Tag Archives: empowerment

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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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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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Change Nothing. Get Nothing.

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Are you complaining about your life, feeling bitter, angry, judging others but truly want to be in the healthy life they are representing? Then stop it and get serious about YOU!! Know that YOU can CREATE the BEST version of YOU but the key is to start.

Stop the negative thoughts, feelings, outbursts, and judgements. Replace them with POSITIVE affirmations. In order make your life a success story, You must have the MENTAL GAME of a fighter, a champion.

Get your nalgas off your couch, bed, chair, and MOVE! Toss out the CRAP (Crazy diets, Refined sugar, Artificial sweeteners, Processed food) that lingers in your fridge, pantries, and house & replace with REAL wholesome healthy nutrition. YOU CAN DO THIS!!

Your health is your wealth. Your happiness. Your confidence. It’s EVERYTHING!

 

 

 

 

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No more muffin tops!

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Want Abs? No more white bread! There is a reason diabetics are not supposed to eat white bread. White flour has absolutely zero, zilch, nadda, and zip in the way of nutritional value. Got that? Nothing. However, it is converted by the body to sugar when it hits the blood stream, which means that you are just about as well off eating a cupcake as you are to eat a sandwich on white bread. It is nutritionally bankrupt and makes you fat, period.

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I LOVE ME

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I Love ME Some ME. I can honestly say I have arrived at a place in my life where I am truly content with who I am.
I don’t stress about trying to please people or worry if they don’t like me. Gone are my body dysmorphia issues. Searching for that perfect number on the scale, hangups over a bloated tummy or a dimple, small breasts, big thighs….
I never thought my weight loss journey would also lead me to strengthen my spirit.

This doesn’t mean I’m done growing, on the contrary, I want to continue to push myself further, I am serious about my health and maintaining an excellent quality of life and all the benefits it brings to my body inside and out. I admit I also like what my healthy lifestyle does for my outer shell, I ain’t gonna lie, I LOVE IT!!!
My point is that I’m completely satisfied with me. I’m not looking to get thinner, leaner, or to be more muscular. I am truly happy with my appearance.
I embrace all my flaws, my scars, lines, wrinkles and even the ones that are yet to come.

I’ve seen too many women who seem to have it all but are still not happy. Even with big accomplishments, perfect bodies and living out their dreams, they still don’t experience self-acceptance. This makes me sad because I know they have deeper issues and as painful as it may seem, this is the time to put in the emotional work.
I’m a huge advocate of counseling, therapy and strong faith. I myself found strength I never imagined and self-acceptance I had always prayed for.

It’s important to get to the root of your unhappiness. I have been to that place and it isn’t easy. You have to be willing to dig deep.
This is more emotionally draining than the most grueling physical workout but in the end, it is when my true weight came off.
Remember, long after the physical pounds are shed….the emotional pounds are the ones that count!!

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Can dieting cause mental illness??

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“Held hostage by a scale.
Letting it dictate my own happiness.
I wake up hopeful and bounce out of bed.
I look at myself in the mirror and I’m thrilled the lifestyle changes I’ve made are beginning to show.
I am so proud of my improved healthy eating habits and my new found strength from my workouts.
I check myself out front-ways, side-ways and back-ways but decide I can’t celebrate until I step on the scale and see that magical number appear.
Nothing else in my day will matter unless I see the scale go down.
Not my accomplishments, my relationships as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague…nothing matters
I believe all my problems will be solved once the scale tells me so.
I swear my mood will change and I’ll be truly happy once and for all if the scale tells me I’m perfect.
All the diets, pills, shakes, workouts, injections, eat, don’t eat, binge, eat protein, don’t eat carbs, eat carbs, don’t eat fat, only eat veggies, don’t eat fruit, drink diet soda, low-fat, no-fat, fat-free, sugar-free, packaged foods, processed foods.
I’ll do whatever it takes to make the scale tell me I’m happy.
Until then my job doesn’t matter, my health doesn’t matter, my relationships don’t matter.
My eternal happiness will come when this instrument used to determine my weight tells me I’m perfect.
Well, maybe not eternal happiness, maybe it’s only for a one day, cause when I wake up tomorrow and that number goes up
I will deem myself a failure for not being successful 2 days in a row.”

This poem was inspired by the hundreds of clients I’ve coached over the years. I believe I’ve earned an honorary degree in psychotherapy because by the time these clients come to me they have been exposed to so many diet gimmicks I wish I could perform lobotomies to erase all the crap from their brain!!
I ask my clients to keep an exercise/food/mood diary, this way they can see for themselves how food triggers mood swings as well as weight and energy.
I am convinced good nutrition is just as important to our mental health as it is to our physical well being.

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Have too many formats watered down the quality of Group Fitness??

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I’m thrilled to see clubs offering so many different group fitness formats these days. We’ve come a long way in the world of aerobics and I think it’s great that people have so many options these days to find a class that is fun and challenging. My pet peeve though is that many of these instructors are not qualified to be teaching in a classroom setting. For example, just because you love to Zumba and you got certified, doesn’t mean you’re qualified to teach it.
My experience in getting certified in this format a few years ago left me feeling very disappointed. I walked into a room at 8am with about 50+ other people and 1 Master instructor. Out of these 50+ people I’d say 12-15 of us were certified Group Fitness instructors through very reputable programs. The others just loved to Zumba, nothing wrong with that by the way.
My frustration here is when I see studio and gym owners hiring instructors who literally the day before walked out of this certification with a piece of paper that says “You are now a Zumba instructor, you can start teaching Monday morning”… that is hardly qualified.

I grew up dancing these rhythms and I have to say, it takes much longer than a day to understand the differences in beats and counts between salsa, merengue, cumbia, chachacha, bachata, hip hop, etc….Not all of these are danced on an 8-count BUT when teaching in a group fitness format at your local gym, you must translate it to an 8-count in order to modify moves, prevent injuring your students and enhance their ability to expect a change in choreography and still get a great workout. Not an easy thing to teach in 1 day.
What happens to us instructors who spent hours, money and energy making sure we do get proper certifications in exercise physiology and go to fitness conferences to enhance our knowledge so we can educate our students better?? Now we’re being watered down with a new generation of instructors who don’t know the difference between a hamstring and a quadricep!

The only difference is that class sizes are a reflection of how qualified an instructor is…and even though our paychecks don’t show it…THAT is priceless!

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Do you exercise like a delicate flower or a warrior?

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Last week I was on the treadmill with my Ipod and a lady climbed on the machine next to me. She plugged her earphones into the video monitor and started watching a popular morning show and within minutes she was walking at my exact same pace and incline.

I noticed our calorie counters were clicking away in sync but as I watched her I asked myself, “If calories are a measure of energy, are we truly exerting the same energy??” I started taking notes and comparing the differences in our form and technique.

I was 100% focused on my breathing, squeezing my abs and glutes, shoulders back, swinging my arms back and forth like a power walker, walking briskly heel to toe, heel to toe, heel to toe. Meanwhile, she was leaning back, holding on to the rails, plopping her wobbly feet on the belt, giggling at the screen and completely mesmerized by the talk show host.
There was no way in hell she was expending as much energy as I was! Even if these machines ask for your height and weight, they are not considering heart rate and intensity.

Let’s face it, intensity plays a huge role on calorie exertion.
Intensity is mental and physical strength. I visualize being a warrior when I workout. Doesn’t matter if I’m out on a walk, lifting in the weight room or teaching a class. A warrior is the embodiment of intensity, power, energy, focus, determination and passion.
You must train your brain like you train your body and in order to see results you must demonstrate purposefulness, power and focus.
So next time you exercise ask yourself, “Who am I?” Or better yet, tell yourself who and what you are…let it run through your veins and use it to strengthen your body, mind and spirit.

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You can’t move on til you really lick your wounds.

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How many of you take the time to heal from past pain before moving on? Some of us just drag our past into the next relationship. You can’t expect the next person to fix you if you don’t put in the time yourself.
Let’s face it, as we get older, we accumulate a lot of emotional baggage, whether it’s from relationships or personal tragedies, unless we address them and lay them to rest, they just rollover and sabotage our next relationship! Unresolved issues seem to always find a way to ooze into our new place.

Your mental state, will follow you everywhere, even if you move to another country!

I was at the gym early this morning and heard a girl across the room make some really harsh comments about her relationship experiences. It totally caught me off guard and I felt dirty even for hearing what she was saying! I thought to myself, “Gee…I wonder if her attitude is affecting her current relationships, not just with men but with her female friends. Trust me, I’m all about being supportive during a friend’s ‘boo-hoo’ moment, but at what point do you move on? At what point do you leave the pain behind? How can you develop a healthy relationship and nurture it if you’re still being haunted by your past?

Time doesn’t always heal all wounds but counseling helps resolve issues which otherwise keep replaying in your head like a broken record. To accept the past without remorse, knowing you can’t change it but grow from it.
You can turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle if you’re willing to put time and effort into yourself.

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