30 June 2009


Wow, I have not blogged in over a week!!! Last week/day of school consumed me, and now my dear child has a fever. My mind is still churning though. In light of the current state of the economy, many of our families are being tested as to how much compassion they have for one another if members have fallen on hard times. In one family alone, one can find various levels of living styles and financial backgrounds, and within that same family there exists varying degrees of compassion, respect and love.

One thing that is certain, with or without an economic struggle, families tend to be very different. Some possess an undying spirit of "oneness" that can not be broken by any circumstances - they support and love each other no matter what...no matter what the finances or the background.

Others are stricken with huge amounts of turmoil that may simply encompass jealousy, resentment, hatred for no other reason than personality conflicts. Why go out of the way to dislike a family member or to impart unnecessary distress on them, especially when you can see they need help??? We have all come to learn that some people value their friendships more than they value their families and this is truly a sad state of affairs, but many of us are so thankful for the friends we have. The lesson that has been learned is that just because they are your family does not mean they have to love you, much less respect and support you.

My father was one of 9 children... or was it 10?? Back then families were huge! In my imagination such a large family spells lots of big family gatherings, filled with love and fun, but actually for such large families it could spell lots of conflict! Today in these tough financial times, there are still a good amount of couples marrying and wanting to have more than 2 children. In fact many have 4, 5 and 6 children, and I wonder how hard they work towards making sure there exists a great family bond of true love, compassion and respect for one another?? It truly takes hard work just as you would work on anything in life that you want to be successful with. You can not just let the chips land where they may because that may result in pure disaster.

I remember someone very close to me who was one of 9 children herself, and the stories she shared with me made my head spin. More children, more drama! But the saddest drama came about when she was in her 50s. She was very close to one of her sisters, the one who was slightly younger than her. They talked and shared so much over the years, and continued with much dedication even when both got married and started their own families and lived in different states miles apart. There was a special bond between them, until one day the younger sister's husband had a heart attack and died. She called her older sister and told her what happened. The older sister was deeply saddened by the news and she conveyed this on the telephone to her sister. Of course she was extremely sympathetic and of course she knew her sister was in deep hurt and needed her. Those things were very obvious to all who knew them based on the relationship they had always had between one another. No extra words or gestures needed to be made to quantify that. Anyone who knew the two of them, knew of their unbreakable bond with one another.

But something very, very strange happened that shattered what everyone came to believe as a truth. The older sister, tied down with her own family and it's issues told the younger sister that she would be coming to her side in 2 days...... not right away, not at that very instant. The younger sister was shocked and in disbelief. She expected her younger sister to drop everything and come NOW!! At this instance!! In her mind her sister's love was to prove itself now at this moment. But she did not say anything to her older sister, she just listened quietly. Her attitude changed in the blink of an eye. She no longer felt a sense of comfort that her sister was the person she could depend on for anything. She felt betrayed. She felt abandoned. Their relationship would never be the same.

This is the truth about this story. Can you imagine the outcome of this story? Two sisters who were closer than one could imagine suddenly became as far apart as two people could be to the point that hatred and resentment set in for many seasons??? Years. About 7 years they never spoke to one another again. They never were able to calmly and effectively sit down and discuss the circumstances of the situation. You know what brought them back together?? The death of the other sister's husband. Why does TRAGEDY have to be the catalyst for a break up? And perhaps a make-up?

This story to me is a great example of many family disagreements that get way out of hand. Was the younger sister within her right to be angry about her older sister not dashing to her side as soon as she heard about her husband passing away? Or should she have been understanding that her older sister had a life many miles away and be thankful that she would get there eventually? OR.... Was the older sister to just forget about everything and just go to her younger sister's side? or Was she well within her right to tie up any loose ends on her part and just get there when possible???

We can all formulate opinions, and this is what families tend to do the BEST. Everyone has an opinion on what the other person should or should not be doing. Family members tend to think that "family" means "you have the right to say and do whatever you please." Being truthful and honest is surely a good thing in particular when it will do the most good. But compassion, love and devotion speak the loudest particularly in situations that are GRAVE.

Many family feuds can be avoided if the members of the families could let their HEART be their guides. If there is genuine love between parents/siblings/relatives, then it should be easy to make decisions based on that, as long as it is all to achieve good and balance.

I hear so many stories about various families and I often think, "WOW..... WOW!!"

My desire to write this blog was based on personal experience, but I started to realize when thinking about it, how many, many people are afflicted by unnecessary family conflicts. I also thought about the great stories I hear about families coming together in times of despair to keep the family going strong and sticking together. This is what we need in a time like this because it resonates on the type of people we are in this great big WORLD. Greed and resentment is what got us in this bind in the first place. If families can't be the foundation of GOOD, we are doomed as a society going forward.

Looking at/hearing all the coverage on Michael Jackson truly has me thinking a lot about this very topic. Of course Michael had many issues throughout his lifetime ...... we could point our fingers at many... we could blame him... we could blame his parents... however, the entire world is mourning the passing of a legend.... the King of Pop..... a truly talented man......

He is gone....

Many people are starting to think about people in their lives and how much they love them. The worse feeling in the world is to have someone leave you and never ever be able to see and speak with them ever again. The worse feeling is to have been feuding over something that is truly NOT so significant when you really look at it. The worse feeling is to have your last memory of someone you (used to?) love to be one about the disagreement you had. The worse thing is to allow a disagreement to cloud the true, "good" relationship you had with your loved one.

People are mourning MJ saying things like, "he really impacted my life." That is a gift. Perhaps a loved one can't buy you gifts, or can't call you on the phone everyday --- but there is some other way they have impacted YOUR life..... treasure it and remember to love them and show it while they are here and do not wait until they are gone to cry over their passing and live with regret. Often times what you REFUSED to come to an agreement on, could never shatter your relationship --- perhaps if you would have worked together, you would have lifted each other up to NEW heights. Less time spent criticizing, and more time spent uplifting and supporting would result in happiness all around.

We must really stop and consider what LIFE and FAMILY is truly about so we are not in a world of hurt when it is too late to matter. This cycle of people living with regrets needs to stop.

Embrace your loved ones! Love and support one another because a family's embrace could be the best embrace!!

19 June 2009

My affirmations about motherhood

My babies in December 2006

A few years before I had my son (who is 10 yrs old), I honestly did not want to be a mother. The idea of only having to worry about myself seemed like a lovely and perhaps selfish thought. I would have been able to do amazing things like travel more , jump from one job to another, spend more money on myself, drive a fancier car, perhaps NOT own a home. The sacrifices we make when we become parents are monumental. For the people who knew me prior to 1999, they could attest to the fact that I was much into caring about myself. I was that person who would not jump to hold someone's baby, I would just smile and say, "soooo cute."

Today, I giggle when I think about that person who no longer exists because I am very much the total opposite. I love how I have transformed into the "mother" that I am now. I am not perfect, but I can say I try my very best. While being a full-time working person, I had about 7 years straight of mostly sleepless nights, so sleepless that I had just about given up on the idea of ever sleeping through the night for the rest of my life. I would have paid actual cash if I thought I could truly buy some extra sleep. Though I battled with sleep deprivation, in the grand scheme of things, it did not matter to me, because I chose to be a "hands on" mother.

Today I had thoughts about how I have been thankful for this past year and a half since I have been able to be home and spend time truly being a full-time mother to my children. I was laid off from my job as a trader after working at the same Investment Banking company for 22 years. It was a blessing in disguise for me. All the years that I had worked, I had someone else caring for my children, and I only had the few hours after work (before bedtime), weekends and vacations to spend with my children. Some of my "stay-at-home-Mom" friends would tell me that I was lucky to have a career. I was....

I tried my best to not get hung up with guilt feelings, but it was not always easy. There were many mornings, at about 5 a.m., when one of the children would get out of bed and come to me and beg saying, "Mommy can you pleeeeeeease stay home today?" That would break my heart! In their little minds, there was no understanding that I had to go to work everyday. In their little minds, it seemed like I was making a choice to go to work over being with them.

Well, they thank me all the time now for being here, even on the days that they are not behaving and I have to discipline them and become "Mean Mommy." I can be very tough. We have great fun but I still expect them to behave, work hard in school, have manners, treat people how they want to be treated themselves, and respect themselves and love each other. Some days are truly a challenge, but it's a challenge I embrace. I know that they are my children and I am fully responsible for them at this time, and because I love them more than anyone else in this world, my love is what enables me to do all that I do for them. My right mind and my heart tells me what I have to do, and I just do it. And all the while, as I go through each day, I utter these powerful words, "God help me." It really helps! LOL!

As we wind down this last week of school, I can say I am so thankful for many things, but the most important ones are:

1. I love my son and my daughter just the way they are.
2. I am thankful that I am a mother and specifically a mother to Miles and Nia.
3. I am thankful that God has blessed me with good health, energy and a desire to be the best mother that I can be.
4. I am thankful that I was able to share a year and half with my children since I was not able to share this much with them before January 2008. We did a lot of amazing things over the past 18 months.
5. I will continue to do my best as a mother for the sake of my children.
6. I have to give thanks to my FATHER because I inherited his spirit. The spirit that enables me to want to get up early everyday and get going and doing. This spirit is very necessary for me to be a good mother.

My children will spend Father's Day with their father on Sunday and I just want to say, Happy Father's day to all the wonderful Fathers out in the world!

Take time to remember your father, wherever he is....

14 June 2009

Take care of the BACK and the BONES!

Our bones are very important if you simply consider that beneath the skin and flesh is your strong but delicate skeletal system. As you give thought to taking care of your body and health on the whole, you should also put an emphasis on what you do to care for your bones.

This morning as I was dressing, I bothered to hear the vocals of that Sally Field commercial where she talks about taking Boniva (ibandronate) for osteoporosis. She starts out saying that though she did all the right things to make sure her bones were getting calcium and Vitamin D, she still got osteoporosis.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, there are 5 things you should do to prevent getting osteoporosis, and they advise that doing just ONE will not prevent you from getting it.

1. Eat right
2. Exercise
3. Avoid smoking, and excessive alcohol
4. Talk to your healthcare person about bone health
5. Get a bone density test

Your doctor may have you starting bone density tests from when you are 50, depending on your state of health and any issues you may have. So the key is to keep those bones strong until then!

My story
I realize years ago I wanted to make sure I had a strong healthy back after watching my mother being afflicted with back pain for days and weeks at a time. They were muscle problems, but it still motivated me to put an emphasis on including back strengthening exercises in my regular program. I have had a few very serious accidents that could have resulted in major back issues today, but because I made certain to do my exercises, I healed very quickly.

There was one incident in the gym a few years ago when I was doing squats on the Smith machine, about 225 lbs of weight, and I thought someone was spotting me. Just as I started my squat, the person walked away and my focus quickly moved from being careful about the exercise, to watching (in disbelief) him walk off. Next thing you know the entire bar and weight came falling down with me going down with it and I used my back to brace it down by leaning forward as I was falling. It all happened in a flash. Luckily with the Smith machine the weight could not go all the way to the floor, so I was able to ease from under the bar. As I went to stand up, I realized I couldn't. The tears started to fall because I quickly realized that I was hurt pretty bad. I couldn't bend, I was limping, and I was in shock that the whole thing happened. At the time, I was about 130 lbs, so imagine what 225 lbs rushing down on my back felt like?

I remember it being a Sunday, and I remember just crying -- crying when I could barely figure out how to get into my car to drive home. I could hardly function the entire day. I should have gone to the emergency room, but I was feeling too sorry for myself and did not go. The next day I was still in a lot of pain and unable to move much, so I made an appointment with an Orthopedic specialist. They took lots of Xrays and determined that I had pretty bad muscle strain but that I was amazingly lucky that it was not worse. He examined my back completely with his hands and he said that I probably lucked out because it was very apparent that I had a very strong, muscular back. I told him that watching my mother just lose "time" with her aching back was my motivation, and he encouraged me to stick with my program. Withing a couple weeks, I was back to my normal workout routine. People who witnessed this accident in the gym were amazed at my speedy recovery.

This story, and other stories clearly explain why strengthening the back and the bones is imperative. Some people will think, well my story is a bit intense. But people hurt their backs worse than I did, doing a lot less stressful activity. That is a fact. And while hurting their backs so easily, they endure weeks and even months of agony and discomfort which require NSAIDS and other medication. I did not have to resort to those things, and I hope that people can realize that you do have the power to strengthen your back and avoid these issues. Back pains and aches afflict a huge amount of people. I know I come across at least one person a week who shares that they are suffering with some back ailment.

Men get osteoporosis too!
Many people have this belief that only women are afflicted with osteoporosis and that is very wrong. 1 in 8 men are afflicted with some sort of osteoporosis. Bones do in fact deteriorate. Bones can be strengthened. Exercise does strengthen bones. The time to start keeping your bones healthy is when you are a child and you are to continue to do so throughout your ENTIRE lifetime. Though back pains are often "muscle" related afflictions, it can still be beneficial preventative medicine to keep back strengthening exercises, and bone building exercises as part of EVERYONE's lifetime routine.

No one should wait until they FEEL something is not right. You can't just drink milk or pop Calcium pills and think you will be ok. You don't wait until you are 50 or 60 to start because you may find out that you already have a problem. The proper protocol is to address it as a priority now.

We all think it is so cute when we see grandparents or elderly folks who appear to be "shrinking," and we put our arms around them with endearment. They have indeed "shrunk" and that is because the bones are deteriorating. Just because you may be approaching 50, 60, or even 70, does not mean you should just expect to start shrinking.

Weight bearing exercise
Last year, I added an amazing accessory to my exercise repertoire. In some respects I don't even consider it to be exercise related, but more so of a "therapeutic" necessity. A weighted vest! I am not suggesting that anyone go out and buy the 40lb vest that I purchased, but they do come in lighter weights (and fully adjustable by 1 lb increments) such as 5 lbs, 7 lbs, 10 lbs, etc.

Instead of waiting to hear that your doctor may eventually prescribe osteoporosis medication to you (because it runs in your family), consider what you can do to keep your body strong and off of drugs.

Sometimes I run with my vest on (only with about 5-10lbs of weight), or I do a P90X workout with it on, or I walk on the treadmill with it on (sometimes with as much as 30lbs), or I do house work with it on for a few hours. One just has to be careful about the weight, start off light and gradually over time you can increase. This must be done so that you don't hurt yourself, especially your knees (or back :)!

I can say that my back is as strong as ever! If ever I have an incident where I could have hurt my back, it seems to recuperate very quickly or plain and simply, nothing happens. I cherish this.

We all know how stressful life can be. Stress and the fast pace of life can wreak havoc on our bodies. It's important to strengthen it so that it can withstand anything at anytime!


The find out more about how weight bearing exercises and how a weighted vest helps with bone building, go to: http://www.weightvest4osteoporosis.com/osteoinfo.htm

13 June 2009

You are just you

While running this morning, I had a thought about how people sometimes feel about health and fitness, because I get the same thoughts myself. In a lot of ways, most of us are very alike with the way we think and process life. The differences that exist are based on the fact that individual people decide, that they will do something unique ...for themselves.

I thought about how intimidating the whole world at large can be to each and every one of us because within it, there are so many truly magnificent beings, doing amazingly wonderful things -- renowned artists, musicians, geniuses, doctors, scientists, innovative techno folks, health and fitness gurus..... teachers of the year, pilates divas, CEOs, Commander-in-Chiefs....

Often times, we praise these people for their huge successes, their unfathomable dedication, their on-going determinations, and sometimes, we consider ourselves so small in comparison to them and their achievements.

This attitude may be the very attitude that prevents us from creating our own dreams and setting our own goals. For some, it prevents them from thinking they could ever have a chance for something better.

It's so important that we NOT buy into that type of deceptive thinking. We all must be praised, and we all must seek our OWN inner focus to achieve whatever it is we want to do. We all don't want to be the same....

And with that... we should not all look the same either. The only thing we should try to all do is feel healthy which leads to feeling good, happy and WANTING to live life to the fullest.

How many times have we seen people who have rushed to get something that someone else had (duplicate someone else's lifestyle) and end up miserable? How many people do we meet who just say, "that will never be me" and so they don't even try. They pretend to the outside world that they are not interested, and all the while, inside they "wish."

So you have a friend who is a size 2 and you think, "I will never be a size 2." We are all not supposed to be a size 2, plain and simple. For the women that care, not all men want a woman who is a size 2. Men are not all supposed to be 225lbs with rippling muscles. There are a lot of women that appreciate such a man, but there are many women that say, "no thank you."

The YOU that YOU are is an amazing person. Me personally, I believe in God, and I believe we were all intended to be a little different from each other --- noses, hips, legs, heads... Your goal is not to measure up to your best friend, or the women/men in the magazines. Your goal should simply be to be the BEST you that YOU can be. That is it.

Back to my thoughts while running this morning... I was thinking about how many times I heard people say, "I can't run fast." Running fast is certainly not the goal. People get discouraged about doing certain things because they get a thought in their head (based on what they hear and pictures they see) that if you are a runner, you should run at a certain speed. When they believe such things, they say, "well, I can't run, and I won't go out and embarass myself."

Most of us are certainly NOT natural born athletes by no stretch of the imagination. We have had to work hard to where we are today. That is the goal... to just work a little each day to get to a better place.

It's so important to not look at the pictures or listen to the numbers and use that as a guideline to figure out where you want to get to. You fail before you start because it seems impossible and you get discouraged.

This is why so many people don't even try to START their new program. They get too caught up with what the others do... how the others look. Fast forward to the finished product and leave out all the pertinent "stuff" that happened along the journey................ not good!

For those out there who are still trying to decide how to get started, and still feeling a bit helpless or even hopeless.......... START WITH YOU and only YOU.

Leave out the pills, the airbrushed magazine pictures and articles promising you stuff that is not reality, forget the starvation diet..... get back to truth and believe in YOU.

Map out your steps....
Create your focus on what you want for YOU.
Create your own enthusiasm.......
Get a really good SOMEBODY to hold your hand and to encourage you...

If you get up today and you can walk 1 or 2 miles.... that is YOUR start. You go from there... making YOUR steps.... We do not care at all if your sister or best friend is running a half-marathon tomorrow morning. That's not your concern.

Take your journey, feel your journey, praise yourself for each and every accomplishment you make, big or small.......... and stay on it...

It's personal and it's for you...only to be measured by you....

Eventually, as you make your achievements, you will love yourself...

As you are smiling and loving life..... those folks around will be happy for you and share in your delight!

11 June 2009

Choice is a gift

It does not get any simpler than that! Given every aspect of our lives, this is the foundation of how we live. In our personal lives, in our careers... in this country and in this world. The ultimate evaluation comes from what choices did we make to get to where we are?

Do you like the green dress or the white dress?
Do you want the brick house or the stucco house?
Do you like the Mercedes or the BMW?
Do you want to have Japanese or Italian for dinner tonight?
Are you going to attend the 4th of July celebration?
What will I invest my money in?
How much should we start saving now for the children's college fund?

Practically every decision we make, any move, any thought, is based on a moment, or a relative amount of time spent, considering and weighing one option against another.

Many of us are influenced by our family members, friends, work associates and even strangers that we hear on the radio, or see on TV. Something that others are doing immediately urges us to "do the same thing," in hopes of having the same or similar results.

Advertisements show us all of the testimonials of ALL the people who are involved and have had great success. "This is where it's at!! Here's what you want to be doing! Let us show you the way!"

And so, you look on eagerly ..... you think.... and you make a choice.

Or perhaps, you make no choice. But ...

That is a choice within in itself. Making no choice simply means you choose not to deal with "IT" at this time. You choose to say, "I'm not interested." You may even think, "I'm not that easy." "I know you just want my money." "I have tried things in the past and they did not work, and this is probably the same thing all over again."

Sometimes people do this because they can't wrap their minds around the idea of trying something new and different. They feel they have been "taken" too many times before. They are jammed tightly in a distorted "comfort zone" that has them thinking it's easier to stay there than to venture out and learn about what is truly going on. Because that is what is very necessary to make a choice... learning and understanding what you may be getting yourself into. Learn about it.

Life makes it easy for us to make choices, because there are so many -- perhaps too many. We have a good percentage of friends who seem to always choose the "right" and the "best" things to do. Then we have those that are in the middle, some "good" and some "bad." Then we have those, again, that choose nothing, or choose all the "easy" things.

But it's not easy is it? Truth be told.

It's not easy to say, "I don't care, I will just do this." In your mind, you have already told yourself with those simple words that you are going to give yourself "less than you deserve." You have already set yourself up for the demise you will face. You are preparing yourself for the "nothing" and the "mediocrity" that will follow.

In cases of health and well-being, to choose to, "lay on the couch day in and day out with no cares in the world about eating a balanced healthy diet, and absolutely no exercise," have you chosen to really and truly feel well? You have chosen to not be well.

The next time you go to the doctor and again he tells you that your cholesterol is too high, or your diabetes has gotten worse, or your blood pressure is still dangerously high....... are you satisfied with your choice? When you lay down to sleep tonight and you are tossing and turning from indigestion or perhaps heart palpitations, are you satisfied with your choice?

How many other questions like these can you come up with? Ones that having you weigh the choice you made... versus the choice you SHOULD have made???

In retrospect, what it really comes down to is, it does not matter what color dress you have, or even what car you drive..... if you have chosen the road to illness, sadness and hopelessness.

It's our gift... to be able to have a choice....

Enjoy your gift -- to yourself!

07 June 2009

What's the meaning of it all?

I am surely appreciative of the life I have had thus far, including my childhood. The way I see it, life happens on purpose, and we can either take great lessons from it and build on that, or we can sit and complain and criticize which I believe is wholly a waste of precious time. I believe in my heart, that as I do the best I can do at this time for my children with the resources and knowledge that I have, they will ultimately learn, and surpass what I have passed on to them to become even greater than we can fathom at this time. I am very ok with that.

Given that mindset, I can say that based on my childhood and my family background, I make conscious choices to be the person that I am today. I have made my share of mistakes, and probably will still do so going forward, but that is how we live and learn. I strive to stay healthy and in shape because of what I saw around me and based on what I have experienced personally.

I know firsthand what it feels like to not feel good, to take medications, to moan and groan, to want to call in sick to work, to want to sleep all day, to want to scream at someone -- to just feel terrible physically and emotionally. I know what it feels like to not be able to wear my clothes and to feel low and think badly about myself. I know what it feels like to have issues in my own family that include major health problems, emotional problems, major weight problems, people who are a burden to others. I know all of this and lots more, and I don't want it personally for me. No thank you. I choose the opposite and I make it a priority on my list to have MY life that way.

It feels very good to wake up daily and feel strong, healthy and happy and very ABLE. It feels good to be able to think clearly, to feel conscious and aware. It feels good to FEEL life. I have young children and I want them to see a vital, strong, intelligent and fulfilled Mommy daily. I don't want to be their burden. I don't want them walking around the house thinking, "great today will not be so great because Mommy does not feel well," or walking around thinking, "Mommy is not happy." I love being silly with them, dancing, jumping, playing games -- showing them my energy. And unlike my upbringing, their memories of growing up with me may make it even easier for them to keep the same healthy mindset as THEY grow up and try to make their life work. Just maybe!

Isn't that how it should be? I had a thought this morning how people seem to follow some crazy script about how life should be. Kids run around, have fun, play sports, play dates, birthday parties, lots of activities --- tremendous laughter and energy. Adults are supposed to SIT and WATCH??? What is that? There is a law somewhere that says, "once you have some children, hang up your sneakers (or high heels :) and sit down and let them have all the fun. Just sit, get aches and pains, gain weight and pass the baton on to them. It's their turn. You're done!"


I have an aunt and a very close friend who both throw themselves a big birthday party every year. Here! Here! I can appreciate that. Take time out to love yourself and celebrate your life every year with fun and laughter.

It's pretty sad that some adults feel like they are to slow down and shut down as they age but I see it a lot. That is not our destiny. Like yesterday when I was having so much fun dancing with my daughter and other Mommies (some Daddies) and their children. The smiles on our faces... all of our faces. The happiness and joy we felt. My daughter WANTED me to dance with her.

All of this is not just because I work out. It's a mindset I decided I WANT. I want to feel energetic, happy, determined, able, healthy, positive, challenged, silly, fantastic, AGE-LESS!!!! (at least for now :).... and WHY NOT????)

That's the meaning of my life. Living it... enjoying it.... with those around me.... FEELING... really and truly FEELING....... good about it as much as possible!

05 June 2009

"One" gives the biggest bang...


Ever wonder why some people work out for 30 mins or 1 hour and seem to look like they worked out for 2 hours? Ever wonder why some people work out for 2 hours and look like they did nothing?

Same questions can be asked about people's investment of their time in just about anything. Cooking, for example. I love those cooking shows or reality shows where they give the contestants 30 minutes to create an exquisite dish with certain key ingredients. That's where the money is, creating something fantastic in a short amount of time. No offense to my mother, but when I was about 17 years old, I had to overthrow her from the kitchen because holiday celebrations were being celebrated the day after because that is when she would be finished cooking.

Often times, the reasons why we can not see the results of our efforts is because we are too busy bringing a lot of USELESS thoughts and nonsense into the mix when we are trying to achieve just ONE thing.

In the matter of working out/exercise, you can truly get the biggest bang for your buck if you realize that the only thing you need to bring to the ONE hour is YOU. Leave all else behind.

Here is a list of what MANY people are thinking about when they are working out:

1. I would rather be doing something else.

2. The something else you would rather be doing --- honestly? You would rather be at work maybe??

3. What you have to do when you get to work. And why? You can't do it while you are working out.

4. How much you hate your job.

5. The fight you had the night before (or minutes before you started working out) with a loved one.

6. The children.

7. Why haven't you lost any weight yet. Maybe because you don't stay in the moment to get the proper benefits of your exercise.

8. Exercise stinks... it does not work. You have to do it properly to know it DOES work.

9. What you are going to eat when you are finished (and most likely something you should NOT have but you think you deserve it because you did a half-efforted workout).

10. You will take tomorrow off.

11. This hurts.

12. Whatever....

13. All the bills...

14. Gotta clean the house...

15. Who you don't like...

16. Other things that have NOTHING to do with the ONE hour that you have to workout.

I suggest you LET IT GO for the ONE hour that you have for YOURSELF.

Clear it out.

Don't do it to yourself.

Invest in yourself for ONE hour a day.

Invest in the thoughts of your body. How it is functioning during the exercises.

Work on your BREATHING first and foremost!!!!!

Feel the moment.

Stay in the moment, don't leave for anything!!! Not a fight, not your job....nothing.

Feel your strength. You have it.

Feel your ability. You have it.

Talk to yourself with all positive thoughts.

When you do these things, you give yourself the very NEEDED attention.

You will cut down on any possible injuries, if you don't get distracted. Often times, people say they hurt themselves during a workout. Pulled a muscle. Often times it's because they were not focused on what they were doing. They were filled with thoughts about so many things that have nothing to do with the workout. You can and will hurt yourself if your mind is elsewhere. Don't go there.

You will learn your true capacity. You will improve. You will appreciate yourself.

STOP.....Letting other outside issues/people get in the way of your progress.
Set your boundaries.

Back to the cooks/chefs who can create those phenomenal, gastronomical delights in minutes flat. They quickly focus on the ingredients they have, and they immediately come up with a dish. A DISH. ONE DISH!! They stay in the moment and create that one dish. They know what they want to achieve. They certainly can not be thinking of 6 different dishes or else, they won't accomplish what they set out to do.


Pretend you are a dish. How do you want to turn out?
Get your simple ingredients together. Bring only them (your exercise equipment) and YOU to the arena where you will create YOU.

Each time you have to work on your creation, have the same mindset.

04 June 2009

Information overload

When the lovely information highway came along, we catapulted ourselves into an utter state of confusion. The television and radio can advertise just about anything today. What to believe? What to buy? Who to listen to?

Everyone and anyone can put it out there. Who is believable? Who knows what they are talking about? Who is truly an authority or just a replica of the "other" professionals?

Who has the best website? Who has the best prices? Where do my friends shop? Heard about it on the evening news? Read an article in your favorite magazine?

Everyone in your town is doing it? Got it on sale, so you feel like you won something?

Can you get great advice from the professionals that you go to on a regular basis?

I love my gynecologist, but he would never tell me or advise me that a certain line of nutritional supplements are good. But there are some great doctors around, that are trustworthy, who would and do.

I remember when my son was first diagnosed with Uveitis, I went on a mission to find every bit of information I could about the condition. Being that I am an advocate of natural and healthy cures, I immediately tried to find out about nutritional ways that I could help him. Uveitis is a build up of inflammation in the eyes. So the "inflammation" issue is what needed to be addressed. The other plan of attack was to attempt to increase the healthiness of his eyes.. thus eye vitamins. I did not want to consider that my son could possibly be on steroid eye drops for months or years. In the midst of trying to fix one problem, he would inevitably inherit another (glaucoma, cataracts, for example, from the aggressive steroid use).

I decided to ask the ophthalmologist about "Bilberry" or "Bilberry extract" because I learned that it was great for improving eye health. He actually said, "there have been many studies that show that certain eye conditions have improved with the use of bilberry." Of course he added, "but I am not sure it would help with the uveitis." Well consider that, if I never brought it up to him, he certainly would never volunteer such information to me. That was enough for me to decide to add it to "our" daily diets, especially since Bilberry also benefits brain and circulation function.

Information can be an extremely helpful thing to everybody. Everything is not for everybody. Some information is just a lot of pitch to entice you to buy something foolish, and some is truly great stuff that can really benefit you.

We have needs and they specifically need to be addressed. It makes no sense to try to fix a problem with the feet by investing in a "Lazyboy chair." I say this because I often see people running out to get things that they do NOT need and certainly will NOT help their lives to get any better.

Some great information comes from the people who are living examples of why something is good. The good ol' "word of mouth," information, based on true, real life experiences. You can't really get that from radio and television commercials. You certainly can't get that from magazine ads or articles. All of these forms of media have the capacity to distort the truth, or simply leave out a lot of pertinent information. Often times, people feel bamboozled and hoodwinked because they buy something, take it home, and expect it to "do what the commercial showed."

I still believe that there is a lot of goodness and information for us to gather. We share and we inspire. We see people we know making changes for the better. We can't necessarily copy one another but the mere "thought" that "there is hope" because someone else is able to "do it," "make a change," gives credence that the information is good.

The best suggestion is to sit down and evaluate your own life and what may be out of place and needs fixing. Consider: Can you do it alone, or do you need some good help to make it happen? Then seek what you need, set your goals, and put your plan of action in play.

Once you get the information, it's very necessary to be PROACTIVE with it.

I used to get drawn into so much stuff, products, ideas. I thought I was having fun and broadening my horizons. Truly I was just wasting a lot of time and money because I was getting reeled in!

Seeing the truth in what you really need is where to start. Discard the rest of the nonsense.

02 June 2009

Birth of a "food" personality ?

We have children and even from birth, we see certain personalities emerge. Sometimes we can attribute these personalities directly to us the parents, or even to another relative. Sometimes one child can be made up of a combination of familial personalities, or the opposite, having no traits of anyone in the immediate family. I have heard that one before, "we don't know who she takes after." Puzzling?

As parents, good or bad, we often feel special if our child or children take after us. I remember when my son Miles was born, such a beautiful baby, and everyone would say he looked just like his father. I found that hard to digest given the fact that "I" carried him for nine months, and so I would hold him and dissect every inch of his body pointing out where there were resemblances of "ME" on him. He surely had some of my traits. He did.

When Nia was born she was a little over a pound smaller than Miles, dainty and beautiful, much what you would want a girl to look like. Her fingers were graceful and I thought to myself, "Ok... the beauty.... all me! But those fingers?" I don't have dainty fingers and neither does her father. We will just attribute the lovely fingers to a recessive gene perhaps. Most importantly, everyone agreed that she looked like me. Woohoo!

Where am I going with all of this? Well, here I am again, perhaps for the 3rd time in 6 months tending to my lovely 7 year old sick daughter. People say, "oh wow, she is sick again." Some people can't believe it because they know how I am very much into self-care, nutrition, building up the body, building a strong immune system. I certainly don't enjoy having to drop what I am doing to care for her, but I know it's very necessary. I make every effort to build her back up as quickly as possible.

I can honestly admit, that when it comes to keeping my daughter healthy, it's one of my true challenges, on the top 10 list! This is not me taking an opportunity to give excuses, but more of an opportunity to reflect on some thoughts I had. I remember getting sick a lot as a child. I remember loving the fact that my mother would take the best care of me. Back when I was Nia's age, my family was certainly not aware of health and nutrition like we are today. My mother was a nurse, but that did not mean she was a health advocate. She was a great caregiver, very nurturing and perhaps that was all you needed back then in order to get by!

Whose fault is it that she gets sick? Hers? Mine? I don't know that blame can be placed anywhere, but I know that taking measures to keep her healthy are better than not doing anything. I also know that this past school year, there were many, many more sick children than usual AND worse than that, the parents send them to school anyway. I have witnessed parents telling me that unless their child is dying, they are going to school. I resent this because it makes my job harder to keep my children well. I resent this because I would not be so inconsiderate. Much like yesterday and today, I have kept my daughter home because I do not want her to go to school and infect other children (and the teacher even). Currently we have "swine flu" haphazardly striking in different places, and the resounding advice is, "if you have symptoms that include fever, STAY HOME."

Anyway, that is getting off the topic a bit.....

I thought about how I was lucky enough to grow out of much of the same health issues as a child and the fact that I took a great interest in health and nutrition as I grew into adulthood. But I also thought about the fact that many others in my family still chose to keep the same mindset and same poor choices for their well-being, and those very people are still afflicted with the same concerns today. They are miserable. They are limited in what they can do physically which in turn affects their day to day emotions.

I thought about how food was always and still is the center of all family gatherings, big or small. I thought about how I shifted my mindset as the years went by from "just eating to eat," to "eating for a purpose." Most times the purpose is to fuel the body as best as possible, and on some occasions, it's simple to "enjoy the flavors" and to "enjoy the company." Food does taste good when prepared properly. I enjoy cooking, and I enjoy entertaining. Dining can be a most exquisite experience. But it does take a certain personality to navigate successfully through the adventures of eating without abusing the privilege?? If you were not born with that personality, you do indeed have to develop it on your own.

I sit and talk to my daughter daily about why I do what I do. I try to make her understand why it is important for her to eat certain things, drink lots of water and take extra supplements. She always answers, "yes Mommy... yes Mommy" with what I believe is the sincerest intentions. She struggles to focus on what I tell her though and that may be because of her age. She swears most times that she is not hungry. Gosh she is quite thin and so I worry. She has her good days and her not so good days with eating and drinking. She does enjoy the healthiest dishes that I prepare, but when I am not looking, she would rather dive into a box of chocolate or a bag of cookies. She surely suffers the consequences of her actions. When she is with her father, I know that he gives into many of her "not so healthy" requests. Parents tend to do this because they feel children are entitled to "life's goodies," but you have to have limits.

My son, listens and "gets it" about nutrition. He cares. He actually loves all sorts of vegetables, fish, fruits and he pays attention to what he eats during the day. His diet is not extremely rigid, but he understands the necessity of good nutrition for ideal body function. He gives me no grief with this. He does not have the same cravings as his sister despite the fact that he is only 10 years old. Is this a personality that he was born with? I did not have to try hard with him to get him this way.

So I started to think, personality may indeed have a lot to do with how we address our health from even childhood. It may be that we are born with these traits, or it may be that they become molded into our subconscious as we grow up. I say this because my twin sister was NOT a big eater as a young child. Not even an eater. She seemed to detest food. She did like a bowl of chocolate ice cream though! All I can remember is how my parents would force her to eat. The more they forced, the less she would want to eat. Today, however, she is quite the opposite.

Today we have a huge dilemma with child and adult obesity. We have issues with people's relationship with food. Food has purpose, for nutrition and for satisfaction, but it's role has become negative in some people's lives ..... this is very sad. We have learned that it is not a good idea to force children to eat, and this I agree with. It has been a learning experience for me. I accept that my daughter does not have a big appetite, and so all I try to do is get some small bit of nutrition into her body when I can. I try to prepare a dish that packs a lot of nutrition in one dose knowing that it may be the only good dish she eats in one day. Overtime, I hope she will understand the benefits of good nutrition and will easily embrace it when she becomes of age to make her own choices.

After a grueling night last night, with her fever and major discomfort, she woke this morning quite saddened. She said, "Mommy, I don't like being sick." I told her that being sick is no fun. She agreed especially since she is missing "Field Day" at school today, a day filled with fun outdoor activity. Once again, I took the opportunity to remind her that it is very important for her to eat healthy foods and drink her liquids when I give them to her. Again she responded, "Yes Mommy....." I just keep trying.

We may surely be born with a personality that destines us to certain behaviors from childhood up to adulthood, but we can stop and decide from when our children are young... how we want that personality to play out and try to make adjustments in the best interest of our children. Perhaps with such an effort we could save our children (for when they become adults) a lot of stress and struggles with various emotional challenges that often face us in life!

01 June 2009

Long story-may just HELP someone...

First we have established that everyone should have some MOVEMENT in life, preferably on a daily basis, but minimally 4 days a week would work too. There are in fact, some people's schedule that is so hectic, it is very hard to schedule in a workout. But in all honesty, the lack of exercise in someone's life is more detrimental and hazardous than trying to juggle the schedule a bit to squeeze in something.

I like Beachbody's products and I recommend them because I believe I am in a position to recommend them. My position comes from years of trial and error with diet and exercise, years of a rollercoaster ride of normal life stress, major weight to lose (lost about 60 lbs -- 19 yrs ago), pregnancy weight to lose -twice, divorce stress, job stress, mommy stress, family stress, allergies....

At one point in my life, as a child, doctors told my mother that I should stop exercising and keep myself calm. Asthma and bronchitis run in my family (along with high blood pressure, obesity and other stuff) and so as a young child (about 10 years old), I defied my doctor's orders, and started running around like a NORMAL child SHOULD be doing. If we set the wheels in motion at a young age, perhaps the odds are in our favor that we will continue with it through adult life....perhaps!

I hear people say, "I wish I was motivated to exercise." It does not have to be a wish. You just need someone to tell you ... "go for it," .. "I will do it with you," .. "You can do it."

I am an authority
I have tried it all, seen it all, bought tons of exercise equipment. I do in FACT have my own gym in my house. I have 2 treadmills, an elliptical machine, a punching bag, barbells, dumbbells, a strength training machine, body bars, boxing gloves, Fluidity bar, step benches, jump ropes, yoga mats/blocks, ab benches, rebounder, hula hoops, medicine balls, swiss balls, resistance bands, 40 lb weighted vest. Also: TaeBo videos, 3 min Abs, 6 mins Abs, Rebounding videos, the 20 min workout, Windsor Pilates, Reebok Step Videos (which I used to LOVE!!!), David Kirsch's New York Body Plan, Crunchless Abs, Hula Hoop videos, Rodney Yee Yoga videos, MTV workout videos, The FIRM videos, Core something videos, Cathe Friedrichs, Denise Richardson, P90X, P90X Plus, Tony and the kids (for my children), Hip Hop Abs, and many others........ shall I go on?????? Been there... TRULY done that. I know how to work out... I design workouts. I help people to train, lose weight, etc.

Not to mention. I was a gymrat. I would do the "gym" scene every day for 2 -3 hours at a time. 3 years ago, I belonged to 3 different gyms because each gym offered something different. About $150.00 a month in monthly gym fees. Do the math.... $1800.00 in yearly gym fees.

Pursuit of Fitness HAPPYNESS
Some would say after reading all of this that I am just a "workout addict." No. I, just like many people, was in PURSUIT of fitness HAPPYNESS! What works best?

You know it's the truth. You have been on part or all of my same journey. You can relate.

I also was a runner, and for me that was an amazing way to keep my weight down without having to THINK. Running is still one of my first loves of exercise, but I realized that it was NOT ideal for my body. Too much running is surely taxing on the joints -- even with great cross training. If you run and do nothing else, you sure are lean-- and FLABBY. So unless you have a pre-disposition to being muscular (as a runner).. you have to include STRENGTH training to enhance your body composition as a runner.

When I trained to do my 2nd marathon in 2004, I realized that INTELLIGENT cross-training was the key to being a FANTASTIC long distance runner. Yoga, bikram yoga, and pilates helped me to cross the finish line with shining colors and absolutely NO body aches and pains in November 2004.

Body needs??
So that was when I realized that the body NEEDS a full spectrum of exercises to be ideally fit. A wonderful triathlete (who did a zillion triathlons and in his late 30s) introduced this intelligence to me and I have kept it with me since.

A few years after that revelation and a hugely successful marathon, I found myself watching the P90X commercial and thinking.... "Wow, that's the ideal package. It has everything all wrapped up together. Everything I know to work." Ok, it does not have pilates, but 1 1/2 hours of yoga is surely good coverage. I won't lie, it did look amazingly intense, intimidating and SCARY.

I thought though... what can be scary about TRYING it in the comforts of my own home at a mere $100.00 investment (at that time)? I had been through my divorce, and my life had CHANGED a lot --- I did not have the luxury of "gym'ing " it anymore... but I knew I had to keep working out. Here I had been spending $1800.00 a year .... Was a $100.00 going to truly set me back???

I ordered it and I was giddy. I anxiously started it as soon as I got it, not knowing what to expect. I found myself with mixed feelings... I felt great about some of the workouts that I could keep up with. I felt "out of shape" with the ones that had me gasping and laughing because I just could not do some/lots of the exercise. Laughter... what's that??? That is what you do when you are in the comfort of your own home and no one else can laugh at you. So you just try.... talk to the TV .. talk to Tony ... maybe say, "this is crazy!!!" or ... "What the !!!!!" Come back tomorrow and try AGAIN !

I tend to be all over the place (if you have not noticed)... so 2/3 into P90X a few years ago... I put Tony aside, and went back to all the other stuff I have.... and still running. I should not say I put Tony aside... never did that..not my Tony! I always had my FAVORITE P90X workouts. And... last year, I ordered the P90X Plus DVDs... I remember getting giddy when I got the email about them.... Gotta have it!!!!

As I said, I always had my favorites and so I would incorporate them when I felt like it. KenpoX, KenpoCardioX (Plus), Plyo X... and days when I truly needed some good body love -- Yoga X. My family knows this. We spent many-a-weekends in the Poconos last summer, and I called it "Bootcamp weekend.. then we eat and drink." Always included running up and down huge hills and then back to the house for mix of P90X!!!! My family comes in all sizes and shapes, but they loved the workouts too! One of my aunts actually bought P90X.

Why Beachbody?
A little over a month ago, I connected here on FB with my wonderful friend Mirdza (a Beachbody lover and Coach too!) and within a few short minutes I decided to do my P90X from start to finish. I am approaching the middle of week 6. I love it. I love the mix. I love the challenge. I see the MANY improvements. There are soooooooo many people who have done it. So many people who have transformed their lives in a HUGE way. Some of the stories are AMAZINGLY unbelievable. But they are the TRUTH. These are real people deciding to do it, committing to it, and succeeding in the process.

When I think about all I have invested in, I can say, I have gotten my money's worth and then some, and then some more, and then more and more, from my P90X. I can never get back the $150.00 a month that I was spending for a few years. I can say, I also spent a good amount of time commuting to said GYMS... I have my 12 DVDs (and my 5 Plus DVDs)... here at my finger tips to do over and over and over...

Beachbody has a workout for everyone. P90X may be intimidating for the beginning exerciser ... But there is P90 --- only 35 mins.... For the truly time strapped individuals, there is 10 minute trainer workouts... There are other shorter workouts...

There are beginner workouts, intermediate, advanced... dancey ones.. fun ones... something for EVERYONE.

Real people
Better than that... the company is growing with the very people who buy the products. I became a Beachbody Coach because I know the workouts are good, and I want to help people commit to and succeed with them. This is not an airbrushing, hire professional athletes to advertise .. type of company. It's real people like YOU and ME who are advertising the product. Real mothers of 4, 5 and 6 children, transforming their bodies. Real people overcoming diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure... or just mere "fear of exercise," or mere, "never exercised before" type of people. Yesterday they couldn't... today they CAN.

I can say for sure that the many other companies out there -- well, I can't speak for them. I can only say that based on the purchases I have made.... I don't feel the same love and results.

Beachbody offers major support to anyone who embarks on a program, and that is KEY. Support is very necessary when you are trying to do something (perhaps something you have never done before) and you WILL indeed need SUPPORT. Never try to go it alone unless you already have the "go it alone" personality. This is where you will fail. Beachbody is here for you -- I am here.

For me:
I am doing P90X now, and I am already planning for after P90X (Insanity or ChaLean Extreme)...
I know what it feels like - it's hard, but I try my best.
I have my good days and my bad days -- don't we all?
I have my challenges -- I accept them, work through them
I know where my strengths are - I go hard with them
I know my weaknesses ... and I try to better them or I just say..."oh well"
I have a feeling what others may struggle with because we ALL share some struggles...
I have years of "working out" experience, so I understand LOTS...

I said this before... Beachbody can surely intimidate some people. Just the name. BUT... there are people losing 20,50, 100, 150 lbs.... doing a Beachbody workout .. or workouts.... It's all about getting the body... that's good and healthy for YOU. You will indeed progress to a level that will make you smile. Maybe you only lose 10 or 15 lbs, and that is all you need, but you have a BRAND new sense of you, health and ability.

There is something special about this company.

You learn that it's not about doing a workout ONCE and then moving on. You realize that you want to keep doing something... trying something new... you get inspired to keep it going...

Age is just a silly number
I am 44 years old. For some people, that means I am ... in my 40s... old gal??? I don't think so. For some, that is young. I choose... who cares what age I am. Take the focus off of the number, and put the focus on how you want to feel. I may just live for another 44 or 54 or 60 years... I would like to take on those years in good healthy, physical condition!

Some people think the workouts are about "pumping iron," or "jumping around like a crazy person." So wrong. It's about realizing that beneath the outside layers, the numbers.... there lies a regular person who can achieve true fitness and good health... and enjoy it in the process.... without having to commit to a gym, or hours and hours of working out daily....

Put aside misconceptions... try it .. you may just love it too!


Beefing up security

After I logged off last night, I was luxuriating in the thought of my workout for this morning. I was to run first, and then do my P90X -- Back, Biceps and AbRipper X -- about 2 hrs or so of intense exercise. Woo hoo! I laid in my bed attempting to go to sleep and then the phone rang at 9:30. As soon as I saw the caller ID, my children's father's house, I knew what to expect. My 7 year old daughter was running a fever.

I could not sleep. I kept the phone right by my pillow because in the past, I would have to jump out of bed, dress quickly, hop in the car, and go to get my sweet angel. When my children get sick, they instinctively beg for me. They know I will tend to them to the best of my ability. I have the strength to sacrifice my sleep in pursuit of keeping them comfortable and getting them back on their feet as quickly as possible. It's a mission I face with the same vengeance when necessary!

As soon as I know that my children may be ailing with something, I gear up for combat. I get my plan of attack together, and I move forward... no holds barred. Tea, soup, extra liquids, extra vitamins, eucalyptus baths, massages, cuddle sessions.... you name it!

But before I can be the best Mommy fighting machine, I have to beef up my own security! I HAVE to WORK OUT! I have to make sure I don't crack under pressure. I have to make sure I am strong, willing and able. I have to get my mind tight for the inevitable whines, moans and groans that can surely shake my patience. I have to most importantly ...make sure not to catch whatever they have.

99.9% of the time, my security measures pay off and I stay strong and diligent throughout. The days are long, and the nights can be even longer. But it's ok. The P90X fighting machine is here.

...And I did do my workout.... even with the not so great night's sleep. Now I can face today and all it's challenges knowing "I" am ok. I can't wait to make a lovely batch of chicken soup for my angel!