How to Make Your Butt Look Good By Being Inspired To Move

Hi there–

How to make your butt look good with Theresa StevensMy name is Theresa Stevens and I’m a Samba dancer, a Booty Bumpin’ Teacher & a Pleasurable Fitness Coach. Great job titles, right? :)

If you’re getting into caring for your body by eating whole, nutrient-dense food, and you’re ready to add some exercise into the mix so that you can enjoy all of the smokin’ hot benefits (like how to make your butt look good)…

You may be wondering:

How can I change exercise from something I’m supposed to do into something I WANT to do? And how do I turn it into part of my lifestyle?

Well, first things first, I want to invite you to ditch the word “exercise” and think about the idea of “moving & playing in your body” instead!

I don’t know when we coined the phrase “exercise”… but “exercise” often feels like something that we need to “motivate” ourselves to do.

Shawn Achor, researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage, found that we only have a short supply of “motivational energy” available to us every day! And we can use this energy up pretty quickly, just with simple tasks like getting up early and taking time to make a healthy breakfast.

So what’s a health lover to do?

Here are 5 quick tips that allow you to feel inspired (and even healthfully addicted) to exercise your way to a great looking butt:

1. For a Great Looking Butt: Make Moving More Playful

Want to know a secret about making “exercise” a part of your daily lifestyle? It’s that your body WANTS to move, and it wants to play every single day.

Now I’m not just talking about working out: your body just wants to straight-up move around every day. (Not spend the whole day sitting in a chair!)

It’s part of our animal nature.

And we’ve created jobs and cultures around doing just the opposite. We’re sitting on our butts for way too long at work, on the sofa at night, in our car during the commute… and not enough time shaking our booties!

In fact, I believe that when you can allow your body to move and play everyday… you can get out of your “mind,” which can get mired down with repetitive thoughts, worries, and to-do’s… and into the silent meditative connection of being IN your body.

So it’s time to start giving your body what it loves and craves: lung expanding, heart beating, sweaty pleasurable movement and play.

2. Schedule It & Let Your Body Do The Rest

The idea of “playing and moving in your body” is really fun!

Once you start doing it, your body will actually help you make a healthy habit of it because it loves it so much!

That’s why it’s so important to put your “playful movement” time into your calendar and plan your day around it!

And yes, the first 1 to 5 times you go to do your movement activity, you’re going to have to make a conscious choice to do that, rather than sit on the coach and watch a movie. But after you do this several times, your body will get in line and really help support you because it feels so good!

I find that even when I’m a little tired from thinking too much or working too hard, and I’m supposed to go to a dance class… I know I’m going to feel more energized, more creative, more sensual, more in love with my body. I’m going to feel so much better after I go dance… but I don’t want to go because I feel burned out.

I can hear my mind saying, “Oh I’m so tired. I just want to sit on the sofa.”

But my body knows we’re going to have such a good time! I’m going to feel so much better if I just go.

At this point, you don’t have to “motivate” yourself. You just look forward to it and your body helps you make it a part of who you are and what you do.

3. How to Make Your Butt Look Good By Starting With What You Have

Now the third important and inspirational tip, is that you want to start where you’re at and playfully build from there.

You can get un-inspired to exercise when you do something that’s outside of your current fitness range.

Make Your Butt Look GoodDoes this sounds familiar? Have you ever flipped through a magazine and seen a picture of a fitness model and she has rocking hot abs, these beautiful legs and a great butt?

And you think, oooh, yes I want to have that too. Be careful: you don’t want to jump off the deep end and try to do really intense fitness programs immediately, because that’s when injuries happen. You’ll end up with sore, stiff muscles.

You want to acknowledge where you are with your fitness and movement level.

Make sure that you’re eating nutrient, dense whole foods. Because if you’re not eating whole foods, exercising will actually feel very draining… which is not an inspiring way to feel, at all!

I recommend starting with something like walking every day. Walking is a great way to notice all of the beauty around you, clear your mind, and also release the muscles in your back and hips.

Then as quickly as you can, add to your daily walks by challenging yourself with more fun and playful forms of movement…that are actually more powerfully effective for burning fat and building sexy muscle.

4. Do Something That Works (So You’ll Want To Keep Going)

Nothing is more inspiring than enjoying the RESULTS of your efforts, right? So pick a type of movement that you enjoy and understand why it works!

Once you’ve gotten the hang of eating more real food and getting great nutrition… Challenge yourself and enjoy getting a variety of movement into your life with both aerobic (Interval Training types of movement) and anaerobic (Strength Training types of movement).

Making the best of both kinds of exercise (resistance training and cardio) has been shown to give you the BEST sexy fitness results.

You may be excited to hear that there’s a type of movement that combines BOTH cardio, or aerobic movement, AND muscle-building, anaerobic movement.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to do, and it’s an ancient form of movement that’s very playful and fun!

It’s called Concurrent Training…

It’s been shown through a 2008 research study at the University of California in Santa Cruz and Berkley, to be a significantly effective form of exercise to burn abdominal fat, while building sexy muscle and reducing post-workout soreness! Yes!

I’m into combining “booty-focused” strength training with dancing, because you get great results from simple and sexy movements that gently and consistently “work” the posterior chain of muscles in your body.

When you’re “using your booty,” you start to feel really inspired and committed to doing them!

These movements can feel good on your body and not draining (when combined with eating nutrient-dense foods).

Because these movements are tapping into the power and pleasure of using your *posterior chain* (your booty muscles) you get quick results. When you get fast results and you can see your butt looking better day by day, it’s inspiration to keep working out!

The good news? This style of movement is simple. And you can also really enjoy the PROCESS to getting a great looking butt and body.

5. Feel Sexy & Beautiful Now!

My last pleasurable fitness tip is that you want to escape the stress of disliking your body as much as possible. Make your commitment to movement from a place of loving and taking care of your body, rather than hating your body.

This is extremely important, because when you’re feeling stressed, your body sends out neurotransmitters like Cortisol, that tell your body to hold onto it’s resources, and store fat. This then triggers you to eat foods higher in sugar, causing a downward spiral.

Make Your Butt Look GoodThat’s why if you’re experiencing stress, it will be challenging to lose weight or experience fitness results from what you’re doing.

Disliking how your body is right now is one of the worst kinds of stress. When you catch your eye in the mirror and put yourself down, it can start to feel like a self-made prison that you can’t escape.

Start by loving and appreciating your body, just as it is right now. This in turn will allow all of the wonderful changes you’re wanting can take place to happen more easily.

It sounds like a Catch-22, but if you look for things to love and appreciate about your body, while you’re having fun… it can actually be a much easier shift to make!

And that’s why I believe dancing and booty-focused strength training is so powerful.

When you squeeze and release your butt muscles, the largest muscle group in your body… or you dance in what I call the “African seated dance position,” not only are you in the perfect position to burn fat and build some sexy muscle, but using the largest muscle groups in your body actually triggers a flood of happiness and sensuality hormones, including testosterone and human growth hormone, that help you feel more sensual and free!

When you’re doing booty-focused strength training or dancing I highly recommend wearing an outfit that you enjoy wearing.

Exercising doesn’t mean that you need to throw on your baggiest sweats and oldest t-shirt. When you see yourself in the mirror wearing these old, worn-out things, you’re just not going to feel good about yourself!

Now you don’t need an expensive workout wardrobe either. I just recommend wearing clothes that make you feel good, and make you feel beautiful, when you wear them.

Feeling sensual and free helps you want to exercise and play in your body! Dancing with your hips, and moving what I like to call the “Pleasure Center” of your body really turns on your sensuality, your sense of personal freedom and power… not to mention a fabulous looking butt you’ll love, too.

Let’s Move Together!

Woo-hoo! All right, I hope you enjoyed my 5 Quick Tips to feel “inspired” rather than “motivated” to move your body. And if you would love to learn how you can feel sexy and beautiful in your body right now, and how you can burn fat and build sexy muscle by moving with the “pleasure center” of your body…

Come check out my free 3 Day “Move Your Booty” Challenge… and let’s move and celebrate all of the beauty that we are!

Lots of love and booty-shaking beauty,

Theresa Stevens
Samba Dancer, Booty Bumpin’ Teacher
Pleasurable Fitness Coach

How Real Foods Reprogram Your Brain for Weight Loss

real foods - quinoa saladThis is a guest post by Amy Hager.

Adopting a Real Foods diet has a strong appeal for many people, especially when it promises practically effortless weight loss. Think about it. What was it that prompted you to make the switch? Perhaps you had a friend that told you how much better he or she felt since giving up processed foods. Or was it your co-worker with now radiant skin and glowing smile that got you curious? Maybe it was your sister who’s now lost 22 pounds and counting since green smoothies have become a staple in her diet. The reality is that eating real foods leads to real results in your body.

The Magic is in the Mixture

Consider the Standard American Diet (SAD, yes, I know). Most of the foods are processed, meaning that a lot of not-so-good for you ingredients are added to the food. Extra salt, sugar, bad fats, preservatives, flavorings, etc., are present in amounts that are much higher than anywhere else in nature. SAD foods typically are lacking in quality vitamins, minerals, fiber, water content, antioxidants, and enzymes. The other thing about SAD foods is that many of them are designed by the food industry, which has studied carefully which combinations of ingredients make you want to eat more and more of their foods, even if you’re full. What you’re left with is food that’s not very nourishing, but chemically very tasty to the brain and untrained taste buds. The danger of this is that you can easily take in too many calories quite quickly, possibly without knowing when to stop.

Contrast that with eating real foods. You now have foods that don’t have extreme, addictive tastes. The foods have more texture, more bulk (from fiber) and it usually takes longer to eat them. The natural nutrient  and water content makes these foods feel more filling, so that you can more easily know when you’re getting full. And as you are getting more essential nutrients into your body, you are becoming more nourished so that cravings aren’t as strong as you may experience when eating primarily SAD foods.

The Brain Response

An interesting thing happens in the brain during digestion. Normally, hormones in the gut signal to the brain when you start getting full as you become satisfied from your food. But sometimes this process doesn’t happen so smoothly. Imagine eating a nice meal out and you are feeling a little stuffed. If the server were to bring out a platter of baby carrots after the main course- do you think you’d be tempted to eat a few? Probably not. Why? Because you’re full and satisfied. But what if the server were to bring out a delectable dessert, bite sized morsels of your absolute favorite treat. What do you think would happen next? I’m betting you might try a bite. But after the first bite, you may be suddenly able to “make room” for several more.

So what happened here? It’s actually a complex chemical cascade in the brain that gets triggered by love at first bite. Actually, make that first sight! Some people are quite visually suggestive and just the sight of their favorite foods can trigger a hormonal response. One of the things about SAD foods is that they are typically higher in sugars, salt and fats. It just so happens that this magic combination is also a huge trigger for the reward center in the brain. This reward center releases a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel a rush of good feelings. And that’s what makes junk foods taste so good, it’s not just the taste buds that are responding but our brain and our entire body feel the effects. Naturally, the more we consume these hyper-palatable (super tasty) food combinations, the more we crave them. We end up craving them so much, that we eat portions larger than we need and even when we aren’t hungry.

Reprogramming the Brain

By now, I’m sure you can see the slippery slope of how SAD foods keep us in a cycle of craving and overeating. For many, this is what leads to weight gain over time and makes it difficult to switch to new styles of eating. There are very strong, biological & chemical reactions occurring in the brain that have been argued to be as intense an experience as drug addiction. This certainly illuminates the struggle for many who have difficulty losing weight.

Despite the powerful reactions that certain food combinations can have on our body, we can take more control by choosing which combinations of food that we eat. If you’ve known someone who had to follow a low sodium or sugar free diet (perhaps yourself) they may have told you that after awhile they got used to it. In fact, they can’t go back to eating the “regular” foods because they taste too salty or sugary. This demonstrates the ability of our taste buds to adapt to changes in the diet. Surely the adaptation didn’t occur overnight, but after a few weeks the person has experienced a significant change in how they perceive an extreme taste such as sweetness or saltiness.

You can have this same effect over reducing the addictive power of SAD foods by incorporating more whole, real foods into your diet. As you begin to remove the SAD foods that are primarily sugar, salt and fat combinations (chips, donuts, cookies, chocolate, fries, fast food & take out) your brain reward center is getting stimulated less and less. And as you keep real foods as the staple of your diet, you are nourishing your body adequately so that the brain is not suffering cravings due to lack of nutrients. You begin to slowly reprogram your brain for balance. When this happens, your body follows suit and excess pounds start to drop away. The fun part about it is that you didn’t have to count calories, measure or weigh your food or exercise endless hours at the gym for this to happen.

Keeping it Real

It’s important to pay attention to your own individual experience when switching to a real foods diet. Sometimes we don’t get the results our neighbors did and wonder why. It’s possible that this addictive combination may be sneaking into your body without your consent.  Even real foods have the potential to taste addictive to the brain, so try to notice if this is happening to you.

  • Are you making a lot of recipes that feature intense sweeteners like dates, honey or agave?
  • Are you finding yourself adding salty or sweet sauces to your foods?
  • Do you notice that you eat a lot more nuts when they are roasted, salted or honey glazed?

These are just a few ideas where the calories (and tasty second helpings) can sneak up on you, leaving you frustrated in your weight loss or maintenance plan. But the good news is that for the most part following a diet comprised of whole, natural, minimally processed foods will leave you feeling energized, satisfied and feeling good. And when you feel good, you want to do good (like take a walk or cook a meal). And when you start doing these things regularly,  you really start to notice the lasting impact eating real foods can have.

Amy HagerAmy Hager is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a Wellcoaches® certified health & wellness coach. She keeps busy as a bee tending her own backyard beehives as well as helping clients navigate a happier, more meaningful journey towards lasting weight loss and can be found at beehappylife.com 

The Hidden Dangers of Sugar & Unhealthy Sweeteners

This is a guest post by Veronica Rousseau from Life With Nature.

Sugar is omnipresent in our food culture. Just for fun, next time you go to the grocery store, pick any of the packaged food and look at the nutritional label.

I bet that any food you’ll pick up actually contains sugar in one form or another. And while it’s not rocket science to understand that high sugary treats are not part of a healthy diet, most people don’t realize how much it can sabotage their health.

Why avoid sugar?

Sugar is a potent pro-inflammatory substance that has a significant effect on your body. Sugar stimulates a physiological chain reaction that provokes adrenaline and cortisol release, and thickens the blood. This means that eating sugary food can actually have the same effects on your body as stress does. Eating too much sugar could make you sick more often, as it might lower our immune system by interfering with white blood cells’ function.

Sugar is also one of the worst foods for your skin. It induces severe oxidative stress, which is linked to premature aging. Sugar also fuels cancer cells, promotes fat storage, and prevents amino acids to effectively reach muscle tissue. Over time, sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance, which is linked to type II diabetes, and plays a role in many other health conditions including nerve damage and cardiovascular diseases.

What’s The Deal with HFCS?

High fructose corn syrup, aka corn sugar, or glucose/fructose, is basically glucose syrup made from corn in which about half of the glucose is converted in fructose. While fructose might sound not so bad as it is the form of sugar contained in fruits, in HFCS, it appears to be the key element behind the many negative health effects that gives bad press to this sweetener.

HFCS can contribute to liver diseases, get your bad cholesterol levels higher and can lead to leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone in charge of telling your body to stop eating. When your leptin doesn’t function properly, you continuously feel hungry, no matter how much you eat. HFCS can also be contaminated with lead, adding to your toxic burden.

What you must understand is that too much sugar, even from natural sources like agave nectar or dried fruits, can have a negative impact on your health. That being said, life should be fun and so should be your diet. If you kill all the pleasure of eating, chances are that you won’t be able to stick to your healthy diet for very long.

The key here is not to demonize all sugar forms, but rather to understand the health impact they can have on our body. Choosing natural sweeteners with beneficial nutrients in it like raw honey, maple syrup, dry fruits, or stevia are by far the best option to safely satisfy your sweet tooth once in a while.

veronica

Want more tips to detox naturally and natural living info, plus a free detox guide featuring delicious recipes? Visit Veronica’s blog at lifewithnature.com. Veronica Rousseau is the health nut behind lifewithnature’s blog where she shares her never-ending passion for natural detoxification, healthy eating and green living.

Weight Loss Surgery & Diet

Today I am doing a little something special on the blog. I know that a lot of people come to raw foods when they need to lose weight, almost like a last resort. But what happens when you’ve tried all the diets and you still cannot lose the weight?

Weight Loss Surgery diet
Photo credit: Victoria

Since I’m no expert on weight loss surgery, I brought in my good friend Linda Eaves – here’s my interview with her. Be sure to read till the end to find out more about her support classes for weight loss surgery.

What do people need to know about weight loss surgery that they might not get from their initial research?

The amount of mental and emotional change that is involved with having this surgery. This is as much about your mind and emotions as it is post surgery diet and exercise. Most surgery approvals require a very short social worker evaluation in order to get your procedure. This is not enough. Many people who get this surgery are then left to figure out things completely on their own. The psychological impacts and adjustments to be aware of like mood swings, transfer addiction, anxiety, grief, and fear can be daunting.

Mindset and emotional well being are key to long lasting success and mastery of your health. When eating is used as a coping mechanism and that is suddenly taken away you experience your emotions full force sometimes for the first time in your life. Support in the way of a coach, online, or in person group will improve your likelihood of success by 75 percent.

Tell us your story, what has been your experience and how are you feeling now?

Since age 16, I’ve done everything you can imagine to try and lose weight: The Cambridge fast. The Atkins diet. Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig. Exercise. Portion control. Thinking myself thin. I also tried just living with it and getting involved with the size acceptance community. I’d have some success but nothing worked long term.

In 2008 I was having joint pain which kept me from wanting to move. Because of my health issues I stopped doing the things I loved and began staying at home more and more. This was affecting my quality of life, so I took charge and called my doctor.

The turning point was with my physician, who said….”Obviously you’ve tried to lose the weight with all the programs you’ve done through the years.”

“Maybe it’s OK to get a little bit of help. “

After hearing those words I was finally able to release my guilt and begin to see weight loss surgery simply as a treatment option and not a sign of failure.

After that, my physician’s office wrote the surgical referral letter and I was approved for the Bariatric surgery program. The approval process was next, with all the required tests, consultations, and a large group pre surgery orientation. On March 4th, 2009, I had the surgery and quickly started to feel better. As of this writing I’ve released 140 pounds and I got back a quality of life that I never thought I’d have. I feel great!

Who should consider weight loss surgery?

Note: I’m not here to sell you on surgery. I am here to tell my story from one patient’s point of view. This treatment was right for me. Having surgery is a personal decision that only you can make.

  • People who have dieted repeatedly with intense calorie restriction and exercise that hasn’t
    worked. Please see your doctor and ask about metabolic syndrome.
  • People with a BMI or Body Mass Index greater than 40 or who is 100 pounds or more over
    their ideal body weight. This is considered morbidly obese.
  • People with a BMI of 35, with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or
    sleep apnea, are also considered candidates for weight loss surgery.

The reason the weight keeps coming back isn’t a lack of will power, discipline, or following the programs perfectly. Morbid obesity is a condition that for some people needs to be addressed with surgical intervention.

How has the surgery changed how you interact with food?

Surgery is a tool; afterward it was a big reset button for me around appetite and food choices. I feel best when I eat non processed foods, the simpler the better. I crave vegetables and fruit. I can eat normal portions. I feel empowered and calmer around my food choices.

What can you teach others from your experiences with food?

That food is not an enemy, it’s a choice to have or not have and you can master it simply. That you are intuitive and there are answers inside you about why you eat what you eat. Nothing is off limits.

Tell us about your upcoming classes, and how people can get more good stuff from you.

I’m excited to offer you three classes beginning in November 2010!

Introduction to Weight Loss Surgery – An Emotional Perspective

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 from 8:30-10pm EST – $23

  • Strengths and drawbacks of each surgery type from a weight loss surgery patient’s
    perspective.
  • Emotional Considerations
  • What to Expect 1st Month
  • Resources [I’ll also give you my favorite list of positive, discreet, and free online resources
    for support.]

Joyful, Mindful Eating over the Holidays

Wednesday, November 17 2010 from 8:30-10pm EST – $23.

I don’t know about you my dears, but the minute I’m told I can’t do or have “a thing” – it becomes the most enticing thing in the world and I must have it, or do it. Food is neither good nor bad. It’s simply there to be eaten or not, and you’re the one in charge. Join me as we look at the connection between holiday eating and our experience. Family gatherings have special significance and emotional meaning. Learn how to balance your goals for healthy eating and still enjoy the season. Even if you over-serve yourself at the banquet table or bar!

Body Image: View from the Funhouse Mirror.

3 session course is offered on Wednesdays (December 1, 8, 15 2010) from 8:30-10pm EST. The cost is $73

We all know the media promotes an image that for most people – is thinner than natural. The theory is you can’t be happy unless you fit within a specific cookie cutter body size, shape, and height. Who is this mighty they? The advertisers and builders of products, whose main goal is to get you to buy their product through any means necessary. This includes playing on emotions and twisting things around to make you feel inadequate and unsure of yourself. Of course the solution is readily available with product X.

This class explores the possibility of celebrating and turning up the volume of your own uniqueness. Learn how to break the cycle of comparison and be done with wishing you were different.

linda-wish-granter

Linda Eaves is known as a “Professional Wish Granter” and loves consulting, nurturing creativity, and connecting people with what they need to help make their dreams come true! Check out more of my story, thoughts and advice at LindaEaves.com

Why It’s Important to Rotate Your Greens

Why Rotate Your Greens?
Photo by Rachel

I write a lot about green smoothies and the benefits of drinking green smoothies. I’m also a huge advocate of juicing your greens. But one of the important aspects of drinking your greens is the rotation of plants.

Let me explain.

When you consume the exact same variety of green leafy vegetables, your body is always getting the same nutrients. Each variety of plant will give you different nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants.

But it goes even further than that. You see, each plant has a self-defense mechanism to keep animals from completely devastating their favorite plant. For example, if monkeys loved spinach and decided to eat all the spinach around then the plant could not procreate and it would die out.

Nature’s system is so smart because it knows that it’s important to keep greens around (hello! most nutritious food pound for pound!). So green leafy plants actually have a minute amount of alkaloids, which act like a poison if ingested regularly.

That’s where rotating your greens comes in! If you switch between different types of green plans, your body’s immune system is actually getting a boost because it is working on different alkaloids all the time.

So my recommendation, backed up by Victoria Boutenko is to switch between at least 10-12 types of greens. You can have say two or three days on one green like spinach, and then two or three days on kale, then two or three days on gai lan, you get the picture.

This actually ties in well with the Traditional Chinese Medicine system of hot and cold foods. Some people do well on certain types of greens, while others are better off with different types.

I think it’s super important to swap greens regularly! Oh, and the reason we don’t need to focus on swapping fruit as much as greens is that fruit were designed to be eaten and spread by animals. Greens would rather grow, and have their seeds blow in the wind or be pollinated by insects.

Greens are the most powerful healing foods out there, so it’s great to make them a staple part of your diet!

List of Greens to Get You Started

Your best bet is to go to a farmer’s market and look a the vast array of colorful greens. Pick some up, smell it, ask the farmer what it tastes like, and give it a try! If you’ve got the space and inclination, I’d highly recommend you start a garden. Plant a few of these vegetables and see which ones you like!

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Gai Lan
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Carrot Tops
  • Yu Choy
  • Sunflower sprouts (sprouts in general)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Buttercrunch lettuce
  • Boston lettuce
  • Arugula (Rocket)
  • Collard greens
  • Cabbage
  • Watercress
  • Purslane
  • Sorrel
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip Greens
  • Radish Greens
  • Beet Greens
  • Basil leaves
  • Coriander / Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Mint leaves

What other greens do you enjoy?

There are literally hundreds of different green edible plants out there. Which ones are your favorites and what have you tried that you didn’t quite like?

Love, Nathalie