Category Archives for "Mindset"

Food Journaling is Like The Worst Cleaning Job Ever

I've been talking to a lot of people about food journaling. While I dislike food journaling as much as I dislike cleaning out the drainage bin under my fridge there are some compelling reasons to do it. Actually there are great benefits to cleaning out the catch all bin under my fridge as well as food journaling. 

A while back we had company and they had a toddler. Wouldn't you know one of their toys rolled under my fridge. I actually thought I'd rather hear the horrified screaming of the toddler thinking they'd never see their toy again than rolling my fridge back at that moment. I couldn't remember the last time I had cleaned under there. It wasn't pretty. Dust balls and dog hair in abundance and I am not sure what some of that other stuff was. I was embarrassed I had let it go that long. Of course I had reasons and excuses and my friends said they were just like me. But it wasn't okay. That mess under my fridge taught me to keep things under control. I needed to expect someone checking up on me to hold me accountable to my cleaning routine. The same holds true of my eating. Food journaling can remind me to stay accountable to my plan. By logging food for just a few days or a week I can see where things have crept in and where the dirt is. Food journaling keeps me accountable to what I expect from myself.

- Food Journaling -

  •  If you know that you are going to have to write down and document everything that you put in your mouth, do you think you might think twice about eating 8 chocolate chip cookies along with a diet coke? It's kind of like allowing someone else to see under your fridge.  

Accountability will help keep you on track with your food choices.

At the same time food journaling brings awareness. Moving my fridge that day and every time since brings awareness. I see what I have let happen over time but it also reminds me to keep things from getting that dirty in the first place. Food journaling does the same thing. Knowing I have to write something down or snapping a picture of my food keeps me aware to make a great choice instead of just eating. 

  • If you know you are going to write down what you will eat at lunch, it will help to steer you towards a colorful salad instead of a hamburger and fries. 

Awareness will help keep you on track with your food choices. 

Next time you are in my house, please don't expect perfection under my fridge, I am only human. The accountability and awareness has created a happier and more efficient fridge and fridge owner. Surprise surprise, food journaling can help to increase your weight loss. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that keeping a "food diary" may double your weight loss efforts. This was based off of a group of over 1,600 people. Those who tracked their food choices lost almost 10 more pounds following the same advice as the control group. 

Next time you see your fridge, don't just see all the food contained inside those doors, Remember to look under your fridge and see the benefits of keeping it clean. Then grab your pen and paper to journal your food choices. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Follow Along with our Fall Fat Loss Challenge

Today is the start of our 28-Day Fall Fat Loss Challenge, and even if for some crazy reason you didn't sign up for it (it was free, after all), I thought over the next 4 Mondays I'd tell you what we are doing so you can follow along at home.

Here's the habit (or skill if you like) we are working on this week:

Keep a Food Journal Everyday

This habit is nothing revolutionary, but can and will make a big impact.

A lot of us think that we eat pretty healthy and only cheat once in a while. However, if we actually tracked everything that we put into our mouths on a daily basis, we might change our tune just a bit.

Documenting what you eat and drink at every meal will give you a much better look into your true eating habits and not just what you perceive you eat. This can be a very beneficial process.

It usually goes one of two ways:

#1 – “My current eating habits are pretty much on par with what my assumptions were.”

#2 – “I always thought of myself as making decent food choices, but after looking at it for 7 days, I definitely have room for improvement.”

While these two scenarios don't encompass everyone, they are the most common conclusions we see from our clients.

In situation #1, this process helped you focus in on what exactly you were eating and when. It gave you more concrete data than just, “Yeah I think I eat pretty well.”

In situation #2, this process might have opened your eyes to your true eating habits. Maybe before this you thought you only ate dessert once in a great while, when in reality you have 2-3 desserts per week! Now this might be an extreme example but you never quite know what you are going to find out until you actually track something.

Today you need to get a notebook, download an app like MyFitnessPal, or grab a copy of this template and start recording what you ate today.  The process isn't hard and you might need a few reminders today.  Also right now, set a few reminders on your phone to record your food.  

Got it?  


Have a great day. 

DC & The Fall Fat Loss Challenge Team

When Everything is Turned UpSide Down

Ok, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but I felt like life was turned upside down today, just a little bit anyway.

You see the unthinkable happened today. The weather was supposed to be warm and sunny and I woke up to rain. 

Now lest you think I am a bit off my rocker and starting to whine. Remember the last time, you hit a bump in the road that threw you for a loop, was it really the end of the world? Did you manage to work your way around it? 

But still, since this post is all about me, let’s get back to it.

This might come as a news flash, but I like routine. Don’t upset the apple cart. Keep my ducks in a row.

So when I came downstairs this morning and saw rain it set my mind into overdrive, trying to figure out how I was going to rearrange my entire day.

How was I going to function in all this dreariness? How was I going to get my outside work done? I was now going to have to go back upstairs to change from shorts and a t-shirt to pants and a long sleeve sweatshirt. 

Now THAT is high drama!

Of course in reality it wasn’t really that bad at all.

Take a deep breath, one thing at a time, double check the weather, and after a small amount of whining to Coach Dean, bam it was over. The whole episode got me to thinking what fickle, fragile creatures we humans can be.

We talk ourselves really quickly into imagining all the worst things that can possibly happen.

Why do we do that? (That is a rhetorical question :))

So here’s the take home:

We are going to have curveballs thrown at us – a lot of them.

How we react makes all the difference.

We have the choice whether or not to let the sick kid, or sick dog, or bad weather propel us into a downward spiral.

We missed a couple days training, so there’s no point to going back until next week, right?

Or someone has to eat that BOX of girl scout cookies to get it out of the house, right?

Or my boss was being a (fill in the blank), so eating this pint of Haagen-Daaz will show HIM who is really boss, right?

I think it was Emerson who said:

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

This works both ways.

We can dwell on the negative or focus on the positive.

Both lead us down different paths, different destinations, even different destiny’s.

Where is your mind going to lead you today?

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

(By the way the sun did come out so why oh why did I waste time complaining and allowing it to get me down?)

Your Private Chauffeur

I have a personal, private chauffeur. He drives me around a lot. Usually it's to places I don't really want to go. I can't seem to fire him. Every time I "let him go" he comes back, ready to "serve" me, happily ready to carry me to new, and all too often ugly, places.

My chauffeur is like a chameleon, and he goes by many names.

Anger. Irritation. Loneliness. Sadness. Disgust. Shame. Envy. Despair.

This driver I can't seem to get rid of?

You probably know him by this name.


You know the sad thing (no pun intended) is that emotions are really a big part of what makes us human. Indignation at injustice prompts us to action, sadness for others causes us to reach out and be a friend. We seek love and joy.

And yet it seems to be part of human nature to focus more on the negative emotions than the positive ones. It's easier for me to get irritated by something or someone and let it fester than reach out and try to make it right. Fear can be paralyzing. Contempt for others is more natural than seeking to understand and be part of their solution.

And the result of all this negativity? Usually no good. When I am anxious, or depressed, or angry I often reach for food. It's my "drug". It's so easy for me to criticize those who abuse drugs and alcohol, but am I any better when I stuff myself with sugar and fat? It is an attempt to feel better, and the problem is that it often works, at least temporarily. Just like drugs and alcohol. 

And in a very short time I don't feel good. Especially about myself.

Look I am just being real here. Just because I am a "fitness pro" doesn't mean I am a robot. Emotional stress can weaken even the most resolved and disciplined among us. 

Which is why I am looking forward to being part of our Fall Fitness Challenge, starting one week from today, Monday September 16, 2019.

Because it's going to give me an opportunity to "re-center" and practice some skills to help me give my "chauffeur" - my emotional eating - an extended vacation.

We humans ARE emotional beings. Which is why we need to learn to recognize which emotions drive us toward making poor decisions revolving around food and drink, and build the skills necessary to process and respond to them in better ways.

If you are not an emotional eater, I envy you. 🙂

If you are, join me for the challenge. Signup ends on Tuesday Sept. 10th, so please don't delay.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

- DC

Give Up This Bad Habit

In the past I used “bad” language when describing some food choices.

No, I didn’t swear about it.

Language as in – “x is a good food” and “y is a bad food”.

In reality food does not have morals, it is not “good” or “bad”.

And what I learned is it really is not helpful to me personally or people I talk nutrition with to think of it that way.

You know it’s true. Calling something  a “bad food” usually just makes us want more of it. In reality there is no single food that we eat (or don’t eat) that by itself is going to make us gain or lose weight. It’s the decision made over and over again that lead to one of those results, and studies have shown over and over that when we do eat what is “forbidden” we eat more of it than if we think of it like we do any other food.

I admit it took me a long time to get comfortable with this. But now it is actually easier to make good choices, because I am not constantly thinking about food and what I do or don’t get to eat.

Now you know that I am not saying that all food is equal. Making a decision to eat a bunch of junk all the time is not going to help you lose fat, get lean and look and feel better.

What I am saying is I needed to change my mind about how I thought about food, so I didn’t obsess and stress about it all the time.

Would that help you too?

Coach Nancy

A Post from a Big Jerk

I haven't been sleeping well lately. Actually I haven't been sleeping LONG lately. I usually fall right to sleep but am wide awake sometime between 2 and 2:30am. I've been dealing with it pretty well, until I didn't.

You know when you're tired and little things that really don't matter turn into big things, if you let them? That was kind of my morning, at least until a few minutes ago, when I came across the video clip below in an article. It's kind of funny how a clip from a fictional character can hit you so hard. All of sudden not having oatmeal in the house and the small contractor screw-up didn't seem worth getting worked up over.

Just a little reminder. People matter. Relationships matter. Not being a jerk matters. Love somebody a little harder today. It will matter.

Thanks Forrest.

- DC

Living Long, Living Well. I’ll Take Both (if I can get it)

I just finished listening to the audio version of "Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or die trying)", by . author Bill Gifford. The book is an interesting history and exploration of all the different (and sometimes downright weird) ways people try to add years to their life. 

I think we have it all backwards anyway. Sure, I am not in any hurry to die, but I don't want to live longer just for the sake of adding birthdays. 

Instead of adding years to my life, I'd rather add some more life to my years, no matter how many I have left.

Instead of being obsessed with (not) dying, I think it's more productive to be some more effort into really living.

Of all the different things that Gifford explored in his book, from vitamins and supplements, drugs, cold therapy, transfusions, the lot of it, there were two things that stood out as credible and evidence based that really seem to add both longevity and better health:

  • Caloric restriction of some kind. Intermittent fasting seems to be the easiest and most sustainable way.
  • Exercising 100 minutes a WEEK adds 7 years to life.

It really is that simple, noting that simple and easy are not the same thing.

There is also good evidence that coffee and red wine are helpful, and maybe a few select supplements and a medication or two. 


Skip a meal once in awhile.

Get moving.

And I am not just being a homer for these things, even though I have long advocated both. I am not interested in doing things that don't matter, but when I find out they do, well then let's get on it!

Nancy and I really do love what we do. Most people know what a healthy meal looks like. But fitting it in to their crazy life? That's a whole 'nother thing. We can help with that.

And the moving part? We believe there is absolutely no reason why men and women in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond shouldn't have access to professional fitness coaching that is challenging and fun, yet appropriate for the realities of aging. PROactively aging is a whole lot better than just, well, getting old. 

Fall is upon us. The older I get the faster the years go by. September is a perfect time to commit (or recommit) to being the healthiest you can be for as long as you can be.

Ready to get started? Click the button below and let's talk about it. We'll even give you Two Weeks of our multiple-time award winning training for FREE. 

Don't just let life happen, around here we Make It Happen!

See you soon,

- DC

Try Sleeping With a Mosquito

My life has been influenced by so many people- Coach Dean, my parents, teachers, friends, and family. Just as I have been influenced by others, inevitably what I do and say will influence others for good or bad. As the African proverb puts it, "if you think you're too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with a mosquito." The mosquito makes a difference in an annoying way, but the principle is still the same. One person can be the voice for truth, one person's kindness can save a life. Each person matters. 

5 ways your influence translates into the gym

  1. Be Good to Yourself- You aren't 16 anymore, and that's ok. Just because you aren't a kid doesn't mean you have to give up on moving, feeling, looking, and maybe even acting like one! Smart Training is listening to your coach and listening to your body in order to stay safe and injury free on your journey to superhero strong and fit. If you listen- others will too.
  2. Be Good To Everyone- Be polite and play nice. Treat people in (and outside) of Cr8 like you want them to treat you. 
  3. Eat Good Foods- Your body is awesome. Superhero Awesome. When you feed it what it needs, you build healthy cells and a metabolism that wants to get rid of excess body fat. It's amazing that when you eat good food, others will notice. They'll notice in how you look and  how you act. When they ask you then your influence will really shine.  
  4. Shout Out Good Things- You really don't have to yell, but you do need to continually talk up goodness. It's easy to be pulled down by the cares of life. We all have something we are dealing with. Take time to encourage others, make them smile, congratulate them, and cheer them up. 
  5. Maximize All Things Good- Have you ever heard me proclaim that this is the Best Day Ever? My days rarely trump the day before and then the day before that. That doesn't mean I can't try, right? 

At Cr8 Fitness we are trying to change the world. We need your help to do that. By being an influencer of all things 'Good' you can spread health to first yourself, then to those closest to you, then to a larger sphere and so on. There's something about getting healthier that just automagically helps you be happier. And the world needs more happy.  

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

15 Ways to Make Your Coach Smile and Maybe You Too

Cr8 Happy

"There's something about getting healthier that just automagically helps you be happier. Exercise, nutrition, stress management, great sleep and fun activities are all a part of living and enjoying your best life." 

I took that right off of Cr8 Fitness's website. In fact that is one of the very top reasons I smile. I see your health increase, I see your hard work, and the payoff makes me happy. In fact that payoff makes you happy too - automagically. Here's other ways to make your coach smile. See if your top 15 ways are similar to mine. 

  1. Seeing your health increase and noticing your hard work payoff in the gym
  2. Snap shots of you, doing the things you love. When you share pictures of a hike (thanks Don) or pictures of vacation (thank you Laurie) I feel like I am there with you and that you want me to enjoy it like you are. 
  3. Jokes- good clean jokes. Knock Knock. Who's there? Cow says. Cow says who? No A cow says Moo.  (yes, let that sink in)
  4. My kids 
  5. And my grandkids
  6. Taking the time to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Thank you Donna for stopping me this morning to soak in extra vitamin D after training. 
  7. Birthdays. Its a way to celebrate life. At Cr8 we celebrate with Birthday Burpees and at home with a family party. 
  8. Palm trees. Since this type of tree only grows where it is always warm, I enjoy it most because  I am probably with family on vacation, another that certainly makes me smile. 
  9. Sitting on the edge of a lake in the early morning watching the sun glisten on the water. I know I share this with Lori, and who else?
  10. My hubby. Coach Dean is magnificent. I couldn't think of a better business partner or life partner, on top of all that he is my best friend. 
  11. The USA flag blowing in the breeze. I'm proud of my country. I love the land and its people. The flag represents so much to me, my gratitude comes across as a smile.
  12. My Bible. I love God with all my heart and having His written word makes me truly content and happy. It's like always smiling on the inside. 
  13. Chocolate cake. I'm being honest here. I don't have it often but when I do, I'm loving every bite. 
  14. Small creatures. Our little hamsters and guinea pigs make me smile. They are just so so cute. 
  15. You, my friends. I am the luckiest person to have my peeps come visit me during their day. Sharing in your lives brings me more joy than you will ever know. 

I think I could go on and on. Smile often and when you can help others to smile too.

Coach Nancy

Monday Motivation and Inspiration!

Some of use "climbing a mountain" as a metaphor, and others of us actually go out and climb mountains! The amazing Don Harty is just one of the many dedicated hikers and climbers in the Cr8 Fitness family, and recently he had the opportunity to do an amazing trip to Mt. Whitney in California. 

Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48, with an elevation of 14,505 feet. For perspective, our own Mt. Washington here in NH has an elevation of 6,288 feet. Yeah, Whitney is BIG!

I "borrowed" the following account from Don's Facebook Page. If you want to see even more beautiful pics, you should check it out

"Had the hike of my life yesterday. Kate Koonz and I hiked up to Trail Camp on Friday. I carried a 45 pound pack for the six mile hike because of the weather extremes on Mt Whitney. After a night in a cold tent with gusty winds Kate and I struck out at 6:00 AM up the Mt. Whitney Trail. During the first 2 miles up the section of trail affectionately known as the 97 bleeping switchbacks. The altitude hit me between the eyes. At around 13,000 feet I could not get enough oxygen in my lungs to power the body. I would climb for 20 steps and have to rest. It was during this stretch that I seriously considered quitting and going back down. Fortunately for me, Kate pretended that she was exhausted as well so I kept on plugging. We finally reached the ridge and actually descended 500 feet to join the John Muir Trail and then for the next 2 miles ascended at a more gradual rate up to the summit on Whitney at 14,505 feet in elevation. The five mile hike included a few traverses through snow fields that were 2-3 feet deep. By the time we reached the summit I was more beaten and exhausted than on any previous hike. We spent an hour on the summit and then headed down for the 11 mile hike back to the car for a total of 16 miles on the day. Unlike a hike last month on Katahdin where I left my dad’s ashes in the glove compartment, I brought the Old Man up with me and sprinkled them at the summit of a mountain that was on his bucket list but that he was never able to climb. We got out of the woods at 8:30 by flashlight and headed back down to our rental cottage in Lone Pine. How exhausted was I? For those of you that know me well this should tell it all. We picked up a pizza and a six pack of beer to bring back to the cottage and before I went to bed I drank only about 3/4 of one bottle. That’s exhausted. Today we drove Through Death Valley to Las Vegas. The temperature hit 121 degrees. We stopped at Badwater which at 282 feet below sea level is the lowest point in North America. So in less than 24 hours Kate and I stood at the highest point in the lower 48 states as well as the lowest point. California is a state of extremes. looking forward to heading home tomorrow."

Don sent us a couple pics and this very kind message:

"Good morning Nancy & Dean
Below is a picture of me at the summit of Mt. Whitney yesterday. It is a picture that would be impossible without the contribution that the CR8 program has made to my physical fitness and conditioning. My lungs were struggling at the high altitudes but the legs never missed a beat. Thanks for all you do."

I don't know about you, but I am inspired. I will be 53 years old next month, and Don's got a few years on me. Do you remember when you were a kid and you thought 40 was ancient? I'd like to think it's just now that I have really even got warmed up, and there is much adventure that awaits. Guys like Don make me want to make it happen.

And truthfully, it is really cool to see that "MTXE" shirt reaching new heights, literally. I just went out to see the 6:15am training crew, whose tradition is to wear that shirt every Monday, and sure enough, there they were. "Mental Toughness & Extra Effort" will carry you far.

So what mountains do you want to climb? Maybe it's a real mountain, like Mt. Whitney. Or maybe it's another adventure that you have been putting off for too long. As long as you are above ground and breathing there is still time. I started my first business in my 40's, and my second in my 50's. My wife's Uncle Carl skiis big mountains in his 80's, for crying out loud. Do you really want to sit on the couch (that could be a metaphor too) for the rest of your life? 

A little "tough love" here. It ain't gonna happen by skipping workouts, eating a bunch a crap, and watching TV until all hours of the night. I don't make the rules, but I do know what happens when you ignore them. I am talking to me as much as I am to you.

Get Up. Get Started. Get Going. 

There are mountains to climb.

Race you to the top!

- DC

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