Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘fast and easy weight loss’ Category

Save Your Dollars and Sense- The Real Scoop on Weight Loss

By Nicki On January 6, 2014 6 Comments

 

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O.K, I have to admit that every January I cringe when I see the ads for weight loss. The miracles abound and the “real” answer to weight loss woes are simply a click away. Too  much belly fat? There’s a program for that.  Excess holiday weight gain? There’s a drink for that.  Get abs of steel with 4 simple steps. My response to all of those secrets to success is bull$&@*!  After 30 years in the health and fitness industry I ask that you read the rest of this post knowing that what I’m sharing with you is fact. No hype, nothing earth shattering simply the honest to goodness truth about weight loss, why people are overweight and ultimately what the ONLY solution is.

First, let it be said that I made the conscious decision to sell my fitness business and walk away from the industry after 30 years. I was fried, frustrated and felt it was time to move on and find my passion and purpose somewhere else. I’m sharing that with you so that you understand I have no ulterior motives other than to motivate you to walk away from any “too good to be true” ads and prevent you from parting with good money for bad solutions. So, here we go.

1. Diets don’t work, period. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all lost weight on them, self included but for the long-term they do not work. What works is CHANGING your diet. Each day,bit by bit, small change by small change.

2. Say good-bye to fried food, fast food and fake food. You can’t expect to make these changes over night, but I can assure you, if you get rid of the 3-f’s your body will respond in kind, i.e. you’ll drop some lbs. and feel significantly better.

3. Ignore the television ads and 3 minute solutions in magazines. Here is what you should always remember, if there were truly a drug, vitamin, piece of equipment that really helped you lose weight successfully, it would be on every news program, on the front of newspapers, etc.  There isn’t one so the next time you see an ad that shares “Millions of people have already bought our product and been successful” they’re likely lying.

4. Here are the ONLY things you need to know to reach a healthy weight, reclaim your health and potentially get off of medication:  Eat less, move every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes), drink more water, limit alcohol, get a decent amount of sleep and love yourself.  That’s it, that’s the secret, that’s the miracle.

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Books, magazines and ads can spin weight loss any way they want to, but the truth is #4 is the ultimate solution. Of course, your expectations need to be in line with your lifestyle. In other words, if you like having that occasional glass of vino, you know that exercise daily may not happen and you still love your Friday night pizza, don’t expect miracles. But if you’re still eating better, drinking more water, moving more consciously (even if it’s getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to grab a drink of water) you’ll be ahead of the game by years end.

O.K. I feel better. Do you?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it. Happy 2014!!

 

Nicki

 


Weight Loss Season Hype- Don’t Get Sucked In

By Nicki On April 8, 2013 8 Comments

WEIGHT_BS_WEIGHT_LOSS_LANE.jpg.w300h247“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” This quote is from a very famous 1976 movie called, Network.  I was a teen when this came out and I recall seeing Peter Finch brilliantly deliver that famous line as Howard Beale. Now it’s my turn to use it.

It’s April, spring is a comin’ and with that comes the excess of weight loss ads. Even on my Facebook page there’s a push for a green tea bean and how to burn 30 lbs of belly fat per month effortlessly.  It’s killing me. Quite honestly, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

Right around the time Peter Finch was given his Academy award for his role as Howard Beale, I entered the health and fitness industry. I was four. :-)

Although awareness about obesity has certainly increased,  obesity back in 1976 was 8.7%., and today it is 34.7% . Obesity and its related diseases costs our country 190 billion dollars in healthcare and lost productivity. Yet, health clubs and diet programs grow in popularity right along with the American waistline.

The thing that leaves me scratching my head is why those that desperately need health clubs don’t go. Given my experience from a personal and professional perspective, I can answer that question, intimidation, unrealistic expectations, fear, feeling out of place, indifference from staff and lack of the truth. Now before my health and fitness friends shout at me, there are a number of very honest, ethical health and fitness professionals and clubs I admire. I just wish there were more. However, with every great, honest health and fitness pro, there are 5 behind him or her waiting to push the latest fad diet, supplements and God knows what else.

I was in business for 20 years doing everything I could to educate, motivate and inspire my clients to get healthy the old fashioned way. I hope I made a difference to some. But, thanks to The Biggest Loser and uneducated fitness pro’s that promise 20 pounds in 20 days, my honesty and real life approach was trumped all the time.

So who’s fault is it that our country still battles the bulge and opts for medication over recreation? It’s both sides.    weightloss

  • Consumers have got to know at this point that anything that sounds too good to be true- is.
  • Consumers have to know that it starts with taking a long, hard look at lifestyle and realizing that things have to change, not overnight, but change must occur.
  • Consumers have to know that beating yourself up mentally and physically is NOT the way to achieve good health, it’s quite the opposite.
  • Consumers need to know that there are health and fitness professionals out there actually interested in helping clients go through the process, safely and effectively so that weight loss isn’t temporary but sustainable.
  • Consumers have to understand, work is involved and at times it’s hard. Then it simply becomes a question of whether or not you’re ready. If anyone tells you weight loss is easy,  they’re lying.
  • Health and Fitness clubs have got to know that for someone walking in to a health club overweight and out of shape, it is terribly intimidating. Please have someone working the front end that gets it, not someone who is bored with their job and intolerant of incoming guests.
  • Health and fitness clubs need to welcome and respect those that can’t withstand an initial hour-long class that includes squats and lunges as their first class.  (I see this all the time).
  • Health and fitness professionals have got to denounce the fast-n-easy weight loss scams out there, stick together and create an alliance for ethical health and fitness practices.
  • Health and fitness professionals can play an amazing role in the health and wellness of our country as long as they understand what the deconditioned client needs to be motivated and ultimately successful. It’s got to be a solid partnership.
  • Health and fitness professionals have an obligation to put clients first and “do no harm.”  Check out IDEA’s Code of Ethics.

I have to say, I dread this time of year as much as I do December, resolution season. Weight loss adverts ad nauseam.

If you’re currently frustrated because you didn’t stick to your goals, don’t be, 98% of people don’t. Instead be more realistic. Don’t buy in to the promises of fast and easy weight loss, thinner thighs in thirty days because aside from all those promises it’s really about you and your health. The only reason you should change your lifestyle if you’re currently inactive or dealing with excess weight is y our health, period. I’ve kept 50 pounds off for over 30 years, not because I’m a rock star but because I remember what it felt like to carry that extra weight and I know what my body feels like now, it’s a marked improvement. At almost 52, I’m medication free.

Save yourself money and frustration. If you need help getting on track and staying there, hire a qualified professional that doesn’t make ridiculous promises. Find someone who puts your health first.

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If you remember nothing else when those crazy weight loss commercials come on, remember these three things:

1. If diets worked, obesity would be non-existent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. The only way to get yourself healthy for the long-term is find a way to move everyday, even if it starts with a walk around the block, and focus on eating less food with more nutritional value.
3. It’s weight loss season and the hype is here, don’t get sucked in.

Here’s to a healthy spring and a healthy you.

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 


The Frightening Truth About Obesity

By Nicki On April 1, 2013 No Comments

IMG_1135Last week I attended and lectured at IHRSA(International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) 2013 Trade Show. IHRSA is a trade organization serving the health and fitness club industry with over 14,000 club members from 80 different countries. If you want to know what’s going on in the health and fitness world, you’ll find it here.

I shared the platform with my co-presenter Lisa Taylor. Lisa is from the U.K. and owns an organization called Momenta. Momenta is probably one of the most practical, medical and science based weight management programs I’ve ever seen. It’s not in the U.S.yet, but Momenta plans to seek out pilot sites in the U.S. this fall. (If you’re a fit pro interested in piloting a program, visit their website).

Our presentation was, Reducing the Global Weight Epidemic: Delivering Successful, Evidence Based Weight Management Programs. The gist of our presentation was to provide insight in to the obesity crisis and what we’re missing. The really interesting thing is although I was co-presenting with Lisa and she’s from the U.K., she shared some of the most startling information about obesity in our country. Below are just a few of the stats she shared. Some may surprise you.

  • 2011- 65% of US citizens overweight or obese, by 2018 -75% of US citizens overweight or obese . The US has the highest rate of overweight and obesity in the world.
  • Obesity is affecting our national security- *Since 1995, the proportion of recruits that failed their physical exams because they were overweight has increased by 70%.
  • *27 percent of 17 to 24-year-olds in the United States are too fat to serve in the military. That’s 9 million potential recruits!
  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Ironically, health clubs and diet programs have also grown dramatically.

The bottom line is this, as someone who spent 30 years in the health and fitness industry we don’t seem to be improving the health of our country. In fact, the healthy are getting healthier while the obese are not being properly educated, inspired or invited in to health clubs. Clearly, the health and fitness industry is missing something. Don’t you agree?    IMG_1147

As someone who lost 50 pounds over 30 years ago, I never felt welcome when I walked in to a health club. I still hear that from people today. I have always purported that the health and fitness industry turns away the exact people they need to attract. Again, how can health clubs continue to proliferate right along with obesity? It doesn’t make any sense.

I encourage you to keep an eye on Momenta. It is the first program that takes in to consideration, not only the nutritional and physical aspect of weight loss and weight management, but the psychological component as well. A triage for success.

In my humble estimation, something has got to change and it needs to start with how we’re educating and inspiring those that are not naturally active nor has access to practical, honest education about health. What do you think we’re missing? I have my thoughts but would love to hear yours.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 

(*Too Fat to Fight- A Report by Mission:Readiness)

 

 

 


No BS Weight Loss Tips

By Nicki On March 27, 2013 6 Comments

IMG_2617When I lost 50 pounds over 35 years ago, it was the first time in my life that I paid attention to the food I was putting in my body. It was also the first time I fell in love with cooking. Thirty-five years later I continue to learn about food, the good, the bad and the ugly. If you continue to lose your way in the maze of unhealthy diets, perhaps this post may help in your journey toward healthy eating.

Healthy eating starts at home

 I have learned over the years that to eat healthy you must have a healthy relationship with food. It really starts with an appreciation of food which is realized when you do your own cooking. I’m not saying you have to become Martha Stewart, I’m simply suggesting that healthy eating begins when you’re up close and personal with food.

When I decided to lose weight all those years ago, shopping, preparing and enjoying my own creations educated me on what foods go together and how to keep all of the flavor while reducing calories, fat and sodium. Had I not learned to cook, I may not have kept my weight off all these years.

There may be some of you who cringe at the idea of having to cook. Even starting with just a few meals a week at home is a start. Keep it simple. But trust me here, the more you learn about the power and flavor of real food, the greater chance of wanting to cook more at home. Cooking at home results in healthier meals and greater nutritional punch.

 

Culinary Confusion

Since losing my weight, food trends are out of control. Lets walk through them and see which ones may sound familiar. When my kids were little, it was low-fat or no-fat. Then Susan Powter hit the world touting high carb and low protein. Then there was the oat bran craze, cabbage soup, food combining, low carb,  Atkins, Paleo and gluten-free. I’m sure I’ve left a few out, but these are the most memorable. Now, what do all of these food trends have in common? They have all been used not for health, but for weight loss. Every time a new food trend hits the media, weight loss is typically the motive behind its success.

I have always believed that there are elements in each one of those diets that are redeeming. However, most of them are nothing more than a fad that helps drop pounds quickly yet rarely if ever is health focused, simply weight focused. Hence why obesity is alive and well.

 

Get Back to Basics

When I was pregnant I was dedicated to feeding myself and my unborn child well. I gave up alcohol, stayed away from foods that might be toxic (fish) and exercised daily. The idea of  dieting was not even a thought. My focus was my unborn child. I believe this is true for most women. So, the question becomes why are we willing to risk our health by doing less than healthy things for our body when we’re not pregnant?

What I have discovered is that you’ve got one shot to make your health a priority. Figuring out the facts and myths surrounding food is next to impossible because there is so much conflicting information out there.

After thirty-five years I have learned the real truth behind healthy eating and healthy weight:

 

  1. Trust yourself. Deep down inside you know a good choice from a bad one. Green beans good, French fries not so much.
  2. Don’t jump on the latest food trends, they will be temporary and if they have staying power, read more about it. Look at the research and educate yourself.
  3. The healthier the food, the fewer ingredients. Have you ever seen fresh fruits or veggies with an ingredient list?   No, because its straight up good for you, solid nutrition.
  4. Get back to basics. Eating too much is not good for you. Fried foods, processed foods, high sugar and salty foods are not good for you. Less is more when it comes to meat, saturated fat, sodium and portions.
  5. Eat for yourself, not for weight loss. You’ll likely choose more wisely. Further, a byproduct of healthier eating is weight loss.

    Fresh fruits and veggies should be eaten all the time, not as a diet strategy, but as a health strategy.

    Fresh fruits and veggies should be eaten all the time, not as a diet strategy, but as a health strategy.

 

Don’t choose food for weight, choose it for health.

If there’s one tried and true “secret” that I’ve learned over the years it is, eating for health vs. weight. This approach is actually the best way to lose or manage weight. Think about it, if you’re able to focus on the foods that are naturally good for you, you will weed out the less healthy foods that caused the excess weight to begin with. Sticking with whole, fresh foods is the surest way to a healthier you.

Trust yourself to make the right choices. Focus on your health and understand its a process. I learn something new everyday. I also seek to learn as much as I can so I can make the best decisions for my health. Isn’t your health worth it?

Two of my favorite new reads include: Julieanna Hever’s- The Complete Idiots Guide to Plant Based Nutrition and David Grotto’s Book, The Best Things You Can Eat.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


Why We Overeat and Why Obesity Won’t Go Away

By Nicki On August 2, 2012 3 Comments

While I was traveling last month I was sitting in an airport and watched a family finish off hamburgers and fries. One of the younger kids about 5 or 6 asked his Mom, “Do I have to eat all of it?” She responded, “Just eat it and be quiet.”  Hmm, my heart sank for 2 reasons. One, she really never answered his question and two, how will he ever learn what good food tastes like and how enjoy it? My hunch is that   more people simply eat for satiety while dismissing  flavor, nourishment, and enjoyment.
We can all agree that family dinners are not like they used to be. When I was a kid, unless my folks were going out to eat, we always ate together. When my kids were growing up, I tried to do most of our meals as a family, but when sports season rolled around that became tough. The bottom line is that we grab and go never thinking about what’s actually going in to our body, and how it may positively or negatively affect our health.
I read t his quote recently and it sums up my thoughts, “If we looked at eating as an activity to relish rather than as an invitation to gluttony, we’d all be not only healthier but happier.” –  Michelle Stacey
I have to admit, I have not always been passionate about food. When I was 50 pounds overweight, I ate for satiety, nothing more. But once I realized the way I was living wasn’t serving me well, I not only set out to change my habits, I set out to educate myself.  Learning has been a process. There’s rarely a day that passes, that I don’t learn something new about nutrition and the foods that serve to fuel positive health vs. foods that take away from health.
 Diets, weight loss pills and drinks are not the secret to anything healthy, including weight loss. I have always believed that a healthy weight is the result of a healthy diet, and I mean diet in the sense that it’s what you put in your body. Simply acknowledging that nature provides everything we need to be healthy and strong. Solid, whole nutrition can’t be found in a box or in a fast-food restaurant. The closer your food is to natural, the less you have to worry about fat, sodium and calories. Most “natural” foods are impossible to overeat, and are naturally balanced when it comes to fat, sodium and calories.
The next time you feel dissatisfied with your weight, look beyond that and instead address what you’re eating. What percentage of the foods you eat are natural, whole foods, veggies, fruits and grains? How much of what you’re eating is processed? Boxed? Fast-food? By simply making small changes each week, perhaps start with including 1 extra whole veggie per day in your diet. Once that happens, add another and so on. Instead of fries, experiment with grains, brown rice, couscous, etc.  It takes time, and changing your palette is often the hardest part of it. But you can do it.
Why is obesity such an issue? Because we ignore body signals (disease, bloating, indigestion, etc.) and continue  our addiction (fat, sodium and sugar) which takes over and rules food choices. As long as we continue to overfeed our body the wrong foods, we will never gain control over our weight, pure and simple.
Remember that just one small change today can be the positive difference in your health tomorrow.
Here’s to your health!
Nicki

Dissecting Diets

By Nicki On March 11, 2012 4 Comments

 

I admit, my first attempt at weight loss as an overweight teen was a diet. In fact, it was Weight Watchers.  However, back in 1978, WW was significantly different. It really wasn’t a “diet” like we know today, it was an education in healthy eating, a healthy diet. For the first time in years, I abstained from eating fast food, started moving more and ate fruits and vegetables every day. Since that time, weight loss strategies and the ridiculous number of fast-n-easy diets has dramatically changed people’s relationship with food. Instead of discovering how food can work with their body, many people are fighting weight loss and food has become their weapon of choice.

As a senior in high school, I was 50 pounds heavier and on a 5’2″ frame, that’s just not healthy. I knew by how I felt, how I performed each day that something wasn’t right. To be honest, it wasn’t so much how I looked, but more about  how I felt. Today, it’s all about how we look, how thin we are and health has taken a back seat. I look at movie stars, models and even reality stars and thin is the new black. The truth is that not everyone is meant to be skinny, and I mean skinny, not thin, Hollywood, Angelina Jolie thigh skinny. And women (and some men) buy into that look as a goal to shoot for. So, they jump on the latest diet that promises to slim your thighs, harden your abs, whittle your waist and remove cellulite.  And because of the pressure to meet the expectations of an unrealistic culture, we diet, over and over and over again all in an effort to be- skinny.

Over the last few years, I have become more and more interested in nutrition, how what we eat affects our body as well as our environment. I’ve been fascinated to read the evolution of nutrition over the years. Oddly enough, instead of our country creating amazing, healthy foods to make us smarter and leading edge, we’ve excelled in fast-food restaurants and processed food leaving us all unhealthy and overweight. We see high numbers of obesity, schools cutting out physical education and more and more kids being diagnosed with things never heard of 30 years ago. When I was in grade school, no one had allergies. Maybe one or two kids had asthma.  ADD? Autism? ADHD? It was unheard of then.

As my interest in nutrition has grown, so has the way I fuel my body.  And the funny thing is I find myself changing and becoming more and more interested in listening to and trusting what my body needs to perform optimally. The way I eat is not designed to help me become thin, not skinny but healthy.  Diets that I have reviewed over the years have one goal, to cause weight loss and longevity is irrelevant. These programs figure if they get people to lose weight once, they’ll come back. because they believed it worked before. Hmmm.  Over and over and over again, people fall in to the diet trap striving for skinny, to achieve what they perceive to be normal.  If only we could rise above the hold that diets clearly have on the 70 million Americans that diet each year.

I recently wrote an article on Plant Based Nutrition. I am a believer. Not only am I believer, I am gradually changing my lifestyle to accommodate more of a plant based diet, not weight loss, health based. Why? Because it’s more along the lines of how my ancestors ate and given the way our environment is constantly compromised, I want to select my foods based on how kind the food is to my body and to the earth.  When I’m buying organic simply because it’s organic and dismissing the fact that it was sent here from Mexico or Chile, what kind of carbon imprint is that leaving? Further, how does the nutrition diminish during lengthy transportation? Wouldn’t it make better sense to buy locally even if not necessarily organic? We’ve confused organic with earth and health smart, not always the case.

Imagine if more people took up gardening and learned to eat seasonally vs. expecting perfect produce in the off season. Imagine how differently you would view food if you didn’t have to decipher ingredients on the side of a box that looked more like hieroglyphics versus real food.  Eating for health truly is the key to ridding yourself of diets and hanging on to a healthy, strong body.

I believe it’s time to walk away from the world of diets that does nothing to encourage healthy eating options, simply calorie focus. It’s time to realize that if diets were great, obesity and disease would decline, not the case. Getting back to basics with a focus on plant based nutrition, locally grown produce, small farms we can support,  we will not only find a wonderful difference in the health of our body, we will discover a great way to positively impact our environment.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to your health!

Nicki


It’s March, Do You Know Where Your Resolutions Are?

By Nicki On March 1, 2012 1 Comment

Well, it’s March 1st. New Year’s resolutions have been shelved as guilt settles in to each sedentary day. We’re reminded of our lost commitments as weight loss programs dominate advertising space on television, magazines and in our head. It’s the time of year when we wished we had held tight to our resolutions, but as history shows, other priorities have strong-armed healthy intentions. All is not lost, however; there are things to consider before you get back on the horse and ride your way into the healthy living sunset.

Most people abandon their resolutions when the vision of becoming a picture perfect eater and exerciser slowly fades into the sea of lost hope. The vision unfortunately excluded the reality of a job, family and unexpected challenges that naturally occur in life. If you’re feeling frustrated, depressed or guilt-ridden about letting your healthy intentions slide, let it go. Years ago, I abandoned the notion that I could be a super woman. Though the idea of doing it all left me excited, the actual act of doing it all left me exhausted. I realized that the best way to stay on top of my health and balance it with my busy life was looking reality in the eye and accepting that my best was good enough.

Every time someone comes to me Jan. 1 to share their litany of healthy living resolutions, I have to stop them. Although the intentions are admirable, the likelihood of long-term commitment to the changes is just not going to happen. How can anyone expect to go from inactivity and fast food runs daily to workouts seven days a week and a completely vegan diet? It’s just not realistic. What is realistic is standing back, taking a look at your life and implementing a beginners program. Most people implement an advanced athletes program and wonder why they can’t stick with it.

When I decided to lose 50 pounds, I was a slug. A crunchy burrito was my favorite food. I also thought Cheetos were a healthy alternative to chips. They’re so colorful! Clearly, deciding to dump junk food and begin exercising was a daunting proposition, but I knew there wasn’t an alternative. Well, I suppose there was, but that wasn’t the choice my health could afford. Thirty-plus years later, I’m so glad I let my health rule my decision; it turned out to be a good one.

So where are you today? Where do you want to be tomorrow? When you look at the resolutions that you made, were they a bit overzealous? Remember, it likely has taken you many years to develop bad habits, so you need to make the same consideration when developing new, healthier habits.

The first step to getting back on track is to start off slow. Instead of saying you’re going to work out seven days a week, why not start with two days? After you stick with that for a month, either add on time or another day. Ultimately, and I mean ultimately, not immediately, you will get to a point where you will walk further or run, or bike ride or swim more often. Getting started can’t be overwhelming, or it will lack staying power. You must consider your lifestyle and limitations when planning your program. Healthy living motto: Be realistic!

Next, food. Once an ally now an enemy and that’s the problem. The more you “fight” weight, “beat” weight loss, join the “weight loss battle” it’s a negative journey. Rethink the meaning of food and what purpose food serves. Simply put, food allows our body to function properly, period. But we’ve starved it, teased it with fake food, binged on junk food and been ashamed of the body it’s created — thus the breakup between us and food. Food needs to be viewed differently. Not for a diet but for sustenance. Not for weight loss but for health gains. Not for mindless eating but for mindful eating. Not for distension but for prevention. The minute you can select foods that will encourage good health, the battle, the fight, the war will likely end.

I encourage you to consider “getting back together” with healthy food choices and start an exercise program off slowly. You’ll likely be more successful in your efforts. But don’t get too comfortable. As you improve your activity, find new and fun things to add on to keep it interesting.

Celebrate your successes and recognize when you’ve accomplished something great. For some that may be a walk around the block to start. As for food, the Internet has a wealth of resources for cooking healthy. Stick as closely as you can to whole foods, less boxed. Spend more time cooking at home versus spending time at the drive-through. It can be done, but it has to be done slowly and respectfully.

Rome wasn’t built in a day nor should a healthy body be expected to. It takes time, dedication and a solid dose of reality. Do what you can today to contribute to a healthier you tomorrow. And that my friends is the secret to securing those resolutions.

 

Here’s to your good health!

Nicki

(Reprinted from  February 21st edition of The Naperville Sun)


My Letter to Paula Deen

By Nicki On January 18, 2012 2 Comments

Dear Paula,

First of all, thanks for your years of smiles and serious comfort food. Thank you for your inspirational journey that got you where you are today. As a celebrity chef, you’re up there with Chef Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, and the other chefs who cook to entertain and teach us how make great comfort, amazing tasting food.I love watching them cook, but I know it’s not a part of my everyday menu. How’s about one of my favorites, Guy Fieri? There’s nothin’ healthy about his shows. But he’s an entertainer! Honestly,  I think the  fast-food industry has done more to promote obesity than cooking shows. 

None of the chefs on T.V. have ever touted the nutritional aspects of their food (unless shows state it such as Elie Krieger), simply the goodness of their food. They have never talked about their weight, their pre-existing conditions, etc. Why? Because chefs cook! Julia Child? I’m not recalling a heart-healthy recipe that she made, she was a French Chef. Her cooking show was not designed to have people eat like that all the time, simply entertainment.   

Football stars use drugs, movie stars go to shrinks, basketball stars have chronic injuries and the list of “hidden” issues with entertainers goes on and on. Chefs are no different. However, when entertainers get busted, it’s a solid opportunity to “make good” and teach, educate and hopefully motivate their followers to learn what they could have done differently to avoid their predicament. Unfortunately, Paula, you haven’t done that.  For example, when an athlete or politician gets called on the carpet, they apologize, make nice and say what they would have done differently. Given your down home charm and candor, my hope was that you would have done that, though with far more sincerity. I expected something to come from your heart, not as a talking piece for a pharmaceutical company.

I wished that the chef that I’ve come to know would have been straight with the media and shared something like this, “Look ya’ll,  I love to eat, it’s what I do, it’s what I know, and how I’ve made my life.  My show is my profession, I’ll never stop sharing great recipes just as other chefs won’t stop sharing their variety of food. Perhaps I should’ve had a disclaimer for my viewers (insert laugh in here), but in fact, it is what it is. I’m not a big fan of exercise, and I love the foods that I make. But now I’ve realize I have to pay the piper. If I had to do it over again, I’d rather not be diabetic. Although it’s not a death sentence, if not monitored and maintained correctly via, diet and exercise, it can be fatal. I have to be on medication now, but with my changes in lifestyle, I may not have to be forever. Listen ya’ll, don’t wait to be diagnosed, nip it in the bud now so you don’t have to be on medication.”

You could have been the perfect spokesperson for changing your lifestyle. Unfortunately, it seems some talking heads got in to your head,  and set you up for the possibility of losing your show. So, now you’re a spokesperson for some drug company, really? Bad call.  Your audience is smarter than that, they would have understood, and perhaps that could have been your platform to inspire your viewers to be more proactive with their health.  But instead, you’re touting medication over lifestyle. Watching you on the Today show made me sad. You never ONCE said, “Ya’ll I am just not a good exerciser, I need to quit smoking, but I’m gonna work on it and I’m gonna work on getting my lifestyle in check.” It shows you’re human. But you didn’t, instead you focused on the medication and praised the drug company (I refuse to give them any more attention) vs. talking about lifestyle adjustment. With all due respect, diabetes IS preventable, and you never said that. Shame.

I don’t think this would be the big deal it has become if you had only been up front, like the Paula so many have come to love. But instead, you sold out and didn’t speak the honest truth. It a shame that fame can make losing your fortune more important than losing your health.

Sincerely,

Nicki Anderson, Health and Fitness Advocate


Weight, We’ve Got It All Wrong!

By Nicki On January 15, 2012 No Comments

I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life working to inspire people to get healthy through exercise and sound nutrition. However, the challenge with my job is that not everyone wants to get healthy as much as they want to lose weight. Over the years, we have put such emphasis on weight loss that we’ve lost site of our health. Obesity wasn’t a big issue (no pun intended) 40-50 years ago for a few reasons, we were more active, we ate less, and the quality of our food was better.  As people struggle with their weight, they are missing out on the real opportunity to get healthy and weigh less, and it all starts with making decisions based on improving health vs. losing weight. I’ve said it before, (many times) but I’ll say it again, weight loss (or a healthy weight) is simply a byproduct of healthy living.

The more I study nutrition, the deeper my interest in the quality of the foods we eat and  how it affects our health. What I’ve found is that the most damaging changes in our food choices include, the increase of sugar consumption, and hormones used in so many products.

Dr. Christine Horner, is a nationally known surgeon and author advocating prevention-oriented medicine and ways to become and stay healthy naturally.  Here is what Dr. Horner says about sugar.

“To me, sugar has no redeeming value at all, because they found that the more we consume it, the more we’re fuelling every single chronic disease,” Dr. Horner says. “In fact, there was a study done about a year ago… and the conclusion was that sugar is a universal mechanism for chronic disease. It kicks up inflammation. It kicks up oxygen free radicals. Those are the two main processes we see that underlie any single chronic disorder, including cancers. It fuels the growth of breast cancers, because glucose is cancer’s favorite food. The more you consume, the faster it grows.”

I have always believed that sugar is the “Beelzebub” of the food world. In my years of working with women, those who were addicted to sugar, were the ones with the most health problems while struggling with their weight.  There are numerous diets and though they may help people lose weight temporarily, they rarely include health education in their programs. Further, not only does chronic dieting mess with your body, it messes with your mind. Sure, some diets include fresh vegetables in their “Healthy Foods to Eat”, but recently, Weight Watchers listed Chicken McNuggets as a healthy food option. WHAT? It goes back to the focus on weight vs. health.

If possible, I’d like you to stop for one minute, consider this internal conversation, “O.K., clearly I’m not a healthy weight, my blood pressure is high and I’m out of shape.  Going on a diet is NOT the answer. I’ve got to learn how to eat better and exercise regularly as that is the ONLY long-term solution to improving my health and not jeopardizing it through some wacky weight loss program. How many diets have I been on? And ultimately, what have they done for me?”

But instead of that conversation, it often goes more like this, “I’m so fat, I’ve got to do something. But, every time I try to lose weight I quit, so why even bother? Most of the time I’m eating foods I don’t even like OR I’m hungry all the time.  May as well just keep doing what I’ve been doing or try that cabbage soup diet. My neighbor is doing it and losing weight.”

Dr. Andrew Weils' Healthy Food Pyramid

I’d like you to start thinking differently, today, right now. When you think about food and your weight, remember these two points are the ONLY solution to long-term weight and health issues.

1. Eat whole foods including the following: fresh veggies, (think outside the carrot and celery box here), whole grains (not enriched, bleached flour) WHOLE grains, quinoa, brown/wild rice, fresh fruits (ideally organic, but hey, any kind is better than no kind, just wash it well), water and farm raised meats. Eating these foods will never leave you hungry, they won’t leave you craving more like processed and sugar laden foods do. I’m not a purist by any means, but 80-90% of  the time I eat very well. Since losing 50 pounds over 30 years ago, I have not put my weight back on. Not because I’m “good”,  I’m aware. I want to be in control of my health, I want to have the power over my body and not let the food that makes people a lot of money ruin my body, (remember, processed foods are much cheaper to manufacture and that is transferred to the consumer).

2. You MUST exercise. Look, we all know that technology has led most of us to sit far more than we move. If we are to give our body what it needs to function at it’s best, we must exercise. Exercise is NOT punishment for an imperfect body, rather it’s a gift that you can give yourself each and every day. When you exercise, you are allowing the body to do what it was designed to do, MOVE.  15-20 minutes a day is a starting point. Start, you have to.

Here’s the bottom line. Stop with the diets, stop. Start educating yourself about food and what food makes your body run more efficiently and work to prevent illness. You are welcome to email me and I will give you resources to start your journey(nicki@realityfitness.com).  Type II diabetes CAN be prevented. Heart disease CAN be prevented, obesity CAN be prevented simply by shifting the way you look at food and making it your ally vs. your enemy. Don’t give food the power any more, it’s time for you to step up and take control of your health and ultimately your life! Who me, passionate? You bet I am! I want to see women gain strength and take back control of their health, it’s long overdue.

Dedicated to your good health,

Nicki


Celebrities and Diet Endorsements- Role Models or Partners in Crime?

By Nicki On January 10, 2012 No Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of the celebrity diet ambush that seems to be on every other television commercial. Hey, don’t get me wrong, Jennifer Hudson, rockin’ it (but her heavier self is off key at the end of the commercial, notice that?), Marie Osmond (8 brothers and she’s the only one with weight issues?) , Mariah Carey, subhuman (after twins, she looks like that? Really?), Charles Barkley (being that tall can hide a multitude of sins), Janet Jackson, serial dieter, yo-yo pro. And that’s just scratching the surface of the latest weight loss celebrities. But seriously, are these people solid role models?  My thoughts are, um, no.

I guess you can look at the commercials and think, “Well, it just goes to show celebrities have battles they fight too!” Yeah, well, they make more money than I’ll ever see in my lifetime. These stars can have people cook the food, order the food and if they want, spoon feed them the food without even having to think about it. The truth is, celebrity endorsements is yet another way that diet programs that are short lived find their way in to your psyche and eventually your wallet. And more important, let’s see where these “stars” are 3 years from now, 5 years from now, still fit and thin? TBD.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire anyone who can set their mind on a goal and achieve it. But when you start putting celebrities in to the mix, that changes all the rules. They are NOT regular folk. They make money based on their looks and they will do whatever they need to in order to get in to their million dollar costumes/dresses, etc.  Our lives are so vastly different including the things that motivate us as well as the things that allow us to make difficult changes. Mariah Carey just had twins, God Bless her, but my hunch is she’s got a bit of help with those babies.  For the average woman looking to lose weight after having twins, not only does she not have the gift of a nanny or two, she doesn’t have a diet company knocking on her door asking if she’d like to endorse them if she follows their program.  Imagine, getting paid to lose weight? However, that’s a double edged sword. You gain the weight back and you get just as much attention, you just don’t get paid for it.

I don’t know, I just have a really hard time seeing all of these celebrities saying, “If I did it, you can too!” No I can’t, whether it be money, time or support, no one is paying me to lose weight. I suppose some may be inspired to change and that’s a plus. But the real stars, the real celebrities are those folks that set their mind to get healthy once and for all, and do it the old fashioned way, and don’t  get paid for it.  30 years ago, I lost weight the old fashioned way, simply by making healthier choices and following my 80/20 rule, works every time.

Don’t let the pressure of unrealistic success stories get you down. There are plenty of real people with real life success stories that changed their life for the better, all on their own, no endorsements, no promises of fortune or fame, no nannies or agents to keep them on task, just good old fashioned desire and motivation.

Check out my most recent column. Now she’s a  real star!!

 

Here’s to your health!

Nicki