Health Coaches - They're Just Like Us!
Health Coaches are people too, friends. My decision to open Tsirona and help others came from a place of understanding. Let's step back to around this time two years ago when I found that I needed to make changes in my life for my health and my sanity. This post from my personal blog discusses a mental conflict between my study in fitness motivation/my position as a fitness instructor and the fallout of eating junk, being increasingly sedentary, and probably a touch of depression.
You will always have my commitment to not only be your partner and coach, but to always speak with complete honesty - sometimes about my own short-comings.
The good news? Day-by-day I try and usually succeed. Positive self-image as well as wellness are about the continual work that you do on yourself, the ever-evolving masterpiece.
Originally published September 3, 2012 on Narcissism in its Highest Form
I’ve gone soft. Not personality wise, of course - I’m ruthless. I’m talking physically. Between work, school, social obligations, and everything in between, I’ve managed to gain weight in the last year. You don’t have to feel sorry for me, though. I’m naturally smaller than the average human, so I’m really saying I went from a 0-2 to a 4. But this gain has been particularly hard for me.
I make no secret of my past with anorexia, disordered eating, EDNOS, and just abut anything in between except for bulimia, because I’m not here to ruin my teeth. I’m more of a body image masochist than someone who makes a social statement, so I’m not trying to prove a point about feminine beauty either. As much as I hate it, I’m a slave to that common view of feminine beauty. Beyond all that social stuff, I’m being a terrible example to others who come to me for my fitness instruction and fitness expertise. Not only am I studying health communication – with a focus on fitness – but I’m a certified fitness instructor as well. After I started gaining weight, I gave up my fitness instructor position at a gym and I took a break from fitness advocacy and education. Who wants to take advice from someone who’s going to go home and eat a piece of cake, Goldfish, and half a case of Diet Coke for dinner?
I preach wellness, strength, and inner peace through physical activity and clean eating, but I beat myself up over not following my own gospel. I’m the Dalai Drama of fitness these days, and I’m tired of being conflicted. But, now, also I’m a woman of action, and there’s no crying in weight loss. I’m sharing my plan to get back to being a good example and back to teaching fitness classes again to help others in this situation and to have some kind of accountability to the great, vast Internet. I’ve combined my own knowledge of fitness and nutrition with the incomparable Jackie Warner’s advice and my personal trainer’s advice to create a plan that I feel is actionable and not torture.
Here are the basics:
Sugar bad; real food good. If that’s not enough for you, read on.
A balanced diet fit for someone who is active must include lots of protein, a variety of produce, and complex carbs. In between those elements come 80-100 ounces of water (100 for active people, 80 for inactive), herbal and green teas, and no more than two cups of coffee. Every meal has a (1) protein, (2) quality carb (whole grain, for example), and a (3) fruit/vegetable. So, breakfast would be something like eggs (protein), plain oatmeal (good carb), and blueberries (fruit).
You’re looking to at least supplement (if not making replacements) your diet with whole, clean, real foods that haven’t been processed or had any chemicals or hormones added. The protein situation gets a little more difficult if you’re a vegetarian like me, but there are tons of protein sources. Same goes for the vivacious vegans out there. Luckily, nutritious, whole foods are available to just about everyone, regardless of diet or disposable income. You don’t have to go fancy, exotic, or organic. Just eat things that are found in nature.
I’m also a believer in juicing vegetables for a boost anytime throughout the day. I love Blueprint Cleanse juices too, ladies, but while they are high-quality and delicious, they have a ton of sugar in each one. I have a juicer, and it was a wonderful investment. I make a simple green juice with romaine, cucumber, lemon, and ginger. If you’re not into juices or things like kale smoothies, you’ll have to get used to the taste. It's worth it.
Eating throughout the day keeps your metabolism up, and it keeps your hunger at bay. I’ve always felt my best when I’ve eaten a little bit every few hours. The key with that strategy is eating a little bit.
For exercise, there’s nothing complicated here. You need to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, and 1-2 sessions of strength training. The quickest and most interesting way to make cardio progress is with interval training. This is where you vary your workout intensity. For example, walk 1 minute, run 1:30 and repeat for the workout duration. Strength training can be with free weights, resistance bands, on machines, using your own body weight, or with foam weights in the pool. Strength training is important for two good reasons: (1) you get lean and lovely and (2) more muscle leads to a better metabolism.
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