4 Ways Stress is Keeping You From Weight Loss

Something very easily overlooked when it comes to weight loss and weight gain is STRESS. Stress is often underestimated. I don’t mean just the huge stressful events in life (although it does include those) but I really mean, the stresses of daily life.

What is for dinner?
How are the kids going to get to the 5 different things we have this evening?
Why am I always running 15 minutes late?
Why can’t I get these pants to fit?
Where is my water bottle?
What am I going to do about XYZ?
How come I am so exhausted?
I could go on…
This is stress.
It’s the stress of everyday life and it has a big effect on your body – whether you realize it or not.

You may notice a few extra pounds creeping on, despite no drastic changes in your diet, or you may notice you need the next size up and wonder why. Stress may be the culprit.

Here are 4 Ways Stress May Be Keeping You From Shedding Pounds


When we are stressed – big or small, our body goes into fight or flight mode. This happens because our flight or fight response (survival mode) kicks on to protect us even though we are not in real danger. When the adrenaline wears off, cortisol comes into play and stimulates us to eat to protect ourselves for next time.
Many of us become overeaters when we are feeling pressure or stress. Once this starts to happen on a regular basis, it can create a habit of eating when we are stressed or holding onto calories we have eaten. This also causes us to crave more sugary, fatty foods.


Space is so important when it comes to shedding weight and keeping stress down. When your spaces, like your kitchen or bedroom are cluttered with papers and clothes or toys, your brain has to go into overdrive to process the stuff. The more “stuff” you have in your life, the more your attention and thoughts are consumed, and the more your stress is triggered. Not only does this leave less mental space for thinking, it also has a huge effect on your willpower and motivation. Having too much stuff around is a huge trigger for stress and snacking.

Cravings of Junk Foods

When we are chronically stressed, we crave “comfort foods,” such as a bag of potato chips or a tub of ice cream. These foods tend to be easy to eat, highly processed, and high in fat, sugar, or salt. We crave these foods for both biological and psychological reasons. Stress may mess up our brain’s reward system or cortisol may cause us to crave more fat and sugar. We also may have memories from childhood, such as the smell of freshly baked cookies,, that lead us to associate sweet foods with comfort. When we are stressed, we also may be more likely to drive through the Fast Food place, rather than taking the time and mental energy to plan and cook a meal.


Anxiety can be a big trigger for emotional eating and also for lack of sleep – which affects weight loss. When you are anxious, you eat more “mindlessly” as you churn around worrying thoughts in your head, not even focusing on the taste of the food, how much you’ve eaten, or when you are feeling full. When you eat mindlessly, you will likely eat more, yet feel less satisfied.

You may notice that when you are more stressed, everyone in your family is more stressed.
I notice this with my family. My mood often sets the tone of my family.

One way to really get a handle on this common situation is to minimize the stressors of everyday life.

This can include things like making dinner, getting regular exercise in, having less clutter in our environment and understanding what stress management activities feel good to you!

When you decrease the daily stresses, you can feel more relaxed, more in control, less chaotic and happier so your body can shed excess weight and allow you to feel more energy.

This can have a huge effect on you and your family.

Credit: Ali Hively; Fitness instructor here at The Wembley Club, and owner/founder of Kijia Living!

It’s Not Willpower, it’s Your Environment.

You can immediately change what’s around you. This includes things like:

  • Your daily routine
  • What tools you have available to you
  • The people you interact with
  • What foods you have near you (or far away from you)
  • Use smaller plates and cups. We’re often used to just filling the dish and eating till the food is done.
  • If there’s a food you don’t want to eat, get it away from you. Don’t keep it in the house. Make it hard to get.
  • Conversely, if there’s a food you should be eating, make it easier to get.
  • Sign up for a CSA box so that fresh, healthy produce and/or organic meat is delivered to you.
  • Have fresh, healthy whole foods on hand and prepared. If necessary, buy pre-cut veggies.
  • If you have more money than time, consider signing up for a healthy meal delivery service.
  • Put the TV in an inconvenient place or make the seating in front of it uncomfortable. Cut your cable package down so you don’t have 200 channels of junk. Or better yet, get rid of the thing altogether.
  • Park your car farther away from where you’re going so you have to walk. Or sell the car and get a bike. (Check out Large Fella on a Bike to see an example of a guy who went from a near-death 501 lbs to a lean, fit 170 lbs after getting a bike and deciding to ride it every day.)
  • Join a social group organized around activity: a class, club, or meetup group (e.g. hiking tours). Find a workout buddy. Surround yourself with people who are also working on their health, fitness, and nutrition.
  • Organize your social events around activity — get a bunch of friends together in the park for some Ultimate Frisbee!
  • Get a dog that needs walking — one that will chew up your couch as punishment if you don’t take it for a daily spin around the block.

You’ll notice that these tips share two features:
They make problem behaviors inconvenient.
They make healthy behaviors convenient.

Credit: Ali Hively; Fitness instructor here at The Wembley Club, and owner/founder of Kijia Living!

Habits are a Hidden Secret!

Have you ever gotten home and you are too tired to think so you go on autopilot?

Auto pilot for you may mean you throw some chicken nuggets in the oven and then eat them with your kids? Then you feel guilty and your energy is drained.

Or auto pilot may mean that you pour a glass or red wine (or two), and sit down with some cheese and crackers. Before you even know what you are doing, they are gone. Then you may just pour another and call it dinner, but that is not what you wanted to do.

Our routines and habits allow us to access a part of our brain that runs on relatively little energy. This means that you are able to skip the energy needed to decide what you are going to do, because your brain just does what it does.

This can be where the problem lies, if you habits are not designed for you happiness.

Our habits are our most critical cornerstones for happiness.

But, there is great news!!! You can create new habits and break old habits!

Make your dinnertime routine so that it creates feelings of calmness and gratitude rather than annoyance.

Create a morning routine that doesn’t make you want to lay our heads down and cry before you even get the kids to school.

Create bedtime routines for yourself that doesn’t leave you exhausted and irritable.

It is completely possible and it’s not that hard!!

All you need to do is commit to yourself!

Credit: Ali Hively; Fitness instructor here at The Wembley Club, and owner/founder of Kijia Living!

The Advantages of Practicing Yoga

Here at The Wembley Club, we pride ourselves in our fitness. Among the many classes Wembley offers, yoga is one of the members’ favorites. Maintaining a regular yoga practice can provide many physical and mental health benefits.

For Beginners

Yoga is great for everyone, from just starting, to advanced. It is great for beginners because there are so many different types of practices. There are always modifications to poses which helps when you are not quite as flexible at first. Just like everything in life, the more you work on it, the better you will get. The more you come to classes, the better you will get at the posses.

Physical Benefits

Let’s start with the physical benefits that come from practicing yoga. Aside from the obvious, increased flexibility, there are many other ways it will improve your health. You will notice increased muscle strength and tone. Along those lines, yoga will help with maintaining a balanced metabolism, and will even assist in weight reduction.

Many professional athletes have attested to the advantages of yoga. When you increase flexibility and mobility, you are also protecting your body from injury. For example, professional basketball player, and beloved Cleveland Cavalier, Kevin Love, has spoken out many times about how much yoga has effected his game. “Yoga has given me a newfound balance, strength and endurance,” the 6’10”, 240-pound Cavaliers forward says. “And my body has leaned out because of it.” He is pictured below, (third from the right) along with another beloved Cleveland Cavalier, Channing Frye (third from the left) who has also spoken out about how yoga has improved his game.

Athletes doing yoga

Mental Health

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Yoga is one was of improving your mental health. A main focal point in yoga is breathing and meditation. Yoga practice creates mental clarity, relaxes the mind, and centers attention.

Stress is a major epidemic in our society. Yoga functions as a self-soothing technique in that it alters the stress response system. In turn, this helps quiet down the the nervous system, and decreases cortisol (stress hormone). For example, Restorative Yoga dials down the sympathetic nervous system’ fight-or-flight response because of the longer held poses. By slowing down the sympathetic system, you are creating space for the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for activating relaxation response) to work at its full capacity.

Improving mentally can also come from lowering the tension in your body. Everyone carries their stress differently, and in different places. When you are extremely stressed, your body will hold onto stress. You can feel tension in your neck, shoulders, back, hips, etc. Often times, sleep loss is directly correlated to stress. When practicing yoga, you are not only clearing your mind, but also relaxing your entire body, which lets your stress go.


Yoga has a vast amount of advantages. Not only will you notice changes in you physicality, but you will also see drastic changes in your overall mental health. Wembley offers a variety of yoga classes to fit all of your needs! Click here to see our schedule, and sign up for a class!

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout!

1. Find a friend or buddy.

Most people respond better to expectations when another person is involved. Make a plan with a friend to go to a new class or meet for a walk.

2. Stop and ask yourself what you would really like to do for a workout.

Often times we think we need to get on a treadmill or go jump around in the basement for a workout, but if those sound miserable, try something else!! There are so many things out there and available to do, sometimes you just need to ask yourself what would feel good!

3. Put your workout clothes on.

Often times, the act of getting your sports bra on with your shoes and socks is enough action to get your into the groove of moving your body.

4. Block your calendar.

Literally make an appointment with yourself for a time to workout. This will pop up and remind you that it’s time for you! This will also allow you time to actually do it.

5. Make/find a new playlist or podcast.

If you are like me, you love to get 2 things done at once. This is why I love running or working out to audible books and podcasts. It feels good to be learning something while I move! I am also very motivated by music and love Spotify for it’s millions of great playlists!

Credit: Ali Hively; Fitness instructor here at The Wembley Club, and owner/founder of Kijia Living!

5 Things Yo-Yo Dieting Does to Your Body

I can honestly say that I have tried many many diets, which is really a main reason I have started my company Kijia. I know the damage diets can do to your self esteem, your confidence and your body.

The dieting industry is huge and it promises so much. From shakes to counting calories, counting carbs, counting fat, cutting out entire food groups, supplements to eating at certain times to not eating. This industry tells you that if you do “this thing” then you will be happy, thin, and life will be great.

What it doesn’t tell you is that it’s all short term. If you can follow it, and it happens to not make you crazy or too mean or too tired or too hungry, then it will end.

Dieting is short term.

And when the diet ends, you are left to figure out what to do, how to be and where to go next.

5 Things Yo-Yo Dieting Does:

1. Yo-yo dieting makes you more resistant to weight loss and more prone to weight gain.

2. You are more likely to regain more weight than before the diet. In a long term study done at UCLA, researchers found participants in 31 long term dieting studies were 33%-66% regained more weight than when they started the diet.

3. Yo-yo dieting causes binge eating because the survival part of your brain kicks in when your willpower goes down and causes you to overeat to protect yourself.

4. You are more likely to have a pessimistic view of getting healthy after yo-yo dieting.

5. Yo-yo diets end leaving you left to figure out what to do next, which often results in going back to old ways and regaining weight.

What To Do Instead:

Take consistent action over time.

This is the answer to long term weight loss and sustainability.

It sounds simple, and it is. But simple is not the same as easy.

When you commit to yourself and take consistent action over time you will see results.

You will shed weight.

You will gain energy and confidence and freedom from the roller coaster!

I promise.

If you knew something would work, why not try it?

Credit: Ali Hively; Fitness instructor here at The Wembley Club, and owner/founder of Kijia Living!

Core Workout for the Weekend

Grab a yoga mat and take it to the nearest lake, beach bay, pool or at least near a window! ☀️

Warm up – 3-5 minutes

HIIT Core Tabata:
4 Minutes (20 On, 10 Off; 2 Times Through)

  • Plank Jacks
  • Mt Climbers
  • In plank: right elbow to right knee
  • In plank: left elbow to left knee

Core Challenge:
20 Minutes (50 On: 10 Off)

On your back on your mat:

  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Right elbow crunch to left knee
  • Left elbow crunch to left knee
  • Both elbows crunch to both knees

  • Plank on hands
  • Plank with point toes and flex feet
  • Side Plank R with hip dips
  • Side Plank L with hip dips
  • Plank on elbows
    Enjoy your weekend!

Credit: Ali Hively; Fitness instructor here at The Wembley Club, and owner/founder of Kijia Living

Overcoming Obstacles

Time to get real.

Let’s just get this out there. We all have obstacles, we are all busy, and we naturally have a desire to wait until the perfect time to take care of ourselves. There are 4 obstacles that are always going to be there.

  1. Time. ⌚️
    It always feels like there is a shortage of time and it’s true. On any given day, we have so many things we “could and should” do that we are constantly feeling the time crunch.
  2. Stress. 🤯
    Nothing is going to completely take the stress away from everyday life. Traffic, deadlines, getting sick, are just a few examples of stress that we can’t get away from.
  3. Other people. 👵 From kids, to coworkers, family and random people, we are always going have to navigate other people in our life in our quest to take care of ourselves.
  4. Our emotions.
    This is another constantly changing variable. One day you feel on top of the world and the next day, you can’t imagine how you will put a smile on your face. Our feelings are something that are not going away.

Getting on your Kijia (your path to taking amazing care of yourself) doesn’t take away the obstacles, it allows you to learn to navigate them and make them work for you!

Credit: Ali Hively; Fitness instructor here at The Wembley Club, and owner/founder of Kijia Living!

Explanation of Different Metrics in Tennis

There are a number of criteria that tennis parents use who are trying to understand the college tennis recruiting process.  For the most part, men’s and women’s college coaches will research a player’s UTR, tennisrecruiting.net, and USTA rankings.  Each college coach has their own unique evaluation process and priorities.  There are other important factors, like meeting a minimum academic standard, good personality fit with the team, work ethic, etc.  The first thing a coach will look at is the high school player ratings and metrics for their tennis results. This post will focus on that part of the coach analysis.


Tennisrecruiting.net was the premiere metric prior to UTR, and is still an integral part of the coach’s analysis.  It ranks players either blue chip (top 25 nationally) or with stars (1-5, with 5 stars being the best).  Tennisrecruiting.net uses the grade level and gender to rank high school players in a way easy to understand by college coaches, who can refer to a recruit as a three star or four star, similar to the way high school football and basketball players are described.

Untied States Tennis Association

USTA (United States Tennis Association) rankings are also a prominent part of the process for many coaches. It places the players in a ranking order, according to the points they acquire from winning matches in USTA tournaments.  It is the opinion of this blogger that USTA rankings can frequently be skewed in favor of the kids who play the most events.  USTA rankings are the only metric of the three where a player gets a boost if the opponent withdraws from a match, even prior to walking on the court.

Universal Tennis Rating

UTR stands for Universal Tennis Rating (UTR).  It was developed in 2008 and has grown in popularity quickly due to its ability to rank players across age, gender, and even nationality.  With the advent of UTR, college coaches can use a metric to compare players across the world.  While there is no such thing as a perfect metric, UTR is the most accurate and detailed index of players’ tennis skill and past results.  Players are rated between 1-16.  For high school players interested to determine if they are qualified to play for certain colleges, comparing their UTR to the players on the team is a great place to start.  For example, a player with a UTR of 9 is an excellent high school player but would not be competitive at a top tier division 1 college (such as Florida or Virginia) where the players generally range from 13-15.  If you have never familiarized yourself with UTR, visit their web site.

UTR is the only one that considers the score of the match in determining the player ranking.  This is good because if a player loses a close match to another top player, UTR will give the player credit for being close.  Both tennisrecruiting.net and USTA rankings do not give any credit for a loss, no matter how close it is.  One of the unique aspects of UTR is that a player’s ranking can go up even when the opponent wins the match.  For example, if a UTR 6 plays a UTR 8 and loses 7-6 7-5, the UTR of the UTR 6 player will rise.


One big mistake I see is parents and kids who focus too much on the metrics at a young age.  While it is certainly important during the junior and senior years of high school to have ratings/rankings that are attractive to college coaches, it is not nearly as important in the earlier years.  Yes, tournaments are selecting players now based upon their USTA rankings and UTR (not tennisrecruiting.net, though), but the most important two things for parents and their tennis playing kids are to focus on improvement and enjoyment.  There are some kids who avoid valuable experience due to a fear of losing to a lower ranked player.  That impedes progress and damages development.  There are other kids who “burn out” from excessive stress about match results.  The kids who improve the most are the ones with a balanced outlook on the process of developing tennis skill over a long period of time.  Match results are a barometer but should not be considered paramount in importance.  Many times, the difference between winning and losing is minuscule, so defining a win as a success and a loss as a failure is short sighted.

Finally, a word of advice from a fellow with three collegiate players: enjoy the process!  The time spent with practice and traveling for competition is amazing bonding time, and will provide memories to last a lifetime.  Keep it fun, stay positive, and be proud of the way you handle adversity along the way.  Bouncing back from a less ideal result is one of the best life lessons anyone can learn, so remember all of the good that comes out of the long process toward improvement.

Interested in playing in some tournaments to boost your rating? Check out our blog page to see what is happening monthly at the club!

Fitness Classes and Their Advantages

Here at The Wembley Club, we have a plethora of fitness classes. Our fitness program is continuously growing! Between the amount of classes, and the many times throughout the day, there is always a time to get a good workout in! In this blog, we will list a few of classes we offer here, along with the many benefits that come with these classes!

1. Cycle AKA Spin: A group cycling class designed for all fitness levels.  This class involves various cycling drills such as hills, sprints and intervals that offer an exhilarating cardiovascular workout. 

There are many benefits to taking a spin class. To start off, not only does a Spin class benefit your muscles, but it’s also a great, low-impact, cardiovascular workout, which improves your blood flow, increases your stamina, boosts your mood, and prevents against chronic issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Spinning is one of those classes that everyone can do. It is a great introduction into the fitness world. It is also guaranteed to put you in a good mood! Our instructors work exceptionally hard to make sure each playlist is upbeat and fun, and they all correlate perfectly to the workout! 

2. HIIT, TRX, and Boxing: A group fitness class that incorporates interval training in both cardio and weights to maximize fat burning potential during and after class.  A variety of exercises incorporated including boxing and TRX. TRX is a form of suspension training using body weight to develop strength, flexibility and body stability all at the same time. Our boxing class is an exercise class that incorporates boxing with punching bags, targets, and punches and kicks into the air using gloves and light weights.  This class is a station based class incorporating cardio moves in addition to traditional boxing. Boxing strengthens muscles, builds cardiovascular endurance, and helps release stress!

Let’s start with the advantages of boxing! Boxing is a fantastic form of cardio! It is also a total-body workout. With all of the punching, kicking, and jumping, your body is using a lot of strength. Take this into account, most heavy bags weigh about 100 pounds. During a workout, you punch and kick the bag hundreds of times, which requires your upper and lower body, and your core to be engaged the entire time. 

Along with boxing, TRX is a great workout for cardiovascular strength , along with full body strength work. TRX is very low impact as well. While doing TRX, you are suspended in the air during the movements. This allows you to 

3. Barre: Movement class incorporating choreographed low impact, high intensity exercise improving your strength, posture, and flexibility.  Barre is a total body class using light weights, bands, small exercise balls, and mats.  

When you think Barre, think ballet/pilates/and yoga, all combined into one! Barre is a great class if you are wanting to tone your muscles, and better your posture. Barre focuses heavily on balance and strength, so your core is an integral part of the workout. Strengthening your core does not just mean flattening your stomach. The isometric movements also help strengthen the tiny muscles around your spine. 

These are just a few of our many classes here at The Wembley Club! Interested in more? Check out our Fitness Page for more information!