Category Archives for "I Want to Feel Better"

Sleep – How it Affects Your Weight, Brain & Skin

Alexandra Williams, MA

A recent trip to the Technogel Sleep Experience Center in Los Angeles got me thinking of the reasons we all need a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.

Sleep, perchance to Italian

Sleep, perchance to dream…in Italian

Weight Loss
Less than 6 hours of sleep can contribute to weight gain. According to researcher Dr. Michael Sivak, an extra hour of sleep each night can help you drop 14 pounds per year. Part of that is the 147 fewer calories you’ll take in during that hour you’re now asleep, and part of that is the relationship between the hormones leptin and ghrelin. More than 35 percent of American adults are obese and more than 28 percent sleep less than six hours a night, and the authors of a 15-year study found these two to be correlated.

Cognitive Function
Want to improve your memory, learning and creativity? Get 8-9 hours of sleep! A 2010 Harvard study discovered that those whose naps were long enough to enter REM sleep did 40% better on a test of creativity than nappers who didn’t get any REM sleep and non-nappers. That REM sleep gave the brain time and the ability to work creatively on various test problems. Further info on this is in our post “Sleep Your Way to a Better Brain & Body.”
I looked through some research Technogel has on their site regarding non-rapid eye movement sleep (REM) and foam versus gel mattresses, and learned something about the differences between light and deep sleep when it comes to muscle repair, memory, appetite suppressing/ increasing hormones, and concentration. It would seem skin and mattress temperature, plus bed comfort can assist or inhibit the quality of your sleep. It’s been extremely warm lately, so I know exactly how poorly I sleep when I’m hot!

I chose the Anatomic pillow for my golden locks

I chose the Anatomic pillow for my golden locks

Aging Skin
Less than two months ago, researchers from University Hospital Case Medical Center presented their evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between lack of sleep and aging skin. They found that “poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging and weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself at night.” Poor quality sleepers showed increased signs of fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slackening of skin and reduced elasticity, while good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently from stressors such as sunburn, redness, and inflammation.

Pick a pillow, any pillow

Pick a pillow, any pillow

Technogel Sleep Experience Center
I know I’d like to be fit, smart and youthful looking, so I packed up my dreams and desires, and drove to Los Angeles to practice just one letter of the alphabet (zzzzz, in case I stumped you) at the experience center, thanks to an invitation from the director, Doriana. Just me for the whole night, plus the Technogel pillow and mattress of my choice.

As I already own one of their pillows, I knew that the gel “soft-solid” material inside their bedding is the result of a collaboration with the Italian company and Dr. Scholl’s, so I expected to sleep comfortably. The center is on a side street near the Beverly Center that was actually kind of noisy, so I was somewhat concerned about sleeping through till morning (I‘m a very light sleeper). Of course, maybe Technogel chose that location on purpose, to prove you can sleep through almost anything…

Looks boring, but you'll be snoring!

Looks boring, but you’ll be snoring!

Does that chair look comfy?

Does that chair look comfy?

I went to bed around 10 pm, which is 2 hours sooner than normal, and slept all the way through till 8 am. That made me happy. Probably smarter, younger and more radiant too! Before leaving, I poked the decorations they had in the room, as they were all made with the gel. Masks, cats, the chair cover…Does that make me a tactile person or just curious?

Masks and kitties and beds, oh my!

Masks and kitties and beds, oh my!









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Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference …or dream. Call (805) 403-4338 or email


Replace Health Cares with Healthy Habits (from BlogHer)

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

BlogHer Conference 2013Are you striving to improve some of your habits? Aren’t we all?! If you had the opportunity to easily and immediately change a few habits to improve your health and happiness would you be interested? Then stick with me sistuhs (and a few brothahs!)

I just returned from the BlogHer 2013 Conference in Chicago, where I was part of a panel entitled “Healthy Habits That Will Change Your Life.”  The other experts included Dr. Travis Stork, ER physician and host of “The Doctors,” professional organization guru and author, Andrew Mellen, weight loss inspiration and certified fitness trainer, Erika Nicole Kendall, and real food champion, Lisa Leake.

While this diverse panel had many great suggestions, their takeaway points (and mine, I humbly add in a totally not humble kind of way) are gems. Let us know whether you adopt some of these habits as they are designed to be Super Simple. Yes, we are leading off with words that start with S.

4 S Words to Better Health Habits

We’ll start with Dr. Travis, as he is the celeb of our bunch, and cute to boot! You get mnemonic advice from him. To start today with simple solutions, remember 4 S’s

  1. Stand More, Sit Less
  2. Watch Sugar Intake
  3. Look to Reduce Stress
  4. Sleep Sufficiently

The medical professional in him added that by developing these S word habits, you will get Sick less often and handle illness better. If you are paying attention you will note Dr. Travis gave you a bonus S in that first tip. So  Dr. Travis Stork can’t count, but he sure can save lives and help you live better! Our panel existed courtesy of Dr. Travis and his affiliation with Simple Saline which sponsored him. More key S words!

The FIT Principle

Make walking a daily habitNext up, you get my quick and memorable fitness tips. When you are looking to improve your movement habits, keep in mind the FIT principle:

  • F = Frequency.  How often are you working out?
  • I = Intensity. How hard are you willing to exercise?
  • T = Time. How long will your movement sessions last or total up to?

Change only ONE of these elements at a time, about every two weeks. When we are gung ho to improve our exercise habits, we try to conquer prior poor habits too fast.  As you make more movement part of your new, improved, more refreshing life go with what you can sustain over time.  Going harder and longer and more often all at once is a statistical road to failure. Up the ante one letter at a time –  more F or I or T. No “ands.” No “buts.”

Ingredient Literacy

For food advice, mom and “real food” go-to gal, Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food distilled her wealth of experience into 3 key points:

  1. Read ingredient labels. Don’t get caught up in calorie counting, total fat, percentage of carbohydrates. Just read the labels and look for real foods.
  2. Buy nothing that has more than 5 ingredients.
  3. Don’t buy food that has ingredients you would not have at home such as all those chemicals no one can pronounce or spell.

Lisa’s basic premise is that if she can change her eating habits and those of her family, anyone can. She admits to starting with zero idea of nutrition and few cooking skills. She was a mom with a desire to raise healthy children and a commitment to start somewhere. Lisa gave herself and her family 100 days’ to see whether new habits would stick and found herself on a lifelong journey to better eating.

The Triumvirate of Organizational Triumph

Book by Andrew Mellen, Unstuff Your LifeMany of us have experienced that an organized environment usually means a free, clear, and organized mind. When we clear physical clutter, we make room for our minds and bodies to operate. Author of the best selling book, Unstuff Your Life, Andrew Mellen suggests three strategies to shift to healthier habits:

  1. Have only one home for everything.
  2. Put like with like.
  3. Promise yourself that if something comes in then something goes out.

Cluttered room“Simple to remember,” claims Andrew. No putting keys either on the dresser or in the purse or by the refrigerator. Once in the door, your keys go always in the same spot and only that spot. One home for each item, not a vacation back up villa.

Trying to  decide whether important papers go in the office file except that one set of super important papers, which you are thinking of stashing somewhere special because they are super special papers? No, no, no my pretties. If it looks like the other stuff, acts like the other stuff, and smells like the other stuff, it all goes together in those files. Like with like.

Out shopping and hearing a tchotchke calling your name and credit card number? Then be ready to give up something first, because if you bring something new into the house, something else has to get the heave ho. Such an approach will help keep clutter and stuff down.

Moderation from our Moderator

Our super savvy moderator, Erika Nicole Kendall stuck to her moderator role — to deftly herd the rest of us while underplaying her input. So she did not offer takeaway tips, but took audience questions to wrap up our time. Her blog, the Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss, about losing 170 pounds and becoming a fitness professional is worth following however.

To understand better the reasons Sleep, Stress, and Sugar are such culprits, read 3 Stealth Saboteurs of Your Weight Loss. That Dr. Travis is such a Fun and Fit twin wanna be with his advice.

transcript from BlogHer of Healthy Habits That WIll Change Your LifeIf you are super motivated to make  changes for the better with your daily habits, then read the transcript of our entire session. Some of the transcription has odd words here and there, but you will get the full gist and benefit of our collective wisdom if you follow the link. Attendees paid almost $400 to get such scoop live, so take advantage of the free education while you can!

Which habit are you improving to chase your health cares away and live better another day?

Sure we attend events; however we also speak at them. With energy and humor.  So why not hire us for your next meeting or conference?  Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email

One GREAT habit you can start today is to subscribe to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level and make you happy! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Photo Credits: Messy room –  puuikibeach  BlogHer logo – BlogHer



Eating Healthy at Conferences

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Eating out Healthy

Healthy packed dried fruits and veggiesWho likes attending conferences, trade shows, or events?  Who does not like gaining weight, overspending on food, or feeling lethargic from eating and drinking in ways you would not consider at home? After speaking at and attending hundreds of events, Alexandra and I have some healthy tips for eating out when on the road.

Heading to BlogHer 2013 in Chicago

Given that I will be at BlogHer 2013 this weekend, I have been thinking of ways to keep my energy and focus strong so I can take advantage of every minute I am at this big gig. That means eating well. But I sure don’t want to pack on more than I packed in, so I will be implementing the “eating healthy on the road” plan that Alexandra and I have honed over the years. We hope our tips and experience help you reach your road food goals in a satisfying, healthy, easy way.

BlogHer 2013 Speaker Head Shot for Kymberly

On your way to the event

1. Bring your in-flight meal and snacks with you rather than relying on options served at the (expensive) airport restaurants and on the plane.  Nothing makes it easier to resist any temptation airport fast food chains offer than knowing you have your favorite sandwich, hard boiled egg, or fruit and nuts in your carry on. Oh, and skip the tuna fish sandwich if you want to have any kind of rapport with your seatmate. I learned this lesson the stinky way!

2. While you cannot bring a filled water bottle through security checkpoints, you can carry an empty one. Fill it up with ice or water once past security. I feel more refreshed when I sip icy cold water during flights and when waiting at connection gates. Skip the sodas, alcohol, and sugar-filled juice beverages served in-flight and ask for ice, water, or tomato juice instead. You’ll land with a clearer head and fresher energy for the conference ahead.

3. If driving, bring with you healthy food and a small cooler. I freeze a full water bottle so I have cold water to swig on as I put pedal to the metal. Melty hot tip – use a water bottle that you sip from with some kind of straw, not one you have to tip up. This way you can keep your eyes on the road instead of tilting your head back.

At the hotel

4. Reserve a room with a mini-fridge and find a grocery store. Or ….

5. Use hotel ice machines to keep your portable pantry refreshingly frosty and chilled. If you’ve packed only nutritious foods you won’t have to exert self-discipline to resist junk foods that aren’t there. I make sure to include breakfast foods for the first morning of a conference so I can sleep a teensy bit longer instead of waking early to find a restaurant, stand in long lines, or wait for room service.  (The truth?  I rarely use room service as I am frugal boomer all the way!) For me, even 30 minutes’ of extra sleep followed by breakfast from home of my favorite yogurt, berries, and cereal eaten calmly in my room makes a big difference in my event energy level.

More healthy options: dried fish, grains from ThailandWhen you return to your room at the end of the day, most likely you will be tired, with sore feet, bad hair, oily skin, and the urge to flop on the bed and go through all your notes, swag, purchases, and brochures. Or maybe that’s just me. Even if I think I am really hungry and ready to overeat a big dinner, that feeling is overpowered by sloth. Once in the room and on the bed, it’s hard to budge me. In such cases, I am happy to eat whatever is in my cooler. And remember, you are going to pack or buy only nourishing food in the first place. Voila! – good choices by default!

In Restaurants

6. If you do go out to dinner at the end of a convention day, bring fit, healthy friends and colleagues with you. Peer pressure really helps out in such times. Study after study shows that our food choices are influenced by the people we eat with. Do your convention dining with others who:

  • moderate their portion size
  • order an appetizer as the entree
  • split meals or bring home half to store in that oh so convenient fridge or cooler
  • skip desserts, breads, and high calorie, sweet drinks

And also read the post we did on Dining Out on the Road that gives you 5 usable and 5 “bonus” tips.

At the trade show and conference

7. Again, plan and pack! Stick portable, healthy snacks in your convention bag. Pass by the candy offered at some booths. Find the vendors with true fuel for your trade show wrangling, session bopping self.  Take advantage of the fruit available in presenter, press, exhibitor, and VIP rooms if you qualify.Healthy fruit smoothies from a stand in Thailand

8. Make time for lunch, even if it’s finding the one healthy meal for sale at the venue restaurant. If you rely on snacks and booth samples alone you will be so famished and fatigued by day’s end that every food will call your name. Over and over. Loudly and immediately. Even if it’s the WORST choice that you would never make at home, cross your heart and hope to indulge. Hunger does crazee tricks to our brain so do your best to maintain the snack and lunch timing you have at home.

Are those enough tips and tricks to keep you eating healthy when at events? (I really should say “healthfully” to be grammatically accurate). I sure hope so as I have to finish packing now to get to BlogHer in time. You’ll never guess the panel I am speaking on. It’s called “Healthy Habits.”  Off to have the healthy habit of making my flight!

Sure, we attend events; however we also speak at them. With energy and humor.  So why not hire us for your next meeting or conference?  Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email

Get great exercise and active aging advice by subscribing to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level and make you happy! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.


What Food is Healthy? And a Whole Grain, Wholly Amazing Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway!

Alexandra Williams, MA

“What food is healthy?” This is a question we are asked quite frequently, mostly by our university students, but also by our 60- and 70-year-old students.

bean flourThe answer is quite simple at first glance, yet in practice deceptively difficult. For years I’ve told my students “the closer to the ground the better,” yet many of them found this answer confusing, and over the years it’s required more explanation (yes, kind of sad).

First off, I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian (although I can spell “dietitian” without looking it up). What I am is a good researcher and writer, including this list of articles about food and health that I’ve written. I’m also a good eater and all-around healthy person.

I’m tempted to say that the answer to the healthy food question is, “It depends,” but that’s probably due to my counseling studies, when I learned that it’s the answer to most questions! My new response is to answer with my own question: “Does it (the food) help or harm your body?” For example, I have a friend right now who’s pregnant and dealing with gastroparesis. She cannot eat veggies without getting quite ill. She can, however, keep down sno-cones and pierogies. For her, leafy veggies are unhealthy.

For my sister, it’s possible that she is now allergic to some foods that were perfectly fine for her for decades. As identical twins, we are usually quite similar in our medical issues, so I’m curious to see what she discovers as she eliminates, then reintroduces, certain foods. Kind of a canary in the coal mine thing. She is the canary in this scenario. At present, she is testing out a wheat-free diet. We wrote about some of the research for and against in our post “Is Wheat-Free Better for You.” Bottom line: Eat whole grains. Stay away from genetically modified organisms.Wheat silo

For many of my women friends, a glass of red wine in the evening is possibly a heart-healthy dose of resveratrol. But for me, it’s just a drink that makes me turn red and get a headache. Other friends need to live by a gluten-free diet, while some thrive on organic whole grains.

Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, GF, clean eating, pescatarian, omnivore, high-carb, low-carb, restricted-calorie, intuitive, timed – the list of eating categories goes on and on. And every single one of these eating styles is healthy – for someone.

So I think my new answer is a good one. If it helps your body (chemical cravings for Ben & Jerry’s “Americone Dream” don’t count), then it’s probably healthy for you. If it harms, then why would you eat it? Rather than give advice, I’ll share what works for me.

* Whole grains
* Organic or at least pesticide-free
* Cooking & baking from scratch
* Few processed, packaged foods
* No soda, energy drinks, or high-sugar drinks
* No meat
* All ingredients are recognizable and pronounceable
* If it shouldn’t go in my (or my kids’) mouth, it doesn’t come into the house
* Reading research and books. At present I am reading “Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and I love anything by Michael Pollan (did you know he’s Michael J. Fox’s bro-in-law?)

Bob's Red Mill Gift CardIn a further spirit of sharing, I’m also going to give away a $100 gift card from Bob’s Red Mill. I wholeheartedly endorse their tagline “Whole Grain Foods for Every Meal of the Day.”

Reasons you should love this company:

* Their mission is to bring good, healthy foods to as many people as possible
* They have given millions of dollars to support healthy nutrition and wellness, and address the issue of pediatric obesity
* Owners Bob and Charlee Moore gave the company to the employees in 2010
* They sell a complete range of whole-grain food products (not foodlike substances), including organic, gluten free, non-GMO, and kosher
* Their prices are extremely fair (example: $5.79 for 5 pounds of organic white whole wheat flour, compared to $8.95 from their closest competitor)
* The food is delicious

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

So what will you choose if you win the $100 gift card?
* Flours & Meals
* Grains, Beans & Seeds
* Cereals
* Gluten Free
* Mixes
* Baking Aids
* Oats
* Books
* Entrees

The SuperFine print: This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Yes, my Canadian friends, you are included!!!! That is just how generous Bob’s Red Mill is. The winner will be chosen on Monday, August 5th at midnight PST. We will notify the winner via email and other social media forums. If that person doesn’t respond within 48 hours, we will choose another winner.

This is a truly amazing gift, so you will want to do all the amazing entry options.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Got an event needing edu-taining speakers? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email

Get whole-body goodness, including great exercise and active aging advice by subscribing to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Photo credits:  Grain & Silo –  Frank Kehren; all others – Bob’s Red Mill


Food, Glorious Food: Tidbits from the BlogHer Food Conference

Alexandra Williams, MA

appetizers from BlogHer FoodFood is a hot topic. Or a hot dish (yup, I lived in Minnesota for 2 years). Having just returned from speaking at the BlogHer Food conference, I thought you might like to know some of the nuggets, tidbits and kernels I gleaned from it. See how many words are food-based?


The most interesting panel (besides my own, of course. Of course!!) was “Food Blogging for the Next Generation – Finding Solutions at the Intersection of Childhood Obesity and Food Insecurity in the USA” Big Ass title to match the heavy hitters on the panel: Anna Lappé of the Small Planet Institute, Elly Spinweber of Partnership for a Healthier America, Lea Webb – one of the nation’s leading community organizers, and Michelle Berger Marshall of Feeding America.obesity and food insecurity at BlogHer Food




It was extremely interesting to hear about the obesity epidemic from the food point of view, as I’ve spent so many years studying it from the fitness perspective. Some of the salient points might interest you:

BlogHer Food tweets























My friend Sara Tetrault was part of a panel that shared tips for preserving (both in the canned and ecological sense) the “tips and tails” of your cooking scraps. Just a few:

* Vinegar can be made using fruit peels (the description sounds a bit like my sourdough starter)
* Eggshells will keep slugs away from your plants, especially if the shells are sharp. Toast your eggshells and feed them to your chickens (Okay, maybe YOU don’t have chickens, but we do).
* Peach pits combined with vodka make a delightful extract. Just watch out for the cyanide!
* Carrot tops can be added to kosher salt to make bouillon flavoring

I shall end with a smoothie recipe I created based on ingredients from a few of the BlogHer Food sponsors.

mango and sticky riceMango Tango

1 Ataulfo mango  (I prefer organic) Whole Foods has a video showing how to cut one.  I wish I’d known these cutting tricks when I made sticky rice with mango a few weeks ago
Vanilla bean or plain yogurt from Organic Valley (if you follow me on Twitter, FB or Instagram, you know my obsession with this company)
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tsp Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal  (Bob is a real guy. We’ve met him. He gave his company to the employees. And he’s from Oregon. What’s not to love?)
1 banana (if you want an eensy bit of chocolate, throw in a frozen chocolate-banana dipper from Dole . You’ll have 3 dippers left over. Eat them for snack… right after breakfast)
Blend all these in a Ninja Pro Blender. I tested the blades on my hair and they were effective!!!

Testing out the blender blades at BlogHer Food

Testing out the blender blades at BlogHer Food

Top it all off with a Snicker Doodle cookie from Udi’s Gluten Free.  I’m not a gluten free eater, but these are actually tastier than the ones I bake myself…according to my kids.

I searched for the links in this post using Bing. The Bing reps at the conference were funny, approachable and had great customer service. Three qualities you probably like in a brand.

P.S. The presentation I gave was “Write to Be Read.” If you need expert, entertaining writers or speakers for your company, please consider us. (805) 403-4338 or huge screens; one small presenter





Are you a food lover? What’s your favorite mango recipe?

Disclosure: I was not paid one single penny to mention any of the brands above. I just like to support brands that support bloggers AND provide quality products. So click away!

While drinking your smoothie, subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness and health. Have you subscribed yet to our blog?  Please also follow us on google+: Alexandra and Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.


Motivation, Fun Fit Facts, and Pretty Pictures for Boomers

Fit Facts and Images to Motivate You

Need motivation to get moving? Whether you are a baby boomer, woman of a certain age, or one day plan to be such, please enjoy the following Fun Fit Facts and Stats. More precisely, feast your eyeballs and lace up your workout shoes once you read this post.

Alexandra is away presenting at a conference.  That tells me to whip out some photos I took, add some interesting scoop from our vast files of saved fitness tidbits, and make posting life easy on myself. Then I will go for a walk!

Steps per day affected by season

Every season is a good time to fit in a walk. Are you surprised that people accumulate more walking steps in fall than in spring? Then you might also be surprised to learn that a Walk is as Good As a Run (Go ahead and click that link. Just come back here when done.)

  •  Feel free, nay encouraged even to pin these babies! Add your Fun Fit Fact in the comments below.

Walk to extend lifespan

A one hour power walk can extend your life span up to two hours. Keep walking … another 112 years. While you’re out there, read this post on Great Gait: 7 Steps to Better Walking

Walk for health

“A vigorous walk can do more good for an unhappy person than all the medicine in the world.” Do you agree or disagree?

Sleep to lose weight

Sleep 6-8 hours per night

Getting the idea to walk then sleep? Perk up; Drop off; Lose weight.  Works for me! If you want more images with motivational quotes, click over to our post, Quotes to Move You.

Action Item: Subscribe today. Enter your email; get your freebie bonus. Wake up from 8 hours’ healthy sleep to find us in your inbox twice a week offering active aging advice you can use.

Fun Fit Fact: People who subscribe to us live better. So skeedaddle over to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Photos: I took the above photos at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, Tecate, MX and in Santa Barbara, CA where the sun shines summer, winter, fall, and spring.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA


Is Stress Making You Fat?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Stress, Weight Gain, and Strategies to Lose Fat are Connected

Stress, Floating Anxiety, and a Thailand Beast at White Temple

Stressed out and feeling beastly?

Stress affects all species. Most humans have a good idea of their stress levels and whether the stress is helpful (such as exercise) or harmful (such as an injury). As well, we human personages can distinguish between Chronic and Acute Stress. Interesting to note is that we tend to handle major stressors better than micro ones.

When it comes to weight gain and fat accumulation, chronic stress is the problem. In short, chronic stress triggers a cascade of hormonal reactions that tell your body to store fat, create more fat, and swell up. Yes, long term stress increases both number and size of fat cells. As fat cells increase in size, they increase chronic inflammation, which triggers more hormonal reactions, all leading to more fat. Aaaaarrrggggh!

Getting caught in this cycle can be very … well, um … stressful! Keep reading and take a relaxing breath as we look at ways to decrease fat that stress may have added to your “friend’s” figure.

Recently Alexandra and I attended and spoke at the IDEA Personal Training Institute. One of the many stellar sessions we attended was Professor Len Kravitz’s talk “Stress, Obesity, and Cortisol.” He offered key insights on stress and fat collecting — the collection we don’t want to inherit, pay too much for, nor store for posterity (in posteriors).

First off, bad news and some Fat Facts:

  • More women than men are obese because of menopause (not really bad news for men).
  • We now know our bodies can make more fat cells at any age. We used to think we added fat cells only at certain times in life, such as gestation and puberty.
  • Fat cells can swell up to three to six times their minimum size. Oh, swell! Those cells are unwell!
  • “Normal” weight adults have about 40 billion fat cells; overweight people may have as many as 80 billion. Yes, DOUBLE! The odds are really stacked against the stressed out.

Now for some good news and Fit Facts:

  • Relaxing in the Sleeping Buddha position

    Exercise Your Right to Relax and Destress

    We really don’t gain a lot of weight over the holidays. The average is about one pound … per holiday season, so pack light for the upcoming 4th of July!

  • Two super duper interventions that really work to unpack fat are exercise and destressing. No kidding, Sherlock. (Yes, I heard you thinking that all the way from here.) What Dr. Kravitz emphasized is our need to shift our thinking from all or nothing strategies to ones that are more realistic and flexible.
Destressing with Alexandra in Thailand

Aaaaahhh, Bliss Out, Le Freak, C’est Chic

The plan? First, implement the 4 F words of Weight Management and Lower Stress Levels

  1. Have a Flexible approach when creating your workout program. For instance, maybe morning routines don’t work for you, though you’ve heard that early bird exercisers tend to be more consistent. Or your favorite cardio machine is taken. Try a different piece of cardio equipment or an aerobic class. Look for what fits YOU. Today. With each day up for a renewable contract.
  2. Remind yourself that you are not a Failure if you lapse.
  3. Forgive yourself for any unmet goals or expectations.
  4. Fix what’s not working — without blame or self criticism.

As Dr. Kravitz stated, “Learning to lose weight is a skill, just like learning to ride a bike.” He recommends that we use the same strategies as proven, successful weight losers. Referring to the work of Dr. James Hill, who founded the National Weight Loss Registry, Dr. Kravitz highlights the actions in common of those who lose fat (and keep it off):

Successful Fat Losers:

Sleep Helps Reduce Stress

Dog Days of Slumber

  • Stay or become physically active
  • Log 250-300 minutes per week of aerobic activity
  • Limit and monitor dietary intake
  • Accept realistic weight goals
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Schedule meals and exercise thereby staying consistent with both
  • Limit fast food
  • Eat some favorite foods without guilt
  • Accept their body shape
  • Confront problems rather than eat to cope
  • Recognize that weight control is ongoing

Got all that? You now have THE ULTIMATE list of what it takes to lose fat. So relax. And exercise. Then relax some more.

Call to hire Kymberly and Alexandra with this telephone

Call us. We’re dialed in.

Do you or your colleagues need professional, motivating speakers to edu-tain audiences at your next event? Call us at (805) 404-4338 or email

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

A good laugh also reduces stress. So check out this interview of Kymberly from BiteSizeWellness. Spread the Wellness with us!



Women Over 50: Some Days Just Suck – Angst, Exercise & Optimism

Alexandra Williams, MA
I am SO becoming!

I am SO becoming!

Some days, being a woman over 50 sucks. I would describe myself as happy and optimistic. I have a good life. I work at things I enjoy. My kids are easy to love and live with. Yet lately I wake up tired and feeling beaten down, and don’t know why.

It’s like I’m stuck in a Cheech and Chong skit The first day on my vacation, I woke up. Then, I went downtown to look for job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The second day on my summer vacation, I woke up, then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The third day… (If you don’t get that 1972 reference, you are not a boomer). I’m not depressed or sad or weepy or pessimistic or grumpy or or or… But I’m off. Instead of feeling like I am a participant in my world, I feel like the world is happening around me.

I was thinking it might be hormones or menopause, yet nothing seems to be different. In any case, I decided last night that I’d had enough of waiting. Waiting for my usual energy or cheeriness or joie de vivre to return. Instead of waking up sort of rumbly and angsty, I decided to shake things up a bit. The relationship between exercise and moodis well-established, so I gave myself the same advice I’d give to a client – get moving!

Let a little light shine on my hike

Let a little light shine on my hike

And so I did. I got up at 0600 and got a ride to the bottom of the mountain pass near my home, then hiked up to the top. As part of a sponsored Under Armour challenge I had declared a goal of hiking up this pass, so I figured getting up super early (for me) would be an added achievement. Besides, it’s easy to spot the mood-elevating endolphins swimming around the harbor that early in the morning!!!



hahahah it’s a joke – these neurotransmitters are really called endorphins, and they are like happy pills, except they are created by your own body and no pills are involved. According to Dr. William Sears, we are our own pharmacology site.

What I learned as I walked up the hill this morning:
* the nasty black flies aren’t out in massive numbers early in the morning
* lots of cars come down the winding road at that time
* the views are amazing, especially as the sun comes over the hills
* the people driving those cars like to wave hello
* it’s as steep as I believed it to be
* it was easier than I expected
* being outside on a gorgeous day, with amazing views, good music in my ears and my body movin’ and groovin’ works perfectly as a mood-enhancer.

I'm almost there. I hope someone made breakfast.

I’m almost there. I hope someone made breakfast.

No wonder I don’t need any medications (my doc is always amazed, due to “my age,” which is actually kind of scary in its implications) – I have hiking in my veins, so there’s no room for artificial stimulants in them! In any case, I cheered right up and have been productive all morning. The only thing is…I’ve completed my What’s Beautiful goal. So I guess I’ll change it and go up, then back down the mountain. If that comes too easily, I’ll do it without stopping for pictures every few minutes! Pssst, that What’s Beautiful link is to my profile in case you want to follow my progress.

Now turn around and do it again

Now turn around and do it again

I have a question for all of you, especially the boomer women – do you ever get into a mood rut, where you just can’t find your mojo, or passion, or gumption, or meaning, or even your special purpose (alert: 1979 Steve Martin reference)? What did you do to get out of it? I want to copy your ideas in case I get sick of that hike.

By the way, when I’m not being a grumpus, I like to have fun. If you want to know how I define “fun,” you’ll have to read the interview at Bite Size Wellness.

We are professional writers, speakers and editors. Do you need our services? Please contact us at

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Photo credit: Dolphins  ryn413.


Exercise, Food, Weight Loss & Menopause (and Water for People): Notes From the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute:

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

What are some of the important upcoming fitness trends? What does the latest research indicate is the “best” way to get and stay healthy? Can someone really give you a cold or are you taking the cold from them? And what do menopause and HIIT have in common?

Kymberly at IDEA PTI West 2013At the recent IDEA Personal Trainer Institute, which Kymberly and I attended (and spoke at), we covered a variety of topics relevant to you and your fitness goals. At past fitness conventions we’ve listened to speakers who are so cutting-edge that they are called quacks…until their information turns out to be accurate and helpful.

So put on your “duck” shoes and let’s waddle through some of the information and posts we gathered from a number of presenters and colleagues. Read the linked posts so that you can be fully ahead of the rest of the gaggle (is that what they call a group of ducks?).


From “Boosting Your Immunity” with Teri Mosey, PhD
* For every thought you have, you release a chemical that goes to the rest of your body. What do you think happens to your body with repeated thought?
* Ninety percent of your thoughts today are the same as yesterday’s.
* We have a second brain, called the “enteric” brain.
* We have more brain cells in our stomachs than in our neo-cortex.
* Every 7-10 years we are physically a new person.
* You are the age you think your body is (I’m 39. I’m 39. I’m 39. I think I can. I think I can.)
* Most of us are too acidic and need more alkaline. Cancer cells grow in acidic space.
* Habitual coffee drinkers are more prone to osteoporosis and have become too acidic.
* You know what the Standard American Diet is – S.A.D.!
* 3-minute or poached eggs are anti-inflammatory; once the yoke is hard, it’s pro-inflammatory.
* Our emotions are not from the brain, but produced at the cellular level.

Kymberly wrote a post about falling – fears and injuries – from a full-day session she attended, which has some very helpful information.
* Thirty-three percent of older adults fall every year.
* Women break arm bones; men break their heads.
* People use the A.S.H. strategies to maintain balance (you have to click the link to know what ASH stands for)
* You need more core work.

Getting brekkie with fitness colleague Pamela Hernandez at IDEA PTI West

Getting brekkie with fitness colleague Pamela Hernandez at IDEA PTI West

Our FitFluential colleague Pamela Hernandez wrote an excellent post entitled Fit Tips from IDEA Personal Trainer Institute West about two philosophies she sees in the fitness industry – one is to stick to traditional, government-recommended standards, while the other emphasizes just getting people to move a little more. As a person who embraces technology, Hernandez welcomes its further blending with fitness. Oh, and she liked our session on social media. Twitter Shout Outs to her for that!

In the post Breaking the Barriers to Exercise, Jacquie Scarlett expounds on the need to make exercise more approachable to the average person. In one section she states, “The fitness industry is not designed to meet the needs of the sedentary population because the fitness industry’s idea of exercise is too high.”
Jacquie’s post really makes us wonder what it would take to get you to like exercise if you currently don’t.
* Is rolling a ball across the floor considered exercise?
* Do you think exercise is different than daily movement?

menopauseHayley Hollander gave a workshop on programming for peri- and post-menopausal women.
* When our hormones are out of balance, we end up with excess cortisol.
* Excess cortisol causes us to eat more (among other not fun things).
* We need to do exercise that doesn’t exacerbate the amount of cortisol in our system.
* Meaning…High Intensity Interval Training
* High Intensity does not mean High Impact, so jumping until your uterus falls out is not necessary!

On an unrelated note, while you’re not jumping (unless it’s for joy), exercise your right to help me with a water awareness campaign I’m participating in please. BLANCO America is supporting a “Water for People” campaign via Pinterest. I believe water inequality is one of the most reprehensible and avoidable human conditions in the world today. Everyone deserves access to potable, pure water. Feel free to Like my pins while you’re there. That’s the spirit!
Oh, if you view this video before May 30, BLANCO will contribute a dollar for every view to “Water for People.”
[youtube][/youtube] Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Have a Clicky, Fit day!


Fun Fitness Solutions

Post by Emma Franklin – Fun Fitness Solutions

This is a post by Emma Franklin from The Training Room, a company in the United Kingdom that offers accredited personal training courses. Emma is from Manchester, England, and graduated from the London School of Economics. She has a British accent, which you can hear in your mind when you read the word “fancy.” A keen fitness enthusiast, she regularly represents Lancashire for badminton.

Kymberly PaddleboardingAs winter disappears and the sun makes an appearance, we start to dream about the summer holidays. Although the thought of summer can bring excitement and happy anticipation, some of us also get caught up in worrying about being “beach beautiful.” We’ve all been there. Not only do we want to feel our best, during summer in particular we want to look our best. Well, concern yourself no longer, as I’m here with some fun fitness solutions to get you ready for summer.

personal trainersPersonal Training

A great way to get into shape in time for your summer holiday adventures is to become a personal trainer. Taking you out of the office environment and learning a range of different skills, becoming a trainer is a fantastic means of avoiding the 9-5 humdrum of life whilst getting fit at the same time. Perfect for all ages and employment backgrounds, from graduates to single mothers, this career is ideal for those looking for a profession with a difference. Fancy helping others and yourself at the same time? Then personal training could be for you.

Salsa dancingSalsa Dancing

If changing your career to get fit doesn’t suit you, then why not opt for an exercise class instead? In particular, salsa dancing! If you’re a fan of busting a move on the dance floor, then why not make it a hobby and get your body beach-ready at the same time? It’s a great way to socialise and could just take an hour out of your weekly schedule; it’s completely up to you. There are plenty of salsa classes in most towns, so why not try one of them? You never know, you might discover that you have a hidden talent!

working out with a hula hoopHula hooping

Remember when you were little and had boundless energy? Well, why not try and recreate that by opting for exercises from your childhood? For instance, hula hooping. You may not realise this, but hula hooping can work wonders on abdominal muscles, and it’s good fun too! All that time you spent in the back garden having spinning competitions with your favourite hoop, you didn’t realise that you were secretly keeping those abs in check, did you? According to some experts hula hopping can burn as many calories as completing a step aerobics class. Choose weighted hoops as opposed to the thinner ones, and I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in no time.

We hope you’ll consider all three of these suggestions. As trainers and instructors ourselves, we love being part of an industry that gets to help others become healthier and happier. And staying “summer sexy” is a bonus! If only we could speak with an authentic British accent! 

What new activities are you considering for summer?

Photo credits: Hula hooper  heathermiasays, salsa dancing  Saffron 59

Disclosure: We were compensated by Carat Media for this post. We are 100% supportive of exercise, personal training, 3rd party accredited courses for personal trainers, and companies that have the same vision and ethics as we do. Exercise for all, and all for exercise. Now get a-moving!

Dance or hoop your way over to these links —-> and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

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