Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘weight loss and gluten-free’ Category

Weight Loss Season Hype- Don’t Get Sucked In

By Nicki On April 8, 2013 8 Comments

WEIGHT_BS_WEIGHT_LOSS_LANE.jpg.w300h247“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.

So who’s fault is it that our country still battles the bulge and opts for medication over recreation? It’s both sides.    weightloss

  • 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.

health16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Nicki

 


Why We Overeat and Why Obesity Won’t Go Away

By Nicki On August 2, 2012 3 Comments

While I was traveling last month I was sitting in an airport and watched a family finish off hamburgers and fries. One of the younger kids about 5 or 6 asked his Mom, “Do I have to eat all of it?” She responded, “Just eat it and be quiet.”  Hmm, my heart sank for 2 reasons. One, she really never answered his question and two, how will he ever learn what good food tastes like and how enjoy it? My hunch is that   more people simply eat for satiety while dismissing  flavor, nourishment, and enjoyment.
We can all agree that family dinners are not like they used to be. When I was a kid, unless my folks were going out to eat, we always ate together. When my kids were growing up, I tried to do most of our meals as a family, but when sports season rolled around that became tough. The bottom line is that we grab and go never thinking about what’s actually going in to our body, and how it may positively or negatively affect our health.
I read t his quote recently and it sums up my thoughts, “If we looked at eating as an activity to relish rather than as an invitation to gluttony, we’d all be not only healthier but happier.” –  Michelle Stacey
I have to admit, I have not always been passionate about food. When I was 50 pounds overweight, I ate for satiety, nothing more. But once I realized the way I was living wasn’t serving me well, I not only set out to change my habits, I set out to educate myself.  Learning has been a process. There’s rarely a day that passes, that I don’t learn something new about nutrition and the foods that serve to fuel positive health vs. foods that take away from health.
 Diets, weight loss pills and drinks are not the secret to anything healthy, including weight loss. I have always believed that a healthy weight is the result of a healthy diet, and I mean diet in the sense that it’s what you put in your body. Simply acknowledging that nature provides everything we need to be healthy and strong. Solid, whole nutrition can’t be found in a box or in a fast-food restaurant. The closer your food is to natural, the less you have to worry about fat, sodium and calories. Most “natural” foods are impossible to overeat, and are naturally balanced when it comes to fat, sodium and calories.
The next time you feel dissatisfied with your weight, look beyond that and instead address what you’re eating. What percentage of the foods you eat are natural, whole foods, veggies, fruits and grains? How much of what you’re eating is processed? Boxed? Fast-food? By simply making small changes each week, perhaps start with including 1 extra whole veggie per day in your diet. Once that happens, add another and so on. Instead of fries, experiment with grains, brown rice, couscous, etc.  It takes time, and changing your palette is often the hardest part of it. But you can do it.
Why is obesity such an issue? Because we ignore body signals (disease, bloating, indigestion, etc.) and continue  our addiction (fat, sodium and sugar) which takes over and rules food choices. As long as we continue to overfeed our body the wrong foods, we will never gain control over our weight, pure and simple.
Remember that just one small change today can be the positive difference in your health tomorrow.
Here’s to your health!
Nicki

Wanna Lose Weight? Check Out Your Local Farmers Market

By Nicki On June 5, 2012 No Comments

How I love the first Farmer's Market of summer!

For years, I’ve been telling people that weight loss is a byproduct of lifestyle, period. Yet many continue to jump on the latest diet trend in hopes of finding the miracle that once and for all melts unwanted fat and delivers the ideal body. Though intellectually people know that’s never going to happen, emotionally it’s a wish many still make every day.

I have always touted whole foods as the secret to a healthy weight. Even with my first book over 10 years ago, I gave the same advice then as I do today; in order to achieve a healthy weight,  you need to consider moderate portions of whole, REAL foods.

We have discovered through many studies and personal experience, that excess weight comes from so much of the processed foods we eat. Folks continue to be sucked in by confusing labels that promote, “All natural, gluten-free, fat-free, calorie-free,” it doesn’t matter, they’re likely garbage.

One of the great things about dabbling in the world of health and wellness is that there is always something new, and very often fleeting. For example, remember oats back in the 90’s as being the secret to weight loss? Fat-free in the 80’s? Yet here we are, still battling with our weight and hoping that the miracle that comes along will be fast, easy, painless and permanent.

Will something like that ever happen? As a  matter of fact, it’s something that’s been around forever, it’s just that diets are far more glamorous and make the truth far less attractive. The truth, real food. Yep, whole, natural food. No boxes no wrappers, no nothin’, simply whole, real foods. And there’s no better time than summer to experiment, and check out the vast selection of these amazing, natural foods that are kind to your body and your waistline.

As summer kicks in, Farmers Markets are opening and gaining in popularity. Farmers Markets are a wonderful way for small family farms to connect with their community, share their bounty of beautiful, fresh and in some instances, organic produce. I can promise you that the moment you choose to exchange your processed, diet foods for the real thing, change will happen. Your body will thank you for giving it what it needs by losing extra weight and operating in a more energetic way.

Nothing more beautiful than summer harvest!

However, no matter how healthy food is, quantity is still to be noted. I like to follow my Q2 rule, quality and quantity. Just because something is healthy, doesn’t mean I should eat enough to feed 2 families. Part of being healthy is being kind to your body which includes not overeating.

If you’ve struggled with achieving a weight you’re happy with, why not support your local farmers while supporting your health? There’s nothing better than a meal full of fresh vegetables to make your body love you.  And the best part of all, you’ll likely love your body back.

 

Here’s to your health!

Nicki


Dissecting Diets

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!

Nicki


Kids and Obesity- Who Is To Blame?

By Nicki On January 29, 2012 2 Comments

If they were looking for volunteers, I’d be the first one in line to help teach kids about healthy living. There is clearly a shortage of health education for kids these days, and if it is being taught, it’s not being taught well.

Full disclosure, years ago, I fed my kids fun fruits and fruit roll-ups. Yes, we went to McDonald’s and Burger King. I potty trained my kids with M&M’s, yes, I did all the things I shouldn’t have done. But that was before I knew something wasn’t right. When I was pregnant, I made every effort to eat whole, pure food. Why should I feed them differently now? So, I made the decision to educate myself on food and the ramifications of feeding kids garbage, I reigned in, much to their disappointment.

I have been working with obese/inactive adults for almost 20 years. In the last 5 years, I have had a surge in Mother’s coming to be me with their young daughters, 11, 12, 13. “They just won’t stop eating. Their siblings are thin, their friends are thin, so I just want her to feel comfortable in her body and lose some weight.” All of this said in front of their child. I often ask parents what types of foods they buy at home, “Well, the other kids know when to stop, they don’t over eat some of the junk food I buy. Plus they’re really active. She just can’t eat that stuff.”  My reply, “Well, why do you buy it?”  Mother’s response, “Why should I have to punish the other kids when they don’t have a problem?”  Hmmm, punishment = taking away junk food. And this my friends is where the problem starts.

Georgia's Childhood Obesity ad campaign

Recently, there’s been some controversy over a new ad campaign in Georgia (which has the 2nd highest obesity rate for children) utilizing obese kids to get a message across; fat is bad. Some people are mortified by them, while others think they will have a positive impact. Me, I’m not so sure. As an obese teen, I find the ads offensive and ineffective. First of all, the photos should be of the whole family, not just the child. Second, I think a child that is 8 or 9 years old is being exploited and stigmatized. You don’t think kids will be bullied or teased when they see these ads? One of the ads, “Big bones didn’t make me this way, big meals did,” will surely result in teasing on the playground.  A more positive approach would be a picture of an entire family that says: “A healthy child is the result of a healthy home.”  or “A fit child, comes from a fit family.”  Bottom line, FAMILIES need to be educated on food and how they feed their children. Just because children are active in sports does not justify a run to a fast food restaurant following practice. Parents will tell me, “Well, we don’t have time to cook a big meal, drive-thrus are just easier.”  Well, they may be easier, but that’s not setting your child up for success when the shopping is ultimately u p to them.

Further, most parents are bound and determined to see that their kids do well in school and in life, shouldn’t nutrition and exercise be part of their rearing? 40  years ago, it was different, but today, it should be mandatory for every family that has a kindergarten age child, go to a class that teaches families the value in raising kids with healthy food and lifestyle. Even in low income areas, you could get volunteers teaching famlies how to eat healthy on a budget. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)  A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is far better than a fast-food burger, or jumbo sandwich.

We, the parents are responsible for our children, and it is up to us to see that our children learn the importance of eating well and staying healthy. What they learn about nutrition now, they will carry through to their adult years.  They won’t always be playing soccer or running track, so introducing healthy eating and reasonable ways to stay active, should not be done just for inactive kids, it should be for ALL kids.

I’m not crazy about the ad campaign, I feel that there could be a much more tactful, effective way to get the message out about childhood obesity. The people who came up with the campaign believe that the “shock and awe” value is what’s needed to wake people up to the problem of childhood obesity. I’m not so sure I agree. I think the only thing that is going to help, is educating families on what constitutes healthy eating and it needs to start from birth.

We can’t blame schools, vending machines, ads, fast-food restaurants for the obesity epidemic, rather it’s up to us to do the research, understand how junk food and fast-food compromises our health and begin making positive changes for ourselves. That way, we will be better equipped to pass it on to the next generation without feeling the need to objectify  kids to make a point.

 

Here’s to your health!

Nicki


Weight, We’ve Got It All Wrong!

By Nicki On January 15, 2012 No Comments

I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life working to inspire people to get healthy through exercise and sound nutrition. However, the challenge with my job is that not everyone wants to get healthy as much as they want to lose weight. Over the years, we have put such emphasis on weight loss that we’ve lost site of our health. Obesity wasn’t a big issue (no pun intended) 40-50 years ago for a few reasons, we were more active, we ate less, and the quality of our food was better.  As people struggle with their weight, they are missing out on the real opportunity to get healthy and weigh less, and it all starts with making decisions based on improving health vs. losing weight. I’ve said it before, (many times) but I’ll say it again, weight loss (or a healthy weight) is simply a byproduct of healthy living.

The more I study nutrition, the deeper my interest in the quality of the foods we eat and  how it affects our health. What I’ve found is that the most damaging changes in our food choices include, the increase of sugar consumption, and hormones used in so many products.

Dr. Christine Horner, is a nationally known surgeon and author advocating prevention-oriented medicine and ways to become and stay healthy naturally.  Here is what Dr. Horner says about sugar.

“To me, sugar has no redeeming value at all, because they found that the more we consume it, the more we’re fuelling every single chronic disease,” Dr. Horner says. “In fact, there was a study done about a year ago… and the conclusion was that sugar is a universal mechanism for chronic disease. It kicks up inflammation. It kicks up oxygen free radicals. Those are the two main processes we see that underlie any single chronic disorder, including cancers. It fuels the growth of breast cancers, because glucose is cancer’s favorite food. The more you consume, the faster it grows.”

I have always believed that sugar is the “Beelzebub” of the food world. In my years of working with women, those who were addicted to sugar, were the ones with the most health problems while struggling with their weight.  There are numerous diets and though they may help people lose weight temporarily, they rarely include health education in their programs. Further, not only does chronic dieting mess with your body, it messes with your mind. Sure, some diets include fresh vegetables in their “Healthy Foods to Eat”, but recently, Weight Watchers listed Chicken McNuggets as a healthy food option. WHAT? It goes back to the focus on weight vs. health.

If possible, I’d like you to stop for one minute, consider this internal conversation, “O.K., clearly I’m not a healthy weight, my blood pressure is high and I’m out of shape.  Going on a diet is NOT the answer. I’ve got to learn how to eat better and exercise regularly as that is the ONLY long-term solution to improving my health and not jeopardizing it through some wacky weight loss program. How many diets have I been on? And ultimately, what have they done for me?”

But instead of that conversation, it often goes more like this, “I’m so fat, I’ve got to do something. But, every time I try to lose weight I quit, so why even bother? Most of the time I’m eating foods I don’t even like OR I’m hungry all the time.  May as well just keep doing what I’ve been doing or try that cabbage soup diet. My neighbor is doing it and losing weight.”

Dr. Andrew Weils' Healthy Food Pyramid

I’d like you to start thinking differently, today, right now. When you think about food and your weight, remember these two points are the ONLY solution to long-term weight and health issues.

1. Eat whole foods including the following: fresh veggies, (think outside the carrot and celery box here), whole grains (not enriched, bleached flour) WHOLE grains, quinoa, brown/wild rice, fresh fruits (ideally organic, but hey, any kind is better than no kind, just wash it well), water and farm raised meats. Eating these foods will never leave you hungry, they won’t leave you craving more like processed and sugar laden foods do. I’m not a purist by any means, but 80-90% of  the time I eat very well. Since losing 50 pounds over 30 years ago, I have not put my weight back on. Not because I’m “good”,  I’m aware. I want to be in control of my health, I want to have the power over my body and not let the food that makes people a lot of money ruin my body, (remember, processed foods are much cheaper to manufacture and that is transferred to the consumer).

2. You MUST exercise. Look, we all know that technology has led most of us to sit far more than we move. If we are to give our body what it needs to function at it’s best, we must exercise. Exercise is NOT punishment for an imperfect body, rather it’s a gift that you can give yourself each and every day. When you exercise, you are allowing the body to do what it was designed to do, MOVE.  15-20 minutes a day is a starting point. Start, you have to.

Here’s the bottom line. Stop with the diets, stop. Start educating yourself about food and what food makes your body run more efficiently and work to prevent illness. You are welcome to email me and I will give you resources to start your journey(nicki@realityfitness.com).  Type II diabetes CAN be prevented. Heart disease CAN be prevented, obesity CAN be prevented simply by shifting the way you look at food and making it your ally vs. your enemy. Don’t give food the power any more, it’s time for you to step up and take control of your health and ultimately your life! Who me, passionate? You bet I am! I want to see women gain strength and take back control of their health, it’s long overdue.

Dedicated to your good health,

Nicki


A Personal Trainer’s 2012 Wish List

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!

Nicki


Rethink Your Motivation for Healthy Living

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,

Nicki


Creating Your New “Normal”

By Nicki On March 6, 2011 1 Comment

Seriously?

After working with clients for close to 20 years and keeping 50 pounds off for more than 30 years, I am all too familiar with the challenges weight loss efforts bring.  I feel confident in saying that much of the weight issues in our country stem from two very basic things, poor nutrition and little exercise. Yet as much as exercise and better nutrition is encouraged, motivation is still lacking for many.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, when you look at obesity numbers from 40 years ago, they pale in comparison to the numbers today, why? Lifestyle, pure and simple.  People eat too much, they eat too much of the wrong food (convenient, high-sugar, processed, fried foods) and move too little, thanks to the internet and modern conveniences. Given that most of you probably know all this, there is something that I feel is missing when educating people about developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and that is, the ability to create a new normal.

40 years ago, normal meant being naturally active, people mowed their own lawns, cleaned their own homes, washed their own cars (if they had one), actually got up to change the television channel, (gasp!)  fast food restaurants were rare and most often was ice cream was eaten at birthdays only.

Compare that to today’s lifestyle, many people hire out so calories that were expended around the house are stored. Fast food restaurants have become the norm, (since the 70’s fast food restaurants available in the US has tripled). Processed snacks are advertised on television as if  a necessity. There’s no longer the need to change our televisions because many are watching it on their computer while playing games, or reading the paper or checking out sport stats. The new normal is inactivity and overeating. However, maybe it’s time to consider creating  a different normal, one that is realistic for today’s lifestyle, but necessary for improving the quality of health in this country.

Why not make regular exercise the new normal? Why not make eating more vegetables and seeking a more plant based diet your new normal? Why does everything have to be a “diet” to lose weight or always a structured form of exercise and activity? Why not simply change (gradually) the way you choose to eat and find ways to include more movement in your daily life, creating your new normal?

The truth is that we have made this 40 year lifestyle shift a money-making machine for a lot of people, i.e. diet programs, weight loss supplements, surgeries, and countless pharmaceuticals.   Global Weight Loss and Gain Market (2009 – 2014)’, published by MarketsandMarkets, said the total global weight loss market is expected to be worth US$586.3 billion by 2014.  Add in all the processed foods (which at times I think work in conjunction with weight loss programs,”We help people gain the weight, you have them lose it”). It becomes a vicious cycle and a win-win for these companies, and to what end? The weight loss and processed food manufacturers may be winning, but clearly we are losing everything but the weight we need to be healthy.

It really is about creating a new, healthy normal. Look at the “natural” activity that was the norm 40 years ago. Granted, you may not have time to clean your home, or wash your car or mow your own lawn, which is fine, but you’re going to need to make up that lack of activity somewhere. Find YOUR new normal, find YOUR way of becoming more active every single day which used to be the norm. Find ways to eat better food more often and realize that processed food is preventing you from creating a naturally, healthy lifestyle, your new normal. What are you going to do about it? Are you willing to take action and decide that it’s time to create your new normal or are you willing to sit back and continue with what has become our country’s normal, a disease based lifestyle.

Nicki