Trust the Buddha

We have the power to change our future. Obviously. Right? The barrage of doomsday, ridiculous headlines, off the charts bullshit, sensational television programming we call news is overwhelming us, particularly with half-truths and broad claims. Sometimes we forget we have power.

Few topics are as hot as healthcare. Sexy? No. Hot? Blazing. Healthcare and personal wellness clearly matter. Clearly. In my opinion quality, affordable healthcare is a relatively easy 2-step fix. Step 1: Remove the corporate greed and political alliances and everyone can win. Step 2: Forget Step 1 because it’s a pipe dream and, instead, get hold of your personal health and make smart decisions that improve it and prevent a reliance on the greedy corporate figureheads and congressional snakes. Put aside the political drama and stop waiting for some ridiculous, privileged, disconnected group of people to make decisions about you and your health. Don’t be a passive recipient of or succumb to the messaging we are fed. Empower yourself. Sure, few people can ever completely stay out of a doctor’s office and obviously some pre-existing conditions must be treated and can’t be ignored. However, the bulk of any one person’s physical (and sometimes mental) problems can effectively be addressed and fixed with a thoughtful diet and fitness plan.

Let’s say, for example, that you have a $50 co-pay for your PCP. If you see her twice a year you’re at $100, not including the meds she will quite likely put you on because the only solution to any problem is medication. And this is all assuming you HAVE coverage. Now, think about what that visit sounds like: you’re overweight (statistically, a huge percentage of people are), you’ve got high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, chronic arthritis and that amorphous diagnosis, pre-diabetic. Please, someone ask my mother her opinion on this diagnosis. Of course, being heavy does not mean you will have any or all of these issues, except, you know, the overweight part.

What does the doctor say next? You need to lose some weight, get that BP and cholesterol down and try to exercise. Does she provide guidelines, recommendations, solid resources? Sometimes, maybe. Not likely, most often. For over $100 you’ve been told what you already knew (you’re fat, or old, or fat AND old) but you left with no useful information. Why? I’d wager that part of the reason is that if you’re armed with resources and valuable ways to care for yourself, you don’t come back and somebody is out of money… Now, if you can drop some cash for essentially nothing, could you not, then, justify a comparable amount for actual useful information and receive hands on guidance, advice, help, training and support? Think hard about that. For approximately $150 over 6 weeks you could do for yourself what almost no medical professional will do: learn to heal yourself. You can slowly begin to take back your life and let go of the reliance upon doctor visits and pharmaceuticals. It’s like when I quit smoking; one of the best feelings I had, and greatest motivators, was no longer giving money to corporations who did not care about my well-being but were happy to have me on the hook, paying them to kill me. You get to give a finger to the establishment and when does that not feel awesome? (Please note that I am not equating tobacco manufacturers to doctors and medical professionals, nor am I intimating that doctors try to kill people nor am I claiming that I am an all-knowing, all-powerful entity with all the answers to your medical ailments. If ONLY I was that amazing, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing a blog.) This idea must be worth serious consideration, no? It really is about taking charge of your own health. Do you realize that with a handful of changes, some easy, others maybe not as much, you could completely turn your life around?

Politicians are going to hem and haw, point fingers, place blame and continue to line their pockets with our money. None of their rhetoric even remotely comes close to fixing the real issues so rather than wait around for improvements to the system, why not get up off that ass and start making a path to freedom? Screw them, let them play with propaganda while you sip a cocktail at sunset on a beachfront patio in a lovely summer ensemble that you bought off the rack in a regular store because you finally decided it was time to make a change. Don’t wait.




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Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz

You haven’t heard from me in a minute. Or two. Or however minutes there are in six weeks. I apologize, I’ve been on safari. By safari I do mean repeatedly watching the short Nat Geo videos that populate my Facebook feed. The rest was spent trying to learn how to be an entrepreneur while making a serious, focused dedication to my personal fitness and well-being which have been suffering. Turns out, moving to a new city, working a new job in a field in which you have zero understanding, finding friends, working to fully furnish an apartment after getting rid of all you used to own, training for a half-marathon, finding ways to exercise without joining a gym and attempting a business venture all together IS a lot. It takes a toll on your mental, physical, and emotional being. I’m not bitchin and moanin, just doing what I hate for anybody to do, give excuses for not getting shit accomplished. So, here I am, a little more realistically focused on what it means to do this. I had to step back to step forward, crawl before I walked. I won’t become Tony Robbins after three blog posts and a half-assed call to action on social media. So, remember, I’m here. Visit my website to see the changes in pricing, and keep in mind, you may not have a need for my skills but I guarantee you know someone who does so send them here.

Quick sidebar, in preparation for a half-marathon I’m running, to sort of commemorate turning 41, I last-minute registered for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K in Atlanta last weekend. I did it just to dust off the ol’ race shoes, nothing major, like winning or running a PR. Because I’ve been a bit distracted (and slightly heavier, if I’m being really honest) lately the training has been arduous and mildly defeating. This was meant for fun and it was! I was surrounded by tons of enthusiastic participants, including some exceptional co-workers, the course was challenging but not demoralizing, I missed an awesome photo op as I flew past Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank without realizing it, I managed to outpace a lot of earlier starters, had a blast sprinting the final 40 yards on the Falcons’ field and realized one of the top 10 finishers was a guy I’d gone on a date with but haven’t seen since. I’d say it was a pretty awesome morning; I may not have been a winner or top-10 finisher but I can at least lay claim to eating Thai food with one! That HAS to count for something, right, even if I’m now eating meals alone again? And, the best part, and whole point of this sidebar, is that I have realized I may someday be at the top of the field, at least in my age bracket. Now that I’m over 40 I’m in a whole different field of competitors and even though I had no idea it was being tracked, I ended up #74 out of #295 people between the ages of 40-44! What the what?

What’s my point? Show up, enjoy the experience, take time to step back and realize what you think is the case may not be and at the end of the day we’re all just running our own race and we get to make it whatever we damned well want it to be. We’re not always going to be at the head of the pack but we CAN be successful in ways we didn’t even imagine.

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Is It True For You?

Voices in the health and wellness industry are everywhere. You’re hearing one right now. It’s coming from inside the house. Get out! I kid, I kid. With all the chatter smacking you in the face how do you decide what to believe, what works, and which one is right? Why is mine different and why should you tune in? My voice isn’t right by any stretch and while I like to believe I am always right, the truth is, I may not be. However, the one thing I CAN tell you is that my voice is not far removed from your own.

When I began my weight loss process I had no direction, no knowledge, no guide to get me where I needed to go. I meandered along picking up bits and pieces wherever I could, long before the flood of “fitness professionals” permeated the social media platforms. Some of the information was useful, some detrimental, some “right” and some just flat out wrong. Cheese is not, in fact, a healthy snack for my lactose intolerant ass. That myth took a while to figure out. If it was tough back then, when most information came from good old-fashioned magazines, it could feel downright impossible to decipher what you should do to successfully lose weight these days. Heavy lift, HIIT, swallow crazy amounts of protein, go Paleo, go Atkins, go vegan, join weightwatchers, juice fast, do full body workouts, do body part specific exercises, join a cult. Okay, that last one is a lie, though at times it does feel that way. I tried every one of the paths I just mentioned at some point. I also devour information daily and the lone conclusion I can make is there is no hard and fast conclusion except the tried and true method of eating a proper diet and regular exercise. What that diet plan and exercise regimen look like is dependent on you, which leads me to the point of this piece: is it true for you?

Not everything you see, read or hear will be true for you. We are all human, of course, but there is so much about each of us that is unique. Every “you must do this” claim simply cannot be true for you, which means you have to determine what IS true for you. If you’re diabetic the path is different, if dairy is your enemy it’s different, if you live in the world’s most remote village your journey is different and on and on. However, there are a handful of basic guidelines you can follow. And guess what? You don’t have to guess what they are because that’s why I’m here. My voice may not be definitive but it is one you can trust because I’ve been there and I understand.

The process of losing significant amounts of weight and changing the entire structure of your body is not a one-size fits all endeavor. And if you have to shop in specialty stores or have ever had to exit an amusement park ride because you’re too large to fit safely, you know this. There are, however, a couple of hard and fast rules to successful weight loss. One, you really have to want to change, like, seriously, you HAVE to be ready and committed. Two, you have to exercise…a lot. Well, maybe not a lot as in all day everyday but with regularity, with purpose and with intensity. Three, you have to monitor what you eat and essentially cannot put in more than you put out with exercise. That’s three, sorry. Aside from these principles, the rest comes down to you, to finding a program, a fitness and nutrition plan, that suit you.

What does all of this mean? Initially it means you have to wake up. No, I’m not telling you any of that early bird, the best way to wake up is with a workout, stuff, that’s Folgers, in your cup. If you ARE a morning person then definitely utilize that habit. I used to go to the gym everyday between 5 and 5:30 in the morning strictly because fewer people were there and nobody could really see me through the sleep in their eyes. When I say wake up I mean, from the very first steps, you have to start paying attention to your body. It’s possible you’ve never given much thought to the impact of food on what’s going on inside but you will be surprised once you perk up and listen.

Observe as many sources that are out there as you want; there is value in some of it and as is the case with anything, education is power. But remember to ask yourself, while you’re talking to yourself, and listening to the voices, namely mine, is what you’re seeing, hearing and reading true for you? You won’t know until you wake up and start paying attention.

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Wayne and Garth Were Liars

Recently I was working with a client and something didn’t feel right. The typical eagerness, attack-mode, overall gung-ho willingness to do anything was missing and had been replaced by a general blank stare and hesitancy to engage. Neither of us could pinpoint the problem and agreed to push ahead but he wasn’t dialed in like normal. I could see in his face that he was mentally struggling. We hit pause and talked. This client (a term I have decided I just don’t like so bear with me while I find a better way to describe the folks with whom I work) has been incredibly successful but as with anyone on this journey he wants more results faster even though progress has been steady and strong. Once we get a taste of that new life we want more and now! Within the conversation he mentioned the overwhelming positive feedback he’s receiving and I asked why he wasn’t accepting it. He said, “Because I don’t feel wo…” His face showed shame and embarrassment as we both realized he was about to utter “worthy.” I forced him to go ahead and say it, to feel the weight of saying it out loud so we could then process. He and I both know where the feeling is rooted, it’s no secret. But to hear him say, after all the hard work and success, he didn’t feel worthy of recognition broke my heart a little. Not because it was sad or pathetic but because it’s a powerful emotion and because I know the feeling well and hate that someone so deserving of praise was experiencing it. The truth is it’s a common, ordinary and expected feeling. When you spend a significant portion of your life overweight, feeling negatively observed by the world around you, sometimes silently, many times openly and loudly, your overall sense of worth diminishes. It doesn’t come back overnight, no matter what I or anyone else says.

Taking on the task of changing our physical bodies is way more than just working out and eating better. It is a much more complex process than we generally believe, though I don’t want that to scare anyone or serve as a deterrent. We work hard to change our bodies for many reasons, one of which is because of the harsh judgment we’ve received. And no, that’s not a poor me, woe is me statement, it’s just a fact. When positive change happens we find ourselves experiencing a tough paradox, an acknowledgement of what we knew: people saw our fat bodies and now they’re praising our smaller bodies. I used to tell a close someone all the time how differently people treat fat people vs. thin people and she never bought into what I was saying until she, herself, dropped a buttload of weight and people started smiling at her, opening doors for her and saying nice things when before they didn’t. I’m not as crazy as I seem sometimes. These reactions both hurt and feel good. Why couldn’t we be appreciated all along, we wonder. But it takes adopting a different perspective to move past this feeling. Nobody that loves us is or was really ever trying to hurt us with passive or active judgment, no matter how hurtful it was. Sure, it’d be an outright lie to claim that in some way the negativity wasn’t partially rooted in a sense that overweight people are somehow deficient and must be saved from a life of heartache. But at the end of the day they still care, they still prize our overall well-being.

Receiving positive recognition is less about the new body and more about people being impressed by you, your discipline and the passion you have for yourself. It also has a tinge of jealousy, not because they necessarily want what you have but more that they look at themselves and say hmmm, what am I doing to improve myself? What I’ve realized over time is people are impressed with transformation and hard work and dedication and it is okay to accept that admiration, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Acknowledging that yes, you were fat, that other people knew it, and now they see you’re not is honestly one of the most challenging elements of a weight loss endeavor. That said, to each and every person out there, regardless of size or whether you need to lose weight or not, you are worthy. Accepting kindness is oddly something that is difficult for many of us to adopt. I know this because during my brief time with a therapist he kindly informed me that I consistently rolled my eyes, turned my head and physically shrugged off any positive feedback or compliment I received. He was such a liar I just had to quit going. (Truthfully I was too poor and he was too expensive!) If you’re on a journey of transformation and someone tells you how amazing you look, accept it and be proud, not only because you’re a badass for kicking your own ass into submission but also because if you’re self-aware enough to want to change and be the best version of yourself that you can be, it likely means you’re always a pretty amazing human being. So, moral of the story: you’re worthy and the process is worth it.

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Stepping Off the Ledge

Here’s how I’m feeling right now as I attempt to make my ambition to help overweight people change their lives a reality: scared, insufficient, not ready, not experienced enough. The logical side of my brain screams “Shut up!” The emotional side yells back “You shut up!” As I got ready to make public my site, this path, I had a moment of panic and doubt. Attempting to see if I were in line with other online trainers I fell down a rabbit hole of Instagram pics and magazine cover model personal trainers. All I could say to myself was, “Oh my god, I can’t do this. I’m not these guys; I’m nothing like them!” I almost put the whole thing on a shelf until I took a pause and realized I CAN do this BECAUSE I’m not these guys. That’s not a slight toward anyone; there’s a place for us all. But I realize I can address a need, I’m here for a special type of person: you.

It’s a big deal this dream of being a full-time coach. Transforming other people’s lives is serious. So many what-ifs, plenty of fear and self-doubt. What I’m experiencing is exactly what I went through when I began my personal wellness experience and I’d wager you feel similarly. A tiny flame of hope and belief deep in your gut that says this is absolutely the right thing for you is being overwhelmed by questions, doubts, excuses, flawed reasoning and raw fear. I felt the same way. And I feel it now, too. Even though I have solid proof that my methods work and I DO know what I’m doing, I keep asking, “Am I enough?” Am I legitimately able to tell others how to do it?” The answer is yes. I AM enough and so are you. Waiting for the perfect moment to begin means sinking ever further into a pit of quicksand until you’re drowning with no way out. Even with the concerns I keep tossing in my own way, just as I did way back when, I know one thing for sure: you deserve to live a happy, free life and I am the one who can help you achieve it.

The simple truth is this: losing a lot of weight and keeping it off is hard work. It is a test of your will, your determination, your perseverance. While it may seem like an insurmountable mountain, one you’ve attempted many times before and come up short, the other truth is that it is absolutely doable. I am proof of the possible. Over the course of twelve years I’ve maintained a 150-pound weight loss. If you believe in yourself, if you believe your time is now, I am the person who can help you succeed. Don’t you want someone who has done it, who has done the work, who knows exactly what it takes, what to expect, and how to finally change your entire life? I am that person. And I believe you can be, too. You might be surprised just how much I get it.

It’s not magic. There are no secret formulas, no gimmicks, no shortcuts and certainly no excuses. It’s all you, and me, if you’re brave enough to commit. Are you?


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