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OK, so last week I offered you the “No Excuses Workout,” did you try it? I did it today. And it was a BLAST! I never wanted the workout to end because I was having so much fun! I kept light dumbbells in my hands and worked up quite a sweat!

What are you doing to move more and burn calories on a daily basis? Here are some suggestions:

1. Go for a walk with a friend. You can get in shape and catch up.

2. Take your dog out for walks more frequently. The dog will love it and you will get exercise. You don’t have a dog? There are so many great pooches available for adoption that you could save a life in the process of getting in shape.

3. Take your children to the park and play tag, hopscotch or red light green light. Teach them about the skills of your favorite sport or activity. Anything that will get you moving with them, and it you will teach them life long skills of the importance of physical activity.

4. Go out dancing with friends, another multi purpose activity.

5. Join a club that is physically active: a running club, Dragon Boat team, volleyball, kickball, tennis, in line skating. There are so many options available. If you can’t find a club you would want to join, start one of your own.

If none of those are viable options you can always clean your house. If your house is clean you can come clean mine! 🙂

Let me know some of your suggestions for burning calories, especially if they don’t look like exercise. The important thing is to move evryday and have fun doing it, this will make it much easier to incorporate it into your life!

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Well, it is a typical rainy April day here in Philadelphia, and that is not helping me with my mood. I am feeling a bit tired today and the lack of sun continues to add to this mopey feeling. This is actually a crucial time because I know when I am tired or sad I have the habit of over eating or eating comfort foods. So what is there to do about it?

Here are the things I have tried with a lot of success:
1. I journal. When I write I am present to my thoughts and feelings and I can identify what is really going on in my mind. I have found this is an invaluable tool because it allows me to see why I am not feeling 100%, and writing also helps me identify potential self destructive behaviors. I am able focus on a solution to my mood, instead of feeling powerless.

2. I practice forgiveness. When my brain is caught in non-productive thought patterns, I allow it to be present instead of ignoring it. Then I acknowledge what is there and forgive myself for the thought patterns. We all go through times of our lives when we know we could have made a better choice, how can you gain value from that experience? Try this: forgive yourself and anyone else involved, LEARN from whatever happened, be thankful for the lesson being in your life. You may be surprised at the peace to be found within your mind when you practice forgiveness.

3. I workout. Not always the easiest thing to do when you are tired or depressed. The latest research is proving that exercise has an amazing positive impact on the chemicals in your brain that help elevate your mood. Go back to my blog from last week about the “No Excuse” workout and try that. The combination of uplifting music with the freedom of dance can pick you up out of the dumps, even when it is flooding outside!

4. I Laugh. This seems silly at first, but it really works! You can just start to laugh for no reason and it CAN improve your mood. If that is far fetched to you, put on a funny movie or think of a funny situation. At this time in technology you can even go to the internet and search for funny viral videos for a little comic relief.

5. I sing. Even if you can’t carry a tune, this on is fun….as long as you are not killing anyone else’s ears! Grab a spatula or hair brush and sing your heart out!

What I don’t do:
I don’t binge. I don’t go out and buy Peanut or Almond M&M’s, my favorite, because I know that is only going to make me feel worse! Instead I focus on feeding myself healthy food that I know will help me feel better, because I deserve to feel amazing.

I don’t hide. I am a champion hybrinator! When I am sad or depressed I withdraw, but I have found if that goes on too long I get worse. So I pick up the phone and call my Dad (who I ADORE! Love you Dad!), a family member, or a friend, someone who I know will be there with love and support. I am SOOOOO thankful for EVERYONE of my siblings, all 7 of them, because I can always get love and support from them!

I don’t allow myself to abuse me! This is a big one: stop thinking negative thoughts about yourself. Stop being mean to you!!!! PLEASE!!!! (MHD) How do you do that? In addition to the list of things I do, you could pray, meditate, talk, just don’t beat yourself up. Get in touch with someone else for help if nothing else is working. Believe me, I have recently had days when I did not want to get out of bed, I understand. It’s OK not to feel great all the time, practice acceptance and forgiveness, and seek help from others if you need to.

I feel better already! Writing my blog and helping others always gives me a burst of energy and now I don’t feel so bad!

What do you do to feel better? Let me know.

Have a great day splashing in the puddles!

Everything happens for a reason, right? That is part of the reason human beings are so resilient: because we can find hope and promise from even the most devastating of situations. Maybe that is just me, but I would rather live in an optimistic frame of mind than a pessimistic one any day.

Take my allergy, for example. I am allergic to gluten: no wheat, rye, oats or barley. It took a while to getting used to not eating bread, pasta, cookies, cake, donuts, etc, but think of this: aren’t those all of the foods you should keep to a minimum anyway? These are all high glycemic foods that trigger an insulin response and help the body store more fat. So yes, while reading food labels all the time is a bit annoying, and so many processed food have gluten in them, there is a silver lining. It forces me to eat healthy. Fresh fruit and vegetables are gluten free. Most protein is also gluten free. As a matter of fact, the closer you keep to natural, whole foods (foods as nature intended, not manufacturers) the less gluten you encounter.

So what is my point? I know how difficult it is to modify your eating plan, I have had to do it everyday for the past 6 years or I get physically sick. But once you get used to it eating healthy feels amazing. My mood has improved, loosing weight has been easier, my skin is young and healthy and I don’t get bloated with meals. I like to say that my allergy keeps me honest, because no matter how good that basket of bread smells, I can not touch it.

This is a pretty big WHY in my life. It is part of the WHY I use to eat healthy, but believe me, there are still a ton of unhealthy gluten free foods out there, I just know how wonderful I feel when I eat healthy. So I still choose my eating habits.

Which eating habits are you choosing? Why? Remember: nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.

Curvy Girl Fitness is not just a health and wellness resource, it is an inspirational resource founded on the belief that Beauty, Joy and Love are within every one of us. Sometimes we just need some coaching to find it.

Curvy Girl Fitness is a blessing to me, because it has given me an access point to share my personal wealth of experience with the world. I too have struggled for years to find comfort in the fit of my own skin. I can remember being 12 years old, and feeling fat when I compared myself to my sisters and girlfriends, but the truth of the matter was that was like comparing apples and pineapples.

I was shapely at an early age, developing my curvy features before others, especially in my lower body. At the time there were no healthy pictures of women in my area. All of the magazines featured rail thin models and I had shapely hips, butt and thighs. There were also no resources available for my mother to help me cope with my body image, and she did the best she could. (There is a funny story here that I will save for another time! Love you Mom!) But it was not enough. I began abusing diet pills and laxatives my freshman year in high school, and continued this destructive cycle of disordered eating and body image for the next 18 years. That is why I am thankful for Beyonce, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

Now, I know that may sound a bit strange, that I am grateful for three singers, but the truth is these three women have allowed a space in the media for women who are not of a rail thin, big boob variety. See, being Caucasian, there has been a standard of beauty prevalent within my familiar society: big breasts, tiny waist and no butt. Well, the only attribute that I possessed of those three was the tiny waist, other than that I was the opposite. What the breakthrough of these three women did for me was to put a beautiful, curvy, sexy figure of women into the forefront of mass media. I finally had my own role models, and even though they were of different races I believe they brought the consciousness of mass media into a new “frame of mind” through a new “frame of body”!!!

Can I get an HALLELUJAH!!!

There was never anything wrong with the way I looked, I was just looking at images of women in the media who did not reflect my body type. Now I am drawn to these three women and their careers because I can identify myself with their beautiful bodies. I am not like the super models of the world, and that is fine with me. My body and my image are unique and sexy: remember, it all comes down to what you BELIEVE you see. If I still thought I was fat, then I would be, if I believe I am beautiful, then I will be!

What are the images that you choose to surround yourself with? What are you telling yourself about your body? I love Beyonce, Shakira and J Lo. Keep healthy, real life images around you and see how it starts to make you feel about your body!

Let’s all sing: “I like big butts and I cannot lie…..” one heck of a theme song!!!!! 🙂

I used to have a page from a magazine on my refrigerator door. It was of a woman rock climbing and the inset read: To look at yourself and see what is right instead of what is wrong, that is the mark of a truly healthy individual. I couldn’t tell you where that inspirational message is today, this was probably 15 years ago, but I remember it as if it were still there. I remember the days I drew strength from it. I remember the days I scoffed at it’s presence and I probably threw it out when I no longer felt it was necessary or appropriate to stare at a tattered image on my refrigerator door, but I have never forgotten it.

To look at yourself and see what is right instead of what is wrong, that is the mark of a truly healthy individual.

Take it and write it on a post it note and attach it to your dash board, write it out as your screen saver, or print it out with a picture of yourself and put it on your own refrigerator door. Take that line, or something inspirational to you, and put it around you where you will see it and reflect on it throughout the day.

You are anything you say you are. So what are you going to tell yourself today?