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Writing the next chapter

As I have taken a day of self care and reflection – going back to bed to honor an exhausted body.  Cooked meals to fuel my body that are healthy and balanced.   Chose to listen to the rain as opposed to technology or music and spend quality time with my dog, many things have bubbled to the surface.20161227_195808.jpg

This past weekend opened my eyes and my heart as I stepped into a coaching role I only dreamed of years ago.    The stories I had told myself were those that play out in many of our heads.  Yes I am a personal trainer and a health and wellness coach.   I provide a lot of insight and direction for healthy eating, exercises and movement for a strong body for many that get lost in a sea of internet information.  I provide customized and unique programs for individuals to grow, get healthy and fit.  This weekend as a coach it went even deeper as my head got out of the way and the heart opened.

I feel like many of you, we start new chapters in our life with major life changes.  But what I uncovered was that stepping into leadership is that I am starting a new BOOK.  What once was,is no longer, what is, is about possibilities, abundance and coming from a place of love – self love.dinner

Possibilities or choices as some may say are always in front of us.  Do you take the highway home, or do you take those winding back roads and embrace the day?  I no longer need to fit safely into the box society expects me to be in.  The nine to five mentality does not define blue vs white.  The possibilities are limitless. Create your “I want” list, not your bucket list – dream big, declare outrageous, watch what life serves.     What I uncovered was fuller and richer than I ever expected, putting the pen to paper and setting a time and just writing for five ten fifteen minutes is an incredible journey of self exploration.cuddle buddy

 Abundance to me is a life filled with music, dancing, color and fun; relationships, connections that go deeper than you basic hellos, hugs given and received from your heart.   Abundance of time and energy to create a life not bound by walls, not bound by the clock, not by the expectations of others.  Abundance is truly freedom to be and do!

And LOVE, my heart is so full and open.  I texted my girlfriend Saturday night before my drive home – new picturemy heart is so full!!  Life just keeps getting better – I am exhausted, I am excited about the possibilities of what life has coming, I am physically exhausted and feel high on life!   The baggage of ole – guilt and anger has been left behind.  I am ready to write my next BOOK – called LIFE!

 

Let me show you how ….

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Bumblebees and Butterflies

Sitting under a canopy of leaves feeling the air surround you.  The eye is drawn to movement off toward the right.  A magnolia tree in bloom with blossoms of white touched with pink.  The bumblebee danced happily from bloom to bloom and upon notice there were hundreds enveloping this tree all on a mission to work diligently and focused on collection of pollen.IMG_7211

A gentle rain produced puddles along the ways and once the clouds retreated glimmers of sun appeared and if on que the butterflies danced on top of these puddles.  Beauty and grace as they moved effortlessly silent in the dance.   It didn’t matter what day of the week these creatures of nature continued on their path.  They had a focus and a purpose.  Can we stay as strong and focused?

We do happy dances on Fridays and look forward to the weekend with glee and enthusiasm – WHY?   We have been conditioned to respond this way.  Would life be different if every day we would move with focus and regardless if it was a Tuesday or Saturday.  Our bodies don’t recognize the difference.   We get fixated on a calendar with IMG_7499 (2)five days being our work schedule and two days being our “days off”, with 9 am til 5 pm being our work hours and 5 pm is Miller time our metabolism has been sabotaged by this thinking.   Our bodies are screaming for help and have gone into shock and dismay.

I can remember when my son was young and found out with great pleasure the light switch.   Flip the switch to turn on the lights, flip the switch again to turn off the lights, and then the game began – on off on off on off …. until I lost it and called uncle!!!  How long would it take before this got on your nerves and with a big smile on his face he did it one last time – you know what I am talking about, right?    This is the same thing we are consistently doing to our bodies – throwing the switch on then off.  Our bodies are designed to have a steady state, a constant and continuous stream of nourishment and with us not staying strong and consistent our bodies cry out for help.  Do we listen?  Do we acknowledge those little pings, knocks, cries for help?   They say HELLO!!!! I need a little help here.  We have turned off that intuitive side.  Do you listen when your stomach grumbles?  Do you know when you are parched and need fluids?  Do you have cravings and recognize exactly what your body is needed?   NO, we stopped listening a long time ago.  The subtle nuances once so ingrained to us as children are now dead to us cause our brain, our controller response knows better!IMG_7219

Our bodies are designed to be grazers.  We are suppose to eat seven days a week.   Our systems require a consistent and steady input of fuel with every 3-4 hours to keep our systems running and our waistlines lean.  We have gotten so far away from this.  Don’t you think its time to regain control like the bumblebee and the butterfly.  No matter what they are diligent and focused.  No matter what day of the week they don’t stop because its the weekend.  Food is fuel and our bodies deserve it!

Let me help you find your new routine ~ get healthy and focused!

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Dilemma

Over or under training?   I have watched many people workouts many hours a day to no avail.   Same for myself, teaching two cycle classes or TRX and Pilates.   Like most of the population, I thought more was better.  It got me nowhere – my clothes fit tighter I had to go up in size – what was wrong?   Some trainers tried to tell me I was building muscle.   Physicians stated it was hormones.  Education taught me the calculations of finding max heart rate and target your training between X and Y with cardio, cardio, cardio and if that doesn’t work more cardio … hmmm.   Where do you draw the line with your time in the gym?  One hour? Two hours?IMG_1288.JPG

To keep your metabolism running you need to add weight training, and to stave off osteoporosis, weight bearing exercises are key.   There’s also high intensity workout’s, cycling, interval training, and boot camp workouts to name a few.    I dislocated my hip, popped a rib, had plantar fasciitis, bruised my collar bone and almost tore my rotator cuff.   We’ve been taught no pain no gain, but is it sustainable, NO.  I am strong, I am flexible but what is the right balance of exercise?   A 50ish years young personal trainer who spends 6 days a week working with clients, I wanted to have more energy and less pain.  I vowed to leave with all original part but many individuals feel that you need to beat your body up with high intensity workouts.  There are more knee replacements, hip replacements that ever, so are these workouts the way to go?     Is that what you want – to sacrifice your body parts for that lean long figure?

Still not working – do more!!! So I read more articles did more research refined the workouts again.   Ask any of my clients and they have heard my analogy of the “Fire Pit” – keep the metabolism running!!!   The other another component that I also was juggling – FOOD!   When asked, majority of the people say YES – I am eating healthy!   But what does that look like?    If you are eating healthy why is the waistline growing?   What can’t we fit into our clothes, what is missing?    It’s balance – when we over train the body – we generate inflammation and chronic fatigue, it’s a cycle that is so hard to break.   The IMG_2248.JPGhardest part for me was my years of education and training.   I cut back on all my high intensity workouts.   If we don’t put a balance of food in our bodies, they get bigger.      I found that once I got out of my own way, stopped over training and recognized how critical protein was to my body, I found success.  My pantry no longer has pasta or rice, my frig is filled with an abundance of vegetables and good sources of protein.    Your journey starts with stepping back and recognizing that running all those miles might not be the best way.   When you put the right combination of food into your body and recognize it as fuel – you will be successful!   Time to get out of your own way ~ I did!!!

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Windows vs Doors of Opportunity

I love doors.   Walking down the street I am img_6681fascinated by the colors, the shapes, windows vs. glass panels.   I take pictures to capture their uniqueness.   Windows are everywhere and though they are a part of every building, we open a window to let the fresh air and sunshine in.   We open the doors to so much more!  Our doors open our homes for deliveries and visitors, we enter and exit any building through the door.   But when it comes to opportunities – we usually say, “window of opportunity” – or are they?    How many of us stepped out of a window to get something, we use the door – we get the mail, have visitors enter our homes through the door, we receive deliveries, we bring in groceries and new family members.   Windows of opportunity are usually used as a sales pitch and if you don’t make a decision today you will miss whatever deal that is available and if you don’t jump NOW, it will be gone forever.    Windows are usually small in comparison to doors. img_5873

Likewise, people have stated close the door to that chapter of your life, career ~ but how many of us have walked down endless streets and barely noticed these doors?   The doors are different colors, and shapes.  Some doors have windows or are decorated.   They open to the left and to the right – some doors open out to the street while others open to the homes.  These are our opportunities but do we recognize what is before us or are we so occupied looking behind on those that are closed to us that we miss those small little things that could be the door to a new life, a new career, a new body?  What IMG_6389.JPGare we missing by not recognizing those things that are right in front of us?   We are so inundated with information and stuff, how do we recognize what is good, what is worth exploring, what is truly something to stop and pay attention to?

Every January we walk through a door to a gym with the intention of getting healthy?    We opened this door but did we really take a look at what is available inside this opportunity.    We put our heads down head to the first piece of equipment and we are off to the races.   Did you bother to look around, did you ask questions, what is best for me?    We are told to work out for 30 minutes and if you read the internet there is a wide range of information, is it specifically for you?  img_6421Our focus is to get it done, but what should we get done?  We approach the gym, our health with the mentality of a window – a short period of time, otherwise it’s missed.    Our health is for the long haul.  First, we need to do things differently if we approach this January with a new focus that that door is full of information and it will enhance your life and health then you will be receptive to better way of life.   Stop take a look around, ask questions!   There are many different sources of information, take charge of your health by choosing a door that speaks to optimal health.   Optimal health speaks of balance between our eating habits, sleeping habits, our stress levels and our workouts.   Thirty minutes will not be the window of opportunity that makes 2017 the year you become that amazing authentic individual that is hiding in those sweatshirts, trying to just get it done!    It’s your year ~ Choose to be healthy!

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Shopping List

grocery-shoppingOn a recent Saturday adventure to the Italian Market in Philadelphia I was totally surprised at the abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables available.   If I lived closer to this neighborhood I would be there every weekend.

Where do you start when creating your shopping list?   Do you create your menu first, then put together your grocery list or do you have a well-stocked pantry?  Then head to the store to see what amazing vegetables and create something unique.    When my children were young I would start with the menu, then check the pantry and fill in where I needed.    The more I explore cooking and being open to what is presented and knowing what will fuel my body and keep it lean and energized, I approach shopping and cooking differently.    I welcome you to explore your shopping list with a new sense of fun!

I have at least 2-3 books I am reading at time.  img_5851-2 I want to find out what makes our bodies function at optimal performance.    After a year of exploration, I have found that some staples in my diet were not helping me.   Some of these food items caused inflammation, acne, bloated belly just to name a few of the aliments I confronted.      My journey took me through the grocery store – any nutritionist will tell you that eating around the grocery store is the way to success.     The isles are our pitfalls, filled with processed, chemically altered products all contributing to excess weight gain.   But a closer look is needed on the perimeter walls of that grocery store.     Our bodies are designed to be efficient and by efficient we need to fuel it constantly with meals and snacks to keep it running.    Many of my clients take better care of their cars than their bodies – they arrive at the gym without eating, they don’t feel like cooking at night so they pop a bowl of popcorn and consider it dinner.   Is that working for you?    Success in your shopping needs a little education.    We need to keep our body running like a luxury car, continued care, continued fuel and hydration.   We need to switch to smaller portions, with a continuous supply of food.   When we get the right foods, the body’s blood sugar and insulin does not spike.img_5797-2

What are the right foods for our bodies?   What should our shopping list look like?    We need to take a look at the glycemic index of food, also known as blood glucose or blood sugar levels.   Look for foods that have a low glycemic number GI – these promote weight loss!    Cucumbers, romaine lettuce, radishes, celery have a lower GI than corn, carrots or peas, which have high sugar.    Bagels, white potatoes, rice cakes and pasta all elevate your blood sugar and makes it difficult to lose weight.   If your ultimate goal is weight loss, keep your shopping list rich in colors in vegetables, limit the intake of your fruit and increase your lean proteins will make a slimmer waistline!    What are you going to do differently in 2017 – it starts with your shopping list!

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Define Yourself

December is upon us, which means shopping, parties filled with rich foods, cookie exchanges and pretty cocktails.   Will you let the holidays define your waistline?   Will your exercise or daily routine be in jeopardy during this month.    It’s time to define yourself –  What do you want to do differently this month – why wait until January to get a jump start on your health.

What can you do today to be successful during this stress filled month?   Make yourself a priority!  It starts with you … life becomes much easier when we feel great – but how do we do that?    It has been a year of growth for me.    Weight loss, healthy boundaries, healthy eating habits and not overdoing it in the gym.    One of my client conversations included the “I want” statement … and she continued with vague statements such as I want to feel better, I want to have more endurance, I want my clothes to fit better.   In order to define yourself –  you need to quantify what you want!   Feel better – how, by doing what?   No more pain, where is the pain and what are you doing to make it better, does that mean walking or physical therapy – don’t wait!  Be clear if endurance is your goal – and how do you measure it?   Set a goal to be able to walk a 3-mile trail by May, what do you have to start doing today to get to that goal?   MOVE!

Weight loss and healthy eating should go hand in hand.  It should be slow and steady and it’s all about what you put in your mouth – do you eat well during the five-day work week and then throw everything out the door when it comes Saturday and Sundays?   That was my first mistake!   Our bodies are designed to support a seven-day a week eating habit.   Make eating a priority, which means breakfast, lunch and dinner plus 3 healthy snacks – once your body recognizes you are taking care of it, it will take care of you.

Healthy boundaries are recognizing what brings stress to our life, then reduce it – yes, that is easier said than done.   We make lists, though we don’t make lists to define our triggers, what stresses us out and then we feel depleted when everything is not checked off that list.  Our expectations of ourselves don’t include time to relax or drink a cup of tea.  Does baking six different kinds of cookies and shopping for everyone really need to be done?    Are there individuals that just push every button and we fall back on our old ways to meet their expectations?       If you are having a hard time coming up with what stresses you ask your best friend – they can tell you!

As a personal trainer I see a lot of individuals overdoing it in the gym and think it will be beneficial.    You don’t need to spend more than an hour a day in the gym, yet I see individuals who feel the need to push through pain with the mentality no pain no gain.   Does that attitude define you?     Set realistic expectations of a workout whether it’s in a gym or a brisk walk.    The fresh air will do you wonders!

Look at this December as a time to start your new list, WHAT DEFINES YOU.   Set specific and clear expectations for yourself that gives you permission to sit for 20 minutes when you get home from work and relax with a cup of tea. Make walking 40 minutes your goal with you ultimately attaining 10,000 steps by the new year and the sleep component of 7 hours.     You will leap into the holidays with a fresh outlook on me time!

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Choices

Choices ~ are you defined by the choices or lack of choices you have made?     The weather has changed we are now into our fall clothes, do they fit?   Are you satisfied with the way we jumped and embraced summer – was there excess indulgences, little extra wine or beer?   Are you paying for those choices today?      Are you happy with the way you look / feel / sleep?   Are you in pain – back pain and or stiffness, do you have leg, foot or knee issues – why?  And I will never accept ‘Old Age’ as an excuse you can always make positive changes … These questions are all about the choices we have made.

I chose to make significant changes; they were not easy.  They were not something that happened overnight.   It has taken me over 9 months to lose my 30+ lbs.  It has taken me over 9 months to adjust to a better balanced exercise routine.  It has taken me over 9 months to make these positive changes.  It is a slow and steady process with a huge support network.  This the only way I could get through the tough times and the tough changes.   You need this too!!!!!!!    I am in the gym a lot; I work with a lot of people who when asked what they want “DON’T KNOW”.   Define your choices – what do you want to – look like, feel like, clothes you want to wear, set goals ~ I did and so can you.

Many speak of feeling better ~ how do you define feeling better?   Is it that you can stand, walk and move without pain?   Is it that you sleep seven or so hours a night?   Is it that you feel full after your meals or don’t feel full (bloated)?   Is it that you can button your jeans and not have to adjust a size or 2 up?     Feeling better / feeling healthy is about positive choices.  Where do we start?   I sought out many different professions.   As a personal trainer in the gym, I started with the physician – and a physical.  My cholesterol was elevated – so I knew food changes had to occur.    I tried to manage this myself – changed protein shakes to the point that the store manager knew me by name – what worked for my belly?    I then sought out nutritionist(s)- we added a little of this took a little of this away, worked with spacing of food and portions – all in my mind a PIA!   I didn’t have all this extra time to be creative in the kitchen, that’s when frustration took over.  Then I added a health coach which educated me beyond what I knew for being in the gym – what a difference this has made!   As I tell my clients we individuals are like chemistry experiments – we don’t know the right mix of food, exercise sleep until we trip over it or find the right individual to put all the pieces together.

As with everything it takes time to find what works and when you get your body into a true fat burning state, it becomes efficient and weight loss, inflammation and exercise work together.    We, as moms are busy with the family, planning organizing the household, but we have made choices that do not support us and our bodies.   When we take the time to step back, evaluate what is best for us as individuals, we recognize the changes we need to make and stop short changing our bodies.     Are you ready to step back, re-evaluate your choices and make positive changes for your future?    I am a sexy, passionate creative woman and I am healthy and feel amazing ~ are you ready to make these changes?

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A teachable moment …

Have you ever woke up with a hang over?   You know the feeling – cotton mouth, head pounding and wanting to explode if you move the wrong way.   Your stomach was bloat and you weren’t sure if you would feel better if you puked.    You just wanted to curl up in bed and forget the day existed.  Little did I know that making substantial changes in my food choices would produce such an overwhelming response from my body.    Nine months ago I made a lot of changes to the way I eat.   I eliminated milk/dairy, substantially reduced gluten and practically eliminated sugar (chocolate covered almonds my weakness).    I have been in a good place for some time now and continue to practice good habits.    My neighbor was wanting ice cream and asked if I wanted to go for a quick ride, I thought it was much better than a drink – but little did I know how much I would pay for it later.    A double scoop, chocolate and chocolate chip tasted oh so good, or did it.

The morning after eating a double scoop of ice cream became a teachable moment I will never forget!   I would have sworn I had finished 2 pitchers of margaritas I felt so bad.    I realized that in just that moment of indulgence, I consumed over 27 grams of sugar (21 grams too many!!) it was such a shock to my body.   Then combined with dairy – my body went into inflammation overload.   Inflammation, bloating, gas constipation a full on attacked – I hated how I felt and nothing I did worked.    When I work with clients, my first question is what have your eaten?    What we put into our body really affects everything!     I ask my clients what did you eat for breakfast … simple enough ~ I get all kinds of answers but once you understand balanced eating there is no other way!

I flooded my body with water.  I tried to exercise but felt sluggish and had a bloated belly for days.    Sadly, it took me almost 4-5 days to feel human again.   I never realize how bad I felt on a daily basis when I approached food and eating from a different perspective, I ate a lot of dairy, yogurt ~ it doesn’t work for me.   I am a consummate chocoholic; M&M’s were always available – but cut that out.    Pasta had always been a staple for me, not anymore!    The foods we consume and the choices we make shape our bodies and cause a lot of havoc on our digestive, immune systems and waist lines … until we make major changes we will never know what good feels like.  And I realized what one sweet indulgent can and did do to kick my butt!    It was not worth it ~ I am a sexy passionate creative woman!    Can you make major changes and reshape your body mind and soul?   Let me help!

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Starting is the hardest part …

Starting is the hardest part ~ I am a personal trainer, body image is critical to the people I work with and to the people I am aspiring to work with.   To me I was fat and I hide it well.    How could I be in the health and wellness industry and not be able to handle my own weight gain?  I was in the gym 6 days a week, working out, demonstrating exercises to clients and teaching 5-6 classes a week.  I sought out nutritionists, had a physical and blood tests, tried many different protein shakes, I changed how and when I ate – nothing worked, I was depressed.   Looming ahead of me was my daughter’s wedding and I was the heaviest I have ever been and I was totally embarrassed by how I looked.   I read books on food and eating, diet you name it, tried a lot of different things nothing worked.   I tell my clients your body is a chemistry experiment and the trick is to find the right combination of exercise, sleep, food that works for you and your life.    I did ~ after years of trying I changed my priorities, sleeping 5 hours was not enough, I needed 7 hours.   So what were my priorities?   I always put everyone first.   As a wife, mother I was always last.   I made some major changes over the course of the past nine months.  I am now a priority in my life.   My eating habits have changed; food is now a fuel to keep the machine running at high efficiency.   Mediation and yoga have become a new component and the higher intensity exercises are no more.    Inflammation and cortisol levels have reduced, my knees, feet and back no longer hurt.

As I approach the six-month mark, I have reshaped my body, I am 29 pounds lighter.  I am a different person, I like Kathy.    I have grown and changed during this process.  I got a puppy, Maggie.   She has become my partner in crime.   We hike, we walk, she reminds me to get outside and move.   My creative side has blossomed, painting and photography have become an integrated part of me.   I am still seeking balance, I am still growing and changing but I know I can do anything I set out to do and realize that I was my own worst enemy.  I realized my passions have always been a part of me, but took a back seat to life.   This has been hard for me put it out there, to put it in writing but if my journey helps one individual I know why I have always said; I want to make a difference in people’s lives.    I am a sexy creative passionate leader.   What defines you?