Change - A six-letter, four-letter word

I am not going to try and hide the fact that I have not written content for this blog in over a year. Instead, I will shine a bright spotlight on it. For a split second I scanned through my internal “reasons I have not written” list and none of them were noteworthy. All were excuses. There was, however, a consistent theme that ran through each… Change. See, now that is worth writing about. 

I am a personal trainer and people come to me to "change" their bodies. I am a nutrition coach so people come to me to "change" their diets and eating habits. I am a wellness advocate and people look to me to help them "change" their health. I am a creator of products and systems and in order to make things scale, I have to know how to make them "change". With my hands in many projects, my daily schedule is constantly "changing" . All that to say, I am not personally or professionally affected much by these occurrences anymore. But wait… Let me digress a moment.

Because I have the absolute honor of walking through some of the most vulnerable experiences with people, I know that change is frightening and in many cases, the main reason goals haven't been met or desires haven't been chased. There is a comfort in certainty and structure. Change is a six letter, four letter word to most people, whether they want to admit it or not. It is the tie that binds. 

Ok, ok, so change is scary. By definition it is, “To make or become different; to give up something in exchange for another.”  Do NOT sign me up for that, right? In essence it tells us we have to give up sleep in order to workout. We have to give up pizza to eat healthy.  We have to become a crazy, calorie counting, no fun having person to reach our health goals. What if I want to be present and joyful, stay up late and love the taste of food PLUS be healthy, eat well and choose a proactive approach to my health? Do I really have to give up one for another? I say NO! Because the reality is, most things do NOT require change. 

Here is some food for thought (I love saying that because it’s like offering something delicious that has no calories:) We have it wrong and we are making ourselves crazy in the process. Let’s do a word swap.      Change  <  Adjust. By definition … to alter or move slightly; small alterations. That is the sweet spot. That is balance. Give yourself a little grace, would ya please?

Alter and move slightly to add space for what is important! That is really all I am doing, all day long. I am adjusting. I help people alter their bodies, diet and health. I adjust products and systems so they work as they scale. To indicate change is to say potentially we need to start over. No, no! Shift! Just move slightly. It's easy, doable and sustainable. Don’t EVER trade the most important things in life for something else. Keep your family and friends as a priority ADJUST to make them part of your new lifestyle. Enjoy the meal, food is supposed to taste good just ALTER where you eat and how often you indulge. Work towards your career goals, ALL of them! Stay up when you’re in the Flow and hop on a plane to make that meeting, just adjust your diet and supplementation to ensure you are proactively taking care of your health and MOVE SLIGHTLY your schedule to not neglect the greatest gifts we’re given, each other. 

Change is inevitable. Change is when your dad is diagnosed with Terminal Cancer and you leave everything to go be with him. Change is when something better than you could have ever imagined is at your fingertips but it means leaving home for a new city along with financial challenges. Change happens when people are exposed, when truth comes knocking and when you realize circumstances are not as they were presented and you gotta put the brakes on. Even in those experiences, change is not worthy of fear. I have not blogged for over a year because I have been through a LOT of changes. I know I am not the only one, many of you have been working through similar things. What is important is that I am writing this and you are reading this because we are mastering the “Adjust” in our lives and not allowing the “Change” to have the final say.

Love, Wendi

Posted on May 22, 2016 and filed under Fitness, Food.

The Bikini Body Bedlam

It’s almost summer. Do you know how I know this? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not because of the warmer weather. It’s not because of the month or the longer hours of sun. I know that this celestial season is upon us because of the constant bikini body workout posts plastered across every social medium. 

Listen, I enjoy a new workout as much as the next girl I do, I really do. My frustration with this particularly popular topic has nothing to do with hating on fitness or the people writing the articles. My frustration is with the fact that what many women get out of these trendy write ups is a lot of negative self talk and ill-fitting motivation. I don’t like that. When I train my clients, I have to undo that kind of stuff. So many people are defeated by this broken system already and these binge workouts are not helpful.

I like to call this season “New Year’s Resolution, Round 2.”  Remember January 1st and those promises you made yourself? Ever wonder where those went?. I mean, why they REALLY just disappeared? Let me tell you. It’s because there is no real root to the motive. It’s a day everyone picks to use as a turning point so people don’t feel like they are alone in taking on a new challenge or a putting a stop to something that is unhealthy or harmful. It’s a safe time to try it and also a safe time to fail because 92% of people do. I’m all for change, but not a fan of vicious cycles. 

There has got to be more than this involved to make true, lasting headway. Not just when it’s the first of the year and not just when the little, tiny outfits are ready to be moved to the front of the closet. Let’s pick a different day, let’s say.. Mmmmm.. how about TODAY? What is YOUR real motivation? Why DON’T you want to put on a bikini? What bothers you about it? Why does it bother you? How did it happen? Do you really want to eat healthier? I mean, really? Be honest, no one is listening, this is between you and .. well, you. Are you concerned with your health or just concerned with your body? Step one of every new endeavor should be soul searching. If you want to plant a seed well, it takes getting a little dirty. The truth is sometimes messy but I PROMISE you, if you start there, seeds will take root! Why do you want a bikini body? It’s perfectly ok to want one, but WHY? Further, what does that even MEAN? Bikini Body? Get down to the nitty gritty truth, sit there a minute and don’t come out until you know why. You have to be sold on it 100% or don't start YET. All that does is result in defeat. Do something because you are ready and willing. Not because of a season or a significant other or what some else said to you. You decide. You be in control. You point at what you want then go get it. Oh! And, in case no one has told you yet, no matter what you decide, you are worthy and valuable and significant. Bikini Body or no Bikini Body. Make sure there is no sneaky self sabotage going on! 

The next issue I have is more scientific than emotional. There is no such thing as target training. In my humble opinion the only kind of training to do is personal training. I don’t mean the kind where you hire someone, I mean the kind where you, YOU personally decide what you like and want to do, then you go do it. I LOVE boxing. Not just because it creates some pretty killer arms and abs but I feel alive when I'm punching things (that's a separate issue for another blog:)). Some people love swimming, some like to hike. Pick one and have fun. The reality is, if you do a million leg raises and nothing else, you will look the same. Now you can be free of that fitness myth. You are welcome:)

Think of this new life strategy as creating a relationship with health, not just playing games with it or using it. It is not healthy or productive to cheat in our relationships with people. Realize that when you make a commitment to yourself to get healthier and then change your mind on a daily basis you are cheating on yourself. Stop. Just stop. You are better than that and you deserve to be committed to.

It is wonderful for me to be front row to people achieving their health goals. But what is even better is seeing people love themselves well through the process. That is where the real, permanent success comes from. In a world where we have to fight the urge to do constant comparisons to photo shopped photos, it is difficult to look in the mirror and be ok with what’s there. Our internal dialogue is straight up ugly much of the time. Don’t forget that our brains tell our body what to do. That internal dialog is giving your body instruction. Please be kind. Tell yourself lovely things, even if you can’t see them yet. It does matter, very much what you say.

All this to say, I am over all, 100% for a healthy body and by that I mean, whatever shape it comes in and whether or not it fits into a bikini nicely or not. What matters most to me is how women feel in their skin. Now that’s a workout worth my time. 10 moves to feeling awesome in your own magnificent skin. As a matter of fact… stay tuned. That workout I will write myself. :)

Now… go play in the sun, without wardrobe concerns or limitations ...like you were made to  :)

Posted on April 22, 2015 .

GO. BE. HAPPY. Real Food for Real Life!

I have a hard time buying nutrition bars. I’m pretty picky when it comes to ingredients and I’m VERY picky when it comes to taste. Over the past several years I have made clients their snacks for them. It was kinda part of the deal. See, snacking is a big issue when it comes to a weight loss / health program. If one doesn’t snack, meals end up being WAY too much of the wrong things. If one does snack, it is likely the choices being made are not conducive to the goal. I make great snacks. So, I would custom create recipes for the clients I had and when I delivered them it was as if Christmas morning had arrived early. They loved, I mean LOVED their snacks. It was awesome and they were very successful. I had this idea that maybe I should make bars, for more than just my clients. It just so happened that I already had a project in the works with a fabulous friend of mine. It was a company we were creating called Go. Be. Happy. and we were developing products for the health and wellness industry. 

 

One morning over a cup of tea I shared the idea to make said bars, to which she whole heartedly agreed. Now, the pressure was on because I simply could not make a bar that I personally would not eat. I wanted organic ingredients without all the lame additives. No soy, no gluten, no wheat, no dairy, no corn, no whey, no grains and no artificial sweeteners or refined sugars. Whew! What is even left to use? Well, I did it! I made nutrition bars that taste like cookies and I did it without any of those ingredients. Under 200 calories (if you count) very little sugar and plenty of protein. Perhaps my favorite part is that they are super duper filling. I am full after eating just one. Let me tell you, that is a miracle. This girl can EAT! Such a dense bar, chock full of nutrients and I feel like I’m sneaking in a cheat meal. Did I mention that each bar has a purpose beyond the nutritional value? I added Green Tea Extract in the GO bar, Lemon Balm Extract in the BE bar and Cacao in the HAPPY bar. As is they weren’t awesome enough already! 

 

All that is great fun but you know what really lights me up about this company? The donating of funds to plant and grow food for underserved populations. I think real food should be for everyone. I’d like to be a planter of seeds that will change lives in the generations to come and see children 20 years from now enjoying the fruit of what we’ve sown. I’m a dreamer. I’m also a believer. Those two things together can accomplish pretty much anything!  One seed at a time is more than ok by me! Every time someone eats one of our bars, someone else has an opportunity to eat real food too. We believe in immediate impact so our planting will begin this fall. 

 

The story of these bars is actually much more beautiful than I can fully get into now and quite honestly, very personal. One day I will share it in it’s entirety. Let’s just say that these bars are divine. In flavor and in creation. The stars certainly aligned for Go. Be. Happy.  I would love for you to check them out sometime. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you around, but just think, if you go now you can say you liked them before they were cool! Oh how I love you all!! These bars are for you! 

www.hoolalife.com

 

Posted on July 29, 2014 .

Duck Eggs

Eggs are not typically part of my diet. Sometimes I will be treated to an amazing batch of fresh farm eggs from a close friend and I will enjoy the occasional one or two. I’m asked a lot what the reason is for my egglessness. I simply say, as I do to most things, it’s just my personal choice. I prefer my breakfast to be antibiotic and hormone free. Call me crazy. In addition, I have become well acquainted with the way my body reacts to certain foods and you know, eggs and my body don’t really get along that well. So I choose to forgo the beloved egg except for the rare instance, like the other day.

 

I do love a Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market! This especially warm morning, as I wove my way around an unfamiliar market, I found myself at a booth being introduced to some mini pink cupcakes. As I took a sample bite I gazed upon two 8x10 framed photos. Each photo was, what appeared to be, a duck selfie. Of course I had to ask. And in response, “Oh, those are my babies!” Hmmm. Perhaps you’re wondering what pink cupcakes and Duck Selfies have to do with each other, as was I. This beautiful baker began to explain how her cupcakes (gluten-free and delicious, I might add) are unique because she uses Duck Eggs and that makes them fluffier. Interesting, I did not know this. Because I usually bake egg-free I was unaware and felt compelled to try myself. Lucky me, she also happened to have duck eggs for sale.

 

So, while the ‘fluffier‘ cake aspect was fun and exciting, it wasn’t enough for me to jump back on the egg bandwagon. I couldn’t help but want to know more. What I found out is that a duck egg contains (according to several resources) twice the nutrients as a chicken egg. Nearly 2 times the protein. Is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and is alkaline forming to boot. Now, just to be fair, all these amazing facts are still dependent on the duck’s diet. Still, noteworthy and impressive. The lovely baker I met cares well for her “babies” and feeds them accordingly. 

 

I enjoyed my duck egg, I made some scrumptious waffles (head over to my Instagram for the recipe) which did, in fact, come out fluffier and I learned a few things. Will I be eating eggs on the regular now? Nah. But as life goes on and instances arise where an egg is needed, I will choose a Duck Egg. 

Posted on June 13, 2014 and filed under Food.

Dandelion Greens

I am often asked about juicing. What I think about it, is it useful, is it safe, etc, etc. I could write an entire blog series on that topic alone. There are a lot of recipes and articles so I try not to duplicate, in fact, I really try to simplify. I do have a “less is more” mentality for the most part. A few organic, affordable ingredients. Specific ingredients to  minimize cost and time while maximizing nutrient and health benefits. One of my staple ingredients is Dandelion greens. Inexpensive and super useful!

 

Dandelion is bitter so eating it can be difficult. This is another reason why juicing it is a great option, you won’t get it at meals or as a regular part of your diet. A few reasons to make this a staple in your juice concoction include the cleansing properties for your liver, blood, kidneys and gallbladder. Also, the improved intestinal function, the healthy effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars and, let’s not forget it’s anti-inflammatory benefits and cancer preventative properties. I could go on but I think you get the picture. This is one green you probably don’t want to leave out of your juice.

Posted on June 5, 2014 and filed under Food.

A Reason to Skip the Gym

This may be the first time you’ve ever heard a trainer tell you not to work out. I’m honored to be the one to deliver the news. There are some pre-qualifications, however, for this to apply to you. Do you feel generally more fatigued when on an exercise program? Do you lack results from the hard work despite adjusted diet and regular exercise? Does it sometimes feel like you are “lighter” when you are not on an exercise program? By lighter I mean a generalized feeling. You almost feel heavier or more bloated when you are on a program than when you are not.

 

All of these things point to adrenal fatigue, low functioning thyroid or both. I’m sure you’ve heard of those before. The issue is this. You’re body responds to stress. Whether it is a car accident or a morning at the gym, it’s a stress and we are designed to cope. Exercise can and should be a stress that helps improve our wellbeing but when we engage in it with our coping system on shut down or our hormones inadequate, we are doing more damage than good.

 

I have, and will continue to decline to train people that are experiencing adrenal fatigue. Not because I can’t do it, but because A. I am FOR the health of my clients and I know an added stress, even one with good intentions could potentially through them overboard. B. Based on experience, results are difficult and very limited when adrenals are not healthy and I want all my clients to WIN like the champions they were made to be and C. True and long lasting health is a delicate balance that I take very seriously.

 

So what do I do? Instead of going to the gym, I coach them on recognizing cause of stress, eliminating underlying unknown pre-cursors of stress and most importantly, get them in to see a qualified doctor that will run the correct tests and implement a treatment protocol that will help restore balance. For you, I recommend the same things. First and foremost, an accurate review of your adrenal, thyroid and hormone health. Most Holistic doctors are amazing at this! During the rebalancing, I recommend light activity. Anything that refreshes you. Ask yourself honestly, what makes you feel alive? Do that. I like to roller skate. It is seriously good for my spirit. It makes me laugh.

 

In short. If the gym or your current program is not giving life or results stop, take a deep breath and give yourself some grace.  Find a great doctor who will check for thyroid, adrenal and hormone health. As you do that, engage in an activity that is life giving, timeless and makes you smile.  

Posted on May 28, 2014 and filed under Fitness.

Carrageenan

I help a lot of people who are dealing with new diet strategies due to allergies or conditions and many times that includes having to eliminate dairy. At one time, this was difficult because the only option as an alternative was soy milk (NOOOOO!!!!)  Now we’ve got a plethera of products that are able to take the place of dairy. Oh my, if only it were that easy. See, there is this stuff that helps the alternatives mimic the creaminess and and thickness. It’s an extract of a seaweed. That sounds safe, right? Seaweed is good, right? Not this time. The health effects of this ingredient are actually pretty scary. If you know me at all, you know that I am not big on scare tactics or conspiracy theories. I just offer facts and try, with reason and logic, to weigh out the true potential for negative and positive effects. This ingredient is straight up bad news bears.

Studies have shown it to promote tumor growth, increase chronic, systematic inflammation and effect insulin response. The inflammatory response it triggers is a concern because ongoing inflammation, even low-grade, has been shown to be the precursor to several chronic diseases, all of which you do not want, trust me. I am a huge advocate of eating anti-inflammatory foods and this is in direct opposition to my goal. Carrageenans are found in most dairy alternatives but also found in many other food products, even some “healthy” organic ones. Please be sure to read labels! There are many recipes available to make your own, homemade dairy alternatives. Or, you can still buy products without this ingredient. They are out there. If I buy a pre-packaged milk alternative, I buy 365 brand Almond Milk. So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt, Greek Style is also an option. As of last check, they were free of Carrageenans. Be sure to check your protein powders too! I recently found that ingredient in one of my favorite plant based proteins. Man, I was so upset!

No need to panic, just be aware and empowered. :)

 

Posted on May 20, 2014 and filed under Food.

Does Healthy Mean More Expensive?

It is a regular event in my life to lead people through the grocery store. That sounds silly, but have you seen how people walk through the stores these days? Eyes glazed over, a look of helplessness and confusion as they scan the shelves full of products all claiming the same things. A sense of accomplishment until the shock of the receipt kicks in. A defeat when all that time spent on shopping “healthy” and money spent on expensive promises doesn’t equate to improved energy or health.  I can say, with all honesty, it is one of my greatest honors to give people the tools to walk into a store and be successful.

 

We make our way up and down every aisle. I let them guide me at first as if they are the ones leading the charge. They usually have me in tow because they are looking to incorporate better eating habits. We’ll call them “healthy” eating habits. So, they guide me over to the “Healthy” section. Makes sense. They pick a pasta and they don’t know why they picked it other than that because it was in the “healthy” section and it was brown, which means it is best.  Chips, crackers, Oops! Don’t forget the brown rice! Cereal, protein bars and snacks for the kids (of course). Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free. All the “free’s” accounted for!  Now we’ve got the frozen food section, still in the offset area of the store. Waffles, ice cream, cookies, all go into the cart. Oh, dear. They’ve just doubled their grocery bill and added very little, if any, value to their “healthy” eating goal. It’s common and nothing to blush about. It’s why I do what I do.

 

When I was sick and needed to eliminate much of the ingredients that are now trending, there were no products to guide me; no special sections and very little to research. I had the distinct pleasure of figuring it all out on my own. While I would never wish that experience on anyone and I think the surplus of additional options for those with allergies is a blessing, I also see in many ways how it has become a disservice. When processed food (whatever is in a package, can, or box) has a label that says it is “Free” of something that would otherwise usually be in it, expect and know that something has had to replace it. We learned this with Fat Free products and Sugar Free products. A lot of “free” is really at the expense of increased calories, unrecognizable ingredients, and product cost. A cookie is a cookie, gluten free or otherwise. Ice-cream is ice-cream, dairy free or otherwise. In my experience, for those who are trying to eat healthier, the issue is not always the allergen, it’s the processed, the chemicals and the calories. It’s the shifting from one area of the store to another while still neglecting the one area that is affordable and healthy, (for the most part, more on that later) the produce.

 

It is much less expensive, just as easy and quick to stock your kitchen with foods that are  naturally gluten free, dairy free and lower in calories. Hang out in the produce section. Grab some fresh fruit and veggies. Skip over to the bulk bins and scoop up raw almonds, cashews and pepitas. Need things with longer shelf life? Don’t buy those 6 expensive boxes of pre-packaged snacks and instead buy a dehydrator. Pineapple chips are insane as snacks! Don’t get me wrong. There is a place and a realistic need for products. I just encounter this struggle so often, people eating “Healthy” and still experiencing weight and health issues. People spending more money than they really need to be spending and taking way more time than necessary to get it right.

I wish there was one solution. There simply isn’t because every home is different. A good place to start, however, regardless of situation, is to change out one product at a time. It’s a slower process. This week, instead of buying chips, buy sliced raw almonds and flavor them at home with sea salt and spices you crave. Next week, instead of buying granola bars, buy apples and a few little packets of raw almond butter. Things like that. One at a time. Little by little. Trust me when I tell you, the more real food you eat, the more real your “health” becomes.

 

Posted on May 14, 2014 and filed under Food.