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July/August 2001 Newsletter

The summer is going on and we all are tanned and happy and in perfect shape. Enjoying all the half-naked boys and girls in shape, showing off on the beaches... and you guys who don't have any beach around, you can at least imagine how fun we beach-people have. Even my dog Peanut wants to go for a walk every morning!

Lately, I haven't been in Mexico so much. The food over there "kills" me. If I have something yummy and seductive around, I just have problems to resist. And of course I want to be in shape for the summer, so no more trips to Mexico for a while. I still go to Las Vegas now and then, for long weekends. I love that dry heat, 105 degrees... Laying flat by the pool and absorbing the heat... hmmm, I like, I like. And even if I go for a run in the mountains, the heat is not so bad like everybody was trying to scare me. I must admit, that I like it almost better than exercising in Venice sometimes, because it's so humid here, that the body sweats and heats up very easily. Talking about the weather in Venice Beach... Well, we are supposedly living in the paradise, huh? But this year, it's been a strange summer. It's foggy every morning, and sort of chilly, sometimes the sun doesn't even come out (here by the beach). And in the evening, I am sitting home and freezing in the sofa... Talk about an Arctic Swede Chick Adapted to the Sunshine State California!

Lifting my Internet friend at the USA in Las VegasLast weekend was USA bodybuilding and fitness championship in Las Vegas. I went to check it out, and when you walk in to the building, you would think that you are at Gold's gym in Venice. And all these people in excellent shape... very motivating! And all these protein bar samples everywhere... very tempting! I cannot even guess how many bars I've got in my stomach. I just know that my stomach was hard like a rock for the rest of the weekend... I also met a few of you guys, my "Internet honeys". That was so nice!

Other news? My good friend, graphic designer in Northland, Geert Wever has just created a little collection of computer  enhanced photographs of Lioness at The Valkyrie web site.  Check out his great work!

My new truck???Last few weeks, I've been researching the Internet, shopping for a new car. I must say that these days, the dealers don't have a good position with all the information on the Net. If you do your home work, you really can get a good deal. If you are planning to shop, check these sites: carpoint, autoweb, autovantage, edmunds, carbuyingtips, autobytel, stoneage...  It is a pleasure to go to the dealer then, because you are confident and know everything that you are not supposed to know and they cannot fool you. I think I decided what I want now, it has almost the same color like my tan and like Peanut's coat  :-)

The video is out and selling...

To refresh your memory, before the summer my video  "Suzanna McGee: Lioness" came out. Thanks to all of you who purchased your copy. I hope you enjoyed watching all that booty flashing over the screen. And if you haven't ordered your copy yet, you booty collection is not complete  :-)  Read more about the video...

The Spiritual Backbone

Just hanging in Venice Beach, before my rollerdancingTo feel good and be happy, you need to be true to yourself... You've heard that before, haven't you? But what does that mean? It means "integrity". It means taking care in the small details of your life, to be honest, ethical and authentic. You need to be in harmony - the inner and the outer self.

Integrity is the foundation on which we build our best life. Integrity is our spiritual backbone. When it is straight and strong, life happens more easily. We step into the flow and stay connected to our inner wisdom, and as we pay attention we begin to get clear messages about what to do next.

Living with integrity means honoring the standards (the internal rules of behavior) that we've set for ourselves. For example, if you have a standard that says "I always tell the truth", then you'll need to be honest with a friend who has invited you out to dinner when you decide you don't want to go. Instead if making up an excuse, you'll need to tell the truth. Or is you have standard that says, "I never take something that is not rightfully mine," you'll need to return the extra change you receive from a store clerk when that person has made a mistake.

Living with integrity creates a strong spiritual backbone. When we neglect to honor our standards by going against the rules we've set for ourselves, our spiritual backbone becomes crooked or bent. When this happens, we have a hard time gaining insight, and as a result, life starts to break down. Plans might fall through. We may attract people who drive us crazy. Or doors seem to keep closing regardless of how hard we work. These events can become a signals from the Universe that our spiritual backbone - our integrity - may be out of alignment.

Because we area unique individuals, we each have different standards by which we live. No one standard is better than another. The important thing is to know YOUR standards for living and to honor them so that you can create more divine flow in your life.

The way to live with integrity is to notice where you are not honoring your standards and do something about it. For example, if you are working for an organization that suddenly requires you to work nights and weekends, and you have a standard that says you always have dinner with your family, you may need to make a different arrangement with your boss or look for another job. When you begin to align your actions with the rules you have set for yourself, it's as if you give yourself a spiritual adjustment that removes the kinks and bends that can prevent the easy flow of your life.

Some other examples of living with integrity:

1) If you have decided that you will only work with clients who make you happy, then you'll need to turn down the client who drives you crazy, even when that client is offering to pay twice your fee.

2) If you've decided that you will not engage in gossip about others, then you'll need to tell your neighbor to stop when he begins talking about the mother down the street.

3) When you've decided to be honest in your interactions with others regardless of how difficult it night be, then you'll need to confront a problem with your sister directly rather than avoid the issue or neglect to return her phone calls.

The key is to stepping into the flow and creating an authentic life is to be sure that you are living with integrity. So become your own spiritual chiropractor and start adjusting now!

How to stay in shape once you get there.

Yeah, booty, yeah!Have you been working on getting in shape for the summer? Or a photo shoot, or just for a date??? The tan and the six pack is there, everything is perfect. and you feel really good. Now when the goal is reached, too often it happens that we "relax", stop watching our eating and/or training and before we know it, we "blow up" and get fat again. We go and celebrate our reaching of the goal, we eat some ice cream, pizza, Mexican foods, just name it... everything you had to forget when you were getting in shape. The food tastes excellent, after all that dieting...  it tastes even better than it actually is. The next day, we start eating good again, but we eat some "extra" cookies, or candies, and we even squeeze in a little workout after all the  binge. We feel good again. The days go on, we are back in our routines, except that we have an extra beer in the evening, with some chips, nuts ora cookie. After a week or two, you get horrified: you've gained 10 lbs. Wow! (after a bodybuilding contest, it is very normal that competitors gain 10-20 lbs in a few days!) It goes so quick... what now? Panic... So what do we need to do to stay in that excellent condition that we've been working so hard to get in?

Don't worry... Just to make you feel better, the initial weight gain usually occurs because post-competition meals are typically high in sodium and sugar. Foods like pizza, Mexican food, sweets and alcohol can all cause water retention. Why?Becaus e dieting causes depletion of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) and post-competition meals overload the body with carbohydrates. When your body is depleted of carbs, it will "suck in" the  carbs and water like a sponge, once carbs are reintroduced to the diet. Carbs are stored in the cells of the liver and muscle in the form of glycogen. And for every additional gram of glycogen you store, you pick up four grams of water. Water weighs 8.33 pounds per gallon, so it's easy to see how weight gain can occur so quickly. Water weight is one thing, but continuing to eat excessively will cause the weight gain in the form of fat. Being on a severely restricted diet forces your body into a starvation, or "survival" mode: your body slows its metabolism down to conserve energy in order to protect your life. After the diet, if you abruptly start eating more calories, you'll have a tendency to store body fat much easier than before.

So what can we do about it? How do we stay in shape, once we reach it? Something that will help is eating protein first at every meal. By loading up on protein, you will enjoy greater satiety, more stable blood sugar levels, and there will be less of a tendency for overeating. That is also the time in the meal in which your stomach acid is most concentrated. Your stomach is primarily a protein-digesting organ.

On the training side, many competitors or "dieters" decrease cardio and weight training after the achieved goal because they get burned out. Lack of activity combined with overeating almost guarantees weight gain. The best thing to do is to continue weight training and cardio... You can do a little bit less of it, have more fun with it. Destroying in one week for what took you 12 weeks+ to take off can be a very frustrating experience. Competitors should go into competition knowing that some weight gain is normal following a show, especially if you achieved extraordinarily low levels of body fat. Staying at a very low percentage of body fat (say less than 6% for a man, and 12% for a woman) for an extended period of time isn't really healthy, or even maintainable very easily. Only genetically gifted people can maintain lower body fat percentages year round. For example, in the case of women, they must have at least 12% body fat for hormones to function properly, so their bodies fight to keep body fat above that level. Anything lower will cause a cessation of menses - a halt to their monthly period. Although that may seem like a great idea on the surface, it also causes the female reproductive system to start aging, or stop thriving due to lack of use. Any woman looking to start a family down the road may find it harder to do so if body fat levels have been too low for an extended period of time.

Now lets summarize what to do to stay in shape after the shape-up program:

1) Limit the post-competition overeating to one day. Thereafter, just eat more of your good, everyday foods.
2) Don't stop cardio even if your nutrition is a little bit shaky. The cardio can somewhat slows down the weight gain and make the transition from dieting to normal living  a little easier mentally and physically.
3)  Don't take off from training for more than one week. Do easy "fun" workouts to stay active, until you feel like training heavy again.
4) Cravings for the "bad" foods will level off a few days after your contest. Eating protein first at meals will help curb appetite, and reduce cravings.
5) Drink lots of fluids (and I don't mean just beer and wine)
6) Maintaining a fairly clean diet year-round is a better way to stay close to an excellent shape, and will train your body so that it doesn't crave uncontrollably after a dieting period.
7) Staying within 10% of perfect (competition) body weight makes dieting for competitions less grueling.
8) Have a "cheat meal" once a week to keep the cravings at bay and the feelings of deprivation at a minimum. It is important that you don't feel deprived, but don't give yourself a license to overdo it.

Guns Vs. Doctors

Did I scare you?You who know me personally, know that I don't really believe in doctors - in a sense of traditional western medicine... you have a condition, they give you a drug, that might stop it, but cause another 4 side effects... you get more drugs, and you get more and more hooked. I believe in finding the symptom and treating it before the conditions arrives. I just believe that we can heal ourselves if we are open and in touch with our bodies and listen to them very carefully. Don't ignore what our body is telling us, but rather act and try to get it back to balance... here is a little statistics, why I don't like doctors (sorry all you doctors on the list and Internet! It's nothing personal   :-)  )

Number of physicians in the US: 700,000.
Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year:  120,000.
Accidental deaths per physician.... 0.171 (U.S.  Dept. of Health & Human  Services)

Number of gun owners in the US: 80,000,000.
Number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age  groups) 1,500.
Accidental deaths per gun owner: 0.0000188 (Benton  County News Tribune on  17th of November, 1999).

Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000  times more dangerous than  gun owners.
Remember, "Not everyone has a gun, but everyone has  at least one doctor."
Remember, next time when you feel a bit sick and want to run to the doctor office...  "Guns don't kill people; doctors do!"

Will We Keep Getting Fatter?
That's what we're programmed to do - unless we find some genes that will switch off fat metabolism

Hit the pose!If the past 2 million or 3 million years of human history are any guide, obesity is our unfortunate but inevitable fate. That's not to say there's any special secret to weight control. All it takes, as we've heard over and over, is a sensible diet and plenty of exercise. But knowing and doing are two very different things, as hundreds of thousands of lapsed weight watchers have learned to their despair. The trouble, according to one theory, is that our best intentions about weight control go up against several million years of human evolution. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors literally didn't know where their next meal was coming from. So evolution favored those who craved energy-rich, fatty foods--and whose metabolism stored excess calories against times of famine. Love handles, potbellies, thick thighs are all part of Mother Nature's grand design.

From about 2.5 million B.C. to, say, 100 years ago, the system worked fine. Only a tiny percentage of humans had unlimited access to food and no need to lift a finger on their own behalf. What happened to them? Picture Henry VIII. But over the past century or so, most Americans have been living like kings. Thanks to increasingly high-tech farming methods, the fatty foods we crave have become plentiful and cheap in the U.S. and other developed nations. At the same time (thanks again to technology), physical exertion is no longer a part of most people's lives; most of us have to drag ourselves away from our computer or TV to burn off the excess calories. The result is inevitable. In 1950 one-quarter of Americans were classified as overweight; today half are. And despite the harangues of medical experts, who constantly point out that obesity can lead to diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, that's not likely to change. We'll keep getting fatter and fatter, with no real prospect of reversing the trend. Unless medical science provides a quick fix, that is. So far, the record on diet pills has been pretty dismal. Amphetamines, which speeded metabolism and suppressed appetite, looked promising in the 1950s and '60s but turned out to be physically harmful and powerfully addictive. Drugs like fen-phen and Redux, which alter the brain's chemistry, had scary side effects. Newer drugs like orlistat and food substitutes like olestra keep fat from entering the body, but they cause serious bowel discomfort.

Researchers are learning more every day about how the body processes fat. One clue involves the hormone leptin, which is pumped out by fat cells and signals lab mice, at least, not to eat. Unfortunately, as reported last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it doesn't seem to work in humans. Researchers are still trying to figure out why not--and how to get around the problem. Another natural substance, called pro-opiomelanocortin (pomc), seems to signal that it's time to stop eating. Mice treated with pomc boosters shed 40% of their excess body weight in just two weeks. Again, it's not clear that this will work in humans, but it's conceivable that pomc therapy--perhaps in shots--could someday be standard. Scientists are also focusing on the differences between two types of fat cells, known as brown and white. The former, active in young mammals (including humans), convert fat into heat rather than storing it. That's crucial in newborns, whose temperature-regulation systems aren't fully formed. As we age, the brown cells become inactive and the white, which convert dietary fat to body fat, take over. Several research teams have found that by reactivating the brown cells in an adult animal with medication, they can burn off fat dramatically. Now the doctors are looking for a genetic switch that can do the same for humans. What's becoming clear to scientists in the obesity business is that the body's energy-processing system involves not one or two but a maze of metabolic pathways. pomc, leptin and brown fat cells are part of the story. But nerve cells have also been implicated in weight regulation, and it's not clear how these different pathways relate to one another. "Not a month goes by," says Dr. Eric Ravussin, director of endocrine research at Eli Lilly, "without publication of a new pathway that regulates feeding behavior, giving us new potential targets."

Untangling this metabolic mess will probably take decades. But given the immense profits waiting for whoever can invent a safe, effective weight-control substance, drug companies aren't waiting. With the clues they have in hand, pharmaceutical firms are now investigating about 60 compounds, most of them based on some of the 130 genes that have so far been implicated in weight control. So it seems likely that for a while at least we'll keep getting fatter. We can't undo evolution, and we haven't found a way to fool Mother Nature--yet. But before the 21st century is half over, with the body's fat-centric metabolism laid bare and the ability to manipulate genes part of medicine's standard tool kit, the trend may finally stop. Chubbiness may not disappear, but it could become optional. A future without Richard Simmons' commercials would be a wonderful future indeed.

Steps to Forgiveness

In Mexico, hanging on the balcony  :-)This happens to all of us, sometime. We have a life experience where an other person that we trusted did something wrong to us, and we feel betrayed, hurt, disappointed, sad, angry... name it... all the feelings that goes through our minds and hearts. Our first reaction might be to give back, to harm the person and do to them something similar. When we are angry and hurt, we don't think rationally. We must "stop and take a time out" for a day or two and then reevaluate the situation in a calm state of mind. When we are calm, we are more rational and more empathetic to the situation and why the other person did what (s)he did. So now, instead of making them feel as bad as we were feeling thanks to them, lets do something different. To hurt them back would make us feel good just for a moment, but we want to feel good all the time. Honor yourself, and honor others.  Think about why this happened to you. Maybe you needed to learn this "life lesson"? Maybe you were leaking or giving up your power to that person, maybe you did not really loved yourself enough or maybe you were compromising your goals and values. Whatever the reason was, it was necessary for you to give it your attention. Now, you do. Think about it, think why this happened, learn from it for the next time and let it go.

Don't waste your energy on hurting the person back. Raise yourself above that level. Love yourself, love others and forgive. It sounds much easier than it is in the reality, but we all need to practise. Every day, practise forgiveness, using these few steps. You'll feel better, healthier and have more sense of freedom, self worth and purpose.

1. Confront your emotional pain - your shock, fear, anger, and grief. Recognize that the hurt that has occurred may have been very unfair and that these steps are not meant to minimize the hurt involved.

2. Realize that forgiveness can only be appropriate after you have processed out your fear, anger, and grief. However, also realize that you can set forgiveness as a goal in the future for your sake now! Recognize that to continue to dwell on the anger and resentment involved in the hurt will literally destroy your physical health, and cause you great mental suffering.

New studies clearly show that anger and resentment doubled the risk of myocardial heart attacks in women with previous coronary problems. Other studies indicate cancer and other deadly illnesses are also caused by anger and resentment. So be willing, for your sake, to begin to process out these deadly emotions as soon as possible.

3. Understand that love is what you ultimately want for yourself from yourself.

4. Understand that forgiveness does not condone or approve or forget the harmful acts; forgiveness does not allow yourself to be abused. We forgive the doer, not the doing. Remembering this helps us to break harmful cycles of behavior.

5. Realize that you are the only person responsible for your own feelings and for healing the hurt that is going on inside of you.

6. Remember that you are so powerful that usually you had some part in what happened. Be willing to totally face up to that part and accept it without blame (to forgive and love that part).

7. See this situation as an opportunity for healing and for growth. See that the other person involved has revealed to you through his or her actions where there was a wounded spot in you which needed healing.

8. Start releasing anger, sadness, grief, and fear through the many processes, therapies and therapists available. Have a person to work with who can truly empathize with you, yet who can be objective and help you shift your perception from blame to healing.

9. Decide to forgive. Even if this decision is half-hearted at first, it will probably lessen your hurt and anger immediately.

Notice that this decision can be difficult because after you have processes out the anger, resentment and grief, you will have to give up the grudge - the being the "victim", the "being right" and making the other person "wrong". Notice that this is "superior" position which can be used to get a lot of self-righteous attention. Be willing, for your sake to have the courage to get off that "superior" position.

10. Be willing to find a new way to think about the person who wronged you. What was his or her life like growing up? What was his or her life like at the time of the offense? What were this person's good points up to the time of the hurt? Notice you may not be able to see much good within until you have processed out your anger and/or grief or fear.

11. Be aware that being forgiving is a courageous act on your part. It has nothing to do with whether the other person can admit they are wrong. You are forgiving to liberate yourself no matter what the other person decides to do.

12. Be willing to do and learn whatever it takes to forgive. Commit to do processes, to read courageous stories of forgiveness, to write in journals, to see a therapist, to do training‚s, or to do whatever it takes to heal the wounds involved. Remember these wounds may be deeply tied to past hurts going back to your interactions with your parents. Resolve to follow them through for your total healing, even if it involves years of effort to heal. Remember that you are determined to find the true happiness and joy that true forgiveness can bring to your life.

13. If you believe in a Higher Power, be willing to pray on this problem and to turn to this Higher Power for guidance and assistance in the forgiveness process.

14. Accept the lessons involved in this incident -  our lives are laboratories for learning. What have you learned from this event that is invaluable to you? Has some form of attachment to a belief or beliefs a position has caused you the pain involved? What belief or beliefs were involved?

15. See that everything is okay; possibly perfect, as it is now.

16. If you have the willingness and it is appropriate, seek feedback from the other person by being willing to say "I'm sorry that I did..." (whatever it is that you feel contributed to the problem).

17. Regardless of what the other person does, work towards seeing them with love and goodness. Know that therefore love and goodness are thus flowing to you for your mental and physical health and well-being.

Carry Your Backpack on your Head???
Carl Zimmer

Practising in Venice Beach...One of the most startling sights on a first trip to Africa is a common one: women carrying things on their heads. Try to carry a suitcase on your head, and you'll probably bite your tongue in concentration and wave your arms madly for balance. But African women walk for miles with heavy jugs of water or pots of food as if they weren't carrying anything. Energetically speaking, they aren't: researchers have found that the women can carry enormous loads without using any extra energy. They aren't defying any laws of physics, though; they're being good pendulums... non-African researchers couldn't match the carrying capacity of the Kenyan women, at least not with their heads. Heglund and his colleagues had to resort to backpacks and to using old measurements from American Army recruits. Still, the results were extraordinary.

The African women could carry a fifth of their weight without burning a single extra calorie; and although larger loads did require more energy, the increase was only half of that needed by the American soldiers. Some women could carry 70 percent of their weight. Funding agencies haven't exactly been desperate for the answer to this riddle, so it's only recently that Heglund has managed to get a step closer to one. While spending a year teaching at the University of Nairobi in 1989, he had some Kenyan women walk across force plates; last year in Belgium he repeated the experiment with European students. Force plates are devices that register the vertical and horizontal forces exerted by a walking animal.A walking human is like a pendulum swinging. When the pendulum is at its lowest point, it is moving fastest, and its energy is almost all kinetic energy of motion. As the pendulum climbs up one side of its arc and is slowed and finally stopped by gravity, that energy isn't all lost; most of it is stored as potential energy and is converted back into kinetic energy when the pendulum starts to fall again. But some of the energy is lost to friction, both in the bearing and between the pendulum and the air.Similarly, when you walk, the kinetic energy of your forward movement turns into potential energy as you rise on one foot and is converted back into kinetic energy as you fall onto the other foot. But with each footfall, only 65 percent of that kinetic energy is carried over into the next step; 35 percent is lost, mostly to internal friction in your leg. That 35 percent has to be made up by your leg muscles, which convert food energy into kinetic energy.

The 35 percent rule applies to Kenyan women too--until they start carrying things on their heads. Heglund's force plate readings allowed him to calculate how much energy his subjects were transferring from one step to the next. Without a load, Kenyan women and Europeans both transferred 65 percent. When the Europeans carried loads on their backs, they still lost 35 percent--but now, since they were bearing more weight at the same speed, that 35 percent represented more energy in absolute terms, which they made up by burning more calories. In contrast, the Africans simply became better pendulums. When they carried a fifth of their body weight on their heads, they somehow managed to transfer 75 percent of their energy from one step to the next, losing only 25 percent to friction. With a greater load, one woman reduced her loss to 15 percent. Heglund doesn't know what biomechanical trick the Kenyan women are using--they couldn't tell him--but it must have something to do with carrying things on your head. People who carry things for a living, he notes, from Kenyans to Sherpas, tend to use their heads. "It's just amateurs like us that use suitcases and backpacks," Heglund says.

Going on a date with a bodybuilder?


See you in September!
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