African American Childhood Obesity: the skinny on fat

Excellent article on many of the challenges our children face when it comes to obesity. Although focused on African American children, as a former trainer I have seen these exact same challenges faced by many families. I love the closing paragraph….”The next time you see a politically incorrect “fat kid”…….give them a high-five. 🙂

Penny Dickerson

This blog is featured in HBCU Lifestyles:

Being the fat kid will never be cool.

America is a skinny nation and an ad hoc committee on “acceptable appearance” has deemed that fat ain’t where it’s at and skinny is in. Media influences applaud the weight loss efforts of the rich and famous as their guant faces and emaciated bodies are flaunted on red-carpets. The recent exception was Gabrielle Sedibe whose round features earned her the lead role in the film, “Precious.” Personally, I remember her character’s story, not the actresses weight, but many others don’t share my reflections because  bone-thin is considered socially appropriate, beautiful to some, and the cultural standard that’s adverse to being obese.

For African American children, this prejudicial outlook is a double whammy as they already suffer so many identity ills in their adolescence that fosters bullying, teasing, ostracizing, and low self-esteem. None of the latter are conducive to a population…

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Is Lemon Water The Miracle You Have Been Searching For?

Unless you live in a cave, you probably have been hearing a lot of the miracle benefits of lemon water.   I won’t go into all the claims, but Google it and you will see page upon page of people who swear by it.   I did some research because I never just assume what someone publishes on the Net is true.

The fact is I love lemon infused water.  My favorite way is to add fresh torn basil and I’m in heaven.  I also love to add fresh sliced cucumbers.

The lemon craze also comes with various instructions….drink warm, drink at room temperature.  Drink it before you eat breakfast or drink coffee.  Drink it before working out.  Drink it before bedtime.

Honestly, this is how I look at lemon water.  I’m not expecting a miraculous boost in my health, nor do I expect to lose 10 pounds quickly.   It is a refreshing drink, I enjoy it and it is completely healthy.   Ultimate health comes from doing a lot of small things.  It is the small things that make a difference.

The only article that I found on lemon water that I found to be balanced can be found here:

Hope you enjoyed this blog.  For more on living a happier, healthy life, please follow me at Peace In, Joy Out.

God Bless,


Mediterranean Style Wrap (with a Texas Twist)

This is a wonderful, flavorful meal that can be served for lunch or dinner.  It is low in fat, carb…and high in protein.  And from start to finish will take approximately 15 minutes from start to finish. 


4 pieces of skinless chicken tenderloins

Chicken Shawerma  seasoning  (can be found at any Mediterranean market) or you can substitute any type of dried chicken seasoning


  • 1 small container of Fage Non Fat Yogurt
  • Handful of diced cucumbers
  • Handful of diced onions
  • Handful of diced cilantro
  • 4 small cherry tomatoes – diced
  • Dried minced garlic – to taste
  • Dried dill – to taste
  • Black pepper – to taste
  • Dash of pickled jalapeno juice

 4 La Tortilla Factory Low Carb Wraps 


Mix all the topping ingredients in a bowl  and put aside.

Season the skinless chicken tenderloins with the Schawerma seasoning.  Grill until done – I use a George Foreman grill and cooked it for 12 minutes.   Remove from grill and dice.

 On tortilla, place cut cooked chicken and top with seasoning. 

 You can serve with chips or a side salad.

This makes four servings – this meal was under 250 calories with the chips.









Why I Became a Personal Trainer


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After my mother was diagnosed with multiple chronic diseases related to her weight she was sent home with medications from her doctor.  She was told these medications would be required for the rest of her life.   The doctors were wrong.   We began a quest to research our options and it turned out that a proper diet and exercise was all the medication needed in most cases.

My mother and I were both morbidly obese.  After we lost the weight, I felt a calling to help others.   After many nights of prayer I decided to quit a lucrative career and began my studies to become a Personal Trainer.

It has not been an easy road.

It is not a lucrative career*.  I quit a promising career with benefits and I now struggle financially.  I don’t have benefits and most times can’t go to the doctor when ill.  People tease me regularly that I need a “normal job”.   I have had to sell items and sometimes borrow money when the funds aren’t there.   Clients cancel – a lot.   And in the end – you cannot motivate a client who wants to lose weight or gain their health when they simply aren’t ready to do so.

**Additional note:   Trainers have expenses most people don’t realize.  National certifications are expensive.  Those certifications require continuing education to maintain.  The last time I recertified, I took 20 individual classes, plus the fee to recertify.  You have rent.  You have yearly insurance.   For each hour you train a client, you have to prepare in advance another hour.  You have marketing expenses.

It is a wonderful career.  That moment an obese individual starts to see the results – that is a rush you won’t forget.  You are so proud of them and feel blessed you were a part of their success.  That moment an elderly client who came to you in such pain starts to feel better and their mobility improves.  The client who has their medications reduced or removed, lifts my heart.  The client who comes to you in good condition and you are able to be a part of their quest to move faster, be stronger.  All of these clients give me joy.

I again was blessed when I found a gym who truly focuses on the good of their clients.  I found Fitness1on1 and the owners have a heart of gold.  They focus on providing training for everyone.  They also constantly give back to the community.  And I have to tell you folks, that is unusual in our industry.

I am not perfect.  I lost well over a 100 pounds.  As of today my weight once again is not where I want it to be.  It will always be a struggle.  But instead of looking at it as a negative, I look at it as a blessing.  Since I struggle I know that I will always understand my client’s who are struggling.

And that is why I became a personal trainer and why I hope I can continue to train as a career – to help others.

Yours in health,

-Trainer Barb

Trust – What Does It Mean To You?



What does trust mean to you?    To me it is probably the most important aspect of any friendship or business relationship.  It is defined as the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something”.   Some people give trust too easily, others not at all.  When given too easily it can oftentimes come back and bite you – hard.  Disappointment, distrust and feelings of feeling duped can result.  Interestingly enough, when given too freely, it can mean you don’t really trust anyone.  An example of giving trust too freely was explained to me by an acquaintance recently.  This person told me that they would “friend” several people – for instance 10 people and if they ever needed help or assistance, hopefully 1 or 2 of the ten would be there.   The irony is this person really doesn’t trust anyone. 

On the other hand, I rarely give trust.  A doubting Thomas – trust is never offered lightly.  I can count on one hand the people who I have given my trust.  And more times than not, it has come back and bit me hard. 

This is a fitness blog, and I want to discuss trust.  The public is constantly assaulted with misinformation.  Products, outlandish fitness programs, claims of immediate results, they all share one thing in common – they are false and they create distrust by consumers.  Some people will never trust….some will trust too easily.  Try the scams and hope one of the 10 will work. 

Ironically what I am asking you to do – trust what I am about to share with you.  If you do what is healthy, everything else falls into place.  When it comes to being fit, there are no miracle products, no miracle “short” workouts.  There is not one trainer or doctor out there who has figured out the “secret” short workout or diet.  Tips to focus on:

Work out as often as you can.  1 hour, three times a week is great. 

Eat clean.  Eat at home, skip restaurants.

 Cardio is your friend.  30 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week is great. 

Be wary of supplements.  Unless your doctor has a reason to recommend them (if he/she knows for sure you are deficient), then you probably don’t need them.

Get plenty of rest.  Recovery is as important as your workouts.

Your trainer is not a doctor.  We do a lot.  We help improve the health of others – but we are not doctors. 

It really is that simple.  Find a trainer that you can trust.  Good trainers will keep you safe from injury when you work out, they will help you develop muscles correctly, educate you on how to bulk up or lose weight.    It really is that simple.  Trust me on this. 

Yours in health,

Trainer Barb 

So You Want To Get Into Shape?


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Cypress, Texas (Fit By Intent)  Have you decided to get in shape, tone your body, lose weight?   Most people will approach the process in the following manner:

Deer in the headlight approach – there are so many approaches, so many options and it is beyond confusing.  This confusion can be paralyzing and you end up “thinking” about how you want/need to make a change and never move forward.

Helpless and defeated – “I’m old”, “I work”, “I have kids”, “All the members in my family are obese”.

Go for broke approach – you jump in with both feet into the fitness/weight loss world.   You see a miracle product on the telly, the buff babe selling her product with promises of miracle results with a ¼ of the effort and half of the time.  And for the low, low, price of….

Oldie but goodie approach – you were fit in college, you worked out and had an amazing bod!  Even though a decade (or few) has passed, if it worked then, it will work again.

Do you see yourself in any of these groups?   I personally fell into the “deer in the headlight” group, and occasionally the “go for broke” group.   Many of you know I changed my life by getting in shape and losing over 110 pounds even though the statistics were against me.  You can beat the statistics also when you become serious and committed to improving your health.

You must get your head in the game!  Know that you can do this, and accept nothing less from yourself.

You have to be willing to change how you eat.  Even if you don’t need to lose weight, most people aren’t making good choices when it comes to their diets.

You must set aside some time on a daily basis to exercise and plan meals.

Open yourself up to the idea you could use some help.   Before I became certified as a personal trainer, I hired a trainer because I realized I wasn’t exercising correctly, efficiently or safely.  Spinning your wheels without results is a surefire way to fail.

Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed or make excuses.  This process can be much easier than you realize.   My situation was a little different; my mother was diagnosed with several chronic conditions due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.   I became a research machine to find out everything I could on diet and exercise.   After reading and researching more books and articles than you can imagine, and speaking with health experts – doctors, pharmacists and personal trainers, what we should be doing is quite simple.

So are you ready?   Commit to your wellness and health today.  You can do this!

Yours in health,

Trainer Barb

91% of New Year Resolutions Fail


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Studies show only 9% of Americans are serious about achieving their goals.  51% don’t have resolutions and 79% don’t have a plan to achieve them.

How serious will you be in 2013 when it comes to your health?  Will you be one of the 9% who achieve their goals?

Trainer Tip:

Establish MEASURABLE fitness goals.  Goals should be S.M.A.R.T.



Achievable by you


Time framed

Working out is only half of the equation.  Proper nutrition is essential.  They go hand-in-hand.  You have to shake things up.  Change your lifestyle.  Make better choices.  Change how you think about exercise and diet.

Willpower isn’t enough and only works for short-term success.  Lasting success requires planning, discipline and motivation.  In 2013, No Resolutions, Only Solutions!

Yours in health,

Trainer Barb

Why Your Parents Taught You Not To Gossip

Have a positive pep talk with yourself.   Negativity only destroys.  Consider it a form of gossip.  It is always malicious, almost always based completely on lies, hurts others and is just ugly.   Fiction soon becomes reality in your mind.   The same can work for you though in a positive manner.  Believe in yourself, set positive goals, and find ways to reach them.   Show a little love for yourself and kindness to others and you’ll be amazed how far you can go!