Danielle's Blog – Designer Fitness











{January 5, 2016}   Week 8Testing

In week 8 i began the large amounts of testing required by my endocrinologist.  First im so thankful that this Dr is taking my condition seriously and asking key
questions and ordering many specialized tests.  He recognized the work im putting in and i feel hopeful that these tests could lead me to a deeper understanding of my body and how best i can work with it.  The testing process itself was quite tedious but interesting.  My blood was taken over a 4 day period, my urine collected over a 2hr period and all on designated times during my cycle.  Here’s hoping all that work results in some answers.



Today is day 52 since I started my “getting my health back” protocol and I’m very happy with what I have been experiencing so far. I feel stronger, healthier and lighter. I still have a long way to go but now I have to prepare myself for my next challenge…getting back to teaching fitness classes on a regular basis. After Christmas I will be leading bootcamps, step classes, spinning and barre. I’m excited to be back using the skills that I have shaped over the last 20 years but I’m nervous to be in front of a group.  I feel a bit insecure about being judged for how I look.  I do not look like the “typical” fitness instructor and for most of my career I could embrace this and even found it made me more approachable and a better fitness leader.  This time around I am “more fluffy” and don’t have the “thick skin” that I armed myself with before.  All I can do is go out there and deliver a kick butt class and that is exactly what I will do.  One of the reasons I share my story is to inspire others that might feel the same way – so to do that I will have to take this leap and help those that need me.



{December 11, 2015}   Week 6 “Getting My Health Back”

On Monday I went to put on my jacket and noticed that it zipped right up, no struggle, no readjusting just completely closed and comfortable. It is been a long time since I have had that feeling. The last 2 years it has been a dread putting on clothing, feeling them get tighter and tighter. So this time I unzipped and did it again, right up and roomy. My eyes filled with tears and my lips gave thanks….im on the right track…praise the Lord. I pushed a bit harder on spin this week, I added a bootcamp class and I have stuck like glue to my eating plan. Our school had a bake sale this week, I walked right by…yes I would love some Christmas goodies but I know myself and I know there is a response to every choice I make; I will be healthier or I will be worse, there is no pause button when it comes to getting my health back. In the meantime I am enjoying my meals, my snacks, my exercise sessions and spending this time of year with family and friends…I am blessed.



Ok so here we are week 5 and it has been a rewarding month. I completed my 21st spin class and my butt no longer hurts as soon as I sit on the bike – it now takes 30min before those muscles are screaming at me. I can walk out of the studio without wobbling and I can hit the recommended intensity on the bike – still push through and most importantly breathe! It was time to check on my progress. I am happy to report that I have release 10lbs and my tight clothes are no longer tight – not yet loose but I can feel a difference. This is no small feat for me and I am very pleased. My food has been excellent and I fight my desire to fall back into old patterns. I have experienced the mind games and watched my calories dip below 1200 – something that I was not going to let myself do this time. I am still struggling with cheese and have reset my challenge to include 1 serving of dairy a day – much more reasonable for me. I have gotten creative with veggies – doing lots of soups. Over all when I look back I am happy with my progress. Now it is December and sugar laden treats are everywhere. This month I would like to find and make a few fun treat alternatives that fit within my goals and do not include refined sugar. I will also be expanding my fitness program to include bootcamps – sore muscles here I come!



I’m proud to say that my cold did not hold me back – week 3 brought we a little illness which would normally derail me and have me reaching for comfort foods.  I managed to make it through and even kept up with my workouts – I took it easy but I still showed up.

Well today made all this work totally worth it.  I was warming up on my bike in my 16th class this month and beside me sat a glamour girl – you know the ones – lulu covered, make up wearing, hair done, just walked away from a photoshoot.   I hate to admit it but I am usually intimidated by this “perfection.”  I tried not to judge and instead invited her into the bike beside me.  She looked me up and down and asked if this was my first class. Very humbling, as a instructor for over 20 years, to be considered a beginner but the truth is I am starting over.   I proudly said “this is my 16th class this month”  she looked shocked and said “YOU have made it through that many classes?”  She hear the judgement in her own voice and looked a bit embarassed.  She quickly said “well good for you – it take a lot of cardio to lose weight.”  I smiled and went back to setting up my bike and was very ready for the class to start.  Turns out those comments where just enough to motivate me to have my VERY BEST RIDE.  I broke my cadence record and killed it up the hills.  It is important for me to celebrate these small victories – they really do keep me going.



Today was my 8th spin class and I am beginning to see an improvement in my cadence and power.  My cardio is improving and the sweat is pouring.  After the first week I could barely walk across the street in fact when I tried to run and make the light my legs said NO.  This week I could have almost jogged but I would not have made it very far 😉

My food plan is still going well but I have noticed that the cheese is creeping in a little more everyday.  I need to plan and learn a little more about using fresh spices to add flavor to a dish instead of relying on cheese to make everything taste good.

Im encouraged by these changes and believe I am experiencing a bit more vitality.  My body is still requiring a nap each day and my joints are stiff but many of my cravings are easier to manage and im sleeping well at night.  I feel I am off to a great start and while I know that challenges are coming I choose to move forward and pray that this discipline will lead me closer to the person I was made to be.



I must say Im quite proud of myself as I look back over this past week.  I followed my own rules and the only mistake I made was ordering a decaf latte from starbucks with coconut milk without researching what was in the coconut milk…yup sugar so no more coconut milk from Starbucks for me 😦

We made it through Halloween and I lovingly watched my son eat his gummy candies and mini chocolate bars without feeling sorry for my self.  What I am doing now will improve my health and in turn give me more quality time with my family.

The biggest factor to the success of the first week is the time I took to prep and plan.  When meals are ready at home I do not need to grab food out.  When veggies are in the fridge I can find a satisfying snack when I need one.  In addition to the food prep and meal planning I am using my fitness pal app to keep an eye on my macros so I can be sure to keep my carbohydrates under 60% of my daily intake.  I need these foods in the form of fruits and veggies but I need to keep them in appropriate ratios to help my metabolism.

So with the food going well I started to incorporate my new exercise routine.  Today I finished my 5th spin class in as many days and made it through even though my “bike sitting muscles” were killing me!  Tomorrow I will give my “bike sitting muscles” a break and enjoy some bootcamp training.  I was BY FAR the largest of the ladies in these class and I was discouraged by the negative attention and comments I received but I pushed through and held my head high and by day 5 they could see I was committed and attitudes started to change.

It feels good to have a plan, it feels good to be doing something that makes me feel a bit more like myself.



{November 3, 2015}   Time to Get my Health Back

It has been the best of times and the worst of times these last 2 years. Seeing my family grow together has been beyond amazing, seeing my health dramatically decline has been greatly depressing. After over 2 years of doctors and naturalpaths, tests and parasite cleanses I do have a few more answers, but still a long way to go. I have been labeled with a metabolic disorder – a generalized way to say “well you body isn’t working as it should but we are not sure how to fix it”. After my last Doctors visit and a referral to an endocrinologist I knew I needed to take my health into my own hands and do the things that I know to do through nutrition and exercise – maybe they will not work exactly as they should but I am determined to find my way back to better health. There are some of the ways I am finding my way back:

No refined sugar for a whole year! That’s right no ice cream no Halloween candy just good clean food.

No wheat, oats corn or other gluten containing grains – just 2 servings of brown rice or buckwheat each day – better yet 1 serving of grain and starchy veggies like yam.

No alcoholic beverages – yup I will sipping on water and still enjoy the party.

Very limited dairy – this one almost kills me and yet I know it reduces thyroid function so it will have to be. Feta cheese a few times a week will be wonderful! I will drink almond milk and coconut milk (yogurt) as a replacement.

Very limited coffee – a few times a week I will enjoy a decaf coffee or a green tea as I know coffee can be hard on adrenal function.

Dramatically increasing my veggie consumption – at least 2 are every meal 5 x a day – I will learn to love them all!

Include 4 sources of protein everyday – some vegetable, some animal all clean.

Avoid all fast food – just think of the money I will save by eliminating grab and go food – more prep time required so planning ahead will be key.

In addition to the food challenges I need to get this body moving.
5 days a week I was do some aerobic interval work (spin, bootcamp, walk/jog) and 3 days a week I will do some additional heavy weight training to encourage muscular strength and shape.

While this plan might seem intimating, I have spent a lot of time pondering what I was willing to do and mentally preparing to make these changes. I am instituting each change slowly to allow for success. I am also ready for the hard times and using this outlet as a way of sharing my success and struggles – a way to be real with myself and others and a way to respect the body that has been given to me.



{February 23, 2012}   Be Encouraged # 5

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by my lovely Zumba ladies.  With so many of them transforming there bodies and minds I am encouraged at every class that it is possible to change.  Today I would like to celebrate with Sue’s story.  Sue was a large skeptic of the Weight Loss Study and did not believe it was possible to change.  Well in just a few months we watched it happen.  I kept teasing her that I would expect a great story from her when she had success…here are her encouraging words.

I first met Danielle when she came and taught our school Zumba last year.  Her smile and positive attitude made me want to go to her Zumba class regularly, along with the fact that I LOVE to dance!  My friend and colleague, Allison, and I signed up for her next session and we have been going ever since.  When Allison joined Danielle’s weight loss study in September, I was curious to see if it would work.  Before we had children, we had both lost over 60 pounds through Weight Watchers.  After we had children, the pounds crept back on.  With my first daughter, I kept 10 pounds on but I thought, “Well, it’s only 10 pounds.  I’m still 50 pounds lighter than I used to be.”

 Three years later, I wanted to have another baby but suffered 3 consecutive miscarriages within a year.  With each miscarriage, I gained 5 pounds.  Miraculously, I got pregnant with my second daughter and after she was born, another 10 pounds stayed on.  Fast forward to November 2011.  I was now 35 pounds heavier than before I had children.  I was no longer 50 pounds lighter – I was 25 pounds lighter.  I felt puffy all the time.  I felt like my chin hung down past my neck.  I would avoid getting my picture taken because I didn’t want to see how fat I had gotten.  I wore yoga/sweat pants all the time so I wouldn’t have to feel how tight my button-up pants were.  In a nutshell, I was miserable and so disappointed with myself.


After I was done having children, I tried WW again – twice, since I was a lifetime member.  It didn’t work this time.  Everyone told me it was my age.  They said, “Your metabolism changes after you turn 40”.  I believed them and came to terms with the fact that I would never lose the weight.  I would be one of those people who “let themselves go” after getting married and having kids.  I did try to eat better and exercise, but I would try it for a week and give up.   I turned into a skeptic.  I was convinced nothing would work.


When I saw Allison in October, she looked fantastic!  She had been on Danielle’s weight loss study for about 2 months.  She motivated me, just like she had when we were in WW together.  I had to at least try what she was doing.  I was ready.  I was ready to try and lose this weight.  Would it work?  Probably not.  But I had to try.  What have I got to lose?  (Besides that unwanted weight!)
I started in mid-November and by Christmas, I was down 17 pounds.  Are you kidding me?  17 pounds???  More importantly, I was down 19 inches!  I can now fit into the smallest size pants in my closet.  I can wear button-up pants comfortably.  I no longer have to twist, turn, and jam my wedding ring onto my finger.  I smiled and posed for a ton of pictures on Christmas Day.  So, why did it work this time?  I didn’t give up.  I changed my life style.  I made better choices with what I ate.  I wrote in a food 
journal so I was accountable for what I ate.  I exercised every day.

 Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t easy.  I had to really use a lot of will power to eliminate those late night snacks while watching Desperate Housewives.  It actually got to the point where I NEEDED to exercise or my day didn’t feel complete.  Sometimes I would exercise at 10:00 pm, just so I would feel better before I went to bed.

I still want to lose a few more pounds but I’m so happy and proud of what I have accomplished so far.  I look better, I feel better, and I have gained back my confidence.  I am a changed woman, and I can now say I’m no longer a skeptic!  


Thank you Danielle and Allison, for all your support!            



There is a reason why people do not reach the goals they set for themselves, changing habits and behaviors it hard work.  Be encouraged today that for every small step you make you do get closer to your goal.  You may take a few steps back now and then but you are still moving forward, no matter how slow.

Todays encouragement comes from Suzanne, a wonderful teacher and single mom who finds it hard to take time for herself.  In late october she made the decision to join the weight loss study and now she has a new sense of self:

Since beginning my journey I have lost 16.5 inches and 17lbs.  I’ve gained a better understanding when making food choices for my body type and for my lifestyle.  The exercise program has delivered great results and I feel a new sense of empowerment.

Thanks Danielle, From Suzanne.

Don’t let anything hold you back today from becoming empowered.  Just take that step!



et cetera