What Is The One Thing You Want More Than Anything Else?

What is the ONE thing you want more than anything else? Are you willing to work for it AND wait for it? We live in a world of instant gratification. We want to lose weight…now. We want to be debt free…today. We want to be happy…forever.  We want joy, peace, love, passion and more. But the reality is that in order to achieve any of these things, we need to practice them, have patience to wait for them, and be willing to persevere.

This week, our daughter celebrated her 11th birthday and was given the thumbs up by her ballet instructor that she was ready for pointe shoes. Pointe shoes are the most eagerly anticipated rite of passage for a young dancer. When a dancer wears her pointe shoes, she can proudly declare, “I AM a ballerina!” To earn this rite of passage, it took Arianna 8-years of dedication, hard work and discipline. Her love for ballet motivated her to achieve this accomplishment. After trying on more than 15 pairs of pointe shoes, Arianna found her perfect pair, and when she did, she smiled from ear to ear while tears swelled up in my eyes…

How can you put a plan into action to achieve the ONE thing that you want more than anything else?

Practice

Practice helps you prepare for when it matters most. In this interview, Michael Jordan says it best, “I never feared my skills, because I put in the work." If you want to lose weight, practice eating less and exercising more. If you want to be debt free, practice spending less. If you want to be happy, practice comparing less, judging less and practice forgiving more.

 

Patience

Patience, like most things in life, is a learned behavior. It is not something we inherit or are entitled to. It is a daily commitment to take a deep breath, and embrace our surroundings…good or bad. In Romans 12:12 we are reminded, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” If you want to lose 10 pounds, be patient when you lose your first pound! If you want to be debt free, be patient when your credit card balance decreases. If you want to be happy, be patient when things don't go your way.

 

Perseverance

Perseverance is steadfastness to get back up when we’ve been knocked down. Many people believe that we can only get better at things when we fail and learn from our failures. What do Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, and Oprah Winfrey have in common? They all failed and were all told they weren’t good enough, but through their perseverance, they were able to achieve great things.

 

If we want to lose weight, we should eat healthy and exercise. If we want to be debt free, we should wait 3-days before we make our next purchase. If we want to be happy, we should take the time to find what makes us truly happy.

Arianna achieved what mattered most to her…pointe shoes! How did she do it? Through practice, patience and perseverance. As you go into 2017, ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?” We have an expression in our home, “Believe…and you WILL achieve!” I have the upmost confidence in your ability to achieve the one thing that matters most to you…do you?

Be+positive, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Niccole

5 Foods To Boost Health This Holiday Season

Food provides your body with nutrients.  Nutrients instruct your body how to function and give you the energy you need to get through the day.  When you eat the right foods, you can boost your overall health.  I believe, it's our responsibility to learn how food affects our body.  What foods should you eat to boost your health this holiday season?  These are some of my favorites and I encourage you to keep this short list on hand during your next trip to the grocery store.  Then, use these foods in your diet and take charge of your health.

Garlic

Why is garlic so good for you?  When garlic is crushed or chopped, it releases allicin, a natural medicinal ingredient that strengthens your immune system, increases blood flow and boots overall wellness.  Want to serve up garlic for lunch or dinner?  Try this Caprese salad!  Crush 3 garlic cloves, mix with 1 T. olive oil and drizzle over sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  Add basil, salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Potatoes

Did you know sweet potatoes have anti-aging benefits, anti-carcinogenic properties and reduce stress?  Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E to help support a healthy immune system.  Roast, mash or bake your sweet potatoes and enjoy this whole-body vegetable.

Kale (or Spinach)

One serving of kale gives you 907% of your daily recommendation of vitamin K, a nutrient needed for bone protection and clotting.  Kale also has protein, calcium, four times the amount of vitamin C and more vitamin A (vs. spinach).  Spinach, on the other hand has more folic acid and is an excellent choice for pregnant women or those trying to conceive. Add these greens to your breakfast burrito, lunch salad or sauté with garlic and serve for dinner.

Yogurt (Or Kefir)

Yogurt and kefir are packed with probiotics and are considered superfoods.  Probiotics support healthy digestion, weight loss and boosts the immune system. Probiotics help keep the digestive track free of disease-causing bacteria (in adults) and when added to formula, infants had fewer days with fever, antibiotic prescriptions and doctor visits.  Top off your favorite yogurt or kefir with berries and nuts and supercharge your food!  

Beans

Beans are a plant-based source of iron and rich in fiber.  Iron is needed to oxygenate your cells and tissues and is necessary for proper development of the human body. Fiber helps you feel full and move food through your digestive track for healthy elimination.  When you eat plant-based iron, consider pairing it with vitamin C rich foods (like sweet potatoes) or add a splash of citric juice for better absorption.

Moms, when you incorporate garlic, sweet potatoes, kale (or spinach), yogurt (or kefir) and beans to your diet, your body will promote a strong immune system.  Start fueling your body and see how you can boost your overall health this holiday season.

be+positive,
Niccole

 

Lose 7 Pounds and Fit Into Your Jeans

Moms, the countdown to 2017 has begun and it’s going to be a mad dash to the finish line!  The upcoming holiday rush will have most of us burning the candle at both ends.  My prayer for you during this season is that you will embrace the hustle and bustle, and have a healthy holiday season.

Is it really possible to have a healthy holiday season? Yes!  I believe that if you stay disciplined to exercise and make healthy nutritional choices, you will achieve!

How can you stay disciplined to exercise? 

Find an accountability group and show up (even when you don’t feel like it)!  Ask any of the 15 moms that just finished our 30-minute boot camp how they did it, and let them be your inspiration.  This journey started as a 28-day challenge, and because of their hard work, discipline and results, we extended the boot camp for an additional 4-weeks!  Why? Because when you are disciplined to exercise, it becomes habitual and you like how you feel and how you look. Surround yourself with people that can share testimonies like this with you:

GREAT workout this morning – thank you!! My muscles are tired, but not sore. These workouts are amazing – I can feel myself getting stronger.

I can’t believe it…weighed myself today and down 7 pounds since boot camp started…Ran 30 minutes at 6.2-6.5 on treadmill.

I just put on a pair of skinny jeans that I haven’t worn in years. YEARS. And they fit!! (I realize these are now far out of style but I don’t care! Wearing them anyway!)

How can you make healthy nutritional choices? 

Fuel your body with vitamins every morning!  Did you know that vitamins could reduce stress, boost metabolism and help balance your body (especially if you skip meals or don’t eat a well balanced diet)?  After 8-weeks of IDLife vitamins, I can honestly say that these vitamins have helped me sleep better; wake up with a clear mind, and fill the small nutrient gaps that I do not get from diet alone.  I can go on-and-on about other benefits from taking my vitamins, email me and I'll share my experience with you.

Is this something that you can really do?

I truly believe that any one, (especially you!) can have a healthy holiday season. Remind yourself that it starts with being disciplined to exercise and making healthy nutritional choices.  If you need motivation, reach out to me or mark your calendar for November 29th and join us at The Mom's Marketplace.  The Mom's Marketplace is a group of moms that will have health, fitness, beauty and relaxation gift ideas for everyone on your list, so that you can help them have a healthy holiday season.

be+positive,
Niccole

Do carbs tempt you? They're my downfall!

What is your greatest temptation?  Maybe you love Internet browsing, or social media consumes all your free time.  Do you ever get mid-day cravings or late night munchies and find yourself wolfing down the last few Hershey’s kisses?  Sugar, carb cravings and not getting enough sleep are my biggest downfalls.  Temptations get the best of me when my normal routine is disrupted.  Hey, I’m human!  But, when I give in to temptation, here are a few steps I take to help me fail forward and get back on track, so I can keep living the dream:) 

 

Know Your Limits

Since sugar is one of my greatest temptations, I have learned the importance of knowing my limits.  The older I get, the more I realize how processed sugars (from sweets and alcohol) affect my body.  Eating too much sugar negatively affects my metabolism and tricks my body into storing fat and gaining weight.  Instead of overindulging everyday, I overindulge occasionally, like a special celebration or getaway weekend.  Knowing your limits helps you stay disciplined to your personal journey and achieve overall better health and wellness.

 

Exercise Overhaul

When I find myself falling into carb temptations, my first response is to overhaul my exercise routine.  Right now, we are in the home stretch of our 28-day IDLife challenge. Our Strongest Mom Boot Camp has helped me burn more calories; improve my overall muscle strength and cardio output.  When carbs get the best of me, these workouts help me overcome my weaknesses!  Are you ready for an exercise overhaul?  Great news!  We’re extending boot camp for an additional 3-weeks and the next session will begin on October 17th.  Fail forward, find success and join us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Curtis Park Playground at 8:30 am.  Space is limited, so register today!

 

Eat Your Nutrients

I really thought my diet was well balanced and filled with the nutrients and vitamins I needed, but boy, was I wrong!  Up until this 28-day challenge, the last vitamin I took was a pre-natal vitamin, more than 3-years ago.   The IDLife science based vitamins are helping my aging body combat osteoporosis, are helping me sleep better, and are filled with anti-oxidants to help me grow old gracefully. 

To get your FREE health assessment and nutritional recommendations, go to justbreathe.idlife.com, click on the assessment tab and in as quick as 5-minutes, you will have the scientific facts.  Knowledge is power and you have the opportunity to be proactive and rebound from your temptations as well as have better health and wellness!

Moms, our "Team of 3" is in our final stretch of this 28-day challenge, so cheer us on and help us finish strong!  We’d love to see you when we start up our boot camp again on October 17th.  Together, we can fail forward, overcome temptation and age gracefully one day at a time.

be+positive,
Niccole

Exercise and Proper Nutrition

Our "Team of 3" is on day-7 of our 28-day challenge.  Are you the slightest bit curious about how our transformation is going?  Over the last 7-days, we have lost 5.5 pounds, logged more than 15-hours of exercise, our clothes are fitting better, we have more energy and are following our IDLife 28-Day Challenge calendar.  Week-1 summary: regular exercies and small dietary changes can yield big results.

What are our 28-Day Challenge goals?

1.     Have fun exercising.  Exercise can be a woman’s worse enemy or best friend.  Whether exercise is your foe or friend will largely depend on if you are getting results both mentally and physically.  Exercise releases endorphins, a feel-good hormone.  When you feel good, you are happier!  Exercise also makes you feel strong from a muscular and skeletal perspective.  When you feel happier and your body feels stronger, you are more likely to stay committed to an exercise program.  Our Strongest Mom 30-minute workouts are hard (to help you get results) and fun (to help you start your day with a smile)!

2.     Fuel our bodies with IDLife vitamins, supplements and hydration.  Why is hydration so important?  Your calorie burning muscles slow down dramatically when your body does not have adequate amounts of water.  Over 70% of your muscle consists of water, so when they are not fully hydrated, their ability to generate energy is severely inhibited and you burn fewer calories.  When your body is properly hydrated and gets replenished pre/post workouts, you get better results!

How is this 28-Day Challenge going to help us reach our goals?

1.     Individualized workouts!  Each boot camp workout is individualized.  Moms trust me to put together a workout that will target a mom's "trouble areas" and will help them reach their goals.  Each workout is individually created and designed.  These workouts incorporate big muscle movements, compound exercises, and include cardio intervals to help burn more calories. 

2.     Personalized nutrition! IDLife is the world’s first ever fully customized vitamin program designed to provide you with the exact nutrients you need.  If you want to learn more about personalized nutrition, start by taking your free health assessment at justbreathe.idlife.com or email Sarah @ sarahcamiolo@gmail.com.  Personalized nutrition is easy to incorporate into a the life of a busy mom and has definitely made a positive impact in helping us reach our goals.

 

We are super excited to continue on this journey for the next 3-weeks.  Stay tuned for more updates, or come and join us at Curtis Park on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30-9 AM.

Be+positive,

Niccole

Do you want to lose fat?

Trying to lose fat can be a struggle, a beat down or down right deflating!  Most people have difficulty finding a fitness routine that keeps them motivated AND helps them lose fat.  Without results, people are more likely to quit.  Before you give up on your fitness routine, say these words out loud, “Commit, don’t quit!” and use these 4 steps to stay committed to fitness and lose fat along the way.

4 steps to lose fat and stay committed to fitness:

1. Be Realistic

The majority of people exercise to lose fat.  Do you know that in order to lose one pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume?  Your metabolic rate is the rate in which your body burns calories.  Exercise helps increase your metabolic rate.  If you consume less, and exercise regularly, you should lose fat.  The American Council of Exercise recommends healthy weight loss at 1 to 2 pounds per week (or a deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 calories).  Ready to set a realistic fat loss goal?  Calculate your caloric input, output and metabolic rate, and then you can set a realistic goal!

What is my realistic goal?  I want to lose 3-pounds in 28-days.

How am I going to do it?  It begins with proper nutrition.  I am going to take my IDLife vitamins and do the 28-Day Challenge!  If you want to learn more about the challenge, start by taking your free health assessment at justbreathe.idlife.com or email Sarah @ sarahcamiolo@gmail.com.  

 

2. Have A Specific Goal

When you have a specific goal, you have direction, are focused and more likely to succeed.  I recommend your goal should be directly related to 1.) A specific level of exercise intensity (75-85% maximum heart rate), 2.) Frequency of workouts (minimum 3x/week) or 3.) Achieving a fitness tracker goal (steps per day).  When you track your results, you will see progress, stay motivated to fitness, and lose fat.

What is my specific goal?  I want to reach 15,000+ steps/day at least 5 days/week.

How am I going to do it?  I need to get moving for at least 7 ½ miles every day!

 

3. Exercise For A Season

Pick a season and start exercising.  It is easier to stay on track when you know what you're training for, and you will be less likely to let excuses keep you from crossing the finish line.  Then, when that season is over, start a new season of training.  Soon, you will find yourself in a constant season of fitness while continuing to lose body fat.

What is my season?  Over the next 28-days, I want to complete 24-workouts.

How am I going to do it?  I am going to do 12-Strongest Mom Boot Camp workouts and 12-individual workouts.  Register today and join me on September 12th!

 

4. Be Active For A Lifetime

Is it possible to think about being active for a lifetime?  Yes!  When you take the IM off of ‘impossible’ and the UN off of ‘unable’, it yields ‘possible’ and ‘able’.  Isn’t that the mindset you want when it comes to being active for a lifetime?  I do!

How can I be active for a lifetime?  Remind myself that I want to be active so that I can be a role model for my children and be healthy for my family! 

How am I going to do it?  One step at a time…

 

 

When you are realistic, have a specific goal, exercise for a season and are active, you are more likely to lose fat and stay committed to fitness.  Together, let’s challenge one another to reach our goals, say goodbye to body fat and hello to healthy living!  

be+positive,
Niccole

Are you up for a 28-day challenge? We are!

We hope you are doing amazingly well and are in full swing with school, activities and routine!  For most of us, the last couple of weeks have been consumed with juggling "back to school" schedules and stressing over carpools.  And like anything else, when something new starts up, we have a hard time keeping up with everything else…especially when it comes to health and fitness.

Why is it so hard to keep up with health and fitness?  Maybe you're plagued with aches and pains, have fatigue or find yourself in a constant battle with a slowing metabolism.  If you can relate to any or all of those reasons, join our "Team of 3" for a 28-day challenge to improve your overall health and fitness.

Starting Monday, September 12th, Sarah Camiolo and Laura Andrews from IDLife, and I, are teaming up for 28-days to help one another overcome our own personal health and fitness struggles, while encouraging one another to find success on this program.

Can you set aside 28-days and make a commitment to improve your overall health and fitness?  If so, take action today!  Let this simple equation be your daily reminder and motivation to join us!

IDLife nutrition + Strongest Mom fitness = Transformation

 

IDLife Nutrition:

Vitamins and supplements customized for you.  IDLife offers a free, science-based health assessment designed to determine what you need based on your individual information. Your assessment will give you a detailed picture of what supplements are best for you and why.  To get your FREE health assessment and nutritional recommendations, go to justbreathe.idlife.com, click on the assessment tab and in as quick as 5-minutes, you will have the scientific facts.

Once you complete your assessment and order your customized IDNutrition (vitamins and supplements), you will receive a 30% off coupon to order these recommended products so that you can get the most out of the 28-day challenge:

ID Transformation Base Kit $132.99*

Includes Energy Jar, Protein Shake and Lean Bottle 

Performance Challenge $94.99*

Includes Pre Workout, Post Workout and Hydrate

*Price reflects a 30% savings when ordered with the IDNutrition (vitamins and supplements).  The average cost for IDNutrition is $50-$75/month.

IDLife questions contact Sarah @ sarahcamiolo@gmail.com. 

 

Strongest Mom Fitness:

Starting September 12th, join us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for a 30-minute workout on the Curtis Park playground from 8:30-9 AM.  These workouts are geared to help you burn tons of calories, improve your cardio vascular endurance, muscle and core strength, flexibility and agility.  Bring a mat and water.  Session ends Friday, October 7th. 

12 Sessions $200

Register today @strongestmom.com/products

Strongest Mom questions contact Niccole@strongestmom.com.

 

Transformation:

Sarah, Laura and I truly believe that when you make health and fitness a priority, and couple it with an encouraging community of friends, you will find success!  We want you to be a part of this 28-day challenge, so that together, we can be transformed!

*IDLife Nutrition and Strongest Mom Boot Camp can be purchased separately.  

be+positive,

Niccole, Sarah and Laura

Embracing New Beginnings

New beginnings can be challenging, intimidating and hard to embrace.  Our oldest child will graduate from the Elementary School where she has spent more than half of her life learning and start at a new school in the fall.  Anytime you start something new, a myriad of emotions surface: maybe you are paralyzed by fear, overrun with anxiety, feel intimidated or are so excited that you can't wait for the adventure to begin!  Regardless of your emotions, use these strategies to help you embrace new beginnings.

1.  Have a positive attitude.
Mount Everest climber and motivational speaker, John Amatt said, “Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain.  Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life.”  Do you struggle with having a positive attitude?  Then hang out with someone that is positive and adopt an attitude of gratitude.  If you can have a positive attitude, then you are more likely to embrace your new beginning.  

2.  Make a "Happy Place" list.
Before you set off on your new beginning, make a list of the things, people or places that make you happy and use it as a reminder to lift your spirits when you get discouraged.  Your list can positively influence you, alter your perspective, and make for a smooth transition when you start your new beginning. 

3.  Smile when you feel stressed.
New beginnings can cause stress and smiling decreases stress by releasing dopamine, endorphins and serotonin.  These neurotransmitters benefit your overall health and happiness.  We have an expression in our house, “When you smile, you have more fun!”  So when you start your new beginning, remember to smile and get excited to embrace the adventure.

4.  Ask for help.
It takes courage and maturity to ask for help.  When you start a new beginning, asking for help can save you time, minimize aggravation and help you come up with a solution.  Reach out to people that will support you and are willing to help you embrace your new beginning.

Our daughter will start her new beginning in a couple of months.  My hope is that she will be excited for the journey, but also embrace this new beginning.  How can she embrace her new beginning?  Have a positive attitude, find her “Happy Place”, smile (instead of stressing out!) and ask for help along the way.

From one mom to another, look forward to your new beginnings and embrace the adventure!

be+positive,
Niccole

10 Ways To Become The Strongest Mom

Being a mom is awesome!  From my heart to yours, Happy Mother’s Day!  Every day overflows with opportunities to love, teach and guide our children, whether they are newborn or have children of their own.  Occasionally, I pat myself on the back and say, “Wow, you handled that situation well!”  And the other 364 days of the year, I shake my head and say, “Oh, boy…I wish I would have handled that differently.”  But the great news is that every day, we have an opportunity to become the strongest mom.  So what are you doing to become the strongest mom? 

As I thought about that question myself, I reminisced about this past year and created this short video of my Top 10 Memorable Moments:

 

And after the laughter and some tears, I thought about 10 Ways To Become The Strongest Mom:

1. Show compassion instead of passing judgment.

2. Practice humility instead of being prideful.

3. Love unconditionally instead of rejecting.

4. Listen attentively instead of interrupting.

5. Be accountable instead of blameless.

6. Forgive frequently instead of condemning.

7. Communicate openly instead of suppressing.

8. Apologize habitually instead of making excuses.

9. Validate effort instead of criticizing the outcome.

10. Embrace the chaos instead of seeking perfection.

Becoming the strongest mom begins with a desire in my heart and willingness to try.  If I quit and throw in the towel, how can I expect my children to go through life any differently?  Maybe this list doesn't resonate with you.  If it doesn’t, challenge yourself and think about the ways you can become the strongest mom.

What is my litmus test to know if I’m heading in the right direction?  When one of my kids smiles at me and says, “Mama, you didn’t yell todayJ”

Sometimes it is hard to stay positive in a sea of negativity, or when you are dealing with grief, loss or disappointment.  Instead of being paralyzed by the pain, surround yourself with loving memories of the first time you held your child in your arms and find a way to make your heart happy this Mother’s Day.

Sophocles once said, “Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.”  My children are my anchors, and mean the world to me.  On this Mother’s Day, I celebrate them, for giving me the opportunity to be their Mom.

Fondly,
Niccole

Look Your Best This Swimsuit Season

In the last 50-years, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition has earned more than $1 billion in revenue. A lot can be said about the models, swimwear designers and photographers that make this revenue-busting edition so successful. But the reality of knowing that swimsuit season is upon us, makes the majority of people uncomfortable and intimidated.

How can you look your best this swimsuit season? Be disciplined and obedient.

It’s About Progress, Not Perfection
None of us are SI swimsuit edition models. So why do you compare yourself to the images around you? Do a personal inventory, set a realistic goal and put a plan into action to achieve it. Losing 1-pound is awesome! Knowing that you can achieve something will motivate you to stay disciplined to your plan.

10-Minute Workout
If you want results, you need to be obedient. Simply stated, exercise even when you don’t feel like it. Your obedience to exercise will help you look your best this swimsuit season. If you need a boost in your current exercise routine, add this 10-minute workout to what you are currently doing. Try to perform these exercises three times with little rest in between sets. Remember, proper form will help you achieve the best results and minimize your risk of injury.

15-Pushups
20-Squats
15-Burpees
20-Deadlifts
20-Crossbody Mountain Climbers 

Still need more guidance to look your best this swimsuit season? Incorporate these 6-steps into your daily routine and get excited for summer. 

6 Steps To Look Your Best This Swimsuit Season
1. Stress Less
When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, a chemical in your brain that tells your body to crave foods high in fat and sugar. Cortisol also triggers your body to hold onto fatty tissue and enlarge the size of your fat cells. Stress can also lead to heart problems, insomnia, hair and memory loss as well as infertility.

2. Sweat More

For the next 6-weeks, try and challenge yourself to sweat more during your workout. Start by increasing the intensity of your workout. During your cardio workout, increase your cadence, which will increase your heart rate and help you burn more calories. When you do your strength-training workout, get it done in 30-minutes or less. If you really want to look great this swimsuit season, add an extra workout whenever possible.

3. 20-Minute Rule
It takes 20-minutes for the brain to feel full or satisfied after you eat. So the next time you eat, set a timer, wait 20-minutes and see if you are still hungry. By using this method, you will most likely eat less, consume fewer calories and lose weight. If you want to speed up the brain recognition process, drink water 10-minutes before you eat and give yourself a head start on feeling satiated! 

4. Stay Hydrated
When you stay hydrated, you are less likely to overeat because what you think is a “hunger” signal, is actually a signal for thirst. Before you dig into the pantry, drink a glass of water, wait 20-minutes and see if you are still hungry. A good rule of thumb to see if you are properly hydrated is to check the color of your urine. If it is a light yellow, you’re drinking enough. If it’s not, grab a glass of H2O and guzzle it down. 

5. Skip The Salt
Adding salt to your food will make you bloated and can last for days. Before you put on your swimsuit, reduce the amount of salt you consume and avoid processed foods (they contain high levels of sodium). If you find yourself craving salt, it’s usually do to an emotional reason, versus a biological one. The average person should consume between 1600-2400 mg of sodium (that’s about one teaspoon).

6. Stop Snacking
In the past 30-years, Americans have increased their snacking habits by 29%. Do you snack throughout the day, at the checkout counter, or get the late night munchies? If you snack frequently, change your behavior. Many people are mindless when it comes to snacking, so pay attention to when you snack. Before your errands, eat a handful of nuts, vegetables or fruit and go to bed feeling hungry.

You can achieve your swimsuit shape by being disciplined and obedient. Use this image and put it on your refrigerator, dashboard, mirror, pantry, smartphone or computer as a reminder of why you are on this journey.

Swimsuit Season

Dallas Moms, if you are free on Thursday, April 21st from 11:30 am-12:30 pm, please join me at MIS as I talk about "Energizing Your Family!" Have a great week and know that you can achieve anything you put your mind to!

be+positive,
Niccole

Free self-protection class at White Rock YMCA for girls and parents Sunday April 17

A number of Dallas-area parents and their daughters have attended an innovative predator prevention program where girls learn to recognize and escape dangerous situations and fight back where necessary.  The girls are trained by age group starting at age 7 and above.  The program seeks to take a subject no one wants to talk about and present it in an interesting and entertaining way so that people will talk about it.  According to the parents and girls who have already attended, it works: parents and their daughters say the program is fun, valuable, and empowering.  Follow up surveys show that the program actually changes both parent and child behavior in ways that make girls safer.  

The course lasts a maximum of one hour for younger children and two hours for older children.  The course at the YMCA will be taught by several instructors: an emergency room doctor and toxicologist, an attorney and former rehabilitation counselor in a maximum security prison, a researcher in developmental biology, a seven time national fighting champion (TKD - men), the current reigning national fighting champion (TKD - women), and a former university title IX coordinator (she is teaching the age 14+ class — high school students and parents should find her particularly interesting as they consider college choices).  

The course is free and scheduled for April 17 starting at 3 pm for younger girls, and 4 pm for ages 14+, at the White Rock YMCA.  Girls attending must be accompanied by a parent.  

More information about the training is available at the links below, or contactginger@securehighered.com.     

To sign up for the YMCA training:
https://securehighered.com/wrymca/

Information about the training at the YMCA:
https://securehighered.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/P3-YMCA-flier-NEW.pdf

General FAQs about the training program:
https://securehighered.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SHE-P3-FAQs.pdf

Tri. Tri. Tri Harder.

Last weekend, our 7, 8 and 10-year olds competed in the Baylor Tom Landry Sunny Kids Tri. This year, Arianna bumped up to the Youth Senior group and completed a 200Y swim, 6-mile bike and 2K run. When I speak of Arianna, I hardly ever speak of her as being an “athlete”. Boy, am I wrong! She IS an athlete and as her mom, I need to try harder and give her the credit she deserves.

Why do parents need to try harder?

Being a parent is a title, but also an active job and responsibility. Many days, it’s hard to get out of bed, or have the energy to make it through the day, but if you quit, and rely on someone else to do your job, your child will suffer. When parents try harder, children witness that parents struggle too, just like they do!

How can parents try harder?

Be your child’s role model.
In our home, one of our mantras is, “Don’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.” If I want my kids to speak kindly, respect others and work hard, then I need to model this behavior. I don’t do these things well, but I try harder everyday to lessen my harsh tone, listen when my children speak and push through the exhaustion. Charles Barkley said it best in this Nike commercial.

Be your child’s advocate.
To be an advocate for your child, start by understanding the situation, what you hope to achieve and your approach to finding a solution. Whether your child needs you in the classroom, in a social setting or relationship, children need to know that their parents will advocate (not make excuses) for them. When parents try harder, children become empowered and learn how to take on their own challenges and solve their own problems.

Validate your child.

Validating your child means that you listen to what they say, without passing judgment, criticism, or interrupting them when they share their thoughts and emotions. Validation isn’t about superficial praises or reward system; it’s about speaking the truth about your child’s effort or accomplishment. Most importantly, it means that you don't always have to agree with them. When you try harder, your child will become confident in sharing thoughts and build self-esteem. 

Learn from my mistakes. Parenting is exhausting, but you can try harder. Your children learn from the example you set, as well as how you advocate for them and validate their feelings. 

You are capable, you are confident and you are becoming the strongest mom.

be+positive,
Niccole

Cut Calories and Lose Weight

Years ago, scientists discovered that one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories of energy. Does that mean you need to consume 3,500 less calories or burn 3,500 more calories to lose one pound of fat? Not necessarily. A person’s body composition plays a large role in weight loss. If you want to lose 20-pounds, you probably have more fat and will lose weight more rapidly than someone trying to lose 5-pounds.

If you are committed to losing weight, implement these five components and see if you can achieve your weight loss goal.

Consume fewer calories.

Calories are made up of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each of these three components has a different caloric value per gram. One gram of protein and one gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories; whereas one gram of fat has 9 calories and alcohol has 7 calories.

Here is an example of how calories add up:
6-oz. grilled chicken breast=208 calories
1-cup steamed broccoli=24 calories
1-cup roasted sweet potatoes=108 calories
One glass of wine=120 calories

To kick-start your weight loss journey, calculate your caloric intake and try to consume 300-500 less calories per day. 

Avoid processed and packaged foods.

Due to additives and preservatives, processed and packaged foods have less nutritional value and fewer nutrients. These foods taste good, but they are not as healthy or effective at fueling your body. As a general rule of thumb, try and minimize (or minimize consumption of) anything that comes out of a box or is processed. Foods that contain: refined (enriched) grains, trans fat (partially or fully hydrogenated), salt or high fructose corn syrup should be avoided altogether.

Eat protein and complex carbohydrates.

Keep your refrigerator stocked with lean protein and complex carbohydrates. The majority of the food you consume should be made fresh from the refrigerator. Give this dinner and sweet treat a try. It’s full of protein, fiber and nutrients that will leave you feeling satisfied!

6 oz. salmon
1-cup asparagus
½-cup brown rice
1-cup raspberries
1.5 oz. of dark chocolate

Focus on foods with high levels of minerals and vitamins.

Fueling your mind and body requires good nutrition. Minerals and vitamins help digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, makes energy, cell growth and much more. Start by incorporating salmon, garlic, broccoli, legumes, dark leafy greens, blueberries, coconut, egg yolks and dark chocolate into your diet. 

Drink water.

Water has zero calories, hydrates your body, brain, and helps with weight loss. Try and drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water every day. If you are more active, you might need to consume more. Water gives you a sensation of feeling full, with no additional calories, so before your next meal, drink 8-oz. of water!

Weight loss is a lifelong journey. In a culture that instant gratification is becoming the new “norm”, this is a hard pill to swallow. But, have hope! If you eat less, avoid packaged/processed foods, choose good proteins and carbohydrates, you can achieve your weight loss goal.

Moms, it's time to shed some weight and get ready for the upcoming swim season. If you're here in Dallas, join me every Monday and Wednesday, April 4th-27th at 8:30 am on the Curtis Park Playground for our 30-minute workouts. Proper nutrition+30-minute workouts+friends=a good time!

be+positive,
Niccole

Traditions Preserve Past, Present and Future Generations

As a believer, Holy Week is a very special time of the year and culminates with Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. If you celebrate Easter, join me as we chant,

Christ is Risen!
Indeed, He is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
Indeed, He is Risen!

Growing up, my family attended St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Chicago. On Easter, the Priest would spread incense over the empty tomb, and lead the congregation with this Ukrainian chant. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation.

What are traditions?

Traditions are repeated behaviors or actions. Some examples of traditions might be birthday and holiday celebrations, reunions, family trips or outings.

Why are traditions important?

Traditions preserve our cultural or religious heritage.
In our family, we celebrate both Italian and Ukrainian/Polish traditions for Christmas by eating fish and making vereniki, borscht and kapusta. We have also introduced new traditions like singing, “Happy Birthday” to Jesus on Christmas and reenacting The Last Supper. These traditions, old and new, help our children understand our cultural heritages of the past and preserve them for future generations.

Traditions teach values.
Ask your child, “What traditions do you think are important to our family?” Their answer might alarm, frighten, or pleasantly surprise you. As early as 18-months old, children can learn important values from the traditions you implement. Life is busy and an important tradition for me is to greet my children and husband with, “Good Morning and I love you!” If I fail at everything else that day, at least my family hears, and knows, that they are loved!

Traditions strengthen family relationships.
Since 2008, our family has participated in the Dallas Turkey Trot and have been trotting the 5K and 8-mile course ever since. It is fun way for us to get some exercise, encourage one another and raise our arms high as a family when we cross the finish line.

Traditions give you something to look forward to.
Every summer, our family hikes the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Whenever our children hear the song, Locked Out Of Heaven, or look at photos of the mountains, they get so excited. Each hike starts with one of our children leading us up the mountain. This summer tradition has empowered our children to conquer rugged terrain, overcome long and treacherous climbs and taught them how to push through quitting points.

Hopefully you have traditions important to your family, or are inspired to start some. Traditions preserve cultural heritage, teach values, strengthen family relationships and give each of you something to look forward to!

be+positive,
Niccole

Do You Want To Run A Half Marathon?

Tuesday morning, I dropped our kids off at school and before my 8-year old crossed the street, I opened the window and asked him, “Hey Pasquale, do you want to run a half marathon with me on Sunday?” He thought for a moment, smiled and said, “Yeah, let’s do it!” So Pasquale and I made up our mind to run the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon together on March 20th.

You might be thinking I am crazy to throw out an idea like that, or you might be thinking, you go mama! Yes, it was a bit of a crazy idea, but he is certainly capable of finishing a half marathon. Part of parenting is about challenging our children, and building their confidence when they aren’t sure they can do it.

Challenging Your Child
As challenging as running is physically, I would argue that long distance running is even more mentally taxing. Take whatever challenge your child is facing and make and effort to overcome it. Encouraging and coaching your child through their challenges will build inner strength and self-value. Inner strength will help your child push through trials and tribulations. In Romans 5:3-4 we are reminded that, “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.” Isn’t it time we start challenging our children?

Building Your Child’s Confidence
From the moment your child takes his or her first steps or walks across the stage and receives a diploma, our job is to build their confidence, not make them believe they are better than someone else. There is a distinct difference between a child’s confidence and arrogance. A philosophy in our home is, “Don’t ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself.” As parents, we lead by example and grow in our abilities so that our children become capable of growing in their abilities. As an individual’s abilities grow, so does their confidence.

Pasquale hasn’t “trained” specifically to run 13.1 miles. But over the course of the last 10-weeks, he has racked up: 35-hours on a wrestling mat, 25-miles of biking, 20-hours of swimming, 12-miles of running, 15-hours of Tae Kwon Do training, 10-hours of football and sleeps 10-hours/night. No doubt he will be challenged to finish a half marathon, but when he crosses the finish line, he will be confident in his abilities.

Make today great! Get out and challenge your child, build their confidence and build a strong family.

be+positive,
Niccole

The Importance Of Cross Training

30-minute boot camp is back! Are you ready to change up your workout routine and break through fitness plateaus? I am! I've missed the camaraderie and workouts with our moms and dads and can't wait to start training again. The class is a cross training workout with an emphasis on proper form, having fun and working up a great sweat. No experience is necessary, so register now and join me on Mondays and Wednesdays, April 4th-27th at 8:30 am on the Curtis Park Playground. 

Why should you cross train? Cross training is an important component of exercise. Cross training uses several different exercise disciplines like plyometric exercises, interval training and strength training. Experts, athletes and fitness enthusiasts will tell you that cross training routines have benefits that go beyond physical conditioning. Like most things, if you do not challenge yourself (in this case with your exercise routine), it will be difficult to change the way you look and feel.

Cross training boosts your metabolism
Getting your body out of it’s normal routine will instruct your muscles that they need to work differently and work harder. As a result, you stimulate muscle growth. A muscle cell burns more calories than fat cells and increases your metabolic rate, even when you are sleeping and can help you achieve a chiseled physique.

Cross training trains your brain
When you walk or run, do you think about it? When you get into a downward dog pose, do you perform without instruction? When you do a pushup, lunge, squat and burpee, do you think about how to perform those exercises? Probably. Cross training engages brain function that improves brain activity and thinking skills.

Cross training minimizes overuse injury
Do you know a runner with knee problems? Or a yogini with shoulder injuries? How about a tennis player with an injured Achilles? When you are specific to one form of exercise, you are more likely to suffer an injury. Cross training encompasses flexibility, cardio vascular and strength training, agility and over all body conditioning, which can reduce the risk of injury.

By combining cross training and good nutrition, you can achieve your goals, physically and mentally. 

If you aren't able to join us for our 30-minute boot camp, give this cross training workout a try and get your adrenaline pumping. Perform these exercises three times with little rest in between sets.

30 Jumping Jacks
15 Push-ups
60-Seconds of Wall Squat
10 Pull-ups
45-Seconds of Step-ups
20 Plank with High Side Knee
30-Seconds of Fast Running

Need more of a challenge? Order our 30-minute fitness videos and become the strongest version of you!

You are an amazing mom and I want to hep you succeed in reaching your fitness goals. Start today and see your life change!

be+positive,
Niccole

Building Life Skills

Our 7-year old and 8-year old boys posted top-6 finishes in the Texas USA Wrestling State Rookie Tournament on Feb. 26. This tournament was the culmination to 4-months of training with the Highland Park Scots Wrestling Club. Our boys are learning how to wrestle, but more importantly, building life skills. The benefits to wrestling are endless, and here are my top five reasons how wrestling builds skills not only for a reason or a season, but also for a lifetime. 

1. Wrestling improves your ability to focus

Wrestling is a sport that demands focus from the moment you step on the mat until the final whistle blows. If you lose focus for a split second, you will get pinned. Your opponent is trained to attack and show no mercy. Ending up on your back with someone on top of you isn’t fun, in fact, it can be demoralizing. But when you stay focused, you wrestle well, and win or lose, there is no greater adrenaline rush!

2. Wrestling builds resiliency (toughness)

No matter how you sugar coat it, losing stinks. If you wrestle, you will probably lose at some point of your career. When you lose, you have to have a short-term memory, forget about the past and be prepared for what lies ahead. You cannot teach someone how to be resilient or have toughness; people have to experience it for themselves. Wrestling puts you in a position that if you win, it’s because of you and if you lose, there is no one to blame.

3. Wresting brings out your competitiveness

Competitiveness can be a learned behavior, but more often than not, a person’s competitive drive is an innate trait. Don’t know if your child has a competitive spirit? Put him (or her…yes, girls wrestle too) on the mat, toe to toe, watch his or her instincts kick into overdrive and witness firsthand their individual will to compete. Need convincing? Watch the video of our boys’ tournament and see first hand the will to succeed and ability to overcome failure.

4. Wrestling develops mental and physical conditioning

What might appear as two athletes lunging, thrusting and throwing one another around is one of the most mentally and physically grueling sports. Wrestling is an all out battle, which requires muscle strength, power, speed, agility, cardiovascular endurance and natural instincts. 

5. Wrestling teaches hard work, discipline and camaraderie

Children grow up entitled. Wrestling doesn’t tolerate entitlement. Wrestlers earn their spot on the mat and their success comes from hard work. As for discipline, before each tournament, wrestlers have to weigh in and make weight. This teaches responsible eating and proper nutrition. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing my children encourage and support one another through their wins...and losses.

Maybe wresting isn’t your child’s sport, but maybe your child can find an activity that encourages life skills like wrestling: focus, resiliency, competitiveness, conditioning, hard work, discipline and camaraderie. As a mom, I am proud of my boys’ effort and willingness to work hard and never quit.

 

If you are curious and want to learn more about their effort, check out this Texas State Wrestling Tournament video.

Together, let’s encourage one another and our children to become the strongest they can be!

Be+positive,

Niccole

Childhood Obesity And Weight Loss

Are children really at risk for becoming overweight and obese? The Centers For Disease Control and Protection (CDC) have some eye opening facts. According to the CDC:

•       Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

•       The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.

•       In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Recently, our family had a conversation about weight loss. Our 7-year old is conditioning for the Texas USA Wrestling State Tournament on Feb. 27-28. At his last tournament, he weighed 57.5 pounds and competed in the 61-pound weight class. He was at a huge disadvantage and asked the question, “Mama, what do I need to do if I want to compete in the 56-pound weight class?”

So I asked him a lot of questions about why he wants to compete at that weight class and helped him think through an exercise and nutrition plan to help him achieve his goal. This conversation is not only an individual goal, it is a family affair and as a family, we will support Nico to reach his goal.

What is Nico’s purpose? Nico wants to wrestle kids who are closer to his actual weight.

What is Nico’s plan? Here are three pillars to help Nico achieve his weight goal.

1. Exercise More.
In addition to his after school activities, Nico and I run 1-mile before school three days/week. This early morning routine kick starts his metabolism and helps him go to school focused and prepared for the day.

2. Eating Parameters.
Nico will reduce his treats after dinner to every other night. With the exception of two evenings, he will finish eating by 7pm, have reduced portions of simple carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes and will eat well-balanced meals. Eating well-balanced meals will lead to less snacking throughout the day. Snacks will be measured out for portion control and responsible eating.

3. Reduce Sugar.
When the kids looked in the refrigerator, they noticed a new brand of yogurt and they asked, “Mama, why did you switch brands?” I explained to them that after comparing the two yogurts, this brand has 4-5 grams of less sugar. The majority of kids (and adults!) consume too much added sugar. This means sugar found in fruit juices, sodas, and processed foods, not natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables.

This plan isn’t just about a State Wrestling Tournament, it is teaching our children life lessons. If we, as parents, aren’t around to have these conversations with our children, whom will they turn to and how will they learn the right way to approach weight loss? Make exercise and nutrition a family affair and together, let's build a strong family.

be+positive,
Niccole

Getting The Most Out Of Your Workout

Most people know what you need to do when it comes to exercising. But after reading this, maybe you can implement some simple steps and tools to help you get the most out of your next workout.

Your workout should have a purpose and a plan.

You need a purpose so that workouts are individualized to your personal needs. Identifying your needs will help you be consistent and stay motivated to exercise. Here are some needs that maybe you can identify with the next time you workout: 

  • I feel strong.           
  • I think clearly.           
  • I have more energy.

The benefit to having a workout plan is to achieve results specific to you. By identifying your personal goals, you will be more likely to stay motivated to exercise and get the most out of your workout. Do any of these goals resonate with you?

  • Lose 3 pounds.
  • Touch my toes.
  • Tone my muscles.

Variety is the key to success.

People are creatures of habit. You find something you like, it becomes habitual, and you stay the course. Even though exercising is really, really good for you, you might be limiting your potential to get the most out of your workout by doing the same workout. Do you get on the treadmill and run at the same speed, take the same spin class and go to the same Pilates or yoga instructor? If so, change your routine. You should not repeat the same workout. Variety reduces boredom, challenges your brain, builds new muscles, reduces injuries, and can help you break through weight loss (or gain) plateaus.  

Practical tips.

Elevate your heart rate. If you are not elevating your heart rate at least 4 times a week, you are missing an opportunity to get the most out of your workout. When you elevate your heart rate, your heart pumps more blood and works harder. Over time, your heart will become more efficient and will not have to work as hard to pump the same amount of blood. Your heart is like any other muscle in your body. It needs to be taxed, given an opportunity to rest and recover so that it can grow stronger.

Have sensible eating habits. The best way to get the most out of your workouts is to eat well. In my opinion, I believe the diet/workout relationship is 70% diet and 30% exercise. Your diet is significantly more important than your workout. If you make the time to workout, make the time to eat right. Every time you eat or drink something, think about writing it on a post-it note and attaching it to your sleeve. Walk around bragging about what you consume versus hiding the truth about your diet. 

Feel the muscle burn. If you do not have a strength training workout routine, get one. If you are not feeling the burn when you do weight bearing exercises, increase your weight, check your form or do more repetitions. When you feel the burn, your muscle is working to it’s potential. Muscles will get stronger in the rest and recovery period and help you achieve a sculpted physique. 

Get it done! Every week, look at your calendar and schedule your workout. Life will get in the way and keep you from reaching your potential if you do not make an appointment to workout.

Getting the most out of your workout begins with you. Identify your purpose and plan, change up your workout routine and use these practical tips to help you become the strongest you can be, mentally and physically.