Year End Inventory

imagesI’ve been writing this blog for a year now. It is my sincerest hope that you’ve been doing the little things every day. As we prepare to wrap up another year, its time to do a little inventory. Take a look at the following list of little things I’ve been encouraging you to do all year and check off the ones that you’ve been able to incorporate into your daily routine.

  • Regular exercise 2-3 days a week
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high quality protein.
  • Daily meditation and/or prayer
  • Practicing Mindfulness
  • Take care of your skin
  • Take care of your gums and teeth
  • Remove all harmful toxins from your house
  • Make health a priority for you and your family
  • Remember that prevention is easier than finding a cure
  • Partner with a personal trainer or health coach to achieve your fitness goals

The Little Things You Can Do Everyday

  1. Pick one thing and work on it each day until it becomes a part of your lifestyle
  2. Don’t wait till next year, begin today
  3. Create short and long-term goals and a system to reward yourself when you reach them

I want to hear from you this month. For those of you who have been with me and doing the little things all year. Tell me what has worked for you and share a goal you have reached as a result. I want to celebrate and rejoice with you.

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, P.T. 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Motivation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Thankful Now

images-2As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I’m thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for. I can’t help but notice how the things I’m thankful for are the things that I have now. The practice of being grateful forces you to forget the past and stop worrying about the future. When I ‘m working with clients who are trying to lose weight or improve their health one of the first things I try to get them to do is live in the now. We can’t go back and undo the mistakes of the past and we can’t use our precious energy worrying about outcomes that have not happened yet.

Let’s say your doctor tells you that your cholesterol is high and she wants you to try to lower it on your own before starting you on medication. She gives you a cholesterol lowering diet to start and suggests you begin exercising. If you become stuck in the past and beat yourself up for all of the “bad” foods you ate in the past, sticking to your new diet will be almost impossible. If you get caught up in worry over having to take medication if you don’t get it together on your own will almost guarantee that your cholesterol will be up when you return to the doctor. Instead focus your energy in the present moment, now, and be thankful that you know what to do. Each day be thankful that you can exercise and eat healthy foods. Continue to be happy and rejoice everyday that you have the opportunity to eat right and exercise.

We all know that we are what we eat. But did you know that you are who you say you are? If you say, I’m overweight, then overweight you will be. If you say, I’m always tired, then you will always be tired. Instead, choose to say, I am well and be grateful that you can sit, stand, or walk under your own power. Tell yourself that I have the energy I need to (fill in the blank) and you will have all the energy you need to accomplish the task.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Begin each day by counting your blessings and be thankful
  2. Practice bringing your awareness back to the present moment
  3. Watch how you talk to yourself and what you tell others about yourself
  4. Removing limiting words from your vocabulary
  5. Choose to be happy NOW

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT

Posted in Health and Fitness, Mind- Body- Spirit | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Total Detox

images-1Detoxing is the latest trend in health. Every where you turn there is a drink or diet that is supposed to detox your body. The effects are varied because you can’t detox in a vacuum. I challenge you to aim for a total detox of your entire being. It does you no good to remove the toxins in your gut and allow them to remain in your soul. The mind-body-spirit connection is most powerful in this area. A toxic relationship or unbalanced thoughts about yourself can do more damage than any free radicals floating around in your blood stream.

Have your green smoothie, drink plenty of water but also learn how to diffuse negative emotions. The stress of believing that you are in this thing all alone and no one else really cares turns you into a toxic time bomb that can explode at any moment. Learning to embrace silence and living in the moment are powerful methods to detox the mind and soul. Connecting with a higher power than yourself (God) will not only detox the spirit but will also empower you to complete your life’s mission.

In the same way you can not spot reduce, you can not spot detox. Just like you must lose weight all over to get flat abs, you must detox the entire being in order to reap all the benefits of cleansing. If you are eating well, working out every day and still not seeing the results you want, it may be time to try a more holistic approach.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Live in the present moment.
  2. Release your need to control outcomes in your life.
  3. Learn to forgive others and yourself quickly.
  4. Have a heart of gratitude and focus on what you have.
  5. Learn to say NO to anyone or anything that drains your energy.

Be happy where you are, with what you have in this present moment. Choose everyday to live life to the fullest. In time your body will respond with health, vitality, and boundless energy.

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, P.T.

Posted in Health and Fitness, Mind- Body- Spirit | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Weight Discrimination

imagesThere are many factors that go into why overweight persons face weight discrimination. Depending on the job there may be actual limitations that being overweight may lessen your effectiveness on the job. However, some professions discriminate against obese people on a purely aesthetic reason. When obesity became classified as a disease, it opened the door to fight job discrimination based solely on weight alone.

What you need to know if you are overweight is that you are not the number on the scale. However, the number on the scale is limiting you from being the best you can be. I watch a show called the Voice on Monday nights. The reason why I love it and so many vocalist want to be on the show, is because the only thing being judged is the voice. The music industry is notorious for denying very talented vocalist because they don’t fit the mold when it comes to how they look. An overweight vocalist can do very well on the Voice.

What I want to do for a moment is play devil’s advocate and ask you to look at the music industry from a wellness point of view. A performer needs to not only be able to sing, but must also be able to perform live on a stage. An overweight artist will have a harder time touring than one that is at a healthy weight. The traveling, the late nights, the missed meals and all the singing and dancing will take its toll on the body. As you age it all gets even harder to maintain. This is why Madonna has a personal trainer and works out every day. It’s less about a look and more about having the energy and flexibility to continue to perform on the level that her fans are accustomed to. This is why Jennifer Hudson has become a spokesperson for Weight Watchers and runs everyday.

In your own life and chosen profession, does your weight pose any limitations to what you can do in the service of your organization? Unless you have an office job, there are physical challenges that you face everyday at work.

This is but a short list of professions in which your personal fitness can help you excel at work. If you have a job in which you have to maintain a certain weight, are required to lift a certain amount of weight or must fit into small places, you would benefit greatly by finding a personal trainer or a health coach. In as little as six months you can be on your way to a promotion and job advancement by investing in your health.

Entrepreneurs are the one group of people who can benefit the most from improving their health. Not only will you have more energy and strength to make it happen everyday. You’ll also be more productive. If you are your own boss and your only employee, when you are sick, there is no one working. A serious illness or injury can cause you to lose the business. Small business owners also tend to not have adequate health and disability coverage. Improving your level of fitness and maintaining a healthy weight will give you the added protection you need.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Invest in a fitness program or activity that you will commit to doing three days or more a week.
  2. Determine that in six months to a year your weight will be under your control.
  3. Make one lifestyle change a month that will improve your overall health and wellness.
  4. Take a good multivitamin and sure up any vitamin or mineral deficiencies you may have.
  5. Recognize you only have one body and the better you take care of it the longer you can live on this earth.

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, P.T.

Posted in Awareness, Health and Fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Living or Just Alive

DownloadedFileA couple of weekends ago I spent three days in a conference hosted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). I was in a session about how to be a better coach. The instructor made a very profound statement about how we live. He said, “We spend too little time living and too much time dying.” Most people live  well until around age 50 and then they begin the business of dying. I got to thinking about this phenomenon and my question in today’s blog is what does it mean to really live as opposed to just being alive. It only takes a beating heart and brain activity to be considered among the living. However, I submit to you that you’re not really living until you move beyond the ability to fog up a mirror.

Many older adults reach their retirement years alive but due to declining health and limited resources they have stopped living. If you are not careful in your middle age years, you’ll retire to a rocking chair and sit there rocking the rest of your life away. Muscles that are not used atrophy quickly. Minds that don’t learn anything new lose the ability to remember even what was once learned. Human beings are wired to live a life of purpose in which we find meaning, fulfillment and joy.

The trick to living a vibrant life is to keep moving. You should always be in constant movement. Physically, in the form of exercise or other activities. Mentally, through learning and sharing what you know. Emotionally, through the relationships you maintain. If you intend to really live, find ways to always be moving forward, growing and becoming stronger. Our reasons for living change as we age, but it’s the reason that motivates us to keep going.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Get a hobby. Preferably one that has a physical and mental component. Examples: Golf, Running, or Martial Arts.
  2. Take care of home. Invest time into building strong relationships with your closets friends and family members.
  3. Discover your purpose. We are all here on assignment and determining why you are here will bring you joy and fulfillment.
  4. Take care of your body. Make it your goal to do whatever it takes to get to a healthy weight, lower cholesterol, achieve normal blood sugar and blood pressure. A healthy body will help you live life to the fullest.

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT

Posted in Aging Gracefully, Health and Fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Food Really Comfort?


I was making a peach cobbler last night and I got to thinking about why we call certain foods, “comfort” foods. My cobbler recipe is probably healthier than the one momma used to make, but none the less, I made it because I wanted to remember those times when my mother made it for me. There is something about the smell of the fresh peaches mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar, that takes me back home. Back to a time when I had very few cares or responsibilities. I realize that it’s not the food but it’s the memories and the thoughts of simpler times that comforts me. The food is nothing more than a trigger.

The same holds true for emotional eating. The food is but a trigger that signals your mind and emotions to be calm. So after eating the so-called comfort food, we feel better. However, it’s not really the Mac & Cheese that makes the pain or loneliness go away. I’m not a psychiatrist so I can’t go into all of the psychological principles at work here. But as a personal trainer, I understand breaking bad habits and replacing them with good habits. If you are going to be successful in losing weight, managing diabetes, or lowering bad cholesterol. You will have to change your mind concerning your beloved comfort foods.

A new habit must be established to handle emotional turmoil, feelings of depression and loneliness. The stress of life will impact you in ways that cause you to want to revert to your childhood. There will be times when you feel like life is a roller coaster. However, you need to find a new trigger other than foods that do not comfort and often times don’t even nourish the body. If you believe you can’t live without a certain food, I challenge you to question that feeling. Will you really die if you don’t have those thin mints?

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Close the fridge and phone a friend. Either talk to them over the phone or make plans to get together later.
  2. Do some physical activity that makes you happy. (sex is a good one)
  3. Find a way to release tension. Go for walk or punch on a punching bag.
  4. Practice meditation and prayer to help you quiet your mind and find peace.
  5. If you must eat, ditch the comfort foods for healthy options like fruit or vegetables.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT

Posted in Health and Fitness, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Renewed Vision

Every now and then you need to get away to regroup and recharge. This weekend I went to a conference hosted by the American Council on Exercise ACE, in Orlando, Fl. I got to spend time with some of the greatest minds in the fields of Health & Fitness.


As a result of my time at the conference I have decided to retool my fitness business. I’ve always known that my clients needed more than just exercises in order to become fitter, faster, and stronger. I’ve always approached my personal training in a holistic way. I attempt to train the whole person and advocate changing from the inside out. However, I now have a greater awareness of how I can deliver better results by creating an alliance with each client as opposed to just getting compliance out of them. You already know how to eat and how to move your body. My job is to teach you how to eat in a way that nourishes your body and to move in ways that are most efficient. I am to give you the tools needed to discover health and fitness on your own terms in ways that make sense for you.

I’m going to transition into being a health coach as opposed to a personal trainer. Ironically, I have a couple of clients who already refer to me as coach. They are in the process of becoming who they have always known they could be. And I am glad to be able to guide them along the path. So allow me to coach you a little into today’s blog.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Resolve that today is your day to move in the direction of wellness.
  2. Believe that you can do anything that you put your mind to doing.
  3. Know that obstacles are meant to be jumped over.
  4. Discover the “real” reason you want to make lifestyle changes concerning your health.
  5. Seek out a wellness professional, health coach or personal trainer, who can motivate and guide you to success.

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT

Posted in Health and Fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Say the V Word?

imagesI know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but I want to talk about another body part today that you may be less comfortable talking about. It’s the part that our culture is so afraid of, that we seldom call it by name. Instead we call it by a code name like, pocket-book, snatch, fly trap, down stairs, and my stuff. I’m sure you’ve got one that I’ve never heard of. My question to you, is why can’t we just say the word? Vagina! There I’ve said it for you.

A woman’s vagina is the seat of her creativity. It’s the one thing that makes her undeniably female. Yet we have been conditioned by society to be ashamed of our “private part” and even embarrassed at the mention of its name. We’ll if you’ve ever experienced any feminine problems, you know how hard it is to find answers. Go to your local library and type vagina into the search engine and you will be shocked by how many books don’t populate the list. Women don’t even want to write about the vagina.

Ladies, it’s time you empower yourself by learning about yourself. Why should your mate or your gynecologist know more about what your anatomy looks and feels like than you do? I dare you to take a mirror and look down there. Know what is normal for you, so that if something abnormal occurs you can speak intelligently about the matter to your doctor and get help.

Common threats to V health include:

If left untreated, these infections can lead to infertility, miscarriages, preterm labor, ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer and a host of other reproductive issues. Protect yourself and your reproductive health. It starts with small but effective lifestyle changes.

  • Stop douching it kills the “good” bacteria living in the vagina that protect you from infections.
  • Choose your sexual partner wisely. If you change partners, use condoms until you are sure they are clean.
  • Change tampons and pads every two to six hours to prevent irritation to the delicate skin of the vulva.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Lose the hot pants, spanx and any other tight-fitting clothing.
  2. Wear loose-fitting white, cotton underwear. If you workout a lot you may even try a pair of breathable boy shorts.
  3. Abstain from sex if you are experiencing any itching or burning.
  4. Throw away all talc and other powders and sprays. They often make your problems worse. A foul odor needs to be checked out, not covered up.
  5. Go commando in the evenings when you’re at home. Just like you ditch your bra at night, drop the panties too and let your body breathe.

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT

Posted in Awareness, Health and Fitness, Women's Health Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preventing Breast Cancer

English: pink ribbon

Odds are great that you know at least one person who has breast cancer. You may even be a survivor or know may women who have survived breast cancer.  Cancers of all kind have become almost common in our society. The good news is that there are things that you can do to lower your risks of cancer, even it if runs in your family.

The following put you at a greater risk for breast cancer:

  • Birth Control Use
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excess Estrogen in the Environment

You can’t change your age, gender, or family history but you can control the substances entering your body. You also can maintain a healthy body weight. Small changes in lifestyle can go a long way toward lowering your risks for breast cancer and many other forms of cancer.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Exercise for 30 minutes or more a day
  2. Limit the amount of estrogen that you consume in your food and water.
  3. If pregnant, plan to breast feed.
  4. Eat a clean diet that is primarily plant-based and grass-fed livestock or wild catch fish.
  5. Perform monthly self-examines and alert your doctor of any changes as soon as you detect them.

Until Next Week,

Nicole D. P. McLaughlin, PT


Posted in Awareness, Health and Fitness, Prevention, Women's Health Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Fall Off

images-3Summer is over and Fall is here. The children are back to school and everyone has settled back into their routines for the school year. I know your days are full and your nights never seem long enough. But this is not the time to fall off and quit exercising. I know many of you are starting to make your resolutions now for the New Year. I promise you that you don’t want to fall off now. If you do, you will lose so much ground over the next three months, that it will be like starting all over again come January. There are a few reasons for the Fall fall off. Do you identify with any of the following excuses?

  • The children have a lot of activities that keep me busy
  • We spend most of the night doing homework
  • I’d have to get up at 4am to get a workout in before taking the children to school and then getting to work.
  • Weekends are the only days I have to get things done around the house.
  • The Holidays are coming up and I don’t want to be on a diet

It’s true that during the summer months you have less of these excuses but you still had to work and pick up and drop of your children. The solution is to schedule your workout like everything else on your calendar. Most trainers are super flexible and will meet you early in the morning, on your lunch break, or whenever you can get in at least 30 minutes of exercise.

As for your diet, cooking on a school night can be challenging. It’s definitely easier to get dinner in a drive thru, do home work, then get the children ready for bed. Breakfast the next morning needs to be even quicker and just as easy so you can get to work on time. However, with a little planning you can serve nutritious meals to your family every day of the week. You can also train yourself to choose the healthiest options even when your out at a restaurant or at a holiday gathering.

I challenge you to stay on track and keep up with your health and wellness routine all year-long. If you want results you have to keep doing what works. Even after you reach your goals you’ll need to do something to maintain it. I’m sorry but you never really get a break from living a healthy lifestyle. Once you commit to making a change, you can’t go back to the way you were. Not even for a few months.

The Little Things You Can Do Today

  1. Make sure to schedule your weekly workouts in advance
  2. Plan your meals a month at a time
  3. Cook your meals for the week on Sunday
  4. Try cooking some meals for the month that can be frozen and thawed and heated when you need a quick meal
  5. Find activities that you can do with your spouse and children that will also burn calories. (Think bowling, roller skating, or table tennis)

Until Next Week,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT

Posted in Health and Fitness, Motivation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment