Getting Back on the Nutrition Track

When Sedentary Piano Lifestyle!you have a job that focuses on sitting in a chair and playing piano, sometimes I am hardly getting in any exercise on a daily basis. Between teaching piano lessons to my students, practicing piano for my own benefit, doing recitals, and any paperwork I need to do on the computer… Working out can be a challenge.

For this reason, it is more important than ever that I have a healthy diet and do not eat too much. Because if I am working out a lot, I can eat more and maintain my weight. But when I am leaving us eventually lifestyle and not exercising, I still find myself eating a lot of high calorie foods that are high in carbs and sugar. For this reason, I decided to dive into a nutrition plan using portion control containers found at this source. There have been many different workout program that I enjoy the recommend using this type of system to learn about proper portion sizes and not overdo it. I ordered myself a kid of seven different color-coded containers that you are supposed to use each day to track your caloric intake. Every color represents a different food group. You can have four different read containers a day as red stands for protein.

You can fill these containers with things like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, or other types of lean meats. You can also have four servings of vegetables each day and two servings of fruits. You will have small amounts of healthy fats such as hummus or almonds and olive oil in small quantities. But you can only have between 2 to 3 small portions of carbohydrates each day. One portion size of holy past that is only half a cup. Most people have up to 2 cups of past that when they are having dinner. That is actually for portions of carbs and might be the reason people aren’t losing weight. Anyways, I hope that using these containers is going to give me a new outlook on nutrition and healthy eating while I am not living and active lifestyle.

Continuing my Country Music Piano Journey..

In recent posts, I’ve discussed how much I’ve enjoyed doing the new Country Heat dance workout program to try to lose weight after being inspired to learn new tunes on the piano. I’ve started playing a few of Taylor Swift’s old songs like “Red” and it has been a blast to play those songs while belting out the songs myself.  Music is healing and it has allowed me to feel more free, energetic and happy.  When I am not stressed, I eat less and don’t binge eat comfort foods like I do when I am sad or depressed.

Doing the Country Heat program has been challenging. Not the dancing part which I find to be a total blast, but sticking to the nutrition part and following the diet.  I’ve been using the Country heat containers and following the 1400 calorie plan which is right for my body size and my target weight.  But since I think I am used to eating around 2500 calories or more a day, the struggle has been real as I’m eating a lot less than I am used to.  But I have been doing the workouts and am currently on my third week.  I guess if I were to make a Country Heat workout review about my results, I would say that this program has helped me lose around 10 pounds in just three weeks which is pretty remarkable for someone who has stayed the same weight for over 5 years.  I have a lot more to go but it certainly is a start for me.  Using the containers provided in the program has also been helpful as I am not overeating and am making sure to get in all of my vegetables.

The hardest part about the program is making myself stick to it and doing the workouts each morning. I have a tendency to procrastinate and that just won’t work.  One of the ways I keep myself motivated is to put a picture of my target body and goal weight on my fridge. That way, I always have an image ready to look at when I get distracted and I won’t eat badly or be tempted to order a pizza for dinner.  I really do like the Country Heat program, I just need to be consistent and I know I’ll get my dream results soon enough.

 

Playing Country Tunes on the Piano: My New Challenge!

I’ve always preferred classical music for playing on the piano or new pop tunes like Adele. But lately, I have been addicted to listening to Taylor Swift and trying to learn some of her songs on the piano, which has allowed me to branch out entirely and wonder if I can actually produce some quality country-sounding tunes of my own on the piano!

take-me-home-country-roadGenerally country music is associated with acoustic guitar, but I don’t see how the two have to be mutually exclusive.  Some of the old classics I’m sure you know, and it’s been a total hit.  I’ve also recently started dancing lessons as I want to be a triple threat in my industry and be able to play piano, sing and dance a well.

A lot of you know about my struggles with my weight, which is another reason that spurred me onto playing country tunes on the piano.  I recently started a new diet and exercise program that is centered around dancing to country music!  This dance workout program is called Country Heat and it is an absolute blast!  There are 7 different workouts that you do and you complete one each day. Every Sunday is my rest day from exercise and I try to focus on some yoga and relaxation in addition to playing the piano.

On the days that I am exercising, I’m just enjoying moving and dancing to the tunes – anyone who enjoys country music knows how fun it is to line dance and rock your hips back and forth.  You’re burning calories without even having to try too hard. And it certainly doesn’t feel like exercise at all.  I also know that I need to be healthy and have a good diet or all my efforts will be for nothing.  That’s why I’m following the nutrition plan included in the Country Heat program. I’m using these special containers that are designed to help you learn about what is a “normal” portion size and to not over eat or over indulge.  That part is harder than the working out which is just good old fashioned fun and dancing.

I’m going to try to learn to play some of the songs in the workout videos on the piano for kicks as well. Overall, I’m happy with my progress and continuing on as usual!

How Dancing and Music Improved My Health

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a classical girl through and through. I dress in classical pieces, I play classic music and I like to behave as close as I can to Audrey Hepburn. But then my friends know another side of me. That being my country bumpkin, Taylor Swift loving and cowboy boots wearing self. I sometimes like to throw on a plaid shirt and jeans and bust out my guitar and play some good old fashioned country music.

When I recently went through a bad break-up, I turned to food as a comfort and put on 20 pounds in 6 weeks. I felt miserable and was not even playing piano or guitar anymore. But I then decided I needed to turn my comfort from food into music and dance.  I started going country dancing at my local community center and found it chalk full of senior citizens and other singles just wanting to let loose and have fun.  I regularly dance with Harold and he always saves the last dance for me. I started losing weight steadily and was reaching for the cookie jar less and less.

I was then overwhelmed when I found out about a new country workout dance program called Country Heat.  Designed by popular celebrity fitness trainer Autumn Calabrese, this is a high-intensity but low impact workout series with 6 different dance videos that helps you burn calories while listening to amazing and popular country music tunes.  There is something about this type of music that soothes a broken heart and it has certainly worked for me.  I recommend turning to music to help you heal whatever you need to heal from and put down the chocolate bar. Help yourself shape a new body you can be proud of and feel good about, rather than filling your body with sugar and junk that will just make you feel lethargic.

If you invest in a program like Country Heat or any other dance workout video, you won’t even feel like you are exercising. Rather, it will feel like a treat and doing something special just for you. The rhythm and beat are fantastic and will get your whole body moving, helping you learn to love yourself and your body as you get in the best shape of your life.  It also includes a nutrition and eating plan so you won’t feel lost while both dieting and exercising.  Following a proven formula will make weight loss painless and even simple.

Getting Back on Track with the 21 day diet

Okay, so we sailed through January after making outrageous claims for what we wanted to do in the new year.   I promised myself I would pick up another 10 weekly clients for my piano lessons.  I scored three.  Still good, but didn’t meet my goal yet.

I promised myself also that I would lose 30 pounds because I gained about 10 over the holidays. But that came after my new year’s party where I drank excessively and ate even more.  A few days recovery consisting of eating junk food and that leads me to mid-February, close to Valentine’s day without a date and not a pound lighter. I decided I have had enough and know I need to make a big change if I want results.  I read about the 21 day diet plan, which is a sugar and carbohydrate detox that you do over the period of 21 days and it suggests that this is the perfect amount of time you need to be able to kick a bad habit and kick your cravings.  I am on week 1 and I feel fabulous.  All the 21 day diet reviews I have read show weight loss after mere days for people who have been cutting out their sugar and carb intake.

The first week was hard since my go to is chips or chocolate after a hard day’s work. But I followed the plan and stuck to fruit for my sources of sugar.  And rather than eating a bunch of savory fattening snacks like chips or Doritos, had to eat a bunch of vegetables. I didn’t think I would enjoy this nearly as much as I do.  But I love to eat in volume and with the 21 day diet, you can eat as much vegetables as you like and the plan includes some awesome healthy recipes to go along side it.

Sugar and carb cravings can be deadly.  It can cause you to feel fat and lethargic and you’re never satisfied after just one bite. You crave more and more and it never seems to end.  You need to really commit to the full three weeks in order to get the best results possible.  Weight loss is difficult but the math is simple.  Burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight.  By kicking your bad habits now, you will be able to build a leaner and stronger body while shedding excess fat that has been preventing you from living your life. I can’t wait to see my results after I finish the full 21 days.

 

Becca – Piano Player and Nutritionist!

So it has been a week since my last post and I decided to update you on my progress of my new nutritionists and dietitians hobby, which has developed into a service that I am offering different students who are interested in losing weight and getting a better body. I recently have discovered a new diet solution that has helped my uncle lose about 40 pounds in six months. He has always been a big man, he has always been overweight as long as I have known him. He used to laugh about it a lot like it was something funny, when he would reach for his fifth don’t had the family gatherings. But in reality, he was surprised and embarrassed by his weight.

A summer party last week, we saw my uncle for the first time in half a year and everyone was shocked by how good he looked. It was funny because my uncle who normally reaches for the cake and needs all of it in under an hour, actually brought his own assortment of solids to share with the family.  We asked him what his secret was and how he had lost so much weight in such a short amount of time. He told us that he had started going on a diet.

But when this hormone is extracted it can be used to help remove five in people who are not pregnant by need to lose weight. This diet alone combined with healthy eating and taking the drops each day has helped my uncle lose so much weight. So I am excited to try this diet with some of my new clients who are in similar situations as my uncle.My uncle is teaching the rest of the family about the diet, and he says it is difficult to follow because you can only consume 800 cal each day. Normally he used to consume about 3000 cal a day so this is very surprising for the rest of the family. The diet limits the amount of carbohydrates you can consume and instead focuses on eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, and proteins like a turkey, chicken, lean beef and fish.

We asked my uncle if he is exercising all in addition to eating healthier and taking the diet drops, but he said that he hates to exercise so really it has been swimming in his swimming pool, going to play golf with his friends, and going fishing. By none of these exercises are strenuous or difficult and in fact they are hobbies, he now has more energy to do all of these activities and also to play with his children at the park and play football with them on occasion. So the hCG diet is an excellent tool for losing weight but not necessarily having to exercise as well.

 

Other Hobbies I Have: Fitness and Working Out

While I LOVE teaching piano and that has been my passion for my entire life, I have also pursued other hobbies in my adult life, the biggest one being working out and keeping in shape.  Some people say that these hobbies couldn’t be more different (playing piano but also loving fitness) and I disagree.  When I started wanting to be a better piano player, I had to train my hands and upper body to be able to play as quickly as I wanted.

This lead to me learning how to train other parts of my body. I used to be quite overweight as a kid and this made it difficult for me to even sing the way I wanted to because I would get so tired.  I started losing weight through a combination of strength-training exercises and also educating about fiber benefits called skinny fiber that really helped me slim down and lose weight.

After losing a lot of weight, I felt much more capable of belting out sounds and songs, I didn’t get out of breath after an hour long performance singing and playing the piano like previously I would.  I definitely do think that being in excellent physical shape can help you be a great piano player and singer. Singing and fitness may go hand in hand. But of course, there have been many famous singers who are famous for being plump or overweight, Adele for one is a full-figured woman with one of the most beautiful voices in the world.

Many opera singers throughout time were thought to only be good at their job if they were overweight.  Now it has become more recognized that you do not need to be very large in order to be a good singer. Many vocal trainers actually suggest it is better and more beneficial to be in better physical shape so that your body can tolerate singing for long periods and you are not out of shape.

Particularly, singers who like to perform dance routines at the same time definitely benefit from being in shape. I always admired women who never “lypsynced” but who had fit toned slim bodies and were able to dance around the stage like crazy all the while carrying a beautiful tone without skipping a beat and not ending totally out of breath. THOSE are my goals and my inspiration for continuing!

If you are wanting a routine to follow to start getting in shape not only for playing piano but for vocal training, you should watch the following video on vocal coach training.  It has helped me tremendously.

Playing piano while Singing – An Interview with Alyson Eckmann

There are many talents which I admire. When someone has the gift of a beautiful voice. When someone TRAINS and works hard to develop a talent not necessarily born with – years of dedication and work, perfecting and learning.

Singing is one of those talents I wish I had. I have been playing piano for over 15 years but have never sung while playing. I worked hard to become an excellent piano player and teacher. And I am proud of those efforts. But I have never been able to sing. It is a craft I have not mastered or pursued, and certainly I was not born with a talent for singing.  I always wished that I could sing though. I always want to burst into song while I play, there is something spiritual about it.  I sat down with a friend, Alyson Eckmann, who is talented both as a guitar player, piano player AND singer. Truly a triple threat, this young American girl who now lives in Madrid, Spain is an inspiration for all young girls wanting to “become something”.  I interviewed Alyson Rae Eckmann last week and asked her some questions about her experience.

Me: Aly, how long have you been playing piano for?
Aly: I have been playing piano since I was a kid. I think my first toy was a small piano for babies and my parents said that I wouldn’t play anything else.Me: Have you always been a gifted singer?Aly: Hardly! I used to sing a lot as a kid because my mom loved singing in our church. I always wished I could sing like she did. I asked my parents to put me into singing lessons to try to perfect my voice and they did just that. I sang for years and never was any good at it, but as I became an adult, I learned the vocal exercises and really practiced until I was able to hit all the notes. I still have a lot of improvement to make.Me: Do you play any other instruments?Aly: Yes! I started learning to play the guitar as a kid. I always liked to sit around the campfire and pluck away on my dad’s guitar. I was raised in a very musical family so music has always been ingrained in me since I was just a kid.  Singing and playing instruments makes me feel at peace. I think music is something very spiritual and I always want to be closer and feel closer to that.  Aly is so talented and recently released a new music video with a new hit single which you should check out on youtube. We look forward to seeing Alyson’s career flourish as the years go by.

Exercising and Daily Routines for Playing Piano

Many people have asked me if there are any exercises that they can do on a daily basis to have strength built up to play the piano flawlessly.

The answer is YES. I am an avid exerciser because I have a genuine passion for health and fitness. But aside from that, even people who do not actively purse exercise for their entire body (and I recommend that you do!), they can train specifically the hands so that you will not tire after hours of playing the piano in concert or even simply practicing.

Once you become an expert at playing the piano, you will be required to use rapid movements and must have strong fingers and hands to move as fast as the sheet music requires you to play. You cannot expect to become an expert in this craft if you do not have strong fingers and hands.  I recommend doing exercises at least 20 minutes a day for optimal performance.

Here is a great video demonstrating some daily training routines you can implement to start strengthening your hands and fingers starting TODAY! Tell me how you like them and how you feel after doing these exercises for two weeks.  Looking forward to reading and responding to your comments! Enjoy the video!

Keeping Positive while Teaching

I read a lot of parenting books, parenting tips, and parenting magazines.  Consequently, I have a lot of theories floating around in my head that I sometimes try to use with my piano students.  One of my favorites is the concept of positive talk.

Positive talk is about avoiding negatives when you discipline.  For example, with a toddler, instead of saying, “Don’t hit,” you say something like, “Be soft.”  When you say, “Don’t hit,” the toddler doesn’t understand why she can’t hit.  In fact, she doesn’t even know what to do instead.  Saying “Be soft” helps her to learn an appropriate action in place of hitting.  And it’s done in a positive way.  Instead of saying, “Don’t walk down the stairs,” you say something like, “Remember, we crawl when we go down the stairs.”

I’ve used both types of talk with my toddler.  Inevitably, if I say to her, “Don’t walk down the stairs,” she is going to take a giant step on those stairs.  She’s not being naughty.  She just thinks the idea of walking on the stairs is a great idea.  She didn’t register the “Don’t” part.  She just heard the “walk down the stairs” part.  I, in fact, GAVE her the idea to walk down the stairs by telling her not to.  Conversely, if I say, “Remember to crawl down the stairs,” she hears the good idea of crawling down the stairs and does it!

So, in piano lessons, I try very hard to avoid negative directions.  Instead of saying, “Don’t play soft where it says Forte,” I say, “Remember to play loud where it says Forte.”  Saying, “Don’t play soft where it says Forte” tells my student what NOT to do, but my student may not understand what TO do in it’s place.

I have one student who constantly looks at me WHILE playing.  I think he just wants assurance that he’s doing things right.  However, he makes many unnecessary mistakes simply because he isn’t looking at his music.  I used to say, “Don’t look at me while you play.”  But that just reinforced the negative behavior.  Even though I was saying “Don’t,” I was actually giving him the idea to continue to look at me, since I was using those words.  Now I say, “Keep your eyes on the music.”  He’s not perfect about it every time, but he’s getting better.

Instead of, “Don’t drop your wrist” or “Don’t play with flat fingers,” say, “Remember to keep your wrist up” or “Think about curved fingers.”

Instead of, “Don’t slouch,” say, “Sit up nice and straight.”

Instead of, “Don’t play too fast,” say, “Keep it slow” or “Think slow while you play.”

Can you think of negative behaviors you may actually be reinforcing with your language?