Tag Archives: inspiration

The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet & Exercise

I’m a big fan of all of the following:
  • Maria Menunos
  • practical weight loss
  • good television hosts
  • inspiration/encouragement/positivity
And so, when Maria came out with her recent book: The EveryGirls’ Guide to Diet and Fitness, I was actually in need of some fitness inspiration and snatched it right up!
Maria: Before & After 40-lb weight loss
Maria: before & after 40-lb weight loss
Let me begin by asking you “Did you know that the Maria that we see on TV today is 40 pounds slimmer than her former self?!  I was impressed to learn that she was formerly much rounder before she slimmed down on her own, but wait, it. gets. better! My biggest takeaway from her story was the fact that Maria was always happy – round or thin.  She was also successful – round or thin.  Her decision to change her lifestyle was for the purpose of better health and in the process, she found her muscles. But I was inspired to learn that Maria won a beauty pageant and a hosting award before she ever even counted a calorie!  And then, when she decided to change her lifestyle, she opted for small changes over a long haul and thus, has never had to look back!  Immensely interested, I read the bulk of her book during the course of my plane ride from NY to LA and the following are my cliff notes.  Take from it what you desire! My approach to this book, as is the case with many books that I read, is to simply walk away with a few concepts affirmed (because nothing is new anymore, it’s more about at which turn you heard it that it stuck) and resolved to incorporate into my life.  Take away as much or as little as you’d like from the the following solid advice from Maria’s book: The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness! the fifty year plan This is something that Maria and her partner use (I believe it was his invention) to gauge whether or not any behavior is sustainable.  Whether it’s leaving dishes unwashed or inhaling junk food or not moving, putting your behavior under the lens of a fifty-year projection will give you insight to make the judgement call on what type of behavior should be edited out or implemented.  So Maria encourages us to “get on the fifty year plan!”
log 1 week of food This is one of Maria’s keys to shaping up her diet anytime: in the beginning of her journey and whenever she wanted to achieve a new level of fitness.  She personally wears a FitBit wristband to log her activity and sleep and endorses the MyFitnessPal app as an effective tool for food journaling. From this, I was reminded of the effectiveness of MyFitnessPal when I used it and have committed to logging my food and exercise everyday.  It’s a free app and Maria even recommends this as a tool.
Chinese people love their hot water!
Chinese people love their hot water!
drink hot water
This is an interesting tip that actually reminds me of my parents and Chinese culture in general – the older generations love to drink boiled water (gwun soi).  Maria swears by the effectiveness of drinking hot water – she says that she and her partner dropped weight as soon as they incorporated this into their lifestyle.  I don’t know if there is science behind the benefits over drinking hot water – especially over cold water – but this is something that I haven’t and probably won’t do.
always be exercising This is great and is a step up from her first tip to “always be moving.”  I’ve heard another version of this before: “fidget.”  And I read somewhere that Jack LaLane used to do pushups while he was waiting for the elevator, etc.  And one of my fitness friends recommends habits such as doing calf raises while waiting in line at Starbucks. I have taken this to heart and have started to take the stairs in my building more, have swapped my Metrocard for a Citibike Membership, have opted for the “harder” route, in general, whether that meant taking the stairs, walking, standing, or calf-raising in line.  What I’ve found that it does for me is keep me in a constant state of motion, where a little bit of sweat is normal, where I’m more so in a state of activity rather than a state of rest – and so it’s easier to just keep moving.  I love this concept.  
bond over fitness
Maria talks about inviting pals over for a basketball game, having a meeting while hiking, and basically swapping activities in for our default form for socializing – eating and drinking – both of which are healthy lifestyle dangers!   I have long adopted this way of being.  As a spin instructor, I extend an open invitation to anyone I feel compelled to do so to.  I also love to do fun activities with friends – movies in the park, working out together, attending church together – and we’ve all got to eat! but even then, I love trying out themed places and healthy places and maintain a balanced mixture of activities with friends.     
try not to eat after 7pm 
Maria advocates this and I am far from this.  This is apparently something that she practices in her lifestyle and I agree that lighter eating at night is certainly the protocol, but if you are hungry, you’ve got to eat – just lightly.  She has a saying, “Sleep it off,” and I agree that many times, sleeping early can nip midnight snacking and hitting the sack can stave the munchies.  Ultimately, if you’re logging your food, however, the one and only rule is staying within your calorie limits, whether it’s 7pm or 11pm and I believe you can’t go wrong based on that.
This is ok - just earn it!
This is ok – just earn it!
earn your food I just did this when I worked out like a maniac yesterday and kept saying to my spin class “Earn your BBQ!”  It feels good to go into some planned overeating knowing that you worked out to create a calorie deficit and will work out the next day to address any difference still residing.  It comes down to science and calories-out must exceed calories-in to lose weight and must be equal to maintain weight.  Snacking counts, free samples count, and fortunately, exercise counts!  I love the feeling of chowing down on a healthy meal when I’m famished and sweaty after a workout!  I think it’s important to hold off on eating until you can get to a healthy meal and then eat up, cuz you “earned it!”
soup before meals
This is an easy habit that anyone can incorporate into their eating routine.  I personally love to load up on vegetables so am not holding myself to practicing this – I would rather chow down on extra salad or cooked veggies over soup and they both accomplish the same goal: filling up on low-calorie food items.
Below are Maria’s phases and steps that she realized she took – upon looking back at her gradual weight loss – to get to her current fabulous state.  She has broken it down and I think this is solid commonsense advice that you already know but may engage with because of her presentation.  Check it out!
This woman's worked hard and accomplished a lot - and so can you!
This woman’s worked hard and accomplished a lot – and so can you!
  1. set a deadline
  2. weigh yourself
  3. buy a journal
  4. log a week’s worth of food
  5. review and assess
  6. cut back slowly
to avoid overeating:
  • talk a walk
  • drink hot water
  • sleep it off
  • munch on something better
  1. weigh again
  2. go back to journaling
  3. fine-tune your diet
  4. exercise
  5. drink lots of water
  6. rejoice and reward
  • eat mostly foods from the ground
  • eat only when hungry
  • eat only as much as you need in the moment

Think Different.

Apple.com homepage: Tribute to Steve Jobs
I found out that Steve Jobs died on Wednesday, 10/5/11, when a stranger on the M23 gave me the newsflash off his iPhone.  It didn’t really hit me, however, until l decided to scour CNN.com the next day and stopped at the Fifth Ave Apple Store today, four days later.  Upon scouring CNN, I re-watched Job’s commencement speech at Stanford University’s graduation.  Stunning. Please watch it here. It is from this speech that many of his famous quotes were extracted that wallpapered Facebook upon his death: “You’ve got to find what you love.” “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle…keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” “…I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose…There is no reason not to follow your heart.” “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” “And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” These are just some of his excerpts, but I could easily paste the entire transcript here and not feel it to be redundant.  This man is easily the Einstein/Edison/Etc of our day.  Everybody…Every..Body..uses Macs, ipods, iphones, ipads…all of it.  These products dramatically affected our lives.  But it’s not just that.  Job’s story is one of triumph o’er adversity and following one’s dreams if I’ve ever heard one.  He is a life story of exceptions to the rule: dropping out of college; inventing Apple out of his garage; being fired from Apple, his own company, his own invention!; revolutionizing music players, revolutionizing phones, pressing on through his bout with pancreatic cancer…this man is the living example of the Japanese proverb: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” From an article in the Daily News on Friday, 10/7: “He was Steve Jobs and he was what we still want America to be, a guy who came out of a garage in Los Altos, Calif., with his buddy Steve Wozniak and his big ideas and changed the world so much they talk about him with Einstein and Edison and Henry Ford.  He was Apple Inc., and iPods and iPads, and iTunes and Pixar Animation and phones that are like home entertainment centers, the guy who did the most to take the world and put it in the palm of your hand – or the tip of your fingers.  And Jobs said something along the way that was as smart as any gadget that came out of his imagination, something that spoke to all the dreamers like him: ‘it’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.’  He changed the world and he touched the world” I was at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store today and it was really incredible to read the personal messages that people wrote to this guy: messages on post-it notes, messages on apples, messages in all languages, messages from all corners of the world, messages on iPad boxes, heartfelt notes of thanks and remembrance. People held up their iPads with the video of a candle flickering. Flowers graced the foot of the memorial. Artlcles of the fateful day served as a timestamp amongst the memorabilia. There was a reverence for this man in front of the Apple store this morning and “iAdmire Steve Jobs.” Thank you.

Let me tell you the “Sierra Trading Post” Story.

This is one that keynote speeches are made from ya’ll, so kick back and prepare to be inspired!  So, it’s all self-explanatory in the screen shot here, but I’ll just get you up to speed before you dive in.  I went to the Himalayas in August to trek and volunteer at a school.  I needed a TON of gear…everything from UV-protecting, sweat-wicking, insect-repelling shirts to energy bars.  I came back with some items to return, both in-store and online.  One of the sites that I purchased from was Sierra Trading Post.  I did not know it at the time, but during my trip, learned that Sierra Trading Post is actually a Christian company!  A Christian outdoor/camping gear online retailer?!  How does that work, exactly?  I was intrigued, impressed, and interested.  This little nugget of information made its was back to me while I was chatting w/ customer support about their returns process, which, true to form, is extremely gracious!  So, please read below to see how God turned a typical customer support call into a REAL conversation…I think you’ll find it amusing!
My chat window w/ Sierra Trading Post Customer Support
                                                  So, I wasn’t able to capture the next few lines of conversation, during which I explain the method behind my madness, that I have a similar mission here in NY w/ Actors InC.  The rep then offered to “forward my comments onto his supervisor for further review” (doncha just love their professionalism!) and I played along, exclaiming, “Sure, connect me with the owner!” Well, be careful what you wish for!  Yesterday (about a week later,) I received an e-mail from the founder/owner of Sierra Trading Post.  Here are some excerpts from Mr. Keith Richardson! “Dear Jeanette:  Thank you for the nice compliments you shared with Sierra Trading Post.   It means a lot to me when a customer takes the time to let us know that they appreciate our company.  I really appreciate it when a fellow believer writes to me.  If you haven’t done so, I invite you to check out the Founder’s story.   It gives the rationale behind my business philosophy…Best regards, Keith Richardson, President, Sierra Trading Post” I was stunned.  A simple customer service chat had led to this.  I think that this story speaks for itself because I can’t even begin to break it down.  Be bold.  Take chances.  Speak your mind and do so respectfully.  Be proud of your faith and let it speckle your conversations as you so feel called to.  Think big because God is supernatural, meaning he goes beyond what our natural minds might conceive.  ie: I may be thinking “this is a fun customer service chat conversation.”  God may be thinking, “I’m going to have Jeanette and Keith meet each other.”  This is the type of story that you cannot deny God is a part of. And, so, as Francis Chan talks about in his book, Forgotten God, take chances!  Chan says, “I love to put myself in situations in which I know that without God, I’ll be screwed.”  He acknowledges that such may be strong language for a pastor, but that best expresses how he feels!  And do you know why he loves this?  Because he wants to be able to say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was a part of that situation.  He wants his life to be a time line chock full of accounts in which God swooped in and worked miracles, moved mountains, and created breakthroughs. A life full of amazing stories that can only be justified by the hand of God?  I want that too.  Don’t you?!  Go get it!   


…according to Jackie Warner.  The host of “Thintervention” breaks it down in her book.  Here’s why I love what she has to say.  We all know what to do, but we don’t all know why we should do it.  For example, I know that more sleep, less protein, less carbs at night, dynamic training, etc have contributed to my fitness high points, but ask me why and I’d be strapped for anything more than a general, generic answer. Warner devotes an entire chapter in her book to education on hormones because at the core of weight issues is an imbalance in hormones.  Ultimately, out-of-whack hormones are at the helm of obesity.  The hormones that keep you thin are Human Growth Hormone, Testosterone, & Progesterone.  And so, as a general rule of thumb, all efforts should be circulating around maximizing the production of these hormones.  The harsh truth is, the aging process carries with it a decline in these good hormones.  But this doesn’t mean that we are helpless.  You can naturally raise your hormone levels. Human Growth Hormone: The Fountain of Youth HGH directs your body to burn fat before burning sugar, essentially creating a fat-burning machine out of you.  It also gives you more energy, a higher sex drive, and youthful skin and hair.  It’s a superhero of a hormone.  Now, the question is, how do we manipulate it?!  Cutting back on carbs at night lowers blood sugar, which promotes HGH, so that it will then be at work while you sleep.  In addition, HGH requires deep sleep for production.  Hence, why we should get our beauty sleep.  As for eating, HGH-building foods are the ones which are constantly preached to us: lean proteins, veggies, whole grains, etc.  And why go organic?  We hear that it’s because pesticides are bad for us.  But why exactly are they bad for us?  Well, in the context of weight management, pesticides and chemicals lower HGH.  And the final way to preserve HGH is by training hard.  Weightlifting and sprinting trigger HGH release, improving metabolism. Testosterone:  The Muscle Builder Mistakenly associated solely with men, testosterone is critical for women, in building muscle, burning fat, boosting energy, increasing sex drive, strengthening bone, lifting depression, increasing optimism, and if present in large doses, producing assertiveness.  The ways in which to promote testosterone growth include eating certain veggies, fruits, nuts, & legumes, and limiting fat, caffeine, and alcohol intake. Progesterone: the Slim and Trim Hormone This hormone burns calories-as much as 100-300/day.  Progesterone also decreases bloating, prevents cancer, improves libido, and boosts mental clarity.  When progesterone drops, it brings its friends metabolism and energy along for the ride too.  So, for optimal progesterone production, your body needs vitamin B and magnesium, which are found in beans, meat, poultry, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, eggs, seeds, etc. On the flip side, there are also hormones that make you fat: Insulin, Estrogen, Cortisol, and Leptin.  And so many of the habits that we are encouraged to adapt are conducive to balancing these hormones. Jackie Warner’s diet recognizes that cheat foods are enjoyable foods and so she allows for two cheat meals (up to 1,500 calories each!) after a week of 5 clean-eating days.  I don’t know about you, but the idea of indulging in a day’s worth of calories in one meal gets me wondrously excited.  She has some hard-core circuit training programs that I’m excited to tackle as well.  It all starts off with a 2-week jumpstart, which I’m in right now.  So, incorporating certain nutrients into my diet and performing her cardio routines is the simple name of the game.  I hope to have amazing results to report soon!

the surefire way to “Be Great”

Excerpts from Pastor Adam’s message at msny on Sunday, June 12, 2011: Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This verse asserts and promises us that God has a mission and a purpose for everyone’s life. Interesting fact: Only in the case of Christianity is it the case that the same gospel that saved before is saving today.  For example, Islam has remained in Arabia & Mecca.  Buddhism is still in the Far East.  Hinduism began and still is in India.  Christianity, however, began in Jerusalem and is now everywhere.  It jumped over seas, across the world, and seems to work for all people. Pastor Adam tells the story of a woman in the gym [as an ex-hockey player, “the gym” doubles as his missions field!] in which she garners the respect and interest of everyone around her, men & women alike, when she proved extremely successful at achieving her goals.  The takeaway?  Pastor Adam says: Be Great.  The Gospel should be producing amazing fruits in your life.  Let people see that and evangelism becomes much easier.  If you are not, ask yourself “Why not?!”  As per the parable of the sower [Matthew 13], could it be because you don’t have roots?  Let the Holy Spirit work in you. It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to be ok with not being ok. Being OK w/ just Jesus Jesus cannot be a means to an end.  ie: I will believe in Jesus so I can be blessed.  I will do this so that I can get that.  He is the end.  In the story of Job, he loses everything, but as long as he had God, he was ok! Paul wrote the book of Paul from within the confines of a Roman prison!  Let your roots run deep so you can understand the true gospel. Adam jokes that in a marriage: “mine” becomes “hers!” Un-jokingly, however, in the same way, our relationship to Christ is a marriage and we must give it up to Him.  Don’t let the pursuit of competing gods choke your relationship w/ God. The thief comes to steal, kill, & destroy. Jesus comes to give peace, joy, & abundance. John 15 says that if you obey his commands, He will give you abundance. As I was swimming last night, during the last 10 minutes, I hit my stride and realized to myself that being great for God is probably the most motivating reason to be great.  Doing it for myself, selfishly, starts to lose its luster after a while.  But doing it for God never gets old.  I realized that no matter what I’m doing, if I think about doing it for God, I can always find the wherewithal to press on.  And so, Pastor Adam’s call to us to allow the amazing fruits in our lives be the testimony that draws people to ask for “some of what what you’re having” is all that I need to “be great” and to do it “for God!”

Be Brilliant…be a “Brillionaire”

Simon T. Bailey…what a force…what a presence.  His words mobilize crowds towards brilliance…his catchphrases ignite them to live out their messages…his anecdotes are rich with relevance and hope…and his infectious giggle thankfully makes this larger-than-life presence relateable.  His challenge to the millions who have heard him is to believe that you are designed for brilliance and live out that truth.  It’s something we all know, but can never hear too often.  He came to MSNY today and told us once again.  Thank you, Simon T. Bailey, for this… Just because I lose doesn’t make me a loser. A setback is a setup for a comeback Ask yourself, “What is my universal assignment?” The greatest tragedy is not to be dead.  The greatest tragedy is to be alive and not know why. When you tap into your brilliance, everyone that you need will come into your sphere as if summoned to…because where there is vision, there is provision. To tap into your brilliance, ask yourself these 4 questions:
  • where have I been?
  • why am I here?
  • What can I do?
  • Where am I going?
Believe that you are a “brillionaire” and “people need to know me.” Studies have shown that as kids, we work at a genius level, but by the time we grow into adulthood, only 2% of us operate at our genius level…because society tells us we “can’t have that,” or to “put that back,” and tells us about all the impossibilities. But Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.” When you know who you are and Whose you are, you dominate the marketplace. Ask God to help you dominate the marketplace in your generation to change nations, generations, and systems. The future is for sale, go buy it! Be the difference that makes the difference. When you have the Holy Spirit, he will teach you things that you don’t know about. You are supposed to be the best of the best Take on the posture that: “I am a big deal in the kingdom of God” and people will ask you for help.  Your life may be the only Bible they are reading. You can be a public success, but a private failure.  Too many are overexposed, but underdeveloped. When you tap into your universal assignment, God’s brilliance will shine through you. Become intentional about creating your present Act local, and think global. When you solve a problem or provide a solution, people won’t care about the price [as opposed to selling service/product] The stream from which you drink from is the stream you think from is the stream that you become. Whoever has your ear has your life. You may have a 50×60 dream, but be telling someone with an 8×10 frame of mind. The word “education” comes from the Latin word “educo,” meaning “to draw out” Someone has to ask you the questions to draw out your brilliance/ to stretch you You have to know someone who knows more than you Leaders are readers and readers are leaders. You cannot lead if you do not read When the brain is worried, the brain is not creating new neurons.  Read The Harvard Business Review or Fast Company. Realize that as you’re reading, your brain is creating new synapses and brain cells. Books to read:
  • Positivity
  • Practically Radical
  • Synchronicity
  • The Power of Pull
  • The Word of God
Create a mastermind group that will entertain the question “What are you going to do to change the world?” Make a date with destiny: On 11/11/11, where do you want to be?  Where do you want to be socially, spiritually, financially, in education, in wellness, etc? What difference do you intend to make in life?  Some people plan their vacations better than they plan their lives. [In terms of thoughts] for every 1 negative deposit in your mind, you need 3 positive deposits to negate it The stream from which you drink from is the stream you think from is the stream that you become. When Simon was having a tough time in marriage, upon closer examination, he was hanging around guys who were married, but not marriage-minded. What stream are you drinking from? Pablo Picasso: A woman asked him to draw her a picture in a cafe and he drew an image of the waiter and when she went to take it, he clarified to her that it would cost her $10,000.  “But it only took you 10 minutes,” she said.  “No,” he corrected her.  “It took me 50 years.” How you value yourself determines how you speak to yourself determines how you treat yourself. When you know your value, you unlock your inner Picasso. Language is the software of the mind You become programmed by what you are told and what you say. How you start your day determines the day. Wake up 15 minutes early: for 5 minutes each, meditate/ pray, read something that inspires you, stretch/ embrace the day You decide your habits, your habits decide your future. Upgrade your verbal software Death and life is in the power of the tongue Create 2-3 affirmations and say them to yourself each morning Simon’s is that he aspires to inspire 10% of the 7 billion people on the Earth to reach their brilliance before he expires. Speak life into your life Transformation & deliverance are 1 inch from your nose…your mouth Find a mentor: a person you admire who has developed skills that you want to have. An open hand is always full: constantly give away to be constantly filled up A closed fist belongs to someone who lives on the mindset of scarcity I have highlighted the questions that need to be asked and the actions that need to be taken.  I will begin doing these things tomorrow.  I have ordered the books [use thriftbooks.com for $4 used copies!] and will begin reading them as soon as they arrive.  I will begin following Simon T. Bailey on Twitter.  I’m making sure that I’m on the path to brilliance…and you better do it too!

What drives you?

Inspired by “the Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren: Everyone’s life is driven by something.  What category do you fall under? Guilt: Your life is cat-and-dog chase of running from regrets and hiding from shame.  Your past controls your future and you sabotage your own success.  We are products of our past, yes, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.  God’s purpose is not limited by our pasts.  He turned a murderer named Moses into a leader.  God specializes in fresh starts! Resentment and Anger: You hold on to hurts and never get over them.  Instead of releasing your pain through forgiveness, you rehearse it over and over in your mind.  Resentment always hurts you more than your offender because while it may have become an afterthought you them, you are stewing in it.  Your past is your past!  Nothing will change it.  For your own sake, learn from it, and then let it go.  “To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.” Fear: You’re afraid to venture out, playing it safe and avoiding risks.  But fear is a self-imposed prison sprung from traumatic experiences, unrealistic expectations, or even a genetic predisposition.  But you must move against it with faith and love.  “Well-formed love banishes fear.  Since fear is crippling, a fearful life-fear of death, fear of judgement-is one not yet fully formed in love” Materialism: Your desire to acquire is the whole goal in your life.  Having more is synonymous with happiness, importance, security, etc.  But possessions only provide temporary happiness and because nothing changed, we will bore of them.  Net worth and self-worth are also not the same thing.  And wealth can be lost instantly, so there is no security there. Approval: Expectations of parents, spouses, children, or teachers control your life.  Unfortunately, those who follow the crown usually get lost in it.  Being controlled by the opinions of others will impede your view of God’s purpose.  “No one can serve two masters.” Purpose: You live a life guided by God’s purpose for you.  Neither success, wealth, fame, or pleasure can entice you because you are operating at your full potential and nothing matters more than that. What purpose-driven living feels like: meaning: Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning.  Without meaning, life has no hope.  Hope is essential to life.  You need hope to cope.  Hope comes from having a purpose. simplification: purpose defines what you do and what you don’t do.  You have a standard with which to evaluate what activities are essential and which aren’t.  You have just enough time to do God’s will and so purpose-driven living leads to a simpler lifestyle and saner schedule…and peace of mind. focus: purpose concentrates your energy and effort on what’s important.  You won’t inexplicably change directions to settle confusion or emptiness.  Your focused life is potent and impactful.  You don’t do it all, you do less, pruning away even good activities to maximize only that which matters most.  You don’t confuse activity with productivity. motivation: purpose produces passion.  nothing energizes like a clear purpose.  It’s usually meaningless work, not overwork, that saps our energy, and robs our joy. preparation for eternity: You don’t live for a legacy here on earth, but for what God will say about you.  You live to prepare for eternity.  You live to pass these two questions: Did you accept Jesus?  What did you do with what I gave you: talents, relationships, opportunities, gifts, resources?  Did you spend them on yourself or use them for God’s purpose for you?

A cue from James Franco & Olivia Munn…

from an interview with James Franco: “I never just hang. It’s an impossibility. I don’t even like to sleep. there’s too much to do!” (On going to grad school) “Some people tell me that it’s stupid, but I need something else to focus on. I love school. It exposes me to incredibly smart people and grounds me.” “To some, my choices may seem sporadic and crazy.” but why not do the projects that I’m interested in?” from an interview with Olivia Munn: (on the controversy that ensued as she worked w/ the Daily Show) “I’m in the entertainment business, not politics. I’m busting my ass, trying my best, and I’m so thankful for every opportunity-and if somebody doesn’t like me, then well, I’m sorry. I don’t know how to help you with that.” Great words from resilient spirits that have forged their way through to success! I, too, consider myself to be an entertainer, never claiming to be the authority on any topic whether it be nutrition or fitness and especially politics…I hear you Olivia! So, I’m here to entertain, try my darn-dest, and apologize for nothing! This wave of fresh inspiration helps me to stay focused on DOING things and not worry if I don’t value down time over working, because I LOVE to stay stimulated! I also feel validated in wanting to learn, learn, learn…just to do something different, focus on something different, and stay grounded! I love being around experts in different fields. I can’t wait to get fit, start GetFit NY, and start working the camera the way that IIII want to. I’ll be dressed fabulously for red carpet events, dressed fit for my GetFit NY coverage, and be booking commercials/ads everywhere!

The recipe for charisma

Charisma has three main ingredients: expressiveness, control, and sensitivity.

Expressiveness is the talent for spontaneously striking up conversations and easily conveying feelings.

Control is the ability to fine-tune your persona to fit the mood and social makeup of any group.

Sensitivity is a gift for listening and sussing out other people’s mindsets.

A lot of charisma comes down to how you communicate. It’s your ability to strike that fine balance between picking up on other people’s emotions while expressing your own.

Believe it or not, science has found a way to empirically measure these traits by studying the unconscious gestures and expressions we all make. For instance, a modest amount of fidgeting and nervous energy, typically viewed negatively, is often a sign that someone is fired up about a conversation and wants the same for the other person. When a charismatic person connects with someone, their autonomic nervous system is piqued, their attention is locked into that person and they’re tingling with energy. Outwardly, they talk faster. In fact, a 2005 study showed that people who speak quickly were viewed as more charismatic than those who take their time.

Opening up the verbal floodgates, however, is not all there is to it. A speaking style that’s fast, yet calm and fluid, is the most charismatic of all. The lack of irregular pauses and ums or you knows shows that a person is confident about herself and her ideas.

Charisma also shines through simple gestures like nodding, eye contact, smiles, sures, and uh-huhs. TV hosts make an art of this give-and-take. This feedback loop, if even for a short period, creates a bond between the two conversationalists. Mirroring has long been peddled as a technique in everything from selling cars to winning friends.

The sociometer is a gadget designed to detect and measure the unconscious gestures that are signs of charisma-it didn’t measure one word. Unsurprisingly, incorporating those gestures was directly linked to one’s success. As the old saying goes, “it’s not so much what you say as much as it is how you say it.”

In short, sound like an expert, be enthusiastic, and be genuinely interested in your audience and that proposal will be granted! Of course, sounding like an expert and being one are not necessarily the same, but experts have agreed that most charismatic people are authentic and that sounding like an expert is not a ruse. Charisma is a skill set. A charismatic person genuinely likes, and is curious about, other people and can pick up on their emotions.

Though charisma hinges largely on expressiveness, control and sensitivity, add to the mix mystery and contradiction and the intensity builds evermore. A supremely charismatic person is both manly, yet sensitive; feminine, yet independent; down-to-earth and one-of-a-kind. (Think Britney Spears, Barack Obama, Don Draper.)  But even at the obscure level of presidents, charisma isn’t about one person casting a spell on another.  People like Bill Clinton and Princess Diana could walk into a room and know who needed them.  Moreover, the needy person knew that the charismatic person needed him or her too.  There’s an arc of mutual need underneath all the magic. The great news is, everyone is born with charisma…it is a matter of unveiling it.  Chances are that we’ve veiled it and mistaken the veil for our real personality.  “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world,” says Marianne Williamson. Here’s how to unveil yours: 1. Strike Some Poses: For the rest of today, stand, sit, and walk like the most charismatic person you know.  Persist for a few days…charismatic body language is a self-reinforcing cycle.  “Fake it til you make it” works here because any pose that elicits confidence is actually a return to authenticity.  No one was born beaten! 2. When You Get to the Brink…Keep Going “There are moments when you can give yourself to a lover, or not; give in to self-doubt, uncertainty, and admonishment, or not; dive into a different culture, or not…Resist then, and…there is only what might have been” -Diane Ackerman A defining characteristic of charismatic people is that they choose to walk through littoral moments as if they had no doubt.  They release doubt because it’s simply not useful when you’re on the brink.  Fine a littoral zone in your life and step beyond it as if you had no doubt. 3. Focus Outward The single, most charismatic move: shining your attention on the beings around you.  Focus on any person or crowd with a friendly curiosity, and your charismatic energy will touch every individual.  People pay attention to people who are paying attention to them. 4. Take Space and Make Space The previous pointer, however, doesn’t sacrifice making boundaries.  The very essence of charisma is projecting unbounded awareness of others while setting rock-solid boundaries…with a clean response.  Charisma is the light that shines from the core of all ordinary beings.  You can’t strip the veils that cover your real nature without illuminating the world in a new, inimitable way!

james cameron…lady gaga…forces to be reckoned with…

Oprah just interviewed two of the biggest creative forces on the scene today…James Cameron, who has just rocked the world of cinema with Avatar 3D…it has already, only after 2 weeks, reached over a billion in sales, and took him 4.5 years to complete.  He created a language, an entire planet with foliage with individual Latin-rooted names, an entire species, and all tied in with a central message of unity and “seeing one another.”  He was inspired visually through his scuba diving exhibitions and spent EVERY day of the past 4.5 years on this movie…he only took a few days off, .5 of a day of that was due to the swine flu!  Amazing.  Avatar was truly an amazing movie.  There is so much symbolism and beauty and emotion in this movie.  The message is so powerful and timeless and universal.  I love certain lines: “I see you, If you ask me, these tree-huggers don’t deserve any steak, you’re not the only one with a gun, that’s how you scatter the roaches, c’mon let’s make this high and tight, I want to make it home for dinner, If there is a hell, you might want to go there for some R&R.”  I love the way they say Jake Sully like Jhek Soooollley” and their accents in general are fantastic…like a cross between French and Native American.  I never watch movies twice, but I could probably even go for a round three of this one…AND it’s 3 hours!  You gotta watch this one, it’s a MUST SEE! So, Lady Gaga…I’ve always been a fan ever since I saw her on American Idol and realized that this girl can SANG!  She’s got pipes, like opera pipes-type pipes.  She can also kill on the piano.  She is a classically trained pianist and it shows.  She works hard.  She’s from NYC and worked her way up through the nyc music scene, performing at the BitterEnd and other venues and now she’s Gaga.  She’s got depth to her too.  She’s really passionate about her art and she communicates through it.  I really love that.  She’s not outlandish just to get people’s attention.  She happens to grab people’s attention because she is outlandish.  She dresses with a message and performs with a story.  The shock value is all icing on the cake for her.  I love that.  As a final message, she simply said on Oprah that she wants everyone to love themselves, do what they want, embrace their flaws, and follow their dreams.  I love that.  She teared up too, because she said that she understands what it means to feel the pain of not doing so.  And she said to have good relationships with your parents…sweet =)  In any case, Lady Gaga is doin her thang and is a rare case of someone who truly earns and deserves her fame.  Go girl.  Be inspired!