Sharon Denise Allison-Ottey
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Rev Up, Refocus, Rejuvenate, Revive and Reflect

Your June 2010 Personal Project

A Plan to Move Your Body & Life Forward

Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey (aka Dr. Sharon) Author of
Is That Fried Chicken Wing Worth It?

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Many of us make New Year’s resolutions and often commit to living healthier.  How many times have you vowed on Jan. 1 to lose, 5, 10, 20, 50 or more pounds, exercise more and spend more quality time with family or yourself? Be honest, how long do you stick with it?  Studies show that LESS than 12% actually stick with the resolutions.  Well, it’s not January---it is actually June and midyear.  I’m trying to take this time to reflect on my life which includes mind, body and spirit.  I thought I’d share with the many of you who email and contact me each month regarding your goals, my books and seeking advice.  This plan is created with ME in mind; I would ask that you read it and revise it according to you and your lifestyle.  I do recommend, without question, that you consult your physician if you have any chronic medical condition (diabetes, hypertension, etc.) prior to starting any new plan.  Follow me on Facebook and Twitter (DoctorSharonAO) for updates, motivational quotes and other stuff.

6 Simple Ground Rules:

  1.   All weight loss and gain really begin not at your mouth, but a little North at your brain.  It is important for you to really get your mind right and wrapped around your own WHY you need to take it to the next level.
  2. WRITE down your goals for the next 30 days and set aside at least 10 minutes each week to review the week and evaluate your progress.  Put a reminder on your computer or phone and really stick to weekly assessment.
  3. Set REASONABLE goals; they can be aggressive but reasonable..  For instance to set a goal of losing 40 pounds in four weeks is just not realistic or healthy.  Another example, if you are very busy and currently sleeping 4 hours a night don’t make a goal of sleeping 9 hours each night without having a DRASTIC change in your life’s schedule. If you don’t exercise at all, don’t say that you will exercise two hours every day of the month, again not realistic or healthy.
  4. Do prepare for your days, weeks and the month. If you are going to make weight loss and healthy eating a goal and join me in the fruit/veggie month, make time to go to the grocery store and purchase the necessary foods. Make time to pull meals together including snacks. Buy your bottled water and vitamins.  Purchase a journal if you need to or set up a file on your computer.  Weigh yourself and pull out a pair of jeans, a skirt or a dress that you want to slide into during this month.
  5. TELL somebody and give them updates. If you don’t have anyone that can fulfill this role; email me and we’ll be in sync.
  6. If you fall off or don’t hit one of your goals—get back at it ASAP.  Don’t beat yourself up but don’t give up on YOU!

Ok, so let’s  go…this is what I’m going to focus on, you may want to join me on some of these but make your OWN list… this is YOUR personal journey:

  1. Time for ME!  I’m committing at least 30 minutes a day to focus on journaling, deep breathing, meditating and focusing on my goals for the day.
  2. I’m going to add at least 30 minutes a night each week to my current sleep at night with goal of at least 7 hours per night on average by the end of the month.
  3. I’m going to exercise 6 days a week for at least 90-120 minutes and will do some sort of physical activity every day.  (That’s just me; I currently work out a lot so this is not unusual).  I am going to SHAKE it up; increase interval training and do at least 3 different activities per week.
  4. I’m committing to fruits and veggies for the month with four days off in which I can indulge in a chocolate treat and other foods.  This day off is only if I’ve been consistent for the week and I can bank them and have 2 days in a row ONLY after the first week. I will drink absolutely NO calories and will increase my water intake to at least 64 ounces per day during the entire month. I will eat no red meat at all during this time. I’m going to take my vitamins EVERY single day.  I will find other sources of protein.  I will write down all of my food and beverage intake as well as the type and duration of exercise.
  5. I’m going to shave away time from family, friends and associates who are nonessential and more importantly toxic to my well being.  I’m going to just say NO to foolishness and things that eat away at my time.  On the other hand, those whom I love who I often neglect will receive more time, whether via phone or email.   I’m also going to SPEAK to close friends at least once this month versus email and/or text.  I feel disconnected with all of excessive use of technology and can’t remember how many of my beloved friends voice actually sounds.
  6. I’m going to read at least one self help book focused on balance or other area in which I need to work.  I’m going to spend time in prayer and meditation.  I’m going to love on me and instead of criticizing my faults; I’m going to emphasize my positives. However, this will not overlook the necessary self analysis with focus on areas requiring improvement.  I am going to schedule at least 2 hours per week of absolutely NOTHING! During the third week, I’m going to begin mapping out the rest of my year and assure that I’m permanently incorporating these lifestyle changes.

Ten of my own personal goals are just that PERSONAL (LOL).  I do intend to drop some pounds and dress sizes but more importantly I seek to honor my body, mind and spirit.  This is the middle of 2010 and I have the power to shape the rest of this year and my life, as do you.  Take the step to better health and wellness.  Dedicate this month to YOU!  I can’t wait to see what happens in my life and to hear your stories of triumph. Dr. Sharon

From Personal Trainer MacArthur James (

If you haven’t been working out/exercising consistently, start slowly and work your way up every session by even a minute or two. Here’s what I recommend:

Beginner Workout:

      Work up to 30 minutes of cardio (treadmill, elliptical, walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.)

      Add the following (everyone should be doing these, gradually increase your repetitions)

      Body Squats 3 x 25

      Pushups 3 x 15

      Sit Ups or Crunches 3 x 20


More Advanced Workout:

Increase cardio to 45- 60 minutes with intensity interval training. This means if you’re on the treadmill start walking at one speed then take it up to a jog for a few minutes then back down to a walk.  Increase your incline and speed throughout the session with the goal of bumping up your heart rate and bringing it back down. You will burn more calories and see better results.  You can get the same results by adding interval training when walking outside, doing the elliptical and other cardio work.

Make sure that you are incorporating weight training into your workout.  Include squats, pushups and crunches, but increase the repetitions and vary your weight training based on your level of intensity.  You are still burning calories and you will see great results with strength and tone.

For All Levels:  Vary your workout and don’t cheat yourself!  Get it done, if you’re in the Maryland, DC area join me at one of my high intensity, results driven boot camps. 

This is the plan that I will be following for the month of June with the 4 days of breaks that I mentioned above.  I will not have a break day until I have completed at least the first 6 days.
NOTE: If you are going to follow this plan for more than a few days—make sure that you take an alternative source of protein (protein bars, shakes, etc.), take your multivitamins and if you have any chronic illnesses/diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., consult your doctor.

Dr. Sharon’s Fruit and Vegetable Week

For Your Health & Wellness

Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, MD

As posted on

Once a week or every two weeks I try to do an all fruit/veggie day to just feel better and as a way of keeping on track. It also helps drop the pounds.  Well, on November 15, 2009 I decided that I wanted to try to do a week (Monday-Friday) of all fruits and veggies and shared it on Facebook with my friends, many of whom had joined me on the fruit/veggie days.  In response to many emails and FB friends hopping on board, I wrote the general guidelines and for the sake of convenience am putting them on my website.

What this is NOT:

  1. A QUICK fix diet or fad. You should be eating, eating, eating and not starving.  We’re just making it healthier and yes—lighter.
  2. A substitution for your physician’s recommendations.  DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES undertake any new eating plan if you have a chronic condition (diabetes, etc.) without consulting your physician (see my disclaimer on the website).

What this IS:

  1. A healthy kick in the bootie to get you or keep you on track.  What’s wrong with eating all fruits and vegetables?  NOTHING; and yes if done correctly you will drop some pounds because fruits and veggies are generally lower in calories than other foods.   What’s wrong with bumping up exercise?  NOTHING—you’ll look and feel better.
  2. A commitment and a test for you in discipline.
  3. YOUR program; I put out the guidelines but YOU make the tweaks and do what you need in order to reach your goals.

What I Expect:

  1. This is FOR ME…you should write down what you expect this week according to your goals.
         a. I expect more energy and to feel lighter.
         b. I expect to crave chocolate and have to pray my way through it!
         c. I expect to lose about 5-7 pounds.
         d. I expect to be down about ½-1 dress size.
         e. I expect that my exercise boost is going to be fun as I will try at least 2 new exercise classes—or ones that I haven’t tried in awhile.
         f. I expect to slip up in at least one area on at least one day, but I accept that I will forgive myself and move on.
         g. I expect to hear success stories from YOU and my FB friends.
         h. I expect that my assistant is going to kill me as she has to find another ½-1 hour out of my day that she can’t touch because I’m adding more exercise time.
         i. I expect that I’ll be feeling fabulous on Friday evening after I get into bed and await Saturday morning’s weigh in.

What do you expect?  Go for it.  So here are the guidelines—print out and feel free to share:

Step 1:  The Mind and Your Focus

  1. Get your mind right and wrapped around the fact that you will feel healthier and lighter.
  2. It's not about what you can't have versus what you ARE eating/doing to benefit your body.
  3. Be realistic, if you’re going to have a rough week ahead, physically, emotionally, professionally, etc…that is out of the ordinary—you should probably hold off.  But don’t let being busy make you forgive being unhealthy.  Be realistic but don’t look for an excuse.
Step 2:  The Fruit/Vegetable Portion

   1. This is basically a total vegetarian eating plan.
What does that mean?? From the American Heart Association’s website: Some people follow a vegetarian diet, but there's no single vegetarian eating pattern. The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. The lacto vegetarian diet includes plant foods plus cheese and other dairy products. The ovo-lactovegetarian (or lacto-ovovegetarian) diet also includes eggs. Semi-vegetarians don't eat red meat but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products and eggs.
   2. Eat as much and as many fresh fruit as you wish.
Fruits: Apples, grapes, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and the list goes on. Have them with you as frequent snacks, make fresh berry mix (my favorite) and what about a nice green salad as a meal. You can have all the fruit that you like BUT this does not mean that you can have apple pie—or chocolate covered strawberries.
  • Avoid canned fruits in syrup; the goal is to eat fresh fruits.  Fruit cups in water are ok.
  • Avoid fruits dripping in syrups, sugars, etc. Candied apples do not count and are a no!
  • Vegetables: Eat as much and as many fresh vegetables as you want. Lightly steamed if necessary but AVOID the bacon grease, heavy butter, sauces, etc... Use I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter (light), sprays or Olive oil, etc. NO hollandaise sauces or pouring junk over fresh vegetables and don’t fall for the salad dressing soup (i.e., a little salad with tons of high fat dressing poured over it—let the salad breathe and not drown—SAVE THE SALAD!).   Fresh mixed greens, carrots, broccoli and a host of great fiber veggies are a go alone or in a hearty salad. The dressings should be vinaigrette or the sprays are great and add no (to very few) calories. You can put beans on the salad to add protein and I LUV to put apples, nuts and fruit on salads.
         3. Beverages: WATER, WATER, WATER throughout the day and as the main choice for hydration.
NO carbonated beverages—even diet beverages; NONE.  I have a rule about drinking my calories; I don’t drink calories, but that’s just my rule and I suggest that if you need to drop some pounds to follow it.  If you want to add in limited fruit or vegetable juices, that’s up to you.  This would be if you are really only going for cleansing but either way, why not agree to avoid drinking more than 200 calories a day? Green Tea (increases metabolism and is an antioxidant) is my staple drink with Splenda.  I am committing to increasing the amount of water I drink this week.
         4. Other:  This is YOUR plan and you should customize it so you don’t feel like you’re sucking on lemons.
I will have at least 1-2 days where I will allow some low fat cheese on this plan.  Beans are a great source of protein and you may also want to allow 1-2 protein shakes during the week.  

Step 3: The Fitness/Exercise Portion

  1. Exercise is a MUST: I’ll say it again— Exercise is a MUST for at LEAST 3 of the 5 days through Friday. It is preferred that you exercise EVERY day.  If you're already exercising bump it up by 20-60 minutes. I’m committing to 2.25-2.5 hours daily with at least one day of 3 hours, however, realize that 2 hours is not unusual for me—do what YOU do. If you don't exercise take it slowly—don’t hurt yourself.  If you KNOW that you can only walk for 10 minutes then start there; walk in place; do squats during commercials, do something—dancing, walking and cleaning (vigorously) all count!  It is a process—check out my old pictures in the photo gallery and on the site—it is a PROCESS; originally I could only walk for about 15 minutes. (New pics are coming)
  2. Make sure that you're eating enough to fuel workouts. Don’t starve yourself and don’t think that by working out for 45 minutes that you can eat the refrigerator.
  3. Try something new: Walking outside if the weather permits, yoga, elliptical machines, spin class, pole dancing, dancing in your living room, etc., whatever is going to be fun but also works for you. Remember that you need strength as well as cardio.  LISTEN to your body and your doctor’s advice.  If you are a couch potato—don’t try to run a marathon this week!

Final Thoughts:

  1. We all want to feel, and let’s tell the truth, LOOK better.  It is a process; this is not a diet but think of it as a booster shot to get/keep us on the right track or even get us started.
  2. If you want to lose weight then I suggest that you do weigh yourself at the start and pick out a pair of pants, a dress or a shirt that is a little snug and use that as a barometer and motivation.  But do not use a picture of your husband/man or wife/girlfriend or the person that you are fatally attracted to (i.e., Denzel) as the motivation.  This is about YOU! This is about YOU!  And your health/wellness as well as cuteness which comes in all shapes and sizes.
  3. If you don’t want to lose weight but want to be healthier, make sure that you’re really piling on the calories to maintain your weight.
  4. Take time every day to do some meditation, deep breathing, prayer and searching into the inner you.  This is a kick start but every day I have to exam my relationship with food and fitness.  I don’t care what anyone says; you have to be a little fanatical to fight all of the wars that rage against our health.  YOU are the most important person to you and make time for YOU.
  5. Exercise is an important aspect—I say it all over the country.  “If you don’t have time to exercise, then you don’t have time to eat!”  This means, don’t lie to yourself; if you can shovel food in, you can run, walk, jog, dance or whatever it off.
  6. Sleep and rest are important!
  7. Expect that you’re not perfect…and it’s okay to slip up but jump back into it.
  8. Don’t forget to take a daily multivitamin and any other supplements as directed by your doctor.  I will try to take a multivitamin, calcium supplement, baby aspirin, Omega 3 and complex B as part of my continued regimen.

Let’s see how this goes—my Facebook friends…let’s keep each other motivated!

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Frederick Douglass

Dr. Sharon’s Adaptation of Douglass’ quote for this week:

“Lord, help me in my struggle to not have Godiva chocolate during this Fruit/Veggie week.  Help me to just say no to the cheeses that I love.  Help me to progress to better health and to that cute Escada dress that’s hanging in my closet.  Help me progress to the no jiggle zone.  A Luta Continua—my struggle continues.”