Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews

Posts in the practice category

Evening snacking stopping you from losing weight?

by Suzanne Andrews

4 Steps to STOP Evening Snacking

    You may have heard the old wives tale about eating after 8pm: Don't do it, they say, because the food you eat will be stored as fat. While that's not true, night time eating is a real problem for millions of people who just can't seem to stop bingeing before bedtime.

 I’ve often asked myself why do I start the day with such resolve and by evening it’s gone?

    People who suffer from Night-Eating Syndrome (NES) feel especially compelled to eat a lot of high-carb, high-fat foods at night. They might even eat more food after dinner than during dinner. Many eat very sparingly throughout the day, but eat a lot at night.

    Some sufferers find themselves unable to sleep because they cannot stop thinking about food. Afterward, they may feel guilty and disgusted, fearful that another binge will soon occur.

   NES was studied in 2009 by a team at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Their findings, published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, linked this newly designated eating disorder to stress, low levels of melatonin, and elevated levels of cortisol throughout the night.

    Sufferers were also more likely to have other eating disorders, sleep disorders, and mood disorders such as depression.

    If you suspect that you might be suffering from Night-Eating Disorder, speak to your doctor about available treatments. In the meantime, here are four effective steps you can take to get your night time binge eating under control.

    Step 1: Eat a late dinner.

    Sometimes real hunger exacerbates the symptoms of NES. Make sure you never go more than three hours without a small meal or snack. This might require you to move your dinner to a later time, especially if you tend to stay up late at night.

    If you eat dinner at 6pm but don't go to bed until midnight, you've gone six hours without eating anything. This long stretch without food can make you more susceptible to bingeing.

   Step 2: Get rid of temptation.

    People who binge at night almost exclusively crave foods that are high in sugar and fat. These "comfort foods" cause the brain to release serotonin, a chemical which improves the mood and makes it easier to fall asleep. This is especially tempting for those who struggle with insomnia resulting from obsessive thoughts of food or stress.

    To reduce temptation, get rid of all the foods you commonly binge on: cookies, baked goods, ice cream, or any other foods you feel compelled to eat at night. Don't keep these foods in your house. You're far more likely to binge on readily accessible foods than to drive to the store and purchase them.

    Step 3: Exercise at night.

    Some people avoid exercising at night because it makes them feel too energetic before bed. But if you time it right, you can reap the appetite-suppressing effect of exercise and still get a good night's sleep.

    When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins which give us a general sense of contentment and well-being. Try ending your workout one hour before bedtime, and follow it up with a warm, relaxing shower. This could leave you feeling too content to succumb to a nighttime binge.

    Step 4: Trick your body into feeling full.

    There are other ways to trick your body into forgetting about food. Sometimes a warm drink will leave your stomach full and satisfied. Try drinking low-fat, caffeine-free hot chocolate before bed. Hot herbal teas are another good choice. If you must snack, choose high-fiber foods such as raw fruits or vegetables.

    Other night time eaters brush their teeth when they feel a binge coming on.

    Try brushing your teeth with a strong, minty toothpaste. Then follow it up with some equally strong mouthwash. Your teeth will feel so clean that you won't want to dirty them again. Plus, the Sodium Laureth Sulfate in toothpaste makes food taste less appealing by suppressing the taste buds that detect sweetness.

    If you've ever tried to drink orange juice after brushing your teeth, you're familiar with this effect.

    Note that some over-the-counter sleep aids, such as diphenhydramine, have been linked to increased hunger and cravings. If your nighttime eating is interfering with your sleep, let your doctor know. They may be able to prescribe medications that don't have this side effect.

 Healthiest blessings,

Suzanne Andrews

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Functional Fitness Tips & Motivations Now Posted!

Check out this week's Functional Fitness Motivational Moment!
Learn more Age Reversing & Weight Loss Tips every Thursday
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7 Weight Loss Mistakes that Stop You from Losing Weight

by Suzanne Andrews

 As any dieter knows, there is a lot of information floating around about diet and exercise - not all of it
good. The worst part is that some of the 'tips' you read can actually sabotage your weight loss and make you fatter!
 Let's separate fact from fiction and look at seven of the most common mistakes dieters make.



   Mistake #1: Cutting too much fat.

   Many dieters believe that the less fat they eat, the better. What they don't realize is that fats are important because they make us feel satiated. Fat is also digested rather slowly, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Eat too little of it, and you could find yourself snacking more frequently but feeling less satisfied.

   Plus, many fat-free foods contain a surprising amount of sugar to improve their flavor, and sugar can lead to even stronger cravings and weight gain.

   Instead of cutting all fat from your diet, try consuming moderate portions of heart-healthy fats like avocados, nuts, olive oil, reduced-fat dairy products, and salmon. These will fill you up without harming your health.

   Mistake #2: Cutting too many carbs.

   Like fats, carbs have a place in a healthy diet. If you dramatically cut your carb intake, you might notice a quick initial weight loss. This is water weight.    When your muscles store carbohydrates, they also store water. When you burn through these carbohydrate stores, you also secrete the extra water. The pounds you lose in this fashion will be quickly regained when you start eating carbohydrates again.

   Carbs are an important energy source. They also promote a sense of well-being. The secret is to eat a reasonable amount of complex carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and beans.

   Avoid simple sugars like soda and candy. They are a source of empty calories and will only increase your cravings for more sweets.

   Mistake #3: Cutting too many calories.

   All weight loss boils down to one simple rule: you must burn more calories than you consume. You shouldn't overdo it, though. If you eat too little, your body will rebel by slowing down its metabolism and losing lean muscle mass.

   You can avoid this by eating a minimum of 1,200 calories each day. A weekly caloric deficit of 3,500 calories will result in the loss of one pound. If you don't eat enough, you risk setting yourself up for a hunger-induced binge.

Mistake #4: Avoiding dairy products.

   Dairy products have a bad reputation among dieters who consider them to be too high in fat and lactose. While it's true that too much whole milk and rich cheese can contribute to weight gain, there is ample evidence that low-fat dairy products are an excellent choice for dieters.

   Dairy products contain a hormone called calcitriol. This hormone tells your body to burn more fat and to convert less sugar to fat. Plus, the protein in dairy products helps you feel fuller longer. Try to consume three servings of low-fat dairy each day.

   Mistake #5: Following the latest fad.

   Nobody likes to fail at their diet, but some of the popular diet plans you read about in the headlines are simply unrealistic and unhealthy. I tried them ALL.  They are set up to fail.

   Who can live on a diet of lemonade and maple syrup? Who can be happy eating nothing but cabbage soup? Nobody, that's who. Stay away from diets that promote fast weight loss through radical means.

   The very best diet is a well-balanced eating plan that you can comfortably stick with for the rest of your life. If a diet is too drastic or unnatural, it's not a viable lifestyle choice. And if a diet says you will not have to exercise, that is simply not true.  Especially if you are over 40.  The metabolism slows down during the middle age to senior years and you must exercise to get your metabolism in the fat burning mode.

   Mistake #6: Using stimulants.

   Caffeine and ephedra are often touted as natural weight loss aids and hunger reducers. While these stimulants can make you feel less hungry, they can also cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and stress.

   When your body is stressed, it produces too much of the hormone cortisol, which causes your body to go into survival mode. While in this mode, your body sends out signals for you to eat more food, which it then stores as extra fat.

   Nobody needs stimulants to help them lose weight. Reduce your hunger by reducing the stress in your life and eating small, frequent, nutritious meals. That being said, I’m not saying to stop drinking coffee if you feel you must.  I admit, I have one cup every morning.  Everything in moderation, unless your doctor says otherwise. 

   Mistake #7: Avoiding strength-training exercises.

   Some dieters, particularly women, avoid strength-training because they don't want to "bulk up" and gain weight. This is unfortunate, because muscles speed up your metabolism. Strength training actually promotes fat loss and, like all exercise, helps your body release feel-good endorphins.

   Don't let the scale be your only measure of dieting success. Get a tape measure and keep track of the inches you lose when you add strength-training to your workouts.

Own Total Strength & Conditioning Workout

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Stress Relief...

by Suzanne Andrews


Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

How to Burn Fat by Losing Calories

by Suzanne Andrews


Losing weight is very difficult for many of us, but it ultimately boils down to numbers: Eat fewer calories to lose more pounds. If we could figure out how to lose calories, the pounds would quickly follow.
It's easy to reduce your calorie intake when you know how to do it right. You don't have to feel deprived, and you don't have to starve yourself. In fact, you can cut your calories easily and painlessly. These helpful tips will teach you how to lose calories - and weight - starting now.

Lose Calories with Healthy Substitutions
You don't have to give up your favorite flavors, you just have to make healthier substitutions. Let's say you're having a craving for something rich and chocolaty. If you satisfy your craving by downing a pint of chocolate ice cream, you will have added several hundred calories to your daily intake.
But if you pick up a healthier alternative, like a sugar-free fudge pop or some reduced fat chocolate pudding, you will get the chocolate flavor you crave at a low caloric cost.
Other good substitutions include low-fat dairy products instead of whole milk products; lean cuts of meat instead of fattier cuts; air-popped popcorn or rice cakes instead of chips; trans-fat-free margarine instead of butter; and whole fruit instead of fruit juice.

Lose Calories by Eating More
Yes, you read that right! When you consider how to lose calories, eating more isn't the first strategy that comes to mind. But studies have shown time and again that you can control your appetite by eating smaller, more frequent meals.
This approach reduces your calories in two ways. First, it keeps you from getting too hungry. Excess hunger is the number one reason why people stop dieting, and it is also a leading cause of binging. When you control your hunger, you can control your calorie intake.
Second, small meals keep your metabolism active. You will lose calories as your body burns through them faster. This is a near-effortless way to reduce the number of calories you eat, and burn the rest!

Lose Weight & Relieve Stress

Lose Calories with Daily Tasks
Ever wondered how to lose calories while being productive? Many of us don't have time to devote to long workouts, but you can burn off extra calories while you run errands and do chores or do a quick conditioning workout in the morning to speed your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Lawn work and gardening burn a surprising number of calories each hour. Depending on what you do and how much you weigh, you could burn up to 700 calories an hour just by working in your yard.
If you have kids or pets, take them to the park! An hour of swinging, sliding, and Frisbee catching will get rid of 300 calories or more.
When you run errands, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot when you visit stores. These are small changes that add up to big rewards.

Lose Calories with Yoga
Yoga is a great exercise for beginners. It builds strength, increases flexibility, and helps prevent heart and metabolic diseases. People often ask me how I lost 60 pounds. My first step was incorporating yoga into my routine and that's why Beginners Dynamic Yoga was my first PBS TV special.
Yoga is also a fantastic stress reducer and I'm living proof as it helped me get through a divorce after a 15-year marriage. (Happily, remarried now). It encourages our bodies to stop hanging on to excess calories in the form of fat. If you make yoga a part of your daily routine, you will notice physical and emotional benefits right away.
Start by doing 15 - 30 minutes of yoga each day. Don't let the more advanced poses scare you off; even yoga masters had to start somewhere!
Now that you've learned how to lose calories without depriving yourself, it's time to put these ideas into practice. Try to make one small change per week until you've grown accustomed to your new lifestyle. After a few weeks, losing calories will be a piece of (low-fat) cake!
Love and healthiest blessings,

Suzanne Andrews, Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Benefits of Strength Training

by Suzanne Andrews


4 Unusual Benefits of Strength Training in Women Over 50

Strength training, an important addition for the health of midlife and older women, is often overlooked. While we are in our 20’s and thirties, we are concerned with getting into that little black dress.  As a clinician who works with women who are middle age and older, I understand that the desire to look good never goes away.  However, as women age, there are far more important reasons to strength train.

  1. One surprising aspect of strength training after 50 is how it affects your endocrine system. That's the system of organs in your body that produce and regulates hormones in your bloodstream.

Yet the myth of getting big, bulky muscles remains. Women don’t have enough testosterone to produce bulky muscles.  While Testosterone is produced in both sexes, (in the ovaries in women and the testes in men); women have about one tenth the amounts of men but it still affects your metabolism by burning fat during exercise along with increasing muscle strength and tone. Testosterone can remain in your bloodstream at elevated levels up to three hours after exercise. In women, strength training can also benefit the intensity of orgasms and that's never a bad thing.

Own Total Strengh & Conditioning Here!

  1. Strength training helps improve body image… Why? A hormone that helps to breakdown unwanted body fat is estrogen. It increases your metabolism (burns fat as fuel), increases both your libido and your mood. The ovaries produce less of it as menopause is reached but strength training can elevate its levels in the blood for up to four hours after exercising so you feel sexier and happier. Now that's better than a valium and has much better side effects than any anti-depressant. (I do not advocate women stop taking their anti-depressant as they need to check with their doctor).
  1. The greatest loss of bone mass is women going through menopause.  Strength training not only helps women maintain muscle – it helps to maintain bone mass and reduces risk for numerous chronic diseases. 

Osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans every year. One out of every two women will get osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is known as the silent killer because half of the population who have low bone mass are not aware of it. Osteoporosis puts people at a much higher risk for painful bone fractures that are sometimes fatal. Over 300,000 seniors a year fracture their hip from a fall with sometimes serious complications, including death, from hip fractures.

As we get older, the tissues that comprise the heart, lungs, arteries and veins weaken. Strength training slows that deterioration by keeping higher levels of blood, oxygen and hormones flowing.

After age 50, you lose 1 -2% of muscle strength per year.  After 60, you lose 3% a year, which comes out to about 4.5 pounds of muscle strength a year.

Your legs get weaker three years before your arms start becoming weak and that's why you'll notice it's becoming difficult to walk like you used to.

Your bicep muscles in your arms help you lift stuff and your triceps help you push up to a stand.

Not all the muscles that are important to move your arms are located in your arms: your latissimus dorsi (located in your back) pulls your shoulders back and your arms to your sides.) 

While strong legs are important, strong arms are also vital for a fully functional life.  With strong arms you can lift your baby/grand-baby out of a car seat with ease, carry in groceries, get items of the top shelf and get in and out of the tub without injuring yourself. 

  1. What many women are unaware of is that calcium is needed for heart conduction.  If a woman has thinning bones and doesn’t have enough calcium, the body will remove calcium from the bones to give it to the heart to avoid a heart attack. So in essence, strong bones helps to decrease thinning bones and could potentially help with heart disease.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

How to Overcome Barriers

by Suzanne Andrews

How to Overcome the Top 5 Barriers to Your Best Health

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

We all have areas of our lives that could use some improvement but we often put it off, make excuses, or can't make the time to address them. In the process of living our lives to build a career, raise a family, compete to acquire it all, we overlook the vital need to relax, eat sensibly and understand our limitations. Don't wait until your first heart attack, DUI accident, or other shocking event to realize your lifestyle may be destroying you from the inside.

Here’s five barriers and more importantly how to overcome them for your best health ever!

  1. Your Own Psychology  

This one of the most formidable barriers. We place limits on our ability to become healthy. Rather than trust that change can happen, we talk down or highlight the impossible aspect of the changes we want to make. Believing that we can't lose weight because both our parents and grandparents were overweight is a false comfort and a method to avoid accepting a challenge. As long as you don't even try, you won't fail. 

  1. Society

Changes in society is another barrier. Smoking used to be fashionable, now it’s a primary health hazard. Butter and cream sauces are considered gourmet but now are known to be fattening and increase cholesterol in blood. Don't allow society to sway you with its criticisms, traditions and paradoxes.

  1. Fear

This is a tough one because it comes from within and without.
What will changing be like?
Will I be different?
Will my spouse, family, and friends still love me?

Many fears are deeply rooted in childhood, an event when discipline, accidents, or unhappiness set limits on imagination and exploration. These events place limits on our life potential and individual performance without even realizing it.

  1. Rationalizations

Denial...hides the reality of your situation
Blame...can't or won't accept responsibility is the tomorrow you said you'd start. Get going.
Fear of loss...why fear sleeping better, fitting new clothes, more energy, saving money, fewer pills and doctor visits, improved health and self-esteem?

  1. Fear of Failure 

Set realistic goals...lose 1 lbs. this week and do it. Next week, 2 lbs. and do it. Then each week after go for 3lbs. and do it.

If you begin a health plan by promising yourself that "I'll look like an Olympic athlete in one month", you already know how that's going to turn out. Persistent baby steps become leaps and bounds.

Functional Fitness Wisdom for You

Time is the most used excuse to not do something.  How much time do you spend watching TV?  (Honestly). The average person watches 3.5 hours of TV a night. That's 105 hours of television in a month. So all those people would rather watch somebody else live their dreams rather than pursuing their own? Turn it off!

Knowledge...use all the extra time you just discovered to research and educate yourself on what it will take to find out how to remedy all those fears, denials, and pressures in your life. will quickly realize that a healthy diet, regular exercise, lots of water (no sugary drinks) and even just a daily vitamin will give you the energy you've always wanted.

Support System...get your family, friends and co-workers involved. In most cases, you will have overwhelming support and even be considered a role model for those around you that have always wondered what it would be like to become what you are doing.

Has anything stopped you from achieving your goals and you still overcame and plowed through? 
Let me know by leaving a comment on Collage Video’s Facebook page… I look forward to reading them!

Suzanne Andrews
founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Urinary Incontinence Treatments

by Suzanne Andrews

Which One is Right for You?

I was just interviewed for Prevention Magazine about my natural treatment for Urinary Incontinence and they asked why I produced 30 Day Bladder Fix.  Well, have you seen those advertisements promising women to “take charge of bladder leaks.” There’s photo’s of women dancing, laughing and smiling. The message is that you can enjoy life once again if you use their products.  And exactly what products are we talking about?

  1. Pads or adult diapers:

Now I don’t know about you, but I’d be very self-conscious walking around with pads catching leaks that make me smell like pee.  And did you know that urine rubbing against your skin causes rashes?  How do I know this?  Aside from the fact that I’m an Occupational Therapy Clinician who treats this all to-common problem, I too once suffered from it and looked into every possible solution.  Here’s the other “solutions.”

  1. Pills:

Did you know pills only work in less than 20% of women and according to Web MD, “the most commonly reported side effect of the drugs are dry mouth, dry skin, dry eyes, and upset stomach. By the way, constipation makes urinary incontinence worse.  And in older people, “complications from urinary incontinence medications are heart rhythms problems and sudden death.”  I’m amazed how many of my patients are taking 12 – 13 pills a day under the care of a physician.  “You leak, here’s a pill, is the all too common answer.” Many patients arrive in rehab due to hip and wrist fractures received from rushing to the bathroom in the middle of the night and tripping on the wet spots.

  1. Insertable Objects:

Really who invented this? There’s an exercise device that cost $249.00 and this device hurts. (I tried it). Who thinks we ladies like to go around and insert objects into our private area as a form of exercise. There’s the other insertable objects supposed to help you control the problem but it still doesn’t SOLVE the problem and how healthy can it be to insert foreign objects anyway?

  1. Surgery:

As of early 2015, an estimated 70,000 women filed lawsuits against mesh manufacturers after suffering serious injuries from the products.  During my search for treatment, a urologist told me to undergo mesh surgery and I’m so glad I didn’t because problems from mesh surgery can include:

  • Severe pelvic, genital or groin pain
  • Recurrence of prolapse or incontinence
  • Nerve damage
  • Vaginal scarring
  • Degrading of the mesh
  • Infection, including urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Neuro-muscular problems
  • Vaginal shrinkage or shortening
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool or urine
  1. Kegels:

You’ve probably heard about Kegels. Well kegels are not the total answer either.  And it can be hard to know if you’re doing them right.

It is because of all these products that I produced 30 Day Bladder Fix.  I wanted to give women (and men) a natural way to eliminate Urinary Incontinence without pills, surgery, inserting foreign objects or expensive pads.  If I can help you not have to go through the embarrassment that I went through, it will be worth it. And you don’t have to pay the expensive three times a week co-pay for the therapeutic pelvic floor exercises I teach all across the United States. You can sit in the comfort of your own home and do the program in privacy and you don’t even have to get on the floor!  It’s all done sitting on a chair and lying in bed. 

You know what the best thing is?  Hearing from you all about how 30 Day Bladder Fix is helping you!  I’m so happy because you’re all my sisters in wellness! Here’s some reviews.  Keep them coming and share this post on your social media. Together we can let women know how to SOLVE the problem, not mask it.

Sandra B.
Verified Buyer
the exercise dvds are the best. i recommend them to everyone. money well spent. enjoy!


Frances P.
Verified Buyer
Hip on Functional fitness.
I have been using the 30 Bladder Fix for two weeks and have improvement with bladder control when I sneeze. The sneezing was my main concern.

Happy C.
Verified Buyer
This Works!
I can't say enough about this DVD. I tried the medicine to stop bladder leaks and it didn't work. I was even thinking of surgery but I heard of all the complications including a friend that private part perforated from the surgery. I have to say I was skeptical about this but tried anyway and am so glad!!! I can finally go on long car rides without having to stop at a rest stop every hour and I can also sneeze without the floodgates opening up. Thank you so much. I hope you don't mind that I don't use my name as this was a very a very embarrassing problem to have.



Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.




Tight Schedule?

by Suzanne Andrews

How to Get a Tight Body in 30 Minutes a Day! 

Do you have a schedule so tight that it’s enough to choke a horse?

As a television producer and host of Functional Fitness, I don’t have enough heads to put on all the hats I have to wear throughout the day: so I really do get how your day can be busy. 

Yet if you were to email me, I’d respond immediately and if you phoned, the tone in my voice would convey that I’m not in a rush to get to the pile of never-ending things to do.

Why? Because you’re important and so is your health. That’s why I now end every episode of Functional Fitness with, “thanks for taking the time to be with a very important person – YOU!

I’ve learned to do things immediately or otherwise my “to do” pile gets out of hand.  So what does this have to do with working out on a tight schedule?  Everything.  You need to put YOU in the “to do” pile. No “ands,”  “ifs” or “buts” about it.

But you don’t have time right? If you can squeeze in 30 minutes today, tomorrow and the next until it becomes a habit, you’ll feel so much better! That 30 minutes of purposeful exercise takes years of your looks, adds years to your life and more importantly life to your years.

What do I mean by purposeful exercise? By doing 30 minute workouts that help you function at your best, rather than workouts that make you want to scream!  Instead of “I must get through this killer workout so I can be a size skinny,” how about changing your mindset to “I must do a functional workout to be able to go sightseeing on that trip I’ve got my eye on, or I want to get totally strong and conditioned for __________ (you fill in the blank by thinking of something you want to accomplish).

By working out with purpose and doing an exercise program that is realistic, you’ll accomplish the one most important part of getting healthy naturally: consistency.  In addition, a 30 minute workout leaves you with enough energy stores to do everything else you have to do. So take 30 minutes and make your day, your year, your life!

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

How I lost the Weight

by Suzanne Andrews

Prevention Magazine Full Interview with Suzanne Andrews

How much did you weigh at your heaviest?

I was 186 pounds after giving birth in my 30's and since I'm only 5 foot 2", that's an uncomfortably large size. I had a background in fitness so I thought I'd just get the weight off right after giving birth.  But there was one big problem, weighing that much was painful!

 What made you decide to make a change in your habits?

Every step I took was excruciating. At 5’2″, I was putting a tremendous strain on my knees and hips. The simple act of walking was an arduous task. Walking places a force of 3 times your body weight on the critical joints of your body and I got bursitis in my hip which was very painful.

What did you do for exercise when you just started out?

At first I thought exercise was out of the question. I could barely see my toes; being able to touch them was a fantasy. Even having a background in fitness wasn't enough. It wasn't until I began working with a Physical Therapist as a Therapeutic Exercise Specialist that I realized exercise was the one thing I needed to do to get rid of the pain! I was so impressed with the results that I got a degree in rehab and when I'm not filming my PBS series, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews®), I'm treating patients all over the country with the latest medically proven moves for specific conditions.

 My favorite saying to them when they say they can't exercise because they are hurting is "one day longer is one day stronger with Functional Fitness!" (They've been cleared to workout by their doctor). Since weak abdominals can cause back pain, non movement causes arthritic joints to increase pain: stiff shoulders cause frozen shoulder, a weak butt and tight hamstrings can cause back ache. You show me a fit, strong body and I'll show a happy body. Show me a weak body and I’ll show you a sick body.

 Did you know there's actually a condition/diagnoses that I treat called, "Generalized Weakness." That condition causes a host of diseases.  It's not easy getting to your healthy state, but so worth it! With that being said, there wasn't anything out there for an overweight, unfit person to do.

I also have a background as an esthetician (skin care and make-up artist). While working in New York City at CBS TV, a psychology guest told me meditation could help. I was skeptical. At first I didn’t understand how a sedentary activity like meditation could help me to lose weight. It was not long before I discovered the secret—during meditation your mind is the CEO and your body the dutiful employee.  Because the first step to weight loss begins in your mind. By meditating and visualizing myself at my goal weight, I designed an exercise program that a heavy person could do. I started exercising sitting down so I wouldn't hurt my hip and gradually progressed to a more challenging standing level. Little did I know I was designing the context of my PBS series. I was the first person to design exercises with modifications that included seated and standing levels - I even have walking workouts you can do seated!

What was a typical week of workouts like?

First, I would meditate (every day) for 10 minutes and visualize myself at my goal weight in an outfit that I wanted to wear right down to the color of the outfit and what I would be able to do without all that weight literally weighing me down!   I would do 30 minutes of chair exercises and two to three times a week I would incorporate weights into my routine. I had health issues from a previous car accident (back and neck problems) and had to work-out out without causing further damage. I remember the day I started doing the workout standing up. I felt lighter and had more energy when I woke up that day and so I thought, why not see if I could do standing low impact moves? I kept going until what you see on the TV today, two to three fitness levels demonstrated by myself and an expert guest or two.

What did you change about your eating habits?

Weight loss is 50% diet, 50% exercise and 100% determination!  I needed every ounce of determination when I decided to get some pre -packaged frozen meals to get me started losing weight. When I first saw the tiny amount, I thought I was going to starve!  Yet, when I didn't die from starvation and instead just kept losing weight, I knew the food was enough to sustain me. I'm Italian, and my entire family has weight issues. We love to eat. So the biggest change about my eating habits wasn't just downsizing portions, it was downsizing the excuses and realizing that even little snacks add up. 

How much do you weigh now?

Now I'm a healthy 125 lbs. It was never my goal to be an unhealthy stick.  I'm a woman. I have hips and a bust. Years ago in my 20's, I was swayed by the unrealistic images you see in the media. Well, now I am the media and have the opportunity to educate women that instead of striving for an unrealistic size 2, strive for a size healthy! I remember speaking with some beauty/fashion CEO's about the unrealistic portrayal of the ideal stick thin image in my younger years in New York City. They replied "women don't relate to real women, they want a model thin women to look up to."  If you read the letters I get from my viewers, you'd know they were dead wrong! I am real.  I am a women and proud to be a healthy role model for real women who want to be real healthy.

How long did it take to reach your goal?

I lost 2 - 3 lbs a week.

Are you comfortable using your full name in this article for

Yes.  Suzanne Andrews. Founder, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews, PBS TV and president of

How old are you?

If you put in Suzanne Andrews in the Google search engine, you'd see people actually google Suzanne Andrews age.  I'm proud to reveal I'm 53 years young and owe my age to Functional Fitness!

Where do you live?

I live in Florida, but spend a lot of time travelling throughout the US teaching my evidenced based exercises to help others take back their life and be healthwise –exercise! It’s always a thrill to see how Functional Fitness helps them.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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