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Posts Tagged ‘weightloss’


Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.

~Anäis Nin

Starsky has Hutch, Thelma has Louise, Batman has Robin, Will has Grace, and I have Amy.

A dynamic duo. That’s how we’re known around the gym . . . well, not really, not yet, but I see it coming. It’s only a matter of time.

We’ve made our presence known and that’s what’s important. Every morning, just after the sun rises and the teens dash off to school, 7:30ish, you’ll catch Amy and me sweating, talking, albeit breathlessly, and laughing. Crying enters our mind on occasion, but that’s the beauty of a buddy system. When one’s down, the other one picks up the slack, jumping in full force, and getting us going again.

Our favorite routine, at the moment, is the fat burning cardio workout on our Life Fitness Elliptical Machines. We’re like elliptical maniacs, opting for another machine only when there’s no elliptical available. Our workouts have become the elixir for improving our lives. One workout at a time.

I’ve known Amy less than a year and yet I feel that I’ve always known her. Shaded by bamboo on a rooftop terrace, Amy and I have spent our days discussing kids, husbands, careers, and life. In a short amount of time, I’ve revealed my doubts and insecurities about weight loss, fitness, trying to live a healthier life and the fact that I’m no longer in Cosmopolitan’s demographic but now More Magazine’s.  I’ve listened to Amy reveal the same. Camaraderie blossomed and here we are.

We motivate. We listen. We reveal insecurities with no fear of judgment. We get it without saying a word. Like today, I finish my workout drained, exhausted, unmotivated. Noticing Amy staring at me, I look up and she smiles, telling me how great I did and how impressed she is with me. It’s genuine and exactly what I need.

On the days she can’t join me, I recognize her absence and even catch myself glancing at the machine beside me longingly. I know, I know. Pathetic. But it’s the truth. Working out with a partner like Amy makes the drudgery of it all less daunting. With her cheering me on, I know I’ve got this. And trust me, when you start hearing about the hot chicks tearing up the gym, you’ll have no doubt who they’re all talking about.

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I’m lucky when it comes to working out. Three people hold the title of workout partner—one is my husband, Bill. On the weekends we start our days working out together. Even though his ten years in the Army and four years of high school athletics make him way more physical than me, I find working out with him by my side pushes me that extra mile, literally. Not to say I don’t feel a little frustrated from time to time when I see his 12 miles up against my 3. But I learned long ago that it’s a bad idea to compare my exercise regime to anyone else’s.

During the week, shortly after my teenager heads off for her morning commute to school, I make my way to the gym in my apartment building. Many mornings one or both of my friends, who live down the street, pop in and join me. Afterwards we chat about our plans for the rest of the day, and occasionally make a special trip over to our local Starbucks.

The ladies support me and my workout efforts. It’s nice to have a team cheering me on the days I’m not feeling it. And of course, I’m always glad I made it and worked through the blahs. I do the same for them. We’ve got a good thing going.

But then there are mornings where schedules collide and duty calls. I waltz into the gym, only to discover I’ll be dancing alone. This morning my workout partners couldn’t join me and neither did anyone else in the building. I had the entire gym to myself.

For a moment I paused in the center of the room. I placed my water bottle on the elliptical, turned up the volume on my iPod, and spent time on weight machines and doing left lifts. Endurance became my companion. I worked out alone, feeling strong and dedicated, and it pumped me up to go at top speed longer than I ever have before on that machine.

Holding myself accountable for a healthier lifestyle is the most important key to my success. It’s great to have partners and support, but it’s crucial to depend on the one person who makes it all happen.

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On average, Americans spend more than 7.5 hours working weekdays.  Our jobs can many times feel like our home away from home. So it’s important that employers recognize our commitment to the workplace and understand the need for balance and a healthy lifestyle. If you aren’t working as hard on your health and wellness, mental and physical ability diminishes over time. Many companies are working on plans to prevent employee health problems by creating health and wellness programs in the workplace.

Recently I talked with Shannon Muller, HR Generalist, of The Conti Group about their Building a Better You employee wellness program. Launched this year, the program has met with instant success. Part of that success is due to Conti’s partnership with employees—the program is designed with employee feedback and contributions. Building a Better You encourages employees to lead a healthier lifestyle at work and home, providing the tools, resources and support to make it happen.  

Happy Feet: When did Conti start a wellness program? 

Shannon Muller: Conti initially began researching and developing plans for a wellness program in 2010. After we were sure we had a good plan in place and management support behind us, the program was launched in early 2011. We surveyed employees to gauge their interests and make sure we were developing a program to which they would respond. We even opened up for program name suggestions from employees and selected Building a Better You, from a list of great suggestions.  

Happy Feet:  Explain how your wellness program works? 

Muller: The program is designed to attract the variety of personalities and interests of our employees. The idea is to educate and motivate employees to live healthier lives and there are a variety of ways to do that. We host lunch & learns on various topics, we distribute newsletters and healthy recipes, we spark the friendly competition amongst coworkers and we offer incentives for participation. As you know we have the Conti Walking Competition, for which, we provided pedometers to participants and they submit weekly step counts competing against coworkers. I have recently incorporated bonus point values for other healthy habits including eating fruits and vegetables or taking vitamins. 

We also recently held a Health Screening event at our corporate office to allow employees the convenience of being screened without leaving the office and plan to begin a Weight Watchers at Work program in the fall.

Here’s an excerpt from the Conti Newsletter discussing the company’s committment to its employees: Conti cares about its’ employees and wants to see each one of us live healthy, balanced lives. There are so many benefits to making healthier choices in your life such as, increased energy and motivation as well as decreased stress and tension.  Healthy choices improve your overall physical, mental, and emotional well being and can enhance your outlook on life.

Happy Feet: How have employees responded overall? I know the walk program has sparked a little competitiveness on the Whitestone Bridge project. 

Muller: Employee response has been great! As mentioned before, we surveyed employees to be sure the plan would catch their attention. Nearly 50% of employees signed up for the Walking Competition and are especially competitive.  The Health Screening appointments filled within 3 days of announcement. Employees respond to my various emails and announcements with excitement and suggestions. They offer their recipes and links for helpful sites on fitness and nutrition. It is great to see how many people appreciate and enjoy the program.

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Guest Blogger of the Month, April 2011: Luis Bueno

Running is difficult. I forget that sometimes. I’m not exactly a gazelle prancing through races and long runs, but I’ve logged my share of miles over the last couple of years.

However, running 4-6 miles on any given day is not difficult. I finish those runs and don’t face too many mental or physical challenges.

Sometimes, though, I need a good reminder that running should be and is indeed difficult. And for that, I’ve got the San Francisco Marathon, slated for July 31. I’ve run three marathons in my life, and while the other two marathons were difficult and had their own sets of challenges, San Francisco was a snarling, hilly beast, prepared to do battle against any and all contenders. It was love at first sight.

Perhaps it’s the difficulties the San Francisco Marathon presents that seize my attention. Marathons are difficult enough. Getting to mile 20 is a challenge but the last 6.2 miles is mentally exhausting. The San Francisco Marathon sees those challenges and raises them quite a bit higher.

San Francisco is, of course, notorious for its hills. The mere mention of the city to runners can cause grimaces and shivers. Imagine, then, having to ponder such monstrous challenges that a marathon presents and having to play them out on a never-ending hill. The course is obviously not all uphill, but a sizeable portion is. It’s a steady wave of hills. However, there are also some amazing and unique sights – starting on The Embarcadero and running past Fisherman’s Wharf; smelling the freshly baked sourdough bread past the Boudin bread factory around Mile 2 instantly made my mouth water; houses overlooking the sea on the Presidio; an oasis of flowers that is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park; trudging around AT&T Park at Mile 25 and of course running across the grandiose and historic Golden Gate Bridge.

The hills are the fun part of the race. Hills add spice to any run, and running up and over a hill can cause you to throw your arms up in celebration. Take that challenge and multiply it by 26.2. and you get the San Francisco Marathon.

Now, perhaps I’m a bit different. Perhaps I’m used to challenges and need a good challenge or three in order to feel like I accomplished something. You see, I used to weigh more than 300 pounds. For most of my life I was overweight but in my mid-20s, the weight skyrocketed and just got out of control. When I was 30, I was a father of two young girls (2 and 6 mos.) and feared setting a bad example for them. With the help of my wife I signed up for a trainer at the local gym, put all my trust and faith in him and off we went. By changing up my diet and exercising, I lost 60 pounds in 2006. In 2007, I lost 60 more all by myself. I was used to the monstrous challenges that weight-loss presents and I conquered them.

I slowly got into running and ran a 5K, a 10K and wanted more challenges. A half marathon followed in April 2009 and then I decided to go for the full, which I ran for the first time in February 2010. After running a marathon, what’s next? An ultramarathon? A triathlon? Short of tackling those superhuman challenges, I thought about taking on what I considered the ultimate marathon. On July 25, 2010 I ran the San Francisco Marathon in 4:37:51, beating my previous time by five minutes. I’ve since beat that time and when I go back to San Francisco for this year’s race, I won’t go there with a PR in mind.

The San Francisco Marathon isn’t where you go to get your PR. It’s where you go to get your Marathoner’s Badge of Honor. I got mine last year and I fully intend on getting another one this summer.

You can follow Luis’s adventures in running at his blog: Muddy Runner and on Twitter at Twitter.com/RunnerLuis.

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Hello there loyal readers of Happy Feet! I am honored to share with you a little bit about me and my practice. One of the first things I’m asked is “Why Podiatry?”  My first response is “It’s better than Proctology” LOL (Am I Right?!?). Seriously, I was a McDonald’s All-American soccer player in High-School. One of our trainers was a Podiatrist. He told us that we could be a physician and still have a family and a fulfilling lifestyle. I believed him so HERE I AM… Dr. Monique Holmes. For the most part, I am able to make my patients feel better once they leave than when they came into the office. I often say “Time to make HAPPY FEET.” Ben Franklin once said, “When your feet hurt, your entire body hurts.” So I’ve made it my mission to make as many people as “Happy” as I can…. 1 set of feet at a time.  

I currently work for Manatee County Rural Health Services. It is a Multi-Discipline organization (48 Doctors, PAs, and Nurse Practitioners). We treat patients REGARDLESS of the ability to pay. That makes me a HAPPY DOCTOR!!! In today’s economy, with so many losing their jobs and their insurance, it’s important that these individuals get the health care that they require. I have a focus on Diabetics, Geriatrics, & Pediatric/Sports Medicine. Some of the more common diagnoses I treat include Plantar Fasciitis, flat feet, sprained ankles, fractures, Ingrown toenails, Bunions, Hammertoes, Fungus of the nails and feet, dermatitis, neuromas, cancer, warts, cysts, infections, and ulcers. One of the most common mistakes people make is to WAIT to seek medical attention.  SOONER rather than LATER is ALWAYS the Best Answer. One last thing before I get into the “Fun Stuff”…You should NOT have to live with pain. Don’t dismiss an ache as “A Part Of Life.” Life should be as Pain-Free as possible! 😉

My “Life” on Twitter…. A little over a year ago, I remembered hearing all the buzz about this “Twitter”. I wasn’t a social media girl. I wasn’t on Facebook. I have never been in a chat room. I am such a social butterfly in real life that I couldn’t really see the benefit of the on-line “Stuff”. I had some spare time after a surgery and decided to log on. I came up with a name (that is now @FitInMyHeart) and began to “Tweet”. I did what most newcomers do; I started following stars. A lady from New York began tweeting with me. That Friday, she did a #FollowFriday and a Mr. Tweet recommendation for me. The rest, as they say, is history! I have been blessed to get involved with a group of positive, healthy Tweethearts. They are so incredibly motivating and supportive. I decided that 2011 will be the year that I HIT GOAL WEIGHT! I want to push limits! My first order of business….

THE DISNEY HALF MARATHON! I used the Hal Higdon 12 week training plan for this race. I used the gymboss counter for my running/walking intervals. I made it through my training fairly injury free. My Goal… To give it 100%. On the day of the race, I was FOCUSED, EXCITED, and READY! The traffic was insane but the Disney Resort Transportation finally got us to the start. For me, the best part of the course was around mile 5 when we ran through Magic Kingdom!

Things were going well. My Friend in running (slorunnermom turned @DareToBecome www.daretobecome.com) was sending update tweets to my friends who were cheering me on. I was right on my training pace as I passed mile marker 9. Many people behind me, my legs felt strong, my feet were pain-free, I knew I had the energy and the drive to finish! Around mile marker 9.3 two tour buses pulled out 20 feet ahead of us to block the road. The Sheriff’s officers informed us that they needed to open the roads to the parks. I made my way to the finish line to watch My Team (Including My Brother Dr. Lewis Holmes) finish the race. In addition, I was able to cheer on my sister-in-law in her first road race ever—The Disney Full Marathon!  Check out the cute picture that she took at mile 24 (see slideshare).  That race, that day was a VICTORY for ALL OF US! For me, the success was that I TRAINED, I SHOWED UP, and I GAVE IT MY ALL! 

Whats next for me?  A 10K in Ohio (During the Cleveland Marathon Weekend). My GOAL is to RUN the entire race. (No walking intervals). YES, it will be a CHALLENGE! But Isnt that what Life is all about?!? 

So, My “Take Home Message” to YOU!!!!  STOP being a SPECTATOR! Get In The GAME! The TIME is NOW! Just Take a STEP and REPEAT!!!  😉 SEE YOU OUT THERE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjiVyxj0gZ8 <~ “One Step At A Time” By Jordin Sparks

BIO: Dr. Monique Holmes is currently a part of Manatee County Rural Health Services. EDUCATION:  B.S from Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS (Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. MEDICAL SCHOOL: University Of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, College Of Podiatry. RESIDENCY:  St.Vincent’s Hospital in NYC.

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