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Are You Willing to Sacrifice Convenience for Health?
March 15, 2013


It’s been a month of no alcohol, sugar or sweetener of any kind, grain, legumes, processed food, or dairy. And as promised, here I am back to report how it’s been. I am not going to sugar coat this. (Teehee.) Seriously, I want to say that while it certainly hasn’t been easy, I feel better than I have, probably, in my whole adult life. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain how I feel, but that’s harder than I thought it would be. Turns out the results are simultaneously subtle yet profound. To name a few:

  • Both mentally and physically, I feel more clear-minded (as opposed to foggy-headed a lot of the time).
  • I am sleeping much better (as opposed to waking up a million times a night). Plus, who knew I have an internal alarm clock that likes to go off as early as 5 a.m.? BTW, that's a good thing. I hate having to wake up to an alarm clock.
  • My body composition is changing (stubborn fat deposits seem to be diminishing).
  • Healthier relationship with food. (Actually putting healthy fats like avocado, olives, coconut milk, homemade mayo and salad dressings on my plate at each meal.)

It seems strange to think I lost 4 pounds while eating more than I ever have in my life. I am leaning out. In other words, I am losing pure extraneous body fat without losing precious muscle. This is an almost impossible feat.

Also, you must realize that I weigh 140 lb. at present. I would not want to get below 135. I look too thin beyond that weight, so we are talking about those last few pounds that most people don’t notice but bother the heck out of me. You know the ones…they hide in the most stubborn places like the belly and butt. Or my favorite: just below the shoulders on your chest between your armpits and your breasts. Ladies, you know where I am talking about. BTW, ladies do not have a monopoly on these little problem areas, guys. So, trust me, I am preaching to the entire choir, not just the women.

Since I really only wanted to shed a couple of pounds of excess fat, I realize that may not seem so impressive, right? I mean I know 3-4 pounds of weight loss in a month isn’t exactly riveting headline material. However, I want you to remember two things: 1) Whole30 is not a weight loss plan; it is a healthy lifestyle and wellness plan that just so happens to inherently incur weight loss for most people. In fact, the Whole30 peeps practically forbid you to weigh during the 30 days. And 2) It is intended to promote wellness and almost obliterate disease that stems from systemic inflammation that comes from…you guessed it…the foods we eat. I truly recommend you read It Starts With Food. This revealing book explains everything better than I could ever hope to.

However, since I fear my results may be a bit underwhelming for you, here today for your reading astonishment and pleasure I have an interview with my friend and inspiration, Chris Houchins. I’ve known Chris for several years. She’s a stellar person and great example of what can come from hard work, commitment, tenacity, and willingness to step outside the box. Therefore, I am excited to relay her story to you guys in this two-part newsletter. This interview is a bit lengthy so the first part is here and the second part is continued on my website linked at the end of this article. So without further ado…

Linda: Chris, could you give us some background about your weight loss journey and tell us about your goals?

Chris: It’s been a long journey as I started steadily putting on weight from college to around 2009, taking some off, gaining back, etc. I ultimately got to the point where I accepted myself as a heavier person because of so many failed attempts to lose a significant amount of weight, but set a goal to at least live an active lifestyle no matter what my size.

In late 2009 after doing several distance walking/jogging events and one very long biking event, logging food diligently, I put on 15 pounds and decided to really put my doctor on the spot. We figured out I actually had a disorder called polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a collection of symptoms that have a root in insulin resistance, which is also a precursor to type 2 diabetes. At that point, the goal became to reverse the insulin resistance and avoid T2D.

During my training one of my close friends had started weight training as part of her regimen and was experiencing amazing results. I knew the benefits of strength work from my friendship with Linda and my workouts with another trainer several years ago, and I set the goal to return to lifting once my half marathon training was done. The heavy weights were calling me during my gym visits to take a few classes here and there. I knew it's where I belonged. I started with a new trainer in March 2012 at Gold’s Gym in Winchester VA. My goals changed again. I wanted to change my body composition and I knew cardio alone wouldn't do that.

My trainer counseled me on a nutrition plan that cut sugar, limited grains, and focused on lean meats and vegetables. She designed several workouts for me that I could rotate through and that I could adjust over time. She also helped me get my form straight on several different compound lifts. I eventually ended up back on my own balancing running, lifting, and nutrition, using internet resources to keep variety in my workouts. Between March 2012 and the end of the year I lost around 20 more pounds and several sizes.

In late summer 2012, I couldn't ignore the constant pain in my left knee, and I ended up in physical therapy for bruised cartilage, bruised fat pad under the knee, and early arthritis. I had to back way off the lifting and distance running wasn't an option anymore. I was scared to death that I'd have reverse progress and all I'd worked for would be lost. The goal changed to maintaining and I pretty much did that from late summer to the end of the year.

To read the rest of the story and see her before and after picture go here.

This is the part of the newsletter where I feature an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

This month's featured exercise features incline biceps curls. It's almost time to bare our arms for the summer, so you best get busy with training those guns now!

Incline Biceps Curls
Primary Muscle Group Worked:

To see a video go here and watch the first exercise of the workout.

Preparation: Set an adjustable bench up at an incline as shown in the picture. Sit on bench with arms straight and dumbbells hanging to your side, palms facing forward.

Execution: Bend the elbows raising the weight as high as you can without moving the upper arm forward, keeping elbows in direct alignment underneath your shoulders throughout the move. Return to the start position and repeat for desired amount of reps.

TIP: Exhale as you raise the weight up. Avoid the urge to curl your wrists or to move the upper arms forward at the top of the move. Good luck!

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

This month's video is a return to my sappy videos that always make me cry as I watch them. This man is truly an angel on earth. If everyone had a fraction of his compassion, it would truly be Heaven on earth. May his example lead us all to be more loving towards everyone.

Be sure and check out my new blog site! Just click here. to head on over and give it a read! I will be posting a new blog in the next few weeks.

Please sign up for my mailing list and subscribe to my blog so that you can be informed when I post a new blog. I am a believer in less is more so don't worry about being inundated with posts telling you every time I had a snack or a new thought. On the other hand, I hope you find the wait between posts worthwhile as I plan to speak directly from my "writing" soul and I look greatly forward to it.


Go Here to buy my fitness books now for your Kindle!! And did you know you can give Kindle ebooks as gifts – just click the yellow "Give as a Gift" button on the right side of any Kindle book page on Amazon.

The Now What? Fitness Series is for sale now at and is available for download to your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, PC, and Mac.

Or if you're a loyal Barnes and Noble customer, then by all means click here.

Say! Did you know that you can follow me on Facebook? Well, you can! Jump on over to and "like" my page, please. I post a fitness tip most days. Feel free to leave comments and check in often. Thanks ever so much! If you have read any of my books you can also go to my new facebook page at and drum up a conversation with other readers or me or whomever. It's brand new so don't let the crickets scare you. Somebody has to get this party started, right?

Thanks so much for subscribing to this newsletter and for reading it and for your support. Our relationship is reciprocal as I live and learn from all that happens in my life, just as you live and learn through yours. We are truly in this together, and I empathize with your challenges as I do my own. I promise to hang in there and learn and grow along with you, and I hope that sharing through my writing maybe helps you a smidge. If it does, that is my payback. It is why I continue to do what I do.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about and Now What? Fitness Blog where they can get all the fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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