For God’s Sake! Eat the Damn Tacos!

8 10 2013

ImageYou know what makes me crazy? People who think they have to eat terrible food ands suffer to lose weight.

I belong to various weight loss groups around the interwebz. Yesterday, someone posted that she wanted to eat two tacos and wanted people to talk her out of it.

My response: EAT THE TACOS!!!!!

First, I looked up how much tacos kill you from a caloric standpoint. Not much at all; a taco from a Mexican restaurant is about 150 calories (without cheese). Even from icky Taco Bell, at only 160 calories, with 12 grams of protein, 14 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fat, it’s pretty innocent. Two tacos are about 300 calories, you could even get wild with THREE tacos and it would still be a moderate meal at less than 500 calories. Grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, good salsa, and a corn tortilla, what’s not to like? Add a salad and I say it’s a great meal.  Have one or two and it’s a great snack. The protein’s right on target to keep you full, the tortilla is a complex carb which also keeps you going til the next meal, and the fat’s not half bad. Good stuff all around.

The problem is that a lot of people think you have to eat nothing but pristine dry chicken breast and lettuce to lose weight. Oatmeal and egg whites and protein shakes seem to make up the diets of many trying to lose weight. You know what I call that? A prescription for disaster! First, that’s just yucky food. I mean, maybe it’s tolerable for a few meals or a few weeks. But back when I started my weight loss journey, I would get really rebellious. And then all bets were off!

Second, it’s not a great way to lose weight! I hear a lot of women who have 50 or 100+ pounds to lose eating tiny, tiny meals. That’s CRAZY. Women weighing 300 pounds should eat 2000 calories or so and lose weight. If they try to eat less, they soon feel as if they are starving and binge. Of course, women with only 50 or 30 pounds to lose can’t get away with that–but they still can eat 1500-1800 and do fine.

Where did all of this come from? I suppose skinny, anorexic trainers who want all women to look like barbie dolls. Probably they had an eating disorder. I’m only joking a little bit here. Definitely not normal people who have a healthy relationship with food.

The fact is that food is delicious. It is one of the great pleasures of life.  My number one priority when setting up meal plans for my clients is giving them THINGS THEY LIKE TO EAT. Radical, isn’t it? We look at quick, easy meals, identify ones they like, love or tolerate, and make the meal plan around that.

Losing weight and getting healthy is about joy and pleasure, not misery and deprivation. We need to not only make peace with food, but welcome our food as pleasurable and nourishing for our beautiful bodies. I love food, and I figured out how to enjoy it and lose weight, and you can too.

If you liked this post, please subscribe to receive my newsletter for more great tips. And if you really liked it, take a look at my 10 week Get Healthy and Hot for the Holidays program, starting Oct. 14th. I’m running an amazing promotion and I’d love to work with you to get healthy and love your food!

But everyone does it, it can’t be bad!

24 09 2013

I spend a lot of time at a conference this weekend. On Friday, I sat for 5 hours almost nonstop and two hours in my back already started to hurt. By the end of the day I was in serious pain, and I stretched and foam rolled for a couple of hours that night for relief. On Saturday, I brought my stability ball and alternated between sitting, rolling back and forth gently, and bouncing, often resting my arms on the table and stretching my back. At some point I moved the ball to the corner of the room and lay on it to stretch out my chest and spine. Yes, I created quite a spectacle, but I think also some converts. It took me until Monday to work out the compression in my back.

Normally, my work consists of being up and doing lots of stretching with clients, working for 20-30 minutes at the computer sitting on a ball, and generally being active as I go about my day. My back seldom hurts, despite the fact that in my 20s and 30s and even early 40s I had chronic back pain.

It got me thinking about what’s culturally acceptable–recently there has been a lot of talk about how unhealthy sitting is, so there’s been a movement toward standing desks and even treadmill desks.

That’s ok, but the majority of people in the Western world still sit. A lot. I get kids in with the postural issues that used to be associated with old age. It’s still totally normal to sit a hell of a lot.

I have a couple of clients who worked in Africa for years; they were telling me this morning about the cultural differences in tribes–one tribe’s women carry baskets on their head and have fabulous posture and strength. They said they once saw a woman carrying a sewing machine on her head!Image

Another country’s women carry heavy loads via aImage strap around their foreheads. Those women have back issues, reproductive issues, and pain I’m sure.

It’s a cultural issue also with sitting! Everyone sits, at the computer, watching TV, working, eating, just about all the time. Sitting puts more strain on your back than standing, walking, or anything else. It’s unnatural to be in any one position for a length of time (thus I am not a fan of standing desks ); the human body was made to move, period. In fact, it’s not just a question of back pain–a study in 2010 found that people who sit the longest (read: are sedentary) have the highest rates of cancer and heart disease and the highest mortality. That makes sense, since our bodies evolved moving and systems just can’t work without movement–the lymph system, the body’s first defense system, doesn’t function unless the body moves, since it has no pump like the circulatory system.


Now, I understand that many of us have desk jobs and don’t have the freedom to get up and walk around, but sitting on an exercise ball certainly helps; just getting up every hour does too. Just because everyone does it and it seems normal, it’s not. It occurred to me that I didn’t know what it was like to NOT have my back hurt, back in the bad old days–but now I know what it feels like to be pain free.

Take home message–move your body! If it hurts, see a Physical Therapist or Functional Movement Specialist, or give me a call! I’m offering a Posture Workshop in October, and I will also be offering a downloadable video by the end of the year. Learn to move well, so you can move often. It may save your life.


Taking Time for Yourself

7 09 2013



We women tend to take the weight of the world on our shoulders. We do everything for everyone—our kids, our partners, our bosses, co-workers, and people in our lives. We carry extra weight and our shoulders ache with the effort of minding everyone else’s business. The danger is that we stop listening to our bodies, stop listening to that little voice in the back of our minds, and keep pushing ourselves.

Some women, like me, require a total physical and emotional breakdown to start listening again. My goal with my clients is to tune them in again to voice. When we were young, we had plans. Big plans. Perhaps they were undefined—we just knew we wanted to do something big. Something important, that would help the world. Many of us poured all that energy and emotion into our children, some of us into our jobs. Some of us into both. And it got us lost, scattered, emotionally lost, despite all of our external rewards. Of course we did amazing things—we raised great kids, were admired for our volunteer work, did remarkable things at work. But we were left with a sense of emptiness- that there had to be something more.


Our bodies suffered from this attention directed elsewhere. We got sick—with real illnesses, or strange phantom (although very real) illnesses. Or we just felt bad. Our bodies stopped resembling the person we were inside—we’d catch a glance in a mirror as we walked by and be jolted by the shock that that unfamiliar body and face was ours.

We need to take time for ourselves. Time to rest, time to just be with ourselves. When I first began putting aside time for myself, it felt almost shameful. I felt that I needed to be doing something else, something “important”. It took the Universe smacking me upside the head multiple times for me to realize that I am the most important thing in my life. I felt guilty, at first—but when I emerged from my alone time, I would be renewed. Energized. Able to be with my kids, my job, myself, with a sense of peace and purpose instead of frantic, crazed energy. And I realized that the people in my life need me to take care of myself, so that they can grow and be themselves as well.

Working out was the first step in getting my sense of self back. For me, who hadn’t felt athletic since I was 8 years old, the feeling of power in my body was indescribable. I found a part of myself that had been lost for years, and all of my intellectual accomplishments became almost secondary to the feeling that I had finally found myself and the child I had been, and I was proud of myself.

The day that I looked into the mirror in yoga class and did not recognize myself was the day that my identity began to shift and I realized that I was becoming externally the person I had been inside all along. I came into my power in a way that I never had before—of course, much work had to be done, but I had something to hold onto—I had myself again.


I love to train because of the momentous change it made in me—body, mind, and soul—and I love to help others to find themselves through re-connecting with their body. And sharing my journey allows me to use my experience to help other women who have lost their way to find their way back on the path to becoming whole again. I’m honored to be a part of my clients lives and I intend to keep growing and learning so that I can be of service in ever greater ways.

Take the time for yourself. Nurture your body with stretching, relaxing, exercising, and eating good food. You will feel good, and your loved ones will benefit from you taking care of yourself first.


Weight loss frustration!

20 04 2013

These past weeks have been really good for me.

I’ve written in the past about the three week mark, where I’ve noticed many clients coming in full steam and then giving up around three weeks.

Three weeks is where I am in my effort to shed my divorce pounds. It’s frustrating and excruciating. I was really, really hungry earlier this week.

And the results are not all that visible. The best thing is that I have my strength back in the gym–it was terrifying to lose and when I began I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to get it back–after all I have passed the magic age of 50 (and got an AARP card in the mail!) and by all accounts I am way past my prime. But anyway, so I don’t ramble too far, it’s clear I am going to be just as strong as I was. (I so enjoy the faces of the bodybuilders when they see me deadlifting 150 pounds!)

scale, how I hate you!

scale, how I hate you!

That’s given me some comfort, but I’m still not fitting into my clothes. And the scale has moved one lousy pound. (I remind myself–the scale does not reflect what’s really happening!)

Now’s the time when I am tested. It’s really a question of faith, belief in something I can’t see but I know it’s there. The second time around, for me, it’s easier, because I know what works. The first time was really hard because I didn’t know what, exactly, was going to work, and what the result was really going to be.  Healthier, sure, but what I would LOOK like, and FEEL like, which was an amazing surprise.

Now I remember how tough it is, which I had really forgotten, kind of like labor pains are forgotten when you have a cute toddler and you are thinking of having a second.

But it’s out of this discomfort that great things are born. When we make a decision to change in anything, whether physical, mental, emotional, or our circumstances, there is a time between the deciding and the accomplishment which can be painful if we view it the wrong way. Building a business, building a good relationship, whatever is worth something takes time and it takes commitment.

I’m learning to not be in so much pain in these in-between places. To put one foot in front of the other, to enjoy the process instead of just being fixed on the destination. There’s grace in it, if we choose to see it, and we can be happy that we are a little better today then we were yesterday. To know that is real, and true, and important, is the test.

Today, I’m happy that I am learning again just how hard the body transformation time is. I’m happy that I am stronger and more coordinated than just a few weeks ago. I’m happy that my body has built back some of the muscle I lost and that I am laying the foundation for my total recovery. I’m happy my knees don’t hurt despite the fact that they both have arthritis. And I am so grateful that I am able to make this journey once again in health and greater peace of mind.

And if I can stay in that place, one of gratitude, I know that it will pay off.


And just so you know, here’s what I’m doing:

2 or three weightlifting sessions at the gym

walking the dogs a minimum of 20 minutes per day

daily stretching and foam rolling

one hike a week minimum

1400/calories a day (I’ll be posting on diet next week)

If you’d like to keep up with my fitness journey, please subscribe.

Aargh…..Lisa comes clean!

7 04 2013

Well, here we are folks.

I am going to come clean on what’s up with me. I am 15 pounds over my favorite weight.

It’s embarrassing, awful, just downright frustrating. Those of you who know me, have an idea of the last year of my life. A lot has happened. A lousy, messed up divorce. A lousy, messed up knee (torn meniscus for those who like details.) I was emotional, sad, in pain, and just all-around In It.

So, here I am, very uncomfortable, not fitting into my clothes and feeling very sheepish. Now, don’t get me wrong. I wear a size six. That’s a size smaller than What I Believed Was My Perfect Size until I was 48 years old. Yes, my whole overweight life I thought I was going for a size 8, and when I hit a 2 back in September of 2011, I was totally blown away. I was not a “large boned” person as I had led myself to believe for years.

Now, I don’t know whether I will really hit a 2 again. I’d be happy to be back in my 4’s to be honest. In September, 2011, it was the thick of the Messy Divorce and I didn’t have a lot of muscle mass. Mainly, I want to feel good again in my clothes and I will take whatever size I end up.  I was in the low 20’s in bodyfat at that time, so that’s what I’ll shoot for.

So I will not whine about how fat I am–I work with many women who would be happy to be my size–but I will say that I need to be healthy and lean and look good again. It’s all relative. If I wasn’t a trainer, I would probably be ok with it–but there’s nothing I hate worse than a hypocrite and I’m kind of walking a fine line here.

How’d this happen? Well, I will blame stress, of course–allowing myself to indulge too often. I’m not into spartan eating, I believe in enjoying my food–but I was hitting the ice cream several times a week instead of once on the weekends. I couldn’t do my normal DogWalking because of my knee, and I was feeling sorry for myself so I didn’t hit the gym the way I used to.

Last month, I finally healed my knee with the help of an Osteopath (the acupuncture, chiropractor, and physical therapist couldn’t help) and returned to the gym. I was shocked and scared at how weak and uncoordinated I had become. It really, really slammed me in the gut.  At 50 years old, I even entertained the notion that I couldn’t ever get back in shape the way I had been.

But I decided to cut the crap and do what I could. And now, I’m feeling much better, much stronger, much more coordinated. Not 100%, but it’s clear that my age is not going to be a barrier. I don’t think I could have come clean like this a month or two ago–it was too scary to not be able to move well. I felt feeble and um….old.

But I walked my talk, did my stretching and weight work, and now I feel great. Oddly, I have just begun to notice how much fat I have around my stomach, even though I have had this extra weight for nearly a year. Being out of the gym allows me to ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist. This is so humbling, and I am taking as a great lesson….it’s so easy to forget, and when I lose touch with my clients in in forgetting how horribly frustrating it is to be overweight I am less of a trainer. I think that was beginning to happen, and I accept this challenge as another opportunity to grow and be better at what I do.

So, I am coming clean and letting you in on my private battle. I will be logging periodically, so you get a sense of my workouts and food, and I hope it is helpful to those of you who need to do some body modification yourselves. I’ve been very hesitant to be open about my own problem, but I have decided that I can stand the humiliation of exposing myself  better than the humiliation of being a hypocrite, which is kind of what I feel like right now. I will say that one of the greatest lessons of the last year is that it’s ok that I’m not perfect, It’s ok to be human and have problems, because everyone does. My goal is just to get a little better every day. I do know what to do, unlike the last time I faced this battle, so hopefully I can teach a little bit along the way.

Reflections on Turning 50

6 11 2012

I turned 50 last month.

It hardly seems possible. I remember being a wild teenager and thinking I wouldn’t live past 40. Remember thinking as a child toward the year 2000, calculating my age and thinking, “oh, I’ll be old by then.”

Lisa at 16

I don’t feel much different inside. When I heard older people saying that years ago I thought it was ridiculous. And, you know those cheesy sayings that seemed so trite when we were young? Wow, there is a lot of wisdom there.

Six years ago, at the age of 44, I was desperately unhappy. I was 50 pounds overweight and it seemed like there was just no way to fix all of the ways my life was wrong. Despite the fact that I had three beautiful children and lots of accomplishments, I felt that I had lost my way.

Lisa at 44

One major thing I knew was that I had to get into shape. After suffering from chronic illness for 20 years and barely surviving the treatment that cured me, I felt like an old person.  I had trouble getting out of chairs and had unremitting back and neck pain.   I  knew from deep inside that I had to do something. So I started lifting weights.

I had always been disconnected from my body. At least, since elementary school when I was taught to be ashamed of it in competition. The teasing of the athletic kids caused me to lose the joy I had felt in moving my body as a small child.  So I focused on my mind, which was easy because I was smart.

Problem was, I it became ALL about my mind. And I rejected my spirit. Thought it was irrational. And made choices based on rationality instead of my gut instinct.

Got me into all sorts of trouble.  Trouble that, at age 44, became so tangled up and scary and painful that I didn’t know where to turn.

So lifting weights somehow grounded me. It allowed me to love my body’s strength and even the way it looked. It became the meditation that quieted my mind and allowed me to just BE.

And, slowly, over the last six years,somehow my mind has connected with my body and I have learned to listen to my inner voice. To trust it. To distinguish my inner voice from my inner committee (which can get very noisy and obnoxious).

It’s taken a damn lot of work. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

And every time I think I’ve got it down, I find another hurdle. Kind of like fitness. When I was unfit, I thought of being fit as being a goal that I would reach and then be done. I didn’t realize that fitness is a decision made every day. I’ve come to realize that growth of any kind is a decision made every day.

Sometimes I get tired. I want to  stop fighting and stop this damn growing business. It’s too hard.

But then, I realize, that’s what life IS. A constant process of growing and learning and becoming. And now I take joy in each new challenge, see it as an opportunity to grow–in fact an indication of where I need to grow–instead of some catastrophic problem.

So, today, my message today, to my clients,my friends, my children,  to myself, is to be gentle. Gentle especially to ourselves, when we get impatient that we’re  not doing it right,not doing it fast enough, not doing it perfectly.

I have learned that I only have today. It doesn’t help to project into some unknown future.  Or to beat myself up because of whatever I believed was a mistake in the past.

I can be human, I make mistakes, but I learn from them. I get better every day. or at least every week. When I look back on the last six years, a miracle has taken place. I am a completely different person, one closer to my idea of myself, of being true to my spirit. And it’s happened, not as I wished it to in impatience, but as a process of putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes stopping to think or work something through, but continually going forward, as slow and as hopeless as it has seemed. And ironically, the spirituality that I could never find with my mind has come to me through connecting with my body.

I think the journey I’ve been on is the reason I’ve been so successful with my clients; teaching them to move their bodies, to gain the strength and grace that I see in them, is way more than just getting them in shape. It’s helping them to connect with their true selves, to take the time to get away from their kids and jobs and busy lives, and just be. So many of my clients are always doing for everyone else, running around frazzled because they think that somehow sacrificing themselves is what will make them happy and fulfilled. That was me, 6 short years ago.

I’ve thought a lot about what success means to me–it’s not money, or things, or a big house. I’ve realized, that the best measure I could have is to ask myself if the child I was, the child who was before all of my crazy conditioning came in, would be proud of who I am today.

Six years ago, I think that child would have been sad to see what had happened.

But not today. That child is me, that child has learned to listen and to be true to the myself.

Lisa at 5 with her father, John Chambless

And that’s all I can do. Learn to listen, learn to follow what I know is right, deep in my gut. That’s all I can ask for. Today, I stay true to that child whose spirit is pure and innocent.  Turning 50 is not the big traumatic event it could be, for me. I am finally happy in my skin, peaceful in a way I never was in my 20s, 30s, or 40s. I’m back to the happy child, full of optimism and enthusiastic about what new adventure is next.  I’m entering the second half of my life with joy and a sense of faith because I have learned to be true to myself. And my life has become about teaching that joy that I have discovered. Turning 50 is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me…yet!

Fall Skinny Jeans Challenge!

4 09 2012

We all had a nice summer but maybe we indulged a little too much and we’ve got a little muffin top going. Well, we all want to look amazing for the Holiday outfits this year, so we’re starting a Skinny Jeans Challenge on September 15!

Get into those skinny jeans!

Why Skinny Jeans instead of the scale? Because how our clothes fit and feel is WAY more important than our scale weight.  A great example is my experience–in May, 2009, I weighed 137 and wore a size 6.  In May, 2011, I weighed 137 and wore a size 2! (And it wasn’t just a difference brand of jeans, ha ha.)

The difference was muscle, and consistent training. My bodyfat percentage during that time went from about 27% to about 21%.  That means I lost over 8 pounds of fat and gained over 8 pounds of lean mass! My body looked totally different–and so much better. I went from frumpy to hot and the scale did not change one bit.

Our Skinny Jeans Challenge will cost $25 for Group Training Clients and it’s free for our One-on-One clients.  You get an Accountability Journal, Full Meal Plan, Tricks and Tips for Fat Loss, EMail support from Lisa, and the support that comes from working alongside others with a BIG GOAL!

We’ll be doing bodyfat and baseline testing  in the next couple of weeks, but the main job you have is to grab a pair of jeans one or two sizes down and make a commitment to getting rid of that muffin top for once and for all!

Give me a call today or let your instructor know that you WANT TO GET INTO THOSE SKINNY JEANS!

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