I have a confession to make. I dread all of the New Year’s commercials and ads telling us how we can have better bodies in 7 weeks. Or flat abs in 5 minutes a day. While December seems to abound with stressful preparations, sugary desserts and fun in excess, January takes on the opposite vibe of deprivation, extreme exercise and self-loathing!

Instead, I like to focus on healthy living, finding ways to feel good about myself and getting back into balance. January is a great time to nurture ourselves back to health. No more waking up with that sick, sluggish feeling because of sugar overload from the day before. The shift can start with simple things like taking a brisk walk with the dog, taking time for ourselves by reading a good book and finding foods that not only taste good but make us feel good.

Although I’ve been successfully helping others with their weight and health struggles for five years now, at first I found it difficult to call myself a “Health Coach” because, in my mind, I didn’t fit the mold. I don’t have a Barbie-like figure and I don’t like hanging out at the gym. I’m not too concerned with my abs or with having a bikini-ready body but I DO want to be strong and fit and feel comfortable wearing a swimsuit in public. I can honestly say, I never, ever, EVER thought I would have a career in health and wellness because I have struggled with my weight since childhood.

But here’s what I’ve found.  Creating health in our lives is about learning to make better choices, feeling good about ourselves and finding support with others that are also working towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s about having more optimal days than not. Forget about perfection or comparing ourselves to everyone else. We are each on our own journey.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to value ourselves as we are now, regardless of our size. I saw a sign once that said: “Only loving our body when it’s perfectly fit is like only loving our kids when they are perfectly behaved.” Interesting comparison, huh?

My overall health goals include FEELING good in my body, maintaining a healthy weight and finding balance in my life so that I can live a long and vibrant life.

The New Year is a natural time for a fresh start. If you are ready to start feeling good, taking care of yourself and making healthy changes, join me and friends on our health journey. Make 2017 your year to become who you were meant to be!

How many times have you heard someone say, “I cheated over the weekend!” Or “I was bad – I ate a cookie”. Maybe you have even complained about how you “blew it and cheated”. I’ve seen diets with “planned cheat days” and I cringe when I hear it phrased in this way. The language and words that we use have a big impact on our focus and how we view ourselves. Do we really need to add more negative images around how we deal with food?

Cheating is defined as acting dishonestly to gain an advantage. Why do we equate eating a cookie with being dishonest, and what advantage are we gaining? None that I can think of. How have we as a society hijacked whether we are good or not, whether we are worthy or not, based on what we eat.

I prefer using the words zig and zag instead. It’s terminology that I learned from Tony Robbins that works perfectly to describe “on” and “off” days. Zig and zag. There’s no judgement and it doesn’t make us right or wrong. Most days I zig, which means eating foods that align with my health goals and that fuel my body.

Occasionally I zag, which means eating food that may have limited nutritional value but brings me pleasure. Zagging is about moderation, enjoyment and balance. It’s about eating food that is enjoyable in small quantities. And I know that if I zag too much it actually decreases my joy in my life. I don’t feel my best.

If we are going to make peace with our bodies and food, we can’t allow the food we eat to determine if we are good or bad. Really, it just boils down to choices. When a client tells me they ate something bad (meaning it didn’t move them closer to their health goals) I ask if they enjoyed it. What I mean is, was it a conscious choice to deviate from the plan and enjoy the food? Or was it an irrational decision caused by a trigger?

Of course, there are varying degrees of behavior here. One situation might be eating a cookie and another might be eating a whole bag of cookies. Obviously there are deeper issues at play when we scarf down the whole bag of cookies in one setting.

But if you choose to have a cookie (or whatever your favorite indulgence is) then at least enjoy what you are eating! For goodness sakes, it’s just a cookie! There shouldn’t be any moral judgement about eating a cookie!

Some people might say that I’m getting all hung up on semantics. But the words we use, matter. They go deeper to our core than what we realize.

Zigging and zagging has a dance quality to it. Or a yin and yang feeling. No judgement, no pressure, no condemnation. It’s about enjoying life. No cheating here!

Why Work with a Health Coach?

Are you intrigued about the idea of getting support along with structured nutrition to make big lifestyle changes but are wondering what that entails? You’re not alone. People commonly ask me, so what exactly do you do? And how does that work?

Recently I was asked to be interviewed about the benefits of health coaching and explain how I work with my clients. I was a bit apprehensive about the idea at first, but I think the article turned out well. Take a look. Omaha Magazine

February is already here, so how’s your progress on those New Year’s Resolutions? If January is all about wiping the slate clean and getting a fresh start, then once February hits we should be well on our way to positive changes, right? So how effective have you been in tackling your new priorities? Are you on target? Or are you beating yourself up because you’ve slipped? Or have you already forgotten the commitments that you promised to yourself!

If you’re not where you had hoped to be, give yourself some grace. You are human. Now, pick yourself up off the floor and let’s start thinking about a new strategy. Do you need to change your approach? Would it help to find support? How about reaching out to someone who’s been successful in overcoming the same issues you are facing? If you have health-related goals, have you ever considered working with a health coach?

I have a framed quote on my desk that was given to me by my sister five years ago when I started making big changes. It says, “We cannot get what we’ve never had unless we’re willing to do what we’ve never done.” It’s a great reminder to me when I get stuck, that trying something new might be required in order for me to move forward.

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So if you do not see the progress you want, why not shake it up and develop a new strategy? Reach out to someone that has a plan, someone that knows how to navigate the difficult waters and can provide support.

As I’m sharing the concept of wiping the slate clean, I’m going to give myself the same grace. Here it is. I’ve been beating myself up because last fall I failed miserably with my commitment to share posts about my personal 90 days all in health challenge. It’s not that I wasn’t successful with dropping the stress weight that I had slowly put on. In fact, I lost 28 pounds in 90 days, during a time period that included two trips. But I didn’t follow through with my intention of sharing my results on a weekly basis as I had planned so that others could follow along, be inspired and join me.

You see, I hate being in the spotlight! I have a huge heart to help others, and while many people have told me how inspiring my story is, I shy away from sharing because it means the focus turns to me. So here’s my fresh start. I’ve re-worked my plan and developed a new strategy for sharing with others. And I’ve enlisted some outside support so that I will follow through on my commitments.

Hmm… That kind of sounds like I’m taking my own advice! What about you? Are you ready to try a new approach to help you reach your health goals? I am here to help.

 

My husband and I were in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago and I was trying to explain to a friend what made the get-away so great but I just couldn’t seem to find the right words to convey what I felt. We had a fantastic time and I truly enjoyed one indulgence in particular that my husband granted me – a rented red convertible for a day trip to visit Hoover Dam.Take Shape for Life, Weight Loss, Tina Kucera

And then it hit me…. It wasn’t the convertible itself that created such a memorable day. I realized what made it such a fun experience was my reaction to the convertible. For once, I felt like the “leading lady”, not the “friend with the great personality”.  Convertible top down, wind blowing in my hair, I was sporting dark sunglasses and a big genuine smile on my face. Living fully in the moment, I was the diva in the desert!

In contrast, my husband and I were in Vegas 5 years ago and while we enjoyed ourselves, it was quite a different experience. I didn’t pack any fun dresses, I tried hard not to be noticed and we cut our walk on the strip short, because I was tired. This time we walked for hours and I felt great.Tina Kucera

As I was looking at pictures from our recent trip, one picture in particular caught my attention for a couple reasons. First of all, in the past I would have never posed for a picture with the Blue Man Group.  And second,  I look so damn happy! I searched for a picture from our 2010 Vegas trip that I could post and I could only find one picture (I used to try to escape the camera). Even I  was shocked to remember how different I looked. And I see so much pain in my eyes.

Tina KuceraRegardless of our size or weight, we all deserve to be the leading lady of our own life. But for most of us, how we show up in the world is directly related to how we feel about our bodies. Are you ready to rewrite your script?

My husband had a powerful revelation on this trip as well. If you want your wife to act interested for a 5 hour Hoover Dam tour, be sure to rent a convertible first!

Weight Loss, Health Coach

Last week I wrote about my leap of faith that transformed my world even through early on, I was doubtful that change was even possible. The pictures are dramatic and people ask all the time how much weight I lost.

I was down 109 pounds when I hit my goal weight in May of 2012. What an incredible feeling! Looking in the mirror was surreal. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror at first.

At my smallest, I was a size 6 with a BMI of 23 (a BMI under 25 is considered to be a healthy weight that significantly reduces your risk of disease). At my heaviest, I was a size 22, with a BMI of 41.

Within a few months I seemed to “naturally” level out to a size 8. Although now I wonder was I really naturally leveling out– or was that my way of justifying my slight weight gain? I’m not sure.

Those few extra pounds bugged me a bit, but for the most part I was happy with my new body. I had gone from a size 22 to a size 8, how could I complain about that? I then maintained my weight for a couple years with a few seasonal ups and downs.

Then last year stress eating reared its ugly head, and I found myself up to a size 10. Several times I re-committed myself with some success, but couldn’t keep my head in the game. And then within the last few months, after a summer of fun and indulgences (that I thoroughly enjoyed!), I was up to a size 12.

I wasn’t feeling like myself and I had the urge to move forward to a healthier weight. So four weeks ago, I decided to fully commit myself. All in… so to speak for 90 days! I don’t have a magic number I’m trying to reach. I’m doing the work and I’m going to see where I land.

So far, I am thrilled with my results! I’m feeling energized and excited to be moving forward. After just 4 weeks, I am down 15 pounds and don’t have that bloated feeling. My mood is more stable now that I’m off the sugar roller coaster again and I’m not tempted by every cookie I see! I feel in control of my food, which has always led to positive effects in other areas of my life too. And I’m even fitting into those size 10 pants again!

So what about you? Are you thinking about making some changes? Do you want to feel better and work on creating healthy habits along with me? It doesn’t matter how many times you have tried before or whether you have lost great amounts of weight and regained a little or a lot. Or maybe you just want help cleaning up your eating habits.

Better health is within your reach! Join me and a community of like-minded people who are caring and supportive. No judgment here. We’ll help you find motivation and fun in the Fall Health Games.

Do you ever look back at moments of decision in your life and wonder… “Where would I be if I wouldn’t have made that choice?” Whether it’s where you went to school, where you decided to live, a job, a marriage, or even a trip in which you met someone or learned something that altered the course of your life.

I ponder this question every August. I think about how a decision I made four years ago this month has transformed my entire life… my health, my relationships with my husband and kids, my outlook on life and even my career.

My decision to work with a health coach to lose weight was a leap of faith.  I didn’t even tell anyone at first because I didn’t want to let anyone know that I was opening myself up again, to a possibility of something more. I hated my body and even though I heard stories of hope from my health coach, I just couldn’t believe that it could apply to ME. Surely, this was just another case of me setting myself up for disappointment, right?

Even when friends started noticing that I was losing weight, I would hear myself respond back to their compliments, with phrases like, “Well, let’s see if I can keep it off!” WHOA… talk about someone who truly did not believe in herself. I’d been down this road several times before and made strides forward, only to hit a wall and slide back into hopelessness and embarrassment.

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