Holiday Maintenance: Starting the New Year off Right

Watching Grass Grow

Watching Grass Grow

Maintenance seems to look about as interesting as watching grass grow from the outside and part of that is the not letting anyone see you sweat because it sure looks stupid to sweat to stay where you are. But the truth is, I sweat and now I realize I always will.

My big news in 2014 is this is the first year in my life I did not gain holiday weight.

Woo hoo! The crowd goes wild!!!! I can hear you all from here. Wait, what’s that you’re saying? “Whatever!”

Well lemme tell you something! It is no small feat to stay in the same place in this culture of excess.

I took metrics before Thanksgiving and again on January 3rd and they were identical. And I attended an insane amount of events and pigged out at every single one. (My friends can attest to this, I assure you.)

So this means I worked very hard between. I made sure to hit my metrics weekly, as I always do, but this meant skipping breakfast at least 5 days a week and doing extra movement regularly too. Kind of Captain Obvious stuff, really, and yet last year and the year before even though I was a Maintenance Veteran, I started the new year demoralized, bloated, despondent, disappointed, and needing to get my ass in gear.

This year, I feel confident and accomplished and ready to accomplish goals relating to both my physique and my career. To that end, I will be sharing progress photos and DEXA results soon. Stay tuned to see if my body fat and lean body mass have changed from a year ago this time.

How To Load The Dishwasher

If  experience pain, chances are, it’s your fault!

You’re Doing it all Wrong!

Unless you have had an injury or were born with an imbalance, I’m saying that you are causing your own problems.

Watch my video or watch a 2 year old. Toddlers move beautifully, as should we!

In working with kids, I have been surprised at how early we lose the correct movement patterns and move to slouching, rounding, schlumping, and sprawling.

In future videos, I will continue to address these and other issues to get you to the ultimate goal: To live on to become a happy healthy 90 year old who can get on and off the toilet unassisted.

You may think this sounds silly but I’ve passed the halfway mark and have lived some years fat and riddled with pain. I cannot begin to express how amazing it is to be in such great health when I’d nearly given up earlier this decade.

Without further ado, I introduce my video:

How to bend to spare your back while doing ordinary stuff in life like loading the dishwasher

How to Hip Hinge

Enjoy! There are resources listed in the description under the video.

Family Kettlebell workout

Introducing my new YouTube channel!

This is my family fumbling our way through a kettlebell workout last weekend on vacation in beautiful Saint Augustine, Florida.


The Workout:
10 kettlebell clean and press both sides (or push press)
10 single hand swings both sides
10 reverse lunges with high carry both sides
20 plank jacks
10 goblet hold reverse deficit lunges towards rising moon
10 pullups or bent rows

Repeat 1 or 2 more times.

We finished the second round by the light of the full moon!

How Much Weight Do You Need to Lose?

August 2008: Rock Bottom

August 2008: Rock Bottom

Unscientific Testing

Most people I ask think they are about 10-20 pounds overweight. I have to admit, I thought the same thing when I started my transformation.

But I wound up losing closer to 40 pounds to finally get the look I’d never quite managed.

Al says I shouldn’t tell you this because it’s too daunting. So if you just want to go on thinking that 10 pounds is going to get you where you want to be, go with that.

How’s that working out for you?

What’s that now? You lost 10 pounds (good for you, by the way) and you don’t look any different at all?

Frustrating, isn’t it?

How To Calculate How Many Pounds You Need to Lose

It turns out that it is very easy to tell from the start how many pounds you will need to lose. So if you want to really know the size of the project you’re undertaking, read on. Otherwise, keep on and know that if you don’t like what you see, you have more to go, but it is possible to get there, I promise.

Okay, still reading?

Here’s all you have to do. Convert your height into inches and if you are female, multiple by 0.40 (and use 0.45 if you are male) to get yourself to a pretty smoking target waist. Now brace yourself. I am going to ask you to do something hard. Measure your waist. Accurately. I’ll wait.

Okay, how close are you to where you ought to be?

For each inch your actual waist is from your target, you are 5 pounds away from your target.

So say you are a 5’3″ woman with a 32″ waist. Your target waist is around 25″ so you have 32-25=7 inches to lose on your waist and 7×5=35 pounds. And I’ll bet you thought it was 20, tops.

Don’t get daunted! This is totally doable!

Women, check out the Venus Factor, which is what I used to transform.

Men, you’d use Adonis Golden Ratio, which is what Al used for his transformation.

Caramel Cranberry Sauce with Xylitol

1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup xylitol
2 tbs butter
2 tbs heavy cream

Heat xylitol over medium until it melts. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Stir in heavy cream. Add cranberries and cook on low until berries are soft. Mash them with wooden spoon. Test for sweetness (warning! It’s hot!!!)

Cover and let rest while you prepare massive quantities of vegetables from your CSA. Allow to cool and taste again as you put it into the fridge. Try not to eat it all. Xylitol needs to be taken in moderation!


Xylitol Salted Caramel Mocha

Thanks to Statbucks free birthday drinks, I have discovered the joys of salted caramel with espresso and mocha. The craving does not just go away so I decided to come up with my own sugar free version.

I consider recipes suggestions so I started here.

Here is what I did.

Ingredients (more or less!)
5 tbs xylitol
3 tbs butter
2 tbs cacao powder
2 tsp heavy cream
2 long shots reused espresso (grounds already used once)
Sea salt to taste

Heat xylitol over medium/high heat until bored. It was supposed to turn amber but it just seemed to melt. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Add a dash of cream and the cacao powder and salt.

Pour the caramel over the weak espresso and share with someone. Yum!

Chew each bite.


Elliott Hulse


Everyone needs to be inspired.

20130929-124848.jpgSometimes, I find I first need to become aware of an area in which I can improve and get a fresh perspective that resonates with what I can bring to the table; my strengths and interests and sense of fun must be satisfied.

You can tell me your great solution to my life until you are blue in the face but if it’s not interesting to me, that is never going to click. Does this make sense?

Another part of the secret sauce to achieving and maintaining positive change seems to be a catalyst. More on that later.

Accidental Inspiration

In the last few months, I inadvertently inspired many people to begin deep cleaning and decluttering their houses as I talked about my own often painful process of transforming into an accidental minimalist on my personal FaceBook page. Lately, I am doing a similar cleansing process with my body and will talk about that as well.

But it’s the sharing itself that I have been somewhat stuck on. Now that I am far enough along in this process that I have deeply integrated the truth of  further progress and maintenance actually happening, it’s time to pay it forward.

Flailing Again

I have lots I want to share and yet as I have done with each successful transformation of any sort, I have spent a lot of time stuck and flailing before taking action. I am beginning to think this is a part of my personal process. Maybe there is no wrong way to make forward progress so long as you eventually get unstuck and move forward while not losing ground with what you have accomplished so far.

Flailing is Actually Planning

I am learning to reframe and refine the process of successful transformation as I go through each arduous process of internal improvement. For my personal transformation, I researched and crossed my fingers but took no action steps (unless you count closing my eyes and wishing, really, really hard) for years. I’m not saying the accidental minimalist transformation has been any faster in the planning. In fact, I’ve taken some really good stabs at this for longer than many of you dear readers have been alive. That thought has given me pause often enough in my life and is a chief reason I have always given into quitting and ‘Why bother?‘ing my way out of accomplishing things my heart deeply desires.

But I now see that time spent sitting around, reading, observing, resting on my laurels, planning, day dreaming, imagining, going to the home improvement store and coming home empty handed and any number of other apparent time wasters all turned out to be necessary ingredients to a successful implementation.

Rather than feel guilty, I now understand that this is how stuff gets done! So much of my attitude about how I spent my time defined the productivity that followed.

Pausing to evaluate, appreciate, research and plan is not flailing!

Who knew? Knowing when to quit researching and accept good enough is part of the secret sauce for sure, though, so don’t fall prey to indecision or true stalling.

To recap what I’ve done so far,

  • I made a successful transformation from obese to the best shape of my life
  • I have maintained this for over 4 years
  • In doing so, I inspired many others including, most importantly, my husband and daughter.
  • And as of this summer, I have successfully created, for the first time in my nearly 5 decades, a clean and uncluttered living space

This summer, I transformed my house from a place where many doors needed to stay shut to a place where you are welcome to show up poke around with no notice, even in the closets, drawers and cabinets. It is not perfect, but I am no longer ashamed.

I have been surprised and touched by the response to this process (someone recently posted on my wall about “Going all Naomi on her closet!“)  I am deeply motivated to share with a wider circle. And yet I found myself stuck on how, exactly, to make that happen. And that has caused me stress, which was exactly not the point of the whole exercise.

So this is me saying I am taking a baby step towards that goal. Part of what has prodded my behind into action was hanging out with and soaking up wisdom from none other than Elliott Hulse, a man whose work I have admired and followed for years. Elliott’s work resonates with me because he stresses the mind body connection and learning to correctly use your body, something I am constantly studying and nagging coaching others on.

Here is a photo of us together, just in case you don’t believe me. I might have dreamed it, but nope, true story!

Naomi and Elliott Hulse

Elliott is as easy to talk to as I thought. He’s an excellent listener and able to break things down to absolutely beginner level. He shared some tips and ideas that actually seem doable. To wit, I am going to do some videos.

There. I’ve written it down so it is going to happen. No more messy house as an excuse. No more bad hair as an excuse either. I will put on a hat if I have to so deal with it because really, that is a pretty poor excuse to not share something that people might actually want to see and benefit from seeing!

So what about the catalyst thing?

My catalyst for finally successfully transforming the house was my daughter getting an infection and needing a surgery. I could not help but notice, when we got home from our hospital stays (there were 2; it was tricky to cure), that any clutter, any at all, messed her up. Sure, she was moody and sick, but I wasn’t, and I was able to start to really appreciate the discord that clutter and dirt cause us all.

My catalyst for taking action now is knowledge and inspiration by association with greatness. The things Elliott Hulse has accomplished in a short time are mind-boggling. The wisdom he shared with me was not what I wanted to hear. And exactly what I needed to hear.

So hold me accountable. Expect videos from me.


Al and Elliott (Beast Mode)

Al and Elliott (Beast Mode)


Colon Health Equals Health

Everybody Poops

(Didn’t REM do a song about this? No? Well anyway…)

We all know everybody is pooping all the time but no one wants to talk about it. But that can lead to our own demise. So get over it.

Poor colon health is an indication of poor health.

Healthy Poop

Do you know about the Bristol Stool Chart? Go on. Have a look. It’s super important. In fact, gather your family around. I know I’m going to.

Bristol stool chart

According to this lovely chart, if you are in the 3-4 range, that’s considered good. Anything else, bad. Personally, I think only 4 looks right and experts have different opinions on this just as there is wild variation in how often you should have a bowel movement.

Normal Does Not Mean Healthy

Mainstream medicine will tell you that having a bowel movement just once or twice a week is normal. Well remember what normal means in this context. It basically means “average for your age, gender and region”. It does not mean ideal. It does not mean healthy. (Keep that in mind when you get any sort of testing done, by the way. I recently had bloodwork come back “normal”. I live in Florida and I’m 49 years old as I write this. Being average for this population doesn’t scream health in any way! I’m going to need to track down my numbers and decide for myself whether I need to take any corrective action. )

So normal doesn’t mean you’re out of the water. Very likely, you’re all backed up anyway and just don’t know it. We are all used to such a crappy level of gut health, we have come to accept as normal what just isn’t.

Diarrhea Most Likely Means You’re Constipated

Say what? Makes no sense, right? Except it does. When the walls are thick with hardened ick, there is only a thin tube through which feces can pass. So just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean it’s all clean as a whistle down there. And anyway, if you’re experiencing diarrhea, you do know something is off, right?

You Wallpapered Your Colon

Think of it like an old house with many layers of wallpaper. No one wants to strip the walls so each new owner just papers over the previous layer.

I bought  The Colon Health Handbook: New Health Through Colon Rejuvenation over a decade ago and haven’t found any better information on colon health. At that time, I could not find all the ingredients to do the colon cleansing program so I cobbled together a program as best I could and was shocked to watch the results unfold exactly as the author described.

In this wonderful little gem of a pamphlet, the author outlines what you can expect to happen as you begin to strip away the layers that have built up on the colon walls. Think of yourself as the homeowner who has finally decided that wallpaper is out! It is time to scrape it away and get down to the bare walls.

Much more can be learned about colon health from Rebuild Your Health: With High Energy Enzyme Nourishment by Ann Wigmore. My mom gave me this book after a very healing stay at the center. There are simple steps you can take to begin to restore and heal your colon and I intend to start now.


I have been going it alone on a cleanse but am looking forward to receiving the colon cleansing program.


These two amazing resources outline how to cleanse toxins gently but effectively while rebuilding gut health.

Venus Factor

My beloved Venus Index diet and exercise everything program has been repackaged and improved!

Venus FactorThe new program is called Venus Factor.

What is the Venus Factor

The Venus Factor is a complete weight loss and body re-shaping system. The components that make up the entire system are as follows:

  1. Main diet and weight loss manual.
  2. The 12-week workout system – this includes a library of instructional exercise videos and complete 12-week workout system that can be done at home or in a gym.
  3. The Venus Factor Virtual Nutritionist – this is a software app that calculates your specific calorie and protein requirements for weight loss specific to your body measurements.
  4. The Venus Community – A private online community exclusive for Venus Factor members only. You can meet and learn from other Venus members, start your own personal blog within the community, or just browse other members blogs and forum for information. Your level of involvement is your choice.
  5. The Venus Index Podcast – Where you can listen to other Venus members tell their weight loss success stories. Every year we host 3 transformation contests and I interview all the winners to get the real inside story on how they used the Venus Factor system to fit their life and challenges to achieve their weight loss and body shape goals.

If you are a woman who has not successfully transformed and maintained the best shape of your life, like I have, this is the program for you.

Kids Are No Excuse

Everyone says once you’ve had kids, you can never get your body back but I’m here to tell you it’s not true. I am in the best shape of my life after 2 kids.

Being Over 40 Does Not Matter

As you age, your metabolism may slow down but not by as much as you think. It is not inevitable that you pile on the pounds year after year. I’ve lost 40 pounds and kept it off for 3 years!

—>Click here to learn more about the Venus Factor<—

And check back to this page soon as more information gets added. There is a lot of stuff in there that is new to me and I’m so excited to review it all and offer some teasers!

Make no mistake. If you buy this program and read it, it will all make so much sense that you will automagically start following it. And anything you’re confused about, just ask in the community. You’ll get all your questions answered within hours!

Setbacks are the Norm, not the Exception

My Daughter Recovering from Surgery

My Daughter Recovering from Surgery

No excuses people. None. I simply will not allow you to get away with that crap anymore!

Too Poor to Afford Good Food

When we were flat broke, our excuse for getting fat was that we could only afford pasta so we had to get fat? Oh yeah? Well have you checked the package label? That box serves 8! Check for yourself! And we all know carbs beget carbs. We actually spend less on groceries now and eat far better but less.

Too Sick to Exercise

Last year, I got a nasty mono-like-virus that left me barely functioning for over a month. I did not use this as an excuse to get fat. Sure, I lost some lean body mass, but it came back.

Later in the year, I got such a nasty flu, I lost 10 pounds in one week and once again, had to start from scratch.

Shit Stuff happens. It’s not an excise to get fat.

Too Stressed and Busy to Exercise or Eat Right

June was a major trial for my daughter and me. The short story is she got an internal infection and was hospitalized twice, took crazy amounts of antibiotics and wound up getting surgery. I stayed by her side the whole time and didn’t get any exercise whatsoever. Mostly, I was too stunned to do much more than gaze at her or the TV. I couldn’t even focus well enough to read.

Living on hospital food and takeout sucks. But having counted calories for a while means I was in touch with appropriate portion sizes. The hospital staff was loving me when they caught me discussing my daughter’s meal with the cafeteria crew and I heard numerous times that it would be wonderful if more parents were like me. It really isn’t that hard to plan the choice around a green vegetable and a protein and not always choose the carb and cheese based choice. And take a pass on the sugar drink and dessert most of the time.

As June ends, we are both on track with our metrics. We did not use a health crisis as an excuse to put on 5 pounds. And nor should you.

Home after surgery

Home after surgery

Setbacks happen. Expect it, dust yourself over, and get back on track. Think of yourself as a blind person having seizures trying to operate a motor vehicle with a voice navigation system if you must but just listen to that voice and get back on track as soon as you can.