Sunday, September 13, 2009

Arming yourself to get through the stresses

Sunnyside Up was the name of my blog when I was over on AOL Journals. I thought that it pretty much summed up my viewpoint on life regardless of what was going on at any given time. Here I am, a few years later, having come through both difficult times and blissful times and I still feel the same way. In fact, my husband and I are grappling with a really huge challege that admittedly puts my stomach in knots if I allow it to (rather: WHEN I allow it to) but I still chug forward with the intent of being open to the works God wants to do in my life and with the faith that everything will be alright and that I still need to cherish each day with those I'm blessed to cross paths with.

You see, we received a lovely little certified letter from our mortgage company (5 identical letters, in fact. What the flop is up with that?! Why the waste of our precious resources?!) stating that we've got a quick and dirty little 45 days to get current on our mortgage lest they begin foreclosure proceedings. This has been several months in coming. The nutsy economy resulted in my husband and his coworkers taking a hit to their pay in the form of both a salary reduction and a decrease in commissions. This has REALLY impacted us. This challenge also arrived in tandem with our recent loss of two beloved (and unrelated) members of our extended family. It's a lot for any two people to have to process and work through in such a short time period.

It's like I told my mom yesterday when I chatted with her on the phone, though. Yes, these are super difficult times and we're feeling trepidation and stress but we're working to process it through positive means. Ironically, though this is one of the most horrible times we've experienced, we are experiencing such richness and strength in the form of family togetherness and happy times. All of us have heavy issues that find themselves on our shoulders from time to time in life. It's plain and simple just a part of life. The way I see it, since we pretty much know that the occasional stressor is GOING to make it's way to us, we've got to elect to stay strong and to focus on the positive and to do whatever it takes to keep ourselves of sound mind, body ad soul to do so. Maybe some of these things that continue to help me will help you get through rough patches as well.

I didn't just read about the balance of and attention to mind, body and soul in some book and decide that, "Hey! That sounds good. I'll cleave to that idea." I have, through trial and error, found that it actually does result in a happier and more fulfilling life. It's so easy to crawl into a hole when you feel that life's gotten so rough that you can't begin to even think about facing things. But I challenge you to kick that inclination to the proverbial curb and try some of these other tactics. Most of you know by now that I place a great emphasis on keeping the body fit and healthy through regular, consistent (and combat boredom) exercise. I like to aim for doing some form of movement everyday. Some of my favorites are running, biking and swimming as well as the various workouts I've got through BeachBody--the different P90X workouts and others. Yoga, in particular, is one of my absolute favorites for it's diverse benefits in helping with strength, balance, flexibility and stress release. Though it may seem difficult to dip your toes in and get a workout going, you typically feel energized and recharged within 10 minutes or so of moving. It's truly wonderful how our bodies were created to work. Those endorphins kick in after a bit of cardio work and pain starts to go away and your mood instantly lifts! This is why I like to do SOMEthing each day! It's not because I'm a 'fitness freak' who charges away with exercise because I'm some's because I like the TRUE and pure great and lasting feeling I get from my workouts. It sure doesn't leave me feeling dehydrated and hung over, that's for sure! Of course treating your body right and fueling it to be it's strongest involves eating and drinking thoughtfully and purposefully. I love to drink my Shakeology each day (the healthiest meal of the day for SURE) and to follow Michi's Ladder (message me on that if you're interested). Matt and I are always looking for ways to further positively tweak our eating for even more positive impact on our bodies.

I've found it really important to keep my mind challenged and active as well as my body. I want to stay alert and focused so that I am up to the task of problem solving with my husband to work our way out of our financial dilemma (or whatever the challenge may be that we need to get through...helping children with a problem, fixing something that breaks in the house, whatever). I want to be completely present! I've found that reading works wonders for the mind! It's nice to read some great works of fiction--that can be so fun--but I also like to combine that with reading about the body or biographies or history or some far away place. In the 4th grade class I taught the other day I diverted from the plans for about 15 minutes in the middle of the day to gather the students in a circle. We sat down together and I had us all go around the room and share something that we'd like to learn more about that we really have limited knowledge on. The answers were so varied and interesting! Then we brainstormed ideas for how we could find information on our topic of interest (libraries, internet, other people who could teach us, etc). It was an inspiring exercise that I enjoyed along with my students! My point was to get them interested in learning about things for the sake of learning! This is what I'm talking about...realizing the importance of challenging our brains and of utilizing more of their capacity! It keeps us engaged and active and helps to give us purpose and satisfaction.

Then there is the spiritual part of us. This is such an important part of who we are and yet I'd be willing to hazard a guess that it's probably one of the most undernourished elements of our being. Sometimes our internal dialog gets to buzzing around in our heads so fast. Add to that the keeping up with our daily grind--the routines and things that we have to tend to. Throw in a dose of worry over whatever challenges lay on our plates at any given moment and our poor wearied souls lay shrivelled and desperate for rejuvination. Ironically, I've found that we often come to the realization that our spirits need some TLC when faced with a crisis. I guess it's when you fall flat on your face that you realize you really need to slow it down and be more careful about tending to your core. For me, this means my relationship with God. I have a beautiful relationship with him and the knowledge that he resides inside me and all around. I speak to him throughout the day everyday and have faith that no matter what happens he ultimately works it out to good. I even need to remind myself, though, to take special REGULAR time to really get quiet with God. I like to take time to shut out the noise of the world and to relect on things with God and look for direction and guidance. Prayer is a wonderful thing. When I practice yoga--especially during the stretching and relaxation portions--I am taking that time to give thanks and to focus on the blessings that God has given lift up prayers. I consider the people in my life--my immediate and extended family, my friends and acquaintances, the adults and children that I work with and even people I happen upon during my day to be tremendous blessings. Any type of fellowship and communication with people is a way to nourish the spirit. I like not to take even the slightest of contact with another person for granted for this reason but to look for opportunity within each connection--however brief--to make it meaningful.
Somehow, we'll come through this dilemma. God is so very good and takes care of us--he always has. No doubt we are being formed and molded even more intricately through this experiece so that we might be used one day for greater purpose--perhaps to help and encourage another who will tread frantically in the shoes we are treading in now.

Maintaining this balance between mind, body and soul takes time and practice but I can tell you that focusing on each of these things has made me a happier person. Stresses DO come but they also will go. I have no doubt that our current problem will work itself out--somehow. Yes, I have some worries that crop up. I can't deny that. I'm human. Things upset me as they would anybody else. I like to not dwell and wallow in the worries, however. Moving forward through them is important to me. Making the most of each day is important to me. As we were reminded all too painfully recently: we truly do not know how long we'll be blessed with life together in this setting. I'd really hate to look back upon my life someday and realize that I'd wasted a good portion of it being consumed by my worries. I would much rather arm myself, through the tools that I've found to work, with healthy mind, body and soul to get through this life with mostly a smile on my face and lots of great relationships and memories with those people.

If you need a jump start getting started with an effective and fun fitness plan that's what I'm here for! I'm a BeachBody Coach and can help steer you toward one of our many you find one that suits your personality and needs. One of my purposes is to motivate others to strive for higher ground. I hope you'll allow me to do that for you through this blog. I know many of you are struggling in one form or another. People were made for people! Let me help you focus on the positive to transform yourself into a stronger you~

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Becoming a faster triathlete...and a stronger person

I am a triathlete.

I remember how epic it was when uttering that statement became a reality for me. I've been a runner on and off for over 20 years and always carried finishing a triathlon as a dream in my heart but never banked on it happening so soon. On Mother's Day of 2008, however, I participated in my first sprint triathlon with my mother-in-law--the Danskin Orlando at Disney. I was hooked; I'd caught the tri bug! I swam, I biked, and I ran my way to a finish line I'd been fantasizing over for several years.

My purpose in running and tri-ing is multifold. Of course using goals related to my sports are a way that I hold myself to a consistency regarding training and fitness. Most everybody knows how variables can play out in our lives to pull us away from regular exercise programs. Staying in healthy condition from the inside out is of prime importance to me because I know that it has a direct correlation upon how we feel and how positive and happy our lives are. Training for a triathlon, a marathon or even for a shorter foot race like a 5K is exciting and motivational.

A big part of why I "tri" is the comaraderie with the friends with whom I train. My son, Dustin, even trains with me and this is really a superior bonding opportunity. It's setting both of us up with quality memories and is giving Dustin and our daughters a positive image to cleave to in setting up the self standards for their own quality of life--I know that fitness is important to all 3 of them. In addition to these expected relational bonds, there is also an unspoken but powerful tie that you experience with the other people (in the case of the triathlons that I have done: all women) at the event itself. At the all-women tri's I've raced in people of literally all shapes, sizes and fitness levels come together for the common purpose of crossing the finish line. There is such a sense of excitement, loving support for all, kindness and goodwill. It's priceless to be a part of it all.

Notice that I did not mention that one of my goals was to place and take home a trophy. Winning in my age category or an overall prize is not something that I covet. Don't get me wrong. I've won a few 5K trophies in my life (admittedly for smaller races where the competition was less fierce!) and it feels GREAT! I would welcome the occasion again. It's just not an idea that consumes my thinking. My goals are more personal. My intention, with each triathlon, is to have a personal best--to shave time off of my overall race results with each event. It was also obvious to me that I would somehow need to become more confidant during open water swims because that was a source of trepidation that I'd somehow managed to plow through during my 1st two triathlons.

Back in May of this year I became an Independent BeachBody Coach and received the popular P90X training program. We excitedly embarqued on the P90X journey: a 90 day workout/nutrition plan which, as it says on the inner case, is your 'gym in a box!' I was no stranger to pushups and to weight work; I'd been working out at the gym along with the variety of cardio work. P90X, however, took Matt and I to a level of strength that was crazy exciting! Trainer Tony Horton takes you through every kind of pushup imaginable as well as a plethora of strength training moves--many very innovative--which made it imaginative and fun. We rode the P90X wave for the full 90 days...completing our workouts and drinking the awsome P90X recovery drink. I remember the realization that there was SOMEthing positive going on with my body because I'd run my hands up and down my upper arms and could feel a new tightness and definition materializing. Then there was the fact that I could now do the moves that I couldn't do when we began the program such as the entire YogaX dvd (even reverse half moon!) and divebomber pushups! The real proof would lie in my triathlon performance.

The main goal I listed everytime I completed my sweepstakes registration form (there's a chance to win EVERYDAY when you log into BeachBody's virtual gym while you work out) was: To gain strength and become a faster runner and triathlete. I knew that I had the new Trek Series Women's Sprint Triathlon looming in the distance. In fact, the event would occur 2 weeks after Matt and I were scheduled to complete our 1st 90 day round of P90X. That was perfect, I thought. So...I completed the triathlon this past Sunday...wanna know how I did?

Let me tell YOU! P90X ROCKS! I shaved about 6 minutes off of my overall time! That's a wonderful accomplishment. Even greater than that, however, was the difference it made for me in the water. Of course I got the prerace jitters right before Sally Edwards sent our wave into the lake (I still even get the jitters prior to 5Ks!) but the instant I hit the water I felt relaxed and calm. I felt STRONG! During my 1st two triathlons I had to take seemingly endless breaststroke breaks, got winded really easily, and even felt fairly freaked out in the water just because of the idea of it. THIS time I was able to power through the water with much less effort. I felt relaxed and happy. At one point, I recall coming to this realization I remember smiling as I freestyled my way around the course. My mouth actually busted out into a big grin with face under the water; the fish must have thought, "Who is this nutty red-headed woman with grin on her face while she's swimming?" (oh wait a minute, I had my navy-colored beanie stretched over my head...they couldn't see my hair. haha)!

The actual amount of time I improved over my last tri swim was just a minute's worth but the difference in how I felt during this leg of the tri was absolutely transformed! It was a pleasure and a joy to do the swim this time. It was awsome to feel the positive results from having trained to become better. Now I know that I can confidantly power myself even more quickly through the water rather than saving my energies in case I get tired. What was really great, too, was that my legs still felt strong and true as I ran out of the water as opposed to feeling like cooked spaghetti.

So, it worked! P90X trained me up like no other training I'd done before. Matt and I are giving ourselves 1 more week of break while we do other workouts and then we're going to hit it again. This time we'll be doing a round of P90X doubles (which involves throwing in extra cardio while you go through the program). I want to continue to get stronger and more fit not only for my triathlon and running goals but for the other obvious benefits the program brought me. I no longer experience low back pain. I'd gotten to the point of waking up every single morning completely locked up in bed...and I'm no granny! I'm a relatively young thing! Just a couple of weeks into P90X the back pain was gone. I feel more relaxed than ever and am getting full, restful nights of sleep. I can lift all kinds of crazy stuff around the house with ease, lol! Yardwork ain't nuthin' but a thang for me. I am Lisa; hear me roar!

Wanna jump on my parade and get stronger? fitter? faster? Pop on over to my website and order your P90X set! Don't wait a second longer! Go to (be sure to include that last /LisaErin bit and make sure the site says "Coach Lisa" once you're there) and order it today. There are loads of other success stories you can read about as well. I'd love to hear YOUR story!

~~To your health...and your strength~~


Saturday, September 5, 2009

When the world crushes down on your shoulders...

We all fall on hard times of one variety or another from time to time. It's a given fact of life that challenges will arise but I think a lot of us feel like we're due some sort of guaranteed, constant happiness. People do all sorts of things when they face these stressers: they take it out on those around them--sometimes resulting in a sort of emotional blackmail, they fall into depression, and many even turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. We all have problems. Even I--SunnySideUp Lisa--have problems! This week, in fact, has been a most challenging one for me.

My stepmom, after several months of illness, went to be with our Lord a week ago. My dad, siblings and other family members knew that it was coming but of course losing somebody to death is never easy. Her passing may well have been the best thing for her, as I was reminded, but that fact doesn't make the missing her any easier! It hurts! What hurts even more is that, due to pressed financial times (and that's putting it lightly) I could not get to Georgia to be with my family during any portion my stepmom's illness and not even for her funeral. What kicks me in the ribs the most is that, through their own grieving, I really don't think that my extended family truly knows neither how serious our situation is nor how upset I am that I could not make the trip. This may be my own sensitivity preying on me and making my mind work overtime (as my personality type usually allows) but I dont know--I'm sickened over the thought that perhaps they feel I blew it off. This is not so.

Add to all of that whole thing the day to day worry of making our bills that my husband and I have been facing right. It's rough for so many of us right now. Like my husband, many of you may have had to take pay cuts. Many of you may have actually lost your jobs! Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about (and you know who you are). ;) A couple of months behind on both the mortgage and the vehicle payment is not a happy place to be. We've cut back and skeletoned down even further--just when we thought we were as bare bones economically-minded as we could be. The bill collectors are a callin' and dropping in with pleasant little visits. These are full stress-potential times like no other for us!

Stress precursors come and stress precursors go. The world keeps on spinning and I've found a few ways to continue to move forward right along with it. None of these tips that I will share with you diminish the fact that the challenges are very real and that we have to face them and deal with them but they do help me to keep things in perspective and not get stuck in a pit of despair. I've got an incredibly fantastic husband who is right there on the same page with me, I have some loving, supportive and understanding family members, and I have more than my share of both longtime, dear friends as well as newer, growing friendships. Some of these folks are in the struggling financial pit with us and know first-hand the pains of being behind and others are just really great at showing empathy and compassion. Regardless of who you have in your life, RELATIONSHIPS are the first key. When you are facing a huge challenge it is the relationships that you have been nurturing that will become a most invaluable tool. Here's a little clue, too: we should all be nurturing those relationships continually---not just when we are in need! Relationships with others are what we were created to have and sometimes those are the first things to get dropped. Stressful times can be a good reminder as to how important our friends and family are and how--moving forward--we should place them high on the heirarchy of our lives if they've fallen short in the past. Sharing your problems with a close friend or relative who cares is such a freeing experience. Please don't bottle up your pent up emotions. Find somebody to share them with.

You probably know what I'm going to emphasize next. I have found that, without a doubt, staying physically active helps keep my emotions and feelings on an even keel and helps me to find balance and peace--even in the most stressful of times (actually, ESPECIALLY in the most stressful of times). It's been shown that our bodies store up our tensions even long after we think we've processed the situation in our minds. That's why it's so important to exercise regularly and consistently and not just in little occasional bursts here and there. If I'm feeling tightly wound over something and absolutely ready to explode with frustration, a run outdoors is just the ticket for me or sometimes it's a fast ride on my road bike, Creamsicle. The P90X Plyometrics and Core Synergistics workouts are other examples of intense workouts that drain me of every bit of stored up tension and put me right on time. Then there is my close buddy: Yoga. Yoga and I have become great friends and I would LOVE to introduce you! A good yoga session should provide you with such a harmonious blend of strength, balance, flexibility and relaxation poses after which you will undoubtably feel your troubles melt away. I try to do at least 2 yoga workouts each week (but usually more) and change it up between the 90 minute YogaX that comes with the P90X program and our Yoga Booty Ballet series. Yesterday afternoon was a particularly difficult time for me but after Matt and I did YogaX I felt so much better--it was a night and day difference. I slept well and woke up feeling great.

That brings up another important thought: rest, water and healthy food. We hear so often about the importance of staying hydrated with water, about being careful about what you fuel your body with and about getting plenty of rest. I'm not going to drone on about that now but I do want to emphasize that all 3 of these things are crucial to your overall good health and your ability to effectively and positively deal with stressful issues. Don't turn a deaf ear on the suggestions. Drink your water, eat healthfully and go to bed on time, if not early, people!

Nurturing relationships, physical activity of a high enough intensity and particular type, healthy good, water and rest are all pieces of the puzzle that I've found to help me weather the storms with a smile on my face. I also have to take a moment to mention that, in all of this, I give credit to my maker for the positive outlook I default to and for the drive to stay focused and stick with these uplifting and freeing outlets as opposed to allowing myself to be crushed. For me, living a healthy lifestyle is such a beautifully harmonious process involving a balance of mind, body and spirit through which God works to bring about beauty---even during the ugly moments.

Are you struggling and looking for a way to hold your head above the water? I'm not a counselor but I have a love for people and for helping people get healthier (thus happier). I'm an Independent Beach Body coach and would love to hear your story and help you find your way out of the mud. I'd be happy to tell you more about P90X, Yoga Booty Ballet or any of our other programs. I'd also be happy just to listen :) ~~To your health and happiness~~

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Has a workout ever brought YOU to tears?

Most of you would probably say "YES! or at least NEARLY to tears!" and in that comment you'd most likely be talking about pushing yourself to the point of pain and agony because the move you were working yourself through was so difficult. That usually brings me to a point of having to bite the foul words from rolling off my tongue. I've been brought to tears several times during a variety of different moves but the tears were of a different variety.

An article that I found today on MSNBC talks about being 'moved to tears' due one of a couple of reasons. First of all, there is research that shows that exercise brings us to a release of pent-up emotions. The 2nd explanation is that people possibly become more contemplative of life during certain exercises (such as yoga, for example). In ruminating over the different times I've had a teary reaction to exercise I've come to the conclusion that, for me, it's a healthy combination of both of those instances.

During my 1st round of BeachBody's rigorous and highly popular P90X program, I found myself on the brink absolutely busting out into tears at the end of the fast-paced, full exersion "Vertical Punches" move of the KenpoX workout. It happened every single time. I'd follow trainer Tony Horton and crew in punching upward and across with alternating fists---starting slowly and methodically at first---culiminating in a frenetic punchfest that left me gulping for air...not because it was beyond my aerobic capacity but because I was moved to TEARS!

In other circumstances, I've noticed that the tears sprung from more emotional responses to exercise. This usually happens to me during yoga. In fact, it happened today (which is what moved me to share). I've finished my 1st round of P90X and am exploring my other BeachBody programs that came with my coaching kit until I start P90X round 2. Yoga Booty Ballet was my program of choice today and it is so me! I loved it! Men and woman alike can glean tons of positivity and an awsome workout from it but it sure made me feel all woman. The music, settings and colors were beautiful and exotic and the harmonizing blend of fun dancy moves, strengthening ballet moves and yoga challenged me aerobically, worked my muscles and stretched and relaxed me. I felt so at peace and balanced by the completion of the YBB dvd. Then it happened again: the feeling welled up from down deep, made my throat clench briefly until I recognized what was happening and just welcomed the tears and gave in to them. It was beautiful. For me, yoga is a special time of getting quiet with myself and with God and the whole hour and 10 minutes I had just spent in my workout felt like a treat at a faraway and beautiful spiritual and physical health spa~

Exercise won't always result in bringing you to tears. Some people never experience that. Experiencing the increased strength, flexibility and endurance I have through regular exercise and the calming peace that results from offering up the effort and then collecting the benefits has shown me, without a doubt, that it is absolutely crucial to a happy and fulfilling life. It has made me an even better person. It has made me more at peace with who I am and, in turn, better prepares me to positively impact the lives of those around me and enjoy all that this beautiful world has to offer.

It's hard to know where to start; you just have to jump in and do it. I'm not a doctor, therapist or nutritionist but I'm an Independent BeachBody Coach and can get you started on a path including an exercise and nutrition program that will change your life in an infinite number of positive ways be it with Yoga Booty Ballet, P90X or any of a number of other programs we've got. When you're ready, leave me a comment, drop me an email, find me on facebook or head directly over to my BeachBody site at (be sure it says "Coach Lisa" once you log into the site). Time to get your groove on, folks! Tears, smiles, laughter and high's all good~~

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Healthy Homemade Pizza Recipe!

Ok, my friends! I got enough pleas--mainly through Facebook--to please post the pizza dough recipe that I use so I'm going to do so right here and right now! I have to give credit where credit it due. All of these years I've been using the recipe I got from Pampered Chef when I ordered my pizza stones and have tweaked it just a bit by adding whole wheat flour. I have to say, using pizza stones makes all the difference in the world in a positive and scrumptious end result. Aside from my Kitchenaide mixer, they're probably my favorite kitchen tool.

So, the basic Pampered Chef "Quick Mix Pizza Dough" recipe a la Lisa Amos is as follows:

1 cup water

2 T olive oil

3-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided (this is where my tweaking comes in...I typically substitute about half of the all purpose with whole wheat flour)

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat water and oil to 120F (for me, this translates into microwave it in a bowl for about a minute 40 don't want it to be too cold OR too hot though so use a thermometer if you need to til you get the hang of it). Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add warm water mixture and beat w/an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Stir in an additional 1 1/2 cups flour by hand to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes, adding the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Dough should be smooth and elastic, but not sticky when kneading is complete. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl (I use a smidge of olive oil...keeping it healthiest), turning dough over to grease top. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

Preheat over to 450F. Punch dough down and divide in half. Dough may be frozen at this point if desired for later use. Press half of dough out into a 13-14 inch circle directly on the baking stone. A rolling pin may be used if desired. Form a thick ridge around the edge to hold the toppings. Prick the surface of the dough thoroughly with a fork. Parbake the crust for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Add your favorite toppings and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until crust is crisp and cheese is lightly browned.

Yield: 2 crusts


Ok, with the exception of what I typed in parentheses above that is the Pampered Chef recipe. Many of you have actually eaten my pizzas and I have to say I bake it a little differently than the recipe states. I do not parbake it. I just roll it out, spread some of my homemade sauce on there, put whatever toppings on that I'm using and pop it in the oven to bake once all together.

Another helpful note: If you'd like the crust to be a little bit on the thicker side then I'd suggest using the above recipe for one pie. If you like thin and crispy (like I do) then divide in half like the recipe states and use for 2 thin crust pizzas. For our family, I typically double the above recipe each Family Fun Friday and use one of the recipes for a thicker pie and the other half of the doubled recipe to make two thin crust pies.

To make a healthy pizza sauce, I simply combine a can of tomato sauce (low salt would be ideal) in a saucepan along with 1 packet of splenda, fresh garlic or some garlic powder (NOT garlic salt!), onion powder and some fresh, chopped basil, oregano and thyme from my herb container garden. Bring it to a light boil then drop the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes. Then I like to toss in a tablespoon or so of grated parmesian cheese for added thickness and flavor!

Our children typically go for the thicker crust and usually just want a half cheese/half pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni is horrible for you! But, I believe in moderation and not being an annoying long as you truly keep it in moderation. There only ends up being 1 slice of pepperoni on each pepperoni piece and if my children eat just 1 or 2 little slices of turkey pepperoni each week I'm cool with that. They're highly active and eat really well otherwise.

On mine and Matt's pizzas I love to get really creative! I will usually stick mainly to all veggies. My favorites to use are spinach leaves, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and mushrooms and sometimes I also use bell peppers, tomatos sliced really thinly, black olives and any number of other things. I will typically toss a VERY light sprinkling of grated mozzarella over our pies...probably no more than 1/3 cup over the whole thing--just enough cheese to give it some flavor and to get that delightful visual effect of melty, stringy cheese without blasting ourselves with unnecessary calories. I mean, really, I enjoy the experience of all of the unique flavors from all of the different ingredients dancing around on my palate--not to be overwhelmed by any one thing. At any rate, I also usually like to sprinkle a weensy bit of feta over the top and then drizzle a wee bit of olive oil--maybe a teaspoon or two--over the top of everything.

~Simply DIVINE!~

I can't tell you how much fun I've had getting creative with my pizza making regarding what toppings to use. Every now and then it's fun to get nuts with a BBQ chicken pizza or maybe a buffalo chicken pizza. In general, when trying to eat as healthfully as possible, you want to keep the sugar, salt and fat to a minimum. So, you don't want to go too nuts too often. Try to stick with those wonderful basics (in all of your cooking): fruit and veggies, whole grains and lean protein. Have fun with your pizzas. If you make a BBQ pizza one day then just shuffle your family out the door together later for a nice brisk walk, a scrimmage game of soccer or maybe a race around the block!

Oh, for those trying to keep track of that calorie intake, I've calculated the basic dough recipe. If you use 3 cups of flour (1 1/2 whole wheat and 1 1/2 all purp) like I do, and slice each pie into 8 slices, your calories would be 189 per slice for a thicker crust pizza and 95 calories per slice for a thin crust. Then simply add whatever calories to that for your sauce and toppings. If you stick to a plethora of veggies and use just that smidge of cheese you'll find this to be a very economically caloric meal! If you need more help determining how many calories you should be aiming for each day please visit my site at You can sign up for free--I'd love to help you set goals for becoming more healthy and help give you the tools to get there. It's all about trekking out on the path to living healthfully and happily and ENJOYING the ride!

~To your health~

Lisa :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Family Fun Friday

Yes!! It's Family Fun Friday!

Several years ago, I felt the need to start some really fun traditions for our young family. I wanted to find things that we could look forward to regularly and come to depend on and find comfort and togetherness in. "Family Fun Friday" was born out of this longing.

For us, Family Fun Friday (which we ALWAYS call it) means that I'll be making my homemade pizza and we'll do some cozy and fun things together as a family here at home, typically. Sometimes we'll play a board game or two (we have LOADS...some of our favorites are Cranium Family Fun, Scattergories, Rummicube and Mad Gab), perhaps go for a swim in our pool and enjoy a rousing game of beach ball volleyball, maybe watch a DVD together.

As our children have gotten older we'll tweak Family Fun Friday a little bit to add some pizzazz. For example, an addition we included within this past year was that every Family Fun Friday each family member can--ahem--burp and fart without having to say excuse me. Rofl. Seriously. It's not just a casual thing in passing. Oh no! Because we typically appreciate and require the standard good manners that go along with such an event it seems to have become a sort of contest to see how 'good' of an explosion everyone can conjure up. I'm known amongst my family members for being the sorriest burper to ever walk the planet, by the way...but I digress.

It's incredible to think about how I've been making these homemade pizzas most every Friday for EIGHT years! Our son was in kindergarten we we started the tradition and he'll be in his last year of middle school soon, for goodness sake! It's been something special that we've all shared together during this time and hopefully we'll be blessed with many more Family Fun Fridays together. It's all about the importance of family togetherness--sharing and SHOWING our love for one another through good times--by TAKING the time to be together despite all of those things that 'have to get done.'

I'm a firm believer that a truly healthy and happy lifestyle includes, of course, the very important elements of healthy eating and of physical fitness but also of love and of relationships. For me, those important relationships are with God, with my husband, with our 3 fantastic children, our extended family and our friends. We so often think of love as a feeling...cause it so often feels GREAT! But "love" is actually an ACTION! You won't always be feeling top notch, feeling all peachy or feeling 'in love' but you can overcome the feelings of negativity by focusing on the relationships in your life and by bestowing acts of love upon the people you care about. Family traditions are a great way to pull all of that together and make sure that you're all making special time for eachother.

Working out faithfully and eating healthfully also go hand in hand with consistently feeling better. The better you feel the more well-equipped you are to give of yourself. Matt and I were really tired yesterday but made a pact with eachother that we'd get our P90X workouts done and boy did we ever feel GREAT afterward! Exercise is PROVEN to make you feel better. If you haven't deduced already, I'm a BeachBody Coach and genuinely want to help as many people as I can make that positive change in their lives by finding a fitness regimine that you actually like and will stick's a lifetime change, afterall! P90X is absolutely fantastic but there are people of all types; as such, we've got programs of all types for all different likes.

Incidentally, my focus in making these homemade pizzas is to make them as healthfully as I can and still end up with a super tasty pie that everyone in the family loves! The children still, typically, enjoy a plain cheese or a pizza with a few pepperoni sprinkled on it but I make whole wheat crusts. Matt and I particularly like the thin crusts and, for ours, I'll often throw cut spinach leaves, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, black olives and just a LIGHT sprinking of mozzarella cheese on there with a slight dusting of feta cheese and a weensy dribble of olive oil over the top. The flavor is incredible, we hit most of the major food groups, the health value is high and it's just such fun!

I'd be happy to share my homemade pizza recipe if there's interest. Y'all just leave me some comments at the bottom of this post. Also drop me a line to learn more about the BeachBody fitness programs we have can also just pop directly over to my site at (please make sure you type in that last bit...the /LisaErin part).

So, to you and your relationships: Here's to staying healthy and rejoicing in the love that's all around and within us!~~Slainte!~~

Monday, July 27, 2009

Your Reason Why

Ok, the cat's been out of the bag for a long time. It's no surprise that most people embark on a fitness plan to attempt to lose weight, drop a dress size or belt size (or two), fit into a pair of skinny jeans, etc. Call it what you may but it boils down to a focus on a physical change. I'm not here to disparage that fact. It's important. America is still having a huge problem (pardon the pun) with obesity and something does have to be done about it. But get a load of this: did you happen to know that, of the hundreds of thousands of people who set out on some kind of diet or "weight loss program," just about NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT of them result in failure? What's THAT all about?!

I'll tell ya what it's about: their fitness focus is all wrong! There are a plethora of positive benefits that exercise is ready to provide you with but they, unfortunately, often get overshadowed by the "I just want to lose weight" monster. When you exercise for 20 minutes a day or more, you give your body the immediate gifts of alleviating stress, feeling better (due to the release of those awsome chemicals in your body called endorphins), being more equipped to fight off illness, the ability to reduce or elimate certain ailments (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type II diabetes), and that sense of satisfaction that comes following a tough workout of any kind. (My friends in fitness will attest to this...can I get an "Amen)?"

We all have tough days. There are times when a grueling day makes you feel plain ole tuckered out or achey and you just want to bathe, put on those pj's and kick your feet up. The thought of working out isn't even remotely inspirational. Ironically, I've found that--during those particular type of moments--thinking about my desire to lose a few pounds or inches makes me almost rebellious to the idea of donning my sneakers and popping in a workout dvd or going for a run. My take on that? I think it's a frustration in the idea that I'm allowing myself to focus on how I think society in general looks upon us. That old chestnut of having to fit a certain mold, to look a certain way, to be 'skinny." (there, I said it). So when I'm tired and worn out the thought of mustering up a workout for the specific purpose of looking a certain way for others who I don't even care about (that sounds too harsh for me...I think you know what I mean though) just sends me into my pj's with the longing for a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips! It's a mind game sort of thing.

We've got to find a 'reason why,' people. We have to turn within and really search for those reasons why we should work out regularly--6 days a week--EVEN when we don't feel like it. I'll share my reasons why to get your brains's that important:
~Lisa's reason #1: to experience that AWSOME and almost indescribably positive post workout feeling
~Lisa's reason#2: to increase my strength so as to positively effect all other elements of my life (from participating in triathlons and foot races to your more mundane tasks such as lifting things in and around the house without straining myself)
~Lisa's reason #3: to everything humanly possible to exponentially increase the quality of my life here on earth; to do everything I can to remain as healthy as I can in the hopes and with the prayers that I will live a long life and be able to share it in an active, fun and happy way with my husband, our children and (someday...LONG from now...their children) :)
~Lisa's reason #4: to eliminate or at least reduce those dreaded aches and pains that are otherwise inevitable as we age

Keep in mind, too, folks...the food that you eat is equally important as making sure to get in good, quality exercise 6 days per week. The main goal is to 'eat clean' by focusing on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins whilst minimizing the salt, sugar and fat in your diet. When you consistently eat healthfully and avoid those nasty foods (as our trainer, Tony Horton, likes to call them :) you'll find that your body craves the baddies less and less..particularly if you're getting that daily exercise in.

People, embarking on that fitness plan is of the utmost importance! I've just heard that the last 20 to 30 years of your life depends on it! There, I've just GIVEN you one of your 'reasons why:' to live a quality life during the latter few decades of it. You MUST take care of your body now so that it treats you right later. Find those other 'reasons why' and then, if you need help finding an excellent and complete fitness program to get you moving the way you should be and to keep you from getting bored then contact me. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist but I AM an Independent BeachBody coach and can set you up on one of our phenominal programs like P90X, among others. That's the program that my husband and I are using and I have been ASTOUNDED by the fitness gains I've made--by leaps and bounds--in just the 9 weeks that we've been 'pushing play.' If you need to lose weight, you know who you are. I can help you with that but let's find other more lasting reasons to get and to STAY fit, shall we?

~To your health!~
Lisa :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Why reinvent the wheel?

I thought I could do it. I cook healthful meals for my family. We pay attention to what we eat and try to make the heathier choices when it comes to nutrition such as using whole wheat flour in my pizza, pancake and muffin recipes, using olive oil instead of butter, staying well away from fried foods and making healthier, roasted versions instead. I could go on and on but you get the picture. So, when I dove into BeachBody's P90X workout program 5 weeks ago I really thought, "I've got the nutrition thing covered. I don't need to follow the specifically laid out meal plan. I'll just cook my own foods." This is an option that the program gives you, afterall.

Things were going very well with P90X. I've been faithful to my daily workouts and in 'bringing it' each time I push play (BeachBody'isms that we use meaning to push play on your dvds and give it your all when you do). I could instantly feel my body adjusting to the increased work I was asking it to do and could feel myself transforming into an even stronger woman! The thing that I kind of chuckle over lately is how I often find myself running my hands up and down my arms because it's so pleasing to actually feel the lean and beautiful muscles taking shape. No doubt about it, I'm seeing fantastic progress through P90X.

But another big part of my goal, aside from getting lean, ripped muscle tone is to lose the excess but of flabbola that I've got clinging to my 'womanly areas' (read: stomach area, bootiekins and thighs). No matter how much triathlon training and running I've done that dang fat just seems to want to cling onto me in those areas like a baby monkey to it's mama. 5 weeks into the program, I KNOW my abs are killer stronger. You can gauge this by comparing how well you did w/the exercises when you first began to how well you're able to keep up now. There were moves in the Ab RipperX workout that I had to modify or that I couldn't finish all 25 reps on when I began P90X that I'm able to hang with all the way through to the end these days (and I'm only a monkey toehair past being 1/3 the way done. Imagine me 2 months from now)! But still that excess jiggle that annoys me to no end remains, dagnabbit!

The thing is, though, you can work out as hard as you want and do killer ab moves til the cows come home but if you ignore the nutrition aspect of the equation you're missing a crucial part and you will NOT meet the goals you seek. Ignore the nutrition aspect? But I thought I was eating well! I cook healthfully and consider myself a health-minded person in general! I had to take a hard, honest look and figure out what was going on. Truth be told, those calories add up faster than you can imagine. A little 'harmless' snacky bite of this and another bite of that can throw you over your daily calorie total before you blink an eye. Those calories can be sneaky. I'd go to bed thinking I'd done so well but if I'd have actually journaled every single bite of what I'd eaten each day my guess is that I would have been coming in about 3-400 calories beyond my target calorie total daily---at least. That doesn't sound like a lot, does it. But thinking of weight loss as a specific equation where you have GOT to burn off more calories than you are taking in (it's really as simple as's all of the emotional eating garbage that muddles the picture and messes us up) it's no wonder I'm not losing that excess stuff I want to lose. I wasn't OVEReating...I was maintaining the position where I'm at. But that's not my goal; my goal is two-fold: to get stronger AND to lose the extra flabbola!

My peeps, you simply CANNOT ignore the nutrition piece of a weight loss program. Exercise is the other integral part...and kudos to you (and me!) if you are doing that. The time has come to stick to an eating plan that you can live with for the rest of your life. On that note, why reinvent the wheel? Here I was, a little tenacious woman who thought I could manage it on my own but even being dedicated to healthy eating I was not hitting my target. BeachBody, through the many exercise programs that are available and the information and tools available on the website, offers a great resource to help you reach your goals. Right there on my site you will find a calorie calculator to help you figure out just how many calories you should be taking in to reach a specific weight loss goal. Many of the programs (such as my P90X, Slim in 6, ChaLEAN Extreme and others) give you a detailed nutrition guide/plan so that it takes the guesswork out of the whole thing. So, I've opened up my beautiful, glossy nutrition booklet that I received with my P90X kit and am now following the menu plan; it even gives recipes and, let me tell you, they are DEElicious!

I touched on the emotional part of overeating. Let me not discount that thorn in our side. There are many reasons why people do it but the commonality is that we all MUST find a way to STOP doing it. I have suggestions for you on that as well. First of all, you NEED support and accountability. You've got to find somebody with whom you can get honest with to tell them of your struggles and ask them for help in the encouragement department. As a BeachBody coach and a person who cares about your health, I can be that person for you. Also, eventually eating healthfully and knowing how much and when to eat will come naturally to you but, in the meantime, it is CRUCIAL that you journal what you eat (and drink) each day. Every morsel. Every bite! Some people get all kinds of detailed logging how much protein, carbs, etc (I used to be that 'some people)' but that is simply not necessary unless you want to. Just list the date, time, what you ate and the calories. Keep track of how much water you drank and notate what exercise you did (and at what time) along with notating how you felt that day, etc. This will help you see any particular patterns that you might want to be aware of (like did you notice yourself reaching for more food later in the evening out of boredom)?

A few other tips I've learned along the way: GET TO BED at night at a decent hour! Don't stay up playing around on the computer or watching tv...that's when a lot of unneccessary eating happens. We often ignore the signals from our body when it tells us it's TIRED. Get to bed at a decent hour! If you feel yourself experiencing a craving for a calorie-laden food or if you feel like eating when you know you really shouldn't be hungry, INTERRUPT yourself! You have to get in the habit of NOT making those endless trips to the fridge and pantry. Pop in one of your BeachBody workouts, go for a walk or a swim, do ANYthing that will take your mind off of it (or at least keep you from that blasted fridge)! In most cases, after about 15 minutes the feeling will pass and you can pat yourself on the back! Also, DRINK WATER! Oftentimes, when we think we are 'just soooo hungry' we are actually VERY FLIPPIN THIRSTY! There's nothin like water! Drink up!

It took a bit of time to form these less than desireable habits and to put the excess flab on. Be kind to yourself and take this step toward true happiness and good health. You'll feel better and you'll be setting a super example for others around you---young and old. To find out how to buy P90X or any other of our excellent programs and to get on the path to regular exercise and healthy eating, head over to my main site at Would love for you to share comments below as well.

To our health~

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Getting started...the most difficult hurdle

Welcome! You know, I've been meaning to start this blog for quite awhile now. The thought of it has been nagging away at me and that little, inner voice has been repeating the words, "Come on, Lisa, what are you WAITING for?!" What is it about just getting started on things that feels so overwhelming and why do we often default to pushing the task at hand further and further away? I mean, the thing we keep avoiding usually provides us with some sort of positive impact in our lives (be it organizing a wreck of a closet, calling a friend or loved one, getting to the doctor for our routine checkup, cleaning the JUNK out of our fridge and pantry & beginning to eat clean, starting an exercise program or beginning a blog)! I guess it really just boils down to placing the "Thing to Do" higher on our list of priorities than we have been and then simply following through.

Ahhh, but we don't make it seem so simple, do we? I kept thinking of all of the little details involved with starting a health and fitness-specific blog:

~Had to decide which website to go through

~Needed to come up with a catchy and meaningful title

~Still have to finish putting together my mailing list of all of the wonderful people I know so that I can invite and encourage them to follow my blog regularly

~Wondered about how labor intensive creating this baby would be!

(and finally)

~Had to just stop making excuses for my time and place "Create blog" as an 'item A' on my to do list and park it in front of my computer to do it!

Once I got started, WOW! The ideas came right to me and all of the steps flowed along so well. Excitement is mounting! I'm so happy and relieved to have finally walked through the door. I've completed the hardest part: tackling the mental monster! I had the task in mind, had the tools that I needed, and just took the time to BEGIN.

You know, it works the same way with beginning an exercise and healthy eating plan. We all know we SHOULD do it and, down deep, we want to as well. We know healthy eating and exercise are good for us and, well, let me tell you that your LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! We know that we want to look hot, feel more energetic and be here (God willing) for as long as we possibly can to enjoy the beauty of this earth that are provided for us in nature and through relationships of all kinds with other people. But it can be so overwhelming to just get started! Many folks simply don't know where to begin. They have a general idea of the task at hand but lack specific goals as well as the tools that they need to make a successful transition into healthy and fit living. Could this be you?

~~~>>>>ENTER ME!!!! :)

We are all at different levels of fitness and health but we all share something in common: we all should be continually involved in healthy eating and in some type of fitness routine and we need to change it up from time to time to keep both our bodies guessing (so we see continual improvement) and our minds from getting bored. So you see, no matter what your current situation is, I can help---whether the heaviest thing you've lifted lately is the remote control and a bag of chips or you are training for your umpteenth marathon. We've just got to stop pushing the task of STARTING a fitness plan to the bottom of the barrell, place it as an "A item" on our list and push open that door with the ENTER sign on it with finesse! No matter how deflated you may feel now, I can help you take that step and promise to motivate you along YOUR path to flourishing. There is no more room for excuses and delays. You are worth it. Now jump that hurdle and claim your prize! Drop me a line for more info~