Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Don’t Let Good Health Prevent Good Judgement

By Nicki On November 23, 2014 No Comments

db498f33f4d50ec73cdf69af8bb89ba1For those of you that have followed my blog, you know that I have a strong commitment to my health. I eat well (most of the time), exercise as often as I’m able (not as much as I’d like), and I stay focused on the positive. Throughout most of my life, I have experienced few health issues other than pregnancy and delivery and few minor things here and there. However, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a situation where I listened closely to my body and realized it wasn’t happy.

Since starting my job last February, there is no doubt my activity level isn’t where I’d like it to be, but I squeeze in exercise 3x per week. I have held pretty tight to eating well, though many meetings that include eating out make it tough, even if I feel like I’m making the right decision. There’s been stress in my life, recent passing of my Dad and situations at work that come with the territory, but all in all, I feel pretty good. However,  two weeks ago, that all changed.

 

I woke up and found myself nauseous and dizzy. Dizzy spells are not uncommon with me, I blame it on the barometric pressure. But nausea never accompanied my “dizzies”. I sat down in front of my make-up mirror and felt clammy. Not hot flash clammy, heart attack clammy and then I looked at my clock radio and couldn’t read the time. I knew something was wrong. I said to my husband, “Something is not right, something is not right.”  We immediately went to the ER. By the time I got to the hospital and into a room, my speech was all but gone and my body felt like dead weight. I could barely move my legs, arms and head. Panic set in and I knew I was likely experiencing a stroke. My grandfather suffered a stroke in his latter 30’s and part of my commitment to health and fitness was to avoid that scenario, but here I was.  The nurse kept asking me questions and my effort to say one word was the most difficult thing I can recall doing in recent history. And then the thoughts started going through my mind, “I’m never going to walk again. My husband is going to spend the rest of his life taking care of me, and I’m the healthy one!” Every negative scenario ran through my mind. I’ve never been more frightened than I was that morning.

I had a CT scan, MRI, loads of blood work, and on and on and they found nothing. By late afternoon, my speech was back to normal and my strength had returned as well. What happened?  What caused it? The fact that the weakness in my body wasn’t bilateral ruled out a stroke. Ultimately the neurosurgeon called it a, “Seizure phenomenon.”  Hmmm, well that doesn’t tell me much other than they don’t know what caused it. I ran a half marathon two days prior, could it have triggered something?  The stress over the past year, could it be that?  Who knows?

What I do know is that I didn’t ignore symptoms just because I take care of myself. We know that women die more often from heart attacks and strokes because they ignore the symptoms. No matter how healthy you are, listen to your body, pay attention to abnormal feelings and get them checked out.

The one thing that was found was a bump in an artery in the brain scan they want to check out. But I’m also following up with an internist per a suggestion from a friend that isn’t happy with the “phenomenon” diagnosis and thinks I should exhaust all avenues. Likely not a bad idea.

I have always taken pride in how I care for my health, but we know many people that have been as healthy as a horse yet dropped dead of a heart attack or some freak accident. So, was this a life altering experience?  Will I start paying closer attention to my bucket list? Well, yes and no.

1. I don’t do bucket lists because I spend too much time stressing over checking things off!  I’d rather follow what’s in my heart and make it happen.

2. I realize that the stress in our lives is often brought on by assumptions and unrealistic perceived outcomes.  Reduce stress by reducing assumptions and stop trying to write the future.

3. I realize that no matter how healthy I am, the body gets tired and high intense exercise and a strict diet isn’t’ always what’s best for the body or mind,  it needs a break from time to time.  I need to know that taking a walk instead of heading out for a run is fine too and some days better for my mind/body. That gelato, or chocolate that I’ve been avoiding is not the end of the world if I cave in and enjoy. I’ve been teaching for years that moderation is the best way to live. I need to heed my own advice vs. my all or nothing compulsions. images (1)

4. Tell your family you love them every day and try to spend more quality time with them. My kids spent two solid days with me at the hospital. We played games, we reminisced and laughed, a lot. If you haven’t downloaded the app from the Ellen Show, Heads Up, do it today. It’s a blast for all ages.

5. Slow down! Even as I type, I type fast and hard. My personality is somewhat like a bull in a china shop, not always, but more often than not. I push hard and when I have a task to complete, I give at least 100%. I need to learn that slow and steady works sometimes too. Assess situations, and don’t view every task as a crisis that needs immediate handling.

6. Ask for help. Women are the worst at that. I have always been someone that would rather do it all myself, despite the challenges. Heaven forbid I should look weak, right?  Well actually for me it’s not the   case. I’ve been on my own for so long, I just learned to do everything myself.  Life is give and take. I can’t do it all and I shouldn’t expect to do it all (See #2).  Ask for help and offer help, it’s a pretty solid way to live.

7. An attitude of gratitude. I have written in many of my blogs my gratitude for being able to go out and run when I feel like it, or exercise whenever I want because I have full use of my body. How lucky I am. After this recent scare, now more than ever, I am incredibly aware of how grateful I am for the ability to speak (maybe my family doesn’t love that one!), the ability to move without restriction and the strength to do every day tasks without limitation. I’M THE LUCKIEST GAL IN THE WORLD!

Moral of the story: No matter how healthy you are, especially women, never, ever ignore unusual symptoms. Your body is trying to tell you something, LISTEN! There is no guarantee that being healthy means you’re immune from illness or disease. Live every day like it is your last, love with your full heart, be kind to yourself and others and move your body because you can.

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

Nicki


Can Work and Workouts Coexist?

By Nicki On March 23, 2014 1 Comment

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After only 6 weeks in my new position, I hear the voices of my clients from the past (my clients from the fitness world). Client after client would swear that they just didn’t have time to exercise and eating well was near impossible due to eating out for business meetings.  I rarely bought it and believed if they wanted it bad enough,they could make the changes.

As I write this, I have become my client. Working 12-14 hour days, my flexible schedule no longer exists as I’ve become a product of work hard, exercise later. This past week as I found myself feeling a little “off” after once again eating out. I now have a much better understanding of my clients challenges. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

 You really have to want it. My day starts around 7:15 a.m. or so. If I want to get a workout in, I need to be up at 5:00 a.m. and in the shower by 6:00 a.m. I have chosen to set aside M,W,F as my exercise days, but right now I’m lucky if I hit two of those days. Thank God for Saturday and Sunday, those are my make-up days. I do commit myself to no less than  three days of workouts with a feeling of exhilaration if I can make four. Who’d a thought? After 30 years  of listening to what I thought were excuses, I now get it. However, I do the best I can knowing that staying committed to my workouts allows me to perform optimally both personally and professionally.

Oh the food. I now average eating out about 7-9 times per week. Additionally, there is always food at the office, not necessarily healthy food. Although I don’t eat any of the left-overs at the office there’s still eating out.  I thought I had it under control. I never eat anything fried or processed. I stick to “clean eating” as best as I can, but the bottom line is that restaurant food tastes good for a reason, the secret ingredients whatever they may be. Even in salad there likely lurks something that may not be good for you. After years of eating most all of my meals at home and being largely in control of what I put in my mouth, that has all changed. After this last week of once again feeling “off” after eating out, I’ve realize I simply need to keep the fridge at work stocked with healthy food. When eating out, make it minimal such as  a side salad, or small bowl of soup (ugh the sodium) and then come back to the office and eat what’s in the fridge. P.S. Why do hotels that have fixed menus think when you order vegetarian it means  pasta and cheese? Just throw a bunch of veggies on a plate and I’m happy. Interesting perception. peopleatrestaurant

Breakfast is still the most important meal. Because my time is crunched, I’ve been grabbing a Larabar with some fruit. I was used to better quality such as oatmeal, eggs, green smoothies, leftovers from dinner. I need to get back to that.

The weather has sucked. There is no doubt (I’m sure psychologists have research on this) that a long, cold, snowy winter changes food cravings along with the desire to exercise. Oddly enough, during the time of year when we need it the most, we don’t do it. Guilty as charged. I do hope once summer hits things will change. I live four blocks from work and have walked to work a total of one, yes ONE time. Why? Weather along with meetings where I need my car. It stinks. Once the weather shifts (if it ever does) I will get back to walking.

At the end of 6 weeks, here’s what I’ve discovered. As a country we don’t design life around healthy living, we design it around convenience which means too much fast-food and too little exercise. For years I believed that no matter how busy your life, you can and must make time for health. I still believe that however, my reality has altered. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.

  • So how about you?  Do you squeeze in the time to care for your health or do you find that it’s just too hard? If it’s the latter, I feel your pain, but do what you can to make it work, even if it’s just a few short walks here and there. Let’s not let work trump our quality of life, it’s short enough as it is!
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Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Thanksgiving- Lost in Translation

By Nicki On November 25, 2013 2 Comments

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One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is that it’s not about the gifts, it’s about family. Coming together, sharing a meal, sharing stories and realizing what really matters. However, thanks to this crazy world of consumerism, we can’t even forget about the world around us for one day because stores have decided to open. I don’t know about you, but I really hate the idea.

If you look at the evolution of Christmas, this once very sacred holiday has become more about everything other than the historical meaning. People have become obsessed with shopping and getting the perfect gift.  Money, greed and stress have replaced, peace on earth.  Kind of crummy.

I know there are some people that cherish Black Friday as  a family tradition. They wake up at the crack of dawn and begin their shopping marathon. Given that it’s AFTER Thanksgiving I figure to each his own.  But now it seems no holiday is immune to the marketing  ploys of big business. The one day a year when people come together, the good, bad and the ugly of holidays feasts and it’s now compromised because the world of retail has come up with one more tactic to part you with your money and your family.

Personally, I will not even think about going out shopping on Thanksgiving, it’s the one day out of the entire year where we sit down as a family, with no agenda, no place to be, no rushing off to work and we can just be a family. No cares, no worries. I always considered Thanksgiving the calm before the storm. The big exhale of the holiday season. thanksgiving-pledge

I don’t know about you, but I plan to stay toasty and warm without any plans  other than being with my family. I owe it to them and to the holiday. It’s is a time to be THANKFUL. The idea of putting shopping before family just doesn’t sit well with me.  As much as people have complained about losing Christmas or Chanukah to the world of retail, that loss now includes Thanksgiving, the one holiday I thought was immune. Sadly, I was wrong.

What will you be doing on Thanksgiving?

 

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

 

Nicki


Kevin Trudeau is a microcosm of what’s wrong with the diet industry

By Nicki On November 14, 2013 2 Comments

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Much to my satisfaction, Kevin Trudeau is headed where he belongs, jail. I know he’s got some fans out there, but I’ve been following this guy for years. Kevin Trudeau is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the diet industry.  He is a consummate swindler.

Run-ins with the law are nothing new for Trudeau. In the 90′s he was convicted of larceny and credit card fraud. He was also sued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for misleading claims about his book. He settled with the FTC in 2004 and agreed he wouldn’t try and promote any of his products, other than books.  In 2011, he broke his agreement and a suit was filed against him. Eventually, his entire BS caught up with him and this week after only one hour, a Chicago jury found Trudeau guilty of contempt for misleading infomercials about weight-loss.

Not only have I have followed Trudeau’s shenanigans, I’ve followed hundreds of other scam artists promising desperate dieters the “secret” to losing weight. Kevin Trudeau is not a lone ranger in the world of weight loss.  The difference with Trudeau is that he was an easy target vs. the faceless ads that pitch their diet pills, potions and creams out to the public promising thinner thighs, flat bellies and a life filled with happiness simply because you chose their product.

I was a trainer for over 20 years. I saw the heartache of men and women who fell victim to Trudeau’s false promises and a myriad of others. People came to me broken, frustrated, hopeless. That is what Kevin Trudeau and so many other BS diet programs have done to the population and continue to do.  They have put out products enticing people to try and if they do, they will find the “secret” to the perfect body. If they don’t, it’s not the product that failed, it’s them.

I liken the diet industry to a carnival. We know that most of the games are rigged, yet we still pay money hoping to win big and when we don’t, we blame ourselves.

Sure, there might be the 1-2% of people that find marginal success, but the reality is that the stuff Trudeau pushed along with so many other diet programs is nothing more than a ploy to separate people from their cash – carnies.

Over 35 years ago I lost 50 pounds, the old fashioned way. I changed my diet, gave up fast food, started riding my bike and walking. Within a year I had lost 50 pounds. Folks, there’s no magic, there’s no “secret”, there’s nothing except the decision to change your lifestyle, period. It isn’t always easy, but it’s the only thing that works long-term without any side effects.

There are times when I am just exhausted trying to tell people about practical steps to weight loss, sadly I’m often trumped by some new program promising a fast and easy way to the perfect body. Television and magazine advertisements prey on the fears of aging, especially menopausal women.

I can’t tell you the number of infomercials I have viewed asking the question, “Are you suffering from bloating, fatigue and depression?”  Guess what? Thanks to the American diet millions of people are suffering from those things. No magic pill or potion will do anything to change it. Unless of course you’re suffering from some lifestyle related disease. But even then, moving more and eating better is pretty cheap and a very effective alternative to medicine.

I am convinced that part of the obesity issue is a direct result of ineffective diet programs. Every time someone loses weight with a fad diet, they eventually gain it back and more and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically.

I am glad Kevin Trudeau is heading to jail. I wish the same fate for the countless others that continue to sell bogus programs and products all claiming they have the “secret” to thinner thighs in 30 days.  FTC, are you listening?

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 11/14/13)

So what do you think?

 

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

Nicki


All healthy fats step forward- not so fast trans fat

By Nicki On November 9, 2013 4 Comments

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It was almost 20 years ago when I started reading about the dangers of consuming foods containing trans fat. I was raised in the age of Crisco and fake butters. My Grandmother used Crisco freely knowing that as long as it was homemade it was good for you. That’s what the ads said, so it must be true.

This week the FDA made it official, trans fats are in fact bad for your health. Well, it’s preliminary, so we’ll have to wait for a solid decision. ‘sigh’

By the time I started studying nutrition, I discovered some of the foods that I fed my children were in fact harmful to their health. Wait,  you mean to tell me that fruit roll-ups aren’t made with real fruit? And, McDonalds isn’t serving my family good-for-you foods? Outrageous I tell you!

Yep, when I started digging in to the truth behind the foods being  pushed, advertised and promoted to our country and kids, I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how it was o.k. to push food that clearly caused heart disease, obesity and diabetes. I understand all too well now, M-O-N-E-Y.

Given that smoking (though it took years) is finally  recognized as dangerous and banned in restaurants and the workplace, it seems foods that cause death and disease should have the same red flags. But you know and I know there’s not only money to be made in the world of food, the pharmaceutical companies are making out like bandits.

Do you know that the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that advertise prescription drugs on television and in magazines?  And we wonder why prescription drugs are so ridiculously expensive. Don’t blame the pharmacies, blame the big advertising pharmaceutical budgets.

Any way, back to trans fats. So this week, the FDA as made a preliminary decision that a major source of trans fats– partially hydrogenated oils– is no longer “generally recognized as safe.” Apparently, if the preliminary decision is deemed final, than foods cannot contain partially hydrogenated oils without approval.  In  my humble opinion, if a food is not safe, what would ever constitute approval?

Healthy fats supporting good health.

Healthy fats supporting good health.

If you look at any snack food, basically anything in a box, anything processed it will contain trans fat. And beware of labels touting “No Trans fats” as there is a formula that companies can get away with and still use trans fat.  Although over the last few years, manufacturers and restaurants have  made small strides in reducing trans fats in their food, it’s still out there and it’s still a health concern.

I have to go back to what I’ve been preaching for a long time. The closer your food is to nature, the healthier it will be for you. Frozen fruits and veggies are fine for those that don’t have access to fresh.  And there are plenty of healthy options for busy, on-the-go people.

Read your labels and start cutting out processed foods in your diet. The truth is that our country, a very advanced, smart country is extremely  unhealthy. Poor diet is the norm. After 30 years in the fitness industry, I saw the bodies of women change. I saw their health issues change and I feel very strongly that it was mostly food related.

Just like smoking, the truth is finally coming out about trans fat.  For years the nutrition experts have warned against consuming trans fats and they were dismissed as fanatics.

When things sound too good to be true, they often are. “Eat all you want and don’t gain weight.  Cookies that are only 10 calories each! 100 calorie snack packs.”  All of those likely carry trans fats and are not a natural source of food that your body can digest and utilize properly.

There are some great websites to learn more about healthy nutrition. Remember, changing your diet doesn’t mean deprivation. It  means paying attention to the foods that work well with your body and make you stronger and healthier. The current American diet only serves to weaken our body and house disease. You can be a catalyst for change not only for yourself but for future generations.

What do you think?

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

Nicki

 


The Evolution of Exercise

By Nicki On October 24, 2013 6 Comments

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Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape.  But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body.  For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.

At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.

So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry,  the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.

1. It’s too time consuming

2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.

3. It’s too hard

4. I don’t get results

5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.

 

Here is my response to the above.

1. It’s too time consuming.  According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job!  Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.”  Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.

2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70’s and 80’s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move. 

3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t.  Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.

4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better.  Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible  results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise.  I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise. IMG_0073

5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health.  Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.

Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.

There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.

Nicki

 

 

 


Exercise is great, but what if you don’t like it?

By Nicki On September 30, 2013 14 Comments

 

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My friend and I were out for breakfast the other day and we started talking about the importance of self-care. We discussed friends our age that due to self-care negligence are suffering from a number of maladies. We then discussed the perception by others that just because we both work out doesn’t mean we love it, it simply means we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.

After 20 plus years in the fitness industry I saw my share of clients who suffered with a number of preventable diseases most common, high blood pressure and diabetes. The truth is that for many of them (other than Type 1 clients) the diseases were 100% preventable. 100%!  Yet, after years of neglect, the body begins to shut down and many feel it’s too late to intervene. It’s never too late.

I was never an athlete. I wasn’t raised being active and never did much of anything until at the young age of 16 I found myself 50 plus pounds overweight. I started reading and implementing what I learned about nutrition and exercise. One year later, I lost the extra weight and never felt better.

The hardest part of being or becoming a healthy weight is maintenance. I can say with certainty that the way I felt 50 pounds heavier, versus the way I felt after,  set the stage for a lifelong dedication to exercise and eating well. To this day, I continue learning. There are also  plenty of times I need to push myself to exercise, like now I should be running, I’m writing. I’ll go, I’ll go.

Along the way I’ve picked up some nuggets that help me stay on track and get my butt out of bed on those mornings where my toasty bed begs me to stay.  See if some of these may help you.

1. We all want to feel good. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet feels good. one-workout-away-good-mmod

2. We all want to look good. There is no doubt that exercise and a healthy diet result in looking vibrant and well.

3. We all want to fully engage in our lives.  I have seen too many people avoid certain situations because their weight kept them from participating. Life is too short and the older you get the  more you realize it. Becoming engaged starts with becoming active.

4. We all have moments where we just don’t want to. There are times when you need to accept you don’t want to and move on or times you need to kick yourself  in the arss and just do it!  You need to understand the difference between giving your body a day of rest or giving up on your body.

5.  Unrealistic expectations are the undoing of many well intentioned exercisers.  None of us, no matter how we exercise will ever have a perfect body, ever. So what?  Exercising automatically kicks up self-confidence. When you move more you feel better about yourself. Let that be enough. It’s not a competition.

6. Have fun. For the love of God, find something you enjoy. And don’t say, “There’s nothing I like.”  If you say that it’s because you  haven’t found it yet.  Maybe you don’t like crowds, so stop joining a gym. Maybe you don’t like exercise clothing, don’t wear it. You don’t like running? Biking? Swimming?  Then don’t. There’s plenty, literally hundreds of options. Create a list, try everything, dancing,. martial arts, hiking, whatever. Find something. If you can’t, call me, we’ll talk.

7. Make the most out of your life. The truth is that if you really, really want to feel your best, you must care for yourself the best. No one can take better care of you than you!  So many people give, give, give and forget themselves in the mix of things.  Carve out some me time, even if  it means 15 minutes of stretching before bed. You will limit the quality of your life if you don’t take care of yourself, period.

8. Find a role model.  My role model is a gorgeous woman who is likely now in her 70’s and has been an active woman since I met her over 20 years ago. She’s always got a smile on her face,  a kind thought to share and is regularly active. She’s impressive. I want to be her when I’m her age.

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9. Be a role model. If any would have ever told me that someday I’d be a mentor for exercise I would have laughed, a lot.  By changing your life, you may inspire someone else. Trust me, if you’re struggling with eating well and getting active, there are likely people around you who struggle with the same. Be the change, start the movement and watch the lives you can change, beginning with you.

10 Set a dream activity. Ever wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Go on a safari in South Africa? Bike Australia? Participate in a fundraising walk?  Create the steps to make it happen. It will be so cool when you do. I know because I’ve done it.

I hope this helps if you’re at a crossroads with getting yourself on a healthy track. Please don’t wait until January 1st,  because statistically those resolutions are short lived.  Baby steps today, climbing mountains tomorrow, why not?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more hours in a day, rather making the most of them!

Nicki


Best Diabetic Food List Gone Terribly Wrong

By Nicki On August 27, 2013 6 Comments

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The other day I was doing some research for a client. I was researching healthy snack ideas for diabetics. I was absolutely shocked when I came across this page . The list offers the top 25 snacks for diabetics. It was written by two R.D.’s so one would assume the the list is solid.  Boy, was I wrong. I was so disturbed by what I read, well, I had to write about it.

Here is part of the introduction to the article. Ugh!  Diabetic Living’s dietitians scoured the supermarkets to find the most nutritious packaged snacks, and a panel of taste-testers (including people with diabetes) ranked the treats. From chips and dip to cookies and popcorn, see which snacks were awarded the Diabetic Living What to Eat Seal of Approval.  

The most nutrition packaged snacks? Are you kidding me? No, it is simply a roundup of advertisers that paid for their products to be promoted.  I’m also disturbed that it made the Diabetic Living’s Seal of Approval.

Many of us know that the biggest culprit in the world of obesity and diabetes is processed foods. Unfortunately, diabetics have been educated to believe that if it’s sugar free, it’s good for you. According to MayoClinic, ”

  • Sugar-free doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free. Sugar-free foods may play a role in your diabetes diet, but remember to consider carbohydrates, as well. A sugar-free label means that one serving has less than 0.5 gram of sugar. When you’re choosing between standard products and their sugar-free counterparts, compare the food labels. If the sugar-free product has noticeably fewer carbohydrates, the sugar-free product might be the better choice. But if there’s little difference in carbohydrate grams between the two foods, let taste — or price — be your guide.
  • No sugar added, but not necessarily no carbohydrates. The same caveat applies to products sporting a “no sugar added” label. Although these foods don’t contain high-sugar ingredients and no sugar is added during processing or packaging, foods without added sugar may still be high in carbohydrates.
  • Sugar alcohols contain carbohydrates and calories, too.Likewise, products that contain sugar alcohols — such as sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol — aren’t necessarily low in carbohydrates or calories.

When you have time and can go through the list of suggested foods, I think you will be as shocked as I was. I was disappointed that professionals that should be looking out for the health of people, are actually condoning the very foods that contribute to disease. It was a head scratcher for me.

I have read that nature is the best chemist. Foods such as dark chocolate (in moderation) blueberries, fish high in Omega 3, beans, almonds and walnuts (in moderation) are foods that add to health, not take away.  There is also green tea and cinnamon which offer preventative or healing properties.  The list goes on and is quite a different list than found on this diabetic site.

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Why these RD’s chose to tout junk food as healthy options is in my humble opinion dangerously irresponsible.

Whether you’re completely healthy with no signs of diabetes or you’re a diabetic, this list of 25 foods mentioned (with the exception of air blown popcorn, tuna, and almonds) is way off base.

We wonder why our country is as unhealthy as ever. As long as professionals keep coming out and promoting junk food as healthy (because advertisers pay for it), the slower the healing process for our country.  Diabetes IS preventable (not including Type I).  If someone you know suffers from diabetes, this article is a perfect teaching moment. I hope you’ll pass it along.

 

 

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

Nicki


A Different Perspective on Food

By Nicki On June 5, 2013 4 Comments

IMG_1430I had the good fortune of attending an event in Chicago, Farms to Forks which is three days full of lectures and food demonstrations geared to  educate attendees about the power of health-promoting foods and the reality of health-harming foods.

During the course of the weekend I was able to hear Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Doug Lisle and Jeff Novick, R.D.  , Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn

Eating well has become more and more difficult. Our society makes it easier to eat poorly vs. healthy.

Even after 30 years of studying food, at times I still find myself overwhelmed with information. However what I heard over and over with every speaker, (obviously I’m simplifying), is that you can’t dispute that fresh fruits and veggies are better than processed, fried or fast-food. It’s hard to disagree with the fact that whole grains and legumes are better for you than a McDonalds breakfast sandwich or other boxed foods.

With every diet that comes along there’s always a catch, always a list that must be adhered to for proper weight loss. Most often diets are temporary as there’s no autonomy.  Although the speakers at the event have their opinions along with science to back it up, they are all vegans, a strict way to live. However,  I walked away with a different perspective.  I got the impression that education comes first, realization comes second and implementation comes third. A sound approach to healthy eating.

Rip Esselstyn, Host of the event, son of Dr. C. Esselstyn and author of Engine 2 Diet.

Rip Esselstyn, Host of the event, son of Dr. C. Esselstyn and Ann and author of Engine 2 Diet.

When I owned my fitness business, I would tell my clients, “Start with one change, maybe adding breakfast to your diet or stop eating ice cream before you go to bed. As you master that change, add on another.”  I felt the same way after walking away from this conference. I didn’t feel I had to be perfect, I simply had to be aware and then change what made sense for me .

I’m not sure I’ll ever adopt a vegan diet, but I know that I have already made some changes that I know will be permanent. The manufacturing and marketing of bad-for-you food is out of control. I thought it was bad when my kids were young, it seems to be worse now. Young mothers are confused but I simply remind them, “There are no labels to read on fresh, whole foods. Stick with them as much as you can.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was listening to Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn, mother and daughter duo full of enthusiasm and passion for a plant-based diet. Ann(in her latter 70’s) shared her tips on plant-based eating while Jayne shared some fantastic recipes that even a carnivore might consider. I’ll share those recipes in my next blog. But for now, here are some take-aways from the  event. I hope you find them interesting.

 

Ann Esselstyn explaining how to strip kale.

Ann Esselstyn explaining how to strip kale.

1. Chronic disease is a result of a poor diet, period. – Dr. John McDougall

2. There are no adverse effects of clean water and clean food. – Dr. John McDougall

3. Alcohol doesn’t turn in to fat, it simply lowers inhibitions and increases caloric intake. – Dr. John McDougall

4. The U.S. does 1.2 million stents per year and mortality is 2%. – Dr. C. Esselstyn

5. Red meat increases the risk of heart disease. – Dr. C. Esselstyn

6. Carbs- It’s not about glycemic index, it’s about fiber, density and calories. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

7. CRAP= Cut, refined and processed foods. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

8. If people eliminated liquid calories from their diet, they could lose 40 pounds in a year. (The avg person gets 400 cals from liquids). – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

9. Never believe anything on the front of any pacakge, EVER! Always read the nutrition facts label AND ingredient list. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.

Here’s to healthier eating for you and your family!

 

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

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