Less Than…

October 10, 2012

I’ll never forget the time I showed some woman my wedding pic, and she said, “Wow, he must’ve really loved you. You were really heavy here.” What?? “Well, yes… you were so overweight, and he married you anyway.”

Wow… I guess that kind of summed up everything in my life up to that point. I felt “less than” being overweight, and here was confirmation that I was kind of worthless, so why would anyone want me?? And that’s how I felt back then. My self-esteem was horrible and it affected the choices I made in my life.

In my quest for acceptance, I listened to others, even though their advice was wrong for me. I put others first at my expense. And I believed the whole diet and fitness industry when they told me I was not worth a damn unless I was a certain weight and size.

Helloooo…pity party over folks! One day I just woke up and said, “I AM an awesome person, I AM worthy of love (love of myself and love from others), and the people that don’t think that have no place in my life!” Then I basically went against all the typical advice spewed out regarding weight loss, diets and exercise, and I felt better about myself, better about the foods I put into my body, and I am now so much healthier. I also lost over 100 pounds, but that wasn’t my primary goal.

The 60 billion dollar diet industry is designed to make people feel “less than”. The companies involved depend upon that for their survival. So here I am telling you that you are AWESOME! You are not “less than” anything or anyone because of your body size. Let’s define beauty ourselves, and not listen to what others say is beautiful! I applaud Jennifer Livingston, the news anchor in Wisconsin, for her eloquent reply to a viewer that told her she was not setting a good example with her body size. Don’t let anybody judge you. You are beautiful, and deserving of wonderful things in your life!

I want to show all women that they can and should be their own best health coach, that they have intuitive gifts they can apply to their own bodies, and they are strong, beautiful, and incredible at ANY size. I’m so excited to be doing workshops with these themes, either solo or in partnership with other fabulous coaches. Please look for the postings on https://www.facebook.com/ItsTimetoGetFitwithTami.

Now please give yourself a hug, and let yourself know how fabulous you are!

To your health and happiness,


~ Tami Racaniello, CPFT-HFI


The Skinny on Living Large

April 19, 2012

In a monthly professional journal I receive, there was an article that instructed on language usage in classes and training, to not offend or discourage the “larger client”. I lived most of my life as overweight or obese, and I can tell you that in a world of Skinnygirl, Skinny Bitch, and skinny jeans, there is definitely discrimination and negativity, when it comes to living large. And unfortunately, I experienced that on multiple occasions in a gym setting.
The term “skinny” makes me cringe, as it sounds like being a certain size is more important than being healthy. Health is NOT a size; health is a lifestyle, which leads to positive changes in the body, such as a natural glow, beautiful skin, high energy levels, clear eyes, and a confident attitude.
Being skinny does not equate to being fit. Caring about the number that’s on the scale, without caring about physical activity is a mistake that can cause health and structural problems over time. Strength training, exercises that utilize body-weight, plus core work, will keep the body structure from deteriorating as we age, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Shifting my focus from wanting to be skinny, to adopting a healthier lifestyle by eating more unprocessed nutritionally dense foods, finding exercises I enjoyed doing, and learning to eat mindfully, was life-changing! I also developed a better relationship with my body, and was able to look in the mirror, and love “me”. Losing weight was a natural, wonderful bonus of adopting those healthier behaviors.
Sadly, I still see some fitness instructors and trainers lack sensitivity in the area of body size. Encouraging health over skinny, and a creating a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, is good for every”body”.

To your health and happiness,

Tami Racaniello, CPT-HFI, Health EmPOWERment Coach
Helping people find a successful health/life/work balance, through nutritional guidance, customized exercise programs, & energized inspiration!

Would You Eat Fake Chicken?

March 15, 2012

When I was younger, chicken in varied forms was served regularly, and a whole chicken in my family could feed us for days. We had chopped chicken liver, breaded chicken cutlets, chicken soup, chicken salad, and what my grandmother called the “pupik”, a Yiddish term for belly button. I still don’t know what that actually was, since I’ve now learned that chickens do not have belly buttons. Hmmm… But anyway, we used the chicken fat we got from cooking the skin, to cook up the “pupik”, and the other stuff that came in that little plastic bag inside the cavity. I don’t think any part of the chicken was wasted. Today, I can’t remember the last time I had chicken. I’m not vegan, but I don’t eat beef, pork, or fowl, and haven’t for years.

The majority of the meat substitutes out there contain way too many ingredients. They are my idea of vegetarian fast food, and I believe they should be consumed sparingly.  So when I read an article from the NY Times (see it at http://nyti.ms/xDDtYo), about a new vegan chicken substitute, I was intrigued.  Whether it actually lives up to it’s hype remains to be seen.  Now if they could only invent vegan “pupik”…

To your health and happiness,

Tami Rac

My Famous Not Cheese Spread

December 9, 2010

This recipe just appeared in the food issue of The Boulevard, with Bobby Flay on the cover. http://www.boulevardli.com/
“Not Cheese Spread” is a quick and easy recipe, that will wow anyone at a party, and it’s gluten and dairy free! The kind of miso used, will determine the taste of the recipe. Miso also provides the saltiness. I prefer the sharpness of the 3 year aged dark, but experiment with different types to find what you like.
This recipe is nice as is, but instead of parsley, you can substitute basil and also mix in a finely chopped raw red pepper. The great thing about most raw food recipes is that they are so adaptable to change.

Not Cheese Spread

2 cups Brazil Nuts
2 Tbsp Miso (I used a 3 year aged dark)
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 Cup Parsley
2 TBSP Olive Oil

Add ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Cheese should be thick and creamy. You may need to add a very small amount of water, just to get the processing started.

Serving idea: Place on plate, mold it into a ball, and serve with crackers. Keepin’ it raw option: Serve with veggies to dip, or make it a bit fancier by stuffing cherry tomatoes and celery sticks, and putting a small amount on cucumber slices. Then arrange nicely on a serving plate.

Tami Racaniello, Health Empowerment Coach, and Raw Foods Chef
631-793-1945 joinus@itstimetogetfit.com

Eating Guide for Real People

December 7, 2010

So much of the advice I see for weight loss, sounds really good, but in practical application, it just doesn’t work; at least it didn’t for me, and I suspect, for many of you. I know the advice, “Never arrive at a party hungry, eat a healthy snack like an apple or a handful of almonds just before you leave.”, never worked for me. Oh, I tried it, but I still wound up eating the food at the party.

In order to follow the perfect diet advice, you have to have the perfect mindset. I was a compulsive eater, and whether I was hungry or not, I was eating. That’s another thing. Just because I’ve lost weight, and do what I do for a living, I have food issues that go way back. The only difference is, that I recognize them, accept them, and as a result, I’ve learned how to deal with them. And as a Health Empowerment Coach, I help other people deal with them too. My philosophy is no deprivation, & no calorie counting, because counting calories takes time, and makes you think of food more often, and not in a good way. Besides, would you rather count calories, or enjoy the moments that count?

Here’s some common sense advice you can actually live with, enabling you to really enjoy, and not worry about every morsel of food going into your mouth.

Be kind to yourself, and give yourself permission to enjoy both the event and the food, completely.
Take a counting breath when you need to relax – Inhale to the count of 5, Exhale to the count of 5. Repeat as needed.
Do not make special food for yourself. If you feel the need to make a special dish to show off your cooking talents. then go ahead and make something for everyone to enjoy.
Eat whatever you want. Yep, I said that, and I will repeat it… Eat whatever you want. When you really want something and deny yourself the pleasure of having it, you can wind up eating even more, trying to compensate for what you wanted in the first place. I did not say eat as much as you want. There is a difference.
Practice eating mindfully, before a party, when it’s quiet and you can focus. Honor the food, and where it came from, who prepared it, and how it was prepared. Really taste it; try to figure out what seasonings and ingredients are in the dish.
Generally at holiday time, people go all out to make everything festive and wonderful, including the food. Appreciate that, and also honor your host, by really tasting and enjoying what is being served. They just may invite you back next year for being so appreciative. (-;
Eat dessert; only if you want it. And if there are too many choices to decide on one, don’t decide… eat them. Yes, I said that too. Take a 1/2 of a cookie, and share the other with a friend, or feed to the family dog (only kidding). Two kinds of pie, and you want both? Take a small piece of each, or find someone with the same thought, and share, remembering to eat mindfully.
If a well-meaning person tries to serve you something you don’t want, or push seconds on you, stand your ground with a polite, “No, thank you”. If they persist, no explanation on your part is necessary as to why you don’t want to eat that. Just take it, say thank you, and then give it to the aforementioned family dog. I’m really kidding about the dog, but here’s what I suggest: Just hold the plate for a moment, until that pushy person leaves, and then place the plate down, faking a bathroom run, if you must, and conveniently forget that you had a plate when you return.
Move as much as possible every day, and go for a walk if you can, after meals. NOT because you need to work off your food, but because you love your body, movement is good, and it will also help digestion. Besides, one of the worst things you can do is veg out on the couch after a big meal, though that’s what we feel like doing.
If you receive food as a gift, and you know that opening that box of cookies or candy may lead to eating a little more than you’re comfortable with, then bring the unopened box to another party, or bring into work, or anywhere else that you can have your cake and eat it too (or cookies or candy). Besides, you are embodying the spirit of the season by sharing.

I hope those suggestions were helpful to you. As my holiday gift to you, if you read this and contact me, you will be entitled to a complimentary 1/2 hour, phone or Skype consultation. I understand, because I’ve been there, and I really care about you, and want you to be the healthiest and happiest you can possibly be!

Wishing you health, happiness, joy and love, this holiday season, and always!
~Tami Rac

Tami Racaniello, President, It’s Time to Get Fit!, Inc.

Just a Click of the Mouse, and…

September 15, 2010

My son came home with the annual school photo packet, including requisite price list. They now offer retouching. That’s right folks; they wanna airbrush my kid. Zits are no problem now. For only 8 dollars, those pesky zits are gone! Hey, it’s cheaper than acne medicine! And if you have a scar, or teeth that just aren’t as white as you’d like, hair out of place, or skin color that’s not quite even, 12 dollars and you are a model of perfection!

Are you kidding me? Don’t we as a society have enough issues with body image, and self-esteem problems? When I was growing up, I kept waiting to be 5’10”, skinny, and blonde. As I went through my 100 pound weight loss, and my self-esteem improved, I could look in the mirror and really see myself. I learned to appreciate that I was curvy, broad shouldered, and strong. Skinny was definitely not my destined body type, and since I didn’t get taller than 5’5″, I kinda figured 5’10” wasn’t my destined height. Now the blonde thing, that’s a different story. I tried it once, and not surprisingly, it was so not me.

The media bombards us with images of what they deem to be perfect. So many adults, and children alike, strive for those images, not learning to appreciate the beauty they have, often at a cost. Offering retouching, only reinforces poor self-esteem issues. I for one, will NOT be airbrushing my child. I love him just the way he is, and hope he can look in the mirror and say the same.

Health, happiness, and love,

Share Your Strengths

February 20, 2010

I love my tea tag quotes. They almost always give me some valuable wisdom, or a thought to ponder. My most recent quote gave me pause, “Only share your strengths, not your weaknesses”. Only share your strengths???? Whoa…hold everything! Why? Aren’t our weaknesses something to hold up, examine, and yes…even talk about?

Without our weaknesses how would we know where our strengths lie? I now understand that certain behaviors I exhibit are due to my weaknesses, and it only makes me want to work on them even more. If I get upset in a situation, rather then let it take over my life (okay, maybe briefly-after all, it is a process), I will ask myself, “where is this emotion coming from”? Once I get that answer from within, then I can have an intelligent dialogue, and I may even be a bit more articulate in expressing my feelings, because I have a greater understanding of myself. And having a greater understanding of myself, allows me to have closer and better relationships with people in my life, whether they be family, friends, or people I deal with in business.

Weakness has a certain connotation to it. No one wants to be thought of as weak, but I believe that acknowledging that fact is actually a strength. We need to allow that process of discovering our weaknesses or shortcomings, allow others that process without judgement, and to stop thinking of weakness as a negative.

So embrace your weaknesses and realize that by doing so, they will make you a stronger person!

Health and happiness,

How the Cookie Crumbles…

December 19, 2009

Been a while-hope y’all missed me (;
There was a time in my life that I could not pass a bakery without just getting “a little something”. “A little something” turned into a small bag or box of delectable bakery goodies, that invariably would never make it home. I had all good intentions, of course, but my willpower caved in every time, and before I knew it I was staring at an empty bag, or looking at crumbs in a box (Which I tipped out, and ate, btw. Bakery crumbs are a terrible thing to waste…).
I do manage to keep out of bakeries for the most part, but since it was Chanukah, I decided to go to the bakery to bring something home for the kids. Okay who was I kidding? I stopped to get a cup of tea, realized the shopping center I was in had the most amazing bakery, and I decided to walk into that bakery “just to look”.
Yeah…sugar was my white powder addiction, and just because I’m a health and fitness professional now, doesn’t mean that food cravings go away, or that trigger foods don’t still affect me. Food is a battle for me every day. Now I just control it better, and have a better attitude towards my body, and the food I eat.
So here I am looking at these beautiful and presumably yummy creations, and having flashbacks. Determined to fulfill my quest with no deviations (i.e. buying everything that called to me), I went up and ordered 2 beautifully decorated dreidel cookies. As I was paying, I noticed the plate filled with samples of all those gorgeous butter cookies. I really wanted something, and said (to myself), “You really want to have a cookie…have the sample and just really enjoy it”. I took it off the plate, admired the various colors of the sprinkles, felt the thickness of the cookie, and as I brought it to my mouth, I got a whiff of the cookie’s wonderful aroma. Placing it in my mouth I took the smallest bite, thoroughly enjoying the crunch, and subsequent taste. It was so buttery! Actually…too buttery for my now reprogrammed tastebuds. I wound up dropping the rest of the cookie in the garbage on the way out.
Wanna talk about having a healthier relationship with food? Contact me! And remember to give yourself gifts this holiday season – the gift of forgiveness, the gift of moving forward, and the gift of a healthy you!

Wishing you peace, love, joy and happiness,


Who’s Your Guru?

October 13, 2009

I read the tragic story of the Spiritual Warrior retreat held by James Arthur Ray, where 2 people died, and 19 were taken to the hospital after being in a sweat lodge. This was a 5 day retreat where people paid 10,000 dollars (that is NOT a typo folks) a head. Quick math, that would be 2000 dollars per day. Why??? What possible knowledge could be imparted, that would be worth 2000 dollars per day? A once in a lifetime vacation or experience may be worth that. But paying someone else to look for answers about what my life is supposed to be about? Don’t freakin’ think so!!

Now that’s a weird statement coming from a Health Empowerment Coach. There is a difference…I help clients find what they need within themselves, as opposed to looking for answers outside of themselves. People want the quick fix, the easy way out, so they want to be handed the answers. And people spend big bucks for that promise of getting those answers, a promise that rarely delivers.

How do I know this? I was one of those people. I never paid 2000 bucks a day, but I didn’t have it. If I did, who knows…but I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t have. I tried all kinds of diets, programs, shakes, supplements, gyms, personal trainers, exercise equipment, and classes. AND…they all cost money, and none worked. Why? There’s a few reasons: #1, I wanted the quick fix and didn’t get it, so I gave up; #2 Boredom with programs, and lack of coordination in exercise classes got the better of me #3, my self esteem was so bad that I couldn’t deal with the scale, another device of extreme torture. If I was weighing myself, I’d get on the scale numerous times during the day, because of course I must have lost weight during the day, if even an ounce or two. If someone else was weighing me in, the subsequent statements which followed were just more torments: “Oh guess you had a bad week”; “Hmmm, you only lost 1/2 of a pound”; “Are you following the program correctly?”, etc. The lack of self esteem also made me prey to those skinny personal trainers I wanted desperately to look like, so I took their word as law, only to find out later after injuries and bad information, that they probably knew little more than I did, they just looked a lot better. {By the way…always do your own homework and ask lots of questions when hiring a trainer. NEVER assume they know what they are doing.}

There is no quick fix…it took me a long time to realize that. I put the care of my body into other people’s hands, people that told me I would achieve all my goals and make my life infinitely better, by listening to what they had to say, by following their program, by using their product. All my gurus, and I followed them faithfully and blindly, believing their every promise, because they would provide what I didn’t have, which was the life I dreamed, the happiness I sought, and the seemingly elusive body I desperately wanted. Those things, I learned, are not found in a bottle, but from within.

So who’s your guru? Think long and hard about that, because the guru you should be listening to the most is yourself.

Health and happiness,

Mirror, Mirror

October 2, 2009

My love/hate relationship with the mirror has been a longstanding one. I would pull things out of my closet to try to find clothes to wear, and nothing would ever look good enough on me, or it made me look too fat, or it just wasn’t right. I was never happy with how I looked, and inevitably my whole closet would be on the floor in a heap, with me in a heap alongside of it, in tears. Needless to say, my self esteem was not so good. When you don’t look the way you are “supposed” to look, as deemed by societal standards, people judge you, men don’t show interest in you, and it gets to you after a while. When I went out, I tried to put a good face on it, but inside I’d always question myself – What if no one talks to me? What if everyone in the room is skinny and beautiful? Then I’d get that happy thought that maybe I’ll get there, and there will be someone heavier than me. That kind of thinking is just about the lowest that you can get. Clothes shopping? Fuggetaboutit! The fitting room was a polite name for torture chamber with mirrors. I always thought that putting those funhouse mirrors in there that made you look tall and thin would be a great idea.

When I started to align my mind and my body with who I was and who I wanted to be, the mirror stopped being a source of frustration to me. I started to accept myself for all the good qualities I had, and when I looked in the mirror, my mantra became: “Today I am the best that I can be, I love myself for who I am, and I continue to get better every day.” I now apply that mantra to all areas of my life.

No matter what your goals, plans, dreams and hopes are, believe that you’ll get there. But the most important step, number 1, is loving yourself. You can do it! Now go, give yourself a hug…

Health and happiness,