Posted in Entrepreneur, getting fit, health, self care, stay at home mom, yoga students

Parallels Between Yoga and Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is an interesting ride. One moment you are flying high and doing well the next minute you are hoping to meet your next client or make ends meet. One moment everything is flowing and growing the way you want it to  and the next minute you are stuck, unable to reach the next level, and things are not going as planned.

Entrepreneurship is a lot like yoga. One moment you are flying and soaring in your favorite pose, the next minute you might be wobbling and tipping over and unsteady in that same pose. Sometimes you are flowing from pose to pose with ease and other days you are struggling to hold and focus in poses and you lack flow and feel stuck.

The parallels are incredible and practicing yoga regularly gives me the opportunity to explore those parallels. Usually when I am stuck in business or life I find that it shows up during my yoga practice as well. Same holds true in the opposite direction when I am stuck or unsteady on my yoga mat, usually there is something going on in my life or business that I am struggling with or unsure about.

For me personally I am usually stuck when it comes to trusting myself and I find that I have the hardest time with poses that require me to trust my gut and strength. Poses where this shows up are in balancing poses, and poses that require concentration and steadfastness such as the warriors. An example of this for myself is when I practice Warrior II. This strong grounded and focus pose was and still sometimes is challenging for me because I would find myself questioning everything, unable to focus and not feel confident in my ability to hold still. In poses like Warrior III and Eagle Pose where core strength is required sometimes my ability to tap into this strength to engage my core was and sometimes also still is a challenge and I believe a direct correlation between how well I listen to and accept my intuition and gut feelings and my response to them.  When I am steadfast and steady, I know that I am in alignment with my intuition and my direction. When I experience wobbliness and instability I know that usually I am struggling with change and decisions.  I know that when I am feeling this way, at the end of my practice I consciously take the time to sit quietly and allow myself to gauge how well I think that I can either let go and allow myself to trust that everything will be OK or if I need to question further and investigate more the choices and decisions that I am looking to make. My goal is to make sure that as I grow I stay in alignment with my business while also choosing options that allow me to grow and thrive with in that value.

This is why I am so dedicated to my regular practice. As I have practiced, my ability to listen to my gut and trust my intuition has gotten so much stronger. My ability to trust that I can persevere, and reach my goals is now focused and and grounded and continues to keep getting more focused and grounded as I spend time growing in my yoga practice. This has allowed me to make decisions for my business and life that are positive and allow me to reach my fullest potential and expression in all areas of my business and life.






Posted in Calm, exercise, Fit facts, Fitness, fitness instruction, getting fit, health, health lifestyle, healthy, healthy life style, me time, mind body fitness, motivation, natural solutions, relaxation, self care, Uncategorized, Yoga

Why I Love Yoga During the Holidays

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can really leave us drained and needing energy. The thought of getting exercise in seems impossible with the endless things we need to get done on a daily basis.

What I love about yoga, is that it leaves you feeling like you can take on the day. Just 3-5 yoga poses can completely shift our thinking from a negative mindset to a positive one.

5 of my favorite poses to help bring me energy and leave me feeling ready to take on the day no matter what time it is are the following.

  1. Cat and Cow
  2. Downward Facing Dog
  3. Warrior II
  4. Reverse Warrior
  5. Child’s Pose

What is it about each of these poses that possess the ability to lift our spirits?

Cat and cow helps to liberate the spine. Having flexibility in the spine helps to prevent back pain, it loosens the muscles of the back helping us to feel like we have space to move and feel free.

Downward Facing Dog is a nice way to get blood to the brain in a safe and effective way. Increasing blood flow to the brain increases our energy naturally. This pose also helps to elongate the hamstrings, the muscles in the back of the legs which helps to stave off low back pain and it lengthens the spine to help us feel taller and more confident.

Warrior II: What’s not to love about warrior II?  It is expansive, strong and expressive. Warrior II is grounding giving us a sense of stability and it fosters our inner strength.

Reverse Warrior: This pose is awesome for helping you put things into perspective! Sometimes we feel like we are being pulled in a million different directions especially at the holidays. Reverse warrior helps us to come to peace with that feeling because it too pulls you in different directions while maintaining the same position at the same time. Physically you are maintaining most of the Warrior II position but the slight modification with the arm reaching up and over your head lengthening your side body. Energetically however, your are being pulled up and over, forward, back and in. If you can handle doing all of that you can handle anything!!

Child’s Pose: Besides stretching the lower back and hips, Child’s Pose is a very relaxing and self reflective pose. Our lower back and hips hold a lot of stress & tension. That stress and tension build up can cause us to feel chaotic and out of sorts. Child’s pose liberates the hips and lower back helping you feel less tense and stressed. It also is an introspective pose in that it allows you to look inward and close yourself off from things that can cause you to be over stimulated over the holidays.

Give these 5 poses a try and see if when you are done, you feel ready to handle the holiday season with grace and energy.





Posted in Fitness, health, motivation, workout

Too Tired to Exercise?

*Photo courtesy of Feelart @

This morning started at 4:30am with the alarm clock ringing by my side I reached over to turn it off and began to start my day. Breakfast check, coffee check, bag packed check. Out the door and on the road to my first shift. At 8:30am I am off again to another destination. With each progressing hour, I get a little more heavy eyed. By 10:00am I am back home for a break and ready to crash. No, I can’t, not yet anyways, I still have to get my cardio session in.

Even as a personal trainer I find myself lacking the motivation to put in the time. However, I know it’s important so I catch up on some email pay a few bills and then make my way over to the bike to log in my time. Thirty minutes, that’s nothing, I can do this easy. I start pedaling the bike and that first revolution feels like I had never set foot on the machine before, ugh this is gonna be the longest half hour ever.I know I  have to be back to work in two hours so I continue pedaling along feeling the sweat dripping from my forehead, I begin to pick up speed. I start moving faster and each revolution gets just a bit easier. No longer do my legs feel like lead and im keeping a good clip. I get a second wind and before I know it the timer beeps and I am done. I sit there a minute, tired but invigorated because I pushed through and accomplished what I had said I would do. I was excited that I held myself accountable and completed what I set out to do.

The second half of my day also moved along much quicker because I felt good. I had energy to get things done. Was I tired at the end of my day, yes, but was it in vain? Absolutely not!! I would take this kind of tired any day knowing that it was because I worked fitness into my day and it gave me the boost I needed. I am a well deserved tired and for that, now I can take a little rest and feel good about my decision!
What I am trying to say is that it is possible to do things you didn’t think you could do. Seriously, I thought I would rather sit on the couch this morning than sweat it out on the bike it just seemed to be too much work. I didn’t sit the morning away though, and you don’t have to either! You too can get up, tie your shoes and get to working out even if its for a half hour like me, do it you will be proud you did and your body will thank you later! Have a great day!
Written By Julie S.

Posted in Fit facts, fit truths, Fitness, fitness myths, health

Fitness Fact and Fiction

*photo courtesy of nenetus @

It boggles my mind really that there are so many misconceptions to working out and living a healthy life style. I don’t know why it boggles my mind really, because I too watch the infomercials and am intrigued by the buzz words they choose to use to sell their products. The uninformed public desperate to lose weight and feel good again takes these things to heart because they are bombarded by the fancy “science” and guys in lab coats. I am going to try today to dispel some of these myths by separating fact from fiction and helping people create a better understanding of how the body works and what REALLY happens when you workout.

 Let’s Start very simple: 1. Fat DOES NOT turn into muscle or vise versa. Fat and muscle are two completely separate organs. They have two completely different functions in the body and it’s important not to confuse them. Fats primary roll in the body is to create a cushion and protect vital organs. It helps to transport fat soluble vitamins and is necessary for insulation and temperature control in the body. Muscle on the other hand is a support system, it helps keep your bones erect it provides your body with stability and it is actively moving and changing. Muscle uses food as fuel where fat on the other hand, just absorbs the excess causing it to expand. So you ask, what happens to fat as you get more fit? Simple, the fat cells shrink. See you are born with a set number of fat cells and depending on how active or inactive you are they either expand or contract. When you eat, two things happen. One, some of the food gets stored in the body in its most basic form and then two, the rest of it gets used up to provide you with energy. If you consume to much food your fat cells expand to accommodate the extra energy your body is not using. As you become more active your body turns to those fat stores and begins to use the reserve to fuel your body hence the fat cells shrink. As fat cells shrink, and you build the muscle that is under it, you start to see the definition of the muscle as it hypertrophies(gets bigger). Since muscle uses more energy than fat, your metabolism speeds up and you use the energy you take in more efficiently there for keeping the fat cells from expanding.

 2. You CAN NOT spot reduce. Spot reduction simply means that you want to shape or mold one part of your body specifically. This is not possible. Your body moves as a unit. Some areas will change faster than others and a million crunches and biceps curls will not give you shapely arms or washboard abs on their own. A few other things have to be put into place before you start to see either change. Also as a disclaimer, genetics plays a role in this as well so you may be doing all of the things I’m about to mention and still never get a six pack….I’ll explain later. Lets start with diet. As I stated earlier, if you are consuming more energy that you need you are just going to continue to stretch your fat cells. Second remember how I said that muscles use more energy than fat, well when it comes to muscles, bigger muscles burn more overall calories that smaller ones. So If your eating is out of whack and you are blowing out biceps curls hoping for supermodel arms….it aint happen-in! Let’s think about this. Biceps are small muscles they are not going to use as much energy as say your legs for instance. Also your building your muscles that are under the fat that is laying on top of them so instead of making your arms smaller you can actually make them bigger because the fat cells are not shrinking and your building the muscle under it. Oops! not what we were going for. However, if you combine cardiovascular activity such as the walking or running or elliptical, you will be using more energy which will help to shrink the fat cells in your body there for showing off all the hard work of repping out biceps curls. Same can be said for the abs as well. If you do not incorporate cardiovascular activity and healthy food choices your abdominal’s will be ultra strong from the crunches but the fat that is on top will not go away! So add a little cardio and some fruits and veggies to your diet and you will get a leaner physique. Now going back to the genetics. Some peoples bodies are just not predisposed to having certain muscle definition. Flat abs is possible, because you are shrinking the fat cells that lay on top of the abdominal wall. However, the six pack look may vary, some may only get a four pack or some may not get any distinct definition at all… really it just depends on your body type and how your muscles respond to your weight lifting efforts.

3. Lifting heavy weights is NOT going to make you look like a man: Oh if I could collect a quarter every time I heard that, I swear I would be freaking rich! Seriously, this is a huge misconception and yes I would be rich off of collecting quarters because that is how often I hear this. I don’t know where it came from or where women get this idea, but HONESTLY, I am about to dispel this myth for you so that you too are not afraid to pick up heavy weights! First, from a hormonal stand point women, do not have the same amount of testosterone as men. Second women are not physically built the same as a man. Third, diet and sometimes, supplements are what can be attributed to large muscular physiques. Testosterone, a hormone that can be found in men and women, but more so in men. It is what gives men their masculine characteristics. It also helps with bone mass and muscle growth. Since men have more testosterone than women it plays a more primary roll in men’s muscle development, along with other male sex characteristics. Since women have less testosterone, physically, women have both a smaller bone structure and physique than a man. This smaller bone structure has a harder time handling the forces that heavy bulky muscles put on your body. While women are able to put on muscle mass and look muscular it is only in proportion to their size. I know your skeptical…hold on I know what you are thinking! “What about female body builders?” OK, I am just about to address that next. OK, your female body builder question, a women does have the ability to drastically increase their muscle mass to be similar in size to a man, however, this takes extreme dedication, strict diet adherence, and even sometimes the use of supplements. Women body builders not only lift heavy weights but they also lift very very frequently, sometimes for hours at a time. Body builders also adhere to a very strict diet. Many consuming upward of 3000 calories a day. You see, muscle thrives on fuel and it is very important that body builders keep their muscles well fed. Sometimes women who body build also use muscle enhancers such as creatine a steroid like substance that helps to promote muscle hypertrophy. Getting the body builder physique takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Many general exercisers are not consuming the amounts of food that these competitors are ingesting and they do not have the time of day or desire to be spending hours in the gym. On the same token, many average women exercisers are not taking muscle enhancers or supplements unless hopefully under the supervision of a doctor. So hopefully this helps to quell your fear of getting big and bulky.

So what have we learned today from all of this?
     First, muscle and fat are not interchangeable.
     Second, if you want to see changes in one area of your body you have to work the whole body.
     Third, women should not fear bulking up, instead, they should feel confident that lifting heavier weights is going to make them stronger, leaner and longer.

I hope that this helps you move forward in your weight loss and weight lifting efforts. Its been a pleasure helping you dispel some of these myths! Have a happy healthy holiday!

Written By Julie S.

Posted in Fitness, health,, variety

Try Something New

*Photo courtesy of imagestock at

As a personal trainer I probably should not admit this but, I too experience lulls in my workouts and find myself doing the same old routine all the time. So upon some investigating, I decided I wanted to give a workout called Tabata a try. What is this you might ask, well my definition is 45 minutes of pure and utter sweaty hell with the after effects of a GREAT workout! So basically for 45 minutes your jumping, cursing, crunching, cursing, pressing, cursing, squatting and cursing! Then when it’s all over, you stand up and pat yourself on the back for mustering up the strength to not give up 15 minutes into the workout!

 Now I am not telling you to go run a marathon or jump into a Tabata workout with out being conditioned. I want you to keep in mind your personal fitness level. I am at a point where I know I CAN DO all of the exercises with good form, but the order and the pace at which the exercises were being performed was what made this workout challenging for me.

What I want to do for you today is talk a little about this Tabata workout,its purpose, and the pros and cons of the workout. Then I will leave it up to you to decide if this workout is right for you. So if your workout has it a lull like mine did, you have the knowledge you need to decide if Tabata is your next workout challenge!

Tabata, is a form of high intensity interval training that has a circuit of exercises that run 20 seconds of all out effort, then 10 seconds of recovery this is completed 2-4 times depending on the circuit and there could be 8 different circuits that you run through with a minute of recovery after each circuit set.
 For example in the workout we did:

 20s mountain climbers
10s rest,
20s bicycle crunches,
10s rest,
20s squat jumps,
10s rest,
20s plank press ups.

This circuit is performed twice through, then you get a one minute break. Then a new circuit of exercises starts and the cycle repeats. Right from the get go, your moving, warming up getting the body ready to workout.

The warm up was a decent indication of what the workout was to bring, what I had not anticipated was how much I was gonna sweat, how quickly the lactic acid was going to build up in my legs and how I was going to need more than a ten seconds to a minute to recover.

OK first circuit, not bad, I got this I tell myself, I do this stuff all the time. I feel good! Fast forward 10 minutes later…who knew there were so many different ways to combine words to create cursing phrases!

My mental game went from YEAH this is AWESOME to are you F@#%*ing kidding me my legs are going to fall off. Holy hell how many more of those do I have to do?

 Twenty minutes later, ok … I …got…this…sh*t what am I thinking? Ugh I hate squat jumps!

 However, before I knew it I was done! I laid on the floor dripping and slowly feeling the lactic acid in my legs painfully despate back into the blood stream. It was almost painful making that exchange of fresh oxygen to my muscles as the blood stream picked up the waste products created by this crazy workout, but I DID IT! Once I made a full recovery, I got up off the floor and rewarded myself with a pat on the back.

I may not have done all the press ups or squat jumps as the fitness instructor, but I sure as hell did more squat jumps and press ups than I had done in a LONG time. I felt great, a burst of adrenaline kicked in and I was pumped. I set my mind to completing a new workout and I did it start to finish!

Will I go back and do it again, HECK YES! It really was an awesome workout, besides now I have a new goal, I’m gonna do that Tabata workout til I walk away standing on my feet! Til then Im gonna push, press, jump, sweat and crunch my way through to a tougher stronger me! What I also have taken away from this and I hope you do too, is that even personal trainers fall into a lull, get stuck in a routine, we are human too! Life is tough and the human body likes to always find the path of least resistance… remember this and challenge yourself everyday!

You may throw all your effort in, curse and cry all the way through, but in the end isn’t that what makes you proud of your accomplishments? Isn’t our ability to stand up and face the difficult tasks the reason why we set goals and feel that sense of pride when we have attained them? Whether it’s Tabata, or any other exercise that falls out of your comfort zone, my challenge for you is to GO GET IT! Set a goal, work hard and reap the rewards of a healthier, stronger, happier you!

Written By Julie S.

Posted in change, exercise, Fitness, health, stages of change

Stages of Change…

Image courtesy of samuiblue at

When I was taking  psychology classes in college, I came across the Trans-theoretical Model Stages of Change. I then came across it again when I was at one of my first jobs as a consultant for a well known diet company.

 Upon coming up on it so often I feel the need to share what this model is and how we can use it in our own way as we pursue a healthy life style. There are five stages that I will be addressing and showing you how to use it to your advantage.

The stages are Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Action, Maintenance, and Relapse. These stages are on a continuum, meaning that you can slide back and forth between all the stages not one stage is finite. The more aware you are of this, the more successful you will be in using them to reach and attain your goal.

*The first stage is Pre-contemplation. In this stage, maybe you have driven by a gym, or walked through the fitness section at the store and thought, I should workout or begin getting fit. Nothing comes of it really, its more of a passing thought as you walk through the aisle or drive pass the gym. So you say, how is this an advantageous stage? Well, to me, this thought would not have passed through your mind if it was something you had not considered before. There must be some insecurity, or underlying feeling that you have disregarded in the path. To me, this knowledge is power! Take that thought and give it good hard thought. Maybe do some research into what kinds of fitness trends are out there and which ones peak your interest.

By taking this first step, you are moving yourself, at your own pace into the Contemplation stage.

*Contemplation, so you have done your research and found a class or video or gym you want to try. Once  you have signed up for the class or bought the video, you have officially entered this next phase.  Don’t fret, you have nothing to fear, you still have control over the situation. After you have taken this step, its important to congratulate yourself because this step puts you one step closer to your goal.
The first day of the class you signed up for starts today! You are a bit anxious and that is to be expected. Timidly you walk into the studio and set yourself up. Sixty minutes later, you are sweating, laughing, and having a great time, you LOVE it! You continue to take the class and then sign up for another round.

Congratulations you are now in the Action Stage in the Stages of Change Model.

* The Action Stage is described as a time when a person is consistently active and taking part in physical activity on a regular basis over the course of six months. Maybe you begin to try other things and explore other realms of fitness, or maybe you stick with the program you chose, its completely up to you. Congratulations are also in order at this stage as well because of everything you accomplished. You were nervous and timid, but you over came your worries and found something you enjoy doing! That’s GREAT!

*Maintenance, its been a year and you have consistently kept up with your schedule of going to class and staying active. In the maintenance stage, you don’t really think about going to class it’s just habit, you always have clothes in the car for after work, and you rarely ever miss a class unless its urgent. You are seeing the changes in your body but more importantly you are intrinsically motivated because going to class makes you feel good and you enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after finishing each class. During this stage you may have made some new friends who are also into the class and you find that meeting with them is a great way to relieve stress and have some quality fun time away from work. Having friends that you can associate with who understand the importance of exercise is also a nice motivator that keeps you going even after a tough day at the office.

Wait! You are not in the clear yet. Just when everything was going just as you like, someone or something throws a monkey wrench in your routine. Not that I am trying to be a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer, but lets face it, life happens and we get derailed sometimes.

*This derailing is called the Relapse Stage and our tendency to let our new found habits go to the wayside in order to handle whatever situation or circumstance is standing between us and getting our workouts in.

Let’s take for example the fitness class that we were talking about earlier. Let’s presume that the studio we were going to decided to move to a location that was not convenient for us. Now all of a sudden that trip to the class on the way home from work just went from a 5 minute commute to 25 minutes going in the opposite direction of home. All of a sudden we find ourselves driving straight home after work and relaxing in front of the TV with a box of cheese crackers for an afternoon snack. As you reach in for another cracker your hand touches the bottom of the box…its empty!Really? Did I just polish that off, you think to yourself?

Wow, I must have been hungry! A week passes then two and you start to feel sluggish, your pants are a bit tighter than usual and your scale has crept up a few lbs. This is your chance, right here, for redemption. This is your opportunity to look at this situation as a temporary relapse in your new routine. With positive resolve you decide to jump back into looking for a new fitness regiment.

Maybe you will be back at Pre-contemplation or Contemplation while you search for something that you think will suit you.

 Or maybe, you will jump right into the action stage giving a new class at the local parks and recreation center located near your house a try.

As long as you look at a relapse as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, you will not be destined to fall back into your old habits of inactivity.

As you can see from walking through all the phases of this Trans-theoretical Model it truly is a continuum. It is a continuum that you dictate. You may slide from one stage to another or jump full force into the action stage.  You have the power to stay put and never put your sneakers on or pop in that video or stop in for a fitness class. At the same time you also have the power to take the bull by the horns so to speak and get moving. The choice is yours. Use these stages to your advantage and gain some knowledge on the type of person you are and what moves you to move! If you use the information you gather about yourself to your advantage, you will find success! Let this model be a guide on your journey to health and fitness.

Written By Julie S.

Posted in Fitness, health, healthy fat,

Fat Facts

*photo courtesy of Suat Eman @

While all fat contains the same amount of calories per gram, not all fats are created equal. It’s important to know which fats are good for you and should be eaten as part of a regular healthy diet and which ones should be avoided to help enjoy a good quality of life with a healthy body fat content. Coming in at a whopping 9 calories per gram, fat is a macro nutrient that provides the body with the greatest amount energy per gram. This is the highest of all the nutrients. Fat does have an important roll in the body. However, too much can be detrimental to one health. Let’s look at how fat can be helpful first since it is something that our bodies need then we will look at why fat gets such a bad rap and then you can decide for yourself how to properly incorporate fat into a healthy diet.

What are some of the good things that fat does for us? First, it helps protect organs such as the eyes. It provides insulation for temperature regulation, and for building healthy cells. Fat also helps to transport vitamins A, D, E, K, fat soluble vitamins that help with the maintanance and development of hair, skin, and bones. With this knowledge one can see that removing fat completely from the diet would be detrimental to ones health.Now let’s look at the fats that we need to eat in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

1. Monounsaturated Fats: The distinguishing chemical structure of a monounsaturated fat is that it has a double bond. This special structure helps to promote its most important health characteristic, absorbing cholesterol in the body. Foods that contain monounsaturated fats include nuts, seeds, avocado, and oils such as vegetable oils and olive oils.
2. Polyunsaturated Fats: The distinguishing characteristic of this type of fat is that it is typically found in liquid form at room temperature, polyunsaturated fats chemically have more than one double bond. The benefits of these fats are similar to the monounsaturated fats in that it helps to absorb cholesterol from the body and lowers ones risk for heart disease. You can find these fats in foods such as walnuts and sunflower seeds along with fish and vegetable oils.
3. Omega 3’s: As part of the polyunsaturated fat family omega 3’s can be found in mostly in fish. It can also be found in seeds and walnuts as well. Similar to the chemical structure of 2 or more double carbon bonds. Omega 3’s are essential fats that your body does not make so therefore they need to be consumed from our diet. Omega 3’s are not all created equal. The most important ones that our bodies need are the ones that come from fish. The omega’s in fish are DHA and EPA which aid in brain function and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Its a wonder why this nutrient gets so much flack since it does provide our bodies with so many good benefits. One of those reasons is because, as I stated in the beginning, it serves up a whopping 9 calories per gram. YIKES! Plus, the fats we are coming across everyday are saturated and trans-fats that are detrimental to our health and cause diseases such as heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Also you have to remember that all fats regardless of their health properties contain the same amount of calories so even though the unsaturated fats and the omega 3’s are very good for you they can still help you pack on the pounds if you eat too much.

*Saturated fats, what is their chemical make up?  how is it that they are so bad for us? What foods have saturated fats and how do they affect the body? Then there’s transfats, what’s their deal, why are they so bad, and how does one come across a transfat?

Solid at room temperature, saturated fats and transfats are the worst fats one could consume. The chemical make up of a saturated fat is a long carbon chain with hydrogen atoms occupying every single carbon atom on the chain. Why is this so bad? Because this type of fat accumulates in arteries and clogs them up. Foods that are high in saturated fats include meat and egg products, high fat cheese and other dairy products, along with butter and some plant oils.

Transfats are even worse because these are fats that are created by humans. Not only that but they are used as a means to provide shelf life for foods. Transfats are created when hydrogen atoms are added to unsaturated fats and break their double bond to saturate all the carbon atoms in the chain. This then makes the fat that was once liquid at room temperature solid, which then destroys the capabilities of picking up cholesterol in the blood. Instead it acts more like a saturated fat and clogs the arteries and puts one at risk of many diseases.

Now lets top this off with the typical American diet. Over sized portions and high fat processed foods. Remember back to the beginning of this whole discussion, fat carries 9 calories per gram. That can create quite an ugly equation when you put this all together. So how do we take what we know and put it to good use to help us prevent diabetes, heart attack, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Let’s start with portion control. Knowing that fat is higher in calories than the other nutrients, we want to make sure that regardless of what or where we are eating we know how much we are eating. For example, if we are asked to meet at a local fast food place for lunch, instead of ordering a double bacon cheese burger and large fries, one could order, a small regular hamburger or cheese burger and a small order of fries. If you have to go out to lunch to a local bar and grill, it might be wise to skip the appetizers since most of them are fried. If the main entree comes with chips or fries ask to substitute it with a salad or fresh steamed vegetables, or even a baked potato (hold the sour cream and butter.)

On the home front, instead of packing a snack cake for a dessert for lunch bring a small piece of dark chocolate or a homemade cookie that has a shelf life of less than 3 days. Instead of regular chips pack the baked chips or cracker chips. At dinner bake or grill your meats rather than fry them. Use olive oil rather than butter to add flavor to your favorite dishes. Use lean cuts of meat and be sparing on the cheeses use herbs and spices to create flavors in your food.

At the grocery store READ YOUR LABLES! Just because it says no trans-fat doesn’t mean there are not traces of trans-fat. Look for words like partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient lists. Partially hydrogenated oils are what create trans-fats. When the body digests them it creates the trans-fats. On the food label make sure that your packaged items do not have more than 50% calories from fat. Look for food items that have low saturated fat. That is being generous as I have heard that this should be even lower.

However, its a good start. Small changes equal big successes so start easy!
Just remember that not all fat is bad, our bodies need it to function on a regular basis. Be smart about the fats you choose. We have been given the ability to make good healthy choices, take that ability with you to the store, the restaurant and on the home front and before you know it, the scale will be dropping, the cholesterol levels will be dropping and your risk of disease will start dropping, but more importantly your quality of life will sky rocket! Be smart and savvy and I know that you will find a healthy balance of fat in your everyday healthy diet.

Written By Julie S.

Posted in health,, personal health, self care

Make the Time!

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Make time? For what? Well there are many things for which we should make time for,  grocery shopping, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, taking the kids to what ever activity they have,  work, you get the idea! Did you notice that none of these things say, me time? What!?!? Make time for ME?? That’s ludicrous, selfish, there’s no time for that!  I hear this all too often and I personally am 100% guilty of saying these things too, but it is vital to our sustainability and our ability to keep on giving to those we love and care about. I have been on a journey, a sort of personal crusade to make time for myself and what I am coming  to find is that when I make time for myself, the time for everyone and everything else just seems to fall into place. I am becoming more productive, a better wife, a better sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter. I am happier, healthier and my stress level has at least decreased in half.

Alarm rings,  6:00am, I hit snooze, I know that I have to be to work at 7:30 and I know I am pushing the envelope but, I’m beat. I didn’t get home the night before from work til 9:00pm and my day had started at 7:30AM same as this particular morning.  9:00 pm is not all that late, but after a long day, making time to stay up and watch TV with my husband, seemed like the only fair thing to do, so bed didn’t come til 11:00pm and by the time I settled my mind and actually relaxed to sleep it was close to 12:30 am.  As I ran out the door at 7:00am I thought to myself, here we go…again.

I was riding the wave in an expansive sea of things to do! Big ups and low lows. I felt like I was running a rat race in a hamster wheel.  The more I went the smaller and smaller the sea became, the faster the wheel spun, until I was riding those same waves in a fish bowl and unable to keep  pace with the wheel.  I lost track of the days. The days became weeks and the weeks became months I was just going and going not paying attention to how small my world become and how stifled and miserable I was. I was living a lie really, faking niceness, forcing time into my day to feel like I was giving to others and prying a smile from my lips to try and remember to be polite.

I was getting ugly, my attitude was changing. I snapped easily and saw the worst in everything and everyone . The doubts started creeping in and I was pretty much at a point where I was ready to throw in the towel. I approached my business partner with this news explaining that I could not do it any more, I was done, I was wiped out. I just want a job, get paid for my 8 hrs and just be done til the next day. This running a business thing is tapping me out.  She listened and thought about what I said, then looked at me and said you need a vacation, you need to step back and away, you need to take control of your schedule. I looked at her with disbelief, really that was her advice? Take a vacation…who has time for that? If  I am not here keeping the doors open who will? She looked at me like I had ten heads.  Her response was, “What about me? I am your business partner, what do you think I do here?” Oops, she was right, I kind of forgot that little bit.  I felt like jerk, had I stooped that far that I could not even remember to lean on my business partner for help? I was still not done yet because she had then said I needed to take control of my schedule. What does that mean? She sat me down in front of the calendar, I was working 7 days a week 12 hours a days. I was letting everyone else run my schedule I was a door mat for anyone and everyone.

 My thought process was that it was my duty to be where ever I was needed when ever I was needed.  That mentality was wearing on me and she was seeing it. She then asked me what I tell my clients about taking care of themselves. Yeah what about it? They take time out to workout with you, right? They take vacations right? They spend time with their loved ones right? Yes to all three questions. She then reminded that people will appreciate me more if I too take care of myself and live the life I preach about. Okay, I had no argument to come back with and I hate when I am wrong! I was still disgruntled at being wrong but she continued with her advice.  She then proceeded to hand me a pencil…”block off when you will not be here, take time off. ” So I sat there and created the schedule I wanted to see.  I felt weird giving myself time. I felt guilty for not making myself available…
When I got home, my husband said, you need to plan for the first week in July, we are going out of town to visit my family. GULP… panic set in, I didn’t plan for a vacation, it was bad enough that I was backing off time from being at the studio, that was a hard pill to swallow on its own now I have to deal with this news.

Okay, I will let my business partner know and I’ll plan on it was my response, but my brain wanted to shout absolutely not, go alone! Back at work the next morning I brought the news to my business partner, she was ecstatic so happy for me. I sat there disgruntled because I was losing control and everyone was happy and giddy for me.

The vacation was three weeks away, so that helped me relax a bit as I thought “oh I have lots of time!” Three weeks came sooner than later and the Friday before I left came and went even faster.  As I was boarding the plane, I knew there was no turning back, I HAD to trust that my business partner was going to take care of things, and I had to let go.  The first two days of the trip were hard for me, I was constantly checking the email, texting my business partner and fretting about possible missed calls, missed emails, unanswerable questions.  Finally, I was able to slowly let go after I talked on the phone with my business partner. She was so calm and easy going. Her ease about the past few days was reassuring and finally I was able to let go and actually enjoy the vacation.

When I came home, I had a whole new perspective on my outlook for my personal life, my business life and the well being of the business in general. My world had reopened. Having spent time with my husband, real quality time, I came to appreciate him and our marriage more than before. We took walks together, had real conversations and we were able to  just be husband and wife.  The schedule that I made for myself, suddenly became a reality, I had a day to sleep in, I had a day to stay home, visit my sister & grandma. I was REALLY truly being a good sister and granddaughter because the time I spent was quality, unrushed time,  my time.  No longer was I feeling guilty that I was being fake and forced to do these things.

My clients molded to my schedule and the more I stuck to it, the more valid and accepted it became.  This much needed change, recharged me, it put me back in control on a positive note. Rather than the negative control that closed my doors and narrowed my circle, this positive control opened me up. It brought me a sense of appreciation for all the things I could do. It widened my circle and expanse. This time however, the expanse was as wide as it was, was not has wavy and turbulent, it was calm and the waves were small and manageable.  I could see as far as the eyes could see and beyond.  My resentment for my business decisions diminished and I was finding that I was more productive and felt more fulfilled at the end of the day rather than drained.

It is a great feeling and something that I wanted to share with all of you and the people you know. I always preached how important it was to make the time, but I never really lived it. I thought I was, because I talked about it so much, but the fact of the matter was, I wasn’t.  I am going to offer you the same bits of advice that I was given.  Go to your calendar and schedule “me time.” It does not have to be a whole day maybe 15 minutes maybe 2 hrs whatever works for you. During this time phone goes way, computer gets shut off, and you do something that you have always wanted to do.  Next look at your schedule and plan a vacation or a staycation, 5-7 days where you get to spend time, real quality time with your family and friends. We all get vacation time, its part of almost every benefits package if you work a traditional job, and if like me, and you own your own business, take it anyways and get someone you trust to run things while you are away.  Finally find ways to be in control that are positive.  If you have the weekends free, you have a choice to either spend it doing work or getting a cup of coffee with a friend. The work will always be there for you when you get back, take positive control and spend time with your friend. It will refresh your mind and give you a new perspective on what you are working on in the long run!

On your first attempt at this, you will find, as I stated in the beginning, that it will be hard, you will feel agitated, disgruntled and scared. I did! The what if’s will start flooding your brain and it may seem easier to just keep things at status quo.  I wanted to! However, I urge you to fight past these feelings, that is all they are, feelings.  If you can do that, actually, when you do just that, you are going to see things so much clearer. I did! Your fish bowl will become a beautiful calm sea and your hamster wheel will slow down to a manageable pace.  Mine did! Truly, you will be happier and be able to live life how it was meant, to the fullest!!
Written by Julie S.