“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, http://www.fns360.com, 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 (www.fns360.com)

The Power of words…

holidayusThere will always be those who will disagree, judge and toss-out negativity but, as a friend wisely advised, “don’t allow others to choose your future”.

As a Mom of a teenage daughter, I am not only aware but sensitive to the power of words. To an adult but especially a teen who is navigating their way through life and establishing an identity, a negative comment can have the power to be not only unsettling but somewhat debilitating.  Our children model our behavior and words and so, it is our responsibility to live with compassion, care and kindness.

After reading the book entitled, “Odd Girl Speaks Out” by Rachel Simmons, and seeing the movies “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Lone Survivor”, I believe the message is the same and, that is, when our lives are at stake, it’s basic emotions of love and kindness that matter and override any pre-existing prejudices, judgements and negative feelings towards others. We are kind and loving by nature and negativity stems from pain, anger and hurt.

“We can’t control the actions of others but we can control how we respond”.

My Facebook Addiction…

FBcartoonMy relationship with Facebook started innocuously 5 years ago to reconnect with old friends, stay in contact with existing friends and family, to network and share information.

It’s been 2 days since I decided to deactivate my account and with most addicts, we think we can control our addiction but, the reality is more likely that we can’t, which is why I decided to go cold turkey, deactivate and not log-on for a while, if ever.

There is nothing wrong with Facebook.  It was how I interacted and used it that became an issue.  I started to live two realities: my Facebook and in-person reality when posting with intention to stay in contact and share information became posting to elicit a response that now had the power to dictate my mood and quality of day by likes and comments.  Instead of real-life experiences nurturing and nourishing my self-esteem and confidence, I had allowed a social media platform to assume this role.

A recent Huffington Post Parents article describes how we, as parents, have become so consumed with recording our children’s performances on electronic devices that we actually miss the performance seeing it from behind a lens.  And so it was with me, as the editor, photographer and writer of my very own Facebook reality magazine.

Two days ago, I posted a photo just to post so I thought but deep down, I realize it was related to my self-esteem by seeing how many likes and comments it would receive.  The post ignited a conversation with a close friend who left me to ponder my Facebook addiction with “that’s BS, you’ll be back on it tomorrow, you need it”.

There are many reasons for ending this relationship, but, in a nutshell, I did it because with all addictions, it was unhealthy. Since deactivating my account, my mind is more focused, more present in the moment but, most importantly, in more control of my reality and life.  Everyone is different and I am not passing judgment on Facebook and/or Facebook users.  I am sharing my own experience and also letting my family and friends know why I deactivated my account.

We define our reality by the daily choices we make.  Believe!

Lifestyle plan…

colinYesterday I had a conversation that left me thinking again about health and fitness.

I feel fortunate that fitness has become part of my lifestyle and is a passion and serves a purpose. I never set-out with a particular goal but I have been asked how and what. I attribute how I am to part genetics, eating (though I am far from a model example) and a regular routine of exercise. I have been asked on a few occasions about how to get arms like mine? I am now tempted to say this:

I have been on a 6 year program of regular exercise and mindful eating without depriving myself of the occasional treat. I still enjoy my daily granola/oatmeal mix and venti peppermint mocha but I realize I can not eat everything I’d like at any time.

There are days when I’m tired but I’ve identified a facility where I enjoy their group fitness classes which serves my purpose and which I complement with yoga and running during the week. I don’t know when this plan will end as I intend it to be a lifestyle plan.

Giving thanks…

NicoleheartHappy Thanksgiving! Thankful for a lot on this day and for my family’s encouragement to share my journey…helping one person find strength in making a decision/creating an opportunity will be but a bonus to the therapeutic exercise this page and my blog has provided me this past year.

There will always be different interpretations of experiences in life but our choice as to which one we choose. Believe!

drawing credit: daughter 12 years

“We are what we believe…”


I chose to be a full-time Mother because I had the fortune of choice but also, admittedly, because I didn’t believe my full-time career warranted me returning to work over the choice of being a full-time Mom. I realize now that I allowed self-limiting beliefs to dictate that decision and to claim any success that could have been.

Now in my 40′s recently divorced but equipped with experience and maturity, I believe that anything is possible. I learned along the way through balancing my life that being the “perfect Mom” came at the sacrifice of ignoring my needs as an individual and, ultimately, paying a high price through PPD (postpartum depression) and a failed marriage to a certain extent. As a new Mom, I did what I thought I was suppose to do which was nurse for 2 years, join a baby group at 3 months, enroll my children in music, gym and swim classes and play and read to them at 6 months.

Fast forward 6 years, through fitness, I regained my identity and not only the realization that my life was not in alignment but that I was unhappy. No amount of therapy and effort helped because my heart was not in it. So after finally finding strength to follow my intuition, I awoke on July 15, 2012 to do what was needed to allow myself another opportunity to live life as I imagined: happy and without limitations.

Re-reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and with a friend’s reminder of the book’s lessons, I realize that when we limit ourselves, it is based only on old agreements we made about and with ourselves of what we are capable of and our reality is what we make of it. To believing anything is possible and believing in yourself. Love.





“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

four_agreements“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

I read and am re-reading because as a dear friend pointed-out, I need to understand and incorporate into my life and not just read words.

I know for sure as I navigate my new life and transition from where, what and how I was as a wife, daughter, sister, mother, friend and individual to who I am and wish to be today that the Four Agreements are the key to successfully making the change: impeccability, not take things personally, not making assumptions and doing my best.

To responding from the inside out and not playing victim to circumstances and others because what is said and done is usually a reflection of them not you: this is not taking it personally. Reading into what someone says is making assumptions so taking what someone says at face value is essential for mental health. If we have a question, asking for clarification prevents misinterpretation and possible unnecessary angst. If we do our best, we will reflect upon life without regret and being impeccable with our word will leave us at peace knowing we said what we meant and meant what we said.

I am living change and family, friends and those around me are living change as well interacting with me. Who, what and where I was a year ago is not who I am today because it required an enormous amount of strength to regain control and be captain of my life realizing that I was FULLY accountable and responsible for my happiness and not laying blame on others, my situation and every other reason I could think of for not making change.




mcomPosted on Facebook this morning:
Racing around this morning preparing to leave for school, so many thoughts occurred to me…my daughter who is 12 years is living change daily which means I’m observing, witnessing and living it as well from her demeanor in the form of stances (i.e. hands on hips), expressions (i.e. there are two of me in the house now?!) and behavior (i.e. privacy), my own situation and then there is my son who just turned 9 years and seemingly is the one who is making the most sense these days.It almost suddenly occurred to me that it’s all about the INSIDE OUT and not OUTSIDE IN!

When we are internally directed and driven, we follow our heart, intuition and are in our zone and almost oblivious to our surroundings not in a bad way but in a way that abets us b/c we are immune to the doubters, naysayers and those who may questions our intentions, actions and US.

I have to remind myself that I need to live from the inside out so that despite my circumstances, surroundings and situation, I am able to remain the same: secure in who I am at my core and living the essence of me. I find this tricky at times because it’s human nature to be empathetic yet we can not allow ourselves to be so influenced that we lose our sense of direction and who we are and seek approval and acknowledgement from outside.

This brings me to my recent conflicting feelings towards Facebook. There are times when I realize there is a fine line between posting for purpose and posting for approval, acknowledgment and self-promotion. I describe Facebook as the People/US magazine for civilians. Though it’s a way for us to stay connected with old, current and business friends and family, it’s also a platform to present ourselves as we wish to the outside world.

My concern with Facebook individually is that it’s very purpose is externally driven and unless we are secure at the core, our posts, comments and interactions can start to direct, dictate and determine our mood, day and life?!

I purposely attach the photo to this post because I know once I posted to inspire but I can now see how it could be interpreted as self-promoting and it leaves me doubting my intentions now and the purpose of FB in my life.

“7 Sources of Stress You Tolerate Too Often”, by Marc Chernoff

466406_506094246105806_2119849326_o-1“Life is to be enjoyed and appreciated, not endured and tolerated. Which is why today is a perfect day to stop tolerating…””7 Sources of Stress You Tolerate Too Often”, by Marc Chernoff1. People who are purposely difficult.

Don’t let anyone’s negativity stop you from being happy. Negative company will never give you a positive life. Examine what you tolerate. Every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive. Happiness is found around encouraging, loving people.

Learning to ignore certain people is one of the great paths to inner peace. Life gets easier when you delete those who make it difficult.

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
―E.E. Cummings

Like with habits, I think we get used to being around certain people, friends and family members alike, and may or may not always be aware of their influence and impact on us.

In the past few years, I have learned to stand firm with whom I was becoming which was someone who no longer sought to please others. The irony of being someone else is that often times we end-up unhappy and out of alignment with ourself and attract those who aren’t true to who we are and may not appreciate who we are trying to be.

With maturity and experience, we gain the confidence to be who we are truly and some of us are just born and discover early on who and what they are. If we think about the people who are endearing, they are often those individuals who emanate happiness, laugher and comfort in themselves.

As I get older and my priorities shift and change, I have made the conscious choice to surround myself with those who uplift me and, almost by default, they have replaced negativity.

To choice !

— at FNS Training Center.