Sunday, December 30, 2012

Make Room for Success

We just finished deconstructing Christmas, and the house looks so empty!  It made me think about how important it is to clear out the old to make room for the new. 

I also went through a Christmas bin where I have kept holiday greeting cards for 25 years!  What a trip down memory lane that was!  I cut the front of cards that had not been written on so I could reuse them as gift tags.  There are some really pretty ones to use next year and beyond!  My husband and I also organized all of the photo cards from friends who had faithfully sent them over the years.  It is amazing to watch kids grow as so many people send photos of their families!  Whew!

So, as we prepare to focus on our 2013 resolutions/intentions/desires, take some time to check out your kitchen and pantry.  This area of your life is such an important part of your healthy journey!  Make sure you either hide (really well) or toss out all of the food that will not serve you in your healthy journey.  You know what I am talking about.....candy, cookies, baked sweets of all sorts!  If you cannot bring yourself to throw it out, then try wrapping it really well and freezing it for a future treat. 

Out with the old to make room for your 2013 successful healthy journey!  Now go get busy!

Desire to begin a healthy 2013.  Dedication to honor fond memories.  Discipline to purge what is not serving you.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Declare Early and Often!

Why wait until New Year's Eve to decide what your 2013 focus will be?  Some people call them resolutions, others say it is a promise of what is to come, still others call it intention.  I think the tradition can be thought of as focus.  What will you focus on?  What will you deem as important enough to capture your ongoing attention and follow-up?

You know, we accomplish what we focus on.  So, take a few moments to declare, to yourself and/or to others, what is important to you.  If you make your focus public, then others can help you achieve your destination. 

My 2013 resolution/intention/focus is to become a healthier lower weight by 20% of my current self.  In support of being public with my focus, I have declared January 2 (the day we go back to work) as the beginning of the 2013 Healthy Journey Biggest Loser contest.  Everyone on the HR team (where I work) was invited to participate.  So, far, we have 17 people who want to join.  We are running the contest through February.  I intend to win!  We are going to capture (weekly) each person's percentage of weight loss.  I will share my progress with you.

So, for now, I wish you a very merry Christmas, however you celebrate!  Relax, enjoy, wallow a little and have fun! 

Desire to relax, enjoy and wallow.  Dedication toshare the contest with co-workers and friends. Discipline to report and share.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Super Cool Experience!

Isn't part of our healthy journey enjoying experiences that come our way?  Well, last Wednesday I had an incredible, completely unexpected experience to share with you!

I was on a quick business trip to Salt Lake City.  I had the great good fortune to stay with a dear dear friend who lives in Park City.  She is a big basketball fan and has season tickets to the Utah Jazz games.  She generously invited me to the game on Wednesday night!  It was quite an experience, not only because I was with a dear loving friend, BUT.......wait for it.........her tickets are on the freaking floor!!!  There I was sitting next to the very large basketball players, watching them run up and down the court, up close and personal!  It was a blast!  I rarely attend live professional sports and I had never had seats on the floors (think Jack Nicholson and the Lakers) before!

So, I am very grateful to have been there, with Amy, in such rarified air!  We sipped diet coke, did not eat any of the available food.  We had been to dinner earlier and eaten quite healthy.  It was more than enough to just enjoy the experience.

So, as Hannukah comes to a close and Christmas looms near, please enjoy all of the experiences that come your way.  This season is about gratitude and sharing time with loved one, I think much moreso than shopping at the mall, eating lots of fattening foods, over indulging in special drinks, etc.

Desire to be here now.  Dedication to practice gratitude for the massive blessings in our lives.  Discipline to maintain not gain, this season!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

One Pot Supper Season

Do you ever cook up supper in one pot?  Here in San Diego, we get very few chilly days.  When we do, I love to make a pot of dinner.  It tends to be a very hearty soup that we can reheat for dinner a few days in a row.

Tonight, we settled in for our annual watching of Love Actually, our favorite Christmas movie of all times.  I made a wonderful pot of white bean soup with fat free broth, lean ground turkey, onions, celery, carrots, garlic and some other yummy spices.  It simmered all day (I started with dry white beans) and made the whole house smell wonderful.  It was delicious and wonderful and I highly recommend you try it!  I am looking forward to these leftovers.

Today, I also want to say Happy Hanukkah to everyone out there who is celebrating for the next week!  It is such a fun holiday because it goes on for 8 days and nights!!!

Desire to enjoy the cool weather.  Dedication to honor lots of celebrations.  Discipline to finish all the leftovers.

Monday, December 3, 2012

"Living Lightly"

This week I would like to share with you aother wonderful website.  I found it recently and have been enjoying what it offers.  It is called Living Lightly and the author is Diane Petrella.  You can find her at

I hope you enjoy the read!

In last week's Secret, Appreciate and Thank Your Body, you learned that by appreciating all your body does for you, and by consciously offering thanks, you can begin to create a more loving relationship with your body.

This week we will delve deeper into the Fifth Secret: Imagine Yourself At Your Ideal Weight.

Your imagination is extremely powerful. When coupled with strong desire it activates unseen energies within you. Visualizing yourself living life at your ideal weight encodes in your body/mind the mental blueprint needed to make that image your reality.

Consistent positive visualization feeds your mind images of success. Take five minutes daily and imagine yourself living life at your ideal, natural weight. Especially notice the feelings and sensations associated with this experience. As you visualize yourself at your desired weight you will more naturally make healthy choices based on this new self-image.

Desire to love your body.  Dedication to appreciate your body. Discipline to remember to thank you body.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Morning After!

OK, raise your hand if you consumed the average calories on Thanksgiving.....that would be 4,000 calories!  I confess, I didn't actually count, but I probably came in at the national average.  And it was yummy! 

The morning of, I did a kick ass workout on my new step 360, complete with weight lifting, burpees, jacks and mountain climbers!  I worked up a good sweat, and I took a walk before the big dinner, so at least I mitigated a few of the calories!

My "morning after" included beach cardio and yoga.  Actually, Monday morning, I am beginning significant calorie restriction to get me through December.  My goal is to, not only, not gain any holiday pounds, but to actually shed a few.  My strategy is to indulge in a few scheduled holiday celebrations, but then to really restrict on the other days of this tempting month.

Wish me luck!  Please help keep me honest.  Please send me messages reminding me of my commitment to myself!  I look forward to your help!

Desire to exit the season a lighter version of myself.  Dedication to celebrating with balance.   Discipline to December calorie restriction.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude and Grace

Thanksgiving is a time of year to reflect on and express gratitude for our blessings.  I believe that gratitude is the foundation for our healthy journeys. 

As I thought about this post, our Thanksgiving post, I considered lots of different options.  There are so many things to think about.......eating healthy over Thanksgiving; not gaining weight over Thanksgiving; low fat and low calorie recipes to add to the Thanksgiving table; walking 10,000 steps on Thanksgiving to help mitigate the 4,000 calories that the average American will consume on Thanksgiving day.....and so much more.

Instead I decided it was much more important to focus on gratitude.  I think practicing gratitude prepares us to be a vessel to receive grace.  I have heard others express that perspective.  It makes sense to me.  As I scan my immediate world, the opportunity to be grateful is overwhelming.  The love that surrounds me, the abundance of material things, my friends and family, the great work I get to do, the best husband on the planet, living in San Diego, my health, my focus on my healthy journey to improve my health, course correct and celebrate health, and so much more.

My wish for you this Thanksgiving is that you will scan your world and immerse yourself in gratitude for all of your blessings.  Then use that state of grace to share with others around you who are in need.  That is the true meaning and purpose of this wonderful holiday.

Oh yeah....AND eat drink and be merry and enjoy whatever you decide is worth enjoying!  Tomorrow we can exercise and restrict our intake once again!

Desire to be filled with grace.  Dedication to practice gratitude for our blessings.  Discipline to share our blessings with others.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Miracle Diet!

First of all, I am sorry I missed posting last weekend.  If you know me on Facebook, then you know I spent Thursday through Sunday at the hospital helping my Dad through a health crisis.  He is home now doing great.  He had to have emergency surgery to resolve a massive blood clot in his iliac and superior femoral artery.  I really felt the hand of God with us.  He is doing really well with a prognosis for a full recovery.  Hurray!

So, now for the miracle is simple.  When you go on vacation, you simply eat and drink whatever you want!  Then, if you do not gain is a miracle!  HAR DE HAR HAR! 

My sister shared that with me and I laughed so hard I almost cried! 

Of course, there is no miracle diet. The miracle is that when we carefully monitor and restrict our intake while getting enough exercise, our bodies seek a healthy weight and state.  That is the miracle.

So, if you are feeling a little out of balance, take a little time to analyze your intake and your motion.  I bet you will find your way back to balance and health!

Desire to honor the miracle that is our bodies.  Dedication to seeking health and balance. Discipline to monitor and adjust.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Whoops She Did It Again!

Thankfully, I am not talking about Britney Spears.....but I am talking about my trainer, Kathi.  Yesterday she changed it up yet again!  This time she had us doing isometric weight training.  Try these:
  • pick up 2 - 7.5 lb weights (feel free to use heavier weights if you can!).  Raise your arms out into a T shape and count to 20 very slowly.  Follow that with 10 lateral raises at regular speed. 
  • hold those same weights, with your arms bent at a 90 degree angle to the body pointing forward, palms up, then raise your arms slightly as though your were carrying a large serving platter away from your body.  Hold that position and count slowly to 20.  Follow that with 10 raises as you raise your arms overhead to a straight arm and return to the original position with your elbows at your waist, 90 degrees to the body, palms up through the entire move.
  • do a forward lunge and hold it for a slow count of 10.  Do that 10 times alternating legs, followed by 10 regular alternating lunges.   
You can begin to get the picture.  Every movement was preceded by a slow isometric version of the regular move.  It was GREAT!  I always love an extra challenge.  This morning I can feel some of my muscles, so I am happy.

I must confess, as I was doing the lateral raises and my arms were out in a T shape, all I could think about was the Olympic gymnasts who hold that position between the rings.  I think they call it an iron cross.  Boy, am I a wimp compared to those folks!  Still, I am happy with my efforts, Olympic level or not!!!

I hope if you are on the east coast that you are out of harm's way with the impending storm!

Desire for everyone to be safe from life's storms. Dedication to try isometric weight lifting.   Discipline to hold it while counting slowly to 20.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Restructuring Is Good!

You have probably heard a great deal about how companies restructure for better efficiency and effectiveness.  How often do we look at our own routine and find a way to restructure for better results?

Well, I am doing just that this weekend.  In addition to "restructuring" my hair style (hence the updated photo), I am looking at my "normal" weekly schedule in an effort to find more calm and peace during my hectic days.  My typical day is to wake at 5:30, leave for the office at 6:30, then to try to leave the office in time to do an hour workout every evening (yoga, cardio and/or weight training) and be home before 7pm, shower, fix a light meal and then get in bed by 9:30 so I can get up and do it all over again.  By Friday eve, I am simply wiped out.

So, I am thinking about how to restructure my evenings.  When I feel the most stress is when I have to rush home to change and get to a class or a scheduled session with my trainer.  So I thought..... what if I could reduce my stress by having fewer weekday evening commitments?  I still want and need to exercise every day, that will not change.  So, I am going to go back to doing my own yoga with the help of a DVD set that Allen gave me for my birthday.  That way, I don't have to stress about either packing my yoga stuff into the car on Wednesday mornings or rushing home in time to change and get back out to the class.  Similarly, I am going to cut back to one session with my trainer per week on Saturday mornings.  For the mid-week session I am going to do a workout at home on my new Step 360, awesome cardio (which I need more of) and again eliminating the stress of needing to be "on time" for yet another appointment.

These changes will open up the possibility of increased calm and peace, while still allowing me to achieve my fitness goals.  I will let you know how it goes!

Desire to increase the calm.  Dedication to keep exercising.  Discipline to restructure and try something new.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Beat Goes On.....

....and it is too bad, for sure.  This week, a friend of mine who is not even 30 yet, told me she is going to do a cleanse.  This young woman is a wonderful person, a professional, a yogi and a delight to be around.  I asked her what type of cleanse and why?  She said a friend of hers had lost 30 pounds in 60 days by using a product purchased on the internet for $200.  My friend is as slim as a reed and could possibly be under weight.  She definitely does not have any weight to drop.  We spoke about the dangers of not knowing what was in the "cleanse" product and of her not needing to adjust her weight.  She is convinced she needs to loose weight.

So, I say the beat goes on......another wonderful woman, a generation younger than I am, as she is struggling with her self-image, for no good apparent reason.   Let's all work towards a future that teaches girls to love and accept themselves.  Let's first begin with ourselves.  Let's be sure to shower ourselves with love, compassion, acceptance and healthy choices.  I don't mean that it is wrong to want to be at a lower healthier weight.  Many of us can gain health benefits by striving for a lower weight in a healthy way.  Let's just love and accept ourselves along the journey. 

Not to get all Gandi on you, or anything, but we have to be the change we want to see in the world.  I want my friend to look in the mirror and be in love with her amazing self.  So guess what, I go first and lead the way!  JOIN ME!!!

Desire to be in love with me.  Dedication to being a positive example in this world.  Discipline to focus on health and fitness every step of the way.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A New Year, A New Number

When I go to the gym today (right after posting this message to you), it will be the last day of being the age I am today.  Tomorrow when I climb onto my cardio machine of choice, I will enter a new number when the machine prompts me to enter my personal data (age and weight) to calculate the calorie burn.  For some reason, this ritual, above all others, sticks with me and makes me reflect on that passage of time.

I guess I don't have to enter it correctly, or at all for that matter.  But, in the end, it is just a number and one I am quite grateful for!  After all, according to Madame O (Oprah), I am just in my 30's!  Remember when she declared that 50 is the new 30?  Well, I am choosing to embrace that mentality! 

Our healthy journey should include time for reflection and the opportunity to frame our abundance in whatever way works for each of us.  So, in honor of my birthday this year, would you please pause and reflect on the abundance in your life and frame it in a way that makes you smile, dance and sing from your heart!  THANK YOU!  BEST PRESENT EVER!!!

Desire to smile, dance and sing.  Dedication to share life with loved ones. Discipline to practice frequent gratitude.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Welcome to NPM!

Can you believe it is October tomorrow?????  Krikey!  Where has 2012 gone????  Since tomorrow is Ocotber 1, I thought I would talk a little about NPM, known to many as National Patty Month!  My birthday is the 8th.  When we married, my hubbie said the 8th was National Patty sweet, no?  Then we discovered that one day is simply not enough, so it switched to National Patty Week and, over time, has evolved to be NPM!

Why the childish focus on my birthday, you might be asking?  Well, I am one of those rare women/people that embraces birthdays with a passion!  Simply put, I believe that having a birthday beats the crap out of not having a birthday! 

17 years ago I lost my BFF to breast cancer.  She made me promise, literally, to make a big deal about having my birthday, because she knew she was not going to have anymore.  Of course, it was wildly sad at the time, but now I honor Monica by making a big damn deal every year when October rolls around!

Clearly, aging is not for the faint of heart.  The challenge to be healthy only accelerates as the years fly by.  I once heard a comedian say that if you are over 50 (which I am) and you wake up in the morning and say that nothing hurts, you are either lying or you are dead!  Ha-ha.  (queue the drum rif in the background!) 

You need to keep monitoring caloric intake because our metabolism slows down.  You need to keep working out even more to combat the metabolism thing, even in the face of creaky joints.  You need to find ways to get a good night sleep and laugh in the face of menopause interupted sleep........and the challenges don't end there.  Nonetheless, I still LOVE my birthday. 

So during Ocotber, please join me in enjoying your workouts, eathing healthy to promote greater longevity and being good to yourself, because you are worth it!  We all are!!!!

Desire to celebrate my birthday.  Dedication to a healthy journey to generate more birthdays.  Discipline to celebrate my birthday with moderation.   

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Brussel Sprouts on a Stick!!!

Brussel sprouts on a stick sounds like something deep fried at a county fair, right?  It brings to mind...corn dogs on a stick and all the other super unhealthy food that is inedible! 

Well, yesterday, my hubbie went to Trader Joe's to pick up a few things on our list.  In the produce section, they were selling fresh stalks of brussel sprouts that had not yet been harvested from the "stick" or stalk it grows on.  He brought me home 2 full stalks.  I was over the moon happy!!!

While he was in Trader Joe's, I was in Jimbo's, our local organic "health food" store.  Brussel sprouts were on my list because I wanted to roast them as snacks to watch today while I watch the Emmy arrivals (yes, I am back to eating very healthy to shed my vacation jelly belly!).  Jimbo's had brussel sprouts.........are you ready.......wait for $7.99 a pound!!!!!  So, needless to say, I did not buy them.  Too rich for  my blood!

Imagine my surprise when Allen said "I bought you a present!".  And imagine my subsequent delight when he presented me with 2 stalks of fresh brussel sprouts!  Hurray.  The real back story is that he does not like brussel sprouts, so much so, that when we married, I had to promise to love, honor cherish and promise to never bring brussel sprouts (or cauliflower) into the house. (His Mom used to murder brussel sprouts and cauliflower and he is not ready to let go of those food memories.)  Over the past 25 years, we have made great strides!  Now he is buying me brussel sprouts!  YOOOO-HOOOO!

As I type this post, I have 3 trays of veges roasting in the oven - brussel sprouts, onions and butternut squash.  Not only will I have great healthy munching for the Emmy arrivals show, I willl have yummy roasted veges to go with my dinner all week long!

Desire to snack while watching a favorite TV show. Dedication to preparing something nutritious.  Discipline to get right back on the healthy eating horse.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lobstah, Lobstah, Lobstah - Get in My Belly!

I am posting from the front porch of the ocean front Beach House in Kennebunk, Maine.  It is a stunningly beautiful sunny day.  We walked into town and back, a five mile walk.  At least we had a little exercise!  We stopped for lunch and I had a cup of lobster stew which was just a milky broth loaded with lobster meat.  Then I had a lobster roll.  Ridiculously delicious!

I know I will have lots of vacation calories to work off, but this land of lobster is worth it!  It truly is something we cannot get at home!

Thank goodness for this perfect weather.  We will walk into town again for dinner, which will likely involve more lobster!  Monday we fly back to San Diego where I will embrace unlimited veges and lean protein again.  For now, I have two more days of vacation decadence to enjoy!  It has been an amazing 25th anniversary celebration.  We will not forget it!

Desire to be decadent on vacation.  Dedication to enjoying local fare.  Discipline to return to real life.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sacred Time At Sea

That is the name of the 2.5 hour spa treatment I had today. I was sugar scrubbed, soaked in a tub, painted with mud, showered then rubbed.....and every minute was pure bliss. I just wanted you to know how completely grateful I am for my life's blessings. On Wednesday, Allen and I celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss. I KNOW that he is a major reason that my healthy journey has been healthy and continues to be a blast, challenges and all.

My wish for everyone is that you find love, peace, health and happiness on your journey

Desire to share my happiness with you.  Dedication to my husband for the next 25.  Discipline to let go and enjoy.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Little Less Laboring Please

I don't know if it is the hot weather, the increased stress at work, the addition of one more weight training session a week or just too many sun spots....but I have had to drag myself to my workouts for the past couple of weeks.  My workouts have become a real drain instead of an energizer.  I don't like that feeling!  The good news is that I have, in fact, drug myself to all my workouts, meaning I have not missed any, even though I felt like missing a few!

So, perhaps it is a good thing that we are going on vacation.  I know that many experts tell us that taking a break from our normal routine can have beneficial effects.  My intention is that this vacation will give me some time away so I can return refreshed and invigorated. 

Now, you know me by now.  I will not avoid exercise while on vacation, in fact, I plan to work in something vigorous everyday.  We will be on the Cape, so lots of opportunity for beach walks and swimming abound!   Besides, I have to stay active so I can enjoy the culinary treats (lobster) that Massacheusetts offers!

My goal is to channel, Sarah, one of the members of our community.  She went on vacation and lost weight!!!!  I KNOW!!!!  If that isn't an awesome accomplishment, I don't know what is!

So feel free to send me some relaxation ju-ju.  I will accept all that comes my way!

Desire to relax and enjoy.  Dedication to stay active while on vacation.  Discipline to become Sarah and return lighter than today!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

More on Motivation

I have been talking about motivation with some of the members of our community.  It is an interesting and complex topic!  What motivates us to want to reduce our weight?  Increase our fitness level?  Change our eating habits?  Drink less alcohol?  Get more sleep? Get off of a drug that isn't healthy for us to use?  Minimizing or stopping any behavior that is not healthy should be easy, but it's not, is it????

Classic motivators can be categorized as intrinsic (coming from within) or extrinsic (external influences).  Some people say that all motivation can come down to two categories: fear and greed.  Other  researchers say that motivation is more complex involving motivators such as recognition, money, autonomy and other things.  The one thing everyone agrees on is that motivation is highly personal to each person.  So, if you are trying to find motivation to begin your healthy journey or to jumpstart a stalled healthy journey or to just keep going on your healthy journey, in my eyes, the only answer is to look within.

You have to ask yourself some tough questions.  How is my behavior serving me? Because, when we choose to repeat a behavior, it is serving us in some way.  If you are eating a bowl of ice cream or a plate of french fries or (insert your favorite example here) when you know you should be avoiding that food,  then you are serving something inside of you that needs your attention.  So ask yourself, are you feeding the little child inside who was denied treats?  Are you feeding some emotional need that you have yet to come to terms with?  Food motivators are almost always connected to emotional needs. 

So often your hear advice that we have to learn to love ourselves.  Could it be that easy to have greater control over food if we simply love ourselves more than we love an unhealthy food choice?  I think so.  So next time you are facing temptation, ask yourself - do I really want to eat the "Snickers bar", or can I put it down and decide I love myself more than I love the "Snickers bar" instead.  That definitely falls within the intrinsic category of motivators!

So keep asking yourself the questions.  The answers will emerge for you when you are ready to hear them. Just know that you are worth the time and the effort.  You have the answers within you.

Desire to figure it out.  Dedication to learn your triggers.  Discipline to keep asking the good questions.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reverse Psychology of Temptation

I am sharing this column by Peter Bregman.  I enjoyed reading it and I think you will too, especially if you have people in your life who try to tempt you with poor choices!                

"Oh this is delicious, Peter. The ice cream is homemade, the perfect consistency, And this lemon cookie on top, mmmmm. Are you sure you don't want some?"
Tom smiled devilishly as he reached across the table to hand me a spoon. Tom is my client, the CEO of a $900 million company. I was in San Francisco to run a two-day offsite meeting for him and his leadership team. We've worked together for almost a decade and he's become a close, trusted friend.
We were at Greens in San Francisco, a vegetarian restaurant Tom had chosen because he had seen their cookbooks on my shelf in New York and knew I would love it.
Tom was teasing me because earlier in the meal I told him I was off sugary desserts. There's no medical reason or necessity for me to avoid sugar; I simply feel better when I'm not eating it. But he's seen me eat large quantities of sugary treats in the past and knows my willpower can be weak.
"It does look good and I'm glad you're enjoying it," I said, "but you're on your own. There's no chance I'm eating any."
"C'mon Peter, these desserts are healthy, and all we've eaten is vegetables anyway. It would be a real missed opportunity if you didn't at least taste the desserts at Greens; it's your favorite kind of food."
He took a bite from a second dessert he had ordered just to tantalize me — a berry pie — and rolled his eyes in mock ecstasy, "Ooh, this is good. And it's basically just fruit. Go ahead, have just a bite." As he edged it closer to my side of the table, the red caramelized berries dripped juice over the side of the plate.
The reasons to taste the desserts were compelling. Even putting aside the fact that Tom is a client and there's always some pressure to please clients, his rationalizations were the same rationalizations that were floating inside my head.
But here's the interesting thing: the more he pressured me to eat dessert, the stronger my resolve not to eat dessert grew.
My reaction caught me off guard and offered me a surprising strategy for helping people sustain change: if you want to help someone stick to a decision, try tempting him out of it. In other words, enticing someone to break a commitment can be a great tool to help him maintain his commitment.
Here's why: Going into the dinner, I had one reason I didn't want to eat dessert. But Tom's taunting gave me another reason: I was embarrassed to break my commitment in the face of his teasing. I didn't want to be the guy who caves in to peer pressure.
Maybe it's just my rebellious nature, but when my wife Eleanor reminds me that I don't really want to eat that cookie in my hand, I quickly try to stuff it in my mouth before she can stop me. Even though I've asked her to help me, my feeling is, "I'll eat whatever I want to eat!" It becomes a fun game, a challenge. Somehow, when she's helping me, I become a little less accountable.
But when Tom was egging me on, the tables were turned. I was fully responsible for my own actions. I knew I was on my own. And I also knew that the stakes were high; If I ate the dessert I would never live it down. The brilliance of the psychology is that Tom made it more fun — and free-spirited — to not eat dessert. And successfully withstanding his pressure built my confidence in my commitment.
This approach has broad application. Do you have a colleague who wants to speak less in meetings? Try egging her on. Someone who wants to leave work at a decent time? Prod him at 5pm with his incomplete to-do list. A spouse who's trying to stay off email at night? Dangle her BlackBerry in front of her at bedtime.
There are two conditions necessary to make this an effective strategy and keep it good-natured: The commitment the person wants to make needs to be self-motivated and the person doing the ribbing needs to be a trusted friend who doesn't abuse positional power.
What happens when the prodding is over? It turns out that the motivating impact of that dinner has lasted long after dinner was done. Usually, offsite meetings are particularly dangerous for me as far as sugar consumption is concerned. But this time I didn't eat any sugar during the meeting and I haven't eaten any since. It's been a month since I stopped eating sugar — a month that included a week-long vacation with my wife Eleanor in France — a month filled with opportunities to eat delicious-looking sugary treats.
But each time I'm tempted, I pause, remembering that dinner with Tom, and I think "if I didn't eat dessert then — with all that pressure and temptation and lots of good reasons to eat dessert — why would I eat it now?"

Sunday, August 12, 2012

One Piece, One Bite

We had a dinner party yesterday for my mother-in-law and her husband, who are visiting from Dayton.  It was a lovely day, but a really long and tiring day.  By the time I got to the dinner portion of the day, I was stressed.  The menu included tons of veges ( jicama, carrots, celery, greeen beans) to pick on as appetizers, even more veges (onions, red and yellow bell pepper, eggplant and zucchini) on the grill with chicken, turkey and/or salmon on the grill.  I supplemented the menu with a brown rice salad full of even more veges (green onions, cherry tomatoes, edamame, black beans and corn).  I didn't repeat one vege!  I also offered grilled garlic bread.  It looked and smelled heavenly.  I ended up sucumbing and enjoying a piece with my dinner of veges, brown rice salad and grilled turkey.

Then to help celebrate my mother-in-law's husband's birthday, we had ordered a coconut cake from Thyme in the Ranch (redonkulously amazing spot in Rancho Santa Fe).  I did not have a piece, but I did eat one bite of the "scrods" as I was cleaning up in the kitchen. 

So, I piece and one bite because I did eat those things but I am completely happy and proud of myself that I did not have more.  When we do eat something off plan, why not consider having a very small portion?  It turns out that I did not feel guilty.  Truthfully, at the end of the evening I was simply too darn tired to feel anything except for my head hitting the pillow!

Desire to enjoy a taste.  Dedication to planning healthy options.   Discipline to stop at just one.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Realistically, I realize that I have very little, if any, control over most of my life.  I know the "big guy" upstairs holds the real control.  Still, there are times when I pretend I do.  Yesterday was one of those days.  In honor of my Dad's birthday, I stopped in at See's Candies to select a few sweet treats for him.  [Note: I hand selected a few of his favorites (anything with coconut in it) that went into a small box.]

An important detail is that whenever you walk into a See's store, they offer you a free sample.  So, when asked, I responded with "I'll have a scotch mallow please."  I am not a big chocolate person, but that particular piece of candy is superbly delicious!  Here is where my control kicked in.....I brought that single piece home with me, put it in a little ziplock baggie and put it into the back of my refirgerator, where it will stay until I am ready to eat it!

I held firm at the birthday celebration with no breads, no wine, no homemade chocolate cake or ice cream, and instead opted for some fresh blueberries and watermelon.

I am not ready to reintroduce all sugars into my diet again.  It has been 34 days with no processed sugar and I actually FEEL the difference.  I went 3 weeks with no sugars at all.  Then at day 22 I re-introduced fresh fruit.  Now, I have added a few other carbs like like oatmeal and Ezekiel toast.  I feel healthy, I feel strong and I feel happy.  Not a bad outcome!

Have you tried eliminating sugars?  If you do, let me know how it goes for you!

Desire to feel good.  Dedication to controlling impulses.  Discipline to keep the piece of candy in the back of the refrigerator.    

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ahhhh, Sweet Summer!

Thank you summer, for producing so many gorgeous vegetables and fruits!  I have moved on to phase 2 of South Beach, which means including some fruits and whole grains.  Like I have said before, very much aligned with the "Patty" approach to eating (I don't like calling it a "diet")!  25 days with no sugar (none, nada, zero, zippo), and I feel virtuous!  I have conquered the "monster".  It is now up to me, and not my cravings, to decide if and when I want to eat something with sugar again.

Our neighbors have a garden and have been on vacation.  They asked us to harvest their garden while they were away.  Their garden has been producing beautiful yellow summer squash.  It is so delicious and has found it's way into most of our meals.  I have sauteed it (in chicken broth) with onions, I have roasted it in the oven with a drizzle of EVOO and we have grilled it on the BBQ outside.  So delicious!  This morning, I chopped a huge fresh squash right out of the garden, sprayed the pan with PAM, tossed in a chopped onion and a few handfulls of spinach, cooked that until the veges were soft then tossed in beaten egg whites with a little shredded lofat mozzarella.....DELICIOUS Sunday morning breakfast scramble.  Our garden this year is all flowers but we are considering starting our own vege garden.  It really is a blast to pick something out of the garden and eat it!

So look around at your grocery store, farmers market or maybe in your own back yard!  Select veges you may not have tried and get creative!  No matter what eating plan you are on, there is one thing they all agree on......load up on fresh yummy veges to improve your health!

Desire to include at least 5 servings of veges every day. Dedication to seeking out the freshest, most delicious veges for you. Discipline to buying and preparing more veges in the most healthy way possible.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Celebrations - Keeping It Real

Summer is in full swing.  I have sun tea brewing in the back yard right now.  Awesome decaf tea bags with fresh apple mint leaves from the garden.  It will be a tasty treat later on for sure!  It seems that every day there is another opportunity to "celebrate" summer.  By celebrate, I mean eat off plan.  I had a wonderful lunch with some dear dear friends last Friday.  They went for glasses of cold crisp white wine, sweet potato fries and more.  I had iced tea and a lite little salad.

I was in Dallas on a business trip Monday -Thursday last week.  I had a big department lunch and 2 dinners with colleagues.  Each time, I made positive healthy choices and did not "stray".  I stayed at a beautiful hotel with a huge breakfast buffet.  But instead of the buffet, I ordered from the menu, my egg whites and veges.  My final night at the hotel, I did a cardio workout and went to the restaurant for dinner.  I ordered the scallop appetizer, but asked for them broiled dry.  Then I ordered a salad with seared ahi on top, asking for no croutons, no cheese and no dressing.  The waiter was very obliging.  As he removed my empty plates, he said with a smile....I guess you don't want to see the desert menu?  I chuckled and said no.  He said...that would just undo all your great work. 

It was funny how validated I felt by his simple comment.  So nice that a total stranger recognized that I was indeed working hard to be healthy.  Thank you Mr. Server, whoever you are!    

So, I am on day 18 of "South Beach" eating, aka, Patty's plan.  Zero sugar.  Zero fruit.  Zero grains.  Zero starchy vege.  Lots of fresh vegetables, lots of lean proteins, small amount of low fat or fat free dairy.  I must admit, I really LOVE my sugar free popsicles at night.  It is amazing how they satisfy my sweet tooth.  I am 6 lbs lighter.  That makes me happy.

Even better news, my Mom has shed 7 pounds.  And she has been following this eating pattern for only 9 days!  You go Mom!!!!

So, I am enjoying and celebrating summer.  The light, the air, the fresh herbs, the summer squash from the garden, dips in the jacuzzi, walks on the beach, all the beautiful flowers......Hooray for summer!

Desire to celebrate summer.  Dedication to maintaining my focus.  Discipline to say "no thank you".

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Try for 25!

Kathi (my trainer, who took a first place in last Sunday's Carlsbad Tri!) "mixed it up" yet again during my mid-week workout this week.  Instead of doing 15 reps of each exercise, she had me do 25 reps of each.  I did 12 stations, 25 reps each, 2 full rotations.  So, if you do the math, it is only 5 extra reps for each exercise.  Normally I do 15 reps for 3 rotations, equalling 45 total reps of an exercise.

She said by increasing the number of reps to 25, it is essentially giving your msucles an endurance workout.  I big deal, I'll just pound out 25 reps.  WELL, LET ME TELL YOU......there is a very big difference between 15 and 25, even though it is just 10 little reps!  I was very surprised at how the level of difficulty went so far up!  Our bodies have muscle memory, so during the first 15 reps, my muscles were saying...OK, this is a normal workout.  Then, BAM, add another 10 and my muscles really started talking to me! 

It made me think how our bodies get accustomed to all aspects of what we do, what we eat, how much we hydrate, how much we sleep, how much we drink, how much we relax, how much we love, and everything else!  So, if you want to teach your body a new level of performance, just add another 10 reps, or whatever that translates to for you!  Try it and let me know how it goes for you!

BTW, I am at the end of day 10 of the 2 week induction for South Beach.  Just 4 short days left.  I have not strayed one little tiny bit.  I feel good.  The waistband for my slacks fit better.  I am happy with my effort!

Desire to see what else my body can do.  Dedication to push a little harder.  Discipline to push for just 10 more!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Am Off to Miami!

What I mean is that I began the South Beach Diet.  The day after the 4th of July.  I am loving it.  It is very much aligned with what I think of as the "Patty" diet.  The first 2 weeks is the most restricted including lots of lean protiens, lots of low glycemic veges, low fat cheese, fat free cottage cheese, a few nuts, lots of water and sugar free popsicles if you want a treat.  The instructions encourage you to eat until you are full and not to bother counting calories or points or anything else.  After the induction 2 weeks, then you add in a few low glycemic fruits and grains and eat that way until you reach your goal.

My goal is to stay following this program until our trip in September to Cape Cod to celebrate our 25th anniversary!  The 2 months will fly by.

I feel really good.  I am not hungry.  The discipline is positive for me.  It is how I see results. 

So, go ahead, buy a ticket to Miami and join me on the beach, South Beach that is!

Desire to be disciplined.  Dedication to being disciplined.  Discipline to pay attention to the deisre.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Made It to 3,000!

Can you believe an entire month has gone by since I started my challenge to do 3,000 sit-ups/ab exercises in 30 days?  As I shared this with various people, I heard  comments like: "That's no big deal!" or  "That's only 100 a day, I could do that!" or "Why so few?"

What I realized is that it is very easy to say those things and quite another thing to actually execute on the vision!  For me, abs are not difficult because I have a very strong core.  HOWEVER, it is the sheer discipline of actually doing 100 per day that tried to trip me up.  I normally take one day off per week, but I realized to achieve my challenge, I needed to at least get down and do abs on that day.

Then we were travelling on 2 of the weekends, which meant the additional act of actually doing the exercises on a travel day.  On a few occasions, I skipped for whatever reason only to realize that I had to do an additional 100 the next day to catch up.  The first time I skipped and then made it up, I decided to up my daily amount to 120 so I had a few "in the bank" in case I missed another day.  But I didn't miss any more days so my actual total was quite a bit higher than 3,000.  :-)

So what?  What did I learn?  It is very easy to say I am going to do something and quite a different story to actually do it.  Because I was focused on achieving my goal, I was able to exceed my target.  I also learned I can do anything for 30 days.  A friend said to me today, "it is easy to diet, I just always quit before I am done!"  I LOVE that thought.  For me, I will never be done.  There is no finish line I will cross.  It really is all about the journey and leaning in to embrace the twists and turns on the road of life.

Isn't that true for all aspects of our lives?

Desire to embrace the journey. Dedication to keeping focus.  Disciple to pretend I am a Nike shoe and JUST DO IT!  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fit Mitt!

We were in Park City this weekend to celebrate the bat mitzvah of a friend's daughter.  We had a blast!  On Saturday afternoon, I was working out at the hotel gym.  I was next to non other than Mitt Romney!  Regardless of your political stripe, it was pretty cool to be exercising next to a major political candidate!  He was working out hard on a cross trainer.  He had ear buds in and was listening to something on his iPad.  He went strong for an hour, toweled off and left with his SS.  He was obviously very fit.  If he can fit a workout into the schedule of a Presidential campaign, then can't we all?

It was really hard to do cardio at the altitude of Park City, about 7,000 feet above sea level.  The first few minutes was a challenge and then I just kept going and made it through the hour.   My persistance paid off. 

Even though we partied this weekend, I did dance for three straight hours Saturday night.  I am sure I burned off a lot of calories, we were REALLY dancing!!!

Desire to be as fit as Mitt.  Dedication to take advantage of of every opportunity to burn calories, even dancing.  Discipline to power through challenges, like high altitude.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One of My Workouts

I thought you might like to see the details of one of my workouts with Kathi.  Keep in mind that the exercises change each and every session.  Generally, she has me do a series of 4-5 exercises in a set.  I repeat each set 3 times.  I do 2 or 3 sets depending on how many exercises in each set.  Once in a while, she has me do a string of 12 exercises and just repeat that 3 times.  All of this is designed to fit into an hour, but sometimes, like yesterday morning, we run long.  Here is my workout from Monday 5/28:

First Set:
  • Kneeling on the blue side of a Bosu ball, do alternating front raises with 7.5's.  This is where you hold a weight in each hand, palm down and with a straight arm, raise the weight to shoulder height and back down, alternating one arm and then the next.  This works the front deltoids. One set = 15 reps on each arm.
  • One-leg ski hops: this one uses a machine that I call the sled.  It is the reclining leg press machine.  Kathy has me use one leg at a time and do 15 hops per leg as a set.  I put the weight stack at 35 for this one.
  • One arm tricep pull down.  Standing in front of a cable weight, grasp the handle with one hand palm down, keeping your elbow locked at your waist, pull the cable down.  At the bottom of the effort, being sure to fully engage the tricep.  I do this one at 35 lbs, 15 times each arm.
  • One leg reverse lunge with a knee up - this one is self descriptive.  15 each leg.
  • One leg squat at the cable.  Standing in front of a cable weight, stand on one leg, grasp the weight then squat as you bend forward and stand up straight again.  Now- full disclosure......I am able to do only a shallow squat, but at least I do one!
Second set:
  • Ball wall squat with a shoulder press - take a big exercise ball and place it between your back and a wall.  Hold a weight (I use 10"s) in each hand at your shoulder, palm facing away from you.  Roll on the ball as you move into a squat, the deeper the better.  As you stand back up, raise your arms overhead to a straight arm into a a shoulder press.  Do that 15 times.
  • Tricep extension overhead.  Hold a weight in your hand, I use 12.5's on this one, with your arm straight overhead, then carefully (don't bonk yourself in the head) lower the weight behind your head by bending your arm, keeping your elbow pointed to the sky.  This will isolate your tricep quite nicely.  Do 15 reps on each arm.
  • Running man for 30 seconds - run in place lifting your knees as high as they will go, as fast as you can, for 30 seconds.  A fun version of this is to use one of those big stretchy bands, tied around a pole, then step into the circle so the stretchy band is at your waist.  This will make you feel as if you are being restrained.  Then leaning into the tension of the tether, do your running man.  Yikes!  
  • Lateral leaps on the Bosu - using a Bosu with the blue side up, start with your right foot placed on the Bosu then go from side to side transitioning your feet at the top of the Bosu each time.  Do a total of 30 leaps.
  • Step ups alternating knee - on a bench or a step at height that cahllenges you but doesn't stress you, simply step up and down bringing your alternaitng knee up high between each rep.  15 each leg.
Then I did my 100 abs for the day, 25 each:
  • v-up side ball bounce - begin laying down on your back holding a weighted ball, I use a 12 lb. one.  raise your head and feet at the same time and come into a v, then bounce the ball on each side, return to laying down position.
  • ball to shin - begin by laying down on your back, holding a weighted ball overhead with straight arms.  Raise your head and one leg bringing the ball to the shin,then lay back down, repeat with alternating legs.
  • bear trap - begin by laying down on your back, at the same time raise your upper and lower body meeting in the middle.
  • reverse knee lifts - begin by laying down on your back, bend both knees and pull them into your chest as you raise your hips off the floor. 


Desire to keep my body strong.  Dedication to twice weekly strength building sessions.  Discipline to just do it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How About a Glass of Wine?

We went to wine country this weekend for a quick getaway.  We LOVE Paso Robles, which is considered "central coast" wine country.  It is rapidly eclipsing the better known Sonoma and Napa, in fact is is now being called "Napa South".  I am sure folks from Napa would quickly tell you otherwise!  In any case there are over 200 wineries to visit!

We spent the night at a beautiful villa at the Dunning vineyard.  It is a beautiful spot in the world. 

Being surrounded by all the wineries, made me think about how I have come to treat wine.  I do not drink wine (or any alcohol) on a "normal" day. I had decided that the extra calories were something to be saved and used on a day when I was celebrating or relaxing my intake.  I find that if I have one glass of wine, it makes me want two!  Then when I have a nice wine buzz going, I find it is easier to consume even more calories.  You can see why I restrict my alcohol consumption.

Even so, I think it is fine to have just one glass of wine, if you have the discipline to stop with one glass!  What do you do?  Do you include wine or alcoholic consumption as a normal part of your intake?  Let me know how you treat wine or alcohol as part of your healthy journey!

Desire to enjoy a glass of wine.  Dedication to explore healthy integration.  Discipine to know when to stop.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thanks, You Inspire Me!

I am SO EXCITED!  I am surrounded by so much inspiration!  A couple of you are joining me on the ab challenge!  So far I have achieved my 100 per day, except today, when I did 150!  I love a strong core!  Let's keep going!

Also, today, Kathi, my trainer, completed the Honu Half Ironman on the Kohala Coast in Hawaii.  She finished 18th in her age group.  She finished strong!  I am so proud of her!  Now she gets to sit back, relax and enjoy the island!

So, I didn't work out with her this morning, but I channeled her and had a kick ass workout on my own. 

What did you do today to contribute to your healthy journey?

Desire to hit 3,000 abs in 30 days.  Dedication to honor inspirational people around me.  Discipline to stay focused even when my trainer is gone.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Betcha Can't Eat Just One!

So, yesterday, I did just that!  Maybe for the first time ever, I had one cookie and one cookie only.....hurray for me!  For me, cookies are a downfall.  Their delightful portable funsize, makes it ever so easy to pop a few into the body one right after another, right?  (I don't mean eating an entire box, just more than one.)

A few years ago, I remember speaking with a friend about portion control and he said, "just try having one".  At the time I looked at him as if he had 2 heads and came from an alien planet!  I knew the advice was sound, but the execution was challenging.  So, yesterday I prevailed!  I must admit, it feels good!

So I am issuing a challenge - if you have a desire for something that may not be "on plan", just eat ONE.  Try it, you will feel good too!

Now, here is a challenge I have issued to myself - over the next 30 days, I amchallening myself to do 3000 "sit ups".  That is on average 100 per day.  By "sit-up" I mean ab exercise, of which there are may challenging variations.  I am sure a few of them will be the standard crunch, but they will also include plank holds with outer rotation, crunches done on a big ball so you can stretch with each one into a reverse extention, balancing on your tail bone with a heavy ball bounce on either side, a shallow v-up with a 25 pound plate, and many more.  I thought it would be fun to set a goal and see if I can reach it.  Between us, I know I will!   I will report each week on my progress to the goal!  Should be fun!

Desire to work towards a new goal.  Dedication to track my progress.  Discipline to eat just one.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Routines Work!

I am writing this on Friday, the end of my first week at my new job.  Things have been going super well.  I am being treated "like a rock star".  Seriously - super nice boss, super nice staff, super nice team members, super nice office and super work to be done......definitely a happy honeymoon period!

I committed to renew my disciplined eating pattern beginning on day one.  There is just something about the symbolism of making a fresh start.  So, on my first day, there was a team celebration dinner.  I was very happy with myself - did not touch the bread basket, had the tiniest splash of wine, no starch with dinner, and did not touch the gooey desert on the table.  Success!

Day two was a team offsite where I was able to continue with the discipline. Plus the meeting was only 1.3 miles from my house so I choose to walk instead of drive followed by spinning in the evening. Success!  I set up my office with a healthy selection of appropriate snacks.  Success! 

The rest of the week has been full of success too. One of the reasons is because of the opportunity to inject fresh discipline into a fresh situation.  The other reason, I believe is because my body and mind like routine and I am establishing a new routine and new rhythm.  This is not to say that I can't manage through change and adapt.  Goodness knows that change is all around us and is the norm, not the excpetion.  Still, it is more supportive to be able to function within a routine and use adaptive skills to manage change. 

Managing and disciplining our eating is, I believe, the most important factor in achieving and  maintaining a healthy weight.  This is so much more achieveable when we can establish a routine to provide the nourishment at regular intervals, with consistent nutrients and with appropriate reinforcement.  So, look at your life.  Can you establish a routine that supports and nourishes your body and mind?  Try it.  You just might like it!

Desire to establish a supportive routine.  Dedication to navigate life's inevitable changes.  Discipline to create support mechanisms for both routine and change.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Transformers; Transforming!

Last Wednesday, I was working with a client, Universal Studios Hollywood (yes, I know, a very cool client!)   AND I got to ride the new Transofrmers ride, which will have it's big opening next week.  It was super awesome cool and completely exceeded my expectations!  The ride lasts for more than 4 minutes, is 3D and is loaded with amazing CGI special effects.  It really is like being right in the middle of a 3D Transformers movie!  I can't recommend it enough!  If you are in the area and looking for something fun and memorable to do, DEFINITELY include it in your plans.  You will love it!

I thought it was particularly  meaningful that I rode a ride called "Transformers" right at the time that I was deciding to "transform" myself.  As I mentioned in my last post, I had been wrestling with some important decisions.  I have made a decision to make another life change.  I am going to leave my consulting practice behind (at least for now) because I have accepted a position with AMN Healthcare.  Starting tomorrow, I am their new Senior Director for Organization and Talent Development. We danced the dance of interviewing each other for the past few months and ultimately I decided to join them. 

Reasons I decided to leave behind my successful consulting practice:  AMN Healthcare contributes to improving people's lives, which is a direct purpose and value I can support.  If it had been another electronics company, I would not have even engaged them in discussion.  AMN is only 9 miles from my house - commuting is a non-issue.  The CEO of AMN was actively involved in my selection and she is a very compelling impressive executive.  My new boss is a highly respected HR exec and someone who I can continue to learn from.  The team I am inheriting is a group of great professionals.  Travel will be minimal.  I will not miss the TSA and hotel beds all that much.  :-)  The AMN campus is beautiful and 1/4 mile from a Whole Foods plus they have a big onsite gym!  All of the people I met with are involved in some kind of fitness pursuit, so I will find many like-minded people there. 

So, please join me in being happy with this latest change.  I am excited to continue my healthy journey at a new location.

Desire to transition with positive intent.  Dedication to supporting the higher corporate purpose.    Discipline to carry my healthy journey forward.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stress Eating....Yikes!

I am facing some inportant life decisions.  I am very tempted to reach for something to snack on.  Instead I thought I would post a new message instead of snacking.  I am not hungry.  I had a perfectly delicious salad for lunch with a beloved former co-worker.  So, I know my stomach is not lacking.  Still, it is interesting to recognize that on an emotional level, I want to reach for food to divert my attention.

BUT I WILL NOT CAVE IN!!!  Instead, I will enjoy a working meditation by talking with you.  I will sit and allow some quiet time so I can tap into my intuitive self to help me make some important decisions.  I will drink a big glass of water.  And, then I will make the best decisions I can with an open heart and a confident mind.

I have asked myself: will food help me make my decisions?  Will food make the stress go away?  How will I feel after eating surplus food I don't really need?   

I am actually very happy that I am so in touch with myself that I can detect the signs of stress eating, get out in front of it and avoid it.  This is a big success for me on my journey.

Emotional stress eating, I think, accounts for more weight gain than any other factor.  What do you do to combat stress eating?    

Desire to make good life decisions.  Dedication to me and what I need and want.  Discipline to select healthy activities to manage emotional eating.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Too Much Is Just Too Much!

Friday night we joined dear friends to celebrate a birthday.  The selected location was in Laguna Beach, likely the epicenter of healthy living!  The restaurant was Zoolu Cafe, a VERY popular and "hard to get into" hot spot.  The chef is known far and wide for delicious creative cuisine and large portions.

I Yelped the spot and read many reviews about the large portions, even so, I was unprepared for the real size of the servings.  I orderd the cioppino, sans pasta.  Literally a bowl large enough to give a small baby a bath was delivered to my table.  Everyone else was served MASSIVE portions too.  All around me were ooooo's and ahhh's of appreciation and delight.  But, I have to tell you, my reaction was different.

The portions were so large as to make it difficult to enjoy the meal.  Of course, there was no way to finish the meal.  I did take home a doggie bag with enough to feed me and my husband an entire second meal the next day.  But what caused me to be uncomfortable was the amount of waste at our table alone (multiply that by all the people dining there).  Some people took a doggie bag and others simply left a huge quantity of food untouched.  For sure it was thrown away.  It made me sad to think that some would think that such a huge serving was a good thing.  It also made me terribly sad to think of all the people who do not have anything to eat.  It bordered on gluttony.  ICK!

So, in spite of the quality of the food, and what I tasted was delicious, I did not enjoy my meal.  Have you ever experienced anything like that?

Desire to enjoy dining in moderation.  Dedication to helping others who are without.  Discipline to not waste food.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Fun Slumber Party!

Thursday night we babysat for 3 little neighbor girls.  Their parents were off on the 204 mile Ragnar run, which is a 12 person relay team, 2-day experience.  So, while they were off being CRAZY, we took care of Evie (5), Sophia (7) and Abby (10).  It was super fun, as they are exceptionally adorable and very well behaved children, just like we like 'em!  :-)

On Friday morning, they woke up with smiles, brushed their teeth, let me brush their gorgeous heads of hair and were ready for breakfast.  Since they were up early, I offered breakfast at home or, for what I thought they would regard as a treat, we could go to McDonalds.  Sophia looked up at me with her sweet little eyes and said....."there is nothing good to eat at McDonalds, so let's stay home."  On the inside, I was cracking up but we proceeded to eat a very healthy breakfast together that included Ezekiel whole grain english muffins (many kids say "eeeewwww" to this version), yogurt and whole fruit; all their choices.

Her comment did make me think about the high numbers of unhealthy kids in the U.S. (and the world) that haven't had the benefit of their parent's influence about healthy choices.  It really does start young and have an impact on their future too.

So, next time you are with kids, do them a favor and influence them towards healthy choices, just like we are doing in our grown up world!  I guarantee that is the last time I will offer up McDonalds! (with apologies to McDonald's Corporation because I know they have made great strides to include healthy menu options)  I WAS SCHOOLED BY A 7 YEAR OLD!!!  :-)

Desire to love the little ones.  Dedication to keeping kids safe and healthy.  Discipline to help them learn healthy choices.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pane, Pizza, Pasta, Pannino, Prosciutto = Pounds!

I do love alliteration and all of the "P's" were fun to play around with in Italy.  We had a wonderful trip, mostly because we visited with our niece, Alex, who is finishing up a semester abroad in Firenze (Florence).  We walked all over Firenze. It was our second time to that city and I liked it much more this time than before.  The summer crowds haven't quite hit yet, so you could actually walk around.  With every turn down a little side street, I kept saying - "this looks like a back lot at Universal Studios!" 

We did the Duomo climb - really fun, about 490 (little narrow skinny) steps to the top.  The view at the top was a nice reward.  We  walked the Arno river.  We took a train to Massa, a small town which is the same as my maiden name and Alex's last name.  We stayed at a Relaix and Chateau property called Il Bottaccio, very luxurious and FABULOUS!  We have been there 2 other times and it does not disappoint.  They are a 5 star dining experience.  We always ask the chef to prepare us a meal and then sit back and be amazed at what comes out of the kitchen.  That 5 course meal (small portions for sure) was worth every calorie!

Then we finihsed up in Venezia (Venice).  It was our first visit there and it was truly beautiful.  People had told us that the water would be dirty and smelly, but it wasn't like that at all.  They have really cleaned up the canals and they are quite pretty.  Again, they look  unreal, like a movie set!  I think Venice is the stairmaster of Italy.  Everywhere you walk you have to go up and down steps to get over bridges.  It was actually fun!

The Italians are known for their cuisine and yet you do not see many overweight people.  The dominant sweet is gelato, which we had a few times.  The crust on their pizza is so thin as to be more like a cracker and they don't glop tons of cheese and toppings on it.  I had pasta a few times, but since we make homemade pasta at home, it is hard to beat our "homemaders".  I did love the pane or breads - yummy!  The biscotti comes with every cafe.  We had delicious wines and I was introduced to a Campari spritz - delicious.  All in all, it was enough yummy food to pick up a few vacation pounds.

So, Allen and I are back on loads of veges and lean proteins.  I hit the gym the day I returned.  My trainer, Kathi, was only to happy to kick my butt after 12 days of no gym!  I love the cycle of indulgence and then discipline.  I am truly impressed by people who can go on vacation and not gain any weight, like Sarah!  I bow to you girl!

Desire to explore and experience.  Dedication to pleasure and fun.   Discipline to jump right back into the gym.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

CHangin" and CHocolate!

CHangin' and CHocolate, both begin with CH.....and I've been through a lot of both in the last 48 hours!  My final day at LG was Thursday.  After 4 years, it was time to say goodbye.  I have known this day was coming for months and I am very prepared for the next stage of my career and life and I received a very fair severance package (so money is not an issue) and yet, still, it was surprisingly stressful to walk out the door for the final time.

I know it was because of the relationships I had developed and the people I care about.  I know it was because even though I have been preparing for a long time to transition, that stepping off the ledge represents a big change.  Intellectually, I know all these things.

It is another thing to experience my own set of emotions as this significant transition actually occurs.  The funny thing is that I do not actually ever (normally) crave chocolate - really, I am telling the truth.  So, it was actually pretty funny when I started snacking on mini-chocolates.  As I reached for them, I knew it was real true honest-to-goodness stress eating!  So, you know what......I ate it and knew I was "feeding" an emotional need at that time.  It was pretty interesting to observe myself and my food choices and to be OK with it and allow myself the indulgence.  I knew that it was temporary and mindful and that it was serving me in a way that I needed.  Just so you know, I also turned to yoga and soaking in hot baths too!

So, you know right after the Superbowl, an announcer asks the quarterback of the winning team.....where are you going?  And he always answers...."I'm going to Disneyland!"?  Well, imagine the announcer just said to me...."Patty McKay, you just lost your job...where are you going?"  My answer is "I'm going to Italy (not Disneyland)!"  One of the things I did in preparation for the change was to plan a vacation to mark this significant life transition, so Allen and I are off to visit our niece in Florence who is studying abroad for a semester. So, it is likely that I will miss posting next weekend as I am not taking any electronics with me.  Please forgive me.

I will be walking all day and enjoying excellent Italian culture in all available forms - museums, people, countryside, fashion, food and wine!  Yay!  I promise I will bring back some fun things to share with you.

Desire to transition to the future.  Dedication to emotional health.  Discipline to stop the chocolate intake after a brief indulgence.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Heavens Parted and the Angels Wept!

Right now I am literally high on life!  I just had the most amazing experience with a new yoga teacher.  Like me, many of you believe that the universe brings us gifts as we are open and ready to receive.  BOY!  Did that just happen to me!
As you may know, next Friday is my last day at LG.  So, I am facing a significant life transition.  Things are going GREAT and I am not worried about the future, however this transition still carries with it a bucket of stress.  So, this morning, instead of going into work early (because, really, why bother at this point???) I went to a new yoga class at my favorite studio The Soul of Yoga.  The class was a Power Flow, which is a style I tend to shy away from now and gravitate to a more gentle flow.  But I was hungry for a good yoga class so I went anyway.  I met the teacher, Judy Tsuei, and explained that I would probably modify some of the asanas for my body.  She was very accepting and made me instantly feel welcome.   

Then the most WONDERFUL thing happened.  No one else showed for the class, so I was the recipient of a "private". This doesn't happen often and it was just wonderful!  Judy took a moment to connect and ask me how I was feeling in my body and tailored the class to more of a hip opener just for me.  Judy is one of those rare teachers who just oozes intuitive connection.  She was FABULOUS SPECTACULAR  and, did I mention WONDERFUL! 

I am so happy right now.  I literally feel joyful in my mind, my heart, my spirit and my body.  I know this was a gift just for me from God that came at just the right time and in the perfect package.  I know I will continue to seek out Judy as a teacher and guide.

Really, if you are ever in the area you should seek her out for a wonderful experience! She is also a Reiki Master Practitioner.  You can meet her at

Desire to transition with success.  Dedication to gratitude for all of our divine gifts.  Discipline to keep the mind and heart open to receive.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fitness Thru Rugby

I am sitting here watching a rugby match (well sort of) with my hubbie.  All of the rugby players are in amazing shape!  Of course, we are watching pros, so you would expect them to be uber-fit.  It's just so much more obvious with rugby players since their uniform consists of tight jerseys and little short shorts!  So much nicer than watching basketball with the super longs "split skirts" they are calling shorts these days!
My husband is a rugby player.  He plays in a local league, mostly for fun and (what he calls) the "3rd half" (the after party).  The truth is that he is in AMAZING shape and wears the shorts well!  He is going to kill me for including that detail in my post.  :-)

He goes to practice twice a week.  Each practice is 2 hours and the games go for at least an hour on Saturdays.  In between, he goes to the gym with me. 

So, it dawned on me, all we have to do is join a team that keeps us running for 5-6 hours a week and we could all look amazing in little rugby shorts!

Desire to keep seeking. Dedication to fitness in all forms.  Discipline to try new things.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Feed a Cold? Starve a Fever?

I am not sure which on is right, are you?  I just know that I left work early today to come home and take a nap.  I am fighting off a cold, for the second time this year.  All I know is that I was starving, so I ate lunch before taking my nap.

Then you have to figure out if you should work out or not work out.  So, I have heard that if you have symptoms below the neck, then stay home and don't workout.  So, if I feel as good as I do now, in the morning, then I will go do my workout.

I think that the stress of the transition at work is probably what is making me more susceptible to cold germs.  March 30th will be my last day at LG and I will fully transition to my own consulting practice.  I am looking forward to working hard and also enjoying a new found freedom to flex my schedule to meet my needs instead of the needs of the corporation.  I fantasize about the possibility of doing my workout in the middle of the day of I want about a 10am yoga class????  Can't wait!!!

Desire to stay healthy.  Dedication to staying healthy.  Discipline to take care of myself to stay healthy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

If Perfect's What You"re Searching For......

....then just stay the same!

I love that song that is on the radio right now, and particularly that line of the song.  If only we could all embrace that concept and teach it to the upcoming generation, imagine how different the world would be! 

At Saturday's yoga class, the teacher said she was getting ready to babysit for her granddaughter, while her daughter and friend got ready for a night out together.  She said she was struck by the conversation between the 2 women, both in their 20's; both beautiful and fabulous.  The 20-somethings were talking about how much they hated their thighs, and how their hair wouldn't behave and how they wish they had larger breasts/longer legs/smaller butts.  So, Flossie, my yoga teacher, picked up her grandduaghter and said - we are going into another oom where my grandbaby won't hear all this negativity.

So, raise your right hand if you thought you were perfect in your 20"s.........not to many hands up, right?  I know, I fell victim to self-criticism, like so many of us. 

Here is what I know to be some point in the future, you will look at a photo of yourself from 10 years ago and say something like......WOW, I looked great!  10 years from now, you will do the same thing.  So, why not start today and look in the mirror, instead of a photo, and say - WOW, I look great!  So, as you are today, in this moment, foresaking any desire to change or shift - just accept and wallow in the perfection of who you are. 

Then, turn to the other people in your life and acknowledge their perfection.  Compliment and reinforce the little boys and girls who are so hungry for your love and praise.  Really instill in them their perfection. Teach them to embrace their excellence.

Whatever you focus on will expand, grow and flourish.  So, if you focus on the fact that you think you are too heavy, guess what????  If you focus on your beauty and health and perfection....guess what????

Desire to accept perfection in the now.  Dedication to empowering the next generation to embrace their excellence.  Discipline to invite positive thoughts to your universe.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Krikey! I'm Late!

So sorry I missed posting this past Saturday!  I was visiting a friend in Nashville and did not make the time to access the internet.  This is a dear friend that I have not seen in many years, and yet, we fell in step as if it had only been a few weeks.  Such a nice visit!

She has been on her own healthy journey.  She lost her husband (of 17 years) 2 years ago and has been raising 3 boys on her own.  It is completely understandable why she turned to food for comfort.  She chuckles at how easy it was to join her teenage boys in a bowl of ice cream at night.  Further, what a difference there is between a teenage boy's metabolism and a 40-something's metabolism.  We had so much to commiserate about.  And yet, what an awesome inspiration she is to me, and to all of us! 

One morning, she simply decided to take stock of her health and shed the weight she had added as a comfort barrier against her massive grief.  She has been very successful with my favorite strategy of good old fashioned diet and exercise.  She is 5'11" and back down to a svelte size 8.  She looks like a supermodel!!!  She feels like she has found her mojo again and may be back in the dating pool!

It made me reflect on my weight challenges and wanted to dig deeper to analyze what might still be going on inside of me.  I certainly have frequent challenges but they are "challenges" not "CHALLENGES", like the loss she had to endure. 

So, we all have to ask ourselves, what are the challenges we face that may cause us to ingest unnecessary calories.  Are they real or just a convenient excuse to indulge????  Try that question on for size and see what you come up with.  :-)

Desire to find deeper clarity.  Dedication to awesome friends.  Discipline to ask ourselves the tough questions.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shiratake Heaven!

I LOVE shiratake noodles!  If you haven't discovered them yet, you simply must soon!  I find them at Jimbo's, Whole Foods or Sprouts. So you can probably find them in your local "health" food store.  They are in the refrigerated section.  They are a ridiculously low in calorie noodle substitute.  So if you are "jonesing" for a big bowl of guilt free noodles, do what I did last night, shiratake noodles, low sodium marinara sauce, lots of chopped fresh tomatoes and grated parmesan on top.  Now a single bag of shiratake noodles only has 40 calories....that's right JUST FORTY!  I had 2 bags, a cup of chopped fresh tomatoes, a cup of marinara (the kind with 50 calories per cup, just read the label before buying) and grated parmesan cheese.  This whole big satisfying bowl of yumminess barely had 200 calories, very low fat and low sodium too.  I supplemented it with 3 turkey meatballs from Trader Joes (50 calories each).  It was a Saturday night feast!

Now, a few details about shiratake noodles.....they are made from soy and come packaged in water.  When you drain them, the water smells funky.  Don't let that deter you.  I drain them in a sieve and rinse them in lots of fresh water, before gently simmering them in boiling water.  They are already cooked but need to be heated through.  So, take a walk on the wild side and try shiratake noodles.  I think you will love them too!

And BTW, dropped a full pound this week - yay!

Desire to enjoy a bowl of noodles.  Dedication to finding options that fit me.  Discipline to have "the real thing" only for special occassions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Am I Insane?

Definition of insanity - doing the same thing and expecting different results....   Another week and no weight loss.  After much soul searching, my conclusion is that I am just not being disciplined enough with my food.  My workouts are awesome, disciplined and consistent.  So I am going back to my ground zero and I am not straying (except Valentine's Day dinner), at least until we go to Italy!

My "ground zero" is a pretty disciplined place.  It will be lean proteins, veges, one fruit a day and one portion of whole grains (think 1/2 cup of quinoa, oats, brown rice or a slice of ezekiel bread) per day.  My goal will be at least one pound a week. 

Why does the word "discipline" get a bad rep?  People who succeed in life are typically disciplined about what they want to accomplish.  Concert musicians, famous sports figures, accomplished authors, amazing chefs, successful business people, competitive atheletes, etc all exhibit discipline.  Discipline is a good thing. Wikipidea says that discipline is the ability to motivate oneself in the face of a negative state; and qualities associated with self-discipline include willpower, hard work, and persistence.

So, I have to discipline myself to eat clean and stay motivated and continue to do so "in the face of a negative state", which for me is food temptation. 

Please help me out and send me mental pixie dust to stay strong in my resolve.  Thanks!

Desire to shed negative food choices. Dedication to not being insane.  Discipline to embrace positive motivation.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl or Super Calories?

Beware of the evil Superbowl menu items that can send a healthy journey into a tailspin!  Instead of going to a party at someone else's house, we are hosting at our house.  I am making a butternut squash hummus with raw veges for dipping, slow roasted lean baby back ribs and cabbage salad with jicama, black bean, corn, carrot and shaved parmesan with lemon and olive oil.  Dessert will be fresh fruit salad.

Today, I almost caved in and bought freshly baked baguette and chips.  I resisted the temptation.  The menu is healthy and yummy.  If people go home and eat something else, then so be it.

I know I sound a little "on the edge", but I am a woman on a mission.  I have managed to drop 2 of the pounds that I picked up over the holidays so I am going in the direction I need to!

My new favorite exercises are with the TRX bands.  Who knew that there were so many things you could do with just your body weight and these suspended bands.  They are really fun!  If you get a chance, give them a try!

Desire to watch the Superbowl commercials without gaining weight.  Dedication to making more of my own food to control the nutrition.  Discipline to keep the freshly baked baguettes out of my grocery cart!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Love Your Tummy!

Tummy.  Belly.  Stomach.  Gut.  Love pillow.  Jiggly bit.  Paunch.  Abs.  Abbie-domen. 

Why don't we love our tummies????  This morning at the gym, I was speaking with a friend who was having a tough morning.  This woman is about a size 2, maybe a 4 on a bloated day.  She is fit, healthy and lovely.  Yet, she was in a full blown negative funk about how mad she was at her body for aging.  She was ranting about her "obscene" belly.  She said she was sick and tired of sitting down, looking down and seeing her "fat" stomach.  It was all I could do to not burst out laughing right in her face!  She actually tried to grab the flesh on her abdomen to make a point and all she came up with was the fabric of her shirt.  More internal laughter on my part.  She said that getting older sucked because it was impossible to stay thin.  .....more internal laughter from me.

Of course, I did not laugh at her.  She was in the midst of her own tough moment, no matter how laughable it was to me.  I had to wonder, what messages did she get as a child that would have her so upset over her body at mid-life.  Instead, I put my arm around her shoulder and told her it was OK to be in a funk as long as she promised me that she would remember what I know to be true. So she asked - what's that???  I told her that 16 years ago when my friend Monica was dying from cancer, she made me promise to really celebrate every birthday because she would not have any more.  My friend from this morning said - thank you- for making me remember what is important.

We all have our our funk moments.  We all have moments when we are less than satisfied with a body part (or two) and we all have moments of yearning for the former 20 year old body.  I don't know about you but I would not trade my 50+ year old brain for my 20 year old body!!!  Just please promise me that you will ultimaely honor and love your body, mind and spirit, tummy pillow and all!  There is so much to love!

Desire to honor Monica with celebration of life.  Discipline to minimize the negative funk.  Dedication to loving your body!   

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Am I Strong Enough?

Today, during my workout with my trainer, she had me do bicep curls with a 35 pound bar.  It felt good to be able to curl that much weight.  I did sit-ups with a 25 pound plate from a decline position.  I did chest press on the ball with 25 pound dumb bells.  I did step ups to a  shoulder press with 12.5 pound dumb bells.  I am really pleased with my physical strength and my ability to power through a workout.  I am really strong!  Yay!

BUT - my recurring challenge is with food.  I really want to re-double my efforts to drop more weight.  I want to say good-bye to the holiday pounds - yes, I did gain a few - CRAP - and for me it is all about the food.  Am I strong enough to push away the food that is no longer serving me?  I say YES. 

January is a time of rebirth, of new affirmations, of renewed focus, of fresh direction, of strengthened targets.  What is in your cross hairs?  Are you strong enough to go in the direction that will best serve you?


Desire to stay strong. Dedication to your forward direction.  Discipline to embrace the YES.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I LOVE Jicama!

Yum yum!  Jicama is my newest yummy guilt free snack food.  Have you tried it?  Do you know this vegetable?  I read somewhere that it is also called a yam bean - who knew???  One cup of jicama, 4.5 ounces, has only 49 calories, zero fat and 7 grams of fiber!  It is delicious raw, very crunchy, a mild faint sweet flavor.  It is perfect in salads or as the vehicle for hummus or any other dip you may enjoy.

Speaking of hummus, making your own is a great way to control the sodium, fat and calories!  I just made some with garbanzo beans, tahini, the juice of a whole lemon, the zest from the lemon, some EVOO and a whole bunch of fresh parsley.  It turned out delicious and is packed with the nutrition from a ton of fresh parsley.  I hadn't made that flavor before and I am excited to eat it!

Why all this food talk?  Well, I am getting ready to watch the Golden Globes and in honor of staying on point, I am serving hummus, jicama, carrots and sliced cucumbers.  For dinner I am simmering a big pot of pork and beans.  It was fun to cook and will be fun to eat.

Desire to keep finding yummy things to eat.  Dedication to make recipes at home.  Discipline to manage ingredients and nutrition.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fighting a Cold!

Two weeks ago, I fought off a cold and thoroughly enjoyed the holidays and my brother's visit.  Well, well, well....the cold decided to pay me another visit and I am back fighting it again.  It is REALLY annoying!  I have a small tickle in my throat that is causing me to cough all night long and all day today.  Fortunately that is my only symptom, but, trust me, it is enough.....

So,  the good news amidst the annoyance of coughing is that my appetitie is minimal.  Feed a cold? Starve a fever/  Or vice versa?  I'm not sure, but whichever it is, I am not tempted by food right now.  There is my silver lining!

Which is it for you when you have a cold?

Also, I did get up and go to the gym for an hour of cardio mid-day.  I am glad I exercised, and I was happy to come home to shower and take a nap. 

I have a really busy week and I need to be healthy, so wish me luck on winning the fight against the cold!

Fortunately, it is rare when I catch a cold and I can't help but think it is an opportunity to be so very grateful for my good health the rest of the time.  I get really annoyed fairly easily by having a cough.  My heart goes all the way out to people who have chronic serious health issues. God bless them as they struggle to be healthy.  It is why this "healthy journey" is so consumingly important to me.  I know that a person who is healthy - meaning a healthy weight, a healthy blood pressure, a healthy heart rate, a healthy fitness level, healthy blood chemistry, a healthy outlook, and so on....are much more likely to live a longer life with increased quality of life. 

So, go out and find your way to great health.

Desire to be healthy. Dedication to find healthy options.  Discipline to always focus on health.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year - A Fresh Renewal - An Awesome Opportunity!

Happy New Year 2012 and welcome to the latest chapter of your (and my) healthy journey.  There is something so inspiring about the first day of the year!  It is a fresh new canvas upon which we can paint our personal picture.  We have the freedom to create whatever we want to create. 

So many newscasters and newspaper articles are reporting on the top 5 resolutions, the top 5 ways to live a better life, the top 5 this and the top 5 that.  Well, I say, don't do what they say, instead go within yourself and figure out your path to your healthy journey 2012! 

Let's be honest, it is not always easy to make healthy choices.  It is always POSSIBLE but it is not always easy!  So, as you design your journey, make sure it is filled with personal motivation and personal meaning so you can stick with it, especially when the going gets tough!

What is your motivation?  To lower your cholesterol score?  To control your sugar level?  To control your blood pressure?  To fit into a smaller size?  To live longer than a parent who you lost?  Figure it out, and make it real for you.....find a way to keep your personal motivation accessible so that it is always there to guide you on your journey.

Desire to write your own story.  Dedication to embracing your personal journey.  Discipline to find your motivation and stick with it.