Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eating for Health NOT Weight-loss

The the last six months or so I've been reading and learning about food, where it comes from, what it can do for me, how I can change my eating habits and yes I've thought about it because I want to lose at least 10 pounds and like many of you out there, I want to lose weight over night.

As a trainer I realize that's not healthy or even possible unless I cut off an arm, now that's not happening so my approach to better eating is going to have to be the plan.

In my lifetime I have tried every diet out there and I admit, I could never stick to any diet that restricts what I eat, i.e. no carbs, no fat, no sugar, leaving me craving all of the above.  However as a read and learn I've come to understand or I should say, I am allowing myself to understand food and eating for my health.  After all, the word "diet" just makes me want to eat more and all those restrictions are even worse.

Again, I'm a trainer.  I love fitness, love a challenge, enjoy running and spinning and helping others reach their fitness goals.  Sometimes I'm so focused on helping others that I forget to help myself.  Lately my energy levels have been low, my sleep is a little out of whack, and my focus and concentration have been a little off.  It's like a vicious cycle -- I work hard teaching and training people from age seven to eighty-seven, I spend time preparing classes, then there's our home and our kids. I will drink a coffee mid afternoon just so I can make it to dinner and by the time that comes around I have no energy to plan.  I go to bed or pass out by 9:00 pm and then wake up six hours later feeling tired and achy.

Don't get me wrong, we don't eat extremely unhealthy.  I make it a point to keep snacks to a minimum for the kids, I do read those nutrition labels, we do whole grain, lean meats, vegetables most nights and fruits always but eating shouldn't have to be boring or a struggle.

I once suggested to my husband that we follow the ideas found in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. 

Well that did not go over very well because that would mean MJ would have to give up eating apples when they're not in season even though I've proven to him how amazingly delicious they are when freshly picked.  I've tried to implement many changes with no give from him. Many of the changes I've made have gone unnoticed and that's OK, less to fuss about.  The kids ask why I don't buy soda and my answer, "because that's all you would drink."

This week, after getting sick 4-5 times in a period of eight weeks, my husband suggested we look at challenge to cut out sugar.  Needless to say that made me a little anxious.  There's that word limiting what what eat.  I don't like it. I feel it immediately sabotages my "diet" before I even start.  It also made me a little mad that when I suggested simple changes he did not want to hear about giving up his favorites...humph! Apparently, he is now ready for some changes and so am I.

We are going to make some changes but we are going to do this slowly.  I am want us to be smart about making changes because we already know that drastic changes only lead to failure and that's not acceptable.  I've been reading about the Paleo nutrition plan because it is the one that most closely meets the criteria we are looking for in our life.  It limits sugar intake and processed foods but you get so much more and there are so many creative ways to get what you need and sometimes even what you want. So we are going to read, do our homework's and start making changes a little at a time.  I've been reading a blog called Nom Nom Paleo which happens to be informative, creative, realistic and funny; she has an APP filled with recipes so that right there makes it a favorite. So far, a positive inspiration to help get us on the right path.

I hope you'll join us on this journey and if you have experience with Paleo, share your ups and downs and in between!

Stay Well,


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Start the journey--ignore the negative

I've heard more times than I care to count someone say "running will not help you lose weight..." and I have to wonder where this comes from. If a person decides to finally take charge and start a program to improve their health and lose weight, whether it's running, walking, swimming, biking, whatever, why would anyone think it's OK to tell them that what they're doing will not work? 

EXERCISE works, physical activity, an active lifestyle in general work.  Do what you enjoy, have fun with the kids, your friends, dance like no one is watching because the idea is to get moving and eventually to get motivated to do more to improve your health and/or to help you reach your goals.

YES, nutrition is a key factor in your weight loss goals.  You HAVE to eat healthy foods, you have to limit or cut out fried, breaded, creamy anything and opt for fresh, baked, grilled, non processed food, you have to create a deficit in your caloric intake without falling below 1200-1800 calories per day. 

It is a combination of exercise and nutrition....maybe they should say "running will not help you lose weight if you continue to eat every calorie you burn and then some." 

When you decide you're ready to get healthy (not skinny) just healthy, do whatever physical activity you find makes you happy and go for it because it will likely be more beneficial than doing nothing at all.
"It takes a lot of courage and motivation to start exercising and it doesn't take much for people to stop.  A discouraging word, an invitation to eat or drink, a change in weather... I know, I've been there.  I've started and stopped when I was told my plan wasn't going to work."

It turns out my plan did work.  It took some tweaking and I had to do a lot of ignoring but it worked.  I started easy, walking when I could, eventually running, always dancing...always active and, of course, eating just a little healthier...OK well, I cut out one thing at a time starting with my daily Starbucks heart attack coffee.  That alone knocked out 500 calories a day, at least.  But I continued to see changes in my body, mood, energy, and that motivated me to do more.  It wasn't the changing scale, it was how I felt and those few encouraging words from people around me that kept me going.

I'd like YOU to take the challenge to either start and stick with it despite what anyone says or encourage someone for doing anything physically active, no matter how small; help someone get started, and don't give up on them when they make mistakes, because they will.  Simply say forget it, what's done is done and there's no turning back. Start again, right now!!

Stay well,

~ Terie

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Avoid holiday weight gain

Is that even possible? You know, to not gain any weight over the holidays?  Well for some people it is. They are the ones who can easily say no to the sweeter things in life.  Just so you know, I'm not one of them. For some reason, holiday baked goods just taste so much better between November 1st and January 1st.  It's like comfort food for the soul.  Except the only thing getting padded around here are the hips, waist, back, legs and arms.  

But seriously, why is it that we require food to enjoy the holiday season? And it is a requirement I tell you.  I've conducted an experiment and invited friends over for coffee and the first thing they say is,"what can I bring, I can make cookies or a quiche?" Hmmmm, that sounds yummy! I have to admit that the first thing I think about is "what should I make?" you know, to serve with the coffee because it would be a sin to have JUST coffee.

Well, this is who we are and this is what we do.  We are trained to celebrate everything with food and there's no better time to "get away" with over eating like the holiday season.  The media and every medical profession in the media has been telling us that, on average, people gain five to seven pounds during the holiday season.  OUCH!  They say from November to December, more accurately it all begins on Halloween, October 31st and ends on New Year's day, January 1st.  So, even though we know this to be pretty accurate, we still manage to fall into the trap of the holiday weight gain.  We eat the tasty treats, the delicious foods, and the drinks and begin the process of putting off fitness as a new year's resolution. We simply give in to the fad.

So what do we do now?  The "weight gain season" has already begun.  Do we just stay on this slippery slope and start our healthy habits next year OR is it possible to avoid becoming a statistic? Of course it is. Anything is possible if you really want it to be.  I have tips, you have wants, so lets put it all together and see how we do.

 1.  Start moving NOW!  Why wait until after you've gained the weight to realize you need to get back in shape.  Start now!  

Exercise: Measure out an area that is safe for you to walk from your home and back.  Invite some neighbors to join you after dinner, early in the morning or middle of the day.  Do the math.  Walk two miles a day, times seven days a week-- that is just over a marathon in 2 weeks.  Challenge yourself and add a mile to your walk OR cut back on the time it takes to walk 2 miles. Make it fun for the entire family and take the kids for a bike ride, roller skates, or a hike through the park. However, if you feel inadequate about walking alone or working out alone, then by all means join a gym, hire a trainer, start taking classes.  Arm yourself with a fitness routine that does not allow you to cheat yourself out of enjoying special holiday treats.

2.  Eat well, everyday! If you haven't already started, spend a couple of days logging everything you eat before making any changes.  This will help you identify problem areas with your current nutrition plan (because we all know we have one right?)  

Nutrition: Ask yourself, am I eating enough fruits and vegetables? Five a day is what they say. Make them fresh or frozen, raw or cooked.  More is best.  To keep the fresh vegetables from going bad in the fridge, eat them within a few days or cook and refrigerate or freeze them so that they are ready to be used in soups and stews over the colder months.  

Speaking of soups and stews, stay away from creamy soups that only add on the pounds.  I know, it's the comfort food we crave when we're cold and it's OK to have them in moderation. But if you don't think you can have just one serving then stick with the less creamy soups loaded with vegetables, legumes and lean meats.  Best to choose good carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain, sweet potatoes, etc.  Low fat dairy, lean meats and fish are also important in your diet as they provide you with well needed protein your muscles will crave. Take this opportunity to teach the kids what a serving is and what's in that serving of food. Lead by example.

3. Rest, de-stress, sleep! I am so bad at doing any of these.  It seems I'm alway running somewhere (and I don't mean that literally, otherwise I would have nothing to worry about if I was really running,) cleaning, teaching, kids homework, and staying up late for no good reason, well, it's my quiet time.  

A lot of women do this in search of quiet, meditative time and that's great if #1 we can still manage to get enough sleep and #2 if we use that time wisely, i.e. meditating, stretching, etc. I'm back to putting meditative time on my schedule.  We don't need a lot all at one time, 10 - 15 minutes of being with oneself, in our thoughts, in our minds, and revisiting our souls is all.  Do it a few times a day, do it while waiting in line at the store, or upon rising, before bed.  There are opportunities, we just fail to seize them and instead go to bed with a mind full of junk we can't resolve in our sleep.  So rest your mind, sleep and the result will be = controlled stress management. Again with the family, take some time to read to your kids or with your kids; teach them how to be silent for one whole minute - make it  a game and then ask what they were thinking when they were still.  You'd be amazed at the stories you get. 

4. Drink Water.  Oh yes, this is a biggy.  I am terrible at drinking water in the winter time.  Did I mention I'm from the Caribbean?  As much as I love the beautiful fall foliage and a crispy cold winter's day, it is not my cup of tea to live in it everyday.  Definitely tropical and if I want winter I can drive to it instead.  That's ideal.  

Back to water.  Since I know that drinking anything cold is not all that attractive to me I make it a point of drinking plenty of water before, during and after my workouts.  Carry water with me wherever I go so that I'm not tempted to buy coffee or food.  I also keep my water bottle on the counter to maintain the room temperature.  I find that my kids don't drink nearly as much water as they should - I think sometimes they skip it all together, so new rule:  when they say they are bored or hungry I offer them a glass of water while I make a nutritious treat or plan an activity like going out to play in the piles leaves.  One other option if you don't like cold water is a cup of warm water with a twist of lemon in the morning is actually pretty good too.  My dad was told (prescribed by his doctor) to drink this every morning to keep his digestive system running smooth.
The Challenge:  To avoid any weight gain over the holidays.  Go ahead,challenge yourself to be different this year.  Don't bother making a resolution to get healthy, do it now.  Get in the best shape of your life starting right now.  Get the family involved in getting and staying active, even if you don't have weight to lose, living a healthier lifestyle IS the new fad.

Disclaimer: If you want to lose weight, PLEASE, keep in mind that this process takes time, it's not going to happen over night, it's not going to happen in ONLY 10 minutes a day.  However, with a little determination and motivation, it will happen as you burn 500 calories a day exercising, cleaning, even chasing the kids around.  As you eat 300 less calories a day replacing junk food with good-for-you food.  It will happen as you burn off 1-2 lbs a week and replace body fat with lean muscle mass.  It will happen if you want it bad enough!

Let's do it together!! What are you waiting for?  Tell me, how will you avoid the holiday weight gain in 2009? I want to know! 

Stay Well,


Monday, November 11, 2013

Kids running

Last spring my daughter participated in the RunFit Kidz (RFK) program at her school. I was curious about training kids, mainly because they can be a little crazy immediately after school. I mean lets be real, when they spend six hours "focusing" on school stuff the last thing on their minds is focusing on anything else and paying attention to yet another teacher. Surprisingly, after they run like crazy little chicken let out of the coop, they settle down for about a minute.

The program is geared towards kids 2nd through 8th grade, they meet once a week and each time they learn about body mechanics, nutrition tips, play some fun fitness games and most importantly they run. Starting with one mile and increasing by a 1/4 mile each week for 8 weeks until race day, when they run a 5K set up just like any other race.

Well this year I joined the team of coaches, got my own school and group of kids. It all seemed doable last year when the coach had about 10 kids and 90% of them were cooperating. 

I have 24 kids from seven to nice years old.  For some reason, they don't calm down as quickly or for as long as the older kids. Teaching anything is very challenging when they are running around, however, I took this as a challenge and soon my 24 kids and many of their parents will be running their first 5K and I am super excited.

With the help of many parent volunteers we were able to teach the kids most of what they needed to learn. They always surprised me when I reviewed the previous week and they actually recalled what they learned before because kids do learn while moving at 90 miles per hour, they are the creators of multi-tasking.
"Our commitment is for children at all fitness levels to run better, faster, and smarter.  The goal is for the students to end the program with increased running knowledge and enhanced love for being active." (RFK Founder)
It has been really fun and I am very proud of all my kids for pushing hard to run that extra quarter mile each week.  They have completed a total of 11 miles, more for some of the kids who were fast runners and wanted to run a few extra laps.  They actually asked if they could run more… ha! Of course!

Soon they will run their first 5K and receive prizes for completing the program. I hope they come back next year to run again.

Now go Run!

Stay well,


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Knee issues and training

I can't begin to tell you how annoying it is to have any type of injury because almost all of them require rest and long term treatment to help them heal and the more you do the more it hurts and the worse it becomes.

Since my last 1/2 Marathon, May 2013 Marine Corps 1/2 which I ran with some pain in my left knee, I have been in physical therapy, massage therapy, at home whatever they tell me to do therapy and now recently don't do anything therapy, ugh.  It's frustrating because the weather is perfect for early morning runs.  I want to go so bad. But I can't.

My understanding is I have Patellar Tendinitis:
Patellar tendinitis is a common overuse injury. It occurs when you place repeated stress on your patellar tendon. The stress results in tiny tears in the tendon, which your body attempts to repair. But as the tears in the tendon become more numerous, they cause pain from inflammation and a weakening of the tendon structure. When this tendon damage persists over more than a few weeks, it is called tendinopathy. (source: Mayo Clinic)
So I'm working on repairing these tiny tears and I can't seem to will my body to work harder and faster at healing.  Apparently I have to follow instructions to the letter if I want that to happen and that includes, icing, Epsom salt soak, continue physical and I choose also massage therapy, a little wine therapy doesn't hurt either. A lot of stretching, foam rolling, Pilates and now I'm going to start up on Yoga again because it's a good way to really stretch, strengthen and relieve stress without the added stress on all my joints.

Shared lessons:

1.  Work hard at both getting/staying in shape AND recovering

2.  Warm up/Cool Down and stretching are just as important as the actual work we do in between

3.  You are what you eat, your fitness will only improve if you make nutrition just as important as your physical activity

4.  Hydration, sleep, relaxation matter more than you realize

I'm not giving up on what I love to do but I am making some changes that will help me heal and will probably launch me in a new direction in my fitness world--giving yoga another chance.

Sometimes you need to be knocked down hard to listen and take action.

Stay well,