Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Pregnancy Got Me in the Best Shape of My Life

For this Workout Wednesday, we'll revisit something I chat about with friends almost daily: staying fit and healthy while pregnant.  I posted this on another blog in 2011 right after Jordan was born. 

DISCLAIMER TIME: check with a doctor before you being an exercise program, especially if you're expecting.

From December 2011:
Staying in shape while I was going through my first pregnancy wasn’t easy but it was certainly worth it with the payoff being a relatively easy delivery. The lessons I learned while pregnant can certainly carry over to life without a bowling ball in your stomach.

At 34 weeks
I experienced only two solid months of morning sickness, so bad at one point I had to stop an interview with a Texas Rangers outfielder and run to the restroom thinking I was going to hurl. The final seven to eight months were relatively pain-free. I worked and exercised up until October 23rd, the day before I gave birth to Jordan.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A New Orleans Primer: Where to Stay, Eat & Drink if You're Visiting for Super Bowl XLVII or Anytime

"America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.  Everywhere else is Cleveland.”  --Tennessee Williams.

So true.  

Jackson Square, courtesy Nola CVB
If you're heading to New Orleans for Super Bowl XVLII, congratulations.  It is a magical place.  From the architecture, to the history, the food, the people and more there is something to love at every turn.  I adore the Crescent City for big events: Mardi Gras, All-Star Games, Final Fours, BCS Games, etc.  The city knows how to handle the masses, the police officers are experts at crowd control and the proximity of all the facilities that house the events makes it perfect to get around town, even in bad traffic.

New Orleans is one of my favorite weekend getaways.  We take that 10:30 flight on Southwest airlines from Dallas and are enjoying lunch by 12:30 or 1pm.  It's an easy place to visit from Texas, it's super affordable even if you stay at the city's most luxe hotels and is wonderfully walkable.

I visited about five months after Hurricane Katrina in 2006 and have been making at least three to four visits a year ever since.  Here are some suggestions if you're making first trip or your 50th.
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just for Fun: Some Favorite Travel Photos From My Stops Over the Years

Boat House in Warwickshire, England

Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, England

The site of our rehearsal dinner in Punta Mita, MX

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Friday, January 25, 2013

TV Anchor Makeup Tips To Help You Look Thinner Instantly

There's no dieting necessary and you don't need to spend time on the treadmill (although you should be getting that heartrate up for 30 minutes a day at least fives times a week) to look thinner in an instant.

In the Fabulous Friday edition of the Real Botox Diaries, Tracy Kornet and I share one of our favorite makeup tips that can make you look skinnier in a second and all you need is a little bronzer, blush and the right brush.


Koco Powell of LashesandMakeup.com helped tweak our technique.
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are Kids Career Killers?

I wish I could take credit for that headline but, alas, it was the subject line in an email I received from the women's career site The Little Pink Book.

In a word, no.  I don't believe that's the case.  Since I had Jordan, exactly 15 months ago Thursday actually, I feel like I've become a better professional.  Granted I haven't gotten a promotion or received a raise, unfortunately, that's not quite the nature of my daily work.  But I have become more focused, targeted and, in my opinion, producing at a higher level. 

Why?

Well, for one, I'm not out drinking every night like I was in my pre-Jordan life.  Post-game cocktails are part of the job for many sports reporters and anchor, sorry.  Secondly, I'm uber-focused on creating a better life for her and my family and the creative juices to help get there are fueling me.  I'm also healthier, have a more optimistic attitude and have become a better friend, all while being a bit sleep-deprived.

But a line in a recent Elle Magazine article about Kelly Ripa struck me. 

"For many women, family is often at odds with a career...."

Why is that?  I get that my experience at this parenting thing is quite new.  I haven't fought with my daughter or had to leave work early to take care of her.   Regardless, why is it that in 2013 we are STILL saying these things and asking these questions?  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was criticized for taking a two-week maternity leave after the birth of her son.  Ridiculous!  NO man would be questioned about his time off from work to care for a child.  I get she's the mom and it's supposed to be different.  Really?  She can do whatever she wants.  Her son will be fine.  Probably better educated and cared for than 90% of us.

The expectations for working mothers to fit into some maternal mold is frustrating.  There is an automatic assumption that many women "will stop what they're doing and focus all of their attention on their children."  I am questioned why I don't do that every day and why I am still working.

The one thing I have learned is that every parent is different and handles parenting differently.  For me, I need to be busy and work.  It makes that time with my daughter SO much more precious.  I have friends who are stay at home moms who can't wait until they can hand off their kids to a sitter.  Is that child better off, with a mother who is anxiously counting down the seconds to get rid of the kid in favor of cocktail hour?

This is good dialog that could be discussed for hours.  My friend who has three children of her own, Tracy Kornet, and I tackle this and more in our latest edition of the Real Botox Diaries. 


What do you think?
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Juicing in 2013: From the BluePrint Cleanse to Home Juicing, What Works & What Doesn't

You can't swing a celery stalk without discovering a new juice bar on a Dallas corner.  Magazines and websites are extolling the virtues of juicing throughout their pages, particularly this January.

I've been a juicer, not of the Lance Armstrong variety, for years and have chronicled my juicing endeavors on this blog.  I did a spin on the grandma of the cleansing craze, the BluePrint Cleanse, in 2010.  In short, I'm a fan of their system but fandom doesn't come cheap.

Here's a link to one of my old standby, homemade green juice recipes made of kale, celery, cucumber and apples.   It looks sort of like the remnants of a bad hangover in a toilet bowl but it's tastes good.


I even tried to soak cashews to mimic the BluePrint Cleanse's famed Cashew Milk.  That didn't turn out so well.  You can become so your own personal juice mixologist.  It's easy to get wrapped up in creating new recipes.  The Wall Street Journal tackles home juicing Wednesday morning and a simple Google search yields millions of results.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Prada Shoes & a DVF Blouse for Less at the San Marcos Outlet


Prada shoes, prada shoes for less, prada outlet
I score these Prada pumps for a song! 
You can get Prada and other luxury designer goods for pennies.  Relatively speaking.  The outlet mall in San Marcos is the absolute real deal when it comes to great stores. The shopping center features Gucci, Etro, Vince, Last Call, Burberry, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and more. 

Here are some pics of perhaps my best frugal find ever, these gorgeous Prada pumps cost only $75.  I purchased them at the Prada outlet this weekend at the San Marcos Premium Outlets.  The pictures simply don't do them justice.

Turns out, my booties in the YouTube video only cost $150!
Here is also a picture of the Diane von Furstenberg top I scored for only $71.25.  Again, the snapshot doesn't do it justice.  It's something I can wear for a few seasons, dressed up or down depending on the accessories.



I love outlet malls. What's your favorite? Share yours in the comments section.

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Awesome Hotel Options in Austin

Fresh from a much-needed quickie getaway in Austin, I'm completely smitten.  The W Hotel in Austin, which opened in December 2010, offers one of the most unique, cozy and downright fun atmospheres I've seen in a Texas hotel in while.


Located in the Second Street District and right next to the world-famous Austin City Limits music venue, it's a good option if you're staying downtown.  We visited right after the Texas/Kansas basketball game, where my daughter got her first taste of her father's frustration with passion for all things UT sports. 


Despite the Longhorns 64-69 loss to the Jayhawks, it was a chamber of commerce day in the state capitol.  Perfect to sit outside and enjoy the patio.  We had done just that at the Austin outpost of Coal Vines and decided to enjoy the Living Room Bar inside the W Hotel.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Motivation Monday: The Best Way to Ensure You'll Hit the Gym Consistently

Two weeks into the new year, how are those 2013 resolutions going?

Mine?  Eh.  I'm still not getting up consistently at 7am on workdays.  It's a challenge.  But I am consistently hitting the gym and exercising.  I've said it time and again, that's the one thing I won't sacrifice.  I don't go to a therapist.  I exercise.

I've been a gym goer for more than 20 years and I've learned what works and what doesn't.  The number one secret to getting to the gym consistently?  It's not the hot trainer which can be motivation on certain days, let's be honest.  It's a matter of picking one that is close to you. 

It's as simple as that. 

I belong to a gym that is pricey by Dallas standards.  Sure, it has the most cutting edge classes I've ever experienced, is super clean and has a wonderful, caring daycare staff but it's expensive.   I've even resigned my membership because I felt it cost too much only to return.  Why?  Because it is literally three minutes from my house.  I pay almost $150 a month but I go at least five times a week because I have no excuse not to do so.
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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Best Fitness Apps & Gadgets for 2013 From the CES & More

With all sorts of wonderful fitness-related products debuting at the Consumer Electronic Show this week in Las Vegas, the marriage of technology with health and fitness is a relevant one.  I'm kind of digging the iBitz fitness tracker for kids.

I blogged about the "Cell Phone Diet" last year which basically advocates using your smartphone to  motivate you to lose weight by using inspirational photos, ringtones and reminders.   It's not a totally ridiculous concept. 

TechCrunch provides an exhaustive list of apps, websites and gadgets that can help you reach your health, fitness and weight loss goals.  It is an outstanding reference guide.

Some of the highlights include:
  • The Nike+ Fuel Band - a friend of mine who works for the Cowboys uses this and loves it because it helps him keep track of his activity level during the day. 
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rock Your 2013 Resolution: Preparing for Those Unexpected Snack Attacks

Tuesday, I had a weak moment at work.  I visited the vending machine.  Twice.  Once for Baked Cheetoh's and again for some weird, fake Butterfinger Wafer bar.  I don't know what it was, I guess I was craving fake, orange food.  

My moment of weakness

Not only did that fly in the face of my New Year's resolution to avoid visiting the vending machine, it went against my philosophy of trying to eat real food, as well.  Another resolution: don't wallow on the negative.  So I'm moving on!  And learning from it.

What's the lesson here?  Be prepared!  Whether it's sitting at a desk all day or running around town, like I do many days covering sports across DFW, I usually bring a snack to quiet any crazy cravings.  A key to snacking success: get a bit of protein and keep it under 200 calories.

I'm a huge fan of homemade trail mix bars.  I like the mix of nuts, berries and natural ingredients I can control.  Unfortunately, I can't eat them right now because of some recent dental work. 

Here are some other portable, easy snacks that are great when you're on the go or stuck at your desk:


  • A piece or two of string cheese with an apple or grapefruit (I peel & eat them just like an orange).  I buy the big bags of string cheese from Costco.  They last forever.
  • Hard boiled eggs - they might stink up your car but they're a perfect food.
  • Luna Protein Bars - love these.  Each bar has between 170-190 calories with 12 grams of protein and three grams of fiber.
  • Luna Fiber Bars - I just discovered these and really like them.  Each bar has 120 calories and seven grams of fiber.
  • Premade peanut butter and jelly sandwich - not a BIG, honking one, a small one.
  • Precut carrot, celery or bell peppers (my personal fave) with a packet of portable hummus 
Plan your day.  Carry those snacks with you to work and around town.  It might save you from visiting that vile vending machine and a few bucks in the process.

What are some of your favorite, healthful snack options for those times you're stuck at your desk? 
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Great Quickie Workout When You're Pressed for Time

I hear ya.  I feel ya.  I sympathize with ya.  But not having any time to exercise is not an excuse.

Wednesday night I was able to cram in a quick 20 minute workout after I got home from work around 7:40pm (which is early for me).  Jordan was crawling all over me and even doing jumping jacks with me.  It was kind of fun.

Here is the actual workout:
10 squats
10 pushups
10 situps (I did five sets of situps and five sets of bicycle situps)
10 triceps dips
10 jumping jacks
Do this circuit once and repeat 10 times.

Thirty minutes of exercise can change your life.  This quick, little routine lifted my spirits and made me feel so much better about myself today.  Not so slothlike. 

Try it.  Or try some simple stretches or yoga poses for half an hour.  Tell me what you think.  I promise, you will feel better and have more energy after the workout than you did before it.
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A Healthful, Easy Weekday Breakfast

How can you not love an egg white?  Really.  It has all sorts of nutritional goodness including slimming and satisfying protein for hardly any calories.  Huge nutritional bang for the buck.

Tuesday, I shared one of my other go-to breakfasts that is quick, easy to make and hearty enough to keep you satiated for a while.  Today it's all about the incredible, edible egg white.

Before I go any further, I have nothing against the yellows.  I just prefer the egg white.  Jordan gets two or three egg yellows a week.  It's not a "let's keep fat away from the kid thing."  This just happened to be an egg white kind of day.  More on that later.

I made this breakfast for both Jordan and me in five minutes.  It's another creation so simple, yet versatile, even I can't screw it up.


My omelet featured two egg whites, a dash of Mrs. Bragg's seasoning (love it because it has no sodium) and liberal handful of torn salad greens.  I added a heaping spoonful of Mrs. Renfro's green salsa for my omelet.   Jordan had the exact same omelet sans the salsa.


Once I sprayed the pan with olive oil Pam, I timed myself.  It took all of five minutes to cook this omelet, let it cool and cut it up for her to eat.  Could that be any easier?  Jordan loves it, too.   She gets vegetables and protein for breakfast.  I added half a banana, a piece of bread and some milk this morning for her.


I'll add anything and everything to an omelet: cheese, broccoli, peppers, spinach, cauliflower, olives, just about vegetable-related.  If I want something more substantial, I'll add some whole wheat or corn tortillas and make breakfast tacos.  My concoction this morning, according to the Daily Plate was only 103 calories with three grams of fat, 10 grams of protein and two grams of sugar. 


That was it for me this Wednesday morning.  I broke my New Year's resolution on Tuesday and visited the vending machine at work.  Twice.  Not pretty.   I have Fake Food regret this morning.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Quick, Easy Oatmeal Recipe That Keeps You Going All Day

Healthy oatmeal, steel cut oats

It's so easy to overlook breakfast or grab some delicious yet calorie-killing scone from Starbucks or a big, fat (literally) bowl of cereal.  Don't!

Anyone who knows a thing a two about weight loss or weight loss maintenance extols the virtues of a good, healthy breakfast.  There are a slew of studies that support this.

One of my favorite breakfasts is this oatmeal recipe which is ridiculously easy to make. Bonus? Oatmeal is satiating.

According to Nutrition Journal, eating oatmeal for breakfast leaves you feeling full longer than if you ate cold cereal. (Tweet this)

The following recipe yields one serving:










Looks like baby poop but it's delicious!
Microwave the first three ingredients in a bowl for one minute and stir. Microwave another minute or two depending on the consistency you like. Take the bowl out of the microwave and add peanut butter and cinnamon. It will be piping hot, so let it cool for five minutes.

If you're out on apples or want to mix it up just microwave the oatmeal and water and add some fruit once it's cooked. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries are good.

It looks like a dirty diaper in a bowl but it's delicious.

According to the Daily Plate, this is 261 calories, 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of sugar.
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't Get Fat Eating Salads! Here's the #1 Tip to Slim Down Your Salad

Did you know that young women get half their daily calories from salad dressing?  Half!

At least that what Dr. Oz (love him!) claimed on The Today Show Monday morning when I was channel surfing.  That means you're wasting a ton of empty calories on a condiment!  A condiment, that in many cases, is loaded with saturated fats and high fructose corn syrup.  And that gross, fat-free salad dressing?  Forget it.  It has a ton of sugar, preservatives and other crap that make you fat, as well.

When I was fat, I lived on fat-free salad dressing.  When I made the commitment eat to real food, all of that fake garbage went right out the window, including the bottled dressing.

In lieu of salad dressing, I normally top my salads with a good balsamic vinegar.  It adds a wonderful flavor and might also help you burn fat.  A Japanese study done in the mid-2000's found that subjects who ate a high-fat diet but included vinegar, ultimately lost 10% more body fat than those who did not consume it.  Sweet!

Other great options are a balsamic reduction, salsa, homemade dressing or just a bit of lemon and olive oil.  These are fresh, easy and taste so much better than a bottled dressing that has been sitting on a store shelf for six months.
Two flavorful, affordable vinegars
In some restaurants, when I specify I would like plain, balsamic vinegar along with my salad, servers sometime make a mistake and bring balsamic dressing instead.  They are usually happy to correct the error.  In Mexican restaurants, I always top my salad with salsa, except at Mi Cocina.  I do splurge and request their spicy blue cheese dressing on the side for their Rico Salad.  I LOVE it but only eat it once in a while and don't eat all of it.  Just a few bites.

Crazily, some places don't have vinegar.  I stopped eating meals at Panera because the sandwich shop doesn't make its dressings on-site.  Meaning, it's shipped in and full of preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.  Subsequently, they don't have any vinegar in their stores.  At least that's been the case at the three across DFW I've visited.

Try eliminating bottled salad dressing from your diet.  It's another way you can rock your 2013 weight loss resolution and easily cut empty calories from your diet.
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Friday, January 4, 2013

Fitness Friday: 30 Minutes of Exercise Will Change Your Life


"I don't have enough time."

"It just takes too long."

"It will mess up my makeup."

All of the above are excuses I, myself, have said in the past and have heard from others for not exercising.

BullS!$&.

You DO have the time.  You can NOT afford not to exercise and focus on yourself for just a bit every day.  All it takes is 30 minutes and it will change your life.  I promise.  Look at some of the activities that count as exercise:
  • A brisk walk
  • 30 minutes on the elliptical, stepmill or treadmill - I use this to catch up on my reading 
  • A half an hour of yoga or pilates
  • A run 
  • A bike ride 
  • Dancing with your kids 
  • A cardio/weight training workout from the Nike Training Club app - I love this, they don't pay me to promote it, it's a genius workout class on your IPad.  I blogged about it here.
  • Vigorous forms of housework and yardwork
I recently did a story for CBS11 on fitness trends in 2013 and the cool thing is that getting in great shape doesn't require hours at the gym.  If you combine cardiovascular exercise with weight training, you get a ton of bang for your fitness buck and can get in and out of the gym in half an hour to 45 minutes.  You will have to work hard, at a higher perceived level of exertion (about a 6-9) but it's time efficient and effective.   Check out the story and accompanying blog post for specific classes and trends.

The Center for Disease control recommends, at the bare minimum, 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week to work all major muscle groups.  The CDC offers a great infographic that explains all of this wonderfully.

More than anything, getting active for 30 minutes a day works wonders for your brain, as well as your body.  It clears your head, gets the blood flowing and actually energizes you.  Make that commitment.  If you're just starting out, try the following exercise regime for 5 days:
  • A brisk 30, minute walk
  • 30 minutes of yoga 
  • 10 squats, 10 pushups (on knees or feet), 10 situps, 10 tricep dips, 10 jumping jacks.  Repeat this sequence 10 times
  • 30 minutes on an exercise machine: elliptical, stepmill, treadmill, stationary bike 
  • 30 minutes of pilates
You can download pilates and yoga programs on ITunes.  I like Exercise TV pilates and Pocket Yoga. 

Get moving.  It will change your life.  It doesn't take a ton of time and it will help you rock your weight loss resolution in 2013.




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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Anchor Makeup Must-Haves

Years on-camera wearing a face full of anchor spackle has taught me a few tricks.  Talk to any television reporter or anchor (male or female) and he or she will have a tip or two you can use.

My friend and CBS11 colleague, Tracy Kornet, does a wonderful applying makeup in a way that is natural yet strong enough to withstand the harsh high-definition TV lights.  We actually had a wonderful makeup artist at our station for a while who taught us a number of secrets I'll share in the future.

Tracy and I found a moment on Thursday to gab about a few of our fabulous new makeup finds. I'm talking things we wouldn't dare consider going on-camera (or out on the town, in my case) without wearing. Interestingly enough, it's mostly about starting with a good foundation, literally, to keep your makeup in place.

Here's why these are indispensible:


Here are links to the items we love:


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Rock Your 2013 Resolution with Three Calorie Cutting Tricks

Three days into 2013 you're still motivated to get in your best shape ever, right?  Yes!

You can do this and it doesn't have to be a painful, life-force-sucking endeavor.  Wednesday I blogged about getting mentally ready to lose weight.  In short, wrap your head around the lifestyle changes you will need to make to accomplish slow, successful and permanent weight loss.  Getting your brain involved in the process, makes a world of difference.

Also keep a food journal.  Do it.  It works.  Promise. 

In my experience, permanent weight loss is usually a matter of moving more, eating less crap and consuming more quality, real food.  And after a few attempts at rapid weight loss, I can guarantee, you can't drop 20 pounds in five days.  Five months?  Yes.  

While there is a lot of science involved in weight loss, there are a few incredibly easy tricks that can help you eat fewer calories.  These three are so simple that you won't even notice that you're doing your waistline a favor.
  • Eat with your nondominant hand.  If you're left handed, use the right and vice versa.  It takes some getting used to but that's the point.  It keeps you from quickly shoveling food in your mouth.  Think slow, enjoyable and mindful eating.
  • Put your fork down between each bite of food.  Again, it will force you to eat slower than you normally do.  This, in turn, allows your stomach time to signal your brain it's full.
  • Leave at least two bites of food on your plate at every meal in restaurants and at home if you're doling out huge portions.  Trust me, you don't need those last two bites of steak, guacamole, mac and cheese, tiramisu or whatever it is that is you're noshing.  Restaurant portions are way too big.  Just leave two full forkfuls of food at every restaurant meal and huge home meal (like that Thanksgiving dinner) You will reduce the calories you consume without even noticing the difference.
You don't have to jump head first and try all three of these at once.  Practice one at a meal or two, starting today with lunch or dinner.  You will notice that you aren't eating as much.  

Let me know how it goes! 
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why Your Resolution to Lose Weight Will Fail (and What You Can Do About It)

If the first part of that headline isn't a Debbie Downer, I don't know what is.  Losing weight is the number one resolution for millions of people year after year.  Report after report says that even your steeliest resolve to drop pounds is a losing battle.

I feel ya.  I've been there.  In the late 90's after college and into the early 2000's, I was 50 pounds heaver than I am now.  50 FREAKING POUNDS!  Thank God it was in the pre-digital age because I can only find one photo of my fat self.   I had a brutal, sleep-deprived schedule working at Knoxville station WBIR.  I lived on a diet of Krystal hamburgers, Diet Mountain Dew and M&M's.  Awful for my health, sanity and self-esteem.

Circa 1998
Then there was the baby weight.  I had gained between 25 and 27 pounds when I delivered Jordan in October, 2011.  I lost the leftover 13 pounds following my delivery pretty easily but did so slowly and did not stress about it.

December 2011
Is weight loss one of your goals?  Again?  This year CAN be different.  There are a ton of tips that can help you succeed.  I will share them in the coming days and weeks but before you start juicing, cutting carbs and hitting the gym like never before you have to be mentally ready.

Really.
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