Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Fit for FUN! Working Out to WIN at Love!

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

In my book to help wives fan the flame on love, Red Hot Romance Tips for Women:

I share that

Here’s a short excerpt to help you two get up and active . .  and reap the many rewards of wellness: body, soul, spirit and SEXINESS!

“Let’s get something very clear—your husband, at least at some point, and more likely even now,song of s 3 4 red hot pam bill sm would use at least one of the above words to describe you. He thinks you are beautiful. One of my favorite stories that captures just why your man might think you are amazing (even if you don’t feel that way about yourself) is a story that goes back to what is traditionally seen as the first love-story: Adam and Eve.

The scene is this: Adam was created, then God grabbed a rib from Adam when he slept and made Eve. The word “make” is banah and it gives the impression of God planning out her design. He carefully put the finishing touches on her so she was exactly matched her man. Make can also mean “to accomplish, appoint, or bring forth.” So God didn’t just dream about Eve’s design; He accomplished the dream. So if your guy has ever said, “You are the woman of my dreams” or “It’s like we were “made” for each other”—well your man is exactly right!

As we discuss beauty, can we set aside all the unrealistic glossy fashion magazine runway model expectations for just a moment?  That’s a relief- because

DSC03058Our discouragement might be related to the fact that the average model weighs 23% less than the average woman. The Yale Center calculated how much an average healthy woman’s body would have to change to have the proportions of a Barbie doll. She would need to grow two feet taller, extend her neck length by 3.2 inches, gain 5 inches in chest size, and lose 6 inches in waist circumference. Now that we have set the impossible aside, let’s look at a more accurate definition of beauty.

What is Beautiful?dance close

I think First Place 4 Health

Vice President, and author of Don’t Quit, Get Fit, Vickie Heath sums up a better view of beauty with a simple comment, “Strong is the new skinny” Yes, let’s  focus on wellness, fitness and health. The man you married wants you as a life partner so your job is to just live longer and stronger.

There are some interesting facts that link wellness to a red hot sex life.


While researching our book, Red Hot Monogamy, we discovered couples that work out together have more sex!

There are several reasons for this:

1) Endorphins are released when you exercise and you are happier, so over all this means you will like your man better!

2) Exercising together bonds you with a work hard-play hard attitude

3) When you exercise, you will feel better about your body, and that means you will want your husband to see it!

So what will help you look and feel well? In 10 Secrets for Living Smart, Savvy and Strong I share the details of my personal story, of how I lost 50 pounds and have kept it off and regained my health. But let me give you a quick list of what to go “get” in order to “get”  healthier:

  • Get a great physician and nutritionist (Consult a doctor before you begin)        10 secrets and ps 92
  • Get Moving (Exercise 5-6 times a week)
  • Get good nutrition (Eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies)
  • Get lean proteins on your plate
  • Get supplements (vitamins and minerals)
  • Get away from sugar and processed (fast) foods
  • Get adequate rest (at least 8 hours)
  • Get more water and less caffeine
  • Get a good trainer
  • Get some cheerleaders (healthy friends)  around you
  • Get a lifestyle tracker (food and exercise log or a techie gadget like a Fitbit, “Up “or “smart “watch that can tack food, sleep, exercise.)


Picture yourself fit, alive and in love—now that IS BEAUTIFUL! When I took steps to regain my health, I felt more confident, sexier and gained the energy to do even more fun activities with my husband. He was beaming ear to ear as we jogged along the beach in our new running shoes on our 33rd anniversary. It had been at least a decade since I had enjoyed (or even tried) running with Bill. He told me later how proud he was of me, and how sexy I looked in my workout gear (that he also enjoyed taking off me later).

pam bill beach kayak bike snowmobile

For the past decade, we have used our anniversary to try new activities and buy new fitness gear: We have snowshoed, jetskiied, cross country skied, biked, kayaked, and ball room danced. We have purchased bikes, skates, racquets, and workout gear.  For Bill’s birthday last year, I gave him a set of 12 red envelopes and inside each was a gift card for an active date. The gift got double the impact- he smiled when he got the present and when we used it!


Tips for Red Romance

bill pam snow shoeDanna Demtre, who is a grandmother now) and author of Scale Down- Live It Up!, has seen the impact of caring about wellness: “Even after 28 years of marriage – there is strong physical attraction. One thing we both do consistently to keep romance alive is to take really good care of our bodies – stay lean and fit. We accept each other’s flaws and the normal things that come with aging. But, we both appreciate a fit, lean body and that keeps things HOT for us! I think when men or women totally let themselves go as they become comfortable and even take their spouse for granted – it can impact intimacy greatly. I think we should give as much attention to pleasing our spouse physically in our later years as we did in our early years!”

Which of these activities would your husband like to try this month?

©      Take to the dance floor (line, swing or ballroom dance classes)

©      Take the water (kayak, jet ski, water ski, paddle board, surf, wind surf)

©      Take to the air (parasail, sky dive, glider)

©      Take to wheels (bike, motorcycle, skates)

©      Take to the ice and snow( ski, snowboard, ice skate, snowshoe, sled)

©      Take up a racquet (tennis, table tennis, badminton)

©      Take a swing (baseball, softball, golf)

©      Take a hike (walk, backpack, stroll a lake, park or the beach) splash rebecca pam bill

©      Take advantage of technology (a wii fit, wii dance party, etc)

©      Take up a hunt ( with a camera, rifle, or bow and arrow)

©      Take to the gym (cross fit, a kickbox , zumba, or martial arts class)


Try to think of a clever way to invite your guy on this active date. Show up in a new workout outfit (or bathing suit); Create a clever invitation (tie a hotel key to a golf club); Dress up as a hula girl and hold his new surf board or boogie board as he enters the house. “

Red hot wives correctAnd remember to join the Red Hot Wife Challenge– a 26 day journey looking at the traits, A to Z that make us a more loving wife!


[1]New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (1 Co 3:16). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.



SIMPLE SKILLS for SUCCESS: Becoming Productive

Friday, October 16th, 2015


7 simple skills bill pam headerOften, in this high tech, fast paced, purpose-drive, results oriented world, there will be times you will need to be able to produce so you, your business, your family or your church can achieve a certain goal.

People have often asked me, “How did you write 40 books, serve your church, keep a happycomplete Farrel family jessica caleb wedding use as christmas card 2015 marriage, and raise sons who have also become healthy leaders with happy marriages and families too?” So in 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman book, I share my 7 Simple Steps for creating time to PRODUCE so you can –with God’s help—reach some of those desired goals. You will be more productive and achieve more if you can accomplish these (more…)


Are You Flourishing?

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

I am just 2 days away from speaking for the Flourish Conference for Women (on Nov 2, 2013).

Why would I take time to team together with my friends,

Dr Catherine Hart Weber, the author of the book, Flourish,

and her sister, Dr Sylvia Hart Friejd, the author of Digital Invasion, to create another conference for women?

I want women to:

Flourish: to bud, spring up, grow, bloom, increase, thrive, prosper, blossom abundantly

This verse compelled me to create ways to flourish for women:

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”. (Luke 2:52)

See women have a very difficult time balancing all of life demands– and a very hard time giving themselves permission to take good care of themselves. However, even Jesus modeled a balanced approach to life– as shown in this verse:

Jesus increases in wisdom     (guarded his intellectual life)

and stature  (guarded his physical life)

and in favor with God   (guarded his spiritual life)

and men   (guarded his social life)

At the Flourish conference, I will be sharing from my book, 10 Secrets of Living Smart, Savvy and Strong— because I really believe this world needs YOU- your family needs you, your church and community needs you– this country and the people around the globe need you– that is why God created you, wonderful unique amazing you!

So each of you need the tools to Flourish.

And a flourishing experience.

A time with God where God can GIVE you a personalized plan to help YOU flourish in all areas of your life.

If you live in So Cal, come Nov 2 to the Flourish conference.

If you can’t afford the flight to be there live, set aside a day for you and God to have a “spa for soul day” Take your Bible, set by a pool or next to a cozy fire, take one (or all the books we Flourish authors penned) and God will meet you and help you flourish too. 

Place yourself in God’s hammock of love and care.

He will give you a personal plan to Flourish.

Take the time- God thinks you are worth it!

(Click here to register)


Recession Proof Retirement

Monday, October 14th, 2013


I want you to meet my friend, Ellie Kay, America’s Family Financial Expert. With my heart for women in midlife and beyond in my ministry with Seasoned Sisters, I thought sharing Ellie’s vital wisdom on retirement might be helpful, so here is an excerpt from her newest, Lean Body, Fat Wallet (what we all want, right?!):

From Ellie:

Our family loves adventure! In fact, we love to go to theme parks as a family and we haven’t met a roller coaster we didn’t like. I believe that a sense of adventure can help consumers face the future with confidence. It seems that our current economy is similar to some of the double looped roller coasters we’ve ridden and time will tell if our country sees a double dip recession. Many consumers are concerned about how the uncertain economy can wreak havoc on their financial future—from having a steady income in retirement to the possibility of losing their homes—threats to financial security abound. But there is hope for those who take steps to plan for their future.

Here are some of my basic tips to help you recession proof your retirement: –

1. Be Smart: Save Money: I get loads of emails every week from consumers who are cutting hundreds from their household budget by following simple savings tips. From insurance to groceries, there are savvy ways to save at your fingertips. (See the money savings tips on my blog). Saving will help you weather the highs and lows of the economy, as well as prepare you to live on a fixed income in retirement. Use the money you save to pay down debt, fund a fixed indexed annuity (see step 3 below) and build an emergency fund. –

2. Be Fully Funded: The 401(k), long known as the ticket to retirement for millions of Americans, is coming under attack in this economic climate. Many retirement savings options have taken a hit in recent years due to market volatility and fluctuations. Recent years have seen 401(k) plans depleted due to poor stock market performance, as well as companies lowering their matching commitments leaving employees to rebuild their nest egg alone. And, many workers just stopped contributing. However, it is important to make sure you don’t shortchange yourself in retirement, whether you are investing in a 401(k)—or a TSP (Thrift Savings Plan—for military and civilian government employees), or in the case of small business owners, a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension). More importantly, if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that it is not enough to rely on your 401(k) alone—consider financial products that can survive market fluctuations while giving you a steady lifetime income, like the one highlighted in the next step. –

3. Be a Savvy Consumer: Savvy and conscientious consumers who are looking for smart retirement solutions and more control of their long-term finances will recognize the important role that fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) can play in any balanced financial plan. I believe that fixed indexed annuities offer a level of certainty during uncertain times because they provide protection from stock market volatility, offer guaranteed interest and income, and also provide the opportunity for additional interest when markets are up. Understand that FIAs are typically used in addition to other retirement vehicles (such as a 401(k) or IRAs) to add balance to a retirement plan—they aren’t intended to be your only source of retirement income, but to help moderate risk in your portfolio. The insurance industry is state regulated and these regulators have put a number of protections in place to ensure FIAs are sold ethically and fairly to consumers. In my partnership with the IALC (Indexed Annuity Leadership Council), I have found a great option to recommend to my readers and viewers. –

4. Be Diligent: Know your FICO: FICO scores can determine auto insurance premiums, whether you’ll get the promotion or the job, the percentage you pay for a mortgage or car, and whether you pay a security deposit for utilities. Even if you downsize a home or a vehicle in preparation for retirement, you’re going to need to have an excellent FICO to get the best APR rates.

It is important that you know your score. If you find that your score needs improvement, you can do so in three easy steps:

Pay On Time – Consider setting up automatic payments online for your credit cards, mortgage and vehicles, so you never have to worry about being a day late. –

Pay More than the minimum – Even $5 to $10 more on your credit cards will be viewed as paying down debt—making your FICO go up!

• Pay Proportionally – Don’t have more than 50% of available credit charged on any one card. For example, a card with a $6000 limit should never have more than $3000 charged on it, even if you pay off the balance each month. –

5. Beware: Debt Consolidation Companies: During economically challenging times, an influx of debt consolidation companies arise to help you prepare for the worst. However, some of the for-profit debt counseling companies charge a hefty fee for their services, which is usually tacked onto your debt load. Instead of using a for-profit company, consider going to a nonprofit, like National Consumer Credit Counseling Service. They can help you pay off debt, get you on a budget and even negotiate with your lenders on your behalf.

– Which first step will you take today in order to recession proof your retirement for tomorrow?


Ellie Kay is a regular expert on national television with ABC NEWS NOW’s Money Matters show. She is also a national radio commentator, a frequent media guest on Fox News, and CNBC, a popular international speaker, and the best-selling author of fourteen books including her newest release, The Sixty Minute Money Workout (Waterbrook, 2010) – – See more at:


You Are What You Eat- Really!

Sunday, April 7th, 2013



[Note:I am not a doctor, this is just my story- always consult a doctor and dietician for your choices.]
Many people have asked me about my 50 pound weight loss last year. Usually their first question is, “What diet did you use?” I actually like my friend, Carol Lewis’ philosophy. She is the President of First Place 4 Health and the author of Give God a Year. In First Place they call their eating plan a “Liveit” plan. (Diet has the word “die” in it! That’s no fun!) Besides, what you eat isn’t just a temporary lifestyle change, to be effective it is a lifelong lifestyle change. Let’s use the acrostic FOOD to talk about how to use food to create and accomplish the weight loss and healthy life goals you desire:



Find a sustaining motivation
Observe portion size
Obtain nutritional information
Determine Reward System

Find a sustaining motivation: Ask yourself, “What is my sustaining motivation?” It needs to be more than wearing those skinny jeans or dropping ten pounds for the class reunion. Before I eat something, say a cookie, I ask, “Which do I want more: this cookie, or to be at all my grandchildren’s weddings?” Sustaining motivations can be: “to live longer and stronger for God, to be healthy enough to enjoy your friends, family and future, or to make your life match your words”. Years ago, I read Greater Health God’s Way by Stormie Omartian, and I was impressed that she saw her food choices as part of her spiritual discipline life and obedience to God. I would have done well to have kept up that viewpoint. My downfall came when my kids were teens and I was busy holding down the responsibilities of a pastor’s wife, Director of women’s ministry, writer, speaker, community leader, wife and mother, so I began to rationalize fast food as a necessary lesser of two evils that I thought would keep the wheels on the bus for our busy family—instead cutting nutritional corners for those several years caught up to me and the wheels came off my personal bus in the form of weight gain and health markers headed the wrong direction.
All the good intentions in the world can’t go against natural law that God set in place to protect to our bodies. For me, now I again see my eating, my exercise, my life pace—it is all a part of my “spiritual act of service” to God. Pleasing God is a good sustaining motivation.
Observe portion size: Look at your plate. How are your portion sizes? For example, First Place makes recognizing portion size easy:

1 teaspoon of peanut butter……………….… die
Cup of fruit…………………….……….…one baseball
Cup of lettuce………………………..………four leaves
3 oz. of meat………………………….……cassette tape
3 oz. of grilled fish…………………….…….checkbook
1 oz. of cheese……………….…………………four dice
Average bagel…………………………… puck
1 oz. of snack foods (pretzels, etc.)………large
Medium potato……………………… mouse
1 cup of pasta…………………………..………….a fist

Once I began to really observe my food, I noticed that my cheese “serving” of a few slices was more like 3 servings of dairy not 1! I also noticed what I thought was one serving of meat, was often actually 2 (just because it is one chicken breast it doesn’t always mean it is one serving!) Restaurants are the worst! They super size everything. Sometimes one meal is actually the equivalent of a whole days’ worth of food (or more!) Interesting, those that keep a food log/ journal are more likely to be successful at change in the long run. You can use an online tool like MyFitnessPal (It’s free!) Also smartphones have many aps for this calorie counting. I also like my Fitbook journal (combines goal setting in exercise with a food journal). I actually created my own personalized notepad through Vistaprint because I can simply slip a few sheets of paper in my wallet when I travel and it is personalized to exactly what my body needs. Keeping track of calories and observing your food record will help you spot patterns (good ones and unhealthy ones). You might discern when you eat for stress relief, to reward yourself, or because of peer pressure. Knowing when you will be weak and planning for it will help you overcome obstacles. Balancing exercise (output) with calories (intake) so that you work out more than you put in our mouth is a pivotal place to begin. My friend, Danna Demtre, a nurse by education and now wellness expert and author of Scale Down: Live it Up! recommends wearing Caltrac (which I own), and several of my friends own a fitbit. Having a pedometer that also can keep track of calories will move you to the front of the class in your wellness journey! Information is power! You can go high tech and pay $100 for a fitbit, or go old school and use fitness pal and a $2 pedometer- it all works to track activity and calorie ratio.

Obtain nutritional information: You can use a food plate that uses color and premarked portion size to help make wiser choices. I found regularly meeting with a dietician also helped me find creative new ways to prepare foods and healthier alternatives to favorite dishes.Eat a rainbow! The big change this past year, is my dietician took me back to a very strict protocol initially- my family joked that all I ate for weeks were green things. Close! I reset my metabolism by eating about 80% green veggies, a few specific fruits and very lean proteins. It also helped me break cravings for dairy, carbs, chocolate, breads, etc. We slowly added foods back in to observe how my body reacted and right away I noticed that breads (even whole grain), most dairy, and all sugars definitely were the culprits causing my weight gains. (Monitoring my weight with a scale and blood sugar levels helped me track these changes.)The dietician at Dr Stengler’s office recommended a First Line Therapy program which pays special attention to the insulin resistance and the glycemic Index. I began specifically selecting foods with a low GI, high fiber content, in a Mediterranean type plan which is about 60% vegetables, 20% fruits, 15% lean proteins, nuts, seeds, beans, 5% whole grains like quinoa, steel cut oats and Minnesota wild dark rice (and a splash of healthy oils, like olive oil or avocado. The Mayo clinic recommends this diet for good heart health). I eat very little dairy and use almond milk now.

Because I value keeping as many nutrients in as possible, I eat most of my fruits and veggies raw, so I guess that makes me a little trendy “paleo” too. There has been much research lately on Dr Davis’ “The Wheat Belly” diet which encouraged people to lay off the breads. Dr. Oz noted on a recent TV program that in a audience test 3 out of 5 had the same insulin spike after eating a piece of whole grain bread as they did after eating a snickers candy bar! (I would be one those). I gave up all forms of sugar (for me, even artificial sugar substitutes make me crave sweets so I try to avoid them). Now fruits taste sweeter. I like to say “Berries are God’s “Skittles”.
I read all labels for calorie count, sodium, fiber and sugars. You would be shocked how many “protein/ nutritional bars” are high in sugars! Often you would be just as well off eating a cookie as some of the nutritional bars on the market. Because I was avoiding gluten and most grains, I found Kind bars (which are loaded with nuts and seeds) a great alternative. Once I had lost the weight and was on my maintenance plan, I can even eat my favorite cranberry, nuts and dark chocolate Kind bar (even my nutritionists were ok with a small amount if dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa.)

My husband’s side of the family has a history of strokes, mine a history of heart disease and diabetes, so combining a low sodium, low sugar, (no processed food) nutritional program all of the family benefitted. What I appreciate about Dr Stengler and First Place is the ability to gain the information about my family history, my current health test results, and my goals to team to create a personalized plan for success.  (Read more about how to create your own wellness journey in my book 10 Secrets of Living Smart, Savvy and Strong). Much is available about good nutrition online, but knowing how to personalize it to you, your lifestyle and learning how to cook and prepare foods so you gain success tailored to you is key to your wellness program. (I also found it necessary to throw out (give away) anything not on the plan. It is easier to not be tempted if that food is not even in the house! An easy way to begin is to toss all things white: white bread, white rice, potatoes, sugar. . you get the picture!)
School yourself up. I returned to investing in healthy cook books, spices, cooking tools, classes, and I enjoy watching documentaries on health. Lastly, plan for real life. If I know I have a social event, a dinner out or a party, I offer to bring the veggie tray or a fruit salad, I eat lighter for the other meals so I can find something on the menu when with friends to adapt to my lifestyle and enjoy it. In the evening, if I feel I need a snack before bed then I select a little lean protein and ‘something with skin on it” (apple, orange, tangerine, pear, etc). While traveling in the Orient, I saw a documentary that explained that people that ate vegetable soup before a meal or hot tea before a meal ate less. I have found this to be true—and I enjoy herb teas at the end of my day too in lieu of a snack too.

Determine Reward System: When stressful days hit, I learned to reward myself with a walk at the beach, a healthy kitchen gadget and for the loss of each 10 pounds I gave myself a new workout outfit! (It is so much easier to be motivated to exercise if you feel cute!) I also invested in Fresh and Fit containers so I have handy lunch boxes, storage that keep vegetables crisp longer, and travel containers for my frequent flying! My favorite gift was the Ninja food processor my husband gave me. I toss in berries, Fage 0% Greek yogurt and make my own flavorful low cal high protein yogurt. I toss in peppers, onions etc to make the seasoning for frittatas; I chop an apple to cook into my steel cut oats; I blend tropical fruits to make a salsa for grilled chicken breasts; I can toss in a mix of nuts, fruit, veggies at once to get ingredients to add to my quinoa, etc. In seconds I can create fresh flavorful food.

Have accountability! I see friendship with people who value health as its own reward. Studies are clear that those who have friends and family that are supportive (and I define this as “eating healthy with you and working out with you” are more successful in losing weight and keeping it off.


This is definitely the upside of groups like First Place 4 Health, Weight Watchers and even Jenny Craig. You gain a new healthier peer circle or your peer circle becomes healthier with you! Our entire “Joy Zone” office of staff and volunteers all got healthier together. It became the norm to bring into the office a new healthy food, recipe or meal prep aid. I find it inspiring to watch programs like The Biggest Loser or read books like Pastor Steve Reynolds’ Bod for God. (Pastor Steve lost over 100 pounds and is encouraging people, and the church, to “Get Off the Couch” and in action.)

You can label my eating plan many ways. It is close to a South Beach, Virgin, Daniel, Paleo, First Line, Mediterranean, etc. I don’t care what it is called, if it works for me, that what I care about. And I found personalizing is the key. Getting all the information you can about your body, about food, abut exercise, supplements, and then creating a plan that works for YOU! To sum up my over all eating plan in a clever nutshell:

If it is green, eat it! If it is any other color, sprinkle it; if it is white, walk away from it!

I am not sure what that “live it” food plan would be called, I call it a new healthier (thinner) me.


Inspiring Transformation: A Model You Can Follow

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Last post, I introduced you to our son, Zach, who has a
Masters in Exercise Science and is a coach at a prestious university. While an undergrad, he also was the captain of the Universty’s co-ed cheer team and they won the National title each year he was captain. So Zach is more than a challenging drill instructor type, he also cheered this mom to victory in her wellness journey. I was fortunate to have many “cheerleaders” who believed I could and would hang tough til the finish line. Here are a few more questions and answers—and a pretty inspiring story from Zach’s life to cheer you on today too:

Q: You have encouraged us to cross train (vary our workouts)- why?
A: In-terms of cross training, I think that it is very important to increase activity in general. Resistance training will increase your ability to accomplish everyday activities. Cardiovascular training will be a great solution of you are unable to resistance train, have high blood pressure, or have a low understanding of how to resistance train. The ultimate goal should be to decrease fat mass and increase lean body mass.

Q: Why is interval training is so helpful in dropping pounds ?
A: Interval training allows for higher quality work at higher intensities. It will also increase the ability to burn calories of fat at resting after you are done working out. The ultimate goal of working out is to increase your ability to utilize fuel at rest and during activity. With the interval work you can do double the work I less time. Example: Running a mile vs. Interval Bike Sprints- 10 minutes to run a mile (low intensity, BORING!) vs. 10 Minutes 30 Seconds All out Sprint/ 30 Seconds Recovery Cycle can increase the amount of work being done, Increase heart rate, increase body and core temperature, and Increase fat burning at rest.
Examples to use – All on the Bike/Treadmill/ Track/ Resistance Training/ Body Weight Exercises
All 5-10 minutes 1-2 sets of each.
15 Seconds All out – 45 Seconds Recovery
20 Seconds All out – 40 Seconds Recovery
30 Seconds All out – 30 Seconds Recovery
15 Seconds All out – 15 Seconds Recovery
20 Seconds All out – 10 Seconds Recovery (Much Harder)
(Note: Zach’s introduction of interval training produced twice the benefit in half the time, so if you are a busy leader, consider learning some circuit training and interval work outs to make the most of you precious work out time).

Q: Zach, You had your own fitness journey your freshman year of high school. What do you think took you from chubby kid to a top competitive all star athlete?
A. I would call what I went through the end of my Freshman year in high school more of a Body Transformation not a Fitness journey. I was 160 lbs at 5’6″ tall probably over 20% BF (high for a male athlete). My older brother decided that it was time for me to start weightlifting with the varsity football team. I started out as a short chubby kid who had no idea what he was doing in the weight room to being a lean, aggressive, strong, Varsity caliber football player all within 6 months. I decided that I was not ok with being 3rd/4th string anymore. I made a decision and set a goal for myself. I wanted to play varsity football with my older brother. I asked the head football coach, “What do I need to do to be on Varsity?” He gave me an answer that was direct and led me to make the decision to spend the next six months dedicated to changing my body and work ethic. Every day after school, I went straight to the weight room and said “Coach, what is today’s workout?” Monday through Friday for 2-3 hours after school I went and did something that would get me in better shape. Weight Lifting, Plyometrics, Conditioning, whatever it was– I did it and did not complain. I wanted more and more because I knew that what I was doing wasn’t enough for me. I had set my mind on a goal and did not want to stop until I achieved it. I knew that if I did not accomplish this goal I would not be the person today that I am. I thank God, my parents, and my older brother for pushing me and allowing me to never give up. I was unable to drive to school so it was my dad’s job to take me every morning at 6:30 am for early “optional” practice, which wasn’t optional in my mind. I had a strong direction in what I wanted, that came from my walk with God, my parents guiding me and never allowing me to “quit” when things got tough. It was hard, I was exhausted but I saw results not within a week, but within 6,12,18 weeks. The biggest thing that I did was– I made a lifestyle change. I made my life revolve around my goals and what I needed to do to make those accomplishments.

Back then, it was easy, I was in High School. Well, the answer is the same now! I am a full-time employee at a Division 1 University working 70+ hours per week (12-14 hrs a day) and I make time to get my training in. I don’t just train, I am also a competitive Weightlifter ( you can see what I do and how I have made the decision to keep this a part of my life. I have goals, I have people around me who will help me get to the gym to train, and I have a drive that allows me to go when I don’t want to.

(Note: It is nice when your “cheering your child” to his fitness goal boomerangs back to bless you, as Zach now cheers me on to my wellness and health goals! Moms and Dads, what you sow into your kids “WILL reap a harvest if you do not give up!” Our ideas on cheering on your child is in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make)

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (Gal 6:9)

Ready to get inspired- watch this:

(Follow Zach’s weightlift blog at:


My Wellness Journey: Does Anyone Challenge You?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013



Today’s (and tomorrow’s) blog is by the person who inspires and CHALLENGES me the most- my son, Zach. Zach is a Performance Coach at a Large Div 1 University and trains athletes who compete on the national and even international (Olympic) level.  His athletes WIN championships- much in part because he and the other strength coaches challenge players OFF the field and prepare them when there are no spectators.  One of my favorite quotes ach often repeats to athletes that I love is, “Do today what others will not do so you can do tomorrow what others cannot do”.  In short, Practice Pays in Performance.

Here are a few questions and answers that might challenge you to take the next step in your wellness journey:


Q: Zach, you work with top athletes, what advice do you give them on exercise that the average person should keep in mind?

A: When exercising it is important to understand two things:


1. Training age – By training age I am referring to how many years you have been training. For example: If you have been consistently exercising for 1 year- your training age is 1. I have been training (exercising) consistently since I was 15 years old; my training age is now 13 years.

2. Knowledge- By that, I am referring to your personal exercise library. What exercises do you know how to do? Do you only know how to run? Do you like to resistance train? Increasing your exercise library will increase your ability to stay in the gym. Albert Einstein defined Stupid as, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. If you only know how to do one thing in the gym you will only see one result. How long can you only do that one thing? After a while you will get tired of only doing that one thing!

(Note: This is why each time I see Zach I ask him to teach his dad and I one new exercise).


Q: How can the average person avoid injuries as they are trying to get back in

A: When taking that step to get back to the gym you must answer a few questions about yourself.

  1. Previous Injury: Do you  have any previous injuries? Research has shown that one of the leading  causes of injury is a previous injury.
  2. Do you know how to   structure a workout? Warm up, Resistance training/Cardiovascular Exercise/  Cool down?
  3. Resistance Training – How  to structure/ Upper Body/ Lower Body/ Pulling Exercises vs. Pushing Exercises.
  4. Posture- Do you know  what proper posture looks like?
  5. Do you quit when things  get hard? Do you like to” talk about” or “be about” doing the exercise?
  6. Do you have a training  partner? You need to have an accountability partner for when you don’t  want to go– they will make you!
  7. Goals- Do you have goals  set? Short term/Long term? If not set them and place them around so you  know what you are working for.

(Note: Good reason to get a personal trainer- See previous blog for finding one near


Q: What credentials should someone look for when looking for a quality qualified trainer in their city?

A: Finding a qualified training is a must if you are just getting into exercising. What to look for: Certified Personal Trainers, if you ask them they should have no problem telling you what they have accomplished. I would also look into getting a Functional Movement Screen done to fully know how your body works. – Is a website that you can locate a certified movement specialist to take you through the screening process to find movement compensatory patterns.

(Note: This assessment is very helpful as a marker for your wellness and it will spot problem areas so you can avoid injuries as you get back in shape)

For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul
(Proverbs 2:10)

PS- Stay tuned, more from Zach tomorrow!


Who is Your Successnet?

Thursday, March 7th, 2013


In my book, Woman of Influence, I encourage women to have a “successnet”- a group of women that surround her life to help make her better, stronger, wise, fitter, and more Christ-like.  We need women in a variety of fields surrounding us so we move forward emotionally, spiritually, physically, relationally, etc. For the next few blogs I will introduce you to some people who are a part of my successnet on my wellness journey in hopes you can decide who you might need to ask to be on your team too. I think I coined the team, “successnet” because to me life is a lot like a tight rope walk, it can be a little scary, dangerous, unsettling, but if you know people are holding a net under you, so that even if you fall down, you will be okay and can get back up because strong people were holding the net.

I want you to meet Donna Roberts, one person on my successnet team, a trainer I met through First Place 4 Health ministry. She is the personal trainer for Carol Lewis, the President of First Place, and she specializes in helping women in life’ “Part B” season of life through her website: .  I interviewed Donna to get a few tips on how to find someone like her, or how to connect to her ministry so we all might have success on the tightrope walk to wellness.

 What should women look for to find a qualified personal trainer?

Currently, there are thousands of personal trainers out there….and honestly, it doesn’t take much to become a personal
trainer. Unfortunately, a quick on line course for $100 can make someone certified. I have seen the same thing happen over and over:  lots of people who like to “work out” decide it would be fun and easy to work out all day and make a lot of money at the same time, so they take a quick course and then start training people at the gym.   When you watch them you find that they train their clients all the same way: the 17 year old male performance athlete, the 64 yr old osteoarthritic woman, and the 33 year old post-natal woman– it’s exactly the same workout!  For those who don’t know better, they think that is ok– but it’s not!

A good trainer will take the time to do a complimentary assessment (yes, it should be FREE) It should include getting to know each other, and lots of active listening and questions on the trainer’s part: Goals, health history, postural assessments, flexibility and
balance assessments, heart rate, blood pressure, cardiovascular assessments, and scheduling and expectations on both ends need to be reviewed and discussed.  A good trainer is willing to take the time to listen to her client, show a genuine concern for her needs, and be able to design  an  INDIVIDUALIZED program that takes into account their current limitations and safely and progressively bring them to the next level and toward their ultimate goal.  After designed, the trainer should review their planned approach with their client.  Also, a trainer should keep good records, including baseline measurements of weight, body fat, and circumference measurements and a summary of each of their clients’ workouts.

Personally, I think food is a big part of training as well. A good trainer should be a good accountability partner, who monitors her clients eating and food habits and addresses ways to better them (but not beat the client up for being bad).

NASM ( National Academy of Sport Medicine) is the best certification (and not an easy one to get) If your trainer doesn’t have an
education in exercise science or something related in this field, then MAKE SURE they have the above certification and at least 5 years experience.  You can go to NASM’s website and put in your trainer’s name to check their certification.  It’s also a great idea to ask for some referrals. If a trainer is good, it should be easy for him or her to give you at least 5 current clients phone number or e-mails who would be willing to vouch for their quality.

What is the most common piece of advice you give?

I have two answers to this question 1. SMR (self-myofascial release), or more simply, foam rolling.

We have learned a lot in the personal training world by looking at the other health industry worlds out there, one of them being physical therapy.  God designed our bodies to move at an optimal level and due to life and past injuries and being de-conditioned and muscle imbalances (and many other reasons) our bodies have learned to move in very different ways than they are supposed to! Believe me, I have seen people in constant pain, because they refuse to just move, because it hurts!  Well, think of foam rolling like self massage. By applying gentle force on a knot, the muscle fibers alter from a bundled position into a straighter alignment with the direction of the muscle or fascia–the way it was supposed to be–and ultimately the client is able to better and over time, feel better (and decrease their risk of injury and pain in the future.) It is the single best thing I believe someone can do before beginning their workout each day. (There are some people with certain limitations who are not able to tolerate SMR (severely arthritic people), so please be sure to check with your trainer first.)

2. The second most common pieceof advice I give is: Change your thinking!! God says in His word to take every thought captive, and women on a journey toward better health need to get rid of their stinking thinking!  I cannot begin to tell you the negativity, bondage and depression women are in because of their obesity or negative self image…and the way food has become an escape to deal with the pain of their reality! Although their greatest desire is to be healthy and look good and feel good again, they don’t want to be uncomfortable!  And when I start messing with their comfort, they don’t like it!

I urge my clients to start looking as food simply as fuel and to only eat enough to get to their next meal (which is usually in about 3 hours!)We review emotions when they binge and other ways to deal with their feelings as well as how they see their new
journey and how great they are going to feel when they achieve their goals (always keeping them in front of them)  Victory comes with every good choice they make (…and you know Pam…that little positive steps each day, eventually add up to huge ones over time!)

3 Easy to apply training tips that every woman should know….

My clients that have achieved lasting success always:

1. SET A GOAL: Think seriously about what you want to do and what it’s going to take to get there.  Make it realistic, but don’t underestimate yourself. Those people with bigger fitness goals tend to have the most success. Once you have the goal, make a commitment to the goal and then keep your mind set. You need to keep it in front of you on days when you are not motivated, don’t feel like it, or just have a ton of things going on.

2. HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY.  I don’t care who you are, you need it.  Even I have a fitness accountability partner who I workout with and keep accountable to.  You cannot do this alone. You were never meant to do this alone. Enlist people who are on the same journey and workout with them.  Friend people on to watch what you eat.  You will be 100% more successful if you are accountable to someone.

3. BE CONSISTENT.   No stopping and starting.  No thinking it’s too hard.  Don’t quit.  Don’t be critical of yourself.  Don’t give into having to be perfect either.  Just do your best every single day. Don’t look back if you messed up–keep going forward.  Enjoy the benefits of exercise–you can’t help but feel more energized and stronger after a good workout!

I promise, in the past 18 years I have worked as a trainer, I have yet to hear one person feel bad about themselves for exercising. It’s always a positive thing for people!! Taking care of the body God has entrusted to us is an important responsibility we all share and I am so thrilled He put me right in the middle of it to help others along their fitness journey!!

A Trainer to Help YOU too

I’ve had a growing unease with the fact that I am only been able to train a small number of women at a time. I knew what I was doing was right, something I felt called to do and something that WORKED. But after 18 years I was frustrated because I knew that no matter how many hours I worked, no matter how many women I helped to get fit and stay fit, I would never have the impact Iknew was desperately needed by women of all ages. I was encouraged by many of my clients to somehow, some way, reach more women. While I wasn’t sure how, I knew that the internet was the answer. So I put together a team, and did what I have always done, found the

You see, weight loss and fitness is not just about doing one thing. It’s about nutrition, physical training, spirituality and not least of all support and accountability through community. That’s why I started

Now it doesn’t matter where you are, you get the same workouts and guidance as if I was training you in my gym. (Note from Pam: And Donna is a wonderful mix of encourager, equipper and exhorter (a trainer should compel you to want to change). As with any exercise
and wellness advice, check with your doctor first, get his/her green light, then gather your successnet (and sound like Donna is willing to be one of those holding YOUR net on your journey to wellness and fitness success!)


Napping Diet Plan

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013



Today, I am sharing the tip that is honestly one of my hardest to stay true to: sleep! In my book, 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, I quote Dr Archibald Hart’s research on adrenaline from his book, Adrenaline and Stress (I also like his book, Thrilled to Death)  

Dr. Hart wraps up some words of wisdom that can extend many of our lives: “To avoid cardiovascular disease and other stress-related disorders, it is not enough to eat the right foods and keep cholesterol low. This is important, but it is not enough! It is not enough to exercise regularly and even take regular vaca­tions. To protect yourself . . . you must learn how to switch off your production of adrenaline when it is no longer needed, and stop using it for non-emergency life situations . . . It means controlling the problem at its source.”24

Dr. Hart encourages some simple but practical methods for curbing the overuse of adrenaline: sleep eight to ten hours a night and learn to manage your negative, driving emotions (so next time someone says “Chill out!” take them up on their offer and do it). Exercise and a daily time to unwind will help you manage your addiction to adrenaline overload. He also recommends plan­ning recovery time into your schedule after high-adrenaline-use times.”

In 10 Secrets of Living Smart, Savvy and Strong I quote, Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine, University of Chicago, who said, “Since the brain is fuelled by glucose, we suspect it seeks simple carbohydrates when distressed by lack of sleep.”10 One study found that the less people slept, the more they weighed.”

My own doctor, Dr Mark Stengler, challenged me to look at what time of day I slept too (yes, God made day and night, so it is better if you can hit the hay before midnight and get in a solid 7 – 8 hours of sleep and rise around sunrise).  To sleep well, it helps to pull away from all the electronic stimulus (computer, TV, smart phone) and unwind in a quiet, darker room- a warm shower or bath can help clam your heart and life too.

For me, if I write down my “tomorrow’s To Do” list that helps me release my long list of unfinished work to God’s care. But the critical component for me is prayer. If I end my day praising God and praying through my life it is as if God is cradling me in his arms and I can REST. The Bible says:

Truly my soul finds rest in God . . .(Psalms 62:1)

In 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, I cite some interesting studies: “Medical science has even linked the power of prayer to patient longevity and recovery. Dr. Dale A. Matthews reviewed 212 studies and found that three-fourths showed a positive correlation between religious commitment and good health. In a San Francisco study, 393 patients were divided into two groups. Half were prayed for and half were not. No one knew which group they were placed in. Those who were prayer recipients had fewer health complications.” Even today while watching TV, a doctor shared that blood pressure is lowered in 40% of the population that prays and believe in  that “higher power.” (Photo below is us praying with our son at his wedding- our family RELIES on prayer on happy days and stressful days. This was a happy one!)

One way I knew this was an area I needed to address was the higher cortisol levels in my lab tests, (too high levels of cortisol leads to weight gain). But the real road sign that I needed a nap was when I traveled to Alaska to kayak we gave women an hour solitude with God on day one and as I laid looking at the clouds in the sunshine and fresh air, praying for my future, I fell asleep and woke myself
up with my own snoring! Give yourself a break- nap and pray and release the pressure and stress to God’s care.

I recommend the “Napping Diet Plan”! Snooze your way to better health and a thinner you!  (May you sleep like baby!)



Move Yourself Thin

Thursday, February 28th, 2013



Day 4: Have you ever observed thin people? Many of them just can’t seem to sit still! Did you know even figetting burns calories?

I wear a pedometer and each day I aim at taking 10,000 steps (or walking about 4 miles). In total, at an “I’m late, I need to get someplace” pace this translates into a little over an hour of walking.   But we can get this same kind of benefit from all kinds of movement. Two of my favorites forms of exercise are Body & Soul & Praise Moves  . These provide the extra blessing of movement to Christian music. Praise Moves is a Christian alternative to yoga and replaces any and all Eastern religious influence with scripture and renaming poses with Biblical worship titles. (Below is a photo of me with one of my favorite Body and Soul instructors at Sandy Cove conference Center. They do a “moving minute” before each teaching session–keeps audience awake and is a great intoduction to the fun of Body and Soul workouts).

Since I know that 1 Cor. makes it clear that our body is a “temple of the Holy Spirit”, I want to “Glorify God with my bod.”  One of the mottos I go by is “Something is better than nothing”, so on the busy days, if you embrace this, then you might keep a pair of tennies at your desk or in your car for a quick walk while you wait for the kids’, or I keep video workouts on my computer for when I travel and the hotel might not have a workout room. Your TV likely has some exercise stations on cable, or go to Youtube and sample a workout plan you are considering. I asked for a wii as a gift from my family and I enjoy dancing with my grandkids or doing “wii sports” when the family is over.

Look for ways to PLAY: Put up a basketball hoop in the driveway, try a peice of new fitness equipment, make use of the free gym membership specials most gyms offer on an ongoing basis. Try a variety of activities. This causes muscle confusement which helps break weight loss platues, but for me, it also keeps me interested and not bored doing the same thing day in and day out.

In 10 Secrets to Living Smart, Savvy and Strong, I have a four quadrant chart which shows the balance of the types of exercise you should include each week.


Take a look at your average week. How balanced are you? Are you just focusing on cardio, then you are missing out on the extra calories that weight bearing exercise gives even AFTER your workout. Are you skipping flexibility and balance, then you risk falls as you age.

Use the chart above and plan your week so that you are gaining strength in all four areas. I also try to mix up my exercise with some individual workouts and some classes each week. I find my competitive nature works a little harder in a class!This is also why I take a group of women kayaking for a week each May- ask me about that! ( Many women love the bonding and encouragment of exercising together.

Observe how you work, while watching CBN’s 700 club, I learned that sitting is like the new tabacco– it takes years off your life! (Watch the news clip)  At your desk, try a core ball instead of a chair (I have one), or make your treadmill into a desk. Several of my friends have done this and they can easily get in a few miles a day as they make calls or check emails. I set a timer so that every 30 munutes I get up and move. I might do 10 squats, or ten push ups or simply run up my driveway, but those few minutes make my mind more alert and help me get to my 10,000 steps a day goal.

I also found I am motivated to move if I reward myself with a new fitness outfit for each 10 pounds lost! (I love Jockey Personal Wear because it feels like pajamas and buying it supports women in biz!) What ever works to get me moving, right?  (Even retail therapy!) Grab a copy of 10 Secrets to Living Smart, Savvy and Strong and some friends and do a book club on the GO! Walk and talk – play then pray!