Sunday, June 28, 2009

I love the bodybugg: in depth review and obsession confession

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Let me preface this for those of you who might be just meeting me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always prided myself as being the “hot product” go-to girl. Thinking back to my middle school punk-rock days in Portland, Michigan (not exactly a fashion-mecca) it was ME who found a place where we (myself and my Go-Go wanna-be girlfriends) could mail-order the new wave sunglasses we saw on MTV. Mine were white cat-eyes like the ones worn by Belinda Carlisle! (I digress.)

When I bought I my first George Foreman Grill in 1995, I began all my “step aerobic” classes with what I called a “public service announcement” about the benefits and ease of this little gadget.
I still use a George Foreman Grill everyday, though I’ve gone through 2 or 3 models since that first one.

You’d think I work for Nike the way I promote, love on, and generally obsesses over all Nike footwear, Shox, AirForce Ones, Old Schools, boots.. you name it.

I’ve sold more Sleep Number beds than the store in the mall. Not only that but I love letting people know where they can find the best deal on the best bed in the world… ( and when it’s on sale.

Surely if you've come to my house in the last 6 months, you didn’t leave before trying one of my Shakeology recipes.

I have no financial or even sponsorship arrangements with these products. I just love it when people come back to me and say…”You were right! It works and I love it!”

Now, that is not always the case. After having his first Shakeology, my father rushed to the bathroom and exclaimed that his body was “rejecteing” the shake because it was “too healthy”. He also asked me where he could find the nearest donut shop was so that he could “make things right” in his system. (He might be a lost cause…**sigh**…but he makes me laugh.)

I’ve just always been one of those people who likes to “stand on my soap box and tell everybody bout it”.

My latest love affair is with the bodybugg®. Let me start by telling you what it is…

Bodybugg® is a calorie management system that uses an armband sensor (worm around the upper left tricep) and an optional (additional cost associated), but way cool wireless digital display that can be worn as a watch or clipped to your belt, etc which shows you in real time the current calorie burn, your calorie burn per minute during your current workout, your calories burned since midnight, and even the calories you burned yesterday!

Unlike pedometers or heart rate monitors which don’t really tell you what you’re burning all day long, even when you sleep, the bodybugg® lifts the heavily shrouded veil from the mystery of your metabolism, the mystery of your personal and very individual calorie burn.

The armband is worn as much or as little as you like. In my first week of owning one, I only took it off to shower. I slept with it on because I wanted to know what my metabolism was doing when I was sleeping. Sooooooo interesting! It even shows a spike when you have a heart pounding nightmare! Wow!

The armband can than be synced to your computer to see a graphical display, minute by minute, hour by hour of your activity, steps, calories, etc. Again… fascinating to see! Fascinating to compare one workout to the next, to see what your metabolism is doing post-workout, while sitting at your desk and even just walking around the house! Amazing.

Now the Digital Display is not required, but for those of us who are “need to know now” kind of people, the digital display allows you to glance down and see exactly what’s happening RIGHT NOW!

The bodybugg® armband uses 4 sensors, (an accelerometer, a heat flux sensor, a skin thermometer and a sweat rate sensor), which measure over 1000 body algorithms 32-times a second (don’t ask me what that means!). This is what I do understand…based on exensive questions you answer when you set your armband up including weight, height, activity level, etc., those four sensors talk to each other and very accurately determine what motion you are doing, how hard your working and how many calories you’re burning. This info is recorded in the brain of your bodybugg® sensors. Like an Ipod, you can plug it into your computer at the end of the day, or at the end of the week and see minute by minute what you’ve burned. From what I understand it will store info for up to two weeks, though I have only ever gone a few days without syncing to their website which stores and displays your data. However, if you have the digital display, you have instant gratification of knowing what you’re burning…in realtime!

Body Media, a technology company, developed the revolutionary sensor, and partnered with Apex Fitness, a nutrition company, to develop the bodybugg® system. Originally used in a medical setting, this is by far the most accurate calorie monitoring device available today, other than spending some time in a laboratory. 24-Hour Fitness purchased Apex and many have become familiar with the bodybugg® from seeing the contestants of the "The Biggest Loser" use it to achieve insane weight loss.

In fact, that’s where I first learned about the bodybugg®. Two seasons ago, I was contacted by one of the contestants who had been voted off late in the season. She had just a month left when she contacted me to see if I could help her lose those final pounds before weigh in! I offered to let her come and stay at my house and take several Turbo Kick workouts a day, weight training with the test group I was working with on ChaLEAN Extreme and basically just keep her moving all day long! Those final weeks for contestants are CRAZY…but that’s another blog!

We spent every day together for a month. It was a blast. I was totally sold on the bodybugg® that she wore and raved about and had planned to get one ASAP.

I went on line to do some research. I read a few negative reviews and decided to hold off. I forgot all about the bugg until recently a friend and fitness instructor told me how the bodybugg® had helped her lose the last 5 pounds that had been haunting her for years. I told her what I had read. That’s when we realized that in my haste I had read outdated reviews of the “old” model and all of the items which were “negatives” for me, had been fixed with this newest version (third generation)! I asked around and sure enough, everyone I could find wearing one loved the new generation! The concept was fantastic, and now the design and technology was even better! I was convinced and couldn’t wait to get mine!

I bought mine the next day after my class at 24 Hour Fitness with my employee discount (thank you very much!!)

For years I have preached the undisputable weight loss principle of calories in versus calories out. I have long encouraged…no…scrap that…I have been BEGGING people to keep track of their calories since I started helping people lose weight 18 years ago. It’s a weight loss/weight maintenance ideology that is sometimes unpopular. Why? Because it takes a bit of work. It’s an extra step, a calculation, a formula. Americans are desperate for fast and easy. We don’t want to think. Let’s face it, if there were a pill everyone could pop and go about our hedonistic ways, we would.

Many weight loss experts like to simplify the process and suggest you eat a sensible diet and become more active. The problem with that is the unknown. What is sensible when you have no idea how many calories you’re burning? Just think…if you underestimate what you’re burning by just 100 calories a day, that would equate to a 10 pound weight gain over the course of next 12 months. Do you really think you can ‘guess’ at your calories consumed versus calories out and come within 100 calories? Really??? I’m considered an expert, and even with all the knowledge, formulas and information I have engrained in my brain, not until I started wearing my bodybugg® did I realize how OFF many of my calculations were! Wow!

Some activities I had WAAAAYY over estimated what I was burning and others I had way underestimated. The good news is that my three favorite forms of exercise burn the most… Turbo, Hip Hop Hustle and ChaLEAN Extreme. Interestingly with CE the burn isn’t necessarily super high during the class, but it lasts for hours after my workout! Cool!

Now that myself and 5 of my friends have bodybugg’s and have been comparing our calorie burn and though within just a few inches and pounds of each other (we’re all under 5’5”) and all doing the same workouts on the same days, at the same time, we are all burning drastically different calories, by as much as 800 to 1,000 calories!

It makes me realize that when someone asks me how many calories they should consume to lose weight, which people ask me ALL the time, that I REALLY can’t answer that question with any kind of accuracy. I can certainly make an educated guess, and that’s about as much as I can do!

bodybugg®'s armband calorie/mataboism monitoring device this is actually accurate! That's huge! Since I’ve started preaching about it’s many benefits, I’ve had many “heart rate monitor” owners ask me how it compares. No comparison. Its like the difference between meeting with a personal trainer one hour a day and having one with you 24 hours a day. World of difference!

To lose weight or gain weight it really comes down to calories/energy in and calories/energy out. Create too much of a deficit for prolonged periods and the result is a metabolism that slows. There are sooo many factors that determine the number of calories you burn in one day, genetics, muscle composition, height, weight, age, dieting history, exercise intensity, type of exercise, hormones… you name it! This device takes the guess-work out!

Create a deficit of 500 calories per day, report your calories on the web based food log accurately and when compared to your bodybugg data (which is proven to be 90% accurate or better) the result is a weight loss of 1 pound per week. Period. Done. End of story.

I tested it myself. I strapped my on my arm. Filled out my on-line questionnaire, religiously recorded every calorie and monitored my calories burned with the data collected on my device. I set a goal to lose 3 pounds in three week. (I’m short! Three pounds makes a difference in my line of work ;) I applied the weight loss formula to lose a pound a week, i.e. 500 calorie deficit per day. I created an average daily defceit of between 500 and 600 calories and BAM…a pound a week, 3.5 pounds total in three weeks and it had never been so simple! (I never had so much fun eating!)

Here’s the beautiful part….the food log! It actually breaks down the amount of carbs, proteins and fats you need each day and tells you where you’re off! That was huge for me! That’s a lot to try to calculate in your head. With the web based program it does it for you. Just by making some minor tweaks, I was able to drop my body fat at the same time!

bodybugg® armband is necessary. The digital display is highly recommended, but not necessary to operate the system. The current bodybugg®' is the third generation device. It is 50% lighter, 40% smaller and 20% thinner. The signal it sends to the digital display is apparently much stronger than original versions. Basically you just need to be with 5 to 10 feet of it to find a signal. Occasionally it loses connection, which you re-sync very simply by pressing a button on your armband.

The digital display measures minutes of activity, steps, calories burned today since 12 am, during your current workout and even shows you your previous day’s calorie burn. It also contains a new rechargeable battery. The battery re-charges like an Ipod, when you plug it into the USB port of your computer! Yay!

In my opinion the invaluable information is when you’re able to see minute by minute, step by step, activity by activity, hour by hour what your body is burning. That can only be done on the bodybugg web based program. The program is MAC and PC compatible. True, the web based data does require a subscription, but the cost is nominal (less than .25 cents per day when you buy a year at once!) AND great news.. you’ll get 6 months free and a 45 minute phone coaching session with your purchase (current promotion).

Website subscription pricing:
Online subscription renewal fees are: $9.95 for month to month, $49.95 for 6 month and $79.95 for 12-month.

This is outstanding when you see what this program can do! You also receive a personal coaching session and access to Apex's customer service. I had a bazillion questions and their customer service team has been 5 Star!

Kim Slover at bodybugg tells me a mobile application of the website is in the works, so you can track your food intake on your phone.

Now, as someone who loves QVC and has been a guest on several occasions, I can tell you that the reason I love shopping with them is because they give you the “anti-sell”. In other words, they tell you what the product won’t do. In much the way I would tell my girlfriends the things I see at “negatives” about the product. I will do the same for you! I would lose my credibility as the self-proclaimed “Hot Product Go To Girl” if I wasn’t honest about the few features I wish I could change…


1. The armband strap.

It’s very comfortable and you don’t even feel you’re wearing it. But at first I was like, “Oh hell no! I’m not messing up my cute outfit with this big black strap on my tricep.” Certainly nothing a few rhinestones couldn’t cure as you can see from the photo at the top of my blog. Your package will come with two sizes. Bret and I both got one, so we swapped sizes. I gave him my large and he gave me his smaller band. Yes, it’s very sporty and basic, but it doesn’t have to be! ☺ In fact, I’m working on having a couple blinged out designs mass produced and sold on our website at for those of us who want something a bit more fashionable! Standby!

Second, after about a week of wearing my arm band I realized the “ripe” smell was coming from my arm band. Duh! I don’t know what I was thinking, but obviously if you’re sweating, sleeping and wearing this thing as much as I was the first week, it starts to smell a little, shall we say… “funky”. Again, easy fix…hello…soak it, dry it, wear it! Of course I also bout several replacement bands so that I had several to match different outfits and I really had some fun creating different looks on each armband! Crafty fashion fun.

2. Web based food log. I have to say entering the food the first week was a pain in the butt. To do it right, you really need to know the nutritional facts of everything you consume. This takes some time and it seems their data based doesn’t identify items that should just be in their system. Again, I talked to Kim Slover about this. She acknowledged the systems short-comings and happily informed me that they are expanding the data based expedentially in the coming months for greater ease of use! Here’s my tip: During your first week, keep a small journal with you. Record calories, service size in ounces or grams, fat, protein, sodium, calcium, carbohydrates. This way you will have it all at your finger tips each day when you sit down and enter your food consumption. AND LET ME TELL YOU….accurracy is the key! When people don’t record or write down their calories, on average they UNDERESTIMATE their calories by as much as 40%!

Another tip: When entering your food log… You can go through every single meal and actually enter what you at for breakfast, then skip to am snack, then lunch, pm snack, then dinner, etc. Time consuming. Instead, record all your food on a note pad or journal. At the end of the day enter all of your food as if you ate it for breakfast. The system doesn’t care when /where you enter your calories consumed. This makes entering food much, much faster. Then the next day, around dinner, I click on breakfast from the previous day and just one line at a time click on any item I’ve consumed that day. I recommend you do this in the evening before your final meal. That way you can look at what you’ve burned, what you’ve consumed and have some idea of how many more calories you can allow yourself and still reach your health and weight goals.

3. Obsession. Admittedly I do get obsessed with new toys and gadgets. The bodybugg® has a grip on me. I find myself wanting to buy them for everyone I know. But I’ve also learned that when you “give” people valuable items, they lose their value and importance. (That another blog) But I am totally head over heals for this thing. It’s just fascinating! My wheels are turning! I really think every kid in America needs to be wearing one. I think that we could save Billions on healthcare if we made bodybugg®’s mandatory! I’m obsessed. I suspect it will be a healthy addiction once I get used to this, but at the moment (on my fourth week of wearing it) I can’t stop checking my digital display! I find myself trying to avoid, “inactive” time and admittedly there were a few days that I just pushed myself to see how high I could get my calorie burn in one day and really enjoyed all those extra calories I was able to consume (and still hit my weight loss goal)

Also, you don’t really have to wear the armband while sedentary (sleeping, showering, returning e-mails, writing blogs). Yet, every time I took it off, I sorta felt like I was disconnecting myself from a life support machine. I think I was holding my breath to take a shower. I speed-washed my hair, lightening fast body scrub, dried off like the house was on fire, strapped that thing back on and gasped for breath! Geeesh! Calm down already! I’m laughing thinking back on it now. Funny.

Current promotion through June 30th is about a $100 savings!
$249 with armband and digital display!

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Finally, if you have a third generation bodybugg, please share your thoughts and reviews here !

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Maintaining a healthy weight is like maintaining a clean home. You can't just clean your home once, neglect the things that got it "messy" in the first place and expect your home to stay clean. You can't keep a clean house if you only have a sponge. You need the right tools, the right products and to think of a clean home as something you provide for your family.

The same is true of your health. Health and fitness are something I work at everyday. I really don't think of it as work, but rather a part of my life and a part that I actually really enjoy. But just as I would not be very successful if I only had a sponge to clean my whole house, so too do you need the RIGHT tools to achieve and maintain your health and fitness.

New tools, the right tools, like a new lunch box on the first day of school, can really get you excited about your pursuits! I like to share the tools that I know to work and that make my pursuit of health and fitness easier and more convenient.

If you've read my previous posts, you know how much Shakeology has done for my diet and the nutrition of my whole family. We LOVE our protein shakes! We also love to travel. We snowboard in the winter, water ski and wakeboard in the Summer. We take the kids and our healthy habits with us when we travel. That means that my nutrition does not take a vacation when I take a vacation. I pack one small suitcase with the foods that I might not be able to obtain in the city we are visiting. In that suitcase I also pack my "CalorieKing" food calorie book, and a bag of Shakeology and my "Magic Bullet" blender!

You've probably seen them advertised late night on one of those "cheesey" infomercials (he he!) But guess what... they work! They really work and they travel beautifully.

Basically what you have a large plastic cup that serves as the blender kraft as well. You fill it with all your ingredients, screw the base on to it and blend away!

Now, depending on how much ice and water you put in your shakes, if you're like me, you might have to make two! The only draw back to the magic bullet is it only makes one serving at a time. Yet, the way I make my shakes is with a ton of water and ice (so I feel like I'm getting away with murder even though the calories and nutrition are the same). Other than that, I can't think of a draw back and they are SO necessary if you travel and don't want to give up your daily shake habit. In fact, I know several people who bring there's to work so they can make a quick protein shake in their office. Clean up is a breeze and the price is right!

The right tools make the difference! Do an on-line price comparison, but you should be able to find one for around $55! About $99 About $54

Monday, June 22, 2009

YUMMY MONDAY: Healthiest Fat-Burning Foods

Berries - including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and even the "exotic" Goji berry:  Berries are a powerhouse of nutrition... packed with vitamins and minerals, and also some of the best sources of antioxidants of any food in existance.  Berries also pack a healthy dose of fiber, which slows your carbohydrate absorption and digestion and controls your blood sugar levels to help prevent insulin spikes (which can stimulate fat gain).

Get creative and mix up your berry intake by using the basics -- blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries... but also get adventurous and give a more "exotic" berry a try, such as Goji berries (which are one of the most nutrient-dense berries on the planet).

 Add berries to yogurt and cottage cheese mixtures, as well as oatmeal or oat bran, salads, or just take a bag of mixed berries and mixed nuts for the day as a mid-day healthy snack!

Avocodos - Even though these are typically thought of as a "fatty food", it's all healthy fats!  Not only is this fruit super-high in mono-unsaturated fat, but also chock full of vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and antioxidants. 

Also,  guacamole (mashed avocados with garlic, onion, tomato, pepper, etc) is one of the most delicious toppings ever created, and you can be happy to know that it's also one of the healthiest toppings you can use on your foods.  Try sliced avocados or guacamole on sandwiches, burgers, scrambled eggs or omelets, in salads, or as a side to just about any meal.

The quality dose of healthy fats and other nutrition you get from avocados helps your body to maintain proper levels of hormones that help with fat loss and muscle building.  Also, since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal.  Say goodbye to junk food cravings and bring on that lean body!


Thursday, June 11, 2009


You'd think I'd get a lot of emails about exercise and weight loss and I do, but it cracks me up on how many emails and letters I get asking about my make-up or where I find the clothes I wear in my videos. (First...the clothes... shameless plug... I find those at my very own fitness boutique which you're welcome to visit the next time you're in Irvine, California. Powder Blue Productions 460 Goddard, Irvine, CA. That's where these photos were taken)  However, it's just a click away at if your in the mood for some new gear!

As for the make-up...YES...shocking... I wear make-up when I work out! Hello! Trust me.. it's in the best interest of all involved.  It's my job to workout! Don't you wear make-up to your job? Ladies, I hope so. And God bless you if you were born with flawless skin, long dark lashes and pink lips. Grrr! Some women are BEAUTIFUL without make up! We ain't mad atcha!  

Funny... my darling Dad has always said, "Why do you wear all that junk on your face. You don't need make-up! You're a natural beauty." Ha! Very funny Dad! Ironically, when I've met him at the door without any make-up on, he always gets a very concerned look on his face. His eyebrows lower, he places a hand on my shoulder and lowers his voice, "Honey... you need rest. You're doing too much. You look very tired. Are you okay?" To which I explain... "I'M FINE! I JUST NEED MASCARA!"

When you spend some time trying to look your best people notice. You feel better about yourself. You send the message that you care enough to present yourself in the most polished and professional manner! The honest truth is that if the fire alarm were to go off in the middle of the night, I would make sure my children and pets were safe, then I would probably talk my husband into running back in to save my make-up bag. That way I could quickly apply a little lipstick and a few strokes of mascara before the firemen pulled down the street or the neighbors came outside to see what was all the fuss. Seriously... I don't go to the mailbox without lashes and lips! As Dolly Parton once said, "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!"

I met a wonderful make-up artists, Tiffany Lee Bymaster several years ago (in the pics above). And NO... she doesn't do my make-up everyday! I wish! Just special ocassions, photos shoots, tv appearance, videos, that kinda thing. She has taught me every little trick in the book when it comes to work-out proof make-up! Most make-up she recommends is very affordable. There is only one exception... the mascra.  She has taught me to never skimp on mascara! It will save you time in application and the dreaded post workout raccoon eye syndrome!'s Bombay of the Day is Dior Show Waterproof Mascara

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Does Weight loss Cause Marital Problems?

Three times in one week? Seriously? And again this morning a student pulled me aside to privately share with me that she and her husband were going through a "rocky period" and in the midst of a temporary separation. Sadly, I’m confident this person’s identity is protected despite this blog mention. Why? Because regrettably I have had the same conversation with three students in my fitness classes in this last week.

The truth is I've been delicately denying this sometimes seemingly related side effect of fitness.

It’s not an immediate side effect, but rather one that seems to develop as the newly fit person’s confidence improves and their priorities shift. It's far deeper than fitness, but with regret I must admit that it's not the first time I've felt like I could have done more to help! Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a martyr who thinks they can save every broken bird. I’m not a therapist nor do I think that I have the training to interfere in a troubled marriage. I am however a resource for people embarking on a journey of a better life. Knowledge is power.

This is a call to action! This is a challenge to all fitness professionals and a warning to those of you who seek to begin your fitness journey and desire, in the process, to grow closer to your dearest friends, family and partner in the process.

Distance, resentment, jealously and fear; these are just a few of the emotions felt by someone whose friend or a partner experiences a rather dramatic change in lifestyle, personality or physical appearance. The side effects are rarely immediate, but seems to appear after a newfound confidence emerges.

As a Lifestyle and Fitness Coach my goal has always been to help people live better, fuller, richer, more propose filled lives. People might come to me to help them lose weight or tighten their tummies, but my first priority has always been to help them change their lifestyle for the better. I teach people to live balanced, healthy, happy lives, not obsessed with “perfect eating” or a certain number on the scale but rather to strike a balance in all areas. To do that I have to earn a level of trust and respect with people. I can’t inspire someone in just one video or in one class, but if they like my workout, they might like me. If they like me then maybe they’ll read my writings, follow my blog, listen to my motivation cd’s, sit in the audience with an open heart in one of my presentations and begin to understand that genuinely want to see people be happier.

I have always sought to help people enjoy better relationships and fuller, richer lives. Through my programs like Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick, or ChaLEAN Extreme, I have been invited into many people’s homes. Day after day they watch my videos and begin to feel they know me. Subconsciously they invite me to be a part of their lives. It’s an honor I take seriously. I work to include as many life improving tips in everything that I do, and not just fitness or nutrition, but things that help you become more aware of others. Because really…what’s the point of being fit, if you’re not happy?

The benefits of living a healthy, happy life are abundant. Yet in today's conversation with another newly separated and recently fit friend has brought me to the realization that as fitness professionals and coaches we must recognize the obligation to help people live happier lives. We must educate those we help as to the potential pitfalls of health and fitness. There are a few negatives…

1. You may have to buy a whole new wardrobe

2. You may have to extend your life insurance policy (as you’re certainly going to live longer)

3. You may find yourself not wanting to hang around people who have sedentary, unhealthy, depressing lifestyles.

4. “Haters” may be jealous of your newly toned booty!

5. Finally, as your waistline, interests, habits and lifestyle shifts, so too do your relationships with others.

The last thing in the world I want for people is to have fitness to drive a wedge between partners. Improving your marriage, strengthening your important relationships is even more important to me than improving your bicep strength. However, when it comes to friends, there are those who want the best for you and those who want a “buddy” who will make them feel comfortable about their own unhealthy decisions. Let go of that loser! Remain friendly, but to invest in yourself, you can no longer make with draws for these types of individuals. They may mean well, but they are not holding you to a higher standard. “Good friends” will make you think twice when you’re headed in the “wrong” direction.

When people lose weight and change their lifestyles, relationships change.

I've been helping people get fit and lose weight for 19 years and counting. Let's state the obvious. Someone who has let themselves go, who has considerable weight to lose, has low energy, low self esteem and has been dealing with the social and personal stigma associated with being over weight has often come to expect that people should treat them as "less than worthy" of respect, care, love and kindness. More often than not, when I meet someone who is beginning their fitness journey, they have allowed themselves to slip into “last place” on the list of importance. They have taught others how to treat them. They have taken care of everyone and everything else and practice a great deal of self-loathing.

Whether it’s over eating or under eating the root feeling about yourself is often the same. When people don’t like themselves they don’t expect much from others. They way you feel about yourself effects the dynamic in every relationship you’re in.

Fitness and weight are far deeper than just finding a great exercise program or eating less. I don't speak as an expert or therapist, but I do speak from 19 years of personal experience as a fitness coach and 14 years of marriage - that's 18 years with the same partner (my darling husband Bret) and a great note taker of all strong relationships around me.

Here's the challenge:

When someone begins to feel and look better, they start to think more highly of themselves. For the first time they look in the mirror and think, "I'm looking good. I'm feeling good and I CAN do this." They begin to recognize their own self-worth. They may be the same person they've always been, but suddenly they begin to believe, perhaps for the first time in a long time, that they deserve better.

Before long they may choose to resent those people in their lives (friends, family members, partners, even co-workers) who they have allowed for so many years to treat them "a certain way". Notice that I said, “they may choose to resent”. How you feel about others is a choice. Your mindset, your attitude in this process is critical. Allow your self to start spiraling negative thoughts about someone in your life and before long they become the villain. You can’t remember what you ever saw in them. Your anger builds. You begin to notice everything that drives you crazy. You take everything personally. You can only see and remember the worst.

In the mind of the person experiencing this physical and emotional transformation, the rules begin to change. The other person, even if they are supportive of the healthy changes doesn’t understand why the rules are changing and for that matter where to find the rulebook! This person begins to feel threatened by this unavoidable change or shift in the relationship. Friends may feel that their now "thinner, more fit" friend suddenly thinks less of them. They may feel judged or bad about themselves for not making the same changes and will find ways to sabotage their results or belittle their success.

A partner may suddenly no longer feels like they are the center of that person’s Universe. The newly fit and happy partner begins to get their happiness from within instead of from food or exclusively catering to the needs of others. The resentment and distance continues to build. No one is willing to talk about what’s going on. Everyone is too proud. Each waits for the other to make a step closer and in doing so they walk further and further apart.

Before long you’re doing everything as married individuals and little as a couple. You have your activities, and he or she has theirs; different friends, different schedules, different interest. The bond weakens. The resentment grows. It’s no ones fault, but someone could have done something. Someone should have done something before it was too late.

You often hear, “it takes two”, but I think a more useful comment is, “it takes one.” In every relationship one partner is more emotionally mature than the other. It takes one partner willing to do more than their share. If that has to be you, get over it! Do it. It doesn’t mean one partner is better, it means they are more in tune with what is going in and willing to swallow their pride, swallow their hurt and make it work. It takes one person taking the bull by the horns and steering the ship. It takes one person being the bigger person, and the next time you might be surprised when your partner steps up to the plate. It takes one person to schedule some time with a highly recommended therapist. If your first therapist doesn’t help you, they’re only human. It wasn’t a good fit. Find another!

Put yourself in the shoes of the partner or friend who feels left behind! Imagine going from being number one to number three without warning! No matter how happy you might be for your newly fit partner, you would certainly feel a bit of frustration.

Long term lasting weight loss means adopting a new way of thinking about yourself, a change in your lifestyle. Inevitably you will form new friends, tastes, habits and patterns. As these develop it's not uncommon for the significant other to feel lonely, left behind, angry, resentful, abandoned and even jealous. Will you be the hero? Will you be so wrapped up in your own healing that you lose sight of your partner’s importance?

Keep in mind that this has little to do with fitness and everything to do with "change", a disruption in the balance of power, a shift in the mind of your partner who might now believe they are have lost their importance to you.

So what can be done to avoid people growing apart when one person experiences a change in fitness and lifestyle?

1. Say “Thank you”! Remember that the most important thing you can do to keep your marriage and relationships strong is to make the other person feel important to you. Thank him or her for any small part they have in helping or supporting your journey. Everyone longs to feel needed. Try, “It means a lot to me that you do things like caring for the kids so that I can fit a workout into my day. I couldn’t do this without you!”

2. Communicate. They key to any relationship is communication. If you’re feeling differently about yourself and ready to ask for better treatment from others, then communicate your needs, calmly, with sweetness and understanding. Remember, it’s you that’s changing the rules. Keep in mind that your partner might feel like the rug is being pulled out from under them. It’s your responsibility to communicate your needs. You can’t expect anyone to read your mind. Lose your resentment. What’s the point of getting fit, if you’re all alone!

3. Practice Empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of your partner. How would you feel if the roles were reversed? Imagine how it feels to have change you didn’t ask for thrust upon you.

4. Get on the same path. Partners walking in separate directions cannot expect to stay together for long. Avoid creating a separate life. Invite your partner to join you in your workouts. Should he or she decline, ask again. Explain how much it would mean to you to be on this journey together. Allow your partner to pick the activity.

5. No alone time with opposite sex friends. I’m going to go out on a limb here and I’m sure many of you will disagree. This is a personal rule for Bret and I and it’s based on the practices of our own parents, each of whom are both still married after 40 plus years!
No friends of the opposite sex, unless it’s a friend we both share and time spent together is spent as a couple with this person, no alone time…no matter how perfectly innocent. I don’t flirt. I don’t cavort, or lunch or workout with my friends of the opposite sex. Why would I do anything that might make my husband have to think twice? Neither of us are jealous types; I just think it’s disrespectful. The rule works well for our marriage. If you’re married, the risks waaaaaaay out weigh the benefits. Why go there? You can find plenty of friends of the same sex.

6. Inventory relationships. Take an honest look at your friendships and relationships. Do you have friends or family who really do not want to see you succeed, who wish not to see you happy? What would be the point of giving these people your time? You know right now the name of at least one person who really only pulls you down, never lifts you up and only brings you drama. Lose the friend, lose the drama! If that person is your spouse…get into therapy before things get worse!

7. Do it for the kids. I recently had a conversation with someone going through a divorce. Together they have three kids. She told me she would do anything for her children, including lay down and die for them. Yet, when I pushed her she explained that she just couldn’t bare to spend another month in counseling with her husband. If you say you would do anything for your children, then do everything you can to repair your marriage, including having an open mind to the thought of falling in love again. Your history is the past. Your mindset is everything.

Let me be clear that I think there are plenty of “bad” even dangerous relationships that people stay in way too long. I’m not one of those people who doesn’t believe in divorce. There are certainly people who if they hadn't found their confidence and began to believe in themselves would today be trapped in a toxic marriage. Sometimes divorce is the only option. Sometimes its the only way to protect your children. In fact, if there are no kids involved… I don’t have much of an opinion if someone needs to get out of their relationship. Certainly you should do that before you have kids. Kids won't fix the problem, that's for sure! I just know that people are happier, kinder, nicer, healthier when their relationships are strong, when they feel safe, protected and loved by their partner. That doesn’t happen by accident. It takes work. I also believe that those of us with young children have a far greater responsibility to the world to keep our marriages strong. As I always say the most loving thing you can do for your children is make your spouse the center of your universe. As a country, if we spent as much time and money working on our marriages as we did working on weight loss, the world would be a much better place. That’s all.

Dramatic shifts in the power and balance between people can contribute to marital strife. Certainly changing one’s lifestyle for the better or worse can bring underlying problems to the forefront. Health is a precious gift, which if approached mindfully can strengthen your important relationships.