I used to think that the key to healthy living was all about cardio. It must be my lungs.  If only I ran more, walked more, did more stairs, all of these things would be the catalyst for a healthy lifestyle.  Then, when cardio didn’t seem to do the trick and I couldn’t stick with it for more than a matter of weeks, I told myself that it had to be all about my diet. Clearly it was the evil carbs I consumed. Yes, it was a case of the evil spaghetti monster and he had to go. Cutting carbs, eating Atkins, Paleo, Ketogenic, all of these diets were sure to be the solution for my healthy lifestyle struggle. After a few weeks of sticking to a particular diet, I was inevitably disappointed in my lack of will power and off to find the next magic solution that would cure all of my woes. 

If there is one lesson that has become crystal clear to me over the past four months of my healthy living journey, it is that the only target muscle that you need to focus on to create lasting health is your brain. It is the most challenging because our food habits are determined as infants.  When we are hungry, we cry and someone comes to offer us food and comfort us.  Fast forward to adulthood and it is no wonder why so many adults struggle with food as comfort in stressful situations. Personally, when I am stressed I want to hunker down with any variety of delicious fast food and the realization that I have had is that the only person able to stop me from heading off to the In N Out drive thru for some double double therapy is myself.  

My personal trainer, Allen, raves about how obedient I am at following his instructions, but the truth of the matter is that he is personal trainer number seven in my life. It’s not that I did not know how to do a squat or perform a lunge, but I never saw myself as a healthy person. I looked in the mirror and I saw myself as the funny, smart, enthusiastic person with pretty hair and a great rack, but I wasn’t the girl in the bar that men hit on because I was the sexy one. Allen calls this our reality transition. Until you can start to envision yourself as something other than who you are today, you will struggle in your mind to find lasting change. Frankly, my obedience in training is in direct correlation to my self confidence post divorce and my ability to see myself as transformed. Today when I look in the mirror I see a kick ass warrior who can do anything she sets her mind to. 

After 34 years, I have come to realize that all of those starts and stops- those gaining an inch and falling back a foot- led to where I am today, where I have committed to four full months of healthy living that has become part of my identity. Seven personal trainers, numerous gym memberships, more supplements than I can count, and every diet that you can think of, but it all got me here. It’s ok. I bet you have started and stopped, too. If not with your healthy lifestyle, maybe in business or in your personal relationships. It’s not about the destination and when you are ready to commit to transforming yourself, your brain will work with you. You got this. 

Need a system? I actively use and endorse Visi hydrolyzed collagen protein products because they are easy and delicious. Check it out here.  



I’m learning. I’ve been learning for 34 long years and I wish I could tell you it’s getting easier, but the biggest epiphany that I have had recently is the realization that it is official: I give absolutely zero fucks.  I give zero fucks about being skinny. I flat don’t care if I ever fit into a size six, but if my arms are toned and I can do 40lb dumb bell curls- now that’s something I am pretty proud of.

Further, I no longer give a second thought to what is on the minds of other people. It’s just none of my business what you think about me or how I am living my life. I don’t give a second thought to the cyclone of drama that is so easy to be sucked into. I have started consciously practicing the mantra of “Not my monkeys, not my circus” and it has helped to focus me instead on my monkeys and my circus. Trust me, my monkeys keep me plenty busy over here at my circus.  

I no longer care to answer superficially when people ask how I am. Venture Capitalist David Kidder recently spoke and shared his belief that we have to stop “success theatre.”  I agree wholeheartedly. If you care enough to ask how I am, I care enough to give you an authentic answer and that answer these days is healthy. I feel healthier than I have ever felt. Physically I give zero fucks about being a Barbie doll and I am committed to being Wonder Woman. Emotionally I got my shit together. I wake up happy in this skin and appreciating the blessings in my life. From my clean sheets to my adorable girls to my yappy chihuahuas, I am in a place of unceasing gratitude. Professionally I have been learning and tackling new challenges every single day from figuring out how to write a thesis statement to interviewing brilliant fancy pants New York City lady leaders. If you ask me how I am doing today, you will hear that I am healthier than I have ever been and it’s definitely thanks to the status of how many fucks given.   


Today’s guest blog comes from brilliant lady leader Della Rucker, who is the chief instigator behind Wise Economy.  As a consultant and expert in planning for economic revitalization and constructive public engagement for over 20 years, Della is a leader among leaders.  


I don’t have a lot of entrepreneur peers in my everyday life.  Which is a little weird, because I’ve been either an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur for most of the last 20 years.

That’s also a little weird because I work with local governments and economic development people, and they all want entrepreneurs these days. Furiously.  I’m even teaching a class for local government people about how to better enable entrepreneurs and small businesses in their communities today, which is a topic no one was looking at five or seven years ago.  They’re finally starting to realize that the Magic Giant Employer with a Million Jobs is probably not going to land in their laps any time soon, and they are starting to come around to the idea that their best bets for a healthy local economy come down to you guys, the entrepreneurs and small business and startup types.

And that’s damn hard for a lot of them.  It’s not only a big shift in skill set, but frankly, y’all are… hard to deal with. Hard.To.Deal.With.


Here’s why:

Entrepreneurs and small businesses need a few key things to thrive (well, a ton of things, but here’s a few that are almost universal):

  • Self-sufficiency
  • Speed
  • Focus
  • Efficiency.

Sounds good.  But here’s the way I had to explain the world that you all live in to the local government people, who often wonder why their local small businesses are so hard to deal with:

  • Independence
  • Over Capacity
  • Impatience
  • Myopia

Before you get pissed at me, hear me out.  These are all the other side of the coin from the four items I listed before.

Independence/Self Sufficiency: We all know that an entrepreneur needs to be pretty tough to handle the rejections, the frustrations, the setbacks, etc.  But sometimes we over-estimate our self-sufficiency.  Don’t tell me what to do, I shouldn’t have to live by your rules.  We think we’re cowboys, masters of all we survey, rugged individualists who don’t need nothin’ from no one.  Until, at some point, we do.

Over Capacity:  Entrepreneurs almost always bite off more than they can chew.  Sometimes by choice, sometimes because they’re just like that.  Add things like families or day jobs or houses to maintain or other responsibilities, and you’re dealing with people whose time is massively overloaded.  And that means that we’re not often real patient with “unnecessary” things that get in our way.

Impatience:  What’s our mantra, at least our internal mantra?  Usually, NOWNOWNOWNOW.  Nuff said.

Myopia:  I’m not sure if that’s a normal word for most people.  It is for me because I’ve always been one, not just metaphorically, but in reality.  I’m badly nearsighted (as in don’t look through my glasses, you’ll get a headache type of nearsighted).  But I’m also nearsighted when it comes to my business.  You know where you’re focus has to be if you’re going to make this business thing work.  Things that aren’t impacting my core business…they’re distractions.  They get in the way.  They frustrate me.

All of that is well and good as long as all I have to deal with is myself.  But every once in a while you have to deal with your local permit-giving people, or you want the city to change one of their regulations, or you get contacted by the economic development people who want to help you, but you have a nagging feeling that they have no idea how to actually help you.  What gives?

When you hit that, it might help to take a look through their glasses for a minute.  What does their world look like?  Here’s how I described it to them. And they pretty much agreed.

Responsibility: They have a lot of people to report to.  A lot. Not only bosses and department heads, but city managers, council members, board members, mayors, etc.  Political types.  And in a lot of communities, many of the “bosses” that have the most say over their futures may not have much understanding of the world in which they have to try to get things done.  We have this bad habit in the US of not always electing the most knowledgeable types.  And even when our local government friends do get to work in an environment of well-informed leadership, they also have a deep and serious responsibility to the Public.  Most local government people I know take that responsibility very seriously.  And it’s like having a few thousand kids or pets that you need to look out for.  I have trouble remembering whether I fed my dog sometimes.  Being responsible for the well being of a whole city… yow.

Protecting: A lot of the justification for many of the things local government people do, like zoning and permits, comes legally out of something called “police powers.”  Police powers are given when there’s a need to protect people from the bad choices of other people (like robbery, or attacks, or buildings that are built crappy and fall down on people.) Those local government people are given the responsibility for protecting everyone in town. You may not feel like you need protecting (and you might be right, or you might be myopic, it depends), but it’s still part of their job description, to protect.

Scrutiny: Want to feel like you like under a microscope?  Go to work for a city.  Between your dozens or hundreds of bosses, the conventional media and the fact that everyone they meet is a potential amateur investigative reporter, you’d be looking over your shoulder, too.

Caution: One common theme of all of the above traits is that they all push hard against the idea of taking risks, experimenting, little bets, fail forward… all that stuff that entrepreneurs swim in every day.  When you ask them to give you a waiver, to bend a rule for your really cool project, to support a new program that you heard worked really well three states over, what you’re really asking them to do is take a big risk in about the most risk-adverse environment you can imagine.  They might even know they need to change something, and the person or department you’re talking to might even be more willing to take risks because they know that the old way isn’t working.  But they have to do that within a world that hates risk with a fury.

None of that is to say that you can’t get that variance or build support for that change in the law. None of that is to say that they are stuck in the 1930s, that they’re just a brick wall, that they can’t change.  But it is to say that if you want to get it done, you have to understand how to work with what they have and where they are.

You study a prospective market’s needs and issues before you start trying to sell to them, and you tell them about your product in a way that makes the most sense to the people you’re trying to sell it to.  It’s the same thing here.  To get what you want/need, it makes sense to understand where they are coming from and help them use what you have to offer to change their system.

  • Try to be patient.  They have a specific process that they have to go through, and chances are they don’t have a whole lot of control over that approval process.  And the people that they need to get that approval from (planning commissions, city councils, boards of directors) are usually volunteers who do this in addition to their usual jobs and lives.  Depending on what you need and who volunteered for those boards or commissions or councils, they may be flying by the seat of their pants, too.  Whatever touches them isn’t going to happen instantaneously.  Plus, some of that delay (maybe not all, but at least some) is actually baked into the structure of the process.  There’s limits as to how often they’re allowed to meet and how many weeks of public notice about a meeting have to happen before the even so that it’s legal.  That’s so that the Protecting and Scrutiny and Caution needs can be addressed.   When you have to make a big decision, you might say that you’re going to sleep on it.  Whatever you’re asking is going to make a change that could impact a lot of people, either directly or by changing the rules that future people have to live by.  If you had that Responsibility, and the purpose of your job was to Protect the community from things that could have a negative impact down the road, you’d want to think it over, too.
  • Be a partner.  Their rules may prevent them from being overly buddy-buddy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a professional partnership.  It’s in both of your best interests to succeed, although (like any good partnership), your exact needs may not be in total lockstep.  Make clear that you understand and honor their obligations and that you want to seek mutual benefit.  We sometimes treat government as a service provider, like a gas station or a Wal Mart, but that’s not what a partner does.
  • Give them facts.  It’s a lot more effective for a local government person to push their internal system to do something out of the ordinary if they have concrete data to back it up. Give them more data than the zoning process or petition or whatever asks for.  Don’t kill them with an inpenetrable file of factoids — put some of the thought into it that you use in communicating with your customers.  Make the information that they/you need as accessible and digestible as possible.
  • Listen.  You listen to customers, and you know that they don’t always immediately tell you their deepest concerns.  Put a couple of layers of responsibility and scrutiny on top of that, and you get the professional but inflexible stance that often makes entrepreneurs complain about “bureaucrats.”  So give your customer development skills a workout.  Listen, really listen — to the facts and the minutiae, and to the underlying issues and priorities to.  Try to understand what drives your local government person — the rules, yes, but also the organization priorities.  The strategic plan. The political realities.  If you can tie your project into their program’s goals, you’ve got a much better chance of getting some flexibility in the process details.

None of that is to say that local governments and economic development agencies and the like do everything right, or that they don’t need to change, and often change massively.  The strange thing about writing this post is that I’m usually the one telling those guys that they need to get it in gear, that they need to learn how to adapt and change more quickly and deal better with fast-moving issues like those that often face small businesses.  I don’t always make friends when I do that.

But like every relationship that matters, it’s a two-way street.  As our businesses get smaller and more flexible, and as our cities get more complex and more intertwined, we all have to realize sooner or later that we’re not cowboys — and that neither our cities nor our businesses can operate as islands.  Like it or not, we depend on each other.

I’ve had the great good fortune to get to know a lot of the folks involved in the Downtown Project in Las Vegas over the past few months (including Krista!).  And one of the things that has fascinated me about the Downtown Project has been the Container Park.  When I’ve talked to both city staff and Downtown Project staff about that project, I’ve heard the joke that they used to call it “Variance Village.”  In the zoning and building code world, a variance is when the city waives or relaxes a regulatory requirement as a sort of special exception — usually because it would be impossible to meet that standard in this situation (lot’s too narrow, existing buildings etc.) and because it wouldn’t put anyone or anything at risk of getting hurt if they waived that rule in this case.

It took several months longer than someone had planned to get all the approvals in place so that they could start building the Container Park.   I’ve heard a few Downtown Vegas business people (not the people who were directly involved with the project, but sort of the regular residents of the area) attribute that to the stupidity or sluggishness of “government bureaucracy”

The Container Park is built of shipping containers.  The big metal boxes that roll around on the back of trucks and train cars.

Do you know how to build a three-story building out of shipping containers?  I sure don’t.  And given that no one else in the US has done this yet, I would bet there’s not a lot of folks out there who do.

Like pretty much any city in the country, Las Vegas had no experience with building out of shipping containers. And the rules that had been set us to protect people from having a building collapse on their heads, or getting food poisoning from a restaurant, or any of the other things that we take for granted that other people won’t be able to do to us…. those rules were written for a completely different kind of place.

So what do you do if you want a good thing to happen, but your rules don’t fit and its your job to make sure that the public is Protected?  You work it out.  You figure it out.  Which is what the Downtown Project and the City did.  But of course, that takes time.

Like it or not, we’re depending on each other.  You’re a huge piece of the economic and the general future of your community.  But you need them and they need you.

And if they give you a hard time, let me know.  I can make some hair curl if I have to.



My story, like many a weight loss story I suspect, begins in a dressing room.  It was a lovely, high end Nordstrom dressing room with a chipper personal shopper and mirrors from every angle, but there I was in all my glory staring back at myself.  ”It’s all we are left with in the end, isn’t it?” I remember thinking to myself.  The size 14 was an impossible dream that wouldn’t make it over my thighs, the size 16 was an unbearable sausage casing, the size 18 accentuated my back rolls with impressive focus, and- finally- it was the size 20 from the “Encore” plus sized department that I was left with. Because, really ladies, what is larger than an encore?  What says “enjoys carbohydrates” more than calling an entire department plus sized, as if it is a bonus add on to the normal folk sizes?  For all the sense that plus sized makes, we might as well just start calling the petite department “minus”.  I was coming up on my 34th birthday, staring down the barrel of a divorce with a transition to single motherhood, and giving myself a cold, hard look at my naked self in that dressing room set the stage for what would be the longest lasting, most monumental health change that I have ever committed to.  Here I am today, almost 4 months later, and I am here to tell you all of the details of how to lose 40lbs in 4 months.  

GET YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT: There is no magic pill, no diet, no master cleanse that is going to give you lasting results. Every other time in my entire life that I tried to lose weight it was for the wrong reason: to lose weight. My rolls- the back fat that almost justified its’ very own back bra- and the gut that, even when I was sucking in as hard as I could (as I am in the first photo) rolled over my panties- were all just symptoms of a much larger problem. I was unhealthy. Not only was I unhealthy physically, but I was very unhealthy mentally and emotionally when I began this journey. I claimed to embrace my curves, to love my booty, and quoted phrases like “men don’t like bones”, but the hatred I had for “gym rats” and “salad eaters” was really self hatred for not knowing how I, too, could make those kinds of lifestyle choices without feeling deprived.  The harsh reality is that you need to consume less calories and burn more calories. Less cheeseburgers and more stairs. It’s basic math and it doesn’t require a personal trainer, a diet system, or a magic pill. Stop trying to lose weight and start trying to make one decision each day for living a healthier life. Order that salad, take the stairs, or just give yourself five minutes in front of the bathroom mirror to reset before taking on the chaos of the day.   

WORK IT OUT: Make it a goal to sweat at least once a day. For the first month I worked out in the gym 3 times a week for 45-60 minutes each time. Every exercise was full body, so I didn’t have leg day or arm day. I had lots of burpees, plank, step ups, lunges, and squats. Honestly, you don’t even need a gym for what I spent most of my time doing that first 4-6 weeks. Just find a park and kick your own ass military style. On my days outside of the gym I went to the pool with my girls, but instead of sunbathing, I got in and played with them. My personal trainer calls this “active rest”, but I describe it as getting off my ass.  I took the girls to the park and kicked the soccer ball.  The unexpected side affect was that my house stayed cleaner because I was always up doing something and I quit leaning because it just felt better to stand tall with good posture.  After that first 4-6 weeks we increased to a more regimented 4 times per week with 3 cardio sessions and that’s when we dove into the heavy lifting. I started out lifting 5lb dumbbells and having a tough time getting through three full sets.  Today I did 35lb dumbbells and I am looking forward to getting to 40lbs next week.  My favorite thing to say now is that I lift heavy shit. 5 year old Mia calls me Wreck It Ralph and asks me to flex.  The muscle definition is insane, but the confidence is even more insane. I used to be so afraid of the weight lifting areas and the machines.  I felt so out of place, like everyone was staring at me because they knew the fat girl didn’t belong. Today, I own it and I am really excited to join a real gym to make gym friends. I feel like an athlete. I feel like I can do anything. Most of all, I feel that sharing with all of you that I believe you can do it, too.  If you need someone to kick your butt and you are really committed, you should give Allen Gaines at Making Gaines a call at (702) 750-5876.    
FOOD, FOOD, FOOD: I refuse to even call it diet because I have failed at every diet on Earth. I got the lap band surgery, had liposuction, got a tummy tuck, tried phentermine, vitamin B shots, pretty much everything you can think of, I have been there, done that valiantly for about 45 days. For the first 60 days of my journey I did what I call “common sense eating”. I still ate the occasional In N Out burger, but I had one and didn’t order the animal style fries and chocolate shake to go with it. I dialed back my usual orders and made a point to cook dinners that were mostly lean meat, steamed vegis, and a small carbohydrate. At the 2 month mark I knew that I had to do something more, so I did a massive amount of research on every protein shake and diet system known to man kind. Advocare, Herbalife, Isagenix, Unicity- I tasted all of the shakes and listened to all of the pitches. Finally, I heard about a unique hydrolyzed collagen protein line that had a 95% absorption rate compared to whey protein’s 53% absorption rate and thought it had to be too good to be true. All of the other shakes gave me brutal gas or tasted terrible, but I started supplementing my breakfast and lunch with the Visi Nufinna shakes because they are delicious and only 90 calories.  For snacks, I have a healthy fruit or vegi, but I have started using the Visi Probita chews and, since hydrolyzed collagen protein is great for overall health, I have been giving the chews to my daughters, who have suffered with eczema since they were babies and their skin has almost completely cleared up.  Throughout the day I am taking a cleansing supplement called Rensa to kick the toxins from all the fat I am burning out of my body.  For dinner most nights I am cooking for one, so I bake a chicken breast, throw a can of green beans into the microwave, and bust out some delicious brown minute rice. I have played with broccoli and brussel sprouts, but if I am really being honest here, you can find me eating pretty much that same dinner 5 out of 7 nights.  I like the Visi line because it isn’t expensive- less than $200 per month- and it is tremendously effective.  For me, it was the easiest decision I made and I’ve lost 11lbs in a week, so the results speak for themselves.  If you’re interested in trying it, let me know or check out my site here.   

A FEW THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: At the 90 day mark I hit the longest that I have ever stuck with any lifestyle change in my entire life. This has outlasted the 2 months in high school when I lived on Gardetto’s snack mix and orange crush soda because I wanted to lose weight for prom or the almost 90 days when I tried the Dr. Bernstein injection program. Along the way I have learned that I have to track what I eat, how much water I drink, and what activity I do.  The free MyPlate application on my phone has been really handy for this. I figured out that early morning and late night workouts don’t work for me, so I schedule my workouts for 3PM each weekday and take the weekends as active rest days.  I surrounded myself with supportive people and silenced the people who did not give me the support I was looking for. I actively sought out inspiration on social media, becoming a raving fan of @staceyalxndr (she dances- it’s awesome!), @shauna_harrison (her how to videos are inspiring), and my personal inspiration @train2behealthy (her authenticity is motivating).  Try to have a goal that doesn’t involve a special occasion or particular size. For me, I am going to share with all of you my big, hairy audacious goal that I’ve only told my closest friends until now: I turn 35 at the end of April 2015 and by then I want to be competition ready. Yes, scary dark tan, teeny tiny bikini, and all, but I am going to do it. And here’s the truth: I still love my curves and my booty, but in a really healthy, happy way.