If it's not one holiday, it's another!!

Well, here it is…your very first official STRAIGHTFORWARD FITNESS FLASH NEWSLETTER. I am so honored and excited to have this chance to share fitness tips and tricks that will hopefully help you achieve your goals.

Since the Holidays are barely past us and another is quickly approaching, I thought I might start out by sharing helpful ideas for shedding those extra pounds “some of us” may have put on and still haven’t managed to take back off. Hope it helps. Without further ado, I will get right to the meat of the matter. Pun intended.


Nothing is more discouraging than feeling like you are doing all you can do and still not losing weight. Believe me I know. I was stuck at a “certain weight” forever and was about ready to conclude it was impossible to get under that “certain weight” when I finally made some changes that actually tipped the scale in the downward direction, and it started coming off again.

However, since the Holidays this year, I am ever-so slowly working off those last few stubborn pounds that I allowed myself to gain. What? That’s right, I am human too, peeps. I, also, like to indulge in the fudge, candy, cakes, pies, and goodies that the Holidays are so famous for. Unfortunately though, I am noticing as I age, that those pounds are harder and harder to take back off.

Anyway, once again I find myself in the frustrating position of having to take my own advice, and so I thought it might be a good time to pass it on to you, my fellow fitness friends.

While it’s true, some of us have much more weight than others to lose, in a way it really is all relative. Because whether you have 5, 55, or 155 pounds to lose…none of it comes off easily. It takes a concerted effort. It takes determination, exercise, proper nutrition, and most of all a positive attitude.

For more information about nutrition and exercise, go to Straightforwardfitness.com/nutrition-and-exercise.

If you go into a health and fitness plan (notice I didn’t use the word “diet”) half-heartedly and negatively, you are doomed to failure because just like anything else…you will get back what you put into it. And no matter how you spell it, self-pity and negativity drain your energy.

You have to believe it to see it! Believe in yourself! I BELIEVE I CAN DO ANYTHING I SET MY MIND TO AND SO CAN YOU!

It all starts with your first workout. The first step on the treadmill. The first biceps curl. The first crunch. The first smaller, healthier meal. All of these first steps begin actual chemical processes in your body.

With the first step on the treadmill or elliptical, fat begins to break down and be utilized for energy instead of stored as fat. With your first chest press, muscle cells begin to condition and grow, boosting your metabolism, giving you more energy to do more of everything you need and want to do.

Pretty soon you realize that it feels good to eat healthy and move. But mostly, it feels good to accomplish what you’ve set out to do in the first place—to feel better about yourself and to improve the quality of your life.

It really can happen. It is a doable thing--this dream of fitness we are all striving for. And it all starts with your first steps.

Here are a few of the steps I took that seemed to make all the difference in the world for me. But roll up your sleeves and prepare to get serious, because they are not easy. It takes control, discipline, determination and a positive attitude.

1)Portion control. Take a big fat look at what you’re putting on your plate and cut it in half. No, really. My point is that most of us just plain overeat. Try this: Fix your meal using a small plate instead of a regular sized one. Don't eat more than what will fit on that small plate. Remember, you get to eat again in a couple of hours (see #2). NOTE: I will be adding a page soon at Straightforwardfitness.com on portions and portion control, so be keeping an eye out for that!

2)Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day. It is important to rev up your metabolism by eating every 2-3 hours. You will find that eating that often doesn’t allow you to get very hungry. You will actually stay satiated and be much less apt to overeat when you do eat.

3)Consume lots of dark leafy greens.

4)Eat lean protein and very small portions of starchy carbs.

5)Do eat good fats in moderate portions; going too low or too high is adverse to your goals. You don't have to go hungry, but you do need to eat smart. Your calorie intake should and will vary according to your size, gender, and activity level. So, again, this is all relative, but works the same in appropriate amounts according to your particular specifics.

6)Time your carbs. THIS IS HUGELY IMPORTANT!! In other words, eat your starchy carbs earlier in the day and your green veggies later in the day. I try to eat starchy carbs and fruits during the first half of the day and cut them off after approximately 2 p.m. I try to eat lean protein and green veggies and salads only after that with the exception of low-fat cottage cheese. Did I hear a moan? Apparently, you haven’t had one of my salads. I am not talking about a piece of wilted lettuce and some tasteless fat-free dressing. More on that in another newsletter.

7)Do your cardio, peeps! I am doing cardio six days a week right now until the rest of the weight comes off. I like to do my cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. However, the absolute best time for cardio is whenever you can fit it into your schedule and live with it on a regular and continual basis. You won't lose without cardio, so just bite the bullet and do it! Besides, your heart is a muscle too, and it will thank you for it.

8)Strength train.You need that muscle to rev up your metabolism. Muscle burns twice the calories as fat.

9)Now here is a big fat tip that really has helped me a lot. Stop saying no to the foods that tempt you most. That's right. You read that correctly. I allow myself to taste the tempting foods and then stop after one small serving. I take a sliver of cake or if it is a big cookie or pastry, I take half or part of it and put the rest away for someone else or another time.

Now when I eat that food, I really enjoy it. I make it last as long as possible, really rolling it around in my mouth, and savor every last morsel. Right about the time I have swallowed the last bite and I am tempted to have more I think this one thought. Are you ready? Here it is...I say to myself and out loud..."This food doesn't taste nearly as good as it feels to fit in my clothes and feel good about myself."

And kids, it really doesn't. It feels so much better to be able to walk into your closet and pick out something to wear and get dressed and look in the mirror and say, "Dadgum, I am looking good!" That is priceless and no food in the world tastes as good as that feels. I promise!

So think about it before you eat it. One small splurge does no harm, and, in fact, it feels great to taste it and exercise that control. Eat a small amount and then walk away from the food and pat yourself on the back for being strong and know you are literally one step closer to your goal.

If you are anything like me, if you completely prohibit any food that you really love, it will haunt you until one day you awaken with no memory of why your hands and mouth are covered in chocolate and you’ve been in a sugar-induced coma for days. True story. No just kidding, but I do believe that you set yourself up for failure by totally restricting the foods that you love.

Have one cheat day a week. Now, that doesn’t mean eat garbage from the minute you wake up till you go to bed on that cheat day. It does mean, allow yourself to lighten up and enjoy a splurge once a week.

10)Lastly, whatever you do, don’t go on a diet. That’s right. I said DO NOT GO ON A DIET. Diets fail and sometimes can do more harm than good by messing up your metabolism. You have to implement a nutrition plan that will work for a lifetime. You must make healthy changes that you can live with and that make sense for the rest of your life amen.

Restriction diets don’t work. You may lose weight at first, but you will put it back on over time once you allow yourself to eat the very foods you stopped eating in the first place. Be careful with these low-carb diets people! Carbs are the biggest source of energy that our bodies need to run on. We NEED them! Complex carbs are our friends. Click here for more info on this.

Well, that is about it for this issue kids! Good luck and I hope these tips help you as much as they are helping me. No magic pills. Just good common sense and lots of will power. Eat smart! Work out smart! Believe in yourself!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please pay it forward and pass it on to a friend and tell them about Straightforwardfitness.com. Anyone can go there and click on the "Free Newsletter" menu tab and sign up in a jiffy.

Don’t forget to stop by the website for more helpful info. Don't hesitate to leave a note on the "Contact Me" page with comments, suggestions, or just to say hi! I would truly love to hear from you! See you there!

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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