My Mom Died 5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago today my mom died. This is the third version of this post. The first version I wrote a few months ago. It was the version I’ve been living for 45 years. The version where I desperately try to sound like a daughter who loved and appreciated her mom despite her narcissism, rage, and neglect. The one where I channel my inner self-help guru and recognize what a deeply wounded soul she was and how the hurt she caused herself was so much greater than the hurt she caused me. The one where I prove I’m not the horrible daughter she told everyone I was. Two weeks later, the facade I’ve been keeping up for 45 years started to crack and I wrote version 2 — the fuck you version. The version where I couldn’t spend one more day trying to pretend she didn’t backstab, betray, and hurt me in ways no real mother ever could. The version where I acknowledge how hateful and mean she was and for the first time since her death I say fuck you for what you put me through. Then last night my cat died. And 1 hour plus a vodka milkshake later I wrote this version. The version where I finally say enough — it’s time to be done with this.
 
In my other versions I went into great detail. Detail about finding out my mom had 6 months to live and realizing I only had 6 months to finally get her love me. About getting the call that she had been found on the floor covered in every bodily fluid and me getting on a plane 3 hours later desperate to show her that I wasn’t the horrible daughter she said I was. About sitting in hospice every waking hour managing her care while her visitors who had always listened to her stories sneered at me and talk down to me. About how I was the only one, the ONLY one, who was there day in and day out and never left her side. About how she called me into her room one day and I went in thinking this was it — the moment I had dreamt of — them moment she would tell me that she really did love me even if she didn’t show it — but instead she told me all the ways I made it difficult for her to love me. About how she made arrangements to have a coworker she barely knew handle her funeral arrangements. And how she made it clear that she did not want me to be included in her funeral plans. About how I was not invited to my own mother’s funeral. I was the ONLY one there. Day in. Day out. And I wasn’t even invited to her funeral. And people talked about me. Said nasty things about me. And I was the ONLY one there. Day in. Day out.
 
For 5 years I’ve tried to overlook the bad memories. The memories of her berating me, telling me what a horrible person I am. The memories of her rages, her drunken stupors, her vicious retaliation over the tiniest perceived slight. From the moment she died I’ve tried to move past the hurt and tried to recall every happy memory. For 5 years I’ve tried to find the happy memories and for 5 years I’ve felt guilty that I can’t recall more than 3.
 
For 5 years I’ve carried the guilt of not being able to remember happy times with my mom. And then last night my cat died. All night long my husband and I were recalling memory after memory of our cat — all of them happy. The memories came up so effortlessly — one right after the other. And after weeks of trying to write a post about the significance of the 5 year anniversary of my mom’s death — after weeks of trying to feel like a daughter should feel on the 5 year anniversary of her mom’s death, it hit me — my cat left me with more happy memories than my mom did. And that’s fucked up.
 
So Mom, in the words of Bob Hope, thanks for the memories. My cat made me feel more loved than you ever did and for the first time in my life I realize — that’s a reflection of you, not me. You left me with a legacy of pain and today I say — enough. It’s time for me to move on.
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Me In 45

Today is my birthday. I love my birthday. And 45 feels significant for me. I’ve actually been excited for 45 for a while now. In honor of 45 I give you Me in 45:

  1. I have never seen Gone With The Wind or The Godfather
  2. I am a Capricorn and even though I don’t believe in astrology — I am SUCH a Capricorn
  3. I have been asked by more than a few therapists if I was interested in seeing if I fit the requirements of an OCD diagnosis.
  4. I said no. I love my OCD traits and I was afraid they might try to take them away from me.
  5. My husband and daughter probably wish I’d said yes.
  6. Being a mom is my favorite thing in the world
  7. I was born and raised in Portland and it’s my favorite city and I would move back in a heartbeat if they could do something about that pesky rain problem.
  8. I hate bananas. I tried for many years to like them. It didn’t happen. I have accepted that I will always hate bananas. But I do like banana bread.
  9. I also hate cooked mushrooms but I like them raw.
  10. I also hate all things pumpkin.
  11. Coincidentally, fall is my least favorite time of the year.
  12. I am terrified of clowns and was once trapped inside a Gap store because of a clown rally that had taken over the street.
  13. My favorite food is ice cream.
  14. Donuts are a close second but I rarely eat them because, well, they are donuts.
  15. I have been asked to be on the Dr. Phil show twice.
  16. I am parking psychic. 
  17. I have stain fighting super powers.
  18. I know the words to every Disney song ever recorded.
  19. Disneyland is my favorite place in the world.
  20. I have a passion for office supplies. Staples is my idea of nirvana.
  21. I LOVE my birthday.
  22. There have been 2 times in my life when I thought my chance to have more birthdays would be taken away at the hands of another person. I survived. See #21.
  23. I always have German Chocolate cake for my birthday.
  24. I had a slight obsession with Duran Duran when I was a teenager.
  25. I cried the night Simon LeBon got married. My friends called me to offer their condolences. I might have been slightly out of touch with reality at the time.
  26. I have been told “I was so afraid of you when I first met you, but you’re actually nice” more times than I can count. 
  27. My favorite movies are: Star Wars, Die Hard, Mary Poppins, Love Actually, and Sleepless in Seattle. This might be an indication that I have multiple personalities. 
  28. I met my husband (the good one) because of the movie You’ve Got Mail.
  29. But technically we met at a garage sale.
  30. In my next life I will be a quadruple threat: I will sing, dance, and act on Broadway and drive race cars in my spare time.
  31. I don’t have many regrets, but I wish I had thought of stunt car driving as a career option because I seriously would have pursued that.
  32. The day my mom died, was the day I realized she was never capable of loving me the way I wanted her to and I had wasted 40 years trying to get her to love me.
  33. The best cure for the heartbreak of having a mom that couldn’t love me has been giving my daughter all of the love that I missed out on.
  34. I have never been someone who cares what others think of me. Some people are really offended by that. Fortunately, I don’t care.
  35. I love math. I love math so much that I try to avoid using a calculator as much as I can.
  36. I love books. As an only child, the characters in books were often my very best friends. 
  37. When I was little I used to sneak into my room to see if I could catch my stuffed animals playing and talking. When the movie Toy Story came out I cried because it was like someone had turned a piece of my childhood into a movie.
  38. I’ve learned that super fucked up things can happen in life but most of the time the fucked up parts are only permanent if you let them be permanent. 
  39. Fear, not money, is the root of all evil. I am positive of this.
  40. Now that I’m 45 and my peers are mid-life as well, I can tell you that bitching about younger generations is a guaranteed way to get old fast.
  41. I am a super happy/fun drunk. If you think I’m a bitch, we should totally go out for drinks some time. You’ll love me. But I won’t really care because — well — #34
  42. As my first marriage was going down in flames, I started making a list of all the things I wanted in a partner and in a relationship. I split the list into three categories: Must haves, Should have most of these, and These aren’t necessary but would be nice. Doug hit all but three items on the list. Moral of the story: Know what you want and don’t settle for anything less.
  43. I think one of the most important things in life is to learn from my mistakes.
  44. I hate fear. I appreciate its purpose in dangerous situations, but I despise it when it’s irrational and I will work like hell to eliminate it when it appears.
  45. I already love being 45. I think 45 is going to be my favorite age so far.  I feel like I am officially starting the second half of my life and I am so excited to see where it takes me!
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The Truth About Temptation and Weight-loss

 

 

whatyouwantmost (1)

Because I work as a nutrition and lifestyle coach, people tend to think that I that I never have cravings and that I never struggle with temptation. That could not be farther from the truth. Last night, I had a verrrry long, verrrry boring meeting I had to go to. I was really dreading it. And the cold, rainy weather was adding to the dread. Just before leaving the house I got the idea to stop at Starbucks and grab a hot chocolate for the meeting. It sounded REALLY good and I really wanted it. I wish I was one of those people that could just not crave it, or easily say no and move on. But I’m not, so I have to follow a plan for dealing with cravings. Here’s what I did last night:

Get Real
I stopped and asked myself: “How is hot chocolate going to make this meeting better?” I was telling myself that the hot chocolate would give me something to enjoy during the long, boring meeting but the truth was that I was looking for a distraction from the dread I was feeling. Getting real about why I wanted the hot chocolate made me realize that the hot chocolate would quickly be gone and wouldn’t change the fact that I still had to sit through this the long, boring meeting. This got me focused in the right direction but I was still wavering so I continued on to the next step.

What I want most
I thought about my goal. I have a very clear, very specific goal in my mind of where I want to be in 5 months. It is so clear that I can easily imagine how I will feel when I reach that goal 5 months from now. I can feel it and I can see it. I thought about my goal and I thought about what I will feel like if I don’t reach my goal. The answer was immediate — I will feel horrible if I don’t reach my goal. I will feel frustrated and disappointed in myself. That hot chocolate I was wanting was not worth feeling horrible 5 months from now. There’s a saying “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want right now’. What I want most is to reach my goal and the hot chocolate I wanted in the moment was not worth giving up my goal.

The misconception about temptation
There’s a misconception that the key to eating healthy and losing weight is to stop wanting unhealthy food. People think that they shouldn’t be tempted by food. But in a society where unhealthy foods are so abundant and so easy to get, I just don’t think that’s a realistic expectation. Instead, we have to put our energy into learning how to navigate our way through temptation. In this case, I had to recognize that I was using the hot chocolate to distract me from undesirable feelings (boredom and dread) and recognize that the distraction would not be worth giving up my goal.

As you’re reading this, it might sound like I spent a great deal of time working through this thought process, but I didn’t. I probably spent a total of 1 minute thinking this through. If you are clear about your goals, it doesn’t take long to determine your priorities. If you’re like me and struggle with temptation, try a new approach. Instead of focusing on forcing yourself to not want the food, put your energy into focusing on what you want most and ask yourself if what you want now is worth giving that up.

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Filed under: Healthy Eating: Preparing for Success Series, Healthy Habits, Weight-loss

 

The Elephant In the Room…

Life got turbulent. Really, really turbulent. And as everything around me felt like it was falling apart, I let myself fall apart too.The elephant in the room is… me. I am not supposed to gain weight. I am not supposed to be overweight. It’s not allowed. I am a nutrition coach. People pay me to help them lose weight. Only a hypocrite would gain weight while telling others how to lose it. But I did. Life got turbulent. Really, really turbulent. And as everything around me felt like it was falling apart, I let myself fall apart too.
 
Flight attendants always tell you:
“If cabin air pressure changes, masks will deploy from the ceiling. Grab the mask and make sure there are no twists in the tubing. Gently place the mask over your face. Oxygen will begin to flow immediately into the mask. Place the mask on yourself first and then help those around you who are unable to assist themselves.”
 
My oxygen mask in life is my health. My oxygen mask is keeping my stress level low, it’s being physically active, it’s feeling engaged with my family when I spend time with them, it’s eating healthy, and it’s having the energy to enjoy my life. These are the things I need to sustain me in life. I know that when these things are not my top priority, I get stressed. The stress builds and builds and eventually it snowballs so fast I don’t know how to get control back. When you’re on a plane that’s losing cabin pressure, if you don’t get your oxygen mask on in time, the oxygen depletion causes your brain to become confused, disoriented and you may not be able to get your mask on before you lose consciousness. I didn’t have my oxygen mask on and as life got bumpier and bumpier I became so overwhelmed that I didn’t know how to get back on track again.
 
I can’t pinpoint when I took my mask off, but it’s been off for at least a couple of years. As I mentioned, life got bumpy. The cabin was losing pressure. Parts of my life felt like they were spinning out of control and, instead of putting on my oxygen mask, I scrambled to regain control and stop the plane from crashing. The harder I tried, the more depleted I got and I became so depleted that I couldn’t see how crazy it was to think that I, in my depleted state, could stop the everything from crashing down. The harder I tried to control everything the more depleted I became.
 
The first half of this year the stress finally took its toll. I was exhausted all the time. I started losing hair by the handful. I was experiencing anxiety on a daily basis, at random moments feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. The anxiety was building to the point that I knew I was on the verge of having full blown panic attacks. I was having cognitive problems and found myself googling Alzheimers on a regularly basis even though I knew, in the back of my mind, my cognitive issues were stress induced. And on top of it all, I was gaining weight at an unbelievable rate. Weight gain would suck for anyone, but when your job is to teach people how to lose weight, it’s humiliating. And of course the humiliation only added to my stress-level. Being 44, stressed to the max, and having a family history of heart problems and cancer, I was terrified of what would happen to me if I didn’t get my stress under control. I felt like I was in a do or die situation. In June I made the decision to let go of saving the plane and I put on my oxygen mask.
 
I won’t lie and pretend the past three months have been rainbows and unicorns. I have struggled with stress management since I was a child and I now I have to make stress management and self care a priority so I don’t fall back into old habits. My hair has finally stopped falling out, my energy level couldn’t be better, I no longer worry that I have Alzheimers, and the anxiety has been gone for several weeks now. 
 
Now, I am ready to tackle the weight. It’s embarrassing and scary being the nutrition coach who has to lose weight  but I have never been the coach to tell people they have to focus on their weight-loss above all else. I believe we all have battles to conquer and you can only successfully fight one battle at a time. I have told many clients that they need to get their stress under control before they can focus on weight loss. And now I’m doing exactly that. Don’t expect to see rapid results. I’m mom to a 9 year-old girl and as I lose this weight, I will be ever mindful that she is watching and learning from me. Every step of the way I will be asking myself, “How do I want her to feel about her body when she’s older?”
 
Oh, and my turbulent life that was crashing down? A funny thing happened when I started putting my own needs first. My turbulent life got a lot less bumpy. I still experience minor turbulence from time to time but I refuse to take my oxygen mask off so now I am always prepared no matter how bumpy life gets.
 
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I’m Calling B.S. On Motivational Memes

I'm calling b.s. on your motivational memes | bloomingT.com

Thanks to social media, motivational memes are everywhere. I love a great motivational meme. I have a notebook filled with quotes torn from magazines over the past twenty years. I have quotes taped to my mirrors, pinned to the bulletin board above my desk, and tucked into my wallet. I copy quotes in my planner every week. My wedding invitation was decorated entirely with famous quotes. One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Henry Ford: “Whether you belive you can do a thing or not, you are right.” I love a great motivational meme. But I’m noticing a new trend in motivational memes – the trend of glossing over reality – and it’s pissing me off. So I’m calling bullshit on pseudo-motivational memes.

Last week, as I was scrolling through Facebook (the mecca of motivational memes), I came across this one:

I've never met a strong person with an easy past

It reads, “I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past”. The comments section was filled with enthusiastic declarations of “True!” “Amen” and “Me neither”. And as I read through the comments I thought, really? The only way to be strong is to have a crappy past? And do people really think that having a crappy past guarantees strength? And how strong can a person be if they have to discount people with happy lives in order to feel good about themselves?

I know a lot of people who have had fantastic childhoods, fantastic lives, and who also happen to be tough as f***ing nails. These are people I admire and respect and am proud to have in my Iife. I have also known a lot of people who have had tough lives and go through life hiding behind their hurt, using it as an excuse to be a self-absorbed a*****e. Be honest, you know you’ve had at least one of these in your life or at least in your Facebook feed.

The thing is, strength isn’t acquired through experience. It’s chosen. Happy life or crappy life, strength is a choice we make. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but good or bad, we always have the option to grow or to cower. I happen to be in the category of people who’ve had a difficult past. And yes, I am stronger because of it. And because I am strong, I can also give credit to my friends who are equally strong and fortunate to have a great life too.

Look out pseudo-motivational memes people. I’m ready to start calling you on your bullshit.

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Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites | bloomingT.com

Friday Favorites | bloomingT.com

Favorite On Instagram

Into The Okavango
@intotheokavango
I follow over 600 Instagrammers and this is by far one of my favorites. It’s one of the feeds I am hoping to see new posts from every time I open the app. Their profile invites you to “Join us on a 90 day, 3 country, 1000 mile human-powered expedition through one of the planet’s most inaccessible and important ecosystems.” This account follows the trail of real-life explorers as they are “finding new species, exploring new ground, and taking the pulse of this mighty river that brings life-giving water to the Jewel of the Kalahari.” They share their stories of searching for new species, travelling through a country littered with mine fields. It’s fascinating and educational and an account I love to share with my daughter.

Favorites On Netflix

Showrunner
Am I the only one who thought showrunners were people who ran errands for shows?  Apparently they have slightly more important roles than tha – like they are in charge of the entire show. Anyway, I really enjoyed this documentary, which takes us behind the scenes of network t.v. shows. And if I’m being honest, what I really liked was seeing that no matter how successful they are, all writers struggle with the creative process.
 
Hot Girls Wanted
I saved this for last because it wasn’t something I loved but it was something I needed. This documentary, which was just added to Netflix,  looks at girls who answer Craigslist ads for amateur porn. If you, like me, have preconceived notions about the “types” of girls that end up in porn, or about the “types” of families they come from watch this movie. If you, like me, did NOT grow up in the age of the internet, watch this movie. I’ll warn you: It’s disturbing and hard to watch. And be warned it could be a trigger for anyone with a history of sexual abuse. It was difficult to watch but I am very glad I did. It opened my eyes to how different the world my daughter is growing up in is from the world I grew up in. 
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Would You Choose Beautiful?

If you haven’t seen it yet, Dove posted another powerful video for their #ChooseBeautiful campaign. I’ve watched this video over and over this past week. The first time I watched it I cried. Then I watched it again and I cried some more. The third time I watched it with my 8 year-old daughter… and I cried again. But when I watched with my daughter, I was fascinated by how different our experiences were. While I cried (again), she watched it with a huge smile. I cried because I identified with the women choosing the Average door. I cried because I wanted them to choose the Beautiful door. My daughter smiled because she identified with the women choosing the Beautiful door. I think she loved the idea of walking through the Beautiful door.  

After watching the video I asked her why she thought so many women chose the Average door and she couldn’t think of a reason. I asked her which door she would choose and she quickly answered “The Beautiful Door” and as relieved as I was to hear her answer, I did notice the tiny bit of doubt on her face as she said it. The doubt worried me at first but then I realised, doubt is inevetible, and what I really want for her is to know that when doubt creeps in, she still has the power to make her own choice. Last, I asked her, “Do you think some of the women were right to choose the Average door?” to which she answered, “No, I think they all should have picked the Beautiful door because everyone is beautiful.” And while I would like to gloat on her perfect answer, the truth is, I think most little girls would give that exact same answer. 

I think most little girls would choose to run to the beautiful door excited to declare their beauty. But I can’t say that as a grown women I would choose the Beautiful door. Sitting in the privacy of my home, watching the video for the first time, I thought, “Of course I would choose the beautiful door.” But, in truth, if I were really faced with this choice out in public, I think I’d be self-conscious. I think I’d be worried that someone might see me choose the beautiful door and think that I wasn’t worthy of it. I would feel like a fraud going through the Beautiful door. And as you can see in the video, I’m not the only one thinking that. Watching this video and having this conversation with my young daughter, it makes me wonder – what the hell happens to us that we grow up to become adults afraid of valuing ourselves?

I see this all the time with my clients. Not just that they can’t declare themselves beautiful, but they aren’t comfortable seeing themselves in a postive light. They’re uncomfortable declaring themselves healthy, fit, strong, in control, capable – you name it. It’s so easy for us to trash talk ourselves. So easy to point out all of our own flaws. Why is it so hard to declare that we have positive traits too? In my first draft of this post I wrote that I’m not sure what the answer to that question is. After writing that first draft, I kept thinking to myself, “We need to be kinder to ourselves”. We see so much of that advice these days. But being kinder to myself, that advice just didn’t resonate with me. It didn’t feel like a powerful solution and then it hit me –  maybe what we really need is to be kinder to each other. 

At times I make an effort to show myself compassion and, while it isn’t a bad thing, it doesn’t exactly alter my life. But when I make an effort to show compassion for others I find that I can be more compassionate with myself without even trying. Now that I’ve seen this video, I’m going to make an effort to spend a few moment each day noticing the beauty in other women. I doubt that there is one simple solution to the question, “What the hell happens to us that we grow up to become adults afraid of valuing ourselves?”, but I’m curious to find out… can this one simple effort get me closer to that Beautiful door?

If you were in this exact same situation, what door would you choose?

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Cookbook Review (part 1): Clean Slate

clean slate 

I was very excited when I found out that the editors from Martha Stewart Living were publishing their new cookbook Clean Slate. I was a huge fan of Whole Living magazine and I’ve always loved their approach to clean, healthy recipes. My copy arrived in the mail a couple weeks ago and now that I’ve had a chance to try out some recipes I wanted to share my review with you.

The Good

  • The cookbook is beautiful and well-organized (would we expect anything less from Martha Stewart and company?)
  • I like the easy, visual presentation of the smoothie recipes and I love the amount of variety them. I especially like at both savory and sweet smoothies are included.
  • I like the way the recipes are organized. Unlike traditional cookbooks that are organized by food group or meal, the recipes in this book are organized by how you want to feel. I talk about this a lot with my clients so I love that they’ve chosen to organize recipes this way.
  • The recipes in this book are healthy.  I know that probably sounds redundant, but I see so many recipes that are labeled as healthy when they really offer little in the way of nutrition. These recipes are high on nutrients and offer a lot of variety as well.

The Not As Good

I’m not a huge fan of the “super foods” trend. I see too many of my clients focusing on eating the so-called “super foods” and then they lose sight of getting variety in their diet. That said, I do appreciate that they list the health benefits of some foods and I think it could be a good reference tool when you want to add variety to your diet.

I’m trying a few of the recipes this week and the first one I’m reviewing is:

Farro and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad (pg. 174)

 Farro and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Confession: The picture looked delicious but when I looked at the ingredients list I thought it would taste a little bland.

Confession #2: I was wrong! This salad is full of flavor.

 

The Good

This recipe is delicious. Anyone who follows me knows that my favorite qualities in a recipe are 1) Easy, 2) Healthy, and 3) Delicious. This recipe met all those requirements with flying colors. In fact, this is a new favorite for me. I was so wrong about the flavors. It is incredibly flavorful and I’m excited to have a new healthy lunch option that tastes great. I also love that this would be a great meal to take with me with I’m on-the-go.

What I Changed

  • As much as I love Martha Stewart’s recipes, I often wonder if they ever use normal people (you know, those of us who aren’t perfect at everything we do) to test their recipes. I don’t own a mortar and pestle so I tried their suggestion of mashing the garlic with a fork. It took me about 30 seconds to decide this was not the way to go so I used a garlic press instead. I’m sure this a major faux-pas in the culinary world but it was faster, easier, and the recipe tasted great so that’s how I’ll be doing it in the future too. Or maybe I’ll use this as an excuse to buy myself a mortar and pestle. 
  • I also used a rice cooker instead of cooking the farro stovetop. I’m far too lazy to stand watch over my grains while they cook when I can get perfectly good results from my rice cooker. I’m sure the culinary purists would be revolted by this, but I like to keep things simple when I can.

Notes

  • If I made this for the meat lovers in my family, I would marinate some chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, grill it up and serve that on top of this salad
  • This recipe is actually pretty quick and easy but if I were really short on time, I would cook the farro and sweet potato the night before and then throw the rest of the salad together the next day.

 I love this recipe! Too many clean eating recipes are lacking in flavor but that is not the case here. The garlic, lemon, and dill make it flavorful. This was a great introduction to the cookbook and I can’t wait to see how the other recipes compare.

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Diets Don’t Work – Part 1

Diets don't work - Part 1 | bloomingT.com
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a diet. Raise your hand if you’ve dieted two or more times in your life. Now think of how many people you know who have dieted. That’s a lot of people doing a lot of dieting. It is estimated that 45 million Americans diet each year. 45 million. Think about that number. 45 milion. Every single year. That is a lot of dieting going on.
 

200 Years Of Dieting
Dieting goes back at least as far as 1820 when the vinegar and water diet was introduced. The diet consisted of drinking only apple cider vinegar and water (apparently the diet gurus are running out of ideas because this one has been getting recycled recently). That’s nearly 200 years of dieting. 200 years. You would think that in 200 years of dieting, we’d have perfected it by now, right? Two hundred years seems like ample time to perfect dieting. But research tell us that we have done anything but perfect dieting.

 

45 Million Diets
Dieting has been around for 200 years and yet, according the the CDC, 69% of Americans are overweight. If 45 million Americans diet every year, and if diets have been around for 200 years, why are 2/3 of us still overweight? The diet inudstry wants to blame you. The diet industry wants you to think it’s your lack of willpower. It’s time to pull back the curtain and realize that the great and powerful diet industry is trying to pull one over on you.

 

Diets Actually Predict Weight Gain
Studies have shown that almost all people go off of their diets within 12 months and virtually no one makes it to the 2 year mark. Diets take a lot of effort (not that I’m opposed to effort) so why would anyone want to put so much effort into something they will only benefit from for one year, two at best? That’s like going to the gym for two years and then saying, “Ok, I worked out for two years. I’ll never have to work out again”. It just doesn’t make sense.

 

The Proof Is In The Study

  • A twin study done in Finland found that people who had dieted once in their life had a significantly higher chance of gaining weight compared to those who hadn’t dieted at all. In fact, it seems that every time a person diets, their potential for gaining weight goes up respectively.
  • Another study published in 2006 ( Neumark-Sztainer et al 2006) found that teenage dieters had twice the risk of becoming overweight, compared to non-dieting teens.
  • A team of UCLA researchers reviewed 31 long term studies on the effectiveness of dieting and concluded that dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain—up to two-thirds of the people regained more weight than they lost. Still think dieting is the way to lose weight?
The diet industry is very good at convincing you that their way will work for you. And with $66 billion dollars at stake, they’re going to do everything in their power to keep you thinking that you need them. I’m here to show you the truth. This series is going to take you through why diets don’t work so when the next trendy diet that comes along you won’t fall for it.
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Personal Trainers: Sorting The Good From The Bad

how to choose a personal trainer 

Ugh. Bad personal trainers. They’re everywhere. On t.v., in magazines, on YouTube in the gym. I hear them giving bad (sometimes dangerous) advice and I see people, all the time, heeding the advice of these misguided trainers because what most people don’t know is that not all trainers are created equal. A great personal trainer help you reach a level of fitness you didn’t even know was possible, but a bad trainer can cause you harm leaving you with injuries. Before you hire a trainer, you should talk with him or her to make sure that persona is the right trainer for you. I love seeing people succeed and I’ve seen so many people succeed with a knowledgable, motivated trainer. I want you to succeed to so I’ve put together a some guidelines to help you choose a trainer:

No crunches
Ask the trainer if he use crunches. Crunches are outdated, harmful for the back, and create over-dominance of the wrong muscles putting you at higher risk for injury. A knowledgeable trainer will use newer and more effective exercises that strengthen your core. 

Assessments
As the saying goes, if you’re not assessing, you’re guessing. A trainer who is invested in your success will want to track your progress and make sure that the program you’re following is working for you. If your trainer can’t quantify the results, then he’s just just guessing at whether your actually getting stronger or not. Ask the trainer what method they use for assessing progress. Oh, and if the scale, BMI, or inches lost is their only method of assessment… find a different trainer.

Feedback
A trainer’s first priority should be making sure the exercises are being performed correctly. If you aren’t doing the exercise correctly, you’ll actually be making parts of your body weaker, which puts you at a much higher risk for injury. A knowledgable trainer will stop you in the middle of your reps to make sure you’re moving correctly. And NOBODY moves correctly 100% of the time so you should be hearing corrections throughout your workout. You should also be hearing what you are doing right. If your trainer never corrects your movement or goes an entire set without correcting you, get a new trainer. Fast.

No pain = No gain A great thing
No pain, no gain is a myth. The truth is pain=injury and injuries impede progress. If you have consistent pain, you’re trainer should refer you to a physical therapist or at the very least consult with a PT before working with you. Your trainer should know what exercises will help you and which will cause you further injury. If you have an injury and the trainer is asking you what exercises you are able to do, don’t hire that trainer! It’s ok if he asks you how an exercise feels, but the trainer should not be relying on you to tell him what is safe and what isn’t.

Engagement
Look for a trainer that engages with his or her clients. Your trainer should be invested in your goals and progress. He or she should be focused on you and excited to see your progress. Avoid those trainers who look bored, checked out, or seem more interested in socializing than training you.

Certification & Education
The top three certifications are NSCA, ACSM, and NASM. There are too many other certifications to list, but at the very least, the certifying organization should be NCCA qualified.

Nutrition
If your goal is weight-loss or muscle gain, your trainer should know that nutrition plays a bigger role than exercise and sharing that information with you. Your trainer should either have a nutrition certification or refer you to a nutrition coach. And beware of trainers who try to encourage you to follow rigid diets. 

A good trainer is always prepared
Your trainer should show up to every session with a written plan and he or she should be documenting your workout as you go. If they aren’t documenting your workout, they can’t be tracking your improvement. If your trainer doesn’t have a plan, your workouts will be random preventing you from achieving long-term adaptive response. What does that mean? Well, imagine you wanted to learn how to skateboard, so I took you out for an hour to skateboard. And then the next week we spent an hour playing football. And the week after that we spent an hour riding a unicycle. And then the fourth week we went back to skateboarding. How much progress would you have made with your skateboarding? Probably none at all, right? That’s exactly what happens to your muscles with random workouts. They never get a chance to progress because you’re always focusing on something different.

Hiring a personal trainer requires a financial investment and an investment of your time and I hate seeing people wasting their money on a trainer who is wasting their money. The right trainer will lead you down the road to success. The wrong trainer will waste your time, money, and put you at risk for injury. So take your time, do some research, and invest in the trainer that is right for you.

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