Creating New Habits

Sugar, Sugar, EVERYWHERE!

sugar sugar everywhere

Well, we stepped over the first landmine (Halloween) just over a week ago. Did anybody get hurt out there? You know, as if having a bag of 150 candy bars and roughly only 45 trick or treater’s that came to your door wasn’t dangerous enough, I found it interesting to say the least that the next few days after, all the tv news shows and web articles were giving out “helpful” hints on how to use that leftover candy in a dessert. Apparently, a candy bar can’t stand on its own, you have to mix it with a cookie crust, brownies, ice cream, pudding and whipped cream to make it go away.

I guess that is one way to get rid of the extra candy— But are you really getting rid of it? You might get it off your counter but where do you think it will show up? YEP! You guessed it. Right around your waistline and clogging up your arteries!

If you did opt for this, I hope you will at least spread it out over time. Put the candy in the freezer and then pull it out and use it for special occasions and especially when you can take the dessert somewhere else where you will have lots of help eating it.

Or you could still just put it in the freezer and take one out here and there say after a walk around the block or after you bag that mountain of leaves that is in your yard right about now.

But please use some common sense when it comes to using the candy. I saw a recipe that was described as a giant chocolate chip cookie with tons of Halloween candy and lots of frosting. In the recipe itself it also called for cream cheese, marshmallow creme and caramel sauce. It was touted as a dessert that was sure to leave you in a sugar coma as if that was a good thing.

Really, why go through all the extra steps of making something like that up when you can just pop open a 5 lb. bag of sugar and pour it down your throat in one easy step? Of course I am being facetious in what I am saying but I am trying to get a point across. There is absolutely nothing redeeming nor remotely nutritious about a recipe like that. Why would we want to serve something like that to our family?

We are so accustomed to having sugar in our daily diet we don’t realize how much we are actually consuming. Naturally occurring sugar is the sugar found in whole, unprocessed foods, such as milk, fruit, vegetables, and some grains. What is unsettling is that the average American consumes around 156 pounds of added sugar per year or roughly 22 tsp. every day according to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). And what is even more disturbing is that people are consuming excessive sugar in the form of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. This is a highly processed form of sugar which is cheaper yet 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar. That’s why many food and beverage manufacturers decide to use it in their products.

The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. Our body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar and can cause a whole host of problems that can have far reaching effects on your health, weight gain just being one of them.

You are probably thinking, “I don’t eat that much sugar.” But, if you are not in the regular habit of checking the labels on the foods you purchase, you would be surprised at how many foods contain added sugar. Over the course of a day with every thing you put in your mouth the grams of sugar you eat can really add up. Even foods such as spaghetti sauce, canned soup, and bread all contain added sugar. What is even more disheartening are the products with a healthy sounding name but with an ingredient list that is anything but healthy such as granola bars, yogurt and Green tea.

Just for kicks and giggles, the next time you go to the grocery store, take a little time and notice how many items make claims in eye catching large print such as, “More Protein,” “Made with Whole Grains,” or “Fat Free” which grabs your attention making you believe it is healthy but in reality has added ingredients such as added sugar, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup or some other form of sugar.

So, going back to that recipe I mentioned above, it really doesn’t sound like a good idea does it? I don’t like to be wasteful, but maybe all those leftover Snickers bars hanging out in your cupboard calling your name should just be given a permanent home at the local landfill instead of on your hips, just saying!

Sometimes navigating through the holidays can be quite a struggle  making wise choices. If you think you would benefit from someone holding you accountable and walking you through some new ways to think about food or help you with an exercise program to get you moving in the right direction, please call me at (616) 516-1570 or use the contact tab on the upper right hand corner of the screen and “Let’s talk!”

Taking Charge at the Beginning of the Season!



Well, it’s time. The official season has begun. Everyone is going to be doing it you know. Some of us could hardly wait for it. Have I peaked your interest yet? Okay, I guess I can tell you now. Are you ready? We are all going undercover. Yes, I said undercover but I don’t mean as in detective work.

I’m of course talking about hoodies, sweaters, long pants, and eventually coats. Anything that covers up. Some of us are saying,“Thank Goodness!” Covers up what you might be asking? Well, how about that pumpkin muffin, donut, bread, latte, ice cream, etc., etc., that you’ve been scarfing down on a daily basis lately. Really……how many things can you put pumpkin in? Everywhere I look there’s something with pumpkin in it. I’m surprised they haven’t put it in toothpaste yet. Now, if it was just eating pumpkin there would be no problem. It’s the cream, butter, sugar, oil and flour you have to add to it to that can cause the problem.

As fall rolls around don’t you notice how your eating patterns can change. All of a sudden our minds and tastes goes in a whole new direction. It’s a seasonal thing. In April and May we are excited about the warmer weather coming and we’re thinking and looking forward to grilling out, eating fresh fruit and garden fresh veggies that are just around the corner. We’re also thinking about getting into shape so we can wear those cute shorts and bathing suits without embarrassing ourselves.

But, living in Michigan those months go way too quickly and it seems like September and October are here before we know it. And with the colder weather we start turning to the heavier and more “comfort food” dishes that we associate fall and winter with and our ovens start churning out baked goods like a factory.

So, before we get too far into the season we would be mindful to remember that just as an undercover agent eventually has to come out of the shadows and reveal his true identity, we too will one day next spring have to come out of our “undercover disguise” and reveal our true identity (figure). So that means making wise choices in the days ahead especially with the holidays (Halloween being the grand kick off) in the not to distant future.

So, I think we need a game plan to stay fit don’t you? The first step is to believe you can do it! The next thing to do is to take control and stay there. This isn’t your first rodeo so you know what your weaknesses are. Coming up with strategies to navigate the potential dietary minefields of the months ahead will help you to avoid them. Below are a few that you may find helpful.

  • Stay ahead of the game by spending a few hours at the beginning of each week stocking your kitchen with healthy foods and planning your menu for the upcoming week. That way as the week starts to get busy you won’t have to scramble at the last minute and cave into the temptation of eating what is convenient (and most of the time unhealthy)
  • Don’t slow down just because summer is over and cooler weather is here. Keep exercising. If you have been inactive, start going for a 30 minute walk at least 3 days a week. Whatever you do, don’t put it off and fall into the procrastination pit. What better time to start exercising than fall when it’s cooler weather and enjoying the beautiful colors is an extra bonus.Keep track of what you eat. It helps to keep a food journal. It will help to keep you honest and help you to pinpoint your trouble areas. A little donut hole here and a cookie there and whatever delectable you walk past and pop in your mouth mindlessly can really add up by the end of the day.
  • Give yourself some wiggle room for goodness sake. Just like we look forward to juicy watermelon in the hot summer months we should be able to enjoy the comforting foods of the seasons coming up. Denying yourself of certain foods that you love can set yourself up for giving in and bingeing on them at some point. So, if there is something that you want, just limit the amount you eat. As long as you stay within your daily calorie limit and eat an overall healthy diet, then allowing yourself a small portion of something sweet or higher in fat won’t harm your waistline. And remember, if you happen to fall off the wagon during a weak moment don’t throw your hands up in despair and give up. Just pick yourself up, wipe the whipped cream off your face and get back up on that wagon. Take hold of the reins and steer it back in the right direction!

It’s still the beginning of the season and if you focus on maintaining your weight throughout this whole season coming up you won’t have to kick off the next new year with the annual, “New Years Resolution” to drop the weight — which we all know how that ends up. If you need some extra help to stay strong and would like someone to be in your corner coaching you along the way (in a pumpkin free environment) please call me at (616) 516-1570.




summer weight


Whew! It’s hot out here! I am literally sitting outside on my front porch with a fan blowing on me. Crazy, I know but for those of us who live in Michigan we all know how short our summer season can be and I am determined to sit out here and enjoy it before it is gone.

So, have you been enjoying this season as much as I have? I hope so! Don’t you just love going down the road and seeing all of the produce stands on the side of the road offering all the goodies you can only get in the summer. (They do all of the work and we get to enjoy it)!

Strawberries, blueberries, fresh corn on the cob, dark sweet cherries and watermelon to name just a few. I love them all! But, for some reason though, I tend to gorge myself with these season delectables and don’t give it a thought of how many calories I might be consuming.

The truth is, you CAN gain weight if you overeat these foods. Couple that with trips to go get an ice cream cone (it is summer after all folks) and cold sugar laden drinks to “cool off” and we have the recipe for weight gain.

Summer weight gain? What? We don’t typically think about that very often. I don’t know if it’s because we just assume that we are more active and are burning off the calories or that we think that the foods we eat are more natural and more healthy, but the fact is summer can be a prime time TO gain weight.

Think about it. Backyard barbecues and picnics with family and friends eating all the typical dishes like potato salad, baked beans and corn on the cob dripping with butter and of course something for dessert and then s’mores later on as we sit by the campfire. Summer vacations where all self control goes right out the window because, “Hey, we’re on vacation!” The whole season kind of sets us up for an atmosphere of party time and a laid back mentality don’t you think?

But we need to keep in mind that in a couple of months we will be faced with pulling our jeans out of the closet and hoping we can still button them up. It’s hard to think about that when we are out in the scorching heat in a tank top and shorts with the sweat pouring down our back.

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I’m sweating so much I should lose weight in no time?”
Probably because we feel like we are melting but the truth is it’s just the opposite! In order to prevent summer weight gain we need to know how to ride out the heat.


Did you know that your metabolism is actually faster during the cold winter months than hot summer days? During the winter when your body temperature is higher than the temperature outside, maintaining your core body temperature requires energy which translates into calories your body has to burn to create heat. However, during the hot summer months the amount of energy spent heating your body is at its minimum burning less calories and unfortunately, sweating does not mean you are burning calories.


You know, we can be fickle creatures sometimes. In the winter we say “It’s so cold out I’m just going to stay inside and sit in front of the fireplace, (with a cup of hot cocoa of course!) and then
in the summer we say, “It’s just so hot I’m not leaving this air conditioned house until it cools down” But not moving because it’s hot drops our activity level. When it is really hot outside and we start to do something and our bodies overheat it’s easy to find ourselves taking many breaks or just quit doing anything all together except sitting in the shade with a tall glass of some overly sweetened drink. Over time the number of calories we burn daily throughout the summer due to lower physical activity can decrease contributing to weight gain.

Being exposed to extreme heat can cause you to lose your “Get up and go” and while it’s probably not a good idea to go on a long run when the temperature is in the 90’s, we can alter the times we exercise to the cooler morning and evening hours. Swimming is the perfect summer activity that can really burn the calories or you can still exercise indoors. Either way, you are going to want to find a way to exercise despite the heat.


Fluids are not the only thing you lose when you perspire. As you sweat, you lose important vitamins and minerals that need to be replaced. Sweat is not just water. It is a mixture of minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients that our bodies need in order to function at optimal levels.

Without these nutrients our body’s fat burning capacity is impaired. The B vitamins are especially important in fat burning. However, you can’t just replace them by swallowing a pill. You need to make sure you are eating the right kinds of foods to replace what you are losing along with taking supplements.

A good source of water-soluble vitamins are found in an assortment of foods, including fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Well, I hope this information has been helpful to you. I LOVE the summer and enjoy the many opportunities for fun and relaxation it provides. Sometimes though keeping everything in balance can be a little challenging. If you would like someone to help keep you accountable or need some help getting on the right track with weight management, please give me a call to set up an appointment at (616) 516-1570. You still have plenty of summer to get started!

Say “YES” to a Healthy and Happy You!


Okay, Easter is over. How many Peeps, chocolate foil wrapped eggs, jelly beans, chocolate covered marshmallows and who knows what else have we mindlessly consumed over the last few weeks? What is it about all the holidays that make us lose control and eat stuff we know is not good for us? Think about it. It’s the same candy, only wrapped and shaped different to fit the holiday. And yet, we all fall for it like that pink wrapped chocolate egg is going to taste any different than the red and green wrapped chocolate kiss at Christmas. Our year is paced with holidays and the powers that be know how to market their products to make the consumer think they just have to have them even though we just bought the same thing only packaged different a month or so ago. And, combine that with all the traditional foods that we usually consume with each holiday and it’s not looking real pretty.

So when do we jump off the crazy merry go round that keeps going round and round year after year making us repeat unhealthy habits that are so bad for us. Unless we make a conscious decision to not fall prey to the marketing of these products and choose healthier more nutritious foods we are going to keep spinning around and around on that thing.

So now that we have a break in the deluge of holiday oriented goodies confronting us every time we go to the store I believe it is the perfect time to take control and seriously make a conscious effort to eat and live more healthy.

You might be wondering how and where do I start? One thing to keep in mind is that healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of the foods you love. You really need to realize it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook and stabilizing your mood.

We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but did you know your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing?

Studies have linked eating a typical western diet which is filled with red and processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food and sugary snacks with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder and anxiety. All the more reason to eat more fruits and veggies, cook more meals at home and reduce your fat and sugar intake.

While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. Switching to a healthy diet does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to make a difference in the way you think and feel.

One thing I would like to mention here is that if you do any research on nutrition, sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using a couple simple tips you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

Take a number of small, manageable steps like adding a salad to your diet once a day rather than trying to make one big drastic change in your diet. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.

Prepare more meals at home allowing you to take charge of what you are eating.
*Make the right changes. Replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives.
*Simplify. Eat more fresh ingredients.
*Read the labels. Be aware of hidden sugar and salt even in packaged ‘healthy’ foods.
*Focus on how better you feel eating healthier foods.
*Drink plenty of water helping to flush your system of waste products and toxins.

Eat only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied but not stuffed at the end of a meal. Eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, for most of us, moderation means eating less than we do now.

*Reduce portion size of unhealthy food and don’t eat them as often.
*Think smaller portions. Learn what a healthy portion is.
*Take your time. Give your brain enough time to tell your body when you have had enough.
*Eat with others when possible. Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer to limit mindless eating.
*Eat breakfast and then smaller meals throughout the day.
*Avoid eating at night.

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Try to eat the recommended daily minimum of five servings of both and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or vegetable or a small apple or banana for example. Remember the more colorful the food is the higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it contains.

Healthy carbs include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. They digest slowly and help you feel full longer along with keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Unhealthy carbs are foods such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that has been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients. Whole grains are rich in phytochemical and antioxidants which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.

I think it’s safe to say that we Americans eat way too much sugar and salt contributing to so many health and weight problems. Do some detective work and look for hidden sugar and salt in most packaged food at the grocery store. Remember that sugar can have many different names such as honey, molasses, fructose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, malt syrup to name a few.

These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you along the way of a more healthy lifestyle and I do mean lifestyle because that is what it is all about, your LIFE and the STYLE in which you choose to live it.

If you are ready to make a life change and would like some support along the way I would love to assist you and share with you some strategies to achieve your goal of a more healthy you. Please call me at (516) 517-1560 or contact me through the website.



Spring is right around the corner and while I can’t wait for it to finally arrive, something did occur to me that made me sit up a little and say to myself “oh my!” And that would be my wardrobe. Yes, I said,“my wardrobe.” Let me explain. It’s not exactly the clothes in my closet so much as me fitting into those clothes.

Soon it will be time to shed those long sweaters, the cute coats of winter and long scarves that we have hidden ourselves in while we plodded our way through this excruciatingly brutal bitter cold winter, (did I make myself clear how cold I think it was)? While I am looking forward to shedding the boots and slipping on a pair of cute sandals, the thought of shorts, short sleeves and bathing suits causes me to pause just a little.

It’s funny how you can hear about something for years and you know it happens (to other people of course) but when it happens to you you’re a little taken back. For some reason, some of us can tend to think maybe it won’t be like that with me. But then you start to notice some changes and then you realize Ugh! This must be what “they” were talking about.

There is so much information out there about perimenopause and weight gain. And frankly, you can find some differing opinions about what causes it. Just like everything else health wise it seems like information is always changing and you don’t know who to believe. Some say low estrogen and some say high estrogen. Meanwhile you just want to know why you can’t button your pants even though you haven’t changed any of your eating habits or physical activity level.

I guess what makes sense to me is that yes, our hormones are changing and during perimenopause our estrogen levels have decided to take a ride on a roller coaster. I’m sure many women can attest to the fact they can tell their hormones at this time are all over the place. However, there is only so much we can do about that. Nature IS going to happen whether we want it to or not. What we CAN do though is to be aware of our body changing and figure out how to cope with it to the best of our ability.

Staying positive and informing yourself about perimenopause and its physical effects is a good start. It’s also important to figure out if your weight gain is due to physical (hormonal imbalance)
or psychological factors (e.g. anxiety, emotional stress ) Once you have that established you can work out the most effective method for weight loss. Here are a few things to be aware of:


As hormones change at perimenopause, emotions can run wild and it can be easy to slip into patterns of emotional eating. Maybe the emotional triggers were always there to a lesser degree but suddenly they can ramp up a notch. Or, they are showing up for the first time as we try to work through the complexity of changing hormones and emotions and we start looking for emotional comfort and stability. The problem here being, no one reaches for a bowl of steamed broccoli when looking for comfort. It’s more likely a piece of chocolate cake or something else that isn’t too nutritious. So we need to be diligent in eating healthy and not just focusing on the quantity of food but quality of nutrients and the right mix of fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates we consume.


Most women do not get enough sleep. We actually need between 7-9 hours every night but most women get between 5-7. There are so many processes that take place in our bodies at night while we are at rest. When that cycle is disrupted, hormones are disrupted, mental processing can become impaired, as well as our ability to maintain a good mood and manage anxiety, anger and depression.

Many experts believe that sleep is as important to our overall well being as diet and exercise. There are multiple studies that reveal weight gain can be associated with inadequate or inconsistent sleep. It may be challenging to get a good night’s sleep when your body is out of whack, but it has been noted that one of the most effective sleep inducers is making sure you take enough magnesium. Calcium and magnesium need to exist in our bodies in a ratio of 1:1 but we tend to be calcium heavy and lack the magnesium our bodies require for a good night of uninterrupted sleep.


As we age, our bodies begin to lose muscle mass and this naturally decreases our resting metabolism, as muscle uses up more energy (calories) than fat. Even though we tend to exercise less as we age, it is perhaps the most important time in life that we DO exercise and combine it with some form of strength training to build up our muscle mass.

Our bodies are complex beings and hard to understand but absolutely awesome when you think about how everything comes together and does its own job keeping us up and running. However, with that being said, perimenopause and through menopause is a period of time that even though it is a “normal” process that every women will go through, it can play havoc with our system and sometimes we need a little help.

If you find that you too are in the “battle” and would like some help working through it or are feeling discouraged, I would like to meet with you and together see what we can do to help you achieve your weight management goals. You can either call me at (616) 516-1570 or use the contact form on the website.

Eating for the future

Sitting at a conference last week the speaker threw out this question, “What would you like to be doing at 75 years of age?” As expected, people shouted out answers such as “traveling,” “playing with the grandkids,” “having fun.” Then she asked another question that kind of caught me off guard and I have to believe others too. “What are you doing now to make that possible?”

The interesting thing is, she was not talking about saving money or buying a motor home to travel the countryside. She was talking about what are you doing to your body NOW to make sure that what you dream of doing at 75 will be possible. I have to admit I had never thought about it that way.

Yes. I’ve thought of it in short terms like, if I eat this donut, cake, pizza et cetera, et cetera and not work it off, it will show up on the scale at the doctors next week. Or, I’m going on vacation and I have to put on a bathing suit so I’d better do something or it’s not going to be pretty. But have I really thought about how not eating right and exercising regularly now is going to show up when I’m 75? Well, to be honest, the answer is “no.”

Isn’t it ironic that we “plan” for the future financially but we don’t have the same passion when it comes to what we are putting into our “body bank” that we are going to draw on when we reach retirement age.

We really need to become more aware of what is in the foods we eat and what kinds of food we eat.

Lets’ face it. We are surrounded and bombarded by food everywhere we look. And may I add,
most of it looks, smells and tastes delicious and is hard to resist. Believe me, corporations have spent millions of dollars making sure of that. Which brings me to something I would like to bring to your attention;


Have you ever heard the term “hyper-palatable foods before?” I would venture to say that the answer is probably “no.” But most people eat them all the time. Now you might be asking, “What in the world is “hyper-palatable foods?”

Well, pretty much everything at a restaurant and most processed food but in a nutshell, hyper-palatable food is a highly processed foodstuff that has been engineered to pleasure the consumer and drive him or her to eat more than they initially wanted to, and seek that specific food in the future. (Uh Oh! I think I just described Oreo’s!) Do you get my meaning?

Our food environment has changed so dramatically over the years with the introduction of
these so-called “hyper-palatable” foods that it makes it hard to find it rewarding to just eat a traditional healthy meal. Our minds have been tricked by the artificial flavors and enhancers that are in so many of the foods we eat today is it any wonder that most Americans overeat and are overweight. Our brains were not designed to handle this kind of environment. We eat more because it taste so good not because we are satisfied calorically.


  • Foods in their original form, as they were created — not modernized, not processed, not packaged.
  • Foods that have a long history of supporting good health.
  • Foods that are whole and nutrient-dense.
  • Foods that are simple and basic: meat and poultry, eggs, whole grains, fish, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit nuts, and seeds, dairy, fats.


Gone are the days of our great grandmothers spending all day in the house planning the meals and baking their own bread. However, with a little planning and the knowledge that is at our fingertips, we can certainly make wiser choices with how and what we eat. I’m not saying that you should never go out to a restaurant or “grab” that hamburger on the way home after a long day. But, if we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that we probably “go out to eat” way too often and buy and consume too many processed foods. For some, it’s become a way of life but should WE be letting OTHER people decide what to put into our bodies? “NO ”

There’s no time like the present to start “Thinking” before you put something in your mouth and ask yourself this question. “Is the convenience of this fast food going to turn into inconvenience later in life?”, “Is there a healthier choice I could be making right now?” Start out slowly and read more labels. Make some new healthier changes and then continue on until you’ve made a significant difference in your eating habits and your health. Your grandkids will thank you!

If you struggle with your weight management goals and maybe even realize that food has become addicting to you and would like some help, please call me at (616) 516-1570 and let’s get you on the road to a healthier and possibly thinner you!

Healthier Life Resolution

Listening on the radio the other day I kind of chuckled at the persons reply to the question he had been asked. He was being asked if he had made any New Year’s resolutions this year. His reply was “Yeah, losing weight. I’m going to work on that one again this year.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? It was the word “again” that made me smile.

Why is it that January 1 always seems like a good time to start a “diet?” How many people get caught up in doing that? Is it because of all the junk food we consumed during the holiday season and we feel guilty or just the traditional thing to do. I’m not even sure where that concept came from but we all do it don’t we? In the famous words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us have already fallen off the wagon of good intentions about dieting within the first few weeks. Food is everywhere and doggone it we get hungry right? We can have the best of intentions and then that co-worker comes in with the box of fresh baked doughnuts or it’s someones birthday and you just have to have cake and then before you know it, you finally wave the white flag and say, “To heck with it, pass the cookies and whatever else you’ve got!”

Really, the list of opportunities to not stick with that resolution we made is endless. Now don’t get me wrong, it is good to be thinking about our “diet.” But I don’t mean it the way most people refer to it. “Dieting” rarely works for the long term. While you can try restricting yourselves in the amount or types of food you eat and lose weight, most people find that they don’t keep the weight off. Over time the scale numbers start to slowing creep back up again and sometimes even go beyond what you started with. Yikes!

Instead of making a “new years resolution” to lose weight, try making a ‘healthier life resolution” Train your brain to think positive thoughts about living healthier instead of negative thoughts about what you have to give up to lose weight.

Think about it. When you say the word “diet” don’t you immediately think about all the stuff you might have to give up? Who likes to do that? That is why most diets fail. You can’t live in a perpetual state of denying yourself. There are times when it’s okay to have that piece of dessert
or that cheese laden lasagna.

We need to change the way we think and feel about food. This will be a process. As they say, “Rome was not built in a day” You can’t just change all your habits that you have had for years and expect in one day to eat a totally different way. Try thinking about what you can add to your “diet” to make it healthier and at the same time cut back on the not so healthy foods you usually consume. Before you reach for that snack ask yourself why you want it, do you really need it.

Just like we put gas and oil in our cars to keep them running we put food in our “engines” to keep us running. Isn’t it ironic that we would never think to put the wrong kind of gas or oil in our vehicles yet we sometimes don’t give a second thought about what kind of “fuel” we put in our own human machines? Thank goodness our body can process some bad fuel better than our cars can and keep running. However, over time our body will begin to tell us that we haven’t been feeding it right and will begin to tell us in various unpleasant ways.

We are creatures of habits and we tend to do what we know how to do even if it is not good for us. So if you find yourself with a lot of bad habits regarding eating, there is no time like the present to make new habits.

So let’s start treating our bodies better than our vehicles and think before we eat. If you are someone who likes to drink soda, start out by substituting a glass of water sometimes. Don’t drink your calories. Try a fruit infused water instead. If you always have three pieces of pizza, sneak a salad in and then eat just one or two pieces. Who says you have to have butter AND sour cream on that baked potato? Buy more from the outer perimeter of the grocery store and less of the processed foods in the aisles. If you look for opportunities to eat healthier you WILL find them and pretty soon they will become a good habit.

Over time the benefits will show up in pleasant ways. Some of that weight that’s been hanging around will disappear. Your body will feel better and run smoother with a healthier you. Remember to not get discouraged and depressed if you slip up now and then. It’s bound to happen. Expect it! Just make sure you pick yourself up, dust off the slip up and get back on that horse again and keep riding. You are worth it and CAN DO IT!

Let this be the last year that your New Years resolution is to lose weight “again.”

Happy 2015 New Year – Or Is It?

Ahhh, the New Year. We're on the cusp of experiencing a new year and all the expectations, goals, dreams and aspirations that a new 'something' brings. We start reminding ourselves about how important 'new beginnings' are and the importance of 'buckeling down' and 'taking things serious' at this time of year. It's a time of.....reflection....and re-purposing what we want to accomplish.

Pfft. Sounds great, doesn't it? But I think that all last about a day, tops. Okay, maybe two or three days but the reality is, as humans, we like what we know. Even if it's not good for us. Even if it's not healthy. Usually several days into a new way of thinking, reality tells us IT'S HARD TO CREATE NEW HABITS. Ugh. We always want to revert back to old ways of thinking because it's just easier (insert the whining right here).

Having worked for many years with clients who want to lose weight, or dealing myself with creeping extra weight (can anyone give me an amen to the pre/menopausal years?!?!!), or knowing friends or family who struggle with weight issues, I know, I understand, what a mind game that losing weight is. It's about retraining your brain to incorporate a new way of thinking that sometimes your thinking doesn't want to follow. It's about engaging the psychology of how to change your thinking. It's about learning skills and techniques that help you with problem-solving, and cravings, and the madness you feel in your head when you feel deprived of something you want, or crave, or have just eaten for so many years.

It's not about the measuring cups, the food plan, or the scale. It's about training your brain to respond and react differently to your health. To your body. To your plans for a better you.

Outside of my private practice, I work with a doctor and his staff (who work with bariartric patients). I provide behavioral groups frequently for the doctors patients who need a little extra weight loss support, motivation and education beyond the medical procedure that the doctor offers. I'm so thankful that the doctor and his staff 'get it' – they get that beyond the lapband procedure, that there has to be a way of changing your thinking in order to have long-term success with your weight. It's not about being a size 6, it's about being a healthier YOU. I'm so thankful for the individuals I've worked with through the years that 'get it' – that they have to put the hard work into changing the mindset in order to achieve long-term success with their health.

It's not about how many times you've failed. It's about how many times you started over. And stayed with it longer this time. And learned different things about yourself this time. That you didn't mindlessly start down the 'weight loss path' but that you recognize it's a process, a journey that you're on....and it will take time. Sorry to tell you that. It just will. It takes times to adjust to a new way of thinking. And forgiving yourself when you make a mistake, and – drum roll please – learning to re-adjust right away so you don't “blow it all day long” by continuing to eat-the-day-away because you didn't follow some weight loss rule!!

Maybe for you it's not necessarily what the numbers say on the scale but how your body physically feels. You find yourself saying more and more nowadays that you just want to FEEL BETTER, and you know deep down your weight has everything to do with the creaking joints and aching muscles. Maybe it's the high cholesterol, or blood pressure, or even sleep apnea. What can you start telling yourself, what can you start doing this very minute, that when you start thinking about it and working on it, might make a difference for YOU.

Make a plan to change your thinking about weight loss treatment, weight loss goals, weight loss strategies, weight loss foods, weight loss diets, weight loss EVERYTHING and focus on what good health means to you. Plan on what little things you can change. Plan how you would like your outcome to be different this time. If you need extra help or support with your New Years weight loss plans, let's talk. Call me at 616-457-5001 or look on website frequently for new weight loss classes starting.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Fall has come and gone. The beautiful colors of autumn have been raked up and disposed of. Days have gotten shorter and darkness falls before dinner. We know that the brutal cold winds of winter are soon going to be whistling through the bare brown branches and we will have to hunker down for the long haul. While some people see this time as a festive time with the holidays starting, others can only look ahead to the long bleak days ahead as a colorless non ending existence.

Ugh! The gray days of winter. How are we going to get through them? That can be a typical thought of many people around this time of year. But for some, that thought can be felt more like depression. How can you tell if you have more than a mere case of the “winter blues” or “cabin fever?”


During the fall and winter months, some people suffer from symptoms of depression that can appear gradually or come on all at once. These symptoms often fade away as spring arrives and stays away throughout the summer months. For some people, this is an indication that they may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).


Depression symptoms can be mild to moderate, but they can become severe. There is no specific diagnostic test for the illness but it is understood that symptoms can include but are not limited to:

*lack of interest in normal activities
*social withdrawal
*craving foods high in carbohydrates
*weight gain
*trouble concentrating


An interesting fact is that women tend to suffer more than men. It typically starts showing up in early adulthood although it can occur in children and adolescents also. It is more commonly
seen in people who live in cloudy regions. Altogether, approximately one half million people in
the United States suffer from winter SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild
form of winter blues.


The specific cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder remains unknown but some suggest that
your biological clock (circadian rhythm) gets out of whack. The reduced level of sunlight we experience in the fall and winter may cause the winter onset of SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

A drop in Serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood could be a culprit that may trigger depression due to reduced sunlight. Also, Melatonin levels can be disrupted due to the season
which can play havoc with your sleep patterns and mood.


Sometimes physical problems can cause depression. But other times, symptoms of SAD can be a part of other mental disorders. I can evaluate your pattern of behavior and identify whether you have SAD or another type of mood disorder. If you do find that you do indeed have Seasonal Affective Disorder here are some common sense home remedies that might help.


Try to increase your exposure to light. Get as much natural light as you can
between 6:00 am. and 8:00 a.m. Go out for a walk, or at least sit by a window.
If you can’t get out in the morning light, at least get out on your lunch break.
Even if it’s cloudy, the natural light will do you some good.

If you can’t get outdoors, try a natural full-spectrum light. One of the most
effective treatments for SAD is daily exposure to a specially designed light
box. Make sure it provides enough intensity of light to positively affect SAD

It is thought that if your levels of Serotonin decrease it can make you crave
carbohydrates. Some have suggested that eating tryptophan rich foods may
increase the body’s production of Serotonin and help you feel better. Although
there is no solid research that supports this, you might want to try eating more
of these foods to see if your symptoms improve. What could it hurt? Some foods
rich in tryptophan include turkey, seafood, milk and egg whites, asparagus and
spinach. Fruits such as apricots, apples and bananas are also a good source.
Research also shows that taking Vitamin D can make a noticeable difference.

Alcohol is a depressant which can bring your mood down even lower and while
Caffeine may give you a little boost for the short term it can also cause anxiety,
muscle tension and stomach issues.

Try walking, jogging, biking, swimming, anything aerobic, but get moving. Even
better, try to exercise outdoors or at least by a sunny window.

Try to take a trip during the winter months to someplace warm and sunny.
For most people with SAD, it takes two or three days of bright sunshine to
start reversing their symptoms.

If your symptoms are mild, hopefully some of these natural home remedies listed above can bring you some relief. However, if the feelings of depression are or become overwhelming, do not hesitate to give me a call. There is help out there for you! You are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, yet, the good news is it is highly treatable.

Dieting? Right Now…I Can’t…No Way!

Well we are in full swing with the Holidays again and I got to thinking how many people get into full swing with their Holiday-eating-mentality. You know, the kind of Holiday-eating-mentality where you throw caution to the wind, and don't think about "eating right" or "dieting" until the end of the year. Or is it moreso at the beginning of the New Year?

Is that you?

Research shows over and over again that so many of us aren't even thinking of the word DIET right now. When is the last time you've seen advertisement on tv (at this time of the year) with some Company touting their weight-loss services or products! You don't.

It seems we turn off our mindful eating and all our good intentions and plunge hopelessly into mindless eating at this time of year. Let's face it, it starts with the temptation of Halloween candy (which if you think about it is plentiful all year long but for some reason the little Fun Size candy throws our capacity to think rationally into an eating frenzy) and it last until the last drink is drunk or the last meatball eaten on January 2nd!!

It's as if we re-engage our brains on January 2nd and think: Ugh. Gluttony. Extra pounds. Disgust. What's-the-name-of-that-diet-again-I-have-to-start.

And the vicious cycle of emotionally beating ourselves up about how we "must be good" starting in January continues.

May I (gently) suggest there is a better way of doing this......this...eating thing, this dieting thing? That we can enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and NOT let our emotional eating derail us.  That way you don't have to think about the "diet" you have to start in January.

Can I just (strongly) suggest that you can eat right, eat good, eat healthy now. You can mindfully make choices that will impact you emotionally and physically right now. That the diet you are on is the "diet" you should be on EVERY STINKIN' DAY.

I hope this is the Holiday season where you choose to do things differently. Because it is a choice. Remind yourself - this week, this very day - how often you are mindlessly eating and start to engage your brain when it comes to food choices.

Choose to think about dieting in a different way. Choose to think about "dieting" right now, and don't say you can't. Because you can.