-- Call us today --
(352) 394-4237

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

OK people, let's move on!  There is nothing to see here.  The holidays are over.  Step away from the accident and move along.  Let's move down the block and talk about the catastrophe.  The train wreck that is your diet!  If you're one of the few that kept on track this season, my hat is off to you.  I was not so lucky (RE: disciplined.)  It's crazy isn't it?  The amount of damage you can do in a few short weeks?  But the holidays are over.  It's time to get back to work.  And NO, I'm not counting New Years as a holiday.  Why?  Because that would mean 5 more days of indulgence.  And our pants are already tight, aren't they?

So, I am starting today.  Back to work.  In more ways than one.  Back to the office.  Back to eating right and back to exercising.  My vacation is over.  Was it worth it?  Well, I guess that all depends and how long it takes me to get back into my skinny jeans.  I'll let you know :) 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Damage Control

I wish I did everything right.  I don't.  Not by a long shot.  I ate and drank everything in sight this weekend.  Whatever wasn't nailed down went into my mouth.  It was almost like a contest.  The how much junk can I shovel in contest.  I'm sooo paying the price today.  I'm bloated, gassy, and muffined into my skinny jeans.  I feel miserable.  Not because I look any different.  I'm sure no but me can tell I've put on 5 pounds in one week.  But physically, I don't feel good.  I'm absolutely sure that eating poorly makes me ache,  gives me a low grade headache, and leaves me tired after a full nights sleep.  Was it worth the indulgence?  Well, no.  But these things happen.  What I do now is the important thing. 

It's time for damage control.  I have to take off these 5 pounds before they take up permanent residence.  Right now they are just visiting and I can get rid of them if I act right away.  If I let them linger a day or two they become mine.  I will own them.  So today I'm pulling out all the stops.  Today is going to be a pill.  But I must take it if I want to start 2012 at the same weight I was before these relentless holidays.

Step one is to go protein only today.  Lean meat, eggs, and cheese.  Nothing else.  I know it's going to be painful but it's just part of the process.  My plan is to eat 12 ounces of protein today.  I'm going to eat 2 ounces of lean protein every 2 hours.  8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm.  It sounds crazy but it works for me.  The small frequent meals keeps my blood sugar levels nice and even.  No insulin spikes to make me crave.  I don't get hungry this way.

Tomorrow, I will move to 10 ounces of protein and green leafy veggies only.  And on day three I'll be back to 10 ounces of protein, 4 veggies, and 2 fruits.  If all goes well, I should be back down 5 pounds in 1 week.  If there is a  good thing about a binge induced weight gain, it is that the pounds come off quickly.  Like I said before, it hasn't yet taken up permanent residence yet! lol!  Actually, the real reason is fluid retention.  Binging for a few days on sweets and junk food will definitely increase the bloat factor and that water weight will disappear with a few days of healthy eating. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Whew!  I made it through Thanksgiving.  Now I have the Christmas hurdle.  It's always something!  Hey, I think I blogged that, see post on August 31st.  I want to start 2012 without a weight loss resolution.  That has been my goal for the past 6 holidays.  I've succeeded every year.  So I know it CAN be done.  If I can do it, you certainly can.  You just need to be prepared.  Of course, there is a blog on that too!

For me ( and who else is there? *kidding! ) it isn't what I add that makes me gain weight.  It's what I take away.  I rely on my routine to get me through.  If I take my routine away, the fridge becomes it replacement.  Not the best substitute, I can assure you!  A good diet and exercise routine is invaluable in weight loss and weight maintenance.  It hard enough to to stick to the routine during normal times.  The holiday season makes it that much more difficult.

Here is what has worked for me the last 6 years ( and hopefully this year too.)  I don't give up three things during the holidays....

     1.  Sleep.  8 hrs.  Period.

         When I don't get my sleep,  I'm cranky, puffy, tired...everything that makes me want
          oatmeal cream pies.  In years past I would have late night present wrapping sessions that would
          not only lead to an extra meal but extra snacks the next day in an attempt to keep myself alert. 

     2.  Exercise.  Just a little.

          10 minutes a day is enough to reduce my stress level.  No stress, no oatmeal cream pies.  It's that
          simple.  Plus, it's hard to eat when I'm exercising so that's less time I have for food.  BONUS. 
          The holidays are stressful enough without giving up your exercise routine.  Don't skip the
          workout, as meager as it may be.

     3.  Grocery Shopping. Seriously.

          With all the parties and shopping and holiday whatnot, it's easy to skip the store and hit the
           drive-thru.  I can't do it.  One bad choice turns into 10 for me.  On the other hand, one GOOD
           choice turns into 10 for me also.  So go to the store, have some good choices in the fridge.
           Let those good choices procreate and make all kinds of little good choices.  WIN.

 That's it.  What I won't give up for the holidays.  Happy planning to you too. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Rewards?

This blog is for my bestie Cheryl, who has seen me through thick and thin, literally.  I was fat when we first became friends.  She was there when I changed my habits and finally took off the weight.  So of course, she has heard me blather nonstop about food choices ever since.  Poor thing.  Anyway, we have been talking about losing the Thanksgiving bulge for the past few days (like everyone else!)  AND motivating each other to stay on the good eating track until we get rid of that Thanksgiving 5!!!  BTW, I can't underestimate the importance of good diet sounding board.  One with a good sense of humor.

Anyway,  we were discussing the pleasure we get from a piece of pumpkin pie.  MMMMM!  With whipped cream.  So good, I think I should have another piece!  A little slice of heaven.   But wait, when I'm finished I feel bloated and sick and disgusting!  I knew that would happen, but I did it anyway.  The MMMMM Yummys took over my brain for a second and I didn't see the consequences...remorseful, bloating, pants unbuttoned yuk.  Why do I do this to myself?  Why do WE do this to OURselves ( I'm not alone, am I?)

When rating the consequences of overeating; overweight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes (the list goes on) thin folks and heavy folks gave the same ratings.  All bad.  So we know the consequences of overeating and choosing the wrong foods!  When the same folks were asked to rate the REWARDS of eating that piece of pie (or cheeseburger, or cookies, or chips) the heavy folks way overrated the rewards of eating the junk compared to their thin counterparts.  Clearly some of us get more rewards from eating cheesecake and chocolate than others.  Or at least we think we do! 

So the reasons NOT to eat poorly, we already know them.  All too well.  Let's look at the highly overrated reasons TO overeat.  "It tastes sooo good."  "I'm so hungry, I need to eat right now."  "McDonalds is right around the corner."  "I've had a bad day, I deserve this."   Really?  Are these our best reasons?  If we think like a thin person, we would say "Nothing tastes as good as being healthy." "I can wait."  "I've had a bad day so I'm going to take a bubble bath."  Stop rating your indulgences so highly.  Self talk your way out of the chip bag.  It may not work all the time, but hey, every little bit helps. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Too Young To Be Old

I am too young to be old!  But I am obviously too old to be young!  I have to wear readers to see the menu.  I wake up with bed sheet wrinkles that last a half an hour.  I actually like Reader’s Digest.  I am now older than my Doctor, my Dentist, and my Hair Stylist.  Worst of all, my butt is not where it used to be (along with other parts of my body.)  Age and gravity…they are not friends.  I am old enough to know this first hand.  BUT, I am young enough to want to do something about it!

I remember the days (yes, I just said that…OLD) when I could eat nothing but junk food for days on end and never gain a pound.  I could pull an all- nighter and look great the next day.  I felt good all of the time.  Youth.  Now, I have to work at feeling good.   I eat my vegetables every day…plus supplements.  I need a multi, some calcium, some vitamin D, some omega 3!!!  My counter is a disaster.  I have to get my sleep, even if that means having bed sheet wrinkles for the first hour of my day.  And now, I occasionally wake up with a back ache for NO APPARENT REASON!  Aging is not for sissies.  And I’ve been told it just gets worse.  You have got to be kidding me?

Guess what?  I do have something now that I didn’t when I was 25.  Discipline.  And thank goodness, because without it I’d be a hot mess.  They say with age comes wisdom.  I say, with age comes discipline.  I now put gas in my car BEFORE the light comes on (and keep air in the tires too.)  It’s not just my car either.  I have the discipline to take better care of myself.  I exercise.  I get my rest.  I eat right.  I balance my checkbook J  If only I had done these things when I was younger!  I’d probably be in much better shape today.  I’m sure I’d still have to wear reading glasses though. Cuz I’m too young to get my Reader’s Digest in large print! Lol!     

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Thanksgiving is coming!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not just because I love to eat and like to cook, but Thanksgiving is the least commercial of the major holidays.  No gifts to buy, no tree to put up, no eggs to hide, no baskets to fill.  Hallmark hasn't gotten to Thanksgiving yet!  All you do is fix a meal.  Heck, you have to do that anyway.  It's like a regular day, except with Turkey.  Just you and your loved ones...eating and giving thanks!  Awesome.

Everyone thinks it's so hard to be diet conscious on Thanksgiving.  Not so.  Turkey and veggies.  You're covered.  The hard part is VOLUME.  There is always such a great selection of great foods on thanksgiving.  Turkey, ham, salad, green beans...OK, there is also plenty of not so great foods too.  Like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  But stuffing yourself is as American as Thanksgiving itself.  If we Americans new how to do things in moderation we'd all be skinny.  But we like to do things BIG.  Unfortunately, our stomachs aren't as big as our eyes...or our appetites. 

Our stomach is about the size of a fist. Come on, ball up your hand and take a look.  Compare that to the standard 12 inch plate.  Amazing, huh?  We can really pack it in!  Our stomach can expand to hold about 8 cups of food but it only takes 1 cup to fill it.  After time, we grow accustomed to that overfull feeling and come to expect it.  Sadly, we don't feel satisfied without it.  But what we learn, we can unlearn!  Is that a word...unlearn?  Anyway, little by little, reduce portion sizes until you can eat 1 cup of food and be satisfied.  It won't happen over night, but hey, no one puts on 50 lbs over night either.

Another thing to consider, our liver can process only so much food at one sitting.  About 1 or 2 cups.  When we eat 4, 6, or 8 cups of food, what is the liver to do?  It can't handle the volume.  Guess where that extra food goes?  Straight to FAT STORAGE.  Like we need any more fat storage!  So give your liver a break.  Small frequent meals allows for digetive efficiency.  You body can immediately use up what you take in, leaving nothing left for storage.  Isn't that what we want?  Less fat storage? 

This Thanksgiving, use a salad plate.  Chew slowly.  Eat slowly.  See if you can limit your intake to about 2 cups.  Then sit back and watch the football game.  Let your stomach and liver do their jobs.  They will be ready for more in a few hours.  Then you can have some more.  Thats one of the best parts of Thanksgiving after all.  Leftovers :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chocolate Season

It is officially the Chocolate Season!  That is what I affectionately call the time between Halloween and Valentine's Day.  It's three and a half months long and is filled with reasons to eat chocolate.  Can you tell I am a chocoholic?  I am a chocolate snob and would prefer the good stuff but I never met a chocolate that I didn't like.  Clearly you can see why the Chocolate Season can be a problem for my weight maintenance.  Even if you're not a sweet eater, the holiday season is sprinkled with all kinds of temptations that are hazardous to your weight.  The average American gains seven pounds during the Holiday's.  Are you going to be the average American?

For the last seven Chocolate Seasons I have maintained my weight.  Miraculously.  Does this mean I don't eat Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pie, or Christmas cookies?  Are you kidding?  I'm not that strong.  I do say no more than I say yes, though.  I have to pick my battles.  Halloween candy wasn't a big problem this year.  I haven't had one piece.  I put my nose down to that big bowl of candy and took a wif.  EEEWWW.  That cheap, processed sugar stuff didn't smell the slightest bit appealing so I smugly walked away.  Somehow, walking away once has made it easier to walk away again.  And again.  Please be advised,  this law also works in reverse.  Having just one piece makes it easier to have another piece.  And another.

Thanksgiving will be another time I should be able to navigate fairly easily.  There are plenty of good choices of lean proteins and veggies.  AND it only lasts for one day, right?  OOHHH, leftover pie.  I forgot.  I'll be sure to send that home with someone else!  It's Christmas time that I really struggle.  All the nog and cookies and nog!!!  All the good smells make me crazy.  Pine needles and cinnamon  sends me straight to the cute Santa Claus cookie tray...with some nog, of course.  Now, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without some of these traditional yummies so this is how I manage.

I allow one day of moderate indulgence with a MINIMUM of two day's good behavior in between.  Why?  Because I need the time to recuperate from my sugar hangover and get my mind right!  For example, If I have a party to go to and I know I'm going to have some spiked eggnog (It is a party, after all!) and some holiday goodies, I can bet the next day I am going to be an insulin saturated mess.  We all know that insulin makes cravings go through the roof so I need to be on my best behavior the following day.  That's the day I'm going to crave mac and cheese and ice cream so I better have a plan.  You know my plans always include protein, fiber, and lots of WATER. lol.  This plan is no exception.  The next day I'm going to plan my good behavior...protein, fiber and lots of WATER.  This puts my mind back where I need it...on track.

This I know, one day off my plan and I'm OK.  I can get back on the wagon with a bit of effort.  Two days off my plan and I'm asking for trouble.  It's going to be a struggle getting it back together.  Three days off...forget it.  Not pretty.  So stick with one day off and at least two days on.  Stay of the speeding Holiday train cuz the next stop is Seven Pounds Up.  You don't want to go there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hit the Weights

When I was a freshman in college, low fat diets and Jazzercise were all the rage.  Obviously it didn't work out as planned because obesity rates have continued to increase.  Since that time we have learned that strength training is where it's at for weight loss and weight maintenance.  But still there are women with the mindset that they must avoid gaining "bulky muscles."  So they avoid the weight equipment in favor of the stair stepper and elliptical machines.  If you are one of these women you are missing out!

Don't get me wrong, cardio is great.  There is no substitute for heart healthy benefits of cardiovascular strength. But the fat burning benefits stop when you climb off the machine.  For weight loss, strength training is the ticket.  Building, or even just maintaining, lean muscle tissue keeps your metabolism nice and  high so you can EAT MORE.  I'm all for eating more...of the good stuff, that is.  Increased muscle mass keeps your fat burning furnace on all day.  Even when you're in front of the TV.  I'm in!
 5 Benefits of Strength Training

1) Increased Metabolic Rate- adding muscle increases our metabolism.
2) Increasing and Restoring Bone Density- prevent and fight osteoporosis by building strong bones.
3) Increased Lean Muscle Mass- each pound of lean muscle mass burns 35-50 calories per day.
4) Injury Prevention- a solid foundation strengthens our bones, ligaments, and tendons.
5) Improved Balance- strong leg and core muscles help stabilize us.

The best exercise recipe would be a combo of cardio and strength training.  Half and half.  But in a pinch I would choose the weight training.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why GI?

The glycemic index ranks foods on how they affect our blood sugar levels.  This index measures how much your blood sugar increases in the 2 or 3 hours after eating.  The ratings are from 1 to 100.  Foods like proteins (meat, eggs, and cheese) cause minimal increases in blood sugar.  Most vegetables cause minimal increases in blood sugar.  These foods are low on the glycemic index (under 55 is considered low GI). Whole fruits, legumes (beans), and nuts are in the middle of the glycemic index (56 – 69 is middle GI).  Foods high on the glycemic index (over 70) would be cookies, cakes, candy, soda, juices, junk food and grain products…grain products being bread, pasta, rice and cereal… INCLUDING whole wheat products.
Why do we care about the glycemic index of the food we eat?  Why do we care about blood sugar increases?  The higher our blood sugar, the more insulin our body produces.  Insulin is the fat storage hormone.  Insulin creates cravings.  Insulin keeps our body from metabolizing stored body fat.  We don’t want extra insulin in our system.  We do not want to store body fat.  We do not want to increase cravings.  We do not want to keep our bodies from using our fat stores.  Insulin is not our friend.  How can we control it?  By eating foods low on the glycemic index and avoiding foods high on the glycemic index.
Many of us are fooled by so called “healthy” foods that are actually high GI foods.  Brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, and whole grain cereals are good examples.  One serving of brown rice has the same GI as a chocolate Pop tart.  Sure, the brown rice offers some nutritional value but it is just not worth the insulin response.  We can get the fiber and nutrients from veggies instead but without the blood sugar increase!   
At Total Family Healthcare and Wellness, our nutritional plan consists of low glycemic index foods that will keep your blood sugar levels low and steady.  Low, steady blood sugar means less insulin.  Less insulin means more fat loss and few cravings.  Win, win! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Get Candy

Halloween is here...get candy.  You get to carve a pumpkin...get candy.  Everyone wears a costume...get candy.  Go to a haunted house...get candy. Great, a holiday that revolves around one thing...get candy.  Oh no.  Candy is a problem.

1.  It has no nutritive value.
2.  It is high in calories.
3.  It spike your insulin levels, making your body STORE BODY FAT!
4.  It causes tooth decay.
5.  It causes your stomach to empty prematurely...leaving more room for more candy!

How can you get through it?  It's hard.  I used to empty my kids Halloween pumpkins of chocolate and eat it myself!  Not anymore.  Number one, I buy my give-away candy at the last minute.  This is not easy for me since I like to be prepared.  But I can't have candy around the house a week or two ahead of time because I'LL EAT IT!  Secondly, I bribe my kids to "sell" their Halloween candy for other goodies...like electronics.  It works like a charm.  My kids would much rather have a new game or gadget that a bowl full of Smarties. 

On November 1st, the candy is in the trash.  For me, throwing wrapped candy away is like putting dollar bills in the trash.  It's painful.  I hate to waste.  It just kills me.  But having that bowl, or two or three, of candy isn't good.  And not just for me.  It's not good for my kids.  They get to eat plenty of candy on Halloween and the days leading up to it.  Throwing away some Laffy Taffy is not really depriving my kids.  I'm sure they won't even look up from their IPhone's to even notice!

Friday, October 14, 2011


I am a fickle exerciser.  Is exerciser even a word?  lol.  Well, you know what I mean.  I am fickle because sometimes I exercise and sometimes I don't.  I am fickle because every time I get on an exercise kick it is always something different.  I wish I were one of those die-hard fitness types that make exercise a priority every day.  But I'm not.  I've come to terms with that.  I am the type that takes exercise where I can get it...and when I can get it, for that matter.

My newest thing is hiking.  Which is crazy because I am NOT outdoorsy.  I am a proud girlie girl.  I'm not crazy about dirt...or bugs...or sweat.  I'm crazy about high heels and lip gloss.  But somehow, I have been hiking with my daughters every day ( OK, every other day.)  It has been great.  There is a mountain bike trail close to our house that is a few miles long.  It is wooded and hilly and spectacular now that the leaves are changing.  It has actually made exercise fun...and pretty.  I'll take it!

I know what will happen in 3 or 4 weeks, though.  The weather will turn, and my pretty nature walks will end.  Then I'll have to find something new.  Herein lies the problem.  How long will it take me to find my new exercise thing?  I'll be honest, sometimes it takes weeks ( months?)  to get on a new kick.  In the mean time I'll take my exercise where I can get.  I'll call it "Rhonda Fitness."

"Rhonda Fitness" is all about life.  I live my life and throw some exercise in where I can.  I park farther away at the grocery store.  I stand up when I'm talking on the phone.  I actually walk up the stairs to talk to my kids instead of yelling at them to come down.  I know, that's a hard one!!  I don't go to a special place ( IE gym) and I don't need special shoes ( IE cross trainers ) I just move more in my day to day.

I think we have to get it out of our heads that exercise has to be done on a machine at the gym.  I'll leave that to the die-hards.  Exercise can be vacuuming.  You know it needs to be done!  Trimming the bushes is exercise.  Walking the dog is exercise.  Dancing while you cook dinner is exercise.  We just need to move more.  Sit less.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Be Prepared and Be Early

Always be prepared.  Isn't that the Boy Scout motto?  Most of the time I am...prepared.  I'm a planner by nature.  I like to make lists and check things off.  I like to know what is going to happen and how.  Yes, I know.  I'm a bit of a control freak, but it helps me stay on task and get things done ( 5 kids and a dog keep my life BUSY. )  My preparedness doesn't always translate to food though.  Which is a problem because if I don't know what my next meal is I am likely to eat a frozen waffle with butter and syrup.  A carb and sugar nightmare.

A good nutritional program takes some organization.  It takes some planning.  You have to go to the grocery store.  You have to spend some time in the kitchen.  You have to know what's coming.  At Total Family Healthcare and Wellness, our nutritional program revolves around eating lean protein, vegetables, and fruit...which is saddly in short supply at the 7-11!  So I have to hit the produce department and the meat counter at the grocery store if I want to succeed.  And I want to succeed...and keep succeeding, at eating right.  Having a good supply of the right foods in my kitchen is imperative!

Having the good stuff ready is half of my battle.  The second half is to eat it!  I've heard people say "Only eat when you are hungry."  This is their weight loss advise.  "They," being those naturally thin people we love to hate.  If I waited until I was hungry to eat, I would succumb to my hot dog and onion ring addiction regularly.  And I would still weigh 200 pounds!  My trick is to eat BEFORE I get hungry.  If my hunger passes my stomach and makes it to my head, then I'm in trouble.  I start thinking about what sounds good...pizza, cheeseburgers, ONION RINGS!  But if I eat 10 minutes before I get hungry...the grilled chicken breast and broccoli I planned on sounds just fine!  I refuel and I'm ready to go.

Now that I've been doing this for years, it has gotten easier.  I have a fridge and pantry stocked with good food.  And by good food I don't mean frozen White Castle Burgers.  I mean eggs, chicken breasts, raw almonds, blueberries, and my favorite...frozen steam in the bag veggies!!!  lol.  I really do love steam in the bag veggies.  So easy.  And always in the freezer.  How can you beat that?  Plus, it keeps my refridgerator crisper drawer (which I call the rotter) free of slimey old vegetables.  It's a win win :)

Friday, September 30, 2011


I used to drink 5 cups of coffee a day.  OK, it was more like 8 cups a day but I'd only drink half the cup before it was cold and nasty and I'd have to refill.  The caffeine was bad enough but I would put 2 Splenda's and cream in every cup.  Not good.  So I decided to go cold turkey on the Splenda and cream for my New Year's resolution 2010.  Great.  I did it.  I thought I might drink less coffee without the creamer and sweetener.  Nope.  No such luck.  I'm still a coffee junkie.  Black.  But I'm off the artificial sweetener ( poison ) and the creamer ( artery clogger. )  I'll battle my caffeine addiction later.  Hey, one step at a time, right? 

Artificial sweeteners are a chemical.  They aren't  food.  They have a variety of side affects, one of which is increased cravings.  I don't need to increase my cravings.  I have plenty already.  Thank you very much!  Just how do artificial sweeteners increase our cravings for sweets?  Studies show that our digestive process begins with the salivary glands.  The minute something sweet hits the tongue our digestive juices start working and ramping up for an influx of calories.  But none are delivered.  Our body retaliates by craving some "real" sweets and calories.  Thus, a craving is born!

That being said, for weight loss I would choose an artificial sweetener over sugar any day.  Artificial sweeteners do not cause a blood sugar increase or the subsequent insulin spike.  For someone wanting to lose body fat, this is a plus.  But for those of us at our goal weight, cleaning up our bad habits becomes the priority.  That means losing the garbage from our diet.  Caffeine, carbonation, artificial sweeteners, trans fat, refined grains etc.  Of course, this can't be done all at once.  Not by me, anyway.  I've kicked all of them at one time or another but never all at once....or permanently for that matter.  I am a work in progress :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Couch to 5K

Ok runners, it's 5K time!  Those of you who are going to join our Total Family Healthcare and Wellness team for the Florida Half Marathon, 10K and 5K in December...check out http://www.coolrunning.com/.  They have a great training application called Couch to 5K to help you get ready. 

As you already know, Casey and I are going to run it.  Heather and Stephanie are going to walk it...so I don't want to hear any excuses why you can't join us!!

The event is Saturday, December 17th at 6:30 ( groan.)  the 5K starts at 7:45.  See you there :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Throwing Mud

I don't want people to lose weight.  We have all done that...and then promptly gained it all back. Plus some! The trick, I've learned, is to change your habits.  You know the "lifestyle" changes we hear about all the time?  That's what I'm talking about.  My grandpa used to say, "If you throw enough mud at the wall, some of it is bound to stick."  What does that have to do with health, wellness, and weight loss?  Well, I'm talkin' habits.  Throw those habits at the wall.  Some of them will stick.  My grandpa lived to be 100.  He knew a thing or two about a thing or two.
There are countless weight loss tricks, tips, and habits to be tried.  You know the ones.  Drink a glass of water before meals.  Eat off a small plate.  Chew each bite 20 times before swallowing.  Don't eat late at night.  Always eat breakfast.  Don't eat in front of the TV.  The list goes on.  I tell every patient I consult that motivation will get you started but HABITS keep you going.  Good habits can carry you through when will power just isn't enough.  We all tend do things on auto pilot, like getting ready in the morning or driving to work.  Your quality eating habits should be auto pilot too.  And if you do them consistently, day after day, they will be.
I eat two eggs for breakfast every day.  I fry them in a pan with a bit of canola cooking spray.  I like them just a bit brown with a sprinkle of cheese and salt and pepper.  This is what I do.  Every day.  It's my habit.  I know it sounds dull.  But, if this weren't my habit, day in and day out, I would grab a Pop Tart on the way out the door if I were running late.  Or I would hit the McD's drive thru for an Egg McMuffin if I were early.  Or I would eat the donuts that the reps bring to my office.  But I have a routine.  A habit.  It's my auto pilot.  It works for me.  It carries me through when will power just isn't enough.  It doesn't work all of the time, but it works most of the time ( see post Just Good Enough. )
So I say bring on the tricks!  Try them on.  One at a time or all at once if you like.  Some of them are bound to stick.  I've tried them all and have kept my favorites.  I eat the same breakfast every day.  I fill my plate with vegetables first before I add anything else.  I sit down at the table when I eat.  I don't eat late a night ( often. )  I don't drink my calories...unless it's Margarita night!  You don't have to master them all.  A few good ones will suffice.  One habit I have never mastered is eating slow.  I just can't do it.  I thought that I could blame this on my "hard time" in the Marine Corps but my Mother had made it very clear that I have been a food shoveler since childhood.  Thanks Mom. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What's Going On?

I was looking through my mom's old pictures and it struck me, everyone is skinny.  Really skinny by today's standards.  I was a baby in these pics...1967.  Once I got past the shag haircuts and double knit bell bottoms I realized there were no overweight people in any of these pictures.  I looked at my pictures when my daughter was a baby and EVERYONE was fat.  Especially me!   What is that about?  What happened in just 30 years time?

Two words...convenience food.  Mom's went back to work.  Families got busy ( busier ) and the food industry responded....responded with an abundance of pre packaged foods designed to "simplify" our lives and fast food restaurants that are "time savers."  The problem is...none of it is real food.  I mean, sure, we can eat it.  But that doesn't make it food.  My friend's daughter used to eat sand.  

I think we should all be eating real food.  If it comes in a box with an expiration date, it's not food, it's chemistry.  Food spoils.  Food wilts.  Food does not stay on the shelf for seven years.  Food does not have a list of ingredients.  Food has one ingredient.  Like apple.  Like broccoli.  Like chicken.  Real food is very close to it's natural state.  What is the natural state of a Cheeto?  Or Captain Crunch?  Food manufacturers put together edible substances in unnatural ways.  Then they throw in some cheap trans fat and high fructose corn syrup to make it addictive.  That  stuff can stay in our pantries for years ( and on our waistlines too! )
All of this processed, packaged food that we eat is garbage.  It's high calories, high in fat, high in sodium, high in sugar.  It's low in vitamins, low in minerals, low in fiber.  The truth is, our bodies just don't know what to do with that stuff.  It clogs our arteries, raises our blood pressure, increases our blood sugar and insulin levels and it MAKES US FAT.  Too bad it TASTES SO GOOD.  That's why we keep eating it.  The food industry knows what they're doing.  If they keep us coming back for more, it's more money for them.  They don't call it an industry for nothin'!!!   
It's easy enough to find real food.  You've heard me say to shop the perimeter of your grocery store and stay out of the isles.  Stick to produce department and the butchers counter.  You can also go to the farmers market on the weekend.  Blah Blah Blah.  But the sad fact remains, you HAVE to spend some time in your kitchen.  ( Real food doesn't cook itself now, does it?  Bummer! )  Don't let that scare you.  You don't have to be competing for your own Food Network show.  Keep it simple.  Grill your meat and steam your vegetables and you're done.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice and you're a gourmet :)  A skinny one at that! lol!
If you are like me and will eat anything, you are in luck.  Fresh veggies and salad and leans meats will make you happy.  If you are a picky eater and stick to chicken nuggets and mac n cheese, well then you have some work ahead of you.  But your taste buds will change, and once you are off the junk food for a while you will begin to enjoy the healthy stuff more and more.  One of our super star patients at Total Family Healthcare and Wellness, I'll call her Y,  wouldn't eat one vegetable when she first started.  Not one.  I asked her to eat cucumbers every day the first week.  She did.  Now she has lost 90 lbs and 24% body fat.  More importantly, she LIKES veggies now.  So put down the Twinkie and eat some cucumbers!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Today I am a Runner

Casey is infectious!  She has lost 40lbs and 13.3% body fat.  She is so excited and motivated.  She is eating right and exercising and making all kinds of good choices.  This lifestyle is fresh and new for her and she is workin it.  Good for her.  I am so happy when one of our patients or staff members really "get to where their goin'!"  I love it.  I love to help people become who they want to be...who they deserve to be...the best version of themselves.  Watching someone do well inspires me to do well.  As you can imagine, working at Total Family Healthcare and Wellness Centers, I get a lot of inspiration.  I get to see people succeed every day...motivation on a platter!
They say positive behavior begets more positive behavior.  "They," whoever "they" are, don't specify that the positive behavior has to be your own:)  so I am gonna ride Casey's coat tails!  She is behaving positively so I'm going to hang out with her!  She just might rub off on me.  She already has actually.  Casey wants to run her first 5K and she has convinced me to run with her.  Guess what?  I'm going to do it.  The Florida Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K are at Lake Louisa State Park on December 17.  Casey and I are going to start our training on September 21.  Who's in?  Heather?  You?  The more the merrier.
Let me ask you this, "Who do you want to be?"  You need to figure it out.  Then surround yourself with people who are like the person you want to be.    I want to be the best version of me.  So Casey is helping me to become something I've always wanted to be...a runner.  Now, listen.  I don't have to be great.  I don't have to be a runner forever.  I can commit to being a runner until December 17th, do my best, then be done.  Who knows.  I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fun with Fiber

I love nutritional information.  I am one of those people.  I bore everyone at work to death with factoids about cholesterol and the like.  I can't help it.  It's my hobby.  I know, there are better hobbies out there,  but I can't help what I like!  I feel lucky to be able to research nutrition and exercise information for my work.  How lucky am I?  I get paid for my hobby.  I can tell you, I would totally be researching this sort of stuff on my own time if I didn't work in the weight loss and wellness industry.  It's a bonus that I get to do it for work.  So let me bore you with my latest.

Fiber.  We don't eat enough of it.  It's only found in plant based foods....you know, fruits and veggies, beans.  Things that grow out of the ground.  Unfortunately, ice cream does not have fiber.  Neither does steak.  Or cookies.  Darn.  I know I'm a food geek, but fiber is a beautiful thing.  We can't digest it.  It passes through.  Like a little loofah sponge.  Transporting bad fats out of our bodies along the way.  I love that.  Think about that....a little sponge transporting fats out of your body.  Do I need to tell you how?  I think you get the picture.
So what's not to love about fiber?  It makes you feel full because you don't digest it.  I love to feel full.  I want that sponge in my stomach filling me up.  Then there is less room for ice cream.  I want that sponge dragging all that nasty fat out of my body.  Better than that fat staying inside going who knows where?!  That's why a high fiber diet lowers your cholesterol ( boring factoid that I mentioned early ).
My favorite high fiber foods?  Black bean salsa for sure.  No, not with Tostito's.  Black bean salsa with Celery Sticks.  Hummus with celery sticks or carrot chips is another good high fiber food.  All beans have tons of fiber, around 15 grams per cup.  Raspberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup.  Who knew?  Apples, pears, broccoli...all have lots of fiber.  We're supposed to eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day so if you're not a veggie and fruit person you should get on down to the Walmart and get a fiber supplement.  I like Benefiber Chewables.  They come in fruit flavors and taste like candy.  OK, actually they taste like chalk...but in a good way :)  

Friday, September 2, 2011

My First Mistake

Ok.  I boasted yesterday that I would get on it today. ( With food, I mean.)  Well, I just had five Hershey's dark chocolate mini's at my desk lined up in a row.  Now they are gone.  What?  Really?  How can I be so motivated one day and just throw it all out the window the next?  Please,  it's easy.  We live for the moment.  The bag of chocolates were sitting on the break table.  Taunting me.  Calling my name.  Several of them apparently!  In a moment of weakness I reached in and grabbed the yumminess. 

So here is what I did wrong.  Aside from shoving five chocolates down my throat with lightning speed.  I had my high protein breakfast, an omelet with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese...plus crushed red pepper cuz momma likes the heat.  Great start, right?  I brought my bottle of water to work cuz I need to hydrate.  Good.  Did I drink it?  No.  I had a cup of coffee instead, cuz momma also likes the caffeine.  First mistake.  Now I'm all caffeined up AND dehydrated.  I have to run out for an appointment at 11AM.  I miss lunch.  Second mistake.  I get back to the office and run smack into that bag of chocolates. I reach in.  Third Mistake.

Now the chocolate is settling in.  My blood sugar is elevated. Chocolate high.  The insulin is going to kick in any minute and I'm gonna have to battle the sweet cravings all darn day.  This is NOT what I had in mind for today.  It's all my fault though.  I didn't follow my own advise.   I say over and over again......

1.  Stay hydrated...low grade thirst leads to eating
2.  Be prepared for every meal...know what you're going to eat and when, you'll make better choices
2.  Don't wait until you're starving to eat...you'll lose your willpower

How am I going to recover?  Well, first thing I'm going to do is drink water.  Lots of it.  Then, when the cravings hit I'm going to eat some lean protein.  Maybe 2 oz of low fat turkey with cheese.  Then I'm going to drink some more water.  After that I'm going to log in and blog that I have recovered fully and am back on track :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Always Something

I'm going through a life crisis.  I deal with that by eating.  Breakfast cereal.  Chocolate.  Chips and queso.  It doesn't matter.  I just sooth myself with food.  I think most people are like that.  At least those of us who have battled obesity.  Food is a comfort.  Temporarily anyway.  But, the last thing I need right now is to gain weight.  That would just add to my woes.  So I definitely need to reign it in.  Am I going to be able to do that?  Am I going to be able to maintain my good eating habits?  When everything in my life is falling apart and my emotional state is bouncing around like a ping pong ball, am I going to be able to eat right?

The answer is YES.  I am going to be able to maintain my good habits.  I am going to be able to eat right.  Are you wondering how I can be so sure?  Well, I am faking my confidence for sure.  My bravado is an act.  But I do know that I've been through some rough times before and I was able to maintain.  Every time I've made it through a crisis and the scale stayed the same, my confidence increases.  So even though I'm nervous, I can do it.  I've done it before.  I HAVE to do it.  My health and my sanity are at stake.
This brings me around to my title.  It's always something.  There is always a reason to over indulge.  Good, bad, or ugly...you can always find an excuse if you want one.  There is the good...birthdays, holidays, celebrations, Tuesdays :)  There is the bad...divorce, job loss, death of a loved one.  The ugly....depression, foreclosure, moving.  Take your pick.  There are a million reasons to choose from if you want to blow your diet.  But these excuses, they're called life.  And life keeps on coming.  What I'm trying to say is if we let every little thing get in the way of our good choices, we'll never reach our goal weight...or stay there for that matter.
So tomorrow I am going to eat right, drink water, exercise, and sleep.  I am going to take care of me.  No excuses.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lessons From a Former Fat Girl

Having been a fat girl, I know all too well how hard it is to lose the weight and keep it off.  I am not a "natural skinny."  I have to think about my food choices every day.  Every meal, in fact.  Is it worth all that work?  Absolutely.  I feel better.  I think better.  I sleep better.  I look better.  The list could go on... No, it doesn't come naturally to me but it has gotten easier as the years pass.  It has been almost 7 years since I hit my goal weight.  Sometimes I even surprise myself that I'm STILL at my goal weight.  Oprah said on her show when she gained her weight back, "I got cocky.  I thought I had it mastered."  I learned a lesson from Oprah...you have to keep on working.  You never have it mastered.  There are lesson that I have to keep on learning, every day!

1.  Not every meal has to be a sumptuous buffet of deliciousness for all the senses!  I am a food lover.  Aren't we all?  My fat self had to have it all.  The perfect meal...appetizers, perfect entree with yummy sauces, desert, drinks and all the trimmings at every meal!  I have to continue to learn that most meals are just about refueling.  Nothing more than that.  Going all out is just for special occasions.

2.  One cheat doesn't give me license to binge.  I know you've heard me say this before, but having one cookie doesn't mean I need to keep on going with the junk food for the rest of the day.  Every meal is a new opportunity to make good choices.  I get back on the wagon immediately.

3.  Find your moderate button.  I've heard it a million times, "Everything in moderation."  Well, I am not equiped with a moderate button.  I had to create one and learn how to use it.  I'm a go all out type of girl.  That's why I was fat.  I have to  remind myself regularly that a few bites is enough.

You would think after 7 years I wouldn't have to keep learning, not just learning but re learning.  But I do.  And it's worth it. 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

I need a drink!

I'm cheap.  I said it.  I'm always looking for a bargain.  I love things on sale.  I hate to waste money.  This personality trait of mine translates into my eating habits too.  I hate to waste calories.  So it's easy for me to say no to beer, wine, and cocktails.  Because I'm cheap, I just can't justify wasting my precious calories on alcohol.  I would much rather have something I can chew!  And now that I'm getting older, I actually think about nutrients!  Crazy, I know.  I do realize that I'm in the minority on this one.  Most of our patients ask me at one time or another..."When can I have a drink?"

I will only stay on my soapbox only  for a moment here.  Why do you want to use up 100, 200, 300 calories on a drink that's going to give you no nutritional value and a headache to boot?  OK! OK!  Enough!   How can you incorporate a drink or two into your plan and still lose weight?  It can be done.  First you need to know the trade offs.  Calorie wise, a glass of wine or a beer has about 100 calories.  So does one small serving of fruit.  If you're following your plan, trade one serving of fruit for one drink.  Easy enough, right?

Not really.  Obviously, we don't want to do this every day.  By skipping a fruit serving, you're giving up vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you are not going to get from alcohol.  So this is a once and a while option.  Sure, even the best apple is not going to give you a buzz but we do care about our health, right?  Alcohol also interferes with our bodies ability to burn fat stores.  So drinking will slow you down.  And I know we are all in a hurry to get to our goal weight.

So while you are actively trying to lose weight.  Keep the drinking to a minimum.  Let's say once a month.  Save it for special occasions.  Once you are at your goal weight, a drink or two once a week is fine and shouldn't interfere with you maintenance as long as you accommodate the calories.  OR, you could be cheap like me and spend those calories on a spinach salad :)  Hey, they don't call me the food Nazi for nothing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to school

I can't wait for the kids to go back to school.  I need routine!  I need order!  I need some peace and quiet!  Four of my five kids go back to school next week and as happy as I am about that, I am up to my armpits in school forms, school supplies, orientation schedules and the like.  When things get crazy like this at home, the drive thru starts  looking really good to me!  The drive thru, pizza delivery, and Chinese takeout...all of the things that make my life easier but my butt bigger!

Let me just say that I am a big advocate for eating at home.  It saves money, it saves calories, it gives you family time, and it gives you control.  Control over what you're eating.  BUT, when you don't even have two minutes to rub together fast food becomes a necessary evil.  I can say this,  if I'm on my game and planning right, I don't do the fast food thing.  Being prepared is 50% of the battle for me.  If I have a healthy option staring at me from my fridge, I'll pick it up.  But if I've blown off the grocery store for 3 days running I will succumb to the drive thru.

Here are my fast food rules:

1.  Kid size portions only...super size fries equals super size gut!
2.  Drink only water...gotta dilute all that fat and sodium!
3.  No buns...there is ALWAYS a salad available!
4.  Eat slowly...let your brain register the food you are taking in!
4.  Resist the urge to eat every last bite...stop when you are 70% full!

The last one is a tough one.  We live in a value driven society.  Believe me, I know the feeling of wanting to "get my money's worth" when I'm eating out.  I tell myself that I'll pay more just to be fit and trim.  THAT is worth the money.  Not the extra french fries. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Good Enough

The birthday dinner was a hit without taking a hit on my waistline.  I am happy to report I was able to navigate the meal with good choices AND I felt satisfied.  When the cake was being passed around I did take a small piece and had a few bites.  The next day, the scale was in my favor.  I didn't lose BUT I didn't gain.  I got right back on my plan.  I did everything about 90% right. 

This is not a diet of perfection.  It doesn't have to be 100%.  In fact, it can't be.  Who can do it perfectly 100% of the time, every day, day after day?  This is a diet of 90% right.  This is a diet of not perfect, but just good enough.  Having been fat before and tried to lose weight countless times, one of the biggest roadblocks for me in changing my lifestyle was my need for perfection.  I find this with many of our patients.

We dieters start our morning with all kinds of resolve.  "I'm going to do it!  Today is the day!"  Then someone brings brownies to the office and we can't resist.  Failure.  We say to ourselves, "I blew it.  I'm getting a cheeseburger for lunch and having pizza for dinner and then I'm going to break open a package of Oreo cookies!  I'll try again tomorrow."  Or in my case, I'll start again Monday.  Because we all know you have to start your diet on Monday!?  Then I would proceed to binge on whatever I wanted because I didn't do it right.  I wasn't perfect so I wasn't even going to try.  This faulty way of thinking had me starting diets endlessly.  And failing diets endlessly.

I've noticed that thin people don't think like this.  These "naturally skinnies," I like to call them, don't expect perfection.  And they don't beat themselves up for taking that brownie.  They just get right back on the good choice wagon the very next meal.  It's not all or nothing.  It's not perfection.  It's  about making good choices 90% of the time. Was it easy to change my way of thinking?  No.  I have been maintaining my healthy weight for over six years and I still have to remind myself. 

So if you're like me, hard wired to want things just so, a perfectionist, you are going to have to let that go.  Especially where food and eating are concerned.  We live in a culture that revolves around food and there is just no way to do it perfectly.  We just have to do it good enough.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Birthday Dilemma

Oh my gosh, my daughter's birthday dinner is tonight.  Did I mention that I have five daughters?  Yes, five!  This sweet one in particular is turning 15 and weighs 90 pounds soaking wet.  So it goes without saying that her dream menu is NOT on my diet plan.  But, trying to be the good mom, I am making the dinner of her choice for her birthday.  Are you ready?  Potato and Cheddar pierogies with kielbasa, garlic and cheese bread and ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  A dieters worst nightmare, right?

Well, it doesn't have to be.  First, I'm buying turkey kielbasa from Hillshire Farms.  My family won't even notice the difference and I will be able to cut some calories and fat.  I'm going to saute my kielbasa medallions with pepper and onions and just a touch of olive oil.  I want to get some good quality fat in there!  After that is cooked I will add my frozen pierogies.  Garlic and cheese bread goes in the oven.  What's in it for me?  A little bit of sacrifice and will power that's for sure.

On my plate I will have a big salad dressed with oil and vinegar and a bit of the kielbasa with peppers and onions.  My plate will be full of veggies and I'll have about 1/3 cup on kielbasa.  I have a plan.  I'm totally sticking to my plan!  Now whether I do or not remains to be seen.  I'll let you know tomorrow.  But I can tell you this, half of the battle is going in prepared.  I'm prepared to do it right.  If a fall off a little bit I'll still be ahead of the game.  If I went in without a plan, forget it!  I'd be toast.

I'm sure you're asking, "What kind of Birthday meal is that?"  Well, I'll tell you.  It is the kind that is going to get me to my goal.  I spent many birthdays stuffing myself full of bread and cake.  Do you know where it got me?  FAT CITY!  It's time for paybacks.  And that's not always pretty.

So wish me luck tonight.  I'm going to drink lots of water before hand.  I'm going to eat slowly and enjoy the conversation.  I'm gonna sing happy birthday at the top of my lungs ( I'll probably shed a tear or two cuz I'm like that.)  When I roll out that cake I'm gonna have a cup of coffee with splenda so I have something in my hands and I'm gonna pull out my skinny girl mantra..."I'm more powerful than that ice cream cake."
Clermont Office
3115 Citrus Tower Blvd., Suite A
Clermont, Florida 34711
Toll-free: (866) 212-2943
Orlando / MetroWest Office
1507 Park Center Drive, Unit 1H
Orlando, Florida 32835
Toll-free: (866) 212-2943