Women, Hormones and Weight Loss

By Susan Arruda – 6 Time Fitness Champion and 2 Time Pro and Marco G. Author – Starving to Be Fat

Hormones, menopause, weight loss etc… How often do we hear about this?

Hormone issues, menopause and so on these are indeed very common, and yes, they can impact weight loss, we’ve seen it all the time with these precious ladies. 

However, while it’s common it is also INDIVIDUAL, and that’s the puzzle – The fact that hormones, reactions, protein synthesis, thyroid issues, insulin resistance are inextricably tied to a person’s DNA and health makeup which makes a common solution practically impossible.

If we could solve this, we’d be billionaires by now, lol.

Excellent quote I read concerning this –

“Our hormones, especially our thyroid hormones, are impacted by the way DNA functions over time. Hormones work inside the cell to bind proteins to DNA.

If it’s tied to DNA, how in the world could we ever hope to offer one solution that’s common for everyone? Oh, how I wish LOL we would pick you all up in our private jet and take you out for a vacation for a month LOL

Hormones are the wild West. It’s like taking 15 sheets of paper each with part of a sentence on it throwing it up in the air and hoping the paragraph comes together.

The next time you’ll get a different result. The only way to win that battle I think is to work with someone who knows where the pieces of paper belong, so to speak.

Nutritionists also are out of pocket where we live, I get it.

The whole thing is educated guesswork.
This is why that industry continues to thrive in billions and billions of dollars; they sell hope, so people keep coming back, but the problem is never solved.

I’ve never heard of anybody solving it. I see claims online, but I don’t see proof.
Look, I’m a guy and it aggravates even me to see this! I can only imagine as a female!

If you’re looking for a baseline on macros and calories… Here it is

What I saw from your BMR yesterday looks extremely low to me? Think you mentioned that you had a different result on a second pass.  

So I’m not sure the calculation is correct or if you did it using the Harris Benedict formula, including your activity profile 

Here’s the advice I can give you that I gave in over 1000 consultations. Protein is wayyyyy overrated not the key issue in weight loss or “cutting”. 

The best results I have seen come from 0.5 to 0.6 g per pound of lean body weight. 

If the issue is losing weight and body comp shift, I would say to split your macros evenly, P33 F33 C33. Start there and stay there while training as intensely as you do for at least 6 weeks and see what happens.

I would never advocate going below 1700-1800 calories as a sustained rule. What is bizarre about that? Most women are told to never go OVER it!

I’ll bet you that out of anything anyone has read in this article, where their eyes are stuck obsessing over right now are the calories. What I just wrote back there. As a GENERAL rule, that is where I think people should be.

Any kind of eating plan somebody takes to the extreme will lose its efficiency when they come off of it. Without fail, the weight will come back on. This I can guarantee.

John” may have a gluten issue, but “Brian” does not. Can they lose weight? Of course! Can they eat the same way? No. Again, there is no one answer … BUT I CAN give a baseline.

If “John” and “Brian:” have similar stats – let’s say, in their 50’s, need to drop 50 Lb and weigh 275

I would tell them to consume 2300 or so calories a day. You want to have beer? Fine, not my best advice, but account for it in the caloric budget for the day.

Train with intensity 5-6 days per week do NOT miss days.

Eat a balance of 33 – 33 – 33 for macros and it will work most of the time. UNLESS one of them has a thyroid issue, then the whole thing gets turned on its butt and the solution becomes personalized.

On our programs, people are usually stunned by how much they eat and yet they lose weight in conjunction with the training programs… Because they’re coming in at 1100 to 1200 cal in total starvation.

At that level, the body has nothing to go on. It can’t lose weight and it can’t build muscle. It is stalled. 

If you add food allergies to that at certain restrictions… It starts to go into the work of a scientist, certainly not a physical training expert.

So now, I’ve given you some baselines. It’s not a big secret, that’s the general formula that works, until it doesn’t because someone may have exceptions, which of course can’t be predicted.

We have thought about offering a platinum membership monthly to our members where they can work with a nutritionist one on one that’s part of the package and receive individualized meal plans, But that package is going to be at least $99 per month and it’s probably not affordable for most people.
We have connections to outstanding practitioners, people we work with in person. So it’s not a lack of network, it’s economics. So we’re sticking to what we do best, workouts. That is what we can offer with Susan’s style which is absolutely uncommon.

We are leaving personalized diets to the experts and instead offer balanced meal plans for fat loss and muscle promotion with our programs.

But those are my recommendations above, and I know they’re not necessarily the answers people are looking for, but that’s because the answer is different for everyone. So I can only give you an average,
Sarah, I wish I could do more.

We cycle our meal plans so that they go between fat loss and hypertrophy to promote lean muscle building. Moderation is the best approach with intense training. Then, you have to stick with it and usually reassess weeks at a time. It’s a marathon in this case, not a sprint.

If you can find a way to work one on one with an expert for at least a while, that is the way to go, not with a general solution that shows up on a Google feed.

I wish I could be more help, but I was at least trying to give you some other perspective here as well from my end.

Facebook Group Post – Calories – Progress – Stages of Life and Overtraining

Hello powerhouse Pauline!


Susan here with Marco.


THANK YOU for your kind words about my workouts, it is a privilege to have you training with me and your spirit in this group is priceless!  Your emails to me have blessed me repeatedly!


Thank you also for taking the time to post about your experience so far. 


Those tape measure changes you are reporting are hard-fought for and earned! Way to go!!


Let’s have a look at what is happening and offer some feedback. We are taking the time here to be exhaustive in the hopes of helping others as well. What a benefit to the group this is; we are so glad you posted this!


I/Marco can contribute the following as the meal plans designer…


The calories shift far more broadly than hovering at 1800 under 2000. It would be impossible to create a deficit otherwise. I can tell you with absolute surety, they dip lower than that at times. I am not familiar with the tracking app you are using, sounds pretty cool! But in this case, those numbers/calories are not accurate. 1800-2000 is not how I designed SHIFT.


This is why on this plan, we do not encourage tracking calories or macros, it is already done for you. We don’t release that information for a reason – we don’t ask people to track it and try to figure it out, it never goes well, lol. I hope you will trust the process, however. 


In fact, we discourage it in this case, the tracking –  as for some people, I am not necessarily implying this is the case with you – something happens psychologically/in the mind the moment a number gets into your head, it never goes away and it becomes powerful and often obsessive because we ascribe that authority to it. That number often rules every meal, vacation, mood, family gatherings, etc… it often becomes the reason we fail or succeed. 


I generally will not even discuss calories as it takes us off point and message with the whole mission of the Intensity program, but I get that people are curious and just want to do well, I respect that. As some of Susan’s muscle building programs come to market in the future, the calories discussion is going to open up because mass building is a numbers game and specific to each person.



As a fitness consultant, Marco dealt with thousands of men and women, and when he asked men how many calories they were eating they generally had no idea. However, the answer from nearly every woman was overwhelmingly precise – 1200 or some other number and the elimination of carbs. BOTH MASSIVE ERRORS that often take years to recover from.


That number, the scale/calories are engrained by social pressures and ridiculous big box starvation programs that assign some point system or colour coding to foods with no thought given to the most important thing of all – NUTRITION. Without that, calories are nothing and your body isn’t fuelled for growth and optimal heath.


Based on your BMR, the macros and caloric targets and the type of training you are doing on Intensity, our numbers are all in your favour. 


So let’s take calorie obsession off the table, pun intended, lol for the moment….


Let’s use your calculation of eating 1800-2000 / day and that is what the SHIFT plan was, why is the progress seemingly slow? 


So let’s look at a few factors:


If it was 1800-2000 calories, which is a satiating amount.. you mentioned you can’t wait to eat off the plan on Sunday. Why is that? Is it hunger driven? Boredom with the foods? Cravings of some sort? Help us understand so we can try to help.


Yes, at this point, age matters a lot… just like it did when we were in our 20’s and could eat far more liberally… I miss those days! 


Age now…hormones as well and at this stage, especially with an already fit woman, the changes come in inches and sometimes fractions of inches – the struggle is real!


Marco talks about having lost over 100 Lb in his book “Starving to be Fat”… that was easy in comparison to the last 25 Lb… inches, agonizing inches, the scale that moves in fractions of 1/8’s of a Lb… and relatively small payoffs for a lot of work and age has everything to do with it, he is 55 and cycles 100’s of km’s a week and adds weight training days. He has ZERO food issues, no sugar cravings… the man has it down pat in this area.


Yes, body type matters.


We know you live a fit lifestyle, that is for sure! You don’t need to answer this here but ask yourself; has your body ever looked like you wanted it to and if so, when was that? Can you duplicate what you were dong then?


I ask simply because as far as body type goes; when I did shows and I was standing next to some other very fit women, every one of us looked different. Despite clean eating, balls to the wall training, some people had better abs than I did, etc., and for a period of time I considered my abs a weak point in my physique (which is a big reason no one should neglect training them specifically on a regular basis), but some other women already had cellulite forming in their 20’s on stage. I have no idea why. Maybe they had years of eating poorly and all of a sudden decided it would be fun to diet down and do a fitness show??


As you know, this is a lifelong journey and a lifestyle is what gets it done and keeps it!


There are women on this program who drop inches, not scale weight, and vice versa. There is no way it all works the same way for everyone, as I am sure you know with all the experience you have in training and in leading classes – you have people that can work as hard as the next person, even be close to the same age, and the weight barely moves.


As a woman of 52 and dealing with some 7 years of menopause now, ugh… enough already!!! I am working through stubborn fat as a result of hormones (I call it hormone hell, lol). I know people say they don’t see it on me, but as I shoot videos, I see it and I am extremely critical of myself and know where those areas are. 


My saving grace is muscle memory, weight training and being instinctive to take time to recover, as hard as it is (that’s usually a weakness in us fit enthusiasts, as I’m sure many of you battle with that as well). FYI I blew the rest/recover piece ROYALLY when I was younger and it did not wind up costing me until much later in life but sooner or later, it catches up with you. 


Things at this season of life do not shift as quickly as they did even 5-10 years ago; oh how I wish they did!!


Which leads us to perhaps the #1 issue you may be dealing with, from what we can gather and it is in no way unique to you, so I am hoping this can speak across the board:


You train a lot, which is inspiring, but from what I/Susan am reading here, you are without a doubt overtraining and adrenal fatigue is likely a factor. 


The stage of life you are in, the body requires adequate rest and recovery time takes longer. 

How often do you rest? 

How many days off do you take to let your body recover especially from probably escalated cortisol levels… in which case there is no way your body is encouraged to release fat. 

Are you instinctive about taking days off when your fatigue levels are way up?


At this level, your body is in a constant state of trying to repair itself, it has little chance of progressing.


30 Days of Intensity has a 30 day window for a reason; I would not suggest someone train at that level for an indefinite period of time. It is yet another reason we do not make the program available for ownership and we have discouraged people from doing anything else except that program, as it is overkill.


Marco here has loads of experience as an award winning fitness consultant and is wondering:


There is a lot of cardio happening in what you are leading classes wise, wow I bet you can run a marathon and your heart is strong… but this type of training can massacre lean body mass, so make sure to keep an eye on that. Lean body tissue is your #1 ally in body composition and the fat shift and increasing  your metabolism. 


I have worked with women who refuse to stop with the excessive cardio and the body will not ever be able to build adequate muscle with  a ton of cardio and HIIT. The number one goal needs to be crystal clear because LIGHTER IS NOT THE SAME AS LEANER! The scale cannot/should not be your top priority in determining your progress. 


Other things to consider:


What are your cortisol levels like? 

Have you had them tested recently? That may shed some light.


Insulin resistance is also a big issue when women reach pre and post menopause. Blood sugar levels need to be tested. 


Thyroid, the entire panel. What are those levels like? Perhaps have bloodwork done to dial those numbers in and speak to your naturopath or physician.


What are your expectations? Is it to drop 2 Lb/week… a few inches a week? Should that not already be happening with the amount of activity you are doing? Again, the more fit you are, the more strategic you need to be about losing fat.


We always want to get to the root of the matter; that is why we are asking these questions; to see if we can help you and perhaps others by doing some detective work!


If the goal is scale weight loss; when is the last time you saw the scale move downward, even before the Intensity program or changing your eating? It can maybe help us determine if your body has become “happy” where it is and really does not want to change much.


If that is the case, a total reset needs to happen. A recovery break, followed by a permanent reset in calorie intake. We did this with another sweet lady and a couple of others on this program and that is what broke the plateau, but they were only working on one program at a time. 


For many of the women here, women who live a fit lifestyle as I know you do, the challenge is not in training enough, it is in knowing when to NOT train. 


There is often a fear that creeps in; if I take a break, I will lose all my gains, I will gain weight. 

This is true if a person takes a week off and starts eating garbage, yes, weight gain will happen.

But if a person were to take a few days off and keep eating in check and focus on recovery, stretching, etc., what happens is strength, recovery and renewal.


Just to recap:

With this amount of exercise, not just Intensity, but with everything else you are doing…why is the weight not coming off as fast as you would like it to?


What were you doing when the weight was coming off ? 

Did it go back up and why? 

What were the changes that led to that? Try to hunt that particular time down and duplicate what you were doing when you were seeing the results you want it and go from there.


I believe a large part of the answer n this case lies in overtraining, your body feeling it is in threat mode and your body’s set point adjusts to that as a form of self preservation. I have been there and it is difficult to rest and reset, but it can be done!


In no way are we asking you to answer any of this publicly. It is meant as introspection. Have a look at what you are doing inwardly and see if anything here can help, that is our hope. 


Our hope is also that others are helped by this posting string.


We appreciate you and everyone here; more than you can imagine and we are privileged that you not only chose to train with me, but that you took the time to post. We can already see by the little we know about you that your desire is to help and enrich others and be your best… it makes you an invaluable instructor and kind human being! 🙂









What is Carrageenan? – The chemical hiding in your organic (and non-organic) foods.

If you’ve ever purchased store-bought almond or coconut milk, you may have noticed an ingredient called Carrageenan on the carton. This hard-to-pronounce little additive is the reason I make my own homemade almond milk and homemade coconut milk, but it seems that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to this little known ingredient.

What is Carrageenan?

According to the Google:
“Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties.”

Edible seaweeds, like kelp and Nori, right? – Not so much…

The problem with Carrageenan

It is important to note that Carrageenan is not digestible and has no nutritional value. It is often used because it thickens and emulsifies products and it is often found even in organic and “natural” products.

It may seem that a simple product derived from seaweed should be non-menacing, and I wish it were. This article explains some of the potential problems:

“Although derived from a natural source, carrageenan appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella. The result: “Carrageenan predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding,” explains veteran carrageenan researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago. She says the food ingredient irritates by activating an immune response that dials up inflammation. Her previous work showed a concerning connection between carrageenan and gastrointestinal cancer in lab animals, and she’s involved with ongoing research funded through the National Institutes of Health that is investigating carrageenan’s effect on ulcerative colitis and other diseases like diabetes.

The concern over food-grade carrageenan isn’t new. Beginning in the 1960s, researchers started linking the ingredient to gastrointestinal disease in lab animals, including ulcerative colitis, intestinal lesions, and colon cancer.”

Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine is one of the leading researchers in the field of digestive health sheds some interesting light on the topic:

“Dr. Tobacman said that her research has shown that exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause inflammation in our bodies. She explained that all forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation. This is bad news. We know that chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and cancer.

Dr. Tobacman also told the board that in the past, drug investigators actually used carrageenan to cause inflammation in tissues in order to test the anti-inflammatory properties of new drugs. And she reported further that when laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they develop “profound” glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action, both of which can lead to diabetes.”

The Bottom Line

There is evidence that it can be harmful, especially if consumed regularly.
Many people report reacting strongly to Carrageenan with symptoms like digestive troubles, skin rashes, and other health problems.
The research is shaky on whether carrageenan is a carcinogen or not, but I’m yet to see any research touting its health benefits. Our family avoids it for this reason, especially as it is just used for thickening products and does not serve a nutritional purpose.

Katie  – The Wellness Mama Cookbook

Fab Foam Roller Workouts

If your goals are to tighten, sculpt and define your body and you have done loads of cardio and “high rep” training but are still not any closer to seeing your dream physique, you are going to need a new “chisel” because the one you are working with has become dull! In other words, “stagnant and no longer effective.” You are getting vague results. BUST THROUGH THE STICKING POINT…

Awesome Avocado Bruschetta

Awesome Avocado Bruschetta

By Susan Arruda


A delicious, fresh twist on an old favourite! 

Avocado offers a creamy texture and an impressive array of
nutrients, including 
vitamins B, C, E, and K, fiber, calcium and healthy monounsaturated fats.


1 ripe avocado
2 medium tomatoes, diced (approx. 2 cups)
3 stalks chopped, green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Juice of ½ a lime
1 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, diced
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp. olive oil for brushing onto bread
Whole wheat baguette or dried whole wheat toasts/Friselle


Combine all ingredients. Optional: Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour to allow flavours to marinate.

Avocado chopping tip: Cut avocado in ½ , make cuts in the flesh while still in the shell, scoop out with a spoon.

                                                                                                                                                              Cut avocado while still in flesh
                                                                                                                                                           Cut avocado while still in flesh

Preheat oven to 400oF
Brush bread with olive oil and bake until crisp and edges begin to brown. (only a few minutes; don’t go far)

Top bread with the bruschetta mixture and serve.

Optional: Sprinkle additional cilantro over top, if desired.

L💗VE Yourself! Rewards without calories!

LOVE your body and invest in you! — Ways to reward yourself without calorie overload!

 Love yourself with good things!
Love yourself with good things!

Justin Bieber’s, “Love Yourself” message rings true here and you need to believe you’re worth it!!! It’s time to stop self sabotage through wrong food choices and bingeing and love yourself to personal success and fulfillment!

Let’s face it; having clearly defined goals with a plan of action sets you up for success! Following through with your exercise and healthy eating requires discipline and that deserves rewarding. However, the rewards of eating your favourite cheat food following a workout not only negates your training efforts, it also sabotages all your hard work. Provide yourself with weekly or monthly rewards for staying on track with your exercise schedule and healthy eating. The rewards which you consider more expensive, can be used more sparingly as monthly rewards or used when you hit a target. Here are some practical tips and ideas for rewarding your discipline and hard work: 

Get a massage. This can help eliminate stress, help to relieve tight knots, tension, and tight hot spots that may be showing up in your body. Select the type of massage most suited for you. ART is so effective in breaking down scar tissue but will have you feeling like you’ve worked out, so choose according to your personal needs.

Go to the movies. Enjoy getting out to the big screen with your significant other, your kids, loved ones, or your BFF.

Get a new outfit. Perhaps consider some new workout gear. This will help you look and feel good when working out which can assist in you looking more forward to training. It really does have a positive effect!

Get your hair and/or nails done. Get pampered with some much deserved TLC.

Go out for dinner. Make it healthy and skip the booze. Try a raw food restaurant or a healthy vegan restaurant.

Give yourself some down time/alone time. Read a book, catch up on your favourite T.V show, play some video games, get a babysitter; whatever it is that you enjoy doing most, but don’t get to do very often due to time constraints. 

Train with a professional Personal Trainer – For the exercise enthusiast stuck in a rut, or the person who lacks the discipline and/or motivation to consistently train on their own, this is a great investment in self health. This may be just what you need to give you the extra spark and inspiration to get it done, work harder, and change things up.

Make your list personal. Consider what you value most. What do you really like, what brings personal joy and fulfillment, and what is important to you?

Every once in a while, sure, it’s okay to treat yourself to your favourite not so healthy food, especially if you have a strong and persistent craving for it. The rule is moderation and the trick is to portion that treat and not overdo it in one sitting. As Marco Girgenti has simply said, Halve it and have it.” 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, but know that self love should be an every day practice!💗


Written by Susan Arruda

Lack of motivation is definitely in the top 3 reasons for not exercising, based on surveys and general feedback. Motivation is defined as the general desire or a person’s willingness to do something. Having motivation to train is what helps to keep us in great shape. If we could bottle this wonderful, intangible force that compels us to take action and increases our ability to push harder towards success and accomplishing our goals, we would all be far more effective overall!

This begs the question:

Why are some people more motivated than others to exercise and accomplish their fitness goals?

The simple answer comes down to “how important is it to you?” Is it on your priority, non-negotiable list of top 3 in your daily routine? If it is, it will more likely come easier for you. If not, you will have to work a lot harder to accomplish your goal to exercise, get fit, and stay fit.  Like most things, some tasks come easier for some compared to others based on personal strengths and weaknesses. Areas of weakness simply require more effort.
Fact: Determination will get you a lot further than talent alone!

When it comes to motivation, there isn’t one thing that will work for everyone – No one size fits all, so to speak. One thing is for sure: Lack of fitness motivation hits everyone, even those who appear to be on it and sticking with it! Yes, of course, I also struggle with it, and so does Marco!

Determine and list your motivators. WHY do you want to exercise? Is it for…

  •  Personal benefits and gains
  •  Desire – to look and feel better
  •  Fear – of the consequences – gaining weight, losing your health, etc.
  •  Disgust – Yes, you read that right. – Feeling so disgusted with oneself and how you look and/or feel, can serve as a high motivator to take action and make changes.
  •  Control
  • Social acceptance
  •  Personal achievement and self-satisfaction

Question to ask yourself:

How bad do you want it? If you’re willing to do what you have to do to reach your goals despite the circumstances and you won’t allow excuses to take precedence over your exercise, you will succeed!

Realize that ‘BUTS’ are excuses. You can’t allow your feelings to vote or let’s face it, few things would get done, especially exercise! (read my article, When You Don’t Feel Like Training) I certainly have experience, speaking as a mom who has raised two kids (14 months apart), works full time and has been at this for 35 years!

It is helpful for you to write out and list clear and specific goals with deadlines and outline the reasons why you want to exercise.  What is your biggest motivator?

My personal top reasons for exercising:

  1. Aesthetics; plain and simple! I want to look good, which in turn helps me to feel good in my own skin!
  2. Exercising improves my mood and helps me manage my emotions.  My overall well-being is improved, thanks to the release of endorphins. It really does help combat depression!
  3. I want to be healthy and energetic!
  4.  I want to maintain consistency in my body composition and bodyweight.

One statistic that specifically motivates me to weight train and may also do the same for you is:

Muscle and bodily functions start to decline at a rate of 2% per year after the age of 30! You can counter that and slow it to a rate of .5% with resistance training and a well-rounded exercise program. (According to research from the American College of Sports Medicine)

If you tend to struggle in this area of exercise motivation, take heart! I’m going to provide you with some tips to help you stick with it and resist the urge to blow off your training, so keep on reading. 



Keep a picture of what you want to look like before you! Whether it is a picture of a former you, or a role model body that you want to aspire to look like; post it up on a corner of your bathroom mirror and on your fridge (to deter you from eating that junk or stop you from eating when you know you shouldn’t be). Have it somewhere in view to remind you throughout your day of your goals and this will serve to help you stay on track and think twice before caving in to that junk impulse/binge!

Keep your sights on the end result! Focus on the benefits one workout at a time. You always feel better after your workout! Staying on track helps keep the momentum of your progress going and improves mood and well-being!

Plan your exercise ahead of time – Failing to plan is the equivalent of planning to fail!  Set a weekly training schedule. Treat it like a work meeting or doctor’s appointment; something you take seriously and won’t blow off.  

Set short and long-term goals and be as specific as possible – Vague goals produce vague results. I will lose 2 lbs. in my first 4 weeks of my exercise program.  I will lose 2 inches off my waist by _________. I will drink 3 bottles of water daily, etc.

Reward yourself – Get yourself a large calendar and post it where you will see it daily.  Set weekly training goals and checkmark the days you follow through with your exercise plan and after a solid month (or even weekly) of consistency, treat yourself to a new fitness outfit, a massage, or whatever it is that will increase your joy factor and help you stick with it!

Make it doable – If you haven’t been able to stick with exercise because of time (one of the top reasons for not exercising), start with walking 20 minutes a day while listening to your favourite music, podcast,  or talking on the phone (be it for business or pleasure). You can even do this during your work lunch hour if you simply set your mind to it. Buddy up with a friend if you need the support, or do it solo to clear your mind and energize you for the 2nd half of your day.

Make it fun! – If you really don’t like to do ‘formal’ exercise, then perhaps hit the weights only once or twice a week and do physical activity you enjoy more; stuff that doesn’t feel like it’s training to you, be it gardening, dancing, sports with friends, taking the kids to the playground, etc.  This is unique to you.

Surround yourself with like-minded people as much as possible.  – You need a support group for those times you find yourself weakening and losing motivation.  Get around someone positive and this will help you to flip your mood.

Invest! – Hire a trainer to get you into the groove of things and help get you started!

Be accountable – I don’t suggest posting on social media necessarily, but having a friend to check in with can help you to stick with it.  The world (social media) doesn’t need to know if you miss the mark.

Do take part in challenges, especially if you have lost your fire to keep at it! Perhaps you want set a goal/challenge to complete a half marathon or take part in a healthy eating challenge, or perform a 30 day resistance training exercise challenge with your online circle of friends. We all need a reason to do what we do and goals and challenges provide you with deadlines and purpose; both very important in helping you reach bigger goals.  Hmmm, perhaps you may want to do what I did and set a goal to try a fitness competition and then, who knows what can happen! 🙂 

MOVE everyday and be CONSISTENT! – Moving everyday helps you to fall into a groove and be consistent at this, which is what will yield results! If you’re doing ‘formal’ and structured exercise 3-4 times a week, you should plan some activity such as walking, that you can fit into your day. A frequently asked question is when is the best time to exercise. The best time is when it is most convenient and doable for you on a consistent basis.  Consider the point below re. Don’t plan it at the end of your day…


Don’t set lofty goals and change everything at once! – Start with small changes (one or two) and build on them after sticking with them for two weeks.  This will help you to stick with it and avoid failure, discouragement and feeling overwhelmed.  

Don’t dread it! – Easier said than done, I know. Especially if you’re feeling tired and blah! – All the more reason to do it and get it done! You will likely feel more energetic and a lot nicer/better than before you started it.  Do it and gauge accordingly. Anything is better than nothing and never discount the power of a short power workout! The fact is, dread drains and robs you of joy and power.  If you dislike the activity you’re doing that much, consider changing it.   You may need to shake and/or scold yourself! Think of the person who is sick in the hospital or confined to a wheelchair for a quick attitude adjustment! Resist letting those dreadful thoughts and negative words come out of your mouth! Yes; fake it to make it!

Don’t blow it off! – Have a picture of what you want to look like (or don’t want to look like) and let that be your motivator! Remind yourself that you’ll feel better once it is done (this is something I do a lot!) and think of how awful you’ll feel if you don’t do it!

Don’t procrastinate!– The sooner you get it done, the better you’ll feel! Also; don’t let those 2 extra lbs. turn into 20. – Start something and stick with it!

Don’t wait to get a bad Doctor’s Report before taking action – invest now so you don’t have to pay later…in many more ways than one.

DON’T PLAN IT AT THE END OF YOUR DAY! – Especially if exercise is not yet something you have made a lifestyle and you’re not too thrilled about it all! The probability of something coming up that will deter you from doing it is much higher. Your motivation is also higher in the morning although I know it doesn’t feel like it when you hear that early morning alarm, but this is fact! People who exercise in the morning tend to stick with it. There are fewer distractions and you will be more effective in following through, just resist pushing snooze and have that coffee ready to go! Stick with it for a month and you may find you actually enjoy it (in a weird kind of way).  You may have heard it before. If you stick with something for 21 days, you will have developed a good habit for life. A habit is something you do without fail and on automatic pilot – kinda like brushing your teethJ

Fun Fact: People who have achieved big success are those who prioritize their exercise routine daily and actually do it before starting their workday.  

RE-EVALUATE YOUR GOALS ON A MONTHLY BASIS – Decide what is working, what needs to change in order to keep making progress. You can catch those few extra pounds if you take quick action and make necessary adjustments.

Feeling bored or blah with your exercise? Try something new! – A group class, a belly dancing class, yoga, boxing, a water running class – Something that interests you.  Try to do it with a friend, if possible, although not a must. Taking part in a new activity could help jolt you out of a rut and who knows; could be just what you need to get you out of a discouraging plateau!

Bottom line: You CANNOT ALLOW YOUR FEELINGS TO VOTE… Period! It all starts with a decision, and then following through.  STOP WAITING TO FEEL LIKE IT AND JUST MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO DO IT! Quit procrastinating; START and stick with it! 


Want to look 10 lbs. slimmer…. INSTANTLY?

Our appearance is important to us all and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to look slimmer without having to sweat for it, and especially when sporting that slimming outfit.  This is totally doable for everyone! It simply comes down to posture 101. Posture refers to our body alignment and how we carry or position our frame, be it sitting, standing or walking.  Good posture requires correct pelvis/lumbar spine positioning to maintain a neutral spine (the natural curve that occurs in our lower back). Contract to tighten and draw in your abs (navel to spine) and tilt your pelvis slightly forward to eliminate the excessive lower back arch that is often present in many people and this will eliminate the pot belly appearance as a result of what is referred to as “swayback”. Cue an imaginary line dropping from the ear lobe, shoulders hips, knees and ankles and strive to line up the above listed body parts.

TRY THIS: Stand sideways facing a mirror as tall and upright as possible; pull your belly button in towards your backbone (as if putting on a pair of very tight jeans) depress your shoulders down and press them back back (retract shoulder blades/middle upper back together), chin not jutting forward, but in line with the body with ears lined up over the shoulders, shoulders stacked over hips and hips lined up with the knees and ankles. Voilà! – This results in a slimmer and taller looking you! 


Susan Arruda