Six Tips For Steady Weight Loss

weightloss1. Follow your plan to the best of your ability. Weight loss is like network marketing – being persistent and consistent (aka small actions compounded daily) will get you to your goal a lot faster than sporadic fad dieting.

2. Speaking of sporadic fad dieting,  people who have trouble losing weight are sometimes the same people who cannot finish what they start.  So if you’re going to lose weight, then you have to stop being a quitter.

3. If you cannot exercise  (though honestly, unless you are bedridden, why can’t you move something?) then make sure that you are restricting enough calories to create weight loss ( a pound or two a week is best, so eliminate 3500 to 7000 calories per week and you will lose 1 t o2 pounds)

3. Drink filtered water – it  helps to wash away all the debris from the fat that you’re burning. If you drink coffee and tea balance it with the same or more in water.

4. Eat food that you like, and do not deprive yourself. When we  go on a restrictive diet, it creates a scarcity mentality which eventually leads us to that midnight binge on the floor in front of the refrigerator – kind of like the scene in “9.5 Weeks”  but not near as sexy.

5. Remember that a ho-hum diet and a ho-hum workout are going to give you zero results.  That means get off the treadmill (or whatever else you have been doing every day at the same speed and pace) and really pay attention to your diet (try a food log or one of the online calculators). Great progress requires big changes – so shake things up a lot!

6. Stop  preparing to get ready to be prepared to start your diet or workout plan – just do it already. There is no reason to binge the night or weekend before you start – not when there are products like Cheat - and there is no reason to plan your program for a time when you think life won’t happen.  Life is always happening – lunch meetings with dessert, business trips where the hotel has no gym, a project that disrupts your meals or makes you miss a workout. If you’re going to plan then plan to be flexible and prepared for the inevitable – travel with a workout DVD, keep protein bars or shakes at the office and so on.

As always I welcome your input. What’s your diet and weight loss plan?

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Why Don’t We Need Health Care Reform?

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Lately there has been a very loud and unhealthy discussion about health insurance in this country. I say unhealthy because the discussion very rarely focuses on the facts and no one walks away from the fight feeling good about it. In my discussion on the subject I would like to remove the political component:

  1. Forget about what side of the aisle the people that you voted for sit – chances are they don’t have any of your interests at heart anyway
  2. Forget about the color of our President and whether or not he has all the qualities of the antichrist as stated in the Bible – that’s just the arrogance of every generation thinking that we are so important that the world will end on our watch and in our lifetime
  3. Forget about what you have heard on TV the radio or from newspaper articles and editorials – it’s all spin since everyone has an angle on this thing and anyway for the most part those guys have good insurance that they can afford

Instead let’s talk about you and me and our experience with the health care system. If you currently:

  • pay less than $100 per month for insurance or have in the past
  • and have never paid more than $10-$40 out of pocket for medical, dental, vision, prescription or a visit to the chiropractor
  • and this is not Medicare or Medicaid

I would understand if you  drop out of the discussion at this point as it is probably difficult, if not impossible for you to understand what all the fuss is about.  But I suggest you stick around so that you can understand what others have experienced or are experiencing.

If you are on Medicaid or Medicare, or have a child enrolled in a federal or state run health plan,  then I definitely want you to stay and give us some insight on what a “government run” health care system is like. For example:

  1. What does it cost you monthly?
  2. How much do you pay for prescriptions?
  3. Have you ever been denied care because you are on “the dole” so to speak?
  4. Do you feel that you receive inferior care because you are on Medicaid or Medicare?

For those of us who fit into none of the above . Those of us who pay anywhere from $200 to $600 plus per month for health insurance. Those of us who have paid additional  health care bills of  anywhere from  $300 to $300K  over and above what we paid for health insurance. I have to ask, what are we doing? Why are we fighting each other? What are we seriously fighting for ?

Last year I wrote an article about consumer driven health care and I told the story of a woman who paid over $300 per month to insure herself and her teenaged child. She required dental surgery that would take several iterations, but was not able to finish the process because she could not pay the $3000.00 bill.  So the world turned and a year later she finds herself working for this very same insurance company, and guess what? She only pays $20 a month for her coverage.  There is a saying that came to mind when I heard about that “somebody is buying you wholesale and selling you retail”.  I mean seriously people, if the insurance company employees can pay only $20 per month for coverage, why are you and I paying upwards of $300.00? What the heck are we paying for exactly?

I’ve had a discount plan for almost three years now (read why here), even though I work full time and my job offers benefits I declined them – do you want to know why? Because my discount plan costs $360 per year, I pay a discounted fee at the doctor, the dentist, the drug store, and even when I get glasses – and I am still spending less than the $10,000 plus  per year that I invested back when I had employer sponsored health care.

When I had insurance I had to get an HSA to cover those extras that my insurance did not cover. I breezed through a $2000 HSA easily. Why is that? Why do we pay so much for something that does not do the job? And why are we letting the insurance companies spend our money on lobbyists and bad advertising? Why aren’t we mad about this? Talk to me, I’m listening…

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Cleaning Out My Closet | What Happens When Your Child “Comes Out”

Défilé de PASTT à la Gay Pride à Paris en France
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It’s summer, I’m traveling, I have Marching Band camp and I’m launching a new application at work. Finding myself in this blogging topics dead zone I checked Mamapedia to see if there were any questions that struck a chord. I stumbled upon a Mom whose 18 year old son told her that he is gay.  I thought to myself ” well there’s a topic with teeth “;  why? because I have been there and done that and quite a few years of experience that I can bring to the table.

I don’t recall exactly how long ago it was that my handsome boy came to me and said “Mom, there’s something I have to talk to you about”. I had no idea where the conversation was going to lead when we sat down in my “meditation room” to talk.  He was very straightforward and said “I’m gay”.  I don’t remember my reaction (resignation?), I recall asking a lot of questions and being a little hurt that I was not the FIRST person that he told.

I do remember telling him to never forget that I gave birth to a boy and not a girl and I’d better not catch him being a flamer. In retrospect that was probably a mean thing to say, but he has honored me by respecting that one request. Of course I  worried about him being out there in a world that can be so mean to people who are different – after all as hard as it can be to be a black hip-hop looking kid, how much harder to be a Gay black hip-hop looking kid?

When I told my husband and older son they gave me a “so?” kind of look, they always knew and wanted to know why I didn’t. I think that helped me to get through the process faster than a mother who is on her own with a revelation like this. And, yes, I think that I probably knew all along but was in denial about it. I think Moms know their children better than anyone else and when a child “comes out” they’ve really just voiced what we’ve known for a very long time.

Well back to the Mother on Mamapedia, she’s devastated, upset because she will never have grandchildren from this child (she has others), and has actually removed his pictures from the house because she can’t stand to look at him.  I fully understand how she is feeling. You see as parents we tend to see our children as both an extension of ourselves and the path to  fulfillment of  our unrealized hopes  and dreams. We think our children and their lives are about us, when really it’s about them. And that’s where we go wrong.

Imagine how hard it is to sit down with your mother  (your first love, your lifeline, your shelter in all storms) and tell her something that you hope will not cause her to cast you away. How does the child feel when their Mommy does exactly that? Throws them away, letting them know without words that they are useless and worthless because they’ve made a “bad choice” (yeah like a kid would choose to be a pariah).

My son told me that he’d known since he was young  that he was probably homosexual. He said that when he was 15 he tried to kill himself becaus eof the kids at school and his own confusion. I didn’t hear the whole story because blood rushed to my head and i blacked out with my eyes open at the very idea that I could have lost him and never known why. My children are undeniably the loves of my life, I would never for any reason stop loving them. Being gay is small stuff, being dead … well that’s pretty final.

For some, a child coming out of the closet is  in some small way like a death in the family, you will go through the phases of grieving:

  1. Shock  – you may experience feelings of disbelief or may be momentarily unable to feel anything at all.
  2. Denial – this is where you decide that it’s ” just a phase” and send your teen to counseling or a church “re-training” program.
  3. Bargaining – usually with God, but you may try to bargain with your child too (“I’ll buy you a new car if you promise to stay away from your homosexual friends”)
  4. Guilt – “What did I do wrong?” , “Was he too much of a Mama’s boy?”, “I shouldn’t have let her play sports”
  5. Anger is another totally natural part of the grieving process. Unfortunately, in these cases all of the anger tends to be directed at the child, mainly because parents think this is a choice they made out of defiance or some such.
  6. Depression – this can be alleviated by remembering that your child is still here, they didn’t die, it’s only one of  your expectations for them that died. Remember that Gay men and women do become parents, they go to college, they attend church, they live the same types of lives that we do.
  7. Acceptance  – I have read of parents who refused to speak to or see  their children after they’ve come out. What an absolute waste.

I have never been to a meeting (never thought about it actually) but I hear that PFLAG can help parents through to acceptance. Check their site for a chapter near you.

While having babies doesn’t come with a “contract” like marriage and business relationships, the act of conceiving, birthing, and keeping your baby creates a binding contract. You promise to love that baby unconditionally, treat it fairly, and set it free when it’s time. People who deny their children based on a condition ( sexual orientation, choice of marriage partner, not meeting expectations) did not deserve those children in the first place.

I did not personally go through all of the stages of grieving, I’m a pretty modern woman, have been lucky to have fantastic Gay friends (yes even in the Marine Corps back in the 70s) and was able to get over myself fairly quickly. My son has been with the same person for almost a decade and they plan to make it official some time next year –  and of course I will be there -:)

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How To Deal With School Bullies When Your Child is the Victim

Image taken by me on March 5, 2007.
Image via Wikipedia

I  was combing through the bathroom archives (you know that thick stack of reading material that you keep under the cabinet in the loo?) and found  a “Best Life ” magazine from 2008. There was a great article in there about how one father handled the situation when his child was being bullied. This article stirred up a lot of emotions in me, partly because I was bullied as a child and also because an 11 year old here in GA (Jaheem Herrera) hung himself as a consequence of having been the victim of bullying.

I had also noticed on Mamapedia a question from a Mom who is at her wits end because her girls are being bullied and she absolutely does not know what to do about it. So for anyone out there who’s child is a victim and also for RS in Kansas City, I  want to share

How To Deal With School Bullies When Your Child is the Victim

The first step in handling bullying is actually learning how to recognize that your child is being bullied. But it’s hard to look for some of these symptoms if no one is at home when your child comes from school every afternoon.  I was bullied because I was an immigrant, I talked funny, the other kids hated me so they beat me up every afternoon like clockwork.

My Mom was a single parent and a nurse who worked the swing shift – that’s 3Pm to 12AM. Since she was usually not home when I got home, I don’t think she ever knew what was going on.   Strive to be there for your children after school, it’s really so very important. Look for symptoms such as :

  • a sudden loss of appetite
  • or your child is ravenous when she gets home because she isn’t eating
  • your child is sleeping more than usual
  • your child is restless and can’t sleep at all
  • your child pretends to be ill to get out of going to school or looks for reasons to stay inside

How does a parent handle bullying? Isn’t this one of those things that kids should “work through”? Shouldn’t the school take care of this? I got lucky, I had my sister Penny who was fearless and put a stop to the whole bullying thing for me. But your child may only have you to help them, and help them you must, the loss of self-esteem associated with bullying can follow a child into adulthood and define the kind of person they become.

The important thing to remember is to create and leave a paper trail. in the case here in GA the school and county deny that the parents ever asked them to address the issue. Here are a few tips from that article that I read in the bathroom:

  1. Talk to your child and find out exactly what is going on, have him name the people involved.
  2. Arrange one meeting with as many school administrators present as possible: the principal, the vice principal, your child’s teacher, the guidance counselor, the dean
  3. Address the issue at the meeting, ask that they keep this person (s) away from your child. If they want to take a  “boys will be boys”  attitude then make sure to throw in words like “civil rights are being violated” and other terms that make it seem you are willing to take further (possibly legal) action.
  4. Write a letter to all parties after the meeting listing the items discussed an agreements reached.  Keep a copy of this letter, a little paper goes a long way to proving your case should this situation escalate.
  5. Contact the parents of the bully or bullies in question, let them know that some tension exists between your children and you plan to do your est to keep your child away from theirs and you would like them to do the same. Let them know that you have had a meeting with school administrators (chances are they will then call the school, which now makes this a very important issue to administrators).
  6. Follow up by writing a letter to the parents summarizing your discussion , the issue at hand, and the solutions that you both proposed. Keep copies of these letters.

The bottom line is that you cannot control other people’s children, nor do you want to be the Mom or Dad in the schoolyard tussling with a bully and embarrassing the heck out of yourself and your  child. But people can and usually will control their own kids if they feel that they have something to lose by not doing so.

How about you, have you been bullied or had to deal with bullying in your child’s life?  What solutions worked for you?

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When quitting is the only option

Are You A Quitter? I know I am. When the going gets tough the tough may get going but the niseylee usually gives up and moves on. From academics to relationships, I always assumed that I just was not cut out for the hard stuff.

I think it’s the commitment that sticking with it requires. For example, if you yourself have been hurt in a relationship or you’ve watched your parents engage in a combative and painful relationship- it would make you gun shy wouldn’t it? Definitely not apt to stay in a relationship long enough to get to the part where someone could actually hurt you.

In business, the chronic quitter does not stick around long enough to be placed in a position of authority and responsibility. Guess they are afraid they will “let someone down” or actually have to “show some results”.

So what’s a commitment phobic under achiever who craves success to do anyway? I’m glad you asked:

  1. Define what success means to you (lose weight, earn more, have happy healthy kids etc)
  2. Based on this definition, set some short term ( 1 -12 months) and long term (1-5 years) goals
  3. Accept responsibility for your past actions and their present consequences
  4. Live your life on purpose, nothing is accidental

Let’s face it quitters never win because they just don’t ever finish what they start. So are you a quitter?

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Effective Listening|Maybe What You Thought You Heard Wasn’t What Was Really Said

*John is an entrepreneur, he’s popular on all of the social media sites, has multiple streams of income, and is always giving advice  online about how to succeed in business.  The funny thing is that John’s advice usually lands the person who asked for it on his business prospecting list, and if they don’t watch out before they know it they’ve landed in his downline – and still don’t know what to do to improve the business that they already have!

My question to you is  are you John? Do you rush in  with your product or biz opp, offering them as the solution to your prospect’s problem before you even know what the actual problem is? Deeper still, do you listen with your mouth instead of your ears?  In his book  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook Stephen R. Covey says that the key to effective communication is that you must  “seek first to understand, then to be understood“.

You:  “Hello, Carrie, this is ____ with the fitness company, I have a note here that says you’re interested in losing weight”

Prospect: “Oh, I definitely am.”

You: “Great, how much weight are you looking to lose?”

Prospect: “Well I gained 30 pounds with the baby and just can’t seem to get rid of it, and I’m breast feeding too so dieting is hard”

You: “Oh I know what you mean, it was so easy to take the weight off with my first two, but after my third I just could not get that weight off.  I’ll tell you I tried just about every diet that you could think of.  I tried walking, and exercise tapes and finally I found the XYZ fitness company. The company was started by a Mom who had the same problem, and she designed our products specifically for Moms like you and I. You know we are a 7billion dollar debt free company and our products are shipped directly from the Amazon River, where they are harvested by natives. ”

What are you reading a script or something? Did you even hear the part where she said that she couldn’t afford fancy diets or that she was breast feeding? I bet you were waiting for her to finish her sentence, so that you could say the next thing on your script.  You quickly jumped to the conclusion that her problem was the same as your problem and therefore what worked for you should work for her.

Next time, listen and respond to what the prospect is saying, rather than responding to your thoughts about what the prospect is saying. For example when she mentions breast feeding you could say: “Really? Do you have any dietary restrictions due to breast feeding?”   or “Tell me more about that”  Maybe she can’t use your product because one of the ingredients  gives babies gas. Isn’t it better to learn that early in the conversation?

Also, remember that the most important person in a prospecting call isn’t you, it’s the other person. You already know all there is to know about you, now you  need to learn what you need to know about them so that you can determine if your solution fits their problem

Good luck and keep your ears open…

* John is fictional, don’t be like that Carly Simon song “you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you”

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The Importance of Communicating Our Intentions

Has this ever happened to you? You signed a new person to your business intentionopportunity, they were gung ho and ready to rock and roll, you are just totally over the moon about the possibilities. But it’s been two weeks and Jane doesn’t respond to your emails and has not returned any of your calls.  You’re starting to wonder if there is something you said or didn’t say that may have caused this situation.

Jane  is MIA and, trust me, it’s no one’s fault. You ASSUMED that Jane planned to just jump on in there and get to work, building her business and increasing your earnings. However, Jane’s intentions are to get to it when she get’s to it,  after all you did tell her that it’s her business.

You entered into this relationship with the intention of gaining a partner who would help you to grow your existing business, Jane entered into this business with the intention of getting a home office tax deduction because she is single, childless, and has to pay additional taxes at the end of the year.  And yes she does plan to work the business someday, but it was never her intention to do it today.

This example illustrates the negative situation that can arise when we do not clarify our true intentions when entering into a relationship. The truth is that this is a very common thread in all relationships, we have certain unspoken expectations of our co-workers, our spouses, our children, and our friends.  When the other party in a relationship does not live up to these expectations we are disappointed and the relationship is slightly fractured.

Joe, a married man from Connecticut, meets Cindy at a club in New York and they enter into a relationship. Joe’s intention is to have a good time outside of his marriage, Cindy on the other hand believes that Joe loves her and her increasing intention is to wrest hi away from his wife and children and marry him herself. Cindy wins and Joe marries her after his divorce becomes final. Several years later she is devastated to learn that he has had several affairs. Joe is surprised, it was never his intention to hurt Cindy, he gave her everything she wanted and assumed that she understood “the kind of guy” that he is.  Joe and Cindy could have saved themselves some trouble nd heartache by stating their intentions and expectations loudly and clearly back at the club when they first met.

In business, as in life, you will find that things will go much more smoothly when everyone is clear about what their intentions are and what their desired outcome is. What if you had said to Jane, “I am looking for people who are ready to hit the ground running because I have a goal..” then Jane could have responded “Well I really like the business model and want to sign on, but I probably won’t be able to get started working for another six months, would that be ok with you?”

It sure would save you a lot of angst and frustration to find out what’s really in your prospect’s head up front, now wouldn’t it?

How do you communicate your intentions when prospecting?

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Do I Need A Crash Course In Love?

The Love Course

The Love Course

As you know from reading my last post , my relationship with love has been less than stellar.  Which isn’t to say that I haven’t come a long way from the kid who cried herself to sleep at night cause her Daddy lived somewhere else, but I did bring a lot of baggage on the journey – and I think that I may still have at least one train case with me (admit it, you have no idea what a train case is do you?).

When my blogging sister Lucy Lopez suggested that I try her Love Course, I  jumped at the chance.  The Love Course promises to (in Lucy’s words)  :

  1. Explain some of the most perplexing things about ‘love’
  2. De-myth-ify the most commonly held myths about love and relationships
  3. Lead you gently through a series of questions, exercises, meditations and visualizations to help you identify and sort through your own beliefs, doubts, (mis)understandings and expectations about love
  4. Give you many opportunities to reflect on and re-assess your dominant and conscious as well as subtle and subconscious thoughts, words and behaviours that characterize your relationships
  5. Teach you specific skills to help you overcome unloving habits of thought, speech and behaviour
  6. Help you build the confidence you need to love effortlessly, freely and fully.

Over the next 6 weeks I will immerse myself in LOVE and share the experience with you. In the meantime do visit Lucy at www. lucylopez.net.

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16 Ways That You Can Lose Weight For Free

Marine of the United States Marine Corps runs ...
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Diet has become such a dirty word, but let’s remember that diet simply means the “the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group”. Over the years we have redefined the term to the where it now means that if I am “on a diet” I have restricted my food intake or improved the quality of my food products in some way.

I have written a post or two on weight loss because over the years I have become an expert on the subject. I like to think that I can separate fact from fiction and shoot straight from the hip on the subject.

I was browsing through Mamasource and stumbled on this question (or is it a plea?) “Does any one have any weight loss secrets? I was on the biggest loser thing but icant afford that any more so i am on my own. I really need to loose about 150++++ Pounds. HELP!!!!!!!! Please. – J.T.

Fact: There are no weight loss secrets. If you want to lose weight- eat less and move more.

Unfortunately, this would appear to be easier said than done. We are a society of mindless eaters. This means that food goes into our mouths all day long and we are totally unaware of having put it there.  From the kids leftover breakfast to the uneaten portion of our husband’s dinner; we eat when we are happy, we eat when we are sad, we even eat when we are totally numb to any of our feelings.

For J.T. and anyone else wondering how to lose weight on a limited budget, I have compiled this list of tips (many of which I got from plans or books that I paid for) :

  1. Start a food diary. Studies have shown that people who write down what they eat, tend to watch what they eat. After all who wants to write: “polished off the rest of the Thanksgiving turkey just before dinner” . Writing is tedious to some so do it for at least a week just to see where you are and what needs improving.
  2. Move something.  Walk up and down the stairs for 10 minutes after each meal, or walk around the yard or the block, or the living room. Dust off your workout tapes (we all have old workout tapes and DVDs, we just don’t acknowledge their presence in the house) and use one at least 5 times a week.
  3. Quit eating your kids leftovers. The starving kids in China don’t have access to that food and you eating it does not fill their bellies, it only serves to expand your waistline!
  4. Think before you eat. Weight lost is a factor of calories in minus calories burned. You can burn 3500 calories more or eat 3500 calories less or a combination of the two – but the end result will be 1 pound less on the scale.
  5. Read The Hackers Diet by John Walker- why? Because it’s online, it’s free, and he provides all the tools that you need to create your daily meals,  track calories and keep track of your weight forever. And did I mention that it’s FREE?
  6. Eliminate dessert except on special occasions. It’s bad for your teeth, your insulin levels, your skin and so much more.
  7. Drink more water. Note that I didn’t say 8 glasses a day, I just said more. Drink water when you are thirsty.
  8. Avoid laxatives. Laxatives and diet teas are not a viable way to lose weight. Your body is a wondrous and sophisticated machine with built in mechanisms for elimination. Treat it well and it will treat you well.
  9. Eat more food un-processed food  like fresh fruit , vegetables, and beans that you soak and cook yourself (canned pork and beans don’t count). This will help your body with the elimination process.
  10. If you are struggling with your weight now, then chances are your children will also (no matter how painfully thin they are at this point). Set an example for them by cooking healthy meals at home and ordering Chinese take-out and pizza less often.  I actually recommend eliminating take-out night altogether; save eating out for special occasions. Find great recipes that you and your family will love  in the blogosphere at places like Diet Recipes Blog and Cinnamon & Spice
  11. Get tips, ideas and free workouts and workout videos at Self.com , Fitness.com and any othe rfitness magazine website you can think of.
  12. Join a fitness challenge on one of the above websites or at iVillage.com. Challenges help you to set a goal and stay focused on it, but you always want to add something for th elong term (like The Hackers Diet) because what goes down can definitely creep back on you.
  13. Try the Scarsdale Diet with me if you really want to see results fast. I lose weight slowly but have been able to move my “normal and customary” scale weight down ten pounds.
  14. Our bad eating habits and poor exercise habits are created in our heads.  We gain and lose weight because our mindset is  alittle off-kilter (maybe deep down inside you have some fears about being thinner). Go to the library (it’s free too) and get a couple of books like The Slight Edge, The Power of Positive Thinking, How to Stop Worrying & Start Living etc.
  15. Make eating right and exercising a habit, just another one of the things you do every day like brushing your teeth and taking a shower. Remember that these are little things that are just as easy to ignore as they are to actually do and get out of the way for the day.
  16. Live in the moment, be conscious of what you’re doing. Been sitting in front of your computer all day? Get up and play with your kids, take a walk, play football in the street, park far away from the entrance to the mall or grocery store for a change of pace.

Do you have any weight loss secrets that you’d like to share? Leave a comment, I’m all ears:)

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