Friday, December 30, 2016

NEW YEAR, NEW blah blah blah blah

Failed New Year's Resolutions Aren't Bad, here's why...

Another new year is here and you promised yourself that you would not make any more resolutions. You have become sick and tired of the one you make EVERY YEAR.  You know the one.  The one about loosing weight/finances/etc..  You have read or heard about countless occasions of people never achieving their resolution goals.  I know, I read it too.  And while this is true, I still can not say that they are completely useless. 

Since I mentioned the weight loss one, I think that is the one I will expand upon.  Plus this is one of my passions if you don't already know, so I'm sticking with it 😄.   But you can scratch out weight loss/healthy lifestyle and put in anything you desire, like financial, spiritual, or whatever goal that is important to you.

"Five minutes into your first workout and you find out, to your dismay, that the real workout has NOT begun and you are panting and trying to keep up during the WARM UP.  You realize you may have bit off more than you can chew. "

It's the last week of December and you are planning those final parties/get togethers/etc. You know exactly what you want to eat.  You have almost planned it as if it were your last meal.  Because come Jan. 1 (really more like Jan. 2 since you might be in a food coma from all the food you consumed the day before) you are ready to begin.  You have your new sneakers or gym shoes.  You have a great new workout outfit.  You even splurged and bought compression pants this year.  And your outfit matches, I'm talking headband, socks and even your shoes.  

You will not be defeated.  You start out with a healthy breakfast.  It's been so long you had to look up what a healthy breakfast was, but you got it in.  You even have lunch and dinner already planned out for the next week or two. You have plenty of salad, chicken breast, and brown rice to feed an army. You have your trusty Fitbit (that you got for Christmas) and a new water bottle to boot.  There is no stopping you.  

You signed up for one of those 6 week boot camp classes and you are ready to go.  You were all smiles at first.  You even began to think to yourself, why haven't I been doing this all along?  And then it gets real.  Five minutes into your first workout and you find out, to your dismay, that the real workout has NOT begun and you are panting and trying to keep up during the WARM UP.  You realize you may have bit off more than you can chew.  

But you press on.  You take several breaks during the workout.  You drink all the water you brought and you have to refill from the closest water fountain.  You even take several potty breaks, just to have an excuse to breathe in peace.  You stand way in the back of class just in case you need to make a mad dash out of there.  And this is the one time you really wish you were invisible and you pray the instructor does not say anything to you.  

But you continue to press on.  You eat your healthy meals and at first you question why you don't eat this way all the time.  You exchange recipes. A few days/weeks go by and you have a routine.  You exclaim to all those around you about how great you feel.  You are even doing pretty good with the workouts.  You don't love them, but somehow you feel stronger and now believe you won't die anymore.  You even pant less, and take only a few  breaks during them.  You are in it for the long haul and THEN IT have to go out town, a friend invites you out to dinner, or you skipped a workout.  Whatever IT was it caused you to loose your focus, your motivation.  You realize you don't want any more dry chicken breasts!  

But you press on.  But now you show up late to your workouts, if at all and you begin panting again. You eat what you used to eat before, plus a little salad.  That counts right?  So now you are a couple of months in and you have went back to your old ways.  People are no longer talking about the new year or new beginnings etc.  Now they are saying things like, this year has flown by or where has the time gone, etc. You feel defeated.  And then you remind yourself about how resolutions never work and you promise yourself not to do this again.  You go back to life as it was... or do you?

I don't think you do.  Although you didn't accomplish your goal of let's say loosing X amount of pounds.  Was it a complete waste of time you ask?  Hmm.  Let's see, ask yourself the following questions and see if you have any answers.

  1. Did you learn something about yourself? Did you learn what your stumbling blocks were/are?  Were they different this time or the same?
  2. Did you do better this year then you did last year?  For instance, did you go until March this time?
  3. Did you learn more about your goal?  Did you learn more about health and nutrition, more than you knew last year when you took on this goal?
  4. Did you make new connections?  Did you meet new people with the same goal(s)?
  5. Did you learn about your support system? Who's in your corner? Who's there to support you when you have challenges?
  6. Did you expect too much of yourself?  Was your goal not specific enough?  Not measurable?
  7. Did you feel the positiveness in the air? Did you feel that excitement at the beginning of the year?  Didn't that feel great?  Was it inspirational? 
  8. Did you see that making a fresh start can be the thing you need to advance to the next level? Don't kids do this every year when they enter a new grade level?
  9. Did you learn about what's important to you?  Is this really the goal you should be setting or is there something else that needs your attention more?
  10. Did you give up early on?  That first workout was the hardest but you continued, why didn't you quit then?  Do you know that you are strong?

Do you see where I am going?  I hope so.  So although you didn't attain the specific goal you set out to achieve.  It was not worthless. Experience is a great teacher.  You have valuable information at your fingertips.  If you ask yourself questions like the ones above it will help you achieve more reachable goals.

We need goals no matter how great or small. Frankly they make life worth living. For instance, a goal of getting up the next day to watch your favorite TV show is small, but a goal nonetheless.  If you have absolutely no desire to do anything it gets hard to get out of the bed. (Please note I am NOT talking about depression or anything like that here, that is a very serious issue and I am not making light of it all.) 

So instead of saying I want to loose 50 lbs. Maybe set a goal of becoming more active.  A goal of 5000 steps every other day for instance. Something more achievable in the short term and measurable.  Once you begin to achieve one goal, then add other small, more achievable goals. These small goals are easier to digest. They leave room for error but they don't feel impossible to achieve. And when you begin having success at achieving these goals your desire to set more advanced goals will become stronger. 

Little things do add up!   A baby grows into an adult over time, it doesn't happen over night and yet it happens because of small changes.  So as the new year begins again, don't beat yourself up about all the things you haven't done.  

Just breathe, begin again and strive for the small changes instead. 

BTW... To me goals/resolutions can be interchangeable.  And no, you do not have to start on Jan. 1.  Any day you feel like making some positive changes is a good day.   The goal of this blog is to encourage you if you feel stagnant and need some motivation to make YOUR DESIRED positive changes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

10 Ways To AVOID WEIGHT GAIN During the Holidays


CAUTION:  Recognize that the holidays are coming.  This could potentially be a time when you might gain more weight because of the overabundance of sugary and fatty foods.  The time period for this weight gain is generally from Halloween (Oct. 31st) up to New Year’s Day-~8 weeks.  Typically, many can easily gain 10 lbs. during this time.  This is not hard to do because all you have to do is gain ~1 lb. a week and at the beginning of the year you could be 10 lbs. heavier.  And if you don’t do anything about it, after 5 years of this you could easily be 50 lbs. heavier.   Putting you at risk for some major health issues.

10 Ways To AVOID WEIGHT GAIN During the Holidays

1.       Decide if you want to avoid gaining weight.  You need to make a conscious choice that you will work extremely hard to avoid gaining weight

2.       Know where you stand.  Weigh yourself and/or try on a piece of clothing to have a baseline.  Try on this garment or check your weight regularly during this time period.  If your garment is becoming tighter or if you notice a 3-5 lb. weight gain, this is your warning that you may need to cut back on some foods.  Because it is usually colder during this season and you are wearing more clothing it can become very easy to not notice the results of unhealthy eating.

3.       Keep your same eating style (or eat healthier) during these times.  Eat the same portion sizes, even if you are eating sweet treats.  So this may mean eating a lighter breakfast in order to include an additional dessert for instance.

4.       Plan on doing additional workouts (movement) prior to social engagements where there will be unhealthy foods.  It could be as simple as going for a few walks during the week prior to the event.  This will help balance out some of the eating if you choose to indulge.

5.       Use a food calculator.  It will help you see how much you are eating and help you make better choices.  It will even allow you to eat those desired foods without additional weight gain.  I like Myfitnesspal or Caloriecount apps/websites.

6.    After eating an unhealthy meal add some activity.  Playing games with children/family like using the Wii game Just Dance or again taking a walk.  It helps with food digestion and burns off some of those extra calories.

7.       Don’t eat unhealthy for more than 2 consecutive days at a time.  So after 2 days try to incorporate healthy eating i.e.  fruits and vegetables to help achieve balance.  Additionally, avoid taking home unhealthy leftovers and overcooking during this season as much as possible.  Basically don't overindulge for 2 months.  

8.       Eat vegetables/fruits/lean proteins FIRST when you are attending these social eating functions.  This again will help fill you up and satisfy you so that you do not overeat.  This does not mean you cannot eat the treats at the event but it will again aid you in creating balance.

9.       Avoid going to these social functions hungry.  When you are hungry you tend to make poor food choices.  You will eat things that you would otherwise bypass were you not famished.

10.   Be selective.  If you don’t like a dish or if an unhealthy dish is not your favorite, try to avoid it.  It is the holidays and you may have been looking forward to some of your favorites.  But try to limit it to your favorites instead of spending your calories on other foods that are not as desirable to you.

Based on above:  Make yourself a few promises during this time, because you are worth it.  You do not have to do all ten, just pick one or two.  Examples could be…
1) Promise to take a walk or do some form of activity at least _____  times per week.  
2) Promise yourself to eat ____ healthy dishes a week.  
3) Promise not to go over _____ lbs.

Remember the holidays are about more things than food, so focus on them too i.e. family, fun, fellowship, friends, etc.

Eat to live, don't live to eat!

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Stock Up On Squash

Now is  the time of year when winter squash is very inexpensive.  A lot of people use squash for decorations during the holiday and fall season.  For this reason squash can be very reasonably priced because it is currently in season.  So I suggest you stock up on the squash.  The squash can be used for two purposes.  You can use them to decorate your home.  For example they make great table decorations.

Tablescape:  Decoration and Dinner

Once you are done with your tablescape you can also use the squash for food as well. The great thing about winter squash is that they will keep for months without going bad.  The common choices are pumpkins, acorn, butternut squash, and others.  So when you see these items at a reasonable price, stock up! The other day I bought 4 and they were .79 each, not per pound, but each! Therefore size was not a factor, so that's a great deal.  You can stock up, cook and freeze some of your prepared meals for later.

So once you buy them what can you do with them?  Well there are many ways to cook squash. Below is a recipe for a great squash soup.

Squash Soup

2 small to average size squash (I used 1 butternut squash and 1 acorn squash, so you can even mix them)
3-4 small apples or pears peeled and sliced
1 tsp. of each nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon each
1 tbsp. coconut oil (optional)
1-2 tbsp. sweetener like maple syrup or honey (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Bake your squash by adding the squash to a glass dish with approximately 1-2 inches of water for approximately 1 1/2 hours.
3.  Cut open the squash and scoop out the seeds and stringy material and discard.
4.  Add squash to the blender.  Do not add the out layer skin, discard that as well.
5.  Add the apples to the blender.
6.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender.
7.  Blend well.  Taste.  If you want more flavor add more seasonings in the same amounts as above.  Be careful of adding too much nutmeg and allspice
8.  Serve warm.
9.  Optional:  Top with glazed or roasted chopped nuts.

*This recipe can be made and frozen to eat later.

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Tablescape picture from, used by searching bing for free commercial pictures available.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Complex Carbohydrates vs. Simple Carbs: Understanding the Difference May Help You Lose Weight and Better Your Health

A lot of people ask me about carbohydrates or carbs or I hear a lot of people having confusion about carbs and how they work.

First of all you have to know the difference when people are talking about carbs.  Are they talking about simple or complex?  Please note the following blog post is about carbs and not other foods like meat and eggs (protein sources) which usually do not have any carbs.

According to Wikipedia  "In food science and in many informal contexts, the term carbohydrate often means any food that is particularly rich in the complex carbohydrate starch (such as cereals, bread and pasta) or simple carbohydrates, such as sugar (found in candy, jams, and desserts)."

Typically if it's sweet/sugar, then it may be a carbohydrate food.  Now there are some foods that you can easily taste the sweetness and know right away that this is a carbohydrate food like honey, sweet peas, corn, sweet potatoes, etc.  But there are other foods that you can't taste the sweetness but still have sugar like zucchini or cabbage.  This is why carbohydrates can be confusing.

For instance, I have on many occasions asked people about their sugar intake and they will say..."Oh I don't eat a lot of sugar, I rarely eat junk food."  But later in our discussion I find that they eat lots of enriched pasta, white bread, rice, etc.  These foods also fit in the the carbohydrate/sweet category.


Complex carbs you can think of them as complicated, meaning they are foods that are more complicated in their makeup.  Generally they have fiber and other nutrients as well and they take longer to digest because of their complexity.  This is a good thing!  These foods keep you full longer and will lessen your need or desire to eat more.  Carbs in general are satisfying and are a considered brain food.  Therefore eliminating carbs altogether is not a good idea.  I sometimes say carbs are like getting a hug on the  Also another very important thing to note is complex carbs generally DO NOT cause your blood sugar to spike as much as simple carbs.

Simple carbs are different, they are generally void of fiber and are basic or simple in their makeup. When you ingest these foods, and if  you do not use them as fuel right away, they immediately get stored as fat because they process through the body very quickly.  These foods are not a good idea...typically if you do not plan to burn them off, these are the foods you should try to avoid.


Complex carbs as food examples can be brown rice, oatmeal,  starchy vegetables like sweet and white potatoes, whole grains, beans, green leafy vegetables, the skins of most fruits,  etc.

A list of complex carbs can be found here:

Simple carbs as food examples can be ENRICHED pasta, white rice, sugary foods like sugary cereals and things we typically call junk food like chips and cookies.    These foods cause your sugar levels to spike.  These foods are just that, too simple.  They are not challenging for the body's digestion and immediately turn to fat because let's face it, most people are not using donuts are a pre-workout snack.  So these foods should not be in your diet or they should limited!  You can find a way to still eat sweets but try to do it in a more creative way.  For instance, try eating warmed apples slices topped with cinnamon and sprinkled with crushed up nuts.  This would be much better than a donut.

Here is another area that can cause confusion and give carbs, even complex carbs a bad reputation. Just because a food is considered a complex carb you still have to consider other factors about that food.  For instance, bananas and sweet potatoes are good examples.  This foods are complex. Bananas, for instance, have fiber and are a great source of potassium but they are also extremely high in sugar and have a higher carb count.  So although, bananas are healthy you may want to be mindful how many/much you consume.  When I was heavier, bananas were my go to desert, but as I get closer to my goal weight I've found that I have to limit my intake.  So if you ask me are bananas bad to eat?  Then my answer is, it depends.  If you are trying to lose weight, are diabetic, etc.  Then you may want to limit.  You probably do not want to consume more than 1 small banana per day (earlier in the day).  If you are a bodybuilder, you may avoid them altogether.  Remember, carbs keep your body from turning your stored fat into energy.  Lastly, and this is very important, especially if you are diabetic, you may need to consider looking into a carbs glycemic index (GI).  Glycemic index and load are numbers that indicates how much a food will spike your blood sugar.  Spiked blood sugar is not good for anyone, but especially dangerous for diabetics.  Check out the following link to see a list of foods with their GI listings.  This should help you rank your complex carbs, so you know which ones have lower number of carbs and therefore which ones are better for you to consume more of. This website linked here is a small list, to see your exact food search

When you are trying to lose weight you want to make sure you do not consume too many.  This can be especially hard to do if you eat a vegan/vegetarian diet.  So if you choose to follow this type of diet make sure you are not getting a lot of calories from simple carbs.

This has become my personal preference.  I eat carbs at every meal, but I eat foods that are higher in carbs like rice, quinoa, beans, etc. earlier in the day.  I generally eat my leafy green vegetable carbs in the evening.  The reason I do this is it allows me to have most of the day to digest those higher sugar carbs and burn them off.  Someone who is a athlete or who plans on doing an marathon soon may chose to do the opposite. They may "carb load" a few days before their event.  "Carb Loading" is when you eat a large amount of carbs so that you can utilize them for an upcoming physical activity. There are times when you need an abundant amount of fuel and a marathon is a great example. Carbs, in this case are ideal because it doesn't take the body quite as long to turn carbs into fuel as it does stored fat.  If you do not fit in this category (running a marathon) and you want to lose weight then I suggest you do as I mentioned above, eating only the amount of carbs you need for the day. Base your intake on your activity level.

The reason you want to limit them with weight lose specifically is because carbs are a such a great fuel source your body will use/burn carbs first.  Carbs are easier for the body to turn into fuel, so if you take in a lot of carbs your body will not use your stored fat as fuel EVER.  So if you desire to lose weight you will never achieve weight lose because of your abundant carbohydrate intake.  So be mindful of your intake.

Limiting carbohydrate may not sound like much fun.  Simple carbs are basically our 'comfort foods' and you may feel like I don't want to have to give up my carbs.  Well if you become diabetic this is what the nutritionist will tell you, you will HAVE NO CHOICE but to limit your intake of these foods.  So why not do it now, on your own, while you have a choice.


Everyone is different because of gender, height, and weight so the amount of carbohydrate grams you need will vary.  One easy way to know if you are taking in too many carbs is weight lose.  If you are actively trying to lose weight and it is not happening for you, this is the first place you should look...ask yourself am I eating a lot of white bread, junk food, etc?  If you cut back and eat more vegetables you should see better results.  To know specially how much you need try using a calorie calculator app or website like MyfitnessPal and or

In conclusion, carbs may still be confusing to you, especially if you are just starting out.  If it is, try not to worry about carbs, protein, and fats yet but concentrate on EATING THE RAINBOW (especially your green vegetables) and limiting your junk food intake, increasing your water intake.  If you do this you will make progress.

Monday, December 28, 2015


The holiday season is almost over and you feel ate WAAAAYYY too much. You gained ALOT of weight.    Your clothes are SNUG.  You are dreading your doctor visit already because you know what he/she will say.  You feel completely OVERWHELMED and you just don't know where to BEGIN.  And to top it off, you hate the thought of exercise of any kind.  You don't feel like moving but yet you know you have to do something.

So what do you do?  Just like a small seed can grow into something worthwhile, you can achieve your health goals by STARTING SMALL.  

1.  YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO SOMETHING BIG TO SEE BIG RESULTS:  You don't have to go and get brand new work out clothes and shoes or join a gym.  You don't have to eat salads everyday, etc. to achieve results.  START WHERE YOU ARE.  Make a small change and grow from there.  How about focusing on getting a good night's sleep?  What about eating more (NOT ONLY) vegetables?  What about taking a walk after dinner (no new shoes required)?  Try doing something small and over time you will see results!

2.  DON'T GO SPENDING MONEY ON THE LATEST AND GREATEST DIETS/GADGETS ETC.  You already know what to do.  You know vegetables are better for you then donuts, so start there.  You don't want to give up the donuts completely?  Then don't, just eat less donuts and more vegetables. You already know that exercise is good for you, so just start walking for as long as you are able.  Walking a little is better then nothing.

3.  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO BEGIN:  You have to start somewhere.  You have to actually begin.  You may need to support.  Having a buddy is great, someone to support you while trying to make a change.  Try looking for someone who is already meeting their health goals and try to enlist their help and support.  They can be a good resource for encouragement and tips.  So no more procrastination, just get up and start!

4.  DIET IS WHERE THE CHANGE WILL OCCUR:  You can not outperform a poor diet, is a popular saying.  It is very true.  Although, you may see results with a good workout plan, in order to see better and lasting results having a good diet is important.  This does not mean that you have to stop eating everything that you currently know and love.  Instead of thinking that you have to diet, trying thinking of it as adding healthy choices to what you are currently doing.  This makes for a win win situation.  Overtime you may gravitate toward the healthy items because you like how they make you feel.  The healthy items will give you the fuel that you need in order to get the best results from a workout or to function in general.  It is not normal to have to take medicine in order to digest your food.  It is not normal to always feed bad after a meal.  If you are having these issues you should consider examining what you eat.


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Friday, November 20, 2015

Stock up on Cranberries Now!

Now they're everywhere and cheap. I usually buy about 5 bags to last until next year. I occasionally make cranberry sauce. But I mostly use them to put in my smoothie bags.

Note: They're EXTREMELY BITTER so a little goes along way.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Holidays Are Coming...Are You Ready?

Tonight we did a Healthy Holiday Cooking/Eating event at SonRISE Therapy.  We are so grateful for Dr. Sonja Shavers for letting us come and teach a class.  Here are a few tips from the evening:
  1. Eat Only The Foods You Desire
  2. Prepare and Have a Plan for out of town visits.  Where will you or what will you eat on those non-holiday days?
  3. Eat slowly/savor your food.
  4. Bring something that you know you can eat to the event
  5. Plus many more tips and ideas...