"A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion."                      Joe Pilates



“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference, and in 30 you'll have a whole new body."Joe Pilates
“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference, and in 30 you'll have a whole new body."Joe Pilates
“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference, and in 30 you'll have a whole new body."Joe Pilates


“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference, and in 30 you will have a new body."  Joe Pilates

“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference, and in 30 you will have a new body."  Joe Pilates

We have a Winner!

Jo Ann Driscoll is the winner of the 90 day challenge; you might recognize her!   I could say so many wonderful things about Jo Ann's discipline and Pilates passion, but I'll just share a quote from last week.   I said  to Jo Ann that I still remember the day that I met her.  Her simple reply "Yes, I was much older then."   To me, that is the beauty of Pilates, truly feeling better in your body with the passage of time!  CONGRATULATIONS JO ANN!!!!

What habits are your new Rituals?

The goal of the challenge was discovery and discipline.

The challenge this year was pretty long.   I hope that during the challenge you took time to evaluate things that were important to you, especially your mental/physical health and relationships.     Going forward, take a moment to think of the 5 habits that you plan to take forward after this challenge.  Which habits are you going to make a ritual?  If rituals are not something that you want to commit to daily, another action could be 5 life priories (example:  health, family, volunteering, etc..) that make your days meaningful.  Let's make sure that 2017 is what we want it to be!

Weekday Meals Made Easy

When your kitchen time is limited, go-to recipes for healthy options can make the difference between nutritious feast and take-out famine. These four satisfy your taste buds while nourishing your soul.

Hearty Lentil Soup

(Adapted from Whole Foods Recipes)

A great source of plant-based protein that fills you up, lentils make the ideal pantry staple. This simple soup requires minimal prep and you can freeze leftovers!

Serves 8

  • 3 cups uncooked green lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups water plus 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 strips kombu (seaweed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons high-quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Put lentils, water, and vegetable stock into a large pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam on the surface, then reduce heat to medium low, add kombu and bay leaf, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrots and garlic, and continue cooking until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
  3. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, transfer the onion-carrot-garlic mixture to pot with lentils. Stir in tomato paste. Once lentils are tender, stir in vinegar, salt and pepper and serve.

Nutritional facts, per serving: 280 calories, 5 grams total fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 miligrams cholesterol, 230 miligrams sodium, 46 grams total carbohydrate (12 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams sugar), 15 grams protein

Salmon with Pepita-Lime Butter

(Adapted from Eating Well Magazine)

Nutritional powerhouses, hulled pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, can be found in the bulk-foods section of natural-foods stores. Serve salmon with brown rice and steamed broccoli or a green salad for a complete meal.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted pepitas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Place pepitas in a small, dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
  2. Place pepitas in a small bowl with butter, lime zest, lime juice and chili powder.
  3. Generously coat a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook until browned and just cooked through in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the salmon to a plate. Add the butter-lime mixture to the hot pan; stir until the butter is melted. Serve the salmon topped with the sauce.

Nutritional facts, per serving: 259 calories; 17 grams fat (5 grams saturated); 74 miligrams cholesterol; 2 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams protein; 0 grams fiber; 360 miligrams sodium; 458 miligrams potassium.

Quick Quinoa + Pesto

(Adapted from Little House in the Suburbs)

The variations you can make to this entrée salad are endless and the pesto blends up easily in advance. Add or subtract ingredients according to what you have in the fridge, pantry, or garden—have fun with it!

Serves 2

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped mesclun or spinach
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Unrefined sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil Pesto (see below)
  1. Rinse quinoa in cold water and strain through a fine sieve. Add to boiling water in saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, still covered, for 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the chopped greens, apple, onion, and raisins in a large bowl. Add quinoa and lenon juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil and toss until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Plate individual servings topped with a dollop of pesto and enjoy!


Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil or parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until a slightly textured paste consistency, scraping down sides as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC

Practice Mindful Eating

How many times have you wolfed down a meal so quickly your body barely registers that you even ate? It’s a sad consequence of our fast-paced society, but you don’t have to be a Zen master to learn the art of eating consciously, which carries the happy side effect of losing weight.


One mindful practice that can help you get a handle on emotional eating is to ask yourself what you’re really hungry for in the moment you are blindly grabbing for something salty or sweet. Are you bored? Lonely? Feeling overwhelmed? At this point is it just a habit? By shedding light on the real reason you’re snacking, you can begin to unravel the underlying cause of your hunger and take steps to find true fulfillment—outside of food.


Another side effect of the abundance of food at our disposal is that we’re grazing all day long and have lost touch with our body’s innate signals of hunger. In addition, studies show when our mind is tuned out during mealtime, the digestive process may be 30% to 40% less effective. This can contribute to digestive distress, such as gas, bloating and bowel irregularities. To become more mindful, make mealtimes a time to feel nourished by:


-Preparing more food at home. Food that you’ve lovingly prepared tastes much better for the effort. If cooking is foreign to you, take baby steps. Find a few easy, healthy recipes and make them on the weekend before you venture into weekday cooking. Before long, it’ll become habit!


-Giving thanks before you eat. Taking time to express gratitude, whether silently or aloud, at the start of each meal forces you to slow down. It also helps calm you down, which leads to more efficient digestion.


-Saying no to multitasking! Put the Crackberry, magazine, or computer away at mealtime. Eat at the table, not in front of the TV, and focus on your dinner company and what’s on your plate.


-Chewing your food. Inhaling your food prevents you from benefitting from the first stage of digestion, which starts in the mouth with chewing and the creation of saliva. When you thoroughly chew your morsels (we’re talking at least 30 times for each bite; more if you’re eating meat), your body thanks you by giving you more energy that would normally be used up digesting the partially chewed food.


-Making the meal last. Eat for at least 20 minutes, longer if possible, and remember to breathe between bites.


-Making your meal an experience. Savor flavors, hone your senses, and pay attention to the mouth-feel and aromas of the food you eat. As you place your attention here, you’ll find your taste buds open up to respond and everything tastes a little bit brighter.


Taking these steps will help you to feel more connected to the food that sustains you. Better yet, you’ll begin to drop pounds and enjoy eating again! It’s one of the best-kept weight-loss secrets.


Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC





The Center for Mindful Eating — http://www.tcme.org/


Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays


Happy Tree Pilates Challenge

Changes or Improvements?

This challenge has 4 segments.   The goal is to take some time to improve your health and other areas of your life, with small, meaningful, day to day changes.  Everything is better with a friend, so ask someone to be your  partner.   The last day to accept the challenge is January 31st!

Pilates  Pilates has to be a part of the challenge.   With this challenge, I want you to make Pilates a part of your personal life.  You can decide the amount of time that is meaningful to you.  17 times a month, minimum, you need to do meaningful Pilates.  You decide what is meaningful.

Habits  While at first, 17 might seem like too large a number, you might be surprised at how many little things you've wanted to change in your life.  For some, it might be starting the day with a glass of water.  For others it might be putting lotion on every morning.  For some, it might be eating 7 fruits and vegetable or getting 7 hours of sleep.  You get to decide 17 things that are meaningful to you that you want to change.  (No, you don't have to make the habits public, just report daily on the # achieved)  You have 15 days to get that list of meaningful habits together!  Write them down now and start tracking your progress before the challenge begins.  Set yourself up for success!

Recipes  We all fall into routines.  This challenge item is one that will be shared with others.   To meet this challenge, we must consume 17 new recipes a month (featuring fruits or vegetables) and the recipe and/or photos must be posted on Happy Tree Pilates Facebook page. 

Cardio  Compared to the last two challenge items, this one is a breeze.   Cardio must be completed 17 days a month for at least 30 minutes.  Again, the choice is yours.  

Results   A form will be available on Happy Tree Pilates website for posting cardio, Pilates and Habits results daily.  Recipes must be posted on the Happy Tree Pilates Facebook page on the day they are created.    Also, on the facebook page, calendar files will be available for tracking on paper for your personal usage.  

Winner  The winner of the challenge will be the person scoring the most points.   The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Athletica.

Greening Your Diet

The number one thing you can do today to improve your health and boost your energy is eat leafy greens. This simple act has powerful implications.


In his book, Integrative Nutrition, author Joshua Rosenthal describes it this way: “Greens help build our internal rainforest and strengthen our circulatory and respiratory system.” He goes on to say that the color green aligns with spring, “a time of renewal, refreshment, and vital energy.”


Indeed, the list of beneficial properties offered by greens is long and includes everything from improving circulation and liver function to strengthening the immune system, clearing congestion, and promoting healthy gut flora.


Greens provide a whole host of valuable nutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients such as:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc
  • Vitamins A, C, and K
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Chlorophyll


Chlorophyll (found in all green vegetables) is a powerful blood builder akin to liquid oxygen! If you are trying to get pregnant, you can benefit from the high folate content in greens. And if you need to increase your calcium intake, leafy greens beats milk because it doesn’t put the body into an acidic state the way dairy does. Greens with significant amounts of calcium include cooked beet greens, kale, dandelion greens, collards, parsley, turnip greens, and watercress. (An interesting aside: the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who said “let food be thy medicine,” relied so heavily on the healing powers of watercress that he built his first hospital next to a stream so he could grow it.)


Other greens to rotate into your diet include spinach, cabbage, mesclun, bok choy, broccoli, and broccoli rabe.


Here are some easy ways to eat more greens:


-Drink them in the morning! Start off your day with an alkalizing green smoothie by mixing the following ingredients in a high-speed blender:

  • Handful watercress, kale, or Swiss chard
  • Handful parsley or cilantro
  • 1-2 stalks organic celery
  • 1/2 cuke (peeled)
  • 1 organic apple (peeled and cored)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger (peeled)
  • Filtered water (amount depends on desired thickness)


-Drink the broth or “tea” that’s leftover in the pan after briefly steaming or boiling your greens.


-Grow your own greens either in a container on your porch, in a raised garden bed in your yard, or in a community garden. Alternatively, seek out fresh greens at the farmer’s market or join a CSA to ensure regular delivery of them!


-Get into the habit of having a simple raw mixed greens or kale salad with lunch and dinner.


-Add such green algae superfood supplements as spirulina and chlorella to your daily routine for an added dose of disease-fighting phytochemicals.


Once you crowd out other foods with these nourishing plant-based options, you’ll be glowing with so much positive energy your friends will be green with envy.


Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC



Greens Glorious Greens by Johnna Albi: http://www.amazon.com/Greens-Glorious-Great-Tasting-Super-Healthy-Beautiful/dp/0312141084

Eat More Kale: http://eatmorekale.com/

Give a Little, Gain a Lot!

This Thanksgiving and post election season, I'll be spreading Love and giving Thanks.   Be on the lookout for ways to get involved with our local community;  I'll let you know where you can find Happy Tree Pilates volunteering.  If you have causes that are special to you, please share them with us.

You know that volunteering is a good thing, but did you also know that giving back enhances six key areas of well-being? Studies out of Vanderbilt University’s department of sociology connect volunteering with improvements in happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, a sense of control over life, physical health, and depression.


Older Americans can derive even more health benefits from serving. According to a report by the Corporation for National and Community service, volunteering 100 hours per year (that’s a mere 2 hours a week!) can help those age 60 and older have greater life satisfaction, functional ability, lower rates of depression,—and even live longer.


Beyond the physiological and psychological lift you get from donating yourself to a cause that’s bigger than you, volunteering presents a powerful opportunity for spiritual growth. When you help those in need, something inside of you opens up and expands, providing you with more time and energy than you ever thought you’d have to give.


Volunteering is so valuable on so many levels, but if you’re like many, fear, lack of time, and difficulty choosing a cause can hamper your best intentions to give back. Here are some simple ways to overcome those hurdles:


Fear—Does being seen for who you really are scare you? If so, embrace it! Volunteering can make you vulnerable as you will likely be working with people who are very far from you in terms of life experience. But vulnerability is the doorway to connection, so allow yourself to live authentically in these moments of service and in turn you’ll experience genuine fulfillment.


Time—A wise mentor once said that having “no time” is merely an excuse for not taking control of your life. Think about it. Do you make time for the things that really matter? Of course you do! This should be no different. Being creative can help you fit this into your busy lifestyle. If you have children, make it a family affair and you’ll have a meaningful way to spend time together. Or, plan a volunteer vacation where you can dedicate an entire week to helping rebuild a village or maintain trails. The options are endless.


How to Choose?—Follow your passion! But don’t feel like you have to do it all. Do you love dogs? The local ASPCA surely needs folks to walk their pups. Do you feel strongly that all kids deserve a fighting chance? Look up your local Big Sister chapter and get paired with a middle school student in need of a mentor. You will need to quietly contemplate what speaks to your heart. Once you do that where to commit will become crystal clear.


Because in the end, it really does boil down to heart. Says David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation: “Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger.”


Stealth Health for the Holidays

When was the last time you exercised, ate well, and lost weight over the holidays? It’s a tall order, and one that many simply write off as the holiday season is designed for indulging, entertaining, and relaxing! The downside: once the celebration passes, you can end up feeling sluggish and heavier than ever. For me, that holiday season usually begins October 24th (sometimes it starts even sooner on Fair Day) and ends Jan 7th.   NOT THIS YEAR! With these simple makeovers we can enjoy the holidays while keeping our health in check.  Combine these tips with some outdoor activity and Pilates and we should all be in tiptop health come Jan 1!
Drink Makeover
You will be surprised how little things add to your daily sugar and calorie intake. Consider the typical holiday drink—a cocktail. Everyone has his or her own signature cocktail recipe and you never know what you’ll be handed at a holiday party, but an average cocktail easily packs 200 calories. After a few, your blood sugar can skyrocket! Instead, bring along a healthier option, such as freshly squeezed pomegranate juice with seltzer water. This rich combo tastes great and clocks in at about 100 calories. Give your own holiday party a festive pop of color by making a quick round of freshly squeezed seasonal juices and mixing them with the fizzy water of your choice.
Tip: If you do want to imbibe, drink one glass of water for every cocktail consumed. The following morning, flush your system with an alkalizing green smoothie made with kale, cucumber, lemon, apple, and filtered water.
Desert Makeover
If you have a sweet tooth, and are trying to stay on track health-wise, the holidays can be torture—there is simply too much temptation lying around in form of cakes and pies! Forgo “low-fat” offerings and opt for desserts that feature fresh fruit and good organic fat. Use bran and oatmeal in lieu of white flour in your baked goods. Use walnuts and freshly cut fruit and berries to top pies, and make pudding with avocado instead milk. Coconut cream is an excellent alternative to heavy cream when you need a delicious whipped topping.
Tip: Everything in moderation! If you’re mindful of what you’re eating, savoring every bite, and really honing in on the flavors, you’re less likely to want to take that second or third piece of pie.
Meal Makeover
The holidays and decadent meals go hand in hand. But here’s a simple tip so you don’t feel sluggish and bloated after dinner: Fill your plate with more vegetables and keep meat to a minimum; load up on salad and ignore the rolls. Try cooking your meals in organic oils—add a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil to the finely grilled steak or roast for added flavor and a dose of healthy fat. If you crave starch, opt for mashed sweet potatoes, which are high in antioxidants, and cut your portion size in half.
Tip: Eat a healthy meal of quinoa with steamed kale, broccoli, beets, and tofu topped with a simple tahini dressing before you head out to your evening festivities. Your full belly will prevent you from wanting to overindulge.
Remember, the holidays are all about spending time with loved ones and friends, attending parties, and eating out. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to remain super healthy; instead, do your best and if you overindulge, know that you can always start fresh tomorrow!

If you have a favorite recipe makeover that you think could help the Happy Tree Community navigate the holidays, please share to the Happy Tree Pilates facebook page @HappyTreePilates.   These recipes will come in handy for the January challenge...

10 Tips to Curb Late-Night Snacking

10 Tips to Curb Late-Night Snacking

Are nighttime trips to the kitchen sabotaging your best efforts during the day? If so, here are 10 simple tips to keep you from derailing after dinner.
1. Don’t Skip Meals. Depriving yourself during the day almost guarantees you’ll be ravenous in the evening. Make sure to eat balanced meals and snacks throughout the day and eat most of your calories before 6 pm.
2. Allow Daily Indulgences. Along those lines, allow yourself a small treat during the day. If you have a sweet tooth, this will satisfy your craving and reduce the chance of a binge at night.
3. Post Your Goals. Whether it’s to lose 15 pounds or to be strong and well-nourished for an upcoming race, write your goal and post it in places you’d normally go to find snacks. Or, clip a picture or inspirational quote that speaks to you. This serves as a powerful reminder of what you ultimately want for yourself.
4. Write It Down. When you keep a food journal, you become more mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. You’ll be less likely to want to create a new nighttime entry that lists a bag of chips if you see how well you ate all day long.
5. Clear the Pantry. If it’s not there, you can’t reach for it in the evening. Sweep the kitchen of temptation and either toss it or put it away in a separate cupboard (upon which you post your goals and vision of your ideal self)!
6. Keep Boredom at Bay. Feeling bored and mindless munching often go hand-in-hand, so plan engaging after-dinner activities that make you feel satisfied. Note that many TV commercials are food-focused and can trigger cravings, so shut off the tube to avoid the urge to snack.  A quick mat is a great way to avoid boredum!
7. Go for Water. Many times when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty, so reach for water before food and see if that quells your appetite. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to give it some zing! Or, make herbal tea with raw honey your sweet evening treat. Enjoy it in a lovely mug so it feels extra special.
8. Suck on Candy. If a craving for sugar is strong, allow yourself to suck on one piece of all-natural candy or chew a piece of all-natural gum to keep your mouth occupied. The distraction will fool your body into thinking it’s getting a treat that’s much bigger.
9. Brush Your Teeth. You’d be surprised at how this works! When your mouth feels minty fresh, there’s often no desire to muck it up with food.
10. Plan Your Snack. If despite your best efforts, late-night eating persists, have a plan in place. Try enjoying a few gluten-free crackers with almond butter, so you don’t just reach for the first thing that calls to you. By doing this, you can transition to healthier options that become a habit!
Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC
For those who are interested, There will be a food journal challenge from September 24th to October 24th.  I'm going old school for this challenge.  I just purchased a journal from Amazon, but there are plenty of free electronic journals available. 

This is a soft challenge as we prepare for the big January Challenge! Accepting ideas!!!! 

Top 10 Foods to Beat the Heat!

I don’t know about you, but here in Murphy, TX the mercury has been staying consistently in the 90s which instantly makes me want to say sayonara to the stove and turn to more refreshing fare. Here are my top-10 picks for summer foods that keep you cool, hydrated, and healthy!  Of course Pilates is always in season and the studio is Cool!
Watermelon — a no brainer, right? At 92% water content, this summer staple is more than a thirst-quenching treat; it’s rich in Vitamins C and A and has anti-inflammatory effects. You’ll also enjoy the healthful benefits of beta-carotene and antioxidant-rich lycopene with each bite.
Cucumbers — a member of the same plant family as watermelon, highly hydrating cukes contain potassium, magnesium, and help tonify the kidneys and flush toxins, so make them a regular on your summer plate (skins on!).
Zucchini — eating this summer squash raw (try this recipe!: http://www.erinsfoodfiles.com/2010/08/raw-summer-vegetable-pasta.html) or lightly steamed helps retain the water and nutrient content. Among other things, zucchini contains ample fiber, antioxidants, and helps regulate blood pressure.
Mint — use mint liberally in the summer months to flavor your food and drinks for when you need to cool off—and relax! Mint is easy to grow but can take over a garden, so best to stick to a small container.
Cilantro — you either love it or hate it, and if you’re in the former camp, you’re in luck, because according to Ayurvedic principles, cilantro is the ultimate cooling stimulant and tradition recommends increasing your consumption as a means of surviving torrid summers.
Celery — it’s made up of 95% water, is high in potassium and naturally occurring sodium, and acts as a powerful diuretic—without making you feel dehydrated. This means you can safely flush your system and avoid belly bloat when you eat celery.
Sweet Berries — not only are they in prime season during the summer months, but berries help quell fire and heat—what Ayurveda calls the “Pitta” qualities of the season.
Cantaloupe — with 95% water content and a mere 5% sugar, cantaloupe makes an ideal sweet summer treat. It’s chock full of Vitamins A and C, as well as contains a moderate amount of B vitamins. Enjoy it in abundance, as ¼ contains a mere 50 calories!
Raw Radish — High in trace minerals and Vitamin C, this unassuming veggie also clears food stagnation and has a laxative effect due to its diuretic nature, all while having a cooling effect on the blood. Make this a spicy addition to your summer salads!

Coconut Water — this refreshing drink helps beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to keep you hydrated. Always opt for pure coconut water over flavored varieties. 
Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC

Cut Clutter, Create Possibility

Cut Clutter, Create Possibility

While clutter might seem somewhat inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, you’d be wise to consider the feng shui take on an untidy space. According to principles of this ancient Chinese art, clutter prevents chi (positive energy or life force) from flowing throughout your home. Clutter contributes to feelings of being stuck or of being unable to relax in your home. The mere act of clearing clutter can renew your life by releasing negative emotions, and allowing you to create space for the things you want to achieve.

Here are three simple steps to take to cut down on the “Stuff” that gets in your way (literally and figuratively!):

Step 1—Commit. Every day, take small steps towards reducing the material burden in your home. Don’t try to do it all at once or you are likely to succumb to extreme overwhelm! Instead take an afternoon to focus on one corner of one room and move on from there. In a few weeks, your home will be a lot neater and it won’t feel like it was a burden.

Step 2—Keep, Toss, Donate.  Create boxes for each of these to make it easier to categorize your things. By sticking to this method, you merely need to deal with the “Keep” box when you’re through.

Step 3—Stay Detached. (Or as detached as humanly possible!) Sentimentality or a sense that “I’ll need this someday…” are likely the reasons you’re walled in by clutter, so it’s important to stay focused on the task at hand. This only works if you can be ruthless about what you keep. If you haven’t worn it, used it, or looked at it in the past year, it should go. No exceptions!

When you have completed your task, you’ll want to look into some simple organizing systems—file cabinets, decorative boxes, bins, etc.—to contain the important things that made the cut.

As Leo Babauta so eloquently puts in his book, The Power of Less, “Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty—it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.” Out with the old, in with the new—and improved! By clearing space you’ll be making room for wonderful things to flow in.

Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC




The Power of Less by Leo Babauta


Unclutterer: Daily tips on how to organize your home and office — http://unclutterer.com/

Blog here.

Enlist an Accountability Partner - Today!

Enlist an Accountability Buddy—Today!

How many of you can relate to this familiar scene? The alarm rings at 5:45 a.m., it’s dark outside, it’s toasty in your bed, and the snooze button is all too close for comfort. The choice is made and the workout falls by the bedside—again.
Blowing off workouts becomes all too easy because it’s hard to muster willpower when you’re the only one privy to your fitness goals. But imagine this alternative: What if you had a standing date three days a week in the morning to meet a friend for a walk? Or what if your furry four-legged friend needed a long walk before you left for work?
Enlisting someone to become your workout partner makes it more likely that you’ll show up and commit to moving your body. That’s partly because to get anywhere close to your health goals, you need to get out of your head and into the world!
By sharing your goals with a like-minded friend, Pilates instructor or family member you can all benefit from the mutual support you provide one another. The University of Virginia’s Cynthia Moore, MS, RD, CDE, explains it this way: “[An accountability partner is] someone who is also making lifestyle changes. This is the person you can report to and, if the opportunity allows, exercise with, or practice skills together. Having a buddy can help break the cycle of isolation. It can also be a fun way to make lasting changes in your life. Research shows, for instance, that for exercise to be enduring in women, it must be enjoyable or have an element of pleasure. Teaming up with someone to compare notes and report progress, can add to the enjoyment.”
So what are you waiting for? Enlist your neighbor, best friend, sister, or husband. Enlist one, or many (pets and toddlers included). Heck, you can even enlist your local librarian or barista! Because you know what they say: It takes a village.

Be on the lookout for an email later this month about an upcoming accountability challenge from Happy Tree Pilates!
Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC

Discover Your Exercise IQ

image for exercise IQ

Discover Your Exercise IQ

When it comes to staying fit, half the battle is discovering which exercise best fits your lifestyle and temperament. By considering the following questions you can hone in on what’s going to get you excited about moving your body—on a consistent basis!
Do You Prefer Being Social?
If so, solo outings will make you unhappy and unmotivated to stick to a workout routine. Seek out such group classes as Zumba, spinning, yoga, pilates or dance to help you find a tribe of automatic fitness friends. Or, create a cycling group or a swimming group that gathers in the evenings or on weekends for outings. Forcing yourself to go on a solitary swim will only get you so far.
Do You Hate the Gym?
You’re not alone! Many folks feel that way! Fortunately, you have the great outdoors at your disposal and it’s a fitness playground. You can treat your backyard as your personal gym and do all the calisthenics you’d do inside.  You can lace up your trail runners and hit the pavement or head to the nearest hill for a hike. If you’re social and hate the gym, see the suggestions above for other ways to keep active without having to change in a locker room.
Do You Need a Challenge?
If so, enter a race. That way, you know you have something to work towards and a goal to meet, which should motivate you to keep at it. On the other hand, if the kind of challenge you need is associated with a feeling of having plateaued with your workouts, you may want to invest in a trainer who can push you to the next level.  If you are looking for something different, or an exercise method to meet your body where it is, consider Pilates. 
Are You Strapped for Time?
If so you need to try to make even the most mundane activities a little bit more strenuous. For example, when you need to take a bathroom break during the day, walk extra fast to get there, and take the longest route. You can also maximize office time by doing squats while you are waiting for the next conference call, or dropping to do some pushups on the side of your desk, or hop in place for five-ten minutes during your lunch hour.

Just start, even if you are still looking for your perfect workout!
Begin by walking, increasing distance and pace a little bit each week. Look for opportunities throughout the day to be more active, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking far from wherever you’re going; that way, you reap the benefits of being active by taking small, consistent steps that build the foundation of fitness. Also, look for fun ways to workout, whether it’s playing with young children or plugging in the Wii Fit!  Start somewhere and make changes, just don't give up, your perfect workout is waiting for you. 

Please make it a priority to move your body more and sit less.  
Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC

Coming Clean: A Week of Whole Foods

Coming Clean: A Week of Whole Foods

Have the slower, colder winter months got you feeling sluggish…a little pudgy…as if there’s stuff that you need to clear out of your system? Are you needing some inspiration to stay with those New Year's Resolutions.  If so, you’ve come to the right place because after you follow this seven-day plan for eating nothing but nourishing, unprocessed whole foods your insides will do a dance of joy. Oh, yeah!
It’s extremely beneficial to periodically feed your body nothing but food in its natural state—in other words, food that it will immediately recognize and know how to break down without any additional effort. In the process, you’ll be releasing toxins, which can cause you to feel a little blah, but you’ll come out the other end cleaner and lighter than you went in. To help sweep toxins from your system, spend some time in the sauna or take a hot Epsom salt bath before bed. You’ll feel tired after you do this—plan to sleep like a baby!
Here are the guidelines to follow for this oh-so-gently detox, which involves staying away from several foods and sticking to a handful of healthy ones, instead. Ready?

  • AVOID foods that contain, or were manufactured with anything related to a fungus, yeast, or mold, such as: cheese, vinegar, wine, beer, alcoholic drinks, MSG, mushrooms, pickled or smoked mealts, malted products, bread, fruit juices, and vitamins derived from yeast.
  • AVOID foods to which you have known sensitivities or allergies.
  • AVOID dairy (cow’s milk, cheese, and yogurt only).
  • AVOID sugar and other simple refined carbohydrates, such as honey, corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, lactose, maple syrup, white flour, potato chips, and corn chips. Choose your carbs wisely by choosing those lowest in sugar and highest in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Eat one serving of carbohydrate with each meal but not more.
  • EAT organic animal protein, beans, raw organic nuts, or nut butters or eggs with every meal.
  • EAT water based (non-starchy) vegetables at every meal. Consume leafy greens such as kale, collards, chard, mustard greens, field greens, and fresh spinach daily.
  • EAT fruit moderately. Wash well and/or peel before eating to remove mold. Apples, pears, and berries are best. In general fruit should be with other foods. Nuts and fruit are ideal and make a great snack food, but moderation is key.
  • EAT the freshest food possible. Do not eat any leftovers that have been in the refrigerator longer than 24 hours.
  • Specific foods to incorporate:
  • Beverage: Almond milk, chamomile tea, sesame milk, soy milk
  • Cereal: Amaranth porridge, barley flakes, buckwheat groats, corn cereal, corn grits, Cream of Rice, oat bran, oatmeal, puffed corn, puffed rice
  • Dairy: Goat cheeses, goat yogurt, goat milk
  • Fruit: Apple, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, grapefruit, lemon, lime, papaya, strawberry
  • Grain: Amaranth, barley, buckwheat, oat, rice, rye, spelt
  • Legume: Alfalfa, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, green beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, peas, pinto beans, soybeans
  • Nut: Almond, hazelnut, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Organic Protein: Beef, chicken, cornish hen, duck, eggs, lamb, tofu, turkey, veal
  • Seafood: All seafood is fair game!
  • Vegetable: Asparagus, avocado (technically a fruit, but it’s low in sugar), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, cucumber, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onion, parsley, peppers (bell and chili), radish, scallions, spinach, turnip, turnip greens, zucchini
  • Starchy Vegetables: Artichoke, beet, jicama, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, turnip, winter squash

Make sure you are drinking ample water throughout the day to continue flushing toxins from your system. If you want to continue this protocol beyond a week, you can for up to a month and see great results!  As always, make sure you are making time to move your body.  Walks are free and so is Pilates mat, so no excuses!
Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC

Banish Post-Holiday Guilt

Do you feel like you went a little overboard during the holidays? Well, welcome to the club, because you are certainly not alone!
The holidays can topple even the healthiest lifestyles. You sleep at odd hours, eat at times that are far from ideal, and when you do eat, it’s normally whatever’s being served to you. Exercise takes a backseat to party hopping. Of course, these indulgences are what make the holidays fun!
But when the calendar flips to January 1, talk of resolutions can conspire with your too-tight jeans to make you feel guilty for having such a good time. Here’s the thing: beating yourself up can’t turn back the clock and undo your actions, so it’s best to look ahead! Here are some simple steps to get back on your healthful track.
Eat Breakfast
After a holiday free-for-all you might not even want to think about food. As tempted as you may be to skip breakfast, don’t. Forgoing the most important meal of a day does more harm to your body than good. Skipping breakfast can lower blood pressure, increase mood swings and decrease physical and mental capacity to perform everyday tasks. It also sets you up to overeat later in the day. Start your day with a nutritious breakfast to jumpstart your health revival.
Avoid Processed Foods and Snacks
Avoid packaged snacks like chips and popcorn and go organic by taking a handful of raw walnuts and almonds. Focus on snacks packed with fiber like fresh fruits and vegetables. In short, opt for whole food snacks in moderation.
Drink Plenty of Water
A well-hydrated body burns more calories than a dehydrated one. Drink lukewarm water throughout the day. This will help sweep away extra salt, sugar and toxins from the blood; an unhealthy aftermath of holiday fun. Add green tea in your diet as it helps detoxify the body, making you feel lighter and invigorated.
Move Your Body
Introduce any kind of physical activity that you love. Call a friend and book a tennis match. Swim with a loved one or jog with your dog. Dedicate at least 30 minutes of your day to increase your physical activity. This will not only relax your mind but would also help soothe your soul. You will feel happier by becoming healthier.
Pamper Yourself
If you only associate fun with only food, you have yet to visit a massage therapist! Try getting a sauna or steam bath and pamper yourself with a fresh juice drink and a body rejuvenating massage. Cancel your restaurant reservation and instead book yourself a non-food treat that can do your body some permanent good.
Remember: There is nothing that time, mindful attention and action cannot heal. All you need to do is to take it slow and go in the right direction. If you need help with accountability consider Pilates sessions.   By eating right, sleeping well, and maintaining a certain amount of physical activity every day, you can kiss post-holiday guilt goodbye, for good.
Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC

Top 10 Stress Busters - Be Protected this Holiday Season

Top 10 Stress Busters - Be Protected this Holiday Season!

Did you know that a whopping up to 90 percent of doctor visits are stress-related? Stress, practically a 21st century epidemic, can wreak havoc on your health and happiness if you don’t learn coping techniques to keep it at bay—for good. In fact, some of the many detrimental emotional effects of stress include:  anger, irritability, anxiety, sadness and depress, powerlessness and total overwhelm.


We’ve all experienced these feelings at some point, but when they become the norm rather than the exception that raises a stress red flag. By adopting some of the following stress-busting techniques, you can trade negative mindset for positive, productive, and potentially life-changing habits.  Scheduling sessions at Happy Tree Pilates can help with 6 of the 10 stress buster habits!


1.     Laugh — Developing your funny bone can help increase circulation, stimulate lymph movement, and give your immune system a boost. A good, strong laugh also brings more oxygen to your body and brain, which makes you feel more healthy and energetic.


2.     Exercise — Studies show an exercise routine can help combat stress—and ward off depression as a result of the release of endorphins, a natural feel-good chemical. In addition, your confidence builds as you exercise more and achieve mastery at a sport. Some kinds of exercise can also put you in a meditative state, a natural foe of stress.


3.     Breathe Deeply — Learning to use your breath in times of stress has shown to impact physical health as well as mood. In fact, those who meditate have lower blood pressure, increased circulation, and tend to be happier. Adopting a daily meditation practice can transform an ingrained stress response into a calm, measured reaction.


4.     Reach Out — Making sure your life involves some measure of community helps buffer you from stress. When you feel anxious your tendency might be to close yourself off from others, but by doing the exact opposite you will replace a despondent mood with a fulfilling experience!


5.     Delegate — Give yourself permission to delegate items on your to-do list to others. That way, you leave more time for to focus on what matters most to you.


6.     Adopt a Pet — Studies show that caring for a pet—from a dog or cat to parrots and fish—can extend your life and help keep depression at bay. Pets help prevent you from feeling lonely and in the case of a dog, force you to get out into the world and interact with others while out on a walk. Petting a soft coat can also be very soothing to the soul.


7.     Get Out in Nature — So many of today’s stressful situations stem from too much screen time, so making time to unplug by taking a walk in the woods, digging in the garden, or riding your bike along the coast is a powerful way of recharging your batteries. The grounding energy found in nature can help you move out of your head and into your body for an almost instant sense of calm.


8.     Say No —Superhero syndrome is pervasive but dangerous, so resist the urge to do it all. It’s OK to turn down obligations that don’t serve you and carve out time for YOU.


9.     Schedule a Massage — Tension often lodges in muscles in your neck, back, and other areas of your body, so splurge on the occasional massage for a release and an hour dedicated solely to your relaxation!


10.  Seek Support — When stress becomes unbearable, it’s time to reach out to get help. Either from a trained professional such as a therapist, coach, or energy worker or a support group that focuses on ameliorating stress. Remember that there’s no shame in this! In fact, it can only improve your long term health and happiness.




Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC



Related Links


The Original Bach Flower Remedies



Stress-Free: Peaceful Affirmation to Relieve Anxiety and Help You Relax by Louise L. Hay



Day 1 - 30 DAY Challenge

Day 1 --- As promised, I'm starting another 30 day challenge.  This one should be particularly fun since it will include Thanksgiving and a road trip to Miami!   So, the goal of Happy Tree Pilates is to help everyone lead a healthy active lifestyle.  Of course, I truly believe that everyone on the planet should be doing Pilates, with me, alone, with a book or with someone else!  But, if Pilates is not your cup of tea, although I can't imagine why it wouldn't be, Happy Tree Pilates still wants you to take great care of your body.  So, please join me in this next 30 day challenge.  My personal challenge will be 60 minutes of exercise a day, not to be confused with Physical Activity, which I always get.   In addition, for the next 60 days, I will go back to my apprentice days and have at least 30 minutes of the 60 dedicated to Pilates!!!!!   So you too can do your Pilates at home, that's a nice advanced mat, or an intermediate with arm weights and the wall.  Let's see how we feel in 30 days.  Since I'll be putting on a bathing suit in a few weeks, I'll also include tracking my food for 30 days with the ultimate goal of making sure I consume 5 fruits or vegetables a day.  Join me for part or all of the challenge.  If just one person is encouraged to do something that makes his/her body a little happier, my challenge with be a success.  Happy 30 day challenge!

Be someone you would be proud to know.

I saw this quote on the wall at Wylie High School today.  I thought it was worth sharing.  This is such an easy guiding principle.   It applies to so many aspects of life from school, to parenting, to eating and working out.   It's a fascinating way to think of conducting a life.    

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."  Thomas A. Edison

The great thing about this life is every day that we wake up is a chance to do things a little differently.  This applies to your workout, your job, what you eat, how you interact with your loved ones and even your co-workers. Make sure that what you do today intentionally puts you on your path to success.  Do you even know what success for you looks like --- short term & long term?  If not, figure that out and then get on that path.  Is success reaching a weight, fitting a pair of pants, fixing a healthy sit down meal, feeling great in your body when you climb out of bed?  Define your success and keep at it… at least one more time.

Image from cliparts.com  "Brian Patton's Cycling - Training - Racing"

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." Jim Rohn

Most of us don't remember learning to brush our teeth.  The motivation was only to please our parents, have good smelling breath, not get yelled at or to enjoy the bubble gum flavored toothpaste.  For most of us, brushing our teeth no longer requires constant motivation, it is primarily habit.  If only we could easily transition more things that are good for us into habit.  So a thought for today,  pick one daily healthy habit that you want to develop.  Think of your motivation, and decide if its enough to get you through the habit forming period (at least a month).  Commit to the new habit for at least 30 days - put it somewhere you can see it.  Do a habit check in 30 days (put a reminder on your calendar) see if you've developed your new healthy habit!


Valentines Day is coming -- Share Pilates with your friends

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Happy Valentines Day

I love Pilates and Dogs! 

To celebrate my two loves, Happy Tree Pilates is offering an introductory package for $100.   It includes a 15 min initial consultation, a 40 minute reformer session, and a 40 minute cadillac and mat session.  30% of the purchase price will be donated to the SPCA in your name.   Purchase now!  (Package will only be offered thru 2/14/2015)

Recommendations for getting more exercise....

Harvard School of Public Health has 20 recommendations for adding more exercise during your day.  In addition to your Pilates, make sure you are getting the CDC's minimum recommendations for physical activity -- 150 minutes of brisk activity a week.

Pilates around town...

When I first started teaching in Dallas, 11 years ago, I had to travel to experience Master Teachers.   Now there are so many great teachers visiting Dallas and the most exciting thing is some are opening experiences to both clients and teachers.   Here are a few of my favorites along with the links for the events.    Expand your Pilates!
Mari Winsor                              Jamie Trout                       Lori Coleman-Brown

Summer Schedule

Summer Schedule
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Summer Schedule

What I know today….

School is finally out (for me not the kiddos) and I am overjoyed.  I just wanted to give everyone a head-up on upcoming schedule changes.  

Thursday, June 5th.  I will not be teaching after 12:00 pm. (training)

Saturday, June 7th.  I will not be teaching. (training)

Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 17th, 19th, 24th and 26th.  I will not be teaching between 10:30 and 1:30 pm.   (teaching classes)  

June 20th and 23rd - I'll be off both days. 

August 15th-24th - vacation

With the exception of my vacation week, I'll make sure that we get all of your weekly sessions scheduled.

February Newsletter

Come meet the electric chair and ladder barrel.
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When exercising or eating always listen to your body for clues.

Happy New Year

I hope all of your New Year's Resolutions are going as you planned!

It's finally here!
The equipment I ordered in October arrived the last week of December.  Please continue to show me mercy as I rearrange the room every week, searching for the perfect location for each item.

Avoid the March price increase!
Prices will increase $5/session on March 15th ONLY for those who have not purchased sessions in 2014.  All clients with purchases in January and February and March, before the 15th, will remain grandfathered in at his/her existing rate.  Tell your friends that have been thinking about trying pilates to come in before March 15th ($50 referral credit).  If you've been away hurry back before the price increase.

Mindbody Features turned on
This semester is proving hectic so I'm going to allow technology to help.  You will now receive auto emails when your packages are low.  If you have a credit card on file, it will run on the date given on your package low notification.  Please let me know if you do not wish to receive notifications electronically.  Thank you to everyone for adjusting your schedules to accommodate my ever complicated school schedule.  

Food for thought!
As you prepare your next meal, think about how you feel while eating it and how you typically feel after eating it.  Like exercise, food should help you feel good, the goal is to energize your day not to deplete your energy.  Eat things your body can digest so you can enjoy your day and your Pilates sessions.

Upcoming Spring Events!
I've heard from several of you about talking to your pet.  I'm working on bringing Sarah back by popular demand.  Some of you have indicated an interest in an information session with a nutritionist.  I'm also considering trying to arrange a walking club so that we can all get in our 30 minutes of cardio a day.  You'll be hearing from me soon on these 3 items.

10,000 steps - where did it come from?

I was fortunate to spend 4 months at the Cooper Institute doing research last spring.  One of the most eye-opening things I learned was the difference between physically active and physically fit.  Prior to the research, my perception was that only physically fit people had quantifiable health benefits.  After piles of research, I now know that while that is certainly true, there are quantifiable benefits to just being physically active.  Study after study shows reduction in health risks associated with simply moving your body SOME.  I think this is important to remember as we move into the time of year associated with New Years Resolutions.  Keep your resolutions simple and make sure that you keep them. for example I will walk the dog every day.  I will walk to get lunch.  I will walk my kid to school.   I will walk the golf course.

So what about these Fitbits and 10,000 steps?  I wondered is this an arbitrary number….Again, as part of the research I had the chance to read many studies on steps per day.  10,000 steps a day is the number needed to see significantly quantifiable health benefits - reduction in the risk of chronic disease and a longer healthier life.  Without effort, most americans walk about 3000 steps, so you have to put in some work to make it happen.   I found this program on PBS to help you implement a walking plan, if you are currently sedentary.  

Also, as you move into the New Year, from my perspective it sometimes seems like the enthusiasm to "get in shape and lose weight" is the greatest detriment to making it happen.  Take it slow and make your program realistic and achievable.  Overdoing things can lead to injury which leads back to the couch!  

And always remember, Pilates is there to help you achieve your fitness goals.  The beauty of Pilates is that it is so multifaceted.  If you need to stretch, it will stretch you.  If you need to strengthen, it will strengthen you.  If you are injury prone, it can help.  If you are in too much pain to think about working out, you can probably still do some Pilates that might actually feel good.  

Happy Holidays and good luck forming those resolutions. 

FISH Philosophy

I have a client that sometimes forgets to breathe during exercises.  This is not helpful to her during her exercises.  We've learned that if I get her to talk during difficult exercises, she remembers to breathe and the exercise goes much better.  Her body is strong and knows how to do the exercise correctly, but her mind needs a distraction to stop her from over-thinking things!  (So, to all my Pilates teachers, I am not endorsing talking continuously during a session, just in spurts to keep the air flowing vs holding the breath.  You can't talk without breathing)

So, what does this have to do with FISH.   During one of our Pilates Talk spurts, she told me about the FISH Philosophy. (She is a trainer among many other things.)  It is one definitely worth sharing.  It is a philosophy you can use in your family, in your job and in life in general.  I'm happy she shared it with me.  THANK YOU!

Your Turn to Commit!

I am in a committed fitness relationship with 4 people and one iPhone app.  As the saying goes, it takes a village.   I have one fitness relationship with a friend and my youngest daughter around eating. (Its always good if you can find someone in your home, especially for late night snack attacks!) I have one fitness relationship with a friend for doing mat together daily. I have a fitness commitment with another for doing reformer three times a week via FaceTime.  My final relationship is with GymPact, the iPhone application where I commit to cardio 5x a week or get charged $10 for missing a workout. I love this app, I use it with the Runkeeper app which tracks my miles via GPS and then sends the info to GymPact.  It gets me off the couch on those days when its raining or too hot.  

These are my July commitments, I find that I am good for one month at a time.  For me, its about deciding what I think is necessary and then finding a way to make it happen.  After completing the commitment, I reevaluate and decide what to keep or eliminate or add for the next month.  



Hope you enjoy these apps and that you come up with the commitments that are right for you this month!

Clean by Alejandro Junger, MD

A client loaned me this book to read about a two months ago.   Surprisingly, it has replaced my previous favorite food book, Eat to Live.   I enjoyed every page of the book and it drew fabulous analogies between our bodies and the planet.   I've always known that food is the ultimate medicine.  I started the Clean Program on June 1 and I have only 1 week left.  As many of you know, I am normally a pretty healthy eater, I don't eat meat, I eat dairy about 1x a month.  Even with that eating pattern, I still had major cravings.   For the first time in several years, I am not craving sugary foods.  There is another book that I highly recommend, given to me by the same client, Wheat Belly.  It was a great supporting book that gave me the strength to eliminate wheat from my diet.  (I felt that would be the hardest part of the clean eating program.)  I'm still not finished with this book, but I've read enough to know that wheat was the source of my undying cravings. More on Wheat Belly when I finish it.

In a nutshell, with clean you drink a shake in the morning and a shake for dinner, with one meal at lunch time.   Sounds like SlimFast LOL.  The foods prohibited on Clean are strawberries, bananas, soy, peppers, wheat, sugar, peanuts and alcohol, to name a few.  So, if you decide to start clean, make sure there are no major holidays, I've had to reset twice in my effort to get to 21 days.  

I FEEL GREAT!  I'll give the full Clean report after day 21! 

The question is "What foods will I reintroduce after Clean?"   

Making Habits Breaking Habits


I heard this author on the radio the other morning.  It sounds like it could be the perfect book to help with those New Year Resolutions.  According to him, over 50% of what we do every day is habit. I had never thought about it.... turning on lights, looking before we cross the street, seat belts, etc.  After his talk, I was thankful that habits are so powerful.   I previously only thought of habits with a negative connotation.  One thing he did say was ...instead of thinking I want to lose weight this year and eat healthy, you could make it more implementable.... when I feel hungry between meals, I will eat an apple.  


Embrace the power of habits.  Let them work to your advantage.  I'll let you know if I read the book.  Its on the list!  Happy Sunday!  Make it a great week!



December 2012 Newsletter - Happy New Year

Keep Your Tree Happy!  Jan - Mar 2013
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Kelly Says!

Thank you for a Great Year

I would like to wish you a glorious, rewarding and productive 2013. May your New Year be a chance at a new beginning.  2012 was definitely a year of new beginnings for me and I appreciate all of the support given to me in 2012 by all of you.  I look forward to another year filled with change, growth and happy surprises.  May all of us be continually amazed at what our minds and bodies can do.  

 "You have done what you could—some blunders and absurdities have crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."  Ralph Waldo Emerson,

Forget about New Year's Resolutions - This year Resolve to have Sunday Revisits......

We all seem to get caught up in establishing New Years Resolutions.   Experts tell us that most of them are forgotten by the end of January.  What if this year instead of thinking about what we want to change 1x, we think about it 52 x and change it as often as we'd like?  This year I resolve to make resolutions every week on Sunday.  Its so easy to forget to take time out and think about how to make our lives better.  Picking 12/31 is arbitrary, I can celebrate a New Year as often as I like and change my life as often as I'd like.  I can learn from last week's mistakes.  I can always eat differently, exercise more or less, love more, play more.  Join me in a year of evolution not just a day.

Pilates - Do what you can, when you can, however you can!

There are many reasons that I love Pilates!  
  • First, it is extremely efficient.   A little Pilates goes a long way.   I have limited time for myself each day and I like knowing that doing even two or three exercises keeps me strong.  Romana Kryzanowska told me to exercise between clients, that sometimes that would be all I would get and it would be enough.  She was correct!  
  • Second, I love that the movements are simple and they don't hurt.   Everyone can do Pilates.   The exercises remain the same, yet the depth is continuous.  The exercises learned in the first lesson remain at the 100th lesson, but suddenly, they are excruciating.  This one facet continues to intrigue me, even in my 9th year of teaching.  
  • Finally, I love that Pilates can be done alone!   Once you know the exercises, they are yours forever.  No one can take them away from you.  You don't need any equipment.  An instructor isn't required. When I teach a client, I feel that I am giving a gift that will last a lifetime.     


January 2nd - Pilates and Scoliosis Relief - Medical Center of Plano - 7 pm.  If you or a friend have scoliosis and are looking for information about safe, effective exercise, please contact me for more information.  

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Happy Tree October Newsletter Posted

According to the CDC, pets can decrease your:
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Triglyceride levels
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure
Pets can increase your:
  • Opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Opportunities for socialization
I found a new food app that I love, Its called Noom and its available on Android (free).  You get to log your meals and every day it gives you words of wisdom.  Today's advice was that if the calorie number exceeds the grams of the food, by a factor of 2, you really need to proceed with caution.  Read More...
Stress Relief
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

Pilates Party!
October 21st (3rd Sundays)
2:00 pm 
Invite your friends who've noticed how great you look, how strong you've become, and  that you are smiling all the time!  If you haven't tried Pilates, but you've been thinking about it, come learn about Pilates in a fun environment.   Parties are limited to 5 and the first to RSVP to each individual party receives a free lesson during the party.  Hope to see you there.

Talk to your PET!
November 2012
Do you want to talk to your pet?  You guys have been asking me, so I am setting it up!  In November Sara is coming back to Murphy to meet your pets.  I first met Sara about 6 years ago at a vet visit, she gave me an earful of what Amber (Dog) wanted me to know.  Sara came to visit Duke and River (dogs) this last month. My kids were skeptical that Sara could really do it.  Duke and River kept the conversation going for 60 minutes and we all came away with with information vital to the happiness of the family.  I referred Sara to a friend of mine about 3 years ago, she thought that her cat didn't want to live anymore and the doctors were recommending extreme measures; her cat is alive and well and no surgeries were necessary, just a simple solution.  I know it sounds unbelievable, but it is true, our animals have things they want us to know.   Let me know if you are interested in seeing Sara when she comes back.  Please, tell your friends with pets.  Conversations will take place in my backyard,  More details to follow...

Genetic Roulette

This video takes over an hour but it is informative.  Please be sure to watch it before the 22nd.  It stops being free on the 22nd.  Sorry that I didn't see this sooner.  The link below will take you to the video.  


Genetic Roulette

A film by Jeffrey M. Smith – Narrated by Lisa Oz

A production of the Institute for Responsible Technology

Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?

When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

The main feature film Genetic Roulette is 85 

Ready for Texas Fall

The fair is just around the corner.  To me, that means the beginning of the eating season.  Fun fair foods, followed by Halloween, then Thanksgiving and then Christmas.... and finally the New Years Resolutions!  If we (really me) aren't careful, these next 3 months can easily add 5-10 pounds to our bodies.  So, now is the time to think about survival strategies; how can we make it through Texas Fall with our health intact!

1.  Know whats coming and start planning the strategy now.
2.  Control the things you can.
3.  Commit to your plan of attack - whatever it is 

My plan.
1.  For each of the holidays/occasions I will enjoy the day without bleed over into the following days with leftovers.  Candy on halloween, ONLY.   Fair day will not mean fair week as I continue to feed the sweet tooth.  I will not eat the Christmas stress.  Thanksgiving will only last a day.

2.  I will start each day with my healthy shake, just in case I don't get another chance to add nutrition to my body.

3.  I am on the path to being a 100% healthy vegan because I know I feel my best when I eat this way.  I will pack my body with as much nutrition as possible.  

4.  I will make time for pilates 3x a week because I know that my body feels best when I do pilates no matter what other exercises I may do that week.

5.  I'll surround myself with buddies to support me in my plan, so I get lots of encouragement and support.  I'll find new ways to have fun!

My Absolute Favorite Vegetable Shake Recipe!

On Friday after spending a morning with a friend, she was hungry.   I offered her part of my shake that I had made for breakfast that morning.  It was my kitchen sink blend, I never really know what is in it.  It always starts with a pound of a green leafy vegetable, like kale, spinach or collards.   After that, I add whatever fruit is needed to make it edible with enough water to take the thickness away.  So, I warned her that she probably wouldn't like it.  Much to my surprise, she enjoyed it.

So, if you have never made a vegetable smoothie, I suggest you ease on into it.  The first and most important rule is don't look at it while you are drinking it!

For your first vegetable smoothie, I've put the recipe for my all time favorite "Chocolate Smoothie" from the book Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.  When you finish the shake, you will know that you've had all of your fruit and vegetable servings for the day.  What could be better.

Eat to Live "Chocolate Smootihe"

5 oz baby spinach
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup of unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
1 banana
2-4 dates pitted
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Romana and Joeseph

This video will always be one of my favorites.  I'm so lucky to have learned from Romana.  Its always fun to watch videos of my mentors.

September 2101 Keep Your Tree Happy Newsletter

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Control What You Can and What's Important?

Well, the seemingly long summer has ended.  The kids went back to school yesterday.  In hindsight, maybe ending the family vacation the day before school started wasn't the best idea, but we managed.  Most importantly, the vacation was fabulous.  (The fact that there is no food in the house and a ton of laundry is not that important.  The kids had clean clothes to start school.)  

As the stress of a new school year starts, it can be easy to fall into patterns of self neglect.  Speaking for myself, yesterday it was 3pm before I even got a chance to think about eating my first bit of food.  Well, by then I was ravenous.  Today, I made a point to eat a super healthy breakfast, my favorite, steel cut oats with about 2 cups of fruit.  I'm also planning to get some exercise in today.   Trust me, if I don't actually carve out the time to eat properly and exercise, it will not happen.  

So, let the start of fall and school be the start of better choices for yourself.  Control the things that you can that are of value.   Make yourself a priority so that you can feel good and can give your best to your friends and family (and coworkers) who need you.  Don't forget to get good sleep too!

The 5 Steps to Making Tough Decisons - 2/9/2012 - Forbes

Tomorrow I'll be speaking at a Divorce Recovery Seminar.   I'm looking forward to the chance to remind women to take of self during trying times.  If you know someone going through a divorce let them know about the seminar, tomorrow at 8:00 am.  A financial planner will be speaking followed by an insurance specialist and then me.   Let me know if you need more information.  I'll post the flyer on my Facebook page.

Anyway, as life is always here to teach you lessons... this week was a very stressful, taxing week for me.   I am being forced to make a hard decision and I really don't know the best answer.  I found myself forgetting to put my self care in the picture.  Three days with no sleep, nothing more to eat then apples and completely in knots.  Today, I got out of the fog and started taking action by opening up completely to a friend.  My topic tomorrow is all about taking care of yourself during stressful situations.  I hated to be reminded that stress can always pop up unexpectedly and you still have to put you in the equation.  Today felt so much better... just by taking some simple steps.

So, in trying to solve my personal problem, I found an interesting article.  Steps to solving difficult problems.  Maybe you can keep it handy and it can help you when a difficult decision comes your way.  Its helping me to make my decision.  Let me know what you think.  

Here is the link to the article.  
  1. Make no decision before its time. Clay Mathile, former owner of the Iams Company and now founder of Aileron believes that this is the key for any executive. He states, “If you don’t make those decisions that you don’t have to make, invariably, there’s new information that comes, there’s more information, better information, better data.”  Making a decision at a later date may lead to a more informed one.
  2. Accept that this is not an easy decision and there are no “right” answers. Stop searching. There is only a “current” right decision based on the information that is available.
  3. Deciding with heart or head? The small business owner has to admit if they are making decisions based on emotion or the facts. While it is not necessarily bad to make a decision on emotion, this needs to be clear.
  4. Make the decision after careful consideration, but then do not waver. Commit to one path and take action. Wavering will almost guarantee that the desired outcome is not accomplished.
  5. When definitive action is taken, learn from the result and then plan the next move. Remember, business success is a series of patient interim steps, not giant wild leaps.

Eat to Live - one of my favorite Eating Programs!

People often ask me what I think are the best ways to lose weight.  As an exercise professional, of course I know that exercise is a critical component.  Diet however is a MAJOR determinant of whether you will lose weight or not.  I love teaching pilates because it is an exercise that makes you feel good, it is invigorating!   If you are injured, Pilates will get you well again so that you can do the other things that you really enjoy.  I digress, back to my point of diets.  There are several really good programs out there that "work".   Some are better at long term weight loss, some are quick loss, some are detox in nature.  

I've been asked the question enough that I wanted to put out my favorite recommendation for health and wellness and as a by-product weight loss.  I read this book for the first time about 2 years ago.   I tried the program, I loved it and I felt great and I looked great and made it to my goal weight.  My favorite thing about the book is that is is a book about Healthy Eating as the number one goal.  Joel Fuhrman's calculation is so simple, whenever you eat, you can easily decided if you are eating for health, or for one of the other millions or reason we eat. 


While I love this book, be prepared that it can be difficult and best to enter into with a friend.  It is difficult because it goes against convention and you might need the support of another to work the plan.  You are never hungry, the work comes in trying to eat enough of the right foods.    Having a friend to check in with ensures that you eat enough food.   The reason that I read the book initially was a coworker of mine (who had been vegetarian for years) started looking more alive, having a ton of energy and she was so enthused about the book and she looked better everyday.  I'd see her eating her lunch, a salad in a HUGE bowl.  When we were eating cake, she would say no with a smile and pull out an orange.  It was baffling!   As time went on, I asked her about how she does it.. such discipline, saying no to cake.... she said that she feels so good that she doesn't want to change that.   For her its just about feeling good - her best!

So, if you are looking to lose weight and most importantly RESTORE HEALTH, try his 6 week plan.  You'll know for sure that you are giving yourself your best shot at health.... and if you are not ready to go full force - get as many fruits, beans and vegetables into your body on a daily basis!

Knockout by Suzanne Sommers

I'm almost finished reading this book by Suzanne Somers.   Its an interesting read that definitely warrants additional research.  In this book Suzanne Somers interviews 6 doctors that she believes (presents her and the doctors evidence) are curing cancer without chemo or with very reduced amounts of chemo.   I feel very saddened because I feel lied to either way.  Either Suzanne and the doctors she is interviewing are lying or traditional cancer treatment in the US is a lie.  Either way, it doesn't feel particularly good.  Perhaps the doctors in the book are on the cutting edge of the new frontier, there was a time when we used leeches to remove infection.  Perhaps medicine is just catching up to new treatments.  Perhaps the medical machine is just too huge to change due to funding issues.   I'm glad that I am reading this book at a time when I don't have cancer in my life or the life of a family member.  It gives me the time to do the research myself.  Maybe my Public Health thesis will work on validating or disproving what is expressed in this book, scientifically.   If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think?  If you have personal experience with any of these doctors, let me know of your experience.  Happy Reading!

Long Live Texans!!!

Active Living


As I was driving back from taking my daughter to ballet, I heard an ad on the radio for Long Live Texans that really excited me.  I went home and immediately looked up the website.   Finally, we are beginning to recognize how much we can do to change our health.  When you get a chance, check out the website and take the health quiz.  The Long Live Texans site focuses on individual and community effort.  I am here to build that health and wellness community in the Murphy Area.  I look forward to partnering with those interested in helping improve health one person, one community and one state at a time.   Let me know what you think of the website and if you hear about it on your radio stations! 

NPR Fresh Air Broadcast - Exercise/Health and Fitness

This is a really great broadcast about the benefits of movement and working muscles to improve the aging process.  She also discusses how simply standing up is very helpful for overall health.   There is a great commentary on stretching vs dynamic stretching.   Joseph Pilates definitely had things right with dynamic stretching.  Joseph Pilates also had it right when he made squats an important part of his Pilates regimen.  The person being interviewed is a lover of running and she indicates that for 75% of runners they will have at least one injury a year.   She talks about walking as the perfect exercise for humans increasing lifespan.   This is a great commentary on aging in the best method possible!

The pod cast is below.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!