Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Diet Coke and other calorie free foods

About a week ago I watched a very interesting lecture by a physician from UCSF called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth."  It's long but totally worth the watch.  (or you could wait a couple weeks and I will be doing a presentation at the FC based on some of that program called Dying for Sweets).

The presentation went in depth on the differences and similarities of glucose (fuel of life), fructose (sugar found in fruit or industrially created as crystalline fructose or high fructose corn syrup ... or ironically renamed: corn sugar), and sucrose (table sugar made up of one glucose hooked to one fructose).

Basically, the take home from this 90+ minute program was:

We eat too much sugar.  Period.

Doesn't matter where it comes from  -- we're making ourselves ill because historically we haven't ever had to deal with as much sugar as we are now exposed to.  The presenter in the video called it "toxic" and "a poison".  And I agree.

Now, like alcohol, some sugar isn't going to kill us.  But the massive amounts we are exposed to actually is killing us (diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease -- sugar contributes to all of these!)

To add on top of this -- I got an email from one of our fellow reader.  She asked me to remind all of you that "Diet" soda isn't any better for us than regular soda -- people are still gaining weight from the non-calorie options! 

My question to you is:  why are you drinking the soda (diet or not) in the first place???

"Because it tastes soooo good", you say?

Well...couple things:

First -- soda/fizzy drinks/crystal light/etc have no nutritional value....at all.  Milk has calcium and Vitamin D needed for strong bones.  Red wine has components thought to reduces the risk of heart disease.  Fruit juices (the real ones -- that actually are comprised of juice from fruit -- not water, sugar, red dye number 6 and 5% "Real Juice") provide vitamins, minerals, and sometimes even some fiber.

Sodas?  Nada.  They provide sugar (or some fake substitute) -- which none of us need, salt (again -- very few of us should have more salt in our diet), caffeine, and colorants.  Hmmmm.....

But it tastes so good......or does it?

It's kind of a long story -- but since the beginning of the year, I have worked really hard to limit my intake of sugars.  Yesterday, I thought I would treat myself to a fountain Coke (y'all know how I LOVE fountain Cokes!) I haven't had Coke in better than a month.  And you know what?  It tasted syrupy, sickly sweet, and so nasty I had to throw it away!

I'm really disappointed that it didn't taste good!  I really thought it would.  But -- cutting down on the sugar must have made me more sensitive to the sweetness in the drink.  --so it didn't taste good -- which means taste is in the mouth of the beholder.  You could reduce your taste for sweet drinks....if you wanted to.

And yes, I'm sure if I persisted, all I would have to do was get back into the habit of drinking fountain cokes and they would start tasting good -- but why would I do that?  They have no redeeming value.

And yes, I could switch to diet coke -- that would probably take care of the too-sweet taste of the soda.  But, again....why would I do that?

And, just one more thing:  We can't outsmart Mother Nature.  Studies show that if you give kids a regular soda sweetened with high fructose corn syrup before the head into the fast food restaurant, they will eat more calories than if they didn't have the soda.  Fructose doesn't simulate insulin -- which is one of the signals that allow the brain to recognize the calories we are consuming.  Without the insulin response those calories fly under the brain's radar and it won't account for them as it's calculating when to turn off our hunger -- so we eat more.

You know what else doesn't cause insulin to be released?  The fake sugars in sodas (and everything else).  We have been lead to believe these are no-calorie foods but research is showing us that even though the mechanism is not clearly understood, fake-sugar foods are causing us to gain weight too.

They're not "free" foods.  All foods come with a price.

Are your choices in foods the ones that are serving you best?  Or are you just running on autopilot because you assume you like your choices?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thought for the Day...

Trust yourself....

 You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. --Winnie the Pooh

Friday, January 27, 2012

Do something Friday -- Scattered, Splattered, and Covered

We've already reached the last week of January!  How does time fly so fast?  As a Fitness Professional, I know this is an important week for all of us trying to stick to our New Year's resolution.  This is the week that can make or break the deal.

For a majority of the Resolution gym goers, this is the week that things you've been putting on hold while you go to the gym, have piled up to such an extent that they DEMAND your attention and you HAVE  to take time to deal with them.

For those of you having made Resolutions about changing your eating habits, this is the week where life typically starts to distract you from your goal and purpose.  (or your frustration at the amount of work vs. the movement on the scale reaches a frustration point and you start wondering whether it's worth it)

We, at the FC, know that in another 3 weeks, much of our New Year volume increase will fall away and there will be more open treadmills again.

There is an upside to all of this:  This doesn't have to be you.  You don't have to be the one to let life swing you off track and derail you success this year.  You have a choice.

Ok -- in this last weekend of January 2012, it's time to reassess what's worked and what hasn't.  If you've let life pile up around you while you've been busy hitting the gym and cooking more so you need to eat out less, it's time to get caught up.  Better to tackle life on your time-table (with a plan) than to have to drop all of your newly formed positive habits because you haven't done laundry in 3 weeks and have no clean undies!

Today, get out a piece of paper and write down 3 changes you've made that are working for you.  Then write down 2 changes you've made that aren't.

Let the changes that aren't working go for now.  Use that time to catch up on your everyday chores.

Focus on the changes that ARE working -- make a plan to keep those up AND get your everyday tasks done.

Small, sustainable changes are better predictors of a healthier, happier life than crazy, turn-your-life-upside-down-because-you're-fixing-all-your-flaws-at-once (you know you're going to burn out on that, right?) changes.

Don't be the majority and quit on your goals for  2012.  You can accomplish them!  But it's probably going to take more time than you thought (and be quite a bit messier than you envisioned).  Don't give up  --- we've still got 11 more months to go in the Year of You!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Prisoners of the Urgent

It's also a theme on which I hear variations every day. Think of it as a madness loop — a vicious cycle. We react to what's in front of us, whether it truly matters or not. More than ever, we're prisoners of the urgent.

Have you read that quote that say something like "The urgent isn't usually important and the important isn't usually urgent"?  (Obviously my paraphrasing).

We do get stuck putting out fires.  Like the fire of "I'm so hungry I need to run through this drive-thru and grab something before I starve to death!"


"I need to lose these 10 (or 100) pounds before ______ .  I don't want people to see me like this".


"My doctors appointment is next week!  I better hit the gym every day this week!"

The drive-thru because you didn't plan well enough and are going to starve to death -- really?

You want to lose weight because you don't want _______ to see you like this?  People see you all day, everyday.  You really care what that person or group thinks about you more than all the people that see you everyday and think you're fantastic?

Hitting the gym for a week?  Great start to a new habit!  But seriously, how much is it going to change the outcome of your doctor's appointment?  (although I will tell you that much exercise is enough to raise your HDL's so your cholesterol ratio will look better!)

Are these urgent matters what you want to focus on?  Or do you have important things that need your attention -- like...

Preparing for your busy day by making sure you have a snack in your bag that is going to leave you energized, feeling positive, and not so hungry that you undo a week's worth of mindful eating with one stop at a drive-thru.


Learning to manage your eating habits so you feel comfortable in clothes and confident in your body -- as the rule not the exception.


Being able to head into your doctors appointment without worrying you are going to "get in trouble" because you are already doing the things (from eating to stress management to sleeping enough to moving more) that are letting you enjoy your life more than you ever have.

What's feeling urgent today?  And is it really important?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are you ready for the onslaught?

Coke wants to double it's world wide consumption by the year 2020.  They are not doing this for you, for your health, for your children's health.  They are doing it to make money.  They have nothing against you -- Coke is just a bunch of people looking to keep their jobs and increase their sales -- just like many of the rest of us.

However -- If you do your part to help them reach their goal, they will not reciprocate.  They will not ease off marketing their product toward you (or your kids) if you don't help them.  They are going to hit us hard with marketing that shows all the best life has to offer -- and how Coke brought it all together and made it happen.  It's not true, of course.  And as you sit here and read this, you know no soda will not make you happier with your life.  But, if the marketers of Coke (and all the other packaged food products) have their way, you won't be thinking about how their products really affect you -- you'll be thinking about how good their products sound right now.

If you want to withstand their marketing onslaught, you need to start training now.  Get clear on your weight management goals and get to work finding strategies that let you reach a healthy weight and stay there.  We don't have much time -- the food marketers are getting warmed up.  And they'll steer you off course, if you let them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's the biggest threat to your waistline?

Status quo. 

Eat whatever you're served -- all of it regardless of whether you chose that portion size or not.  Go back for seconds because "that's just what you do".  Stop at a drive-thru every time the urge hits -- it takes too much work to fight it.**

Sit more -- it's easier than stopping at the gym or going for a walk after dinner.  Yoga before work to start your day relaxed? Ah...the bed's warmer -- just stay there.

If you're content with your habits -- stop reading this blog.  You don't need it and it's probably a waste of your time.  If you're not content -- give up being comfortable.  Give up status quo.  Take the phrase "It's just easier" COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR VOCABULARY! 

The time is now.  Every minute is now.  Make your choices in support of change.

**(they don't charge you for just pulling around the building, you know.  Even if you turn in, you could still get yourself out without ordering something).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Do something Friday.....Take action on what's making you unhappy....

Well, duh!  Eating's an action, right?  But is that the action you really should be taking?  Is it the one that is going to solve your problem?  Or is it the action meant to blanket what you're feeling in a layer of distraction (and fat).

This weekend, give some thought to what's eating you.  We trigger eat for lots of reasons but I can guarantee, you'll never be happy with your weight until you deal with the issues that got you to where you are.

**thanks to Celes for the inspiration!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

“Happiness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing but happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.” --Barry Schwartz.

I read this quote the other day and it struck me how similar it is to my feelings about being thin.  We are a thin-focused society.  We are not a health focused society -- although I and many, many others are working really hard to change that!

What if I adapted the quote to read, "Thinness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing but thinness as a goal is a recipe for disaster." --KSW  (feel free to print this out and post it all over your house if it strikes you!)

If more of us subscribed to this philosophy, what would happen to the number of boys and girls (and men and women) who develop eating disorders? --I bet it wouldn't even enter into their heads to judge themselves on their size -- their focus would be on developing health bodies that could help them live the kinds of lives they dream about!

How much differently would we view the commercials on TV?  Gone would be the critical voices in our head that says we could never look like XYZ.  Those thought could be replaced by "Boy!  I sure would like to be able to rock climb like that!  I wonder what I can do to get my body ready for that kind of adventure!"

No longer would we assume just because a person is carrying extra weight that they are unhealthy or unfit -- perhaps they do triathlons on the weekend, you don't know!  And yet -- we make assumptions about them based on their appearance.

I see mindful eating as a real success when it allows you live the kind of life you've always wanted but thought you could only achieve if you were a size ___.  It's a success when it increased your ability to interact with your loved ones or when you suddenly become aware of all the choices you make that don't add value to your life and then take the step of reclaiming some of those opportunities to be more engaged with who you are and what you're trying to accomplish.

Many times those positives are reflected on the scale.  But more importantly, they are always reflected in the contentment a person feels about their life.  And that, my friends, seems like the best reason to develop your mindful eating skills!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quick! It's the easy way out!!

"It’s human nature to look for the easy way out."  This is the opening line form Copy Blogger's post.

I can only assume it's not 100% true in all things at all times (I know it's know always true for me).  But it seems like this is the basis for our perennial (as in happens every year!) weight struggles.

We know what we "should" do....but we just don't want to.  So we hope and we pray and we spend money on the next IT! drug, machine, book, pill, prepackaged meal plan, fad, juicer, guru, that comes along because we just keep hopin' that there's something out there easier than:

Eating less (and for many of us that means MUCH less)

Moving more (and for many of us that means MUCH more)

There aren't easier ways.  Every guru, pill, juicer, surgery, fad, meal plan....all of it, is going to make use of these two principles:

Fewer calories in.
More calories burned through movement.

The rest of it is just expensive window dressing.  You can pick the flavor -- but you've really only got two choices to manage your weight.  They are both simple....but neither is easy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 -- a Year of Health

Here's something to get you thinking about another (very important) component to your health! (yes...it's exercise!)  Jen, from Borgess Athletic Performance, has some great ideas about how to incorporate fitness into your mindful life!

Can't see the video? Click here!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thought for Today.....Deal with it!

Many of us in the modern society today do not know how to properly deal with our emotions. Just look at what most of us do when we are unhappy/angry/upset/stressed/fearful. We either (a) sleep it away (b) eat it away (emotional eating) (c) drink it away (alcoholism) (d) smoke it away (e) bury ourselves with other things, usually work and/or (f) ignore those emotions altogether.  --Celes at Personal Excellence

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do something Friday -- cupboard clutter

What do you have in your cupboards that you don't really WANT to eat?

Don't tell me nothing....I know that's not true.

We're coming off the holiday season and with it, I bet there are some things in your cupboard you don't really want to eat.

For example:  I have Halloween candy.  Really good candy (full sized Snickers, Butterfingers, and (gasp!) even some Hersey's Bars).  Most of the time I don't even notice them but....when I'm recreationally eating (you know -- when you make a trip to the kitchen on every commercial from 7:30 to 10pm) all of the sudden that bag (clear Ziploc with a great amount of visibility!) starts looking mighty tempting.

The weird thing is, I don't like that candy enough to crave it EXCEPT when I'm bored.

Do you have stuff like this?  Random bag of candied pecans, box of mixed chocolates, half a box of  not-so-good crackers that didn't get finished at the party that under normal circumstances wouldn't temp you but....under the right conditions you'll end up eating them.  Throw them out! 

This weekend, make some time to go through your cupboards (in the morning and after breakfast works best) and throw out all the junk that, yes, will eventually get eaten but isn't going to be worth the calories you spend on it. 

It is so much easier to avoid eating non-fabulous food if it's not in the house!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Keeping Decisions

It's not really the making them that's hard -- it's the keeping them.  Therein lies the key to success.  Once you've made your decision, get to work keeping it.  And don't let yourself off the hook when you want to slack!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Your go-to behaviors

Do you know what they are?  I bet you do.  For some stress = eat.  For others stress = no eating.

Does busy mean drive-thru?  Meetings mean takeout?

Changing habits can be exhausting.  The great thing about habits is they free up brain space to work on other things.  Autopilot lets us drive, eat, listen to a song on the radio and plan our conversation with our boss.  Sure, sometimes things go wrong but more often than not, we arrive safely.

People get frustrated with mindful eating because it takes so much thought.  It's not easy.  Why?  Because it's not your habit...yet.  But think back to when you're kids were little -- didn't it take a lot of effort to get them to the point where brushing their teeth was a habit?  And aren't you glad you did?

Mindful eating is the same way.  When you get it -- when it is your new habit -- you will eat mindfully most of the time -- just like you brush your teeth most (or all) nights before you go to bed.

Like many things in life, it is a skill that takes time, practice, and attention.  You won't get it in one week or 3 or 6 or 6 months.  You just won't.

Give yourself permission to practice, learn, succeed, and fail.  This is a life-long process -- your metabolism is constantly changing -- so shouldn't your skills at weight management adapt too?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thought for the Day...cutting back

If you wish to grow thinner, diminish your dinner. --Henry Sambrooke Leigh

Which 9 bites are you going to leave uneaten today?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Do something Friday....take action

We're winding up the first week of 2012!

Today, make one more positive eating decision than you did yesterday.

Find it.  Do it.  Celebrate it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Measurable isn't always what matters most

This is a shocking statement.  The basis of my job is measurable.  People want to weigh less, have smaller circumferences, wear smaller sizes, fit into airplane seats better (good luck with that one, right?)

It's all about measurable -- or at least that is what my clients tell me....at first.

Once they start practicing mindful eating, the conversations start to change.  They talk about success feeling like they are in charge of their eating decisions.  They talk about feeling calm when they are faced with a dinner party.  They talk about realizing they don't "need" as much food as they thought they did.  They talk about realizing they don't HAVE to stop and get a sundae just because they are close to their favorite ice cream shop.

What do my clients really want?  Peace.  Ease.  Comfort.  To have the ceaseless critic in their head silenced.  They want to feel calm.

Upon reflection, if this sounds like you, maybe you should think about the tools available to you to get there.  Like the Yogi Berra said:  "If you don't know where you're going, you just might end up someplace else."

As an aside:  (and speaking of tools) I am considering running an 6 week Eating Coach class online via Google+ but...I am only going to run it if we have 9 people signed up.  I have it tentatively scheduled for 7p on Mondays -- starting in a couple weeks (the cost is $99 -- it's normally $125 but because it's the first online class I have offered, I'm going to discount it a little bit).  All of the classes will be live online.  Send me an email to reserve your spot and get the full details.  kristi.stenderweessies@borgess.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finally Fit

My friend Jen, at Borgess Athletic Performance, is looking for everyday athletes (yes....that's you!) who need some guidance in achieving their 2012 Fitness Goals.  She has put together several great packages that include personalized coaching and dietary support with a registered dietitian (plus the ability to workout here at the FC!).

The commitment levels range from 6 to 12 weeks so there is something for everyone -- but only if you're willing to commit to some hard work and positive changes.

Jen's a fun woman and will make you work hard (and actually enjoy it!).  If you're interesting in becoming Finally Fit (program flyer) -- send her an email (jennifer.query@borgess.com) or give her a call at 269.552.2340

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Chris Brogan just wrote his 3 words for 2012.  These are his guiding principles for the year (so much easier to remember 3 words than it is to remember a whole resolution!)

I liked all three (you can read them here) -- but the one that struck me most was the word practice and the sentence: The practice is the reward.

When I talk to people who are trying (successfully or unsuccessfully) to manage their weight -- almost none of them are enjoying the process.  It seems we have made weight management a means to an end.  If you can just control your weight, you will live a happy, successful life..... right?

I don't see too many people (none...actually) that have lived this particular urban legend.

I can count on two hands the people who have gone through bariatric surgery only to swing from euphoria (as the weight comes off) to confusion (as they start to live in a very different body than the one they are used to), to fear and despair (as their weight settles and many times starts creeping back up).  I'm not saying they aren't happy -- but I haven't ever had anyone tell me losing weight solved all of their problems.

Maybe we should be taking a deeper look at the practice of ....anything, really -- but for here, I guess we'll keep it to weight management.

Please consider this:

The lessons you need to learn to be happy are those that let you be kind to yourself and others even if you're in an uncomfortable situation.

Sometimes less is more.

You have to be present to win.

Life moves pretty fast .... if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you may miss it. (yeh...that's Ferris Bueller!)

So maybe it's time to practice -- and enjoy it for what it is:  the reason we're here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thought for the Day....who's in charge

"Do you often slip off your ideal diet? Do you eat when others invite you to, even though you are not hungry?  Do you continue eating even when you are full, because you feel you should finish what’s on the plate?

 If you do, you’re not alone. Looking back, I often compromised on my ideal diet, based on the situation I was in.

If I was in a restaurant, I would order the mains even though I wasn’t very hungry, because I thought I should match what others were ordering. I would then blame my misstep on the fact that I was eating out. If there was food in the house, I would eat that, then blame my overeating on the food. If there was junk food, I would eat that, then blame my poor diet on lack of availability of healthy food. If someone offered me food, I would take it, then blame the circumstance for making me slip on my diet.

 Of course, I was the reason why I kept slipping off my ideal diet – not the food, not the restaurants, not other people, and certainly not the situations. I had given power of deciding what to feed my body over to others. It was when I took ownership of my meals that I turned that around." --Celes at Personal Excellence