Personal Health Intiative Training

Archive for July, 2011

Take it back to your childhood

Finding clean snacks can be challenging at times. Everyone gets tired of eating the same old thing. I was in the grocery store this morning in the organic food section and I noticed that companies have organic products geared towards children too! I think this is awesome but even if you don’t have children, you can still indulge in these clean treats and enjoy them just as much. If you do have children, try giving them these foods instead of the high sugar, fattening snacks they are used to.

Stonyfield YoKids SqueezersYogurt.

These squeezers are great for when you are in a rush. 1 tube is only 60 calories and has only 9 grams of sugar. You also get 10% of your calcium and vitamin D from this snack. This particular pack is the berry and cheery mix. Some other flavors might have a higher sugar count, so watch for that.  All ingredients are organic and natural.

Earth’s Best Kidz Organic Applesauce

When in need of some vitamin C, these applesauce cups can be a quick and easy way to fulfill that need. 50 calories, 10 grams of sugar, and 0 fat.



Organic Baby Food

You might be thinking…”why would I eat baby food!?” Lol! You don’t eat it straight silly, you can include it in a recipe for protein bars! It is always best to make your food from scratch so why not make your own protein bars too! Here is a recipe from Jamie Easton( )

 Pumpkin Protein Bars


½ C Xylitol Brown Sugar Blend (Ideal)

1- 4 oz. jar baby food applesauce

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 ½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground clove

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large egg whites

1- 15 oz. can of raw pumpkin

2 C oat flour

2 scoops vanilla whey protein

½ cup almond milk

½ C chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350.

Spray a 9 X 13 Pyrex dish with non-stick spray.

Combine first 11 ingredients and mix well.

Add the final 3 ingredients (4, if adding walnuts), and mix until incorporated.

Spread batter into the Pyrex dish and back for 30 min.

Makes 24 squares.

Nutrition (without walnuts): 1 square = 47 calories, .7 g fat, 8 g carbs, 3.7 g protein

Nutrition (with walnuts): 1 square = 63 calories, 2.3 g fat, 8 g carbs, 4 g protein

Tastybrand Organic Fruit Gummy Snacks

Gummy bears are always a favorite but you gotta watch that sugar! This brand contains all organic ingredients and each pouch is only 70 calories. They are also a good source of vitamin C.

So as you can see, there are alternatives out there for just about everything! Eating should be fun and it should taste good but not at the expense of your health.

Willpower…Is that enough?

Can’t take credit for this post. I get a weekly email entitled “zen habits,” and I just wanted to share it with everyone. It kind of addresses all the reasons why we can’t seem to get past certain points in our life and provides a practical application to address it. 

When Willpower is Trumped by Bad HabitsPosted: 29 Jul 2011 08:39 AM PDT

‘Conscience whispers, but interest screams aloud.’ ~J. Petit-Senn

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Have you ever set out to start a new habit or goal, but found your willpower lacking?

Many new ventures are foiled by the morning email habit, for example — we want to exercise or write or meditate, but we can’t resist checking out email for just a minute … and then we’ve gotten lost, down the rabbit hole.

How can we build the willpower to beat these bad habits?

Reader Shanna Mann recently wrote:

“I’d love to see how to get over willpower being the final word on goal-setting :). I was doing morning pages this morning, and in spite of enjoying it, valuing the clarity it brings, and being able to quantifiably measure how much more productive they make me, I find it so hard to write them instead of check my emails first thing in the morning.

What the hell am I missing here?”

Shanna, of course, is talking about Julia Cameron’s suggestion to write three long-hand pages of free-flowing consciousness every morning, no matter what, before you do anything else. I’m kinda doing that right now, as I write this post.

It’s a beautiful habit. But Shanna is tripped up by the urge to check emails first thing every day. Is she lacking in willpower to achieve her goals?

In a word: no. It’s not a lack of willpower, but a very strongly ingrained (possibly bad) habit that’s beating her goal. Checking email first thing is a habit that has been repeated daily for years probably, with a positive feedback loop (I have new email! I’m productive!) that has reinforced the habit until it’s a very strong urge that’s hard to beat.

There’s also negative feedback for not doing the habit: you feel like you’re missing something important if you don’t check email, and so you go through withdrawal. It’s exactly how drug addiction works.

How to Beat the Addiction

So what’s the answer? Replace the bad habit with a good one. You can’t just stop a bad habit, because then you’re left with a gaping hole and nothing to fill it.

Bad habits fill real needs. In this case, email fills a need to be up-to-date, to feel important. You have to figure out what the need is first, and then come up with a strategy for filling that need in some other way. I would suggest replacing it with a habit that helps you to feel important (perhaps the morning pages) and maybe learning that you don’t need to be up-to-date right away — you can do it an hour later and still be fine.

There are several steps to beating a bad habit:

1. Figure out what your trigger is. For Shanna, her trigger for checking email is waking up in the morning. Every habit has a trigger — something in our routine that directly precedes the habit. For smoking, I used to have multiple triggers — drinking coffee, eating a meal, stress, drinking alcohol with friends, meetings, waking up in the morning, etc.

2. Find a replacement habit. A small, positive habit to replace the old habit. Ideally it fills at least some of the needs of the old habit. Start very, very small in the beginning or you’ll be facing an uphill battle. If you want to write morning pages, don’t try to write three long-hand pages — do just five minutes. If it’s small, you beat the obstacle of dreading to do the new habit. When you check email, for example, you don’t say, “I’m going to do an hour of email now!” You say, “I’ll just check it for a second.” It often turns into more, but the point is there is a very low entry barrier.

3. Engineer positive & negative feedback. If positive feedback has built up your old habit, and negative feedback is stopping you from quitting the old habit, you need to make these powerful forces work for you and not against you. You can’t beat them, so use them. Engineer positive feedback for your new habit: make the writing (for example) really enjoyable, with a cup of coffee and a quiet, peaceful setting, and focus on the enjoyability of it, not the hard parts. If you want to meditate, focus on how relaxed it makes you, not how difficult it is.

Do the same for negative feedback for not doing the new habit. If you don’t do the new habit, what’s the consequence? Usually, nothing. You check email, feel a little guilty, but no one knows, nothing bad happens. So engineer a different consequence: tell the world (or a small group of friends) you’re going to change — announce it through Twitter, Facebook, G+, email, blog. And report your success (or failure) every single day. When the world is watching, you want to succeed. Have accountability partners. Don’t let yourself slide secretly.

4. Do the new habit immediately after the trigger, consistently. If you can do it for a month, you’ll probably have a new habit. A new habit is built by doing an action immediately after a trigger, repeatedly, for a certain number of repetitions. There is no set number — it depends on how easy the habit is (which is why I suggest starting as easy as possible) and how consistent you are in repeating it. Report to your accountability group after you do the habit.

5. Beat the urge to do the old habit. The urge will come, I guarantee you. This is where you say, “But I don’t have the willpower!” Yes, you do. Everyone does, but they just don’t know the tricks. I’m going to teach you the tricks so you have no excuses:

  • Pay attention to the urges. The urges win when you let them go unnoticed. They have power. Pay attention.
  • Know that the urges come in waves. They build up like a wave, they get strong, they crest, and then they go away. You just need to wait a minute or two before you’re over the crest.
  • Try deep breathing. Take a few very long, slow breaths. The urge is a feeling of anxiety, tightness in your chest. The breaths help relieve that anxiety, and it passes. Try some self-massage too — massage your shoulders to relax yourself.
  • Walk around a bit. Physical activity helps you to get over the urges. Walk, do some pushups, some bodyweight squats, jump up and down, do some shadowboxing.
  • Use your accountability group. Call an accountability partner if you’re having an especially hard time. Make this person a promise that you won’t do the bad habit unless you call her first.
  • Give yourself little treats/rewards when changing a habit. Maybe daily, maybe once a week. It can work wonders to give yourself a pat on the shoulder, a massage, a nice dinner out, a big plate of delicious tropical fruit, for example.

Et voila. These small tricks will get you past the urges, which can be strong but will subside. And the miracle is, if you can do this for a week, you’ll be past the worst urges. They will start to get weaker and weaker, until they’re incredibly easy to beat.

Be mindful of the urges, of your rationalizations. Yes, there will be many rationalizations — our brains are very, very good at justifying doing the old action. Pay close attention. This is really the most important trick, and it doesn’t take a master of willpower to do it. We’re all capable of paying attention.

Beating old habits isn’t a matter of having a mountain of willpower. It’s a matter of paying attention, doing a small new habit in its place, and using some easy tricks to overcome the forces that work against us. Anyone can do it — I’ve done it many times, and I assure you, for many years I thought I had the least amount of willpower of anyone in the world. I was lazy, overweight, a smoker, broke and deeply in debt … the list goes on and on, but I was nowhere near disciplined.

If I can do it, you can. Willpower exists, but its importance has been built up in our minds so that when we fail at something, we blame it on lack. There is no lack, except in understanding of the forces that conspire against us.

‘I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.’ ~Mae West

This week’s goal

1. Eat clean all week and save my cheat meal for Saturday. (Avoid all workplace temptations of unhealthy food…just say “no.”)

2. Wake up a half-hour earlier to have more time to prepare for the day.

3. Run a 5k on the treadmill after each lifting session this week. (4 times for the week in an effort to build back my running strength.)

4. Leave work at work.

5. Take care of me first.

6. Remind myself how far I have come and where I want to go. Keep the vision for the future in the forefront.

What are your goals for this week? “Failure to plan is a plan to fail.”


Yummy Clean Eats!

Don’t get bored with your chicken and broccoli. I found an article in Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine for some cool eats. So if you feel like you are falling off the eat clean wagon, check these out!

Gal Slam Quick Breakfast (1 serving)

1 slice of Ezekial 4:9 bread

1 tbsp reduced fat ricotta cheese

1 slice of extra lean deli turkey meat

1/4 cup of egg whites

1 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp of sugar-free maple syrup (optional…I don’t need syrup)

1/3 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt

Smear ricotta cheese on top of toasted bread. Mix eggs and milk in a cup and microwave for 30 seconds, (til cooked) smash with fork. Place eggs, and turkey on top of toast. Top with greek yogurt and syrup if you like! 209 Calories! 1 gram of fat (saturated) 390 mg of sodium, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein, 16 grams of cholesterol.

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili (5 servings)

1 can of kidney beans

1 lb of sweet potatoes peeled and cubed

2 cloves of garlic (or just use garlic powder)

5 oz of onions, chopped

1 and 1/2 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth

10 oz of cooked, cubed, chicken

2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp of ground cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1/8 tsp of chipotle chili powder

1 cup of frozen corn (optional….you can try green veggies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Bake sweet potatoes after cutting and peeling them for about 25 Saute onions in a lightly oiled pan and add garlic and seasonings. Take half of the can of kidney beans and puree. Take the remaining kidney beans along with pureed ones and add to seasoning mixture along with all other ingredients, ….stir and simmer while covered for 30 minutes or till you liking.

251 Calories, 2 grams of fat, 52 mg of cholesterol, 627 mg of sodium, 37 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 20 grams of protein.


It is a myth that it takes a long time to change. The only reason it takes a long time to change is because you keep doing the same thing over again, knowing what you need to do to change the undesired behavior. If you know that you can’t resist eating a slice of cake when it is in the house…why do you keep buying it? If you know that you have an unpredictable work schedule or are always tired when you get off…why do you insist on putting your workouts off until after work? Any undesired behavior that you want to change will not magically disappear. You actually have to take action everyday to change the behavior. Change is a decision followed by an action. I don’t care how much you wish and pray something to go away, it does not work like that.

Being healthy is a daily choice that we make and no one knows ourselves like we do. People can give you all types of advice for what you should do but only you now how to make that chang in your life. Stop talking and start walking. Remember that today is a new day and you don’t have to be the same person that you were yesterday. God has given you another chance but only YOU can make it what you want it to be.

“If you don’t like something, change it.”-Maya Angelou



This week I learned many lessons. It was a very hectic week with some unexpected issues.  The main thing that I realized is that sometimes being diplomatic does not always work in your favor. No one should ever go around with the intention of hurting others because you will never get anywhere in life with that type of attitude. Consideration of others should always be at the forefront of any decision that will affect other people besides yourself. However; when it comes to your own personal well-being, goals, and desires, being diplomatic is not always going to help you. Sometimes, in order to get things accomplished or get to where you need to be…you have to make a decision. Everyone will not like your decision. As a matter of fact, if you don’t have at least one person who criticizes your decisions, then you are probably being too nice.

I was reading an article this morning about Jillian Michaels. Jillian seems to be a very sweet person but when it is time to get to work, she ruffles a few feathers along the way. Before she became the well-known trainer that she is today, she had people tell her not to pursue personal training as a full-time career. “Every mistake in my professional career came when someone told me not to rock the boat. The worst advice I ever got was to be diplomatic because it compromised my authentic truth….always follow your heart and what’s in your gut.” Those words pretty much sum up the lesson I learned this week. If you need something, ask, if you see a problem, speak up. Nothing traumatic will happen. If you don’t listen to and look out for yourself, you will always be compromising to the will of others.

Practice diplomacy when necessary, but always listen to your heart.

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