Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Fox News Chicago Weight Loss Challenge’ Category

Dr. Oz – Just 10 lbs.

By Nicki On October 11, 2010 No Comments
Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz

This past week, I once again has the pleasure of  meeting with Dr. Oz and the Fox Chicago “Ozzer’s.”  Dr. Oz wanted to talk to the Chicago group about their weight loss challenges and successes since starting his weight loss challenge in January.  Dr. Oz offered everyone an opportunity to ask questions. Many of the questions were poignant and probably ones you might have wanted to ask as well. “How do I stay motivated when my family isn’t behind me?” ” I am 46 years old and exercise regularly, yet I still find myself gaining weight?” “I’ve only lost 35 pounds in a year, and I’m frustrated, it should be coming off faster.”  Dr. Oz, in his kind way, responded to these questions as I had hoped, with practical, insightful and reasonable responses.

Dr. Oz, like me, believes that weight loss and finding a healthy weight is different for everyone. In other words, not everyone is meant to be 5’8″ tall and 130  pounds, not the way we were designed. He believes that any amount of weight loss triggers positive changes in the body and results in improved health. Dr. Oz also noted that anything extreme or crazy is always going to be temporary and his goal, like me, is for people to find a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable.

There is so much misinformation about weight loss. So often, clients come in for the first time with their head spinning. With the profile that Dr. Oz has, it’s so nice to see that he is spreading the word that small changes can add up to better health. I’ve been touting that for years and finally, I have a respected voice that echoes that same sentiment.

So what can losing simply 10 pounds do for you?

Well, Dr. Oz stresses that even losing 10 pounds can make a huge difference in your health.

“The benefits of losing just 10 pounds are enormous for your heart, liver, knees, pancreas and blood pressure. The incidence of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis can be cut in half,” said Dr. Oz.

So there you have it, just 10 pounds can make a positive difference in your health and quality of life. If you’re local, hopefully you can join me either on October 13th or October 20th at 7:00 p.m. as I share my thoughts and insight into why weight loss alludes us and how you can begin and sustain a healthy, manageable weight and why just 10  pounds can be the start to a longer, healthier life!

Here’s to your healthy living success!


BTW, it’s not too late to join the Fox Chicago “Oz” group.

Dr. Oz Challenge Continues!

By Nicki On May 30, 2010 No Comments

If you look at the most common reason people fall away from weight loss efforts, it’s motivation. The excitement and enthusiasm felt when starting a weight loss plan is like the first day of school, the possibilities are endless and everything is new and fresh. But into the third or fourth week, the newness wears off and the reality of hard work sets in, no so fun anymore. But unlike weight loss programs, school is a must (well, I’d like to think it is) and the motivation to stick with it is far greater. But with weight loss, if you quit, you quit. You walk away quietly and no one knows, except of course you, and very often that doesn’t feel very good.

Last week, the Fox Chicago News Dr. Oz group came to my studio in hopes of finding that lost motivation. I wrote a column about it last week. Losing motivation is not uncommon, and getting it back is always a challenge. Just remember, realistic expectations combined with a realistic exercise and nutrition program is the best way to stay on track and realize a healthier you!

Here’s to your health!


To Burn Or Not To Burn….Fat or Fiction?

By Nicki On May 25, 2010 1 Comment
Go the distance for fat loss.

Go the distance for fat loss.

At least once a week I’m asked, “Is it better to exercise at a lower intensity to burn fat?” A-hem, uh not exactly. First I’m going to give you the science perspective, then my perspective. Shake ’em together at the end, and see what you come up with.

First, the science. The idea of low-intensity exercises being the secret to burning more fat is in fact not so. However, it is true that when you’re exercising at a lower intensity, fat is the primary source of fuel (which started the “fat-burning zone confusion). But if we’re talking overall fat loss (which I’m assuming most are), it’s all about calories in vs. calories out.  When you’re exercising at a higher intensity level, the total number of calories expended are much greater than they when exercising at a lower intensity, hence the total amount of calories and fat used is increased. At the end of the day it’s really about the number of calories you expend.  Hence, higher intensity, more calories burned, more fat loss.

O.K. now the reality. I tell my clients all the time, “There is a direct correlation between how hard you’re willing to work and the goals that you set for yourself.”  In other words, many of us may want to look like the latest model on the front of Sports Illustrated, but the work that goes in to that body, (and genetics) along with some airbrushing makes it a little bit unrealistic.

I have had so many discussions with people that tell me they walk every day and they have seen no change in their weight. So I ask the obvious questions, “How long have you been walking that same distance? Do you ever offer variety in to your exercise program? How hard do you think you’re working on a scale of 1-10? How is your nutrition?” And finally I ask, “What are you really willing to do long term?” Ultimately that will help them to clearly understand what they can expect with their current level of exercise. Look, if you’re not willing to really kick up your walking program and add some variety to it and your nutrition is so-so, please don’t expect miracles. Just because you exercise doesn’t mean you’re going to transform your body, especially if you don’t have the right collection of change, i.e. higher intensity, intervals (Burns more calories in a shorter period of time) and increase the time you spend exercising. Are you willing to do that? If so, you will notice change. If you’re not willing to step things up, then be content with that and stop comparing to those with completely different lifestyles.

The other piece to remember is that many would quit exercise after awhile if they’re not really committed to high intensity, interval training. So for many, keeping it low intensity, but increasing mileage may be more appropriate,  as well as sustainable. Again, we’ve been so bombarded with how to achieve “the perfect body” we’ve forgotten that for many people the real goal is simply preserving good health.

We all want the answers to how we can achieve the “perfect” body. In truth, most of us (self-included) have no desire to workout 6 hours a day to achieve perfection. I do what keeps me happy, healthy and consistent. I’m hoping that whatever your goal is, you approach it with realistic expectations so that it’s achievable and sustainable!

Here’s to your health!


If you’re here in Chicago, be sure to watch Fox Chicago News on Thursday, May 27th at 9:00 p.m. Catch our Dr. Oz segment as we discuss plateaus and I share some simple cardio kicks and convenient strength training!

A Disconnect With Food May Be Cause of Obesity

By Nicki On May 16, 2010 2 Comments
Garden Season is Finally Here!

Garden Season is Finally Here!

Ahh spring, good-bye chill, hello warmth. One of the reasons I celebrate spring is because it is officially garden season. Woot-Woot!  There is nothing more exciting than to watch the garden grow and ultimately bring  produce in to my home that is no longer from the store, but my own backyard. (O.K. I have to give credit, where credit is due, my husband Bill does all the planting, I get to harvest and cook. 🙂 )

Last week, as I gathered some fresh radishes, green onions and lettuce to make the first garden salad of spring, I started to think about the disconnect that many people have with their food.  In other words, it’s not about fueling (feeding) yourself,  it’s simply about filling the tummy. My guess is years and years of fast-food and processed food has contributed to  the disconnect. Additionally, people no longer pay attention to the importance (mentally and physically) that fresh, whole food provides for the body and soul.

I can’t tell you the number of people that have said, “Healthy eating means bland food and no taste.”  Not so. The fact is that so many processed foods and fast-foods are loaded with salt and saturated fats, that people have forgotten what “real” food tastes like. Herbs can take any meal from weak to wow, it just takes time and experimentation.

Case-in-point, I was talking to a client of mine that is an avid “out-to-eater” and is working to try and make better choices. I encouraged him to start bringing his own lunch or find ways to include more home cooked meals. “Ahh, I just don’t like that food. I like the foods I get at restaurants.” And the reason he likes that food is that his palate has developed a fondness for high sodium and fat so when he attempts to eat a meal at home, it doesn’t taste as good. But the truth is that once you get back on track with “real” food, you’ll begin to realize just how unhealthy restaurant/fast food makes you feel. He is slowly  making that connection and now realizes much of his lethargy has been due to his food choices.

It is my belief that  processed foods are not only contributing to the demise of health in our country, but our appreciation for the value of good food and how it can positively contribute to good health,  if we just give it a try. Think about how you feel when you’ve eaten well vs. how you feel when you’ve had a junk filled food day.

Hey look, been there, I get it. My diet used to consist of a 1/2 dozen chocolate filled donuts in the morning, Snickers for a mid-morning snack, a couple of tacos and chalupa for lunch, chips for a mid-afternoon snack and then whatever was being served for dinner. And then of course I went out with my friend later, a little alcohol and then a midnight snack which was typically huevos rancheros. Surprised? Sometimes I can’t believe the amount of unhealthy calories I used to consume. But once I made the connection between “mood and food,” my life changed and so can yours.

Start paying attention to how you feel when you consume healthier choices. Look, I’m not telling you to go out and start a garden, but why not start a little herb garden inside? When you go to the store, stick to the perimeter of the store as much as possible as that is where your healthier options are. Set a goal to start eating 2 vegetarian meals per week, or add a salad to 3 meals per week, etc.  There are TONS of resources and recipes for creating healthier meals. My book is a great tool for gradually implementing healthy choices both for food and exercise. Opt for fruit and nuts for snacks vs. boxed bars that are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Given what I used to eat and where I am today, it is doable, if you’re willing and ready to change. And that is the key my friends, the willingness to change.

I know that when I harvest from my garden and consume the food from it, I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the opportunity to consume food that positively contributes to the body I was given. I just don’t think people give a second thought to the food they’re eating much less how it positively or negatively contributes to their health and everyday performance. Bottom line, we take food pathetically for granted.

So the next time you think about dieting, switch gears to connecting. Connecting with the foods that contribute to a better, healthier you. You don’t have to have a garden to do it. Simply start by purchasing more fruits, vegetables (especially when they’re in season, they’re cheaper) and when they’re not, frozen can work. After you’ve finished a healthy meal, connect to how you FEEL. The same holds true when you choose unhealthy options, pay attention to how you feel. My guess is that it will be vastly different than how you feel when eating whole, good-for-you foods.

In addition to plenty of resources via web, I’ve got a ton of recipes on my website as well as my cookbook, Here’s to Health.

I encourage you to start listening to your body and how it responds when you make the choice to fill yourself with a better grade of “fuel”. I know for me,  the day I decided to choose health, that was the day I stopped dieting and finally achieved a healthier, stronger, leaner me. For that I am eternally grateful.

I want to hear your story. Have you struggled with healthy eating? Perhaps it’s because you’ve always used food for weight gain or loss. Maybe now is the time to use food for for it’s original intent, to fuel your body allowing it to perform optimally. That sounds a heck of a lot better than dieting, don’t you think?

Here’s to your health!


P.S. As a side note, I know there is always the argument of how expensive healthy eating can be. THat comes from lack of education and it is my mission to see how we can change that. Be sure and check out Jamie Olivers effort in his show Food Revolution. A must watch!

Losing the “0n” or “Off” Mentality

By Nicki On February 14, 2010 No Comments
Avoid the on or off lifestyle.
Avoid the “on” or “off” lifestyle.

I met with Anthony this week and we talked about  his challenges and successes. Like anyone trying to lose weight, Anthony wants desperately for the weight to be off! However, when you’re doing it right, weight does not drop off quickly and changes need to be made for the long term, not just until a wedding, reunion, etc. What I’m talking about here is getting away from the “On a diet” or “Off a diet” mentality.

In my humble opinion, (and you know I have many of them), I really believe that being “on” a diet puts the mind in a very negative place. Being “on” a diet tells the brain, “You must suffer. You can not have anything you want ever again. You need to be hungry all the time and eat food you really don’t enjoy.”  Hmmm, I don’t know about you, but with that kind of mental input, there is no way one can possibly beat the weight loss game.

So I told Anthony, “You need to approach this different than you have ever approached weight loss before. How? By looking at any changes that you make as long-term changes, not just something to change until the scale shows the appropriate number. Rather, make changes that you can sustain. Never say never and always know that there are moments where less than healthy choices will pop up. You just have to be prepared. And, if you fall in to eating something that isn’t great, don’t belabor the issue, acknowledge it and know that a healthy lifestyle is making good choices most of the time.”  You see if you’re in that “on” or “off” mode and you trip up, the guilt is overwhelming and the negative self-talk goes in to full gear. However if you’re in the healthy living mindset and eat something that’s not on the good-for-you list, you tell yourself, “Back on track tomorrow. Eating this way does not leave me feeling the way I do when I eat well. I look forward to healthy eating tomorrow.”

The healthy living mentality is your best defense against a negative experience as you strive to change unhealthy habits to healthy ones. Try, just for this week (as I encouraged Anthony to do) to think “lifestyle” not diet. To think about the long-term and choices that seem appropriate vs. so painfully out of character for you you’ll never stick with them. Acknowledge the positive changes you make, even if they’re small.

Healthy living is supposed to encourage a healthier you, both mentally and physically. The best way to achieve that is to find your center and avoid the “on” or “off” when it comes to lifestyle change!

Here’s to your success.

Some Girls Have All the Luck

By Nicki On January 16, 2010 3 Comments
Me and Anthony

Me and Anthony

Most of my adult life I have been driven to help others develop and maintain a dedication to healthy living. Trust me, it hasn’t been easy. Unfortunately, enthusiasm alone  can not make others successful, people have to be ready and willing to step in to the world of change, period end of statement.

I have always been a follower of Dr. Oz and bought his original book, You on a Diet, when it came out a couple of years ago. He recently revised the book and has been touring the country to promote it. Little did I k now, the book that I so loved and encouraged others to read, would come back to me directly through Dr. Oz himself.

This past week, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Dr. Oz as part of a Weight Loss Challenge by Fox News here in Chicago. Mark Saxenmeyer of Fox News,  put the challenge together and included not only some of his colleagues to participate in the weight loss challenge, but his viewers as well. On Wednesday, I received an email from Mark, letting me know that I would be part of a select group of people that would be able to meet Dr. Oz, talk to him, ask questions and be part of his Weight Loss Challenge using his new book.  What I didn’t know is that I would also have the opportunity to meet and train a very special young man, Anthony Marzullo.

Anthony wrote to Mark at Fox News when he heard about Dr. Oz’s Weight Loss Challenge and shared his story about his life long struggle with weight. He has done every diet, tried every weight loss program out there, yet at 31 years old, he continues to struggle with his 350 pound frame.

“I did it to myself,” he said, “I put the fork in my mouth. I take total responsibility. But now it’s time to take responsibility in a positive direction.” So, I have the privilege of working with Anthony over the next year, using Dr. Oz’s book and philosophy which is exactly like mine (thank God, or I’d never do it!). Mark will check in with us during the course of the year to see how we’re doing.

I met with Anthony for the first time and reviewed where he’s been, what he wants to do and what is going to be different this time. I told him, “Anthony, your entire life you have ‘fought’ weight, it’s time to stop fighting. To be successful, you’ll need to change how you think and instead of focusing on weight loss, you need to focus on health gains. Every choice you make from  here on out needs to be about your health. Up until now, it’s been all about the weight. So let’s try to redirect your efforts. Remember, a byproduct of healthy living is a healthy weight!” Anthony agreed and we set a few goals and are ready to forge ahead.

At one point Anthony told me that when he’d go to the gym or be out for a walk people would yell, “Hey Fat Boy.”  I told Anthony, from now on you will be referred to as “Fit Boy.”

So our journey starts today. I am excited for Anthony and I’m lucky to have this opportunity with the help of Fox News and Dr. Oz. I remind my clients all the time, “You can spend the rest of your life trying to lose weight or you can enjoy each day by making choices that positively contribute to your overall mental and physical health, .”Me with Dr. Oz

I hope that you will join us on our journey. I’ll be blogging about it and hopefully I can get Anthony to do the same! Until then, join us on Facebook and share your thoughts and encouragement for Anthony and the millions of others that strive for a shot at a healthy body every single day.

“You do not succeed because you do not know what you want or you don’t want it intensely enough.”
— Frank Crane