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30th December
2012
written by Sarah Loewen

ScaleHave you tried to lose weight more times than you can count?  Only to find yourself putting it back on, or giving up in frustration part way through?  Do you find yourself obsessing about much better life will be if only you were a size 6?  If so, this program is designed especially for you.

I am pretty sure I’m an obese person who looks fit because I exercise a lot and eat well.  I don’t think I was a size 4 even when I was 4. I had my jaw wired shut for a month (because it was broken) and didn’t lose a single pound. I’ve made worrying about my weight, even when I shouldn’t, and trying to control it, into more than a full-time occupation. The good news is I’ve turned this obsession into something positive.

In addition to my qualifications as Fitness Pro and Life Coach, which you can read about in my bio, I consider this makes me qualified, a kindred spirit even, when it comes to coaching those facing lifelong weight management challenges. I know from working with many of you over the past couple of decades that great exercise instruction and the latest diet, or supplement, are often not all it takes to be successful.

So, this program, rooted in my own experience, merges what I’ve learned working as a coach, with all the tips and techniques for changing lifestyle behaviors. That way we can work on the deeper motivations that are preventing you from achieving what you truly want, or focus more on specific tangible behavior change. I like a mix of both.

I first starting integrating these two approaches a year ago, and my clients love it.

Working with Sarah on my ever present quest to lose weight and get fit has added a depth of understanding that has been lacking. It’s not about the wrong diet, the wrong food combinations, wrong work-outs or wrong body. It’s about being painfully honest with my goals, my choices and their repercussions. No more blame. Sarah’s coaching has helped me to finally see my patterns and show me that I can have control over my body. Sheesh, it’s about time”

~ Debbie Beemer, Coaching Client

I’ve chosen 16 weeks as that’s typically what it takes to make a true life sustaining change and interspersed 8 one-on-one coaching sessions with activities you can complete on your own on the weeks in between. I’m including an outline below, but please know this does vary.

Week 1 – Food Diary

The first step in creating a desired future is getting a sense of where we are right now. I provide you with a Food Diary template and some instructions on how to complete it for a week, while continuing to do exactly what you always do. No judgment permitted – just plain reporting.

Week 2 – Move your Body, Move your Life Road Map

In this first coaching session we’ll outline the Immunity to Change model, the coaching process, and the resources in the program. We’ll also clarify your goals and co-create a contract for our time together.

Week 3 – Healthy Body, Healthy Life Choices

I will provide you with some great resources for creating healthy eating, lifestyle and body image habits. I’ll also ask you to define what a healthy body and healthy life is for you.  If your body were at its best, and your life at its most vibrant, what would that be? How would it look and feel?

Week 4 - I am committed to…..

In this second coaching session, we’ll define and refine your commitment to creating health.

Week 5 – Twelve Simple Steps to Healthier Eating

Combining the healthy eating/lifestyle/body image guidelines with the food diary, we’ll create a personalized 12-step plan for the upcoming year.  Following this will parallel the coaching process with an easy to follow step-by-step process.  I will provide you with a template, and we’ll go over this together in our next coaching session, using it to create a behavioral contract.

Week 6 – Breaking Down Barriers

Lack of Time. No motivation. Too tired. Too expensive. There are no shortage of reasons not to exercise and eat well.  In this third coaching session we’ll look at the your most significant barriers and plot how to overcome them. I will provide you with template, so you can keep this somewhere to refer back to. We’ll also use this session to identify what are the things you are doing instead of what you are truly committed to? And what, specifically, are the things you are not doing.

Week 7 – SMART and Successful

Are your goals  Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and do they have a workable Time-frame?  I will provide you with a template and some instructions to assist you in ensuring you achieve success by creating goals you can truly live in to.

Week 8 – Checkpoint

This week launches with a midpoint coaching session.  We’ll review the food diary, the 12 steps to healthy eating plan contract, and look at your ability thus far to overcome the barriers you have identified. We’ll also review the SMART goals you have created and assess any tweaks as you move forward.

Week 9 – Clearing the Hurdle

Sustaining momentum is the name of the game. In order to keep you on track, I’ve scheduled two coaching session back to back to ensure we keep you from falling back into old familiar patterns.

Week 10 – DieT

The seductive allure of the latest diet is irresistible – the magic quick fix.  Lest you be tempted, I’ll provide you with some valuable reading and resources to really drive home how truly ineffective, expensive and in some cases harmful most diets are. Die NOT!

Week 11 – Body Beautiful

The average North American woman is 5″4″ weighs 140 pounds and is a size 14.  The average model is 5’11″, weighs 107 pounds and is a size four.  What is normal?  We’ll discuss how this issues affect your fitness/weight loss goals.

Week 12 - Shop as Not to Drop

Most of our decisions about what we eat happen when we toss items into our shopping cart.  Based on information from the Heart Smart Shopper, I’ll give you some hot tips on where to go and what to avoid in the grocery store.  There really is an art to shopping.

Week 13 – Mmmm, Mmmmm, Good.

I’ll share some of my favourite resources for healthy recipes and healthy cooking, both online and hardcover.  I’ll also share with you what I have learned about mindful eating, and how it can make a little indulgence go a looooong way.

Week 14 – Healthy Pleasures

Depriving yourself of foods seems like a good idea, but ultimately it tends to result in binge eating later on.  It’s essential to include some healthy pleasures in your life.

Week 15 – My Body, My Life

“My body is an instrument, not an ornament” ~ Alanis Morrissette.  Coming to appreciate all the things our bodies do for us is the best way to experience the joy of physical activity, and I promise you there can by joy in exercise.

Week 16 – What’s Next?  We’re going to look at everything we’ve covered and ensure you have everything you need to ensure you “weight no longer” permanently.

This program can be started at any time, and all you need to do is email me at sarah@loewenbehold.ca and I will contact you to arrange our first session.  Further details can be found on my website. Remember this can all be done in the comfort of your own home, as I can work with you via the internet, Skype and/or telephone.

And honestly… it took me almost 45 years to find peace and joy with my almost-old-lady-body (okay maybe not quite) and my weight, but this year it came.  And it feels soooooo good.  :)

9th September
2012
written by Sarah Loewen

Nancy McNeil, owner of Forever Fit first came to me a year ago for some business coaching/consulting. We were introduced virtually by Clemens Rettich, a long time friend and business coach. He’d been working with Nancy and explained that he felt my understanding and experience in both the Fitness Industry and business might be helpful to her.

Nancy’s abundant energy bubbled through the phone line immediately, yet I could hear frustration as she described working out of various fitness facilities literally from one end of the Cowichan Valley to the other; each one with a different payment and working arrangement. Like many Fitness Pros I know, she was running her business out of her car.

“I felt like I was scrambling all the time”, says Nancy. “That was creating a great deal of anxiety and stress for me, not to mention the significant energy I was expending driving and carting equipment all over the place.” So while she had a well developed brand, established clientele and many pieces in place, she was still stressed. When asked about her ideal business future, she was clear. She wanted a home base.

“My clients are amazing,” describes Nancy. ” They follow me where ever I go, so I’ve realized through all this that home isn’t something outside of me. It’s already here with me, but I want to give me clients a space. A space where everything we need is right here, and I don’t feel hurried, rushed or frenzied.” She is very clear this sense of presence and home will directly translate into improved levels of customer service: something that’s very important to her.

Together we created a framework  and analyzed her finances, looking specifically at where her money was coming from and going to. Much like her energy, she literally had expenses all over the place: training fees, all at different percentages at a variety of facilities, mileage and lost revenue through time spent driving and carting equipment around. It became quickly evident that Nancy’s cash output when combined would easily fund a space of her own. After investigating several different facilities, and looking at the financial reality of a lease, Nancy decided to build her own studio.

Without missing a beat Nancy had a plan. Contractors were hired and studio construction began. I was awed by her ability to make things  happen so quickly and so asked her to comment on where she was a year ago was when we first started working together, where she is right now and where she sees herself going. ”I was always a good trainer, but admittedly on the business side I wasn’t very organized at all. I am a little scared moving forward, but in a good way. I am unbelievably excited about having my own place. Not having to worry about where I am next or whether or not I remembered to pack all the right stuff, is going to enable me to be more fully present for each of my clients, and that means I can serve them the way I want to.”

Currently Nancy’s new studio is slated to open in late September, but many of her classes, including her very popular outdoor series are continuing on as usual. Still knee deep in co-ordinating renovations,  Nancy  looks forward to opening her doors just as the coolness of a Cowichan Valley Fall arrives.

As she so beautifully says, “Nancy and Forever Fit have a home.”

4th July
2012
written by Sarah Loewen

I love doing Yoga outside, but this isn’t always possible when you live on the westcoast of Canada, especially this summer, eh?  I often enhance my indoor practice on wet rainy days with a little music. Over the years I have developed a few favourite accompaniments to a flow style practice.

My all time number one favourite, even after 10 years of using it at least once per week, is Shiva Rae’s Yoga Rhythms.  My clients always comment on how the “Om Shivaye” track helps them find deep relaxation in Svasana.  Plus pretty much every thing Shiva Rae does is pretty amazing. Going to one of her retreats is high on my list.

A couple of years ago I discovered Brent Lewis and Soulfood and am loving their Yoga Groove compilation. With just enough movement and momentum it works really well for Pilates as well.   They have a Yoga Groove 2 version I haven’t tried, but I do often use their earlier Yoga Rhythms .

Earlier this year I did a Groove Method Instructor Training course and was introduced to tons of fabulous new music, including MC Yogi.  Their Elephant Power CD (who knew) provides a great little groove for a yoga practice, or an invigorating Pilates workout.

If you are looking for something a little more meditative Jai Uttal’s Music for Yoga and other Joys is amazing. He chants at the exact right speed for the sanskrit words to flow insert beautifully in between poses and rounds of Surya Namaskar.

Last on my fave five list, but certainly not least, is George Winston’s piano version of the Pachelbel Canon on his December album. Something about the pace of this beautifully complements a yoga practice and for me helps quiet my ever busy brain.  It’s almost as good as outside.

What about you?

3rd July
2012
written by Sarah Loewen

Move your body, move your life. I’ve chosen this as a tagline to describe my approach to healthy full living.  I’m not always sure I do a good job of articulating it in tangible, meaningful, clear and compelling ways, but let me try.

For me the most vivid way this shows up is KM 32, of mile 20 of a marathon.  I’ve run 12 marathons, and every single time I get to about the 30 KM point on the course, my inner critic – you know the one – starts saying things like:

  • Who’s idea was this?
  • This is the stupidest thing you have ever done.
  • If you stopped right now who would care?
  • What made you think you could do this anyway?

But then I have this great unstoppable brother whose voice echos in my head.

“Walking is not an option.”

And so I keep dragging one foot in front of the other until I cross the finish line throwing my head back and laughing (or in some cases almost vomiting) at the voice of doubt. Take that.

I honestly draw on these moments when the proverbial you know what hits the fan in my life. I remind myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other and be confident I will eventually reach the finish line.  However, with Yoga this move your body, move your life notion shows up differently.  Its a little harder to define, but I found it this morning.

I have a favourite weekend run along the shore of Mill Bay and at the midway point I zip down a short little trail that takes me to a gorgeous quiet point where no one ever seems to be. Even when life is insane I fight the urge to get my run done and zoom home to do everything that seems so damned important, but really isn’t.  Instead, I make myself sit there for five minutes. I breathe, listen to the birds, smell the salty low tide and feel the ocean dampness curl my hair.

Today I had longer, so I lingered. Until unbelievably the telltail (porpoiseful spelling error) sound.  The one we’ve all been waiting for, and no its not the Oscars, its the sound an Orca makes when it surfaces. And there, right before me, in Mill Bay a mother killer whale and her baby were streaming by. I was so sure I was dreaming, but I waited for sometime until they resurfaced.

Yoga is like that. It really has nothing to do with what tights you are wearing.  Its time on your mat to allow what’s deep under the surface to come up, and when you do its clear, peaceful, powerful and soothing for mind, body and soul.  It doesn’t come in the five minutes, but is so worth waiting, and working, for.

Here’s to more of those moments over the next month, both on and off the mat!  “Cause that’s the magic of yoga…

1st July
2012
written by Sarah Loewen

Relaxation is the process of observing your tension

~ Judith Hanson Lasater

My sister says I have two gears, first and fifth, and much like my Mom driving out her twisty windy gravel drive way, I pretty much zoom my way straight into fifth early in the morning, staying there all day until I hit the pillow. Most of the time its like flying down the Cowichan backside of the Malahat. You know the spot where it breaks open into two lanes, allowing you to pass that annoying-ever-so-slow-while-climbing-up-the-long-windy-sometimes-treacherous-hillside-Toyota-Corolla. (Why do slow drivers always pick this particular vehicle?)

But then….. one day…. a $375.00 speeding ticket. I tried to blame it on Colin James Chicks, Cars and the Third World War. After all the BPM (aerobics intructor talk for beats per minute) of that song are well over 160. How can you not drive at Mach Two with this pounding in the background. Needless to say, neither that, or my very best polite smile stopped what was about to happen.

“I’ve never had a speeding ticket.” I say, holding a niave glimmer of hope.

“Well,” the officer says, “you’re doing better than me.  I’ve had several, and I don’t drive as fast as you.  Even when I am on a call.”  At this point there is no question.  I am getting a ticket and its going to be a doozy.

“Where you off to?”, he asks.

“Home.”

“There’s more of me between here and there,” he reminds me.

Right. Reality Check. I vow to self. Drive more slowly. And I do, but it seems driving more slowly isn’t enough to prevent me from getting a different type of reality speed check. The one where my doctor informs me my blood pressure is 169/112.  No one needs to remind me that many of my ancestors have died of heart disease before reaching 50. Well maybe they do, but not today. Today I get at it.

Its so hard though. Its me. I honestly get joy from zipping about. It makes me a little sad to write this, because I realize I’m growing old or at least my body is. And I think doing this gracefully means acceptance that my body needs care and attention, and maybe even gratitude for giving me all those miles, all those asanas, all those squats, and carrying me through so very, very much. It makes me cry a little.

But I know what to do. I know where to go. Yoga. My dear old friend. The one I left on the side of the road about a year ago.  I have the perfect inspiration.  Its a small little book called “A Year of Living Your Yoga” by Judith Hanson Lasater, who is one of my all time favourite yoga teachers, and authors. In it, she provides a little meditation for your yoga practice each day of the year. One you can carry forward into your day.

In the spirit of a recent blog post on Patti Digh’s 37 days  (this is one I vow to read more when I have more time) I’ve decided to make this really doable, and so am committing to living my yoga for 37 days, and then will just be open to what happens beyond. After all, 37 days of living my yoga is better than no days of living my yoga.

AND, because I love writing, even if I have no idea how, and I love Yoga,  I’m going to blog for these 37 days, or at least as many of them as I can to share what I’ve learned over the years (the ones before  I fell hard off the yoga wagon).  Oh dear, I feel myself ramping up…. 37 days of yoga, 37 days of Pilates, 37 days of Bellyfit.  See its in my genes.

Breathe.  Unroll the mat.  Be.  Here I go.  Won’t you join me?  37 Days of Living My Yoga.

4th March
2012
written by Sarah Loewen

This morning I was asked to speak to a Times Columnist Running Clinic group about nutrition. I tried in a very quick twenty minutes to do a 30,000 foot fly by version of what is needed to fuel our essential vehicle for life.

I decided to focus on four key cornerstones to good wholesome eating.

The first is to keep it simple. If I have to hear about yet another complex elaborate diet book, I really will scream. As boring as it might seem the Canada’s Food Guide really has all the information you need.

The second is to focus on what you need to eat more of, rather than obsessing about what you can’t. Deprivation doesn’t work. Hungry people do not make good food choices. Load up on fruits and veggies of assorted colours (nutrients create colour, so varying colour is a great way to get a variety of nutrients. Eat lots of whole grains – quinoa, millet, bulgar. Make low fat dairy selections and when it comes to meat, the faster the animal, the leaner the meat.

The third to grocery shop wisely. Make a list, never go when you are hungry and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store as that’s where all the essentials are.  The inner aisles are really a bit more evil.  Ramona Josephson, in her book The Heartsmart Shopper suggests segmenting your cart to help you buy proportionately. The biggest part of the cart should be filled up with fruits and veggies, while the much smaller child seat area helps you contain your meat and dairy selections.  Save the difficult to reach under section for sugar and oil, which provides a natural pause for you to consider your choice as you stow it below.

My last simple ‘feed me right’ cornerstone is to eat mindfully - something I am not particularly good at. Thoroughly chew all your food, and savour every bite. Try to avoid eating while doing other things, taking some time to become aware of how eating a certain food makes you feel. Today’s ultra plugged in lifestyle isn’t very helpful when it comes to paying attention to the wisdom of our bodies.

Trying to propel ourselves through life without eating well is much like trying to drive a boat when you have water in the gas line. It doesn’t much matter where on the horizon you have your sights set if your coughing and sputtering along. I hope these simple reminders help give you some ‘food for thought’ when it comes to fueling your life.

27th November
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

Today I am giving thanks.  Not because its American Thanksgiving and by some freak of nature I am a US citizen, but because I am really truly brimming over with gratitude for the generosity of those who support my work - the work I love as much as breathing.

This past summer, in a moment of what some called complete and utter insanity, I decided to buy five Pilates Reformers and set up shop in my garage.  And then you came.  You didn’t just come once, you’ve kept coming and you’ve brought your friends.  In two short months you have proven that I wasn’t so crazy after all.

I want to thank you all from my heart and soul for the joy you have brought to me and my life by supporting this passion. Thank you also to my true blue friend Christine who made the epic road trip to Seattle and loaded the entire contents of my new studio in her truck.  And a special thank you to my amzing daughter who not only endures our house being taken over by fitness equipment, but gets dinner on the table so many nights whilst I’m getting y’all to crunch that transverse abdominus just one more time.

Thank-you.  Thank-you.  Thank-you.

16th October
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

We all know the story.  Diets don’t work.  There are a million reasons not to exercise, yet deep inside we long to be more fit, more active… healthier.  What we aspire to and what we are remain miles apart.  We say one thing, yet keep repeating the same old patterns, producing the same old results.

I’ve been delving into a new approach: Coaching, and its remarkable.  I’m looking for for eight people who truly long to lead a healthier more active life, but after repeated attempts have been unable to sustain. I am offering a package of six sessions at a significantly discounted rate, $25.00 per session or $150 for the package.  For this particular offer, you need to be available for half an on Saturday afternoons in late October and November, and be able to connect via Skype, so yes we can do this from anywhere!

If you, or anyone you know is interested, please let me know ASAP by emailing me at sarah@loewenbehold.ca or call me at 250.733.0763

19th August
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

I’m hosting a Pilates Party, much like an Open House, on September 10th to welcome my new Pilates Reformers, and you. :)  Come and try a free class, watch a demo and pop a party balloon for your chance to win a free five class pass. I’ll also be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Yoga, Pilates or Fitness.

Plus… its a party, so I promise some lovely non alcoholic bubbly, or lemon water, and a healthy indulgence of my favourite treat, but you’ll have to come to see what it is.

Space is limited to five for the free classes, so do let me know via email sarah@loewenbehold.ca, or phone (250)733-0763 if you would like a spot.

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

2838 Gregory Road, Shawnigan Lake, BC

Free Sampler Classes (30 minutes each)

Pilates Reformer – 10 AM and 2 PM

Pilates ARC, and Small Apparatus 11 AM and 3PM

Reformer Demonstration – 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM

Check out my ad in the Shawnigan Times:

Loewen Behold – August 28 _78-1

Pilate on!

19th August
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

For all of you in the vicinity of my Shawnigan Lake Studio, here is my class schedule for the Fall.

Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
9:00 – 10:00 AM Reformer
10:00 – 11:00 AM Better Your Bootie +
Awesome Arms and Abs
6:30 – 7:30 PM Reformer Yoga Pilates Body Blast Reformer Reformer
7:30 – 8:30 PM Better Your Bootie Reformer Reformer Yoga Pilates

Reformer (Small Group Personal Training) –  Re “form”yourself.  Literally. The Reformer makes a dramatic impression when you first see it, and an even more dramatic change in your body when you use it. Lengthen and tighten muscles from top to bottom like never before in this small group personal training session.  (Max 5 people)

Better Your Bootie
Everything you’ve asked for! This strength based class will include exercises for your whole body, but promises to target where you want it most. Be prepared for balls, bars, bands and pretty much everything we can dream up to ensure you feel these muscles in new and enlivening ways.

Body Blast – Only time for one class in the week?  We’ve put everything into this hour and promise not a moment will be wasted. We’ll blast every muscle you’ve ever wanted in ways you’ve never dreamed of, using all sorts of equipment. Results, results, results.

Yoga Pilates Blend– We know how busy life is, so we’ve combined the very best of Yoga and Pilates into one class.  Strength, flexibility, stress relief and abs of steel.  This truly is one stop shopping.

Rates

Drop in – $10.00 Class

10 Class Pass – $75.00

Reformer  (Small Group Personal Training) -
$20.00/class  (Group Maximum is 5)

10 Class Pass – $150.00

One on One sessions are also available.  Inquire for prices and schedule.  For further info call or email Sarah at (250)733-0763 or sarah@loewenbehold.ca

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