Life is a journey not a destination…

yogaThis is a post I shared on my FB page a couple of months ago that I had trouble sharing back then.

Sometimes we get lost along the way… We think we know what we want and we start acting upon it but, along the way, we get distracted and we are not where we planned to be. And, sometimes we think we have accepted a situation and moved on but we haven’t. I thought I had processed and resolved all issues relating to my divorce but I hadn’t and this prevented me from moving on.

They say change is often a symptom of a deep-rooted issue and also the impetus of action: this is where I am today. Having initially ignored issues that started to bother me with my settlement to keep peace, I can no longer ignore them without moving on.

It stagnated my personal development and prevented me from pursuing something purposeful and potentially sabotaged a new relationship. It also perpetuated my weakness and bad habit of wanting to please others and playing victim. We assign our own self-worth by demanding it and not allowing others to assign it to us.

Essentially unable to ignore the issue anymore, I am addressing it in order to regain my self-esteem and belief. I had postponed taking a personal training exam for the longest time. I will be re-taking it as I did not pass the first time. I know I rushed it and may have self-sabotaged my efforts because I was not willing to address certain issues that were bothering me then.

If we don’t believe we can do it, no one else will. To believing in ourselves, to effort and to living our lives with purpose! Love.

“Change is in Your Hands” ~Don Miguel Ruiz

jav2“There comes a point when something comes into your thoughts and you begin to wake up to the idea of finding your truth. You finally live in a state of consciousness and you begin to have respect for the love of your life which is you. You begin to see your whole human being as a temple. When you make a choice, you make an intent, and that intent is to serve your temple. That temple needs you to be at service so you can feed it with your love, your soul food.

When you make a choice you make an intent, and when you follow through, you know deep in your heart you will take that action. Like father says, always do your best, because you know that change is in your hands. There is nothing and no one to blame, if you want something to change in your life, only you have the ability to make a change. When you make a change in your life, like magic everyone and everything around you begins to change.

You are living in a Universe that is full of opportunity, success and creativity right now. You can give into negativity or you can be the change through example by living in positivity, and finding that voice inside of you, that place where all creations are formed and there is no limitation on who you choose to be. The choice is yours use this moment to start being your authentic self. Welcome to your Universe of Now. Transformation begins right NOW!” ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Every Day Counts…

bikramI have been up and down with my exercise and diet these past few months…what I’m realizing is that each day is an opportunity to make better decisions.

Wednesday night, I succumbed to an old habit of late night snacking. I purposely don’t keep unhealthy snacks (or try not to) around except for my children (not that they should be eating unhealthy either!) and so there I was eating frosted mini wheats and shrimp chips at 10pm!

I awoke Thursday feeling ok but later on dragged through my workout thinking it was due to working-out earlier in the week. I could have continued to eat poorly as I have had in the past during my bad phases but decided it was a new day to make better choices on Thursday and consequently had a great Bikram class today, Friday.

I know that even though I’m getting older, I’m feeling better and fitter than I ever have but it requires continuous effort. I’m here to say, that each day and every day counts!

I share my journey hoping to inspire other Moms’ and women who may not believe they can be their healthiest at our age and who may fear making changes. Change is hard but so is looking back upon your life with regret. Believe!

What does healthy look like?

blogduringWhat do mindful eating and exercise look like?

The photos were taken within almost a one year period (July 2013 – present):
Left: bikini competition, July 2013, living on bars, shakes and some food but definitely not eating properly.

Middle: post 7 months bikini comp and living a more active social life that included eating/drinking more and exercising less, February 2014

Right: finding a balance between left and middle photos and getting back to a more regular exercise routine and eating more mindfully and properly: actual food and not skipping meals.

I have my own fitness and health objectives but I have had to reset my mindset and beliefs to align with a healthy sustainable lifestyle and it’s been difficult b/c what wasn’t healthy is a look that the media promotes.
I support re-set systems and jumpstart programs for just that: to help ease into new habits that are sustainable.

To health!

Disordered Eating versus Eating Disorder…

disorderedeating_diagramWanted to share a comment from a physician friend who specializes in eating disorders because I think it is an important one. Thank you Pamela for your insight.

“Thank you for this post Debbie. I am so glad that you have made changes to normalize your eating and exercise patterns. I agree that the test on the NEDA website does cast a somewhat wide net. However, a lot of highly competitive athletes do have true eating disorders. In my mind one thing that separates “disordered eating” from an “eating disorder” is the person’s ability to modify/change their behaviors. If someone is stuck in an eating disorder they often have great difficulty changing the eating/exercise behaviors. Sometimes people can get caught in unhealthy eating/exercise patterns, but when they realize that the patterns are unhealthy they change them. That is more indicative of disordered eating and possibly not a true eating disorder.” ~ Dr Pamela Stein Carlton*

*Dr. Pamela Carlton, a specialist in adolescent eating disorders, is on staff at Stanford University School of Medicine where she developed and currently directs the Adolescent Eating Disorder Parent Education and Support Program. Over the last decade, Dr. Carlton has treated hundreds of children and adolescents with eating disorders as well as guided parents through the maze of eating disorder treatments. She is invited to speak at major eating disorder conferences and also consults with eating disorder programs across the country. Dr. Carlton graduated from the University of Southern California School of Medicine and did her pediatric and adolescent medicine training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Eating (dis)Orders…

blogA close friend recently stated that I have an eating disorder.  I was shocked to hear this as I had always associated an eating disorder with being diagnosed with either bulimia or anorexia both of which I’m familiar with the symptoms. I don’t purge and/or starve myself so therefore I do not have an eating disorder.

I started thinking more about it in general terms and what my friend said was an abnormal relationship with food.  So I googled it and came across a few links one of which was where I took a diagnostic test and this was my result:

“Your screening results are consistent with symptoms of an eating disorder. However, this screening is not a substitute for a complete clinical evaluation. It is recommended that you see a health professional immediately for a complete evaluation.”

I have an eating disorder.  What?! I think about food, reflect on what I eat during the day, am aware of the approximate caloric and carbohydrate content and will adjust accordingly throughout the day or week to maintain what I consider an ideal weight for my height and frame but is my ideal healthy?

A week ago, I had my measurements taken and myself weighed at my fitness facility where metrics are used to monitor progress.  I avoid the scale because I like to pride myself on how I feel rather than what I weigh to determine my lifestyle. I have gained weight and my body fat has increased in the past 9 months because my lifestyle has changed: eating and drinking more and exercising less.  So while I wasn’t surprised by my results, I wasn’t thrilled so I am making adjustments.

I am posting two photos because my unhealthy me is the one that I know is more universally appealing than the healthier version of me today whom eats more balanced meals and proper food more regularly throughout the day as opposed to skipping and replacing meals with bars and shakes.

I could go on and on about this topic because I can’t recall the last time I met a woman who declared that she was happy with her body as is including myself.  I think about my weight (consciously and subconsciously) as long as I’m not at my ideal (based on how I feel) and though it doesn’t impede and affect me on a daily basis nor is it obvious to the outside world, it’s a constant chatter in my head that I hope will one day subside, dissipate and eventually disappear.

I am guilty of falling prey to the media’s look of ideal health but I hope to inspire and encourage a healthy sustainable lifestyle that involves eating to enjoy and fuel and eating anything but in moderation: treats and all. To health!

Be Kind Project…

stopbullyWhen I saw this particular drawing my daughter created with her stylus and iPad mini (this generation’s freehand drawing), I was touched by its message and encouraged her to share it.

As a tween herself, Nicole can relate and empathize with the rite of passage of being a middle schooler and the impact kindness versus bullying can have on one.

It is our hope that by encouraging kindness in our personal interactions, we can have a ripple effect on worldwide peace.

Thank you for your support.

Her drawing is now available on shirts that can be purchased directly at:


holidayus3.jpgTonight, I truly felt what it means to sacrifice oneself for their child.  As a parent, we tend to be defensive about our children when it comes to situations, issues and other instances that are school and otherwise related.

Today, I received an email from my son’s teacher that SHOCKED me.  What was shocking wasn’t the content as much as the circumstances of which I believe the email was written (under the influence of a parent).  I am appalled at the moment and have sent an email to not only the other parent, teacher but principal.  I not only stand by my son but ALL children who may be ‘victims’ of parent(s) who may not be fully aware of and responsible for their children’s actions.

I will not and do not tolerate manipulation, twisting of facts and other means to defend our children but rather truth and lessons learned so that our children may grow-up to be responsible, caring and exemplary citizens.

Coincidentally or not, my daughter created and designed a shirt recently with the message “stop bullying” and I was struck by the realization that bullying can occur at any age and not only amongst children and teens but adults.  As a Mother, individual and citizen, I will do all I can “to be the change I wish to see in the world” and to uphold kindness, honesty and love.

Life isn’t complicated and happiness stems from simplicity but we complicate things when we aren’t happy with who we are at the core.  If we have nothing to hide then we are open, vulnerable, loving and caring. Believe!

“The One Thing Turning 40 Brought Me”, by Amanda Magee

amanda“I don’t think that getting older is hard; I think that what’s hard is that as each year passes the inevitability of pain gets closer. Incremental change happens in life no matter what I do to prevent it — wrinkles, thrown-out backs, an inability to listen to 18-year-olds sing about heartbreak and life without rolling my eyes. All of these things add up and I realize that I know people with terminal illnesses, friends who’ve buried children, and romantics who no longer wear a ring on their left hand. These are the things that begin to weigh on my face, not the wrinkles.

It’s an intimacy with heartache and the idea that unfair is really just a moment, an excruciating, unwelcome, out-of-your-control moment. Unfair is a beginning and a choice.

Can you muster up a smile and say, “Forget it, unfair. I’m moving on without you”?

Last year I had to close a business. I lost a client. I lost people I thought were friends. I got angrier and angrier, and then I got tired. I let my world fall disappear in a haze of hopelessness. I cried until at last my tears refused to come.

My 40th birthday came and went. I realized that without any fanfare, I’d emerged from darkness.

Things aren’t perfect; I’m not perfect. I still have to bite my tongue. I get jealous and angry. I have new little aches and pains all the time, but I have my foot back on the pedal.

I want to go toward happy. I think that a lot of us do, but for whatever reason we get tripped up in what we’re supposed to do. How we’re supposed to look. What people think.

The thing I learned in a year of feeling like I’d forgotten how to be happy:

It’s not up to them.

I am not up to them.

It’s up to me, all of it.

Call me grouchy or pushy, but I think we need to take it a little easier on our selves.

Snap a selfie if you want.

Overweight? Snap it.

Not 22? Snap that.

Playing hookie from work? Grab a picture.

Like one side of your face better than the other? Capture it.

Love your shoulders? Frame’em up.

Don’t like it? Move on.

Unfriend, unfollow, disentangle.

Find the thing(s) that brings yourself happy.

The only thing turning 40 did for me was mark the moment when I decided to allow myself to seek out my happiest self.”

What does healthy look like?

What and how healthy is and looks to girls/women is such an important but complicated topic.  As long as we continue to encourage a certain look through media and every day interactions/comments rather than focus on effort, progress and healthy food and exercise options, thinner will continue to be a desired choice and goal.

My mentor and the owner and head coach of the facility where I train,, recently shared his view on the controversy surrounding the winner of the Biggest Loser.  His post is well-written, fair, honest and on point and so I wanted to share the link and actual post here:

Rachel Frederickson-Biggest Loser Winner

Rachel Fredrickson Biggest loser from 260 to 105!

This past week there has been a lot of backlash and controversy over contestant Rachel Fredrickson’s transformation on the Biggest Loser going from 260lbs to 105lbs during her time with the show. Many people have had some very harsh things to say about her weight loss, figure and health.


Maybe it is because I have been coaching people of ages, weight, and demographics over the past 10 years and have seen what emotional vulnerability will make people do. Or that I am now a father to a beautiful little girl and want her to be educated about the reality of health and happiness, or the fact that our media does nothing but perpetuate this type of “Skinny is Fit” look with photo shopped celebrities and fitness models. Maybe it is a combination of all three that I really empathize with Rachel Fredrickson for her transformation and really feel for her given all of the factors that she was faced with and the backlash she has gotten over this past week.

In a show that is all about weight loss and a competition to see who can lose the most weight from a starting percentage standpoint, how can anyone argue that what this person did was wrong? I am not saying it was healthy or not, I am just stating the rules of the competition. Some people will do anything to win that much money even if it means risking their health. Is that good thing? Of course not, but those are the rules of the game that weren’t set by Rachel Frederickson.

What is really concerning is the guidance that Rachel Fredrickson might have been under during the last stage of her competition. Having had experience with former Biggest Loser Contestant and runner up Ada Wong, I had one major rule before we worked together; we will not use any detoxes or cleansing of any sort to lose weight. Ada finished strong and although she did not win, she took care of her body and metabolism by not succumbing to any detoxes or cleanses.

With so many critics out there, it’s hard for people to really know what they would do if they were faced with the same opportunity to win so much money, lose a lot a weight after being big their whole life, and go on live national television for the world to see you.

In a world where everyone is a critic, to put yourself out in front of everyone takes a lot of guts. To put it all on the line is a scary thing to do, and if you don’t have the right support system, guidance and coaching you might do some unhealthy things.
What really gets me the most is reading all of these tweets and posts about how she is “too skinny”, “doesn’t look fit, strong and lean”. This poor girl can’t win. Three months ago she was too big and now she is too skinny. The way I see it she looks no different than most people I see posting selfies on Facebook or seeing pictures of models in magazines. You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t and I see it on a daily basis the mental and emotional pressures that women and young girls are faced with regarding their weight. If you start lifting weight people say “You are getting too bulky”, if you lose weight people call you “too skinny”, there is no wonder there is such an emotional roller coaster with most women. I truly feel for her and for so many young girls and women out there.

I hope to educate my daughter that the true key to health and happiness is not measured by the number on the scale. It’s not measured by the models in the magazines or the number of ribs you can visually see. It is simply being happy in your own skin, no matter what size you are. Being confident with the person you are and having enough self respect and self esteem to stand for something in a world that is trying it’s hardest to make you something else.

I wish Rachel all the best during her life long journey in her quest for creating balance in wealth, health and happiness.

 ~ Coach Brian Nunez, FNS Training Center (