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!

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.

Energy From Your Head

Once again my cardio workout provided valuable insight. This morning the trainer said, “Your thoughts contain energy – you get energy from your thoughts.” I readily agreed with that. There are many times I am so engrossed in thinking about or planning something that I can feel the excitement build in my body. Even if what I was thinking about was not going to be what I was doing in that moment, I can see how my excitement from the thoughts gave me energy to do the task I was involved in.

This is very powerful. We can control our thoughts, so we can actually manifest energy at a time when we need it. I have always unknowingly done this. Lately I have been redoing a room in my house and creating a home art studio. The project had me excited. I do remember times over the last few weeks when I needed energy to do something else. I took a few moments to think about my project and its next step. I was immediately rejuvenated and those thoughts manifested the energy I needed at the moment.

Visualization also comes into play here. Just taking a moment to reflect on how nicely the room is coming out boosts my energy to get up and do something that is not nearly as exciting as working on my project, but has to get done. It’s doing it right now. It’s halfway through my workday and the club has to be cleaned. Though I would rather do fun things like write this blog, research information on health and nutrition, or plan for my clients, I have to go clean the club. Thinking about what I want to do this weekend on my room project as I clean will give me the energy to do the job with a spring in my step instead of a lot of yawning.

Try it. It can turn a portion of your day right around. The mind is a great reservoir of power. You can use the power of your thoughts to get you through a workout or get you to the store to buy some healthy food. I like the idea of having that power within my control.

And so, as another day goes by, I’m thinking you could be a novaturient by using the power of your thoughts.

Just Breathe – And Lose Weight

Today I learned something about health and weight loss that is really worth sharing because when talking nutrition and exercise, it’s something we rarely consider. We already know we gain weight because our body is not processing the food we consume. Many times we chalk it up to a slow metabolism and try everything we can think of to jumpstart it.

I bet you never thought of using your breath to jumpstart your metabolism and lose weight. Did you know that not getting enough oxygen could be the reason your body is not processing your food? It’s called “futile breathing.” Reminds me of that song “Every Breath You Take”. I would like every breath I take to count, and not be futile. Most of us only take in 1/4 of the breath our lungs were designed to hold and this affects our whole system – including the ability to fully process our food. I learned that the capacity in which you breath is a direct mirror of how efficiently your entire body is performing. Futile breathing causes our bodies to only function at 25% of what it is capable of, causing low energy and weight gain.Your cells need proper oxygenation to burn fat instead of store it. Consistent lack of oxygen causes our metabolism to slow down.

So, how do we maximize our breathing and use it to rev up our metabolism? Do some deep breathing everyday. Our normal breathing rarely goes past our chest. By breathing deep into our bellies, our nervous system alert goes off. This allows our muscles to relax, our immune system to function, and our digestion to regulate. I am glad I got into the habit of ending all exercise sessions with stretching and deep breathing. It wasn’t easy – I am not a person to lie still and breath when I want to just finish and get on with my day. I have to force myself to do it because I told myself it will help me manage my day. I was blind to the fact that it was regulating my digestion and speeding up my metabolism.

You can do this too. Lie down, close your eyes, and breath in slowly letting the air make your belly rise. Then exhale slowly and let your body melt into the floor. In yoga the teacher used to say “Belly rise, belly fall.” I repeat that to myself as I breath and it helps control the urge to breath out or in too quickly. I do 3 complete breaths because I am in too much of a hurry to get done. 6 or 7 would be ideal. Now that I know it is doing much, much more than relaxing me, I plan to increase the number I do.

And so, as another day goes by, it’s the weekend, let’s all take a moment to inhale and exhale.

Execute With Power and Precision

The trainer in my ear during my elliptical workout this morning used the phrase “execute with power and precision” to motivate me to use good form and bump up my resistance at least one point. If I raised the resistance, and stood up straight, pushed my heels into the pedals, I would have the power to execute the workout with precision. This means I was able to get the full benefit of the workout.

After the workout, the phrase stayed with me as I went about my day. I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could apply that phrase to everything I did today? What would that mean? I concluded that would mean that in everything I did, I should use the proper form, rule, protocol, etc. to execute the task. I admit I felt like somewhat of a superhero. I pictured myself slicing through my workday, sword in hand, knocking off one task after another. It was highly exhilarating.

Later in the day I was helping someone with an exercise. It was the Downward Power Twist:

Notice the model in the pic. Her hands twist down and end at her hip. My person was pulling very hard and twisting her arms out way beyond her hip. After I demonstrated and she was doing it correctly, I found myself saying, “You had the power, now you have the precision – execute with power and precision. By adding the precision, you are now targeting the correct muscle group.”

Then when I did my own workout, I applied the strategy.

On the Smartrainer, as you move through each exercise, the blue box paces you. I am the green line and I must move with the box through each rep. That pace box adds the precision to my power. It assures that I keep each muscle under the right amount of tension for all the exercises in order to get the desired result from the movement.

I have come to conclude that while power is good, it is the precision with which we execute it that counts the most. Sometimes we wield a lot of power around haphazardly and waste a lot of energy. Then we feel defeated because no matter how hard we tried, not much got accomplished. How many times have I heard “No matter how good I eat, or how much I work out, my body doesn’t change.” A person is expending a lot of energy, but not achieving their goals because the precision is missing. To sculpt a body and drop pounds your exercises and eating plan must be precise – especially in the beginning – until you are ready to turn it into a lifestyle. You have to make sure you are doing your exercises correctly and are tracking your food. Adding this precision piece will quickly show in your progress that all your effort is not in vain.

And so, as another day goes by, let us try to execute with power and precision in everything we do.

Stop Talking!

I talk to myself all the time. Every time I begin a new project either at work or at home I am instantly overwhelmed. Then I start talking it through to myself. This helps me separate what is important from the mishmash swirling around in my brain. In this instance talking to myself is helpful and has enabled many projects to move forward.

I have a big life. I do a lot and still have a lot I want to do, but we are only given 24 hours in each day. I want to pack it with as much stuff that interests me as possible. For me, seven of those hours are spent sleeping, so I have 17 more hours to work with and I don’t want to spend a minute of them thinking about things, like sleep, that should automatically happen in my day. There are things like showering, brushing my teeth, exercising, and eating that I refuse to talk to myself about. They are scheduled in my day and they happen automatically so I have time to spend on things I really want to accomplish – things that I need to consult myself on. Even my hair and nail appointments are scheduled for the whole year because I can’t waste time on deciding if I want to call and make an appointment.

There are times when I simply must stop talking – especially when it comes to diet and exercise. My workouts are on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Yoga is on Monday and Friday. I don’t ask myself if I want to go. I don’t enter into a discussion with myself about whether I feel like it or not. I just go. My food for the week is planned and I don’t ask myself if I really want to eat that, or will eating that make me feel good, or even make me happy. Feelings are whimsical. They come and go and change from hour to hour. I can’t tie diet and exercise to how I feel because that would throw consistency completely out the window. Having discussions with myself about food and exercise takes away from time spent on projects both at home and at work that I really must talk to myself about.

Recognizing when to stop talking to yourself is crucial to accomplishing goals and putting your energy into things you are passionate about, rather than spending time going round and round with yourself about going to the gym. Take the things that need to happen to keep you healthy, put them on your calendar and just do them like you’d do any other appointment you scheduled. When you stop bantering with yourself about things that shouldn’t even be a topic for discussion, you will be amazed at how much time you gain for the other aspects of your life.

So, as another day goes by, it’s important to discern when to stop talking.

Scale Obsession

Let’s face it. We are a society obsessed with numbers. From our credit scores, our ages, to our scale weights, these numbers dictate how we feel about ourselves. Today I must take some time to address scale weight. In my experience as a fit coach, the numbers on the scale either pump people up or discourage them. Most people, when embarking on a weight loss venture, do not understand what the scale is saying about their bodies. They do not know how to use it as a tool and not as a mood predictor. Their whole nutrition/exercise program is focused solely on that daily number on the scale. Many people drop their new program when they see the numbers simply because they are disappointed.

If you have been practicing unhealthy eating and are 30+ pounds overweight, switching to healthy, whole foods is going to trigger a 4 to 5-pound loss in the first week. This simply means your body is getting rid of excess water and toxins. In the second week 2 of those pounds may return because you were dehydrated and your body is seeking its way back to equilibrium, not because you are doing something wrong. All you see is the numbers and your conclusion is the program isn’t working. After all that work in the first two weeks all you lost is 2 pounds. What do you do? Get discouraged and dump the program.

Let’s remember the scale does not track how much you eat or drink. It does not measure how much you exercise. It cannot distinguish that you gained 2 pounds of muscle and lost 4 pounds of fat. Both good things that you don’t realize because the numbers only indicate a 2-pound loss. You lost 4 pounds of the stuff you needed to lose and gained 2 pounds of the stuff you needed to gain. The scale can’t tell you that the 2 pounds of muscle you gained is going to rev up your metabolism and HELP you lose even more weight and gain even more muscle. You do not realize your program is a success if you focus solely on that scale number.

Here is how scale weight works when you are on a long term program that is helping you change your food and exercise lifestyle. (I do not believe in “diets”). This picture shows my own weight loss journey since June.

The solid line is my trend over time. The jagged line is a record of my everyday scale weight. Just look at all those ups and downs. Can you imagine my life if I let those ups and downs dictate my mood every day? It’s evident that even with all those up days, I was still following my program and making progress. It is important to weigh yourself everyday so you can follow your own trend. It is equally important to not fixate on each day’s number. You simply weigh yourself, log it and move on. Of course, on some of the days your weight goes up, you will probably be able to attribute it to something, and sometimes not. On the days you can figure out why you see the uptrend, you are learning about your own particular body. Tracking your weight daily will help you learn about your own unique system and how food and exercise affect it.

Embarking on a healthy lifestyle change REQUIRES you to tune into your body and educate yourself about yourself. Taking progress pics and measurements each month is a great way to examine what is happening to you. Noticing that your clothes fit differently is also a great way to measure your progress. If you have recently began a health and fitness program, please do not fixate on that daily number. Learn to use it as tool that gives you clues and insight as to how your body behaves.

Take a breath. Slow down. Results happen over time, not overnight. Our program here at Koko is 52 weeks long. We start slow and uncomplicated. As a coach, I give you time to explore how your body behaves before we begin making changes to your lifestyle. Once both you and I have a handle on how you live, eat and move, then we can devise a plan that you can live with the rest of your life.

And so, as another day goes by, another number gets logged in, and you are another step closer to your goal – whether the number goes up or down.