About Me

About Me

Linda Bartosik...
First steps of a beginning writer/artist/illustrator. Follow me on my journey. Read More...

My newest book now available on Amazon!

My newest book now available on Amazon!

Many treasures lie under the sea, but will Alistar find the one that will make ‘The Perfect Birthday Present’ for his mom? Join this adventurous little sea star and his best buddy Barnaby (a blob fish) as they travel through the beautiful deep blue sea, meeting many other creatures of the deep. When the two friends finally stumble upon the perfect present, Alistar needs to make a difficult decision, which only he can make. When he does, the little sea star learns that there are times when it is not the present that is important, but the thought behind it.

My First Cover! Now available on Amazon – Kindle & Hardcover

My First Cover! Now available on Amazon – Kindle & Hardcover

For Linda Crowley, the first day of the year had always been set aside to work on new, positive beginnings and 1970 was no different. Her husband and children were by all accounts healthy and no one even considered the terrible thought that tragedy would strike before the day was over, and life as she had known it was gone.

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My first illustrating project available on Amazon

My first illustrating project available on Amazon

Haley doesn't have a normal pet she has a goat, Ralph. He thinks he's having fun but he's causing untold trouble for Haley. Trouble seems to follow Ralph everywhere he goes only he doesn't know it. Haley's father says Ralph has to be sold!

Getting Started!

It’s the 5th week into isolation. During week 1 you promised yourself you will exercise at home during this, but some of you haven’t started yet. I get it. Life is different. After your morning coffee, you look around and see ANOTHER long day stretched out before you. Not a day you’d choose, and it makes you feel a little out of control. It’s hard to set goals in this setting, but for your own sanity, you have to. 

Here’s your one goal: each day I will do one thing for my mind, my body, and my spirit.

Today:

SPIRIT – I WILL get started!

BODY – I WILL do this 7 minute workout TODAY and everyday until I’m in a routine and ready for more.

(I can do anything for 7 minutes)

MIND – each day I WILL do ONE of these:

Open book you already have, or choose one here:

https://books.apple.com/oprah

(The latest pick was  on TV the other day and looked very interesting! Check it out!)

Get out the markers and colored pencils and get lost in these coloring activities:

Picture #1

Picture #2

COOK! Share a recipe you and your family have enjoyed recently!

SHARE! We need each other right now. Share your books, art work, hobbies, recipes, ways you are exercising, your wonderful pet pics, etc. HERE. This is our spot to stay connected until our clubs open. At Koko we are sooo much more than just a gym. We are a family. We love each other. We are interested in each other beyond just exercise. All of us coaches miss “our people .” We miss the chit chat at the desk when you come in. We are concerned you are “okay” during this difficult time. We would love to see what you are doing. Everyday we check our pages to see “who’s here”. Sharing will do wonders for your spirit, and for ours!

So, are you ready? START TODAY! We miss you, dear Kokonuts!

Until It’s “Fixed”

I have a problem. I’m fixated on it. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I just pace and perseverate on it. Despite all the other things around me I could be thinking about or doing, I refuse to move off this problem until it’s “fixed “. Do you ever experienced this?

In the current situation, it’s easy to behave this way. The feeling of wanting this “fixed” before you can move on is intense. At times, it’s all consuming, especially being confined to your home where it’s easy to lose perspective. And that, right there, is the answer. We must put the brakes on and regain perspective.

You may not have the virus, but stressing your body and immune system 24/7 is not good for you either. For three weeks I have watched and read about how to regain control of our minds and keep sane and healthy through this crisis. If you are lucky enough to work from home, this keeps you distracted from the news and connected and engaging with clients and coworkers. When work is done, it’s time to do other things. Read. Read. Read. Get some great books on your Kindle and get involved in someone else’s life for awhile. Do art. Not just drawing and painting (but if you always wanted to try that, go for it!) You can get lessons on YouTube and supplies on Amazon. Writing is another form of art that you don’t need anything but paper and pencil or your notes on your phone. Every morning empty your mind. Write for 10 minutes anything you’re thinking about. Don’t plan what to write. Don’t think about it. Just write it. No one is ever going to see it. Not even you. Don’t go back and reread it. Just let it go. Writers use this technique all the time. It’s called Morning Pages. Try it.

Write stories. Try poetry. Make up characters and give them your feelings and experiences. Art stretches far and wide. Get lost in adult coloring pictures. Coloring those tiny lines with markers or colored pencil relaxes both your mind and body. Here’s a link to one I got from the company I get my art materials from. Start here:

Adult Coloring Page

Refuse to stay stuck in panic and despair until this is “fixed”. In addition to moving for 30 minutes a day, take very good care of your mind. You must keep yourself strong for the day when this is “fixed”. The day when you will get to hug your family and go out with your friends will come. It would be a shame if you were too broken or exhausted to participate in it when it gets here.

Here is the quote that inspired this writing from my morning reading. This book has changed my life and taught me how to find peace amidst chaos, so I thought I’d share it with you. 

“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from Me. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is “fixed.”

— Jesus Calling – Deluxe Edition Pink Cover: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Jesus Calling®) by Sarah Young

And so, as another day in isolation goes by, grab it, embrace it and take control so you can be at your best when this is “fixed.”

NOT The New Normal

For the past two days I have been listening to the local news stations talk about getting used to the new normal. I beg to differ. This is NOT the new normal. The new normal implies that this is life from now on – forever. This is NOT our life forever. This WILL end. Those three words are what we have to keep in front of us right now. 

Families without paychecks, small business owners, people who are infected, etc. – this WILL end. We WILL go back to work and school. We WILL get a paycheck again. We WILL recover. It may not be the easiest road to get there, but we must hold onto hope that we WILL eventually get there.

When I find myself going down that rabbit hole, I sort of put up a neon sign in my head: THIS WILL END. It’s definitely NOT the new normal. It’s a temporary normal. I’m taking the advice of a doctor I saw on the news. She said it’s so important for our mental health to keep this front and center of our minds. She also said it’s important to talk with your loved ones and make plans for the future. We should be saying “When this is over, we are going to ______.” This joins us together in an atmosphere of hope. And right now, that’s exactly where we should reside – in an atmosphere of hope.

Another good piece of advice she gave: in the midst of all the sadness, please take time to be grateful for the good things you DO have. Practice gratitude for being safe in your own home, having an abundance of food, and, if you are quarantined with family, hold this time dear. It’s not “wrong” to focus on your blessings in a time like this. I, myself, have to fight this, but as the doctor pointed out, we all live in our own heads and focusing on the good will keep us in a good place and free us to concentrate on and help those less fortunate.

Think about it. If you feel “good “ you will not be sitting there obsessing over yourself and your situation ie: going down the rabbit hole. You will be free to pitch in for others. My advice? Take a few moments a day to look around your house and just feel warmth and gratitude for the good things right in front you, then get up and go to work – whether it be sewing masks or working from home or teaching your children. YOU ARE CONTRIBUTING. Every tough day you make it through, you are helping someone else. By just staying home you are helping your whole community!

And so, as another day goes by, remember: this is NOT the new normal and we must reside in an atmosphere of hope. 

Who Says There’s No Magic Pill?

When it comes to diet and weight loss, we hear it all the time. There is no magic pill. You have to do the work. Well, I beg to differ. I did find the magic pill. And I took it for 7 months. I did not change my food or exercise. I just took 3 capsules with my breakfast every day. That’s it. To date I lost 7 inches around my waist. ( I am not saying you don’t have to eat well or exercise, you still do. You have to maintain the rest of your body, not just your waistline.) All I am saying is I didn’t change anything on purpose to see if the pill would work by itself. It did.

Okay. Now you are curious. What is this magic pill and how does it work? It’s called Burn AM because you take it at breakfast and it literally burns the fat all day. You know the commercials on TV that show the fat being sucked out of you? There’s no need for that. Burn AM goes after the belly fat in between your organs and safely dissolves it and sends it out through your system without you ever knowing it. Then one day you look down and your stomach is flat. Completely natural, non-invasive and cost effective compared to those procedures.

It takes time. One month didn’t show me anything noticeable. At 3 months I was pleasantly surprised. Clothes were looser and I actually lost about 3 inches. After 6 months, I just couldn’t believe it. I am wearing clothes I haven’t put on since 2011. (Probably out of style, but I’m ecstatic they fit!) My waist went from 41 inches to 35. I have never been happier in my life. I have been working out and developing healthy eating habits for 16 years. I felt wonderful. I was happy with the rest of my body. My stomach was my nemesis. My daughter once said that I shouldn’t have that stomach with all that I do. I agreed, but I just didn’t know what to do about it. Then Burn AM came along and voila! The stomach melted away and it’s by far the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I feel like a wish was granted. Proof:

Once again, let me be clear. I am not saying just take Burn AM and sit on the couch and all your problems will be solved. Take it in conjunction with a healthy diet and good weight training program and watch the transformation.

And so, as another day goes by, I say, “Burn baby, burn!”*

*To purchase, hold phone camera over the code and start burning belly fat right away! (Takes about 2-3 days to arrive) There are also videos where Dr. Kashi, who formulated it, explains what’s in it and how to take it. Go for it!

Love Yourself

Yes, I know how that sounds. We were taught not to dwell on ourselves. Loving ourselves and thinking of ourselves first is frowned upon. Put others first. That is how most of us were programmed to live. That couldn’t be more wrong.

Think about the logistics of that. If we always put others first and ourselves last, just how long do you think we, ourselves, will last? With no self-love and very little self-care, not very long. Not as long as we’d like to be able to be a part of our children’s and grandchildren’s lives.

February has always been about showing love to others, but here at Koko I like us to focus on ourselves for the month. Here are a few ways to do this:

  1. Commit. Develop an exercise schedule for yourself and commit to seeing it through for the whole month.
  2. Adopt an attitude of no negative self-talk. Treat yourself with kindness and respect. In any diet/exercise plan mistakes will be made. Changing behavior cannot happen without them. Missteps are the building blocks of learning new things. The so called “falling off the wagon” is the greatest insight to finding out how we truly process new learning.
  3. Realize you must take your journey step by step. You need to spend some time learning about yourself in relation to food and exercise before you can make changes. And when you do make changes, they need to be in small increments so you can absorb them.

With that said, I beg you to take great care of yourself this month. Celebrate success with non-scale victories. Eat well. Exercise regularly. Get some extra rest and sleep. Take a yoga class. February is a short month, so let’s start today!

Do I Really Need A Coach? You May Be Surprised

Why do I need a coach? Surprising reasons. First, coaches are the core of accountability. You would so tell yourself it’s okay to skip your workout today – easily – but when you know you have someone that has set aside time for you and planned something just for you – well – “I’ll just skip today” is not so easy to do.

Let’s focus on that skipping part. Skipping, because you told yourself it’s okay, is a slippery slope. Very quickly two weeks have gone by and now it’s more than a skip. Now it equates to starting over and we all know what that’s like. Having a coach helps you stop starting over.

When we don’t skip our workouts, we develop consistency. We all know consistency is important in doing anything well. Why is this important at the gym? Consider this: you start across the street and slip on a patch of ice. One foot flies in the air and the other wobbles on the ground trying to gain stability. The foot in the air comes back to the ground, wobbles and turns, but you stay upright. Ankles, knees, and quads tighten, and a fall turns into a stumble. (You just look around hoping no saw that.) Why were you not flat on your back and injured? Your consistency in the gym. Your feet are used to all the movement and balance exercises you practice regularly in the gym. Remember that one-legged row you insisted you couldn’t ever do? Then your coach showed you how to do it with a modification that gradually lead you to learning to balance on one foot. Your foot doesn’t know the difference between the gym and the street. All it knows is how it’s supposed to move when you are unstable. It takes consistency to learn that.

A coach is especially important in the area of nutrition. Same principal. You will so quickly give yourself permission to down a bag of chips on the couch. Just knowing you will need to talk to your coach about it will make you stop and pause. That pause is huge. As soon as you pause, you have taken away the possibility of mindless eating. It doesn’t matter what kind of a food plan you and your coach settle upon. What matters is learning to think about and plan your food, so you eliminate mindless eating for good. And you will. It takes time, practice and guidance. Your coach will work with you until planning your food is as natural as showering every day.  

If you are really invested in changing your life, stop and realize what you are asking of yourself. Enlist help to avoid getting overwhelmed, which will just lead to quitting – AGAIN- and starting over at some future point. One of my clients lost 29 pounds with me since September. When people ask her how, she says it’s her coach. She knows how to eat and how to exercise, but consistency suffers. She points to her phone (because we communicate by an app, My Fitness Pal, and her Apple watch) and says “It’s this, this right here keeps me doing what I need to do. Linda’s all up in my business! Lol!”

And so, as another day goes by, …

…get a coach.

Done For You Meals – The Unboxing!

My Done For You Meals Came on Saturday!

The Unboxing!

On Saturday (1/4) my order of 8 Done For You Meals came. I was excited to try them. The box was lined with foam and the meals came frozen solid and shrink wrapped.

Here they are on my counter:


I ordered: 1. Brisket with white rice and broccoli, 2. Cod with red potatoes and green beans, 3. Chicken, with sweet potato wedges and broccoli, 4. Ground turkey with sweet potato wedges and broccoli, 5. Roasted turkey with red potato wedges and green beans, 6. Chicken with saffron rice and green beans, 7. Vegan patty with white rice and green beans, and 8. Steak with red potato wedges and broccoli.

For lunch, my husband and I split the Roasted Turkey with red potato wedges and broccoli. We loved it! The turkey was especially good and was seasoned well. The green beans were bright green and fresh. They were firm and not mushy. The seasoning on the potatoes was perfect. 4 minutes in the microwave cooked it to just the right temperature. The shrink wrap is self-venting and forms a steam bubble which leaves the food hot and juicy. I removed the food from the carton and put it on a 10-inch plate to get a real idea of how much food there was in a 4 oz meal.

I give Done For You Meals an A+ on all accounts. I will be eating them in the club this week for lunch if anyone is curious. 😊

To investigate for yourself:

Open your camera on your phone and place it over this code.

The website will appear on the top of your screen. Go to the site and click on the three lines in the upper left, choose meals, and you will be on your way!

Done For You Meals are for anyone – you do not have to live on the Cape or belong to Koko to participate. The obstacles that get in the way of healthy nutrition such as not knowing what to buy, not knowing what foods to put together to create meals, not having time to shop, cook, and meal prep for the week, etc. are taken away with Done For You Meals, because – they are literally Done For You! If any of you give them a try I would be interested in your feedback.

And so, as another day goes by, it’s 2020 – do something different so you don’t keep ending up in the same place you were in last year!

Obesity, Health and…Your Money

I saw on the news this morning that by 2030 50% of America will be obese. 50%. After 7 years managing a health club and being a FitCoach here at Koko FitClub, this made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. People come in all the time and lay out their health and fitness issues in front of me. I show them a program customized just for them to address those issues. Then I hear, “I love the program, I love you, both are just what I need to beat this, but…”

“I have a car payment.” Oh, you mean the car you might not be able to drive when you are done paying for it?

“I have two kids in college.” Oh, the two kids, upon graduating, that are going to have to decide where to put you because you can’t care for yourself? The same two kids you might not get to see marry, and have the grand kids you might never get to meet?

“I have a house to pay for.” Oh, you mean the house you might not be able to live in because you can’t care for it hobbling around on a walker at the young age of 75? (Yes, if you care for yourself in your 40’s and 50’s, 75 IS a young age.)

We need to start prioritizing where we put our money. Chances are if you have a house, a car, and two kids in college, you are also spending easily $100 a week on sugary coffee drinks, eating out, and alcohol. Not to mention the mall and CVS trips – yes, to pick up that blood pressure medicine that you may be able to ditch if you put some money into your fitness and nutrition.

This past summer, at age 66, I was able to chase my two-year old grandson all over the sandbars as he giggled, “I get you, Grandma!” That is one of the most precious days of my life – a day I may have never gotten to experience if I didn’t start taking charge of my health when I turned 50. Had I not done something, I may have not been able to climb the beach path to even see him play on the beach, never mind being able to play along with him.

I stopped spending money on frivolous things for me and my kids, got myself into a gym, got a coach to help me and began a regimen of supplements that have supported my cellular nutrition for the past 16 years. When I turned 60 I dove into healthy nutrition and building muscle. I feel if I hadn’t made myself a priority, my life today would be very different.

If you live on the Cape, come see me at the Centerville Koko FitClub and let’s change your life. If you don’t live on the cape, I can still help you. I currently have clients in Florida and we work remotely. Email me at ma.centerville@kokofitclub.com for more info. If it’s food help you need, click the picture in the upper right and see how easy it is to get Done For You Meals delivered directly to your door. Whatever you need help with, get it now and change your life permanently for the better.

And so, as another day goes by, rethink where your money is going and don’t make this a “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve” moment 10 years from now.

Food, Glorious Food – Not!

When you are trying to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, food is the biggest obstacle. If you are a Koko member, you are already doing well with exercise. Today take a moment and write down everything you eat and the time you ate it. If it doesn’t look like this, something is not right, and you are struggling:

Breakfast – whole grain carb and protein (Van’s waffle with peanut butter)

Mid-morning snack – Protein shake maybe with berries or a banana

Lunch – Grilled chicken, salad, and a bit of whole grain bread

Mid-afternoon snack – Triple Zero low sugar yogurt

Dinner – Plate comprised of protein, vegetable, and whole grain carb (Fish, broccoli and brown rice)

Drinks – Water! Water! Water! Green tea, coffee with a bit of half and half, herbal teas, Kombucha

This list is approximately 1100 calories. (Great caloric intake for a 5’3” , 145 lb woman – men would need bigger portions, but the same foods)

Is your list more like this?

Coffee

Yogurt

Turkey chili

Drinks: coffee, diet coke, wine, beer

This list is about 800 calories. No person, regardless of size, should be eating under 1200 calories a day. Your body will perceive this as starving and store everything you eat as fat instead of using it for energy. You will be tired, irritable, have brain fog from the lack of carbs, and really not want to come to exercise.

See the difference? In list two you are definitely not eating enough to fuel your body all day long and provide it with enough protein for it to use to make repairs while you sleep all night. Correct protein intake for your size is critical to your health and well-being (our theme this month), as well as your fat and sugar intake. You should be monitoring both daily until you are used to eating “your foods” on a schedule like list one. I know. Easier said than done.

The obstacles that get in the way of you developing healthy nutrition include: not knowing what foods to buy, not knowing what foods to put together to create meals, not having enough time on the weekends to cook and prepare your lunches and snacks so they are “grab and go” all week long, and putting off taking the time to get a coach, do research, or adopt a meal plan. (Remember – someday is not one of the days of week) You need help moving from list 2 to list 1 and staying there.

This can’t happen overnight. Your habits with food are ingrained in you and take 60-90 days to change – even in some small way. It took me 3 years to get there trying to do it on my own. I have been where you are. Back in 2016 all that was available was a food list. I was expected to create my own meals, shop for the food, and prepare it for the week. Just the first trip to the grocery store was a disaster. I was overwhelmed and just bought more yogurt and frozen dinners.

Today there are food services available to train you! Your food is cooked, packaged, and delivered to your door the next day. If I had this 3 years ago, I would have been all over it. Instead of buying groceries on Sunday and spending all afternoon doing food prep, you simply order your meals online and be done with it! Is this what you will do for the rest of your life? No. Look at it as a training program. You will be learning the kinds of food you should be eating, you will learn what foods to put together to create meals, you will be practicing portion control and feeling your body respond to the best “medicine” for whatever ails you. After a few months, you will begin to say, “I get this!” and realize you can do this on your own. Let’s say you are doing okay with breakfast and dinner, but lunch is a nightmare. Then just order your lunches for the week. Or, maybe you are list 2 and need to start with everything. Either way THIS IS DOABLE.  The catch is you must DO IT. 

And now Koko can help. Soon we will have this service available. Right here. You don’t have to go and read and do research. It’s all done for you. Click on the link below and we can get you started on a healthy eating plan for life.

Diet Culture, Part 1

This week my daughter sent me something of interest. It was a flyer entitled, What Is Diet Culture? It defined diet culture as “a society that focuses on and values weight, shape, and size over health and well-being.”

Then they gave six examples. After reading each one, I thought to myself, “Yes, this is our world today when it comes to nutrition and fitness.”

The first one was “feeling like you can’t escape conversations about weight, diets, good/bad foods, cutting carbs, detoxing, cleansing, etc.” No matter where we are in our fitness journey, we should not be consumed with these thoughts. After all, why do you embark on a fitness journey? Answer: to enjoy your life. Walking around counting calories and carbs all day is not enjoying your life. Your thoughts about food should center around “How can I fuel my body today with healthy food?” Set a plan for the day and forget it. Eat by your plan and focus on all the other aspects of your life. I know. Easier said than done, especially if you’re not sure what foods are good fuel for your body. That’s where coaches, like my colleagues and I here at Koko, come in. We educate you and guide you to being able to choose good fuel for your body for the rest of your life. Which brings me to number two.

Diet culture “advertises exercise as a mode to weight loss, a means to becoming more attractive or punishment for eating.” Out of all six, this is the one that bothers me the most. Exercise, especially strength training, is the key to building lean muscle. Lean muscle is literally your life-blood and your fountain of youth. Cardio exercise shouldn’t be viewed as “how many calories can I burn on the treadmill for forty minutes?” Cardio keeps your heart healthy and is necessary for you to be able to lead an active life. Building muscle and exercising your heart shouldn’t be seen solely as a means for weight loss. It is so much more. Exercise allows you to enjoy your family and friends and participate in a full life right into your golden years.

Number three was “weight loss challenges in workplaces and amongst family and friends.” Scale weight should not be used like a score in a game. Scale weight is a very personal thing. Everyone’s body composition is different. No two people’s amount of muscle and fat are the same, so it isn’t wise to compare your scale weight to someone else’s. I do believe you should track your weight either daily or weekly. Your weight is an indicator of how your body is performing by the way you are treating it. A graph of your weight fluctuation over time provides you with valuable clues and insights on how your unique system works. Scale weight does not designate you a winner in a game or dictate that you behaved badly with food. If you are overweight and know you need to drop some pounds to be healthier, that’s fine. You get a coach and together you use your scale weight to determine if you are on a path to better health.

And so, as another day goes by, there are three more definitions of diet culture which I will share with you next week in part two. Until then, be kind to yourself when thinking about healthy weight and nutrition. A new fitness journey should be viewed as a gift you give yourself. You should set out to enjoy the project of working toward a healthier you. Get a coach who is going to help you on a positive journey, focusing on food and exercise that you can sustain for the rest of your life, instead of fad diets and weight loss challenges.