Be a Booby

For our youngsters, Halloween is probably one of the most looked-to and anticipated

days on the calendar. And, for many adults, it’s an opportunity (as Madonna puts it) to express yourselves.

Since I’m allowed to openly share my 50 years of age-related wisdom, I have to talk about costume parties. Even with the 30 to 50-something’s, you’re going to see a lot of women in provocative costumes along with the typical goddess, princess and the likes. Nothing wrong with that. We had a white trash party several years ago and many of our friends told us it was the most fun along with our disco/70’s bash. The husbands and boyfriends even more so for obvious reasons.

In general, don’t we live somewhat constricted? We say no to ourselves a lot when we should say yes or let’s give it a try, and vice versa. I think we, especially women, operate and function inhibited much of the time, diminishing our natural sensuality or not taking the time to pamper ourselves, such as a goddess or princess easily would. Dressing up like a French Maid when we’re at a party (where it’s okay and acceptable) tells me that we want to feel and look sexy but we’re afraid of what others would think or that our bodies are not worthy. And, guys, too. I’m not advocating g-strings and Chippendale look-a-likes but I’ve seen some “statement-like” get-up’s that tell me there is a side of you that is also being repressed. Greek Gods, pro athletes, rock stars…might translate to starting a new workout, taking music lessons, playing in an adult sports league or starting a band; taking charge more at work; etc. Honestly, no wonder Halloween parties are so popular. We let loose and suspend reality for a while. Think about the possibility that you are self-repressed or often holding back a part of you that deserves acknowledgement and needs to be expressed. Think about why you were drawn to a costume. If it’s because you’re allowed to be creative and bring on the laughs, find a way to do it more often. (We need more levity, joy and laughter in our lives!) Conversely, if you’re hiding behind a costume, why? Stop doing that! Realize that you have unique special qualities that are attractive if you accept them. For Pete’s Sake, if you’re near my age, what the heck? We have more self-awareness and acceptance. Open that gift immediately. We’ve certainly earned it.

So, in recognition of Halloween, I propose living more like one of my favorite creatures, the Blue-Footed Booby. They have big, bright blue feet (the brighter the better) and they proudly show them off, prancing and strutting about. Of course, it’s the boy boobs that are comfortable doing this, but you gals understand the significance.

My ideal costumes, you might wonder…Dallas Cowboy football uniform, Shakira or J-Lo in a shizzle-dizzle, curvy outfit; a Gypsy, an Inca Warrior or SuperWoman or some incredibly creative, engineer derived concept like an apple tree, a utensil or something of that nature. There. Not shy about. And, my friends and family would not be surprised or shocked either. What about you?

Dress up. Dance. Be Sexy. Be a Booby.


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My Battle with Bulimia & Overeating

Last week I wrote about living within our own prisons when we can’t let go of detrimental or negative thoughts. I mentioned experiencing my own jail cell and how I broke free. It was a monumental battle – the battle to not escape to food in lieu of dealing with boredom, frustrations and feeling overwhelmed, etc. Sound familiar? I know some of you have shared a cell with me, so to speak. But, how many of you have spent time with the porcelain bowl after you ate too much? Yes, I’m talking about bulimia.

I was a junior in high school when my girlfriend told me that we could eat a bunch of food and then throw it up so we wouldn’t gain any weight. I was dealing with newly divorced parents and living with my father, an incredible man but a man that was barely keeping it together. I was hiding my pain and I had already started to turn to food for comfort. Not hard to see the writing on the wall. I started binging and purging and I did it off and on up through my first year in college after gaining the typical “freshman fifteen.”

How did I stop? Are you ready? It’s not pleasant but if there is anything that I am, it’s transparent. I stopped before the internet and Google and before I knew there was a name for what I was doing. No one knew of my private hell. But, something very dramatic happened and it scared the bah-jezus out of me.

I threw up blood. That was it. I washed my face, looked in the mirror and decided that I would never stick my finger down my throat again. I’m sure you’re wondering and the answer is, unfortunately, yes. I went back to it a few times several years later but that was way back when. All good, now. And, the good news continues. I am a recovering emotional eater and I have worked extremely hard to salvage a healthy relationship with food. It has been a seriously bad-ass, difficult struggle and to this day, I read and listen and pray and meditate and journal and do whatever I need to do to maintain and even grow in my thoughts and habits in regards to how I deal with being uncomfortable. Boredom is a big issue for me. I like to have fun. I like new challenges. I like new things to try and see. I like new, exciting and fun anything but life is not like that when you’re raising a family and dealing with homework, carpools, laundry and dinner, etc. I have an incredibly full and blessed and even fun life, but the everyday grind can cause frustrations and boredom. Bottom line, I’ve read a ton of books, I’ve been in psychotherapy. I worked with a spiritual director. I’ve studied and researched all the facets of this issue and although understanding it doesn’t “cure” it, I’ve developed a giant toolbox of my own support systems and the more I use them the more they become positive new habits.

The nights in my prison cell, sitting in disgust after overeating and wanting to crawl in a hole and start the day over are done, thank-you-God, all my angels and spirit warriors and all those who walked this path before me and were brave enough to share their experiences and solutions. And, I am here to say that it took years (that’s plural) and years (that’s plural again) to get this under control and I did it when I owned my thoughts and realized that I had an addiction to food and that I used it to escape from my current uncomfortable situation. Just like I did when I hid in my basement bedroom with a carton of ice cream and ate myself into a food trance and consequently, forgot about my problems for a short period of time. After the ice cream is gone, your problems aren’t and then you have more. Not a good way to exist. Truly a prison.

By the way, I have a message board with Team Beachbody (with 24,000+ views) in which I write and reply to others that have similar issues. It’s heartbreaking to hear some of the stories but it’s also a fantastic, loving and supportive area to share and to not feel humiliated and ashamed. Here is the link if you want to stop by and many blessings on your journeys!


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No More Prison Walls at My Age

Our summer trip to San Francisco included a return visit to Alcatraz. As I was looking through our vacation pictures I was struck by the symbolism of the Alcatraz jail cells in relation to our own lives. Although my teenager probably has an entirely different take on this, those of you with some maturity will appreciate and understand my perspective.

Wouldn’t you agree that we all spend time in our own prisons, enforcing and even creating our own restrictions and our own limitations? We may live in beautiful houses, drive luxury cars (or a 2004 dented, stained, cracked-leather, torn-seated Odyssey Van, but I digress) or dress in designer duds, but at times, we exist behind imaginary bars or in a state of inertia. I’ve had enough self-imposed bars to speak from experience so I’m diving into this topic for a few posts. Here is what I have learned.

You are free to chose but you are not free from the consequences of your choices. What a universal paradox. Are your choices creating walls and bars? When you say “yes” to something or someone, do you restrict or prevent yourself from living in the way you really want? When you say “no” are you shying away from a new experience that could unlock a door or create a new pathway? When you choose to obsess on a thought or a person, you essentially create your own prison term. When you keep bad and destructive habits and actions, you definitely open the cell door over and over again. Why do we do this? Thoughts in our minds gain power and take over when we give them attention and if you’re not changing your thoughts or actions, both are still serving you in some capacity. We volunteer for jail time. It starts to become normal and comfortable. Trust me, I understand.

Don’t be the one to disqualify yourself. This is my favorite piece of advice from my father.  Do not allow self-limiting thoughts to crowd out your confidence with doubts and make you feel less-than. There are plenty of others that will be happy to do that. Your inner voice needs to be one of your biggest supporters and cheerleaders. Whomever or whatever is speaking to you otherwise needs a one-way ticket to…yes, a jail cell. That voice is not you. It’s a thought. It’s probably a habitual thought. It can’t perform Black Magic on you. Do not give it power. Give it a jail cell and work on rehabilitation!

So, here is your homework. Your thoughts precede your actions, even if you’re on auto pilot and you don’t realize it. Practice true observation of what you’re thinking and how it moves you to act – the consequences. Take a look at this picture from Alcatraz. Visualize it when you realize you’re headed the wrong way and close the cell door before you get there. Visualize the negative thoughts and possible consequences on the other side – securely locked away from you.

Next week, I will share my own personal lock down. My own torment. How I broke free and how I try to stay that way. One of the many blessings connected to aging is experience-turned wisdom, from our life travels – metaphorically speaking as well as physically. We all have a story. In fact, please share yours here if you feel comfortable. Peace and blessings.


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Exercise For The Right Reasons

With age comes wisdom and I’ll gladly accept that gift and try to pass it along, especially when it comes to exercise. Back in the 80’s, I was a leg-warmer wearing aerobics instructor and I absolutely loved teaching. I also taught too many classes. I subbed as much as I could and showed up near death (sick); I skipped various gatherings or showed up late because of teaching. Why? I was always secretly hoping that the extra calorie burn would help me lose weight and of course I was afraid of gaining weight.  (There were a lot of us and probably still are.) Unfortunately, I didn’t put the same effort into my nutrition.  I remember one incidence while I was working as a communications coordinator for a chamber of commerce. We had just finished a day-long workshop and there was a leftover box of donuts in the conference area. I was the last one to leave so I had to clean up. I walked by the box about 1o times, pulling pieces off various donuts with each passing. Eventually, I ate three glazed donuts in a row. ThreeGlazedDoughnuts. I then ran off to teach my high-low class at the YMCA and stayed an hour longer on the treadmill to “exercise away my bad diet.” What a way to live.Glazed donuts

How many of you have tried to lose weight by starting a workout routine and then adding to the time, days, intensity or all of the above because you still can’t drop enough pounds or cut body fat? Complete frustration, often leading to more exercise and usually super low calorie days (complete disaster).  I could address all of these separately but today is about approaching your workouts from the right perspective. Remember, I have hard-earned wisdom so you can trust me.

Exercise for the right reasons –  beyond weight loss and maintenance. Easier said than done? Not really. Stay with me and for many of you, you’re already there – and, congratulations.  Move your body as a gift to yourself and for those you care about. Exercise to release endorphins. Exercise to release stress. Exercise to feel alive, energized and empowered; strong, fast, limber, connected, whatever. Exercise in a way that works for your body (and mind). Exercise to correct imbalances or flaws. Exercise to compete at your highest level. Exercise to test and push yourself past physical and mental boundaries. Exercise to have fun and be social. Increase intensity or duration when your body tells you it’s right – when you’re in the zone and feel unstoppable and yes, when you have excess calories to burn off from a decadent weekend or for a specific goal. And, of course, exercise to help you lose weight and maintain but exercise is not a punishment for what you have eaten. We are the privileged – those of us who get to move and choose how we do it.

As far as weight loss, dial in your nutrition. Stop making excuses and learn how to manage your weight with what you put in your mouth so you can look forward to your workouts and keep them in balance for the rest of your life. I lost 8.2 pounds during our 21 day detox. My husband lost 23. The only exercise we did was light walking. Light (never out of breath) walking. That’s what proper nutrition does for you. Killing yourself in the gym will not yield the same results if you’re eating crap all the time, and I speak from experience. And, for Pete’s Sake, throw away any leftover boxes of doughnuts before you get overtaken by the sugar demons. Again, I share my profound wisdom (okay, fine, not profound but practical)!

Now, go move in peace and harmony or for some of you, rock the friggin’ free world!


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Keeping Goals. Why So Hard and How to Do It

Most of us don’t have a problem setting goals for ourselves. So, why do we have so much trouble keeping them? It’s not that we don’t want to.

Setting goals and relying on willpower are conscious activities but research tells us that a big portion of our brain-power is unconscious and the information and thoughts that reach our unconscious mind are the ones responsible for automatic behavior. In fact, some believe that 95-percent of our behaviors are unconscious and automatic or what we simply call habits. How easy it is to change a habit? Yeah…NOT. So let’s try this approach.

The goal to carve Crazy Horse started in 1948 and it’s still going!

TIP #1: Post your goals where you will see them all the time; repeat them out loud, re-write them daily and visualize them in a positive way. Those who achieve their goals have usually written them down first. So, just because you say you will eat healthier doesn’t mean you will, but if you reinforce your goal with post-it notes, pictures, phrases and the targeted action, you can change your behavior a little each day so your mind starts to re-program itself with new patterns, new automatic behavior and new habits. For example, every time you start to say “OMG, I look fat,” replace it with “My body is strong and I’m getting healthier and leaner every day with better nutrition.” The “I look fat” leads to “I might as well eat since I’m fat,” and that will consistently derail your efforts.

TIP #2: You need three to four weeks to re-program your non-conscious mind and develop a new automatic habit. It takes at least three weeks to change an old habit and create a new one because new patterns in your brain need to get stronger to become permanently programmed. If you don’t reinforce your efforts, you won’t be able to form new neural connections. Lasting changes in behavior occur from repetition. For example, for the next 30 days, say your goal first thing in the morning and right before bed. Every time you reach for the wrong stuff, drink a glass of water and grab an apple first and/or take a 5-minute walk or just walk away from the kitchen. Glass of water, apple, walk, journal, whatever. Do it, every time.

TIP #3: Goals created with emotion are scientifically stronger than without.
Heart attacks, deaths in the family; seeing a not-so-complimentary photo of yourself or feeling rejected or humiliated. The list goes on and on. We decide it’s finally time to change. On the contrary, what happens around New Year’s Eve, besides being bloated and disgusted from too much over indulgence? We decide to “start anew” on January 1st. Out of the two scenarios, which one has a better chance of happening? The first one, of course. We’ve discovered that the number and strength of neural connections associated with a behavior or thought increase and last longer when they’re formed in a highly emotional state so think carefully about your goals and select one or two that are connected to strong emotions. For example, skipping a social gathering or not being able to hang with your kids at amusement parks; embarrassing your kids because of your size; family history of illness, etc. The thought of what you missed, could miss again and how your health negatively affects those you love will better drive your goals.

Don’t rely on willpower. New habits have to join the “auto-pilot” behaviors in order to stick, but the old unconscious programming will battle and oppose your new conscious desires. This is a battle, my friends. Equip yourself with more than willpower and you won’t have to get out the white flag.


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