Homecoming

How do you describe homecoming? 

Returning back, from whence you came?

It feels like... you can breathe again. Like your chest is opening up and the air can finally settle in after an eternity underwater.

15 years ago, I walked away from the Middle East Intelligence & Policy track to which I had worked so hard to bolt myself. I would lock the "female Ethan Hunt" personae I had envisioned in a box, alongside dreams of strengthening American ties in the Middle East & Central Asia.

It was a long time coming: it was 2005 when I pulled the plug, and to be honest the dream had crashed down with the Twin Towers. I tried hard to piece together a future in the Middle East, when it was lost there in the Manhattan dust.

And so, I left.

To this day, when I see pictures of Istanbul in friends' social media timelines, or the sun reflecting on the Dome of the Rock in some politically charged thought piece, or pictures of Damascus - oh, Damascus - my chest opens up, the breath rushes in, and a familiar warmth fills my chest with a hum of remembrance.

That feeling of going back home, like a prodigal son wrapping your hands around your dad's neck and telling him that you missed him. That's how coming home feels. 

Homecoming

After I left Intelligence & Policy, I toyed around with Middle East Journalism, but the new style of corporate advocacy journalism left a bad taste in my mouth.

And so I fell back on my first love, my "what I would do if money weren't a factor" passion: fitness, specifically 12 Week Transformation Coaching (a niche I was initially ridiculed for filling by people who lacked vision, but that's a different blog post). I had lost 75 lbs in 24 Weeks at 23 years old, and found I had a knack for guiding others down the path I'd macheted. 

And so I departed the Middle East community with its rules of hospitality, generosity and thoughtfulness for another whose rules were more or less the same, but with dumbbells. 

Just a year into my fitness career, with only 8 months of full-time gym experience under my belt, I was given the gift of a lifetime: the chance to head the Grand Re-Opening of the highest grossing gym in the Gold's Gym national network, Gold's Gym Clarendon, in Washington's wealthy Northern Virginia neighborhood of Arlington. We crushed records - because of a high quality product fueled by a passion for transforming lives - and I made a name for myself.

And then a death.

My friend & colleague Maggie died in a car accident as I was basking in the glow of our sensational Grand Re-Opening. Sitting at her funeral I made a decision: I didn't want to die here. I wanted to go home. 

And so I left.

10 years ago, on my 27th birthday, I packed up my car and left the life I had known in Washington DC for all those years behind.

I hopped in my car and headed back to my hometown of Seattle, Washington.

Only when I got there: there was not a homecoming. 

Brothers and sisters embroiled in a real estate controversy, rain, and a sadness that settled over the city like the news of Maggie's death had settled over my gym the day a drunk driver plowed into her small sports car on the highway.

And so, once again, I left.

Got in my car and kept going.

Through Utah, in all its glory, to San Antonio, and then to Austin, en route to Los Angeles. Where I would 'make it' in fitness, make a name for myself, and maximize my impact.

But fate would intercede and the stars decide that I was to stay in Austin. Oh, Austin. The love of my life for ten years. What a beautiful old soul you are, and how good you were to me.

I started a business with a $400 loan and grew it into a million dollar operation. I loved, I lost. I gained two beautiful young girls and a black lab. I saw the stars and each night when I laid my head on my pillow I was happy to call myself a Texan.

But the pain of my divorce settled over my heart like a black cloud that wouldn't leave.

Like the sadness that settles in on Seattle with the late-October rain. Like the news of a friend's death before her time.

And so, I left.

I came home. To Washington. To my adopted home of Annapolis, Maryland, where I had spent about four years off and on in my late teens and early 20's.

I made a decision to not make any major commitments or moves for two years. No relationships, no marriages, no significant business commitments.

Two years to be still, fill myself up with the sounds and smells of naked babies running around my house. And just listen to that small, still voice that trills in your ear like a bell with long-forgotten memories you are only now coming back and realizing were true.

My two year sanctuary deadline arrived last month, in mid-February. 

homecoming (n.) a coming or returning home. Synonyms: arrival.

I sometimes wonder if the prodigal son was carrying anything when his father called him back home. I imagine him walking in the desert: tired, thirsty, almost near falling. I imagine he would be parched. The parable tells us nothing of his father asking his son what mistakes he had made, or what lessons he had learned. All it says is that they celebrated.

And so I would like to simply celebrate.

A homecoming.

An arrival.

As of April 15th, 2017, Transform With Mariah will be offering In-Home Personal Training & On-Location Group Training in Washington, DC / Northern Virginia. Specifically, greater Arlington & its environs. (Clients outside a 10 mile radius to be serviced upon request).

Please see our ad in Arlington Magazine, on stands April 15th. Be sure to sign up for their email list for a special Transform With Mariah Grand Opening offer which will be emailed out April 20th.

I am currently assembling a team that will deliver the highest quality transformations to impact the greatest number of lives.

This is the business I know and love, the space that I thrive in, with all the lessons I have carried with me from Austin, in a location I call home. 

The support I have around me is second to none. It's a tough thing, being a visionary. One does need to surround themselves with integrators to ensure that the vision is attainable and sustainable. And I have been blessed with just that.

The new business operations will not affect current Online / Skype clients, a service which will continue indefinitely. Mariahs-Gym.com will remain unaffected. Operations in Annapolis will be in effect until July 15, 2018.

Homecoming.

Synonyms: arrival.

Transform With Mariah-Approved Protein Bars!

Scene 1: You're busy, the kids are screaming, you haven't had a glass of water in 3 hours. You stop what you're doing, head toward the kitchen - when your toddler tells you she needs to go to the bathroom. An hour later she's finished, it's nap time... and before you know it the clock says 3 pm and you are completely dehydrated.

Scene 2: You're at your desk. You haven't had a glass of water in 3 hours but you are trying to fire off two more emails before you take a break. Just as you are about to finish the last one, a major sale comes through so it's time to send off paperwork to make your client happy. Before you know it you look down and it's 5 pm. You're thirsty, hungry, and too tired at this point to do that workout you had planned when you left for work this morning. 

Given all of this, it's sometimes difficult to consider eating 4-6 meals per day. As such, many of my clients ask me what acceptable protein bar & protein shake options are. I have written about my ice-cream-like protein shake before (click here for the recipe), so today I thought to share acceptable protein bar options to get you through this crazy thing called life.

In no particular order, these 6 bars all get an 'A' grade for being high protein, low sugar, without tons of filler.

1. Quest Protein Bars. Relatively filling, high fiber. 

2. Powercrunch Protein Bars. Not as filling, so I usually add a fat serving on the side (eg 2 tbsp almond buttter, or 1/4 cup coconut cream with stevia)

3. AdvoBar & AdvoBar Snack. Filling, low sugar, high fiber.

4. Think Thin Bars. Relatively filling, low sugar. Uses soy protein so best to keep to 1-2x/week. Think Thin Bites are bite-sized nuggests of the bars, and are delicious! On the downside, they come in a bag that has 2-3 servings inside, so if portion control isn't your thing (no shame - it's not mine either!) then this might not be your best option - unless you're out shopping and have a friend or kiddos with you to whom you can "donate" the uneaten-but-open portion.

5. Oh Yeah 'One' Bars. Selling point on these is taste as they come in flavors like birthday cake. They are low in sugar at 1 gram, but high in sugar alcohol so it's best to keep these to 1-2/week, tops.

6. Powercrunch Choklat Bars. Amazing taste, low in sugar. Not filling: more of a desert after-thought. But what a desert!

And there you have it.

Now, your best option is always real food. So if you can take some time on Sunday to get in the kitchen, dive into primalpalate.comnomnompaleo.com, or paleomg.com and make some "real food" bars to freeze and eat throughout the week, then that would be even better!

Of course, as soon as you do that, your toddler (or client) will probably call you...

Veggie, Meat & Cheese Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds Mild Italian Sausage (or ground turkey or turkey sausage)
Pasta Sauce (Use your favorite jar sauce or make your own)
Zucchini  
1 medium Sweet Yellow Onion
2 Green, Red or Yellow Peppers
8 ounces Mushrooms
2 ounces Shredded mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook the sausage then add the pasta sauce to the sausage and simmer. 
Saute the onion, peppers and mushrooms together with seasonings of your choice (i.e. garlic, basil, oregano or some pesto sauce).
Slice the zucchini into rounds.

To assemble the lasagna spread a bit of the meat sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 pan, add layer of zucchini slices, next spread the sautéed vegetables over the zucchini slices, spread more of the meat sauce over the vegetables, layer more zucchini slices over the vegetables, spread the remaining sauce over the zucchini.  Finish by sprinkling cheese over the top of the sauce if you choose to use cheese.  

Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 – 45 minutes.  Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 – 15 mins before cutting and serving.  

Use this recipe as a base.  You can add any vegetables of your choice such as spinach, eggplant, or broccoli rabe.  You can also modify your favorite lasagna recipe by simply using zucchini slices instead of lasagna noodles, adding more veggies and omitting the ricotta cheese.  Enjoy!

Join Our How to Lose 5 Lbs in 7 Days Challenge (and get a special offer!)

Your girlfriend’s going on about her fitness goals. “What about you?” she asks “If you could look like anyone, who would it be?”

You think about it. The honest answer is Kate Hudson, but that’s ridiculous. You’re a size 14 and have about 60 lbs to lose.

“Oh I don’t really care about all that. The scale’s just a number. I’d be happy to lose 5-10 lbs.”

Aren’t you tired of lying to yourself about what you really want?

Once upon a time there was a very smart, very successful girl who had it all… except she was overweight.

Then one day she met another girl who had been just like her… and together they rewrote the smart, successful girl’s next chapter.

Those girls? That’s you and me. I went from 225 lbs and a size 16/18 to a size 2 in 6 months, and I did it as a single mom of two babies under 2, with a bad metabolism and a mountain of debt to climb out from under.

You?

It’s time to write a new chapter and get your groove back.

You’re a powerful woman.

Do you want tomorrow to be different than today? Don’t you want to be fit and healthy next summer, instead of hiding in a wrap?

I’m here for you. And I would like to invite you to join our How to Lose 5 Lbs in 7 Days Challenge … and no, I’m not going to get you to eat weird herbs from Africa you can’t pronounce, or eat only soup for weeks, or quit your job so you can take up residence at the gym. But, implement this one trick and you’ll get yourself on the path to lasting transformation today. Get your free guide here >> http://bit.ly/kickstartyourtransformation

And check out this special offer you get when you download the guide!

Fall Chocolate Carrot Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffin

You know you're ready for fall when you pull out the Halloween decorations. Well, I am officialy 'there'. I made these yummy fall muffins for my kids yesterday. This recipe is adapted from Diane SanFilipo's Practical Paleo Cookbook which you need to own!

Fall Chocolate Pumpkin Carrot Gingerbread Muffins

6 eggs

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup blackstrap molasses, agave*

1/4 cup maple syrup* (not wanting the sugar of molasses & maple syrup, I used 1/4 cup coconut oil, water, stevia & maple extract to taste here)

1/2 cup coconut flour** (wanting some chocolate flavor I mixed in chocolate protein powder here)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

3 cups carrots, shredded

1/2 cup raisins*** (optional. Not wanting the sugar, I didn't use these)

***I added 1/2 cup ricotta cheese & pumpkin mixture to make these chocolate-pumpkin. I just used canned pumpkin)

 

Frosting (optional)

1/4 cup coconut butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp orange zest

1 tbsp shredded coconut

1 tbsp maple syrup**** (I used my replacement mixture from above)

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whisk the eggs, butter or coconut oil, vanilla extract, molasses, and maple syrup (or molasses & maple syrup replacement, from above) in a large mixing bowl. Next mix in the coconut flour (and chocolate, if you used it), sea salt, baking soda, ginger, and ground cloves. Finally ass the carrots and raisins (if you're using the raisins).

Bake 35-40 minutes if you use large lined muffin tins. Bake 20-25 min if you use mini-tins (like I did).

Combine the frosting ingredients until smooth. Add to muffins once they have cooled. 

A Carb-Less Protein Shake (That Tastes Like Ice Cream)

Your girlfriend’s going on about her fitness goals. “What about you?” she asks “If you could look like anyone, who would it be?”

You think about it. The honest answer is Kate Hudson, but that’s ridiculous. You’re a size 14 and have about 60 lbs to lose.

“Oh I don’t really care about all that. The scale’s just a number. I’d be happy to lose 5-10 lbs.”

Aren’t you tired of lying to yourself about what you really want?

Once upon a time there was a very smart, very successful girl who had it all… except she was overweight.

Then one day she met another girl who had been just like her… and together they rewrote the smart, successful girl’s next chapter.

Those girls? That’s you and me. I went from 225 lbs and a size 16/18 to a size 2 in 6 months, and I did it as a single mom of two babies under 2, with a bad metabolism and a mountain of debt to climb out from under.

You?

It’s time to write a new chapter and get your groove back.

You’re a powerful woman.

Do you want tomorrow to be different than today? Don’t you want to be fit and healthy next summer, instead of hiding in a wrap?

I’m here for you

To that end, here's a little secret weapon I use almost daily: a protein shake that's worth a protein serving, and/or a veggie serving, and/or a fat serving depending on how you make it. 

And the best part? It tastes like ice cream & has the same consistency, but it's packed with optimal nutrition for fat burning and won't derail you.

You can do this with any flavor protein powder and make chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, peanut butter, chocolate chip mint, banana - whatever flavor you like!

 

Mariah's Ice Cream Tasting Protein Shake

  • 1.5 scoops protein powder. You want a whey protein power with less than 2 grams of sugar in it. I use AdvoCare's Muscle Gain, usually in chocolate
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup Egg Beaters. This helps make it thick like ice cream. You can use a generic Egg Beaters, but don't use Egg Whites or Egg Beaters' Egg Whites product - it doesn't get the right consistency
  • Stevia, to taste
  • Vanilla extract, to taste (you could mix this up and use mint, banana, maple or any extract)
  • Water and ice as needed to achieve desired thickness

Optional

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup butternut squash soup, pumpkin, or frozen fruit - optional, if you want a carb at this meal
  • 1/2 cup green salad from green juicing - optional, if you want a veggie at this meal. When you juice it shoots green salad out the back that you can put in protein shakes
  • 1 scoop greens powder - optional, if you want a second (or first) veggie at this meal. I use AdvoCare's AdvoGreens Green Powder - it's a full servings of greens for the day and helps supplement your vegetable intake
  • 2 tbsp - 1/4 cup Coconut Crème (they sell it in cans at Trader Joe’s – you can sweeten it with stevia it tastes like ice cream) - optional, if you want a fat at this meal. You can also whip this with some stevia & vanilla extract and place on top as whipped creme
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (almond, macademia, hazlenut etc) - optional, if you want a fat at this meal

Enjoy! And remember, I'm always here for you,

 

Mariah

A Very Minnie Mouse Birthday Cake

We made this on my Ezme's third birthday a couple weeks ago, and it was delicious. Mom had two slices, didn't workout that day, and actually lost 2 lbs the next morning. With minimal effect on blood sugar it's a great option for special occasions; Minnie Mouse ears optional.

 

Magically Moist Almond Cake

¾ cup unsalted Butter

1 cup of Coconut Sugar

4 Eggs

½ cup Whole Milk

1 tsp Vanilla

1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour

½ cup Organic Coconut Flour

¼ tsp Salt

2 tsp Baking Powder

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan.

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs, one

at a time, and beat until fully blended. Add milk and vanilla; mix

until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt and baking

powder. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Beat until

creamy. Spread batter in prepared pan and back for 30 minutes.

Serve with fresh fruit and/or whipped cream.

 

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup of Heavy Cream

1 scoop Chocolate Quest Protein Powder

(Note: Can use any flavor of the Quest protein powder that you

prefer. Optionally can add 1 tsp vanilla or 1 tablespoon of coconut

sugar to sweeten.)

 

Beat the cream and protein powder together until very stiff. Should

have the consistency of a thick mousse. Use to frost the almond

cake or serve as a mousse with berries.

 

That's a great trick, but help me see the bigger picture?

You’re getting ready for work, putting on favorite your favorite dress - and it no longer zips up.

The biggest issue you have right now isn’t losing the weight, it’s where do you start. Between the kids, your corporate career and running a household - finding the time seems like mission impossible.

I’ve been there. You see, once upon a time, I was exactly where you are now. I was tired, overworked and had gained several dress sizes and an extra naught on the scales. I was told I had a slow thyroid, bad knees and I needed to be medicated. I tried losing weight, but it always backfired. I signed up for a few fad programs where I actually GAINED weight. I'd lose - then gain it back (plus some friends). I even tried fasting. I thought I had literally tried EVERYTHING.

And before I knew it I was an absolute emotional and physical mess.

But when I discovered the secret I'm about to share with you, I lost it all and I’ve kept it off for over a decade - and you can too. 

Are you ready to learn the secret? Click here to download your free guide and FINALLY reveal your best you yet >> Click Here

I'm here for you,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mariah

Cravings Buster: Two-minute Protein Pancake for the Win!

When you make a two-minute version of a protein pancake and the next thing you know you have adorable 2-year-old & 1-year-old trolls hovering over your food and munching away... you know you're onto a winner.

So here is a protein pancake recipe that literally takes 2 minutes to make and, according to my trolls, is "yummy yummy for my tummy."

Ingredients

½ scoop vanilla protein powder

1 egg

6 egg whites (I just used 1 cup of egg beaters to cut down on prep time)

1 stevia packet

1 pinch baking powder

1 pinch pumpkin pie spice

1 pinch almond flour or meal

1 pinch coconut flour or meal

Heat a pan, spray with pam or use butter. Blend ingredients in blender, pour & cook. (You could also throw a couple blueberries into the batter while it's cooking). Top with butter or Smart Balance Light and sugar-free maple syrup (you can also mash raspberries with some boiling water if you don’t like the chemicals in the sugar-free maple syrup)

Cravings Buster: Banana Bread

So you've got a craving for something sweet, maybe something baked. You also, as luck would have it, are in need of a complex carb with a little bit of protein.

 

Enter the protein banana bread.

 

A word to the wise: This stuff tastes good. It might be a good idea to cut it up into serving sizes and then individually wrap them in sandwich bags so that you only eat one at a time.

 

Nutrition

A 1/8th serving will pack the following:

 

Carbs:     20.8 g

Fat:         2.4 g

Protein:   11.9 g

Calories: 147

 

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour (or almond/coconut flour, depending on how your body responds to each)

  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 scoops vanilla or plain whey protein powder

 

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites

  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese

  • 2 large bananas mashed

  • 4 packs Stevia or 1/2 cup Splenda

  • 2 oz. water

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.

  2. Mash bananas and mix together wet ingredients.

  3. Combine ingredients and pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam.

  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes. (Depending on the oven, it might take up to as much as 45 minutes)

Confessions of a Self-Professed Slug

Can I tell you a secret? I HATE WORKING OUT.

I mean... I never hate it after I'm 15 minutes into it. At that point it's a 'mild dislike'. But the hours leading up to it, the warmup, and the first 15 minutes until the endorphins kick in are painful. I try not to talk to anyone around me because I'm grumpy, unhappy, and do NOT want to be there (I think my workouts partners just assume I'm in "the zone..." HA).

Growing up in Seattle, I was a slug. My favorite past-time was drinking hot cocoa by the fire and staring out at the mist hugging the evergreen trees. I love snuggling up under blankets, and my daughters have taken after me as world-class cuddlers.

Coach Mariah, a self-professed slug, lost over 75 lbs in 6 months, only working out 2-3 days per week with her 2 year-old, 1 year-old, and black lab named Belle all piled on top of her

Coach Mariah, a self-professed slug, lost over 75 lbs in 6 months, only working out 2-3 days per week with her 2 year-old, 1 year-old, and black lab named Belle all piled on top of her

Because I’m a slug, I know how to coach people like us who aren’t exactly gym rats.

The truth? You don’t have to workout twice a day for two hours to accomplish what I did: dropping from a size 18 to a size 2 in just 6 months, with two babies under 2 years-old in tow.

What if I told you that working out twice a week for 45 minutes was enough to make a MAJOR change? And that I only workout 3-4 days per week for 30-45 minutes (ok truth here: usually 2-3 days, but I always plan on 4!)?

Caroline, a 54 year-old grandmother of 4 went from a size 12/14 to a size 0 in 6 months, and has kept it off for over a year, working out only twice per week for 45 minutes.

Caroline, a 54 year-old grandmother of 4 went from a size 12/14 to a size 0 in 6 months, and has kept it off for over a year, working out only twice per week for 45 minutes.

What if I told you that things like sleep, water, stress management, and the lifestyle changes are more important than your workouts?

I’m actually leaner NOW than I was before I had kids, when I had MORE time to workout.

So why can't my story be YOUR story?

So here are some YOU CAN DO IT weight loss tips, to help change that bunged up Soundtrack in Your Mind we're working on changing. 

  • Don’t plan to workout more than 3-4 days per week for 30-45 minutes. Quality, not quantity.

  • You have to figure out what suits your lifestyle so that moving forward you set goals that are realistic and achievable and you stick to that. Only two days per week? Start there.

  • Implementation. What time are you most likely to workout? Can you join a class? Don't plan to workout after work if, like me, you tend to shut down after 2 pm.

  • Accountability: have you joined our Facebook page? Have you burned your ships? What is your buddy system?

So here is something tangible, concrete, and all-important you can do today that does NOT involve working out: join our community. We are a group of women who are committed to supporting each other & providing accountability and structure to make our fitness goals a reality.

Here's to making this season your fittest yet!

Mariah

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Cravings Buster: Chocolate Brownies

Finding something that tastes like a cheat but packs 7 grams of protein and 1.8 grams of carbs per serving is one of those moments that makes you step back and say, "Yeah. Life. It totally is worth living."

 

We discovered this little brownie recipe on ProteinPOW.com, a blog written by Anna Sward and dedicated to protein powder recipes. It was contributed by Layne Norton, who in addition to having a PhD in nutritional sciences, also happens to be a natural pro bodybuilder.

 

Enjoy.

 

Ingredients:

85g chocolate whey

92g unsweetened dark chocolate

240g egg whites

80g cooking splenda

1 tablespoon baking powder

60g reduced calorie butter

120g walden farms zero calorie chocolate syrup

228g zero fat cream cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Set cream cheese out for 20 - 30 minutes to soften

Mix all ingredients in large bowl using a hand mixer until batter is nice and smooth

Pour batter into pre-sprayed baking tray

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

 

Nutritional Information (per slice, if you divide into 20 slices):

59.4 calories

1.78g carbs

7.2g protein

2.5g fat

0.55g fiber

The Truth About Those Before & After Pics... (here's the secret to how it's done)

Have you ever seen those 12 Week Transformation photos that look fake, like they have been Photoshopped? Did you wonder if they were real?

                                               Michael lost over 50 lbs in 12 Weeks

                                               Michael lost over 50 lbs in 12 Weeks

My name is Mariah. I have been coaching 12 Week Transformations for the past 15 years.

I specialize in those dramatic before-and-after's that look Photoshopped. But aren't.

More importantly, I help clients get results that are sustainable. And I should know what that looks like: 15 years ago I went from 225 lbs and a size 20 to a lean bikini body and a size 2/4 in only 6 months (24 weeks). More importantly, I kept the weight off for 12 years.

I have 2.5-year old and 1.5-year old daughters. So last year at this time I was back up to 225 lbs. Once again I had to shed the weight. And I did, dropping from 225 lbs to a lean size 2/4 again in only 6 months (24 weeks).

                                           Coach Mariah lost over 75 lbs in 6 months

                                           Coach Mariah lost over 75 lbs in 6 months

So today I am going to share with you my top 5 secrets to a successful transformation. Grab a pen and let's get started!


1. Make a Vision Board


It's hard to work for something if you don't know what something is. You need to step away from your self-doubting beliefs that tell you, "it's hard to lose weight," "I don't want to be hungry," "I only want to lose 5-10 lbs even though I would really like to lose 50 because to me 50 just doesn't seem sustainable," and embrace the possibility that you can be whatever you chose to be with the right coaching.


The first step I have my clients take is to go buy a peg board at Target and buy some fitness or fashion magazines. Pull out pictures that resemble how you want to look. This can be about appearance and how you look and feel in your clothing, or it can be about energy: pull out photos of athletes who look like they could run a marathon tomorrow. Or say you're a parent who wants the energy to keep up with your kids: find some pics that remind you of that.

If you want to save money 'for a trip', it's best to know where you're going, how you'll feel when you get there. If you want to save money 'for a car', it's best to test drive the car. Then you know just how much you love it, which makes the sacrifice of setting aside money to get to your goal of owning the car you're excited about fun and a bit of a game, instead of feeling like a drain on your bank account. If you want to set aside money for a mortgage... and on and on. You get my point.


Start with your vision.

2. Do or die


When Cortez reached the new world, he burned his ships and in turn his men were well motivated.


Anyone can set a goal. We all set goals all the time. But very few people are willing to put themselves in a "do or die" position.


Cortez knew many would dream of colonizing the America's. Some might even make the voyage, get to shore, and have the plans all drawn up. But few if any would be willing to put themselves and their men in a position where they had to succeed... or die.


Likewise with transformation. Every year people make resolutions. But how many really triumph? Notice my word choice: I'm not saying succeed, I'm saying triumph? Transform their bodies, and maintain that transformation season after season, year after year?


If you want to be one of the few, you have to put yourself in a "do or die" position. Consider emailing 10 of your closest friends your 'before' pictures, and commit to update them with your progress every week for 12 weeks. If you have social media, post your 'before' pictures on there, or start a blog.


Burn the ships, you'll have to find a way to succeed.

 3. Get coached

When I did my first transformation 15 years ago, I hired a coach whose results impressed me. I told myself that if she could transform herself and other people, she clearly knew something that I didn't. So I paid her fee for online training, and told myself that whatever she told me to do I would, for 12 Weeks.


It worked - I dropped from 225 to 175 lbs, and a size 16 to a size 10. It worked so well, in fact, that I hired her for another 12 Weeks. And at the end of it I was wearing a size 2/4 and rocking a bikini. I also constructed a method that has helped me and 1000 others transform. I'd say that was worth the investment!


Listening to someone who has been there, and having them hold your hand along the way is invaluable.


Transform With Mariah offers coaching programs from high-end personal training in your home all the way down to scaled down nutrition and supplementation programs coached over the phone and online. Check out the website, transformwithmariah.com and email us for details at info@transformwithmariah.com.


4. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition

Think of transformation as a pyramid: nutrition is the foundation. It has to be in the right sweet-spot for your workouts to do their job effectively.

Invest in a good coach who can work with you to sort out what foods are right for your body. Once that building block is in place, it's time to consider supplementation to fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet, and help convert your body from one that burns sugar for fuel to one that burns its own fat for fuel.

I am a proponent of AdvoCare nutrition supplementation, having used it in my own transformations (and having felt the effects on my body when I stopped supplementing during my pregnancies). I typically start clients on a 24 Day Challenge which, at $4-$10/day is a low-cost, easy way to get started on your transformation. Check out transformwithmariah.net or click on the Strategy Session link to set up a Skype to discuss your goals and how to reach them.
 

5. Workouts


I believe that intensity is key to transformation. If your body feels stress (in this case the good, positive kind brought on by a good workout, not the negative kind brought on by chronic stress in your life) it gets the hint that it's time to transform.


I believe intensity can take many forms: CrossFit is an obvious first example, but an intense bodybuilding workout, an intense ballet regimen, and intense dance programme, all fit the bill to some degree.


I also believe that resistance is an important component to any transformation program. Clients I work with train with intensity, but in domains that are appropriate for their unique goal.

So now it's your turn. Want to get inspired? Check out the before and after gallery on the Transform With Mariah Facebook page, and while you're there be sure to like us: facebook.com/transformwithmariah. When your'e done, set up a complimentary 30-min strategy session by clicking here.


May 2016 be YOUR year to Transform!


Mariah

How I lost 75 lbs in 6 months after having 2 babies in 1 year

Hello there! My name is Mariah.

For those of you who don't know me, I wanted to share my story in hopes that you'll be inspired!

Part I: The Journey Begins

My journey started when, 15 years ago I found myself fat and out of shape at the University of Chicago (aka "Where Fun Comes to Die," UChicago is known for stressing academics above all else, producing beautiful, Athenian minds, but not Spartan bodies). I had been a swimmer growing up - a very bad one, which meant I had to work twice as long and pick horrific individual events like the mile or the 200 meter butterfly just to get past all the talented people around me, tortoise/hare-style. It also meant a 3,000-5,000 calorie/day diet and 2-4 hours/day of training. Flash forward to UChicago with long hours in the library and a ridiculously difficult language like Turkish to learn, and I probably exercised once - maybe twice - in my undergraduate years. My lifestyle change completely altered my physical and chemical state, which slowly led to an enormous weight gain. This in turn bled into how people responded to me, which affected my personality, self esteem, and ultimately my destiny, which I could feel beginning to veer off course underneath my feet as I stood by and watched, powerless. My ego wrecked, I was depressed and felt out of control. Doctors said, "Take Prozac for the dark cloud… medication for a sluggish thyroid… surgery for your failing knees… more medication for the metabolism… more Prozac for an eating disorder." In essence, "You're doomed unless you take these pills I am prescribing you."

Broken.

I was 20 years old.

Unsatisfied with those answers, I scoured book stores and the internet for signs of success. As Tony Robbins says, "Success leaves clues." I stumbled upon Bill Phillips' classic, "Body for Life," and message boards dedicated to the 12 Week Transformation. Lurking there I would unearth a Coach who had herself lost over 100 lbs within 1 year. I hired her, and I began a journey that would help me develop the Transform With Mariah method. I dropped rapidly from 215 lbs and a size 20 to 175 lbs and a size 10/12 in just 12 Weeks. 

Mariah, at her heaviest, in 2003

Excited about the results of my first 12 Week Challenge, I decided to keep on going and dropped from 175 lbs to 145 lbs, 22% to 10% body fat, and a size 10/12 to a size 4 in another 12 Weeks. I ultimately finished two consecutive 12 Week Challenges in bikini-wearing shape, and was able to leverage that into a number of small fitness modeling jobs that, to me, were the ultimate proof that I had transformed.

Mariah, from progress pictures taken in her second 12 Week Program, 2005

As I mentioned before, I had attended the University of Chicago (and Georgetown School of Foreign Service & Bogazici Univeristy in Istanbul, Turkey) and studied Near Eastern History & Religion. I was set to attend Columbia University for a graduate degree in their internationally-focused school of journalism. But I found that the thrill of coaching the 12 Week Transformation - and immediately making a positive impact on someone's life - far more rewarding than anything more etherial. I felt like Charon, shepherding people through the dark, mysterious forest that is personal transformation. We would do battle with their dragons (divorce, job loss, depression), and we chose which tools to use for each individual client based on their unique goals, their motivators and driving force, as well as their body, metabolism, and physical structure.

It felt to me like applied religion. 

And thus, because I wanted to help people and change lives, I left graduate school without ceremony and began coaching 12 Week Transformations full-time when I was 25 years old.

My method gained traction first within Gold's Gyms in Washington, DC and then later in my adopted hometown of Austin, TX, where, inspired by Austin's great king of fitness David King, I opened my first business in 2007. Within a year I had grown to where I needed a business partner to help flesh out my method and make it scaleable across multiple trainers, and to help manage the business side of the house. We would eventually part ways, and I found myself in a position where I was trying to do everything a small business owner does (marketing, sales, billing & receivables, employee training, quality control) in addition to trying to keep my feet wet in my clients' transformation process. I found that setup was detrimental for me personally, mentally, emotionally, as well as for my clients and coaches, and ultimately the house of cards collapsed. I sold the business at a tremendous loss a year ago, in September of 2014.

Good and bad came from the ten years I spent in Austin. The good? My teams and I coached over 1000 transformations. That's allot of lives changed. The bad? I found that my motivations changed. It was no longer about changing lives it was about the challenge and the thrill of growing a business (at first; later it was about the stress of maintaining that business). Which turned me into a different person, with different core values and ethics. The day came I looked in the mirror and no longer liked the person I saw.

Over the past year I have been able to reflect on how I'm wired, and how I'm best suited to help other people, which is why I originally set down this path, and why I'm not sitting at a foreign correspondent's desk. I ultimately landed on: my gifts and talents are best suited to serve others as a solo-preneur, and that what I love best is coaching my own (personal) clients. I also realized that my best clients were coached ONLINE, as we expend greater focus on the FOUNDATION of their Transformation Pyramid (see below) - and less on the 'window dressing', or workouts (which, contrary to popular belief, are not the most important thing). To that end, I now coach clients individually via my Online Program, and the results have been the best I have coached in 15 years.

                                             The Transformation Pyramid

                                             The Transformation Pyramid

 

That's the first part of my story. 

PART II: Prove it Can Be Done

The second part begins in December of 2011, when I slipped a disc in my back. I suffered with chronic, crippling pain stemming from that injury for about 9 months before I conceived my oldest daughter, Ezme, who is now 2 years old.

I was able to stay somewhat fit throughout my first pregnancy. I lost significant strength and mobility because of all the pain, and was hobbling by the end of the pregnancy, but all things considered I was reasonably healthy and gained a reasonable amount of weight.

Coach Mariah, after the birth of her first child

Coach Mariah, after the birth of her first child

When Ezme was just 4 months old I conceived my youngest, Clara, who is now 11 months old. That pregnancy wreaked havoc on my already-out-of-shape body. By October of 2014, when Clara was born, I was exhausted. I couldn't walk without pain, couldn't bend over, and thought I might need to start using a cane. Add to that pain the need to care for young baby, a pregnancy, the stress of running a business, and I was barely making it. In the midst of all that my husband had strayed. I was 7 months pregnant with a one year old to take care of and a business to run so I was beating myself up for not being 'better': a better wife, a more energetic mom, a more capable business owner. As I mentioned in Part I, I ultimately sold that business at a massive loss and left Austin needing to get back on solid ground.

My mommy transformation began right smack dab in the middle of that move, in June/July of 2015.

Within 3 months, I dropped from 35% to 17% body fat, from 189 to 162 lbs. I began the process of regaining mobility in my spine, and I was able to do Olympic lifts again.

3 months after that I was 151 lbs. I had lost over 75 lbs, dropped from 35% to 10% body fat.

I am stronger than I have ever been, having recently set a personal record for head-to-ground handstand pushups. And most importantly, I have my confidence, inner strength, and personal integrity back.

So whatever challenge you're facing, I hope knowing that someone out there lost over 75 lbs as a single mom of two babies under 2, raising them on one income, and with all the stress that comes with having no time relief - if she could do it, you can too.

The Soundtrack In Your Mind

Does this sound familiar?

The kids are in bed, and your husband puts his book down. He slides up next to you, and you instinctively pull away.

“You know, I could help you,” he says. “I could get up early with you and workout.”

If looks could kill, he would be dead right now.

                                Nicole lost 60 lbs in 6 months. She has kept it off for 6 years.

                                Nicole lost 60 lbs in 6 months. She has kept it off for 6 years.

“Good night,” you say, and turn over, sliding as far you can to the edge of the bed as possible.

He sighs and walks out of the room, shutting the door behind him.

Sound familiar? If you’re like I was, you’ll then lie there, staring at the ceiling, thinking about how ill-fitting all your jeans are, how the happy hour your husband likes seem to attract increasingly young and slim girls each time you go, while you look increasingly like your great aunt Mildred. And the pool party this weekend? The Smiths are young, fit healthy and the picture of fun… while you can’t wear a one-piece swimsuit without a wrap around your waist.

You reflect on how your friends seem to lose weight easily, while dieting is a struggle for you that doesn’t seem to work. You have heard about slow metabolism, damaged thyroid. Maybe one of those applies to you? In which case, who could blame you for being overweight? No matter how much or how little you eat, your body never changes.

End scene.

This thing that’s happening? Inside your brain, but leaking out via your actions? It’s what I like to call the Soundtrack in Your Mind.

Like the Brady Bunch theme song (“Here’s a story… of a lovely lady… who was bringing up three very lovely girls…”), it gets in there and plays over and over and over.

Different things trigger it, but the story that’s in there is always the same. "Slow metabolism, damaged thyroid, taxed adrenals, harder for me than other girls, losing weight takes dieting, which makes you hungry, and I barely have energy to workout..."

But here’s the secret: The Soundtrack in Your Mind ISN’T TRUE. How do I know? If it WERE, you'd be FIT, LEAN, and YOUR HEALTHIEST SELF (and probably wouldn't be reading this blog).

Caroline, a 54 year-old grandmother of four, lost 50 lbs in 6 months. She has kept it off for over a year. 

Caroline, a 54 year-old grandmother of four, lost 50 lbs in 6 months. She has kept it off for over a year. 

 

The Soundtrack in Your Mind is an insidious story you keep telling yourself because you don’t yet understand why you can’t lose weight, while others have no trouble with it.

I understand the Soundtrack in Your Mind. I had one myself when I was 80 lbs overweight, wearing a size 20, and had tried everything and failed. My mind wanted a simple explanation for why, when I dieted, I GAINED weight and was STARVING. “Damaged thyroid” made sense, as did “slow metabolism.” Neither was completely untrue, but what WAS untrue was that I couldn’t be AS FIT AND LEAN AND HEALTHY AS ANY OTHER ‘NORMAL’ GIRL, AND GET THERE WITHOUT STARVING MYSELF… OR EVER BEING HUNGRY!

When I found the secrets I share with you in my free gift, How to Lose 5 lbs in 7 Days With This One Small Trick, it was like pulling the first loose string in an old sweater: everything began to unravel. 75 lbs slid off me in just 6 months, working out only 3 times per week. I dropped from a size 18 to a size 2! 

The next thing that needed to go was that Brady Bunch Theme Song, the Soundtrack in MY Mind.

So how do we change the Soundtrack in Your Mind

  • Have you pictured yourself as the fit gal in the neighborhood lately, the one who wears the teeny tiny jeans and everyone asks fitness tips of? No? 
  • How about ‘that girl’ whom people look at and think, ‘some girls just have it easier’?

I’m here to tell you it’s time to start visualizing it. Sound silly?

Consider this: why would you take the time to plant flowers in a garden that’s full of weeds? You know what will happen: the weeds will simply grow back up again and choke the beautiful flowers you spent so much time making perfect. The same is true for your fitness. We have to ‘pull the weeds’ - this idea that your body isn’t just as capable as everyone else’s, or that you're 'a fat girl' - before we plant the pretty flowers.

                  Coach Mariah lost over 75 lbs in 6 months as a single mom of two under 2

                  Coach Mariah lost over 75 lbs in 6 months as a single mom of two under 2

Let me unpack this a slight different way, with another story.

Until the 5th grade, I was consistently in the lower-middle of my class with respect to my academic performance. My IQ tests were all normal/average-ish. All my teachers treated me as if I was marginally intelligent, but not bright. My 4th grade teacher actually declined my request to try advanced math, saying I wasn’t ready. She was very dismissive of me when I asked, and made me feel small (the Soundtrack in My Mind went, "I'm not smart like those other girls...").

When I entered 5th grade, on the first day the teacher asked questions about parts of speech. The answers were actually written on a sign on the wall, but I guess he didn’t know it, and the other kids didn’t see it, so I kept raising my hand and answering his questions. He remarked how smart I was, and I felt so proud. The rest of that year he treated me with utter respect for my intelligence and capabilities. I had convinced him I was “the smart girl,” the “gifted student,” and “ahead of the class,” and that label would stick. Not wanting to disappoint my teacher, I started performing according to his expectation. I won spelling bees, writing competitions, and was invited to do a summer program with Johns Hopkins, on account of some SAT scores. My parents had my IQ re-tested and it was ‘genius’ level. I was confident enough to keep going on that track for the rest of my academic career.

Now, do we really believe I magically became a genius at 11? Do we believe it was ‘dormant’, and sleeping, and that it just happened to crop up when I turned 12? 

Or do we believe that, on a certain day, something happened that would change the STORY I TOLD MYSELF, the story my teacher told about me, the story my peers told about me, and I began behaving differently TO MATCH THE STORY?

I’m here to tell you it was the latter.

Because of that 5th grade experience, it’s always been interesting to me how much one person’s opinion of you can change your actions, positive or negative. Which is why I always start with an overweight client and insist that they start walking, talking, and behaving like the hottest person in the room. Like a fitness model. "Talk smack to me girl! Tell me how amazing your legs look!" I tell them. They oblige me... kind of. You can tell they're super uncomfortable about it. But ultimately they do it, and continue to do it. (Until the day comes when it's true and they have to be careful their self-talk doesn't come across as arrogant because now it really IS true... but that's a lesson we'll get to later).

We have changed the Brady Bunch Theme song that was stuck in their head to something equally catchy, let's call it the Star Wars Theme Song. And it's on repeat.

Brady Bunch Theme Song = I'll never be fit.

Star Wars Theme Song = This is easy for me. I love to eat clean and workout, and I always get great results.

An idea is like a cancer: plant it, and it can grow exponentially, and bear tremendous fruit.

So... back to the Soundtrack in Your Mind. What if I told you that we could radically change the way you eat and approach your fitness with this simple idea: that YOU could be lean, look cute in a bikini, and be a fit girl? By just changing the Soundtrack in Your Mind?

                                             Melissa lost almost 30 lbs in 90 days

                                             Melissa lost almost 30 lbs in 90 days

Whoever told you that you weren’t meant to be fit - the bullies on the playground, your older sister, your friends, your mom, or even YOU, piecing together a story from the hodgepodge of information thrown at you by our culture - is a small-minded IDIOT (sorry if that's you, but we're about to change it). Being fit is your absolute birth-right. Humans are made to be fit. Our systems always find their way back there. You haven’t “wrecked your metabolism.” Toss that idea out with the trash.

By simply planting a seed and attending to it, a farmer builds a field. Let me be the first to give you this ‘seed’: you are fit, lithe, beautiful, and dare I say skinny? My seed for you and the rich soil that is your MIND - is that you aren’t meant to be overweight. Your metabolism is not wrecked, and you don’t need a medication to ‘fix it’. You just need the right recipe of nutrition and exercise to fix it.

It must be easy for YOU to be so thin.

I have heard that a couple times in the past couple of months. I have also heard, “some women have it easy.” How I wish they knew that just a year ago I was almost 100 lbs heavier, wearing a size 20, and that I had to lose the weight as a single mom of two babies under 2!

Psst. Hey YOU. Yeah YOU. Fit girl. Don’t turn around. You mean no one has called you a fit girl lately? When was the last time you day dreamed about being thin / fit / healthy? When you last went to buy clothing, did you buy the smaller size intending to lose weight, or the larger size, ‘accepting your fate’? It’s time to start buying the smaller size.

Now, we have planted a new seed. I want you to plant it every day for the next 3-4 days and see what happens. What can YOU build from a simple idea? 

Consider the iPhone. It’s a complex, near-impossible invention. It came from a simple seed: an idea. Aren’t you worth more than an iPhone? Your new body will certainly be more elegant and refined. Ponder on how fit you ARE, be grateful for how fit you ARE, and start walking and talking like the fittest girl in town NOW.

If there’s a still sliver of hope in amongst your soundtrack, then I want to send you an advanced copy of my free gift, How to Lose 5 lbs in 7 Days With This One Small Trick. It's due out July 15th, but you will be the first to have it in your hands. It's a complete guide with all the mindset, nutrition and workout tips you need to accomplish what I have: a complete transformation.

To get your advanced copy, simply send an email to mariah@transformwithmariah.com, and write "Free Gift" in the subject line. I'll send you one of the FIRST copies and we'll be on our way to revealing the real you.

To your new life!

Mariah