Category Archives: Learning

Half My Size: A Weight Loss Journey

by on January 28, 2015

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By Randi  Reed, PJCC Assistant Camp Director

Everyone asks me what happened. How did I do it?

As a teenager at age 16 I weighed 350 lbs. If that sounds like it would be hard to overcome, it was.

I had PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and I knew if I kept going and growing the way I was, I would have died. With help from my doctor to get the PCOS and hormones under control I worked on my diet! I drastically reduced my CALORIE intake and started moving my body. In 9 months I dropped 90 lbs! From there I continued watching what I ate and my portions and kept exercising. I hit plateaus and still had some bad eating habits but I remained dedicated and continued to lose.

FLASH FORWARD 6 years! Down to 215 lbs! I lived in NYC, I was active and healthy, yet still a big girl! I decided it was time to get my PCOS checked again. Low and behold I no longer had signs of this disease! Could the weight loss have something to do with it! YES! Weight loss can help reverse and eliminate PCOS. But I was still obese. Staying motivated with so much to lose is hard. I finally joined Weight Watchers in September 2010 for the additional support and motivation!

FLASH FORWARD to today!  I’m at 165 lbs. and STAYING THERE!
I am a healthy weight. My heart, lungs, joints and brain are all a lot happier, healthier, and free from the stress of the extra weight. By drastically reducing my calorie intake, controlling my portions and paying attention to how much I consume, paired with lots of interval training–free weights, walking, jogging, yoga, anything to get me to move, and move more–I did it! This is not something that was a fad diet. It was a full-on lifestyle change!

This, in a nutshell, is what I did to get where I am today and stay this way. I didn’t yo-yo diet. I slowly lost and gained at times over a 10 year time span, but I changed my habits. I now can control this food addiction and obesity! This is a disease you give yourself and you can change it!  You can do it too but you have to want it. You have to know that your beautiful heart should keep pumping and bringing the world that beautiful you! Don’t make it work so hard pumping extra hard for your fat! Love your heart, love your body, love yourself and change for the healthier! I did.

Q & A

What are the key components to losing weight?
S.M.A.R.T Goals:

  • Specific – Target a specific area for improvement. If you want to lose weight HOW MUCH? if you want to wear new pants WHAT SIZE? Don’t just pick a random number or random goal, BE SPECIFIC, give it value and it will be easier to remember and work for. VALUE IS KEY.
  • Measurable – Quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress. I will lose two pounds a week. I will go on a walk 4 times a week. My pants are currently this size. I currently weigh this much. Measure these things and set those goals. And see how they change. Weight is one measurement, but clothing size, underwear size, and cardiovascular capacity (I can walk for this long till I have to stop and rest) are all good to use too.
  • Achievable – Specify goals that are reachable. Trying to lose 30 pounds in month is not possible. You need to understand what is possible and work for that. Setting yourself up to lose 10lbs in a week will ultimately make you frustrated if you fail. 1-2 lbs. a week is a good and safe rule of thumb for weight loss that is sustainable achievable.
  • Realistic – State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources. Can you really workout for 3 hours a day? Or would working out for an hour be possible with a long walk later? If you are realistic you will be better able to keep up.
  • Time-related – Specify when the result(s) can be achieved. If you give yourself a timeline, then you have goals you can reach. Big goals and small milestones. Take things week by week but have an overall goal.

What got you back on track when you cheated a bit?
I don’t like the word cheating, it’s not a test! We are all grownups and we make choices. If I choose to have a cupcake then I am going to eat all of the cupcake? What am I going to eat the rest of the day? Will I make a healthier choice later today? How will this affect me? Will I be ok if I eat this? Will I be ok if I don’t eat this? What I can have instead of this?

You are not a bad person if you happen to not make a healthier choice; you are not a bad person if you eat some pizza, or cheese, or a cupcake, or lots and lots of gummier bears at the movies. Just be AWARE of what you are eating and HOW MUCH. Don’t play the game of “well I ruined my diet today oh well” and then go on and eat anything and everything you can get your hands on. If you never allow yourself a treat or something you enjoy and deprive yourself then you will go overboard and overeat. I like to have a little, be satiated and WALK AWAY! And as my brother in-law always says “you can’t out run your mouth”, so be aware of what you are eating! For example if I am going out for dinner I make sure everything I am eating during are healthy choices, veggies, fruits, lean meats and drinking lots of water. That way when I get to dinner that evening I will choose something sensible on the menu and enjoy that and maybe a glass of wine with dinner! Losing weight is not easy and it takes work. But it can be done you just can’t sabotage yourself.

It took a long time to reach your goal. How did you stay motivated for the long term?
Every time I run a mile, or bike up a big hill or complete a race of some kind I think back to where I was. I could not do those things even though I wanted to. My motivation is my health. Each and every day I make the choice to treat my body well. And my body gives me so much. I can help it and keep it moving like a well-oiled machine. I make the choice every day to doing something good for my body. This can be done, no one is perfect and it takes time, patience, and determination.

Visit Randi’s blog to read more about her journey.

Need some help meeting your weight loss goals?  Try the PJCC’s new program with a holistic approach to food!  Visit Weight Loss Your Way >>

Wellness Coaching. What’s In It For Me?

by on January 6, 2015

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As a wellness coach, I am asked this question on a regular basis. I like to respond by relating the coaching I do to that of any other coach: A coach is someone who can help you make specific improvements to your technique which will add value to your overall game.  A good coach does this by shining a new perspective on an activity or simply holding their pupil accountable to their goals. You use a running coach to improve your running skills and timing. And if you want help to improve your wellness, you hire a wellness coach.

Defining Wellness

Generally the term “wellness” is to have a healthy balance of the mind, body, and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being.  Relationships, sleep, exercise, work and spirituality (to name a few) are all areas in life that can cause a great deal of joy as well as stress. They feed our energy and vitality, much like eating food does. To achieve long-term wellness one must take care to keep all these elements in balance.

When practicing full mind/body wellness it helps to go beyond the surface to tap into the root of your internal roadblocks and inspirations. Take note of areas in your life that are out of balance, what makes you happy and compels you forward versus what brings you down and derails your plan.  But seeing  and/or acknowledging areas that need work may not be as easy as it sounds.

Education + Accountability = Success

A wellness coach is trained in techniques which help you take that deeper look at what you would like “more” or “less” in your life. What brings you joy and what causes stress. In other words, we work with our clients to identify areas in life that could use a positive facelift. Using this as a starting point, the coach then becomes a mentor to help educate and motivate you to take the baby-steps to a more balanced life.

In the supportive and self-empowering environment provided by a wellness coach, you begin to succeed in areas you’ve been wanting to change or improve upon for a long time. Together with your coach, you will create a plan and schedule that will allow you to keep things on track, allowing for more succeed.  It’s truly amazing how even the slightest changes can have dramatic impact on a person’s lifestyle balance and health. Developing a history of success only creates positivity which leads to self-confidence and is often followed by more success. But at times we all need a helping hand to take the first step and keep moving forward. That’s when it’s time to enlist a wellness coach.

Here are a few questions to help you get your wellness plan started:

What is your stressor area you need to work on?

What is one thing you’ve done in the past to deal with this issue?

What is one thing you can do today to help your wellness picture became more balanced and how will accomplish it?

Visit the PJCC website to see all of the classes and activities that can help you achieve your goals!

Strategies For Reinventing Your Resolutions

by on December 31, 2014

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Making, and then breaking, the same promises every year can be exhausting. Jeannie   Solomon, PJCC Wellness Coach, uses helpful strategies to help clients stay on track. Here, she shares her “tools of the trade” to help you reinvent your resolutions and—ultimately—yourself.

Define Your Wellness
Relationships, sleep, exercise, work, and spirituality (to name a few) are all forces that can cause great joy as well as great stress, feeding our energy and vitality. To achieve long-term wellness, it’s important to keep all elements in balance. When practicing full mind/body wellness, go beyond the surface to tap into the root of your internal roadblocks. Identify areas in your life that seem out of balance: what makes you happy and compels you forward versus what brings you down and derails your plan?

Be Determined Not Discouraged
Our inner voice has a huge effect on how we move forward toward reaching our goals and determination is a powerful tool. When we berate ourselves for not doing what we think we “should” be doing, our self-worth wavers and we let our guard down. The next time, notice when you feel discouraged and replace that negative voice with a positive one. In time you will own that determination and you will succeed.

Success Feeds Confidence And Confidence Leads To Success
Nothing feeds personal confidence better than success. Pick small attainable steps to achieving your goals and acknowledge every milestone. No small victories should be overlooked, specially while you’re just starting your journey. When you falter, don’t linger in that place. Remind yourself that failure is temporary and move on.

See The Change
Visualization is a powerful tool that successful people love to use because it works! One of the best and easiest tips is to surround yourself with visual reminders to help boost your motivation. Start each day by visualizing the person you want to be and setting a personal goal for that day. Revisit your intent throughout the day and don’t give up.

Focus On The Possibilities
Lifestyle changes are a process that take time and require support. Once you’re ready to make a change, the difficult part is  committing and following through. Do your research and make a plan that will prepare you for success. Careful planning means setting small goals and taking one step at a time.

Replace Expectations With Plans
One of the biggest deal breakers when it comes to striving toward a goal is a crushed expectation. Expectations are based mostly on emotions and are self-imposed ideas of what an outcome should be. Replace expectations with hard plans to follow through. This will allow you to set the tone and take ownership of your journey.

This Is Not A Sprint, But A Journey
Never give up! It’s important to move forward with the understanding that this is not a short-term change, but a lifealtering moment. Give yourself time. Be kind to yourself, but don’t go too easy. Embrace the challenge and you will succeed.

 If you would like a personal consultation with Jeannie Solomon, see www.pjcc.org.

Baby Talk Before Baby Talks

by on December 16, 2014

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How Baby Sign Language Can Help Ease Frustration

Every parent’s been there, those fraught moments when their cuddly, cooing, oh-so-cute baby suddenly turns into a cranky, frustrated infant or toddler, spitting food, constantly crying, or even throwing tantrums. When it’s a toss-up over who’s more frantic and confused, baby or mommy, and it’s definitely not colic, a bump or a burp, there’s an ingenious way to ask baby “What’s up?” The little tyke may not yet have any words but definitely demands to be heard.

To bridge this super charged communication gap, Touch Blue Sky’s Baby Sign Language dedicated instructors teach new parents how “to talk” with their young offspring via American Sign Language. The amazing results calm everyone, get baby’s message across and offer brain enhancing benefits: accelerated language ability, reduced aggressive behavior and positive interaction plus the bonus of a stronger bond between baby and parent.

The fun-filled classes with songs and interactive activities teach classic American Sign Language to parents (babies welcome), who then weave it into their infants’ everyday routines. Tricky to learn from a book, however an experienced “personal trainer” can fuse the nuance of signs, sounds and gestures that will work—and stick.

Parents begin Touch Blue Sky programs just as children’s long-term memory and motor skills kick in at about 6-8 months old.  At 8-10 months, as kids start mimicking adults and gesturing their wants, simple signing provides a jump-start for the verbal skills ahead. The 90 minute Introductory Workshop presents the basics and benefits of signing (with a proof-positive video of adorable babies signing), prior to the follow-up six weeks of themed, one hour courses designed to help absorb about 100+ signs (for foods, colors, clothes, animals, playtime, etc.), that cement the magic.

According to Teacher Bill, even the youngest babies want to be connected to the world around them and can be clever and resourceful while learning how. Infants will emphatically indicate, “all done” after meals and baths or begin moving their hand to their mouth when they’re hungry. Emotions shine via smiles and hugs to the unmistakably signal “I love you.”

With mom, dad and grandparents consistently reinforcing with words, expressions and body language, signing kindles indelible associations in the fast forming infant brain. “It’s like riding that proverbial bicycle,” explains Bill, “once learned, not easily forgotten.” Early communication in languages, whether signing, Chinese, English or all together, becomes natural, interchangeable, useful and fun. Babies just do it and quickly catch on!

As children mature, the pleasure of being understood enhances self-esteem that in turn, encourages confidence toward increased communication which leads to more effective signing…a lasting circle of learning that spirals on to pre-school and beyond.

Parents wholeheartedly endorse this training. From emails and letters, via Yelp and testimonials. Touch Blue Sky’s instructors are lauded and loved for their special expertise and super enthusiasm. Paraphrased excerpts include, “My baby is rarely frustrated and therefore so am I; my child was so excited when we understood him; such a fun way of presenting the material—never too rigid; my daughter adds signs together for sentences…like ‘MORE’ + ‘BOOK’.” And “the payoff is tremendous!”

As a speaker, Mommy’s Coach, and class participant, Carrie Vawter-Yousfi, says, “I especially appreciated Bill’s teaching by example, his wonderful stories of how signing with his own two young sons made their family life so much easier. I learned to start early, the sooner the better.”

Liza Baskind, mother of three, dispels the mistaken notion that signing will limit speaking. “On the contrary,” she says; “especially for so many children with delayed speech ability, signing will coax out more words, another factor in reducing frustration for parent and child.”

With the increasing popularity and positive results of Touch Blue Sky classes, parents who consider saving for a far off college future can make a nominal investment of time and money for their babies today that pays huge dividends in just a few months. It’s proven that children who communicate early via signing are verbally ahead a year or more by age three. Along with Thoreau’s premise that “language is the basis of all knowledge,” Teacher Bill reminds parents that “You can never redo those most important first two years of life!”

For more information on Baby Sign Language classes please visit TouchBlueSky.com or sign up for an upcoming class  at the PJCC January 20.

Excerpt with permission from Parenting on the Peninsula and author, Evelyn Preston.

Depression — The Lowdown

by on December 2, 2014

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News of Robin Williams’ suicide was a shock. How could a man devoted to making others laugh take his own life? His death brought the disorder of clinical depression to the forefront.

Depression is a common mental illness that is manifested by prolonged sense of sadness, and other symptoms such as loss of desire to do pleasurable activities, irritability, insomnia or oversleeping, change in appetite, loss of energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and sometimes thoughts of death or suicide. Depression affects 1 in 11 adults, and nearly twice as many women as men. Sadness and depression are different. Many people feel sad after losing a loved one, or losing a job, or ending a relationship. People who are depressed, however, can usually differentiate normal grief from the disabling continued weight of clinical depression. Although there is excellent treatment for depression, many people do not seek help because they mistakenly construe it as a personal weakness rather than a legitimate illness. Many celebrities have publically acknowledged their own battles with depression in hopes that others Continue reading

In Search Of Sleep

by on November 4, 2014

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But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”  Robert Frost

A relative of mine, Stewart, (not his real name) was driving home from LA, and fell asleep at the wheel. Stewart was 18 years old at the time, and on winter break from college. He drove to LA in the morning, and then, after spending the day there, drove home that night. Although he knew he was drowsy, he made the decision to drive home. The last thing he remembered was listening to a 49er Monday night football game before he dozed off without warning. His new 1996 Toyota Corolla was totaled when the car crashed into a barrier on the side of the highway Continue reading

Pink & Powerful

by on October 21, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Everyone is wearing pink to bring attention to a disease that will touch over 280,000 women per year in the US alone.  Odds are high that everyone knows at least one person effected by breast cancer. While fighting and beating cancer is  the main goal when one is diagnosed, there is a long road of rehabilitatation following surgery that is so important to regaining strength and mobility.

In the following video, we hear a few inspirational stories from women who have taken on breast cancer and come out the other side with more strength, courage, and lust for life than before.

The PJCC is doing its part on October 26, 2014 with our Pink Ribbon Day.
We invite the whole community to come and support a great cause.

RESOURCES

Pink Ribbon Program @ PJCC  - Postoperative workout designed to enhance recovery
Check Your Boobies – Dedicated to early detection and prevention

 

 

Hepatitis C – A Stealth Killer

by on October 14, 2014

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I recall my Great Uncle Sidney.  He loved to devour a delicious steak for dinner.   Eventually he had to undergo coronary bypass surgery for cholesterol-clogged arteries of his heart.   Within a decade he died!  His heart did not kill him.  He died of cirrhosis of the liver because of a blood transfusion contaminated with hepatitis C virus which he received during his bypass surgery.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is one of those conditions one hardly hears about because most people who have it don’t know they do.  Of the 3.2 million Americans who have hepatitis C, only 5-6% of them have been successfully treated.   It is 3 times more common than HIV in this country, and it is the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer.  The mortality from HCV has Continue reading

The Baseball Dilemma

by on October 11, 2014

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Hank Greenberg

With the month of October comes the annual race for the pennant. It often coincides with the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.  Through the history of baseball Jewish players who find themselves lucky enough to make it to the playoffs have had to make difficult choices between their religious values and their team.  If Yom Kippur happens to fall on the day of a playoff game, it can, and has, ruffled some feathers in the baseball community. Continue reading

Cultivating Good Health

by on October 10, 2014

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Any time is a good time to cultivate good health by developing a wellness plan that will help you flourish. Don’t know where to begin? Draw inspiration from your garden and apply the same concepts to your health.

Preparation
Planning your garden is the first step to its success and the same holds true for your health. Buy a notebook and name it your health journal. Begin by writing down two goals that are attainable and aren’t overwhelming. For example, start preparing your afternoon snacks to bring to work instead of buying from the vending machine. This action alone can save you 200 Continue reading