Change Is A Choice

Tonight I watched The Biggest Loser and was inspired to get off my butt and write. I must admit, I love the show. Of course, I love the field of health and fitness, but more importantly, I love rooting for the so-called underdog! That inspires me the most– to watch these people commit to changing their lives.  It is powerful stuff!  GO Biggest Loser Contestants; I am rooting for you! 

Although the show creates a very controlled environment that is hard to duplicate in our normal day-to-day lives, the contestants learn key principles. They get an Education about food and exercise, which creates Awareness about themselves and making better choices, and they have an amazing Support system.   

These three principles are the key to getting through any obstacle in life, not just weight loss. However, in order to overcome a food addiction you need to get to the root of problem and find out what is driving the behavior. This is true of any addiction whether it is food, alcohol or drugs. Essentially, they all do the same thing, which is numb, the pain. As you see on the show, behind each contestant’s weight is a story.  A story that contains a lot of pain that was too difficult to cope with so they turned to food instead. 

And I have to say, I get that. As a young adult, I was anorexic and bulimic so I, too, have a story, which led me to that place of destruction. So I have been ‘there’ although at the other end of the spectrum, but the issue is the same.  It is never about the food; it is about your feelings.   

That is why I am so passionate about health and wellness today! I can tell you this, there is nothing more powerful than to be at the optimum level of health and fitness that I am today and help others to get there too.   

In fact, I am excited. Tomorrow night I will be co-facilitating my first support group for people with eating disorders. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to tell my story to people who are in recovery and it has been the most powerful and empowering thing I have ever done for myself.     

The closing to my story that I share with them is this: I can tell you there is an incredible reward for working through your pain and all your “stuff”. It has led me to a newfound freedom I have never felt before. I look at things so differently today and I am a more compassionate, understanding, energetic and loving person. Who knew – it is truly amazing! The world responds to me differently and has become a mirror reflecting back to me all that I am in the form of new beginnings, peace, happiness; healthy relationships with others, and more importantly, a healthy relationship with myself. New opportunities have arisen; there are more smiles, laughter and peace within. The landscape of my life has changed drastically.  I now realize that life is precious, good and filled with greatness. With all that said, I would not change a thing about my past for it has led me to where I am and who I am today. And, I can finally tell you, I like this place. I like the person I am. And, I want to help others feel the same way about their life and the possibilities that exist for them. So cherish your dreams for they are gifts from your soul and blueprints to your future!


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Paying it Forward

Today I encountered a great teacher who reminded me how powerful it is to listen and to be there for someone. It was a gorgeous day out and I had some time on my hands before my next appointment, so I walked down to the shopping center to get a cup of coffee and do some errands. The best part about my walks, I always meet someone new, exchange a few smiles or laughs with people who fill me up. 

As I got closer to my destination, a van pulled up and a tall, middle-aged man got out. He seemed a bit frenzied but greeted me with a kind smile and a hello nonetheless. I noticed he left his van running and thought; perhaps he is in a rush. He asked if I was going into the coffee shop and I said yes.  He then asked if I would watch his truck. Huh, I thought.  I just told him I was going into the coffee shop. As if maybe he forgot, I half jokingly said, why don’t you turn off your truck!  He laughed, dropped his head and said I am afraid it will not start again and the story started to unravel. At first my antenna went up and I thought, oh no, I am not being roped into this one. I say that because in general people tend to tell me stuff, sometimes too much. Therefore, I said, I will listen to your problems if you will listen to mine. Boy did he laugh!

We engaged in conversation as we walked in the same direction. He said, come on Amy; let me buy you a cup of coffee. I agreed and as we continued to talk, I realized the man really needed someone to listen to him. He was on-edge and anxious and I could feel it. In addition, he just divulged he had come from having a drink; it was only 10:30 am.

It turns out he is a contractor and this was the second van that broke down on him today. On top of that, it was payday, he was out collecting past due accounts and no one could pay. One person needed three more days, the other person never showed and the last person wrote a bad check for 3k.  Now he was worried about the ramifications: how would he pay his people, what about the materials he bought, etc. 

Ge’ez… I thought I was going out for a nice walk with the intention of having a few laughs! Now my heart is bleeding for a man I barely know. However, I could not walk away from him: I know what it feels like to need support, so I listened without interruption as he unraveled himself.

In the end, he was so grateful and a much happier man. I told him I would say a prayer for him.  He said, no; do not pray for me, I pray for myself. I said, no, you do not get it. This is the buddy system! I will pray for you and you pray for me, because I need your help too!  We both laughed. He was smiling ear-to-ear and could not thank me enough. In fact, he leaned in, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and asked if I would like to meet again.  I graciously declined, but took in his kindness and the lesson incurred and we both walked away feeling much better about ourselves than we previously had.

I know there will come a day when I will need the favor returned, so I keep paying it forward and making deposits in my karmic account!

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Pop the confetti and get your party-girl dress out.  Spring is here and it’s time to get your groove back!

These past few weeks I’ve been feeling just like that…  She’s baacckkkk and with my groove intact.  It feels good!  This weekend I had an impromptu gathering at my house and brought new and old friends together.  It was a lot of fun and I was glad I acted on my spontaneity.  Good friends and laughter– it can take you from feeling empty to full in zero to thirty seconds! 

Being a reflective person, I am keenly aware of how good I’ve been feeling and trying to figure out what the key factors are so I know what to do the next time I need a  jump-start. What I’ve figured out is what I already knew. Life is an ebb and flow, and there is a time and a place for everything.  The times we are not “on” or our usual social selves are when we are backing up to get a running start forward. We are in what I like to call the ‘tweener’ stage; a time of retreat, processing and mulling things over. It is not always a fun space to be in albeit necessary for our growth and future successes.

This last year has not been easy for me, I have been unemployed in the worst recession since the depression. Talk about depressing! Thankfully, I have managed not to ‘go there’ and have stayed ahead of the game which has contributed to my strong come back.   

The key for me has been learning how to better manage myself on a day-to-day basis. By that I mean regardless of what’s going on around me, first and foremost I need to eat well, exercise daily, allow myself to feel my feelings, surround myself  with people who listen and make me feel good, and learn to “let go and let God”. These are my golden rules. I’ve found that by doing these things on a daily basis the stress of life has had less of a chance of getting me down or getting the best of me. The irony of my situation, I’ve never felt more in control and happier than I do now. 

What a powerful lesson.  I won’t say it is easy because it’s not. I have had my share of bad days, for sure.  What I have come to realize though, is when I allow myself to feel my feelings (the good, bad and ugly) they ultimately pass. When I allow myself to feel my feelings, I don’t abuse my body by emotionally eating and the bad feelings pass and I am still okay. And when I allow myself to feel my feelings and do not emotionally eat, I am free to make better choices. I either go to the gym or for a run which always makes me feel a whole lot better than beating myself up does.  If none of the above work, I phone a friend or learn to let it go.

The bottom line, life isn’t easy. We don’t have as much control over life as we would like to think we do. As the saying goes, sh** happens. Ultimately the only thing we do have control over is ourselves and our reaction in that moment.  My whole life I have been a worrier and someone who likes to be in control.  Yet in hindsight the one thing I never really had mastery over was myself!  I allowed circumstances and people to have more control over me than I’d like to admit.  This time I choose differently, and it has made all the difference in me and my life.  There is no looking back… I wonder what’s next?!

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Juicing for Health

Today I am a “blogger”, woohoo!  I was thrilled to write my first blog yesterday and couldn’t wait to come back and do it again today!  

As I got up this morning, I was thinking about how everything changes when the seasons change. Spring it on! As much as I am a morning person, it is much easier for me to wake-up early in the morning now. I notice that I need less sleep and wake-up before my alarm clock. Upon rising my body feels light and vibrant and my mind is clear and ready to start the day. I love that feeling, it makes me feel at my personal best. 

Then for breakfast, which I always eat, my body is now gravitating towards lighter and more cleansing foods such as cereals, fruit, or a light protein in comparison to the more warming and heavy foods I used to eat during the winter months.  In fact, I think it is time I pull out my juicer and start juicing again. Juicing is great for you, especially during the warmer months. It is the fastest way to get nutrition into your body and fuel you. Why? Because the juices contain live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, water and anutrients that don’t need to be digested or broken down by the body, so they hit the bloodstream right away and bathe your cells in pure nutrition.There is a miracle of energy supplied by live plants that comes from nothing else on this planet. I call it rocket fuel and can feel the positive effects right away. Some people have more sensitive bodies then others and can feel the effects right away, so you do have to be careful when you are first starting out. If you are interested in buying a juicer, I also suggest buying a book to get some good recipes because you’ll want to create the right ratio of fruits to vegetables in your drinks. Otherwise, if you do too much too soon it can cause the body to “cleanse” to quickly and you can feel sick, get a fast and furious headache or feel light-headed. The fruits tend to be the cleansers and the vegetables are the builders of the body.  

Some of my favorites : the carrot, apple and ginger root drink with a scoop of protein powder in it. For all you people who are worried about wrinkles and are looking to get a clear and radiant complexion, this is the drink for you!  When I start to drink this drink a couple of days in a row, my skin has a unmistakable glow to it and the whites of my eyes are brighter. It is very noticeable to me, but then again, I do a combination of a lot of things on a daily basis that can contribute to this. Another great tasting juice that tastes just like the creamsicle popsicle you used to eat as child…remember those…is the cantaloupe drink.  You MUST buy a ripe and organic cantaloupe because you juice the whole fruit, rind and all, which is actually where most of the nutrition resides.  It is one of my favorites; sweet, frothy and with a little bit of texture…  just right. 

In the summer months I tend to juice a lot, especially after I go on my long runs. Juicing is very cooling to the body, which is why you want to stay away from a lot of it during the colder months. I tend to do a lot of vegetables like celery, cucumber, parsley, green pepper, beets, carrots and apple. I choose a lot of these fruits and vegetables because of their medicinal properties. They are chock-full of nutrients and contain potassium, silicon, vitamin c, iron, beta-carotene, sulfur and zinc to name a few.

With all this talk about  juicing, I am going to pull out my juicer now! It’s GO TIME and I am ready to start my day right!

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 It has been said that ‘Inspiration becomes the sunshine that moves us into our new and exciting directions.’  And today was that day for me!  I recently met Kathy, a powerhouse of a woman and my new BFF, who inspired me to journey into the world of bogging.  She just launched a new website and asked me to contribute. We totally hit it off and it was a no-brainer. Blogging, oh yeah, I have always wanted to do that but never got around to it, or frankly did not think I was good enough of a writer to start one. She convinced me otherwise. 

 As a Wellness Coach, I already pull together a monthly newsletter called The ABCs of Wellness. I write about whatever ‘moves’ me and the topics range from nutrition to self-confidence all the way to inspiration. Yet all of the topics have a direct correlation to our health and well-being. Since everything we do in life is either contributing to our health (physically, emotionally and spiritually) or taking away from it, I like to raise people’s awareness and empower them to think more about what they are doing. And to question it. Is what I am doing working for me or can I do better?  

Inspiration to finding your True North

Never in a million years would I have considered myself a writer or thought I had anything worthwhile to say. On the other hand, I had no idea that once I started writing how passionate I would become and that people would  tell me they loved getting my newsletters! Since that fateful first day of writing, I have always held the intention that some day I would do more with it. Deep down I knew I had a lot to share, but didn’t have the confidence just yet. I thought that maybe I’d start to blog, but knew for sure I want to write a book one day. Now that someday has arrived, so here I am blogosphere. I feel I am half way to my goal, thanks to Kathy.  Is that not what BFF’s are for–to encourage and inspire you to do your best and become more than you thought possible?!  

I strongly believe the coincidences in our lives are no accident, only affirmations or guide posts that say; psst… over here, follow me; you are right on-track. All along, we have a sneaking suspicion that there might be more to this coincidence than meets the eye, but we don’t aways trust it. Learning to identify and follow these experiences in your life will help you develop a more confident sense of self and direction in life. There is a universal guidance system out there trying to get your attention and lead you to your ‘True North.’ All you have to do is pay attention and be open.  As the Buddhist proverb says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  The teacher can be a person, books, relationships, opportunities, and insights that manifest exactly when you need them to point you in the direction of greater wisdom and growth. Then voila, almost as if by magic, you find yourself in the right place at the right time! So start paying closer attention to whom and what is showing up in your life. Then ask yourself if these life experiences are making you feel inspired and on-track or asking you to reconsider and change tracks?

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Wellness Coaching is a unique, exciting innovation in health and nutrition. As a Coach, I have studied all the major dietary theories and will help you discover what approach works best for you at this point in your life.  While most dietitians dwell on calories, carbs, fats, proteins, restrictions and lists of good and bad foods, I work with my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline.

No one diet works for everyone. I will guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices that best support you. I will also help you to make gradual, lifelong changes that enable you to reach your current and future health goals.

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