Non-Religious Meditation

There was a time in my life when I thought meditation was for birds. I didn’t have time for sitting in silence with so many other things needing my time and attention.  Yet, since I’ve been back from Italy the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized that I need to simplify some things. I need to get centered and find more internal peace and happiness.  I know that I can’t change all the circumstances in my life but I can shift my state of mind.  I can change how I cope with stress, disappointment, sadness and fear.

Last week I began speaking with a close friend, Denise, who is a yoga instructor and also one who practices meditation regularly.  I explained to her that I wanted to learn some breathing techniques to help me slow down and cope with some of the challenges life brings.  Now before you go thinking that Christians should PRAY not meditate, I ask that you look at meditation as a non-religious practice that relies on breath awareness, visualization and feelings of love. And YES! I encourage you to STILL PRAY!

What I have learned from my time with Denise is that just a few minutes of meditation can help empty your mind for a while so you can relax and decompress. It is beneficial to your mental, physical and emotional health. Meditation doesn’t have to be about foreign religious/spiritual practices, it’s more about you, who you really are at the core. Yesterday Denise sent me an email inviting me to spend 7 minutes of mediation at noon.  I accepted.  During those 7 minutes we focused on deep, rhythmic breaths, feelings of love, happiness, peace and most of all, gratitude.  After those 7 minutes I found myself in a place of contentment, right there at work in a small office.  Both prayer and meditation can be done anywhere. The more you incorporate both into your daily routine, the easier it will be to find calm, inner strength, resilience and peace. I encourage you to try it.

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Body Fat Percentage: Where Do You See Yourself?

As I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this afternoon, I came across these photos on my friend Sedric Johnson’s page. I stopped scrolling and began to look at the pictures to find the one with my body fat percentage (during my last Dr. visit 5-6 months ago I was just under 25%). When I got to it I thought; Okay, that’s not so bad. Of course all bodies are shaped differently so it may look a bit different on me. Now, would I like to be leaner? Sure! But am I happy with where I am right now? The answer is still SURE! I’ve put in a lot of work over the years to lose weight and to continue to maintain (with a few ups and down here and there). I am proud of my accomplishments. The fact is, if I want to get leaner than what I am now, I will have to change my diet significantly. As cliche as this saying may be, it’s a FACT: ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN. If a person has worked hard to lose weight and decrease body fat, there is only so far they can go until additional dietary changes must be made. Then comes the question: How badly do you want to decrease the body fat? How badly do you want to be a lean machine?  Some people will be happy with a body fat percentage in the mid to late 20’s while others will want to reach the mid teens or even lower. It’s a personal choice.

Take a look at the photos below. I believe they are great visuals that can serve as guides for men and women who are working toward specific health and fitness goals. I have also added a link to the BUILT LEAN website from which both photos actually came.  Please take time to read the article. As you know, a lifestyle shift is only going to stick if you build your knowledge. Learn what you need to know to maintain your new lifestyle (or START if you haven’t done so already). ~GYSB BABY!

Read Full Article at Built Lean













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Hope After Topping 650lbs

As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed the other day I came across the following post from my friend and GYSBer. I encourage all of you to read the entire post. It will make you think about how you can be more compassionate and supportive and sensitive towards others.  ~GYSB

“I come from a world where we’ve never met a vegetable we couldn’t fry and the only thing more super-sized than our portions was our clothes. Fast food for me was a comfort for battling my depression and a way to hide my sadness. So it maybe isn’t such a big surprise that by the time I graduated from high school, I weighed 347pounds. My highest weight was 650 pounds and still to this day I see what all that extra weight did to my body and how it has damaged my body.

My prom dress was a size 28, my pant size was 72 and after my graduation I had the gastric bypass. I didn’t do it for myself. I did it thinking the man that I loved would not cheat on me anymore. Yes, I know you all are probably thinking REALLY?

I wasn’t immune — hurtful things would happen on occasion. Groups of rowdy teenagers sometimes yelled insults at me from car windows. I gave my phone number to a nice guy, only to find out when he called that he had a fetish for overweight women, shamelessly telling me that he likes “something to grab onto” during sex. Or someone would approach me out of nowhere on the street and tell me not to worry about how I look; someday — when I’m ready — I’ll lose the weight. I use to have “friends” in high school tell me they were my friend because it made them feel better about themselves; and those were the skinny’s. And of course, I compared myself endlessly to the impossibly thin women in magazines, just like the average-weight women I knew, to whom I also, by the way, compared myself.

Despite these blows to your self-esteem, for the most part, nobody close to you really tells you to your face what they think about your weight. As a result, a fat girl’s worldview is missing vital pieces of information. When you don’t get invited on your friends’ man-catching all-girl outings, or when men, who enjoy sleeping with you over and over again, fail to want to date you, you can’t quite comprehend that all this is really caused by the way you look.

It’s been 8 years now that I’ve still struggled to maintained that weight loss. I still even find myself overeating to mask my sadness. But loosing the weight is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Not only because I’m healthier and will probably live longer, but because I now sometimes reap the benefits of a society set up to punish fat people for the unforgivable crime of eating too much.

I hear the fat jokes right out loud now, instead of just a whispering breeze brushing past my ear. Men who used to let the door swing shut in my face now hold it open for me politely and look me up and down as I step past. A man I began dating a few months after reaching my goal weight, sees the picture of me and admits he probably wouldn’t have gone out with me when I looked like that. I appreciate his honesty. It’s better than the good-intentioned people who gush upon seeing the new me, “You’re so pretty now!” before stammering to add, “Not that you weren’t, uh, pretty before.” I still feel will I ever be good enough FOR someone to love me or me and my flaws? My body isn’t perfect and it will never be. When being intimate with your partner is the worst feeling in the world. You always have in the back of your mind “what is his thinking?” “Is he laughing at me?”

As the years pass, it is easy to forget. I have even, on a few occasions, found myself looking at myself in the mirror with faint disdain, I hope never to gain back the weight I lost. But I have seen another side of people that I cannot forget. And with any luck, I never will.
I hope I always stay fat on the inside.”


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A-GAIN: A concept from “$elling with Intention” That Can Translate to Your Fitness Goals

I spent some time reading with my son during his reading hour last night. I was reading a book entitled $elling with Intention by Ursula C. Mentjes. I arrived at a section in the book where she began to discuss a process that she suggests her clients use to make their sales goals (dreams) a reality. The process is called A-GAIN and it can be used for more than just sales. Let’s take a moment to relate it to your fitness goals. Ursula breaks it down like this:



Assessment: How are you doing? Have you taken the time to really understand your current situation and what might be holding you back?  Rate your satisfaction with how things are going on a scale from 1-10 (10 being highest). If you’re not at a 10 you should start to look at ways in which you can reach 10 and what a satisfaction rate of 10 will mean for you overall. Keep in mind our holistic approach to wellness.  Your goals should be visible so make sure you write them down and track your progress on a regular basis. You want your results to be measurable and more importantly you want them to be realistic. Be open to adjusting them as you move along.



Gap Analysis and Goal-Setting: Once your goals have been set you should break them down into smaller achievable steps. This is the gap in between where you currently are and where you want to be. Write every step down. Ursula says that many people figure out what they want but never take that next (very important) step of writing it down. Writing it down makes it more real. Put it somewhere where you can see it daily. Ursula also suggests looking at things/people you might need to let go of or distance yourself from. Often times our environment/surroundings/old ways of doing things are holding us back from achieving our goals.




Accountability: Who are five people you can ask to hold you accountable to your goals? Telling others gives you a level of accountability that you not otherwise have on your own. Make sure they are people who can support you. If you don’t have people in your life you can count on for this type of support there are online communities (i.e. GYSB) where you can get support/accountability checks and encouragement.



Intentional and Inspired Action: After you have set your goals pay attention to the ideas that suddenly pop up. You might see living social deals for fitness camps/classes or you might think of other creative/less expensive ways to work toward your goals. When you are really ready to make changes and progress you’ll be surprised at how inspired you will be to make it happen. Ursula says the difference between really successful people who have made it and those who have not is Inspired Action. When they have an idea they follow it and decide what they are going to do to move forward with that idea.



Never, never, never give up! Stay on your path no matter what obstacles you might face. There WILL be times when you feel like throwing in the towel but you have to realize that you are feeling fearful or doubtful or discouraged. When you notice that feeling, you have a choice to make: You can either decide to give up or you can acknowledge the feeling and keep moving toward your goal anyway.



A-GAIN…… I hope this helps



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Cucumber: The GYSB vegetable of the week

The more veggies you add to your daily meals, the more nutrients you give your body. Look at mealtime as an opportunity to give your body something good. Yes, even if you LOVE food as much as I do, you still have to ask yourself (most of the time) “is what I am about to eat going to provide any sort of nutritional benefits?” Loading up on empty calories each meal will leave you feeling empty at the end of the day. As we are focusing on adding more vegetables to our diet, I want you to really start paying attention to your body. For example, do you have more energy when you eat nutrient dense food? How’s your skin after eating well for a week? What about your digestive system? These are the areas in which you should begin to see a change for the better when you continue adding vegetables to your meals.

Cucumbers are easy. You can pick them up at any grocery store or farmers market and you can add them to salads, chutney, fruit bowls and even quinoa. sometimes I take a cucumber, chop it up and add hummus on top of each slice. Or, I’ll have a bowl of sliced cucumbers and add a little rice vinegar to it. Here are 15 health benefits of cucumbers.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a vegetable that belongs to the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, which includes gourds, melons, and squashes.

Cucumber is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables and is believed to be originated in northern India. Today, cucumbers are the fourth most-widely grown vegetable crop in the world behind tomatoes, onions and cabbage. They’re grown worldwide in temperate regions.

There are two types of cucumbers: slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. The pickling varieties tend to be smaller, thicker, and have bumpy skin with black-dotted spines.

Cucumber is often regarded as a healthy food because it is low in calories and fat. Cucumber also contains many vitamins and minerals that make them a healthy choice for cooking and snacking. Here are 15 health benefits of cucumber:

  1. Keep body hydratedCucumber has 96% water content that is more nutritious than regular water, which helps in keeping the body hydrated and regulating body temperature. It also helps in flushing out the toxins from the body.
  2. Skin careThe high water content, vitamins A, B & C and the presence of certain minerals like magnesium, potassium, and silica make cucumbers an essential part of skin care. Facial masks containing cucumber juice can be used for skin tightening. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid present in cucumbers can bring down the water retention rate which in turn diminishes the puffiness and swelling under the eyes. Cucumber skin also can bring relief to the skin caused by sunburn or windburn.
  3. Fight cancersCucumber are known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol – three lignans that have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.
  4. Control Blood PressureCucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber that work effectively for regulating blood pressure. This makes cucumber good for treating both low blood pressure and high blood pressure.
  5. Beneficial for teeth and gumsCucumber juice is also beneficial for people with teeth and gums problems, especially in cases of pyorrhea. Cucumber is a good source of dietary fiber and this fiber massage in the teeth and gums.
  6. Aid digestionDigestive disorders like acidity, heartburn, gastritis and even ulcers can be cured by the daily consumption of fresh cucumber juice. The high water content and dietary fiber in cucumber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system and hence aid digestion. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation.
  7. Promotes Joint healthCucumber is an excellent source of silica, which known to help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues.
  8. Treat tapewormsCucumber seeds are used as a natural remedy for treating tapeworms. Bruised cucumber seeds mixed with water are also effective in the treatment of swellings of the mucous membranes of the nose and the throat.
  9. Nail careThe high silica content of cucumber also helps to prevent splitting and spoiling of nails of the fingers and toes.
  10. Relieve gout and arthritis painCucumber is rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium, when mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering the uric acid levels.
  11. Cures diabetesThe cucumber juice has been found to be beneficial for the diabetic patients. This vegetable contains a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin.
  12. Reduces cholesterolResearchers found that some compound called sterols in cucumber may help reduce cholesterol levels.
  13. Stimulate hair growthCucumber contains silicon and sulphur and thus a regular intake of cucumber can help promote healthy hair growth. For best results, mix cucumber juice with the juices of carrot, lettuce or spinach.
  14. Acts as a diureticThe water content of Cucumber acts as a diuretic. It encourages the elimination of waste products from the body through urination. Regular intake of cucumber helps to dissolve bladder or kidney stones.
  15. Aid in weight lossDue to its low calorie and high water content, cucumber is an ideal diet for people who looking for weight loss.

When buying cucumbers, choose the ones that are firm to touch and dark green in color. Do not buy overly matured or yellow colored as they are prone to contain more insoluble fiber and mature seeds. Go for organically grown cucumbers to get a rich taste and nutriients content.

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KALE: The GYSB Vegetable of the Week

This time around we are focusing on Kale as our GYSB vegetable of the week. Many people have benefited from the nutritional value that kale offers. Specifically how it helps to detoxify the body…   read more below:

(article from

Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Kale

Kale is being called “the new beef”, “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.” Here are ten great benefits of adding more kale to your diet:
1. Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.
2. Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
3. Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.
5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.

7. Kale is high in Vitamin A.Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
8. Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.
9. Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility
10. Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
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