Hi everybody! I am so excited to be a part of the IdealShape team. Being at the health and fitness game for over 25 years now, and making so many mistakes along the way, I wanted to share my thoughts with you on how to kick start yourself into a healthy, disciplined lifestyle to attain your health and fitness goals.
Growing up I certainly wasn’t taught how to control my eating impulses and had no clue on what proper nutrition looked like.
My sweet Mother was a huge baker. Every Saturday morning I would wake up to cookies, brownies, bars, cakes, pies, homemade bread….you name it! I would literally eat until I was sick and had no concept of moderation. It wasn’t until I had gained over 40 lbs. and developed a compulsive, emotional eating disorder, that I knew I had to make a change.
Addicted to sugar, feeling disgusted, shameful and unhealthy, I hit rock bottom when I was about 20 years old.
The first step I took to dig my way out of this hole I put myself in, was to join a weight loss program. It gave me the structure, accountability, and education I needed to get control back over my eating and my life. I lost 12 lbs. in the first week, which encouraged me to keep going.
The support of the group was invaluable, as well as journaling all my negative feelings and writing down my short term and long term goals. I finally had a plan! I knew I needed to shift my focus by setting my intention and making the commitment to respect my body.
Being consistent was the key! The second step was learning about portion control. I realized that even though I was now eating healthier, I was still eating enormous salads with heavy dressing, as well as large portions of brown rice and giant bowls of healthy cereal. It became evident pretty quickly to me that if I ate too much at one meal, no matter how healthy, my body was still going to store the rest as fat.
The solution was to eat smaller portions consistently through the day consisting of lean protein, veggies and healthy whole grains and fats to keep my metabolism working efficiently, and to avoid getting so hungry that I would end up overeating.
The third step was to get back into exercise. I was always so active in high school being a cheerleader, gymnast and involved in track and field, softball and tennis, that I never really had to worry about my weight. I ate horribly, but I burned all those calories off.
When I graduated from high school and became a lifeguard, sitting for 8 hours a day and continuing to eat poorly, I packed on the pounds quickly and that is when the vicious cycle began for me.
Luckily, I learned that muscles have a memory. When I began working out again, I started seeing results right away. However, another big mistake I made was not doing enough cardio and working with heavy weights. So, although I became more fit, I also was very thick and bulky.
I remember when I began working as a trainer for Body-by-Jake, I did a live segment with Jake on CNN demonstrating some of his exercises. The host took live callers, and one of them was from two girls giggling and laughing asking how much I weighed. I was mortified. Thankfully, Jake stepped in and said, “Muscle weighs more than fat and that I weighed more because of it.” The host also chimed in by saying I certainly didn’t look like I weighed that much. All those shameful feelings and insecurities came rushing back.
Another incident that stands out in my mind was when I was going to a famous movie director’s and producer’s house to train his wife at the time, who was an A-list actress.
I was already so nervous, as you can imagine. To make it worse, one day I was training her in their incredible gym and the director walked over and told me he didn’t want her legs to look thick and bulky like mine.
OMG! I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Instead, I gathered myself and said that was impossible. I had big thighs because it was in my genetics. I assured him that I was going to do everything possible to get her lean and mean for the play she was preparing for.
The last episode that was truly the catalyst for me making the necessary lifestyle changes was when I had been training this lovely girl who was dating a music legend at the time. I had become a part of their family and was even asked to be a bridesmaid in their wedding!
One day, he took me aside. I respected him so much. He was a mentor for me and had become a Father figure. He told me that I was so good at what I did and was a real professional, but that I needed to “walk the talk”. Again, I felt my cheeks flush and a rush of embarrassment run through my body. That was it! It was definitely time for a change!
So, the last step on my journey to health and fitness was learning how to exercise properly. It wasn’t until my mid-30’s that I figured it out. At that time, I had the great fortune of meeting the CEO of Beachbody who was launching his new company. He asked me to create an exercise program, “Slim in 6”, so I took a few months and created a six-week structured weight loss, workout program that included a beginning, intermediate and advanced routine.
I incorporated everything I had learned along the way. I included my favorite body sculpting exercises, core moves and added light resistance exercises for the upper body using high reps. I knew this format worked because I had been training myself this way for years and finally was able to get lean and achieve my goal weight.
Taking three test groups through my program to ensure the program worked was a big challenge, and I was beyond thrilled to see the success everyone achieved. I am so grateful and blessed to say that my infomercial is one of the longest-running spots in history. It has been airing for 17 years and is now International as well as on their digital platform, Beachbody On Demand.
This brings me to my involvement with IdealShape and becoming an Ambassador for this amazing company.
We share the same philosophy and beliefs about balancing out your life with consistent exercise and healthy nutrition. I have always been a huge fan of meal replacement shakes, and now I feel so lucky to represent the company that has the best one’s on the market. I can’t believe how many delicious flavors they have, and I absolutely love all the recipes they offer their customers.
Using shakes and bars, as well as the IdealBoost, is the perfect kick start to a controlled and disciplined healthy eating program. I like to have a shake after my workout or just as a mid-afternoon snack. It also satisfies any sweet craving I may be having. So now instead of having 20 homemade chocolate peanut butter balls my Mom use to make, I can have my delicious, healthy, low-calorie chocolate peanut butter shake instead!