Monday, June 14, 2010

Find the new blog here

Hi Everyone! I have moved to a new blog at
Please visit and subscribe there!

In health,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Blog

Sorry for the delay in posting. I am currently working on a new wordpress blog. I will update here with the new address when it is ready to go.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Time Drains

We frequently ask ourselves, where does all our time go? Continue to log your activities every day for a week to get an accurate picture of how your time is being spent. Then look through those activities and ask

  • Is this something I have to do?
    Is this something I like to do (but don't have to)?
  • Are there things I WANT to do that I'm not doing?
  • Are there things I am doing that I don't have to and don't honestly enjoy that much?

Today, consider anything that falls within the last category because this is one of the easiest ways to find more time. Are there things you are doing that are not benefitting you or anyone else, but are time-consuming? Often, these are things that "suck you in". Maybe they are things you need to invest some time in, but not to the extent you have been. For example:

  • You need to check your email but you don't need to completely read through every newsletter and chain message you get or click on every link. Skim for what is important and relevant and delete the rest.
  • It's ok to watch TV programs that you truly enjoy, but are you zoning out and watching shows that don't interest or entertain you? Pick a few programs each week and stick to watching only those.
  • Time on the internet - spent in countless ways (social media, youtube, news, celebrity gossip). Set a certain amount of time you allow yourself to be on the computer and then SHUT IT DOWN!
Simply identifying these time drains can help you find a few extra hours a week to exercise and/or plan and prepare your meals. Are there other areas where you find yourself losing track of time, but not really gaining any tangible benefits?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Where does your time go?

One of the most common reasons for not exercising and eating right is not having enough time.
We all get the same amount of time - 1440 minutes a day, 168 hours a week - but we choose to spend it differently. I'm not trying to ignore the fact that some people have fewer commitments and more flexible schedules than others, but the truth is there are some people who find time to exercise and prepare healthy foods and others who don't. You need to find a way to be in the first category!

The first step to finding time in your schedule and plan more effectively is to become aware of where your time goes. For one week, keep a log of everything you do from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed.

Keep it simple! You can use a notebook, your phone, or a computer document. Just write down the time and the activity. The next step will be to find hidden pockets of time, ways to rearrange your schedule to be more efficient, and how to plan effectively. Don't skip the first step though, log everything you do for one week.

Some common "time robbers" for people I know include:
  • Email & surfing the Internet
  • TV
  • Social media - Twitter & Facebook
  • Cleaning the house & "straightening up"
  • Getting in & out of the door (getting ready in the morning and at night)

Are there "time robbers" you know are taking up too much of your time with too little payoff? If so, what are they?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Get more fruits & veggies in your diet

Here are some ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables throughout the day.


  • Add 1 small banana or ¼ cup of raisins to your cereal or oatmeal
  • Add a small piece of fruit: peach, plum, apple, banana or orange
  • Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice, like orange juice
  • Make a veggie omelet with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach


  • Add a side salad to your lunch, or choose a salad entrĂ©e
  • Eat a cup of vegetable soup
  • Choose baby carrots, celery, or sliced bell peppers as a side dish
  • Load up your sandwich or wrap with fresh veggies


  • Start with a salad or vegetable soup
  • Have 2 vegetables with dinner; choose vegetables of different colors like 1 sweet potato and 1 cup of cooked broccoli, or 2 cups of salad and a side vegetable
  • Have fruit to end your meal; try fresh berries or melon


  • Snack on cut up veggies with low fat dip, like carrots, bell peppers, broccoli
  • Drink a cup of 100% vegetable juice
  • Carry dried fruit, fruit cups, or a piece of whole fruit with you

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What can you gain?

We aren't talking about gaining weight, we're talking about health benefits. My hope today is that you will get excited about what we can do to improve our health simply through nutrition - no drugs or miracle pills required!
  • Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can improve health, energy level, and general well being.
  • People who eat larger portions of fruits and vegetables have a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and possibly heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Fruits and vegetables contain healthy antioxidants and phytochemicals.
  • Fruits and vegetables are good food choices to assist in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight because they are low in calories but high in nutrients, fiber, and water to fill you up.
  • Diets high in fruits and vegetables can promote memory function and healthy aging.
  • Eating fruits and vegetables promotes strong bones and teeth and healthy vision.

So what are you eating today?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One diet change to make today

Do you know what change in your diet could vastly improve your health, calorie balance, and weight loss efforts?

Eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day! Sometimes counting calories and grams of proteins, fats and carbohydrates can be tedious. There are no gimmicks or tricks involved in this approach - simply eat more wholesome, nutritious fruits and vegetables. As long as you are eating a variety (i.e. don't eat only avocados, potatoes and bananas) you are going to naturally improve your diet.

It is important to focus what you SHOULD be eating and not just what you SHOULD NOT be eating. Motivational experts will tell you - you naturally gravitate towards what you are focusing on and thinking the most about. So if your thoughts are "Don't eat desserts, don't eat desserts, don't eat desserts" desserts are going to be more noticeable to you and even more appealing because you have been thinking about them all day.

Focus on eating a variety of delicious fruits and vegetables and all the health benefits they will bring you!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Weekend Is Here

It's easier for most of us to be disciplined about what we eat during the week than on the weekend. The weekdays tend to have a more regular schedule, while weekends can bring a variety of social occasions, parties, opportunities to eat out and more.

If you read the blog post from Feb 28th, you remember that eating consistently across weekends and holidays is one of the keys to success for people who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that weight loss!

There are 3500 calories in a pound, so you need to create a deficit of 500 calories/day to lose 1 pound a week.

If you stick to your plan and create a 500 calorie deficit each day, you will lose 1 pound a week. If you create a 500 calorie deficit for 5 days (Mon-Fri) but than overconsume 1000 calories on each of your weekend days (Sat & Sun) your weekly balance is only -500.

Since there are 3500 calories in a pound, it will take you 7 weeks to lose 1 pound if this is your pattern! Most of us are not that patient and will abandon our plan out of frustration.

You may be thinking -"Yeah, but I wouldn't overeat 1000 calories, that's a lot!" Here is what 1000 calories looks like:
Margarita: ~400-500 kcal
2 oz tortilla chips: ~300kcal
3 TBS queso & 2 TBS guacamole: ~200kcal

or how about this:
Bagel (large): ~380 kcal
2 TBS Cream Cheese: ~200 kcal
Caramel latte: ~410 kcal

Is it easier to overeat 1000 calories than you expected? Have you felt frustrated by your inability to lose weight when you feel like you're being "so good"? It can take just 2 days to cancel out 5 days of hard work! Stay consistent and make wise choices.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Diet soda is not good for your "diet"

In recent history, we have seen the number of Americans who are overweight or obese rise to 60-66% of the population. A lot of attention has also been given recently to the number of children who are becoming obese.

What or who is to blame? There are many contributing factors including our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, availability of fast food and convenience foods, bigger portion sizes, and more. Another change in the American diet is increased consumption of soft drinks. Statistics show that Americans drink more soft drinks than any other country in the world - the average is over 600 12oz cans per person per year!

Many people drink diet soda guilt-free and without any regard to portion size. After all, it has 0 calories, so people don't think there is any harm. Research is starting to show, however, that there could be greater harm to articifical sweeteners and diet soft drinks than anyone previously realized. Drinking soda may contribute to the following:
  • Increased risk of obesity
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems
  • Reduced calcium in bones and increases risk of osteoporosis
  • Gastrointestinal distress and heartburn
  • Dental caries and erosion

Read more here:

Why drink soda, diet or regular? It has NO nutritional value whatsoever, and could be doing a lot of harm to your body if consumed in high amounts long-term!

Have you found successful ways to kick your soft drink habit? Please share!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Drink This, Not That!

When you are trying to lose weight and control the number of calories you are consuming, one of the first areas of your diet to look at is your beverage intake. Most people would agree, they would rather dedicate calories to satisfying, filling food vs. sugary beverages.

So drink THIS, not THAT for 1 cup/8oz beverages

  • Skim milk = 80 kcal & 0g fat NOT Whole milk = 150 kcal & 8g fat

  • Tea (iced or hot) no sweetener added = 0kcal NOT Sweet tea = 120 kcal

  • Light orange juice = 50 kcal NOT Regular juice = 130kcal and 30g sugar

  • Starbucks tall "Skinny" latte = 90 kcal NOT tall Starbucks caramel macchiato = 180kcal
  • If alcohol is in your budget - Wine spritzer or light beer ~90kcal NOT Margarita ~500kcal

Finally the big one: drink _____ not coke (soda, pop, whatever you like to call it).

The answer is not diet soda! Drink water instead. I'm going to talk some more about soda - including diet - in a blog all its own!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Here are some fun facts to get you exited (or at least moderately motivated) about drinking more water!

The human body is approximately 50-70% water
Water acts as a solvent and lubricant in the body
Water transports nutrients and wastes
Water helps regulate temperature and a variety of chemical processes

Drinking enough water can help with weight loss because
  • It ensures you are not confusing hunger and thirst
  • Helps you feel fuller
  • Can help reduce cravings

In addition, it can help your hair, skin & nails to stay healthy and keeps everything in the body running smoothly. So drink up!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Save hundreds a day

You know that weight loss is a matter of math - calories in need to be less than calories out. The rate of weight loss depends on how large of a deficit you create.

If you are serious about losing weight, one change you need to make is DRINK WATER instead of other beverages. Buy a 32 ounce water bottle and fill it up twice a day. That is the baseline water requirement for most people (you may need more if you are exercising strenuously or outside in the heat).

Depending on your current diet, you could easily save hundreds of calories, probably primarily sugar, and also a lot of money. Think about carrying your own water vs. buying drinks from vending machines or gas stations, and not adding drinks to restaurant bill. That $$$ seriously adds up over time!

Stay tuned for more info about various beverage choices...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Substitute It!

Sometimes, you can find a lower calorie option to satisfy your sweet craving. Note: Desserts are typically never “healthier” (unless it’s fruit) in terms of nutrition, but you can choose options with less calories and fat. Some examples:

· Low fat/no sugar added pudding or jello

· Hot chocolate

· Make substitutions in your baking: applesauce for oil, splenda/truvia for sugar, etc.

· Chocolate milk (skim milk, add no-sugar chocolate syrup)

· Fruit


These tricks can you with any of the above approaches to controlling your intake of sweets. Usually a craving will pass if you can postpone 20-30 minutes.

· Distract yourself with an activity: take a walk, play the Wii, call a friend, paint your nails, read a magazine

· Drink a big glass of water, add some lemon or mint or a cup of hot tea

· Chew gum or brush your teeth

So what is your preferred approach for controlling cravings for sweets? Avoid, control, or substitute? I would love to hear what has worked best for you!

Sweet Tooth: Control It!

So how does "Avoiding It" sound? To be honest, not too good to me! I love to have dessert or something sweet every now and then. So the key becomes PORTION CONTROL.

If you really enjoy dessert, allow yourself to have some in moderation and make sure the calories work into your overall calorie “budget”. When using this approach, go for the high quality stuff that will really satisfy your sweet tooth but only consume a small portion. This is not always the most economical option, but it is SO WORTH IT in the long run if it helps you keep your weight under control. Examples

  • Buy just a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen Daz, or your favorite ice cream
  • A small pack or individual serving of your favorite candy or high quality chocolate
  • Bake your favorite dessert with a plan to give 90% of it away

Have you ever had a craving and tried to avoid by eating something "healthy" like rice cakes...and then you eat pretzels...and then some yogurt...and then something else. And finally you are either stuffed and unsatisfied, or you end up eating what you REALLY wanted in the first place, plus all those other calories in between! That's why I say, sometimes it's best to give your body what it wants/craves. Just keep the portion size moderate :)

Sweet Tooth: Avoid It!


If you have a hard time having “just one” of something, your best bet may be to avoid sweets all together. This requires environmental and mental preparation.

· Don’t keep sweets in the house. Family members will have to go out for their treats.

· Get cooperation from your family and co-workers.

· Remove yourself physically from where the food is available – don’t walk past the vending machine, drive past your favorite ice cream shop, or stand by the buffet.

· Mentally: don’t even entertain the thought of eating _____. In your mind, it cannot even be a possibility!

Sweet tooth

This week I'm going to blog about something many of us cite as a struggle...avoiding sweets! Most of us could use a little help getting our inner cookie monster under control.

Throughout the week, I'm going to discuss 3 approaches to keeping our intake of sweets, desserts, and sugary foods under control. But first, here are some good practices we need to follow to avoid a "struggle" in the first place.

  • · Stay hydrated: drink plenty of water throughout the day. Eight 8-ounce glasses (64 ounces total) is a good starting point. You may need more if you exercise strenuously or spend a lot of time in the heat. Your body will sometimes confuse hunger and dehydration - especially hunger for sweets!
  • · Don’t let yourself get too hungry: eat small meals every 3-4 hours. When you get too hungry, your ability to make wise, nutritious food choices is compromised. Your body may also be more desperate for some quick energy - sugar.
  • · Get enough sleep. When your body is tired, it may crave energy and a quick pick-me-up in any form it can get it; again - sugar! Try to get sufficient sleep for YOUR body every night (anywhere from 7-9 hours depending on your personal needs). If possible, take a quick 20-minute power nap during the day when your energy lags vs. using caffeine or food.
  • · Recognize and deal with stress. When you find yourself thinking, "I have got to have ___(chocolate, cookie, brownie, etc)!", ask yourself - why? Did something stressful just happen? Are you in the middle of a consuming project? Did you just have an unpleasant conversation with someone? Don't use food to numb or pacify your emotional needs and stress!
Do you see any of these points above contributing to your cravings for sweets? If so, what can you do to address them?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Goal for the Week!

Have you set your goal for the week? What are you going to do for just 7 days, or even 5 days (until Friday)?

Eating no dessert for the rest of your life sounds overwhelming!

Eating no dessert between now and Friday...totally doable!

Set yourself a small goal for this week that will help you improve your nutrition, exercise program, sleep and stress relief, or your weight loss. Pick one thing and then tell someone for accountability - or post as a comment.

My goal for the week: Plan my meals and stick to my plan! For me...this means saying "no" to any special treats that appear in the office or any special cravings. If it's not part of my plan, I'm not going to eat it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Strength Training Exercises

Here are some excellent resources for strength training exercises, check out these online libraries:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Strength Training

A friend recently asked for some basics on how to get started with a strength training program, here you go!


SETS: 1-3
  • 1 Set: Good for beginners and to maintain strength
  • 2 Sets: Good for strength gain, minimal increase in muscle size
  • 3+Sets: Good for gains in strength and power, increase in muscle size
  • 1-8 reps: Maximum strength/power
  • 8-12 reps: Strength and hypertrophy (increase in muscle size)
  • 12-20 reps: Muscle endurance (I really don't think more than 15 reps are necessary)


However many reps you do, use a challenging enough weight that the last couple of reps are difficult - you would be unable to continue any further. You will follow a double progressive program. Example: you can do 10 reps of bicep curls with 10lb dumbbells. Eventually you work your way up to 15 increase your weight to 12.5 lb dumbbells, and perform 10 reps. Work your way to 15 reps...increase weight to 15lb dumbbells. Imagine an ascending set of stairs.

You want to rest for a minimum of 48 hours before working the same body part. (Take a day off before working that muscle group again.)
Rest 30 seconds - 2 minutes between sets if training for endurance, 2-5 minutes between sets if training for strength.
I recommend using machines when you are starting a strength training program. Machines help to control your form until you build some base strength and muscle memory. You will want to change up your program in 4-6 weeks. Add new exercises. Have fun!
  • Leg press - gluts & legs
  • Leg extension - quadriceps
  • Leg curl - hamstrings
  • Calf raise - calves (gastrocnemius & soleus)
  • Lat pull down - back (latissiumus dorsi)
  • Chest press - pectoralis major
  • Shoulder press - deltoids
  • Arm curl - biceps
  • Arm extension - triceps

Plus exercises for your core (abdominals and lower back)!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tips from National Weight Control Registry

At our last meeting, we talked about the National Weight Control Registry - a database of individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that weight loss for at least 5 years. Here's a recap of 6 key behaviors that lead to long-term success (along with some commentary):

Eat Breakfast

They say it's the most important meal of the day...and it's true! You need to eat breakfast to get your metabolism going in the morning. You do need to eat healthy, nutritious foods.

Eat: Oatmeal, whole grain cereals (without a lot of sugar), wheat toast with scrambled egg whites. Not: poptarts, sausage egg & cheese croissant, doughnuts/muffins.

Moderate caloric intake

You need to consume fewer calories than you expend (use) in order to lose weight, and you need to have an equal balance of calories in/calories out to maintain your weight. Stop the yo-yo dieting pattern of eating way too much and then starving yourself to try to make up for it and lose the weight you've gained. Choose a healthy diet you can live with long-term, and a moderate caloric intake so weight gain will not creep up on you!

Regular physical activity

As discussed above, you have to balance calories in/out to maintain your weight. Diet is key, but so is expending calories through regular exercise. Those who have been successful in their weight loss and maintenance continue to work out 4-6 times a week for a minimum of 45 minutes.

Self monitor weight

If you have a history of eating or weight disorders, you may be an exception to this point. For most people, weighing yourself once a week (same time, same day, same conditions) is important to help keep your weight in check and stay in touch with your body. Read below for a major part of the reason why...

Correct small weight gains quickly

Successful weight loss maintainers monitor their weight, and correct small gains quickly before they become bigger problems. For example, if I notice I have gained 5 pounds over the past 2 weeks, I need to adjust my eating & exercise habits immediately and get those 5 pounds off. If I delay and continue along that path, I will put on 30 pounds in 3 months - YIKES!

Eat consistently across weekends and holidays

This isn't to say you can't treat yourself, but in moderation and working into your overall calorie budget. Many people eat very differently on weekends/holidays or see these times as occasion to splurge. If you are constantly overeating on the weekend or during holiday seasons, you may feel frustated that you are never able to reach your goals. If you are always having to "make up" for overeating, you will never advance towards your goals but take 2 steps forward and 2 steps back...and stay stuck in the same place!

Consistency is the key to all these points! Break the mentality of being "on a diet", because you need to be consistent every day: eat moderately, exercise, monitor your weight, and eat consistently throughout the week and year. Choose healthy habits you can live with for life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Start with just one step

There is a lot of fitness/nutrition/weight loss advice out there...I know, I have been providing plenty of it myself! :)

Sometimes having *SO* much information can be overwhelming and therefore paralyzing. Where to begin? Set a goal for yourself, just one for this week. Below are some examples.

This week I'm going to...


  • Eat 5-6 small meals each day, eating every 3-4 hours
  • Eat 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water - that's 8 - 8oz glasses
  • Keep a food log - enter or write down EVERYTHING I eat
  • Limit myself to one _______ per day (soda, sweet...if there is something not so healthy you consume a lot of, this can be a good way to start breaking the habit)
  • Not snack after dinner/at my desk (wherever you tend to fall to mindless eating)


  • Sleep 7-8 hours every night
  • Do something relaxing/I enjoy for 15 minutes each day (take a bath, drink a cup of tea, read a magazine)
  • Plan a social event with a friend


  • Be more active throughout the day by... (Examples) taking my dog for a walk every day, taking the stairs, parking farther away, getting up from my desk & walking around
  • Stretch every day
  • Do __ minutes of cardio __days this week

* A good goal for weight loss is to exercise for 45-60 minutes, 5 days a week. If you're new to exercise, start out gradually. Try 20 minutes 3 days a week, and work up from there.

Don't try to do everything all at once, pick just one goal to start. Or if you're really ambitious, pick one goal from each category: Nutrition, Rest/Stress Relief, Exercise. Sometimes we feel anxious to change, but a week goes by very fast. :) Better to do one thing well, and then add another habit next week - building on success!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Food Diary & Calorie Tracking

How do you know how many calories you're eating each day? You can do it the "old fashioned" way - writing down everything you eat and the nutrition information, and adding up by hand.

There are many great resources for tracking your food intake electronically as well.

  • This is a USDA site that has TONS of great information and resources. You can also set up an account for FREE and enter all your food in. It will help you to track your calories and also how balanced your diet is - how you are eating across various food groups.
  • Type "calorie counter" or "food diary"into your search engine and you will find many websites that allow you to log your food and obtain all the information you need. A few examples
  • Apps for your phone: two of my favorites are "My Fitness Pal" and "Lose It!". If you have a phone with this capability, you can keep your food log with you everywhere you go.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weight Loss Math

Do you know the equation for weight loss? You may have heard that weight loss is simple math, and that is generally true for the majority of people. In order to lose weight, you need to expend ("burn") more calories than you consume.

There are 3500 calories in a pound.

To lose 1 pound a week, you need to create a 500 calorie per day deficit (500 kcal/day x 7 days = 3,500 kcal/week).

To lose 2 pounds a week, you need to create a 1,000 calorie per day deficit (1,000 kcal/day x 7 days = 7,000 kcal/week).

This deficit can be created by:
  1. Eating less
  2. Moving more (exercise)

Do you know how many calories you are eating & expending each day? More about that later this week...

Friday, February 5, 2010

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Goals are dreams with deadlines. ~Dianna Scharf Hunt

We talked about setting SMART goals at our first meeting. An example of a goal that is NOT "SMART" would be: "My New Year's resolution is to lose weight and get in shape." That is not a bad goal, but it's not specfic and clear enough to take us to our desired end result.

In the Old Testament, there are numerous examples of God giving direct and specific instructions (think of Adam & Eve, Noah, Moses, Joshua....etc). In Genesis chapters 6 & 7, God gives Noah a precise plan for building the ark and gathering the animals. Nehemiah had a well thought out plan for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and obtaining the resources to execute his plan.

We need to have a clear vision of our goal and result, and a purposeful plan of how to get there.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals:

Specfic: What exactly do you want to accomplish? Be clear, concise, and straight forward.
Measurable: How will you know when you have met your goal? The measure can be quantitative or qualitative, but you must decide ahead of time how you will measure progress.
Attainable: Is my goal should be attainable (realistic) but challenging?
Relevant: Does my goal relate to my dreams, interests and lifestyle?
Time-bound: When do I hope to accomplish my goal? No deadline inevitably leads to procrastination...

Read more about setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals here:

Another element of goal setting is breaking down bigger goals (I want to lose 100 pounds, I want to run a marathon) into short-term goals and manageable chunks...more about that coming soon!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Small Group - Spring 2010

Join us for our Spring 2010 Small Group semester. Click on the "Small Group" banner below to visit the Celebration Church website and view the Small Group catalogue online. Look for information about this group under "Women's Interest".

We will be meeting the 1st and 3rd Fridays of every month from 12-1pm in northwest Austin. The semester will run from February to April. The group meetings will include a time for fellowship, learning more about healthy living, and Q&A/discussion time. Please feel free to bring your lunch!

The goal of this small group is give you resources, tools and support so you can live a healthy lifestye and achieve and maintain your optimal weight. This blog will also be a tool for downloading resources, discussion, and encouragement between meetings. Each week, we will discuss one topic/element under the following categories:

  1. Nutritious Eating
  2. Active Living & Exercise
  3. Rest & Stress Management