I can be the first person to tell you…After having my second child, wow, did I pick up the pounds!  At first I was not overly concerned because I remembered how the pounds shed off quickly after my first child came into the world.

But like my kids, this weight is kicking and screaming to hang on to me.  I have tried it all—From the excessive workouts, to the diet fads, the “gourmet” diet dinners, calorie counting and oh yes — drum roll please — the HCG diet where I took a hormone that “tricked” my body into thinking it was Ok to only consume 500 calories a day.  Now, the only person really tricked was ME when I forked over $600 of my hard-earned wages to buy the liquid dropper.

Do you know what happened? I gained even more weight than when I first started!

The only thing I have learned is when it comes to weight loss, the only way to take it off responsibly and sensibly is through hard work over a sensible, extended period of time.

Hear me loud and clear…There is no quick fix!

So I contacted a good friend of mine, personal trainer Jennifer Winters, to help me get back on track.

I first met Jennifer at the gym when she noticed a struggling me playing around on various exercise equipment and took me into a room for an “introductory” session. 

And when she was finished and I could catch my breath, I stumbled to my car and brought her back a blank check.

Five months later, I was down an impressive 35 pounds.

Then, I got cocky and comfortable.  I forgot that healthy living was a way of life and after a year of excuses of why I couldn’t go to the gym, I found the weight I lost.

Then I did the silliest thing, I tried to “diet” BEFORE I went back to Jennifer.  I was too ashamed to let her see how I “backslid.”

While disappointed, she had seen it all before and gave me the pep talk and the motivation I needed to get me back into the swing of things.  So, since I am starting from scratch.  I decided to take you along with me.  It’s operation:  Little Black Bikini…Hey, I love yellow polka dots just as much as the next summer bunny, but I have my eye on a super sexy black bikini.  That’s my goal.  What’s yours?

To kick start me, Jennifer gave me a bible of fit tips to follow and I am listing them for you so we can embark on this journey together.  She has everything from jogs in the parks to pole dancing planned for our transformation. 

Now, I have been told I have curves in all the right places, but let’s just say I look better in capris than shorts.  Houston will be hot this summer and I don’t plan on wearing turtlenecks.

Here are some helpful hints to get started as we embark on this journey together. 

Let’s get busy!

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Essential Health Tips: The Basics to Practice Every Day

“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.”

1. Move More

Make it a daily challenge to find ways to move your body. Climb stairs if given a choice between that and escalators or elevators. Walk your dog; chase your kids; toss balls with friends, mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it’s a stress buster. Think ‘move’ in small increments of time. It doesn’t have to be an hour in the gym or a 45-minute aerobic dance class or tai chi or kickboxing. But that’s great when you’re up to it. Meanwhile, move more.

Thought for the day: Cha, Cha, Cha…. Then do it!

2. Cut Fat

Avoid the obvious such as fried foods, burgers and other fatty meats (i.e. pork, bacon, ham, salami, ribs and sausage). Dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, milk and cream should be eaten in low fat versions. Nuts and sandwich meats, mayonnaise, margarine, butter and sauces should be eaten in limited amounts. Most are available in lower fat versions such as substitute butter, fat free cheeses and mayonnaise. 

Thought for the day: Lean, mean, fat-burning machine…. Then be one!

3. Quit Smoking 

The jury is definitely in on this verdict. Ever since 1960 when the Surgeon General announced that smoking was harmful to your health, Americans have been reducing their use of tobacco products that kill. Just recently, we’ve seen a surge in smoking in adolescents and teens. Could it be the Hollywood influence? It seems the stars in every movie of late smoke cigarettes. Beware. Warn your children of the false romance or ‘tough guy’ stance of Hollywood smokers. 

Thought for the day: Give up just one cigarette…. The next one!

4. Reduce Stress 

Easier said than done, stress busters come in many forms. Some techniques recommended by experts are to think positive thoughts. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you like. (i.e., Soak in a hot tub; walk on the beach or in a park; read a good book; visit a friend; play with your dog; listen to soothing music; watch a funny movie. Get a massage, a facial or a haircut. Meditate. Count to ten before losing your temper or getting aggravated. Avoid difficult people when possible.

Thought for the day: When seeing red, think pink clouds….then float on them. 

5. Protect Yourself from Pollution 

If you can’t live in a smog-free environment, at least avoid smoke-filled rooms, high traffic areas, breathing in highway fumes and exercising near busy thoroughfares. Exercise outside when the smog rating is low. Exercise indoors in air conditioning when air quality is good. Plant lots of shrubbery in your yard. It’s a good pollution and dirt from the street deterrent. 

Thought for the day: ‘Smoke gets in your eyes’…and your mouth, and your nose and your lungs as do pollutants….hum the tune daily.

6. Avoid Excessive Drinking 

While recent studies show a glass of wine or one drink a day (two for men) can help protect against heart disease, more than that can cause other health problems such as liver and kidney disease and cancer. 

Thought for the day: A jug of wine should last a long time.

7. Keep a Positive Mental Outlook 

There’s a definitive connection between living well and healthfully and having a cheerful outlook on life. 

Thought for the day: You can’t be unhappy when you’re smiling or singing. 

8. Remember Your Family History

The link between genetics and health is a powerful one. But just because one or both of your parents died young in ill health doesn’t mean you cannot counteract the genetic pool handed you.

Thought for the day: Follow these basic tips for healthy living and you can better control your own destiny.

Click here to connect with Jennifer Winters, Your Trainer 4 Life, on Facebook!

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