How Giving Back Can Bring You Back to Yourself

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I am in the best mood today, and I’ll tell you why.

My awesome team and I have killed it, once again, putting together this year’s NYC Dance Week!

This year we added a special initiative called “Dancer for a Day”.

We sought out kids with a deep desire to dance, but who aren’t able to take part in formal lessons because of their families’ financial situation.

These kids were nominated by an adult, and selected by us, to take part in free dance lessons and fun groups for an entire day!

We ended up raising 2K for this program via a successful Indigogo campaign. (Hell yeah!)

So, we were able to provide them with an awesome day that consisted of:

  • dance workshops in the morning (modern and ballet)
  • a healthy lunch, and a nutrition workshop with a certified nutritionist
  • a trip to a dance performance tech rehearsal
  • a delicious dinner!
  • a trip to see the NYC10 Dance Performance (NYC10 is the performance segment of NYC Dance Week)

It was a great day for the kids. They were able to see how a love and passion for dance and movement can be refined in a formal dance class. They saw how, with the help of nurturing instructors, they can build self empowerment and self esteem.

This new found empowerment will propel them to achieve a level of confidence through dance that will launch them into a career on the stage!

It’s an interesting journey to see from class to stage; and it was incredible to be a part of.

It’s the ability to take part in events like this that remind me of the reason I fell in love with dance in the first place.

Giving back is the purest form of self expression that will take you back to your roots, and remind you why life isn’t so bad!

Do you have an experience with feeling the benefits of giving back to your community? Share with us in the comments section below.

How I Lost 5 Pounds in One Day

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TashaFierce

This is not the post you think it is! Usually I’m doing some crazy thing to try and reach physical perfection. I’ve been trying so hard lately, and tiring myself out. So, I actually ended up giving it a rest for a week, and the craziest thing happened to me…

I’m the founder of an annual event called NYC Dance Week— it’s badass, you should check it out. We had our kickoff party last week, so I got all dolled up, and set out to just enjoy myself and the work that I put into this event.

I ate like I normally do, I drank my butt off, and I danced the night away without a care in the world! It was amazing and I was feelin’ myself FOR SURE!

The next day, I woke up and what did I find? I was 5 pounds lighter than the day before.

Why?

I’m not even sure if I care! The fact that I was able to get out there and have the time of my life, then wake up the next morning with a flat-as-a-board stomach, 5 pounds lighter is a beautiful miracle that I am not going to question!

It’s not always about pushing yourself to the extreme to reach perfection.

Sometimes the answer is just to let loose and enjoy your life. I know I am!

Make sure to check out Dance Week 2015! Free dance classes, fitness labs, and events going on until the 27th of June! Register here.

Get your funk on this week, ladies!

Inspirational Quote of the Week

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Tasha-Woman Running

 

When the challenges don’t seem to be working, and you’re feeling like there’s no hope, come back to this quote and remember, we’re in this together!

 “You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment! “― Aly Raisman

Meditation Challenge: How Africa Changed My Ideas About Meditation

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Tasha South Africa 2

 

Recently, I took a trip to beautiful South Africa– and I brought my meditation challenge with me.

While most people are on Safari in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, they don’t usually have weight loss or meditation on the brain. Unless you’re me. (Or like me!)

I thought this was the perfect arena for my 30 day challenge. The whole idea is to relax in order to lower my cortisol levels. Supposedly, that’ll help me lose weight, right? Well… what’s more relaxing than an African Safari?

Sure, I didn’t have my usual guided meditation videos with the sounds of the waves… But I had something better. It changed my idea of what meditation is. It changed my idea of what I’m capable of.

The 30 day challenge seemed daunting at first; but after this experience I feel a new connection with the practice.

Tasha South Africa 1

 

I did my daily meditations to the sounds of the African bush in the early morning.

I woke up everyday at 5:00 am, and had the opportunity to watch the sunrise while drinking coffee, and listening to the birds. It’s been a while since I’ve felt bliss like that.

And, by the end of this challenge, we’ll find out if this bliss is the key to weight loss.

 

Have you had a chance to take your meditation on the road? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.

The Meditation Challenge: Week 1

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Meditation Screenshot

This month, I started the 30 Day Meditation Challenge! The goal is to de-stress in an attempt to lose weight, as per my Endocrinologist. If you missed the post about where this concept came from, click here!

My Endocrinologist is on the bandwagon with me, trying to figure out why I can’t seem to lose that last 20 pounds.

In my attempt to “de-stress” I’ve started doing 24 minutes a day of daily meditation. Can you believe that?

I find it easiest listening to a guided meditation because I get distracted so easily. It kind of keeps me on track…

Although, at 15 minutes in I’ve already accomplished the creation of my daily to-do list in my head– but I’m workin’ on it!

Since I started this challenge (It’s been a week!), I’ve noticed some good signs in the way of my weight. FInally!

When I was doing the Cortisol Control Diet Challenge last month, my weight fluctuated… A LOT… everyday. But, this week my weight is pretty much staying put at about 164 lbs.

I haven’t changed my eating habits, or my workout habits, so this tells me that the stress in my life might just be the cause of my weight gain! Which is stressful to think about… But clearly fixable!

Now let’s see if this stress reduction guided meditation can help me shed some pounds.

Think this meditation challenge might work for you? Join me, TODAY!

Follow along with me by clicking this link to my favorite guided meditation, or use the meditation method of your choice.

We’ve got 30 days, ladies. Let’s make this count.

30 Day Meditation Challenge: Are You Ready to Reach Your Perfection?

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Tasha---Tasha-Fierce

Most of you know I’ve been playing around with different techniques and tricks to figure out a way to lose that last 20 pounds. Why is it that I get so far and so fit, but that last 20 freakin’ pounds just lingers there no matter what I do?

I’m in the fitness industry, so I’m very aware that I’m not the only woman who struggles with this. It’s incredibly common! So what the hell is it about those last 20 lbs?

Why do they cling to us like there’s no tomorrow!? Oy… it’s really frustrating.

I ended up seeing my doctor for a check up recently. She’s an endocrinologist. If you’re not sure what that means (because I wasn’t at first, either) that means she knows all about metabolism, thyroids, and all this other stuff too.

But, the important part (for this story) is the metabolism and thyroid knowledge.

She actually ended up confiding in me that she struggles with the same issues as I do! (See? All too common a problem, guys. We are not alone!)

Anyway, we were looking over my charts from the years that I’ve been a patient of hers, and she realized that I’ve been hovering around the same weight for over 3 years.

Yeah.

I have healthy eating habits, I workout daily, and I attempted the cortisol control diet. So what is it that’s causing this pause in weight loss?

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Get this. My doctor says it’s… yes… that magic word again. CORTISOL.

What!? How is that even possible? I just did 30 days of that crazy diet! I saw zero results from it, by the way, if you missed that challenge. But that’s what was goin’ through my head at the time.

Then she let me in on another tip. She said that stress plays a huge role in the level of cortisol in my system.

Uh oh…

So, I started thinking over the way I live my life. I basically coined the New York minute, guys. I am always rushing to meetings, rushing to workouts, planning events, doing business, go, go, go, go, go…

Can anyone relate? That’s just my lifestyle. It’s what I do! I’d feel like a zombie if I didn’t stay busy all the time. But, my goal is to achieve my perfection. So, obviously I’m going to have to take another look at what I can do to manage my stress levels.

My doctor’s suggestion? Meditation.

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Okay, for a person who is constantly on the go… meditation does not sound like my cup of tea, or even possible! Where will I even find a spot to sit for 10 minutes without interruptions?

The bathroom? (Not to be gross, but come on. Where else can you depend on being uninterrupted for a while?)

I’m going to have to figure it out. But, I am taking on this challenge.

For the next 30 days, I will be taking 10 minutes each day to sit still, UNINTERRUPTED, in meditation.

No diet change, no exercise change, just daily meditation.

Let’s see if this idea really works.

Are you down to take the challenge with me?

I’ll be posting here every week to let you know how it’s going! Leave me a comment below, and share your experience with us too!

So, what’s it going to be? What are you willing to do to achieve your perfection?

Take the challenge with me. Starting TODAY.

The Cortisol Control Diet: Part 4 (The Finale!)

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Tasha---Giant-X

It’s finally over! I don’t know if you could tell, but this was definitely not my favorite dieting attempt.

My personal opinions aside, I actually learned a lot during this cortisol control diet.

So… I guess you could say it was worth it! Anyway, I’ll delve into my personal opinions and insights in just a moment.

But first! Let’s take a look at my eating habits over the last 6 days, shall we?

Tasha - BEP

Saturday

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, and potatoes

Lunch: 2 Glasses of wine

Dinner: 2 Glasses of wine (It was one of those days, guys! Don’t judge me!)

Sunday

Breakfast: Coffee

Lunch: Popcorn

Dinner: Steak, salad, green beans, and 2 glasses of wine

Tasha - Baked Chicken

Monday

Breakfast: 2 Quest bars, and 2 cups of coffee

Lunch: N/A

Dinner: Baked chicken with wings and veggies (So good!)

Snack: Peanuts and Popcorn

Tuesday

Breakfast: A Quest Bar and 2 cups of coffee

Lunch: N/A

Dinner: Rice, broccoli, and ground turkey

Snack: Popcorn

Wednesday

Breakfast: 2 Sleeves of Saltine Crackers

Lunch: Ramen noodles

Dinner: N/A

Snack: Half a bag of popcorn

Tasha - Ground Turkey

Thursday

Breakfast: A Quest Bar and coffee

Lunch: A Quest Bar and coffee

Dinner: Ground turkey and veggies

Friday

Breakfast: A Quest Bar and coffee

Okay, needless to say, I am not the biggest fan of this diet plan. Mainly because, well, I find it hard to bring myself to actually follow it! I knew it would be difficult eating my biggest meal of the day in the morning, but I didn’t know that it would be this darn hard…

The moral of the story is:

Not all plans work for every person. Maybe the cortisol control diet is the key to help you reach your weight loss goals, but it’s definitely not the key to mine.

Everyone leads different lifestyles and is able to handle diets in different ways. Therefore, one diet might be incredibly effective for you, but not at all effective for me. And vise versa!

My start weight for this week was 161 lbs.

My end weight? 163 lbs…

This diet is definitely not the answer I was looking for; but, that doesn’t mean that it can’t work for you.

And, if you’re like me and this plan just isn’t doing it for you– don’t give up!

I sure as hell won’t.

The key to weight loss success is personalizing your eating plans and workout regimen in a way that works best for YOU. I urge you to give this meal plan a try, and see if it does the trick.

If not (or even if it does!), I’ll be back here every week sharing new tips, tricks and ideas to help us to reach perfection. I hope you’ll join me too.

Have you been trying out the cortisol control diet? Let me know about your experience in the comments section!

The Cortisol Control Diet: Part 3

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Tashs Popcorn

Aaaaand it’s week three in my cortisol control diet!

I am officially beginning to feel pretty disappointed, to be honest…

When I initially read the article that explained how cortisol control can help with that excess body fat, I really thought I’d found the answer to my prayers.

But, I’m here to test these “answers” out with you guys. There are so many articles and posts out there claiming to hold the holy grail in weight loss solutions…

I created this site to help us decipher what is real and what is bull crap.

This, I am sad to say, may fall into the category of the latter! Erg!

But, trial and error is the road to fitness perfection.

I am determined to stay on this road until I hit a jackpot, darn it!

There is one more week in my month-long cortisol control diet plan; and I will remain optimistic until the end! Well… I’ll try, anyway.

Let’s take a look at my meal logs for this past week:

Friday

Tasha - Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast: Ham and cheese breakfast sandwich, and coffee

Lunch: Rice bowl with oxtail (yum!)

Dinner: Stone crabs, creamed spinach hash browns

Snacks: Red wine (yes, red wine is a snack in my eyes!), and 3 cans of diet soda

Saturday  

Breakfast: N/A

Lunch: Large Ramen Noodles bowl

Dinner: N/A

Sunday

Breakfast: N/A

Lunch: Steak shrimp salad, and coffee

Dinner: Pizza and vegetable soup

Monday

Ham and Cheese Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast: Egg and bacon croissant, and a coffee

Lunch: Ramen Noodles

Dinner: Popcorn handful peanuts

Tuesday

Breakfast: Coffee, and a Quest Bar

Lunch: Coffee, and a Quest Bar

Dinner: Turkey, broccoli, and rice pilaf

Wednesday

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Breakfast: 1 1/2 Quest Bars, and coffee

Lunch: Coffee

Dinner: Chicken breast

Thursday

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee, and 1 Quest Bar

Lunch: N/A

Dinner: Rice, chicken, and broccoli

Snacks: Popcorn and peanuts

Friday

Tasha - Shrimp Pasta

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee, and 2 Quest Bars

Lunch: N/A

Dinner: Shrimp pasta, and 2 glasses of wine

Snacks: Popcorn

The struggle is real for us dinner lovers, that’s for sure!

Once again, I hovered throughout the 160lbs weight class all week long. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to push past that barrier this week. 

One more week of this, and I’ll reveal my final verdict!

Are you trying out the cortisol control diet? Let me know how it’s working for you in the comments section!

The Cortisol Control Diet: Part 2

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Tasha Berry Breakfast

This is the second week of my new cortisol control meal plan. I’m sharing this with you guys so that you can see for yourself what it’s like to take on this diet, and if it might work for you.

If you missed my posts explaining the background of this diet, and why I decided to give it a try, check out my Weight Loss Solutions Series posts here:

Weight Loss Solutions: Part 1

Weight Loss Solutions: Part 2

Weight Loss Solutions: Part 3

Last week, I shared my meal food logs with you, and said that I wasn’t seeing much in the way of results.

Unfortunately, this week was very similar. Although, I ended up getting sick for a few days, which through me off. Life shows up! That’s a reality that’s really important to keep in mind.

But, without further ado, here is my meal log for this past week:

Tasha FlatBread

Friday

Breakfast: Coffee

Lunch: More coffee, and turkey flatbread

Dinner: Corn beef, red potato and cabbage, peanuts, and half a bag of popcorn 

Tasha Croissant

Saturday

Breakfast: Coffee, and a croissant

Lunch: More coffee, and a granola bar

Dinner: 3 Glasses of wine

Tasha Fried Fish

Sunday

Breakfast: Coffee, and a croissant

Lunch: Water

Dinner: Fried fish, collard greens, mac & cheese, corn muffin, and 2 glasses of red wine

Tasha Ramen Noodles

Monday

Breakfast: Egg, sausage, and cheese sandwich, Panera bread, and coffee

Lunch: More coffee, and a granola bar

Dinner: 2 Bags of chicken noodle soup, roast chicken, and 4 handfuls of peanuts

Organic Roasted Salty Peanuts in a Bowl

Tuesday

Breakfast: Coffee, and a granola bar

Lunch: 2 More cups of coffee, and a granola bar

Dinner: Roast chicken, brussels sprouts, and 4 handfuls of peanuts

Tasha Beet Juice

Wednesday

 Breakfast: Coffee, a granola bar, and beet juice

Lunch: More coffee, and a granola bar

Dinner: Beet salad, and 2 glasses of wine

Tasha Granola Bar

Thursday 

Breakfast: Coffee, and a granola bar

Lunch: 2 Packs of noodles, and roast chicken

Dinner: 2 glasses of wine, and 3 cranberry vodkas ( I was at the club!)

What I learned from this week is that eating my heaviest meal earlier in the day is incredibly difficult! I noticed that when I did eat bigger meals earlier, I started to feel sluggish throughout the day. I hate that feeling!

I was also a little thrown off when I got sick because that made it much harder to eat bigger meals. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from fitness training, it’s that practice is essential.

That definitely plays a role in this diet.

It’s not something that I’ve been able to perfect over night, and that’s something that I think we all need to keep in mind. We can’t expect ourselves to be perfect; and we can’t be too hard on ourselves when we believe we’ve fallen short.

This is only the second week of my 1 month long cortisol control diet!

There’s much more to come on this topic. For this week, the result is that my weight fluctuated in the 160’s range, but never got below 160.

I noticed that when I ate more food earlier in the day, my weight actually spiked to the higher 160’s.

But, like I said, there are two more weeks to come. I will keep you guys updated!

Are you trying out the cortisol control diet? Let me know how it’s going for you in the comments section! I would love your input.

The Cortisol Control Diet: Part 1

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On my quest to find out if this whole “cortisol management” system actually works, I monitored my eating habits for 8 days. Thursday to Thursday.

Remember, the goal here was to eat my heaviest meal earliest in the day, and eat smaller and smaller meals for the rest of the day. To read more about this system I’m talking about, check out my last 3 articles in the Weight Loss Solutions series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Here is a little look at how my week went:

IMG_1480Thursday

Breakfast: Quest Bar, and 3 cups of coffee

Lunch: Red lobster, pasta, red wine, and a small caesar salad

Dinner: Half a bag of popcorn

Friday

Breakfast: Quest Bar, and 2 cups of coffee

Lunch: Large green drink, a glass wine, a rice bowl, and broiled fish 

Dinner: 2 Handfuls of dry roasted peanuts 

Saturday

Breakfast: 1 Small coffee, 1 medium Starbucks coffee, chicken noodle soup and bread

Lunch: Wine and potato chips 

Dinner: Ramen noodle soup with roasted chicken , and 4 handfuls of dry roasted peanuts

 

Sunday

Breakfast: Large coffee and a croissant 

Lunch: Small coffee, and a bar 

Dinner: Wine, and 2 bags of potato chips

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Monday

Breakfast: 2 Coffees and a quest bar

Lunch: Curry chicken brown rice broccoli 

Dinner: A handful of dry roasted peanuts, and popcorn

Tuesday

Breakfast: A muffin, scrambled eggs, and 2 medium coffees 

Lunch: 2 Large coffees, 2 bars, and a large bowl with chicken, fish, gumbo, and rice

Dinner: A half a bag of popcorn, and a handful of peanuts 

Wednesday

Breakfast: 1 Large coffee and a quest bar

Lunch: 1 Large coffee

Dinner: A large caesar salad, shrimp and pasta, and 1 glass of red wine

Thursday

Breakfast: 1 Medium coffee 

Lunch: Turkey sausage, flat bread, coffee, and a quest bar

– Dinner: Coffee and a quest bar

The verdict?

I weight 161 lbs on the first day and the last day of this week. There was slight fluctuation throughout the week, but I stayed around the same weight overall.

After 8 days I’m not seein’ much of a difference. Then again, it has only been 8 days. I’m going to keep trying this system out for a month. I’ll make sure to check back in with you guys weekly to let you know how it goes! 

Did you try out this cortisol management system? Share your story in the comments section!

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