Self Esteem Activities

Photo by He(Art)Geek

When your self confidence is low it’s often because of learned behavior patterns that have become ingrained in your psyche. This can include negative internal self talk, negative speech and a pessimistic attitude. The best way to kick these habits is to engage in self esteem activities that will replace your old patterns with positive behaviors. We’ll talk about the problem (P) and actions (A).

Try these self esteem activities

P: Negative self talk – People often don’t notice the harsh chatter of their pesky inner voice. Familiarize yourself with the negative things you repeatedly tell yourself. Spend a day monitoring your thoughts to pick up on what issues come up most. You’ll probably see a pattern, an outstanding issue. For the next few days, stay alert to your negative self talk, but when you notice it, replace it with positive thoughts.

A: Let’s say you believe you aren’t smart enough. Get out a sheet of paper and make a big “T” column. Write “Negative Thoughts” in the top left of the “T,” and “Truths” in the top right column. Write the things you regularly think on the left. Now think of times when you have demonstrated intelligence. Write all of these down. Maybe you found a more productive way to get things done at work or picked up on a problem that no one else did – meaning you are productive and perceptive. Using these “truths,” write positive statements to tell yourself when those old negative thoughts crop up.

Photo by Victory of the People

P: Negative speech – Do you often speak poorly of yourself to others? If you often say negative things about your intelligence, looks, body, financial status or self worth, then this one is for you.

A: Go to the bank and get 50 dollar bills. Tell everyone you know that you will give them $1 for every negative thing you say about yourself. This will not only make you very popular :) , but it will make you want to keep your lips sealed. Your goal, of course, is to give away as little money as possible for a duration of two weeks.

P: Pessimistic attitude – If you are a pessimist you probably know it. Either you’re self diagnosed or people have commented on it. The issue with a chronic negative attitude is you tend to not see things as they are but through your filter of pessimism. Any rational thinking mind will see this as problematic. If you are negative about most things, as would define a pessimist, then you are probably funneling negative thoughts toward yourself.

A: Nip your bad attitude in the bud when it comes to everything, not just toward yourself. Train yourself to look for the positive in every single situation. As soon as you find yourself complaining or brooding about something, find a positive aspect (hint: there always is one). The less you see the glass as half empty, the more you will broaden your perspective, which will lift the veil of negativity that surrounds your self image.

These are by no means the only self esteem activities you can use, but they are a great way to start to shift your thoughts toward loving acceptance. I would suggest taking one action at a time, because too much change at once can be overwhelming and hinder your progress.

Workout Motivation

Sometimes lacking the drive to workout is the thing that keeps us plastered to the couch and wishing we would do something about that growing gut. And those who are on a regular workout schedule sometimes get stuck in a rut, not getting any closer to their goals when they don’t put in the necessary effort. We could all use some workout motivation tips to keep us going strong when it gets tough to stick with an exercise plan.


1. Find images of women who have the kind of figure you are working toward. Place those images somewhere you’ll see them every day like on the refrigerator door or bathroom mirror.

2. Take your measurements at the neck, bicep, waist, hips and thighs every few weeks to see that the inches are melting away. And when you’re in it to win it, they will for sure. For accuracy, take note of where you measured (in inches from the nearest marker such as the crook of the arm or the kneecap, etc.), what time of day and if you had clothes on. Note: Measure around the widest part of each body part.

3. Have a celebratory outfit purchased or planned. If you have an event like a wedding, beach vacation, etc., buy an outfit in the size you’d like to be. Hang it up in your house where you can see it all the time. If you feel like skipping a workout, try that outfit on. The more you have to lose, the more it should stoke your desire to progress.

4. Find a photo of yourself when you were the weight you want to be. It doesn’t matter if it was 20 years ago. Look at yourself. Think back to how it felt to be that weight. How did you dress, carry yourself, move and act? I assume these will be pleasant memories. Use those feelings to activate your drive.

5. Answer why you want to lose weight or get fit. Each time you answer, ask yourself again “why.” (Example: I want to lose weight to look better. “Why?” To be attractive. “Why?” Because I want to find a boyfriend/husband/ partner.) You get the picture?

Do you have a workout motivation that you would like to share? I’d love to start a conversation on the topic. Do leave a comment.

Self Acceptance: Tips to Change Your Tune

Self acceptance is not an easy thing to come by these days. We are constantly bombarded with media messages that seem to convey to us that we’re not good enough. Models and actresses are impossibly thin, and the grass always seems a little greener in someone else’s lawn.

Self Acceptance Tip One – It’s time to gain some self love by employing of a couple self love techniques. Are you too hard on yourself? Do you think you’re too this or too that, not enough this and not enough that? The first thing to do is stop the negative self talk. For one day every time you think something negative about yourself, make a note of it. Keep a count. You might be surprised at how often you are being too hard on yourself. Make it a point to stop the unkind mental chatter. Choose a key word or phrase that will remind you to shift your thoughts in a positive direction. You could say “next,” “shift,” or “flip it” – whatever – just have a word that triggers you to think positive.

Self Acceptance Tip Two – Now, let’s get real. How many times a day do you think negative things about someone else? Being overly critical of others also leads to self criticism. So learn to refrain from saying or thinking unkind things about others. If you watch TV shows where people are being cut down for how they look or the things they’ve done, change the channel. Don’t hang out with overly critical people either.

Try to focus on the positive things you see in yourself and others, and pretty soon it will become natural. You’ll stop looking for everything that’s wrong about yourself, and you’ll have the kind of self acceptance that you need to feel confident and loving toward yourself.

Leg Workout

I went shopping the other day for summer clothes and found that practically every pair of shorts was no more than the width of an ace bandage. I’m glad I’ve been doing a regular leg workout so I can be confident wearing those itty bitty shorts this summer. Because let me tell you – in years past there was no way I’d be brave enough to wear them. Heck no. My legs were the source of acute embarrassment for more years than I care to mention. It makes me antsy thinking about it. All that time I spent wearing jeans and sweating my ass off just walking from the house to the car I could have been wearing breezy shorts and showing off nicely tanned and toned legs.

Leg Workout Video Below!

I tend to do the same leg workouts regularly, and that’s because they really work. I’ve done a video of four of my favorite women’s leg workouts. The volume is low, so if you can’t hear, just watch for proper form. Do 15-20 reps of each of these moves three times a week, and you’ll be toned and sexy in no time. Remember, you can tone your legs with leg workouts, but you won’t get “skinny” legs because you did them. If you want to get skinny legs, you have to lose weight all over. Apply my articles on weight loss like “How Skinny People Eat,” and you’ll really see some results.

Here’s one more quick, super effective leg workout below.

Are You Making ‘Healthy’ Menu Choices?

Photo by ulmer.frank

If you’re trying to lose weight I’ll bet you are good all during the week until the weekend comes when friends or family want to go out and eat. At the restaurant you either lose all self-control and have a pig-out fest or you order what you believe to be the healthiest option on the menu.

Either way you could be throwing a wrench in your weight loss progress. Obviously if you have a pig-out of massive proportions you’ll derail all of your hard work from earlier in the week. Even the foods that seem to be “healthy” might be anything but.

Last week I ate at Applebee’s with my husband and mother-in-law (MIL). MIL ordered a trio platter, Trey ordered a rack of ribs and I ordered an under 550 calorie chicken entree. MIL thought some of her food, like the spinach dip, was “healthy,” while Trey thought he ordered the lowest calorie option that wasn’t on the low-calorie menu.

So when I got home I looked up the nutrition facts and was flabbergasted by what I found.

MIL had eaten around 1,600 calories (more than her daily needs) and Trey had consumed between 1,600 and 1,820 calories. While my choice was the lowest calorie, you wouldn’t believe the sodium count – somewhere north of 1,000 mg. Further investigation revealed that the highest calorie salads on the menu were between 900 and 1,310 calories in total. Shocking, right?

Interestingly, aside from the low-calorie menu, the kids plates had by far the lowest calorie options. Go figure. The portion sizes are smaller, after all.

Now I’m not trying to pick on Applebee’s. You’ll find the same shocking nutrition facts at any restaurant these days.

So, here’s the lesson for those of you trying to lose weight:

  1. When eating out, chose foods on the low-calorie, “guiltless” menu, or order kids plates.
  2. But most importantly, before you go to a restaurant, get online and look up their menu nutrition information. All of the chain restaurants have them now. You’ll have no excuse to order something that you’ll regret later.

Now go and make wise food choices this week. You’ll be glad you did.

Bikini Body Boot Camp — FREE!

Do two to three sets and 20 repetitions of each Bikini Body Boot Camp exercise
up to three alternating days a week.

With bathing suit season just around the corner, it’s time to get into high gear and put in some fierce workouts. That’s why I’ve designed a free Bikini Body Boot Camp for you that Trey and I are also doing at home. It has really kicked our butts, so I know it’s going to get you into bikini body shape in no time. I’m releasing the first three moves in a video (above) for all of my blog readers, but if you want the full-length Bikini Body Boot Camp workout, simply sign up for my free “Monthly Rag” newsletter. It contains information about getting and staying in shape, and subscribers get perks like the full-length boot camp workout and lots of other good stuff to come. Click the link below to get the “Rag.”

Ways to Avoid Weight Gain on Vacation

For me and Trey, one of the perks of vacation is trying new foods.
(Photo taken by me.)

A couple of weekends ago Trey and I went to Austin, Texas. That week we had begun an intensive exercise regimen, and we were careful about what and how much we ate. But the weekend was another story entirely. It’s so easy to gain weight when you’re on vacation, because for many of us, much of the fun of traveling involves eating. Well, it’s no different for me – a personal trainer – and my husband who is on my heels in entering the fitness industry.

During the weekend in Austin, we ate cake on a stick, chocolate covered bacon (yes, that’s right) and the most awesome tacos and hot dogs from food carts. We drank cocktails at night and indulged in the hotel’s continental breakfast that included sugary, fluffy, yummy waffles. Over the course of a few days we had taken in a considerable amount of calories. So it was especially important to fit exercise into our schedule, most importantly on the days we traveled.

Here’s a pic of me at an Austin park and Trey enjoying a
Mexican soda with his Torchy’s taco.

a few ways to avoid weight gain during vacation:

If you are driving, go to a rest stop every few hours to walk around. Stretch, do walking lunges and push ups and tricep dips on the back bumper of your vehicle.

When dining, forgo eating the free rolls/ chips (if applicable) by asking the waiter to not bring any.

Share your dessert with others, or get only samples of dessert items.

Take advantage of your hotel gym, focusing on strength moves by using weights if at all possible.

Or workout in your room, using your own body weight. Keep it simple by doing sit-ups, plank/side plank, push-ups, lunges, squats and tricep dips. Do two to three sets of 12-20 reps of each move in front of a mirror to watch for proper form.

Then take your cardio outdoors to the hotel pool by swimming laps or playing active games. You could also do a walking tour of your vacation area.

Seek out nearby parks, and take a hike, jog or ride a rented bike.

Find physically active entertainment activities. Go dancing, climb a rock wall, rent a canoe or take a trapeze class.

Walking to Lose Weight

Hello, ladies! For those of you who want to slim down, walking to lose weight is a great option. You want to eat a clean diet, of course, and walk anywhere from three to seven days a week for 30 minutes up to an hour. (To learn what to eat for weight loss, check out any of the posts in the “Weight Loss” category.) If you walk seven days a week, take a leisurely stroll at least two of those days to avoid overdoing it.

Walking to Lose Weight: ADDENDUM!

I left one thing out of the video. Following your intervals, you want to wind your walk down with a five minute cool down stroll. This will help you take your heart rate down, keeping you from feeling woozy once you’re done.

Beginners: If you’re severely out of shape, walk for 10 minutes, working your way up to 20 and 30 minutes, and as you progress, begin to follow the advice in the video.

Spring/Summer Skin Care Tips

It might still be cold in your area of the world, but warmer weather and sunny skies are coming in the days ahead. Take advantage of the good weather, go out and get active. This is a great time to start a walking regimen, something I’ll talk about in detail for tomorrow’s Workout Wednesdays.

However, the topic of this post is not about walking, but how to care for your skin while you are out about getting exercise and trimming down for summer. If you want to stay looking young and lovely for as long as possible, the No. 1 rule is to wear sunscreen. UVA and UVB rays cause splotchy, uneven skin tone, dry the skin, promote collagen degeneration and cause deep wrinkles.

Wearing SPF 15 is good during wintertime, but in the warmer months, wear SPF 55 or higher. You can find moisturizing sunscreens made particularly for the face at any drug store. Put it on before you apply makeup, but allow it a few minutes to dry before applying concealer or foundation. You might also want to cover the backs of your hands, as they also reveal the tale tell signs of aging.

I’ve been wearing sunscreen on my face, neck and decolletage every day since I was 22, and I’d like to believe it’s one of the major factors that has kept me looking youthful up to my 30th birthday (just around the corner).

Reapply sunscreen if you’re going to be in the sun for more than an hour, and for extra protection, bring a wide-brim hat to keep the sun off your face.

But won’t a tan protect my skin?

Despite what many people believe, getting a light “starter” tan will not protect you from skin damage while you sun yourself on future occasions. Any tan caused by UVA/UVB exposure is a sign of skin damage.That includes those tans gotten from sunbeds. They are bad news, people.

If you want to get a tan this summer but want to protect your skin from the aging effects of UVA/UVB, get a spray tan from a professional. It can last up to two weeks. Or go to the drug store and buy a bottle of self-tanning lotion. Be sure to exfoliate well before both of these treatments for best results.

Other youthful skin tips

My other youthful skin tips are to drink plenty of water every day and stay away from caffeine, which dehydrates. The latter is hard for me, as I’m an avid coffee drinker. For each caffeinated drink, consume at least three cups of water additional to your daily requirements. That’s a lot of water!

Finally, and it’s a biggie, stay away from sugar. That’s right, I said it! You’re probably not surprised, but I bet this will surprise you. Sugar not only causes weight gain, something we all know, but it also causes glycation, which damages collagen, elastin and protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. The result is wrinkled and sagging skin. Yikes! Think twice next time you reach for your favorite sweet treat.

So to wrap it up, caring for your skin is not only only a way to stay looking youthful longer, it’s a great way to trim the waistline. It’s win-win, really. See ya’ here tomorrow, folks.

UVA and UVB rays cause splotchy, uneven skin tone, dry the skin, promote collagen degeneration and cause deep wrinkles.

Self Love Friday Forum: Luxury Edition

Hi ladies! Happy Friday. So today’s Self Love Friday is a bit different than the previous two. Instead of a video, I wanted to throw out some fun ideas for stuff you can do this weekend to feel luxurious. It’s like a party for one, only lots of fun.

1. Get a massage.

If you’ve been working out this week and you’re sore, treat yourself to a massage. If money is a problem, check out your local massage therapy school to see if they offer massage for the public. Those students have to practice on someone. Or call around and find the best rate. There is an $8 massage studio in my town. Sweet!

2. Make your home luxurious.

That might mean something different to you than it does for me, but I like to have soft rugs underfoot and a soft blankie to curl up with on the couch or in bed while watching mindless TV or catching up on my favorite blogs. You might buy yourself fresh flowers and put them in a prominent place in your home and/or light your favorite candle. Heck, even cleaning your house to perfection will feel luxurious – that is – when you’re done with the cleaning part.

3. Get your hair done.

Get a cut and/ or color to shake up your self-expression a bit. I recently read a post by Gala Darling in which she said something I love, “You always know a girl is about to change her life when she changes her hair.” It’s so true! I’m about to get a new do myself. I’ll post a piccy when I do.

4. Get a manicure/pedicure or do one yourself.

Have you seen the fun nail polish colors in stores lately? There are so many amazing candy colors I have had to restrain myself from buying too many. A mani/pedi fresh coat of nail polish always makes me feel clean and spiffy.

5. Get some sun.

I know the weather is a mixed bag around the country right now, but if there are warm days in the forecast in your area, go out and soak up the sun for up to 15 minutes. You’ll replenish your vitamin D and feel great.