Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Break from Holiday Stressing to Savor Life’s Blessings

Christmas memories
This is the time of year when the hustle and bustle of the season can take over our lives.  The consumer appeal of the mall and online shopping overshadow the blessings that take place right before our very eyes.  These daily blessings are even more evident during the holidays – all we have to do is open our eyes and truly see what really matters. 

Luckily for me, over the past few years my family and close friends have agreed to forgo material gifts for the gift of time together.  We celebrate the holiday with festive and delicious food, cheerful beverages, fun games, and spending quality time together.  Let’s face it, this time next year when you look back on the holiday season, will you be able to remember each present that you received and from whom you received it?  Or will you remember the conversations, experiences, and love you shared?  As I look back on the Christmases from my childhood through today, what comes to mind are the shared memories, traditions – new and old, laughs, and love.  Growing up, our Christmas season started with the annual trip to our farm to cut down our tree.  My dad and I would put on old jeans, good “work” shoes, and hefty gloves and take a ride out to the farm.  We started looking and would pick out ones we thought were contenders as we made our way through the woods.  We always chose three – one big one for my mom’s house, a medium one for Dad’s house, and a small one for Granny’s house. 

Christmas with Granmommie

Unfortunately, many of the loved ones with whom I shared Christmas experiences have now left this earth, but will never leave my heart.  Some of my favorite Christmas memories involve my Granmommie and Granny.  One of my favorite memories is our annual drive up to Kentucky to see my Granmommie.  We would typically arrive late in the evening and my mom and I always bet on whether Granmommie fell asleep while waiting for us.  Once we arrived, Granmommie had homemade Chex mix, “soup beans”, and banana bread waiting for us.  I adored being able to fall asleep next to Granmommie under an extra blanket she always added just for me.  I can also remember going to Granny’s house for Christmas dinner – complete with dressing in a cast-iron skillet and the best chess pie I’ve ever had.  The next morning started with homemade biscuits in that same skillet topped with homemade plum jelly.  I loved opening presents at Granny’s because I knew each year one of my gifts would be a year-long experience.  My dad got me a season pass to Opryland every year (that ages me, but any native Middle Tennessean will appreciate it).  He usually wrapped it in a large box with a pack of size-D batteries or multiple boxes inside each other.  I loved that he made opening the gift an experience. 

Christmas with Granny & Grandaddy

I cherish those memories.  They are sights, sounds, smells, and love that can never be replaced.  I do not remember details of exactly what I got (or didn’t get) for Christmas – I don’t remember the specifics of what was under the tree, but rather what happened around it each year.  Are the tasks that top your to-do list things that your loved ones will truly cherish?  If not, maybe it’s time to take a step back from the holiday stress and appreciate your true blessings. 

I became a health & weight loss coach because I want people to make memories for as many years as they can.  My goal for clients is not an ideal weight, but rather to give them a better life.  You don’t have to be a size 2 or at your high school weight to be healthy.  You can make small changes now to help you get and stay healthy so you can continue to make memories with your loved ones for many Christmases to come.  I wish I could have my grandparents here to celebrate Christmas this year.  While I can’t have that, I can take care of myself and help keep my loved ones healthy so we can love and laugh through future holidays and cherish holidays gone past. 

If thoughts of gift shopping and wrapping, party planning, and holiday decorating have you stressing, it’s time to take a break and count your blessings.  Make memories that last a lifetime, and do what you can to make sure you are here to make future memories.  If you need help getting started, I am here for you.  I’ve got you covered for the holidays – from fitness to catering.  I can help you squeeze in workouts, develop meal plans, and even cater your entire holiday party.  My catered meals include herb-roasted tenderloin, holiday turkey meatballs with gravy, sweet potato casserole with walnut crumble, green beans with almonds & crispy bacon, baked mac & cheese, cranberry-orange relish, apple spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting, dark chocolate brownies, maple bread pudding, mulled wine, cranberry cocktails.  Let me know if you want any of these at your party or family meal?   Book today and we can plan a meal for you!  And go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and that is definitely a blessing!  

Friday, November 16, 2012


This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking to and catering for a women’s retreat.  The ladies who attended this retreat ranged in age from young mothers to grandmothers.  They are all members of the same church and came together for a weekend of communion and restoration.  The theme of their retreat was hospitality.  I was thrilled when I heard this idea as being hospitable to one’s self is the heart of what I do. 

I was so grateful that these ladies invited me to be a part of their incredible weekend.  I spoke to them during a cocktail party on Friday night while they enjoyed hors devours I provided.  I also did a special program and provided lunch on Saturday.  Not only did I get an amazing response from the ladies, I felt rejuvenated just by sharing their weekend with them.  As a result, I wanted to share some of the highlights from last weekend – as we can all afford to show ourselves more hospitality, especially during this holiday season. 

Friday night was very casual as people came in from the end of a long busy week.  So, I provided a fun spread and an open conversation about health and wellness.  Below is the menu from Friday night. 
Hors Devours
Salmon cakes – With creamy sweet & sour dipping sauce
Tomato, basil, mozzarella skewers – With olive oil & balsamic vinegar
Gluten Free
Salad cups – With honeycrisp apples, cranberries, walnuts, feta cheese & vinaigrette dressing
Corn tortilla cups are Gluten Free
Cups without cheese are Vegan

Clockwise from top left: Salmon Cakes, Salad Cups, Bellinis, Mini Sweet Potato Pies
Fruit & dips Grapes, granny smith apples, red pears, & bananas
With yogurt dips & coconut, gingersnap, & walnut toppings
Coconut yogurt dip is Vegan
Coconut & walnut toppings are Gluten Free
Mini sweet potato pies – With gingersnap crust & coconut, gingersnap, & walnut toppings
Crustless pies are Gluten Free
Bellini – Champagne or sparkling grape juice with blueberry pomegranate juice
Blueberry garnish

On Saturday, I spoke to the ladies about providing hospitality to themselves and to their loved ones.  Women are good at being hospitable to family & friends.  They give so much – give to, give in, give up, and usually give out before they give back to themselves.  For anything to be a strong foundation for hospitality, it must first take care of itself.  Even the Bible reminds us of this – Psalm 119:73 – “You made me; you created me.  Now give me the sense to follow your commands”.  For proper nutrition, the Bible encourages us to eat a balanced diet.  Our bodies were made to live off of what grows out of the earth or roams around on it.  God made our body to use a certain combination of foods as its energy source.  Eating right will help give us the energy we need to live life to the fullest.  We must also take care of our bodies which were made for activity.  In biblical times they didn't have to exercise – people walked everywhere and they did physical work.  But evolution has not caught up with today’s lifestyle and our metabolism has to be helped through physical activity.  Since we spend most of our time sitting on our rear-ends rather than plowing our fields or hunting animals, we need to exercise regularly.  And finally, we all must take time to rest.  Women are typically the first ones up in the morning and the last to go to bed at night.  Tasks, stress, and to-do lists always take priority over rest.  According to Psalm 127:2, “It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, fearing you will starve to death; for God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.” This is very important for our bodies to replenish and strengthen and our brains to restore. 

In addition to the program on Saturday, I provided a lunch from the hospitality capital of the world – New Orleans.  Below is the menu from Saturday’s lunch. 
Taste of New Orleans Lunch
Gumbo – With chicken sausage
Gluten Free
Vegan Gumbo – With tofurkey sausage
Muffaletta sandwiches – With turkey, pepperoni, garlic bologna, & provolone cheese
And olive tapenade & creamy mustard
Cajun Spiced Dippers – Baked corn tortillas
Vegan & Gluten Free
Dark chocolate brownie bites – With dark cocoa powder & dark chocolate chunks
Cranberry lime sodas – Homemade soda with cranberry juice & lime simple syrup
Fresh lime garnish

After lunch, the ladies and I went through several exercises and stretches that they can do any time of day and fit into any hectic lifestyle.  I was proud of all the ladies for going through this with me and for trying new moves.  I even gave them ideas they could do while brushing their teeth or talking on the phone at work. 

I am so appreciative and blessed to have been a part of this ladies’ retreat.  They reminded me why I do what I do and that we can all take time to improve our health.  I hope they learned from me that they deserve self-hospitality and how they can be hospitable to themselves every day.  We all deserve self-hospitality, and I will help you realize that.  Go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and self-hospitality is 100% achievable!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Perception Deception

“Do I look fat in this?” is a question almost all of us have either thought or asked aloud.  Or maybe we’ve put on a pair of pants or a dress and asked, “Does this make me look fat?”  These questions are not only deceiving in nature, but are offensive to our self-worth.  Are we really defined by our shape or size?  With the celebrity craze and Hollywood buzz, many Americans are led to assess their value based on their appearance.  Some assess their own personal value on how they look (or think they look).  While some objectify others based on their appearance without even knowing them. 

Recently, a Wisconsin news anchor named Jennifer Livingston made news by addressing the man who sent her an email calling her “fat”.  His email read in part, “Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular.”  Livingston responded to his email on-air, stating that she, as a mother of three, didn’t need him to tell her she was overweight.  She could look in the mirror and see that she was overweight.  But he didn’t know anything about her lifestyle.  She runs races (recently running in a 5K in Wisconsin) and works out several times a week.  She also has a thyroid condition that makes it hard for her to keep weight off.  But she does feel she is a good role model for her children and told the man who wrote the email “I am much more than a number on a scale.”  She went on to add “If you are at home and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what?  Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.” 

I applaud Livingston for her strength, her honesty, and her courage.  None of us deserve to have a stranger define us.  We all have the ability to put value on our own self-worth.  We all also have the responsibility to evaluate ourselves for our true identity and worth.  Are we happy?  Are we healthy?  Are we doing everything we can to make our own lives, and the lives of those we love, better?  If not, we can take steps to change our lives, but we don’t need someone else to slap a label on us and bully us into change. 

This story has really hit close to home for me.  It has reaffirmed why I quit my job to pursue my passion for healthy living.  My goal is not to make fat people skinny.  My purpose is to help everyone, young and old, get more life out of their years and more years out of their life.  I have recently been working with an elementary-age girl.  She feels she is the only one in her family who is “fat”.  She said all her friends at school are really thin.  We have amazing and insightful conversations while I exercise with her.  We walk to a local park and “play” on the playground.  In our talks, she has told me that she “can’t” exercise and that she “can’t” eat healthful food because she wants to enjoy eating.  I have asked her about vegetables and she says she doesn’t like something, even though she’s never tried it.  From what I gather, her opinions have been formed by outside influence and not by her own personal experiences.  I have explained to her that she is not fat and that many of the kids in school are likely undernourished.  They may be very thin on the outside, but their insides tell a different story.  This is actually an increasing trend due to do many “diet” fads.  Doctors refer to it as normal weight obesity.  Though they may not eat much and look thin, their internal organs are essentially wrapped in fat.  This is further shown in the rise of young, seemingly thin, women being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  If one’s daily intake consists of a few caffeinated beverages and granola bars or other so-called “health” or “diet” foods, chances are, they won’t pack on the pounds, but that doesn’t mean they’re healthy on the inside.  Studies have shown that many people who carry a few extra pounds but are physically active and eat lots of produce and whole grains are actually healthier than those who never exercise, eat poorly, but are thin. 

So my question is, are you a good role model?  No matter your shape or size, do you embody a healthy lifestyle?  Or do you say things like “Broccoli is gross” or “I hate to exercise” in front of your children?  Do you and your family insult people you see on TV based on the way they look regardless of the fact you’ve never met them?  Does your 8-year-old think he/she’s fat?  Does your 16-year-old think she has cellulite on her thighs or his arms are too skinny?  Maybe it’s time for you to be a real role model.  Do not allow your loved ones to value themselves based on what others say.  Take the time to ensure you and your family form opinions based on experience and not influence.  Do not be deceived by perception.  No matter you shape or size, your value is so much more than a number or a label.   

If you want to find your value, I am here to help.  You and those you love deserve so much more than a label or a number.  I will help you gain confidence and find the motivation you need to define your true self-worth.  Go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and so is being deceived by perception!   

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall into a Healthful Season

As the weather gets cooler, we typically tend to stay inside more, eat heavier and richer foods, and sit on the couch watching football and all the new fall television shows.  Also, the cooler weather allows us to hide any extra pounds with sweaters, jackets, and long pants.  And this is only the beginning of a very extravagant few months starting with Halloween going into Thanksgiving and ending with Christmas and the New Year.  But, we don’t have to automatically give in to the abundance and allow our health to go by the wayside.  If we focus on our personal health, we will start 2013 without the regret and extra weight. 

I encourage everyone to take advantage of the abundance of fantastic fall produce and gorgeous autumn weather.  Here are some ways to get the benefit of this season and have a happy Halloween without the wicked weight gain:
  • Some of the most nutrient-rich foods are in season during the fall months.  Opt for squash (of any variety), sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, pears, apples, and plums.  It’s easy to eat for this season because all the colors that remind us of fall are the ones to eat now – bright orange, deep red, and rich green.  Remember that the darker the vegetable or fruit – the higher the antioxidants and more vitamins it has.  For you Hairspray fans or those who listened to Tupac in the ‘90’s, then you know “the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice”!  Since the produce is in season, it is cheaper and will taste better, so you don’t need extra butter or sugar to make them taste good.
  • Enjoy the fall weather as much as you can – the days are only getting shorter.  So, take advantage of any daylight we have now before we lose that hour of daylight in the evenings (DST ends November 4th).  Go out and take a walk to watch the sun set, rake leaves just to let your kids (or grandkids/nieces/nephews/neighbors) jump into the pile, walk through a pumpkin patch, winterize your house by cleaning up the yard, windows, basement, and attic.  Getting rid of some of that clutter will burn calories – and reduce your fire hazards! 
  • Commit your extra hour to your health.  As I mentioned, Daylight Savings will end November 4th.  While we miss the daylight in the evening, we will enjoy an extra hour that weekend.  So, make a commitment that you will dedicate that extra hour to doing something healthy – get in some extra physical activity, plan your family’s fitness calendar for the entire month, plan and post your family’s home-cooked meals for at least one week, go to a farmer’s market and pickup fresh, nutrient-rich produce, or cook a healthful meal with your loved ones. 
  • Watch eating too many empty calories around Halloween!  I always buy candy that I don’t like for the trick-or-treaters.  That way I’m not tempted to eat what they don’t.  Also, if you happen to have candy in the house that you like, don’t open the bag until the night of Halloween, or wait until the last minute to buy the candy. 
  • Allow yourself 3 or 4 pieces of candy on the night of Halloween.  Spread out each piece so that you have a treat planned throughout the night.  Some of your best bets if you do eat candy: twizzlers, tootsie rolls, junior mints, york peppermint patties, jolly ranchers, and dum dums.  Remember that your teeth suffer just as much as your belly with too much candy.  So spare your doctor and your dentist and limit your intake of the sugary treats.  I suggest popping some popcorn and snacking on that throughout the evening rather than candy.  Also try brushing your teeth or chewing a piece of sugar-free gum before the trick-or-treaters start arriving – the candy won’t be as tempting with a minty fresh mouth. 
Autumn is a beautiful season that brings many changes and opportunities.  Don’t let this be a season you fall into poor health habits – fall into a healthful routine that will keep you healthy this season and many more to come.  Want more tips or help falling into your healthful season?  Go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and it’s the season to avoid wicked weight gain and fall into health!    

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Final “Fair” Days of Summer

Here in Tennessee, we continue to enjoy the final days of summer – including state and county fairs and nights at the ballpark.  Within the last couple of weeks, we’ve had multiple county fairs and local teams taking part in the Little League World Series.  I really enjoy these last moments of summer.  However, there are still a few things we need to be wary of.  Among these are a list of some frightful foods that can be found at cookouts, fairs, and ballparks.  I encourage celebrating and enjoying all things in moderation.  However, the following is a list of the foods we should avoid or limit whenever possible:
  • Deep-fried foods & snacks: You're at greater risk for high cholesterol and heart disease if you eat a diet that includes deep-fried or breaded foods, which are high in fat. Diets high in saturated fat and trans fats tend to raise cholesterol and blood pressure. When you fry foods that already contain saturated fat (like Twinkies at the fair), you simply add more fat to them. But even a fried veggie like the Bloomin' Onion has more than 800 calories, 58 grams of fat, 22 grams of saturated fat, plus 1,520 milligrams of sodium. These numbers don't include the dipping sauce, which is also loaded with fat, calories, and sodium.
  • Processed & refined carbs: Eating foods with fewer than three grams of fiber and more than ten grams of sugar (check the label to be sure) increases your risk for heart disease.  Stick with whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, and brown rice or whole grain pastas.  If you’re at a location that doesn’t offer whole grain, enjoy an open-face sandwich (take off one piece of bread). 
  • Hot dogs & bologna: Processed meats are fat-&-salt bombs, and they also contain nitrates, which have been linked to several types of cancer.  Pick lean poultry or red meat, or even better, go for the seafood.  Opt for grilled shrimp wrapped in a whole grain tortilla over a greasy chili dog.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Five hundred times as sweet as sugar and zero calories?  Sounds pretty good, but studies show that those of us who use them are more likely to be overweight than not.  The reason is that the sweet taste tricks your body to making you crave even more food, especially sweet stuff.  Opt for natural sugars in fruit and veggies or add agave syrup to coffee or honey to your whole wheat toast.  Limit diet sodas by choosing water with lemon or lime juice and sweetened with agave.
  • “Fortified” junk food: Don’t be fooled by flashy nutritional claims on the front of a package – it’s the label on the back you need to study.  Avoid products that list sugar (or sucrose, fructose, etc) among the first three ingredients.  And remember that “enriched flour” is just a fancy way of saying “refined white flour” – it has to be enriched because the refining process destroys most of the nutrients.  Even kids’ snacks like granola bars or “fruit snacks” can be loaded with sugar and not contain an ounce of real fruit.  Choose real fruit and a handful of nuts over an energy bar or candy bar. 

Enjoy the final days of summer – celebrate, relax, and spend time with your family and friends.  Just make sure you also make smart choices to keep you healthy enough to enjoy many more in the future!  Use my personal recipes below for a healthful meal you can enjoy with your family in these final days of summer.  Now is the time to get the very best out of the final days of summer. This meal uses the most flavorful seasonal ingredients, like peaches, arugula, and raspberries. The best seasonal meals are made of the tastiest ingredients and prepared in simple ways. It’s delicious and nutritious. The following recipes serve four.

Grilled Pork & Peaches on Rocket
4 thick-cut (1-inch) bone-in pork chops (8 oz each)
4 firm peaches, halved & pitted
2 T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 t salt, ½ t pepper
4 cups arugula (aka rocket)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 T balsamic vinegar + 2 T EVOO
Preheat a grill on high. Brush pork chops & peach halves with EVOO. Season pork with S&P. Grill pork for 4-5 minutes on each side. The outside should be slightly charred while still pink on the inside. Grill peaches flesh side down for about 5 minutes or until charred & softened. Note: if peaches are too ripe, they will turn to mush.
While pork & peaches grill, prepare rocket salad by tossing remaining ingredients in a bowl. Serve salad on a plate & top with a pork chop & sliced grilled peaches.
Pork compares favorably for fat, calories & cholesterol with many other meats & poultry. In fact, cuts from the loin, like pork chops, are leaner than skinless chicken thighs. Plus, pork rivals milk as a source of riboflavin. Riboflavin plays an essential role in the release of energy from food, promotes the growth & repair of tissues, & maintains healthy skin & eyes. Pick pork that is mostly pink (the white spots are fat). So many times chops are fried, but pork can be a good pick!
Arugula, also known as rocket, is slightly spicy & pairs perfectly with the sweet peaches. It is a leafy green that stands out as a rich source of many vitamins & minerals. Compared with iceberg lettuce, arugula contains about eight times the calcium, five times the vitamin A, vitamin C & vitamin K, and four times the iron. Plus it also contains the antioxidants beta carotene & lutein which are known for the prevention of diseases like cancer & macular degeneration.
Pine nuts are nature's only source of pinoleic acid, which stimulates hormones & helps diminish appetite. Pine nuts also contain oleic acid which aids the liver in eliminating harmful triglycerides which helps protect the heart.

Raspberry Tea
1 quart fresh brewed Black or Green Tea – chilled
1 T agave syrup
¾ cup fresh raspberries, plus a few for garnish
In individual glass or large pitcher, muddle (crush with end of wooden spoon) agave, raspberries, & ice. Pour chilled tea over mixture & serve with a few fresh raspberries on top! This tea is perfect any time of day. For a refreshing adult beverage, add a shot of whiskey or dark rum!
Tea contains healthful doses of antioxidants, or poylphenols that may ward off a range of diseases. Make sure to always brew your own – commercial bottled tea contains such small amounts of these antioxidants that you’d have to drink 20 bottles to get the polyphenols present in one cup of home-brewed tea. The fresh raspberries not only add sweetness, but even more nutrients & eye-appeal. Now that’s invigorating!

Peach Melba Parfait
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 T agave syrup
2 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
4 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt
Fresh raspberries for garnish
Combine raspberries & agave in a bowl. Mash with a large fork or potato masher until you get a chunky consistency similar to preserves.
In individual tall glass dessert dish or cocktail glass, layer vanilla yogurt, peaches, & mashed berries in at least two layers. Use glasses tall enough to see the colorful layers. Garnish each glass with a few raspberries or peach slice.
For this dessert, use peaches that are slightly riper than those in the pork dish since they aren’t being cooked.
Yogurt contains probiotics or "good" bacteria that aid in digestion & immune function. Just stick with lowfat or fat free versions that say "live & active cultures" on the label. Yogurt also provides a dose of protein & calcium, plus vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium, & magnesium.

I hope you are able to use this as an opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones.  If you want more recipes, meal ideas, or any help living a healthier life, go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and we can start by savoring each moment…even these final “fair” days of summer. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Heroes vs. Champions

This seems to be a summer that is ruled by heroes.  From Olympic athletes to political crusaders to Batman and Spiderman, they are everywhere we turn.  The trouble with admiring a hero and setting them upon such a high pedestal is that they all have a tragic flaw and they will inevitably let us down.  We recently learned that the Olympic athletes that we hold to such high standards and idolize have been engaging in heavy drinking and extreme sexual encounters while living in the Olympic Village.  And so many of those who fight for a political cause end up forgetting the principles of right and wrong and letting prejudice determine their actions or allowing fame and fortune to cloud their minds.  And while Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker may be superheroes when in uniform, they are essentially living a lie – they are taking justice into their own hands and allowing revenge to prevail. 

Rather than allowing outside influences and personalities to determine our ideal hero, I think it’s time we allow ourselves to be our own champion.  Webster’s dictionary defines the difference between heroes and champions.  A hero is “any person admired for courage or nobility; the central character in a novel or play”.  Webster defines a champion as “one who fights for a cause; defender; excelling all others; to defend or support”.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look up to a character who may have a false sense of courage and may have deemed himself noble.  A hero typically exerts some kind of power, but as we all know, “power corrupts”.  Even Peter Parker himself stated, “with great power comes great responsibility”.  It seems that many of today’s heroes allow the power to go to their head and it ends up corrupting their actions.  So let’s take the responsibility upon ourselves to allow heroes to remain characters in a story.  Let’s focus on finding true champions who believe in and defend a cause and excel above all others.    

True Champions
The awesome thing about a champion is that they can be found all around us – even within ourselves.  I have the pleasure of knowing and coaching many young champions myself.  One in particular is nine years old and she is a true fighter.  This summer I have taught her to hit from the left side – she’s a right-hander who can hit, slap, and bunt from the left side.  Last week, she surprised herself at how well she did and did not want to stop – even giving herself blisters.  After softball she stays for my boot camp workout and hangs in there with women who are decades older than she.  A couple weeks ago one of the ladies told this girl that she was a rockstar.  The girl nonchalantly, without missing a beat, responded with “yeah, I get that a lot”.  Its kids like this that make me want to be a champion.  I want them to be able to look up to me and know that I will believe in them and defend them forever. 

Just like this kid, I am a champion for all of my clients.  I believe they can become healthy and live longer better lives.  I fight for them and with them, and I support them no matter what.  Along the way I show them they can be their own champion.  No matter your age or stage in life, I encourage you to avoid the hero hype and become your own champion.  In the meantime, I will be your personal champion and we will fight for your life and for your future and together we will win!  Go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and you can be the champion in your own life!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fat to Fit – A Real Fight

Drew Manning: one year ago, 6 months, now
I have recently been seeing and reading a lot about a man who purposefully gained weight only to lose it again.  He is Drew Manning, a personal trainer who decided to go about this in an effort to better understand and sympathize with his clients who were trying to lose weight.  He calls it “Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit”.  He gained 70 pounds by not going to the gym and eating very unhealthy foods.  He then applied what he already knew to lose the 70 pounds in only six months.  While I appreciate his effort and respect the fact that he actually accomplished it, I don’t think he can fully sympathize with his overweight clients.  Most overweight or obese people are unwillingly, or at least not purposefully, overweight and unhealthy.  They’ve never been at a healthy weight and don’t know how good it can feel and what higher quality life they are missing out on.  That is why it is typically very hard for most people to lose weight and get healthy. 

I, on the other hand, was never fit before I was fat.  I know exactly what it feels like to hate, or at least dislike, what you see in the mirror but not know what to do or how to go about changing it.  I had to struggle for years with my weight and my health before I finally figured it out.  I did not have the foresight of Manning, I had to learn how to read labels, how to fit exercise into my schedule, and how to love my body for what it could do and not what it looked like.  The path to getting there was tough and at times ugly, but it was well worth it.  Here is my story – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.

As a child I was very active in sports, so I did not spend much time in front of the TV.  But, I did spend a lot of time in the car and on-the-go.  We rarely had sit-down meals during the week – instead opting for French fries from the drive-thru or stopping at a chain restaurant between games and jobs in the evening.  I can remember eating lots of PopTarts, frozen cheese sticks, and pasta and rice from a box.  I would make a box of pasta and eat the entire thing while I was home alone.  I had no idea that my personal serving actually consisted of four servings.  I had no clue the amount of sugar and saturated fats I was putting in my body.  I did not know what it meant to read a nutrition label. 

As I reached my teen years, I began to feel uncomfortable with my body.  I had stretch marks on my inner thighs and I outweighed my friends by at least 30 pounds.  As I said, I was athletic, so I was never obese, but I was overweight.  I can remember trying to strategically tuck my shirt in a way that would hide my belly.  In 8th grade, my class took a trip to Biloxi, MS.  For months before the trip, I dreaded the one day on the itinerary that would be spent on an island.  I hated shopping for that bathing suit – I knew no matter what I got I couldn’t hide from teenage boys and the petite cheerleaders that would look so much cuter than I.  I can also remember going to Opryland (back when it was a theme park and not a mall).  In high school, we would go as a group and we would have the opportunity to sit in the lap of the boy we liked on some of the rides.  I can remember feeling devastated on one trip when I was actually bigger than the boy I liked and felt ashamed to have to actually sit in his lap.  I remember one Christmas season when we made Chex party mix (you poured butter over cereal, pretzels, and nuts and baked it) for the holiday.  My mother had gone out for the evening and I decided to snack on some of the party mix.  I couldn’t stop myself and ended up eating way too much and felt sick.  I laid down for bed but I felt awful – full of shame, regret, and disgust.  I got up and tried to make myself throw up.  Luckily I couldn’t do it, but I tried so hard to gag myself, I woke up the next morning with broken blood vessels around my eyes. 

Me in my teens and me now
Being overweight and unhealthy is a very lonely, unhappy, miserable place to be.  You are disgusted with yourself, but too ashamed to ask for help.  Luckily in college I matured and gained respect for myself – my body, my future, and my inner and outer beauty.  I learned how to read nutrition labels.  I researched how foods and beverages affect the body.  I personally went from being able to jog no more than a quarter mile to running 20-30 miles a week.  I discovered that lifting weights isn’t just for buff athletes – it’s essential for everyone.  It may have taken me years to get here, but I am now in the best shape of my life.  I don’t workout to impress anyone or to improve my outer beauty.  I workout because I love the feeling of empowerment afterward.  And I eat healthfully because I know its fuel for my body and mind – nothing tastes better than that.  I love knowing I am adding to the quality and quantity of my life. 

I may not have been able to lose 70 pounds in six months like Manning did, but I did lose 50 pounds over several years and I gained my life.  My path wasn’t as clean cut as his, but I feel I fought much harder.  And my fight has equipped me with the tools, the resources, and the sympathy to now help others fight the same fight and win.  If you’ve ever felt disgusted, ashamed, or embarrassed about your weight or health, now is the time to fight.  I’ve been where you are and together we will gain your life.  Go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and soon you will be able to tell your story – the good, the bad, and definitely the beautiful!

This is also the time to prevent our children from having to fight obesity.  On June 18th, I will be hosting a nutrition & wellness camp for kids.  Kids of all ages will learn about eating well & getting plenty of exercise.  They will learn how to read nutrition labels and even how to shop at a real grocery store.  They will also get a tour of the brand new Athletic & Wellness Center at BGA.  This is an opportunity not to be missed.  Go to https://www.camperregsecure.com/bga/programdetails.php?programid=CR23 to register. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today is Your Day

I am not sure whether I am thankful or sad to actually have the time to sit down and write this.  Since my last blog entry over two months ago, it has been non-stop softball and this will be my first week without BGA softball practice or games since early February.  Our season came to an emotional end last week in the first round of the regional play-offs.  We ended the season with a 1-15 record; however, that in no way colors our season which was full of incredible accomplishments.  This team has shown determination, raw talent, and great potential. 

I knew we’d face challenges this year – our team consisted of 13 girls, seven of which were 8th graders.  We only had two seniors, one sophomore, and three freshmen.  Several of the younger girls didn’t even know how to throw a softball or swing a bat.  Our equipment and uniforms had not even been touched in nearly two years, and our locker room was a yoga studio.  However, the joy I have experienced watching these girls grow individually and as a team has far outweighed any difficulties we’ve faced. 

One of the things I enjoyed most was watching these girls look fear in the face and run towards it rather than away from it.  It is very scary to play against much more mature teams who have been playing together for years.  I know it was frustrating to my seniors to lose most every game, but they stuck it out and gave it their best.  It would have been easy for these two girls to enjoy their senior year without playing softball, but they stepped up and led the team with dignity.  I also know it was hard for the younger girls to face opponents much stronger and knowledgeable in the game, but they never gave up.  It would have been easy for the 8th graders to play middle school and enjoy the game without as much pressure (BGA’s middle school team went 8-3 with only 6th & 7th graders).  This team did not let fear stop them and they are better for it. 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach these girls about the game of softball and hopefully a little about life as well.  We had many talks about respect and sportsmanship.  One lesson came when several of our opponents used fists rather than an open hand when we shook hands at the end of a game.  The girls and I talked about how we will always respect our opponent – whether we lose 20-0 or we win 20-0.  We also had another lesson when the seniors became quite emotional after a 19-0 loss.  They said things out of anger, which we have all done.  I had to recognize that these were frustrated 18-year-old kids and they simply wanted better.  This has been a very tough and challenging year for all of us in many ways.  I did not blame any girls for having feelings and emotions – teenage girls are going to be emotional.  But I did ask that they respect each other – and that was required by each and every member of this team. 

While we have learned about softball and life, my hope is that they have also come to love the game of softball and gained confidence in life.  Playing a sport fosters self-awareness, self-assurance, and self-belief.  I had many talks with the girls this year about school, tests, boys, girlfriends, family, homework, and beauty.  It was awesome to see that as their confidence on the field grew, so did their confidence off the field.  If you can step into a batter’s box and face a pitcher that has been playing for nearly as long as you’ve been alive, walking up to a lunch table and asking to sit down is no sweat.  When you stand on the field waiting for a ball to be hit at you at 70 mph with nothing but a piece of leather on your hand, taking a biology final is a piece of cake.  When a group of shy, fragile, meek, young girls come together to form relationships and create a strong team, they become less boy-crazy and realize that they complete themselves. 

We can all learn something from this group of girls.  They faced their fears head-on and came out stronger and more confident.  I gave the girls the words to Shania Twain’s song Today is Your Day.  Not only does it reflect our season, but you can use it in your own life. 
You got what it takes you can win
Today is your day to begin
Don't give up here, don't you quit
The moment is now, this is it
Know that you can then you will
Get to the top of the hill
Part of the fun is the climb
You just gotta make up your mind

Whether you want to learn the game of softball or get back in shape and gain confidence, today is your day!  Don’t let fear stand in your way – take that first step – whether it’s onto the field or simply off the couch.  And if you need a coach or a friend to help you do it, go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com and contact me today.