Friday, March 9, 2012

Back to the GRIND...

It's been a a busy couple of weeks, and things have been a bit off track.  Getting ready for the celebration of my book launch, "Why Should Men Have All The Fun?!", was no easy task.  Originally, I anticipated that things should be easy. Deciding to hold the event at a hotel was supposed to make things easier to manage. With the Ellis handling things,  I wouldn't have to worry about decorations, food preparations, or any of those other things that come along with planning a big event such as this. But when you make the decision to serve cake, give away party favors, and still have to worry about advertising your event, things can still get a bit out of hand.  Sampling cake and deciding fondit versus butter or whipped cream for this sweet treat can have a tendancy to pack on the pounds if your not careful.  And don't forget about choosing a menu for your affair. That involves tasting and sampling too.  Oh, and if you plan to pair this wonderful combination with wine or beer... needless to say that the diet can quickly go out the window.

In an effort to ensure that these efforts didn't go to my hips, I tried to put an extra effort into maintaining my work out schedule.  With the help of my trainer to keep the focus, the hope was to burn off the calories as quickly as I ate them. Although it wasn't easy, luckily for worked, and there would  end up being no weight gain during this planning process. Thank goodness for that.

But now that the event is over and things went well, it time to bet back to the grind. Trying to find your motivation after a crazy schedule has wrecked havoc on life can be a daunting task, but a recent Weight Watchers article pointed me in the right direction and provided a few tips worth sharing...

First, they suggested that you RESET YOUR GOALS-
Setting small, short-term goals that are readily achievable can allow you to feel accomplished immediately. Short-term goals such as simply extending the length of your workout by a minute or two each day or walking on the treadmill at a higher resistance level for a few minutes can make all the difference in getting that motivation back.

Now that you’ve decided that it’s time to get back to the grind, you may be tempted to simply dive back into the deep end of the pool. Bad idea. “When you stop exercising for a significant period of time, your body slows down — this means metabolism, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility,” says Sara Haley, a Los Angeles-based global master trainer and creative consultant for Reebok. “When [clients] go on vacation, or have a baby or just take a break for a while and do not exercise, they come back weaker.” This means that it’s best to take a few steps back before jumping forward with your fitness routine. “Take whatever you were doing before your hiatus and start back at a moderate level,” continues Haley. “If you jump back in too quickly you risk overdoing it, injury and burning out.”

Keeping your motivation high needs to include choosing activities that you can actually look forward to doing every day. “You may hear that a spin class plus circuit training is fantastic for fitness, but if you dread both of those activities, it’s doubtful you’ll stick with them for long,” says Aaron Snyder, a certified trainer and nutritional consultant in San Diego. “The less willpower it takes to workout, the better.”

Snyder found his own way back to a healthy workout routine by finding an activity that exhilarated him. “After living a year abroad, I had completely gotten out of my usual rigorous workout schedule,” says Snyder. “So I began doing wind sprints on the beach three or four times per week. This felt more like fun to me than work [and] I began to lose some of the extra fat I had accumulated during my hiatus.”


“The emotions with which people cope when returning to exercise are varied,” says Dr. Vicci Hill-Lombardi, associate professor in the department of athletic training at Seton Hall University’s School of Health and Medical Sciences in South Orange, New Jersey. She concludes that the emotions run the gamut from frustration to anger to fear to guilt. “Frustration at having to start from square one; anger that it is difficult to find exercise; guilt at allowing exercise and fitness to take a back seat to everything else; fear if the cessation of exercise is due to injury. Overcoming these emotions can be difficult,” says Hill-Lombardi. These obstacles, however, are not insurmountable. Making time during the day to exercise is hard for lots of people — “experienced athletes and beginners alike,” continues Hill-Lombardi. And if the veterans can drop the exercise ball and return to their healthy routines without beating themselves up, so can you.

Thanks to Weight Watchers for providing the motivation to get back to the grind. It is my hope that I have shared something to help you get back to your grind too!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

DANGER: Curves Ahead!

   "I've never wanted to look like a model.  I represent the majority of women and I am very proud of that!"

That's what singer Adele had to say about her full figure.  Even before her six Grammy wins earlier this week, she was slammed by fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld, who was quoted as saying..."She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice." WTF???

I love me some Jill Scott too!  "I'll never be a stick figure..." acknowledges a noticeably thinner Scott, even after a 63 lbs weight loss. I love the fact that she simply recognized a need to simply be healthy. After the birth of her son she recognizes that... ‘There’s a world of discovery in his eyes, and I want to be around to enjoy it,’ she said. Kudos to you, Ms. Scott.

I too have struggled with my weight for most of my life.  Despite my most disciplined efforts, I too recognize that I will never be model thin.  My reality is that I am a five-foot, six inch large framed woman.  I've never had a weight goal, so I'm not so sure I can measure this thing in numbers, but if I gotta put a number on it, then maybe thin for me means a perfect size 12, if I am lucky.  That elusive but perfect size 12 still escapes me even as a healthy adult.  I know I am healthy because my doctor never fails to remind me that I am the "healthiest over-weight person he knows!" I'm never quite sure if he means that as a compliment, but I suppose for this purpose that question may be making  a mountain out of a molehill.

The point is, in this regard I certainly do count my blessings.  The family history dictates that I should have diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and perhaps even cancer.  But my blood work and test results show no signs of any cholesterol, thyroid issues, nor any signs of the aforementioned family traits.  And while it may be fustrating to have raised a beautiful but petite younger sister who is a perfect "ZERO,"despite having given to birth of three of the most beautiful children, makes me a bit envious to say the least.   I guess my mother ran out of fat genes by the time she got to my sister... but that's ok!But I also recognize, if GOD wanted us all to be a size 8, he would have created us all that way.

So, despite the Karl Lagerfelds of the world, I will continue my plythe to be healthy.  Continuing to strive for that perfect size 12 that has so far escaped me, will probably never be too far from my realm of targets.  Not because Karl might think I'm a little too fat... but because for me it is the lore of the one thing I have yet to conquer. This one has been on my list for a very long time, and I hate to see anything get the best of me.   I have always wanted to be the BEST me I could be, and somethings never change.  But either way I win - either way I go, there are dangerous curves ahead!

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Dirty Little Secret...

I am a little confused and a bit frustrated.

Since my mother’s second breast cancer diagnosis, I’ve probably been healthier than I’ve ever been.  Educating myself about this dreaded disease while motivating my Mother to change her evil ways has been great for both of us in many ways. The diet has been pretty fantastic incorporating lots of lean protein with nourishing fresh fruits and powerhouse veggies. We’ve managed to keep the diet pretty clean and organic when possible. My workouts have been pretty consistent starting out in the beginning with four 45-minute cardio sessions. In October, I decided that I needed more of a challenge and so I hired a personal trainer in incorporate weight training four days a week and increased cardio to six one- hour sessions per week. I've managed to do the one thing, I never thought I could... I've become a gym rat.  So why the confusion???  What’s up with the frustration???

After the first 25 lbs. of weight loss, my scale hasn’t moved. With the increased time and intensity added into the daily routine, I simply just don’t get it!  Now don’t get me wrong… I understand that I am building muscle and muscle does weigh more than fat. The truth is, I am seeing changes in the shape of my body.  I’ve been tracking my measurements along with my weight and have noticed a loss of a few inches here and there... but why in the world is my scale not moving down???  Is it broken???

Although the temptation is there in an effort to get the scale moving, I really didn't want to do anything to drastic.  In the past, I would try little tricks, but it is important to me to incorporate healthy eating habits that will be easy for me to stick with.  Starting a “diet plan” that I won’t be able to stick with will just set me up for failure in the long run.  For example, eliminating carbohydrates now, will only cause me to gain back any weight I lose later.  That’s not a move that I am willing to make permanent.  Although I am certainly willing to reduce them, I love my legumes, sushi, steel cut oats, and sweet potatoes too much to eliminate them completely

My dirty little secret really isn't a secret at all, at least to those who know me well.  My non-negotiable indulgence is my love of the red grape.  I can live without chocolate and desserts, and usually do quite often without much difficulty.  I can pass on the martini, margarita or even sake’ all day long.  I've even been know to travel in search of this wonderful nectar of the Gods, and see another trip in my near future really soon. Now that I am cooking more at home, the urge to pair a phenomenal meal with a fantastic bottle wine is sheer bliss. At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic… the wine has gotta stay. Its not just a pleasure, it's more like a passion. 

On a positive note, my guilty pleasure has been studied and is known for its effects for great heart health.  Red wine is a particularly rich source of antioxidants flavonoid phenolics. Many studies to uncover a cause for red wine's effects have focused on its phenolic constituents, particularly resveratrol and the flavonoids. Resveratrol, found in grape skins and seeds, increases HDL cholesterol and prevent blood clotting. Flavonoids, on the other hand, exhibit antioxidant properties helping prevent blood clots and plaques formation in arteries.

Now I realize that is a downside as well.  Studies showed that alcohol drinking may increase triglycerides and result in weight gain due to its empty calories, while other also suggested that alcohol consumption is associated with cancer risk. Since the alcohol is more likely to be burned off first, whatever stored fat is in the body will continue to be stored a fat.  It is also a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss, there is also the loss of important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation. In addition, alcohol can actually stimulate the appetite. On top of that, research shows that drinking before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced. In this state you are more likely to overeat, and any way you look at it...this can't be a good thing.

So knowing what I know... and I have my wine and drink it too???  While I know that my trainer will no doubt say..."HELL NO!", my head and heart still disagree.  Even with moderation, there has got to be a way to allow my guilty pleasure.  For now, I'll just continue to be a gym rat while I figure this thing out. And, if it makes my trainer feel any better, I plan to run my first 5K in several years.  (Check out ).  Besides, my girlfriends and I have already purchased tickets to the Oakhurst Wine Krawl Wine and I am pretty sure I'm not gonna sit that one out!  Care to join us... check out

Happy drinking... and oh yeah...CHEERS!!!  Here's to you!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Revving up for the Cancer Fight...

Mission Possible: Research Cancer Fighting Foods That Help Reduce the Effects of Chemotherapy and Radiation.

In an effort to assist with Mom’s cancer diagnosis, I’ve been researching cancer fighting foods and foods that can help ease side effects due to radiation therapy.

It is interesting to note that side effects vary from patient to patient, so it can be a bit difficult to determine which foods may assist and which are ineffective.  It is also important to note, radiations effects build up gradually over time.  Initially, there may not be any side effects, but in time, any number of discomforts could possibly arise, most commonly, fatigue and skin irritation.

Noting these, based on my research, I was able to gather the following:

Eating foods high in vitamin B, calcium and iron – almonds, beans, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables all fall in this category. These prove to be important as test have shown they are thought to suppress tumor growth and block cancer-causing substances from reaching their targets.

Eating cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are all fabulous for their antioxidant boosting characteristics. Various components in cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower cancer risks. Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining (endometrium), lung, colon, liver, and cervix, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Eating antioxidant rich foods – fruits like blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries as well as veggies like tomatoes, peppers, carrots and garlic are all powerhouses in strengthening the immune system and preventing cardiovascular diseases.

 Avoiding refined foods - white breads, flours, pastas, and sugars, are not only void of any nutritional value that are eliminated during the processing, but they also cause spikes in blood sugar levels causing the body to feel unsatisfied, causing over eating.

Eating lean meats - like fish, tofu, and poultry contain an abundance of protein, which is critical the efficacy of the immune system and many other important physiological functions. It has also been demonstrated that protein promotes a feeling of fullness and suppresses appetite, which might form a bulwark against the tendency to overeat every meal. Protein-rich foods tend to have vital nutrients such as iron and vitamin B. If you eat seafood, you will also consume omega-3 fatty acids, which are fats that are essential for cellular activity.

Eating healthy oils – omega – 3 fatty acids, in addition to olive, canola and other plant based oils, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke while helping to reduce symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain and other rheumatoid problems, as well as certain skin ailments. Some research has even shown that omega-3s can boost the immune system and help protect us from an array of illnesses including Alzheimer's disease.

Already for 2012, the American Cancer Society has estimated over 1,638,910 new cancer cases in the United States alone. Whether it's breast, colon, lung or some other form, cancer appears to have touched all of our lives in one way or another.  Perhaps you have been personally effected, or know someone who has.  For more information on this and other cancer fighting methods, please share this blog with your cancer heroes and check out the following links:

Perhaps together we can make a difference!

Next up... Addressing Skin Care Needs for My Cancer Hero!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Preparations are underway...

             I am back from a three month trek of Central America, and I am armed and ready to assist my Mother with her personal battle against breast cancer.  Unfortunately, this isn't her first battle with cancer, but I am bound and determined to make sure this her last.  She's got a tough fight ahead of her so going in. We know that this won't be easy.  Her doctors all agree that chemotherapy in combination with radiation will be the best treatment process for her. She's not happy about it and is well aware of the havoc that both will wreck to her physical body. I can't say that I blame her.  The side effects will be harsh... Her hair will fall out.  She'll battle constant fatigue. Her skin and nails will become dry irritated and brittle,  and that doesn't even begin to address the stomach issues, achy soreness and mouth sores she'll probably experience. Quite frankly, I think that my biggest concern will be what damage will be done to her emotional self being. It will be difficult to fight a good fight without a positive spirit.

            Revving up for this fight will be no small feat for me either.  While I know I can do my part to keep her spirit in check and provide her with transportation and support, I recognize that there are many other areas that will need to be addressed.  While the doctors do their best to fix her inside, I will do what I can to fix her outside. 

            The first task I want to tackle is her home.  The Interior Designer in me knows that a beautiful and comfortable home in itself, can be a very powerful thing.  If your home is your castle and home is where the heart is... then it makes sense that it should be a source of peace and tranquility too. Providing additional storage, great lighting, and a few new pieces of furniture should do just the trick. Throwing in a few great smelling candles probably wouldn't hurt either.  

            The second task that probably needs to be addressed is skin care. Anticipating her potential problems BEFORE they arise isn't going to be an easy thing, but I know that she'll rest easy knowing that she'll have a potential solution in the works.  Researching clean and perhaps organic, all natural ingredients should be the way to go.  I've also got a good head start since I've done a bit of experimentation on myself for years. I feel confident that in time I will be able to develop a skin care line might do just the trick, and not just for Mommy, but perhaps for all the cancer patients out there who will battle the same dreaded disease.  Just maybe cancer patients will be able to keep their sexy throughout their battle, instead of having to bring it back!

            Lastly, and probably most importantly, I recognize that providing her food as fuel will be essential.  Powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals should assist with not just the fuel she'll need, but help to repair damaged and destroyed cells will be crucial, both internally as well as externally. But which foods will provide the best plan of action will require a bit more research, structure and guidance.  Once again, I know that we'll need to go clean all the way.  No pesticides, hormones, additives, or preservatives will be welcomed here!  Now if I can just get Mommy to go along with it.

She is my only remaining parent and I am aware this is the fight of her lifetime.  Diabetes may have taken my father… but cancer will not take my mother without a fight… and this is one battle that I am surely prepared to win!!!



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reflections from 2011

It’s always amazing to me to think about the ebbs and flows of life.  When I reflect back on the ups and downs of 2011, I am reminded of our most precious asset…TIME.  It’s one of the few things we own that can’t be returned, manipulated, broken or even exchanged. Yet we lose track of it, squander it, and waste it away, all while we understand that once it’s gone… there’s no getting it back. Time in a nutshell, equals LIFE.  Looking back on my time spent in 2011, it’s ebbs and flows have been some of the best and some of the worst in my life, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing.

Early 2011 saw some of my toughest work, in one of the most challenging markets, all while in the midst of an arduous economy.  My team and I dug deep, and got it done during a time when no one thought it could be done.

Mid-year, that success allowed me to pack up my life in San Antonio, and neatly configure it into a 10 x 10 storage unit so that I could finally fulfill a dream that was only made possible because of the availability of time and proper planning.  The strategy was to spend the next twelve months exploring Central America while indulging my deepest desires.  Everything from becoming fluent in Spanish, and erudition of Latin cuisine to obtaining my scuba diving certification was on the list of things to do…but after only three months of shear and utter bliss… the dream fulfilled was interrupted by tragedy. While kayaking and hiking the volcanoes of the Lake Atitlan Region of Guatemala, I received the dreaded phone call from my mother that her breast cancer was back. The last quarter of 2011 brought my bliss to an abrupt halt so that I could support my mother during her war against breast cancer.

I mention all of this to prove my earlier point.  Time really is our most precious asset and it is not promised to any of us.  While we’ll always find ways to “kill time,” we should always be cognizant of how we spend it.

I challenge all of us to use the time we have left in ways that matter.  This will mean different things to different people, but for me my sole New Years Resolution for 2012 and for EVERY YEAR AFTER


For me that translates into:

            LIVE DARINGLY… (make every moment count)
            GIVE BOLDLY… (make a difference any way you can- it ain't just about money)
            LEAVE LOVE EVERYWHERE YOU’VE BEEN… (this just might be your legacy)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eagles, Bears and Butterflies

Happy 2011!

This is one year that I was happy to see arrive.  I don't not mean to imply for one moment that 2010 was in any way, a bad year.  Quite the contrary.  In short 2010 was a year demanding change.  It was a force to be reckoned with and required strength, vision and purpose. Most of which I didn't think I possessed for much of the year.  I was just flowing through life,  doing what needed to be done.  For every great experience, I can see an equally not so great experience.  For every moment of laughter, I can remember moments that weren't so amusing.  For every rise there is a fall.  We are in a constant state of flux. Life is full of change.  Life can be unpredictable.  But above all... LIFE IS!

One of the tasks that I was bound and determined to accomplish before the end of 2010 was to unpack my office.  Although I moved out of my corporate apartment in June, life just wouldn't allow me the time to fully unpack my life.  Necessity forced the completion of the kitchen, living,  dining  and my mother's room, but beyond that, everything else was shoved into my office to be completed at a more favorable time.

Within a month, I was able to find the time to set up my desk, computer, printer and  a random box containing a few framed photographs from my travels. As I unwrapped them, I noticed a recurring theme of symbolic animals that strangely resonated with me.  It wasn't the first time I admired them. Frankly, it was the very reason why they were framed. They were beautiful, and I was proud of my early works. They represent more than blissful memories from my travels to Alaska and Iguassu Falls, but the aspiration to travel more, as I believe it fulfills a larger part of my life's journey.  Immediately, despite the mess in the room, they were hung. There were enjoyed often.

Sadly, not much after that got accomplished, and my office remained filled with boxes and unorganized bookshelves.  It bothered me, but I was able to get work done.  Deep down I knew that if I was ever going to accomplish any of the goals I set for myself, I had to unpack the boxes and get rid of the clutter.  I am a firm believer that love,  prosperity and creativity cannot flow and multiply in a cluttered space.

I was finally able to accomplish my task during the very last week of 2010.

Strangely enough, the photos began to represent more than just blissful memories.  As life continues on, it is becoming more evident that change must take place in order for me to live the life I was meant to live.  One stage must end in order for another to begin. A life in flux.

The photos: A proud eagle, a showy toucan, a pretty relaxed and content brown bear...all separate photos, but all perched in trees, observing the worlds above and below.  The others are four different butterflies, each so striking displaying their abstract colors and patterns.

Eagles. A symbol represented in many country seals and coat of arms through out our world.  Even our money displays an eagle of it's face. It's importance is to signify vision, power and strength.  Physically and literally, with the eagles ability to soar and rise above the earth, its symbolism represents not only spiritual protection, but brings with it courage, wisdom, balance, grace and dignity.

Bears.  The symbol of patience, confidence, nurturing and protection.  Native Americans and European cultures recognize the bear a peaceful source of strength of duality, benevolence, and an awakening of intuition and instinct. Have you ever referred to anyone as "Mama BEAR?"

Butterflies. The universal symbol of transformation, enlightenment, fertility and resurrection.  Imagine your whole life changing or experiencing a metamorphosis to such an extreme that you are unrecognizable at the end of your process.  In the Greek, "PSYCHE" which translates to "SOUL" is often represented by the butterfly.

There were many things that 2010 taught me.  But one of the most important was the lesson of selling myself  short.  Looking back on it now I realize that I possess more attributes than I ever gave myself credit for. As I admire my photos each day, I can now see them with new eyes.  Despite the changing winds of life, there's a bit of eagle, bear and butterfly in all of us.  Maybe there's a bit of the showy toucan as well?!?!  

Here's to bringing sexy back... Happy 2011!