Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Not Hard to Say Goodbye...

This is the last day of 2011. Like many of you, I had an action-packed year. I am sure that each of you has had just as many triumphs as failures. It is not unusual to take a moment and be reflective about all of the things that you did or didn't do, things that did or didn't happen, the people who came into and went out of your life, the people who loved you and hated on you, the people who stuck with you and who turned their backs on you, all of the lessons you learned, and so on...But reflection is one thing, and holding on to "what had happened" is something else.

There is a lesson in everything--that is what the living is all about--so be present in every moment. See people for who they are and recognize that they are in your life to teach you something. Some will support and inspire you while others serve as an example of what NOT to be. Embrace that. Don't waste time on petty vendettas. Accept that we all have insecurities about something and those insecurities manifest themselves in our attitudes and behaviors. We can often feel threatened by the successes of others if we don't understand that the gifts we have are what we are supposed to have. There is a place in this world for everyone. The only person you should compete with is YOU. Stay in your lane, define your success on your own terms, and keep it moving (moving forward, that is).

If I am blessed to be here tomorrow, I vow to try harder than I ever have, challenge myself more than I ever have, ignore distractions and detractors, believe in myself, have faith in what Allah (God) has in store for me, strive to be a better sister, mother, partner, and friend, embrace love, shun jealousy and envy, and help somebody who needs it. I encourage each and every one of you to do the same.

So in case I don't "see" you, Happy New Year! Make it your best year yet!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Research Briefs Examine Obesity Epidemic Among Latino Youths

Briefs analyze factors contributing to Latino childhood obesity, recommend policies to help prevent it
Published: Dec 07, 2011
Salud America!, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), has released a comprehensive collection of research briefs examining the obesity epidemic among Latino children and teens.
Three of the new national briefs review current evidence with respect to Latino youth in three major areas: the availability of healthy, affordable foods; opportunities for physical activity; and the impact of food marketing on diets and obesity rates. These briefs also provide policy recommendations, including the following:
  • Efforts to bring healthy foods into neighborhoods and schools should particularly focus on Latino communities, since they are disproportionately affected by the epidemic.
  • Policies that can help people be physically active in their neighborhoods should emphasize Latino populations because they are more likely to live in areas that do not support such activity.
  • Efforts to reduce exposure to unhealthy food and beverage marketing should consider that Latino youth are particularly targeted by advertisers.
  • Health programs and messages should be culturally sensitive, relevant for all populations and produced in both English and Spanish.
In addition to these three briefs, 20 pilot grantees funded by RWJF through Salud America! have produced briefs highlighting their own, new research. The new briefs analyze a wide range of issues, from the impact of menu labeling in small restaurants in south Los Angeles, to how after-school programs can help Latino youths to become more active, to how community gardens can help lower-income Latino families eat more fruits and vegetables. These briefs are available on the Salud America! website.
Latinos are currently the most populous and fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States. Over the last decade, the Latino population has grown by more than 40 percent. And according to recent estimates, nearly 40 percent of Latino children and teens are overweight and more than 20 percent are obese. The new briefs provide a snapshot of the state of the epidemic among Latino youths and describe how leaders and policy-makers can more effectively address it.
Salud America!, the RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children, is a national network of researchers, community leaders, policy-makers and other stakeholders who are working together to increase the number of Latino scientists seeking environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Better Physical and Emotional Health Equals Better Learning

This article written by Jane Lowe of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ( stresses the importance of keeping fun,constructive, character-building playtime in lower-income schools. Our children are under attack due to rapidly increasing poverty rates and the resulting instability of home life. These factors adversely affect children's ability to focus in the classroom as well as interact with one another in a positive manner. Organizations like The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools ( and Playworks ( offer viable solutions to save them. Read the full article below.


Published: Dec 07, 2011

Today in Education Week, Vulnerable Populations Team Director Jane Lowe discusses the impact of innovative partnerships that address the physical and emotional health of schoolchildren in the article, “Want to Boost Learning? Start with Emotional Health.” With poverty rates in our country on the rise, more children are facing instability at home as programs are being slashed at school.

Learning requires more than good teachers and books. If a child is sick, hungry or struggling with family instability at home, the ability to retain lessons takes a backseat. And as Lowe acknowledges, “Schools cannot — and should not — be expected to manage these issues themselves. On the other hand, they cannot afford to ignore them if they expect students to achieve.” Solutions—however innovative or unique—are out there, Lowe insists, including RWJF grantees Playworks and The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS).

Playworks supports a full-time, trained staff person to improve recess in low-income schools, often an Americorps member. Playworks staff are dedicated coaches trained to transform the playground–which too often is a place of chaos and conflict at schools – to engage all kids in fun, constructive games and give them the tools to resolve disputes quickly and get back in the game. This, on top of engaging them in healthy physical activity that lets them burn off energy and return to the classroom more focused on learning, adds up to improved school climates and better learners. Increasingly, what we’re seeing, as the program spreads to schools in cities across the country is that Playworks helps strengthen the social and emotional health of kids, giving them critical skills and values to help them grow into healthy adults – conflict resolution, cooperation, leadership, self-respect and respect for others and a greater sense of school connectedness.
While Playworks helps to boost social and emotional well-being through play, CHHCS focuses on the physical and mental health of schoolchildren through school-based health centers. These centers are community-based health care organizations that sponsor licensed health care professionals that actively work with all levels of school employees to ensure that kids’ health is an integral part of the school. In addition to keeping children physically and emotionally healthy, which provides a better environment for learning, the centers expose children to caring adults who can help them solve difficult problems in healthy ways. As Lowe notes in the article, “Researchers saw that students who received care through school-based health centers not only had better attendance and fewer disciplinary issues, but they actually saw increases in GPA — particularly for students who accessed mental health services.”
The innovative partnerships that Playworks and CHHCS have established with schools are a key driver of their success in improving students’ health and well-being. Lowe calls for leadership from more schools to prioritize such partnerships so that vulnerable children can get the care they need to succeed in school and in life, particularly amidst these challenging economic circumstances.

You can teach your children the importance and benefits of being healthy and active at home! Pick up your copies of Fit Girls Like You ( and Fit Boys Like You ( TODAY!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MYTH: Muscle Weighs More Than Fat

This article speaks for itself...

MYTH: Muscle Weighs More Than Fat

FACT: One pound of muscle actually weighs the same as one pound of fat: They each weigh one pound! There are, however, two important differences between muscle tissue and fat tissue that are important to recognize.

For one, fat tissue is more bulky than muscle tissue, so it occupies more space under the skin. Thus, one pound of fat tissue actually has more volume (and will appear larger) than one pound of muscle tissue. For this reason, a 170-pound woman whose body is composed of 25% fat tissue will appear much leaner than a woman weighing the same but whose body fat percentage is 45%. Therefore, individuals need to assess their weight management efforts using a wide variety of body measurements and health parameters – focusing solely on the number on the scale can conceal real and important improvements in body composition. Aim for the look and the feel – not just a number.

Secondly, muscle tissue utilizes more calories than fat tissue. What does that mean? Let’s take the two 170-pound women mentioned above. The woman with 25% body fat has more muscle tissue, so her body needs more calories to keep its systems running. Thus, she burns more calories – even when she is just sitting around – than does her 45% body fat counterpart. As a result, the leaner woman can actually eat more calories each day and maintain her weight as compared to the woman with more fat tissue.
If you want to appear leaner and be able to consume more calories without gaining weight, be sure to incorporate regular strength training into your exercise program to promote muscle development.

By Katie Rickel, PhD

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Obese Third Grader Taken From Mom, Placed in Foster Care

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The debate over who is ultimately to blame for childhood obesity heats up with yet another removal of a child from the parents' care in Cleveland, Ohio. While there are many contributing factors to this epidemic (food industry, marketers/advertisers, Big Pharma, growth of technology and the subsequent reduction in physical activity, etc.), parents are being charged with neglect when their children's health declines as a result of excessive weight gain. While culture and lifestyle play a huge part in the dietary choices families make, taking a child from his/her family has been described as "extreme" and has caused more harm than good. This approach to tackling childhood obesity is punitive. There are even greater concerns that children from lower socioeconomic groups may be permanently removed from their homes. According to Dr. David Ludwig of Harvard’s School of Public Health, “Well, state intervention is no guarantee of a good outcome, but to do nothing is also not an answer.” It is time for parents to take the decision about the fate of their children's health and well-being out of the hands of the courts. We must better educate ourselves about good nutrition and how to increase physical activity. It is our responsibility to make the necessary lifestyle changes to save our children. It all starts at home. If we don't, then who will be next?

Read the article in its entirety below: ( )


A Cleveland third grader who weighed more than 200 pounds was taken from his mother after officials reportedly said she did not do enough to help the boy, who suffered from a weight-related health issue, to lose weight.
“They are trying to make it seem like I am unfit, like I don’t love my child,” the boy’s mother, who was not identified, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s a lifestyle change and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that. It is very hard, but I am trying.”
Officials first became aware of the boy’s weight after his mother took him to the hospital last year while he was having breathing problems, the newspaper reported. The child was diagnosed with sleep apnea and began to be monitored by social workers while he was enrolled in a program called “Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight” at the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
The boy lost a few pounds, but recently began to gain some back, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. At that point, the Department of Children and Family Services asked a juvenile court for custody of the boy, citing his soaring weight as a form of medical neglect, according to the newspaper.
Taking obese children from their families has become a topic of intense debate over the past year after one high-profile pediatric obesity expert made controversial comments in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocating the practice in acute cases.
“In severe instances of childhood obesity, removal from the home may be justifiable, from a legal standpoint, because of imminent health risks and the parents’ chronic failure to address medical problems,” Dr. David Ludwig co-wrote with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
A trial is set for the boy’s ninth birthday next month to determine whether his mother will regain custody.
But one family who has been in the same position as the Ohio family told ABC News they disagreed with the practice when “Good Morning America” spoke with them in January.
“Literally, it was two months of hell. It seemed like the longest two months of my life,” mother Adela Martinez said.
Her daughter, 3-year-old Anamarie Regino, weighing 90 pounds, was taken from her parents and placed into foster care a decade ago.
Anamarie didn’t improve at all in foster care, and she was returned to her parents. The young girl was later diagnosed with a genetic predisposition.
“They say it’s for the well-being of the child, but it did more damage than any money or therapy could ever to do to fix it,” Martinez said.
Anamarie Regino, who is now a teenager, agreed.
“It’s not right, what [Dr. Ludwig] is doing, because to get better you need to be with your family, instead of being surrounded by doctors,” she said.
When told of the Regino case, Ludwig said his solution of state intervention did not always work.
“Well, state intervention is no guarantee of a good outcome, but to do nothing is also not an answer,” he said.
ABC News’ Dan Harris and Mikaela Conley contributed to this report

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Overweight Children and Blood Pressure

"A study done by researchers has shown a correlation between overweight and obese children and the development of high blood pressure. Over 1100 children averaging 10 years of age were followed for 5 years. Researches assessed their body mass index and blood pressure at least 8 times during the course of the study.
Researchers found that when BMI exceeded the 85th percentile (obesity is the 95th percentile) the risk of high blood pressure tripled... yes, tripled! And remember, these are children. So what does this mean?
It gives us another reason to get children moving, exercising and eating healthy. Reducing BMI reduces blood pressure as well as helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, thus leading to healthier adults. This in turn will also help lower health care costs later in life, too. What could be worse than seeing a teenager having a stroke during PE because of high blood pressure?!"

Eckert, George J, M.S.; DiMeglio,Linda A., M.D.; Zhangsheng Yu, Ph.D.; Jeesun Jung, Ph.D.; and J. Howard Pratt, M.D., "Intensified Effect of Adiposity on Blood Pressure in Overweight and Obese Children" Indiana University School of Medicine. Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, November 2011.


When you know better, you do better. Teach your children the importance of eating well and living an active lifestyle while they are young. The good habits they form today will reward them with good health tomorrow. For great tips on how to prevent childhood obesity, pick up a copy of Fit Girls Like You and Fit Boys Like You for your children TODAY! Also available on, Kindle, and NOOK for Barnes & Noble!

Watch the trailer!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Fit Girls Like You and Fit Boys Like You Release Date 11/1/2011

The official release date for Fit Girls Like You and Fit Boys Like You is Tuesday, November 1, 2011! Both books will be available in my CreateSpace eStore as well as on, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble NOOK! Watch the preview trailer NOW!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Read to Combat Childhood Obesity

It is no secret that Americans are fatter than they have ever been. Sadly, the number of children who are obese continues to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted some alarming statistics regarding childhood obesity on its website:
  • Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1,2
  • Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6
To prevent childhood obesity, it is critical that parents teach and model healthy lifestyles early. I have written and illustrated two children's books that families can use to reinforce good nutrition, proper rest, and active lifestyles. In the next 5-7 days, I will be releasing Fit Girls Like You and Fit Boys Like You. I have created previews on my publishing site so that you may have a sneak peek! I would love to hear your feedback! Thank you for your continued support!


Be good to yourself! More next time...


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Healthy is the New Hot!

Too often, the quest for weight loss is tied to vanity. And granted, your perception is your reality. When you see fit, vibrant individuals, it is not uncommon to want to emulate what you see. You may want to wear the same brand of jeans they wear or rock the same hair style. You could be drawn to that confidence or covet the attention they receive. You may long for the waistline you used to have (or maybe never had). Ultimately, your focus is on what you perceive to be wrong with you. The energy is placed on getting what you don't have at any cost. This kind of thinking may lead to taking some drastic measures to achieve a new look. Contrary to popular belief, 40 isn't the new 20. People who look great at any age are committed to taking care of themselves.

Consider this: Your outward appearance is indicative of your current state of health. I am not saying that every person who is thin or looks good is living right. Crash diets, plastic surgery, compression garments, eye creams, and hair dyes are all quick fixes for cosmetic flaws. Eventually, bad habits will catch up with all of us. If you consistently eat foods that have little to no nutritional value, then the empty calories will clog your vital organs/systems, adversely affect your skin, hair, and, nails, dull the whites of your eyes, interrupt your sleep patterns, and result in unwanted weight gain. Smoking kills lung tissue and weakens the heart. Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, can elevate blood pressure, stresses the liver and kidneys, and increases body fat. Bad habits age you. The bottom line is that your lifestyle will either increase or decrease your longevity. Being healthy radiates beauty from the inside out. If you want to turn back the clock, then make some healthy lifestyle changes.

Here is a list of simple lifestyle changes that will make being healthy your new "hot":

1)  Drink more water. Drinking more water improves liver function, which then permits the body to utilize fat stores for energy. The average person requires up to 12 glasses (96 oz.) of water per day plus an additional 8 oz. for every 25 pounds he/she is over the ideal weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, but your ideal weight is 150 pounds, then your fluid intake should increase to 14 glasses per day. Eating more water-laden foods like soups and fruit will help meet that goal.

2)  Exercise more. Staying active and engaging in dedicated exercise most days of the week improves cardiovascular health, helps the body metabolize fat, removes waste from the body more effectively, reduces stress, improves immune function, increases bone density, improves sleep quality, and improves mood. If you do nothing else, walk for at least 20 minutes, 4-5 days per week.

3)  Clean up your diet. Make a commitment to yourself that over the next 30 days you will avoid fast foods, refined foods, and excess sugar. Increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat less meat and more plant-based proteins like navy beans, lentils, brown rice, broccoli, and spinach. At the 30 day mark, get on the scale and then rate your energy levels. Then, take it up a notch!

4)  Turn off all devices and go to bed. Getting adequate quality sleep is critical for healing and recovery of the body. If you are not getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, everything from your mood to your performance will suffer. Oh, and the bags plus the dark circles under your eyes will only get worse. So try to maintain a consistent bedtime and rest well!

5)  Cure what ails you. See your doctor about those nagging pains and symptoms that afflict you. Your quality of life will go through the roof once your attention can be placed on what you can do as opposed to what slows you down.

6)  Let go of the baggage. Forgive. Forget. Move on. Holding grudges and obsessing over old hurts halts progress. Make peace, atone, and get back to living. Doing so will surely put a smile on your face. Let that be your best accessory!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Elite Athletes Train and Compete During Ramadan

For a thirty-day period every year, Muslims around the globe observe the holy month of Ramadan. During this period, we abstain from eating and drinking during the daylight hours, keep up prayer, avoid unclean behaviors, and engage in random acts of kindness. For athletes, maintaining their training and competition schedules can be challenging, but not impossible. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently hosted an Eid Al-Fitr dinner. Her guests were Muslim professional athletes who observed this year's fast during Ramadan. Watch some video footage here:

For tips on how to fast successfully while maintaining an active lifestyle, pick up your copy of Making the Fast: How to Eat to Live During Ramadan today!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Making the Fast is also available on and as an eBook on Amazon Kindle and (Barnes and Noble) Nook.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How Much Exercise Do Children Need?

Should children exercise everyday? If so, for how long? How much is enough? How much is too much? In a New York Times article, Gina Kolata reports that these questions are not easily answered:

"You're a parent and you want to do your best to be sure your children are healthy. So you worry about physical activity. How much exercise is enough? Will being active protect them against diabetes, cancer, or heart disease later in life? Will it prevent them from getting fat?

"You search for information, for official guidelines on physical activity. And, you soon discover, there is plenty of advice — at least 27 sets of official guidelines, notes Harold W. Kohl, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Austin who formerly worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"But the problem in making recommendations is a lack of good data.

"We can’t “clarify the dose of physical activity and exercise that’s good for kids” as precisely as we think we can, Dr. Kohl said."

(Read the entire article here:

The National Association for Sport and Physical education "promotes physical activity of at least 30-60 minutes on most or all days of the week for elementary children (up to age 10), focusing on developmentally appropriate activities." (R.R. Pate) Adolescents (age 11-21) "should engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes, three or more days of the week, to promote health and chronic disease prevention as adults." (ACSM)

Generally speaking, children should be encouraged to get active through sports or free play. But, it all starts at home. Parents have to model the behavior. The more active the parents are, the more active the family will be!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Managing the Side Effects of Fasting

As-Salaam Alaikum! Ramadan Mubarak!

For many who are fasting and praying this month, a daily routine has been established and are enjoying the benefits of Ramadan on every level. However, some of us may be struggling for balance. We may have trouble staying hydrated in this heat. Our bodies are detoxifying and we may be experiencing a myriad of symptoms. The following excerpt from Making the Fast: How to Eat to Live During Ramadan addresses some remedies for common ailments that may arise during any fast:

"Fasting may present some side effects. Those who take the fast have reported headaches, dizziness, acne, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue. These symptoms are often attributed to detoxification. Toxins are stored in body fat. If fat is used for fuel during the day, these toxins are released into the bloodstream. Without fluid consumption, these toxins are slower to exit the body thus causing discomfort. Other health risks include: heartburn, poor control of diabetes, dehydration, constipation, stress and weight control. In this chapter, we will cover ways to alleviate these symptoms. Remember, listen to your body and follow your doctor’s orders. It is better to make up a like number of days rather (than) risk your health.

"Upon rising in the morning, squeeze the juice of a lemon into your water. The vitamin C will give your immune system a boost and help fight off disease. The acid from the lemon will reduce intestinal parasites which can cause some gastrointestinal distress. Be sure to ingest up to half of your required fluid intake for the day before sunrise. Hydration, proper diet, and adequate rest will help keep headaches at bay. Persistent flu-like symptoms, headaches, and dizziness should be reported to your physician. Additional rest may be needed during the day. The key is to listen to your body and give it what it needs. A little pampering goes a long way."

To read more about how to successfully manage the side effects of fasting, pick up Making the Fast: How to Eat to Live During Ramadan today!

Use coupon code AUGUST305 and save 15% on your order.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Are You Afraid Of?

"Fear has been instrumental in setting your course whether your parents are alive or dead. Whether you grew up happy or sad, wealthy or poor. Whether you know it or not. Fear has developed your likes and dislikes, picked your friends, and raised your children. Fear has limited your potential, excluded possibilities, and controlled your choices." Rhonda Britten, author of Fearless Living: Live Without Excuses and Love Without Regret

Fear is a very common reaction to the unknown. It arises in us all when we feel that our security and safety are threatened. The unknown is daunting. We fear the repercussions of our failures and the burden of success. We focus on what we may lose as opposed to what we stand to gain. Fear is often the result of trauma (conscious and unconscious). But, fear is necessary to our individual and collective survival. Fear is the signal of danger that elicits a physical reaction referred to as "fight or flight". It is how we manage our fight or flight response that will determine the life or death of a project, business venture, relationship, or even ourselves and others. (You've gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em...know when to walk away and know when to run!)

For some, fear can be paralyzing. The very thought of trying something new or different sparks a downward spiral of worry and self-doubt. "What will people think? What will people say? Am I smart enough? Am I good enough? Can I pull this off? Will my friends and family support me? Will I be sorry if I don't do it? What if I fail? What if I succeed?" This cycle is never-ending, decisions are never made, and much time is wasted on this fruitless activity. You are giving away your power.

For others, fear is what drives them. It is the fear of losing position, notoriety, friends, respect, material things, relationships, etc. that causes them to leap into action. They play "not to lose" instead of "playing to win". The fearful do just enough to keep what they have rather than devise a plan to change and grow and improve themselves. Their self-esteem is low and they often question whether they are even worthy of their blessings. They sabotage themselves for fear of success.

But, it doesn't stop there. They then go about the business of tearing down others. They will take your ideas and endeavors to others and encourage them to throw their hats into the ring. They will pretend not to know where you have been and what you have been working on. They will suggest that you have "changed" or are engaging in questionable behavior. They will whisper derogatory statements in an attempt to downplay your successes while maintaining the appearance of a supporter. They plant seeds of doubt about you among the very people you love and have love for you. (You know, they cast a little "shade". But, don't despair--your light shines brightest in the dark, so protect it. Besides, shade gives you rest and relief from the heat! Re-charge your batteries and come back stronger!)Without a reflection of what they could and should be staring back at them, it becomes easy to justify their lot in life. It becomes easy to maintain the status quo.

The fearful have now completely succumbed to their cowardice. The rationale is this: "If no one around me gets better, then I won't have to either." The real failure here is not realizing that one's success is met only in part by hard work, preparation, and perseverance. God blesses and chastises whom He pleases. Feelings of envy and jealousy are useless and misplaced. The real dissatisfaction lies with God Himself.

Likely you are aware of the notion that if people are talking about you then you must be doing something right. There will always be opposition from people who are resistant to change, especially if your changes diminish the benefits you have brought to their lives. You cannot please everybody, nor should you attempt to do so. Do the necessary work of getting to the root cause of your fear and then free yourself from it. When you come to know who you are and what your purpose on this earth is, be yourself and be great at it. Be yourself without asking permission, without hesitation, without worry, and without fear. Be unapologetic. Be your best at everything you do. Be reminded that God made no mistakes when He created you and sent you into this world. And lastly, be clear that you answer only to HIM.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Making the Fast: How to Eat to Live During Ramadan

Available in paperback and electronic download!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Excerpt from Chapter 6 Hydration:

"The average individual requires 96 ounces (3 quarts) of water per day. For individuals who are participating in a weight loss program, an additional 8 ounce glass of water for every 25 pounds over ideal bodyweight is required. Extra hydration is also needed for those who live in warmer humid climates as well as those who perform brisk exercise. During Ramadan, the challenge lies in maintaining water intake levels within a shorter window of opportunity. In this chapter, we will cover the benefits of good hydration, how water is lost, causes of dehydration, effects of dehydration, hydration guidelines, foods to avoid, and foods to help stay hydrated during Ramadan.

"There are many benefits to good hydration. The following systems and are positively affected: 1) endocrine gland function increases, 2) fluid retention is alleviated, 3) liver function improves which increases the percent of body fat percentage used for energy (which promotes weight loss), 4) natural thirst returns, 5) appetite decreases significantly, 6) metabolic functions improve, 7) nutrients are well distributed throughout the body, 8) body temperature regulation improves, and 9) blood volume is maintained." (Micheal A. Clark, 2008)

Get it now! Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Are You Ready for Ramadan?

Ramadan begins in just one week. Hopefully, you have already started your preparations. If not, there is still time. Here are some of my annual rituals that set me and my family up for a successful fast.

1. Eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet.
It is critical that we eat nutritionally-dense foods during Ramadan. Processed foods, fast food, junk food, etc. typically do not contain adequate amounts of protein and fiber. They also lack vitamins and minerals. You will still be hungry and want to eat more to compensate for the lack of nutritional value. You could potentially gain weight. Also, ensure that you eliminate bodily wastes regularly.

2. Reduce/eliminate caffeine intake.
Drinks that contain caffeine like coffee and green tea act as mild diuretics which will work against your efforts to stay hydrated. Make sure to get adequate rest to conserve energy. Also, consuming slow-release carbs will help keep your energy levels up.

3. Plan your meals and shop now.
Take inventory to ensure that you have sufficient amounts of healthy foods on hand. Consider: What will your diet consist of for the month? Will you eat salads, beans, soups, and fruit? How much time will you have to cook daily? Which foods can I cook in advance and freeze? Do I have enough water? Will I host iftar feasts?

4. Clean and organize your home.
Pay special attention to your kitchen and spaces where ablution, prayer, and reading will take place. Eliminate any clutter. Your home should be a restful and inviting refuge.

5. Take a moment to count your blessings.
Your attitude about Ramadan should be one of gratitude and humility. Be grateful for every blessing and trial. The way you start is the way you will end. If you focus on what you must sacrifice, you will miss out on the benefits.

6. Commit to making or breaking a habit.
Ramadan is a wonderful time to re-focus and establish discipline. If it takes 21 days to make or break a habit,then imagine where you will be in thirty!

7. Plan your day.
Your daily routine will require some adjustments. Be realistic about your limitations. You may decide to scale back non-essential tasks for the month. It may be necessary to change the time of day that you prepare meals. You may take naps before dinner. You may move your workouts to early morning so that you can drink. Choose the best time to complete your daily reading. Do what works for you.

8. See your doctor.
If possible, squeeze in a doctor's appointment. It is critical to know your numbers and how the fast may affect your overall health. The Ramadan fast can be quite beneficial for generally healthy people. If you are ill, pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should not be fasting. Those who take prescription medication due to existing health conditions may be unable to participate. Listen to your body and follow your doctor's orders.

9. Figure out the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
If you don't already follow an exercise regimen, this may not be the best time to start one. If you are currently active, adjust your workouts accordingly. You may work out 5-6 days and need to drop back to 3 or 4 days to conserve energy and manage hydration. Exercises like walking and yoga can help with circulation, mood, quality of sleep, and appetite control.

10. Adjust your daily schedule.
Start pushing dinner time later in the day. If you normally eat at 6pm, gradually delay your meal 15-20 minutes each day. Today, eat at 6:20 pm. Tomorrow, eat at 6:40 pm. Follow a similar regimen if you do not rise before dawn for prayer. Adjust your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every day. By the start of the fast, your transition will be much easier.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finding Balance in Your Life

According to Dr. Bill Hettler, wellness is comprised of six dimensions: occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional. To be considered "well", one must strive to enhance areas of his life that take away from overall happiness and (ultimately) peace. This model proposes the following tenets for living a healthy, balanced life.

Occupational Wellness:

• It is better to choose a career which is consistent with our
personal values, interests, and beliefs than to select one
that is unrewarding to us.
• It is better to develop functional, transferable skills
through structured involvement opportunities than
to remain inactive and uninvolved.

Physical Wellness:

• It is better to consume foods and beverages that enhance
good health rather than those which impair it.
• It is better to be physically fit than out of shape.

Social Wellness:

• It is better to contribute to the common welfare of our
community than to think only of ourselves.
• It is better to live in harmony with others and our
environment than to live in conflict with them.

Intellectual Wellness:

• It is better to stretch and challenge our minds with
intellectual and creative pursuits than to become selfsatisfied
and unproductive.
• It is better to identify potential problems and choose
appropriate courses of action based on available
information than to wait, worry, and contend with major
concerns later.

Spiritual Wellness:

• It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and
to be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our
minds and become intolerant.
• It is better to live each day in a way that is consistent
with our values and beliefs than to do otherwise and feel
untrue to ourselves.

Emotional Wellness:

• It is better to be aware of and accept our feelings than to
deny them.
• It is better to be optimistic in our approach to life than

For more information on how to find balance and achieve wellness in your life, visit the following link:

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Latest Literary Efforts!

Here are the links to all of my recent literary efforts:

Children's Books:

Little Boys Like You

Little Girls Like You

Books for New and Expectant Parents:

Dear Mommy, You're Pregnant!

Dear Daddy, Mommy's Pregnant!

Thank you in advance for your support!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Great Book for New Dads!

Dear Daddy, Mommy's Pregnant! is the companion to Dear Mommy, You're Pregnant!. It takes a humorous look at navigating through pregnancy and fatherhood through the eyes of a wise (yet sometimes irreverent) baby-in-waiting!

Buy it now in hardcover!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Also available in paperback!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Thank you for your support!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Little Girls Like You Is Here!

Little Girls Like You is the companion to Little Boys Like You! This book encourages family, high self-esteem, education, and leadership. Written as a read-to-me book, Little Girls is intended for mothers to share with their daughters. I hope that you will support my efforts to provide positive, uplifting stories to children everywhere.

Buy it now!

Be good to yourself! More to come...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Something for New Moms!

If you are looking to buy a great gift for a mother-to-be, take a look at my latest book, Dear Mommy, You're Pregnant!

Excerpt: "Motherhood is truly a labor of love. Whether or not you are a mother in the traditional sense, this role is a huge responsibility carried out by instinct, intuition, and the heart...I wrote this book through the eyes of an insightful (and somewhat irreverent) baby-in-waiting. It takes a humorous look at pregnancy, childbirth, and the life of a new mom."

Available in hardcover and digital download. Buy it now! Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My New Children's Book!

Well, I have certainly missed you all! In addition to completing my B.S. in Sports Management-Wellness and Fitness concentration (Summa Cum Laude) and obtaining my NASM personal training certification, I have self-published my first children's book: Little Boys Like You. I wrote this book for young readers and it focuses on education, family, building a positive self-image, and dreaming big!

Little Boys Like You is available at the following link:

Thank you in advance for your support!

Be good to yourself! More next time...