Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘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

 


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


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


It’s National Nutrition Month- Celebrate Your Health!

By Nicki On March 3, 2013 1 Comment
It's not about skinny, it's about healthy!

It’s not about skinny, it’s about healthy!

 

Over 30 years ago I made the switch from a sedentary, fast-food lifestyle to a relatively active lifestyle eating well most of the time.

I remember Christmas in 1979, it was a year after I lost 50 pounds (note-the weight loss followed my healthy changes, not the other way around). I was heading to my Grandparents house ready to overindulge in holiday fare. I felt that I had deserved it because I really hadn’t eaten any unhealthy food in so long. I picked up my plate and headed towards the buffet table. I felt like a kid in a candy store without adult supervision. I felt that I deserved to eat all of the foods I had been denied for so long. So, I took one of everything.

What I hadn’t realized is although I wanted every morsel of food on my plate, my body had been trained to crave what it needs not what I wanted. At that moment I understood the importance of listening to my body, not my diet head.

What’s interesting is that your body will often tell you what it needs, whereas diet head will scream for ice cream! I had completely dismissed the fact that I felt great because I had let go of junk food. Yet for some crazy reason I felt compelled to knock off an entire plate of sweets and foods I had given up over a year ago. That was until I reconnected with my healthy head.

Remember, it is the dieting lifestyle that sets you up to want the foods that your diet forbids. As long as you continue to follow diet rules you will continue to crave, desire, dream about  less healthy foods versus taking the steps to listen to your body and give it what it needs, healthy food.

As we recognize National Nutrition Month try to listen closely to your body. Think about how you feel when you eat well, versus how you feel when you eat garbage. Your body knows and is communicating with you all the time, you simply need to listen.

During the month of March, I will blog about nutrition in my ongoing effort to inspire you to stay focused on what makes you healthy, happy and productive. It all starts with what you put in your mouth!

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