% of the time is life, vacations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Living weight is not about perfect, it’s about potential. Every one has the potential to make healthy changes to achieve a healthy, living weight.
- Living weight is a reasonable weight. Remember, height and weight charts are average and miss certain variables, including one that I consider to be most important, genetics. It’s not to say that if you come from family that is obese, you can’t change the cycle, but if you’re large boned, you have to take that in to account and not shoot for a weight that someone the same height, although small boned would weigh. It’s unique for everyone.
- Living weight is not about comparing. If you’re eating well most of the time, (eliminating fried and processed foods), exercising regularly, you’ll be where you need to be.
Living weight is just that, striving for good health but living in the process.
Here’s to YOUR living weight!
By Nicki On September 25, 2010 4 Comments
I have a dear friend that has battled with weight most of her adult life. Whether it’s you or someone close to you, there is no greater pain that having someone you care about struggle with something, be it weight, relationships, etc.
The other day we went out for lunch and she told me about something her father had recently shared with her and it really hit home for her. Remember that we don’t hear something until we are really ready to HEAR something. And sometimes simply changing the way it’s said, or how it’s said, may be all that’s needed to finally connect to a message. So here is how her father viewed his daughter’s weight loss struggles and how she might better move forward with her weight loss efforts. “When you go out too fast in the swim portion of the triathlon, you end up over doing it and get out of breath and you never really recover. The ideal approach, is to start off slow until you find your groove and then you are strong for not only the swim, but for the entire event.”
I couldn’t think of a better metaphor for the whole weight loss approach. Every client that I have worked with that has failed weight loss efforts is because it’s always, and I mean always, too much, too soon leaving little room for success. To throw a dramatic shift in to an already chaotic lifestyle does little to set the stage for long-term success. Let’s use the Biggest Loser as an example. They have a dramatic shift, their lifestyle completely changes, yet they have learned little in the way of real life application. How can you go from exercising 8 hours a day, having meals prepared for you to working a 9-5 job, driving the kids to their school activities and having to figure out what’s for dinner and either making it or picking it up, right? It’s unrealistic and highly unsustainable.
So just as my friends Dad suggests, “start off slow until you find your groove…” it may not be the quick and easy results you want, but the truth is there are no real results in fast and easy, only temporary success and well, if it’s temporary, it’s really not a success.
Here’s to Your Health!
By Nicki On January 24, 2010 2 Comments
This past week was a great week for me. As much as my clients say I help them, they don’t realize how much they help me. To start with, I was voted one of Chicago’s top 7 Personal Trainers by the Chicago Sun Times, pretty cool stuff. Not to mention I was in a group of other trainers that I have always admired, so I felt very, very honored. Second, I started working with Anthony this week and getting him going with exercise. Many people have asked me, “So how’s Anthony doing?” (If you don’t know about Anthony, here’s some background.) Anyway, here is how Anthony is doing.
Anthony and I had our first workout on Wednesday and he did an amazing job. His nutrition has been going really well and his biggest fear is sweets, he’s got a great sweet tooth. I kept reminding him that losing weight is not easy, but it’s also important to keep things in check and not stay in the “all or nothing” mindset. I reminded Anthony that every diet he has ever been on has only been about deprivation and weight loss. I want Anthony and all of my other clients to realize that yeah, there are habits you definitely need to change but if anything is to stick, you’ve got to move away from the “all or nothing” mindset. Developing a healthy lifestyle is not a black or white proposition, you’ve got to be in the center, the gray if you will.
We had a great workout, Anthony is great to work with, willing to try anything and very good with cuing changes in form. I sent him home with a few exercises to do on his own and he felt great after his workout. I think more than anything he was surprised that I didn’t yell at him and tell him to, “Drop and give me 50 push-ups.” Nope, instead we got his body used to movement and got his muscles prepped for future work, I think he’s ready and so is his body!
Today when Anthony came in, he said he really struggled with sweets. His wife cleared out anything in the house that might trigger a splurge, so he really felt frustrated. I let him know that it’s not going to be easy. Sweets are like a drug that gets your brain to think that you can’t survive without them. Given that our diets are full of sugar (and not the obvious kind) getting rid of a lot of it is very hard. So we talked about options that he can use in an effort to get past those really tough cravings.
The truth is that changing years of habits is VERY hard, but it’s important to note that it won’t be that way forever. Think about anything that you had to learn, a language, a new sport, a new job, etc. Remember how hard it was and you thought to yourself, “Oh, I am never going to get this.” Eventually you did, you figured it out and moved forward. That’s why I tell people all the time, “Stop FIGHTING weight, rather LEARN how do work with your body.” Learning to live a healthy lifestyle is very much that way. You have to BELIEVE that you are able to make changes. You have to BELIEVE that you are worthy of making positive changes. You have to BELIEVE that what is hard today, will get easier as you learn about the myriad of choices available to you. Unfortunately, years of dieting prohibits finding your own personal route to a healthier body.
When seeking to lose weight and develop a healthy lifestyle, PLEASE be patient with yourself and find a solid source of support. Anthony knows that he has no choice about changing his eating habits and activity level, he must change his lifestyle and his body if he is to move into the future with endless positive possibilities.
What is your motivation to change? Do you have a solid source of support? I invite you to join me and Anthony as we forge ahead in to a new world that offers endless opportunities and a healthy lifestyle that will eventually become the norm. Here’s to Fit Anthony!
Here’s to your healthy life and endless opportunities!
By Nicki On December 13, 2009 No Comments
The season is upon us, parties, clients bringing well intentioned “gifts” of food and on and on the food frenzy goes. So, if you’re trying to stay on track and maintain a dedication to healthy living, what do you do? Simple, plan, plan plan.
1. Always eat breakfast and make it a protein filled breakfast so you’re full and not likely to nibble on the office treats that people bring in.
2. Stay hydrated. Remember, often times when we think we’re hungry we’re likely dehydrated. So get in your water, especially if you’re going to a party where alcohol is involved. 2 glasses of water for every glass of alcohol.
3. Bring your own dish to a party. If you’re going to a party where you know the food is not going to be at all healthy, bring your own. There are some fantastic holiday dishes you can make that will not leave you feeling deprived.
4. DO NOT SAVE UP CALORIES! Biggest mistake people make is saving calories and thinking that calories are insignificant. In truth, most people who “save up” their calories for a party are more likely to eat more calories at that one party than they would have eaten throughout the day.
5. Get over the “it’s the holidays” mentality. The problem is, foods that actually used to be reserved for the holidays are around 24/7 and it’s not just holiday food anymore. Sure, if there is something you don’t normally have, go ahead and have a piece or a bite or whatever. But don’t use the holidays to eat in excess, it’s tough on your body and even tougher to deal with come January 1st.
Here’s hoping your holidays are as healthy as they can be, as often as they can be.
Be sure and check out our store for some great “healthy living” gift ideas! Free T-shirt for orders placed BEFORE December 15th!
By Nicki On December 8, 2009 No Comments
I started training a new client and as new clients often do, he asked me about nutrition. He started off his question by saying, “I know what you’re going to say, but what do you think about diet soda?” I smiled and asked, “Well, what do you think I’m going to say?” He responded, “Well, you’re going to say it’s bad for me, right?”
The truth is that most people know what is healthy to put in to their body, while others, not so much. When people are looking to lose weight or change their lifestyle, almost ALL of the people I have worked with know what they need to do but the truth is that, they simply aren’t willing to make the changes.Why? Because they’re over the top, unreasonable.
I believe the reason weight loss efforts are often unsuccessful is due in part to not wanting to change. After all, due to the diet mentality many people have, they feel that healthy living must be an all or nothing proposition, not true. Diets don’t work because they ARE all or nothing. Healthy living works because it’s real life. It’s good days with not so good days. But one bad day doesn’t deem you a failure, unfortunately, diets have instilled that belief, hence the short lived weight loss efforts.
So here’s my quarters worth. If you really want to lose weight, really want to make some changes, WANT the changes you’re making. For example, if someone told me I could never again eat pizza, I don’t know if I could do that, seriously. But if I knew that a couple of times a month, I can have some pizza, that’s cool. If changes are practical and will ultimately provide a return, you’re going to want to do it. But if you’re setting yourself up to make some over the top changes, you’re really not going to want to because you’ll feel deprived and know that ultimately you’ll fail. How is that enticing?
Bottom line, make changes that make sense for you so the changes are what you WANT to do. The more changes you make, the better you’ll feel, providing they’re reasonable. If you make realistic changes, you’ll stay consistent. My 80/20 rule is best. 80 percent of the time, eat well and exercise, 20 percent is life. You can make changes, just make sure they are changes that you’re willing to make, for the long term. That’s the secret to success!
BE SURE AND CHECK OUT OUR STORE FOR SOME GREAT GIFT IDEAS. FOR EVERY PURCHASE I WILL RECEIVE A FREE “DIETING SUCKS” T-shirt! ALL BOOKS WILL BE SIGNED PER REQUEST!
By Nicki On September 27, 2009 No Comments
I was recently having an email conversation with a reader.
By Nicki On September 20, 2009 3 Comments
I don’t know about you, but my hunch is that you know someone that would risk the reputation of someone else so they could make themselves look better. It has never been more apparent than on the recent