Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Secret Millionaire

Oprah interviewed self-made millionaire, Dani Johnson, who was part of the new reality show Secret Millionaire.  The premise of the show is that a millionaire goes undercover and lives in an impoverished area with very little money.  While they are living there, they look for people who are making a difference in their community.  Dani grew up on welfare and had her first child at 17.  She was homeless herself at 21 and started a weight loss business from the trunk of her car.  Dani went undercover and lived in Knoxville, Tennessee with just a suitcase of clothes and $40 to last her for a week.  While living in Knoxville she met 82 year old twins Helen and Ellen who founded and run the Love Kitchen.  The Love Kitchen provides thousands of people each week with meals and also delivers meals to the home bound.  The Love Kitchen's Motto is "Everybody is God's Somebody."  They give love not only in the form of food, but also with hugs and smiles. 

These ladies are a huge inspiration.  At 82 years old they could run circles around most people.  You can tell  they have found their calling in life.  Dani said the experience helped light a fire in her to get people to get out and help one another.  You don't have to have money to help someone in need.  Helen and Ellen said their father taught them three truths which I thought were worthy of remembering. 

1)  There is only one father and that's the heavenly father
2)  There is one race and that's the human race 
3)  Don't take the last piece of bread from the table because someone else may come along who needs it    

We are constantly bombarded with what bad, hurtful and negative things people are doing in the world.  I'm grateful and hopeful when I hear of people like Helen and Ellen who make me proud to be part of the human race.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I know of several people who were confused about Oprah's no holds barred conversation with Relationship Expert and Spiritual Advisor, Iyanla Vanzant.  Iyanla was a regular on Oprah's show about the same time Dr. Phil appeared.  Oprah's intention was to help both of them launch their own show when the timing was right.  Meanwhile, Barbara Walters contacted Iyanla about starting her own show.  She declined Barbara's offer because she was already in talks with Harpo.  According to Iyanla she kept thinking about the offer and decided to fast and pray about it.  She met with Oprah and her producers and told them about the offer and that God told her it was time.  Two weeks later Harpo contacted Iyanla and told her she should take the other deal.  Oprah said she wasn't about to go against God.

Iyanla eventually had a show which was cancelled after one season. It wasn't at all like the vision she had created for herself.  She compromised herself and went along with what the network wanted.  Most of the Oprah show was basically the two of them clearing the air and correcting any misunderstandings.  However, I learned several lessons from this show.

1)  Even the so called experts don't always have all the answers.  I like Iyanla and think she has a lot of good things to share based on her life experiences.  We all have lessons to learn in life. She said she needed to learn how to receive.  It got me thinking about what messages I receive in my life and refuse to accept.

2)  The show was an example of how two people heard something totally different from the same conversation.  It's important to make your intentions clear.

3)  You have to heal your past in order to move forward.

4)  God has his own timing.

5)  Stay true to yourself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jennifer Hudson

Oprah's interview with singer and actress, Jennifer Hudson, was inspiring to me.  She lost 80 lbs. and looks amazing.  What was even more amazing was that she got tons of family members to join the Weight Watchers program and they lost a ton of weight combined.  Jennifer was hesitant to divulge the actual number of pounds she lost on Weight Watchers because it's not about the pounds.  It's about feeling good in your body and being healthy.  Like Oprah I was naturally curious to know the number of pounds.  Some individuals carry their weight better than others though and even a five pound weight loss looks different on people. 

Jennifer talked about how her mind still hasn't caught up with how her body looks.  I can relate to that feeling.  I went through a period from about third grade to eighth where I was very heavy.  I lost twenty pounds and went from a size 12/14 to a size 6.  Even though your body looks different, you still picture yourself as being fat.  Oprah also interviewed several supermodels this week who have perfect bodily proportions and they still find fault with themselves. 

The show didn't really delve deep into how she lost the weight.  She followed Weight Watchers program and started exercising and moving more.  I guess the point is that each individuals weight loss journey is different.   You have to be willing to do the work.  An eating plan that works for one person may not be realistic for another.  The real test will be whether if she can keep the weight off.  It has to be a lifestyle choice.  If she enjoys eating the Weight Watchers way 80% of the time then I'm sure she will.  I've been wanting to shed a few pounds, but haven't been too motivated lately. I've been cocooning most of this winter due to snowstorms.  I feel like this week there have been several signs for me to start making some changes.  First my friend told me about the Belly Fat Cure diet she's been doing.  Then she invited me to see The Hungry Girl speak at a fundraiser and then the Jennifer Hudson interview.  Call it coincidence, but I think it's a sign I better start eating better so I feel good in my clothes this summer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hammer Time

MC Hammer is doing more than sporting parachute pants and bustin' a move these days.  He's a part of the social media craze and helps develop applications for the IPAD.  He's also a part time preacher, owns several record labels and lectures about new media at colleges and universities.  There are also a few more things I didn't name.   He talked with Oprah about having millions of dollars and then losing it all.  When Oprah asked if he would change anything from his past his answer was no.  He gave a lot of his money away to help others and would never ask for it back.  He felt like if he hadn't made certain mistakes in the past he would have never gotten to where he is now.   He referred to it as the butterfly effect.  If you change one thing it affects the outcome of everything else.  He has been married for twenty-five years and feels very blessed.  To be married for that long in Hollywood is a huge accomplishment in itself.

I've watched numerous Oprah interviews where people have made pretty big mistakes in their life.  For the most part they don't regret them.  I'm always amazed by this because I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  I hate making mistakes and when I do I have a hard time not beating myself up about it.  There are a lot of people who continually make bad choices.  I think the key is learning the lesson the mistake is there to teach you.  A life without mistakes is a life unlived.   "There's no such thing as failure.  Mistakes happen in your life to bring into focus more clearly who you really are." - Oprah

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vegan Challenge

Oprah and 378 members of the Harpo staff went on a vegan diet for a week.  Vegans eat no meat, no dairy and no fish.  If a food item comes from an animal, they don't eat it.  Vegan expert, Kathy Freston, helped the staff get started on their program.   The reviews were pretty mixed.  Several staffers felt they had more energy and lost weight on the program and others dropped out before the week was up.  I think most of the staff agreed it made them think about where their food comes from differently.

Journalist and Food Expert, Michael Pollan, was also on the show.  He's written several books about how to become a more conscious eater.  He's not a vegan and eats meat a couple times per week, but is particular about where the meat comes from.  He is an advocate for better sanitation and animal care in processing plants.  Journalist, Lisa Ling, was able to go inside a meat processing plant and showed viewers how our meat goes from farm to table.  Fortunately, they weren't able to show the cattle being killed.  The cows are knocked unconscious so they don't feel pain and they try to keep them as calm as possible.  The death process takes a minute or two.  They showed the skin being removed and their carcasses being sawed.  They make use of every animal part.  It was very enlightening as well as disturbing to see.  I don't eat meat every day, but I enjoy a steak or hamburger every now and then.  I would like to say I changed my mind after seeing how it's processed, but I haven't.  Lisa Ling said she still eats meat as well.

Oprah reported that according to the USDA, we eat nearly 10 billion animals a year including 33 million cows.  I think each person has to decide what lifestyle is best for them.  I have tried BOCA burgers and they don't quite cut it for me.  I think Michael Pollan put it best, "there's nothing evil about meat and some meat in your diet is fine.  There are farms where animals lead very happy lives and have one bad day.  We need more of those."  The bottom line is to be more aware of what you're putting in your body and where it comes from.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Year To Do's

The beginning of January Oprah interviewed her team of experts on how to make 2011 a better year. I'm never quite ready to dive into my New Years resolutions on January 1.  It takes me a while to declutter and get back into a routine after the holidays.  Therefore, I tend to follow the Chinese New Year which begins February 3 this year.  The following are some of the tips I learned from watching her show.

Dr. Oz Tips
  • Get blood pressure checked yearly.  I'm already doing this because I have high blood pressure which runs in my family.  Dr. Oz explained that it's called the silent killer because most people don't realize they have it.  You could be in great shape and still have high blood pressure.  Optimal is 115/75  High is 140/90
  • Measure your waist size once a month.  Your waist should be at least half your height.
  • Weigh yourself weekly.
  • Know your cholesterol numbers HDL should be over 50 and LDL under 100
  • Know your fasting blood sugar number.  It should be 70 to 100. 
Bob Greene's tips

  • Have a realistic vision for your life.  It needs to be something you know you can achieve.
  • Convince yourself you deserve your vision.  Many people deep down feel they are unworthy of their vision.
  • Identify the barriers holding you back.  Bob explained how barriers are an aversion or something that causes discomfort which is different from an excuse.  I don't like to get up early to exercise is an excuse.
  • Break through barriers.  Examples of these would be feeling unworthy, being in a toxic relationship or an unfulfilling job.
  • Put yourself first.
Bob has a new book out called, The Life You Want.  I thought he had a great point, "Simply saying you want something does not mean your motivated."  Sometimes I think things are going to magically happen because I want them, but you have to be willing to take the steps to get there.  He also has a website http://www.thebestlife.com/ that I plan on checking out. 

I have begun the process of simplifying this year and decluttering my home.  I'm a pretty organized person, but I like my stuff.  There are certain areas like photo organization that I keep putting off which just get worse year after year.  I thought his best tip was that you have to keep flat surfaces clear including the floor. This applies to every area of your home- the kitchen, laundry room, bedroom and so on.  

I love accessories.  Adam Glassman, Creative Director for O Magazine, shared the top three must have accessories for this year.  I didn't realize any of them existed until this show.
  • the nomad scarf- a scarf which turns into a blanket (this would be great for travel)
  • chickies- a mock cami that clips onto your bra (you wear it under low cut tops)
  • boot tights- they are part tight and the bottom half is a sock
Happy Chinese New Year !