Tag Archives: Beachbody

17499091_10203252350946466_7554725273338919310_n

One Man’s Journey to Better Health

This is the exact post that a member of my team posted in our online motivation and support group just last week. If you think you can’t change, read this. Then, let’s talk to help you get started.

A question I get often is, “What did you take out of your diet?” usually followed by “What will you eat when you’re done?” I know these seem harmless, but I’ve been on a road to fitness for a long time with many bumps in the road along the way.

This time around I’m realizing my view on food was kind of whacked. I ate when I was happy, I ate when I was sad, I ate to be social, I craved every kind of chocolate, donuts, cookies, chips, and ice cream and didn’t deprive my cravings. Only to wake up on the eve of my 50’s and see a man in the mirror I didn’t recognize.

Now here I am 53, nearly 6 years into my journey and 5 days from a body building competition. Are you kidding me?!

Never ever in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that first round of P90x would lead me here.

I also get this, “well at least you’re fit, so it’s easy for you.” I chuckle at that also. This was most definitely not the case and if you are just starting your journey, please hear me, IT IS WORTH IT!

I’ve increased my fitness and nutrition knowledge and now both my outlook and taste buds are different.

So, what have I taken out of my diet? Well here is a short list: high blood pressure pills, high cholesterol pills, Prilosec OTC, Tums, three month blood pressure checkups, just to name a few.

You see I think I was a “food-aholic” and it almost got me. I still recall the doctor telling me I was not healthy enough to exercise, oh my! I have cut out most processed foods, but I can’t say I miss them. I didn’t just cut them out, I gradually replaced them with smarter choices as I figured those voices (choices) out.

Will I ever have a pizza again or ice cream or M&M’s? Maybe, but now I don’t miss them, think about them, or crave them. Actually that kind of food doesn’t taste “right” any more and often even a small bite will make me a little sick to my stomach. I would rather not eat than eat what I see as junk or at the very least extremely low nutritionally dense highly processed chemically infused taste bud confusing food.

In fact, check out what I do eat. This is a picture of my lunch today. I actually couldn’t eat it all. So I have lunch for tomorrow.

By the way, I’m never hungry and eat a ton of food! Along my journey I’ve learned to cook, season, count macros, and make incredibly nutritionally dense low glycemic index taste bud thrilling meals with no oil, cheese, dressing, ketchup, mayo, or bread.

Yes it takes about a month to detox your taste buds and body and yes you will feel like crap. Then comes the amazingly satisfying feeling that comes after eating a healthy meal. Imagine how crappy you feel after eating a large pizza or bowl of ice cream or whatever your less than healthy indulgence is. Well, the exact opposite sensation is also there when you treat your body to healthy food. It really is amazing!

I eat salad dry because lettuce variations, vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes actually taste good! I love eggs, oatmeal, fruit, all kinds of fish, chicken, steak, turkey, and sweat potatoes are awesome! In short, I’ve added far more to my diet than what I’ve taken out.

I know the old me is still there. Facebook time hops remind me almost daily. However, I’m having the time of my life and that positive reinforcement fuels my desire to keep old me old and let the new me keep going.

Welcome and Acceptance

I often write about the importance of a healthy mind, body and spirit to be able to truly live a well-balanced lifestyle. I work toward making healthy contributions to my life in all three of these areas every week.

Today is Sunday and at Mass I fulfilled the spirit. I recognized an important tie in today’s Gospel to what Jesus was telling me and what I think is important to helping others stay on a path toward better overall health.

Today, I heard Jesus saying: “Put aside your own self-interests, wounded pride and anger and welcome those back into your life out of love and compassion for a stronger sense of community and family.” He went on to say that we should “build communities that are inclusive, not exclusive: to bring the lost back, not out of pride or zealousness, but out of the debt that binds us to love one another.”

We live in a small town and often my husband and I struggle with the “everyone gets to play in the game and everyone gets a trophy” philosophy of coaching. We believe there are life lessons to be learned when you must work hard to earn your spot on a varsity team and when you learn from other kids who are simply more skilled than you are. If we lived in a larger, more competitive town, our kids certainly would not be getting the playing time in their respective sports that they do now.

On the other hand, one might say our kids are a great opportunity that so many kids today don’t get because athletics are starting at such a young age. Because our kids are given the opportunity to participate, they are active, learning to work as a team and have the opportunity to grow as leaders. My childhood was quite different from my own kids. I grew up in a town whose high school had 2,500 students (the high school my kids attend has about 400 and starts at 8th grade) and only the best of the best made the varsity team and got to play often. I was athletic and I thrived on competition so sports and being active became my thing and still is a part of my everyday life as I approach the half-century mark.

However, kids who grew up in a town like mine and struggled with their weight growing up are at a severe disadvantage in adulthood. Not just because they didn’t have a coach to teach them how to eat and move in the right way, but more because their community is not welcoming. It’s challenging to take the first step when you feel ashamed, embarrassed and shunned for your appearance and lifestyle.

Everyone should have the opportunity to change their life for the better and feel welcomed and accepted. Everyone needs to know that they CAN change for the better and create lifelong habits that will give them the energy, confidence and focus they desire.

I welcome you to join my online Motivation, Support and Accountability groups. They are simply a community of people who check in daily online to motivate and support one another to stay on track toward better overall health and wellness. EVERYONE IS WELCOME! Click on the link below  or cut and paste into your URL and let’s talk, find a plan for you and get you involved.

https://getfitwithkit.wufoo.com/forms/im-ready-to-be-part-of-kits-group/

5 Life Lessons Birthday Blog

The 21 Day Fix Group begins June 16th. I still have some room for more! Message me if you’d like to be part of the group.

PRIVATE WEBINAR with TONY HORTON on July 8th, 8 pm EST, 5pm PST. On this LIVE Webinar, Tony will answer YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS QUESTIONS. To get a private invitation and submit a question, send me your Name, email address and your question.

5 Life Lessons Birthday Blog

Today I turn 49 years-old. The start of the final year of a decade, the last year in my 40s, one year closer to 50. Hmm…those descriptions all sound a bit depressing.

Birthdays are a day of celebration but with each passing year after the age of about 35, they can become a day we want to avoid rather than celebrate.

As I lay in bed this morning thinking about this day, I felt blessed. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for almost 20 years, I have three great kids, I have a career helping others get and stay healthy that I love and I am in good health myself. What more can someone ask for on their birthday??!!

As we all approach the annual celebration of our birth, it becomes a time to reflect on what we’ve learned and what we want to continue to become. I thought I would share a few lessons from great authors I have read that have helped steer my path in life.

  1. From Joel Osteen, Make Every Day a Friday: “Just be your best each day and God will bring you divine connections. I’ve always been one who strives to achieve and a bit of a perfectionist and this can cause one to lose sight of what’s really important. That is why you see the self-adhesive note on my Facebook wall and that I have posted right above my desk that reads “strive for progress not perfection.” It’s always good to strive for a better form of you each day, but never healthy to strive to become someone else and it’s always important to thank God each and every day for your blessings.
  2.  From Tony Horton, The Big Picture- 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life: “Find a balance.” Simply words to say but not easy to put into practice. Tony always talks about balancing saying “yes” and “no.” As a parent, we can say “yes” to a lot of things. For example, we feel pressured into volunteering our time in fear of not letting people down. On the other hand, we can say “no” too much and then realize that we may have missed out a on a valuable experience in fear of failure. As Tony has taught me: “The goal of balance is to take advantage of opportunities for growth, to know your abilities and your limits, to protect yourself from harm, but not get in your own way.” As time marches on, I am realizing that there are so many things I’ve said “yes” too out of guilt that weren’t necessary and too many things I’ve said “no” to. Assess life’s choices and select and plan for those that can make your life the most rewarding and fulfilling one that it can be.
  3. From John Maxwell: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: “The ability to connect with others begins with understanding their value.” This continues to be a tough lesson for me. Ever engage in a conversation or an argument and just want to get your point across or make sure other’s understand, or more so, agree with your perspective? It’s taken me a long time to figure out that’s not the point of connecting with people. Strong, lasting connection with co-workers, team members, family and friends occurs when seek to focus on the other person, make an effort to gain insight about them, find common ground, inspire (rather than inform) and be authentic.
  4. From Brene Brown: Daring Greatly: “It’s far better to be vulnerable and put yourself out there, take risks, than to stand on the sidelines and hurl judgment and advice.” I often thought of vulnerability as a weakness, as a flaw in me. As a high achiever, failure is tough to take. The reality is that emotional exposure and the learning lessons that come from taking risks and truly “being all in” far outweigh doing nothing at all.
  5. From Rick Warren: The Purpose Driven Life: “Knowing your purpose gives meaning to, simplifies, focuses, and motivates your life and prepares you for eternity.” When I ask my customers to engage in a purposeful journey toward better health and fitness, the first thing I suggest they do is write down their “why.” I ask that they truly dig down deep and ponder the reasons why they want their current state and behaviors to change. Without this, they are likely to fall off the path and go back to eating poorly and moving very little. In most major decisions I make I have this conversation with myself and when I do I realize that I might be making major decisions for the wrong reasons. Any decisions that are driven by fear, materialism, resentment, anger or need for approval by others are never fruitful to making us or our lives better.

How To Stick With a Healthy Eating and Exercise Plan When Traveling

I had a three-day business trip last week and no sooner did I get home when I got a phone call. A colleague was sick and could I fill in to lead a workshop in NY? Now I am off again for another four days.

On the road again...

On the road again…

For those of us that have a routine at home that allows us to eat healthy and exercise regularly, business travel can throw a wrench into staying on track. When clean eating and exercise have become priorities in your life, you’ll want to stick to it, even on the road. It requires a little planning, a little more discipline and patience. Your new surroundings don’t provide the conditions which you are used to, but you can still stay on track and feel good when travelling. Here are some things I do to make sure I stay as healthy on the road, as I do at home.

  1. Pack healthy snacks. Whether you are on a long drive or flying it’s often difficult to find healthy food. Rest stops on the highway and the airport eateries offer mostly processed alternatives that are high in fat, sugar and salt. If I am driving I pack a small cooler with apples and plenty of water. I also like the single serving packets of nuts from Trader Joe’s and Lara Bars. Lara Bars provide a good energy boost because they contain just about four ingredients and are sweetened with dates. At break time I have my own snacks instead of eating the unhealthy carbs that are usually offered.
  2. Drink plenty of water. The dry air on a plane can make you dehydrated, so after you go through security, buy a big bottle of water to sip on the flight. On long drives, drink water too. Yeah, you may need to stop more often, but better to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle with you for those long meetings and drink throughout the day. When your body is hydrated you feel full and are less tempted to eat unhealthy food.
  3. Exercise first thing in morning. I do my best to look for hotels that have a good gym and if not, I always pack my Beachbody DVDs. There are so many Beachbody workouts that don’t require any weights or equipment so they are easy to do right in your hotel room, if necessary.  Or, I’ll pack a resistance band and bring my laptop down to the gym and workout to the DVD there. It’s often that I get someone to join me, which is fun! Exercising in the morning gives me energy for the entire day – especially if I am leading an all day workshop or sitting in a meeting for the entire day. I am also less tempted to eat the unhealthy food that is often put out at break time and lunch.
  4. Make exercise a team building activity. Last week our days started early and we were unable to exercise in the morning. Each morning we made a plan for the evening to get together to exercise. That accountability to each other held us to the plan, helped us bond in a whole new way and made exercise all the more fun!
  5. Make the restaurant menu your friend and not your foe. The toughest part about staying healthy while travelling is staying on track with your healthy diet. It is difficult, but it can be done. Every hotel restaurant I’ve stayed in usually has oatmeal, fruit and eggs. These are all great choices for breakfast. Just like you do at home, stay away from bagels, pastry, bread, waffles, etc. At lunch, go for the greens! Hopefully that meeting planner included a salad of some kind at the lunch buffet. Skip over all the carbohydrates again, and select any foods that are offered that fall into the category of greens, veggies, healthy fats and protein. At dinner, study the menu. I tell the wait staff that I am on a special diet and I would be happy to tip well if the kitchen might be able to accommodate me. I will often piece together a dish from the items I see on the menu that I know are healthy. For example if a salad is offered with croutons and candied pecans and cheese I will ask that they remove all those things, bring me some olive oil and vinegar and add a piece of grilled chicken or salmon on top with some sliced avocado. As Tony Horton say: “Ask for what you want.” If you don’t ask, you have to settle for what’s there.
  6. Check in with others that help you stay accountable. Either first thing in the AM or at the end of the day I check in with my motivational and support groups. All I have to do is take five minutes to read their motivational posts and what they accomplished today and the temptation to skip the workout or go down to the vending machine to get some M&Ms goes away.

Okay…off to pack….again! We got this! Have a GREAT week!

Hey, join me tomorrow night, Monday, May 19th at 9 pm EST, 6pm PST for a LIVE webinar. If you’d like to know more about the Beachbody community and how to join one of my FREE online motivation and support groups log in tomorrow night to: morrowbizopp.com. The webinar is just 30 minutes long.

Positive Change Starts with a Postive Self-Image

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to help others over the last few years reach their full potential in their personal health and wellness. They continue to inspire me. So many of us look at others who’ve achieved greatness, who seem successful in the personal and professional lives, who seem to have more than us. We ask ourselves; what am I doing wrong? What does that person have that I don’t? Why have they achieved success while I continue to struggle?

Well, there are books hundreds of pages long that speak to various qualities and behaviors that those people possess. I am going to speak this week on just one that I find is critical to not only live but start a healthy lifestyle: positive self-esteem.

I speak with countless individuals who simply don’t believe in themselves. Rather than seeing possibilities and potential, they are grappled by the fear of failure. Simply put, if you don’t think you have genuine value and that your health is worth investing time and effort in, you won’t put the time and effort in that is needed to change. Nathaniel Branden, a behavioral psychologist put it best: “No factor is more important in people’s psychological development and motivation than the value judgments they make about themselves. Every aspect of their lives is impacted by the way they see themselves.”

Here some mistakes that I think so many of us make:

  1. We worry far too much about what others think of us and far too little about what we think of ourselves. C’mon admit it, how often do you find yourself at the store worrying what others are thinking of you because you’re out in public with no make-up on, still in your workout clothes? (Uh, no, I’m not talking about myself). How often do you find yourself afraid to contribute to a conversation because you don’t think your thoughts will add value? If you work for a boss who motivates with fear instead of praise, if you have a partner in life who doesn’t value you for who you are, if you have friends who tell you shouldn’t try something because of the risk instead of the potential reward, then your self-esteem is probably gasping for air. Eliminate or limit contact with them and start believing in your own potential. If you want to become the person you have potential to be, believe that you can and stop worrying about what others might believe.
  2. Start using positive self-talk instead of negative. “I’ll never do that, I don’t think I can, I’ve never tried that, he has more experience than me, she’s better at that than me, I can start tomorrow, I can’t do more, push up, crunches, pull-ups.” Do you find yourself ever having that negative, stalling conversation with yourself? We all do it. Our tendency is to criticize ourselves instead of encourage ourselves. It’s tough to change this way of thinking but I suggest you take some baby steps here. I believe it can be small, consistent steps that ultimately drive big change. So why not applaud yourself every time you take a small step? Walk away from the candy jar?..bravo!! Do at least 10 minutes of the workout when you were going to skip it all together?…well done! Positive self-talk is what builds positive self-esteem.
  3. Move Beyond the “I can’ts” and toward the “I’ll try and do my best.” Charles Schwab said: “When you put limits on what you will do you put limits on what you can do.” I have a wonderful opportunity to work out in public settings with Tony Horton. Most of the folks who flock to a public workout with Tony Horton have done several rounds of P90X. Women will tell me they just can’t do push-ups on off their knees and they can’t do a single pull-up. Most of them have had this limited thinking and have never even tried! When I encourage them to get down on the ground and try a push-up from a plank position, they are shocked that they can do three or more. Their form is not perfect and they may not be putting their chest all the way to the ground, but they were able to bend their elbows from a plank position and do it.

Some of us have grown up in a very positive, encouraging environment. We are willing to take risks, understand that failures are the stepping stones to growth, are able to bounce back quickly from disappointment. I am still learning how to be one of those people. I will admit, I don’t take failure well, I tend to do things for the purpose of pleasing a boss or family member and I often feel the effort I put into things is never enough. Part of this way of thinking has to do with the generation I am in. Truth is if you in your 40s or 50s you are probably spreading yourself thin. We are raising kids, caring for aging parents and trying to earn enough to just survive it all. It’s easy to fall into the trap of: “I can’t”, get defeated and continue to beat yourself up.

Take time this week to analyze your current state of being. What are your positive traits? What about your life would like to change? How would you like to make a difference? You can become the person you have the potential to be. The first step is believing in yourself and continue to take small steps to move forward from there. You got this!

My next Challenge Group starts on November 1st. Want to be part of it? Message me for details or send me note to kjcaldicott@gmail.com.

You Are Capable of More Than You Think

Do you know anyone who tends to think about the downside of an idea instead of the upside? Do you know the preverbal “the glass is half empty instead of half full” type? Do you have someone in your life who dwells on the negative and undermines their own self-worth?

I know this person because, to a certain extent, this person is me. I can’t say that this negative perspective came from my upbringing, which is usually the cause for most. I grew up in a loving and supportive household. In fact, you have often heard me speak about my amazing mom who encouraged me to go after whatever I wanted in life. My parents were pretty hard working, conservative people. They were cautious and taught us that hard work and diligence were the factors that would make us successful. Ideas that weren’t completely thought through or out of fashion were quickly outweighed by all the bad that could result. In the end, they would caution us to consider if the risk was really worth no real positive outcome? (Isn’t that definition of the word risk?!)

There are very few people in this world who throw caution to the wind and worse, realize they are more capable than what they think they are. Think about it; we hear “no” or “you can’t” an average of 150,000 times by the time we turn seventeen years old.  We hear “yes, you can” about 5,000 times. That’s thirty nos for every yes.”[i] If this is the way we continue to think from the time we are teenagers into adulthood, with each passing year our approach and attitude toward life will continue to take a negative downturn.

In conversation with friends I often hear: “I’ve seen those P90X infomercials. There is no way I could do that program.” And, they are right. If everyone could do the workouts in P90X right out of the box, then there wouldn’t be too many lives being changed by them. We have so many negative conversations with ourselves all the time. “I could never do that…she’s so much better at that than me….that’s what he is good at, but not me.” If you really want to change your life for the better, the first step is to change the way you think about yourself and the way you talk to yourself. The next time you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up about it, tell yourself that it’s a good step toward positive growth and you will try to do better next time. The next time you don’t give into indulgence, don’t think of it as a deprivation, recognize the good you are doing for your body and your health.

Okay, great Kit, but what if I really can’t do P90X. I can’t even do one push up or one pull up. Why should I try? Just like your parents told you, aren’t I just setting myself up for more disappointment?

Here is where step two comes into play. Most people just don’t have faith and confidence in themselves. They truly don’t believe they are capable of great things. I think the greatest limitations we experience in our lives are the ones we impose on ourselves. We are so dang afraid of failure that we just don’t try. We don’t take risks. This was me growing up. I did the things that I knew I would be pretty good at on the first or second try. I had some natural athletic ability so I engaged in sports. Music? No way. Dance? What? Forget it.

John Maxwell has a wonderful idea to help us overcome our limited thinking that I encourage people to do when they are hesitant to try a new fitness program I might recommend, or anything they want to try for that matter. If you don’t think you can do something, first define how NOT doing it or learning it is limiting you. Describe what it would be like when you can do that thing. How will it make you feel? How will it impact other aspects of your life? Then, write an empowering statement that affirms your ability to do it and describe how you will be impacted by this growth.

Gosh, doesn’t doing the same old things that you’re good at just get boring after a while? When you are tested, challenged or surprised don’t you feel different and even better in a way? Unless you are truly risking your life or that of others, change and risk means growth and growth is usually a good thing. So, the next time you want to say: “I can’t, it’s too hard, it’s not worth it, I don’t want to risk….keep in mind that in the end it isn’t you that holds you back, it’s what you think you’re not.

[


 

[i] John Assaraf and Murry Smith. The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an “ Extraordinary Life (New York: Atria Books, 2008),50

Having an Off Season?

As much as I hate summer’s end, I do love the start of football season. As I write this, I’m listening to my alma mater, Boston College play their season opener against Villanova.

Elite athletes like these don’t have an “off season.” Their ability to play at their best and prevent injury depends on a consistent, disciplined approach to diet and fitness.

Kit tired

A tough moment during the first week of a new Beachbody program.

Usually summer is my healthiest season. With fresh fruits and vegetables more readily available here in the Northeast and the warm weather, I’m more focused on good food intake and regular exercise. This past summer was a little different.  I treated summer like an “off season.” Sure, I continued to work out pretty regularly, but I sure made too many excuses with my diet, giving into cravings and indulging on foods that I don’t normally eat. Weight gain aside, when you eat crappy food on a regular basis, you start feeling…well…crappy.

So, here we are, the leaves will be falling soon and we’ll all be headed into a new season.  As the seasons change it’s our opportunity to move away from your own personal off-season and back into training.

Let’s think like an athlete for a moment. We begin with the pre-season. Coaches begin to draw up their plays and their plan for the new season. So, what is your plan? Do you have one? Are you thinking you will just try to do something each day and do your best? Can you see your favorite football team having a winning season with an approach like that? What I love about programs like P90X, Focus T25, Insanity and Power90 is that a successful game plan has already been determined. All I have to do is open the box, pull out the poster size “play book” that tells me what to do for the next 60 or 90 days and follow it.

Next come the early weeks of pre-season training. Every college athlete returns to school fired up, excited for a new season, ready to give it their all. If you’ve made the conscious decision to make change in your life I’m betting you feel the same way. That said, depending on how long your off-season has lasted, the first few weeks of training may feel like double-sessions. Let’s face it; even if you haven’t been all that sedentary over the last year, any new fitness regimen is going to be tough. You will be sore, you will be huffing and puffing through the workout and you will likely be disappointed in allowing yourself to get to an extremely unhealthy state.  During my son’s first week of training for hockey I saw plenty of kids, including my son, with their heads down, grabbing their knees as the coach had them skate sprint after sprint up and down the ice. Every athlete knows that as tough as the first few weeks are, they are necessary and actually a good thing. When it comes down to that last extra effort to make the tackle or the burst of energy they need to sprint over the goal line, they will be ready because they are preparing their body to expel that extra effort now. So, what might be the reason to endure the early weeks of pain and agony as a 40 or 50-something year old not playing a sport? It’s simple. For us our “team” is our kids, our family, and our career. It’s waking up and feeling great. It’s having more energy and focus every day. It’s about preventing disease and lengthening life.

Now we are in the middle of the season. We are over the hump, getting our rhythm and perhaps still working out some kinks and making some adjustments. This can be the point where some athletes start to “cruise” or worse yet, if they are in the middle of a losing season, give up. What gets them back on track? What keeps their head in the game every week? A coach of course! Without some level of accountability and encouragement, this can happen to us too. Selfishly, I became a Coach for Beachbody because I need this level of accountability and support more than anyone. I have one online support group on Facebook that has been going strong for almost two years. Sure, we’ve all had our own ups and downs, but most of us have made consistent, positive changes in our lives because we had each other to lean on, motivate and keep on track.

So, are you ready for the season? No? Then write me. I will provide the right playbook, the support, the motivation and the accountability to keep you on track.

Fitness Fanatics: Sick of em’ or want to be one?

Note: The names of my friends in these stories have been changed to protect the innocent and inspirational. The following stories are all true.

I have a friend named Mary. Mary had, what she thought was a pretty good life; three happy and well-balanced kids, a good career and modest home in a small town. Everyone else saw Mary as a happy, kind-hearted and caring soul. Recently Mary got divorced. At first the divorce came as a bit of a shock and she was sad. Then, for a long time she was angry. One day, Mary decided it was time to start taking care of her. Mary was carrying an extra 50 pounds. She didn’t feel good about herself. She wanted more energy, a more positive outlook and to be a good role model for her kids. Through the painful divorce, bad habits had set in including poor eating, lack of sleep and whole lot of stress. She saw this negatively impacting her and her kids. So, Mary decided to make her health a priority. She started out slow, walking daily, and making sure at least one meal per day was clean and healthy for the entire household. Three months went by and she decided to challenge herself more. She asked me about P90X. Mary committed herself to P90X, six days a week for 90 days. During that time she had some tough weeks, but for the most part she stayed committed. Since P90X was working so well, she did another round, and then another. A year later, Mary is now 50 pounds lighter and 1,000 times happier.

But here’s what friends and family are saying about Mary: “She lost too much weight; she has become an addict. She doesn’t have fun anymore. Why doesn’t she just lighten up?”

I have another friend named Fran. Fran has always lived a healthy lifestyle. In fact, Fran is a Personal Fitness Trainer. Fran has been blessed and is pregnant with her third child.  Today I saw Fran at Bikram Yoga class, she is now 5 ½ months along. Fran did just about every posture…beautifully, except those that require you lie on your stomach. I was trying hard to focus on my practice, but became so enthralled with hers—watching her modify moves but gaining as much as me from the experience. Fran has continued to engage in other forms of pretty intense exercise, all under the close supervision of her obstetrician. Fran knows her own body well, having been someone who has made health a priority her entire life.

But here are what acquaintances and even friends are saying about Fran: “You really shouldn’t be working out anymore. You seem a bit of a fanatic. Why don’t you just enjoy your pregnancy and take a break for 9 months?”

Now there’s my friend John. John, although gregarious and outgoing on the outside was suffering on the inside. John is in his mid-50s and for over 20 years had been severely overweight. John decided to give P90X a try, even against my own advice. But, John had reached a point in his life where he was ready to change. At first, John could only do 20 minutes of each workout. He used the menu planner I suggested and encouraged his wife to start buying whole foods. He even pitched in by cooking dinner 3 nights per week.  Only a month in and John was feeling better. He had more energy, he was sleeping better and he had more focus at work. John stuck with the program for 6 more months and lost 45 lbs. For one hour per day, John exercises. His meals have changed from burgers and starchy foods to grilled chicken and veggies. That’s it.

But John’s wife is now saying: “You’ve got to slow down; you can’t keep doing this at your age. Can’t you just skip a workout a few days per week?

As you read these stories, you’re probably thinking one of two things:

  1. I know someone just like Mary, Fran and John and I can completely relate to what their friends, family and acquaintances are saying or
  2. I AM Mary, Fran or John and I can’t understand why I’ve finally reached such a good place in my life and those closest to me are questioning my healthy choices rather than supporting them.

In all three of these individuals I see happy, healthy and focused people. I see people who, despite challenges overcame obstacles and achieved great things. I see people who because they made a change in how they moved and ate everyday have dramatically changed for the better the way they socialize, work, and parent.

If you fall into category #1, take a long hard look at your friend or loved one. Is there something in that person that you wished you had? Are you afraid that person will not be your friend or won’t love you as much because they’ve achieved something beyond what you think you’re capable of? Has their concern for being healthy really eclipsed their entire life or just become a bigger part of their lifestyle?

If you want to reach the same place as Mary, Fran and John, the next time you see them, confide in them.  These folks don’t have any kind of magic inside them and they will be happy to talk with you. They will tell you that their results came with a plan, smart choices consistently over time and accountability.  They will tell you that the first step was the most difficult and for a long time their choices were difficult to make.

But, they will also tell you that the rewards are huge and they wouldn’t trade going back to their old way of living for anything in the world.

PS If you want to be like Fran, John or Mary and don’t know how to start, I am starting an accountability group on September 15th using a great new program by Shaun T called Focus T25. Each workout is only 25 minutes, for 5 days per week and it is truly for ALL LEVELS of fitness. Message me for more info.

New Season, New Focus, New Plan

The change of seasons often brings a renewed, fresh outlook on life for many but, when the season changes from summer to Fall I just feel outright sad and anxious.

I see my tan starting to fade, the days getting shorter, the nights getting cooler and my calendar filling up with events like tryouts, sports practices, orientations, and dance classes.

Sadly, the long, warm, lazy, hazy days of summer are coming to an end.

Rather than getting too deep into a depression, I try to use this as an opportunity to make some minor improvements in my life. Despite the fact that our free time is dwindling, we can all make the best use of the time we have by trying the following:

  1. It’s the harvest season. Get to a farmer’s market and stock up on some fresh, healthy and tasty food. Seek out some clean recipes in your cookbooks or online and clean up your system with food from its source.
  2. Renew your fitness routine. If you’ve been doing the same old fitness routine for a while it’s likely that it’s starting to feel too comfortable or a little boring. When you are not challenged mentally and physically your health stops improving and your body ceases to change. Try a new type of fitness or a new workout program that will encourage you to stay focused and challenge your body to change for the better. Beachbody has over 150 workout programs that you can incorporate into your routine to add some variety and they allow you to work out on your time and in the privacy of your home.
  3. Spice up your environment. We’ve been looking around our house and seeing many opportunities for improvement! Just this week my husband went to a lumber yard with our daughter and together they built a headboard for her bed. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to spend some quality time together and spice up her room! Home improvements don’t need to cost a lot of money either. You’d be amazed at how new color in a room with just a coat of paint can do for your state of mind!

I’ve failed to report my accountability plan to you in the last few weeks, so with the change of seasons, I will begin to do so again.

My renewed workout focus is the second phase of Shaun T’s T25 program. I completed the 5-week Alpha Phase and today I started the Beta Phase. Here is my workout plan for the week:

Monday: 5:30 am, T25 Core Cardio—DONE!

Tuesday: 5:30 am, T25 Speed 2.0

Wednesday: 5:30 am, T25 Rip’T Circuit

Thursday: 5:30 am, T25 Dynamic Core

Friday: 6:00 am, T25 Upper Focus and Core Cardio

Saturday: 8:00 am, Bikram Hot Yoga

How to break away from Mobile devices, Machines and start Moving again

To the right you see a picture of the wall where our flat screen TV is mounted. Something is missing…yes?

Something's missing...

Something’s missing…

We live in a moderate-sized home, a little over 1600 square feet. We have one TV. For the past 7 years, my husband has removed the TV from the wall for the summer. It stays in a closet from approximately the end of June through early September. There have been years where the removal was delayed. These instances were when the Red Sox went to the World Series, during the Summer Olympic Games and most recently during the Bruins’ trip to the Stanley Cup—milestones for our local sports teams that we just couldn’t miss!

Even though we have just one TV, the Caldicott household still has a plethora of technology. All told we we have one TV, 2 iPads, 4 laptop computers, 5 Smart Phones, and 2 iPod Shuffles. I’ll bet if you have a family living in your house, the amount of technology might be similar, or more for that matter!

Given that, how does anyone completely unplug these days?

Our technology is most definitely the curse of our modern world. It is the main reason why we’ve have become such a sedentary nation. After all, we can shop for just about anything online—even groceries, we do most of our work at a computer, and we converse through text or email. Human contact and mobility are being wiped out by the mobile device.

A study, by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill researchers and published in Obesity Reviews in June of last year documented trends in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China and India and looked at energy expenditure in four areas: work; domestic work; travel; and active leisure activities, including sedentary time for adults.

It compared a person’s workload through the metabolic equivalents of task, or MET, hours, defined as a ratio of a person’s working metabolic rate to resting metabolic rate. The lower the value, the less physical exertion involved.

In the U.S., total physical activity trends went from 235 MET hours per week in 1965 to nearly 160 MET hours per week in 2009. Our sedentary lifestyle increased from 26.4 MET hours in 1965 to 37.7 MET hours in 2009.

This same study forecasts physical activity to be around 142 MET hours per week by 2020, using linear trends based on 2003-2009. In 2030, it’s even lower – 126 MET hours per week due to declining work-related, domestic and travel physical activity. Americans will be more active when it comes to leisure activities, but time spent in sedentary activities will increase to nearly 42 hours per week by 2030 – more than today’s average work day.

My tip for this week: MOVE!

It’s critical, more than ever that we make time to move for at least one hour per day. Even I find myself working at my computer for 4 or 5 hours straight before realizing my butt has not left the chair. So, here are some tips for breaking the ties to our technology and getting physical activity back into your daily life:

  1. Schedule physical activity. It sounds a little crazy doesn’t it? But today we need to make an appointment with ourselves to improve our overall health. Look at your week ahead, block out 30 – 60 minutes each day. Write down the workout you plan to do on your calendar like you would any other important appointment.
  2. If you have a sedentary job, move every 1.5 – 2 hours. If you have the type of job where you are sitting at a desk all day, set an alarm and get up and move at least every couple of hours. Take a short walk outside the building, stand and do some stretching or yoga postures at your desk. Who cares if your co-workers think you’re strange. You’ll be alive and well in 10 years and they won’t. Or better, yet, get them to join you in this effort. After a walk or stretching everyone will be more focused and productive!
  3. UNPLUG! I’m not saying you need to go to the extreme that the Caldicott household does. But, think about it…Do you really need to watch reality TV, silly sitcoms, and documentaries about fish every night? Can you put down that cell phone for a couple of hours a day and stop texting and posting? Unplugging from technology is not just for your physical well-being, do it for your mental and spiritual well-being too. Spend that time calling your mom, talking heart-to-heart with your kids or….exercising.
  4. Reverse technology: Stop doing a couple tasks online. I know what you’re going to say: “Kit that is counterproductive.” But, in an effort to improve your overall health, I suggest you stop doing two of the tasks that you typically do online and get up from your computer to do them. For example: rather than conversing via text or through Facebook, schedule a phone call with that person. Or better yet, make an appointment to go on a daily walk with that person and talk while your walk. I live in a small town and I can actually walk to the bank and the post office. I’ve started doing these tasks in person as often as I can rather than online.
  5. Stop making excuses. EVERYONE has at least 5 hours per week or 25 minutes a day for physical activity. This is your life we’re talking about. Are you a parent, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, grandparent? Their lives are depending on you too. Make time for it. PS, there is great program with Beachbody’s Shaun T called “Focus T25” out right now that I am doing. EVERY workout is 25 minutes long. These are great workouts for all levels and BAM! 25 minutes and you’re done! And, a little birdie told me that Tony Horton is coming out with P90X-3 sometime this Fall or Winter and I believe the master of motivation has worked his magic to develop a series of GREAT workouts that are just 30 minutes long. Message me if you want to learn more about either of these programs.