Healthiest You Series- Recap

  1. Get checked out by your doctor then find a way around any excuses
  2. Track all your calories in & out just until your “I’m full” switch is re-wired
  3. Develop and learn to love an active lifestyle with varied workouts
  4. Keep upgrading to higher quality fuels and new physical feats

Be patient, friends.  It’s a long journey.  Never really an end- it’s a lifestyle and a frame of mind.  Surround yourself by people who believe in you.  Inspire others.  Don’t throw in the towel.  Don’t be afraid to start fresh a million times.  You can do it.  And we can’t wait to see you uncover that radiant amazingness that lies inside you.

Healthiest You Series: 4- Keep Upgrading

Before Collage

After Collage

Keep upgrading

  • Continually swap out more nutrient-dense foods for empty-calorie foods
  • Upgrade to higher quality foods, more fresh seasonal produce
  • Challenge your body with new physical feats

You will learn towards the beginning of your journey, that the 480 calories in your Ruffles cheddar and sour cream potato chips are not nearly as fueling as the same number of calories of salmon, whole grains, & a handful of nuts.

There are such things as empty-calorie foods, which don’t leave much satiety or fueling because they lack nutrients such as vitamins, dietary minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, or dietary fiber.  Swapping nutrient-dense food choices for empty-calorie food choices will give you more energy and you’ll just feel a lot better.

Once you’re eating nutrient-dense foods, work on swapping in more fresh foods and phasing out processed foods.  Or try swapping in organic produce, or eliminating gluten, or giving up caffeine, or stop smoking, etc.  There is no right or wrong- every person’s body handles foods differently, so just play around and experiment, but always upgrade.


This is the stage I have been in for a while now.  I’ve got the active lifestyle down and I’m always experimenting with new higher quality fuel choices for myself.  We’ve been eating more olives, hummus, brown rice, quinoa, millet, and organic greens.  The hubby has to eat a lot more protein than I do for his size and muscle-building, so he usually has a larger portion of meat for meals than I do, but we’ve gotten used to dinners where we can adjust the meat portions easily.  I have learned that for me personally, dairy and carbonation don’t make me feel well.  Always having food and water on me in my messenger bag is helpful in avoiding impulse stops at gas stations or food joints for a quick bite.  I’m by no means perfect- I love a good pub burger just like the next person- but making smart choices in other meals is something I am getting better at. 

Finding new ways to kick my own booty is really fun for me- perhaps I have workout ADD- I can’t do the same thing all the time.  I attend a couple different fitness classes, all night & day different from one another.  This morning the hubby & I started an intense 5 week boot camp through a local fitness joint (he’s done it before but it’s my first go around of it).  I love picking races & training for them- hope to do way more in 2013 than 2011-12 held for me.  Always keep upgrading means more than just food for me, it means my fitness feats as well.  Keep on moving and grooving- have fun with it!


We can upgrade everything right? More gigs, more leg room, more minutes, even upgrade our meal size.  It wasn’t until I realized how big I was that I then realized how much more I was eating compared to others.  Counting calories let’s be honest, blows, the long and the short of it.  It’s about knowing that if you eat what you want you won’t look the way you want.  But there is an answer, making the food you want in a healthier way. I mean yes, it does have its limitations, you can’t really dress down a doughnut but you can swap that pasta for a salad and the level D-grade meat in any major fast food joint for crap anything else.

Lets run the list of workouts I’ve tried this last year- weight lifting, spin, treadmill, trail running, spinning class, TRX class, yoga (sculpt, hot, flows), boot camps, insanity, P90X, road cycling, hiking, extreme walking (I know, right), and swimming laps.  There is actually no limit to the amount of things you can try to workout to change things up and keep it real.  If one doesn’t work for you, check out the gym schedule, if you are afraid to go alone, don’t be, everyone in that class was once in your shoes.  If that’s not enough, grab me, grab Sarah, hell Frank the pug will even go with you (not super helpful but he is a great conversationalist). I look at my before photos and see nothing but a life as being sad and depressed.  I’ll say it, I was depressed, I was sad, I did feel trapped with no way out. When I look at the smile in my after photos, that is genuine, not faked, not to put on a show, but a 100% real smile.

I’m 29 now, 29-years-old, I look back on the last 9 years of my life not as wasted, but as years I didn’t live to the fullest, years stuck in a tired, weak body that only wanted to eat and do nothing else.  It wasn’t until now that I know how great life can be when you max out your heart everyday and live every minute like it’s the last.  I beg you readers, don’t lock yourself away, don’t lock away your hopes and dreams because you don’t feel secure.  Because before you know it, you’ll be 29 or 39 or sheeet even 59 and wonder how much of your time was spent in a place you didn’t want to be.  3 words to live by “Do Epic Shit.”

Healthiest You Series: 3- Active Lifestyle

Develop a passion for an active lifestyle.

  • Play with a variety of physical activities so you never get bored
  • Plan for future fitness events to keep you excited and on schedule
  • Surround yourself with active friends and get involved in healthy communities

The great thing about being active is the way you feel.  Endorphins flood the body to make us feel good.  And when we’ve done something hard, we are proud of ourselves.

Dabble in all kinds of sports and physical activities for the most efficient calorie burn.  If we do the same workout over and over again, we burn less calories doing it as our muscles memorize and shape around that particular activity, not to mention we’ll get bored.  Keep your workouts exciting- try bootcamps, classes at the gym, TRX, zumba, yoga, running, road cycling, mountain biking, spinning, adult gymnastics, walking, hiking, dancing, stair climbing, pilates, swimming, rock climbing, pickup recreational sports or leagues, workout DVDs, chair excercises, or varied physical therapy exercises, etc.  Work on resistance training (like weights, resistance bands, body-weight-resistance, weight machines, etc.) along side and not just only cardio activities.

Set a race date with some friends for something in the future.  Plan to go to a workshop in a different town, or plan an active weekend trip away.   Sign up for lessons in something unusual.  Keep something exciting on your calendar’s horizon.

Get involved in an active community, whether online or in person.  If you belong to a health club, or a yoga studio, or a boxing gym, meet new people there.  Become friends with active people, and invite your friends along.  Develop the lifestyle habit for being active.


Running became something I grew to love (I did hate it for a long time first, though :)), and finding new races to work towards was really exciting (  Then I added road cycling.  Then I added yoga.  Then I did my yoga teacher training.  Then I started this little yoga-based fitness biz. 

From the very beginning of my healthiest self journey, motivation from friends was so important.  Now that I have been a yoga instructor for a few years, the network of friends and the healthy community I have now is helpful for my being in love with being active and caring for myself.  I have made good friends with lots of fellow instructors and with lots of my students.  Without even saying it, we keep each other accountable and give each other positive acceptance, affirmation, and encouragement.

I enjoy trying new activities, different forms of yoga classes, dance classes, boot camp classes, spinning classes, varied running routes and cycling routes, pole-dancing classes, boxing classes, different locations, and keeping things mixed up.  The variety of working out has got to be interesting!  If you haven’t found any workout you feel passionate about or have a blast doing, then keep looking and trying!

Know that you don’t have to have every member of your household on board for you to do your own journey.  I had hit my healthiest weight ever before the hubby even thought of his own journey.  I never nagged (I don’t think I did at least :)) or pushed him to do anything.  I had experienced for myself that I wasn’t ready to do anything about my health until I was ready to do something about my health.  And it’s not going to work for those you love in your household if you push your agenda on them when they’re not ready.  Patience with yourself and patience with others.  They’ll do it when they’re ready to do it. You can’t use that as an excuse for you not getting out there and doing your own journey towards health.  Your journey may inspire them, but guaranteed, nagging will not.

Decide to change your life.  And then keep deciding every morning.


Let’s get ready to motttttivate! (Reread that part to jock jams and then you’ll be ready to read on)

But seriously I guess I don’t mean motivation, I mean its times for a system check.  First, why do you get up in the morning?  Why do you brush your teeth and still put your hair into your high school style (just kidding ,Matt)?  Why do we do the same things over and over again? What is the purpose? Is it madness or because we what to fit into a mold?

Well, if you ask me, it is madness- we aren’t meant to be repetitive motion people.  I still don’t have a clue how people drive in rush hour traffic and not freak the hell out.  Short of the traffic rant, I feel the same monotony applies to our workouts, or to my view on workouts.  Like Sarah has said if we go through the motions time and time again even if we up the intensity our bodies will be all, “hold the phone we’ve done this before, I know exactly the amount of energy I will need to finish this work out” and hit autopilot.

So it’s time to knuckle up, time to show one’s cards, spill the beans.  It is almost a daily question, “how’d you do it?”  To be honest 100% honest, I want it all and by all I mean I don’t want to buy a ticket to a movie and just listen to it, I want to feel it, see it, smell and almost taste those nasty floors.  I want to run along the beach of the Mediterranean with my wife chasing after me, I want to ski the slopes chasing after my wife.  I want to ride a 100 miles on my bike and actually beat my father (he’s a long time cyclist so I should have him sometime around when he turns 65 or so).  I am sick of looking at a physical challenge and thinking maybe next year. Time to start playing in the game and not wanting to on the sidelines.

This life is so much more than what we give it credit for.  We aren’t supposed to head to work, work, head home, rise and repeat.  I like to look at life spans, left-over food from dinner out, four days in the fridge before it should be tossed, cell phones 1 to 2 years if you are lucky (but if you’re my in-laws and they are reading this, mobiles aren’t bouncy balls).  To be specific our bodies, 60-70-80 possible 90 years, hell if I get 70-80 years I’ll be thrilled, our bodies are so freaking amazing.  We can beat them down and they will rebuild and in most cases stronger and faster.  You toss a beating on a banana you now have the makings for real good bread (am I right, Carol?).  What I mean is when you start to lose that weight, to find that motivation, you’ll know.

Beside the internal motivation, I am strong believer in outside sources of strength.  I mean take Milo and Otis as examples- that pug and that cat most likely wouldn’t have made it on their own- the cat needed a curly tail for motivation, the sub-nosed dog needed something fuzzy to follow.  I guess I needed a ginger to follow around the track a few times.  I guess I needed a brother to spit me knowledge cultivated from years of athleticism.  But what Sarah and I have discussed is that people are placed in your life, even if you aren’t ready to be the best you that you can be, just remember they’re there, like a bat in the night, waiting, waiting to help you defeat whatever doughnuts or pizza pies, or to attempt that first jog around a quarter-mile jog track, even if when you first started you were only about to run for 20-30 seconds. Trust me I’ve been there. 

I say lets recap this beotch, because when I think about it, I didn’t show you my motivation very deeply, I gave you a peak into how I have started to win the battle that is my bulge.  If you act now you can buy my book at a greatly reduced rate (haha, totally just kidding).  But seriously, the one wall I think most people have is pride and the single toughest thing to do is to toss that like a monkey after a bowel movement, all over those watching.  You think you had a bad time, image you’re in a big meeting, pregnant, sick, and have to pee, you make it to the bathroom in just enough time to toss your cookies only to realize after your done that you just peed yourself as well.  I seriously recapped my day after hearing that story and was like; my day has been a piece of cake.  A friend in high school had a quote, “Dance like no one is watching” and Sarah’s recent yoga thought of the week was “If you stumble, turn it into a dance.”  So I once was large and I have turned that into a dance, one that keeps changing. Live your life outside of your boundaries and I promise, seriously promise, you’ll be 10 fold better and stronger coming out the other side, if not, what did you waste?  No more rising and repeating for this guy and you shouldn’t either.