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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 :)
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