Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last Summer's Shorts

The weather has been beautiful here in Sonora for several weeks now, and I'm starting to pull out clothes from last Summer to wear on these sunny days.  The skirts came first, stretchy, easy skirts that pull on and don't give much away as to how firm my lower half is.

In the past few days though, there have been times when only shorts would do.  Luckily, they all fit so far, but the legs they show off aren't as sleek and firm as they were last Summer.  That's why I'm in the Mayday Makeover.

It's been four years since I started Turbulence Training and I learned the techniques that would finally help me solve my fat loss and fitness dilemmas, but I have found that the level of intensity I need to use to transform my figure is something I don't choose to maintain year round.  By training clients, teaching Zumba, and staying fairly faithful to a healthy eating style, I do stay within striking distance of the body that makes me feel good about myself.  That's maintenance, and it's a noble achievement, but change for the better takes more focused attention, intention, and effort than I've been using.

Today is May 20th, exactly one month from the start of Summer, so It's time to get serious about transformation strategy.

Do you remember the Transformation Formula?

E+M    Eating plus movement over time.

Although the foundation of fitness is training to shape the body, those changes are made visible through fat release, and we release fat by going into and maintaining a deficit in energy balance.  Yes, put simply, we eat less than we burn.

Simple, right?  Ok, if it was so simple we'd all be walking around in the ideal, authentic body of our dreams, so I'd better break it down right here.  Let's start with my numbers shall we?  At 5'1" tall, 48 years of age, and my activity level, I've become confident that I burn, on average, 1,700 Kcal/day.  The deficit I want to use for my desired fate of fat release is 500 Kcal/day leaving me with 1,200 calories to build a food plan with.  My strategy for meeting and maintaining that deficit until my intermediate goal of 117 pounds and 20% body fat is "Simple Eating."

This eating strategy uses a menu that satisfiers me, and that has been effective in the past.

Here it is.  No processed foods, which I define as anything out of a bag or a box.  We know that means no Trix or Hamburger Helper obviously, but it also means no bread or cereal for me.  Certainly you may choose to have foods like oatmeal, rice, or sprouted grain bread in your plan, but I personally do better without grains in my strategy.

So what will I be eating?  I'll eat six or more servings of vegetables, one or two servings of fruit, 12 oz of protein, 3 oz healthy fat (grass fed butter or organic extra virgin olive oil).  I'll use plenty of spices, and no sugar condiments like vinegar and mustard, but the beauty and effectiveness of this plan lies in it's very simplicity.  These foods satisfy my appetite without over stimulating it.  On the weekends, I will enjoy no more than 2 glasses of wine, but I'll keep a sharp eye on this in case the wine triggers cravings for more indulgent foods.

So there you have it.  Tomorrow I will write about some techniques for staying content with simple food by focusing on and enhancing the pleasures in your life that don't include eating.  This really is the fun part.  One example?  Swimming!  My son and I are off to enjoy that one today.

Skirts, shorts, and swimsuits- Summer is almost here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mayday Makeover Day 14

Happy Day After Mother's Day.

If you're like me, holidays are cause for celebration with food- any food desired.  Mother's Day was no different.  My husband and son took me out to brunch, and I had a bit of everything I desired.  Then a bit more of the little goodies I couldn't resist.  Dinner was the 2 chocolate truffles the restaurant  sent home with all of the Moms. Later, I practiced a few new Zumba routines, and I got to bed on time.

I certainly didn't go off the caloric deep end.  The trouble is that I got up and checked my blood sugar this morning.  For the first time since I started testing in March, my fasting blood sugar was over 100 in the morning: 108 to be exact.

A reading between 100 and 125 after an eight hour fast on at least two occasions indicates impaired fasting glucose.  My personal suspicion is that I'm playing with fire when I overeat  indulgent foods.

The point of the Mayday Makeover is to gather information about the best way to think, eat, and move in order to release fat For You Personally.

Ideally, I want to enjoy special occasion meals without freaking out and feeling like I've blown it.  Here's the old scenario:  I've eaten off plan, Elvis has left the building with my self control, and I'm going to eat all of the sugary floury sweets I can before my common sense comes out of it's carb induced coma.

Now that didn't happen yesterday, but now I realize that even during a celebration I still need to keep a wise head on my shoulders if my goal is good health.

Today has gone very well, as the best technique I've found for coming down off of a heavy meal is to drink plenty of water, eat six or more servings of vegetables, and get enough protein to stay satisfied and keep sugar cravings at bay.

Todays Resistance Routine:

Warm Up: 10 Y Squats
                  10 Push Ups
                  10 Stick Ups
                  10 Standing Cross Crawls
Rest 30 Seconds and repeat one time.

Weight Bar Whole Body Resistance Routine With 20lb Padded Weight Bar:

10 Squats
10 Push Press
10 Bent Over Row
10 Romanian Dead Lifts
45 Second Plank

Rest 30 Seconds and Repeat Entire Sequence Two Times.

Interval Training:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Standing Cross Crawls
6 Rounds

Ending with a total body stretch and the new cool down for my Zumba class: to The Year of The Cat.  The 70's are cool for cooling down.

As of tomorrow we're five weeks out from the end of the Makeover; Time for Laser Focus on Optimal Eating.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mayday Makeover Week Two

"Just Tell Me What To Eat."

Oh how I wish I could.  How lovely it would be to offer you a two, four, or six week diet to rip, burn, blast, or flush the fat away.  But I can't.  That's just not what I do, yet.  What I offer where food is concerned is a technique for shining the light of awareness on your personal eating style.  I do hope that you've been writing down what you've eaten since May 1st.  Even if you didn't, you can learn a lot from as little as three days of tracked menus.  If you've got three days, great, if not, start tomorrow.

Why not today?  Why sure, go ahead if you can remember what you had for breakfast.  You did have breakfast didn't you?

I'll start.

Wake up:  Water and one Apple.

Breakfast:  Coffee with half and half, scrambled eggs, 2t butter, 3 small strips of bacon, 1/2 cup of mixed fruit.

I'm in an airport right now by the way.  The content of my breakfast isn't as important as why and how I chose it.  Over the past four years of maintaining a healthy weight I have learned what to choose and what to avoid to get satisfied when I eat.  I am convinced that satisfaction within the boundaries of moderate calorie restriction is the key to fat loss.

Certainly butter, bacon, and cream aren't classic weight loss foods.  They're my weight loss foods, and the truth is that you have to find your own.  You are welcome to try my menus, but let's face it, they're not going to get the stamp of approval from the USDA anytime soon.  The point is, I managed to feed myself at the airport without resorting to muffins, bagels, donuts, candy masquerading as a protein bar, french toast, waffles, cinnabon, or anything else that would blow up my eating plan.

This is what I want for you dear readers, the self knowledge it takes to seek food that serves you and walk away form food that doesn't.  Here's how you get it.  From now until Tuesday, May 22nd, I want you to write down everything you eat, and at the end of the day I want you to write some notes, just a sentence of two about how the food made you feel.  I'm sure you want to get the success ball rolling, so I will also encourage you to do the resistance routine I posted previously three times a week, and I will suggest that 
reduce your typical energy intake by 300 calories.  

Calories.  "Sigh".  Heaven knows they are an incomplete tool for measuring energy intake and outgo, but I haven't found anything better so far.  For example, I've done the Atkin's diet and had succcess, but I can easily gain weight on meat, fat, and cheese if my portions get out of control.  Whatever your power foods happen to be, if you're prone to overeating you will be able to overeat them if you throw caution and awareness to the wind.  So yes, track your calories with a website like or use an online calorie counter and write down what you find.  The idea is to gather enough information on your current habits between now and May 22nd, so that you can make effective, but still realistic changes in your food plan for the last four weeks of the Mayday Makeover.

The idea is that armed with awareness we can give our very best efforts and reap real rewards at the end of those four weeks.  This isn't going to be a crash diet.  It's going to be a a period of focused attention and intention, when we give our very best and see where that takes us.

So write it all down.  I solemnly,  no... cheerfully promise to do that myself, right here on this blog.

Update!  Here is the rest of the food for the day.  A little victory:  Positive eating on the road.  I had a wonderful flight due to a great conversation with the lovely young woman in the next seat.  Thanks Andrea. 

We landed at noon, and I got my bags, shuttled to my car, and hit the road.  Yes, Diet Pepsi and Trident gum were my crutches between 12 and 2PM when I got to Raley's grocery store in Oakdale, CA.  Here's what I bought and ate:

1 Coke Zero:  Human, I'm human.
2 Large Gala Apples
1 Package Sliced roasted Turkey.  By the way, I bought the turkey that had less than one gram of sugar per serving instead of the one that had 2 grams of sugar per serving.  Sugar in the turkey?  Who knew.  

I also bought a cooked chicken, meatloaf and 2 packages of fresh strawberries for the the boys, organic mixed lettuce, and a bottle of wine.

Lunch on the road was 2 Apples and a package of deli roasted turkey.  Yes, I ate all 8 ounces in the package (so very hungry by 2:30) = truth in blogging.  For dinner:  4 oz roasted chicken, mixed lettuce salad with 1 T olive oil and 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 cup of strawberries and 2 glasses of wine, plus plenty of water.

The wisdom I'd like to share for travel days is this.  Do your best and be glad to be home.  Happiness is the point anyway.  Happy tracking.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mayday Makeover Day #3

Dietary Diplomacy

There is nothing like losing 30, 40, or even 100 plus pounds to make you into a true believer when it comes to your eating strategy.  Media reports vary as to what percentage of dieters succeed in maintaining fat loss for over a year, but the number seems to be somewhere between 5 and 20 percent.  Either way, long term fat loss maintainers are in the minority of dieters, so it's hard to blame them when they get excited about sharing their experience.

In all honesty, I will share that I got the ball rolling on my fat loss by learning to manage my intake of sugar, flour, alcohol, and starchy carbs.  Certain foods and beverages trigger a kind of madness inside me that shoves aside all my hopes and dreams for health and vitality, and replaces them with the overwhelming desire for more food pleasure now!   In the face of pastries, chips, sweets, and chardonnay, noting matters except the "hit" of sensation I get from the next bite.

It's like a physical neurosis or a dietary character flaw.  I have even read books by proponents of calorie restriction as the only agent of fat loss that do seem to imply that those of us who avoid sugar and flour are the victims of an obsessive mindset of our own making.  That hurts.  It also makes me feel angry and misunderstood, but I close those books, set them aside, and move forward with what has worked for me in the past.

That being said, the longer I work in the world of fitness and physical transformation, the more I see that the the individuals who succeed at permanent fat loss aren't all eating the same thing!

This is why this first week of the Mayday Makeover is so important.  How can you adjust your food intake and energy balance effectively if you don't know how much energy you're taking in?  There are online BMI, RMR, and BMR calculators at your fingertips right now that can estimate how much food energy you use each day based on your size, age, and activity level, but what good is that information if you don't know what a typical day of eating consists of for you?

Between now and May 7th it's up to you if you want to adjust the calories or the content of your daily menu, but the most important strategy is to get clear on how much energy you're taking in now.

You see, the goal of the Mayday Makeover is to gather the information and insight you need to make permanent positive changes in your health and vitality.  We're looking for a way of eating that brings you satisfaction while allowing you to meet your goals for the way you look and feel.  So get out your food journal, or sign up for a free tracking system at or  Knowledge is power so let's go get some.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mayday Makeover Starts Today!

Here is the Resistance Training for week one: No equipment required!

Ideally, you will perform this routine three times this week, with a day off between each training day.

Week 1 Introductory Training  Routine

Warm Up:

8 Bodyweight Squats
8 Push Ups   (These can full body, kneeling, or using a sturdy counter or the wall, depending on your upper body strength.)
10 Stick Ups
8 Standing Cross Crawls Each Side.
Rest 30 seconds and repeat one time.

Superset #1
8 Push ups (Full, kneeling, or wall)
8 Prisoner Squats
Rest 30 seconds and repeat 1 time

Superset #2
10 Stick ups
10 standing Cross Crawls (each side)
Rest 30 seconds and repeat 1 time

Superset #3
30 Second Plank
30 second Hip Bridge
Rest 30 Seconds and repeat one time.

Easy intervals:
Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes to warm up, then alternate 30 seconds of very brisk walking, with 30 seconds of easy pace walking for six rounds.  Cool down with two minutes of walking at an easy pace.

Suggested Stretches to Finish:

Side stretch:
Reach right arm  overhead and stretch to the left, hold for a slow count of 8, repeat on other side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch:
 Place flexed right heel on the floor in front of you, sit back with the hips and lean the upper torso forward until you feel the stretch in your right hamstring.  Hold for a slow count of 8, bring your feet together and roll up.  Repeat on the other side.

Calf Stretch:
Step back with the right foot, lunge gently forward on the left leg until you feel the stretch in the right calf.  Hold for a slow count of 8, and repeat on the other side.

Arm and shoulder stretch:
Lace your fingers behind your back, slowly straighten your arms and hold for 8 counts.  Relax the arms, then repeat.

A note on stretching:  I believe that flexibility is the "secret sauce" for a beautiful healthy physique.  The challenge is that it is much easier to demonstrate flexibility exercises than to describe them in writing!  I strongly recommend seeking personal instruction to create a flexibility practice.  Recent research indicates that stretching should be performed at the end of your fitness practice after the body is fully warmed up and your resistance training is done.

Eating guideline for week one:  Simply write down everything you eat.  That's it, you don't have to change a thing you eat if you don't wish to.  The point of tracking what you eat is to foster your awareness.  

Please e-mail me at with any questions.

Off to teach Zumba Gold :)