5 Simple Rules for Living a Life of Happiness

Happiness-is-a-choiceI read this book a few months ago called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and one thing that he said really stuck with me. He said that people always think that once they get that promotion or lose weight, or quit their job or get married they will be happy. They don’t realize that once you are happy all of those other things fall into place.  Happiness is so underrated. If you aren’t living a life of true happiness how can you ever be comfortable, successful, wealthy, loving or compassionate?

5 Simple Rules for Living a Life of Happiness by Doug A. Sandler

One of the greatest feelings you can possess is happiness. When you are happy, people want to be around you. It’s a simple attraction principle; when you are happy, you attract other happy people. Happiness can spread quickly and is very contagious when gratitude, generosity, and positivity are added to your relationships.

Hundreds of studies have been conducted on the positive effects and health benefits of being happy. It’s hard to argue with the facts — a happy you equals a healthy you. Although I have always considered myself a happy person personally, as I have developed my professional life as well, I have discovered that the happier I am, the more successful my business became too.

Here are five rules to help you live a life of happiness:

1. Don’t Take Life So Seriously – As I was growing up my dad would always have to remind me that worrying about things that are outside of my control was harmful to my attitude and ultimately challenging my ability to be happy. Plus, I had no control so I should stop worrying. He’d continue by saying that worrying about something within my control was not needed since I had the ability to fix the problem by taking action. Our time on this earth is limited, and it’s extremely important to make the most of it while we are here. Look at life as a dress rehearsal — even if we mess up our lines, we can stop, take some advice from the experts that support us and guide us through it, and get back to the show.

2. Define for yourself what success means – Don’t let others define what success means to you. Success to you might be a filled bank account, fancy automobiles and material items. To others it might mean free time, lots of family gatherings and plenty of staycations. Professionally, success to me means working for myself, never having to hire staff and creating my own products and services. Personally, it means loving and being loved while enjoying the time I have in this lifetime. Someone else might define success as being CEO of a Fortune 500 company, having hundreds of staff members and having a corporate Amex card. You have the ability to make your own goals, dream your own dreams and define what success means to you.

3. You have an unlimited amount of do-overs – About 40 years ago, my brother and I would play ping pong in our rec room. To the right of the ping pong table stood a rubber tree plant. When the ball either hit the rubber tree plant or came too close to make a return shot, we’d yell “DO-OVER!” As an adult we have unlimited do-overs. As your professional career evolves, if you don’t like the direction you are going, take a do-over. Nearly three years ago, at 48, I decided to take a professional do-over, reinventing my professional life to where it is today as an author, speaker and business consultant. I have never been happier in my life and while there have been some very scary moments, it has also proven to be one of the most rewarding directions I have ever gone, making me extremely happy.

4. Worry less about what they think – Who the heck is they anyway? And honestly, until they are paying my bills and living my life, “they” don’t know what is best for me. I get to define my happiness and determine what life is all about for me. What it really comes down to is this: you have to deal with the consequences of your actions and “they” get to walk away. There will always be a court of public opinion and you will never be able to please all of the people in that court, so you may as well make decisions and take action based upon what works best for you and not “them.”

5. Play by your own rules – There is nothing worse than a static policies and procedures manual. Sure, there are some rules that are very important to follow. I usually put them into the category of common sense. Rules like, “Don’t harass your coworkers,” or, “Physical or verbal bullying will not be tolerated and subject to termination.” People breaking these rules need to get a life and should actually try to harness that negative energy into something positive, lasting, and beneficial to the human race. Happiness is created by treating others fairly, doing what feels right, making a positive impact on the planet and by following what you are passionate about.

When I originally sat down to write this blog, I was challenged by the idea of creating a set of rules pertaining to making rules for your life. Use these rules as guidelines and suggestions. Keep in mind, these are the rules that apply to my life and are “serving suggestions” for you. If you don’t like them, get your own set of rules and start getting your happy on, today. I know it will be worth it and will ultimately, your happiness rules will make you very happy.


Lack of Motivation: Is that my motivation?

11051772_10153177278493893_8339865091411561609_nI’ve been really struggling with my fitness motivation lately.  My eating is somewhat under control. That being said I’m not eating as much all day long like I used to. However, I’m still eating all of the wrong things most of the time.  I’ve learned over the years that in order to be successful at weight loss first and foremost there needs to be a change in your habits.  I have really bad habits. All around. Eating. Sleeping. Activity. Just life in general. I always have. There is that theory that it takes 21 days to change a habit. I don’t know if I’ve ever even made it to day 2 much less day 21. I know this about myself and it is something that I want to change. So that’s what I’m going to do. August is my Month of Motivation. And I’m going to change some shit!

So I did a little research on how to break bad habits and how to replace bad habits with good habits. Some suggestions were good, but there are some things that I know I’m not going to do. So I’m not going to fool myself or you by pretending that I am. For example, I am not a morning person. One of the biggest issues I have is that I keep trying to force myself to get up to go to these morning gym classes. Now you may think that a 9am class isn’t such a big deal. And maybe at some point for me it won’t be either. But for right now, I can’t do it. So every night I set myself up by packing a bag and setting my alarm and telling myself I’m going to go to the gym in the morning. And when I don’t do it. Then I feel bad and beat myself up. However, I used to go to the gym at 11am a few times a week and I had no issues with that. So why am I trying to be someone that I’m not? Do you boo!

I found this site Zen Habits that had some really good suggestions that I’m adapting for my Month of Motivation

  1. Do just one habit at a time – This is so hard because I have a whole list. But for these purposes I will focus on exercise.
  2. Start Small – So no marathon next month? Okay. At least 30 minutes of exercise every day. In some form or fashion. Even if I break it up I will get it done.
  3. Do a 30 day challenge – He says the 21 day thing is a myth so since August has 31 days, I guess I’ll go with a 31 day challenge.
  4. Know your motivations and write them down – We will get to that in a minute.
  5. Write down your obstacles – I am my biggest obstacle. Me and my big old brain that can talk myself out of anything and justify any poor choice. Like the chocolate shake I had for lunch today. Not with lunch. For lunch… but I digress.
  6. Identify your triggers – One suggestion he had was to make a plan. This is actually a trigger for me. If I set a plan and for whatever reason my plans change, it is like the whole world came to an end. I don’t deal well with that. So for me it is actually better to play things by ear. However, that being said, I’m also easily distracted by work and fun stuff. So I will make a commitment that if I haven’t exercised by 2pm I will stop what I’m doing at that moment and get it done. Or if I know that I have plans for later in the day I will make sure that I am able to fit it in before I leave home.
  7. Plan a support system and ask for help – Hello! That’s what I have you for!
  8. Accountability – Again, that’s what I have you for. Feel free to call me out. Email me. Write comments and ask me what I’m doing.

My Motivations – Don’t judge me but most of these might be a little vain.

  1. I want to wear better looking clothes. Fat people clothes are ugly. Yeah I said it.
  2. I want to be more comfortable in an airplane seat.
  3. I want to stop being so tired all the time.
  4. I want to run more than 1 minute without feeling like my lungs are going to explode.
  5. I want to be able to walk up the steps of the Eiffel Tower next time.
  6. I want to wear sleeveless, strapless, shorts, skirts or any of the things I feel too self conscious to wear now
  7. I want this part of my life to be as joyous and successful as the other parts of my life.

I can’t do this by myself and I’d love to have your support and to offer my support to you. What habit are you motivated to change? Are you in for the August Month of Motivation Challenge?

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. – Jim Ryun

What's New In Paleo

IMG_20150531_200846There is always something new in the world of diet and lifestyle changes. I try to keep up but honestly it is just too hard. These days I just try to eat what tastes good and doesn’t make me sick to my stomach… and ice cream I’ve seen positive changes in my body from Whole30 and paleo diets and so, if I were to choose a specific diet, I guess paleo would be it. But I really don’t want to make that choice. I don’t see myself going through the rest of my life limiting my food choices… and I have 8 years worth of blog posts to prove it.

The latest celeb to hop on the paleo train is singer Sam Smith who reportedly lost 14lbs in 14 days. A few months ago Sam Smith spoke about Amelia Freer, whose book Eat. Nourish. Glow. fueled his weight transformation. On her website Freer states, “Food. Our need for it is primal but our relationship with it is complex.” Well isn’t that an understatement. She continues “Our innate craving for sweets and fats, and their ubiquitous availability, now seems to lead us down a path of bodily destruction.” Yawn. I’m glad this worked for him but I can hear her voice in my head (although I’ve never heard it in real life) and I don’t like it! In no way do I want to minimize her journey or trivialize her qualifications. But her aesthetic just didn’t speak to me.

I’m a real person. I like real people. Not people who appear to be preachy and pretentious, yes I mean you Martha Stewart. When you are struggling with weight issues or lifestyle changes you want to know that other people have been in the same position you are in and have made it through. I also like people who have a sense of humor and can laugh at themselves and enjoy life. If you are interested in making this lifestyle change here are a few links to some sites that I do like. Just in case you were interested:

Thai Food Showdown: London vs Las Vegas

I’ve never been to Thailand so it is possible I don’t really know authentic Thai food. But what I do know is that I’ve had some realy bad Thai food and I’ve had some really good Thai food. And on two occasions I’ve had some AWESOME Thai food.

Contender #1 – Taste of Siam in London. While in London I stayed at a hotel near Euston Station. We were looking for some place close to the hotel for dinner and came across Taste of Siam. This is one of those neighborhood joints, off the beaten path and away from the tourist areas. It really gave me that New York feel. The restaurant has 2 entrances which is kind of weird. The first night we entered into what I think is more of a Noodle Bar. Very small, no frills. Maybe 10 tables at the most. The food was amazing.  Just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke we went back one more time with a group of people. This time we walked through door #2 which was a much larger space.  This was no fluke! The food was just as good as the night before.

Contender #2 – Le Thai in Las Vegas.  Le Thai is located on Fremont Street downtown. It is also a location that is more for locals than for tourists.  You have to walk all the way through the Fremont Experience and come out on the other side. The first time we went it was late in the evening and there was no wait for a table. It was also fairly new and not as popular as it is now.  They don’t take reservations but they will take your cell number and text you when your table is ready. You can also download an app that will do the same thing. The food is absolutely divine! Everything from the soup to the rice to the noodles and even the drinks. Yum!  When I got ready to write this post I realized that I had no pictures of the food. We’ve probably been there 10 times. How can I not have a picture? So I asked my boyfriend and he said “No! When the food comes we don’t have time to take pictures. We eat!” And there you have it.


Whole30 Program - The Results!!!!

Today is Day 30 


I can’t believe it has been 30 days. I would say that it has flown by but that would be a lie.  However, it was much easier and a much more pleasant experience than I anticipated.

The Results!
Weight  – lost 15.5lbs (17.5 since starting WW in April)
Hips – 3 inches lost
Waist – 6 inches lost
Chest – 5 inches
Thighs – 1.5 inches

*I still need to take my after pictures so stay tuned!

What I Learned

  1. Read your labels! There is a really a lot of unhealthy crap in our food. And there’s sugar in everything! Why is there sugar in bacon??? There are so many chemicals that we’ve never heard of and could never pronounce. It is all very toxic to our systems. We need to hold food companies more accountable.
  2. Organic food isn’t that much more expensive.  Yes, organic, cage-free brown eggs are about $5/dozen and regular old white eggs are $2/dozen but when you learn how chickens are treated and how the eggs are processed you’ll realize that they are worth the extra $3.
  3. You don’t need to buy everything organic. You don’t need organic pineapples or organic bananas. Anything that has an outer layer that you will toss doesn’t need to be organic. My suggestions though is that ALL meat be organic and/or grass-fed.
  4. It is possible to get through 30 days of anything. If anyone had told me this time last month that I would be drinking black coffee and unsweetened ice tea I would think they were crazy. If anyone had told me I would have turned down my favorite Pavillions pound cake I would have called them a liar.
  5. I still hate people who say that the only way to lose weight is through diet and exercise.
  6. I’ve learned to think about why I want something specific. Just because a food pops into my head doesn’t mean I have to eat it. Mindful eating is important. If you’re not hungry, then what is the real reason you want to eat?
  7. I didn’t meet the goal that I’d set for myself but that’s okay and I won’t beat myself up over it. I’ll take my time and let my body do what it wants. As long as I know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to, the weight will come off.
  8. I don’t want to live in a world without ice cream!  But I don’t need to eat a pint every day.

Although I pleased with my progress and proud of my accomplishments I realize that I still have a long way to go. This was the beginning of the process.  I’m not happy with my body just yet, but I now know that I have the ability to make those changes that I want, both physically and mentally.  I never thought I’d look forward to laying in a hot room in a pool of my own sweat every night, but I do.  I LOVE hot yoga and would recommend it to anyone with a stressful job, a hectic life and/or a busy mind.  Some times we just need to slow down and take the time for ourselves.

In the end I would recommend this program to anyone but it isn’t easy and you need to be in the right place and frame of mind to start. Definitely read It Starts with Food before you start.  It might also help to watch the movie Food Inc.  If you decide to start or have any questions feel free to email me. Good luck!

Back at it!

weight_watchers_360_jhudsonSo those Jennifer Hudson commercials get on my nerves. But in spite of that I decided to join Weight Watchers…. again.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the way I’ve been going about this is wrong. Like…becoming a VEGAN and eating McDonald’s french fries.  Food is the enemy but without we will die so I need to figure all of this out.  One of the things that I like about Weight Watchers is there is no restriction on what you can eat. You can eat whatever you want as long as you don’t go over your allotted points for the day. Don’t wanna work out? That’s okay too. You just won’t eat as much.

My first week on WW I lost 6lbs.  I’d started back slowly losing weight about 2 months ago. So all in all I’m down almost 10lbs.  This time around I feel more in control. I feel up to the challenge and I feel that I’m able to go about this honestly. In other words… Stop Lying to MYSELF.

Treadmill Workout: Programs and Routines for Indoor Workouts

Just think: If global warming were a good thing, you’d never have to run indoors on a treadmill ever again. You can see where we’re going with this. The next time you’re running bored on the belt, change your routine with one of these four programs. They’ll help you burn calories, without burning you out.

Women’s Health

Sugar Free In 28-Days

Try this 28-day challenge to reduce the amount of sugar you consume – you’ll feel healthier, and if you stick with it, you might just extend your life.

Week 1 – Detox
Take a deep breath – you’re not going cold turkey. Cut back on the amount of sugar you add to foods (no more than a teaspoon!) Instead of buying and consuming processed foods that include sugar, try buying healthier alternatives – like whole wheat cereals – and adding 1 tsp. of sugar. This puts you in control of the amount of sugar you’re consuming.

Week 2 – Eliminate Hidden Sugar
Hunt down hidden sugars hiding in your cabinets and pantry. Throw away foods containing high amounts of added sugars, everything from tomato sauces to ketchup to peanut butter. Be especially wary of low-fat items as they often contain more sugar to make them taste better.
When purging your kitchen, be on the look out for these names:
·         Fructose
·         Maltose
·         Sorbitol
·         Evaporated cane juice
·         Syrups
·         Xylotol
·         Sugars ending in “ol” or “ose”

Week 3 – Alternatives
Instead of sugar, try using the following alternative sweeteners:
·         Non-caloric herb from Paraguay
·         Very sweet with slight licorice taste
·         Found at health food, specialty and grocery stores with the dietary supplements – not with sweeteners.
Agave Nectar
·         Made from blue agave cactus grown in Mexico
·         High in calories, but you only need a very small amount
·         Found at vitamin stores.

Week 4 – Trick Your Taste Buds
Using fresh spices and herbs can trick taste buds into thinking you’re eating something sinfully sweet. Try adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla or allspice to your coffee, cereals and baked goods.

The Truth About Sugar Addiction

Is Sugar Addiction Real?
You say you can’t live without your daily donut — but are you really “addicted” to sugar? The answer is complicated. Researchers think a pattern of withholding and binging — not sugar itself — may lead to addictive-like behavior and even brain changes. Sugar influences the same “feel-good” brain chemicals — including serotonin and dopamine — as illicit drugs. But scientists aren’t quite ready to lump sugar in with heroin. 

Symptoms of Sugar Addiction

Whether you call it an addiction, an eating disorder, or simply a bad habit, there are signs of an unhealthy use of sugary foods. You may lose control and eat more than you planned. You may have withdrawal symptoms when you skip your regular cookie “fix.” “You can get low blood sugar symptoms, which would include a little bit of anxiety, shakiness, jitteriness…a cold sweat,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a spokeswoman for the ADA.

Your Brain on Sugar

Sugar fuels every cell in the brain and influences brain chemicals, too.  Andoverloading on sugary foods may alter the brain receptors that regulate how much we eat. In laboratory studies, rats that binged on sugar had brain changes that mimicked those of drug withdrawal. In humans, just seeing pictures of milkshakes triggered brain activity similar to what’s seen in drug addicts — and that activity was stronger in women with a high food-addiction score than in women who didn’t report addictive eating.

Do Sugar Detox Diets Work?

Can you beat your sugar addiction by quitting cold turkey? Some sugar detoxes urge you to eliminate everything sweet — including fruit, dairy, and all refined grains — to purge your system of sugar. Diet changes like this are too drastic to be realistic. “If you are doing something that is not sustainable, that you can only do short-term, then you will ultimately go back to your old habits,” says dietitian Kirkpatrick.

Retrain Your Taste Buds

You don’t need sugar as much as you think you do. “If we wean ourselves off [sugar], we can train our taste buds to enjoy things that aren’t as sweet,” says Kirkpatrick. Try eliminating one sugary food from your diet each week. Pass on dessert after dinner. Slowly reduce the sugar in your coffee or cereal. “Over time, you will lose your dependence on that sensation,” she says.

Choose Sweet Alternatives

You don’t have to give up sweetness — just get it from other sources. Try fresh fruit or pureed berries on oatmeal instead of sugar. Fruit in many different forms beats table sugar: dried, frozen, or canned fruit (without too much added sugar). A glass of low-fat milk or low-sugar yogurt can satisfy, too. These contain the milk sugar lactose, which doesn’t taste sweet. And of course, these dairy foods are packed with protein and calcium.

Kick the Habit: Add Protein

When you’re starving, every cookie cries out to you. Hunger robs you of the willpower to resist sugar cravings. Eating protein is an easy way to curb those cravings. High-protein foods digest more slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer. Protein doesn’t make your blood sugar spike, like refined carbs and sugars do. When you pick a protein snack, choose healthy sources like lean chicken, low-fat yogurt, eggs, nuts, or beans.

Kick the Habit: Fill Up on Fiber

“Fiber always helps with fullness,” says nutritionist Gerbstadt. High-fiber foods also give you more energy, and they don’t raise your blood sugar so there’s no hungry crash afterward. Look for soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables, as well as insoluble fiber from whole grains. Or, smear some peanut butter on an apple for a protein/fiber combo. As a bonus, fiber can also protect against heart disease and some types of cancer.

Kick the Habit: Get Outside

Exercise doesn’t “cure” sugar addiction, but it could change the way you eat in general. “People who get into an exercise program and start to feel better about themselves are more likely to try another healthy behavior — like eating less sugar,” Gerbstadt says. Whatever exercise you prefer — walking, riding your bike, or swimming — try to do it for at least 30 minutes at a time, five days a week.

Are ‘Natural’ Sugars Better?

Honey, brown sugar, and evaporated cane juice all sound healthy — but are they really any better for you than white table sugar? Not really. Sugar is sugar. And whether it comes from bees or sugar cane, it can cause your blood sugar to rise. Honey and unrefined sugars are slightly higher in nutrients than processed table sugar, but they still contain calories, which will go straight to your hips if you eat too much.

Tame Sugar Withdrawal

When you first cut back on sugar, you will go through a sort of withdrawal. You may feel tired, listless, or edgy. “It’s very short-lived,” Gerbstadt says. Having goals — like vowing to lose 10 pounds or cut out desserts for a week — can help you get through your sugar withdrawal. Knowing that you’ll soon be free from your sugar addiction and on the road to better health can also be a real motivator.



I had a conversation with a friend yesterday who stopped smoking weed after nearly 20 years.  He told me how difficult it was to break the habit, about going through the physical and mental withdrawals and how now, about a month later he’s finally stopped having the cravings.  I told him that I understood how difficult an addiction is to break. The fact that he made a decision, went cold turkey and stuck it out is an inspiration to me.

People who have problems with illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are said to have addictions. People who are overweight are said to be lazy, undisciplined and lack willpower.  I would venture to say that no one wants to be fat anymore than one would want to be a crackhead. So why do people who have food and sugar additions not receive the same support and acknowledgment?

There have been many days that I’ve rationalized why I need a chocolate shake or a family sized bag of Butterfingers. With ever bite, every sip I dread the feeling but push it aside.  I deal with headaches and the feelings of failure and that promise to fight it next time.  All of the things that I’m sure a true addict deals with on a daily basis.

I am no a food addict. I could really care less about food. I could go the rest of my life without food. What I LOVE is sugar, ice cream, soda, candy and cupcakes to be exact. I would forego dinner for a pint of vanilla ice cream any day of the week. And I have.  There is nothing I want more right at this moment than to never have sugar again. But in my heart of hearts I don’t believe that I can do that. So here’s my question…. when you are a drug addict, and you kick the habit, coke, meth, whatever, you just don’t ever have it again.  But when you are a food addict, a sugar addict, you can’t do that. I can’t go the rest of my life NEVER having sugar. It is in EVERYTHING!  So like a drug addict, lets say I go cold turkey, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year… what happens when I have it again? A piece of birthday cake? A Girl Scout cookie? A Hershey’s kiss? Does it start that downward spiral all over again?

I don’t know what the answer is. But I need to figure it out….. soon