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Daily Achievements

The other day I was teaching a new mom postnatal pilates on the reformer.  She came into the session beaming and really energetic.  After asking her how she was doing, she exclaimed that she had gotten her 3 month old to sleep for more than an hour nap!  I congratulated her immediately, knowing exactly how she must be feeling!  We talked more about the process of getting her son to nap and how the day prior she was beating herself up over not being able to get him to go to sleep at all!

What I told her is something I also often have to remind myself.  Congratulate yourself and TAKE NOTICE of those daily victories.  In the case of my client, I told her that she should be happy about these “small victories” and that her son would continue to change, but know that this whole sleeping thing was his lesson to learn…and would be re-learned several times during his childhood.

In much the same way that new moms deal with the ever changing sleep of their babies (believe me…I found out at 22 months that my daughter was changing yet again!), we have to understand that we are also changing as we create new habits, take on new jobs, meet new people, and generally develop as human beings.  No one is perfect, but if you stay consistent and are conscious of your behaviors, you have a much better chance of having more and more of these small victories.
Pretty soon, those small victories will reveal big achievements!  Not only will you notice the changes in your life, your health, and your body, but so will others!

So, let me share with you some of my small victories from today–

  1. I ate clean 85% of my day.
  2. I wrote 4 articles for this month and managed to get in a workout!
  3. I took a long walk to the beach with my husband & daughter…and ran around in the sand.

What did you accomplish today for yourself?  Did you get your workout done? What about just eating well for most of the day?  Did you drink enough water?  I don’t care how small the “victory” seems, take a moment and take note of these accomplishments for the day.

Is Pilates Right For You?

Pilates can benefit most every body–from young to older bodies even.  But is it the right exercise for you?

I firmly believe that some people “fit” better with pilates than others.  Some people will really take to pilates and absolutely love it…others will abandon it quickly after the novelty of the machines and different exercises wear off. Still other people will never try it because they prefer a harder, sweatier workout.  I figured this out my first year as an instructor where I also had to “sell” potential clients on pilates.  The funny thing is … I never “sold” anything.  I could tell within the first few moments if someone would be receptive to taking pilates past this one free session.
Here are 5 easy ways to help you decide if pilates is for you:

1. This is the obvious one.  Try a mat class, Try a reformer class.  Many studios offer a first class free.  Ask them if they do, schedule it, and then decide.   You might even have a class at your gym.  Take it.  Email me for suggestions or to make an appointment if you live in Los Angeles.

2.  Do you like structure and form as well as focusing on your breathing? Pilates might be for you then.  You really learn how to use your breath and initiate movement from your core.  If you like a focused, precise type of movement, then you might get a lot of pilates.

3. Do you want to sweat? Many people think you won’t sweat in pilates.  Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t.  I know people who put all of their effort and focus into the class and do sweat..a lot. Others never even look winded.  Don’t expect a sweat unless you are prone to that, but if you focus on the movements and engaging certain muscles as your teacher cues you, you could get a big surprise and enjoy the class.  Regardless, you will definitely wake up the next morning feeling sore across your abs … all of your abs.
4.  Do workouts vary or are they the same every single time?  There is often a very specific structure most classes follow.  Mat classes tend to have a sequence of exercises that you will do every single class.  However, nothing is set in stone.  If you want variety, take classes from different teachers and on/off the machines.  Don’t expect teachers to add new “choreography”.  Think of pilates like a dance class or even a martial arts class. You spend a certain period of time going through “drills” which help you understand the movements… As time passes, the instructor will change the movement cues so you can experience the same exercise in a different, more challenging way.

5.  Do you want an intense workout?  While you can get a challenging workout from pilates, it’s not the same feeling you will get after a fast paced circuit based workout.  There is more precision, more thought, more conscious movement required to do the exercises properly.  That’s why you don’t have to do quite so many reps usually.  For me, I find pilates has focus on bringing balance to the body rather than just building strength.

The above questions and answers are only a starting point to helpyou decide if pilates is right for you.  There are many exceptions and I’ve seen people who have done gym/weight workouts love pilates and tell me that it benefits their everyday workouts.  I know runners who take pilates to keep their hamstrings & hips flexible and their core strong.  I also know many people who prefer the “conscious movement” of yoga over that found in pilates, even though it seems like someone would love pilates if they love yoga.

What made you keep taking pilates or stop taking pilates?  Leave me a comment and let me know what could change your mind (if you didn’t stick with pilates).

Are you ready to see changes in your body?

Start seeing a difference today…by understanding and accepting this simple reality…

You need to eat a diet of whole, clean, healthy foods with little to no refined sugar and white flour in order to transform your body.

You’ve all heard and read the same books, websites, magazine articles…preaching how to lose weight and get shape.  Eat well, exercise more.  Ok, that’s great, yes we know.  So, then if all of us pretty much know what to do to get in shape, why is it such a struggle? What’s holding us back from achieving our best health and best bodies?  How do we get started without feeling overwhelmed and then quitting…day 2 of our quest?

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  Changing the way you eat is to me the single most important element to changing your body (and your brain).  I can tell you from personal experience that each time I consumed the yummy sugary treats this holiday season, I could actually feel a brain fog coming on.  My moods were so up and down.  I even had a few headaches.  It’s no coincidence that my sugar eating was up too.

So, today, I’m starting a weekend long (hopefully not all weekend) kitchen cleanse.  Everything…I mean everything that isn’t on my clean eating list is going to be int he garbage.  I’ve already told our guests that they need to take the food with them or it’s getting tossed.  Hopefully, by Saturday afternoon, everything will be cleansed and ready for proper restocking.

I already have my plan…but what if you have been eating haphazardly for awhile now…

Where do you start?

THE SAME EXACT PLACE.

When I started Valerie Waters’ Red Carpet Ready program in 2009, one of the first things she advised was to do a kitchen cleanse.  I still do a kitchen cleans every few months–doing them every month is probably better because things find a way of creeping in to the cabinets and fridge, even if you are really trying to be good.  I mean, come on we’re human, right?

Here’s a quick guide to getting your kitchen cleansed and ready for some real clean, healthy food:

Freezer/Fridge:
Get Rid Of…
Packaged frozen foods and desserts – I’m not talking fruit and veggies, get rid of the prepared meals.
Old Food in tupperware
Veggies that have gone bad
Go through your condiments and get rid of the ones that have sugar listed in the ingredients.  I know I know…that means ketchup.  If you can control yourself…just keep it for now, but try to avoid the heavy salad dressings and other mayo based stuff.

Cupboards
Get Rid Of:
Crackers, chips, white sugar, breakfast cereals
anything that is package, pre-made or otherwise processed.

Next…Replenish with healthy, clean, whole foods.

Check out these sites for some great tools and resources to get your kitchen in shape–including shopping list ideas to make sure you restock your home with the right food.

Eat Clean Diet Tools & Support

Valerie Waters – nutrition rules

Eat Clean Magazine – Shoppping List

*Also, consider picking up one of the Eat Clean Diet books — lots of great recipes and ideas to get you started.
Send me before and after pics of your Kitchen Cleanse! I’d love to see what you discover and what you can get rid of!

Depending on how big of a cleanse your kitchen needs, you’ll also have plenty of time to think about all the intentions you have for your new healthier lifestyle.  Next up, I will give you my tips for how to set these intentions (sometimes called goals, too) and show off my CLEANSED KITCHEN!

Designing A Better Life

Ok…thanks to Sheila again at Live Well 360 for inspiring me to take action on something I’ve ignored for some time now.  Yes, I completed a few different mini-challenges for myself through the holidays.  I love taking action and with the mini-goals, I felt active and gained so much strength from them.  But now it’s time to take my actions a step further and reach for some bigger goals.

I read the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris earlier this year (2009)…but really without taking any action.  I didn’t do any of the exercises or implement any of the author’s suggestions.  But recently I have been reading more and more of the Tim Ferris blog – and found out about the release of the updated version of his book.  Now is the time to take action.  Not just mini steps or mini challenges, but big steps and life changing goals.

Why?

This year has all about bringing balance, health and happiness back into my life.  I don’t have to tell you the dirty deets again, but needless to say this was a year of big internal changes for me.  2008 was crisis land. 2009 was bringing a sense of peace back into mine and my family’s life.

So, now as I start my journey into 2010, I’ve decided to really get on it and make some profound changes that I can share with all of you–my family, friends, clients, and cohorts.

I have picked up the New, Expanded version of the book the 4 Hour Work Week and started it over the weekend.  I encourage you to do the same.  You can also get the audio or kindle version if are a little more mobile.  Keep in mind that the book version forces me to sit still and not multi-task.

Start now, I’m going on a Low-Information Diet, Media Fast. I need it for many reasons, but now I’m going to follow Ferris’ advice.

So, here are the guidelines I’m setting for myself over the next 5 days…

1. I will only be checking email about 2 times per day in the morning and evening.
2. I will only be using the web to post new articles to my blog.
3. I will only be updating twitter/facebook 2 times per day during this 5 day period and not spending any time following up on the live/news feed from my friends.
4.  I will only be listening to the audiobook or reading the hardcover version of the  4HWW.
5.  I will listen to music but not surf for it on the web
6.  I will not watch the news or visit any other site with gossip-news.
7.  I will drink lots of different teas, enjoy music, write as much as possible…and not watch tv – easy since my inlaws are mostly watching Russian this week anyways.
8. If you see multiple tweets or facebook updates they have probably been pre-scheduled to post…so I don’t have to be tempted.
9. I will be posting a run down of my days on a private forum I’m a member of…but this will be to help me stay sane…can’t go into solitary confinement for a week.
10.  I will keep active – do my Red Carpet Ready workouts and enjoy outdoors activities and yoga!

I know it’s going to be a tough week…I’m usually very hooked into the web and I’m always getting the email notifications on my iphone. I am ready to let it all go and turn inward.  I have a few pilates classes to teach this weekend, but in general, I won’t need to contact anyone via email for a few days!

If you are reading the Four Hour Work Week, I’d love to hear from you!  Let me know if you have done, are doing, or just starting the Media Fast for the next week too!

I will be checking in with a video or audio message, so if you are also going through this book, I would really love to hear from you.  Email me!