Recipe for Change: Less Everyday

Last week, a friend asked what I’d given up for Lent. Well, since I am more of a “Recovering Catholic” than a Catholic, “I suppose I have given up GUILT this year,” I responded. So far it feels pretty good to not worry about a stray chocolate chip (the year I gave up chocolate), a slipped F-bomb (the year I gave up cussing), or being bitchy (the entire 40 days that I refrained from caffeine).

I’m already solid with workouts since I teach six classes per week and do my best to practice Bikram yoga ( when possible. I generally eat well and don’t have too nasty of a potty mouth (though some may disagree!). So, in recent years, Lent has been purely about guilt for me, which I suppose is ultimately the objective. I would set my sights too high and invariably fail. Technically, Lent is the 6-week preparation period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday when Christians ready themselves for Holy Week and Easter with prayer, almsgiving, repentance and self-denial. But, for many of us, the religious aspect is lost and Lent is simply relegated to an incentive program to get us moving on a new exercise regimen, diet, or unrealistic deprivation, literally guilting those of us raised on tabernacle wafers and watered down box wine to get to mass, skip the caffeine or sweet-tasting mouthful, and to exclaim “oh, shizer” instead of “oh, shit.” Read more of this post


127 Hours LATER

Early this week (or last week, depending on when you are reading this), Julie Manriquez, one of my esteemed guest posters, wrote a fantastic post, called One Hour or 127 Hours: BE in Every Moment.  Julie is a deep thinker, dedicated to daily work toward personal growth and enlightenment, as well as humble (she’s much more talented in so many areas than she’ll ever admit) service to others.  And like is often the case, her message was one that was needed.  Not only by me, but by many others, evidenced by the tremendous response and appreciation she received from other readers.

Her message was pretty simple.  Be in every moment.  Stop making excuses not to fully participate in life. Stop asking for a “hall pass” so you can skip the learning lesson that goes on every day of your life if you’ll just reach out to those who are more than happy to teach.  She went so far as to even dare us to be an active participant in our lives. And if you know me, I never saw a dare I didn’t like. Read more of this post

‘American Idol’ Fitness

This week I made my debut on American Idol. Since I possess very little vocal talent, I suppose I should clarify. My awesome pal, Stephanie, called earlier this week with tickets to the American Idol screening in Hollywood, and although my first instinct was to pass (as I have kids to shuttle, homework to supervise, classes to teach and clients to train), I chose to drop everything and drive those hundred miles up the coast to Hollywood in search of one of my all-time idols—Season 10 judge and Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler.

Four of us 40-something mommies giggled and chatted on the ride up as we played hookie from the minutia of our daily lives. We somehow also managed to create a sign made with bright poster board, colored Sharpies and a funny caricature cut-out of Mr. Tyler’s prominent lips and rockin’ hair. The final product was a work of multi-tasking genius. Colorful and to the point, it read: “Steven Baby…Walk This Way and just Gimme a Kiss!” with a thick arrow pointing down toward the sign holder. We elected our cute blond friend, Maureen, to wield the sign! Needless to say, our plan worked. After waiting outside the studio for hours and making friends with other Idol fans, we were assigned our seats. When the studio usher looked us up and down with her discriminating eye to assess how we’d “read” on camera if it happened to pan over us, she also read our sign. We were clearly not here to see any particular “idol,” we had a higher calling: Steven Tyler! Read more of this post

A Journey to Personal Well Being .. by Hao Liu

I started my journey to personal well being a decade ago when I was desperately out of shape physically and mentally.  In 2000, I was a new grad fresh out of college starting a career as a software engineer at HP in Cupertino, CA.  After years of being inactive and living an unhealthy life style, I had ballooned to nearly 200 lbs.  That was hefty even for my 5’10” frame.  I was not exactly happy with where I was physically and mentally.  After another year of partying and unhealthy living, I randomly, quite literally came in contact with Team In Training and started to train for my first marathon.  My life style didn’t really change right away, but I stuck with the goal of finishing a marathon and worked at it the best I knew how.  Four months after we started our training, I crossed the finish line at the 2002 Los Angeles Marathon.  I had lost a bunch of weight in the process and was feeling that I had arrived.  Read more of this post

Is Stress Making You Fat? The Cortisol / Belly Fat Connection

Happy March! Spring is around the corner and so are tank tops and short shorts (for the guys…let’s hope not so short shorts). For those who have accepted the challenge of resisting soda and your diet vice for ten days, congratulations! (Please see last week’s post: The comments and conversations that followed my February 22nd post were both informative and entertaining, but what I enjoyed most was your honesty.

We all have vices, whether we acknowledge them or not. Lisa’s comment about wine being a “gateway drug” that leads her to make other poor diet choices is very poignant and I’m guessing relatable to many of us. Bobby’s suggestion to break habits with small successes is spot on. We must hold attainable goals. So, simply put, the “less everyday” approach, rather than the “cold turkey” approach keeps you trending in the right direction and builds your confidence and energy, which eventually translates into activity and the production of endorphins—the feel-good chemicals released in your brain to bring you a sense of well-being. Read more of this post