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October 2011

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If you haven’t heard of this yet, there’s a guy out there, a Personal Trainer, who in the last 5 months, has purposely made himself fat and unhealthy. It looks like he has about one month to go before he tries to get back to “fit.” His reasoning for this, is that he wants to be able to prove to people that you can in fact get healthy if you are overweight. Oh. My. Gosh. Wasn’t the Super Size Me guy enough? I mean, we see people make incredible transformations every day, (watch one season, or just one episode even, of The Biggest Loser), so why does he need to sacrifice HIS health and HIS body to prove that? I don’t think he does. Use others as examples, don’t be a contradiction.

So this guy, Drew Manning, says since he’s never been overweight and out of shape, he wants to see what it’s like and understand what obese people go through. Not only do I think it’s stupid and idiotic to put your body through something like that, but I feel like he is sending the wrong message… saying that it’s okay to let yourself go for awhile. Maybe this is his way of proving to everyone how passionate he is about health and fitness, but I think it’s the wrong approach! If you’re THAT passionate about it, you should never cause this mental and physical harm to yourself. Drew is causing potentially permanent damage to himself.

Maybe I’m not on board with this idea since I’m not exactly in his shoes. I already know what it feels like to be overweight, unhealthy and unhappy, and have absolutely NO desire to ever go back to that dark place. If I had never been there, would I ever consider doing this? Highly doubtful. I work hard to keep the only body I get in the best working order that I can!

People work so hard to rid themselves of the sugar and chemical cravings and addictions that processed foods give them, and here’s a guy who has none of those, and is introducing that crap into his body. I know people who would kill to get rid of these cravings, yet he’s bringing it on himself — on purpose. It boggles my mind. I understand what he’s doing, I really do, I just don’t know that I can say I support him in this because of the mixed signals it sends. It’s kind of like he’s sacrificing his body for science, but not. It’s not like he’s donating a kidney. And now when he dies, if he does donate a kidney, it will be a more damaged kidney than it would have been if he’d never made himself obese!

As I mentioned earlier, plenty of people make miraculous transformations everyday. I wish Drew would have used those people as examples instead of his own, healthy body that he worked so hard for. It’s kind of a shame. Good for him (I guess) that he’ll now be able to tell his overweight clients that he understands, but man, what a price to pay for that understanding. Seems like a great publicity stunt to me, but good luck to you Drew. You can follow him here.

What do you think about this Personal Trainer making himself obese on purpose? Leave your comments, let me know!

I just finished reading Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. All I can really say is… wow… for so many reasons. First, I’ve never read a book this fast in my life. It was an easy read. Maybe because there were so many curse words, I felt like I was at a more comfortable reading level? I can’t say for sure, but it was short, to the point and extremely informative and I appreciated that. It kept me turning pages without even realizing how involved I’d become. I was a little apprehensive during the first couple chapters… there’s a lot of “So, you’re tired of being fat and lazy? Then get off your fat a** and f*ing do something about it.” I’m all for being blunt, but I was definitely taken aback. However, I also feel like some people definitely need this swift kick in the rear-end to make some changes in their lives. There’s no sympathy in this book, that’s for sure, but it is filled with so much great information that my highlighter ran out of ink. Rest in peace pink highlighter.

I’ll try to keep this review short, because I do feel that you should read this book for yourself. I’d say I agree with most everything that this book says. There’s some information the authors give at the end which are their personal opinions on when/how you should eat… for example, they tell you to not eat breakfast until you’re hungry, don’t eat lunch until you’re “ravenous”, etc. I’m not sure I agree with that. I prefer to eat some small, healthy snacks during the day to ensure I don’t get to the point where I’m “ravenous” because let’s face it, if I am in fact ravenous, someone is going to get hurt. Hungry Melissa = Scary Melissa.

The book talks about how you need to give up your unhealthy vices if you want to get “skinny.” I wish the word “skinny” wasn’t used as much as it was, but… the authors did the right things to get people’s attention. Sadly, I can name 10x more people that have told me they’ve read “Skinny Bitch” then have read “Clean.” Anything with “skinny” in the title and you’ve got an immediate audience. I just question people’s motives though. It’s always about getting skinny. Get HEALTHY people! The weight loss will come with being healthier inside and out. Although, this book is more geared towards becoming healthier, they just use the word “skinny” instead. It also discusses carbohydrates, how sugar is the devil (which it is, in processed form… but if you’re talking about the sugar in fruit and things like that, then it’s good). Also discussed is the Atkins Diet and why it’s a terrible idea (thank heavens someone is calling it out, finally) and protein and how Americans get more than double the amount we really need. Lastly, but certainly not least, it discusses meat and why you shouldn’t eat it and how the government cannot be trusted. These two chapters changed my outlook on food more than I thought was possible at this point in my quest to become more knowledgeable.

A few months ago, I cut red meat out of my diet. No real reason. Had nothing to do with the way animals were treated, just sort of lost my appetite for red meat and decided to roll with it. A few weeks ago, I cut out dairy products. I had more of a reason behind this… which came from reading CLEAN, by Dr. Alejandro Junger. Up until this afternoon, I was still eating chicken, fish, and would have the occasional egg. Well, that’s all changed. I got to the chapter where they discuss the way animals are treated and I totally lost it. I’m honestly embarrassed that all this time I have been turning a blind eye to all this talk of animal cruelty. Granted, when possible, I would buy “free range” poultry and beef, but I always had growth hormones and antibiotics on my mind more than I did the treatment of the actual animals. Skinny Bitch has changed all that. The details they go into are pretty disturbing, but I’m glad they wrote about it, and even more glad that I read it. They actually quote workers from some of these slaughter houses and it’s just so sick. I was in tears reading this, while picking the chicken out of my spinach salad and tossing it in the trash. It’s really, really awful. For those that are interested, it’s Chapter 6: You Are What You Eat. I will spare you the details in this blog and let you read it for yourself if you decide you’d like to.

The other chapter that I found mind-boggling was Chapter 9: Have No Faith: Governmental Agencies Don’t Give a Shit About Your Health. And they don’t. I started to get an idea for how political everything is when I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives, where they explained how messed up the food pyramid is. The FOOD PYRAMID! Kids learn about the food pyramid at such a young age! Yet, it cannot be trusted. For example, dairy and meat have been linked to all sorts of diseases, but there’s no way it will be removed from the pyramid because there are very “high-up” people from huge dairy companies, for instance, that would never let that happen. Skinny Bitch talks about all the corruption within the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and more.

“According to its web site, now, among other things, the USDA is responsible for “the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products.” Hmm. That’s weird. ‘Cause many high-ranking staff members at the USDA were employed by, or are otherwise affiliated with, the meat and dairy industries. And if the group responsible for “the safety of meat, poultry and egg products” is run by people from the same industries they’re supposed to be protecting us from… well, that would be a conflict of interest. And it is. An enormous, ridiculous, outrageous, catastrophic conflict of interest.” – Skinny Bitch

There are plenty of examples in the book in regards to what terrible things these agencies have pulled, but that’s another post. In short, everyone’s in bed with everyone else. The milk industry is a $19 Billion industry. So… they pretty much have enough money to get what they want, and do what they need to do to ensure people think milk is critical to their survival. Have you ever wondered why school lunches are required to serve milk? Food for thought. Pun intended.

The reviews on this book are definitely mixed, with good reason I believe. The language is strong, so if that’s something that offends you, steer clear of this one. It also advocates a vegan diet, so be prepared for that. They talk a lot about soy products, which I currently believe people should do their own research on before diving head first into… as there are mixed reviews on whether or not soy is good for you. I personally don’t feel I have enough information to make a case for either side at this point in time. One of the reviews I read mentioned that although these tips will work for weight loss, they are too difficult for the average woman. Which may in fact be true. But… even if they take a few key things away from this book… for instance, get rid of those cigarettes and sodas and read the ingredients of what you’re about to eat… then I feel like it’s worth reading.

Baby steps should not be overlooked. Even small successes are worth celebrating, as it’s those small successes that lead to the bigger ones. I didn’t change my eating habits overnight, this has been a LONG, but extremely enjoyable and even more rewarding process. I started years ago, by giving up soda, and stuck with just that for a while. I didn’t realize that I was even on a “journey” until I recently thought about all the changes I’ve made, and started to realize it. I was just living day by day, taking in information and adjusting my diet. Next, I swapped out my typical lunch for a spinach salad everyday, incorporating more veggies into my diet. I’ve made so many changes since kicking that soda, too many to list. Now I’m at the point where I’m learning so much about the impact food and other products have on not just my intestines or my weight, but also on my emotions, that I can’t stop learning! I want to be the best version of “me” that I can be, and that means every day learning more and more and constantly growing and changing. I hope you can take small steps for yourself as well, because you’ll soon notice that they weren’t small at all, that they were pivotal in making you become who you are today. Eating vegan or cutting out dairy isn’t for everyone, but I do hope everyone can have enough knowledge to make their own, informed decisions. It’s your body, it’s your life. Take control. 

 

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‎”Trying to control others’ actions is a death sentence. Realize that you can only control yourself and you will reduce your anxiety and stress levels immensely.” – Melissa Villamizar

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.” – Vincent Lombardi

A recent study showed that 41 million Americans drink water contaminated with antidepressants, hormones, heart medications and other prescription and over-the-counter medications that have made it through the water-treatment system.

By now you’ve probably either heard of, or been to one of the coolest Group Exercise classes I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching or taking, Nike Training Club (NTC). This class was developed by Nike with the help of seven world-class athletes including Allyson Felix, Hope Solo, Li Na, Laura Enever, Sofia Boutella, Maria Sharapova and Perri Shakes-Drayton.

The NTC GroupX class contains a mixture of strength and cardiovascular exercises, with the use of minimal to no equipment. The exercises were developed by Nike and I can honestly say that they have really helped me break through barriers I didn’t even know existed. I recently even found some new muscles in my legs! Your heart rate is raised in true high-intensity interval training (HIIT) fashion, and the use of minimal equipment makes it easy to do anywhere outside of the gym. There is also a FREE app available to help guide you through the workouts! It includes videos of the exercises and it even offers rewards when specific goals are accomplished. Nike really has it all figured out!

The intervals in NTC are anywhere from 30 seconds – 2 minutes in length, and there is pretty much zero rest in between intervals and the next exercise. The “rest” that you do get is in the form of active recovery, so while the instructor is explaining the next exercise, the participant will need to keep their body moving, in a step-tap or shuffle motion. This keeps the body in “ready mode.” Keeping yourself warm and active while you catch your breath is important for many health and performance-related reasons, it’s not because we are mean and cruel instructors that don’t want to give you a break. Okay, maybe that’s part of it… but still, there are medical benefits involved!

 

Dallas/Ft. Worth was lucky enough to be elected as a test market for Nike Training Club! It started in February 2011, and at that time we were the only city in the U.S. to offer this class. I believe it is now offered in a few select places in New York and California, but we are still the only city within thousands of miles to have this amazing format. So have you heard enough? Ready to check it out? Good!

I teach NTC every Wednesday at 24 Hour Fitness’ Valley Ranch location, 7:30–8:30pm and at the Nike store at NorthPark Mall every Saturday from 9-10am. If for some crazy reason you can’t make it to class, you can use the app to guide you through the workout. It’s amazing, please do check it out!

This class and these exercises are challenging, yes, but that’s what makes it worth it, and that is what gets you the results. If you left class thinking it was easy, what would be the point? You wouldn’t break through any barriers, overcome any plateaus, see new muscles or feel that incredible sense of accomplishment. So when you’re completely out of breath and feel like your legs may indeed fall off of your body, remember that nothing worth working for comes easy, and keep going. It’s easy to work out when you’re full of energy. It’s when you’re tired that you start to enter the results zone. When you start to get tired, you can give up, or push on. I urge you to make that decision before you get tired. Don’t let your mind take over, it’s very controlling and extremely stubborn.

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.” – Vincent Lombardi

Peace, love and NTC!

Melissa

 

This recipe is: Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

Brown rice is a great choice if you’re looking to eat some grains, since it’s nutritional value is far superior to that of white rice. It’s also suitable for those with gluten intolerances, since rice is gluten-free. Eat this as a main dish or as a side, either way it’s delicious! Also, feel free to experiment with flavors and add-ons such as balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, garlic, etc.

Notes

  • Recipe yields: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 c. long-grain brown rice
  • 2 c. water or vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. chopped non-sulfite dried apricots
  • 1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts (omit if you are allergic to nuts)
  • 1/4 c. total chopped fresh parsley and thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pot, sauté mushrooms, onions and garlic in warmed oil over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Stir in rice, water or broth, salt & pepper to taste and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, about 45 minutes.
  4. Remove covered pot from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with fork. Transfer to large bowl, add apricots, walnuts, herbs and vinegar and toss to combine.
Per serving (~14 oz.): 340 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium, 48g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 10g protein.