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The Help of Hope


After spending the night with my daughter in her twin bed (she has been under the weather.) I woke and stated “Today’s going to be a great day.” She quite innocently replied, “How do you know?”

The truth is, I don’t. But, I do know that the odds are better that it’s going to be a good day if I have hope. So, whatever your healthy living struggle, bring hope to the table. This small decision can set us off on a much more promising trajectory and, like hope, is a very good thing.

Time Traveler

If you could go back in time what would you tell your 20 year old self in terms of living a full, balanced, healthy life? Would you tell him/her everything was going to be golden? Would you implore your younger self not to take your health for granted? Would you ask them to prepare now for the changes that lie ahead? All of the above? Something different? Try it.

Now, I ask you to take a moment and see yourself fifteen or twenty years from today. How does your body feel? What is your day to day life like? What medications are you taking, or not taking? Are your joints and systems supple and functioning? What kind of trajectory are you on? In searching for real motivation in healthy living, talking to your older self is a promising exercise. What would you like to be like, feel like and look like two decades from now? Have a conversation with your older self. (Not out loud, please.) What does she want? What is she dealing with? What advice would she give you? What does she want you to do today? Then, do it.

It’s not sexy or viral but the truth is, if we want to be active and healthy in twenty years, now is the time to set out on that course. One small step at a time, you can do it. Email if you’d like some help.

Learn from My Mistake

Tuesday afternoon was crumbling. My stress management was in the toilet and the long day and demands yet tackled were getting to me.  (Think Bruce Banner morphing into the Incredible Hulk.)
We headed out for a family walk and I begrudgingly let my 5 and a 1/2 year old ride her bike. (Why begrudgingly? Because as aforementioned, I was behaving like a monster.) As
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Let Them Eat Cake

1243My husband and I just celebrated our 9 year anniversary on Tuesday. Client feedback coupled with reflections on the last nine years of marriage afforded me a small insight. Just as each of us have relationships with other people, we all have a relationship with ourselves. And, like a marriage, our self-management skills play heavily into our struggles and successes.

Part of our wedding process ten years ago, involved pre-cana (a Catholic tradition involving time to reflect on the marraige journey.) Our course was led by a couple married 40+ years, who suggested a banking paradigm involving metaphorical deposits and withdrawals. Too many deposits and few withdrawals leaves one individual feeling depleted. Too many withdrawals and no deposits, the bank will eventually close your account (eh-hum). I wonder if we can’t extend this analogy to our healthy living?

The holiday weekend is upon us. Many of us are going to make some withdrawals on our healthy living account: increased indulgent eating, high alcohol consumption or stressful travel. And, many of us are going to make some deposits: sleep, rest, quality time to socialize with loved ones or time finish personal projects. We can’t have too much of one or the other and expect to have a healthy state. All work and no cake makes Jane a dull girl.

Strive for balance in the big picture. A holiday weekend of indulgences is no big deal to a person the consistently takes great care of herself. On the flip side, one great weekend of sleep cannot undo months of deprivation and stress (although, it is a step in the right direction.)

Enjoy your long weekend as you see fit – eat a piece of cake, sleep longer than usual, have an uninterrupted conversation or take time to cook your favorite recipe. Consider your healthy living bank account and applaud yourself if you’ve struck a fulfilling balance. Not quite there yet? Today is a great day to start.

Email to learn more about training with Blakely FIT.
Strength Training Exclusively for Women
Chicago, IL

True Love

BlakelyFITFruitHeartAs part of a wedding invitation, guests were asked to write “what does love meant to you” on their response cards. This was/is an adorable couple: warm, loving, sincere, down to earth and each hilarious in their own right. I hesitated to contribute anything. My notion of love tends toward the practical and I suspected it might seem mundane. Nonetheless, I wrote: “Love is caring enough about another person to take good care of yourself.”

Being the couple that they are, they included these quotes into their ceremony. I told them later how touched I was to hear it. They shared that my particular quote had motivated the groom to quit smoking. Wow. What a beautiful idea.

As you enjoy Valentine’s Day this year, may I be so bold as to pass along the same advice. Consider caring for yourself as an expression of your love for those dear to you. When we proactively care for our health, we have more energy to give to loved ones, fewer reasons to burden others and a happier disposition making us more loveable.

I wish you and yours a day full of kindness and love!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Want to take care of yourself, so that you have more to give?
Call or email to start: 773-680-6824
Strength Training Exclusively for Women, Chicago, IL

What do you REALLY want?

Why?As you decide plans for the fresh year ahead, I’d like to toss a small game changer your way: relentless candor.

Our inner dialogue might go something like this:
“I really need to get in shape.”
Our resolution might be a two part:

  1. join gym
  2. exercise everyday

Outside of this change being too drastic, there is a fundamental problem. The desire is too vague. The guts of the goal haven’t been exploited. And that’s a shame.

Solution: try “Why?” and travel to a better resolution.

For example: “I really need to get in shape.”
OK, why?
“Because I don’t feel healthy.”

Why is that a problem?
“Because I feel tired all the time.”

Why is that a problem?
“My work schedule comes first and then I don’t have much energy left for personal priorities.”
Why does that matter?
“Because I’d like to start dating again and that takes time and energy.”

Anything else?
“I think I would feel sexier and more confident if I was in better shape.”

OK, why does that matter?
“Because being as unhealthy as I am right now, doesn’t feel like I’m myself anymore.”

And there we have it. More emotional and specific reasons for being healthier. Be honest and forthcoming. Don’t stop until you feel you have hit something powerful. Your answers and reasoning might be quite different of course but the idea is the same. This process involves “relentless candor.” It may not be pretty or easy, but if it is your truth it will work more effectively than something generic. Give yourself a few minutes and get to know your why. It will make all the difference.

Email if you would like my help I’d be delighted to have you join us for Strength In Numbers.

Just Don’t Do It…

“Don’t do what?” you say? Quit.

End of rope

From October to January, things tend to get nuts. That’s actually why this whole Friday Quickie thing got started. The increased obligations and end-of-the-year rush are, at times, overwhelming. The indulging is everywhere, and everything seems to be vying for our time. Some of the holiday hoopla is fun. Some of it is not. If you’re feeling the pressure, I have a message for you: “Hold on!” Resist the urge to throw in the towel because life is throwing too much at you. Don’t let go of those little habits that help keep you healthy the rest of the year.

Keep your workouts (however short), your healthy breakfast (however imperfect), your positive thinking (however trying), your deep breathing (if just ten breaths), your time for movement and your health—all to the best of your ability. Don’t let go of it all because of a few setbacks. I assure you, it is far easier to hold onto the end of your rope than it is to let go of the rope now and later struggle to get a hold of it again. I understand the temptation to “start fresh in January.” But that’s 25 days away. You can do a lot of damage in 25 days. So don’t give up.

I invite you to value your small choices. For example, it’s been a year since I kicked my daily pop habit. (Yay for me.) Recently, feeling a little blue, I was about to indulge in a significant amount of bubbly sweetness with my lunch. “Why not? I deserved it.” “I’m not trying to lose weight.” “I haven’t had pop since the movies” … blah, blah, blah. And then I remembered, my teeth will not be happy about this decision and I will probably feel a pretty mean sugar crash just about the time of day my kids are their most trying. So I tipped my decision the other way and tried to go without the pop. I paused and moved to my homemade seltzer instead. Did I feel deprived? A little. Unsatisfied? Not really. In fact, halfway through my lunch I had forgotten. It was one small decision BUT IT MATTERS. Because, after ten years of Blakely Fit, I’ve noticed a trend: Little habits make a big difference.

So maybe you derailed at Thanksgiving? Maybe you wish you didn’t eat that pastry your vendor left in the conference room? Maybe you haven’t finished your workout as planned? So what—just don’t quit! Taking a ten-minute walk, passing over an extra piece of candy or getting an extra hour of sleep will serve you exceedingly well in this holiday frenzy. Don’t let little setbacks derail you; you’re too smart to throw in the towel. Hold on to what is important: your health, your livelihood and your loved ones. All your small decisions in the end WILL make a difference in your continued success. Just DON’T quit!


What an honor! I had the distinct pleasure of listening to Captain Charlie Plumb’s presentation this weekend in Boca Rotan, Florida. A former Navy fighter pilot and Vietnam P.O.W., his beautifully crafted speech inspired each of us to re-evaluate our mental prisons and choose the right attitude for success. Learn more here:

My favorite quote from his speech?

“Adversity is a horrible thing to waste.”


Not only is he an American hero, he is a terribly funny and nice person. Took the time to take a picture with me. With no one around to take the photo, he asked if I had long arms. My reply, “like an ape.” We leaned in close and grabbed this great shot. 

Thank you, Captain Plumb!

Support through Success and Struggles

I just finished Sheryl Sanberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. It exposed me to my new favorite quote by Madeleine Albright: 
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

I hope you receive the help you deserve this week and help others that need your assistance. Healthy living is work. We must support ourselves and each other through both our successes and failures. We can absolutely create a healthier life for ourselves and our communities, supporting each other is an essential part of the process. Reach out anytime if there is a way Blakely Fit can help you.

150% Is Not the Answer

A client shared her dilemma: “When working toward a goal, I can give 150% and I can give 50%, but I’m not able to find that balance of giving 100% that allows for a more sustainable pattern and balance in my life.”

Listen, an all or nothing work ethic has it’s benefits. But in the game of habitually, healthy living, it will leave you wanting. Why is 150% so bad? Why on Earth would you want me to hold back, Michelle? Isn’t “more” better? Not if it isn’t sustainable and not if you haven’t progressed into it. Why? Because each of us can only sustain that level of intensity for so long and often we end up performing at 50% for weeks (or even months) afterward as a means of recovery. So, instead of a steady, consistent, doable work out regime, we end up with one really intense period followed by lackadaisical weeks or months. This does not deliver the benefits you seek. If you have trouble with moderation, here are a few suggestions:


Modeling: Whether real or fictitious, imagine how a person with a good sense of life balance would handle it. Put them in your scenario and copy cat. Know someone you would like to emulate? Ask them for suggestions.
Hindsight: Analyze what seems to have worked for you in the past. I appreciate that your really intense healthy living venture worked for a time. I ask you to look at the months that followed, did you gain all the weight back? Did you stop exercising all together? Did a more moderate plan provide longer term success?
Dare to Be Different: All or nothing people and Type A personalities tend to surround themselves with others like them. I wouldn’t suggest you find a whole new circle, but I do suggest you embrace being different in your efforts toward healthy living moderation. Different might just be your key to success and success, afterall, is the whole point.
Good luck! Email me if you need help.