Friday, December 30, 2011

From Every New Beginning, Comes Another Beginning's End

Well, well, well...Here we are again.  Yet another year has come and gone and I really cannot believe it.  I never thought that so much could change in one year...But I am officially ready to put the past behind me and move on.  This year has changed me a lot, people have come and gone, I have grown as a person, and I have developed deep, meaningful relationships that I would not trade in for the world.

The year started off rough for me...recovering from a crappy breakup that pretty much left my world is complete dissarray.  I had to learn to cope with being alone in my own house, something that I never thought would hurt as much as it did.  But with the help of my fur baby Bo (who I have had for one year today), I was able to get through it...and I came out stronger on the other side.

Then there were my friends...oh how I love you guys.  I have learned that you don't have to live next door to someone to develop a meaningful friendship with them.  Even with states in between us, I know that I have friends all over that I can rely on at the drop of a dime.  Not to mention that I have a group of girl friends, something that I have never had before, here in Pittsburgh that I can always count on to pick me up when I am feeling down. 

This year hasn't been all gum drops and rainbows though. I lost a huge part of my life this year when my Aunt Karen passed away. Even though she was mean sometimes, and she like to yell at me, she was still my Aunt and I loved her. She taught me that even though life may be tough, but you can get through it and ENJOY it. She defied so many odds, lived longer than any doctor ever expected her to, and she lived a full life. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about her and how I will never hear her voice again. It breaks my heart but I know that she is not in pain anymore, and she is my newest guardian angel. She will always be by my side and because of her...I can do ANYTHING.

Me and Aunt Karen

The tattoo that I got on my left side in honor of my Aunt Karen

So my wish for 2012?  I want my life to CONTINUE getting better.  I am on a uphill climb right may be may be difficult...but it is up hill, that's for sure.  I am focusing more on my health this year and focusing on being happy AND healthy. 

Thank you all for being understanding, and for being supportive even when I am not exactly the greatest friend.  This year has been a crazy one, that's for sure...but now it is over...and guess what, I SURVIVED...No, I didn't just survive...I thrived!

So here is to 2012, a new year and a new beginning, here is to the old friends that I have kept and the new ones I have made, and here is to making 2012 the best year yet.

Love you guys!  Have a safe and happy new year :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy During Cold Weather Season

So, if you know me personally, you know that I have been battling a HORRIBLE head and chest cold for the past week.  Today, the National Kidney Foundation sent out an email with the the top 5 ways to stay healthy during cold weather I though that I would share!  Also....DON'T FORGET...The Pittsburgh Kidney Walk is THIS SUNDAY at the Pittsburgh Zoo...It isn't too late to donate!!

Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy During Cold Weather Season

1.Get a flu shot – As flu season approaches, kidney patients need to know how to prevent getting the flu. Getting a flu shot early on in the season is a critical step. All patients with chronic kidney disease, including those with a kidney transplant, should obtain a flu shot. Transplant patients may not have the nasal mist flu vaccine known as FluMist® because it contains live, weakened vaccine components that the transplant patients’ immune systems may not be able to handle. Instead, transplant patients should receive the regular injection for the flu shot. It’s always important to check with your doctor to determine which type of flu vaccine is best for you.

2.Make sure you’re getting enough sleep – A good night’s sleep goes a long way. Being well rested is more important than many people realize. Did you know that studies have shown that not getting enough sleep may lead to an increased appetite and in turn, weight gain? In the fall, the days grow shorter which can throw off people’s sleep cycles. It’s important to be mindful of this so that you ensure you’re getting enough sleep.

3.Wash your hands regularly with soap and water – Keeping your hands clean is a top way to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Carry around hand sanitizer if you’re on the go and not able to access a sink to wash your hands with soap and water. Dry your hands when you’re done washing them. This is an important component of hand washing that people sometimes forget when in a rush.

4.Drink fluids and eat healthy – Remember to drink plenty of water and eat enough fruits and vegetables. This is especially important with all the treats and temptations that come along with the holiday season. Check out the Kidney Kitchen for some healthy alternatives to many holiday recipes. The recipes have all been evaluated to determine that they are kidney healthy and whether they are appropriate for individuals with diabetes, CKD and/or kidney transplants. Eating a balanced diet and getting proper nutrients is key to staving off sickness!

5.Stay away from others who are sick – This can be challenging because sometimes it is hard to tell who around you may be sick or coming down with something. If you know that a loved one is ill, make sure you’re keeping your distance to prevent yourself from getting sick. If you’re playing the role of caregiver, follow the tips above and wash your hands regularly. Additionally, minimize the spread of germs throughout the house by disinfecting common areas of your home by wiping down door handles and counter tops. Also, make sure you wash the pillow cases and sheets of the person who is sick.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Healthy Eating and Politics....

So I tend to steer away from politics and voicing my opinion on who I like and who I don't like...but one person that I will not keep quiet about is Michelle Obama.  After watching her in action over the past few years I cannot help but admire her.  She puts so much time and energy into helping to end the trend of childhood obiesity in our country by suggesting alternatives to what children normally eat, by promoting an active lifestyle, by speaking to her target group (kids at school), and by just being available.  I would be overjoyed it I ever had the opportunity to meet her just because she is one of the few people in the world of politics that I can honestly say that I admire...not to mention that she is in AMAZING shape!

I found this article on this morning...and I got really excited!  I love cookbooks, especially when they are cookbooks full of food that is healthy!  I will definitely be buying this one when it comes out next year :)

Michelle Obama: celebrity chef? First lady's cookbook to share homegrown recipes.

by Piper Weiss, Shine Staff

Are you ready for Michelle Obama, kitchen goddess? The first lady’s pulling a Gwyneth Paltrow and publishing a cookbook. American Grown, on sale April 10, 2012, combines veggie growing tips with recipes inspired by Michelle’s White House garden.

It’s a garden she’s toiled over since 2009. So have daughters Sasha and Malia, who help with the weeding "like it or not". Despite being a gardening novice, Obama’s laid the groundwork for over 55 varietals of veggies. Stalks of black kale, bright yellow peppers, and beams of eggplant have grown from the most expansive garden the White House lawn has ever seen.

Recipes haven't been leaked yet but it’s safe to say 100 percent of them will be extremely healthy and vegetable-based. Shine editor Lylah Alphonse already got a glimpse of what Michelle and co. can dream up, when she visited the White House earlier this month.

During a tour of the not-so-secret garden, officials passed out a pamphlet with recipes created with Michelle’s veggies in the White House kitchen, and served to the Obama family on a fairly regular basis. (The mac and cheese is the girls' favorite). These should hold you over until April.

Broccoli Soup (serves 6)

1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
3 heads broccoli
6 cups light chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in butter until translucent.
Trim the broccoli to 1-inch pieces and blanch them in salty water.
Add broccoli to vegetable mixture.
Add chicken stock.
Simmer for 10 minutes then pass the mixture through a strainer.
Season soup to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Serve hot.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (serves 4 or more)

1 pound penne pasta
1 cup 2 percent or skim milk
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. In the meantime, cook the cauliflower until soft and transfer to a blender to puree.
In a medium-size pan, combine the pasta and hot cauliflower puree. Add the milk and cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately while hot.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Herb Sherry Vinaigrette (serves 6)

2 pounds assorted seasonal garden greens like arugula and and baby spinach
6 chicken breasts (6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon thyme
zest from 1 lemon
6 sprigs chives, chopped

For the Vinaigrette

1 cup sherry vinegar
juice from 2 lemons
1 shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine sherry vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, oregano, basil, and honey in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until the mixture is emuslified. Chill.
Wash greens, and set aside.
Marinate chicken with lemon, thyme, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then grill.
Serve chicken on a bed of greens, drizzled with vinaigrette

Warm baked apples with dried cherries, raisins, and blueberries (serves 6)

6 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup mixed dried cherries, blueberries, and raisins
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons safflower or canola oil

Brush 6 cupcake molds or a muffin tray with oil to prevent sticking.
Remove the stem and core of each apple with a melon baller. Poke a few holes into the top of the apple with a fork, and place apple in cupcake molds or muffin tray.
Place half a tablespoon of orange juice concentrate into the center of each apple. Fill each apple with dried fruits and sprinkle brown sugar over the tops. Drizzle with honey and bake at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes or until apples are soft.
Serve warm.

Fruit and oatmeal bars (serves 9)

6 tablespoons grape-seed oil, or other neutral oil, plus extra for brushing the pan
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup mixed seeds (such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds)
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit (such as cranberries, raisins, cherries, apricots, papaya, and pineapple. Use at least three kinds, and cut large fruits into dime-size pieces)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, letting a few inches hang over the sides of the pan. Brush with oil.
Spread oats and seeds on another baking pan and toast in the oven until they're golden and fragrant, about 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the pan once during toasting.
In a sauce pan, combine oil, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Stir over medium heat until smooth and hot.
Transfer toasted oats and seeds to a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the oats and seeds and stir until well combined.
While the mixture is warm, transfer it to the prepared pan, pressing it into the pan easily with an offset spatula
Bake until brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.
Using the overhanging foil or parchment paper, lift the fruit and oat mixture out of the pan and place on a work surface. Cut into 1 1/2-inch by 3-inch bars.

*All recipes courtesy of "Healthy Recipes from the White House to You

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For those of you lacking motivation....

So I have hit a brick wall...I have had so much going on in my life recently that I have stopped putting ME first like I was before.  THIS NEEDS TO STOP!

When I was focusing on myself...and making myself better...I was a genuinely happy person!  I was positive and excited and ready to take charge of my life.  However, in recent weeks I have stopped putting ME first and I have been focusing on OTHERS instead, putting MYSELF last.  Well, this stops today!  I need to go back to worrying about ME...because quite frankly, if I don't worry about me and take care of me, no one else will. 

So from here on out...I am putting myself first...I am doing what makes ME happy and what makes ME feel good!  So take that ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Plyometric Exercises for Hockey Players

Well kids....its my favorite time of year again....IT'S A HOCKEY NIGHT IN PITTSBURGH!!!  So in honor of the start of hockey season...I thought that I would share an article that I found about some exercises that are reccommended to ice hockey players.... :)


Plyometric Exercises for Hockey Players

By Michelle Zehr


A plyometric exercise is an exercise that trains your muscles, nervous system and connective tissues to effectively complete the stretch-shortening cycle -- activities including running, jumping and rapid direction changes -- which is beneficial in performance in athletics, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Plyometric exercises for hockey players can help increase shooting power, agility and your ability to rapidly change directions on the ice.

Box Jumps

Box jumps are a lower-body plyometric exercise that can be used for beginners or those advanced in plyometric training. For this exercise, you will need an exercise step. Stand behind the exercise step with your feet approximately a hips-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and assume a half-squat position. As soon as your assume a squatting position, immediately jump up onto your exercise step. Your feet should land gently on the center of the box. Step back down -- never jump down -- and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions.

Tuck Jumps

Tuck jumps are an intermediate lower body plyometric exercise. Stand with your back straight, your knee bent slightly and your feet shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be hanging at your sides. Jump up and bring your knees as close to your chest as possible. To gain momentum during your jump, swing your arms up in the air as you jump. Land on the balls of your feet and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions. Don't stop between jumps.

Overhead Throws

Overhead throws are designed to strengthen your upper body. You will need a medicine ball to complete this exercise -- a medicine ball can be purchased at your local sporting goods store. Stand in a staggered stance -- one foot slightly in front of the other -- with your knee bent slightly. You should be standing a few feet away from a wall. Hold the medicine ball in both hands and pull it behind your head as far as you possibly can. Forcefully throw the medicine ball so that it bounces off the wall in front of you. Catch the ball after it bounces off the wall and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions. Don't rest period between throws. You can also complete this exercise by throwing the ball to a teammate instead of the wall.


Traditional pushups can be turned into a plyometric exercise. Begin this exercise by assuming the traditional push-up stance on the ground. Lower yourself to the ground -- as if you were completing a regular pushup. Push off the ground forcefully so that your body jumps from the ground and your hand are no longer touching the ground. Catch yourself using your hands and repeat one set of 10 repetitions of plyometric pushups with no rest period between.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clean Eating Caramel Popcorn

So, the way to this girl's heart is through her way of a GOOD popcorn.  I know that this may sound absolutely absurd, but it is the truth.  I am getting a tin of Garrett's Popcorn from my Mom for my should be delivered today and I cannot even being to tell you how excited I am to indulge myself this weekend :)

However, I decided that since I love my popcorn SO much I wanted to find a recipe for Clean Caramel Popcorn since it is my favorite.  My go-to recipe website is The Gracious Pantry and low and behold...there was a clean eating caramel popcorn I though that I would share!

Clean Eating Caramel Popcorn


1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
8-10 cups popped popcorn


Tip: Read through the steps first so you know what you to. You’ll need to work quickly.

Step 1 – In a small pot, warm the honey on high heat. Bring it to a boil.
Step 2 – Let it boil up in the pot about 1 inch and then quickly remove from heat.
Step 3 – Stir in nut butter with a whisk and whisk until smooth. Should be “pourable”.
Step 4 – Pour over the popcorn and mix with a spoon. The mixture is hot, so don’t be tempted to mix with your hands. I learned that the hard way (Duh!!).
Step 5 – Let it all sit and cool. To me, it tastes better cold. But that could just be me.

Eat and Enjoy!

So go and check out The Gracious Pantry if you haven't already!  Tiffany posts TONS of great, healthy recipes :)

8 One-Minute Better Body Tricks.

8 One-Minute Better Body Tricks

by FITNESS Magazine

Your exercise regimen doesn’t have to take over your life. Getting the fitness result you want—whether it’s losing weight or reshaping your body—can be as simple as squeezing in an extra 30 seconds here or minute there. These fast, tiny tweaks to your program will help you rev your energy level, burn more calories and sculpt new muscle. Incorporate our one-minute workout boosters into your daily routine and say good-bye to flab for good.

1. Do a Kegel while you crunch.

Contract your pelvic-floor muscles—the ones that you use to stop the flow of urine—as you lift and lower. “This will help you recruit more of the entire abdominal group and make the muscles work harder,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama.

2. Close your eyes on the ball.

"Doing abdominal moves on a stability ball with your eyes closed is extra challenging," says Nick Martella, a fitness trainer at Sky Athletic Club in Rockville Centre, New York. "Because you don’t have a focal point,
 your body senses that it’s in an unstable environment and your core muscles have to work harder to stay balanced."

3. Target your belly during strength-training breaks.

That minute between weight sets is valuable workout time. Take advantage by filling it with ab moves. You won't have to do crunches at the end of your workout (when you may be tired out), and it'll keep your heart rate elevated, upping your calorie burn.

4. Bump up the resistance.

"To sculpt any muscle you need to add resistance, and since your arms are extended in this exercise, it's more difficult," says Ellen Barrett, founder of and star of the new video Crunch: Fat-Burning Pilates (Anchor Bay, $9.95). Grab a pair of dumbbells or a medicine ball. Lie back with knees bent, feet flat. Extend arms straight back so that your biceps are next to your ears and dumbbells are about an inch off the floor. With abs tight, slowly crunch up and down, keeping arms stationary. Do two sets of 15 lifts.

5. Slo-mo your moves.

"Take four counts to lift and two to lower," says Peter Francis, Ph.D., a professor of exercise and nutritional sciences at San Diego State University. "Research has shown that abdominal-muscle activity is significantly greater when lifting than when lowering," he explains. "When you slow down the upward phase, you spend more time in the most beneficial part of the exercise." At this rate, you should be able to do only about 10 crunches per minute.

6. Lunge day and night.

First thing in the morning and last thing before bedtime, do five rear lunges (step back and lower until front thigh is parallel to floor) on each leg and then do five squats, suggests Lawrence Biscontini, a Reebok master trainer and group fitness manager for Wyndham's Golden Door Spa in Puerto Rico. You'll definitely notice the difference in your rear view: "This one-minute addition to your day adds up to 300 lunges and 150 squats per month. That's a lot of leg and butt toning," he says

7. Tighten your tush while you wait.

Make use of your downtime -- standing in line, sitting in the car or waiting in the doctor's office -- by squeezing and releasing your gluteal muscles for one minute, suggests Biscontini. "And when you're finished, draw your navel toward your spine for 30 seconds to work the deep abdominal muscles."

8. Give your triceps an extra boost.

"After finishing a set of overhead triceps extensions, hold the weight up with elbows slightly bent. Squeeze your elbows in toward your head 12 to 15 times as an extra push for the backs of the arms," suggests Liz Neporent, a FITNESS advisory board member and creative director at Plus One Fitness in New York City.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's here!!!

Tomorrow the Penguins pre-season schedule kicks off....which means I get to say my 5 favorite words.  What are they????

You will have to wait and find out tomorrow :)

Eric Tangradi - Toronto Maple Leafs v Pittsburgh Penguins

Kris Letang Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins  winds up to shoot against the Phoenix Coyotes on December 20, 2010 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I am one lucky girl...

I came to realize this past weekend how lucky I am.

I was raised in an awesome family, some of whom I am related to by blood, some of whom became family because we are so close.  Not many people can say that they have been friends with someone their whole life... I can say that I have been blessed with not 1, but 5 friends that I have had my whole life.  This past weekend I got to spend time with 4 of them for one of their weddings...

Eric, Holly, Ryan, Me, and Mark

Rich was the only one missing this weekend...but he got married in March so most of us were together then.

Diana, Rich, and Me

Eric is the next one to get hitched...and his wedding is next year.

Then, the wedding that I am most excited for....Holly is getting married!  She is the little sister that I never had...and I am absolutely HONORED that she asked me to be her Maid of Honor...I am looking forward to planning her special day with her...and celebrating with my lifelong friends again :)

Holly and Me

As I go through my matter how difficult things get...when I feel like I have no one left to turn to...I know that I can rely on these friends to get me through.  I could not speak with them for years, and I would have to do is make a phone call and they would be here in a flash.  Those are the best kind of friendship...the ones that come easily and that you don't have to work hard to keep.  I love my friends. :)

“Even though we’ve changed and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not still friends.”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Day!

Happy Friday!

Today is a big day for me because I am ONE STEP closer to reaching on of my goals!

Today I officially paid off one of my credit cards AND one of my medical bills.  It is a happy day for me!

I am well on my way to a CREDIT CARD FREE life and I am so excited that I can hardly contain myself.  I learned an important lesson when it comes to credit...if you can't pay for it...don't buy it!

Tonight I am also going to see Wicked with my Mom and a very close friend of our family, Kam (she is like my other Mom).  I am SO excited because I have been waiting to see Wicked for YEARS!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lives Lost...

If you didn't already know, I am a HUGE hockey fan.  I mean, I live and breathe hockey between the first game of the season and the last game of the finals.  If I am having a bad day, hockey makes me happy :) (I could use a good hockey game to watch today!).

Unfortunately, this year has not been a good one for hockey players around the world.  Amidst the concussions, suspensions, and shotty refereeing, the hockey world has been hit by a plague of unfortunate, untimely death.  I hate that I am posting this blog, but with the NHL season right around the corner, I wanted to pay tribute to those lives lost in the hockey world since the beginning of bear with me here...

Tom Cavanagh - Formerly of the San Jose Sharks

Derek Boogard - New York Rangers

Rick Rypien - Winnipeg Jets

The Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team lost all but one member in Wednesday's crash in Russia. The passenger list, provided by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations:

Vitaly Anikeyenko
Yury Bakhvalov
Aleksandr Belyayev
Mikhail Balandin

Aleksandr Vasyunov - New Jersey Devils

Josef Vasicek - Most recently of the New York Islanders

Aleksandr Vyukhin
Robert Dietrich

Pavol Demitra - Vancouver Canucks

Andrei Zimin
Marat Kalimulin
Aleksandr Karpovtsev
Aleksandr Kalyanin
Andrei Kiryukhin
Nikita Klyukin
Igor Korolyov
Nikolai Krivonosov
Yevgeny Kunnov
Vyacheslav Kuznetsov
Stefan Liv
Jan Marek

Brad McCrimmon - Coach and Player for Various Teams
Sergey Ostapchuk
Vladimir Piskunov

Karel Rachunek - New Jersey Devils

Evgeny Sidorov

Karlis Skrastins - Dallas Stars

Ruslan Salei - Detroit Red Wings

Pavel Snurnitsyn
Daniil Sobchenko
Ivan Tkachenko
Pavel Trakhanov
Igor Urychev
Gennady Churilov
Maksim Shuvalov
Artyom Yarchuk

Some Inspiration for the day...

Inspirational Picture Quote

Inspirational Picture Quote


The 412 Fit Club starts THIS SUNDAYYYY!!!  From 2 pm - 3 pm...Come out and join us for a fun FREE workout!

Check out or send me a message at for more details...

I hope to see you there!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Making amends...

So, I know that it has been a while...AGAIN.  Sorry guys :)

I have had a hectic week.  My gas line failed last Friday so I didn't have gas or hot water until this Wednesday.  My roommate is in the process (and almost finished!) moving in and my very best friend is getting married! 

But back to the title of this post.  Making amends. 

I know that we all have had friendships that we thought were going to last forever...but they didn't.  Something dumb happened and it caused everything to fall apart, but you were able to move on with your life.  In my case, I have neglected many friendships in the past.  I let people that meant a lot to me slip away and I tried to act like it did not bother me.  But truthfully, it was like losing a limb...the wound may have healed, but the limb was still gone.

In the past 2 days, I have made the effort to reconnect with 2 people that I used to be very close to.  Two people that I once considered my best friends.  I took responsibility for my actions and lack of actions and appologized for my wrongdoings.  I am hoping that things turn out well...

I have committed to not only improving my PHYSICAL health...but also my MENTAL and EMOTIONAL health...

I mean thing about it....what fun is life if you don't have amazing friends to share it with??

Friday, August 19, 2011

When you're losing weight, where does the fat go?

When you're losing weight, where does the fat go?

CNN iReportBy Madison Park, CNNJuly 22, 2011 9:35 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- Multiple chins, bulging tummies and flabby arms: It's easy to see where fat accumulates on the body.

When a person starts losing weight, where does the fat go? And what parts of the body can you expect to see results?

Headlines from fitness magazines promise exercises to blast away belly fat and activities to spot-reduce flab. The scientific evidence, unfortunately, doesn't back those sexy headlines.

Here are three things to know about weight-loss and body fat.

You can't change your shape, just your size.

You can't cherry-pick where you shed fat; weight loss doesn't work like a point-and-shoot.

MRIs, CT scans and dexa scans, which use X-ray beams to measure body composition, show no evidence for spot reduction.

"Basically, when we lose weight, we lose weight all over in exactly the proportion that's distributed throughout our body," said Susan Fried, director of the Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center at the Boston University School of Medicine.

This dexa scan of a woman who underwent bariatric surgery shows where she lost her body fat.A pear-shaped woman who loses weight will remain a pear, just a daintier one, say researchers who specialize in body fat. More women tend to be pear-shaped, with fat around their hips and thighs. Men tend to be apple-shaped, because they have fat that accumulates around their waist.

"People come in with unrealistic expectations from magazines and spot-reducing," said Gary Foster, director of Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education. "That doesn't happen. When you start to lose fat, it's proportionate throughout your body, whether it's your neck, waist, ankle circumference. You'll come out smaller but have the same body shape."

That was the case with Maggie Sorrells, 37, who lost nearly 300 pounds through diet and exercise in less than five years.

Her body was pear-shaped even when she weighed about 500 pounds. She reduced her portion sizes and attended weekly faith-based weight loss meetings called Weigh Down. She noticed that her face and hips were getting smaller.

"My hips were like 73 inches," Sorrells said. They're now down to 39 inches.

"It's crazy to think how much they've come down."

She and her husband, Andy, who live in Nashville, lost more than 500 pounds combined.

Sorrells essentially retained her pear shape, although she's 300 pounds lighter. "I'm still rounder in the bottom part of my body. I'm still pear-shaped," she said.

Maggie Sorrells said she essentially retained her pear shape, although she is 300 pounds lighter.For most people, the problem is their weight, not their body shape, Foster said. Whether you're a pear or apple may be determined by genetics or hormones.

Not all body fat is created equal.

When Joe Dragon, an insurance company supervisor in Albany, New York, started losing weight from his 425-pound frame, he noticed the biggest difference in his stomach.

"I was never heavy on the bottom; it was more the gut, belly area," the 34-year-old said. "The differences I noticed, I have a flat stomach. It used to be huge round ball."

Joe Dragon lost 135 pounds on Weight Watchers and exercise.  Like Dragon, men tend to be apple-shaped and carry more belly fat, known as visceral fat. This is a dangerous type of fat because it surrounds abdominal organs and is metabolically active.

Essentially, it disturbs the regular mechanisms in your body.

The fat cells release biochemicals that lead to inflammation, which could lead to heart attacks, strokes and joint and muscle pain. This accumulates in the liver, said Dr. Robin Blackstone, surgeon and medical director of Scottsdale Healthcare Bariatric Center in Arizona.

"Fat is basically a store of energy," she said. "When you need energy, you break down the fat. That breaks down into a component called free fatty acid and goes into the liver for energy. When you have a lot of excess fat, it generates so much free fatty acid, the liver can't handle it, so it stores it."

That triggers a host of problems including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and diabetes.

"Belly fat is much more harmful than the so-called big butt," Foster said.

The fat in the hips causes much alarm because that part of the body is highly visible. Called subcutaneous fat, the masses of this fat may be unsightly, but scientists believe they're not as dangerous as internal abdominal fat.

For cosmetic or social reasons, women are more likely to seek obesity treatment than men.

"What that says is that men are likely to need obesity treatment more than women, but women, likely due to stigma socially for being overweight, are more likely to present for treatment," Foster said.

Where does the fat go?

Fat cells expand when people consume more energy than they can burn. During weight loss, the cells shrink.

"The fat is a very specialized cell, and it takes basically the fat we eat and it stores it in form of triglycerides," said Fried, who researches how fat is deposited. "It's doing that for the purpose of releasing it when other parts of the body need it."

Humans carry about 10 billion to 30 billion fat cells. People who are obese can have up to 100 billion.

"If anyone of us overeats long and hard enough, we can increase the number of fat cells in our body," Fried said. "When we lose weight, we don't lose the number of fat cells."

The size of the cells shrinks, but the capacity to expand is always there.

Liposuction can remove fat cells, but this procedure is ideally for people who are not obese.

"The fat cells are actually being removed," said Tony Youn, a plastic surgeon who performs liposuctions. "It doesn't mean that fat cells that remain can't get bigger."

Despite the extraction of fat cells, the ones remaining can always get bigger or smaller depending on a person's diet and fitness.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Top 10 Fitness Myths You're Probably Wrong About

The Top 10 Fitness Myths You're Probably Wrong About
By the editors of

Myth 1: Drinking water can help you lose weight

Fact: Many sources tout drinking copious amounts of water to be the all-curing panacea of the Gods. If you've heard that drinking lots of water improves your skin tone, or that it flushes toxins from your body, you know what we're talking about. But the fact of the matter is, the evidence for such catch-all health benefits is lacking.

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania have found that both the aforementioned "benefits" simply aren't true. Another myth is that drinking lots of water will make you less hungry. Sorry to tell you this -- you may eat less because you're too busy trucking back and forth between the bathroom and dinner table, but that's about it.

Oh, and that whole "recommended eight glasses a day" thing? Also false. You should drink only when you're thirsty, and this is done just to replace the amount of water a healthy adult loses every day -- about four to six glasses.

Myth 2: Stretching before working out is crucial to preventing injury

Fact: Stretching after a workout can be beneficial, but stretching before a workout actually doesn't increase your range of motion. In fact, some studies suggest that stretching destabilize muscles, making them less prepared for strenuous exercise, especially if you're doing something like weight-lifting. Instead, do a warm-up, which gets your blood pumping.

Myth 3: Vegetarian diets are healthier than meat-inclusive ones

Fact: Sure, eating lots of veggies is healthy. But in general, cutting out an entire food group -- even if it is one that can be high in saturated fat -- is bad idea. Meat is a key source of iron, which keeps your energy levels up, allows you to think clearly, and produces enzymes that fight infection. Moreover, researchers at Pennsylvania State University have shown that iron deficiency increases a woman's risk for postpartum depression.

Vegetarians often try to get their iron fix through lentils, beans, fortified cereals and tofu. However, you're still missing protein. Make sure to eat eggs, dairy products, or soy at every meal to get your animal-friendly dose.

Myth 4: Lifting weights will make you look bulky

Fact: If you've been avoiding the free weights for fear of becoming the Incredible Hulk, no need to flee anymore. When it comes to increasing muscle size, testosterone is key. Men have 20 to 30 times the more testosterone than women, which is why they can bulk up so noticeably. But for you to reach Arnold Schwarzenegger proportions would require you to do far more weight-lifting than the average woman, plus have some sort of hormone imbalance (either genetic or synthetically induced, as with steroids).

In fact, "strength training will help you lose weight faster and keep it off in the long run," notes Jeffrey Janot, PhD, an assistant professor of exercise physiology at South Dakota State University in Brookings. If you also do cardio, it'll help you retain muscle as you drop fat, as well as prevent your metabolism from slowing. So don't focus all your efforts on the elliptical machine -- some bicep curls could actually help you reach your ultimate goal.

Myth 5: Sports bras are just to prevent painful bounce

Fact: Wrong -- sports bras are to prevent painful bounce and permanent breast sag. That's right -- it's not just old age and gravity that'll weigh your chest down. High-impact activities, like jogging or aerobics, can stress your Cooper's ligaments (the connective tissue that keeps breasts firm), causing your breasts to sag more quickly.

According to the American Council on Exercise, compression bras work best for smaller-busted women; the more well-endowed (typically a C cup or larger) should opt for an "encapsulation" bra that supports each breast separately. Replace workout bras every six months to a year.

Myth 6: A hot bath will prevent muscle soreness

Fact: Cold water is a better bet, says Marty Jaramillo, CEO of the I.C.E. Sports Health Group. "Immersing yourself in chilled water is like an ice pack for your entire body," he says.

When you exercise, your blood vessels open wider and stay that way for at least an hour afterward. Soreness occurs when waste products like lactic acid settle in your muscles through these dilated vessels. Colder temps constrict vessels, limiting the amount of waste product that accumulates, explains Jaramillo.

Myth 7: Running is counterproductive to strength training

Fact: Sounds like you need to find a new trainer! "Running is definitely not counterproductive to building muscle, unless you're looking to dramatically increase muscle mass," says Gregory Florez, CEO of "In fact, as a weight-bearing exercise, running helps develop more lean muscle mass in the lower body -- which also keeps your bones healthy."

That doesn't mean it's a substitute for strength training, though. "Include lower-body strength moves like squats and lunges and upper-body moves like push-ups and pull-ups to reduce injury risk, increase stamina, and boost metabolism," adds Florez.

Myth 8: Holding weights while doing cardio increases calorie burn

Fact: Yes, but not enough to make it worthwhile. The added intensity of holding weights while doing cardio does bump your calorie burn slightly, but it can also lead to elbow and shoulder injuries. "The risks outweigh the benefits," says Douglas Brooks, an exercise physiologist in Mammoth Lakes, California. "You'll expend more energy if you increase the weight you carry, but excessive or uncontrolled movements can damage the joints or cause muscle injury."

A better option for blasting extra calories: Increase your speed or resistance level on either the treadmill or the elliptical machine.

Myth 9: Fresh fruit is better than frozen fruit

Fact: Actually, no. "With shipping and storage, fresh fruit can often sit around for as long as two weeks before it hits your supermarket," says Suzanne Henson, RD, director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's EatRight Weight Management Program. "During that time, it can lose a lot of its nutrients, especially vitamin C."

In contrast, frozen fruit is often picked and frozen at the peak of freshness. It's also a better choice for concocting smoothies. But watch out for frozen fruits in syrup -- it packs extra calories.

Myth 10: Doing crunches and ab workouts will get rid of belly fat

Fact: You can do crunches till you pass out, and you still might not get a six-pack. Why? If you have a high percentage of body fat, your abs will be covered with -- you guessed it -- fat. And no, doing ab exercises won't necessarily make you lose that belly fat, either. The truth is, you can't spot-train (otherwise, wouldn't we all be running around with flat stomachs and slim thighs?). In order to get visibly toned abs, you have to first reduce your overall body fat, which means plenty of cardio, coupled with strength training for faster results. After that, the fruits of your labor should start becoming apparent.


I have a random rant.  Well, it is more me getting something that has been bothering me off of my chest, but it could end up being a rant.

As I stated in a few previous blogs, my Aunt Karen passed away on May 2nd, 2011 (R.I.P. I love you).  Upon her passing, my younger cousin and I found a copy of her will and in it, she left me all of her worldly possessions.  For those of you that knew my Aunt Karen know that this means she left me a LOT of stuff because she was a hoarder.  But the biggest thing that she left behind was a house.

Since the day that the will was found, things have changed.  My family was growing closer and I was finally developing the relationship with relatives that I had been hoping to have for many years.  The progress that we had made in trusting one another and confiding in each other has gone out the window.  Why?  All because of my Aunt Karen's wishes.  Since then, I have never felt so much hate, hostility and bitterness towards me ever in my life.  I love my family, and I HATE that they have so much hatred for me right now.

I understand that they are hurt, probably even offended.  Why was it left to me?  I don't know, ask Aunt Karen.  Why didn't she name anyone else in her will?  Again, I don't know, only she did.

I think that what bothers me the most, more than anything else is that people are failing to look at one big aspect of the situation.  Want to know what that is?

NOT ONCE has ANYONE asked me how I feel about it.  They only care about themselves and how it makes them feel.  Did I ASK for all of this? No.  Did I want any of this to happen?  NO.

The truth of the matter is, I didn't want any of this.  I had no control over what Aunt Karen did, I only have control over how I react to it.  Am I honored that she thought so highly of me that she thought to leave me everything?  Yes, I am.  I would be lying if I ever tried to claim that I wasn't.  I loved my aunt and I still do.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss her.  I can't bring myself to delete her phone number out of my cell phone.  But just because Aunt Karen's wishes were what they were does NOT mean that I should lose other family members.

I guess what I am trying to say with all of this is simple.  IT'S NOT MY FAULT.  I did not CHOOSE to take on this load.  I just bought a house of my own and dealing with that by myself is hard enough, do you think that I was ready to take on the responsibility of another house?  I am not being a bitch about things either.  I wanted my whole family to work together to get things in order, but obviously that will never happen.  I am being pushied by the people that I love the most for a choice that was made withought any of us knowing when I was 13 years old.

That's all :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This guy is amazing!

This short video is about Nick Vujicic.  He doesn't have arms or legs, but he leads a very successful and HAPPY life!

Next time that you are down, think about Nick...he is making the best out what hand he has been dealt in life...and you should too!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Celebrities do P90X too!

Celebrities do P90X too!  Check out some of the famous people that are currently doing P90X or are already P90X grads!!

Ray Lewis - Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens

Demi Moore - Actress

Ashton Kutcher - Actor

Jennie Garth - Actress

Taylor Lautner - Actor

Sheryl Crow - Musician

First Lady Michelle Obama

Pink - Musician

Usher - Musician

Ewan McGregor - Actor

Donovan McNabb - Quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings

Kelly Slater - Professional Surfer

Max Talbot - Center for the Philadelphia Flyers

To learn more about P90X, go to or send me a message!