How to lose weight while breastfeeding

Enjoying his banana on a stick!

August 9, 2016 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Deals, Parenting, Pregnancy and Lactation, Weight Management | By

Moms, the struggle is real.  Staying fit is hard enough in the first place, let alone after being pregnant for nine months and THEN the responsibilities of being a mom to a growing family.  Even worse, your fitness takes on a whole new dimension after your baby is born – particularly if you’re breastfeeding!  You probably have a lot of questions, like how to lose weight while breastfeeding, how to get your belly back in shape and more.  I’m a mom of two AND I have a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and I want to answer these questions for you.  Read on!

Do you wonder how to lose weight while breastfeeding? What exercises are safe for your core after having a baby? Check out the New Mom's Guide to Fitness.

Lucky for you guys, I put this all in a short and sweet video course called The New Mom’s Guide to Fitness.

How to lose weight while breastfeeding

For me, I was always scared to lose baby weight because I didn’t want to mess with my milk supply.  Most moms don’t know how to lose weight while breastfeeding – and there’s definitely some important points you don’t want to miss.  You should never eat below a certain number of calories, and it’s important to have a specific mix of nutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrate).  It’s also important to lose fat at a gentle pace.  I talk about the specifics in the New Mom’s Guide to Fitness and include a worksheet that shows you how to calculate our daily calorie intake AND your proportion of fat, protein and carbohydrate.

Are you nervous about trying to lose weight while breastfeeding?  Learn important safety tips for protecting your milk supply!

How to safely train your core

The most common abdominal exercises might actually be dangerous after you’ve had a baby – especially the types of workouts you get on Pinterest and in mainstream fitness DVDs.  Crunches, planks, V-ups and burpees can be too much load on your weakened midsection.  There are some very specific steps you need to take to protect your abdomen postpartum, or you might end up with a hernia.  I talk about what NOT to do, and also include a video with a few sample exercises you can do instead.

Preventing baby wearing injuries

A lot of moms end up with VERY sore backs from carrying or wearing their little ones.  Since your kids always want to be held, this is not good. There are a few tips that can help you head off aches and pains and I’ll cover those in the New Mom’s Guide to Fitness.

The right goals

There’s so much else that goes into staying fit after having a baby. Planning and goal setting are two HUGE components where moms make a lot of mistakes.  My goal is to help you get off on the right foot by having the right plan for you.

In closing

I’m an experienced fitness professional and mom.  I’ve got a short, sweet and affordable video course to help you take ownership of your fitness after having a baby!

Learn how to lose weight while breastfeeding, prevent babywearing injuries and choose the right core exercises after you've had a baby!

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Free Sports Affirmations for Running MP3

Sports Affirmations for Running: Download this FREE MP3 to train your mind the way you train your body.

March 4, 2016 | Posted in Deals, Giveaways, Mental Health, Services, Weight Management | By

Do you run?  I’ve dabbled in running for most of my “Fit” life – it’s so convenient and I love being in the great outdoors.  I would by no means consider myself a great runner.  About 10 years ago, I could hardly run two blocks (truth – just ask my husband.  He thought I was faking it).  I rarely go over 5 miles now and prefer shorter, faster distances…. but I’m still a much better runner now.  Even with my improved performance, I’ve noticed my internal monologue isn’t so great when I’m running.  “This is hard.  I can’t wait to stop.  Are we there yet?”  Enter Sports Affirmations for Running.

Sports Affirmations for Running: Download this FREE MP3 to train your mind the way you train your body.

Sports Affirmations for Running

Years ago, I decided to help change my inner monologue by making an audio track of positive statements about running.  Affirmations had worked great for me when I had used them before, so I was excited to apply them to my athletic endeavors.  Low and behold, my clients loved using the MP3s too.  I made them for my golfers and tennis players, too.

Affirmations are positive statements that help to improve the way you feel about yourself and your athletic performance.  As long as you have some shred of positivity about running and YOU running, these MP3s can help magnify those positive feelings and reset your inner monologue (Side note: Are you a complete negative Nancy about running? You’ve probably chosen the wrong way to get fit.  I highly recommend contacting me, so you can find a way of getting fit that makes you JOYFUL!).  Having a stronger mind means you will run faster and go farther – whether you are a beginner on those first few (very difficult) runs, or a seasoned athlete looking to push your pace in your next race.

After a successful stint on Amazon and ITunes, I’m offering my Sports Affirmations for runners FREE for a limited time.  All you have to do is click here and sign up for my newsletter – after you sign-up, you’ll receive an e-mail with a link to your downloads (you can download Sports Affirmations for Golf, Sports Affirmations for Tennis AND Sports Affirmations for Runners!).  Even better, you’ll be the first to know when I upload other FREEBIES and you’ll have access to exclusive articles that are only for my newsletter subscribers.

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Healthy Microwave Dinners by Luvo – High Protein & No Artificial Ingredients!

Healthy Microwave Dinners by Luvo, A Review by a Nutrition Coach, Photo Credit Luvo, Inc.

November 22, 2015 | Posted in Eating Well, Weight Management | By

I am really excited to review these Healthy Microwave Dinners by Luvo!  Cooking is a lot of work.  Frankly, it’s been wearing on me lately.  As a stay-at-home and part-time work-at-home mom, I spend a lot of time cooking and doing dishes.  A LOT of time.  Enter healthy frozen dinners by Luvo.

Disclaimer:  I received healthy microwave dinners from Luvo Inc. and decided, independently, to write this blog post.  Luvo did not approach me with a request to write a sponsored post.  As always, opinions are unbiased and my own. 

Luvo products are free of artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and GMOs.  They are high protein and have vegetables.  They contain lots of vitamins and minerals, unlike many processed meals.  So, they are TRULY healthy microwave dinners.  Even better, they taste great!  They are carried in the freezer section of major supermarkets and also on Amazon pantry (affiliate link).  You can cook them in the oven as well as the microwave

Healthy Microwave Dinners by Luvo, A Review by a Nutrition Coach, Photo Credit Luvo, Inc.

Healthy Microwave Dinners by Luvo, Photo Credit Luvo, Inc.


I value healthy, good food.  It’s one of my highest priorities, along with health and only trumped by “god” and “family.”  I know what artificial preservatives, colorings and sugar can do to the body.  I understand the value of sustainably raised plants and animals.  I live and breathe portion sizes and macronutrients.  I know these things so well that I cannot help but make all the food for my family.  I don’t buy any preprepared or packaged foods from the store, with the exception of our Friday night pizza that we have for game night. I simply would not be able to sleep at night if I did it any other way.

But, again, it’s been wearing on me.  With the addition of a second child and the temporary “exit” of my husband due to work responsibilities, I have a lot on my plate.  I have been tempted by the convenience of packaged foods.

So, it was very good luck that  I spotted these healthy microwave dinners in our local grocery store. I was shocked, so I took to instagram.

My instagrammed question was “has anybody tried these?”  I received an answer from Luvo, Inc.  They offered to stock my freezer with Luvo products, so I could find out for myself!!


First, there was the Ricotta and Kale ravioli shared between my son and I as our dinner starch.  Then, there was the tandoori-inspired spiced chicken, the braised beef with polenta and roasted vegetables, the chicken chili verde and the chicken enchiladas.

We even got to explore a few breakfast options.  I loved the steel cut oatmeal with fruit, which I was expecting to be sugary but was not.  We made our own eggs as a protein side dish.  The farmer’s market frittata with sweet potato and mango hash was another home run.

Is it just me, or do these meals sound like they are straight from the menu of a trendy restaurant?  Trust me, they taste like it.  They have been hits with both my husband and my preschooler.  While cooking the enchiladas, I heard someone in our complex hallway say “wow, it smells like they’re cooking something amazing!”  I created an awkward moment by popping my head out of the apartment door and waving the Luvo box.

The ingredients have all been delicious and fresh.  Lean meats, whole grains, wholesome fruits and vegetables.  Minimal sugar, added responsibly.  Wonderful spices and flavors.  Appropriate portions.


Luvo touts that their healthy microwave dinners are free of artificial flavorings, sweeteners and colorings. You will see a few ingredients that don’t immediately strike you as natural, however.  They are: potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and caramel color.  However, these are not considered artificial additives.  Luvo’s team carefully selected them to fit within brand standards.  Allow me to explain further.

Caramel Color is a widely used food coloring.  Some caramel colors are made via a “normal” route of heating or burning sugar.  Others are created chemically with processes that use sulfites and ammonia.  According to representatives, Luvo uses a Class 1 Organic caramel color by Sethness. It is manufactured without the use of sulfites or ammonium compounds.   “Class 1 caramel colors have been growing in popularity,” says Brian Sethness, sales representative, Sethness Products Company, Chicago. “It is the most natural of the four classes of caramel. For this reason it is the only class Whole Foods, for example, will accept. It is also the only class that can be certified organic.”

Be aware, still, that Caramel colors are essentially burnt sugars and some researchers believe that burning foods increases carcinogen content.  However, the amount of caramel color used is so miniscule that I am not concerned by it – As a mom, I am sure I have ingested lots of carcinogens from forgetting to take dinner out of the oven in a timely manner (as we speak, my hair smells like burnt rice).

Potassium chloride and calcium chloride are interesting ones to talk about.  They are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the USDA.  Chemically, they are classified as salts.  In fact, table salt has a very similar name: Sodium chloride.

Potassium chloride is a simple food preservative and flavor enhancer.  It’s commonly stocked in baking sections as KaliSel.  Potassium chloride has the benefit of enhancing the salty flavor of food without adding sodium.  Thus, Luvo meals maintain flavor without excess sodium.  Interestingly, An April 2005 study in the journal hypertension found consumption of extra potassium may help lower blood pressure.

Calcium chloride is similar to potassium chloride.  According to Luvo representatives, it’s a firming agent that helps keep the tomatoes from getting mushy.

It’s true that potassium and calcium chloride aren’t classified as artificial by the USDA, but you probably wouldn’t see them in food plucked straight from nature.   For example, they are not present in large quantities in a garden fresh tomato (naturally, please correct me if I am wrong about this as I am not a food scientist).  To my knowledge, they must be created in a test tube.  However, both potassium chloride and calcium chloride are found naturally in rare mineral deposits.

Whether you choose to be turned off by this depends on your commitment to food purity.  Considering that they are simply salts, I am not at all bothered by them.  One commenter on said “I don’t understand the paranoia involved with chemical names, like CaCl or Calcium Chloride. It’s a salt, totally harmless.  If, instead of listing ‘water’ as an ingredient, and they listed “dihydrogen monoxide”, would you freak out[?][…]”


Luvo dinners are perfect for weight loss and maintenance, particularly for women (based on calories needed for our body size).  Portions are small and calorie counts are reasonably low, typically falling in the 300s or low 400s.  Overall, they also contain more protein than competitor brands and don’t go overboard on the carbohydrates.  Most meals contain more than 18 grams of protein (if you eat the steelcut oatmeal or the ricotta kale ravioli, make sure to pair it with a side of protein).  Protein is vital for weight loss and overall health, so this is good news.  You might still need more protein for your meal, depending upon your goals and body size.  Consult a nutrition professional if you’re not sure.

If you are a man, or weight loss/weight maintenance is not your goal, then I don’t recommend subsisting solely off of Luvo meals unless you plan on eating two meals per sitting!

I hope you enjoy these healthy microwave dinners by Luvo.   If you want to know more about the company, check out their website, facebook, instagram and twitter.  Looking for more great tips and recipes for weight loss, health and more?  Check out my pinboards, facebook, twitter and instagram!


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Tips for Healthier Desserts – Damage Control for Your Sweet Tooth

A personal trainer and nutrition coach talks dessert - if you can eat it and how to eat it if you do. Includes tips for "damage control."

April 8, 2015 | Posted in Eating Well, Weight Management | By

So you think your personal trainer or nutrition coach never eats dessert?  Well, you’re probably wrong!  While some people are shining examples of fortitude, most of us simply know how to handle our sweets so we can minimize the damage they do.  So, here’s my tips for healthier desserts, whether you’re trying to be health conscious or lose body fat!

Tips for healthier desserts! A personal trainer and nutrition coach talks dessert - if you can eat it and how to eat it if you do.  Includes tips for "damage control."


Are you healthy? Are you happy? Do you have the body you want?

If the answer is yes, then don’t try to fix what’s not broken.

If you don’t, then that’s another story. Believe it or not, going cold-turkey on desserts may not be necessary for your goals – even if your goal is fat loss. The only way to find out is to try. If you’re successful, then great! If not, then it may be time to completely eliminate sweets.  We call this outcome-based decision making.

As a side note, “keeping” desserts often requires perfect compliance with the rest of your food strategy – like eating enough protein and vegetables. Losing body fat means eating less food. Eating less food means you have fewer chances to get all the nutrients you need, increasing your risk of malnutrition. Malnutrition can contribute to illness and sabotage your goals. Most desserts don’t have many nutrients, so eating them contributes to your risk of malnutrition.

Overall, most people do need to at least modify their dessert habits.


If you’re going to eat dessert, here are some tips for healthier desserts.  It’s about damage control:

1. Factor it into your total daily allotment.
You can enjoy an occasional dessert if you’re factoring it into your total daily calories instead of overeating – for example, I try to give my clients an idea of how many “carbs” and “fats” they lose from eating a sugary dessert; Or, an idea of how much physical activity they need to do to make up for it. For some clients, having a piece of cheesecake means NO other carbs OR fats for the rest of the day – just protein and vegetables. It’s not as extreme for others.

I also specify how many times per week they can substitute a cheat item. Again: It’s not safe or healthy to regularly replace your “real food” with dessert because it increases your risk of malnutrition, especially if your goal is fat loss and you already have fewer calories with which to gain all your vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. Overall, factoring desserts into your total daily allotment works very well for occasional treats, especially for people who aren’t ready to go “cold turkey” yet. It can certainly make your healthy lifestyle feel more sustainable.

2. Eat sugary desserts after ingesting vegetables and protein.
Eaten on its own, sugar enters your bloodstream very quickly, creating spikes in blood sugar and blood insulin that may impact your overall health, increase your risk of insulin sensitivity (still being researched) and increase the likelihood of storing fat (again, still being researched). Eating vegetables and protein first may help to “dilute” the dessert in your digestive system; Having additional veggies and protein in your stomach slows the absorption of the sugar because your body is “busy” digesting the veggies and protein.  **NOTE this is true for whole food sources of protein, but not for some protein powders – they can be fast digesting, too!**

Let’s look at some simple numbers as an example. On an empty stomach + dessert, you might absorb “10 units of sugar per minute.” On a protein/veggie-ful stomach, you might absorb “3 units of sugar + 3 units of fiber from veggies + 3 units of protein per minute,” meaning that your blood sugar will not spike as much.

Protein and vegetables aren’t the only “brakes” for sugar absorption; Fats also help slow absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, but most desserts contain so much fat that it doesn’t make sense to pre-eat even MORE fat to help blunt the effect of the dessert. Protein and veggies do the job quite well.

Which leads me too…

3. Avoid desserts that are mostly sugar – especially low fat options. A dessert that also has protein is even better.
If fat helps to slow the absorption of sugar into your blood, then fattier desserts may have a healthier impact on your body – even if they’re more calorie dense. For example, I advocate full fat ice cream or “2%” frozen yogurt over options like nonfat frozen yogurt. If a fattier option isn’t available, then I suggest adding nuts or unsweetened coconut flakes as a topping.
This is one of the reasons I love raw desserts – most of them are based off of coconut flesh, coconut oil or soaked nuts, all of which are full of healthy fats. Raw desserts also taste amazing!!! I have a pinterest board of raw desserts that you might be interested in following.

Did I say extra bonus points if the dessert also contains protein?

Other things that are really bad: Soft drinks, sweetened ice tea, sweetened coffee, fruit juice, straight sugar, straight honey or straight agave. Talk about blood sugar spike!

4. Make desserts yourself and make them “pack a nutritional punch.”
Newsflash: That delicious dessert you love would probably still be pretty delicious if it only had half the sugar in it. Store bought and restaurant made desserts can be RIDICULOUSLY high in sugar. Save money, time and health by making desserts at home, instead. You may start with basics like cookies and cakes, but you’ll eventually learn to make desserts that nutrient-rich ingredients, like healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Some of my favorites include whole baked apples, pumpkin pudding, red velvet beet cupcakes, carrot cake and chocolate avocado pudding.

5. Make only a little. I don’t advise batch cooking desserts. Make just enough dessert for one serving per person – no leftovers! For example, I use a single-serving chocolate chip cookie recipe. I also have miniature pie plates for pies and small ramekins for making individual custards/puddings.

6. OR, make dessert a “going out” affair.
Most of us enjoy dessert because it’s pleasurable – sugar and fat send signals to our brain that make us feel good. Yet, that pleasurable sensation only lasts while you’re eating. Depending on how fast you eat, you might “spend” your enjoyment very quickly. Create more fanfare around your dessert eating by going out to get it – go to the ice cream stand or to the bakery and sit down in the company of your friends and family. Enjoy yourself. Linger over a cup of coffee or tea. Let the natural conversation slow you down.

7. Add sugar yourself.
I’ve known several people who absolutely love peanut butter brands that contain added sugars. Chocolate milk, hot chocolate, flavored vanilla yogurt and fruit jelly are other sugary “favorites” that people often get stuck on. If you’re not ready to give up your favorite sugary foods then buy the unsweetened versions and add the sugar yourself. You can conveniently ignore how sugary a food is when it comes presweetened – manually spooning the sugar into an unsweetened item is a “wake up call” and makes you think twice about what you’re doing.

8.  Time it right.  
Most people process sugar and starchy carbohydrates best immediately after exercise – and the harder you worked , the better.   Plan on having some birthday cake at a friend’s party?  You might want to schedule a work out before the party.

I hope these tips for healthier desserts were helpful.  Looking for more great tips and recipes for weight loss, health and more?  Check out my pinboards, facebook, twitter and instagram!

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When Your Spouse Won’t Eat Healthy

When your spouse doesn't want to eat healthy |

September 24, 2014 | Posted in Eating Well, Life Coaching, Weight Management | By


When Your Spouse Won't Eat Healthy - at Total Lifestyle Management

When Your Spouse Won’t Eat Healthy – at Total Lifestyle Management

I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints, lately, from wives who are trying to clean up their eating but are meeting resistance from their husbands.  Changing your lifestyle is hard enough when it’s just you – here are some tips on making the transition easier When Your Spouse Won’t Eat Healthy.

When Your Spouse Won’t Eat Healthy…

1.  Be firm, but don’t be disrespectful or critical.

Tell your spouse why eating healthy is important to you and the reasons you’re motivated to serve nourishing food, but be respectful of your spouse’s feelings.  Acknowledge how they feel and repeat it back to them without judgement (IE You feel like it’s important for you to be able to relax by eating something sweet after work.)   Don’t call them names, insult their character or be derogatory in any way.  Even if you don’t like their eating behavior, don’t say anything unless you have something nice to say.  Try leaving them a friendly note if face-to-face conversations just aren’t working.

2.  Don’t nag. 

You’ve told your spouse you want to eat healthy once.  Maybe you’ve said it twice.  Don’t tell your spouse again.  That’s called nagging and it won’t further your argument.  Readiness to change is very individual – sometimes the more you push someone to change the less likely they are to do so.   If your spouse chooses not to adopt your eating strategy then it’s time to start working around them instead of with them.  Perhaps prepare a separate meal for yourself, for now, and focus on being a positive role model..  

3.  Don’t talk AT your spouse – talk WITH them and work together.

Make a list of vegetables, grains and meats together and decide what you can both agree on.  Similarly, tell your spouse that you want him or her to eat better and ASK them how to make that happen.  Make a list of possible solutions and cross off items that aren’t mutually acceptable until you have a list you can work with.

4.  Get help!  

We all think more highly of our diets than we should.  Secure an impartial third party to evaluate your diet and your partner’s diet.  Perhaps hearing it from someone else will help – plus, it takes the pressure off of you.

5.  Swap favors.

Is your spouse really stubborn?  Bribery can be a funny way to get them to explore new food options.
“Honey, if you eat all your vegetables tonight I will vacuum your car for you tomorrow.”

6.  Start small.

Is your spouse a french-fry nut?  Don’t throw them into quinoa right away.   Slowly modify their favorite foods until they’re eating something totally different.  First, try white potatoes roasted with oil, herbs and a spare amount of salt. Eventually begin integrating other starches that are more “vegetable-y.”  For example, you might want to introduce sweet potatoes, then roasted butternut squash fries, then roasted carrot fries.

7.  Serve a large bowl of salad or a big vegetable side dish at every meal.

That way you and your children can have a healthy meal rich with vegetables, even if your spouse chooses not to.

8.  Don’t make a big deal about new foods.

Are you serving a meatless dish like black bean chili?  Don’t make a big deal about the fact that it’s meatless.  Cutting down on carbs or butter?  Don’t announce that something’s missing!   In fact, don’t say anything except “We’re having Chili for dinner tonight.”  Some spouses won’t even notice that you’re changing up meal time, so don’t ruin the magic by giving the trick away yourself!

9.  Get good at cooking!

Nobody wants to eat food that tastes bad, whether it’s healthy or not.  Make an effort to find the best, healthiest recipes that taste good to your family by looking at cookbooks, blogs, pinterest and magazines like Eating Well and Cooking Light.  It takes a lot of practice and experimentation before you begin to hit your stride as a “healthy cook.”  Remember, practice makes perfect!  Note that some people’s tastes are essentially “ruined” from eating so much processed food.  In my experience, it takes time for a person to enjoy the taste of whole food when they’re used to processed or unhealthy food.

10.  Find support elsewhere.

It would be so much easier if your spouse could be your pillar of support as you embark on a new lifestyle.  However, if your spouse just isn’t that person then you need to create a social support system outside of that – this might mean finding a group of friends who are focused on healthy living, too, or hiring a nutrition coach who will be your cheerleader on your journey.  Having a support system can make the difference between attaining your goals or reverting to your old ways.

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Is Juicing Healthy


August 3, 2014 | Posted in Eating Well, Weight Management | By

I get a lot of questions about juicing from my clients and friends – they all want to know “Is Juicing Healthy?” I think many are disappointed to hear that I am NOT an advocate for juicing, juice detoxes or juice fasts.

Is Juicing Healthy? What you might not know - by a certified nutrition coach at

Is Juicing Healthy?


Is Juicing Healthy?

What I don’t like about juicing is the elimination of the “pulp” (fiber and other micronutrients) from the fruits and veggies. This quote by Dr. John Berardi, Chief Science Officer at Precision Nutrition, says it all –

“To me it’s wasting some of the most valuable nutrition [from the vegetable]. After all, much of the benefit associated with whole fruits and veggies – beyond the micronutrients (some of which you lose when you juice) is due to the slow digestion/absorption of them.”

So what can I do instead of juicing?

If you really really want to turn your produce into a beverage, there’s a better way – blending v. juicing.

Remove the fiber from a fruit or vegetable and you’re essentially drinking a sugary drink, granted a vitamin and antioxidant packed one.   Your body absorbs the sugar very quickly – just like with soda pop or chocolate milk – resulting in a huge release of insulin into your blood stream.  So, consuming juice still affects your carbohydrate tolerance/associated fat gain AND your risk of developing Type II diabetes.  This is why pediatricians say NO JUICE for kids – ever, or in very careful moderation.   

There’s cost to consider, too – many juicing enthusiasts end up consuming far more produce than they actually need.  Even worse, the nutritious pulp often gets thrown away or composted – even though you’ve paid for it!

Overall, I prefer my clients chew their food – not sip it.  However, if you’d REALLY like to make your veggies into a beverage then blend rather than juice. This way you keep the fiber along with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other good stuff!  I highly recommend the Vitamix blender, which does an incredible job of practically VAPORIZING your vegetables so you’re not chewing on “veggie cud” at the bottom of your shaker.

Still, beware of staying within your portion guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake as quantity control becomes harder to “eye ball” when you turn a food into a beverage.

For a more in depth look at a Juice Detoxes, please visit this excellent article by Precision Nutrition’s Ryan Andrews.  


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When Diets Don’t Work: The Kale and Brownie Diet


January 21, 2014 | Posted in Eating Well, Life Coaching, Personal, Weight Management | By

What do you do When Diets Don’t Work?  Try the Kale and Brownie Diet.  This might be a game changer!

When Diets Don't Work: The Kale & Brownie Diet. By

When Diets Don’t Work: The Kale & Brownie Diet. By


I can’t claim complete credit for this miraculous weight loss technique – the idea was first had by a brilliant yoga teacher whom I believe would like to remain nameless.

Eating right is hard.  I’ve struggled with emotional and physiological food addiction for years.  Although I’m thin, fit and a health coach I am still far from where I would like to be.   That’s one of the things that makes me a great guide – I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.  So what do you do when diets don’t work?

When Diets Don’t Work

As Jill Coleman of JillFit would say, “To get lean, stop thinking about fat loss as a protocol. Think about it as an education in YOU. ”  I love these words from Jill’s blog and I try to live by them.

As a coach, it’s part of my job to recognize patterns of human behavior and help my clients avoid them.   It’s also my job to take a hard look at the person I am working with and make a program specifically for them, not for Cindy across the street or Jack down the hall.

I can look at some clients and say “stop eating dairy, stop eating grains, stop eating refined foods,” give them a high five and send them off knowing that they will have no problem complying.  Every person isn’t capable of instant compliance, though.  We all struggle with our own personal demons.  We all have weaknesses that affect our ability to make change in our life.  As a life and nutrition coach, my job is to simplify simplify simplify until my clients have absolutely no doubt that they can achieve what I am asking of them.  Sometimes that means the first step is a very little step.

With that being said, remember this:

It’s easier to give and harder to take away.  It’s easier to start and harder to stop.  

This is the founding principle of the brownie and kale diet.

Making Change

The reasons we do “Bad” to our bodies are deep seeded issues that we must give attention to for our entire lives.  We’ll all experience peaks and valleys in our fitness for eternity – the goal is to make the peaks and valleys level off with each other.

It’s also really hard to stop doing “bad” when you haven’t learned anything “good” to replace it with.  

So, the simplest and easiest first step is to focus on giving yourself good things instead of taking away bad things.  Then see how it goes after that.  That’s all you can do when diets don’t work.

Hence the brownie and kale diet.

Let’s say my fake client Candace comes to me eating a dozen brownies per day.  We keep it simple.  I ask her to change one thing per week.   The easiest first step might not be to stop eating the cookies – it’s to ask her to start doing something good for herself.

As that mystery yoga teacher said “hold a donut in one hand and green smoothie in another.  Alternate a bite of the brownie and a sip of the green smoothie.  Repeat.”  Sometimes getting started is the hardest part.  Putting something good into you body is a catalyst for change.  Eventually, you’ll move begin eliminating the crap (like cookies and brownies)  in your diet and move on to another diet that’s more wholesome.

Are you having trouble eating “clean” in the New Year?  Do you feel like every diet you’ve tried has failed you?

Try to the brownie and kale diet.  I think you’ll like it.


PS – In case you were confused, I don’t actually advocate eating kale and brownies to lose weight.




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Sitting too much? Take this quiz to find out!

Children sit in desks for hours at a time.

September 17, 2013 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Movement Science, Weight Management | By

How much time do you spend sitting, daily? Sitting too much? Scientists have shown that the amount of time you spend sitting can increase your risk of heart disease regardless of how much you exercise.   Excessive sitting also affects the alignment of your body, the health of your joints and the health of your muscles; It increases your risk of injury and leads to problems like osteoarthritis, low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, sciatica, pelvic prolapse, urinary incontinence, problems with childbirth and too many more to name.  For more info on my philosophy of sitting, resting positions and movement visit the lifestyle of movement page.  Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement is another incredible resource on this matter.  

Are you sitting too much? Use this quiz to examine your habits. Scientists have shown that the amount of time you spend sitting can increase your risk of heart disease regardless of how much you exercise..

Use this Sitting, Moving & Grooving Quiz to help you get a picture of what your daily movement pattern looks like.


Sitting too much?

How much do you sit every day?  

Add it up:

Sitting at the computer: ___ hrs ___ min
Sitting in front of the tv: ___ hrs ___ min
Sitting while driving: ___ hrs ___ min
Sitting at breakfast, lunch and dinner: ___ hrs ___ min
Sitting during recreational activities: ___ hrs ___ min
Sitting on a bench at the park or playground: ___ hrs ___ min
Sitting on the toilet (yes, this counts): ___ hrs ___ min

How much time do you spend, moving?
Walking: ___ hrs ___ min
Running: ___ hrs ___ min
Bicycling: ___ hrs ___ min
Strength training: ___ hrs ___ min
Dancing: ___ hrs ___min
Kayaking: ___ hrs ___ min
Surfing: ___hrs ___min
Paddleboarding:___ hrs ___min
Gardening: ___ hrs ___ min
Yoga: ___ hrs ___ min
Other sport: ___ hrs ___ min

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How many resting body positions do you move through during a day?
Deep Squatting __
Bending Forward from the Hip (Small “Toe Touch”) __
Bending Backward from the Hip and Spine __
Sitting Cross Legged __
Sitting Cross Legged, One Leg Extended __
Sitting Cross Legged, Both Legs Extended __
Kneeling with Your Hips on Your Heels __
Kneeling on Both Knees, Hips Up __
Kneeling on One Knee __
Sitting in a “Butterfly” Position __
Sitting in a chair __
Other __

How many movements do you make with your spine every day?
Forward Bending (Making a “Rainbow” with your back)__
Back Bending (Making a letter “U” with your back)  __
Side Bending __
Rotation/Twisting __


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Living Without a Microwave

We use our stove for everything.

August 28, 2013 | Posted in Eating Well, Personal, Weight Management | By

There is something missing from my kitchen.  It drives visiting family nuts and confuses babysitters.

We are living without a microwave.

Surprisingly, we don’t have a microwave for the “usual” reasons that natural-minded families dislike microwaves.  I’m not worried about radiation or cancer risk (although I’m sure I would be if I wasn’t already anti microwave).  Living without a microwave is different for us.

Living Without a Microwave: The Surprising Reason We Have No Microwave - Total Lifestyle Management . com

I don’t like how easy the microwave makes it to eat.

In our house, delicious food cannot be easy to find or make because we will eat it immediately and copiously.  The only foods that we can consume quickly are fruits, vegetables, a toasted piece of my  homemade Ezekiel bread and some homemade hummus.  Our immediate food options are still above and beyond that of our foraging ancestors, who only had surrounding vegetation as an immediate snack.

So, why are we living without a microwave?

We know ourselves well.  We know that we have little willpower in the face of deliciousness.  We know that we are snackers at heart.  And the microwave makes that all too easy – you can take a few ingredients, pop them in the microwave and remove deliciousness just a few moments later.  No time to think about what you’re doing.  No lag between unnecessary-desire-to-eat and actually eating.   Food becomes so readily accessible that it becomes under appreciated and is eaten without being savored.

Your great grandparents and great great grandparents didn’t have that luxury.  If they wanted something to eat, they had to go out to the garden to pick it, get eggs from the chicken coup or slaughter a chicken before they could even step foot in the kitchen.  Then, they could chop the vegetables, cook the meat, bake the bread.

At the inception of cooking a meal, your great grandparents had already done more work than we do for all three of our daily meals.   I think they had a different appreciation for their food than we do.  They appreciated the blood, sweat and tears that goes into producing food and so they did not take advantage of it.  They did not eat more than was needed.  They treated food like a precious resource, almost like we now treat water, electricity and oil.  Instead, we treat food as an entitlement.  In a way, food was holy –  And it should be again.  One of the definitions of “sacred” is devoted exclusively to the service or use of something.  In the case of food, it is sacred because it is meant to be devoted exclusively to the service of nourishing our god-given bodies.

Keeping the microwave out of our house helps us to bring the holiness back into eating.  It helps us return to honoring ourselves and giving respect to our bodies.  Yes, at 2 AM sometimes you wish you have a microwave to warm milk for a baby – but for us, it’s worth it.

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