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Kickstarting Your New Year’s Resolutions

The owner of VitaminSeas Health Foods on the island came to a health food store expo for the southeast at the Gaylord Palms Convention Center in Kissimmee recently and saw that I was the featured author. In fact, I was the only author invited by my publisher and the largest distributor of health food books in the U.S. The expo was open only to health food stores across the southeast. Since my book is the distributor’s #1 seller, they used it as a free giveaway to attract health food storeowners to their booth.

When the island health food storeowner saw me at the expo, she asked if I would do book signing at her store. I did that, and it was so successful she asked me back. But not just for book signings. More on that later.

The week after New Year’s, I agreed to be a volunteer coach for a national website,VeganBodyBuilding.com. Anytime someone asks me, as they frequently do, “Where do you get your protein?” after I flex my biceps and say to their look of shock, “Do I look like I have a protein deficiency?” or “Do you know anyone with a protein deficiency in the US? You probably know plenty with heart disease and diabetes, yes?” I refer them to this website. There you’ll find incredible pictures of bodybuilders who look like they have been on steroids but are only eating a diet of plants. The largest animals, elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotami are vegans. So it makes sense human muscles do well on a plant-based diet. There are issues about whether the enlarged muscles of any body builder are good for the heart. The point is, in moderation, more and more studies show a plant-based diet can be excellent for your health.

On the veganbodybuilding.com site, you’ll find pictures of yours truly. Not as a bodybuilder, which I am not. Though working out with a sensible weight training routine 2-3 times a week is recommended for healthy adults and is something I do. I am featured as one of a few runner athletes, and the only running coach and personal trainer. It was really an honor. The owner of veganbodybuilding.com has a book by the same name and is published, surprise surprise, by my publisher too. I’ve met the author, Robert Cheeke often on the lecture circuit. Usually, the larger food and vegetarian festivals have 3-5 main speakers. We’ve been the top-billed “fresh meat” as someone actually told me at the Boston Vegetarian Festival. I don’t think he was vegetarian.

Robert decided on a whim, to offer a “New Year, New You” promotion on his website. He told 100 entrants that those making the most progress by posting on his forum would be eligible for some gifts. He asked for and got about 10 volunteer coaches like me. I was the only running coach. He whittled the list down to 50 and assigned them to the 10. I have been coaching my group responding to e-mails since New Year’s, and it’s been very fun. Last night, unbeknownst to me, Robert posted a quote from one of my free “clients” on my Facebook page. “From an email I received: ‘Ellen is amazing – so inspirational, funny, and incredibly supportive. So happy to be working with her – she’s helped me tremendously already.’”

I had been worried about doing the volunteer coaching or any cyber coaching. I worry about the liability of coaching someone you never see. Yet many do it. I’ve done it before and it takes time away from marketing my own book. In the middle of my fretting, 2 days into the coaching, a huge New York Times article comes out talking about Robert and his website, where I’m featured. Needless to say, both of our books are enjoying the ride.

In the meantime, I’ve agreed to “hang out” at VitaminSeas (on Anna Maria Island, FL) Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-2 p.m. to provide free coaching like I’m doing online, answering your concerns about your New Year’s resolutions.  No pressure to buy anything. No question too silly. I just love coaching, free or not. Even if you don’t want to talk food, as a personal trainer and assistant volunteer coach for the Manatee High girls cross country team, I can get you going on a couch to 5K program, or just talk about your exercise and nutrition goals.

Reprinted with Permission from “The Anna Maria Island Sun” 1/11/12