My calendar is filling up with clients seeking support to make it through the holiday season with fitness goals intact. The BIGGEST recurring lament this year is the state of the office break room.Read More
Are you ready to melt fat without diet or exercise? How about burning belly fat to reveal six-pack abs? I have good news and bad news for you. Bad news first: Ain't happening with a magical superfood or supplement. Good news: I do, however, have THE secret for losing fat! Here it is:
- Learn the basic tenets of healthy eating, including consuming a diet of about 50% non-starchy vegetables, 25% proteins and 25% whole grains or starchy vegetables
- Understand the environmental and emotional triggers that prevent you from eating healthfully
- Fix those triggers
- Build a supportive network of friends and family who care about your goals and will set you up to succeed instead of throwing up obstacles
- Eating in the model described in #1 about 90% of the time
- Move a lot
- Keep eating healthfully as described in #1
- Keep eating healthfully
- Keep moving
- Go back to #7.
Of course, I spend weeks and months coaching my clients through #2 and #3. And #4? If you don't have that one lined up, it can be nearly impossible to move on to #5.
So for every commercial and magazine article touting out the next supplement or exotic tea that is sure to burn off that fat, I remind you that if there was truly a shortcut that worked, we'd all be doing it, and we'd all be grating cheese on our abs.
Until Dr Oz finds that magic cure for us, I encourage you to focus on the basics. And be in touch if I can support you!
I love shopping at summer farmers’ markets in Maryland, and judging by the crazy crowds at the market, I’m in good company. There’s one farmers’ market find in particular that my clients have questions about, and that’s corn.
There’s a misconception that corn is full of sugar and contains no nutritional benefit. Let’s dig into the truth about this whole grain (yes, like oats and wheat, corn is a whole grain, not a vegetable):
A large ear of sweet corn has less than a third of the sugar of a medium-sized apple. Fresh, local, organic corn on the cob actually offers plenty of B vitamins, like folate for hearth health, and fiber. And like other whole grains, corn has a decent source of protein, about 4-5 grams in a large ear.
Highly processed corn syrup or corn oil? Not so much.
So stick to whole corn, consider it as the whole grain on your plate, and enjoy it this summer!
Looking for a simple and delicious way to use corn with in-season summer vegetables? Give this a whirl:
Quick Corn Salad
4 medium or 3 large ears of corn, grilled, roasted or fresh; cut off the cob
A small bunch of scallions, washed well, white and green parts chopped
1-2 bell peppers of your choice, chopped into ¼ inch dice
2 big handfuls of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or cut into smaller pieces
1 – 14-oz can of beans of your choice, drained and rinsed
A couple big handfuls of shredded or finely chopped cabbage
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup plain rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Optional: 1 Tablespoon of honey
If using the honey, whisk it into the vinegar to combine well. Combine the corn and other vegetables, and poor the vinegar (or vinegar-honey mixture) over salad. Allow it to sit in the fridge at least a couple hours for the flavors to meld, then add salt and pepper to taste.
You would be surprised just how many of my clients ask me to help them come up with a good breakfast to eat in the car. Or maybe you wouldn't. We all do it. But eating in the car is a symptom of the larger problem that is making us sick and fat...Read More
Happy Father's Day to all you dads! I have one request for you:
Yes, it is very dad-like to love bacon and beer and barbecue and salty, greasy, fried things. But dads can also like vegetables. They can exercise regularly. They can keep an eye on their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, and make lifestyle changes when those numbers are moving in the wrong direction.
The best give a dad can give to his kids is to stay healthy so you can keep doing awesome things and stick around to see your own kids grown up and do awesome things.
In Michael Pollan's excellent book Food Rules, rule #39 is "Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself." I love this rule! I don't want to live in a world without pizza, but most delivery is an abomination of sugar, salt and grease. But there's good news...Read More
Oatmeal with raisins & brown sugar and smoothies made of flavored yogurt & fruit sound like better choices than, say, a visit to the doughnut shop, but they're loaded with sugar, coming perilously close to maxing out the daily recommendations for added sugar. Have you tried a savory start to the day?Read More
Look at those suckers exercising behind me--never again! I've been working on a project for sometime to eliminate the need for exercise. Now I'm finally ready to introduce this amazing innovation in fitness. With great pride, I introduce "F-it!," an app that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate your muscles just like exercise, making exercise completely obsolete!Read More
From working with clients and from my own personal experience, I've found there are two primary reasons why eating a cupcake makes someone feel bad about themselves.
Some of us live in a constant state of "dieting." We count and restrict calories, or shut out entire food groups (no carbs!) in a weight management battle that rules our lives. These individuals label foods as either "GOOD" or "BAD" and if they eat from the "GOOD" group, they have permission to feel good about themselves. But when they eat from the "BAD" group, watch out. They're going into a guilt and shame spiral. They feel like they are weak and out of control. Their worlds revolve around this system of "GOOD" and "BAD" eating, and eating a cupcake doesn't represent celebration, it represents failure.
Others of us have diets that are full of salty, sugary, fatty, heavily processed foods that provide plenty of calories but not much in the way of real nourishment (and yes, there is a BIG distinction between calories and nourishment!). Though a cupcake is supposed to be a treat, a symbol of celebration, for these folks, it's just another blip on a landscape of poor nutritional choices. Not much to feel good about here.
Food is fuel, that's for sure. But it's also pleasure. It's a way that brings humans together. We eat foods to celebrate. When we deny these latter aspects of food, we miss out on some of the best parts about being human.
If you are ready to make some changes to your diet and lifestyle, and to actually enjoy a flippin' cupcake every once in a darn while, let's talk.
I hear this from my clients who are runners, and I hear it when I come out to talk to running groups about fueling. I hear it lined up at the start of races. I hear it so often, I can no longer keep my mouth shut on the issue. And the issue is poop. Or more specifically taking anti-diarrhea medication to prevent poop on the run.
Why do so many of us have GI issues during running? It's actually very natural. Exercise, and running in particular, stimulates the muscles in our GI tract, causing many of us to need to go shortly after beginning activity. That constant jostling is a real catalyst for some of us. And during longer runs, as we log more time on our feet, our circulatory system directs more blood to our legs and other muscles, and less to our digestive system, leading to diarrhea for some runners.
Stopping for an unplanned poop can make for a lousy run—all the lousier depending on just how unplanned it is, where you are when it hits and the weather. Taking Imodium or other anti-diarrhea medications seems like an easy choice if you're someone who regularly has to dash into wooded areas.
However, taking over-the-counter medication doesn’t address the root cause.
I've identified a myriad of habits that prevent or contribute to GI issues on the run, and I’ve seen those issues reduced and even completely eliminated for many. Common culprits include…
- Food and timing of of eating the day before a run
- Frequency and timing of alcohol
- Timing of fiber intake
- Artificial sweeteners
- What and when breakfast is eaten before a run
- The fuel, drinks and other supplements taken in on the run
…and other habits unique to each of us.
If you’re hooked on Imodium but haven’t addressed how your diet and habits could be causing the issue, please make an appointment for a consult with me.
A note: I speak on this topic from experience—a whole LOT of experience. Many of you know that I live with Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disease wherein my own immune system attacks my digestive tract and other parts of my body. I manage my disease very carefully, and I know all too well how simple changes to diet and habits can tremendously impact GI issues on my own runs, either to the positive or the negative.
Believe it or not, I look forward to talking about poop with you soon…
Counting down the top 10 reasons to work with a health coach, #2 is a lulu…
The Dreaded Plateau.
You’re been working for some time now, making big changes to your diet, ramping up your activity level. You’re seeing movement on the scale, you’ve had to buy new clothes to accommodate your more svelte frame, and you have so much more energy! And then…the plateau. You’re barely subsisting on a tiny amount of calories and everyone in the gym knows your name, but the results have stopped coming far short of your ultimate goal.
This is an ideal time to talk to a health coach.
A one-hour consult could give you the inspiration and motivation to shake things up and start achieving gains again. Or you may realize that the tactics that were working—a deprivation diet, juicing or replacing meals with shakes—were only good for the short term, and you support to hold on to your achievements (see Reason #9--Calorie Count Burnout).
I can’t iterate it enough: The plateau is one of THE BEST reasons to talk to a health coach!
Got a big health or fitness goal, like beginning a new fitness regiment, going vegan, running a race (or achieving a personal best in a race), or losing significant weight? A health coach can help you get there!
This picture is me completing the last tenth of a mile of my first marathon in 2009. I joined a training group and leaned on three excellent coaches (one of whom was my husband, John) for advice on how to train. They provided a plan and gave me lots of smart answers when I had questions. I was accountable to them—they expected me to show up and I did. Let me assure you that had I tried to train for this bad boy on my own without the support and guidance of these professionals, I would’ve ended up as a stain on the ground in DC somewhere along the Marine Corps Marathon course.
In previous posts, I’ve shared the steps for achieving big goals, and engaging an expert is an important one. If you’re ready to tackle a MAJOR goal in 2016, one that requires greater physical demands than you’re used to, or one that mean taking on long standing habits that are standing in your way, partnering with a health coach dramatically increases your likelihood of achieving that goal.
Could you figure out how to tackle a big goal like weight loss or fueling a big race on your own? Sure, maybe. But with support and education about best practices from a qualified health coach or other professional, you’re more likely to avoid making mistakes (many of which occur after following lousy advice from the internet!) along the way. You’re likely to achieve goals more quickly, and with me acting as a proverbial net to prevent you from falling, you might even enjoy the process more!
Get in touch if you’re ready to line up some expertise to get you closer to the big goal.
Continuing the countdown of the top 10 reasons to see a health coach, #4 is a very serious one...
My doctor issued me an ultimatum:
Make lifestyle change or go the prescription medication route.
The propensity to become obese and to develop high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers is written into our genetic code. However, the way we eat and our levels of activity can dramatically reduce or potentially even eliminate our risk despite what lies in our DNA.
When your blood work shows early signs of diabetes (a high or borderline A1C or a high fasting blood sugar), or elevated numbers on a blood lipids panel (high LDL cholesterol or triglycerides), there are really two routes that your health will go:
1. You make lasting dietary lifestyle changes (and potentially use prescription medications) to reverse conditions.
2. You maintain current lifestyle and heart disease, diabetes or other disease will set in, leading to increased doctor visits, a regiment of prescriptions--each with their own risks and side effects--and pain, discomfort and frustration for you and those who love you.
Why would anyone opt for #2? It can take years after an initial red flag goes up before you actually feel the impact of lifestyle diseases. Breaking ingrained habits can be tough, so many of us put off taking care of these conditions, going for the instant gratification instead of focusing on the long game. My position is that a serious health event is a lousy catalyst for change when our advanced medical system is able to detect signs so early.
But there’s great news: You have a tremendous set of tools to adjust your lifestyle when your doctor and health coach combine forces!
As an integrative nutrition health coach, it’s not within my scope of practice to diagnose or treat disease, but it is well within my purview to help my clients understand how to practically incorporate evidence-based dietary changes to promote your health. I’m also your accountability partner—you’ll meet with me regularly to ensure that you’re making those changes.
On a personal note, I am the daughter of a type 2 diabetic--a reversible disease brought on by poor lifestyle--who passed on too early. I’m also the wife of a type 1 diabetic whose disease is irreversible and must be managed minute to minute, 24/7. Seeing the frustration, suffering and physical pain these diseases cause, both to the patient and to the family who loves them, I am motivated to do everything I can to support those seeking help to manage their health through lifestyle.
If you’re ready to make real and lasting change, let’s talk.
Earlier this month I started counting down reasons 10 through 6 to work with a health coach (like me), and now I’m counting down the top 5. If you have ever said the following sentence, congratulations! You’re a living embodiment of reason #5 for working with me…
I don't have time to take care of myself—I’m too busy taking care of everyone else!
When I hear from potential clients “I don’t have to take care of myself,” what I hear from you is “My health is not my priority.” That’s a lousy perspective. If your priorities this week are digging out the last of the snow and ice around your house, helping the kids with homework, planning spring break travel, completing your training runs for a half marathon, and finishing a big powerpoint for work, I can promise you that every one of those priorities will take a serious hit if you are exhausted and weak. I've worked with several clients who put everyone else first, who discovered that a quiet, simmering resentment can boil into serious anger over the years. Anger that not only damages their own health, but important relationships.
By taking time for yourself—eating nutritious foods, making time for sleep, reducing stress—everyone around you benefits, too. Get in touch if you’re ready to begin prioritizing yourself!
Back to the top 10 reasons why you may need to work with a health coach--this one is HUGE:
I don't have anyone at home who supports me in my efforts to get healthy.
Sustaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can be tough when you live in a household where you don’t feel like you have support. Study after study has demonstrated the tremendous impact that family support has on behavior modification efforts, and specifically weight loss.
I’m a huge proponent of finding friends or peer groups outside of the home to support your healthy lifestyle—more on this topic here. I would be remiss if I didn’t strongly recommend signing up for my 8-week group program: Goal Setting and Accountability, beginning on January 28.
"My fitness/weight loss efforts have hit a plateau. Maybe I’ve reached the best I can do." I’ve heard this more than once during a client consult and in the beginning stages of work with clients. But...Read More
Reason #8 to work with a health coach is marked by this lament: "I eat a healthy diet, but I'm gaining weight!" A study by Cornell gives us insight into this phenomenon of overeating foods labeled as "Healthy," but it's intensive work with a health coach that will help to untangle this habit. Read more on this study here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-12/cfb-eho122315.php
Your Facebook timeline is full of stories about superfoods, supplements and warnings about GMO’s. Your running buddy is going on and on about this low-carb, high-protein diet centered around meat. Then there are the new US Dietary Guidelines telling us to eat less sugar, and big headlines about processed and red meat. And to top it off, svelte celebrities are touting fasts and cleanses.Read More
You've got a big goal. Maybe it's a weight loss goal. Maybe you want to run your first 5K this year, or your first marathon. Maybe it's getting to the gym X number of days per week. Whatever the goal is, if you want to increase your likelihood of failure...Read More
Got a health and wellness goal for 2016? You're in good company. Millions will start the New Year with firm resolutions to eat more healthfully, complete a race, exercise regularly, or lose weight. Many of those millions--the majority, in fact--will fail.
Who will succeed? From my health coaching practice, I've identified three key factors for achieving goals:
1. Setting a specific, measurable goal
2. Seeking out and securing expert guidance
3. Setting up a system of support and accountability
I'm pleased to announce a group health coaching program to provide all of the above: The Goal Setting and Accountability Group launches at Vita on January 28. Participants will not only have the support of a certified health coach (yours truly), but also that of other like-minded members in the group. Over the course of eight sessions, you will:
- Develop a clear goal plan for achieving your unique health and wellness goals
- Learn about the stages of change and how to build lasting habits
- Receive support from your health coach and the program participants to make weekly progress toward your goals
- Explore what nourishes you, from the foods that support you best to the exercise that gives you the greatest energy
- Develop lifelong tools to manage stress
This promises to be a fun and supportive environment and the time and effort you invest in this program will transform your health and your relationship with your body.
Take the first step towards claiming your health and register over at Vita's website!