Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You've got Great Genetics, don't be green with envy for anybody else's!

This blog post is not really about my green nails!  It's about genetics.

For the longest of time I truly, truly, believed that I was genetically predisposed to be "chubby", "fat", or at least NOT skinny.  Everybody in my entire family was skinny but me. (or it seemed that way, anyway).  I further justified my genetic destiny by rationalizing the fact that I had only 1/2 sisters, same mother, different father, so it MUST have been MY father's side that made me this way.  I believed this to be true until that magical year my life changed and I experienced a physical transformation completely unexpected....41 whole years!  In fact I don't believe I could have made it happen if I wanted to.  Of course I couldn't!  Because most of my life I thought I wanted to make it happen and it never must be those damn genetics, right?

All of my adult life I worked as a professional manicurist, 27 years!  I never planned on this profession, it just kind of happened, kind of ironic because as a young girl / teenager I bit my fingernails down to the quick, and I always dreamed of having long beautiful feminine fingernails, like my sister Christy (the skinny one!) and all of my girlfriends (all skinny too of course).  But I didn't have beautiful nails like my sister because I had bad genetics!  Although I did break the habit of biting my nails when I was 14 years old, completely overnight, cold turkey, I still didn't have the long luxurious fingernails that were so in style of the day.  How does this have anything to do with weight loss?  I'm getting to it!

These days I literally have to file my nails down every 5-7 days!  They grow like weeds and since I prefer them really short, file away I do!  (kettlebell transfer swings and long nails do not like each other!)  Since I've retired from being a Manicurist I have plenty of time to take care of my own nails and, lucky me, I have the experience to do a really nice job of it!  What happened to my "bad fingernail genetics"?

Well, what happened to my fingernail health transformation was that I learned how to take care of them!  I learned what I had to do to have long, strong and healthy fingernails, (if I want to) despite what I thought my genetics predisposed me to.  At least that's what I believe to be true.  What else could explain it?

Do my fingernails have the same shape as my sisters?  No.  And I'm totally okay with that!  Do my thighs have the same shape as my sisters?  No.  And I'm totally okay with that.  What makes it all okay is that I am the best I can be, and that's pretty darn good!

Looking back at my history of being a fat kid (sorry, I mean "overweight" child) I can now remember that I was the kid sitting next to the chips and onion dip at every family get together.  I was the kid that volunteered to hand out school lunches in order to have access to the leftovers.  I was the kid that trekked carts full of glass bottles back to 7 - Eleven for the deposit, so I could spend ALL of the return money on Three Musketeers candy bars (at $.10 a piece, and that was a lot of candy!).  I was the kid that, for whatever reason, found some kind of comfort in eating more food than my body needed to be of a "normal" size.  It was not my genetics.

I now know without a doubt that this is the truth.

You have the best genetics!  Look at you!  Really, would you want to be someone else?  Be honest, other people bug you, right?  A little bit of care, maintenance and consistency go a long way!  Don't be envious of what you think other people have.  You have what you need and no one else can stop you from being your best.

Be your best.  It's never too late.  You can do it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What a Day!

What a day!  Here is a short interview I did with Mari Fernandez part owner/operator of Full Force Personal Training in Modesto CA, after we completed video taping of not only Top 40, and Dirty 30 ("D30"), but I decided at the last minute to include a joint mobility warm up AND another 300 swing rep, 15 minute OTM workout ("on the minute").

Seems like so long ago, but it was just this past November.  I learned a lot of things that day!  I learned that 3000 swings is not 2000 swings!  The last video taping of "Give andTake" and "Roundabout 2.0" was just over 2000, but this was a whole 'nother animal!  Not sure if I would do it again....of course I'l do it again!  Who am I trying to kid?  It was fun as hell!

Swing workouts and routines just keep pouring out of me faster than I can record them!  If you have ordered Top 40 and have done at least the very first workout then, as promised, I have a special treat for you (and everybody else).  I'll be posting a free companion workout this weekend.  It will be much easier to train if you already are familiar with the theme and rhythm of Top 40.  If you haven't trained along to "Top 40", then maybe you'll want the other 3 workouts in the DVD!

Top 40 should be available for download this next week, and fingers crossed Dirty 30 ("D30") will be finished shortly!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Times Have Changed, and Times Are A Changin'. It's Time!

I am really proud to say that Mark and I have posted on our blog/blogs consistently for many, many, many years.  Mark started the first ever kettlebell training blog in May 2004, and I followed suit in Nov. 2006.   And if any of you know how the blogosphere works, blogs come and go...mostly go, because they are a damn lot of work to keep up.  Especially if you don't get paid through selling product or being sponsored (like moi).

Lots and lots of stuff has changed in this time period, including the addition of videos, then "talking" videos!  For me, even the titles of my blogs have changed based on what my life was experiencing at the time.  The original title to my first blog was "Rediscovering Strength", and here is the very first blog post I wrote in Nov, 2006, titled, "First Post", lol!

First Post

My name is Tracy Reifkind and over the last year I have maintained a weight loss of over 115 pounds. I'm 43 years old, 130 pounds and 20% bodyfat, size 6. This is about my kettlebell workouts, my food, and how alone, in my garage in just three short workouts a week I have gotten a body I never thought I would have.

I hope to help motivate and inspire those who are struggling to get started a lean ,strong and healthy lifestyle.

The story of the start of this journey can be read here on our website GiryaStrength:

I look forward to sharing my continuing journey as well as hearing from others who are on the same road.

It was my original intention to inspire and educate other people, through blogging, that have had, or that were having, similar experiences to mine, in regards mostly, to weight loss.  It was my intent to reach out to others that have felt like "the fat kid on the sidelines", or "the last kid picked for the team".  I clearly remember feeling like I was waiting for a chance for someone to recognize the drive I had in my heart and the physical talent that lay underneath a body that never really felt like it reflected who I was inside, or what I knew I was capable of.  "Rediscovering Strength" was during a time when I was living my "second chance", and what a second chance it was!

"Living My Physical Potential" was born from the "rediscovery of my strength"!  "Living My Physical Potential" was about consistency.  The consistency of showing up, no matter how I felt, to do what I knew was the key to freedom, physical freedom.  "Strength" to me means many things.  Strength means doing what is right before doing what feels comfortable.  Comfort comes in the rewards of strength.  I was living strength to the best of my ability and drive...I was living my physical potential.

Parallel Universe

I started my second blog in May 2008 titled, "Food and Thought".  This is where you are now.  It overlapped my first blog "LMPP".  I started this blog without any mention of training, or exercise.  I wanted this blog to be separate from my training blog, and only wanted to focus on my love for home cooking, food and eating.  The making and preparation of foods, the concept of healthy eating, diet and feeding yourself, but mostly, mostly, I wanted to provide a safe place for people that thought they had weight "issues", "problems", and "struggles" to share openly the message of hope outside of the kettlebell community.  I never, ever, once announced or promoted this blog.  You all have found me on your own.

"Exercise people" do not understand what it's like to gain 100 lbs + (give or take 20, 50, another 100 lbs).  Exercise people can help you lose it, for sure, but they lack the understanding of the psychology of letting yourself gain so much extra bodyweight.  I wanted to create a blog that was safe for us to talk and write about being fat, getting fat, staying fat, losing fat, not wanting to be fat, outside of the sometimes judgmental eyes of "the fit".  So I kept it on the "down low", knowing if anybody wanted to find it, they would.

For nine months starting in Nov 2008 Mark and I both decided to step back from the kettlebell blogosphere to take care of our personal lives, but I continued my "secret" blog, "Food and Thought".  After a couple months kettle bell training started creeping into this blog!  What was I supposed to do?  Training was part of who I was, and without the other outlet of "LMPP" I started posting videos and workouts.  So I changed the title of this blog to "Training" Food and Thought.

"Training" in the title means a few things.  It means "training kettle bells" (and yoga, and any other physical exercise I find myself doing).  "Training Food" as in the practice of preparing your own homemade meals and foods.  And "Training Thought", as in looking at how you think about your life's situation, taking control, or at least becoming aware of what is getting in the way of your dreams.  (if you haven't figured it our yet, YOU are the one getting in the way!)

So here I am now.  Today.  The Queen of the Kettlebell Swing, and an author of a book on exercise/fitness and diet published by Harper One....and still posting my measly blog with about 200-300 hits a day.  No paid sponsors, and practically one or two comments every now and then.  But still I'm on the verge yet another transformation, another blog title change!

What will it be?

Funny how much things have changed, but yet nothing has changed.  I am the same person I always was on the inside, only now reflected on the outside.  And the fun is starting again!  So much seriousness, in fact too much seriousness this past year!  It's my time for the best adventures of all, and I know you are feeling it too!

Stay tuned!

Beef Stew with Red Wine, Sharon Shiner's recipe done on the stovetop in a 5qt dutch oven

I know most people don't own a pressure cooker, or if they do they never use it, or don't know how to use it (probably the latter).  So I decided to test Sharon's recipe out on the stove top. Besides, as much as I love pressure cooking making a traditional braised stew on the stove or in the oven feels nice and "homey".  (But I do have to add that because it took a total of 2 + hours I chose not to go to my 8:00am yoga practice.  If I had done it in a PC I could have finished it with time to spare!)

I only changed it slightly.  I decided to use a whole roast instead of dicing into pieces because I wanted to be able to serve the meat in slices once it was finished.  And because I used a whole roast I also decided to do something I never do, which is to dredge the roast in flour before browning it because I wanted the end product to be a slightly thicker stew.

All of the ingredients were the same:

red wine
Pomi tomatoes (28oz)
sweet potato

I tend to list ingredients in the order I use them which is why you see mushrooms listed after the beef.  I feel mushrooms should be browned on their own to prevent becoming, ironically, "mushy"!  So after I brown the roast and remove it from the pan I add more oil, brown the mushrooms, then simply move them to the side and, with a touch  more oil, add the onion and cook until translucent.

Add carrot, garlic, and thyme, deglaze the pot with red wine until the alcohol smell is gone. Add Romi tomatoes, oh, and I filled the empty box with water and added that before I put the browned meat back in the pot.  (salt to taste please!).  Add parsnips and bring the pot to boiling, turn down the heat to simmer and cook for about an hour.

Add in sweet potato and finish cooking for 30-60 minutes.  Sweet potatoes can get soggy so I added them in half way through the braise.

If you use stew meat that is cut up it will take about 30% less time.  Maybe 45 minutes before you add sweet potatoes, and another 30 minutes from that time (total 1 hr 15)

This was soooo delicious I decided to make another batch! I'm kinda like that, I like repitition (swings!). So when I cook a dish/meal that I've never cooked, or not cooked in a while, I'll do it a few times to get familiar with it again, and makes any changes I think will improve it for next time.

The changes I will make on Wed will be that I bought a slightly different cut of beef known as a 7-bone pot roast, only because I found one at Safeway....oh, and by the way, I chose to buy all of my ingredients at Safeway because I wouldn't want anybody to think that good food only comes from high end grocery stores.  And the other change I will make is I am going to leave the parsnips and sweet potatoes in very large chunks, at least 1 1/2 - 2 inch pieces.

One more thing....

Pomi tomatoes sold in 28oz box (around $3.99).  When I started taking cooking classes Pomi tomatoes were all the rage but I stopped using Pomi tomatoes over a decade ago after a trip to Italy.  Yes, Pomi tomatoes are a product of Italy, but most Italians use canned tomatoes, as I was shown by the host family I stayed and cooked with.  So, wanting to cook like a "real" Italian I've only used canned since.  Well, I gotta tell you, I really liked the Pomi tomatoes!  They are thicker, therefore no need to ever add tomato paste to thicken, and they are really sweet!  In fact so sweet I had to look at the ingredients to make sure there was no added sugar!  (there wasn't).  Pomi tomatoes was the only ingredient my Safeway did NOT carry fyi.

So there you have it!  No excuse not to make Sharon's Beef Stew with Red Wine!  So good I'm making it twice!  (or three times!)

PS More info on a "7-bone" beef roast:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guest Recipe Post, Sharon Shiner's Beef Stew with Red Wine for the pressure cooker

Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Red Wine for the pressure cooker

I got my first pressure cooker in 2008; I had just started my personal chef business, Thyme To Cook, and a Fagor model was being offered for sale for a drastically reduced price by the personal chef association that I belonged to. I didn’t know how to use it and in all honestly, I had never even seen one in action. But, it felt like the right thing to do at the time, and boy, am I glad I bought forward to today, and 4 pressure cookers later, and my trusty, old Fagor pressure cooker still gets the most action. I seriously love it. My one and only complaint is that it’s only a 6 quart pot and not bigger.

I made a delicious beef stew in it recently with mushrooms and red wine. For aromatics, I used carrots, onions, garlic and parsnips. Traditionally, I would have added in a stick of celery as well, but didn’t have any in the house, so this time around, I didn’t add it.
I also added sweet potato.

I had thyme in the house so that was my fresh herb for the stew. So a bit of a non-traditional beef stew (think no peas and potatoes), but this combo worked fine. The addition of the mushrooms allowed me to cut back a bit on the amount of beef that I used since mushrooms are meaty in their own right.  The beauty of a stew is that you can add or delete ingredients that might not appeal to you. Don’t like mushrooms? Omit them and add more stew meat. Don’t like parsnips (though I wouldn’t know why you wouldn’t enjoy them??), simply omit them. 
As for the wine, simply use a red wine that you would enjoy to drink; never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t use to drink. I used a red called Apothic Red, a bold blended red that is real luscious. If you don’t wish to use wine, simply replace it with a meat stock such as beef or chicken.

Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Red Wine
Serves 6

1 lb beef stew meat (chuck or round cuts work best)
1 lb sliced mushrooms (cremini or basic white)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, large dice
2 medium carrots, medium dice
2 medium parsnips, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
1.5 cups red wine or stock
1 28 oz can or box of diced tomatoes, with juice
Fresh thyme, leaves taken off 5-6 stems and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fat of choice for browning (coconut oil, olive oil etc)
Juice of half a lemon

1.  Heat pressure cooker over medium high heat. Pat beef dry, season liberally with salt and pepper. Add fat of choice to pot and add half of the beef to brown. Do not crowd the pot with the beef. It’s best to brown the meat in 2 or 3 steps. Otherwise, if the pot is crowded, the beef will steam and will not brown. Remove beef and if necessary, add a bit more fat to pot and repeat with remaining beef.

2.  Add in garlic, onions, carrots and parsnips to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and coat the veggies in remaining fat. Allow the veggies to cook for about 6 minutes until they soften up.
3.  Add in mushrooms and thyme, and again, season with a bit of salt and pepper. Let the mushrooms cook down for about 5 minutes.
4.  Add back the browned beef, the red wine, the tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Stir to combine.

5.  Add the top of pressure cooker, set it for High (or 15psi) and allow it to come up to pressure. Once pressure is achieved, turn the burner down to the lowest setting that will maintain the pressure. Cook for 35 minutes.

6.  After the 35 minutes, remove pressure cooker from heat and set it aside. The pressure is still going to remain high unless you let it out; this potentially will make the meat seize up, so it’s best to let pressure come down naturally for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.
7.  After the resting time, release any remaining pressure (always take care because steam will come out while pressure is being released), and remove lid. Check beef for tenderness. If it is not yet tender, put it back on stove and bring pressure back up for another 5 minutes. Repeat resting process and check beef again.
8.  Add the fresh squeezed juice from half an lemon, and then taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
9.  Enjoy!

Sharon Shiner is a Certified Kettlebell Instructor and Personal Chef, you can find her on facebook here:

Or check out her blog here:

I'm lucky to have met Sharon  online through the kettlebell community, but I know eventually our paths with cross in person!  Sharon comments regularly on my facebook page with great ideas about food, recipes and like me she loves her pressure cooker!  Yay for pressure cooking!

But for those of you still afraid, intimidated or maybe you just don't own a PC and don't want to invest quite yet, I'm making this recipe right now in a traditional dutch oven on my stove top, so I will share that with you in my next blog post!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hip Opening "Tree Pose"

I have new motivation to keep stretching and opening up my hips, but I won't bore you with the reasons for all of that now!  The real point is that I should be stretching and opening up my tight hips anyway!  All of us with tight hips, which means all of us, should be doing something on a regular basis to help open up our hip flexors and hamstrings to keep us out of flexion and more into extension....blah, blah, blah...why should you care?

Tight hips, what does that mean?  Mark says....

"It means that you have hip flexor, hamstring muscles and hip rotators muscles (the muscles underneath your butt, aka, glutes) that are not fully mobile, and what you want are muscles that do not have any restrictions.  "Tight hips" can create back pain, hip pain, leg pain not to mention a lack of mobility.  If you can't can't arch your back and/or you can't tuck your pelvis under then you probably have tight hips.  And certainly if you can't squat down to a chair your hips are really tight!  The problem comes from all of the sitting we do. We sit at the TV, we sit to eat, we sit at computers, we sit to drive....sit, sit, sit!"

The pose I demonstrate above is "Tree pose".  In Bikram's yoga practice there are a number of poses that help open up the hips.....when done properly!  I can't tell you how many times I watch people do this pose improperly.....about 100% of the time!  Even when the teacher clearly instructs to NOT have a "duck butt", guess what?  Apparently no body knows what a "duck butt" is, OR their hips are so tight they can't help it!  But if that's the case then you should take advantage of the use of your opposite hand and hold onto your foot to pull your bent leg down and back.  The "goal" is to have both legs in one line, while pushing your hips forward to open them up!  A good clue to whether or not you are doing this is to pay attention and contract your glute muscle (squeeze your butt muscle!)  In the above picture you can see I'm still a good six inches away from that!

Tree pose, in Bikram's yoga, is NOT a balancing posture.  Sure, you have to balance, but it's a hip opening posture, and your standing leg/hip/glute should be other words, SQUEEZE your butt muscle!  If you cannot squeeze your glute then you are not in the posture.  Everybody is in a hurry to put both hands in prayer and look pretty!  In the bottom photos I demonstrate my hands in "prayer position" and then only one of my hands in prayer, while the other holds onto my foot, while pushing my bent leg down and back, and while squeezing my glute muscle and lifting up on my knee cap of my standing leg/hip.  This does two things.  Squeezing my glute helps to open my hip flexor to bring my hip forward, and lifting up on the knee cap of my standing leg ensures that my standing leg is straight.  Oh...and I also try and make myself tall (like a tree) by lifting my rib cage and shoulders, up and back, visualizing the top of my head being pulled up towards the ceiling, while on the opposite, rooting down through the floor with my entire foot (roots like a tree).

In my opinion it's much more important that you open up your hip than it is to balance with both hands in prayer, looking pretty, with a duck butt!  But that's me.  Eventually I want to get both of my legs in the same line, while having both hands in prayer, with full extension in my hips, now that would really be pretty!  Pretty and correct according to the "dialogue".  And I'm so close!

With some new motivation I'll be more focused on Tree Pose, and a few other yoga poses I will share, to help open up my tight hips!  And by opening up my tight hips get better with my GS single jerks!  Oh!!!!!  The truth comes out!  lol

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Train along with Tracy and "ladder down"! (beginners level swing routine)

Here is a simple 100 swing rep workout that takes 6 1/2 minutes complete, repeat it for a 200 rep, 13 min workout and be plenty proud to have done a really good thing for your health and fitness!

This is a routine I designed for absolute beginners that are still working towards "equal work to rest" and for those new to training the swing where 10 reps is a good solid challenge!  If you are more advanced you can still make this challenging based on the size kettlebell you me, if I were to use a 24kg-32kg this would do the business jut fine!  Sometimes as Instructors or experienced kettlebellers we forget what it was like to be out of breath after ten reps!

As I explain in the intro video, sometimes in order to "progress" our abilities, whether it's our skill, cardio, or strength we can actually back down, decrease reps and do less, in order to do more!  At the end of each workout how many good solid swing reps did you accomplish, and in what amount of time?

This workout is done with all two hand swings and starts each work set every 30 seconds  The rep count starts at 10 reps and "ladders down" one rep per set to the last set of 5 reps. Within those six sets the work to rest goes from 1/1 to 1/3 (work to rest).

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5

repeat and end with one last set of 10 reps.....because you're bad ass like that!

100 swing reps, 6.5 min

Of course you can repeat this as many times and as long as you feel motivated to train!  But as I say at the end of the workout, the only way you won't improve your strength, health and fitness is if you don't do it at all!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Six O'Clockatarian

I've been writing and sharing a lot about my "rules" lately and one of my most successful "rules" that  has turned into a habit is not eating after 6:00 pm.  Take into consideration that I get out of bed at 4:00am, and I get to take a nap between 3:00-4:00pm, AND I don't have young children to feed.  This may not be realistic for some people, but I do have to add that I started this rule when my 23 year old was 15, so I did manage to feed him and stay within my own set limitations.

I prefer to finish eating all foods and meals before 6:00pm, given that I've eaten enough before that time.  If I try and starve, then it's just going to be a mental battle all night long.  Anybody that's ever tried to "diet" by way of restricting calories, has tried to starve the weight off, and most of the time, not all of the time, it doesn't quite work out the way we plan!

When we socialize, especially, or travel, sticking to a routine or schedule seems practically impossible!  And this goes for just about any routine or schedule, whether you prefer not to eat after 6:00 pm or keep a vegetarian diet, or vegan, or paleo lifestyle...unless you are a "vegetarian", vegan", or "a paleo" (or whatever paleos call themselves).  If you are one of these kind of eaters no one ever gives you grief, they just except that that's who you are, that's what you do, and that's how you live, therefore eat.  But if I go out to dinner with friends/associates after six and I don't order a dinner I'm wondering how it would come across if I simply explain that I'm a six o'clockatarian, I don't eat after 6:00pm.

These days would anybody find it weird that somebody chooses to not eat meat?  So why would anybody have a problem with me not wanting to eat a meal after 6:00pm?  I am trying to imagine the success of this strategy working, but I'm willing to give it a go!  I can't live my life based on anybody else's expectations of when I should eat dinner.  I will claim "Six O'Clockatarianism"!

What kind of "atarian" are you?

It's funny that I found this image of a Coo Coo not being able to "coo coo" after six but maybe it's just a Six O'Clockatarian" that doesn't want to eat dinner after 6:00!

Monday, February 18, 2013


I can't believe it's been a week since one of the most amazing experiences of my life, in fact a potentially life changing experience of competing at a Kettlebell Sport meet.  I'm not meaning to sound so dramatic, but there are many reasons why I feel this way, but for now I'm going to share what I learned about having fun and smiling!

Yes, I train and practice a lot!  But I don't train and practice this sport.  I've handled a kettlebell millions of times and that obviously helped me even be in a position to participate, but there is one big huge difference between the way I train and practice and the rules of the sport.  In Kettlebell Sport the events, the "test", the competition is done in one 10 minute long "set", either a snatch or a jerk (both are overhead skills), but you are only allowed to switch or change hands, right and left, one time! So, as soon as one side tires and you switch hands, that's it! You have to finish, if you can!  And that my friends was my first and only finish the entire 10 minute set, 5 min R, 5 min L.  Rep count was irrelevant!

I had never done this with a 12kg, ever before, although I have done something similar w/8kg and 10kg, but only a few times.  I have been playing with strength endurance of my overhead skill for years now, including long work sets without switching hands, and I have always included pacing work in my training, so I knew how hard this skill was.  But that's not all of it. To be able to train this way there are other techniques and skills involved, none of which I've ever practiced....ever!  So maybe now you can imagine what kind of pressure (and pride) I was feeling, especially considering I had 10 days to practice, 3 of those days I was traveling and unable away from my own workouts and comp bell.

Competition Day

Mark and I left for Orange County Saturday early morning and the competition started at 11:00am.  The day before I had decided that part on my visualization was to imagine the word "FUN" on a banner hung across whatever my mind was focused on.  Whatever was going to happen was going to happen and having fun was what it was all about....that and lasting the 10 minutes!  I was scheduled to compete in two events. The 5 minute "hardstyle" snatch test, of which I could choose any weight and use as many hand switches as I wanted to, and at the last minute (10 days earlier) I agreed to try my luck, and skill, at the single jerk for 10 minutes.  Up until that morning I had only completed two 4 minutes sets and one 6 minute set.

Lucky me I had a lot of support and confidence fr0m many many new friends, two of which, Roland and Galina Denzel I had only met one other time, last year when they both came to swing with me in San Clemente.  Galina has competed KB Sport for some time and was also scheduled to compete the single 10 min jerk.  She was in the 9th flight (I think) while I was in the 14th.....again luck was on my side that I got to watch Galina test first!

Throughout the entire 10 minutes Galina smiled.  It was obvious she was having fun and happy.  Didn't anyone tell her how hard this was?  Didn't anyone tell her that competition was about gutting it out, suffering through?  Which it is, but I forgot that, if it does in fact come down to gutting it out and suffering through, that's my kind of fun!

While I watched Galina effortlessly perform her set it became more and more clear that all I needed to do was smile!  Just smile!  Literally lift the corners of my mouth and smile. Smile if and when it started to feel hard because if for some reason I couldn't finish, at least I could feel happy, and look happy about whatever it was I did finish. I am truly convinced that this last bit, this last lesson in attitude, was the key to the success I felt before, during, and after I stepped on and off that platform.

To be honest I really did not know if I could do it, luckily I remembered to start the set with a smile! (you'll see it as the clock read 10 seconds before the start in top video!). I didn't look at the clock until 2 min 40 sec, and it didn't feel that hard, at this point there was no doubt I was going to go the distance.  Breathe and smile, breathe and smile, breathe and smile!  Every time I forced a smile it made me fell like nothing could stop me.  With every smile I felt a little laugher inside about the whole thing!

I did it!  And it was FUN!  Yes, it was hard too, but the kind of "hard" I like!  Afterwards I made sure to take Galina aside when she came over to congratulate me to tell her that it was her, her smile, that made all the difference to me during those ten minutes.(at 11:20 minutes in the top video you can see thanking her!)  It will be something I will take with me onto every platform I ever get the honor to stand on again.  It will be something I take with me in any situation I feel myself fear or doubt. It's just life.  Life is supposed to be good, and life is supposed to be fun.  Smile.

PS a little history about me and smiling.  As a young girl I had always been embarrassed, and even a little ashamed, about the gap between my two front teeth.  For that reason I spent most of my childhood, and adult years hiding my teeth (smile). It really wasn't until I approached my 40's I decided to "get over it" and choose to start feeling proud of myself, my teeth and my smile!  Erasing decades of my habit of hiding my teeth/smile has become a conscious effort, but one I'm proud to say I've recognized the importance of changing.  And every time I choose to smile it feels like a small victory towards creating the happiness, the lightness and the luck in my life.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Spring Cleaning, Pantry Clean Out, and what did I cook?

I loved the comments and responses I got from my last post on "What would You Cook?"  It's inspired me to get a little more organized in my kitchen, the pantry and my pots/pans/tools specifically.  How minimal can I take my kitchen? (in fact I should worry about my closet way more than the kitchen!)

I first became interested in minimalism a couple of years ago, the year before The Swing was published and released.  Since the responsibility of becoming an author, therefore promoter/sales person, I was distracted from the original task at get rid of all of the extra shit in my life that was holding me back from living the life I wanted to.  Traveling much more than usual these past two months I was reminded again that I need to get my crap in order!  But I'm sooooo much better than I used to be, and I'm sooooo much better than I ever was, and I'm getting better and better all the time!

Mark is going to be away this weekend attending a Strong First Girya Instructors weekend in Salt Lake so I've got about 100 hours to be a "big girl" on my own!  And some of my time will be spent on organizing projects.....maybe!

I think it would be fun to do a regular "what would you cook?" feature because I value all of the experience and opinions you all have about home cooking, and I like to share ideas, and hopefully inspiration for all of us to create home cooked meals that add healthy value to our lives....while not getting obsessed about "right and wrong", only balanced, sound nutrition.  You know, uncommon common sense!

Yesterday I bought some chicken.  1 pound of chicken wings (5) and three whole legs.  I remembered 1 cube of Mexican spices I had in my fridge for over 1 year that my training partner Maribel gave me, I decided to use it to marinate the wings and the leg portion of  the whole leg/thigh but it was rock hard!  Yikes!  It needed to be broken up, badly!  I tried using a fork...nope....hmmnn...I think I still have my mortar and pestle!  Yes, yes, I do!  Wings and legs marinated!  On to the thighs.  Garam marsala, of course!  I boned the thighs and I'll grill them to use in a salad.

Tomorrow, or Sat. I'll roast the wings and legs first, and use the leftover spiced chicken fat to roast thin slices of Kabocha squash.  At some point I'll make a salad.  It's funny that Kelley posted in her comment about using bacon fat because I often save and freeze the extra fat I skim off of stocks, or pour from roasting pans and use it to saute or roast vegetables. Chicken fat, and flavored fats from smoked meats and spiced sausages (and bacon) is great to use and saves waste and the cost of olive oil.

Oh, but I forgot....I ended up making two small meatloaves, in the shape of large round meatballs, and cut the sweet potato into rounds to match! (Although I have a hoard of sweet potatoes I only roasted two because I'll be tempted to eat more if I make more!)  A large batch of chili with heirloom beans, lamb sausage and beef, adding chopped chard to wilt.  I'm totally into chili right now.  It just may be the perfect meal!

Instead of a "Swing Challenge", (which is not really a challenge because we already swing...right?) let's challenge ourselves in our kitchens and pantries!  The inventory I have in my pantry is really small compared to most, but things can accumulate over the months.  Sometimes it can feel hard to throw out foods we think we might need even though they may be really old!  For me it's time to get brutal with my spice cabinet and my freezer!  And it's also time for me to set down a few new rules!

What's it time for you to throw out?  And the story about my mortar and pestle....last year, during a kitchen purge, I asked my facebook friends whether or not I should keep it even though up until that point (10-15 years) I had never used it!  The opinions were split 50/50! I obviously kept it!  Do you have one, and do you use it?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Top 40" is ready and waiting for you!

I'm really happy to announce that my newest workouts, "Top 40" are available starting today!  Top 40 has 4 complete workouts designed with the beginner in mind, but I promise even the most advanced will have a ton of fun with these routines!

Top 40 is the first to include a 15 min joint mobility warm up lead my MSFG Mark Reifkind, and also includes a complete 15 minute "OTM" 2 hand swing workout, the same one in my book, The Swing, just for those of you starting out your strength and endurance training.  Train along with me and 1/2 dozen of my regular students, while I give you options and demonstrations on how to scale the workloads so you can progressively improve your skill and level of fitness simultaneously.

Oh, and as always I'll give you even more options once you practice some or all of these routines by posting, free of charge, a companion Top 40 workout at the end of February!  So start training!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Protein Rule, and, What Would You Cook?

January 5, 2005 I established the following rules:

Prepare and cook all of my own food, so no fast food allowed was a given.
Vegetable first.
Protein second.
no foods excluded, including carbs, fats, candy, etc..

As long as I put the first three rules into place and kept my calories at 1200 approx., and I say "approximately" because I did not want to turn into the kind of person that journaled 8 calories for a carrot stick....but that's just me.  I knew at around 1200 calories daily average the weight would fall off of me...and it did.

My reasons for listing my rules in this order is that I had a big interest in becoming a better cook, in fact a huge interest in becoming a really good cook!  I had been taking cooking classes, at least once a week, if not twice and three times, for over 1 year.  It occurred to me one night as I was attending yet another class that if I just spent the two hours at home cooking in my own kitchen, instead of sitting in a class room kitchen watching someone else cook I just might improve my own skills a little bit quicker!  It was the last cooking class I ever went to.

Vegetables first.  I like eating a lot of food and, until I don't, which I'm totally open to, I like the feeling of a full tummy.  I knew with my new calorie guidelines the only way to increase the volume and portion sizes of my meals was to do it with the least calorie dense foods possible, and those foods are vegetables, plain and simple.  Little did I know two other really cool things would happen!  I felt healthier than ever, not just because I lost weight, but because of the nutritional value of the vegetables I ate regularly. And I pretty much know how recognize, prepare and cook any kind of vegetable my little heart desires!  No more broccoli and cauliflower just because I didn't know anything else!

I also want to add that for two years I never bought an organic vegetable (on purpose).  I regularly shopped at a Vietnamese and Mexican market close to my house because the selection was nicer and the prices where much, much less expensive.  I'll write about how and why I did eventually start buying only organic, but I've come full circle and these days I buy a combination of both.  I successfully lost over 100 lbs never buying organic vegetables.

Protein....ah, protein!  Since I'm not a vegetarian, meat tops my list of proteins.  Any kind of meat, and with my pressure cooker, any kind of cut of meat.  Since I don't blame "fat" for making me fat I never buy lean cuts of meat for the sake that they are lean.  If I buy something lean it's because I want that particular kind and cut of meat, but usually I buy the least lean 100% of the time.  Fat is flavor and satiation, in my experience, and it hasn't let me down yet.  I successfully lost over 100lbs never eating only lean cuts of meat.

No food excluded.  Let me first write about carbs and sugar specifically.  Yes, when I do eat less "carbs" I think I feel better, but the truth is probably closer to when I don't overeat carbs I feel better!  The same goes for sugar in the form candy, cookies, ice cream and cake.  I never restricted these foods from my diet because I knew these foods were not making me fat.  What was making me fat was overeating.  I knew plenty of "regularly sized and healthy people" who ate all foods, bread included, so it must not be the bread.

I know I've already said it, but I'll say it again.  I successfully lost over 100lbs, and have kept it off for, going on, 8 years by sticking to these rules, I made for myself based on my own common sense.  I am now convinced that creating new habits starts with making rules and sticking to them.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday are my mornings to cook and write.  If I don't go to the market the day before then I'm pretty much stuck with what I have in my fridge and freezer since I start around 4:30am.  I did not go to the market yesterday!  So I had to take quick inventory of what I already had on hand...veg and protein first.


Onions (always), celery, red chard (just the leaves, no stalks), jalapeƱo, cilantro, parsley, a hoard of purple and white Japanese sweet potatoes, butternut and kabocha squash. cabbage, and frozen tomatoes.


1 pound each, ground beef, ground lamb, lamb sausage.

I made two large meals, and I'll be happy to tell what I made, but first, what would you cook using these ingredients, or what you have in your fridge right now, and your own pantry staples?

This post was supposed to be about protein! Mostly because my idea was to ask you all what you would make if you only had ground beef and lamb and lamb sausage! And I want to write more, specifically about protein because I hear all the time how difficult a lot of people have making sure they get enough.  How much is enough?  Well, until I write more about it, it's not so much that you get enough, it's more about not choosing that bagel, pastry, crackers, bread, and cookies instead!  Maybe it's time for you to make your own "protein rule"!

Monday, February 11, 2013

First Things First. How it all started, and me and Tricia Dong

I don't even know where to start, so I'll start with first things first!

A few weeks ago, maybe a couple of months, Mark and I were enjoying our evening sitting at our computers together, working. and he looked across the table from me and asked me, "How many 12kg snatches can you do in 5 minutes?"  I thought about it, did a quick calculation and answered back, "About 150-160, that's about as fast as you can go!  Why?"

John Wild Buckley and his partner Nazo were organizing their next OKC Kettlebell Sport competition and wanted to extend an invitation to all kettlebell athletes, GS sport and RKC/Sfg to compete together on the same platforms as a way of bridging the gap between these styles of training.  Mark first met John at an RKC way back around 2007 and the two have been online friends since, so I'm lucky that I was one of the first to be invited to participate!  John and Nazo have been so kind as to acknowledge how hard and consistently I've trained for the past few years and have been the most giving, encouraging and supportive, and talented people I've ever, ever, ever come across in the kettlebell world.  I know I tend to be dramatic, but I don't care, that's how I feel, and it was solidified this past weekend!

OKC added a 5 minute snatch event that was open to all kettlebell athletes and the rules adjusted to allow multiple hand switches, basically, "Hardstyle" friendly.  There is much more to write about the differences in the two for those of you unfamiliar with GS sport, but that will come over the next few weeks time....first things first!

The minute I agreed to participate OKC's announcement on Facebook of my attendance went crazy (well, crazy to me!).  All of a sudden dozens of people were excited about me being there and had only THE nicest things to say and offer words of confidence and support!  Really?  I couldn't believe it!  I couldn't believe anybody even paid attention to who I was or what I did as far as my training went.  I'm posting my 5 minute snatch test first and I'll get to the 10 min. single jerk as the story unfolds...

The 5 minute snatch test was not any different than what the RKC has been using these past few years as part of their strength testing requirements for Certification (SFG has yet to hold their first Cert, and that's why I am not including them right now).  The only difference is that in a Hardstyle 5 minute test you only need to complete 100 reps within that five minutes. When you get to 100, then you stop.  For most top female RKC's this is completed somewhere between 3.5-4 minutes.  I, myself, had the best time of about 3 min 50 sec at my Level 2 almost two years ago, but I test it regularly in my own training at least 4 times a year.

The biggest difference is I stop when I get to 100 reps!  I never go on for another minute if I don't have to!  I was also given the choice of using the 12kg or the 16kg.  This is already turning into a longer story than I wanted to so let's get in with the highlights!

I had to use a comp bell, and I chose the 16kg to challenge myself knowing I still had the 10 minute jerk later in the day.  My strategy was to complete 120 reps, that's a 12 rep per 30 sec pace. Was it "all out"?  Well, to me it was close enough for my next "baseline", and really I may want add another 10 reps or so IF I ever do it again, but to be honest I really don't feel the need to prove anything better...unless it's ever in another competition!

I'm posting the video only because I wanted to show Tricia Dong's performance next to me on the platform. You will see Tricia in the video around 1 min 30 sec, 2 min 40 sec, and a couple of other spots.  You will notice two things (oh, and Tricia has been RKC for many years now and resides in Vancouver), she is using a 12kg, and she is snatching "GS" style. Tricia chose to use the 12kg because this was just a warm up to her "real" event, the 24kg, yes, twenty-four kilo, long cycle jerk, which I will see video of below!  I missed video taping her left side(starting side), and two of her reps on her right side, but I got most of it!

Tricia was one of the very first people to reach out and welcome me to this competition.  Her 24kg competition set was one of the most impressive, if not the most impressive, thing I've ever seen a female kettlebell athlete do!  Congratulations to Tricia for her first ever 24kg in competition!

It was an extremely emotional day for me, in fact I'm getting a bit teary now looking back at it all, so I will write more about that next time.

(ps, I'm so happy I had my roasted squash with me!  It made me even that much happier!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Don't Buy, Don't Eat.

I have some food packed and ready to take tomorrow.  I'll be testing my 16kg snatch at 11:15am, and my 12kg 10 min SS jerk around 3:00pm. I'm pretty happy with that schedule.  We leave for the airport at 5:15am, arrive in So Cal around 8:00am....lots of coffee until about 10:00...lots of peeing before the snatch test!  I don't plan on being hungry at all for most of the day, too much excitement and lots to take in, but when my second event is over?  It's on!

When I have a weekend event, whether it's a Cert, a workshop, or now a competition, I cruise through the weeks beforehand being especially adherent to some of my food rules.  I know the foods that help me feel lighter, leaner, healthier and I stay away from them, but I'm motivated to! What do I do in the off times?  Stick to some rules!

If you don't buy it, you don't eat it!

This is one I'm getting better and better at all the time.  In fact I'm getting so good at it this one that it is the main rule/subject of this blogpost.  This mainly applies to over buying, "stocking up", but it could also mean not buying that pint of ice cream that I think I might save until the weekend, and then end up eating it that night.  Lately I have to remind myself of this rule when it comes to overbuying seasonal veggies and gourmet foods, but especially seasonal treats that go on sale the days after the Holidays.  Valentine candy will be 50% off in a week, will I cave?  I already know the answer, which is a big fat NO, because from this rule came another I set for myself just this past New Year.

NO SALE FOODS (usually candy!)  Oh, I can buy full price candy if I want it, I just can not buy seasonal candy/treats if they are on sale.  I used to let myself be triggered by this all the time, but no more.  In fact I'm tempted to extend this new rule to apply to everything on sale (a completely different blogpost for another time). Back to this rule.  The first time I went into a market after making this new rule I headed straight over to the sale bin...whoops!  No can do!  So I walked away, and it wasn't that bad!  In fact it felt kind of good!  Easier and easier all the time.

Seasonal veggies.  I've hoarded tomatoes, persimmons (every year), winter squash (this year), spring garlic, nectarines, oh, all kinds of fruits and vegetables that are only available at certain times of the year.  If I know some varieties will be making their last appearances I'll buy in bulk...which means I'll eat in bulk!  Like the new rule above I've recently added this new one to apply to all other foods. NO HOARDING!

This one has snuck up on me...last time was just a couple of weeks ago when I bought 2 Kabocha squashes, when I already had one at home! Why do I need three 4 lb squashes?  Because I love Kabocha squash!  BUT, if I cook it, I'll eat it!  All of it!  Sure, there are foods worse to eat than squash, but there are better foods too. So, if the first rule sneaks by me this rule kicks in!  I don't cook it until I'm ready and wanting to eat it.  But this could also apply to making much bigger quantities of foods that I love, but I clearly don't need.  Oatmeal would be one of them!  I'm often tempted to make a double serving of oats....but I don't...most of the time....and now I can't, because of the rule!

So guess what I cooked this morning to take on my trip?  Yep, a whole Kabocha squash, sliced and roasted!  It's time!

If I don't buy foods I don't want to eat, I won't eat them!
I can't buy any foods on sale (seasonal treats), or hoard any kinds of foods.
I can't cook food, that I buy too much of, or in too big of quantities, unless I'm ready and wanting to eat it.

Of course the last two won't have to be a rules for long as the first one will take over completely!  And as soon as I finish the squash the last rule for the most part will be N/A!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Suffering through.....

I am totally excited for my first competition this weekend in southern California.  It takes a big motivation to lure me away from my regular training and Saturday teaching, especially two weekends in a row!  I really, really dislike being away from my students, and my Saturday classes!  Lucky for me I have a great substitute in my long time training partner/client RKC Meg Llyod.

I have been "playing around with longer and "no hand switch" sets of snatches and jerks for a couple of years now, but not really knowing anything about technique.  I will write more about this in the coming weeks/months, as I learn, and in the mean time I can only write about what I know. What I know is nothing actually!  I found that out last Tuesday when I had my first "official" GS (Girya Sport) coaching session with John Wild Buckley.  Of course I know enough about training for sport to know that I knew nothing...yikes, am I making sense?  My point is that for the first time, only 9 days ago, I learned how to breathe, how to hold the bell in the rack and overhead position, and how to pace myself.  9 days ago!

This is what is sooooo exciting about actual, official, competition....

Competition is not done on your terms!  It's done on someone else's schedule.  In other words, for example, I train first thing in the mornings, and my eating schedule is set around my training.  This meet doesn't even start until 11:00am.  Good God, that's about the time I take a nap!  Competing to be your best also requires some sacrifices in you regular training.  Of course you do not want to train as hard as you would one, two or even 7 days, a whole week beforehand if you want to push yourself to the maximum on contest day.  Lots of other things to take into consideration, travel, is a big one too!  I can only imagine what Olympians have to do, traveling through multiple time zones only to have to compete on a completely new schedule.  This is why the "lifts" you make in the gym don't count!  What you do on your own time, at your own convenience is irrelevant!  What can you do, what does your training support, on some one else's schedule?  THAT is the test, THAT is the competition.  Timing as much as strength and endurance, and let's not forget the mental aspect of competition.

Less that two days I will find myself "on the platform"!  How fucking cool is that?  There is a distinct possibility that I will be handed my ass!  But you know what?  I don't care!  I, me, 49 year old wanna be some kind of athlete, some kind of performer, will get the chance to step up on a freakin platform and suffer!  I'm all about "choosing to suffer"!  I can suffer with the best of them!

Mark said to me tonight, "You just have to be ready to suffer."

Done.  Ready!  It's the kind of suffering I think is a positive.  The kind of suffering you choose.  The kind of suffering that pushes you to prove to yourself that there are worse things in life than trying to jerk a freakin kettlebell overhead for 10 minutes, and how lucky you are that that is the worst of your problems!

I will suffer through, no problem.  I will gladly suffer through because I can.  How lucky am I?

PS photo above is one of my favorites of me and Meg! Taken from video of a :beyond Max Vo2 workout that was hard, hard, hard (at the time!).  We are laughing about how freaking hard it is!  The video is of the last 30 seconds of my first 6 minute short cycle jerk (3 minutes R, 3 min L w/12kg) For the entire 6 minute video, you can find it on youtube here,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Food Processing

I totally do not mind chopping, dicing and for the most part doing "veggie prep", BUT I admit it takes a bit of time!  Every so often I'm reminded that soups, stews and chilis don't require "pretty", OR "recognizable" vegetables, lol! So in the past couple of days, while attempting to put together a chili as fast as possible, I remembered my food processor!  Really, do veggies need to be perfectly diced in a chili?  Out comes the food processor!   Zip, zap, whirl around, done!  Onion, celery, carrot, and whatever else I want to include!

While cleaning up and organizing the kitchen tonight I went ahead and did some food processing veggie prep for tomorrow morning's split pea and ham soup.  First I processed my carrot (bottom of container), then chard stems, celery, parsley stems and onion, because from the top down is the order in which I will saute the vegetables (onion first, celery, chard stems carrot).  I placed a paper towel in between the layers to absorb some of the water the veggies give off after being chopped in a food processor, while I store them in the fridge until the morning. Everything is ready to go in the pressure cooker at 4:30am.

It's been so cold lately that soups, stews and chilis have been my main meals.  But for once I did NOT process jalapenos for my split pea!  On Monday I made a super spicy batch of lamb chili so it was time to take a break from the heat!  But I will include an old favorite....Swiss chard stems!

Grilling a few Garam Masala spiced chicken thighs and some squash on the stove top and I'll be set for a long, long time!  God I love having the skills of feeding myself!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Making Your Own Rules

Why did my diet work for me?  Well, if you would have asked me in 2006 my answer would have been different than my answer in 2010, which would be different than my answer in 2012, which, again is different than my answer today, 2013.  Amazing what happens over the course of less than a decade, much less what can happen over night.

In the beginning it was simply calories in, calories out....a diet.  "My" diet, no one else's.  I devised a plan, based on my experience, of what I knew about food and nutrition, AND how I wanted to live my life.  I knew fast food was shit, so I stopped eating it.  I knew I ate a ton (literally) of food, so I cut back...waaaaay back.  I knew there were plenty of other people in the world that enjoyed all foods, carbs included, and didn't have a "weight problem".  So restricting entire food groups was not anything I ever considered.  I never, ever felt that any one particular food, or food group I ate was making me sick, but I was sick, seriously sick, and actually damaging my health, from the fake processed foods and amounts of it that I ate....and more, much much more.

My plan, my new rules of eating differently and eating less, became a "lifestyle". The change in my lifestyle had to do with the new habits, eating and training habits, that came from, some would say, "discipline, motivation, and hard work".  But that never really sat well with me. It didn't feel hard, (because of the new rules I lived by) and the motivation seemed to come from out of nowhere, but it was there. The "hard" work was "fun " work!  I was on a roll, my momentum was moving forwards, and fast!  My life had changed, permanently.  Even more permanent than my diet was that my physical identity had changed.  I was now capable of doing and accomplishing anything I wanted to....or at least I felt like I could! And really, what else matters?  I would never again be as fat as I once was, not even close.  I was not that person anymore.  

Eating differently, and exercising regularly was just the beginning.  At a certain point I realized I was thinking differently.  My thoughts were more in line with how I wanted to feel and how I wanted to look.  Yep, I admit it all the time, just like a girl, of course I wanted to look good, but I had previously thought that it was too late for that. (and that was okay, really I would have settled for just being skinny)  Once I saw, through some miracle, that I got another chance (through kettlebell training and eating much better and nutritiously), nothing could stop me.  This was a big part of my motivation.  I changed the title of my blog to "Training Food and Thought" from it's original title of just, "Food and Thought".  "Training" had more than a single meaning.  "Training" as in actual physical workouts, and "training" as in training how you ate, and "training" how you thought.  "Training" to me is the process of establishing or forming habits, routines, rituals, that move you through your life in an organized, thoughtful, and conscious way.  Never a victim of circumstance, but instead always a creator of choosing how to react to any situation....or at least working towards thinking about positive outcomes.  Training, practice, repetition.....all of my favorite things!

Before we can change old habits that no longer serve our best interest we have to first live by some new rules!  Yes, WE establish some the rules!  WE like rules!  WE thrive on rules!  How do I know?  I'm sure there are some brilliant books on how humans love rules, just like there are brilliant books about habits (usually how hard they are to break or how hard different habits are to establish....bullshit by the way imo), and I'm sure there are brilliant books on exercise, and more brilliant books on diets!  WE love rules so much that when other people give them to us we are relieved!  Whew!  Thank God, someone gave me some rules, now all I have to do is follow them and all will be right with the world!

Rules!  I believe rules are the answer.  But who's rules?  YOUR rules!  Make your own rules. It's the only way for lasting permanent change.  It's perfectly OK to set some of your rules based on someone else's rules!  If some one else makes a suggestion that sounds really great to you then copy it!  The only question is can you live by it?  The key is to find the rules that get you to where you want to go, or where you want to be!  

I've got more about this subject to share, and I plan to elaborate in my next blog post.  If your life is working great then you must have some really good rules you live by!  If not, and you want to change some things start thinking about the areas of you life where you don't have any rules, and guaranteed that's where the disconnect is.  Rules, habits, routine, no choice....but choosing no choice is a choice, so don't get depressed! It's a good thing!

Here are a few rules I set for myself, from the beginning, that I still live by...because they are easy for me to follow AND they give me the things that I need and find most important for my healthy life.

#1 no fast food
#2 I don't eat after 6:00pm
#3 I never miss a workout

I know myself pretty good, and I trust that you know yourself pretty good!  Think about a part of your life that needs to change.  How are you going to do it?  Know what you can live without, and know the things you don't want to live without.  Personally I have a vision for my life, and I make the rules, and I know you can too!