Don’t Let the “Fall” – Lead You to Failure!

fall image

The start of the fall season has been a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I love the beautiful scenery from the autumn leaves. I also love being able to wear my favorite winter boots – I think most women look forward to that.

On the other hand, it’s really interfering with my workout and eating habits. My preferred time to work out is first thing in the morning. I like to get it out the way so I don’t put it off the rest of the day. Unfortunately, since the mornings are chilly and my heater is on, I’m struggling to peel myself out of my warm, cozy bed.

As for my eating, I’m craving more comfort foods. It’s only natural to do this. Our bodies go through cycles just like the seasons. According to Ayurvedic theory, everything in the universe — living or not — is connected. Good health is achieved when your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe. A disruption of this harmony can lead to poor health and sickness.

For followers of Ayurveda, anything that affects your physical, spiritual, or emotional well-being can cause you to be out of balance with the universe. Some things that can cause a disruption include:

  • Genetic or birth defects
  • Injuries
  • Climate and seasonal changes
  • Age
  • Emotions

So, in order to achieve my balance, I need to adjust my thinking. My mind wants to hold on to what has been working for me in the past. For the past few months I’ve enjoyed eating light (salads, fruit, and smoothies). I’ve especially enjoyed the abundance of sunshine. I’m a nature girl so having beautiful weather makes me want to be active and makes me want to be outside. On the contrary, the cool, fall temperatures make me want to wrap up, and spend hours on the couch watching the Food Network and reruns of Criminal Minds.

I realize that is a slippery slope and will quickly put me on the path to the dreaded winter weight gain.  I want to avoid that by any means necessary. I’m assuming you do too. So, here are some suggestions to help keep your momentum with your healthy habits.

  1. Don’t resist the change, embrace it. I realize the important thing for me is to get my workout in. I’ve decided that I will get up on the mornings that I can to do my early workout. And on those days that I can’t get up, I can work out after work.
  2. Listen to your body. Just because my mind wants to stay with the salads and smoothies, my body is craving something different. I’ve dropped the smoothies for breakfast and added my oatmeal. I can incorporate smoothies later in the day for a snack if necessary, but as long as my body wants something warm and comforting in the morning, oatmeal it is.
  3. Incorporate activities that are compatible with the fall season. This is still a great time of the year to go hiking. It’s also a better time of year to get back into running. It’s harder to run when the temperatures are high, but fall weather makes for ideal running times. Finally, bring the activities indoors. Start that group fitness class you’ve been wanting try out, like spinning, Zumba, body pump, etc. Even if you like swimming, a lot of the major gyms have heated indoor pools.
  4. Prepare healthier versions of comfort foods. Pull out the crock pot and make your own chili or vegetable soup. When I make my own food I know it’s healthier. I can add as many veggies as I want. If it’s laden with veggies I can eat more food without adding a ton of calories.
  5. Nurture your soul by spending more time with family and friends. This is the ideal season to cherish your loved ones. If you’re going to be inside, make it quality time with family. Optimal health is about a holistic approach. When we nurture our mind, body, and spirit it fosters an environment for good health.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

Reference Links:

New Season – New Direction

new direction

In a few weeks I’ll hit a milestone –the two year anniversary of launching Plant Food ROCKS. It’s hard to believe it has been that long. My intention with the blog has always been to promote the benefits of following a plant based diet.

From that perspective, I’ve shared everything from healing foods to super foods. I’ve shared my fitness journey from hiking, to my 21-day yoga challenge, and my greatest feat of participating in a sprint triathlon.

I’ve also incorporated spiritual lessons I’ve learned about faith, prayer, and meditation. My favorite blogs have been those that have evoked the most response from you. Most of you tend to respond favorably when I’m transparent on matters that you can relate to.

As you know, I approach health and wellness from a holistic perspective: mind, body, and soul. Every area of our lives impact our health. If our lives are out of balance in any area, it’s going to impact our ability to obtain optimal health.

The last few months I have been reconsidering my objective with the blog. Some days there were things I wanted to share that fit my objective, but didn’t feel authentic. I can honestly say my desire has shifted a little bit. So, I’ve been working through that. I made the conscious decision to pull back on blogging until I was clear about the direction I wanted to take. I’ve asked myself: what’s next for the blog? More importantly, what’s next for me?

I’ve spent time getting to the bare bones of what I believe, what I’m passionate about, who I want to impact, and what I have to teach. At heart I’ve always been a teacher. Whenever I learn something, I feel compelled to share it with others. That typically comes through in the form of a workshop, blog, or sometimes while just having dinner with a friend.

I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m thinking about the imprint I want to leave in this life. How I can cause a ripple effect on the world – effect generational change.  It’s easy to convince ourselves that if we don’t have a lot of money or celebrity then we’re not capable of doing anything that really matters. We can’t impact real change.

I choose to believe that I CAN do something. The truth is – we all can. Just start with where you are and do what you can. At the end of the day, that’s all you’re responsible for- doing your part.

Well, I’m excited to say that I have clarity on that. I know what it is I’m supposed to be doing. On the anniversary of Plant Food ROCKS, I’m going to announce that change. I will say that it’s not a drastic change. It’s actually a very appropriate next step. It’s a shift from an individual impact to a more community impact. The next chapter for me involves getting to the heart of the community and impacting change with those who really need it most.

So, I hope that you will stay tuned to find out what I’m doing. I also hope that it will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and pursue your own dreams. If you don’t have a dream, perhaps it will motivate you to begin to form one. Until next time…

Why is Hard an Excuse to Stop?

no excuses chalkboard

For the past couple of days I’ve been on a quasi-detox. It’s not a full detox, but I’ve been juicing. I’ve been avoiding solid foods and caffeine. I started it because I wanted to reset my body and get some discipline. I just feel off track. I was hoping this would give me the jolt I need to reach my health and fitness goals.

If you’ve ever done any kind of detox you know the first couple of days are the hardest. For that reason I tend to start mine on a weekend when I don’t have to work. I know from experience that on the first day I’m tired, hungry and irritable so it’s not a good idea to be around people during that time.

Well, as usual, day one was pretty tough. It got so hard towards the later part of the day I almost gave in. I had every excuse in the book come to mind as to why I shouldn’t continue. The best excuse I could come up with was – “this is hard.”

It was at that moment I remembered something I heard Carolyn Myss say earlier that morning while I was watching Super Soul Sunday. She was speaking to an overweight woman who sought her advice about her lifelong weight problem. She mentioned that every time she tried to lose weight she would sabotage herself. One of her comments was “it’s hard.” Carolyn’s response to her was “Why is hard an excuse to stop?”

What a powerful question. I had to ask myself the same thing. When I wanted to quit on day one of my detox that question came to mind. I’d forgotten about why I was doing it in the first place. I’m trying to end a pattern of quitting before I complete my weight loss goals. I don’t often do that in other areas of my life where I’ve set goals. But for some reason I’ve been doing that with my weight loss goals. So it’s important for me to see this process through.

I know I’m not the only person who deals with this challenge. Let’s face it, we’re three weeks into the New Year and there are so many people who have already abandoned their new year’s goals. That’s why I want to offer some reasons why you should hang in there.

  1. There was a valid reason that you started. Think back to your “why”. Why did you set this goal? What’s at stake in your life if you don’t reach it? How will your life improve if you do reach your goal? If you think back to why you started this process, it will give you the motivation you need to continue.
  2. You will never reach your goal if you stop. If you keep going you have a shot at making things better for yourself. If you don’t hang in there you have no chance of reaching your goal.
  3. You never know how close you are to your breakthrough. It’s always the darkest hour before the break of dawn. Usually when things start to seem unbearable it’s because you’re near the end. Unfortunately, we don’t always see that or remember that when we’re in the midst of our trials.
  4. Change happens outside your comfort zone. As you begin to push pass what feels comfortable for you, you will experience the change you desire.  If you don’t ever push yourself to your limit you stay in a place of comfort. Consequently, you maintain the status quo and nothing changes.
  5. Real change takes time. Whatever situation you find yourself in that you want to change – whether it’s your weight, finances, or health – you didn’t get there overnight. You have to remember that getting out of that situation won’t happen overnight either. Too often we’re unrealistic about how long it takes to experience real change. Just know that it takes as long as it takes, but you will get there IF you don’t give up.

Just as I wanted to give up on my first day of juicing, I can tell you that I’m glad I stuck it out. Day two has been much easier. I’m less hungry and I have more energy.

So, if you’re telling yourself that it’s too hard I encourage you to stick it out. You’re much closer to reaching your goals than you think.

I’d love to hear your response to the question I posed in this blog. Why is hard an excuse to stop?

Forget the Fad Diets – 4 Easy Steps to Get Fit FAST!

Get Fit FAST labelSummer is officially over and we’ve entered the fall season. As the temperatures are getting cooler I’m already starting to crave warmer, more comforting foods. I was recently thinking I need to become proactive with my eating and workouts in preparation for the cold months ahead. The goal is to avoid the extra weight I typically put on in the winter. That’s when it dawned on me that all year I’ve been trying to lose the “extra weight” I gained last year. I feel like it has been a year of ups and downs with my weight. So, it got me to thinking. I had to ask myself – “why is that?” I feel like I keep losing and regaining the same five pounds.

I’m a health coach and fitness instructor, so this should be easy, right? I know how to lose weight. The truth is, we all do. When it comes to losing weight we all know what to do.  Take in fewer calories, and workout more. It’s not rocket science. But weight loss is about so much more than what we eat and how much we work out. Food is the most abused drug. It’s our comfort when we’re lonely, our companion when we’re bored, and our reward when we’re successful. We have to learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food in order to achieve long term weight loss success.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all the ups and downs. I want balance. I need it. My weight fluctuations have been a reflection of my inability to gain balance in my life. I know if I’m having a problem, then others can relate to it too.  That’s why I often use my life experiences – the good and the bad- as a catalyst to help others.

The solution for me has been to design a plan for myself that I can do no matter what. I’m not into fad diets and quick fixes. They only work for a season. Ultimately, I always end up in the exact same place I started – trying to lose the same 10 pounds. So, I had to come up with a way to manage my weight without feeling deprived and like I’m always dieting. The key to success in any program is that it’s sustainable. Plans that are really restrictive are difficult to sustain.

That’s how my recent eating plan came to be. I wanted to create a system that is simple and will produce results. I developed a Get Fit FAST approach. It’s a 21- day jumpstart program. It’s designed to help people incorporate healthy habits into their busy life without it being a disruption. It focuses on simple strategies that can be easily implemented. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle plan.

The best part of this plan is it goes beyond eating and working out. The group coaching aspect really helps you identify self- sabotaging habits that have prevented you from achieving consistent, sustainable weight loss in the past. That’s really the beauty of this program. We go beyond the surface.

The FAST approach is 4 steps:

Step 1 – Eat FRESH foods at every meal.

Step 2 – Make sure your foods are ACCESSIBLE.

Step 3 – Make sure the ingredients of your food are SIMPLE.

Step 4 –Make sure the food is TASTY.

Other components of the program include a nutrition plan, a fitness plan and group support. When people have a support system and accountability for their actions they tend to do much better.

It’s also a virtual program. You can do it from anywhere. Location is not a factor.

If this sounds like a plan for you and you’re ready to make a change I encourage you to join us for the next challenge that is kicking off on October 1st. The registration deadline is Monday, September 29th.

If you’re really ready to end the cycle of yoyo dieting in your life and make life long changes, you should REGISTER now.

So here’s my question: What do you think has prevented you from accomplishing your health goals?  

Nutrition vs Exercise – Which is More Important?

Most people are familiar with the chicken or the egg causality dilemma. It’s commonly stated as “which comes first the chicken or the egg? Well, in the fitness arena, we have our version of this dilemma. It’s the question of “what’s more important nutrition or exercise?”

Nutrition vs Exercise







Recently I had a conversation with one of my clients. She was discouraged because she wasn’t getting her desired results from her weight loss program. She had a disturbing pattern. She’d lose 3-4 pounds one week and regain it the next week. She is morbidly obese and works out 4-5 days per week. Since her program is relatively new, she should be dropping weight quickly. Prior to the program she led a sedentary lifestyle, so as long as she’s putting in a decent effort she should be getting results.  I suspected her problem, but I listened as she explained her issue. To my surprise she seemed genuinely unaware of why this was happening.

I asked her about her diet. She claimed to be eating well. I followed up by asking if her diet was any different now than before she began her program. She said no. She was still consuming mostly fast and processed food. She wrongfully assumed that all she needed to do was workout and she’d lose weight. That’s when I told her – no amount of exercise will compensate for a bad diet.

Personal trainers put it like this“You can’t out-train a lousy diet.” Here are a few reasons why:

1. No matter how much you exercise, if you over-consume calories and/or consume the wrong types of foods, you will gain weight. You have to burn 3500 calories just to lose one pound. 

2. The bad diet will win every time. In the same 3 minutes it takes to consume 800-1000 calories of food a person only burns approximately 40-45 calories in high impact cardio exercise.  It takes a lot more effort to burn 800 calories than it does to eat 800 calories. The average person does not work out at that intensity. Unfortunately, the excess calories rarely get burned off.  

3. Exercise alone helps maintain weight, but it has no impact on heavier women. 

A study that appears in the Journal of American Medical Association says women who rely on exercise to lose weight are destined to fail. Researchers found that exercise alone was useful in maintaining the weight for women, but it had no effect on heavier women.
The study analyzed almost 35,000 women over a period of 15 years. The scientists found that for women whose BMI was less than 25 kg/m2, there was a clear dose-response correlation between activity levels and weight gain. It took one hour’s moderate-intensity exercise each day to avoid the gaining of weight. Exercise did not, however, reduce weight and did not even maintain weight among women with a BMI from 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 or in those with a BMI of 30.0 kg/m2 or more. This was true regardless of how much exercise the participants did, both exercise and nutritional interventions were required to successfully reduce weight.

Here’s the bottom line. If you want to ensure your success in losing weight you have to improve your nutrition. Exercise alone will only get you so far, you need proper nutrition for optimum results. So, the answer to the question is – nutrition is more important when you want to lose weight.

Question: What has been your experience with nutrition and exercise?



7 Ways to Eat Clean on a Lean Budget

I would have to say the most common excuse I get from people about why they can’t lead a healthy lifestyle is -“healthy food costs too much.” Granted, there are some healthy options that are more expensive, especially organic foods, but my objective with this week’s blog is to challenge that line of thinking with evidence to the contrary.

One of the reasons I was inspired to write this blog is because I’ve made a lot of changes in my life in the past few months, including buying a house and switching jobs. With the house comes additional expenses, and leaving the private sector to work for the government brings its own set of financial adjustments as well. So, in this season of my life it’s very important for me to live on a budget.

I have grown accustomed to shopping at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sevenanda and the like – all of which are a bit more expensive. However, I have always considered them worth it because my health is important to me, and following a vegan lifestyle I am very particular about what I eat.

Since I’m watching my spending – and I refuse to compromise my health – I’ve had to come up with some alternatives that allow me to maintain my lifestyle. Truth be told, it has become a rather fun challenge for me. I’ve always loved a good bargain – I love shopping in thrift stores and consignment shops. For me, the best part is telling people how much I saved on whatever items I do purchase.

So, as I was doing my grocery shopping I realized this is a perfect opportunity to share with you some strategies to eat healthy, plant based, whole foods on a budget.

Here are 7 ways to Eat Clean on a Lean Budget:

1. Buy frozen veggies – they are just as good as fresh veggies in the produce section, but a lot less expensive. Just avoid the veggies in sauces and cheese. Keep it simple.

2. Buy the store brand whenever possible. The generic Kroger or Publix brand veggies are the same as those from Green Giant. Just check out the ingredients —they read the same.

3. Shop at discount stores because many of them offer healthy, name brand options. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to find that Wal-Mart carries Quinoa. Not only that, but they carry the SAME brand I buy in Whole Foods, but it’s more than $1 cheaper. I typically spend about $3.50 -$3.99 for Quinoa; the bag I bought in Wal-Mart was about $2.60.

4. Shop the farmers market. This is one of my favorite things to do for so many reasons. Obviously, it’s helping the farmers; it’s fresh, and much cheaper. You’re avoiding the extra overhead costs the supermarkets factor in to the cost of food.

5. Buy what’s seasonal. When buying fresh produce, look for what’s in season. If you buy food that’s in season it’s a lot cheaper. You ever notice how much more it costs to buy something like watermelon outside the summer months. Now you can get it for about $4.99, but if you get it off season, you can pay anywhere from $7-$8!

6. Buy beans and peas in the bag instead of those in the can. Overall, you’re getting a much better value and they’re healthier. I am not a fan of canned food, but the only thing I will buy in cans is beans (black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo). Honestly, I didn’t want to take the extra time to cook them. But they actually digest better when you cook them. So, I’ve decided to stop buying canned food. Buying the bags of beans and peas, is a much better deal. So instead of buying an eight ounce can for 99 cents, I bought a 20 oz bag for a little more than two dollars, which produces a lot more beans than the two servings in the can. You cook them once a week and have enough to eat for at least three days.

7. Buy high fiber foods – they keep you full longer and you require less of it. High fiber foods have less refined sugar; refined sugars and hydrogenated oils increase your appetite, and therefore increase your spending on food. Also, a lot of processed food contains food additives that interfere with the chemical in your brain that tells your body it’s full. Certain additives actually inhibit that chemical from telling you you’re full, so you constantly feel hungry. When you buy genetically modified, processed food, it’s appears cheaper on the surface, but it’s costing you more in the long run. You have to consume much more of it to feel full, and you pay for it in healthcare costs because of all the illness and diseases it triggers, i.e. diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc.

Now that you’ve heard some of the things I’m doing to eat healthy on a budget, I’d love to hear from you. What can you do to eat healthier on a budget?

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness