Last year I had a number of clients who started stubbornly on the Atkins diet despite my warnings. Immediately I saw almost profound results in their weight loss. I reminded them it was the loss of water weight, and warned of the strain on the kidneys and the high cholesterol risk.

During this time I was mastering my yoga practice as a complete vegan but found that my immune system had been profoundly compromised and I was currently on my third cold for the fall season.

Atkins was in the media again because of new study results indicating lowered cholesterol. I went to the Atkins book yet again with a more open mind, and decided to try the diet. I liked the contrarian view point to the current AMA position of the low fat diet, which seemed to be producing a society of increasing obesity. Atkins view of sugar as the culprit making you fat, not fat, made sense and the extra work from all the protein for the kidneys… it’s benign. I wanted to use his diet as a tool to get myself entirely off of any sugar.

I started out on the high protein, low carb aspect of the diet. As I reintroduced the animal proteins into my diet I could feel myself get stronger and the colds, finally stopped. I also saw my muscle bellies start to open and swell again. The cold of winter was not as painful as it had been while on my vegan diet.

I then summoned up the courage to start bringing fats into my diet, including bacon, egg yolks, cream cheese, heavy cream, whipped cream, even bacon rinds. On a daily basis I would marvel at having eaten these “forbidden foods” only to awaken the next day thin, svelte. I couldn’t believe this, result! I was loving eating all these foods so familiar yet banished since…childhood

I was in full swing eating the high fat, high protein, low carb diet at the time when the pictures on my website were taken. I felt strong, but I had no energy!!! My walks on the beach were lethargic, I had to force myself to go that extra mile. I was thin but I felt like a beached whale. My love affair with Atkins continued a few more months. I followed his prescriptions religiously.

Eventually I had to add more carbs, I needed more energy. By carbs I mean vegetables, salads and whole grains. At this point I gained back the total of two pounds I had lost on Atkins. Body fat went from 16% to 18%, my energy was better. After 7 months I decided it was time to get the blood checked out and to my horror discovered that my cholesterol which had always been around 150 had rocketed up to 300!! Luckily my HDL to LDL ratio was still at a healthy level. Thanks to my forcing myself to exercise, I kept my HDLs high.

I immediately started drinking hot lemon juice with cayenne pepper every morning to clean my blood. I have now thrown away all the high fat foods and have once again, come back full circle to moderation and balance. A balanced diet. It takes a little more discipline but my energy is back and I can now eat the same meals as my husband so dinner preparation is simpler. My weight has not changed since I gradually introduced the carbs. I avoid at all costs the “white foods” flour, sugar, milk. I drink unsweetened soy milk I avoid foods in packages, boxes and bags. I feel a fine layer of fat but that’s okay its winter, I need it, and in the summer, heat always melts it off. I am completely off sugar and alcohol to keep blood sugar low.

Question From Ann, NewYork City: Every time I begin a fitness program, life gets in the way, I start stalling and before I know it I’ve fallen off the wagon and gained 5lbs. I can’t really afford a personal trainer but I can see how they can help you stay on track. I’ve tried DVD’s and classes with no success. Is there anything out there that can help me.

Answer : Thank you Ann for your honesty, I know many women have similar frustrations while pursuing their fitness lifestyle. There’s a lot of new research out there in the Fitness world and from that dearth of research is a new hybrid of personal trainers. They’re called Fitness Lifestyle Coaches, they can provide both exercise and behavioral guidance and they are a cheaper alternative to a Personal Fitness Trainer. I will address your question in the mindset of a Fitness Lifestyle Coach so you will catch a glimpse of how the lifestyle fitness coaching process can work. (more…)

Dear Deborah

Question From Ann, NewYork City: Every time I begin a fitness program, life gets in the way, I start stalling and before I know it I’ve fallen off the wagon and gained 5lbs. I can’t really afford a personal trainer but I can see how they can help you stay on track. I’ve tried DVD’s and classes with no success. Is there anything out there that can help me?

Answer : Thank you Ann for your honesty, I know many women have similar frustrations while pursuing their fitness lifestyle. There’s a lot of new research out there in the Fitness world and from that dearth of research is a new hybrid of personal trainers. They’re called Fitness Lifestyle Coaches, they can provide both exercise and behavioral guidance and they are a cheaper alternative to a Personal Fitness Trainer. I will address your question in the mindset of a Fitness Lifestyle Coach so you will catch a glimpse of how the lifestyle fitness coaching process can work.

So, lets get down to basics and define fitness, which includes three elements. First you need a cardio challenge where the heart and breathing rate are significantly raised. The second ingredient is strength training where the muscles are challenged with resistance work. Thirdly is Flexibility, muscles need to stretch to maintain mobility. Remember, you get stiff then you get old. Trying to take on all 3 elements in the beginning may feel daunting, so don’t.

Pick one element you enjoy; all three are equally important so choosing one can be the key to starting a lifestyle in which you can consistently participate. Once one element becomes a habit, because you enjoy it, which usually takes 28 days, you can add another. Add each element gradually and in small doses so as not to overwhelm your self. Of course, if you enjoy two or even all three fitness elements, dedicate a small amount of time to each so you experience success with the designated time for each element. Be realistic in your time allotment, if you can’t live up to it you’ll feel like a failure, so choose smaller time frames and experience success. Think ‘do a little less and emphasize success’ and it builds self-confidence.

You need to find what motivates or turns you on, so to get motivated you need a Fitness Vision. This vision entails using your imagination to project into your future. Ask yourself what it would look like to see yourself living your fitness lifestyle successfully after a year or two? Visualize how you’ll look, act, eat, sleep etc. until you can feel it, see it, smell it, breathe it. By making it as real as possible to yourself you’ll start to feel the excitement bubble up in you. Now that’s getting your mojo working for you.

Now set goals for you to make that vision happen. Where am I now? How can I get closer to that vision in 3months/ 6months? On a weekly basis, what do I do? Start with small weekly goals, so you can feel a sense of accomplishment every time you meet your goals. Then every week, add a little more challenge and because you are living up to your goals successfully, your self-confidence grows.

We all know how life gets in the way, that progress is never linear. So get creative and for see possible problems. In your mind play out how these obstacles can stop you and how you can find ways to work around them. This way when the problems come up your not caught off guard and you’ll be better prepared to deal with the situation and stay on track with your fitness lifestyle.

Yes, hiring a trainer makes it easier to stay on track with your fitness, but doing it yourself can be satisfying, rewarding, and even more empowering because you have thoughtfully come up with your own solutions instead of just following orders.

A Personal Trainer shows up with exercise programs that challenge you and keep you progressing to higher levels of fitness. Where as a Lifestyle Fitness Coach challenges you to get creative, problem solve, know yourself better and break through barriers, helping you break old habits, building confidence to develop healthier new ones so you can maintain a fitness lifestyle independently.