Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, Better You

As we head into the New Year, I keep hearing the phrase “New Year, New You.”  I’ve seen it on TV news shows, run across it online, and read it in every magazine.  It is a great concept – start a new year and create a new you in the process.  However, unless you’re Madonna or Sylvester Stallone, most of us can’t successfully reinvent ourselves each year.  Typically, we are who we are, and it will take more than a simple statement for us to change our lives.  Some of the top resolutions each year are life changing – lose weight, get in shape and/or eat healthy.  But, only about 50% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions for three months, and even less keep them for six months.  So many times we don’t stick to our resolutions, especially when it comes to weight loss or exercise because we either put unrealistic limits or expectations on ourselves.  Besides, who can honestly follow through if they resolve to quit sugar or workout every day of the week?   This year, instead of making a New Year’s resolution that sets you up for failure, make one that will ensure you succeed. 

Take small steps each week or month towards doing something that will make you feel better.  This approach takes away limitations and restrictions and focuses on adding exercise, healthy eating, and yes, even rest!  For example, instead of telling yourself that you can’t have dessert, just add at least one vegetable serving each day.  Rather than resolving to lose 20 pounds, make a promise to yourself that you will increase your workouts each month.  And if you are already lifting weights, add a few minutes of cardio to your routine.  Or, if you are doing cardio, add a couple of weight lifting exercises to your routine.  Also, try to get an extra 10-15 minutes of sleep each night for a week.  Just don’t overload yourself – that’s when we feel overwhelmed and are more likely to give up.  Concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t do; and focus on what you can have rather than what you can’t have. 

And don’t think January 1st is the only day you can make a change.  You can decide while it’s still 2011, or February 2012, that you will make an improvement and strive for a better you.  And don’t think of slip-ups as reasons to give-up.  Just because you miss a day at the gym or you eat more than one brownie, pledge to make a better choice tomorrow.  You don’t have to become a new person in the New Year to be successful, you can simply become a better you.  You will live better, look better, and feel better. 

It’s a New Year!  You don’t have to reinvent a new you – just uncover a better you!  I will help you find the better you in 2012.  I promise to help you find ways to live better, look better, and feel better.   I will make sure you haven’t given up before Valentine’s Day rolls around!  You’ll continue to see a better you all year long, and I guarantee the better you will be ringing in 2013!  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and it’s time for us to all find our better selves! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

It’s Thanksgiving – Be Full of Thanks Not Food & Frenzy

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s the time of year when we all seem to be filled with stress, to-do lists, anxiety, the turkey dinner, and other holiday foods.  Thanksgiving is the beginning of a two-month period where most of us put the festivities ahead of our health.  The holidays can be a very hard time to stay healthy and maintain your weight, much less lose weight.  Several studies have shown that the average American gains anywhere from three to 12 pounds during the period from Thanksgiving to New Years.  So, I encourage everyone to kick-off this season by being full of thanks this Thanksgiving and taking the focus off of the food and frenzy.  Here is my plan to tackle Turkey Day and get a healthful head start to the holidays:
·         Eat Breakfast – On Thanksgiving morning, wake up and eat a healthy and hearty breakfast.  Go for a mix of protein and carbs like peanut butter on toast with an apple or pear; an egg with a slice of cheese on a whole wheat English muffin with a bowl of raspberries or blueberries; or a bowl of oatmeal made with skim milk and a banana.
·         Water – drink lots of water throughout the day.  About 30 minutes before you are scheduled to eat, drink a glass of water.  Avoid sodas, teas, and any pre-made drinks.  These are loaded with sugar.  If you drink any alcohol, stick to wine.  If you have more than a few alcoholic drinks, alternate a glass of water between each drink. 
·         Appetizers/Snacks – Avoid the urge to eat mindlessly.  If trays of food are put in front of you, don’t grab for things just because they are there.  Avoid creamy dips with buttery crackers.  Stick with veggie platters or baked tortillas or pita chips with salsa or hummus.  A handful of nuts are better than greasy chips or crackers.  Also, wait as long as possible before you give into the first bite of the appetizer.  Once you start, it’s hard to stop.  So, chew a piece of gum or pop a mint to keep your mouth fresh. 
·         Turkey – Turkey is a better choice than ham.  Dark meat turkey does have more fat than white meat, but it also contains more iron and zinc than white meat.  Plus, it has more flavor and doesn’t dry out as easily, so you may need to pour on less gravy.  Or, better yet, pick cranberry sauce which is a healthier condiment than gravy.  Whether you pick white or dark, you should always remove the skin because that is where the truly unhealthy fats are found.  
·        Sides – Make your plate as colorful as possible.  Try to limit mashed potatoes and gravy and go for sweet potatoes.  For my meal, I add a bit of real maple syrup to mashed potatoes and I replace marshmallows with a walnut topping.  Green vegetables can be good, although at this time of year, they can be loaded with cream and fat in a casserole.  Instead of creamy green beans topped with fried onions, I toss my green beans with olive oil and sliced almonds.  Avoid creamy-looking casseroles and dishes with “crumble” toppings.  These are typically just greasy crackers with added butter. 
·         Bread – Avoid adding rolls or muffins to your plate.  You will get plenty of starch from everything else on the menu like potatoes and stuffing.  If you must have bread, go for just one piece and don’t add butter. 
·         Dessert – Stick to pumpkin or sweet potato pies.  Both of these are healthier than pecan or apple.  Avoid any pies with a double crust.   Crust is very fattening because the main ingredient is shortening, butter, or lard.  If you must have two slices of pie, eat only the filling, don’t eat the end crust.  You’ll save calories and still get the best part.  Also, try to avoid adding whipped cream or ice cream and just enjoy the taste of the dessert.  Eat it slowly and enjoy it. 
·         Stick to your Faves – Don’t put something on your plate if you aren’t that excited about eating it.  Save the calories for something you’ll enjoy.  Furthermore, if you put something on your plate thinking you will like it but don’t, you do NOT have to eat it just because it’s on your plate.  Even if old Aunt Mable thinks you should eat more, just smile and tell the old lady how wonderful everything was. 
·        Seconds – Don’t immediately go back for seconds.  It takes 20 minutes for our brains to register that our stomachs are full.  So, if you hoover through two plates of food, you will likely have overeaten which will lead to feeling severely uncomfortable for the rest of the day.   
·         Get Moving – While watching the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game, don’t sit for any period longer than an hour.  Get up during a commercial break and walk around.  After you eat, take a walk around the block, or take your kids out for a game of football or tag.  Or, impress your family and take out the trash, walk the dog, help clean up the dishes, or start putting up Christmas lights and decorations! 

If you want more tips, ideas, or recipes for the holidays, contact me today.  I will help you and your family fill up on thanks rather than the food and frenzy of the season.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Let’s be thankful that obesity is 100% preventable and make a change today! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Coach for Life

I discovered my love of softball very early
The definition of a coach is one who instructs or trains, and it is usually sport-specific.  I have had many coaches in my life who instructed me within a specific sport.  However, several of those coaches taught me skills that go far beyond the field or the court.  They didn’t simply coach me for a season – I consider them coaches for life.  They taught me how to play on the field and how live off the field. 

Since becoming a full-time health and weight loss coach nearly 18 months ago, I have reflected upon the lessons my coaches gave me and the motivation they used to push me to my potential.  They had high expectations of me only because they knew what I was capable of.  I also now have high expectations of my clients because I see what they can do and I want them to realize their potential.  As a coach, I get so much joy from watching my clients succeed. 

This joy is why I am so proud and excited that my role as a coach has taken on a whole new meaning.  As of this week, I am the new head coach of my alma mater’s varsity softball team.  I am a 1998 graduate of Battle Ground Academy (BGA) and played five years of varsity softball.  I was blessed to have been coached and mentored by Coach Pat Stoffel.  My true love was softball and in addition to playing for BGA, I played year-round for various travel teams.  I recently discovered that BGA’s girls’ softball team was struggling, and actually did not even have a team for the 2011 season.  This was very disappointing for me as I feel such a loyalty to softball, especially BGA softball.  After nearly two years of correspondence with various BGA staff members, I had a recent meeting with the Athletic Director where I was asked to be the new head coach of their softball team.  After a few successive meetings, one with a few girls interested in playing on the softball team, I have gladly accepted my new role as the new head coach.

Coach Stoffel was a mentor on & off the field -
here she is talking to my catcher & me as we come off the field
When I think about the experiences in my life that have created who I am today, softball and my many coaches top the list.  Even as an adult, there is hardly a week that goes by that I don’t recall something one of my coaches taught me.  Coach Loring, Coach Overstreet, and Coach Gleason all nurtured me from a shy little girl into a competent young athlete.  Coach Belliford and Coach Eisenhauer pushed me from a timid teenager into a tough competitor.  My amazingly talented pitching coach Gary Martineau tapped into every ounce of talent I had and transformed me from a girl throwing a softball to a skilled pitcher – and even taught me which part of my mouth had the stickiest spit to help me throw a wicked rise ball.  Coach Stoffel developed me from a talented athlete to a champion on and off the field.  And of course I can’t leave out my dad and my step-dad.  They were my original coaches – they practiced with me, sweat with me, even bled with me and cried with me.  But they always encouraged me and cheered me on. 

I am so proud and happy to be able to share these types of experiences with my new players.  My coaches taught me beautiful lessons in accountability, perseverance, humility, personal growth, awareness of others, self-discipline, and self-esteem.  And most importantly, they taught me how to be a champion no matter what the scoreboard showed.  I feel I am a better person because of softball and the coaches who taught me lessons on and off the field.  I only hope I will be able to have the same impact on my new players for many years to come! 

Even as BGA’s softball coach, I still plan to coach my clients on health and weight loss.  So, make sure you go to to see all the ways I can help you and those on your “home team”.  Obesity is 100% preventable – if we play hard, give it all we’ve got, we will win the game!    

Thursday, September 15, 2011

More Meds Due to More Laziness?

These days the amount of prescription drug use is at an all-time high.  Between 1999 and 2008, the number of Americans who take at least one prescription drug rose from 43.5% to 48.3%.  And nearly 11% of Americans take five or more prescription drugs.  The numbers continue to rise – it seems that no matter what ails you, the easiest solution is to pop a pill rather than tackle it head-on.  Among the most commonly prescribed drugs are central nervous system stimulants (ADD/ADHD meds) for youths age 12-19, antidepressants for people age 20-59, cholesterol lowering drugs for adults 60 & older, and diuretics & beta-blockers used most often to treat heart problems & high blood pressure in adults of all ages.

There are two primary concerns I have about this finding.  1) The average number of side effects for a prescription drug is 70, but for those listed above can range from 100-500 side effects.  2) Studies have been shown that lifestyle changes and healthier habits can do nearly as much or even more to combat the original condition. 

So, why on earth are we spending so much money and putting ourselves at risk of side effects (some are pretty darn unsavory and quite scary), when all we have to do is take better care of ourselves – lose weight, exercise, eat well?  Here’s some proof in black-and-white that with a little effort, we could reduce our dependency on the script pad. 
·         Many psychologists prescribe exercise to children & adults with ADHD.  Exercise almost immediately elevates dopamine and norepinephrine and keeps them up for a period of time so that it acts like Ritalin or Adderall.  It also helps to lower impulsivity and still the cravings for immediate gratification as it wakes up the function of the frontal cortex, which in turn allows for delay, better choices, and more time to evaluate consequences.
·         Brain researchers & ADHD experts say added protein (including beans, cheese, eggs, meat, and nuts) to improve concentration, limited simple carbohydrates (such as candy, sugar, products made from white flour, white rice, and starchy potatoes), more complex carbohydrates (such as vegetables & fruits), and more omega-3 fatty acids (such as tuna, salmon, walnuts, and olive oil) can alleviate symptoms of ADHD. 
·         Exercise stimulates the brain and releases endorphins – the feel-good chemicals that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.  A 20-minute sweat session can be enough to perk up your mood for a whopping 12 hours, reports a University of Vermont study.  It may also be as effective as medication for treating depression.  And exercise can lead to changes in the brain that strengthen your resolve against stress. 
·         Research from Florida State University reports that pectin (found in apples, carrots, plums, citrus, cherries, & strawberries) reduces the body’s absorption of cholesterol.  In fact people who ate the pectin found in two fresh apples each day for a year saw a 23% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol. 
·         Regular physical activity boosts HDL (good) cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides (fatty blood lipids).  
·         Findings in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health show that just 30 minutes of walking three or more times a week can lower your blood pressure by five points.
·         A recent study followed 32,000 subjects for 18 years and found that those who ate the most whole grains (about 46 grams per day) were 19% less likely to be diagnosed with hypertension than those who ate the least.

These are only a few of the hard facts about how exercise and nutrition can help us avoid spending our hard-earned cash on prescription drugs and also help us avoid serious, risky, and unpleasant side effects that come with them.  So, help your kids combat ADHD by getting up and running around the yard with them, then go in and cook them a wholesome meal.  Avoid heart disease and high cholesterol by getting up off your tookus and rake some leaves then help your family make a meal full of whole grains and produce.  You will truly enjoy all the extra time and money you’ll have without prescriptions...especially minus dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, and constipation!

If you’re trips to the pharmacy outnumber your trips to the gym or walks around the neighborhood, or if your pills outnumber your servings of produce, it’s time to combat the condition with some sweat equity.  I will help educate, encourage, and motivate you to reduce your dependency on meds, and increase your quality of life.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable – let’s combat the condition today! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In This Economy, It’s Even More Essential to Trim the Fat

In the recent months, our economy has taken a pretty tough beating yet again.  The stock market has weathered the biggest drop since the collapse in 2008/2009.  Besides having a 401k, I am honestly a little uneducated when it comes to stocks, Dow, S&P, bull and bear.  However, I do know that our country is in an economic crisis.  Most every American, from those on welfare to those on Park Avenue, has felt a pinch in their wallet at some point over the past few years.  As a result, many Americans feel they must scale back on spending.  They are shopping at Wal-Mart rather than Pottery Barn, Kohl’s instead of Barney’s.  These cut backs are great, but an even more critical move is to cut back your numbers on the scale.  While many people might think they can’t afford to eat healthier, get more exercise, and lose weight – in this economy, it is even more vital.  Facts and statistics show that being at a healthy weight and taking better care of ourselves not only adds years to our life and life to our years, but adds dollars to our pockets.  Here’s proof that cutting the fat can save you big:
  • George Washington University recently reported that the average annual cost of being obese for a man is $2,646.  If an obese man got to a healthy weight, he could save enough money for a new car within six years!  
  • Obese employees earn $7,000 less annually than their fellow lean employees.  This may be due to the fact that obese employees cost employers millions of dollars each year in lost productivity, restricted activity, and more time spent on doctor’s visits.
  • The annual medical spending on an obese person surpasses that of a normal-weight person by $1,429.  You could make a house payment with your savings each year if you got to a healthy weight. 
  • The average cost of gastric bypass or gastric banding ranges from $17,000 to $35,000.  However, the total number of fat cells in your body remains constant once you reach adulthood.  Even after radical weight-loss procedures such as gastric bypass, fat cells return to their pre-surgery numbers within two years. 
  • Being overweight reduces a woman's chances of getting pregnant.  The average cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is about $12,000.  The National Institutes of Health believes obesity is one of the reasons why the fastest-growing group experiencing infertility is that of women under 25.  
  • People who regularly eat dinner or breakfast in restaurants double their risk of becoming obese.  You may think cooking healthy food at home is expensive, but I can make a healthy fresh meal for eight for less than $20 – it’s hard to find a restaurant that allows to people to eat for under $20. 
  • A Men’s Health survey recently found 62% of respondents would consider it grounds for divorce if their wife gained 100 pounds.  The average cost of a divorce in the US is $15,000 – incentive enough for both sexes to keep their weight in a healthy range.
  • People who lose just 10% of their weight report significant improvement in their sex lives.  With Viagra costing approximately $15 per pill, the annual cost of treating erectile dysfunction (which can be caused by obesity) could be a real downer!
While I couldn’t tell you if now is the time to buy or sell your stock or precious metal, I do know now is the time to drop your extra weight.  There may be many luxuries we can’t afford these days, but one thing we can always afford in any market is our health.  If your weight numbers are trending up, I will help you bring them down.  I will help you drop pounds, save money, and reclaim your life.  I promise that the pounds you lose will be worth their weight in gold! 

In this economy, we all need to trim the fat.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable – and something we can no longer afford! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It’s One Thing to Get Up, It’s Another to Get Out

I was driving across town yesterday and couldn’t help but notice all of the advertisements at churches about “Divorce Care”.  Living in the Bible Belt, it’s hard to go too far in any direction without passing several churches.  But for some reason yesterday I was surprised by how much support there was for people affected by divorce.  As someone who has been through a difficult divorce, I understand the need for support and help finding your way in the aftermath.  In the last few weeks I have also been watching the new season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.  In a very odd way, I have found that the more I understand people’s tendencies to engage in things that are not good for them only aids me in helping my clients.  So, while this rehab show is quite entertaining, I also learn a lot about human behavior.  While I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, I have witnessed in my own home how addiction can ruin a person, a life, and an entire family.  Just as with divorce, overcoming addiction requires a huge amount of support and love to conquer the demon within. 

Me moments before my wedding
It can take far too long
to find the strength to get out

While many people would not be willing to compare divorce or substance abuse to being overweight or obese, in many ways they are much the same.  In all three situations, it takes courage to admit there is a problem, willpower to fight the problem, and immense strength, love, and support to destroy it for good.  When I was going through my divorce I remember my pastor saying, “It’s one thing to get up, it’s a whole other thing to get out.”  It rang so true for me because I knew for far too long that my marriage was toxic, but it took incredible conviction to actually get out of it.  While I had not heard those words at the time, it was the same way when I was overweight.  For years I felt self-conscious, lethargic, unhealthy, and simply unhappy with myself.  But it took true dedication to get healthy before I actually did it. 

Me at 15 years old
With courage & support, 
I got out & you can too

Now, I completely understand that substance abuse can be dangerous and even deadly – I have witnessed this firsthand.  And I am awfully aware that divorce can destroy a person and a family – I am not only a divorced woman, but the child of divorce.  I know how destructive these circumstances can be.  But, I also know that approximately 10-15% of Americans suffer from addition to drugs & alcohol, approximately 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, but nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese.  So, while obesity may not be such an obvious devastator, it is much more widespread.  When you have mothers dying from heart disease, fathers dying from diabetes, children living shorter lives due to illnesses causes by junk food and their sedentary lifestyle, obesity is just as dangerous and deadly.  And it is currently affecting most every American in some way.  What’s worse is that obesity is preventable. 

If you are feeling lethargic and unhappy due to your weight or if your weight is out of control, or someone you love has health problems due to obesity, don’t just get up, GET OUT.  It is a toxic and destructive place to be and it is time to make a change.  I will help you – together we’ll find the courage, willpower, and strength to get out for good.   I will help educate, encourage, and motivate you to find your way out and get your life back.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable – let’s conquer the demon and get out today! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Happy Meal…Not So Much

In case you haven’t heard, the fast-food giant McDonald’s has announced this week that they are launching a new, “improved” and “healthier” Happy Meal.  Now, instead of offering children the choice of apples or fries, as McDonald's had experimented with in the past, all Happy Meals will automatically include both.  The standard kid’s meal will include a quarter-cup of sliced apples (or mandarin slices or pineapple chunks) and 1.1 ounces of fries (down from 2.4 ounces).  Keep in mind that a serving of fruit is a half-cup.  So, they aren’t even offering a full serving of fruit in the kid’s meal.  Customers can skip the fries altogether and double the apple slices for a full serving, but parents must ask.

In her response to if she felt the new Happy Meals met nutritional standards, Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s, stated "I am confident about the changes that we're making on our Happy Meals."  She completely avoided the nutrition aspect of the meal.  With the exception of a few variations based upon what is ordered, the new meals will represent a 20% decrease in calories, a 15% decrease in sodium, and a 20% reduction in saturated fat, according to Fields.  That makes the meal a healthier option, but not healthy enough.  The new Happy Meal still weighs in with a total 89 grams of sugar.  Nutritionists recommend no more that 12 grams of added sugar per day for kids!  The chain estimates the changes to the Happy Meal will save an estimated 49 billion calories in American kids' diets annually.  Seriously?  If it will save that many calories our kids are consuming, parents are allowing way too many Happy Meals! 

Fields also announced that they would continue providing a toy with each Happy Meal.  So the fast food giant is willing to sacrifice our kids’ futures for a toy as a consolation prize?  For years kids have wanted a Happy Meal in part due to the toy that accompanies it.  McDonald’s has preyed upon kids’ idea of what is fun and markets directly to their young imagination.  In 2009, McDonald's spent $69.5 million on advertising for its Happy Meals.  In the first half of 2010, it spent $45.6 million alone.  "We only advertise the healthy items in the Happy Meal," said Fields. "We've been doing that for a number of years."  Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t see anything “healthy” about a Happy Meal. 

I realize McDonald’s - or any other fast food chain with kids' meals - is not the only one to blame.  Parents must make the decision to drive to a McDonald’s and allow their children to eat a Happy Meal.  Do you remember the guy who burned his mouth on the hot coffee and tried to sue the chain because the coffee was hot?  He lost that case.  And the same goes for eating calorie-loaded, fat-laden foods from the chain.  Ultimately we are responsible for what we out into our bodies and what we feed our children.  But at what point does someone step up and become the voice of reason?  As I have said so many times before, we are currently killing our kids.  Not only will obesity shorten their lifespan, obesity will limit the quality of life our youngsters have.  They are more likely to suffer diseases, cancer, and even mental health issues.  Obesity increases the risk of depression by 55%.  Furthermore, statistics show that people suffering from depression have 24.5% more belly fat than those who are not depressed.  So, from where I stand, a Happy Meal is a far cry from its connotation. 

Even if fast food marketers and producers won’t step up, we can take our own steps to getting healthier.  We can reverse the obesity epidemic that is currently being waged.  Together we can get healthy and increase the quality and quantity of our years.  If you or someone you love is facing obesity or simply wants to prevent it, I am here for you.  “Happy” is found in your health, not in a box with greasy food and a toy.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable – let’s find true happiness today! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Children & Parents are Vulnerable to Obesigenic Environment

In a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, two doctors state that in extreme cases of childhood obesity, the state should consider removing the child from the home.  The authors state that severely obese children can eat more than 1,000 calories a day in excess of what their body requires, “suggesting profoundly dysfunctional eating and activity habits.”  So, the authors suggest that when training and other forms of support to parents don’t help change their children’s habits, foster care should be considered.  Although it’s not “desirable or practical, and probably not legally justifiable, for most”, it may be the only way to prevent imminent harm to those kids.  The authors note that foster care wouldn’t guarantee improved health, and that taking kids away from their parents is very traumatic.

I personally do not agree with taking children out of the home – I want a guarantee that our kids will get healthy.  The authors suggest foster care as a temporary placement for the child until the imminent risk has passed.  However, once the child is returned to the home, all the bad habits, inactivity, and poor food choices will return.  Taking severely obese children from their parents does not fix what is currently broken in our country.  Most parents of obese children are not harming their children on purpose – they simply do not know better.  The government should spend the time and money they would spend on this foster care and use it to teach and encourage parents to make better choices and to support them in their efforts.  We can prevent obesity – we can educate, encourage, support, and motivate families rather than punishing them for what they don’t know. 

We cannot expect a problem to simply go away without fixing what is broken.  And the country currently is very broken when it comes to obesity.  The most recent rankings among the states’ obesity rates show that Mississippi leads the nation in obesity with 34.5% of its residents obese.  However, even in the Colorado, the state with the lowest obesity rate of 21.4%, nearly 60% of its residents are either overweight or obese!  We are living in a society filled with fast food, sugary drinks, desk jobs, and video games – and it is killing us!  As the Journal article states, “Ubiquitous junk food marketing, lack of opportunities for physically active recreation, and other aspects of modern society promote unhealthful lifestyles in children. Inadequate or unskilled parental supervision can leave children vulnerable to these obesigenic environmental influences.”  The fact that we have an “obesigenic environment” should be the alarming issue.  We live in a society where the U.S. agriculture now produces 3,900 calories of food per person per day.  That is about twice the amount each person should consume per day.  Again I say, we must fix what is broken.

Many parents cite lack of time or lack of money (or both) as to reasons they can’t feed their children healthy foods or allow them to play sports or get physical activity.  For example, the census data for Mississippi shows that it is ranked #1 for persons living below poverty level and #50 for median household income.  On the flip side, Colorado is ranked #32 for persons below poverty level and #13 for median household income.  This trend is pretty consistent when reviewing poverty/income versus obesity rankings.  But, this does not have to be the trend – low income families do not have to automatically face obesity.  Parents can be taught and guided on ways to be healthy and stay within their financial and time budgets.  For example, some of the cheapest foods you can find in the grocery store are eggs and bananas – two very nutritious & delicious items that can be eaten any time of day.  Also, playing tag or a game of kickball with friends in a backyard or area field is absolutely free and gets kids active.  This is the time when the government should really heed the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!

If you or someone you care about is facing this obesigenic environment and doesn’t know how to get out, I will help educate, encourage, and motivate you to find your way out and get your life back.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable – let’s fix what is broken and prevent it today! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Now That We Know Better…

I just arrived home from a trip to Starbucks with my “tall daily brew” – no cream or sugar and a teaspoon of my own agave syrup.  As I was waiting on my coffee, I saw an obese woman getting out of her car.  She walked around to the back to do something in the trunk.  As I noticed how lethargically she moved, I saw an advertising deco on the driver’s side door but couldn’t see what it advertised.  As I left, I was able to see that she represents a diet product business.  The bottom of the deco said “as used on Hollywood red carpets”.  At first it made me laugh, but as I drove home, it concerned me more and more.  Don’t we know better by now?  How can we have obese people selling diet products?  How can we as Americans be spending more on diet products than ever before, but still be fatter than ever before?  Haven’t we learned our lesson?  How can we not understand that being healthy is found in lifestyle and not instant pill-popping or juice-drinking?

You can see my Pop Pop's cigarette pack
(filterless Lucky Strike) in his pocket. He
passed away from cancer soon after this photo.
As I have thought this morning about the health and obesity crisis that this country is facing, I thought about the time it requires to reverse a national lifestyle.  Let’s take tobacco use and cigarette smoking for example.  Cigarettes were first sold commercially in American in 1865.  The cigarette-making machine was invented in 1881 and Phillip Morris came out with the Marlboro brand in 1902.  During World Wars I & II, soldiers were given free cigarettes.  After those wars, the popularity of smoking was brought back to the states and into American homes.  Women were smoking, even while pregnant.  Tobacco use was allowed in hospitals – doctors would hold a cigarette in one hand while examining with the other.  It wasn’t until 1964 that the Surgeon General announced that cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.  So, it took nearly 100 years to discover cigarettes may be harmful.  It wasn’t until 1988 that it was discovered nicotine is an addictive drug.  However, big tobacco heads swore until 1997 that nicotine was not addictive.  In 1998, California was the first state to enact a statewide smoking ban.  By 2009, 37 states had some form of a ban on smoking.  Still, tobacco subsidies in the United States totaled $1.1 billion from 1995-2010 and will continue until 2014.  Bottom line, we all now know how harmful tobacco use can be to our health, but it took us nearly a century and a half to reverse the popularity and regular use of tobacco, but the government is still subsiding tobacco. 

You can see my Grandaddy's cigarette pack
(filterless Camel) in his pocket. He passed away
from cardiac arrest several years later.

Let’s now compare this cycle to the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  HFCS is a highly processed sweetener that has been shown to be harmful to humans and may be partly to blame for affecting Americans’ need for sweetness.  It is sweeter than sugar and has led many children and adults to crave even more sweetness in their diet.  HFCS was introduced into packaged and processed foods beginning in 1975.  By 1984, it was widely used in sodas and packaged foods.  Today, HFCS accounts for about half of the added sugar consumption in the US.  HFCS is easier to blend and transport because it is a liquid and is much cheaper to produce than sugar.  Since the mid 1990s, the US government has subsidized corn growers by $40 billion.  With only about 35 years of marketing, we may have a long road ahead before we can prove to Americans and manufacturers that HFCS is harmful.  But, now that we know better, can’t we make a change now?  We can at least take control of what we put into our (and our families’) bodies.  By eating fresh food straight from the earth, we know exactly what is and is NOT going into our bodies.  Let’s not put it upon our great-grandchildren in the 22nd century to ratify a ban on HFCS. 

And let’s keep in mind that HFCS is not the only nutritional invention that is causing us harm.  I just used this as an example.  Items like diet pills, energy drinks, hormone injections, meal replacements, etc have not been around very long but have all been shown to have harmful effects.  Let’s not wait around for the days when we say “if only I knew then…”  If we are really honest with ourselves, we know better now.  We just want to take the lazy, sugar-coated road.  And that road has only led to 66% of us being overweight or obese.  But, now that we know better, we can reverse this obesity epidemic and live better longer lives. 

If you or someone you knows better but needs help reversing your own trend, I will help you but on the brakes and head in the right direction.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Also, prevent the trend by signing your kids up for my Camp Champ for Kiddos.  See for July’s flyer.  Obesity is 100% preventable – we know better and we can make the change today! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Declare Your Independence This Fourth of July

This coming Monday, America will celebrate its independence.  It was 235 years ago that America adopted the Declaration of Independence declaring its independence from Great Britain.  While America as a country is no longer dependent, individual Americans and families have become grossly dependent on unhealthy food, technology, and comforts.  These dependencies have lead to a devastating obesity crisis which has led to further dependence on prescription medications to control blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure.  Today, the average American eats approximately 570 calories more EACH DAY than they did thirty years ago.  To put that into perspective, those additional calories could lead to a weight gain of about a pound a week.  That is 52 pounds a year! 

What is so astonishing about this is that we can make a change.  We do not have to risk our health and our future – obesity is widely reported as the #1 preventable cause of death in the United States.  With two out of three adults and one out of three children are overweight or obese, we are literally killing ourselves.  The majority of Americans are affected by being overweight or obese.  The main causes of this appear to be our dependence on supersize fast food meals, packaged “convenience” snack foods, sugary sodas & coffees, as well as our aversion to physical activity.  We are eating more and moving less.  Thirty years ago Americans were not only eating 570 fewer calories each day, they weren’t sitting with an iPhone in one hand and a video game controller or remote control in the other.  They entertained themselves by dancing in discos, playing in the cul-de-sac, roller-skating, playing Pac-Man while standing, and walking the streets with the ever-popular walkman.  Today, our entertainment typically involves us sitting down with fatty and/or sugary snacks on the couch or car seat next to us.  We very rarely enjoy our meals at a table with a knife and fork.  We want everything – information, dating, food, pleasure – instantly and single-handedly.  Rather than eating a bowl of cereal & fruit, we eat a processed cereal bar, we send an electronic invitation to meet instead of walking over to ask in person, we order food while sitting in a car only to consume it on the couch using our hands as utensils and laps as plates.  American families rarely cook a healthful meal for the family, let the kids set the table, and sit down without the distraction of some type of technology. 

The good news?  We can make a change today.  Use this Fourth of July as your day to declare your personal independence.  We can sever our ties to processed foods and inactivity.  We can make decisions that will help us lose our excess weight and gain our lives back.  We can eat less and move more.  We can declare our healthy independence and discover how much freedom we actually have – freedom from prescription meds, artery-clogging foods, and sedentariness. 

If you or someone you know needs help developing your own Declaration of Independence, I will be your congressional coach and motivator!  I will sign on with you and “we the people” will find your independence.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  And see for July’s Camp Champ for Kiddos flyer.  Obesity is 100% preventable – “We the People” can declare our independence! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Children Are Our Future

Showing the kids a kiwi
I have spent this week speaking with hundreds of kids ages 5-12 about their health.  It was an effort to teach the kids and to promote my Camp Champ for Kiddos in July.  The past three days with these kids has been a true inspiration.  I have made presentations at the Williamson County Parks & Recreation summer camps sites – six elementary schools in all.  It has reinforced my purpose of starting Coach D Consulting last year and has rejuvenated my passion for getting people healthy!  I absolutely adore the receptiveness and candor of children.  When I spoke to them about being health NERD’s (if you missed some of my previous posts, this is getting proper Nutrition, Exercise, & Rest Daily), they absolutely understood the importance of health.  They knew that should eat fruits & vegetables and get exercise.  But, there was a disconnect as to how they were supposed to go about doing that.  I showed the kids fresh produce – a bell pepper, a kiwi, a red pear, whole okra, a red-skin potato, and kale.  I explained to them how nutritious each was and how they could prepare it so it would taste great.  I also showed them exercises they could do with a family member during commercials rather than sitting on the couch all night.  Not surprisingly, most of the kids did not know they need 10-11 hours of sleep every night.  Many of them said they fell asleep watching TV or playing video games.  But after my presentation and a wide variety of questions from the kids, they began to understand how important nutrition, exercise and rest really are – and that they can be fun!  By the end of each presentation each child understood that healthy kids are happy kids! 

Whether you are a parent or not, your life will be affected by a child.  Today’s youth will one day run this country.  And if the obesity epidemic continues on its current trend, today’s youth will live shorter lives than we adults will.  And their lives will be filled with more illness and disease due to obesity, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition.  So, if we want to protect our future, we also need to protect our children’s future.  While this may surprise you, our children are hungry (pun intended) for knowledge about nutrition & exercise.  Just to prove to you how interested and eager they are to learn, I want to share with you several of the interactions I had with these kids over the past few days. 
·         An 8-year-old boy came up to me and asked me what the “green leafy stuff” was and how to make it into chips.  I told him it was kale and if he baked it at a very high heat for a few minutes it would get crispy and taste like chips.  He concentrated on every word I said, then paused and crinkled his eyebrows (I could see the wheels turning) and said “cool” and walked away.
·         A 10-year-old girl came up after the presentation with a piece of paper and marker and asked me the name of each vegetable & fruit I brought.  She wrote down one name at a time and showed a broad smile when she had the list complete. 
·         An 11-year-old boy told me about the Disney Channel’s Healthy Magic campaign.  I Googled it today and saw they the Magic of Healthy Living is a new initiative by Disney that includes nutrition & the Let’s Move campaign support by Michelle Obama.  Kudos to Disney!  
·         A 10-year-old boy asked me if I had a website.  I wrote it down for him and he asked the camp counselor if he could go put it in his bag.  He ran to the classroom to put it in his bag!
Getting the kids energized with exercise
·         A 6-year-old boy made up his own exercises and said “Coach D, is this good exercise?”  I loved it!  I said “Yes, it looks like it would make me out of breath!”
·         An 8-year-old boy who was overweight came up and while touching the food told me that he was smart for his age.
·         A 6-year-old girl asked why she need more sleep than her parents did. 
·         A 10-year-old girl wanted to know if we would rest during my camp in July.  I told her that we would eat healthy food and get lots of exercise, but I would let her rest in her own bed each night!
·         A 6-year-old boy wanted to know “what numbers in July” my camp would be.  I told him the dates were on the flyer.
·         Another 6-year-old boy then proceeded to raise his hand with great concern and tell me “I don’t even know what a flyer is”.  I assured him that we had a blue piece of paper for him to give his parents. 
·         A 6-year-old boy exclaimed after seeing the kiwi “I’ve had that…it’s delicious!”
·         A 7-year-old boy informed me that nutrition is “fiber”. 
·         One of the camp counselors asked me after the presentation how to make the kale chips and said she would do it this week!
·         One group had the camp counselors using their whistles to do football-style drills where they ran in place then hit the ground to do a push-up.
·         Many of the kids would run up to me and tap me on the shoulder (or stomach or back or wherever they could get their hands on) and say “watch this” and show me an exercise they could do. 

This is merely a handful of the amazing interactions I had with the kids this week.  I wish I had the memory to recall each and every question and numerous comments from each child.  But the bottom-line is that our kids are starving for knowledge and guidance on how to be healthy happy kids.  They are aware they need to be healthy, they just need support doing it.  I would like to end by purposefully quoting Whitney Houston, “The children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier…Everybody is searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to.”  Will you be that someone a child can look up to?  Will you show our youth how to be a health NERD?  Join me in making our future healthy & happy! 

Whether you have children who need to shape their future, or you’re an adult in need of reshaping your future, I am here to be your coach and your friend for life!  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  And see for July’s Camp Champ for Kiddos flyer.  Obesity is 100% preventable – let’s change our kids’ future today!