Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Guest Blog

I am currently guest blogging for Nashville’s Music City Moms.  You can find my current blog “Happy Healthy Holiday” which features tips for staying healthy during the holiday season and recipe for my festive scrumptious Holiday Potato Skins at

And if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for friends, family, clients, or even yourself, I’ve got two amazing holiday deals!  1) Buy two of my Don't Diet, Live It! books and get one free, and each will be personally signed!  2) Buy two mini muffins gift boxes and get a free sample pack!  You can only get these specials from me, so contact me to place your order.  And don't delay – these will only run through 2014!  Go to to see these holiday specials and to see all the ways I will educate, encourage, and motivate you the entire holiday season.  Obesity is 100% preventable, and it starts with a happy healthy holiday!  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Guest Blogger

I am currently guest blogging for Nashville’s Music City Moms.  You can find my current blog “TBT Thanksgiving Day” which features tips for Thanksgiving as well as a delicious green bean recipe at

And after your Black Friday shopping, remember that November 29th is Small Business Saturday!  Starting on Saturday through the end of the year, I will have two very special offers – one for my book and one for my muffin gift boxes.  So, stay tuned because they will be perfect for all your holiday gifts!  Go to to see these holiday specials and to see all the ways I will educate, encourage, and motivate you the entire holiday season.  Obesity is 100% preventable, and it starts with a healthful Thanksgiving!  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beyond the Bucket

Payne family
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve heard about the ice bucket challenge.  There’s even a good chance you have dumped a bucket of cold water on your head.  This has all been started in an effort to raise awareness of ALS and money for research for a cure.  And it is working – as I write this, donations have reached over $70 million (compared with $2.5 million in the same period last year).  Currently ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, does not have a cure, and most patients die within three years. 

I know personally the toll this disease can take not only on the patient but on the family.  About ten years ago I met the Payne family.  Marcy, the mother, had ALS.  At 37 years old, Marcy was running (and winning) 5 and 10K races.  She had a 6-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.  In August of 2000, she was diagnosed with ALS.  In October of that year, Marcy resigned from her executive director position at Happy Tales Humane – the no kill animal shelter she helped start in Franklin, TN.  She stopped walking in 2001, had to get a feeding tube to eat in 2002, and from March 2003 until her death in October 2010, she was a quadriplegic and on a ventilator in the family living room at home. 

Darcy and me
When I met them, Marcy was already a quadriplegic.  Her daughter, Darcy, had just started middle school.  I became like a big sister to Darcy – we went back-to-school shopping, planned Christmases and birthdays, I cheered her on at soccer, and attended her middle school graduation.  Although Marcy could not speak, she still had a very healthy influence on Darcy.  I can remember one time as Darcy and I were leaving the house, she went to kiss her mother goodbye.  While they were communicating (she used eye movements), Marcy told Darcy to “eat her vegetables”.  

Marcy was a strong, loving, vibrant, courageous, funny, fiery red head.  Though Marcy never physically spoke a word to me, those qualities were evident.  I didn’t know Marcy before, but those that did would agree that ALS did not affect her personality.  Since meeting Marcy, I have had days where I was feeling down – emotionally or even physically.  But Marcy gives me inspiration to push through and be strong.  How can I complain or be lazy when my body is capable of so much more.  How can I take my body and my health for granted when Marcy wanted nothing more than to stand up and hug her daughter?

I cannot tell you exactly what Marcy would think about this ice bucket challenge phenomenon.  But, I do think she would find it amusing and be grateful for the awareness and money it is raising.  But I also think she would be practical and want something even beyond the bucket.  Once you dump the bucket over your head, don’t let it simply be a memory or a funny video clip.  I challenge you to take advantage of your healthy body and make the best of it.  Run because you can.  Eat your vegetables because you can.  Many who are fighting ALS cannot.  Take nothing for granted.  Prevent what you can.  And honor those with ALS by taking care of your healthy body.

There may not currently be a cure for ALS, but obesity and the related health risks are 100% preventable.  Don’t take that for granted.  To see how I will educate, encourage, and motivate you to go beyond the bucket, go to

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This is Your Summer to Sizzle

Yep, it’s official.  Summer is here.  Memorial Day kicks off four months filled with pool parties, cookouts, cold drinks, and summertime treats.  I have seen a multitude of advertisements recently promoting trendy new food products and fitness movements.  However, these ads should come with a warning: proceed with caution.  If you’re not careful, a few of these new trends could alter your summer sizzle to a fizzle.  Here are a few offenders and my remedies to ensure you sizzle all summer!

Blend your own summer smoothie that sizzles!
Berry Pomegranate Premium Fruit Smoothie from Dairy Queen/Orange Julius – This sounds like a health drink and the ads boast “no artificial flavors”.  Too bad they fail to mention the amount of sugar in this bomb.  With 102 grams of sugar in a large, you will have slurped up four day’s worth of sugar.  The Original Orange Julius is even worse – it has 103 grams of sugar!  Swap your own summer smoothie by blending one cup mixed frozen berries, half cup nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, and half a banana in a blender.  Now that’s a refreshing summer sizzler! 

Zensation Zalad from Zaxby’s – Many people think salad is a healthy option, but this packs a whopping 1,165 calories, over half of what you’d need in an entire day.  With 49 grams of sugar, this salad has two day’s worth.  Plus it has more than a day’s worth of sodium.  That certainly doesn’t lend to a “zen” state!  For a summer sizzler swap, make your own salad by topping baby spinach with sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, mandarin orange segments, sliced almonds, and grilled chicken or shrimp.  Make a quick dressing by whisking a teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce, a teaspoon of juice from the mandarin orange, and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. 

Make your own wrap & sizzle this summer!
AM Crunchwrap from Taco Bell – Just one of these little breakfast items has 46 grams of fat, 14 of which are saturated.  That’s a full day’s worth of fat in the palm of your hand, and your day just started.  Instead, make your own wrap by scrambling an egg with bell peppers and Canadian bacon, top with shredded cheese & salsa and wrap in a whole grain tortilla.  Or make a sweet wrap by spreading a whole grain tortilla with peanut butter and wrap it up with a sliced banana, apple, or fresh berries.  My wraps are hand-held summer sizzlers!

CrossFit and other High-Intensity Workouts – While I always encourage physical activity, exercise choices should be based on your current fitness level.  If you would not label yourself “extremely fit”, CrossFit is probably not for you.  While it is very trendy, 75% of CrossFit participants have reported an injury that sidelined them.  Even those considered to be in “good” or “excellent” shape are at risk: 16% of CrossFit participants permanently dropped out due to overuse or injury.  Instead, make swimming your summer sizzler.  It has a lower risk for injury and is an excellent cardio and resistance workout.  Now that pools are open, it is the perfect summer option. 

Design your own obstacle course for
a free fun summer sweat session!
Mud Runs like Tough Mudder – These endurance races are unlike 10k races or even triathlons because they involve challenges that you cannot train for or anticipate.  These mud runs involve risk of serious injuries from extreme obstacle courses, electrical shocks, drowning, and bowel infections from stagnant water.  Some of these risks can even be fatal.  These mud run are intensely popular, but without proper regulations, supervision, or preparation, they may cause more harm than good.  Rather than run with danger, make your own obstacle course in your backyard or neighborhood playground.  You can use monkey bars, trampolines, swings, balls, bats, benches, bikes, or any other equipment you have on-hand.  Bonus: it’s free!  Make it a fun competition with friends or family, or just compete with yourself by improving your time with each set. 

By being aware of the summertime hype and recent trends, this can be your summer to sizzle!  In addition to my tips here, I will educate, encourage, and motivate you all summer long.  Go to  to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and it starts with a summer that sizzles!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Hope You Dance

Rhori & me at Dancing for Safe Haven
This weekend I attended a very special event – Dancing for Safe Haven, Nashville’s version of Dancing with the Stars which pairs local celebrities with professional dancers.  It is a fantastic event which raises money for homeless families in our area.  Not only was it a fun evening, I was awestruck by the transformation of the local celebrities from their day jobs to incredible dancers.  So how did I make my way to this event?  Let’s go back a few months.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting News Channel 5 anchor Rhori Johnston.  I soon found out that he was participating in Dancing for Safe Haven as a local
Rhori toning his core
celebrity.  After talking with Rhori, I learned that he was doing a fast-paced cardio-centric dance which also included lifts.  I could tell he was a bit anxious – not only about pulling off the dance, but also performing in front of so many people.  After all, he is an anchorman who is accustomed to wearing a suit while sitting behind a news desk.  I am a huge supporter of people pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone and realizing their true potential.  So, I offered to help get him in shape for the event. 

Before our first workout, I attended a rehearsal with Rhori and his pro partner Anne-Marie.  From the onset, I knew we needed to hone in on his core strength and work on his balance.  We started working out twice a week in February – which gave us eight weeks to transform Rhori for the event on April 12th.  Rhori made incredible progress after each session.  I could see his physical development as well as growth in his confidence and focus.  As the event approached, I knew Rhori was ready physically and mentally to rock this dance!  I believed in him – and I could see he believed in himself. 

Rhori rocked his dance!
During one of our first sessions, Rhori told me he wanted to participate in Dancing for Safe Haven because he watched one of his co-anchors, Vicki Yates, transform when she danced the previous year.  Rhori wanted to go through that – to push himself and to come out stronger on the other side.  I love that notion.  And I can only hope that Rhori, Vicki, Safe Haven, the pro dancers, and I can inspire you to dance (or walk, or run, or whatever pushes your limits).  Here’s my wish for you:
When you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance.
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances but they're worth taking,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

Wherever you are in life – this day, this moment, I encourage you to take a deep breath and do something beyond your comfort zone.  Take a step that will physically and mentally transform you.  You just might come out on the other side much stronger and healthier than you ever knew you could be.  I will be here for you, just like for Rhori –educating, encouraging, and motivating you the entire time.  Go to  to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and this is the day to take your first (dance) step! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spring Ahead, Propel Forward

For me as a kid, bathing suits were fun & care-free
As I write this blog entry, Memorial Day weekend is only 12 weeks away.  That means that the official start to summer will be here before we know it.  In fact, next weekend, we will set our clocks one hour ahead in anticipation of longer days, warmer mornings, and hotter nights.  As we set our clocks ahead, let this also be the time that we propel ourselves forward.  In the short time we have between now and Memorial Day weekend, we will have some pretty major events – spring break, spring weddings, Easter, prom, and a host of other warm weather activities.  Are YOU ready?

This winter has been especially brutal.  With the polar vortex and flu spreading all over the country, most of us have been hibernating and wrapped up in layers.  Chances are underneath those layers, we may be hiding some extra weight that is not quite ready for wedding or prom dresses, and certainly not bathing suits.  But have no fear, with a little hard work and determination, you can be ready to shed the layers and look fantastic in whatever attire spring and summer brings your way.

For me in high school, bathing suits
caused anxiety and the need to hide
I know personally how scary the thought of spring break, bathing suits, pools, and beaches can be.  I can remember hating the idea of trying on bathing suits each spring.  Trying to find the one that would hide my belly rolls or cover my hips was an annual routine.  And I can remember trying to find just the right cover up so I wouldn't feel terribly embarrassed standing next to my thin high school friends at the pool.  I would practice how to cross my arms or position my legs so that I could hide excess weight or cover cellulite.  I tried diets, but they just didn't work.  I would starve myself for a couple days only to end up eating cookie dough straight from the container. 

I was in college when I finally learned how to eat well, exercise properly, and respect my body.  I eventually lost 50 pounds by completely changing my lifestyle.  It didn't happen overnight, but I saw measurable results each week.  And I can remember one day looking in the mirror and
I am now healthier, stronger, and
more confident than I have ever been
finally seeing a body that I loved, respected, and felt secure about.  My body image was no longer one of self-doubt, ridicule, and agony.  I transformed my body image to be one of strength, beauty, and confidence.  I wish I had known more at an earlier age about healthy living.  It would have saved me a lot of heartache. 

My struggle made me stronger.  And I now use my knowledge and my strength to help others achieve success.  I have transformed bodies and lives – and I will transform yours.  Whether you are a bride, groom, member of a bridal party, planning a vacation, going to prom, attending a reunion, or simply want to feel confident when you shed your winter layers, I am here for you.  I will be your coach – a coach gives you a goal and then helps you reach that goal.  I am Coach D and I have the fitness and nutrition plan customized just for you.  And as your coach, I will educate, encourage, and motivate you the entire time.  Go to  to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and this spring is your time to propel forward! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Dose of Reality

Last week I participated in the filming of a reality-type TV show that focused on entrepreneurs in Middle Tennessee.  The TV show is called Zebras and Cheetahs and hosted by Micheal Burt.  Coach Burt is described as part coach, part entrepreneur, and all leader.  Coach Burt is the go-to guy for entrepreneurs who want to become people of interest.  Well, I consider myself a person of interest and certainly hope to spread my reach about my business and my passion.  I didn't quit my well-paying engineering job to be a person of irrelevance!  So, I trusted that Coach Burt and the Zebras and Cheetahs TV show would push me to be a better health & weight loss coach and business woman. 

The contestants and Coach Burt on the bus
I use the word “trust” because being on a TV is not something I am comfortable with – I’ve never been one to seek attention.  However, I always tell my clients that is only by pushing beyond your comfort zone that you will see progress.  Therefore, I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone.  With a bit of fear, a little anxiety, many unknowns, and a whole lot of excitement, I agreed to be one of the five contestants on the show.  With challenges, mentoring, coaching, and pitching, the show is what I would call The Apprentice, The Amazing Race, and Shark Tank all rolled into a Middle Tennessee version.  Filming took place over two days – each lasting more than ten hours.  The first day was definitely a learning experience.  There was a lot of introductions, feeling out the competition, learning about the challenges, and hurry-up-and-wait. 

At the end of the first night we were given our first challenge.  This was the Zebra Challenge to find out how each contestant stands out in the market – what makes them unique.  So we loaded onto Coach Burt’s bus (yes, this a big orange tour bus with Coach Burt’s photo looking back at you) to begin the challenge.  We arrived at the Boys & Girls Club where we met some amazing kids and were mentored by Kendra Cooke, a top agent at Bob Parks Realty.  After hearing from Kendra and the kids, we were challenged to see who could raise the most money for the Boys & Girls Club.  Talk about outside my comfort zone!  I was not at ease asking people for money…and did I mention we were dropped off outside in 12-degree weather?!  But, all the contestants raised a lot of money that will be a huge benefit to the Boys & Girls Club. 

The second day of filming included a Cheetah Challenge to see how we could stay agile in the
That's me in the white pants...pushing
beyond my comfort zone.
market.  For this challenge, we arrived at the Ascent, a rock-climbing facility where we met the manager Jeff Hess and his staff.  We were also mentored by Phil Cavender, the influential investment specialist and founder & CEO of The Cavender Financial Group.  We were then given the task of climbing the rock wall (at least 50-60 feet high) and making a pitch to Jeff, Phil, and Coach Burt.  Again, this definitely made me push beyond my comfort zone.  I consider myself very fit, athletic, and coordinated.  However, I had never climbed a rock wall, and certainly not while being filmed and competing against four other people!  About three-fourths of the way up the wall, my body began to burn and my mind began to fill with doubt.  It was a true test for me and what I was capable of.  I tell my clients “your mind quits long before your body”.  I started telling myself that.  And through my self-doubt, I lifted my foot and stepped up one notch at a time and made it to the top!  I came down, made my pitch, and had more confidence with myself and what I coach to my clients. 

The second day of filming also included our final pitch to the board about what makes us zebras and cheetahs.  Each contestant had been challenged and coached and we were finally ready to prove ourselves the board, to Coach Burt, to ourselves, and to the viewers of the TV show.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have been a contestant.  I am humbled by the process.  And I am proud to say I am a zebra and a cheetah. 

I would be remiss if I did not thank the film crew – they were professional and patient – and Brock Patterson – he is the executive producer & Coach Burt’s “chief optimizer”, but more importantly he was a work horse, advisor, and friend. 

You will have to tune in to The CW (WNAB) on February 23rd at noon to watch the show, root for your favorite contestant, and find out who won the challenges and board pitch!  If you miss it, it will be posted on YouTube once it airs.  I am happy to have my dose of reality.  I am now better equipped and more inspired to be your health & weight loss coach.  You don’t have to be on a TV show to change your life.  I will coach you and support you as you push beyond your comfort zone and find success!  Go to  to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and that’s a dose of reality we can make happen today!