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.
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!!
By Nicki On April 8, 2013 8 Comments
“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 March 27, 2013 6 Comments
When I lost 50 pounds over 35 years ago, it was the first time in my life that I paid attention to the food I was putting in my body. It was also the first time I fell in love with cooking. Thirty-five years later I continue to learn about food, the good, the bad and the ugly. If you continue to lose your way in the maze of unhealthy diets, perhaps this post may help in your journey toward healthy eating.
Healthy eating starts at home
I have learned over the years that to eat healthy you must have a healthy relationship with food. It really starts with an appreciation of food which is realized when you do your own cooking. I’m not saying you have to become Martha Stewart, I’m simply suggesting that healthy eating begins when you’re up close and personal with food.
When I decided to lose weight all those years ago, shopping, preparing and enjoying my own creations educated me on what foods go together and how to keep all of the flavor while reducing calories, fat and sodium. Had I not learned to cook, I may not have kept my weight off all these years.
There may be some of you who cringe at the idea of having to cook. Even starting with just a few meals a week at home is a start. Keep it simple. But trust me here, the more you learn about the power and flavor of real food, the greater chance of wanting to cook more at home. Cooking at home results in healthier meals and greater nutritional punch.
Since losing my weight, food trends are out of control. Lets walk through them and see which ones may sound familiar. When my kids were little, it was low-fat or no-fat. Then Susan Powter hit the world touting high carb and low protein. Then there was the oat bran craze, cabbage soup, food combining, low carb, Atkins, Paleo and gluten-free. I’m sure I’ve left a few out, but these are the most memorable. Now, what do all of these food trends have in common? They have all been used not for health, but for weight loss. Every time a new food trend hits the media, weight loss is typically the motive behind its success.
I have always believed that there are elements in each one of those diets that are redeeming. However, most of them are nothing more than a fad that helps drop pounds quickly yet rarely if ever is health focused, simply weight focused. Hence why obesity is alive and well.
Get Back to Basics
When I was pregnant I was dedicated to feeding myself and my unborn child well. I gave up alcohol, stayed away from foods that might be toxic (fish) and exercised daily. The idea of dieting was not even a thought. My focus was my unborn child. I believe this is true for most women. So, the question becomes why are we willing to risk our health by doing less than healthy things for our body when we’re not pregnant?
What I have discovered is that you’ve got one shot to make your health a priority. Figuring out the facts and myths surrounding food is next to impossible because there is so much conflicting information out there.
After thirty-five years I have learned the real truth behind healthy eating and healthy weight:
- Trust yourself. Deep down inside you know a good choice from a bad one. Green beans good, French fries not so much.
- Don’t jump on the latest food trends, they will be temporary and if they have staying power, read more about it. Look at the research and educate yourself.
- The healthier the food, the fewer ingredients. Have you ever seen fresh fruits or veggies with an ingredient list? No, because its straight up good for you, solid nutrition.
- Get back to basics. Eating too much is not good for you. Fried foods, processed foods, high sugar and salty foods are not good for you. Less is more when it comes to meat, saturated fat, sodium and portions.
- Eat for yourself, not for weight loss. You’ll likely choose more wisely. Further, a byproduct of healthier eating is weight loss.
Don’t choose food for weight, choose it for health.
If there’s one tried and true “secret” that I’ve learned over the years it is, eating for health vs. weight. This approach is actually the best way to lose or manage weight. Think about it, if you’re able to focus on the foods that are naturally good for you, you will weed out the less healthy foods that caused the excess weight to begin with. Sticking with whole, fresh foods is the surest way to a healthier you.
Trust yourself to make the right choices. Focus on your health and understand its a process. I learn something new everyday. I also seek to learn as much as I can so I can make the best decisions for my health. Isn’t your health worth it?
Two of my favorite new reads include: Julieanna Hever’s- The Complete Idiots Guide to Plant Based Nutrition and David Grotto’s Book, The Best Things You Can Eat.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On March 11, 2012 4 Comments
I admit, my first attempt at weight loss as an overweight teen was a diet. In fact, it was Weight Watchers. However, back in 1978, WW was significantly different. It really wasn’t a “diet” like we know today, it was an education in healthy eating, a healthy diet. For the first time in years, I abstained from eating fast food, started moving more and ate fruits and vegetables every day. Since that time, weight loss strategies and the ridiculous number of fast-n-easy diets has dramatically changed people’s relationship with food. Instead of discovering how food can work with their body, many people are fighting weight loss and food has become their weapon of choice.
As a senior in high school, I was 50 pounds heavier and on a 5’2″ frame, that’s just not healthy. I knew by how I felt, how I performed each day that something wasn’t right. To be honest, it wasn’t so much how I looked, but more about how I felt. Today, it’s all about how we look, how thin we are and health has taken a back seat. I look at movie stars, models and even reality stars and thin is the new black. The truth is that not everyone is meant to be skinny, and I mean skinny, not thin, Hollywood, Angelina Jolie thigh skinny. And women (and some men) buy into that look as a goal to shoot for. So, they jump on the latest diet that promises to slim your thighs, harden your abs, whittle your waist and remove cellulite. And because of the pressure to meet the expectations of an unrealistic culture, we diet, over and over and over again all in an effort to be- skinny.
Over the last few years, I have become more and more interested in nutrition, how what we eat affects our body as well as our environment. I’ve been fascinated to read the evolution of nutrition over the years. Oddly enough, instead of our country creating amazing, healthy foods to make us smarter and leading edge, we’ve excelled in fast-food restaurants and processed food leaving us all unhealthy and overweight. We see high numbers of obesity, schools cutting out physical education and more and more kids being diagnosed with things never heard of 30 years ago. When I was in grade school, no one had allergies. Maybe one or two kids had asthma. ADD? Autism? ADHD? It was unheard of then.
As my interest in nutrition has grown, so has the way I fuel my body. And the funny thing is I find myself changing and becoming more and more interested in listening to and trusting what my body needs to perform optimally. The way I eat is not designed to help me become thin, not skinny but healthy. Diets that I have reviewed over the years have one goal, to cause weight loss and longevity is irrelevant. These programs figure if they get people to lose weight once, they’ll come back. because they believed it worked before. Hmmm. Over and over and over again, people fall in to the diet trap striving for skinny, to achieve what they perceive to be normal. If only we could rise above the hold that diets clearly have on the 70 million Americans that diet each year.
I recently wrote an article on Plant Based Nutrition. I am a believer. Not only am I believer, I am gradually changing my lifestyle to accommodate more of a plant based diet, not weight loss, health based. Why? Because it’s more along the lines of how my ancestors ate and given the way our environment is constantly compromised, I want to select my foods based on how kind the food is to my body and to the earth. When I’m buying organic simply because it’s organic and dismissing the fact that it was sent here from Mexico or Chile, what kind of carbon imprint is that leaving? Further, how does the nutrition diminish during lengthy transportation? Wouldn’t it make better sense to buy locally even if not necessarily organic? We’ve confused organic with earth and health smart, not always the case.
Imagine if more people took up gardening and learned to eat seasonally vs. expecting perfect produce in the off season. Imagine how differently you would view food if you didn’t have to decipher ingredients on the side of a box that looked more like hieroglyphics versus real food. Eating for health truly is the key to ridding yourself of diets and hanging on to a healthy, strong body.
I believe it’s time to walk away from the world of diets that does nothing to encourage healthy eating options, simply calorie focus. It’s time to realize that if diets were great, obesity and disease would decline, not the case. Getting back to basics with a focus on plant based nutrition, locally grown produce, small farms we can support, we will not only find a wonderful difference in the health of our body, we will discover a great way to positively impact our environment.
Here’s to your health!
By Nicki On March 1, 2012 1 Comment
Well, it’s March 1st. New Year’s resolutions have been shelved as guilt settles in to each sedentary day. We’re reminded of our lost commitments as weight loss programs dominate advertising space on television, magazines and in our head. It’s the time of year when we wished we had held tight to our resolutions, but as history shows, other priorities have strong-armed healthy intentions. All is not lost, however; there are things to consider before you get back on the horse and ride your way into the healthy living sunset.
Most people abandon their resolutions when the vision of becoming a picture perfect eater and exerciser slowly fades into the sea of lost hope. The vision unfortunately excluded the reality of a job, family and unexpected challenges that naturally occur in life. If you’re feeling frustrated, depressed or guilt-ridden about letting your healthy intentions slide, let it go. Years ago, I abandoned the notion that I could be a super woman. Though the idea of doing it all left me excited, the actual act of doing it all left me exhausted. I realized that the best way to stay on top of my health and balance it with my busy life was looking reality in the eye and accepting that my best was good enough.
Every time someone comes to me Jan. 1 to share their litany of healthy living resolutions, I have to stop them. Although the intentions are admirable, the likelihood of long-term commitment to the changes is just not going to happen. How can anyone expect to go from inactivity and fast food runs daily to workouts seven days a week and a completely vegan diet? It’s just not realistic. What is realistic is standing back, taking a look at your life and implementing a beginners program. Most people implement an advanced athletes program and wonder why they can’t stick with it.
When I decided to lose 50 pounds, I was a slug. A crunchy burrito was my favorite food. I also thought Cheetos were a healthy alternative to chips. They’re so colorful! Clearly, deciding to dump junk food and begin exercising was a daunting proposition, but I knew there wasn’t an alternative. Well, I suppose there was, but that wasn’t the choice my health could afford. Thirty-plus years later, I’m so glad I let my health rule my decision; it turned out to be a good one.
So where are you today? Where do you want to be tomorrow? When you look at the resolutions that you made, were they a bit overzealous? Remember, it likely has taken you many years to develop bad habits, so you need to make the same consideration when developing new, healthier habits.
The first step to getting back on track is to start off slow. Instead of saying you’re going to work out seven days a week, why not start with two days? After you stick with that for a month, either add on time or another day. Ultimately, and I mean ultimately, not immediately, you will get to a point where you will walk further or run, or bike ride or swim more often. Getting started can’t be overwhelming, or it will lack staying power. You must consider your lifestyle and limitations when planning your program. Healthy living motto: Be realistic!
Next, food. Once an ally now an enemy and that’s the problem. The more you “fight” weight, “beat” weight loss, join the “weight loss battle” it’s a negative journey. Rethink the meaning of food and what purpose food serves. Simply put, food allows our body to function properly, period. But we’ve starved it, teased it with fake food, binged on junk food and been ashamed of the body it’s created — thus the breakup between us and food. Food needs to be viewed differently. Not for a diet but for sustenance. Not for weight loss but for health gains. Not for mindless eating but for mindful eating. Not for distension but for prevention. The minute you can select foods that will encourage good health, the battle, the fight, the war will likely end.
I encourage you to consider “getting back together” with healthy food choices and start an exercise program off slowly. You’ll likely be more successful in your efforts. But don’t get too comfortable. As you improve your activity, find new and fun things to add on to keep it interesting.
Celebrate your successes and recognize when you’ve accomplished something great. For some that may be a walk around the block to start. As for food, the Internet has a wealth of resources for cooking healthy. Stick as closely as you can to whole foods, less boxed. Spend more time cooking at home versus spending time at the drive-through. It can be done, but it has to be done slowly and respectfully.
Rome wasn’t built in a day nor should a healthy body be expected to. It takes time, dedication and a solid dose of reality. Do what you can today to contribute to a healthier you tomorrow. And that my friends is the secret to securing those resolutions.
Here’s to your good health!
(Reprinted from February 21st edition of The Naperville Sun)
By Nicki On January 10, 2012 No Comments
I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of the celebrity diet ambush that seems to be on every other television commercial. Hey, don’t get me wrong, Jennifer Hudson, rockin’ it (but her heavier self is off key at the end of the commercial, notice that?), Marie Osmond (8 brothers and she’s the only one with weight issues?) , Mariah Carey, subhuman (after twins, she looks like that? Really?), Charles Barkley (being that tall can hide a multitude of sins), Janet Jackson, serial dieter, yo-yo pro. And that’s just scratching the surface of the latest weight loss celebrities. But seriously, are these people solid role models? My thoughts are, um, no.
I guess you can look at the commercials and think, “Well, it just goes to show celebrities have battles they fight too!” Yeah, well, they make more money than I’ll ever see in my lifetime. These stars can have people cook the food, order the food and if they want, spoon feed them the food without even having to think about it. The truth is, celebrity endorsements is yet another way that diet programs that are short lived find their way in to your psyche and eventually your wallet. And more important, let’s see where these “stars” are 3 years from now, 5 years from now, still fit and thin? TBD.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire anyone who can set their mind on a goal and achieve it. But when you start putting celebrities in to the mix, that changes all the rules. They are NOT regular folk. They make money based on their looks and they will do whatever they need to in order to get in to their million dollar costumes/dresses, etc. Our lives are so vastly different including the things that motivate us as well as the things that allow us to make difficult changes. Mariah Carey just had twins, God Bless her, but my hunch is she’s got a bit of help with those babies. For the average woman looking to lose weight after having twins, not only does she not have the gift of a nanny or two, she doesn’t have a diet company knocking on her door asking if she’d like to endorse them if she follows their program. Imagine, getting paid to lose weight? However, that’s a double edged sword. You gain the weight back and you get just as much attention, you just don’t get paid for it.
I don’t know, I just have a really hard time seeing all of these celebrities saying, “If I did it, you can too!” No I can’t, whether it be money, time or support, no one is paying me to lose weight. I suppose some may be inspired to change and that’s a plus. But the real stars, the real celebrities are those folks that set their mind to get healthy once and for all, and do it the old fashioned way, and don’t get paid for it. 30 years ago, I lost weight the old fashioned way, simply by making healthier choices and following my 80/20 rule, works every time.
Don’t let the pressure of unrealistic success stories get you down. There are plenty of real people with real life success stories that changed their life for the better, all on their own, no endorsements, no promises of fortune or fame, no nannies or agents to keep them on task, just good old fashioned desire and motivation.
Check out my most recent column. Now she’s a real star!!
Here’s to your health!
By Nicki On December 30, 2011 6 Comments
As the new year approaches, gyms start gearing up for the onslaught of seasonal exercisers, while diet programs click their heels in glee, the money season is upon them, CHA-CHING! They are grateful for the over-imbibing, procrastinating, excuse-making, will-powerless customer.
Magazines hope for record breaking sales as the latest fad diet or successful weight loss story graces their cover. But at the end of it all, what will people get out of the money and energy they put in to their weight loss efforts? Unfortunately, all but 1-2% of those desperately seeking miracles will realize there are no miracles and the only thing left is hard work and dedication. But for some, that’s not what they bought. So, come February they walk away, back to the lifestyle that hasn’t served them well, but seems significantly easier. By March, they’re regretting they gave up and by May, the cycle starts all over again.
I’ve seen this yo-yo pattern for years, so I decided to create my 2012 Wish List.
1. I wish diet companies would add to all of their commercials, brochures, and any other advertising the following: “Look, this takes a lot of hard work. Sure, you see the success stories in our ads that makes it look easy, but the truth is that our program only works if you’re willing to work- hard. You in?” That’s just honest sales.
2. I wish gyms would offer an incentive program at the beginning of the year as their way of increasing retention vs. making their money and running. I wish those “regular” exercisers and members would be more welcoming of newbies rather than rolling their eyes and saying, “God, I can’t wait til January is over so I can get my gym back.” I wish gyms would offer a mandatory program in January that would serve as inspiration to keep people coming to the gym long after their resolutions have passed.
3. I wish magazines would stop putting on the front of their magazines – “6 Ways to flatten your belly, NOW!” “How you can whittle your waist by the weekend!” “How you can lose 5 pounds in just one week!” None of these do anything to focus on ways to build esteem, self-acceptance or reality. I can flatten my abs right now by laying on my back on the floor, BINGO, flat! I can whittle my waist by wearing spanks and I can lose 5 pounds in a week by taking up a liquid diet for a day or two. But where is the long-term benefit? I wish for more education, REAL education that promotes women’s self-worth, talent, and beauty for REAL people not just the 20 something models that those of us over 40 will never look like (I’m speaking for myself of course).
4. I wish for women and men to rethink weight loss. In that I mean, don’t lose weight because of societal pressure, lose it because your health is at risk. Lose it because your quality of life is being limited by the things you can’t or don’t want to do because you’re carrying around extra weight. Believe that your health is the most important thing in the world and something as basic as walking most days of the week and focusing on whole foods more often can make a radical difference in your life. I so want that for you.
5. I wish health and fitness professionals would come together and STOP making claims that they can melt away fat, or shrink someone’s body. My job as a trainer is not to melt anyone or shrink anyone. My job is to educate. And the more that trainers perpetuate weight loss myths, the more our clients will expect unrealistic results. Speak the truth, healthy weight is a choice (I know, there are some medical issues, but work with me here), and they’re either in or out. I’ve seen too many trainers put people on ridiculous programs where they lose a ton of weight quickly, only to put it back on within the year, or worse yet get injured. My job as a trainer is to motivate and educate, not to perform miracles.
These are just a few of my favorite wishes.
Here’s to your good health in 2012!
By Nicki On December 26, 2011 No Comments
I’ve been involved with the health and fitness industry since 1979. For some that was a hundred years ago, for others, it seems like yesterday! I got involved with the industry after losing 50 pounds that found its way on to my unsuspecting body. I had always been a “toothpick”. My sister used to say to me, “Some day all of that ice cream you eat will catch up with you.” She was right, it did.
When I lost weight, I did it the old fashioned way. I went from a completely sedentary lifestyle to riding a bike most days of the week. I gave up my penchant for fast food and started cooking at home. I was only 17, but knew that if I didn’t make a change, it was going to get ugly. I made the change.
Over the last 20 years (I got back in to the business after my kids were older), I have committed myself to inspiring others to get healthy, to change their life and experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Little did I know how hard it would be, and how many snake oil sales men/women out there would tempt, cajole and lie their way into those lives of people desperately seeking a weight loss miracle.
My first book came out in 2000, and the message in that book is no different than my message of today, “If you want to lose weight, focus on lifestyle change as weight loss is a byproduct of healthy changes.” If weight loss was truly a motivating factor, obesity would be a non-issue.
So here is my promise to you as we enter 2012:
1. I promise never to tell you that I can help you “melt” away fat.
2. I promise never to tell you that you can lose 20 pounds in 20 days.
3. I promise never to tell you that weight loss is fast and easy.
4. I promise never to tell you that without changing a thing, you can lose weight.
5. I promise never to tell you that fad diets work.
6. I promise to educate you on the steps necessary to make change.
7. I promise to assess your readiness and be honest if I feel you’re just not ready to commit to change. I can’t force anyone to make changes, it has be of their own volition.
8. I promise to support and encourage you to make healthy changes, but I cannot make the changes for you.
9. I promise to always give you the latest in health and fitness education, and if I don’t know the answer to something, I will find it for you.
10. I promise to never give up on you, even when you do. Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy, it takes time, patience, desire and hard work. I promise to take the time, have the patience and desire to support your hard work!
As a health and fitness professional, it’s my job to steer you away from the dangerous, short-term programs out there. And this time of year, the diet predators are out in full force. The ONLY way, and I mean the ONLY way to recover your good health and a healthy body is dedication to regular exercise and a whole food diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. There is no secret, there is no magic, never has been, only the truth, and that is what I promise to tell you each and every day!
Here’s to a healthy you in 2012!
By Nicki On December 18, 2011 No Comments
With the proliferation of weight loss programs, you have been “trained” to focus on results more than anything else. Think about it, when you start a diet, the motivation comes from the visual you have in your mind of being thinner, stronger and feeling like a new man or woman, right? But the natural course of this kind of focus, (solely on results) eventually leads to failure. Let me explain.
When you think about exercising or eating right, you do it because you have this picture in your head of what you want to look like. The visual you create in your head is inspired by what you’ve seen on TV or in magazines highlighting people who have lost a bunch of weight and well, it inspires you to lose want to lose weight, right? Unfortunately, these stories are unrealistic and unsustainable.
The problem is when you focus on the end result, you don’t take in to consideration the actual “journey”. Then, once you realize the work involved, it becomes too overwhelming. That thinking comes from the “fast-n-easy” promises we see in ads and magazines. It looks so easy, right? I think we can all agree that lean and fit does not happen just by wishing or visualizing, it comes from dedication, desire and determination.
Following are some ways that you can think differently about making positive, healthy changes come January.
Value is what you should receive from any fitness center you choose. In other words, you should feel an immediate connection with the facility or fitness professional you choose. There should be value in that facility which makes the time you spend and the dollars you spend all worthwhile. It might be the location, the staff, the “feel” of the place, etc. Whatever it is, there needs to a perceived value which will keep you coming back.
Next, benefits. Here’s where you need to change your thinking. Instead of focusing on the results (which are often unrealistic) focus on the immediate benefits you’ll garner from eating better and exercising more. Benefits are immediate, such as sleeping better, having more energy, being more connected with your body. Unfortunately, we’ve been programmed to believe that weight loss is the only valuable part of being active and eating well. It is this type of thinking that keeps your efforts short lived, why? Because weight loss (fast and easy) is not necessarily the first benefit that is derived from eating better and exercising. Unfortunately, if weight loss isn’t experienced right away, all hope is lost and it’s back to inactivity and poor nutrition.
So here’s what I’d like you think about, if you’re only going to exercise and eat well to lose weight, for your resolution, think differently. Think of 5 benefits (other than weight loss) that you will receive from changing bad nutrition habits and moving your body more. Those benefits should then become your focus. Those benefits are unique to you and matter to you, it’s not the generic “weight loss” reason which clearly doesn’t work.
Take time this week to focus on the sustainable reasons you want to become healthy. Remember, weight loss is a byproduct of being active and eating well, it’s not the other way around. Start today to make small changes and trust me, it will just grow from there. Not a single worthwhile thing in life is achieved simply by wanting it, you’ve got to take action!
Here’s to your health,
By Nicki On November 3, 2011 No Comments
As we shift in to the frenzied holiday season, healthy intentions are left behind. Once the chaos of the holidays takes control of our lives, January 1st is the day of salvation. But you know, and I know, New Year’s resolutions rarely have lasting power.
Granted, we’re far away from January 1st, however many people I work with start losing their focus because January 1st is right around the corner. I wish there never was a January 1st, simply because people give up any healthy intentions in exchange for the belief that the New Year will undo all the November/December indiscretions. Quite frankly, it’s not the way it works. If I had a dollar for every person that used January 1st as their day of redemption, I’d be a very wealthy woman. In fact, if I had a dollar for every person that crashed and burned after 4 weeks of restriction and over exercising, I too would be wealthy. But I have no desire to make a penny off of people that are getting bad information.
I recently read an article discussing the fact that fad diets, or any kind of quick-fix doesn’t work. It’s the education and application of healthy living that gets lasting results, period, end of sentence. As you make your way in to the season of temptation and over-indulgence, check out some of my tips that offer solutions vs. resolutions designed to help you put your focus where it needs to be, on your health!
1. Do not attempt to lose weight over the holidays, rather focus on making the best choices you can, as often as you can. There will certainly be some things you are going to want, so do it, just do it moderately. After I lost my 50 pounds, my approach was 5 days on, 2 days off. In other words, 5 days a week I was very focused on getting the best nutrition possible. But allowing a couple of days to go out to dinner or for a party. It’s realistic and takes the pressure off to be perfect 24/7. Over time, you’ll find it not only gets easier but it will be more like 10 days strong, 1 day not so much!
2. Plan, plan, plan. Everyone should have their healthy food options ready. If you’re going to a party, bring your own dish. More now than ever, you should be planning your meals for the week. On Sunday, I sit down and figure out my week, when I’ll be home to eat and when I won’t. I then create my weekly menu and go shopping. I know that I’ve got meals covered and healthy snacks for the week. Planning is key to long-term success.
3. Water, Water, Water. Between alcohol consumption, too much sodium and heating, the winter is full of dehydration pitfalls. Be mindful of keeping yourself hydrated with water intake throughout the day. Further, being hydrated is noted for reducing hunger. H20 is a win-win!!
3. Don’t lose sight of exercise. I often tell my clients, “I don’t exercise for vanity, I exercise for sanity.” During the holidays, even more so. There is a lot of stress that comes with the holidays. Everything from pressure to shop, entertaining, family gatherings, etc. Exercise is the secret to maintaining a healthy energy level and creating a positive attitude that is often challenged during the season of good cheer.
4. You’re not perfect. One of the more common reasons people drop their exercise and/or nutrition efforts is unrealistic expectations. People believe that if they don’t get perfect results from their efforts, it’s pointless. If you continue to focus solely on weight, that may be right. But if you focus on lifestyle and ongoing efforts to make good choices most of the time, you can’t fail. Perfect is non-existent in the world of diet and exercise. In fact, that word is what I believe to be the demise of women’s best intentions. So take the pressure off yourself to be perfect. Simply be the best you can be most of the time and that is better than perfect, it’s realistic.
Here’s to a healthy holiday season!