Memorial Day Survival Guide

Yay, it’s Memorial Day weekend, which means summer is almost here! It also means lots of BBQs and parties this weekend, so don’t let one weekend blow months of hard work away. You still want to have a fabulous time though and not be the boring girl eating one lettuce leaf, so read on to find out how to navigate through all the fried chicken and burger-y goodness and still have fun.

1. Instead of heading straight for the burgers go towards the cut up veggies and salad first. Filling up on water packed foods will make you less likely to overeat the fat packed foods.

2. Speaking of burgers, if you’re making your own BBQ or you can bring something to someone else’s try my Turkey Burger recipe. It is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S and I promise you won’t miss the beefy kind! Also make sure to go easy on the mayo if it’s not low-fat. Better yet, stay away from it and try some avocado instead. Keep in mind that a full fat burger with all the fixings is 511 calories! That’s 58 minutes of stair climbing**!

3. If you’re going to drink and you’re a beer kind of girl stick to a light beer. If you like something a bit harder stay away from the sugary cocktails which are usually loaded with extra calories. Drinking your calories isn’t very satisfying and a margarita has 200 of those suckers, which means you’ll have to wash the dishes from your little party for 92 minutes! Instead swap the sugar for diet soda. My favorite mix is Stoli vanilla vodka and Coke Zero. Another good one is something we’ve named The Chilly Willie, which is mandarin vodka and diet root beer (I promise, it’s delicious!).

4. Who doesn’t love some good potato salad? I know! But, 1 cup will set you back 358 calories and 20g of fat! And you guessed it, I’m going to tell you what kind of agony you need to put yourself through to burn it off… That’s 81 minutes of mopping up after the guests leave! If that’s your kind of fun then go for the potato salad. If it’s not, then try grilling up some corn on the cob. I know it’s not potato salad, but I promise you’re going to want seconds! And good thing is that you can have seconds!

5. You scream, I scream, we all love ICE CREAM! I love ice cream as much as the next girl, but I have to keep my cravings in check, because I can easily devour an entire container all by myself in one sitting. Take this: a 1/2 cup serving of vanilla Ben & Jerry’s equals 240 calories and 16g fat. You’d have to do 30 minutes of push-ups to take that off! Have a Skinny Cow Truffle Bar for just 100 calories instead. They are YUMMY!

So, those are my tips. If you do give into temptation though don’t worry too much about it. It’s only one weekend and it’s hard to keep on track all the time. Just make sure that when you wake up the next morning you rededicate yourself to eating right and getting into gear. Don’t let one day turn into 1 week, and then a month, and then a year.

** All calorie counts are based on a 130lb. person

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours! If yours is chosen you’ll receive a FREE Fit Deck!

An Exhausted Yo-Yo

Dear Dani,
I’ve been a dieter my whole life. I’m 36 and have gained and lost the same weight for as long as I can remember, and every time I lose weight and regain it, it seems like a little more creeps on. I don’t know what to do anymore. I want to take this weight off and keep it off for good, but it seems like that’s never going to happen. I’m always having to watch what I eat and it’s exhausting. Any advice?
Thanks, An Exhausted Yo-Yo

Dear Exhausted Yo-Yo,
I want to let you know that you are not alone. So many people out there are just like you struggling to keep their weight off. Dieting seems like the logical thing to do when you want the scale to go down, because it would make sense that if you’re eating less then their won’t be anything inside of you to gain. Now, I’m not sure if you’re a regular reader or not, but I often talk about how dieting will slow your metabolism down. When you’re cutting out food groups or drastically reducing your calorie intake your body will hold on to whatever you feed it, because it doesn’t know when it’s going to get more (which is sort of how dieters usually are when they finally give into their craving – one cookie turns into 10, right?).
I don’t have any specifics on exactly what kind of dieter you are, but first I want to tell you that if you have a scale I want you to throw it out. It’s only going to make you obsess more about taking the weight off, which will sabotage your efforts (you know how they say that you find love when you’re not looking for it? Losing weight is sort of the same thing. If you think about it too much it most likely won’t happen, because you’re not being intuitive about it). Instead, focus on the waist of your clothes. If they feel looser on you than you know you’re doing the right thing!
Secondly, I want you to write your Victory Vision. Be completely honest with yourself and write down why you want to lose weight. If you’re doing it for other people then it’s going to be hard to keep the weight off, you have to do it for yourself.
Lastly, make a list of your negative behaviors that keep you on the yo-yo diet roller coaster and then write down ways to overcome those behaviors the next time you’re faced with them.

Just know that you’ve lived a lifetime like this, so you’re not going to be able to undo it overnight. Give yourself time and be kind to yourself when you slip-up – nobody and no body is perfect. You can do this!

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!

My 2 Secrets To Success

After 3 weeks of not being sure whether I’d race or not, I ended up running the Brooklyn Half Marathon this past weekend. For any of you following my blog you’ve probably read about my journey through my first race about 8 weeks ago. It was intense and so gratifying, which is why this time I was shocked that I wasn’t sure if I would end up running or not. I had a really rough run one of the weeks and I began beating myself up about it, which made me decide that I’m not running for the right reasons any more and should probably back out. If I’m not running for me and I’m running out of guilt, because I will be disappointed in myself if I don’t do it, then I shouldn’t be running. So for 3 weeks I laid off the running and focused on other things like Spinning and pole dancing.

But then an interesting thing happened… I missed training! Those 3 weeks of going easy on myself made me WANT to do it again for ME. I guess I just needed some time to relax about it and have the choice again. So, secret #1 is that if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing anymore than change your course. Don’t be hard on yourself by putting so much pressure on things, and give yourself the permission to breath.

I was so excited when I picked up my race number on Thursday. I still gave myself some leeway though and said that I’m not going to make my decision until the night before the race and that if I WANT to run then I will, but I don’t HAVE to.

I only have 2 things that I want to accomplish during a race, and it doesn’t include a personal best time. It’s that I run the entire course without any walking and that I finish with a smile. I hadn’t done any real training in 3 weeks though, so I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to be able to complete the run or not. This made me kind of nervous, but I knew that if I let the thought of not being able to do it get into my mind then for sure I wouldn’t be able to do it and I would have a really difficult run. So, instead I just played up the excitement and thought of the finish line and that amazing rush of excitement that poured through me when I crossed it at my first race. It is so unbelievably emotional and fantastic. If you’ve ever worked really hard at something then you know what I mean.

When I woke up at 5am the morning of the race I was so fired up! I was so ready and couldn’t wait to start running. And by the way, I had an awesome run and finished really strongly with a smile.
So, secret #2 is to never ever let those negative thoughts inside your head. The only way to really conquer yourself is keep on pushing through and keep your eyes on the finish line.

I'm the one in the striped tank

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!

21 Day Challenge – May 25th to June 14th

Congratulations! Yesterday was the end of your first 21 day challenge. How did it go? I give these challenges to a lot of my clients and it really helps them get to their goal in a much more manageable way. It takes away that overwhelming feeling of “where do I begin, what should i do first?” and it can really help make the whole thing way less stressful.

Speaking of goals… Do you know what yours is? For the next 21 days I want you to work on your “Victory Vision”. A Victory Vision is what you see for yourself a year from now. The idea is to make this vision as specific as possible to you. It may go something like this… “One year from now I am putting on a nice form-fitting dress, which is something I thought I would never feel comfortable in. I look in the mirror and can see how far I’ve come. It feels so great knowing that my hard work paid off and it was so worth it, because today I am going out feeling so confident, strong and sexy. I’m not upset in dressing rooms anymore, because I feel good about myself. I work out 4-5 times a week without a second thought.”

Make your Victory Vision as true to you as possible. Speak in the present as if it’s already here and be as descriptive as possible. No one else is looking at it but you, so don’t feel embarrassed about anything you write. Just be honest with yourself about what you want for your life a year from now.

For the next 21 days read this Victory Vision aloud to yourself in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. As an incentive I’m offering up a little contest giveaway! Post your vision in the “comments” box and I will choose one as the winner for a bottle of Scott Barnes’ Body Bling Shimmering Body Lotion.

It’s what he uses to give celebrities their glow on the red carpet (think J. Lo!). So get cracking!

Beat It or Eat It – Burgers (plus bonus recipe!)

Memorial Day is coming up, which means Barbecues and parties. And what’s awesome about BBQs? Burgers!
Your average burger will tally up at 511 calories. And when you add the bun, tack on at least another 150 calories, for a grand total of 661 calories! And that’s without any fixings! Don’t forget the 22.4g fat, 8g of which are saturated. I know you’re going to want mayo with that, and maybe some fries too, oh, and probably a beer or drink, so I’ve got the perfect yummy alternative for you this weekend…


    Turkey Burger

(serves 4)
- 1/4 C. chopped green onion
- 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 lb. ground turkey breast
- salt and pepper, to taste
- special sauce
- 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
- lettuce and tomato

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 4 3/4” thick patties and place on grill rack or saute’ pan, heated on med-high. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Spread 2 tbsp. Special Sauce on top half of each bun, and assemble with turkey burger lettuce and tomato.

    Special Sauce

- 3/4 C. reduced-fat mayo
- 1 1/2 tbsp. finely chopped green onions
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate.

Normally I wouldn’t give chopped poultry a chance. I’ve tried, but with many failures in the past….until this baby came along. Try it, I bet you will LOVE it! And here’s the best part – your entire burger, plus bun and all, is only 318 calories, 7.3g fat, 1.6g saturated fat, 3.6g fiber, and 32.5g protein! Pretty awesome if you ask me. That even leaves room some yummy sweet potato fries. Stay tuned next week for my yummy BBQ sweet potato fries. You’re going to love ‘em!

live the width of your life

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman

I talk a lot about eating healthy and exercising to lose weight, because I know that’s what your goals are. That’s great, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Don’t let it get to you so much that you obsess about it – it’s so not worth it. You only have so many years to live the life you want, so live it fully.

Not to be morbid or anything, but I doubt anyone on their deathbed says, “if only I got to a size 4 then my life would have been better”. They care about family, friends, and having fun. Spend too much time obsessing about your weight and you’ll miss out on everything.

Being healthy is important, but don’t let that number on the scale or the label on your pants decide whether you enjoy your life or not. You can be healthy and still be a size 10. In the big scheme of things it really doesn’t matter. Go to the beach and wear that bikini whether you think you’re a Victoria’s Secret model or not. Don’t miss out on all the little things life has to offer, because you’re too busy wishing your thighs were smaller.

Ever see big black women? They are rocking it! I love them, because they’re loud and proud and wear some of the tightest clothes I’ve seen, but they don’t care, because life is a party! That kind of confidence is infectious, because you want what they’re having. Channel your inner black woman, have some swagger, get out there, and have fun!

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!

never give up

I recently took up pole dancing and I must say that it’s not as easy as it looks. Lots of arm and core strength is needed, as well as balance. But what you need even more of is trust in yourself and determination. My instructor comes over every Wednesday and for an hour we pirouette, climb, spin, and shimmy around the pole (she is awesome by the way!). She shows me a move that looks easy as pie and then I give it a go to find that it’s hard as nails. I’m getting better, but I still have a ways to go. Every time I try something new and can’t seem to get it right away I get frustrated and think that I never will. I get confused with steps sometimes and unsure of how it’s all supposed to feel. But then something fabulous will happen and all of a sudden, like last week, I will be able to do something that I couldn’t for weeks (I finally was able to climb the pole and let go for a few seconds – I was definitely pretty giddy about that!).

Every Wednesday I remember what it was like to start working out and get myself out of the eating disorder hole I had gotten myself into. It was about 10 years ago that I started and I remember my trainer telling me to do some lunges, and I just had no idea how it was supposed to feel, what my posture should look like, or if I was even doing it right. With food it was the same thing. I would attempt to “eat right” and then I’d fall back. Try again, fall back. Again and again and again. Until, one day, I did my lunges and just knew that I was doing it right. I could feel it, because finally I put in enough time and my body learned what it was supposed to feel like. Little by little I started to gain control of my eating too.

So, this has all got me thinking about you. There are going to be so many times that you try an exercise or attempt to reign in your eating and feel frustrated that you can’t get it right. You’re going to feel lost and unsure of how you’re supposed to do it all, you will feel overwhelmed and that maybe this just isn’t for you – that you’re doomed to be the way you are now forever. But you have to realize that with some commitment, perseverance, and trust in yourself you will be able to do it. It’s ok to get frustrated and annoyed, but NEVER GIVE UP. I promise that you will master yourself soon enough. Just keep at it and remember that getting fit in one week is like trying to live your whole life in one week.

beat it or eat it – meatloaf

Mmmmmmm, what’s better than some home cookin’? Comfort food to umm, comfort you! Roman loves meatloaf and I used to avoid making it, because it’s hard to find a recipe that’s good enough for your figure and good enough to eat. It’s usually loaded with fat and calories, so having it too often isn’t really an option if you’re trying to watch what you eat. Weighing in at 591 calories, 27.8g fat, and 10.5g saturated fat is definitely not going to help you at all! So, sadly, meatloaf was off the menu. That is until I found this recipe for BBQ meatloaf. Dare I say that I think it’s actually better than regular meatloaf.


Juicy BBQ Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup barbecue sauce, divided
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350

have a little swagger

You can gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along & You must do the thing you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Anyone who has trained with me knows that I’m all about “conquering yourself”. You are your biggest critic and your worst enemy. You tell yourself, “I might fail, so why should I even start” or “I’m never going to be able to do 10 push-ups” or even “I’ll look stupid in the gym, so I’m not going to go”. You’re so sure that you’re not going to make it, but you haven’t even really tried. There’s no such thing as failure, but there is something called quitting. If you try, but fail, that’s just a hiccup on your way to learning, but if you quit before you fail, then you’ve given up and will never see your true potential.

This Tuesday I’m going to my first Toastmasters meeting. I am PETRIFIED! Seriously, I want to crawl into a little ball and hide under the bed, I’m so scared. I can just see myself getting up and giving a speech with my hands and knees shaking uncontrollably and heat running down my spine, and having that feeling that everyone knows how nervous I am. I’m doing it though, because if I don’t I know I’ll never be the motivational speaker that I want to be. I won’t be able to help millions of people like I know I need to. And I know that if I don’t try then I’ve just given up.

Challenge yourself this weekend to do something that you’ve put off out of fear. If you’ve ever done something that you were afraid of you probably had a huge rush of exhilaration after, because you got over yourself and just did it. And you probably found that it wasn’t actually as scary as you thought it was going to be. Whenever you’re faced with something that scares you, run to do it, because you’re just making yourself more fearful than you need to be and it will only get worse. This is what builds confidence and allows you to be in control of your life. It’s what makes you stronger than you ever thought you could be. So push yourself beyond your comfort zone and have a little swagger.

  • Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!
  • be the tortoise

    At about 3 this morning a gurgling sound coming from somewhere in my house woke me up, but I figured it was just that kooky toilet making noise and it would stop on its own. It either did or I fell back asleep and didn’t notice, because at 7am, Billiam, my dog came into the bedroom to wake me up. This caused me to shoot right out of bed, because he only jumps over the baby gate by the stairs when Ozzie, my other dog gets sick. I headed for the stairs and even before I walked down them I could tell that Ozzie wasn’t sick, but my sewage drain was. There was black sewage (yup, that’s right, the kind that comes from toilets) all over my downstairs floor, carpet, and half-way into my training studio.

    Normally this would put me right into a panic, but for some reason I just took it as it was and dealt with each thing as it came up. First, I called the plumber, and if any of you think that an emergency plumber means they’ll be there within a 1/2 hour, you’re way wrong. I had to call about 10 different companies before one said they’d be there within a half hour (it was 60 minutes actually). He pumped, sucked, vacuumed, and cleaned, and about 2 hours later he left. He left me with a mostly clean floor, but then I had to get on my hand and knees and scrub other people’s poop out of the grout on my tiles with a toothbrush.

    Why am I telling you this? Because it made me think that patience really is a virtue. Had I freaked out and lost control I would be stressed out and upset, but that wouldn’t change the fact that I had poop streaming down my floor and that I had to clean it up. Losing weight slowly is so much better than losing it quickly, because you will keep it off for years to come. Be nice to yourself and don’t try to rush things. If you slip up don’t panic, learn from what went wrong and pick up your perseverance again. And most importantly, take things as they come and don’t look too far ahead. Looking too far into the future leaves too many possibilities and it becomes too overwhelming. Just pay attention to the here and now and do what you can little by little. Be the tortoise not the hare.

    Oh, and the silver lining… I now have a sparkling floor!