The Official Blog of Tara Marie Segundo, M.A.

"To be successful, you must have the three C's:
Conviction, Creativity, and Courage." Tara Marie Segundo, M.A.

2016’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen

I often get emails from well-meaning people who want to do the best thing for their families when it comes to buying nutritious food—but as is the case for so many of us, the best choice is often cost-prohibitive. When it comes to fruits and veggies, we know that eating fresh, organic fare is the optimal choice. Since buying organic can more than double your food bill, it helps to know if there are items for which buying conventionally grown (not organic) is safe, from the standpoint of not being laden with a high number of pesticide residues.

According to the Environmental Working Group, their Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables. EWG’s analysis is based on the results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration. It's important to know that these pesticide residues remain on produce even after items are washed and, in some cases, peeled. Recent studies of insecticides used on some fruits and vegetables found that children exposed to high levels were at a greater risk of impaired intelligence and ADHD.

Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases a list of fruits and vegetables called, “The Dirty Dozen.” The Dirty Dozen lists the fruits and veggies that have been contaminated by multiple pesticides and have higher concentrations of pesticides. This year, strawberries ranked at the top of the list for detectable pesticide residues. Continue reading

Break Through the Barrier of Feeling Unworthy

We all set goals and we all want the best for our lives.  Many of us fall prey to self-sabotage and become our own worst enemies.  Why?  What are the barriers that hold us back, and how can we break free?  These barriers lie between your life right now and the life you want.

If you missed Barrier #1, click here to read Break Through the Barrier of Fear!

If you lack self-worth, at some point in your life someone taught you that you are not worthy.  As a child, we believe that which we are told by others. Many of us were given messages that we are not worthy and have less value than others. We internalize the idea and buy into the lie. The good news is that anything that can be learned also can be unlearned.

You were put on this earth to be great and to make a contribution to the world. No one is here just taking up space. Bishop T.D. Jakes says that we have to step out of our HISTORY and into our DESTINY. You have a gift, and your duty is to identify your gift and do something good in the world with it.

Barrier #2: Feeling Unworthy 

If the subconscious self-limiting belief that holds you back is lack of self-worth, only YOU can fix this. This is the tricky part. No one else can make you feel worthy or give you self-esteem, as both come from the self. Continue reading

Break Through the Barrier of Fear

We all have goals and dreams for our lives. In order to live the life that you really want, you have to break through your self-imposed barriers. We each are where we are today because of what we believe about ourselves to be true and what we tell ourselves about ourselves and life. This is our STORY. We repeat it over and over and brain wash ourselves into believing that we can’t have better because of who we are or what has happened to us. The truth is that we can be whatever we decide to be, but in order to change our external environment, first we have to shift our internal environment. You were put on this earth to be great and to make a contribution to the world. No one is here just taking up space. You have a gift and your duty is to identify your gift and do something good in the world with it. The great Bishop T.D. Jakes says that we have to step out of our HISTORY and into our DESTINY.

We all set goals and we all want the best for our lives. Many of us fall prey to self-sabotage and become our own worst enemies. Why? What are the barriers that hold us back and how can we break through? What lies between your life now and the life you wish you had? Continue reading

3 Weeks to Jump Start Your Health!

Dear Tara Marie,

 I really need some inspiration.  I’m having a tough time getting to the gym regularly and eating well.  I don’t know what's wrong with me but I am feeling really unmotivated, and I just hate what's happening to my body after all of the hard work that I put in to get where I am now.  I really need some inspiration.  Can you help me?

Thanks, Carolyn, New York City

Dear Carolyn,

I have gone through what you are describing many times, especially after a knee surgery, serious injury or an illness that takes me out of my usual routine for an extended period.

Two things are happening: 1) you are physically out of shape and not where you want to be, and 2) you are mentally out of shape and not where you need to be to make a shift in your life.

There is a mind-set that you had when you were at your physical peak, and you need to get this back, as well as get your training on track.

We want to slowly get your body moving toward your goal and, at the same time, get you mentally in the game of consistent training and conscious eating.

Try my 3-week jump start plan to course-correct fast! Continue reading

Strength Training Tips: Eccentric Training and Super-Setting

Last week I posted a blog that focused on two of the many ways to increase strength training intensity: increasing the total load and decreasing the amount of time between sets. If you missed that newsletter, check out my blog post, “Two Simple Ways to Increase Strength Training Intensity.”

This week I want to highlight two other ways to ratchet up the efficacy of your strength training.There’s a very specific recipe to build muscle: work the muscle; feed the muscle; rest the muscle. Within this recipe are many variables, and depending on how they are manipulated, you will either mitigate or enhance your results. Continue reading

Two Simple Ways to Increase Strength Training Intensity

I’m often asked how to increase the intensity of a strength training workout to maximize results. It’s important to understand that intensity is relative, as what may be hard for you will be easy for someone else. Often when I advise clients to do high-intensity strength training, they remind me that they’re not very strong. Regardless of your current level of strength, you can make your training high-intensity relative to your abilities. If you’re going to make time for a workout, make the time work for you—meaning, if you’re disciplined enough to exercise, do so in such a way that will maximize your results.

With respect to strength training, the important thing to remember is to manipulate different variables that will force your body to work with greater loads.  Strength gains occur when you require your muscles to adapt progressively to a higher level of resistance. This occurs when you increase the intensity.  If you never increase the intensity of your training, your muscles adapt to the routine and you will eventually cease to progress.

Let's look at two effective ways to increase the intensity of a strength training session.  Remember, strength training can mean weight training with barbells and dumbbells, exercising with bands and tubing, or even cleverly using your own body weight.  All of these forms of training can and will increase muscular strength, if done properly.  Again, muscles gain strength when you require them to adapt—they will only adapt when you give them a challenge. Continue reading

Are You Ready for Success?

As someone who struggled greatly to mold myself into the person I wanted to become, I’ve had a life-long fascination with high-achievers and people who seem to effortlessly succeed. My fascination led me to study people I admire in an attempt to raise the bar in my own life. I do believe that we’re here to constantly learn, improve, and teach what we know to others.  In this sense, we’re never done—we can never stop learning or striving to improve, as the point of being here is to do something with our lives that contributes to the world in a positive way.

As part of my study of people who achieve and attain the highest level success, I also had to focus my attention on those who don’t.  In this category of people, I identified two distinct groups: those who try and fail and eventually give up, and those who never try in the first place.  People in the latter group confound me, yet fascinate me, the most.  What would make anyone choose to sit on the sidelines of life while the rest of us are out on the field playing the game?

I’ve had conversations with private clients recently that made me want to address this in greater detail. Continue reading

Fat Loss Secret: Indulge More!

As a food addict myself, I understand the knee-jerk reaction to reach for food when what you really need is to feed your soul.  It’s when you use food to feed yourself in any way other than to satisfy a nutritional requirement that you go from “eating” food to “using” food.  “Using” food can quickly become “abusing” food.

I had a conversation with a client that prompted me to focus this blog post on the importance of indulgence as you learn to control compulsive urges around food, and teach yourself to eat for nutrition rather than comfort.

One thing I know for sure is that we all want and need to indulge. After a long day of work or taking care of the needs of others, we feel like we deserve it. When stress levels are heightened or we face mounting problems, the desire to indulge is magnified.

Since what is happening in our external world is out of our control and stress and anxiety are going to be a part of our lives forever, my advice to my clients is the same advice I follow myself—indulge more to lose fat.

A big shift in my life occurred when I decided that I deserve to indulge, and rather than do so with self-destructive behaviors like binge-eating, I instead learned to indulge in ways that are good for my physical and mental health. Continue reading

Use Food to Nourish, Not Nurture

As someone who used to be an emotional eater, I’m always sensitive to my clients who struggle endlessly with this issue.  It’s such a complicated matter that I could (and likely one day will) write an entire book about it. For this week, I wanted to at least make it the subject of my blog post, as it seems to be a recurring theme in my work with clients.

I recently hosted a guest on my radio show, TARA MARIE LIVE, named Jesse, age 64.  He is suffering terribly and feels trapped in an endless cycle of binge eating and the self-loathing that goes with it. Consumed with despair, he feels like he’s fallen into a dark hole and can’t see the light.

For people who don’t struggle with this problem, it is impossible to explain how FOOD can CONTROL every thought, action, and desire in an otherwise normally-functioning person.

For people who do struggle, it is impossible to put into words how out-of-control they can feel around a gallon of ice cream, a package of cookies, or any other trigger food.  I had a client once tell me that she would literally salivate if she walked by a vending machine.

I’m currently working with a private client whose whole life is about food—what he ate for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner; what he wanted to eat; what he should have eaten; what he will eat later, and what he misses eating (when he’s trying to be “good.”)

I remember those days well, but not fondly—when there was hardly room for fun in my life because all of my time was consumed with obsessing over food or being disgusted with myself for losing control around food.  It was a horrible way to live and a terrible waste of time.

I always give my clients the same advice—it’s based on knowledge that I learned the hard way, as for years of my life I tried to solve my “food” problems by focusing on food. Continue reading

Simple Steps to Naturally Increase Bone Mineral Density

I am often asked (especially by women and seniors) how to build strong bones naturally. For obvious reasons, having strong bones is a must. Regardless of your age, extreme diets or diets high in processed junk and low in nutrient-dense whole foods can ravage bones and age your body prematurely. Naturally increasing bone mineral density is function of what you eat, what your body absorbs, and how you move.

My top 3 Quick Tips to naturally build strong bones are as follows:

Eat foods rich in easily absorbed dietary calcium from sources like dark leafy greens and sesame seeds. I prefer these to milk products, which can be hard to digest. Collard greens, spinach, kale, turnip and mustard greens are great! Grind sesame seeds in a dedicated coffee grinder, used only for seeds. Sprinkle them on veggies, salads, cereal, etc. Tahini is also loaded with sesame seeds and therefore, calcium!

Build resistance training into your weekly routine. When you strengthen your muscles, your bones become stronger from the mechanical stress of exercise. You can use free weights, machines, bands, tubing, your body weight, soup cans, etc. You have to stress muscles and bones to make them grow! Aim for a minimum of 3 sessions a week for at least 30 minutes.

Stop drinking soda! The phosphoric acid in soda (both diet and regular soda) is believed by researchers to leach calcium from bones and/or interfere with calcium metabolism in other ways. Cut it out of your life. Soda does nothing good for your body!!  I used to be a diet soda addict and feel (and look) so much better now that I've stopped.  Enjoy iced herbal teas instead, and do something good for your body.

By making a few simple swaps and incorporating some healthy habits into your life, building strong bones and staving off osteoporosis is something anyone can do at any age!

Shine on! Tara Marie