Monday, April 25, 2016

Fill Your Life With Fiber

I just listened to a fascinating podcast by Doctor Rhonda Patrick concerning the importance of fiber in our diets. I won’t require you to listen but I do heartily recommend it. It’s a great reminder of the importance of fiber not only for weight loss but also for providing what is needed to maintain a healthy gut microbiota which assists us to have a healthy immune system. The podcast can be found at  and her interview is with the Sondenbergs.

Nutrition Diva (another of my favorite pod casters)  shares four reasons that including lots of fiber in your diet are of great benefit:
Reason #1 Fiber fills you up.
  If you're watching your weight, fiber is your best friend. High fiber foods fill you up with fewer calories because they are naturally bulky, which makes your stomach feel full. Fiber also slows down the digestive process so you can go longer without feeling hungry again. It even decreases the amount of fat and calories that are absorbed from the digestive tract! Trying to lose weight on a low-fiber diet is like parallel parking without power steering. Sure, it's possible, but why make things harder than they need to be?
Reason #2. Fiber prevents disease.
Fiber is your body's janitorial staff. It sweeps up digestive and cellular debris, mops up cholesterol, environmental toxins and surplus hormones, and takes out the trash. That's why a high-fiber diet reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many kinds of cancer. If you've ever been in Manhattan during a garbage strike, you know that waste management is one municipal service you don't ever want to live without. Same with your body.
Reason #3. Life is better when you're regular
The only people who find the subject of irregularity funny are those who've never suffered from it. And the two of you can just keep your chuckles to yourself! The reason so many people suffer from occasional or chronic constipation is that most people don't eat anywhere near enough fiber. 'Nuff said.
Reason #4. Fiber hangs out with a cool crowd.
You can get more fiber by taking a fiber supplement every day. But you'll be much better off if you simply eat more foods that are naturally rich in fiber. That's because fiber tends to be found in foods that are also full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, lignans, phenols, and other good stuff. When you eat more high-fiber foods, your entire diet gets a nutritional upgrade.

See how much sexier fiber is than you ever imagined?

The USDA recommends that you get at least 25 grams of fiber a day. Nutrition Diva recommends 35-40 grams. The Sondenbergs would like you to eat 50-100. For this next week of our competition you will earn the 5 bonus points every day that you eat at least 25 grams of fiber (but try to shoot for 35-40).

The easiest way to increase the fiber in your diet is to:
1. Include high fiber cereal in your diet.
2. Be sure to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
3. Eat more beans and legumes and choose whole grains over refined as often as possible.
4. Other foods high in fiber are avocados, sunflower seeds, tahini (sesame butter), dried figs, green peas, sun-dried tomatoes, and popcorn.
* My apologies if fiber was the nutrient you chose to track in our past challenge. But if so you should be good at it by now !

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Yup Just Sit And Read

I’ve still got a cast on my right arm and I’m getting really tired of it! No I’m not developing patience! I’m just more clearly able to see I don’t have any!

I think I mentioned that until I’m back to my full typing power with both hands I was going to recycle past challenges.  So I was reading through some of them this afternoon looking for a good one.  Clean out the refrigerator? I can’t really do that.  Floss your teeth every day? No can’t really do that either!  Increase the intensity of your exercise? No I can’t do that either. (I’m lucky my doctors at least letting me walk in our day).

I was getting pretty discouraged with all the things that I can’t do when I remembered that one of the only things that has delighted me these past weeks is that I can still sit and read.  So guess what your challenge is going to be? Yup sitting and reading!

I wonder how many of you have discovered that on the myfitness site there’s a tab for BLOG.  And under the BLOG tab there’s a bunch of cool stuff to read.

I’m not sure about you but that I have found that the more knowledge I gain about health and nutrition the more inspired I am to improve my habits and to become a better steward over my physical body.

So that’s your challenge ladies.  I want you to read something healthfully inspiring every day this week.  And for each day you do so you can earn five bonus points. You can find some good articles to read on’s blog,  I also recommend Nutrition Diva and Live Strong. Or if you’re up for a challenge you can read a chapter a day from one of my favorite healthful books Food Rules by Michael Pollan.  I would love if you share in the comments section of this blog the reference for anything great you read this week.  And see if you can start living something that you’re learning.  Have an awesome week!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Week 2- You are the steward of your health

I think I’ve already shared with you that two weeks ago I broke my arm skiing in Park city, Utah.  I broke my right arm so it’s made it really difficult to type and I apologize for sending less emails and updates than usual.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that I’m super anxious to get out of this cast and one of my top priorities has been to get the nutrients needed to heal as quickly as possible.

It was disappointing to me that my orthopedic surgeon never asked anything about my diet and nutrition nor did he order or check whether I had had a DEXA scan to check for osteoporosis (I have had one and my bone density is slightly below normal.)

It is additionally disappointing that for the most part medical professionals often ignore the importance of good nutrition.  They tend to give us a Band-Aid and send us on our way.

I am hoping to lead you to understand how important it is for you to become a wise steward of your own health and nutrition.

A seldom used tool on my are the columns of information that follow your food entries on the daily food diary. Did you know you could choose what items to track? If you go to my fitness and choose settings then choose diary you will find a scroll down menu of various elements you can track.

What I would like you to do for our challenge this week is choose items to track that will most benefit your health. If high cholesterol and heart disease run in your family you might want to track trans fats, cholesterol or salt.  In diabetes runs in your family you might want to track carbohydrates or sugar. If you have a tendency to break bones you might want to track calcium and protein.  If you have problems with constipation you might want to track fiber. If your family history and your personal health raise no red flags you might want to keep the standard default settings.

Once you have reconsidered what items you want to track in your daily food diary I want you to choose one column to focus on this week. I’m focusing on protein as that is one of the main things needed when your body is trying to rebuild and repair.  Once you’ve chosen which column to focus on I want you to focus your efforts on meeting or exceeding the daily allotment for this nutrient.  FOR EVERY DAY YOU MEET OR EXCEED THE MINMUM REQUIREMENT IN THE COLUMN YOU HAVE CHOSEN YOU EARN THE DAILY BONUS POINTS!

So yes ladies there is more to my fitness than tracking calories and exercise! I encourage you to make this a lifelong tool for focusing one by one on the various nutrients you need in your diet and improving in each area!  Good luck to you all!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Week #1 Focus FULLY

First a sad disclaimer! I broke my right arm skiing in Utah last week and am incredibly slow at typing with my left arm. Consequently I will be recycling some of my past blog posts! I hope you won’t mind the repeats and we can still accomplish great things together!

I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio some time ago. For those of you not familiar-- he is a radio talk show host that speaks on the subject of frugal living to achieve independence from debt. Folks routinely call his show for advice on eliminating debt from their lives and he recommends a hyper focused "Rice and beans, beans and rice" strategy. Listeners are encouraged to focus wholly on their goal and eliminate ALL extra spending so that they can become debt free in record time. Many of his broadcasts feature successful listeners that phone in to give a debt free yell "3, 2, 1-- We are totally debt free!"

The other day a caller phoned in to ask was it OK if they slowed down their plan to eliminate their debt from 7 months to 12 months so that they could take the children to Washington DC for Spring break. Ramsey advised they NOT take the vacation but instead take a staycation and postpone the trip until their debt was eliminated. And then he said something I wanted to share with you today. He said they needed to keep a GAZELLE APPROACH to debt elimination. That he had found that when people became more casual and less intensely focused on their goals the goal tended to slip away from their vision and fade away into nothingness.
 That got me really thinking about gazelles. Did you know a Gazelle can run 60 m.p.h. and can run at a sustained speed of 30 m.p.h.? What do you think might inspire a Gazelle to run so fast?

When I was on a trip to South Africa with my youngest daughter our guide shared that "Gazelles are the Mcdonald's of Africa" He pointed out the M on their behinds and said they are the preferred dinner menu for lions.

Seems like if I had a Lion or tiger were chasing me at top speed I might become very inspired to focus everything I had on my efforts to run faster. It would definitely NOT be a time to be casual about my goal to escape.

In life we have times when we feel a renewed desire to improve ourselves and to give our goals an extra effort. I am excited you have decided to join our healthy living challenge. This is a great opportunity to think in detail about the reasons you want to develop some new healthier habits. Can you focus on this desire like a Gazelle?

For those of you that are new to our challenge you may feel overwhelmed by how many behaviors we track daily and weekly. Really?? You have to drink a lot of water, and cut back sweets to once a week, and write down every mouthful you eat on, and exercise 6 days a week for a full hour and eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and complete a weekly challenge? How overwhelming, how all encompassing, how Gazelle like! For those of you that are returning have you been getting a little lax in your healthy habits? Are you thinking 2 sugar days in a week are OK? Bites and nibbles don't need to be entered in myfitnesspal? Cleaning house or walking to your car can count as exercise? I challenge you to see how exacting you can be on following the program. NOTE THAT I  HAVE NEVER HAD ANYONE FOLLOW THE PROGRAM TO EXACTNESS THAT DID NOT FORGE WONDERFUL HABITS AND IF THERE WAS A NEED ALSO EXPERIENCE BIG WEIGHT LOSS. DURING OUR LAST ROUND MANY OF OUR FULLY FOCUSED LADIES LOST 9, 12, 15, 19 AND EVEN 24 POUNDS.
However I have seen many folks fudge a bit here and a bit more there and discontinue entering their numbers part way through our 8 week competition and generally lose focus and experience little change-- They GOT EATEN BY THE LION. 

As we begin our first week of competition you must:
1. Read the Rules page and Frequently Asked Questions page on the blog site (yes even if you are returning to the competition) 
2. Start an account on and seek at least 3 "friends" from our competition (search for them by e-mail addresses in my e-mail headers).
3. Weigh and measure yourself and include these numbers in the weigh in tab of (you might also want to take note in a personal notebook).
4. Contact your partner DAILY to remind and encourage. You can hang out in person, work oit together, text, phone, e-mail but contact EVERY DAY. 

If you complete the above assignments you can claim 5 bonus points for every day of week #1 that you remember to contact your partner. Have a great week!