Tag Archives: weight loss

What Your Personal Trainer is Really Thinking About You

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, Kristen Lamb, 40 yard line

Poor personal trainers, this is what they have to deal with.
Photo by Kristen Lamb

A while back some website did a post on The 10 Things Your Personal Trainer is Thinking About You. I went expecting to find something funny, but no they were serious, BOO!

So as someone who has inflicted themselves on a personal trainer, these are the 10 things I think personal trainers are REALLY thinking about you.

1. Do you realize how see through that garment is? Personal trainers have to watch you exercise, frequently in odd contorted positions, while you’re sweating. Make sure your clothes don’t turn embarrassingly see through.

2. If you can still whine, you are not working hard enough. Really, your time with a personal trainer should feel like hell, so if you can still whine, then you can probably work harder.

3. No, I am not feeding off your pain. I once told my personal trainer that I thought he was a half-demon and fed off my pain. Thankfully, he was also a film maker and thought it was funny. (No stealing this idea—I plan to write a book at some point)

4. No, I’m not delusional. Personal trainers have training, they watch you carefully and pick exercises that push you but that you can do, even when you think you can’t.

5. Why do I have to listen to this? Some clients whine a lot. I was shocked when I found out I was on the low end of the whining scale. Don’t make these poor people listen to you bitch and whine, unless you are actually doing the exercises while you complain.

6. Do I really have to yell at you? This goes back to the whining. Apparently some people actually need, or maybe like, to be yelled at and forced/shamed into doing the exercises.

7. Dear god, the smell. Either you haven’t put on enough deodorant, shame on you, or you have overdone the crappy cheap body spray. Either way personal trainers have to stand near you. Try to not make it completely unpleasant.

8. Don’t lie to me, you go home and eat crap. Your personal trainer can tell if you are sticking to your diet or stopping by the store to stock up on ice cream and chips on the way home from the gym. Don’t insult their intelligence, tell the truth.

docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

9. Drink water! At the end of every session with my personal trainer he would remind me to drink a lot of water the rest of the day. Now I love water so I listened, but obviously other people don’t. They don’t get paid by the word. If your personal trainer says it, it must be important.

10. Yes, I’m going to win this month. After a year of personal training I discovered a dark secret. Every week a weird, twisted, embarrassing exercise is posted on the personal trainer’s Facebook group and the goal is to see how many innocent clients they can get to do the exercise. My personal trainer denied this, but I think he was lying. Some of those exercises were just too weird.

So what do you think personal trainers are really thinking?

Now We Are Forty

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birthday, forty, Alica Mckenna Johnson

Photo by PublicDomainPictures


So as I turned forty last week, there was a real chance that I was going to spend the day eating ice cream while hiding under the covers. However, my daughter had other plans. It turned out that I had a good day and didn’t fall into a massive depression. YAY! Go me.

I’m not where I was hoping to be, or the size I was hoping to be, or as self-actualized as I was hoping to be by forty.

I have a good job, three novels in various stages of editing, a hubby who puts up with me, two great happy kids, and friends who let me talk about characters as if they’re real people. So all in all everything thing is really good

Phoenix Child, Alica McKenna-Johnson

My New Book Cover!!!! See I have things happening 🙂

But I also feel that this is a turning point, not that my life is going downhill or winding down. I’ve been told by older friends that life begins at forty, so yay!!! But the things I have been unhappy about in my life haven’t changed in five years. Somehow I feel different about these situations, able to see things in a new way and I feel a bit stronger and more capable My bullshit tolerance level has dropped, and I’m less likely to put up with anything.

But I’m also feeling the pressure of should weighing upon me.

Should I wear more conservative ‘grown-up’ clothes now that I’m forty?

Should I only think nasty dirty thoughts about guys who are over thirty, now that I’m forty?

Should I magically have more will power and self-control, now that I’m forty?

Should I stop buying pop-culture tee shirts, now that I’m forty?

I did this same kind of thing when I got pregnant. I gave away my purple Doc Martins, black leather motorcycle jacket, and all my heavy metal CDs because ‘good moms shouldn’t have those things’. I was nineteen and stupid, but as you can see at forty those same limiting thoughts are creeping into my head. At least this time they aren’t winning.

I’m excited to see what the next third of my life holds. Yes, I plan to live until one hundred and twenty. I’m excited to see where my low tolerance for bullshit, self-confidence, and strength take me.
Was forty a difficult birthday for you? Does life really begin after forty?

Yoga pants—the 24/7 pants.

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yoga pants, Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Herban Devi

Love these yoga pants by Herban Devi

I love yoga pants. They are the perfect pants. They fit no matter what; they always make my butt look good; and I can wear them all day long. YES—all day long, thereby saving tons of time in switching pants.

“Um, Alica,” hubby says, looking over my shoulder at what I just wrote, “it only takes a few seconds to switch pants.”

“Have you watched me get dressed???”

“Yes, but my brain short circuits when I see you naked.”

Awe, isn’t he awesome and such a little liar.

“It takes forever to pick a pair of pants,” I explain, maybe still blushing. “First I have to decide if I am going to wear one of the three pairs of pants I know fit.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

Oh, how little my hubby knows. “By choosing one of the pants that fit I am admitting defeat. I am admitting that I still haven’t lost weight, I am saying yep this week is a bust, I shall look this way forever, I am doomed to wearing only one of three pairs of pants because my love for cheese is greater than my desire for fit thighs.”

My husband groans and buries his face in is hands. “Well, why not just pick one of the other tens pairs of pants in the closet?”

“If only it could be that simple. First I have to check them all. Can I even remember which pair fit last time I tried them on? Then once I choose, I have to try them on. If they fit, then everything is fine. But if they don’t fit, depression sinks in. I have just proven to myself that I am fat and even though losing weight has been a goal for the past six years, all I’ve actually done is gain weight. Then in shame, I hang the too-tight pants up and put on a pair I know will fit and spend the rest of the day mentally berating myself for being such a failure.”

“But,” my hubby wails, “they are just pants.”

“No they are little cocoons of ego-destroying cotton. Which is why YOGA PANTS are awesome. They fit, they always fit, and I don’t have to change all day long. After my shower I put on a pair of forgiving, loving yoga pants. I can then curl up on the couch, chair, bed, or floor without any problems.”

“Yoga pants enable me to do my Writers Butt exercises through the day without evil, pinching waistbands cutting into my delicate belly. IF I don’t spill anything on myself I can sleep in them, so no drama with too tight sleep pants.”

I think Hubby whimpered at this point.

“And when I wake up in the morning I am ready to work out, if I so choose. Nothing can stop me in yoga pants.”

“What if you have to go somewhere nice?” Hubby asks.

Herban Devi, Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Yoga pants

See the lace makes them dressy and sexy 🙂 Photo and pants by Herban Devi


“Then I put on a nice shirt, one that falls below my butt.”

“What it it’s really fancy?”

“Then I get fabric glue some toddlers and sequins and let them have fun.” Did he really believe I didn’t have all the answers? “Or I could buy some yoga pants from Herban Devi.”

“So you need more yoga pants,” Hubby says.

“Yes, but in different styles and colors. I don’t want people to think I wear the same pair of pants all the time.

Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Herban Devi, yoga pants

I need these!
Photo and pants by Herban Devi


Hubby walked off muttering under his breath. Poor man, maybe I should get him some yoga pants?

My brain is mush.

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Sorry I’ve been gone, but at work I got the 13mo old and he is teething- but only at night 🙂 joy, and he is super cute and sweet, but I haven’t had a good nights sleep in over a week and I’m so not used to functioning at this level.

I do find it fascinating how quickly everything ha degraded. My self talk is awful, I don’t care what I eat, I’m depressed all because I’m being woken up several times during the night. So when people say important sleep is, they mean it! Oh and to top it off, the six pounds I lost gained back in four days, yeah super fun.

Going back to basics, squats and push-ups after each bathroom break, using Sparkpeople to track calories, and napping during my time off, which sucks because I’m 90% done writing book 3 but I haven’t found time to write in days.

*deep sigh*

Anyway trying to get back on track and because you don’t just want to hear me whine here’s a funny video I found on youtube. Well I think it’s funny but my brain is sleep deprived. 🙂

Two Things That Have Helped Me So Much!

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Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author


As a rule I bounce between being a gung ho, do everything perfectly, type-A person, and a lazy, whiny, couch potato. But I have finally found a solution! Now this might not work for everyone, but I wanted to share the two posts that for the past six weeks have kept me focused, goal oriented, and getting the things done that are important to me.

The first is this post by Kristen Lamb. She talks about ADD and writing, and there a bunch of funny and useful information, but the one that hit home for me is FEELINGS LIE. At some point I had mixed my instincts with my feelings, my whiny, lazy feelings that told me I didn’t have to write if I wasn’t in the mood, that if I was too tired to exercise it was okay, and of course if I was craving nachos then there must be something in them I need.

Alica Mckenna Johnson, Kristen Lamb, 40 yard line

Feelings lie, you might be tired but it’s not time to nap.
Photo by Kristen Lamb

Now I take a deep breath, remind myself that feelings lie and I focus on my long-term goals and not whatever emotional numbing food or behavior my emotions are trying to trick me into doing.

It doesn’t always work, there are days when I lie in bed reading and eating foods that aren’t going to help me get healthier, but I’m not eating things that I’m allergic to, which is a huge improvement to my binges.

The next blog that helped me is Ginger Calem’s Writers Butt Wednesday. She gives you small, simple things to do throughout the day. When I started this I wasn’t working out at all, and for me having a small exercise that I do all day was really helpful. Writers Butt encourages you to do 10 squats or 10 push-ups every time you go to the bathroom, and of course since she has you drinking a lot of water you go a lot!

Lyyn Kelly, Alica Mckenna Johnson, bathroom

See plenty of room for squats.
Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Because taking care of myself and getting myself healthy was in my thoughts all day, it really helped me stay focused on my long term goals. For a few weeks it was just push-up and squats and the water, then I added small work-outs. Spark People has free work outs on their website. I also have two DVDs that have 10- or 15-minute exercises. A few weeks after that I added yoga, because I missed doing yoga. And now I and a friend have started going back to the gym.

You might roll your eyes at doing squats or push-up after going to the bathroom, but really the squats are very easy to manage in almost every bathroom, and I save the push-ups for when I am not working. To help inspire you I have taken a tally of how many squats and push-ups I did in one day.

Squats 60
Push-ups 20

Not too shabby obviously I need to even it out.

So what pieces of advice have inspired you? What words of wisdom or even offhand comment helped you see things clearly? What small steps to you do every day that helps you to stay focused on your long term goals?

Type A persona engaged—warp speed ahead!

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, pasta

Photo by Nebulux76

I was watching So You Think You Can Dance, which I love it is one of my favorite shows. So there I am watching these amazing beautiful power dancers, while eating a huge plate of spaghetti. Then they showed this interview with a young male dancer who’d been in a bad car accident, and his back had been broken.

I teared up listening to his parents talk about how scared they were. Listening to his story, watching him work out with the trainer to re-gain his strength and to be able to dance again I was inspired. That he could go through all of that and fight his way back to being able to dance, and dance beautifully, gave me chills.

As I sat there eating spaghetti, I thought about how hard he had he had worked and what he must have suffered through to be able to dance again, to re-claim his body again, and yet somehow I can’t lose ten pounds and keep it off?

I thought about this, about how if this is something I want, then I should fight for it. And that’s when I realized I wasn’t even sure what I was fighting for. I have been overweight for so long that I no longer remember what it is to feel good about how I look. I want to feel sexy, strong, healthy, and confident in my body. I have no idea what that is any more. And in truth the last time I felt that way, I was a teenager. The body I remember liking was two children, 20 plus years, and thousands of cartons of Ben and Jerry’s ago.

Will I even like my body after I lose weight?

I mean I’ll feel better, be healthier, stronger, and when the Doctor comes I’ll be able to run away from Daleks and such. All very important. But will I like it? Will I think I look pretty, sexy, or be happy at all?

I have no idea, and I think that sense of wondering, that not knowing, makes things harder. The dancer could remember what it felt like to spin, leap, and move across a stage. He had a very clear goal in mind. And I think that goal, that focus, helped him get through the hard times.

I don’t have that. When things get hard some I have some ambiguous idea, but no “I’ll be stronger, I’ll be healthier, I’ll fit into a smaller size,” just isn’t that inspiring. And in that moment, I usually give up—I eat something fatty, I sleep instead of working out, I stay up all night to read instead of getting the sleep I know I need.

How do you stay focused on a non-tangible goal? Do you find a goal you can’t quite picture or feel harder to stay committed to?

Brainwashing, it’s not just for cults anymore

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docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

I am always my own worst enemy. The thoughts that run rampant in my head can take a turn for the worst, and when this happens my life crashes. Of course, I have big batches of time where I am sane-ish, when I get things done, take care of myself, and feel good. But when things tip, when I lose my balance, these thought come rushing in, and suddenly not writing and sleeping all day sounds great. Instead of eating an apple, I eat ice cream, and getting enough sleep? yeah, that’s one big joke.

So how does one stop crazy thoughts?

I could read books. There are plenty of spiritual/ self-help books that focus on being in the here and now, that offer meditations to let those negative thoughts go. But really I don’t have the time, and I would only do it when I’m doing well.

So I have opted for an easier way, a more passive way, and I’m doing it right now. Subliminal messages. Oh, yes. I am employing the ancient art of brainwashing on myself. I am using a series of tapes, some that are subliminal, some guided imagery, some sleep programming.

If I can’t find will power within myself, then I shall brainwash myself into it!

Right now I am doing tapes that focus on health, healthy eating, and weight loss. But they also have ones on creativity, getting more done, overcoming fears, and tons of other topics.

I have had enough of my brain getting in the way of self-discipline, leaving me the moment things get tough. Maybe these won’t work. Maybe they will. The other day I was planning on eating nachos for lunch. I started to grab the stuff and suddenly did not want them anymore. I had fruit instead and an hour later when I was actually hungry, I made a sandwich.

apocalypse, mango, magoes,

Photo by Tatters:)

I figure as long as the messages aren’t turning me into part of some mad woman’s secret assassin army, it’s all good.

Do you have self-discipline? Are you able to keep the negative self-talk to a minimum, or do you also try to drown the voices in egg rolls and cheese cake?

20 days of freaking out

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docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

Sane is not a word most people would use to describe me, which is why twenty days before I am going on the annual work trip to San Diego I am trying desperately to lose weight. Yes, ye, I said annual trip. And yes, after seeing pictures of me last year on the beach, I wanted to throw-up and cry. I vowed to never go back to the beach looking like that. I VOWED! And then I ate ice cream.

So here I am twenty days before we leave and at least sixty pounds overweight. Can a person lose three pounds a day??

Seriously I’m counting calories, getting my butt into odd yoga position, and doing cardio until vomiting seems like a fun idea (well I’ve been doing it for two days now). Point being, why do I do this? Why didn’t I watch my calories intake over the past year? Seriously, I knew this was coming. Why didn’t I exercise more? I have tons of videos for those days when my gym buddy can’t go; there was no reason why my lazy ass couldn’t have done something, anything, other than partake of second breakfast and sit on my ass.

Do you do this to yourself? Are you a last minute panic person or do you take your time and get a bit done every day so it’s easy?

The Hand Clap of Death

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zumba, Alica Mckenna-Johnson

Photo by ilovememphis

So my friends, or supposed friends who I work out with, wanted to try Zumba at our gym. It’s fun; I enjoy the music; the teacher has enough perky energy to run Disneyland, and in my head I look magnificent. Of course in my head I also still look 16.

So there I am bouncing around following the steps. I’m sure I looked like a drunk elephant, but in my head I’m graceful. Since I am totally willing to live in my own reality, everything was just fine. Until the teacher added a clap to the steps. In my head it didn’t seem like a big deal; however, in the cruel florescent light of reality, my brain stopped working when I tried to clap.

zumba, Alica Mckenna-Johnson

Photo by Cimm

I froze.

My feet twisted into some warped version of a salsa move with my arms flailing around my head. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t figure out how to do the steps. My poor brain was overtaxed with trying to convince me I really was looking like my sixteen-year-old self rocking the Zumba. All short circuited because of a single clap.

I laughed, what else was there to do? I shook my arms and legs, laughed again and began to do whatever weird concoction of moves the teacher put together, but I didn’t try to clap again.

Are you good at choreography-style workouts? Can you clap in the middle of a set of steps without frying your brain?

Take it slow and make it hot.

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I like to snack, but I also am hoping to lose weight, and the two don’t always go well together. Of course I do try to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes I just want something else. So I snack hot.

You see, I have a delicate tongue. I like spicy, but I honestly can’t handle very hot and spicy foods, which means I eat them slower. You are beginning to see the mad brilliance of my plan, aren’t you? When I snack on spicy foods, I can’t eat them as fast, nor can I eat as much. If I do, my tummy will be very unhappy, and in all honesty, my butt the next morning. Ouch.

My favorite slow and spicy snacks:

Dried mango covered in chili: This is sweet and spicy and reminds me of the Mexican tamarind candy. Trader Joe’s has it, and all I can eat is one piece instead of the whole bag of plain dried mango.

Wasabi peas: Not only do I get the crunchy/ salty combo, which is important for any balanced diet, but sometimes a pea will have a lot of wasabi on it and I get a ‘fun’ rush of heat which clears my sinuses and makes my body shudder. So really this is a whole body food.

waasbai peas, Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Isa Costa, spicy snacks

Wasabi Peas by Isa Costa

Hot Cheetos or now as I react badly to MSG, Barbara’s Jalapeño Cheese Puffs : Now these are an extra treat because the nutritional value is much lower, but again I can’t eat as quickly or as many so they get put on the list.

Spicy Chocolate: There are many different brands to choose from, but dark chocolate with chili in it is something to be savored slowly. Make sure to get one with a good kick, or you’ll eat it too fast.

So what is your favorite slow and spicy snack???