Back to School; Want to Make Food Fun?

September 1st, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Everything is so “back to school” these days. I have seen my share of ads, articles, tweets and blog posts about making food fun from sandwiches to breakfasts to snacks. Call me crazy, but are we that hedonistic that every dang thing we do needs to be fun, what gives?!

When it comes to food for kids (young and less young), here’s how to infuse fun inherently, listen up!

Grow It - I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel a sense of pride from eating something they’ve grown at home whether it’s tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon or herbs. Grow something; grow anything and you’ll create joy. Continue the growing season by bringing some herbs indoors as fall approaches.

Plan It – Round everyone up at home to decide what meals and snacks will be made and purchased each week. Use a team approach allowing everyone to have a say, while Mom and Dad lay the ground rules. Team-work makes everything more fun!

Prep It – Encourage everyone in the household to take part in preparing meals and snacks when age appropriate – whether it’s adding to the grocery list, grocery shopping, setting the table, measuring ingredients, chopping, cooking and cleaning up. Get kids to prepare their own lunch. Also, set a goal that your kids build a repertoire of making 6-12 family recipes to take with them when they fly from the nest. Here are some fast, easy recipes I love: Peppers & Eggs, Pasta Fagioli, Nan’s Veal Stew, Sugo! Crazy for Bolognese! Pasta Salad, Tomato Salad and Lettuce Salad – enjoy!

Share It – Breaking bread is a truly beautiful thing. Just like you book meetings at work, make meeting time at home over meals a priority that can’t be missed.

Savour It - As we live our lives in the fast lane aim to dial down the speed when you eat. Stop, find a quite place without distractions, slow down and eat your food savouring the taste to the MAX. If everyone did this, we wouldn’t need to seek out other stimuli to turn our crank. Savour the flavour people!

Enjoy It – With all of the “how to” info around food and eating, it seems something so very natural “the act of eating” has become so pre-scripted and unnecessarily complicated – eat this, don’t eat that – Ahhhh! Let’s lose the guilt around food and eating and enjoy food to the MAX!

So folks, when you infuse all of this into your eating repertoire you can forgo purchasing fluorescent coloured food or creating fruit-origami on your 3-year old’s plate to create fun when you don’t really need it.

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Follow the Loser – Dining Out…

August 27th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Summer and the fun that comes with it isn’t over yet! I’m sure there is more dining out to come in the near and far future. I thought it would be timely to tap into our successful weight loser logic on strategies they use when eating out.  Continuing on the “successful weight loser” theme written about in July, here are more juicy tips, this time about dining out.

My good friend and colleague Cara Rosenbloom and I conducted a survey on successful weight losers a few years ago. These women provided pearls of wisdom on many aspects of their lives and today the spotlight is on how they approach dining out:

  • I do my homework before I go to the restaurant by looking up nutritional information and decide what I’ll order. This takes the guess work out for when I get there.
  • The portions have gotten out of hand. I either choose something from the kids menu or I just cut my plate in half and eat that portion only, bringing the rest home.
  • I eat lighter during the day. If I’ve over-indulged, I try and cut back the next day, and increase my activity level.
  • If there’s wine at the meal, I have a spritzer first, or alternate drinks with sparkling water. I choose to spend the calories on the food rather than the beverages. If I do choose to have wine, I’ll begin drinking it after the food arrives.
  • I have found that because I have maintained my weight for about 6 years now, that I don’t have to think about controlling my appetite. I use strategies that have become second nature to me such as make sure to put down my fork and talk to the company I am with.
  • I stop and monitor if I am hungry and decide if I will continue eating or not.
  • I box up any extra food left and take home for someone else to eat, or for my lunch the next day.
  • I am watchful of portion sizes. I don’t mind asking for a container to take the remainder home.
  • Serving size is my biggest challenge. I try to eat slowly and talk lots!
  • I try to take an extra walk during the day. I am to eat less and keep busy during the day , plus I drink lots of water.
  • I wear a fitted waistband!
  • I try to avoid being overly hungry for the meal. I’ll eat something before I leave home like a piece of fruit, or some yogurt, or even some bean salad so it will stay in your system for a while. So if I’m not that hungry I’ll eat less.

If you’re eating out way more than usual, paying attention to the finer details will surely help you manage keeping a handle on your handles and your weight more effectively while getting maximal enjoyment from eating out.

Check out Chapter 9 in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books with an array of tips and tricks for “Facing Routine Curveballs and Challenges” that everyday life brings. Cheers!

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Heir Condition – Food Labels & Kids’ Food

August 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , ,

Well folks, this will be my final instalment about food product labels for a while. By now you are well aware that the deadline to submit your comments about Health Canada’s latest proposal for food labels is August 26, 2015. I trust you will weigh in with your valued feedback given how rare this opportunity is. I weighed in about my initial thoughts a while back then again a few weeks ago discussing the need for clear information for added sugar and rethinking their portion size plan, ending my post encouraging you to “…weigh in for the betterment of our health and for generations to come.”

I have done more thinking on this from the perspective of new parents purchasing food for infants, toddlers and children. You may know I used to be a paediatric dietitian at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. You don’t yet know I’m about to become a great aunt. I had the opportunity to catch up at a family gathering recently with my nephew and his wife Surf and Nature Girl. They have a bun in the oven due as they celebrate 5 years of marriage. This little fireball will be part Irish, part Scottish and part Italian, codename Pancetta(o). This gives me a new reason to view this topic from a new and very important perspective with our baby on my mind, hmmmmm.

I took another look at Health Canada’s food label proposal and realized that toddler foods do not have to list industrial trans fat. We know unequivocally that industrial trans fat is bad for every Canadian especially kids. In addition, I stand by my comments about needing added sugar to be on its own line of the Nutrition Facts table. While grocery shopping this past weekend, I decided to do some label sleuthing with my trusty iPhone camera of some of the infant and toddler foods.

I found some interesting sounding products from “Mother Hen”, “Love Child Organics”, “Baby Gourmet” and that trusty “Heinz” that I was raised on before being fed my Mom’s famous meatballs.

Brooding Over Baby Food
I assumed the most benign product would have been the Heinz Peaches meant for babies. Sadly I was dead wrong. In a 4.5 ounce bottle, those peaches were 100 calories with 25 grams of sugar. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Because the added sugar does not have its own line on the panel (nor will it, if this Health Canada proposal goes through). I was left wondering why these numbers were so high for such a simple food.

I then sleuthed the internet for the nutritional info for a fresh peach of a similar size and volume. I found that 1 medium peach (150 grams) has 59 calories with 13 grams of natural sugar. This must mean that 3 teaspoons of added sugar was in that jar of peaches. This folks, is meant for babies. Keep in mind the benchmark recommendation of added sugar for MEN is 6-12 teaspoons/day. Good grief….

Toddler Hack Snacks
I did more meandering around the grocery store and found some “First Food Organics” yogurt yums for kids 12 months or older. “Organic sugar” was the 4th ingredient on the ingredient list. The noted serving size was 7 grams with the total sugar being 4 grams/serving. This might seem low, but over 50% of each serving is sugar. How much added sugar is in this product? It’s impossible to know. Again parents would benefit from seeing an added sugar line on the label, don’t you think?

The Happy Meal is Making Me Sad
Once I got home and put my groceries away I decided to do more nutritional number sleuthing. This time I surfed on the McDonald’s website looking at their meal for kids, namely the Happy Meal. But you might be asking, isn’t this blog post on food product labels for packaged foods? And my answer would be YES. Yes, but I like to remind consumers that only half of our food supply is mandated to have the nutritional information available for consumers which includes packaged goods. Food sold at fast food outlets are NOT mandated to have this information readily available. So may I remind you as a consumer that we should be demanding this information for ALL of the food we consume – packaged goods AND fast food.

Nothing makes me more sad than tallying up this Happy Meal combo. This included a cheeseburger, small fries, root beer and strawberry yogurt tube your little McNugget will consume 670 calories, 23 grams fat, 930mg sodium and 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons). Younger kids who consume this food far surpass what they should be eating of negative nutrients.

This cheap meal is targeted at kids yet provides a gut buster full of negative nutrients that parents can’t readily find out about. If parents knew better they would do better. Like I always say “awareness is bliss.” I’m sure by now this Happy Meal is no longer making you smile.

What to do? What to do? What to do?
There’s still time to weigh in to the Gazette 1 process, as the deadline looms closer – August 26, 2015. If you agree with me, tell Health Canada you want to know how much added sugar is in products you’re considering purchasing. Tell Health Canada you demand to know the deadly industrial trans fat in your food especially those made for your toddler. And for all of our sake tell Health Canada you want to know the same information of what’s in packaged foods as fast food. Exercise your right to speak up. Our new baby and all kids deserve better!

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Snap Back to Normal Post Vacation

August 13th, 2015 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Who doesn’t love a vacation? The readjustment once you return home isn’t for the faint of heart though. After you’ve clicked the heels of your proverbial ruby slippers it’s time to hit the ground running after being in la la land – don’t you think? Gone are the breakfast buffets, lunch choices galore and over flowing glasses of wine. You can still hear Billy Joel sing “..bottle of white, bottle of red..” Time to change the tune; we will overcome!

Vamoose Your Caboose – My most important rule of thumb is to vamoose yourself back into your pre-vacay eating and activity routine and FAST. Porridge anyone? Though get thee to the grocery store to stock up on a multitude of healthy choices STAT. Bye bye truffles on your pillow, a fond and tasty farewell.

Ignore the Gypsy Music – It is also imperative to be mindful of the grumbling games your stomach will be making. Don’t confuse this gypsy music as hunger, but from overeating day after day. Yes folks reality bites! I usually find it takes a few days to get my tummy stretch receptors back to normal by eating smaller amounts. Ensure half your plate is fruits and veggies at every meal and stick with water as your go-to beverage. Be patient and tune out the grumbling.

Bend, Stretch & Move – It’s also time to to blow the dust off your mat and weights and resume your full array of exercises with GUSTO. I’ll confess that sometimes when I’m away the only sit up I’ve done is rolling out of bed in the morning. Time to feel the burn by reigniting your routine.

Is a Cleanse On your Mind? – Some people wonder if a GI cleanse is in order. Hmmmm good question. The only maneuver like that I’d recommend is booking your colonoscopy if you haven’t scheduled it. Other than that your own liver and kidneys will do the job for you while you load up on fresh produce, home cooking and water.

Here’s a little rhyme on the topic….

A mound of laundry
A pile of mail
My porridge bowl
And bread gone stale

A grocery list
In need of stuff
The long flight home
Now enough is enough!

A dinner offering
Not paired with wine
Back to my walk
When the morning sun shines

Time-change adjustment
Need a fast switch
My mat and weights
I’m feeling the itch

It’s great to travel
Love a change of scene
But snap back to normal
With your trusty routine!

Really though, there’s no place like home…..

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Tabling the Food Label, Time to Weigh In

August 5th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Anyone who has followed me on T & T and read my book has heard me proclaim “awareness is bliss” many times. Having a deeper knowledge of what’s in your food whether it be packaged goods or restaurant food is essential when you’re trying to eat better or get a handle on your handles. In fact in Chapter 7 of Skinny on Slim I suggest fab 4 (not 44) changes to make with your diet. Getting in the habit of reading food labels is one of the fab 4 suggestions.

A mammoth study was conducted at Washington University looking at people’s label-reading habits and their impact on weight loss and weight control. They found that subjects who lost the greatest amount of weight habitually read the Nutrition Facts table on food products. This shows us that knowledge is power – we do better when we know better.

You may recall that Health Canada surveyed Canadians about food label proposed changes last year that I generally agreed with. However this year they revised what they proposed on the food label. This will go to Gazette 1 with a comment period by August 26, 2015. I was rather blunt with my feedback on these latest suggested changes in my post entitled “Proposed Food Label Changes: Good from Far but Far from Good!” It is rare for Health Canada to make such sweeping changes to the label, you’d think there was an election coming… Food labels can be consumers best friend by providing an array of important nutritional information, so I take this opportunity to weigh in very seriously and I hope you do too.

In short I do not agree with two aspects of their proposal:

Getting Wise with the Serving Size?
Health Canada is proposing to standardize the serving size on the label. When it comes to comparing nutritional information of similar products, this makes things a lot easier for consumers – I agree with that aspect of their proposal. What I am concerned about is that they’re basing servings on usual intakes. Usual intakes of whom you ask, well that would be usual intakes of men. I have 2 problems with this maneuver. The first is the fact that in general (aside from teenage boys and athletes) men’s requirements are higher than the rest of the population. This would miscue more than half of the population of Canadians, a majority of whom are already overweight or obese. Next, more than 60% of Canadians are either overweight or obese so it is my assumption that they’re eating more than they should, so making this change would display usual intakes of men, a majority of whom are eating too much. This makes no sense to me whatsoever.

I feel dismayed at times that we already have an obesity epidemic and diabetes epidemic on our hands and I become very concerned what this change of serving size (if it goes through) would do for public health. What is your interpretation of what a proposed standardized serving size mean to you? Consumer perception is key. Other experts I know feel these usual intake estimations are too large and worry as well. It’s vital we all weigh in during this process, make your voice heard and take part!

Proposal of Sugar Hits a Sour Note
One of the suggestions was around added sugar so consumers could ascertain how much is in a product. You probably already heard that many notable health organizations such as the WHO and Heart & Stroke Foundation have made public recommendations to encourage consumers to eat less added sugar. The old adage “a sugar is a sugar is a sugar” no longer applies due to the alarm bells sounding on added sugar.

This iteration of Health Canada’s label proposal did NOT include displaying added sugar on a separate line on the label, when last year they suggested it. This one change would make it easy for consumers to know this info. When so many highly respected groups are cautioning us to reduce this, why would Health Canada not be taking the guess work out by simply listing it? Their current recommended change on the label makes it even more confusing to figure out how much added sugar is in a product. What’s your take on it?

It Takes A Village…
So folks DO take the time to weigh in prior to the August 26, 2015 deadline of what YOU think of this iteration of what is being proposed on food product labels. It can take a village or a country to weigh in for the betterment of our health and for generations to come.
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“Go Outside & Play!” Let the Broken Record Play on…

July 28th, 2015 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Let the Broken Record Play on – Focus on Free Play

Oh for the love of child’s play and activity in the peak of the summertime. School’s out and it’s time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. It’s every parent’s challenge to keep kids engaged and busy so you don’t hear the common mantra “I’m bored” until it’s back to school in September.

Who doesn’t love summer? It’s a perfect time to start a “movement movement” (as I describe in my book) and make a pact for the kids and parents to get and keep more active. As I sit here and write I can hear the birds chirping under the clear blue sky. It’s as perfect as any movie set, even better because it’s real.

Let’s reverse the abysmal stat that shows only a small percentage of kids meet the benchmark of one measly hour of activity each day. Given it’s the peak of summer let’s adopt some new behaviours that we’ll work on this season and each one following! It takes a conscious effort to “get your party started” to get and keep moving. However, if everyone in the household does it together each can lift each other out of the “lazy” part of the “lazy hazy crazy days of summer”!

The best place to start is setting a few limits. As much as I’d be tempted to suggest you pop a tube in your TV to get the kids outside, that wouldn’t be fair, would it? Set some limits around the time the kids (young and older) sit in front of any screen – TV, computer, game devises, phones.

Get outside and enjoy free play – throw the ball, ride a bike, play on the swings in the park, jump rope, play tag or hide and seek, run through the sprinkler, hit a tennis ball on the wall, climb a tree, go for a walk, you name it, just let your imagination run wild along with you!

Let the Broken Record Play on – Do What I Do

On the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on being a role model. The stats show that a child is very likely to participate in “unorganized physical activities” at age 4, they are likely to still be participating at 17. Having active parents reinforces that in spades. As a parent you might be very good at wagging your finger and telling the kids what THEY should do. I suggest you stop and take stock of your own activity level, then look in the mirror and do the same to yourself if you indeed are not active.

Light Your Own Fire Within
I blog often about setting goals, re-evaluating your activity level and giving yourself a much needed kick in the back side to vamoose and get moving. I might write it for you, but I certainly do it for myself as well. We all have days we want to just lie around – you know, as the song says “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer”. We need to change lazy to blazing by lighting a fire under ourselves.

Play Together
I have divulged that my parents were active when I was young. We all took part in various activities and sports, including some lifestyle sports. We did our share of playing as a family. The great thing about that is that we can still do some playing together when I fast forward today by taking a walk or playing golf.

Destress Valve
Truly though as life becomes more stressful, I find activity is a proverbial valve that helps it release. I cope better after I get back from a walk then have to face the music of real life. And how great is this time of year to better appreciate the birds singing, the gardens flourishing, the kids playing, the sun shining, fresh air blowing. What’s not to love about this scenario, start and continue.

Stealth Moves
I have written about ways to sneak in stealth activity in my book if you’re going through a super-duper busy time. The key is to find 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, another 15 minutes somewhere else and before you know it, you’ve chocked up a half hour of moving. I’m a bad parker so I routinely park further away – that’s 5 minutes right out of the gate. To work in an extra walk I take my grocery bag under my arm and walk to the store at times. A great dovetail of a few activities at one time. Find some of your own stealth moves and get going to show the kids you are truly a gamer.

Let the Broken Record Play on – Organized Sport
Continuing on the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on signing the kids up for activities. Let’s take stock of the school year that just passed. Were you stretched so far because of all of the obligations that you allowed the kids commit to? Let’s try to take the pressure off.

Family DISFunctioning & Signing Up
Sometimes organized sports can add to an existing DIS organized household. And, many of these cost money to sign up for in addition to the uniforms, shoes, equipment and more. I AM all for sports and teams, don’t get me wrong. But it’s ok as a parent to fallow the field for a season and encourage the kids to enjoy free play. We sometimes get caught up in what other families in our neighbourhood are doing and sign the kids up out of guilt. Free play is a perfect activity. I’m in your corner.

Sporty Spice Through the Ages
If you DO have the time and the means, then go ahead and get the kids into activity programs and/or sports. Consider those that the kids can continue as lifelong activities in addition to the team sports. As an adult it’s not as easy to arrange a volley ball, base ball, soccer, ball hockey game when you need a dozen busy people to get together. If you have the flexibility consider getting your kids involved in tennis, squash, badminton, golf, bike riding, hiking, running, etc. which can be more easily continued through the lifespan.

Life Lessons in Sport
I will divulge that I played competitive tennis when I was a teen. When I reflect on that experience I realize that I learned many worthwhile life lessons. I learned that life isn’t always fair even when you do your best. I learned that some people (including parents) cheat to get ahead. I learned how to lose graciously. I learned more from losing than I did from winning. I was a slow starter on the court and learned how to bear down and take it up a notch right when my opponent thought they had the win in the bag….. I also learned that through life people don’t change all that much – from the sand box to the court to the office cubicle. I’m wiser from the experience and that’s a good thing.

Do it, Do it, Do it ’til You’re Satisfied!
You who know me well by this point know my view on this. Doing something is better than doing nothing so just get started already. Do something you enjoy and encourage the same for your kids. Avoid living your glory days through your kids in sports. You had your childhood and they have theirs and never the two shall meet. Follow their lead and gently encourage their participation in something they can call their own and enjoy.

Let the Broken Record Play on – Rainy Day Play

Continuing on the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on changing plans on a rainy day. Ahh yes just when I blathered on about getting active in the summer a thunder storm blows through! It’s times like these that reminds me how important it is to be flexible with our plans. Nothings carved in stone unless Mother Nature has the chisel.

Rules of Thumb
The first thing to remember on the weather change-up is that in most places it usually doesn’t rain all day, every day. So do try to get out when it’s over. Second thing is to remember that safety comes first, stay inside or ensure you take cover when there’s an electrical storm with thunder and lightning. And finally, rain without thunder storms won’t make you melt if you get sprinkled with rain. Really!

I rather enjoy walking in the rain. I have not melted yet. I have a trusty raincoat with a hood and it travels with me to many places to shelter me from the rain. Your kids won’t melt either and may love splashing in puddles and carrying on.

Board Game Help Ward off Boredom
I know a teacher who divulged that kids who’ve grown up without playing board games have more trouble with simple life skill, such as adding the dots on a couple of dice, for example. On a rainy day drag out some old games, blow the dust off of the boxes and get playing. When you get right down and think about it there’s a social aspect to game playing in addition to the simple counting thing, plus following directions “Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass Go and do not collect $200″. Like Snakes and Ladders we all have to cope in life with slipping on a proverbial banana peel, or a snake that sends you back 15 steps, only to recover in the near future. Yes, a metaphor of life.

If you have the odd rainy day inside, aim to get out when you can then play outside longer tomorrow when the sky clears.

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Clean UP on Aisle 3!

July 13th, 2015 No Comments Tags: ,

Did you read the article that appeared in the Globe & Mail last week about nutrition experts on staff in grocery stores? The writer made a boo boo lumping unregulated nutritionists together with Registered Dietitians while asking the question “…is their advice hurting more than helping?” hmmmm. It sparked a flurry of chatter among my fellow RD nutrition expert compadres. Truth be told, I had a case of indigestion reading it while trying to enjoy my breakfast. I have done my share of pondering, now it’s time to weigh in…

I cannot think of a more brilliant concept than having nutrition experts – Registered Dietitians in the grocery store setting, bravo! It’s the one place where the rubber meets the road to support optimal food choice propping up the health and well being of you and your family. Many times have I spied customers who look bewildered comparing products trying to figure out which choice is better.

I love the Metro “My Healthy Plate” program with a smile-symbol system right on the product shelves denoting what’s good and what’s better of the rows of offerings. It’s a solid scheme based on current scientific criteria mapped out by a team of sharp-minded dietitians. This system takes the guess-work out of grocery shopping by helping you make better food choices in every aisle of the grocery store. All of the nutrition figuring has been done for you, simply grab and go.

I get my knickers in a knot when unregulated nutritionists with healthy sounding titles promote unproven concepts tied to herbals, supplements, high priced organics and gluten free for non-celiacs. It bothers me to think that innocent consumers, especially seniors are being nudged into spending hard earned dollars on products they don’t need. It is THAT type of advice that is hurting more than helping.

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. These days it seems that every second youthful-looking person is starting their own blog and tweeting all sorts of non-sense. Gwyneth Paltrow is a perfect example. Just because someone eats, bakes, takes a few courses, watches Dr. Oz and surfs the net doesn’t make them an expert of any kind. If something sounds too good to be true, remember… it is. To spot these imposters I wish you could just listen for that quacking sound, but alas it isn’t that simple.

What I have learned over the years is that young bodies can really take a beating when trying seemingly innocuous products. Beware though, because as we age our magical machine can’t hold up quite as well and things eventually start to break down.

Case in point, I heard a story about a woman who tried a cleanse, limiting her to only drink a high-priced, special elixir to help her find her fountain of youth. After a month on this bevy blaster her hair started falling out. That wasn’t exactly the special side effect she was seeking, good grief. That’s what happens when you don’t deliver all the nutrients your body needs consistently – it eventually breaks down. Unfortunately the wisdom of eating a balanced diet and regular food can seem unsexy and highly underrated when indeed this nugget is truly the Holy Grail… The moral of that story – don’t mess with the machine – your bodacious body, as I have written many times and explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

Some nutritionists spew all kinds of folksy stuff. Make sure whoever gives you advice can back up what they’re preaching using scientific evidence and NOT the popular press. If someone tells you “…well back on the farm eons ago everyone ate all ..… blah blah blah blah”. I love a good fairy tail too, but in reality the life expectancy back then was much lower than it is now thanks to the advances in modern medicine.

Listen folks, I am now north of 50 and I’m not talking latitude here, but age. I realize how important it is for me to rely on accredited, well-trained professionals to treat my body right. After all, your body IS your temple. If you want to shop around for different shoes or styles, go for it. But when it comes to your health heed the advice of accredited health professional like Registered Dietitians any time you can get it. The years of training, high standards and demands for them to consistently stay in the know to allow them to be registered by an accredited college to protect the public holds them to a higher standard. Isn’t that what you want? Why settle for anything less?

The next time you go to the grocery store make it a point to ask for a session with a Registered Dietitian. I’d like to hear on the overhead speaker “Call the Dietitian for clean up on aisle 3!”; yes clean up the misconceptions on food and nutrition issues that lurk in every aisle…

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Get Your Game Face ON!

July 9th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Construction… check, gridlock…. check, mannequins…. check, torch lit…. check, well those Pan-Am Games are almost upon us…. double check! Come on folks it’s time to stop complaining and make our inner light shine and plan to take it all in.

I love taking in all things sports. I did some pondering about what this means in our lives, hmmmm. Take the flame for instance. It’s a perfect symbol of motivation as it travels over hills and dales, towering snowcapped mountains and cavernous valleys to the host city. Each day that flame is passed represents that internal glow in our own lives to be better, go further, get stronger, don’t you think?

I chuckled when I did my mat routine recently with weights and flexibility exercises in deep contrast to those buff beach volley-ball players’ routines. I bent and stretched to just touch my toes and lifted those weights tightening my core, cause I too can do just a little bit better. How about you?

I won’t be joining a Viking iron woman team any time soon because tortoises don’t qualify. I will however be more mindful of how I can do my body right one baby step at a time. Maybe I’ll sneak out for an extra stroll at lunch in the day; perhaps I’ll forgo those excessive food offerings at special occasions; how about getting down on my mat an extra day or two in the week to tighten my core or make my lunch with the seasonal fare adorning my fridge. Every positive step in the right direction is a good thing.

Some Pan-Am Game food for thought, that’s for sure. Enjoy watching and ensure you take your routine up a few notches from the inspiration garnered by the athletes.

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Follow the Loser – Vacation Tips

July 2nd, 2015 No Comments

Canada Day has come and gone with more vacation days looming as the seasons unfold. Some might think it’s easier to stay on track with eating and activity goals with summer here and bountiful produce is around. Nay, nay I say! I think for many there’s a “party hearty” mood with more opportunities to eat, drink and be merry to the max. If you worked diligently to tone your beach body why not work in ways to stay in shape for the duration.

My good friend and colleague Cara Rosenbloom and I conducted a survey on successful weight losers years ago. We surveyed women who made it from Fat City to Slim Town. These women anonymously spilled a hill of beans on this (and many other topics) on how they approach vacationing. Let’s review some tips of the successful loser Slim Town-ites… enjoy the cornball names!

Eating, moderation and finding balance

“Plan ahead and have some of the things you love, but don’t totally overindulge.” – Pamela Prudence

“I never go to an eating occasion hungry.” – Edith Wise

“Lose the “all or nothing” mentality that comes with vacation eating and drinking ‘amnesia’.” – Debbie Dealmaker

“I make sure I have healthy snacks on hand.” – Nora Nibble

“Balance what you eat. My tip: eat before you go to those meals. The edge is off your appetite so you are less likely to overeat.” – Sandy Satiety

“I eat what I want, but small portions and in moderation. If I overeat, I exercise longer the next day.” – Patty Prioritize

“Maintain food limits 80% of the time and enjoy drinks or desserts 20% of the time.” – Fanny Figure

On activity and exercise

“Keep exercising, even on vacation. If you overindulge one day, eat better the next few days to compensate.” – Jill Jockology

“On holidays, I’m usually more physically active because I’m out of the office.” – Mina Move-It

“Exchange my regular routine with other things like walking on a beach, stretching and spot exercises.” – Chaz Changeup

“I actually like working out when I’m away. It’s a new gym or a new place to run. And I feel extra-proud of myself for having done it! Still, I’ll eat everything (in moderation), because… it’s a vacation!” – Amy Attitude-Adjustment

These women appear to have their routines down pat and priorities figured out – balance and moderation are keys to their success. They do partake in the holiday eating while continuing activity to offset the intake. Very wise words to follow as more vacation days unfold, don’t you think?

Check out Chapter 9 in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books with an array of tips and tricks for “Facing Routine Curveballs and Challenges” that everyday life brings.

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“I hate summer!” said no one EVER!

June 24th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I hate summer!
Said no one EVER!
Longer days
And better weather

Outdoor sports
Golf skorts
Bare feet and
Extreme weather reports!

Lovely breeze
Allergic sneeze?
Gardening and
Towering trees

Time to bike
Or take a hike
Roller blade or
Fly a kite

Take the #StepCountChallenge
And #SneakItIn
#MakeYourDayHarder
Hike up your routine!

Stay outdoors!
Try a new golf course
Take up tennis?
Perfect time to move more!

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