Archive for June, 2010

Take Me To Your Leader – A Father’s Day Tribute

June 18th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I did some reminiscing about my Dad regarding what a positive force and role model he’s been in my life. This applies to all aspects of my life, but of course I’ll focus on the health related part, mostly. I figured with Father’s Day upon us, it’s a good time to toot his horn – toot toot!! When I hear about the importance of various family factors resulting in positive health outcomes for kids, it warms my heart to know how lucky I’ve been.

Family Mealtimes

He knew about prioritizing what was important in life (and still does). We consistently ate meals together as a family – breakfast and dinner. Fathers can play a very important role in the health of their family by scheduling work around this important family activity. It was our time to eat a home cooked meal together, catch up on our day and connect.

Family Activities

We learned activities we can all do together – tennis, swimming, badminton and made time to do them. I earned the nick name “Glue Foot” for my tennis prowess!!

Leading by Example

He is a master time compartmentalizer even when work was super crazy. He had a very busy job but from Monday to Friday always made time for physical activity. He was in good shape and used to jog a few miles a day and play squash. My sister and I took up jogging too, following his lead. We figured if He can do it, we can too!!

Showing Tough Love, Setting Limits as a United Front

My Mom and Dad worked as a team and he supported my Mom with the limit setting. They weren’t our best friends, they were our parents and secure enough not to cross that line.

He was the kind of guy who got up early to seize the day even on weekends. There was none of this allowing us kids to “sleep until noon business” on a weekend – Heaven forbid! I remember hearing the door squeak open by 9am if we weren’t yet up and his hairy hand would reach for the light-switch turning it on and off to wake us up.

Encouragement with a Reality Check

My Dad encouraged us to be the best we could be in whatever we chose to do in life. He didn’t flower up reality and would give you the straight goods when you needed it. He expected we get part time jobs and work, save money and pay for what we could. We learned the value of a dollar and not to spend what we didn’t have. All important life skills.

What does all of this have to do with eating and lifestyle… well, everything??!! When your life is properly balanced, wisely prioritized with good examples to follow it’s easier to make sound decisions. I talked about Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book (June 9th post). Well these principles are a page taken right out of my Dad’s book.

Thank you Dad for being such an amazing father and role model to me. I kept the family name as a testament of my pride for what you built on our branch of the family tree. You’re the best!!

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Take the Lead

June 17th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We’re so gullible sometimes, aren’t we? The literature tells us that our eating and drinking is so easily influenced when we’re with other people. Often times peer pressure kicks in to surrender those good intentions to partake in the excess frenzy going on around us. The longer the meal the higher the energy intake, generally. When Betty-Sue decides she’s going for the chocolate lava cake you KNOW she wants to draw you into her eating vortex. It’s as if we get more devilish in a group, like “truth or dare”, but this is “sloth and share”. Time!!

I say lead, don’t follow. Make up your mind ahead of time of what you’re going to order, even before you hop in the car. These days so many restaurant menus are on-line. Take a boo in the afternoon and decide. This’ll take out all of the guesswork and food jockeying while at the table. You won’t even need to open your menu.

I eat out quite a bit and am a big believer you can stay close to keeping on track no matter where you eat. For me eating IS entertainment with much to enjoy. Try starting off your meal with some soup or salad and sip on fizzy mineral water before starting with the wine or mixed drinks. This helps take the edge off your appetite helping you slow down the eating pace and staying in the moment of enjoyment rather than dying for the next course to arrive.

Try to head into one of these meals with the mindset that you can have dessert if you want provided you’re not too full by then. This removes the childish notion of wanting something 10 times more if you say you can’t have it. By the mere suggestion of keeping a vague gauge on satiety may end up with you not wanting dessert after all, this time. As far as food and drink goes, nothing is off limits, just watch the amounts. AND try focusing on your goals “just for today”.

So when it comes to eating and drinking with a group, lead don’t follow. You’ll be happy you did, especially the morning after!

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Fear Factor

June 16th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Last week we delved into different territory. We were looking at darker places in our minds and souls that can affect our eating and activity. You might be thinking “what does this have to do with what I eat and drink and how does this affect my weight?” As we know we make over 200 decisions about eating every single day. Some of those decisions could be influenced by how we think, feel and believe in our quest. So it has EVERYTHING to do with it. I’m a big believer that working on the emotional side of eating will help with your keys to success in the long-run. Weight loss and regain could be caused by not sorting out the REAL reasons why you overeat. If anything, you will feel satisfied with yourself by going deeper and understanding yourself better. Why go part way?

Today’s topic is about fear. Are you a frady cat? I learned to realize what my predominant fears were and saw that I was taking short cuts in my journey to avoid things I was afraid to face.

Let me tell you something ladies, never let fear dictate your actions. I know this because I’ve been there and am fearful from time to time. If we really take the time to search our souls we’d realize how we allow fear to point us in a certain direction. Instead of staring fear right in the face and deciding “to go for it” – whatever your goal or dream might be. I can recall many instances in my life where I wanted to take the easy route because I didn’t think I could “cut the mustard” AND I was fearful of the dark shadow of failure. These have included experiences in school, my profession and personal as well. I find when I face my fears head on they often crumble rather than overtake me. When you reflect on challenging them you will look back feeling content. How fulfilling is that? Very!!

Rev Run’s message June 9th entitled: Keep on Keeping On! fit with this theme so appropriately:

Good morning. Many people are not successful BECAUSE success runs from those who are not willing to fight for it.

God is Love, Rev Run

All I have to say to that Rev is Amen!!

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Food Revolution Super Fast Pepper & Egg Frittata

June 15th, 2010 1 Comment Tags: , ,

I’m sharing this ultra fast, good-for-you recipe to try when you barely have time to cook after a busy work day. I usually whip this up the evening in the week when I try to get ahead for the weekend. You know the deal.


3 bell peppers washed and sliced (mix up the colours – red, orange, yellow)

4-6 eggs (scrambled), salt and pepper to taste

toasted multi-grain buns or bread


Heat up your skillet to medium low with a dab of oil on the bottom (canola or olive oil). Add all of the pepper slices, season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer with the lid on, stirring occasionally to avoid burning the peppers. Once the peppers have softened add the scrambled egg mixture and close the lid again, stirring occasionally and cook the eggs to your liking. Serve with whole grain toasted buns.

This is so fast, tasty and satisfying for dinner or lunch it never disappoints.

What’s your favourite super fast recipe?? I’d love to know.

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Just for Today….

June 14th, 2010 1 Comment Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you gunning for a weight goal that you ought to reach somewhere down the road? Is it bringing you down? There’s been a lot of talk about “staying in the moment”. A bit of Erchart Tolle’s wisdom.

We live in such an instant society where we’re so used to getting what we want, when we want and how we want it – pronto already!! Waiting for the energy intake and output equation to tip the scale in your favour doesn’t fit into that “instant” mindset that we’re used to. Well that old adage “slow and steady wins the race” surely applies to this situation in spades. I’m sure we have all experienced this first hand or know someone who has lost weight super quickly. We also know they gain it all back, plus more even faster. Don’t do it to yourself even if you’re tempted.

I find people psych themselves out by focusing on staying on track far into the future – next month, next season, next birthday and decide to throw in the diet towel because it’s too darn overwhelming. One approach that always helps me is narrowing my focus to “just for today”. Here’s an example of how the script could go:

  • I will do my walk, just for today
  • I will try to eat 5-10 fruits and veggies, just for today
  • I will not skip any meals (especially breakfast), just for today
  • All foods can fit, but I’ll be sure to trade off, just for today
  • I will aim to choose from most of the food groups at all meals, just for today
  • I will try to drink mostly no cal drinks (not including milk), plus water, just for today
  • I will fit in my mat routine, weights and stretching, just for today
  • I will focus on my satiety level and stop eating when I feel comfortably satisfied, just for today (like I did in the photo)

Got the idea? Now, write your own script. When your mind starts to wander doing weight loss math – “well, it’s ~11 weeks until the wedding, if I lose 2 pounds per week from now ’til then that will add up to…” put your pen and calculator down and find your centre. I’m not suggesting not to make goals and plans. What I am suggesting is to stay in the moment and do all you can “just for today”. Don’t forget there will be birthday celebrations, PMS’ing, Father’s Day, showers and more until that wedding arrives.

So remember, stay in the moment and focus on today. When you do this all of your tomorrows will fall in to place.

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Well Bust My Buttons – The All Inclusive

June 13th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Well if an eating vortex actually exists, I’m sure it got it’s footing on the all inclusive vacation. I was recently on one of these and feel I needed to run a mid trip marathon to offset all of those extra calories being snuck in. I’m sure Brian Wansink who wrote Mindless Eating would have a heyday just observing people in action while on one of these junkets (see the April 9 post). A handy guide of eating tips in hand would certainly help with the holiday planning.

You need to face the harsh reality that all calories count while on the all inclusive. You might get more for your dollar by partaking in the over-eating and drinking frenzy, but when the river boat hits the final port getting back to reality will certainly be tough if you don’t follow some fort of a strategy.

Ground Control to Major TomHave your wits about you at the many buffets. Walk around it and think before you scoop. Remind yourself you can’t have everything that’s being offered each “eating occasion” so choose a few options and find a seat. Trading off is the rule of the day. Aim to load up on the lower cal stuff more often (soup, veggies and fruit).

Slow Down You Move too Fast - Try as hard as you can to slow down your eating pace. You’re not running off to the office after all so take the time to enjoy your food. Feel your personal satiety meter register almost full or just comfortable. There will be another eating opportunity in a few hours, trust me. I find myself observing others which is great blog fodder. Ok, my mother-in-law who was celebrating her 80th calls it my evil eye. My interpretation is that she has a guilty conscience. Calling her the Baconator a few times radically changed her bacon eating behaviour at breakfast :-) That’s what you get when you go on vacation with a dietitian!!

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall 99 Bottles of Beer – Keep an eye on your bevy intake. We had extra rain on the trip so the staff was trying their darndest to make every hour happy hour. Drink and enjoy slowly making sure you intersperse water to keep well hydrated. You’ll save yourself a mess of calories.

Let’s Get Physical, Physical – Walk your heart out on the walking tours. Do all you can to offset the excess intake with excess activity. Bank on an exercise room that’s rarely used during free time while the boat is moving. I forgot to pack exercise clothes so used good ole jeans and a t-shirt instead.

She’s Just too Funky for Me – Get gussied up for your main meal so you feel extra fab. Avoid elastic waist bands and mu-mu’s….so you don’t end up feeling like one after the trip!

All Around the World – Do partake in the local food specialties – Hungarian goulash, weiner schnitzel, apricot strudel, roast duck, dumplings….. You didn’t travel afar to nosh on all familiar fare. Just make sure you draw a line in the proverbial sand and know when enough is enough.

Keep in mind the many rewards you are bestowing on yourself by taking a vacation, not just the food. There’s rest, fun time with family, the privilege of learning about other cultures, free time…..

After all was said and done Mother Dearest admitted to losing 5.5 pounds during the trip despite partaking in the many buffets, great food and wine with lots of walking tours. That got me thinking about starting Through Thick and Thin holiday tours. Be prepared to be heckled….just a little!!

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Is your head in the game, is eating filling a void?

June 10th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Do you find yourself overeating to fill a void? Some people binge eat to fill an emptiness inside. It might be for “the unknown”, it might be for not speaking up, it might be for allowing yourself to be controlled by others, it might be for perceived or real loss that might not have been dealt with in your past. It might not be easy to pinpoint these sorts of demons, but could be worth the effort. Do you want to spend your entire life ignoring this void through over eating, over spending or whatever??

The act of keeping a food journal could be the start of your personal quest to sort out your personal issues. I’m a big believer that there are a thousand ways of reaching your ideal weight properly. It’s not necessarily the program that succeeds but you the participant. The more active a participant you are in your journey the better. Journaling your way to success takes a lot of commitment by writing down what you eat and drink, how much, level or hunger before you eat and level of satiety after you eat along with any notable feelings.

Each week on the same day review the previous week’s entries and take the time to reflect on what you observe and keep summary notes for each week as a pattern emerges. Do you binge eat after slamming down the phone with your sister, when someone bosses you around, if a sales person treats you rudely?? It may take some time to begin to tease out what your main issues are. Once you do I suggest you begin changing your script for yourself when you find yourself back in similar situations. One thing I realized on my journey is “you get what you give” and you’re part of the problem AND the solution. I used to take “the victim” perspective and realized that if you don’t like how you’re treated be an active participant in changing, so what you get is something different. The book Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav is very enlightening. It’s a little bit deep, but very worth diving into.

Of course deeper issues require the help of professionals. You are worth the time and effort to sort things out. I don’t really see a down side on this, do you??

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Be a Controller – Find Supports

June 9th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

There are so many good books, resources and supports to help “figure yourself out” to help you achieve your goals. I see life as an interesting journey. In addition to the quest for me and my family’s health and wellness, I look to fill myself up with positive strategies to be the best person I can be and I frequently reflect on new ways of reaching my full potential. I’m sure you do this too. I find there are times of year my soul is yearning for more wisdom so I visit the book store and connect with my “soul sisters” on their findings, after all we’re all in this together!! Whatever self help book I read I try to take the time to reflect on how to make the content meaningful to me. What pearl of wisdom can help better my life. There’s an avalanche of wisdom out there, ripe for the picking and personal application. Here are some of my favorite reads.

I usually start out each year re-reading A New Earth by Erckhart Tolle. Each time I read it I find a deeper meaning in the content. I read it like the way I eat a dessert – slowly, savouring every “spoonful”. The book’s wisdom fills up my soul ready to take on a new year of opportunity. As I go through the change the “pain body” explanation has come alive for me and I do my darnest to stay in the moment as often as possible.

I love some of the wisdom of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I suggest this as required reading to students I mentor who could use a confidence booster. No I don’t have a cheque taped to my ceiling. I do love the suggestions around giving thanks every day. So many people feel they need more, more, more and sometimes don’t look around and realize how lucky they already are. When I do my morning walk I started my mind in the “giving thanks” direction. This starts my positive trajectory for each day. I find as I go through the change my mind can buzz off on a negative tangent. This process gets my thinking back on track.

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is chocked full of wisdom. I gave it to my nephew when he graduated from university last year and could buy a case of them to give to anyone I know (young and older). The most effective people I know possess these habits inherently and make a huge difference in their various walks of life. Learn how to get in the highly effective, highly important quadrant in life and stay there. I’m confident that when you do, if you used to binge eat, this will eventually diminish.

In addition to books as our excellent artillery for success, find mentors and try to emulate their positive qualities. If you feel you’re so perfect not needing to change, what you really are, is stuck in neutral. I have many mentors, positive ones with qualities I try to emulate and negative ones with qualities I try to keep in check. Your world is your oyster. There’s so much we can all do to reach our full potential, simply open your mind and make a few goals to get there.

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Find the Force – The Positive Side

June 8th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

We’ve all heard unbelievable stories of people being able to muster up super human abilities in difficult circumstances. It’s stories like these that make me believe in the power of the human spirit and that positive force. We all know people who seem to have this positive energy. They’re the ones with a smile on their face on a rainy day and if they’re my age or older wonderful smiling lines!!

I remember many years ago I got connected with a coworker who used to complain about everything. All of a sudden, my energy and spirit was sapped by mid-day. I finally realized I was getting pulled in her negative vortex. I “got away” and came through relatively unscathed experiencing what a negative influence this person had on me for a short while.

Today’s topic is so closely tied to yesterday’s. I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood where when you walk in the neighborhood people say hello. The simple act of smiling and greeting someone else is uplifting. Think about it the next time you express a simple act of kindness to someone else. The same thing goes for your outlook on how you take on and embrace the world. If you undertake your quest with a positive approach you can’t lose.

When I was young when our family would go for a drive my Dad would lead us in a sing song. I loved all of the old fashion songs he taught us, but the one that has the most meaning for me is “Once there was a silly old ant, tried to move a rubber tree plant, everyone knows an ant can’t, move a rubber tree plant, but he had HIGH HOPES, he had HIGH HOPES… Well, the exact same thing goes for us in our lives.

Stay positive, that’ll help you through the challenges of just about anything.

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Tune Your Attitude In

June 8th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I used to play competitive tennis in my teen years and learned all about the importance of having a good attitude from an early age. I have taken these lessons from the court, through school, to work… you name it. The bottom line is if you think you’re not good enough, you’ll never succeed at what you are trying to do, no matter what it is.

There’s something about a “can do” attitude that I gravitate toward. I know people who represent the entire spectrum from very “can do” to very “can don’t”. You know the type, they have 3 excuses rolling out of bed for why they aren’t able to embrace something – it’s cloudy outside, I’m PMS’ing, my neighbor (who also has a “can don’t” attitude) told me why it can’t be done. For them, life just isn’t fair. Take some time to observe the people you have in your circle and tell yourself what camp they represent. Take some time to observe people who have that can do attitude. Do yourself a favor and surround yourself with as many positive people as you can. This will fill you up with energy, hope and enthusiasm.

So what hopes and dreams do you have for a fully happy and healthy life? And where on the dial does your attitude lie?  Only you can tune it to “can do” on the dial. You owe it to yourself.

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