Category Archives: Weight Management

Defining Fitness

What do you think of when you hear the word “fitness”?

What most people say:

-Having a perfect body

-Athletic

-Strong/being a bodybuilder

-Skinny

-Working out in a gym all the time

90% of the time, fitness plans fail.  Why?  Because they address only our bodies.  The textbook definition of fitness is this: the condition of being physically fit and healthy.  That’s it.  Moreover, by that definition, you could make the case that fitness and wellness are one and the same.

That said, fitness is unequivocally connected to the state of our bodies, but our bodies aren’t everything.  Fitness is our overall health and state of being.  Our bodies are the outward manifestation of what’s going on in our soul.  If our souls are overworked, our bodies will be too.  If our souls are spent of energy, our bodies will be too.  If we’re mentally fatigued, our bodies will be tired.  If we feel we have no willpower, our souls are listless.

Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions.  It’s the state of functioning of three things that work together to determine the literal shape of our bodies.  I’ve tried so many times in my life to make positive changes in my body just by making changes to my exercise and my eating.  Feeling strong and healthy has always been important to me.  But so many times, I’ve tried to work my way from outside to inside, sure that if I could just get my eating under control, or work out enough, that I would feel better and BE better.  But this approach was never meaningful for me long term.  As soon as I skipped a run or ate some sugar, I’d feel guilty that I didn’t make the “right” decision and stick with healthier habits.  I failed to connect the changes I wanted to make with WHY I wanted to make them, and so I wasn’t really working on my fitness.  I was only working on my body.  And physical training has some value, but it’s not that which holds eternal value.  Eternal value is realized when we figure out our own “why”.  Why do we want to be physically fit and healthy?

I manage a corporate fitness center.  And I know there’s just no need to spend your life in a gym to be fit.  A gym is just a tool.  What you need most is to think about why you – yes, YOU, personally – want to upgrade your health.  Like dedicating money to a long term sound investment, dedicating time to the pursuit of well-rounded fitness will benefit you many times over.

How will spending time nourishing your body replenish your soul?

Social support is vital to the process.  The hardest part is usually getting started.  Take the next small action that will get you closer to positive change.  I’m here to help!  Send questions and more to me at primarilyfit@gmail.com.

[Photo: Overlook, Santa Cruz CA]

Why Fitness Fails

The quick fix does not exist.

We all know someone who lost weight using some kind of nutritional or exercise gimmick (see this post).  It worked for them, so maybe you tried it, and maybe it worked…or probably didn’t.  And even if it DID “work” at first, or for a while, it probably didn’t last.

I am SO OVER the schemes:  detoxes, cleanses, low carb, high carb, high fat, low fat, no fat, vegan, diet pills, waist trainers, body wraps, infomercial products, ad nauseam.  The American “diet” industry is worth over 65 billion a year.  That’s right, BILLION.  With a “B”.  The commercial fitness equipment market only approaches one billion, but is projected to grow to about 13 billion annually by 2022.  That’s a lot of toys that claim to change your body in “just ten minutes a week!”

Guess what?  Most of that is about getting you to impulsively spend money to buy the promise of a better body.  You’re sold a method instead of a system, and almost any new method is going to produce a short term result.  But by nature, that result cannot be sustained.  That’s why over 95% of people who lose weight regain it within a year.   Then, it’s on to the next method.

Method = Short Term Quick Fix

Method = Money Pit

Method = An Endless Loop of Failure By Design

Methods look like this: buying a never ending supply of new, fancy exercise equipment.  Eating the same number of calories every day.  Joining a gym.  Going on a low-carb diet.

The quick fix does not exist.

It’s not that methods can’t ever work…they can!  But there HAS to be a framework in which those methods operate to create lasting change.  Just as you can’t expect to achieve great results by doing the same exercises, sets, and reps over and over, you have to address more than just muscles when you’re changing your body.

System = Long Term Solution

System = Real Return on Investment

System = An Ongoing Journey of Sustainable Positive Results

A great fitness system is one that takes you and all aspects of your health and life into account.  You get results quickly, and if you work within the system, you get results that never quit.  Your dedication + a knowledgeable coach = forever success.

The quick fix does not exist.

If you want to be fit forever, embrace the system!  I use a holistic and robust approach that will help literally anyone.  I guarantee that if you follow the plan we create together specifically for you, you will achieve amazing results.  Success is built into the design.  Change your body and mind, change your life!

Prime Time for #FitnessGoals is Now

It’s my favorite season: spring!  It’s an excellent time of year to think about taking on a project: spring cleaning, home improvement, landscaping or gardening, you name it.  I find this time of year to be much easier for me personally to practice better habits.  I gave up sugar in my coffee five years ago in March (no easy feat, by the way).  I’m often inspired to eat more fresh produce because it tastes so good in season.  More sunshine = more energy to tackle the things I don’t get to in January during the “traditional” get in shape now time.  And it’s the newness of spring that energizes me in general: the world is waking up after the cold, dreary winter, ready for renewal.

If you’re ready for a reset, taking a few minutes a day to look after your mental health is a great place to start.  Meditative practice is more important than working out hard or losing weight.  I say this as a long time trainer, a believer in physical fitness and someone who enjoys working out!  But you cannot separate the “physical” from the “mental” body.  They are one and the same.  Reach out to me at primarilyfit@gmail.com to get a few of my favorite five-minute meditations.

So what would you like to work toward?  What is it that you need to take hold of your happiest, most fulfilled, most peaceful state of being?

[Photo: Spring in the Valley, CA]

 

 

 

Healthy Holiday Jump Start 2016

vibrantWith Thanksgiving just a week away, let’s consider what we can do to stay sane, energized and fit as we roll toward the new year.

What do you want from 2017?  It’s never too early to be mindful and set the intention for your future self.  The clients I support often benefit from setting intentional, attainable process goals during this time to stay focused on their fitness, wellness, and self care.  What will you commit to intently now to keep yourself feeling good and resilient over the next few weeks?  Here are a few tried-and-true exercise ideas to get you started:

  • Move mindfully three times a week.  Choose an amount of time that’s realistic for you.  Typically, you can dedicate ten to thirty minutes to an activity that gets your blood flowing and relieves, rather than escalates, your stress levels.  It may be a walk, a yoga practice, or an at home workout.
  • Move on Mondays.  Set the tone of the week.
  • Move in the morning.  You take advantage of fresh energy and getting it done right away, setting a positive tone for the rest of your day and protecting your self care time from being imposed upon by something else.

I want to help support your journey!  From Black Friday through New Year’s, I’ll be sharing some of my best holiday mindfulness, food and travel tips with you via Primarily FIt’s Facebook home here.

I hope you feel amazing and inspired to take care of yourself.  Healthy change is always within reach.  Remember you are priceless.

Wishing you a blessed holiday season!

[Photo: California autumn]

cloudsI studied psychology in college (hello, major number one!) for three semesters.  It was interesting, and I did well in my classes, but it wasn’t quite right for a career path.  However, studying critical thinking, motivation, personality and social attachment for a year and half planted some important idea seeds for me.  Here are a few that I hope help you in your attempt to get your head on straight about your own fitness and health:

  1. Conventional wisdom is so often wrong.  Just because you’ve heard it (or read it on the Internet) doesn’t make it true.  Some sources are better than others and there is SO MUCH INFORMATION out there about what to do/eat/etc that I find most people coming to me, don’t know where to start.
  2. Action comes before motivation.  In the brain, you literally create and strengthen new neural pathways by taking action.  You also have the power to stop bad habits in their tracks AND CREATE LASTING GOOD ONES by utilizing my two other favorite neurology truths.  Ask me about them!
  3. Personality counts.  No two people keep themselves healthy by doing the exact same things.  How do YOU gain the most energy?  What makes YOU happy?  Knowing who you are and taking into account your life situation and current resources are paramount.
  4. You need other people.  Even if you are more introverted than extroverted, you’ll benefit so much by drawing on and acting on the wisdom of true expertise AND having friends/loved ones/your tribe to cheer you on.  It’s much easier to overcome unhealthy habits and create better ones with a tribe lifting you up.  This was KEY for me personally in creating long lasting healthy eating habits.

Want to know more about how to create space in your brain and your life for positive change?  I love helping others find what works for them in a supportive, real, fun and uplifting way.  Reach out to me at PrimarilyFit@gmail.com or call me at (408) 827-8440.

[Photo: Sunrise, San Jose, CA]

The Truth About Weight, Genetics, and Intensity

sunsetThat guy you know from work lost forty pounds in three months by swearing off carbs.  Your spouse dropped four inches from their waist after walking three miles a day for three months.  Your best friend went vegan for three months and seemingly effortlessly melted into the best shape of their life.  But when you try to do what they did for three months, you don’t lose fat.  What gives?

It turns out that genes can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your efforts.

Unsurprisingly, most people respond to higher intensity exercise (88%) versus a lucky 12% who will be able to lose fat and manage their weight with lower to moderate intensity work.  On the diet side, there seems to be a more even split: about half of people lose fat on a lower carb diet, while the other half responds to low fat eating.

This explains not only why so many people spend hours in the gym and get no tangible results.  Most people cannot rely on a thirty minute, steady pace elliptical workout to create change in their bodies beyond a week or two.  It’s just not intense enough.  Moreover, modes like weight training (with heavy-enough resistance) and Crossfit can deliver results because they have an inherent higher intensity that has the power to produce those results.

The caveat is, however, is that most people should NOT start with a high intensity workout.  To progress in your weight loss as well as overall fitness, you need to dedicate plenty of program time to tissue quality, mobility and stability.  Otherwise, you may be losing weight, but your high intensity moves will only be exacerbating your weaknesses further and pre-disposing you to poor structure and function as well as injury.

Do yourself a favor and work with a knowledgeable trainer who can help you shore up your weaknesses and heal imbalances on the front end.  You’ll avoid pain and injury and feel good in your body.  Then, you can build your workout intensity and continue progressing in your weight management goals.

[Photo: Beach sunset, Santa Cruz, CA]

What’s Your Soul Food?

The landscape used to look very different in America.  Prior to WWI, most citizens were farmers, working and eating from the land.  Farm-to-table wasn’t a hipster movement but an actual way of life.rockyridge

When I was little, I was only allowed to eat real food for the first few years, albeit a slice of birthday cake here and there.  As I got older, fast food became more ubiquitous because of convenience and the fact that it tasted good, so everyone in the family would eat it.

As a result of the Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, pizza, and Chinese food, I got lazy.  I barely knew how to cook when I left college, and when I moved to CA I was mostly surviving on frozen food from Trader Joe’s.  Thankfully, then-boyfriend-now-husband taught me the basics of cooking, and after a few months we were regularly making dinner together.

I’ve never felt better than when I make dinner every night: fresh veggies, something with healthy fat and protein, green salad, and complex carbs.  A serving of each seems to be in perfect balance with whatever my body needs.  When I get away from that, my energy and well-being suffer.

Food is truly natural, un-processed, and has few ingredients.  Non-food is processed, probably comes in a bag or box, and may have six ingredients or sixty.  Just because something is edible doesn’t make it food.  Just because you grew up eating something, doesn’t make it food.  Just because it tastes good, doesn’t make it food.  Check your habits at the door and question everything you think you know about food and eating.  When you open your thought process, rather than chasing the latest “diet”, you’ll be able to make the choices that are best for your health and your well-being: true soul food.

I like the 80/20 guide: eighty percent of the time, eat fresh things (food) that originally came from the ground, not a factory.  The other twenty percent of the time, enjoy stuff you like that’s fast, processed (non-food) and/or not the healthiest choice.  Not 80 percent salad, though.  Change it up regularly so you and your taste buds don’t get bored.  (Plus 20 percent for whatever your cupcake equivalent is!)

Pro tip # 2: add three fresh vegetables (two green) and two fresh fruits to your daily eating.  Have fun with it by looking up healthy, delicious recipes that use in-season, thus more affordable veggies.   Simply planning more and adding produce will have you well on your way to higher-nutrient eating and more energy to live life and meet your goals.

[Photo: Santa Teresa State Park, San Jose, CA]

Diets Don’t Work! What To Do Instead

lyon1Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, vegan, juice cleanses, raw food, gluten-free…there are a lot of diets out there.  Every one of them markets itself as the “right” one for you, and does so brilliantly.  You’re unhealthy because you eat carbs (Atkins).  No, because you eat the wrong kind of carbs (South Beach). Actually, you don’t eat enough meat/animal fat (Paleo).  Whoa, you shouldn’t be eating anything from an animal ever (vegan)!  Time to “detox” (juice cleanses) and make sure your body has enough “living” enzymes (raw food).  And wheat is definitely ruining your digestive system (time to go gluten-free)!

I don’t believe in defining any food as inherently bad – REAL food, that is.  Allergies and sensitivities are one thing, but food itself is not bad.  In fact, real food is delicious, energizing and satisfying.  More to come on food vs. not food; right now we need to reclaim the four-letter D-word.

Did you know that the word “diet” comes from the Greek root “diaita” meaning “way of living”? A diet is not what you don’t eat, not a fad, and not something you “go on” to lose weight.  The way we currently use the word doesn’t work for me, and TRAINER NEWSFLASH: it doesn’t work for anyone.  “Diets” fail almost 100% of the time.  Weight is re-gained, and you have “failed”.  But a “diet” was never the answer, failure was inevitable, and it’s not your fault.   You’ve been set up.  Most people do not realize this.  The diet and weight loss industry is worth over 20 BILLION dollars for a reason, and that’s because a lot of people buy the hype.  We buy it because we need an answer to this problem of how to eat, enjoy our food, and stay healthy in the age of technology.  How on earth are we supposed to do all three at once?

Conventionally, “diets” are a temporary solution to an ongoing problem, so first we’ve got to re-define what a diet is.

Diet (n.) : what you eat.

That’s it.

Everything is permissible to eat, but not everything is beneficial to eat.

Some things, especially in large amounts, can cause metabolic harm (soda, beer, and refined sugar come to mind).  Does that mean you need to limit those things?  Absolutely.  Does it mean you can never enjoy those things?  Absolutely not.

I want eating to be a pleasurable experience and I believe it should be.   As a trainer, I often fine-tune how my clients are eating.  Recommendations always depend on lifestyle and goals, and eating is mindful and balanced with physical activity to derive maximum enjoyment.  It’s so much better than any depressing “diet” of deprivation, and all it takes is curiosity and a few simple guidelines.

The best news of all: it’s sustainable forever.

There’s no “going off the diet” and re-gaining what you’ve worked so hard to lose.  No “failing” and feeling badly about yourself.  Just simplicity and balance.  Savoring and splurging.  Feeding your body and mind what you need to function at your best.

So no more “diets”!  Eat mindfully, and be happy.

[Photo: Lyon Street; San Francisco, CA]

bamboo

This is a blog about fitness: the new primary care.  It starts with you.

In the modern world, self care is more important than ever.  Overweight adult Americans will be at 75% of the country’s population by 2020 (CDC 2013).  This is a national nightmare that we have yet to wake up from.  At this rate, if we don’t snap out of it soon, we’ll all be struggling with our health in a matter of years.  What kind of a life is that?  I’m not suggesting you go on an all-out juice diet, or spend hours in a gym.  I’m talking about your health: all of it, everything that you believe and do.  I’m telling you that being strong physically carries over into everything else in your life.  We’re going to talk about how you can find what works for you and re-define the terms “diet” and “exercise”.  I’m going to guide you through the fitness forest and share with you ways to eat and move and take care of yourself that will leave you happier and more energetic in the moment.  This isn’t about short-lived fads or unsustainable deprivation.  You’re going to be empowered to attain and maintain your healthiest body forever.

Why haven’t we all been able to do this already?  A major factor is the external world and its lack of support for healthy habits.  The American environment today has changed radically in the last several decades along with the technological boom.  The car, the TV, and the computer have created a world where we can easily sit over eight hours a day (in the car, at your desk, in the car, on the couch, repeat).  Just a generation ago, this was unthinkable, and there were relatively few chronically overweight and ill Americans.  Today, most of my clients fall into one of these categories when we talk for the first time:

A) Happy with their bodies, which are strong and capable, with plenty of energy to complete everything they want to accomplish in life and as clean a bill of health as possible

B) Approaching or in middle age and starting to notice weight gain and lack of energy; may have had blood work come back with newly diagnosed pre-diabetes or other concerning news

C) Dealing with significant weight gain or unhappy with their bodies, frequently sick and tired, on one or more prescription medications, and/or barely keeping it together with all of the tasks they need to complete in a given day

D) Suffering from one or more health conditions; having given up on ever attaining a healthy body or living the life they want and are coming to me in a last-ditch effort to get healthy and save their lives.

It’s time to exit the revolving door of weight ups and downs, forget needless “diet” deprivation and ditch the joyless drudgery of “exercise”.  You will enjoy food, movement, and life by learning and using a few simple tools that I’m going to teach you.  You’re going to use your external environment to engineer better health for yourself and those around you.  You’re going to free your mind from the burden of never feeling thin enough, productive enough, or good enough and become your healthiest self (at every age).  Keep reading and embrace the ideas and tools that you find here.  Come with me and with dozens of clients that have successfully adapted their lifestyles for optimal health and happiness.  I’m so excited to assist you along the way!  You owe it to yourself to find your A game.

[Photo: Bamboo Forest; Maui, Hawaii]