Weight? What?

Biggest Winner is amongst us and we know what that means: time to only eat fruits and veggies, starve yourself from sweets, and lock yourself inside to avoid the temptation of attending the grand opening of the Olive Garden.

Lies! No need to take such drastic measures while trying to lose weight. You can still be “normal” and enjoy a nice dined out meal with friends and family. You just need to be smarter than the fork!

According to Prevention Magazine, there 13 simple rules to take into consideration while dinning out:
1. Know before you go: Check out the menu online and be prepared to order
2. Sit in a quiet spot: Those who sit in busier parts of a restaurant are distracted by what is around and lose track of how much they have consumed
3. Be the first to order: This way, you cannot be influenced by what someone else ordered
4. Have it your way: Don’t be afraid to ask the server if modifications can be made or substitutions offered
5. Don’t be seduced by words: Watch those descriptive words, they can trick your taste buds into thinking “savory deep fried chicken with an extra dab of ranch dressing” is delicious and good for you
6. Stay away from snacking: Appetizers=great way to pack in the extra fat before a meal
7. Make a meal out of apps: If there are healthy options for apps, try it for an entrée (which is closer to an actual portion size anyway!) or pair it with a salad
8. Be salad savvy: Just because it is a salad doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Be sure to top your salad with low-cal, fresh veggies and steer clear of toppings such as cheese, bacon, or croutons. Even try the dressing on the side and dip fork as necessary versus drenching the salad.
9. Go on the low side: Swap out the high-cal side dish for a low-fat option such as a double order of steamed veggies.
10. Choose low-fat methods: Determine how your meal is prepared. Ask your server if the meal can be baked or grilled versus fried.
11. Enjoy (a bit) of alcohol: If you decide to kick back with an adult beverage, try to limit it to 150 calories or less for example: 5 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz of liquor, 12 oz light beer
12. Practice portion control: If we went to France, we would all starve. Portion sizes have gotten out of control in America. To minimize portions doggie bag half the meal, eat slower, and listen to your internal hunger signals.
13. Practice the 3-bite rule: Can’t avoid that chocolate craving? Try 3 bites of the dessert and set it aside.


Still can’t shake that sweet tooth? Head home and try these easy-to-make, low-calorie black bean brownies. I know, black beans and chocolate? Bear with me, they are delicious and a great alternative when you are reaching for a sweet.

Ingredients: (1) 15 oz can unseasoned black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup water
1 package brownie mix

Preparation: Puree beans and water in food processor or blender. Add brownie mix and bake according to package instructions. No oil or eggs necessary!
Serves: Approximately 16

Nutritional information: 80 calories, 3g fat, 8g carbs, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein


by Christina D’Amico, CSCS

Dress to the 8’s

Somewhere along the way our society became very casual in the way we dress. Maybe it began with the concept of “Casual Friday’s” in the workplace. For those of you too young to remember, you might be surprised to know that the idea of ‘dressing down’ or wearing jeans to work was extremely controversial at one time. Now it seems to be the norm.

I recognize that even as I am writing this, I am in a profession that takes the crown for casual wear. After all, we sport spandex and sneakers every day! It doesn’t get much more casual than that!

I also realize that I am not living in an urban area where the dress code might be a little more ‘upscale’. In general, however, I believe the trend is out there, and quite frankly, I just don’t think people dress the way they used to.

We had a discussion about this at the Studio a few months ago, and the consensus was that we have become very sloppy. Being ‘comfy’ has taken the place of a ‘dress for success’ mentality. In fact, you can walk into any store or coffee shop and see teens dressed in pajama bottoms and women wearing extra large sweatshirts with sweatpants sagging off their backsides.

My question is – what have we lost in this trend?

In a time when there is an epidemic of low self-esteem, it might not come as a a surprise that our dress code has gone so far south. With obesity at an all time high, it’s pretty easy to see why we dress for comfort rather than results. But I am a firm believer in the idea that you act the way that you dress, regardless of your size, shape or age. What we wear on the outside is a direct reflection of what is happening inside, and that is where I think we have lost something very important.

So then the question becomes — how do we change it?

Well, at Studio 8 Fitness, we decided to create an occasion for people to dress up. Instead of ‘dressing to the 9’s’, we decided that at Studio 8 we dress to the 8’s, and that became the name of the event. In addition to giving people a chance to dress up, we also announced the winners of our Biggest Winner Challenge and inducted 5 people into the Hall of Gr8’s as recognition for training with me for more than 3 years.

With all of that on the plate, it had to be a great night. And it lived up to its name! People who are usually dressed in stretch pants and shorts were decked out in beautiful dresses and sport coats. The women were stunning as they showed off their toned arms and long legs. The men looked healthy and strong! Throughout the party you could see people standing tall. In fact I joked with them that for all the time we work on posture, I didn’t realize I just needed to have them dress up in order to stand so straight.

The reality was that they felt good about themselves and it showed in the way they stood, in the way they carried on conversations with complete strangers and in the way they laughed all night.

So, I offer this thought to you as a possible idea. I’m not suggesting we can change the world by creating a single night for people to dress up, but if we want to help our clients feel good, we need to find ways which allow them to show off their physical success. Designing an event, posting before and after photos, or creating other unique ways for people to ‘stand tall’ will foster self esteem and make people feel better.

And that’s just a thought…

With love, Kelli

P.S. You can check out a video of our Dress to the 8’s Party at this link — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mME0FS2Lg5M&feature=plcp

And the Greatest of These is Love

“He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me’.”

-Chris Bauman

This quote came from the brother of Jeff Bauman, one of the heroes of the Boston Marathon bombings. If you haven’t heard Jeff’s story, and the story of Carlos Arredondo, the man who helped Jeff, please take some time to read about them:



Why am I sharing the story of these two heroes today? Because their stories are what we need to remember.

I know that we have all been watching the events unfold in Boston this week. Not only do most of us know someone in Boston or someone who has been involved in the Boston marathon, but we are also Americans who care about what is happening to the people in our country.

At the same time, it is so easy to get caught up in the fear of the event. Fear has a way of sweeping over us and paralyzing us. It has a way of dragging us into a cesspool of negativity. It causes normally accepting people to point fingers, and that fear is continually fed by a 24 hour news stream!

What I want to remember, and hope that you will, too, is that FEAR and LOVE exist side by side! And at the end of this tragic story, where there was and still is, great FEAR, there was, and still is, great LOVE!

We have a choice to which one we focus on the most. If we choose to focus on fear, negative emotions, mean words and tragic consequences continue. If we choose to focus on love, positive emotions, uplifting words and better endings follow.

What happened in Boston was beyond comprehension! Four people are gone. Countless others have been wounded for life. That is unacceptable. But the way to fight it is to focus on GOOD rather than the evil.

Jeff and Carlos are not the only heroes that emerged in this moment. There are so many others!! I urge you to find their stories. Seek out the information on those who helped in a time of great fear. Focus on those who are still here. Pray for the families of those who aren’t.

As I finish writing this morning, I am reminded of one of my favorite Bible verses – I Corinthians 13:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Through the Eyes of a Child

Last week we had a few beautiful days here in New York. On my way to school on one of those mornings, I was thrilled to see that trees were flowering, bushes were budding and new flowers were coming up out of the ground. When I got out of my car, I was immediately bowled over by the scent of fresh cut grass. To me, that is the smell that promises the coming of Spring. I stood outside and inhaled that scent for a few minutes, savoring it, before heading into the building.

Beauty is hard to find in this corner of the city. In order to see it, you have to look past broken windows and run-down houses, some burned by fire and others boarded up because they are no longer fit for anyone to live in. You have to look over the garbage on the sidewalks and ignore the broken down vehicles in driveways along the street. Despite all of those things, on this particular morning, it was there.

As I walked down the hall to my first class, I was smiling. From around the corner, one of the 4th graders came running up. “Do you want to read my poem, Ms. C?” he asked his excitement clearly visible in the lilt of his voice and smile in his eyes.

“Of course,” I answered.

I know this boy pretty well. He is the product of a broken home, living in foster care, struggling to make his way in the world. At the same time, he has an irresistible energy, an impish look on his face, and a constant smile. He always hugs me when he sees me, and tries very hard to be ‘good’.

Quite honestly, when he said he had a poem, I was a bit shocked. I know he likes to draw, but didn’t know he liked to write. So, I was interested in the fact that he had written one, and was more than happy to read it.

The simple poem was written on a piece of paper torn from a spiral notebook. The left hand edge of the paper was shredded, and the lines of writing were scribbled all the way around the paper. It took me a moment to figure out where it began, but eventually I found the title. Written with a dash in front of it, the poem was called “-Things we see Outside”.

It took only two lines before I had tears in my eyes.

-Things we see Outside

At the window, the air smelled like grass.
I saw flowers on the side of the school building.
We saw cars in the parking lot – gray and black ones
And the lunch room door with a gray doorknob.
It felt like a nice day and nothing would go wrong.
The tree had little green leaves like puffy hair.
Two blackbirds walked together in the grass.

To make the story even better— I asked him if I could make a copy to hang in my office and he gladly agreed. Then I headed to class. Ironically, the classroom I was going to was his teacher from last year. When I walked in, this poem was on top of my books and I thought I would share it. I explained that it was written by one of her previous students, and she listened along with the class as I read it out loud. The kids clapped when I finished and all wanted to talk about the things they noticed on their way to school today. The teacher sat there with a huge smile on her face, and said, “You just made my day.”

A young boy’s thoughts, a moment of sharing, and a difference was made.

I hope each of you will take a moment this week to share a story, write a poem, take time to look at a picture drawn by a child, or just stand outside and smell the fresh cut grass. Any one of those things will make a difference in your day!

With love,

The Edge of a Blade

Have you been watching the Olympics? If you’re like me, you enjoy tuning in to see these young, talented individuals compete for the ultimate prize – an Olympic medal! As I’ve spent the past few days watching the Games, I’ve been struck, as most of us are, by the passion and dedication of these athletes. Their steadfast determination allows them to reach farther, strive harder, and challenge themselves beyond the norm. That single-minded drive is magnetic. It draws each one of us in, and we sit in amazement at what these athletes are able to accomplish.

With the television on this weekend, I began questioning what it is that allows those top three competitors to reach the medal stand. Certainly there are differences in skill levels and talents. Certainly there are bad days and weather conditions to contend with. Yet, when it comes to the cream of the crop – the top handful of competitors who truly have a chance to win – what allows them to rise above the others and cross the line first?

It struck me as I watched the competitions this weekend, that most of the time the difference between a medal and 4th place is something infinitesimally small. Sometimes it is simply the edge of a blade or the tip of a ski. Other times it is the turn of a foot or the plant of a pole. In most cases, there is one small difference that leads to enormous results.

That reminded me of a book called 212 Degrees. Think about this:

At 211°, water is hot. At 212°, it boils. With boiling water comes steam. With steam you can power a train! A one degree change in temperature takes water from being hot to something that generates enough force to power a huge machine!

Many times, small efforts lead to significant results. For example, multi-million dollar sales are made by a single extra phone call. Lives can be changed by small acts of kindness. Olympic medals are won by hundredths of a second!!

As you continue through this week, I hope you will keep this idea in mind. Each small thing you accomplish leads to the next until you finally finish all that you set out to do. You can apply some extra ‘heat’ to any task or activity and reap the rewards of putting in that one ‘extra degree’ of effort! Give a little more time to a customer or family member. Break your ‘to do’ list down into manageable tasks. Make the phone call that needs to be made.
Although not all of us are Olympic athletes, the principle still applies. Seemingly small things can make a tremendous difference!

Have a productive week!

With love,

25 Days In

We are already 25 days into the new year!  My question is – have you done something absolutely incredible to kick off the new year?  Many of us made resolutions and set goals to do something this year that might change our life.  I am just wondering if you have done it. 

If you haven’t, why don’t you start TODAY? 

You wanted to lose weight? Begin by eating better TODAY!.

You wanted to exercise more?  Then get outside and walk TODAY!

You wanted to get yourself out of debt?  Make a plan TODAY!

You wanted to earn more money?  Do something TODAY that will move you toward that goal. 

You are reading this email – this moment – at this point in time for a reason.  You can choose to carry on with your life as it is, or you can use this moment to take action and change.

It is those who take action in the moment that become successful in the world. If you think about it, the wisdom of it is obvious.  The grand irony is that once you get into the HABIT of taking action in the moment you start an avalanche of success that is almost unstoppable.

But, it’s got to start with that very first teeny tiny action.

Decide what one action you can take today that will start moving you toward your goal.  Once you start, the rest will follow.  It’s a matter of taking one step at a time.

I wish you much success as you begin to move forward this week!  Make it a great one!

Love, Kelli


Excerpted in part from the Money and Business Newsletter

Is it Just a String?

My daughter, Katie, made a comment a while ago which stayed with me. We were driving in the car and our discussion involved the way that people see things differently. As we drove, the talking faded away, and she was quiet. I figured the conversation was over, but a moment later she said, “Mommy, it’s just like a string.” Trying to follow her train of thought, I asked, “What’s like a string?’

She said, “The way people look at things. It’s like a string. Some people pick up a piece of string and see only string. They think it’s worthless. But, other people pick up the string and see something else. They see something useful that can tie things together, or that they can make something with. They use their imagination or tie it around their finger to remind them about something they have to do.”

I visualized that image while she finished her thought. “Some people see a string as being nothing, but other people see the same string as being something.”

Her ability to take an abstract idea and turn it into such a simple visualization amazed me. She summarized the conversation perfectly. The discussion stayed with me because she was absolutely right. Our perception of the same event, or the same conversation, or the same moment varies from person to person. One person interprets it one way and someone else sees the same thing so differently.

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. It seems to me that he was a man who saw the ‘string’ as being something special. In fact, he gave his life fighting to change the perceptions of all the people who saw it as worthless. He was able to look past the social perceptions of the day and see something better. His fight against the tide of discrimination and prejudice took place in order to change what people had accepted as okay.

As we remember his work today, let us remember that we, too, have the ability to see that ‘string’ differently. There are numerous opportunities to see our glass as being half full instead of half empty. For every struggle, there is a lesson to be learned. For every trial, there are successes to be won. For every moment of sadness, there are hours of happiness to follow.

I hope you will consider this as you move through your week. Try and find moments when you can see something more than what appears before you. If you do, you might be surprised by what you learn.

Create a beautiful week!
Love, Kelli

Mad Gab

One of the games that Santa left under our tree this year was Mad Gab. Perhaps he was generous and left it for you as well. It’s a fun game, and my family and I had many laughs as we played it over the holiday.

The game is played by reading the nonsense words on the card, listening to the sounds you are reading, and coming up with the phrase that it represents. For example, on one card, the words read “Dish Harp Her Rim Edge.” As you say those words phonetically, listen to the sounds you are saying and come up with the phrase that it sounds like. The answer is “The Sharper Image.”

The interesting thing about the game is that it forced me, a visual learner, to have to close my eyes and listen to what was being said. Rather than use my eyes to read, I was forced to use my ears to hear. It was a fun challenge, but it made me think about how we rely on our senses, and that we are not tuned into them nearly enough.

Psychologists agree that there are basically 3 learning styles – visual learners, auditory learners and kinesthetic learners. Visual learners make up approximately 65% of the population. Visual learners primarily collect information with their eyes. They prefer images, media, graphics, illustrations and charts. They tend to remember details in picture form.

Auditory learners make up about 30% of our population. Auditory learners primarily collect information with their ears. They learn by hearing sounds and often repeat things over and over out loud or silently, in order to remember them.

About 5% of the population are kinesthetic learners. These people learn through touch and movement. They learn by doing something, practicing it and through the physical interaction that requires.

As you read these descriptions, which one seems to fit you the best? Some people use more than one style, and some are fortunate enough to use all three. However, most of us primarily use one learning style.

The game made me recall how strongly visual I am. Hearing the sounds was difficult for me, and I had to close my eyes in order to figure out the phrases. It left me wondering what I have been missing when I rely mainly on my eyes. What haven’t I heard or tasted because I was only ‘seeing’? I realized that I need to challenge myself to use the other senses. I need to reach out and touch, as well as close my eyes and hear. I need to pay more attention to tastes and stop and smell more frequently.

What about you? When was the last time you really tasted a food rather than just swallowing it? What was the last scent you smelled or the last noise you heard? Did you notice any of those things, or did they just pass you by?

This week, I am challenging you to use your senses. Pay more attention to the world around you by focusing on all five of them. During the week, stop from time to time and smell. Close your eyes and hear. Eat slowly so you can enjoy the taste of the food on your tongue. Touch something and pay attention to how it feels. Or look at something more closely to see what you might have passed by before. By stepping outside of your norm, you might discover something you hadn’t known before.

Enjoy your week – fully!
Love, Kelli

*Statistics gathered from http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm

Snow Days

I have to admit that one of the greatest treats in the world is to wake up to a Snow Day – a day when schools are closed due to inclement weather. This week we were given that gift. For those of you who have never had a chance to experience this phenomenon, I thought I would paint the picture for you. Maybe in these words, you, too, can experience the thrill of this small pleasure.

The build-up and excitement for the event began the night before at Indoor Soccer practice. As my kids came off their fields, joined by their friends, they all seemed to be eagerly discussing the weather. There were secret grins, side bets, and shouts across the arena to make sure everyone checked The Weather Channel when they got home.

My own kids have a ritual – something they learned from their friends. It involves a series of silly superstitions, and they perform it every time they THINK there is a chance of a Snow Day. First, they put their pajamas on inside out. Then, they run around the house 10 times, crawling under the dining room table each time. Next they take a handful of ice and flush it down the toilet. Finally, they place a spoon underneath their pillow. I can’t explain any of it, but watching them run around, giggling and laughing, cracks me up, so I allow them the pleasure of performing all of these acts.

This week, their ritual worked. As they had hoped, the bad weather arrived. Throughout the night I could hear the trucks grinding through the streets, dragging their plows and dropping salt and sand onto the roads. When I woke in the morning and checked the news, sure enough, all the area schools were closed. Sitting on the couch in the dark of the early morning, I gave a silent fist pump and experienced the familiar flutter of excitement.

A Snow Day is like a “give me”. You can’t completely prepare for it, and it is always a slight surprise – especially the first one of the year! It felt like I’d been given a FREE day, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

We dragged out our sleds, built snow castles and had snowball fights. The neighbors joined us as well. When we got tired from the brisk air and exertion, we all filed in, stripping off mittens and layers of wet clothes. Our boots left huge puddles on the floor, and our cheeks glowed from the brisk air and exertion. Together, we made cookies and drank hot chocolate. Then we curled up and enjoyed the comfort and warmth of our home.

When the day ended, I was sad to see it go, but Snow Days are special because they don’t happen often. They are a rare treat, and we enjoyed every minute of the gift we were given.

We don’t have to wait for Snow Days to happen in order to enjoy special moments, however. Any day can be a ‘Snow Day’ if we make an effort. We can create surprises and play with our children any time we choose to do so. This week, I hope you will find a way to play for a bit. Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself for a while. You’ll be glad that you did.

I will leave you with a few fun quotes about the winter weather:

*”A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!” ~Author Unknown

*”Snowmen fall from heaven… unassembled.” ~Author Unknown

*”Bad weather always looks worse through a window.” ~Author Unknown

*”Perfect winter weather is a great caffeine, while perfect summer weather is the best sedative.” ~Amethyst Snow-Rivers

Enjoy your week!

Love, Kelli

Giving Thanks

This week Thanksgiving Day arrives. The day marks an end to the Fall and serves as a harbinger of the busy holiday season ahead. On this day we stop our routines, gather together with friends and family, consume thousands of calories and watch parades and football on TV. In households across the country, adults surround the dining table while children eat at the ‘kids’ table’ placed in whatever space the house allows. The smell of turkey basting in the oven and the warm aroma of pumpkin pies fill our homes, and we pause to give thanks for all our blessings.

Every year we celebrate these traditions with some distant recognition of why we are doing it. Somewhere in the back of our minds we recall stories of The First Thanksgiving and the reason it all began. But here are a few unusual facts you might not know.

*Thanksgiving is not only celebrated in the United States. Canada also celebrates a Thanksgiving Day on the 2nd Monday in October.

*The Mayflower was never meant to carry passengers. It was originally designed for wine transport.

*Only 5 women survived the first year at the Plymouth settlement. Those women cooked the first Thanksgiving meal.

*The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. That first celebration lasted for 3 days!

*President Abraham Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving.

*Congress passed legislation in 1941 which declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.

*The first Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in Philadelphia in 1920, sponsored by Gimbel’s Department Store. The Macy’s Parade began in 1924.

*In 1947, President Truman began a tradition which continues to this day. Each year, the President pardons a turkey and sends it to a public farm in Virginia named Frying Pan Park.

*The average American consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.**

Thanksgiving provides a perfect opportunity to offer thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Enjoy the time this week to reflect and pause in gratitude.

Wishing each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Kelli