Monday, July 13, 2009

Nutrition Notes: July 15th

Michelle said today after her triathlon that her legs feel a little heavy, but otherwise she is not sore from the triathlon. Not only her physical training but her dedication to healthy eating is what helped her get through the triathlon and not be completely sore afterwards. She has been so good about eating well that she deserves a treat every once in a while – like the goodies she got from her friend the chef.

Trainer Notes : July 13th

A big congratulations goes out to Michelle for completing the Trek Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie yesterday! Michelle said it was very challenging but she was surprised at how good she felt throughout the race. She said her workouts here at FT have definitely paid off, because she felt physically ready for the demands of the triathlon. For anyone who’s never done a triathlon let me tell you, Michelle accomplished a feat yesterday! Great job!

Michelle Trek Triathlon Recap

Monday, July 6, 2009

Healthy Decadence

I had the amazing honor and pleasure of meeting Chef Devin Alexander in Chicago for a one-on-one workout date! We met at a gym in downtown Chicago - Devin mentioned that Oprah works out at the club we were at, but alas we didn't see O anywhere.

Devin and I completed a cardio circuit, and we talked the entire time. It was so refreshing to talk to someone that "gets it". Our date went by so quickly, and before we knew it, an hour and 10 minutes had flown by. Devin had to leave quickly because she was a featured chef at the Taste of Chicago, but before Devin left, she gave me a box of her Healthy & Decadent Treats

I was so excited - I couldn't believe Devin actually took the time to make these treats just for ME!!! When do you ever have a world renown chef cook for you?

My little box contained two chocolate chocolate brownie cups, 2 fudge mint iced brownies, and a glazed lemon bundt cake. It was so hard not to inhale the treats all at once - they looked and smelled so yummy, and tasted even better! The fudge mint iced brownie was pure decadence - so rich, and bursting with flavor. :)

We then met up with Devin again at Taste of Chicago where she introduced me to the crowd - it was rather exciting! We watched her presentation - she demonstrated her McDonald's: Big Mac, Green Potato Salad, and Chocolate Chocolate Brownie Cups. Let me tell you - if you love McDonald's Big Macs, you simply MUST try Devin's healthy recipe (found in her Fast Food Fix cookbook, and also shared in yesterday's post). Devin has recreated the "special sauce" to perfection!

Meeting Devin was an experience I will keep with me always! Devin has openly spoken of her food addiction, and how it continues to affect her life. Knowing that she continues to succeed and overcome her addiction every single day gives me immeasurable hope for my future. She is such an incredible inspiration because instead of running from her food addiction, she embraced it and taught herself how to live a healthy, decadent life. She's shown me how to create more balance with my nutrition and showed me it's possible to eat like a "normal" person yet be so healthy at the same time!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Miller Ride For The Arts

My kids and I completed the 15-mile ride in today's Miller Ride for the Arts supporting UPAF. It was really fun, despite the chilly weather. The rain held off until we were done with the ride, which was perfect. I briefly thought about trying to shoot video of the ride itself as I pedaled along, but I'm far from graceful and much too clumsy, and decided both hands were needed on my handlebars at all times. We witnessed a pretty bad crash between two bicyclists near Mile 10 that had me quaking in my seat, and immensely grateful when we hit the finish line in one piece. Trying to get my leg up and over my bike was rather difficult, but the sense of accomplishment that flooded my entire being made the aches and pains worth it!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Michelle Video Blog: 6/6/2009

We started a new program this week - it's challenging to say the least! Kurt gave me a reprieve this week, with just 3 workout days. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I found myself oversleeping in the mornings, and passed out by 8pm in the evenings. I'm also very surprised at how much working out has become an integral part of my life. I seriously found myself missing my workouts on my extra rest days!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nutrition Notes: 6/3/2009

Working with Michelle on her eating habits has been easy – but not so easy for her. She has been a “perfect student” even thought I know it has been tough for her. That proves how important it is for her to be surrounded by good people as she faces the challenges that come with this transformation. I think that Michelle’s transformation is not just physical, but mental and probably spiritual on some level. Thanks to her family, friends, co-workers, and other supporters for helping her out!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Trainer Notes: 6/1/2009

About a week ago, it became obvious that Michelle needed a bit of a transition to lower intensity training for a short amount of time to allow her body to heal and recover. This week, she is only completing three workouts and told me she feels rested and rejuvenated already. Rest is so important in getting results and I feel this will be good for Michelle both physically and mentally. This challenge has been tough for Michelle in both respects and she has been extremely tough. Thank you Michelle.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm worth it!

This competition has been the most physically challenging experience of my life. I know many people think this should be easy for me, particularly because I started the competition with a bit of weight loss success. However, that is far from the truth. Just because I've lost some weight before the contest does not mean I've been "cured". I struggle every single day, battling temptation and cravings. There were many mornings I wanted to swat the alarm clock off my nighstand, and curl back in bed, skipping my workout.

I'm not sure if many of you know, but I'm a single mom. I don't have any family in the area, heck, I don't have any family in the continental United States. If I don't do "it" (whatever "it" may be - work fulltime, take care of my children, household chores, projects, etc) then "it" doesn't get done. My children have responsibilites around the house, and really do their share of helping out, but the rest fall on my shoulders. It's not easy, but it's my life, and giving in and quitting is not an option for me. So I keep pushing myself to do more, go farther, be stronger, live healthier. It's not easy. It's mentally and physically exhausting.

I pretty much got to the end of my rope on Friday - parts of my assessment didn't have the results I wanted, and I just didn't know what more I could do. I left my workout in a daze, utterly spent, discouraged, and defeated.

It's crazy how things can kind of fall into place and certain things will happen just when you need them to - I was fortunate to receive an invitation to a homecoming party for Kristin Steede and Cathy Skell, the mother-daughter duo from Wisconsin who were on The Biggest Loser Season 7, for Friday evening. Cathy and Kristin looked AMAZING, and were so kind and gracious. I think the best part of meeting and speaking to Cathy and Kristin was that they're in the same boat I'm in. They've had huge success with their weight loss from the show, but they aren't done yet. They have the same struggles that I do, battling daily temptations and food addiction. But they're not giving up, and neither am I. Hearing them speak about their experiences really inspired me and reminded me why I'm doing this. They reminded me that I'm worth it, that the time, sweat, and tears is worth it, and that I'm becoming a better person with every single breath that I take.

Also, like Cathy and Kristin, I have an amazing support system in my trainers at Fitness Together - Brookfield. Knowing that they truly care and want me to succeed keeps my alarm clock from being blasted into smithereens each morning. There is NO WAY I could be doing this on my own, and having Paul, Kurt, Tina, Cara, Paul Z and Sarah in my corner is an incredible blessing!


"Sometimes all you can do is struggle. But as long as you're struggling, you ain't giving up, and that's the half of it." The Gunnar in "Stoneheart" by Charlie Fletcher

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nutrition Notes

We are trying a nutrition technique in which we get a little more strict with intake for three days of the week. On three consecutive days, Michelle only eats lean protein and fibrous carbohydrates. Then on the remaining four days of the week, she can add her starchy carbohydrates back into her balanced meals. This will help her release more body fat, but it can take a little getting used to at first because it takes more restructuring of her plan. We don’t want to do this for too many consecutive weeks either because it could have adverse effects. We’ll only do it for a couple weeks at a time.

A great accomplishment!

Just a quick post - Paul shared a great accomplishment with me at the end of my cardio workout this morning ... I have to get the exact start date, but "in the beginning", I completed 2.4 miles in 25 minutes.

Today, I did 2.4 miles in 22 minutes.



"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." Ayn Rand

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Michelle Video Blog: 5/27/2009

Well, it took my son less than 5 minutes to create today's video - it's a mix of my workout this morning with Cara at FT - Brookfield. I think it came out really well, and it a bit more fun than my usual talking head videos :) I like working out with Cara (as I do with all the trainers) - they each bring something different to my workouts, so while it may be the same program, it feels different depending upon the trainer I'm working with that day.

Kurt gave me the following recipe a while ago, and I finally made it for dinner tonite ...

Barbeque Roasted Salmon
Yields 4 servings

1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 T fresh lemon juice
4 6oz salmon fillets
2 T brown sugar
4 t chili powder
2 t grated lemon rind
3/4 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
cooking spray
lemon slices (optional)

1. Combine pineapple juice, lemon juice and salmon fillets in a zip-top plastic bag, seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hr, turning occaisionally.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Remove fish from bag, discard marinade. Combine sugar, chili powder, grated lemon rind, ground cumin, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Rub over fish, place in a 11 x 17 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lemon slices if desired.

I made minor modifications to the recipe - I omitted the salt, and marinated the salmon overnight. I had my salmon served over a tossed green salad (romaine lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, carrots and tomato), while my kids had their salmon with steamed white rice and broccoli. It was absolutely delicious, and the kids gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up, so this dish is definitely a keeper. Thanks Kurt!


"We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are." Adelle Davis

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trainer Notes

We are preparing Michelle for a shift in training stimulus next week. We’ll be changing her program so she will notice a change in intensity. She has proven to us that she can endure high intensity workouts, but we also want to make sure she is getting proper recovery in order for her body to repair.

Michelle has been putting her heart, soul, and obviously physical effort into this and has done well. Show your support for Michelle and the rest of the contestants!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Michelle Video Blog

"You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction." George Lorimer

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Michelle Video Blog:

"What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists ... and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want ... and are fully determined not to quit until you get it." Alexander Graham Bell

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bring your daughter to the gym day!

I brought my 8-year old daughter to the gym with me this morning - she was curious to see what my workouts are like, and I promised her that she could bring the Flip video with us to try to tape some of my workouts. I think she had a great time, she got alot more footage of herself talking than me working out, but I'll do my best to edit some of the video to piece a mix together. On the way home, I asked her what she thought of the gym and my workouts. She said everyone was really nice, and it was a really long workout - she said she was tired at the end. I laughed and told her to imagine how tired she'd be if she was the one actually working out! :)

Kurt shared the "secret" he mentioned earlier this week in his blog with me ... it's a new approach to my nutrition, and I am going to get started with it tomorrow. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to reach my goal, and will do whatever my trainers tell me to do - after all, they're the experts!

One of my favorite things at FT - Brookfield is a portion of the gym that has motivational and inspirational quotes posted on it. I read them every day while I'm on the elliptical, and they never cease to move me. The following quote is one of my favorites ...

"Hidden inside each of us is an extraordinary force."

I can't help but smile when I say it to myself, because this simple quote is the key to my success ... once I really and truly began to believe in myself, the possibilities were endless. If you think you can't do something, you probably can't. But if you believe you can, then you most likely will succeed.

I'm also reminded of a Chinese fable my mother would tell me, with a similar message ...

Once upon a time there was a stone cutter. The stone cutter lived in a land where a life of privilege meant being powerful. Looking at his life he decided that he was unsatisfied with the way things were and so he set out to become the most powerful thing in the land.

Looking around his land he wondered to himself what is it to be powerful. Looking up he saw the sun shining down on all the land. "The sun must be the most powerful thing that there is, for it shines down on all things, and all things grow from its touch." So he became the sun.

Days later, as he shone his power down on the inhabitants of the land, there came a cloud which passed beneath him obstructing his brilliance. Frustrated he realized that the sun was not the most powerful thing in the land, if a simple cloud could interrupt his greatness. So he became a cloud, in fact, he became the most powerful storm that the world had ever seen.

And so he blew his rain and lightning, and resounded with thunder all over the land, demonstrating that he was the most powerful of all. Until one day he came across a boulder.

Down and down he poured rain and his thunder roared, lightning flashed and filled the sky, striking the ground near the boulder. His winds blew and blew and blew, and yet, despite all his efforts, he could not budge the boulder. Frustrated again, he realized that the storm was not the most powerful thing in the land, rather it must be the boulder. So he became the boulder.

For days he sat, unmovable, and impassive, demonstrating his power, until one day, a stone cutter came and chiseled him to bits.

Moral: Sometimes the most important thing to remember is that you have everything you already need, right inside of you.


"We can have more than we've got because we can become more than we are." Jim Rohn

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cardio Day

When I first started working out at Fitness Together - Brookfield, I really dreaded my cardio days. They were NOT fun and really pushed me outside my comfort zone. Now, I can honestly say I enjoy my cardio days - I like pushing myself and seeing how far I can go. It's such a mindblowing thing to realize how far I've come since Day 1.

Today was a cardio day, and Paul coached me through sprints on the elliptical machine, followed by a really good ab circuit. The burn in my abs were UNBELIEVABLE but yet so good, in a twisted, warped kind of way :)

When I step into the gym each morning, the phrase "I can't" gets eliminated from my vocabulary. So when Paul (or Kurt or Tina or Cara or Paul Z) tell me to push it, or go faster/harder, I do it. I never want to leave the gym thinking I should have done more. When I stumble out to my car at the end of my workout, I know I gave everything I had and have nothing left to give.


"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Buddha

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meeting the Competition

Hi everyone,

A video will be forthcoming later this evening, but I wanted to write a quick blog about meeting one of my fellow contestants - the Amazing Alicia. We ran into each other at the mall over our lunch hour today, and it was such a wonderful surprise! We were able to talk for a few minutes about our experiences, and it's nice to have someone I can talk to who "really knows" what we're going through in the transformation challenge. Our offices are just a block and a half apart, so we've made plans to walk together on our lunch hour. I think we'll work in a combined video next week, maybe of us interviewing each other?

Life is getting busy, and I really need to start kicking my workouts into a higher gear as I have several races coming up in the next few months! My first is the 15-mile ride in the Miller Ride for the Arts benefitting the United Performing Arts Fund on Sunday, June 7th. VISIT Milwaukee created a team for the ride, and I am very honored to be team captain! I've started riding my bike to my workouts Fitness Together Brookfield (a 6.5 mile round trip ride) in preparation for the Miller Ride for the Arts (ok, I've only done this once so far, but plan to ride at least once a week).

Next up will be the Trek Women's Sprint Triathlon with my friends Jeannie and Carrie on July 12th, a mere 51 days away from now. Just to prove how crazy I am, I'm not overly worried about the 12-mile bike or 5K run (the 0.5 mile swim has me freaking out just a little), but I'm a little more obsessed with what I'll be wearing that day. Crazy, aren't I?

I'll be finishing up my summer of races with the Rock N Roll Chicago Half-Marathon on Sunday, August 2nd with my friend Maria. We decided to sign up on a whim, and I'm now wondering what the heck was I thinking! Hello???

That's all for now, thank you all so much for your continued support! It means the world to me!


"At the end of the day, the person who reaches her goals isn't necessarily the one with the most talent. Often it's the person who's out there training the hardest, day in and out. I try to be that person". Lolo Jones, U.S. track and field champion

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nutrition Notes

Michelle doesn’t know it yet, but soon I plan on tweaking Michelle’s nutrition structure just a little bit. I won’t unlock the ‘secret’ right now but we’re going to try a strategy that is intended to speed metabolism and shed more body fat. It’s a trick that someone might use to prepare for a bodybuilding competition or something of that nature. Now, don’t go thinking we’re putting her on some crazy diet, we’re not going there. I’ll let you in on more details next time. Oh, did I mention you should vote for Michelle?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trainer Notes:

At the end of this week we will conduct another fitness assessment to see how Michelle has come along. I know she feels better but it’s also nice to see on paper how you’ve improved with actual numbers and measurements. Michelle’s results will be in smaller increments at this point of her transformation because as I mentioned before, she is in the ‘fourth quarter.’ I want to thank Michelle for being so devoted to her new lifestyle. I know that the rest of the staff here at the Brookfield FT thoroughly enjoy our sessions with her. We are very happy we picked her to be our transformation challenger. Vote for

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Meal Plan

Michelle is learning to allow balance in her life when it comes to eating. The world of food does not have to be such a bittersweet place. Michelle is getting better at realizing she doesn’t always have to be rewarding or torturing herself with food. She reports that she’s enjoying some fun meals on her cheat days, and I really believe she will get over the guilt of eating something naughty every once in a while. We have food because we need it for survival, but we have made it a device for entertainment and pleasure. Michelle now understands that it can work in both regards with a little balance.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trainer Notes

I want to congratulate all of the contestants on their progress so far. It sounds like they are doing well and having a great time. Michelle has had it a little more difficult, because she’s in the “fourth quarter” of her transformation process. Just like in an athletic competition, the participant that has the endurance and mental focus to finish the game wins. However, that fourth quarter can be the most difficult to stay tough and determined. For Michelle the fourth quarter means the last twenty to thirty pounds which can be the toughest to lose when a person has already dropped so much. She said her clothes fit better, she likes that the workouts decrease her stress and she is having a great time in her workouts, as you hear her talk about in her video blogs.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meal Plan: Week 6

Diet. To some people this word can be perfectly normal and not associated with a constant rollercoaster ride of weight changes and emotions. However for Michelle it is a word that comes with emotion. It will be a significant change for Michelle when she no longer thinks that a diet may be the answer and she can just eat. I think that she is on her way, even though she may not realize it. She has maintained the heart and determination to stick with a healthy eating plan (again, not a diet) for many months now and eventually that will lead to a permanent lifestyle change.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trainer Notes: Week 6

This week we’re preparing for a switch to a new training cycle for Michelle. She is at a point where her body needs a change of stimulus. We started with adaptation and muscle growth, which to Michelle means muscle tone and not muscle bulk. She has enough lean muscle now to create a significant boost to her metabolism. One pound of muscle burns about fifty calories more per day than one pound of fat. This may not sound like a lot if you are looking at the number of calories your treadmill told you that you burned in 30 minutes of cardio, but combining the right mix of exercise with good nutrition will make this daily caloric expenditure accelerate. We will move Michelle into more high-repetition, high-intensity training next.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meal Plan: Week 5

Michelle has been motivated and therefore easy to discipline concerning her eating habits. Not many people understand that your eating habits can actually speed up your metabolism if you do it correctly. Most people think of food as just a number of calories that make it harder to lose weight. Michelle has mastered the style of eating that helps a person lose weight.

She has controlled her portion size and meal structure so that she has the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Fat contains over twice as many calories per gram as protein and carbohydrates, so Michelle mostly sticks to lean proteins such as fish and chicken. That way, she can eat a filling portion since there is less fat and calories in those proteins.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Trainer Notes: Week 5

This week we will retest Michelle’s body composition to see how much she’s improved in the past 6 weeks. She has proven that diligent exercise and good nutrition habits will get results. It sounds like an obvious solution, but so many people don’t get all the pieces put together for success. The correct balance of strength training, moderate cardiovascular training, and proper nutrition is the key.

Keep up the good work Michelle!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meal Plan: Week Four

We’ve talked about Michelle’s changes she has been successful in making so far with her nutrition. She has eliminated bad choices such as fast food, too much sugar or sodium, and large quantities of food. As mentioned before, our fear was she was too close to replicating a crash diet. We didn’t want her to snap and completely give up and go back to her old ways. So, we implemented cheat meals, which is a fun and not necessarily healthy meal for her to enjoy once a week. Michelle is at the stage of change that is fun: researching new healthy options and broadening horizons.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Trainer Notes: Week 4

This past week Michelle has made even more progress. Training with Michelle has been increasingly fun because she is developing more and more ability. She’s getting better at pushing herself to her limits, and part of that is knowing what your limits are. Often, we find that your limits can be pushed further than you think. It was a little difficult to read Michelle’s tolerance to exercise at first, but she is more aware of how it should feel now. This makes it easier to take her intensity to the level that is necessary to achieve muscle failure (which is a good thing). This muscle failure is the point when Michelle is physically not able to perform another repetition of a given exercise. We have to make sure that recovery from this intense exercise is maximized. What is so important to make sure that the body recovers and adapts adequately? It boils down to one word – nutrition.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Meal Plan: Week Three

Last week we implemented Michelle’s master food list and her “cheat” list. The former helps her plan meals, make quick decisions when deciding what meals she wants to prepare and therefore cuts out some of the mental work. The latter makes eating a little more fun for Michelle. She has been a little tough on herself for some time and not allowing herself to cheat.

So, I thought her cheat list would be a good idea. It will be fun to hear from Michelle how she felt about her first cheat meal.

I think our next step will be simply understanding hunger and controlling meal size. Also, we need to help Michelle get creative and develop a recipe book so she can have variety. I’ve already given her a couple recipes for making salmon-one of her favorite foods.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Trainer Notes: Week Three

Michelle is starting her fifth week with us at Fitness Together. She seems to be coming along well. She has been very committed and energized with a great attitude. Oftentimes, it is a significant change for people to change their old habits, not only just behavioral habits like eating and exercising, but just a new daily routine can be a little overwhelming. Michelle has done well making the mental adjustment and committing to a new lifestyle and routine.

Today Michelle will start her next four weeks on a new program. Her first four weeks were designed to develop coordinated, smooth movements while building some lean muscle. The program we have designed and the exercises within it are designed to create more intensity and breakdown of the muscle fibers and create hypertrophy, or muscle growth. This does not mean we have plans of making Michelle into a bodybuilder with massive muscles, it just means we need to put just a few pounds of muscle on her. Increased muscle means increased metabolism and she needs that for fat burn. The first few workouts this week will be difficult for her, and she probably will even be a little sore for a couple days. She now knows that some soreness is not a bad thing, as long as we are progressing the intensity at her body’s pace. I’ll have more updates next week!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Meal Plan: Week Two

As mentioned last week, Michelle has made changes in her eating habits, and has seen changes in her body. However, she still needs improvements in her behavior to make her transformation permanent. We’re working with her on balancing her nutrients in her meals. By getting protein in almost every meal she creates a feeling of satiety throughout the day, and never allows herself to get really, really hungry. This way of eating stokes her metabolic fire because blood-sugar levels stay more consistent, and more body fat is released.

Michelle has been struggling with two things: variety in meals and being too strict on herself. So we have started creating a categorized list of good food choices used for meal creation and to make grocery shopping easier. Now we need to work on behavioral changes that will make eating more fun and reward her for achievements. We added a category, that we call her ‘cheat list.’ This is her fun category of foods or meals that she can save for her one day of the week that she can cut loose and indulge in a meal that is not so healthy. There is a difference between eating for pleasure and eating for survival. Every once in a while, you need to eat for pleasure so that eating for survival is more rewarding. If Michelle can master this state of mind, she will achieve her desired transformation. Thanks for supporting Michelle and the other transformation contestants!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My ultimate comfort food

During my nutrition consultation yesterday, Kurt at Fitness Together Brookfield challenged me to create my master food list and a meal plan. I have been stuck in a rut when it comes to my meal planning, eating the same meals at the same times, day after day. Some of the monotony is due to convenience and ease in preparation (not to mention my pitiful culinary skills), but the lack of diversity in my meals is beginning to weigh heavily on me.

At Kurt's suggestion, I've tweaked my master food list (originally broken down by protein, complex starchy carbs, and fiberous carbs) and took it a step further by breaking down fiberous carbs into fruits and vegetables, and also including "cheat meals". The cheat meals scare me as I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love to eat it, but hate what it does to my waistline! I mentioned this previously in my video, but I am simply too strict with myself, and fear all I've done is set myself up for a big fall. With Kurt's help, I look forward to creating more balance in my nutrition, and a great deal more variety!

I'm also planning my first cheat meal - spaghetti, my ultimate comfort food. My love for spaghetti goes back to my childhood - my mom was born and raised in Taiwan and moved to the US after she married my dad (who was an officer in the Navy at the time). Mom's family still lives in Taiwan, and she would go back to visit them every year, for 2 - 3 months at a time. After we'd drop her off at the airport, I'd start bawling because I missed her, and my dad would take me to Zippy's, a restaurant similar to Kopp's or Heinemann's, where I'd order spaghetti, every single time. It came to be such a tradition, that the waitresses would automatically order spaghetti for me when they'd see my family enter the restaurant. In fact, it wasn't until my senior year in high school that I actually ordered something other than spaghetti at Zippy's - chili spaghetti! Wow, that was an awesome day! ;)

I'm planning my cheat meal to take place at dinner on Saturday and am uncomfortably excited at the thought of having spaghetti ... I've tried to break my habit of turning to food for comfort, and also try not to much too much importance on food as a reward. Finding the balance of allowing myself a cheat meal and allowing myself to feel some pleasure in the cheat meal is difficult, especially as I've always been an "all or nothing" kind of person. But I know I can't live the rest of my life with such strict boundaries, and am anxiously looking forward to taking this first step.

Any suggestions or recommendations on a healthy spaghetti recipe will be greatly appreciated!


Monday, March 30, 2009

Trainer Notes: Week Two

This week Michelle has proven that proper exercise prescription promotes steady physical adaptation. Her coordination and development of proper exercise technique is quickly moving along. She has made steady progress in becoming more comfortable with the same exercises that were very challenging in her first week or two of training. She will be ready for a new challenge in a week or two, meaning we will change her routine completely. This will keep her from getting bored, as crazy as this would sound to Michelle. She would say that the workouts never get easier, even though we can see the progress she makes every day. The change in programming will also create the physiological response her body needs to shock her system again and force her body to adapt. This can be another mental challenge and Michelle has been tough so far. Our job is to make it challenging but fun, and before she knows it, exercise will be a habit!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meal Plan: Week One

Up to this point, Michelle has made changes in her nutrition that have helped her lose weight, but has only made simple changes. She still has some adjustments to make in order to switch from “diet mode” to a permanent and impactful lifestyle change. She has made the typical changes that many people make when they decide to lose weight. Most people know what foods are healthy choices and what foods to stay away from, and she has done that. She has not “cheated,” or in other words, allowed herself any unhealthy choices for some time now. Our fear with this type of dramatic change in eating habits is that it is less likely to be a permanent positive change because one can become frustrated with never allowing themselves a reward like a piece of chocolate or a nice steak dinner. We are starting to work with Michelle on the idea that she doesn’t have to eat 100% healthy all of the time. This type of approach will keep her sane and allow her to indulge in some of the foods she enjoys every once in a while.

We are working with Michelle on creating a basic balance of macronutrients within each of her four to five meals per day. Prior to our coaching, Michelle was really limiting her food choices and pretty much eating the same foods for every meal, every day. This also eventually leads boredom and frustration, and the idea of long-lasting weight loss seems less attractive. Therefore, we will be creating an ongoing list of foods so Michelle can learn to build menus and grocery lists, eventually with as little mental work as possible.

It's what you can't see that's important

Imagine a tiny flower seed. It's so tiny and insignificant. It isn't much to look at; in fact, it's rather plain and indistinguishable. You plant it in the earth with good intentions, you water it, give it sunlight, keep it from the chill, and then you wait.

Sometimes waiting seems to take forever, but eventually, the seed sprouts out of the ground, then blossoms and flowers. It's a thing of beauty.

But it's what you can't see that's important: The growth deep beneath the soil, the myriad of roots that branch out, seeking out all that's important to its growth and life.

A very good friend of mine helped to plant a seed of belief inside of me a long, long time ago. It took several years of trying and failing for it to finally root and grow, as it had to crowd out the seed of self-doubt that I had carefully cultivated and nurtured for many years.

It hasn't been easy, and sometimes self-doubt would try to crowd out that tiny seed of belief.

Of course, the seed of belief has won because when I look in the mirror these days, I see love, hope, and strength. I see a flash of the future strength and victory in my stance.

With previous weight lost, I know that this time is different. I know this with every fiber of my being.

But more important and meaningful than any physical change in the world, I've changed on the inside. I've finally found my voice. I know my self-worth and I've gained self-confidence.

I'm very excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity of participating in the Fitness Together Transformation Challenge, and look forward to blogging my successes with you here. Be sure to stop by again soon for my first vlog!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Trainer Notes: Week One

So far in Michelle’s first week of training, she has shown that attitude is everything. Dedication and a positive outlook have gotten her off to a good start. This, combined with the appropriate starting point and proper exercise progression, is the key to success. So many times, people begin an exercise program too hard and too fast, and the result is pain and suffering, mentally and physically. Unfortunately, we at FT have heard this from clients when they share their previous experiences with exercise and even with personal trainers. We’ve started Michelle with a good base group of exercises mostly consisting of single-joint movements, core stabilization, and overall physical adaptation to exercise. This week, she will complete three strength-training workouts, followed by moderate cardio. Also, she will have a cardiovascular workout under the coaching of her trainer. We also have done one nutrition consultation this week.

We are extremely excited for Michelle and her endeavor with us here at FT. She’s reaching out of her comfort zone and is displaying great courage. Many thanks go out to her support group outside of FT, her children, family, and friends. You’ve done great so far Michelle, keep it up!

Meet Michelle Uhrle

Congratulations! Michelle Uhrle
Fitness Together Brookfield Contestant

Current Weight: 165 pounds

Goal Weight: 130 - 135lbs

Michelle Uhrle is a convention sales assistant at VISIT Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau and is already registered for the Trek Women’s Triathlon this July! Michelle is ready to break through the plateau that she can’t seem to move past and run around and play with her 2 children. Michelle is originally from Pearl City, Hawaii and currently resides in Brookfield Wisconsin. Continue to watch for blogs and videos of Michelle’s Transformation.
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