It should be no surprise that Americans are reaching unheard of levels of obesity or that our billboards are decorating the highways warning of childhood obesity. It is what should be expected. Unhealthy amounts of foods are pushed on the public on every newstand and every television commercial. Ever tried to stay on a treadmill and watch TV for an hour? By the time you finish running,  you are sure that you should stop by some fast food joint and get a burger and a super size of fries. Evening programming is saturated with advertisements for scale tilting soft drinks, sodium dripped snacks, and jean busting desserts. The thing is that all of this food is legal. It is relatively cheap, and it is easily available. To top it off a  good friend or family member will go with you! We have created relationships that depend solely on gathering for shared food. Why sometimes we will even sit down with people we would rather avoid, just to eat with someone.

It is the side effects of all this eating  that are so expensive. It is very hard to live a full life when you are strapped for medical expenses that pertain to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But you could really say, “The devil (media) made me do it.”  High amounts of food are pushed on you until you are not sure what or how much to eat of anything. Then you go to a restaurant and they bring you a single plate. They forget to tell you that plate should serve your entire family of four. By the time that you leave the restaurant you are feeling sluggish, guilty and your pancreas is in over drive. (Your skinny jeans are still at home wanting to come out and play.)

But how much should you eat? Is there a way to figure out how much is okay without walking into Longhorn’s with a food scale and science beaker? Here are some ways to manage your food consumption to make it not quite so obtrusive.

Three oz of meat or poultry is equal to the size of a deck of cards. If you are trying to count calories, then you should only be eating meat the size of a deck of cards. Your days of eating a 22 oz steak are over. Your skinny jeans will thank you. You can measure your fish by comparing it to the size of a checkbook. How about when you are invited out to watch a $15.00 movie and popcorn is offered? Well, realize that 3 baseball handfuls is all you will get to add up to 1 serving. Eat slow and make it last. Remember that movie popcorn is loaded with salt and butter. That adds to the calorie count. Just wait until after the movie and go get a steak the size of a deck of cards! But when you order the steak, if you have to eat the baked potato, remember that a baked potato should be the size of a computer mouse, not the size of Texas.  Most people hear all the great things about almonds. Almonds are very good for your body, but you have to measure these too! One serving of almonds is equal to about 12 almonds, that is right. Not a bag of almonds, even if they are crunchy and a better choice than potato chips. All of those calories add up!

Take charge of your eating. Think about a deck of cards, a checkbook, a baseball and get back in those skinny jeans! You know the secret now! Secrets like these and many others are available from your trainers at My Fitness Solutions! Stop in and tell them to fill you in or contact them on-line. Why, you can get healthy with just a call! You don’t have to even go to the gym!  You are worth it! Your skinny jeans are waiting!

We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.
Stephen Covey

Setting a goal in fitness is fundamental to you achieving success. When you are in the studio at MFS, goals are evident. There are celebrations handwritten on the board by participants. When you observe, you see frequent high fives and fist bumps. You hear applause and encouragement while you are working out. It is a different place. It is a place where goal setting and accountability are evident. Setting goals is at the core of the philosophy of the MFS studio and training.

Goals are necessary for success because they focus your intentions and propel you in the direction that you want to proceed. When you have set a goal you are more acclimated to be aware of the tools and resources that you need. You are more open to tap into resources that are available to you. This might be utilizing people, books, free weights, videos,  music, websites, magazines and journaling as support. Surround yourself with support. Let others know your intentions. Prepare to succeed by establishing your fitness goals.

 Additionally, these goals must be specific. The wording of the goal is important. There is a difference in, “I want to lose some weight,” and “I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year.” The second goal can be measured. If your goal can be measured then you have a greater chance of meeting success. You are immediately able to see if you are on track to obtaining the results you want. Goals must be specific.

Finally, make sure that your fitness goal is attainable within a realistic time frame. Ask yourself if it is indeed a goal that will benefit you. It may be possible to lose 100 pounds, but do you really need to do that? It may be easy to lose 5 pounds, but is that goal really the one that improves your fitness and health. Think about the time that it took you to gain weight or lose the muscle tone. Are you allowing enough time, but not too much time to get the results you want? Answering questions like these are the reason that it is important to have an expert working with you. Experts, like those at MFS guide you, so you understand what is healthy and attainable.

Get started. Let an expert  help you set a specific, measurable, realistic, time based goal and go get it! You are your most valuable asset! You can do it.


    On Saturday, I attended the new MFS Legion class. This meets on Saturday mornings at 11:00am. Everyone is invited.  The first hour is a boot camp where the participants are pushed in a variety of exercises to improve their fitness. The people who meet come in a smorgasboard of fitness conditioning. There are some that are extremely fit, champion-like and others who are just beginning the journey. The class presents opportunities for the members to exercise and socialize with others who are seriously interested in pursuing fitness.

     After the 40 minutes of exercise and a voluntary challenge, there is a new segment, MFS Legion. This is a time where all of the participants come together and discuss nutrition and exercise. The discussion is led by former competitive bodybuilder, Fadi Malouf, who has been a leader in the industry for 15 years. This week he led us in a discussion on B.A.L.A.N.C.E.  This acronym is the foundation for MFS Academy.

     B is for breathe. It is important for those who are investing in their health to remember to breathe deeply.

    A is for aqua. It is imperative that those who are pursuing fitness goals remember to hydrate.

     L is for lengthening. Stretching is an essential part of resistance training.

    A is for anaerobic. Strength training must be a core part of improving your body.

     N is for nutrition. Nutrition is 80% of the program. You cannot get the results that you are going for without the proper nutrition. This means following the program and learning new information to fuel your bodies.

    C is for cleansing. Cleansing is a part of fitness too. Cleansing is necessary both physically and mentally. This means cleansing your mind of those things that are negative and get in your way of being successful.

    E is for energy. You must be mindful that you have taken necessary steps to have the energy you need to accomplish all the goals that you have set for yourself.  In order to do this you must get plenty of rest and surround yourself with those whom are like-minded and support  you. Tell others what your goals are so they can become part of your support network.

This class is a touchstone for the program. It allows new members to meet others who are embarking on the same journey. You are encouraged and uplifted. In addition, you are given lots of information on nutrition and exercise. This makes you more independently empowered over your own health and well-being. Being in charge of your health and getting the most out of your life is the focus of MFS. MFS strives to be the place that allows you to Dream your dreams, Play your way to accomplishing them and Be-ing the person who lives your daily potential.

     Every one left refocused on their goals and ready to conquer a great week in fitness. Now let’s go get it! Dream it! Play it! Be it!

Results Work! I have been on the My Fitness Solution nutrition plan for a month. I have lost 6 pounds since September 1. That is 6 pounds in 25 days. Yesterday I got Tracy Carswell, my trainer to measure me, and I am really pleased with the inches that have disappeared too! I have lost 2 1/2 inches in my waist. This loss has been since I started strength training in July.This is loss on a woman whose metabolism is slowing down. This is on a woman who hated waking up and getting out of bed in the mornings to a person who jumps out of bed and starts doing push ups. I have  changed.  I have learned so much about managing my body with nutrition and exercise since I started. What I have learned is practical, real information that will empower me to make better, more informed, executive decisions about fueling and exercising my body for life.

I have been an avid fitness person for my entire life, but I was unable to connect the dots to achieve the level of fitness that I wanted without a trainer. I needed a trainer and guidance to lead me to make better more effective choices. I was one of those people who was swayed by all of the diet- how- tos that bombard us daily in the media. I have been coached, pushed and encouraged by Fadi and Tracy at My Fitness Solution. Tracy has really taken an interest in seeing me succeed. He has been ready and forth coming with guidance on nutrition. He has been the missing link in my fitness program. He has given me what I could not have gotten out of magazines alone.

There are lots of programs and encouragement that are offered at MFS. Fadi Malouf  has designed a program where you can achieve your fitness goals with support.  There are 1 on 1 training appointments, boot camp, nutrition classes, accountability coaches, internet based and customized nutrition plans, and even grocery shopping excursions. There are social opportunities and genuine concern for your health. There are instructions and coaching in managing your life and gaining traction to achieve what you have always known that you had the potential to do. It is really a complete facility to nurture you in your attainment of success.

I am stronger every day. I am seeing results! You can’t argue with success!

They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, “No, no, no” Yes, I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know, know, know I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine He’s tried to make me go to rehab, I won’t go, go, go I’d rather be at home with Ray I ain’t got seventeen days . . . as sung by Amy Winehouse.  She was right. She was exactly right. She didn’t have 17 days. She used up her days as she burned up her body. Her body finally gave out and gave in.

How we justify our actions is nothing short of genius. We can sway even ourselves into believing that our actions, especially our little actions, will not catch up to us. You know the actions like eating that biscuit or eating the last bits of a dessert just because. Afterwards, we find ourselves  in a predicament, and then we talk ourselves into thinking that we don’t have the time or the money to rectify it. When indeed, not choosing to use the time and resources that we have does cut our days short.

I had dinner with a friend this weekend. She works in cardiology. She said that she doesn’t have fit patients in cardiology. They just don’t show up. She said there may be a few that are there for something genetic, but it is usually clean and easy, and they return home. She said that the tragedy is when you have young people who are there because they didn’t think they had the time to be healthy, then she is taking care of them as their lives are really cut short and they are losing fingers and toes due to diabetes, another implication of not making healthy choices. You have to add to that high cholesterol and blood pressure. These can be avoided completely by making those small life changes, just changing one action at a time.

Healthy choices begin one small choice at a time, but like a savings account it adds up and adds days and quality of life to those days. This journey that I have been on to discover fitness and strength at My Fitness Solutions has empowered me greatly with what constitutes good nutrition and strength. It has been almost 3 months. I have lost  10 pounds and inches all over my body. My body is beginning to change its form. I am stronger and healthier than ever. I am glad I took the time. It didn’t take too much longer than 17 days to make big (or small, depending on how you look at it) changes! Take the time to make those changes to your own nutrition and exercise program. You will be better for it. Take care of yourselves!

I have been using the nutrition program, from My Fitness Solutions, for two weeks now. I am learning so much. I would not ever call this a diet. It is a nutrition program. I am learning every day. I am eating 6 meals a day. Every thing is planned out for me. All I have to do is cook and eat it. It is authentic and nutritious foods. There is also an exercise plan that accompanies it. I have found new foods that I didn’t know that I liked. I have lost a quick 5.9 pounds! My husband has shed even more. My son says that you can’t get fat at our house even if you want. We only have healthy choices at our house now. It has changed everything.

We are all feeling stronger and healthier. We have more energy and stamina to help us throughout the day. We are getting wiser about food choices. I have really started looking at the foods that I have eaten and served. I am really seeking what is healthy. Tracy Carswell is a genius at this. He seems to know all the ins and outs of foods. I was thinking today about foods. One thing I have to do on this diet is add good fats with each meal. This has meant that I have had to add avocados, almond or peanut butter, or olive oil to different meals. Then I started thinking about the standards of food-the ever famous peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This should really be renamed the fat and sugar sandwich! Although I must admit that I have eaten more than my share of these over the years.

As I am caught up in my own search and learning adventure for what is healthy and what acurrately fuels the body, I am aware of the foods around me that others are eating. I am trying hard to keep my suggestions to myself now that I have seen the nutrition light. Then because my thoughts are lately dominated by fitness and healthy nutrition, of course life throws me an opportunity. A mother of a student with whom I work suggested that potato chips were healthy because they  are made from potatoes. They were potatoes. I almost choked on my all natural smoothie. Potato chips are not healthy foods.

In the words of Maya Angelou, “When I know better, I do better.” I am now on the curve of learning to do better nutritionally. It is just the beginning. It is a commitment for life. Jack LaLanne, the famous health innovator said, “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you have a kingdom.” It is all about trying to be better today than I was yesterday. Living better and learning more. The plan is available on-line to anyone, anywhere. It really works and is easy to manage. It is designed so all the work has been done for you. It really makes it convenient.

I recently heard a friend say,”I want to finally lose 50 pounds for my 50th birthday. ” When you really want to lose it or you know someone who has dealt with a weight issue, or if you want to finally lose that last 10 pounds here is the way to do it. It is just straight, honest, science that can be easily done in your kitchen. I have spent so much money over the years buying diet meals that didn’t work and starving,(that definitely didn’t work). I just want my friends to realize that here is the answer when you are really ready.

Enjoy the weekend! Watch watch out for what you are really eating and serving! Love those people in your life so much that you will begin to make the healthy choices for them. Give them the fuel that it takes to live a long, healthy, vital life.  Now you know better!

I am changing, and it feels really good! I have been working out extremely hard since this summer. For the first time in my life I am lifting weights.  I have now added the next element, the My Fitness Solutions nutrition plan. I have been on it for 2 days. There is so much food! I am having trouble getting all the meals in during the day. It is a much larger amount of food than I eat normally. I do not understand the science behind it, but I’m eating more, and I am losing weight! Mother Nature is preaching to me every minute that I can’t lose weight because I am too old, but the nutrition plan is working! I am eating real, nutritional food. There is nothing prepackaged or in a box.

The nutrition plan is loaded with exactly what to eat. I couldn’t believe it when I viewed the plan. If I hadn’t even been going to the gym, there is a complete nutrition plan that is customized for you with the exercises that you need to do each day. You could do the whole thing at your house and your grocery store! I had no idea that the plan was so complete. You go on-line, type in your goals and some things about yourself and in a few minutes you are sent your customized plan.  I waited to do it because I was sure that it wouldn’t work for me. I am pleasantly surprised! Yippee! After 40, those scales just don’t want to cooperate with me, no matter what I do. I really thought I was hopeless.

I have been doing a plethora of reading trying to educate myself on health, fitness and aging. We don’t have to be old, sick and overweight. We can live strong and vital lives, but we have to take charge! Working out with Tracy and Fadi has been so important to me in this quest. It is not a diet plan. It is not a quick, gimmick, weight loss plan. It is intelligent education on  how to choose activities and food for a healthy, long life. My shopping cart looks so much different. I am thinking differently about how I spend my money, time, and how I eat. There is so much support available from the trainers and other members. I can’t figure out how it seems that great people have all taken to this place. I keep meeting the most awesome people who are embracing the opportunity to change their lives at My Fitness Solutions.

People who use My Fitness Solutions are different. They are there to become educated. They are there to change their lives. It is really an amazing place! I actually feel blessed to be able to train there. It is life changing!

Have a great week! If you want to finally change your life and get rid of those pounds here is the real way to do it. Just click and begin to lose. You could be half the person you are by Christmas or sooner!  I have got my eye on a couple of new outfits! I am working toward them! No need to buy a size that is too big! Fadi told me I could get Skinny Jeans if I met my goal. Get ready to ante up, Fadi!


As you know I have been diligently engaged in trying to learn about fitness and nutrition. For the first time in my active,  athletic life I have started strength training. I did not know anything  about strength training. I started at zero with guidance by Tracy Carswell at My Fitness Solutions. I started losing weight quickly, then as I continued to work with the weights I started gaining weight. I got so discouraged. I didn’t know if it was fat I was adding or lean muscle mass.

I was thrilled when I read Dr. Oz encourage his readers to go by their waist size and not their weight because weight changes so frequently but for a variety of reasons. This gave me hope. We do know that women that have a waist size of larger than  32.5 to 35 inches, measured just below their belly button have an increased incidence of some type of cancers. This was one thing I was working to avoid.

I felt sure that this way of keeping up with my progress was going to be magic. I would have a solid number that I could monitor my losses. I quickly grabbed a measuring tape. I measured my waist. It had expanded by 2 inches! I was horrified! I had been working so hard. Now my weight was up, and my waist had expanded! I considered  giving up, but I knew that I was doing everything  just as I had been told and working really hard in the gym. I just decided to keep at it. Although for a brief moment I did consider eating an entire cake and grabbing a gallon of Haagen Daaz. (I figured that it had gotten me through a heartbreak earlier in life, I could probably count on it again.)

Then it happened. I realized that I was hormonal. For a week I was heavier and had gained 2 inches in my waist! That is so unfair. Women have to consider hormones when they are working on fitness. It really does affect all parts of your body and brain! I was shocked that I could gain 2 inches in my waist as I am not usually living by a measuring tape.

I have since measured and I have again lost more weight and inches! I am going to continue to use the scales and the measuring tape. I am just going to use a calendar too! Hormones have to be considered when women are trying to monitor their losses.

For the past 8 weeks I have been working out at My Fitness Solutions in Duluth. I have seen weight loss, and I am beginning to see some definition in my body.  I am finally realizing the fitness goals that I have not been able to achieve by myself!

I can tell a difference in my posture and energy level.  I am meeting 3 times a week with my trainer, Tracy Carswell. My next adventure into the world of fitness begins this week. Nutrition. According to Fadi, the director of My Fitness Solutions, “Nutrition is 80% of the program.” But what am I supposed to eat?

In the past, I have tried eating cabbage soup, Cambridge shakes, Slim Fast Shakes, Adkins, all fruit, no carbs, all veges, low carbs, leave off the salt, drink water and all things in between. At the end of a few weeks I am weak, shaky, craving something and then gain more weight back than when I started.

I am interested in building lean muscle mass. I don’t need to lose large amounts of weight, but I want to give my body the healthy fuel that it needs to meet the demands of what I do in my daily life and when I work out. I want to eat the foods that will encourage my body to get stronger even as I get older. So far, Fadi and Tracy have been making suggestions and guiding me to make better nutritional choices. I have followed their suggestions and incorporated them into my eating.  Now I am about to take the plunge and begin the full nutritional program.

The program that is offered is based on science. That is it. No gimmicks. No special foods that I have to buy that I can’t find at my regular store. Fadi has an on-line nutritional plan that is customized to each individual. You fill in your own information and goals. The information is calculated, and you are then given a daily diet plan specifically for you. I will start mine on Thursday. I am planning to watch what happens over the month of September. I am expecting to see continued success. (Stay posted and let’s see what I have to eat. I have looked at a sample and the sample has me actually eating more than I eat now.)

This service is available if you go to the gym or not. It can be done in the convenience of your home without interference or embarrassment. There are no gimmicks. It is totally amazing that I have access to trainers that work with  athletes and others that make their living having a “body.” (Did I mention that both of these guys have body fat of less than 9% and have maintained this for years? It is enough to make me not like them, but they are eager to show me how I can do it too! So that makes me love them more.)

 I am a regular gal, an older gal,  a teacher that is able to get excellent, customized nutritional and fitness information. I have already learned so many nutritional tricks. I am now reading and researching nutrition and fitness in my free time. It is edifying to read and see that the information that I am being taught is correct and results oriented for permanent  weight and body management. Under their instruction it looks like life gets better as I get older! That is the goal. Stronger, better, leaner, wiser and older! Let’s hear it for the old girls!

I have been working out with a trainer for about 6 weeks. I am getting impatient with myself. I am showing up and working hard. I want results, but I want them yesterday. I am so glad that I have my trainers at My Fitness Solutions to keep me motivated. When I went in on Friday I was feeling kicked around because my husband has just started and he has lost 14 pounds in 10 days. I have gained a pound. But my weight is still under what I could get it to working out all by myself at the gym and running hundreds of miles at the park. My trainer, Tracy, told me we have to move the bar a bit. I am going to have to work even harder.

 My friend, Dom, who works out at the same time, told me to realize that now I was building lean muscle mass and building muscle mass is what I am going after. I got home and was reading in my fitness magazine that building muscle mass takes time. It seems that real differences can be seen in women in about 3 months. Men can see a difference more quickly because of all that testosterone. Well, I don’t want to grow a beard so I will keep working out.

I went in and worked out hard. There is a new assistant at the gym. He stayed with me and threw the ball to me while I did inverted crunches.  He spotted me while I did my Arnold’s. He was there to help me with my curls. He kept telling me, “You got it. One more.” He and I laughed and somehow made the torture quite fun! I felt really energized after I had pushed my muscles until failure. I realized that going through this makes me stronger. I am going for strong.

I have a friend that has just lost well over 100 pounds using diet alone. After she lost all this weight she had to invest thousands to have surgery to have her skin tightened. That is painful, invasive, scarring and expensive. I am doing this one work out at a time and looking forward to the results. I want to go into my fifties stronger than I have ever been. Every day I get closer!  I have to remember that it takes time.