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Dear Strong Women

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1377418_10151663725801566_207718931_nI’ve been surrounded by a ton of drama this week, not mine, but for a couple of my very dear girlfriends. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night praying for them, praying for their strength and clarity. Praying for people to come into their life and hold their hand…offer a ray of sunshine throughout their day.
I think about these difficult moments in their lives, and they remind me of the ones I’ve been through myself. I look back now and think, “HOLY SHIT!! HOW THE HELL DID I SURVIVE THAT!! NOT ONLY SURVIVE….I THRIVED!!!”

I dug up and read a few of my old journals and blogs during my 3-year hell of divorce after an 18 year marriage, losing my home and moving multiple times, etc… and found the common denominator which got me out of the darkness.

For those of you who do not know my story or may have forgotten, just a reminder, I had just moved to Massachusetts when all this happened. My family was in Miami. I hadn’t made any friends here, so there was no one I could cry my eyeballs out.
I was teaching 14 classes a week. Thank God I had a therapist. And along the way,  I had people come into my life who I can safely say, saved me.

Like a muscle which needs to be exercised, fed and rested, so does our spirit.
Nourish It Daily.
Whatever that may be….
Prayer. Meditation. Journal. Naps. Exercise. Practice Yoga. Take long walks with a friend. Prepare A Meal from scratch. Have a hot cup of tea on your favorite chair. Read inspirational quotes and books.
You must do this daily.. It can be 15 min. 1 hour…

During these difficult times You can’t strengthen your soul once a week or once a month or on a long weekend, that’s like hitting the gym once a week, eating C.R.A.P. and expecting  results!!
In order stay strong we must strengthen our spirit. Daily.

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Battle With Food Allergies…And We Are Winning!!

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Many of you don’t know but I’ve been delicately addressing weight issues with one of my daughters for a few years now. I say delicately because as you know, these things can spiral out of control into eating disorders, whether eating too much or nothing at all.
I focused on teaching her how to read nutrition labels, educating her on portion control and moderation but she just kept gaining weight.
It was obvious to me the way she was carrying her weight was due to inflammation than body fat. I knew she had to have food allergies/intolerences, but to what exactly?!?!
I tried removing certain foods from her diet but this test became difficult & inaccurate when she would stay at her dad’s home.
I finally took her to an allergist who told me her allergies were probably environmental, but I insisted she get tested for food allergies as well.
I filled out pages of questions regarding Maxine from the time she was born, and when the doctor was addressing them, he asked me if I had breast fed her, I responded “Yes.” He followed up with “A lot of good that did you!”
I was horrified by his bedside manner but at this point was desperate and wanted him to just get the tests done.
He finally obliged to run an entire gamut of allergy tests.

Poor Maxine had no idea what she was getting into when they started the skin test but it had to be done. The prick test was done all over her back, Squares were marked with ink and labeled pet dander, dust, pollen and foods. A few drops of the purified allergen are gently pricked on to the skin surface.
Her entire back immediately turned red and began to blister, some bigger than others. Holding back the tears she looked at me and said, “Mami I have to scratch it!!!”
I told her she could not for at least 15 minutes so I gave her her iPod and told her to distract herself with music.

The doctor and nurse returned to the office after 15 min and could not believe their eyes!! The doctor said, “Wow! I’m really surprised by the food allergies!!” I said, “I’m not surprised in the least bit. I can totally see the inflammation on her body!” He asked me “What are you??” I responded, “I’m her mother and a nutrition coach.”
He then said “Oh…are you one of those who believes in eating gluten free?”
At this point, I realized I was dealing with a nincompoop and said to myself, “Let me just get these test results, this doctor is not going to help me resolve this issue.”
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Maxine’s food allergy tests came back positive for dairy, soy, wheat, meat, corn and peanuts. YUP!!
He told me to have her continue taking Claritin, gave her some prescription nose drops and gave me some info on hypo-allergenic bedding & pillows and sent us on our way.
As we walked out of the building Maxine turned and asked me with a lot of distress….”So what am I going to eat now?”
I told her, “Dont you worry, you’re lucky to have me as your mom! There’s tons of other foods out there you can eat & enjoy!”
That got me thinking, Yeah I know exactly what to do but what about other moms and dads who have no clue? Who don’t even know how to eat healthy in the first place? You walk out of the building with these results but no direction on making dietary changes?!?! The solution isn’t always to find other packaged foods without these ingredients because those are also filled with CRAP!!!

Needless to say, this is more reinforcement of my journey here on this planet. To further educate, motivate & empower others to take control of their health with REAL FOOD!!

I am proud to say my daughter Maxine has lost 11 pounds in 2 months. 11 pounds!!! She’s beaming and becoming more energized each day!

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Tales Of A Blended Family

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Chris and I have decided to move in together with our children. His 2 daughters who are 11 & 8 and my 4 who are 17, 15, 11 & 10.
Yes, that makes 6 kids, his cat, my dog and the two of us….that’s 10!  GULP!

I’m excited and terrified at the same time.
I’ve been single parenting for over 4 years now and even though it’s been an incredibly emotional, difficult and stressful time, as many of you single parents can relate, the thought of having to compromise again is scaring me to death.
You see, the older you get, the more set in your ways you get. You do things your way!
I run a tight ship but I also know when to loosen the reins. You learn to pick your battles when you’re raising 4 children on your own.
I’ve also worked very hard to clean my pantry and refrigerator out of C.R.A.P., and change eating habits according to my children’s health issues; 2 ADHD, 1 Reactive Hypoglycemic, and 1 emotional eater.
I’m so in love with Chris and I love his 2 daughters as if they were mine. I’m even more blessed to have a great relationship with their mother, but I have to be honest… I’m scared.
Lets be honest you go through life parenting and hoping for the best and praying you don’t mess up your kids..but when it’s someone else’s children… it’s an even BIGGER responsibility!
They say it takes 7 years for blended families to feel like single family unit, I say…”Wow! Most marriages don’t last that long!” Lol!!

I figured many of you can relate to these circumstances so I decided I’m going to start a new blog…
“Tales Of A Blended Family”

I look forward to comments and feedback!
Thank you!

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When You Stop Doing Things For Fun, You Might As Well Be Dead. ~ Hemingway

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Being a healthy person, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all about just living. It is about a lifestyle, not a duty, not a burden…it is lived with ease, as breathing, as our need for water or air.

Living healthy is about happiness, not sweating the small stuff, and getting so caught up in the numbers game on scales, ounces/grams/calories in food that our reason for living gets swallowed up by stress and crap. Who cares what others are thinking also…this is Your Journey, My Journey, Our Journey to never compare to each other but simply being the BEST versions of US every day, every moment. If we are doing something that we enjoy actively on a daily basis and eating healthy food that tastes good, maintaining a healthy body will be revealed in that lifestyle.

So, remember to have fun with your life, to enjoy your healthy food, your fitness…your YOU time, and smile knowing that you are living the gift of each day being the BEST healthy YOU.

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She’s Not Crazy! She’s Reactive Hypoglycemic!!

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My daughter has been suffering emotional problems for a few years now. Initially we chalked it up to birth order, distress from the divorce, teenage years, you name it!
Recently these emotional symptoms took a life of their own and they began to severely affect all of her relationships, including herself. Therapy sessions were helping her express her anger but as we began to discuss the severity of her mood swings, her therapist suggested perhaps she’d need to go on antidepressants and get tested for other mental disorders. I really wanted to avoid going down that path but I also knew I’m her mother and I need to help her.

A few weeks ago I took my daughter to get her hair highlighted and cut. She sat in her chair slouched over with sadness in her eyes gulping down a soda. Within minutes I saw her mood do a complete turnaround. She became amazingly happy and giddy….stupid giddy! Non-stop chatter with rapid fire. Totally reminded me of Jim Carrey’s character in the movie “The Mask”!! The hairdresser listened on as she gave me nervous smiles.

I realized at that very moment, “My daughter is not crazy! She’s reactive hypoglycemic!!!!”

Reactive hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose falls, stores of glucose from the liver are exhausted and an individual chooses not to eat. The body gradually adjusts to this situation by using muscle protein to feed glucose to brain cells and fat to fuel the other body cells, but before this adjustment takes place, an individual may experience symptoms of glucose deprivation to the brain. Symptoms such as: anxiety, hunger, dizziness, confusion, sleepiness, weakness, shaking muscles and racing heart may result. Most of these symptoms diminish five to ten minutes after eating a source of carbohydrate. Unlike a hypoglycemic, the worst thing you do is give a “reactive hypoglycemic” simple sugars.
It may cause your blood level to rise quickly and then fall quickly. Some people then experience the symptoms of rebound hypoglycemia.

A more helpful choice is to eat food with complex carbohydrates (higher fiber whole grain crackers, bagels, breads or cereal). Complex carbohydrate foods deliver glucose over a longer period of time, eliciting less of a rise and fall in blood glucose. A cracker or other grain food with cheese or another protein/fat is the best choice. The protein/fat slows down the digestion of the carbohydrate and keeps blood sugar more stable.

I call myself the ‘accidental psychiatrist’. I never set out to be a mood expert, in fact my focus has been to help people lose weight and deal with chronic complaints and illnesses of the body. Over the years I have discovered that mood and brain disorders would often magically disappear as I treated my clients’ physical problems.
As it turns out, the body and the mind are one interacting, interlocking, networked system. Imbalances in the body’s seven basic core systems — nutrition, hormones, immune function, digestion, detoxification, energy metabolism and mind-body — can cause brain disorders resulting in altered mood, memory, behavior and attention.

Our society is experiencing an epidemic of brain problems — depression, anxiety, memory loss, brain fog, attention-deficit disorder (or ADD), autism, and dementia, to name a few — and yet almost no one is talking about it. Unlike obesity, these are often suffered silently, hidden from view. Yet such problems touch nearly everyone, either personally or through family members and friends.

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Tears for a girl I used to know

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Went out to lunch with a college friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years. Actually, last time I saw her I was still married, feeding 3 kids, breastfeeding my 4th baby, changing diapers and chasing 2 dogs around my house. We quickly jumped into our time capsule and reminisced about our college years and all our old friends. “Have you heard from Kim?” “What’s up with Lisa?” “What is John doing these days?”

Then she asked me about my business, the book and my appearance on “The Doctors” show next week and said, “I know all your success hasn’t happened overnight and you’ve been busting your ass for years but I can’t believe how much you have accomplished since I last saw you. So many great things are happening to you, your career and you’re literally changing people’s lives!! THIS IS AMAZING!!! Do you think you would’ve ever accomplished any of these things if you were still married?”

I immediately laughed and said “HELL NO!!” and then out of nowhere I began to cry…I mean sob….big fat tears streaming down my cheeks. My girlfriend quickly hugged me and said “Oh my God I’m so sorry!! I didn’t mean to upset you but why are you crying?” I took a deep breath and exhaled, “I guess I still mourn the old me. I feel so bad for her and how she would’ve turned out if she had stayed in that marriage. And yes, I am proud of my accomplishments but even more proud I’m teaching my children when the time comes to choose your life partner, they should help you live out your dreams, not squash them.”

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Endorphins are my drug

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Exercise is the best remedy

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ~ Legally Blonde

We’ve all seen the movie and laughed over this line but it is such a true statement. It’s no secret exercise boosts our mood, it’s our body’s own drug….ENDORPHINS! Our brain releases this chemical within the first 10 minutes of exercise. We’re talking a brisk walk or dancing!

With so many millions of people suffering of depression and anxiety, most physicians turn to medications and psychotherapy for treatment even though they are aware of the benefits of exercise, they are just not comfortable prescribing it.

Personally if I go more than 48 hours without exercise, I can feel the dark clouds begin to loom over my head. In my life, exercise is not about weight loss, it’s about building a strong body, mind and spirit. LIVE FABULOUS!!!

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Asking the “write” questions

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What do you want to be doing differently in three months? How will you get there? How will you know you have reached your goal?

As a Wellness Coach, I ask my clients many questions designed to help them narrow down the focus of their goals. I want them to find the motivation they need by believing they will see themselves accomplish their goal.

Embarking on a path to change can be exciting as well as overwhelming. When your goals feel more like dreams that you cannot catch and hold onto, try taking a step back and ask yourself, “Why is now the right time to make a change?” This answer becomes the foundation for a future vision of you and fuels your motivation.

Exploring these ideas is hard work and the journey can be quite insightful. That’s why I recommend keeping a journal where you can express yourself freely, play with new ideas and leave behind past anxiety or frustrations; whether pen to paper or an electronic format, your journal is your confidant and an unconditional listener. This tool is particularly helpful for those who consider themselves to be “emotional eaters”.

Can you see yourself writing in your journal? Maybe at first you are just recording your calories in and calories out. Then you start seeing patterns and setting goals. Then you examine roadblocks. One day, instead of eating a sleeve of crackers, you write out an angry letter to someone who hurt you. You write letters to yourself: past, present and future. You make notes before each meal about how hungry you are and your mood. Then ask yourself, “Am I hungry for this food right now?” You say exactly what you want and need to say in the moment.

A few minutes ago I went through my private journal and found a list I brainstormed in April 2010. I like making lists! I had asked myself, “What do I imagine I need or want now that will shape the person I want to become in the future? What is worthy of my energy and focus?” Here is what I wrote:

I want to move with ease and grace

I want to be a good friend

I want to be respected

I want to be generous and sincere

I want to be playful

I want to be independent

I want to be unique

I want to have a unique and distinct style of dress

I want to feel jazzy and sassy

I want to smell fresh air

I want to be smart

I want to be a source of nutritional info

I want to be a great coach

I want to be growing in my profession

I want to be a better cook

I want to learn how to make exotic dishes

I want to be intuitive

I want to know what I like

I need to find the music I like

I want to get up early in the morning

I want to read lots of books in a space I love

I want to be a creative and skilled gardener

I want to buy local

I want to minimize clutter

I want to throw away stuff I don’t need

I want to reshape my body with yoga

I want to be interesting

I want to wander in NYC

I want to breathe deeply often

I want to be mindful

I want to be in the present moment

I want to love myself and care for myself

I want to live

I want to be desirable.

I want to be someone other want to be around

I want others to depend on me

I want to be trusted

I want to be a confident

I want to surround myself with what makes me light up and shine.

I completely forgot about this list and it was important to find it for two reasons. I have been doing some of these things over the past few years. Being able to see that I put this intention into play is terrific feedback for me. And finding it means I can share with you one of my favorite journal entry formats.

Consider keeping a journal/diary, it is well worth the commitment and there is not right or wrong way to make entries. It is your creation with your voice and style. That’s powerful. Here is some more information about journal writing:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/keeping-a-food-journal.aspx

http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/journal-for-stress-relief.aspx

Guest Blogger Sheri Iodice is a registered dietitian and wellness coach for the online publisher EverydayHealth.com and its calorie counter tool, which emphasizes recording your calories for healthy living and weight loss success.

 

 

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The New 90 day “Think About It” Challenge! Results Are Guaranteed.

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The new "Think About It" Challenge

Do you live by the “Think About It” program? You “think” about working out today. You “think about” eating well. You “Think About” feeling better and not living sick.

There are way too many people living unhappy lives and don’t realize they’re doing it to themselves by their poor nutrition & lifestyle choices.

You’re not going to be as interested in living a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have a sense of purpose in your life.

Thinking about it does not give YOU the healthy lifestyle that you want. Thinking about it guarantees your life will NOT change. ACTION is REQUIRED!! Do YOU want change? Do YOU want great health? Do You want to boost your self esteem, confidence, health, and life in POSITIVE WAYS? DON’T JUST THINK ABOUT IT…DO IT! CREATE THE PERSON YOU WERE MEANT TO BE!

 

 

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The bigger your plate, the bigger your waist.

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The bigger your plate, the bigger your waist.

Sumo wrestlers are trained to abstain from eating until lunch time, then eat large portions around lunch followed by long naps. It helps them gain weight as all the food is being stored as fat.

Sounds familiar?

It’s no wonder Americans look more like Sumo wrestlers these days…because we eat just like them! We wake up and go to work without eating breakfast, then go out to lunch and eat these huge plates of food restaurants serve these days, we’re talking thousands of calories!! And then we go back to work and sit behind our computers for hours!

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